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[401] was ascertained by Haywood, the careful historian of that com-
Chap. XLVI
monwealth. Ramsey has adopted all that was preserved by Haywood, and has added the results of his own persevering researches. To these authorities I am able to subjoin the evidence of a contemporary witness. In a letter from the Governor of Virginia to the British Secretary of State, pleading warmly in favor of the propriety of making grants of land at the West, in Illinois, he derives his strongest argument from the establishment of this very Republic of Watauga.

Extract of a letter from the Earl of Dunmore, Governor of Virginia, to the Earl of Dartmouth, Secretary of State.

Williamsburg, 16 May, 1774.
* * * Whatever may be the law with respect to the title, there are, I think, divers reasons which should induce his majesty to comply with the petition, so far at least, as to admit the petitioners and their acquisitions, if not into this government, into some other. For if the title should be thought defective, it would still, at such a distance from the seat of any authority, be utterly impracticable to void it, or prevent the occupying of the lands, which being known to be of an extraordinary degree of fertility, experience shows nothing (so fond as the Americans are of migration,) can stop the concourse of people that actually begin to draw toward them; and should the petition be rejected, your lordship may assure yourself, it is no chimerical conjecture, that, so far from interrupting the progress of their settlement, it would have a direct contrary tendency, by forcing the people to adopt a form of government of their own, which it would be easy to frame in such a manner as to prove an additional encouragement to all the dissatisfied of every other government, to flock to that. In effect, we have an example of the very case, there being actually a set of people in the back part of this colony, bordering on the Cherokee country, who finding they could not obtain titles to the land they fancied, under any of the neighboring governments, have settled upon it without, and contented themselves with becoming in a manner tributary to the Indians, and have appointed magistrates, and framed laws for their present occasions, and to all intents and purposes, erected themselves into, though an inconsiderable, yet a separate State; the consequence of which may prove hereafter detrimental to the peace and security of the other colonies; it at least ets a dangerous example to the people of America, of forming governments distinct from and independent of his majesty's authority. * * *

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