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Dunbar v.2 73098 

A history of travel 
in America. 






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A History of Travel 


Being an Outline of the Development in Modes of Travel from Archaic 
Vehicles of Colonial Times to the Completion of the First Trans- 
continental Railroad : the Influence of the Indians on the Free 
Movement and Territorial Unity of the White Race : the 
Part Played by Travel Methods in the Economic Conquest 
of the Continent: and those Related Human Experiences, 
Changing Social Conditions and Governmental Atti- 
tudes which Accompanied the Growth of a 
National Travel System 



With two maps, twelve colored plates and four hundred illustrations 













THE appearance of the steamboat Glermont, on which 
Schultz proceeded from New York to Albany in 
1807, marked the final acceptance, by the people, of the 
principle that steam could be made of practical use in 
travel and transportation. By that time the new generation 
with its progressive ideas and enterprise was better able to 
estimate the probable value of any innovation which 
presaged greater material welfare to the country, and 
perchance more eager to accept every device giving 
promise of practical utility. The collective mind of the 
Americans, emancipated at last from a belief that future 
progress of every sort must be along existent and visible 
lines of effort, was impatiently calling for the uninter- 
rupted procession of wonders thenceforward to appear in 
response to its demand. The generality of men did not 
know what was to be done, or how, but they did realize 
another age had begun and that the strange new problems 



it presented would in some way be solved, and by them- 

So when Robert Fulton turned his snub-nosed little 
steamboat out into the Hudson River and started her 
toward Albany, wheezing and coughing along at the rate 
of five miles an hour, the watching populace compre- 
hended. A throng had gathered at the wharf and in its 
immediate neighborhood, drawn by a knowledge of what 
was to be attempted. There were some skeptics in it, 
and during the preliminary preparations and embarkation 
of the passengers an occasional jest and disparaging re- 
mark was heard. But the bulk of the crowd was of open 
mind. Its members did not believe travel was impossible 
in a boat propelled by steam simply because such a thing, 
so far as they knew, had never been seen or heard of 
before. Doubtless they wanted it to be possible; hoped it 
would be. 

Then the machinery started and the Clermont 1 moved 
away from the dock under her own power. The uncer- 
tainty and hope of a moment before were changed to an 
instant appreciation of what it meant. Even before she 
had disappeared from their physical vision the minds 
of the spectators had gone on ahead of her, over all the 
rivers of the land, and peopled them with like con- 
trivances. It was an actuality with a visible meaning; 
a meaning so plain that those who beheld the sight 
might have marvelled had they known of the similar 
drama enacted years before to the jeers of them that saw 
it. The boat moved slowly but what of that. Improve- 
ments could be made. Everything could be improved, no 
matter what its use was. The thing had been done; that 

1 She was as at first built 133 feet long, 18 feet wide and 7 feet in depth of hold, 
with two masts and sails. 



was the main point. A principle had been established. 
Therefore the citizens lifted up their voices in exultant 
hosanna, tossed their hats aloft, embraced one another 
with enthusiasm and unanimously admitted, once more, 
that they were indeed a very great people. They thought 
they were cheering Robert Fulton and his steamboat, 
whereas they were applauding a progress in popular 
judgment and the excellence of their own discrimination. 
This was no madman puttering at Conjurer's Point, but 
a benefactor of his race. So ran the verdict. 

The Clermont steamed to Albany 1 on her first trip 
in thirty-two hours against a head wind that prevented 
the use of her sails, and came back to New York in thirty 
hours. She stopped at night, and four and a half days 
were consumed in making the entire experiment. A de- 
scription of the appearance of the craft on the water and 
of the excitement she created along the shores of the river 
and among other shipping on the stream was later written 
by one who had, as a boy, beheld the boat. 2 The account 

"It was in the early autumn of the year 1807 3 that a knot of vil- 
lagers was gathered on a high bluff just opposite Poughkeepsie, on the 
west bank of the Hudson, attracted by the appearance of a strange dark- 
looking craft which was slowly making its way up the river. Some 
imagined it to be a sea-monster, whilst others did not hesitate to ex- 
press their belief that it was a sign of the approaching judgment. 
What seemed strange in the vessel was the substitution of lofty and 
straight smoke-pipes, rising from the deck, instead of the gracefully 
tapered masts that commonly stood on the vessels navigating the stream, 
and, in place of the spars and rigging, the curious play of the walking- 
beam and pistons, and the slow turning and splashing of the huge and 
naked paddle-wheels, met the astonished gaze. The dense clouds of 
smoke, as they rose wave upon wave, added still more to the wonderment 
of the rustics. This strange looking craft was the Clermont on her 
trial trip to Albany. . 

1 A distance of about 160 miles. 

- The author of the narrative was H. Freeland. It was published by Reigart, one of 
the biographers of the "Clermont's" builder, in his "Life of Robert Fulton," Phila., 1856. 
3 The "Clermont" left New York at 1 p. m. on August 7, 1S07. 



"On her return trip the curiosity she excited was scarcely less in- 
tense the whole country talked of nothing but the sea-monster, belch- 
ing forth fire and smoke. The fishermen became terrified, and rowed 
homewards, and they saw nothing but destruction devastating their 
fishing grounds, whilst the wreaths of black vapor and rushing noise 
of the paddle wheels, foaming with the stirred-up waters, produced 
great excitement amongst the boatmen, until . . . the character of 
that curious boat and the nature of the enterprise which she was pioneer- 
ing had been ascertained. From that time Robert Fulton, Esq., became 
known and respected as the author and builder of the first steam packet, 
from which we plainly see the rapid improvement in commerce and 
civilization. Who can doubt that Fulton's first packet boat has become 
the model steamer? Except in finer finish and greater size there is no 
difference between it and the splendid steamships now crossing the 
Atlantic. Who can doubt that Fulton saw the meeting of all nations 
upon his boats, gathering together in unity and harmony, that the 
'freedom of the seas would be the happiness of the earth?' 1 Who can 
doubt that Fulton saw the world circumnavigated by steam, and that 
his invention was carrying the messages of freedom to every land that 
no man could tell all its benefits, or describe all its \vonders? What a 
wonderful achievement! What a splendid triumph! Fulton was a 
man of unparalleled foresight and perseverance. His character and 
genius rise higher in our estimation, and still more grandly before our 
minds, the more we contemplate him. . . ." 

Just as the pack-train drivers of a former time fought 
the introduction of wagons on the early roads of Penn- 
sylvania, so did the sailing vessels of the Hudson uselessly 
seek to retard the general introduction of steamboats by 
working injury to the Clermont. The men who for years 
had earned their bread on the sloops which until then 
enjoyed a monopoly of river traffic recognized the sig- 
nificance of the steam craft. 2 In revolt at the new condi- 
tions it foretold they sought to disable the boat and to 
discredit her performances and make her an unpopular 
vehicle of travel. Several times she was run down and 
damaged in that manner, but no grave injury resulted. 
Occasionally she had a paddle wheel knocked off bodily. 

1 A favorite expression used by Fulton. 

2 Thurlow Weed was one who began his career as cabin-boy on a Hudson River sailing 
packet, and was so engaged when the "Clermont" appeared. But his mind was not of the 
caliber to resent such an innovation. 



In commenting on the attacks one of the inventor's 
biographers 1 has said : "It is not important to notice these 
facts; they illustrate the character of Mr. Fulton. They 
show what embarrassments are to be expected by those 

103. The W alk-in-the-W ater , first steamboat on the Great Lakes. Built 
near Buffalo in 1818, under license from the Fulton-Livingston Company. 
From a drawing made for use on the bills-of -lading printed for the boat, 
and reproduced in Hurlbut's monograph. 

who introduce improvements in the arts which interfere 
with established interests or prejudices; and they evince 
the perseverance and resolution which were necessary to 
surmount the physical and moral difficulties which Mr. 
Fulton encountered. Sneered at by his own countrymen, 
called knave, fool and enthusiast, yet he bravely lived 
all opposition down." 

1 Reigart. 



The Clermont prospered in spite of all jealousies. 1 
During the remainder of the year 1807 she continued to 
be run as a passenger boat, always crowded with enthu- 
siastic voyagers eager to avail themselves of the wonderful 
new system of conveyance, who paid scant heed to her 
slow speed and occasional breakdowns. In the winter 
of 1807-1808 the boat was rebuilt and in the succeeding 
spring resumed her popular career. Tales of her existence 
and exploits on the Hudson were published and com- 
mented upon in all the newspapers of the country, and 
the inhabitants of every section where navigable rivers 
were the chief arteries of travel displayed an anxiety to 
acquire a similar means of locomotion. Within a short 
time the recognized necessity of steam as an indispensable 
motive power in transportation assumed all the quality 
of an immemorial axiom. A clamor for steamboats arose, 
and the people could not understand how they had ever 
got along without them. 

Nevertheless there was a delay of more than sixteen 
years before the use of steam propulsion became widely 
prevalent, and the underlying reason for that halt on the 
way toward further progress is to be found, most singu- 
larly, in the circumstances leading to the appearance of the 

Fulton's first boat, however suddenly and unex- 
pectedly it seemed to the public to drop from the realms 
of unreality into the knowledge and use of men, was not 
the creation of a day or a year. It was, on the contrary 
and perhaps to a greater degree than any other similarly 
epoch-opening device the product of many minds and 
of a long series of strange and devious circumstances. 

1 After a number of attempts had been made to disable her the paddle-wheels were en- 
closed and protected by heavy timbers. The hostility shown toward the vessel by river 
boatmen was proof of the popular endorsement given to the craft, rather than otherwise. 



104. The first form of the bicycle, introduced from Europe, was contemporary 
with Fulton's steamboats in the East. The contrivance merely sustained 
the weight of the body, and progress was made by pushing the ground 
with the feet. It was variously called the Velocipede, Accelerator, Draisena, 
Hobby Horse and Dandy Carriage. Baltimore was the American center 
for its manufacture, and a specimen, made of wrought iron and hardwood, 
cost $30. By 1819 the use of the velocipede had spread as far west as 

At least sixteen steamboats had been built in America 
before the launching of the Glermont, fifteen of which 
had previously been operated under their own power by 
the eight different men who had designed them. Nor 
were Americans first in the field. A list in chronological 
order of some of the early experiments follows: 

The first known contemporary evidence showing the 
application of steam power to water craft as a means of 
propulsion is to be found in connection with Denis Papin, 
a French scientist and engineer, who invented and built a 
steamboat while residing in the principality of Hesse, 
in Germany, in the year 1707. His demonstration of 
steam navigation having brought abuse upon him, he 



embarked on his vessel in an effort to proceed in it to 
London. With this object he started down the River 
Fulda, but at the town of Munden the boatmen of the 
river attacked him and destroyed his boat. He escaped 
with his life, and never, so far as is known, repealed his 

In 1736 an Englishman named Jonathan Hulls took 
out a patent for a stern-wheeled steamboat, and during 
the following year published in London a book describing 
the invention, the frontispiece of which is a picture of 
his steamboat engaged in towing a sailing vessel. An 
English investigator 1 of the subject affirms that Hulls' 
boat was built and used, but Preble 2 comes to a contrary 

M. de Jouffroy, of France, began experimenting in 
1778, and in 1781 built a steamboat 140 feet long. In 
1783 it ran under its own power with paddle-wheels, and 
a committee of the French Academy of Science made a 
favorable report regarding it. Jouffroy demanded a 
patent, but left France on the outbreak of the Revolution, 
and on his return found a patent for a similar boat had 
been awarded to another man. 

