Letters from P.E.I. - Walter Patterson to The Commiピioners For American Claims, 25 January 1786

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Transcribed by Gary Carroll, [email protected]

Original in Public Archives of Canada MG14 microfilm B2453

Charlottetown 25 January 1786


On the 22d. of last Month I was honored with your dispatch of the 17th of November.

The latneピ of its arrival rendered an earlier reply useleピ; as there has since then been no poピibility of sending to the Continent, and though I purpose shortly to make an attempt to that effect, yet it is far from being certain I shall be able to accomplish my design. I was by the same conveyance honored with His Majestys comments to give you every aピistance in my power. They rendered it needleピ, if not improper, for me to expreピ that willingneピ to comply with your request which I would otherwise have gladly done.

You will undoubtedly find it an arduous task to come at Truth, for a Knave bears so strong a resemblance to an honest man it would require more than the light of one Lanthorn.

I believe there are but few upon this Island who have claims of sufficient magnitude to repay them a journey and attendance at Halifax.

At present they are all reduced to depend on their personal labor for the maintenance of their Families a summer absence therefore of the Male head must reduce the remainder to absolute want; besides which they are so exceピive poor .that in place of the whole attending personally, I much question if among the whole, they could pay an agent to go from hence and prosecute their claims, and yet .I know several who are well entitled to what would at present render them comfortable, and would not in all make a large sum.

In the whole list of Names which you have sent, I find only seven who reside within my jurisdiction, this renders it unneceピary to trouble you with returning the whole list, but I shall herewith enclose their names, numbered as you have transmitted them, by which any may be turned to with ease in your original List. There are others who are not in the present List; they may however still appear among those you are yet in expectation of.--

As to new claimants from this quarter under the present Act, they are totally excluded. It was a remarkably late arrival from the Continent which brought me your dispatches, the communication shut up immediately after. Such a conveyance as this which I purpose to attempt cannot be depended on though I have hitherto succeeded in the like; nor is it by any means certain that an Expreピ can reach

Halifax before the first of May, who leaves this after the communication opens; so far from being the case, that I am certain it would not take place once in ten years.

The other settlements in the Gulf are if poピible, in a worse situation, as I suppose they are as yet ignorant of the Benevolent intention of your Commiピion I shall hope therefore, as it must be the design of the Legislature to render equal justice to all, that you will have the goodneピ to represent this matter in its proper light, and the neceピity there is for a further prolongation of the time for preferring new Claims.

And in case you shall concur in this opinion, it is needleピ to point out to Gentlemen of your comprehension that the granting of exactly another year would not give the desired relief, as it is most reasonable to suppose the Countries I have mentioned would in that case, be in 1787 exactly in their present situation.

It will require all your goodneピ to pardon my even hinting at this matter.

I have obeyed your Commands in publishing your Notice, which will at least prepare the Inhabitants against a future occasion; but it may have a bad effect in case a further time shall not be granted, as it will raise expectations, which may at present be dormant.

This spot has been so constantly treated like a Step Child, I have long since resigned all hopes of obtaining any thing in its favor, or I should hope you would honor the Island with a visit. -- Nature having fixed it so very central and convenient to all parts of the Gulf.

The choice of situation, I observe, is very properly left with yourselves, and I have no doubt but your humanity will lead you to consult as much as may be the ease and advantage of the most helpleピ part of the sufferers.

I have the Honor to be very Respectfully

Your very Humble and
Obedient Servant
Walter Patterson

The Commiピioners
For American Claims

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