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Nothing further was done for a period of six years. Finally, on the second Thursday of May, 1786, the legislature authorized the Connecticut delegates to cede a portion of the western lands on certain conditions, and these conditions Congress, on May 26, 1786, resolved to accept. The deed of cession was executed on September 13, 1786, by William Samuel Johnson and Jonathan Sturges and was accepted by Congress on September 14, 1786. The territory including soil and jurisdiction conveyed by this deed was comprehended between the parallels of 41° and 42° 2' north latitude and extended from a meridian passing one hundred and twenty miles west of the western boundary of Pennsylvania to the Mississippi river. The rectangular portion of territory comprehended between the parallels of 41° and 42° 2' north latitude and extending one hundred and twenty miles westward from the western boundary of Pennsylvania was known as the “Western Reserve of Connecticut in Ohio.” This territory embraces fourteen counties in the State of Ohio and contains about 3,800,000 acres. About 500,000 acres of this tract, comprising three counties, were known as the "Fire-lands" and were donated by Connecticut to such of her citizens as suffered loss by fire and raids by the British troops and raiders during the Revolutionary War. October, 1797, the legislature of Connecticut tendered to the United States a release of her jurisdictional claims to the Western Reserve, but excepted therefrom the claim of Connecticut to the right of the soil. On April 28, 1800, Congress authorized the President to accept this jurisdictional cession, and in conformity therewith, on the second Thursday of May, 1800, the legislature of Connecticut passed an act renouncing her jurisdictional claims to the Western Reserve and on May 30, 1800, Jonathan Trumbull, governor of Connecticut, by formal act, quit-claimed all jurisdictional title to this territory to the United States. The “Fire-lands" were donated as stated above and the remainder of the Reserve was sold on September 9, 1795, by the State to a company for forty cents per acre and became the basis of the common school fund. The Connecticut claim was about sixty-two miles in width and contained approximately 40,000 square miles. Except as otherwise indicated above, the cessions of Massachusetts and Connecticut were made without condition, merely relinquishing their title to create a common interest in the uncultivated western lands for the common benefit and use of the United States.
(Journals of Congress, IV, 343.8)
WHEREAS the Congress of the United States did, by their act of the sixth day of September, in the year 1780, recommend to the several States in the union, having claims to waste and unappropriated lands in the western country, a liberal cession to the United States, of a portion of their respective claims, for the common benefit of the union: and whereas this commonwealth did, on the 2d day of January, in the year 1781, yield to the Congress of the United States, for the benefit of the said States, all right, title and claim which the said commonwealth had to the territory northwest of the river Ohio, subject to the conditions annexed to the said act of cession.
4 Vols. 1823.
8. Journals of the American Congress: From 1774 to 1788. All subsequent citations to the Journals refer to this edition.
AND WHEREAS the United States in Congress assembled, have, by their act of the 13th of September last, stipulated the terms on which they agree to accept the cession of this State, should the legislature approve thereof, which terms, although they do not come fully up to the propositions of this commonwealth, are conceived in the whole, to approach so nearly to them, as to induce this State to accept thereof, in full confidence, that Congress will in justice to this State, for the liberal cession she hath made, earnestly press upon the other States claiming large tracts of waste and uncultivated territory, the propriety of making cessions equally liberal, for the common benefit and support of the union.
Be it enacted by the general assembly, That it shall and may be lawful for the delegates of this State, to the Congress of the United States, or such of them as shall be assembled in Congress, and the said delegates, or such of them so assembled, are hereby fully authorized and empowered, for and on behalf of this State, by proper deeds or instrument in writing, under their hands and seals, to convey, transfer, assign and make over unto the United States in Congress assembled, for the benefit of the said States, all right, title and claim, as well of soil as jurisdiction, which this commonwealth hath to the territory or tract of country within the limits of the Virginia charter, situate, lying and being to the north-west of the river Ohio, subject to the terms and conditions contained in the before recited act of Congress, of the 13th day of September last ; that is to say, upon condition that the territory so ceded, shall be laid out and formed into States containing a suitable extent of territory, not less than 100, nor more than 150 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 other States.
