Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

H. OF R.]

Land Claims in Tennessee.

IJAN. 12, 1-29.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

school lands, and the three hundred and five thousand acres improvements made by themselves. if they will pay their shared with the North Carolina University, at the mini- value Sir, whatever may be my opinion of the policy in mum of two dollars per acre, we will find that the State general, I would prefer, in this case, to give the lands at has realized from the public lands more than one million once to the occupants, upon such terms as we may think seven hundred thousand dollars, and still holds the fee proper, rather than transfer our title to the State of simple to one million fifiy-five thousand acres.

Tennessee These, sir, are the facis, in the face of which gentlemen We have heard much of the disadvantages and hardships have assured us thai Tennessee had not obtained an equi- to which Tennessee has been subjected, by the location of table proportion of the public lands ; that her claims have the military warrants and claims of North Carolina. Let been disregarded ; and ihat she has received nothing from us compare these disadvantages with those encountered by the liberality of the General Government. We have heard other States. How much greater cause has that State to much said of the rights reserved by North Carolina in the complain than Ohio ? The citizens of Ohio have purchased cession of this territory to the United States, which may from the United States about seven millions of acres, for still be enforced against this Government, if we adopt this which they have paid into the public treasury of the nation amendment. I believe, sir, all the local claims of the nearly seventeen millions of dollars. A large portion of citizens of that State have long since been provided for the best land in Ohio was subject to the military warrants If they have not been satisfied, Tennessee is bound to pay of Virginia and other States, and the United States still them out of the lands granted to that State, upon this ex own about seven millions of acres in Ohio. To balance press condition. If Tennessee has received more than this account, what has Tennessee or its citizens paid to seven hundred and fifty-six thousand dollars for a small ihe Union for all the lands they now own? Not one cent. district of this land, there could ceriainly have been If we, by this bill, give four millions of acres to Tennessee, enough found to satisfy all the outstanding claims and war- why not extend your bounty to Ohio ? Why not at once rants. That State resisted the claims set up by North distribute the whole public domain ? Tennessee has no Carolina, and refused to satisfy them out of the lands to superior claims upon our justice or liberality. This land which the State had a legal title ; but after Congress, by was granted by North Carolina 10 the Union as a common the act of 1818, authorized Tennessee to perfect titles to fund, for the benefit of the nation. It has been a sinking lauds belonging to the United States, south and west of fund to the national treasury. We have paid nearly half the reservation line, that Siate and North Carolina did re a million for this land, and have not received one dollar in cognize claims which had been declared invalid, under return. Tennessee alone has received the benefit of our which they approprialed to their own use three hundred purchase Three hundred and forty thousand dollars has and five thousand acres of good land, to which the United been paid for Indian treaties and annuities ; much more States still has, in my judgment, a legal title. Congress will probably yet be given. I do hope, sir, we will be has never acceded to the right claimed by North Carolina able to realize from ibis land some small return for our to issue warrants for the benefit of her University ; nor expenditures, without being chargeable with injustice to has the power ever been given to Tennessee to permit lo- Tennessee. cations to be made, and titles perfected, on such warrants. I believe we should have referred this bill to the ComLong after the State of Tennessee had repeatedly provid- mittee on Public Lands, who could give us full informaed by law for closing her land offices, they were again tion on the subject, and, if practicable, devise some plan opened, under new provisions : not, indeed, as an act of for disposing of the land owned by the United States in justice or magnanimity to the soldier who fought the battles Tennessee. If the land is worth any thing, we should of the Revolution, or to his heirs, but for the benefit of a bring it into market; and if the officers of Tennessee will North Carolina corporation. Sir, the State of North Caro- not act in behalf of the United States, perhaps we can lina had no more right to issue warranis to her University, find citizens of some neighboring State sufficiently patriin the names of the soldiers who had been dead for half a otic to discharge this duty. If the land is not worth the century, without heirs or representatives, than she would care and attention of Congress, let that fact be establishhave to issue warrants in the names of the Egyptian hosts ed, and I will vote to relinquish our right to the occupants drowned in the Red Sea, upon the muster rolls of Pha- or to the State.

