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Bibliography. Nicholson's historical libraries, 1738, 1 vol., folio, bound. Moss, manual of classical bibliography, 1837, 2 vols., 8 vo.,
cloth. Catalogue of the library of the London institution, 1835, 1 vol.,
8 vo., cloth. Dibdin, introduction to the Greek and Latin classics, (fourth
edition) 1827, 2 vols., 8 vo., boards. Shakspeariana; a catalogue of books and papers relating to
Shakspeare, 1827, 2 vols., 12 mo., boards. Greswell, view of the early Parisian Greek press, 1832, 2 vols.,
8 vo., boards. Beloe, anecdotes of literature and scarce books, 1807, 6 vols.;
8 vo., boards. Ayscough, catalogue of the manuscripts in the British museum,
1782, 2 vols., 4to, bound. Reuss, alphabetical catalogue of all the authors actually living
in Great Britain, Ireland and the United Provinces of North
America, (Berlin and Stettin,) 1804, 2 in 1 vol,, 8 vo., bound. Lowndes, bibliographical manual and English literature, 1834,
4 vols., 8 vo., boards.
[No. 10.] Special message, with documents, relative to the pub
lic domain. To the Senate and House of Representatives:
GENTLEMEN-It is my duty to lay before you, certain resolves which have been passed by the general assembly of the state of Connecticut, during the last year, concerning the public domain; and which have been transmitted to me, with the request that I should communicate them to you. The sentiments which I entertain on this matter of so transcendent importance to the prosperity of the west, are to be found embodied in a report made in the senate of this state, in 1838, (Senate document No. 32, page 431;) further illustrated in my communications to both houses, last year, upon the occasion of my transmission to them of the resolutions of Vermont and Kentucky, on the same subject. To these documents, I ask leave, respectfully to refer.
It is impossible to contemplate the condition of our young and embarrassed state, in the relation which she bears to this momentous subject, except with reflections of the most painful character.
No independent community ever existed, it is believed, which did not claim the right of control, over such waste and unappropriated wild lands as were within its limits. The older states of this Union certainly claimed, upon that principle, all proprietary interest, in such lands, within their limits respectively; they still claim it, and their claim is sanctioned. We were promised that we should be admitted into the Union, on the basis of equal right, " on the same footing, in all respects whatsoever, with the original states."
It is not necessary to inquire how far such a promise may have proved fallacious. But if the wild and unappropriated lands within our limits, which the general government did not think proper to sell, before we emerged from a condition of colonial dependence upon that government, were deemed too valuable a boon, like other of its rights, to be parted with by it; yet it may be asked with still more emphatic meaning, whether we remained shorn also, of the sovereign right of taxation? What state, or nation on earth, having sovereign powers, ever failed to exercise that right, in its discretion, over every species of property, which was within its limits ? None can doubt but that such a power is inherent in every state of this Union, in the most ample and plenary degree, excepting only as regards so much of it as is expressly granted by the people or by the states, exclusively to the general government, and for the purpose of ascertaing what grants of power have been made to that general government, it will be conceded, I think, that we must resort alone to the constitution of the United States. It cannot be admitted, I think, that that general government is competent to enlarge and amplify its own powers, or to diminish the inherent and constitutional powers of the states, by holding out allurements to some, or driving bargains with others. When the two houses of congress had passed a bill for erecting turnpike gates and collecting tolls, on the Cumberland road, with the express assent of the states, within whose limits respectively, such toll was proposed to be collected, (and it was to be such only as should be sufficient to keep the road in repair,) president Monroe, vetoed the bill. “ I am or opinion,” he says, congress do not possess this power, that the states individually, cannot grant it, for although they may assent to the appropriation of money within their limits, for such purposes, they can grant no power of jurisdiction or sovereignty by special compacts with the United States. This power can be granted, only by an amendment to the constitution, and in the mode prescribed by it.” Who, among the wise statesmen of the United States, have ever controverted, or doubted the force of that reasoning? I apprehend that it is to the constitution of the United States alone, that we are to look, for the powers granted to the general government, or for
any restriction of the inherent and sovereign powers of the individual states. It is the paramount law; it absorbs and abrogates all compacts previously made, which conflict with its provisions, and it avoids and renders null, all subsequent ones, which purport, either to increase its own, or lessen the powers of the states. And, where, in that hallowed instrument, is to be found the clause, which takes from a state, its right of eminent domain ? its power, inseparable from its sovereignty, of taxing the lands that are within its limits, for the beneficent purposes of government ?
