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tice of this government up to the present time; not even
sons given tend either to prove nothing, or to prove the converse of the proposition which they are adduced to support.
Mr. Rhea, of Tennessee : —
“We have been told by that gentleman that though States may be admitted into the Union, no territory which did not belong to the original States can be admitted to be a State. I, said Mr. R., do solemnly protest against this doctrine, and do deny its constitutionality. It is with States as with individuals; if an individual, the head of a family, purchases a farm adjoining that on which he lives and resides, and probably (?) acquires all the right and title thereto, will any one deny it to be his 2 Will any one say that he has not power to incorporate it with his former farm, so that both shall be one, or in other words, that purchased with the other shall be but one? It is believed no one will say so. The purchaser, Sir, can do more; he can place his son or sons thereon, and although so placed, and out of their father's house, they will remain belonging to the family. The United States, a sovereign, have power to purchase adjacent territory.”
The Honorable gentleman failed to remember that the owner of a farm is not created by a written constitution for certain limited purposes.
Mr. Gholson, of Virginia: —
“In this delegation of power I can perceive nothing to warrant the inference that it is confined to such territory only as the United States then possessed, or that it excludes the incorporation into the Union of subsequent acquisitions. Indeed this is altogether a novel doctrine, and all the interpretations of the Constitution have been contrary to it. Upon examination, I presume it would prove too much even for its advocate. For if the construction insisted on would exclude Orleans from the Union, it would likewise exclude the Mississippi Territory, since the latter as well as the former was acquired by the United States posterior to the adoption of the Constitution; and the gentleman has not applied his doctrine to the Mississippi Territory; nor will it, I imagine, be attempted to be shown that the Mississippi is to be
shut out of the Union, contrary to our engagements to Georgia, when she ceded to the United States that territory.”
But Georgia was within the limits of the United States,
and the territory ceded by her therefore not foreign territory.
Mr. R. M. Johnson, of Kentucky, after reciting the third article of the treaty: —
“We are thus solemnly bound by compact to admit this Territory into the Union as a State, as soon as possible, consistent with the Constitution of the United States. What principle of the Constitution will be violated by their admission into the Union as a State? In fact, we are bound by the principles of the Constitution; we are bound to the people of the United States; we are bound by conscience, and we are bound by a still more sacred tie to Him who gave us independence, to extend the blessings of liberty to these people whenever it is practicable.”
Mr. Macon, as cited by Mr. Quincy, said:—
“If this article had not territories without the limits of the old United States to act upon, it would be wholly without meaning. Because the ordinance of the old Congress had secured the right to the States within the old United States, and a provision for that object, in the new Constitution, was wholly unnecessary.”
Mr. Bibb cited the first part of the clause, “New States may be admitted into the Union,” and said there was a general power granted, and what followed showed two limitations upon it, and, according to his rule, “the expression of these two excluded all idea of any other.” — Whereas, in truth, the limitations applying solely to territory within the United States, show the scope and intent of the general clause to which they are attached. If that had been intended to be universal, there would probably have been some limitations without as well as within. Mr. Poindexter, delegate from Mississippi, argued that other territory than that belonging to the United States at the time of the adoption might be admitted, because it had been the constant practice to annex Indian territory to the old States, and to form new States of lands purchased from different tribes of Indians in the United States, – alleging that they were foreign powers; not considering that the statement itself showed that the lands were within the United States, and that the political doctrine is that the Indians have only a usufructuary right. Mr. Wright, of Maryland, urged that Vermont was not a member of the Confederation, nor of the Convention; that she therefore was not one of the United States; was foreign as to them, and she had been admitted, and correctly so, for a long period; forgetting to remember that the territory was claimed by New York, and some of it by New Hampshire, and that it was within the limits of the United States, as defined by the treaty of peace. He contended further, that as the admission of Canada into the Confederation was provided for in the Articles, it could not be doubted that she might be received as a new State by becoming independent, or by purchase; whereas, as has been already suggested, the reason why, after the peace, Canada should have been intentionally excluded from any admission, is quite apparent. Mr. Wheaton of Massachusetts, and Mr. Gold of New York, denied the right to admit. And Mr. Quincy, who now, at a patriarchal age, contends for constitutional freedom with the vigor and ardor of youth, made a most eloquent argument against the admission, in the introductory part of which he uttered the memorable declaration, the latter part of which, slightly changed, furnished for a long period, a sort of political war-cry for his opponents : —
“I am compelled to declare it as my deliberate opinion, that, if this bill passes, the bonds of this Union are virtually dissolved; that the States which compose it are free from their moral obligations, and that, as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, to prepare definitely for a separation—amicably if they can, violently if they must.”
I should not do justice to the subject, if some further extracts from that speech were not presented:—
“I think it may be made satisfactorily to appear not only that the terms 'new States’ in this article did mean political sovereignties to be formed within the original limits of the United States, as has just been shown, but, also, negatively, that it did not intend new political sovereignties, with territorial annexations, to be created without those original limits. This appears first from the very tenor of the article. All its limitations have respect to the creation of States, within the original limits. Two States shall not be joined; no new State shall be erected, within the jurisdiction of any other State, without the consent of the legislatures of the States concerned, as well as of Congress. Now, had foreign territories been contemplated, had the new habits, customs, manners, and language of other nations been in the idea of the framers of this Constitution, would not some limitation have been devised, to guard against the abuse of a power, in its nature so enormous, and so obviously, when it occurred, calculated to excite just jealousy among the States, whose relative weight would be so essentially affected by such an infusion at once of a mass of foreigners into their Councils, and into all the rights of the country? The want of all limitation of such power would be a strong evidence, were others wanting, that the powers, now about to be exercised, never entered into the imagination of those thoughtful and prescient men, who constructed the fabric. But there is another most powerful argument against the extension of this article to embrace the right to create States without the original limits of the United States, deducible from the utter silence of all debates at the period of the adoption of the Federal