John Jay Papers
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Agreement between the Agents of New York and Massachusetts, 24–28 December 1784

Agreement between the Agents of New York and Massachusetts

[Trenton and New York], 24–28 December 1784

The Undersigned, Agents of the State of New York on the one and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on the other Part, having mutually agreed under the Direction of Congress that the Honorable Robert Hanson Harrison of the State of Maryland Esqr., the honorable John Rutledge of the State of South Carolina Esqr., the Honorable George Wythe, the honorable William Grayson, the honorable James Monroe of the State of Virginia Esquires, the honorable Thomas Johnson of the State of Maryland Esqr., the honorable George Read of the State of Delaware Esqr., the honorable Isaac Smith and the honorable William Patterson of the State of New Jersey Esquires, shall be appointed Commissioners to constitute a Court for hearing and determining a Controversy now subsisting between the said States of Massachusetts and New York as set forth in the Petition of the said State of Massachusetts now on the Files of Congress1 and it being possible that one or more of the said Commissioners may decline the said Trust the Undersigned therefore mutually agree that if the said Thomas Johnson, George Read, Isaac Smith, and William Patterson or either of them shall decline the said Trust, then the Place of him or them so declining shall be supplied by such Person or Persons as the Agents of New York shall nominate from the following Gentlemen to wit the Honorable John Beatty of the said State of New Jersey Esqr., His Excellency Nicholas Vandyke of the State of Delaware Esqr., the honorable Abner Nash and William Hooper of the State of North Carolina Esquires, the honorable Arthur Middleton of the said State of South Carolina Esqr., the honorable William Gibbons and the honorable William Houston of the State of Georgia Esquires, and if the said John Rutledge, George Wythe, William Grayson, and James Monroe or either of them shall decline the said Trust then his or their Place shall be supplied by such Person or Persons as the Agents of Massachusetts shall nominate from the beforenamed John Beatty, Nicholas Vandyke, Abner Nash, William Hooper, Arthur Middleton, William Gibbons and William Houstoun, provided that if only one of the said Thomas Johnson, George Read, Isaac Smith and William Patterson shall decline and only one of the said John Rutledge, George Wythe, William Grayson and James Monroe shall decline then it is agreed that the other seven Commissioners shall constitute the Court [without?] any further Nomination or Appointment.2 And it is also agreed that if either of the said Commissioners shall not within two Months next after Congress shall have appointed a Place for holding the said Court decline his Acceptance of the said Trust, he shall be considered as not accepting thereof and his Place shall be supplied in the same Manner as if he had expressly declined. And lastly it is agreed that Congress shall appoint the Place where the Court shall be held.

Done at Trenton the twenty fourth Day of December in the   Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty four and in the ninth year of our Independance.

John Lowell, James Sullivan, E. Gerry, S. Holten, Ruf. King, Geo. Partridge, Agents for Massachusetts

Jas. Duane, Rob. R. Livingston, Walter Livingston, Egbt. Benson, John Jay, Agents for New York

And it is further mutually agreed between the undersigned Agents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on the one and the State of New York on the other Part that the first Tuesday in June next shall be the time for holding the Court in the preceeding Agreement mentioned.

Done at the City of New York this twenty eighth Day of December in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty four and in the ninth Year of our Independance.

Jas. Duane, John Jay, Egbt. Benson, Walter Livingston, Agents for New York J. Lowell, James Sullivan, Agents for Massachusetts

D, in the hand of James Duane, NHi: Duane (EJ: 635). Endorsed: “Agreement between the Agents of New York and Massachusetts for constructing a federal Court. 24th December 1784.”

1Massachusetts petition, 27 May 1784, DS, DNA: PCC, item 65, 2: 228–32.

2See, however, the agents’ report (not signed by JJ) to Congress of 24 Dec. on their agreement, which certifies the appointment of Harrison, Johnson, Rutledge, Wythe, Grayson, Monroe, Read, Smith, and Paterson, but then rather than listing the various alternates as above, states that “if any one of more of the said gentlemen so named as commissioners, shall decline the said office, the vacancy shall be supplied by Congress”, and adds that “any five of the said commissioners who shall finally accept the said office, shall be a quorum, according to the Confederation of the United States.” The agents’ report does not contain information on the second agreement executed in New York on 28 Dec. DS, DNA: PCC, item 67, 2: 499–501; JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1904–37) description ends , 27: 709–10.

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