The Legislature of Tennessee, in the year We have been told (said Mr. W.] that the diversity of 1822, upon the respectful memorial of the University of opinion entertained in this House arises from a want of acNorth Carolina, made a compromise with that corporation, curate information, and a minute knowledge of the subject. and confirmed its claims to the amount of two hundred In this I agree with the honorable gentleman who reported thousand acres, upon the condition that sixty thousand this bill; but that gentleman in his report, and in his acres should be transferred, and the title warranted by the speeches at the present, and during the last session of ConUniversity to the State of Tennessee. This was done, gress, in support of the bill, did not detail the important probably much to the mutual satisfaction of the parties. facts which we have heard from his colleague. He told us A new edition of warrants was issued, and, in 1825, an nothing of the two millions six hundred thousand acres agreement was made by the agents of Tennessee and the already given to Tennessee. He said nothing about the University, to confirm the title to one hundred and five seven hundred and sixty-five thousand two hundred and thousand acres more of land for dead men's warrants. The twenty dollars received by the State for a part of this land. State of Tennessee, however, took care to keep two- He was as silent as the grave upon the subject of the two thirds of this quantity to jiself, and gave one-third to the hundred thousand acres granted to their colleges and acaUniversity, which was no doubt well satisfied with the bar- demies; nor did he tell us of the three hundred and five gain.-[See Laws of Tennessee of 1822 and 1825, before thousand acres, divided so equally between his State and referred to.]

the North Carolina University ; no, sir, these are facts I believe we are much indebted to the gentleman who which we did not learn from the gentleman who reported made this motion for the information he has given us on this bill, or those who have been its advocates. I do not this subject. He has shown that, if we are to exercise our wish to deprive the State or its colleges and schools of a liberality, it should be extended to those who occupy this single acre which has been appropriated for the support of land, and not to the State of Tennessee. The proposition education, but I cannot make still greater grants, under the to give the lands to the occupants is opposed by gentlemen pretence that no provision has heretofore been made for who advocate the original bill, by one of whom (Mr. BELL] ihese objects, or that Tennessee has received less, or has we are told, that he will propose an amendmeni, to let the higher clainis upon Congress than other States. occupants have the farms which they have opened, and the [Here the debate closed for this day.]

[merged small][ocr errors]

raoh's army,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Jan. 13, 1829 )

Land Claims in Tennessee.

(H. OF R

TUESDAY, JANUARY 13, 1829.

State, clothed with parental kindness, said to the occuThe House again resumed the consideration of the pants who invaded the Indian territory, with the rifle in the

one hand and Jacob's staff in the other, you shall have a Tennessee Land Bill-the question being on the amendment moved by Mr. CROCKETT, as a substitute for the preference of entry, or pre-emption in purchase, for the

improvements which you have thus made, and which were bill, as modified on the suggestion of Mr. POLK.

emphatically “at the risk of life, and under all the privaMr. BLAIR rose, and said that he had refrained from tions incident to new settlements.” That was viewed as saying any thing on this measure, when it was under con

an act of great kindness, though the settlers were the sideration and discussion on former occasions, because of holders of military warrants, and had fought in the Revoluthe interest which his colleagues had manifested, and also tionary struggle.' (Here Mr. CARSON said, that many the fact that they had explained satisfactorily the object of his friends supposed allusion had been made to him, and end of the inemorial of the Legislature of his State ; which he did not believe, himself, but asked an explanaand he would have contented himself at this time by giv- lion. To which Mr. B. replied, that he had no reference ing a silent vote, but for the unjustifiable attempts which to that gentleman ; his allusion was to the member in his had been made to drive it from the House, by a kind of eye, who had assigned his reason for supporting the amendside wind, not only jeoparding the measure, but tarnish

ment of his colleague, a day or two since.] A word as to ing the purity of legislation in his native State. Under the circumstances ander which possession was taken of the such circumstances, silence, on his part, might (by his country, in which the lands now in question lie. In 1818, constituents) be construed into a criminal indifference to

