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THE COUNTY OF 
ILLINOIS 



CLARENCE WALWORTH ALVORD, A. B. 

(WILLIAMS COLLEGE, iSqi) 



THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIRE- 
MENT FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN 
HISTORY IN THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE 
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, I907 




PUBLISHED BV THE AUTHOR 






THE COUNTY OF 
ILLINOIS 



BY 

CLARENCE WALWORTH ALVORD, A. B. 

(WILLIAMS COLLEGE, l8gi) 



THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIRE- 
MENT FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN 
HISTORY IN THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE 
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, I907 



PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR 



THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 

ASTOR. LENOX AND 2 
TlJLDEN foundations! 
F; 1918 Lj 



Copyright iqo; 

BY 

The Illinois State Historical Library 



R. R. DONNELLEY k SDKS COMPANY 
CHICAGO 



ILLINOIS 
STATE HISTORICAL LIBRARY 



BOARD OF TRUSTEES 

Edmund Janes James, President 

McKendree Hypes Chamberlain, Vice-President 

George Nelson Black, Secretary 



Mrs. Jessie Palmer Weber, Librarian 



ADVISORY COMMISSION 

EvARTS BouTELL Greene, Chairman 
James Alton James 
Henry Johnson * 
Edward Carleton Page 
Charles Henry Rammelkamp 
Edwin Erle Sparks 

* RESIGNED SEPTEMBER, igo6 



INTRODUCTION. 

On the banks of the Mississippi in southwestern Illinois, lies 
the American Bottom, the land most hallowed by romance and 
history of all the lands of the old Northwest. Taking no account 
of the prehistoric epoch whose monuments survive in the numerous 
Indian mounds of the region, we find its history running back over 
two centuries to the time when the first white settlers placed 
their villages by the side of the great river of the West in an 
attempt to realize the idea of a colonial empire as conceived by 
the Grand Monarch in his palace at Versailles. Here for almost 
a hundred years, while the dominion over the Northwest was 
passing from France to England and from England to the 
United States, these villages endured unchanged amidst the creeks 
and ponds of the bottom, which mirrored in their quiet waters the 
old world civilization transported into the heart of the wilderness 
from feudalized France. 

The American Bottom' extended southward from opposite the 
mouth of the Missouri for about a himdred miles to the point 
where the Kaskaskia formerly emptied her waters into the 
Mississippi; but within recent times the lower part of this 
tract has been cut away by the greater river's breaking through 
to the bed of the smaller, thus conveying to the Missouri side a 
piece of this historic groimd. Here is found some of the most 
fertile land in the United States. Like historic Egypt, it is the 
gift of a river and, like it, is submerged at intervals, although not 
periodically, by the fertilizing waters that gave it birth. In 
breadth the bottom land varies from three to seven miles, the 
average being about five. When the first settlers came, it pre- 

' The name was given it when the Mississippi formed the western boimdary of the United 
States. It was probably thus named by the Spaniards across the river. (Peck, A Gazetteer 
of Illinois, 2d ed., 5.) Another explanation of the name has been derived from the fact that 
the Americans spread their settlements over the bottom land more than the French. This 
latter explanation must have arisen after the United States acquired Louisiana and the name 
had lost its earlier sig^nificance 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

sented to the eye a view of almost tropical luxuriance, inviting the 
beholders to make their homes in a spot that offered more than 
the land of promise flowing with milk and honey. Along the bank 
of the Mississippi was a forest of about a mile in width, wherein 
grew various kinds of nut trees, hickory, pecan, black walnut, 
and here and there were scattered groves of crabapple and single 
trees of the persimmon and mulberry. The imderbrush was 
composed of numberless thickets of wild plums, blackberry and 
other bushes; and all were matted together by the grapevines, 
which, in their efforts to gain the sunlight, twined serpent-like 
about the tree trunks, encircled the branches, and almost covered 
the tops with their broad leaves. On the east side of the bottom 
was a long stretch of limestone bluffs, rising perpendicularly from 
the plain to the height of about a hundred feet, effectually cutting 
off the low land from the prairies beyond. The bluffs presented 
their rough-he\\ii faces to the view like the bastions of some 
cyclopian fortress, but in places they were screened by the trees 
which clung to their sides and hung from' their crests. Between 
the forest and the cliffs lay an vmdulating meadow, the surface 
of which wasVaried by belts of trees bordering the lakes and 
ponds or fringing the streams which had foimd their way 
through the bluffs and followed their quiet courses to the 
great river beyond. On both meadow and bluff the growth of 
the flora was luxuriant. In the marshy places the reeds raised 
their slender tops far above the head of the passer-by, hiding 
from view the snowy lilies serenely floating on the surface of the 
ponds; while in forest, field, and swamp the bluebells, goldenrod, 
mallows, and cardinal flowers made the scene on every side gay 
with their brilliant hues. 

Here nature offered her gifts with bounteous hand ; but as in 
all such lands of tropical prodigality the climate was warm and 
enervating, inducing in man a love of indolence and repose rather 
than the more virile emotions. The ponds and streams, so beauti- 
ful with their fringe of foliage in spring, became in summer stag- 
nant and were the breeding places of myriads of mosquitoes, 
which scattered the germs of disease among the hardy invaders 



INTRODUCTION 

of the wilderness. In the springtime the waters of the Missis- 
sippi submerged the land and occasionally stretched in an 
unbroken expanse from the bluffs of Illinois to those of the 
opposite shore.^ 

This is not the place to tell the earliest history of this region, 
of the exertions of the French to settle and hold the Mississippi 
valley, or of that inevitable struggle with England which ensued ; 
for the narrative of the documents printed in these pages be- 
longs to a later period. When their story begins the American 
Revolution was at its height, and the echoes of that struggle, heard 
on the banks of the Mississippi, had awakened in the hearts of 
the French habitants a fond hope of freedom; when their story 
ends, the constitution of the United States had been adopted and 
the new-bom nation was prepared to attempt the solution of the 
difficult problems incident to her heritage in the West. Between 
these dates the American frontiersmen had found their way to 
the Illinois and the dramatic struggle of Anglo-Saxon energy 
with Gallic quietism had begun. 

In the year 1778 there was a population of less than a thou- 
sand white settlers and of about the same number of negroes and 
Indians in the villages of the bottom. At the north was Cahokia 
with its three hundred whites and eighty negroes; forty-five 
miles south was St. Philippe, formerly inhabited by a dozen fami- 
lies, but now, because of the exodus of the French at the time of 
the transference of the territory to the British, with only two or 
three remaining ; at Fort de Chartres village, called Nouvelle Char- 
tres, there still lingered a few French settlers ; three miles farther 
south Prairie du Rocher nestled under the bluffs, from which 
it took its name, with a population of a hundred whites and 
almost as many slaves; ;and at the extreme south was the 

1 Hutching, Topographical Description, ed. Hicks, io6 et seg.; for a good description o 
the American Bottom, see Flagg, The Far West, in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, xxvii 
ie6 et stq. At the end of this volume will be found a map of the American Bottom taken 
from Collet, Voyage dans L'Amerique Septentrionale. This map was originally printed wrong 
way around, for the river flows north and south instead of east and west as indicated by the 
caption. I hare removed the compassof the original map, but have not made the othernecessary 
alterations, preferring to print it as in the original. The basis of this map was undoubtedly 
Hutchins' well-known map of the same region. My additions are the names of Prairie du 
Pont, Grand Ruisseau and Prairie du Rocher I have also changed the name Fountain to 
Belie Fontaine 



ILLINOIS fflSTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

metropolis of the bottom , Kaskaskia, which boasted eighty houses, 
five hundred white inhabitants, and almost as many black. 

The settlement of the white men in the bottom had not driven 
out the aborigines, for the French have always dwelt in peace 
with the American Indians, the management of whom they imder- 
stood far better than did the Anglo-Saxons. Near the French 
villages were the homes of these children of the prairies, who 
numbered at the time less than five himdred members of the 
four remaining tribes of the Kaskaskias, Peorias, Mitchigamies, 
and Cahokias. The French and British travelers are unanimous 
in describmg these Illinois Indians as degenerate descendants 
of a once warlike people. Their association with the French, 
instead of fitting them better to meet the trials of life in the wilder- 
ness, had corrupted the qualities of bravery and physical courage 
and made them the debauched parasites of their white neigh- 
bors.* 

Besides these settlements of the American Bottom on the 
Mississippi River, there were in the valley of the Wabash the two 
important posts of Ouiatanon and Vincennes, the latter of which 
rivaled the Illinois villages in population and importance; for it 
was by the Wabash that the principal trade route between the 
more western posts and Canada ran.^ Many smaller settlements 
were scattered throughout the region ; at Peoria on the Illinois 
river, where lately Jean Bte. Mailhet had revived an older trad- 
ing post; at St. Joseph on the river of the same name, and at 
Miami; and here and there smaller groups of French traders 
might be foimd in the Indian villages and elsewhere. These 
smaller posts served only the purposes of trade. Their white 
inhabitants, being migratory in their habits, either followed the 
Indians on their periodic hunts or went from one post to another 
merely to buy the furs when the Indians returned. 

The British dominion ended with the Mississippi River. On 
the western bank were other French villages such as St. Louis and 

• Pittman, European Settlements on the Mississippi, ed. Hodder, 84 et seq.; HutduDS, 
Topographical Descriplioti, ed. Hicks, 107 et seq. 

2 Benton, The Wabash Trade Route, J. H. U. Studies, xxi.; Dunn, Indiana, passim; 
Craig, Ouiatanon, in Ind. Hist. Soc. Publications, ii.; Vianz, Die Kolonisation des Mississippi- 
tales, 199. 



INTRODUCTION 

Ste. Genevieve, belonging to the government of Spain. They 
did not differ greatly in character or population from these of 
the British shore ; but since the rule of the Spaniard was on the 
whole more congenial to the Gallic temperament, many of the 
more progressive settlers from the eastern bank had made their 
homes there during the last decade, and the Spanish bank enjoyed 
greater prosperity and a more rapid increase of population than 
did the British, advantages which the events of the succeeding 
years tended to augment, so that at the end of the period imder 
review the Spanish shore had profited by the misfortunes of the 
neighboring villages.^ 

Most of the French of the western posts came from Canada, 
with which country they retained constant communication through 
trade and exchange of messages on family affairs. Very few had 
come directly from France and the number from southern Loui- 
siana was relatively small.^ Here in Illinois and on the Wabash 
which tmder both the French and British regime were subject to 
the same jurisdiction,^ they had lived for one or two generations, 
engaged in the pursuits of trade and the cultivation of their 
small farms. The majority, known as the habitants, coming 
as they did from the lower classes of France, were illiterate and 
ignorant; and their life in the wilderness, far removed from the 
restraints of civilized society, had not improved their mental 
or moral qualities, but had developed those best fitted to their 
mode of living. Like the Indians with whom they associated 
and even intermarried,^ they were active, adroit and hardy, but 

1 See post, pp. cxlii et seq. 

2 See notes to census on pp. 624 ei seq. Reynolds (My Own Times, ch. xii.) says that the 
population of Kaskaskia and Cahokia showed differences due to their origins, the former being 
settled from Mobile and New Orleans and the latter from Canada. Although I have not 
traced out the origin of all the families of Kaskaskia as I have of those of Cahokia, I have 
noticed no indications of such a difference. Certainly all the prominent famiUes of Kaskaskia 
were Canadian and the names of the other families are easily recognized as coming from 
the same place. Although it is necessary to make some use of Reynolds' books, they must 
be recognized as the most unreliable sources for the early period that we have. More errors 
in the histories of the state may be traced back to his statements than to any other one source. 

3 This is true only of the more important village, Vincennes; for Ouiatanon was under 
the government of Canada, and Vincennes with the Illinois tillages in the province of Loui- 
siana during the French period. Dunn, Indiana, 58. 

* All writers testify to the intermarrying between the French and Indians, but I have 
been surprised at the infrequency of the occurrence of marriage contracts between repre- 
sentatives of the two races among their records. This may be due to the fact that contracts 
on such occasions were not used. I am inclined to believe, however, that the frequency 
of such marriages has been somewhat exaggerated by the travelers. 



IIJJNOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

also cunning and treacherous. At their best the voyageurs and 
coureurs de bois could be seen laboriously pulling their flat boats 
laden with produce up the rivers or gliding in their canoes on the 
wood-girt streams and ponds in pursuit of game. In such labors 
they were merry, patient, and industrious; as a rule they were 
faithful in the performance of their engagements and were warm 
in their friendships, but to their enemies revengeful and ready 
to take the meanest advantage. Yet their life amidst the dangers 
of the forest did not develop m them physical courage, for in the 
presence of an unexpected attack from Indians or others they 
were generally timid and resourceless.^ Without doubt many 
individual examples of pluck and bravery might be enumerated ; 
but in comparison with the American frontiersmen the French 
voyageurs and coureurs de bois exhibited little boldness and initia- 
tive in action. Returned to the settlement they were careless 
and pleasure loving, dissipating their energies in drinking, gam- 
bling, and gossiping; and, as irresponsible as children, they 
were easily turned aside from the pursuit of their real interests. 
It can be readily miderstood that to the men who followed the 
wilderness trace or tracked the wild beasts in the dark forest, 
agriculture and the mechanic arts would offer little or no attrac- 
tion ; but even in the pursuit of their calling one looks in vain for 
a sign of the enterprising spirit of the Anglo-Saxon. 

Although priests and governors made loud complaint of the dis- 
orderliness of these habitants, yet their pleasures and vices were 
of a far milder type than those of their counterparts, the Ameri- 
can backwoodsmen. The French always retained a respect 
for law and constituted authority and preferred to be guided 
rather than to lead. The expression of their individualism was 
checked in the presence of officials, for government meant to them 
authority with a divine right to rule. In all their dealings, busi- 
ness and social, they never neglected to call in the assistance of 
notary or judge, whose legal papers they preserved, as their 
records show, with the greatest care and reverence. In their 

* This is abundantly proved by the following pages. Such is also the testimony of the 
fur traders of the far West, who employed the descendants of these French as voyageurs and 
hunters. Chittenden, American Fur Trade, i. 57. 



INTRODUCTION 

petty quarrels with each other the Frenchmen saw no disgrace in 
seeking from the court a "reparation of honor" instead of ending 
them with the brutal fights common among the Americans. 
Though given to drinking and gambling, the dance was their 
favorite amusement, and to the weekly frolic came the men and 
matrons, the yoimg men and maidens ; and even the priest graced 
these festive gatherings. Here all danced until the small hours 
of the night or even to daybreak with no appearance of rowdy- 
ism or vulgarity to mar their simple festivities.^ 

It is due to the remembrance of this lower class, the habitants, 
that travelers, both French and English, have condemned in 
such unmeasured terms the Illinois French settlers; but the pic- 
ture of the village society would be incomplete if limited to a 
description of the coureurs de bois and voyageurs; for it was 
never wholly vulgarized and depraved, owing to the presence 
here of many persons from the better classes of France and 
Canada — the gentry, Clark called them — who, accustomed 
to greater refinements of life than those of the log cabin, 
endeavored to surround themselves with such little elegancies 
as might be brought from Canada or elsewhere. Some of the 
residents could claim nobility of birth. The acting commandant 
in 1778 was son of the seigniorial lord of Savoumon, the sieur de 
Rocheblave. Timothe Boucher, who a few years later held a 
similar position, was the sieur de Monbreun,^ a grandson of 
Pierre Boucher several times governor of Three Rivers, who was 
ennobled for his services in 1660. Among the gentry, which was 
a rather elastic term, were also many well-to-do men, who had 
risen to prominence in the Illinois or else possessed some patri- 
mony, before migrating to the West, which they had increased by 
trade. Such was Jean Bte. Barbau of Prairie du Rocher, the 
members of the Bauvais ^ and Charleville families of Kaskaskia 

1 Reynolds, My Own Times, ch. xii. 

2 For an account of his place in Illinois history, see post, p. cxxiv. The name is spelled in 
Canada Montbrun, but this member always wrote it as given above, except in one place, 
which I have noticed, when he placed after it a superior t 

3 Reference to the family will be found at various places in the Introduction see pp.xx.. 
n. s, 11., n. 3, cvii., cxvii., cxxxv. The members of the family always wrote the name as spelled 
above. They commonly used their second name in preference to their surname St. Gemme. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

and their neighbors and friends, the Viviats, the Lachances, and 
the Janis ; and at Cahokia, the Sauciers, Francois Trottier, Antoine 
Girardin, and J. B. H. LaCroix.^ Next to the acting commandant 
the most important individual of the American Bottom was 
Gabriel Cerrd, who had acquired his wealth in the fur trade. 
He was well educated and had correspondents in Canada and 
elsewhere.^ Among the rising young men must be reckoned 
Charles Gratiot, who had established himself at Cahokia in 1777 
and was associated in business with three Canadian merchants. 
He had had an excellent education, spoke several languages, was 
something of a dandy in dress, and had by his address won for 
himself a place of influence in the community.^ These were the 
men and others like them to whom Sir William Johnson, the 
British Indian commissioner referred, when he wrote that the 
French traders were gentlemen in character, manners, and dress, 
and "men of abilities, influence, and address."* 

These members of the gentry lived far more elegantly than 
the American backwoodsmen and were their superiors in culture. 
Their houses were commodious and their life was made easy for 
themselves and families by a large retinue of slaves. ^ They were 
in social life pleasant, their hospitality was proverbial, and their 
courtesy to strangers constant. They evidently maintained the 
distinction between themselves and the poorer and more ignorant 
classes, so that the democracy of the American frontier was not 
established among them. Thus was added to the French settle- 
ments an element of refinement and elegance, however simple, 

* For these Cahokians see the foot-notes on pp. 624 et seg. 

* Gabriel Cerr^ was bom at Montreal, August 12, 1734. As early as 1755 he was estab- 
lis&ed at Kaskaskia, where he married in 1764 Catherine Giard. His activities at the time 
of the coming of Clark are told in the succeeding pages. He did not find it best for his busi- 
ness interests to remain among the Virginians and by June 17, 1779, had made his preparations 
for his removal to St. Louis by purchasing a lot in that N-illage. The date he left Kaskaskia 
is not known, but was probably before the end of 1779. He became one of the most influen- 
tial citizens of St. Louis and died April 4, 1805. Douglas, "Jean Gabriel Cerr^, A Sketch," 
in Transactions of 111. Hist. Soc, 1903. 

' See note on p. 4, n. 2. I have to thank Mr. Pierre Chouteau of St. Louis for the loan of 
Journal A of the trading company of David McCrae, John Kay, Pierre Barthe, and Charles 
Gratiot. The first entry is dated at Cahokia, August 6, 1778. The journal was written by 
Gratiot. 

* N. Y. Col. Doc, vii., 965. 

* A member of the Bauvais family owned eighty slaves. Pittman, Miss. Settlements, ed.. 
Hodder, 85. 



INTRODUCTION 

which was always lacking in the more virile, if less romantic, 
communities of the American pioneers.^ 

Except for the wildness of the surroimding uncleared land 
and the luxuriance of the growth of vegetation, these villages copied 
in their external appearance and internal life the similar com- 
munities of France in the eighteenth century. Just as the English 
settlers on the seaboard brought with them their English house- 
hold goods and their English institutions, and planted them by 
the streams and hills of New England, so these French of the 
Mississippi valley transplanted from the heart of France their 
homes with their utensils and ornaments and the village com- 
munity in which they and their ancestors had lived. 

All the houses were of one story with a broad veranda on one 
or more sides. The less pretentious ones were built of upright 
beams set in horizontals at top and bottom with the interstices 
between the beams filled with what was called "cat and clay", 
a composition of clay and finely cut straw or moss. At one 
side, and sometimes two, there was a large chimney for the 
spacious fireplace of the living room and kitchen.^ The better 
houses were of stone and with their sheds, bams, and slave quar- 
ters gave evidence of prosperity and wealth. Around each 

1 yery severe judgments have been passed upon the French on the Mississippi and Wa- 
bash rivers by many writers. Among these the most important have been the British officers 
and the later French travelers. The first class has always been noted for its incapacity to 
appreciate the good characteristics of a civilization different from its own, and the French 
travelers, _ such as Michaud and Collet, Wsited the region after the events narrated in this 
Introduction had driven the more progressive men from the eastern bank to swell the Spanish 
villages. Therefore it has seemed necessary to supplement their accounts from other sources. 
In writing the description of these people I have first of all had in mind the record of their 
acts contained in this volume. The picture formed iu the mind after reading these records 
is not that of the most "debased, ignorant, and superstitious of humanity", but rather the 
reverse. These facts should in part offset the strictures of Fraser and Croghan, as should 
also the letter of Sir WiUiam Johnson quoted above. At their best the French of IlUnois 
were not dissimilar from those on the Spanish bank, so that the description of Ste. Gene- 
vieve by Brackenridge is correct enough for Illinois. Any knowledge of the conditions in 
Canada may be used cautiously also. We have two attempts to form judgments of these 
French, coming from men of different character. The first is by C. F. Volney, who visited 
the region in 1796 and the other by Edmund Flagg whose visit was made in 1836. The 
testimony of Governor Reynolds may also be admitted, since he lived among them and knew 
them well. Fraser, Report, from a copy in the pubUc library of Champaign, 111.; Croghan, 
Journals, in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, i., 152; Letter of Sir William Johnson in N . Y . 
Col. Doc, \ii., 965; Volney, View oj the U. S., 370 et seq.; Michaud Travels, in Early West- 
ern Travels, iii., 70; Brackenridge, Recollections, 19 et seq.; Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii., 
137. CoUot, Voyage dans L' Amerique, i., 318; Flagg, Far West, in Thwaites Early West- 
ern Travels, xxvii., 52 et seq. An excellent description of the French-Canadians of the period 
may be found in Coffin, Tlie Province oj Quebec and the Early American Revolution, 282 et 
seq.; see also Franz, Die Kolonisation des Mississippitales, 382. 

2 See illustration of a typical house of this character, p. 284. Descriptions of such houses 
may be found in Monette, Hist, of the Valley of the Miss., i., 183 and Volney, View of the 
U. S.. 368. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

dwelling was a small yard enclosed by a picket fence, within 
which enclosure were the orchard and the kitchen and flower 
gardens. The whole presented an attractive picture of quiet 
and peaceful home life. Within the house everything was gener- 
ally home made, although some of the more wealthy brought 
their furniture from Canada. The poorer houses appeared 
shabby and badly kept, for the French women were careless 
housekeepers, and rather extravagant and wasteful. At least such 
was the opinion of the American settlers who lived among 
them.* 

On account of the social character of the people, the isolated 
farm house was uncommon in the bottom and the village com- 
munity was the rule. The streets were narrow and the houses were 
placed close to the edge of the lots, almost on the street-line. The 
farm land lay outside the village in two large fields, one the com- 
mon field and the other the commons. The common field was 
divided into long narrow strips, ten to forty perches in width and 
extending from the river to the bluflfs ; these the inhabitants culti- 
vated. The commons was the wood and pasture land belonging 
to the community,^ and was separated from the cultivated fields 
by a fence, which was erected by the proprietors, each being 
responsible for that part crossing his land. The commimity had 
the right to make concessions from the commons and add them 
to the common field for new arrivals and for newly formed fami- 

1 Volney, A View oj the U. S., 373 et seq. 

' The statement is true enough for the period under consideration. This is not the 
place for a discussion of the history of French land tenure in America, for the origin of the 
system must be sought in the period of the French regime and the final settlement of the 
questions arising out of it in the years after the United States took control, so that the dis- 
cussion of the land tenure will naturally come within the scope of some future volume. How- 
ever, a few words on the subject may be of value in explaining the situation. The land 
acquired from the Indians for the purpose of colonization was regarded as belonging to the 
king's domain, after the company of the Indies resigned the government of it. This domain 
land was disposed of in two ways. ist. Large tracts might be granted to individuals as seignio- 
ries. The character of the title given was that of the jranc alien, which in the eighteenth cen- 
tury did not differ essentially from the benefice. These large seigniories were divided by the 
proprietors into smaller tracts and granted to the habitants as censive holdings, which paid 
the grantor a perpetual rent of a sou an acre, were subject to the banalities, and escheated to 
the seignior in case no heirs were found. 2nd. The king might retain the control of the land 
himself and grant it out himself in censive holdings, as he did at Kaskaskii and Nouvelle 
Chartres. The land cultivated by the people of Cahokia belonged to the seigniory of the 
Seminary of Foreign Missions; St. Philippe was a seigniory belonging to the Regnaults and 
Prairie du Rocher had been originally conceded to Boisbriant, but had been passed on by 
•him to Langlois. In the bottom there were also many smaller concessions in jranc alien and 
under the P)ritish many more were made by one of the commandants. VioUet, Hisloire 
du droit jranfais, 746 el seq.; Archives Coloniales a Paris, Ser. B., vOl. 43, p. 780; Breese, 
Early Hist, of Illinois, Appendix E ; Franz, Die Kolonisalion des Mississippitales, 201 



INTRODUCTION 

lies.* This method of laying out the fields and this kind of land 
tenure were transplanted from France, where they had been 
developed through centuries; for when the French people fovmd 
themselves in places where land was plentiful, the power of tradi- 
tion prevented a readjustment of their ideas in regard to landhold- 
ings and agriculture. Hence they brought with them the mark 
system and tenure, with the whole machinery for the adminis- 
tration of the village land as they knew it in France. The time 
for plowing, sowing, and harvesting was regulated by the assembly 
of the inhabitants, as well as all other questions affecting their 
common property and common interests. The officer elected 
to supervise the execution of the laws of the commons and the 
decisions of the assembly was the syndic, of whose presence in the 
villages on the Mississippi during the eighteenth century there 
still exists proof. The assemblies of the villagers, which copied 
the French custom in this particular as in all others, were held 
before the church door after mass and were attended by all 
males of military age. ^ 

The Illinois French were not an agricultural people, although 
they did send down some grain and cattle to New Orleans.^ 
For this reason they made no progress in the art of agriculture 
and continued to till their fields in the same way and with the 
same kind of implements as had their fathers for generations 
before them. The profits and the adventurous life of the fur- 
trader exercised for them such a fascination as to prevent their 
pursuit of a calling which would have given them a firmer 
hold upon the soil and might have preserved them from many of 
the misfortunes which finally overcame them. For the same reason 
they never speculated in land or attempted to gain possession of 
large holdings. In later years, when they in a way controlled 
their own destiny, they tried to protect themselves from the 

1 Babeau, Le villege sous Vancien rigime, passim; Flagg, Far West, in Thwaites, Early 
Western Travels, xxvii., 45 et seq. 

2 Babeau, Les assemblees generates des commimatUes d'habitanls; Babeau, Le village 
soils Vancien regime, passim. 

3 When compared with the Americans, this is true; but the Illinois French raised grain 
and ve-retables to a greater extent than has generally been admitted, and their exportation of 
grain to New Orleans was an important item in the Mississippi trade. Franz, Die Kolomsa- 
tion dcs Mississippitales, 251. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

American land-traders; but the contest was too unequal and, 
since their own hold on the land was so weak, they were forced to 
bow to fate and to see themselves supplanted by the Americans, 
who were builders of more permanent homes. 

The most conspicuous buildings in the villages were the 
churches. The Cahokia church, however, was in ruins in 1778 and 
was rebuilt in the next few years; but at Kaskaskia there was 
"a huge old pile, extremely awkward and ungainly, with its 
projecting eaves, its walls of hewn timber perpendicularly planted, 
and the interstices stuffed with mortar, with its quaint old-fash- 
ioned spire, and its dark, storm-beaten casements." Here the 
Kaskaskians had worshipped for two generations.^ The people 
were for the most part very devoted to their religion, and the 
priests exercised great influence over them. Their attachment 
was due more to traditional allegiance, however, than to per- 
sonal conviction. The wild life of the wilderness had not been 
without its effect, and the lack of proper supervision had resulted 
in religious recklessness; yet however debauched and irreligious 
their lives, the coureurs de hois and voyageurs were easily brought 
by a vigorous priest to acknowledge their dependence on the 
church. At the moment of death they always sought the consola- 
tions of religion and left by will money for the saying of masses 
for the dead. There appears, therefore, to have been no rebel- 
lion against the church. In one individual case only is there 
any evidence that the radical thought of France had penetrated to 
Illinois.^ 

In the management of the church property the villagers were 
associated with the priest through the vestrymen, whom they 
elected for this purpose from the most prominent men of the 
communities. Social life centered in the church, as it did in the 
Puritan New England village, and the people looked forward to 
the church processions and festivals as important events in their 

* Shea, Archbishtp Carroll, passim; Flagg, The Far West, in Thwaitcs, Western Tra- 
vels, xxni., 62. 

2 Louis Vivial requests in his will that no pomp and ceremony mark his burial and 
that no payment be made for masses for the dead, since the deity is not mercenary nor is 
heaven to be bought. Kas. Rec, Court Record. 



INTRODUCTION 

monotonous village life. It was also at the church door that the 
assemblies of the people met, that the auction of property was 
held ; and it was after the church service that the Sunday dance 
took place.^ 

In 1778 the priest in charge of the Illinois parishes was Father 
Pierre Gibault, who with some interruptions had been serving 
the parishes on the Mississippi and Wabash since 1768. He was 
cure of the parish of the Immaculate Conception of Kaskaskia and 
vicar general of the bishop of Quebec. Father Gibault came 
from a good Canadian family. He was enthusiastic in his 
work, and appears to have maintained order in the parishes, 
which had been long neglected or served only by Father Meurin 
who had found himself too old and feeble to perform his 
arduous duties successfully. Father Gibault during the years of 
his residence had gained a great influence over the people of 
the region, which he used at a critical moment to change 
their destiny.^ 

The territory of Illinois had been ceded by France to England 
by the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and two years later British troops 
had occupied the country. The policy of the British government 
was very vacillating in regard to the Northwest Territory, and 
particularly as to the French villages. It is quite evident that 
there was no purpose of opening the region up for settlement, 
and there was serious thought of removing the French from 
their villages to Canada.^ For this reason the government of 
England was unwilling to establish a permanent civil organiza- 
tion in spite of the efforts of the French inhabitants and the 
American traders and land speculators, so that the government 
remamed to the end military. Until 1774 the whole Northwest 
was subject to the commander of the British forces in America 
with headquarters at New York, and the relations of the West 
were closest with the seaboard colonies. In that year, however, by 
the passage of the Quebec Act the country was joined to Canada 

1 Babeau, Le village sous I'ancien regime, passim. 

* Shea, Archbishop Carroll, consult Index; Dunn, Father Gibault, in Transactions of 
the 111. State Hist. Soc, for 1905. 

' Gage to Hillsborough, March 4, 1772, Spark's Collection, Harrard lib. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

and steps were taken to provide a civil government for it; but 
this was prevented by the outbreak of the Revolutionary 
War. 

In the spring of 1776 the military force, which had been 
maintained in the Illinois was removed, and the commandant in 
charge appointed as British agent Philippe de Rastel, Chevalier 
de Rocheblave. The choice was a wise one. Rocheblave had 
had a long and varied experience in the West, had served as an 
ofl&cer in the French army during the French and Indian War, 
and at the conclusion of peace had taken refuge, as did many 
other Frenchmen, under the Spanish flag. He was entrusted 
with the government of Ste. Genevieve, but having become 
involved in legal difficulties with the Spanish officials, he 
returned to the British bank. The exact date of his return is 
uncertain, but the proceedings against him in the Spanish court 
occurred in October, 1773, so that he could have been at longest 
a little over two years in British Illinois, when he received his 
appomtment to look after the British interests in the western 
country. In his various undertakings he had proved himself 
bold and resourceful, avaricious and not too scrupulous in his 
methods, and by nature suspicious. He knew well the nature of 
the French inhabitants, and had a dislike and deep-seated suspi- 
cion of the Spaniards. His ambition was such as to lead him to 
give his best service to his employers, and they in turn had confi- 
dence in his abilities and willingness to serve them. On August 
13, 1777, Carleton wrote that "his abilities and knowledge of that 
part of the country recommended him to me as a fit person."^ 
Hamilton says of him, "I shall in my correspondence with Mr. 
de Rocheblave keep alive the hopes of his being Governor of New 
Orleans — a more active and intelligent Person is not to be found 
in This Country of ignorant Bigots, and busy rebels, and had 
he the means I doubt not of his curbing their insolence and 
disaffection."^ The intimation in Hamilton's letter was cor- 
rect enough; for, although the inhabitants treated Roche- 

1 Mason, Rocheblave Papers, in Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 395 
^Can, Archives, Q., 14, p. 74. 



INTRODUCTION 

blave as commandant and judge, his powers as agent were 
too limited and the money allowed him insufficient to enable 
him to accomplish what he saw was necessary for the British 
cause. Time and again he was informed that he could only 
draw for his salary and that his expenses were to be met 
by the sums which the commandant at Vincennes could allow 
him.^ 

By what law other officials were exercising civil powers in the 
Illinois does not appear from the records, but the existence of 
such is proved from their acts. There were at Cahokia, St. 
Philippe, Kaskaskia, and Prairie du Rocher officers styling them- 
selves judges, who put in execution the decrees of the comman- 
dant. Since at the same time these judges were captains of the 
militia, it is probable that the French official with similar duties 
was retained by the British officers. Besides this judge or captain 
there were a sergeant and a notary in each of the districts of Caho- 
kia and Kaskaskia.^ 

The foregoing description of conditions in British Illinois would 
be far from complete without an account of one very important 
element of the society. No sooner had the news gone forth that the 
land to the north of the Ohio River had been ceded to England by 
the French than the merchants of the seaboard colonies began to 
compete for the fur-trade of the region in a way that had been 
impossible hitherto. Up to this time the principal trade in the 
Illinois had been conducted by Canadian and Louisiana mer- 
chants, the English colonists having found their way north of the 
Ohio only just previous to the outbreak of the last war. But now 
the opportvmity was opened to the eastern merchants and they 
eagerly seized upon it, thus bringmg on a commercial war for 
the trade of the Ohio and the Mississippi. In this the mer- 
chants of the English colonies had one decided advantage, since 
they could deliver goods at the villages of the Illinois cheaper than 

* The most important documents in the Haldimand Collection concerning Rocheblaye 
have been printed by Mason in Chi. Hist. Soc's Col. iv. Others have been published in 
Mich. Pioneer and Hist. Col. vols, iii., v., vii., and ix. , , .; .< 

2 The subject of the British administration is now under investigation and in the course 
of time something definite will be said about it. For the above facts I have drawn on the 
Kas. Rec. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the same could be purchased and brought by way of the lakes 
and the Wabash or up the Mississippi.^ 

The British soldiers were hardly established in Fort de Char- 
tres before the merchants who made their starting place Fort 
Pitt had arrived. Among the first was one who was to exercise 
great influence on the development of the Illinois, George Mor- 
gan, who like the majority of traders from the East came from 
Philadelphia. He had been educated at Princeton and had then 
entered the firm of the Ba}Titons, which became better known 
in the West under its later name of Ba}Titon, Wharton & Morgan.^ 
Although young, by his enthusiasm he had persuaded his part- 
ners to embark on western trade and land speculation, and they 
established branch stores at Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Vincennes. 
Other firms also entered into competition, such as the firm of 
Franks & Company of London and Philadelphia, whose repre- 
sentative, William Murray, was a little later than Morgan in 
reaching the Illinois. About the same time an Englishman, 
who claimed Manchac in Mississippi as his home, established 
the firm of Bentley & Company. These and other companies 
brought with them many agents, clerks, and hunters, so that the 
list of names of men of English speech in the region became a 
long one. In 1768 Morgan writes that there were sixty English- 
men in a militia company which had been formed. Among them 
were many names which will be mentioned in the following pages. 
John Henson was the representative of Baynton, Wharton & 
Morgan at Cahokia, Richard Winston set up in business for him- 
self in partnership with Patrick Kennedy, and the firm became 
later the representative of Morgan's interests at Kaskaskia; 
Richard Bacon served Morgan in his farming enterprise; others, 

I Fraser's Keport, MS. copy in public library of Champaign, 111.; Smiti, St. Clair 
Papers, ii., 175; Lcller-Book oj George Morgan, 1767-1768. This last belongs to Mr. A. S. 
M. Morgan of Pittsburgh, Pa., who kindly loaned it to me. A copy may be found in the 
111. State Hist. Library. See also Franz, Die Kolonisation des Mississippitales, 268 et seg. 
The cost of transportation up the Mississippi was, however, cheaper. Collot, Voyage dans 
L'Amerique, ii., 263. Lieutentant Hutthins in an enclosuse in a letter of General Gage's, 
October 11, 1771, and Captain Forbes in an undated letter affirm the contrary to the state- 
ment in the text; but Colonel Wilkins disagrees with them and confirms the experience of 
the trader, George Morgan. The letters are found in the Battcrolt Collection oj MSS., 
. Lennox Library, N. Y. 

'. Leller-Book oj George Morgan; Julia Morgan Harding, Colonel George Morgan, a 
paper read before the Washington (Pa.) Co. Hist. Sec. and printed in the Washington 
Observer, May 21, 1904. 



INTRODUCTION 

either men attached to one of the firms or independent traders, were 
Daniel Murray, brother of William, James Rumsey, Thomas 
Collins, Thomas Brady, and Richard McCarty. In the first 
years of the British rule it looked as if the Ohio River would 
become the great trade route of the region and supplant the 
older and, with the French, more popular waterways to New 
Orleans and Canada.* Even the British government seems to 
have approved at first this attempt to turn aside the trade 
from its older channels, for in 1769 the colonial governments 
were empowered to appoint ofl&cers to superintend the Indian 
trade, and Fort Pitt and the Illinois were assigned to Pennsyl- 
vania.^ Thus the Indians north of the Ohio became accustomed 
to Fort Pitt as the seat of authority in matters in which they were 
vitally interested. 

The fur-trade was not the only inducement to draw the Ameri- 
can colonists to the banks of the Mississippi, for from the first the 
opportunity to speculate in lands was a rival attraction. Land 
traders were early interested in the territory at the head-waters 
of the Ohio and soon found their way down the river. In this 
movement some of the most prominent men in America were 
interested, such as George Washington, Lord Dunmore, and the 
Franklins, father and son. The Illinois lands offered equal 
attractions and early became an object of speculation, in spite 
of the Edict of 1763 prohibiting settlements in the region. It 
is impossible to enter into the complicated questions connected 
with the attempt to open up Illinois by making it a new colony.^ 
It is sufficient to know that many prominent men were con- 
nected with all such schemes, and that while William Franklin, 
Sir William Jolinson, Samuel Wharton, and others were seeking 
for a charter for the Illinois colony and Benjamin Franklin was 
employing his powers to persuade the British government to grant 
the same, there was formed in March, 1766, a company for the 

* The evidence for this is found in the LeUer-Book of George Morgan and the Kas. Rec; 
see also Moses, Court 0} Inquiry, Chi. Hist. Soc's Col., iv. 

