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title:“Proposal to Settle Foreign Protestants on Ohio Company Lands”
authors:George Mason, James Scott, John Mercer
date written:1753-2-6

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:15 a.m. UTC
retrieved:April 24, 2024, 6:55 a.m. UTC

Scott, James, George Mason, and John Mercer. "Letter to Settle Foreign Protestants on Ohio Company Lands." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 1. Ed. Bernard Bailyn and James Morton Smith. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 28-30. Print.
Manuscript, Mercer Papers, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Proposal to Settle Foreign Protestants on Ohio Company Lands (February 6, 1753)

[6 February 1753]
At a Committee of the Ohio Company at Mr. Mercers at Marlborough in Stafford County February 6th. 1753.
On the Application of Mr. John Pagan Mercht. to know what Encouragement the Company would give to German Protestants who would come into this Colony to settle their Lands on the Ohio, he being now on a Voyage to Great Britain and intending to Germany from thence in Expectation of Engaging a great number of families to remove for that purpose in Case the Prejudices that have been artfully propagated among those people can be effectually removed and they can be convinced they may on equal if not better terms settle in this Colony than in Pensylvania or the other adjoining provinces. The Committee being satisfied that a large Accession of foreign Protestants will not only be advantageous to this Colony but the most effectual method of promoting a speedy Settlement on the Ohio, and extending and securing the same, before mentioning their own proposals think proper to observe.
That with regard to their religious Liberties, all foreign Protestants may depend on enjoying in this Government the Advantage of the Acts of Toleration in as full and ample manner as in any other of his Majesties plantations whatsoever, as great numbers of them have already experienced.
As to their civil Rights, they will be entitled to Naturalization which will be attended with all the Priviledges and Advantages of English natural born Subjects which are too many to be here enumerated. That of electing their Representatives in the Legislature is the greatest can be enjoyed by any Subjects, And the English Laws of Liberty and property are universally allowed to be the best in the World for securing the peoples lives and fortunes against Arbitrary power or any unjust Encroachments whatsoever.
The Levies in this Government which will be better understood by the name of Taxes are of three kinds Public, County, and Parish, The first of which is imposed by Act of Assembly on every person in the Colony liable to pay Levies for defraying the public Charge of this Colony once in two or three years, the second for defraying each County's Charge by the people living therein which is annually imposed, as is the last on the parishoners for maintaining the Minister and other parochial Charges. All these are paid in Tobacco the Staple of the Countrey, but no Male under sixteen years of Age or any white Woman is obliged to contribute thereto. These however are so moderate that we can venture to affirm that taking them all together one Year with the other they don't amount to above the Value of eight shillings Sterling per poll, and no Tax or Imposition is laid on anything necessary for food or raiment or the Subsistence of Life, Officers fees of all kinds and Law charges amount to little more than one half of the Charge of that Sort in the adjoining Colonies, Nor do we know any single place in his Majesties Dominions where the Subject is supported in all his Rights at so easy an Expence, Our Militia renders Soldiers useless and we have no Ecclesiastical Courts.
The Legislature by an Act made last year hath exempted all foreign protestants coming to Settle West of our Great Mountains from paying Levies of all kinds for the term of ten Years from their Settlement As by a Copy of the Act hereto annexed.
As the Committee looks on these Advantages to be sufficient to invite any Strangers not bypassed by some Prejudice to settle in this Colony preferably to any other of his Majesties plantations, which they are very desirous of, so for a further Encouragement they propose and undertake in behalf of the Company.
That as the said Company is intitled to five hundred thousand Acres of Land upon the River Ohio which is exempted from Quit rents for ten years after which term the Quit rent is no more than two Shillings Sterling yearly for every hundred Acres, Every foreign protestant coming in to Settle on the said Land shall have a good title made to him for as much as he desires at the rate of five pounds Sterling for every hundred Acres discharged of Quit rents for the same time allowed to the Company.
That all such as come in on those terms shall be supplied with Warehouses for their Goods convenient carriages for removing them to their Lands and such Quantity of Wheat Flour and Salt as they may want for their present Subsistence at the same Rates the Company pays for them, And such of them as have not ready money to pay for the Lands they desire to purchase shall be allowed two years Credit paying five per cent per Annum Interest.
As no Countrey in the world is better or more conveniently watered than Virginia the most convenient Passage will be into Potomack River which is Navigable by the largest Ships within ten Miles of the Falls. The Companys Store house at Rock creek where they may land and have their Goods secured is sixty miles from Connococheege a fine road from whence they may go by Water in the Companys Boat to their Store house at Wills Creek about forty miles and from thence the Company have cleared a Waggon Road about sixty miles to one of the head branches of the Ohio navigable by large flat bottomed boats where they proposed to build Store- houses and begin to lay off their Lands. From this place there is no Obstruction to prevent such Vessels passing into the Mississippi which by the best Calculation is near a thousand miles, and as the Ohio from thence branches all the way down in numberless Branches it not only affords the convenience of making most of the Settlements by Water carriage but will enable the Settlers by the same carriage to carry on their Trade and supply themselves with every produce of those parts. The Rivers are Stocked with fine Fish and wild Fowl and the Woods abound with Buffaloes Elks Deer wild Turkeys and other Game of divers kind. The Land itself is universally allowed to be as good as can be far exceeding any Lands to the East of the great Mountains well Stocked with Timbers of all kinds and Stone for building, Slate Limestone Coal, Salt Springs and various Minerals. In short it is a Countrey that wants nothing but Inhabitants to render it one of the most delightful and valueable Settlements of all his Majesties plantations in America, And as the Value of those back Lands is now discovered and all the nations of Indians in those parts and for some hundred miles round are not only in Strict Amity and friendship with this Government but have faithfully promised to Assist and protect this English Settlement on the Ohio which has tempted many other persons to take up Lands in those parts and people are daily going to Settle them, there can be no doubt but the Settlement in those parts will soon be a very considerable one.
The Committee further Engages in behalf of the said Company for the greater Encouragement of such foreign protestants to lay off two hundred Acres of Land for a Town to be called Saltsburg in the best and most convenient place to their Settlement to be divided into Lotts of one Acre each, Eight of which to be appropriated for a Fort Church and other public buildings4 and every Tradesman or other person Settling and living three Years in the said Town to have one Lot forever paying the Quit rent of one farthing a Year,

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