FEBRUARY, 1796.]

Canadian RefugeesNorthwestern Land Office.

[H. OF R.

said, could be expected to into a critical exami- Mr. Giles said, the report before the House nation of different kinds of soil, situation, and de- contained sufficient information to proceed upon, scription of water, &c.; nor could it be expected which ought to be committed to a Committee of that Government could make the same advantages the Whole House. He did not think the business in disposing of this land as if it were private pro- proper to go either to the Committee of Claims perty: Large capitals, he said, were necessary in or a select committee. If no fresh testimony was a business of this kind.' There was great difficulty, likely to be adduced, he should move the report he observed, in starting farmers, by any advan- of 1793, as a foundation to act upon. Some comtages which might be offered, from situations in pensation, he said, should certainly be made to which they were placed. It might be expected, these sufferers for the sacrifices which they had that at first, large purchases would be made by made of their persons and fortunes; or, if the counmoneyed men, upon which a profit would be made. try should hereafter have need of like sacrifices, But if the land were to be divided into small lots, with what reason could they expect them to be there would be no encouragement for men of pro- made? perty to come forward: the best land would be Mr. GREENUP observed, th was another report bought by farmers, and the rest left. He was fully in favor of these sufferers made on the 1st April

, of opinion, that the first purchaser of the land was 1794, which was never acted upon. He thought not likely to be the cultivator.

it best that this business should be referred to some The House calling for a rise of the Committee, committee to be considered. He said it was time leave was asked to rise and sit again; which was these claims were satisfied. A select committee granted. Adjourned.

might soon decide upon their merits. He had other

papers in his possession which would throw light Wednesday, February 17.

upon the subject. He thought the report should THE CANADIAN REFUGEES.

be disagreed to, and committed for amendment.

The motion was put for committing the subject It was moved that the report of the committee to a Committee of the Whole, and carried—45 on the petition of certain Canadian refugees be against 21. taken into consideration, for the purpose of com- Mr. GREENUP then moved that the report of the mitting it to the Committee of Claims.

1st April, 1794, on this subject, be referred to the Mr. Livingston thought this business ought not same committee. Agreed to, and made the order to go to the Committee of Claims, as a promise of of the day for Monday next. a grant of lands had been made to these claimants

CONTESTED ELECTION. by a former Congress; and therefore it was not

Mr. LYMAN moved for a reconsideration of the the justice of their claim which was to be consi. dered, but whether the promise made them should resolution postponing the determination upon the or should not be fulfilled by the present Congress.

case of MATTHEW Lyon's petition against the elecMr. SEDGWICK said, there was no difference, in tion of ISRAEL Smith to the 29th of March. Mr his opinion, betwixt a claim for land and a claim Lyon having announced his intention to proceed for money.' All claims, he said, should be referred in the business, he should wish the report of the to the Committee of Claims, and no other.

committee to be recommitted. Mr. Livingston requested that the reports of a

Mr. S. Smith hoped the House would agree to former Congress might be read; which, being done, would make a motion to that effect.

the report of the committee; and, if in order, he he insisted upon this case being totally different from ordinary claims. He said, the sufferers whose

Mr. Hillhouse said, if the gentleman who spoke case was under consideration were men who had last had made up his mind on the subject, he had sacrificed much in the service of this country, and not, and was not prepared to determine so sudthat, in consequence of the justice of their claims, denly on a matter of importance. He thought it a former Congress had positively promised them improper to put such a resolution, and hoped it

would be withdrawn. a recompense of a grant of land; they had therefore only to say whether this should or should not

Mr. S. Smith understood that his motion was be done. He was desirous that the business should superseded by the motion for commitment, or he be expedited, as these men had been a long time should have wished it to have been put. He said kept from what they were justly entitled to.

gentlemen repeated, day after day, the same senA report of a committee in February, 1793, was and that it had already occupied too much of the

timents upon this business, in a tiresome manner, called for and read. Mr. Williams thought it best for the report to

time of the House. be recommitted, in order to determine what quan- and the report of the Committee of Elections was

