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Duer, William (1747-1799) [Land purchase instructions for Henry Jackson and other agents]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.04970 Author/Creator: Duer, William (1747-1799) Place Written: New Brunswick, New Jersey Type: Autograph document signed Date: 2 June 1791 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 32 x 19.6 cm.

Summary of Content: Document is apparently written in Duer's hand and signed by both Knox and Duer. Docket is in Knox's hand. Document provides instructions to their agents for the purchase of a tract of land in Maine. Docket suggests General Henry Jackson was one of the agents. Knox and Duer tell their agents to alter the contract if circumstances warrant, but to avoid any major changes, especially in terms of price. They permit them to incur whatever expenses are necessary to quickly complete the transaction, and add that they will be reimbursed. They give advice on how to handle the committee of the Massachusetts Legislature that is managing this sale. The exact boundaries of the land to be purchased are not known, and Knox and Duer ask their agents to collect as much information as possible. They declare that "[i]t is more than Probable that Four million of acres well located will Cover all Considerable Tracts of Cultivable Land, in which Case the Purchase of half would operate as a Monopoly of the whole, and Enable us to fix the Price." Mention that the Indians still have some sort of claim to the land dating back to resolves from the Legislature from 1775. Instruct them that after the terms of the deal are settled, they are to use the Indian claims "as an Argument for lessening the Price of the Land - at any Rate the assistance of the State should be Stipulated for to Extinguish the same, at as short a Period as may be defined in the Agreement." They urge the agents to get as much coastal land and as many islands as possible in the deal.

Full Transcript: [draft excerpt]
The Objects we have in view, and the mode in which we wish the Contract to be obtained are [illegible] pointed out in this Paper - : as Circumstance ...however may arise which may render a Variation necessary we leave it to your Discretion, to make [struck: them] [inserted: it] deviating in a few Instances as possible from the spirit of our agreement, Especially as to the Piece of the Land, the Quantity to be Contracted for and the Periods of Payment - It is of great Importance that no Time should be lost in carrying our Plan into Execution, - and in doing this you may have occasion possibly to Employ [illegible] and to make other Expences, necessary for the attainment of the Object - These Expenditures we will defray in full confidence, that they will only be made where necessary - and with [inserted: as] much Oconomy, as Circumstances will admit of.See More

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Duer, William, 1747-1799
Jackson, Henry, 1747-1809

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: Land TransactionAmerican Indian HistoryRevolutionary War GeneralLawContractFinanceWaldo PatentGovernment and CivicsBoundary or Property DisputeAgriculture and Animal Husbandry

Sub Era: The Early Republic

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