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thus effect a reduction in the price of the article. The burden and the benefit of these operations are, therefore, reciprocal; and it is but reasonable that a part of the money thus received should be expended for the benefit of those from whom it is collected. Do not the same arguments apply with equal force to the interior, as well as to the foreign commerce of our country? The duties imposed on foreign merchandise are paid by the consumer, who resides in the most interior and remote part of the country, as well as by the inhabitant of the Atlantic seaboard. Has he not a right to exect that some part of that money will be expended for §. benefit, as well as for the accommodation of those who inhabit the seacoast? I have not ascertained the exact amount of the export trade of Lake Erie during the past year. I have seen a partial statement of its amount, which proves it to be of great extent; and should it be estimated at fifteen thousand tons, which is probably below the actual amount, it would swell the aggregate annual amount of that trade to forty thousand tons. I might add that this amount has greatly increased during the past year, in consequence of the partial completion of the Ohio canal. And when that great work, opening an avenue through the whole of that great State, and forming a communication between the lakes and the Ohio, shall be completed; when the vast and fertile regions on the shores of these lakes shall be converted from a wilderness into fruitful fields, who can estimate the vast amount of produce which shall be floated towards a market on the waters of Lake Erie? Is not this an object of national importance? Is not the protection and security of the commerce of those great inland seas deserving of the attention and care of the National Government? Is not its prosperity important to the strength, the security, and resources of the nation? If, then, this general object is one of national importance, every particular improvement made for this general object participates of the same character, and itself becomes national; provided that such improvement is necessary, and judiciously selected for the promotion of the general design. I will add a word respecting the particular character of the improvements contemplated in this bill. They are such as, by a comparatively small expenditure, to produce a great amount of public benefit. Although, previous to the commencement of the improvements made by this Government, there was not a port or haven for the distance of near three hundred miles on the south shore of Lake Erie, which a vessel could enter in a time of danger, it has not been necessary to incur the expense of the entire construction of harbors. There were several natural harbors formed by bays and the mouths of rivers; but, in almost every instance, their entrance was so obstructed by sand bars as to destroy their utility. All that was required for the completion of safe and commodious harbors, was the removal of the sand bars by which their entrance was obstructed. The first appropriation for these objects was made in the year 1824. The plan of improvement then proposed was considered as an exeriment, the success of which might be doubtful. But it has been attended with entire success; and the same plan, under the direction of the same skilful and experienced engineer, has been successfully adopted in all the improvements which have been commenced in those waters. The necessity and importance of these improvements may readily be conceived by those who were acquainted with the navigation of those waters before they were commenced. The situation of vessels then navigating the lake was peculiarly dangerous. Sailing on a narrow sea, subject to storms as violent and sudden as those which are experienced in the Atlantic Ocean, without a light to di
rect their course, or a harbor to afford protection, they were exposed to be driven from one extremity of the lake. to the other, or to be shipwrecked on the coast. The consequence was a frequent loss and destruction, not only of the property, but of the lives of those who were employed in that navigation. The improvements already effected have been attended with the most beneficial results. I have often heard the opinion expressed by those who are most capable of forming an opinion, that, without taking into view the present advantages of those improvements, an annual saving of property has been effected to an amount larger than that of the appropriations which have been expended. One fact of itself is sufficient to show their importance. It is stated that, in consequence of those improvements, a reduction in the premium of insurance on that commerce, to the amount of fifty per cent., has been effected. The remarks I have made tend to show the importance of those improvements, with respect to the commerce of that country. Much might be said to show that they are of great national importance for the defence of the country in time of war. I shall, however, content myself with