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Military organizations were effected and preparations made to maintain their rights against the efforts of New-York, to tax and rule them..
Gov. Fletcher, of the latter province, in 1697, in a most formidable proclamation, charged them with revolt, more than insinuating that Connecticut was in part responsible, and commanded them in the King's name, to return to their allegiance. But a resort to proclamation was found to be more easy than efficacious in subduing refractory colonists.
In a letter to the authorities of New-York, the Governor of Connecticut came to the aid of the revolting towns, insisting that they belonged to Connecticut, and the former province was thus compelled to make more strenuous efforts to obtain the King's approbation of the agreement and survey, in which they succeeded, in the year 1700. Notice was given of the fact, by proclamation, in 1701.
The only expedient now remaining by which Connecticut could retain possession of territory beyond its proper limits, was to throw the location of the lines into doubt and obstruct any measures for determining it. This was most effectually done, and the records of legislation and the official correspondence of the two colonies, from 1718 to 1725, bear ample testimony to the ingenuity, if to no other trait, for which the people of Connecticut have always been famous.
The lines run by the surveyors, in 1684, remained without official examination for thirty-three years, before any steps were taken to extend them and to complete the transfer of territory from Connecticut to New-York, for which provision was made in the agreement of 1683. In the meantime the land had become more settled, and the exact position of the boundary, beyond the immediate vicinity of the sea shore, of greater importance than when the former survey was made.
In the year 1717, the government of New-York took the initiative in a movement for the mutual determination of this line, by appropriating seven hundred and fifty ounces of plate towards the payment of its share of the expenses of a survey.
Commissioners were appointed under this act, and application was made to Connecticut to appoint others to join with them in a survey.
This was responded to by an act of Connecticut, appointing commissioners to “perambulate” the lines already run, for the purpose of “quieting the borderers,” and “to consider what method may be used for the proceeding with the dividend line.”
. The commissioners met at Rye, in October 1718. The powers conferred by Connecticut, were not satisfactory to the New-York commissioners, who refused to proceed because the Connecticut men could not, by their acts, bind the colony; they had no power to complete the lines; and they refused any examinations of the validity of the land marks which they alleged to be in the line surveyed in 1684.
In May, 1719 the Connecticut Assembly appointed a new commission, "for carrying on, stating and completing the said line," but by no clause of the law provided that the acts of these commissioners should be binding on the colony or its inhabitants.
This act was transmitted to New-York, by Gov. Saltonstall, on the 9th July; but before it was received in New-York, a “probationary act,” as it was termed, was passed by that province, of a remarkable character. It provided for the appointment of commissioners on the part of that province, for the running of all the lines in accordance with the agreement and survey of 1683 and 1684, in conjunction with commissioners from Connecticut. But if none should be sent from that colony with satisfactory power, then after nine months notice, the New-York commission were authorised to go on alone, taking every precaution to do justice to both provinces and to conform to the agreement and former survey; and the line so run was to remain forever as the boundary. This act was made conditional upon the royal approval.
This was the law on which all effective action subsequently depended.
No notice was taken in New-York of the last action of Connecticut, till March, 1722, when the act was referred to a committee of the council, who reported at length upon it, reciting the previous incidents of the controversy and recommending that no ineeting with the Connecticut commissioners should be held until they were fully empowered to bind the colony and its inhabitants.
· In response to this report, which was adopted and transmitted to the Connecticut Assembly, that body passed an act, with a proamble, giving their side and version of the dispute.
The substance of this was that there was a certain tree called “the Duke's tree," at the eastern end of the line parallel to the sound, which was marked by the surveyors in 1684, as the starting point for the line which was to run north wardly. New-York in refusing to admit the authenticity of this tree, without a test by measurement, had obstructed the settlement of the boundary, and they therefore petitioned the King to command' that province to join in running the line from the tree, as the true easternmost angle in the boundary.
