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APPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC LANDS
As DRAWN UP AND REPORTED TO THE SENATE OF MARYLAND, JAN. 30, 1821, BY V. Maxcy, CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON EDUCA
TION AND PUBLIC INSTRUCTION.
By Jared Sparks
From the North American Review, for October, 1821.
JOAN D. TOY, PRINTER,
Report, with sundry Resolutions relative to Appropriations of
Public Lands for the Purposes of Education, to the Senate of
Committee on Education and Public Instruction.
for the Support of Education in the Senate of the United States. February
9, 1821. Report of the Committee on Colleges, Academies, and Common
Schools, in the Legislature of New York, March 30, 1821, upon the Message of his Excellency the Governor, communicating the Resolutions of the Legislature of Maryland. By G. C. Verplanck, Chairman of the Committee.
The subject, which we are now about to consider, is manifestly of great national importance. It relates to a very extensive appropriation of the national proper. ty for the support of schools. Grants of national lands have already been made to a considerable extent, for the aid of colleges and schools in some of the western states. The same grants have not as yet been extended to the old states, and it seems now to be made a question, whether these states have any claims on the general government for similar grants, as a balance to what are conceived to be at present the exclusive pri
vileges of the new states. The subject was first brought before the public, we believe, by Mr. Maxcy in a report made by him as chairman of the Committee on education and public instruction, in the Senate of Maryland, February 1, 1820. After stating the manner in which the lands have been granted in the west, Mr. Maxcy observes;
66 The public lands, though located in the west and south, are the common property of all the United States. Each state has an equal right to a participation, in a just proportion, of that great fund of national wealth. Your committee can discern no reason why the people who have already settled in, or shall remove to, those states and territories, which have been formed out of these public lands, should enjoy any peculiar and extraordinary advantages from this common property, not possessed by those who remain in the original states. They are far from censuring that enlightened policy, which governed Congress in making the liberal appropriations above mentioned, for the encouragement of learning in the new states and territories. They, on the contrary, most heartily applaud it. But they, at the same time, are of opinion that the people of the original states of this union, by whose common sword and purse those lands have been acquired, are entitled, upon principles of the strictest justice, to like appropriations for the endowment and support of literary institutions, within their own limits."
The Report containing the words here quoted, was introduced too late to be taken into consideration during that session of the legislature. The same proposition was renewed the year following by Mr. Maxcy, and defended in an able and elaborate Report, which was adopted by the Senate and House of Delegates of Maryland. The following resolutions were passed in both houses.
1. “ Resolved by the General Assembly of Maryland, that each of the United States has an equal right to participate in the benefit of the public lands, the common property of the union.
2. “ That the states in whose favour Congress has not made appropriations of land for the purposes of education, are entitled to such appropriations as will correspond, in a just proportion, with those heretofore made in favor of the other states.
3. “ That his excellency the governor be requested to transmit copies of the foregoing Report and Resolutions to each of our senators and representatives in Congress, with a request, that they will lay the same before the respective houses, and use their endeavors to produce the passage of an act to carry into effect the just principles therein set forth.
4. “That his excellency the governor be also requested to transmit copies of the said Report and Resolutions to the governors of the several states of the union, with a request that they will communicate the same to the legislatures thereof, respectively, and solicit their co-operation.”
” These resolutions have been accordingly transmitted to the governors of the several states. In Virginia, if we are rightly informed, they were assented to unanimously. In New-York a counter report was drawn up by Mr. Verplanck, chairman of the Committee on colleges, academies, and common schools, and accepted by a majority of the legislature. Connecticut has
approved the Maryland resolutions, and adopted a report, which, among other things, contains a resolution requesting the senators and representatives of that