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river being the boundary ; but east and north, their limits were extremely indefinite. Hence the most spirited contests arose between them and the adjoining colony of Connecticut, in respect to the division line between the two Provinces. Irving, in the delightful pages of his Knickerbocker, has found in that dispute materials for more than one of his most pleasing chapters. For a time civil war raged, the Dutch pressing their eastern boundary towards Connecticut river, to which they claimed ; the people of that colony, with a zeal and pertinacity in no way inferior, urging their limits west towards the Hudson. At length, in 1650, “ Articles of agreement were made and concluded at Hartford, on Connecticut river, be. twixt the delegates of the honored commissioners of the United Colonies (of Hartford and New Haven,) and the delegates of Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of the New Netherlands :" We quote so much as is germain to the matter in hand.
“Concerning the bounds and limits betwixt the English United Colonies, and the Dutch province of New Netherlands, we agree as followeth :
“The bounds upon the main to begin at the west side of Greenwich Bay, being about four miles from Stamford, and so to run a northerly line, twenty miles up into the country; and after as it shall be agreed by the two governments, of the Dutch and New Haven, provided the said line come not within ten miles of Hudson's river. And it is agreed that the Dutch shall not, at any time hereafter, build any house or habitation within six miles of said line. The inhabitants of Greenwich to remain, (till further consideration thereof be had,) under the government of the Dutch.”
This was the first amicable essay towards a settlement of the disputed line. “ This agreement,” says an able writer, whose work was printed nearly fifty years ago, “ does not appear to have been ratified, or the terms satisfactorily observed. New difficulties succeeded; new complaints were made, and new claims advanced. In this state matters continued till the charter of 1662, which comprehended both the New Haven and Connecticut Plantations, and until the conquest of the Dutch in 1664. Their territory, with all its appendages, had been transferred to the Duke of York, by a royal patent or charter, dated March 12th, 1664. On the 26th day of April, a commission had been given to Col. Richard Nichols, to dispossess the Dutch, and put the Duke in possession, which the Colonel accomplished in August; whereupon it became necessary to settle the extent of the Dutch plantations eastward, and thereby to
ascertain the divisionary bounds of the Duke's patent, and the patent of Connecticut. For the last mentioned being the earliest, the other could not effectually convey any part of what was before conveyed from the crown. Though the Duke's charter contained within its premises, all the land between Connecticut river and the Delaware, yet the colony contended that a part of the land thus granted to him, was theirs by their older charter. But how much of it was vested in them, so as not to pass to him, or, in other words, where the division line ought to be, was still an unsettled question, the former settlement not being satisfactory or conclusive. Here was a direct interference between the Dutch claim, to which the Duke had now succeeded, and that of the colony. Each party insisted on Long Island, and the tract between Connecticut river and a line a few miles east of Hudson's river.
As the colony of Connecticut had now a prince of the blood royal, and the presumptive heir of the crown, to contend with, it became a serious object with them, to obtain as early and as favorable an adjustment of the line as possible. Commissioners had come over with extensive powers to adjust disputed questions, at issue between the colonies. New York was now the property of the king's brother, who was anxious he should hold it in peace, and especially that all contests should cease in respect to the boundary claimed by him. King Charles by his commissioners, transmitted a letter to the Connecticut colony, full of gracious expressions. As it is not long, we will give the letter entire:
6 CHARLES R.
Trusty and well beloved, we greet you well, having according to the resolution we declared to Mr. John Winthrop, at the time when we renewed your charter, now sent these persons of known abilities and affection to us, that is to say, Col. Richard Nichols, &c., our commissioners, to visit these our several colonies and plantations in New England, to the end that we may be the better informed of the state and welfare of our good subjects, whose prosperity is very dear to us.
We can make no question but that they shall find that reception from you, which may testify your respect to us, from whom they are sent for your good. We need not tell you how careful we are of your liberties and privileges, whether ecclesiastical or civil, which we will not suffer to be violated in the least degree ; and that they may not be is the principal business of our said commissioners, as likewise to take care that the bounds and jurisdiction of our several colonies there, may be clearly agreed upon; that every one may enjoy what of right belongeth unto them, without strife or contention; and especially that the natives of that country, who are willing to live peaceably and neighbourly with our English subjects, may receive such justice and civil treatment from them, as may make them the more in love with their religion and manners; so, not doubting of your full compliance and submission to our desire, we bid you farewell. Given at our court, at Whitehall, the 23d day of April, 1664, in the 16th year of our reign. By his Majesty's command.
The colony of Connecticut, more than ever desirous to have the disputed line finally settled, immediately, that is, Oct. 13, 1664, appointed a committee, consisting of Mr. Allen, Mr. Gould, Mr. Richards, and Mr. Winthrop, to repair to New York, to bear the congratulations of the colony to the Royal commissioners; for the period was eminently distinguished by ceremonial politeness; and the committee were expressly authorized, if possible, to issue the bounds between the Duke's patent and ours.”
A second adjustment of boundary grew out of this mission. Long Island was adjudged to New York, and the contested line was established thus.
