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into one reall Province by the Name of Our Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England.
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All that parte of New England in America lying and extending from the greate River comonly called Monomack als Merrimack on the Northpart and from three Miles Northward of the said River to the Atlantick or Western Sea or Ocean on the South part And all the Lands and Hereditaments whatsoever lying within the limitts aforesaid and extending as farr as the Outermost Points or Promontories of Land called Cape Cod and Cape Mallabar North and South and in Latitude Breadth and in Length and Longitude of and within all the Breadth and Compass aforesaid throughout the Main Land there from the said Atlantick or Western Sea and Ocean on the East parte towards the South Sea or Westward as far as Our Collonyes of Rhode Island Connecticutt and the Narragansett Countrey all alsoe all that part or poreon of Main Land beginning at the Entrance of Pescataway Harbour and soe to pass vpp the same into the River Newickewannock and through the same into the furthest head thereof and from thence Northwestward till One Hundred and Twenty miles be furnished and from Piscataway Harbour mouth aforesid North-Eastward along the Sea Coast to Sagadehock and from the Period of One Hundred and Twenty Miles aforesaid to crosse over Land to the One Hundred and Twenty Miles before reckoned up into the Land from Piscataway Harbour through Newickawannock River and alsoe the North halfe of the Isles and Shoales togather with the Isles of Cappawock and Nantukett near Cape Cod aforesaid and alsoe [all] Lands and Hereditaments lying and being in the Countrey and Territory commonly called Accadia or Nova Scotia And all those Lands and Hereditaments lying and extending betweene the said Countrey or Territory of Nova Scotia and the said River of Sagadahock or any part thereof And all Lands Grounds Places Soiles Woods and Wood grounds Havens Ports Rivers Waters and other Hereditaments and premisses whatsoever, lying within the said bounds and limitts aforesaid and every part and parcell thereof and alsoe all Islands and Isletts lying within tenn Leagues directly opposite to the Main Land within the said bounds. * * *
(For an account of the settlement of the boundary between the District of Maine, formerly a part of Massachusetts, see Maine, p. 41.) The present northern boundary of Massachusetts was settled in 1741. (For history, see New Hampshire, p. 49.)
The boundary line between Massachusetts and Rhode Island was for more than two hundred years a question of dispute, and was, in some respects, the most remarkable boundary case with which this country has had to do. Twice the case went to the Supreme Court of the United States, and in one of these suits Daniel Webster and Rufus Choate were employed as counsel for Massachusetts.
As early as 1642 the line between the two colonies was marked in part by Nathaniel Woodward and Solomon Saffrey, who set up on the plain of Wrentham a stake as the commencement of the line between Massachusetts Bay and Rhode Island. This stake was by them supposed to mark a point 3 miles south of the Charles River.
The report of these commissioners has not been found, but frequent reference is made to their survey in the record of the subsequent controversies and litigations.
In 1710–11 commissioners appointed from Massachusetts and Rhode Island agreed upon the north line of Rhode Island. The action of the commissioners was approved by the legislatures of both colonies.
The agreement was as follows, viz:
That the stake set up by Nathaniel Woodward and Solomon Saffrey, skillful, approved artists, in the year of our Lord 1642, and since that often renewed in the latitude of 41° 55', being 3 English miles distant southward from the southernmost part of the river called Charles River, agreeable to the letters patent for the Massachusetts Province, be accounted and allowed on both sides the commencement of the line between the Massachusetts and the colony of Rhode Island, from which said stake the dividing line shall run, so as it may (at Connecticut River) be 24 miles to the southward of a due west line, allowing the variation of the compass to be 9°; which said line shall forever, &c. (Vide Howard's Reports, S. C., Vol. 4, p. 631, et seq.)
In 1719 this line was run by commissioners appointed for the purpose. Subsequent investigation has shown that this line was run in a very irregular manner. (Vide R. I. Acts, May, 1867, page 6, et seq.) The line between Massachusetts and the eastern part of Rhode Island was fixed by commissioners in 1741, from the decision of whom the colony of Rhode Island appealed to the King, who, in the year 1746, affirmed their decision by a royal decree.
The following is a record of the proceedings in council, together with the royal decree:
[Council office. Council Register. Geo. II, No. 8, p. 204.]
