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TOWN CHARTERS

INCLUDING GRANTS OF TERRITORY WITHIN THE PRESENT

LIMITS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE,

MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT OF MASSACHUSETTS, AND A PORTION OF THE GRANTS

AND CHARTERS ISSUED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE,

WITH AN

AN APPENDIX,

CONSISTING OF PAPERS RELATING TO THE GRANTING OF THE VARIOUS LINES AND
BODIES OF TOWNS, WITH Acts.IN REGARD TO Town BOUNDS IN GENERAL,
AND MANY DOCUMENTS PRODUCED BY DISPUTES BETWEEN TOWNS

CONCERNING THEIR BOUNDARY LINES,

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JOINT RESOLUTION relating to the preservation and publication of portions of the early state and provincial records and other state papers of New Hampshire.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Æepresentatives in General Court convened:

That His Excellency the Governor be hereby authorized and empowered, with the advice and consent of the Council, to employ some suitable person—and fix his compensation, to be paid out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated—to collect, arrange, transcribe, and superintend the publication of such portions of the early state and provincial records and other state papers of New Hampshire as the Governor may deem proper; and that eight hundred copies of each volume of the same be printed by the state printer, and distributed as follows: namely, one copy to each city and town in the state, one copy to such of the public libraries in the state as the Governor may designate, fifty copies to the New Hampshire Historical Society, and the remainder placed in the custody of the state librarian, who is hereby authorized to exchange the same for similar publications by

other states.
Approved August 4, 1881.

PREFACE.

The disposition of the territory which is now included in the State of New Hampshire, and which was considered as vested in the crown by discovery and conquest, and the final assurance of undisputed titles among the people, was accomplished under peculiar conditions and after almost endless postponement. An early confusion and conflict of authority in the transmission of the patents affecting indefinite tracts, through the intervention of the Council of Plymouth in the first instance, and in the subsequent assumption and exercise of the right to hold and dispose of the same lands in the name of the King by the early governors of the province, was sufficient to keep the people of the province in long protracted difficulty over the titles to the soil which they occupied. Throughout the entire history of the province the title of Mason, the first patentee, was a potent element in affairs of the pioneer settlers and of the province, rendering all other titles uncertain, and constantly disturbing business and government. Interwoven with all this were the most determined assertions of rights by long continued occupancy, and by conveyances which had apparently been made in compliance with all the forms of law by the aboriginal masters of the domain. What of progress the towns of Portsmouth, Dover, Hampton, and Exeter accomplished before the erection of the provincial government under President Cutt, in 1679, was in the midst of the most embarrassing complications growing out of the confusion which prevailed in land titles accompanied by repeated changes in the conditions of colonial jurisdiction. The documentary history of these first towns is intimately involved in that of the state in its beginning. Papers illustrating this epoch have been given in prior volumes. Those now to be presented relate more particularly to the individual towns in which settlements were effected at a later date than the formal establishment of the province in 1679. An exceptional political history and character belonged to a group of towns of which Dunstable was the earliest settled. These were treated as Massachusetts territory without serious question for a considerable period, and for this reason much of their documentary history has been sought in the archives of that commonwealth. The papers which pertain to the towns of this group are here included under the general title of “Massachusetts Grants,” although the term may not be exactly descriptive.

As regards the mode of passing titles to the domain of the King in the province, in the period which followed the date of a settled government, it will be remembered

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