Notes on the State of Virginia (1853)/Query 01
AN EXACT DESCRIPTION OF THE LIMITS AND BOUNDARIES OF THE STATE OF VIRGINIA?
Virginia is bounded on the East by the Atlantic; on the North by a line of latitude, crossing the Eastern Shore through Watkins's Point, being about 37° 57′ North latitude; from thence by a straight line to Cinquac, near the mouth of Patowmac; thence by the Patowmac, which is common to Virginia and Maryland, to the first fountain of its Northern branch; thence by a meridian line, passing through that fountain till it intersects a line running East and West, in latitude 39° 43′ 42.4″, which divides Maryland from Pennsylvania, and which was marked by Messrs. Mason and Dixon; thence by that line, and a continuation of it westwardly to the completion of 5 degrees of longitude from the Eastern boundary of Pennsylvania, in the same latitude, and thence by a meridian line to the Ohio: on the West by the Ohio and Missisipi, to latitude 36° 30′ North; and on the South by the line of latitude last mentioned. By admeasurements through nearly the whole of this last line, and supplying the unmeasured parts from good data, the Atlantic and Missisipi are found in this latitude to be 758 miles distant, equal to 13° 38′ of longitude, reckoning 55 miles and 3,144 feet to the degree. This being our comprehension of longitude, that of our latitude, taken between this and Mason and Dixon's line, is 3° 13′, 42.4″, equal to 223.3 miles, supposing a degree of a great circle to be 69 m. 864 f., as computed by Cassini. These boundaries include an area somewhat triangular, of 121,525 square miles, whereof 79,650 lie westward of the Alleghaney mountains, and 57,034 westward of the meridian of the mouth of the Great Kanhaway. This State is therefore one-third larger than the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, which are reckoned at 88,357 square miles.
These limits result from—1. The ancient charters from the crown of England. 2. The grant of Maryland to the Lord Baltimore, and the subsequent determinations of the British Court as to the extent of that grant. 3. The grant of Pennsylvania to William Penn, and a compact between the General Assemblies of the Commonwealths of Virginia and Pennsylvania as to the extent of that grant. 4. The grant of Carolina, and actual location of its Northern boundary, by consent of both parties. 5. The treaty of Paris of 1763. 6. The confirmation of the charters of the neighboring States by the Convention of Virginia at the time of constituting their Commonwealth. 7. The cession made by Virginia to Congress of all the lands to which they had title on the North side of the Ohio.