Committee Report on the Memorial of Captain John Mason

To the Honorable the General Council and Representatives in General Court assembled in Hartford, May 31st Anno Domini 1726    

Whereas, this Honorable Assembly at their session in October last were pleased to order and appoint as a committee to hear the pleas of Captain John Mason, relating to his memorial then before the Assembly and what hath been done on the part of this government and report the whole matter to this Assembly.

Accordingly, we do hereby beg leave to inform Your Honor and this Honorable Assembly that during the present sessions of this Assembly, we have here in Hartford attended on said  affair and have heard said memorialist on his pleas and evidence concerning his memorial, particularly,

First, the said memorialist has given in to us the copies of the proceedings and judgment of the Court of Inquiry mentioned in his memorial holden at Stonington, August 24,1705,  by which it appears the said court did order Owaneco to be put into possession of sundry lands and did tax a bill of costs for said Owaneco against this government to the sum of five hundred and seventy three pounds, twelve shillings and eight pence. We then asked the memorialist for a copy of the commission by which that court was holden that we might know their power to tax such great costs on this colony, but the memorialist said he had it not.  Whereupon, your committee proceeded to consider the judgment of said court in taxing such great costs on this colony, and we are not informed whether said court had sufficient power thereunto; but if they had power to tax costs, it seemeth very probable to your committee such their power was limited and only to tax moderate costs, and that only for what was necessarily done in and about their proceeding in said court after it was commissionated.  But in the bill of costs taxed, there are many heavy articles charged on this government for things done long before that court had a being, particularly

                                                                                                                          £      s   d

       To Captain Clarke, etc., for managing sundry complaints at Hartford                      6 .17            .0

       For procuring the commission                                                                   200 .00  .0

       To Major Mason, deceased, for journeys and expenses                                         066 .00  .0

Whereas, that gentleman was dead long before that court or the controversy itself had a being, and most, if not all, the other articles in the opinion of your committee are unintelligent, extra, vague, and far greater than ought to be allowed in any court. 

The memorialist did further inform your committee that this Assembly in their sessions October 10,1706 did appoint and fully empower Richard Christophers, Esq., with other commissioners in the part of this government to treat and fully agree with Owaneco concerning the claims of the lands, etc., and that accordingly, they did meet at Norwich, November 29,1706 and entered into articles of agreement with Owaneco as by the articles in writing under the hands of the parties doth appear, in which articles it is no ways stipulated that this government should pay the said costs or any costs. 

The memorialist then informed us, as he doth the Assembly in his memorial, that after the signing said articles, the memorialist and Owaneco gave to the committee a full and ample deed of all the lands belonging to Owaneco (in behalf of this government), excepting only his sequestered lands.  He further told us that the committee gave to him a bond of seven hundred pounds silver money at fifteen pence weight in consideration of said deed but saith that bond is now lost.  Your committee have searched the public records of this colony to find if that deed was ever put upon record and can not find it, but in searching, have found recorded a deed dated January 2, 1710/11 wherein the memorialist, declaring his right from his grandfather, who he said purchased those lands of Uncas 1669 sold and disposed of, almost all those lands said to be within Uncas’ bounds unto William Pitkin, Esq., and Company, as by the said deed upon the public records now before this court doth appear.  And further, your committee have observed that this Assembly, having taken into their consideration that in the said deed from the memorialist to William Pitkin, Esq., and Company, the memorialist declares it was his design in that deed to quiet the difficulties that had arisen in settling those lands.  This Assembly did, therefore, by their committees in settling Stafford and Bolton, etc.,1settle upon the grantees in said deed and their assigns, sundry farms and quantities of lands, which are, as your committee are informed, worth more than one thousand pounds.  Whereupon, your committee are humbly of opinion that since the memorialist and Owaneco did not abide by that deed given to the committee but have disposed of the land by deed to William Pitkin, Esq., and Company who have, thereupon, been considered by this Assembly as aforsaid, we say it is our opinion that if the said bond could now be produced, this government is not holden to answer it, much less since the parties themselves have either taken up or embezzled it.  Neither can this Assembly (as your committee conceives) resolve anything in relation to said costs without the commission given to Joseph Dudley, Esq., etc., produced, which the memorialist saith he can not do.                                     

Roger Wolcott

J. Wadsworth[11]

Legislative Action:        This report considered and approved and ordered to be kept on file in the

Secretary’s Office in the Upper House.  Test, Hezekiah Wyllys, Secretary.

Read in the Lower House and concurred with this recommendation, viz., that instead of its being kept on file in the Upper House, it be kept on file in the Secretary’s Office. Test, Thomas Kimberly, Clerk

Committee’s report on memorial / Captain John Mason / May 1726 /

Read before both Houses / Entered

Cataloguing:                126a, 126b, 154

  • 1. Deleted text: Hebron