the Chickasaw Indians ceded the lands within the limits the object, and a total disregard to the character of the of Tennessee to the General Government; that land had State.' This, subject, though so fully discussed, seemed been used by them as a hunting ground; after the treaty yet to be grossly misunderstood by one of the gentlemen they abandoned it. Tennessee sent its surveyors and secwhose opinions had been expressed in the course of the de- tioned the whole country ; it was thrown open to the North bate, and, doubtless, by many others who had not partici- Carolina warrant holders, who took up the choice of the pated therein. It should be his purpose, if he could re

country; aud the residue has been possessed by the occuceive-what had but seldom been awarded to the speaker pants. 'Sir, said Mr. B. no people ever have settled upon -the attention of the House, to present the claim of Ten- the public domain under circumstances less adverse. nessee in its proper light, whilst he should expose the de.

A gentleman from Massachusetis, ( Mr. Locke) has given merits of each and every proposition which had been made, us the second edition of his last year's speech against the in amendment of the original bill.

measure, and as my friend and colleague [Mr. Polk) then But, [Mr. B. said) before he would proceed to the sub- gave a full and perfect answer to it, I will not delay the ject, he would give a passing notice to the statements and time of the House, but refer you to the newspapers for opinions of some gentlemen who had expressed their pre- speech and answer. The gentleman, however, has so far ference for the amendment of his colleague. A gentle- enlarged as to say, that the zeal of the Tennesssee deleman from Kentucky [Mr. BUCKNER) informs us that his gation on this subject induces the belief, that the land is opposition to the original bill was recorded at the last ses more valuable than they had represented it to be. We sion, but that he intends to support the proposed amend (said Mr. B.] of that delegation are peculiarly circumment, because he prefers to give the lands in Tennessee stanced; if we fold our arms and sit in silence, we are to occupants rather than to the State : and that he can see doomed to hear opprobrium cast upon the state ; if we no good reason for doing indirectly what this House has reply, we are obnoxious to the charge of over anxiety, and the power to do directly. This is a mistake into which, intemperate zeal; whether or not the gentleman can comI fear, many have fallen. The State of Tennessee has mend my zeal, I can assure him of one fact, that, when never assumed, before this House, the character of a sup- the character of my native State is impugned, I care not pliant, asking for favors. As one of its Representatives, I where, or by whom, I, for one, will not be found witnessask the performance of your contract, (if not yours, your ing submissively the work of detraction. predecessors) solemnly entered into, and which has never A member from Ohio [Mr. Woods] has thought proper, been realized. But on this subject I shall have occasion, in a second speech, to speak again with freedom in relation hereafter, to speak more at large. A member from to the impurity of the legislation of my native State. Had North Carolina (Mr. CULPEPER] said that he would vote to the member been led into these remarks on the spur of the give the lands to the occupants, rather than to the State, occasion, and in the heat of debate, some palliation might because they (the occupants] “ had risked their lives in have been offered ; but, after having been admonished by taking possession of their lands, and had encountered priva- my friend and colleague, (Mr. POLK) on a former day, of tions incident to the settlement of all new countries.” Mr. the total destitution of truth in his remarks; after sleepB. said that he had not expected to hear such arguments ing upon his calumnies: he has thought fit again to reitein favor of the proposition from the members from the rate them; and, what is still more unkind, compliments State from whence that gentleman came, and he felt him my colleague, [Mr. Crockett) as the author of his preself constrained to say, that it evinced such profound igno- cious information. Mr. B. said that it mattered not to rance of the history of the landed system in North Caroli- him from whence the information was received; he felt na and Tennessee, and such an ill-timed display of bene- himself bound to say that there was no foundation for the volence for a part of the good people of Tennessee, that charge of fraud or impurity against his native State ; and he feared that it arose from the consideration that they he could not believe that his colleague had made such were the minority, and that, by extending his offices of communication to the member. kindness to them, he would thwart the views of the major. Mr. B. said he would now come to the gubject which ity, and disappoint the expectations of the delegation on he believed to be the proper theme of discussion-he this floor.

