« AnteriorContinuar »
Public Lands. -Cumberland Road.
[Jan. 17, 18, 1833.
proposition contained in the original bill. Still, my im- link in Missouri remaining to be filled up to complete pression is that this is not the proper time to act finally the longest line of road made by any Government since upon the subject. At the next session of Congress the the time of the Roman empire. The part of the road new States will have a full representation in the other which would extend to the Western frontier of Missouri House. They are more particularly interested in this was strictly and correctly a military way, leading to a subject than the other States. I am willing they should frontier covered by Indian tribes which the Government have the benefit of their additional numbers. It has been was accumulating there, and to a fort at which a garrison urged that this subject has been before Congress at the of regular soldiers and a company of United States last session; that it was then amply discussed; that the rangers were now stationed. It was the principal fort different able reports of the Committee on Manufactures on that frontier, and intended for a permanent position. and the Committee on Public Lands have been published A road to such a frontier, and to such a post, was a miliand submitted to the people for their consideration. This tary road in fact as well as in name, and was better entiis all true; but has the subject been considered? Has it tled to the care of the Federal Government than the been decided by the people? I think not. It was lost military road in Maine to the Hill of Mars, imposing as sight of in the all-absorbing topic of the Presidential that road might seem, from leading to an eminence which election. That, like Aaron's rod, swallowed up every imported to be the residence of the ancient god of war. other consideration. I am, therefore, prepared to vote The Indians at this day, on the frontiers of Missouri, for an indefinite postponement of this bill, whenever that were once more formidable to the people of that State than motion shall be made.
Mars could be to the people of Maine; and the Mars Hill Mr. POINDEXTER then, with a view to perfect the road had been deemed worthy of repeated appropriations original bill before the question was taken on the amend of public money. In 1828, the sum of $15,000 wag ment, proposed to add several additional sections, pro voted to make it; in 1829, the sum of $42,932 was voted viding for a gradual reduction of the price of the public for completing it, in 1830, the sum of $47,451 to comlands remaining unsold for a specified period after being plete it; in 1831, $500 more were granted to complete brought into market; granting pre-emptions under cer- it; and in 1832, the sum of $21,000 was voted for repairs tain circumstances; providing for continuing the surveys and improvements upon it. Mr. B.said there was another and guarantying to the new States that the present view to be taken of these two roads: that of Maine minimum price of the public lands shall not be increased traversed no public lands belonging to the United States; during the existence of the proposed law.
that of Missouri would traverse the centre of a State Mr. CLAY opposed this amendment, with the excep- containing thirty-six millions of acres of federal land, tion of the latter clause.
paying no tax to the State, and receiving an increased After a few observations by Messrs. BLACK, POIN- value from all the roads which the State made. It was DEXTER, BUCKNER, and KING, the Senate, without an acknowledged principle with the Federal Government, taking the question, adjourned.
that, as the principal landholder in the new States, it
should contribute to the construction of their roads and FRIDAY, JANUARY 18.
canals; and, on this principle, about one million of acres
had been granted to the State of Ohio, and nearly half a CUMBERLAND ROAD.
million to each of the States of Indiana, Illinois, and On motion of Mr. BUCKNER, the Senate proceeded Alabama. Missouri was one of those which had received to consider the bill providing for the continuation of the neither land nor money from the Federal Government Cumberland Road, from Vandalia, in Illinois, to Jefferson for the construction of her highways, and the bill which City, in Missouri.
he (Mr. B.) had brought in at the last session to make The question being on the amendment offered by Mr. her a grant of half a million of acres was snatched out of Benton, to insert the words, “and thence to the Western his hand, and clapped into that universal combination frontier of Missouri, in the direction of the military post, bill, commonly called the land bill, which was to pay its near the mouth of the Kansas river"
way through the two Houses of Congress by dealing out Mr. SMITH suggested the propriety of authorizing land and money to the right and left, till an interest was the continuation of the road from Vandalia to “ some created strong enough to carry it through. Mr. B. hoped point” in Missouri. He had no objection to the contem-it never would get through, although his own bill was plated military road, but he thought that the provi- now in it, and trusted that his bill would be allowed to sion which required that the road should be continued come out from the company into which it had been pressed, to Jefferson City might endanger the passage of the and take its fate in a separate vote upon its own merits, bill.
