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no. 11 



3 1833 02243 6635 



Natiooa! ComffiO!iwea!l!i 

li T H E 

History of the Accession of Piiblic Lands 

By the Old CoxfedepxATion. 

A Paper read beiore the Miirylaiid Historical Suciely, 

A.pril O, ISrr. 
B Y 


Fellow in History, Joiiks Hoi-kins Univktsitv. 

^nllimorf^ 1877* 


M A B Y L A N D'S 

i.\OAiOljCii Uliilliiiljii U urtill^ 

H T fl K 

History of ilio Accossioii of Public Lands 

]j^ 'i Hi Oi I) < "cm \.])VA{ v\ ii)?N. 

A Fajicr read belorc liir Marylaiul Kistorica! Society, 

I! V 

HEU r,KKT i;. ADAMS, Ph. D., 

Jjiilliiuai;i\ lS77 



Nalloiial C-ooHiioiiwealtlL 


I. Washington's Land Speculations, 
11. Washington's rui?i.ic Si-hut in Opening a CiiaN' 


III. The Maryland Lnstulctions, 

IV. ^Lmiyland's Accession to the Confederation, 

Y. Pelatiah Weusteu's Views on National Com 






"The vacant lands are a favorite object to Maryland." 

On l/,cj,l,in/ui- a grufral vcveinie, l7S->. 

"There is nothing wliich binds one country or one 
State to another but interest/' 


of Tnidr bHiny'ii liasl and )Vfll, VSJ. 

"There is no trutli 7]wre thorouglily established, 
than that there exists in the economy a?id course of 
nature an indissoluble union between virtue and 
happiness, between duty and adf'a?2tar/e, between tJie 
genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous 
policy, and the solid reivards of public prosperity and 


Inauijnnd Address, IIS'J. 

!• KIN IK I. I!V J.. UN MiuriiY, 

1{.\ I.TIM" hi:, 1S7 7. 





Founding a National Commoiiivcaltli. 

^T^TIE claims of England to llie lands imnicdi- 
1 ately west of the Alleghany ni(.)ini tains and 
to the region north-west of the Ohio river, 
^vere snccessfiilly Aqiulieated in the French and 
Indian War. By the treaty of Paris, in 1703, 
the English became the acknowledged masters, 
not only of the disputed lands back of their set- 
tlements, but of Canada and of the entire A\\\-.tern 
country as far as the Mississipi)i ri\'er. This was 
the first curtailment of Louisiana, that vast inland 
region, over which France had extended her claims 
by virtue of explorations from Canada to the Gulf 
of ^Mexico. Although now restricted by the treaty 
of Paris to the comparatively unknown territory 
beyond the ]Mississippi, Louisiana was destined to 
undergo still further diminution, and, like Vir- 
ginia, which was once a geographical term for 
half a continent, to become finally a state of defi- 
nite limits and historic character. Ceded bv 

Franco to Spain, at tlic clo^o of the above-men- 
tioned war, in coni]ten;<ation for losses sustained 
by the latter in aidina" France against ]*higland, 
and ceded back again to France in 1800, through 
the influence of Xapoleon, Uu'se lands beyond the 
Mississippi ^vere ])urcliased by our Government 
of the First Consul in 1803, and out of the south- 
eastei'n portion of the so-called " Louisiana Pur- 
chase," that State ^ ^vas created, in 1812, whicli 
perpetuates tlie name of Louis XIV., as Yii'ginia 
does the fame of a virgin queen. 

Ibit it is nut with Louisiana or the Louisiana 
Purchase that we are es])ecially concerned in this 
paper. We ha^e to do with a still earlier acces- 
sion of national territory, with those lands which 
were separated from French dominion by cunquest 
and by tlie treaty of Paris, and, more especially, 
with that triangular region cast of the Missis- 
sippi, scuith of the Great Lakes, and north-west 
of the Ohio, for here, as we sliall see, was estab- 
lished the tirst territorial commonwealth of the 
old Confederation, and tliat too tlirough the effec- 
tive influence and far-sighted policy of ]\laryland 

iTho final outcome of French dominion in this country is Louisiana, 
with its French inheritimce of Konian Law. ILiving passed of kite years 
through many corrupt phases of pra'torian, proconsular, and dictatorial 
government, it was perhajis an historic neeessity that slie should revive 
the Koman theory of sovereiijnty, as did Louis XIV., by the aid of his 
court-lawyers, and reassert la puissance souveraine d'lme rvpublique and 
Vital c'esi viol, in the form of an enlightened absolutism of its sovereign 

in opposing tlic grasping land claims of Virginia 
and three of the JS'orthern States. Tlie history of 
the accession of tliose pnblic lands which are best 
known to Americans as the A'orth-west Territory, 
and the constitutional importance of that accession 
as a basis of permanent union for thirteen loosely 
confederated States, and as a lield for republican 
expansion under the sovereign control of Congi-ess, 
may be presented under tliree general heads : 

1. The land claims of A^ii'ginia, Massachusetts, 
Connecticut, and Xew York. 

2. The inihience of ^Maryland in securing a 
general cession of western territory for the pub- 
lic good. 

3. The origin of our territorial govei-nment and 
the true basis of national sovereignty. 

I. The Land Claims. 

Having indicated the historic place and terri- 
torial situation of the western lands in question, 
we shall now turn to the specific claims of A^ir- 
ginia, Afassachusetts, Connecticut, and iS'ew York, 
the only States, which after the separation of the 
colonics from the mother country, had any legal 
title to lands north-west of the Ohio. 

The charter granted by James I. to Souch Vir- 
ginia, in 1G09, was the most comprehensive of all 


tlie culoiiial cliarters, for it einbracod the entire 
iiortli-west and, ^vitliin cei'tain liinit,-^, all the 
islands along tlie coast of the South Sea. It is 
not very surprising that tlie ideas and language 
of the privy council sliould have been somewhat 
hazy as to the exact wliereahouts of the South 
Sea, for Stith/ one of the early historians of 
A'irginia, tells us that in IGO-^, wlien the London 
Company were soliciting their patent, an expedi- 
tion was organized undei- Ca[>tain jSTewport to sail 
up the James river and find a passage to the South 
Sea. C'a})tain Jojin Siiiilli also was once commis- 
sioned to seek a new route to C'hina by ascending 
the Chickal.'ominy ! 'J'liis charter of IGOD is the 
only one which we shall cite in this paper, for 
it was especially against the enormous claims of 
Virginia that ^Maryland ]\iised so just and effec- 
tive a protest. The following is the grant: 

"All those lands, countries and territories situate, 
lying and being in that i)art of America called 
Virginia, from the point of land called Cape or 
Point Comfort, all along the sea-coast to the north- 
ward two hundred miles and from the said Point 
or Cape Comfort, all along the sea-coast to the 
southward two hundred miles; and all that space 
and circuit of land lying from the sea-coast of the 
precinct aforesaid, up into the land throughout, 

IStilli's Ilistr.ry c.f tlic fir.^l di^CMVcry and -rttlcineut of Virginia. Re- 
I.rir.tL-d fur .lo.-.i.l'i Sul-in, IS-io, ,.. 77. " 


from se.i to sea, west and iiorlli-M-o^l ; and also 
all llio islands lying -\vilhin one luindrcil miles 
along tlic coast of both seas of the precinct afore- 

The extraordinary ambiguity of this gi-ani of 
1G09, which was always appealed to as a legal 
title by Virginia, was first shown by Thomas Paine, 
the great ])ublicist of the American and French 
Revolutions, in a pamphlet called "Public Cxood,"'- 
written in 1780, and containing, as the author says 
upon his title page, "an investigation of the claims 
of Virginia to the ^'acant western territory, and of 
the rigid of the United States to the same ; Avith 
some outlines of a plan for laying out a new State, 
to be applied as a fund, for carrying on the war, 
or redeeming the national del)t." Paine shows 
liow the words of the charter of 1G09 could be 
interpreted in dilTerent ways ; for example, the 
words " all along the sea-coast " might signify a 
straight line or the indented line of the coast. 
The chief ambiguity, however, lay in the inter- 
pretation of the words "up into the land through- 
out, from sea to sea, west and north-west." From 
which point was the north-west line to be drawn, 
from the point on the sea-coast two hundred miles 
above, or from the point two hundred miles below 

1 Laws of the Unitod Statos respecting the Public Lands, (AVasliing- 
ton, 1828.) p. 81. 

2 Works of Thomas; Paine, I., p. 267. 


Cape Con* fort? The cliartcr does not slate dis- 
tinctly. The logical order of terms would imply 
that the lower point below Cape Comfort, should 
be taken as the starting point for the north- 
western line. In that case, Virginia would have 
a triangular boundary and a delinite area some- 
thing larger than Pennsylvania. 

The more favorable interpretation for Virginia 
and. perhaps, in view of the expression "from sea 
to sea," more natural interpretation, was to draw 


the nortii -"western line from the point on the sea- 
coast two hundred miles ahove Point Comfort and 
the western line from the southern limit below 
Point Comfort. This gave Virginia the greater 
part, at least, of the entire north-west, for the 
lines diverged continually. 



In 1624, tlic London Company was dissolved, 
and Virginia became a royal proviiice, the Gov- 
ernor being- ai)pointed by the King, but tlie people 
electing a House of IJurgesses. Xo alteration 
appears to liave been made at that time in the 
boundaries established by tlic charter of 1G09, 
but the nortiiern limits of A^irginia were after- 
wards curtailed by grants to Lord JBaltimore and 
A\^il]iam Penn, and the soutlieru limits by a grant 
to the proprietors of Carolina.^ From a letter of 
Edmund ]]urke to the (Jeneral Assembly of Xew 
Yorh, fur wliicli iwoviiu-o he was employed as 
agent, it is clear that, in (piestions concerning 
the boundary uf royal })rovinces, it was the 
uniform doctrine and practice of the Lords Com- 
missioners for Trade and Plantations, to regard 
"no rule but the king's will."'- A royal procla- 
mation was issued in 1703, prohibiting colonial 
governors from granting patents for land beyond 
the sources of any of the rivers which flow 
into the xVtlantic ocean from the west or north- 

iThe charter of Murylaiid was grunted in 1632, and mt\y be found in 
Bacon's Laws of Maryland at Large, or in Hazard 1., jip. y27-3(j. The 
charter of Pennsylvania bears the djite of Itjbl, and is contained in 
Proud's History of Pennsylvania, I., pp. 171-87. The original charter 
of'Caiolina, (1663,) for which Locke's famous constitution was written, 
is said to have been copied from the charier of Maryland. See Lucas' 
Charters of the Old English Colonies, London, 18-JO, p. 07, 

2 Burke's letter, which is most interesting for its exposition of the Que- 
bec Bill of 1774, annexing to Canada the country nurth-west of the Ohio 
was first published in tiie New York Historical Society Collection- "Jd 
Series, II., j.p. 219-25. 


Avcst.' v. asliiiigtoii rogarded this ])i'()claiiiatiij)i as 
a teiuporary expedient fur quieliiig llie minds of 
Uic Indians, and he proceeded therefore, ^\\i]\ tlic 
gTeatest tranquillity, to seek out and survey good 
lands for future s])eculation.~ 

But efforts were being made to estahlish a new 
colony Lack of Virginia. The so-called " Oliio 
Com])any'' had been founded as early as 1748, by 
Thomas Lee, J^awrenco AA'ashington, Augustine 
Washington and others, foi" the colonization of the 
western country.^ A grant had been obtained, from 
the crown, of iiw hundred tliou-and aeres of lan<l in 
the region of the Ohio, and the etforts of this com- 
pany to o]:)en up a road into the western valleys pre- 
cipitated the French and Indian Avar. Probably the 
proclamation of 1763 was partly designed to i)acify 
the Indians by reserving for their use, under the 
sovereign protection of Englaiul, the lands back of 
the Alleghanres and beyond the Ohio, but schemes 
for a new government in that region were being 
discussed in England as well as in America."* 

In 170(3, Benjamin Frankliir^ was laying plans 
for a second great land company, which was 

ITliis proclamation is to be found in the Land Laws of the United 
States, pp. 8-t-S8 or in Franklin's Works, IV., p. 374, at the conelusinn 
of his famous paper on "Ohio Settlement."' 

2 See letter to Crawford, September 21, 1707. Sparks' Life and Writ- 
ings of Washington, II . p. SIU. 

3 Sparks' Life and Writings of Washington, II., p. 479. 

*<\ pamphl.-t was published in London, in 17G3, entitled "The Advan- 
tages of a settlement upon the Ohio in ^'orth America '' 
•'Works of Franklin, IV., p. 2.ii. 


filially orp-.-iiiized niid cnllod tlio Yaiulalia c»i* AVal- 
polc Coi)i])a]iy. It >vas eoinposcd of lliirty-two 
Aiiiericaiis and two I.diidonors. l^onjaiiiiii ]''raiik- 
liii ^vas really the iiit)A iiii;- s])irit in tlie eiiter]irise, 
but he persuaded Thoina.s A\^ili)ole, a Loudon 
banker of eniiuener', to serve as the fiii-urediead. 
The company petitioned, in IT^O, for a grant of 
two and a half luillion acres of western land lying 
between the thirty-eighth and forty-second j^aral- 
lels of latitude and to the east of the river Scioto. 
Franklin was in London and laliored hard with 
Cabinet ollleers and the lloard of Trade for the 
success of A\^alpole\s ])etiti<)U. It was urged that 
the company offered more for this grant than the 
whole regi(Ui back of the mountains had cost the 
Ib'itish (b)vernment. at the Treaty of Fort Stan- 
W'ix with the Indians, in 17(58. The claims of the 
Ohio Company were also merged in this nev; 
scheme, but the re[)ort thereon was long delayed 
through the iniluence of Lord Hillsborough. A 
"new colony back of A^irginia'' was much talked 
of, however, about the year 177(1 Lord Hills- 
borough himself had some correspondence that 
year with the (bnernor of A^ii-ginia on this sub- 
ject.' I'^roni a letter of (icorge A\ Washington to 
Lord ])otet<iurt, and from subse(]uent correspcui- 
dencc between A\'ashingtou and Lord Dunmore, 
Botetourt's successor as Covernor of A'irginia, it 

ISc-o Works of Tlionias Pair.c, I., 290. 


is jK'rfectly clear that a new and indr])endent 
colony was in prospect back of the AlleL;hanies.' 
Indeed, a rival scheme, under the name of the 
]\iississip])i CV»m})any, seems to have been organ- 
ized by aentlemen of Alrginia, among whom 
Francis Lightfoot Lee, Richard Henry ]^ee, Ar- 
tliur Lee, and George A^'ashington wci'c con- 
spicuous, but their petiticm, in 17G1>, for two and 
a half million acres of back land was never heard 
from after it had been referred to the Jjoard of 
Trade.^ AValpole's petition, however, after a delay 
of three years, was. through the iiiflufMice of Lord 
Hillsborough, unfavorably rejjorted. Franklin 
immediately pre[)ared an answer, which is said 
to be '-one of the ablest tracts he ever })enned,"^ 
and in which he so utterly refuted the arguments 
of Lord Hillsborough that Walpole's petition was 
finally granted by the Crown, August 14, 1772. 
Lord Hillsborough was so mortified that he 
resigned his position as Cabinet ^Minister and 
President of the Board of Trade. 

In the A^'ashington-Crawford correspondence, 
from 1772 to 1774, there are several allusions to 
the prospect of a ''new government on the Ohio."'* 

1 Writings of Washin-ton, II., pp. 35G, -1G0. 

28efi Plain Facts. Philadcl[ihia, 1781, p. G9. 

syparks' Life and Writings of Wa-hington, II., p. 48o. Franklin's 
I'apiT, which is entitled •' Oliio Settlement," may be found in his AN'orks, 
IV.. pp. 324-374 

•«Thc Washington-Crawford Letters eonerrning AV.'stern Lands. Ed- 
»t<'d by C. W. Buttertleid, (Cincinnati, llobert Chirke ,S: Vo., 1877,) pp. 
2'>, 30, 35. 


A\^asliiii;:!on, in a letter dated Serneinber 25, 
1778, dersires to secure ten thousand aeres of land 
as near as possible to "the M-estern bounds of the 
new colony,"^ that is, just beyond the Scioto, and, 
in a Baltimore ne\vs])ai)er of that year, he adver- 
tises for sale tweidy thousand acres of land on 
the Ih-eat Jvana\vha and Ohio ri^'ers, observing 
that "if the scheme for establishing a new gov- 
ernment on the Ohio, in the manner talked of, 
should ever be eiVected, these must be among the 
most valuable lands in it."- It was contidently 
expected, after the li'eaty between the Crown of 
Great Britain and the Indians, in 1708, at Fort 
Stanwix, that the lines of the colonies would be 
reextended beyond the Alleghany mountains, or, 
in other words, that the limits imposed by the 
royal proclamation of 1703 would fall, but there 
is no evidence that this ex])ectation was ever real- 
ized by any act of the King in council. It was 
rumored, indeed, at various times after A\^alpole"s 
Grant had been secured, that "the new govern- 
ment on the Ohio " liad fallen thi'ough and that 
Virginia was authorized to reassert her ancient 
charter boundaries, but these rumors appear to 
liave been false. The legal title of the A\'alpole 

1 Wnshington-Crawfurd Lttt.TS, p. 30. See also Wusliington's letter 
to Duiiinore, November 2, 1773. Washington's Writings, II., p. 378. 

2MiirylMna Journ;il and the Baltimore Advertiser, August 20, 1773. 
A far-bimilr of tlu:^ number was reprinted last year (1876) by the Bulti- 
mure Ameriean. 


Company was not, indeed, fully perf(^'(ed when 
]-evoliitionary trouljles broke out, Lut it is evi- 
dent from a report in tlie Journals of Congress 
on the claims of this company, generally known 
as the Vandalia, that the Xing and council had 
really agreed to erect the region back of A'irginia 
into ;i separate colony, and that the agreement 
was completed all but affixing the seals and pass- 
ing certain forms of office. AMiile it was held, 
in the abo^'e report, that the allowance to a single 
com])any of such immense land claims, was incom- 
])atihle vritli the interests and policy of the United 
States, it was recommended that the American 
members of the Vandalia. be reimbursed by Con- 
gress in distinct and separate land grants, for their 
share in the i)urchase of the above tract. ^ 

The consideration with which the claims of the 
Vandalia arc treated in this report, which dis- 
misses so summarily the jjretensions of the Illinois 
and Vabasli Companies, shows conclusively that 
there was some essence of right and legality in the 
original A\^alpole grant. At all events, it was re- 
cognized before the Revolution as taking the j)rece- 
' dence of A'irginia's claim to jurisdiction oAcr the 
lands west of the Alleghanies. Lord Dunmore, 
in the summer of 1773, promised AVashington's 
land agent to grant certain 2:)atents on the Ohio 

1 Journals of Congress, JV., j). 23. 


in case the new r/oceruiuenf did not take jilace,^ and 
ill tlie fall of that year lie wrote to A\^isliinglon 
ill the positive teriiLs: '• 1 do not mean to 
grant, any patents on the western waters, as 1 do 
not think I am at present empowered so to do."- 
Lord Dunmore had, however, at some previons 
date, issued patents to A^"asllinL:,•toll for above 
twenty thousand acres of land on the Great 
Kanawlia and Ohio ri\ers, as m"c know from the 
latter's advertisement, abo^'e mentioned, in the 
[Maryland Journal and ]3altiniore Advertiser of 
August 20. 1773. Tlie Go\ernor of Alrginia had 
no jurisdiction outside of his own pro^■ince, but 
he had the right to grant from the King's domain 
two hundred thousand acres, in bountydands, to 
oflicers and soldiers who had served in the French 
and Indian war, and who should personally apply to 
him for land-warrants : To every Held officer, live 
thousand acres ; to every captain, three thousand ; 
to every subaltern or stall* othcer, two hundred; 
and to every private soldier, fifty acres. These 
grants could be made in Canada or Florida, or 
in the so-called '• Crown lands." The latter term 
was usually a})plied, after the proclamation of 
17G3, to the lands back of the Alleghanies and 
beyond the Ohio. 

Private sur\eys in the above region had begun 
long before the time of Walpole's Grant, and the 

1 AVa-hiii-ton-Crawtoi-a Lrttcrs, p. 8r,. 

2 Writiii->of Wa>liiii-ton, Jl., p. 37'J. 


claims of officers and soldiers had, to some extent, 
l)een bought n}> by speculators. A^'ashinL;,•ton and 
his land agent, AA'illiam CVawford. had been par- 
ticularly active in seeking out good tracts of land 
in the Avestern countiy. As a field officer, Wash- 
ington was entitled, under the proclamation, to 
five thousand acres of bounty-land, but there is 
positive evidence to show that he had surveys 
for over seventy tliousand acres; that he secured 
patents, in the names of officers and soldiers, for 
over sixty thousand, and that he himself was the 
owiier of, at least, thirty-two thousand acres, which 
lie called " the cream of the country — the first 
choice of it."' There is a charming frankness in 
Washington's statement to the Iveverend John 
Witherspoon concerning these lands. " It is not 
reasonable to suppose," he says, '' that those who 
had the first choice, [who] had live years allowed 
them to make it in and a large district to survey 
in, were inattentive to the (juality of the soil or the 
advantages of the situation."^ Tliere was nothing 
discreditable to A\^ishington in his land specula- 
tions. We can only admire that tjir-sighted wis- 
dom which so early discerned the importance of 
the western country, and that practical sagacity 
which was as great in allairs of private enterprise 

1 '\Viisliington-Cr;\wrorcl Lettors, p. 78. A stroiii: liglit is thrown upon 
"Washington's charucler by this corrospon.ii'nce, but strong naturos, iiko 
liis, bear strong light. For documentary evidence on the sLibject of 
AVuhhington's Land Speculations, see Appe.ulix. 


as it was afterwards in llic affairs of state. It 
is certain, moreover, that in liis business under- 
talvings, Washington contemplated " an extensive 
public benefit as well as private advantage,"^ for 
alreatly before the llevolution, he had begun a 
correspondence relative to the im})ortatio]i of Ger- 
mans from the Palatinate to colonize his lands.- 
AVashington is the prototype of that public sj^irit 
and ])rivate entei']>rise Avhich arc so characteristic 
of Americans, and which, after all, constitute the 
life-principle of the American Republic. AVliilc 
investigating the natui'e of tliuse nuiterial inter- 
ests out of which the American Union was devel- 
oped, it is ]n:)t impro}»er to glance thus, in passing, 
at the worldly chai'acteristics of the Father of his 
Country. This question of land-claims is so inter- 
woven with land-grants aiid la]ul-s})eculatio]is, 
both pri\'ate and ])ublic. that it is necessary, for a 
pr«)per understanding of the sul;)ject, to trace out, 
liere and there, lines of individual conduct and the 
threads of personal motive. 

]t is uncertain when Lord Dunmore" tirst began 
to issue ])atents for the bounty-lands. A\'e know 
that he must have patented upwards of twenty 

ISco letter to Crawford about tlic Salt Springs, Wa^-liington -Crawford 
Letters, ).. 31, or Aj-pendix to this jiaper. 

2See Writings of Washington, II., pp 382-7. 