2 N. Y. State Library Bulletin No. 58, Cal. oj Council Minutes, letter of General Gage, 
March 29, 1769. 

'See Alden, New Governments west oj the Alleghanies bejore 1780. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

purchase of land near the French villages, of which George 
Morgan was the representative in the Illinois. Although several 
strips of land were bought, nothing of any moment was accom- 
plished by this company.^ However, another known as the Illi- 
nois Land Company, most of the members of which were Phila- 
delphians, acquired in 1773 through its representative, William 
Murray, two large tracts, one situated on the Illinois River and 
the other south of Kaskaskia on the Ohio. Two years later, the 
Wabash Land Company, the members of which lived for the 
most part in Maryland, purchased through its representative, 
the Kaskaskian Louis Viviat, an associate of Murray, two 
tracts on the Wabash, one above and the other below Vincennes. 
Since both purchases were made from the Indians and contrary 
to the Edict of 1763, they were not allowed by the British govern- 
ment and were annulled by General Gage.^ When the American 
Revolution broke out, most of the purchasers sided with the 
colonists and looked to the success of their cause to further the 
enterprise in the West. 

Although there was at times considerable complaint against 
the British commandants by the merchants and land-traders, these 
were generally favored more than the French inhabitants or the 
Canadians, until the passage of the Quebec Act in 1774, which 
united the Illinois territory with the province of Quebec and 
annulled any special favors and privileges which the merchants 
from the East may have enjoyed. This act and the canceling of 
the land purchases, which proved the intention of the British 
government to carry out the principles enimciated in the 
Edict of 1763, were discouraging to the enterprises of the repre- 

1 The purchases of several pieces of land and the grants of others by Colonel Wilkins, 
commandant, were recorded in the record-book of the district. (Kas. Rec.) The agreement 
creating the land company is in the Ubrary of the Hist. Soc. of Pennsylvania. The original 
members were Wilham Franklin, Sir WiUiam Johnson, George Croghan, John Baynton, 
Samuel Wharton, George Morgan, Joseph Wharton, Joseph Wharton, Jr., John Hughes, and 
Joseph Galloway. The firm of Baynton, Wharton & Slorgan received a concession of a 
large tract of land in the American Bottom from Colonel Wilkins in 1769. This claim passed 
into the hands of John Edgar, was confirmed by Governor St. Clair, but was rejected by the 
landcommissionersof theU.S. Amer. Slate Pap., Pitb. Lands, ii., 206. 

/ ■ 2 The best account of the Illinois and the Wabash Land companies is contained in a 
pamphlet pubUshed in Philadelphia in 1796 with the title, Account oj the Proceedings of the 
Illinois and Ouabache Land companies. Other memorials were printed in later years, some 
of which may be found in Amer. State Pap., Pub. Lands, vols, i and ii, the longest in vol. ii., 
108 et seq. For the later history of the two companies see post p. Ixx. 



INTRODUCTION 

sentatives of the Eastern colonies, and from that date their number 
in the Illinois began to decline and trade turned back to the 
older channels. The next men of English speech to compete 
with the Spanish and French merchants for this western trade 
were representatives of the new British Canadian houses which 
sprang up after Canada was ceded to Great Britain. When it 
is remembered that the persons back of this attempt to capture 
for the East the trade of the old Northwest and to exploit that 
territor}^ through their colonizing schemes were some of the most 
important merchants and professional men in the seaboard colonies, 
one cause of the opposition among the Easterners to the Quebec 
Act is easily understood.^ 

The entrance of the American colonists into the Illinois had 
two results, one immediate and the other more remote. The 
trade had brought into the French villages several men of English 
speech, who for one cause or another determined to remain ; and 
their presence made possible continual correspondence between 
the West and the colonial revolutionists; and at the same time 
they prepared the minds of the French to receive any company 
of American soldiers who might undertake the conquest of the 
country. The second result was apparent only later. The men 
who had been foiled in their attempt to secure the trade of the 
old Northwest and to acquire its land for colonization were not 
willing to accept the decision of the Quebec Act as final, and 
were prepared to renew the attempt at the first opportunity with 
the chance of greater success. 

Rocheblave had been appointed agent for the British a year 
after the outbreak of the American Revolution, and from the first 
he had trouble with the Americans who remained in the villages 
and who generally sympathized with the cause of independence. 

1 For a discussion of the Quebec Act see Coffin, The Province of Quebec and the Early 
American Revolution. The decreased number of Americans from the eastern colonies is 
proved by a careful study of the names appearing in the records. Some of the more impor- 
tant men are known to have left. Morgan left before 1774, probably in 1770, but his firm 
still continued to conduct business in the Illinois until about 1774. William Murray left 
the country in 1776; James Rumsey must have left shortly before. The Canadian mer- 
chants began to appear in 1777, at least that is the date of the first appearance of a repre- 
sentative of any of the new Scotch firms of Canada which in time controlled the western fur- 
trade. After the close of the American Revolution they came in great numbers. See post 
p. cxlvii.; J. Bte. Perrault's Narrative, in Schoolcraft, Indian Antiquities, pt. 3- 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

It is difl5cult to decide to-day where justice lay in the con- 
stant disputes between the two parties, for the endless recrimi- 
nations which they hurled at each other were surcharged with 
personal hatred and irreconcilable hostility. 

The first cause of dispute grew out of the trade with the Indians. 
Every government in the West has been forced sooner or later to 
attempt to regulate the sale of liquor to the natives, since one of 
the chief dangers to the small frontier community comes from in- 
toxicated savages. Since Rocheblave was without authority, he 
was obliged to use other means than prohibition to regulate this 
dangerous trade ; and no better method could have been devised 
than that he used. In a commimity practically without govern- 
ment like that of the Illinois, public opinion alone could be called 
into play to prevent an evil which endangered the lives of all alike. 
One of the first acts of Rocheblave was to call an assembly of the 
inhabitants on April 17, 1776, to discuss among other matters, 
all questions concerning their relations with the Indians. It 
was decided that, since some savages made war on the English 
and some on the French and since both realized that they were 
under one government and were all brothers and must hold 
together, the assembly of the inhabitants should regulate the trade 
with the savages from time to time. The people also agreed on 
their honor not to give to the Indians any intoxicating liquor, and 
to assemble under arms when the commandant gave the signal. 
At the same assembly it was determined that, if any one 
refused to pay just debts, the inhabitants would give their assis- 
tance to the government to enforce such payment. The agree- 
ment was signed by all the prominent Frenchmen of the villages, 
but by only one Englishman, Daniel Murray.* Later this agree- 
ment was made the subject of reproach against Rocheblave by 
one of the English merchants, Bentley, who was most bitterly 
opposed to the acting commandant. If Rocheblave's charges 
are to be believed, Bentley and his associates were the chief offen- 
ders in the sale of liquor to the Indians.^ 

' Kas. Rec. Court Record, p. 82. 

2 Bentley made similar charges against Rocheblave and accused him of injus- 
tice and tyranny. Rocheblave presented his case before a court, composed of the militia 



INTRODUCTION 

It was not the liquor traflSc, however, which caused the greatest 
diflSculties between the British agent, and the English-speaking 
inhabitants of the Illinois. On account of the war for indepen- 
dence carried on by the seaboard colonies against the mother 
country, the western territory became the center of many activi- 
ties directed against England, of which Rocheblave kept him- 
self well informed, but against which he was able to do little on 
account of the apathy of the British government. Across the 
river lay the Spanish posts, which, since the appointment of 
Galvez as governor of Spanish Louisiana, had become the seat 
of intrigues against England ; for the Spanish officials of America 
were rather quicker in perceiving the advantages which might 
be gained by Spain from the rupture between England and her 
colonies than was the home government, and they committed 
many overt acts against England before actual war was declared 
by Spain. From St. Louis and New Orleans the Americans re- 
ceived very substantial ai 1. At the latter city was Oliver Pol- 
lock, who was the American agent and was on the best of terms 
with the governor. From Fort Pitt boats were sent to New 
Orleans for supplies of all kmds and these boats were even har- 
bored in St. Louis, opposite the British Illinois.^ 

The English-speaking merchants of Kaskaskia participated 
in these acts against England and maintamed their intercourse 
with the eastern leaders in spite of the watchfulness of Rocheblave. 
Bentley and others traded almost openly with the rebels. When 
William Linn went to New Orleans to obtain powder and other 
supplies for the Americans, Bentley met him on the Ohio River 
and sold him powder. It was also known that he sent a boat 
to Kentucky for the same purpose.^ The chief representative 

captains of Kaskaskia, Prairie du Rocher and St. Philippe, which heard evidence on all the 
charges brought against the acting commandant by Bentley and acquitted him on every 
coimt. The known duplicity of Bentley at a later period makes his testimony more than 
doubtful. Kas. Rec. Court Record, fol. loo el seq.; Mich. Pio. and Hist. Col. xix., 324; III. 
Hist. Col., i., 295. 

1 Winsor, The Westward Movement, 108; Ga.ya.rr6, Hist, of Louisiana, iii., lop; Roche- 
blave to Hamilton, May 8, 1777, enclosed in Can. Archives, Q., 14, p. 51; Rocheblave to 
Haldimand, November 9, 1780, Ibid, B., 122, p. 545; letter of Rocheblave, February 28, 
1778, Ibid, Q., IS, p. 196; Mason, Rocheblave Papers, in Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collection, iv., 
389, 393, 402, 407; Morgan to George Clymer, Mardi 2, 1778, Papers of Old Cong., xv., 317. ; 

» In the court appointed by Rocheblave to investigate charges against himself made 
by Bentley, several Americans and Frenchmen, who were lukewarm in their support of the 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of the American cause in the West was George Morgan, who in 
1776 was appointed agent under the commissioners for Indian 
afifairs in the middle department and made his headquarters 
at Fort Pitt.^ His intimate knowledge of the West and his many 
friends among the French and Indians made his selection a wise 
one; and he was able to make some opposition to the activities 
of Hamilton, the lieutenant-governor of Detroit. Morgan main- 
tained his relations with his agents in Kaskaskia, Winston and 
Kennedy, and with other correspondents at Detroit and elsewhere.^ 
In a letter written in July, 1776, he says: "I am now here on 
Public Business for the United Colonies. I want to know the 
exact situation of affairs at the Illinois & what Quantity of flour 
& beef you could furnish a company or two of men with at Kas- 
kaskia the 25th of next December. This I will depend on you 
for by the return of Silver Heels who ought to be at Pittsburg as 
early in September as possible as there is a great treaty to be held 
m that month with all the western Nations. If one of you 
could come along with him it may be much to your advantage, but 
you should be very secret with respect to your Business." There 
follows an order for horses and the letter ends with a repetition 
of his request that one of the partners meet him in Pittsburg.^ 
It is difficult to determine whether the letter is more than a busi- 
ness letter or not. The company of men may refer to some 
commercial enterprise that was contemplated ; but Congress 
had determined in the previous April to send an expedition 
against Detroit and there may have been in the writer's plans a 
similar one agamst the Illinois.^ 

commandant, tesrified concerning the intercourse between the East and the Illinois. (Kas. 
Rec, Court Record) Bentlcy's defense may be found in the documents from the Handimand 
Collections printed in Mich. Pio. and Hist. Col. xix., 321 et scq. and III. Hist. Col., i., 295 et 
seg. For Linn's expedition see Hall, Romance oj the West. 

■ Winsor, Westward Movement, 90. 

5 In a letter from Rocheblave to Hamilton, May 8, 1777, occurs the following: "It has 
occurred to me to tell you that the spy, named EUiot, whom you have had arrested at De- 
troit, was the bearer of a letter from George Morgan, commissioner for Congress and general 
director of the undertakings which are made from Fort Pitt against here, to Richard Winston, 
a very zealous partisan of the same cause." (Letter enclosed in Can. Archives, Q., vol. 14, p. 
74. See also letter quoted below.) There are scattered references to Morgan in the Kas. 
Rec. Very late in my investigations I learned that there were three letter-books of George 
Morgan in the Carnegie library of Pittsburg, Pa. I made every effort to have search made 
in them for material, which would throw light on Morgan's activities in the West. Through 
the fault of no one, but rather on account of the shortness of the time, I was unsuccessful. 

8 Carl. Archives, B., 183, pt. 2, p. 549. 

* Journal oj Cont. Cong., Lib. of Cong, ed., iv., 318 



INTRODUCTION 

Whatever Morgan's plans may have been, there can be no 
doubt about the belief of the English-speaking traders in the 
Illinois; for they were expecting that he would soon bring about 
such an expedition. They talked of this openly among themselves 
and spoke of the power of the colonies to the French, to whom 
they pointed out the advantages of a change of alliance. When 
William Murray left Kaskaskia in the year 1776, he instructed 
his brother Daniel to furnish any American troops, who might 
come, with the supplies they should need ; and later he sent word 
from New Orleans by Colonel George Gibson, to the same 
effect; instructions which Daniel carried out, when George 
Rogers Clark arrived in 1778. On June 7, 1778, Richard Mc- 
Carty of Cahokia wrote to John Askins of Michillimackinac : 
" It is said that Morgan was to be here with 600 men last winter, 
but very likely he has something else to do."^ 

In the midst of these intrigues Rocheblave was not strong 
enough to do more than to memorialize the government at Quebec. 
Even when he had proved against Bentley the charge of selling 
goods to the colonies, he did not dare to arrest him in Kas- 
kaskia,^ for although' at the beginning of his administration he 
had been able to unite all the French in his support, there had 
developed two parties, one of which showed signs of opposing 
him. The American merchants had not lived so many years in 
the villages of the Illinois without making friends among the 
French, nor were the latter wholly without longings for liberty 
and aspirations for greater independence. It was only eight years 
before this that they had commissioned their friend and neighbor, 
Daniel Blouin, to present to the British government their wishes 
for a civil establishment to replace the military t\Tanny from which 
they suffered.^ That movement had caused excited discussions 

1 Kas. Rec, Court Record, fol. loo et seq; Murray's instructions to his brother may be 
found in a memorial by Daniel Murray, Va. State Papers, ii., 675; McCarty's letter in Can. 
Archives, B., 97, vol. i., p. 6. 

2 Bentley was arrested at Michillimackinac and carried to Quebec, where he was kept in 
confinement until his escape in 1780, when he returned to IlUnois to take his revenge, as 
the later narrative will tell. See post, p. cxlv. The more important papers in regard to the ar- 
rest of Bentley have been pubhshed in the Mich. Pioneer and Hist. Col., xix., 321 et seq. His 
intercourse with the Kentuckians is further proved by the fact that Clark made efforts to have 
Bentley exchanged, Clark to Lemoult, March 16, 1779, ///. Hist. Col., i., 415. 

» Mason, Chapters from Illinois Hist., 281. Much new material on thiseyent has been 
discovered, which will be made known in time. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

in the villages at the time, and most of the French could recall the 
principles, without doubt largely inspired by the Eastern traders 
among them, for which they had then struggled. 

It is true that these same villagers later told Clark that they 
had not understood the cause for which the colonies were fighting. 
But this was given as an excuse for not having joined the American 
cause earlier, for they certainly were not so ignorant nor so art- 
less as they chose to appear to the leader of an army of backwoods- 
men. Many had seen the broadsides sent by the Americans to 
Canada. Their intercourse through trade with Kentucky and 
Fort Pitt had brought the knowledge to others, and such men as 
Winston, Kennedy, and the Murrays had been preaching the joys 
of mdependence for years. Many of the French were also warm 
friends and admirers of that enthusiast for the American cause, 
George Morgan. It is, therefore, not strange that many gave 
Rocheblave a half-hearted support, although they were not 
ready to come out openly on the side of the American agents.^ 
Among these more or less disaffected Frenchmen must be comited 
some of the most important men of the communities, such as 
Father Gibault, the Charlevilles, the Bauvais, Bienvenus, Lafont, 
Duplasy and Janis of Kaskaskia, and J. Bte. Barbau, who 
controlled Prairie du Rocher. How Rocheblave was regarded 
at Cahokia is not knowTi. The captains of militia, Joseph 
Cesirre and Francois Trottier, had not chosen to participate in 
the court, which the acting commandant called to clear himself 
of the charges made by Bentley ; but this may have been due to 
hindrances rather than choice. The men composing this party 
were among the most intelligent of the villagers; they had all 
given their support to the demand for the civil government from 
the British in 1770, and among them were the officers of the 
militia, as Duplasy, Janis, and Barbau. 

' The above analysis of the conditions in Illinois in the year 1778 is based upon hints 
from many sources and events which followed the arrival of George Rogers Clark, so that 
it is impossible to refer to any one document or group of documents as proof. The statement 
of the French to Clark in regard to their ignorance of the cause of the struggle is in Clark's 
letter to Mason and his Memoir, EngUsh, Conquest oj the Northwest, i., 417 and 480. In the 
Memoir, (p. 475) Clark intimates that he found some of the French inclined to the American 
cause. Cerr^, of whom I speak below, is one of the men who claims not to have had the 
opportunity to understand the cause for which the Americans struggled, but no one can 
read the letter written him by Monforton on Sept. 22, 1778, wthout belieWng that Cerr^'s 



INTRODUCTION 

The mass of the habitants were probably on the side of the 
government.^ Illiterate and unintelligent, they were willing to 
accept conditions as they foimd them without attempting to bring 
about a change; and, besides, obedience to the constituted 
authorities was part of their nature. There were, however, sev- 
eral of the richest and most prominent Frenchmen upon whom 
the actmg commandant could count, whose loyalty to the British 
cause and Rocheblave was far stronger than the attachment of 
their opponents to the opposition. Among these were Gabriel 
Cerre, Louis Viviat, and Nicolas Lachance of Kaskaskia. Viviat 
should, perhaps, not be coimted at this time, for he died in the 
fall of 1777; but up to the time of his death, he was one of the 
most important traders of the region and had been in partnership 
with William Murray. He was the member of the Wabash Land 
Company who acted as the agent in the purchase of its claim. 
He had, however, severed his connection with Murray just pre- 
vious to his death, because of the acts of Daniel Murray, who was 
particularly lawless. Throughout the prosecution of Bentley by 
Rocheblave, Viviat had given the latter his support.^ Of La- 
chance little at this time is known except that he was accounted 
a friend of Rocheblave.^ Unquestionably the most important 
member of the government party was Gabriel Cerre. He was 
forty-four years old and had been in Kaskaskia since 1755. 
Through his personal wealth and commercial connections, he 
exercised an influence over the villagers second only to that of 
the commandant, with whom he was on terms of intimacy. It 
is quite possible that his trading interests brought him into oppo- 

correspondent gave him credit for an intelligent understanding of the claims of the two parties. 
{Can. Archives, B., 122, p. 161.) Daniel Murray in writing to Bentley on May 25, 1777, 
gives the following proof of the existence of parties among the French: "As to your being 
complained of already to General Carleton you need not dread that, for since your departure 
Rocheblave drew out a complaint against you and wanted all the principal Inhabitants to 
sign it which they all absolutely refused to do, particularly the Charlevilles, Bienvenue, 
Lafont, Plassey, Janist, etc., no doubt but your friends Viviat Cerre Lachance might have 
done it but they are too few to countenance it when so many refused to do it." {Mich. Pio. 
and Hist. Col., xii., 417.) Scattered through the Court Record, Kas. Rec. are other indica- 
tions of party divisions. 

' Clark in his Memoir says that the majority of the inhabitants were friendly to Cerr^, 
the leader of the British party. EngUsh, Conquest oj the Northwest, i., 48'; 

' Kas. Rec, Court Record. See also supra, p. xxx. 

*See supra, p. xxxvi., note i. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

sition to the Americans and that self mterest bound him to the 
British side.* 

Rocheblave never deceived himself in regard to the weakness 
of his position, and several times urged upon Governor Carleton 
the appointment of a commandant and the sending to the Illinois 
of British troops, a recommendation which proves his interest 
in the cause he upheld and his own disinterestedness. His 
letters are full of such expressions as these : " I await with the 
greatest impatience the orders of your excellency, or rather I beg 
of you to give them to some other person, a native Englishman, in 
order to escape the too common jealousies of some, who having 
merely the name, and whose affections are all for the Americans, 
are seeking to thwart all my efforts, mtriguing with our neighbors 
and poisoning with the venom of their hearts the purest intentions. 

All the alarms I have sought to give will be only too well 

realized. We are upon the eve of seeing here a numerous band 
of brigands who will establish a chain of communications which 
will not be easy to break, once formed. If by the schemes of the 
Spanish the Natchez are conquered, there will be established an 
armed force in this country. You have no time to lose to prevent 
this misfortune. If militia can be counted for anything at present 
a person of discretion with troops would attract more adherents 
than would be believed. Inclination is in spite of abandonment 
and distress, still for the government, but it is more than time to 
revive their drooping courage or all will be lost here."^ The 
British government planned at one time to relieve him and 
appointed, in 1777, Matthew Johnson lieutenant-governor of the 
Illinois; but for some reason he never went to his post,^ and 
Rocheblave was compelled to face the event concerning which 
he had given so frequent warnings, and to learn that the party 
of his opponents was stronger in a crisis than his own. 

' For an account of Cerre, see p. xx., note 2. 

2 Rocheblave to Carleton, July 4, 1778, translated in Mason, Rocheblave Papers, Chi. 
Hist. Soc.'s. Collections, iv., 416. 

^Can. Archives, B., vol. 46, p. 95. From Murray's letter to Bentley, May 25, 1777, it 
is learned that the new governor vfas expected at Kaskaskia, Mich. Pio. and Hist. Col., xix., 
417. ' 



INTRODUCTION 

The American attack on the villages of the Illinois did not 
come about in the way that the inhabitants and Rocheblave had 
anticipated. They had been led to look for an expedition sent 
by the united colonies and directed by George Morgan against 
the whole line of posts extending from Detroit to Kaskaskia; but 
what actually occurred was that one of the revoltmg states, Vir- 
ginia, sent an isolated detachment under a pioneer of Kentucky 
to revenge the British and Indian attacks on her frontiers.^ The 
immediate occasion of this expedition was the rapid colonization 
of Kentucky during the last four years, and the danger to the new 
settlements from the detachments of Indians sent by Lieutenant 
Governor Hamilton of Detroit. To the Kentuckians the whole 
territory north of the Ohio River appeared the breeding ground 
of these Indian incursions into their territory. The con- 
ception of an attack upon the Illinois was due to the genius of 
one man, George Rogers Clark, who clearly perceived that the 
holding of Kentucky depended on checking the British power 
to the north. He laid his plan before the governor and council 
of Virginia, by whom it was approved.^ He then proceeded to 
raise his troops, keeping the destination of the expedition as 
secret as possible. Had he taken into consultation George 
Morgan or some of the men associated with him, he could easily 
have put himself into communication with the American party in 
the Illinois. On account of this sUence he never fully imder- 
stood the conditions existing in the French villages. He had pre- 
ferred to work by himself and had collected his own information. 
In 1777 he had sent two spies, S. More and B. Linn, to Kaskaskia 
to investigate the situation. They remained in the villages some 
time, giving themselves out as hunters; but they failed to 
get into communication with the leaders of the opposition to 
Rocheblave, because Clark had not informed even his spies of his 

1 See the statement of the people of Cahokia concerning their idea of Clark's troops, 
this volume, p. 539 I have found no evidence that George Morgan had any knowledge of 
Clark's undertaking. 

2 This is not the place for an account of military actions, nor have I considered it neces- 
sary to repeat what is contained in Clark's own narratives, which have been so frequently 
exploited by historians and novelists that they are very familiar. His Letter to Mason and 
his Memoir have been printed in English, Conquest of the Northwest, {., 411 et seq. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

purpose.^ It was evidently expected by the American traders of 
Kaskaskia that they would learn something from these Kentucky 
hunters, for Bentley, who was absent, wrote to Murray concern- 
ing them; but the latter answered: "As to the hunters you 
write of there is three of them, one of them was here before, his 
name Benjm Lynn, but they bring no news that I can hear of 
worth reporting."" According to Clark's account of their in- 
vestigation given to Patrick Henry, the governor of Virginia, 
they reported that: "The principal inhabitants are entirely 
against the American cause, and look on us as notorious rebels 
that ought to be subdued at any rate, but I don't doubt but after 
being acquainted with the cause they would become good friends 
to it."^ There has been preserved, however, another account 
according to which they reported that there were : " Strong traces 
of affection for the Americans, among some of the inhabitants."* 
There is also a tradition that Linn was warned by a trader of an 
attack planned by some Indians against himself and companion.^ 
The history of Clark's journey down the Ohio, of his landing 
near Fort Massac, and of the march across the prairies is so well 
known that it need not be retold; but the events occurring at 
Kaskaskia which made his success possible are less familiar. 
The states had sent down the Mississippi, in the spring of the year, 
an expedition under Willing to make attacks on the British posts 
in the south. The course of this expedition, Rocheblave had 
followed with interest and, as he heard of the depredations Willing 
made upon property, he published the accounts to the villagers in 
order to cause them to fear for their own. " Wlien he learned that 
another expedition was on the Ohio directed against the Illinois, 
he connected it with the Willing raid and saw in it an attempt 
on the part of the Americans to gain control of the whole stretch 

1 Letter by Clark, Amer. Hist. Rev., viii., 492. 

2 Murray to Bentley, May 25, 1777, Mich. Pio. and Hist. Col., xix., 417. There is a slight 
mistake in the date given by Clark who says he sent them in June. 

'Letter by Clark, Amer. Hist. Rev., viii., 492. 

* Butler, History oj Kentucky, 46. 

•Tradition preserved in Linn's family, Dr. MSS., i8Jsi. 

* Mason, Rocheblave Papers, in Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 408, 410. 412 et seq. 



INTRODUCTION 

of the river. This news of the approach of Clark did not reach him 
much before that officer was at the falls and possibly not before 
he had landed at Massac creek. Rocheblave immediately 
ordered out the militia to make preparations for resistance; 
but he soon learned the strength of the party opposed to him, 
for the American traders in Kaskaskia either persuaded the in- 
habitants not to attempt repelling the invaders, and in this they 
were aided by the Spanish emissaries, or else they quieted the 
fears of an attack. Whatever occurred, Rocheblave found that 
he could accomplish nothing, for his government was by per- 
suasion rather than by command, and the militia officers were 
members of the party that gave lukewarm support to the British 
and was half inclined to the American cause. Unfortunately for 
Rocheblave, his chief supporters were not with him at this crisis ; 
Viviat had died in the preceding fall, Lachance had recently been 
taken prisoner,^ and Cerre had just started with some furs for 
Michillimackinac. Hoping that the sight of a reinforcement 
coming to their assistance might arouse the inhabitants, Roche- 
blave sent a messenger to summon the militia from Vincennes ; 
and M. Legras actually started with forty men from that village to 
assist Kaskaskia. The message had come too late, however, for 
Clark landed at Massac creek, marched across country, and cut 
oflf any help which might be rendered from the Wabash. Thus 
the crisis, which Rocheblave had been prophesying, arrived, and 
he found himself unable to make any resistance.^ 

1 Rocheblave to Bosseron, April 25, 1778, Mason, Rocheblave Papers, in Chi. Hist. Soc.'s 
Collections, iv., 408. 

' The above account is an attempt to explain in the light of the knowledge of conditions 
just pre\'ious to tlie attack the following passage in a letter from Rocheblave to Carleton, 
dated April 3 [evidently miscopied for August 3], 1778. The translation is from Mason, 
Rocheblave Papers, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 418. "Sir: I steal a moment from my 
guards in order to have the honor of informing your excellency that the night of the fifth or 
[and?] sLxth of July last three hundred rebels under the orders of Mr. Gierke \_sic\ the self-styled 
Colonel, arrived here where they have made me prisoner. 

"The majority of the inhabitants knowing the manoeuvres which had occurred in the 
lower part of the Mississippi were resolved to defend themselves, but the dealings of our 
neighbors, the Spaniards, and the abuse of the treacherous EngUsh, especially those named 
Daniel Murray, Richard Winston, and John Hanson, prevented them from doing it. There 
remained to me for a resource Mr. Legras, who prepared himself with forty men to come and 
join me from Fort Vincennes, where he is a captain of mihtia, but the rebels having landed 
on the beautiful river [Ohio], sixty leagues from here, crossed the neck of land which separates 
that river from this place, and prevented that. I regret so much the more that he did not 
arrive, as a number of men on seeing me supported would have joined themselves to us, and 
we would have been able to hold the balance of affairs in opposition to those who were desti- 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Whether Clark and the American traders of Kaskaskia com- 
municated with each other before the attack in the night of July 
4th and 5th, is very doubtful. We have seen that, before setting 
out from Fort Pitt, Clark knew of no party in the village that was 
ready to give him assistance; but he may have heard of the 
American partisans from that party of hunters, just from Kas- 
kaskia, who met him at the Tennessee River, although from his 
own account their information was anything but reassuring; 
or Murray and his associates may have communicated with him 
as soon as he approached the village. There is some slight evi- 
dence that the capture of the village was made less difficult by 
the aid of some of the inhabitants ; for Clark seems to have found 
no trouble in procuring boats to convey his troops across the Kas- 
kaskia River ;^ and, if the tradition is trustworthy, his soldiers 
were admitted to the fort and guided to the bedchamber 
of Rocheblave by a Pennsylvanian, who may have been 
Daniel Murray.* Clark himself says that provisions were 

tute and in extremities." In 1780 Rocheblave gave a similar explanation of his failure to 
defend the Illinois, Can. Archives, B., 123, p. 545. 

Since Clark himself says "that they had some suspicion of being attacked and had made 
some preparations — keeping out spies — but they, making no discoveries, had got off their 
guard (Letter to Mason, English, Conquest of the Northwest, i., 416) and, "we were informed 
that the people, a few days before, were under arms, but had concluded that the cause of the 
alarm was without foundation, and that at that time there was a great number of men in 
town, but that the Indians had generally left it, and at present all was quiet" (,Ibid p. 476), 
there appears to be no good reason for rejecting the testimony of Rocheblave. It is to be 
noticed also that the Cahokians write as if the Kaskaskians chose not to defend their village. 
See post, p. 537. The chief difficulty in reconciling Rocheblave's account with other known 
facts lies in his own letter of July 4th, which gives a long narrative of the depredations of 
the Willing expedition on the southern Mississippi and only makes a brief mention of the 
expected attack on Kaskaskia i. e., "We are upon the eve of having here a numerous band of 
brigands." 

Historians have followed too exclusively and uncritically the narratives of Clark, who 
was fond of the dramatic, not to say the melodramatic, and who never hesitated to omit de- 
tails which would affect what he regarded as the dramatic dinouemenl. Like other frontiers- 
men he never underestimated his own deeds, and after a careful comparison of the letter to 
Mason with the Memoir, one is forced to believe that he was given to exaggeration. There- 
fore it is not surprising that he did not make more of the persons and conditions which 
made the occupation of Kaskaskia easy and that he emphasized the surprise of the place, 
since that appealed to his dramatic instincts. Mason in his paper on Philippe Rocheblave 
(Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 373) uses the letter quoted above, but does not attempt to give 
any explanation of it. I have not noticed an attempt to explain this letter by any other 
historian of this event. See Winsor, Nar. and Crit. Hist., vi., 719; English, Conquest of 
the Northwest, i., 168; Roosevelt, Winning of the West, Pt. ii., ch. iv. 

' He says, "We marched after night to a farm that was on the same side of the river, 
about a mile above the town, took the family prisoners, and found plenty of boats to cross in, 
and in two hours transported ourselves to the other shore with the greatest silence." (Let- 
ter to Majon, English, Conquest of the Northwest, i., 416.) If he really found these boats 
on the east bank of the Kaskaskia, how did they happen to be there, since very few people 
were living on that bank at the time? 

'Reynolds, Pioneer History, 73. The passage is: "An American, a native of Penn- 
sylvania, was there in the Fort and conducted Kenton and his small party into the Fort by a 



INTRODUCTION 

collected for his troops by Murray and Winston during the 
night.^ 

It is evident from the narratives of Clark and Bowman and from 
the letters of Rocheblave that the inhabitants and the comman- 
dant himself had not expected the attack so soon. On the day 
before the attack Rocheblave wrote to Carleton: "We are upon 
the eve of seeing here a numerous band of brigands,"^ but the 
whole tone of the letter proves that by the "eve" he did not mean 
that very night. In the letter sent after the capture of the village, 
he writes as if he had expected that there was plenty of time to 
send to Vincennes for aid, after he had learned of Clark's move- 
ments ; and as if he had been disappointed in his hope of assis- 
tance, because the Virginians had made a forced march by land. 
This looks as if he had expected the party to take the customary 
route down the Ohio and up the Mississippi. If Clark had fol- 
lowed this course, the time would have been ample for Rocheblave 
to obtain reinforcements from Vincennes.' 

What the feelings of the majority of the French people were 
when they heard the warwhoop of the frontiersmen in their 
village streets, can be easily imagined. Since the time of the 
attack was a surprise and the less intelligent French had been 
taught to believe the worst of the "Big Knives," the first fear 
of the majority has probably been correctly depicted by Clark. 
Many of the more intelligent, who had supported Rocheblave, 
must have felt terror at hearing the noise and have had misgivings 
of the futiu-e, which would place in power Murray, Winston, and 
Kennedy, whom they had learned to regard as their enemies. 
Others, hke Father Gibault, who were acquainted with the hos- 
tility of the Protestant East to the Roman CathoUc Church, 
feared perhaps that the freedom of worship might be denied them. 
After all allowance has been made for such causes as these and 

small back gate The Pennsylvanian was true to liberty and conducted them to the very 

bedchamber of the sleeping Governor, Rocheblave." 

1 In his Memoir, English, Conquest of the Northwest, i., 478. 

2 Rocheblave to Carleton, July 4, 1778, Mason, Rocheblave Papers, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s 
Collections, iv., 416. 

' See letter quoted on p. xli., note 2. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the suddenness of the attack, Clark's narrative of the abject 
terror of the French people still appears somewhat exaggerated. 
They were without doubt timid, but they were not poltroons. 
Besides, they saw several familiar faces among the Virginians, 
some of whom had been in Kaskaskia, and others they had met on 
trading trips. 

The party strife of the village broke out in Clark's headquar- 
ters on the very night of the attack. The closest adherent of 
Rocheblave's faction, Gabriel Cerre, was absent from the village, 
and his enemies tried to win the favor of Clark by making accusa- 
tions against him ; but Clark was not deceived. He recognized 
that his position was critical. He was in an alien community and , 
had only a small body of troops with which to hold the people in 
check. Under such circumstances he could not afford to drive 
the leader of such a strong party from him. How important he 
regarded the winning of the support of Cerre and his party is 
proved by the space he devotes in his Memoir to an account of 
his relations with this leader.' He finally confronted Cerre with 
his accusers, and the latter were afraid to repeat their charges. 
By this diplomatic conduct he won over the man who could bind 
the discordant elements in the villages to his side. 

The chief means used by Clark to gain the good will of the 
French at this critical time were the French treaty and the cry of 
liberty. We have already seen that the words liberty and inde- 
pendence were not wholly unknown in these regions. To assert 
that the movement which was growing in France and which was 
in eleven years to break out in the French Revolution was without 
effect on the banks of the Mississippi would be taking too much 
for granted. The best of these men were educated and traveled 
to New Orleans and Quebec, and what was talked of there was 
repeated by the firesides of the Illinois. Only ten years before 
their friends of New Orleans were in revolt against Spanish 
tyranny,^ when the word liberty became a household term; and 
two years later the French of the Illinois were making use of the 

; , • English, Conqutsl o] the Northwest, i., pp 477, 478, 481, 484-486. 
* Phelps, Louisiana, 113 



INTRODUCTION 

same word in their struggle with Colonel Wilkins.' The traders 
from the East had been full of similar ideas during the past 
few years. Liberty and independence were words with which 
to fire the imaginations of the French and to make them dream 
of things to come. 

The French treaty was Clark's trump card in the game he was 
playing; for the word France awakened in the minds of the Kas- 
kaskians memories of days gone by, always more joyous than the 
days of present hardship, — those days when the lilies of France 
waved over the forts of the lUinois. France is a name of wonder- 
ful meaning to Frenchmen of all times. The people of Illinois 
felt its charm and, at a later day, said "when these men once 
pronounced the name of France, how could they raise their hands 
against them?"^ Just previously rumors had been spread up 
and down the Mississippi that France was coming into her own 
again, ridiculous reports no doubt spread by those discontented 
with the British rule, and yet they aroused in the hearts of the 
French a hope, of which the appearance of Clark seemed a har- 
binger. 

It was not with rifles and swords that Clark won the IlHnois, 
but with the promise of liberty and the alliance with France. 
These two weapons were all sufiicient. Immediately after the 
occupation of Kaskaskia Clark sent Bowman with a detachment 
of thirty men to occupy Cahokia, which yielded readily to the 
same persuasions.' Vincennes joined the American cause with- 
out even the use of troops, for Father Gibault undertook to per- 
suade the people to submit, which they did after their priest had 
represented the case to them.* In their first enthusiasm the French 
furnished the Virginians with all their necessities and their need 
was great, for they had reached Kaskaskia, as the inhabitants of 
Vincennes said, "half naked like the Arabs."^ But the spirit 

1 Mason, Chapters jrom IlHnois History, 281 et seq, 

2 See post, p. 537. 

3 Bowman's letters in English, Conquest of the Northwest, i., 558 et seq.; the Cahokian 
account in this vol., p. 537- 

* Clark's Letter to Mason, English, Conquest oj the Northwest, i., 419. 

* Inhabitants of Vincennes to De la Balme, Menard Col., Tard. Papers. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

in which the French received the Americans is best seen in the 
way they aided in defending the country against the British. In 
December following the occupation of the Illinois by Clark, 
Lieutenant Governor Hamilton of Detroit retook Vincennes and 
threatened the other villages. At no time had Clark's position 
been so dangerous, for he had neither money nor sufl5cient troops. 
With him were only two companies of soldiers, in which some of 
the French had already enlisted. Since these were too few either 
to hold his position or to make an attack, he called upon the 
villages; and two companies of Frenchmen were formed. The 
merchants of the region raised the necessary money. Clark then 
made his difficult and dangerous march across the submerged 
prairies, a march which tried to the utmost the endurance of the 
men. The conquest of Vincennes and the retention of the whole 
Northwest for the Americans were the results. More than half 
of the men who followed him so bravely were inhabitants of the 
American Bottom.' To the French soldiers in Clark's little army 
as well as to the Virginians belongs the honor of that campaign 
and its consequences. 

After the submission of the villages to him, Clark found him- 
self in command of a large country inhabited by a people who had 
joined themselves willingly to his cause and to whom he had 
promised greater liberty than they had hitherto enjoyed. From 
the first he was called upon to exercise the power of commandant 
and judge. He continued for a time the custom, followed by the 
last two British representatives, of appointing arbitrators in all 
cases of dispute between the inhabitants.^ This, however, was 
not in accordance with his own ideas of self-government, which 
were those of the West generally, nor did his many military duties 
permit him to give that attention to civil aflfairs that was required. 
He therefore made other arrangements. He writes that he 

1 Va. State Papers, i., 316; Letter to Mason, English, Conquest of the Northwest, i., 437. 
The expedition against Vincennes was evidently financed by the inhabitants of the French 
villages, from whom Clark raised $11,102 between December aoth and February sth. Clark's 
account against Virginia, in English, Conquest of the Northwest, ii., 1054. 

* Kas. Rec. Court Record, fol. 100. Letter by Clark, July 24, 1778, in Amer. Hist. Rev 
viii., 501. 



