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RECORDS AND DOCUMENTS, &C
THE first Settlement, within the Territory, now known by the name of Vermont, was made at Fort Dummer, (in the present County of Windham,) in the year 1724, under a grant from the Provincial Government of Massachusetts. Previous to this grant, a controversy had existed between the Provinces of Massachusetts and New-Hampshire, relative to their line of Jurisdiction. This controversy continued until the year 1740, when the King in Council decided; “ that the northern boundary of the Province of Massachusetts be a similar curve line, pursuing the course of Merrimack river, at three miles distance, on the north side thereof, beginning at the Atlantic Ocean, and ending at a point due north of Patucket falls ; and a straight line drawn from thence, due west, till it meets with his Majesty's other Governments.”
This determination established the line which now separates the ju. risdiction of Massachusetts and Vermont, and brought within the jurisdiction of N. Hampshire, the Settlements which had been made at Fort Dummer.
In the year 1741, Benning Wentworth was commissioned as Governor of N. Hampshire. By the Settlement of the boundary between N. Hampshire and Massachusetts, as well as by other Acts of the British Government, it was understood that the Jurisdiction of the former Province was established as far west as Massachusetts had claimed and exercised ; that is, to a line twenty miles east of Hudson's river. . Accordingly, on the 3d of January 1749, the Governor of N. Hampshire,“ made a grant of a Township, six miles square, situated twenty miles east of Hudson's river; which, in allusion to his own name, was called Bennington.*
Numerous applications being made for grants of lands in the vicinity of the Province of N. York, Governor Wentworth, with a view of ascertaining and settling the western line of his Jurisdiction, opened the follow.. ing correspondence with the Governor of that Province,
* Williams history,
Letter from the Governor of New Hampshire to the Governor
of New York.
PORTSMOUTH, Nov. 17, 1749. SIR, • I have it in command from his Majesty, to make grants of the unimproved lands within my government, to such of the inhabitants and others as shall apply for grants for the same, as will oblige themselves to settle and improve, agreeable to his Majesty's instructions.
The war hitherto has prevented me from making so great a progress as I hoped for, on my first appointment; but as there is a prospect of a lasting peace with the Indians, in which your Excellency has had a great share, people are daily applying for grants of land in all quarters of this government, and particularly some for townships to be laid out in the western part thereof, which will fall in the neighbourhood of your government. I think it my duty to apprise you thereof, and to transmit to your Excellency the description of New Hampshire, as the king has determined it in the words of my commission, which, after you have considered, I shall be glad you will be pleased to give me your sentiments in what manner it will affect the grants made by you or preceding governors; it being my intention to avoid, as much as I can, consistent with his Majesty's instructions, interfering with your government.
In consequence of his Majesty's determination of the boundaries be. tween New Hampshire and Massachusetts, a surveyor and proper chainmen were appointed to run the western line from three miles north of Patucket Falls, and the surveyor, upon oath, has declared, that it strikes Hudson's River, about eighty poles north of where Mohawk's River comes into Hudson's River, which I presume is north of the City of Albany; for which reason it will be necessary for me to be informed, how far north of Albany the government of New-York extends by his Majes. ty's commission to your Excellency, and how many miles to the eastward of Hudson's River, to the northward of the Massachusetts line, that I may govern myself accordingly. And if, in the execution of the king's commands with respect to the lands, I can oblige any of your Excellen cy's friends, I am always at your service. I am, with the greatest re. spect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient humble servant,
Minutes of the Council of New-York. COUNCIL-CHAMBER, City of New-YORK, APRIL 3D, 1750. His Excellency communicated to the board a letter from the Hon. Benning Wentworth, Esq. governor of New-Hampshire, dated the 17th November last, acquainting his Excellency, that he has it in command from his Majesty, to make grants of the unimproved lands in New Hampshire government, and therefore desiring information, how far north of Albany this province extends, and how many miles to the eastward of Hudson's River, to the northward of the Massachusetts line, that he may govern himself accordingly. Also an extract of his Majesty's lefters patent to governor Wentworth, respecting the boundaries of New-Hamp Shire. And his Excellency having required the advice of the board thereupon, the council humbly advised his Excellency to acquaint gove ernor Wentworth, in answer to his said letter, that this province is bounded eastward by Connecticut River; the letters-patent from King Charles II. to the Duke of York, expressly granting, all the lands from the west side of Connecticut River to the east side of Delaware Bay.'
N. B. The above resolve was communicated to governor Wentworth, in a letter, dated April 9th, 1750, by G. Clinton, governor of New-York;
Letter from Governor Wentworth.
