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by the Surveyor General, under the direction of the President of the United States; and is the only true Northern boundary of the State of. Ohio.
The authority of the Secretary of the Treasury, to order a re-survey, after the line had been run and established by the Surveyor General, under the direction of the President, without a special act of Congress, is at least questionable; and even a line run, by authority of Congress, other than the one directed in the Constitution of Ohio, without the consent of the State, would not be in any way obligatory on her. You say that my remarks seem to indicate a desire to found the claim to jurisdiction on the part of Ohio over the disputed territory, upon the ground of its being within the limits assigned to Ohio by the act of Congress of 1802, rather than on the provisional clause in the Constitution of the State. In that you have misconstrued my meaning, for no such desire, or opinion, was intended to be conveyed in my letter. Although I am fully satisfied that our claim would be sustained without the provision in the Constitution, yet I have ever been of opinion (and that opinion you will find expressed in all my communications) that the provisional clause in the Constitution of the State of Ohio, firmly fixed the Northern boundary of Ohio, and that the assent of Congress was given to the same when the State of Ohio was admitted into the Union; and I am firmly of opinion that the General Government is under as great an obligation to guarantee this boundary to Ohio, as she is to fulfil a treaty, stipulation, or compact entered into with a foreign nation. Michigan, as a Territory, can have no rights as to boundaries. What Territory has ever been formed when a State, with the same boundaries over which the jurisdiction of the Territorial Government was exercised Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois were all created States, with very different boundaries from those over which jurisdiction was exercised while Territories; and the boundaries of all these States were described in the acts of Congress, allowing them respectively to form States Government, and those boundaries were specifically recognised in the respective Constitutions of the States. But it appears Michigan is to be more favored. She not only bids defiance to the authority of Congress as to the formation of a Constitution, but claims to be indulged with a portion of the territory of Ohio, and the right to tyrannise over a part of our citizens. This we cannot permit. I have now in my possession copies of the following papers, to wit: A letter from the Commissioner of the General Land Office directing the Northern Boundary of Ohio to be run—the instructions of the Surveyor General to Mr. Harris relative to running the Northern Boundary of Ohio--Instructions of the Surveyor General to Mr. Fulton, who run the second line-A letter from Lewis Cass, Governor of Michigan Territory, to the Surveyor General, (which letter is considered as the foundation of the difficulty)—the Surveyor General's reply thereto, in which he mentions that Harris's line was run correctly in accordance with the act of Congress, and was the true Northern boundary of the State of Ohio a letter from Governor Worthington to the Surveyor General, and
the Surveyor General's reply thereto. (Some of these documents I perceive you have not included in the publication you enclosed to me.) These documents will be laid before the Legislature, at the special session now called; together with a copy of the correspondence with the Department of State, at Washington, which correspondence must be admitted to be of an extraordinary character, as every communication shows a disposition in the Cabinet at Washington, to press Michigan
forward as a party to a controversy with Ohio; when, in fact, Ohio cannot recognise her as such. As I have repeatedly stated, there is not, neither can there be any controversy on the subject of boundary between a State and a Territory.
