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third tract between the Great and under proclamations of the PresiLittle Miami, to John Cleves dent at the minimum price of Symmes, containing at first one $1,25 per acre. Lands not sold million, but afterwards reduced to at public sale are afterwards sub248,540 acres.
ject to entry at private sale at the Besides these, 72,974 acres minimum price. were sold in 1787, under the or- The whole public domain of dinance of 1785, for disposing of the United States amounts to lands in the western territory and 1,063,000,000 acres, while the 48,566 acres in 1796, were also superfices of the States and tersold under the same ordinance. ritories, as owned by the States A regular system was afterwards or their citizens, amount to less adopted for the disposition of the than 350,000,000 acres. public domain and Surveyor Gen- or the public lands, where the erals appointed. In 1800, the Indian title has not yet been exacts containing the principal fea- tinguished, 750,000,000 acres lie tures of the present land system in the great Western Territory: were passed.
56,804,824 acres in Huron TerThey have been subsequently ritory, west of Michigan Lake: modified, and in 1920, cash sales 11,411,040 acres in the Territowere substituted for sales on cred- ries of Michigan and Florida, and it; but as they now exist they are 38,574,598 acres within the limsubstantially as follows.
its of States now members of the The public lands when sur- Union.
Union. Besides this, there are veyed, which is done under the 72,892,661 acres in the Territosuperintendence of five Principal ries of Florida, Alabama and Surveyors, at the expense of the Michigan, and 132,780,037 acres United States, are divided into within the limits of States where, townships of six miles square, the Indian title has been extinand these are subdivided into 36 guished. sections of a mile square, contain- About 150,000,000 acres have ing 640 acres each.
been surveyed up to the present The dividing lines run east and time; of which 20,000,000 have
: west or north and south, though been sold; 20,000,000 have sometimes a navigable river or an been granted by Congress for Indian boundary creates a frac- education, internal improvement tional section.
and other purposes ; 80,000,000 The section No. 16, in each have been proclaimed for sale township, is reserved for the sup- and are now subject to entry at port of the schools in the town- the minimum price, and 30,000,ships and distinct reservations are 000 have not yet been proclaimed made for Colleges. Salt springs for sale on account of the want of and lead mines are also reserved, demand. The annuel expense subject to be leased by the Presi- of these surveys amounts to about dent.
$70,000. The total expense of The other sections are offered selling the public lands from 1800 for sale at public auction for cash, to 1825 amounted to $1,154,
951, and the moneys received not owned by individuals as an from the sales during the same incident of sovereignty. period to $31,345,964, besides Complaints had been previous$7,955,831 due from purchasers, ly made of the system pursued by of which only part can be recov- the United States, in disposing of ered.
the public domain. The princiAlthough the value of the land ple of holding all lands in the not sold is incomparably less in hands of the Government which proportion to the quantity than did not bring the minimum price, that disposed of, the increase of it was said, prevented emigrants population and the advancing from settling in those States, settlement of the country is dai- where the best lands had been ly augmenting the value of the preoccupied, and the population portion remaining unsold; and became thus sparsely scattered when we regard the future and over a vast extent of country. A compare it with the past, sufficient system of graduated prices acis seen to convince us that the cording to their actual value public domain is of vast and would bring about the sale of incalculable importance to the large tracts now unsold, and Federal Government. Whether which would remain unsold so viewed as an economical or as a long as more valuable land could political question, it is one full of be purchased farther west at the momentous results; and when same price. taken in connexion with the Donations of small tracts were claims of State sovereignties it also recommended to actual setbecomes as delicate as it is im- tlers; and a contest was obviously portant.
