Slike strani
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

the northwest corner of New Jersey down to the falls of Trenton. Their report was ratified, and a long list of islands, described by name in the act, were annexed to each State respectively. (Vide Revision of New Jersey, pp. 1182–'3.)

PENNSYLVANIA.

The Swedish West India Company, chartered by the King of Sweden in 1625, established the first permanent settlement on the west bank of the Delaware, occupying a part of the territory now in Pennsylvania and Delaware, although the Dutch had previously established trading posts, which had been destroyed by the Indians. The Swedes acquired, by successive purchases from the Indian chiefs, all the land extending from Cape Henlopen to the great falls of the Delaware, calling it New Sweden. (Vide C. and C., p. 1509.)

In 1655 this territory was surrendered to the Dutch. (Vide Hazard's Annals of Pennsylvania, p. 185.)

By the conquest of the New Netherlands, in 1664, the Duke of York seems to have successfully claimed the settlements on the west bank of the Delaware as part of his dominions.

In 1681 Charles II of England granted to William Penn the Province of Pennsylvania. The following extract from the charter defines the boundaries:

* * * all that Tracte or Parte of Land in America, with all the Islands therein conteyned, as the same is bounded on the East by Delaware River, from twelve miles distance Northwards of New Castle Towne unto the three and fortieth degree of Northerne Latitude, if the said River doeth extende so farre northwards; But if the said River shall not extend soe farre Northward, then by the said River soe farr as it doth extend; and from the head of the said River the Eastern Bounds are to bee determined by a Meridian Line, to bee drawne from the head of the said River, unto the said three and fortieth degree. The said Lands to extend westwards five degrees in longitude, to bee computed from the said Easterne Bounds; and the said Lands to bee bounded on the North by the beginning of the three and fortieth degree of Northern Latitude, and on the South by a Circle drawne at twelve miles distance from New Castle Northward and Westward unto the beginning of the fortieth degree of Northern Latitude, and thence by a streight Line Westward to the Limit of Longitude above mentioned.

William Penn, in order to perfect his title, procured of the Duke of York a deed bearing date August 21, 1682, by which the Duke of York conveyed to him all title and claim which he might have to the province of Pennsylvania. (Vide Hazard's Annals of Pa., 586 et seq.)

He also purchased of the Duke of York the territory now comprising the State of Delaware, which he held until 1701–2, when he granted a charter which enabled them to set up a separate government, though still under proprietary control. (Vide C. and C., p. 270 et seq.)

(For a history of the northern and eastern boundaries of Pennsylvania, see New York and New Jersey, pp. 81 and 84.)

That part of the southern boundary of Pennsylvania between Pennsylvania and Delaware is an arc of a circle, having for its center the steeple of the old court-house at New Castle, Del., and a radius of 12 miles. This was surveyed and marked under a warrant from William Penn in 1701. (Vide Hazard's Annals of Pennsylvania.)

This circular line, in connection with adjacent lines, was made the subject of controversy for many years.

According to the original grants of Pennsylvania and Maryland the boundary between them was to be the fortieth degree of north latitude.

This line being found to pass north of Philadelphia and to exclude Pennsylvania from Delaware Bay, negotiations ensued between the proprietors to rectify this geographical blunder, and for nearly a century the matter remained unsettled.

In the year 1732 an agreement was made to fix the boundary. Commissioners were appointed in that year, and subsequently in 1739, to run the line, but they failed to agree, and chancery suits were the result. Taking a decision of Lord Chancellor Hardwick in 1750 as a basis of final adjudication, an agreement was signed July 4, 1760. By this agreement the line between Pennsylvania and Delaware on the one part and Maryland on the other was determined as follows, viz:

A due east and west line should be run across the peninsula from Cape Henlopen to the Chesapeake Bay. From the exact middle of this line should be drawn a line tangent to the western periphery of a circle, having a radius of 12 English statute miles, measured horizontally from the center of the town of New Castle. From the tangent point a line should be drawn due north until it cut a parallel of latitude 15 miles due south of the most southern part of the city of Philadelphia, this point of intersection to be the northeast corner of Maryland; thence the line should run due west on said parallel as far as it formed a boundary between the two governments. (Vide Delaware, p. 87.)

In 1760 commissioners and surveyors were appointed, who spent three years in measuring the base line and the tangent line between Maryland and Delaware.

The proprietors then, wearied with the delay, sent over from England two famous mathematicians, Charles Dixon and Jeremiah Mason, who verified the work of their predecessors, and ran the line west between Pennsylvania and Maryland, since known as “Mason's and Dixon's line."

Mason and Dixon fixed the latitude of this line at 39° 43' 18''. A resurvey in 1850 by Colonel Graham determined it to be 39° 43' 26".3.

Mason and Dixon begun their work in 1763, and were stopped by Indians in 1767, having run the line about 244 miles west of the Delaware, not quite finishing their work. They put up mile stones all

along said line, every fifth one being marked with the arms of the respective proprietors.

In consequence of the accidental removal of the stone at the northeast corner of Maryland, commissioners were apointed in 1850 by Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland to revise the former survey, which was done by Lieutenant-Colonel Graham, of the United States topographical engineers. The result confirmed the work of Mason and Dixon, and Maryland gained by the resurvey a little less than two

acres.

(For a full report of the running of Mason and Dixon's line in 1763–67, and the verification by Colonel Graham in 1850, see Senate Journal of Delaware for 1851, pages 56-109.)

In 1784 the report of the commissioners who had been appointed to fix the boundaries between Virginia and Pennsylvania (West Virginia then forming part of Virginia) was confirmed, and the lines so fixed are as follows, viz:

The line commonly called Mason and Dixon's line to be extended due west five degrees of longitude from the river Delaware, for the southern boundary of Pennsylvania, and a meridian drawn from the western extremity thereof to the northern limits of the said States, respectively, be the western boundary of Pennsylvania. (Vide C. and B. laws of Pennsylvania, Vol. II, p. 495, and Hening's Virginia, Vol. XI, p. 554.)

By the cession of 1784, by Virginia to the United States—and that of 1800, by Connecticut to the United States, and the formation of the State of West Virginia from a portion of Virginia in 1862—the abovementioned meridian line becomes the boundary between Pennsylvania on the east, and Ohio and West Virginia on the west.

By an examination of the cession of 1781, by New York to the United States, it will be seen that a small triangular tract on Lake Erie was left in the hands of the General Government. This was sold to Pennsylvania in 1792.

DELAWARE.

The State of Delaware was originally settled by the Swedes. (Vide Pennsylvania, p. 85.) In 1655 it was surrendered to the Dutch, who, in 1664, in turn surrendered it to the English, and it was taken possession of by the Duke of York.

William Penn, having received in 1682 a grant of the province of Pennsylvania, bought of the Duke of York the territory comprising the present State of Delaware. It was conveyed to him by two deeds of feoffment, dated August 24, 1682, one conveying the town of New Castle and a twelve-mile circle around the same, and the other conveying all the lands south of said circle to Cape Henlopen. (See Hazard's Annals of Pennsylvania, p. 588 et seq.)

Soon after the grant made by the royal charter aforesaid, an assembly of the province and three lower counties (then called the terri

« PrejšnjaNaprej »