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John Shalbrooks to Captain Thomas Butt



London, August 5, 1775.

DEAR SIR: I duly received your very kind favours of the 14th of April and 6th of May, and am very much obliged by your friendly observations on the nature, constitution, and state of the different fisheries in the Bay of Chaleur, together with the natural objects which ought to be my pursuit. For your very judicious and friendly advice herein, I thank you kindly, and esteem your attention in this particular as a fresh proof of your friendship, which I shall be glad you will cherish by a continuance of such observations as may occur to you from time to time, which I shall ever esteem myself obliged by receiving. As to the lease of Mirimache, which I wished to have got from Baillie' s attorneys or you, I am afraid that matter is at an end, as before the receipt of your letter on that subject, application had been made to them to grant a lease to Mr˙ Corts, which I had rejected, supposing, as was very natural, that few people could be met with here to take a lease of it, and that I might probably have an opportunity of purchasing it. I should not, however, have risked this matter, if Mr˙ Walker had not made me understand that you had unlimited power from them to lease, or even sell this property; and as I had in the first instance applied to you, I did not think my application to them necessary, by which I am for the present deprived of carrying on business at Mirimache. My principal objection to a lease was, that after sundry improvements might be made during the period of it, the rent might be advanced, or a new lease refused after such improvements were made; and therefore I proposed to them to be a purchaser; but the matter being now fixed otherwise, I have only to return you my thanks for the trouble you have so obligingly taken in the affair.

In consequence of your desires, I have held myself in readiness to acquit (in case of need) the bill you mention to have drawn favouring James Robertson, when applied unto by Mr˙ William Ross; but never having any application from him, I concluded he had paid it. On sending to him this morning, I was exceedingly mortified to find that he suffered it to be protested, and that without ever sending me a message. I have since traced the bill, and am very sorry to inform you that the holder of it has returned it to Philadelphia, from whence it was remitted to him. It was very unfortunate that Mr˙ Ross did not let me know that he would not pay it; if he had, you may depend I would not have suffered it to return under dishonour. As to the purchase of your grant of land at Nipisequit, it remains just as it did when I last had the pleasure to address you, and at present I see little probability of my being a purchaser for it, especially as there is an idea of enforcing payment of the quit-rents, which will be a great bar and objection to cultivation in that inhospitable climate. I am not surprised, nor do I condemn it as an improper measure in Administration; I think they have made America independent too soon, and the only way to prevent future evil from the same causes, is, to keep new Colonies more dependant upon Government.

The unhappy breach between the disaffected Colonies and this Country seems to widen; I see no means left to heal it; it will cost the Country much money, and the life of many a brave soldier, to establish the sovereignty of this Country over America; but it must be done, be the purchase what it may. I find that General Gage is recalled; his mild measures may have sprung from the feelings of humanity, of which I believe he has a great deal; but this sort of man is by no means proper to take the lead in so important a question as it has now become. He is much blamed here for not taking prior possession of the heights of Charlestown, that cost so dear on the 17th of June to retake; this unfortunate affair seems to throw such a complexion on American matters, as if nothing conclusive could be done till fresh re-enforcements arrive from hence, which will probably make it so late that nothing will be effectually done this summer. Should this be the case, I suppose


you will have a good deal of company at Halifax this winter, as I find that a great part of the naval force now at Boston will winter in your harbour.

I shall be very glad to hear from you; and remain with great truth, very respectfully and truly, your much obliged and most obedient servant,


P˙ S˙ The enclosed two letters I beg you will particularly recommend to the care of some of your friends at the Island of St˙ John' s. All our communication to the Bay of Chaleur, viz: Quebcck, is stopped by the Provincials at New-York, having taken the posts into their own harbour.