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town of Alexandria from the district of Columbia, and its annexation to Virginia, does not produce war, which undoubtedly would be the case in Europe if the people of a part of a state should separate from it and annex themselves to another-because there, land is the principal thing which comes into consideration,-afterwards, the souls. He who owns the land (as sovereign,) owns the souls of the people living upon it. With us, no land comes in question in such instances, but only the freemen living upon it, and the business which they have to perform. What these resolve to do, in conformity with the laws, is right. This should be the case all over the world.
In states which are too small, as Rhode Island, Delaware, and Maryland, the business expenses will run comparatively too high. In too large states and towns the business will be done badly and over expensively, the personal participation of the freemen will become too difficult, the general interest in public affairs will languish, agitation will be over violent, public opinion too vague, and deception by designing men too practicable. If we are not mistaken in this regard, a state like that of New York ought to be divided into two states, and the town of New York districted into two or three towns, to facilitate the management of public business. In regard to public business, we have chiefly to ascertain the number of voters. These being only heads of families, we may always learn the average number of the inhabitants, by multiplying the number of voters by five. Children, or other's unqualified for public business, as slaves or bound servants, &c., must not be counted. It follows that towns, counties and states will be divided only according to general principles or laws. The boundary lines should be regulated respectively, by state, county or town officers.
13. Differences about boundary lines will be easily settled by states or Congress, or, if necessary, by a vote of the freemen. But if such a dispute originates between a state and a foreign government, and Congress should not succeed in its adjustment,-in such an instance, it should be the American common law, that the freemen living on the disputed district decide to which state they wish to belong, or if they wish to form a state of their own. In this true self-governing way disputes like that in Maine or Texas should be terminated. The justness of such an American common law consists in its harmony with the
right of self-government, according to which towns, counties and states are made by freemen, and not by governments. If nobody lives upon such a district in dispute, the dispute itself is gratuitous and absurd, because where there are no people, there no government is needed. Thus much is certain, that this manner of treating such disputes will, among tolerably reasonable people, never lead to war.
If a foreign government should refuse to adjust such disputes in America, according to American public law, it may try to adjust them otherwise, perhaps by animal or physical force, guns and cannons. The freemen in danger of subjection may resolutely face the danger; they may, if they think proper, call for assistance; but, if from our side every thing is conducted in accordance with the true principle of self-government, reason and peace will prevail, and violence not be resorted to. We think that this way of settling such differences deserves the preference to arbitration.
14. It follows further from this principle, that we never must acknowledge a territorial right or domain of any government,—our own, or foreign-because state-territorial rights involve society invariably in state-property conflicts
We again and again say, that states are made only for business sake, not for the purpose of giving up or acquiring landed property. This belongs exclusively to the
We have allowed Congress a kind of territorial right over the wild land in the West, and our states assume such rights over unoccupied land within their limits. These are against the well understood principles of self-government, and the whole system is a mere imitation of the pretensions of Asiatic-European governments. This deviation from our original system has involved our society in the greatest difficulties, among which the following are the principal:1. This territorial system has caused repeatedly serious
boundary disputes, of which that with Mexico has resulted
2. It has caused an immense amount of public expense,
for which, unfortunately, the most useful freemen, the
primitive settlers or pioneers, have been taxed. 3. It has checked immigration and deprived many of the
means of cultivating wild land and establishing a home; or, when they had the money to pay for the wild or Congress-land, has retarded their success and prosperity
4. It has, in this way, obstructed the cultivation of the
wild land and violated the liberty of industry. 5. It has produced useless Indian wars, and similar Indian
treaties, which, as is publicly acknowledged, are, for the most part, only agreements by which speculators or some adventurers, of either party, profit, and by which the Indians in general gain a very little or nothing at all.
For all these great evils and sacrifices we have hardly any recompense. We are satisfied, that without any Congressional interference the wild lands in our states, and beyond them, would have been sooner, more easily and cheaply settled, measured and divided into towns, counties and states, than under the present system. If the Americans would have treated the Indians according to the principle of self-government, they would have had no business with them about unoccupied land. Hunting and fishing are free, and give no property rights to land, rivers or lakes. It is now, and has been at all times, the business of the pioneers or first settlers, to make arrangements with Indians, to pay them if they get any thing from them.