The resolution for postponement was rescinded, tity of land should be granted to these persons. He said he was well acquainted with many of these

recommitted to the same committee. persons, who were very deserving men; many of

NORTHWESTERN LAND OFFICE. whom had given up their fortunes to engage in The order of the day being called for, on the the service of this country. The State which he bill for opening land offices for the disposal of lands represented had recompensed many of them, and in the Northwestern Territory, the House resolved he trusted the House would not hesitate to carry itself into a Committee of the Whole, and the into effect the promise of a former Congress in amendments of the 20 and 3d sections, offered by their favor.

Mr. Gallatin, being under consideration

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Northwestern Land Office.

[FEBRUARY, 1796.

Mr. Findley observed, that there were different be first considered. If every member were to proopinions on the subject before them: some were pose different systems, there would be no possifor making complete surveys; some for large and bility of proceeding in the business. The object some for small tracts. Surveys, he said, should of the last speaker might be obtained by an alternot destroy natural boundaries; and the fewer paration in the second section. It was easy to divide allel lines, the less destruction of this kind. It was one mile square into tracts of 160 acres each. In not necessary, he said, to say much upon the size the third section a subdivision might be proposed, of tracts. A gentleman had said, it was necessary if members pleased. He touched upon the subto sell the land in large quantities. He was glad ject of natural boundaries, and said he should be to hear members express themselves so clearly. against the amendment, except he heard it exHis views were directly opposite: he was for en- plained more to his satisfaction. couraging farmers, and against engrossing. He Mr. Gallatin declared his reason for bringing wished every man to have an opportunity of pur- forward the amendment was, to have the importchasing fifty or one hundred acres. They ought ant matter settled respecting the size of tracts. It not only to keep a wholesale but a retail store. was immaterial whether this amendment was It was the interest, he said, of every country to introduced in one section or another. The bill, encourage freeholders: they are interested in sup- he doubted not, would be recommitted, and then porting the laws. This, he added, is not only good the committee might place it where they pleased. for Government, but it tends to make the people He considered that there were three classes of happy. Land is the most valuable of all property, purchasers: the first were moneyed men, who said he, and ought to be brought within the reach were commonly called speculators, who were not of the people. He next spoke upon the subject of likely to settle upon the land they purchased, but boundaries, and answered the objections which who would sell it again for a profit; the second had been made against taking natural ones. He class were farmers of small property, who would was for the amendment, and trusted all those who purchase and settle upon the land; the third class wished to encourage industrious farmers would were men who have not money to purchase, also vote for it.

except the land was sold much below its value. Mr. Gallatin wished to withdraw his motion, He said there was no object of so great importance in order to introduce one of greater importance to the United States as the extinction of the curse He did not think the present one material to be of the country, the Public Debt, and no class of determined upon at present. He proposed to strike citizens would be more benefited by this extincout part of the second section, and to add the fol- tion than the poor. It was in the power of the lowing: "to cause one-half of the townships to be United States, he said, to redeem and extinguish subdivided into tracts of, as nearly as may be, the whole Debt in ten years. He considered that miles square, and the other half to be divided into a certain proportion of farmers of small property, tracts not exceeding - acres, nor less than "who are able to pay for land, and who wish to This, said he, will bring into discussion and to the remove from their present situations backward, determination of the committee whether they will would purchase: he wished to give them an opporagree to the selling of part of the land, at least, in tunity. But there remains another class, said he, small and convenient farms.

who are likely to purchase large tracts; and this Mr. RUTHERFORD thought the bill altogether is the only class from whom poor persons can get improper. If he asked a fine painter to present lands. The farmer, he observed, would not buy him a peacock, and he painted him a bat, he should land to sell. These poor persons must purchase tell him, that though he might be a fine painter, on long credit

