THE primary object of this study has been to investigate the political consequences of conflicting claims to Western lands rather than to pass upon the merits of the claims themselves. Yet Virginia's claim, under the charter of 1609, has entered so largely into all these disputes that it seems well to notice it before taking leave of the subject.
The boundaries of the province are described in the charter as follows: "from the Point of Land, called Cape or Point Comfort, all along the Sea Coast, to the Northward two hundred Miles, and from the said Point or Cape Comfort, all along the Sea Coast, to the southward two hundred Miles, and all that Space and Circuit of Land, lying from the Sea Coast of the Precinct aforesaid, up into the Land, throughout from Sea to Sea, West, and Northwest. . . ."1 There has been much discussion as to what this verbiage may have meant, some finding it difficult to decide whether the northern or the southern boundary line was the one which should run northwest. This, truly, would have made a vast difference, but it is clear that the expression "up into the Land, throughout from Sea to Sea, West, and Northwest," did not refer to lines merely, but to the tract of country. This was to run west and northwest, and it is hard to see that the phrase could have been interpreted in any other way.
The revocation of the charter in 1624 did not change the boundaries, but after that time the King was able to change them at pleasure. The grants to the Calverts, to Penn, and to the Carolina proprietors did change them, and the sea to sea charters of Massachusetts and Connecticut set up conflicting claims. Otherwise the boundaries of Virginia remained the same down to the outbreak of the Revolution, except that the peace of 1763 established the Mississippi River as the western limit. The proclamation of 1763 did not change them. There can be no question that Hillsborough, under the plan of 1768, intended to establish a permanent boundary between the Southern colonies and the Indians; Donelson's line of 1771 was looked upon by some, especially by Richard Henderson,____________________