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seems also to have been overlooked, that on this principle three-fourths of the States in the Union have as much right to a change of their boundaries as the State of Ohio in this instance. The principle would lead to results altogether disorganizing and impracticable.
In this instance the river affords not the slightest reason for a change of boundary. Above the towns of Perrysburg and Maumee, it is of no more use for the purposes of navigation than if it were not in existence; and the Wabash and Erie canal, which it is expected will run near it, is to terminate at the town of Maumee, two or three miles within the present limits of Ohio; and the people there, who have the best opportunity of judging correctly, will admit that it would not be taken north of that point, if the State of Ohio should include the whole Michigan Territory.
The Maumee bay is of the utmost importance to the prosperity of Michigan. It is the only harbor possessed by that Territory on the coast of Lake Erie, while the whole lake coast of the State of Ohio is studded with harbors, which have been improved by the General Government, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
These considerations are believed fully sufficient to prevent a change of boundary in this instance, even on the ground of expediency alone, and if there were no laws to be interfered with. On referring to the proceedings, and gathering as far as possible the intentions of the parties to the compact under which the territory north west of the river Ohio was divided into States, a leading object in that division seems to have been to give to all the States there formed, as near as practicable, equal advantages, in order that, in the language of the preamble to the resolution of Congress of 7th July, 1786, “they may become a speedy and sure accession of strength to the confederacy."
Under that division, however, and within the limits there established, the State of Ohio, in the short period of thirty-two years, has grown from a condition of utter helplessness, to be one of the most proud, populous, and powerful States in the Union, while the Territory of Michigan, during almost the whole of the same period, with a destiny intended to be equally high, has been kept in a state of degrading dependence; and during more than half that time, without even a voice to raise, in the Halls of Congress, against the encroachment of her powerful southern neighbors, who have lost no opportunity to enlarge their own territory, at the expense of lessening liers.
Under these circumstances, Michigan, weak and helpless as she is, has a right to appeal to the Congress of the United States, the natural and proper guardian of her rights and interests, not only to resist all attempts at further encroachinent, but also to restore to her all the territory so solemnly guarantied to her by that irrepealable law under which she expects soon to take an humble but honorable stand among the States of the Union.
Such an appeal sle, therefore, now most solemnly and earnestly makes, in the full confidence and belief that in all the legislation of Congress touching her boundaries, her rights and interests will be duly regarded.
I have the honor to be, sir,
LUCIUS LYON. WASHINGTON, January, 1837.
Extract from the message of Governor Cass to the Legislative Council of
Michigan Territory, at the opening of their session, January 5, 1831.
An effort has been made to detach the counties of Michilimackinac and Chippewa from the Peninsular Territory, and to annex them to the new Government, which is asked for west of Lake Michigan. Such a measure would be equally injurious to our rights, and subversive of our interests. The act of Congress of January 11, 1805, establishing this Territory, defined its boundaries, and guarantied to the inhabitants then living, or who might thereafter live, within them, many political rights, dear to the American people, and without the enjoyment of which our citizens would never encounter the difficulties and bardships incident to the settlement of a new country. Among these, not the least important is the right of admission into the Union when our population shall equal the number prescribed in the ordinance of Congress of July 13, 1787, which laid the foundation of the Governments of the States and Territories northwest of the Ohio river. If we have any security for the political privileges we enjoy, or expect to enjoy, we liave the same security, and that is, the faith of the United States, for the integrity of the territorial boundaries established by that act. A line drawn through the middle of Lake Michigan to its northern extreme, and thence due north to Lake Superior, which is our western boundary, leaves the inhabited portions of the counties of Michilimackinac and Chippewa in the original Territory of Michigan. To the country west of that line we have no claim. It was not annexed to the Territory until 1818, when Illinois was admitted into the Union, and in the act of annexation the right is expressly reserved of making such future disposition of it as Congress might deem expedient. It was intended as a temporary measure, to be followed by the establishment of a local Government when circumstances should require it. If these two counties can be separated from us, so may either of the peninsular counties, and our whole country may be thus subdivided, and our admission into the Union indefinitely postponed. I submit for your consideration whether a renew. ed expression of your own views, and of the expectations of your constituents, upon this subject, would not be expedient; and whether, in the even of an immediate decision adverse to our interest and expectations, such a measure would not be an important proceeding hereafter to refer to when a change in our political relations may enable us again to bring forward this question under more favorable circumstances. For it is impossible this community should acquiesce in such a dismemberment of their terri. tory, without using all the means in their power, now and hereafter, to present the facts and considerations upon which we rely, to the General Government, and to urge the recognition of our rights.
