From William Grayson
N York Augt. 31st. 1787.
Inclosed is a Stragling letter which has found it’s way to this place. I have recieved your favor & shall pay every attention to the case of Majr. Turner: his chance with respect to the Secretaryship is absolutely desperate; he must therefore be nominated for a Judges seat. This he has agreed to himself as appears by a letter to Mr. Carrington.
Judge Symms of Jersey yesterday made an application for All that tract of country lying between the Great & little Miami the East & West line & the Ohio supposed about two millions of acres, on the same terms with the Eastern Ohio Compy. His application has met with the intire approbation of the Members present: & there is no doubt but as soon [as] there is a Congress that this contract will be closed.1
A Commee. is appointed to draught an Ordnance for indiscriminate locations, but a difficulty has occurred which I fear will destroy the whole affair: the Commee don’t know what the deficiency is on the Cumberland river & have figured to their timorous & suspicious imaginations that the Virginia officers & soldiers mean to take eight or ten million of acres, between the Scioto & Miami. The Commee. also contend that the State of Virga. should make proof of the deficiency of good lands on the Cumberland; should ascertain the quantity they want or have a right to on the Northern side of the Ohio; & should then take that quantity in one Body. I wish you would speak to our Governor on the subject. Perhaps it may be in his power shortly to obtain information of the quantity claimed by the Officers & Soldiers on the other side of the Ohio. If this fact was known other difficulties might perhaps be got over as I apprehend it is not very considerable.2 Mrs. Grayson has been very ill since her lying in, but is now much better. From yr. Affect. frd. & Most Obed Sert.
NB. The Missisippi is in a State of absolute dormification.
RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.
1. John Cleves Symmes’s petition for the “Miami Purchase,” dated 29 Aug. 1787, was read in Congress on 21 Sept. and referred to a committee the next day. On 2 Oct. the committee recommended acceptance of the offer (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXXIII, 509 n., 512, 593–94; R. Pierce Beaver, “The Miami Purchase of John Cleves Symmes,” Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, XL , 284–342). Congress had previously accepted the offer of the Reverend Manasseh Cutler of the Ohio Company for the purchase of between five and six million acres east of the Scioto. The terms included a price of one dollar per acre payable in public securities, allowing a deduction of up to one-third of a dollar per acre for bad land and incidental charges (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXXIII, 399–401, 427–30; Grayson to James Monroe, 8 Aug. 1787, Burnett, Letters description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (8 vols.; Washington, 1921–36). description ends , VIII, 632).
2. The committee to draft an ordinance for the sale of lands between the Scioto and the Great Miami rivers was appointed on 30 July (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXXIII, 438 n.). By an act of 1779 the Virginia legislature had reserved a large tract of land in the Kentucky district, including lands along the Cumberland River, for the benefit of the state’s troops serving in the war (Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , X, 55–56). Moreover, as a condition of Virginia’s cession of the Northwest Territory in 1783, the legislature had reserved the territory between the Scioto and Little Miami to satisfy military bounties in case the lands southeast of the Ohio were found insufficient for that purpose (ibid., XI, 328). The committee evidently made no report on this subject and no further action was taken in 1787. However, on 17 July 1788, Congress adopted a resolution declaring invalid “all locations and surveys” made by Virginia between the Scioto and Little Miami on behalf of its soldiers before the deficiency of the lands, “if any, on the south east side of the Ohio shall be ascertained and stated to Congress” (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXXIV, 332–34).