« ZurückWeiter »
of Ohio, they may expect to be punished for such violations. If you address me within two weeks, direct your communication to Perrysburgh, Wood county, Ohio.
I have the honor to be,
ROBERT LUCAS. Hon. JOHN FORSYTH,
Secretary of State.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 19th, 1835.
I have already had the honor to inform your Excellency, that the President had under his most serious consideration the unhappy controversy between the State of Ohio and the Territory of Michigan, Since then he has determined upon sending one or two Commissioners to confer with you and the acting Governor of Michigan, on the subject. He trusts that nothing will be done on either side, until they shall have had the conference. He hopes this forbearance confidently from you, and he expects it from the acting Governor of Michigan.
I am sir, your Excellency's
Secretary of State. His Excellency, R. LUCAS,
Governor of Ohio.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, OHIO,
Columbus, 27th March, 1835.
SIR: Your communication of the 19th inst. was handed to me last evening by Judge Doty of Michigan, in which you state, that you had already informed me that the President had under his most serious consideration, the unhappy controversy between the State of Ohio and the Territory of Michigan." Since then he had determined upon sending one or two Commissioners to confer with me and the acting Governor of Michigan on the subject; and that he trusted that nothing would be done on either side until they shall have held the conference. From the tenor of the above, as well as your former communications, it appears that the President has been most egregiously imposed upon by incorrect representations, as to the acts and doings of Ohio. Molehills have truly been magnified into mountains, and we should suppose from your communication, that the Cabinet at Washington had
been led to believe, that there is, in reality, a serious difficulty between Ohio and Michigan, and that armies are arrayed against each other. As far as Ohio is concerned, nothing is farther from the truth. As I stated to you, in my former communications, we know of no controversy between Ohio and Michigan—we have had no correspondence with the government of Michigan, and we do not hold ourselves accountable for her acts; neither are we willing to take upon ourselves any share of her responsibilities. The acts of Ohio, of which Michigan has complained to the President, were done with deliberation. They have been vaade known to you in my answers to your former communications. Let us inquire what are these acts of Ohio that have caused so much excitement in Washington, the operations of which the President is desirous should be suspended. They, and some of their causes, are as follows: Michigan had set up a claim to jurisdiction over a small strip of territory on the Northern Boundary of our State, which we considered to be included within the constitutional limits of Ohio, as specified in our Constitution, and within the boundaries run and designated under the authority of the U.States,by an United States officer, in 1817. We had asked Congress to quiet the claim of Michigan, and a bill passed the Senate of the United States a second time, to establish that line. While the subject was under sideration in the House of Representatives, the authorities of Michigan remonstrated against the right of Congress to decide in the case, and announced their determination not to submit to such decision. The Legislative Council passed a law to punish as criminals the authorities of Ohio who might attempt to exercise jurisdiction within that part of the State also, to prevent the citizens residing there from accepting commissions under the authority of Ohio. To these arbitrary acts the citizens, residing within the constitutional limits of Ohio, were not willing to submit, and petitioned the Legislature of Ohio to extend to them the protection of the laws of Ohio, and their rights as citizens. The Legislature took their prayer under consideration, and, after much deliberation, and a full examination of the subject, passed the Preamble and Resolutions of the 23d of February, declaratory of the rights of Ohio, and passed an Act the same day, to extend the jurisdiction of Ohio to her established constitutional boundaries. On examining the subject, it was discovered that Congress, by the act of the 20th of May, 1812, entitled "an act to authorize the President of the United States to ascertain and designate certain boundaries," authorized the Surveyor General under the direction of the President of the U. States, (as soon as the consent of the Indians could be obtained) to cause to be surveyed, marked, and designated, so much of the western and northern boundaries of the State of Ohio, which had not already been ascertained, as divide said State from the territories of Indiana and Michigan. That the Surveyor General of the United States did, under the provisions of said act, cause the line between Ohio and Indiana, also the line between Ohio and Michigan to be run, marked, and designated, by William Harris, Esq. D. Š. in the year 1817; and that the Northern Boundary, as run and designated by Mr.
Harris, and described in his field notes returned to the Surveyor General's Office, as the line between Ohio and Michigan Territory, runs from the most northern cape of the Maumee Bay, towards the southern extremity of Lake Michigan, until it intersects the Indiana lino as specified in our Constitution. And that this line was run and established by the Surveyor General of the U. States under the direction of the Pres-ident, as directed by an act of Congress. Sundry other experimental lincs have subsequently been run, varying from each other in several particulars; but none appear to have been established but the one run by Mr. Harris. This line the Legislature recognized in the act of the 23d of February, as the true Northern Boundary of Ohio; and authorized the Executive to appoint Commissioners to run and re-mark it, so that it might be known. Three Commissioners have been appointed to perform this duty. Is there any thing wrong in this act of Ohio? Is the right of Ohio to trace and re-mark her Northern Boundary, as run and designated by an U. States officer, disputed? I trust not. Ohiois running no new line through the territory of the United States, but one already established. This being the case, I am truly at a loss to conjecture what could have induced the President to propose sending Commissioners to confer with Ohio. We have no controversy with Michigan. We are about to run no new line through the territory of the U.States, and as to the subject of extending our jurisdiction, I trust our civil authority will settle that question. I can discover no act or movement of Ohio, that subjects her to censure. She has no errors to retract, nor compromise to make, and I cannot be it to believe, that the President feels disposed to espouse the cause of Michigan, or to support her in her extravagant and unjust proceedings.
