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reported on the 2d of February following, that with respect to the change proposed by Ohio in her northern boundary, "as the suggested alteration was not submitted in the shape of a distinct proposition, by any competent authority, for approval or disapproval, it was not necessary or expedient for Congress to act on it at all."

On the 19th of February, an act was passed, extending the laws of the United States over the State of Ohio, and the preamble to this act declares, that the people of the eastern division of the North-Western Territory, had formed a constitution and state government, in pursuance of the act of Congress before referred to, authorizing such state government to be formed. And on the 3d of March, 1803, another act was passed, assenting to certain propositions made by Ohio; but in neither of these acts is any notice taker of the proposed change in the boundary.

The Territory of Michigan was established by the act of Congress of January 11, 1805, and its southern boundary was declared to be a line drawn due east from the southern extreme of Lake Michigan to Lake Erie. And by another act, passed May 20, 1812, the Surveyor General was authorised to cause to be run, under the direction of the President, so much of the northern and western boundaries of Ohio, which had not already been ascertained, and as divided said State from the Territories of Indiana and Michigan, agreeably to the boundaries as established by the act entitled, "An Act to enable the people of the eastern division of the territory north-west of the river Ohio, to frame a constitution and state government, and for the admission of such State into the Union, on an equal footing with the original States, and for other purposes," "and to cause to be made a plat or plan of so much of the boundary line, as runs from the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan to Lake Erie," &c.

The events of the war upon this frontier prevented the execution of the duties enjoined by this act; but on the 16th of April, 1816, another appropriation was made for carrying it into effect, and under the directions of the President, the line was run, in conformity with the various acts of Congress, from the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan to Lake Erie.

This is the history of the legislation concerning this subject, and it brings the question of right within a narrow compass. The State of Ohio, to support her claim, must

contend, either, that she had the power to enlarge her own territory, or that Congress has assented to the proposition submitted for that purpose. The former ground has not been taken, and with respect to the latter, it is certain, that the United States have passed no act, giving their consent to the change asked for. In fact, the claim of Ohio, as advanced and advocated, rests solely upon the presumption, that as Congress did not act upon the subject of her proposition to change the northern boundary, when she was admitted into the Union, such admission is a virtual assent to that measure, and gives her complete jurisdiction over the tract demanded. That I am correct in this view of the case, will be seen by the accompanying extract of a letter from the Governor of Ohio to Mr. Woodbridge.

Even were there no cotemporaneous or subsequent proceedings on the part of Congress by which their intentions could be ascertained, it is difficult to conceive, how the performance of a necessary and independent duty, that of admitting the State into the Union, can be considered as an assent to a proposition, totally distinct from this measure. For whether the boundary were north or south of the Maumee, Ohio had an equal right to join the national councils; nor was the determination of this question at all essential to her rights or sovereignty; nor in the slightest manner connected with her entrance into the confederacy. Other propositions submitted by Ohio at the same time, were considered and accepted, and an act passed by Congress to give effect to them. But the circumstances of the case admit of no presumption. The very act of admission, already quoted, proves the right of Ohio to enter the Union upon the foundation of the act which prescribed her boundaries. The committee expressly state, that it is not expedient for Congress to act upon the subject. Two years afterwards, this Territory was established, and the same fundamental line was prescribed as its southern boundary. After another interval of seven years, Congress again recognised this line and directed its survey. Four years later, and an appropriation was made to effect this object. The Executive caused this law to be carried into effect, and the line, as now existing, to be run in the year 1818, two years after the passage of this last mentioned act. I need add nothing to this series of Congressional measures, indicating in the most satisfactory manner, the determination of the general government not to assent to the change in the boun

dary proposed by Ohio. As a question of expediency there is certainly no reason why the neighboring States should be increased at the expense of this Territory; and should the subject be brought in this form before Congress, we may safely rely for our security upon the very obvious considerations, both political and geographical, which will present themselves.