INTRODUCTION 

caused: "a. court of civil judicature to be established at Cahokia, 
elected by the people. Major Bowman, to the surprise of the 
people, held a poll for a magistracy, and was elected and acted as 
judge of the court. [The poHcy of Mr. Bowman holding a poll is 
easily perceived.] After this similar courts were established in 
the towns of Kaskaskia and Vincent."' The title of the court 
thus founded at Cahokia was the "Court of the Committee of 
Cahokia," and a few pages of the records of its sessions have been 
preserved and are printed in this volume.' Clark reserved the 
right of appeal to himself and he adds : " I believe that no people 
ever had their business done more to their satisfaction than they 
had through the means of these regulations for a considerable 
time."* By an examination of the few remaining records it is 
possible to arrive at an approximate date for the founding of these 
courts. The date of the earliest paper which has been preserved 
issuing from the court at Cahokia is October 29, 1778.* Among 
the Kaskaskia Records is a court record, the last pages of which 
were used by the clerk of the British government and later by the 
clerk of the Virginia government for recording deeds and other 
instruments. The first entry in it after the date of the occupa- 
tion of Kaskaskia by Clark was made on October 20th. The 
last direct petition to Clark that exists is dated August 27.* There- 
fore it must be concluded that the courts were established be- 
tween the last of August and the last of October. But it is pos- 
sible to make a closer calculation. Since it is probable that an 
entry was made by the Kaskaskia clerk in his book of record 
shortly after the machinery of civil government was started, 
we may take the date October 20th as approximately the date of 
the establishment of the court at Kaskaskia; and since that at 
Cahokia was the earlier, the court of that village must have begim 

1 Clark's Memoir, English, Conquest of the Northwest, i., 484. The sentence in brackets 
is added from Dr. MSS. 47J3S. 

2 Pp. J et ieq. 

3 Clark's Memoir, in English, Conquest of the Northwest, i., 484. 

* See post, p. 2 . 

* See post, p. I 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

to hear suits about the middle of the same month and possibly a 
little earlier.^ 

These courts were modeled after the county courts of Virginia, 
with some modifications. The number of justices sitting at Caho- 
kia was seven, four of whom were necessary for a quorum; the 
sessions were held weekly ; the jurisdiction included both criminal 
and civil cases; the records of the sessions were kept in English.^ 
Since the members of this committee were elected by popular vote, 
the first election of chief magistrates ever held on the soil of lUinois 
or of the old Northwest was that at Cahokia in the month of 
October, in the year 1778. 

During the last few years disorder and crime had increased in 
the Illinois. We have seen how Rocheblave lacked the power to 
enforce good order and had appealed to public opinion without 
effect to put an end to the trading in liquor with the Indians. 
But it was not from the depredations of the Indians only that 
the people suffered. Members of the slave class, influenced by 
the disorders of the times, had become insolent and violent, so 
that the fear of the large population of red and black slaves was 
widespread, and with good reason, for many murders had recently 
been committed, for which the slaves were suspected of being 
responsible. Members of the family of the NicoUe had become 
sick and died under the most suspicious circumstances, and 
several sudden deaths of both whites and blacks had occurred 
which gave every evidence of being caused by poison. To stop 
further lawlessness by this class, Clark published a very stringent 
order against the slaves on December 24, 1778, in which he forbade 
them to walk the streets after sundown without a special permis- 
sion from their masters, or to assemble for dances at night, under 

1 It is possible that Clark was mistaken about the establishment of a court at Kaskas- 
kia, for among all the records that have been preserved there is not one issuing from such 
a court, or one that gives direct evidence of the existence of such a court. Moreover there 
has been preserved a petition, dated February 18, 1779, from a widow in regard to her hus- 
band's estate, in which she gives elaborate reasons for not having troubled Colonel Clark 
during his presence in Kaskaskia, and states that conditions are now such that she must 
have protection to save her property. Since Clark was away, she applied to the officers of 
militia of Kaskaskia. These heard her prayer and granted the protection. The act was 
signed by the officers, but not as members of a court. One name has been torn off, but the 
others are Joseph Charleville, Richard Winston, Charles Danis, and Charles de Lisle acting for 
Duplasy. Kas. Rcc, Petitions. 

' See record of the court, pp. 4 e< seq. 



INTRODUCTION 

penalty of punishment by flogging.^ All persons were forbidden 
to sell liquor to slaves. In the court of Cahokia an investigation 
of the death of the Nicolles was begun. This was not ended until 
the following June, when it was proved that some slaves, of 
whom two were particularly guilty, had poisoned a number of 
whites as well as several negroes.^ 

Of this first experiment in popular government in the Illinois 
very little can be said, for almost all its records have been de- 
stroyed. The character of Clark, the order he preserved or 
tried to preserve, and the expedition with which justice was 
administered, no doubt made the government generally popu- 
lar; still the mihtary power was very evident and at times 
arbitrary, and the soldiers were becoming unruly. Therefore the 
French looked forward to the time when a civil government, not 
so dependent on the military force, should be inaugurated. The 
people were reasonable, however, and recognized the necessity 
of these temporary arrangements, and in their first enthusiasm 
exhibited a tractable and united spirit to their commandant. In 
justice to Clark it must be said that neither at this time nor later, 
when there was most just cause to criticise the mihtary force, 
did the French utter a word of complaint against him, for he had 
won, not only their esteem, but their affection, so that they never 
held him responsible for the evils that crowded upon them. 

One cause for uneasiness developed very soon among the peo- 
ple. In the first excitement over their change of allegiance and 
under the influence of that enthusiasm which was aroused by the 
talk of liberty and independence by Clark and his soldiers, they 
had been ready to make many sacrifices for the cause they had 
espoused. At first they gave freely of their goods, and later sold 
them to the patriots, who had brought them this "priceless 
gift", and received in return continental paper money, which they 
were assured by Clark and his officers was equal in value to the 
Spanish piastre, or else drafts on the treasury of Virginia or the 
Virginia agent at New Orleans, Ohver Pollock.^ At the time 

1 Kas. Rec, Court Record, fol. 132. 

2 The papers in the case are printed in this volume, pp. 13 e< seq. 

3 Every petition of the French people mentions the fact that they were deceived by the 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the paper money was worth about twelve cents on the dollar, 
and the French were to learn that many of the drafts were worth- 
less. The suspicions of the inhabitants were not aroused until 
early in 1779, while Clark was absent on the Vincennes expedi- 
tion. Speculation in continental money was very common 
throughout the East and every advantage of variation in its value 
was used by the traders. It is not surprising, therefore, that the 
story of Clark's deaUngs in the Illinois were soon known by these 
men, who, tempted by the opportunity of purchasing goods 
with continentals at their face value, rushed into the region. 
They reached the French villages in the early spring of 1779, 
and in their eagerness to make the utmost use of the opportunity, 
they bid against each other with the result that the confidence of 
the French was lost and the value of the paper timibled.^ In 
speaking of this event, Clark says : " There is one circumstance 
ver}' distressing, that of our own moneys being discredited, to all 
intents and purposes, by the great number of traders who come 
here in my absence, each outbidding the other, giving prices 
unknown in this country by five hundred per cent, by which the peo- 
ple conceived it to be of no value, and both French and Spaniards 
refused to take a farthing of it. Provision is three times the 
price it was two months past, and to be got by no other means 
than my own bonds, goods, and force. "^ There was another reason 
for the appreciation of the price of supplies. By the arrival of 

Virginians in regard to the value of the paper money. See Cahokian Memorial to De la 
Balme, printed in this vol., p. 547, also page 6; from the memorial of the people of Kaskaskia 
to the Virginia commissioners, March i, 1783, is taken the following passage: "But on ac- 
count of the honest appearance of General Clark and of his officers and because they assured 
us that they had orders to draw on M. Ohver Pollock, agent of the state of Virginia at New 
Orleans, there was no difficulty in obtaining all they needed for a specie in current paper, 
which was scattered in quantities both on this bank and the Spanish at the value of metalic 
piastres of Spain and all our suppUes have been sold at the same rate and conditions .... and 
since we contd not believe that an officer in accordance with his orders would leave us ignorant 
of the fact that this money was depreciated, we have received it at its intrinsic value." (Menard 
Col., Tardiveait Papers.) In a memorial to the governor of Virginia the same people said: 
"The suppliants have furnished all the necessary provisions to the troops at a sufficiently 
moderate price and have been paid with a paper money and letters of exchange which we 
were assured were equal in value to the Spanish piastre." {Ibid, memorial dated May 4, 
1781.) The people of Vincennes in a petition to the governor of Virginia, June 30, 1781, 
wrote: "The accredited officers of finance and others have assured us that continental 
money was of equal value with coin, and we accepted the same in good faith." {Va. Stale 
Papers, ii., 192?) 

* See post, p. 6. 

'Clark to the Governor of Virginia, April 29, 1779, in Enghsh, Conquest of the North- 
west, i., 400. 



INTRODUCTION 

the Virginians all open trade with Canada had been stopped 
and, since that country was one of the chief sources from 
which the inhabitants drew their goods and to which they 
sold their furs, commerce became stagnant and commodities 
scarce.^ 

The credit of Clark's government was supported at this time 
by the merchants and traders of Illinois. He says: "Several 
merchants are now advancing considerable sums of their own 
property, rather than the service should suffer, by which I am 
sensible they must lose greatly, unless some method is taken to 
raise the credit of our coin."^ The merchants who gave this 
timely aid to the American cause were Daniel Murray, Winston, 
Janis, the Charlevilles, the Bauvais, Duplasy, and Bienvenu, of 
Kaskaskia; Barbau of Prairie du Rocher; Godin, Trottier, Girault, 
LaCroix, Gratiot, and McCarty of Cahokia ; LeGras, Huberdeau 
and Bosseron of Vincennes, and Vigo with possibly others of St. 
Louis.^ The state of Virginia had undertaken more than she 
could perform, since her treasury was exhausted and her credit 
gone, so that Clark never received the financial support that he 
needed; and he and his officers were in time forced to use that 
expediency which made the Thirty Years War in Germany so 
frightful, namely that of compelling the people to support them. 
This last resort had not become necessar}- in the spring of 1779, 
at least it was not ofiicially recognized ; for the French were still 
ready to make herculean sacrifices for the cause which they had 
accepted and to furnish supplies on the doubtful credit of the 
state; but the time was fast approaching when they would de- 
mand a settlement. 

1 Va. State Papers, iii., 501. 

2 See supra, xlvi., note i. 

» Clark's account against Virginia, in English, Conquest of the Northwest, ii., 1040 el seq. 
The list of names is not complete since I have been unable to identify several as spelled by 
Clark and because drafts were drawn by other ofl&cers besides Clark and these would not 
appear in his account. In fart, the list of those who at this time or later furmshed supplies 
on credit is a very long one, including almost every man of property in the Illinois. Gratiot 
of Cahokia, Cerre ot Kaskaskia, and Vigo of St. Louis have always received due credit for the 
assistance they furnished, but they were no more active than the other members of the French 
villages. In the end these three never suffered from their efforts at this period as severely 
as did many others. Richard Winston, who at the time of the coming of Clark was regarded 
as wealthy, died in poverty; and the Bauvais family was reduced to almost the same extrem- 
ity. These are only two instances among many. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

While Clark had been regulating the affairs of the Illinois, 
the news of his great success had been received with rejoicing at 
Williamsburg, and the government of Virginia began preparing 
for some more permanent form of civil establishment for her new 
citizens. The territory north of the Ohio River lies within the 
region which Virginia claimed as hers under her charter granting 
the land from sea to sea. According to the Virginia interpreta- 
tion of that charter, the state was fully within her rights in legis- 
lating for that territory, to which her troops had just given her 
another title. 

On the 19th of November, 1778, a committee was appointed by 
the legislature to draft the requisite bill, which was introduced 
on the 30th and passed both houses on December 9th. ^ 

The civil establishment thus created for the region was the 
same in its essential character as that which Virginia had used 
in her expansion westward, the county government. Kentucky 
had but a few years before received a similar organization. This 
new territor>% which included all that Clark actually held, stretched 
from the Ohio to the Illinois River and up the Wabash towards 
Detroit to an indefinite boundary. Ouiatanon was certainly 
under the jurisdiction of Virginia, but beyond that post and the 
Illinois River there is no proof of her exercising jurisdiction. 
The land lying between this northern boundary and the lakes 
was disputed territory and was traversed by Virginia and British 
troops at various times. 

The government of the "county of Illinois", as it was called, 
was temporary in character and was given force at the time of its 
enactment for only one year and then to the end of the next ses- 
sion of the legislature. On account of the difference in the popu- 
lation Virginia law was not fully extended to the new county.^ 
" On account of the remoteness of the region," so runs the pream- 
ble of the act, " it may be difficult, if not impracticable, to govern 
it by the present laws of the commonwealth, until proper infor- 

1 The act is reprinted in this volume, p. 9. The history of the act is given in note i of 
the same page. 

2 For a discussion of how far the laws of Virginia were extended to the Illinois, see post, 
p. Ixii. 



INTRODUCTION 

mation, by intercourse with their fellow citizens, on the east 
side of the Ohio, shall have familiarized them to the same, and 
it is therefore expedient that some form of government adapted 
to their circumstances should in the meantime be established." 
The chief executive officer and commander of the miHtia was 
the county lieutenant, or commandant. He was empowered to 
appoint as many deputy commandants, militia officers, and com- 
missaries as he found necessary. The civil officers were to be 
the same as the inhabitants were accustomed to, and they were 
to administer the law which was in force in the region already, 
that is, the coutume de Paris. Officers, created by the lieutenant, 
to which the inhabitants were unaccustomed were to be supported 
by the Virginia treasury, the others by the people. Both mili- 
tary and civil officers were required to take the oath of office 
according to the rehgion to which they were accustomed. The 
people were given assurance of the free exercise of their religion. 
The power of the court to be estabhshed and of the county lieu- 
tenant was limited in actions for treason and murder to the same 
extent as it was in all counties of Virginia.^ In such cases the 
Ueutenant was permitted to stay execution until the opinion of 
the governor or the assembly had been obtained. 

On December 12, 1778, and in accordance with this act, Patrick 
Henry commissioned John Todd county lieutenant. For such 
a difficult and important position Todd seemed as good a candi- 
date as was available. His ancestry was Scotch-Irish, one of 
his ancestors having fled from Scotland to escape the persecutions 
of Claverhouse. His grandfather had come to America in the 
year 1737, when Todd's father was still in his youth, and had 
settled in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. From his mother 
Todd inherited Welsh blood. His education had been exception- 
ally good. His uncle, also named John Todd, was a well-educated 
man, having graduated from Princeton in 1749, and was a minis- 
ter in Louisa County, Virginia, where he kept a classical school. 
It was at his uncle's school that the future county lieutenant was 
educated. Afterwards he studied law and practiced a short time. 

1 Chitwood, Justice in Colonial Virginia, 82. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

But the attraction of the frontier life was in his blood, as it was in 
that of so many other young men of his time, and at the outbreak 
of ^he Dunmore's War he became aid to General Lewis. In 
the following year he made his way among the first settlers to 
Kentucky and was present at the meeting which was held to 
establish the government of the proprietary colony of Transyl- 
vania. In 1777 he was elected burgess from the county of Ken- 
tucky to the general assembly of Virginia. The duties of this 
office prevented him from taking part in Clark's expedition to the 
Illinois.* In appearance Todd was far from imposing. He 
was only five feet six inches in height, but was reputed the swiftest 
footman of his day and excelled in all forms of gymnastics. Like 
Clark and most of the leaders of the western movement he was 
still a young man, being at the time of his appointment twenty- 
eight years old. His experience, however, had been on the 
frontier; he was accustomed to the American type of pioneer, 
and was personally brave and a good Indian fighter. He united 
with these qualities a knowledge of law and a culture superior 
to that of any other man in the West. His education and his 
character seemed to fit him for the task before him. But the 
events in the Illinois were already approaching a crisis, brought 
on by the clash of Anglo-Saxon and Gallic temperament; the 
unity of feeling and the glow of enthusiasm aroused by the shouts 
of liberty and the huzzas for the French alliance were already 
changing, and the French were beginning to count the cost of the 
transference of their allegiance ; criticism, denunciation, and open 
opposition were ready to break forth. Under such conditions 
was the experience of twenty-eight years sufficient to enable 
Todd to master the situation?* 

The instructions given him by Governor Henry were wise and 
suited to the occasion: "Altho Great reliance is placed on your 
prudence in managing the people you are to reside among, yet 
consider'g you as unacquainted in some Degree with their Genius, 

I The Todd on the expeditioa was his brother, Levi. English, Conquest of the North- 
west, ii., 051. 

* For the life of Todd see, Green, Historic Families oj Kentucky; Morehead, Settlement 
of Kentucky, 174; Mason, Chapters }rom Illinois History, 252. 



INTRODUCTION 

usage, and maners, as well as the Geography of the Cuntry I 
recommend it to you to consult and advise with the most intelligi- 
ble and upright persons who may fall in your way .... and I know 
of no better Gen^ Direction to Give than this, that you Consider 
yourself at the head of the Civill department, and as Such having 
the Comm<^ of the mihtia, who are not to be under the comm"^ 
of the military, untill ordered out by the civil Authority, and to act 
in conjunction with them 

"You are on all Accatons to inculcate on the people the value 
of liberty and the Difference between the State of free Citizens 
of the Commonwelth and that Slavery to which Ilinois was Des- 
tined. A free & equal representation may be expected by them 
in a little Time, together with all the improvm*' in Jurisprudence 
and police which the other parts of the State enjoy 

"The Ditaile of your Duty in the civil Department I need 
not give you, its best Direction will be found in y^ innate love of 
Justice and Zeal to be intencively usefull to your fellow-men. 
A general Direction to act according to the best of y'" Judgment 
in cases where these Instructions are Silent and the laws have 
not Otherwise Directed is given to you from the necessity of the 
case, for y*" Great Distance from Governm* will not permit you to 
wait for Orders in many Cases of Great Importance.'" 

Clark received Todd with joy, for 'hey were good friends; 
but a greater reason was that he found the task of superintending 
the civil department and at the same time of making the needed 
preparations for the contemplated attack on Detroit in the sum- 
mer too difficult.^ The fussy details of the former were annoying 
to a mind like Clark's which was only aroused to its best by the 
excitement of some bold militar}^ undertaking. 

Todd reached the Illinois in May, 1779. One of his first duties 
was to organize the militia. There was little to be done, for 
Clark had maintained the military organization which he found 
in existence and had confirmed the appointments of the officers 
already in command. Todd now reconfirmed them under the 

1 Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 289 et seq^- Va. 
Stale Papers, i., 312. 

" Clark's Memoir, English, Conquest oj the Northwest, i., 449. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

authority conferred on him by the act of the Virginia legislature. 
As far as the records show neither Clark nor Todd made many 
changes in the personnel of the militia. Under the British rule 
the oflBicers had been selected from the most prominent men of the 
community, and the new government could not afford to alienate 
them. A few changes were made by one of the Virginians in 
Kaskaskia, where Richard Winston, an American trader, was 
made commandant, Nicolas Janis and Joseph Duplasy were 
retained, and Brazeau was not given a commission.' There 
could be no thought of change at Prairie du Rocher, where J. 
Bte. Barbau had been chief citizen for years. ^ At St. Phihppe 
a commandant was also appointed, probably Pierre the Sieur 
de Girardot, who held somewhat the same position in that com- 
munity as Barbau at Prairie du Rocher.^ At Cahokia Joseph 
Cesirre, who had been judge and captain of militia for several 
years, was not commissioned, but this was probably due to his 
death, which occurred in this year, possibly before Todd's arrival. 
Franfois Trottier was made commandant of the village and Mi- 
chel Beaulieu and Pierre Godin called Turanjeau, were com- 
missioned captains.'* The latter was a new name in such a promi- 
nent position, but the Godin family was an important one and 
without doubt the appointment was approved by the people. 
In Peoria J. Bte. Mailhet was appointed commandant.* 

Before issuing the commissions to the militia ofl&cers, Todd 
had given his attention to the establishment of the civil govern- 

* Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc's Collections, iv., 2p4; Kas. Rec ., 
various papers. 

2 Barbau was from New Orleans and was about fifty-seven years old at this time. He 
was one of the judges of the court of judicature established by Colonel Wilkins in 1768 and 
from that date is conspicuous in all the aSairs of the American Bottom. It will be seen tha 
he was called to an important position later at a critical time. See post, p. . After the 
United States came into control of the country, he still continued to be a representative citizen 
and was appointed to many public positions. He died in 1810. Kas. Rec; Smith, St 
Clair Papers, ii., 165. His will is recorded in the probate record of Randolph Co. 

' Girardot was a former French infantry officer, who for some reason chose to remain in 
the Illinois. He was appointed one of the justices by Colonel Wilkins. I have not been able 
to fixid the rest of his name, for he was always called by his title. 

* For these Cahokians see the notes to the census of the village on page 624 et seq. 

*The appointment of a commandant at Peoria and St. Philippe is not mentioned by 
Todd in his Record-Book, but since we leam that such officers were acting later at these 
places, thf^ must have been appointed about this time. For an account of Mailhet see p. 231 
note 2. In 1790 it was believed that Mailhet was appointed commandant by Clark Smith 
Si Clair Paipers ii 138. 



INTRODUCTION 

merit. He had received ven- definite instructions on this head 
in the act creating the county, according to which the magistrates 
were to be such as the people were accustomed to and were to be 
elected by popular vote. The problem, however, was not an 
easy one. Under the French regime the civil magistrate was a 
judge with sole authority in all judicial and executive matters 
not belonging to the militar\' department.' During the British 
period there had been a feeble attempt, in 1768, to create a court 
of judicature, but it had failed ;^ and since that time the military 
commandant had been also judge, assisted by justices in each 
village, whose duties seem to have been to put in execution the 
decrees of the commandant. Neither of these arrangements 
was in accord with the democratic ideas of the frontier. There 
was, however, another model. Since the fall of the previous 
year, the Illinois villages had been governed by the courts estab- 
lished by Clark. The justices were elected by popular vote and 
had given general satisfaction. Todd determined to continue 
these as fulfilling the requirements of the law. Since Illinois was 
so large, it was impossible to hold a court at any one of the villages 
for the whole county. Three districts were, therefore, created : 
the Kaskaskia district included Prairie du Rocher, Chartres 
village, and St. Philippe besides Kaskaskia itself ; the Cahokia 
district extended from the village of Prairie du Pont to Peoria on 
the Illinois River; and the Vincennes district included all the 
region of the Wabash.' The court consisted of six justices from 
the principal village and representatives from the other com- 
munities of the district. Thus two justices were elected for 
Prairie du Rocher and one for St. Philippe in the Kaskaskia 
district ; one was added to the Cahokia court for the little vil- 
lageof Prairie du Pont; and three were elected for the com- 
munities in the Wabash region outside of Vincennes.* These 

1 Alvord, Illinois in the Eighteenth Century, i6. 
- Ibid, 21. 

3 Todd's speech, quoted on page Ix. gives the boundaries of the Kaskaskia district. The 
boundaries of the Cahokia district are obtained by the examination of the extent of its juris- 
diction. 

* Todd says in his speech that six justices are to be elected at Kaskaskia and two others 
from Prairie du Rocher and St. Philippe. As a matter of fact two were elected 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

justices were elected for a year and might become candidates for 
re-election.^ 

The election for the new government was held at Kaskaskia, 
on May 12th, with suitable ceremonies. The people were sum- 
moned to a general assembly at the church door, where they had 
been accustomed to meet to transact their business for years. 
They came in their picturesque holiday apparel, for to them 
this seemed the day of the fulfilment of all their anticipations. 
Near by were drawn up the Virginia soldiers of the Illinois bat- 
talion, and possibly groups of Kaskaskia Indians were on the 
outskirts of the crowd. The central group was composed of 
Clark with his officers and Todd with his attendants, and with 
these stood without doubt Father Gibault.^ 

The presiding officeifof this remarkable assembly was George 
Rogers Clark. He had prepared an address for the occasion, but 
since his knowledge of French was limited, it was written and 
read by his official interpreter, Jean Girault. His address was 
in part as follows: "From your first declaration of attachment 
to the American cause up to the time of the glorious capture of 
post St. Vincent, I had doubted your sincerity ; but in that critical 
moment I proved your fidelity. I was so touched by the zeal 
which you have shown that my desire is at present to render you 
happy and to prove to you the sincere affection that I have for the 
welfare and advancement of this colony in general and of each 
individual in particular. The young men of this colony have 
returned from Post St. Vincent covered with laurels which I hope 

from Prairie du Rocher, as the election certificate shows. {Kas. Rec.) The ninth member 
of the court was the Sieur de Girandot, who was a resident of St. Philippe. {Amer. Slate Pap., 
Pub. Lands, ii., 192.) The number six remains throughout the period as the number of 
justices to be elected at Kaskaskia. See pp. cxvi., cxxxiv. At Cahokia there was always a 
member of the court who was a resident of Prairie du Pont and the court of Vincennes must 
have also followed the Kaskaskia model. 

1 In Cahokia the election was annual and on account of the completeness of the records 
it is best to base conclusions about practice on that of the court of that village; but in the 
certificate of the second election of the two justices of Prairie du Rocher in 1782, it is stated 
that the time of ser\ice of the justices as established by law had passed and so two more 
justices were elected. This would make the tenure of office three years. (Kas. Rec, Pol. 
Papers.) No conclusions can be drawn from the elections at Kaskaskia, since they were held 
so irregularly and the same is true of what Uttle is known of the court at Vincennes. (See 
post, p. Ixxxiv.; Dunn, Indiana, passim.) 

' In all French ullages the regular place for holding assemblies was in front of the church. 
Babeau, Les assemblies generales, ai et seq. It is possible that the troops and the Indians 
were not present, but it seems probable that they were. 



INTRODUCTION 

they will continue to wear." He then praised those who had 
remained at home to defend their village, and expressed a hope 
that they would soon have an opportunity to win similar glory. 
He told them that they would soon possess the liberty which the 
Americans enjoyed, and that America would protect them. The 
government, "has appointed for you a civil heutenant governor 
to regulate and settle your afifairs. In a short time you will know 
the American system, which you will, perhaps, think strange in 
principle, but in the end you will find in it so much peace and 
tranquillity that you will bless the day that you embraced the 
cause of the Americans. You should be persuaded that we 
desire to render you happy and to procure for you all possible 
succor. 

*'I present to you Colonel Todd, my good friend, as your 
governor. He is the only person in the state whom I desired to 
fill this post in this colony. I am fully persuaded from my knowl- 
edge of his capacity and diligence that he will succeed in render- 
ing to you justice and making you contented. 

"You are assembled here, gentlemen, for an affair of the 
greatest importance, namely, to elect the most capable and illus- 
trious persons to sit in judgment on your differences I 

pray you to consider the importance of this choice and to make 
it without partiality and to elect the persons most worthy of yoiu^ 
trust ; and I hope that in a short time that you will be convinced 
that you are the freest people in the universe."^ 

Clark was followed by the county lieutenant, John Todd. 
His speech was also read by some one famihar with the language. 
He said in part : " Gentlemen, I am sent by the government of 
Virginia to exercise the duties of chief magistrate of this county. 
The reception which I have received from you deserves my 
thanks. I am flattered and shall always be happy, if my power 
can serve your well-being. I am sure that nothing will be lacking 
on my part to secure that end. 

"The Repubhc of Virginia has had only noble motives in 

* Dr. MSS., 49J43. This is an original manuscript and is signed by Clark, Fort Clark, 
May 12, 1779. Translation by the editor. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

coming here. It was not moved by the love of conquest but has 
come to invite you to participate with her citizens in the blessing 
of a free and equal independence and to be governed and judged 
by officers who shall be placed in power by the people. 

"Your great distance from the capital, gentlemen, does not 
permit you to send representatives to the assembly; but if in the 
future it happens that for your welfare or to avoid loss you prefer 
such representation, I have it in my instructions to assure you 
that it will not be refused you. 

" The.purpose for which we have assembled you to-day, gentle- 
men, is that you may choose among you six of the most notable and 
most judicious to be judges of the court of Kaskaskia, conjointly 
with two others from Prairie du Rocher and St. Philippe. 

"Each one with the right of voting can give his vote, either 
viva voce or by writing, to elect whomever he wishes to place in 
office."^ 

The assembly then proceeded to the election. A large ballot 
sheet had been prepared which was divided into squares. At 
the top of this were placed the names of the candidates, and at the 
side the names of the voters as they handed in their votes either 
by word of mouth or by writing, and their choice was checked off 
in the proper squares.^ The harmony of parties is evident from 
the list of men chosen as justices. The old factional strife, which 
had marked the years of Rocheblave's government, was hushed 
before the grand ideals which had been invoked by the men who 
had inaugurated this new constitution. All men united in choos- 
ing those who appeared most fitted to exercise the duties of the 
new office. At the head of the court was placed the man who 
had been the chief support of Rocheblave, but who had in the 
past few months won the confidence of Clark and his officers by 
the liberal assistance he had given their tottering finances, Gabriel 
Cerre. On the whole, however, the names of the judges are 
those of men who had been lukewarm to the British cause and 
had won favor either in the recent campaign against Vincennes 

1 Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Cah. Rec. This is an original manuscript. Translation by the editor. 

2 At least this wa.s the^method at later elections. Kas. Rec, Pol. Papers, among which 
are two such ballot sheets. 



INTRODUCTION 

or by their cordial acceptance of the American allegiance. There 
were elected from Kaskaskia, besides Cerre, Joseph Duplasy, 
Jacques Lasource, Nicolas Janis, Nicolas Lachance, and Charles 
Charleville.^ 

On May 19th the people of Prairie du Rocher assembled and 
elected J. Bte. Barbau and Antoine Duchaufour de Louvieres as 
their representives in the court. At St. Philippe, Pierre Sieur 
de Girardot was elected.^ 

The court now being complete, Todd issued the commission 
on May the twenty-first: "From the great Confidence reposed 
in your Judgment & Integrity by the good people of Kaskaskia 
and its dependencies and agreeably to an act of the general assem- 
bly of Virginia, you are hereby constituted & appointed Justices 
of the peace for the District of Kaskaskia and Judges of the 
Court of the said District in cases both civil & criminal, any 
four or more of you are authorized to constitute a Court before 
whom shall be cognizable all actions and cases of which the 
Courts of the Counties of this commonwealth Respectively have 
Cognizance, your judgment must have the Concurence of at 
least a majority and be entered with the proceedings previous and 
subsequent and fairly recorded in Books provided for that pur- 
pose."^ 

Richard Winston, who was already commandant of the vil- 
lage, was appointed by Todd to the office of sheriff and Jean 
Girault, state's attorney. Carbonneaux, who had been clerk 
during the British period, was re-elected by the court. ^ 

The date of the inauguration of the court at Cahokia is not 
known. During the subsequent years the elections were held 
generally after the middle of June, the nineteenth being the 
favorite date; but the court was elected before that date in 1779, 
for it was in session as early as the tenth of June.* The election 

1 Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 295. 

* For election at St. Philippe see supra, p. Ivii., note 4. 
^ Kas. Rec, Court Record, fol. 169. 

* Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 295. Winston's 
commission is among the Kas. Rec. 

* See post, p. 13. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

passed off without making many changes in the personnel of the 
court which had been established in 1778 by Major Bowman. 
In the place of Langlois, Bte. Saucier was returned. J. Bte. 
LaCroix was appointed sheriff by Todd and Francois Saucier 
was elected clerk by the court. ^ A court was also established at 
Vincennes. As this post lay outside the territory which in time 
has become the state of Illinois and since the records from which 
this account is drawn belong to the villages of the Mississippi 
bottom, the history of Vincennes will be noticed only incidentally 
in this Introduction. 

The history of these courts was very dissimilar, as will be shown 
in the following pages; but there are certain general statements 
in regard to them which can be made that are true of all. The 
courts met at first rather irregularly, for the justices seem to 
have attempted to continue the weekly sessions to which they had 
become accustomed in Clark's courts. Later they gave this up 
and settled down to holding monthly sessions with some regularity 
and meeting in special sessions when required.^ The individual 
justices had jurisdiction in cases involving not more than twenty- 
five shillings, as was the law in the other counties of Virginia.' 
The French law was retained as the law of the county, but it was 
modified somewhat by the law of Virginia. In a letter to Clark 
on December 12, 1778, Governor Henry mentions sending him the 
Bill of Rights of Virginia to guide the French people, and appeal 
was made to it at one time at least in the history of the court 
of Kaskaskia.* But this was not the only Virginia act that was 
used in these courts, for we find mention of the " Code of Laws 
and Bill of Rights" as a guide to be followed in questions of 
difficulty.^ What this code contained I have been unable to 
discover, but it was probably the more important laws respecting 

' Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Colledions, iv., 295. 

2 This was true both of the Kaskaskia and the Cahokia courts. Mason, John Todd's 
Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 309. 

^Chitwood, Justice in Colonial Va., 81; see post p. 533. 

*Dr. MSS., 60J1, a copy; Kas. Rec, Letters. 

^Memorial of Timothc de Monbreun, November 18, 1794, Va. State Library. 



INTRODUCTION 

the county courts. There was some attempt at Kaskaskia to 
regulate the procedure in accordance with English law. On 
one of the stray papers of the records from Kaskaskia there is 
a regular docket like that of any English court. At the end 
of the Cahokia court record, published in this volume, there is 
an attempt to imitate the same form. Trial by jury was also 
permitted and probably required in criminal cases; at least the 
record of the first jury trial at Cahokia was criminal. Another 
evidence of the influence of the English law is the practice of 
arresting men for debt, which makes a late appearance in the his- 
tory of the Cahokia court. On the whole the law of the courts is 
that of the coutume de Paris, as it had been used in the Illinois 
throughout the eighteenth centur)'. The litigants do not as a 
rule favor the English procedure and are generally satisfied to 
have a majority of the judges decide their cases in accordance 
with equity. 

There were very serious charges made against the Vincennes 
justices on account of the large costs they demanded. A similar 
charge could not be made against the Cahokia court, for, with the 
exception of a few cases, which might be explained if we knew 
all the circumstances, the costs were moderate and not different 
from those that had been fixed by the ordinances of the French 
kings. Of the Kaskaskia court almost nothing is known, on 
account of the disappearance of the record. That the justices of 
Cahokia w^ere careful in preserving the records of their sessions 
is evident from this volume. The history of the courts at Kaskas- 
kia and Vincennes was far more stormy, and no doubt in the fac- 
tional fights the records were not kept as well, but that they were 
made is evident from numerous references to them in letters and 
petitions. Where they are now is not known, but in both places 
there were plenty of men who would prefer that such records 
should not remain in existence, and they have no doubt been 
destroyed. 

Although unity among the French population appears to have 
reigned at the election and there was great enthusiasm 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

expressed for Clark and the new county lieutenant, there was no 
such feeling for the American soldiers or for the numerous traders 
and land speculators who had already found their way into the 
country. The backwoodsman was a type that had been developed 
rather slowly in the Eastern colonies ; but the endless Indian war- 
fare, the life of the woods, the separation from the centers of 
civilization, the need of reliance on self had produced a set of 
men well fitted for the task of winning the West. Of great phy- 
sical strength, brave to recklessness, splendid riflemen, trained in 
woodcraft in which they were second only to their foes, the 
Indians, lovers of individual freedom, hostile to the regulations 
of society, hard drinkers, suspicious, quarrelsome, intolerant, un- 
cultured even to vulgarity, they had all the virtues as well as the 
vices of the Homeric heroes. 

It is difficult to trace the origin of these men of the frontier, 
for they came from all nations, from England, Ireland, Germany, 
and Holland. There was also a strong strain of Scotch-Irish 
blood from western Pennsylvania. Some came from respectable 
families of the eastern settlers; many had fled to the West to 
escape the consequences of crime; others were redemptioners. 
Alen of noble ideals mingled with those of the criminal class, 
for the West asked no questions in regard to the origin and 
past life of men, provided they were courageous and could wield 
an axe and fire a gun. What was needed were men, and they came 
from all classes. The love of the frontier with its excitement was 
in their blood and they came to fight the Indians, to quarrel among 
themselves, take up the land, winning it from the Indians and 
from nature in a way that no other men could have done so well. 
The well-controlled colonies of the French with their many pro- 
hibitions on individual initiative had failed where the splendid 
self-reliance and personal assertiveness of the American pioneers 
succeeded. 

The men trained under the French system now came in con- 
tact with this different race of beings. In the ensuing struggle 
those best adapted to survive in the life of the backwoods had an 
advantage which they used without restraint and without com- 



INTRODUCTION 

passion, and the French gave way before the egoism of the Ameri- 
cans, for whom they were no match. There was httle to unite 
these discordant elements. The French were Cathohcs; the 
majority of Americans, Protestant, and the Calvinistic blood of 
the Independents and Presbyterians still ran warm in the veins 
of the pioneers, although they may have long ceased to feel the 
restraining influence of religion. For them the Catholics were 
enemies, as they had been on many a battle field of the Old World. 
The French lived on good terms with the Indians, the pioneer 
knew no good Indian save a dead one. With unremitting and 
relentless watchfulness they waged that war of extermination 
until the Indian was driven from the coveted prairies. The 
friends of the foe who had murdered with such cruel barbarity 
father, mother, sister, and brother of these stalwart pioneers 
were not to be trusted, and at every Indian uprising the French 
people were suspected. The French had been educated to 
respect the law and to obey the magistrates. With their little 
difficulties they were accustomed to run to the constituted au- 
thority for redress. The frontiersmen preferred to execute their 
own law and in any dispute were themselves judge, jury and 
executioner. Let a disagreement arise and there followed that 
terrific fight in which no rule was known, no end was allowed, 
save the yielding of one party to the greater physical strength of 
the other. Kicking, throttling, gouging of the eyes, biting were 
all permissible. In such a struggle the greater strength and 
weight of the American had a distinct advantage over the French- 
man. Hence that contempt for the smaller race which is so 
marked in the attitude of the pioneer for his French neighbor. 
No better example exists of their differences than in their manner 
of life. The frontiersmen preferred the isolated log cabin, built 
without the least attempt at attractiveness; bare of furniture, 
comfortless, ill kept, life here was unlovely, individualistic, and un- 
social. Even when forced for safety to seek the shelter of the 
stockade, they brought to the common life only the same qualities. 
Amidst the stench of cattle and hogs in the enclosure, the young 
were brought up with no conception of a quieter and more lovely 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

life. The hero of the stockade was the strongest in the rough 
and tumble fight, the surest shot, the killer of Indians. The 
French were temperamentally the opposite; their mode of life 
had more refinement, more attempt at aesthetic enjoyment, was 
gentler in every way. Their little cottages in the village com- 
munity surrounded by the picket fence, which enclosed a garden 
with vegetables and flowers, set them apart as a people of different 
ideas and civilization. 

It was over these two people who were now minghng in the Illi- 
nois villages that Todd was called to rule. The soldiers of Clark 
had answered nobly to his call to war against the British and 
Indians, but it required other training than theirs to garrison 
a village of peaceful citizens. When the spirit of self-abnegation, 
which marked the army of backwoodsmen on the campaign, 
had disappeared, the equality which reigned on the frontier reas- 
serted itself and Clark's influence became only that of an equal. 
The obedience yielded to him in an emergency and in the face of 
danger was past, and the spirit of individual assertiveness was 
again predominant. 