PORTSMOUTH, APRIL 25, 1750. SIR, I have the honour of your Excellency's letter of the 9th instant before me, in which you are pleased to give me the opinion of his Majesty's council of your government, that Connecticut River is the eastern boundary of New York government, which would have been entirely satis factory to me on the subject of my letter, had not the two charter-governments of Connecticut and the Massachusetts-Bay extended their bounds many miles to the westward of said river; and it being the opinion of his Majesty's council of this government, whose advice I am to take on these occasions, that New Hampshire had an equal right to claim the same extent of western boundaries with those charter-governments, I had, in consequence of their advice, before your letter came to my hands, granted one township due north of the Massachusetts line, of the contents of six miles square, and by measurement twenty-four miles east of the City of Albany; presuming that this government was bounded by the same north and south line with Connecticut and the Massachusetts Bay, before it met with his Majesty's other governments. Although I am prohibited by his Majesty's commission to interfere with his other governments, yet it is presumed that I should strictly adhere to the limits prescribed therein, and I assure you, that I am very far from desiring to make the least encroachment, or set on foot any dispute on these points. It will therefore give me great satisfaction, if, at your leisure, you can inform me, by what authority Connecticut and the Massachusetts governments claimed so far to the westward as they have settled ; and in the mean time I shall desist from making any further grants on the western frontier of my government, that may have the least probability of interfering with your government. I am, with great respect, Şir, your Excellency's most obedient humble servant,
Letter from Governor Clinton.
JUNE, 6T, 1750, SIR, I have received your letter of the 25th April last, in answer to mine of be 9th of the same wonth, respecting the eastern boundary of this province, wherein you desire to be informed by what authority Connecticut and the Massachusetts governments claim so far to the westward as they have settled.
As to Connecticut, their claim is founded upon an agreement with this government, in or about the year 1684, afterwards confirmed by King William, in consequence of which the lines between the two governments were run, and the boundaries marked in the year 1725, as appears by the commissioners and surveyors proceedings, of record here. “But it is presumed the Massachusetts government, at first, possessed themselves of those lands by intrusion, and through the negligence of this government, have hitherto continued their possession, the lands not being private property.
From the information I have, there is reason to apprehend that the lands within the township you have lately granted, or part of them, have been granted here : And as my answer to your letter might probably have furnished you with objections against any grant which might interfere with this province, I am surprised you did not wait till it came to hand, before you proceeded therein. If it is still in your power to recal the grant, your doing so will be but a piece of justice to this government; otherwise I shall think myself obliged to send a representation of the matter to be laid before bis Majesty. I am, &c.
Letter from Governor Wentworth.
PORTSMOUTH, JUNE 22D. 1750.. SIR, As soon as your letter of the 6th inst. came to my hands, I thought it proper to have the sense of his Majesty's council thereon, who were unanimously of the opinion, not to commence a dispute with your Excellency's government respecting the extent of the western boundary to NewHampshire, until his Majesty's pleasure should be further known ; accordingly the council have advised, that I shall, on the part of New-Hampshire, make a representation of the matter to his Majesty, relying that. your Excellency will do the same on the part of New-York ; and that whatever shall be determined thereon, this government will esteem it their duty to acquiesce in, without any farther dispute, which I am hoping will be satisfactory on that point.
When I first wrote you on this subject, I thought I had given sufficient time to receive an answer to my letter, before I had fixed the day for passing the grant referred to in your letter; and as the persons concerned therein lived at a great distance, it was inconvenient for them to be delayed beyond the appointed time : I was not apprehensive any difficulty could arise by confining myself to the western boundaries of the two charter-governments; accordingly I passed the patent about ten days before your favour of the 9th of April, 1750, came to hand. There is no possibility of vacating the grant, as you desire ; but if it falls by his Majesty's determination in the government of New-York, it will be void of course. I shall be glad the method I have proposed may be agreeable to your province; and if submitting the affair to his Majesty meets with
your approbation, I shall, upon receiving an answer, lase no time in transmitting what concerns this province to the proper offices. I am, with the greatest respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient humble servant,
Letter from Governor Clinton.
New-YORK, JULY 25TH, 1750. SIR, I have taken the sense of his Majesty's council on your Excellency's letter of the 22d ult. respecting the extent of the western boundary of your government, who think it highly expedient I should lay before his Majesty a representation of the matter on the part of this province; and as you propose to do the like on the part of New-Hampshire, they are of opinion it will be for the mutual advantage of both governments, if we exchange copies of each others representation on this head. If you approve of this, I will send you a copy of mine accordingly. I am, &C."
Notwithstanding the interfering claim of the province of New-York, governor Wentworth proceeded to make further grants, west of Connecticut River ; as will appear by the following list of grants made up to the year 1764, inclusive, viz :* · Names of Townships.
Date of the Grants:
2 April 19, 1751
April 29, 1751
+June 17, 1763
- June 20, 1753
Dec. 26, 1753
7 Feb. 22, 1754
Ś Nov. 3, 1761
. . , ? April 6, 1754
S Sept. 1, 1763
Hartford, . . . . . . : July 4, 1761 * This list is here given, as found in the Raral Magazine for 1795, published by Dr. Villiams - Re-granted.