mentioning one fact, which presents this consideration to the House more forcibly than any language of mine could do. The victory of Commodore Perry, on Lake Erie, is familiar to us all; but the difficulties and dangers which attended its achievement, may not be equally so. The squadron commanded by that gallant officer was constructed in the harbor of Erie. The waters of that harbor are of sufficient depth for vessels of any burden, but its entrance was obstructed by a sand bar, which could not be passed by the vessels composing that squadron, without removing all their guns and munitions of war, and even then not without much difficulty and delay. During this time, the British fleet had the undisputed possession of Lake Erie, and the entire command of the entrance of that harbor. They were cruising along the coast, were watching the progress of our fleet, almost daily made their appearance off the bar, and occasionally threw their shot into the harbor. Under these circumstances, the danger of the American fleet in crossing the bar was a subject of much anxiety and apprehension. Every vessel would necessarily be exposed, in a dismantled and defenceless state, to the fire of the whole British squadron, and no one could foresee how its destructive effects could either be guarded against or resisted. But, as it would appear, almost by a Providential interposition, the very day that Commodore Perry commenced his operations for passing the bar, the British squadron left that coast and sailed to the Canadian shore, and, by unfavorable winds, and perhaps other causes, were prevented from returning for a period of seven or eight days. By the most unremitted exertions, continued night and day during this interval, the greater part of the American squadron were removed over the bar, the guns were remounted, and the ships, although not completely fitted for sea, were moored along the shore, and prepared for action. When the British squadron returned, and saw the change in the position of our forces, they did not think it prudent to offer battle, but sailed to Malden for a reinforcement. As soon as Commodore Perry could prepare his squadron for a cruise, he sailed in quest of the enemy. They were now met, and I need not mention the result. It forms one of the most brilliant pages in the history of our country. These facts require no comment. They clearly show, that, for want of a single improvement of the kind contemplated by this bill, the whole American squadron was exposed to imminent danger of destruction, which might have turned the whole course of the Northwestern campaign, caused an expenditure of additional millions, and been attended with consequences disastrous beyond the
power of calculation.
Mr. McDUFFIE begged the friends of the bill not to consume the time of the House in making speeches against an opposition so untenable that it could not certainly gain thirty votes. The bill embraced no new objects; it embraced such only as former appropriations authorized, or standing laws required; and every item had been examined and approved by a committee. . He hoped, therefore, that the debate would be left entirely to the enemies of the bill. Mr. CARSON replied, and reiterated his objections to the bill, on the score of expediency and principle. Mr. DRAYTON said that most of the items were proper, but there were some which he deemed unconstitutional. He could not vote for the bill. The question was then taken on the third reading of the bill, and carried by the following vote: YEAS.–Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Bailey, Barber, Barringer, Bates, Baylor, Bockee, Boon, Brodhead, Brown, Buchanan, Burges, Cahoon, Cambreleng, Chandler, Chilton, Clark, Condict, Cooper, Cowles, Crane, Crawford, Crockett, Creighton, John Davis, Deberry, Denny, Doddridge, Dorsey, Duncan, Eager, Ellsworth, George Evans, Joshua Evans, Edward Everett, Horace Everett, Findlay, Finch, Ford, Forward, Gilmore, Halsey, Harvey, Hawkins, Hemphill, Hinds, Holland, Howard, Hughes, Hunt, Huntington, ihrie, Thomas Irwin, William W. Irvin, Jarvis, Johns, R. M. Johnson, Kendall, Kincaid, Perkins King, Leavitt, Lecompte, Leiper, Lent, Letcher, Marr, Martindale, McDuffie, McIntire, Mercer, Miller, Mitchell, Muhlenberg, Overton, Pearce, Pettis, Pierson, Reed, Rencher, Russel, Sanford, William B. Shepard, Aug. H. Shepperd, Shields, Semmes, Sill, Smith, Speight, A. Spencer, R. Spencer, Sterigere, Henry R. Storrs, Wm. L. Storrs, Strong, Sutherland, Swann, Swift, Taylor, Test, John Thomson, Tracy, Vance, Varnum, Verplanck, Vinton, Washington, Whittlesey, Edward D. White, Wickliffe, Wilson, Yancey, Young.—113. NAYS.–Messrs. Alexander, Allen, Alston, Angel, Barnwell, James Blair, John Blair, Bouldin, Campbell, Carson, Claiborne, Clay, Crocheron, Davenport, W. R. Davis, Desha, Drayton, Earll, Foster, Gaither, Gordon, Hall, Haynes, Hoffman, Jennings, Cave Johnson, Lamar, Lea, Lewis, Loyall, Lumpkin, Magee, McCoy, Nuckolls, Patton, Polk, Potter, Roane, Standefer, Trezvant, Tucker, Wayne, Campbell P. White, Wilde, Williams.-45.