The French had experienced the evils of this rule of the un- 
trained militia from Virginia and Kentucky, and were glad to 
be finally released from its petty tyranny. They saw with joy 
the inauguration of the civil government, for the court would be 
their champion against the soldiery ; and under the strong hand of 
the lawcourt, an institution which the French were accustomed 
to respect, order would again be restored and they would taste 
the sweets of that hberty which Clark and Todd had promised 
them. The court was French, and it is to this institution that the 
"villagers" clung throughout the following years, for through it 
alone could they hope to bring that freedom from military rule 
which oppressed them. 

The reverse of the picture must not be forgotten. The position 
of the Illinois battalion was a very difficult one. The men were 
in a country far from their source of supplies, surrounded by 
hostile tribes of Indians, and unable to confer easily with the 
ofi&cials in Virginia. They, therefore, were frequently forced to 



INTRODUCTION 

act independently and their acts were not always confirmed by 
the Virginia authorities. Their supply of money from the state 
was also inadequate for the work they had to perform. This was 
due to two causes : first because Virginia did not fully appreciate 
the importance of holding the Illinois — that was a need better 
understood by the Kentuckians ; second, the finances of the state 
were such that there was no supply for this distant countr}^ In 
1780, Governor Jefiferson wrote to Clark: "The less you depend 
for supplies from this quarter the less will you be disappointed 
by those impediments which distances and a precarious foreign 
commerce throws in the way, for these reasons it will be eligible 
to withdraw as many of your men as you can from the west side of 
the Ohio leaving only as many men as will be necessary- for keep- 
ing the Illinois settlement in spirits, but we must accommodate 
our measures for doing this to our means. "^ In the previous 
year the situation was only a little better. It was the necessity 
of holding the countr}' at any cost that forced upon the men of the 
West the use of measures which bore with harshness on the 
French, measures which were often cruel and brutally carried 
out. That they held the territory for America is their excuse. 
The French were not the only ones to sufifer. Clark never re- 
ceived just recompense for his labors, and many personal debts 
which he incurred for the cause were never paid. Many of his 
officers suffered in the same way and found themselves financially 
embarrassed by their devotion to the American interests. 

No sooner was the court of Kaskaskia estabUshed than it took 
up the cause of the French and attempted to put an end to the 
anarchy which threatened. In a memorial to John Todd of the 
twenty-fourth of May, 1779,^ the justices told their grievances and 
demanded reforms: First, "The soldiers of Fort Clark go into 
the commons of this place to hunt the animals of the undersigned 
petitioners and without giving heed to the brandings or to whom 
they may belong they have enclosed them in the fort and killed 
them without giving notice to anyone. Such acts have never been 

tDr.MSS., 29 J 14. 

^Kas. Rec-, Pol. Papers. Original MS. Translation by the editor. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

seen in this country before. It is contrary to all law and particu- 
larly contrary' to the usages and customs of an independent country 
like this one, which has been announced to be free. In a place 
where each should be able to do with his property what pleases 
him and to enjoy it as seems good to him, the soldiers have killed 
dray-oxen, milch cows, and other animals belonging to people 
who can not subsist without them. It causes for some a lack 
of means for the cultivation of the fields and for others a lack of 
nourishment and subsistence for the family. We have always 
been ready to furnish animals for the garrison in so far as it was 
in our power and are still ready as far as we have resources. If 
it is permitted that our beasts of burden be killed, how can 
we cultivate our fields and furnish the needs of the garri- 
son and those of our famihes? If such abuses continue, 
which tend to the ruin of the colony, what will become of the 
colonists ?" 

The second subject of the memorial was against the sale of 
intoxicating liquors to the Indians. They said that the French had 
made an agreement not to sell any liquors to the Indians, as it had 
been the cause of disaster to the colony and they begged Todd 
to put an end to this trade.^ The third subject was in regard to 
trade with the slaves without premission of the masters. The 
black law was still in force and forbade such trade, which was 
nevertheless practiced and caused the slaves to be insolent and 
disorderly. 

On this last subject Clark had already issued an ordinance, and 
at this very time there was in process the trial, which had begun 
in the courts founded by Clark, of the slaves for poisoning.^ The 
case was proved against two and a sentence of execution pro- 
nounced against them, so that this kind of disorder from the slaves 
received a check. 

The subject of trade in liquor with the Indians was apparently 
regulated by the issuance of trade licenses; at least there are in 
existence two such licenses, one of which is in this volume and the 

> Refers to the agreement under the Rocheblave adniinistration. See supra, p. xxxii. 
' Sec post, pp. 4, 13. 



INTRODUCTION 

other may be found in John Todd's Record-Book} Since these 
measures did not prove effective, the court, on September 6th, 
issued a proclamation prohibiting the sale of liquors to the savages 
and the buying of any commodity from slaves without permission 
of their owners.^ 

The first subject was beyond the power of the civil government 
and was never fully righted, for this grievance concerning the 
killing of cattle belonging to the French appears in all subsequent 
petitions of the inhabitants of the villages, whether they addressed 
themselves to Virginia, to Congress, or elsewhere. The position 
was a difficult one, and the soldiers left to shift for themselves 
recurred again and again to this method of foraging. During 
the summer of 1779 some steps seem to have been taken to stop 
the abuse, for the officers complained several time of the lack of 
supplies, and the imminent need of military seizure, which they 
were forbidden to make. 

There was another vital question in the Illinois which demanded 
the attention of the county lieutenant. The land was fertile, and 
he had every reason to fear that there would be a rush of settlers 
to the county, which would now fall under the land laws of Vir- 
ginia that permitted the greatest license to settlers in preempt- 
ing land. The result in Kentucky had been land-speculation, 
law-suits, and general anarchy. This Todd hoped to prevent in 
the Illinois. The French settlers were always opposed to the 
indiscriminate giving away of unpatented land and, in the peti- 
tion of May 24th already mentioned, they called Todd's attention 
to some adventurers who were taking up large tracts of land near 
their village, and urged him to save at least the rich river bottom. 
They did not know that the Virginia assembly in May, at the 
time this question was under discussion in Illinois, had passed a 
law forbidding settlements north of the Ohio river.^ Todd was 
directly interested in the land question, as he had been appointed 
the surveyor of the county by the corporation of William and Mary 

* See post, p. 463; Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collection iv., 296. 
2 Kas. Rec, Court Record, p. 238. 
' Hening, Stattiies, x., 32. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

college.^ In the middle of June he "enjoined all persons what- 
soever from making any New Settlements upon the Flat lands, 
unless In manor and form of Settlem' as heretofore made by the 
French Inhabitants untill further Orders given hereon."^ That 
Todd had no intention of forbidding settlers in the prairies is 
evident from the proclamation, and after Todd's departure neither 
the incoming immigrants nor the officers of the troops paid any 
heed to the Virginia legislation. In fact many Americans found 
their way to the region and were welcomed by Clark, who believed 
that the settlement of families was the best way to hold a country. 
In 1779 Montgomery mentions the departure of several families 
from Kaskaskia to form a settlement up a creek about thirty 
miles.^ 

But it was not the single settler only who had to be watched. 
No sooner had the news of the conquest of the Illinois reached 
the East than the Illinois and the Wabash Land companies, 
which had been formed diuring the British period,* decided to 
pool their interests and begin immediately to make settlements. 
Only a few days after the Virginia assembly passed the act 
creating the county of Illinois, on December 26th, William Mur- 
ray on behalf of himself and the other proprietors presented a 
memorial in which he set forth the fact of the piu-chase of 
lands from the Indians and the purpose of making a settle- 
ment as soon as the state of affairs in the West would permit. ^ 
In order not to allow the claim to lapse through non-occupancy, 
the companies made, the next spring, preparations to form a settle- 
ment on the Wabash, and appointed on March 26th John Campbell 
as their western agent.' There was sent him a proclamation to 
be published in which the most liberal terms were offered to 
the first five hundred settlers in the town which it was proposed 

' Papers oj Old Cong., Ind. Papers, lvi., 97. 

* Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collection, iv., 301. 
» Dr. MSS., 49J74. 

* See supra, p. xix. 

* Va. Slate Papers, i., 314. 

" Can. Archives, B., 184, vol. i., pp. iiq and 123. Todd found difficulty in deciding what 
to do about their title. Mason, John Todd Papers, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 318. 



INTRODUCTION 

to establish. The enterprise was not pushed further at this 
time. 

The next subject to engage Todd's attention was the paper 
money. While on his way to Illinois, he had learned that the 
issues of continental paper money of the dates May 20, 1777, 
and April 11, 1778, were ordered to be paid into the continental 
loan offices by the first of June, 1779, or they would become 
worthless;' but he hoped to obtain a longer time for the money 
from the Illinois. Todd issued a proclamation on July 27th, 
which he repeated on August 2 2d, setting forth the necessity 
for depositing with him, the called-in emissions for which he 
would issue certificates. In all between fifteen and twenty 
thousand dollars were thus collected and deposited with the no- 
tary; but nothing further was done with it.' It was estimated 
that there remained in the hands of the inhabitants twenty thou- 
sand more notes of these issues, which were, of course, of no 
value whatsoever. Another loss to the French came from the 
large amount of forged money that was put in circulation. It 
was a common practice, and an easy one, to counterfeit the con- 
tinental and colonial paper and large amounts were carried to 
the Illinois. This, however, was refused by Todd and the more 
intelligent merchants. The result of all these operations was 
that confidence in the paper money was greatly weakened until 
the French refused to take it at all. 

It was to buoy up the sinking credit of this paper that Todd 
devised a scheme to call in a further amount, since he thought 
the prime cause of its depreciation was the quantity in circula- 
tion.^ On June nth he wrote to the Court of Kaskaskia the 

> Todd to Clark, March 26, 1779. Dr. MSS., 49J33- 

2 In I7Q0 Governor St. Clair found it stiU packed away in the notary's office. Amer. 
Slate Papers, Pub. Lands, i., 20. 

'The rapid depreciation of the continental money in the year 1779 may beseenby this 
schedule drawn up by I'odd and Clark. {Journal of Northwestern Commissioners,V3L. State 
Library) . 

From the ist May till Col. Montgomery's Arrival in June Kas. 

at Kaskaskia One Specied[?] Dollar was equal to s or 6 

From 10 June till ye 10 July during the time ye Reg. was at 

Kaskaskia & on the way to St. Vin. 10 

From the loth July till the Middle Augs. 10 

from IS Augs. till ist Oct. is 

from 1st Oct. till 15 Nov. to 30 



St. Vine. 
3i 


Koh 

4 


4? 
4 to 8 
8 to 12 

to IS 


S 

6 

8 

10 



xxii ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

following letter: "The only method that America has to sup- 
port the present just War is by her Credit. That Credit at pre- 
sent is her Bills emitted from the different Treasuries by which 
she engages to pay the Bearer at a certain time Gold & Silver 
in Exchange. There is no friend to American Independence 
who has any Judgment but soon expects to see it equal to Gold 
& Silver. Some disaffected persons & designing Speculators 
discredit it through Enmity or Interest; the ignorant multitude 
have not Sagacity enough to examine into this matter & merely 
from its uncommon Quantity & in proportion to it arises the 
Complaint of its want of Credit. 

"This has for some years been the Case near the Seat of War; 
the disorder has spread at last as far as the Illinois & calls loudly 
for a Remedy. In the interior Counties this Remedy is a heavy 
Tax, now operating, from which an indulgent government has 
exempted us. one only remedy remains which is lodged within 
my power that is by receiving on behalf of Government such 
sums as the people shall be induced to lend upon a sure fund & 
thereby decreasing the Quantity."^ The plan as he set it forth 
was to borrow 33,333^ dollars of Treasury notes, whether of 
Virginia or the United Colonies, on certificates for 21,000 acres 
of land near Cahokia. The lender was obliged to make a loan of 
at least $100, for which he or his heirs should be entitled to demand 
within two years a title to his allotment of land, or the sum origin- 
ally advanced in gold or silver with 5 per cent interest per annum, 
at the option of the state. 

This project met the approval of the governor and council 
but had to be brought before the assembly for confirmation.' 
Todd in the meanwhile appointed commissioners to receive the 
money and large sums were paid in and sealed up, for which 
certificates were issued. The matter stopped there, for nothing 
came of the project except the exchange of the paper for the 
certificates.^ 

1 Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 297. 

* Va. Stale Papers, i., 326. 

'Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Colleclions, iv., 298 el seq.; Dr.MSS., 
46JS0. 



INTRODUCTION 

Although Todd had been compelled by law to take up the 
recalled emissions and to refuse the counterfeits and this last 
scheme for bolstering up the credit of the paper currency was a 
common enough one in his time, the effect of all these transactions 
was to throw further discredit on the currency and make the 
purchase of provisions for the army almost impossible. For 
this he was held responsible and roundly denounced by the army 
officers, who had themselves been the most at fault in passing a 
depreciated currency at par value, a deceit which caused the 
French to lose all faith in their money and their word. The blame, 
however, had to be ]:)laced on some one and the head of the civil 
government was the victim. The animosity thus aroused re- 
mained long after Todd had left the IHinois and had met his death 
at the battle of Blue Licks. Sometime after 1790, WiUiam 
Shannon, who was in 1779 commissary in the IlHnois, wrote of 
these transactions: "it was owing to the false suggestions of Col. 
Todd, a gentleman who came to the Illinois in the month of May, 
1779, in character of chief magistrate, who I beUeve by his reports 
to government as well as by his transactions while in the Illinois 
country had done great injury to the inhabitants. Immediately 
after his arrival His policy was to put a total stop to paper credit 
which he did by putting the paper money he found in the hands 
of the different Individuals under cover and sealing it up (where 
a great part of it still remains) and giving the holders thereof a 
certificate specifying that he had Inclosed under his Private 
Seal paper bills of Credit to a certain amount and for which he 
promised them (as he said they had been imposed on) lands in 
proportion to the money they brought to him to secrete for them 
.... this proceeding put a total stop ever after to paper credit in 
that country.'" 

This was the explanation of Todd's actions in the military 
circles. Unjust it was and false ; but Todd found himself, as 
he tried to protect the French, more and more in opposition to 
the mihtary department. And yet he could not assume the leader- 
ship of the French party, because of his duty to the American 

• Ur. MSS., 46JS. o 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

cause and of the necessity of maintaining control of the territory at 
any cost. There was nothing left for him but to attempt media- 
tion, which was foreordained to failure. On September i8 
Richard McCarty, who was captain of the company stationed 
at Cahokia, wrote Todd: "I dont see yet through the designs 
of a few dispicable Inhabitants who say they are authorized by 
you, to parade themselves in the fields Distroying My property 
when there are Numbers of other hogs in the same place .... 
Indeed unless there is Soon a Change for the Better me nor my 
Soldiers will have no Business hear, Neither can we stay half 
Naked, what we are paid with Call'd down by the Civil power.'" 
The same writer was more open in expressing himself to Colo- 
nel Montgomery: "Colo. Todd's Residence here will spoil 
the people intirely for the inhabitants no more Regard us than a 
Parcel of Slaves." He also says it would be a good thing to get 
Todd out of the country, "for he will possitively Sett the Inhabi- 
tants and us by the Ears .... In some complaints by the 
Inhabitants the other day he wished that there wasn't a soldier 

in the country I have never Seen the people of this place 

So Mutinous as they are by the encouragement of Colo^ Todd, 
for they even begin to threaten to turn my men out of Doors 
and god knows what I shall do If they do for we are not Above 
20 Strong and them Sick that I could depend on So they may 
Starve us if they like."^ 

This outspoken opposition of the French made its first appear- 
ance at Cahokia, possibly because the people of the vllage were 
more independent and self-reliant, but probably because there 
never was a large garrison in the village and it was far from the 
seat of government, Kaskaskia. Then too the captain in com- 
mand was well known, having been a trader in Cahokia some 
years before the coming of the Virginians. His rapid promotion 
in the army had somewhat turned the head of this Irishman from 
Connecticut, and he was overbearing and arrogant in his 
relations with the people.' In a moment of anger he once told 

1 See post, p. 615. 

2 See post,\p. 616. 

' For biographical note on McCarty see post, p. 2, n. 3 



INTRODUCTION 

them that he wished he was commander in chief of their village 
and he would send some of the inhabitants in chains to Virginia.^ 
Todd had no very good opinion of McCarty and later told the 
governor that he had "rendered himself disagreeable by endea- 
voring to enforce Military law upon the Civil Department at 
Kahos."^ 

The military had causes for complaint, although these were 
not due to Todd. The soldiers were ill fed and badly clothed 
as the means of supplying their needs began to fail. In Septem- 
ber, Captain John Williams wrote, "provisions is very hard to be 
got without Peltry,"^ and in the same month Colonel Montgomery 
wrote to Clark : "I cant not tell what to do in Regard of Clothing 
for the Soldiers as the Goods you wrote to me is gon .... and 
I would Be Glad that if it is in yovu: power to Send a Relefe to 
me for the Soldiers if it is onley As Much as will Make them A 
little Jump Jacote [Jacket?] and a pear of overalls I think they 
Mite Scuffle threw. But in Regard of lining there are Bad of, 
But if I had Som Strouding I Could Exchang it for lining on the 
other Side as The [sic] have all Redy offered it to me."* Mc- 
Carty's tale of troubles at Cahokia was even worse; for the sol- 
diers were deserting daily because of the lack of clothing.* 

Thus the question of the support of the troops had become 
the vital issue between the civil government and the army. 
The French were unwilling to part with their goods without 
some assurance of payment, for they had learned from sad 
experience, and the deception in regard to the money was not 
the only one. Many of the bills drawn on Oliver Pollock at New 
Orleans or on the treasury of Virginia by the officers were coming 
back protested. Even when merchandise instead of money or 
drafts was promised, the French were disappointed. The 
experience of Gabriel Cerr^ is one that occurred not once but many 

1 See post, p. 543. 

* Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 335. 
3 Dr. MSS., 49h3- 

* Dr. MSS., 49J74. The punctuation and spelling are printed as they are in the original. 

* See post, p. 615 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

times. In a letter to Clark he explained that he had used his 
credit to purchase supplies for the troops on the promise of the 
commissary Shannon to repay him in merchandise, which was now 
refused him.^ No wonder the inhabitants felt they could do no 
more. They had furnished their goods and had even taken 
on themselves obligations in order to make the expedition of 
Clark a success. This they had done when Clark and his men 
first surprised Illinois in the summer of 1778. They had also 
fitted out the Vincennes expedition in the winter with supplies 
as well as with soldiers. In the summer of 1779, Clark had 
organized a campaign against Detroit which never took place, 
and again the French were ready with supplies and volunteers. 
They were now to be called on once more to sell their goods 
without hope of pay, and this brought on the crisis that proved 
to Todd the illusiveness of his mediation and the impossibility of 
the maintenance of a civil government. 

After the failure of the Detroit expedition the troops were 
assigned for the winter to the different villages, which they reached 
in August. Colonel Montgomery was placed in command of 
the Illinois ; Captain John Williams was stationed at Fort Clark 
in Kaskaskia, Captain Richard McCarty, at Fort Bowman in 
Cahokia, and Captain Shelby at Fort Patrick Henry in Vincennes. - 

Preparations were immediately made to collect supplies for 
the winter and the compaign of the following spring. Hunters 
were sent out to obtain meat, and the officers were instructed to 
purchase provisions from the inhabitants. To this end, Todd, on 
August II, issued a proclamation inviting the inhabitants to make 
contracts with the commissaries for flour. Knowing the attitude 
of the people he felt the necessity of adding: "If I shall be 
obliged to give the military permission to press, it will be a disad- 
vantage, and what ought more to influence Freemen it will be 
a dishonour to the people."^ Nine days later Colonel Mont- 
gomery tried the effect of his eloquence and proposed that one 
of the citizens should be appointed contractor to assess the inhabi- 

1 Dr. MSS., 40J59- 

^ Clark's general orders, Va. Stale Papers, {., 324; Letter of Montgomery, Ibid, iii., 441 

' Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 305. 



INTRODUCTION 

tants for the benefit of the service, and he adds: "The com- 
plaint of the worthlessness of the money will not last long, I hope, 
but in the meantime I am certain that all good compatriots will 
set about assisting the garrison, seeing that it is so many years 
that their fellow patriots have carried on the war and fought and 
received their pay in this same money. In order to remedy the 
difficulty in regard to the counterfeit money, letters of exchange 
will be given for all kinds of supplies."^ Two days later Todd 
prohibited the exportation of any provisions from the Illinois 
for sixty days. "The offender herein shall be subjected to im- 
prisonment for one month and more over forfeit the value of 
such exported Provision. This was not the first time that an 
embargo had been laid on exportation, for two months before 
the court of Kaskaskia had prohibited exports without the con- 
sent of the commandant.' 

The result of these measures was that the justices of the 
court of Kaskaskia assessed the inhabitants of the village accord- 
ing to their wealth, and by August 31 there had been delivered 
into the storehouse 54,600 pounds of flour and a promise of 
1600 pounds more had been made.^ This amount was cons'der- 
able, but not sufficient to support the large army that Clark ex- 
pected to put in the field the following summer. Other efforts 
were therefore made to induce the people to part with further 
supplies, and Montgomery's eloquence was again called into use. 
The effect of this second appeal is told in a report to Clark on 
October 2d. "Since I receved your letters I have Made a second 
Trial in Regard of laying up a Suf&cant Quantity of provision 
But it seems to no effect as the [sic] aGain Repete to me that 
themselves and Negroes is neaked and Without I can suply them 
with Goods or peltry it will be out of their poer to Supply Me in 
More then What the Already have promised Me which will not 
Be over half enuf to Supply An aremey. But Sir as you inform 
me that you have The disposing of the Goods that Colo Rogers 

* Kas. Rec, Letters. Translation by the editor. 

* Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 306; Kas. Rec 
Court Record, p. 232. 

5 Furnished by twenty-seven inhabitants, Dr. MSS., 46J17. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

tuck up to the Falls if you thot proper to Send a Quantity of them 
Back to Me for that purpose or a Quantity of dear Skins with 
what peltrey I have Got from Colo Todd I think it then Would 
Be in My power to furnish a Quantity Sufhcant for the Supply 
of a thousand Men Six Months, if you dont think proper to 
send them Send Me perticuler orders in Regard of teaking it by 
force and yoiur orders shall be puntley obed. Sir if you Sh think 
of Sending them, the sooner the Better as I have Eshued a pro- 
clamation prohabiten them to transport aney provision of aney 
Space what Ever till Such times I have answer from you not 
letting them know that There is aney Expectation of anything of 
that kind."i 

Todd had meanwhile been making efforts to supply the 
deficiency with some success. In the latter parf of September 
he was in Cahokia and purchased a large amount of peltry from 
M. Beauregard of St. Louis, for which he paid as high as three 
livres per pound, a price which was regarded as excessive.^ A 
draft on the treasury of Virginia was given for this. It was 
this peltry that Montgomery had been counting on to pay some 
of the debts to the French at the Illinois. Todd preferred, how- 
ever, to reserve it for future emergencies and declared that the 
troops must be maintained by the credit of the state. Todd's 
persistence in this policy caused his administration to end in 
failure, since, in maintaining it, he found he could no longer 
protect the people from military levies. Since Montgomery 
had failed in every attempt to wrest more from the people, he 
turned the business over to Todd who said: "that he Would 
Call a counsel of the inhabitants and Compel them to furnish. 
But when the Met the punkley denied him, he then told Them 
if the did not Comply he would Give them up to the Militery and 
Quit Them, the answered him the were well aGread to that 
& So parted."^ 

» Dr. MSS., 49J76. 

^ Jour, of Northwestern Com., Va. State Lib.; Mason, John Todd Papers, Chi. Hist 
Soc.'s Collections, iv., 348, 358. 

* Montgomery to Clark, October 5, 1779, Dr. MSS., 49J78. 



INTRODUCTION 

The disappointment of Montgomery at this outcome appears 
very genuine, and he was not sure what to do next. He asks 
Clark: "with what Face Can I pretend to Seas on those people 
provisio When the know that we have Got the peltrey and will 
not Give it to Them and our Money is of no acount to Them 
and our Bills Comes Back protested. The have Create Reason 
to think that We onley intend to Baffle them but Sir you May 
depend that I will do Every Thing in My power and am detrmed 
[sic] to have the provision as I have demanded Every Bushel of 
Every Space the have to Spare. "^ 

Todd left Illinois in November,^ shortly after his failure, and 
returned to Kentucky, leaving as his deputy, Richard Winston. 
He had become discouraged and had begged to be permitted to 
resign as early as August 13, 1779, giving as his reasons the 
unwholesome air, the distance from his connections, his unfamii- 
iarity with the language, the difficulty of procuring many of the con- 
veniences of life, and the impossibility of accompHshing his pur- 
poses with the means at hand.^ He had not been agreeably 
impressed with the Illinois, where he had suffered a severe sick- 
ness and been obliged to put up with much that was disagreeable. 
He voiced the sentiments of many Americans of his time when he 
wrote, "I prefer Kentucky much to this Country either for the 
ambitious man, the retired farmer, or the young merchant."* 

In leaving he did not resign his position of county lieutenant, but 
retained it at least through the next year.^ It has been an open 
question whether Todd ever retiu-ned to Illinois after 1779; but 
a letter written from Vincennes on March 10, 1780, in which he 

1 Dr. MSS., 49J78- 

2 On November 15, Todd was in Kaskaskia evidently expecting to start for the Falls. 
(Va. State Papers, i., 358). On December 19, he wrote from the Falls to Charles Gratiot. 
(See post, p. 617). 

' Mason, John Todd Papers, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 319; Dr. MSS., 23 J 103. 

*Todd to Fleming, August 18, 1779, Dr. MSS., 23J103. 

* This is an unsettled question. His successors in the Illinois continued to be called 
deputy county Ueutenants. Wickliffe in ]Morehead, Settlement of Kentucky, 174, impHes that 
he did not resign but returned to the county several times. On April 15, 1781, Todd wrote 
to Jefferson that he still received complaints from Illinois. (Va. State Papers, ii., 44). On the 
other hand he refused to give orders in regard to a consignment of goods to him as county 
lieutenant on Nov. 30, 17S0. {Ibid, i., 393). 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

expressed the intention of going to Kaskaskia the next day leaves 
no doubt that he was at the former place and makes it probable 
that he was in the latter. ^ Whether he went or not, he left no 
evidences of his stay, for affairs by that time had passed far be- 
yond his control. Later he thought of returning, for, in 1781, 
learning that Virginia was planning to give up Illinois to the 
United States, he offered his services as surveyor in that country, 
a position he had previously held.^ After his departure the civil 
officers and the French still kept up a correspondence with him, 
and his interest in the affairs of the distant county ceased only 
with his death. 

As we have seen, one of the last acts of Todd was to deliver 
the inhabitants into the hands of the military, since the civil govern- 
ment had failed in its principal mission, the maintenance of the 
troops. Thereafter the army was to collect its own supplies. 
The method employed by Colonel Montgomery during the subse- 
quent weeks is clearly shown by the following petition which was 
signed by a large number of the inhabitants of Kaskaskia on 
December 8, 1779: "To the Magistrates of the district of Kas- 
kaskia, Gentlemen: We ask of you in whom we put our confi- 
dence and whom we have elected to govern this country according 
to the laws which you have caused to be announced to us in 3-our 
office, is it not fuU time that you put an end to the brigandage 
and tyranny which the military have exercised among us so 
long? Should not the military be content to see that we are 
depriving ourselves of every necessity in order to furnish their 
subsistence and have not left ourselves sufficient for the sup- 
port of our families and of our slaves, from whom we can not ob- 
tain any service in a season so severe? Can we with tranquil 
eyes see the animals, most necessary for agriculture and other 
work, killed every day? 

"You have a sure means, gentlemen, of putting an end to 
such disorders; but can we even address you in the hope of 
causing you to see some glimmer of that liberty which has been 

1 Dr. MSS., S0J80. 

' Papers oj Old Cong. Ind. Papers, Ivi., 97. 



INTRODUCTION 

so often announced, when you are acting in concert with those 
who oppress us by taking from us the means of Hving and from 
themselves also ? We do not believe that it is necessary to report 
to you in this petition the subject of our complaints, since all the 
grievances have taken place before your eyes. 

"Furthermore you ought to perceive, gentlemen, that the 
famine has begun to be felt in this country and that we can with 
difficulty supply with food those who truly merit rations on 
account of their service and should not be obliged to nourish 
and warm the useless members of the state. You ought to 
demand an exact statement of the number to receive rations in 
order that, when the troops shall have need of asking you there- 
for, you can deliver what is right. 

"Furthermore, notice, gentlemen, that there are in this village 
only about ten houses which can make remittances and that they 
are believed to be richer than they really are. We are born free 
and we wish to enjoy the liberty of true citizens. 

"You ought also to observe, gentlemen, that this village has 
supported all the burden and expense since the arrival of the 
Americans and that the other villages have felt no burden or a 
very little. We hope that you will make them contribute to the 
maintenance of the troops, since they are better able than we are 
according to their number."^ 

The magistrates took action the next day and embodied the 
substance of the foregoing complaint to them in a demand on 
Colonel Montgomery to put an end to the grievances. They 
pointed out that many useless slaves were being supported in 
the fort, and that there was a great waste of firewood. Their 
authority to make this demand was set forth in the following 
words: "Since our duty exacts that we watch over the public 
safety and at the same time over the American welfare, we demand, 
sir, that from now on the troops shall not have the authority to 
take anything at the houses of the inhabitants without an order 
from us according to article 13 of the declaration of rights by the 
assembly of Virginia ; which assembly has authorized us to main- 

\Mcnard Col., Tard. Papers, a copy by the Kaskaskia clerk. Translation by the editor 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

tain the people of this country in all their rights and liberties. 
It is there set forth that the military ought to be under the most 
complete subordination to, and be governed by, the civil power, 
to which declaration up till to-day the military has given no 
attention. 

"We hope, sir, that you will give attention to our just repre- 
sentation without forcing us to the disagreeable duty of being 
obliged to appeal to his Excellency, the Governor, and to the 
Honorable Assembly of Virginia."^ 

Montgomery paid no heed to this memorial or to the threat of 
appeal to the governor of Virginia. He regarded their demand 
for a statement of the number of those who were supported in the 
fort as an insult and an impertinence, and ordered his troops to 
go from house to house to collect whatever they required, and to 
shoot the animals on the commons. There were at the time 
only thirty-eight soldiers in the fort, but with these there were 
many Americans who had come with their families to settle, and 
also slaves, all of whom the inhabitants were compelled to sup- 
port.^ The winter was a very hard one, the most severe that 
had been known for years, and the suffering of the people was 
very great. ^ In spite of this Montgomery proceeded to harsher 
methods. There is in existence a letter written by him to Deputy 
County Lieutenant Winston, on March 5th, which shows to what 
lengths he was ready to go in order to obtain the supplies which 
he needed. After making the usual demands, he says: "and 
before that I suffer as much more, I beg you would inform them 
to put their Guns in good order, as I dont want to take them at 
any disadvantage. As if they dont furnish I shall look on them 
as Traitors to the cause of america, and Treat them Accord- 
ingly."" 

Montgomery took the hint in regard to the other villages, 
however, and went to Cahokia in January, 1780, where he de- 

* Menard Col., Tard. Papers, copy by Kaskaskia clerk. Translated by the editor. 

'^Memorial of people oj Kaskaskia, to governor of Virginia, May 4, 1781, Menard Col., 
Tard. Papers, original MS. with signatures. 

3 Can. Archives, B., 100, p. 370; Va. Slate Papers, i., 338. 

* Menard Col., Tard. Papers. Copy.'eWdently in Winston's handwriting, and certified 
by the clerk and Winston. 



INTRODUCTION 

manded supplies on the ground that the other villages had given 
in proportion to their wealth. The court of Cahokia agreed that 
a- census of the population should be taken and each person com- 
pelled to furnish supplies according to his means. The Caho- 
kians did not have so much cause for complaint as the people 
of Kaskaskia, for during this winter there were no troops quar- 
tered in their village. They preferred no doubt to pay the tax 
rather than to bring upon themselves a return of the evils they 
had suffered during the preceding fall, when they had been com- 
pelled to receive the troops into their homes, to furnish all supplies, 
and finally to submit to the seizure of the flour in their mills, which 
were then sealed with the seal of Virginia. Such acts had alienated 
the Cahokians, who had been excited to deeds of heroism and 
self denial under the leadership of Joseph Bowman in the winter 
of 1778-1779.1 

When the change of government had failed to satisfy the French 
and the presence of the soldiers had led to disorder and t}Tanny, 
there began a steady stream of emigration to the Spanish bank, 
which ended in almost depopulating some of the villages of the 
American Bottom. Among the emigrants were the most impor- 
tant and progressive of the French inhabitants. One of the 
first to leave was the richest and foremost citizen of Kaskaskia, 
Gabriel Cerre, who emigrated to St. Louis either in the fall of 
1779 or the following winter. Charles Gratiot of Cahokia soon 
followed his example, and many others went with them "to seek 
an asylum where they find the protection which is due a free 
people."^ Without their leaders the French were less able to 
hold their own than before. They, however, made their appeal 
to Virginia, and numerous were the petitions of individuals for 
the payment of what was owing them. About this time an agent, 
one Lajeunesse, was appointed to represent the French interests 
at the capital; but nothing was accomplished, for Virginia had 
no money to use for investigation or to pay claims, however just. 



• See post, pp. 35, 547, 610. 

2 Menard Col., Tard Papers, Memorial of Kaskaskians, to Va. Commissioners, March 
I, 1783. Original MS. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

against her.^ In fact it was at this time, as we have seen, that 
Jefferson wrote to Clark that it would be necessary to with- 
draw as many of the troops as possible from the territory north of 
the Ohio, for he need expect no help or supplies from the state.' 

The people of Illinois did not receive, at this gloomy moment, 
that assistance from their own officers against their oppressors 
that they had a right to expect. Instead the justices of Kaskaskia 
seem to have tried to gain what personal advantage they could 
from the situation. In the midst of the troubles and poverty of 
the winter, when the people were attempting to withstand the exac- 
tions of Montgomery, the justices of the court were demanding 
pay for their services.' The magistrates found their office, more- 
over, sufficiently lucrative to wish to retain it; for, when the 
time came for a new election, none was held, and, with a few 
changes to fill vacancies, the justices remained the same for over 
two years. This irregularity is striking when compared with 
the annual elections for the court at Cahokia. But Kaskaskia 
was not alone in troubles of this character; the original justices 
at Vincennes clung to ofl&ce until lySy.'* 

The court was also accused by Jean Girault, state's attorney, 
with being lax in the performance of its duty. Many settlers 
were straggling into the colony and taking up land both within 
the village by purchase and by grants from the coiirt of unpatented 
lands, a custom which had been permitted by Todd and continued 
by his successors. The situation was such that the government 
in the Illinois could not give heed to the general law of Virginia 
forbidding this practice; for the immigrants were there, fre- 
quently with their families, and had come without making pro- 
vision for the future, should they fail to receive land to cultivate.* 
Clark himself had frequently approved of protecting the infant 
colonies by this means, and the officers of Virginia were among 
the first to accept grants from the court. One of the earliest 

> Dr. MSS., soJs4- 

' Dr. MSS., 29J14; see also supra Ixvii. 

8 Dr. MSS., 5oJs. Original MS. 

* Dunn, Indiana, passim. 

* Dodge to governor of Va., August i, 1780, Va. Slate Papers, i., 368. 



INTRODUCTION 

records of a land concession of this character is that of one made 
to Colonel Montgomery. The Indian agent, John Dodge, re- 
ceived in the year 1780 several such patents. 1 Very few of the 
French seized the opportunity to obtain such concessions at Kas- 
kaskia and the number was even less at Cahokia, provided no 
account is taken of Prairie du Pont to which Cahokia had another 
title. It was not against this practice of conceding land that 
Girault inveighed; but he critised the court's laxity in not invest- 
igating the past of these individuals, who were making their homes 
in the community, to learn if they were British agents, and its 
neglect to demand of them the oath of allegiance to the United 
States and Virginia. He urged the justices to compel all strangers 
to take this oath immediately or he would be obliged to report 
them to the authorities. He advised them to avoid such a neces- 
sity, for their position was very critical, since they had many 
enemies.^ 

Girault gave his attention to the execution of the law in other 
particulars. He forbade the justices to arrest parties without 
proper hearing, and tried to help them keep the peace by persuad- 
ing Montgomery to permit the civil authorities to use the military 
prison so that their commands would be obeyed, a privilege which 
Montgomery later withdrew.' 

That protection from military oppression, which might have 
been expected, was not given by the deputy county lieutenant 
appointed by Todd. Perhaps it was too much to expect that 
Winston should succeed where Todd had failed, but at least 
some opposition to the military exactions should have been 
attempted. The character of Richard Winston is a difficult one 
to read, for our knowledge of him depends on the pen pictures 
drawn by his enemies, and these are not flattering. He came 
originally from Virginia and had been in Illinois since early in 
the British period.* With other traders he had suffered losses 

1 Kas. Rec, Land Grants. 

2 Kas. Rec, Letters. Original MS. 

^ Kas. Rec, Letters. Original MSS.; Winston to Todd, October 24, 1780, Va. Stale 
Papers, i., 381. 

*He was one of the original members of the Indiana Co., Va. State Papers, vi., 4. See 
Jenning's Journal, March 10, 1766, Pennsylvania Hist. Soc's lib. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

in the Pontiac war. With Kennedy he was an agent for George 
Morgan, and had won the favor of Clark at the time of the occu- 
pation of Kaskaskia. His nature seems to have been one to 
inspire distrust rather than confidence, for he was suspected 
of dishonesty by every man with whom he had business or politi- 
cal relations. His partner Kennedy suspected him of having 
sold the cargo of a hatteau at New Orleans and pocketed the 
proceeds.^ Murray feared that he was going to play the rogue at 
one time.' Todd left the peltry fund which he had obtained in 
St. Louis in charge of Winston and Montgomery, and both these 
financial geniuses made the gravest accusations of dishonesty 
against each other.^ 

From the fall of 1779 till January 1783, Winston was on ac- 
count of his position one of the chief men in the Illinois, and in 
many ways he might have promoted a happier feeling between the 
French and the Americans. Instead he seems to have done all 
in his power to 'ntensify the mutual distrust, at least such was 
the opinion of the best citizens.^ He had managed to hold 
together that party which had formerly regarded himself, Murray, 
and Bentley, as leaders against Rocheblave ; and under him this 
party had gained some accessions.^ Certainly later the clerk of 
the court, Carbonneaux, became one of his adherents, as did the 
important Langlois family and also Winston's successor in the 
county lieutenancy, Timothe de Monbreun. But the real leaders 
of the French inhabitants were decidedly hostile to him, and he 
counted among his opponents some of those who had ardently 
desired American supremacy and had joyfully welcomed Clark. 
From the sources of information we can judge that Winston's 
affiliations were always shifting, and it is difficult to find just where 
he stood at any one time. That he was jealous of the power 
wielded by the mihtary is unquestionable, but it seems to have 

' Kas. Rec, Court Record. 

2 Murray to Bentley, May 25, 1777, Mich. Pio. ani Hist. Col., xix., 418. The date is 
wrongly given as 1779. 

•Mason John Todd Papers, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 335, 339; Dr. MSS., S0J9, 

* Memorial oj Principal Inhabitants to \'a. Commissioners, Menard Col., Tard Papers. 
Original MS.; Dodge to Clark, March 3, 1783, Dr. MSS., s^JyS. 
*See supra, p. xxxvi. 



