페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

deflned in that treaty, whatever may have been the disputes as to title, substantially belonged to particular States. The entire territory was part of the United States, and all the native white inhabitants were citizens of the United States and endowed with the rights and privileges arising from that relation. When, as has already been said, the Northwest Territory was ceded by Virginia, it was expressly stipulated that the rights of the inhabitants in this regard should be respected. The ordinance of 1787, providing for the government of the Northwest Territory, fulfilled this promise on behalf of the Confederation. Without undertaking to reproduce the text of the ordinance, it suffices to say that it contained a bill of rights, a promise of ultimate statehood, and it provided (italics mine) that "The said territory and the States which may be formed therein shall ever remain apart of this confederacy of the United States of America, subject to the articles of confederation, and to such alterations therein as shall be constitutionally made, and to all the acts and ordinances of the United States in Congress assembled, conformably thereto." It submitted the inhabitants to a liability for a tax to pay their proportional part of the public debt and the expenses of the government to be assessed by the rule of apportionment which governed the States of the confederation. It forbade slavery within the territory, and contained a stipulation that the provisions of the ordinance should ever remain unalterable unless by common consent.

Thus it was at the adoption of the Constitution, the United States, as a geographical unit and as a governmental conception both in the international and domestic sense, consisted not only of States, but also of territories, all the native white inhabitants being endowed with citizenship, protected by pledges of a common union, and, except as to political advantages, all enjoying equal rights and freedom, and safeguarded by substantially similar guaranties, all being under the obligation to contribute their proportionate share for the liquidation of the debt and future expenses of the general government.

The opinion has been expressed that the ordinance of 1787 became inoperative and a nullity on the adoption of the Constitution (Taney, C. J., in Scott v. Sanford, 19 How. 438,) while, on the other hand, it has been said that the ordinance of 1787 was "the most solemn of all engagements," and became a part of the Constitution of the United States by reason of the sixth article, which provided that "all debts contracted and engagements entered into before the adoption of this Constitution shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution as under the confederation." (Per Baldwin, J., concurring opinion in Lessee of Pollard's Heirs v. Kibbe, 14 Pet. 417, and per Catron, J., in dissenting opinion in Strader v. Graham, 10 How. 98.) Whatever view may be taken of this difference of legal opinion, my mind refuses to assent to the conclusion that under the Constitution the provision of the Northwest Territory ordinance making such territory forever a part of the confederation was not binding on the government of the United States when the Constitution was formed. When it is borne in mind that large tracts of this territory were reserved for distribution among the continental soldiers, it is impossible for me to believe that it was ever considered that the result of the cession was to take the Northwest Territory out of the Union, the necessary effect of which would have been to expatriate the very men who by their suffering and valor had secured the liberty of their united country. Can it be conceived that North Carolina, after the adoption of the Constitution, would cede to the general government the territory south of the Ohio River, intending thereby to expatriate those dauntless mountaineers of North Carolina who had shed lustre upon the Revolutionary arms by the victory of King's Mountain? And the rights bestowed by Congress after the adoption of the Constitution, as I shall proceed to demonstrate, were utterly incompatible with such a theory.

Beyond question, in one of the early laws enacted at the first session of the First Congress, the binding force of the ordinance was recognized, and certain of its provisions concerning the appointment of officers in the territory were amended to conform the ordinance to the new Constitution. (1 Stat. 50.)

In view of this it cannot, it seems to me, be doubted that the United States continued to be composed of States and territories, all forming an integral part thereof and incorporated therein, as was the case prior to the adoption of the Constitution. Subsequently, the territory now embraced in the State of Tennessee was ceded to the United States by the State of North Carolina. In order to insure the rights of the native inhabitants, it was expressly stipulated that the inhabitants of the ceded territory should enjoy all the rights, privileges, benefits and advantages set forth in the ordinance "of the late Congress for the government of the western territory of the United States." A condition was, however, inserted in the cession that no regulation should be made by Congress tending to emancipate slaves. By act of April 1, 1790, (1 Stat. 100,) this cession was accepted. And, at the same session, on May 26, 1790, an act was passed for the government of this territory, under the designation of "the territory of the United States south of the Ohio River." (1 Stat. 123.) This act, except as to the prohibition which was found in the Northwest Territory ordinance as to slavery, in express terms declared that the inhabitants of the territory should enjoy all the rights conferred by that ordinance.

A government for the Mississippi Territory was organized on April 7, 1798. (1 Stat. 519.) The land embraced was claimed by the State of Georgia, and her rights were saved by the act. The sixth section thereof provided as follows:

"sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That from and after the establishment of the said government, the people of the aforesaid territory shall be entitled to and enjoy, all and singular, the rights, privileges and advantages granted to the people of the territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio, in and by the aforesaid ordinance of the thirteenth day of July, in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, in as full and ample a manner as the same are possessed and enjoyed by the people of the said last-mentioned territory."

Thus clearly defined by boundaries, by common citizenship, by like guaranties, stood the United States when the plan of acquiring by purchase from France the Province of Louisiana was conceived by President Jefferson. Naturally, the suggestion which arose, was the power on the part of the government of the United States, under the Constitution, to incorporate into the United States—a Union then composed, as I have stated, of States and territories—a foreign province inhabited by an alien people, and thus make them partakers in the American commonwealth. Mr. Jefferson, not doubting the power of the United States to acquire, consulted Attorney General Lincoln as to the right by treaty to stipulate for incorporation. By that officer Mr. Jefferson was, in effect, advised that the power to incorporate, that is, to share the privileges and immunities of the people of the United States with a foreign population, required the consent of the people of the United States, and it was suggested, therefore, that if a treaty of cession were made containing such agreements it should be put in the form of a change of boundaries instead of a cession, so as thereby to bring the territory within the United States. The letter of Mr. Lincoln was sent by President Jefferson to Mr. Gallatin, the Secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Gallatin did not agree as to the propriety of the expedient suggested by Mr. Lincoln. In a letter to President Jefferson, in effect so stating, he said:

"But, does any constitutional objection really exist? To me it would appear (1) that the United States as a nation have an inherent right to acquire territory; (2) that whenever that acquisition is by treaty, the same constituted authorities in which the treaty-making power is vested have a constitutional right to sanction the acquisition; (3) that whenever the territory has been acquired Congress have the power either of admitting into the Union as a new State or of annexing to a State, with the consent of that State, or of making regulations for the government of such territory." (Gallatin's Writings, vol. 1, p. 11, <fcc.) .

