Missourians One Hundred Years Ago

Missourians One Hundred Years Ago

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Excerpt from Missourians One Hundred Years Ago: In Commemoration of Missouri's First Centennial Observance, January 8, 1918

"They conceive that their numbers entitle them to the benefits and the rank of state government. Taking the progressive increase during former years, as a basis of the calculation, they estimate their present numbers at upwards of 40,000 souls. Tennessee, Ohio, and the Mississippi state were admitted with smaller numbers, and the Treaty of Cession guarantees this great privilege to your petitioners as soon as it can be granted under the principles of the Federal Constitution. They have passed eight years in the first grade of territorial government, five in the second; they have evinced their attachment to the honour and integrity of the Union during the late war, and they, with deference, urge their right to become a member of the great Republic.

"They forbear to dilate upon the evils of the territorial government, but will barely name, among the grievances of this condition -

"1. That they have no vote in your honorable body, and yet are subject to the indirect taxes imposed by you.

"2. That the veto of the territorial executive is absolute upon the acts of the territorial legislature.

"3. That the superior court is constructed on principles unheard of in any other system of jurisprudence, having primary cognizance of almost every controversy, civil and criminal, and subject to correction by no other tribunal!

"4. That the powers of the territorial legislature are limited in the passage of laws of local nature, owing to the paramount authority of Congress to legislate upon the same subject.

"The boundaries which they solicit for the future state, they believe to be the most reasonable and proper that can be devised. The southern limit will be an extension of the line that divides Virginia and North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. The northern will correspond nearly with the north limit of the territory of Illinois and with the Indian boundary line, near the mouth of the River Des Moines. A front of three and one-half degrees upon the Mississippi will be left to the South, to form the territory of Arkansas, with the River Arkansas traversing its center. A front three and one-half degrees more, upon a medium depth of 200 hundred miles, with the Missouri River in the center, will form the State of Missouri. Another front of equal extent, embracing the great River St. Pierre, will remain above, to form another state, at some future day.

"The boundaries, as solicited, will include all the country to the north and west to which the Indian title has been extinguished.

"They will include the body of the population.

"They will make the Missouri River the center, and not the boundary of the state.

"Your petitioners deprecate the idea of making the civil divisions of the states to correspond with the natural divisions of the country. Such divisions will promote that tendency to separate, which it is the policy of the Union to counteract.

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