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of the grants. Connecticut, Carolina, and Georgia extended west to the South Sea, and Virginia extended from sea to sea west and north-west. Upon the Declaration of Independence, the new States claimed according to the colonial charters. The treaty of peace was made with “the United States” in 1783, and specified their boundaries, the westerly line being the middle of the Mississippi; and of course the limits of the States on that side were defined by that boundary. Nearly all the country west of the mountains was at that time a wilderness, and the land in possession of the Indians, but the several States claimed the portion of it which was within their charter limits. Other States having no vacant lands, insisted that these uninhabited lands, having been acquired by the common means and common expenditure of blood and treasure, ought to belong to all, and be applied to the discharge of the debt incurred by the war. Maryland declined to ratify the Articles of Confederation for a long period, the principal reason being that the lands were not thus appropriated. In 1780, New York passed an act which was completed in March, 1781, by a formal instrument executed by her delegates in Congress, defining her limits, and ceding to the use and benefit of such States as should become parties to the Confederation, all her claims northward and westward of those limits. In 1783, Virginia authorized a conveyance to the United States in Congress assembled of all her right to the territory northwest of the Ohio, which was perfected in 1784, by a transfer of all her right, title, and claim, as well of soil as of jurisdiction. With the exception of certain lands reserved, this cession was to the same uses as that of New York. The act contained a condition that the territory so ceded should be formed into States containing a suitable extent of terri
tory, not less than one hundred, nor more than one hundred and fifty miles square, or as near thereto as circumstances will admit; and that the States so formed shall be distinct republican States, and admitted members of the Federal Union, having the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and independence as the other States.” In 1785, Massachusetts made a cession of certain of her claims. And in 1786, Connecticut did likewise. At the time of the formation of the Constitution, Vermont was desirous of admission into the Union, which was opposed by New York, on account of her claim to the territory claimed by Vermont. As early as 1782 a petition from Kentucky asserted the right of Congress to create new States, and prayed that the power might be asserted in their behalf; and some measures had been taken by Virginia with a view to the erection of a separate State west of the mountains. There had been a petition likewise from inhabitants of Western Pennsylvania, complaining of grievances, and praying that Congress would give a sanction to their independence, and admit them into the Union. The people of the District of Maine had contemplated a separate government; and the erection of another in Western North Carolina was foreseen. It was under these circumstances that the question came up in the Convention, what provision should be made in the Constitution relative to the admission of new States. The 10th article of the plan proposed by Mr. Randolph was a resolution, “that provision ought to be made for the admission of States lawfully arising within the limits of the United States, whether from a voluntary junction of territory or otherwise, with the consent of a number of voices in the National Legislature less than the whole.” This resolution was agreed to, and was afterwards incorporated into a report of a Committee on Resolutions. The report, with this resolution in the same words, was afterwards referred to the Committee of Detail. Thus far this matter had formed the subject of little or no debate. In the course of the discussions upon representation, “Mr. Gerry wished before the question should be put that the attention of the House might be turned to the dangers apprehended from Western States. He was for admitting them on liberal terms, but not for putting ourselves into their hands. They will, if they acquire power, like all men, abuse it. They will oppress commerce, and drain our wealth into the Western country. To guard against these consequences, he thought it necessary to limit the number of new States to be admitted into the Union, in such a manner that they should never be able to outnumber the Atlantic States.” He accordingly moved, “that in order to secure the liberties of the States already confederated, the number of Representatives in the first branch, of the States which shall hereafter be established, shall never exceed in number the Representatives from such of the States as shall accede to this Confederation.” Mr. King seconded the motion. Mr. Sherman thought there was no probability that the number of future States would exceed that of the existing States. If the event should ever happen, it was too remote to be taken into consideration at that time. Besides, we are providing for our posterity, for our children and our grandchildren, who would
be as likely to be citizens of new Western States as of the old States. On this consideration alone, we ought to make no such discrimination as was proposed by the motion."
In the Report of the Committee of Detail, the plan as matured at that time was introduced in these words, namely:
-“We the people of the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, &c. (reciting the names of the thirteen States) do ordain, declare, and establish the following Constitution for the government of ourselves and our posterity.”
The 17th article of the plan was:—“New States, Jawfully constituted or established within the limits of the United States, may be admitted by the legislature into this government; but to such admission the consent of two thirds of the members present in each House shall be necessary. If a new State shall arise within the limits of any of the present States, the consent of the legislatures of such States shall also be necessary to its admission. If the admission be consented to, the new States shall be admitted on the same terms with the original States. But the legislature may make conditions with the new States concerning the public debt which shall then be subsisting.”
When this article was taken up for consideration, a long debate arose, and divers amendments were proposed.
Mr. Gouverneur Morris moved to strike out the last two sentences, namely:-" If the admission be consented to, the new States shall be admitted on the same terms with the original States. But the legislature may make conditions with the new States concerning the public debt which shall be then subsisting." He did not wish to bind down the legislature to admit Western States on the terms here stated.
Mr. Madison opposed the motion, insisting that the Western States neither would nor ought to submit to a union
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which degraded them from an equal rank with the other States.
Col. Mason. If it were possible by just means to prevent emigration to the Western country, it might be good policy; but go the people will, as they find it for their interest; and the best policy is to treat them with that equality which will make them friends and not enemies.
Mr. Gouverneur Morris did not mean to discourage the growth of the Western country. He knew that to be impossible. He did not wish, however, to throw power into their hands.
Mr. Sherman was for fixing an equality of privileges.
Mr. Langdon was in favor of the motion. He did not know but circumstances might arise which would render it inconvenient to admit new States on terms of equality.
Mr. Williamson was for leaving the legislature free. The existing small States enjoy an equality now, and for that reason are admitted to it in the Senate. This reason is not applicable to new Western States.
On Mr. Gouverneur Morris's motion for striking out, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia aye, -nine; Maryland and Virginia no, - two.
After Mr. Morris's amendment striking out the provision for equality had prevailed, he moved as a substitute for the residue of the article, “ New States may be admitted by the legislature into the Union ; but no new State shall be erected within the limits of any of the present States, without the consent of the legislature of such State, as well as the general legislature." The first part to Union," was agreed to nem. con. Mr. L. Martin opposed the latter part. “ Nothing," he said, “would so alarm the limited States, as to make the