meant the right of Tennessee to the surplus lands within Mr. B. said he could not but remind the member that its limits, for the purpose of making good the deficit in the the citizens of the district which he [Mr. B.) now represent school fund. He would inquire, what had been asked ; ed, once deserved the character of hardy adventurers, what the House had done ; and what was now attempted ? “ who risked their lives in quest of their homes;" they The Legislature of Tennessee, some four or five years ago, were the descendants of the good people of the gentle memorialized Congress, and instructed the Senators, and man's own State, and went out under the auspices of that requested the Representatives from the State to use their respectable State. Did the gentleman at that time feel influence to obtain a cession of the vacant residuum of lands differently from what he now does? Then, the mother within the State, after the satisfaction of all the North Caroli

[ocr errors]

H. OF R.)

Land Claims in Tennessee.

[Jan. 13, 1829.

na claims, for the purpose of aiding the school fund of that dred and forty acres could be laid down within the six
State ; that memorial was entertained by the House, and a miles square, without interfering with pre-existing loca-
select committee raised for the purpose of inquiring into tions ; therefore, out of abundant caution, was the qualifi-
the validity of the claim: that committee, composed of cation made in the gift of cession.
members from several States,did investigate the subject, and Mr. B. said that he could assure the House that not one
report in favor of the application which hade been made by acre of school lands had been laid off within the district
the Legislature of the State, and the bill, after having un- which his colleague, who addressed the house on yester-
dergone discussion at two former sessions, has again come day, himself represented Why was it so? A plain an-
up for consideration. Now, on the spur of the occasion, swer is at hand. The soldiers of the Revolution belonging
my colleague, [Mr. CROCKETT) rises in his place, and pro- to the North Carolina line, who had staked their lives and
poses an amendment dissimilar in its object, and entirely furtunes upon the glorious cause, relied upon this means
novel, which proposition, thus inconsiderately offered, for compensation, which had been jointly assigned for their
against the instructions of our Legislature and the wishes satisfaction and the advancement of literature in the State
of the delegation, we are gravely asked to adopt. Sir, of Tennessee. As the agent of North Carolina, Tennessee
(said Mr. B.] to say nothing of the want of courtesy in disdained to appropriate any portion of this joint fund to
this movement, and the marked disrespect paid to your her literary institutions, though entitled to do so, or any
committee, I must say that it is unparalleled in the history other act which would diminish the fund or retard the sol-
of our legislation, dangerous in its tendency, and needs dier in the receipt of his hard-earned bounty. But, being
only to be named in order to meet marked disapprobation. satisfied that, north and east of the reservation line, a de-
Mr. B. said that he had heard, in times past, much said, ficiency must exist, the legislation of Tennessee was ex-
both in and out of this hall, in crimination of those who clusively directed to the interest and convenience of the
had the temerity to disregard the influence of popular will, Revolutionary soldier, trusting that the liberal provisions
whether express or implied. He would ask the House, if of the third section of the act of cession, favoring common
they, who are not instructed, would be instrumental in schools, would thereafter be realized in good faith ; which
driving those who were, into disobedience, or would they was, “ that, if the territory hereby ceded to the State of
sanction the principle that the request of a sovereign Tennessee should not contain a sufficient quantity of land,
State, expressed through its Legislature, should be con- fit for cultivation, according to the true intent and meaning
temptuously rejected ?