as all the bills for grantiog lands to the other States had Mr. BENTON rose to advocate the amendment which done. Mr. B. said that Missouri had received nothing in he had proposed when the bill was last under considera- money for the construction of roads or canals. She had tion. The bill proposed to extend the road to the seat of been equally unfortunate in her applications to Congress Government in Missouri; the amendment which he had for grants of money or land. About a million of dollars offered proposed to continue it to the Western frontier were annually voted for objects of internal improvement; of the State of Missouri, in the direction to Fort Leaven- no part of it went to Missouri; very little to any part of worth, and to the intersection of the route for the cara- the South or West. The Northeast was the grand vans from Missouri to Santa Fé. He exhibited a map absorbent of the whole; and the system of internal imwhich he had obtained from the War Office, showing the provement, invented for the benefit of the West, and position of the military post, Fort Leavenworth, on the proclaimed to be the true means of getting a portion of left bank of the Missouri river, a few miles above the the public money disbursed in the West to counterbalance mouth of the Kansas, and proximate to the State line, the enormous expenditure on the sea-board for lightand the course and bearing of the Santa Fé road, as houses, navy yards, ships, and fortifications, had turned out marked out under the authority of the Federal Govern- to be nothing but an illusion to the West, and a new ment. He showed, also, the course of the proposed road and enormous drain of money to the Northeast. Another by the seat of Government in Missouri, and considered bill is now presented in favor of Missouri; the reasons for the part which the amendment proposed as a link in the it are numerous, cogent, and unanswerable; and it rested chain of the great road from Washington City to Santa with the friends of internal improvement to say whether Fé, the two ends of which had been either made or it should be passed. This bill proposed the extension of marked out by the Federal Government, and only the the road to the seat of Government in Missouri; the
Jan. 18, 19, 1833.]
Cumberland Road.-Public Lands. Evidence of Clains.
amendment which he offered proposed to continue it to
PUBLIC LANDS. the frontier of the State, covered with insidious savages,
The Senate then proceeded to the special order of the to a military post which needed a communication with the centre of the State, and to the intersection of the day, being the bill to appropriate, for a limited time, the Missouri. The fate of this application would depend POINDEXTER to amend the original bill-Santa Fé road, annually' travelled by the caravans of proceeds of the sales of the public lands, &c.
The question pending being on the motion of Mr. upon those who were the advocates of internal improvement. Many members denied the power of Congress to tion of the bill until Monday, on account principally of
Mr. MOORE moved to postpone the further consideramake these improvements; of course their votes could the indisposition, and consequent absence, of a member not be looked for; to those who admitted the advocated the system, and voted a million annually for who was desirous to record his vote against the original bill. improvements in other quarters, the fate of this applica- the other side absent; but that he would rather hazard the
Mr. CLAY suggested that there was also a Senator on tion must be committed. Mr. CHAMBERS thought the views of the gentleman for the yeas and nays on the question of postponement,
loss of the bill than postpone it any longer. He asked from Missouri (Mr. Bexton) conflicted with those advanc. and they were ordered. ed yesterday by Mr. Grundy. The argument of the latter gentleman was more in unison with what was con enabled to obtain all the information which he had ex
Mr. POINDEXTER stated that he had not been as yet sidered orthodox in a certain quarter, than that of the gentleman from Missouri, on the subject of the nationality, refer. It was a subject of great national importance, and
pected to acquire from documents to which he desired to &c. of a particular class of internal improvements. He he thought it improper to hasten a decision. In addition regretted that the gentleman from Tennessee was not in his seat, as he might feel bound to vindicate his views on of it, but was at this moment laboring under a violent
to these considerations, he much wished to give his views this subject. There was a measure pending before the attack of cold. He hoped, therefore, that the subject Senate, however, (the land bill,) which, if adopted, would would be postponed till Monday, as it was known that the relieve gentlemen from the necessity of making nice other House would not go into an examination of this matdistinctions on the subject of the nationality of this or ter until the tariff question should be disposed of. that improvement. Until that measure was disposed of, he considered it unnecessary to act on the bill now before and decided as follows:
The question was then taken on the motion to postpone, the Senate, and he therefore moved to lay it on the table. Mr. SMITH would vote to lay the bill on the table for Calhoun, Forsyth, Grundy, Hill
, Kane, King, Mangum,
Yeas.-Messrs. Benton, Bibb, Black, Brown, Buckner, a different reason; he wished further time to examine the subject, particularly the amendment of the gentleman ton, Tyler, White, Wright.--22.
