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left to await the issue of such measures as congress might adopt, relative to landed titles in the territory of Michigan generally. It therefore now remains for the congress of the United States either to refuse a fanction of the arrange ment made, or by imparting a regular authority to make it, or in some other mode in their wisdom deemed proper, to relieve the inhabitants from one of the most immediate distresses, occafioned by the calamitous conflagration.
Strongly impressed with a fenfe of the worth of the people, and deeply commiferating their sufferings, of a great part of which they were eye witnefi es, the officers of their local government cannot refrain from adding their warmest degree of recommendation to forward the liberality the congress of the United States will unquestionably be inclined to exercise towards them; and the disposition which will doubtless prevail towards attaching their affece tions, promoting their interefts, and relieving their distress. Whether a donation of the acquifitions which have been ftated, or of lands more remote, or the application of the proceeds to publick purposes within the country, will be most advisable, the underfigned pretend not to fay ; but whatever relief may be extended to them on the part of the general government, they helitate not to affert, will be of the most eflential utility to them, and rendered to objects of real merit.
The organization of the courts of justice next demanded confideration. A judicial system was established on principles of convenience, economy, and fimplicity. Courts were held under it, and all the existing business fettled. Every subject requiring to be legislated upon was acted on, as far as the government was competent to act. At the close of the other arrangements, the militia of the territory were completely organized and brought into the field.
The various acts, both of a legislative and executive defcription, will appear at large in the semiannual report of them, which the laws of the United States require, and it will therefore be unnecessary to exhibit the details of them.
The grand juries constantly presented addreffes to the courts on the subject of their land titles. The several companies of militia, elected delegates to a general meeting, which, among other objects, addrefled the government on the subject of their titles; and earnestly requefted the personal attendance of the governour and one of the judges, during a part of the fefsion of congress. Indeed the confused situation of land titles, during the nine or ten years the United States have had poffefsion of the country, has been fuch, and is so increasing by lapse of time, as now loudly to call for a definitive adjustment.
It is now nearly a century and a half since the first settlements were made in this country, under the French government, and in the reign of Louis the fourteenth, whose name it then bore, in common with what has since exclus fively been termed Louifiana. In 1673, an officer, commissioned by the French government, explored the waters of the wett; taking his departure from lake Michigan, he penetrated to the Ouisconsin river, and afterwards to the Miffiflippi, and returned through the Illinois country, after having failed down the Miffiflippi within one degree of latitude of the southern boundary of the United States, previous to the late treaty of Paris, of April, 1803, and that anteriour to the discovery of the mouth of the Miffiffippi by La Salle. Prior to this era the settlements of the straight had commenced, and Detroit claims an antiquity of fifteen years fuperiour to the city of Philadelphia. The few titles granted by the government of France were of three French acres in front, on the banks of the river, by forty in depth, fubject to the feudal and feignoral conditions, which usually accompained titles in France. The ancient French code called la coutume de Paris was the established law of the country ; and the rights of land were made ftrictly conformable to it. All these grants, however, required the grantee, in a limited period, to obtain a confirmation from the king ; and, with the exception of a very few, this confirmation has never been made. On the conquest of the French poffeffions by Great-Britain, in the war which terminated by the treaty of Paris in the year 176%, as well in original articles of capitulation in 1759 and in 1760, a.
in the subsequent treaty itself, the property of the inhabitants of the coc confined to them. The expression in the original is, leurs biens,nobles et meubles et immeubles. It is therefore conceived to comprehend the On the acquisition by the United States of America of that portion o da which is now comprehended within the limits of the territory of M by the definitive treaty of peace, at Paris, in 1789, the fubje&s of his nick majefty are secured from loss, or damage in perfon, liberty, or prep and in the treaty of London, negociated between Mr. Jay and lord Gron in November, 1794, they are still more particularly confirmed in the perty of every kind, land, houses, or effects. However defective, that the class of original proprietors may be, with respect to the evidence of according to the American forms, it is conceived their rigbts are extra strong. The British government granted few titles, and there were gaat mere permissions of military officers to use or occupy certain pieces of often unaccompanied with any written evidences, but afTuming, from logga tinued poffefliori, an appearance of right. Under the American govern no titles of any kind have been granted.
