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The reader will see, that throughout this whole work my object is to lay a ground for legislation—that from the first to the last page I have an act of parliament in my mind; and he will be of opinion, if my reasoning produce upon his mind the effect that I desire, that without systematic preceding legislation, all attempts at systematic colonization will be useless, and doomed to fail. Before we can act according to a plan, we must frame the plan. Such a plan to be framed must be written, put down, and recorded. Men will then see what the plan is. And what it is, it will remain, when once recorded in writing. If we decide that a particular course is the right one, the next object should be to make those adopt it who act under our rule. The only effective means of doing this is to give to our recorded plan the authority of law. In short, we must frame and pass an Act of Parliament.
In procedure, the teaching of experience is more needed than in any portion of the field of law — and in administrative procedure, no less than in judicial. I was therefore anxious to ascertain what had already been done by ourselves and others in the planting and governing of colonies; and as the reader will see, I have made constant use of the example afforded by the conduct of the Congress of the United States of America in this particular. In one instance, however, I propose to depart very widely from the plan that Congress adopts; and I do so, because I believe our own more favourable position enables us to do once for all, what Congress does upon every occasion of establishing a new TERRITORY and STATE. Upon the formation of such new Territory, and the reception of a new State into the Union, a specific act of Congress has been passed; except, indeed, in the case of the Territories which were created under, and by virtue of the authority of the ordinance of 1784, which will be found quoted in extenso in the body of my work. That ordinance provided for the government of the territory belonging to the United States, north west of Ohio, and contemplated from the beginning the carving of many states out of that vast tract of country. I, looking in the same way upon all the wild lands in the several portions of our Colonial Empire to which my work relates, as one whole, propose, as Mr. Dane did, by his celebrated ordinance, to make one law for all. The separate interests which press upon Congress and obstruct its legislation, do not, after the same fashion, lie in our path; so we may, if we legislate at all, legislate safely, for the whole of the colonies and wild lands in the several possessions of which I speak.
One observation is necessary, in order to guard myself against the imputation of incorrectness in the statistics quoted which relate to the United States. Everything in her new Territories and States changes, and advances so rapidly, that the descriptions and the figures which are accurate this year are wholly incorrect for the next. I have done what I could to obtain the latest statistics, and where I am able, I state the year to which they belong. But my conclusions will, I believe, in no case be found affected by the sort of inaccuracy here spoken of.