From Jonathan Dayton
Philadelphia Novr 9th 1792
Having delivered to the Secretary of the Treasury, pursuant to the 2nd Section of the Act of Congress entitled “An Act authorizing the grant & conveyance of certain lands to John Cleves Symmes & his associates,” military warrants sufficient to pay for One hundred & six thousand eight hundred & fifty seven acres of land, I am prepared, as Agent for, & the associate of, said Symmes to carry into effect the Act before mentioned, as well as the one previously passed, entitled “An Act for ascertaining the bounds of a tract of land purchased by John Cleves Symmes,” so far as the same depends on me.1
As Mr Ludlow, the surveyor of the Ohio company and Miami purchases is now in town on his way to the western territory, & as his aid will be very useful, if not necessary, in defining the lines of boundary, I submit it to your consideration sir, whether it would not be adviseable to have him detained a few days for that purpose.2 I have the honor to be sir with the greatest respect & attachment Your most obedt servt
ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.
1. In 1787 Congress authorized the sale to New Jersey resident John Cleves Symmes of a two-million-acre tract of land in the Northwest Territory between the Miami and Little Miami rivers. A final contract with the Treasury Department, however, was not signed until 15 Oct. 1788 and then only for one million acres (see ASP, Public Lands, description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends 1:75–77). That same year, on 19 Feb., Congress appointed Symmes one of the judges of the newly established Northwest Territory. The indefinite boundary lines of the Miami, or Symmes, Purchase, in addition to delays and inaccuracies in surveying lots and poor record keeping, led to the sale of lands outside Symmes’s grant, disputed property claims, and conflict with territorial governor Arthur St. Clair (see Jefferson to GW, 10 Nov. 1791, n.1, for earlier letters and reports about problems with the Symmes Purchase). The various complaints led to “An Act for ascertaining the bounds of a tract of land purchased by John Cleves Symmes,” 12 April 1792, and “An Act authorizing the grant and conveyance of certain Lands to John Cleves Symmes, and his Associates,” 5 May 1792 (6 Stat. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 7–8; Stat. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends , 1:266–67). Under the terms of these two acts, GW issued a patent on 30 Sept. 1794 for the 311,682 acres for which Symmes had completed payment. For the patent to John Cleves Symmes of 30 Sept. 1794, see the copies in ViLxW, DLC: Short-Harrison-Symmes Families Papers, OHi: Charles E. Rice Collection, and Vi; see also Carter, Territorial Papers, description begins Clarence Edwin Carter et al., eds. The Territorial Papers of the United States. 27 vols. Washington, D.C., 1934–69. description ends 2:496–98.
On 5 Nov. 1792 Dayton, a congressman from New Jersey and a business associate of Symmes, delivered to Alexander Hamilton “warrants sufficient to pay for 106,857 acres, making in all 248,540 acres, exclusive of a complete township to be given in trust for the establishing of an academy and public schools,” in accordance with the requirement set forth in section 3 of the legislation passed in May (see Dayton to Symmes, 19 Nov. 1792, in Bond, Correspondence of Symmes, description begins Beverley W. Bond, Jr., ed. The Correspondence of John Cleves Symmes: Founder of the Miami Purchase. New York, 1926. description ends 272). For the administration’s response to Dayton, see Tobias Lear to Dayton, 9 Nov. 1792, and note 1.
2. In 1787 Thomas Hutchins, the geographer of the United States, appointed New Jersey native Israel Ludlow to survey the Symmes Purchase, and Ludlow began his work in the fall of 1788 with the town of Cincinnati. After various problems delayed completion of the survey, Ludlow received additional instructions to establish the boundaries of the Symmes Purchase from Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton on 20 Nov. 1790, but the surveyor reported to Hamilton on 5 May 1792 that continued Indian hostilities in the Northwest Territory had frustrated his efforts. Hamilton, therefore, reissued his orders on 25 Nov. 1792, and Ludlow notified Hamilton on 10 July 1793 that the task finally was complete. Ludlow later surveyed the boundary line established between the United States and Indian territory under the 1795 Treaty of Greenville (see Teetor, Life and Times of Col. Israel Ludlow, description begins Henry Benton Teetor. Sketch of the Life and Times of Col. Israel Ludlow, One of the Original Proprietors of Cincinnati. Cincinnati, 1885. description ends 7–22, 49; Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 8:362, n.2, 11:361–63, 13:233, 15:81–82).