Miller, Moore, Poindexter, Rives, Robinson, Smith, Tipfrom Missouri, (Mr. Benton.]
Nays.— Messrs. Bell, Chambers, Clay, Clayton, DickMr. BUCKNER requested that the motion to lay the bill on the table should be withdrawn for a moment; which erson, Dudley, Ewing, Foot, Frelinghuysen, Hendricks, being done
Holmes, Johnston, Knight, Naudain, Prentiss, Robbins, Mr. BUCKNER expressed a hope that the bill would Ruggles, Seymour, Sprague, Tomlinson, Waggaman,
Webster'.--22. not be further postponed. It had been some time before the Senate, and contained a plain proposition, involving
So the motion to postpone was lost, (the Senate being no new principle. He could see no reason why this bir equally divided upon it.)
Mr. KING then addressed the Senate, at length, in should be made to give place to the land bill, or any other opposition to the original bill, and in support of the favorite measure. There seemed to have been a species of
amendment. discipline and training connected with this land bill, which
Mr. CHAMBERS spoke in reply. was disreputable, and at war with a free and fair course of legislation.
Mr. BUCKNER moved to postpone the further consiEvery important measure which came up deration of the subject until Monday, in order to have an was drawn within the vortex of the land bill, which ap- opportunity to move that, when the Senate adjourns, it to rivet upon the country the present tariff. He warned adjourn to meet on Monday.
Mr. CLAY asked for the yeas and nays, which were gentlemen that this course might be attended with a dif
ordered. ferent effect from that which was intended. He had himself been an advocate of the tariff; but when an effort was
Mr. POINDEXTER said a few words in favor of ad,
journment. made to sustain it by an unjust, and sordid, and corrupt course of legislation, he warned gentlemen to beware of than from day to day, in the present state of the public
Mr. WEBSTER objected to any other adjournment the consequences. Was it desired that the present bill
business. At the same time, he felt a strong disposition should be postponed, in order that gentlemen might re: 10 give every indulgence to the gentleman from Missisvenge themselves for the vote which its friends might
sippi. He then moved that the Senate do now adjourn. think proper to give on the land bill? This was certainly
'The motion was agreed to, and an unjust course of proceeding. Jf the bill now before the Senate should fail, he wished it remembered that it
The Senate adjourned. had perished by the hands of those who had given birth
SATUNDAY, JANUARY 19. to the principles upon which it was founded. Shall those who first stood forth the advocates of internal improve
EVIDENCE OF CLAIMS. ments be the first to destroy their own offspring? This On motion of Mr. SMITH, the previous orders were Was unnatural. He preferred that every measure should postponed, and the Senate proceeded to consider the be tested by its own merits, unconnected with any other joint resolution authorizing the Secretary of State to desubject. A different course of legislation was unwise and liver to the commissioners under the French treaty the improper, if not dishonest.
evidences of any claims delivered to and rejected by the He had no objection that the bill should lie on the table, commissioners under the Spanish treaty. to allow any gentleman an opportunity for examination; The resolution having been read a second time, it was but protested against postponing it, for the reasons which taken up as in Committee of the Whole. had been assigned by the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. SMITH tben stated that the Committee on Finance (Ms. CHAMBERS. ]
had, in reporting this resolution, departed a little from The bill was then laid on the table.
the regular rule. The committee had been instructed
Evidence of Claims.-Public Lands.
