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It was our intention to have inserted a particular statement of every thing we could obtain relative to the public lands, but we find we have not room in our manual; and to save us some trouble in our next edition, we beg leave to suggest the propriety of a more particular and retrospective view in the official returns to be presented in future. At present we do not find in these statements any recapitulation, forming the sums total of all the lands sold or of their proceeds, or of the lands granted to the army, and of the number of acres given away for the various reasons assigned in the laws concerning these donations. As it is our opinion, that both the states and the United States, have been too hasty in granting and selling in times past, we know of no means so likely to prevent such errors in future, as very full statements of all that has been done with the public lands; provided these statements are accompanied with notes, explaining the present state and value of the former grants. They will assist future sales of the public property, at fair prices, or nearer the true value than those demanded and received at any time hitherto, (the sales of the reserved sections at 8 dollars excepted.) By, our list revised since the table was printed off, (see page 68,) we have found an error, and obtained another year's sales in addition to the state. ment referred to. We hope the following is near the truth ; but we still want the York sales of 1786, &c.
The total sales to October 1803, from the commencement, was above 919,724 acres, for, we believe, $ 2,248,509, and the rest as follows:
The next year's sales may shew the impropriety of refusing the receipt of public debt for public lands. To increase in the ratio of our preceding experience, near a million of acres. must sell for above two millions of dollars in the year 1806, and 60 per cent. on this for the next year; but we have already said enough on this topic, and against the cash sinking fund, and on the subject of lots and lands. Perhaps we have said too much, from our anxious desire to place this all important subject in a true light....
We confess, we are apprehensive that a stranger might suppose we have not treated our political fathers with sufficient respect, but “ faithful are the wounds of a real friend,” and meaning well, we glory as much in our republican frankness as we do in the liberty of our American press.
A General Inde.r for the heads of the general table. (See page 68 to 70.)
Territories of the United States Acres. 11,280,000,000
5,156,000 Slaves, . . .
Do. . . . . .
1,024,900 Freed persons of colour, ..
131,000 Births, . . · · · · · ·
321,000 Deaths, . . . . . .
158,000 Total population, .. .
6,180,000 Total increase, yearly, : .
180,000 Persons to each mile, .. Dwelling-houses, . . .
1,225,900 Colleges, . . . . . . . Number.
20 Academies, ., . . . .
41 Improved lands, .. . Acres. 39,400,000 Averaged price, cultivated,
6 25 Do. in their natural state,
2 20 Horses, . . . . . . .
1,235,000 Horn cattle, . . .
Cattle. 2,960,000 Toll bridges, · · ·
Capital 2,900,000 Turnpikes and canals, . . .
6,000,000 Militia, · · · ·
Men. · · ·
1,100,000 Navy U.S. · · · · ·
24 Seamen, ....
66,000 Tons shipping, ...
Shipping 1,443,453 Imports, . . . . . .
96,000,000 Exports, .......
95,000,000 Insurance companies, ... Capital. 13,000,000 Averaged labour per day, .
Number, Bank capital, . . . . . . Dollars.
43,000,000 Bank notes circulating, ..
15,000,000 Nominal public debt,...
97,232,006 Sinking fund, . . . . .
23,506,025 Cash in the treasury, ...
4,037,005 Custom house bonds, ...
18,000,000 Total valuation U. States, .
2,505,000,000 Public lands sold, · · · ·
1,902,601 Proceeds public lands, . .
4,266,313 NATIONAL FUNDS, viz. Active sinking fund & reimbt. Y
23,506,058 4500 lots in Washington city, . Z
1,500,000 Western public lands, ... Z
250,000,000 Louisiana lands, ....
* The addition for Louisiana in 1804, is from a vague estimate, the bounds hcing yet undefined.
TOWARD the close of our prefatory address, we commencech a statement of all we knew of the national university, and of a few particulars respecting its seat, the city of Washington.
This ill fated city, if it had not been an infant Hercules, would have been strangled in its cradle by those baneful serpents local preju. dice and party spirit, both of which the federal seat was wisely formed to overcome; and thus one day to save the republic ! from the fate incident to the intestine divisions of ancient Greece. During the marked contempt, or (what was in fact the same) the neglect of congress toward the HEART OF THE UNION, the members were repeatedly consulted individually, but always found (with some honorable exceptions) averse to every expedient that could reasonably be expected to prepare the public building for the reception of government, in due time. This conduct, of a majority of the national legislature, it was thought, arose from a secret hope of defeating the existing plan for the seat of government:
The natural astonishment of the proprietors of the lands, above half of which they had now given to government, at this unexpected return from such a source, could only vent itself in self accusations and intestine divisions and disputes with the now merely nominal commissioners, who like our first congress under the old charter, had ample powers to promise, but scarce any for performance. At this critical juncture, the writer, from his known attachment to the object, was prevailed on to leave his private affairs, to engage in those for the forlorn hope, of doing something for the almost deserted federal heart of the union ; with very little benefit to the city, except in obtaining a law for the bank of Columbia, then intended chiefly for the benefit of the city, and another for the bridge over the Potomac. He also headed a loan with 5,000 dollars, to the city ; but as congress would not then afford their guarantee, it obtained no further.