I will start to-morrow for Perrysburgh, as I suggested to you in my last communication.
ROBERT LUCAS. Hon. JOHN FORSYTH,
Secretary of State U.S.
Mr. Rushand Col. Howard present their best respects to Governor Lucas, and beg leave to inform him that they arrived here a few minutes ago, in execution of a duty devolved upon them by the President of the United States, which makes it necessary that they should wait upon Governor Lucas at Perrysburgh, in the hope of having the honor of an interview with him.
It is accordingly their intention to repair to Perrysburgh, after they should have an opportunity of secing the acting Governor of the Territory of Michigan, now, as they have just been informed, at Monroe, for which place it is their intention to set out immediately. Toledo, April 3, 1835,
Governor Lucas has had the honor to receive the note of Mr. Rush and Col. Howard, of the 3d inst. He will be happy to see them, either at this place or Toledo, as they may prefer. They will be pleased to accept his most respectful compliments.
Perrysburg, April 6th, 1835.
Columbus, May 25th, 1835.
In conformity with your request, that we should state in writingso far as our recollection will permit—the conversation between Messrs. Rush and Howard, the United States Commissioners.) and yourself at Perrysburgh, on the seventh of April last, we have drawn up the following memorandum. Having taken no notes at the time, we are unwilling to trust our memories beyond the results and stipulations mutually agreed upon. In relation to them, our impressions are too vivid, and they have since 100 frequently been the topics of conversation, to permit, as we believe, the possibility of mistake.
1st. That the line should be run and re-marked pursuant to the act of the last session of our Legislature—without interruption.
2. The civil elections under the laws of Ohio having taken place throughout the disputed Territory—that the people residing upon it, should be left to their own government-obeying the one jurisdiction or the other as they might prefer—without molestation from the authorities of Ohio or Michigan until after the close of the next session of Congress.
All present concurred in the remark, that though the confusion of jurisdictions would present an anomaly, yet, that such a state of things would be incomparably preferable, to the realization of the impending dangers.
Not doubting that the Commissioners had authority to enter into this arrangement, and that it would be observed on the part of Michişan as well as of Ohio, we considered the pacific purpose
visit to that section of the State as accomplished, and were not present at either of the subsequent interviews between yourself and those gentlemen.
Your obedient servants,
N. H. SWAYNE,
SAMUEL C. ANDREWS. To His Excellency, R. Lucas.
Having carefully examined the several documents referred to me, on the 17th inst. touching the controversy now existing between the authorities of the State of Ohio and of the Territory of Michigan, in respect to the disputed boundaries of the State and Territory, and having also bestowed such reflection on the ordinances, acts of Congress, and other matters applicable to the subject, as the necessary brevity of the time allowed me has permitted, I shall now proceed to answer the question, whether the President has any authority to Interfere in this controversy, and if so, in what manner? • The President is so fully acquainted with the origin, progress, and present state of this unfortunate dispute, that I shall deem it sufficient in the following remarks to advert to such only of the facts connected with it, as may be necessary to a correct understanding of my opinion.
The territory in dispute comprehends a tract lying east of the northeasterly part of the State of Indiana, north of a line drawn due east from the southern extreme of Lake Michigan, and south of a direct line drawn from the southern extreme of Lake Michigan to the most northerly 'cape of the Miami or Maumee bay, on Lake
Erie. It extends in length from the east line of Indiana to Lake Erie, and is supposed to be about nine miles wide at one end, and about five at the other. It now is, and for several years has been, under the actual, and so far as respects the state of Ohio, the exclusive, jurisdiction of the territorial government of Michigan.
The merits of the controversy were fully discussed before committees of the las: Congress by Mr. Vinton, one of the members of the House of Representatives from the State of Ohio, in behalf of the delegation of that State, and Mr. Lyon, the delegate from the Territory of Michigan, in elaborate written arguments, which have since been printed for the use of Congress. The general object of these arguments was, on the part of Ohio, to establish the right of that State, to the more northern of the two lines above mentioned, as her true boundary, and to obtain from Congress a final settlement of the subject, by an act recognizing that line, and authorizing, accordingly, the extension of her limits and jurisdiction ;--on the part of Michigan, to show that under the compact, , contained in the ordinance of 1787, referred to in the act erecting the Territory of Michigan, the people of that Territory-are entitled, not only as regards Ohio, but also as re. gards Indiana and Illinois, to a southern boundary to be described by a line running due east and due west from the southern extreme of Lake Michigan. In the references hereinafter made to the claims and arguments of the respective parties, it will be understood that I refer to these papers, unless some other reference is expressly named.
In respect to the power of the President to interfere with this sube