1786. John Fitch operated on the Delaware River, at 
Philadelphia, the first steamboat to move in American 
waters. It was propelled by an endless chain of paddles. 

1787. Fitch ran his second boat on the Delaware in 
August, with the system of upright paddles at the sides. 

1787. Rumsey, in December, moved a boat by 
drawing a stream of water in at the bow and ejecting 
it at the stern. 

1788. Fitch finished his third boat and in it made a 

1 Russell, in the "Encycloped'a Britannica." 

2 Rear-Admiral George Henry Preble, U. S. N., published in 1883 "A Chronological 
History of the Origin and Development of Steam Navigation." 



twenty-mile voyage from Philadelphia to Burlington. 
This same boat afterward ran regularly as a passenger 
packet on the Delaware in 1790, covering a thousand 
miles or more. Its best speed was eight miles an hour. 
In 1788 three Scotchmen named Patrick Millar, James 

105. A Hudson River passenger barge of 1825. Owing to the numerous explo- 
sions due to carelessness on early steamboats many people hesitated to 
use them, and some companies resorted to the expedient of towing travellers 
on separate vessels, so they would be in less danger of death or injury if 
the boilers blew up. This and the illustrations to No. 114, inclusive, deal 
with steamboats and steamboat travel in the East. 

Taylor and William Symington jointly built and operated 
a steamboat on the Lake of Dalswinton. It was moved 
by a paddle-wheel placed in the center of the boat, and 
ran at the rate of five miles an hour. 

In 1789 the same men equipped a boat sixty feet long 
with an engine whose cylinders were of 18 inches diame- 
ter, and ran it on the Forth and Clyde Canal at the rate 



of about seven miles an hour. The contemporary Edin- 
burgh newspapers contained information respecting it. 

1790. William Longstreet of New Jersey, then liv- 
ing in Georgia, built a boat that ran against the current 
of the Savannah River at the rate of five miles an 
hour. 1 

1792. Elijah Ormsbee of Connecticut, then residing 
in Rhode Island, invented and constructed a steamboat 
propelled by side paddles moving back and forth like a 
duck's feet. In it he went from a point near Cranston 
to Providence; thence to Pawtucket and back to 
Providence again. Ormsbee's boat made from three to 
four miles an hour, and he used it for several weeks. 
No one being interested in it, the machinery was taken 
out of the boat and given to David Wilkinson, of Paw- 
tucket, another mechanic who had made Ormsbee's 
castings for him. 2 Ormsbee constructed most of his own 
machinery and understood the principle of paddle- 
wheels. His use of side paddles was due to the cheapness 
of the mechanism for that means of propulsion and his 
lack of money. 

1793 or 1794. Samuel Morey of New Hampshire, 
then living in Connecticut, who began his experi- 
ments in the year 1790, built a paddle-wheel steamboat 
on the Connecticut River in 1794 and ran the vessel from 
Hartford to New York City at the rate of five miles an 
hour. 3 Morey placed his paddle-wheel at the stern of 
the boat, in the manner afterward adopted for many steam- 
boats on western waters and some rivers of the East. 
Mann, in his account of Morey's work, indicates a lack of 

1 Treble's "Chronological History of Steam Navigation," p. 23. 

2 Dow's "History of Steam Navigation between Providence and New York." Files 
of the Transactions of the Society for the Encouragement of Domestic Industry. Preble: 
p. 27. 

3 Preble: Mann's "Account of Morey's Steamboat" (1864). The Patent Office records 
show that Morey took out several patents for steamboats. 


knowledge of earlier inventors, for he says Morey's vessel 
was "so far as is known, the first steamboat ever seen on 
the waters of America." 

The English Earl of Stanhope, in 1793, after three 
years of experiments, built a steamboat with side paddles 
like duck's feet on the same principle used by Orms- 
bee of Connecticut in 1792. Stanhope obtained for his 
vessel a speed of three miles an hour. 

In the same year of 1793 John Smith, of England, ran 
a steamboat on the Bridgewater Canal from Runcorn 
to Manchester, at the rate of two miles an hour. The 
craft had side paddle-wheels. 

Still another steamboat was operated on the Sankey 
Canal in Lancashire, England, in 1797. It was equipped 
with side oars like those used by Fitch in his second boat. 
The Monthly Magazine, an English periodical of the 
time, spoke of the boat in its issue for July of 1797, and 
said: "This ingenious discovery . . . may be ranked 
amongst the most useful of modern inventions, and in 
particular promises the highest benefits to inland navi- 

1796 or 1797. Fitch built and ran his screw propeller 
boat on Collect Pond in New York Citv. 


1797. Morey built a side-wheel steamboat at Borden- 
town, near Philadelphia, on the Delaware River. He 
afterward ran the boat to Philadelphia and showed it 
there. In a letter written in the year 1818 1 Morey de- 
scribed this craft as follows: "In June, 1797, I went 
to Bordentown, on the Delaware, and there constructed a 
steamboat, and devised the plan of propelling by means 
of wheels, one on each side. The shafts ran across the 

1 To William A. Duer, who had a celebrated controversy with Cadwallader Golden over 
the question of early steamboats. 



boat with a crank in the middle, worked from the beam 
of the engine with a shackle bar ... I took out patents 
for my improvements. . . . m 

1798. Robert R. Livingston, commonly known in 
history as Chancellor Livingston, built a boat on the 
Hudson River, 2 and by the legislature of New York 
was granted exclusive privileges "of navigating all boats 
that might be propelled by steam on all the waters within 
the territory, or jurisdiction, of the State for the term of 
twenty years, provided he should, within a twelvemonth, 
build such a boat, the mean of whose progress should not 
be less than four miles an hour." This grant was offered 
to Livingston in March of 1798, and was a transference 
of the right previously conferred on Fitch and now taken 
away because he had not availed himself of the monopoly 
given to him eleven years before. In October of 1798 
Livingston's boat made a trip during which its speed was 
about three miles an hour. The Spanish Minister to the 
United States, was on board at the time. 3 Since four miles 
an hour was'niQt attained by the vessel before March of 
1799, the State's proffer of exclusive privileges did not 
then become effective. Livingston's boat was variously 
moved on different trips by upright side paddles, endless 
chains of paddles, and by two stern wheels that were not 
upright, but apparently revolved horizontally on the same 
plane and in opposite directions. Probably each blade 
was hinged in order that it might fold up when returning 
toward the bow of the boat. 

Hunter and Dickinson, of England, ran a steamboat 
on the Thames River in 1801. In discussing their boat 

iPreble: p. 30. 

2 So many steamboats had by this time been operated in America that Jedediah Morse, 
the early geographer, took note of them and said in the edition of his "Gazetteer," pub- 
lished in ]797, that "it is probable steamboats will be found of infinite service in all our 
extensive river navigation." 

3 Spain seems to have kept a constant eye on early steamboats. 



the Monthly Magazine spoke of its performance as "very 
creditable to them, and as exceeding everything before 
accomplished." It also said "the vessel was moved at 
the rate of three miles an hour through the water." 

In 1802 William Symington, acting alone, built a 
steamboat on the Forth and Clyde Canal and ran it at 

106. New York steam ferry boat, ferry dock, Hudson River steamboat and 
passenger barge of 1825. A water-color sketch by the Dutch civil engineer 
Tromp, drawn to accompany an account of American transportation facili- 
ties written by him in 1825 as a result of his investigations during that 



the rate of between three and four miles an hour while 
towing two other loaded boats, each of seventy tons bur- 
den. Without a tow the craft ran at six miles an hour. 
Symington's boat was the Charlotte Dundas, constructed 
at a cost of about $15,000. It was his intention to place 
her paddle-wheels at the sides, but for fear the wash of 
the water would injure the banks of the canal, the re- 
volving paddles were put at the stern. 

1802. John Stevens, of Hoboken, New Jersey, who 
had been actively interested in the subject of steam navi- 
gation since 1791, 1 built a steamboat moved by a four- 
bladed screw propeller. He also used a high pressure 
multitubular boiler, and all his machinery was of his 
own design and manufacture. Stevens ran his boat in 
the waters around New York during the summer. Its 
speed was about four miles an hour. 2 

1803. Stevens built a new engine of a different type, 
but also with a screw propeller, and ran his boat in the 
neighborhood of New York City as during the previous 
year. 3 

1804. Oliver Evans, an early American inventor and 
engineer, built and operated a steamboat at Philadelphia. 
It was designed for use as a dredge, and was propelled 
by a paddle-wheel at the stern. In order to show that 
land vehicles as well as water craft could be moved by 
steam power Evans put wheels on his boat and ran it 
by steam through the city from Center Square to the 
Schuylkill River at Market Street. There, after its land 
wheels had been taken off and the paddle-wheel adjusted, 

1 Several of the early American inventors turned their attention to steam propulsion 
icause of Fitches boat and began their work in 1790 or 1791. Treble says of Stevens 
:>. 41, note): "In 1787 he became interested in steamboats, from seeing that of John 



2 "Medical and Philosophical Journal," Jan.. 181S. Latrobe's "Lost Chapter." Francis 
B. Stevens' "The First Steam Screw Propeller Boats to Navigate the Waters of any 
Country." Preble. 

3 Ibid. 



it entered the water, steamed down the Schuylkill to the 
Delaware and up the last named river to Philadelphia 
again, passing numerous other vessels on the way. It then 
entered on its work as a steamboat dredge. 

107. The Champlalne, finest steamboat up to 1835. Employed on the Hudson. 
After monopoly in steam transportation was overthrown by the Supreme 
Court various companies in the East built vessels of steadily increasing 
size and magnificence, the best of which appeared in the waters around 
New York, Boston, Providence and Philadelphia. 

