Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Against this large sum I may be reminded of reservations and grants by the nation to the different States. These, when examined, do not materially interfere with the result. From the official returns of the Land Office, January, 1849, we learn the precise extent of these reservations and grants down to that period. Here is the exhibit:

Acres.

O

Common Schools
Universities
Seat of Government
Salines
Deaf and Dumb Asylums
Internal Improvements

10,807,958 823,950

50,860 422,325

45,440 . 8,474,473 20,625,006

This is all. In the whole aggregate only a little more than twenty millions of acres have been granted to these States. The value of this sum-total, if deducted from the estimated value of the franchise enjoyed by the nation, will still leave a very large balance to the credit of the Land States. Estimating the land at $ 1.25 an acre, all the reservations and grants will amount to no more than $ 25,781,257. Deducting this sum from $ 72,490,475, we have $ 46,709,218 to the credit of the Land States; or, if we place the tax at two cents an acre, more than double this sum.

This result leaves the nation so largely in debt to the Land States that it becomes of small importance to scan closely the character of these grants and reservations, to determine whether in large part they are not already satisfied by specific considerations on the part of the States. But the stress, which, in the course of this de

!

1 Exec. Doc., 30th Cong. 2d Sess., H. R. No. 12, Table 10, p. 260.

bate, is laid upon this bounty, leads me to go further. From an examination of the Acts of Congress by which the Land States were admitted into the Union it appears that a large portion of these reservations and grants was made on the express condition that the lands sold by the United States, under the jurisdiction of the States, should remain exempt from any State tax for the space of five years after the sale. This condition is particularly applicable to the appropriations for common schools, universities, seats of government, and salines, amounting to 12,105,093 acres. It is also particularly applicable to another item, not mentioned before, which is known as the five per cent fund, from the proceeds of the public lands, for the benefit of roads and canals, amounting in the whole to $5,242,069. These appropriations, being made on specific conditions, faithfully performed by the States down to this day, are properly excluded from our calculations. And this is an answer to the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. UNDERWOOD], who dwelt so energetically on these appropriations, without seeming to be aware of the conditions on which they were granted.

That I may make this more intelligible, let me refer to the act for the admission of Indiana. After setting forth the five reservations and grants already mentioned, it proceeds :

And provided always, That the five foregoing provisions herein offered are on the conditions that the convention of the said State shall provide by an ordinance, irrevocable without the consent of the United States, that every

and each tract of land sold by the United States, from and after the first day of December next, shall be and remain exempt from any tax laid by order or under any authority of the State, whether for State, county, or township, or any othef purpose whatever, for the term of five years from and after the day of sale."

This clause does not stand by itself in the acts admitting the more recent States, but is mixed with other conditions. I will not believe, however, that any discrimination can be made between particular Land States, on the ground of difference in conditions properly attributable to accidental circumstances. The provision just quoted is found substantially in the acts for the admission of Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. So far as these States are concerned, it is a complete consideration, in the nature of satisfaction, for reservations and grants enjoyed by them. It also helps to illustrate the value of the permanent immunity from taxation belonging to the United States, by exhibiting concessions made by the United States to assure this franchise for certain moderate quantities of land during the brief space of five years only.

After the constant charges of squandering the public lands and of partiality to the Land States, I think all will be astonished at the small amount on the debtor side, in the great account between the States and the Nation. This consists of grants for internal improvements, in the whole reaching to only 8,474,473 acres, which, at $ 1.25 an acre, will be $10,593,091. If this sum be deducted from the estimated value of the immunity already enjoyed by the United States, we shall still have upwards of $60,000,000 surrendered by the Land States to the nation ; or, if we call the annual tax two cents an acre, more than double this sum.

In these estimates I group together all the Land States. But, taking separate States, we find the same proportionate result. For instance, there is Ohio, with 16,770,984 acres proclaimed for sale down to January 1, 1849. Adopting the basis already employed, and assuming that these lands continued in the possession of the United States an average period of twenty-five years after being surveyed and proclaimed, and that the land tax was one cent an acre, we have $4,192,746 as the value of the immunity from taxation already enjoyed by the United States in Ohio. From this may be deducted the value of 1,181,134 acres, being grants to this State for internal improvements, at $1.25 per acre, equal to $1,476,417, leaving upwards of two millions — nearly three millions — of dollars yielded by this State to the nation.

Take another State, --- Missouri. It appears that down to January, 1849, 39,635,609 acres had been proclaimed for sale in this State. Assuming again the basis already employed, we have $9,908,902 as the value of the immunity from taxation already enjoyed by the United States in Missouri. From this may be deducted the value of 500,000 acres, granted for internal improvements, which, at $ 1.25 an acre, amounts to $ 625,000, leaving upwards of nine millions of dollars thus yielded by this State to the nation.

In this way I might proceed with all the Land States individually; but enough is done to repel the charges against them, and to elucidate a peculiar equity. On the one side, they have received little, very little, from the nation, while, on the other side, the nation, by strong considerations of equity, is largely indebted to them. This obligation of itself constitutes an equitable fund, to which the Land States may properly resort for assistance in works of internal improvement; and

[blocks in formation]

Congress will show an indifference to reasonable demands, should it fail to deal with them munificently,

- in some sort, according to the simple measure of advantage which the nation has already so largely enjoyed at their hands.

Against these clear and well-supported merits, the old States present small claims to consideration. They have waived no right of taxation over lands within their acknowledged jurisdiction; they have made no valuable concession; they have yielded up no costly franchise. It remains, then, that, with candor and justice, they should recognize the superior — I will not say exclusive -- claims of the States within whose borders and under the protection of whose laws the national domain is found.

Thus much for what I have to say in favor of this bill, on the ground of justice to the States in which the lands lie. If this argument did not seem sufficiently conclusive to render any further discussion superfluous, at least from me, I might go forward, and show that the true interests of the whole country — of every State in the Union, as of Iowa itself -- are happily coincident with this claim of justice.

The State of Iowa, though distant and still sparsely settled, is known to contain the materials of boundless prosperity. The northern part may wear some of the rigid features of New England, but the middle and southern portion has a surface of great fertility, and in its bosom coal to an incalculable amount, —- more, it is supposed, than all to be found in England and the whole European Continent. With these remarkable capacities, which, however, it shares with Illinois and Indiana and

« ПретходнаНастави »