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Jan. 11, 1830.]
[H. of R.
this House would bear him out in saying that the general express their opinions upon any subject of national implan for Indian emigration, now under the consideration of portance to this House? Whether they are right or not Congress, had been repeatedly urged by him (Mr. L.) for (said Mr. S.) in the opinions which they advance, still they two years past; and he would now take the liberty of say: cannot be debarred the right of respectfully expressing ing that one of the greatest obstacles which had impeded those opinions to their representatives. Mr. s. said the his progress, and, as he believed, his success, might be time had not yet come for the inquiry whether these me. traced in the disposition in this House prematurely to en- morialists were right in their sentiments. When the time ter upon the discussion of the Indian subject.
does come (said he] for that discussion, it must be apIt is known to this House that the whole subject of our proached with awe. It is one of great magnitude, and Indian relations has been brought before Congress by the must involve the most solemn considerations. The only President of the United States in his message at the com- question now for us to decide is, whether the memorial is mencement of the present session; and has been referred a respectful one in relation to this House, and if it was not, to the Committee on Indian Affairs, of which he was a he had perhaps contributed to mislead the House, in as member; and, therefore, he felt himself justified in saying much as he had expressed a contrary opinion. Is it said that that committee is and has been assiduous in labor and Mr. S.] indecorous for a portion of the people to express industry, in endeavoring to perform the important duties their sentiments freely on any subject they may think proconfided to its charge. He, therefore, regretted, that any per to bring before us, or which may already be before portion of the delegation from Georgia, or any other mem- us? If so, (said Mr. S.) there might be some ground for ber of the House, should subject themselves to the impu- the opposition to the reference; otherwise no such ground tation of stifling the most full, free, and ample investiga- could exist. In relation to the memorial itself, and the tion upon this subject, in all its various bearings. As re- condition of the Southern Indians, (said Mr. S.] there at gards the paper which has given rise to this discussion, his least appeared some color for complaint; if it was true, as views coincided with the gentleman from South Carolina, stated, that, in the proceedings of judicial tribunals, an In[Mr. DRAYTON) and that of his colleagues. He consider- dian's oath was not allowed against a white man, whilst ed this officious act of the petitioners (to speak in the that of a white man was valid against an Indian. Mr. S. mildest terms of it) as an impertinent intermeddling with concluded by enforcing the right which he contended pe. other people's concerns. But, sir, (said Mr. L.] I would titioners and memorialists had to be heard upon that floor; most gladly hear and carefully examine all that can be said and said, when he had stated that the memorial was not by every individual in this Union who thinks with these an indecorous one, he only referred to its relation to that memorialists, including all the William Penns of the whole House. land. I want the whole subject fully and fairly before Mr. WAYNE said, he was in favor of the proposition of Congress. Sir, I am not vain in believing that the conduct the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. Drayton) and of Georgia, in relation to the Indians, in the prosecution of he should vote with him on the present question. He ber rights, will not only be justified to this House, but to took this occasion to return his thanks to that gentleman nine-tenths of the people of this Union, if we can have an for the stand which he had taken, in making his motion to ample discussion upon the subject in all its bearings. In- lay the subject on the table; and he should have done so stead of a Georgia question, in relation to Indians, I wish himself, had it not more properly devolved upon an older to present to the consideration of Congress, and the peo- member of that body. He hoped the memorial might be ple of the Union, a systematic plan and policy in relation read, that gentlemen might judge for themselves, whether to the Indians, which shall not only relieve my own State, it was couched in decorous terms. He therefore moved but every other State and territory in the Union, of their its reading. present perplexities in relation to the rights of the States [The reading of the memorial at length, by the Clerk of the rights of the Indians, as well as the rights of this Go-thie House, here took place.) vernment, in relation to this Indian subject. Sir, it is time Mr. MALLARY observed that he was not aware that to have a definite policy upon this subject. The jurisdic- difficulties could ensue upon the subject before them. A tion of all the conflicting parties must be defined. Your great number of respectable citizens had memorialized committee, upon this subject, are using their best exer- Congress on a very important subject. It had been said tions to lay before you all the facts which they can collect, by the gentleman from Georgia, that it would be much connected with the subject, and which are calculated to better iř persons, instead of taking care of the business aid in arriving at a just decision. I, therefore, do hope of others, would attend to their own affairs. But what we shall not again suffer ourselves to be excited into a pre- (said he) are to be considered as our affairs, and what are mature discussion of this subject, by those whose ignorance the affairs of the nation? Has not the President of the of the subject is the manifest cause of their zeal and for- United States himself recommended, in his message, the wardness.