, and pay out of the profits of the yet he had totally nuistaken him. He was pro- | land. Many parts of the United States, it was ceeding to object to the whole bill, when he was true, had been peopled by persons of no property called to order, and concluded by saying he was at all; but they got their land for nothing. After for the amendment.

a term of fifteen years' possession, the State, indeed, Mr. Havens did not see the propriety of having called upon them for some trifling consideration. large and small tracts: he wished all the land to The purchasers of large lots may, it is true, choose be in small tracts. Men who have large capitals whom they will credit, and what profit they will will have always an advantage over those whe have; but this must be so. The money, by these have but little property, though the land be in means, would be got into the Treasury, and theresmall tracts. He thought a tract of one mile square fore he thought the amendment proper, by dividlarge enough. He was against the bill altogether, ing the land into two classes. If the whole, he and thought a special committee should be ap- said, were to be divided into small tracts, persons pointed to bring in a bill that would be more likely would choose here and there, and prevent men of to answer the desired purpose. He read some property from purchasing large tracts lying togepropositions which he had prepared on the sub-ther. Mr. G. concluded with observing, he might ject, which recommended the alotting of tracts be mistaken in some things, in others he thought into six miles square, and subdividing them again he was not, having paid much attention to the into lots of one mile square.

subject. It was necessary, he said, to make some Mr. Dayton said, there was an impropriety in compromises, in order to reconcile different opimoving to recommit the bill before it had received nions. discussion. The amendments proposed by a mem- Mr. Nicholas was confirmed in his opinion ber from Pennsylvania were in order, and should I that speculators would be of service in the dis

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FEBRUARY, 1796.]

Northwestern Land Office.

[H. OP R.

posal of this land. He was willing that the plan Mr. Dayton was against the amendment to proposed by the amendment might be adopted, the amendment. Some purchasers, he said, would but was afraid by the alteration proposed, the cer- go out in companies, and some single. If pertainty which was contemplated by the bill of a sons of the first description could not have a cerperson's going over the land, and fixing upon this tainty of purchasing a sufficient quantity of land or that part, would be defeated.

lying together, it would be a great discourageMr. Kitchell thought the amendment mightment to them. Besides, he said, the expense atbe so formed as not to destroy the parallel lines tending the mode, would exceed calculation. He marked in the original bill, by inserting the amend was willing that a part of the lands should be laid ment at the end of the section.

out in small lots, but not that the whole should Mr. Gallatin was willing to agree to the pro- be so divided. posed alteration.

Mr. DEARBORN was against both amendments, Mr. RUTHERFORD again occupied a considera- because they would not answer the purpose ble time in making objections against the bill, intended. He thought the land would be setwhich were pretty much the same as those he tled without these regulations. He had no obbrought forward yesterday.

jection to the accommodating persons of small Mr. Crabb was in favor of the amendment. It property, but he would lay out small lots in cerwould provide, he said, for different classes of ci- tain parts lying together. Persons, he said, who tizens, and, by causing the land to bring a better purchase with a view of selling again, would not price, be productive to the Treasury. He was purchase unless they were to purchase a township against having all the land laid out in large lots ; six miles square. in that case men of small property could not be- Mr. Duvall was in favor of the original amendcome adventurers, except by combining into com- ment; but he would burden the public with no panies-a plan he did not like. A member had expense of surveying lots less than one mile said, it would still give moneyed men an oppor- square, or six hundred and forty acres. Persons tunity of purchasing to advantage; he thought who purchased might divide such a lot into four differently, as there would be great uncertainty in parts, if they pleased, at their own expense. The getting lots lying together.

large tracts of three miles square might be left Mr. Havens moved that the words “one-half” for those who chose to purchase. He would conbe struck out of the amendment. He had no fine all surveys to four lines, except in cases of doubt the amendment was brought forward with water, &c. If these principles were agreed upon, the best intentions; but it would not sufficiently the bill might be recommitted. prevent monopolizing. He thought if the land Mr. Livingston thought they should either was put in small lots, which was the object of this adopt the plan of selling in large parcels only or motion to strike out, moneyed men would have in small tracts only. No person, he said, would all the advantages they ought to have.

