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right of carving from this portion of the territory what might subserve their purposes, and of leaving the residue to form a part of the Indiana Territory. The language of the section is, that “
part of the territory," which now forms a part of Michigan, shall form a part of the Indiana Territory, subject to the disposition of Congress, “according to the fifth article of the ordinance.” The assertion, therefore, that “the convention accepted the northern boundary prescribed by Congress, with a proviso,” claims for them a right to exercise powers which they did not possess, and the exercise of which would, therefore, have been a nullity. The convention never did suppose that they possessed a discretionary power to accept the boundary prescribed to them by Congress with the proviso inserted in their constitution. That proviso was simply a contingent proposition which Congress have never sanctioned, and to which they never can accede, consistently with a due respect to the compact contained in the ordinance. If a power were vested in that body to extend the limits of their State to the north cape of the Miami bay, there was also a power to extend them to the northern boundary line between the United States and Canada. In that case, the most populous portion of the Northwestern Territory, constituting the county of Wayne and the city of Detroit, in Michigan, would have been subjected to a constitution which they had no agency in making; to the decisions and mandates of a convention in which they were unrepresented, and to a Government as foreign to them as that of the British province of Upper Canada. Nor have the authorities of Ohio, until recently, considered that she had a right to render such a qualified acceptance of the northern boundary prescribed by Congress in the act to authorize the people of the eastern division of the territory to form a State constitution as would bind Congress, or oblige them to assent to it. On the contrary, they have been constantly, but vainly, seeking “ the assent of Congress” to their proviso boundary, from the time of the admission of the State into the Union to the present day. The very bill and resolution before the committee afford conclusive evidence of the truth of this statement.
It has been suggested that the mouth of the Miami of the lakes ought to belong to the State of Ohio, because this large and navigable river has nearly its whole course in Ohio and Indiana. The application of such a principle, if it had any force, to the other States of the Union, would occasion a change of the boundaries of the greater part of them; and some of them would be subject to utter annihilation.
With equal propriety might it be suggested, that the northern part of Ohio should be given to Indiana, because the river in controversy has its rise, and a full share of its capacity for being navigable, within the boundaries of the State of Indiana. By parity of reasoning, the whole of the northeastern shore of Ohio should be given to Michigan because the waters which lave this shore run twice the distance within the limits of Michigan that they do along the borders of Ohio. The "estuary” at the mouth of the river Detroit is of far more consequence to Michigan than the mouth of the Miami of the lake can ever be to Ohio. But if, as is claimed by Ohio, the estuary at the mouth of the Miami is the key to the territory west of it, there are many and forcible reasons why it should remain under the jurisdiction of Michigan, It is the only natural harbor
that she has upon the shores of Lake Erie. It is the only natural avenue to a large portion of the interior of her territory. Already have there been granted, by the Territorial government of Michigan, charters for two railroads, to commence on points at this harbor; and one of these roads is in the progress to completion. Shall these charters be abrogated to gratify the cupidity of the State of Ohio ? Must the owners of the stock bé compelled to sacrifice their property and give up their improvements to enable Ohio to terminate a public work which she commenced with a knowledge that the territory was possessed, and the jurisdiction exercised, by Michigan for so many years, under a continued series of legislative acts of Congress for the whole period ? Will not these railroads be of as much consequence to Michigan as the Wabash and Erie canal will ever be to Ohio ? Do they not constitute the direct avenues of trade and intercourse through Michigan, between Lakes Erie and Michigan, and, consequently, between the eastern States and the vast country composing the northwestern and northern valley of the Mississippi ? But one answer can justly be given to these questions, and that must be favorable to the claims, the interests, the just rights, of the people of the State of Michigan.