of the original act of cession, including the lands reserved
The State of Tennessee founds her claim upon the bene- by the State of North Carolina to the Cherokee Indians,
ficial provisions of the second condition of the act of ces 10 perfect all existing legal claims charged thereon, by the
sion of 1806, which is as follows: “ That the State of Ten-conditions contained in the act of cession, Congress would
neesee shall appropriate one hundred thousand acres, thereafter provide for perfecting such as could not be loca-
which shall be located in one entire tract, within the limits ted in the territory, out of the lands lying west or south
of the lands reserved to the Cherokee Indians, by an act of the before described line." Now, said Mr. B., seeing
of the State of North Carolina, entitled an act for opening that more than two-thirds of East Tennessee has not a
the Land Office for the redemption of specie and other single foot of school lands, owing to the just, though dis-
certificates, and discharging the arrears due to the army, interested preference given to the soldier ; and seeing that
passed in the year 1783, and shall be for the use of two your predecessors stipulated, in the event of the country,
colleges, one in East and one in West Tennessee, to be north and east of the aforesaid line, being insufficient to
established by the Legislature thereof; and one hundred satisfy the claims charged upon it, that satisfaction should
thousand acres in one tract, with the limits last aforesaid, be made south and west of said line, can it be said that we
for the use of academies, one in each county in said State, are asking too much, when we only ask the refuse of those
to be established by the Legislature thereof; which said se- lands to be substituted for lands of superior quality, which
veral tracts shall be located on lands to which the Indian we ought to have received ? If the school lands had been
title has been extinguished, and subject to the disposition laid off within each six miles square, as contemplated by
of the Legislature of the State, but shall not be granted or the act of cession, each tract would have been more than
sold for less than two dollars per acre ; and the proceeds equal to a score of those now asked for.
of the lands aforesaid shall be vested in funds for the re Mr, B. said that he would now inquire into the bure
spective uses aforesaid, forever. And the State of Ten- thens, which had been imposed upon Tennessee, and her
nessee sball, moreover, in issuing grants and perfecting ti- inducements to encounter them. The district which he
tles, locate six hundred and forty acres to every six miles had the honor to represent was first settled ; the citizens
square in the territory hereby ceded, where existing claims of which, in order to obtain their claims, were compelled
will allow the same, which shall be for the use of schools to cross over what, at that time, was considered an almost
for the instruction of children, forever.” Here (said Mr. B.] impassable chain of mountains ; when they reached their
is your bond presented, and one which has been uncancel- intended homes, they were surrounded by savages and
led so far as relates to the common school fund—that fund beasts of prey, and deprived of every convenience and
which promises more to disseminate the blessings of edu- comfort incident to civilized lite. After thus sustaining
cation amongst the poor than all others. And how has it theniselves amidst portentous difficulties, and being es-
been met? No gentleman, within his recollection, has de- tablished as a member of this great Confederacy, the lan-
nied but that six hundred and forty acres of land, within guage of complaint was heard on the subject of their in-
each six miles square, was intended to be given to the conveniences in obtaining from the seat of government of
State for the use of common schools; but, say they, it was the parent State, titles to their homes, parchased at so dear
upon the condition " that existing claims would allow a rate. This, as a matter of convenience, inclined Tenessee
thereof." What was meant by existing claims? Surely, to assume the agency, and to enter into a concern in which
those which had been issued aud appropriated to the soil, she was to become the responsible member of the firm
anterior to the deed of cession. It could not have been though not participator in the profits,
intended that the surveyors should, in laying off the school It cannot be supposed that the State of Tennessee ag-
lands, be compelled to wait not only to the present time, sumed the responsibility and incurred the expense of super-
but, under the act of cession, to an illimitable period, in or- intending the landed concerns of others, from motives at
der to ascertain if claims, not then existing, would there convenience alone. Recur to her past history, and what
after exist. No, sir, at the time of the donation, claims did are the facts? Thirty years legislation and consequent
exist, they had been appropriated in that section of coun- taxation, in order to keep up this landed system; Boards
try, and it was a matter of uncertainty whether six hun/of Commissioners for the adjudication of the North Carolina

[ocr errors]

Jan. 13, 1829.]

Land Claims in Tennessee.