1804. Stevens, of Hoboken, built and operated a 
small twin-screw steamboat. It was in use for some time 
between Hoboken and Nrw-^rk and had an ordinary 
speed of four miles an hour. For short distances it could 
attain about seven or eight miles an hour. 1 In 1844 the 
engine and propellers of this boat, as originally built, 
were placed in a similar hull and the craft was run on 
the Hudson River at eight miles an hour. The engine 

1 James Remvick, in the "Historical Magazine," Vol. II, No. 8. Renwick was a pro- 
fessor at Columbia College. New York, and saw the boat. Preble. Stevens' "First 
Steam Screw Propellers." Stuart's "Anecdotes of the Steam Engine." London, 1829. 



and propellers, together with the boilers, are still pre- 
served in running order at the Stevens Institute in 
Hoboken, New Jersey. 

1805. Stevens built and ran a twin-screw steam pro- 
peller boat on the Hudson River. It was about fifty feet 
long, with a draft of four feet, and remained in use 
until some time in the year 1806. 1 

1806. Stevens turned his attention to the side-wheel 
type of vessel and built the Phoenix, which was pro- 
pelled in that manner. This boat was partly constructed 
when Fulton returned to America from England in 1806, 
prior to the commencement of the Clermont. Fulton's 
boat was first to take the water, being finished a few weeks 
ahead of the Phoenix, and Stevens' craft, debarred from 
New York state under a legislative monopoly granted 
to Livingston and Fulton, was run to Philadelphia and 
operated in that neighborhood. 

Fulton had lived in Philadelphia from 1782 to 1786, 
during the last year or more of which time Fitch had 
been busy with his boat. There is nothing to indicate a 
knowledge of Fitch's work by Fulton until a later date. 
Fulton went to London in 1786, where he resided in the 
household of the American painter, Benjamin West, for 
several years, and devoted himself to a study of engineer- 
ing. John Rumsey proceeded to England in May of 1788, 
and died in London on Decem'be:r;24,, 1792." Fulton knew 
of Rumsey's presence in England, -went to see him there, 3 
and discussed with him the subject of steamboats. It is 
not probable, in view of the controversy between Fitch 
and Rumsey, that Fulton could have talked about steam- 

1 Stevens' "First Steam Screw Propellers." Preble. 

2 Bache's "General Advertiser," Philadelphia, March 5, 1793. 

3 "A gentleman not many years ago had in his possession letters written by Rumsey 
in London, which mentioned his receiving frequent visits there from a young American 
studying engineering, who showed a sympathetic and intelligent interest in Rumsey's 
labors. This young man was Robert Fulton. . . ." Preble: p. 12. 



108. The Swallow, also a fine and swift Hudson River boat of the fourth 
decade, whose construction and appearance reveal further progress toward 
the modern type of eastern river craft. She was afterward wrecked by 
striking a rock in the river. From a drawing made by the Scotch civil 
engineer David Stevenson, in 1837. 

boats in London with the last named of his fellow Ameri- 
cans without also becoming informed of what Fitch had 
done. Yet it may have happened so. 

The future builder of the Clermont continued in Eng- 
land and France until 1801, during which year Chancellor 
Livingston was appointed American Minister to the Court 
of Napoleon. In Paris Livingston formed an acquaint- 
ance with Fulton, and the American diplomat, who had 
already built a steamboat, at once entered on close per- 
sonal association with the young civil engineer, out of 
which the Clermont grew, and which was only to be 
broken by Fulton's death. Both men were interested 
in the use of steam for the purposes of transportation, 
and Livingston urged his young friend to pursue the 
matter. In the words of another biographer of Fulton, 1 

1 Cadwallader D. Golden, in his "Life of Robert Fulton": pp. 148-149. Taken by 
Golden from a statement made by Livingston at a later date. 



"he [Livingston] communicated to Mr. Fulton the im- 
portance of steamboats to their own country; informed 
him of what had been attempted in America, and of his 
resolution to resume the pursuit on his return, and advised 
him to turn his attention to the subject." 

The advice was unnecessary. Fulton had been watch- 
ing the work of other men in steam navigation for some 
eight or nine years and had displayed an intelligent in- 
terest in Rumsey's labors as far back, at least, as the year 
1792. During the year of 1793 he had also been in cor- 
respondence with Lord Stanhope, of England, regarding 
the building of steamboats. About the year 1802 Fulton, 
in giving consideration to the question of propulsion, 
"thought of paddles and duck's feet, abandoning which, 
he took up the idea of using endless chains with resisting 
boards upon them as propellers, his calculations giving 
him a favorable opinion of the mode; at least, he was 
persuaded it was greatly preferable to any other method 
that had been previously tried." 1 While still in England, 
arid in 1799, Fulton had also become acquainted with 
Cartwright, inventor of the power loom, and by him 
had been given the plan or model of a steamboat made 
by the Englishman about the year 1787. 2 

In reciting to Fulton what had been accomplished in 
America previous to the commencement of their acquaint- 
ance in Paris, Livingston might well have gone much 
further than merely to recount the list of steam-propelled 
boats above set forth. For in his own work of steamboat 
building the Chancellor had been associated with John 
Stevens, of Hoboken, and with Nicholas J. Roosevelt, of 

1 Colden's Biography of Fulton. 

An endless chain of paddles was the first propelling system tried by Fitch and almost 
at once discarded. Stanhope had used the duck's-feet paddles. 

2 Fulton was afterward accused of selling, as his own, another invention of Cartwright's 
a cordage-laying machine. The details of this controversy are contained in Thornton's 
"Short Account of the Origin of Steam Boats": pp. 17-18. 



New York, and the three men had long been at courteous 
odds over the proposed details of their vessel. The Chan- 
cellor, though a very able man, was a bit stubborn in his 
opinions and somewhat intolerant of opposition. He 
preferred to have his own way. The trait in question 
had been shown in connection with the boat built by him 
and his two colleagues and operated in 1798 at a speed 
of about three miles an hour. Its speed not having been 
satisfactory, Roosevelt had proposed the use of side 
paddle-wheels, and on September 6th of the same year had 
written to Livingston as follows: 

"I would recommend that we throw two wheels of 

Group on Deck. 

109. Travellers on a Hudson River steamboat. As suggested by the attitude 
and apparel of the three men in the background, the costumes worn by the 
other group were becoming obsolete. The object on the bench is a trav- 
eller's bag called the "carpet-sack." It was made of carpet, and often 
showed a combination of colors such as red, green, brown, blue and yellow. 
From it the modern hand-bag and suit-case have been evolved. 



wood over the sides, fastened to the axes of the flys with 
eight arms or paddles; that part which enters the water 
of sheet iron to shift according to the power they require 
either deeper in the water, or otherwise, and that we 
navigate the vessel with these . . ." ] 

The Chancellor sent no reply to the suggestion for 
upright side paddle-wheels, so Roosevelt wrote to him 
again on the same subject under date of September 16th, 
saying: "I hope to hear your opinion of throwing wheels 
over the sides." To this Livingston made answer: "I 
say nothing on the subject of wheels over the sides, as I 
am perfectly convinced from a variety of experiments of 
the superiority of those we have adopted." 1 

On October 21st Roosevelt again returned to the 
subject, urging a trial of Livingston's wheels, 3 "contrasted 
with paddles on Mr. Stevens' plan, or with wheels over 
the sides, so as to ascertain the difference in the applica- 
tion of the power." The Chancellor finally laid down 
his ultimatum on October 28th, 1798, in a letter to Roose- 
velt characterizing Stevens' paddles as "too inconvenient 
and liable to accidents," and in which hs also said, "as 
for vertical wheels, they are out of the question." 4 

Livingston's activity in keeping himself abreast of 
American steamboat building before he went to France 
is illustrated by his personal inspection of Morey's boat 
in 1793 or 1794, when he travelled on the craft from 
New York back to Greenwich. 5 John Stevens was also 
a passenger during the same trip. It is difficult to under- 
stand the Chancellor's later prejudice against paddle- 
wheels under the circumstances, for Morey's vessel had 

1 Latrobe's "Lost Chapter": pp. 18-19. 

2 Ib:d: p. 19. 

3 Which revolved on a horizontal plane, instead of vertically. 

4 Latrobe's "Lost ( hapter": pp. 19-20. 
5 Preble: p. 29. 



been propelled by a stern wheel and had made five miles 
an hour. Nevertheless his influence on Fulton must have 
been strong, for Fulton, until as late a date as the fall of 
1802, still clung to side oars as the best method of pro- 
pulsion for a steamboat. On September 20th, 1802, the 
future builder of the Clermont wrote to a friend on the 
subject, 1 and in his letter he said: ". . . if the author 
of the model wishes to be assured of the merits of his 
invention before he goes to the expense of a patent I 
advise him to make a model of a boat, in which he can 
place a clock spring which will give about eight revolu- 
tions ; he can then combine the movements so as to try 
oars, paddles, and the leaves [the duck's-feet system] 
which he proposes. . . . About eight years ago the Earl 
of Stanhope tried an experiment on similar leaves in 
Greenland Dock, London, but without success. I have 
also tried experiments on similar leaves, wheels, oars, 
paddles, and flyers similar to those of a smoke jack, and 
found oars to be the best." 

Just as Fulton had known of Rumsey's presence in 
London, he was also aw r are that Fitch had proceeded to 
Paris in 1793 with the intention of building steamboats 
there in association with Aaron Vail, American consul 
at L'Orient. Possibly the incident was one of those things 
told to him by Minister Livingston as part of the narrative 
concerning what had been done in America. Livingston 
had visited Vail and had discussed Fitch's boat with him. 2 
At any rate Fulton went to see Vail, and from him 
borrowed Fitch's plans and drawings, which he kept for 
several months. 3 The fact that Fitch's steamboat had 

1 See Preble, p. 35: the friend was Fulwar Sklpwith, an American consul general in 

- Duer's second letter to Golden, 1818. 

