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Proclamation of Governour Penn


By the Honourable JOHN PENN, Esquire, Governour and Commander-in-chief of the Province of PENNSYLVANIA, and Counties of NEW-CASTLE, KENT, and SUSSEX, on DELAWARE:


Whereas, I have received information that his Excellency the Earl of Dunmore, Governour-General in and over his Majesty' s Colony of Virginia, hath lately issued a very extraordinary Proclamation, setting forth, "that the rapid settlement made on the West of the Alleghany Mountains, by his Majesty' s subjects, within the course of these few years, had become an object of real concern to his Majesty' s interest in that quarter; that the Province of Pennsylvania had unduly laid claim to a very valuable and extensive quantity of his Majesty' s territory; and the Executive part of that Government, in consequence thereof, had most arbitrarily and unwarrantably proceeded to abuse the laudable adventurers in that part of his Majesty' s Dominions, by many oppressive and illegal measures, in discharge of their imaginary authority; and that the ancient claim laid to that country by the Colony of Virginia, founded in reason, upon pre-occupancy, and the general acquiescence of all persons, together with the Instruction he had lately received from his Majesty' s servants, ordering him to take that country under his administration; and as the evident injustice manifestly offered to his Majesty, by the immoderate strides taken by the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania, in prosecution of their wild claim to that country, demanded an immediate remedy, he did thereby, in his Majesty' s name, require and command all his Majesty' s subjects west of the Laurel Hill, to pay a due respect to his said Proclamation, thereby strictly prohibiting the execution of any act of authority on behalf of the Province of Pennsylvania, at their peril, in that country; but, on the contrary, that a due regard and entire obedience to the laws of his Majesty' s Colony of Virginia, under his administration, should be observed, to the end that regularity might ensue, and a just regard to the interest of his Majesty in that quarter, as well as to his Majesty' s subjects, might be the consequence."

And whereas, although the Western Limits of the Province of Pennsylvania, have not been settled by any authority from the Crown, yet it has been sufficiently demonstrated by lines accurately run by the most skilful artists, that not only a great tract of country West of the Laurel Hill, but Fort Pitt also, are comprehended within the Charter bounds of this Province, a great part of which country has been actually settled, and is now held under grants from the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania; and the jurisdiction of this Government has been peaceably exercised in that quarter of the country, till the late strange claim set up by the Earl of Dunmore, in behalf of his Majesty' s Colony of Virginia, founded, as his Lordship is above pleased to say, "in reason, pre-occupancy, and the general acquiescence of all persons;" which claim to lands within the said Charter limits, must appear still the more extraordinary, as his most gracious Majesty, in an Act passed the very last session of Parliament, "for making more effectual provision for the government of the Province of Quebec," has been pleased, in the fullest manner, to recognise the Charter of the Province of Pennsylvania, by expressly referring to the same, and binding the said Province of Quebec by the Northern and Western bounds thereof. Wherefore, there is the greatest reason to conclude, that any instructions the Governour of Virginia may have received from his Majesty' s servants, to take that country under his administration, must be founded on some misrepresentation to them respecting the Western extent of this Province. In justice, therefore, to the Proprietaries of the Province of Pennsylvania, who are only desirous to secure their own undoubted property from the encroachment of others, I have thought fit, with the advice of the


Council, to issue this my Proclamation, hereby requiring all persons West of the Laurel Hill, to retain their settlements as aforesaid made under this Province, and to pay due obedience to the laws of this Government; and all Magistrates and other Officers who hold commissions or offices under this Government, to proceed as usual in the administration of justice, without paying the least regard to the said recited Proclamation, until his Majesty' s pleasure shall be known in the premises; at the same time strictly charging and enjoining the said inhabitants and Magistrates to use their utmost endeavours to preserve peace and good order.

Given under my hand and the great seal of the said Province, at Philadelphia, the twelfth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, and in the fourteenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, and so forth.


By his Honour' s command,


GOD save the King.