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[H, OF R Georgia by negotiation; and if it was found in ence of the measure. The gentleman from the end that the United States had no title to it, South Carolina might as well say that a certain the Government which had been established district in Virginia is not so well governed as it could be withdrawn.
might be, and, as the people would be happier But it was stated that the Legislature of under the Government of the United States, Georgia would readily consent that the United propose to take possession of it. But it was States should become possessed of this country. said Georgia had not begun to govern this But what were the terms upon which they pro- territory. Neither have the United States. She posed to cede it? They required, as one of the may, for aught we know, be preparing to do it conditions, a million and a half of dollars in six now. He thought there was not a shadow of per cent. stock, and as another (which was in- pretence for taking the course proposed, withfinitely harder, since it might not be in our out first consulting the Legislature of Georgia. power to comply with it, as it depended upon He hoped the amendment would be agreed to. the will of the Indians) that the United States Mr. J. WILLIAMS said it appeared to him, that will guarantee the relinquishment of the Indian if this amendment were to prevail, the bill claim to the land on the east side of the Ohata- | might as well be voted out altogether. The hoochee, within a certain number of years. bill had two objects, viz: a settlement of limits, There is little hope, therefore, that the State of and the fixing of a temporary government. It Georgia will propose any terms to which the was clear to him, from the papers before the United States can agree, as it had been seen that committee, that the United States had a clear the Legislature of that State had rejected a bill title to the country in question, and, if this was by a great majority, which proposed the price not the case, there was a saving clause in favor to be one million of dollars with the other con- of the Georgia claim. He thought that State dition. Of course it would be very imprudent ought to be happy at the idea of the United to rest the establishment of a government in States fixing a government there, as it would this quarter upon an agreement to terms like assist them in their defence against the Indians.
If gentlemen turned to the acts of Congress, it Besides, the amendment would affect the would be found what a vast expense the United right claimed by the United States. To wait States had heretofore been put to in defending for this consont would be tantamount to confess-the frontier of that country. He thought that ing we had no right, and arm Georgia with a State had been dealt with in a very favorable strong weapon against us in the final settlement. manner. It was not long since $100,000 were
Mr. H. contended that there was nothing in paid to their militia for defending their frontier. the constitution which could prevent the pro- He complimented the gentleman from Georgia posed measure, since it was absolutely necessary for having advocated so ably the cause of his to preserve the people from falling into anarchy, State. But he thought that State ought to come and to prevent a foreign Government from put forward and show what title she had to the ing arms into their hands. It was also a quarter country. It had been ceded to the United of the Union which it was necessary to preserve, States by the Spanish Treaty, and the inhabitif we wished to secure the free navigation of ants there had a claim upon the General Goythe Mississippi, which we had lately obtained ernment for protection, and surely if the State by the Spanish treaty; for if this country were of Georgia for ever refused to give its consent to invaded by the Indians, or involved in civil a government being established there, they war, we could not have the benefit of the navi- were not for ever to be without government. gation of that river. He hoped, therefore, the people there had petitioned Congress for a when so many considerations were opposed to government, of which doubtless the State of it, the amendment would be disagreed to Georgia was acquainted ; and they ought to
Mr. NICHOLAS understood from the gentleman come forward in the business. Their silence from South Carolina, that it was not intended proved to bim that they had no title to that to insist upon the title of the United States to country. Mr. W. referred to the manner in the territory in question; and if they were not which other cessions had been made to the ripe to decide that the land is the property of Union, and said he thought Georgia onght to the United States, he thought they ought not to rejoice at the proposed establishment, as it establish a Government there without paying would not only be benefiting that State, but some respect to the rights of Georgia, by obtain the Union at large. ing her consent, as it might prevent that ami- Mr. Macon said if the bill was intended to be cable settlement of which we had at present the conformable to the title, the amendment ought prospect. If that State set the value upon the certainly to be agreed to; as, if the United land which had been mentioned, would it not States undertook to establish a government at excite the utmost jealousy in that country to the Natchez, without the consent of Georgia, it take forcible possession of it? To do this would could not be said to be amicably done. This, certainly be to establish an influence in favor of he said, was neither the proper time nor place the United States, which would be fatal to the of deciding to whom this territory belongs. claim of Georgia. No argument had been ad-The great object ought to be to get a governduced to show the right of the United States to ment there, and not to talk about what had this territory, but merely to show the conveni-| been done for Georgia. And if the consent of H. OF R.)