INTRODUCTION 

been his policy never to take a decided stand, unless he was 
compelled to do so or saw that some personal advantage would 
accrue thereby. His relation to Montgomery was hostile, for the 
two men distrusted each other; but outrageously as they abused 
each other, the French were always firmly persuaded that Winston 
was betraying them to the military. 

The military situation in the spring of the year was a gloomy 
one ; the time of service of most of the troops had exp red, and 
there was little chance of recruiting more; there was no hope of 
financial aid from Virginia, and the supplies in the villages of Illi- 
nois were exhausted. It was also known that preparations were 
being made by the British for a concerted attack on the western 
posts. Under these circumstances there seemed nothing for Clark 
to do but evacuate the country, leaving a few troops to keep up 
the courage of the French. He consulted with Todd, after a rapid 
survey of the posts had been made by the latter,^ and they decided 
to concentrate the few troops at their disposal at a fort to be built 
at the mouth of the Ohio. The spot that was finally chosen, and 
where Fort Jefferson was erected, was a place called the Iron 
Mines south of the river's mouth. ^ All the troops at Vincennes 
were recalled and commissions were sent to the French to raise 
a company and take possession of Fort Patrick Henry.' Orders 
were also given to Montgomery to retire most of his troops from 
the villages. But before the preparations for the evacuation of 
the country could be carried out, news came that the British were 
already approaching. This expedition was part of a general 
attack, planned by the British on all the Spanish posts of the 
Mississippi River in order to prevent any assistance's being given 
to the Americans by Spain, which had declared war on England 
the previous year. The British troops from the north and south 
were to move simultaneously in the spring of 1780, and it was 
hoped that all the villages from New Orleans to St. Louis would 
be captured. The energy of Governor Galvez of New Orleans 

1 Todd to Clark from Vincennes, March lo, Dr. MSS., 60J80. 

2 The letters of Clark and Todd are in Va. Stale Papers i., 338 and 358. 
' Va. Slate Papers, i., 358. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

in successfully attacking the British posts on the Gulf during the 
fall of 1779 and the spring of the next year frustrated the southern 
plan; but the expedition of the north against St. Louis and 
the villages held by Clark was made ready, and in the spring of 
1780 was under way.^ The British had hoped that their move- 
ments were unknown, but during the winter the Cahokians had 
noticed the activity of the British agents among the Indians, and 
by the beginning of April they had been warned of the approach- 
ing enemy. On the eleventh of that month they sent Charles 
Gratiot to Clark, who was at the time building Fort Jefferson, to 
ask his assistance. At the same time the Spanish commandant 
and Montgomery wrote him news of the approaching danger.^ 
Montgomery hastened to Cahokia, where he was immediately 
joined by Clark just in time to repel the attack. The Spaniards 
were equally successful at St. Louis. Clark would have given 
them assistance, had not the strong winds prevented the signals 
from being heard.' 

Throughout the summer of 1780 the people were continually 
alarmed by accounts of Indian attacks and rumors of others. 
Fort Jefferson underwent a severe siege ;* the people of Kaskaskia 
repulsed a large band of Indians on the 17th of July;* and the 
inhabitants of Cahokia made common cause with the Spaniards 
to defend themselves against an expected attack the following 
month." Thus at a time when Clark's position was desperate the 
French inhabitants gave him signal aid, without which the 
Illinois would have been lost. It was with a company of 300 
French, Spaniards, and Americans that Montgomery marched 
northward to make reprisals against the Indians around Rock 
River, and, if we are to believe the Frenchmen, the failure of that 

1 Mich. Pio. and Hist. Col., ix., 544; Can. Archives, B., 43, p. 153; this vol., p. 531, 539 
Gayarr^ Hist, of Louisiana, iii., 126 et seq,; Hart. Amer. Nation, ix., 285. 

^ Mason, John Todd Papers, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 354; post, p. 531. 

3 The most important documents of the Hald. Col. in regard to this attack have been 
printed in Mo. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, ii.. No. 6. 

* See post, p. 619. 

• Va. State Papers, i., 368; Can. Archives, B., 100, p. 430. 
' See post, p. 59, 61. 



INTRODUCTION 

expedition was due to Montgomery's incompetence.^ Meanwhile 
Clark led the expedition against the Shawnees, an expedition 
which might have been more successful had not a series of events, 
beginning at Vincennes, led to a further estrangement between 
the French and Americans and induced the French at Vincennes 
to give the Indians information of the movements of the Ameri- 
cans.^ 

These events are connected with the western career of a French 
officer, Augustin Mottin de la Balme. His presence in the Illinois 
may, probably, be attributed to a project conceived by Washing- 
ton and approved by Lafayette and the French minister, Luzerne, 
for arousing the Canadians to unite their interests with those of 
the Americans and French in an effort to win independence. In 
this way Washington hoped to conceal his real intentions of attack- 
ing New York as soon as the expected French fleet and soldiers 
arrived, and at the same time compel the withdrawal of part of 
the British forces to Canada.^ 

1 See post, p. 541. 

^Bentley to Clark, July 30, 1780, Dr. MSS., sojsi; also post, 617. 

3 This hypothesis is based on the identity of time and action of the De la Balme expedi- 
tion with the time and purpose of Washington's plan. There is no other indication of a, 
connection between them. Washington wrote to Lafayette on May 19, 1780, about a pro- 
clamation which it had been decided some time before that Lafayette should write to incite 
the Canadians to rise against the British; and on June 4th he wrote to Arnold telling him 
to have the proclamation printed, which was done. (Sparks, Washington, vii., 44 and 72.) 

On March 5th of the same year De la Balme wrote to Washington for a general letter of 
introduction, as he was intending to travel in a short time to the "Southern States of America" 
where he might be confounded with the many adventurers. (Washington Papers, Lib. of 
Cong.) By April 24th he had changed his mind and it was known that he was thinking of 
going to the Illinois, for a Mr. Barriere writes him on that date a letter in which he mentions 
that purpose. {Can. Archives, B., 184, vol. 2, p. 417.) On June 27th De la Balme was at Fort 
Pitt treating with the Indians; in this he was associated with Godfrey Linrtot, a Virginian 
Indian agent. His success was reported to Luzerne, French minister to Congress. (Can. 
Archives, B., 181, p. 371. There is a good calendar of this report in Can. Archives for 1888 
p. 865.) His acts at Fort Pitt and later in the Illinois, as narrated in the text, show that he 
was working in the interests of the alUance between the United States and France. That he 
was not sent to the West solely in the interests of the latter country, as has been suspected, 
(Turner, Amer. Hist. Rev. vol. x., No. 2, p. 255, note 2.) is further proved by the fact that 
the French despatches of the time show that the French government expected that the terri- 
tory north of the Ohio River would be conceded to the states by a future treaty. (See Views 
of the Government of the King, and Vergennes to Luzerne September 25, 1779. Doniol, 
Histoire de la Participation de la France, iv., 224 and 360.) The opposition which De la Balme 
showed to the Virginians is explained by the conditions he found in Illinois as narrated in 
the text. He was in no way responsible for the interpretation of his actions by Bentley, 
Winston, and McCarty, who reported that he was hostile to the Americans (See Dr. MSS., 
SoJsi; Va.. State Papers, {., 381; this vol., p. 617); nor altogether for the misconceptions of the 
French. (This vol., p. 551; Can. Archives, B., 184 vol. 2, pp.421, 442.) The only fact that is at 
all suspicious is the manifesto to the Canadians, found among De la Balme's papers, in which 
there is no mention of the United States. {Can. Archives, B., 184, vol. 2, p. 498.); but this 
may have been due to the feeUng of antagonism among the French against the Virginians. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

De la Balme had come to America, highly recommended by 
Franklin and Silas Deane, to offer his sword to the cause of the 
colonies.^ He was commissioned inspector general of cavalry by 
Congress in July, 1777, but feeling himself slighted in not being 
appointed to the command of that division of the army, he had 
resigned on October 3d of the same year. He remained in this 
country, however, and estabUshed himself in business at Philadel- 
phia.^ Late in the spring of the year 1780, he was sent West to 
start a movement among the French of Illinois which it was 
hoped would spread over Canada. 

On the 27th of June he was at Fort Pitt, where he joined God- 
frey Linctot in his efforts to win the Indians to the cause of the 
allies, France, Spain, and the United States; but he found the 
conditions there less favorable for his mission than he had ex- 
pected, on account of the hostility of the Indians to the Ameri- 
cans.^ On reaching Vincennes in July he realized that the 
presence of the Virginians, who had made themselves so obnoxious 
to the French, was a hindrance to his plan, for no campaign in 
which the Virginians were to join could be promoted. 

On the other hand the part of De la Balme's program in regard 
to assistance from France was most eagerly received, and the 
emotional French were soon saying that their beloved father, the 
king of France, was to take control of the West again. It was this 
message that they gave to the Indians, who still retained their old 
affection for their allies. In Kaskaskia the message was received 
in the same way. De la Balme came with a letter of recommenda- 
tion from Alexander Fowler, a former British officer of the village 

On the other hand there was in the manifesto no intimation that France was intending to 
recover her dominion over Canada. 

On account of the betrayal by Arnold, or for some other reason, Washington changed his 
plans and gave no further attention to arousing the Canadians. (Sparks, Washington, vii., 
44, note.) , _ , 

Previous to the arrival of De la Balme, on May lo, 1780, another French agent, Jean de 
St. Germain, was at Kaskaskia. He claimed to have come directly from France and to be 
acquainted with the desires of the king. He united with John Montgomery and Richard 
Winston in a proclamation to the Indians, in which they were assured of the friendship 
existing between the I-'rench, Spanish, and Americans. (Can. Archives, B., 122, p. 478). 
Rocheblave writes that St. Germain landed at Charlestown the prenous winter and went to the 
West {Ibid, B., 122, p. 545.) I have found nothing to connect him with De la Blame. 

• Can. Archives, B., 184, vol. 2, pp. 390 and 381. 

^Ibii, pp. 390, 391, 392, 394; Papers of Old Cong., xl., pp. 144, x68. 

*Can. Archives, B., 181, p. 271. 



INTRODUCTION 

who had joined the American cause. ^ The best citizens of French 
origin in this village and in Cahokia welcomed him with open 
arms, or as Winston said, "just as the Hebrews would receive the 
Masiah."2 He had very little to say to Montgomery and his 
soldiers, for his mission was not to them, and in the existing cir- 
cumstances he could not risk alienating the French by assuming 
a friendship for the Virginians; nor did Montgomery take any 
notice of his presence. The Spanish commandant of St. Louis 
seemed also far from cordial.^ De la Balme's proposed plan was 
the raising of a company in the Illinois to occupy Detroit, which 
was known to be ready to yield, and then to proceed to Canada, 
where he expected to be joined by thousands of the inhabitants. 

Considering the object of his mission and the conditions 
existing in the French villages, his address to the inhabitants 
proves his ability for extricating himself from a difficult position. 
"It is well," said he, "that you know that the troops of the state 
of Virginia have come here against the wish of the other states of 
America, as I learned from members of Congress before my 
departure from Philadelphia, and that the different deputies who 
compose that body are ignorant of the revolting proceedings and 
acts of violence, which the troops are practicing towards you and 
which are not only blameable but condemnable at the tribunal of 
the whole world. . . . Therefore it is very important for you, 
gentlemen, on account of the pressing circumstances, that with- 
out loss of time you address yoiurselves to the minister of France 
in order to force the state of Virginia to redeem the paper money, 
the letters of exchange, and other claims, which you have in your 
hands, and to recall from among you the troops which are op- 
pressing you contrary to all right, since you espouse the cause of 
the king of France and his allies; troops which, far from pre- 
serving you from the fury of the cruel enemies, render you victims 
of a war, which the Indians, who have been constantly friends of 
the French, would never have made without them." He then 

1 Menard Col., Tard. Papers. Copy by the clerk. 

2 Mason, John Todd Papers, 340. 

2 Bentley to Clark, July 30, 1780, Dr. MSS., soJsi; McCarty's Journal, posl, p. 620; 
Dr. MSS., S0J66; Can. Archives, B., 184, vol. 2, p. 468 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

tirges them to join the expedition against Detroit, "which will 
win the confidence of the honorable Congress and convince the 
king of France of the real interest which you take in a cause for 
which he has already made great sacrifices and which will procure 
for you in a little while all imaginable assistance from him."' 
That De la Balme deceived the French by promising them the 
assistance and co-operation of the king of France, and that his 
words led them to believe that the royal troops would soon be seen 
again on the banks of the Mississippi cannot be denied; but if he 
came in accordance with the plan of Washington and Lafayette, 
he was following his orders as far as it was possible under the very 
perplexing conditions which he found in the Illinois. 

Although the French received him enthusiastically, their 
power of aiding the expedition was not great and it was only with 
a handful of men, about eighty French inhabitants and Indians,' 
that De la Balme started for Detroit. The standard which waved 
over this little company was that of France.' He successfully 
attacked the post at the Miami, but was in turn defeated and killed 
by the Indians.* At the time of his departure for Detroit he had 
sent a detachment from Cahokia under Hamehn against St. Joseph, 
which succeeded in sacking that place but was overtaken by a 
body of merchants and Indians and defeated.' Thus ended the 
attempt at arousing the Canadians. Before the arrival of De 
la Balme in the West, the policy of Washington and Luzerne had 
changed and they left their agent to effect what he could alone. 

The death of De la Balme did not bring this interesting episode 
in the history of the Illinois to an end. The villagers of Cahokia 
had suffered a severe loss at St. Joseph, for all the members of 
their expedition were either killed or captured except three. The 
Cahokians, wishing for revenge, hurriedly raised a troop of twenty 
men and asked aid of the Spanish government, which throughout 

> Can. Archives, B., 184, vol. 2, p. 434. Translation by the editor. 

^LeGras to Clark, December i, 1780, Dr. MSS., soj75- 

* Papers 0; Old Cong., xlviii., i; Menard Col., Tard. Papers, Memorial oj Kaskaskians, 
to Governor of Virginia. 

*Can. Archives, B., 100, p. 486; Va. State Papers, i., 465. 

i Mich. Pio. and Hist. Col., xix., 591; Va. Stale Papers, i., 432. 



INTRODUCTION 

the year had made common cause with them in repelhng and at- 
tacking the enemy, and which now sent thirty men to their assist- 
ance. With the addition of two hundred Indians^ they marched 
in midwinter, within a month of their previous defeat, across 
Illinois, and in the first days of 1781 took and sacked St. Joseph, 
returning home immediately.' 

The failure of De la Balme is not of much importance in our 
narrative, but the effect of his presence on the people of the 
Illinois was tremendous. His appeal to them as Frenchmen, 
their awakened pride in the name, the expectation of French inter- 
vention in their behalf, were all factors in the events which fol- 
lowed. From this time there is no mistaking their animosity 
towards the Virginians. Their eyes had been opened by the harsh 
treatment of the frontiersmen, but they had submissively accepted 
their fate without daring to do more than petition their oppressors. 
On account of the false hope aroused by De la Bahne they now 
dared to adopt open measures, for was not their former king 

1 McCarty to Slaughter, January 17, 1781, Va. Slate Papers, i., 465. 

' Mich. Pio. and Hist. Col., xix., 600. When the expedition returned the Spanish com- 
mandant at St. Louis sent a greatly exaggerated account of the campaign to the home govern- 
ment. In this he said that sixty-five miUtia men from St. Louis had marched, under the 
greatest difl&culdes, across the country and taken possession of an important British post 
and all the country north of the Illinois River in the name of the king. (The account was 
printed in the Madrid Gazette of March 12, 1782, and may be found in Sparks, Diplomatic 
Correspondence, iv., 42s) This immediately aroused anxiety in the minds of the American 
tninisters in Europe. (5ee ref. to Diplom. Cor. above and Works of Franklin, Bigelow, ed., 
vii., 444.) That Spain desired to win the east bank of the Mississippi is unquestioned (See 
Doniol, Hist, de la Paticipaiion de la France, iii., 393 et seq.), and that she intended to make 
the utmost of this imimportant success at a minor British post is plain, but the motive for the 
expedition came from Cahokia and in assisting his neighbors in expeditions on the eastern 
bank, as in this case, the Spanish commandant was doing no more than he had done at least 
twice before within the past year. In taking possession of the territory north of the Illinois 
River, he was not encroaching upon the region occupied by the Virginians any more than did 
Galvez when he captured ^lobile and Pensacola, for the limits of the county of Illinois 
extended only to the Illinois River. 

The best account, because unbiased and given in an incidental way, is that of McCarty, 
who in writing the news of Cahokia, where he was, states the farts as I have given them above. 
Historians have, however, followed exclusively the Spanish account and have made more 
of the episode than it was worth, for its only importance was the use Spain may have made 
of it in her diplomacy, provided there is any basis for that suspicion. The most extended 
account based on the Spanish report will be found in Mason, Chapters jrom Illinois History, 
vi.) 743; see also Winsor, Westward Movement, 189; Hart, Amer. Nation, \x., 286. 

It is worth noticing that the story of the defeat of the Cahokians at the time of the De la 
Balme expedition and the subsequent victory with the assistance of the Spaniards was heard 
by John Reynolds from the village people, but the date of the two had been transferred to 
an earlier time, namely 1777 and 1778. The honor of the \'ictory of the second attack, which, 
also, according to tradition was for revenge, was popularly ascribed to J. Bte. Mailhet of Peo- 
ria (Reynolds wrongly says Paulette) who must have been at Cahokia at the time, since the 
Peorians had been driven out of their village by the numerous British and Indian attacks 
in the previous summer. The farts of this tradition support McCarty's testimony. (Rey- 
nolds, Pioneer History!) Strangely enough Mason {^Chapters jrom Illinois History, 27s) 
accepted the date given by Reynolds and wrote an account of French attacks on British posts 
before the arrival of Clark. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

interested in the fate of his distant and faithful followers ? The 
citizens of all the villages united in a memorial to the governor of 
Virginia, in which they wrote that they had decided not to re- 
ceive any more troops in their villages, except those which should 
be sent by the king of France ; the presence of the Virginians had 
brought them into war with the Indians who before had been 
friendly and they had suffered therefrom ; they promised, however, 
to guard the frontiers of Virginia from attacks by the Indians.^ 
In each of the villages memorials were also drawn up to be sent to 
the French minister, Luzerne, in which were set forth with great 
detail the grievances which the inhabitants had suffered at the 
hands of the Virginians. These petitions, however, never reached 
their destination, since they fell into the hands of the British with 
the other papers of De la Balme.* 

The best account of the changed attitude of the French is found 
in McCarty's journal. In the summer of 1780, he had been 
summoned with his troops to Fort Jefferson to give aid against a 
party of British and Indians attacking it. On his return to Kas- 
kaskia early in August he found that De la Balme had been in 
the village and that, "the people in General seem to be Changed 
towards us and Many things Said unfitting," and again, "as 
things are now the people in General are allienated and Changed 
from us."^ The short lived hope of the French did them little 
good. For a moment they were able to raise their heads like 
men, but with the defeat and death of their leader their hope 
was dashed to the ground and the weary wait for other means of 
relief began again; for, oppressed by the military and hearing 
nothing from Todd, they could only conclude that Virginia had 
withdrawn her support and that they were left to do for them- 
selves until some other power should take them under its pro- 
tection.'' 

1 Can. Archives, B., 184, vol. 2, p. 506. 

2 The memorial from Cahokiais printed in this vol., p. 535; for that from Vinccnnes see 
Can. Archives, B., 184, vol. 12, p. 421. The petition from Kaskaskia, which vfould have been 
particularly valuable for the history of Clark's occupation of the village is not calendared in 
the Hald. Col. and has probably been lost. A very brief memorial to Luzerne was sent by 
the Kaskaskians after the death of De la. Balme and a copy of it is in the Menard Col., Tard 
Papers. 

'See post, p. 620. 

* Va. State Papers, i., 382. 



INTRODUCTION 

During the fall the Americans carried out the plan which 
they had determined upon before the attack of the British and 
which subsequent events had postponed, namely, the partial 
evacuation of Illinois. At the time of the attack on Fort Jefferson 
the troops had been recalled from Vincennes. Montgomery 
after his return from the relief of the fort remained some time in 
Kaskaskia and on October i8th^ went down the river to New 
Orleans, leaving a bad name behind him, even among the Ameri- 
cans, on account of his extravagance and dishonesty. He did 
not add to his reputation by deserting his wife for "an infamous 
girl" whom he took with him.^ 

Captain Rogers, who was left by Montgomery in command of 
the few remaining troops at Kaskaskia,^ was to prove himself 
a worse tyrant to the French than his predecessor had been. Two 
other men had appeared in the Illinois in the spring or summer 
of this year whose names were also to become execrated, John 
Dodge and Thomas Bentley. John Dodge was born in Connec- 
ticut, had become a trader at Sandusky before the outbreak of 
the Revolution, and, since he showed his attachment to the 
cause of the colonists, was arrested by the British, who carried 
him to Detroit and later to Quebec, whence he escaped in 1779.* 
In that year Washington recommended him to Congress as a man 
who would be useful in the West. He went to Virginia, won the 
friendship of Jefferson, and was appointed Indian agent.* 

1 General Orders of Montgomery, Dr. MSS., 5oJ7o- 

2 Mason, John Todd Papers, 335. Montgomery's defence of his actions may be found in 
Mason, John Todd Papers, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 351 et seq. On April 23, 1782, he 
wrote a letter of justification to George Webb, in which he said: " Had I made a f orton in the 
time people mout had Reason to Suspected me But to the Contreary I have spent one or at least 
my all But am in hopes to Be Eable to Live a poor and privet Life after wards it is now almost 
fore years That I have not Receive a shilling from Government Not Withstanding I advanced 
Every Shilling I had & straned my Credit till it Became Shred Bear Rather than draw 
Bills on the State." Copy from Va. State Lib. 

Montgomery was born in Botetourt county, Va., about 1742. His use of English shows 
that his education was Hnrdted. He was one of the celebrated party of "long hunters" in 
1771. His experience in Indian warfare had fitted him for such an undertaking as that by 
Clark against the IlUnois. He was killed by the Indians in Kentucky in 1794. (English, 
Conquest oj the Northwest, i., 137.) 

3 Letter of Winston, Dr. MSS., sojji. 

< Woodward, Dodge Genealogy; Dr. Notes, Trip i860, iijiss", T)odgt's memorial to 
Cong., January 25, 1779, Papers of Old Cong., xli., 2, 441. 

' 5 Dr. MSS., 46J52 and 29J36. Dodge was one of the refugees from Canada and Nova 
Scotia who received compensation in land for their losses during the Revolutionary War. 
He must have died before 1800, since his heirs were granted 1280 acres of land in that year. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

The second, Thomas Bentley, had been well known in the 
village at an earlier period. On an accusation made by Roche- 
blave of 'ntriguing with the Americans he had been arrested and 
sent to Quebec, where he remained until the spring of 1780 
when he made his escape.* He had asserted his innocence in 
several persuasive memorials and had convinced even Governor 
Haldimand of his good faith. As a further evidence of his 
allegiance to England he went to Virginia and by his intercession 
for British prisoners with the government gained for Governor 
Hamilton some mitigation to the harshness of his captivity and 
for Judge Dejean of Detroit, release on parole.^ Bentley's double 
deahng at this time is evident from his letters to the Americans and 
to the British. While he was writing to Clark concerning the 
activities of De la Balme and wishing the Americans success in 
their attack on the Indians, he was writing to the British officers 
that Illinois could be easily captured by a few hundred soldiers.' 
In his deceit he was eminently successful, for Clark later wrote 
him a certificate of good character, in which he asserted that the 
latter had given great assistance to the cause ;* and the Governor 
of Canada was so persuaded of his honest motives that he thought 
it would be wise to allow Bentley to remain quietly in the Illinois, 
as he would be of great use there. On his return to Illinois, 
Bentley was firmly resolved to make the French pay for his cap- 
tivity, for he believed that they had all been in a plot with 
Rocheblave against him. 

The operations of Bentley and Dodge, who formed a partner- 
ship for making the most out of the situation, began while Mont- 
gomery, who gave them countenance, commanded in the Illinois. 
They bought up the claims of the inhabitants against Virginia 
for trifling sums, in doing which it was suspected that they made 

Amtr. Slate Papers, Pub. Lands, i., io6. There are in existence two memorials to Congress 
narrating his earlier misfortunes. Washington Papers, xciii., 35; Papers ol Old Congress, 
xli., 2, 441. 

1 See supra, p. xxxv., n., 2. 

» Bentley to De Peyster July 28, 1780, Mich. Pio. and Hist. Col, xix., 598. 

» His most important letters are printed in Mich. Pio. and Hist. Col., xix. 548, s6o. For 
his letter to Clark see Dr. MSS., 50JS1; Can. Archives, B., 185, vol. i, 58, 62. 

* Va. Stale Papers, ii , 153. 



INTRODUCTION 

use of public funds, and their financial operations in purchasing 
supplies for the troops also aroused suspicion. Such conduct 
called forth a characteristic letter from McCarty to Todd. As 
McCarty was feeling at the time particularly angry with the 
cflScers of the Virginia line, because he had been arrested by 
Montgomery for bringing an accusation against Dodge,' his 
testimony cannot be taken without reserve; but that there was 
some truth in what he wrote is abundantly proved by letters from 
Clark and others. The letter shows not only the situation brought 
about by the dealings of the two financiers but also the continued 
exactions of the troops and the effects of the visit of De la Balme. 
It is addressed to Todd. "When shall I begin to appolagize 
for the Different light and Oppinion, I saw and had of You when 
hear last Year, and now. the Spirit of a free subject that you 
inculcated thro' your better knowledge of things was hid to me. 
In short, Honour requires me to render You the Justice you de- 
sarve, and at the same time to inform you the reason of my altering 
my notions of things. I then thought the Troops hear would be 
duly supported by the State, and the legal expense for them 
paid to the people Justly. I had thought the Duty of an Officer 
who had any Command was to see Justice done his Soldiers, and 
that they had their Rights without wronging his Country. I 
then thought that it was also his Duty to fore see and use all 
manner of occonomie in Laying up provisions for these Soldiers, 
to carry on any Opperation that his supperiours should judge 
expedient to order him on, without any regard to private interests 
whatever, but for the Good of the State he served. I then never 
Imagined that an Agent would be sent hear to Trade in connec- 
tion with a Private Person to Purchase the Certificates from the 
people at such a rate which must appear scandalous & Dis- 
honorable to the State. 

"To the contrary of all which I am now convinced by occular 
Demonstration: in short we are become the Hated Beasts of a 
whole people by Pressing horses, Boats &c &c, Killing cattle, 
&c &c, for which no valuable consideration is given: even many 

* See post, p. 621. For the charge that public funds were illegally used, see post, p. 481. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAI. COLLECTIONS 

not a certificate which is hear looked on as next to nothing."* 
McCarty by this letter gave warning of his change of party alle- 
giance. He had up to this time sided with the military against 
the civil authority and the French. From now on he attempted 
to win the confidence of the latter, in the oppression of whom he 
had formerly taken active part. Both he and Winston advised 
the people to refuse all supplies to the troops and starve them 
out of the country. For this reason Winston also found his 
relations with the military even more strained than under the nile 
of Montgomery. He wrote to Todd that: "They Stretch greatly 
to bring the Country under the military rod and throw of the Civil 
Authority. So fond they are to be medling with what is not 
within their Power. . . . Since the arrival of this Captain Bentley, 
there has been nothing Butt discord and disunion in this place. . . 
he has left no stone unturned to Extinguish the laws of the State, 
and to revive the Heathen Law, being well accustomed to Bribes 
and Entertainments. Government ought to regulate the trade 
as there are many abuses Committed under Military sanction."^ 
It is unnecessary to give the details of the trying winter of 
1 780-1 781, for it was but a repetition of the previous one. The 
inhabitants wrote that the government was Uke that of a town 
taken by assault. Captain Rogers, who was young and inex- 
perienced, was blinded by the advice of the crafty Dodge and 
Bentley.' That the means they used to obtain provisions were 
cruel is proved by the piteous appeals of the inhabitants to the 
governor. That their methods were not always honest was 
firmly believed by many officers and by Clark himself. Captain 
Robert George in writing to Clark on October 24th after 
mentioning the almost starving condition of the troops, says 
that Montgomery told him that, " Capt. Dodge has purchased one 
Thousand bushells of com and Ten Thousand Ib^ of Flour, which 
is all that is to show from a cargoe of Eleven Thousand hard 
dollars worth of Goods sent by Mr Pollock to You, together with 

• Va. State Papers, i., 379. 

* Winston to Todd, October 24, 1780, Va. Slate Papers, i., 380. 

' The court showed more spirit in opposing the soldiers. There are several interesting 
letters in regard to their exactions in the Menard Col., Tard. Papers. 



INTRODUCTION 

about five or six thousand Dollars worth from this place. . . 
I have sent for all the State Horses at Kaskaskia, but it appears 
there is but few — what's gone with them God knows, but I be- 
lieve there will be a Very disagreeable accompt rendered to you 
of them as well as many other things when called for. "^ In 
March, 1781, Clark was thoroughly aroused by the complaints of 
the administration of the finances in his department, and in writing 
to Jefferson says : "I Received your dispatches by Capt. Sullivan. 
That part concerning the Bills counter^^ by Maj. Slaughter, and 
letters of advice, is something curious. It's surprising to me that 
Maj. Slaughter, as an Officer of the State, would suffer these 
persons to persevear in their villany, was he as he hints truly 
sensible of the principal that actuated them. You know my 
Sentiments Respecting sev*"^ persons in our Imploy. Those he 
accuses, are gen'^ men of fair Character. I have long since 
determined to conduct myself with a particular Rigour towards 
every person under me. They shall feel the stings of Remorse, 
if capable, or the sweets of public applause, either as they demean 
themselves. . . . Those gentlemen Major Slaughter points at, 
with himself, may expect to undergo the strictest scrutiny in a 
short time, as Orders are prepared for that Purpose. Mr. Jno. 
Dodge & others, of the Illinois, also.'" 

While the officers were using their positions for private gain 
and reducing to abject poverty the French by their levies, the 
troops of Virginia were suffering the severest hardships. In 
August, 1781, Colonel Slaughter wrote from the Falls of the Ohio : 
"The situation of my little Corps at this place at present is truly 
deplorable, destitute of clothing, vituals & money, the Com- 
missaries have furnished them with little or no provisions these 
three months past nor dont give themselves the least concern 
about it." Montgomery wrote that at Fort Jefferson there was 
not a mouthful for the troops to eat, nor money to purchase any, 
and that the credit of the government was threadbare. On 

1 Va . State Papers, i ., 382 . For other evidence of dishonesty see Slaughter's letter, January 
17, 1781, Va. Slate Papers, i., 440. Jefferson was convinced of Dodge's dishonesty, Dr. MSS., 
S1J17. In the petitions of the Cahokians to Virginia it is stated that public supplies were 
used to buy in the drafts and other forms of credit, see this vol., P- 481. 

* Va. State Papers, i., 597. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

August 6, 1781, Captain Bailey wrote from Vincennes: "My 
men have been 15 days upon half allowance; there is plenty of 
provisions here but no credit. I cannot press, being the weakest 
party." ^ 

The contest of Rogers, Dodge, and Bentley with the court was 
brought to a crisis at the end of January by the acts of the last. 
Bentley was inspired by his desire for revenge, and his malice is 
shown by a long letter which he addressed to, "The inhabitants 
particularly those who are not my friends," wherein he sets 
forth his grievances at length. There was little that he could 
say by way of accusation, so he had recourse to abusive language. 
The letter is too long to quote, but a few extracts will give an idea 
of its character. "I know that most of you are mortified at see- 
ing me succeed in surmounting the difficulties with which you 
together with that rascal Rocheblave, Cerre, and others have 
burdened me. I am persuaded that there is not one among you 
in this village who did not wish to crush me under the weight of 
my misfortunes. I know that it is a crime for a damned English- 
man to remain among you. The Irish suit you better. They 
are your equals in perfidy, lying, flattering, and drinking tafia. 
.... Some infamous vagabonds have had the audacity to 
demand an inspection of my books. Nothing but ignorance 
without parallel, joined with the most complete Irish imperti- 
nence could have thought of that. A man of the least honor 
would not have conceived such an idea. 

"I am informed that the cause for which you came was con- 
cerning some tafia given to the negroes. On this subject I satisfy 
you on the honor of a man of integrity that it was not from me 
that they had it 

"I am informed that Lachance and Brazeau are getting 
together all the corn for M. Cerre. Why should not I have the 
same liberty, since perhaps I should give better merchandize and 
at a better bargain. The reason is that M. Cerre, concerning 
whom I will prove some day that he is a man without moral 
feeling, is a Frenchman and I am a damned Englishman." 

•These letters are printed in Va. Stale Papers, ii., 306, 313, 338. 



INTRODUCTION 

A suit brought by Bentley against Richard McCarty and 
Michel Perrault was begun in the court of November, 1780; but 
the court refused Bentley any recognition until he had taken the 
oath of fidelity to the United States and Virginia. In the January 
court Bentley appeared with two Americans and said he was 
ready to take the oath. This the justices tendered him in the 
French language, which both he and his companions understood ; 
but Bentley refused to take it, claiming that it was the oath of 
office that they were offering him. He immediately left the 
court and soon after returned saying that he had made oath 
before Captain Rogers. The court, however, stood firm in re- 
gard to its rights. 

Rogers took up the matter and wrote to the court that he was 
surprised at their audacity in not recognizing his certificate given 
to Bentley. "It seems to me that Mr. Bentley has the same 
right to justice as you yourselves and you can be assured that I 
can give reasons and proofs to impartial justices of his conduct 
which will make him appear perhaps a better friend of the state 
than you, since your court appears to be one for injustice and 
not for justice. And should you dare to refuse my certificate 
in the case of the oath of fidelity, I will take it on myself to set 
your court aside and become responsible for the consequences. 
You have only to consider and render justice or I will do what 
is mentioned above." 

The court was not frightened into submissiveness, but an- 
swered: "We have received your letter of to-day in which you 
give us over your signature the most complete mark of your 
capacity in the trust which you imagine you hold. 

"We do not doubt the desire on your part to make yovirself 
absolute master; but we have acts of the legislative power of the 
state of Virginia to govern us and to which we believe we are 
bound to conform, even as you are yourself, when we require your 
assistance. 

"As to the injustice with which you charge us, there will, 
perhaps, come a more happy day when we shall prove our good 
faith, which is always the only motive which leads honorable men." 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Possibly Bentley realized the weakness of Rogers threat, for 
he now drew up a protest against the action of the court in which 
he appealed to Virginia. In the February session the court con- 
sidered the protest, after previously receiving the promise of 
support from the county lieutenant, Winston. They afi&rmed 
that the right oath had been tendered to Bentley, and offered 
again to permit him to take it either before the court, one of the 
justices, or the county lieutenant ; if he did not wish to do this he 
was permitted to bring in and show the oath which he claimed 
to have taken. 

Bentley's answer was a public announcement that he was 
starting for Virginia to carry his case before the governor and 
council.' Another reason for his going was his desire to collect 
the money for the certificates which he and Dodge had bought up. 
and about the first of April he together with his two assistants, 
Dodge and Captain Rogers, departed. ^ 

This proceeding of Bentley called for immediate action on the 
part of the French in order to counteract the influence which would 
be exerted against them, and it was decided to send representa- 
tives to Virginia. But there were preparations to make before 
they could take their departure. Besides the affair with Bentley 
the inhabitants wished to send the bills and accounts of the people 
against the state, and asked Cahokia to unite in this. The Kas- 
kaskians chose Richard McCarty and Pierre Prevost to represent 

* All the papers here indicated belong to the Menard Collection and are therefore copies 
from the Kaskaskia Register, except the letter of the court to Rogers, which is among the 
Kaskaskia records. They are all written in French. Besides those mentioned in the text 
are two certificates that the oath tendered to Bentley was the oath of fidelity, one by Winston 
and the other by Daniel Murray. The latter had been brought into court by Bentley him- 
self to witness the taking of the oath. The only explanation of Bentley's action is that he 
feared the news of his having taken the oath would reach Canada. 

2 Va. State Papers, ii., 258 and 260; Dr. MSS., 51 Js2. After arriving at the Falls of the 
Ohio, criticisms of his conduct came to the ears of Captain Rogers and he wrote a letter to 
Governor Jefferson defending himself. He accused Winston and McCarty with being the 
authors of his difliculties by persuading the inhabitants not to furnish pronsions for liis 
troops; and had not Bentley offered his personal credit the troops would have starved, al- 
though meat was abundant. He enclosed the affidavits of officers and citizens to prove his 
statement. He ended by writing: "I cannot conclude without informing you that 'tis my 
positive opinion the people of the Illinois & Post Vincenncs have been in an absolute state 
of Rebellion for these several months past & ought to have no further Indulgence shewn 
them, & such is the nature of these people, the more they are indulged, the more turbulent 
they grow — & I look upon it that Winston & McCarty have been the principle instruments 
to bring them to the pitch they are now at." (Va. State Papers, ii., 76.) 

I should have given greater weight to the testimony of this letter, were not the character 
and actions of Bentley and Dodge at this and other times well known from various sources. 
See this vol., pp. 475, 621; Kas. Rec, Petitions, etc. 



INTRODUCTION 

them. The agreement with them was made on the fifth of May 
and signed by forty-one inhabitants, the most representative of the 
village. * The people of Cahokia had not learned to trust McCarty, 
even after his change of parties, for they remembered his arrogance 
and tyranny while he commanded the troops in their village. 
They therefore chose only Prevost.^ Meanwhile the clerk of the 
Kaskaskia court had prepared copies of all the papers throwing 
light on the hard treatment the people had endured and all other 
matters. These were countersigned by Richard Winston, deputy 
county Heutenant, who at this time was supporting the French 
party. A five page memorial was written to the governor setting 
forth in detail the grievances of the people and was signed by 
sixty-two Kaskaskians.3 

It was an unpropitious time to petition Virginia, since the 
scene of war in the East had been shifted to her territory and she 
could give little heed to her western dependencies. The Kas- 
kaskia papers did not, however, reach their destination; for 
one of the bearers, Richard McCarty, while on his way was met 
and killed by the Indians and his papers carried to Detroit. 
What became of Prevost is not known. This event was to bear 
immediate results. Learning from McCarty's papers that the 
French were heartily weary of the Virginians, the British officers 
determined to use other means than war to recover their dominion 
over the Illinois.'* 

Since Clark with his half-naked Virginians had surprised them 

» Kas. Rec.y Pol. Papers. 
*See post, p. 47Q. 

* Menard Col., Tard. Papers, the original memorial with signatures. A copy of the 
memorial is in Papers of Old Cong., xh'iii., i. A similar one was sent from Vincennes on 
June 30. Va. State Papers, n., 192. It is from the papers prepared at this time that the fore- 
going narrative is largely drawn. They never reached Virginia, but in the year 1787 these 
same papers were given to another agent, named Tardiveau, who had them in his possession 
when he died. As he was indebted for a considerable sum to Pierre Menard, the later lieutenant 
governor of Illinois, the judge of Cape Girardeau, where Tardiveau was living previous to 
his death, turned them over to Menard. These I found in a warehouse on the banks of 
the Mississippi at Fort Gage, Illinois; and they have been presented by their owner, the 
grandson of Pierre Menard, to the Illinois State Historical Library. 

