[London? ca. 1715]. p. plus printed docket title on verso. Small folio. Antique-style three-quarter calf and marbled boards, spine gilt, leather label. Ornamental upper border. Minor foxing. Very good. Item #WRCAM39807
A rare and early petition relating to British settlement in the eastern part of present-day Maine. The authors refer to petitioning "his Majesty in Council, on the 6th Day of December last, for having a Colony settled between New England and Nova Scotia" with "over one thousand disbanded men" and to be funded with the proceeds of a proposed coinage operation. The only copy of this document listed by OCLC and ESTC is at the New-York Historical Society, which estimates merely that the document was printed during the 1700s. The historical context, the text cited above, and discovery of this broadsheet among similar petitions dating almost exclusively to 1714 and 1715, however, make 1715 an extremely likely date of printing. In the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) the French ceded the land east of the Kennebec River (presumably the area in question here) to the British; this event and the reference to "disbanded soldiers" suggest that the War of the Spanish Succession had recently ended, which it finally did in 1714. George I succeeded Queen Anne in late 1714, meaning that the petitioning of "December last" could not have been earlier than that year. With the new monarchy and a major upheaval in the House of Commons following the general election of 1715, petitionary literature distributed in the lobby of Parliament surged, with this document almost certainly among the examples from that year. The petitioners, evidently officers who had served in the recent war, call attention to the fact that the lands they hope to settle "were formally survey'd, and given by King Charles the Second, to the Duke of York," and that the area has been confirmed as rich for farming. They ask that Parliament allow them to present their formal proposals for the settlement or, "if not thought proper to have a Colony settled in that part of North-America," at least still to grant them a contract to coin 1,000 tons worth of half-pence and farthings. A very important Maine document, one of only two surviving copies.