Georgia could be obtained previous to the estab- the situation of the persons settled upon this lishment of this government, it was certainly territory was such as should seem to constrain desirable that it should be obtained. This gentlemen to depart from the course of their would not injure the claim of either. When former proceedings on this subject. He was this was done, some mode might be agreed upon fully impressed with the situation of that peoby which the dispute at present subsisting, ple; but he thought little delay would be occamight be settled. This course would prevent sioned by the proposed application to the State any difficulties, and the consent might be ob- of Georgia; nor won!d that consent weaken, as tained by the time the government could take had been suggested, the title of the United effect.
States. Or, if there was any force in the objecMr. Otis said if the object of the present bill, tion, it might be guarded against by adding could be obtained in a mode which would pre- a few words in the section which speaks of serve the rights of all parties as they at present preserving the claim of Georgia as it now stand, such a course would be preferable to that stands. which should appear to relinquish the right of Mr. B. said, gentlemen who had turned their one of the parties. It struck him that this attention to the map, would find that the terri. might be enacted by the bill as it now stands. tory in question is situate at the south-west The United States assumed their right to the corner of the United States; the southern bounland, yet they do not say they mean to turn a dary is latitude 31, and the western boundary deaf ear to the claim of Georgia. But, if the the Mississippi, which is also the boundary of amendment were adopted, it would go to re- the United States. Its extent is about 280 miles linquish the title of the United States, and this, north and south, and coming this way, about he thought, would be an excess of complaisance 400 miles. That part upon which this bill is to the State of Georgia. The only plausible bottomed, is little more than one-third part of reason given in favor of the amendment was, the whole of that territory. The United States that if the bill passed without it, it would give now reckon latitude 32 as the boundary of offence to, and excite jealousy in, the State of Georgia ; but in the treaty, and till very lately, Georgia. But how? 'Because Congress passes it was always reckoned to be 31, which is also an act to settle the interfering claims, and di the boundary of the United States. This was, rects the appointment of commissioners to give at any rate, a new discovery-the official docuthem a compensation for what we might take ments in support of which he had not seen. It without it? Or, because we say we will enter was now supposed that West Florida extends to upon the territory, to which we always laid | latitude 32, and not to 31, which is one degree claims, in order to preserve peace and order among and a half more than formerly supposed. If the inhabitants, and to secure it against the at- | this were so, he wondered it had never before tack of the Indians or of a foreign power? Gen- been discovered by England or Spain, Why tlemen seem to take it for granted that Georgia was the boundary of the United States always has possession of this territory; whereas those fixed at 31: He feared, that since it became who oppose the amendment, contend it is a our interest to extend the boundary, we had vacant possession, and that we have a right to suffered that interest to color our judgment. take possession of it, to hold it, not until an The instructions drawn out for our Minister by army is raised to take it from us, but until the a former Secretary of State were, "you are to legal question of right shall be decided. And contend for latitude 31." The ground upon it could not be said that there was any thing which he had stated this, Mr. B, thought irreoffensive in this. If a man, for instance, were sistible, and it was thought we might risk a war to enter upon a piece of land, and say he would upon it. Besides, this bill would not cure the never give it up until he was driven from it, it evil for which it was intended. There might would certainly be an act of violence; but if | be inhabitants still further north; this bill prohe enter upon it only to take care of it, until a vides only for such as are settled within what legal decision can be had as to his right, such an had been called the Province of West Florida. act was perfectly justifiable; and this was in- Mr. B. said, he had never seen the documents tended in the present case.
which authorized this extension. He had, inMr. KITTERA hoped, if the bill passed at all, deed, seen the remarks of Mr. Chalmers, who, it would be without the amendment. This terri- he believed, was Secretary to the Board of tory was never yet governed either by the United Trade and Plantations in London; but he beStates or Georgia, but had been ceded to the lieved he had drawn what he had said from the United States by Spain, in our late treaty with same document which was now reported, viz: that power, and we ought to retain possession the extract from the copy of the instructions of it until the title to it was clear. In this said to have been given to Governor Chester; view of the subject, he could not see how the but the order of King and Council for extendState of Georgia could take offence at our holding it, the Attorney General says, in page 11th ing the territory until the existing dispute was of his report, is not to be found. settled.
