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“From those Papers it is apparent that we are directed to treat only upon the Claims therein mentioned, and are to negociate rather a mode of obtaining an amicable Settlement of the Controversy between the Colony and the Proprietaries, than an Actual and precise Settlement of the line and Boundaries between them. We therefore apprehend that the Claim on the part of the Colony of Connecticut is, to the purpose of the Negociation with which we are Charged, sufficiently designated in the Acts of Assembly now before you. But as we bring with us the most sincere Disposition to effect, if Possible, an Amicable Settlement of this Controversy, that we may give every Facility in our Power towards the Accomplishment of so very desirable an Object, we will further mention to you that the Title to the Lands in Question, on the Part of the Colony of Connecticut, is principally founded upon the Royal Charter to the Governor and Company of that Collony, from his late Majesty, King Charles the Second, dated at Westminster, Anno. 1662. The Boundaries of which are thus Expressed, Viz': “All that part of our Dominions in New England, in America, bounden on the East by Narraganset River, commonly called Narraganset Bay, where the said River falleth into the Sea, and on the North by the line of the Massechusets Plantation, and on the South by the Sea, and in Lopgitude as the line of the Massechusetts Collony, running from East to West, That is to say, from the said Narraganset Bay on the East, to the South Sea on the West, with the Islands thereupto joining, together with all firm Lands, &c., which Limits and Boundaries do include a Considerable part of the Lands afterwards Granted by the Crown to Sir William Penn in 1681, and which Constitute a part of the Province of Pennsylvania, as now claimed by the Proprietaries, but what part, in Certain of those Lands, are so contained within the Lim. its of the Pryor Patent to Connecticut, can be known only by actually runing and ascertaining the Lines of that Patent, which we conceive will be best done by Commissioners mutually appointed by the Colony and the Honorable Proprietaries; and we, on the part or the Colony, are now ready to agree to such Commissioners, who shall be fully authorized to execute the same in the most effectual manner, as soon as possible. We are at the same time sensible that a doubt may arise in what direction the Southern Line of the Patent of Connecticut shall cross the Patent to Sir William Penn, whether agreeable to the ancient Boundary of New England, at the 40th degree of North Lattitude, according to the Course of the Sea or Sound, upon which the Grant to Connecticut is in part bounded, Viz" in a Course nearly W. S. W., or according to the Course of the Southern line of the Province of the Massechusets Bay, which is the Northern line of Connecticut, and is pearly East and West, which we conceive may well be left to be discussed before such Commissioners, and by them decided, in which we will acquiesce, unless by mutual concessions, to which, for the sake of
Peace, we shall not be averse, we can agree to fix precisely the
“ ELIPHT DYER,
“J. STRONG, Commissioners for the Colony of Connecticut. "Honbile. John PENN, Esq"."
The Members of Council Present, to whom the above Letter has been referred for Consideration, now laid before the Governor the Draught of a Letter they had prepared, and which they thought adviseable for the Governor to send to the said Commissioners, in answer to their Letter above mentioned, and the Governor approving of the said Answer, immediately sent the same to the Commissioners, and it follows in these Words, Viz":
“ PHILADELPHIA, ye 17th of December, 1773. "Gentlemen :
“I yesterday received your favor in answer to my Requisition that you would lay before me the precise Extent of the Claim of the Colony of Connecticut, But must own I am much disappointed to find that, instead of Complying with my Request, you have only in General refered me to the Expressions of your Charter of 1662, which are by no means determinate, and you yourselves admit to be of doubtful Interpretation.
“ The uncertainty in the Bounds and Extent of that Charter, as well as of other of the New England Grants, occasioned a Royal Commission to issue so early as within two years after the Date of your Charter, for the declared Purpose of settling the Bounds and Limits of their Several Charters and Jurisdiction. In Consequence of which a North North-West line drawn from Mamoroneck River to the line of the Massechusets, was declared and expressly fixed and Established to be the Western Bounds of the Colony of Connecticut, wbich Boundary was then Solemnly assented to, ratified, and Confirmed by the Governor and Commissioners of the Colony.
“After this Settlement of your Western Boundary, the Grant of Pennsylvania was made to William Penn. The Duke of York also relinquishing his Claim to the Lands comprized therein, and it was never understood by the Crown, at that time, nor by the Grantee, William Penn, nor by any other persons, for pear eighty years, so far as I have heard, that the Grant of Pennsylvania any way intrenched upon or approached near any of the New England Grants, till the late Claim was set up on the Part of your Collony.
“Being Clearly of Opinion, for these and many other Reasons, that the present Claim made by your Government of any
Lands Westward of the Province of New York, is without the least Foun
dation, you cannot reasonably expect that I should accept of the Proposal of “Settling and ascertaining the Boundaries between the Collony of Connecticut and this Province,” or enter with you into a Negotiation on that Subject, nor can I with any propriety agree to the alternative proposed in the act of Assembly of your Colony which you have laid before me, viz" : "that if we cannot agree amicably to ascertain those Boundaries, then to join in an application to his Majesty to appoint Commissioners for that Purpose, because in either of these cases I should admit a Claim on the part of your Colony, which the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania are well advised, cannot be Supported without giving your Charter a Construction different from what has been determined to be the sense of other Charters of the like kind, nor without allowing your Limits to extend far beyond those heretofore fixed by the Royal Authority.
