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ed? Two modes for conducting the sales presented themselves; the one a Southern, and the other a Northern mode. It would be tedious, Sir, here, to run out these different systems into all their distinctions, and to contrast the opposite results. That which was adopted was the Northern system, and is that which we now see in successful operation in all the new States. That which was rejected was the system of warrants, surveys, entry, and location; such as prevails south of the Ohio. It is not necessary to extend these remarks into invidious compari.
This last system is that which, as has been expressively said, has shingled over the country to which it was applied with so many conflicting titles and claims. Every body acquainted with the subject knows how easily it leads to speculation and litigation, - two great calamities in a new country, From the system actually established, these evils are banished. Now, Sir, in effecting this great measure, the first important measure on the whole subject, New England acted with vigor and effect, and the latest posterity of those who settled the region northwest of the Ohio will have reason to remember, with gratitude, her patriotism and her wisdom. The system adopted was her own system. She knew, for she had tried and proved its value. It was the old-fashioned way of surveying lands before the issuing of any title papers, and then of inserting accurate and precise descriptions in the patents or grants, and proceeding with regular reference to metes and bounds. This gives to original titles, derived from government, a certain and fixed character; it cuts up litigation by the roots, and the settler commences his labor with the assurance that he has a clear title. It is easy to perceive, but not easy to measure, the importance of this in a new country. New England gave this system to the West; and while it remains, there will be spread over all the West one monument of her intelligence in matters of government, and her practical good sense.
At the foundation of the constitution of these new Northwestern States lies the celebrated Ordinance of 1787. We are accustomed, Sir, to praise the lawgivers of antiquity; we help to perpetuate the fame of Solon and Lycurgus; but I doubt whether one single law of any lawgiver, ancient or modern, has produced effects of more distinct, marked, and lasting character than the Ordinance of 1787. That instrument was drawn by Nathan
Dane, then and now a citizen of Massachusetts. It was adopted, as I think I have understood, without the slightest alteration; and certainly it has happened to few men to be the authors of a political measure of more large and enduring consequence. It fixed for ever the character of the population in the vast regions northwest of the Ohio, by excluding from them involuntary servitude. It impressed on the soil itself, while it was yet a wilderness, an incapacity to sustain any other than freemen. It laid the interdict against personal servitude, in original compact, not only deeper than all local law, but deeper, also, than all local constitutions. Under the circumstances then existing, I look upon this original and seasonable provision as a real good attained. We see its consequences at this moment, and we shall never cease to see them, perhaps, while the Ohio shall flow. It was a great and salutary measure of prevention. Sir, I should fear the rebuke of no intelligent gentleman of Kentucky, were I to ask whether, if such an ordinance could have been applied to his own State, while it yet was a wilderness, and before Boone had passed the gap of the Alleghanies, he does not suppose it would have contributed to the ultimate greatness of that commonwealth? It is, at any rate, not to be doubted, that, where it did apply, it has produced an effect not easily to be described or measured, in the growth of the States, and the extent and increase of their population. Now, Sir, as I have stated, this great measure was brought forward in 1787, by the North. It was sustained, indeed, by the votes of the South, but it must have failed without the cordial support of the New England States. If New England had been governed by the narrow and selfish views now ascribed to her, this very measure was, of all others, the best calculated to thwart her purposes. It was, of all things, the very means of rendering certain a vast emigration from her own population to the West. She looked to that consequence only to disregard it. She deemed the regulation a most useful one to the States that would spring up on the territory, and advantageous to the country at large. She adhered to the principle of it perseveringly, year after year, until it was finally accomplished.
Leaving, then, Mr. President, these two great and leading measures, and coming down to our own times, what is there in the history of recent measures of government that exposes New
England to this accusation of hostility to Western interests? I assert, boldly, that, in all measures conducive to the welfare of the West, since my acquaintance here, no part of the country has manifested a more liberal policy. I beg to say, Sir, that I do not state this with a view of claiming for her any special regard on that account. Not at all. She does not place her support of measures on the ground of favor conferred. Far otherwise. What she has done has been consonant to her view of the general good, and therefore she has done it. She has sought to make no gain of it; on the contrary, individuals may have felt, undoubtedly, some natural regret at finding the relative importance of their own States diminished by the growth of the West. But New England has regarded that as the natural course of things, and has never complained of it. Let me see, Sir, any one measure favorable to the West, which has been opposed by New England, since the government bestowed its attention on these Western improvements. Select what you will, if it be a measure of acknowledged utility, I answer for it, it will be found that not only were New England votes for it, but that New England votes carried it. Will you take the Cumberland Road? who has made that? Will you take the Portland Canal ? whose support carried that bill? Sir, at what period beyond the Greek kalends could these measures, or measures like these, have been accomplished, had they depended on the votes of Southern gentlemen? Why, Sir, we know that we must have waited till the constitutional notions of those gentle. men had undergone an entire change. Generally speaking, they have done nothing, and can do nothing. All that has been effected has been done by the votes of reproached New Eng. land. I undertake to say, Sir, that if you look to the votes on any one of these measures, and strike out from the list of ayes the names of New England members, it will be found that, in every case, the South would then have voted down the West, and the measure would have failed. I do not believe any one instance can be found where this is not strictly true. I do not believe that one dollar has been expended for these purposes beyond the mountains, which could have been obtained without cordial coöperation and support from New England.