AT THE COURT AT KENSINGTON,
Present: The Kings Most Excellent Majesty, Archbp of Canturbury, Earl of Pembroke, Lord President Earl of Winchelsea, Lord Privy Seal Earl of Grantham, Duke of Bolton, Earl of Cholmondelly, Duke of Rutland, Earl of Wilmington, Marqs of Tweedale, Earl of Bath, Viscot Lonsdale, Mr. Chancellor of the Excheer, Lord Delaware, Sr. Charles Wager, Lord Bathurst, Sr. William Younge, Lord Monsore, Sr. John Norris, Mr. Speaker Thomas Winnington, esq., Mr. Vice Chamberlin, George Wade, esq.
Upon reading this day at the board the humble Petetion and appeale of the Governor and company of the English of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England in America from several particular parts of the determination of the commissioners appointed by his Majesty to settle the Boundary's of the said colony Eastwards with the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and humbly praying that a day may be appointed for hearing said appeal, and that the particular parts of the said commissioners' determination appealed from may be reversed, and such other determination made instead thereof as shall be agreeable to the true construction of the Boundarys contained in the Royal Charter under which the Petioners claim, it is ordered by his Majesty in Council that the said Petition and appeal (a copy whereof is hereunto annexed) be and it is hereby referred to the Right Honorable the Lords of the committee of council for hearing appeals from the Plantations to hear the same, and report their opinion thereupon to his Majesty at the Board.
A true copy.
I. B. LENNARD.
Collated with the original entry in the Council Register, 18 Jan'y, 1845.
[Council office. Council Register. Geo. II, No. 8, p. 235.]
AT THE COURT OF KENSINGTON,
Present: The Kings Most Excellent Majesty Archbp of Canturbury, Lord Delmar Lord Chancellor, Mr. Vice Chamberlin, Duke of Richmond, Mr. Chancellor of the
Exchequer, Duke of Newcastle, Harry Pelham esq. Earl of Winchelsea, Thomas Winnington, esq., Earl of Wilmington, George Wade, esq., Lord Cartaret.
Upon reading this day at the Board the humble Petition and appeale of His Majesty's Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England from the determination of the commissioners appointed by His Majesty to settle the Boundary of the Colony of Rhode Island Eastwards, with the said province of Massachusetts Bay and humbly praying that a day may be appointed for hearing the said appeale, and that the determination of the said commissioners may be reversed, and such other determination made instead thereof as shall be agreeable to the petioners' claim exhibited before the said commissioners-It is ordered by his Majesty in council that the said petition and appeale (a copy whereof is hereunto annexed) be and it is hereby referred to the Right Honorable the Lords of the committee in council for hearing appeals from the Plantations to hear the same and report their opinion thereupon to His Majesty at the Board.
A true copy.
I. B. LENNARD.
Collated with the original entry in the Council Registry, 18 of Jan'y, 1845.
ROBT. LEMON. [Ordered in council, dated 28th May, 1746. Council office. Council Register. Geo. II, No. 10, p. 493.] AT THE COURT OF KENSINGTON, the 28th day of May, 1746.
Present the Kings Most Excellent Majesty in Council Upon reading at the Board a Report from the Right Honourable the Lord of the committee of council for hearing appeals from the Plantations dated the 11th of December, 1744, in the words following vizt.
