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Sale 38 Lot 77

MASON & DIXON SURVEY EDWARD SHIPPEN(1728 - 1806) Chief Justice of Pennsylvania and a moderate Loyalist, he was father-in-law of Benedict Arnold. Important A.L.S. 1p. legal folio, Lancaster, June 6, 1767 to Edward Burd advising him of the arrival of the Iroquois emissaries who would accompany Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon during their last season of surveying the line that would bear their names. The line, which only much took on national significance following the Missouri Compromise in 1820, was originally commissioned to settle the long-simmering border dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland. In post French and Indian War America, the extension of the line westward into the Appalachian Mountains, turned an intra-colonial dispute into an international one. In the view of the Iroquois, the westward extension of the survey threatened to overturn the Proclamation Line of 1763 that forbade European settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains. Shippen, mindful that the Indians had the authority to stop the survey as it progressed into their lands at any time, warned that they should be treated with great discretion and tact: "...On my Return home this afternoon I received Letter from The Governor, a Copy of which is on the other side.- You will perceive he is very desirous that the Indians, who are expected down the Susquehanna, should be civilly & kindly treated, and the more so, I suppose to compensate in some measure for The Injuries, which a party of the 6 Nations complained they received last Year from the Inhabitants of Paxton. I know very well how precious your Time is at present but as The Business those Indians are coming upon regards the particular Interests of the Proprietary Family, and is of the greatest Consequence to them, I would have you, in order to oblige the Governor on such an Occasion, to write to John Harris & Samuel Hunter to inform you by Letter of the Arrival of the Indians at their Houses, the moment the come there, desiring them to be very careful that they are treated with the greatest Civility, And as soon as you learn that they are arrived at either Place, you will ride up to Harris[']s, and do, in the best Manner you can, what the Governor so earnestly requests concerning them.- If there is no careful white Person already with them, I am of [the] Opinion it would be very advisable for you to hire some steady prudent Person to attend them & conduct them safely wheresoever they are directed to meet the proprietary Surveyors Messrs. Mason & Dixon...". Shippen raised the specter of the infamous Paxton Boys: Scots-Irish settlers in the Susquehanna, who in 1763 and 1764 visited a reign of terror upon the local Conestoga Indians and then nearly marched upon Philadelphia when provincial authorities opposed their actions. On the verso, Shippen copied Penn's letter dated, Philadelphia June 5th 1767, which is very close in wording to Shippen's, in part: "Sir William Johnson informs me he has prevailed upon the Indians to suffer the Surveyors to extend the Line.. This Business is to be gone upon immediately, and several Indians are coming down the would request Colo. Burd to see they are taken proper Care of when the come to Harris's, and that no Insults are offered them...Their Expences [sic] should be as moderate as possible, and their Treatment very civil, for if they should have any Reason to be offended, the whole Business may fail...John Penn." It had taken Sir William Johnson some time to secure permission for the survey of the Pennsylvania-Maryland-Virginia border from the Iroquois. Historian Edward Danson noted that "... Success in General Johnson's negotiations with the Six Nations had hinged on the Indians trust in the provisions of the 1763 proclamation...The Indian questioned the commissioners' desire to run the survey any farther than the Allegheny divide. Indeed the survey would end only miles west of the Monongahela River in October 1768 when the Iroquois guides halted the survey seeing no reason for the survey to extend into their lands. With integral address leaf. Usual folds, some reinforced on verso, a few minor marginal chips, else near fine condition.
Estimate $ 1,000-1,500

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