3 Preble; Thornton; Duer; etc., etc. For Vail's relation of the matter see Cutting's 
letter to Ferdinando Fairfax, printed in Thornton's "Short Account." 




been the only one in extensive public use up to that time, 
and a knowledge of its propulsion by side oars and later by 
stern paddles, together with a study of the earlier in- 
ventor's own plans, may have been factors impelling 
Fulton toward oars as the best propelling power despite 
Roosevelt's advocacy of side wheels and Livingston's 
voyage on a paddle-wheel boat. But whatever the cause 
may have been, Fulton did not, until late in 1802 or early 
in 1803, devote serious attention to the revolving side 
paddles previously twice used in America by Morey, also 
urged by the Americans, Reed and Roosevelt, and used 
in Europe by the Frenchman Jouffroy, the Scotchmen 
Millar, Taylor and Symington, and the Englishman 

In the year 1803 Fulton built a steamboat on the Seine 
at Paris. Owing to miscalculations in its construction the 
machinery overweighted the hull, broke through the bot- 
tom of it and sunk the vessel. 1 A new boat, sixty-six 
feet long and eight feet wide, was then constructed, but 
when tried in August of 1804 she moved too slowly to 
be of value. Fulton thereupon paid a visit to Symington 
of Scotland, 2 who had built the stern-wheel steamboat 
Charlotte Dundas and run her at six miles an hour. "In 
compliance with Mr. Fulton's earnest request," says 
Symington, "I caused the engine fire to be lighted up, 
and in a short time thereafter put the steamboat in motion, 
and carried him from Lock 16, where the boat then lay, 
four miles west in the canal, and returned to the place of 
starting, in one hour and twenty minutes, to the great 

1 "On the very day that this misfortune happened he commenced repairing it. He 
did not sit idly down to repine at misfortune which his manly exertions might remedy, 
or waste in fruitless lamentations a moment of that time in which the accident might be 
repaired. Without returning to his lodgings, he immediately began to labour with his 
own hands to raise the boat, and worked twenty-four hours incessantly, without allowing 
himself rest or taking refreshment an imprudence wHch. as he always supposed, had a 
permanent bad effect on his constitution, and to which he imputed much of his subsequent 
bad health." Reigart's "Life of Fulton." 

2 Woodcroft's "Progress of Steam Navigation." London, 1848. 



110. Going to bed in the men's cabin of a big eastern steamboat. The sleeping- 
bunk idea of the earlier river barges had been appropriated by all later 
water craft designed for passenger traffic. Ladders or other climbing aids 
were only required for the topmost tier of bunks. 

astonishment of Mr. Fulton and several gentlemen, who at 
our outset chanced to come on board." 1 Fulton also took 
drawings of the machinery used to operate the Charlotte 

After this actual ride on a steamboat Fulton was 

1 Preble : p. 36. 
a Woodcroft. 



greatly encouraged, and returned to his task with a per- 
sonal knowledge that the work whereon he was then 
engaged could be brought to a successful conclusion. 
Previous to that time he had been compelled to depend 
on hearsay information from Livingston regarding what 
other men had done, coupled with his study of Fitch's 
drawings. Such information was now supplanted by a 
certainty born of personal experience. The occasional 
doubt or skepticism manifested by some of his fellow- 
countrymen after he had returned to New York and was 
busy in superintending the building of the hull of the 
Clermont was ignored by Fulton, for he knew steamboats 
could be constructed and operated. 

The unfortunate experience of 1803, when his own 
engine had sunk a boat on the Seine, together with the 
failure of the same machinery in 1804 had, in the mean- 
time, made him realize the necessity of securing com- 
petent help in constructing the essential parts of a 
steamboat. Under date of November 3, 1803, he had 
written a letter to Messrs. Boulton and Watt, the ablest 
machinery builders of England, indicating his desire to 
have them make him what he required. 1 In it he stated : 

. "I have not confidence in any other engines, and hope you 
will be so good as to give me the necessary information on the boiler and 
other parts so as to produce the best effect. . . ." 

He already desired to return to America and build a 
steamboat. But as England then forbade the exportation 
of machinery to any other country without express per- 
mission of the Privy Council in each instance, and as he 
could not build his own engine and had no confidence 
in any but such as were made by Boulton and Watt, he 

1 The original letter is now in the New York City Public Library, Department of Manu- 



111. Substantially similar arrangements prevailed in the women's cabin, which, 
however, commonly had but two rows of berths. 

sought the aid of America's diplomatic representative in 
Great Britain. The United States Minister to the Court 
of St. James at the time was James Monroe, and to him 
Fulton wrote on November 6, 1 803, as follows i 1 

"You have perhaps heard of the success of my experiment for navigat- 
ing boats by steam engines and you will feel the importance of establish- 
ing such boats on the Mississippi and other rivers of the United States 
as soon as possible. With this View I have written to Messrs. Boul- 
ton Watt & Co. of Birmingham to forward me a Steam engine to 

1 The original is in the New York City Library. 



"Your desire to see useful improvements Introduced or created in 
our country is the strongest reason for your urging the permission and 
accepting of no refusal. The fact is I cannot establish the boat without 
the engine. The question then is Shall we or shall we not have such 

Reasons of diplomacy made Monroe unable to ask for 
an engine at the time, and he so informed his fellow 
American in Paris. In reply to the Minister's letter Ful- 
ton wrote again on March 4 jlSCH: 1 

"I received your letter mentioning that particular reasons prevented 
your applying at present for permission to ship a Steam engine to 
New York. ... As the Steam Engine is really designed for a 
Steam Boat and has no connexion with any of my other mechanical Ex- 
periments, and as the Establishment of Steam boats is of immense im- 
portance to our country the British Government must have little friend- 
ship or even civility toward America if they refuse such a request. . . . 

"Independent of the private interest which I have in establishing 
steam boats, I consider them of such infinite use in America, and feel 
so sensible of the Activity and perseverance which is necessary to make 
the first establishment and secure success, that I should feel a culpable 
neglect toward my country if I relaxed for a moment in pursuing every 
necessary measure for carrying it into effect. I hope Sir you will be 
governed by equal patriotism and not accept a slight refusal. 
The government has permitted engines to be sent to France and Holland 
before the war and do now permit them to go to Russia they surely then, 
can have no objection to let one go to a neutral and unoffending coun- 
try like the United States. ... I plead this not for myself alone 
but for our country. . 

Such were the preliminary links in the long chain of 
events that finally resulted in the general introduction 
of steam transportation. Fulton did not himself build 
either the machinery or hull of his first boat or devise 
the system used for its propulsion. After his mishap of 
1803 he abandoned the effort to create the ingredients 
which differentiate a steam-propelled craft from a sail- 
ing vessel. Instead of persisting in the endeavor to solve 
the problem with drawings of Fitch's eight-mile-an- 

1 Fulton's original is in the New York City Library. 



hour engine and Symington's machinery to aid him he 
turned to Boulton and Watt for the necessary informa- 
tion on the boiler and other parts so as to produce the 
best effect. His statement that patriotism was one motive 
for the undertaking was of course genuine, as Fitch's 
identical utterances of years before had been, but the 
activity and perseverance necessary to secure success, and 
his pursuance of every necessary measure consisted, after 
the attempt of 1803-1804, in asking a second person to 
secure from another government the work of a third per- 
son without which he said he could do nothing more to 
advance his project. 

England finally permitted him to obtain the 
mechanical appliances he required, and they were shipped 
to New York. Fulton returned to America, where, after 

112. A few steamboats built on the catamaran principle were used in the East, 

but never with success. The old double-canoe idea did not 

Drove useful when applied to steam navigation. 



inspecting a model of Morey's steamboat and holding 
three interviews with its inventor, 1 he commenced the con- 
struction of the Clermont. The hull was built by Charles 
Brown, a ship builder of New York, under the super- 
vision of Fulton himself, aided by a young mechanic 
named Stoudinger, who had been employed and trained 
by Nicholas Roosevelt, and who became Fulton's right- 
hand man. The Boulton and Watt machinery was duly 
put in place. It propelled the boat up the river on her 
first trip and during the remainder of her career. 

Immediately after the first trip of his vessel to Albany, 
Fulton wrote several letters about the voyage. In one 
addressed to his friend, Joel Barlow, he said: "The power 
of propelling boats by steam is now fully proved. The 
morning I left New York there were not thirty persons 
who believed that the boat would ever move one mile an 
hour or be of the least utility; and while we were passing 
off from the wharf, which was crowded with spectators, 
I heard a number of sarcastic remarks. This is the way 
in which ignorant men compliment what they call philoso- 
phers and projectors. Although the prospect of personal 
emolument has been some inducement to me, yet I feel 
infinitely more pleasure in reflecting on the immense ad- 
vantage my country will derive from the invention." 1 

The Clermont, as she appeared before being rsbuilt, 
was somewhat ungainly of aspect. Her boiler was set in 
masonry and all the machinery was exposed to view. A 
very small distance at bow and stern was decked over. 
The smokestack was thirty feet high, and out of its top 
roared flames and sparks from the dry white pine used 
as fuel. The engine groaned in its labors, and a man with a 

1 Preble: p. 30. Whether Fulton examined a model of Morey's stern-wheeler or of his 
later side-wheel boat is uncertain. 

2 Colden's "Life of Fulton": p. 176. 



pot of molten lead was constantly running about to stop up 
leaks from which steam escaped. The rudder had so little 
power as to be almost useless. During the winter follow- 
ing her first appearance the hull was lengthened, new 
steering apparatus installed, the deck was extended from 
stem to stern and two cabins were built below for the 
accommodation of passengers. Around the walls of the 
cabins were upper and lower sleeping berths, as in the keel 
boats of the previous generation. The whole extent of 
woodwork was then painted in various bright colors, and 
in her new guise the boat was quite the most imposing con- 
veyance for public travel ever yet seen in the world. 



THE first trip of the Clermont was a memorable event 
in economic history. It was not invested with that 
quality by any radical difference between it and what had 
been done before, for there was no such difference, but by 
the popular comprehension of its significance. An 
awakened public at last admitted the relation of steam to 
the coming years. With that acknowledgment the old 
order of things passed, and the world of to-day was born. 
We have traced the origin of the application of steam 
power to transportation in America, observed the attitude 
of the people toward steamboats during a period of about 
twenty-two years, and seen the close kinship borne by those 
early boats to one another. It is now appropriate to 
consider the delay which intervened between Fulton's 



first undertaking and the general use of steamboats, to- 
gether with the relationship between that delay and the 
long chain of circumstances resulting in the Clermont's 
creation. The connection was direct, and reveals the men- 
tal horizon of the generations that lived before modern 
conditions were imagined. If we of to-day feel astonish- 
ment because the leaders of a century ago were in large 
degree blind to mankind's impending development, it is 
only necessary to remember the laughter which, a few 
years since, greeted any prediction that men would soon 
arise from the earth and fly through the air with wings 
of their own manufacture. 