subject to the consideration of the Committee on Indian Mr. SPENCER said, he owed it to the gentleman from Affairs? And why, therefore, should objections be raised South Carolina (Mr. Drarrox] to explain some of his to the reference of it to that committee, by those who laid former observations. When he [Mr. S.] was up before, claim to the character of genuine republicans? Mr. M. he had said the memorial was, in his opinion, couched in proceeded to contend in favor of the memorialists to addecorous language. He meant, it was respectful towards monish, if he might use the term, the members of the Nathat House, and be believed that was the question to be tional Legislature upon the subject of any public measure decided. Mr. S. said, that, so far from wishing for discus. in contemplation, and also to express their opinion as to sion on this subject, he really deplored it; and he appeal- what might be the probable consequences or results of ed to the gentlemen from Georgia to bear him out in the their decision. He thought that the citizens of the United assertion, that he had requested of them to let the memo. States, under such circumstances, had the right not only rial go to the committee without opposition, and conse to express their opinions, but also to urge their arguquently without a painful debate. It was a discussion which ments in support of such opinions. he had avoided as much as was in his power, consistent Mr. THOMPSON, of Georgia, said, he certainly did not with his duty to vindicate the character of the memorial- rise with a few to prolong the debate. On the contrary, it ists, which had been so unwarrantably aspersed. He said was with extreme regret that he had seen that debate take the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Drayton) had the range which it had already done. But the gentleman read a clause in the memorial, which lie considered indeco- from New York (Mr. Spencer) had seemed to intend to rous. He would ask if the memorialists—he would ask if fix on him (Mr. 'T.] the charge of having not only unneany of the free citizens of this Union, had not the right to cessarily provoked debate upon the merits of the subject
H. of R.]
(Jan. 11, 1830.
referred to in the memorial, but of having done injustice of it was indecorous to the State of Georgia. He did to the memorialists. Mr. 1. disclaimed having said, or not understand it to be objected to the memorial that it intended to say, any thing (when he first addressed the was at all disrespectful to the House—but it was said that House on the merits of the important subject referred it was not to be treated here with favor, because it imto in the memorial. He had read that paper, and, as a reputed to other persons motives or conduct calculated to presentative of the people of Georgia, he felt indignant at bring them into disrepute. Now, sir, (said Mr. S.) it bethe insult apparently intended to be offered by the me- comes us to remember, here, that this right of petition morialists to that State. He repeated what he said when has been deemed so sacred that its security has been prohe addressed the House before, that he had no intention vided for in the constitution itself. It is a right to be tenof opposing the proposed reference. That he had im-derly dealt with. This petition is not addressed to "His plicit confidence in the integrity and intelligence of the Most Sacred Majesty," or laid at the foot of a throne. Committee on Indian Affairs, who already had the subject | The memorialists are our own constituents—the free peounder consideration. That he had the fullest confidence ple of this country--and addressing us, their own reprein this House, and in the American people, as well as in sentatives. It is their right to speak to us and to speak the perfect fairness of the claims of Georgia, and that, their opinions frankly and fearlessly, and it is our duty to therefore, he did not fear the result. Mr. T. said, that, listen to them respectfully. We can only require, on the but for the assertion of the gentleman from New York, other hand, that they speak in respectful terms of this [Mr. Spencer) that the memorialists are gentlemen of House. Beyond that, I doubt if we have any moral right respectability, the ungenerous, illiberal and indecorous to inquire. "If we undertake to criticise the language of language used by them towards Georgia would justify these appeals from our constituents to this House beyond the belief that the memorial was the result of an acci-that point, we may overstep our own limits, and, under the dental meeting at a grog-shop. Mr. T. said, he was a notion of repudiating their petitions as disrespectful, we Georgian, and had the honor to be one of the representa- may in fact abridge the right of the people to petition tives of the people of that State. He asked the gentle their own representatives. If we are now to deny to man from New York, therefore, if it were possible that these petitioners a respectful notice of their complaints, an apology could be expected from him. Mr. T. repeated because they are supposed to have spoken of one of