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12. Alteration of Virginia Deed of Cession (December 30, 1788).
More than a year after the passage of the Ordinance of 1787, Virginia passed the following act, altering her act of cession in conformity with the demands of Congress and the provisions of the Ordinance of 1787.
(Miscellaneous Documents, XIX, 70.35)
WHEREAS the United States, in Congress assembled, did, on the seventh day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six, state certain reasons, showing that a division of the territory which hath been ceded to the said United States, by this Commonwealth, into States, in conformity to the terms of cession, should the same be adhered to, would be attended with many inconveniences, and did recommend a revision of the act of cession, so far as to empower Congress to make such a division of the said territory into distinct and republican States, not more than five nor less than three in number, as the situation of that country and future circumstances might require. And the said United States, in Congress assembled, have, in an ordinance for the government of the territory northwest of the river Ohio, passed on the thirteenth of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, declared the following as one of the articles of compact between the original States and the people and States in the said territory, viz.:
"ARTICLE 5. There shall be formed in the said territory not less than three, nor more than five States; and the boundaries of the States, as soon as Virginia shall alter her act of cession and · consent to the same, shall become fixed and established as follows, to wit: The western State in the said territory shall be bounded by the Mississippi, the Ohio, and Wabash Rivers; a direct line drawn from the Wabash and Post Vincent's, due north to the territorial line between the United States and Canada, and by the said territorial line to the Lake of the Woods and Mississippi. The middle State shall be bounded by the said direct line, the Wabash from Post Vincent's to the Ohio; by the Ohio, by a direct line drawn due north from the mouth of the Great Miami to the said territorial line, and by the said territorial line. The eastern State shall be bounded by the last-mentioned direct line, the Ohio, Pennsylvania and the said territorial line: Provided, however, and it is further understood and declared,
35. The Public Domain. Its History, With Statistics. Being Miscellaneous Document No. 45, Part 4, 47th Congress, 2d Session. Compiled by Thomas Donaldson. 1884.
that the boundaries of these three States shall be subject so far to be altered, that, if Congress shall hereafter find 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 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: Provided, the constitution and government so to be formed shall be republican, and in conformity to the principles contained in these articles; and so far as it can be consistent with the general interest of the Confederacy, such admission shall be allowed at an earlier period, and when there may be a less number of free inhabitants in the State than sixty thousand.'
And it is expedient that this Commonwealth do assent to the proposed alteration, so as to ratify and confirm the said article of compact between the original States and the people and States in the said territory:
2. Be it therefore enacted by the general assembly, That the afore-recited article of compact between the original States and the people and States in the territory northwest of Ohio River be, and the same is hereby, ratified and confirmed, anything to the contrary in the deed of cession of the said territory by this Commonwealth to the United States not withstanding.
13. Adaptation of Ordinance of 1787 to Federal Constitution (August
7, 1789). Alterations in and additions to the Ordinance of 1787 were necessary from time to time in order to bring that measure into conformity with the Federal Constitution which had gone into operation since its adoption; to correct minor imperfections and supply important omissions; to meet unforeseen contingencies not adequately covered by its provisions; to provide the necessary accommodations for the progressive development of the democratic spirit which demanded a more extensive participation in public affairs; and to more effectually check the growth of political and social abuses. Naturally, these acts became a part of the fundamental law of the Territory, as inviolable as the Ordinance itself, and no local law was valid which palpably infringed any of their provisions.
In order to adapt the Ordinance of 1787 to the Federal Constitutions which became operative in 1789, two years after the adoption of the Ordinance, it was necessary to make certain minor changes. By the provision of Section 4 of the Ordinance, the Territorial Secretary was required to transmit authentic copies of all acts passed by the legislature, all public records of the district, and the proceedings of the Governor in his executive capacity to the Secretary of Congress every six months. This function was now transferred to the President, as was also, with the advice and consent of the Senate, the power of appointing and removing territorial officers. No provision had been previously made for the administration of the government in the event of the death, removal, resignation or necessary absence of the Governor. By this same act, the Territorial Secretary was authorized to discharge all executive functions in any of the above enumerated contingencies.
(Annals, First Congress, 2159.) AN ACT to provide for the government of the Territory northwest of the
river Ohio. WHEREAS, in order that the ordinance of the United States in Congress assembled, for the government of the Territory northwest of the river Ohio may continue to have full effect, it is requisite that certain provisions should be made so as to adapt the same to the present Constitution of the United States:
Be it enacted, etc., That in all cases in which, by the said ordinance, any information is to be given, or communication made by the Governor of the said Territory to the United States in Congress assembled, or to any of their officers, it shall be the duty of the said Governor to give such information, and to make such communication to the President of the United States; and the President shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall appoint all officers which by the said ordinance were to have been appointed by the United States in Congress assembled, and all officers so appointed shall be commissioned by him; and in all cases where the United States in Congress assembled might, by the said ordinance, revoke any commission, or remove from any office, the President is hereby declared to have the same powers of revocation and removal.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That in case of the death, removal, resignation, or necessary absence of the Governor of the said Territory, the Secretary thereof shall be, and he is hereby authorized and required to execute all the powers and perform all the duties of the Governor, during the vacancy occasioned by the removal, resignation, or necessary absence of the said Governor. 36
Approved, August 7, 1789.
