1791 Petition to Lt. Gov. Fanning
from the residents of Cherry Valley and Vernon River

The following petition was published in the 10 March 1792 issue of the Royal Gazette, and Miscellany of the Island of Saint John. Although historically important, it is not the circumstances surrounding the petition that is of interest to genealogists but the list of names of the residents affixed to it.

A total of three petitions appeared in the Royal Gazette of that date, all of which have been reproduced on my website. Because of the similarity of both the petitions and the subsequent responses from Lieutenant Governor Fanning, I have elected NOT to reproduce all three of Lt. Gov. Fanning's responses - only the one for the Cherry Valley-Vernon River petition has been copied.

The Petition:

To his Excellency EDMUND FANNING, LL.D. Lt. Governor, and Commander in Chief in and over his Majesty's Island of Saint John, and the Territories adjacent thereunto, in America, Chancellor of the same, &c. &c. &c.
May it please your Excellency,

We, the Subscribers, being the Inhabitants of the two Settlements of Cherry Valley and Vernon River, beg Leave to express to your Excellency our extreme Regret at hearing certain Complaints to have been exhibited against you, and three other Officers, to his Majesty's most honourable Privy Council, injuriously representing your Excellency's Administration to have been factious, and arbitrary, and those other Gentlemen to have so grossly misbehaved in their respective Offices, as to bring his Majesty's Government in this Island into popular Hatred and Contempt, and particularly stating that the Administration of Justice, since the Restoration of the Chief Justice from his late Suspension, has been partial and made subservient to the Views and Hopes of this pretended Faction of your Excellency's, with many other Things of a criminal and unjustifiable Import.

On being made acquainted with so unexpected an Occurrence, we should do much Injustice to our own Feelings and Conviction, as well as withhold from your Excellency that Tribute of Gratitude we owe you, if we omitted the Opportunity we now have of assuring you of our entire Disbelief of those injurious Assertions, which so palpably contradict all our past Experience of the Conduct both of your Excellency and of the other Officers.

We, therefore, desire Leave to assure your Excellency, that we have alsways found your Administration to be mild and just, and uniformly directed to the Attainment of the great Object of general Prosperity to the Island, and that the Conduct of the other Gentlemen complained of, in the Performance of the Duties of their respective Offices, we have always understood to be highly meritorious and deserving, and altogether free from the malicious Imputation of Faction, Oppression, or Injustice. The fair and impartial Administration of the Law, since the Restoration of the Chief Justice, we particularly mark as a Circumstance highly flattering to our future Hopes and Expectations.

Joseph Beers, J.P.
John Van Iderstine
James Lewis Hayden
John Munton
James Laird
Peter Musick
James Crocket
William Laws
Joseph Farrow
James Ramsay
Frederick Prock
John Eachorn
John Ensley
Nicholas Zmalt

His Excellency's Answer:

Gentlemen,

The Address of the Inhabitants of the two new, but flourishing, Settlements of Cherry Valley, and Vernon River, this Day presented to me, affords me a very singular Pleasure.

In Matters of this Sort, Gentlemen, much depends on the Time, the Manner, and the Occasion of its being done. Your very handsome Address is not only eminently civil and obliging in the Expression and its Import, but has with me every Recommendation which could possibly be derived from the Fitness of the Time, the Manner, and Occasion of its being done, it coming immediately after the Arrival of the unfounded Complaints of a very few factious Individuals against myself and some other Officers of his Majesty's Government in this Island, and even before I supposed it had been heard of by the Inhabitants of your very loyal, industrious, and highly meritorious Settlement.

This early and unexpected Testimony of your unbiassed Candour and Integrity, justly entitles you not only to my Gratitude and Esteem, but to the more particular Countenance and Favour of myself and the other Officers so injuriously and groundlessly complained of by those who are well known to be no Friends, either to the Interest, Prosperity, or Harmony of the Inhabitants of this Island.

EDM. FANNING
Charlotte Town, 18th Nov. 1791

Sources:

Microfilm F-1326, Centre d'études acadiennes. Filming originally done by the Canadian Library Association, 1963, using originals from the Public Archives of Canada. Transcriptions completed by Dan MacDonald on 26 March 2003 with transfer to electronic format (HTML) on 28 March 2003.