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The amount of the sinking fund which was applied to the payment of the publie debt in 1829, was $ 12,405,005..
Under the continuance of the present system of duties, it may be safely estimated that it will not hereafter be less than $ 12,000,000 per annum. From a mere inspection of these facts, it is manifest that the fund will soon accumulate, and a large proportion remain idle in the Treasury, unless the revenue is reduced, or, in part, appropriated to new objects.
As the proceeds of the sales can be required but a short time longer for the redemption of the public debt, and may even now be dispensed with, some provision becomes necessary for their disposal hereafter. Before any appropriation was made for the national debt, the lands in the western country belonged to the individual States. Their interest still continues, and Congress, now holding their property in trust, is bound in good faith to dispose of it for their common use and benefit.
The cessions from all the States, except Virginia and North Carolina, declare generally, that the territory granted shall be for the use and benefit of the United States, and such States as may become members of the federal alliance, and for no other purpose whatever. The cessions of Virginia and North Carolina further direct, that the land conveyed shall be for the use and benefit of the States, according to their several respective proportions in the general charge and expenditure. At the time of these cessions, which were made under the old Confederation, except that of North Carolina, Congress possessed no power of raising a revenue by taxation, but merely made requisitions upon the different States for their respective proportions of the general charge and expense. By the 8th article of the Confederation, these proportions were to be determined by the value of land, thereafter to be estimated. No valuation, however, was ever taken, and Congress was obliged to make arbitrary apportionments, founded, as must be presumed, upon the best estimate of property and the persons capable of rendering assistance to the country. In 1783, a resolution was passed recommending that the proportion of charge and expense should be determined by the number of inhabitants, including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and three-fifths of all other persons, except Indiuns not paying taxes. This is the precise rule which was after incorporated into the Constitution for the apportionment of direct taxes and representatives among the States. In the year succeeding this resolution, Virginia made her cession; and after the adoption of the Constitution, in 1790, North Carolina did the same. It may be presumed that these States had reference to the above principle for ascertaining the respective proportions of charge and expense; and, of course, the interest in the land ceded, to which each State was entitled. The committee believe that such was the expectation of the parties, and that, when the distribution of the proceeds is made, it should be upon that principle. The rule may be applied with equal justice and propriety to the whole of the public domain. It is founded upon the basis of taxation and population; is in accordance with the Constitution; and, if the money is applied to the promotion of education, it will distribuie the same to the different States and Territories, according to the number of persons to be educated, and the general expense of instruction.
The adoption of the population upon which representation is founded, instead of the number of Representatives in this House, as the guide of distribution, is perfectly consistent with the principle ot the resolution, and will prevent any loss or inequality in the different States, particularly the small ones, that may result from fractions in the representative numbers,
The committee propose that the general distribution be founded upon the next census to be taken; that it go into operation on the 1st of July, 1831, and be regulated thereafter by every decennial enumeration. As the relative increase of population in the new States, upon the public domain, will be more rapid than in the old ones, they recommend that, for their benefit, an enumeration be taken at the end of five years succeeding each general census.
In relation to the application of the money arising from the public lands, the committee are well satisfied that, if it be limited to any single object, the permanent and general diffusion of intelligence being so important, not only to the prosperity and honor of the country, but essential to the very existence and preservation of our republican institutions, that it presents the first and strongest claim to the attention and patronage of Government. The promotion of other objects, however, are of so great and general importance, that it is worthy of consideration whether some latitude of discretion should not be entrusted to the Legislatures of the different States, to select objects interesting to themselves, to which their portion of the revenue might, in whole or in part, be applied. As the resolution is limited to education only, the committee recommend the accompanying bill for that purpose.
MARCH 19, 1830.
Jr. BROWN, from the Committee on Revolutionary Claims, made the fol
The Committee on Revolutionary Claims, to whom was referred the petition of the heirs of William Vawters, (late of the State of Kentucky, deceased,) make the following report:
That the said William Vawters enlisted as a soldier, in the year 1777, in the 1st Virginia regiment, commanded by Colonel George Gibson; said regiment being on State establishment; and continued in the service of the State until the battle of Germantown; at which battle, the 9th Virginia regiment, on continental establishment, was captured by the enemy; in consequence of which, the State of Virginia, by an act of her Legislature, passed in December, 1779, transferred the aforesaid regiment from the State to the continental establishment, in lieu of the 9th regiment, which had been captured, as aforesaid.
It also appears, from the documents and evidence hefore your committee, that the said Vawters, while in the service, was promoted first to an ensign, and subsequently to lieutenant, which office he held when deranged out of service, and made a supernumerary, by an arrangement of the army, pursuant to two resolutions of Congress, passed on the 3d and 21st of October, 1780; and continued a supernumerary, subject at all times to the call of his country, to the close of the war; and considering this case to come within the provisions of the resolution of October 21st, 1780, which allows to all officers deranged by that arrangement half pay for life, do herewith report a bill.
MARCH 19, 1830.
Mr. DICKINSON, from the Committee on Revolutionary Claims, made the
The Committee on Revolutionary Claims, to whom was referred the pe. tition of Daniel Goodwin, executor of Benjamin Goodwin, deceased, and the documents accompanying the same, report:
That this claim, and the papers accompanying the same, were referred to the Committee on Revolutionary Claims of the last Congress, who, on the 21st day of February, in the year 1828, reported favorably thereon. Your committee, after a full examination of all the evidence and documents before them, concur with that committee in the opinion expressed by them in that report, and request that the same may be considered as a part of this report, and ask leave to introduce a bill for the relief of the petitioner,
FEBRUARY 21, 1828. The Committee on Revolutionary Claims, to which were refered the pe
tition of Daniel Goodwin, and the documents accompanying the same, submit the following report:
The petitioner states, that he is the executor of the last will and testament of Benjamin Goodwin, late of Easton, in the Commonwealth of Massachu. setts, deceased. That, in the month of March, 1777, Thomas Cushing, Esq. then agent of the United States for building a seventy-four gun ship in Boston, took possession of the dwelling-house, stores, yard, and wharf, of the said Benjamin Goodwin, for the use of the United States in building the said ship, and accommodating the people who were employed therein.
The petitioner further states, that, in March, 1781, the said Benjamin, having received no compensation for the use of said property, or satisfaction for the damages sustained by reason of the injury done to it, agreed with the mid Thomas Cushing, the agent as aforesaid, to submit the matters in con