the what he said when he first addressed the House, that States in terms which that State might consider offensive, a reference of the memorial in question was superseded why should not we at least set up the same rule for other by a submission of the subject at large to the Committee departments of our own Government? We should then on Indian Affairs, through the President's message; and realize more distinctly the nature of the principle we have he would now add that the vast accumulation of trash heard advanced in this debate. If our constituents were which appeared in the columns of the National Intelligen- to petition us for an impeachment of the Executive or the cer over the signature of William Penn, and circulated judges of the court, and charge them with injustice, opthrough the United States during the last summer, did pression, and usurpation, in unlimited terms, should we re away any necessity which ever in the conception of the pudiate their complaints, because we might be disposed memorialists might have otherwise devolved upon the to feel a tenderness for these high functionaries? If they people of New York to take the Indians located in Georgia speak respectfully of this House, it is all which we have under their special care and protection: for, if gentlemen a right to require for ourselves. I will not say whether, would take the trouble to compare the memorial with the if this petition was presented to the Legislature of Georessays before alluded to, they would find that the memo- gia, it should be considered so respectful to that State, as rialists have consulted their convenience, by taking such to entitle it to favorable notice there. Georgia would de: parts of the arguments used by William Penn as are the termine that for herself. But it is enough for us that it least profound, and, therefore, the least troublesome to contains no imputations on this House. Whether the conthe intellects of the memorialists. But with what grace clusions which the petitioners have drawn from their own [Mr. T. asked) do complaints against Georgia come from views of the subject, to which they call our attention, are the land of the Mohawks, the Norridgewocks, the Pe- just or not, is not the question at this time. But it is a quods, and Narragansetts? Mr. T. said, the gentleman question on which we may be called at this session to act from the North (Mr. Mallary) had taken exceptions to as their representatives: and, as they have the right, as the maxim that if every body would attend to their own our constituents, to be heard on any question here, which business and let others alone, every body's business would in their opinion may affect the interests or the character be well attended to," as quoted by Mr. T.'s colleague, of the country, we are bound to treat their complaints [Mr. WILDE.] Mr. T. asked how the gentleman from with great respect. If we are to err at all on so delicate Vermont would like a substitution of the maxim, “ Physi- a point as the right of petition involves, we had better cian, heal thyself.” He deprecated the idea, in conclu- err on the other side. Mr. S. then proceeded to examine sion, that his intention had been either to provoke dis- the passages which had been alluded to as particularly discussion, or opposed the proposed reference, and express- respectful to the State of Georgia, and said that he coned a hope that the discussion would for the present be sidered the terms used as founded entirely on the hypodiscontinued.
thetical correctness of the conclusions which the petitionMr. STORRS, of New York, said that no one coulders had drawn from the documents to which they referred, deny that the subject matter of 'the memorial pertained to But whether these terms were in any sense disrespectful the business of the House. The President had called the to that State or not, he did not admit the right of the subject to the notice of Congress at the commencement House to determine for the petitioners
. If they treated of the session, and invited the special attention of the the House itself with respect, it was all that the House House to it. The honorable gentleman from Tennessee, had any right to require of them. at the head of the Committee on Indian Affairs, (Mr. Mr. FOSTER, of Georgia, said it was little matter how Bell) had also invited its reference to that committee as much gentlemen may deplore the agitation and discusa matter to be properly disposed of in that way. If the sion of this question. They had got into it, and it was memorial was, therefore, on a subject pending here, he impossible for them to retreat. They might as well en [Mr. S.) could not discover, as clearly as some gentlemen counter it first as last. We have heard much (said Mr. F.] seemed to, how that which was of such interest to the on the constitutional impossibility of refusing to listen top petition to this House from these memorialists as well as calling things by their right names. Gentlemen were mais any body else. It was said, however, that the language taken in the name which had been given to the instrument
Jax. 12, 13, 1830.)
