Description

    On the Mason and Dixon Line Survey

    John Penn (1729-1795), Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania & grandson of William Penn, Autograph Letter Signed, "John Penn", four pages, 7" x 9", Black Point, June 17, 1767 to an unknown recipient discussing preparations for the final year of the Mason and Dixon survey and the Maryland-Pennsylvania boundary line.

    "I am much obliged to your father for the trouble he took in consequence of my letter, and also to Col. Burd for his readiness in offering his Services upon this occasion. I am amazed to find both by your letter & Col. Burd's that so many Indians are expected to accompany the Surveyors in running the line. I had no idea of more than five or six deputies coming down, from what Sr. William Johnson wrote me, nor do I think he himself expected any more would come. I think the best manner of proceeding will be to call the Commissioners together with Mr. [George] Croghan to consult upon a proper method of sending these Indians home again. Six or eight would surely be enough to attend upon the Surveyors. The maintaining of so large a body would not only be very expensive, but other inconveniences would unavoidably arise whenever they had any Communication with the white People. They should at all events be sent back; and if a present upon the occasion should be thought necessary by the Commissioners it must be sent. I need not recommend frugality upon the occasion. I suppose the gentlemen will naturally think of that. I am afraid our Masters at home will be surprised as it is when the accounts of this business are transmitted to them through I believe everything relating to it, has been managed with as much regard to their interest as possible..."

    Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon began their survey to define the boundaries between Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware in 1763. Their most enduring line was, of course, the long border between Pennsylvania and Maryland which would bear their name. They finished defining that line in October 1767 but halted when they reached a path used by the Iroquois... their Delaware guides refused to push any further westward fearing reprisals from that confederation of tribes. The survey ended 233 miles from the coast and was not completed until after the American Revolution. George Crohghan (1720-1782) was an experienced Indian agent and fur trader and a major player in western land speculation after the close of the Revolution. Sir William Johnson (1715 - 1774) was in charge of Indian affairs for the northern colonies. Provenance Walter Benjamin, 1955. Usual folds, reinforced along left margin, a few contemporary ink smudges, else fine. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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