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and territories, situate, lying, and being, in that part of Ameri. ca called Virginia, from the point of land called Cape or Point Comfort, all along the sea coast to the southward 200 miles; and all that space and circuit of land lying from the sea coast of the precinct aforesaid up into the land throughout from sea to sea west and north west; and also all the islands lying within one hundred miles along the coast of both seas of the precinct aforesaid.
[The first charter, dated 10th April, 1606, extended along the sea coast from the 34th to the 41st degree of north latitude, but only fifty miles inland. Third charter, dated March 12, 1612, annexed to Virginia all the islands within three hundred leagues of the coast. These three charters were vacated by quo warranto before the 15th July, 1624, on which day a commission issued for the government of Virginia, without making, however, any alteration in boundaries—established by the second charter.– The colony was afterwards curtailed on the north by the grant to Lord Baltimore and to William Penn, and on the south by that to the proprietors of Carolina. The charters of Maryland and Pennsylvania are not inserted, as these States made no cession to the United States: New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts being the only States that had, or laid any claim to the territory north of the river Ohio and west of Pennsylvania, the cession of those States has given to the United States an indisputable title to the public lands within that territory as far west as the river Mississippi, which by the treaty of 1763 was established as the boundary between British America and Louisiana. Note by the Editor of the Land laws.]
Extract from the Cession of the State of New York. 'March 1st,
Now therefore, know ye, that we, the said James Duane, William Floyd and Alexander M’Dougall, by virtue of the power and authority, and in execution of the trust reposed in us, as aforesaid, have judged it expedient to limit and restrict, and we do, by these presents, for and in behalf of the said State of New York, limit and restrict the boundaries of the said State on the western parts thereof, with respect to the jurisdiction, as well as the right or pre-emption of soil, by the lines and in the form following, that is to say; a line from the north east corner of the State of Pennsylvania along the north bounds thereof, to its north-west corner, continued due west till it shall be intersected by a meridian line, to be drawn from the forty-fifth degree of north latitude; through the most westerly bend or inclination of Lake Ontario; thence by the said meridian line to the forty-fifth
degree of north latitude; and thence by the said forty-fith degree of north latitude; but if, on experiment, the above described meridian line shall not comprehend twenty miles due west from the most westerly bend or inclination of the river or Strait of Niagara, then we do, by these presents in the name of the people, and for and in behalf of the State of New York, and by virtue of the authority aforesaid, limit and restrict the boundaries of the said State in the western parts thereof with respect to jurisdiction, as well as the right of pre-emption of soil, by the lines and in the manner following, that is to say: a line from the north east corner of the State of Pennsylvania along the north bounds thereof, to its north west corner, continued due west until it shall be intersected by a meridian line to be drawn from the forty-fifth degree north latitude, to a point twenty miles due west from the most westerly bend or inclination of the river or Strait Niagara, thence by the same meridian line to the fortyfifth degree of north latitude, and thence by the said forty-fifth degree of north latitude. And we do by these presents, in the name of the people and for and on behalf of the State of New York, and by virtue of the power and trust committed in us by the said act and commission, cede, transfer, and for ever relinquish to and for the only use of such of the States as are or shall become parties to the articles of Confederation, all the right, title, interest, jurisdiction, claim, &c. of said State of New York, to all lands and territories to the northward and westward of the boundaries, to which the said State is in manner aforesaid limited and restricted, and to be granted, disposed of, and appropriated in such manner only, as the Congress of the said United or Confederated States shall order and direct.
Extract from the Cession of the State of Virginia, March 1, 1784.
That it shall and may be lawful for the delegates of this State to the Congress of the United States, or such of them as may be assembled in Congress, and the said delegates, or such them so assembled, are hereby fully authorized and empowered for and on behalf of this State, by proper deeds or instrument in writing, under their hands and seals, to convey, transfer, assign, and make over unto the United States in Congress assembled, for the benefit of the said States, all right, title, and claim, as well of soil as of jurisdiction, which this commonwealth hath to the territory or tract of country within the limits of the Virginia charter: situate, lying and being to the North-west of the river Ohio, subject to the terms and conditions contained in the before recited act of Congress of the thir
teenth day of September last: that is to say, upon condition that the territory so ceded shall be laid out and formed into States containing a suitable extent of territory, not less than one hundred, nor more than one hundred and fifty miles square, or as near thereto as circumstances will admit; and that the States so formed shall be distinct republican States, and admitted members of the Federal Union, having the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence, as the other States. [Here a provision was inserted reserving certain tracts of land.]