SATUnnay, FEBRUARY 19.
The engrossed bill making additional appropriations for the improvement of certain harborso-and removing obstructions at the mouths of certain rivers, being read the third time, Mr. CARSON, of North Carolina, rose, and said the liberties of my country are by this bill put up for sale. I for one will not be bribed to vote for it. Mr. BARRINGER said he was very sorry to hear such language from his colleague. The liberties of the coun: try put up to sale! How put up to sale, asked Mr. B.’ It is an imputation on the House—not only on this House, but on every Congress from the foundation of the Government, and every Executive from the commencement to the present. This bill, Mr. B. said, presented no uestion of internal improvement, as that question is un3. by Southern gentlemen generally. He had voted on these appropriations heretofore; they were for objects annually provided for by Congress, and this was the first time that he had found out that they put up to sale the liberties of his country. This was a strange declaration—that in a bill of the most usual and customary character—to promote the commerce and revenue of the
country—which had been regularly provided for every
Feb. 19, 1831.] the liberties of the country; and, when they are gone, where are we to look for liberty? Where, sir, I repeat, are we to look for it? Almighty God may have ordained that liberty shall exist only in one hemisphere at a time. If so, the genius of liberty may have taken her flight from among us—she may have followed Lafayette across the waters—and whilst they have liberty in France, we may have tyranny here. I must believe, sir, if our liberties are saved, that it can be only by the interposition of the individual States; and, sir, I look to old Virginia, as the nucleus around which the States are to rally to resist the usurpations of the General Government. I look to her sons—to her Patrick Henrys (such men as he, who dared to declare that resistance of oppression was not treason) —I look to her Madison, to her Monroe, to you, sit, (the Speaker:) gentlemen may laugh, sir, but I look to such men; not to men bought up ; appropriations and by the hope of office, but to men of high and elevated feelings and stern integrity, to save my country. If such men do not rouse themselves to action, our liberty is gone. Mr. C. concluded with saying, that perhaps he had spoken with too much warmth on this occasion; that he was sick, and had no intention to come here to-day; but that he had been sent for, and brought from his bed by a call of the House. He knew it was in vain to oppose the passage of this bill, and perhaps there was no use in a man's throwing himself into the breach, and receiving in his breast the daggers of all who were in favor of it. He attacked the system, not the motives of gentlemen: but he solemnly believed, if this sort of legislation was persisted in, our liberties were gone; and that nothing but the action of the States could save them, Mr. BLAIR, of Tennessee, said, that, although, for several years past, he had voted for internal improveonents, and had seen no reason to change his opinion or his course in that particular, yet he should vote against the bill, because of its partiality and gross injustice. That he was the more determined upon #. course, from the arguments which have been urged in favor of its passage by the gentleman from South Carolina, [Mr. BARRixgen.] For his part, Mr. B. said, he could not see why the mouth of a river should be improved by the appropriations of the public money, more than its bed; nor why a measure of this description, coming from the Committee of ways and Means, was not as much a measure of internal improvement, as if it had come from the Committee on Roads and Canals. Buppose the appropriation proposed by this bill, (so far as Ohio is concerned,) had been reported by the Committee on Internal Improvements in a separate bill, would not the gentleman from North Carolina have gone against that measure? Has he not invariably gone against such appropriations? What, then, shalf we see, if we, from the interior, act upon the principles which vern his vote in favor of the bill? Why, sir, that there is to be a system of appropriations for bays and harbors, and the mouths of rivers and creeks; in short, a system of improvements for the tide water, to the total 3. of the whole interior. Shall I, as a representative of one of the districts in the interior, join in a crusade against that section of the country from whence I come? I cannot, I will not give my countenance to a measure so partial and unjust as that which is now under consideration. It is, therefore, sir, that I am obliged to turn my back against this bill, after having for eight years voted for what I thought was a system which would at least extend above the tide water. I beg of gentlemen to look to the provisions of this bill: the State of Ohio is the only State west of the Alleghany for which the smallest provision is made, and, in tender mercy to that State, the appropriations are limited to the mouths of the streams to be improved. When it shall be in order for me to call up the bill now on your table, to connect the waters of thic Tennessee and Coosa rivers, will the
