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the population of any state in the union could become too numerous for ample support from their native soil. By drawing them away, a check is given to the growth of those principles, virtues, and habits, which multiply and extend the comforts of civilized life, which give stability to the social compact, ascendency to the intellect, dignity to character, courtesy to manners, refinement to taste, and rational, pure, and elevated enjoyment to existence. All the blessings, which it is easy to perceive would thus grow up in the old states, they must lose, by losing their population. Their political influence in the union is also weakened, by diminishing the weight of their representation in the national legislature. Finally, the argument adduced by the New York committee sustains a position directly contrary to the one they advance. Instead of proving the Atlantic states to have no claims, it proves very clearly, that in strict justice, they may not only ask to be put on an equal footing with the western states in regard to schools, but also to be compensated for the loss they have suffered in contributing so largely, and at the expense of sacrifices so dear, to raise the value of the public lands, and thus to swell the amount of the national treasury. The benefit resulting from this accumulation of property is enjoyed by all the states equally. The New York committee acknowledge, that this benefit has sprung out of the emigration from the Atlantic states, and yet very unaccountably make this benefit a reason, why these states should not even be allowed an equal participation of those privileges, which have been the primary cause of the losses they have sustained in promoting the interests of the nation. A second objection is expressed
expressed by the New York committee in the following words;
“It is surely of the deepest interest to the welfare, the peace, and good order of the whole union, that the states every day springing up in the west, should not hereafter be peopled by a race, possessing nothing of civilization, but its vices and its arts of destruction. This might not, indeed, have been the necessary consequence, had the general government neglected to make provision for the diffusion of knowledge among the future population of this great territory, but it is clearly so much within the bounds of probability, as to authorize, and even to require a prudent and wise government to guard against so dangerous a contingency, not only for the sake of those immediately interested, but for the promotion of the best interests of the whole nation.”
The force of this argument we confess ourselves unable to discover. It seems to us little more than a speć. ulation, which no experience nor sound reasoning can substantiate. What is the fact in regard to the states, which have grown up from a wilderness without any such provision for schools? Is it true, that they are “peopled by a race, possessing nothing of civilization, but its vices and its arts of destruction?" We think not. Why then fear this consequence in the west? Or even admitting it may be feared in a remote degree, on what principles of equity is one section of the country to suffer a deprivation of its own means of improvement and happiness, for the exclusive benefit of another? And, moreover, the western appropriations are to be a permanent fund. They are not to operate only till the settlers become civilized and enlightened, and then to cease. But when these states shall arrive at the point of civilization, which now prevails in the old, they will still have this accumulating fund to help
them forward, while the others will have nothing. A weight is thus thrown into the scale against the old states, which is daily growing heavier, and which they have nothing, either at present or in prospect, to counterbalance.
It is further objected, that,
“If the large additional grants for the encouragement of education, insisted on by Maryland, should now be made, a direct and obvious effect would be to diminish the fund, so important to the national interests, by placing immense tracts of lands in other hands, and enabling the individual states to undersell the general government, whenever they should think fit, and materially to retard or to lessen the sales."
A plain answer to this objection will occur, on reverting to the object of the Maryland Report. Nothing more is there urged, than the justice of the principle, that all the states have a right to equal advantages from the public lands; and the fact, that all have not been thus favored. The objection before us has no bearing on these points. That the general fund of the union will be diminished is no reason, why the just claims of individual states should be rejected. Besides, the Maryland Report proposes no particular mode of answering these claims. Congress has full power to guard against the inconveniences apprehended, and to remedy every evil, by keeping the lands within its own control, by regulating the time of sale, and by fixing a price, under which the states shall not be allowed to sell. Many other modes of settling all difficulty from this source will readily suggest themselves. That obstacles are to be encountered, or sacrifices made, in doing justice, is certainly no argument, that justice should not be done. Let the mode be left to the wisdom of Congress.
The amount of the claims has been considered as another objection. But Mr. Maxcy has shown, that instead of being large, it is comparatively small. If the same ratio of appropriation be followed, which has thus far been observed, the number of acres requisite to do justice to the old states will be 9,370,760, which is less than has already been granted to the new states, and little more than two acres out of a hundred of all the public lands unsold. That is to say, the sixteen states, which have not received any grants, comprising Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky, these sixteen states do not require so much land for their just proportion, as has already been granted to the states and territories in the west. The notion of the alarming magnitude of the claim therefore is not correct; and if it were, it would add to the reasonableness of its being equitably adjusted, It would truly be a novel proceeding, for a man to refuse paying his just debts, because they were so large.
The Committee of the Senate of the United States admit the ground taken in the Maryland Report to be well supported, as far as the principle is concerned, and think it expedient to grant something out of the sales of the public lands for the aid of schools in the old states. Two or three statements, however, in their report, appear to us to admit correction.
“The lands," say they, “thus granted to the states for the above purposes are not subject to taxation by the state government, and can only be settled in the manner pointed out by the states in which they lie. If, therefore, correspondent quantities for the purposes of education are to be granted to all the old states, (under which term the committee believe all states will be included, which have not received donations of land for that purpose,) it would seem, that the states and territories, which now contain public land, would have an excessive proportion of their superfices taken up with such donations, leuving but a small part of the land in each subject to taxation, or settlement, except at the will of other sovereign states.”
This we take to be a distorted view of the subject, and hold the apprehensions expressed in the last clause of the paragraph to be quite gratuitous. In the first place, it ought not to be taken for granted, that the lands, which are required for the old states, are to be disposed of in the same way, or to be subject to the same conditions, as those already appropriated. Nothing of this nature is contemplated in the Maryland Report. Every thing relating to conditions and modes of conveyance is left to congress, with the expectation, of course, that such a plan will be pursued, as will operate with perfect equity towards the new states. And in the next place, there is no occasion for the alarm, which the committee express, in regard to the quantity of land, which may be taken from any particular state. By the estimate attached to their own Report, the quantity of public lands in each of the new states, except Ohio, is nearly three times as much as the whole amount required for the old states. Let this quantity be divided among all the states, in which the public lands are situated, and the evil apprehended in the Report will be very trifling, even in its fullest ex