A foresight of the future is possessed only by those 
who are indeed great and by few of them. The aver- 
age man gives thought to the relationship between his 
individual affairs and the approaching years, but under 
ordinary circumstances the distant necessities of human 
society are likely to be, in his estimation, a bugaboo. He 
does not sufficiently consider that the coming men must 
build on a foundation which he and his contemporaries 
are laying day by day, and that if his work is faulty then 
the structure it must uphold will be insecure or inade- 
quate. Deliberate and intelligent national preparation 
for the economic needs of the future especially in a 
country rich in natural resources is a process not to be 
expected unless those chosen to administer its affairs are 
brave, wise, far-seeing and unselfish men uninfluenced by 
sectional jealousies, and possessed of a strength having 
its roots in the widespread confidence and support of their 
fellows and a slowly evolved popular appreciation of 
social duty. 

When Fitch conceived the idea of carrying people 
by steam power he went to the central governing body of 


= - 


" 3 



ft < 


all the states and offered it to them. He saw its scope and 
effect, and suggested appropriate national action. No 
nation had before or has since been placed in a position 
to obtain a public utility of such importance for the un- 
trammeled use of its inhabitants. Those results which 
would have followed if the government had acquired the 
inventor's system of transportation in behalf of the people 
may readily be imagined. It could have been obtained on 
whatever terms Congress might have chosen to make. 
Fitch asked nothing for himself. He said to the Con- 
gress of the Confederation in 1787: "I do not desire at 
this time to receive emoluments for my own private use, 
but to lay it out for the benefit of my country .... 
Congress might at a future day reward me further, ac- 
cording as they should see the utility of the scheme mer- 
ited it .... I do not wish any premiums to 
make a monopoly to myself." 1 

Had Congress then acted, the chief aid to national 
economic progress would not have become a subject of 
monopoly and legal controversy for nearly forty years, 
as was destined to be the case. But the Federal legislature 
was then a body with scarcely a vestige of authority, re- 
duced to that status by the conflicting desires, antagon- 
isms and other like attitudes of the states represented in 
its membership. Each commonwealth, imbued with a 
greater or less degree of jealousy toward its neighbors and 
a feeling of separate sovereignty, was blinded to the inter- 
dependence and close relation destined to subsist between 
them. Even the framing of a common political pro- 
gramme was exceedingly difficult of accomplishment, and 
harmonious action for the best interests of all in those 
social and economic matters which are superior to state 

1 His second petition to Congress. 



lines was still more so. In fact, the idea of an economic 
and social nationality was to all intents and purposes 
overwhelmed by political considerations. The real basis 
of lasting and beneficial union was at first subsidiary to 
its outward shell. A failure on the part of Congress to 
see the value of Fitch's plan was the first misfortune, and 
it was speedily followed by a second in the shape of the 
exclusive grants made by individual states. 

New York's grant to Fitch, given in 1787, bestowed 
on him a monopoly of steam transportation on the waters 
of the state for fourteen years. In 1798, as has been seen, 
Fitch's privilege was cancelled by New York and trans- 
ferred bodily to Livingston for twenty years, provided he 
ran a steamboat at four miles an hour within a twelve- 
month. This he failed to do, and the grant of 1798 did not 
then become effective. But on April 5, 1803, the privilege 
of 1798 was revived by New York and again bestowed on 
Livingston for twenty years from the second passage of 
the law, provided a boat was run at four miles an hour 
within two years. Fulton was made a joint beneficiary un- 
der the act with Livingston. Nothing was done to secure 
the monopoly within the specified time, and the period 
allowed to them was extended until 1807. In that year 
the Clermont was completed and put in use. 

The exclusive privilege held by Livingston and Ful- 
ton, then, was the act originally passed in Fitch's favor 
twenty years previously, and it was under the terms of the 
monopolistic grant that the Clermont was operated. The 
two men, just as Fitch had been, were given the power 
to seize any steamboat run by others without their license, 
and to collect a penalty for every trip so made. When 
the proposed legislation in Livingston's favor was intro- 
duced in the New York Assembly in 1798, its title was: 



"An act repealing the act for granting and securing to 
John Fitch the sole right and advantage of making and 
employing the steamboat by him lately invented, and for 
other purposes." The other purposes were the transfer- 
ence of Fitch's privileges to the Chancellor. 1 

114. In the pioneer days of mechanical transportation vehicles the "Rewards 
of Merit" bestowed on school children for diligence and good behavior 
were frequently embellished with pictures of steamboats and railroad trains, 
in order to give the pupils a better knowledge of the busy world outside. 
Their school books also showed such vehicles. See illustration No. 214. 

Fulton's biographers, either through an ignorance of 
prior steamboat history or a tendency to magnify the 
work of the man whom they discussed, have omitted men- 
tion of various things relating to his connection with and 
study of steam vessels constructed by other men before he 
built the Clermont. They have phrased their accounts 
of his relation to the subject in such a way as to convey 

1 ". . . the same privilege granted to Chancellor Livingston by the act of 1798 was 
;ranted in April, 1803, to Messrs. Livingston and Fulton." Judge Yates' opinion in the 
ase of Livingston against Van Ingen; 9 "Johnson's Reports": p. 558. 




an impression that Fulton was the American inventor 
of steam propulsion, or at least of paddle-wheels. One of 
them, 1 in discussing New York's transfer of Fitch's 
monopoly to Livingston in 1798, says: "The Legislature, 
in March, 1798, passed an act vesting Mr. Livingston with 
the exclusive right and privilege of navigating all kinds 
of boats which might be propelled by the force of 
steam. . . ." He makes no mention of the main purpose 
of the law, to which the transfer was a sequel. 2 He also 
quotes the introducer of the bilP as saying: "The wags 
and the lawyers in the House were generally op- 
posed to my bill. . . . One main ground of their objec- 
tion was, that it was an idle and whimsical project, 
unworthy of legislative attention. . . ." The subject mat- 
ter of the bill under discussion, as its title indicated, dealt 
with a law that had been on the statute books of the state 
for eleven years, and with a device publicly used eight 
years before the law was passed. 

The same biographer quotes Chancellor Livingston as 
saying: 4 "After trying a variety of experiments on a small 
scale, on models of his 5 own invention, it was understood 
that he had developed the true principles upon which 
steamboats should be built, and for the want of knowing 
which all previous experiments had failed. But as these 
two gentlemen both knew that many things which were 
apparently perfect when tried on a small scale, failed 
when reduced to practice upon a large one, they deter- 
mined to go to the expense of building an operating boat 
upon the Seine. This was done in the year 1803, at their 

1 Reigart. 

2 Nor does Golden, whose prior reference to the matter is contained in p. 145 of his 
"Life of Fulton." Reigart copied from Golden. 

3 Dr. Mitchell, of New York City, a friend of Livingston's. 

4 In Livingston's "Historical Account of the Application of Steam for the Propelling 
of Boats." 

5 Fulton's. 



115. The steamboat MihoattKe, one of the most pretentious vessels on the 
Great Lakes in 1838. Passing the Iighthoue at Buffalo. Engraved by 
Bennett from a drawing by the artist J. C. Miller. This and the illustra- 
tions to No. 127, inclusive, relate to steamboats on western waters. 

joint expense, under the direction of Mr. Fulton; and so 
fully evinced the justice of his principles that it was 
immediately determined to enrich their country by the 
valuable discovery as soon as they should meet there, and 
in the meantime to order an engine to be made in 
-England. . . . m 

Chancellor Livingston did not clearly define the true 
principles and valuable discovery here mentioned. By 
some later commentators his language has been considered 
to refer to the use of paddle-wheels, but since both Liv- 
ingston and Fulton had travelled on paddle-wheel steam- 
boats several years before the Clermont was built, and 
since the Chancellor had considered Roosevelt's plan for 

1 This was written by Livingston after the "Clermont" was built. Quoted by Golden at 
pp. 149-150 of the "Life." 



paddle-wheels and rejected it as out of the question, the 
hypothesis falls unless those who advance it are willing 
to believe that Livingston sought to give his young asso- 
ciate a credit he did not deserve. 

For some reason regarding which no definite record 
seems to exist, Fulton and his colleague did not at once 
apply to the national government for a patent on the 
Clermont, although in those days one could be had for 
the asking. They relied for their protection, instead, on 
the terms of the old Fitch monopoly in New York state, 
and sought to enforce it against various other men, who 
began to build and operate steam craft after it became 
apparent that the boat of 1807 was a popular conveyance. 
But in 1809 a Federal patent was applied for and ob- 
tained. In relating the circumstances under which it 
was secured, the first biographer 1 of Fulton uses language 
which again conveys an impression that the builder of the 
Clermont was to be accredited as the inventor of a steam 
vessel of its description, and that Chancellor Livingston 
endorsed such a claim. He says: "They 2 entered into 
a contract by which it was, among other things, agreed 
that a patent should be taken out in the United States in 
Mr. Fulton's name, which Mr. Livingston well knew 
could not be done without Mr. Fulton taking an oath 
that the improvement was solely his." 3 The improvement 
meant was the use of paddle-wheels. 

Two other boats, the Raritan and Car of Neptune, 
were begun by Fulton soon after the popular success of 
the Clermont was seen to be assured, and were later put 
into commission. Serious opposition to the monopoly in 
travel by steam power had developed by 1810, and in 

1 Cadvvallader Golden. 

2 Meaning Livingston and Fulton. 

3 "Life": p. 147. 



that year a rival company was formed in Albany to run 
steamboats on the Hudson River in spite of the state law. 
Fulton tried to fight this competition by the old Fitch 
grant rather than under his Federal patent, and applied 
to the proper New York legal tribunal for an injunction 
preventing the use of any other boats but his own. The 
application was refused on the ground that the state statute 
permitting monopoly in steam transportation was in con- 
flict with national patent legislation and superseded by it. 
On appeal to a higher state court the decision against 
Fulton was reversed and he was left free to prove, by the 
merits of his case, that rival vessels should be permanently 
restrained from activity. 

Up to the time in question Livingston and Fulton 
had been beneficiaries under four acts passed by the state 
in 1798, 1799, 1803 and 1807, all of which gave them 
exclusive rights to use steam power for water transporta- 
tion. But in all those four enactments the monopoly 
was based on the language of the legislation of 1798, 
which said: ". . . privileges similar to those granted 
to the said John Fitch, in and by the before mentioned 
Act, be and they hereby are extended to the said Robert, 
for the term of twenty years. . . ." The forfeiture of 
competing boats, and penalties for their use, were thus 
asserted without any provision for enforcing the decree 
except such means as were afforded under ordinary proc- 
ess of law. So if Fulton had then sued a competitor, it 
might have been possible for his rival to have prolonged 
the litigation for years and to have kept the opposition 
boats in operation meanwhile, even if the decision had 
at last gone against him. This was not an agreeable situa- 
tion for the owners of the Clermont and Paragon to 
contemplate, and so in 1811 they secured from the legis- 



lature a fifth law in which their right to demand for- 
feiture of any usurping steamboat was reaffirmed in more 
specific terms. By the grant of 1811 Livingston and 
Fulton were given the same remedy for the seizure of a 
rival craft as they would have possessed if the opposition 

116. The Ohio and Mississippi River steamboat Belv'dere. A picture used 
for years in England, Germany and elsewhere in Europe to illustrate the 
flimsy and dangerous construction of many western river boats. The 
Belvidere was built at the town of Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1825, escaped all 
dangers incident to her duties, and survived to the venerable age of six 
years before being worn out. The average life of an early western steam- 
boat was about three or four years. 

boat had been wrongfully taken out of their possession. 
The law of 1811 further compelled the courts to grant an 
injunction forbidding the use of any competing steam 
vessel whenever Fulton should bring suit for forfeiture. 
And to cap the climax it made any rival owner liable to 
a fine of two thousand dollars and imprisonment for a 



year if he operated a steamboat without Fulton's license 
and permission. 

