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Collection Title: New England Mississippi Land Company, Reports in Congress, 1823-1840.

Collection Number: M230

Dates: February 11, 1823-May 18, 1840

Volume: 8 Items

Provenance: Unknown.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

In the late 1700's land companies were formed in Georgia for the purpose of buying the western lands and reselling them at tremendous profits. The Georgia Mississippi Company was formed in 1795, with James Greenleaf as a major purchaser of the company's lands, but Greenleaf shortly thereafter sold his grant to speculators in Boston who formed the New England Mississippi Land Company with the hope of selling Mississippi land to New England investors.

Much controversy surrounded land claims in the Mississippi Territory. Congress ruled in 1802 that all lands claimed by Georgia would be ceded to the United States government in return for payment and that claims of settlers actually in residence prior to the Spanish evacuation would be confirmed. At first, none of those persons who participated in speculative land sales, generally called Yazoo claims, were compensated. Later, however, a Supreme Court decision in the case Brown vs. Gilman legalized the claim of the New England Mississippi Land Company, but a request for settlement was still being presented to Congress as late as 1840.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of eight printed reports which originated in committees of the United States Congress in the years 1823 to 1840. They concern the petition of the directors of the New England Mississippi Land Company to obtain, through Congressional redress, a portion of the money alloted for payment to the Georgia Mississippi.

Three commissioners, Thomas Swann, Francis S. Key, and John Law, had been appointed by Congress in 1814 to settle Yazoo land claims. Their original decision had disallowed the claim of the New England Mississippi Land Company, but several of these reports include statements by Swann and Key that their decision had been in error and the claim of the New England Mississippi Land Company should be allowed.

The following titles are included in this collection.

  1. Report of the Judiciary Committee, United States Senate. February 11, 1823. Written in response to a petition by Ebenezer Oliver and other directors of the New England Mississippi Land Company. Contains an overview of procedures in Congress from 1814. Committee conclusion is that the petition should not be granted.
  2. Report (No. 17) from the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate. February 17, 1826. 19th Congress, 1st Session. Report in response to a petition of Ebenezer Oliver and other directors of NEMLC. Presented by Mr. Mills. Includes a true copy of the records of the Board of Commissioners on Yazoo claims. Committee conclusion is that petitioners are entitled to relief.
  3. Report (No. 52) from the Committee on the Judiciary, read in the United States Senate. February 9, 1930. 21st Congress, 1st Session. Report in response to a petition of Thomas L. Winthrop and other directors of the NEMLC. Same text as Report No. 17, with an added phrase on page 3.
  4. Report (No. 29) from the Committee on the Judiciary, read in the United States Senate. January 18, 1832. 22nd Congress, 1st Session. Report in response to a petition of Thomas L. Winthrop and other directors of the NEMLC. Same text as No. 52.
  5. Report (No. 205) from the Committee on the Judiciary, read in the United States Senate. March 22, 1834. 23rd Congress, 1st Session. Report accompanying Senate Bill No. 130. In response to a petition of Thomas L. Winthrop and other directors of the NEMLC. Contains a more detailed history of the facts of the Yazoo land claims disputes.
  6. Report (No. 42) from the Committee on the Judiciary, read in the United States Senate. December 26, 1837. 25th Congress, 2nd Session. Report accompanying Senate Bill No. 93. In response to petition by Thomas L. Winthrop and others. Notes that numerous favorable reports of the bill have been presented.
  7. Report (No. 956) from the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives. June 6, 1838. 5th Congress, 2nd Session. Report to accompany Senate Bill No. 208. State concurrence of House Committee on Judiciary with the view of the Senate Bill.
  8. Report (No. 47) from the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate. May 18, 1840. 26th Congress, 1st Session. Report to accompany Senate Bill No. 131. Appears to be an incomplete report.

Numerous references to the U.S. Supreme Court case Brown and Gilman are made in these reports. Also mentioned are Richard Wallack, late Secretary of the Board of Commissioners on Yazoo claims; other individuals involved in the two land companies: Amasa Jackson, W. Hampton, William Wetmore and George R. Minat; and Senators Strange, Garland, Clayton, Smith, Hayne, Rowan and Mills who presented the various reports.


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