Inspired by The Vowel Eater. Thanks, @JonMark Perry!

A vowel,-space,-and-punctuation-eating monster and a paper-ripping monster have broken into the Federal Archives of the United States! (oh no!)

You find this fragment of an important historical document:




What is this important historical document? Quick, you have to find out so the Archives can sort their stuff again!

  • $\begingroup$ I'm wondering why this puzzle is getting downvoted while the one that was linked has a high positive score. I know this type of puzzle is almost entirely trivia-based, but shouldn't there be consistency in how we deal with them? $\endgroup$
    – HTM
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ @PiIsNot3 That one was posted three years ago. Opinions change. (Plus, this one isn't an original idea, which will likely lower people's opinion of it -- and make them realize it's mass-producible.) $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 23:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi Fair point, but I also notice that the first one was posted less than a month after this meta discussion about whether trivia questions are on-topic or not, yet it still got such a positive reception. Granted, they might not have reached consensus by that time, but it's just something to point out. $\endgroup$
    – HTM
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 23:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I didn't vote on either of them; I think Deusovi's "mass-producible" remark is part of it. Also, this one is pretty easy (I was not the only person to solve it very quickly; the other solver got there about a minute after me and deleted their answer on seeing they'd been ninjaed) and puzzles sometimes get downvoted for feeling too straightforward. The older one is shorter and has no capital letters, though in fact it's also rather easy. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 23:49
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan OK I see, thanks for your explanation! $\endgroup$
    – HTM
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 23:50

1 Answer 1


This is

the so-called Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

It says, in part:

[...] and such conveyances be acknowledged, or the execution thereof duly proved, and be recorded within one year after proper magistrates, courts, and registers shall be appointed for that purpose; and personal property may be transferred by delivery; saving, however to the French and Canadian inhabitants, and other settlers of the Kaskaskies, St. Vincents and the neighboring villages who have heretofore professed themselves citizens of Virginia, their laws and customs now in force among them, relative to the descent and conveyance, of property.
Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be appointed from time to time by Congress, a governor, whose commission shall continue in force for the term of three years, unless sooner revoked by Congress; he shall reside in the district, and have a freehold estate therein in 1,000 acres of land, while in the exercise of his office.
There shall be appointed from time to time by Congress, a secretary, [...]

  • $\begingroup$ That was... quick $\endgroup$ Commented May 8, 2019 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ There were a few giveaways. It would have been harder without the capital letters. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not saying it was hard, but damn $\endgroup$ Commented May 8, 2019 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ The earlier "vowel-eater" question, linked from this one, seems to have been solved four minutes after it was posted. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 23:37
  • $\begingroup$ @TzuLi If this is the correct answer (I don't see how it could not be...) then you should click the little green checkmark thing to mark it as accepted... $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 11:45

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