Drastic as this law was, it still did not serve entirely to 
suppress competition in steam transportation. The legis- 
lature could not make the statute of 1811 retroactive in 
its operation and so its new provisions had no effect 
against the steamboats already built by the Albany com- 
pany for use on the Hudson River, or against a boat called 
the Vermont, then running on Lake Champlain. 
Courts and legislature were doing all they could to restrict 
the new travel method, but the public took a decided stand 
against monopoly and gave the bulk of its patronage to 
the independent line. Advocates of the free and unre- 
stricted use of steam travel asserted that Fulton had 
not invented steamboats and therefore had no legal 
or moral right to their exclusive employment, while the 
Livingston-Fulton company and its supporters denounced 
the intruders as rogues, rascals and law-breaking ingrates. 1 
Cadwallader Colden describes the situation of 1811 and 
its effect in the following words: 2 

"The consequences which Messrs. Livingston and Fulton had 
anticipated from the establishment of the Albany boats were fully real- 
ized. There was a combination to break down Messrs. Livingston and 
Fulton, which it was obvious they could not resist. The owners of the 
Albany boats having their residence in this city, being intimately ac- 
quainted with all its inhabitants, and their influence extending to the 
remotest parts of the state, were enabled to divert almost all the pas- 
sengers from the boats of Messrs. Livingston and Fulton. The Albany 
proprietors had not only their agents in every tavern in this city, but 

1 Livingston wrote two pamphlets at this time in support of the monopoly enjoyed by 
Fulton and himself, and discussing the relationship of national patents to state rights. 
Their titles are: 

"An inquiry into the effect that a patent might have upon the exclusive privileges 
granted by the state to Messrs. Livingston and Fulton." New York; n.d. 

"The right of a state to grant exclusive privileges in roads, bridges, canals, navigable 
waters, etc., vindicated by a candid examination of the grant from the state of New York 
to, and contract with Robert R. Livingston and Robert Fulton, for the exclusive naviga- 
tion of vessels by steam or fire, for a limited time, on the waters of said stpte, and 
within the jurisdiction thereof." New York, 1811. 

2 See "A Vindication by Cadwallader D. Colden, of the Steam Boat Right granted 
by the State of New York," etc., Albany, 1818; pp. 147-8. 



their emissaries on every road. These men made it their business, not 
only to seduce to the boats of their employers the persons who wanted 
a passage to New York, but to traduce Mr. Livingston and Mr. Fulton 
by the most wanton misrepresentations. Such an effect did this wicked 
industry produce, that the latter gentleman was looked upon by many 
who had hearkened to his calumniators as a vile impostor; and often 
have I listened with indignation to his calm and magnanimous recitals 
of the personal abuse and indignities he was daily accustomed to 
meet . . . 

"I was once myself a witness of the effects of these measures. In 
the summer of 1811 I was a passenger on board the Paragon, then 
new and recently established, confessedly, in every respect, and particu- 
larly as to accommodation and speed, superior to the Albany boats. 
Chancellor Livingston was himself on board ; and I recollect that Mr. 
Jacob Barker and his wife, and I think Mr. Walter Bowne, now a sen- 
ator from the southern district, were also among the passengers, who 
in the whole were eighteen. We started a few minutes before one of 
the Albany boats. Something happened to our machinery before we had 
got far from the wharf, which stopped us, and enabled the Albany boat 
to go ahead. She must have had upwards of an hundred passengers on 
board: her decks were absolutely crowded. I wish you could at that 
moment have seen the Chancellor, and heard his reflections." 

Livingston's attempt to enrich the country had taken 
a turn he and his colleague had not anticipated. A com- 
promise was at last effected with the Albany line, and 
in that way the dispute was kept out of the national courts. 
The opposition boats continued to run. 

During 1811 and 1812 Fulton built two vessels for 
Hudson River traffic 1 and a ferry boat to ply between 
New York and Jersey City. The demand for steam trans- 
portation continued to grow in other states, but though 
Fulton at first had no legal monopoly except in New 
York, and did not show inclination to prosecute under his 
United States patent, a fear of long and costly litigation 
served to retard the general introduction of vehicles so 
widely desired. 

The adoption of steam power in transportation had 

1 They were the "Paragon," 331 feet long, and the "Firefly," of 118 feet length. 



created new and unforeseen questions of relationship be- 
tween individual states, as well as between them and the 
national government. The earlier giving of privileges to 
Fitch by various commonwealths was the basis of a widely 
entertained belief that persons or companies could prop- 
erly hold franchises allowing them the exclusive right to 
supply steam-power transportation in states bestowing 
grants of that nature. Even the courts in many instances 
held a like view, though the rivers on which the new 
method of travel was to be used traversed more than one 
state or served as boundary lines. The whole matter was 
a complicated one, for it concerned not only the ques- 
tion of properly protecting inventive genius to what- 
ever extent such protection was deserved, but also 
involved the harmony of Federal and state jurisdic- 

117. River types of 1825. From a drawing made by Captain Basil Hall of 
the British Navy during his trip through the United States. The man at 
the left is a steamboat pilot. Captain Hall describes the others as '"back- 
woodsmen," but from their dress and demeanor it seems more probable 
they were men of some small town or settlement, belonging to that class 
which turned its hands, as need arose, to any one of a dozen tasks on land 
or water. 



tions, and was seen to affect the country in a way 
not approached by any other phase of its internal 
affairs. Yet the chief men of the time displayed an in- 
ability to foresee in any appreciable degree the future 
growth of the nation or the inevitable elimination of 
state lines in all matters involving the social and industrial 
life of the republic. If there was any premonition of 
what the coming years held in store it lay in the minds 
of the multitude. The attitude of the people indi- 
cates that their perception was more trustworthy than the 
vision of their leaders. The darkness in which the chief- 
tains groped can well be shown by quoting from the 
opinions of eminent judges who decided, in New York, 
that a state had power to halt or otherwise regulate all 
traffic at a state boundary line, no matter whence the 
traveller came or where he was going. In the case de- 
cided in Fulton's favor 1 respecting the right of New York 
to enjoin the operation of steamboats not licensed by him, 
Judge Yates said: 

"It never could have been intended 2 that the navigable waters with- 
in the territory of the respective states should not be subject to their 
municipal regulations." 

Chief Justice Kent declared in his opinion 3 that: 

"Hudson river is the property of the people of this, state, and the 
legislature have the same jurisdiction over it that they have over the 
land, or over any of our public highways, or over the waters of any of 
our rivers or lakes. They may, in their sound discretion, regulate and 
control, enlarge or abridge the use of its waters, and they are in the 
habitual exercise of that sovereign right .... 

"It is said that a steamboat may become the vehicle of foreign com- 
merce; and, it is asked, can then the entry of them into this state, or the 
use of them within it, be prohibited? I answer, yes, equally as we may 
prohibit the entry or use of slaves, or of pernicious animals, or an obscene 

1 Livingston against Van Ingen. 

2 By the 1'ederal Constitution. 

3 Kent afterward became Chancellor. The opinion of the court was unanimous. 



book, or infectious goods, or anything else that the legislature shall 
deem noxious or inconvenient." 

Against such thunder-claps from the Sinai of the 
law did steam propelled vehicles struggle during the first 
years of public effort to procure their general introduc- 
tion in America. The legal obstacles to the extensive 
use of steam transportation after the people had accepted 
it in principle were all traceable to the initial attitude 
of Congress in not securing the original invention from 
Fitch for free use, together with the theory of the various 
commonwealths that they could grant to him exclusive 
rights for the employment on navigable streams within 
their supposed jurisdiction, of a system of conveyance 
so profoundly affecting the whole country a method of 
transportation destined to be the decisive instrument by 
which the continent should at last be conquered and all 
the states welded into one social unit. 

Livingston and Fulton continued their effort to gain 
monopolistic control of steam propulsion throughout the 
United States, and in addition to building more boats and 
fighting competition in New York, they extended their 
activities in three other directions. They entered into 
negotiations with Louisiana in order to secure an exclu- 
sive foothold on the lower Mississippi, enlisted the services 
of Roosevelt 1 and sent him to the Ohio to study the adapta- 
bility of their enterprise to that stream, and began an 
advertising campaign in various cities offering to license 
steam craft on a percentage basis in localities to which 
they could not give personal attention. Their advertise- 
ment was published in numerous numbers of different 
newspapers, 2 and read: 

1 The Nicholas J. Roosevelt who had urged on Livingston the use of paddle-wheels in 
1798, and whose assistant, Stoudinger, had become Fulton's chief aid in construction work. 

2 In New York it appeared in the "Evening Post," and in Philadelphia it was con- 
tained in the "General Advertiser." 




The undersigned patentees, anxious to extend the advantages of 
steam boats to every part of the United States where they may be useful 
and to prevent such of their fellow citizens as are not sufficiently ac- 
quainted with mechanics from being imposed upon by pretenders, who 
are ignorant of the principles, offer license to any respectable individual 
or company, who may be inclined to build Steam Boats, on any of the 
waters of the United States, the waters of New York, Mississippi and 
those already engaged, excepted on the following conditions: 

118. The Ohio River steamer Flora, which was built at Pittsburgh in 1835. 

Her fate is unrecorded in Hall's list. The resemblance of the Flora to 

the Belvidere is noticeable. A contemporary pencil sketch. 

The person or company taking a license and giving security for the 
performance of their contract, shall out of the gross receipts of each 
year, pay all the expenses which the Boat may incur within the year ; 
and of the net profits, should there be sufficient, he or they shall take 
10 percent for [of] the capital expended on the establishment. But all 
profits exceeding 10 percent shall be equally divided, one half to the 
person or persons who built the boat, and one half to the undersigned 
patentees. Thus the year in which the boat clears 12 percent the owners 


will receive 11 and the patentees 1 percent and in like proportion for 
any greater sum. In the year that the boat clears 9^4, the patentees will 
have no dividend. 