[H. of R. before them; but the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Mal- it—to address us on any of our foreign affairs; (said Mr. LARY] had explained the whole matter. The paper is sent A.) and should we think of meting out to them the ardor here, not only as a petition or memorial, but as an argu- with which they should express themselves to us on that ment in opposition to the views expressed by the Presi- subject, or any other subject of public concern? He put dent on this subject, in his last message to the House. it to the gentlemen of Georgia themselves, whether there For his own part, he, in common with others, had full was any part of the Union where the people would brook confidence in the Committee on Indian Affairs; and he did such an assumption by this House, if it were attempted in not oppose the reference of the subject to them; but he regard to a memorial from their own State. They were was desirous of stripping it of its fictitious character. the last people in the Union by whom ardor of language The many delicate terms made use of in the paper, in re on public topics should be rebuked. Mr. A. concluded lation to the State of Georgia, and its policy, were suffi- by saying that if the gentleman from South Carolina should cient indications of the motives which prompted it. It press his motion to lay the memorial on the table, he, had become fashionable [he said] to lavish abuse upon (Mr. A.) though a Southern man himself, must object to Georgia and its policy, both in the newspapers and in po- it, and favor the reference of the petition. pular assemblies, and she was now considered fair game Mr. McDUFFIE said that, if the discussion upon the à fair mark for all the shafts of ribaldry; but he could say matter were further prolonged, it was obvious that the of that State, in the language of a distinguished individual presentation of petitions on the part of the States which on another occasion, the policy of Georgia “would stand bad not yet been called over by the Speaker, must be dethe scrutiny of talents and of time.” The paper referred ferred until Monday next, and thus a week's time be lost especially to the conduct of Georgia; the conduct of the to the petitioners.' He saw no prospect of utility from a sovereign State of Georgia, (he was glad to see that term continuation of the debate in the present stage of the afhad become more fashionable lately than it was two or fair; and he should therefore move the previous question. three years ago,) in her internal relations--and contains The motion was sustaineil; and the main question rethreats of the vengeance of Heaven against her. Mr. F. curred as to referring the memorial to the Committee on said, if it was desirable that the sentiments contained Indian Affairs. in this document should come before this House, the Upon this Mr. REED asked for the yeas and nays; but gentlemen who advocated it could express them there the call was not sustained, and the question was, upon a without referring them to the committee. He said the division, carried in the affirmative. weakest member from New York could enforce those sen So the memorial was ordered to be referred to the Comtiments as strongly as they were set forth in the document mittee on Indian Affairs. in question. Mr. F. here referred to the condition in which other States stood upon this subject; and said, if
TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 1830. this sort of investigation was proper in relation to one
DISTRIBUTION OF PUBLIC LANDS. State, it was equally applicable to others. But what (said he) would be thought of the citizens of Georgia, should
The House again resumed the consideration of the rethey call upon New York to make restitution to the Indian solution moved by Mr. HUNT on the 17th December
ultimo. tribes who once resided within her territory? The doctrine would be considered as monstrous; but now (said Mr.
The question recurred on the motion macle by Mr. F.] that the memorialists reside in the great commercial MARTIN, on the same day, to amend the same. emporium, they are entitled to all deferential considera
Mr. BURGES, of Rhode Island, resumed the remarks tion; and it is matter of surprise that their right to inter- interrupted by the last adjournment. He had not confere in the matter is questioned. Mr. F. concluded by cluded when the hour allotted to the consideration of re. repeating his dissent from opinions expressed in that solutions had expired. House on the subject of the memorial. Mr. CAMBRELENG remarked that, as this debate was
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13, 1830. on a mere question of reference, and as the House would The House resumed the consideration of the resolution probably not object to the reference, he hoped the de: moved by Mr. HUNT on the 17th of December ultimo, bate would not be continued. The President had called concerning a distribution of the public lands among the the attention of Congress to the subject; but the House several States. seemed prematurely and rapidly approaching an Indian The question recurred on the motion made by Mr. war on this preliminary and unimportant question. He MARTIN, on the same day, to amend the said resolution. hoped Mr. DRAYTox would not press his motion, but per Mr. BURGES resumed, and concluded his remarks. mit the question to be taken on the reference.
