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N. Y. & Cr. BOUNDARY SURVEY, ?
November 12th, 1856. To Messrs. Wm. H. Holly and Jason WHITING,
Com’rs on the part of the State of Connecticut for the settlement of the Boundary line between that State and the State of New-York: GENT.:-All communications and propositions, oral and written, from us, or either of us, to you, for the settlement of said line, are respectfully withdrawn. We take this step in good faith, and as necessary and proper under all the circumstances.
Permit us to add, that we shall take pleasure in a prompt reopening of negotiations, and will make full, and we have no doubt, satisfactory explanations for this step.
Hoping for an early, honorable, and just arrangement, we remain, with every proper personal respect,
Your ob’t serv’ts,
SAM’L D. BACKUS,
J. TARBELL, Commissioners on the part of the State of New-York.
Albany, Dec. 2, 1856. To WM. H. Holly, Esq. and JASON WHITING, Esq., Commis
sioners, &c.: GENTLEMEN—After our meeting at Stamford, on the 6th and 7th ult., we deemed it our duty to submit the papers and the questions discussed by us to some of the first lawyers and judges in our State-gentlemen eminent in their profession, who are above the influence of State pride or pecuniary interest-for their opinions. We are satisfied that important questions arise out of the surveys and upon the papers, a prominent one of which is whether we shall run through the monuments as set by the former commissioners, or fix upon a straight line. These are important not mainly from their affecting territory, or property, or inhabitants, but as legal questions liable to become the subject of judicial investigation; and since neither we nor even our States, except by the concurrence of Congress, can effect a transfer of territory, it is of the highest importance that our action should be such as will be sustained by the courts. We are desirous of making a settlement of such portions of the boundary as we may be able to agree upon, and a mutual statement of the points of our disagreement, if any, respecting the remainder of the line, with the facts and circumstances, so that we may submit the same with our report; and as the Legislature of New-York meets in a month from this time, it is necessary that all matters pertaining to our commission should be brought to a termination as soon as possible.
We would, therefore, propose a joint meeting for consultation, and request you, as early as practicable, to name the place and time, (say about the 16th inst.,) which will be most convenient to you.
SAM’L D. BACKUS,
ALBANY, N. Y., Dec. 17, 1856. To Wm. H. HOLLY and Jason Whiting, Esqrs., Commissioners, &c.
GENT. On the 2d inst. we addressed you a note soliciting an interview for consultation upon the matters pertaining to our commission, in order that we might ascertain precisely how far we should be compelled finally to differ in regard to them.
To this request, much to our regret, we have received no reply. We are, therefore, compelled to report to our Legislature disagreements and uncertainties which we are confident might, and ought to, have been settled.
This difficulty may yet, however, be in a measure avoided upon one point, and we write now, earnestly to request a statement of the moneys paid by you for the purposes of the survey, &c., (other than your own personal expenses,) and of the debts known to you to be owing by the commissioners, or on account of the survey. We hope this may be sent immediately, directed to either of us at Albany.
With respect, your ob't serv’ts,
SAM’L D. BACKUS,
Albany, Dec. 26, 1856. To Messrs. Holly and Whiting, Com’rs, &c.•
GENTLEMEN—On the 2d inst., and again last week, we addressed letters to each of you, requiring a settlement of affairs, and in the last particularly asked a statement of expenditures on account of the boundary survey. We can hardly think it possible that you have not received these letters, but yet have considered it best to write once again and renew our request for a statement of expenses as far as to include the wages paid to Taylor. We know that something is still due him. He ought to have his money, and we wish to settle with him in full, but we cannot do so till we know how much you have paid him. An immediate reply is desired, directed to us here.
SAM’L D. BACKUS,
ALBANY, Jan. 19, 1857. To Messrs. Wm. H. Holly and Jason WHITING, Com’rs, &c.:
GENTLEMEN—On the 2d, 17th and 26th ult., we addressed you by mail, to which several letters we refer. Believing you to be laboring under some misunderstanding we write you again.
1st. In our communication of the 2d we requested an interview for the purpose, among others, of repeating our request for a settlement of accounts. This, which we hold either party has a right to exact at any time, we did not insist upon in the letter of the 17th, but simply asked a statement of expenditures on the part of Connecticut, properly chargeable to the joint survey. Maj. Whiting had politely informed us of the amount paid by him. Mr. Holly and Mr. Perry we suppose also expended small amounts. A statement of these we should like. We cannot conceive how the withholding of this information, which does not affect the merits of the questions arising out of the survey, can be of any benefit to you, or harm to us, except as by rendering our report incomplete it causes us inconvenience, which we are unwilling to believe you design.