* De Peyster to Powell, July 12, 1781, Mich. Pio. and Hist. Col., xix., 646. See also 
Papers of Old Cong., xlviii., 19. Since the papers, which should have been in the possession 
of McCarty at the time of his death, were in Kaskaskia in 1787 (see previous note), it is 
necessary to conclude that McCarty did not carry with him the important copies from the 
record-book and that Prevost, who was to have carried them, never started or returned with 
them, or else that duplicates were made for the two messengers. The last alternative is 
probably the correct explanation. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

on that July night in 1778, the people of Illinois had passed 
through many phases of feeling towards the Americans. They 
had at first rejoiced that at last the liberty which had been the 
subject of their dreams was to be enjoyed. There followed a few 
months of peace under Clark's mild rule, when the French 
actually stripped themselves of their property to supply the 
troops with necessities and to further the cause which they 
had adopted. Then the anxious days came when the vandalism 
of the troops and the doubt about the payment for their goods 
made them less jubilant. They received Todd with his civil 
government as a prophet of a new era. Todd had failed and 
had handed them over to the military, and Montgomery had suc- 
ceeded in so thoroughly cowing them, that their power of opposi- 
tion was weak.'^ De la Balme had aroused them by the new born 
hope of once more coming under the dominion of France, and he 
too had failed; but their pride in the name of Frenchmen had 
been awakened and from that hour their opposition to the Vir- 
ginians was more forceful. The number of troops in the Illinois 
under Rogers was not large, so their boldness had little cause 
for fear from that source ; but the long struggle against poverty 
and tyranny was telling on their courage, and many were beginning 
to look to England, their allegiance to which they had so lightly 
repudiated, as a power that might possibly offer them protection. 
The feeling was not an active force, but simply an indifference in 
regard to what might happen. The intercourse with Canada 
had not been completely broken off by the war, for the French 
there found opportunity now and then to send their goods to 
their brothers in the Illinois. 

This feeling of a possible renewal of relations with England was 
not confined to the French of the Northwest. Among the western 
Americans also the same attitude was to be found. George Mor- 
gan, writing at this time, mentions a letter he had received in 
regard to Kentucky, where the indifference to the American cause 
appears to have been widespread, due largely to events somewhat 
similar to those affecting the Illinois.* 

1 Dr. MSS., 46J59. 



INTRODUCTION 

It was this feeling that gave the British hope that they might 
persuade the French to renew their allegiance to the British crown. 
In June the lieutenant governor of Michillimackinac sent six men 
to the Illinois to see what could be accomplished. In the three 
accounts, printed in this volume,* their exact mission is differently 
described; in one it was to excite the people to offensive action 
against the Spaniards, in another to raise militia to be paid by 
the British, and in the third to make a commercial treaty. The 
agents made the mistake of going first to St. Louis, probably to 
open negotiations with the French of that city, who appear to 
have been as discontented as their relatives on the other bank. 
They were arrested by the Spanish commandant, Cruzat, and 
a letter addressed to the inhabitants of Kaskaskia and Cahokia was 
found in their possession. A copy of this letter was sent to Major 
John Williams, who had replaced Captain Rogers at Kaskaskia. 

Cruzat gave every appearance of acting in good faith towards 
the Americans in this matter, and evidently did arouse the 
discontent of the people in the Illinois who felt that their letter 
should have been sent to them. But the Spaniard was crafty 
and no doubt would have been willing to see the eastern bank 
pass again into the hands of the British in order that Spain might 
reconquer it.' Cruzat was clever enough to persuade Linctot, 
a Virginia Indian agent at the time in St. Louis, and possibly 
Gratiot, of his loyalty to the Americans. This may be seen by the 
letters of these two written to Clark, July 31 and August i, in 
praise of the action in withholding the letter and messengers 
from the French of the American Bottom. But six weeks before 
those letters were written the Spanish governor had reached an 
understanding with the Illinois people, and two of the British 
agents were permitted to go to Cahokia, provided they found 
bondsmen. The agents accomplished very little, however, owing 
to their initial mistake; but that the undertaking might have been 
successful or the mistake even rectified may be inferred from a 
letter of Antoine Girardin to Governor Sinclair.^ Girardin was 

» See post, p. 553, 555, 559. 

2 Doniol, Hist, de la Participation, iv., ch. 6. 

3 See post, pp. 95, 559. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

one of the most important citizens of Cahokia at this time, had 
been elected one of the members of the first court, and was the 
most enterprising man in the village. His position was such 
that he understood the feeling of the people, and his letter probably 
reflected their attitude correctly. He wrote that, if a force of 
British soldiers without any Indians should be sent to the Illinois, 
he was sure the people would receive them; and at the same 
time he offered his assistance. It is possible that, had the British 
acted promptly, they might have succeeded. Yet possibly not, 
for shortly after this letter was written, the news of the surrender 
of Cornwallis reached the West and naturally raised the hopes 
of those who still clung to the American cause. 

During the simamer of 1781 the court at Kaskaskia had tried 
to assert itseK in the interests of good order. Certain American 
settlers had followed the example of the troops in killing the 
cattle of the French. As long as the soldiers were present, they 
were safe from prosecution, but now, when there does not appear 
to have been any garrison at Fort Clark, indictments were brought 
against six Americans by eleven Frenchmen for shooting the 
cows and other animals in the commons. The Americans were 
arrested and tried; the charge was proved against them and three 
were banished from the country for three years and the others 
fined.* 

The justices also dared make opposition to the deputy county 
lieutenant. Without consulting the court, Winston appointed, 
as notary public, Antoine Labuxiere, son of Joseph Labuxiere 
who held the office of state's attorney after the resignation of 
Jean Girault.^ The first opposition to this appointment came 
from the notary-clerk of the court, Carbonneaux, who, perhaps, 
was not anxious to have a rival. The court supported their 
clerk and Winston was obliged to yield. The principal reasons 
alleged by the court for their objection were the youth of Antoine 
Labuxiere and the law that no ofi&cer could be appointed except 

1 Kas. Rec, Court Papers; Transactions of the 111. Hi^t. Soc. 1906, p. 238, el seg. 

2 See post, p. 487. 



INTRODUCTION 

by the vote of the people. Winston answered that he was in no 
way responsible for his actions to the court but only to the state 
of Virginia.' 

The unfriendly relation existing between the county Ueutenant 
and the court that is evident from the foregoing instance had 
existed ever since the appointment of the former, and from now 
on appears to have increased, until Winston had few adherents 
among the French inhabitants, a circumstance which he was to 
regret in the future. Exactly what bearing this disagreement had 
upon a new election of justices at this time it is impossible to 
say. Four justices from Kaskaskia, Lasource, Janis, Lachance, 
and Charles Charleville, had held office for over two years, in fact 
ever since the election held by Todd. The other two members 
had been Duplasy and Cerre. The former had been killed in 
the De la Balme expedition and the latter had gone to St. Louis. 
As far as the record shows only one of these places had been filled, 
by the election of Michel Godin. The two justices from Prairie 
du Rocher were to remain unchanged for another year. It is 
not known what became of the Sieur de Girardot who represented 
St. Philippe. All the justices desired to continue in ofl&ce, but 
since the list of magistrates was not complete, two more, J. Bte. 
Charleville and Antoine Bauvais, had been elected to fill the 
vacancies on July 19th. The prolongation of their tenure of 
ofl&ce by the justices was not popular, and it is possible that Wins- 
ton utilized the opportunity to bring such pressiure to bear that 
the court was obliged to submit ; for on the tenth of September he 
was requested to permit the summoning of an assembly of the 
people to "elect magistrates to fill the places of those who had 
held their position for two years or more." ^ The assembly was 
called the same day and there is in existence the polling sheet 
that was used. Perhaps on account of the shortness of the notice 
or for some other reason only twenty-seven votes were cast, not 
exceeding by many the number of candidates which was sixteen. 
Antoine Morin was the most popular candidate receiving twenty 

'Five letters in Kas. Rec, written in August, 1781. 
' Kas. Rec, Petitions. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

votes. The next one on the list was Pierre Langlois with eigh- 
teen votes; the third was Vitale Bauvais, whose brother had 
been elected in July, and whose family was at this time and 
later one of the most influential among the French population; 
the fomth was Pierre Picard with eleven votes. The other 
candidates had only a few supporters. The analysis of the vote 
would indicate that Winston had not been supported at the poll 
and that his opponents had carried their candidates. At the 
bottom of the polling sheet is written the certificate of election. 
The clerk first wrote the name of Pierre Langlois, who was more 
friendly to Winston than the other justices, as president of the 
new court, although he had received fewer votes than Morin. 
He then crossed this name ofif and substituted that of J. Bte. 
Charleville, one of the justices chosen in the July election, who may 
have had a prior right to this position. His vote had been cast 
for the four successful candidates and he was and remained a firm 
adherent of the French party. Whatever the explanation 
of the erasure is, neither of the two men became president 
of the court, for the position was held during the following 
year by Antoine Bauvais, who was one of the justices elected 
in July.* 

Kaskaskia was not to have the biu-den of many troops during 
the next winter; but the village did not wholly escape persecution, 
for two of the men formerly most troublesome returned. It is 
true that the one who had made himself most offensive, Thomas 
Bentley, never again visited this country. He failed in his attempt 
to realize on all the certificates which he had bought from the 
French. His petition to the Virginia council was denied, and 
that body intimated that the gentleman was an impostor. Bent- 
ley defended himself against the accusation and appealed to the 
letter of General Clark and to the testimony of Colonel Mont- 
gomery and John Dodge.^ Possibly on account of the character 
of his attestors, one of his claims was afterward allowed. He 
was still in Richmond waiting for its payment in July, 1783, and 

' Kas. Rec, Pol. Papers and Petitions. A year after this date both the clerk, Carbon- 
neaux, and Langlois were supporters of Winston. 

* Va. Slate Papers, ii., 238. 



INTRODUCTION 

probably died during the year for his wife began the process for 
the settlement of the estate shortly afterwards.^ 

When Rogers and Dodge returned to Kaska-kia I do not know, 
but there is a characteristic letter from Rogers dated November 
lo, 1781, demanding supplies. His threats were somewhat 
modified. He said that if the people did not give him what was 
needed for his thirty troops, two hundred would be sent ; but there 
was no suggestion of setting aside the court. He claims to have 
been acting under orders^ and was probably sent to Kaskaskia 
more to reconnoiter than to act as a guard, for Clark expected that 
the British would make one more attempt to win the West, which 
had become more important to them now that the southern 
campaign had ended in the capture of Cornwallis. Rogers 
evidently did not remain long in the country, for before the 
winter ended Clark informed the governor that Vincennes had been 
completely evacuated and that only a few spies were kept at any 
of the villages.^ Dodge had probably returned with Rogers and 
remained in the village. Before twelve months had passed the 
records were to give no uncertain account of the activities of the 
"illustrious Dodge.'' 

There is among the Kaskaskia Records a 'ong and interesting 
letter in the French language written in December by George 
Rogers Clark to the court of Kaskaskia, in which he states that 
he has learned that there are in the village numerous refugees 
and vagabonds who are disturbing the peace and tranquility of 
the community by stealing property in spite of the authority of 
the court. He laments this fact and urges the court to use its 
power even to the extent of inflicting corporal punishment or the 
death penalty. He tells the justices to make use of their militia 
and to call on the other villages for aid. Just what circum- 
stances drew this letter from Clark will probably never be 
known; but the things he speaks of were constantly happening, 
so that he might have written such a letter at any time after he 

• Kas. Rec, Petitions. 
2 Menard Col., Tard. Papers. 

' Va. State Papers, ii., 68; a letter from Colonel Davies to the governor implies the same 
Ibid, iii., 198 



825933 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

entered the country. The interesting point is that he desired the 
court to uphold its authority, and there is nothing to indicate 
that he authorized the unnecessarily harsh and arbitrary mea- 
sures of his officers. In notifying the French of the surrender 
of Cornwallis he gave them the hope that a better day was coming 
for them.^ 

Of the winter of 1 781-1782 there are no records except such as 
show that the court was regularly sitting and performing its 
duties. A single document should be mentioned. On February 
loth another election was held to appoint a single magistrate. 
Fifteen votes were cast of which Stanicles Levasseur received 
five and was elected. Whose place he filled cannot be discovered, 
for there remain no lists of the judges like those of the court of 
Cahokia. 

The year 1782 was to be the last one of the war. The Vir- 
ginians had managed to hold the country northwest of the Ohio 
for almost four years and this last was to pass without real danger. 
Rocheblave, the former acting commandant of the Illinois, had 
returned to Canada and laid before the government a plan for 
the reconquest of the whole territory, but his suggestions were 
without influence.^ Several parties of Indians were sent into 
the Northwest, however, and one of these defeated the frontiers- 
men at Blue Licks — it was in this engagement that John Todd was 
killed; but no serious attack was made on the French villages. 
Clark retaliated by leading a large party against the Miami 
villages and inflicting severe punishment. It was his last achieve- 
ment in the war.^ On November 30th, a few days after the Miami 
campaign, a provisional treaty of peace was signed by England 
and the United States. The danger to the Illinois from Canada 
was for a time at an end. On January 18, 1783, the lUinois regi- 
ment was disbanded * and in the following July Clark was 
relieved of his command.^ 

* Kas. Rec, Letter. 

' Va. Slate Papers, iii., 150; Hald. Col., B., 122, p. 545; and 123, p. 141. 
' Va. State Papers, ii., 280, 381; Winsor, Westward Movement, 203 el seq. 

* Memorial of Timothe de Monbreun, Va. State Lib. 

* English, Conquest of the Northwest, ii., 783. 



INTRODUCTION 

In the villages of the Illinois during these years of neglect 
we find as close an approximation to the form of the classic city- 
state as has ever existed in the western hemisphere. For a 
short time they were practically cut off from the rest of the world 
and from the only power which might legally exercise authority 
over them, so that each village was a self-governing community. 
As we shall see later the period was for Cahokia one of moderate 
prosperity and peace; but the more important village, Kaskaskia, 
passed through all the sufferings which her earlier prototypes 
experienced during periods of social anarchy. The Greeks gave 
the special name of stasis to that disease which was so common to 
their peculiar form of civil organization. It was caused by one 
party within the state making the political issue the subjugation 
of all others, an issue which was. pursued with maliciousness 
and violence.' In a famous passage Thucydides has described 
the results of this disease: "The cause of all these evils was the 
love of power, originating in avarice and ambition, and the party 
spirit which is engendered in them when men are fairly 

embarked in a contest Striving in every way to 

overcome each other, they committed the most monstrous crimes; 
yet even these were surpassed by the magnitude of their revenges, 
which they pursued to the very uttermost, neither party observing 
any definite limits either of justice or public expediency, but both 
alike making the caprice of the moment their law. Either by 
the help of an unrighteous sentence, or grasping power with the 
strong hand, they were eager to satiate the impatience of party 
spirit."'' The description is as applicable to the conditions 
existing in Kaskaskia during the years following the withdrawal of 
the Illinois regiment as to the cities of Greece, which Thucydides 
had in his mind. 

The factional strife and the personal enmities, which had been 
engendered by the past years in Kaskaskia, but had been some- 
what controlled by the presence of the military force, broke out 
in the most virulent form of stasis, during the course of which the 

1 Fowler, City-Slate of the Greeks and Romans, 254. 

2 Thucydides, Hist, oj the Peloponnesian War, Jowett's translation, i., 24. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

love of power, avarice, and personal animosities seized control of 
the government, overthrew it, and left behind only anarchy. 
Three parties entered into this struggle for power, and probably 
the final blame for the result must be ascribed in part to all. 
The mass of the French inhabitants made up what may be called 
the French party, the leaders of which were the justices of the 
district court. These latter considered themselves the chief repre- 
sentatives of sovereignty and would have been glad to compel 
submission by all rivals. The strength of this party was rather 
greater in the district than in the village proper, where the people 
were more divided in their allegiance and more cowed by their 
opponents.' Its- members were hostile to the Americans who 
had settled among them and feared that they would be finally 
overcome in numbers and lose their French laws and officers. 
They looked upon the deputy county lieutenant in particular as 
an enemy, who would take the first opportunity to make himself 
supreme and whose action in trying to placate the Virginians and 
at the same time to incite the French to opposition they regarded 
as treacherous.^ It is probably true that the leaders of the party 
were ignorant, as Winston asserted, and incapable under the 
existing conditions of fulfilling the duties which the accidents of 
war and geographical position had thrust upon them,' 

Winston had a small following among the French, led by 
Pierre Langlois, one of the justices, and Carbonneaux, the clerk 
of the court. Some of the Americans had also attached them- 
selves to his party. His contempt for the French was only less 
than his hatred of John Dodge, the leader of the third party, 
whom he regarded as his chief rival. The hostility of the 
two men dated back to the time when Montgomery was still 
commanding in the Illinois, and, since Dodge had always 
been associated with the military party, the personal strife 
between them appears to be a continuation of the struggle be- 

' The strength of the party is learned from the various pclilions and memorials sent to 
Congress and elsewhere, to which reference is made in the text. (See p. cxvii., n. 2.) Vv"licn 
the party gained control of the government in 1786, its leaders were men of Prairie du 
Roche r. 

* Memorials oj the people, to Va. Commissioners, Menard Col., Tard. Papers. 

* Deposition of Carbonneaux, who was an adlierent of Winston, Va. State Papers, iii., 430. 



INTRODUCTION 

tween the army and the civil government, which had broken out 
when John Todd was still in the county.^ That Dodge actually 
held a military commission at this time is extremely doubtful. He 
had been appointed Indian agent for Virginia and even used that 
title occasionally during the year 1782. Since Clark had never 
trusted him and his reputation among the Virginia officials was 
none too good, it is not probable that he had been promoted 
to a position in the army.^ However, after the departure of 
Captain Rogers, Dodge gave himself out as commandant of 
troops in Kaskaskia and was able to persuade many of the French 
people to acknowledge his authority. With him were associated 
Israel Dodge,' who seemed ready enough to follow his energetic 
and capable brother, and the more turbulent American immi- 
grants. For the next few years John Dodge is the power in the 
village of Kaskaskia. Unfortunately most of the records of his 
interesting career, which the clerk of the covut carefully preserved, 
have been destroyed, so that the details can only be obtained 
from the rather unsatisfactory petitions of the inhabitants to 
Congress. 

Dodge's first attack was on the deputy county heutenant, in 
the summer of 1782. The fear of renewed British invasions and 
possible treachery were his excuses. Winston had become 
thoroughly exasperated with the actions of the Virginia troops, 
and probably desired to identify himself with the French party. 
At any rate he went about among the people telling them that 
Dodge and the officers who had been in the Illinois were vaga- 
bonds and robbers, who had only come to the French villages 
for the purpose of pillaging. There is no proof that he enter- 
tained treasonable designs, and his remarks give evidence of be- 

1 Winston to Todd, October 24, 1780, Va. State Papers, i., 380; Dodge to Clark, March 
3, 1783, Dr. MSS., 52J7S. 

' I have failed to find any such commission. He was always called captain, but the title 
was not received for service under Clark, as his name does not appear in any list of ofl&cers 
and troops serving in the West. (English, Conquest of the Northwest, ii., 1060 e< seq.) Colonel 
Davies wrote to the governor of Virginia on June 22, 1782, that he did not tloink there were 
any troops in the Illinois or had been for some time. Va. State Papers, iii., 19S. 

3 Israel Dodge was the father of Hon. Henry Dodge, whose life is so closely connected 
with the history of the West. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

ing inspired solely by personal dislike and enmity to individuals ; 
for he excepted Clark from his general condemnation. 

On April 29th John Dodge issued an order, which he signed as 
captain commandant, to his brother Israel to take a party and 
bring Richard Winston before him to give an account of his con- 
duct. Even if he had held a military commission such an order 
was entirely illegal; and his next act was still more so, for he 
ordered that Winston should be imprisoned because he, "has 
been guilty of treasonable expressions Against the State and offi- 
cer who have the hon"" of wearing Commission in the Service of 
their Country; damned them all a set of thieves and Robers and 
only come to the Country for that purpose. The above Crime 
being proved before, i now deliver him to you prisoner and re- 
quest of you to Keep him in surety until he may be brought to 
justice." ^ 

The day of the arrest Mrs. Winston appealed to Antoine Bau- 
vais to assemble the court and summon the Dodges to appear 
and justify their actions. The court met at one o'clock the same 
day but refused to take cognizance of the affair, probably being 
willing that their two enemies should fight it out. On the next 
day Dodge wrote to Joseph Labuxiere, state's attorney, and asked 
for his co-operation. Labuxiere's training was not such as fitted 
him to oppose the military power. He had served under France 
and Spain where orders from the captain in command were obeyed, 
so he took up the case ; but he protested that he would not hold 
himself responsible to the state or to Winston for the events and 
prejudice which might result therefrom. He said, however, that 
he was bound to give information to the council of Virginia and 
to General Clark and that he had been unable to persuade the 
court to draw up the process against Winston without a deposit of 
money, which neither he nor Dodge possessed. Labuxiere sum- 
moned the witnesses, who were named by Dodge, to appear 
before him. The first was Michel Perrault, captain of infantry, 
who testified that he wrote to Winston for some supplies belonging 

* The charge against Winston was true, for the French themselves said the same thing in a 
memorial to the Virginia Commissioners. Menard Col., Tard. Papers. 



INTRODUCTION 

to the state and that Winston sent part of them; that later the 
witness, being reduced to "indigence," had sold some of these, 
and Winston had then said to him that he was following in the 
footsteps of his superiors who were a band of thieves. The 
next witness was Major John Williams, former captain of infantry. 
He said that he had frequently heard Winston swear at all the 
officers of the Illinois troops except General Clark and declare 
that they had come to the country only to rob and steal. The 
third witness was Henry Smith, who called himself improperly a 
former captain in the Illinois battalion.^ He repeated the testi- 
mony of Williams. Labuxiere ended his account of the testi- 
mony with a statement that he was aware that he had exceeded 
his duties in thus summoning witnesses before him, but that he 
thought the importance of the case demanded his action. 

While Winston remained in prison, some friend or his wife 
obtained possession of John Todd's record-book, which was pro- 
bably in Winston's house as it was the property of the county 
lieutenant, and entered therein this protest: "Kaskaskia in the 
Illinois 2gth april 1782. Eighty and touce. This day 10 oClock 
A :m I was Taken out of my house by Isreal Dodge on an order 
Given by Jno. Dodge in despite of the Civil authorotyDisregardled 
the Laws and on ther Malitious acusation of Jhn Williams and' 
michel perault as may appear by their deposition I was Confined 
By T>Tanick military force without making any Legal aplica- 
tion to the Civil Magistrates. 30th the attorney for the State 
La Buxiere presented a petition to the Court against Richard 
Winston State prisonner in their Custody the Contents of which 
he (the attorney for the State) ought to heave Communicated to 
me or my attorney if any I had."^ 

Winston was detained in prison for sixteen days, and after 
his release persuaded the justices to hear the case in which the 
civil authority had been so defied. On June the 30th they ordered 

1 In 1781, when he was among those prosecuted by the court for killing cattle (see supra, 
p. cvi.) he testified that he was a laborer. His name does not appear on any list of Clark's 
troops. 

2 John Todd's Record-Book in the library of the Chicago Hist. Soc. This protest is not 
in Winstons' handwriting. I have quoted it in full in order to correct several mistakes 
which are to be found in the printed version in Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 289. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Labuxiere to inform them of the witnesses whom he had interro- 
gated and to send them a Hst of questions which he desired 
to have asked, for they wished to end the affair, seeing that 
Winston intended to leave the country. The records do not 
contain an account of the proceedings before the court, but 
Winston was acquitted. After this interesting episode we lose 
all sight of Dodge for a few months, and when he reappears 
he has won for himself the mastery of the village of Kaskaskia. 
The steps by which he acquired his power are unknown ; but the 
acts of Winston during the last months of 1782 no doubt prepared 
the way.^ 

Winston had good reasons for feeling that the court had not 
given him cordial support in his contest for the rights of the civil 
against the military power, and it was probably due to his influence 
that a new election of magistrates for Kaskaskia was held shortly 
after his release. On the sixteenth of June, an assembly of the 
people of Prairie du Rocher was held in the house of J. Bte. 
Barbau, commandant of the militia, to elect magistrates to fill 
the places of Barbau and Louvieres, who had been magistrates 
"during the time fixed by the code of government." They had 
held their positions since June, 1779. The two newly elected 
justices were Aime Compte and J. Bte. Jacquemain.'' On the 
fifteenth of September Kaskaskia held a new election, only twenty- 
one men exercising the franchise, and six new magistrates Were 
chosen — J. Bte. Bauvais, Louis Brazeau, Francois Charleville, 
Francois Corset, Vitale Bauvais, and Antoine Morin ; but Winston 
issued a certificate of election to only the first four, to whom he 
also wrote a letter of congratulation.^ 

It is to be noticed that Vitale Bauvais and Morin were both 
members of the former court, which had refused to support Win- 
ston against Dodge. In spite of the act of the county lieutenant 

1 The papers in the foregoing narrative may be found in the follovring places. In the 
Papers of Old Congress, xlviii., 4, are the two orders for arrest and imprisonment of Winston 
and Mrs. Winston's appeal with the call for the court on April 29. The correspondence 
between Dodge and Labuxiere with the depositions of the witnesses and the court's letter to 
Labuxiere belong to the Cahokia Records in Chicago Hist. Library. 

3 Kas. Rec, Pol. Papers. 

* Kas. Rec, Pol. Papers and Letters. 



INTRODUCTION 

the other justices gave their support to their rejected associates 
and Vitale Bauvais was made president, a position he held 
as long as the court continued to sit. 

Beaten once again at the election, Winston determined to use 
other means of asserting his authority, but he allowed at least 
two months to pass before proceeding to the final act. That 
act was decisive. Towards the end of November, he posted on 
the church door a notice abolishing the court of the district of 
Kaskaskia. Thus by act of the civil authority, and not by that 
of the military, the court of Kaskaskia came to an end. From 
this date until June, 1787, no bench of justices held sessions in 
that village.* 

Winston himself had decided to go to Virginia. He wished 
to obtain justice against John Dodge, to petition for the remodeUng 
of the government, and to recover the money which he had ad- 
vanced to the state. His loans to Virginia had been considerable 
and he found himself reduced from affluence to extreme poverty 
by his support of the American cause. One of the officials of 
the court, the clerk Francois Carbonneaux, had supported Winston 
in his action and was to accompany him to Virginia. On Decem- 
ber 3d, they persuaded a few Kaskaskians to appoint them 
their agents either to Virginia or to Congress for the above pur- 
poses. The signatures to this document reveal the strength of 
the party of the county lieutenant. Of the signers seven were 
Americans and ten were Frenchmen, of the latter five only could 
write and but one, Pierre Langlois, had held the position of justice 
of the peace.^ 

1 The existence of the court can be proved up to November isth. {Kas. Rec, Petitions. 
That it vfas set aside by a placard on the church door is proved by a letter of the two Bau- 
vais and Corset in 1787. {Kas. Rec, Letters.) Winston is unquestionably the one who set 
the court aside, for in a memorial to the Va. commissioners, the French party wrote that he 
had "annulled, set aside, and revoked the good law which you have given us for the surety 
of the country." Menard Col., Tard. Papers. 

2 From now on the petitions to Congress are numerous and it is necessary to depend 
upon them for much of the narrative, since the local material has been lost or destroyed. 
These petitions must be used with caution, for they emanate from different parties in the 
Illinois and their value can only be estimated after a careful analysis of their contents to 
determine who were the petitioners. First there was the party of Winston. The first petition 
was carried bv Winston and Carbonneaux, but since Winston died in Richmond in 1784 
{Dr. MSS; 4J37), Carbonneau.^ was the representative of this party at Congress. They 
wanted to remodel the existing government and to make Illinois into one district under a 
county lieutenant having sufficient power to maintain order. They had a contempt for the 
French, for their lack of intelligence, and for their failure to rule themselves. {Papers of 
Old Cong.,hax., 453.) The second party was that of John Dodge, who was more success- 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Before leaving the country Winston made provision for the 
maintenance of the county government by the appointment, on 
January 8th, of Jacques Timothe Boucher Sievu- de Monbreun, 
as his successor, but this he did not make public till January 
2ist, at which time he confirmed the sale of the office of notary- 
clerk by Carbonneaux to Pierre Langlois.^ Before the arrange- 
ments for his departure were completed, the announcement 
of the arrival of the commissioners for western affairs, sent by 
the state of Virginia, had reached Kaskaskia, so that he had a 
further incentive for haste. 

Although, for lack of other name, it is necessary to continue 
calling the government in the Illinois, the county of Illinois, legally 
the county had ended twelve months before Winston appointed 
his successor. It had been established by the act of the Virginia 
assembly in December, 1778, and was to last for one year and 
thereafter until the end of the next session of the assembly. It 
was renewed in May, 1780, and continued for a similar period.^ 

ful by means of intimidation in winning tlie support of the French people, including the 
deputy lieutenant left by Winston, and to whom the Americans looked for leadership. He 
was not, however, able to win over the prominent members of the French party, who remained 
distinctly hostile. Dodge and his followers advocated the establishment of Illinois as a 
separate state, being no doubt influenced by the similar demand of the county of Ken- 
tucky. Their petition was carried by Pentecoste in 1784. (Papers oj Old Cong., xxx., 435, 
463.) The third party was that of the French, led by Barbau, the Bauvais, Janis, and 
others. The people of Cahokia may be regarded as belonging to this party. The mem- 
bers were devoted to the court and the French law modified by the Virginia enactments, 
as they had been established by John Todd; but the party had no objection to changes in 
the civil organization which might be made by Congress; in fact its members demanded 
a government from Congress. Their petitions were carried by Major Lebrun and Mr. 
Parker. The writers of their communications were the clerks of the courts. (Papers oj Old 
Cong., xli., 113; this vol., p. 567, 581.) The fourth set of petitions were written by a faction 
of the French party which remained irreconcilable after the attempted settlement by Colonel 
Harraar in 1787 and continued to protest against Dodge. (See post p. xxxvii.) The leaders 
were a priest. Father de la Valiniere, and the clerk of the court, Pierre Langlois, both of 
whom wrote the petitions. Their papers contain information of value as they conserve 
the older issues of the French party. {Papers oj Old Cong., xlviii., 13, 19, 89.) The fifth 
set of petitions were of a very different character. They are those signed by Tardiveau, 
whose purpose was to gain from Congress concessions of land for all the French and Ameri- 
cans in the Illinois. He had persuaded members of all parties to sign agreements with him 
to pay him one tenth of the land thus obtained for his trouble. His petitions contain few 
details and statements of fact, since he could not afford to prejudice Congress against any 
of his clients. They are very wordy and full of flowery phrases and in proportion to 
their length contain little of value. He had obtained copies of all the important memori- 
als and papers in the Kaskaskia records and from these he drew his information; but 
since the copies he used are still in existence, they furnish better evidence than his interpre- 
tation of them. (See post, p. ciii. Tardiveau's petitions are in Papers oj Old Cong., 
xlviii., no et seg.) 

* Memorial oj Timothe de Monbreun, Va. State lAh-'^^Kas. Rec, Court Record, pt.ii., fols 
*, S- 

2 Hening, Statttles at Large, ix., 555; x., 308; this vol., p. 9. 



INTRODUCTION 

At the next session there was an attempt to have the act continued, 
but without success.^ On the fifth of January, 1782, the general 
assembly adjourned and, "the statutory organization of Illinois 
expired "and from that time there was no government resting on 
positive provisions of law in the Illinois country, until Governor 
St. Clair inaugurated the county of St. Clair in 1790.^ 

The reason for this action of the legislature of Virginia is to 
be found in the negotiations with the United States in regard to 
the cession of this territory. A bill to that effect was passed by 
the assembly as early as January 2, 1781; but the business 
dragged through several sessions of the United States Congress, 
and the cession was not consummated until March i, 1784.^ 
As is well known, it was not until 1787 that Congress passed an 
effective law regulating the government in the Northwest and not 
until the spring of 1790 that the governor appointed under that 
act reached the French settlements, so that during the period of 
eight years the people of the American Bottom were left to them- 
selves to settle the problem of government as best they could. 

After repeated petitions from the West and many accusations 
against officers, Virginia determined in the year 1782 to send a. 
board of commissioners to these regions to investigate the claims 
against her and the whole question of the finances of the Western 
army. The accounts and bills as they had come to Virginia were 
greatly confused; for Montgomery, George, and other officers 
had made drafts without authority, and the amounts appeared 
large and were drawn for specie, so that fraud was suspected.' 
The commissioners did not start for the West until October. 
They sent from Lincoln county on December 4th a notice of 
their appointment and powers to Kaskaskia and Vincennes and 

I Jour. House of Del., Va., Oct. Sess., 1781; Boggess, Immigration into Illinois (thesis 
in MS). 

2 See Boyd, "The County of Illinois," in Amer. Hist. Rev., iv.. No. 4, p. 625. 

*Jour. of Cong., viii., 199, 203, 253; ix., 47 el seq.; Hemag, Statuies at Large, :d., 571 et 
seq. 

* Montgomery was authorized by Clark to draw on him and the treasury of Virginia; but 
the people preferred drafts on Pollock in New Orleans. These Montgomery was forced to 
give and justified his action before a court of inquiry in 1781. Va. Stale Papers, iii., 433- 
See also iii., 56, and instructions and letter of Governor Harrison, Dr. MSS., 46J69, 72. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

requested that word be sent to Cahokia and St. Louis. A meeting 
at the Falls of the Ohio was set for January isth.* 

On arriving at the appointed place of meeting, the commis- 
sioners found no one. They suspected that Clark and his officers 
were conspiring to keep the French representatives from them, 
for they learned that the clerk of Kaskaskia, Carbonneaux, and 
the delegates from Vincennes had arrived at the Falls and been 
sent away.^ Whether their suspicions were correct or not it is 
impossible to say. If correct, the attempt was not successful; for 
the commissioners were overtaken at Logan in the spring by 
Winston and Carbonneaux. The latter made an accusation of 
ignorance and neglect of duty against the justices of Kaskaskia. 
He also recommended a stronger government for the country 
and said that some persons were setting themselves up as lords 
of the land. The commissioners believed that he represented 
the better elements of his village, instead of a minority as was the 
case. Winston did not make any deposition at this time. He 
accompanied the commissioners to Richmond, where he died 
in great poverty in the year 1784.^ 

Winston and Carbonneaux were not the only ones to carry 
memorials to the commissioners. On March ist, the members 
of the French party sent off a ten-page petition concerning the 
affairs in the Illinois, in which, although they tried to confine 
themselves to claims for payments, as they had been instructed 
to do by the commissioners, they recur now and then to the hard- 
ships which they had endured. At about the same time another 
memorial, signed by most of the men opposed to Winston, was 
forwarded and in this was given in detail an account of the double 

1 Va. Stale Papers, iii., 327, 389; Kas. Rec, Notice and Letter. 

2 In his journal Colonel Fleming, one of the commissioners, is very outspoken about his 
suspicions. (Dr. MSS., 2ZZ69). From the same journal it is evident that Carbonneaux 
and the delegates from Vincennes were at the Falls in time for the meeting on January 15. 
Winston did not start from Kaskaskia till the 21st of the month and the delegate from Caho- 
kia, Fr. Trottier, left sometime in March. (See post, p. 145). All the representatives were 
at Fort Nelson on March 30th and wrote a letter to Clark from there. {Dr. MSS., soJSo). 

3 The deposition of Carbonneaux is obtained from an extract sent by Walker Daniel to the 
commissioners February 3d in Dr. MSS., 60J3 and Va. State Papers, iii., 430; notice of Wins- 
ton's death in Dr. MSS., 4J37. I regret that I have been unable to see the journal of this board 
of commissioners, which is in the Va. State Lib. Dr. Eckenrode, the state archivist, has fur- 
nished me with a few extracts from it, but there was no way of finding out what would be 
of use to me except by having the three hundred odd pages copied and this I was unable to 
have done. 



INTRODUCTION 

dealing of the county lieutenant, who had told the miHtary officers 
that the French must be ruled by the bayonet while he was urging 
the French to oppose further levies; and the memorialists further 
declared that Winston was responsible for the lawless condition 
which prevailed in the country.^ 

Those who had given freely of their goods for the support of 
the American cause were never to receive full recompense for their 
services. Most of the bills which were presented were finally 
paid by Virginia, but not until they had passed into the hands of 
speculators such as Bentley and Dodge, who had given to the 
original holders a very small percentage of the face value of the 
claims. Later the United States attempted to compensate the 
French people for the losses they had suffered by granting them 
concessions of land; but the delays were so long, their needs 
so pressing, and their foresight so poor that the men to whom 
the grants were made sold them for a song to land-jobbers and 
speculators, long before the difficult land question of Illinois was 
finally settled a generation after the occurrence of the events for 
which the French and others had ruined themselves.^ 

Between the appearance of the Virginia commissioners in 
January, 1783, and that of Colonel Harmar in 1787, the Illinois 
people were almost completely isolated. On account of the de- 
struction of the docimients which would have furnished informa- 
tion on the events of the period, the view we obtain of the men 
and affairs is a very hazy one. This, however, is evident. The 
experience of the Kaskaskians during the years of the American 
occupation had unfitted them to rise to the dignity of self-govern- 
ment and the anarchy only grew worse ; whereas in Cahokia the 
court founded by Todd remained in power and was able to pre- 
serve order. The difference in the destinies of the two villages 
can only be ascribed to the presence of the turbulent frontiersmen 

1 They are both in the Menard Col., Tard. Papers, the first an original MS., the other a 
copy by the clerk. 

1 Amer. State Papers, Pub. Land, passim; Record-Books at Chester, 111. When the United 
States accepted the cession of the Northwest from Virginia, it was agreed to reimburse the 
latter for all claims for necessary supphes to Clark, provaded they were allowed before Sep- 
tember 24, 1788. Many bills were presented and allowed before that time (Winsor, West- 
ward Movement, 247); but many still remained in the hands of the French unpaid. (Smith, 
St. Clair Papers, ii., 168.) 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

in the southern village; for the inhabitants of the villages were 
of the same origin, and their experience had been practically 
identical except for the few years of the Virginia period. 

We have already seen that many traders came into the Illinois 
in the spring of 1779 and others had followed them. Besides 
these several soldiers of the Virginia line made permanent settle- 
ments in the neighborhood. In the summer of 1779, Montgomery 
permitted a number of families to settle, "up the creek about 
thirty miles," and this probably marks the date of the beginning 
of Bellefontaine, the first village of Americans north of the Ohio 
River.^ In 1781, after the abandonment of Fort Jefferson, several 
families which had established themselves around that post 
came to Kaskaskia and some two years later made a stockade 
at Grand Ruisseau, which was under the bluffs at the point where 
the road from Cahokia to Kaskaskia mounts the hills. ^ The 
leading men in these settlements were James Moore, Henry 
and Nicolas Smith, Shadrach Bond, and Robert Watts. The 
number of Americans scattered on the bluffs, in the villages, and 
on the bottom was over one hundred, most of whom were in or 
around Kaskaskia.' 

