Front Text: Following the establishment of the public land system in 1785, the Continental Congress appointed a committee, chaired by James Monroe, to establish government in the new territory north and west of the Ohio River. Drafted prior to the Constitution of the United States, the Ordinance of 1787 provided the mechanism by which prospective states would enter the Union on an equal basis with existing states. It also prohibited slavery in the new territory and pledged good faith in dealing with Native American tribes. According to this plan, the Northwest Territory became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota in due course. Back Text: In March 1786, eleven men met in the Bunch of Grapes Tavern near Boston, Massachusetts, and formed the Ohio Company of Associates. Led by the Reverend Manasseh Cutler and General Rufus Putnam, the Ohio Company influenced the final form of the Northwest Ordinance while establishing the basis for Ohio's first settlement and its eventual statehood. The Ohio Company's original purchase comprised 1.5 million acres bounded by the Seven Ranges on the east and the Ohio River on the south. Campus Martius, its fortified seat, was established here in April 1788; in July of that year General Arthur St. Clair arrived to assume the governorship of the Northwest Territory.