Bayly, Josiah (1769-1846)
Pair of Autograph Letters Signed, Cambridge, Maryland, August 19, and October 11, 1834 to Bene S. Pigman, Cumberland, Maryland

two letters, folio, three pages, in generally very good clean and legible condition, old repairs to the October letter which affect a few words of text, else very good. Postal markings, October letter with docketing information: “Correspondence about Virginia Boundary.”

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Josiah Bayly, the Attorney General of Maryland, (a post he held from 1831-1846) writes to Pigman, elected in 1831 as state senator from Cumberland concerning a boundary dispute between Maryland and Virginia involving the southern and western boundaries of the two states. The Maryland Legislature had passed a resolution earlier in 1834 authorized the Attorney General to seek legal redress against Virginia1. Cumberland, Maryland and Virginia (now West Virginia) were separated by the Potomac River, Virginia and later West Virginia sought to claim the north bank of the Potomac as their boundary.

       “Dear Sir,

            My friend Mr. Page has just handed me your letter addressed to him on the subject of the claim of Maryland agt. Virginia – I requested Mr. Merrick together with yourself to meet me in Baltimore on the first of July – for the purpose of consulting with respect to the particular facts in relation to the claim – and to ascertain from him & yourself whether you were in possession of any other than those stated in the reports of the different committees. My object was to obtain possession of all the facts connected with the State’s claim and how far they were susceptible of proof & the manner of obtaining it, before I drew the bill. The bill ought to state all the material facts and no doubt is the correct mode of procedure. The probata & allegata ought to agree. I was in Baltimore on the day appointed but unfortunately had not the pleasure to see either of you.  By the rules of the Supreme court no process can be issued in this particular case but by order of the court during their session on Motion. The bill may be filed during vacation or during the session of the court – I therefore have a sufficient time and will prepare the bill in due time & when prepared will show it to you. In the mean time I shall be glad to be informed of such additional facts or circumstances material to the case as you may have ascertained, other than appears in the reports – also in what manner they can be proved whether by fact or documentary evidence. This information is desireable before the bill is prepared – and I will thank you to inform me by the next or some early mail. I shall have the bill drawn within the space of four or five weeks if not prevented by some unforeseen accident. It is my wish to exhibit the claim fully and particularly. I shall however be confined to such facts as appear in the reports unless it shall be in your power to furnish any additional – which no doubt you will do if there be any discovered in the course of your investigation- …” 

        “Dear Sir,

              I have prepared the bill against the Commonwealth of Virginia in relation to the Western and Southern boundaries & limits of Maryland. It consists of fifty five pages in manuscript and is too long to be copied without great labour which my professional engagements will not allow therefore I shall be unable to furnish you with a copy before it is filed. I am now engaged with the County courts, but expect to be in Baltimore Saturday the 18th instant on my way to Washington and on the 20th intend to file it with directions to the clerk of the Supreme court to prepare a copy for you and Mr. Merrick. It is usual to make printed copies and the clerk wishes to have it this month for the purpose of preparing printed copies. No process can be issued [b]ut on motion in court, you will therefore have [suf]ficient time to examine it and any alterations or [a]mendments or additions may be made at any time before the process is issued, if any such should occur to you as necessary – let me know and they shall be made. It is probable I may see you before the session of the court, and before that time you may have received a copy. It would have given me pleasure to have shown it to you before I filed it – but the remote distance of your residence renders it impossible.”  


       1. Maryland, Laws, Acts of 1833,1834, Resolution No. 80, Passed March 14, 1834. The boundary dispute continued throughout the 19th century and was finally resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court Maryland v. West Virginia 217 U.S. 1 (1910).