2d. We learn verbally from Taylor that Mr. Holly refuses to pay him for more than two months' work; also that he refers Mr. Perry to us for his last months' service. If these statements are correct, we beg to be informed whether the action of Mr. H. is approved by your commission. If referred to us these bills will be paid; and we desire this information that we may take the necessary steps.
3d. We are not aware of any differences as to the boundary from the Sound to the angle opposite Courtlandt's Point. Upon so much of the line, therefore, we desire a joint written report of our concurrence, setting forth our survey, and declaring “ the line” to have been ascertained by us, stating it at length.
4th. In regard to that portion of the line from the angle opposite to Courtlandt's Point, to Mass.,we submit the following extract of a letter from the Hon. George A. Simmons, the able and distinguished chairman of the judiciary committee in the lower house of Congress. “The substance of the opinion-an opinion formed on thorough examination, and concurred in by S. G. Haven and Alex. M. C. Pennington, able lawyers—is that you must go by the old marks and monuments wherever found; and if not found, after so late a period, you are to take the best evidence you can get of their former existence and locality. Traditional evidence is good, if supported by acts of government, such as towns and public officers, and continued uninterruptedly. Courses and distances are not to be resorted to, in order to straighten lines, if clearly opposed to the other evidences. The east line of the " equivalent lands” was only fixed by set-offs, and the places of such set-offs, or rather monuments, where the intermediate ones were fixed for the east line, must be adopted if remaining there now, however crooked the line; if not there now, they must still be adopted, if it can be clearly proved they were there; if not, courses and distances.”
To the same purport is the advice of several eminent lawyers and judges in our own and other states. There is little doubt that this is the true exposition of our duty and power, which will be sustained by the courts; while we have no right to adopt as a boundary either of the preliminary lines run by the surveyors, or any other line than that run in 1731, as, if we should, it would be repudiated on the first judicial review. We therefore propose to unite with you in the establishment of this ancient line, through the monuments erected in the latter year.
5th. If the last proposition is declined, we desire to unite in a joint written statement of facts in regard to this portion of the boundary.
This request we have previously urged with a confidence that its propriety would be at once apparent. Had it been complied with, it would have saved trouble ; especially it would have obviated the necessity of an ex parte report of the disagreement between us, to our Legislature. It will still be the most business like and honorable course, and give better satisfaction, we have no doubt, to your Legislature, though it should be too late for ours. . We take the liberty, very respectfully, to ask a plain and direct reply to each of our points. We present them not as new proposals, but as statements in a new form, of propositions and requests in former communications. The only reply to our letters as yet received by us is a letter from Mr. Holly, dated the 23d of December, respecting ours of the 2d and 17th, and another from Major Whiting, dated December 26th, but only just now at hand. These we can regard as individual or private letters only, while ours were signed by us jointly, and addressed to you as a commission. This is a distinction we have never overlooked, and which should be kept in mind as well as to past as future communications.
Under no circumstance should we be willing to join issue on any personal or irrelevant matters.
We are, gentlemen,
SAM’L D. BACKUS,
February 7, 1857. Messrs. J. TARBELL and S. D. Backus, Commissioners, &c.:
GENTLEMEN—Your communication of the 19th January is at hand, and contents noted. In reply we would refer you to the letter of Mr. Holly to you dated the 23d day of December last, as a full and perfect answer to all your interrogatories. You seem to demur to that communication because it was not jointly signed. It is very difficult for us, residing so far apart, to write joint letters; but we now desire you to understand that the answer of Mr. Holly, above alluded to, you are to consider as an official and joint answer to all communications received from you since you assumed the responsibility of closing all negotiations on the 12th of November last.
Very respectfully, yours &c.,
WM. H. HOLLY,
STAMFORD, Dec. 23, 1856. Messrs. TARBELL and Backus:
GENTLEMEN :-Your favors of the 2d and 17th inst. were duly received and contents noted. In the former you solicited us to name a time and place for a meeting, &c., but in view of your very extraordinary document of Nov. 12th, placed in our hands by Col. Tarbell personally, without a word of explana'ion, we deemed it inexpedient to comply with your request. In the latter you say you “are compelled to report to your Legislature disagreements and uncertainties.” If you had stated the tenor of