To Benjamin Franklin from the Massachusetts House of Representatives, 25 June 1771

“Massachusetts, even though its charter of 1691 confirmed its title to eastern Maine, had only a tenuous control over the area; its claim had been challenged on the grounds that it had not been implemented and that defense had been neglected. David Dunbar, appointed Surveyor General of royal woods in America in 1728, had been authorized to make land grants in the area while reserving mast trees (white pines of the size and quality required for naval masts) and a yearly quitrent for the King. But the settlers had sued him for trespass and won a reversal by the Privy Council, which confirmed the right of Massachusetts to the land. See ibid., III, 275–83; Cecil Headlam, ed., Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1728–29 (London, 1937), pp. 110–12, 371–3, 549, 554–5; Channing and Coolidge, op. cit., p. 222; Robert G. Albion, Forests and Sea Power… (Cambridge, Mass., 1926), pp. 256–7; Wroth and Zobel, John Adams Legal Papers, II, 248–9. For the general background see Jack M. Sosin, The Revolutionary Frontier, 1763–1783 (New York, etc., [1967]), pp. 20–60.

The region, rumor had it, was about to become a new royal province with Sir Francis Bernard as governor. 6 Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., IX (1897), 269. The Bostonians suspected that this design was part of a conspiracy against the province, and for once they had reason: Hutchinson and Bernard were doing their best to have the land east of the Penobscot detached from Massachusetts and either erected into a separate government or, that failing, annexed to Nova Scotia. See Hutchinson’s letters to Bernard and Hillsborough, Mass. Arch., XXVII, 60–1, 100, 105, 286.”