You say the President, while he regrets the existence of the unhappy controversy between Ohio and Michigan, (here is another attempt to press Michigan before the pulic as a party,) has seen, with great satisfaction, the resolution of the Executive of Ohio not to persist in causing the line to be marked, but rather to appeal to the wisdom of the Legislature; and that he hopes also that the Legislature, aware of the difficulties which will attend the execution of the Ohio law of last session, and having the benefit of the Atlorney General's opinion, as well as of information not in our possession when the law was passed, may unite in postponing the whole subject for the action of Congress.--The object of this clause in your letter I confess I am at a loss to comprehend. This appears to be another effort to push Michigan forward as a party, with an expression of a desire on the part of the Executive Department of the General Government, that all difficulty should be avoided; and in the same sentence intrudes upon us an ex-parte document called the opinion of the Attorney General, and mildly advises us, with a gentle rebuke, and a little menace, to relinguish our rights, yield the sovereignty of a portion of our State, and to violate the solemn obligation we have taken to support the Constitution of Ohio, by desisting from carrying into effect or postponing the operation of the act passed at the last session of the Legislature. If it is really the desire of the President, that all difficulty should be avoided, he can readily put a stop to the violent proceedings of the people of Michigan, as it is admitted that the Territories of the United States are under the control of the General Government; but we do not admit that the General Government, or any Department thereof, has any Constitutional right to interfere with the sovereignty, jurisdiction, or territory of any of the States in the Union, and we are firmly of opinion that any such interference by either of the Departments of the General Government would be a violation of the sovereign rights of the States, and if submitted to by them, would subvert our rights, consolidate the government, and terminate in mon · archy. You state that on the subject of the interference with the Commissioners of Ohio on the part of the authorities of Michigan, the President desired you to say that he had throughout the controversy endeavored to prevent any resort to force on either side. This opinion was expressed by Messrs. Rush and Howard at the first confer
ence I had with them at Perrysburgh; and had they been invested with ample powers, no difficulty would have arisen, but all matters would have been amicably arranged. But the arrangement entered into with them was disregarded by the authorities in Michigan, and while the President, through his Commissioners, was striving to preserve the public peace, the Proclamation of the Attorney General, (for it is entitled to no other name,) and advices from some of the Cabinet at Washington, (if the people of Michigan are to be believed,) were urging forward the authorities of that Territory to deeds of violence. From the opinion of the Attorney General, as well as other documents transmitted from Washington, the authorities of Michigan learned that nothing further was necessary to justify the use of an armed force than to give it the name of a “posse comilatus;" and by procuring a Justice's warrant against any of the officers or citizens of Ohio, under the famed penal act of the 12th of February last, that any act of violence might be committed under the specious pretence of aiding the civil authority in the service of civil process, and that such acts would be justified by the Department at Washington. This appears to have been the impression under which the authorities of Michigan acted, when they committed various deeds of violence upon the citizens of Ohio.
You say a copy of the Commissioner's Report had been directed to be transmitted to the acting Governor of Michigan, and that when an answer should be received, a further communication would be made to me on the subject. This I cannot view as being very decorous to Ohio; as the deeds of violence committed upon the party of the Commisoioners were done under the immediate direction of the acting Governor of Michigan, it carries with it the appearance, at least, of a disposition to seek a justification for those deeds of violence; as it is well known that Ohio cannot permit Michigan to be pressed forward as a party to the controversy, and can hold no correspondence with the authorities of that Territory on the subject. All the acts the people of Michigan have committed within the Constitutional boundaries of Ohio are considered as violations of our laws, for which they will be punished in due time, by our civil authority, if they are not punished by the authority of the United States, as we cannot admit any authority to be exercised within the Constitutional boundary of Ohio, other than under the laws of Ohio, and the laws of the United States, administered through the Officer of the United States District Court, for the District of Ohio, and the United States Circuit Court for the seventh Circuit; and I will here remark, that I have been informed the first process that was executed on the part of Ohio within what is called the disputed terrritory, was a process issued by the United States District Court for the district of Ohio, and executed by the Marshal of the United States for the District of Ohio, on two persons residing within the disputed territory, for trespassing upon the United States lands within said territory. You say the President trusts, that as the question is now, by the exercise of forbearance on both sides, in a train to be referred to the proper tribunal for adjustment, there will be a mu
