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Connecticut and many are in doubt respecting their own citizenship.
For the purpose of quieting the people along the line we have issued a circular, denying that any change of line has been made, which is given in the appendix.*
WHAT REMAINS TO BE DONE? Before the purposes of the commission shall be accomplished, work of much importance is to be done, requiring the exercise of prudence and care; yet nothing which with a disposition to settle justly and perpetually the questions which have arisen may not be done with little loss of time or expenditure of money.
Whether we are bound to follow the ancient monuments, or may endeavor to correct old errors, is a legal question which may be quickly disposed of if both parties desire its decision.
If our view is correct, on the upper portion of the boundary the identification of the original land-marks is to be completed and their relative position to the lines laid down by the survey, ascertained. The boundary fixed upon is to be marked by monuments. Stones for this purpose are already prepared.
On the lower section of the line, the correctness of some of the monuments already erected is to be tested, and at points a further investigation of the old line may be required.
When the true line shall thus have been identified and distinguished, a ininute and careful description of the position of each of the monuments erected is to be made and executed by both commissions in testimony of the official establishment of the bounds and for future identification of the monuments or their sites. Copies of this agreement should be deposited in the local offices of record on both sides of the line as well as with the Secretaries of the States; and perhaps for more certainty, it should be ratified by the two Legislatures.
If there shall be liability of delay in the settlement of disputes on any portion of the line, that part which does not give rise to them should be officially described at once. * See appendix F.
The accounts of the commissioners are to be adjusted and any balance paid, which may be due to either State.
WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TROUBLES ? Why all this has not been done has already been stated. We cannot take the responsibility of the failure upon ourselves; we are conscious of no lack of proper effort to prevent it.
Assuciated with strangers and charged with ascertaining the correct, among the many erroneous lines, fronı the rubbish of countless traditions, piles of musty documents as indefinite as verbosity could nake them, and from a combination of true and false landmarks, our duty was one of exploration and investigation, the varying phases of which we could neither anticipate nor provide for.
We have been liberal to the very limit of our powers and to the last degree consistent with our duty to the State; our individual convenience and personal feelings have in all cases been made to yield for the accomplishment of the purposes of our appointment, and to our endeavor to prevent or to terminate controversies with our associates from the other State; we have been unsuccessful in these efforts, and see no prospect of agreement with them so long as they adhere to their present determination or while either of them may prevent the adoption of a different policy.
It is not for us to propose the method for the removal of these difficulties. With the STATE OF CONNECTICUT rests the responsibility of future action, and we cannot believe that when the facts become known, any unnecessary delay will be permitted by that State in the settlement of the troubles existing, in a manner consistent with its dignity and the honor of its citizens and their public officers.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. We take this opportunity to return our acknowledgments to the people living near the routes of our survey, to whose hospitality and ready assistance in promoting our work, often at much inconvenience to themselves, we were greatly indebted; to Mr. .Wentz, the engineer, whose skill, persevering industry, sound
judgment and excellent management were apparent through the whole work, winning the confidence of all; to the various members of the surveying corps who performed their arduous and often disagreeable duties with energy and cheerfulness; and to Mr. Andrew Perry, one of the number who for a time represented the Connecticut commissioners in their absence, exhibiting våried information and practical qualifications which rendered him an eminently useful and agreeable associate.
Valuable assistance in the investigation of the historical questions has been rendered us by Mr. George H. Moore, librarian of the N. Y. Historical society, and by Dr. E. B. O'Callaghan, but for whose systematic arrangement of the papers in the Secretary's office and his familiarity with their contents, our labor would have been greatly enhanced.
ACCOMPANYING PAPERS, &c. We have endeavored to relate in as concise a manner as possible without prejudice or coloring, the facts connected with our own transactions. For the better understanding of the causes which led to the establishment of the commission the main features of the previous controversies and negotiations are given in a historical sketch annexed. The various legislative proceedings, correspondence, and other papers referred to in connection with our proceedings, and a report made to us by the engineer, may be found in the appendix. We have also appended literal copies of the more important of the many documents examined by us in connection with the early history of this matter. The originals are deposited in the Secretary's office and elsewhere, and but few of them have ever been printed while others have been but imperfectly so. As important interests depend upon them their preservation in print seems desirable.
A small diagram of the various lines fixed at different periods has been prepared to illustrate the report and history. Also a general map of the boundary with the original surveys, &c.; a plan of Byram river; and plans showing the relative position of the best defined traditionary and surveyed lines on other parts of the boundary.
( CAPTAIN'S ISLAND."
We have learned that in addition to the boundary questions, there is also a controversy respecting the jurisdiction over Captain's Island lying in the sound near the mouth of Byram River. As the extent of our powers in respect to this matter was quite uncertain we entered into no negotiation regarding it and made no investigations, except incidentally, into the origin or extent of the disputes. We are, however, satisfied that some decision of the question is urgently required.
A survey has been executed under the direction of the commissioners of both States, acting as a joint hoard, regularly organized.
The uncertainties of the line, the defects of the statutes describing the boundaries, the want of reliable surveys or maps, and the necessity for the work, have been demonstrated by this survey
The boundary for thirty miles is mainly ascertained.
Upon the remaining fifty miles a legal question arises. The former surveyors first agreed and undertook to lay down a straight line from the Ridgefield angle to Massachusetts. Having performed the work by the erection of monuments, they subsequently, by a further written agreement, declared “the line” to be “ through the monuments" thus erected.
The line, thus marked and established in 1731, is found to differ widely from a direct course. Acting under advice of counsel, we adhere to the ancient landmarks as denoting the legally recognised boundary, which alone we are authorised to ascertain and mark; while the Connecticut commissioners contend for a straight line, assuming to adopt it upon our implied assent.
Such a straight line was run, as a matter of course, in the regular progress of the survey, and as a necessary preliminary to the identification of the correct landmarks, and marked at points selected conditionally for monuments, if it should be finally fixed upon.
It was to be supposed the boundary would coincide with a direct line. If, upon the decision of the legal question, the true line shall be declared to follow the straight course, there only remains to the completion of our work the erection of monuments; if, to pass through the points fixed in 1731, there is an accurate base line for future operations.
But that line was not declared the boundary, nor have we at any time assented to it as such.
By the resolutions under which we are acting, our powers and duties are limited to ascertaining and marking the boundary assumed to exist, not extending to the establishment of a new one.
The following propositions have been repeatedly presented to and urged upon the consideration of the Connecticut commissioners:
First. To “ ascertain” the boundary marked in 1731 as the only line we have a right to adopt in the legal performance of our duty.
Second. The joint execution of instruments in writing declaring and identifying the lines we shall adopt.
Third. The execution of these respecting the parts of the line we now agree upon.
Fourth. An adjustment of our financial affairs.
Fifth. A joint statement of the questions on which we differ, with the position of either party, in order to facilitate their determination.
The Connecticut Commissioners, upon the lower portion of the line urged an adherence to the old monuments, but in respect to the remainder, while they neither assent to or deny any of our propositions, they contend for a straight line.
If the position we assume is correct and shall be maintained, the boundary will remain as it always has been, unchanged, ex[Senate, No. 165.1