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Report by a committee of the Continental Congress concerning land ceded by Virginia
United States. Continental Congress
September 13, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 891-894

RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS.
[From Executive Letter Book.]

By the United States in Congress Assembled,
September 13th, 1783.

Congress resumed the consideration of the report of the Committee on the Virginia Cession, & the same being amended to read as follows:

The Committee to whom were referred the act of the Legislature of Virginia of the 2d of January, 1781, and the report thereon, report that they have considered the several matters referred to them, & observe that the Legislature of Virginia by their Act of the 2d of January, 1781, resolved that they would yield to the Congress of the United States, for the benefit of the said States, all right, title and claim which the said Commonwealth hath to the lands Northwest of the River Ohio upon the following conditions, viz:

1st. That the territory so ceded should be laid out & formed into States, containing a suitable extent of territory, not less than one hundred nor more than one hundred and fifty miles square or as near thereto as circumstances would admit, and that the States so formed should be distinct republican States, and admitted Members of the federal Union, having the same rights of Sovereignty, freedom & independence as the other States.

2dly. That Virginia should be allowed and fully reimbursed by the United States, her actual expences in reducing the British Posts at the Kaskaskias & St. Vincents the expense of maintaining Garrisons and supporting Civil Government there, since the reduction of the said Posts, and in general all the charge she has incurred on account of the Country on the Northwest side of the Ohio river, since the commencement of the present War.

3rd. That the French and Canadian Inhabitants, and other settlers of the Kaskaskias, St. Vincents & the neighbouring villages, who have professed themselves Citizens of Virginia, should have their possessions & titles confirmed to them and should be protected

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in the enjoyment of their rights and liberty, for which purpose Troops should be station there at the charge of the United States, to protect them from the encroachments of the British forces at Detroit, or elsewhere, unless the event of War should render it impracticable.

4th. As Colonel George Rogers Clark planned and executed the secret expedition by which the British posts were reduced, and was promised if the enterprise succeeded a liberal gratuity in lands in that Country for the officers and Soldiers who first marched thither with him, that a quantity of Land not exceeding 150,000 acres, should be allowed and granted to the said officers & Soldiers, and the other officers & Soldiers that have been since incorporated into the said Regiment to be laid off in one tract, the length of which not to exceed double the breadth, in such place on the Northwest side of the Ohio, as the Majority of the officers should chuse; and to be afterwards divided among the said officers & Soldiers in due proportion, according to the Laws of Virginia.

5th. That in case the quantity of good Lands on the South west side of the Ohio upon the waters of Cumberland River, and between the Green river & Tennessee river, which have been reserved by Law for the Virginia Troops upon Continental establishment, should from the North Carolina line bearing in further upon the Cumberland Lands, than was expected, prove insufficient for their legal bounties, the deficiencies should be made up to the said Troops in good lands to be laid off between the Rivers Scioto and little Miamis, on the Northwest side of the River Ohio, in such proportions as have been engaged to them by the Laws of Virginia.

6th. That all the Lands within the Territory so ceded to the United States, and not reserved for or appropriated to any of the before mentioned purposes, or disposed of in Counties to the officers & Soldiers of the American Army should be considered as a common fund for the use and benefit of such of the United American States as have been or shall become Members of the confederation or foederal Alliance of the said States, Virginia inclusive, according to their usual respective proportions in the general charge and expenditure, and should be faithfully & bona-fide disposed of for that purpose, and for no other use or purpose whatsoever.

7th. And therefore that all purchases & deeds from any Indian or Indians, or from any Indian nation or nations, for any Lands

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within any part of the said Territory, which have been or should be made for the use & benefit of any private person or persons whatsoever, and Royal grants within the ceded territory, inconsistent with the chartered rights, laws and customs of Virginia, should be deemed and declared absolutely void, and of no effect in the same manner as if the said territory had still remained subject to and part of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

8th. That all the remaining territory of Virginia included between the Atlantic Ocean and the South east side of the River Ohio, and the Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina boundaries should be guaranteed to the Commonwealth of Virginia by the said United States.

Whereupon your Committee are of opinion that the first condition is provided for by the Act of Congress of the 10th of October, 1780.

That in order to comply with the second condition so far as has been heretofore provided for by the Act of the 10th of October, 1780, it is agreed that one Commissioner should be appointed by Congress, one by the State of Virginia, and another by those two Commissioners, who, or a majority of them, should be impowered to adjust and liquidate the account of the necessary and reasonable expences incurred by the said State which they may be judged to be comprised within the true intent and meaning of the said recited Act.

With respect to the third condition, the Committee are of opinion, that the settlers therein described should have their possessions and titles confirmed to them, and be protected in the enjoyment of their rights and liberties.

Your Committee are further of opinion that the fourth, fifth and sixth conditions being reasonable should be agreed to by Congress: with respect to the seventh condition, your committee are of opinion that it would be proper for Congress to declare the purchases and grants therein mentioned, absolutely void and of no effect, and the sixth, engaging how the Lands beyond the Ohio shall be disposed of, is sufficient on this point.

As to the last condition, your Committee are of opinion, that Congress cannot agree to guarantee to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the land described in the said condition, without entering a discussion of the right of Virginia to the said land, and that by the Acts of Congress

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it appears to have been their intention which the Committee cannot but approve, to avoid all discussions of territorial rights of individual States, and only to recommend and accept a cession of their claims, whatsoever they might be, to vacant territory.

Your Committee conceive the condition of a guarantee to be either unnecessary or unreasonable, inasmuch as, if the land above mentioned is really the property of the State of Virginia it is sufficiently secured by the confederation, and if it is not the property of that State, there is no reason nor consideration for such guarantee.

Your Committee therefore upon the whole recommend that if the Legislature of Virginia make a cession conformable to this report, that Congress accept such cession.

Resolved, That Congress accede to the said report.

Extract from the minutes.

GEO. BOND, Depy. Secy.