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Proprietors & Adventurers - Document Images


Record Book of Robert Barclay, Proprietary Governor of East New Jersey, 1684

This volume is the most significant item included in the Christie’s acquisition, containing transcriptions of land grants, legal cases, correspondence with officials including William Penn, and a record of the proceedings of East Jersey’s Lords Proprietors during 1682-84. The volume originally also held the five maps purchased separately at the auction (see above). Three documents are shown, as follows:

King Charles II’s patent of 12 March 1664 (top left) granted a vast expanse of the eastern seaboard to his brother James, Duke of York. The Duke subsequently granted authority for the land and governance of New Jersey to John, Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret.

New Jersey’s first colonial governor, Philip Carteret, asserted ownership of Staten Island based on the language of the 1664 grant to Berkeley and Carteret (top center). New York’s governors disagreed, and the question was not fully resolved until 1834.

In this 1683 “letter” to the colonists (top right), the king commanded the planters and inhabitants of East New Jersey to “submit and yield all due Obedience to the Laws and Government” of the new proprietors.

A Map of ye English Empire in ye Continent of America, circa 1684-85

London printer Robert Morden published this rare map of Britain’s American colonies in 1684-85, based on cartographer Richard Daniel’s rendering of the region. The map shows New Jersey’s east-west division, but the northern boundary with New York remained unfixed.

A Mapp of New Jersey in America, circa 1677

John Seller published the first printed map of New Jersey soon after its proprietors split the province into eastern and western divisions in 1676. This extremely rare map erroneously depicts New Jersey as an island, with the headwaters of the Walkill River connecting with those of the Delaware.

Manuscript Map of New York Harbor, circa 1683

New York Surveyor General Philip Wells’s hand-drawn map of New York Harbor was originally bound into Governor Barclay’s record book with documents relating to the claim to Staten Island. The map, in fact, labels the island as “Being the Proprietors, 1682/3.”

Manuscript Map of “East Jarsey,” 1686

Acting Surveyor General John Reid rendered the earliest surviving detailed map of East Jersey’s original counties—Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, and Monmouth—in 1686. Reid centered the map on Perth Amboy, the recently established provincial capital of East Jersey.

A Description of Amboy Point, May 1684

In 1682, East Jersey’s proprietors resolved to build a new town called Perth Amboy, future capital of the province. Surveyor Philip Wells likely rendered this hand-drawn proposed town plan, which included nine lots to be used for the common good.

West Jersey Merchant Adventurers Broadside, 1697

This 1697 broadside lists “adventurers” (i.e., stockholders) of the Society of Merchants of London, who had invested in land rights in West New Jersey. It is the only known copy of a printing likely distributed exclusively to the Society’s members.

The Grants, Concessions and Original Constitutions of the Province ..., 1758

Compiled by Aaron Leaming and Jacob Spicer, this compendium contains the charters and session laws of both East and West Jersey from the proprietary period (1664-1702). The compilers required nearly six years for the painstaking work of producing the volume’s 763 pages. Historians consider West Jersey’s “Concessions and Agreements” of 1677 (right) a prototype American charter from which sprang the freedoms guaranteed over a century later in the Bill of Rights.

The Acts of the General Assembly of the Province of New-Jersey ..., 1732

John Kinsey, Speaker of the Provincial Assembly, produced the first major compendium of New Jersey’s laws (left). Philadelphia printers William and Andrew Bradford published the work in 1732. This 1719 law (right) intended to settle a longstanding dispute over New Jersey’s northern boundary with New York. The controversy, however, dragged on until 1769 when the crown intervened.

A Bill in the Chancery of New-Jersey ..., 1747

Disputes in East Jersey between the proprietors and settlers continued into the 18th century. Controversy over land distribution in Elizabethtown led to a lawsuit in the Chancery Court. James Parker published the complaint in 1747, with Benjamin Franklin selling copies in Philadelphia. Schedule Number II (right) established the chain of title from the twenty-four purchasers of East Jersey in 1682 to the proprietors who filed suit.

The History of the Colony of Nova-Caesaria, or New-Jersey ..., 1765

Samuel Smith (1720-1776) authored the first general history of the colony of New Jersey. The book was printed in Burlington by James Parker on a press owned by Benjamin Franklin. Chapter IV (right) discusses the royal grant of New Jersey to the Duke of York and the settlement of East Jersey’s first towns.