Be it Ordained by the United States in Congress Assembled, That the said Territory, for the purposes of temporary government, be one district; Subject however, to be divided into two Districts, as future circumstances may in the Opinion of Congress make it expedient.
Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That the estates both of resident and non-resident proprietors in the said territory, dying intestate, shall descend to and be distributed among their Children, and the descendants of a deceased child in equal parts; the descendants of a deceased child or grand-child to take the share of their deceased parent in equal parts among them; And where there shall be no Children or descendants, then in equal to the next kin, in equal degree; and among collaterals, the children of a deceased brother or sister of the intestate shall have in equal parts among them their deceased parents share; and there shall in no case be distinction between kindred of the whole and half blood; Saving in all cases to the widow of the intestate her third part of the real estate for life, and one-third part of the personal estate, and this Law relative to descendants and dower shall remain in full force until altered by the Legislature of the district.
And until the Governor and Judges shall adopt Laws as hereinafter Mentioned, estates in the said territory may be devised or bequeathed
Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be appointed from time to time by Congress, a governor, whose commission shall continue in force for the term of three years unless sooner revoked by Congress; he shall reside in the district, and have a freehold therein in one thousand acres of Land, while in the exercise of his office. There shall be appointed from time to time, by Congress, a Secretary, whose Commission shall continue in force for four Years, unless sooner revoked; he shall reside in the district, and have a freehold estate therein in five hundred Acres of land, while in the exercise of his office; it shall be his duty to keep & preserve the Acts and Laws passed by the Legislature, and the Public records of the district, and the proceedings of the Governor in the Executive department, and transmit authentic copies of such acts & proceeding every Six Months to the Secretary of Congress: There shall also be appointed a Court to consist of three Judges, any two of whom to form a Court, who shall have a common Law Jurisdiction and reside in the District, and have each therein a freehold of five hundred Acres of Land, while in the exercise of these Offices; and their Commissions shall continue in force during good behavior.
The Governor and Judges or a Majority of them, shall adopt and publish in the district such Laws of the Original States, criminal and civil, as may be necessary and best suited to the circumstances of the District, and report them to Congress from time to time, which Laws shall be enforced in the district until the organization of the General Assembly therein, unless disapproved by Congress, but afterwards
The Governor, Judges, Legislative Council, Secretary, and such other Officers as Congress shall appoint in the district, shall take an Oath or affirmation of fidelity and of office; the Governor before the President of Congress, and all other Officers before the Governor. As soon as a Legislature shall be formed in the district the council &
And for extending the fundamental principles of Civil and religious liberty, which form the basis whereon these republics, their Laws and Constitutions are erected, to fix and establish those principles as the basis of all Laws, Constitutions & Governments which forever hereafter shall be formed in the said territory, to provide also for the establishment of States, and Permanent Government therein, & for their admission to a share in the Federal Councils on an equal footing with the Original States, at as early periods as may be consistent with the general interest; it is hereby ordained and declared by the authority aforesaid, that the following Articles shall be considered as articles of Compact between the original States in the said Territory, and forever remain unalterable unless by common consent, to-wit.:
Article first. No person demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments in the said territory.
Article second. The Inhabitants of the said territory shall always be entitled to the benefits of the writ of habeas corpus, and of the trial by jury; of a proportionate representation of the people in the Legislature, and of judicial proceedings according to the course of the common law; all persons shall be bailable unless for Capital offences, where the proof shall be evident, or the presumption great; all fines shall be moderate, and no cruel or unusual punishment shall be inflicted; no man shall be deprived of his liberty or property but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land; and should the public exigencies make it necessary for the common preservation to take any person’s property, or to demand his particular services, full compensation shall be made for the same and in the just preservation of the rights and property it is understood and declared, that no law ought ever to be made or have force in the said Territory that shall in any manner whatever interfere with or affect private Contracts or engagements, bona fide and without fraud previously formed.
Article the third. Religion, morality and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and means of education shall be forever encouraged. The utmost
Article the fourth. The said territory, and the states which may be formed therein, shall forever remain a part 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, conformable thereto. The inhabitants and settlers on the said territory shall be subject to pay a part of the Federal debts contracted or to be contracted, and a proportional part of the expences of government to be apportioned on them by Congress, according to the same common rule and measures by which apportionments thereof shall be made on the other States; & the taxes for paying their proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the district or districts, or new States, as in the original States within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress Assembled. The Legislatures of those districts, or new States, shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the Soil by the United States in Congress assembled, nor with any regulation Congress may find necessary for securing the title in such soil to the bona fide purchasers. No Tax shall be imposed on Lands the property of the United States; and in no case shall non-resident proprietors be taxed higher than residents. The navigable waters leading into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, and the carrying places between the same shall be common highways and forever free, as well to the Inhabitants of the said Territory as to the citizens of the United States, and those of any other States that may be admitted into the confederacy, without any tax, impost or duty therefor.
Article the fifth. There shall be formed in the said territory not less than three, nor more than five States; and the boundaries of the States, as soon as Virginia shall alter her act of Cession and consent to the same, shall become fixed and established as follows, to-wit:
The western State in the said territory shall be bounded by the Mississippi, the Ohio, and Wabash rivers; a direct line drawn from
Article the Sixth. There shall be neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted; provided always, that any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service are aforesaid.
Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid. That the Resolution of the 23d of April, 1784, relative to the subject of this Ordinance be, and the same is hereby repealed and declared null and void.
Done by the United States in Congress Assembled the 13th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1787, and of their Sovereignty and independence the 12th.