Gentlemen had said, why does not the State Mr. BALDWIN said it was to be regretted, as of Georgia manifest a disposition to make some this was the last instance in which this question arrangements respecting the territory in quesof cession could be presented to Congress, that | tion. They had done so. After the Revolu
[H. OF R. tionary war in 1783 or 1784, when there was returning these people for answer, “we cannot an expectation that the forts would have been attend to your wants until we have settled our evacuated, they laid out a county there, and dispute with Georgia." Georgia might refuse all the titles were declared good, and where to negotiate the subject, and by that means there was no other title occupancy was declared protract the business in a manner which would to be sufficient, and warrants were to be issued be very inconvenient, and perhaps drive the accordingly. When he first came to attend his people under another government. Besides, duty in Congress, the Minister from Spain ar- | if Georgia should refuse its consent to the rived about the same time, when he put in the establishment of a government in that quarter, claim of Spain to this territory, which prevented it would, nevertheless, be proper to establish any thing further from being done; and as soon one. The United States, Mr. G. said, came into as it was found that the arrangements made by possession of this territory by treaty. But supGeorgia gave umbrage to the Spanish Govern- | pose it was now in possession of a foreign ment, they were given up.
power, would Georgia attempt to drive them In the year 1788, the State of Georgia passed from it? Certainly not. It would amount to an act for making the cession of this territory the making of war on a foreign power. Supto the United States. This act Congress referred pose Georgia had a title to this territory, had to a committee, which reported that Govern- not the United States the power of depriving ment ought not to accept of the cession on the Georgia of it? Suppose, in their treaty with terms proposed. He believed the same disposi- | Spain, the United States had surrendered to tion to make the cession which always had ex- | Spain one-half of this land, or the whole of it, isted, now existed. He believed the disposition Georgia would have been bound by such an of the government of Georgia was as favorable act; and having got this territory by treaty, to the interests of the United States as that of they had certainly a right to establish a proviany other State. He did not rise to speak their sional government over it, until the dispute, as praises; but he could not sit to hear them to the title, was settled. blamed without notice.
The question of this amendment was put and If the proposed' government was proceeded negatived by 46 to 24. with without the consent of Georgia, it would Mr. THATCHER rose and said, he should make be a dereliction of principle. He thought some a motion, touching the rights of man, by movsort of regulation might be made among the ing to strike out the excepting clause in the 3d people for their own government, until Geor- section of the bill. [It appears that in the orgia was applied to. This was not a new case. dinance establishing a government in the NorthThere had been great settlements in several western Territory, slavery is expressly forbidparts of the country long before any govern- den, and this section of the bill directs that ment was provided for them. Mr. B. said, he a government similar in all respects to that did not mean to undervalue the claim of the established in the North-western Territory shall United States; they had always a claim in be established in the Mississippi Territory, exevery case of cession, but he hoped, except cept that slavery shall not be forbidden.] there was an absolute necessity for it, the usual | Mr. HARPER did not believe his friend's mocourse of proceeding would not be departed tion would be a proper mode of supporting the from,
rights of man. În the North-western Territory Mr. GORDON said, the gentleman from Geor- the regulation forbidding slavery was a very gia complained that a different course was pro- proper one, as the people inhabiting that part posed now to be taken than had been adopted of the country were from parts where slavery heretofore. In answer to this, it was sufficient did not prevail, and they had of course no slaves to say, that where the circumstances of cases amongst them; but in the Mississippi Territory differed, different courses were necessary. With it would be very improper to make such a rerespect to the merits of the bill, he thought it gulation, as that species of property already exstood right at present. The situation of the ists, and persons emigrating there from the people in the district alluded to, was such as re- Southern States would carry with them properqnired immediate attention. If gentlemen were ty of this kind. To agree to such a proposition not convinced of this, he saw no necessity for would, therefore, be a decree of banishment to going into the business before the subsisting all the persons settled there, and of exclusion dispute between Georgia and the United States to all those intending to go there. He believed was settled. He believed, however, there was it could not, therefore, be carried into effect, as no doubt of the fact; and surely the gentleman it struck at the habits and customs of the peofrom Georgia would not wish that these people ple. should live under a military government for any Mr. VARNUM did not know that the gentlelength of time. Being satisfied of this point, he man from South Carolina wished to promote wished the bill to pass without the amendment, the rights of man. His observations showed, as that might defeat altogether the purpose of at least, that he did not wish to support the the bill. The claim of Georgia he looked upon rights of all men; for where there was a dispoat least as doubtful; and as he considered the sition to retain a part of our species in slavery, United States as bound to protect all its citi- there could not be a proper respect for the zens, he thought they would not be justified in rights of mankind. It was true that this kind
