Committee Report on the Case of Tunxis Indians v. Solomon Whitman

To the Honorable General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut to be Holden at New Haven on the Second Thursday of October A.D. 1768
Whereas Your Honors at your sessions at New Haven on the second Thursday of October 1767 appointed us, the subscribers, a committee to enquire in to the several matters mentioned and complained of in a certain petition preferred to said Assembly by James Wawowos and the rest of the Tunxis Tribe of Indians living at Farmington [ torn ] against Solomon Whitman, Esq.,  and others of said Farmington, petitionees, representing that the petitioners have encroached upon certain lands anciently reserved and set apart for [ torn ] said tribe, and directed us to make report, etc., to said [ torn ] Assembly at their sessions in May then next following.  And whereas we, Your Honors’ said committee, were not able to make return by said time Your Honors did at your sessions at Hartford in May last reappoint us for the purpose aforesaid and directed us to make report of what we should find relative to the matters in said petition contained [ torn ] Your Honors at your session to be held at New Haven, October then next. Whereupon we, Your Honors’ Committee [in] obedience to Your Honors’ said resolves and appoi[ntment,] undertook said business and notified the parties[ torn ] before us at the dwelling house of Captain Solomon [Cowles], inn holder in Farmington aforesaid, on the 29th day of September last at which time and place the parties accordingly appeared and exhibited their evidences, etc., in the case, and we having largely and fully heard them thereon and maturely considered their respective allegations, evidences, and arguments relative to said matters, beg liberty to report to Your Honors that we find that in the year 1650 about the time the English first settled said Town of Farmington, there was an agreement made and consented to by and between the English first settlers of said town and the petitioners’ ancestors, the original inhabitants and possessors of said town, whereby there was reserved and ceded to said Indian Natives for their use, a certain tract of land in said town situate and lying at a place called the Indian Neck, containing about one hundred and forty acres, being mostly encompassed by a creek and was anciently staked and bounded out as appears by an instrument dated the ninth day of April 1650, which contains the original compact and agreement made between them, which said agreement was entered on the public records of said town.      
We further find that in consequence of said agreement, the said Indians entered in to and upon said tract of land, consisting partly of plowing land and [torn ]t there of low swampy land, that the land suitable for plowing the said Indians improved for raising corn, and, for their greater convenience, they divided and aparted the arable land in to allotments among themselves, which they improved in severalty.      
We also find that in process of time, the English began to make purchases of said Indians of their said lands in small parcels, as appears by sundry deeds and instruments [ torn ] conveyance obtained from a number of the said Indian Natives, some whereof bear date before the first day of December 1702.  Others appear by their date to be obtained [after?] said first day of December 1702 and before the ninth day of May 1717, and a number of said deeds we find were [ torn ]ined since the said ninth day of May 1717, which said deeds we find include a considerable part of said tract of land.  Also, we find that many of said deeds were never acknowledged before any authority nor recorded in any public record.  Others were acknowledged but not recorded, and some were acknowledged and recorded, among which only four appear to be allowed and approved of by the General Assembly of this colony.
We further find that said purchases were, many of them, obtained for valuable considerations, that under color of said purchases, the several and respective purchasers entered in to said lands and became possessed thereof, claiming the same in fee, that by sundry mean conveyances, part of said land is now claimed and possessed by some of the petitionees and others of the said petitionees’ claim by descent from their ancestors, having no other title there to then, what they have derived from the said original purchasers, obtained as aforesaid.
We further find that the petitioners (with others not named in said petition) and those under whom they claim, have from time to time by degrees, got the whole of said tract of land [at] the Indian Neck into their possession and improvement[ torn ] hold the same.
And thereupon we, Your Honors [committee?] ask liberty to offer it as our opinion that notwithstanding the petitionees and present possessors of said lands have [ torn ] by their said purchases made to themselves a legal title to said lands, except such as have been allowed and approved by the General Assembly, yet considering that most of them were transacted in early times and before the law [wa]s settled relative to Indian purchases, and many parcels of sa[ torn ], having since passed through divers hands, and great im[ torn ] being made thereon, by means whereof said lands a[foresaid?] become valuable, so that many of the present possessors [ torn ] lands purchased them at their full value, it will [ torn ] just and equitable that the present possessors should [ torn ] hold and be quieted in their future possession in all the [ torn ] said Indian Neck, which they or those under wh[ torn ]ve really and in fact heretofore purchased of the said Indian [ torn ] according to the true intent and meaning of the [ torn ] instruments of conveyance, and that righteousness and equity might be fully done, as well to the petitioners, as to the said possessors of said lands, we further offer it as our opinion that a judicious disinterested committee be appointed by this Assembly with full power and authority to survey and lay out to the petitioners and others claiming an interest in the aforesaid lands what by right they and every of them ought to have and hold thereof and that all the residue of said large tract of land be surrendered to the petitioners for their use and improvement, and  to carry the same into full and complete execution, that said committee for that purpose to be appointed be directed to make return of such their doings in the premises to the General Assembly for their approbation and confirmation.
All which is humbly submitted to Your Honors by Your Honors’ obedient humble servants,
Hezekiah Humphrey
Dated at Farmington, [ torn ]1, 1768
Legislative Action:
In the Lower House, the question was put whether this report should be accepted, resolved in the negative. Test, William Williams, Clerk.  In the Upper House, the question was put whether this report should be accepted, etc.  Resolved in the negative.  Test, George Wyllys, Secretary / [ torn ] / Negatived Lower  House.  Negatived Upper House, October 27 p.m.
178a, 178b, 178c, 178d