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vania.” This alarmed the southern members, and especially the Virginians, who strongly urged a location on the Potomac. Mr. Madison thought if the proceeding of that day had been foreseen by Virginia, that State might not have become a party to the Constitution. It was allowed by all to be a matter of vital importance to the Union. The bill to carry this resolution into effect passed the House by a vote of thirty-one to nineteen, and was amended by the Senate by inserting Germantown, Pennsylvania, in place of the location on the Susquehanna. The action of the Senate was agreed to by the House, with an amendment providing that the laws of Pennsylvania should continue in force in said district until Congress should otherwise direct. The Senate postponed the consideration of this amendment until the next session. Germantown was thus actually agreed upon, but the bill eventually failed on account of the postponement.
Following the example of the Maryland Legislature, in her act of cession, December 23, 1788, the Assembly of Virginia passed an act, December 3, 1789, ceding a district to Congress for the location of the seat of
government, and also a resolution asking the coöperation of Maryland in inducing Congress to fix the seat of government upon the banks of the Potomac, and promising to advance a sum of money, not exceeding $120,000, towards erecting public buildings, Maryland advancing a sum not less than two-fifths of that amount. Maryland acceded to the proposition, and agreed to advance the amount of money required. Other States made like offers of territory, in their anxiety to have the seat of government within their boundaries. Congress was not disposed to act upon the question, as the greatest ill feeling and a spirit of dissension had arisen among the members upon the funding act. An amendment, providing for the assumption of the State debts to the amount of twentyone millions, was rejected in the House. The north was in favor of the assumption, and the south was opposed to the inclination to locate the seat of government on the Susquehanna.
At this critical juncture, Jefferson, then Secretary of State, and Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, met in conference, and proposed a compromise of the two vexed questions. Hamilton thought the north would consent to the location of the Capital on the Potomac, if the south would concede the amendment assuming the State debts. It was agreed that Jefferson should ask the interested parties to dinner next day, and propose the accommodation. The discussion took place accordingly, and it was decided to reconsider the vote upon the amendment, and two Potomac members, White and Lee, agreed to change their votes. Hamilton undertook to carry the other point with the northern members. Thus the assumption bill was passed, and also the following bill, locating the seat of government : An Act for establishing the temporary and permanent
seat of the government of the United States.
Sec. 1. Be it enacted, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That a district of territory, not exceeding ten miles square, to be located as hereafter directed, on the river Potomac, at some space between the mouths of the Eastern Branch and Conococheague, be, and the same is hereby, accepted for the permanent seat of the government of the United States: Provided, nevertheless, That the operation of the laws of the State within such district
shall not be affected by this acceptance until the time fixed for the removal of the government thereto, and until Congress shall otherwise by law provide.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the President of the United States be authorized to appoint, and by supplying vacancies happening from refusals to act, or other causes, to keep in appointment as long as may be necessary, three Commissioners, who, or any two of whom, shall, under the direction of the President, survey, and by proper metes and bounds define and limit a district of territory, under the limitations above mentioned; and the district so defined, limited, and located, shall be deemed the district accepted by this act for the permanent seat of the government of the United States.
Sec. 3. And be it enacted, That the said Commissioners, or any two of them, shall have power to purchase or accept such quantity of land on the eastern side of the said river, within the said district, as the President shall deem
proper for the use of the United States; and, according to such plans as the President shall approve, the said Commissioners, or any two of them, shall, prior to the first Monday in December, in the year one thousand eight hundred, provide suitable buildings for the accommodation of Congress, and of the President, and for the public offices of the government of the United States.
Sec. 4. And be it enacted, That, for defraying the expense of such purchases and buildings, the President of the United States be authorized and requested to accept grants of money.
Sec. 5. And be it enacted, That, prior to the first Monday in December next, all officers attached to the seat of government of the United States shall be removed to, and, until the said first Monday in December, in the year one thousand eight hundred, shall remain at, the city of Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania, at which place the session of Congress next ensuing the present shall be held.
Sec. 6. And be it enacted, That on the said first Monday in December, in the year one thousand eight hundred, the seat of government of the United States shall, by virtue of this act, be transferred to the district and place aforesaid. And all offices attached to the said seat of government shall accordingly be removed thereto by their respective holders, and shall, after the said day, cease to be exercised elsewhere; and that the necessary expense of such removal shall be defrayed out of the duties on impost and tonnage, of which a sufficient sum is hereby appropriated. Approved, July 16, 1790.
President of the United States. The Legislature of Maryland, on the 19th of December, 1791, passed an act ratifying and confirming the cession of the District in the following terms :
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Maryland, That all that part of the said territory, called Columbia, which lies within the limits of this State, shall be, and the same is hereby acknowledged to be, forever ceded and relinquished to the Congress and Government of the United States, in full and absolute right and exclusive jurisdiction, as well of soil as of persons residing or to reside thereon, pursuant to the tenor and effect of the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution of Government of the United States : Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be so construed to vest in the United States any right of property in the soil, as to affect the rights of individuals therein, otherwise than the same shall or may be transferred by such individuals to the United States: And provided, also, That the jurisdiction of the laws of this State over the
property of individuals residing within the limits of the cession aforesaid shall not cease or determine until Congress shall by law provide for the government thereof, under their jurisdiction, in manner provided by the article of the Constitution before recited.
By an amendment, passed in Congress, March 3, 1791,
so much of the act as required the District to be located above the mouth of the Eastern Branch is repealed, and the President is authorized to make any part of the territory below the said limit and above the mouth of Hunting Creek a part of said District, so as to include a convenient part of the Eastern Branch, and of the lands lying on the lower side thereof, and also the town of Alexandria, provided that no public buildings be erected otherwise than on the Maryland side of the Potomac. Washington defined the boundaries of the District in the following amendatory proclamation :
Whereas, by a proclamation, bearing date the 24th day of January, of this present year, and in pursuance of certain acts of the States of Maryland and Virginia, and of the Congress of the United States, therein mentioned, certain lines of experiment were directed to be run in the neighborhood of Georgetown, in Maryland, for the purpose of determining the location of a part of the territory of ten miles square, for the permanent seat of the government of the United States; and a certain part was directed to be located within the said lines of experiment, on both sides of the Potomac, and above the limit of the Eastern Branch, prescribed by the said act of Congress;
And Congress, by an amendatory act, passed on the 3d day of this present month of March, have given further authority to the President of the United States to make any part of the said territory, below the said limit, and above the mouth of Hunting Creek, a part of the said District, so as to include a convenient part of the Eastern Branch and of the lands lying on the lower side thereof, and also the town of Alexandria ;">
Now, therefore, for the purpose of amending and completing the location of the whole of the said territory of ten miles square, in conformity with the said amendatory act of Congress, I do hereby declare and make known that the whole of the said territory shall be lo