[H. of R. gentleman from North Carolina, and others, come out and say that that is constitutional? No, sir; they would not admit its constitutionality, because it is above the mouth, and not immediately connected with foreign commerce. Yes, sir, I might exhaust my strength here in vain, in showing the importance of this connexion; I should not be so * fortunate as to get the vote of the gentleman from North Carolina and others, who limit the constitution to salt water improvements. Hs the proposition for such appropriation came from the Committee of Ways and Means, then, indeed, I possibly might get their votes; but not if it came from the Committee on Internal Improvements. . He said that he was for improving the means of domestic as well as foreign intercourse and commerce. If the exclusive system proposed by this bill is to be persevered in, the people whom he represented would derive no benefit whatever from the expenditure of the public money. He believed this to be as much an internal improvement bill as any bill of that nature introduced at the present session. Of its constitutionality he had no doubt; but he denied the expediency of thus limiting and partially carrying the principle into effect. Once for all, I can assure the friends of a judicious system of internal improvements, that, whenever measures shall come before the House, looking alike to the West and the East, and promising to advance the great interests of the country, they should find his vote as it always had been. In self-defence, said Mr. B., the interior must finally come to this course. They will be compelled to unite in resisting a system of appropriations which promises nothing to their constituents, and would cause the operations of the Federal Government to be felt only in its burdens and exactions. He said that he hoped he was understood by the House, as some surprise had been manifested by friends around him, at his opposition to this bill when last before the House. Mr. BARRINGER again rose. It had been his practice, he said, to vote for what he deemed just and expedient, no matter by what committee the measure was reported. In regard to the question before the House, he said, his rule was this that, if he found the object connected with the commerce of the nation, and calculated to benefit that commerce, he deemed the object legitimate, and he gave it his support. For instance, the mouth of the Mississippi, one of the items of this bill, was important to the commerce of all the great rivers which flow into it, and he could not hesitate to support the appropriation; and if gentlemen would point out any objects not leading to some port, and calculated to facilitate the commerce of the country, he would agree to strike it out. On the lakes he knew there were ports, and these were necessary to the great and growing commerce of those waters, and he was as ready to support legitimate objects in the West as in the East. He would not condescend to inquire what part of the country the object was to benefit, so it was proper. If it came from the gentleman’s [Mr. BLAin's] committee, (the Committec on Internal Improvements,) he would support it just as soon as if it came from any other. He would leave it to that gentleman to say how he could now oppose measures which he had formerly supported, because he thought the conduct of others improper or inconsistent. For himself, Mr. B. said, seeing nothing in this bill variant from what he had always supported, he should give it his vote. Mr. WHITTLESEY, believing that further debate would not change a single vote,moved the previous question. The motion was sustained, and the question being put on the passage of the bill, it was carried by the following vote; YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Arnold, Bailey, Noyes Barber, Barringer, Bartley, Bates, Baylor, . man, Bockee, Boon, Brown, Burges, Butman, Cahoon, Cambreleng, Chandler, Childs, Chilton, Clark, Coleman, Condict, Cooper, Coultcr; Cowles, Crane, Crawford
Crockett, Creighton, Crowninshield, Daniel, John Davis, Deberry, Denny, Dickinson, Doddridge, Dorsey, Dudley, Duncan, Dwight, Eager, Ellsworth, George Evans, Joshua Evans, Edward Everett, Findlay, Finch, Ford, Forward, Fry, Gilmore, Green, Grennell, Gurley, Halsey, Hammons, Harvey, Hawkins, Hemphill, Hodges, Holland, Howard, Hubbard, Hughes, Huntington, Ihrie, Ingersoll, Thomas Irwin, W. W. Irvin, Jarvis, Johns, R. M. Johnson, Kendall, Kennon, Kincaid, Perkins King, Leavitt, Lecompte, Leiper, Lent, Letcher, Mallary, Marr, Martindale, T. Maxwell, L. Maxwell, McCreery, McDuffie, McIntire, Mercer, Miller, Mitchell, Muhlenberg, Overton, Pearce, Pettis, Pierson, Randolph, Reed, Rencher, Richardson, Russel, Sanford, W. B. Shepard, A. H. Shepperd, Shields, Semmes, Sill, Smith, Speight, Richard Spencer, Sprigg, Stanbery, Sterigere, Stephens, W. L. Storrs, Sutherland, Swann, Swift, Taylor, Test, John Thomson, Tracy, Vance, Varnum, Verplanck, Vinton, Washington, Weeks, Whittlesey, Edward D. White, Wickliffe, Wilson, Yancey, Young.—136.
