Thomas Jefferson Papers

Memoranda on the Connecticut-Pennsylvania Boundary Dispute, [17 October 1775?]

Memoranda on the Connecticut-Pennsylvania Boundary Dispute

[17 October 1775?]

Connecticut is bounded Westward

1. by the N. W. line of Virginia.

2. by the Proviso in the Plymouth grant in favr. of the Southern colony.

3. by the decision of Nicholson & al. pa. 14. declard Western boundary, to which Connecticut assented.

4. by the grant of Pensylvania.

N (DLC).

These notes on the protracted dispute between Pennsylvania and Connecticut over the Wyoming Valley are arbitrarily assigned to this date because they appear to be TJ’s first rough jottings on a controversy with which he was first concerned when appointed on this day to a committee “to take into consideration the disputes between the people of Connecticut and Pensylvania, and report what in their opinion is proper to be done by Congress” (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, D.C., 1904–37, 34 vols. description ends , iii, 297). On 4 Nov. the committee brought in its report, which was debated and on 27 Nov. was recommitted, with instructions to the committee to hear evidence on the dispute (same, p. 321, 377). This having been done, Congress on 20 Dec. adopted and later published a somewhat innocuous resolution urging both parties to “cease all hostilities, and avoid every appearance of force, until the dispute can be legally decided” (same, p. 439–40; see also p. 435). Since no MS of the committee’s reports survives, it is impossible to tell what part TJ may have had in it. For a summary of the Wyoming dispute, see J. P. Boyd, “The Susquehannah Company,” Jour. of Economic and Business Hist., iv [1931], 38–69.

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