Our intelligent and enterprising population of 211,001, though found in groups around many a beautiful spot of our peninsula, is yet widely scattered-dotting, with its villages and settlements, here and there, the general surface. But those villages and settlements are widely separated from each other, and from their common market, by eighteen or nineteen millions of acres, of the public domain-a domain which lies useless, for all the beneficial purposes of society. For this population, so situated, good roads, canals, and all the modes of transportation and inter-communication, which are so universally in operation in other parts of the Union, are considered indispensable. To attain them, our industrious and high-spirited people, have already taxed themselves to the utmost limit of their ability. The annual highway tax alone, assessed in a county containing 194,480 acres subject to taxation, for the year 1839, as appears by the auditor general's report to you, averaged five dollars and sixty cents for every eighty acre lot! This is far above their ability to pay—and yet the object is not attained. Our peninsula exhibits no leading, well constructed and creditable highways; and only inconsiderable, and comparatively unproductive sections of our canals and railroads, are completed. To our brothers of the older, of the eastern and southern states, the reason for such result may not be apparent; to us, it is too painfully clear. Of the twenty-three or twentyfour millions of acres, of which the peninsula probably consists, some eighteen or nineteen millions of acres, continue uncultivated, unappropriated, public domain; and this, it is claimed, the state has no right to tax. The act of
The act of congress which relinquished to Ohio 500,000 acres of land, for purposes of internal improvement generally, gave also to that state, every alternate section in a strip of ten miles wide, along the projected canal from Dayton to Lake Erie, for the purpose of constructing that canal. But the same act also contained a clause raising the minimum price of the residue, from one dollar and twenty-five cents, to two dollars and fifty cents per acre; thus establishing the proposition by its own concession, that the construction of the canal doubled the value of the land upon its borders. And it is unquestionable true that every
day's work upon the public roads, as well as every tree of the forest that is felled by the industrious farmer, in reclaiming his farm, and in the embellishment of the country, imparts an increased value to the public domain, over which such road penetrates, or near which such improvement may be, which it never otherwise, could attain. Why, then, should not that public domain, even if the state could urge no other claim to control or to tax it, on the exclusive ground of mere equity, be made to contribute, in proper proportion, for the making of such roads, and other internal improvements ?
The policy pursued by the general government in this regard, towards Ohio, and all the states of the old north-western territory, with the only exception of Michigan, was dictated by clear justice and equity, even if no question could have been made as to the power of those states, as matter of mere right, by the sovereign right of taxation or otherwise to compel that just and proportionate contribution. But it is especially painful and humiliating to reflect, that while some million and one half of acres of choice land, have thus accrued to Ohio, (exclusive of the school sections, which have alike over all parts of the public domain, been applied to purposes of education, which, since the ordinance of the old congress of 1785, have been holden out as a powerful allurement to purchasers, and which indeed have always constituted essentially, a part of the consideration of every individual contract of sale;) and a proportionate quantity no doubt, awarding to every other of the new states which have been carved out of the old northwest territory—not an acre has been assigned to Michigan for purposes of internal improvement; and, exclusive of section sixteen, less than 96,000 acres have been assigned to us for all public purposes whatever! If this invidious distinction could be attributed to deliberate design, to a settled rule of policy, the consideration of it would be full of pain and deep humiliation. But it cannot be so; among all the nations of the earth there can be none, whose councils, generally, are more preeminently distinguished for their love of justice, and a high toned and liberal magnanimity, than those of the congress of the United States. I cannot, therefore, refrain from expressing my persuasion, that justice will yet be done to us, that no such invidious distinction as I have alluded to, will long continue to mark the statute book of the nation. And that when our claims upon its justice are fully set forth and again urged upon its consideration, the congress of the United States will first set this new, interesting, but feeble state, upon the footing of equality, at least with other, its western states, and will finally accord to us all that is proper and that will be necessary to consummate those internal improvements, which, without materially diminishing the treasures of the nation, will
render Michigan what she ought to be, rich, prosperous and happy.
I commit the whole subject to your deliberate consideration, gentlemen, and pray that this communication may be considered as for the use of both houses.
WILLIAM WOODBRIDGE. Executive Office, January 27, 1841.
Resolutions. At a general assembly of the state of Connecticut, holden at New Haven, in said state, on the first Wednesday of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty:
Resolved by this Assembly, That the public lands belonging to the United States, are the common property of all the states, and not of the particular states in which they lie; and that neither said lands or the proceeds thereof, ought to be appropriated for any purpose except for the benefit of all the states.
Resolved, That the proceeds of the public lands, not required for the payment of the debts of the government, or for other public purposes connected with the administration thereof, should of right be divided among the several states of this Union.
Resolved, That this assembly earnestly protest against any reduction in the prices of the public lands as now fixed by law, regarding such a measure as unnecessary and unjust.
Resolved, That this assembly do request their senators and representatives in congress, to use their exertions to sustain the principles contained in these resolutions.
Resolved, That his excellency the governor, be requested to forward copies of the foregoing resolutions to the senators and representatives in congress from this state, and also to the executives of the several states, that they may be communicated to the legislatures of their states respectively.
State of Connecticut, Secretary's Office, ss:
I hereby certify that the above is a true copy of record in this office. In testimony of which, I have hereto set the seal of this state, and signed the same.
ROYAL R. HINMAN,
Secretary of State.