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sum from our limits, we should have to raise from our own resources to pay the expenses of the proposed State Government, the sum of - - - - 50,050 00
Equal together to the sum each year of - - $101,125 00 As an offset to this we should receive from the distribu
tion act per annum, available for the purposes of State Government the sum of - - - - $16,825 10
But the committee do not think they have yet set forth all the causes which militate against the policy of the message: they therefore submit further, that should we enter the Union, and receive our 360,000 acres of land, locate them well, and throw them into market, the sales would lessen those of the government within our limits, and thereby produce a corresponding diminution in our shares of the ten per cent and of the general distribution.
They also submit—that on entering the Union we shall be expected to surrender our right to tax United States lands and those sold by the Government till five years after the issuing of the patents ; this arrangement would seriously diminish the amount of taxable property in the Territory and render the necessity unavoidable of laying onerous and insufferable burdens on the people.
It is conceived furthermore, that all the benefits proposed to us under the “ act of Congress, to appropriate the proceeds of the sales of the public lands, &c.” are liable on certain contingencies to totally fail—these contingencies are as follows, to wit:
1st. Upon the United States being involved in a war with a foreign power.
2nd. Upon the price of the public lands being increased beyond the present price of $1 25 per acre.
3rd. Upon an increase of duties upon imports so as to conflict with the act of Congress of March 2, 1833, generally known as the “ compromise act."
4th. Upon the construction which may be given to the first section of the act, which is liable to be so literal as to require a deduction of the original cost of purchase as well as the expenses of surveying and sales, which would leave but little or nothing for distribution; and
5th. Upon a repeal of the act.
Your committee are then entirely unable to discover in the "act to appropriate the proceeds of the public land,” sufficient inducement to Wisconsin to change her form of government.
They will now proceed briefly to state some general objections which suggest themselves against such a step at present.
1st. The People have not asked at our hands any action on the subject.
2nd. Our population is small, scattered over a large district of country, and but illy able to endure the expenses even of town and county government.
3rd. The expense which would be necessary for the framing and adopting a new constitution, must be estimated at some40 or 50 thousand dollars, all to fall upon the people.
4th. The experience of our neighbors of Illinois and Michigan, admonishes us of the fearful risk new States run, by a premature assumption of those high responsibilities, of bankruptcy and ruin.
5th. A change of our form of government would at once be a surrender of the strong claims which we now have on the General Government for appropriations for harbors and other works of internal improvement.
6th. Should we go into State Government before we have the requisite population to entitle us to one Representative on the floor of Congress, we become supplicants before that body, can ask nothing as matter of right, and forego all chance of making terms for ourselves.
The committee would here have gladly taken leave of this subject : but one other suggestion of his Excellency the Governor demands consideration.
This suggestion is contained in the following language of the message, to wit:
“ And if the section of country now under the jurisdiction of Illinois, should sustain her claim to be made a part of the State of Wisconsinand it seems to me to be a question which may very properly be left to the decision of the people who inhabit the disputed tract—and the boundaries prescribed by the ordinance of 1787, and subsequent acts of Congress for the 5th of the Northwestern States be established as her boundaries, her population would now exceed one hundred thousand.”
The doctrine is here, incidentally it is true, but at the same time distinctly put forth, that the question of the annexation of the “ disputed tract” should be left entirely to the people of that district, to be settled by them as a matter of right.
To this opinion we must offer our unpr ivocal dissent. As legislators, as guardians of the rights of the p , le of the Territory of Wisconsin, it is clearly our duty to protect their interests, and not to barter or dispose of them to strangers. In the opinion of some, that district has been taken from Wisconsin against both law and justice,and greatly to our injury. If the step in the first instance was a violation of our rights, it would be but adding to the wrong, now that it is despoiled of its value and degraded from its independence, to have it thrust back upon us without our consent.