From this state of things fome consequences have resulted, which are indeed difficult to foresee, but which it is difficult to remedy. One of the confequences, and perhaps not the least important, is the effect it has hade the destiny and moral character of the progeny of the original colors When it is remembered, that the troops of Louis the fourteenth, came to out women, the description of persons constituting the second generation i not be difficult to conceive. When it is considered at the fame time, it destitute of titles to land, they were precluded from the means of acquz them, it will be obvious that an entrance into the savage societies, or a employments in the commerce carried on with them, were their only relers. While, therefore, the American colonizations of the fame, and of fabregat date, have grown into regular, agricultural, and opulent states, these courti have been destined to anarchy, to ignorance, to poverty. The criga, whom curiosity, or enterprise, at any time brought into the country, either attracted to the British fide of it, or disappeared in some mode les czy to account for. Accession, hy foreign population, and by natural increak, being thus, at once cut off, the fate of this fine region has necessarily bees that insignificance which still belongs to it. The British government, in recent pe riods, have confirmed original proprietors, made a donation of a quantity cqual to the original grant, termed a continuation ; and have granted lands to settles without any other price than common fees of office attending the acquifitina of the grant. Such, however, is the inestimable value of liberty to man, that notwithstanding there, and, if poflible, greater inducements to the settlers, the undersigned venture to prediet a marked fuperiority to the American fide, exen at the prices at present required by the American government, or a slight rariation of them, if the old claims are at once adjusted, and the country laid open to the acquisition of new title.
From the state of the country which has been represented, another com quence has resulted. Encroachments, in some instances, grafted on original title, and in others without a semblance of title, have been made on lands which are or ought to be, the property of the United States. Individuals have proceeded to extinguish the native right, contrary to the regulations of all the governments; and in some instances extensive settlements bave beea made on titles thus acquired. What arrangements the United States will make on this head it belongs not to us to anticipate ; we thall only recommend a liberal and merciful disposition to the people of this country; of whom it may be safely aflerted they are lefs to be charged with depravity of character, than their governments have been with cruel neglect and indifference.
The claims of the present inhabitants require to be considered under one Bore aspect, novel indeed, but not the less founded in truth. When the Amer
rican comes into contact with the aborignal, if he is not considered as an enemy, he is at leaft regarded as a character with whom they are to struggle, and, if in no other, certainly in a pecuniary view. But the Canadian, allied by blood, by long established intercourse, by a countless reciprocity of services, their native claims having long, as to time, been extinguished and their honour and good faith having been repeatedly pledged for his protection, is uniformly regarded as their brother, and with him they are disposed to make a common cause. Hence justice, and liberal justice, to the Canadian inhabitant is an important point of policy in the conduct of the American government towards the aboriginal inhabitants.
The extent of the Canadian extinguishment of Indian title, though in itself indefinite, appears first to have received limits in the treaty of fort Mac Intosh, in 1785. We there first find a written dereliction of Indian claim for a breadth of fix miles from La Riviere aux Raisins, now called Rofine, on lake Erie, to the lake St. Clair. In the subsequent treaty of fort Harmar in 1789, the same dereliction is confirmed. In the ulterior treaty of Greenville, in 1795, the confirmation is repeated, and additions made.
The treaty with Great Britain, of 1783, and the subsequent one of 1794, were made for the accomplishment of great national objects, having very lita tle connection with Canadian and Indian claims. The treaties of fort Mac Intosh, fort Harmar, and of Greenville, were all formed on other far more important points ; and the quantity of extinguished Indian title in Michigan recognized by them is lels to be considered as an acquifition of new title, than a definition of the old. The expense of these negociations therefore can scarcely be said, in any sense, to attach to this country ; and perhaps it may be truly said that all the Indian title at prefent extinguished within the territory of Michigan has not cost the United States a single dollar; but is entirely a recognition of a previous, but indefinite title, extinguished by the Canadians. Hence a question will arise, whether it is more than barely justice to the inhabitants to allow them the whole of this part, or otherwise to permit the proceeds of it to be applied to their benefit,in the education of their youth, in the erection of publick buildings, such as court houses and jails, which the late conflagration has entirely deprived them of, and in laying out roads, and other improvements in their country: Next to the adjustment of the old titles comes the acquisition of new. It is believed that at this period, and in a particular mode, a very large portion of lodian title may be shortly extinguished; but as this part of the subject may hereafter bc deemed confidential, it is made the subject of a distinct report.