36. The first case of this kind arose in 1790. The first governor of the Territory was Arthur St. Clair who arrived at Marietta on July 9, 1788. On December 30, 1789, Governor St. Clair, Secretary Winthrop Sargent and the judges left Marietta for the west to organize regular county governments. They stopped at Cincinnati long enough to organize Hamilton county and at Clarksville long enough to perfect a temporary organization. Thence, in the early part of 1790, they proceeded to Kaskaskia and had scarcely begun their work when Governor St. Clair was called to Fort Wash
14. Printing, Distribution and Repeal of Laws; Official Duties of
Territorial Secretary; Personnel of Court; Territorial Seal;
Disapproval of Limitation Act (May 8, 1792). The Ordinance of 1787 made no provision for the printing and distribution of the territorial laws, an omission which was significant not only to those who were charged with the administration of the laws but to the inhabitants who were expected to yield obedience to its mandates. The governor and judges, in their legislative capacity had authority to adopt a law from one of the States, but they had no authority to enact a new law or to repeal a law which was found to be impracticable, useless or mischievous in its operation.
[Annals, Second Congress, 1395.)
AN ACT respecting the government of the Territories of the United States
northwest and south of the river Ohio. Be it enacted, etc., That the laws of the Territory Northwest of the river Ohio, that have been or hereafter may be enacted by the Governor and Judges thereof, shall be printed under the direction of the Secretary of State, and two hundred copies thereof, together with ten sets of the laws of the United States, shall be delivered to the said Governor and Judges, to be distributed among the inhabitants, for their information; and that a like number of the laws of the United States shall be delivered to the Governor and Judges of the Territory Southwest of the river Ohio.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the Governor and Judges of the Territory Northwest of the river Ohio shall be, and hereby are, aut horized to repeal their laws by them made, whensoever the same may be found to be improper.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the official duties of the Secretaries of the said Territories shall be under the control of such laws, as are or may be in force in the said Territories.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That any one of the Supreme or Superior Judges of the said Territories, in the absence of the ot her Judges, shall be and hereby is authorized to hold a Court.
Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of State provide proper seals for the several and respective public offices in the said Territories.
Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That the limitation act, passed by the Governor and Judges of the said Territory, the ington to confer with General Harmar relative to Indian affairs. In the event of the absence of the governor, all executive functions devolved on the secretary and in that capacity he assisted in the adjudication of controverted land claims at Vincennes, and participated in the passage of three laws designed to regulate gambling, traffic in intoxicating liquors and trade with the Indians.
twenty-eighth day of December, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, be and hereby is disapproved.
Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That the expenses incurred by John Cleves Symmes and George Turner, two of the Judges of the said Territory, in sending an express, and in purchasing a boat to go the Circuit, in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety, shall be liquidated by the officers of the Treasury, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.
Approved, May 8, 1792.
15. Favorable Report of House Committee on Creation of Indiana
Territory (March 3, 1800). The Ordinance of 1787 provided that for the purpose of temporary government the Northwest Territory should be one district, “subject, however, to be divided into two districts, as future circumstances may, in the opinion of Congress, make it expedient." The Territory was first divided into two districts for administrative purposes on July 4, 1800, circumstances having arisen which in the opinion of Congress demanded a division. Those circumstances were the impossibility of successfully administering justice and exerting the powers of government over so extensive a territory. The original impulse was given to this movement by the appointment of a House Committee on December 10, 1799, to consider the necessity of making alterations in the judicial system of the Territory and report their opinion on the expediency of dividing the Territory into two distinct and separate governments. After mature consideration, the committee submitted the following report on March 3, 1800.
(Annals, Sixth Congress, Appendix, 1320.) Communicated to the House of Representatives, March 3, 1800.
The committee to whom it was referred to consider and report whether any, and, if any, what, alteration is necessary in the judiciary establishment of the Territory Northwest of the Ohio, and who were directed to report their opinion of the expediency of dividing said Territory into two distinct and separate governments do, in obedience to such direction, make the following report: That parts of said Territory are subject to several serious inconveniences, which require redress from the General Government; most of the evils which they at present experience are, in the opinion of this committee, to be imputed to the very great extent of country at present comprised under their imperfect government. The Territory Northwest of the Ohio, from southeast to northwest, fifteen hundred miles, and the actual distance of travelling from the places of holding courts the most remote from