NAYS.–Messrs. Alexander, Alston, Angel, Archer, Barnwell, James Blair, John Blair, Campbell, Carson, Claiborne, Clay, Coke, Conner, Craig, Crocheron, Davenport, W. R. Davis, Desha, De Witt, Draper, Drayton, Earll, Foster, Gaither, Gordon, Hall, Haynes, Hoffman, Jennings, C. Johnson, Lamar, Lea, Lewis, Loyall, Lumpkin, Magee, McCoy, Nuckolls, Patton, Polk, Potter, Ramsey, Roane, Scott, Standefer, Taliaferro, W. Thompson, Trezvant, Tucker, Wayne, C. P. White, Wilde, Williams.-53.
The SPEAKER, proceeding to the orders of the day, called, as first on the docket, the bill to adjust and settle the claim of the heirs of Caron de Beaumarchais.
Mr. ARCHER moved that the House go into committee on this bill, stating that if it did so, an amendment would be offered to give the subject a direction different from the action of this House; but the motion was lost, only 24 rising for it.
RICHARD W. MEADE’S CLAIM.
The bill providing for this claim being next called, Mr. ARCHER said the magnitude of the claim was such that he should not call up this bill at this late period of the session; and it was passed by.
The House spent the remainder of the day in considering and passing a great number of private bills. Mox DAY, FEBRUARY 21. INDIAN QUESTION.
The House resumed the consideration of the motion submitted by Mr. EveRETT, of Massachusetts, on Monday last, to instruct the Committee on Indian Affairs to report a bill making further provision for executing the laws of the United States on the subject of intercourse with the Indian tribes; and, also, for the faithful observance of the treaties between the United States and the said tribes.
Mr. EVERETT resumed the floor, and addressed the House nearly two hours in continuation and conclusion of the argument which he commenced when the subject was first under consideration, (as given in last Monday's report.
Mr. HAYNES, of Georgia, then rose, and said, when this subject was so elaborately discussed at the last session of Congress, and particularly when so large a share of that discussion was borne by the honorable gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. EveRETT,) and his friends, he had hoped it would never again be agitated in this House. When the proposition of the honorable gentleman was offered, he confessed he felt an excitement which would then have rendered him incapable of discussing it with becoming self-respect, or what was due from him to this House.
