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1786.]

REGULATIONS OF COMMERCE.

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their purchase-money being payable in public securities, they would bring but a small amount of specie into the public treasury.

The committee, under these circumstances, see no means of relief from the present embarrassments, except by giving Congress power to levy duties on imports, and to provide such effectual revenue from the States as will be equal to their several quotas of a million and a half dollars annually: and as all the States, except New York and Georgia, have complied with the first part of the recommendation, that these States be earnestly urged to compliance.

In November, Mr. Hancock was elected President.

The importance of having uniform regulations of commerce had become more and more evident, and on the third of March, 1786, the committee to whom several papers relative to commerce had been referred, reported on the subject of the recommendations by Congress to the States on the thirtieth of April, 1784,' that Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia, have enacted laws conformably to those recommendations, but have suspended their operation until other States had acted; that Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, have passed laws conforming to the recommendation, but have determined the time from which they are to commence; that New Hampshire has granted full powers to Congress to regulate trade for fifteen years; that Rhode Island has granted the power for twenty-five years; North Carolina has granted a power similar to that of Rhode Island, without any limitation as to time, but not to take effect till all the States have made a similar grant. They

1

1 Vesting in Congress the power of making certain commercial regulations for fifteen years.

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TREATIES WITH INDIANS AND PRUSSIA. [CHAP. IV.

cannot find that Delaware, South Carolina, or Georgia, have passed any law on the subject.

It was then resolved that the recommendations of April, 1784, be again presented to the notice of the last mentioned States, and that New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and North Carolina be solicited to reconsider, and Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maryland, to amend their

acts.

Treaties were ratified on the seventeenth of April, 1786, with the Shawanees (at the mouth of the Great Miami), and at Hopewell with the Cherokees. Also, another, at Hopewell, with the Chickasaws, and with the Choctaws.

On the seventeenth of May, a treaty with the King of Prussia was ratified, which was in conformity with the liberal principles that Congress had instructed their foreign ministers to endeavor to obtain.

After some opposition and debate, Congress declared themselves ready to accept a cession from Connecticut of her claims to Western lands, beginning at the completion of the forty-first degree of north latitude, one hundred and twenty miles west of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Hancock having resigned, from indisposition, Mr. Gorham, of Massachusetts, was elected in his place on the third of June.

The States into which Virginia had proposed, in her act of cession, to divide the north-west territory, being found not suited to the rivers and other localities of that country, Congress, on the seventh of July, 1786, recommended to that State so to alter her act of cession as that the territory should be laid off into not less than three, nor more than five States; which recommendation that State subsequently complied with.

On the ninth of August, Congress again applied to the

1786.]

CESSION BY CONNNECTICUT.

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States of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, to make cessions of their Western territory.

From the tardiness of many of the States in complying with the recommendations of Congress on measures of finance, that body had recourse to the unusual expedient of sending committees to several of the State Legisla tures. Those of Pennsylvania, Connecticut New Jersey, and North Carolina were thus attended: and the Executive of New York was earnestly recommended to convene the Legislature of that State, for the purpose of granting the impost to the United States, as had been done by the other States. New Hampshire and Maryland were also urged to a fuller compliance with the requisition of Congress. In the act passed by New York, in the May preceding, it reserved to itself the exclusive control of the revenue officers, instead of subjecting them to the authority of Congress; and it made the duties payable in the bills of credit of that State, as well as in gold and silver: and though the Governor replied that he could not constitutionally convene the Legislature, Congress renewed their request.

The cession of Connecticut was accepted on the fourteenth of September.

Rhode Island and New Jersey having passed laws for making their paper-money receivable for taxes due to the United States, instead of specie, Congress declared those laws to be inadmissible.

On the thirteenth of October, an ordinance was passed for establishing a Board to settle all accounts between the United States and the separate States; the Board to consist of three members, any two of whom to be a quorum.

On the sixteenth of October, an ordinance for the esta blishment of a mint was passed.

The States were required to pay in specie, five hunVOL. I. 22

338

PEOPLE OF VERMONT.

[CHAP. IV.

dred and thirty thousand dollars before the first of June, 1787.

It appeared, from a preamble and resolution of the twenty-third of October, that all the States, except New Hampshire and North Carolina, had conformed to the recommendations of Congress concerning the regulations of foreign commerce, so that Congress might proceed to exercise the power given immediately, if those States had concurred with the rest. They were accordingly earnestly addressed on the subject; and several others were requested to alter their acts, so that the terms of fifteen years for which the power was given should be matured from the day that Congress should begin to exercise it.

Among the subjects which had occasionally engaged the attention and occupied the time of Congress was the claim of the people between the Connecticut River and Lake Champlain to be an independent State, under the name of Vermont. The territory they occupied was partly claimed by New Hampshire, and partly by New York, both of which States were opposed to their claim of becoming an independent State; but a more particular notice of this controversy is deferred until their claim was finally admitted, in 1791.

Amidst the financial perplexities of Congress, they met with no little disappointment and difficulty in their foreign relations.

Their ministers at Paris had not succeeded in making any commercial treaty, except with a nation which had no commerce. The great Frederick had been quite willing to give this proof of liberal policy, which cost him nothing; and the other nations of Europe so little understood the real laws of trade, that they, regarding all benefits received by the American Republic in their commercial intercourse with them as injurious to themselves,

1786.]

NAVIGATION OF THE MISSISSIPPI.

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refused those offers of reciprocal privileges, which would have been beneficial to both parties.

England, which pursued the same illiberal policy, had, however, additional motives. One was, she had not forgiven the national loss and discredit sustained by the late war; another was her belief that the discriminations which she made in favor of her own ships and seamen, and her exclusion of American vessels from her colonies, could not be retaliated for want of an united and harmonious action, now that the States were not pressed by a sense of common danger.

Congress also still found a difficulty with Spain about the navigation of the Mississippi, which must, at no distant day, be a matter of vital importance to the Western settlements. The country lying both north-west and south-east of the Ohio was found to be one of the most fertile on earth, and was fast attracting population which would soon form new members of the Confederacy; and as most of the products of their agriculture would not bear the expense of transportation overland, they must find a market by the easy conveyance down the Mississippi. They were therefore desirous that they should have this navigation permanently secured to them, independent of the will of Spain, who would naturally seek to obtain some compensation for the benefit, if she granted it, and who might abuse her power on any provocation, however slight, and even from mere caprice.

There was also a difference between the United States and Spain, as to boundary. She had not relinquished her claim to a part of the territory east of the Mississippi, as comprehended in Louisiana. She also claimed a limit of West Florida much farther north than the United States admitted, or than had been recognised by the treaty with Great Britain in 1783.

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