Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Resolutions of the Virginia General Assembly concerning land grants on the North Carolina/Virginia boundary
Virginia. General Assembly.
July 05, 1780
Volume 14, Pages 869-870


Wednesday, July 5th, 1780.

The General Assembly of Virginia having at a former session proposed to the Assembly of the neighboring Commonwealth of North Carolina to pass mutual Laws for securing real property to the owners, whether claimed by title of record or actual settlement, who on running the late boundary line might be found not to be in the state they settled under, and wishing to establish a principle for abolishing all local distinctions between states in one union where Citizenship is or ought to be reciprocal, have observed with great pleasure that the Legislature of North Carolina have in part closed with their proposition by passing a Law in October, 1779, for the purpose of establishing titles by actual settlement; But as by a subsequent Law the operation of their first act is suspended until their next Session, in order to do justice between patentees under the Government and more actual settlers claiming the same land, as it is doubtful whether the said patentees are in the said first law provided for, as a speedy decision of the matter would quiet the minds of men immediately interested therein, which it is hoped the Assembly of North Carolina will give at their next Session, and that they may have all necessary information on the subject,

Resolved, therefore, that it be represented to the Assembly of North Carolina that there were, under the legal Government, several modes of gaining a title to lands, none of which became complete except by the obtaining a patent written on parchment

-------------------- page 870 --------------------
and signed by the Governor for the time being, and that a claim to unappropriated land was only supportable between the time of entry and the time of obtaining such patent, after which the title of the patentee became indefeasible, unless by another patent of prior date. That no title by settlement was recognized under the said former Government, such title being first established by a resolution of Convention of the 24th day of May, 1776, which declared “that all persons settled on any unlocated or unappropriated lands to which there was none other just claim should have the pre-emption or preference in the grant of such lands,” but that this resolution could never have retrospect so as to defeat prior patentees, and thus prove so injurious to fair purchasers; neither can lands before patented come within the description of “unlocated or unappropriated.” This Assembly find themselves, therefore, impelled by every motive of law and justice warmly to solicit the Assembly of North Carolina to establish the several titles to lands under their former proposition, and must also inform the said Assembly that patentees and purchasers under them have a right, by the laws of this state, to a preference to all other claims, and that a deprivation of this right would involve several fair and bona fide purchasers in unmerited loss, since they could never have foreseen that which was thought to be impossible (to-wit), that a title under an express patent might be defeated. They will further observe, also, that a certificate from the Register of the Loan Office is the legal mode of fixing the authenticity of patents. The Assembly of Virginia again profess their willingness, on being informed of the ultimate determination of the Assembly of North Carolina, to meet them on the most liberal ground, and to do every thing on their part, that right may take place herein.

Teste, JOHN BECKLEY, Cl'k.