[Jan. 19, 1833.
to inquire into the expediency of employing clerks to Kentucky, who introduced the bill at the last and the make copies of these documents. They had made in- present session of Congress, but for the deep interest quiry of the Secretary of State as to the cost of making which my immediate constituents have in the final dispothese copies, and are told that it would amount to $10,600. sition which may be made of the lands of the United Other inquiries which were made resulted in a conviction States, in common with all the new States of the confedethat the mode suggested by the resolution would be the racy, and the high obligation which devolves on me, as most convenient and the most prompt, and one which the a Senator from one of these new States, to vindicate Secretary had stated as giving him sufficient authority to their interests and advance their prosperity, on all prodeliver over the originals.
per occasions, not inconsistent with justice to the other Mr. FORSYTH said that the committee seemed to have members of the Union. forgotten the instructions which had been given to them. I am admonished by the state of my health, as well as They were required to make an appropriation for the by the anxiety which has been manifested by the Senate, necessary clerks. It was true that there would be a con- to bring this discussion to a close, of the propriety, and siderable saving of expense if the originals were handed I may add the necessity, of confining my remarks within over to the commissioners; but the question was whether the narro'vest limits which the importance of the subject this could be done consistently with the treaty with Spain? will permit. The President, in his annual message, brings If it could, the Secretary had the power of handing over the great question of the public lands distinctly before the papers; if he had it not, the Senate could not give it to Congress; and, besides the notice which he takes of the him. He should, therefore, vote against the resolution. various propositions heretofore submitted for an equita.
Mr. SPRAGUE said he had always been of the opinion ble and proper disposal of these lands, he recommends that the construction of the treaty which required these for our consideration a specific plan, resulting from his papers to be kept in any particular building was a very own reflections on the subject, which I shall, in the prolimited one. He did not understand that they were pa- gress of my remarks, take occasion to contrast with the pers over which Spain could have any control. They provisions of the bill on the table, and endeavor to show are the documents relating to claims which had been dis- the effects of each system on the general welfare and allowed. Spain could hardly expect that we should re- future tranquillity of the country, in reference to this most tain documents of this character forever. She could have important branch of national wealth and internal policy. nothing more to do with them. If the narrow construc But, sir, I cannot consent, in the arrangement of this tion to which he referred was to be adhered to, why difficult and perplexing question, to stop at the mere could not the commissioners sit in rooms in the Depart- point of distribution, however much I may approve the ment of State? He presumed that there could be no dif- measure. I desire to go further, and provide at once ficulty in this. But believing that there could be no ne- for the poor emigrants, by securing to those who actucessity for this, he should vote for the resolution. ally inhabit and cultivate a tract of land of a limited quan.
Mr. KANE thought the only question was, whether it tity, for a number of years, to be specified, the right of is necessary that these documents should be where they pre-emption, at a moderate price, to the land so inhabited would be submitted to the personal inspection of the and cultivated. I wish also to incorporate in any bill commissioners? If so, and if copies would not answer, which may be passed a provision for an equitable gra. and the Secretary could not let the originals go from his duation of the minimum price at which the public lands custody without this resolution was passed, it ought to pass. are now directed by law to be sold, and thereby place
Mr. SMITH and Mr. FORSYTH reiterated what they lands of inferior quality at a rate which may induce men had before stated.
in moderate circumstances to purchase and cultivate Mr. SILSBEE expressed his inability to discover how them. With these salutary modifications, the system of it was possible that the treaty of Florida could bave any distribution proposed will be acceptable not only to the more effect on these papers than on any of the claims put old but the new States of the confederacy. It will do in for indemnity against spoliations committed by the justice to every portion of the Union, and on that founFrench previous to 1800. The documents referred to dation alone can we hope to inspire confidence and give captures condemned in French ports, and the claims durability to the plan which it is proposed to carry into founded on them had been rejected. Now, to establish effect, by the passage of the bill now under consideration. these claims against France, it was necessary to produce The origin of the title of the United States to the eminent these documents. The Secretary does not feel himself at domain seems to be generally conceded. On this point liberty to give them up. This was very hard on the claim- there exist but slight shades of difference in the opinants, and in some way or other they ought to be relieved. ions expressed by honorable Senators who have preced. He should therefore vote for the resolution.
ed me in this discussion. On motion of Mr. FOOT, the resolution was amended The sources from which our title has sprung may be by adding the words:
divided into the three following classes: " Which evidences shall be returned to the Depart. 1st. Voluntary cessions from the States having within ment of State when the commission shall expire.” their chartered limits a large extent of waste and unap
The resolution was then reported as amended, and the propriated territory. amendment having been concurred in, the resolution was 23. Cessions from the States, founded on purchase, for ordered to be engrossed, and read a third time.
a valuable consideration. PUBLIC LANDS.
