Resolves of the Massachusetts Legislature, March 1842

In this document, a Resolution passed by the Massachusetts Legislature in March 1842, the Legislators point out to the US government, which was negotiating with Britain over the disputed border, that Washington could not make territorial concessions without the assent of Maine and Massachusetts, who owned the undivided public lands in Maine. This resolution was also the basis for claims after the Treaty that the two states should be reimbursed by the Federal Government for the lands that were given to settlers by Article IV of the Treaty of Washington, or Webster-Ashburton Treaty, which settled the dispute.


Commonwealth of Massachusetts

In the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-two

RESOLVES concerning the north-eastern boundary of the United States

Resolved, That the boundary line between the State of Maine, and the British Province of New Brunswick, is so clearly defined by the treaty of seventeen hundred and eighty-three, that the terms of the treaty can neither be misapprehended, nor afford any support to the unjust pretensions of Great Britain,

Resolved, That this Commonwealth as a joint proprietor with the State of Maine of the territory alleged to be in dispute, has an interest in all negotiations respecting the same, which demands her watchful attention that her rights and interests may be preserved unimpaired and unchanged without her assent.

Resolved, That the Governor with the advice and consent of the Council, be authorized and requested from time to time to adopt such measures to secure the rights and interests of the Commonwealth in said territory, and to produce an honorable and satisfactory adjustment as the emergency may demand.

Resolved, That no compromise which concedes any territory west of the treaty-line of seventeen hundred and eighty-three, can be constitutionally made without the assent of Maine and Massachusetts, and that as they are co-proprietors of the soil of this Commonwealth, will cheerfully co-operate with Maine in support of their mutual interests and rights.

Resolved, That the Governor be requested to transmit a copy of these resolutions to the President of the United States, and to the Governor of the State of Maine.

Resolved, That His Excellency the Governor be authorized to draw his warrant to cover any necessary expenses incurred in carrying into effect the foregoing resolves, after the same shall have been audited and allowed by the Council, to be paid out of the public treasury.

House of Representatives, March 3, 1842. Passed
Samuel H. Walley, Jr., Speaker pro tem

In Senate, March 3, 1842, passed
Josiah Quincy, Jr., President

Approved March 3, 1842
John Davis


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Last revised 6 Sep 2004
Mise jour le 6 septembre 2004
©2004 C.Gagnon