« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Determine the extent of Possessory Claims under the late Treaty with Great Britain: appointed in pursu
ance of Resolves of February 21, 1843.
To His Excellency HUGH J. ANDERSON, Governor of the State of Maine, and the Honorable Council:
THE undersigned, Commissioners, appointed pursuant to the Resolves approved February 21, 1843, entitled, "Resolves, authorizing the appointment of Commissioners to locate grants, and determine the extent of possessory claims, under the late Treaty with Great Britain," in compliance with the requirements of the said Resolves, ask leave to report:
In the month of May, 1843, we met at Bangor, and proceeded thence to Houlton and Woodstock, and thence up the river St. John, through the Madawaska settlement, to Fort Kent, at the mouth of Fish River, where we arrived the second day of June. Here we remained till the 13th day of June, awaiting the arrival of the Commissioners on the part of Massachusetts, whom we ex
Wm. T. Johnson, Printer to the State.
pected to have met at Bangor, and of our supplies, which had been put up and forwarded in April previous, but had been stopped at Masardis by the unusual depth of the snow of that season.
On the 13th of June, the Massachusetts Commissioners arrived at Fort Kent, and we immediately proceeded up the St. John to the mouth of the St. Francis. Here we commenced the examination of the claims of settlers, and proceeded to survey and set off their lots by metes and bounds. We afterwards went up the St. John to the mouth of the Allaguash and Little Black rivers, and were diligently employed between the latter place and the mouth of Fish River, a distance of about thirty miles, till the latter part of July; at which time we had investigated all the claims above the mouth of Fish River, and surveyed the lots allowed, and had also scaled the river St. John, the whole distance from the mouth of the St. Francis to the eastern boundary line of the State.
On the 20th of September, we met again at Fort Kent, and, until the 28th of October, when the snow had become a serious hindrance to our labor, we were employed in the duties of the commission. During that time, we investigated the claims, and surveyed lots for settlers, extending a distance of about twelve miles below the mouth of Fish River, including two settlements in rear of the river lots.
On the 14th of May last, we met again at Fort Kent, and were occupied until the 16th of October, when we completed the performance of our duties upon the undivided lands, in the vicinity of the river St. John, both in surveying lots to persons entitled by a possession of six years before the Treaty, and also in surveying lots for pre-emption, in compliance with the provisions of the additional Resolves, passed and approved Feb. 29, 1844, embracing a distance, on the river St. John, of about ninety miles in all, in extent, and including several settlements in rear of the river lots.
As the townships in the vicinity of the Aroostook River had been divided between the two States, and had been surveyed into lots of suitable size for settlers, it was not thought necessary that we should there be attended with crews for surveying; or that all the Commissioners should be present at the examination of the
claims, which should be presented in that region. Accordingly, one Commissioner from each State was deputed to investigate the claims on the Aroostook, and take the testimony relating thereto, to be laid before the whole board, for adjudication, at a subsequent meeting. On the 17th of October, they proceeded to the mouth of the Aroostook, and thence followed up that river, receiving testimony in relation to claims, a distance, by the course of the river, of about sixty miles, to Masardis, which was completed on the 16th of November.
On the 17th of December, the Commissioners of the two States met at Gloucester, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and completed the joint proceedings, by virtue of the concurrent Resolves of their respective Legislatures, and prepared a record thereof, a duplicate of which is hereto annexed as a part of our Report.
We have returned to the Land Office full field notes and correct plans of all the surveys made by us, or under our direction, in accordance with the requirements of the Resolves aforesaid.
In obedience to the directions of the Resolves, approved Feb. 29, 1844, we have returned to the Land Office, in a separate list, field notes of the lots which we have set off to the settlers on the undivided lands, whose improvements had been commenced within six years before the date of the Treaty of Washington.
In order to obtain authenticated copies of the grants made by the British Government, one of the Commissioners, in May, 1843, repaired to Fredericton, with a letter from Gov. Kavanagh to the Lieut. Governor of New Brunswick, requesting that such copies might be furnished. That officer did not deem himself authorized to comply with such a request, emanating from the Executive of the State; but suggested that the application should be made by the Executive of the United States, through her Britannic Majesty's Minister at Washington. Accordingly, in June, 1843, Governor Kavanagh addressed a request to the Secretary of State, at Washington, by whom it was presented to the British Minister, and by him transmitted to the home Government in England. In July, 1844, the copies were furnished to the Secretary of State at Washington, and authenticated copies of those copies have been furnished to us, and by us filed in the Land Office, as required by the Resolves.
In the prosecution of our labors in the vicinity of the St. John, our duties were rendered perplexing and arduous, from the circumstances, that the settlers did not understand our language, and were unacquainted with our laws and institutions; and that their manner of acquiring possession of vacant tracts, and their modes of transfer, in cases of sale from one to another, were loose and irreg ular, giving occasion to frequent and numerous controversies in relation to boundaries between adjacent possessions, and in relation to titles, where several individuals claimed the same land. In their general character, however, the settlers are peaceable, honest, intelligent in proportion to their advantages, and they were very well disposed towards us; and by a patient hearing and investigation of their several claims, with an anxious desire to do justice between them, we take pleasure in the belief, that, in almost every instance, the results have been entirely satisfactory.
The inhabitants are well satisfied to be within the jurisdiction of the United States. Their circumstances and condition will be greatly improved by the provisions made for them in the Resolves under which we have acted; and still more, by the liberal provision made by the Legislature of 1844, for the promotion of education among them. The necessity of that provision could hardly be conceived by persons who have never spent any time in the midst of a community grown up together with almost no means of even learning to read. The benefits which have already resulted to them, under the very acceptable, skilful and devoted labors of the gentleman who was so wisely selected as the almoner of this bounty of the State, cannot be too highly appreciated. Though not within the scope of our official duty, we feel impelled to bear testimony from personal knowledge, to the fidelity of his self-denying labors, and to express a strong hope that the present Legislature will make an appropriation for the same purpose, sufficiently liberal, to accomplish what has been so happily commenced. By a judicious expenditure of a few thousand dollars at this time, in that interesting community, the rising generation will rank with the enlightened portions of the State.
From the east line of the State to the west line of the seventh Range of townships, a distance, by the river St. John, of about
sixty miles, the whole front on the river has been taken up, and is under improvement, with the exception of only about four hundred rods; and in the older parts of the settlement, the lots have been subdivided into very narrow fronts: Settlements have also been commenced in several places in rear of the river lots, which are rapidly extending. It would be a great accommodation to the settlers, and would promote the interest of the State, if the seven townships adjacent to the river were surveyed into lots for settlers, and offered for sale. In any event, the land will be taken up and occupied, and if not previously surveyed into lots, it will be difficult to survey them hereafter. A great number are desirous of purchasing, many of whom have the means of making immediate payment. If a liberal policy be extended to them by the States, they will become attached to our institutions of government, and those townships will soon be covered with a thriving population. PHILIP EASTMAN, JOHN W. DANA,
HENRY W. CUNNINGHAM.
March 3, 1845.