[The remarks of Mr. B. as delivered on three several Mr. ARCHER feared that this question would produce days, follow:) a feeling in the House, mischievous, and prejudicial to the Mr. BURGES said, that whatever might aid education performance of the public business. He agreed with Mr. and extend intercourse among the people throughout the CAMBRELENG on the subject, but would say a word or two various parts of the country, always did, when brought to on the question which had been debated. It was said the the consideration of the House, appear before its members memorial contained language disrespectful towards one of attended by circumstances of deep and vital importance. the States of the Union. He confessed he did not perceive the resolution offered by the gentleman from Vermont it. He bal read the petition, and did not find any thing (Mr. Hunt) proposed to give such appropriation to some disrespectful; and he quoted the language deemed excep- portion of the national funds, as would facilitate the operationable, to show that it was so. The memorial spoke tions of both these sources of national improvement. Howmerely of a hypothetical course of measures on the part ever desirous I may be to aid this propositior, (said Mr. B.] of Georgia, which would lead to certain consequences, yet, feeling myself within the interdiction of that rebuke which the petitioners deemed grievous, and to be depre- so graciously bestowed on a gentleman whose State had cated. It was the right of all men--not merely freemen, ceded no lands to the Union, I shall, first of all, offer some but all men, (said Mr. A.) to express their fears of what reasons why a representative from such a State may be would grow out of an apprehended course of public mea- permitted to mingle in any debate concerning a disposition
of the public lands. It is true, Rhode Island neither did This was a memorial of a respectable meeting of citi- nor could, in the great revolutionary conflict, make any zens--on what sort of a subject? Why, relative to Indian cession of broad lands or more extensive claims, in aid of affairs. It would be their just right--no one would deny the war, or of the confederation. The great founder of
H. of R.)
Distribution of Public Lands.
[Jan. 13, 1830.
that State was able to find no longer space than its very sentatives.” It is moved by the gentleman from South limited territory, wherein, for the first time, among all the Carolina (Mr. Mantin) to amend this resolution, so that kingdoms and colonies of this world, a Christian man the committee should further inquire “ into the amount and might, at that time, obtain full permission “to hold forth value of the public lands which bave been given by Con. a lively experiment, that a civil State could best stand and gress to any State, or to any public institution in said flourish, with the utmost freedom, in religious concern- State:” The gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Test) has, in
Although Rhode Island could not do what more debate on this subject, announced his intention to move an fortunate conditions enabled other States so liberally to amendment of this amendment, should it prevail, to the inperform, yet, in every great passage of arms, and in all tent that the same committee may further inquire, and re. which might illustrate patriotism or signalize valor, she port to this House, the whole amount expended for nastood in the very first rank of devotedness and achieve- tional purposes in all the other States. ment. History will continue to do justice to all the efforts Now, sir, can any proposition be contrived, more effectof all the States in their revolutionary contest. Should it ually calculated to subvert and destroy this resolution, ever be otherwise, and the North become oblivious of than those contained in these proposed amendments? If these things, the honor and magnanimity of the South the first prevail, the second will be offered; and, if justice will not suffer them to be forgotten.
govern the decisions of this House, it will as certainly be The lands comprehended in the resolution have been adopted. With these two amendments incorporated into acquired by disbursements from the common funds of the this resolution, what Representatives, from what States, nation. The history of your finances will disclose the will be disposed to vote for it? Under the first branch of several amounts contributed to these funds by the several the amendment, your committee would be charged to in. States. New Orleans is the great port of entry for nearly quire what quantity of public lands, and what amount of the whole valley of the Mississippi. Since Louisiana be- money, have, at any time, been granted to any of the new came a part of the United States, and up to the year 1826, States. These must comprehend the reservations, whether about fifteen millions of dollars have been paid into the of sections or townships, for primary, academical, or col. United States' Treasury by the collector of that district. legate education; the grants, at various periods, for roads If all the goods on which this revenue was collected were and canals; the expenditures for improving the navigation consumed in the States on the right and left banks of the of rivers, together with the whole amount disbursed, durgreat river, the division of this amount among those States ing almost thirty years, on the great national highway from will show, for twenty-three years, their several contribu- the Atlantic waters far into the Western States. If true tions to the national funds. Averaged upon the whole to the principles of justice, and to the interests of the nine, the annual amount of each is about sixty thousand United States, though forgetful of their own, the gentle. dollars. The little State of Rhode Island has, yearly, ever men from the Western States can never vote for this resosince becoming a member of this Union, contributed not lution, so amended, as to induce a report upon such inless than four times that amount. If it be contended that quiries. Such a vote will acknowledge those States to be those States have paid more, because they have consumed accountable for those grants and expenditures; and that large amounts of commodities, brought coastwise to New their several portions of them ought to be charged upon Orleans, or over land from Atlantic ports, it may be replied their several annual dividends arising from the sales of that Rhode Island bas likewise paid more, by consuming public lands under the system proposed by this resolugoods brought into that State by the same kind of trade. tion. It can never be expected that men will ever be If this statement do not give an accurate view of the rela- found in such hostility to their own interest, when un. tive contributions of thesc States to the national funds, it called to it by any great claims of justice. The repre. will give, what it was intended to give, something like a sentation from these states will, therefore, be found unanisufficient reason for permitting Rhode Island to be licard nious against the resolution, when thus amended. on any question concerning lands acquired or purchased The committee, under the second amendment, will at the national cost.