(H. OF R.

land claims, and for agents sent to North Carolina, to pro- should dispose of the lands belonging to her at a less price cure copies of the books in the Executive office of that than the minimum price of the lands of the General GoState ; and for what? I answer, from the confident hope vernment? Does not this conclusively show the recognition that there would be a realization of some benefit to her, or of the act of cession to Tennessee? I will now call the attento the literary institutions of the State, after satisfaction tion of the House to a fact which must, in itself, be conclusive of all the claiing of North Carolina upon that terriiory---a to the unprejudiced mind: In the identical act in which the hope that, from the surplus lands, over which her care surrender and exemption of the Cherokee lands is to be found, was to be extended, a fund would be raised to gladden Congress provides for the satisfaction of the claims of North the poor man's heart, by seeing the clouds of ignorance Carolina, south and west. This is not all : in that act in and error dissipated from the mind of his offspring, under which the surrender is made, are the lands given to each the genial influence of the rays of education, which had of the literary institutions of the State, as well as to commeasurably been obscured in their lonely retreat. In mon schools. But suppose that he [Mr. BLAIR) should this way, and this alone, could he account for the labors enter into the business of taking an account with the astute performed, and expenses incurred by his native State, member from Ohio, with that strictness which characterizes when, for many years, these burthens were sustained by the proceedings of a master in chancery, and debit the the district, the citizens of which his colleague and him. State of Tennessee with the proceeds of the sales of her self represented. If he was correct in saying that all the own lands; he entertained no doubt but that there would be North Carolina claims were first to be satisfied, and in near a million of dollars due to the State. Were he to enter satisfying them school lanıls were to have been laid off upon the subject, he would make such an estimate as this: for each six miles square, he would put a plain question There are about twenty-five millions of acres of land to the House. Suppose, in the exercise of great good within the State ; the one thirty-sixth part of which, (being feeling towards the occupants in the Western district of six hundred and forty acres to each six miles square, would Tennessee, you should give away the fund which was amount to seven hundred thousand acres ; at two dollars, provided for the satisfaction of the claims before specified, the minimum price is

$1,400,000 what think you would be the next application? Surely it Deduct twenty-two thousand acres, reserved, at would be to you, both on the part of North Carolina and two dollars,

44,000 Tennessee, to discharge their respective claims. Will you, then, divest yourselves of the means of paying your

$1,356,000 debts, and exercise generosity at the expense of justice ? Then deduct the price of sales

We have been sold by the member from Ohio (Mr. of the lands, one-fourth paid
Woods], ihat Tennessee has seized upon more of the pub in of first sale, of four hundred
lic lands than any other three States in this Union-ihat and sixty thousand dollars, is $116,000
the Cherokee purchase has been sold for seven hundred Do. from late entries,

270,000 thousand dollars, and the proceeds have been put into the Probable receipts hereafter, 171,000 State Treasury. “ Mark how a plain tale will put down

557,000 such an unfounded statement." To those who have been at all conversant with the state of things which ex

Due Tennessee,

$799,000 isted during the mania which pervaded the purchasers of the public lands, I need only say, that Tennessee, too, had This calculation is based upon the minimum price of contracted the malady ; lands were sold for more than the public lands. Need I inform this House of the fact, their value, and for sums which the purchasers never cal- that we have few, if any, of our lands which, if taken as culated upon paying. But suppose the sum stated by the the school lands. were directed under the cession act, member had actually been received, (which I presently that would not be worth more than five dollars per acre at will show was not the fact,) are we to be debited with the this time. But the member says there are yet one million of proceeds of the sales of our own lands? I say our own, acres of land to dispose of in the Cherokee country. If he albecause the General Government surrendered the Chero- ludes to that to which the Indian claim has been extinquishkee conntry, “ being north and east of the reservation ed, I can inform him that the remaining lands are now refusline," to Tennessee, and in the same act of surrender, ed at one cent per acre, and probably never will be entered exempted that section of the country from the operation at all events, not for any other purpose than that of timber. of the warrant holders. Tennessee claimed, whether If to the lands yet in possession of the Cherokees, I can asrightfully or not I will not inquire, the sovereignty over sure him that, instead of a million acres, there is not more the lands taken from the Cherokee Indians, in consequence than the contents of an ordinary county-he meant within of the wars into which she had been driven with that tribe, the chartered limits of Tennessee. Can the gentleman's and in consequence of having expelled them from that ideas of right be such as to palm upon the school fund of part of the country. Under this claim, a compromise Tennessee lands worth less than one cent-worth nothing took place between the General Government and Tennes- in most instances--instead of the choice lands which were see, in which, as before stated, all north and east of the intended to be given? In the catalogue of benefits conferred line before described the warrant holder was restric- by the General Government upon the State of Tennessee, ted to the balance of the country, and was forbidden the member gives to us the annuities paid to Indians withto enter the Cherokee lands with a claim which, above in the State. Tennessee never asked for them. It was all others, (had it not been for that adjustment,) was enti a component part of the mistaken policy of the General tled to full and prompt satisfaction. Under this arrange- Government in relation to that unfortunate people, done ment, the warrant holder was postponed in the receipt of without the request of Tennessee, and for the purpose of his meritorious claim from year to year, until the purchase keeping them as an incubus hanging upon the State, with of the country in which the lands now in question are out ils consent. I protest against such items being charged situate, was made from the Chickasa w Indians. Has it against us in the enumeration of benefits ; they are curses ever been said, by any one, that the warrant holder, or sent us in disguise, by such politicians as the member any other claimant under North Carolina or the General from Ohio, to which I can give no name more appropriate Government, had a right to an acre of the Cherokee lands ? than that of false philanthropy. Never. Did noi Congress, in 1823, repeal the condition The member has had the boldness or folly, when speakupon which the cession of the lands, north and east of ing of the legislation of North Carolina and Tennessee in the line, was made, so far as regarded the price at which relation to the University warrants, to say, " that as well Tennessee should sell said lands, and give consent that she might they have issued warrants to Pharaoh's host as to the