While an effort is making or contemplated to sever from us that part of ar northwestern frontier which commands the communication between the three upper lakes, the States which adjoin us upon our southern boundary have preferred claims to portions of the Territory, which, if finally established, will still further reduce our extent and future importance.' Indiana asserts and exercises jurisdiction over a tract of country ten miles north of our southern boundary, as defined in that irrepealable law which gave and guaranties to us our political existence, and extending from Lake Michigan east, along the whole northern frontier of that State. That this claim will eventually be contested on the part of this Territory, or of the
State which must soon be established here, there is no doubt. And as we have every confidence in the justice of our cause, we may reasonably look forward to a favorable decision. As, however, the rights of the parties rest upon conflicting acts of Congress, and as Indiana has possession of the tract in question, a prudent regard to circumstances will probably dictate a postponement of the subject until we shall be admitted to a par. ticipation in the councils of the tribunal by which it must be determined.
But the claim of Ohio to that part of this territory lying between a line drawn due east from the southerly bend of Lake Michigan, and a line drawn from the same point to the north cape of the Maumec bay, presents considerations of a different nature. The possession of this tract of country, and the jurisdiction over it, are in this Territory, and all the acts of the General Government in relation to the subject, from the ordinance of Congress of July 13, 1787, are uniformly favorable to the establishment of the existing boundary. Ohio seeks a change upon principles which may be as well inet now as hereafter; and as the matter has been recently submitted by the Governor of that State to the consideration of the Legislature, it is probable that some legislative measures may be adopted, having in view an examination of the question, and a decision favorable to the claim they have advanced. In this state of things, I suggest the propriety of a memorial being presented to Congress, which shall state distinctly the rights of this Territory, and the sentiments and feelings of its inhabitants upon the subject. Unless I am greatly deceived in my views, a succinct statement of our claiin is all that is necessary to ensure its confirmation.
I lay before you copies of two letters written in 1820 by Mr. Woodbridge, then acting Governor and Secretary of this Territory, one addressed to the Governor of Ohio, and the other to the Secretary of State of the United States. These letters contain a very able exposition of our case, and appear to me, as well in the course of the discussion, as in the conclusions they draw, to be unanswerable. As the subject, however, is very important to the future interests of the Territory, I may be excused for presenting a brief summary of the view which I have taken of it.
It is not necessary, at present, to enter into a consideration of the ques. tion whether, under the original ordinance, Congress could change the fundamental line running east and west from the southern extreme of Lake Michigan. It will be time for us to contest this point when that change is made. We may yet safely rely upon the legislative acts of the Government which originally established the boundary line between this Territory and the State of Ohio, and have since recognised and confirmed it.
By the act of Congress of April 30, 1802, authorizing the people of the eastern division of the Northwestern Territory to form a constitution and State Government, it was provided that the northern boundary of the proposed State should be a linc running due cast from the southern cxtreme of Lake Michigan, after intersecting a line running north from the mouth of the Great Miami. And all the country north of that line was, for the purpose of temporary Government, attached to the Territory of Indiana. The convention of Ohio, in defining the boundaries of the State, followed the words of the act of Congress, and then added the following proviso : • Provided, always, and it is hereby fully understood and declared by this convention, That if the southerly bend, or extreme of Lake Michigan should extend so far south that à line drawn due east from it should not intersect Lake Eric, or if it should intersect the said Lake Erie east of the mouth
of the Miami river, then, in that case, with the assent of the Congress of the United States, the northern boundary of this State shall be established by, and extend to, a direct line, running from the southern extremity of Lake Michigan to the most northerly cape of the Miami bay, after intersecting the due north line from the mouth of the Great Miami, as afore. said ; thence, northeast, to the territorial line, and, by the said territorial, line, to the Pennsylvania line." The constitution proposing this modification was submitted to Congress, and referred, on the 230 of December, 1802, in the House of Representatives, to a committee, of which Mr. Ran., dolph was chairman. This committee reported, on the 2d of February following, that, with respect to the change proposed by Ohio in her northern boundary, “ as the suggested alter ation was not submitted in the shape of a distinct proposition, by any competent authority, for approval or disapproval, it was not necessary or expedient for Congress to act on it at all."
