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PEABODY PUBLICATION FUND.

COMMITTEE ON PUBLICATION.

1889–90.

HENRY STOCKBRIDGE,
BRADLEY T. JOHNSON,

CLAYTON C. HALL.

PRINTED BY JOHN MURPHY & Co.

PRINTERS TO THE MARYLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

BALTIMORE, 1890.

[ [176 M3

No.29

REPORT.

T"

Md. Charter

in

1636-67.

A.

HE original boundaries of the Province of

Maryland were laid down with unwonted

precision in the charter which created it. These were: the fortieth parallel of north latitude; a meridian line running south to the first or most distant fountain of the Poto

Md. Arch. mac — (" ad verum meridianum primi Council, fontis fluminis de Patowomack") thence Appendix proceeding southward (“ deinde vergendo versus meridiem ") to the farther or western bank of that river, and following that bank to a specified point at the mouth of the river where it debouches into the Chesapeake; thence by a straight line across the bay to Watkins Point and onward to the ocean, and thence by the ocean and Delaware bay and river to the fortieth parallel.

The only one of these courses that was at all uncertain at the time the charter was granted, was that at the extreme west. The country to the west of the Alleghanies was then altogether unknown. 2 M741114

5

oceans.

Indeed, for many years the geography of the continent was so little understood, that Herman, in his map (1670), considers the mountains about Cumberland to be the central ridge between the two

The point at which the meridian line was to begin had, therefore, to remain undetermined until it should be found which was the furthest source or first fountain of the Potomac: in other words, which of the branches of that river took its rise farthest from its mouth. This point settled, the spring-head or source of that branch determined the western boundary of Maryland.

In 1649, Charles II, then a fugitive in Holland, Boundary granted to Lord Hopton, Sir Thomas Cul. Com. Rep.

peper, and other exiled royalists, a tract of Md. Acts, land in Virginia, lying between the rivers Res. 128. Rappahannock and Potomac, and running down to the Chesapeake Bay. Under the commonwealth, this remained, of course, a mere grant on paper ;

but after the restoration the grantees, or rather their heirs and assigns, proposed to avail themselves of their rights. Certain questions having been raised as to the validity of the original grant, these claimants surrendered their patent, and in 1669 received a re-grant, under the privy seal, of the lands in question. This grant, however, conveyed only a title to the soil, which still remained a part of Virginia, and subject to her

85.

1832.

p. 50.

Va. Acts,

1736.

jurisdiction. It was not an enlargement of the territory of Virginia, but a grant within Virginia, and necessarily limited by the boundaries of that colony.

The Virginians were violently opposed to this grant, which placed the ownership of a

McMahon, vast extent of territory within two or Hist. Ma., three hands; and in 1675 they sent agents to England to remonstrate against it, or, if remonstrance were unavailing, to buy out the grantees' claims; but without success in either case.

By the year 1688 the whole title had vested in Thomas, Lord Culpeper; and James II granted him a new patent for the whole tract. This descended to Catharine, his daughter and heiress, who brought it in marriage to Thomas, fifth Baron Fairfax of Cameron, in the Scottish peerage.

Lord Fairfax proposed to reap some advantage from his immense territorial possessions, which were still unsurveyed; and in 1733 petitioned the King for the determination of his boundaries by commissioners. The petition was granted, and six commissioners were appointed, three representing Virginia, and three the Crown, who determined the boundaries separating his grant from the rest of Virginia. The grants had all called for lands lying south of the Potomac river; and consequently there was nothing in them interfering with the

Dinwiddie

351.

rights of Maryland. For this reason, probably, Charles, Lord Baltimore, made no attempt to have Maryland represented on the Commission. But when the question arose, which was the Potomac river, or which of the two great branches which

unite to form it was the longer, the comPapers, II, missioners (in 1736) concluded that the

North Branch was the longer; Maryland, whose territory was at stake, having no voice in the matter.

In 1745, Thomas, sixth Baron Fairfax, Ibid., I, 19. Faulkner's came to America ; and on October 17, in Report,

the following year, surveyors engaged to run the line in conformity with the report of the commissioners, planted “the Fairfax Stone” to mark the northwestern limit of his grant. In 1748 the Virginia Assembly approved the line run by the commissioners, it was confirmed by the King in Council, and Fairfax opened an office for the sale of lands. News of these proceedings reached Frederick,

Lord Baltimore, and in his first letter of Archives. instructions (1753) to his new governor,

(MS.) Lib. J. R., Horatio Sharpe, he protests against this U.S., p. 11. See "Appen- invasion of his territory, and directs the

Governor to look into the matter, and to open correspondence with Lord Fairfax with a view to a settlement of boundaries between them.

Md.

dix B.

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