3Tlint Lord Duninore patented Washington's land is evident from the 
lattcr's own statements. See Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 77. For 
the relation between Lord ])unn ore and AVashington, and for the former's 
interest in looking over the ground before grtinting further patents, see 


lliousaiul ;)'. !'cs for A^^asliingloii, as early as July, 
1773, for we fiiid Wasliiiigtou's achertiseiiicnt of 
llio same, bearing the date of tlic lotli of July. 
AVasliiugton speaks of these lands as " among the 
first which 'have been surveyed." In the jNIary- 
land Gazette for :March K), 1774, may be found an 
official" notice, dated January 27, 1774, directing 
gentlemen, otlicers, and soldiers, who claimed land 
under the i)roclamation of the 7th of ()ctol»er, 17G35 
and who had obtained warrants from the Earl of 
Dunmore, to appear in person or by agent, at the 
]iiou1h of the Great IvanaAvha. on the Uth of 
April, and have their lands officially surveyed. 
The land-agents and surveyors, Avho went down 
the Kanawha upon the above errand, were 
stopped, or, as some say, attacked In' Indians, 
and the hostilities which ensued brought on the 
bloody conflict of 1774, known as Lord Dun- 
more's A\'ar, which was waged by the Virginians 
against the Shawanese and Mingoes. This war 
may be regarded as the foundation of A'irginia's 
military title to the lands back of the AUeglia- 
nies. Legal title she had not. The rumor which 
had been industriously circulated in January, 
1774,^ to the cflect that the "new government" 
had fallen through, was without foundation. 
Lord Dunmore appears to have issued most of 
his patents in 1774, and to have made a violent 

1 W!i.-lnni.'ton -Craw ford Letters, p. 4 '. 



effort, in I lie s])i-iiici- of tliai vonr, to .-.s.scrt the 
jurisdiftioii of A^iri^iiiia over tlie entire region 
beyond tlie mountains. The attenii>t Avas made 
by Connolly, tlie agent of Lord Dunmorc, to 
usurp authority e^■en over territory which had 
formerly belonged to ]\Minsylva]iia. Connolly 
sought, but without sneeess, to enforce the militia 
hiws of A'irginia in the county of A\''estmore- 
Lmd, and to secure the country around Pitts- 
burgh for the province of Lord Dunmore. ]3ut 
the conrpiest of the back-lands was soon etlected 
by Virginin. and ])(>ssession made her tith' good. 
Conquest and jiossession became accomplished 
facts, and against such there is no law. 

By Act of rarliament, in 1774, the Crown lands 
north-west of the Ohio were annexed to the royal 
province of Quebec. It was the so-called Quebec 
Bill,' which was referred to in the Declaration of 
Independence as oiu^ of " their acts of pretended 
legislation." The King was denounced "for abol- 
ishing the free system of English laws in a neigh- 
baring })ro^•ince, establishing therein an arbitrary 
government, and enlai-ging its boundaries." All 
the American colonies felt themselves more or less 
aggrieved by the Quebec I'.ill, fur laiuls which had 
been rescued from the French by the united etlbrts 
of Great Britain and America were now severed 

ITliis dccLimont is reprinted in the Report of tlie Regents of tlic Uni- 
versity on the Boundaries of the State of ^ie,\v York, pp. 110-92. 


from llieir iiaturnl connection ^villi the settlements 
of the sea-board, and formed into a vast inland 
province, like the ancient Louisiana of ]^^i-ance. 
Freiich law, moreover, was revived at Quebec 
and absolute rule seemed eveiTwhere imminent. 
But. the Declaration of Independence changed 
the relations of things. It was the general opinion 
in America, that ''the Crown lands" were insepa- 
rable from colonial interests, and, that in case the 
war should be brought to a successful issue, those 
States having a legal title to the western country 
could assert jurisdiction over the territory which 
fell within their respective limits. Ai the out- 
break of the Eevolution, A^irginia had annexed 
the "County of Kentucky" to the Old Dominion, 
and, in 1778, after the capture of the military 
posts in the north-Avest by Colonel George Ilogers 
Clarke,^ in a secret expedition undertaken by Vir- 
ginia at her own ex})ense, that enterprising State 
proceeded to annex the lands beyond the Ohio, 
under the name of the County of Illinois. The 
military claims of Alrginia were certainly very 
strong, but it was felt by the smaller States that 
an equitable consideration for the services of other 
colonies in defending the back country from the 
Trench, ought to induce "Mrginia to dispose of a 

IFor Clarke's own ficcount of the Expodition, see Perkins' Annals of 
the AVest, (Cincinnati, ISi'),) pp. 201-210 Clarke's con,niis>ion frr.m 
l*iUriek Henry, then Governor of Vir-inia, mav be found in Perking 
1>. 184. 

portion of her western territory fnv tlic connnon 

It is easy now to conceive liow royal grants 
to ]\Iassaclinsetts and C<>nnecticut. of lands sti'etch- 
ing from ocean to ocean, nmst have conllicted 
with the charter-claims and militaiy title of Vir- 
ginia to the great north-west. Wo have seen 
that A'ii'ginia's charter conld be extended over 
the entire region beyond the Ohio. It is not 
necessary to qnote the original charters^ of ]Mas- 
sachnsetts and Connecticut, for, told in brief, the 
former's claim embraced the lands which now lie 
in southern ^Michigan and M^isconsin, or, in other 
words, the region comprehended by the extension 
Avestward of her present southern boundary and 
of her ancient noi'lhern limit," which was " the 
latitude of a league north of the inflow of Lake 
^^'inni])iseogee in New IIam])shire." The western 
claims of Connecticut covered })ortions of Ohio, 
Indiana, Illinois, and ^Michigan. 

IThc claims of Mas^acliu^etts were based jpon the charter granted 
by "William and Mary, in lG',tl,and those of Connecticut upon the charter 
granted by Charles il. in If.r/J, These documents may be found in the 
Laws of the United State's rrsinT'ting the Public Lands, pp. 78, 80. 

2 This statement is fnun Walker's Statistical Athis of tlie United 
States, (Areas and P.^litieal Divisions, compiled by Mr. Stocking of the 
Patent Oftiee.) The text of the original ciiarter, although somewhat 
obscure, seems to imply that the nt>rthern limit of Massachusetts was 
three miles north of the head of the Mcrrlinac river. Probably Mr. 
Stocking lias t^omc other source of information, for his work throughout 
is extremely well-done, licing thi' most reliable and concise exposition we 
have seen of that cmplicalcd subject, the land cessions. 

Tlic chartered riglits of New York were Lased 
upon the graiit of 1(')(U to James, ])ukc of York, 
by liis brotlier Cliarh'S 11.^ V^y an agreement 
originally made in 1083, the boundary between 
Connecticut and Xew York was fixed at a line 
twenty miles distant from the Hudson river. 
]\Iassachusetts agreed, in 1773, to a continuation 
of the same line for her ^vestern limitr 

The extension of charter-l)oundaries over the 
far-west by ]siassachusetts and Connecticut, led 
to no trespass on the intervening cJiarter-diiuns 
of New York. Connecticut fell into a serious con- 
troversy, however, with rennsyhania, in regard 
to the possession of certain lands in the northern 
part of the latter State, but the disi)ute, when 
brought before a court a})pointed by Congress, 
was finally decided in favor of rennsylvania.'^ 
But in the western country, ^Massachusetts and 
Connecticut^ were determined to assert their char- 
tered rights against Alrginia and the treat //-ahnms 
of Xew York, for, by virtue of various treaties 
with the Six Xations and allies, the latter State 
was asserting jurisdiction over the entire region 

ISec Report of the Regents of the University on the Bountlaries of 
the State of New York, p. 11. 

2 See above Report, pp. 58, 212. 

3 January 3. 1783. See Journsils of Contrress, IV., p. 1*29, for these 
proceeding?, which arc important, as illustrating the position of the old 
Congress in arbitratinn. 

4;^ee Plea in Vindication of the Connecticut Title to contested lands 
west of New York. By nenjaniiii Trumbull, New Uaven, 1774. 


between L-Hse Erie and tlie Cumberland moun- 
tains, or, in otlier Avords, Oliio and a portion of 
Kcntueky.^ These claims were strengthened by 
the following facts: First, thai the chartered 
rights of Xew York were merged in the Crown 
by the accession to the throne, in 1(385, of the 
Duke of York as James 11. ; again, that the Six 
Xations and tributaries had pnt tliemselves nnder 
the protection of England, and that they liad 
always been treated by the Crown as appendant 
to the government of Xew York; moreover, in 
the third place, tlie citizens of that State had 
borne the bnrden of ])rotecting these Indians for 
over a hnndred years.- Xew York was the great 
rival of A^irginia in the strength and magnitude 
of lier western claims. In fact, the chief interest 
of the great land-controversy turns upon the rival 
offers made to Congress by the two States at the 
instance of Maryland. 

We have now in onr mind's eye the conflict- 
ing claims of Virginia, ^Massachusetts, Connec- 
ticut, and Xew York to that vast region beyond 
the Ohio, ^q shall now consider, for a second 
topic, the process by which these various land- 
claims were }»laced u})on a national basis, or, 
more s])ecitically, 

ISec Journals of Congress, IV, p. 21. Frankrin's "SVorks, IV., 

2Journals of Congress, IV., p. 22. 


IT. TiiT-: Influence of Maryland in Secuiung 


FOK THE Public Gooij. 

The immense importance of the region nortli- 
Avest of the Ohio as a source of national revenue, 
Avhen tlie tide of emigration shouhl set in, \vas 
recognized as early as 177G. Silas Deane, the 
agent whom the Continental Congress had sent 
to France, addressed a communication^ to the 
Committee of Soerot Corres})ondence, calling the 
attentioii of Congress to that triangular region 
described in general, by the Ohio, the Mississippi, 
and the parallel of Tort Detroit. "These three 
lines," he says, "of near one tliousand miles each, 
include an immense territory, in a tine climate, 
well watered, and, by accounts, exceedingly fertile. 
To this I ask your attention, as a resource amply 
adequate, under proper regulations, for defraying 
the whole expense of the war." 

The lirst move that was evei' made in Congress 
towards the assertion of national sovereignty over 
this western country, was made b}' ^laryland. On 
the loth of October, 1777, exactly one month 
before the Articles of Confederation were pro- 
posed to the Legislatures for ratitication, it was 
moved " that the United States in Congress assem- 

1 Diplomatic CoiTcsponi.lence, edited by Sparks, I., p. 79. 


bled, sliall ]i:ive Uio sole and oxelu^^ivc riglit and 
power to ascertain and fix tlic western boundary 
of sneli States as claim to the Mississippi or Sontji 
Sea, and lay out tlie land beyond tlie boundary, so 
ascertained, into se])arate aiul independent States, 
from time to time, as the iiumbers and circum- 
stances of the peo]de may recpiire."^ Onhj Marij- 
land voted in ilic (/J/b'matirc. ]]ut in this motion 
^vas suggested that idea of political expansion 
under the sovei'cign control of Congress, which 
ultimately prevailed and constituted, upon grounds 
of necessity, a truly Xational liepublic. Xot only 
the suggestion of a tirm and lasting union upon 
the basis of a tei-ritorial commonwealth, but the 
chief influence in founding such a union, must be 
ascribed to ^Maryland. And yet, strange to say, 
this priority of suggestion has never been noticed, 
and, stranger still, the constitutional importance 
to this country of }*laryland's subsequent opposi- 
tion to the hind-claims has wholly escaped atten- 

The original }n-o]X)sition that Congress should 
exercise sovereign power over the western country 
was a pioneer thought, or, as the Germans say, a 
halinltrcclicnde Idee. \\^Q have discovered by a 
careful examination of the Journals of the Old 
Congress, that ^laryland was not only the tirst, 
but for a long time the only State, to advocate 

1 Journals of Coiigrtss, II , p. L'90. 


national jurisdiction over tlio western lands. The 
oi>]i<)sition to tlie establisliinent of a public domain, 
under the sovereign coiitrol of Congress was so 
great, at the outset, tlnit the States possessing 
land claims succeeded, a few days after ^lary- 
land's motion, in adding a clause to the xsinth 
Article of the Confederation, to the etlect that no 
State should be de])rived of territory for the beneiit 
of the United States/ In tlie rennuistrances to 
this grasping ]>olicy of the larger States, by llhodc 
Island, Xew Jersey, and J3ehiware, we shall find 
tliat tliere was no tlmught of im'esting Congress 
with tlie rights of sovereignty over the Crown 
lands. AViiat tliese States desired was either a 
share in the revenues arising from the western 
country, or, that the funds accruing from the sale 
of western lands should be ap])lied towards defray- 
ing tlie expenses of the war. lUit of tlie western 
lands as the basis of republican expansion under 
the national jurisdiction of Congress, these States 
seemed to have no concei)tion whatever. Rliode 
Island, in a proposed amendment to the Articles 
of Confederation, expressly declared that all lands 
within those States, the property of which before 
the war was vested in tlie Crown of Great Britain, 
should be disposed of for the benetit of the whole 
confederacy, '' reserving, however, to the States 

1 October 27, 1777. Soo .luiirnuls of Coiigross, II., 304. 


witliin who.'^c limits sucli Crown lauds may be, 
the entire ami complete jurisdietion thereof."^ 
Xew Jersey, in her remonstrance to the Xinth 
Article, while demanding that the Crown lands 
should Le sold by Congress for defraying the 
expenses of the war, admits that, "The jurisdic- 
tion ought, in every instance, to belong to the 
resi)ective States within the charter or determined 
limits of which such lands may be seated."- Dela- 
ware also had a keen sense of the common inter- 
est of all the States in the sale of the unoccupied 
westci-n lands, but of that interest as the basis 
of a truly national commonwealth, she seems to 
have had no appreciation whatever." The credit of 
suggesting and successfully urging in Congress, 
that policy which has made this country a great 
national commonwealth, composed of " free, con- 
venient, and independent governments," bound 
together by ties of permanent territorial interests, 
the credit of originating this policy belongs to 
Maryland, and to her alone. Absolutely nothing 
had been effected by Rhode Island, New Jersey, 
and Delaware, before they ratified the Articles, 
towards breaking down the seltish claims of the 
larger States and placing ilie Confederation upon 
a national basis. Delaware, the last of all the 

1 Journals of Coiigross, II , p. COI. 
SJounuils of Congress, II., p. GOj. 
3Journal.s of Congress, III., pp. 1!01. 


States, except ]\rary]aiul, to ratify tlie Articles, 
acceded to tlie latter, February 22, 1779, under a 
mild i)]-otest, wliicli Congress allowed to be placed 
on tile, "provided," as was said, "it should never 
be considered as admitting any claim." ^ ]\[ary- 
land was left to fight out the battle alone, and 
Avith what success we shall shortly see. 

The "Instructions" of ^laryland to her dele- 
gates, which were read in Congress, May 21, 
1779, after tlie accession of Delaware, as above 
stated, forbidding tliem to ratify tlie Articles of 
Confedt-raiion befoi'c the laud-chiinis had been 
placed upon a different basis, must l)e regarded as 
one of the most important documents in our early 
constitutional history, for it marks the point of 
departure for those congressional enactments of 
the 6th of September and 10th of October, 1780, 
which were followed by such vital results for the 
constitutional as well as the material development 
of this country. From the effect of these instruc- 
tions upon the acts and policy of Congress, Ave 
shall be able to trace out, from documentary evi- 
dence, that line of events which led to the great 
land-cessions of Virginia and Xcw York, and to 
the Ordinance of 178-1 for the government of the 
ceded territory, wliich Ordinance was termed " a 
charter of compact," the articles of whicli should 
stand as "fundamental constitutions" between tlie 

1 Journals (Hf Congress, 111, p. 20l». 


thirteen original States and eaeh of tlie new States 
tlierein described. The following brief citations 
from the original document will suffice to convey 
its tenor and spirit, and to indicate the attitude of 
Maryland towards the Confederation:^ 

"Although the ])ressurc of immediate calami- 
ties, the dread of their continuance from the 
appearance of disunion, and some other ])eculi_ar 
circumstances, may have induced some States to 
accede to the i)resent confederation, contrary to 
their own interests and judgments, it requires no 
great share of foresight to predict that Avhen 
those causes cease to operate, the States which 
have thus acceded to the confederation will con- 
sider it no longer binding, and will eagerly 
embrace the first occasion of asserting their just 
rights and securing their independence. Is it 
possible that those States, who are ambitiously 
grasping at territories, to which, in our judg- 
ment, they have not the least shadow of exclusive 
right, will use with greater moderation the increase 
of wealth and power derived from those territo- 
ries, when acquired, than what they have dis- 
played in their endeavors to acquire them? AVe 

tliink not Suppose, for instance, Alrginia, 

indisputably possessed of the extensive and fertile 
countrv to which she has set up a claim, what 
would bo the probable consequences to Mary- 

IJoiirnals of Congrois, III., p. 281. 


land? .... Virginia, by selling on the most 
moderate terms, a small ]>roportion of. the lands 
in question, would draw into lier treasury vast 
sums of money and .... would Le enabled 
to lessen her taxes: lands comparatively cheap 
and taxes comparatively low, with the lands 
and taxes of an adjacent State, would quickly 
drain the Stale thus disadvantageously circum- 
stanced, of its most useful inhabitants, its wealth ; 
and its consequence, in the scale of the confede- 
rated States, would sink of course. A claim so 
injurious to moi-e than one-half, if nut the v\hole 
of the United States, ought to be supported by 
the clearest evidence of the right. Yet what evi- 
dences of that right have been produced? .... 
We are convinced, policy and justice require that 
a country unsettled at the commencement of this 
Avar, claimed by the British crown, aiul ceded to 
it by the treaty of Paris, if wrestod from tlie com- 
mon enemy by the blood and treasure of the 
thirteen States, should be considered as a comnu)n 
property, snhject to be jK/rcelled out hij Congress into 
frcc^ convenient and independent governments^ in such 
manner and at such times as the wisdom of that 

assembly shall hereafter direct 

"^ye have spoken with freedom, as becomes 
freemen, and we sincerely wish that these our 
representations may make such an impression on 
that assembly [Congress] as to induce them to 


make sncli addition to the articles of coiifcdora- 
tion as may bring about a permanent union."* 

In connection with tlie above Instructions, ^v]licll 
were passed by the jMaryband legislature as early 
as December 1.5, 1778, was sent another docu- 
ment, bearing the same date, which was called a 
Declaration. The design Avas, as we know from 
the Instructions themselves, to bring the Declara- 
tion before Congress at once, to have it printed 
and generally distributed among the delegates of 
the other States. The Instructions were to be 
read, in the presence of Congress, at some later 
period, and formally entered upon the journals of 
that bod3\ We iind that the Declaration was 
really brought forward, by the ^Maryland dele- 
gates, on the sixth of January, 1779, but the con- 
sideration of the same Avas postponed, and the 
document itself does not appear in the journals. 
In Hening's Statutes of Virginia, however, among 
the papers relating to the Cession of Xorth- 
Western Territory, this Declaration is to be found, 
sid6 by side with the Maryland Instructions, and 
both immediately i)receding the so-called "Vir- 
ginia Remonstrance," dated December 14, 1779, 
and an act of the Xew York legislature, of Feb- 
ruary 19, 1780, called "An act to facilitate the 
completion of the articles of confederation and 

1 The whole of this important find interesting document is given in the 
Appendix to this piijier. 

35 1«52439 

porpotiial union, among tlic United States of 
America."^ As the latter documents reveal the 
first practical results of Maryland's i)olicy in 
opposing the land-claims, it is necessary to inves- 
tigate their origin. 

In May, 1779, the same month, it ^vill bo 
remembered, that the Maryland Instructions were 
read before Congress, the Virginia legislature 
passed an act for establishing a Land OlHce and 
for ascertaining the terms upon Avhich land-grants 
should be issued."^ It was declared that vacant 
Avestern territory, belonging to Virginia, should 
-be sold at the ]-ate of forty pounds for every 
liundred acres. In another act, passed about the 
same time, the patents issued to officers and sol- 
diers, uiider the proclamation of 1763, by any 
royal governor of Virginia, were declared valid, 
but all unpatented surveys were to be held null 
and void; except in the case of settlers actually 
occupying lands to which no person had a legal 
title. Such settlers were to be allowed four hun- 
dred acres, on the condition of entering their 
claims at the Land Olhcc. By such measures was 
Virginia proceeding to dispose of the western 
lands, to which :Maryland had set up a claim in 
the interest of the United States. But A^irginia 
Avas trespassing on the legal rights of the great 

Aliening, Virginia Statutes at Large, X , pp. 549-Gl. 
2 Honing, Virginia Stfttutcs at Largo, X., pp. 50-05. 


land-coin]^:niies, ])avliciil;irly upon llio claims of 
the Yaiulalia to A\'al|)('le'>s Grant, wliicli we liave 
previously described. On tlie foiirteeiilli of Sep- 
tember, 1779, a memorial was read to Congress, 
in behalf of the interests of Thomas ^^'alp<)le and 
his associates. This memorial was referred to a 
committee oii the eighth of October, and the favor- 
able report which was snbsecpiently made upon 
the claims of American members of the A'^an- 
dalia Comj^any has already been mentioned.^ 
But, on the thirtieth of October, long before 
this conimitlee had reported, the fullowing re- 
solution was inti-oduced by Jlr. ]]'iUi(nii Faca^ 
of Man/land^ and seconded hi/ Ins coUeca/ae, Mr. 
George Plater: 

"Whereas, the appropriation of vacant lands 
by the several states during the continuance of 
the war will, i)i the ojnnion of Congress, be 
attended with great mischiefs; therefore, 

BesoJved^ That it be earnestly recommended to 
the State of Alrginia, to re-consider tlieir late act 
of assend:)ly for opening their land-ofiice ; and that 
it be recommended to the said state, and all other 
states similarly circumstanced, to forbear settling 
or issuing warrants for unappropriated lands, or 
granting the same during the continuance of the 
present war."'- 

iSeep. 17. 

2 Journals of Congress, III , p. 381. 


Tliis rc,-.>]ution was adopted, only Yirginia and 
Xordi Carolina voting in the negative. The ^''ew 
York delegates were divided. 

These steps bring us to the famous Kemon- 
strance, whieh was addressed "by the General 
Assembly of Virginia to the delegates of the 
United American States in Congress assembled." 
The connecting link between the Maryland In- 
structions and A'irginia's Kemonstrance, is sup- 
plied by the above Resolution of Mr. Paca. Vir- 
ginia protests against the idea of Congress exercis- 
hig jurisdiction, or any right uf adjudication concern- 
ing the petitions of the A^andalia or Indiana land- 
companies, or upon ''an// oiher maiier,'' subversive 
of the internal ])olicy of Virginia or any of the 
United States. But in this Ilemonstrance, Vir- 
ginia declares herself " ready to listen to any just 
and reasonable propositions for removing the 
ostensible causes of delay to the complete ratitica- 
tion of the confederation."^ The word ostensible 
is italicized in the original document and refers, 
of course, to Maryland, for this State was noAV 
the only one which had not ratified the Articles. 
Manifestly, the influence of Maryland Avas, at last, 
beginning to tell. It was the sturdy opposition of 
this State to the grasping ^ claims of Virginia and 

iHening, Virginia Statutes at Large, X., pp. 357-59. 