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[MARCH, 1798. of property is held in the Southern States, be- opinions. They lead to more mischief than cause they cannot, consistent with the safety of gentlemen are aware of; and he trusted if the the people of those States, liberate them on ac- gentleman from Massachusetts could be concount of their very great numbers. But they vinced that the discussion of such questions as considered it as a great burden to be obliged to the present did much mischief in certain parts hold them. He hoped, therefore, Congress of the Union, he would not bring them forward. would have so much respect for the rights of He hoped he would withdraw the present mohumanity as not to legalize the existence of tion. slavery any farther than it at present exists. Mr. GORDON thought that when the gentleHe believed the gentleman from South Carolina man from Massachusetts recollected that, by was mistaken in saying that such a regulation the establishment of this government, the Unitwould oblige all the inhabitants settled in this ed States do not establish their exclusive right territory to remove. The provision need only to this territory, he would consent to withextend to the forbidding of slaves being taken draw his amendment, as that went to say that there. What, said he, is the situation of the we had the absolute right of jurisdiction, and North-western Territory at this time? Land were determined to exercise it; and in making there is worth more than in some of the old a difference between the ground on which prosettled States; and he believed this high price perty was held there from that on which it was of land, and prosperous condition of the coun- held in Georgia, they would militate against try, was entirely owing to the absence of slave- the 5th section of the bill. ry. And if the Southern States could get clear Mr. Otis hoped his colleague would not with. of their slaves, the price of their land would draw his motion; and the reason why he wished immediately double. At any rate, he hoped the this was, that an opportunity might be given to United States would prevent an increase of this gentlemen who came from the same part of the calamity; for he looked upon the practice of Union with him to manifest that it is not their holding blacks in slavery in this country to be disposition to interfere with the Southern States equally criminal with that of the Algerines car as to the species of property in question. With rying our citizens into slavery.
respect to the existence of slavery, the House Mr. RUTLEDGE wished the gentleman from had often heard gentlemen, who are owners of Massachusetts would withdraw his motion, not slaves, declare that it is not their fortune, but from any apprehension he had that it would their misfortune that they possess them, but obtain; but he hoped that he would not indulge who still keep them, and claim the right of himself and others in uttering philippics against managing them as they think proper. He a practice with which his and their philosophy thought it was not the business of those who is at war. He submitted to the gentleman's had nothing to do with that kind of property candor whether it was proper, on every occa- to interfere with that right; and he really sion, to do this to bring forward the Southern wished that the gentlemen who held slaves States in an odious light, or to give his neigh- might not be deprived of the means of keeping bor and colleague an opportunity of bringing them in order. them forward, and comparing them with Al If the amendment prevailed, it would declare gerines! He thought propriety and decency that no slævery should exist in the Natchez towards other members required that such lan- country. This would not only be a sentence guage should be checked. He believed, if his of banishment, but of war. An immediate infriend from Massachusetts had recollected that surrection would probably take place, and the the most angry debate which had taken place inhabitants would not be suffered to retire in during this session was occasioned by a motion peace, but be massacred on the spot. By peron this subject, he would not have brought for- mitting slavery in this district of country, the ward the present question. One gentleman number of slaves would not be increased — as if says, you call these men property; another, emigrants from South Carolina or Georgia were you hold these men in chains; a third, you vio- to remove into this country they would take late the rights of man! And are not these men their slaves with them; and he could see nothproperty? Do not the people in this territory ing in this which could affect the philanthropy hold them as such? Did they not hold them of his friend. The North-western Territory is under the Spanish Government ? And must inhabited by a description of persons who have we thus address these people: “We have made not been accustomed to hold slaves, and therea treaty which puts you under the mild govern-fore the restriction is agreeable to them; but ment of the United States, but we must take the territory in question will be settled by peofrom you your property; or rather, we must ple from the Southern States, who cannot cultiset your blacks at liberty to cut your throats. vate the ground without slaves. He hoped, The rights of man was the watch-word of the however, the motion would be persisted in, and day, and Congress have determined that you negatived by a large majority. shall not possess this property. They cannot Mr. D. FOSTER hoped, if the motion was not as yet do slavery away altogether—the day is withdrawn, that a long debate might not be not yet arrived; but they have determined it had upon it. shall not exist in the Mississippi Territory.” Mr. THATCHER said he should not withdraw
These, said Mr. R., are not mere speculative | his motion, and the more it was opposed, believ
[H. OF R. ing his cause to be good, the more obstinate he | a certain degree, and when the Territory shall should be in its support.
