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be expedient. For, if the notification be early, he will get the Indians out of the way, and defeat our object. If it be so late as not to leave him time to withdraw them before our stroke be struck, it will then be so late also as not to leave him time to withdraw any secret aids he may have sent them. And the notification will betray to him that he may go on without fear in his expedition against the Spaniards, and for which he may yet have sufficient time after our expedition is over. On the other hand, if he should suspect our preparations are to prevent his passing our territory, these suspicions may induce him to decline his expedition, as, even should he think he could either force or steal a passage, he would not divide his troops, leaving (as he would suppose) an enemy between them able to take those he should leave, and cut off the return of those he should carry. These suspicions, too, would mislead both him and the Indians, and so enable us to take the latter more completely by surprise, and prevent him from sending secret aid to those whom he would not suppose the objects of the enterprise ; thus effecting
; a double purpose of preventing his enterprise, and securing our
Might it not even be expedient, with a view to deter his enterprise, to instruct Governor St. Clair either to continue his pursuit of the Indians till the season be too far advanced for Lord Dorchester to move ; or, on disbanding his militia, to give them general orders (which might reach the ears of Lord Dorchester) to be ready to assemble at a moment's warning, though no such assembly be really intended ?
Always taking care neither to say nor do, against their passage, what might directly commit either our peace or honor.
XIV.–Opinion on proceedings to be had under the Residence act.
November 29, 1790. A territory not exceeding ten miles square (or, I presume, one hundred square miles in any form) to be located by metes and bounds.
Three commissioners to be appointed. I suppose them not entitled to any salary.
[If they live near the place they may, in some instances, be influenced by self interest, and partialities; but they will push the work with zeal. If they are from a distance, and northwardly, they will be more impartial, but may affect delays.)
The commissioners to purchase or accept “such quantity of land on the east side of the river as the President shall deem proper for the United States," viz., for the federal Capitol, the offices, the President's house and gardens, the town house, market house, public walks and hospital. For the President's house, offices and gardens, I should think two squares should be consolidated. For the Capitol and offices, one square. For the market, one square. For the public walks, nine squares consolidated.
The expression “such quantity of land as the President shall deem proper for the United States," is vague. It may therefore be extended to the acceptance or purchase of land enough for the town; and I have no doubt it is the wish, and perhaps expectation. In that case, it will be to be laid out in lots and streets. I should propose these to be at right angles, as in Philadelphia, and that no street be narrower than one hundred feet, with foot ways of fifteen feet. Where a street is long and level, it might be one hundred and twenty feet wide. I should prefer squares of at least two hundred yards every way, which will be about eight acres each.
The commissioners should have some taste in architecture, because they may have to decide between different plans.
They will, however, be subject to the President's direction in every point.
When the President shall have made up his mind as to the spot for the town, would there be any impropriety in his saying to the neighboring land holders, “ I will fix the town here if you will join and purchase and give the lands." They may well afford it by the increase of value it will give to their own circumjacent lands.
The lots to be sold out in breadths of fifty feet; their depths to extend to the diagonal of the square.
I doubt much whether the obligation to build the houses at a given distance from the street, contributes to its beauty. It produces a disgusting monotony; all persons make this complaint against Philadelphia. The contrary practice varies the appearance, and is much more convenient to the inhabitants.
In Paris it is forbidden to build a house beyond a given height; and it is admitted to be a good restriction. It keeps down the price of ground, keeps the houses low and convenient, and the streets light and airy. Fires are much more manageable where houses are low.
XV.- Report by the Secretary of State to the President of the
United States on the Report of the Secretary of the Government north-west of the Ohio.
December 14, 1790. The Secretary of State having had under his consideration the report made by the Secretary of the Government north-west of the Ohio, of his proceedings for carrying into effect the resolution of Congress of August 29th, 1788, respecting the lands of the inhabitants of Port Vincennes, makes the following report thereon to the President of the United States :
The resolution of Congress of August 29th, 1788, had confirmed in their possessions and titles the French and Canadian inhabitants and other settlers at that post, who, in or before the year 1783, had settled there, and had professed themselves citizens of the United States or any of them, and had made a donation to every head of a family, of the same description of four hundred acres of land, part of a square to be laid off adjoining the improvements at the post.
The Secretary of the north-western government, in the absence of the Governor, has carried this resolution into effect, as to all the claims to which he thought it could be clearly applied :
there remain, however, the following description of cases, on which he asks further instructions:
1. Certain cases within the letter of the resolution, but rendered doubtful by the condition annexed, to the grants of lands in the Illinois country. The cases of these claimants, fisteen in number, are specially stated in the papers hereto annexed, number 2, and the lands are laid off for them but remain ungranted till further orders.
2. Certain persons who, by removals from one part of the territory to another, are not of the letter of the resolutions, but within its equity, as they conceive.
3. Certain heads of families, who became such soon after the year 1783, who petition for a participation of the donation, and urge extraordinary militia service to which they are exposed.
4. One hundred and fifty acres of land within the village granted under the former government of that country, to the Piankeshaw Indians, and on their removal sold by them in parcels to individual inhabitants, who in some instances have highly improved them both before and since the year 1783.
5. Lands granted both before and after 1783, by authority from the commandant of the post, who, according to the usage under the French and British governments, thinking himself authorized to grant lands, delegated that authority to a court of civil and criminal jurisdiction, whose grants before 1783, amount to twenty-six thousand acres, and between that and 1787, (when the practice was stopped,) to twenty-two thousand acres. They are generally in parcels from four hundred acres down to the size of house lots; and some of them under considerable improvement. Some of the tenants urge that they were induced by the court itself to come and settle these lands under assurance of their authority to grant them, and that a loss of the lands and improvements will involve them in ruin. Besides these small grants, there are some much larger, sometimes of many leagues square, which a sense of their impropriety has prevented the grantees from bringing forward. Many pretended grants, too, of this class are believed to be forgeries, and are, therefore, to be guarded against.
6. Two thousand four hundred acres of good land, and three thousand acres of sunken land, held under the French, British, and American governments, as commons for the use of the inhabitants of the village generally, and for thirty years past kept under inclosure for these purposes.
The legislature alone being competent to authorize the grant of lands in cases as yet unprovided for by the laws. The Secretary of State is of opinion that the report of the Secretary of the north-western government, with the papers therein referred to, should be laid before Congress for their determination. Authentic copies of them are herewith enclosed to the President of the United States.
XVI.— Opinion on certain proceedings of the Executive in the North-western Territory.
December 14, 1790. The Secretary of State having had under his consideration, the journal of the proceedings of the Executive in the Northwestern Territory, thinks it his duty to extract therefrom, for the notice of the President of the United States, the articles of April 25th, June 6th, 28th, and 29th. Some of which are hereto annexed.
Conceiving that the regulations, purported in these articles, are beyond the competence of the executive of the said government, that they amount, in fact, to laws, and as such, could only flow from its regular legislature. That it is the duty of the general government to guard its subordinate members from the encroachments of each other, even when they are made through error or inadvertence, and to cover its citizens from the exercise of powers not authorized by the law. The Secretary of State is of opinion that the said articles be laid before the Attorney General for consideration, and if he finds them to be against law, that his