The situation of the roads made by the general government in this Territory, calls for the adoption of some system, by which they may be repaired and kept in repair. Considerable expense has been incurred in their construction, and their preservation is highly important to the community. Diverging, as they do, from the seat of the Territorial government, and the principal mart of business upon this frontier, they extend into the interior of the country in various directions, and furnish the means of extensive communication. The population is yet thin along many portions of them, and the ordinary labor, required by law to be applied to the repair of roads, is insufficient for their preservation. Their condition calls for legislative interposition, for unless some remedial plan can be adopted, serious inconvenience and loss to the country generally will be the


Applications have been made for the appointment of Commissioners to locate the seats of justice in the counties of Jackson, Hillsdale, St. Joseph, Cass, Kalamazoo, Branch, Saginaw and Lapeer, and commissions for that purpose have been issued. No report has however been received, except from the county of Jackson, a copy of which and of my letter to the Commissioners is herewith transmitted to you. For the reasons stated in the letter, I have not issued the proclamatiou authorized by law, confirming the proceedings, and establishing the site recommended by the Commissioners. It will however be done, as soon as the necessary evidence is furnished that the proprietors have conveyed, for the use of the county, the lots offered by them. I have no doubt, but that the operation of the law, providing for the location of the seats of justice in the new counties, will be found to be salutary. By fixing these locations at an early period, many perplexing questions are avoided. The counties are settled with a knowledge that the seats of justice are established, and those local interests, which under other circumstances would agitate the community, are not called into action. I shall not hesitate, in any case,

where a proper application is made to me, and where a sufficient quantity of land has been purchased from the United States, to allow a judicious selection to be made, to exercise the power vested in me, by the appointment of commissioners to locate the seats of justice.

A recent event in the administration of the criminal justice of the Territory, has directed public attention to that part of our penal code, which prescribes the punishment of death. We have adopted much of the common law doctrine upon the subject of homicide, and recognize no difference between a cool, deliberate, and previously contemplated murder, and one which is the result of sudden and violent passion, unjustifiable, no doubt, but far more excusable than the former. There is a manifest difference in the degrees of guilt in these cases, and there should be a corresponding difference in the penalties. While the last act of human punishment is reserved for the former, imprisonment for life or for a term of years, with such provisions for solitary confinement and labor, as may best tend to the reformation of the criminal, and to the great object of public example, would seem to be sufficient for the latter. And many of the States of the Union have engrafted this obvious distinction upon their codes, and mitigated the punishment of the inferior offence. In fact, the opinion gains ground through the civilized world, that human life has been too often sacrificed to unjust laws, which seek the death of the offender, rather than his reformation. Governments have found it easy to put an end to the transgressions of offenders, by putting an end to their lives. While the difficult problem, whose solution is equally required by policy and humanity, of uniting reformation, example and security, has been neglected, as unimportant or unattainable. The period is probably not far distant, when it will be universally acknowledged, that all the just objects of human laws may be fully answered, without the infliction of capital punishment. It appears advisable, that authority should be given to commute higher punishments for those which are inferior, in cases calling for executive interposition, and whose circumstances do not justify an unconditional pardon. As the law now stands, criminals must sometimes wholly escape, or sentences be carried into execution, where powerful considerations present themselves in favor of mitigating the punishment.

By the present organization of our judicial system, all

causes not cognizable by justices of the peace, and all which are appealed from the decisions of those magistrates, are brought before the Supreme Court or Circuit Courts, which are thus rendered the tribunals for the adjudication of a large proportion of the litigated cases of the country. By this arrangement, a heavy duty is not only imposed upon the Territorial Judges, but in the county of Wayne in particular, there is such an accumulation of business, that great delay necessarily occurs in the administration of justice. As new counties are organized, and the business of the country increases, this evil will be still more severely felt. An adequate remedy will probably be found in the institution of inferior courts, or in the restoration of a portion of their jurisdiction to the County Courts. Causes are also removed with too much facility. It appears to me that a thorough revision is called for of the various processes, by which causes are carried from inferior to superior tribunals. Appeals, by which matters of fact are re-examined, are granted of course. In addition to these, there is no good reason, why all the common law writs and proceedings, originating in a state of things, essentially different from our own, and some of them devised or applied for the purpose of accomplishing indirectly what could not be done directly, should be employed in arresting the proceedings in a cause, and in its transfer, with various incidents and consequences, to another tribunal. A judicial system must be radically defective, which allows the removal of causes, for the mere purpose of delay. Such delays are not only subversive of the ends of justice, but they increase the expense of litigation to the parties, far beyond any advantages which either can expect to derive from them.

In the progress of your legislative labors, whatever aid can be rendered by my co-operation, that can be useful to the Territory, shall be cheerfully afforded.

January 5, 1831.


DETROIT, MICHIGAN TER. August 11, 1820. SIR-In the temporary absence of Governor Cass, it has devolved upon me, as Secretary of Michigan, to perform the Executive functions of this Government; and I have the honor in that capacity to solicit your Excellency's attention to the subject of the collision of authority, which unfortu

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