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others, affecting private interests—which but for its being the seat of government, would never have been invested there. The public buildings are also of great value.
Besides, good accommodation's may now be had in Frankfort: which is more than can be said of any other place, having any pretension to concentrality. In short, so judiciously was the commission of five, for fixing the permanent seat of government, executed, that, notwithstanding the restless disposition, whim, caprice, and selfishness, of mankind; and the repeated, and strenuous attempts, which have been made to remove it; yet it holds its pre-eminence, and still baffles its enemies. Who, in fact, have no place to offer in competition, that in the mind of a dispassionate man of common sense, could produce a moment's hesitancy. "Not one object of public utility, has ever been, or can ever be, pointed out, as probably to be effected, by a removal." And notwilhstanding the convention of 1799 recognised, and corroborated, the seat of government, at that place—yet for many years, and very recently, was the removal made a question in the legislature! The mere abstract right to make the motionyis not to be doubted—while its utility has never been shewn—although often, almost annually, has the motion been repeated—and as often, lost.
A strong case, it must be admitted, to evince the restlessness, ever found among men—and no less striking, as a proof, of the unwillingness, apparently inherent in human nature; to permit any portion of the community, to possess, or enjoy, although the product of their own labour, and amelioration; any kind of convenience, or advantage, not common to all. Notwithstanding, that in its nature, as the seat of government, for example, it fs perfectly incommunicable, to all. Was not the public faith pledged, in fixing on Frankfort, as the permanent seat of government, under constitutional provisions, to those who should vest their money in lots, build houses, and improve the place, for the necessary and comfortable accommodation of those, who should be called there on public, or even private, business? Was not this pledge renewed, when the private funds of individuals, were accepted, and applied, to the building of a state house—both formerly, and latterly! And yet, repeatedly have majorities been found, who have voted for removal. Two circumstances, have mainly prevented the effect of this motion terminating in an actual law for changing the seat of government—one was, the spirit of selfish locality of feeling, among the rival pretenders, to preference of place; the other, the constitutional restriction, which requires the concurrence of two-thirds of both houses, to pass the act.
The operation of such examples, are to discourage improvements at the place; to keep such as had ventured,and laid out their money and labour, ever in jeopardy: and generally, to impair, or destroy, all confidence, in arrangements dependent on acts of the legislature: and thus, to arrest and prevents useful enterprise, and liberal exertion.
Such, unquestionably, is the tendency of the government; and its history, can but demonstrate, the inaccuracy of its balance of powers, in the legislative scale.
The objections to Frankfort, as the seat of government, are not, that it is unhealthy-—or that it cannot be supplied with provisions—with fuel—with any, or with all, the conveniences, of good living—that its atmosphere is unfavourable to intellectual exertions, or subject to any physical debility —but, "that it is not in the centre of the state!" Whence, it has been asked, "where is the centre of the state?" In reply—a place in the Knobs, ten, or twelve miles southwe?tward of Harrodsburgh; surrounded by a broken tract of country—too sterril, for cultivation, with here and there an exception, has been pointed out; and gravely urged, in preference to Frankfort, for the seat of government!! Yes, hours, and days, have been consumed in the solemn farce, called a debate, on motions for removal—many members voting in the mean time, however, on correspondent motions; for Danville, Pittsburgh, Bardstown, and Lexington, within the body of the state—and for Louisville, on one of the extreme outlines.
Hi-fated, devoted Frankfort! on one occasion, its agonized, and breathless inhabitants, were made to hear its site depressed below, overwhelming floods: its adjacent hills, elevated to the ,vol. ii. B
clouds, and broken into precipices; the country round about, described as the fit haunts of wolves, and bears—while a crack in the plaster of the state house, and a cobweb on the ceiling, were magnified into objects, but little less portentious than comets—or less to be dreaded than a volcanic irruption—of which, they might be taken as the certain auguries. It was a subject befitting the oratory. Mr. Clay, probably, never made greater exertions, or a more illiberal display—but as he did not exceed thirty years of age, and has delivered several greater speeches since, this is merely mentioned for the sake of historic justice. The effect, at the time, was great; and some good people conceited, that they saw the seat of government on the road to Lexington, where the orator resided.
The constitutional requisition, of two-thirds, to an act of removal, saved Frankfort from the effects of the storm, then, as at other times; and hence, it may be inferred from experience, that the seat of government, is as permanent, as the constitution—but not more so: and that is known to depend on popular will.