| become a State, the interest of the holders will Mr. GILES wished to suggest a single idea. be such as to procure a constitution which shall The present motion was brought forward from admit of slavery, and it will be thereby made the avowed motive of furthering the rights of permanent. Having determined slavery was man. He did not know whether the tendency bad policy for the North-western Territory, he of it was calculated to ameliorate the condition saw no reason for a contrary determination with of the class of men alluded to; he believed not. respect to this Territory. On the contrary, it was his opinion, that if the There was, then, only one solitary objection slaves of the Southern States were permitted to to the amendment, and that might easily be obgo into this Western country, by lessening the viated. It was with respect to the situation of number in those States, and spreading them the people already settled there who are posover a large surface of country, there would be sessed of slaves. It would be extremely impoa greater probability of ameliorating their con- | litic and unjust to declare by ordinance that the dition, which could never be done whilst they people settled there, either under the British, were crowiled together as they now are in the Spanish, or Georgia governments, should be deSouthern States.
prived of this kind of property; and if this was Mr. HARTLEY said, he had himself intended the effect of the amendment, he would vote to have brought forward an amendment similar against it. Such a regulation would be attended to the present, but, on inquiry, he found so many with the worst of consequences; but other words difficulties in the way, that he was obliged to may be easily introduced to guarantee the proabandon it. He found it would interfere with, perty of the persons already settled there. and be a serious attack upon, the property of By the laws of the different States, Mr. G. that country. He was sorry it was not in the said, the importation of slaves is forbidden; but power of Congress to gratify the wishes of ( if this amendment does not obtain, he knew not philanthropists in this respect, by doing away how slaves could be prevented from being introslavery altogether; but this could not be done at duced by the way of New Orleans, by persons present, and as he believed the present amend- who are not citizens of the United States. He ment, if carried, would be attended with bad hoped, therefore, the amendment would be effects, he should vote against it.
agreed to. Mr. GALLATIN said, if he saw any of the great Mr. NICHOLAS believed it not only to be the inconveniences which were foretold as likely to interest of the Southern States, but of the United arise from this amendment, he should certainly States, that this motion should be rejected. vote against it. He should be extremely averse They were to legislate for the whole of the to the adoption of any principle which should Union, and ought to consult the happiness of either directly or indirectly lead to the produc- the whole. It was not for them to attempt to tion of any commotion or insurgency in any make a particular spot of country more happy State where there is a great number of slaves. than all the rest. If it was a misfortune to the He did not see bow any such effect could be Southern States to be overwhelmed with this produced by the present motion; for, notwith-kind of property, he asked if it would not be standing what had fallen from the gentleman doing service not only to them but to the whole from South Carolina, it did not appear to him Union, to open this Western country, and by how a regulation with respect to another Terri- that means spread the blacks over a large space, tory can affect the peace, tranquillity, or pro- so that in time it might be safe to carry into perty of any other State. How the forbidding effect the plan which certain philanthropists of slavery in the Mississippi Territory could have so much at heart, and to which he had no produce a worse effect than the same regulation objection, if it could be effected, viz: the emanin the North-western Territory, or in Pennsyl- cipation of this class of men? And when this vania, or in several other States. The amend-country shall have become sufficiently populous ment, therefore, could not be opposed on that to become a State, and the Legislature wishes to ground; it must be on some other. Ought it discountenance slavery, the increase of slaves to be rejected on the ground of jurisdiction may be prevented, and such means taken to get Certainly not. The United States intend to ex- rid of slavery altogether, perhaps in conjunction ercise jurisdiction over that Territory, and was with other parts of the United States, who by there any more reason for excepting this juris- that time may be in such a situation as to addiction than any other? If we establish this mit of it, as shall appear prudent and proper. Government we expect it to be permanent; and Mr. THATCHER was of an opinion directly opif we believe it is not conducive to the happi-posite to the gentleman who had just sat down. ness of any people, but the contrary, to legalize Indeed, they seldom did agreo in sentiment; toslavery, when we are about to form a constitu- day they differed very widely. He believed the tion for a Territory, its establishment ought to true interest and happiness of the United States be prevented. But, if this amendment is reject- would be promoted by agreeing to this amended, we establish slavery for the country, not ment; because its tendency was to prevent the only during its temporary government, but for increase of an evil which was acknowledged by all the time it is a State ; for, by the constant the very gentlemen themselves who are owners admission of slaves, the number will increase to l of slaves. Indeed the gentleman from Virginia