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and of varying width, in excess of that which she claimed. This decree of the King was forwarded to Mr. Belcher, then governor of both the provinces of New Hampshire and Massachusetts Bay, with instructions to apply to the respective assemblies to unite in making the necessary provisions for running and marking the line conformable to the said decree, and if either assembly refused, the other was to proceed ex parte. Massachusetts Bay declined complying with this requisition. New Hampshire, therefore, proceeded alone to run and mark the line.

George Mitchel and Richard Hazen were appointed by Belcher to survey and mark the line. Pursuant to this authority, in the month of February, 1741, Mitchel ran and marked the line from the seacoast about three miles north of the mouth of the Merrimac River to a point about three miles north of Pawtucket Falls, and Hazen, in the month of March following, ran and marked a line from the point, three miles north of Pawtucket Falls, across the Connecticut River, to the supposed boundary line of New York, on what he then supposed to be a due west course from the place of beginning. He was instructed by Governor Belcher to allow for a westerly variation of the needle of ten degrees. (Vide New Hampshire Journal H. R., 1826.)

The report of the surveyors has not been preserved, but the journal of Hazen has been found, and is published in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, July, 1879.

Subsequent investigation has proved that this line was not run on a due west course, the allowance for the westerly variation of the needle being quite too large, throwing the line north of west.

This mistake seems to have been known previous to the Revolution. In 1774 calculations were made by George Sproule, founded upon actual surveys and accurate astronomical observations, from which he determined that Hazen's line was so far north of west as to lose to the State of New Hampshire quite a large tract of land. (Vide New Hampshire Journal H. R., 1826.)

In 1825 commissioners were appointed by the States of New Hampshire and Massachusetts to ascertain, run, and mark the line between the two States, under the proceedings of which New Hampshire asserted her claim to a due west line, conformable to the decree of 1740, it being apparent by a survey made by the commissioners that the original line was north of west. This the Massachusetts commissioners refused to do, alleging that they were only empowered to ascertain and mark the original line.

On March 10, 1827, the legislature passed a resolution providing for the erection of durable monuments to preserve the boundary line between the States of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as the same had been run and ascertained by the commissioners, and monuments were erected accordingly. (Vide Resolves of Massachusetts, 1827.)

In 1885 the joint commission appointed by the States of New Hampshire and Massachusetts reran and marked the curved portion of the boundary, following the course of Merrimac River, changing it only to a trifling extent. This commission was, however, unable to agree upon the boundary west of Pawtucket Falls. This matter dragged along until finally in 1894 this commission, together with a commission representing Vermont, agreed to maintain the Hazen line, and this line was retraced and re-marked from Pawtucket Falls to the northwest corner of Massachusetts.

Under the decree of the King of 1740 the province of New Hampshire claimed jurisdiction as far west as the territory of Massachusetts and Connecticut extended, thus including the present State of Vermont. New York claimed all the country west of the Connecticut, under the charters of 1664 and 1674 to the Duke of York. A bitter controversy ensued. The following papers serve to throw some light on the matter:


Letter from the Governor of New Hampshire to the Governor of New York.

PORTSMOUTH, November 17, 1749.

*. I think it my duty * * * to transmit to your excellency the description of New Hampshire as the King has determined it in the words of my commission. * * * In consequence of His Majesty's determination of the boundaries between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, a surveyor and proper chainmen were appointed to run the western line from 3 miles north of Pautucket Falls, and the surveyor upon oath has declared that it strikes Hudson's River about 80 poles north of where Mohawk's River comes into Hudson's River.

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The following is a description of the bounds of New Hampshire given to Governor Benning Wentworth, of province of New Hampshire, by George II, July 3, 1741:

George the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, &c.

To our trusty and well-beloved Benning Wentworth, esqr., greeting:

Know you that we, reposing especial trust and confidence in the prudence, courage, and loyalty of you, the said Benning Wentworth, out of our especial grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, have thought fit to constitute and appoint, and by these presents do constitute and appoint you, the said Benning Wentworth, to be our governor and commander in chief of our province of New Hampshire, within our dominions of New England in America, bounded on the south side by a similar curve line pursuing the course of Merrimac River at three miles distance, on the north side thereof, beginning at the Atlantick Ocean and ending at a point due north of a place called Pautucket Falls, and by a straight line drawn from thence due west cross the said river 'till it meets with our other Governments. * * *

Given at Whitehall July the 3rd, in the 15th year of His Majesty's reign. (See Documentary History of N. York, vol. 4, page 331.)

The question of the right of territory was submitted to the King, who in 1764 made the following decree:




[L. S.]