To this letter President Jefferson replied in January, 1803, clearly showing that he thought there was no question whatever of the right of the United States to acquire, but that he did not believe incorporation could be stipulated for and carried into effect without the consent of the people of the United States. He said (italics mine):

"You are right, in my opinion, as to Mr. L.'s proposition: There is no constitutional difficulty as to the acquisition of territory, and whether when acquired it may be taken into the Union by the Constitution as it now stands will become a question of expediency. I think it will be safer not to permit the enlargement of the Union but by amendment of the Constitution." (Gallatin's Writings, vol. 1, p. 115.)

■ • * • **•••*• • • "• • * * • « • « , • *

• •••«•••••• • **••*« *

■ ••• •*•*•• •••• • * • *

And the views of Mr. Madison, then Secretary of State, exactly conformed to those of President Jefferson, for, on March 2, 1803, in a letter to the commissioners who were negotiating the treaty, he said:

"To incorporate the inhabitants of the hereby ceded territory with the citizens of the United States, being a provision which cannot now be made, it is to be expected from the character and policy of the United States that such incorporation will take place without unnecessary delay." (State Papers, II, 540.)

Let us pause for a moment to accentuate the irreconcilable conflict which exists between the interpretation given to the Constitution at the time of the Louisiana treaty by Jefferson and Madison, and the import of that instrument as now insisted upon. You are to negotiate, said Madison to the commissioners, to obtain a cession of the territory, but you must not under any circumstances agree "to incorporate the inhabitants of the hereby ceded territory withthe citizens of the United States, being a provision which cannot now be made." Under the theory now urged, Mr. Madison should have said: You are to negotiate for the cession of the territory of Louisiana to the United States, and if deemed by you expedient in accomplishing this purpose, you may provide for the immediate incorporation of the inhabitants of the acquired territory into the Lrnited States. This you can freely do because the Constitution of the United States has conferred upon the treaty-making power the absolute right to bring all the alien people residing in acquired territory into the United States and thus divide with them the rights which peculiarly belong to the citizens of the United States. Indeed, it is immaterial whether you make such agreements, since by the effect of the Constitution without reference to any agreements which you may make for that purpose, all the alien territory and its inhabitants will instantly become incorporated into the United States if the territory is acquired.

Without going into details, it suffices to say that a compliance with the instructions given them would have prevented the negotiators on behalf of the United States from inserting in the treaty any provision looking even to the ultimate incorporation of the acquired territory into the United States. In view of the emergency and exigencies of the negotiations, however, the commissioners were constrained to make such a stipulation, and the treaty provided as follows:

"Art. III. The inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States, and admitted as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages and immunities of citizens of the United States; and in the meantime they shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property and the religion which they profess." (8 Stat. 202.)

Weighing the provisions just quoted, it is evident they refute the theory of incorporation arising at once from the mere force of a treaty, even although such result be directly contrary to any provisions which a treaty may contain. Mark the language. It expresses a promise: "The inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States. . . ." Observe how guardedly the fulfillment of this pledge is postponed until its accomplishment is made possible by the will of the American people, since it is to be executed only "as soon as possible according to the principles of the Federal Constitution." If the view now urged be true, this wise circumspection was unnecessary, and, indeed, as I have previously said, the entire proviso was superfluous, since everything which it assured for the future was immediately and unalterably to arise.

It is said, however, that the treaty for the purchase of Louisiana took for granted that the territory ceded would be immediately incorporated into the United States, and hence the guarantees contained in the treaty related, not to such incorporation, but was a pledge that the ceded territory was to be made a part of the Union as a State. The minutest analysis, however, of the clauses of the treaty fails to disclose any reference to a promise of statehood, and hence it can only be that the pledges made referred to incorporation into the United States. This will further appear when the opinions of Jefferson and Madison and their acts on the subject are reviewed. The argument proceeds upon the theory that the words of the treaty "shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States," could only have referred to a promise of statehood, since the then existing and incorporated territories were not a part of the Union of the United States, as that Union consisted only of the States. But this has been shown to be unfounded, since the "Union of the United States" was composed of States and Territories, both having been embraced within the boundaries fixed by the treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States which terminated the Revolutionary war, the latter, the territories, embracing districts of country which were ceded by the States to the United States under the express pledge that they should forever remain a part thereof. That this conception of the Union composing the United States was the understanding of Jefferson and Madison, and indeed of all those who participated in the events which preceded and led up to the Louisiana treaty, results from what I have already said, and will be additionally demonstrated by statements to be hereafter made. Again, the inconsistency of the argument is evident. Thus, whilst the premise upon which it proceeds is that foreign territory, when acquired, becomes at once a part of the United States, despite conditions in the treaty expressly excluding such consequence, it yet endeavors to escape the refutation of such theory which arises from the history of the government by the contention that the territories which were a part of the United States were not component constituents of the Union which composed the United States. I do not understand how foreign territory which has been acquired by treaty can be asserted to have been absolutely incorporated into the

« 이전계속 »