Ohio has no fair grounds for urging any claim to the mouth of the Miami. She has territory enough within her present limits. She has the whole of her northern and northeastern coast indented with inlets and harbors. She has already eight or ten ports of entrance for steamboats and other vessels navigating Lake Erie. She has, on her northern border, “ the great and navigable river,” the right to the mouth of which she perseveres in claiming. She has upon its banks the flourishing village of Perrysburg, which steamboats of two or three hundred tons burden can approach with certainty and safety from Lake Erie. She has, within her own limits, on this river, the natural point, near the foot of the Rapids, for the termination of the Wabash and Erie canal-the: point where her own engineer recommended its termination. With all these facilities and advantages; with those afforded to her by the great and navigable river Ohio, which extends along the whole length of her southern boundary, added to the munificence of the General Government, unexampled in the history of the other States of the Union, what more ought Ohio to expect ? Even the means for constructing the very public work, about which so much has been said, have been furnished to her by the United States. And must the United States still further be her benefactor ? Must they, for her benefit, be required to seize a portion of the soil of Michigan, and appropriate it to Ohio ? Must they be induced to violate the stipulations of a solemn compact; a compact ordained forty-eight years ago by the Congress of the Confederation, declared at the time to be forever unalterable, unless by common consent; ratified and confirmed by the first Congress under the constitution? Such inducement may succeed, and the act may subserve a temporary purpose ; but it will be pregnant with injustice ; it will be another partition of Poland, without a solitary argument to urge in its justification.
The deed of cession of the Northwestern Territory, made by Virginia, in 1784, to the United States, stipulated that “ the territory so ceded shall be laid out and formed into States, not less than one hundred nor
more than one hundred and fisty miles square, or as near thereto as circumstances will admit; and that the States so formed shall be distinct republican States, and admitted members of the Federal Union, having the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and independence, as the original States.” This deed of cession, Congress, in a resolution adopted in 1786, asked Virginia to revise ; and this resolution, requesting a revision of the deed of cession, has been copiously drawn upon in support of the discretionary powers claimed for Congress in relation to certain portions of the Northwestern Territory. The preamble to the resolution recites, that, from the knowledge already obtained of the tract of country lying northwest of the river Ohio, it appears “ that the laying it out into new States, of the extent mentioned in the resolution of Congress of October 10, 1780, and in one of the conditions contained in the cession of Virginia, will be productive of many and great inconveniences; that, by such a division of the country, some of the new States will be deprived of the advantages of navigation ; some will be improperly intersected by lakes, rivers, and mountains, and some will contain too great a proportion of barren and unimproveable land, and, of consequence, will not for many years, if ever, have a suffcient number of inhabitants to form a respectable Government, and entitle them to a seat and voice in the Federal councils ;” that, “ in fixing the limits and dimensions of the new States, due attention ought to be paid to natural boundaries, and to a variety of circumstances, which will be pointed out by a more persect knowledge of the country, so as to provide for the future growth and prosperity of each State, as well as for the accommodation and security of the first adventurers.' “ In order, therefore,” say Congress, “ that the ends of Government may be attained, and that the States which are formed may become a speedy and sure accession of strength to the confederacy,” it be and is “recommended to the Legislature of Virginia to take into consideration their act of cession, and revise the same, so as to empower the United States, in Congress assembled, to make such a division of the territory of the United States, lying northerly and westerly of the river Ohio, into distinct republican States, not more than five, nor less than three, as the situation of that country and future circumstances may require.” And such “ States shall hereafter become members of the Federal Union, and have the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and independence, as the original States, in conformity with the resolution of the 10th of October, 1780.”
It has been alleged that this proposition of Congress asked of the States ceding the Northwestern Territory a discretionary power, for the purpose of adjusting the boundaries of the new States to suit the natural features of the country, and that the proposition “was accorded by Virginia.” If it be meant that Virginia acceded to it as adopted by Congress, before the passage of the ordinance of 1787, the information is doubted. In December, 1788, more than eighteen months after the date of the ordinance, Virginia did assent to the alteration of the deed of cession proposed by Congress, so far, and only so far, as to ratify and confirm the fifth article of compact between the original States and the people and States in the Northwestern Territory, contained in the ordinance of 1787. But admitting, as of binding obligation, all that can fairly be deduced from the resolution as proposed by Congress, it will still operate
decidedly in favor of Michigan. She has more “barren and unimproveable land” than any of the States in the Northwestern Territory, and as a necessary consequence, but one which Congress intended to provide against, she has been prevented for forty-eight years from having a sufficient number of inhabitants to form a respectable Government, and to entitle them to a seat and voice in the Federal councils.” If reference be had to “ nalural boundaries,” it is a self-evident truth that a line drawn due east from the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan is a far more natural boundary between Ohio and Michigan than the one running to the north cape of the Maumee bay. It provides far better“ for the future growth and prosperity” of the smallest of the five States contemplated by the resolution of Congress. It enables her the sooner to become “a speedy and sure accession of strength to the confederacy.” Every reason, therefore, which was urged by the Congress of 1786 for changing the boundaries proposed by the Congress of 1780, is favorable to Michigan, and adverse to the pretension of Ohio.