These pioneers are our state-makers ; they are the Warwicks of the present age. Singular, that their providential vocation has been so often mistaken, and they sneeringly called “robbers of our legitimate domain,” in the very halls of Congress. Still these pioneers are much better than the Warwicks of old ; they are the heralds of civilization, the very foundation of our States and Union ; they make no libertine kings, but brave freemen and states, which are the best the world has seen! The surveyors of the whole world cannot take the lead of these pioneers. Would that we had never interfered with their industry, never taxed them for having cultivated first the American wilderness! Our Union, as such, has as little right of property to the western wilderness as the roving Indians, (we, of course, except the settled Indians,) or the Englishmen or Russians,_all their and our maps to the contrary notwithstanding. Such maps prove nothing; they are as visionary as the pretensions themselves. Wild lands belong to those who first occupy them permanently. These occupants, having subdued the wild lands, finally resolve themselves into states. In this way the whole earth, North America included, has been cultivated; in this way pioneers have taken ground in Texas, and are spreading civilization beyond the Rocky Mountains. Congress has nothing to
do with this business. Its activily is first required, when the question of annexation is brought under its cognizance.
15. The natural progression in which towns, counties, states, and finally, a state confederation are made, may be termed a constant process of annexation. Thus this business appears as a highly important one. In regard to this business, American common law should have long since furnished a leading rule, perhaps of this kind,--that a pioneer has a guaranteed right to two or three hundred acres, of which he is bound to give gratuitously so much land as is required for certain public purposes. (See the annexed plan of a Federal Constitution, section 46, a.) If he is able to acquire and fence in more, he may but when this is not the case, a general rule of this kind should decide the question. Such a single constitutional proviso would answer for the present complicated system of surveying and trading in land. When the original settlers establish a town, their titles will be ascertained and recorded. In this way all North America, the Canadas included, will be soon settled, and, if our Union is what she ought to be, readily annexed. The present Congressional land-trade and charges for land are indeed a kind of prohibitive system, which injures the general interests of our society more than all the much talked of tariffs.
Suppose a new state or state association is in this way formed, a constitution set up and laid before Congress with the request for annexation; this association, and no property, is in question, and if its constitution is in harmony with the principle of self-government, it may be annexed. There cannot originate the least dispute about it, if the business is conducted in conformity with the rules of self-government. If we had acted in this way with Texas, we should have saved the blame and perils of a war. We complain, foolishly enough, against Mexico, that she obstinately refuses to acknowledge the Rio del Norte as the Texan boundary line, and to recognize Texas as an independent commonwealth, and to treat with us in regard to it after we have annexed the same. The question is here, first, how far does the organized state district called Texas extend ? It is admitted that this district is now not organized beyond the river Nueces, perhaps not so far; therefore the land between that river and the Rio del Norte can neither be included in this state district nor annexed. Bu we say, that Santa Anna, when a prisoner of war in Texa
promised to Texas this land. We, as Americans, should not use such pretexts. According to the principle of selfgovernment, neither Santa Anna nor the Mexican Congress, nor Spain, nor France, nor any other state, can validly give such a promise. It is gratuitous, and can only become any thing, if the freemen settled on the land in question give their consent to it.
Otherwise Congress, or a President, or perhaps General Taylor, might as well give away Maine for California, or Kentucky for nothing. If, as we assert, neither states nor governments have territorial rights, Mexico has no right to interfere with Texas, so far as she is an independent, self-governing commonwealth, and, of course, would be wrong in opposing and quarreling about her annexation to our Union. But as soon as we adınit and assume ourselves state territorial rights, we cannot, without palpable inconsistency, deny the same right to Mexico. And from this standing point Mexico appears to be right in her opposition to the annexation of Texas and the claim of a large country besides, which, until now, has been in quiet possession of Mexicans, who never asked for annexation to Texas or our Union. Neither the Texan settlement, nor the war about it, nor annexation, can annul this Mexican territorial right. This case shows that we have allowed Congress, first to act by annexing Texas, (of Texan slavery we shall speak hereafter,) in conformity with the principle of American selfgovernment; and secondly, by asking more than is and could be annexed, and beginning a bloody war therefor, to act according to the Asiatic-European animal or physical force system of government, which is equivalent to robbery. Self-governing men will never rob or steal; not because these crimes are forbidden by state laws, but because they are against the principle of self-government. No selfgoverning inan ever will go out to conquer land with fire and sword, because this is the worst kind of robbery, whether it be sanctioned by the laws of Asiatic-European sovereigns or not. These laws, (wrongly called laws of
ations) originated in barbarous times. Self-governing men cannot suffer such laws, because they are against reason, Christianity, humanity, and every thing dear to a civilized man. Although it is common sense, and in harmony with the principles of self-government as we daily practise them, that states, as such, have nothing to do with territorial property, we still consider the people