2 Virginians who object to tliis phrase are referred to the Writings of 

Washington, IX., p. 33, where, in a letter to Jetlerson, he says: " I am 

not less in sentiment with you respecting the impolicy of this State's 

grasping at more territory than they are competent to tho'govcrnment of " 



the larger States, wliicli first nwakeiicJ a readiness 
for coiiiproinise in tlie matter of land-claims, 
lleiiiiig says Maryland " /^^s/x/vW that the States, 
claiming these western territories, shonld bring 
them into the comnmn stock, for the benefit' of 
the whole Union." ^ llowison, the most recent 
historian of Virginia, declares, that "Maryland 
was inflexible ami I'etnsed to become a i)arty [to 
the Confedei-ation] nntil the claims of the States 
shonld be on a satisfactory Ijasis."- 

The readiness of A^irginia to do something to 
remove the - odcii.^iblc caa^c" of delay on .Mary- 
land's ]jart, indicates that her land-claims were 
becojiiing less positive. But the act of the legis- 
lature of Xew York "to iacilitate the completion 
of the Articles of Confederation," shows most 
decidedly that Maryland's cause was prevailing. 
The historic connection of this measure with the 
influence of Maryland delegates in Congress has 
never been sliowii, but from mateiials now acces- 
sible in a letter of Genei-al Schuyler, first published 
in 187:3. in the Report of the Kegents of the Univ- 
ersity on the Boundaries of the State of Xew York, 
we think this connection may fairly be demon- 
strated. Genei-al Schuyler was delegate to Con- 
gress from Xew York in 1779. On the 
twenty-ninth of January, 17S0, he addressed a 

1 Ilening, Virginia Statute- at Large, X., p. 518. 

2 Uowisoii, History of Virginia, IL, p. 28G. 


letter from Albany, to tiic New York leuislaturc, 
which gives us the key to their net of the 
nineteenth of Febrnnry. General Schuyler had 
been advocating in Congress a treaty with the 
Cayuga Indians. "AMiilst the re^xn-t of the eoni- 
luittce on the business 1 have alluded to," he 
says, "was under consideration, a wemhcr nio\'ed, 
in substance, that the C\)]nniissi(iners for Indian 
Atlairs in the Xorthern Department should require 
from the Indians of the Six Xations, as a prelinii- 
naiy Article, a cession of ]^art of their country, 
and that the liu'i-itnry so to be ceded should be 
for the benefit of the United States in general 
and grantable by Congress." The lirst question 
is, who was this mend)er? The policy recom- 
mended in the above motion is very suggestive 
of some [Maryland delegate. On referring to the 
Journals of Congress for the ab(n'e discussion, we 
iind two motions on the subject mentioned by 
General Schuyler; the tlrst was made l>y 2Ir. 
Forbes of Jlan/Iajxl and seconded by ]Mr. Houston 
of Xew Jersey; the other was nuule by Mr. Mar- 
chant of Rhode Island ami seconded by J/r. Forbes. 
])olh motions were defeated, but that which 
alarmed General Schuyler and of Avliich ho 
thought it necessary to unburden hinrself to his 
constituents, was simply this: ''we had a few davs 
after," he says, " a convincing ju-oof that an idea 
prevailed that this and some other States ought 


to be diAC'sted of part of tlicir territory for the 
benefit of the Uriited States, w]ien a mcmher 
aflbrded us tlie ]>eriisal of a resolution, for M-]iieli 
lie intended, to move tlic JTouse, purporting tliat 
all tlie lands ^vithin the limits of any of the 
United States, heretofore grantable by tlie king 
of Great Britain whilst these States (then Colo- 
nies) were in the dominion of that prince, and 
which had not been granted to individuals, should 
be considered as the pbd jiropfrfij of the United 
States and dis])osed of by Congress for the benefit 
of the whole Confederacy.'' A\'e have searched in 
vain for the above resolution in the Journals of 
Congress, although, from internal evidence, there 
is little doubt but that it came from the same 
source as the original motion, which so alarmed 
General Schuyler, 

The chief importance which this letter to the 
JN'ew York legislature has for us, in this connec- 
tion, is the revelation it aiTords of the growing 
influence of the Maryland policy in Congress. 
General Schuyler confesses that the opposition to 
the original motion [of :Mr. Forbes] was chiefly 
based upon the inexpediency of such an assertion 
of Congressional authority while endeavorino- to 
secure a reconciliation with the Indians. In pri- 
vate conversation, the General had ascertained 
that certain gentlemen, who represented States in 
the same circumstances as ]\'ew York in the 


matter of land-claims, were inclined to support 
the resolution in its new form. It was urged by 
the friends of the proposed resolution, that a 
reasonable limitation of the land-claims would 
prevent controversy " and remove ihe ohstacle wMch 
jjrevcnted ihe compleiion of the Confederation ^ Gen- 
eral -Schuyler says he endeavored, with great 
discretion, to ascertain the idea of the advocates 
of this measure as to what would constitute a 
reasonable limitation of the claims. "This they 
gave," he says, "by exhibiting a map of the 
country, on which thoy drew a lino from tlie 
north-west corner of Pennsylvania (wliich in that 
map was laid down as on Lake Erie) thi-ough the 
strait that leads to Oidario and through that Lake 
and down the St. Lawrence to the forty-iifth 
degree of latitude, for the bounds of the State 
in that quarter. Virginia, the two Carolinas, and 
Georgia, they proposed to restrict by the Alle- 
ghany Mountains, or at farthest by the Ohio, to 
where that river enters the ^Mississippi and by the 
latter river to the south bounds of Georgia — That 
all the Territory to the west of these limits should 
become the p'opertij of the Confederacy. We 
found this matter had been in contem})lation some 
time, the delegates from oS'orth Carolina having 
then already requested instructions from their 
constituents on the subject, and my colleagues 
^vere in sentiment with me that it should be hum- 


bly subiiiillrd to llie Logi.'^latiire, if it ^\■ould not 
be pro])C'r to coiiiiniiiiicnte tlioir })loar<ui'e in tlic 
])rcini.^es by way of instruction to tlieir servants 
in Con^^i-ess."' ISiieli Avt^re tlic appeals of congress- 
men to their constituents befoi'e national interests 
were fully recognized aiid before Xational Gov- 
ernment was devel<)]»ed from grouiuls of necessity. 
But this letter clearly indicates the influence of 
the ]\ra]'yland idea and the growth of a truly 
national sentiment in Congress, which was destined 
to find expression in that famous resolution of 
the si.xtli (»f Se]>teiidx'i", 1780, ^vllereili a general 
land-cessiou was tii'st recommended to tlie States 
liolding title to western tei-ritoiy. 

It will bo seen upon examination of the ]>roceed" 
ings of the Xew York legislature,' that this letter 
from General Schuyler was the immediate occasion 
of the passage of an act by the Senate and 
Assembly of that State, called ''An act to facilitate 
the completion of the articles of confederation 
and peri)etual union among the United States of 
America." In this act, which was passed the 
nineteenth of Februaiy, 17H(), Xew York author- 
ized her delegates in Goiigress to make either an 
unreserved or a limited cession of her western 
lands accoi'ding as these delegates should deem it 

lR..printea in fall in tlir llrport of tlio It-grnts of the University on 
the Boundaries of the Stiit.' of New York, pp. 141^1J'J. For the act 
itself sec Journals of Cwn-re.^s, III., p. JSl*. 


expedient. Tliis act Avas read in Congress on tlic 
seveiitli of ]Marcli. 

On the si.xtli of September, 1780, a nieniorable 
date in tlic liistory of tlie land-(piestion, a re]>ort 
Avas made on the ^Maryland Instructions, tlie A^ir- 
ginia llemonstrance, and tlie al)0vc Act of tiie Xew 
Yorlc legislature. Although this report did not 
recommend an examination of the ])oints at issue 
between ?^laryland and A'ii-giiiia, it did recommend 
a liberal cession of ^vestern lands by all states 
Avliieh laid claim to such possessions. " It ap])ears 
more ad\isable,"" said the committee, "to press 
upon those states Avliieh can reinovc the embarrass- 
ments respecting the western countrv, a liberal 
surrender of a portion of their territorial claims, 
since they cannot be preserved entire witlnjut 
endangering the stahUif/j of the general confed- 
eracy; to remind them how indispensably neces- 
sary it is to edahlislt tlie federal union on a jixcd and 
2)crmanent hasi^^ and on i)rinc'q)lfs accejdahle to all 
its reqwctive mcnihers ; how essential to i)ublic 
credit and confidence, to the support of our army, 
to our tranquility at home, our reputation abroad, 
to our very existence as a free, sovereign and 
independent people ; that they are fully persuaded 
the wisdom of the respective legislatures will lead 
them to a full and impartial consideration of a 
subject so interesting to the United States, and 
so ncccssaru ^^ ^^^^ ^^'^ITU <^'^t(il'li^^i"^^^if of tlic federal 


vnion ; that tliey arc confirined in these expecta- 
tions by a review of the Lefore-nientioncd act of 
the legislature of Xcw York, submitted to tlieir 
consideration ; tliat this act is expressly calculated 
to accelerate the Federal alliance, by removing, 
as far as de[)ends on tliat state, the impediment 
arising from tlic western country, and for that 
purpose to yield up a })ortion of territorial claim 
for the general benefit; ^^^lereupon 

Bcsoh'cd^ Tluit copies of the several papers 
referred to the committee be transmitted, Avith a 
copy of the report, to the legislatures of the 
several states, and that it be earnestly recom- 
mended to those states, Avho have claims to the 
western country, to j^ass such laws, and give their 
delegates in Congress such powers as may eifec- 
tually remove the oidij obstacle to a final ratification 
of the articles of confederation ; and fl/af the legis- 
lature of ^[a)-//la)id he earncstJij requested to authorize 
their delegates in Congress to subscribe the said 

]hit Maryland awaited some definite proposals 
from Virginia and the other states which laid 
claim to the western lands. Madison, in a letter 
of September 12, 1780, remarks with great sig- 
nificance, "As these exclusive claims formed the 
only obstacle with ^Maryland, there is no doubt 
that a compliance with this recommendation [of 

1 Journals of Congress, III., p. 51G. 


Congress] wi]] bring licr into the Coiifodei'ation.'"^ 
(Connecticut- soon oll'ered a cessio]i of Avestern 
lands, provided tliat slie niiglit retain tlic juris- 
diction. It is a remarkable fact tliat, at tbis 
period, Alexander Hamilton sbould have favored 
such a reservation by states ceding Lands to the 
Confederation. In his proposals for constitutional 
reform, in a letter to James Duane, of Xew Yoi-k, 
dated September 3, 1780, he says that Congress 
should be invested with the ^vhole or a portion of 
the western lands as a basis of future revenue, 
" re^rrriiKj flic jurhdlriion to flic Sfufcs h>j ii-ltoin tlir>j 
are granted r' 

But the original idea of ^Maryland that the 
western country should '' be parcelled out by Con- 
gress into free, convenient, and independent gov- 
ernments," was destined to pi'evail. On the tenth 

1 Madison Papers, p. 50. 

STiiis offer was made October 10, 1780. The terms of the Iceishitive 
net show conclusively that tlic Maryland Instructions were exercising 
their influence upon the country. " This Assembly taking into their 
consideration a Kesolution of Congress of the Gth of September last, 
recommending to the several States which have vacant unappropriated 
Lands, lying within the Limits of their respective Charters and Claims, 
to adopt measures which may effectually remove the obstacle that prevents 
the ralificat'on of the Articles of confederation, together with the Papers 
from the States of New York, Maryland and Virginia, which accom- 
panied the same, and being anxious for the accomplishment of an event 
most desirable and important to the Liberty and Independence of this 
rising Empire, will do everything in their power to facilitate the same 
notwithstanding the objections which they have to several parts of it. 
Jiesolvcd, etc. 

MS. Laws of Conn. First printed in Keport of the Ilcgents of the 
Univer.Mty on the P.-undaries of the Stale of New York, p. 167 (1873.) 

^Worksof llamiltun, I., p. 157. 



of October, it was resolved by Congress that tliose 
lands Avliicli should be ceded in accordance with 
the recojnniendalion of the sixth of September, 
should not ordy be disjiosed of for the benefit of 
the Confedei-alion, but should bo formed into 
distinct republican states, which should become 
memi)ei-s of the federal union and have the same 
rights of sovereigidy as the other states.^ It was 
added. prubal)]y as an iiuluccment to A'irginia 
to cede her western lands, that Congress would 
reimburse any })articular state for expenses 
incurred, sinre the ouniiK'nccment of the war, in 
subduing or defending any pai't of the western 
territory. The expedition of George Rogers 
Clarke, for the reduction of the north-western 
posts, had been undertaken by Virginia without 
aid from Congress or from the Continental army, 
and this fact had been urged by Alrginia as a 
crowning title to the lands north-west of the Ohio. 
But A'irginia seems to have acted upon the above 
recommemlation of Congress, for by her act'- of the 
second of January, 1781, slie offered to cede to the 
Confederation com]>lete jurisdiction over all lands 
north-west of the Ohio on certain conditions, the 
first of which, in regard to the disposition of 
territory and the formation of distinct republican 

1 Journals of Coiii^rc-s, III., p. 535. 

Sllening, Viri^initi Statulus iit Largo, X., p. 504, or Journals of 
Congress, IV., p. lio5. 


states, was i;ikon almost verbatim from tlio above 
resolutinns of Congress, 

Ilowison, the historian of Yivginia, admits that 
"this cession was inade witli the immediate 
design of indncing all the states to become parties 
to the Confederation " and " the ellect of Virginia's 
offer,'' he asserts, " was in accordance with the 
Jiopes of its advocates, for ]Maryland became a 
party to the Confederation."^ If a desire to 
facilitate the completion of the union was indeed 
the motive of the proposed land cessions by i\ew 
York and A'irginia, as the langnagc of their legis- 
lative acts certainly justilies us in supposing, then 
alone the attitude of ^laryland towards the Con- 
federation must be regarded as a sufficient occasion 
for their action, for ^Maryland was the only state 
which had imt ratilled the Articles. Tlie key- 
stone to the old Confederation was not laid until 
Maryland had virtually effected her object and 
secured the offer of land cessions to the United 
States from Virginia, as well as from Xew York 
and Connecticut. As llildreth says of ^Maryland, 
" she made a determined stand, steadily refusing 
lier assent to the Confederation, without some 
guarantee that the ecpiitable right of the union to 
these western regions should be respected."^ 

1 Ilowison, History of Virginia, II., p. 282. 

2 llildreth. History of tlic United States, III., p. SC'D. 


AVc may douLt, liowevcr ^xhctiicr tlic action of 
Virginia, in(1e])0]ulont of tlic previous oiler by 
New York, would Lave been sufrieient to persuade 
Maryland to join tlie Confederation, for A'irginia 
had attached sucli obnoxious conditions^ to lier 
proposed cession, that Congress as well as ]\Iary- 
hmd" were dissatisiied with the same. Virginia 
demanded, among otlier things, tlnit Congress 
should guai'aniee to her the undisturbed pos- 
session of all lands south-cast of the Ohio and 
that claims of other ])arties to the nortli-west 
territory sliouhl l)e annulled as infi'inging up()n 
the chartered riglits of A'irginia, for, in making 
the proposed cession, Virginia evidently desired 
to put the Confederation under as heavy an 
obligation as i>ossible. These conditions which 
Congress pi'onounced " incompatiljle vnth the 
honor, interests and peace of the United States," - 
led to an encouragement of the Xew York offer, 
which was fornnilly made in Congress, March 1, 
1781. On that Aery day, Alaryland ratified the 
Articles and the lirst legal union of the United 
States was complete. The coincidence in dates is 
too striking to admit of any other explanation 
than that Alaryland and Xcw York were acting 
with a mutual understanding. An act authorizing 
the delegates from ^laryland to subscribe to the 

1 Journals of Congress, IV , p. 2GG. 

2 Journals of Congress, IV., p. 22. 


Article.-; itad Lccn read in CongTOSR on the twclftli 
of l^^ebi-uary. 1'liis act liad been parsed by the 
legislature of tliat state ten days' before iiulicating 
that the A'irginia otfcr, of January 2, had not been 
wholly without influence upon Maryland, although 
her delegates ajipear to have delayed signirig tlic 
Articles until the IS'ew York offer had been fully 
secured and the land question had been placed 
upon a national basis. That Alaryland was dis- 
satisfied with the partial and illiberal cession by 
Virginia is evident from the closing paragraph of 
the above nientioned act of her legislature. '• It 
is hereby declared, that, by acceding to the said 
Confederation, this State doth not relinquish, or 
intend to relinquish any i-ight or interest she hath, 
with the other united or confederated states, to 
the back country ; but claims the same as fully as 
was done by the legislature of this state, in their 
declaration which stands entered on the Journals 
of Congress." Maryland furthermore declared 
that no Article of the Confederation could or 
ought to bind her or any other state to guarantee 
jurisdiction over the back lands to any individual 
member of the confederacy.'"' 

The offer of Virginia, reserving to herself juris- 
diction over the County of Kentucky; the ofter 

1 February 2, 1781. Jouriiiils of Congress, III., pp. 570-7. 
2 The, Act of the Maryland Legislature authorizing their delegutes to 
subscribe to the Articles of Confederation is re-printed in our Appendix. 


of Connectif sit, -svithholding jurisdiction over all 
lier back I.-ukIs; and the offer of Xew York, 
untrainiiicled l)y biirdeiisonic conditions and con- 
ferring upon Congress complete jurisdiction over 
her entire western territory, these three offers were 
now prominently before the country. The com- 
pletion of tlic union by Marylaud had occasioned 
great rejoicing tliroughout the states and public 
sentiment Avas fast ripening for a truly national 
policy with refei'cnce to the disposal of the western 
lands. If we examine the ^Madison Papers and 
the JuUDials u^ Congress from this time onward 
to 1783 we shall tind that congressional politics 
seem to turn upon three questions, (1,) finance, (2,) 
the disposal of the western lands, and (3,) the 
admission of Averment into the union. We shall 
find that the question of providing for the public 
debt was inseparably connected with the sale of 
the western lands, and that the real reason why 
Vermont was excluded from the union until 1791, 
is to be sought for in the intluence which the Xew 
York land cession exerted upon party feeling in 
Congress. These matters cannot be traced out 
here and we must briefly pass over the acceptance 
of the Xew York and Virginia cessions, which 
occasioned so much debate and controversy 
between the years 1781 and 1783. 

A committee that had been appointed by Con- 
gress to impure into the claims of the different 


states and land companies, reporled ]\lav 1, 1782, 
ill favor of accepting the offer of Xew York, wliicli 
had been made ten montlis before, on tJie very day 
Maryland liad formally acceded to the Confedera- 
tion. One of the chief reasons assigned by tlic 
above committee, Avhy tlie offer of Tvew York 
should be preferred to that of Alrginia, was that 
Congress, by accepting the Xew York cession, 
would acquire jurisdirtion^ over the whole western 
territory belonging to the Six Xations and their 
allies, whose hinds, as we have seen, extended 
from Lake Erie to tlie Cumberland ^Mountains, 
thus covering the lands south-east of the Ohio, 
which Virginia desired to retain within her own 
jurisdiction. On the twenty-ninth of October, 
1782, Mr. Daniel Carroll, of 2Iari/land, moved that 
Congress accept the right, title, jurisdiction, and 
claim of Xew York, as ceded by the agents of that 
state on the tirst of March, 1781. By the adoption 
of this motion, it was supposed that the offers of 
Connecticut and Yirginia had received a decided 
rebuff', but, in the end, it was found necessary to 
conciliate Yirginia, before proceeding to dispose 
of the western lands. On the thirteenth day of 
September, 1783, it was voted by Congress to 
accept the cession oilered by "^^irginia, of the 
territory north-west of the Ohio, provided that 
state would waive the obnoxious conditions con- 

1 Journftls of Congreps, IV, p. 22. 


ccriiiiig llie gunyanijj of Yir^inia's boundary, and 
the aiiiuilliiig of all oilier titles to the north-west 
territory. Virginia niodilied her conditions as 
requested, and on the twentieth of October, 1783,^ 
empowered her delegates in Congress to make the 
cession, which was done by Thomas Jefferson, and 
others," ]\Iarch 1, 1784, just tliree years after the 
accession of Mai-yland to the Confederation. 

Massachusetts ceded her western lands, together 
with jurisdiction over the same, A])ril 19, 178o, 
and Connecticut followed Sept. 14, 178G, reserving, 
howe^■e^, certain hnids south of Lake llrie for edu- 
cational and other pur])oses. This was the so- 
called " Connecticut Reserve," a tract nearly as 
large as the ])resent State of Connecticut. AA^ash- 
ington strongly condemned this compi-omise'- and 
Mr. Grayson said it was a clear loss to the United 
States of about six million acres already ceded 
b}^ Virginia and Xew York. Connecticut granted 
five hundred thousand acres of this Keserve to 
certain of her citizens, whose property had been 
burned or destroyed during the Revolution and 
the lands thus granted wei'c known as the Fire 
Lands. The remainder of the Reserve was sold 
in 1705 for $1,200,000, which sum has been used 
for schools and colleges. Jurisdiction over this 
tract was finally ceded to Congress, May 30, 1800, 

ISee Ilening's Statutes, XT., jip. C2G-28. 
2 "Writings ot Wnsl>inglon, IX., p. 178. 


and til us, ril tlic close of the century, tlie accession 
of 110] Ill-west territory was corii})lete/ 

Y\^c liavc thus traced the process by which the 
great land cessions were effected and have seen that 
it was primarily the opposition of Maryland to the 
grasping claims of ^"irginia, which put the train 
of compromise and land cessions in motion. We 
have seen that I^ew York hrst oflered to cede her 
western territory in order " to facilitate the com- 
pletion of the Articles of Confederation," and, that 
on the very day her oticr was formally made in 
Congress, Mjir/jJand laid t/w kc/j-siune of tlie Cuii- 
federai'ton and, as we shall atteni])t to show, of the 
American Union. A^ e come now to the third 
and last topic of our research, viz: 

1 For deocl of cession, see Land Laws of the United States, p. 107. 
Hon. James A. Garfield's paper on tlie " Discovery and OwixTsiiii) of the 
North-western Territory, and Settlement of the Western Keserve," con- 
tains some valuable matter. It is No. 20 of the publications of the 
Western Keserve and Northern Ohio Historical Society, 1874. 

Although, in tliis paper, we are chiefly concerned with the Accession 
of the North-west Territory, wc have thought it not improper to append 
the dates of those land cessions which were immediately occasioned by 
the above, and of those later accessions, by purchase or conquest, which 
have more than doubled our National Domain : 

South Carolina Cession 1787 

North Carolina " 1790 

Georgia " 1802 

Louisiana Purchase, 1803 

Spanish Cession of Florida, .... 1819 

Texas Annexation, 1845 

First Mexican Cession, 1848 

Texas Cession, 1850 

Second Mexican Cession, or the Gadsden Purchase, 1853 

Ala.ska, 1807 


in. T]iE OmciTX or ouii Teurttot^tal Goa'Ki^x- 


"NVc have seen Hint ^raryland first suggested 
tlie idea of investing Congress with complete 
sovereignty over ttie western country, and that 
it M'as primarily tlirough her influence that the 
land cessions were effected. The constitutional 
importance of this ac(]nisiti(m of territory by 
the r()iif(Mlcration lias ncNcr been brought out in 
its true light aiul pro])er hist()ric connections. 
Writers lune told us, iiuleed, how a meeting of 
commissioners from ^Maryland and, Virginia at 
Alexandria, in ITS-"), to discuss and concert uni- 
form commercial regulations for these two states, 
was the original jxtint of departure which led to 
the Annaj^olis and IMiiladelphia Conventions, and 
hence to the adoption of the present constitution, 
but no investigator a})pears to have discovered 
the intimate connection between the A^irginia land 
cession of 17S4, which we have just noticed, and 
this friendly conference between Alaryland and 
Tirginia, from which such great events are said to 
flow. A\'hat light, for example, is thrown upon 
that meeting in Alexaiulria by the following- 
passage from a letter of James ^fadison to 
Thomas JelFerson, written in ^Nlarch, 1784, about 


a fortnigiit after tlio Yirgiiiia cession, hut a full 
year before tlie above coimnercial eoiiveiitioii was 
brought about! "The good hiiiiior," ]\ra(liso]i* 
.says, "into ^vhich tlie cession of the back lands 
must have put ^Maryland, foi'iiis an a}»t crisis for 
any negotiations M'liich may be necessary." 