look into all the old States. They must then take account Neither the patriotism or the efforts of other States is of all expenditure, since the establishment of the Federal drawn into question. In the revolution each of the “old Government, made for national purposes. The items of thirteen" did all which courage could dare, liberality con- this account will be all the numerous and heavy appropritribute, or unwcaried labor perform. The new States, ations, from year to year, for clearing rivers and harbors; had they at that time been in existence, would not have for the building of moles and breakwaters; for lightdeserted the cause, or dishonored the generous stock houses upon the whole coast; for custom-houses in every from which they are descended. Could the patriotism of collection district; for armories, arsenals, fortifications, our days be warmed by the spirit of those times, and dock yards, and naval stations, together with all other every lip be purified by fire from the hallowed altar of the the immense and necessary expenditures for land or marevolution, this debate might receive a new character; and ritime defence, on the whole Atlantic frontier. What in the generous strife for the general welfare, each State, gentleman, representing any of these States, will sit here, not unmindful of our high character in former times, and by his consent sanction this inquiry? The very supwould struggle for pre-eminence in liberality of contribu- position is preposterous. If, therefore, the amendment tion. With as much of these feelings and principles as 1 moved by the gentleman from South Carolina, and that can bring myself, and as much as I can invoke to my ad suggested by the gentleman from Indiana, are adopted, from others, I ask for the indulgence of this House while the resolution will never be passed by this House. Place I go into some consideration of this amendment. them upon it, and, like the aspic on the bosom of the
It may not be in order to consider the resolution itself, Egyptian queen, they will bring death with their contact. unless it can first be demonstrated that the amendment, Under this view of the question, the whole subject if it prevail, will, in effect, destroy this resolution. If that of the resolution, with all the reasons for adopting it
, can be evinced, then every arguinent in support of the are so many arguments for consideration in discussing the resolution will be an argument against the amendment. amendment. This resolution places before the House, as
The resolution proposeg "That a select committee upon a great chart, the public lands, the extensive nationbe instructed to inquire into the expediency of appropri- al domain. The gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Test] ating the nett annual proceeds of the sales of the public has called our attention to a consideration of the manner lands among the several States and territories, for the pur- of acquiring some parts of it. We are cautioned by him poses of education and internal improvement, in propor- against appropriating these lands to any object which tion to the representation of each in the House of Repre. may come in conflict with the will of the donors, in their
Jar. 13, 1830.]
[H. of R. deeds of cession to the United States. Men may fairly to the much richer regions of the eastern India. Every differ concerning the pecuniary value of those cessions bay and inlet was explored; and they thrust their ships into made by the several states; but no one, conversant with them, expecting to shoot through into the great Pacific the history of our revolution, independence, and confede. Ocean. The English monarchs, who granted, and the racy, can for a moment question their high and patriotic companies who received, these charters, could never have motives. Those motives ever have been, and always will, expected that the States formed under them would contain as I trust, be duly appreciated; nor shall any examination more territory than they, at this time, actually cover. Nor by me of the history and condition of those lands, either was it believed that the prerogative of the English crown before or since their cession, deny to Virginia her merit. had exhausted its power to grant new charters, within the ed pre-eminence in these deels of devotedness to the grants to those companies. The great right of pre-empunion and interest of our common country
tion, or power to treat with the Indians for the title to We must not, however, imagine that the region corered lands, might be resumed, whenever the interests of the by those cessions, and which is now separated into seven crown, or the colonies, should require such resumption. new States and two large territories, was, at the time of on this principle, the charters of all the colonies west of making them, any thing like so many millions of acres of Connecticut, and within the charter of New England, were fee simple, then in possession and at the disposal of the afterwards granted. ceding States. Not a foot of all which is comprehended While the - English colonies were forming under these in those States, or in the proposed resolution, was then charters, the French monarch had pushed his discoveries holden, or claimed to be holden, as land, as freehold, un- and settlements from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, up the der any of its legal descriptions. The ceding States river, to Quebec and Montreal, and from New Orleans al. claimeri, and they relinquished claims; but they neither must to the source of the Mississippi. The condition of claimed nor relinquished to the United States' fee simple. things produced by these events, both in Europe and Ame. The House will excuse me if I go into some history of this rica, excited between France and England, and between subject, when it is observed that gentlemen discuss this the American colonies, the war of 1758. It is well known question, as if the United States had acquired by this ces- that France claimed not only the whole pre-emption right sion, and for no valuable consideration, a title to many hun. of the whole territory north and west of New England, dred millions of acres, then held by certain of the several but also that of the entire region between the high lands States quietly, and in the very highest degree of owner- and the Mississippi, on the left bank of that river, from ship.
the lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.* During that war, the History does not authorize us to say that the sovereigns famous family compact between the two great monarchs of Europe erer claimed soil and freehold in the New of the house of Bourbon was made, and brought to bear World by right of discovery. Navigators and travellers on the conflict. in the employment of those sovereigns discovered the The English colonies had a full view of this important several parts of this continent for their respective princes; controversy. They knew it involved the great question and they, under those discoveries, claimed all the rights, whether Englislımen should colonize and settle the whole whatever they may be, so acquired, to their own use, and region, from the Gulf of Mexico to Hudson's Bay, and to the exclusion of all other people and potentates. These from the ocean back to the fountains and stream of the claiins always recognised the rights of the aboriginal own- Mississippi; or whether France and the colonists of France ers of the country; and, however incompatible with those should be settled around throughout those extensive re. rights any project of colonization in North America might gions, and cut them off from the waters of the North and have been, no European prince, either temporal or spi- the West. Neither nation claimed the soil, except where ritual, ever denied them.' No one of these princes ever colonies were established; but both did claim the right of attempted to plant colonies by force of conquest. They discovery, pre-emption, and settlement. This great quesclaimed, by virtue of discovery, the exclusive right to pur- tion of arms involved these claims and rights to one large chase the soil of the primitive owners. This was, then, part of the lands now under consideration; and the Engprecisely what is now called the riglit of pre-emption. lish colonies, making it a common cause with the mother The acquisition of fee simple, in this country, by con- country, sent into the field of conflict all their force and quest, papal proclamation, or royal charter, was unknown valor. It was a seven years' war, exhausting, bloody, and in the theory of North American colonization. The exterminating; for the colonies, on their part, contributed charters of those sovereigns might sometimes convey less, to it an army of twenty-five thousand men. All made their but they never conveyed more, than this right of pre- best and bravest efforts; but New England, never in aremption. Under such charters, and by the exercise of rears in the contribution of toil and blood, furnished full this right, American land titles in our country, whatever two-thirds of this army. The contest was terminated, the they may be, have been acquired.
question for ever settled by the treaty of Paris, in 1763. It will be recollected that the first charter was grant. The crown of France relinquished to the crown of Enged to the London Company by the Sovereign of Eng- land all her North American claims. This relinquishment land for the settlement of Virginia. This covered all the comprehended the French claim, by discovery or otherlands from Old Point Comfort, two hundred miles south, wise, to the right of pre-emption, in all the region now and two hundred miles north; and thence, "west and north-covered by the limits of the seven States on the left bank west, to the Pacific Ocean." A charter for the settlement and in the valley of the Mississippi, and the two territoof New England was soon after granted to the Plymouth (ries between the lakes and that river. company, by the same power, and with still more exten It should be remembered that no settlements bad, at sive limits. It covered all the region, from the fortieth to this time, been made by the Atlantic colonies, so far north the forty-eighth degree of north latitude, lying between as the great lakes, or so far west as the ridge of the Appalathe two great oceans which wash the shores of our conti-chian mountains; nor had, or did any of them, under their nent. A subsequent charter, for settling the Southern charters, claim the right of pre-emption to any of the States, was, in like manner, granted to another company. lands bounded by those lakes and the Mississippi, or wa. This extended, on the coast, from twenty-nine to thirty-six tered by the streams falling from those mountains into that and a half degrees north latitude, and covers the whole river. The right was then claimed by the crown of Engregion from the Atlantic to the P::cific Ocean.
land, as the head and sovereign of the British empire. The opinions of the geographers and voyagers of those This fact is established by the proclamation of that modays should not be forgotten. They regarded these con-narch, made and given by him, in council, on the 7th of tinents as narrow belts of land, obstructing their course October, 1763. Among other extensive colonial provi