On these encouraging conditions, if any patriotic individuals wish 
to improve a navigation by establishing a Steam Boat, where the profits 
may not exceed 6 percent on the usual interest, such a laudable enter- 
prise will not be checked by any claim of the patentees, the adventurers 
taking all profits until it exceeds 10 percent. In all cases, when required, 
the undersigned patentees will, whether for Passage, Merchandise or 
Ferry Boats, and at the expense of the adventurers, furnish correct draw- 
ings and rules for securing the most complete success to which this new 
art has arrived, and also have the engine and machinery made at their 
own works at New- York, and send their experienced engineers to put 
the work together and the boat in motion. 

As success surpassing the most sanguine hope has attended the boats 
they have built, not one of them falling short, and several exceeding the 
calculations made on their speed and accommodations as five years of 
practical experience may be considered to have given the undersigned 
more correct information on Steam Boats, than any other individuals 
possess it is submitted to those who may wish to engage in such expen- 
sive operations, whether it will not be more prudent to proceed on 
grounds that are professed to be safe, than to travel an unbeaten path, 
or risque the penalties of the patent law, by intruding on the rights of 

the Inventors. 



Little response was aroused by this offer. A few of 
the first steamboats of the East elsewhere than in New 
York were operated under license from Fulton, but 
public feeling against a monopoly of the sort claimed, 
together with a conviction that it could not long be up- 
held, and an aversion to the investment of money under 
the terms proposed, all served to defeat the aims of 
Livingston and his associate. 

The effort to obtain exclusive privileges on the lower 
Mississippi was for a time more successful. Governor 
Claiborne of Louisiana met Fulton and Livingston in 
New York City in the autumn of 1810, and discussed 
with them the project of introducing steamboats on the 
Father of Waters. A summary of the negotiations there 



conducted was afterward made by Claiborne in a letter 
in which the governor said: 1 

"They entertained no doubt as to the ultimate success of the experi- 
ment; but spoke of the great expenditure and heavy advances with which 
it would be attended. These they were unwilling to encounter, unless 
previously assured of the protection of the legislature of the territory 
of Orleans. I enquired as to the nature of the protection desired, and 
was informed 'An exclusive privilege to navigate the waters of the 
Mississippi, passing through the territory of Orleans, with boats pro- 
pelled by steam, was the only condition on which they would embark 
in this enterprise.' ' 

As a result of the discussion between the steamboat 
builders and the southern executive, a bill entitled, "An 
act granting to Robert R. Livingston and Robert Fulton 
the sole privilege of using steam-boats for a limited time 
in the territory," was passed on April 19th, 1811. Fulton 
had agreed that if the Mississippi monopoly was given 
to him he would send one or more boats to Louisiana as 
speedily as possible, and he proceeded to carry out his 
part of the bargain with expedition. As soon as news 
came that the legislature had passed the law demanded, 
he went with some workmen to Pittsburgh, and there, 2 
in 1811, was built the New Orleans, the first steam craft 
to navigate any stream of the interior. The New Orleans 
was a small boat of a hundred tons burden, with a stern 
paddle-wheel and two masts. 3 She set out from Pitts- 
burgh on her long voyage toward the South in October, 
and reached the city whose name she bore in the January 

Not all the three months' interval was consumed by 

1 Written to J. Lynch. Esq., of New Orleans, on Jan. 25, 1817. Printed in full in 
Colden's "Vindication of the Steamboat Right;" Albany, 1818, pp. 168-70. 

2 During 1809, in behalf of Fulton and Livingston, Roosevelt had personally visited 
snd studied the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to discover whether steam nav.gation wa> 
practicable on them. 

The "New Orleans" was built and launched under the direction of Roosevelt. 

s Fulton still believed that the use of sails for auxiliary power would be necessary. 



119. A small, stern-wheel, flat-bottomed boat of the Ohio River. It was this 
type of steam craft (hat pushed its way up the Muskingum, Hocking, Scioto, 
Licking, Miami, White, Wabash, and other Ohio tributaries before the days 
of the railroads. During the third decade such boats ascended the Wabash 
River to the town of Lafayette, in northern Indiana. Owing to the long 
disuse of those and other streams, some of them have come to be considered 
non-navigable, and their natural beds have been in part usurped by bridges 
and other building encroachments. 

the voyage. The only persons on board were Roosevelt, 
his wife and family, a pilot, six members of the crew and 
some servants. Remarkably good speed was made from 
the starting-point to Louisville, and the progress of the 
boat down the Ohio to that city became a panorama of 
amazement and excitement over six hundred miles long. 
When she passed towns or settled communities all the 
people ran to the banks of the river and gazed awestruck 
at the spectacle, just as the Connecticut villagers had 
tumbled over one another to behold Governor Trum- 
bull's chaise during the Revolution. They had heard of 
steamboats, knew such things existed in the East, and 



had been told that one of them was being built at Pitts- 
burgh. Yet no attempted mental picture of the much- 
discussed contrivance could approach, in its overwhelm- 
ing significance, a sight of the actuality. Imagination and 
anticipation had aroused the interest of the people, but 
the on-rushing truth brought a sense of stupefaction. 
Long after the smoke from her iron chimney had van- 
ished in the air, and for hours after the clanking of her 
engine had become a whisper in the ears of memory, the 
people stood at the edge of the waters they had fought 
so long, looking blanking down the river. Something 
had passed them, and yesterday was very far away. 

Louisville was reached late at night, after all the town 
was wrapped in peaceful slumber. On approaching the 
shore the accumulated steam in the boilers was permitted 
to escape through the exhaust pipe. Never before had 
the resultant roar of that operation been heard on the 
Ohio, and as the loud reverberating blast rolled through 
the little city, sleep fled from its habitations and the 
population with one accord sat upright in the darkness, 
wondering why the crack of doom was so long drawn 
out and how soon the angel Gabriel would follow it in 
person. Alarm was general, but as the midnight cry 
of a new power died away to a low muttering, and then 
ceased altogether, assurance came again and news regard- 
ing the real cause of the disturbance soon spread through 
the community. 

Shallow water at the rapids detained the steamboat 
for three weeks, during which time she made several trips 
to Cincinnati and return, but during the last days of 
November the southward voyage was again begun. 



THE arrival of the vessel at New Orleans was an 
occasion for a popular demonstration, and the hoat 
was at once employed in regular trips between the Louisi- 
ana metropolis and Natchez in Mississippi. But so abrupt 
and uncanny was the contrast between the steamboat and 
those craft she was intended to supplant that the public 
held aloof from her in the bestowal of their patronage un- 
til several trips had been made. She seemed too much of 
a miracle, at first, and many travellers and merchants 
preferred to use the barges and flatboats with which they 
were familiar until the new system of transportation had 
somewhat demonstrated its reliability in practise. The 
New Orleans, like all other early steamboats, was a flimsy 


fabric laden with danger both from explosion and fire, 
and the careful business men of the South, though recog- 
nizing the value of steam propulsion, were not blind to 
those defects in its application which were later to result 
in catastrophes that appalled the country. The average 
up-stream speed of the New Orleans was about three miles 
an hour. She continued in service until wrecked by a 
snag in 1814. 

The second steamboat in western waters was the Comet, 
built on the Ohio at Brownsville, Pennsylvania, in 1813, 
by Daniel French, who had obtained a patent in 1809. 
The Comet went to Louisville in 1813 and descended to 
New Orleans during the following year. After two voy- 
ages to Natchez she was dismantled and her engine was 
set up in a cotton factory. 

The Vesuvius, built at Pittsburgh by Fulton's work- 
men in 1814, for his Louisiana company, was the third 
western boat, and she reached New Orleans in the early 
summer of that year. On her first north-bound voyage she 
ran on a sand-bar, where she reposed from July until 
December, and then returned to New Orleans. The Vesu- 
vius plied intermittently between the southern city and 
Natchez in 1815 and 1816, was burned, raised, refitted, 
and finally fell to pieces in 1819, after a long career typ- 
ical of the most venerable and fortunate boats of the time. 

Number four of the early western steam craft was the 
Enterprise, built by French at Brownsville in 1814. 
After two trips to Louisville and return she proceeded to 
New Orleans and in the spring of 1815 went back to 
Louisville again, being the first boat to travel up-stream 
between the two cities by means of steam power. The 
trip was accomplished in twenty-five days, but was not 
accepted by the people of the interior as a final and de- 



120. First-class steamboat of the Ohio and Mississippi River trade in 1838. 
In boats of this sort the trip from Cincinnati to New Orleans required 
about seven or eight days. From a drawing by the Scotch engineer David 
Stevenson, in 1837. 

cisive proof that steam craft were dependable for use 
against the river currents. She had ascended the Missis- 
sippi and Ohio during a flood, and avoided the opposing 
flow by travelling most of the way over inundated country 
covered by slack water. So the people still refused to 
give an unqualified verdict that the Mississippi had been 

Such was the state of public opinion when Henry 
Shreve built the double-deck steamboat Washington at 
Wheeling, Virginia, in 1816, equipped his boat with 
high-pressure engines constructed by French, and em- 
bodied numerous technical improvements in the vessel 
and her machinery. The Washington was taken to New 
Orleans in the fall of 1816, and excited the admiration of 
the Louisiana city. While lying there the boat was in- 
spected by Edward Livingston, brother and business 
representative of the Chancellor, who said to Shreve : "You 



deserve well of your country, young man, but we shall be 
compelled to beat you if we can." 1 On March 12, 1817, 
the Washington left Louisville for New Orleans on her 
second voyage, and accomplished the round trip in forty- 
one days. About twelve days were consumed in descend- 
ing the rivers, and twenty-five in returning against the 
normal currents of the streams. From this upward pas- 
sage may be dated the commencement of general steam 
navigation in the Mississippi valley. It dispelled the last 
doubt of the people that steam was the master of the 
mighty river, and Shreve was hailed as a hero. The pop- 
ulation of the Mississippi valley was as excited over his 
accomplishment as it had been over Jackson's victory at 
New Orleans. Louisville greeted him on his return with 
a reception and a public dinner, and he made a speech in 
which he boldly predicted that the time would come when 
people could travel from New Orleans to Louisville in 
ten days. His hearers thought he was a trifle optimistic, 
but applauded him just the same. 