AAY' have heard also, that these Alexandi'ia 
coniuiissioners went to ^NJount A'ei'non and there 
conferred with George AA^ashington, who, as there 
is some reason to believe, iirst suggested a national 
convention to concert uniform commercial regu- 
lations fnr tlie whole country; but no one has c\'er 
shown how the first steps towards the organization 
of our public domain into new states Avere also 
suggested by (Jeorge AA^ashington and not by 
Thomas JelVerson, as is commonly supposed. 
The idea of parcelling out the western country 
"into free, convenient and inde})endent govern- 
ments " was first proclaimed by ^Maryland in 
those famous Instructions to her delegates, but 
the iirst definite ^^/^/i for the formation of nev/ 
states in the west is to be found in a letter^ 
written the seventh of Se})tember, 1783, by Gen- 
oral Washington to James I)uane, member of 
Congress from Xew York. The letter contains a 
series of wise observations concerning "the line of 
conduct jn'oper to be observed, not only towards 

1 Writings of :\Iadis(ni, I., p. 74. 

2 Sparks' Life unci Writings of Wii-hington, VIII., p. 477. 


the Intli: ns, but for tlio govcriinient of the citizens 
of AinerJca in tlieir settlement of tlie western 
country." ^^^asllillgtun^s suggestions in regard to 
laying out two new states are jiarticularly inter- 
esting and valuable froni an liistoi'ieal point of 
view, because the conformation M-hich he recom- 
mends for them bears a striking resemblance to 
the jiresent shape of Ohio and Michigan, whereas 
Jefllerson's original suggestions for ten states in 
the north-west, lying in tiers, between meridians 
and parallels of latitude, Mas never adopted, and 
fortnnatf^ly, perlia}>s. for the reputation of the 
counti-y; for Jeilerson would liave named these 
states: Sylvania, .Michigania, Chersonesus, Asseni- 
si[»ia, ]\Ietropotamia, Jllinoia, Saratoga, AVashing- 
ton, Polypotaniia, and Pelisipia!^ The practical 
suggestions of George Washington with reference 
to adopting an Indian 2>olicy and some delinite 
scheme for organizing the western territoiy, were 
adopted almost word for word in a series of 
resolutions by Congress, which are to be found in 
the Secret Journals of that body, under the date 
of October 15, 1783.- In referring to the regular 
Journal of Congress for the above date, we find 
the report of a committee consisting of Mv. Duane, 

lls'ational Intelligencer, August 2G, 1817. Xotes on the Ordinance of 
1787, by Peter Force. Sparks' Life and Writings of Washington, 
IX., p. 48. 

2 Dr. Austin Scott, of the Johns Hopkins University, was the first to 
discover this remarkable coincidence. 


of Xcw ^x'ork, :\Ir. Peters, of rennsylvania, Mr. 
DanicV Carroll, of Maryland, jiiid two otlier gcntlc- 
inei], to wliieli committee sundry lettei's and papers 
concerning Indian aflairs liad been referred. Tlic 
committee acJniowlcdge in their report that they have 
conferred with the commander-in-chief. AVlien now 
we recall the fact tliat the chairman of the above 
committee was James Duane, the very man to 
whom AA\nshington addressed his letter of the 
seventh of September, the whole matter clears np 
and George AA^ashington stands revealed as the 
moving spirit in the tii-st active measures for the 
organization of the Public Lands. 

Six days after the date of ^A^'ashington's letter 
to James Duane, the rep-jrt of the committee on 
the Mrginia cession was called u]i and it was 
voted by Congre>'s to accept ^^irginia's oiler un- 
der the conditions which we have previously 
stated. Tliat which interests us in this connec- 
tion is the attempt made by Mr. Carroll, of 
Maryland, to postpone tlie consideration of the 
Virginia oiler for the adoption of an important 
resolution in which the rights of absolute sov- 
ereignty over the westerii territory are claimed 

ICharlc? Carroll of Carrollton l.'ft Cuiigrc-^s in 1778. Daniel Carroll 
■was delegate fruni 17S0 to 178-1 and again from 1789 to 1791. lie signed 
the Articles of Confederation in the name of Maryland, and also^ the 
present Constitution. He seems to have exercised considerable intluence 
in Congress. He w;is three times elected chairman and once appointed 
commissioner to treat with the Southern Indians, but declined the olhcr* 
on account of ill-health. 


for file I'l.itcd States, "as one uiulivitlvd and 
independent ]iation, with all and cveiy ]iower 
and rigid exercised by tlic lung of Great JJritain 
over the said territory." ]Mr. Carroll proposed 
in his resolution the ap[M)intnient of a coinniitteo 
to report on the most eligible parcels of land 
for the formation of one or more convenient and 
independent states. Although unsuccessful, this 
is the boldest attem})t that is ]*ecorded on the 
Journals of Congress for the assertion of }iafwnal 
sovereif/nf// and of the rights of aninent domain 
over tJ/r irrstrrn tfrritnr>/} 

About one month later, Congress having voted 
to accept the A'irginia ojlei-, on certain conditions, 
we find the abo\e committee on Indian atfairs, 
of which ]Mr. Duane, of jS'ew York, M'as cliairmaii 
and J7r. Carroll of Maryland a member, report- 
ing a series of resolutions in which the iniluence 
of ^Washington may be clearly traced. It was 
declared to be a wise and necessary measure to 
erect a district of the westei'n territory into a 
distinct government, and it was resolved that a 
committee should Ije a])pointed to report a plan 
for connecting Avith the Confederation by a tem- 
porary government, the inhabitants of the new 
district until tlieir number and circumstances 
should entitle tliem to form a jjormanent con- 
stitution for themselves, on republican principles 

1 Juunial:^ of Congress, IV., jip, 2G-3-2G5. 


and, as citizens of a free, sovereign, and indc- 
])ondent state, to Le admitted into the union. 
In tliese resolutions lies the germ of Jeffer- 
son's ordinance, which was reported ^larcli 1, 
1784. This fact and the connection of Duane's 
resolutions with the original suggestions by 
George AVashington have never hefore been 
brought out. Tlie influence exerted by the sage 
of ]Mount A^ernon upoii the Alexandria commis- 
sioners towards the practical reform of our com- 
mercial regulations was like that exercised in 
the above scheme for establishing a territorial 
government noi-tli-west of the Ohio, even before 
that territory had been fully ceded. "Washing- 
ton's plans were what the Germans would call 
^^hahnhrechemir His suggestions were the pioneer- 
thoughts of genius ; they opened up the ways and 
pointed out the means. 

We shall not be able in this paper to take 
up the Ordinance of 1784, much less that of 
1787, for the government of the Xorth West 
Territory. Both of these themes arc extremely 
important and require a careful investigation. 
AVe must be content with having found the mis- 
sing link which connects the Ordinance of 1784 
with the practical suggestions of George Wash- 
ington and with tlie original idea of Maryland 
that Congress should assume National Sovereignty 
over the western territory. Although this idea, 


wliicli ]\r;irylaiul prodniniod as early as 1777, did 
not obtain that formal recognition wliieli ]Mr. 
Carroll hoped to secure I)}" his resolution of the 
thirteenth of September, 17S3, yet, in the nature 
of things, arose a sovereign relation between the 
13eople"of the United States and this territorial 
commonwealth in the ^vest. 

And just here lies the immense significance of 
this ac(piisition of ]*ublic Lands. It led to the 
exercise of Xatioual Sovereignty in the sense of 
eminent (hnnnin. a power totally foreign to the 
Articles of Confederation. Congress had not the 
slightest authority to organize a government for 
the western territory. The Ordinance of 1784 
was never referred to the States for ratification, 
and yet its articles were termed a " charter of 
compact" and it was declared that they should 
stand as '•"funddmcnifd constifufions''^^ between the 
thirteen origimil states and each of the new 
states therein described. Consider, moreover, the 
importance of the Ordinance of 1787 in estab- 
lishing the bulwarks of free soil beyond the Ohio 
and in providing for the educational interests of 
^the (Jreat Xorth-A\\\st. " I doubt," says Daniel 
Webster,- "whether one single law of any law- 
giver, ancient or ni(»dern, has produced effects of 

1 Jouriinb of Congro.^s, IV., j). 380. 

2 Wi''s Works, III., ;,. 'J(j;{. Webster was mistaken in ascribing 
ihc aiitlK.rship of tlii< famous Ordinance to Nathan Dane. Mr. W. F. 
I'oole, of Ciiieago, in hi.-, iidniirnbie monograph on tlie Ordinance of 17b7 


more distinct, marked, and lasting character than 
tlie Ordinance of 1787." 

This Ordinance is an cxliihition of national 
sovereignty on the grandest scale, yet where was 
the authority for it? The present Constitution 
had not been adopted and yet Congress was pro- 
ceeding to legislate on national interests with a 
boldness which might well have startled those 
Avho believed in the doctrine tliat Government 
derives its just ])0M'ers from the consent of the 
governed. Madison, in a contribution to the 
Federalist, avails himself of tliis fact, that Con- 
gress was already exercising sovereignty as an 
argument for establishing constitutional govern- 
ment with defined ])OAvers. " It is now no loiiger 
a point of speculation and hope," he says, "that 
the western territory is a mine of vast wealth to 
the United States : , . . . Congress have assumed 
the administration of this stock. They have begun 
to render it productive. Congress have under- 
taken to do more : — they have proceeded to form 

(see Xorlh American Review, April, 1876) has proved conclusively that 
^Mr. Dane could not have been the author, and has made out a strong 
case for ])r. Manasseh Cutler, of Massachusetts. The same view is taken 
^ in a paper read before the New Jersey Historical Society, May IG, 1872. 
See Proceedings of that society, Second Series (1867-74) III., p. 76. 
There is a paper on the "Ordinance of 1787" by Edward Coles, for- 
merly governor of Illinois (1822-26,) which was read before the Penn- 
sylvania Historical Society, June 9, 1856 and was issued by the Press of 
the Society in that year. It contains, however, many errors, which Mr. 
Poole has now set aside. Poole's article is reprinted in pamphlet form 
by ^Vekb, Bigelow & Co., Cambridge, 1876. 



new states; to erect temporary governments; to 
appoint otticers for tliem ; and to prescribe the 
conditions on Avliicli sncli states shall be admitted 
into the conlederacv. All this has been done: and 
done icitJtot't the Jcdst color of con^fitHfional aiitliorifi/. 
■Yet no blame has been Avliisi)ered : no alarm has 
been sonnded. A gi'eat and indejiendent fnnd of 
revenne is jtassing into the hands of a single body 
of men, who can raise troops to an indefinite 
nnmber, and a])pro])riate money to their snpport 

for an indelinite ])eriod of time I mean 

mit by anything liere said to throw ceiisure on the 
measures whieh ha\'e l)een i)ursued l)y Congress. 
I am sensil)le they could not have done otherwise. 
The public interest, the necessity of the case, 
im]K)sed upon them the task of overleaping their 
constitntiomd limits."^ 

Madison here reveals the true basis of political 
sovereignty. Public good and the necessities of 
the territorial situation are the sovereign law of 
every political commonwealth. The fundamental 
idea of a ]-e]>ul)lic i^ the comnn)n good (respublica) 
and the radical notion of politics {-(.hr) is govern- 
ment of cir'd society, which is lirst united by 
Inaterial intei'csts. The good old Avord coiiiinon- 
wcalih best e\}>resses to the English mind not only 

IFodcrali^t No. XXXVIIl , Jan. 15, 1788. (Edition of J. C Hiunil- 
ton, 1875, }.. 2t»9.) 


the controlling pviiieiplo of state-life Avliicli is the 
connnoii weal, hut the necessary condition of ])()lit- 
ical existence Avhich is the possession of a conmion 
country or territorial domain. 

It was the public interest of the original states 
in the western lands, as a ]iieans of satisfying 
army claims and defraying the expenses of the 
war, which held together thirteen <Je facto 
sovereign powers after inde])eiidence had been 
achieved and the recommendations of Congress 
had become a laughing-stock. The Confederation, 
in itself, was a mere league and Congress little 
more than a committee of public safety appointed 
by thirteen colonies which desired territorial inde- 
pendence in common but self-government and 
state-sovereignty for each. AMien the war was 
over, these jealous powers would have fallen apart 
if there had been no other intluence than Congress 
to lield them together. It was oidy external pres- 
sure which had united the colonies, and without 
liermamcnt territorial interests Congress M'ould have 
been, indeed, '"a shadow without the substance,'' 
as A\^ashington termed it, and the country, "one 
nation to-day and thirteen to-morrow," as best 
^ suited tire purposes of individual states. ]]ut out 
of this sovereign relation which was established 
between the United States and their })ublic 
donuiin, was developed a truly national sover- 


cigntv. ]\];ulison' speaks of this new manifesta- 
tion of energy as "an excrescent })0^ve^," growing 
"out of tlie lifeless mass" of the Confederation, 
and yet he justifies the acts of Congress for the 
government of the western territory, on grounds 
of necessity and of the public good. A surer 
foundation for national sovereignty has never been 
discovered. Political science no longer defends 
the Social Contract as the basis of government. 
The best writers of our day reject those atomistic 
theories of State, which would derive national 
sovereignty from compact, or ai-illimetical majori- 
ties, and ]i()t from the commonwealth, or the 
solidarity of i»ublic interests. 

Government is derived from the living necessi- 
ties and united interests of a people. The State 
does not rest upon compact or written constitu- 
tions. Tliere is something more fundamental than 
delegated powers or chartered sovereignty. The 
state is grounded upon that community of material 
interests which arises from the 'permanent relation 
of a people to some hxed territory. Government 
can exist among men who have no enduring 
intei'est in land, as, for example, among nomadic 
hordes, but the State stands firm, although capable 
of organic development. Dynasties may change 
and the principles of Government become wholly 

1 Federalist, No. XXXVIII., p. 299. 


republican, but 'England would cudure so long as 
a soA'ereigii aud aljidiug relation subsists between 
tlie English people and their island domain.^ The 
element of C(Uitinuity in every state-life is directly 
de])endent upon tliis sovereign relation between a 
l^eople and some fixed territory. Kemove a peo- 
ple from their domain and you destroy their state. 
If t]i(i Puritans of Massacliusctts had accepted the 
invitation'- of Lord Baltimore and removed to 
INIaryland, it is to be presumed that riymouth 
Rock and the Bay State would have f;illen into 
oblivion or acipiired a totally dillerent place in Xew 
England history. The Pilgrims' Compact is often 
cited as an example of the " Social Contract," but 
suppose the people of Xew England had accepted 
Cromwelhs advice^ and migrated to tropical 
eTamaica, is it likely that their compact would 
have established a Xew England in that fertile 
island, which pours its wealth so " prodigally into 
the lap of industry?" Territorial influences enter 
so largely into the constitution and political life 
of a state that we cannot conceive of a political 
commonwealth as existing independently of certain 

1 Das Staat>i;cbiet ist cntschieden fiir den Staat und seine Eiitwickelung 
von fundnnientiilcr Bedeutiing, was sehon daraiis hervorgelit, das3 man 
gewolinlicli in der Benennung den Staat mit denisclben identificirt. 
"Winkler, Das iStaatsgebiet. Eine cultur-geographische Studie, p. 3, 
Leipzig, 1877. 

2 Bancroft, History of the United States, I., p. 253. 

3 Bancroft, History of the United States, I., p. 44G. 

material coiiditions.^ It is, tlicreforc, but a partial 
Iriitli wlieu tlic hnvyor-poot-' says: 

Jlon vilio their duties know, 

]}ut know their rights and knowing dare maintain, 
* * * -x * * * 

These constitute a state. 

Altlivnigli a free and sovereign people is un- 
doubtedly tlie animating life of the American 
Republic, A'et that liie lias a material hasis of which 
writers on American constitutional history have 
taken too little cognizance. Xo state without a 
people, but nn state wiilidiit land r' tlicse are the 
fundamental principles of political science and 
Avere recognized as early as the days of Aristotle.^ 
The common interest of all the states in our 
western territory was the fu-st truly national com- 
monwealth upon American shores, for it bound 
these states together into a perniancnt political 
union and established a sovereign relation between 
the United States aiul a tei-ritorial domain. A\"ith- 
out public interests of a solid and lasting char- 
acter the military union of thirteen dc facto 
sovereign })owers wuuld never have grown into a 

1 Dcr Staat .... geht aus naturlichiri I'edingungeu liervor ; ph\'sische 
Yerliiiltuisse sind die Grundhigo seiner Existenz und Entwickelung. 
Winkler, Das Staatsgebiet, p. 3. 

2Sir William Jones, first translator of the Lawsof Manu, and a pioneer 
of Comparative Jurisprudence as well as of Comparative Philology. 

3Bkintsehli, Slat.sUhrefur Gebildcte, p. 12 " Kein Stat ohne Land." 
See also Lehre row ^^ode.nle7l Stat. 1., p. lo. (Stuttgart, lS7o.) 

J Aristotle, J'olit. 111., 5, 11. 


national ni,um witli inlierciit rio'hts of sovereignty. 
"Constitutions are not made," says Sir James 
Maeintosli, " tliey grow." Tlio American Ilei)nb- 
]ic is tlie product, iiot of concessions or conceiisus, 
but of develop nunf from the exist inr/ relations of 
tliiutjs. Political interests of a lasting character 
were ' entailed upon the Coiifederation by the 
possession of a territorial commonwealth. "From 
the very origin of the government," said Daniel 
MVbster in his lirst gi-eat s])eech on the Public 
Lands in answer to 'My. Ilayne of South Carolina, 
"Frujii llic very origin of the government these 
western lands and the just protection of those 
Avho had settled or slnudd settle on them, have 
been the leading objects iii our policy."^ 

But we have seen that even before the adoption 
of our present form of government, these western 
lands constituted the most vital and absorbing 
question in American politics. The acquisition of 
a territorial commonwealth by these states was 
the foundotion of a i)ermanent union ; it was the 
first solid arch upon, which the framers of our 
Constitution could build. 

AMien now we consider the practical results 
arising from jMaryland's prudence in laying the 
key-stone to the old Confederation only after the 
land-claims of the larger states had, through her 
influence, been placed upon a national basis, we 

IWebstcr's Works, III., p. 231. 

may say, >vit]i triitli, tliat it was a jN'alional Coni- 
iiionwealUi which ^Jarylaiul fuuiulcd. It seems 
strange that so little attention has been devoted 
to the question of Public Lands ^ and their influ- 
ence upon the constitutional development of this 
country. In view of the fact that the greatest 
conflict in American politics has been for the 
organization of the west upon the principles of 
the Ordinance of 1787, it would seem as though 
the subject of the Teri'itorial Commonwealth of 
the American Uiiion might justly demand from 
our students of liistory something more than ''the 
cold respect of a passing glance." 

IThc sulhor is indeUcd to Dr. Emil Otto, of Heidelberg, for a copy 
of a dissertation on Die Public Lands der Vereinigten Siaaien von Nord- 
Amerika. Inai'.gural- Dissertation ziir Erlangung der Doctorwiirde von 
der jwisiischen Factdtnt der Friedrich -WUhrbns -UniversitiU zu Berlin, 

von Jomcs P. Foster aus Xtw-Vork. Berlin, 19 April, 1877. 

Although Dr. Foster has anticipated his countrj-num and former fellow- 
student, by scientifically investigating the question of " rublic Lands," 
still, ns a lawyer, he has considered legal relations rather than historic 
processes, and has not touched at all upon the points made in this article. 


Tlie Orriinniice of 1787 i.s but tljo Icpi] outcome 
of ^Mnrylaud's successful jxilicv in advocating 
^rational Sovereignty over tlie A^\^ste]•n Lands. 
The leading iirinciples of tliis Ordinance are now 
recognized m all parts of our couidry, but tliose 
p]-incij)les were long ago ap])roved of 1.)y Mary- 
land, altliougji in a soinewliat siiiguiar juanner. 

In 1833, wlien the vessel sailed which carried 
to western Africa, the emigrants who were to 
establish, under the auspices of the jNtaryland 
State Colonization Society, the colony of ^Mary- 
land in Liberia, at Cape Talmas, the agent of the 
society took witli him two documents, the one a 
Constitution, containing a ]>ill of Rights, and 
the other an Ordinance for the government of 
the territory about to be acrpiired. 'J'he work of 
preparing these instruments was done by ^Ntr. 
John II. Jl Latrobe, then the corresponding 
secretary of the society and one of its most active 
members. The animating pi-inciples of these in- 
struments, and, to some extent, their very form 
and substance, were furnished by the famous 
Ordinance of 1787. A\dien the Constitution and 
Ordinance were reported to the society by the 
secretary, they were unanimously adopted, with- 
out alteration. Subsequently a committee con- 
sisting of Mr. Lati'obe, :Mr. Evans, and Mr. 
Andersen, pre}»ared a code of laws for the redress 
of injuries ami fur the regulation of propeilv, 


togctlier ^^j(1l a collectio]! of legal form;', wLicli 
have been in use up to the present tinu\ The 
Avork of this coniuiittee was done by ]\Ir. ]']vans.^ 

From the remarks of the Pi-esident of the 
Ilistorieal Society after this i)a])er had been read, 
it would api)ear that he and his colleagues in the 
]\[aryland Colonization movement, scarcely real- 
ized how consistent tlieir action was with the 
ancier.t policy of this State, when the legal out- 
come of that ])olicy, or the Ordinance of 1787, was 
thus unanimously adopted for the government of 
Mar^yland's own Colony in Jjiljoria. Extremes 
meet in History as well as in Tolitics, and the 
present age could read a ^vcoth aarrbv, or 'know thy- 
self,' in the records of the past. It was the cus- 
tom of Greek colonists, setting out from Athens 
or Corinth, to take with them tire from the ]jry- 
taneum of tlieir native city, as emblematic of the 
political life, which they were to kindle upon 
some distant shore. Uidike the Greek colonists 
in political genius or capacity for freedom, but 
like them in the desire, common to all colonists, 
of improving their material condition, the emi- 
grants to Liberia from this State gladly received 

ISce Memoir of Iliigli Davey Evnns, LL. D. By tlie Rev. llaU 
Harrison, M. A IlarHonl : printed by the Church Press Company, 
1870, p. 109. For the two instruments first mentioned and for the 
code of laws, see Constitution and Laws of Maryland in Liberia. Jkilti- 
morc, 1847. The Ordinance of 1787 is printed in the Land Laws of the 
United States, pp. 3JG-G1, and also in the Old Journals of Congress, IV., 
j,p 752-54. 


from ^I.arsl.nid a system of equal lav/s. Who 
shall say iliat the Orclinauco which Avas given 
them for their future govern meut was wholly a 
borrowed fire, when the oi'iginal Ordinance of 
1787 is itself the historic product of ^MarylaiRl's 
ancient zeal in founding a National Common- 


WAsriiNOTON's Land Speculations. 

rEKKi.NS, in liis Annals of tlie "Wcsl, says that Wasliinp;ton 
was one of tlie foremost speculators in "Western Lands after the 
close of tlie French and Lidian War.' The Washington-Craw- 
ford Letters, recently edited in a most thorough and painstaking 
maimer I)y C. W. ]5Htt"rf!eld,- throw a ,-trong liglil ujion the 
enterprising nature of that man who was, assuredly, "first in 
peace" and who, even if the Revolution had not broken out, 
would have become the most active and representative spirit in 
American affairs. Washington's schemes for the colonization of 
his western lands by importing Germans from the Palatinate, 
are but an index of the direction his business pursuits might have 
taken, had not duty called him to command the Army and after- 
wards to head the State. But the inlluence of some of these 
early schemes may l)e traced in Washington's later measures of 
public policy and in his plans for the internal improvement of his 
country. Reserving, however, for another toi)ic Washington's 
pioncer-cfl'orts for opening ui) communication with the West, let 
us examine a few i)ortions of the documentary evidence relating 
to his early land sj)eculations. There is nothing to Washington's 
discredit in any of the Washington-Crawford Letters, but the 
following extracts may afford an interesting revelation of the 
worldly wisdom of the Lather of his Country. 

1 Prrkin^, Annals of tho West, p. 1 10. 

i^Wa-hingtou-Ciiiwford Letters concerning Western Lands. By C, 
^Y. Buttertield, Cincinnati : Hubert Clarke cSi Co. 1877. 