purchase a large tract at the same price which a Mr. MOORE said it was desirable that every ci- small one was sold for. He was in favor of the tizen who had a wish to purchase a part of this amendment amended. He was for dividing the land should be accommodated. Security in every land into lots of a mile square. It has been said purchase of land was a principal thing; and the if this was done, large purchasers would not conne security given by purchasers will not be equal to forward, because small lots might be taken from that given by Government. If the land were di- a parcel which they might wish to purchase tovided into small tracts, he doubted not the best gether. The plan, he said, likely to reduce the land would sell immediately, and when that was Debt soonest, and encourage settlers, was the best. settled inferior land would command a price equal Small tracts will do this. They will bring a to the best. He hoped the amendment would pass. higher price, and from real settlers. The State

Mr. Williams said there would be no compe- of New York, he said, first divided their unaptition, if all the land were in large tracts. “A propriated lands into large lots, which sold from man who can purchase a few hundred acres can- one shilling to three shillings per acre; afternot oppose a man who is ready to purchase as wards they were divided into small tracts, and many thousands. If the amendment was agreed sold for two dollars per acre. to, the bill would be so framed as to accommo

Mr. VenABLE said there was not one man in date all classes of purchasers, by laying out the an hundred who could purchase three miles square lands into small and large lots, as ihe situation of land; but ninety-nine out of an hundred might and quality of the land required; this would em- be found willing to purchase a small tract. A brace iwo objects, to wit: the settlement of the fair competition, he said, ought to be given. He lands, and bringing money into the Treasury, to saw no difficulty in dividing the lots. Purchasers discharge the Public Debt.

might do this. The great mass of money in this Mr. GREENUP did not like the amendment; he country, he said, lay in the hands of persons of wished the whole of the land to be divided into small property. small lots.

Mr. Findley said the amendment to the amendMr. Nicholas observed that persons who could ment came nearest to his opinion of right. It purchase large lots, would not purchase small was said putting the land in small parcels would ones, and, therefore, the public Treasury would prevent men of money from purchasing. Expebe injured by dividing the whole into small rience in this State, he said, contradicted this, parcels.

where, though lots were limited to four hundred

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H. OF R.]

American Seamen-Disabled Officers and Soldiers. [FEBRUARY, 1796. acres, names are in the books for much larger could not see that the latter would be excluded purchases. When land was divided into small by the proposed division. lots, no particular political interest was formed. Mr. Van Allen spoke a considerable time upon He did not think large purchases were likely to the subject. He was in favor of making the accommodate poor persons. He believed many tracts five miles square, which might, he said, be persons of this description were already on the so divided as to suit all purchasers. lands. The expense of dividing the land into lots At this point the Committee rose, and the of one hundred and sixty acres each 'would not be House adjourned. so great as had been supposed: he would engage to do it for less than two per cent. on the lowest

THURSDAY, February 18. purchase. The surveys must not, he said, be taken by purchasers, but by a surveyor appointed by

A member expressing a wish that before the Government. He was not for sub-dividing the order of the day was taken up, the bill granting whole, but a part of the land.

relief to Lieutenant Benjamin Strother, for supMr. Kittera said it was wished, by making the Army might be considered, and the sense of

porting a number of recruits on their march to small lots, to prevent the necessity of purchasing the House being in favor of doing so, it went of speculators. Instead of lots of six miles square, through the necessary forms, was agreed to, read he would propose lots of five miles square, or six

a second time, and ordered to be engrossed for a teen thousand acres, as attended with more cer- third reading to-morrow. tainty in the division. Townships might then be divided into four cross lines, making four thou

AMERICAN SEAMEN. sand acres, and then again into four, making lots After disposing of a number of petitionsof one thousand acres each. This might be done Mr. LivingS'Ton wished to call the attention of with certainty, would save expense in surveying, the House to the cause of an important body of and answer the purpose of the amendment. men, the seamen of this country. They were, he

