James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Andrew Ellicott, 12 April 1811

From Andrew Ellicott

Lancaster April 12th. 1811.

Dear sir,

The zenith Sector which I used on the southern boundary of the United States, is principally owned by this commonwealth: the claim of the U. S. amounts to about 25 guineas. On my return home in the year 1800, I had it deposited in one of the public stores, but do not recollect which. Being lately appointed to determine the boundary between the States of Georgia, and N. Carolina,1 on which the instrument before mentioned will be wanted, I must request the loan of it, so far as the U. S. are interested. I presume an order from you, or one of the departments will be necessary to enable me to obtain it from the person who has it in possession. As the instrument will probably want some repairing, the sooner I receive your answer the better.

My compliments to Mrs. Madison, and believe me to be with great esteem, Your sincere friend, and hbl. servt.

Andw. Ellicott.

RC (DNA: RG 59, ML).

1On 26 Apr. 1810 Representative William W. Bibb of Georgia had presented a petition from the state of Georgia to Congress on its boundary dispute with North Carolina. According to the terms of the 1802 act under which Georgia ceded its western lands to the U.S., the state “acquired a right to a certain tract of country, which was west of South Carolina, and separated from the States of North Carolina and Georgia.” The tract in question lay south of the thirty-fifth degree of latitude, and the state of Georgia, after its surveyor general had run the line in order to “ascertain the extent and the quality of the Territory,” extended “its law and Government over the people there resident.” The state of North Carolina resisted the Georgia claim unless that state “would agree to sanction grants that had issued” from the former authority, and the North Carolinians also disputed that the surveyor general of Georgia had measured the boundary line accurately. After Congress failed to respond to Georgia’s request for the U.S. to intervene by appointing “a proper person to run the dividing line between the two States,” the Georgia authorities commissioned Ellicott in April 1811 to undertake the task. Ellicott completed the survey in May 1812, and his ruling, much to the displeasure of the Georgians, was that the boundary between the two states ran eighteen miles farther south than they had claimed (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 11th Cong., 2d sess., 1987–88; ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Miscellaneous, 2:72–79; Mathews, Andrew Ellicott, pp. 219–26).

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