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1. The whole territory north of the river Ohio, and west of the state of Pennsylvania, extending northwardly to the northern boundary of the United States, and westwardly to the Mississippi, was claimed by Virginia ; and that state was in possession of the French settlements of Vincennes and Illinois which she had occupied and defended during the revolutionary war. The states of Massachusetts and Connecticut claimed all that part w.jich was within the breadth of their respective charteis; and the state of New-York had also an indeterminate claim to the country. The United States have obtained cessions from the four states, and thus acquired an indisputable title to the whole. The state of Virginia, amongst other conditions of her act of cession, made provision for securing the old French settlers in their possessions, and reserved two tracts of land; cne of 150,000 acres near the Rapids of the Ohio for that portion of her state troops which had reduced the country, and the other, between the rivers Scioto and Little Miami, containing about three millions five hundred thousand acres, to satisfy the bounties in land which she had promised to her troops on the continental establishment. The state of Connecticut reserved a tract on Lake Erie, bounded on the south by the 41st degree of north latitude, and extending westwardly one hundred and twenty miles from the western boundary of the state of Pennsylvania. The cessions of Massachusetts and NewYork included an insulated tract commonly called “the triangle," lying on lake Erie, west of the state of NewYork, and north of that of Pennsylvania; and which has since been sold by the United States to Pennsylvania,
2. North Carolina has ceded to the United States all her vacant lands beyond the Allegheny chain of mountains, within the breadth of her charter, that is to say, between the 35th degree and 36th degree 30 minutes of north latitude, the last parallel being the southern boun dary of the states of Virginia and Kentucky. That Herritory which now forms the state of Tennessee was
however subject to a great variety of claims described in the act of cession. And Congress has by the act of April 18th, 1806, ceded to the last mentioned state the claim of the United States to all the lands east of a line described in the act, leaving the lands west of that line still liable to satisfy such of the claims secured by the cession from North Carolina as cannot be located in the castern division.
3. South Carolina and Georgia were the only states which had any claim to the lands lying south of the 35th degree of north latitude. By the cessions from those two states, the United States have acquired the title of both to the tract of country now forming the Mississippi territory, extending from the 31st to the 35th degree of latitude, and bounded on the west by the river Mississippi, and on the east by the river Chatahoochee, and by a line drawn from a place on that river, near the mouth of Uchee creek, to Nickajack on the river Ten
As a condition of the cession from Georgia, the Indian title to the lands within her present boundaries will be extinguished at the expence of the United States, and she is also entitled to receive 1,250,000 dollars out of the proceeds of the first sales of lands in the ceded territory.
Cessions having thus been obtained from all the states claiming any part of the public lands," it is now immaterial, so far as relates to those states, to examine the foundation of their respective titles. But although the state of Georgia has no longer any immediate interest in the question, certain large claims pretended to be derived from that state, and known by the name of “Yazoo Claims,” render it important for the United States to prove that a considerable portion of the territory thus claimed was not within the boundaries of Georgia nor of any other state, at the date of the treaty of with Great Britain, and became therefore immediately vested in the United States by virtue of that treaty.