The committee then respectfully protest against leaving the question of annexation to be settled by the people of the disputed tract, and for the following reasons, to wit:
Ist. The people of Wisconsin have never asked that it should be left to them, but repudiated in 1840, an attempt of the Legislative Assembly to submit this same question to their decision and compelled it to repeal the resolutions under which it was to have been so submitted.
2nd. The disputed district, in common with the rest of Illinois, is heir to a public debt of 19,000,000 of dollars, of which their share would be about $3,500,000.
3rd. The population of said district is more than double that of this Territory, which would leave us in the minority and subject us entirely to their government.
1th. A connection with these people at this juncture, would subject us to various injurious changes in our policy touching works of internal improvements, the building of harbors on our lakes, and in the location of our Capitol.
5th. It would unsettle, disturb and destroy the now well-balanced political power and relations of this Territory, and establish a new combination of such power, and a new political centre, beyond and without the bounds of this Territory.
In brief, such annexation at this time, would deprive us in Wisconsin of all power, Legislative or Executive. The disputed district would frame our State Constitution, make our Governor and Judges, elect our majorities in the Legislature, Senators and Representatives in Congress, levy and collect our taxes, project and locate our public works, disburse our public moneys, and in fact do and perform all the acts and functions of the State Government.
Without then, surrendering any right we may have ever had to that country, whenever it can be returned to us free from debt, and on equal and just principles of representation, your committee can not recommend the annexation at present.
The following resolutions are respectfully submitted for the consideration of this House, to wit:
Resolved, As the opinion of this House, that the time has not yet arrived when it is expedient to adopt measures preparatory to a change in the form of government of Wisconsin.”
Resolved, That our present Territorial Government is suited to our condition: that we ought to adhere to it till we have population sufficient in our present limits to entitle us to one representative on the floor of Congress.
Resolved, That the question of annexation of that part of the State of Illinois, generally known as the disputed tract” to this Territory, ought not to be submitted to and settled by the vote of the inhabitants of that tract alone, bụt should be decided only with the advice and consent of the people of Wisconsin.
Resolved, That such annexation ought never to be made, until that tract is discharged from its share of the Public Debt, as a part of the State of Illinois, nor until the population of Wisconsin shall be equal to that of said tract.
Respectfully submitted, in behalf of the committee. Madison, January 11, 1842. A. G. ELLIS, Chairman.
The following message from the Governor by his private Secretary, was received, to wit: “ To the House of Representatives,
of the Territory of Wiskonsan: “ In compliance with the request contained in the resolution this
day adopted by the House, I have the honor to communicate herewith copies of the treaties concluded by me, as commissioner on the part of the United States, with the several bands of the Dakota nation, on the 31st July, and 11th August last.
“A copy of my report to the Secretary of War, of the 31st July last, explanatory of the former, is also respectfully submitted.
“ J. D. DOTY. “ Executive Office, Madison, January 10, 1842.”
On motion of Mr. Rockwell, Ordered, That the report and resolutions do lie on the table, and that three hundred copies thereof be printed.
Mr. Brunson moved a reconsideration of the vote by which the House dispensed with the reading of the report of the loan agent, and by which it ordered five hundred copies of said report to be printed, which was agreed to.
The report was then read, when
Mr. Rockwell moved that it be referred to the committee on Internal Improvements, and that two hundred copies thereof be printed.
And pending the question thereon,
Mr. Ellis moved that the report do lie on the table; which was disagreed to.
Mr. Barber moved to amend the motion to print, by striking out “ two" before the word "hundred,” and inserting the word “four" in lieu thereof; which was agreed to.
The question was then stated to be on the motion of Mr. Rockwell as amended, when Mr. Ellis called for a division of the question.
The question was then taken on referring the report to the committee on Internal Improvements, and was decided in the affirmative.
And the ayes and noes having been called for by Mr. Gray, it appeared that the House had unanimously voted in the affirmative.
The question then recurred on the motion to print four hundred copies of the said report,
When Mr. Ellis moved to lay the motion on the table; which was disagreed to.
The question was then taken on the motion to print four hundred copies of the said report, and was determined in the affirmative.