If order was to be maintained, it was essential that these 
scattered communities should be brought into some relations with 
the covuts of the French villages. On July 9, 1782, while the 
the justices were still holding sessions, fourteen of the Americans 
at Bellefontaine petitioned the covut at Kaskaskia that they be 
permitted to maintain a subordinate court in their village and that 
either some one should be appointed justice of the peace or they 
should be allowed to elect one from among themselves to that 
office; and they expressed a desire to live under the laws of the 
county and to be united with the other villages. This petition was 
granted and an election was held, in which Nicolas Smith received 
ten votes and James Garretson five. The certificate of election 

1 Montgomery to Clark, Dr. MSS., 49J74- 

' Reynold, My Own Times, 59. 

' In a contract with Tardiveau in the summer of that year, there are 130 signatures of 
Americans. 



INTRODUCTION 

was written'by James Moore, who signed himself captain.^ The 
organization of the village of Grand Ruisseau did not take place 
till the year 1786. Since it was in the district of Cahokia, the 
petition was sent to the court sitting in the village of that name. 
On January 2d the Americans were permitted to elect a comman- 
dant, subordinate to the commandant of Cahokia, and to name 
arbitrators to decide disputes, but they were to remain subject 
to the jurisdiction of the court. Robert Watts was appointed 
commandant.^ It was not until the next year that Grand Ruisseau 
received a justice ; but, since the permission to elect such an ofl&cer 
was dependent on events which occurred in Kaskaskia, the 
account will be postponed to the proper place.' 

The submissiveness of the Americans to the Kaskaskia court 
did not last long and in their attempt to gain the control of the 
government, after the abolition of that body by Winston, confusion 
and disorder reached a climax; and anarchy was made more 
complete by the drunkenness, insubordination, and lawlessness 
of the French coureur de bois and the voyageurs. 

Affairs were further complicated by the presence of British 
merchants, who had rushed into the region to captiire the Indian 
trade. The Michillimackinac company, which had a store at 
Cahokia, was particularly conspicuous in this competition. The 
British were able to undersell the inhabitants in their commerce 
with the Indians and, since this deprived the villagers of a trade 
which they thought rightfully belonged to them, it was the cause 
of several complaints.* All the British who appeared in the West 
were not simply traders. The British government, which looked 
with covetous eyes on these rich lands, sent agents into all parts 
to report on the disposition of the people. Some of these, al- 
though not authorized by their government, openly urged 
the French people to unite with England, an issue out of their 

» Kas. Rec, Pol. Papers. 

2 See post, p. 217. 

' See post, p. cxlviii. 

* Papers of Old Cong., xxx., 453, xl.,'ii3; Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii., 174; Edgar to 
Clark, Dr. MSS., ssJsS- 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

troubles which would not have been altogether unacceptable to 
the lUinoisans.^ 

Over this turbulent population the Canadian nobleman, Jac- 
ques Timothe Boucher Sieur de Monbreun, had been appointed 
governor by Winston. He had been born in Boucherville about 
thirty-six years before. While still a young man, he had sought 
his fortune in the West and established himself at Vincennes. 
He there won the confidence of Lieutenant Governor Abbott 
dxiring the latter's short stay in the village and was employed by 
him as a confidential messenger. 2 He had readily united with 
the people of Vincennes in acknowledging the sovereignty of Vir- 
ginia, influenced by the persuasive eloquence of Father Gibault. 
He was appointed lieutenant in the militia of the village, and was 
one of the officers captured by Hamilton, when the British retook 
the place.^ De Monbreun later enlisted in the Illinois battalion 
and received the commission of lieutenant, a position he held with 
honor until the fall of 1782, when the necessities of his family 
compelled him to ask for his discharge and pay. His letters to 
Clark show him to have been a man proud of his lineage and with 
a sensitiveness in matters of honor.* 

Exactly what his party affiliations were, previous to his ap- 
pointment, it is impossible to say. He was connected by marriage 
with the Bauvais family. He ran for office in 1782 and received 
only one vote. His appointment as deputy county lieutenant 
would indicate a close relation to Winston, particularly as the 
other official appointed at this time, the clerk Langlois, is known 
to have been of that party; yet his service in the army would 
show some association with the military party, with which 
Winston does not appear to have been on the best of terms; and 
his later actions connect him closely with John Dodge. Every- 

1 Papers of Old Cong., xli., 113; Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii., loi; this vol., p. 571; Mc- 
Laughlin, "The Western Posts 'and the British Debts," in Annual Report of Amer. Hist. 
Assn., 1894, p. 413; Winsor, Westward Movement, 373; Green, Spanish Conspiracy, ch. 
xviii. 

^Can. Archives, B., 122, p. 103; Tanguay, Diet. Genedogiqiie, i., 71, 73> ii-. 383. 388. 

* Can. Archives, B., 122, p. 234. 

* Letters and certificates of De Monbreun, Dr. MSS., S1J24-26; so'i^o. 



INTRODUCTION 

thing considered, it is probable that his appointment was not 
favored by the French party. 

On January 8, 1783, Winston issued to him the commission 
of deputy county lieutenant and gave him the following instruc- 
tions for his guidance: "On every occasion that shall offer to 
claim your protection in behalf of the people as well as to support 
the cause of the States, you will act in concert with the oldest 
inhabitants in oi'der to consider jointly with them the most proper 
measures to take concerning the affairs which may arise. 

" For your direction I cannot direct you to a better guide than 
the 'Code of Laws and Articles of Right' which his Excellency 
the Governor has sent and which ought to be in the office of the 
court. These you will consult from time to time and mitigate 
as much as possible by the old customs and usages of this country. 
By adding to this your knowledge of jurisprudence you cannot 
fall into error. . . . 

" As there is nothing else which occurs to me to call to your 
attention, I rely on your prudence and experience as to unforeseen 
cases. I wish for you a better success in preserving peace than 
I have had."^ 

The wish was almost ironical, for the conditions in Kaskaskia 
were growng steadily worse rather than better, and for this Win- 
ston was in part to blame. On account of the discontinuance 
of the sessions of the court through Winston's act, the deputy 
county lieutenant no longer had the moral support of the best 
citizens for the preservation of order. For the next few years 
De Monbreun was generally the only judge and at times he is 
satisfied to sign this less pretentious title to his name; but the 
petitions were addressed to him as county lieutenant. It is evident 
that the government in Kaskaskia had reverted to the older 
French type, wherein executive and judicial functions were 
exercised by one man. That there was a great deal of judicial 
business carried on is proved by the numerous petitions and other 
legal documents. The notary, Langlois, also found something 
to do, as is shown by the inventory of instruments drawn up by 

1 Enclosure in Memorial oj Timolhe de Monbreun, Va. State Lib. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

him. In 1783 there were indexed eighty-five titles and in the 
next 3' ear, eighty-seven.' In the year 1784, for a short time, Aimd 
Compte, the last president of the former court, reappeared and 
styled himself, "judge in the village and district of Kaskaskia". 
In a petition of June 16, there is mention of " De Monbreun, the 
late commandant". It is possible that this marks some political 
upheaval which for a time overthrew the deputy lieutenant. 
This may have been due to the assertion of the rights of the 
district against the village, for Aime Compte was from Prairie du 
Rocher; but if that is the explanation, the revolution was not 
successful, for De Monbreun's activities as governor and judge 
can be traced up to the latter half of the year 1786.^ 

Besides attending to the legal afifairs of the district, De Mon- 
breun managed to maintain peaceful relations with the Indians. 
Raids were becoming more frequent and dangerous during these 
years. The county heutenant held several conferences with the 
savages as did the commandants of the other villages. He spent 
the public money and private funds, furnished by himself and 
the militia officers, to satisfy their demands. By these means a 
partial treaty was effected, which in a measure protected the 
Illinois countr\'.^ 

He was also called upon to maintain the honor of the United 
State? against the infringement of her rights by Spain. In 1785 
two deserters from St. Louis took refuge in American Illinois. 
Cruzat, the commandant of St. Louis, seized these upon the soil 
of the United States and carried them back to the Spanish village. 
The action of De Monbreun in the case shows him at his best. 
In a very dignified letter, dated October 12th, he pointed out to 
the Spanish governor of New Orleans the illegality of the act 
and the insult which had been offered to the United States.* 
On the whole, however, the relations between the officials of the 
Spanish possessions and those of the Illinois were most friendly. 

1 Kas. Rec, Inventory. 

^ Kas, Rec, Petitions; Amer. State Papers, Pub. Lands, ii., 206. 

' Memorial of De Monbreun, Va. State Lib.; Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, 315. In 
this last the date has been transcribed incorrectly or some other error has been made, for De 
Monbreun had no civil office in February, 1782. 

* Memorial of De Monbreun, Va. State Lib. 



INTRODUCTION 

Many letters passed between them on a variety of subjects, 
generally of a legal character. In fact, it was the policy of Spain 
at this time to propitiate the French and the Americans of the 
West, in order to persuade them either to revolt against the 
United States and unite with the Spanish colonies or to emigrate 
to the western bank. There has been preserved an interesting 
letter, the motive of which must be found in this policy. Shortly 
before the episode of the Spanish deserters, Cruzat wrote to De 
Monbreun that the merchants of American Illinois might have 
the protection of the Spanish convoy in sending down their mer- 
chandise to New Orleans.^ 

Where De Monbreun failed in his government was where Todd 
and Winston had failed before him, namely in preserving peace 
between the factions. In his memorial to Virginia he has re- 
corded the policy which he adopted, " in quieting the animosities 
between the French Natives and American Settlers." He writes: 
"Without troops to oppose the hostile designs of the savages, 
without any coercive means to keep under subjection a country 
where a number of restless spirits were exciting commotions and 
troubles, the greater circumspection and management became 
necessary, and the Commandant was induced to temporize with 
all parties in order to preserve tranquillity, peace, and harmony 
in the country."^ 

The temporizing of De Monbreun meant that he permitted 
the American settlers, who had found in John Dodge a leader of 
force and ability, to control the village. These men understood 
better than the French the anomalous position of Illinois — no longer 
a part of Virginia and not yet under the control of the United States 
— and took advantage of it. Many of them had obtained con- 
cessions of land from the court and many more from De Mon- 
breun, who was particularly free-handed in making grants.^ It 
is very probable that the Kaskaskia government was not strong 
enough to deny or limit such concessions. A good example of 

1 Memorial oj De Monbreun, Va . State Lib . 

2 Ibid. 

3 Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii., i6p. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

the illegal occupation of land is offered by the case of this same 
John Dodge. He seized the old French fort on the bluffs, and 
fortified it with building materials and two cannon from the 
Jesuit building, known as Fort Clark, and was prepared from 
this vantage ground to defy what was left of the civil government 
in the village ; for the site commanded the defenseless community 
below. ^ For this seizure of public property there was not the 
slightest authority, but no one dared to oppose the act. Dodge 
was so audacious and the fort so favorably situated that his 
influence was unquestioned in the village, and both the deputy 
county lieutenant and the people were compelled to do his bidding.^ 
He was far more successful than Winston in building up a party 
among the French by persuasion and intimidation. One of the 
former judges, Nicolas Lachance, became his chief supporter, and 
several of the others appeared ready to follow his lead. From 
the glimpses v/e obtain of the French people, they appear to have 
acknowledged the supremacy of the strongest and to have cringed 
in a most unmanly manner before the energetic American, or as 
a writer to Congress at a later time says: "But seeing they 
could not give any information of their unfortunate condition 
and consequently obtain any redress, they began the most shame- 
full slavery, by flattering their Tyrant and serving him in the 
most humiliating manner.'" Dodge, in turn, bullied the people, 
struck them with his sword, insulted them, and fought with them.'' 

^Papers of Old Cong., xl\'iii., 19; this vol., p. 569. The occupation of the fort on the 
bluSs by Dodge caused the old fort in the Jesuit building, which was Icnown as Fort Gage 
under the British and Fort Clark under the Virginians, to be forgotten, and the villagers 
came to speak of the former as the fort, so that men like Mann Butler and John Reynolds, 
coming later to Kaskaskia, supposed that it was the Fort Gage captured by Clark in 1778 
and thus caused a controversy, curious if not very profitable, over the site of the fort and 
Clark's maneuvers. (Butler, Ilisl. oj. Kentucky, 52; Reynolds, Pioneer Hist., 72; for 
the history of controversy, see Winsor, Nar. and Cril. Hist., vi., 719, note i.) 

^Papers of Old Cong^ ixx., 463; xlviii., 19. 

' Ibid, xlviii., 13. 

* The fullest information in regard to Dodge is contained in the petitions to Congress of 
the year 1787. These were written by that faction of the French party which remained un- 
reconciled after the visit to Kaskaskia of Colonel Harmar. (See post, p. cxxxvii.) The writers 
were Father de la Valiniere and the clerk, Pierre Langlois. They exhibit such hostility and 
animosity against Dodge that their testimony should be suspected, were not some of the 
facts mentioned by them supported by other witnesses. Governor St. Clair wrote in 1790 
that: "The Illinois regiment being disbanded a set of men pretending the authority of 
Virginia, embodied themselves and a scene of general depdreation and plunder ensued." 
(Antfr. State Papers, Pub. Lands, i., 20.) The whole French party united on June 2, 1786, 
in a petition to Congress in which they made charges against Dodge similar to those of De 



INTRODUCTION 

The people found difficulty in making their condition known ; 
for Dodge was powerful and had many friends, so that his story 
was generally believed. He himself drew up a petition to Congress 
in June, 1784, asking that Illinois be created an independent 
state, and found seventeen French inhabitants to sign it, most 
of whom belonged to the least inteUigent of the community; 
eight were unable to sign their names, one was a woman, and of 
the other eight, only four had held office. They were not even 
all from Kaskaskia; one was an inhabitant of Vincennes, and 
the names of several of the others do not appear in any list of 
French inhabitants of the Ilhnois. The other signatures were 
those of Americans.^ The French party, a few months later, 
appointed Major Lebrun called Belcour to present their griev- 
ances to Congress. Petitions were prepared in both Cahokia 
and Kaskaskia, but Dodge " prophetsyed, concerning him, be 
certain he shall never bear the west coat that he asketh. " This 
prophesy was fulfilled, for the bearer of the petitions was killed 
on his way east near the Falls of the Ohio.^ A copy of the peti- 
tion from Cahokia finally reached Congress, but not until it had 
been somewhat disguised and changed.' 

Dodge maintained his ascendency in the village until 1786, 
in which year the inhabitants became thoroughly aroused and 
finally succeeded in overthrowing this representative of "Greek 
tyranny." The initial impetus to this action probably came 
from George Rogers Clark, who had always entertained a poor 
opinion of Dodge. In a letter he wrote to Congress in May, 
recommending that body to establish a government in the 



la Valiniere but without so many details. (Papers of Qld Cong., xli., 1 13 ; see posi, p. ccxx) In 
the placard of Commissioner Janis (See post, p. 495) there is an unmistakable reference to the 
seizure of building material from Fort Clark. In the record of the court held by De Mon- 
breun the influence of E)odge is very evident and that in a case mentioned by De la Valiniere. 
{Kas. Rec, Court Record). Several papers in a suit brought by Madame Bentley against Dodge, 
give witness of his violence. (Kas. Rec.) There should be added to these the succession of 
events which occurred after the departure of Dodge and his later attack on John Edgar. (See 
post,p.cx\n.) For these reasons it seems proper to accept the testimony of the leaders of the 
smaller faction as that which would have been given by the prominent Frenchmen at an 
earlier date, had they had occasion to write about the same events. 

• Papers of Old Cong., xn., 435. 

* Ibid, xlviii., 19. 

' See post, pp. 567 el seq. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Illinois, he says that he had advised the French to revive 
their former magistracy.^ There is nothing to show, however, that 
any steps were taken in Kaskaskia at that time ; but an opportunity 
was afforded shortly afterwards by the presence of Joseph Parker 
to send a communication to Congress.^ On the 2d of June a very 
earnest petition was drawn up asking for an immediate govern- 
ment, because of the wrongs the inhabitants were suffering from 
the British merchants, who threatened to take the country under 
the law of that nation, and who were supported by John Dodge 
and Nicolas Lachance. These last had made themselves com- 
mandants and were acting most tyrannically.^ With this petition 
they sent a copy of the one which had been written by the Caho- 
kians in 1784, but which had never reached its destination. This 
was now somewhat altered so as to give it the appearance of 
being also directed against Dodge.* 

The petition from the French party was read in Congress on the 
23d of August and caused that body to change its action, after 
it had supposed that two petitions from the French had already 
been considered. The first had been presented by Carbonneaux, 
former clerk and follower of Richard Winston, and had asked for 
some one with powers to govern;^ the second was the petition 
prepared by Dodge on June 22, 1784, which, being accompanied 
by a letter from the county lieutenant, De Monbreun, had an 
oflScial appearance. Action had been taken on these two in 
February and March, 1785, and it had been decided to send a 
commissioner to investigate titles, to have magistrates elected, and 
to reform the militia ; but for some reason no commissioner was 
sent." On December 28, 1788, three years later, the secretary called 
the attention of Congress to this omission, but the needs, for 
which the commissioner was to have been appointed, had already 

■ Papers oj Old Cong., Ivi., 279. 

* I have found nothing concerning Parker. 
' Papers oj Old Cong., xli., 113. 

* See Post, p. 569. 

• Papers oj Old Cong, xxx ,453. 

• Ibid, XXX, 431., 483 



INTRODUCTION 

been supplied by the ordinance of 1787 and the appointment of 
Governor St. Clair.^ 

Upon the receipt of this third petition, Congress instructed 
its secretary to inform the inhabitants that " Congress have un- 
der their consideration the plan of a temporary government and 
that its adoption would not be longer protracted than the import- 
ance of the subject and a due regard to their interest may 
require." ^ In accordance with instructions the secretary sent the 
message, employing as messenger the same Parker by whom the 
Kaskaskians had sent their petition. 

During this critical period the French party received an impor- 
tant addition. For some years the only priest in the region had 
been Father Gibault, whose assistance to Clark has made his name 
so well known in the West. He had taken up his permanent 
residence in Vincennes, and therefore the churches in the 
American Bottom were neglected.^ Gibault had been sent by the 
bishop of Quebec, and his right to exercise his duties still rested 
on that earlier appointment. But now the Catholic Church of 
the United States had received a head in the person of the Prefect- 
Apostolic John Carroll, whose jurisdiction was extended to the 
Mississippi valley. The first priest sent by him to this district 
was the wandering Carmelite, Father St. Pierre, who undertook 
the charge of the parish in Cahokia in 1785 and continued there 
until 1789.'* Sometime in the summer of 1786 the Rev. Pierre 
Huet de la Valiniere arrived at Kaskaskia with an appointment 
as vicar general of the Illinois.^ He was the kind of man needed 
to draw the French out of the stupid timidity into which they had 

1 Papers of Old Cong., clxxx., ii. 

2 Journals of Congress, iv., 688. 
' Shea, Archbishop Carroll, 469. 

* Ibid, 272; this volume, pp.630, n. 78, 259, 269, 393. 

^ Amer. Calh. Hist. Researches, New Ser., ii., No. 3. In this magazine the editor, Mr 
GriflSn, has published the most important papers on the life of De la Valiniere, where may 
be found the various disputes between him and the other priests. It is impossible to dis- 
cuss them here, but Gibault claimed to be vicar general under his appointment by the bishop 
of Quebec and was unwilling to acknowledge the superiority of the new appointee. The 
matter was peaceably adjusted by the Canadian bishop withdrawing his jurisdiction from 
this region. (Shea, Archbishop Carroll, 466.) De la Valiniere entered into a dispute with 
Father St. Pierre also, but the latter was supported by the Cahokians, who appealed to the 
bishop of Quebec. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

fallen. By nature he was impulsive and erratic, but full of en- 
thusiasm for any cause to which he had given himself. In the 
year 1779 he had been expelled from Canada for his open espousal 
of the American cause ;^ later he came to the United States and 
served at Philadelphia and at New York. He was now sent to 
a region where his peculiar talents would have an immediate 
effect, and, since the French regarded him as a representative of 
the United States, to which the Illinois now belonged, his advice 
carried great weight.^ It was undoubtedly his example and 
inspiration that encouraged the French to continue their resis- 
tance to the tyranny of Dodge. 

Before the return of the messenger who had carried their 
petition to Congress the French people had themselves taken steps 
to gain control of their civil government. They first brought 
about, in July, the appointment of Maturin Bouvet of St. Philippe 
as civil and criminal judge. On August 14th Timothe de Mon- 
breun, who had supported Dodge, resigned his office of deputy 
county lieutenant and appointed in his place a man who had 
consistently supported the French party, Jean Baptiste Barbau 
of Prairie du Rocher.^ It is noticeable that neither of the two 
newly appointed officers was a Kaskaskian. 

Barbau was a man well advanced in years, when he was called 
upon to lead the French in their struggle for political liberty. 
In 1746, when he married his first wife, he was over twenty-five, 
so that in the year 1786 he must have passed his sixty-fifth 
birthday. His parents were not Canadians, but had come directly 
from France to New Orleans, where he was probably born.^ 

The long expected reply from Congress was brought to Kas- 
kaskia by Joseph Parker in January, 1787. The people were 
eager to learn its contents, and sent in haste to Barbau at Prairie 

1 Hald. to Bish. of Quebec, Can. Archives, B., 66, i6i. 

'Shea, Archbishop Carroll, 145; Amer. Calh. Hist. Researches, New Ser., ii., No. 3. 

3 Kas. Rec, Pelitions; Memorial oj De Monbreun, Va. State Lib. De Monbreun remained 
only a short time in Kaskaskia after laying down his office. The records show him still 
there in 1787, but after that he appears no more. He went to Tennessee and at an advanced 
age died in Nashville in 1826. He had accumulated considerable property which he left to 
his children. (Chester Probate Records, March 19, 1827, Randolph County.) 

* Marriage contract, Cah. Rec. in, Belleville, 111. 



INTRODUCTION 

du Rocher that he might come and open it. But the deputy 
county lieutenant being ill and unable to come gave his permis- 
sion to the clerk to read the communication to the inhabitants.^ 
There must have been some disappointment felt when they heard 
that the government for which they had so ardently hoped was 
not yet to be established, but was still to be determined upon. 
However, they had succeeded in communicating with Congress, 
which was some consolation. 

At aknost the same time an emissary appeared from a different 
quarter. George Rogers Clark had, during the fall of the pre- 
vious year, led a force of Kentucky militiamen, without the au- 
thority of the United States, against the Indians in the Northwest 
territory. He then decided to garrison Vincennes, and now sent 
John Rice Jones to buy provisions in the Illinois, where some of 
the merchants had promised him assistance.^ The name of 
Clark had always been honored by the French, for they still 
remembered the kind but firm rule they had enjoyed during that 
year when he held not only the military but the civil authority. 
They were therefore easily persuaded that Clark and this agent 
represented the United States. Jones was well received and his 
purchases were guaranteed by a prominent American merchant, 
John Edgar, whose relations with the French were far more 
kindly than those of his fellow countrymen.^ 

Dodge, who had never forgiven Clark for his suspicions, and 

1 The letter from Barbau is torn so that there remains of the date only the year and 
"anvier." Kas. Rec, Letters. 

2 For the expedition of Clark see Winsor, Westward Movement, 27$ «'• •S'?-; Secret Jour- 
nals of Cong., iv., 313, but see also pp. 301 et seq. 

^Papers oj Qld Cong., xlviii., 19. John Edgar was bom in Belfast, Ireland, of Scotch- 
Irish parents. During the years 1772-1775, he commanded a British vessel on Lakes Huron 
and Erie. He then went into business at Detroit, where he was arrested on August 24, 1778, 
for corresponding with the Americans, and remained in prison until 1781, when he escaped. 
He had learned while in prison of the treasonable correspondence of the Vermonters with the 
British government and by giving information concerning it won the confidence of Wash- 
ington, George Clinton, and Congress. In 1784 he went to Kaskaskia to establish himself 
in trade. The trying years which followed almost drove him to cross to the Spanish bank; 
but with the coming of Governor St. Clair conditions became better and he was appointed 
to important positions under the new government. For twenty-five years he held the office 
of justice of the Court of Common Pleas. During this time he purchased many of the land 
claims of the French for a few dollars and in the course of years became the richest land 
owner of the American Bottom. In 1798 Congress voted him 2240 acres of land in considera- 
tion of his losses in Canada during the Revolutionary War. He died in 1830. Roberts, 
Life and Times oj General John Edgar, Address in MS. to be printed in Transactions of 111. 
Hist. Soc, for 1907; Amer. State Papers, Pub. Lands, passim; see post, p. cxlii. et seq. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

who, in this case, had right on his side, since Clark was acting 
in a most illegal manner in invading the territory of the United 
States, opposed the collection of supplies by Jones and was 
powerful enough to prevent any sales. Jones went to Vincennes, 
however, and returned with troops. The narrator's account of 
what then occurred is interesting. "Mr Jones seemed a fine 
gentleman who caused no hurt to any body, but entered in the 
above said fort on the hill occupied by John Dodge, he 
threatened him to cast him out from it if he continued to be con- 
trary to America, as he was before, he stood there some days 
with his troops, during which time the wheat had been delivered 
peaceably and no body has been hurted."^ 

With the rising anger of the French and the promised assist- 
ance of Clark, Dodge began to feel that his position was becoming 
a dangerous one. He therefore collected his property and some- 
time in the spring crossed to the Spanish side, leaving a farmer 
to guard the fort and such of his possessions as he left there. 

With the departure of Dodge all difficulties were by no means 
overcome. Since the expected authority from Congress to form a 
government did not arrive, the people began to clamor for some 
immediate form of judiciary, and they naturally turned to the 
government which had been established by John Todd. They 
knew no other nor was there any semblance of legality to be found 
except in the revival of their former civil organization. The 
final decision to revive the court came from the people and not 
from the county lieutenant, who, however, when consulted gave 
his unqualified approval.^ 

The clamors of the Americans, who numbered over one hun- 
dred, were heeded in this new establishment and they were given 
the franchise. Unfortunately for the French party the new- 
comers were more famihar with the use of the ballot, and by con- 
centrating their votes were able to elect three of their own number 
to office. These were Henry Smith, John McElduff , and Thomas 
Hughes. The other three candidates elected were Antoine 

' De la Valiniere in Papers oj Old Cong., xlviii., ig. 
* Barbau to Langlois, May 2, Kas. Rec, Letters. 



INTRODUCTION 

Bauvais, Franfois Corset, and J. Bte. Bauvais.* These last had 
all held office before. Henry Smith was made president of the 
court. He was about fifty years old, and had come from Virginia 
to Illinois in 1780 and settled at Belief ontaine. 

The first session was held on June 5, 1787, probably without 
the presence of the French justices, who were not willing to admit 
Americans to the bench. At this session no business was trans- 
acted.^ On the 7th of July the French justices posted on the 
door of the church a memorial addressed to the people, in which 
they set forth their objections to serving on the same bench with 
the Americans. The chief difficulties they raised were the im- 
possibility of the American and French judges understanding 
each other and the hopelessness of finding an interpreter capable 
of successfully performing his duties. The protest contained 
their definitive decision, and the two parties were compelled to 
separate. The result was that the Americans outside the village 
were turned adrift, and Bellefontaine, from this time, ceased to 
belong to the Kaskaskia district.' An agreement was drawn up 
the day after the protest, in which the signers promised that the 
court should remain French as it had been constituted by John 
Todd, and that the Frenchmen receiving the next largest number 
of votes should be added to the Hst of judges. These were Vitale 
Bauvais, Nicolas Lachance, and Louis Brazeau. The number 
of signatures was not large, but the presence of John Edgar's 
name gave some promise that his influence would be thrown on 
the side of peace.* The presence of the three members of the 

1 Certificate of election by Barbau, Kas. Rec. I prefer to explain the composition of 
the court as above rather than to regard it as the result of agreement, because tne protest 
of the French justices, noted below, would have been made before rather than after the elec- 
tion, if there had been any agreement to divide the court between>the two classes of inhabi 
ants. 

' Mason, John Todd's Record-Booh, 308; Kas., Rec, Petitions. The government thus 
revived is probably the one to which Colonel Harmar refers, when he writes: "There have 
been some imposters before Congress particularly one Parker, a whining, canting Methodist, 
a kind of would be governor." (Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii., 35.) In a petition to Congress 
written by Tardiveau, who favored the American party in the Illinois, it is said: "That 1. 
simple report of a committee of Congress recommending the situation of the Ilhnois country 
has been by some designing persons palmed upon them for a frame of government actually 
estabUshed." Papers oj Old Cong., xlviii., 209. 

» See post, p. cxlviii.; In Mason, John Todd' s Record-Book, 312, there appears a jury trial 
attended by several Americans from Bellefontaine. They were probably called in on account 
of an insufficiency of Americans in the village to form a jury. 

* Both papers in Kas. Rec. The record of the sessions of this court may be found in the 
back of John Todd's Record-Book, 308 et seq. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Bauvais family among the justices may be explained by the fact 
that few important French families had remained in Kaskaskia 
during these trying years, for the majority had preferred to seek 
refuge under the Spanish government. 

The question of the court had hardly been settled, when Col- 
onel Harmar, who commanded in the Northwest, appeared in the 
village with some United States troops. He had been sent to 
the Illinois to make a general inspection of conditions, particu- 
larly to put an end to the anarchy at Vincennes due to Clark's 
garrison, and arrived at Kaskaskia on the 17th of August.^ He 
was accompanied by Barthelemi Tardiveau, a French mercantile 
adventurer, who had had relations with the Kentucky separa- 
tists 2 and was a personal friend of John Dodge, with whose bro- 
ther he had lived at the Falls of the Ohio.^ Tardiveau had very 
little knowledge of the conditions existing in the Illinois other 
than what he had learned from the Dodges; but Harmar was 
persuaded that he was the best informed man in the country and 
made him his interpreter and chief adviser.* Dodge returned 
to his fort above Kaskaskia where he entertained the colonel, 
whose associates from this time were almost exclusively members of 
the Dodge party. Even after Harmar had visited the orderly 
village of Cahokia, his opinion of the French still remained some- 
what affected by the influence of these men, so that he reported : 
"I have to remark that all these people are entirely unacquainted 
with what the Americans call liberty. Trial by jury etc. they are 
strangers to. A commandant with a few troops to give them 

» Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii., 22, note, 30 et seg. 

2 Roosevelt, Winning of the West, pt. v., ch. i. I have found several notices of Tardiveau 
to prove his importance in the development of the West, but such notices are so disconnected 
that almost nothing can be said of his life. He lived for a time in Holland and was later engaged 
in the fur trade at Louisville, before 1786. His influence with Governor St. Clair was as great 
as with Harmar, and he was appointed colonel of mihtia and judge of probate of bt. Clair 
County. (Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii ., 165.) He evidently did not remain long on the Amencan 
side, for he was shortlv afterwards at New Madrid and engaged in the Mississippi trade with 
Pierre Menard and others. This enterprise failed. {Menard Col., Tard. Papers:) In i793. 
he was associated with Genet's scheme and was appointed chief interpreter. He died betore 
1800. 

* Papers of Old Cong., .xlviii., 13. 

* Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii., 31, 35. 



INTRODUCTION 

orders is the best form of government for them; it is what they 
have been accustomed to." ^ 

Although the majority of the French were ready to accept 
without question any disposition that might be made of them, 
some members of their party were by no means satisfied with the 
course of events. The leader of this faction was the Vicar General 
Huet de la Valiniere. His most important follower was the 
clerk, Pierre Langlois, who had been an adherent of Richard 
Winston and was an irreconcilable enemy of John Dodge. The 
priest, however, had lost all influence over the French by his own 
tyrannical methods. His was a nature to make enemies, and 
during the past year by his close adherence to the canonical law 
and his harsh and personal attacks in his sermons against individ- 
uals he had managed to stir up every community of the American 
Bottom against him.^ He and his associates were not willing to 
give up the old issues against the Americans, and were particularly 
exasperated that Tardiveau, a friend of John Dodge, should be 
the spokesman for the villagers ; for said they, " that frenchman 
who speaketh easily the English language is come lately here with 
Col. Harmar whom he inspired with sentiments very dififerent from 
those which we could expect from a gentleman in his place. He 
deceived him in their way as he was himself deceived. He made 
him stay, live and dwell only in the houses of friends of Dodge, he 
accompanied him everywhere like his interpreter, but he could 
not show him the truth being himself ignorant of it, he gave 
allways an evil idea to every word proceeding from those who 
Dodge thought to be his enemies." ^ Tardiveau could not ignore 
this attack and declared that Langlois was opposed to any change 
in the regulations made by Todd. To justify himself Langlois, 
accompanied by the priest, presented himself before Colonel 
Harmar and said : " We desire and expect every day one regula- 
tion from the honl Congress, but now till it may come, having none, 

• Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii., 32. A further proof of the influence of Dodge is given by 
Harmar's unfavorable opinion of Parker, who had carried the message of the French party to 
Congress. Harmar writes that he was very "unpopular and despised by the inhabitants." 
{Ibid, ii., 35.) 

' See papers printed in Amer. Cath. Hisl. Researches, New Ser., ii., No. 3. 

* Papers of Old Cong., xlviii., 19. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

we did by common consent aggree to keep the same brought by 
Mr Todd, till the other may come, and Mr Tardiveau would do 
better to deceive not others as he is deceived himself." Thenarra- 
tive continues : "Afterward the same Mr Langlois having shown 
the above said proofs against John Dodge who was present, the 
said Dodge was so much angry that in the presence of the Lieu- 
tenant Makidoul [Ensign McDowell] with several others in the 
yard he did cast himself upon the said Mr Langlois and putting 
his fingers in his eyes and hair he would have made him blind, 
if the officer had not cryed against him."^ 

Harmar did not care to become mixed up in the local quarrel, 
which he probably regarded as beneath his notice, and gave his 
support to the government which had been established, so far as 
to tell the inhabitants to obey their magistrates.^ Dodge, how- 
ever, felt that the victorv' belonged to him, and after the departure 
of the troops assembled his friends in his fort and "fyred four 
times each of his great canons, beating the drums etc." 

Harmar brought discouraging news to the American settlers, 
who had received land grants from the deputy county lieu- 
tenants and courts. They were informed that such titles had 
no legal value, since Congress had forbidden settlements on 
the north side of the Ohio.^ This affected the villages of 
Bellefontaine and Grand Ruisseau. In this condition Tardi- 
veau saw his opportunity. He agreed with the settlers to repre- 
sent their case before Congress and obtain for each of them a 
concession of land, in consideration of one tenth of all land thus 
granted. The agreement was signed by one hundred and thirty 
Americans. He also represented to the French that their suffer- 
ings merited payment in land and offered to obtain for each of 
them a grant of five hundred acres on the same terms. The 
French had begun to learn the American habit of speculating in 
land, at least they thought they saw their opportunity to imitate 
that example, and most of them took advantage of the offer. In 

' Papers of Old Cong., xlnii., ig. 
'Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii., 32. 
*lbii,zi. 



INTRODUCTION 

all fifty-three signed the contract at Kaskaiskia, as did also the 
most representative citizens of Cahokia. To Pierre Langlois 
this act seemed to be a surrender to the enemy and he realized 
that the French would never reap the benefit, as in fact they did 
not, for the majority were too indolent to cultivate the ground 
they already possessed. He therefore wrote a letter to Con- 
gress saying that the French had been deceived and were not in 
need of that form of relief.^ 

For the next year Tardiveau deluged Congress with petitions. 
They were long wordy affairs full of glittering generalities and 
flowery phrases. He had been given copies of all the previous 
petitions and other important papers, and out of these he 
wove a story to soften the hearts of the congressional dele- 
gates; but he was careful not to mention names or particular 
events of the last few years, for his constituents were of 
all the parties which had divided Illinois politics, and he 
wished to obtain lands for all. He painted the French as living 
in Arcadian simplicity^ guided only by the dictates of con- 
science and innocently bowing to the hardships thrust upon them, 
but through all their troubles retaining an unbounded faith in the 
goodness of Congress and a faithfulness to the American cause. 
The Americans he pictured as making settlements with all faith 
in the power of the courts to grant land, and as being greatly sur- 
prised at the illegality of the titles thus obtained. He allowed 
himself to speak against Clark and his officers who, on account of 
the recent attack on the Indians and the garrisoning of Vincennes, 
were in little favor.^ He found that George Morgan and his 
associates were attempting to obtain a grant of land for a colony 
in the same region and protected the interests of his constituents 
from them.^ 

Tardiveau was successful in arousing an interest in the French 
and gaining for them grants of land. Between the years 1788 and 
1 791 three laws were passed, either by the Continental Congress 

1 Papers of Old Cong, xlviii., 89. 

*See his petitions in Papers of Old Cong, xlvii., 119, 123, 209; xli., 275- 

' Papers of Old Cong., xlviii., 89 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

or the Congress of the United States, by which four hundred 
acres were given to every head of a family living in the villages 
in the year 1783, and a hundred acres to those enlisted in the 
militia in 1790; to satisfy the Americans they were granted titles 
to lands which had been taken up under concessions of a sup- 
posed authority and which had been improved.^ The history 
of these land grants belongs to a later era ; for twenty years were 
to pass before the many difficulties arising out of them were 
settled. Sufl&cient for our purpose is the fact that very few of 
the petitioners or their famihes were benefited by the concessions, 
for, long before the claims were settled, the rights of the original 
grantees were purchased by American land speculators. That 
story is but a continuation of the present one, the supplanting 
of the French by the more virile Anglo-Saxons.^ 

While Tardiveau was thus representing the misfortunes of the 
Illinois to Congress, the Court which had been founded with 
such hopes had, after a short period of innocuous existence, passed 
away.^ The French of Kaskaskia were not experienced enough 
to inaugurate a new movement after the events of the past years. 
Had they been left to themselves they might have succeeded as 
well as the Cahokians with self government ; but their spirit had 
been broken, and their natural leaders had taken refuge on the 
Spanish shore. Influenced by the example of the Americans, 
the French themselves gave no obedience to the court which they 
had established. In 1789 John Edgar summed up the character 
of the people of Kaskaskia in these words : " It is in vain to expect 
an obedience to any Regulations, however salutary in a place 
where every one thinks himself master, & where there is not the 
least degree of subordination. You know better than I, the 
dispositions of a people who have ever been subject to a military 
power, & are unacquainted with the blessings of a free govern- 
ment by the voice of their equals. To the commands of a Superior 

1 A good account of these laws is given by E. G. Mason in Chi. Hist. Soc. Col., iv., 192 
et seq.; see also Amer. Slate Papers Pub. Lands, ii., 124. 

'In Chester 111. there are several record books containing the record of these sales of 
claims. The prices paid for each four hundred acres range from fifteen dollars upwards. 

' Mason, John Todd's Record-Book, 313. 



INTRODUCTION 

there are no people readier to obey ; but without a superior there 
are none more difficult to be governed."^ 

The end of the court was without doubt hastened by the 
charge of illegality of its decisions made by theKentuckians,who 
refused to recognize any civil organization in Illinois, saying 
that under the act of Congress, neither the people nor the com- 
manding officer was authorized to appoint magistrates.^ This 
reference is to the "Ordinance of 1787", which created a govern- 
ment for the Northwest and under which ordinance Arthur St. 
Clair was appointed governor in 1788; but, since the effects of 
this act were not extended to the Illinois till the spring of 1790, 
the people were without other authority than that which resided 
in themselves and were for the moment weakened by the ordi- 
nance itself, since it annulled all other jurisdiction than that which 
might be established in accordance with its decrees. 