But, as stated above, there was no action by Virginia on this resolulution before the ordinance was passed, and then only so far as to ratify the fifth article of that ordinance. By this fifth article, it is provided that “there shall be formed in the said Territory not less than three, nor more than five States.” It will be perceived from the language of this part of the article, that not less than three, nor more than five States were to be formed in the whole Northwestern Territory. They were to be sormed in, not of, the Territory. If but three States were to be formed, their boundaries were made definite by the article: they were to embrace the whole Territory. If more than three States were formed, then the additional State or States were to be formed “ in that part of the said Territory which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan.” If not less than three, nor more than five States were to be formed “in” the whole Territory, and to embrace the whole Territory, can the language of the ordinance be supposed to have a different signification when it provides that one or two States may be formed " in that part of the said Territory which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan?” If the first "in" includes, as it does, the whole Northwestern Territory, the last“ in 'must include ALL that part of the Territory which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan. When, therefore, Congress determined, partially by the act of 1802, and conclusively by the act of 1805, to form one or two States north of the east and west line, it was a clear decision that they should embrace the whole Northwestern Territory north of that line. It was a final determination to carry into effect, in good faith, and to the very letter, that provisional authority given to them in the fifth article of the ordinance, which they then resolved to exercise, of forming one or two States in that part of the said Territory which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan.” It was the reiteration of the solemn pledge of the national faith committed to Virginia, and to the people of the Northwestern Territory, in the irrepealable compact between the parties, if the situation, soil, and extent of country required, and Congress had resolved that they did require, that there should be
formed one or two States embracing the whole of that Territory lying north of the said east and west line. If any subsequent Congress, by incautious legislation, have deviated from this solemn promise, it is for the present Federal Legislature, and for the American people, to decide whether the public faith has been duly regarded in that legislation; and whether, if it has not been so observed, it will be right or proper to attempt the vindication of one unintentional breach of the national faith by the willing commission of another.
The friends of Michigan have said, that by the ordinance of 1787, " whenever any of the States," or Territories, in the Northwestern Territory, “shall have sixty-thousand free inhabitants, such State shall be admitted, by its delegates, into the Congress of the United States, on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever; and shall be at liberty to form a permanent constitution and State Government." Because, in giving the substance of this part of the ordinance, the word " said” was omitted before the word “ States” in the first part of the passage, and the words “ or territories” have been added to the word “ States, it has been alleged that the meaning of the provision in the ordinance on the subject has been changed, and the public mind deceived in relation it. It is believed that no intention has ever existed to practise any deception upon this point; that the passage substantially cited has never professed to be a literal quotation; and that the omission of the word " said,” and the addition of the word “territories,” do not at all vary the meaning of the provision in the ordinance conferring the rights claimed by Michigan at the present time. Shadows have been fancied where none existed; imputations suggested without sufficient foundation, in order, probably, that by an effort to establish misrepresentation on one point, discredit might be brought upon arguments and facts on other points. It has been in effect averred, that the phrase " said States” in the ordinance refers exclusively to the three States first formed in the Northwestern Territory, and has no reference to the residue of that Territory, in which the formation of one or two additional States was contemplated by that instrument. An examination of the whole passage in the ordinance will, at once, demonstrate the entire fallacy of this allegation. The fifth article provides, that “ there shall be formed in said Territory not less than three nor more than five States.” It then describes the boundaries of the first three ; adding a proviso, “that the boundaries of these three STATES shall be subject so far to be altered, that, if Congress shall deem it expedient, they shall have authority to form one or two States in that part of the said Territory which lies north of an east and west line, drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan. And whenever any of the said States"-not any of the said three States—but, unquestionably, any of the three or five States, to be formed at the option of Congress shall have sixty thousand free inhabitants therein, such State shall be admitted, by its delegates, into the Congress of the United States, on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever; and shall be at liberty to form a permanent constitution and State Government.” It is evident from the construction of the provision, and the obvious intent with which it was framed, that the words " said States" had relation to both the three and five States, which Congress were authorized to form, and not to