H. OF R.]

Land Claims in Tennessee.

[Jan. 13, 1829.

[ocr errors]

University.” I had thought that the abstruse doctrine of done in this country to favor occupants, he would not, by
escheats required profound judgment, and thorough inves- his vote, go so far as to give to them that which did not
tigation, in order to fathom it ; but the capacious mind of belong to him. He was not sent here to indulge in acts of
the member has, at one glance, encompassed all the humanity and benevolence, nor could he do so on any other
legislation of both States on that subject, and has affixed basis than his individual resources
upon it the seal of ignorance or turpitude. Let us exam Mr. B. said that, when he gave a vote which should be
ine the subject, and see if the member has not evinced his used thereafter as an entering wedge to the gifting away
entire lack of knowledge on that point. At the time of the public domain, it should be placed upon a broader
the cession, North Carolina reserved the right to issue and more liberal ground; his liberality should be co-exten-
warrants and perfect titles to the officers and soldiers of sive with the poor of the Union ; it should embrace the
her line. The United States did, or might have known, poor in each of their districts, as well as his own. He was
the extent of that incumbrance, by consulting the muster in favor of giving to those whose only claim was founded
rolls, to which access might have been had. According upon violations of law, (he meant the settlers upon this as
to the provisions of the law of North Carolina, previous to well as all the other public lands) the right of pre-emp-
the act of cession, the University of that State was entitled rion ; beyond that he would not go. And as the bill, as
to the estates of all its citizens who should die without amended by his friend from Kentucky, [Mr. WICKLIFFE]
heirs; this was an incumbrance imposed on the ceded ter goes boyond that in its provisions, he felt himself constrain-
ritory, and was known to the contracting parties, and was, ed to vote against it. The remarks which he had made
therefore, just. The claim being just in its origin (as would, in some measure, apply to the proposition intended
against the General Government) still continues to be so, to be submitted by his colleague, [Mr. Bell) as it was also
and the only question is, as to the rightful claimant of that a departure from the course demarked by the legislative
demand. There has never been, to my knowledge, a doubt recommendation.
existing in the mind of any jurist as to the validity of the Mr. B. concluded by tendering his thanks to the House
claim, as against the United States. True, the State of for its patient and polite attention.
Tennessee did protest against the proceeds of the escheat Mr. ISACKS said he had not heretofore taken any part
warrants being appropriated by North Carolina, and con- in the debate on this subject. He would not now do it,
tended that the estate rightfully belonged to the sovereignty if silence might not be construed into indifference to the
within whose limits it lay; that the transfer of sovereignty interest of the State which he in part represented. I will
by North Carolina over that portion of her territory, now not (said Mr. I ] occupy the attention of the House with
the State of Tennessee, necessarily drew with it all conco constructions of cessions and compacts, and the history of
mitants, and upon the appropriation of the claim, within the legislation growing out of them, in North Carolina and
limits of her territory, the right immediately attached. Now, Tennessee ; enough has been said already to maintain, as
[said Mr. B.) if the gentleman from Ohio cannot see how far as all that can go, the ground taken in support of this
this question could become the subject of negotiation and bill. I will content myself with presenting one plain view
adjustment between the two States, without just imputation of the subject, which others may have overlooked. I
of fraud, he felt very confident thai others could.