" Determination of his Majesty's commissioners, respecting the boun
daries of His Royal Highness the Duke of York's patent, and the colony of Connecticut.
“ By virtue of his Majesty's commission, we have heard the differences about the bounds of the patents granted to his Royal Highness, the Duke of York, and his Majesty's colony of Connecticut; and, having deliberately considered all the reasons alleged by Mr. Allen, Secretary, Mr. Gould, Mr. Richards, and Capt. Winthrop, appointed by the assembly held at Hartford, the 13th day of October, 1664, to accompany John Winthrop, Esq., Governor of his Majesty's colony of Connecticut, to New York, and by Mr. Howell and Capt. Young, of Long Island, why the said Long Island should be under the government of Connecticut, which are too long here to be recited; We do declare and order, that the southern bounds of his Majesty's colony of Connecticut is the sea ; and that Long Island is to be under the government of his Royal Highness the Duke of York; as is expressed by plain words in the said patents respectively. And also by virtue of his Majesty's commission, and by the consent of both the Governor
and the gentlemen above named, we also order and declare, that the creek, or river, called Mamaroneck, which is reputed to be about twelve miles to the east of West Chester, and a line drawn from the east point, or side, where the fresh water falls into the salt, at high water mark, north-northwest to the line of Massachusetts, be the western bounds of the said colony of Connecticut ; and the plantations lying westward of that creek, and line so drawn, to be under his Royal Highness's government; and all plantations lying eastward of that creek and line, to be under the government of Connecticut.
Given under our hands at Fort James, in New York, on Manhattan's Island, this 30th day of November, 1664.
RICHARD NICHOLS," etc. The assent of the agents was expressed as follows, viz:
“We, underwritten, on behalf of the colony of Connecticut, have assented unto this determination of his Majesty's commissioners, in relation to the bounds and limits of his Royal Highness, the Duke's patent, and the patent of Connecticut.
JOHN WINTHROP, etc. November 30, 1664.”
The plantation of New Haven, though included in the charter to Connecticut, had nevertheless maintained their own separate government, and refused to join with the other colony, until after this determination of his Majesty's commissioners; so that they were not as yet parties to the settlement. After much correspondence and negotiation, however, they concluded to unite under the charter; and accordingly, on the 5th of January, 1665, communicated their final acquiescence, in a letter, in which (among other things not directly pertinent to this point,) they say, “ We now signify, that having seen the copy of his Majesty's commissioners' determination, (deciding the bounds betwixt his Highness the Duke of York, and Connecticut Charter,) we do declare submission thereunto."
Scarcely had the lines been settled, when the vicissitudes of war again threw the colony of New York into the hands of the Dutch, which they retained until 1674, when, by the Treaty of Peace, it was finally restored to the British Crown. A new charter, with precisely the former boundaries, was forthwith issued to the Duke of York, and the ancient dispute with Connecticut revived.
Col. Dungan having been appointed Governor of New York, Connecticut, in 1683, appointed commissioners to repair to that place, to bear the congratulations of the colony on his arrival, and to adjust,
if practicable, for the third time, the contested boundary. Accordingly, the Governor, Major Gould, Capt. Allyn, and Mr. Wm. Pitkin, were designated, and set forth on their mission. A new line was fixed upon, which constitutes the present limits between Connecticut and New York.
The whole of this long contest is so far detailed, and regarded important in relation to the Wyoming History, because it is asserted to have been a relinquishment on the part of Connecticut of all claim west of New York. It was declared, that the line fixed upon “shall be the western bounds of the said colony of Connecticut, and the plantations lying westward of that creek, and line so drawn, to be under his Royal Highness's government; and all plantations eastward of that creek and line, to be under the government of Connecticut.” It is said these expressions are clear and unequivocal, and whatever rights Connecticut might have previously had to the Susquehanna lands, that declaration was a waver, or relinquishment of them, for ever.
Governor Penn sets forth this view of the case with marked emphasis. “The uncertainty," says he, “in the bounds and extent of the Connecticut 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 that charter, for the declared purpose of settling the bounds and limits of their several charters and jurisdictions; in consequence of which, a north-northwest line, drawn from Mamaroneck river to the line of Massachusetts, was declared, and expressly fixed and established to be the western bounds of the colony of Connecticut, which boundary was then solemnly assented to, ratified and confirmed, by the Governor and Commissioners of the colony."
Still more full, authoritative and emphatic, was the opinion of the Attorney General of the Crown, Mr. Pratt, given in 1761, in answer to the following query by the Proprietary Government, to wit: “ Whether the people of Connecticut have any colour or pretence under their charter to set up this right to this tract of land westward of New Jersey through Pennsylvania, as far as the south sea ; and what is most advisable for the proprietaries to do in case the Government of Connecticut persist in their claim?
“If all the colonies in North America,” says Mr. Pratt “ were to remain at this day bounded in point of right as they are described in the original grant of each, I do not believe there is one settlement in that part of the globe that has not been encroached upon, or else