That the necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by this State, in subduing any British posts, or in maintaining forts or garrisons within, and for the defence, or in acquiring any part of the territory so ceded or relinquished, shall be fully reimbursed by the United States: and that one commissioner shall be appointed by Congress, one by this commonwealth, and another by
those two commissioners, who, or a majority of them, shall be authorized and empowered to adjust and liquidate the account of the necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by this State, which they shall judge to be comprised within the intent and meaning of the act of Congress, of the 10th of October, 1780, respecting such expenses. That the French and Canadian inhabitants, and other settlers of the Kaskaskies, St. Vincents, and the neighbouring villages who have professed themselves citizens of Virginia, shall have their possessions and titles confirmed to them, and be protected in the enjoyment of their rights and liberties.! That a quantity not exceeding 150,000 acres of land, promised by this State, shall be allowed and granted to the then colonel, now general George Rogers Clarke, and to the officers and soldiers of his regiment, who marched with him when the posts of Kaskaskies and St. Vincents were reduced, and to the offi ers and soldiers, that have been since incorpcrated into the said regiment, to be laid off in one tract, the length of which not to exceed double the breadth, in such place on the north-west side of the Ohio, as a majority of the officers shall choose, and to be afterwards divided among the said officers and soldiers in due proportion, according to the laws of Virginia. That in case the quantity of good lands on the south-east side of the Ohio, upon the waters of Cumberland river, and between the Green river and Tennessee river, which have been reserved by law for the Virginia troops upon continental establishment, should, from the North-Carolina Tine, bearing in further upon the Cumberland lands than was expected, prove insufficient for their legal bounties, the deficiency should be made up to the said troops, in good lands, to be laid off between the rivers Scioto, and Little Miami, on the north-west side of the river Ohio, in such proportions as have been engaged to them by the laws of Virginia. That all the lands within the territory so ceded to the United States, and not reserved for or appropriated to any of the before-mentioned purposes, or disposed of in bounties to the officers and soldiers of the American army, shall be considered as a common fund for the use and benefit of such of the United States, as have become or shall become members of the confederation or federal alliance of the said States,
The special immunities granted to the settlers of the Kaskaskies, St. Vincents and the neighboring villages were not acknowledged by any provision of the proposed Ordinance of March 1, 1784, or of the Ordinance of April 23, 1784, or the original draft of the Ordinance of 1787. They first appear in the completed draft of the Ordinance of July 13, 1787, in a slightly modified form, and became the source of great perplexity in determining the legal right of the institution of slavery to exist in the Northwest Territory.
Virginia inclusive, according to their usual respective proportions in the general charge and expenditure, and shall be faithfully and bona fide disposed of for that purpose, and for no other use or purpose whatsoever. Provided, That the trust hereby reposed in the delegates of this State, shall not be executed, unless three of them at least are present in Congress.
5. Virginia Deed of Cession of Northwest Territory (March 1, 1784).
The Deed of Cession by which the title to all the territory lying northwest of the Ohio river was transferred to the United States was signed, sealed and delivered on March 1, 1784, by Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, Arthur Lee and James Madison, the delegates to Congress for the commonwealth of Virginia. Congress on the same day, by an appropriate resolution, formally acknowledged the transfer.
(Journals of Congress, IV, 342.]
WHEREAS the general assembly of Virginia at their session, commencing on the 20th day of October, 1783, passed an act to authorize their delegates in Congress to convey to the United States in Congress assembled, all the right of that commonwealth, to the territory north-westward of the river Ohio: And whereas the delegates of the said commonwealth, have presented to Congress the form of a deed proposed to be executed pursuant to the said act, in the words following:
To all who shall see these presents, we Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, Arthur Lee and James Monroe, the underwritten delegates for the commonwealth of Virginia, in the Congress of the United States of America, send greeting:
WHEREAS the general assembly of the commonwealth of Virginia, at their sessions begun on the 20th day of October, 1783, passed an act, entitled "an act to authorize the delegates of this state in Congress, to convey to the United States in Congress assembled, all the right of this commonwealth, to the territory north-westward of the river Ohio," in these words following, to-wit : (here follows the act of cession:)
AND WHEREAS the said general assembly, by their resolution of June 6th, 1783, had constituted and appointed us the said Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, Arthur Lee, and James Monroe, delegates to represent the said commonwealth in Congress for one year, from the first Monday in November then next following, which resolution remains in full force: Now therefore, know ye, that we the said Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, Arthur Lee, and James Monroe, by virtue of the power and authority committed to us by the act of the said general assembly of Virginia before recited, and in the name, and for and on behalf of the said commonwealth, do by these presents convey, transfer, assign, and make over unto the United States in Congress assembled, for the benefit of the said states, Virginia inclusive, all right, title and claim, as well as of soil as of jurisdiction, which the said commonwealth hath to the territory or tract of country within the limits of the Virginia charter, situate lying and being to the north-west of the river Ohio, to and for the uses and purposes, and on the conditions of the said recited act. In testimony whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names and affixed our seals, in Congress, the 1st day of March, in the year. of our Lord 1784, and of the independence of the United States the eighth.
6. Proposed Ordinance of Government (March 1, 1784).
As soon as the United States had acquired legal possession of the territory northwest of the Ohio river, it became necessary to provide for the organization of a territorial government. One of the first plans devised for the organization and settlement of this territory was drawn up by Timothy Pickering and several other army officers, as early as April, 1783. It contemplated the formation of a State, the adoption of a constitution before settlement, and its immediate admission to the Union, as well as the complete exclusion of slavery. The draft of this plan which Rufus Putnam had, and which was embodied in a petition and sent to Congress, proposed only to mark out a territory with a suitable periphery, the formation of a distinct government and its future admission to the Union. Little effort was made to secure the adoption of this plan. The first scheme of western colonization actually introduced in Congress was in June, 1783, but nothing was done with it. On March 1, 1784, the day on which the Virginia Deed of Cession was executed, a committee of Congress, consisting of Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Jeremiah T. Chase of Maryland and David Howell of Rhode Island, submitted the following plan for the temporary government of the Western Territory.
(Works of Jefferson, IV, 251.19)
The Committee appointed to prepare a plan for the temporary Government of the Western territory have agreed to the following resolutions:
Resolved that the territory ceded or to be ceded by Individual
10. The Works of Thomas Jefferson. Federal Edition. Collected and Edited by P. L. Ford. 12 Volumes.