Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Hawkins, 14 February 1793

From Benjamin Hawkins

Senate Chamber 14 Feby. 1793

Mr. Strong

Mr. Rutherford

Mr. Hawkins

The committee on the enclosed bill reported verbally in substance as follows. That the line to be run would be exparte, as the President of the United States was authorized to appoint the officers to be employed in running the line, although such line would have affected the jurisdiction of the States of Virginia and Kentuckey, and perhaps, would have affected the property of their citizens. That the inhabitants of the territory south of the Ohio, being now entitled by their numbers to a Legislature, should be left to establish their boundary with the adjoining States, that any interferance on the part of the general government is unnecessary, and that the expense of running the line ought to be paid by the States particularly interested. Yours sincerely

Benjamin Hawkins

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: An Act for determining the Northern Boundary of the Territory ceded to the United States, by the State of North-Carolina [Philadelphia, 1793] (printed bill in Vi: Executive Papers; filed with TJ to Henry Lee, 11 Mch. 1793).

The enclosed bill was inspired by a 9 Nov. 1792 message from President Washington to Congress transmitting a letter and enclosures from TJ on the subject of the Southwest Territory’s unsettled northern boundary with Virginia and Kentucky and recommending that the legislature take this matter under consideration (see TJ to Washington, 2 Nov. 1792, and note). In response the House of Representatives appointed a committee on 28 Nov. 1792 to prepare a bill requesting and authorizing the President, with the concurrence of Virginia and Kentucky, to have this boundary surveyed at federal expense. The committee submittted a bill to this effect on 3 Dec. 1792 that was passed by the House and sent to the Senate on 18 Jan. 1793. Three days later the Senate referred the bill to a committee consisting of John Rutherford of New Jersey, Benjamin Hawkins of North Carolina, and Caleb Strong of Massachusetts, whose report on the measure, described above by Hawkins and reported verbally to the Senate by Rutherford on 8 Feb. 1793, led to its rejection on the same day by the upper house (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1826, 9 vols. description ends , i, 629, 631, 632, 674–5, 697; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales, 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , i, 473, 482).

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