Filed by Pennsylvania on November 3, 1781
Article IX Court convenes in Trenton, NJ on November 12th, 1782
Article IX Court Decree issued on December 30, 1782
Pennsylvania vs Connecticut 1782 Decree manuscript in the hand of Article IX Court Clerk John Neilson. - Image courtesy of the Klos Yavneh Collection.
This Cause has been well Argued by the learned Council on both sides.
The Court are now to pronounce their Sentence of Judgement.
We are unanimously of Opinion that the State of Connecticut has no right to the lands in Controversy.
We are also unanimously of Opinion that the Jurisdiction and Preemption of all the Territory lying within the Chester boundary of Pennsylvania and now claimed by the State of Connecticut do of right belong to the State of Pennsylvania.
Trenton 30 Decbr 1782
Wm C Houston
The five judges that were appointed by the United States in Congress Assembled (USCA) as per Article IX of the the Articles of Confederation, which states:
The United States in Congress assembled shall also be the last resort on appeal in all disputes and differences now subsisting or that hereafter may arise between two or more States concerning boundary, jurisdiction or any other causes whatever; which authority shall always be exercised in the manner following. Whenever the legislative or executive authority or lawful agent of any State in controversy with another shall present a petition to Congress stating the matter in question and praying for a hearing, notice thereof shall be given by order of Congress to the legislative or executive authority of the other State in controversy, and a day assigned for the appearance of the parties by their lawful agents, who shall then be directed to appoint by joint consent, commissioners or judges to constitute a court for hearing and determining the matter in question: but if they cannot agree, Congress shall name three persons out of each of the United States, and from the list of such persons each party shall alternately strike out one, the petitioners beginning, until the number shall be reduced to thirteen; and from that number not less than seven, nor more than nine names as Congress shall direct, shall in the presence of Congress be drawn out by lot, and the persons whose names shall be so drawn or any five of them, shall be commissioners or judges, to hear and finally determine the controversy, so always as a major part of the judges who shall hear the cause shall agree in the determination: and if either party shall neglect to attend at the day appointed, without showing reasons, which Congress shall judge sufficient, or being present shall refuse to strike, the Congress shall proceed to nominate three persons out of each State, and the secretary of Congress shall strike in behalf of such party absent or refusing; and the judgement and sentence of the court to be appointed, in the manner before prescribed, shall be final and conclusive; and if any of the parties shall refuse to submit to the authority of such court, or to appear or defend their claim or cause, the court shall nevertheless proceed to pronounce sentence, or judgement, which shall in like manner be final and decisive, the judgement or sentence and other proceedings being in either case transmitted to Congress, and lodged among the acts of Congress for the security of the parties concerned: provided that every commissioner, before he sits in judgement, shall take an oath to be administered by one of the judges of the supreme or superior court of the State, where the cause shall be tried, 'well and truly to hear and determine the matter in question, according to the best of his judgement, without favor, affection or hope of reward': provided also, that no State shall be deprived of territory for the benefit of the United States.
NCHC Partners in the Park Student primary source exhibit on the second floor of Independence Hall flanked by the National Collegiate Honor’s Council Partners in the Park Independence Hall Class of 2017. The primary sources exhibited include an original 1781 Journals of Congress open to the Articles of Confederation, Owen Biddle's 1779 resignation as United States Lottery Manager, U.S. National Lottery ticket 3rd Class, Henry Laurens signed Military Commission as President, USCA President Elias Boudinot letter to General Arthur St. Clair regarding the Army mutiny that forced Congress to flee Philadelphia to Princeton, Pennsylvania vs Connecticut 1782 Decree at Trenton manuscript, 1774 Journals of Congress and a 1781 USCA President Thomas McKean letter signed. – For more information visit our National Park and NCHC Partners in the Park Class of 2017 website
Today, border disputes between the states are addressed in Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that the federal court's judicial power specifically extends to "Controversies between two or more States.” Cases decided by the Supreme Court concerning boundaries include Rhode Island v. Massachusetts (1846), Florida v. Georgia (1855), Alabama v. Georgia (1860), Georgia v. South Carolina (1922), New Mexico v. Texas (1927), Vermont v. New Hampshire (1933), New Jersey v. Delaware (1934), New Hampshire v. Maine (1977).
Pennsylvania vs Connecticut 1782 Decree manuscript in an unknown hand located in the The Trumbull Papers: Connecticut Colonial Official Papers, 1631-1784 (Trumbull, Jonathan.) Main Vault 974.6 fT76
Wm. C. Houston