submit to the House this direct and simple inquiry: In
The member from Ohio has also discovered mal-admin- the present situation of this land, what is it likely to be
istration in the State of Tennessee, in regard to the acts of worth to the United States ? It must be answered, if it
limitation so frequently passed and repealed. After in- remains as it is, it can be worth nothing. Will you be at
forming the gentleman that the time within which North the expense of surveying, selling, and making titles to it?
Carolina should present her claims, chargeable upon the Will it pay cost, and yield a profit over, which will be
ceded territory, was illimitable, need he inform him that, worth the experiment? The United States can't dispose
notwithstanding the ruinous consequences resulting from of it without establishing a land office there ; a Register
the great contrariety of interests and feelings within the and Receiver must be appointed, and a Surveyor, with sa-
State of Tennessee, in relation to the public lands, yet there laries, such as are given to the like officers else where : for
being no time limited in the act of cession for the preven- these, under our system of land laws, are salary officers. A
tion of North Carolina claims, that there was imposed upon Register and Receiver get, each, besides commissions on
Tennessee a moral obligation to repeal any act unadvised- sales, five hundred dollars a year. The Surveyor, besides
ly made in violation of the compact of cession, more espe- compensation per mile, two thousand dollars.
cially when delay had arisen from legal disabllity having The United States cannot establish and keep there the
attached to the person on whom the claim had been cast necessary machinery for the appropriation of these lands,

The State of Tennessee has been onerated with bur at an expense short of five thousand dollars per annum. thens which could not have attached but for the oversight And then, how are the public lands of the Government in the act of cession to which he had just referred. Ken- disposed of? Not an acre of it can, under the existing tucky stood in somewhat similar circumstances towards laws, be sold, either at public or private sale, for less than Virginia, but the limitation was fixed at three years; con one dollar and twenty-five cenis per acre. Does any man, sequently, after the expiration of that time, she became from the general but faithful account given of the quality possessed of the remainder of the lands within her limits; of the land, believe that there is any part of it that would but Tennessee had borne all the incumbrances which he ever sell at that price? If he does, he is certainly much had mentioned in the progress of his remarks, and was mistaken, as I will show. You may expose your land now tantalized with a recitation of mock benefits, when there to public sale ; your crier may cry himself to death; she asks you to do what you have in your power to do, you may continue your land office; and in fifty years and what, if left undone, can, in no possible event, enure to you cannot sell land enough to pay the expense of one the benefit of the Union, or the increase of the Treasury. year: for the plainest of all reasons--the land is not He therefore said, that he felt himself bound to sustain the worth the price you set upon it. Whenever this subject original bill, and vote against each and every amendment has been before the House, some gentlemen have shown which had be proposed. He respected the request of the much sensibility, and expressed great concern, lest ConLegislature of his State, thinking with that body as re gress should relinquish to Tennessee property of great spected the subject now under consideration. He meant value if retained. If gentlemen think so, how is it that to act in conformity to their recommendation, even so far no one of them has ever submitted a proposition as to vote against the bill as amended by the gentleman | the necessary offices established, and the duties performfrom Kentucky, (Mr. Wickliffe.] He took the broad ed, by which the Government could realize the value ground that, whilst he would do as much as had ever been which, in argument, had been attached to the lands? Why

[ocr errors]

to have

« AnteriorContinuar »