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Pennsylvania Proprietor Thomas Penn requests Joseph Shippen take charge of the funds to pay for Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon's survey of the Maryland-Pennsylvania border, better known as the Mason-Dixon Line
London, England: , August 10, 1763 Important Autograph Letter Signed "Tho Penn", 1 page, 7" x 8.75", London, August 10, 1763 to Joseph Shippen, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Provincial Council, concerning supervision of the funds to pay for the Mason-Dixon survey. Usual folds, extremely minor holes toward left margin grazing two letters of text, else fine condition. Thomas Penn, eager to see the long-simmering boundary dispute between Maryland and Pennsylvania settled once and for all writes to Shippen in full: "As Mr. Richard Peters has resigned the offices he held under us, in order to apply his time principally to the dutys [sic] of his function, as a Minster, we cannot any longer desire him to receive and disburse the money necessary for the Service of the Commissioners, and Surveyors, appointed for running the Lines between Maryland and Pennsilvania [sic], and we desire in his stead, that you will undertake this Service. We have written to Mr Hockley to supply you with what money you shal[l] want for that purpose and desire you will apply it in such manner as shal[l] be most for our Service, and send us the accounts of your disbursements whenever we shal[l] order them. You will observe any orders you shal[l] receive from the Commissioners, and confer with Mr. John Penn on all occasions, relating to this business." Overlapping land grants to Maryland and Pennsylvania led to a dispute between the two colonies, leading to several violent incidents known collectively as Cresap's War. The colonies only resolved their differences after the Crown intervened in 1760 and enforced an earlier agreement that settled the boundary between Pennsylvania, Maryland and the "Three Lower Counties" (later known as Delaware) to the borders we are familiar with today. The Penns and the Calverts commissioned surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon to survey the boundary, a task that took them five years between 1762 and 1767. The long boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland became known as "Mason-Dixon Line." As the national struggle over slavery grew more intense during the first half of the 19th century, the line became (and remains still) a cultural boundary separating the North from the South. Richard Peters (1704-1776), a Liverpool-born Anglican minister, emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1735. He served in numerous official posts as a member of the Pennsylvania Delegation to the 1754 Albany Congress. Peters also served as Clerk of the Provincial Council and as Secretary of the Land Office. He retired from public affairs in 1762 becoming rector of Christ Church in Philadelphia until ill health forced him to resign in 1775. Joseph Shippen (1732-1810) was the brother of Pennsylvania Chief Justice Edward Shippen, the father-in-law of Benedict Arnold. At the start of the French and Indian War, he served as a captain in Col. Clapham's Regiment serving at Fort Augusta and Shamokin from 1756- 1757 and also served under General Forbes during his 1758 expedition against Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh). After a few years in Europe, he returned to Pennsylvania in 1762 where, he became Secretary of the Provincial Council. He later served as a Judge in Lancaster. Provenance: Walter Benjamin Autographs, 1955; The Collection of Henry E. Luhrs.
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Last Found On: 2014-05-04           Check availability:      ABAA    

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