The character in which the writer now officiated, to please his former commander, was, merely to fill a vacancy till another agent and supervisor could be found with more leisure for the office. At this crisis, as a dernier expedient, two United States lotteries were formed, but in magnitude disproportioned to the state of the city, with the host of active enemies that rival cities and rival lotteries had formed. As extensive credits were the only eligible mode of sale, they were recommended by the commissioners; but unfortunately tor the treasurer of the city, and the agent, they were called on, in
the first instance, to make good all the losses and accidents, which unavoidably exceeded one fifth of the amount of the entire sales. In addition to these losses, it happened that one of the principal prize tickets promised a superb hotel; for the building of which, the sum originally allotted thereto by the scheme of the lottery, was punctually paid (agreeably to the order of the commissioners appointed by the congress of the United States ) to the architect of their own appointment, for the public buildings of the city ; but a depreciation of money, and a rise of all materials and labour, it is stated, rendered the original sum unequal to the completion of the building.
A law suit for the stated difference was now instituted; not against the public commissioners, but against their agent ! although he had previously complied with all the terms of his agency : yet the suit was recovered and an extravagant sum awarded, under a belief, on the part of the jury, that government would not suffer a faithful individual to be injured in their service. By the event of this suit, and by the great fall of the city property, in consequence of the great sale and sacrifice of public property at auction, in 1802, above 1,500 lots, that cost 200,000 dollars, with the buildings thereon, were bought in for less than 26,000 dollars, the sum recovered of the writer to finish the hotel, as we have already stated. The writer has many reasons for making this known at this period : as most of the members of congress are his subscribers to this manual, it may favour a request he intends to make, viz.
That on a full investigation of the losses he has thus sustained in the public service, they will give the amount to the national university, from his original donation of 1,500 lots, (see page 24,) the amount of his unfortunate loss in public service, as agent to the commissioners of the United States, for the federal city ; but as the exact loss is not yet ascertained, his memorial will not be presented to congress till the net and unavoidable amount is substantiated.*
As this loss (possibly of the entire fortune of the writer) occurred while he was writing this book, agreeably to promise, he has men. tioned these circumstances naturally as an apology for the unexpected delay, occasioned in part by the trouble in attending to this suit; and, in spite of a natural flow of spirits, by the untimely loss, at this period, of two promising children, and by ill health, the remaining effects of the severe campaigns of 1775 to 1778. To those who are acquainted with the time requisite to form some of the tables, no further apology, we hope, will be necessary, even for some inaccuracies that may possibly have escaped us at each revision of the tables. The stile of our book, being a secondary consideration, was
* As the intention of the writer to give a large portion of his property in the city, to the university, was made known to the commissioners many years before this reverse of fortune, the request here mentioned, will, it is hoped, be the more effectual from this well known circumstance.
less attended to ; we now can only promise to revise this in a future editiory, and to leave off our delenda est Carthago repetitions, whenever we find they have produced the desirable effects. From this digres. sion we proceed to state, that with due attention on the part of the government of the union, to the property given by the original proprietors of Washington city, at least 500 dollars a lot might have been obtained in due time, on 10,000 of those given to the public; leaving 2,000 to be disposed of to the first settlers, on condition of immediate improvement, on any reasonable terms, at discretion of the commissioners. But by the neglect duly to support these gentlemen in their early efforts, they were driven to many expedients need. less to repeat, as we now believe that congress were in fact the cause of every important mistake, by refusing to guarantee the loans in anticipation of the estimate value of the lots. In consequence of these anticipations, with such resources, the president of the United States could have obtained the best assistance from any part of the world, and the city would now have twice its present inhabitants. We have tried to discover the cause of the recent sacrifice of 2,400 comfortable city lots, at an average of 10 dollars, and believe it arose chiefly from that careless inattention to which large bodies are subjected, chiefly from the extensive subdivision of their responsibility.
Is there no remedy for this? Why is not the judiciary begun ? Why is THE SACRED MANSION OF THE PEOPLE, still in an unfinished state? It is now said that its noble dome is to be oinitted and struck out of the original plan ;* but we hope this report is premature. The magnificent width of the avenues and principal streets of Washington, will require a corresponding stile in the size and elevation at least, of the public buildings, or they will be diminished in perspective from the extreme points of sight, so far as to lose that characteristic effect, which they ought ever to produce from every point of view.
Why is there yet so little ground taken into the navy yard ? and why is not the grand hospital for invalids in a state to receive at least a part of the poor beggars we see wandering about, and shewing their honorable scars, to enforce this question? As we are the only coun: try for which soldiers ever effected so much, this question is truly mortifying. It will be time enough to desert them when their lands are gone.
That we shall soon have a national university, there is now the greatest reason to hope, since many gentlemen who had read only of some objectionable institutions in Europe, and who conceived we should of course imitate them, are now fully convinced that they were wholly mistaken; hence many members of congress have contributed
* For this truly sublime and beautiful building, Dr. William Thornton received the premium ; but as it has undergone some changes by deviations, agreeably to the taste (de gustibus non est disputandum) of the several ingenious gentlemen who have superintended the work, we know not how much the original architect will disown,