This law of Connecticut was referred to a joint committee, of the Assembly and council of New-York, and by them reviewed in an able report of great length. The history of the controversies was detailed and the unworthy conduct of Connecticut exposed.*
: The demand of that colony that the tree named by them should without question be adopted as the eastern limit of the line was declared unfounded, because there was no proof that it had been established by the commissioners as in the line of their survey; and even if so established could not be the limit as claimed, because they had gone only to the point twenty miles from the Hudson river, while they had declared the boundary to extend as much beyond that point as the breadth of the equivalent tract, to be transferred to New-York. This distance they had conjectured to be 305 rods, but they could not determine it, because the length of the tract was still unknown.
The committee recommended that the governor should inform the authorities of Connecticut that whenever commissioners should be fully empowered by that colony to settle the line according to their own judgment, without unreasonable restrictions, upon the former agreement and survey, they would be promptly met by commissioners from New-York.
This report being received in Connecticut, was referred to a committee of the Assembly who in their report upon it attempted to obscure the real point of difference by sharp recriminations in
*See Appendix P. · [Senate, No. 165.]
regard to the terms in which the New-York committee had refered to the action of Connecticut; but they recommended the appointment of commissioners with full powers as requested by New-York. In accordance with this recommendation, commissioners were appointed by the Assembly, Oct. 10, 1723.*
The gentlemen named, in December received their commission, which being transmitted to New-York and referred to a committee, a report was made that there was abundant matter for criticism in the act, but as the commission was apparently full, the governor was advised to send commissioners to meet them. Notice was sent to Connecticut in January following, and the meeting by agreement arranged to be held at Rye on the 4th of February 1723-4.
The commissioners on both sides were furnished with written instructions in regard to their action, and in accordance with these all communications between them were to be in writing.
The conference was held, but by adjournment the negotiations were not completed till April 20th, and the place of meeting was changed to New Rochelle.
Nothing was accomplished in consequence of the refusal of the Connecticut commissioners to test the accuracy of the points in the line claimed by them as authentic monuments, and also their questioning the provision in the agreement of 1683, for the addition to New-York of the equivalent tract”, beyond the line twenty miles east of the Hudson river. The conference was broken up by their sudden departure.t
In July following, notice was received of the Royal approval of the Probationary act of 1719. The agents of Connecticut in England had strenuously endeavored to prevent this, and to procure the ratification of their own law of May, 1719.
New-York had now the power to effect a valid settlement of the controversy even if Connecticut should refuse to join with her. The Governor of New-York gave the requisite nine months. notice to the Governor of Connecticut of the appointment of
commissioners to make the survey, and of the 3d "Tuesday of the succeeding April as the time of its commencement. ?
Connecticut finding it useless longer to oppose, now submitted with as good grace as might be, with the purpose of securiug the best terms practicable by negotiation ; and by act of October 8, 1724, appointing commissioners, yielded all the points of the previous contentions. * .
The New-York commissioners were fully instructed by the council in regard to the precautions they were to take to do justice to all parties and almost every imaginable contingency was anticipated. Provisions were also made for the expenses of the survey.
MEETING AND AGREEMENT PRELIMINARY TO THE SURVEY IN 1725.
The commissioners met at Rye in April 1725. They had not been long together before those who represented New-York discovered that the cause of the obstructions to a settlement of all disputes and doubts concerning the boundary, could be found in the fact that certain people from Connecticut had settled upon the lands which would fall within the equivalent tract, and feared the loss of their lands and improvements if they should be trans- ferred to the other province. The representatives of Connecticut had successively contended against the consummation of the transfer of any lands at all; had endeavored to fix the line farther west than it rightly belonged, and had prevented till that time any survey which should show its true location.
The New-York commissioners, being made aware of this motive, and considering the speedy and amicable settlement of the controversies of far greater consequence than the saving of a comparatively small tract of land, were enabled to offer such terms as soon brought matters to a satisfactory issue. I
An agreement was entered into on the 9th of April by which the mode of making the survey in all its particulars was fixed.
The location of the angle [D], at the end of the first direct course, though virtually agreed upon, was still in some slight doubt. In order to ascertain its true position, as fixed by the surveyors in 1684, it was agreed that the same method should be
* See Appendix S. + See Appendix T. See Appendix W. See Appendix U.