The charter of Carolina having been surrendered to
the crown by the proprietors, South Carolina became a regal colony, the boundaries of which might be altered by the crown according to circumstances. Georgia was accordingly erected into a separate government, and her charter having been surrendered by the trustees, she also became a regal colony. Her southern boundary was originally the Alatamaha river, and thence westwardly a parallel of latitude passing by the source of that river. The territory between the rivers Alatamaha and St. Mary's was annexed to it by the king's proclamation of the 7th October, 1763; and, though not positively expressed by that instrument, it appears by the commission of Governor Wright, dated oth January, 1764, that the jurisdiction extended to the river Mississippi far south as the 31st degree of north latitude, which, according to the proclamation, formed the northern boundary of the new British province of West Florida. But on the representation of the board of trade, the boundaries were altered, and it appears from the second commission of Governor Johnstone of that province and from those of the subsequent Governors Eliot and Chester, that West Florida from the 6th day of June, 1764, and thence as long as it continued under the British government, was bounded on the north by a parallel of latitude passing by the mouth of the river Yasous, or about 32 degrees 30 minutes of north latitude. The jurisdiction of the Governors of West Florida did accordingly in fact extend to the territory lying between that parallel and the 31st degree, as well as south of this. Lands were granted by them within those boundaries, and, when not subsequently forfeited; continue to be held under that title. That portion of territory (viz. between the 31st degree and about 32 degrees 30 minutes of latitude) appears therefore to have been acquired not by any of the states as lying within its boundaries, but by the United States as part of West Florida, and for the benetit of the whole union. All the documents which could be procured on that subject are inserted in the 24
section, and amongst them, the recital of the second commission of Governor Johnstone, which was very lately obtained, and is now for the first time published.*
The last section of the first part of this collection includes all the articles of treaties with Indian tribes which relate to the extinguishment of their title to the public lands of the United States. Those tribes are in some respects considered as independent communities. They govern themselves without being subject to the laws of the United States; and their right to remain in possession of the lands they occupy, and to sell them only when they please is recognized. On the other hand, the United States have the exclusive right of pre-emption, and all sales to foreign nations or to individuals, whether citizens or foreigners, are null by law; a provision as necessary for the protection of the Indians, as for that of the public domain. This principle is generally acknowleged by themselves and recognized in several of their treaties. Nor can it be disputed that even if their own right to sell was entire, the United States have that to forbid any one to purchase. The sales to the United States are however altogether voluntary and never made without a compensation more valuable to the Indians than the use of the land which they cede. Nor has in any instance the general government attempted to dispose of lands prior to their being purchased from the natives. For although it will appear that a portion of the lands ceded by them in 1795 by the Greenville treaty, had been previously sold by Congress to the Ohio Company and to I. C. Symmes, that treaty was only a confirmation
. 'The title of the state of Massachusetts to the territory north of the old province of Maine, between New Hampshire and the river Kennebec, is not understood. The northern boundary of that province is by the charter of 1691 fised at 120 miles from the sea, and no subsequent document has been seen, extending the province to the northern boundary of the United States. Thence it would seem that the territory west of Kennebec and north of the boundary established by the churter, vested by the treaty of peace in the United States and not in the state of Massachusetts. The same observation applies to a small tract in the possession of New-llampshire, lying north of the 45th degree of north latitude ; that parallei api.caring to have been the northern boundary of the province whilst under the British government
of others made in 1784 and subsequent years, which had been violated by the Indians.
The treaties inserted are only such as relate to the public lands of the United States; and those for the purchase of land not ceded by the states to the Union, are omitted. In several instances the same land will be found to have been purchased from different tribes, the purchase not being considered complete until all their conflicting claims have been acquired. The Indian title to the following tracts of country has thus by successive treaties been completely extinguished.
1. All the lands in the state of Ohio, and in the Indi. ana and Illinois territories bordering on the river Ohio, extending from the western boundary of Pennsylvania to the mouth of that river, and thence up the Mississippi to the river Illinois. The depth of that tract is not on an average less than 120 miles; and it is estimated to contain, exclusively of the Virginia military reservation, more than thirty-two millions of acres, of which more than twenty-four remain at the disposal of the United States.
2. A tract extending along the Mississippi from the Illinois to the river Ouisconsing and supposed to contain near twenty millions of acres.
3. A tract in the Michigan territory bordering on Lakes Huron, St. Clair and Erie, estimated to contain about four millions of acres. It is separated from the *** Connecticut reserve” and from the other public lands of the United States by a tract still held by the Indians, extending along Lake Erie from the river Miami of the Lakes to Sandusky Bay.
4. A small triangular tract of 322,000 acres in the northern part of the Mississippi territory, and in what is called the Great Bend of Tennessee, extending from a point on that river, northwardly to the southern boundary of the state of Tennessee.
5. The lands in the Mississippi territory bordering on the river Mississippi from the mouth of the river Yasous