3d. Cessions from foreign nations since the adoption of
the federal constitution, founded on purchase, for a valuaThe Senate then proceeded to the consideration of the ble consideration. bill to appropriate, for a limited time, the proceeds of the In this latter class I do not include purchases from the sales of the public lands, the question being on Mr. Indian tribes or nations, because the right of soil in POINDEXTER's amendment.
the United States existed prior to these purchases, After the failure of a motion to postpone the bill to and no other title has ever been recognised in the InMonday-
dian tribes but the right of occupancy, which has from Mr. ́POINDEXTER rose and said: Mr. President, 1 time to time been extinguished by the numerous Indian should not have risen to partake of the debate on the treaties which are to be found in the archives of the interesting question brought before the Senate by the Government. bill on your table, especially after the very able view I shall proceed to examine these various cessions, and which has been taken of it by the honorable Senator from the conditions in which they were made, in connexion
Jar. 19, 1833.)
with the laws which have been enacted to carry them sovereign, and independent States, they solemnly pledg. into effect, both under the old confederation and the ex-ed to each other “their lives, their fortunes, and their saisting constitution.
cred honor," to maintain and preserve the independence But before I enter into this examination, I beg the in- thus declared in defiance of the power of the mother dulgence of the Senate while I take a very brief notice country, or of any other power whatsoever, by which of what I consider an erroneous opinion which several their liberties might be assailed or endangered. This honorable Senators have expressed in relation to the memorable and solemn act was promulgated only a short title to the waste and unappropriated lands in the United time before the articles of confederation were agreed on, States, supposed to be acquired by conquest from the by the same patriotic body, and transmitted to the respect. crown of Great Britain. It is alleged that these lands ive State Legislatures for their assent and ratification. were won by the common arms, and therefore became the The war of the revolution progressed, but the means common property of all the States of the confederacy. by which it might be brought to a speedy and favorable From this opinion I must be permitted, without intending termination engaged the attention and excited the anxious to doubt the sincerity with which it has been advanced, solicitude of Congress and the country at large. Amidst or the high authority' by which it is maintained, to enter the numerous difficulties by which this noble band of patri. my entire dissent.
ots were surrounded, the scanty means on which they were By the war of the revolution the united arms of the compelled to rely to supply the indispensable wants of the colonies conquered and gained their liberties and inde- army, the absence of a sound circulating medium, and the pendence on the mother country.
depression of public credit, their attention was very naturalThese were acknowledged by the British Monarch ly and properly turned to the wilderness of the West; and in the treaty of peace entered into on the 3d day of the vast uncultivated domains in these regions were looked September, 1783, which fully recognised each separate to as a fund out of which to compensate, at a fiture day, colony as an independent sovereignty, by name, as they the services and sacrifices of the war-worn veterans who , were respectively formed by their ancient charters. so triumphantly fought our battles in the field, and as a
The treaty with Great Britain did not acknowledge permanent resource on which we might safely depend the independence of the United States as a nation; but the for the final extinguishment of the enormous debt incurthirteen colonies were, by that instrument, declared to be fred in achieving the glorious result by which we became thirteen separate and independent States; they were a free people. treated with as such, and as such they confederated for The hopes of the army, throughout the whole of the their mutual safety and common defence.
revolutionary war, and of the militia, called into service on The treaty made no cessions of the crown lands, in right sudden emergencies by the States, were animated and cherof conquest, either to the States individually, or to the ished by the pledges which were from time to time made, confederacy; they were left precisely on the footing in that so soon as the great object for which they so freely which they stood prior to the revolution, and each look- shed their blood was attained, destitute as they were of the ed to their antecedent charters, defining the boundaries ordinary subsistence and means of comfort in the tented assigned to them by the parent country. I, therefore, field, and their hard earnings paid in a depreciated pahold it to be clear and undeniable, that, as the several per currency, the most liberal grants of land would be States united contributed both in men and money to the made to them by Congress, to which they might retire accomplishment of the great end of conquering their in- when peace should be restored to the country, and their dependence, each became a separate sovereignty by the toils ended by the acknowledgment of our independence terms of the treaty of peace; and, within their respective as one among the nations of the earth. limits, each might dispose of its inappropriated domain These pledges were made in anticipation of the transwithout interruption or restraint from the other States, fers which it was believed would be readily made for the in the same manner, and to the same extent, that the general good, by each State, of their domains which recrown of Great Britain could have exercised that power mained unreclaimed by the hand of industry, and untrodwhile we remained in a colonial conditioli.
