« AnteriorContinuar »
States by Virginia. The following is an extract from said act of retrocession:
That with assent of the people of the county and town of Alexandria, to be ascertained as hereinafter prescribed, all of that portion of the District of Columbia ceded to the United States by the State of Virginia, and all the rights and jurisdiction therewith ceded over the same, be, and the same are, hereby ceded and forever relinquished to the State of Virginia in full and absolute right and jurisdiction, as well of soil as of persons residing or to reside thereon.
In the year 1606 King James I of England granted the “First Charter of Virginia.” The boundaries therein described are as follows, viz:
* Situate, lying, or being all along the sea coasts, between four and thirty legrees of northerly latitude from the equinoctial line and five and forty degrees of the same latitude, and in the main land between the same four and thirty and five and forty degrees and the islands thereunto adjacent, or within one hundred miles of the coast thereof.
Soon after, in 1609, a new charter was granted, called the “Second Charter of Virginia,” which defines the boundaries in the following terms:
Situate, lying, and being in that part of America called Virginia, from the point of land called Cape or Point Comfort, all along the sea coast to the northward two hundred miles, and from the said point of Cape Comfort all along the sea coast to the southward two hundred miles, and all that space and circuit of land lying from the sea coast of the precinct aforesaid up into the land, throughout from sea to sea, west and northwest, and also all the islands lying within one hundred miles along the coast of both seas of the precinct aforesaid.
In 1611-'12 the “Third Charter of Virginia” was granted, which was an enlargement of the second, of which the following is an extract:
All and singular those islands whatsoever, situate and being in any part of the ocean seas bordering upon the coast of our said first colony in Virginia, and being within three hundred leagues of any of the portes heretofore granted to the said treasurer and company in our former letters-patents as aforesaid, and being within or between the one-and-fortieth and thirtieth degrees of northerly latitude.
These boundaries, as will be seen, included territory composing wholly, or in part, the present States of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North and South Carolina, in addition to others formed since the Revolution.
This large extent of territory was reduced in the first instance by the charter of Maryland in 1632, next by the charters of Carolina in 1663 and 1665, then by the charter of Pennsylvania in 1681, and, again, subsequent to the Revolution, by the cession to the United States of the territory northwest of the Ohio River in 1784, by the admission of Kentucky as an independent State in 1792, and lastly by the division of the territory of Virginia in 1862, by which the new State of West Virginia was created and admitted into the Union.
By the constitution of 1776 Virginia formally gave up all claim to the territory now appertaining to the neighboring States of Maryland, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina.
The following is an extract from the Virginia constitution of 1776: The territories contained within the charters erecting the colonies of Maryland, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina are hereby ceded, released, and forever confirmed to the people of these colonies, respectively, with all the rights of property, jurisdiction, and government, and all the rights whatsoever which might at any time heretofore have been claimed by Virginia, except the free navigation and use of the Rivers Potomaque and Pokomoke, with the property of the Virginia shores and strands bordering on either of said rivers, and all improvements which have been or shall be made thereon. The western and northern extent of Virginia shall, in all other respects, stand as fixed by the charter of King James I, in the year. one thousand six hundred and nine, and by the public treaty of peace between the courts of Britain and France in the year one thousand seven hundred and sixty-three, unless by act of the legislature one or more governments be established westwards of the Alleghany Mountains.
In the mean time a grant of territory had been made within the present limits of Virginia and West Virginia, which caused great dissatisfaction to the people of the Virginia Colony, and which ultimately had an important bearing in settling the divisional line between Maryland and Virginia.
In the 21st year of Charles II a grant was made to Lord Hapton and others of what is called the northern neck of Virginia, which was sold
, by the other patentees to Lord Culpeper and confirmed to him by letters-patent in the fourth year of James II. This grant carried with it nothing but the right of soil and incidents of ownership, it being expressly subjected to the jurisdiction of the government of Virginia. The tract of land thereby granted was “bounded by and within the heads of the rivers Tappahannock, alias Rappahannock, and Quiriough, alias Patomac, rivers.” On the death of Lord Culpeper this proprietary tract descended to Lord Fairfax, who had married Lord Culpeper's only daughter.
As early as 1729 difficulties sprung up, arising from conflicting grants from Lord Fairfax and the Crown.
In 1730 Virginia petitioned the King, reciting that the head springs of the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers were not known, and praying that such measures might be taken that they might be ascertained to the satisfaction of all parties.
In 1733 Lord Fairfax made a similar petition, asking that a commission might issue for running out, marking, and ascertaining the true boundaries of his grant.
An order, accordingly, was issued and three commissioners were appointed on the part of the Crown and three on the part of Lord Fairfax.
The duty which devolved upon these commissioners was to ascertain