tual disposition to make allowance for any irregularities which may have resulted from misguided zeal, and to avoid all that can prevent the restoration of harmony in future. I am at a loss to know who are here meant by the parties. I am sure Ohio cannot be one. The Department at Washington, and the authorities of Michigan appear to be the only parties that have raised questions of difficulty, and if they have placed those difficulties in a train to be referred to the proper tribunal for adjustment, Ohio can have no objection to such a course. Ohio has no questions to submit to tribunals for adjustment-she has done no act that resulted from “misguided zeal”—she has done no act to disturb the harmony of community, neither does she intend to commit any such act: but she does intend to maintain her sovereign rights, and to defen l her Constitutional boundary, and to protect her citizens from lawless outrages. As to carrying the late act of Ohio into operation, I informed the Secretary of State, in my answer to his letter of the 14th March, that, as far as the Executive of Ohio was concerned, the law would be mildly, but faithfully and promptly executed; and I can' now inform you that this duty has been faithfully performed, and that that part of Ohio which has been claimed by Michigan, is now under as complete an organization under the laws of Ohio, as any part of the State. The citizens residing therein have already elected all their officers, both civil and military; and those officers have been commissioned by the Executive of Ohio in pursuance to the Constitution and laws of the State. Every part of the Territory is now included within some organized township within the State of Ohio, and our laws are in as full force there as in any other part of the State. Our Court of Common Pleas has held a session in each county bordering on the disputed line, and the jurisdiction of these Courts were all extended as required by the act of the 23d of February Thus has the act been executed, and the three Departments of the State Government have all harmonised in carrying its provisions into effect. All the State officers, civil and military, judicial and ministerial, consider themselves bound to maintain the jurisdiction of the State as defined in said act, and to protect the citizens residing in what is called the disputed territory, as much so as we are bound to protect the citizens of the cities of Columbus or Cincinnati; and as soon might you expect Ohio to surrender the jurisdiction of these cities as the jurisdiction of the townships of Sylvania and Port Lawrence, the two townships that have been organized under the said act of the 23d of Feb.
The President has been misinformed, with regard to the resolution of the Executive of Ohio not to persist in causing the line to be marked, but had appealed to the wisdom of the Legislature. The appeal of the Executive to the Legislature was not to authorize a suspension of the Act of the 23d of February, but for quite a different purpose: although the Executive never considered marking the line to be necessary, or in any way connected with the exercise of jurisdiction; yet, as the Legislature directed it to be done, he appointed Commissioners in accordance with the act of the Legislature. They met, and commenced the performance of their duty. They were attacked on Sab
bath day, while at a private house, and part of their hands arrested and imprisoned. They met next day at Maumee, and after consultation, thought it advisable to suspend the work for a short time, and reported to me accordingly. The design of making the line is not abandoned; and when the Commissioners meet again, they will be sufficiently protected against any force that may appear to oppose them. They will not wais, as they did before, for the first fire. They will not be instructed to act on the defensive alone; but will be directed to consider all who may appear on the line in hostile array as enemies and violators of our laws, and to treat them accordingly. If
f you suppose the Legislature of Ohio will repeal the law of the 23d of February, or will direct its suspension, you have greatly mistaken the character of the people of Ohio. Ohio has never been known to decide upon any important question rashly. Her character is noted for deliberation; but when she has decided on a measure, she is as noted for steady perseverance in carrying it into effect. The act of last session was passed deliberately, and was examined in all its bearings. It involved a question that affected the sovereignty, interest and character of the State. It soared above all party considerations. It is considered purely a State question by the people of Ohio; and of too much importance to the State, to be suffered to be blended with party politics; and of ten-fold more importance in its bearings, than the question of who shall be the next President and Vice President of the United States, or fill the other important public stations in the General Government. It is a question which strikes at the root of our State sovereignty; and with that, at the root of our personal liberty. Citizens of Ohio, that are also citizens of the United States, and entitled to protection, have been assaulted, abducted and imprisoned under pretence of authority derived from the United States. In this matter, we have adopted the motto of Solon, the ancient Grecian republican: “That an injury done a single individual, is an insult upon the Constitution.” Many of our citizens have been insulted, arrested and imprisoned, for no other offence than that of obeying the laws of Ohio. This can be viewed by Ohio in no other light than an insult upon the constitution of the State: of a character that demands retribution and the punishment of the perpetrators of these outrageous acts: yet I trust that our civil authorities, by a judicious application of our criminal laws, will be enabled to extend to them the just reward of their acts.
I have the honor to be,
ROBERT LUCAS. Hon. JOHN FORSYTH,
Secretary of State U. S.