“But if your Colony, Gentlemen, should still apprehend they have a just Claim to Lands within the Grant of this Province, and should adhere to their late resolve to assert and support it, you may be assured that the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania most ardently wish to have the matter brought to the most speedy Issue possible, and that upon a Petition to be preferred by your Government to his Majesty in Council, which it is apprehended is the Proper Constitutional Tribunal to apply to on this Occasion, they will appear on the first notice and answer such petition, and give all the Dispatch in their power to bring the Matter to a Final Decission.
“It gives me the greatest Concern when I call to mind the Repeated Outrages which have been committed by a number of lawless people from your Colony, who without any Warrant or authority from the Government of Connecticut, have for some years past forcibly, and in an Hostile Manner, dispossessed the Tenants who were settled on Lands under Warrants and by the Licence of the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania.
"I shall however, be ready to hear any reasonable proposals you may have to offer for putting an end to such Violences, and restore the Public Tranquility in future, and shall chearfully Join with you in any proper and Equitable Measures to effect só valuable a Purpose. “I am, Gentlemen, your most Obedient
" JOHN PENN. “ To Eliphalet Dyer, William Samuel Johnson, and Jededia Strong, Esquires, a Committee from the Collony of Connecticut."
At a Council held on Saturday the 18th December, 1773.
, James Tilghman,
The Connecticut Commissioners having requested a Conferrence with the Governor and Council on the several matters contained in the Governor's Letter, they attended at the Board for that purpurpose, on notice beiog sent them by the Governor.
A Conferrence was accordingly held, during which several expedients were proposed on both sides for preserving Peace and good Order among the Inhabitants of that part of the Susquehanna Lands which is included in the Claim now set up by the Colony of Con. necticut, till the matter in dispute between the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania and the said Collony shall receive a final determination before the King in Council.
But as the Board could not think themselves Justifiable in adopting the Measures proposed by the Commissioners in the Course of the Conference, it was agreed that the Commissioners should give an answer to the Governor's Letter, in which they might make any further Proposals they thought proper respecting the Preservation of good Order among the settlers on the Lands in Contest; and that the Governor would take the same into consideration, and in case he could not agree to such Proposals, send them an answer thereto, pointing out any other Method which he might judge more expedient; Whereupon the Commissioners withdrew.
At a Council held at Philadelphia, on Tuesday 21st December, 1773.
Edward Shippen, jun" Esq". James Tilghman,
The several Letters which have passed between the Governor and the Commissioners from Connecticut, as also Governor Trumbull's Letter, and Resolves and act of Assembly of that Colony, were again severally read in their Order; and then the Governor laid before the Board a Letter he received yesterday from those Commissioners, which was also read, and follows in these words, Viz':
“ PHILADELPHIA, 18th December, 1773. «Sir :
“We are extreamly sorry to find, by your favor of yesterday, That all Hopes of an amicable settlement of the Controversy between the Colony, of Connecticut and the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania are at an end; that you are of opinion that you cannot, with any propriety, enter into any Negotiation with us for that Purpose, nor even accept the Alternative proposed in the act of Assembly of our Colony of a joint application to his Majesty to appoint Com. missioners to decide it.
“ That his Majesty in Council is the Constitutional Tribunal by which we must be finally decided, in all disputes of this Nature, we agree, and are persuaded that all its decisions will ever be founded in the strictest Impartiallity and Justice, yet it must be admitted that it is a Tribunal which, from its distance, Constitution, and other Circumstances, is attended always with great expence, frequently with much delay, to the Suitors; We cannot, therefore, but be of opinion, that it would have been more eligible for the Collony and the Proprietaries to bave settled this dispute by agreement between themselves, or by referrence to Gentlemen of Judgement and Impartiallity in the Neighbouring Colonies, who might have immediately decided it upon the Spot with little Expence, or, even if it was judged more expedient to apply to his Majesty in Council, we apprebend much Delay and expence might have been saved, and a more conclusive Decision obtained by a joint Application. The reasons which you have been pleased to mention as the Ground of your Opinion upon this Subject do not appear to us to be conclu. sive; There is a clear distinction between a Claim and a Right, and however ill founded the claim of the Collony may by you be imagined to be, yet that it is an existing claim cannot be denied, And how the Admission of such Claim, so far as to negociate upon it, to attempt to settle it, or to join in an application to his Majesty for an adjudication upon it, can in any respect prejudice the Right, we cannot comprehend; The Colony and the Proprietaries both claim the same Country; the right to that Country can be in but one of them. The Claim on both sides must be admitted, the Right alone will be disputed. It can, therefore, prejudice neither party, or must effect both equally, to submit in any proper manner that Right to be discussed and adjudicated.
“We apprehend that your Honor is much mistaken in imagining that the settlement of the line between the Colony of Connecticut and the Grant to the Duke of York, in 1664, was in any degree occasioned by the Uncertainty of the Bounds and extent of the Charter to Connecticut, and the other New England Grants. That Determination had another and a very Different Foundation, viz. : The Possession on the part of the Dutch of that Territory, which was afterwards Granted to the Duke of York, a Possession which oocasioned its being excepted out of the Original Grant to the Coun.