about to commence between those The large quantity of lands who, regarding the public dowithin the limits of States, now main as a fund for the common members of the Confederacy, benefit, were desirous of making must eventually give to that ques- it productive to the treasury, by tion an absorbing interest. It selling it upon liberal terms, and has even now begun to evince the those who, looking only to the character which renders it a dan- settlement of their several States, gerous question to the authority advocated the forcing the public of the Federal Government, and territory into market without refeconnects the pretensions of the rence to the demand, or to anyStates agitating the subject with thing except the promotion of lothe claims and doctrines of the cal views and objects. States of Virginia, South Carolina Memorials were 'sanctioned by and Georgia. Acting upon the some of the Western Legislatures, new principle advanced by Geor- remonstrating against the existing gia in relation to the sovereignty mode of disposing of the public of the State over all land within lands, and the State of Illinois inits limits, some of the new States timated that if it were not changhave lately set up a claim to the ed grave questions would arise property in the soil of all lands among them, whether the title of the United States to the public tending to excite and promote lands was valid and binding over dissatisfaction on this subject, was the new States, and whether the a bill providing for the selling, at claims of the General Govern- graduated prices, which was inment, in relation to the public do- troduced into the Senate of the main, were not inconsistent with United States by Mr Benton, the rights of the several States. of Missouri, in 1826.* The
The memorial containing these Legislatures of Alabama, Illinois doctrines was presented to the and Missouri, at different sessions, Senate of the United States in passed resolutions approving the February, 1829; and about the principle of the bill. same time the State of Indiana By these movements public undertook to decide the question attention was strongly attracted for herself, in the same manner towards this subject; and on the that the Southern Siates gave 29th day of December, 1829, their own construction of the Mr Foot, of Connecticut, introFederal Compact as the only one duced the following resolution into to which they would submit. On the Senate :
: the 9th of January, 1829, a resolution was adopted by the Leg- on Public Lands be instructed to
• Resolved, That the Committee islature of that State in the following terms : Resolved by the inquire into the expediency of
‘ General Assembly of the State sales of the Public Lands, to such
limiting, for a certain period, the of Indiana, that this State, being lands only as have heretofore been a sovereign, free and independent offered for sale and are subject to State, has the exclusive right to the soil and eminent domain of entry at the minimum price, all the unappropriated land within and also whether the office of
Surveyor General may not be her acknowledged boundaries —
abolished without detriment to which right was reserved to her
the public interest. by the State of Virginia in the deed of cession of the Northwest The next day, on taking up territory to the United States, be- this resolution, Mr Foot said he ing confirmed and established by was induced to offer it from havthe articles of confederation and ing ascertained that 72,000,000 the Constitution of the United acres still remained unsold at the States.'
minimum price; and that it apAttempts, too, had been made peared from the report of the in other States to exciie dissatis- Land Commissioner ihat the anfaction at the mode of selling pub- nual demand amounted to about lic territory, adopted by the Fede- one million acres, and that in one ral Government, and to throw district in Ohio, where the land doubts upon the validity of its title was of inferior quality and only to that portion within the limits of 300,000 acres for sale, the cash States. One of the measures sales amounted to $35,000 ;
* This proposition was favorably received in the West.
while in other districts, where the States He contended that the land was of better quality, and effect of the inquiry would be to larger tracts for sale, the sales alarm and agitate the West. amounted only to 2000.
Two great attempts had been He thought
, therefore, it was made to prevent emigration 10:14 proper to inquire into the expe- West, besides the one now making, diency of stopping for a time this to induce the people of the East indiscriminate sale of public lands. to stay at home, and work in man
Mr Benton opposed this reso- ufactories, instead of emigrating lution as part of a systematic to the West. The first great atpolicy for crippling the growth of tempt was in 1786; the scheme the West, which had been pursu- was, to give up the navigation of ed for forty years. It was as old the Mississippi, for twentyfive or as the existence of the Govern- thirty years, to Spain; seven States ment. The practical effect of north of Maryland, voted for that the resolution would be to check surrender; six States south of emigration to the West - for who Maryland, inclusive, voted against would move to a new country if it. In this attempt was to be it was not to get new lands? He discerned the germ of that policy was desirous of meeting the ques. by which the valley of the Mistion now, and he would move to sissippi had been dismembered, make it the order for a future and her rivers amputated. The day. Mr Noble was opposed to second great attempt was made the resolution, but was willing to by a committee of twelve in Conmeet the question, and proposed gress, of whom eight were from to make it the order of the day the north, and four from the south for Monday next. Mr Benton of the Potomac. The commitwished a longer day and inov- tee were Messrs Long, of New ed for its postponement to the Hampshire ; R. King, of Massasucceeding Monday.