In his calmer reflections, he had determined to bring alone to its consideration the dictates of his understanding and his judgment, whatever of passion might heretofore have been mingled with it. Imputing no motives to any member of this House, where such imputation is wholly inadmissible, he must say, that if, in the former discussions, here and elsewhere, he had thought he had discovered a political humanity regulating the movements of the opposition, he could sce nothing in the present aspect of affairs in the slightest degree to change that opinion—a political humanity which, to say the most of it, is like that charitable knighterrant which, overlooking the object at its feet, seeks for it among the antipodes. If the half that has been said here and elsewhere should be believed, it would be sufficient, in speaking of an individual, to embody all that is infamous in calling him a Georgian. And for what purpose was all this outcry against the State of Georgia? It arises from the same principles which would have inflicted a consolidated Government on this country in 1787, whose advocates said of Mr. Jef. ferson, in 1807, that he could not be kicked into a war; which would have driven out Mr. Madison in 1814, for declaring and prosecuting that war; and which would drive out General Jackson now, because he defeated their hopes at New Orleans, and because he refuses to consider a constitution of limited powers a charter of unlimited powers. The party possessing these principles has changed its name, but not its principles. The national republicans of 1831 are the true successors of the ultra federalists of thirty years ago; and those who would drive General Jackson from the administration of the Government, do not differ from those who passed the sedition law of 1798. This party, which has, so far as names are concerned, shown the same facility of change as the cameleon, now seeks, as it has sought ever since its hopes were disappointed in the federal convention, to arrive at its object through the instrumentality of the Supreme Court. But more of this subject hereafter. In rising to address the House on the present occasion, illy prepared, by indifferent health and other public duties, to follow the gentleman from Massachusetts over the whole ground he had chosen to occupy, he should content himself with offering a few brief and desultory observations to the consideration of the House. Nor would he have risen, but for the peculiar relation which he bore to this question. Pending the discussion of it at the last session of Congress, under the most urgent importunity of his friends, he had forborne, at a critical period of the debate, from pressing himself into it, believing that its further protraction would probably lead to the defeat of the bill, in the provisions of which Georgia had a particular, as the country at large had a deep and general interest. Although he had ever since held in his possession a document most distinctly proving the influence of this motive on his conduct at that period, yet such motive could not be generally known to his constituents, as the document alluded to had not been made public. But, as the day is at hand when his representative character will cease, he was not willing to stand unjustified before those he had represented to the best of his ability for the last six years. In the discussion of this question, on which so wide a dif. ference of opinion existed between the honorable gentleman and himself, it is necessary to recur to the history of this country, to ascertain whether the Federal Government has confined itself to the pale of the constitution, or that Georgia has overleaped the barriers of her rightful sovereignty. In discussing this branch of the subject, he should not inquire whether this contincht, at the time of its discovery, was considered as a part of St. Peter's patrimony, nor how it might then have been regarded by papal bulls in favor of certain discovercrs. Nor should he inquire into the quaint phrascs which may or may not
be found in any of the charters granted to the colonists by which it was settled. It had been said on a former occasion, that the rights of discovery set up by Europeans related solely to the effect of those rights on each other. In part this is true, and in part it is not true. That those rights were relative to the discoverers, as regards the question of boundary, is admitted; but it is asserted, without the fear of contradiction, that they were positive, were absolute in their relation to the original inhabitants of this continent. As it regarded those inhabitants, the nations of Europe which planted colonies here considered their occupancy permissive merely. Nor can any other principle of national law be produced on this subject; nor is it necessary to inquire into the justice of such a principle. If it be unjust, and shall be so decided, then the millions who have descended from the original colonists, with all who have been added by later emigration, must take refuge on the eastern shores of the Atlantic. If this right of discovery does not avail Georgia, it is of as little avail to any other State in this Union. But, to say no more of it, we find ourselves placed under the operation of this principle, and it is too late to talk of -changing it. But it might be asked how he arrived at the conclusion that such a principle had been adopted by the discovering European nations which planted colonies on this continent. He would answer, in the history of all. Nor would he shelter himself under the enormities practised by Spain on the aborigines of Mexico, South America, and the West India islands. Great Britain acted on the same principles in granting charters to her North American colonies. From the earliest of those charters to that granted to Georgia in 1732, this principle runs throughout; nor had he observed, upon an examination of a number of them, that any peculiarity existed, except that, by charter, the exclusive right is secured to Rhode Island, “upon just cause, to invade and destroy the native