den by the footsteps of civilized man. If any doubt could have existed on this principle dur Appeals were sent forth by Congress to the States ing the revolutionary war, it has been since entirely re- for the consummation of these just and benevolent inmoved; and the right of each State to the waste lands tentions towards the soldiers of the revolution, which within the chartered limits of each is recognised and con- were answered by a patriotic surrender of their title to ceded by the application made to the states by the old those lands, which have since been appropriated, accordCongress, acting under the articles of confederation, for ing to the original design of the parties, in satisfaction of cessions of these lands, for the common benefit of the military grants and the payment of the public debt. The Union, and the subsequent ratification by Congress of articles of confederation for several year's were suspended those cessions, on the conditions therein expressed, as on the issue of this important question; and Maryland, the they were respectively made by the State Legislatures; last State by which they were ratified, did not accede to and his opinion is still more strongly enforced by the them until the year 1781, about one year prior to the purchase of a considerable extent of territory, now form- close of the war. New York took the lead in offering to ed into two new and flourishing States, from Georgia, in cede her waste lands to be applied for the common bene. the year 1802, for which the United States paid to that fit of all the States. In Alarch, 1780, the Legislature of State the large sum of $1,250,000.
that patriotic State passed a resolve, part of which I Considering, then, the several deeds of cession made by beg leave to read to the Senate. The preamble contains the States as the basis of our title to the lands which re- a summary of the causes which induced the Legislature, main waste and unappropriated within their bounda- in the name of the people of New York, to authorize their ries, I shall proceed, sir, to inquire into the origin of delegates in Congress, or a majority of them, to make the these deeds of cession, the great purposes for which proposed cession to the United States, in the manner spe. they were made, and the limitations imposed on the Gov-lcified in the act. And, among other things, it is enacted ernment by the grantors.
and declared, “that the territory which may be ceded The Declaration of Independence was the voluntary act " or relinquished by virtue of this act, either with rcof the colonies, by which they united in the great strug: “spect to the jurisdiction, as well as the rightor pre-empgle against the tyranny and oppression of the King and " tion of soil only, shall be and inure for the use and Parliament of Great Britain; and, in announcing to the civil- “ benefit of such of the United States as shall become ized world that they were, and of right ought to be, free, l“ members of the federal alliance of the said States, and
(Jan. 19, 1833.
“ for no other use or purpose whatsoever.” Congress re- the limitations expressed in the several deeds of cession. ferred this act of the Legislature of New York, together the grantees could only use the thing granted according with other papers relating to the same subject, to a spe to the conditions prescribed by the grantors. Theis con. cial committee, who made thereon a detailed report, constituted the basis of all the acts of Congress in respect to cluding with the following resolution:
the public lands, prior to the adoption of the federal constiResolved, That copies of the several papers referred tution. The States collectively were the joint owners of this to the committee be transmitted, with a copy of the re- immense real estate, but were restricted in the disposal of port, to the Legislatures of the several States; and that it it to certain specified objects, from which they could not be earnestly recommended to those States who have depart without a manifest violation of the contract with claims to the Western country to pass such laws, and the parties under whom they claimed the right of soil. give their delegates in Congress such powers, as may Under these circumstances, the delegates of the reeffectually remove the only obstacle to a final ratification spective States, constituting the representation of both the of the articles of confederation; and that the Legislature grantors and the grantees, all equally interested in any of Maryland be earnestly requested to authorize their dele- regulation which might be deemed expedient in reference gates in Congress to subscribe the said articles.”
to the future disposition which might be made of the com. This report was considered, and adopted by the dele- men fund, met in the city of Philadelphia, with power to gates from each State in Congress assembled on the 6th revise and amend the articles of confederation, and to enday of September, 1780. Subsequent to these proceed- large and modify them, so as to form a more perfect union ings, and during the same session of Congress, on the of the States, to establish justice, ensure domestic tran10th of October, 1780, a resolution was adopted, which de- quillity, provide for the common defence, “promote the clares, “that the unappropriated lands which may be general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty." ceded or relinquished to the United States by any particu- This body of men, bringing with them the feelings and lar State, pursuant to the recommendation of Congress wishes of the State Legislatureseby whom they had been of the 6th day of September last, shall be disposed of appointed, took this important subject of the public for the common benefit of the United States."