On the 19th of February an act was passed, extending the laws of the United States over the State of Ohio, and the preamble to this act declares that the people of the eastern division of the Northwestern Territory had formed a constitution and State Government, in pursuance of the act of Congress before referred to, authorizing such State Government to be formed. And on the 3d of March, 1803, another act was passed, assenting to certain propositions made by Ohio ; but in neither of these acts is any notice taken of the proposed change in the boundary.
The Territory of Michigan was established by the act of Congress of January 11, 1805, and its southern boundary was declared to be a line drawn due east from the southern extreme of Lake Michigan to Lake Erie. And by another act, passed May 20, 1812, the Surveyor General was authorized to cause to be run, under the direction of the President, so much of the northern and western boundaries of Ohio, which had not already been ascertained, and as divided said State from the Territories of Indiana and Michigan, agreeably to the houndaries as established by the act entitled “ An act to enable the people of the eastern division of the terri. tory northwest of the river Ohio to frame a constitution and State Go. vernment, and for the admission of such State into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, and for other purposes," " and to cause to be made a plat or plan of so much of the boundary line as runs from the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan to Lake Erie," &c.
The events of the war upon this frontier prevented the execution of the duties enjoined by this act; but on the 16th of April, 1816, another appropriation was made for carrying it into effect, and, under the directions of the President, the line was run, in conformity with the various acts of Congress, from the southerly extreme of Lake Michigan to Lake Erie.
This is the history of the legislation concerning this subject, and it brings the question of right within a narrow compass.
The State of Ohio, to support her claim, must contend either that she had the power to enlarge her own territory, or that Congress has assented to the proposition submitted for that purpose. The former ground has not been taken ; and, with respect to the latter, it is certain that the United States have passed no act giving their consent to the change asked for. In fact, the claim of Ohio, as advanced and advocated, rests solely upon the presumption that . as Congress did not act upon the subject of her proposition to change the northern boundary when she was admitted into the Union, such admission is a virtual assent to that measure, and gives her complete jurisdiction
over the tract demanded. That I am correct in this view of the case, will be seen by the accompanying extract of a letter from the Governor of Ohio to Mr. Woodbridge.
Even were there no cotemporaneous or subsequent proceedings on the part of Congress by which their intentions could be ascertained, it is difficult to conceive how the performance of a necessary and independent duty, that of admitting the State into the Union, can be considered as an assent to a proposition totally distinct from this measure. For whether the boundary were north or south of the Maumee, Ohio had an equal right to join the national councils; nor was the determination of this question at all essential to her rights or sovereignty ; nor in the slightest manner connected with her entrance into the confederacy. Other propositions submitted by Ohio at the same time were considered and accepted, and an act passed by Congress to give effect to them. But the circumstances of the case admit of no presumption. The very act of admission, already quoted, proves the right of Ohio to enter the Union upon the foundation of the act which prescribed her boundaries. The committee expressly state that it is not expedient for Congress to act upon the subject. Two years afterwards, this Territory was established, and the same fundamental line was prescribed as its southern boundary. After another interval of seven years, Congress again recognised this line, and directed its survey. Four years later, and an appropriation was made to effect this object. The Executive caused this law to be carried into effect, and the line, as now existing, to be run in the year 1818, two years after the passage of this last mentioned act. I need add nothing to this series of congressional measures, indicating, in the most satisfactory manner, the determination of the General Government not to assent to the change in the boundary proposed by Ohio. As a question of expediency, there is certainly no reason why the neighboring States should be increased at the expense of this Territory ; and should the subject be brought in this form before Congress, we may safely rely for our security upon the very obvious considerations, both political and geographical, which will present themselves.
DETROIT, M. T. August 11, 1820. SIR : In the temporary absence of Governor Cass, it has devolved upon me, as Secretary of Michigan, to perform the Executive functions of this Government; and I have the honor in that capacity to solicit your Excellency's attention to the subject of the collision of authority which unfortunately exists between the State of Ohio and this Territory, as it affects the people who live between the line running due east from the south extreme of Lake Michigan, and that which is claimed from the north cape of Miami bay, in a direction towards the same point.
It is understood that a new county has recently been organized by the authority of Ohio, comprehending the disputed country ; that proceedings have been instituted there to levy taxes; and that every indication exists of a determination to enforce, contrary to the wishes of the people and to the interests of this Territory, the claimed jurisdiction of Ohio.
In this exigency my official interposition has been claimed ; and painful as it may be to me, individually, to oppose myself to the views of Ohio, the State of my early adoption, it is yet with much satisfaction that it is