The present volume continues the Council Proceedings from Aug.
10, 1753, to Mar. 20, 1761.
On Aug. 10 Horatio Sharpe assumed the governorship, which office
had been administered by President Tasker since the death of Gov.
Ogle in 1752. No better man than Sharpe could have been selected
for the position. He was just, able, energetic, and conscientious, and
he had had military training and experience; qualifications which were
soon to be much in demand.
His first worries were over the disputed or unsettled boundaries.
The vast territory which William Penn had seized, added to that
which had been given him by a man who did not own it, all which were
tenaciously held by his heirs, seemed by this time to be irrecoverably
lost, partly through the inertness and too easy belief of former Pro-
prietaries, and partly through the neglect of Gov. Ogle to secure the
necessary evidence. The temporary lines were very imperfectly de-
termined, whence arose disputes, brawls, and even bloodshed. The
Virginia boundary also was still in question. The charter of Mary-
land called for a meridian line from the first, or farthest, fountain of
the Potomac. Lord Fairfax, whose grant was limited by the Maryland
boundary, had, in 1746, planted the " Fairfax stone " at the head of
the north branch as marking the beginning of his line. Better knowl-
edge of the topography showed that the head of the south branch was
really the first fountain. This delimitation Fairfax was very willing
to accept, believing that removing his starting-point to the west would
add considerably to his territory (p. 20) ; and probably the matter
would then have been settled, but for the outbreak of the French and
The anxiety which had been felt since the disclosure of the French
plan of a cordon of forts extending south and west from Canada, was
brought to a climax by the erection of a fort on the Ohio within the
province of Pennsylvania. Active measures of resistance were taken
by the British and Provincial governments, and Sharpe was com-
missioned commander-in-chief pending the arrival of Gen. Braddock
with a body of regular troops.