I've been causing problems on wikipedia again, making sure that things are not being erroneously reported there about New Jersey. Of course things are inaccurate on the New Jersey pages, some small, some large (when did the Tomato become the state vegetable? ). This thread however deals with the 1664 Charter, the lose of NJ lands to NY and someone trying to demonstrate that NJ never had jurisdiction or rights to the islands in NY Harbor - namely Liberty Island and Eliis Island.

He states the following in the Liberty Island entry...

The islands of New York harbor have been part of New York since the issuance in 1664 of the colonial charter that created New Jersey (see charter text). This charter stated that New Jersey "bounded by the Hudson River" rather than from the middle channel, as was common in other colonial charters. That is, as everyone understood at the time, the NY-NJ border did not go through the center of the river channel as one might naturally assume.
Upon SERIOUSLY looking at the New Jersey charter from 1664 and the language used, I have to say he is 100% incorrect in his assement. To make matters worse, the Charter grants the lands WEST of Manhattan Island and Long Island. It says NOTHING about excluding the islands from New Jersey.

The following is the text in question from the 1664 Charter...

James Duke of York, doth hereby acknowledge, and thereof doth acquit and discharge the said John Lord Berkley and Sir George Carteret forever by these presents hath granted, bargained, sold, released and confirmed, and by these presents doth grant, bargain, sell, release and confirm unto the said John Lord Berkley and Sir George Carteret, their heirs and assigns for ever, all that tract of land adjacent to New England, and lying and being to the westward of Long Island, and Manhitas Island and bounded on the east part by the main sea, and part by Hudson's river, and hath upon the west Delaware bay or river, and extendeth southward to the main ocean as far as Cape May at the mouth of the Delaware bay; and to the northward as far as the northermost branch of the said bay or river of Delaware, which is forty-one degrees and forty minutes of latitude, and crosseth over thence in a strait line to Hudson's river in forty-one degrees of latitude; which said tract of land is hereafter to be called by the name or names of New Caeserea or New Jersey: and also all rivers, mines, mineralls; woods, fishings, hawking, hunting, and fowling, and all other royalties, profits, commodities, and hereditaments whatever, to the said lands and premises belonging or in any wise appertaining;

Based on the charter, New Jersey not only OWNED Liberty Island and Ellis Island, but also Governors Island AND Staten Island.

According to the 1664 Charter - this should be the NJ/NY border in NY Harbor.


So what happened to these lands? To put it simply - it seems to be the incompetence of the NJ Governors, which is clearly something we still suffer from today (the new Giants Stadium deal ring a bell?). Basically NY acted like they owned it - so everyone assumed they did and NJ kept quiet. Every once in a while NJ would speak out, but it was too little and often too late. Many people don't know it - but we also lost huge amounts of land to NY in the north also. Our northern boundary was supposed to extend from the east to 41 degrees 40' in the west. Instead NY was laying claim to it. In 1760 NY and New Jersey agreed to allow the king to settle the matter. Seven years later the commission set up by King George III finally met and determined that the border should be 41 degrees 21'. NY wanted much more than they got and appealed to the king, but the king chose to follow the recommendation of his commission.
Guide to the Records of the New York and New Jersey Boundary Dispute

..and bounded on the east part by the main sea, and part by Hudson's river, and hath upon the west Delaware bay or river, and extendeth southward to the main ocean as far as Cape May at the mouth of the Delaware bay; and to the northward as far as the northermost branch of the said bay or river of Delaware, which is forty-one degrees and forty minutes of latitude, and crosseth over thence in a strait line to Hudson's river in forty-one degrees of latitude; which said tract of land is hereafter to be called by the name or names of New Caeserea or New Jersey
New York's argument here was that there was no branch of the delaware at 41 degrees 40'.