576 | To Sir Henry Moore


    Boston Nov ^Dec^r. 7. 1767


    In Answer to your private Letter which accompanied your public Letter of Nov: 30,1 [I]2 will endeavour to show how trifling the Cheif Difference is which has prevented the Commissaries coming to final Agreement concerning the Boundary Line, [&?] how reasonable it is that the Difference, small as it is, should be given up rather by your ^Province rather^ than our. Province

    I understand that the Commissaries agreed upon the South West Corner of the Boundary, namely that it should be the same with the North West Angle of the Oblong. But in Regard to the North west point of the Boundary they differed in this; The Massachusetts Commissaries proposed that it should be at the End of 20 Miles from the River Hudson measured along a Continuation of the Line which now forms the Western ^North^ Boundary of the Massachusetts: but the NY Commissaries, agreeing in the same length of Distance, required that it should be measured along a Line perpendicular to the general Course of the River Hudson. If the Course of the River Hudson cut the Massachusets North Boundary Line at Right Angles, both these Proposals would be the same: but as the Course of the Hudson cuts the Massachusets North Line with an inclination to the East, the Difference of that Inclination from a Right Angle forms the Difference between the two Proposals. I know not what the Difference of the Declination of the Course of the Hudson from a true Meridian is: but if it should be about 18 Degrees (as it appears to be in Evans Map)3 The Difference of the two Lines of Distance will be about a Mile; and as that mile keeps Decreasing to a Point, the breadth at a Medium will be half a mile: and supposing the Massts: to be in that Part 50 miles wide from S to N the Quantity of Land in Difference will be 25 square miles = 16000 Acres; which is two third Parts of a Township as we form them in the Province.

    This is a very trifleing for two Provinces to dispute about; & it would be a Pity that the Council King & Council should have the Trouble of adjusting such a Difference. But yet I fear that, if your Province cannot be prevailed upon to concede, It must go there: for I expect that the general Court will consider the Proposal of their Commissaries as their ultimatum. It may be urged on both Sides, “why will you not give up a Trifle, to bring about an Accomodation so much to be desired”. I will give you the Reasons which I suppose will be urged (among others), ^by our Assembly^4 why they cant Concede. 1. The Proposal of their Comm[issaries?] is founded upon a Report of the Lords of Trade5 recommending the very line as now proposed by the Massts: as a proper Boundary Line between the two Provinces. To the Terms of this Report, altho’ they fell short of the prevailing Idea of the Rights of the Province, the Massts: presently submitted; and it was not their Fault that it had not the royal Confirmation. However they endeavour[ed] to conform to it, avoiding, as well as they could, the Execution of Jurisdiction beyond it, and making Gr[ants] as near as they could reckon, quite up to it. They will therefore think themselves obliged to maintain and intitled to the reciprocal Advantage of that Line which they have submitted to (against their general Sense) for so many Years, out of Deference to an Authority, which, however not conclusive, had great Weight with them. 2. Having, under the inconclusive Authority aforesaid, considered this to be the probable boundary Line, they have made Grants to it as near as they could Measure. Under which Grants many Settlements & Improvements have been made. They therefore certainly will not think themselves at Liberty, by a Concession merely for the Sake of Peace, to avoid the legal Title of such Settlements made under the Sanction of the Opinion of the Board of Trade, & leave the Settlers6 to the Mercy of new Masters, who are not disposed to pay regard to such Opinion: whereas the Government of New York has not, that we know, made any Grants to the Eastward of that Line and therefore are not under the same Difficulties. 3. As the South End of the Line has been agreed to be fixed by the same Rule as the Massts: contend that the North End ought to be, They dont seem to Comprehend the Distinctions upon which the different mode of fixing the Point of Distance at one End of the Line & the other is to be founded.

    These are some of the Reasons which will I apprehend, prevent our genl: Court conceding the Proposal of your Commsr: There was as I understand another Question between them which remained unsettled; which was whether the Line should be measured along the Ground, or by a True Level what the Surveyors call an Air-Line. If this was the only Question remaining, I should give my Opinion on the Part of your Commrs, that the Measures ought to be by an Air line. Upon the whole I th[ink] that the only Chance we have for bringing this Ma[tter] to an amicable Conclusion, which is as much [my] Desire as it can be yours, is to ^make the^ Report of the Lords of Trade the Basis of the agreement; for bringing about which I shall heartily concur with you in every Proper Measure.

    I am, &c

    His Excelly: Sr H: Moore Bart.

    L, LbC      BP, 5: 242-246.