Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from Thomas Mifflin, [5 May 1791]

From Thomas Mifflin

[Philadelphia, May 5, 1791]

Sir.

On the 28th. of Augt. 1788, the late Board of Treasury of the U.S. under the authority of a Resolution of Congress accepted the proposals which were made to them, on the 7th. of July preceding, by the Delegates in Congress from Pennsylvania on behalf of this State, for the purchase of a tract of Land, belonging to the U.S., contained in the interval betwixt a Meridian Line, run between Lake Erie and the state of Pennsylvania, and the boundaries of the States of New York and Massachusetts, at the rate of three fourths of a Dollar per Acre; payable in gold or silver, or in public securities of the U.S., bearing Interest.1

As I understand that the quantity of land contained in the above mentioned tract has been ascertained by actual survey, it is proper to inform you that I am ready, on the part of Pennsylvania, to comply with the terms of the contract. Permit me, therefore, to request that on the part of the U.S. you will be pleased to make the necessary arrangements, and to appoint an early day for closing the transaction. I am, sir, yr most obd   & hble serv

T. M.

To Alexr Hamilton Esqr
S.T.U.S.

Df, in the writing of Alexander Dallas, Division of Public Records, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg; LC, Division of Public Records, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

1On November 14, 1787, the Pennsylvania General Assembly “Resolved, That the Supreme Executive Council be authorized and requested to obtain, and lay before the General Assembly, a description of the lands lying between the northern boundary of this state and Lake Erie, with an estimate of the sum necessary to purchase such part thereof as may be thought necessary to accommodate this state” (Minutes of the First Session of the Twelfth General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Which Commenced at Philadelphia, on Monday, the Twenty-second Day of October, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-Seven [Philadelphia: Printed by Hall and Sellers, in Market Street, 1787]). On February 5, 1788, the Council forwarded this resolution to the Pennsylvania delegates in Congress with a request that they forward to the Assembly “such information on the subject as may be in your power—especially on that part which relates to the Estimate of the sum necessary to purchase, and for what sum other Lands belonging to The United States in those parts were sold” (Hazard, Pennsylvania Archives description begins Samuel Hazard, ed., Pennsylvania Archives (Philadelphia, 1852–1856). description ends , XI, 237).

On June 6, 1788, the Continental Congress “Resolved That the geographer of the United States … or his deputy having run the meridian between lake Erie and the state of Pensylvania and marked and noted down in his field book proper land marks for perpetuating the same shall proceed to make a survey of the Land lying west of the said line between lake Erie and the state of Pensylvania so as to ascertain the quantity thereof and make return of such survey to the board of treasury, who are hereby authorised and empowered at any time before or after such survey to sell the said tract in whole at private sale for a price not less than three fourths of a dollar per acre in specie or public securities drawing interest” (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XXXIV, 203). On June 14, the Executive Council of Pennsylvania authorized the Pennsylvania delegates in Congress to purchase the tract. In response to this authorization, the following letter was sent to the Board of Treasury by the Pennsylvania delegates on July 7, 1788: “We the Delegates of the State of Pennsylvania, in compliance with instructions, and in virtue of powers, received from the said State, do hereby offer to contract (in behalf of the said State,) with the Honble Board of Treasury, for a tract of land belonging to the United States, contained in the interval betwixt a Meridian Line, run between Lake Erie and the state of Pennsylvania, and the Boundaries of the States of New York and Massachusetts, at the rate of three-fourth of a dollar per acre; payable in Gold or Silver, or in public securities of the United States, bearing interest; when the quantity ascertained by actual survey, in the manner prescribed by a Resolution of Congress of the … [6]th of June, 1788.” On August 28, 1788, the Board of Treasury accepted Pennsylvania’s proposal (Hazard, Pennsylvania Archives description begins Samuel Hazard, ed., Pennsylvania Archives (Philadelphia, 1852–1856). description ends , XI, 382–83).

Congress approved the board’s contract with Pennsylvania on September 4, 1788, and ceded title to the Triangle to that state (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937). description ends , XXXIV, 499). The Continental Congress, however, went out of existence before the matter had been consummated.

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