In "\V:i-!i!i!glon's IcUcv to his friend Crawford, i dated Septem- 
ber 21, 17 (it, the whole seheine of taking \i\) the Ijounty huids is 
broaehed : "I ofiVred in my last t<;) join you in attempting- to 
seenre some of the most valuable lands in the Kin,t;-'s ]iart, whieli 
I think may be aeeomidished after awhile, iiolwithstandinu- the 
proclamation that restrains it at present, and jn'ohilnts tlie 
settling of them at all; for I can never look upon that i)rocla- 
luation in any other light (l)ut this I say between ourselves) 
than as a temporary expedient to (piiet the minds of the Indians. 
It must fall, of course, in a few years, especially when those 
Indians consent to our occupying tlie lands. Any person, there- 
fore, who neglects the preseid. opportuiuty of hunting out good 
lands, and in some measure marking and distinguishing them 
for his own, in ord> r to keep ntluTs frnni sctiling Uhmii, will 
never regain it If you will be at the trouble of seeking out 
the lands, I will take upon me the part of securing them, as soou 
as there is a possibility of doing it, and will, moreover, be at all 
the cost and charges of surveying and })atenting the same. You 
shall then have such a reasonable proportion of the whole as we 
may fi.\ upon at our first meeting; as I shall find it necessary, 
for the belter furthering of the design, to let some of my friends 
be concerned in the scheme, who must also partake of the ad- 

By this time it may be easy for you to discover that my i)lau 
is to secure a good deal of land. You will conseipiently come in 
for a very handsome quantity; and as you will obtain it without 

1 "William Crawford was a Virginia officer, who had .=orved in tlio 
FrL-nch and Indian ^Var and who, in early life, had loarnt'd the art of 
surveying from \Vashin'j;ton. Crawford removed to the back country in 
17G6 and settled at •'Stewart'.s Crossing," on the Yougliiogheny river. 
In the following year, Washington began a correspondence with his old 
friend which lasted until 1781. The particuUirs concerning Crawf Td's 
awful death by torture, at the liands of Indian savages, are given in 
"Crawford's Campaign against Sandud<y in 1782," by C. \V. Butterfi-ld 
the editor of the above corre.-^pondenec See also I'euviii-, Auuals of the 
"West, i-p. 21G-7. 


any costs or f'>,.,M:M,se.s, I liope you will be encouraged to begin 
the search in time. I would choose, if it were practicable, to 
get large tracts together ; and il might be desirable to have them 
as near your settlement or Fort Pitt as they can be obtained of 
good quality, but not to neglect others at a greater distance, if 
fine bodies of it lie in one place. It may be worthy of your 
inquiry to find out how the Maryland back line will run,' and 
what is said about laying off Xeale's grant. I will inquire 
particularly concerning the Ohio Company, that we may know 
what to apprehend from them. For my own part, I should have 
no objection to a grant of land upon the Ohio, a good way below 
Pittsburgh, but would first willingly secure some valuable tracts 
nearer at hand. 

I recommend, that you keep this whole matter a secret, or 
trust it only to those in whom you can confide, and who cau 
assist }ou in bringing it to bear by their discoveries of land. 
This advice jtrcceeds from several very good reasons, and, in 
the first place, because I might be censured for the opinion I 
have given in respect to the King's proclamation, and then, if the 
scheme I am now proposing to you were known, it might give 
the alarm to others, and, by putting them upon a plan of the 
same nature, before we could lay a foundation for success 
ourselves, set the difiVrent interests clashing, and, probably, in 
the end, overturn the whole. All this may be avoided by a silent 

lln regard to this point. Crawford roplios September 29, 1767: 
"There is nothing to be f.-aved from the :\Iaryl:uid biick line, as it does 
not go over the mountain." (Wa.'^hington-Crawford Letters, p. 10.) 
There had been a controversy, as we learn from Butterfield, between 
Maryland and Virginia, respecting tlie e.xact whereabouts of the said 
back line, for, in the Maryland charter it was detined as a meridian, 
extending from tlie " first fountain of the Potomac " to the northern 
limits of 7'erra Maria:. Maryland claimed the "first fountain of the 
7iorin branch of the Potomac, as the .<tarting-point of this meridian line, 
whereas Virginia insisted that the head of the south branch should be 
taken, for this would infringe, to a less degree, upon the latter's western 
territory." Crawford meant that, admitting Maryland's claim, the back 
lino could not be run west of the mountains. 


management, and llie operation carried on )jy you under tlie 
guise of hunting game, wiiicli you may, I presume, eO'eetually do, 
at the same lime you are in pursuit of land. AVlien lliis is fully 
discovered, advise me of it, and if there ap|)ears but a possibility 
of snceeediiig at any time hence, 1 v.ill have the lands immediately 
surveyed, to keep others off, and leave the rest to time and my 
own assiduity. 

If this letter should reach your hands before you set out, I 
should be glad to have your thoughts fully expressed on the i)lan 
here proposed, or as soon afterwards as convenient ; for I am 
desirous of knowing in due time how you approve of the scheme. 
I am, etc." ^ 

The following extract from Crawford's answer to the above 
letter shows that the jjroject suited him: 

"With regard to looking out land in the King's part, I shall 
heartily embrace your offer upon the terms you proposed ; and as 
soon as I get out and have my alfairs settled in regard to the first 
matters proposed, 1 shall set out in search of the latter. This 
may be done under a hunting scheme (which I intended before 
you wrote to me), and I had the same scheme in my head, but 
was at a loss how to accomplish it. I wanted a ])erson in whom 
I could confide — one whose interest could answer my ends and 
his own. I have had several ofl'ers, but have not agreed to any ; 
nor will I with any but yourself or whom you think })roper." 

In 1770, Washington crossed the AUeghanies and visited his 
friend Crawford, to see how the latter had succeeded in spying 
out the land. Washington's Journal of his tour to the Ohio is 
very interesting and contains the most minute details as to his 
impressions concerning the western country. Washington left 
liis home at Mount Vernon on the fifth of October and arrived at 
Crawford's on the morning of the thirteenth. The following 
selections from his Journal will sutlicc to illustrate its tenor: 

1 Washington -Crawford Lettors, pp. 3-5, or Sparks' Life and AVrit- 
ings of Washington, II., pj^ 346-50. 

IStli,— ScL out about suurise; breakfasted at the Groat Meadows 
— Ilnrloeii miles — and readied Captain Crawford^ about five 
o'eloelv. 'i'he land iVoui (;ist's to Crawford's is very broken, though 
not mountainous; in spots e.\eeediij,t^ly rieh, and, in general, free 
from stones. Crawford's is very line land ; lying on the Youghi- 
ogheiiy, at a place eonnnonly called Stewart's Crossing. 

14th -^At Captain Crawford's all day. Went to see a coal 
mine, not far from his house, on the baidvs of the river. The coal 
seemed to be of the very best kind, burning freely, and abun- 
dance of it. 

15th. — Went to view some land, which Captain Crawford had 
taken up for me near the Youghiogheny, distant about twelve 
milr^. This traft, which contains about one six hun- 
dred acres, includes some as fine larid as ever I saw, and a great 
deal of ricli meadow. It is well watered, and has a va]ual)le mill- 
scat, e.\cei>t that the stream is rather too slight, and, it is said, not 
constant more than seven or eight mouths in the year; Init, on 
account of the fall, and other conveniences, no place can exceed 
it. In going to this land, I ])assed through two other tracts, 
which Captain Crawford had taken u[i for my brothers, Samuel 
and John. I intended to have visited the laud, which Crawford 
had procured for Lund Washington, this day also, but, time fall- 
ing short, I was obliged to })osti)onc it. Night came on l)efore I 

got back to Crawford's The lands, which I passed over 

to-day, were generally hilly, and the growth chiefly wliite oak, but 
very good notwithstanding; and, what is extraordinary, and con- 
trary to the proi-ertyuf all other lands 1 ever saw before, the hills 
are the rielust land; the soil upon the sides and summits of them 
being as black as a coal, and the growth walnut and cherry. The 
flats are not so rich, and a good deal more mixed with stone. 

[The lands aljove described were not taken uj) as bounty-lands, 
but under patents issued by the land-onice of rennsylvania. On 
the tweniieth of Oi'tol)i'r, Washington and Crawford, with a small 
party of white men and Indians, ^tarted on a trip down the Ohio, 


to view the land? on tliat river and on the Great Kanawlia, wliicli 
Wasliington intended to secure for himself and liis friends, under 
tlie proclamation of 1703, which aullioi-izfd the p,ranting- of two 
hundred tliousand acres of bounty-land to oilicers and soldiers 
who had served in the French and Indian War. Tlie party 
reached the confluence of the Great Kanawha and Ohio rivers in 
twelve days from Pittsburgh.] 

November 1st — Before eight o'clock we set oiY with our canoe 
up the river, to discover what kind of lands lay ujion the Kanawha. 
The land on both sides this river, just at tlic uiuuth, is very fine; 
but, on the east side, when you get towards the hills which I 
judge to be about six or seven hundred yards from tlie river, it 
appears to be wet, and better adapted for meadow than tillage. 
.... We judged we vrent up the Kanawha about ten miles 
to-day. ..... 

2nd. — We proceeded up the river, with the canoe, alDout four 
miles farther, and then encamped, and went a hunting; killed 
five buffaloes, and wounded some others, three deer, A:c. This 
country abounds in bulfaloes and wild game of all kinds; and also 
in all kinds of wild fowl, there being in the bottoms a great many 
small, gra?sy ponds, or lakes, whicli arc full of swans, geese, and 
ducks of different kinds 

3d — We set off down the river, on our return homeward, and 
encamped at tlie mouth. At the beginning of the bottom above 
the junction of the rivers, and at the mouth of the branch on the 
east side, I marked two maples, an elm, and hoo[)-wood tree, as a 
corner of the i>oldie7^s^ land (if we can get it), intending to take 
all the bottom from hence to the rapids in the Great ]3eiid into 
one survey. I also marked at the mouth of another run, lower 
down on the west side, at the lower end of the long bottom, an 
ash and hoop wood for the beginning of another of the soldiers' 
surveys, to extend up so as to include all the bottom in a body on 
the west side. In coming from our last encampment up the 

Kanawha, 1 rinleavorod to take tlic courses and distances of the 
river by a pocket compass, and l^y guessing. 

Pcceniber 1st. — Reached home, liaving been absent nine weeks 
and one day.' 

The practical results of the above expedition a})pear in the fol- 
lowing advertisement in tlie Marylaml Journal and Ballimore 
Advertiser of August 20, M^iS : 

]\IouNT Vkrnon in VruGiNiA, July 15, nio. 

The subscriber liaving obtained patents for upwards of twenty 
thousand acres of land on the Ohio and Great Kanawha (ten thou- 
sand of which are situated on Hie banks of the nr-t-mentiMUiMl river, 
between the mouths of the two Kanawhas, and the remainder on 
the Great Kanawha, or New Iliver, from the mouth, or near it, 
upwards, in one continued survey) proposes to divide the same 
into any sized tenements that may be desired, and lease them 
upon moderate terms, oUowiiig a reasonable number of years rent 
free, provided, within the s[)ace of two years from next October, 
three acres for every fifiy contained in each lot, and proportion- 
ably for a lesser quantity, shall be cleared, fenced, and tilled; and 
that, by or before the time limited for the commencement of the 
first rent, five acres for every hundred, and proi)ortionably, as 
above, shall be enclosed and laid down in good grass for meadow; 
and moreover, that at least fifiy fruit trees for every like quantity 
of land shall be planted on the Premises. Any persons inclinable 
to settle on these lands may be more fully informed of the terms 
by applying to the subscriber, near Alexandria, or in his absence 
to Mr. Lund Washington; and would do well in communicat- 
ing their intentions before the 1st of October next, in order 
that a sulhcient number of lots may be laid o^ to answer the 

1 Writings of Washington, II., pp. 51G-3-1. 


As tlicse l.'Uids arc among- tlio first which liave been surveyed in 
the part of the country they lie in, it is almost nccdhi'ss to pre- 
mise (hat none can exceed them in luxuriance of soil, or con- 
venience of situation, all of them lying upon the Ijanks either 
of the Oliio a!id Kanawlui, and abounding- with fine fish iind 
wild fowl of various kinds, as also in most excellent meadows, 
many of which (liy the bountiful hand of nature) are, in their 
j)rescnt' state, almost fit for the seythe. From every part of these 
lands water carriage is now had to Fort Pitt, by an easy com- 
munication ; and from Fort Pitt, up the Monongahela, to Red- 
stone, vessels of convenient burthen, may and do pass continually ; 
from whence by means of Cheat Pviver, and otlier navigaljle 
branches of the ^Monoiigahcla, it is thought the ])ortage to Potow- 
mack may, and will, be reduced wiihin the compass of a few 
miles, to the great ease and convenience of the settlers in trans- 
))orting the produce of their lands to market. To which may be 
added, that as patents have now actually passed the seals for the 
several tracts here offered to be leased, settlers on them may cul- 
tivate and enjoy the lands in peace and safety, notwithstanding 
tlie unsettled counsels respecting a new colony on the Ohio; and 
as no right money is to be jjaid for these lands, and quitrent of 
two shillings sterling a hundred, demandahle some years hence 
oidy, it is highly presumable that they will always be held u[>on a 
more desirable footing than where both these are laid on with a 
very heavy hand. And it may not be amiss further to observe, 
that if the scheme fur establishing a new government on the Ohio, 
in the manner talked of, should ever be elTected, these must be 
among the most valuable lands in it, not only on account of the 
goodness of soil, and the otlier advantages above enumerated, but 
from their contiguity to the seat of government, which more than 
l)robable will be fixed at the mouth of the Great Kanawha, 


These lands were patented l)y Lord Diiiimore, Governor of 
Virginia, as we know from Washington's own statement to the 


KcvtrcMul John AVillierspoon, in a letter dated March 10, 17S4,' 
in which lie describes his wesicin lands. From inferential evi- 
dence we are inclined to think that Washington obtained these 
patents before any general issue of land-yrants had ))ecn made to 
the oflicers and soldiers. Wc know that Washinylon entered the 
claims of all those who applied to him for assistance, and that too 
as early as 1771,' but the g'eneral tenor of the Washington-Craw- 
ford Letters from that date np to January, 1774, indicates that 
no oflicial grants had been issued.'" In a letter to Crawford, 
dated September 25, 1 77o, Washington says, "I would recom- 
mend it to you to use dispatch, for, depend upon ii, if it be once 
known that the Covernor will grant patents for these lands, 
[below the Scioto,] the oflicers of rennsylvania, Maryland, 
Carolina, etc., will Hock there in shoals, and every valuable spot 
will be taken up contiguous to the river, on wliich the lands, 
unless it be where there are some peculiar properties, will always 
be most valuable.'" I seems that AVashington was mistaken in 
regard to the governor's ii\tention, for, in a letter dated Sei)tcra- 
bcr 24, 1773, one day previous to the date of the aljove, Dunmore 
declares positively to Washington, that he does not mean to grant 
any patents on the western waters."^ And yet, from the above 
advertisement, it is clear that Washington himself already held 
patents on western waters for upwards of twenty thousand acres.^ 
It will be noticed, however, that Washington does not speak of 
these lands as patented under the i)roclamation of 17G3, and yet, 
from allusions to them in his own letters, we know that they were 
thus obtained as bounty-lands," and that Washington bought up 
the claims of his fellow-oflicers to a consideroble extent. The 

1 Writings of Washington, XII., p. 264, or Washii.gton-Crawlord 
Letters, p. 77. 

2 Writings of Washington, II., p. 3C7. 

3 Washington-Crawford Letters, e. g. pp. 23, 25, 2G, 29, 33, 35, 40. 

4 Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 33 

5 Writings of Washington, II., p. 379. 

cSome light on this fact may, periuips, he seen in the Writincrs of 
Washington, II, p. 307. 

7 Washington-Crawford Letters, j.. 78. 


followiug leitter to Crawford affords positive evidence uii lliis 

Mount Yernon, SeiJeviber 2i\ 171i3. 

"Dear Sir: — I liave heard (the trutli of which, if yon saw 
Lord Duninore in liis way to or from Pittsburgli, you possilily arc 
better acquainted with tliau I am) tlial his Lordship will urant 
patents for lands lyinj,'- below the Scioto, to the oflicers and sol- 
diers who claim under the proclamation of October, 1703. If so, 
1 think no time should be lost in having them surveyed, lest some 
new revolution should hoppen in our political system. I have, 
therefore, by this conveyance, written to Cajitain Bullitt, to 
desire he will have ten thousand acres surveyed for me; live 
thousand of which I am entitled to in my own right ; the other 
five thousand, by })urchase from a captain and lieutenant. 

Old David Wilper, who was an oflicer in our regiment, and 
has Ijeen with Hullitt running out land for himself and others, t<'lls 
me that they have already discovered four salt springs in that 
country; three of which Captain Thompson has included within 
some surveys he has made; and the other, an exceedingly valua- 
ble one, upon the River Kentucky, is in some kind of dispute. I 
wish I could establish one of my surveys there; I would imme- 
diately turn it to an extensive puljlic benefit, as well as private 
advantage. However, as four are already discovered, it is more 
than probable there are many others ; and if you could come at 
the knowledge of them by means of the Indians, or otherwise, I 
would join you in taking them up in the name or names of some 
persons who have a right under the proclamation, and whose 
right we can be sure of buying, as it seems there is no other 
method of having lands granted; but this should be done with a 
good deal of circumspection and caution, till patents are obtained " ' 

1 Writings of "Wnshington's, II., pp. 375-77, or Wiuhingtun-Craw- 
ford LctUrf, pp. 29-31. 


Exactly liow much land Wasliiiig-tou succeeded in getting 
patents for, it is diflleiilt to say. From his letters to Jolui 
AA^itherspoon and Presley Neville we know that he obtained, at 
least, 32,373 acres under the signature of Lord Duninore.^ Of 
this amount, ten thousand acres were doubtless secured about the 
beginning of the year 1T74, when Lord Dunmore liegan to grant 
patents ofllcialiy. In the preceding letter it will be noticed that 
Washington speaks of his desire to have that quantity of land 
surveyed, lleckoning the latter with the " upwards of twenty 
thousand acres " which Washington advertised in the ]\Iaryland 
Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, we can fairly account for the 
above 32,373 acres. It is not improbable that Washington 
owned at one time, even a larger amount of land than this, which 
he speaks of in the above letter to Presley Xeviile as still pos- 
sessing in 1794. 

At the office of the Johns Hopkins University there may be 
seen an original plot of survey, executed, probably, by Crawford, 
but, possibly, by Washington himself (for it contains some of his 
own handwriting), of 2S,400 acres of land on the Little Kanawha 
river, patented in the name of Captain Stobo's heirs, of (\"iptain 
Vanbraam, and of several other parties.'- We have discovered 

1 Writings of Washington, XII., 204,317, or Washington-Crawford 
Letters, pp 77, 82. 

2This map of jurvoy, forniorly the property of Reverdy Johnson, Esq., 
was first recognized by Pri^sident Gilnuin as containing some of George 
Washington's own liand writing, and, through the courtesy of Air John- 
son, this map, now framed, graces tlie President's oflice at the University. 
Professor J. K Ililgard, of^the U. S. Coast survey, has caUed attentinu 
to the careful and accurate metliod of protraction em|)ioyed in this plot 
of survey. It will be noticed that the couse of tlic river is indicated by 
the straight lines of survey and not by curves. 

The Publication Committee of the Maryland Historical Society, Afes-^rs. 
Stockbridgc, Cross, and Lee, have generously undertaken to present to 
our readers a. fnc-simile of this interesting relic. The words "Plot of 
the Survey on the Little Kanav.ha, 28,400 acres made in 1773," are 
written on the back of the original map, but havi.' been photographed and 
inserted in tht- fac-simHe f ^r the sake of showing the whole. 


allusions to tlicsc two ofllrers in the Writin^-.s of Washinqton (IT., 
pp. 3G5, 3GS,) and know tluU they entered their clniuis, iilunj^r 
with those of other friends and acquaintances of Washington, in 
the year 1711, but these two oflicers were out of tlie country and, 
as Washington complained, had not advanced their share of the 
expenses attending the surveys. It is highly jn-obable that Cup- 
tain Stobo (or his heirs) and Captain Yanbraani became tired of 
waiting for {latents and sold out their claims to Washington, as 
did several gentlemen in this country. But we have more 
positive evidence that Washington owned property at the month 
of the Little Kanawha. And, in this connection, Lord Dun- 
niore's interest in western lands must be slightly exposed. Tliere 
is some obscurity attached to the royal governor's conduct and 
prudent delay in granting patents for the bounty lands, but there 
is no reason for sus[)ecting Washington, for we know that he did 
his utmost to prevail upon Dunmore and his jiredecessor. Lord 
Botetourt, to hasten the grants. i 

In the spring of 1773, we find Dunmore making arrangements 
with Washington for a trij) over the mountains. The latter ex- 
presses his willingness to accompany the governor, about the first 
of July, "through any and every part of the western country" 
■which Dunmore might think proper to visit. Crawford is recom- 
mended as a guide, because of " his superior knowledge of tlie 
country." Washington was prevented, however, by a family afllie- 
tion,2 from carrying out the project, but Dunmore went without 
him, and, very naturally, visited Crawford in his western home, 

ISee Letters to Lord Botetourt, the Earl of Dunmore, and Geori^o 
Mercer, 177U-1. Writings of Wasliingtun, II., pp. Soi>, 359, 3G5, :178. 
This cor. espondence ouglit to be published in every collection of docu- 
ments relating to AVestern Lands. It would not be amiss in the Api)eM- 
dix to Buttertield's next edition, for these letters set Wasliiiigton's 
character in a very clear light as regards honorable intentions by his 

2The death of Miss Curtis, daughter of :\Irs. Wasliington by her for- 
mer marriage. See Sparks' Life and Writings of Washington, I [., p. alt<. 


"the occasion being turned to ]iroritaljlc account," Buttcrfield 
thinks, " b}- Ijoth pailies : by the li'ail, in getting- relialile inforuia 
tion of desirable lands; by Crawford, in obtaining promises for 
patents for such as lie had sought out and surveyed." These 
promises on Dunmorc's ])art related to lands at the moutJt of the 
Lillle Kanaicha. This is evident from two passages in Crawford's 
letters to Wasliington : "In my last letter to you I wrote you 
that Lord Dnnmore had j)romised me that in case the new govern- 
ment did not take place before he got home, he would patent 
these lands for me if I would send him the draft of the land I 
surveyed on the mouth of the Little Kanawha ""^ This passage 
is ambiguous, but it settles one point: the proposed draft of land 
was at the mouth of the Little Kanawha. The second passage, 
^vllich is from a subsequent letter, eiears up the ambiguitv : 
" Lord Dunmore promised me most faithfully, that when I sent 
him the draft of land on the Little Kanawha that he would patent 
hfor me; and in my letter to you I mentioned it, but have not 
heard anything from you relating to it."- 

Xow comes Wasliington's relation to the lands at the mouth of 
the Little Kanawlia. The passage from Crawford, which was 
quoted Grst, is in immediate connection with the following offer: 
"Now, as my claim as an oflicer can not include the whole, if you 
will join as much of your oflicer's claim as will take all of the 
survey, you may depend I will make any equal division you may 
propose. I told Lord Dunmore the true state of the matter." 
The passage which was quoted in the second place, is immediately 
preceded by this statement: " He [Doctor Connolly, Lord Dun- 
morc's agent] further told me that you had applied for my land 
as an oflicer, and could not obtain it without a certificate, or my 
being present; which puts me at a loss, in some measure, how to 
take it, especially as you have not written on that head." In this 
and in the succeeding sentence, above quoted, Crawford manifests 

1 Wnshingtoii-Crnwfurd Letters, p. 35. 
2\Viishington-Cniwfurd Letters, p. 40. 

some anxiety in regard to securing patents on tlie lancU at tlie 
moutli of the Little Kanawiia, having heard nothing from Wash- 
ington on tliat score. 