chusetts; Howell, of Rhode On the 18th of January, 1830, Island; Jolinson, of Connecticut; the subject was resumed and Mr R. R. Livingston, of New York; Benion commenced a speech in Stewart, of New Jersey; Garopposition to the resolution, which diner, of Pennsylvania; Henry, he asserted was intended to stop of Maryland; Grayson, of Virthe surveying of public lands; to ginia; Williamson, of North Carabolish all the offices of the Sur- olina ; Ball, of South Carolina ; veyors General, and to limit the ard Houston, of Georgia. This sales to the land now in market. committee reported the present
The effect of these measures plan of surveys of the public land; would be to check emigration to but they also reported a provision, the new States, to retard their which would have prevented a settlement, to deliver up large settlement out of sight of the portions of them to the dominion Pennsylvania line. of wild beasts, and to remove all that each township should be sold she land records from the new out complete, before any land was
offered in the next one. This ing lands showed that the East would have been fatal to the West. was rot hostile to emigration ; Mr By the exertions of Virginia, and Holmes replied to Mr Benton n the whole South, aided by scatter- detail. He stated that 200,000,ed reinforcements from the North, 000 of acres were now ready ad the provision was stricken out, in the market for seuilers. and thus ended the second great Mr Woodbury, of New Hampattempt to injure the West. The shire, offered an amendment, object, however, had never been which proposed an inquiry into abandoned, and it could be seen the expediency of bastening the at intervals, in refusing troops and sales and extending more rapidly money to defend the frontiers of the surveys of public lands. He the West, and to extinguish the alluded to the bounties given to Indian titles; and in Mr Adams' settlers in Canada, and the neceswithdrawal from the market, in sity of countervailing it. violation of law, of 1000 square
Mr Foot, of Connecticut, opmiles in Missouri. The Westposed an amendment. must still look to the solid phalanx Mr Barton, of Missouri, would of the South for succor, until by vote for the amendment. the quiet superiority which the Mr Smith of Maryland, could census of 1840 would give her, see no occasion for the amendshe could set all right.
He was in favor of an On the 19th of January, Mr inquiry. The result of an inquiSmith of Maryland, expressed ry would show that no hostility himself in favor of the inquiry, existed. The Senate had always and of his personal knowledge been liberal to the new States and denied that Mr Adams was the they had acknowledged it. first to relinquish the Colorado as Mr Livingston, of Louisiana, a boundary. Mr Adams said said there was a regular and an that must and should be our west- irregular mode of doing business. ern boundary, and this occasioned By the regular mode, resolutions a quarrel betwixt Mr Adams and went to a committee; by the irDon Onis.
regular mode, members undertook Mr Holmes of Maine objected to furnish information and go into to an attempt to charge one sec- subjects at length. He wished tion with hostility to another. He the regular mode had been prehad never been sectional. Dur- ferred. He was opposed to the ing the late war he had done what original resolution, but in favor of he could to sustain the West. the amendment. The East hostile to the West ! Mr Sprague, of Maine, suggestWhere? When? In what act of ed a union of the two proposiCongress? Was it in the charter tions, and Mr Foot, of Connectiof July, 1787? Was it in provid- cut, accepted it; so the resolution ing by that able state paper for as it stood, ordered an inquiry into new States, and receiving them the expediency of hastening as when they possessed 60,000 in- well as of limiting sales; and of habitants? The fact of purchas- extending more rapidly the sur