The history of the " Ordinance of 1787 " does not fall, however, 
within the limits of this Introduction; but in one point it was to 
affect the Illinois seriously and immediately. It prohibited 
slavery in the Northwest. As soon as this was learned, the French 
supposed that the slaves which they had always owned would be 
set at liberty. This fear was used by the Spaniards to draw the 
inhabitants of American Illinois to their territory as settlers. In 
1788 George Morgan, who was, as we have seen, well known in 
the lands on the Mississippi, was attempting to make a settlement 
at New Madrid. He had been disappointed in obtaining a grant 
of land for a settlement on the American side and so accepted the 
offer of the Spanish government for a large tract on the western 
bank.^ He advertised extensively the advantages of the colony, 
where he had been accorded religious toleration and the free 
navigation of the Mississippi. One of the arguments he used was 
the action of Congress in making the land of the Northwest free 
soil. He attracted many French and Americans by this means 
in spite of the efforts of Tardiveau and Major Hamtranck, com- 

> Edgar to Hamtranck Dr. MSS., 2W124-142. 

* Hamtranck to Harmar November 11, 1789, Dr. MSS., 2W134-142. This was said 
of the court of Post Vincennes, but was equally true of Kaskaskia. 

' Winsor, Westward Movement, 366. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

manding at Post Vincennes, who tried to stop the emigration by 
assuring the French that Congress had no intention of freeing the 
slaves akeady owned in the territory, an interpretation of the 
ordinance which St. Clair later confirmed.^ 

Another cause of the emigration at this time was the danger 
to life and property from the Indians. Several tribes of the North- 
west were on the warpath and had ceased to spare the villages, 
as they had previously been inclined to do, when the attachment 
of the French to the Americans was uncertain. The Miami, the 
Wabash, the Kickapoos, and the Pottawattamies were all accounted 
enemies and had made attacks on the unprotected settlements.^ 
The villages in the Illinois suffered most, however, from the Pianke- 
shaws of the Spanish bank, who were incited by the Spaniards 
to burn and murder until the inhabitants should be forced to take 
refuge under the Spanish government. A writer from Kaskaskia 
says: "It is well known that the minds of the Indians are con- 
tinually poisoned by the traders on the other side, who set off 
America in the most despicable light possible, which has not a 
small influence with the Indians. Government may not encourage 
it, but surely if friends to us they ought to put a stop to it."^ On 
October 8, 1789, John Dodge, who was glad enough of an oppor- 
tunity to revenge himself, led a band of these Indians and some 
whites into the village of Kaskaskia and attempted to carry off 
some slaves belonging to John Edgar, the most prominent and 
one of the last Americans to cling to that village. Although he 
failed, the lives of Edgar, his wife, and John Rice Jones were 
for a time in the greatest danger.^ 

It is possible that the Spanish government did not send out 
such expeditions as that led by Dodge, yet the purpose accom- 
plished by such a policy was in accordance with the instructions 
from the government, if we are to believe the report of Chouteau, 



£?• • Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii., 103, 117, i22,"i76;l Dawson to Governor Randolph, January 
ap, 1780, Va. Slate Papers, iv., sS4; Hamtramck to Hamiar, March and August, 1789, 
Dr. MSS., 2W17, 70. 

' Hamtramck to Harmar, Dr. MSS., 2W17, 39. 

* Edgar to Hamtramck, October 28, 1789, Dr. MSS., 2W124-142. 

*Ibid. 



INTRODUCTION 

who informed Edgar that "orders had been received from New 
Orleans by the Lieut. Gov*" of St. Louis, for him to make every 
difficulty possible with the people of this side, so that they might 
thereby be forced to go to live on the other. "^ That they might 
be induced to change their allegiance. Governor Miro issued a 
proclamation offering land gratis and other attractions to all new 
comers.^ 

A further means of inducing immigration was the enticement 
of the French priests to the Spanish side. Father Le Dru, who 
had succeeded De la Valiniere at Kaskaskia, Father St. Pierre at 
Cahokia, and later Father Gibault were persuaded to take parishes 
in the Spanish territory. The cause mentioned was not the only 
one which affected the priests ; for they found the French of the 
American Bottom very indifferent about rehgion and both unable 
and unwilling to pay tithes, thus making it impossible for the 
priests to live among them.^ 

The result of the hardships which the French had endured 
during these years and the long deferred fulfilment of their 
dreams of peace and independence was a striking decrease in the 
population of Kaskaskia. We have seen that in 1778, when 
George Rogers Clark occupied the village, there were about five 
hundred white inhabitants.* In 1783 there were 194 heads of 
families. As thirty-nine of these were newly arrived Americans, 
the figures apparently prove that the French population had re- 
mained about stationary.^ By the census of 1787, there were 
191 male inhabitants in the village.^ Counting 150 women and 
female children, which is probably too high an estimate for a 
frontier community, the population was about 341, which would 
mean a decided decrease. The period of the greatest emigra- 
tion occurred between the years 1787 and 1790, when anarchy 
reached its climax in Kaskaskia, and the Spaniards were holding 

* Jones to Hamtramck, October 29, 1-S9, Dr. MSS., 2W124-142. 
s Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii., 122. 

3 Jones to Hamtramck, October 29, 1789, Dr. MSS., 2W124-142. 

* See supra p. xvi. 

* Mason, Early Illinois Citizens, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 198 et seq. 
* Papers of Old Cong., xlviii., 181. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

out the greatest inducements to settlers on the western bank of 
the river. There has been preser\'ed a list of the male inhabi- 
tants in Kaskaskia for the year 1790, in which the heads of 
families are enumerated. The number is 44.^ This is a de- 
crease of over 77 per cent in the French population of the village 
since 1783. This Hst is interesting on account of the names which 
are missing. Almost all the men who had been leaders of the 
French people throughout the period of the county of Illinois 
were no longer residents of Kaskaskia. We look in vain for the 
names of Cerre, Vitale, J. Bte., and Antoine Bauvais, Corset, 
Lasource, the elder Charlevilles, Morin, De Monbreun, Langlois, 
Levasseur, Lafont, Carbonneaux. They have crossed the river 
to seek peace and safety under the flag of Spain. 

The picture of the village of Kaskaskia as described by its 
people in these last days in a petition to Major Hamtramck is one 
of utter misery and despair. They wrote: " Our horses, horned 
cattle & corn are stolen & destroyed without the power of making 
any effective resistance: Our houses are in ruins & decay; 
our lands are uncultivated; debtors absconded and absconding, 
our little commons destroyed. We are aprehensive of a dearth of 
corn and our best prospects are misery and distress, or what is 
more probable an untime}' death by the hands of the savages. 

"W^e are well convinced that all these misfortunes have be- 
fallen us for want of some Superior or Commanding authority; 
for ever since the cession of this territor\' to Congress we have 
been neglected as an abandoned people, to encounter all the 
difficulties that are always attendant upon anarchy and confusion, 
neither did we know from authority until latterly, to what power 
we were subject. The greater part of our citizens have left the 
country on this account to reside in the Spanish dominions ; others 
are now following, and we are fearful, nay certain, that without 
your assistance, the small remainder will be obliged to follow 
their example." ^ 

In the foregoing petition the people begged Major Hamtramck 

1 Mason, Early Illinois Citizens, Chi. Hist. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 209. 
• Dr. MSS., 2WI24-I42. 



INTRODUCTION . 

to send twenty soldiers with an officer to maintain order and to 
give them authority to establish a civil government. The peti- 
tion was accompanied by a letter from John Edgar, who promised 
to furnish barracks and supplies for the soldiers at the very lowest 
price until the governor could make other arrangements.^ This 
Hamtramck had no authority to do, nor could he afford to send 
the men; but he forwarded the petition, and so far exceeded 
his powers as to authorize the formation of courts of justice. 
These were never established, since justices without troops would 
have no means of enforcing the law. 

The trials of the last year broke the courage of John Edgar, who 
had realized the possible greatness of the territory-, and had used 
his influence to promote peace and to bring a government to the 
disordered and disheartened village. In November, 1789, he 
wrote: "The Spring it is possible I can stand my ground, sur- 
rounded as we are by Savage enemies. I have waited five years 
in hopes of a Government; I shall wait until March, as I may 
be able to withstand them in the winter season, but if no succour 
nor government should then arrive, I shall be compelled to aban- 
don the country, & I shall go to live at St. Louis. Inclination, 
interest & love for the country prompt me to reside here, but 
when in so doing it is ten to one but both my hfe & property will 
fall a sacrifice, you nor any impartial mind can blame me for the 
part I shall take."^ Edgar was not compelled to abandon the 
country of his adoption, for in the month designated Governor 
St. Clair arrived in the village of Kaskaskia. 

The history of the village of Kaskaskia at which the county 
government had been established is the story of the prolonged 
suffering of the French population. Tyranny followed upon 
tyranny. After the Virginia troops had stripped the people, came 
John Dodge with his policy of terrorism, and when he had been 
overthrown and the French people had seized the power, their 
hands were too feeble to maintain order at home, and their village 

1 Dr. MSS., 2wi24-i42. 
''Ibid. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

became the prey of the savages and Spaniards. From this picture, 
it is a pleasure to turn to the village of Cahokia at the extreme 
north of the American Bottom. Here the troubles were somewhat 
similar in kind as those at Kaskaskia, but never so virulent and 
the court of the district of Cahokia was able to establish itself and 
its authority so securely that even the abandonment by Virginia and 
the United States could not shake it. The letter from the state's 
attorney, Joseph Labuxiere, printed in this volume draws the 
contrast between the conditions existing in the two villages in the 
following words: "The misunderstanding of the magistrates of 
Kaskaskia and the extreme disorder of the business of the individ- 
uals, occasioned by some persons greedy for money, have com- 
pelled me to withdraw with my family to Cahokia, where I have 
found the inhabitants filled with the unity of peace and fidelity 
to the states, and a court which the justices are careful to administer 
with equity to those who ask its help."^ 

Another fact gives striking proof of the condition described by 
Labuxiere. At the beginning of the period the population of 
Cahokia numbered about 300 inhabitants.^ In the year 1787 a 
careful census was made and there were 240 male inhabitants, 
which would make the total population over 400, and in 1790 
Cahokia was capable of supporting three companies of militia while 
Kaskaskia had but one.^ Thus while Kaskaskia „was decreasing, 
Cahokia was growing both in size and in importance, and be- 
coming the "metropolis" of the American Bottom. 

As far as can be learned Franfois Trottier was the commandant 
of the militia throughout this period and it is due largely to his 
efficient administration of the police that the village prospered.* 
The justices were elected annually by the assembly of the people 
until the passage of the Ordinance of 1787, when, in anticipation 
of a new government, regular elections ceased and the same jus- 

• See post, p. 589. 

' See supra, p. xv. 

' Mason, E^irly Illinois Citizens, Chi. His. Soc.'s Collections, iv., 216 et seq.; gee post, p. 
(33»- 

* In 1785 Antoine Girardin held this ofiBce temporarily as did J. B. Dubuque at a later 
period. 



INTRODUCTION 

tices continued in ofl&ce. In August, 1788, there was an election 
of three magistrates to fill vacancies made by resignation. It was 
the last election held in the county of Illinois. The justices held 
their sessions with great regularity and their administration was 
admirable. 

The relation of Cahokia to the county government was never 
very close. In fact the people of that village did not appear to 
have any very great respect for the Kaskaskians; for in their 
petition to Congress in 1786 they begged that body not to submit 
them to the jurisdiction of the southern village, because they knew 
" the incapacity, spite, and partiality of those who would exercise 
it."^ The high sounding title of deputy county lieutenant meant 
little more than head of Kaskaskia. This at least was the feel- 
ing of the Cahokians, and the only hint that such was not the 
actual condition is the fact that Timothe de Monbreun made 
several journeys to Cahokia in order to negotiate with the Span- 
iards and Indans in the interest of the whole territory.^ That he 
or any of the other deputies of John Todd really had the power to 
interfere in the affairs at Cahokia is not apparent from the records, 
and, in the absence of proof and in view of the actual powers 
exercised by the court of the village, it seems best to regard the 
county government as more formal than actual. 

We have seen that the Kaskaskians complained of the estab- 
lishment of the MichiUimackinac company at Cahokia. From 
the year 1783 many British merchants found their way to the 
Illinois and established stores in the village. Among the names 
which occur are J. B. Perrault, representing Marchisseaux of 
Montreal, James Grant, Meyers, Tabeau, Guillon, William 
Arundel, John Askins, and others.^ These merchants practically 
monopolized the fur trade of Illinois; but the Cahokians, 
finding that they interfered with the Indian trade as well, were 
strong enough to make regulations to protect their own interests 
and gave a hmited monopoly of that trade to one of the citizens 

^See post, p. 587. 

' Memorial of De Monbreun, Va. State Lib. 

' Narrative of Perrault in Schoolcraft, Indian Antiquities, iii., 355; this volume, passim; 
Smith, St. Clair Papers, ii., 174. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

of the village and prohibited all sale of liquor to the savages 
by others.^ When the Indian outrages reached their climax 
in the year 1789 and Kaskaskians were begging the mihtary officer 
at Vincennes to send troops for their defense, the court of Caho- 
kia still further regulated intercourse with the Indians and 
forbade all sale of liquor by any one.^ 

Exactly how the Cahokians were affected by the intrigues of 
the Spaniards in the later years, it is impossible to say. At the 
end of the record of the sessions will be found an unexplained 
punishment of a Frenchman from St. Louis who was evidently 
attempting to undermine the power of the court ; but once again 
that body was equal to maintaining its authority and, from the 
complaint of the prisoner, it would appear that the support of the 
villagers was given to the government.^ 

Cahokia was not disturbed by the Americans in the same way 
as her sister village, for the American troops did not remain in 
the village after 1780 and very few individuals took up their 
residence there. Aside from the British merchants only four non- 
French names appear in the later years as actual citizens, Thomas 
Brady, Philippe Engel, Isaac Levy, and William Arundel, and of 
these the first three seem to have become completely gallicized 
and to have married French women. The American settlers who 
came in closest contact with the Cahokians resided at Grand 
Ruisseau, which fell within the district of the village. In 1786 
they were permitted by the magistrates, as we have seen, to ap- 
point a captain of militia, but they remained subject to the im- 
mediate jurisdiction of the court except in such cases as might 
be decided by arbitrators.^ 

Cahokia, however, was not to escape wholly without trouble 
from these neighbors. After the failure of the Americans in the 
spring of 1787 to capture control of the court of Kaskaskia the 
settlers of Bellefontaine and Grand Ruisseau determined to 
establish a rival and independent court, for which purpose 

> See post, p. 73, 125, 21S, 25g, S7S 
^ See post, p. 607 . 
' See post, p. 437. 
* See post, p. 217. 



INTRODUCTION 

they held an election and chose magistrates. If the movement 
had been confined to the first named village, which was in the 
district of Kaskaskia, the Cahokia government might not have 
made any opposition; but the inclusion of the village of Grand 
Ruisseau was an affront to the one French court which had 
proved its right to exist. Fortunately for the Cahokians, the 
leaders of the movement wished to supplant Robert Watts, their 
appointee, in his office of commandant. This aroused Watts to 
immediate action, particularly as his rival was James Piggott, 
a man who represented the more restless and impatient element 
among the Americans.^ 

Watts came to Cahokia and addressed the court in Ciceronian 
periods, pointing out the danger which threatened the law and 
order of the district by this innovation or revolution. The danger 
was not exaggerated. The court at Cahokia represented the 
only stable power in the Illinois at the time, and with a rival 
coiirt of Americans at Grand Ruisseau and Bellefontaine, there 
would inevitably have followed disorders which might have 
taken on the character of a civil war between the two peoples. 
Certainly the two courts would not have acted together for the 
suppression of lawlessness. The action of the coturt of Cahokia 
was prompt and energetic. It prohibited the holding of any 
independent assemblies of the people or sessions of the court, 
and condemned the leaders of the movement to be put in irons 
for twenty-four hours and, in case they disobeyed the order of 
the court, they were to be driven from the territory. The magis- 
trates of Cahokia were not weak. Their decrees were executed. 
In striking contrast to the timidity and inefficiency of the court 
of Kaskaskia is the action recorded by the hussier under that 
decree against the Americans: "The present decree has been 
executed the same day." ' 

This revolution occurred in August or early in September. 
The Cahokia justices now felt the need of taking some steps to 

1 Piggott was later appointed by St. Clair one of the first judges in the 'district of 
Cahokia. Smith, St. Clair papers, ii., i6s; for some account of him see post, p. igo, note i. 

* See post, p. 597 et seq. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

satisfy the demands of the Americans. Those at Bellefontaine 
belonged by right to the Kaskaskia jurisdiction, but to expect 
from the Kaskaskia French the maintenance of law and order 
was hopeless. Therefore, when all the Americans of the region 
petitioned for admittance to the district of Cahokia and the 
right of electing a justice of the peace at each of the two chief 
settlements, the petition was granted at the October session of 
the court, and the election of a justice and a militia officer at 
Bellefontaine and of a justice at Grand Ruisseau was confirmed 
on November 2d.* Thus around Cahokia there centered all 
the forces which made for peace and order, and even the American 
settlers, who had assisted in the overthrow of the court of Kaskas- 
kia, were able to escape the anarchy which their presence had 
produced only by submitting to the Frenchmen of the northern 
village. 

As may be seen in the following pages, the court at Cahokia 
continued to maintain order in its district until other and more 
legal regulations were made. During the last years the court was 
constantly expecting the arrival of the governor, who had been 
appointed in 1788 under the law creating the Territory Northwest 
of the Ohio River; but Governor St. Clair was unable to reach 
the Illinois until two years after his appointment. Finally after 
long delay, on March 5, 1790, he actually arrived in Kaskaskia. 
This was the limit of time John Edgar had fixed to which he 
would wait for the inauguration of a government at that village. 
The Cahokia court held its usual meeting in the same month, 
and again on the first of April the court heard suits brought 
before it and adjourned to the first of May. Here the record of 
the sessions of the Court of the District of Cahokia of the county 
of Illinois ends, for on the 27th of April the county of St. Clair 
was instituted and two days later the appointment of the judges 
of the new courts was announced. 

The history of these new courts is of a later date than the 
limit of the present Introduction, but the next period in the 
history of Illinois is a continuation of that which we have already 

' See post, p. 307 



INTRODUCTION 

reviewed. The French were not able to struggle against the 
Americans, who were now placed in the ruling positions, and 
a new exodus of the population began. To follow the destinies 
of the more energetic families named in these pages, it is neces- 
sary to cross the river. The descendants of J. Bte. Barbau, of 
the Bauvais, the Sauciers and the Trottiers are to be sought not 
in the territory or state of Illinois, but in that territory which for 
a few years remained under the dominion of Spain, where the 
French took refuge. The census of several old French towns of 
the western banks of the Mississippi reveals the presence of 
many families once inhabiting the American Bottom. The 
French have not figured prominently in the later history of Illi- 
nois, but the continuation of their civilization is found in the sister 
state of Missouri, where they still form an important element 
in the population; or else in the far West, where many de- 
scendants of the sons of Kaskaskia and Cahokia fled before 
the advance of the American settlers and followed the life 
for which they had been trained, that of trader, pioneer, and 
trapper. 

In the foregoing history of the "County of Illinois" I have 
based the narrative upon the source material that has been pre- 
served from that time, some account of which should be given, since 
several of the collections studied have been unknown to previous 
historians of the period and none have been used so extensively 
before. 

I. Kaskaskia Records:^ These were found by myself in the 
oflSce of the circuit clerk of Randolph county at Chester, Illinois, in 
the late summer of 1905. They consist of 2804 eighteenth century 
documents of all sizes, ranging from the scrap of paper to a volume 
of 444 pages, and of all kinds of legal instruments, ordinances, and 
letters. The number issuing from the county of Illinois is 506. 
I have classified them according to character, i. e., certificates, 
land grants, poHtical papers, etc. They are cited as follows: 

1 Alvord, "Eighteenths Century French Records in the Archives of Illinois," Annual 
Report of Amer. Hist. Assn. for 1905. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Kas. Rec, Pol. Papers, etc. This collection belongs to the 
county of St. Clair and is kept in the fireproof office of the 
circuit clerk. Temporarily if is loaned to the library of the 
University of Illinois for my use. One document, which I failed 
to see at the time of the discovery, is still in Chester. Since it is 
of great value and no report has yet been made upon it, I give a 
description of it here. It is a court record of 256 pages. Pages 
1-57 contain the records of the sessions of the court of judicature 
founded by Colonel Wilkins in 1768 and of the judgments of the 
military commandants, acting as judges after the abolition of 
the court, up to January 30, 1773. Pages 57-90 were used to 
record deeds, etc., from May 9, 1776, to June 23, 1778. The 
rest of the book contains the registrations for the next two years, 
made by the clerks after the occupation of the country by Clark. 
Several of the pages are missing. 

2, Cahokia Records:* These belong to the county of Stj 
Clair, Illinois, and are kept in a fireproof museum in the court- 
house at Belleville. The most important of these documents are 
printed in this volume and need no further description. Besides 
tliose printed, there are a number of marriage contracts and other 
instruments in Belleville; and 170 documents, which were for- 
merly in the county treasurer's office, are now in the library of 
the Chicago Historical Society.* The proper citation is Cak. Rec. 
in Chicago or in Belleville, III. 

3. Menard Collection: This consists of the correspondence 
and letter-books of Pierre Menard, who settled in Kaskaskia in 
1790. The majority of the letters date from the latter part of 
Menard's life ; but in the collection are four large bundles of let- 
ters and documents which belonged to Barth^lemi Tardiveau, agent 
of the Illinois people in 1787 and 1788. Two of these bundles 
are composed of copies of records from the Kaskaskia record-book 
and some original manuscripts, which he used for his information 
in drawing up his petitions to Congress. There are in all sixty- 
one selected documents emanating generally from the French 

> Ibid; Bulletin of the 111. State Hist, lib., vol. i, No. i. 

' I have learned too late to make the necessary changes in the foot-notes that the Chi- 
cago Historical Society has returned these documents to Belleville. 



INTRODUCTION 

inhabitants, which makes this collection one of the most valuable 
for the history of the county of Illinois. The majority of these 
document were copied by the clerk of the court in the spring of 
1781, at the time the people of Kaskaskia commissioned Prevost 
and McCarty to represent them at the capitol of Virginia.^ They 
are all properly authenticated by Richard Winston, deputy 
county lieutenant. 

4. Draper Manuscripts:' These are so well known that a 
description of them is unnecessary. They were collected by 
Lyman C. Draper during his long and useful life, which he devoted 
to the collection of material for the study of western history, and 
they form the most valuable part of the Wisconsin Historical 
Society's collection of manuscripts. For my purposes the George 
Rogers Clark Manuscripts, contained in sixty-five volumes, have 
been of the most use. They are cited as Dr. MSS. 52J50, the 
first number being the volume, the second the page and the 
letter (J) the library symbol for the Clark MSS. I went through 
these volumes and had copies made of all the manuscripts which 
would be of value to me. Most of the copies were from original 
documents, but, since on the copies it was not indicated whether 
they were from original manuscripts or copies, I have not dared 
trust to my memory to indicate this distinction in the footnotes. 
I have made some use of other collections in the Draper Manu- 
scripts, particularly the Harmar MSS. These are copies made by 
Mr. Draper. 

5. Haldimand Collection: Frederick Haldimand was ap- 
pointed governor of Canada in September, 1777, and held this 
position until 1784. During this time his correspondence was 
large and this he carefully preserved. It is now in the British 
Museum and the Public Record Office in London. The collec- 
tion contains the letters, reports made to him, and copies of im- 
portant papers which were enclosed in these. The Canadian 
Archives has had transcripts of this collection made and has 
calendared it in its Reports. The copies I have used were made 

* See supra pp. dii., n. 3, ciixviii. 

2 Thwaites, Descriptive List of ifSS. Collections. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

from the Canadian transcripts. These are cited as Can. Archives, 
B., etc. Many of these have been printed in the Michigan Pio- 
neer and Historical Collections and the Illinois Historical Collec- 
tions, Vol. I. 

6. Papers of Old Congress:^ Many petitions with enclosures 
were sent by the people of Illinois to Congress. These have 
recently been transferred to the library of Congress. 

7. Collection of Virginia State Library: There is a quantity 
of unused manuscripts in Richmond, to which I have had partial 
access; but, since they have not been catalogued, there are many 
important documents which I have not seen. 

8. Miscellanies: I have used letters and documents in the 
possession of other institutions and several private individuals, 
to which references are made in the proper places. 

It is to be regretted that I have not seen several important 
collections, which might have thrown light on the subject. They 
are the following: Private library of C. M. Burton of Detroit, 
Michigan; collection of documents from Vincennes in Vincennes 
University and Indianapolis Public Library; private library of 
Colonel R. T. Durrett of Louisville, Kentucky ; and the Bancroft 
Library of the University of California. 

The printed sources for the history of the county of Illinois 
are numerous, and an effort has been made to see everything. 
Those used will be found listed in the bibliography at the end of 
this volume. 

* A practically complete inventory of these papers is printed in "Bulletin of the Bureau 
of Rolls and Library," No. i. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Account oj the Proceedings oj the Illinois and Ouabache Land Companies. 
Philadelphia, 1796. 

Alden, G. H., New Governments West 0} the Alleghanies before iy8o. Bulle- 
tin of the University of Wisconsin. Madison, 1897. 

Alerding, H., A History oj the Catholic Church in the Diocese oj Vincennes_ 
Indianapolis, 1883. 

Alvord, C. W., "Eighteenth Century French Records in the Archives of 
Illinois", in Annual Report of the American Historical Association 
for 1905. Washington, 1906. 
Kaskaskia Records: An Address before the Chicago Historical So- 
ciety. Chicago, 1906. 
Illinois in the Eighteenth Century. Bulletin of the Illinois State His- 
torical Library. Vol. i., No. i. Springfield, 1905. 

American Catholic Historical Researches, New Series, ii., No. 3. Phila. 

American State Papers, Public Lands. Vols, i.-iii., W^ashington, 1832. 

Archives Coloniales a Paris, Series B. 

Babeau, A., La Vie Rurale dans L'Ancienne France. Paris, 1885. 
Le Village sous L'Ancien Regime. 2d ed., Paris, 1879. 

Babeau, H., Les Assemblees Generales des Communautes d' Habitants en 
France. Paris, 1893. 

Bancroft Collection oj MSS., Lenox Library, New York. 

BancToh, George, History oj t!ie United States. 10 vols. Boston, 1834-1874. 

Beck, L. C, A Gazetteer oj the States oj Illinois and Missouri. Albany 
1823. 

Benton, E. J., The Wabash Trade. ]. H. U. Studies, xxi. Baltimore, 1903. 

Billon, F. L., Annals oj St. Louis. 2 vols. St. Louis, 1886, 1888. 

Blanchard, Rufus, Discovery and Conquest of the Northwest. Wheaton 1879 . 

Boggess, A. C, American Immigration into Illinois, iJjS-lS^o. Thesis 
in manuscript. 

Boyd, C. E., "The County of Illinois", in t\\e American Historical Review, 
iv.. No. 4. New York. 

Breese, Sidney, The Early History of Illinois. Chicago, 1884. 

Brown, H., History of Illinois. New York, 1844. 

Bulletin of the Bureau of Rolls and Library, No. i. Washington. 

Butler, Mann, History of tfie Commonwealth of Kentucky. Louisville, 1834. 

Cahokia Records, MSS. in the Archives of St. Clair County, Belleville, 111. 

Calendar of Virginia State Papers. Vols. i.-v. Richmond, 1875 ff. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Canadian Archives Reports. Ottawa, 1882 ff. 

Channing, E., Town and County Government in the English Colonies oj 

North America. J. H. U. Studies, ii., No. 10. Baltimore, 1884. 
Chicago Historical Society's Collections, iv. Chicago, 1890. 
Chittenden, H. M., American Fur Trade oj the Far West. 3 vols. New 

York, 1902. 
Chitwood, O. P., Justice in Colonial Virginia. J. H. U. Studies, Series 

x.xiii., No. 7. Baltimore, 1905. 
Clapin, Sylva, Dictionnaire Canadien-Francais. Montreal and Boston, 1894. 
Clark's Sketch oj his Campaign in the Illinois. Ohio Valley Historical 

Series, No. 3. Cincinnati, 1869. 
Coffin, Victor, The Province oj Quebec and the Early American Revolution. 

University of Wisconsin Bulletin, i. Madison, 1896. 
Collot, Victor, Voyage dans L Amerique Septentrionale. 2 vols. Paris, 1826. 
Craig, O. J. ."Ouiatanon ", in Indiana Historical Society's Publications, 

ii. Indianapolis, 1895. 
Davidson, A., and Stuve, B., A Complete History oj Illinois. Springfield, 

1874. 
Dillon, J., History oj Indiana. Indianapolis, 1859. 
Docujncnts relating to the Colonial History oj New York. Vol. vii. Albany, 

1856. 
Doniol, Henri, Histoire de la Participation de la France a U EtaUissement 

des Etats-Unis d' Amerique. 5 vols. Paris, 1890. 
Douglas, W. B., "Jean Gabriel Cerre, a Sketch", in Transactions oi the 

Illinois State Historical Society for 1903. Springfield, 1904. 
Draper MSS., in the Library of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Madison. 
Dunn, J. P., "Father Gibault ", in Transactions of the Illinois Historical 

Society for 1905. Springfield, 1906. 
Indiana. Boston, 1905- 
English, W. H., Conquest oj the Country Northwest oj the River Ohio and 

Lije oj George Rogers Clark. 2 vols. Indianapolis, 1896. 
Ferriere, Claude de. Corps et Compilation de Tons les Commentaleurs An- 

ciens et Moderns sur la Coutume de Paris. 4 vols. 2d ed., Paris 

1714. 
Franklin, Benjamin, Works oj, ed. by J. Bigelow. 10 vols. New York, 1887- 

1889. 
Franz, Alexander, Die Kolonisation des MississipUalesbis zum Aiisgange 

der Franzosischen Heershajt. Leipzig, 1906. 
Fowler, W. W., City-State oj the Greeks and Romans. London, 1902. 
Eraser's Report. MS. copy in Champaign Public Librar}'. 
Gayarre, C. E. A., History oj Louisiana. 4th ed. New Orleans, 1906. 
Glasson, E., Histoire du Droit et des Institutions de la France. 8 vols. 

Paris, 1887-1903. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Greene, E. B., TJie Government 0} Illinois. New York, 1904. 

Green, T. M., Historic Families of Kentucky. Cincinnati, 1889. 
Spanish Conspiracy. Cincinnati, 1891. 

Hall, James, Romance oj Western History. Cincinnati, 1857. 

Hall, Judge, Letters from the West. London, 1828. 

Harding, Julia M., "Colonel George Morgan", in Washington{Pa.) Observ- 
er, May 21, 1904. 

Hening, W. W., Statutes at Large (of Virginia). Vols, i.-v., ix., x. Rich- 
mond, 1821. 

Hinsdale, B. A., The Old Northwest. Rev. ed.. New York, 1899. 

History oj Monroe, Randolph and Perry Counties, Illinois. Philadelphia, 
1883. 

History oj St. Clair County, Illinois. Philadelphia, 1881. 

Houck, Louis, Tlie Boundaries oj the Louisiana Purchase. St. Louis, 1901. 

Houston, W., Documents Illustrative oj the Canadian Constitutiojt. Toronto 
1891. 

Howard, E. E., An Introduction to tlte Local Constitutional History oj the 
United States. 2 vols. Baltimore, 1889. 

Hutchins, Thomas, A Topographical Description oj Virginia, Pennsyl- 
vania, Maryland and North Carolina, ed. by F. C. Hicks. Cleve- 
land, 1904. 

Illinois Historical Collections. Vol. i. Springfield, 1903. 

Imlay, Gilbert, Topographical Description oj the Western Territory. 3d ed., 
London, 1797. 

Ingle, E., Local Institutions oj Virginia. J. H. U. Studies, iii., nos. 2, 3. 
Baltimore, 1885. 

"Intercepted Letters and Journal of George Rogers Clark, 1778, 1779", 
in American Historical Review, {., 90. 

Isambert, Decrusy, Taillandier. Recueil General des Anciennes Lois Fran- 
gaises. 28 vols. Paris, 1829. 

Jennitig's Journal, MS. in Pennsylvania Historical Society's library. 

Journal A. oj the Company oj David McCrae, John Kay, Pierre Bartlte, and 
Charles Gratiot. MS. volume in the possession of Pierre Chouteau 
of St. Louis. 

Journal oj the Continental Congress. Library of Congress edition. Wash- 
ington, 1905 ff. 

Journal oj the House oj Delegates {Virginia), October Session, lyyS and 1781. 

Journal oj the Northwestern Commissioners. MS. in Virginia State Library. 

Journal oj the Senate (Virginia), October Session, lyyS. 

Journal oj Congress. Vols, iv.-xi. Philadelphia, 1800 ff. 

Jousse, Traite de L'Admitiistration de la Justice. 2 vols. Paris, 1771. 

Kaskaskia Records. MSS. in the x\rchives of Randolph County, Chester 
Illinois. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Kingsford, Wm., History of Canada. lo vols. Toronto, 1887-1898. 
Latrobe, C. J., The Rambler in North America. 2 vols. London, 1835. 
Martin, H. T., Castorologia or the History and Traditions oj the Canadian 

Beaver. Montreal and London, 1892. 
Mason, E. G., Chapters jrom Illinois History. Chicago, 1901. 

Early Illiiwis Citizens. Chicago Historical Society's Collections, iv. 

Chicago, iSgo. 
John Todd's Papers. Ibid. 
John Todd's Record-Book. Ibid. 
Roclieblave Papers. Ibid. 
McLaughlin, A. C, "The Western Posts and the British Debts", in the 

Annual Report of the American Historical Association, 1894. 
Memorial oj Timothe de Monhreun. MS. in Virginia State Library. 
Menard Collection, Tardiveau Papers. MSS. in Illinois State Historical 

Library. 
Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections. 36 vols. Lansing, 1877 ff. 
Military Journal oj Major Ebenezer Denny. Publications of the Historical 

Society of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, i860. 
Missouri Historical Society's Collections, ii., No. 6. St. Louis, 1906. 
Missouri Reports. Vol. iv. St. Louis, 1870. 
Monette, J. W., History oj the Valley oj the Mississippi. 2 vols. New 

York, 1846. 
Morehead, Settlement oj Kentticky. Frankfort, 1840. 
Morgan, George, Letter-Book, iy6y-iy6S. MS. volume in the possession 

of A. S. M. Morgan of Pittsburg. 
Moses, John, Court oj Inquiry. Chicago Historical Society's Collections, 
iv. Chicago, 1890. 
Illinois, Historical and Statistical. 2 vols. Chicago, 1890. 
MSS. in Virginia State Library. 

New York State Library Bulletin, No. 58., History 6. Albany, 1902. 
Ogg, F. A., The Opening oj the Mississippi. New York, 1904. 
Papers oj the Old Congress. MSS. in the Library of Congress. 
Parkman, Francis, The Old Regime in Canada. 2 vols. Boston, 1905. 
Peck, J. M., A Gazetteer oj Illinois. Philadelphia, ist ed., 1831 2d ed., 1837. 

Annals oj the West. St. Louis, 1850. 
Perrault, J. B., "Narrative", in Schoolcraft, Indian Antiquities. Pt. iii. 

Philadelphia, 1853. 
Phelps, Albert, Louisiana. Boston and New York, 1905. 
Pittman, P., The Present State oj the European Settlements on the Mississippi. 
London, 1770. 
Ihid, ed. by F. H. Hodder. Cleveland, 1906. 
Reynolds, John, My Own Times. Belleville, 1855. 
The Pioneer History oj Illinois. Belleville, 1852. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Roberts, J. H., Lije and Times oj General John Edgar. MS. to be printed 

in the Transactions of the Illinois Historical Society for 1907. 
Roosevelt, T., The Winning 0} the West. 4 vols. New York, 1896. 
Rowland, Kate M., George Mason. 2 vols. New York, 1892. 
Roy, J. E., Histoire du Notariat au Canada. 4 vols. Levis, 1899. 
Rozier, F. A., History oj the Early Settlement oj the Mississippi Valley. St. 

Louis, 1890. 
Secret Journal oj the Acts and Proceedings oj Cotigress. Vols, i.-iv. Boston, 

1821. 
Shea, J. G., Lije and Times oj the Most Rev. John Carroll. New York, 

1888. 
Smith, W. H., St. Clair Papers. 2 vols. Cincinnati, 1882. 
Snyder, J. F., Captain Jean Baptiste Saucier. Peoria, 1901. 
Sparks' Collection oj Manuscripts, Harvard Library. Cambridge. 
Sparks, Jared, The Diplomatic Correspondence oj the American Revolution 

Vol. iv. Washington, 1857. 
The Writings oj Washington. Vol. vii. New York, 1847. 
Stoddard, Amos, Sketches, Historical and Descriptive oj Louisiana. Phila- 
delphia, 181 2. 
Tanguay, L'Abb6 Cyprien, Dictionnaire Genealogique des Families Cana- 

diennes. 7 vols. Quebec, 1871-1890. 
Tasse, Joseph, Les Canadiens de L'Ouest. 3 vols. 4th ed., Montreal, 1882. 
Thucydides, History oj the Pelopomiesian War. Jowett's Translation- 

Oxford, 1 88 1. 
Thwaites, R. G., Descriptive List oj Manuscript Collections oj the State 

Historical Society oj Wisconsin. Madison, 1906. 
Early Western Travels. Cleveland, 1903 ff. 

i., Croghan, Journals. 

iii., Michaud, Travels. 

xxvii., xxviii., Flagg, The Far West. 
How George Rogers Clark won the Northwest. Chicago, 1903. 
The Jesuit Relations. Vol. Ixxi. Cleveland, 1901. 
Transactions of the IlHnois State Historical Society for 1903, 1905, and 

1906. Springfield, 1904-1906. 
Turner, F. J., "George Rogers Clark and the Kaskaskia Campaign, 1777- 

1778", in American Historical Review, viii. New York. 
The Character and Influence oj tlie Indian Trade in Wisconsin. J. H. U. 

Studies, ix., Nos. 11-12. Baltimore, 1891. 
"The Pohcy of France toward the Mississippi Valley in the Period of 

Washington and Jefferson ", in American Historical Review, x., No. 2. 

New York. 
Van Tyne, C. H., The American Revolution. Vol. ix. of Hart's The Ameri- 
can Nation. New York, 1905. 



ILLINOIS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS 

Viollet, P., Histoire du Droit Civil Frangais. 3d ed., Paris, 1905. 
Volney, C. F., View oj the Climate and Soil 0} the United States oj America. 

A Translation. London, 1814. 
Washington Papers, MSS. in the Library of Congress. 
Winsor, Justin, Narrative and Critical History oj Atnerica. Vols, iv.-vi. 
Boston, 1886. 
The Mississippi Basin, l6gj-iy6^. Boston, 1895. 
Westward Movement. Boston and New York, 1897. 
Wisconsin Historical Collections. 16 vols. Madison, 1885 ff. 
Withers, A. S., Chronicles oj Border Warjare. Ed. by R. G. Thwaites. 

Cincinnati, 1895. 
Woodward, Dodge Genealogy. 



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* 



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