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AN EXAMINATION

OF THE

CONNECTICUT CLAIM

TO

LANDS IN PENNSYLVANIA.

1774.

(The following important document, written, it is stated, mainly by Rev. William Smith, D. D., Provost of the University of Pennsylvania in 1774. It so admirably refutes the claim of Connecticut and withal is so important a paper in the Wyoming coutroversy, that we here give it in full.]

AN EXAMINATION OF THE CONNECTICUT

CLAIM TO LANDS IN PENNSYLVANIA.

The Notion of extending the Claim of the Colony of Connecticut to Lands Westward as far as the South Sea, thereby including a considerable Part of the Royal Grant of Pennsylvania made to WILLIAM PExx, Esq; as well as of the western Crown Lands yet angranted, seems to have been first started about twenty Years ago, by a certain Schemer; and has since generally treated as the wild Chimera of a visionary Brain. In this Light it would deserve still to be considered, if it was not render'd more serious by a late Resolve of the Connecticut Assembly to support that Claim-a Resolve which, after long declining to interfere in the Matter, seems at last to have been obtained from them with much Difficulty, in the Strength of some late Law-Opinions from England.

It is porposed therefore, in the following Sheets, without calling in Question the great and acknowleged Abilities of the Gentlemen who have signed those Opinions, to examine the State of the Case laid before them. Previous to which it will be proper,

1st. To take some Notice of the different American Granis, and particularly those of New England.

2dly. To enquire under what Circumstances the Settlement of Connecticut was made, and its present Charter obtained.

3dly. What is the true Construction of the Charter Limits of that Colony, what has been their own Construction of them, and the Construction made by the Crown, as well as by their neighbouring Colonies, for nore than a Hundred Years?

Some incidental Remarks will be interspersed, and on the whole it will be submitted whether their Charter at first could, and much less after the Acquiescence of near a whole Century, it now can, be extended in the Sense they claim, thereby vacating other intermediate Crown Grants, and numerous Settlements of Boundaries since made by the Royal Authority? And lastly, whether on this full and true State of the Case, those learned Gentlemen in England would have given the same Opinions, or indeed any Sanction to the Connecticut Assembly for voting their Support to a Set of Men, who, in a lawless and

hostile Manner, have invaded this Province, and dispossessed many of its peaceable Inhabitants, settled at least a hundred Miles within its known Bounds?

SECTION I. The Crown of England acquired a Title to NORTH AMERICA Hackluyt. P. 677 by Discovery; and the first Grant was LettersFol. Edit. printed in 1589.

Puced Patent by Queen Elizabeth dated June 11th, 1578, to Sir Humphry (tilbert, Knt. "for the inhabiting and “planting of our People in America.” The next was to Sir

Walter Raleigh half Brother to Sir Humphrey, Ibid. p. 725.

.: March 25th, 1584, entitled “Letters-Patents by “Queen's Majesty to Mr. Walter Raleigh, now Knight, for the * discovering and planting of new Lands and Countries, to "continue the Space and Time of six Years, and no more.”

Other Grants followed, but they seem all to have been conPatent for South sidered as void by James I. who on the 10th of and North Virginia, 1606.

4. April, 1606, erected two several Colonies, granting to Sir Thomas (rates and others, by the Name of the 1st Colony, Leave to plant any where between 34° and 41°, in North-America, then generally called Virginia; and 2dly, to Thomas Hanhain, Esq; and others, by the Name of the 2d Colony, the like Leave to plant any where between 38° and 45° North Latitude. Each of these Colonies were to be limited to one hundred Miles Square, viz. fifty Miles on each side of their first Plantation along the Sea Coast, and one hundred Miles back into the Country, “ directly over against the Sea Coast."

“Such of the said Colonies as should last plant themselves, "was not to come within one hundred Miles of the Colony that "should first plant, nor might plant on the back of them “ without express Licence.” 2d South Virginia May 230, 1609, King James gave a 2d Charter, Patent. May 23 d

" to the first Colony, or South Virginia Com. pany, with 400 * Miles of Sea Coast; which he further confirms Mar. 12th 1612.30 by a third Charter, March 12th, 1611-12, grantPatent.

ing them further all the Islands within 300 Leagues of their Sea Coasts, which are described to lie“ within “and between the 41st and 30th Deg. of North Lat." extending 5° still farther South, but always including the 41st Degree. Both these Charters are with this Proviso, that "the said IsFrom the public "lands or any of the Premises, were not actually SMITH'S Hist. "possessed or inhabited by any other Christian

1609.

Records of Virginia.

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*This would have been nearly six Degrees of Latitude, if the Coast had been directly North and South.

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