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Letter from Governour Penn to the Earl of Dartmouth


November 3, 1774. — The Governour this day sent by the Packet a Letter to the Earl of Dartmouth, one of his Majesty' s principal Secretaries of State, in answer to his Lordship' s Letter of the 26th of August last:

Philadelphia, November 3, 1774.

MY LORD: I have just had the honour of your Lordship' s letter, No˙ 5, of the 26th of August last, signifying his Majesty' s commands "that I should desist from issuing any orders for extending the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania up to the line settled by Commissioners between that Province and Maryland, until the present difficulty, arising from the minority of the heir of the late Lord Baltimore, shall be removed, or until his Majesty' s further pleasure be known." I am to inform your Lordship that before the receipt of your letter I had issued the enclosed Proclamation for exercising the jurisdiction of this Province up to the boundary lines run and marked out by Commissioners under the authority of the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania, and Maryland, in consequence of Articles of Agreement executed by them for that purpose, and the decrees of the Lord Chancellor for the specifick execution of those Articles. As the Commissioners had completely finished the running and marking the lines in the life time of the late Lord Baltimore, and the Articles of Agreement between the Proprietaries for settling the boundary, as well as the proceedings of the Commissioners, had, on the joint petition of the respective Proprietaries, been ratified by his Majesty in Council, I conceived that a final end and period had thereby been put to a controversy which had been agitated for ninety years, at an immense expense to the parties, to the great detriment of the settlement of this infant country, and that nothing was wanting to validate or enforce a transaction so solemnly established. But I was not induced, my Lord, to take this step solely on motives founded on the interests of my family. The people living between the ancient temporary line of jurisdiction and that lately settled and marked by the Commissioners, were in a lawless state. Murders and the most outrageous transgressions of law and order were committed with impunity in those places. In vain did persons injured apply to the Government of Maryland for protection and redress. In this situation they have of late repeatedly petitioned to be taken under the protection of this Province, into which they fell by the lines run under the Articles and Decrees. Apprehensive lest some disturbances might possibly arise by my issuing an ex parte Proclamation for extending the jurisdiction, I applied to the Government of Maryland to join with me therein, and I deferred the measure till I found


there was no hopes of a compliance with my request. And so far, my Lord, has this partial extension of the jurisdiction been from having the apprehended effect of disturbing the peace of the King' s subjects on the Frontiers, and occasioning violence and bloodshed, that it has had a quite contrary tendency, and, as I have been well informed, has quieted the disturbances there, and given universal satisfaction to the people. His Majesty' s commands, however, it is my inclination, as well as duty, on this and every other occasion, strictly, and without hesitation, to obey. I have, therefore, issued a Proclamation, a copy of which I enclose your Lordship, to counteract that lately published, and shall take no further steps in the affair, unless his Majesty, on this state of facts, and reconsidering the matter, shall be graciously pleased to permit me. I have the honour to be, with great respect, your Lordship' s most obedient humble servant,


To the Right Honourable the Earl of Dartmouth, one of his Majesty' s principal Secretaries of State, Whitehall.