lands into their scrious consideration, and, with full A deed of cession from New York was executed by power to act in this matter for the States which they rethree of the delegates in Congress from that State, on the spectively represented, thought proper to change the con1st day of March 1781, on condition that the territory ditions on which these lands had been ceded to the Unitceded or relinquished shall be and inure for the use and ed States, by a special provision, which vested in Conbenefit of such of the United States as shall become mem- gress a plenary power to dispose of them as they might bers of the federal alliance of the said States, and for no deem most beneficial, and best calculated to promote the other use or purpose whatsoever." And further, that general good of the people at large. the lands thus ceded shall be “granted, disposed of, and It is admitted on all hands, that, under the articles of appropriated in such manner only as the Congress of the confederation, Congress had no power to distribute the United 6tates shall order and direct."
proceeds of the sales of the public lands among the seThe cession made by Virginia of her territory north. veral States for local or internal purposes, to make grants west of the river Ohio, then an uncultivated wilderness, to the new States whensoever they might be introduced inhabited only by the savage tribes of that region, but into the Union, or to make donations to individuals or to which has since been formed into three large and well bodies corporate. Nor, indeed, could any power be ex. populated States of the Union, was not finally completed ercised distinct from such as were contained in the deeds and accepted by Congress until the year 1784. The con- of cession. But it cannot be denied, on any legal or moditions are similar to those contained in the cession of ral principle, that the parties to an instrument containing New York, with the exception of a reservation for bounty specified limitations and conditions may, at any time, by lands to be granted to the troops of that State, who were mutual consent, either enlarge or abolish altogether placed on the continental establishment. All the lands these limitations and conditions, and that such modificawithin the ceded territory, not reserved for specified pur- tions of the pre-existing rights of the parties will be as poses, were to be considered a “common fund for the binding and obligatory upon them as if it had constituted use and benefit of such of the United States as have be a part of the original contract between them. The States come, or shall becomc, members of the confederation, or for whose common benefit these voluntary cessions of ter. in federal alliance of said States, Virginia inclusive, accord- ritory bad been made on the conditions therein expressing to their several respective proportions in the general ed, and who were alone interested in any and every ques. charge and expenditure, and shall be faithfully and bona tion which might arise under them, mei face to face, by fide disposed of for that purpose, and for no other use or their delegates in the National Convention; and with a full purpose whatsoever.” On these conditions the cession knowledge of the restrictions contained in the deeds of was accepted by Congress, and thereby they became ob cession, and the total absence of all power in Congress to ligatory on both parties to the contract. The following appropriate the public domain, except in the manner and cessions were made and accepted subsequent to those for the purposes design by the grantors, after the already noticed from New York and Virginia:
mature consideration which the importance of the interest By Massachusetts, on the 19th day of April, 1785; by involved demanded, and doubtless received, recommendConnecticut, on the 14th of September, 1785, and of ed to their respective States the adoption of the following what is called the Western reserve, on the 30th day of May, provision in the new constitution, which was acceded to 1800; by South Carolina, on the 9th day of August, 1787; by all the States in the Union, and now forms a part of the by North Carolina, on the 25th of February, 1790. The fundamental law of the republic: above enumeration comprises all the voluntary cessions of Art. 4, sec. 3. “The Congress shall have power to disterritory made by the States to the United States, either pose of and make all needful rules and regulations respectprior or subsequent to the adoption of the existing con- ing the territory or other property belonging to the Unitstitution. The conditions annexed to each grant are of ed States; and nothing in this constitution shall be so conthe same general character, and each stipulates that the strued as to prejudice any claims of the United States or lands ceded shall be and inure to the common benefit of any particular State." all the States.
Since the adoption of the federal constitution, North The powers of Congress under the articles of confede- Carolina came in and made a voluntary cession of her surration did not authorize that body to make any other dis- plus territory to the United States, on conditions which, beposition of the ceded territory than such as accorded with ling carried into effect, rendered the cession of no value to