March 10, 1792
The Late Governor Parr having honored me with the appointment of Agent to the embarkation of the Free Blacks from this part of the Province, and his premature Death happening before these deluded people left Halifax, I presume to (trespass) on your time Sir in laying a few Facts and Observations that occurred during that appointment before you, an at the same time to interest you in behalf of the few remaining People of that description left in and about this Place.
From the return which I have the honor to enclose and was taken in the presence of Wm Clarkson Agent to the Sierra Leone Company, you will at one view observe that at least two thirds of these Black People were good settlers, and in a promising way to gain a decent subsistence by their labour on the Lands which they had in general received from Government; and I am ~ persuaded nothing but the imaginary prospect of a fine healthy clime, the extreme fertility of the soil and the very general invitation which the late Governors Proclamation held out to them, were the true motives that induced them to emigrate; the bad consequences of which are already severely felt in this, and every other part of the Province, the Capital excepted: That they as well as numbers of the White Inhabitants have suffered, is notorious, but not more than might be reasonably be expected, from the hardships and disappointments natural to the settling all new countries; but more particularly Northern ones; and from the different conversations I had with the Late governor Parr and Wm Clarkson, it appeared to me that the Object was to attempt a second settlement at Sierra Leone, and that neither Governor or the Company, had an Idea of more than twenty of thirty families; which it was supposed would fully answer the experiment; instead of which this new and unfortunate Settlement, has been deprived of upwards of Five Hundred good and efficient Citizens, in which are included labour(ing) people and servants who have been flattered by imag(inary) prospects of happiness to leave a comfortable and dec(ent) maintenance; The few remaining in this place have requested I would enclose to You Sir, a Copy of a Petition to His Majesty, the Original of which I had the Honor to deliver to the Late Governor Parr who assured me he would transmit it ~ with his dispatches that it might be presented to Our Benign Sovereign, and that it had his full approbation and should his Patronage; the requisition is trifling, and if granted will I am convinced conduce much to the happiness and comfort of the petitioners
Permit me Sir, to point out what in my humble opinion has been and still continues to be a very great bar and detriment to the settling of this Province; I allude to the large Grants that have been given to Individuals, too many of whom are now Subjects of the United States of America. Upon the extirpation of the French from this Province, the settlers were invited and promised 200 acres for every grown Person & so in proportion, but the political and laudable motives of government were frustrated by some means or other (where) individuals became possessed of thousands of acres. A large number of these people were never efficient settlers and many of them active in the late Rebellion the present claimants to some of these grants it is to be presumed have (diased) a part of perhaps the whole, for a small consideration, and on proper application have obtained from the Supreme Court of the Province a Writ of Partition: an advertisement for the division of one of these Tracts, I have the Honor to enclose You Sir, some indeed have been esche(ated) and the lands granted a new to those Loyalists who emigrated here after the peace, but in several of these grants there are still disputes, and the new grants never made out, to which cause and the length of time elapsed before any lands, except house and warehouse lots were laid out, may be attributed the return of ma(ny) valuable settlers from this part of the Province to the American States, and the great uncertainty and delay caused at Halifax respecting others, made ~ People afraid of adventuring to settle on thousands of acres in this County, which if properly cleared up would long since have been under improvement, and I am sorry to be obliged to say, there are numbers, as well as Wm Peters, who have suffered great hardships, and never yet received from Government a foot of land in the Province, and if by accident a person was to find out any good Tract, the expense of obtaining the grant would be more than it would sell for, as the distance must be great from any settlement, and in a Country where there are so few roads of communication from one part of it to another, lands so situated can be of no great value, and the poverty of the province (will) not admit the legislature to ~ appropriate any funds for that purpose, or any other that might remove the difficulties under which we labour. It would become me to point out to You Sir, as His Majesty's (Minion) for the Department under which this Province is included any mode of alteration in its internal government, but having embarked my all, which the Generosity of the Mother Country allowed me for my Losses, as an American Loyalist, I am anxious for its Prosperity, and am therefore alarmed at its present situation; when (I) look back and see that its Debt has been increasing fast since the Peace, notwithstanding the addition of some thousands of new Citizens, and a considerable augmentation of its Trade, I naturally conclude that there is a certain something wrong in its internal Policy; also know that our situation is critical, and that it requires the fostering and (inter(f)rosing) hand of Government of our Parent Country to rectify our Errors, who if attained, I certainly am of Opinion that new re(solve) would be (pro)duced, as yet altogether unknown; but as long as an accumulating debt(press) upon us, Our Citizens emigrating, and our trade declining, (owing) in a great degree to the liberty granted American Subjects of fishing on our Coast, and entering our harbours for bait, it will be almost impossible to prevent total evacuation from this part of the Province without this friendly and necessitated aid of the mother country.
I have the Honor to be with all due Respect
The Right Honorable Henry Dundas Esq.