Mr. Havens again rose to defend his amend said, of three descriptions, native Americans, Eument, and said the reasoning against it was falla- ropeans, or naturalized citizens. All these, said cious. Whatever part of the land was sold in he, are equally entitled to the protection of the large lots, speculators would get the profit of, but laws of the United States, though their profession of the small lots Government would receive that sometimes puts them out of it. These men, he profit.

said, sailing under the American flag, have been Mr. Dayton controverted the last speaker's illegally seized, cruelly torn from their friends arguments, on the same ground as before, that and country, and ignominiously scourged; yet they would prevent companies of persons, or num- this country has for three years been silent, lookbers of famílies agreeing to settle together from ing upon their sufferings with listless apathy. An purchasing as they would wish.

instrument had indeed been formed between this Mr. Crabb was against the amendment to the country and that whose subjects had thus treated amendment. He thought the last speaker had our seamen; but it was in vain that they looked completely defeated the arguments in support of for redress in that. He should, however, always it. Both poor and rich classes, he said, would be think it his duty to endeavor to procure this illdisappointed by the proposed plan, and the view treated body of men some relief. He then read of gaining revenue would be frustrated. If smaller a resolution, proposing to appoint a committee to lots than a mile square be not laid out, thousands examine into the subject, and to furnish some of persons would not be served. Farmers of mid- remedy to the evil complained of. dling property could only purchase. Two-thirds of

After a few observations from Mr. S. Smith, the purchasers would be excluded. By laying out Mr. Murray, and Mr. Swanwick, the resolution the land in large and small tracts, persons of every

was ordered to lie on the table. description would be suited. At least the expe- DISABLED OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS. riment was worth trying.

The order of the day being called for, Mr. Mr. SHERBURNE said if the whole of the land Tracy wished, in order the sooner to furnish rewere to be divided into small lots, men of pro- lief to their suffering fellow-citizens, that the perty would be excluded; as if they were to pur- order of the day might be dispensed with for a chase a number of small lots, they could not sell short time, for taking up the bill for the relief of them again on the same terms with Government. wounded and disabled Officers and soldiers in the He did not think there were many families ready actual service of the United States. to go and settle upon these lands, as had been as- Mr. Gallatin did not see the necessity of postserted; and he was not, he said, desirous of re- poning the order of the day for the consideration moving the inhabitants of the Atlantic States into of the bill in question ; but he mentioned another these back settlements, but wished rather to im- which was of the first consequence, viz., the report settlers. He was therefore for having part port of the Committee of Ways and Means for of the land in large tracts.

making further provision for the Public Debt. Mr. Claiborne was for the latter amendment, The sense of the House being taken, it was in and if adopted, he had a clause which he wished favor of taking up the business recommended by to be added. He thought the poor ought to be Mr. TRACY; and the House resolved itself into a accommodated as well as the wealthy; and he Committee of the Whole on the subject, and

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FEBRUARY, 1796.]

Public Debt- Northwestern Land Offices.


agreed to the bill without amendment. The description to be accommodated. If the latter House then proceeded to take it into considera- amendment were to pass, a favorite spot might be tion. A few remarks were made by different taken from the midst of a large lot, and prevent members on the propriety of including in the bill large tracts of land being sold. The Treasury, he wounded militiamen also. This was objected to said, should be considered as well as the convenias a separate consideration, which would be bet-ence of purchasers. One half of the land divided ter brought forward at another time. The words, into small lots would be amply sufficient, and the “ fourth of March, seventeen hundred and eighty- remainder remaining in large tracts, might be purnine,” (restricting the benefit of the act to per- chased by foreigners or others. sons wounded subsequent to that time,) were, on Mr. Williams said, the chief objections urged motion, agreed to be struck out. The bill was against small lots, were chiefly that they would then agreed to, and ordered to be engrossed for a not suit persons of large property to purchase so third reading

well as large lots. Persons of property, said he,

can generally accommodate themselves; we ought PUBLIC DEBT.