On an occasion like the present it may not be unadvisable to revise some of the regulations relative to the territory.
On all the subjects requiring legiflation the present government act with difficulty, and on many cannot act at all. All laws will be found to operate on particular places, times, and persons ; and in no ftate, which enters into the composition of the American union, will an abstract code of principles be dir. covered free from a connection, and that a very close one, with the places, times, and perfons affected by them. Hence the strict adoption of any code, or even of any one law,becomes impossible. To make it applicable it moft be adapted to the geography of the country, to its temporary circumstances and exigencies, and to the particular character of the perfons over whom it is to operate. Hitherto it has been religiously the object to follow what has been deemed the fubftance of the law, whatever modifications the form of it was obliged to undergo. But different minds will not always correspond in fenti. ment on what is substance, and what is form ; and in all the litigations which arise under laws, those affecting the validity of the law itself are the moft intricate and difficult. Hence, in a country whose administration ought to be marked with fimplicity, intricacy, procrastination, and uncertainty in affairs, sesult. To adopt laws from all the original staiss, the laws of all the original
Vol. III. Appendix.
ftates ought to be furnished ; and waving the difficulty and expense of practing them, what body of men, under the preffure of immediate bufiness, car quire a complete acquaintance with them? The potreffion of all the codes it were poflible, and a complete aquaintance with their contents, would prove an abortive cure ; for, in many very fimple cases, a strict precedent r. be searched for in vain. Is the object to establish a ferry, to regulate tbe za of any district, to erect a court house, or to institute a fchool, however DTC the call, however obvious the means, it must often be abandoned for fast a precedent that will apply ; and often when attempted, may be deieze from the wait of a strict corretpondence between the law made and the pe ecdent from which it profeffles to be adopted ? The real security for the prevalence of republican principles rests not in a provifion of this awkward king: for even in the codes of the states the disciple of aristocracy may sometias find a weapon. It refis in the general probability that the adminiftrations of this defcription will be confortable to the general adminiftration. It rekst the parental control of congress. Experience is the heit telt of the proprietor impropriety of a law, and if a law be made which gives diffatisfaction, the . tural resori is to the authority firit making for its correction, and wben, from defeet of power or of inclmation, the evil is found irremediable by thcm, 2 fuperiour authority.
The requiring a poffefion of certain quantities of land in various officers is not only impracticable in the present instance ; but the policy on which the provision may have originally been grounded has ceased to exift.
The southern boundary of the territory is indefinite. Though in the prefent maps of the United States, a line of latitude through the fouthern beat of lake Michigan appears to strike lake Erie near the mouth of the Miami, Fet in the maps of Arrowsmith and M'Kenfie, such a line of latitude would not ftrike lake Eric, but pats entirely south of it. The anxiety of the southat fettlers of the territory is great, not to be attached to the ftate of Ohio, which would be incommodious to them, but to Michigan, which is so much more convenient. The weftern end of lake Erie even from Sanduky would fed this convenience.
The case of the Wiandot Indians deserves the confideration of goverament. They live in two towns, Magnaga and Brown's town, within the limits of the American title. To the treaty of fort Hármar a clanfe was anacred ftipulating that they might remain unmolefted. In the treaty of Greenville this provision is omitted. They constantly affert, and there are not wantis reputable citizens who join them in the affertion, that they were folemnly promised by general Wayne a continuance of the indulgence. "It may therefore be worthy of serious consideration, whether it may not be advilable in the adjustment of titles to recognise their poffeffions, and invest them with the character of citizens. (Signed) WILLIAM HULL, Governour of the Territory of
Michigan. (Signed) A. B. WOODWARD, Presiding Judge of do.
DOCUMENTS AND PAPERS RELATIVE TO COMPLAINTS BY THE
GOVERNMENT OF FRANCE, AGAINST THE COMMERCE CARRIED ON BY AMERICAN CITIZENS IN THE FRENCH ISLAND OF ST. DOMINGO.
To the Senate of the United States. IN compliance with the request of the senate, expressed in their refolution of Dec. 27, I now lay before them such documents and papers (there being