And now comes the conclusion of the matter, as far as our 
evidence goes. In a letter to Washington, dated September 20, 
n74, and, tlierefore, after patents had been issued in sullicicnt 
quantities to cover all pur[)oscs of speculation, Crawford says: 
" I liave, I believe, as much land lying on the Little Kanawha as 
will make up the quantity you want, that I intended to lay your 
grants' on ; hut if you xcant it, you can have it, and I will trv to 
get other land for that purpose " [up river, as he proceeds to 
describe.] The sense of this passage is somewhat ambiguous, 
but, in the light of the foregoing facts, we think it must be inter- 
preted as fi!l!..w>: Crawf.rd had surveyed a large tract of laud 
at the mouth of the Little Kanawha ; he had ofi'ered to share it 
with Washington ; the letter had ap[ilied fur Crawford's patent 
and had secured certain grants in which he and Crawford were to 
have a joint interest, whicli grants Crawford had intended to lay 
upon the lands at the mouth of tlie Little Kanawha; but Wash- 
ington, for some reason, desired to make up a quantity of land 
for himself, in one tract, and Crawford tells him that if he wants 
the whole tract at the mouth of the Little Kanawha, he can have 
it, and he himself will lay the warrants, in which he and Wash- 
ington have a joint interest, upon a certain parcel of land "fifteen 
or twenty miles up that river, on the lower side, ami [which] is 
already run out in tracts of about three thousand and some odd 
acres; others about twenty-five hundred acres; all well marked 
and bounded." This interpretation is borne out by the fact that 
Crawford's name does not appear in the list of patentees, which 
was written h\ Washington himself on the above mentioned map 
of survey, although the tract at the mouth of the Little Kanawha 
was certainly the one which Crawford originally surveyed for him- 
self and which he desired to haveWashingtou join him in securing. 
It is possible that the words " Former Survey," which are to be 



seen in tlio ;, receding- plate, liave reference to Crawford's first sur- 
vey of tlie locality, a draft of which he sent to Lord Dunniure. It 
is liiglily jtrobable that Washington bonglit up tlie claims of all 
the parties, in whose names the patents for the land at the mouth 
of the Little Kanawha were drawn, as the list itself shows, and 
secured the entire 28,400 acres for liimself in one tract. Wash- 
ington's practice of clai)ping })urchascd warrants upon Crawford's 
land-surveys is made evident by the following jjassage from one of 
Crawford's letters, dated March G, IT75: " Liclosed you have 
two })lats which you must fix warrants to yourself and the dates 
also of the warrants." i Whctlier Crawford had obtained fruni 
Lord Dunmore, before that date, any regular commission as sur- 
veyor for a district on the Ohio, is not clear. We know, however, 
that Lord Dunmore promised to serve Crawford in that way if it 
should be in his })ower, - and Crawford wrote to Washington, 
December 29, 1773, concerning this very matter: "If you can 
do any thing for me, pray do; as it will then be in my power to 
be of service to you, and myself too, and our friends.''-'^ A few 
months previous to the above date, Washington had procured for 
Crawford the position of surveyor for the Ohio Land Company.^ 
Crawford seems to have been a very enterprising character. If 
he could have managed the patenting of the bounty-lands, he 
would doubtless have served himself, Washington, and "our 
friends" far more eflectually than did Lord Dunmore."' In a 

nVashingkm-Crawford LotttTs, p. 59. As Washington did not go 
vest in 1773, it is jirobablo that he allixed tlie i.ames of Stoho,Vanbraani, 
and the rest, to a plot that Crawford liad sent liim. 

2 Washington-Crawford Letters, pp. 39, 4l). 

3 Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 39. 

4 Washington-Crawford Letters, p. 33. 

SThere are strong reasons for believing that Lord Dunmore and his 
Council were materially interested not only in restraining the soldier's 
grants, but also in furthering the claims of certain land companies in 
which they had stock. Washington ascribes the backwardness of this 
Honorable Board, in rcengnizing the soldiers' claims, to "other causes" 
than mere lukewarniness. (See Writings of Washington, IL, ji. 3'J5.) 


letter to Waliington dated Noveml)er 12, ni3, Crawford hints 
at taking up the entire two hundred tliou^tuid acres: "I wrote 
yon," he says, "relating to the upper survey on tlie (Jreat 
Kanawha. I think you have not apprelionded me in wl\at I 
wanted. There is the full quantity of land of two Jiundred 
thousand acres, and six hundred over and above. ^^ 15ulter- 
field says that Crawford's meaning at tliis point is not clear. At 
least the allusion -to the two hundred thousand acres must have 
conveyed a tolerably clear concept to the speculative mind of 

If Washington really owned at one time, the above 28,400 
acres in addition to the 32,3"i3 acres which we have previously 
accounted for, this amount, together with his 10,000 acres of 
unpatented surveys, would make a sum total of *I0,7T3 acres of 
western land, which he aspired to control. Considering the fact 
that his own claim as an oflicer was for but five thousand acres 
and that only two hundred thousand could possil)ly be granted to 
the officers and soldiers, it would certainly appear as though 
Washington meant to secure the lion's share, which, considering 
the circumstances and Lord Dunmore's conduct, no one could 
truly begrudge that enteri>risii)g man who prevented Dunmore 
and his colleagues from buying up all the claims. Washington 
needs no defence but his own manly and straightforward state- 
ments to his friend George Mercer, concerning his efforts to 

It is stated, as a notorious fact, in tlio famous VirLcinia Kernonstranco 
(see Hening, Virginia Statutes at Large, X , {>. o58,) tliat Lord Dunmore 
was in league with " men of great influence in some of tlie neighboring 
states," for the purpose of securing, under cover of purchase from 
the Indians, large tracts of country between the Ohio and Mississippi. 
By the allusion to "neighboring states," Maryland is aimed at, for Vir- 
ginians usually ascribed Maryland's zeal for the public good to the 
interested motives of individuals. Such hints recoil, however, upun 
Virginia without damage to Maryland, for the policy of all the smaller 
states and the sturdy persistance, as well as the united and thoroughly 
consistent action cf ^laryland, are not to be explain* d from the stand- 
point of individual interest. 


'st'cnre tlic bounty-lands for the oflicers and soldiers. "The 
iiiicqiial interest and dispersed situation of the claimants," lie 
says, " make a regular coi'iperation diOicult. An undertaking of 
tliis kind cannot be conducted without a good deal of expense 
and trouble; and the doubt of obtaining the lands, after the 
utmost cflorts, is such as to discourage the larger part of the 
claimants from lending assistance, ivhiht a few arc obliged to 

wade througlt every dUficidty, or relinqvish every hojie 

Wliat inducements have men to explore uninhabited wilds, but 
the i)rospcct of getting good lands ? Would any man waste his 
time, ex])Ose his fortune, nay, life, in such a search, if lie was to 
share the good and the bad with those that come after him ? 
Surely not."^ 

It is necessary to add, moreover, in closing this long discjuisi- 
tion on ^Yashington^s Land Si)eculations, which, after all, is not 
without its jiurpose in our exposition of the material basis of the 
American Union, that the Father of his Country did not realize 
as mucli as he had expected from his investment of time and 
money. His experience with Western Land seems to have been 
like that of many speculators of our own day. In a letter to 
Presley Neville, in 1794, he says: "From a long experience of 
many years, I have found distant property in land more pregnant 
of perplexities than profit. I have therefore resolved to sell all I 
hold on the Western waters, if I can obtain the prices which I 
conceive their rpiality, their situation, and other advantages, 
would authorize me to expect." In this letter, Washington 
estimates some of his land at six dollars per acre, and other por- 
tions at four dollars. He says he once sold his 32,373 acres, on 
the Great Kanawha and Ohio rivers, for sixty-five thousand 
French crowns to " a French gentleman, who was very competent 
to the payment at the time the contract was made ; but, getting a 
little embarrassed in his finances by the revolution in his country, 
by mutual agreement the bargain was cancelled." Washington 

1 Writings of Wu.sliington, II., pp. 8G5, SCO. 


declares also that lie has lately been iief^-otialing fm- tlie sale of 
his western property at three and one thii'd dollars per acre.' 
But the lands on the Great Kanawha alone were al'lerwards 
sold, conditionally, for two hundred thousand dollars, as we 
learn from the schedule of property appended to Washinci-ton's 
will. "If the terms of that sale are not conii^lied with," Wash- 
ington adds in a foot-note, " they [these lands] will command 
considerably more " A good idea of the vast extent of Washing- 
ton's investments in land may be obtained from an examinaticn uf 
this schedule,- the details of which we have somewhat abridged. 
The schedule docs not include the ^Nlount Yernon estates which 
embraced six thousand acres, or the tracts on Little Hunting 
Creek and • Four Mile Run, which, together, formed three 
thousand two hundi'cd and twenty-seven acres; this home-pro})- 
erty, comprising in all 9,227 acres, was reserved in family estates 
for Bushrod Washington and others. The estimates of the value 
of the following parcels were made by Washington himself, in 
1709, and his heirs were directed to sell od' this larger portion of 
bis landed property. 

Lands in YirgixMA. 

- Acres. Value. 

Loudoun County, Diflicult Hun, . . . 300 $ C,G6G ' 

Loudoun and Fauquier, .... 3,3G6 31,S90 

Berkeley, 22,230 44,720 

Frederic 571 11,420 

Hampshire, ....... 240 3,000 

Gloucester, 400 3, GOO 

Kansemond, near Suffolk, .... 373 2,984 

Great Dismal Swamp, dividend thereof, . ["?] -20,000 

Carried forward, .... 27,486 ^124,880 

1 Writings of Washington, XII., 318 or Appendix to the Washington- 
Crawford Letters, p. b'2. 

2 Writings of Washington, I., pp. 581-2. 


Brought forward, 

Lands on the Ohio. 



Ronnd Bottom 587 

Little Kanawha 2,314 

Sixteeu miles lower down, .... 2,448 

Opposite Big Bent, 4,305 



Lands on the Great Kanawha. 

Near the mouth, west, 10,990 

East side, above, 7,27 G 

Mouth of Cole lliver, 2,000 

Opposite thereto, 2,950 

Burning Spring, ...... 125 



Lands in Maryland. 

Charles County 600 


Montgomery, 519 


J, 119 $ 9,828 
Lands in Pennsylvania, 

Great Meadows, . ' 234 1,404 

Lands in New York. 

Mohawk River, 1,000 6,000 

Lands in Northwest Territory. 
On Little Miami, ...... 3,051 15,255 

Carried forward, . . • . . 65,975 $454,807 


Acres. Vnliio. 

Brought forward .... 65,1)75 $454,807 

Lands in Kentucky. 


) J0,000 



) $4G4,807 

Lots in Washington, 


" " Alexandria, . 


" " Winchester, . 


Rough Creek, 

Thus, to say nothing of the Mount ^'crnon estates, of the lands « 
that Washington had previously disposed of in the Mohawk 
valley,^ and elsewhere, of the 28,400 acres at the mouth of the 
Little Kanawha,' of the 10,000 acres of unpatented surveys lost 
by the rvcvolution, or of Washington's share in the Great Dismal 
Swamp, thus we see, that he actually owned, in 1799, over 
70,000 acres of land, which he had originally secured for specula- 
tive purposes alone. 

These facts concerning the vast extent of Washington's landed 
interests are now for the first time brought into systematic shape 
and historic connection. They reveal the practical and intensely 
American spirit of the Father of our Country. It does not de- 
tract from Washington's true greatness for the world to know this 
material side of his character. On the contrary, it only exalts 
that heroic spirit which, in disaster, never faltered, and which, in 
success, would have no reward. To be sure, it brings Washing- 
ton nearer the level of humanity to know that he was endowed 
with the passions common to men, and that he was as diligent in 
business as he was fervent in his devotion to country. It may 
seem less ideal to view Washington as a man rather than as a 

1 Writings of Wasliington, I , p. 584. 

2 The claiuis of Stobo and Vanbraam were really purcha?cd by Wash- 
ington's London agent, as we have ascertained from a nuto in 
Irving's Life of Washington, I., p. .SG'J. 


hero or statesman, but liistory deals with men and, before kH 
things, with liuiaan realties. Man lives for himself, as well as in 
and for the State, and the distinction of individual from patriotic 
motives is one of the necessary tasks of historical investigation. 

Wasuington's Public Spirit in Otening a Channel of 
Trade between East and West. 

Public spirit and })rivate enterprise are the leading traits of 
the American people. Tliis dualism of character constitutes the 
' healthful vigor of our state-life. The coi-xistence in George 
Washington of the most earnest zeal for the public good and of 
the most active spirit of business enterprise, is but the prototype 
of the life of our nation, for, as a distinguished jurist and i)olitical 
philosopher has well said, der Stat ist der Mann im Grossen 
{Petal c'cd Vhomme)A A proper balance between public and 
individual interests is the great problem of self government, but 
public good, and not the individual will, must be the determining 
power in this adjustment When the commonwealth rises para- 
mount and supreme over such selfish strivings as those recorded 
in the history of the land-controversy, then docs the true soul of 
State assert its sovereign will. Necessity is the supreme law of 
nations as well as of men, and it springs, sometimes, full-armed 
into being from the most material of human interests. The 
real essence of Political Sovereignty we cannot explain. As 
Shakespeare says : 

" There is a mystery 

in the soul of State, 
"Which hath an operation more divine 
Than breatii or pen can give expressure to.'" 2 

IJ. C. Blunt>chli: Lehrc vurn T^rodernen Stat, T., p. 25. Blunt^chli 
is professor of public and international law at Ib'idclhcrt; and prcsii/nit 
df. VInsiitut <le clioit inteniatloiiul, which holds its yearly meetings in 

2Troilu> and Cres^ida, Act 111., Scene 3. 


Political Soverci2"iity has its prototy}>e, howovcr, in tiie p\i1)lic 
spirit and patriotism of the individaal. Who can account fur the 
generous nature of American citizens, or for lliut heroic s])irit 
which sometimes creates whole armies of men, \vho arc ready 
to sacrifice all their individual interests for some great cause? 
Americans arc said to be the most practical people in the world, 
and they probably are. AVe even call the State " a machine," 
although it may be doubted if any but Englishmen believe this 
])olitical doctrine. Americans are far too i)ractical to olTer up 
their lives for the sake of a machine, or to drag a political jugger- 
naut for the privilege of being crushed by its wheels. Public 
good, however, takes precedence of individual happiness. The 
State is surely as noble as the patriotism which leads men to die 
for it. Although intered is, without doubt, the material ba>is of 
political society, as it is of human action, yet there is an interest 
in Man, as well as in the State, which transcends self-interest and 
all personal or material aims. It seldom finds perfect expression, 
either in Man or in the State, but it is the glory of human nature 
that self-interest sometimes docs find a sovereign complement in 
a spirit of self-sacrifice for the common good and for the welfare of 
others. Such was the self sacrificing devotion of George Wash- 
ington, when, at the outbreak of the Revolution, he received from 
Congress the commission of Commander-in-Chief of the American 
forces, and, standing in his place as member of the House from 
Virginia, uttered those memorable words : " I will enter upon the 
momentous duty, and exert every power I possess for the supi)ort 
of the glorious cause. Put lest some unlucky event should hap- 
pen, unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered 
by every gentleman in the room, that I this day declare, with the 
utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the commantl I 
ara honored with. As to pay, sir, I beg leave to assure the Con- 
gress that, as no pecuniary considera'iou could have tempted me 
to accept this arduous em[)loyment, at the expense of my domestic 
ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I 



will keep aii exact account of my expenses. These I doubt not 
they will discliarye, and that is all I desire.'" 

Washiiij^^tuirs patri(.tisni in the defense of Aniericau liljerty 
needs no eulogy. On the twenty-third of December, 17S3, he 
tendered his resignation to Congress, then in session at Annapolis, 
in a speech which has an abiding- fame, as that of the American 
Cincinnatns. These are his concluding words: "Having now 
finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of 
action, and, bidding an affectionate farewell to this august body 
under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my com- 
mission, and take leave of all the employments of public life."- 

But Washington's activity in the service of this country had 
but just begun. We refer not to his subsequent career as Presi- 
dent of thesf United Slates, after the aduption of the i)resent 
Constitution in ITSS, but to his public spirit in opening up the 
Great West to trade and commerce, and in laying the basis for 
our nation's jiolicy in the matter of internal improvements. This 
is a chapter in Washington's life that is not so well known, 
^Materials for this subject were first collected by Mr. Andrew- 
Stewart, member of Congress from Penn.-^ylvania, in a Report on 
the "Chesapeake and Ohio Canal," in 182G.'' Some, but not all, 
of the Washington-documents jHn'taining to this matter were re- 
published by Sparks, in his edition of the Writings of Washington. 
;^Jr. John Pickell, formerly one of the Directors of the Chesa- 
peake and Ohio Canal Company, has worked over this material 
and compiled fresh facts from official sources in a valuable mono- 
graph called, "A new chapter in the Early Life of Washington 
in connection with the narrative history of the Potomac Com- 
pany." ^ 

1 Writings of AVashington, III., p. 1. Comj,aro willi letter to Mrs. 
Washington, 111 , pp. 2-3. 
• 2 WrUiiigs of Washington, VIII., p. oO-5. 

3 Kcports of Coiiinuttees of the House of Representatives, First Session, 
Nineteenth Congress. Report No. 228. 

4 New York: D. Apploton & Co., 1856, 





rs and the 



■c" is a r.'i: 



The conncctirjii of Gi-ov^o Wasliiii-to 
iiio; cotuiiuiiiicatioii betufcu tlie Athiiit 
West was hrukcu Ijy the Kevuliil ion. 
George Wasliiiigton's handwriting, dated as far Iniek as U;")!, 
stating tlie difliculties to be overcome in rendering the I'otoniae 
navigable.' This report was made by Washington on Ids retnrn 
from a trip across the Aileghanies, as messenger from G<nernor 
Dinwiddie to tlie commandant of the French forces on the Ohio. 
Wasliington went uj) the Potomac to Will's creek,- or Fort Cum- 
berland, and over the Aileghanies by the route which was after- 
wards taken by tlie unfortunate liiaddock, in his expedition 
against the French and Indians, and which became known as 
Braddock's Koad.-^ A route was afterwards mapped out by 
"Washington, from CumbcrlanJ over the mountains to the You- 
gliiogheny river, which was destined to become tlie great avenue 
of travel and western miijration. 'J'he construction of the Cum- 
berland turnpike was a national work.' Indeed it was called the 
Naliunal liuad, and it must be regarded as one of the direct 
results of that policy of internal improvement, which, as we shall 
see, originated with Washington. The historic outcome of the 
Cumberland turnpike is, however, the Connellsville line, from 
Piltsburgh to Cumberland, of the Baltimore and Ohio Ixailroad. 

The spirit of history is the self-knowledge of the Present con- 
cerning its j)rocess of development from the Past. There must be 
some germ for historical as well as for natural evolution. 'JMie 
Potomac scheme of George Washington contained, in germ, about 
all that the i)resent generation could reasonably demand. In a 

1 Stewart's Tvi'j.ort, j). 1. Sparks lias not rrj.riiited tliis docunuMit. 

2 Washington's journal of a tour over the Alleghany Mountains, 
Writings, 11., p AZl. 

3 This route wa< ori-inally diMM,vered by Indians in tiv- the employ of 
Virginia and P.-nn~ylvania traders. It wa< tlrst opened by tlie (Jldo 
Company in IT-V]. See \Vritin-> of Wa^iin-ton, II , p. :-;02 " 

-ITheCuuilH.rland il-ad ua^ complete 1 to Wiie-lin-in 1 S'J \ at u eo^t 
ofSi,TO;)OD.«. Ili.dreth, Hi. lory of liie United Staies.^^ IT-'J- IM' 1 , , III., 
1). O'Jt). 


letter to ThoiiKis Johnson, ^ tlie first state-governor of Maryland, 
dated July 20, 1770, Wasliinglou sng-g-ests that the i)roject .of 
opening up the Potomac be " recommeudod to the public notice 
upon a more enlarged plan " [i. e. passage to Cumberland and 
connection, by portage, with Ohio waters] " as a means of 
becoming the channel of conveyance of the extensive and valua- 
ble trade of a rising empire. - 

1 Thomas Jt)lin?on, of Maryland, -was the man who, in 1775, nomi- 
nated George AVashingtun for the office of Commander-in-Cliief of the 
American army. See Writings of "Washington, III., p. 480 He was 
one of the committee of correspondence for 3Iaryhind, in 1775, Samuel 
Chase, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Charles Carroll, barrister, and Wil- 
liam Paca, being among liis colleagues. He was delegate to Congress 
from 1775-77, and Governor of Maryland from 1777-79. Lanman, in his 
13iograj>hical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States, is 
surely niL^lakcu in saying that Juhnson left Congress to raise a small 
army with which, as commander, he went to the assistance of Washing- 
ton in X,:ir Etigland. Governor JohIl^on called out extra militia in 1777 
"to defend our liberties,'' l)ut Washington left New England and' re- 
treated froni Long Island in 1770, the I^Iaryland Line covering the 
retreat, after having saved Putnam's troops from destruction by charg- 
ing six times, with the bayonet, upon the left wing of the British army 
and by the sacritice of five devoted companies, of whom Washington 
said: "ily Gud ! what brave men must I this day lose! " Colonel Small- 
wood was the comnumder of these brave young men from Baltimore, 
although he did not take part in the engagement, being "absent on duty 
in New York." (Bancroft, IX., p. 88.) But though Governor Johnson 
did not go to AVashington's relief, these two were ever the warmest 
friends, snd, after the Kevolution, often visited each other, now at Pose 
Hill, near Frederick, and now at Mount Vernon. Johnson was Justice of 
the Supreme Court of the United Stat.-s from 1791-03, and, when Jeffer- 
son left the Cabinet, was invited by Washington to become Secretary of 
State, but declined. John Adams was once asked how it was that so 
many Southern men took part in the Revolution, and he replied, that, if 
it hadn't been for such men as Kichard Henry Lee, Thomas Jetferson, 
Samuel Chase, and Thomas Johnson, there never would have been anv 
Kevolution. See Lanman's Biographical Annals, "Thomas Johnson." 

2 This letter to Thomas Johnson of Marylaiul is not to be found in 
Sparks' collection of the Writings of Washington but in Stewart's 
Report, pp. 27-29. Tlie idea advanced is of colossal import and only 
the present generation can realize its full significance. 


Here is the bahnbrcchcnde Idee, whose resistless slreiif^tli lias 
opened up the vistas of our inland eonmierce, and whose cohl^^al 
proportions are now revealed, not only in the DaUiinore and ()\i\t), 
which is the direct historic outgrowth of the Potomac scheme, Init 
in the whole system of conimnnication between East iiiid Wr>,t. 
It is a surprising fact that George Washington nut oidy first 
mapped out and recommended that line, which is now in very 
truth, "becoming the channel of conveyance of the extensive and 
valuable trade of a rising empire," but was also the lirst to pr(>- 
dict the commercial success of that route through the Mohawk 
valley, which was afterwards taken by the Erie Canal and the 
New York Central Kail Road. He not only predicted the 
accomplishment of. this line of communication with the West, but 
he actually explurcd it in ijcrsnn. Jk-furc he had reiiaired U) 
Annapolis to resign his commission, and even before the terms of 
peace with Great Britain had liecn definitely arranged, Washing- 
ton was again turning his attention to the scheme of opening up 
the West to trade and commerce. He left his camp at Xew- 
burgh on the Jlndson, and made, on horseback, an exploring 
expedition of nearly three weeks' duration through the State of 
New York. In a letter to the Marquis of Chastelleux, he gives 
an account of his trip: " 1 have lately made," he says, "a tour 
through tlie lakes George and Champlain, as far as Crown Point: 
then returning to Schenectady, I proceeded up the Mohawk river 
to Fort Schuyler ; crossed over the Wood creek which empties 
into the Oneida lake, and afi'ords the water communication with 
Ontario. I then traversed the country to the head of the Eastern 
branch of the Susquehannah, and viewed the lake Otswego, and 
the portage between that lake and the Mohawk river, at Conajo- 
harie. Prompted by these actual observations, I could not help 
taking a more contemplative and extensive view of the vast inhuid 
navigation of these United States, and could not but be struck 
with the immense diflusion and importance of it ; and with tlie 
goodness of that Providence which has dealt his favors to us with 


so profuse a liaiul. Would to God we may liave wisdom 
enouyli to improve ihcm ! I sliall not rest couteuted until 
I have explored the Western country, and traversed those lines 
(or a great part of them) whieli have given l^ounds to a new 
empire." ' 

After resigning his commission at Annapolis, Washington 
returned to Mount Vernon where he arrived the day before 
Christmas, nS3. " The scene is at last closed/' he writes, four 
days afterwards, to Governor Clinton, of New York, who had 
accompanied AVashington in his recent explorations, " I feel 
myself eased of a load of i>ublic care. I hope to spend the 
remainder of my days in cultivating the affections of good men, 
and in the i)ractice of the domestic Yirtues."' But how impos- 
sible it was for Wasliingtun to continue a mere private citizen, 
on the banks of the Potomac, solacing himself with the trancpiil 
enjoyments of home life, as he had promised himself and his 
friends, is evinced by a letter to Thomas JeflVrson, the following 
spring, iu which he returns with fresh zeal to the i)roject of 
national improvement " How far, upon mature consideration," 
he says, " I may depart from the resolution I had formed, of 
living perfectly at my ease, exempt from every kind of respotisi- 

bijity, it is more than I can at present al>solutely determine 

The trouble, if my situation at the time would permit me, to 
engage iu a work of this sort [the Potomac scheme] would be set 
at nought; and the immense advantages, which this country 
would derive from the measure, would be no small stimulus to the 
undertaking, if that undertaking could be ntade to comport with 
those ideas, and tiiat line of conduct, with which I meant to gliiie 
gently down tlie current of life, and it did not interfere with any 
other plan I might have in contemplation."-' The connection of 
this revival of public spirit with those recent explorations, with 

1. Stewart's Report, p. 2. Mur<h:ill's Life of \Va>hingt(.ii, V., p 9. 

2 Writin-s of \V:»>liington, IX., p. 1. 

3 Writings of Washington, IX., p. 3J. 


Governor Clinton,' in the I^Iohawk vtilley is slioun hy this allu- 
sion : "Iknow the Yorkrrs will ilc'ay no time to remove every 
obstaele in the way of the other eommuiiieation, so soon as the 
posts of Oswego and Niagara are surrendered." AVashingtim 
requests, jnoreover, that JefTer.-on sliould confer witii Tii(muis 
Johnson, formerly governor of Maryland, on this subject, as he 
liad been a warm promoter of the Potomac scheme belbre the 
Revolution broke out. 

