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THE ORDINANCE OF 1787

ADDRESS OF HON. CYRUS G. LUCE

THE ORDINANCE OF 1787 ADDRESS OF HON. CYRUS G. LUCE, GOVERNOR Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Pioneer Society:

The subject upon which I am invited to present a few thoughts to-day, while old, is always new. The fate of nations has frequently turned upon what at the time of the occurrence seemed to be events of trifling importance. And this is eminently true of the adoption of the ordinance of 1787, for the government of the territory northwest of the river Ohio. It applied only to the government of an uninhabited wilderness, where the Indian and wild beast roamed at will. No portion of its air was disturbed by the echo of the white man's tread. Yet, an ordinance for the future government of this wild waste has been, as the sequel proved, momentous and far reaching in its results. In these it is scarcely excelled by the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. When the forefathers bid defiance to the authority of the mother country, they seemed to entertain but an indefinite conception of what the future policy of a general government should be. The old patriots at that time were devoted lovers of freedom, of liberty and of education. They had fled across the broad Atlantic to escape oppression from onerous taxation, from interference with religious liberty, and sought the wild American shores, faced the dangers of the deep, of wild animals. and of a wilder and fiercer population of Indians, for the sake of the enjoyment of freedom and liberty. The British yoke oppressed them, and they risked their all in a heroic effort to escape its thraldom. But the basis upon which the effort rested was a common interest, and they fought together simply because they could- more certainly protect their separate colonial existence.

Michigan


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