Sir, I put the question to the West itself. Let gentlemen who have sat here ten years come forth and declare, by what
aids, and by whose votes, they have succeeded, in measures deemed of essential importance to their part of the country. To all men of sense and candor, in or out of Congress, who have any knowledge upon the subject, New England may appeal for refutation of the reproach it is now attempted to cast upon her in this respect.
I take the liberty to repeat, that I make no claim on behalf of New England, or on account of that which I have now stated. She does not profess to have acted out of favor; for it would not become her so to have acted. She asks for no especial thanks; but, in the consciousness of having done her duty in these things uprightly and honestly, and with a fair and liberal spirit, be assured she will repel, whenever she thinks the occasion calls for it, an unjust and groundless imputation of partiality and selfishness.
The gentleman alluded to a report of the late Secretary of the Treasury, which, according to his reading or construction of it, recommended what he calls the tariff policy, or a branch of that policy; that is, the restraining of emigration to the West, for the purpose of keeping hands at home to carry on manufactures. I think, Sir, that the gentleman misapprehended the meaning of the Secretary, in the interpretation given to his remarks. I understand him only as saying, that, since the low price of lands at the West acts as a constant and standing bounty to agriculture, it is, on that account, the more reasonable to provide encouragement for manufactures. But, Sir, even if the Secretary's observation were to be understood as the gentleman understands it, it would not be a sentiment borrowed from any New Eng. land source. Whether it be right or wrong, it does not originate in that quarter.
In the course of these remarks, Mr. President, I have spoken of the supposed desire, on the part of the Atlantic States, to check, or at least not to hasten, Western emigration, as a narrow policy. Perhaps I ought to have qualified the expression; because, Sir, I am now about to quote the opinion of one to whom I would impute nothing narrow. I am about to refer you to the language of a gentleman of much and deserved distinction, a member of the other House, and occupying a prominent situation there. The gentleman, Sir, is from South Carolina. In 1825, a debate arose in the House of Rep
but to get
resentatives on the subject of the Western Road. It happened to me to take some part in the debate; I was answered by the honorable gentleman to whom I allude, and I replied. May I be pardoned, Sir, if I read a part of this debate.
“ The gentleman from Massachusetts has urged,” said Mr. McDuffie, as one leading reason why the government should make roads to the West, that these roads have a tendency to settle the public lands; that they increase the inducements to settlement, and that this is a national object. Sir, I differ entirely from his views on the subject. I think that the public lands are settling quite fast enough; that our people need no stimulus to urge them thither, but want rather a check, at least on that artificial tendency to Western settlement which we have created by our own laws.
“ The gentleman says, that the great object of government with respect to those lands is, not to make them a source of revenue, them settled. “What would have been thought of this argument in the old thirteen States ? It amounts to this, that those States are to offer a bonus of their own impoverishment, to create a vortex to swallow up our floating population. Look, Sir, at the present aspect of the Southern States. In no part of Europe will you see the same indications of decay Deserted villages, houses falling to ruin, impoverished lands thrown out of cultivation. Sir, I believe that, if the public lands had never been sold, the aggregate amount of the national wealth would have been greater at this moment. Our population, if concentrated in the old States, and not ground down by tariffs, would have been more prosperous and wealthy. But every inducement has been held out to them to settle in the West, until our population has become sparse, and then the effects of this sparseness are now to be counteracted by another artificial system. Sir, I say if there is any object worthy the attention of this government, it is a plan which shall limit the sale of the public lands. If those lands were sold according to their real value, be it so. But while the government continues as it does to give them away, they will draw the population of the older States, and still further increase the effect which is already distressingly felt, and which must go to diminish the value of all those States possess. And this, Sir, is held out to us as a motive for granting the present appropriation. I would not, indeed, prevent the formation of roads on these considerations, but I certainly would not encourage it. Sir, there is an additional item in the account of the benefits which this government has conferred on the Western States. It is the sale of the public lands at the minimum price. At this moment we are selling to the people of the West, lands, at one dollar and twenty-five cents, which are worth fifteen dollars, and which would sell at that price if the markets were not glutted.”