Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 43
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GALES &> BATON'S REGISTER
Sen. & H. of R.j
Settlement of the Oregon.
[Dec. 22, 1824.
many instances, as security or payment, those lands
which they had loaned the money to purchase ; and, if
the Government would now receive those lands back,
either from the purchasers or the banks, it would even-
tually realize the whole or a part of the amount now due
by the Western and Southwestern banks to the Treasu-
ry. Mr. J. argued at some length to show the expedi-
ency of such a measure, and its analogy to the cases
which produced the beneficial relief law of 1820, which
passed the Senate with so much harmony and unanimity.
At any rate, as the resolution simply proposed inquiry
into the subject, he hoped it would be agreed to.
Mr. EATON thought the scheme suggested by the
resolution an impracticable one, or, at any rate, one 6f
much difficulty, and one which, he believed, the Senate
would not agree to. Therefore, as the inquiry would be
one of much trouble, probably, to the committee, should
it be referred, and a useless trouble, believing as he did
believe, that, after all, the Senate would not sanction
the measure, he thought it unreasonable to require a
labor of the Committee on Public Lands which would
result in nothing;; and he, as one of the members of that
committee, was therefore opposed to the resolution.
Moreover, the duty of realizing whatever was possible
from the debts of those banks had been assigned to the
Secretary of the Treasury, and he was unwilling to
change the arrangement for one so difficult and uncer-
tain, if not impracticable, as the one proposed by the
Mr. JOHNSON replied, and Mr. EATON rejoined;
when, on motion of Mr. KING, of Alabama,
The resolution was ordered for the present to lie on
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES—same hat-.
CLAIM OF MAISON ROUGE.
The resolution, offered by Mr. BRENT some days
since, in relation to the claim of the representatives of
the Marquis de Maison Rouge, to refer that claim to a
committee, was taken up.
Mr. ISRECK spoke in opposition to the resolution, on
the ground that the claim in dispute had been submit-
ted by Mr. Cox, the present holder of the vast tract of
land concerned, to a judicial tribunal; in wirch case, he
thought all legislative interference, on the pari of t'lis
House, would be highly improper. Mr. IS. stated a num-
ber of facts in support of this view of the case.
Mr. CAMPBELL, of Ohio, (Chairman of the Commit-
tee on Private Land Claims,) replied to Mr. Bukck; and
understanding that the suits instituted by Mr. Cox, are
only against persons settling on the land without any ti-
tle at all, (squatters,) thought that these suits, however
decided, could not settle the question between the claim
of the Marquis de Maison Rouge, and that of the United
Mr. BRENT followed, in support of the resolution.—
He went at some length into the facts of the case, and
denied that any suit had been instituted, or, if any, none
which could try the claim. No suit could be instituted
against the United States, without a law of Congress e
rcssly for the purpose, lie knew the settlers personal-
ly, and he asserted that not one of them held under any
title derived from the Government of the United States ;
they held under titles from the Spanish Government,
and no suit against them could settle the question of
Maison Rouge's claim. If Mr. Cox wished to bring his
claim before the courts of the United States, his proper
course would be, not to oppose the interference of this
House, which alone could enable him to accomplish that
object, but rather to invite it to act upon the subject.
Mr, RANKIN replied to Mr. Brunt, and detailed the
history of the claim, as it had been for five years succes-
sively presented to Congress, together with the diffe-
rent general acts ©film Government in their application
to the land in question. He thought that the suits now
instituted would operate to try the question, inasmuch
as they would give to Mr. Cox an opportunity to prove
his title; and he deemed it a right of the present holder
to have his claim fairly investigated by law, provided
that, in pursuing it, he interposed no unnecessary de-
The debate was farther continued byMesrss. BRENT,
RANKIN, BRECK, and CAMPBELL; but, as it turned
chiefly on the minutise of the land laws, it was not re-
ported with particularity.
[The lands involved are of great extent and value, oc-
cupying almost the whole of the county of Ouachita, in
Louisiana. They remain unsettled—have never been
exposed to sale, on account of the claim of the Marquis
de Maison Rouge. The tract is in possession of Mr. D,
W. Cox, of Philadelphia, who holds under the marquis.]
The hour devoted by the rules of the House to the
consideration of resolutions having elapsed, the debate-
was cut short by the Speaker's calling the orders of the
The bill from the Senate, " making provision for Gen.
Lafayette," was taken up and read a first time; and,
on motion of Mr. MALLARY, was laid for the present
upon the table.
SETTLEMENT OF THE OREGON.
The House then resumed the consideration of the bill
providing for the occupation of the Columbia or Oregon
River; and the question being put on striking out the
third section of the bill, (which proposes to grant land to
settlers in that territory,) it was decided in the affirma-
tive, ayes 101: so the section was stricken out.
Mr. YV1CKLIFFE moved to amend the bill by insert-
ing the following section:
lie it enacted, &c. That, for the better security and
protection of the rights of persons who may settle' in or
near the said military post, or who may carry on trade
and commerce there, it shall be the duty of the President
of the United States to prescribe such rules and regula-
tions as he shall deem fit and proper; which rules and
regulations shall be by him submitted to Congress, for
their approbation, at their next session.
Mr. W. supported his motion by observing, that he
did not contemplate, iti proposing this amendment, to
concede any of the legislative powers of this House to
the President of the United States. He would reserve
them in their full extent. But, if any tiling like a settle-
ment of the country on the Oregon was seriously intend-'
ed, we must expect that there would soon be on that
river something more than a mere guard of soldiers ; the
number of the settlers would greatly exceed that of any
military force that it might be necessary to post there;
but he conceived that we were all, at present, too im-
perfectly informed as to their situation and circumstan-
ces, to be in a situation to enact regulations for their go-
vernment which should be suited to their condition and
character. He therefore thought it was proper to refer
the subject to tile President, and to empower him, as the
person most lit, from lsis situation, for such a task, to di-
gest a system of rules and regulations for the govern-
ment of this infant territory, which should be submitted
to the approbation of Congress when it should next
meet. As an American citizen, he was indisposed to
subject the civil rights of the settlers to the caprice of
military rule ; and, though we might not at present be in
circumstances to establish a territorial government on
that river, yet we might prepare the foundations of one,
with which view he had offered to add this feature to the
The question being put upon Mr. WICKLIFFE's
amendment, it was lost by a large majority.
At the request of Mr. HAMILTON, of South Caroli-
na, the bill was then read with the amendments adopted
yesterday, and was ordered to be engrossed for a third
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Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress, book, 1825; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30752/m1/26/: accessed January 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.