Your Majesty having been pleased by Your Order in council of the 29th of July, 1742, to refer unto this committee the humble petition and appeale of the Governor and company of the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England in America, from several particular parts of the determination of the commissioners appointed by your Majesty to settle the Boundarys of said colony eastwards with the Province of Massachusetts Bay and humbly praying that the particular parts of the said commissioners' determination appealed from may be reversed, and such other determinations made instead thereof, as shall be agreeable to the true construction of the Boundarys continued in the Royal Charter under which the petitions claim—and your Majesty having been also pleased by another order in council of the 15th of September, 1742, to refer unto this committee the humble Petition and appeal of your Majesty's Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England parte of the said determination of the said commissioners, and humbly praying that the same may be reversed and set aside and that instead thereof Your Majesty will be graciously pleased to give such judgment and determinations as shall be agreeable to the petitioners' claim exhibited before the said commissioners. The Lords of the committee in obedience to your Majesty's said orders of Reference, have met several times, and taken both the said Petitions of Appeale into their consideration, and having examined into the Proceedings of the said commissioners, do find that they pronounced their judgements or determination on the 30th of June, 1741, in the words following:
The court took into consideration, the charters, Deeds and other Evidences, Claims Pleas and allegations produced and made by parts refering to the controversy before them and after mature advisement, came to the following Resolutions: That there is not any one Evidence proving that the Water between the Main Land on the East, and Rhode Island on the West, was ever at any time called Naragansett River, that though there be evidence that the place where the Indian called King Philip lived near Bristol, was called Pawconoket, and that another place near Swanzey
was called Sowams or Sowamsett, yet no evidence has been produced of the extent of the Pawconoket country to Seaconk, or Pawtucket River, as it runs to the line of the late Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, for tho' there be some evidence that the Indians at enmity with King Philip, or with other Indians in enmity with him, lived on the west side of the said River, and that the Indians subject to King Philip, or in amity with him, lived on the East side of the said River there is no Evidence that all the Indians subject to, or in amity with King Philip, lived in the Pawconoket Country. That the Province not having produced the Letters Patent, constituting the council of Plymouth, nor any copy thereof, the Recital of said Letters Patent in the deed from the council of Plymouth, to Bradford and his associates, is not sufficient evidence against the Kings Charter. That the council of Plymouth being a Corporation, could not create another corporation, and that no Jurisdiction within the Kings Dominions in America can be held by Prescription or on the Foot of Prescription. That the determination of the boundarys of the colony's of Rhode Island and New Plymouth by the Kings Commissioners in the year 1664 appear to have been only a temporary order for preserving the Peace on the Borders of both Colonys without determining the Rights and Titles of either. Upon the whole nothing appears whereby the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence plantations can be barred or hindered from extending their Jurisdiction Eastward towards the Province of the Massachusetts Bay according to the true intents and meaning of their charter. But some dispute having arisen between the Partys as to the true construction and meaning thereof, the court is of opinion, That the Narragansett Bay is and extendeth itself from Point Judith in the west to Seaconet Point on the East and including the Islands therein, layeth and extendeth itself unto the mouth of the River which runnith towards the town of Providence and that as it so lies or extends, it has and may be considered as having one Eastern Side as the Eastern coast of the said Bay runs up northerly from Seconets Point, and one other North Eastern Side from near Mount Hope to Bullocks Neck, as the said Bay runs up North Westerly towards the Town of Providence and that the land adjacent to the said North Eastern and Eastern Coasts and including within the following lines and the said Bay are within the Jurisdiction of the Colony of Rhode Island; Vizt on the North East side of the said Bay-one line running from the south west corner of Bullocks Neck, Northeast three Miles. One other line running from the Northeast extremity of the said line until it be terminated by a line three miles Northeast from the northeasternmost part of the Bay on the west side of Rumstick Neck, and one other line from the termination of the west line to the Bay at or near Towoset Neck, running so that it touch the North East extremity of a line running three miles North East from the North East corner of Bristol Harbour, and on the Eastern side of the said Bay; One line from a certain point on the Eastern side of the said Bay opposite to the southernmost part of the Shawmuts Neck, and four hundred and forty Rods to the Southwards of the Mouth of Fall River running East three miles; One other line running from the Easternmost extremity of the said line till it be terminated by the Easternmost end of a line three miles East from the Easternmost part of a cove in the said Bay which is to the southward of Nawquaket and one other line from the termination of the last line to the sea, running on such course, as to be three miles East from the Easternmost part of the Bay adjoining to Scitchuwest on Rhode Island, and that the said Distances of three miles East and Northeast, are to be measured from high Water Mark, and this court doth hereby settle, adjust and determine, that the Eastern Boundary of the said Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, towards the Massachusetts Bay, is, shall be and runs from a certain Pointe (where a Meridian line passing through Pawtuckets Falls, cuts the South Boundary of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay), south to Pawtuckets Falls, Then southerly along the eastward side of Seaconk River, and the River which runnith towards the Town of Providence, to the Southwest corner of Bullock's Neck, then Northeast three miles; and then along the aforesaid lines running at three