And whereas the said General Assembly, by their resolution of June 6th, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three, had constituted and appointed us, the said Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, Arthur Lee, and James Monroe, delegates to represent the said commonwealth in Congress for one year from the first Monday in November then next following, which resolution remains in full force: Now, therefore, know ye, that we, the said Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Harey, Arthur Lee, and James Monroe, by virtue of the power and authority committed to us by the act of the said General Assembly of Virginia before recited, and in the name, and for and on behalf of the said commonwealth, do, by these presents, convey, transfer, assign, and make over unto the United States, in Congress assembled, for the benefit of said States, Virginia inclusive, all right, title, and claim, as well of soil as of jurisdiction, which the said commonwealth hath to the territory or tract of country within the limits of the Virginia charter, situate, lying, and being to the northwest of the river Ohio, to and for the uses and purposes, and on the conditions of the said recited act. In testimony whereof, &c. &c.
Resolution of Congress asking from Virginia an alteration of
her act of Cession, July 7, 1786. WHEREAS, it appears from the knowledge already obtained of the
tract of country lying northwest of the river Ohio, that the laying it out and forming it into States of the extent mentioned in the resolution of Congress, of the 10th of October, 1780, and in one of the conditions contained in the cession of Virginia, will be productive of many and great inconveniences: That by such division of country, some of the new States will be deprived of the advantages of navigation; some will be improperly intersected by lakes, rivers and mountains; and some will contain too great a proportion of barren, unimproveable land, and of consequence, will not, for many years, if ever, have a sufficient number of inhabitants, to form a respect
able government, and entitle them to a seat and voice in the Federal Council: And, whereas, In fixing the limits and dimensions of the new States, due attention ought to be paid to', natural boundaries, and a variety of circumstances which will be pointed out by a more perfect knowledge of the country, so as to provide for the future growth and prosperity of each State, as well as for the accommodation and security of the first adventurers. In order, therefore, that the ends of government may be attained, and that the States which shall be formed, may become a speedy and sure accession of strength to the confederacy:
Resolved, That it be, and it is hereby recommended to the Legislature of Virginia to take into consideration their act of cession, and revise the same so as to empower the United States in Congress assembled, to make such a division of the territory of the United States lying northerly and westerly of the river Ohio, into distinct republican States, not more than five nor less than three, as the situation of the country and future circumstances may require, which States shall hereafter become members of the Federal Union, and have the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence, as the original States, in conformity with the resolution of Congress of the 10th October, 1730.
Resolution of Congress of the 10th October, 1,780, referred to.
Resolved, That the unappropriated lands that may be ceded or relinquished to the United States by any particular State, pursuant to the recommendation of Congress of the 6th of September last, shall be disposed of for the vommon benefit of the United States, and be settled and formed into distinct republican States, which shall become members of the Federal Union, and have the same rights of sovereignty, jurisdiction and independence as the other States: that each State which shall be so formed shall contain a suitable extent of territory, not less than one hundred, nor more than one hundred and fifty miles square, or as near thereto as circumstances will admit: the necessary and reasonable expenses which any particular State shall have incurred from the commencement of the present war in subduing any British forts, or in maintaining forts or garrisons, and for the defence, or in acquiring any part of the territory that may be ceded or relinquished to the United States, shall be reimbursed.
That the said lands shall be granted or settled at such times and under such regulations as shall hereafter be agreed on by
the United States in Congress assembled, or any nine or more of them.
Resolution of Congress, 23d April, 1784. Resolved, That so much of the territory ceded by individual States to the United States, as is already purchased, or shall be purchased of the Indian inhabitants, and offered for sale by Congress, shall be divided into distinct States in the following manner, as nearly as the cessions will admit: that is to say, by parallels of latitude, so that each State shall comprehenu from north to south two degrees of latitude, beginning to count from the completion of forty-five degress north of the equator, and by meridians of longitude, one of which shall pass through the lowest point of the rapids of Ohio, and the other through the western cape of the mouth of the Great Kanbaway; but the territory eastward of this last meridian, between the Ohio, Lake Erie, and Pennsylvania, shall be one State, whatsoever may be its comprehension of latitude: that which may be beyond the completion of the 45th degree, between the said me. ridians, shall make part of the State adjoining it on the south; and that part of the Ohio which is between the same meridians, coinciding nearly with the parallel. of 39 degress, shall be substituted so far, in lieu of that parallel, as a boundary line. That the settlers on any territory so purchased and offered for sale, shall, either on their own petition, or on the order of Congress, receive authority from them, with appointments of time and place, for their free males of full age, within the limits of the State to meet together for the purpose of establishing a temporary, government, to adopt the constitution and laws of any one of the original States; so that such laws, nevertheless, shall be subject to alteration by their ordinary Legislature; and to erect, subject to a like alteration, counties, townships, or other divisions, for the election of members for their Legislature.
That when any such State shall have acquired twenty thousand free inhabitants, on giving due proof thereof to Congress, they shall receive from them authority, with appointments of time and place, to call a convention of representatives to establish a permanent constitution and government for themselves: Provided, That both the temporary and permanent governments be established on these principles as their basis:
1. That they shall for ever remain a part of this confederacy of the United States of America.
2. That they shall be subject to the articles of confederation in all those cases in which the original States shall be so subject,