In the light of these suggestions, we arc not surprised to find 
Washington soon actively engaged in furthering the cnter[irise 
for which, ten years before, he had enlisted the legislative sym[ia- 
thics of Virginia and had secured the hearty cooperation of Mr. 
Johnson of ^Maryland. Washington started on another tour to 
the west on the lirst of Sei)teniber, 1764, and was atjsent from 
liome a little more than a month. Ilis tour westward was less 
extensive tliau he had contemplated,- for the Indians were still 
dangerous, but he managed to traverse six hundred and eighty 
miles on horseback, and took careful notes in his journal of ail 
conversations with the settlers and other persons who were ac- 
quainted with the facilities for communication between east and 
west. There is an interesting fac-sin)ile, in Stewart's Report, of 
a maj) of the country between the waters of t!ie Potomac and 
those of the Youghiogheny and Mouongahela rivers, as sketched 

tit is highly characteristic of these two public spirits tliat they took 
oceasion to secure together 6,000 acres of land on the Mohawk river, 
(Montgomery County.) See Washington's will, Sparks, I.. ]i. 58-1, note 
(o). From a letter to Clinton of November 25, 1784, it would appear 
that tlie two friends had talked of buying up Saratoga Springs ! Writings 
of Washington, IX., p. 70. 

2 Washington had intended to make a trip down the Ohio as far as the 
Great Kanawha, for the purpose of inspecting his lands in that rcyion. 
We must not lose sight of Washington's business nature. "I am not 
going to e.xploro the country, nor am I in search of fresh lands, hut to 
secure what I have," writes he to Dr. Craik, July 10, 1784. But in this 
statement, Washington was not quite just towards his own motives, «» 
• events show. 


Dy Washington in 1TS4. A new route of portage, whicli lie desig- 
nates from Cinnberlund to the I'onghiogheny, does not deviate 
materially from the line afterwards taken by the Great National 
Koad. "Washington emj)loyed men at his own expense to explore 
the different ways of communication, and, from their detailed 
reports' and his own experience, he arrived at the conclusion 
that there were two practicable routes- to the Ohio valley, the one 
over tiie mountains from Cumberland, via Wills Creek and Penn- 
sylvania, which is now the Connellsville branch of the Baltimore 
and Ohio, or the so-called Pittsburgh, Washington, and Balti- 
more railroad, and the other through the mountains from Cum- 
berland, along the upi)cr Potomac, which is now the grand route 
to Wheeling and Parkersburgh, from which points the Baltimore 
and Ohio stretches its Briaiean arms to the Lakes and to the 
Father of Waters. 

But we seek the beginning of all this. The first results of 
Washington's tour of exploration a])pear in a letter to Benjamin 
Harrison, Governor of Virginia, dated the tenth of October, 1784, 
which we must regard as a fresh Au>^go.n(;^:>intnkl and the real 
historic beginning of the Potomac enterprise. With prophetic 
instinct, Washington seemed to realize the greatness of his 
scheme. "I shall ttike the liberty now, my dear Sir, to suggest 
a matter, which woidd (if 1 am not too short-sighted a politician) 
mark your administraticyi as an important era in the annals of this 
country if it should be recommended by you and adopted by the 
Assembly."-' Washington then proceeds to support by facts 
what had long been his " decided opinion," that the shortest and 

1 Two of these reports are reprinted Ly Stewart and are not to be found 
in Sparks' collection of Letters to Washington. 

2 See report of the Maryland and Virginia commissioners in regard to 
extending the navigation of the Potomac and constructing two roads to 
the wc>t, one through Pennsylvania, the other " wholly through Virginiii 
and Maryland," to Cheat river. Pickell, p. 45. Compare "Washington's 
letter to Madison, December 23, 1784. Stewart's Keport, p. 35. 

3 Writings of AVashington, IX., p. 58. 


least expeusivc route to the West was by way of the Potoniac. 
He takes Detroit as the supposed point of dei)artiire of trade 
from tlie nortliwest territory, and shows that the rutoinac con- 
nection is nearer tide-water than tlie St. Ijawreiice, by one lum- 
dred and sixty-eight miles, and nearer the West than the Hudson 
at Albany, by one hundred and seventy-six miles. Washington's 
calculation of distances, by way of Fort Pitt, a list which was 
appended to the above letter, is not reprinted in Sparks, but was 
copied by Stewart from the orignal manuscript, loaned him by 
General Mason of Virginia, i 

"Distances from Detroit to the several Atlantic sea ports. 

From Detroit, by the route through Fort Pitt and Fort Cumber- 
land: — 


To Alexandria, (or Washington City,) . . 607 

" Richmond, 840 

" riiiladeli)hia, 745 

" Albany, 943 

" New York, 1103 2" 

Washington points out to governor Harrison the prospect of 
Pennsylvania's opening up communication with Pittsburgh byway 
of the Susquehanna and Toby's Creek and then cutting a canal 
between the former and the Schuylkill river. lie says "a people 
who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who 
will pursue their advantages, may achieve almost anything," 
That Kew York also would join in "smoothing the roads and 
paving the ways for the trade of the ivestern world,^' Washington 
clearly foresaw. On this point, he says, "no person, who knows 

1 See Stewart's Keport, p. 2, or Pickcll's History of the rotomac Com- 
{iniiy, p. 174. 

2 Pittsburgh, the head of steamboat navigation on the Oliio, is now 
actually di.<tant from New York by Freiicii Creek, Lake Eric, and 
the Erie Canal, 784 miles. From Pittsburgh to Washington, by tiio 
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, it is ^40 miles. 



the temper, g-eniiis, and policy of those people as well as I do, can 
harbor the smallest doubt "^ Washington's language seems 
almost prophetic. 

The political imjiortance of establishing- commercial connections 
with the West seems to have im})ressed Washington most pro- 
foundly. He reminds Harrison how "the flanks and rear of the 
United Stales are possessed by other powers, and formidable ones 
too" [Spain and England.] He dwells upon the necessity of 
cementing all parts of the Union together by common interests. 
The Western States stand now, he says "upon a pivot." A 
touch would turn them. The stream of commerce would glide 
gently down the ^Mississippi unless shorter and easier channels 
were made for it to the Atlantic seaports. Washington urges 
that commissioners l»e appointed to make a careful survey of the 
Potomac and James rivers to their respective sources and that 
a comi)lete map of tlie wh.ole country intervening between the 
seaboard, the Ohio waters, and the Great Lakes, be presented to 
the public. "These things being done," he says, "I shall be 
mistaken if prejudice does not yield to f;icts, jealousy to candor, 
and, finally, if reason and nature, thus aided, do not dictate what 
is right and proper to be done." 

1 While advocating the Potomac route to a citizen of Maryland, Wa-h- 
ingtoi'. dcchires with patriotic fervor: "I am not for discouraging the 
exertions of any state to draw the commerce of the western country to its 
seaports. The more communications we open to it, the closer we bind 
that rising world (for, indeed, it may be so called) to our interests, and 
the greater strength we shall acquire by it." (See Marshall's Life of 
AVashingtnn, V., p 12.) 

To a member of Congress he expresses himself even more positively: 
«' For my own part, I wish sincerely every door of that country [the 
West] may be set wide open, and the commercial intercourse with it 
rendered as free and easy as possible. This, in my opinion, is the bent, if 
not the only cement, that can bind these People to us lor any length of 
time; and we shall be detlcicnt in foresight and wisdom if we neglect the 
means of etiecting it.'' 

Stewart's Re])ort, ]>. 7. Neither of these passages are to be found in 
Sparks' collection of the Writings of Washington. 


This letter to governor Harrison was brouii-lit before tlie leg^is- 
lature of Virginia, and public sjjirit in favor of the Potomac 
scheme was soon awakened. It became necessary to secure the 
cooperation of ^laryland and a i>erfect harmony of legislative 
action on the part of both states in chartering the ])roposed com- 
pany. A deputation, consisting of General Washington, General 
Gates, and Colonel Blackburn, was accordingly sent by the 
Virginia legislature to Annapolis, in December 1784, where they 
were received with distinguished honors A delegation was 
straightway appointed liy the legislature of Marylaiul to confer 
with the gentlemen from Virginia. Among the Maryland com- 
missioners was Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the man who was 
destined to see the historic development of that " enlarged plan," 
which Wa-hington had so early recummeudcd to Thomas Jolinsou 
of Maryland, for, on the fourth of July, 182S, this Nestor of 
American patriots, who had outlived all otiier signers of the 
Declaration of Independence, laid the first stone of the Baltinnjre 
and Ohio railroad. • 

It is not our purpose to write another history of the Potomac 
Company. That work has been done by Piekell Our object is 
to show the public spirit and |)ioneer influence of George AVash- 
ington in opening a channel of trade betvveen East and West. 
His suggestions were ado})ted by the commissioners; his views 
were embodied in their report to the legislatures of Maryland and 
Virginia; and this report was the basis of all sMbsequent legisla- 
tive action in regard to the proposed enterprise. Washington, 
moreover, introduced his plan to the notice of Congress, on ac- 
count of its political bearing in turning the channels of trade 

1 Charles Carroll of Carrollton was over ninety years old at the timo- 
the Baltimore and Ohio was founded. His speech to a friend on tliat 
occasion was not unworthy the bogiiiiiiag of railroad enterprise in this 
country: "I consider this among the ino-t important acts of my life, 
second only to my signing the Declaration of Inilrpfndence, if even it be 
second to that." IIi.-tory and Description of the Baltimore and Ohio 
Kailroad. By a Citizen of liallimore. 1863, }.. 20. 


away from Spanisli and British influence. "Extend the naviga- 
tion of the eastern waters;" he writes to a member of Congress, 
"coniniunieate tlicni as near as possible with those wliich run 
■u-estward — open those to the Ohio; open also such as extend 
from the Ohio toward Lake l']rie, and we shall not only draw the 
produce of the western settlers, but the peltry and the fur-trade of 
the lakes to our ports; thus adding- an immense increase to our 
exports, and binding these people lo ws hi/ a. chain ivhick can 
never he broken '' ^ Tliis was the first su^^gestion to Cong-ress of 
that policy of internal improvements, which, from the beginning of 
the National Road, in 18(JG, was followed up with considerable 
zeal, until General Jackson vetoed the Jlaysvillc Road, in 1829. 
The policy of Exploration and National Surveys, which our gov- 
ernracnt still adheres to, wjis likewise suggested by George Wash- 
ington, and that too in connection with the Potomac scheme. ^ 

The public spirit of George Washington is strikingly manifest, 
not only ii» these pioneer efforts for the good of our nation, but in 
a project which is so nearly connected with the Potomac enter- 
prise, that we must not pass it by, although the limits of this paper 
will not allow us a special treatment of the subject. Before the 
organization of the Potomac Company, of which George Wash- 
ington became the first president in 1785, continuing in odice 
until 1788,'* when he was elected president of the United States, 
the legislature of Virginia passed an act vesting George Wash- 
ington with one hundred and fifty shares in the proposed compa- 
nies for extending the navigation of the Potomac and James 

1 Mnrsliall's Lifr of Wiislnngton, Y., j). 14. It is a mistake to suppo-e 
that Wn.-liin;4ton did not approciate tlic importance of the JIi<>issiiipi to 
the United States, ami tlie triio interests of the country in olilaining a free 
navigation of that river He saw that this would come in good time. 
See Letter to K H Lee, July Id, 1787. 

2 See h-tter to llicliard iJenry Lee, President of Congress, 1784. 
"VVriliiigs of Washington, IX,, p. 80. 

3The second president of tlie Potomac Company was Thomas Johnson 
of Maryland, the man to wliom Washington addressed the letter of July 
20, 1770, suggesting "an euhirged plan" for the Potomac enterprise. 


rivers. This was doTie by tlie State of Virginia, tliroiij^li llieir 
representatives, who desired to testify " tlieir sense of tlie nn- 
exampled merits of Georu^-e Washington," and to make those great 
works for national irai)rovement wliieli were to be monnnients to 
his glory, at the same time " monuments also of the gratitude of 
his country." 

Washington, although deeply sensilile of the honor his eountry- 
raen had shown him, felt liimself much embarrassed by this sul)- 
stantial token of their good will and affection, and eonsciniently 
declined their offer, i\>v he wished, he said, to have his future 
actions "free and independent as the air." In a letter to Benja- 
min Harrison, Governor of Virginia, Washington, after a grace- 
ful tribute to the generosity of his native state, thus declares his 
position : " Not couicul with the bare consciousness of my having, 
in all this navigation business, acted upon the clearest conviction 
of the political importance of the measure, I would wish that 
every individual who may hear that it was a favorite plan of mine, 
may know, also, that I had no other motive for promoting it, than 
the advantage of which I conceived it would be productive to the 
Union, and to this State in particular, by cementing the eastern 
and western territory together 

" How would this matter be viewed, then, by the eye of the 
world, and what would be the opinion of it, when it comes to be 
related, that George Washington has received twenty thousand 
dollars and five thousand jjounds sterling of the public money as 
an interest therein ? Would not this, in the estimation of it, (if I 
am entitled to any merit for the part I have acted, and without it 
there is no foundation for the act), deprive me of the principal 
thing which is laudable in my conduct ?"i In a subsequent 
letter to Patrick Henry, Harrison's successor as governor of Vir- 
ginia, Washington s|)eaks of his original determination to accept 

1 Pickoll, p. ]35, or Writings of Wnsliiii-ton, IX., p. 84. Wasliin-- 
ton's private opinion as to the etloct tlje Potomac entiTpris(; wouM luivo 
in raising the value of his western lands, may be gathered from a ecun- 
purison of his Writings, IX., pp. 31, 99. 


no pay whatever for liis pulilic services: "When I was first called 
to the sfation witli whicH I was honored during the late conflict 
for our liberties, to the diflidence which I had so many reasons to 
feel in accepting it, I tliought it luy duty to join a Gria resolution 
to shut my hand against every pecuniary recompense. To this 
resolution I have invarial)ly adhered, and from it, if I had the in- 
clination, I do not feel at liberty now to depart " ^ But, in view 
of the earnest wishes of Patrick Henry and the legislature of Vir- 
ginia, that Washington's name might be identified with this great 
•scheme for public improvements, Washington finally consented to 
appropriate the shares, not to his own emolument, but for objects 
of a public nature. 

The shares that \Vashington received from the Potomac Com- 
pany seem to iiave eunstilulcd the material basis of his famuus 
plan for a National University. An examination of his corres- 
pondence with Ivlniund ]\andolph and Thomas JelFerson, reveals 
the fact that Washington's original pur])ose was to appropriate 
the Potomac and James river stock for the establishment of two 
charity schools, one on each of the above rivers for the education 
and support of the children of those men who had fallen in the 
defence of American liberty.- Afterwards, however, believing 
the stock likely to ])rove e.vtremely valuable, Washington deter- 
mined to employ the fifty shares, which he held in the Potomac 
Company, for the endowment of a National University, in the 
District of Cohunbia., "under the auspices of the general govern- 
ment." The one hundred shares wduch he held in the James 
River Company, were given to Liberty Hall Academy, iu Vir- 
ginia, now the Washington and Lee University. Although 
"VVasliington declared his conviction Jiat it would be far better to 
concentrate all the shares upon the establishment of a National 
University,'^ yet, from a desire to reconcile his gratitude to Yir- 

ll'lckoU, p. 143. 

2 Writings of Wnshin-ton, IX., jip. 116, 134. 

3 Writin-s of Wa.hinytoii, XL, p. 24. 


ginia witli a great pulilic good, }ie concludefl to divide tlio licqucst 
as above described. " I am dis])Osed to believe," lie writes to tl\e 
governor and legislature of A'irginia, "that a seminary of" learning 
upon an enlarged plan, but yet not coming up to the full idea (.f 
a university, is an institution to be preferred fur the jxisition 
vvliieh is to be chosen. The students, who wish to jtursue tlie 
whole range of science, moy jiass with advantage from the send- 
iiary to the University, and the former, Ijy a due relation, may be 
rendered coo]>erative with tlie latter." ^ 

The project of a National University was the favorite scheme 
of Washington's old age. It was more than an "enlarged i)h'\n ; " 
it was a "full idea." In these days of striving for a liroader 
knowledge of economic laws, for a better civil service, and for a 
thorouL^h understanding of tlie }iriuciples of legislation, is it not well 
to consider for a moment Washington's plan for "the education 
of our youth in the science of government?" Since it is purely 
a matter of fact tliat the most trusty and cfik-ient servants, of 
whom this country can boast, are trained at a governmental 
institution, which was suggested by George Washington in a 
speech to Congress, as second only to a National University, it is 
Lot unlikely that there may be some essence of ])olitical wisdom 
even in the latter project. Washington said " the art of war is 
at once comprehensive and complicated; it demands mucli ])re- 
Tious study." The American people found out some years ago, 
tliat Washington was right on that point, and they are now be- 
ginning to suspect, that even the art of government requires some 
previous study, and that, possibly, "a flourishing state of the arts 
and sciences contributes to national prosperity and reputation."^ 

Washington's letters, after 1794, are full of allusions to his new 
scheme, and he never tires of expatiating upon the advantages 
which would arise from a school of jjolitics where the future guar- 

1 Writings of Washinirton, XT., p. 24. 

2Speecli of Washin-tun tu Cuhgvu^s, December 7, 179C. Writings of 
Washington, XII., }.. 71. 


dians of liberty ml.alit receive their training;. But there is a 
passage in Washington's last will and tcstanieut, which sums up his 
views ui»on this iniporlant matter : " It has always beeu a source 
of serious regret with me," he says, " to see the youth of these 
United States sent to foreign countries for the purpose of educa- 
tion, often before their iniuds were formed, or they had imbibed 
any adequate ideas of the happiness of their own; contracting, 
too frequently, not only habits of dissipation and extravagance, 

hv\i principlei^ unfru'ndJy to republican govei-nment, 

which thereafter are rarely overcome; for these reasons it has 
been my ardent wish to see a plan devised, on a liberal scale, 
which would have a tendency to spread systematic ideas through 
all parts of this rising empire, thereby to do away with local 
attachments and State prejudices, as far as the natuie of things 
would, or indeed ought to admit, from our national councils. 
Looking anxiously forward to the accomplishmenl of so desirable 
an object as this is, (in my estimation), my mind has not been 
able to contemplate any plan more likely to effect the measure, 
than the establishment of a university in the central part of the 
United States, to which the youths of fortune and talents from all 
parts thereof may be sent for the completion of their educaliou 
in all branches of polite literature, in the arts and sciences, in 
acquiring knowledge in the principles of politics and good govern- 
mciit." 1 . . . . 

It was reserved for later times to see the establishment, not far 
from the borders of the Potomac, midway between North and 
South, and under the very shadow of Washington's monument, of 
an institution, wliich, if not national in name, is national, nay 
cosmopolitan, in spirit, and is striving to realize "the full idea of 
a university." 

It remains now for us to point out the connecting links between 
the Fast and I'reseut, between the pioneer schemes of George 

1 Wrilingi uf Washington, I., p. 571. Sec also XI., p. 3. 


"Washington, for opening np coniniunieatir.n witli the Great "West, 
and the raih-oad enterprise of to-day, whieli also is tlie ontgrowtli 
of pnblic spirit, and nut witiiout its inflnence npon tlie devclop- 
meut of this country or tlie permanent welfare of a rei)ublie of 
letters. Tlie work of clearing the I^otumac river from oljstrnc- 
tions was never fully carried out, and only one dividend was ever 
paid upon the stock invested. ^ But the Chesa})eake and Ohio 
Canal Company took up the enterprise and have achieved success. 
There is now perfect communication from tide-water to Cumljcr- 
land, along the line of tlie Potomac, and Washington's scheme is 
thus far realized. According to a report made by the president 
of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, in 1851, this work is 
■ considered "as merely carrying out in a more perfect form the 
design of General Washington, and as naturally resulting from 
the views and measures originally suggested and advocated by 
him.^' - 

But the true historic ouicomc of W-ashington's pioneer scheme 
must be sought fur, not simply in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, 
which starting at Cumberland, brings down coal from the moun- 
tains to the sea, but in that "enlarged plan," which regards 
Cumberland, as Washington surely did, merely as a stei)ping- 
stone to intercourse with the Ohio Valley, the Great Lakes, and 
the Far West. It is interesting to note, that, when the hope of 
ever constructing a canal over the Alleghany mountains was given 
up, in 1826, in consequence of the report of the French engineers, 
who had been employed to survey the proposed routes, the Balti- 
more and Ohio railroad enterprise was undertaken, at the sugges- 

1 Report of the Chfc.=apcake and Ohio CaTial, 1851, p. 20. Washington 
had such confidence in the Potomac Company that he rccomnu'ndt.'d Ins 
legatees to take each a share of the Potomac slock in his estate rattier 
tliaii the equivalent in money. He thought tlie income from tolls would 
be very large when navigation was once ojjened. The James River stock 
became productive in the course of a few years after Washiin,^ton's death. 
Writings of Washington. Note by Spari<s, XI , p. 4. 

2 Report oil the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, lb51, p. 20. 



tion of Philip E. Tlionins, wlio resigned liis ofTice as commissioner 
for jMarylaiid in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal project, and 
devoted himself, henceforth, to the task of winning- back for ]>alti- 
more the line of western trade, which had heen diverted from the 
Cnnd)erland road by the Erie Canal, which was completed in 
1825. In a re])ort on this subject to the enterprising spirit^ of 
Baltimore, by ]\Ir. Thomas, on the nineteenth of February, 1827, 
may be seen, not only the beginning of the first railroad enterprise 
in this country,! i^^ r^\^Q {]^Q revival of Washington's" i)ioneer 
suggestions concerning the best route from the seaboard to the 
West. The following extract from this report has an historic 
significance which, has never been duly emphasized, or even {)laced 
in its ])roper connections: "Baltimore lies two hundred miles 
nearer to the navigable waters of the West than New York, and 
about one hundred miles nearer to them th;in Philadelidiia : to 
^vhich may be addetl the important fact, that the easiest, and by 
far the most practicable route through the ridge of mountains, 
which divide the Atlantic from the Western waters, t> along the 
dc2)rest<ionfo7'med by the Potomac in ila passage through them.'''' ^ 
Philij) E. Thomas, a worthy successor of that enterprising spirit, 
Governor Johnson, of Maryland, who succeeded Washington as 
president of the Potomac Com])any, became the first president of 
the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. The legislature of Maryland 
voted the sum of $500,000, in 1828, for the eucourag-ement of the 
work. This was the first legislative aid ever given in this country 

1 TJireo miles of traiuwny, constructed in 1827, from the granite quar- 
ries to tlie wliarves at l^iiincy, ilassachusetts, ean hardly bo called a mil. 
road eiiierprUe, any more tlian can the quarry tramw-iys of England, 
whicli existed long before the opening- of the tirst railroad in the world, 
from Manchester to Liverpool, in 1830, the same year as the opening of 
the Baltimore and Ohio, from this city to Ellicotts iMills, distant fourteen 
miles. A locomotive engine was, however, tirst used on the (Juincy 
road, in 181^9. The same was im| orted from England, where they were 
just euniing into use upon quarry-tramways. 