to accommodate the lower classes of the people. Mr. Gallatin brought forward the considera- He hoped the bill might be so framed as to emtion of the report of the Committee of Ways brace all the objects. He would not wish to preand Means on what further measures are neces- vent companies of persons from purchasing large sary to reinforce the existing provisions for the districts; he believed there were such in this city Public Debt.

who would wish to do so. Or townships, he said, The House having resolved itself into a Com- might be divided into halves or quarters. By thus mittee of the Whole, Mr. GallATIN moved three dividing their lands, the State which he representdifferent amendments, which went to the making ed had acquired three times the sum that they more clear the time of paying dividends, the would otherwise have got. This plan had not, making of payments more uniform, and the leav- he said, prevented speculation; but it had excited ing open the rate of interest, which being sever- a competition which had greatly favored their ally agreed to, the Committee rose, and the report treasury. If the measures now agreed upon, should and amendments being read to the House, were not be found the best, they might be remedied in agreed to as follows:

the next Congress. A surveyor, he said, should Resolved, That, in respect to the funded stock of explore this country, and point out the most valuthe United States bearing a present interest of six per able lots. These would bring a high price. When centum, there shall be dividends made on the last days a settlement took place, he said, the unoccupied of March, June, and September, for the present year, land near to it would immediately rise in price. at the rate of one and one-half per centum; and from It would be best, therefore, to do the business gradthe year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven ually, as this mode would eventually bring the to the year, inclusive, at the rate of — per largest sum into the Treasury; a sum which he centum upon the original capital. That there be divi- hoped would nearly discharge the National Debt. dends made on the last days of December, from the It had been said, it mattered not who got the lands, present year to the year —, inclusive, at the rate of provided we got the money; but, he thought it of

per centum upon the original capital ; and that aihe first consequence that the country should be dividend be made on the last day of December, in the settled with industrious freeholders. He concludyear, of — per centum upon the original capi-ed by hoping the latter amendment would be tal, in full of the said stock.

agreed to. Resolved, That provision ought to be made for reimbursing, in the same proportions as the other six per went far enough; he believed the price put upon

Mr. Baldwin thought the original amendment cent. stock, the balances bearing, and to bear, interest the land would be a sufficient check upon specuat six per centum, due to certain States, which were lators. Perhaps it would be well

, he said, to difunded in consequence of an act passed May the thirtyfirst, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four.

vide every alternate square into small tracts. If Resolved, That the Commissioners of the Sinking speculators bought the large tracts, when the small Fund be authorized to appoint a Secretary for the pur- ones came to be settled, they would divide and sell pose of recording and preserving their proceedings and theirs; or, if the large tracts remained in the hands documents ; and that a sum not exceeding two hun. of Government, they might afterwards be divided dred and fifty dollars be annually allowed the said Se- into small lots. He thought it best to commence cretary for his services.”

the business with large and small lots. Ordered, That a bill or bills be brought in pur

Mr. Maclay was of opinion, that the commitsuant to the said resolutions, and that the Com- tee who brought in the present bill had principally mittee of Ways and Means do prepare and bring the Treasury in view; but if a mode could be in the same.

adopted that would equally encourage settlers and

benefit the public funds, it would be desirable. It NORTHWESTERN LAND OFFICES.

must be evident, he said, to every one, that an The order of the day was next taken up on the actual settler would not be able to purchase the bill for establishing Land Offices, and the two quantity of land mentioned in the bill

. He beamendments of Mr. Gallatin and Mr. Havens lieved there would be no difference of opinion on being under consideration,

that head. It would be well to inquire what

plan Mr. KITCHELL hoped, the words one half would would operate most to the advantage of the Treanot be struckout, as he wished purchasers of every 1 sury. He believed it was a fact generally allowed.

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