Indians, or other enemies of the said colony.” Nor should he complain that Rhode Island chose still to live under that charter, nor inquire why so poor a remnant of the once powerful tribe of Narragansett has escaped from former wars, and the no less destructive vices of civilized life, operating on an inferior and degraded caste. The original charters of the King of England granted to the colonies all the lands included within certain points on the Alantic coast, extended by lines due west to the Paci. fic. Nor in this particular was the charter of Georgia less extensive than the rest. It originally granted to her the seacoast from the mouth of Savannah to the mouth of the Altamaha river; thence, up those streams, to their headmost branches, respectively; and thence, due west, to the Pacific Ocean. At the close of the war of 1757, which war was terminated by the treaty of Paris in 1763, Great Britain acquired the Canadas and the Floridas. In settling the boundaries of the Floridas in 1763, the British King extended them to the mouth of St. Mary’s river; thence, up that river, to its source; thence, by a direct line, to the junction of Chatahoochie and Flint rivers, and up the Chatahoochie to the thirty-first degree of north latitude, and due west to the Mississippi. In the following year, by royal commission to Governor Wright, the southern boundary of Georgia was extended, so as to correspond with the northern boundaries of Florida, as defined by the proclamation of 1763—the Mississippi being made the western boundary of the British colonies, in conformity to the stipulations of the treaty of Paris. But, so far as he had been able to inform himself, the principle of sovereignty over the whole country was distinctly to be traced in the commissions to the colonial Governors. Having thus shown that Great Britain claimed sovereignty over all the country within her colonies, he would inquire how this matter stood at the commencement of the revolution, and how far the powers of the States have been circumscribed, either by
the terms of the articles of confederation, or the constitution which now binds them together. The declaration of independence, the magna charta of American liberty, was adopted on the 4th day of July, 1776, and its recognition by Great Britain, in 1783, has relation to that period. Then, by the acknowledgment of our independence, and the time to which that acknowledgment related, we arrive at the conclusion, that, so soon as it was declared by Congress, every right and power previously possessed by Great Britain over the colonies devolved immediately upon the respective States, not upon the States as confederated, because the articles of confederation were not adopted until some years afterwards. He would not take the trouble to state the time of their adoption, as it was only necessary for his argument to show that they did not exist until after the declaration of independence. He thought he had now clearly shown that, on the 4th of July, 1776, the respective States entered into the possession and en
joyment of all the rights which Great Britain had previous
ly exercised within them as colonies, and that those rights included every inch of soil, and all the sovereignty which any State can exercise. Nor should he deem it important to present this view of the subject, if it had not been said that the treaty of 1783 passed the sovereignty previously possessed by Great Britain over the colonies to the confederation, and not to the respective States. In addition to the argument he had presented to show that the sovereignty of the States passed to them respectively, it might be sufficient to add, that questions of boundary between them (and such have arisen in numerous instances) have been uniformly settled by reference to the letter and spirit of their respective charters. But further light might be shed upon this subject by consulting the various instructions which were issued to the American commissioners, under which the treaty of 1783 was negotiated, as well as the instructions given at different periods for negotiating with Spain on the subject of boundaries. In the various instructions thus given to the commissioners in 1779 and ’80, and reiterated in 1781, it will be found that the confederation proceeded on the principle of regulating the boundaries on the basis of the various colonial charters, in which the southern boundary contended for is the identical one set forth in the commission to Governor Wright, in 1764. And here it might not be improper to add, that the definitive treaty of peace with Great Britain, in 1783, pursues the instructions on the question of boundaries without variation. Nor do the instructions to treat with Spain, in 1780, depart from the same principle. Since the adoption of the federal constitution, in 1792, the same rule was adopted by Mr. Jefferson in relation to the southern boundary, which resulted in the provisions of the treaty of San Lorenzo el Real on that subject. Nor might it be improper for him to add, that the same principle enters into the discussion of the yet unsettled question of our eastern boundary. But he was aware that a pretence was set up during the revolution, that the unsettled land within the respective States was acquired as the common property of the confederation, and that various attempts were made to induce Congress to act on that principle. He believed that he had sufficiently shown that directly the contrary was the fact, and that the States respectively acquired it before the articles of confederation were brought into existence. He well knew that the States were earnestly called on for cessions of land, but he was not aware that any of value had ever been made, except by Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. But, after much discussion as to the right of the confederation, a clause was inserted in the ninth article, on the 15th of November, 1777, providing that “no State shall be deprived of territory for the benefit of the United States.” But the subject is further illustrated by the reso