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Memorial of Zebulon Butler and Joseph Sluman



To the Honourable General Assembly of the Colony of CONNECTICUT, to be holden at NEW-HAVEN, in said Colony, on the second THURSDAY of OCTOBER, instant.

The Memorial of Zebulon Butler, Esquire, and Joseph Sluman, of Westmoreland, in the County of Litchfield, and Colony of Connecticut, Agents for said Town of Westmoreland, also for the Proprietors and Settlers of lands lying within this Colony West of the West line of said Westmoreland, in the name and behalf of their constituents aforesaid, humbly show: That your Honours from principles of patriotick affection for the interests and emolument of this Colony, the increase and growth of its wealth and numbers, by and with advice of the principal Crown lawyers in England, Council to his Majesty, did at a General Court holden at New-Haven, in said Colony, on the second Thursday of October, A˙ D˙ 1773, resolve and declare that extent of country lying West of the West line of the Province of New-York, and within the limits and boundaries of the Charter and Patent of King Charles the Second to the Governour and Company of the English Colony of Connecticut, made and passed in the fourteenth year of his reign, was granted and confirmed to this Colony to hold, and according to the tenour of said Charter and Patent in


free and common soccage, not in capite, &c˙, according to the tenour of East Greenwich, in the County of Kent; and that the same is within the jurisdiction of this Colony; and that your Honours would assert your right to and jurisdiction over the same.

And your Honours, to promote the wealth, increase, and future glory of this Colony, in pursuance of your Declaration and Resolve aforesaid, did, at a General Court, holden at Hartford, by adjournment, on the second Wednesday of January, A˙ D˙, 1774, incorporate and constitute a Town therein by the name of Westmoreland, with all the rights, franchises, immunities, and prerogatives which other Towns in this Colony are by law invested, and annex said Town to the County of Litchfield, and appointed civil authority therein; — And your Memorialists with their families, now at said Town of Westmoreland, consist of about one hundred and twenty-six persons, whose land that belongs to them lieth on the West Branch of the Susquehannah River, who are now waiting to remove themselves and settle thereon; — And your Memorialists, who are Proprietors and Settlers of the land lying West of your said Town of Westmoreland, and within the limits and jurisdiction of the Colony of Connecticut with their families, are upwards of two hundred families; — And your Memorialists having (from their birth and education) a most inviolable attachment to the Constitution and Government of your Honours, and impressed with sentiments of loyalty, affection, and zeal for the present and future greatness, tranquillity, and glory of this Colony; principles which in a far more eminent manner reside in your Honours' minds, and guide and influence all your publick measures, beg leave humbly to approach your Honours as the great parens patriae, the supreme power within this Colony, with grateful sentiments for your Honours' care for our good, peace, and safety heretofore exercised towards us, by incorporating us of said Westmoreland into a Town, do trust that the same benevolent intentions still influence your Honours, and that nothing will be wanting on the part of your Honours, to perfect the good which is begun towards us your dutiful subjects, who were but few in number when we first come up hither, but now by the good hand of our God upon us, are become a multitude; and to observe that the jurisdiction erected by your Honours, is inadequate to answer the ends and purposes of Government in our situation, for that all our writs which are not cognizable before a single Minister, are returnable to Litchfield, which necessarily occasions an enormous expense to the suiters — And our not having any jail, and being unable by law to transport any man' s person across the Province of New-York, it being another jurisdiction, executions are thereby rendered in a great measure ineffectual; debtors enabled to avoid payment of their just debts; and criminals of every kind, almost, to escape justice; by reason whereof, your Memorialists are greatly embarrassed, perplexed, and exposed; living under civil Governments without most of its benefits; living in such a situation as that, it cannot with only the power already given be thoroughly administered, nor the noble end and design thereof fully answered; — And as many of your Memorialists, who are settlers and proprietors of lands lying West of said Town of Westmoreland within this Colony, labour under great difficulties, in continuing and proceeding in our just claims and settlements, without civil Government established amongst us; — And to relinquish our settlements and lands acquired with great hazard, labour, and expense, will be attended with risk of a total loss of them both to this Colony, and your Memorialists. And whereas the constituting and erecting a County within the following limits and boundaries, viz: to extend West to the Western boundaries of the Susquehannah purchase; and to bound North and South on the Colony line, exclusive of that part of said purchase, as is taken off by the line lately settled with the Indians at Fort Stanwix, invested with powers, privileges, jurisdictions, &c˙, which other Co unties in this Colony are, viz: that of having and holding County Courts, and Courts of Probate, having a Sheriff, a jail, &c˙, would remedy most of the difficulties which your Memorialists labour under, and make your Memorialists happy and comfortable: Or if your Honours should not think it best at this time to erect a County, &c˙, as prayed for, that your Honours would at this time either extend the limits of said Town of Westmoreland to the Western boundaries of Susquenannah


purchase, and North and South on the Colony line, exclusive of the land taken off by the Indians' line as above, or divide the same into two Towns by the Easternmost Branch of said Susquehannah River, and to extend as above described, or in some other way grant relief to your Memorialists, as in your wisdom you shall think best; and your Memorialists as in duty bound shall ever pray.

Dated at New-Haven, October 15, 1774.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY, MAY, 1775. — In the Lower House.

Question put, whether any should be granted, or the above, and resolved in the affirmative.

Question put, whether Jurisdiction should be extended, and resolved in the affirmative.

Question put, whether a County Court, with proper power and jurisdiction, and a Court of Probate be erected, as prayed for, and resolved in the affirmative; and also that a Military Establishment be there made; and Captain Butler is desired to bring in a Bill for said purpose.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY, MAY, 1775. — In the Upper House.

Question put, whether the Bounds of the Town of Westmoreland shall be extended agreeable to the boundaries mentioned in the Memorial for the limits of a County, &c˙; Resolved in the affirmative.

Question put, whether a County Court with proper powers, &c˙, should be erected, &c˙, and resolved in the negative. And a question put, whether a Court of Probate, with proper powers should be erected &c˙, and resolved in the affirmative; and resolved, also, that a military establishment be there made, and that a Bill, &c.


Concurred in the Lower House.


In the Lower House, question put, whether the consideration of this Memorial be referred to the General Assembly in May next; resolved in the affirmative.


Concurred in the Upper House.