The 20th day of July, 1764.

Present: The King's Most Excellent Majesty; Lord Steward, Earl of Sandwich, Earl of Halifax, Earl of Powis, Earl of Hilsborough, Mr. Vice-Chamberlain Gilbert Eliot, esqr., James Oswald, esqr., Earl of Harcourt.

Whereas there was this day read at the Board a report made by the right honorable the lords of the committee of council for plantation affairs, dated the 17th of this instant, upon considering a representation from the lords commissioners for trade and plantations, relative to the disputes that have some years subsisted between the provinces of New Hampshire and New York, concerning the boundary line between those provinces, His Majesty, taking the same into consideration, was pleased with the advice of his Privy Council to approve of what is therein proposed, and doth accordingly hereby order and declare the western banks of the river Connecticut, from where it enters the province of the Massachusetts Bay, as far north as the forty-fifth degree of northern latitude, to be the boundary line between the said two provinces of New Hampshire and New York. Whereof the respective governors and commanders in chief of His Majesty's said provinces of New Hampshire and New York for the time being, and all others whom it may concern, are to take notice of His Majesty's pleasure hereby signified and govern themselves accordingly.


(Vide Documentary History of New York, vol. 4, p. 355.) Notwithstanding this decree of the King, controversy, attended with violence, was kept up for many years; but the line was finally accepted and now forms the boundary line between the States of New Hampshire and Vermont.

The northern boundary of New Hampshire was settled by the United States and Great Britain. (Vide p. 17 et seq.)

It is as follows, viz:

Commencing at the "Crown Monument," so called, at the intersection of the State of New Hampshire, Maine, and the Province of Quebec, in latitude 45° 18′ 23.33, longitude 71° 5' 40.5, thence in an irregular line to Hall's Stream, thence down the same to the northeastern corner of Vermont, in latitude 45° 0′ 17.58, longitude 71° 30′ 34.5. (Vide Hitch. Geology of New Hampshire.)


The grants from King Henry, of France, of 1603, and King James, of England, of 1606, both included that territory which forms the present State of Vermont. It was also included in the charter of New England of 1620.

In the grants to the Duke of York, in 1664 and 1674, all the territory between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers was included. New York, therefore, claimed jurisdiction of the territory now known as Vermont. Massachusetts, however, at an early period, having made

claim to the tract west of the Connecticut River, now a portion of that State, by the interpretation of her charter, claimed the greater part of the same territory. By the terms of the charter of Massachusetts Bay, of 1629, that colony was granted all the lands—

Which lye and be within the space of Three English myles to the northward of the saide River called Monomack alias Merrymack, or to the norward of any and every Parte thereof.

Under this clause Massachusetts Bay claimed that her jurisdiction extended 3 miles north of the farthest part of the Merrimac River, which would embrace a large portion of New Hampshire and Vermont. New Hampshire contested this claim, and after several years' controversy was more than sustained by a decision of the King in 1740. New Hampshire in her turn claimed the territory of Vermont, on the ground that Massachusetts and Connecticut, having been allowed tɔ extend their boundaries to within 20 miles of the Hudson River, her western boundary should go equally as far, and contended that the King's decree of 1740 left that fairly to be inferred; also, that the old charters of 1664 and 1674 were obsolete.

By a decree of the King, however, the territory west of the Connecticut River, from the 45th parallel of north latitude to the Massachusetts line, was declared to belong to the province of New York. (Vide New Hampshire, p. 51.)

As most of the settlers of Vermont were from New Hampshire, this decision of the King caused great dissatisfaction, and the Revolution found Vermont the scene of conflicting claims, and the theater of violent acts, culminating, in some instances, in actual bloodshed.

On January 15, 1777, Vermont declared herself independent and laid claim to the territory west as far as Hudson River, and from its source north to the international boundary, including a tract along the west shore of Lake Champlain. A part of New Hampshire, also, at one time sought a union with Vermont.

In 1781 Massachusetts assented to her independence. She adjusted her differences with New Hampshire in 1782, but eight years more passed before New York consented to her admission into the Union.

In 1791 Vermont was admitted as an independent State, but was required to restrict her boundaries to their present extent.

The act of New York, of March 6, 1790, giving her consent to the admission of Vermont, defines her boundaries. (Vide Slade's Vermont, p. 507.)

The northern boundary was settled by the United States and Great Britain by the treaty of Washington, in 1842. (Vide p. 17.)

The eastern boundary is low-water mark on the west bank of the Connecticut River. (Vide New Hampshire, p. 51.)

The southern boundary was settled by the decree of 1740. (Vide New Hampshire, p. 48.)

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