2Hi>tury and D.'^eriptioti of the Baltiu'iore Ohio Eail Road. By 
R Citizen of Jkiltimore. 1833. }.. ll>. 


to railroad enterprise. An appropriation of $1,000,000 was after- 
wards reeomineuded for it by committees in both liuuses of Con- 
gress, but tlie bill failed to pass, owing to the Dpposilion of 
General Mercer,^ president of the Chesa[teake and Ohio Canal 
Company and chairman of the committee on roads and canals. 
But our Government detailed 'West Point graduates to aid in 
engineering tliis work, which lias proved of truly national import- 
ance and a woi'thy outcome of the National Koad. As this conn- 
try is indebted to George "Washington for the suggestion of both 
this work and of a military academy, where engineers are trained 
for the public service, it would seem as though, in one way or 
another, all lines of })ublic policy lead us back to Washington, as 
all roads lead to Rome. 

The connection of the IJaltimore and Ohio with Washington's 
scheme for opening up the West to trade and commerce, cannot 
be disputed upon the ground that the application of steam revo- 
lutionized locomotion and the routes of travel. Steam had nothing 
whatever to do with the inception of the Baltimore and Ohio, for 
the first locomotive power emi»loyed on this road, the first division 
of which was opened in 1S30, was horse power. The Liverpool 
and Manchester road was opened the same year, and locomotive 
engines soon came into general use, but, on the IJaltimore and 
Ohio, cars were first drawn, like canal Ijoats, by horses and mules. 
The transitional character of this IJaltimore enterprise is still 
further illustrated by the fact, that Evan Thomas rigged up a 
railway-car with sails, which was called the "Aeolus," and was 
pronounced a great success — on windy days. Baron Krudener, a 
Russian envoy to this country, about tlie time the experiment was 
made, was so delighted with the invention, that he said he would 
like to send over all his staff from Washington "to enjoy sailing 
on the railroad." The subsequent introduction of railways into 
Kussia and the oflicial patronage extended to Boss Winans, of 

1 Uistory and Description of the Bultinioro and Ohio Kallroad, p. 22 


Baltimore, for liis mcclinnical inventions, are largely due to the 
glowing accounts of Aiiiei-ican enterprise given by Baron Kru- 
dencr, after his return to St. Petersburg. But Ross Winans' 
invention of ))0wcrful locomotives and friction-wheels, did not 
originate the Baltimore and Ohio. They were the result of pre- 
miums oflVred to the inventive genius of America by Philip E. 
Thomas and his colleagues. 'J'he oi>ening of a railroad, or of 
some better means of communication with the ^Vest than portage 
over the Cumberland road, became a living necessity for the mer- 
chants of ]5altiuiore after the Erie Canal had turned the current 
of western trade. It was positively a struggle for commercial 
existence. The construction of tramways, the use of horse power 
and of sails, and the final apjilication of steam, and Ross Winans' 
inventions, were Init a process of natural selection, and only the 
fittest lias survived. But the historic germ of this wonderful evo- 
lution is Washington's itioueer scheme for oitening up a channel 
of trade to the West by way of the Potomac. Of course external 
influence was necessary. Tiic channels of enterjjrise must always 
be kept oi)Cn, like the Suez Canal, by the constant effort of men. 
The original idea of Washington concerning the Potomac route 
has become an " enlarged plan." A road (o (he icet<(ern icale-rs 
is the leading idea, from first to last, in the Reports of the Balti- 
more and Ohio railroad. Tliis was the thought of IMiilip E. 
Thomas, and it is the thought to-day, for tiiere are still iresley-n 
icalers. "J'he completion of " the great national route " to the 
Mississippi, was announced in 1857, and, in that year, occurred 
one of the greatest railway celebrations^ this country has ever 

iBook of Great llaihsay Celebrations in 1857. By William Prescott 
Smith. On pages 215-10 tliere is an interesting speech, delivered by 
Mr. George Hancrof't, at the celebration in Cincinnati. His glowing 
tribute to Baltimore nuist not be forgotten: "This great work is em- 
phatically the work of the City of Baltimore, and it may almost be said 
of Baltimore alone, for it was carried on without much favor from its 
own State, and sometimes in conflict with the rivalrv (.f its neighbors. 
Kor is ihia all the murvcl. The work in ito completeness has cost more 


witnessed, for tliree grand routes, the Ijaltiniore and Ohio to 
Paikersburg, tlie Marietta and Ciiieinnali from j'arkerslturg, 
and the Ohio and Mississippi from Cincinnati to St. Luiiis, were 
simultaneously ended and formed into " a cliain which can never 
be broken," as Washington once said of coniniercial enterprise 
between the East and West. The route wliich he suggested is 
now indeed "becoming the channel ot the extensive and valuable 
trade of a rising empire " 

13y the waters of the Potomac, near our Nation's Capitul, there 
stands an unfinished monument, which, fur the credit of this coun- 
try, is sometimes said to symbolize the incompleteness of \Vash- 
ington's fame. All great facts in Washington's life are like an 
unfinished monument, if viewed in themselves alone, but the his- 
toric iiillueiice of great i'acts and grand ideas will liuw on like tiie 
Potomac, ever widening in their course and deepening new chan- 
nels continually. The river of trade, which Washington sought 
to open, has now become a vast flood of commercial enterprise, 
seeking a quick way to the sea past the Monumental City, which 
in art, science, and the encouragement of i)ublic good, is more 
truly grateful to Washington's memory than the city which bears 
his name. 

than $31,000,000, nnd was entered upon with a brave heart and at a 
time when the real and personal property of Baltimore was less than 
§27,000,000. But Baltimore was always brave. In the gloomiest hour 
of the American Revolution, her voice of patriotism was loud and clear — 
her conduct an example to sister cities ; and when has she been wanting 
to the cause of civil or religious freedom? . . . She is called the ^Monu- 
niental City. Her column rises as a memorial of the Father of his coun- 
try; but this is her own monument. It spans the AUeghanies; it reaches 

from the waters of the Atlantic to the bosom of the Ohio \V<! 

celebrate the opening of the direct communication between Baltimon-, 
Cincinnati, and St. Louis. The occasion is one of great national inten'.-t. 
The system of roads hinds indissolubly together the East and the Wi'.-t. 
.... How would Washington have exulted, could he but have scii 
his great and cherished idea of an international highway carried out witli 
a perfection and convenience which surpa^^sed the power of "lis century 
to imagine ! " 


The >rAnYLAND Instructions. 

"Insfruclioui^ of (lie General Assemhhj of Maryland, to George 
Plater, William Faca, William Carmicliacl, John Henry, 
James Forbes, and Daniel of Si. Thomas Jenifer, Esqrs:^ 

" Gentlemen, Having' coiiferred upon you a trust of the liigliest 
nature, it is evident we i)lace great confidence in your integrity, 
abilities and zeal to i)roniotc tlie general welfare of the United 
States, and the particular interest of this state, where the latter 
is not inconipatiljle with the fornicr ; Ijut to add greater weight 
to your proceedings in Congress, and to take away all suspicion 
that the opinions yon there deliver, and the votes you give, may 
be tlie mere opinions of individuals, and not resulting from your 
knowledge of ilie sense and delilterate judgment of the state you 
represent, we think it our duty to instruct you as followeth on the 
subject of the confederation, a sulyect in which, unfortunately, a 
supposed diSbrence of interest has produced an almost equal divi- 
sion of sentiments among the several states composing^ the union: 
AVe say a sujiposed dillerence of interests ; for, if local attach- 
ments and jtrejudices, and the avarice and ambition of individuals, 
would give way to the dictates of a sound policy, founded on the 
principles of justice, (and no other policy but what is founded on 
those immutable princijdes deserves to be called sound,) we flatter 
ourselves this ap[)arcnt diversity of interests would soon vanish; 
and all the states would confederate on terms mutually advan- 
tageous to all ; for they would then perceive that no other con- 
federation than one so formed can be lasting. Although the 
pressure of immediate calamities, the dread of their continuance 
from the appearance of disunion, and some other peculiar circum- 
stances, may have induced some states to accede to the present 

ISec Journula of Congress, III., pp. iiSl-3. 


confederation, contrary to tlicir own interests and jiulirments, it 
requires no great slicre of foresiglit to ])re(lict, that when thusc 
causes cease to operate, tlie states wliicli liavc thus neiMMlcd to 
the confederation will consider it as no longer binding, and will 
eagerly embrace the first occasion of asserting their ju^t ri-jhts 
and securing their inde})cndcnce. Is it possible that tlio-c states, 
who are ambitiously grasping at territories, to which in our judg- 
ment they have not the least sliadow of exclusive right, will use 
with greater moderation the increase of wealth and power derived 
from those territories, wl)cn acquired, than what they have dis- 
played in their endeavours to acquire then)? we think n<»t ; we 
are convinced the same spirit mIucIi hath prompted them to inlist 
on a claim so extravagant, so repugnant to every princi[ile of 
justice, so incompatible with the general welfare of all the states, 
will urge them on to add oppression to injustice. If they should 
not be incited by a superiority of wealth and strength to oppress 
by open force their less wealthy and less powerful neighbours, yet 
the depopulation, and consequently the impoverishment of those 
states, will necessarily follow, which by an unfair construction of 
the confederation may be stripped of a common interest in, and 
the common benefits derivable from, the western country. Sup- 
pose, for instance, Virginia indisputably possessed of the exten- 
sive and fertile country to which she has set up a claim, what 
would be the probable consequences to Maryland of such an 
undisturbed and undisputed possession ? they cannot esca})e the 
least discerning. 

" Yii'ginia, by selling on the most moderate terms a small pro- 
portion of the lands in question, would draw into her treasury 
vast sums of money, and in proportion to the sums arising from 
such sales, would be enal^led to lessen her taxes: lands compara- 
tively cheap and taxes comparatively low, with the lands ami 
taxes of an adjacent state, would quickly drain the state thus dis- 
advantageously circumstanced of its most useful inliabitants, its 
wealth; and its consequence in the scale of the confederated 


states would sink of course. A claim so injurious to more tlia 
oiie-lialf, if not to the wliole of the United States, ought to be 
supported by the clearest evidence of the right. Yet what evi- 
dences of that right have been produced? what arguments alleged 
in support either of the evidence or the right; none that we have 
heard of dc,--erving a serious refutation. 

"It has been said that some of the delegates of a neighbouring 
state have declared their opinion of the im-practicabilily of gov- 
erning the extensive dominion claimed by that state : hence also 
the necessity was admitted of dividing its territory and erecting 
a new state, under the ausi)ices and direction of the elder, from 
whom no doubt it would receive its form of government, to whom 
it would be bound by some alliance or confederacy, and by whose 
councils it would be iullucnced : such a measure, if ever astemiited, 
would certainly be oj^posed by the other states, as inconsistent 
with the letter and spirit of the proposed confederation. Should 
it take itlace, by establishing a sub-confederacy, imperium in 
impcrio, the state possessed of this extensive dominion must 
then either submit to all the inconveniences of an overgrown and 
unwieldy government, or sutler the authority of Congress to inter- 
l)ose at a future time, and to lop off a part of its territory to be 
erected info a new and free state, and admitted into the confed- 
eration on such conditions as shall be settled by nine states. If 
it is necessary for the happiness and trancpiillity of a state thus 
overgrown, that Congress should hereafter interfere and divide 
its territory; why is the claim to that territory now made and so 
])ertinaeiously insisted on ? we can suggest to ourselves but two 
motives; either the declaration of relinquishing at some future 
period a portion of the C(Hiutry now contended for, was made to 
lull susjiicion asleep, and to cover the designs of a secret ambition, 
or if the thought was seriously entertained, the lands are now 
claimed to reap an immediate profit from the sale. AVe are con- 
vinced policy and justice reipiire that a country unsettled at the 
commencement of this war, claimed by the British crown, and 


ceded to it by tlie treaty of Paris, if wrested from the eonnuoii 
enemy by the blood and treasure of the thirteen states, should bo 
considered as a common i)ro)>erty, subject to be parcelled (Uit by 
Congress into free, convenient and independent yiivcrninents, in 
such mauncr and at such times as the wisdom of that assenddy 
shall hereafter direct. Thus convinced, we should betray the 
trust reposed in us by our constituents, were we to authorize you 
to ratify on' their behalf the confederation, unless it be fariher 
ex])]ained: we have coolly and dispassionately considered the 
subject; we have weighed probable inconveincnces and hardships 
against the sacrifice of just and essential rights; and do instruct 
you not to agree to the confederation, unless an article or articles 
be added thereto in conformity with our declaration : should wo 
succeed in otitaiuing sui'h article or articles, then you are hereliy 
fully empowered to accede to the confederation. 

"Tliat these our sentiments respecting the confederation may be 
more publicly known and more explicitly and concisely declared, 
we have drawn up the annexed declaration, which we instruct you 
' to lay before Congress, to have it printed, and to deliver to each 
of the delegates of the other states in Congress as-erabled, copies 
thereof, signed by yourselves or by such of you as may be present 
at the time of the delivery; to the intent and purpose that the 
copies aforesaid may l)e communicated to our brethren of the 
United States, and the contents of the said declaration taken into 
their serious and candid consideration. 

"Also we desire and instruct you to move at a proper time, that 
these instructions be read to Congi-ess by their secretary, and 
entered on the journals of Congress. 

" We have spoken with freedom, as becomes freemen, and we 
sincerely wish that these our representations may make such an 
impression on that assendjly as to induce them to make such 
addition to the articles of confederation as may bring about a 
permanent union. 

"A true copy from the proceedings of December 15, 117S. 

Test, T. DUCKKTT, C. II. D." 




;Maryland\s Accession to the Confederation. 

"An act to empon-cr the DcU'untrs of this Slate in Congress to 
siibscribe and ratify the Articles of Confederation.'^ 

"Whereas it liatli been said Uial tlie common enemy is encour- 
aged by thi.s state not acceding to the confederation, to hope that 
tlie union of the sister states may be dissolved ; and therefore 
prosecutes tlie war in expectation of an event so disgraceful to 
America; and our friends and illustrious ally are impressed witli 
an idea tliat the common cause would be promoted by our form- 
ally acceding to tlic confederation: this general assembly, con- 
scious that this state hath, from the commencement of the war, 
strenuously exerted herself in the common cause, and fully satis- 
fied that if no formal confederation was to take place, it is the 
fixed determination of this state to continue her exertions to tho 
utmost, agreeable to the faith jjledged in the union ; from an 
earnest desire to conciliate the alfection of the sister states; to 
convince all the world of our unalterable resolution to support 
the independence of the United States, and the alliance with his 
most Christian majesty, and to destroy forever any apprehension 
of our friends, or ho})e in our enemies, of this state being again 
united "to Great-Britain. 

" Be it enacted l)y the general assembly of ^Maryland, that the 
delegates of this state in Congress, or any two or three of them, 
shall be, and are hereby, empowered and required, on behalf of 
this state, to subscribe the articles of confederation and perpetual 
union between the states of New-IIampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, 
Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New- 
York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Yirginia, 
North- Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia, signed in the gen- 

1 Juurnuls of Congress, III., pp. 576-7. 


eral Congress of the said states by tlie lion. Ifenry Laurens, esq. 
their then president, and laid i)crore the lea:islatiire of this state 
to be ratified if approved. And that the said articles of eonfed- 
eration and perpetual union, so as aforesaid suljscriljed, shall 
henceforth be ratified and become conclusive as to this state, and 
obligatory thereon. And it is hereby declared, that, by acceding 
to the said confederation, this state doth not relinquish, or intend 
to relinquish, any right or interest she hath, ".vith the other united 
or confederated states, to the back country; but claims the same 
as fully as was done by the legislature of this state, in their decla- 
ration, which stands entered on the journals of Congress; this 
state relying on the justice of the several states hereafter, as to 
the said claim made by this state. 

"And it is lurther declared, that no article in the said confed- 
eration, can or ought to bind this or any other state, to guarantee 
any exclusive claim of any ])articular state, to the soil of the said 
back lands, or any such claim of jurisdiction over the said lands 
or the inhabitants thereof. 

"By the House of Delegates, January 30th, 1181, read and 
assented to, By order, F. GREl^N, Clerk. 

"By the Senate, February 2d, ITSl. Bead and assented to. 
By order, JAS. MACCUBBIX, 67<^rA\ 

TUO. S.LEE. (L. S.)" 


Pelatiau Webster's Views on our Territorial Common- 
wealth IN 178 L 

Pelatiah Webster was that " able though not conspicuous 
citizen," to whom Madison ascribes the credit of first publicly 
suggesting, that the Old Congress should call a Continental Con- 
vention, for the purpose of revising and enlarging congressionul 


powers. 1 Curtis, in liis History of tiie Constitution, after quot- 
iii^^' Madison's stntcincnt concerning the jtionecv character of 
Pclatiah Webster's ))anii)lilet, published at the scat of Congress 
in May, HSl, sini])]}- remarks: "Recent researclies have not 
added to our knowh'dge of tliis writer."- Curtis makes no 
mention of Pelatiuli Webster's "Political Essays on the Nature 
find Operation of Money, Public Finances, and other subjects," 
published during the American War and collected in 1101. A 
coi)y of this sonuwhat rare bodk has recently come into the 
possession of the authoi', and is found to contain, among other 
valuable [lapcrs, an essay on the Western Lands, first published 
in Phiiadeliihia, Aiiril 25, 1781, not quite a month, therefore, 
after Maryland's Accession to the Confederation. Pelatiah 
AVebster's views upon ilie suliject of our Terrihuial Cumniun- 
wealth are so strikingly similar to the ideas originally advanced 
by Maryland, tlial they will be read with interest, and are 
deserving of profound respect, for Pelatiah Webster seems to 
have been, not only an American type of Adam Smith, in ques- 
tions of i»olitical economy, but a power behind the scenes, in 
Philadelphia, the seat of the old Congress. In an essay, by 
Noah Webster, on the Origin of the l>ank, Pelatiah Webster is 
sjioken of as " an old, intelligent merchant of Philadel[)hia, wiiose 
practical know'edge of money concerns gave him great influence, 
and whose opinions were often consulted by the gentlemen of 

Noah Webber, according to Madison, was one of the first to 
suggest a national governmrnt acting upon individuals; and it 
may yet appear that Pelatiah Webster had some hand in the in- 
tellectual frame-work of our Constitution, for his dissertation on 
the Political Union and Constitution of the Thirteen United 

1 Miuli^oii Vn\n-r<, p]). 70G-7. S.^e also Note 172 hv Madison's editor. 

2 History of tiir Cun>lituti(.ii of the Uiiitod States, J., p 351. 
3ColUvtioii of Paprr- on I'uiillca!, Literary, and Moral Subjects. By 

h'oah Wobilcr. New York, \bU, p. 1G3. 


States of Xortli Amovica, fii'sl ])nl)lislica at Pliiladclpliia, in ITS:!. 
must, at tliat time, have exercised consideralile iiilliHucc, and il 
is uot oltogctlier without suggestive ideas, even for modern iioliii- 
cal reformers. 

The following brief selections from IMatiali Webster's essay on 
"Western T^ands ' will serve to indicate its scojic and teudr: 
'"J'hc whole territory or extent of the Thirteen Stales is the 
aggregate of them all, i. e., the territoiT or extent of each u\' tin- 
States added togetlier, make the whole territory or extent of 
riglit and dominion of the United States; and, of course, what- 
ever is comprehended within the boundaries of e;ich State, now 
makes a ])art of our Commonwealth. This is to be considered 
as our present possession, our present decided right, which is 
guarantied tons by the treaty with France (Article XI.) together 
with ' any additions or conquests, wliich our Confederation may 
obtain during the war from any of the dominions now or hereto- 
fore possessed by Great Britain in Xoi'th America.' .... 

"It is further to be noted here, that with respect to Virginia, 
and some other governments, which either never had any charters, 
or whose charters have been surrendtred to the crown, that the 
soil and Jiiritidicliun of them were bolh in the crown, and there- 
fore the King ever claimed the right to make new grants of soil, 
and carve out and establish any new jurisdictions or governments 
which he thought exiiedient, and on this principle actually did 
carve Maryland and part of Pennsyloania out of Virginia ; how 
justly I am not to say; but this does not hinder Virginia from 
taking her departure from lier eastern boundary on the sea-coast, 
and covering all the lands within her limits (not included in these 
carvalures) to her utmost western boundary. 

IThe exact title of this essay is " Tlie Extent ami Value of ,.iir W^'St'TU 
unlocatfd Lands and the \)vo]v-r Metlmd of dispoMnLr of them, so a> to 
giiin the greatest i>ossible Advanta-.' from lliem '' It nin-t U- <la-M(l 
with Tliomas Paim-'s Public Good (IT.sO) and with Plain Facts (ITM) a-^ 
con.-tituling the chief painphli-t-HteraUu-e, rehumg to the land cntr.'- 

122 ■ ■ 

-" It is, indeed, to be ol)Scrycd here, tlint asceiiaiuing the 
buiiudaries of any State, does nut prove tlic iille or right of such 
State to all lamh ineludcd witliin such bonndaries. There is a 
distinction to be made Ijetween those lands wliich liave been 
alienated by the croivn, tlie title of which, at the date of our in- 
dependence, was not in the crown, but vested in particular per- 
sons, eitlier sole or aggregate, and those which remained in the 
crown, the title of which the crown then held in right of its 
sovereignty, which was a right vested in the supreme authority, 
in nature of a trust for the use of the public. 

" There is no doubt but every right and title of all persons and 
bodies politic are as efl'ectually secured and confirmed to the 
owners, to all intents and purposes, under the Commonwealth, as 
they were fMrnicrly under tlie crown; but it cannot be udiailted 
that any individual or bodies politic should accjuire new rights 
by the Revolution, to which they were not entitled under the 

'Indeed, in all revolutions of government which have ever 
happened in Europe, and, perhaps, in the whole world, all crown- 
lands, Jewels, nm\ all other estate which Ijelonged to the supreme 
power which lost the government, ever passed by the revolution 
into the supreme power which gained it 

" Nor can I see the least pretence of reason, why we should 
depart from a rule of right grounded on the most i)lain and 
natural fitness, adopted by evciy nation in the world under like 
circumstances, and justified and confirmed by the experience and 
sanction of ages. I think that nothing but our unacquaintedness 
with the heights to which we are risen, the high sphere in which 
we now move, and an incajjacity of viewing and judging of things 
on a great scale, could give rise to so extravagant an idea, as that 
one Stale should be more entitled than another to the crown- 
lands, or any other pro})erty of the crown, which ever was in its 
nature public, and ought to continue so, or be dis[)osed of fur the 
use and benefit of the whole i)ublic community; or that one State 


sliould acquire more riglit, or properly, or estate than another, l)y 
tliat Revolution Avliicli was the joint ad, iirocnied and jierlVeted 
by {]\Q jinnt effort and e.rpen^e of the wliole. We have too long 
and too ridiculously set up to be wiser than all the world Ix'sides, 
and too long- refused to l^e instructed by the experience of other 

J Political Essays by I'clatiiih Webster, rhlludelpliiu, 1791, pp. ^8:^90.