The seat of government is no trivial subject, in any country; but in Kentucky, owing to the spirit of hostility which Frankfort, has experienced from her neighbouring towns, it is rendered of as little importance, as it well can be; while it remains to be, called the seat of government.
This subject, in most countries, is seen to connect itself also with the moral, political, and scientific, character, of the people; not of that place only, but of the country.
To cultivate either the arts, or sciences, or to become renowned for polite and elegant literature, requires numerous means; to be found only, in populous cities, or large assemblies of people. In some states, these are the consequences of a concentrated commerce—in others, of an accumulation of military plunder; and the consequent residence of the plunderers. Neither of which can be expected in Frankfort; nor in Kentucky.
Frankfort, has various natural advantages, some of which have been enumerated; with these—with the seat of governmerit—with the university—and a perfect freedom from apprehension of losing these incidental advantages—she would have been, a flourishing, and populous city. But instead of these aids, the bare circumstance of her being the seat of government, has been seen to excite an envy, and a jealousy, whose united efforts, have been to depress her; by repeated and intimidating menaces; by, bestowing on other places, and withholding from Frankfort, institutions of a public nature—which, if they had been concentrated at the seat of government, where they should have been, would have cherished a confidence, and laid the foundation of a population, favourable to the growth of the arts, literature, and science, worthy of the capital of a great state.
To attain an end, it is necessary to institute, and apply the appropriate means.
This lesson, familiar to every schoolboy, seems buttoo-often. forgotten by those who would be thought politicians. Or i rather, perhaps, it should be said, that the politicians of Kentucky, have been of the local, rather than, of the general kind; and that they have devoted so much of their attention to their counties, that they had none to spare for the use of the state.
But history, whose business it is to exhibit in its narratives the transactions of the times, may be permitted to recall them to memory, by allusions, or general descriptions, which dispense with- personal discriminations, and particular details. And this must be the course on the present occasion..
The two houses of the general assembly, attentive to the recommendations of the governor, engaged themselves in discussing bills, to regulate elections, to raise revenue, and to • establish courts—besides such others, as appeared. necessary to organize the governments and some of less magnitude, or of a private nature; which ultimately passed into laws—with the executive approbation. The three first, resulting from principles inherent in the constitution, and of a general character, will receive particular attention; while a cursory observation, will suffice, as to others-—and the mere title, be a sufficient recognition of the residue; even of those, of a first session..
The first bill, which received the approbation of the governor, was entitled "An act establishing an auditor's office of public accounts;" approved the 22d of June, 1792.
By this law, an auditor was to be appointed, whose duty required him tosta^e and keep an exact account of all articles, of debit and credit thereafter to arise between the common wealth, and all persons corporate, or natural.
The second, was "An act for dividing the county of Nelson." Hence the county of Washington. "Beginning on Salt river, where the county line between Nelson and Mercer crosses the same; thence down the.river to the mouth of Crooked creek; thence to the mouth of Beaver creek; thence down Chaplin.s fork, to the Beech fork; thence down said fork to the mouth of Hardin's creek; thence to the knob lick, near the head of Pottenger's creek; thence to the mouth of Salt Lick run, of the Rolling fork; thence up the run to the dividing ridge between Salt, and Green rivers; thence eastwardly along said ridge to the line of Lincoln and Nelson; thence with it to the Mercer line; thence along the Nelson and Mercer line, to the beginning." To take effect from the 1st day of September then next ensuing.
The third, was "An act for dividing the county of Woodf6rd." From this proceeded the county of Scott. "Beginning on the town fork of Elkhom, where the line of Fayette and Woodford crosses; thence down the creek to the south fork; thence down that until a line N. 20, W. will strike the Eightmile tree on the road from Frankfort to Georgetown; then a straight line to intersect the Big Buifalo road between the head of Cedar creek, and Lccompt's run; then a straight line to the Ohio, at the mouth of Big Bone Lick creek; then up the Ohio, to the mouth of Licking; then up Licking to the mouth of Raven creek; then up it to the Bourbon line; with that to the Fayette line; and with it to the beginning." To commence the 1st of September following the passage of the act.
The fourth, was "An act for dividing the county of Jefferson:" whose offspring, is, Shelby. "Beginning on Salt river, at the mouth of Plumb creek; thence a course that will strike