No sooner had news of the Washington's performance 
spread through the Ohio valley than numerous steamboats 
were begun, but their appearance in large numbers was 
halted for two years more by the fear of legal proceedings 
against them. Robert Fulton had died in 1815, but his 
company was still active in its efforts to establish a monop- 
oly in steam transportation, and did not confine itself to 
verbal warnings. Edward Livingston's threat was carried 
into effect. On the return of Shreve and his craft to New 
Orleans the Washington was seized by the sheriff at the 
instigation of the New York company and an action to 
prevent its further operation was begun in the courts of 

1 Meaning that the Livingston-Fulton company would try by legal means to prevent 
Shreve from running his boat. 



Louisiana. The decision was in favor of Shreve, and the 
southern monopoly asserted by the Livingston-Fulton 
association was declared to be unconstitutional and void. 
In 1819 the claims of the New York men were abandoned 
as far as western waters were concerned, and steamboat 
building on the Ohio and Mississippi was resumed, with- 
out fear, by all who desired to engage in the enterprise. 
From that time the development of the interior continued 
with increased momentum. Cincinnati's first steamboat, 
the original General Pike, was put into commission in 
the year last named and marked the appearance of the 
pioneer steam transportation company of the West. 1 She 
conveyed her passengers to Louisville in thirty-one hours. 2 
For a dozen years or more after 1807 the use of steam 
transportation in the East spread even less rapidly than 
in the West. Two causes that contributed to delay in 
adopting the new vehicles fear of lawsuits and dissatis- 
faction with the percentage terms offered by Livingston 
and Fulton have been mentioned. Still other powerful 
agencies operating in the same way were the opposition of 
established travel systems such as stage-coach lines and 
sailing packets, the jealousies of the different states, and 
the actual taxation of travellers on steamboats. Yet none 
of these things, nor all of them put together, could prevail 
against the manifest advantages that lay in the use of steam 
power. Various small boats were now and then built in 

1 The United States Mail Line between Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis. 

2 The increase in the speed of travel throughout the interior between the days of the 
flatboat and the general introduction of railroads in that part of the country can be shown 
in a broad way by a table giving the time consumed in a steamboat trip from Louisville 
to New Orleans at various dates between 1815 and 1853. Such figures follow: 







Steamboat I 





























Belle Key 





Tecumseh . . 
Tuscarora . . 













Gen. Brown. 












121. The Jacob Strader, built in 1854 for service between Cincinnati and 
Louisville, was the finest boat yet seen on the Ohio. She cost $200,000, 
and developed a speed of 18 miles an hour. The words "low pressure" on 
the paddle-box were to reassure the public against the probability of ex- 
plosions such as were then frequent on boats using high pressure boilers. 

different localities, and they prospered when not opposed 
by narrow-sightedness or legal obstacles which they could 
not combat. 

Philadelphia's first boat to be run for public patronage 
since Fitch's packet of 1788-1790 was the Phoenix, whose 
building by John Stevens, in 1807, has been related. For 
a time she was operated between New Jersey towns and 
New York City, but Fulton's opposition at last shut her 
out of New York state waters, and she was taken to Phila- 
delphia, thus performing the first ocean voyage under- 
taken by a steam craft. After reaching the Delaware 
River, in 1809, the Phoenix ran between Philadelphia and 
Bordentown, carrying passengers who were moving to 
and fro across New Jersey from that town by stage-coach. 
She had thirty-seven sleeping berths. Warning of her im- 
pending departure on a trip was given by the captain, who 
stuck to the custom of the early keel-boats and blew on a 
long tin horn. During the next ten or twelve years several 



other boats were built at Philadelphia 1 to meet the needs 
of the rapidly growing travel between New York and that 
city. Each carried her passengers up the Delaware to the 
terminus of the stage-coach line with which she had a 
traffic arrangement. There were a number of such stage 
companies operating vehicles across New Jersey by that 
time, and so energetically did they seek patrons that a 
rate war occasionally broke out, and the price of a through 
ticket to New York dropped to a dollar. 

Baltimore entered on the era of steam travel in 1813, 
when the little steamboat Eagle went from New York to 
operate in the neighborhood, and three years later another 
boat, the New Jersey, arrived at the Maryland city. 

All five of Fulton's early boats on the Hudson and Jer- 
sey waters 2 remained rather slow of motion and somewhat 
awkward in operation. He recognized the desirability of 
obtaining greater speed if possible, and in 1811 wrote a 
letter on the subject to Dr. William Thornton, 3 in which 
he said: 

"I shall be happy to have some conversation with you on your steam- 
boat inventions and experience. Although I do not see by what means 
a boat containing one hundred tons of merchandise can be driven six 
miles an hour in still water, yet when you assert perfect confidence in 
such success, there may be something more in your combinations than I 
am aware of. ... If you succeed to run six miles an hour in still water 
with one hundred tons of merchandise, I will contract to reimburse the 
cost of the boat, and to give you one hundred and fifty thousand dollars 
for your patent; or, if you convince me of the success by drawings or 
demonstrations, I will join you in the expense and profits." 4 

By the year 1816 there were but eight boats on the Hud- 
son, and the fare from New York to Albany was seven 

1 Some few of them were the "Philadelphia," the "Pennsylvania" and the "Aetna." 
The "Aetna" blew up in New York harbor in 1824, with loss of life. 

2 The "Clermonr' (1807); "Raritan" (1807); "Car of Neptune" (1808); "Paragon" 
(1811); and "Firefly" (1812). 

3 Fitch's old business associate. 

4 Preble's "History," p. 64. Thornton, in speaking of this matter says: "I agreed to 
his proposal at once, but he declined to write the terms." Thornton's "Short Account," 
Albany, 1818, p. 9. 


dollars. Passengers for way stations paid at the rate of 
about five cents a mile, but no ticket was sold for less than 
a dollar, no matter how short the distance its purchaser 
intended to go. Complicated legal controversies were 
still raging in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey 
over the subject of steamboat patents, and in the same year 

122. A view of the river front at Cincinnati during the period in which steam- 
boat travel and traffic reached the height of their importance. Cincinnati 
was then the principal city of the interior, and, with Louisville and Pitts- 
burgh, had been most affected by the adoption and spread of steam trans- 
portation. Along the levee at each city there constantly lay an unbroken 
line of steamboats about a mile in length. 

of 1816 Nicholas Roosevelt came forward with a claim to 
the invention of paddle-wheels, which he had proposed to 
Livingston. He had taken out a patent in 1814, and now 
published in various newspapers the following advertise- 


"All persons are hereby informed that I claim the right of Inventor 
of Vertical Wheels, as now generally used for Steam Boats throughout 
the United States, having been first used, after my invention, in the 
North River Steam Boat, by Messrs. Livingston and Fulton. 

"I have obtained a patent in due form of law, for my invention, 
which is dated the first day of Dec., 1814. 



"No other person in the United States has any Patent, but myself, 
for the invention of Vertical Wheels. Having obtained a legal title to 
the sole use of steamboats with such wheels, I hereby forewarn all per- 
sons from using them hereafter without license from me. The patent 
and evidence of my right are in the hands of Wm. Griffith, Esq., of the 
City of Burlington, my Counsel-at-Law. 

"On this subject, so very important to me (being the only real and 
efficient invention since Fitch's boat), I do not by this notice challenge 
controversy, but am prepared to meet it in any form. My object is to 
make known, that I am the Inventor, and have the Patent right. Indi- 
viduals or companies who use such wheels without my license after this, 
will be prosecuted under the Law of Congress, for damages amounting 
to the profits of the boat. Licenses will be sold under me at moderate 
rates, and warranted. 

"BURLINGTON, N. J., 4th March, 1816." 1 

After this public notice by Roosevelt, Fulton never 
urged his claim, but from that moment abandoned it. 2 
It seems a justifiable inference, in view of the published 
statements made by Roosevelt and his manner of wording 
the advertisement, that there had been some sort of a fall- 
ing out between him and the Livingston-Fulton organiza- 
tion during the time that had intervened since his activity 
in building boats at Pittsburgh for the company in 1811. 
At any rate Roosevelt's sudden appearance in the field as 
still another from whom permission must be obtained 
before steamboats could be built confused the public, 
instilled an additional fear into the minds of possible 
investors and thereby served further to retard the intro- 
duction of the new transportation device. 

Of the ones who did take out licenses for the building 
of steamboats some dealt with the Livingston-Fulton com- 
pany and others with the new claimant. Among those 

1 For a full account of the relationship between Roosevelt's patent and later develop- 
ments in the legal fight over steamboats, see J. H. B. Latrobe's "Lost Chapter in the 
History of the Steamboat." 

2 Phraseology of Latrobe, p. 8. In 1826 the facts were submitted as a case-at-law, to 
William Wirt, for an opinion, and Wirt said: "On the above statement I am of opinion 
that the patent to Roosevelt is valid." Latrobe's "Lost Chapter," pp. 7-8. 



who paid Roosevelt for the privilege of operating steam 
craft were Aaron Ogden, who established a vessel between 
Elizabethtown and New York, and the Shrewsbury and 
Jersey Stage Company, which ran a boat in connection 
with its land coaches. After Fulton's death the company 
organized by Chancellor Livingston and himself gave up 

124. A Mississippi steam packet with a cargo of cotton. In case of boiler 

explosion, collision, or other accident, the cotton bales sometimes served as 

rafts to which the people clung until they drifted ashore or were 
picked up. 

the effort to secure half the profits on all earnings above 
ten per cent, under licenses granted by it. No public an- 
nouncement respecting a modification of operating terms 
for steamboats appears to have been made, but such details 
were left to private negotiation. The company was trying 
as best it could to retain the semblance of monopoly still 
remaining, and made whatever arrangement was possible 
in each case. In 1821, for example, it entered into an 
agreement with several men living near Lake George, in 



New York state, giving to them the exclusive right of 
steam navigation on that sheet of water, and exacting noth- 
ing from the owners of the boat until eighteen per cent, of 
all money invested had been taken in. After that amount 
had been cleared, half of any further profit was to go to 
the licensing company. 1 

Another pioneer steamboat whose origin and operation 
were somewhat related to the Fulton company was the 
W alk-in-the-W ater , first steam vessel on Lake Erie. She 
was built near Buffalo in 1818, left Buffalo for the first 
time on August 23, 1818, arrived at Cleveland amid much 
popular excitement on the 25th, and reached Detroit, her 
destination, on the 28th. During her progress through 
Detroit River hundreds of Indians lined the shores of the 
strait and cried out in amazement. They had been told 
the white men would send among them a ship drawn 
through the water by sturgeons, and there, before their 
eyes, was proof of the incredible tale. Never more would 
they presume to oppose a race who could do such a thing 
who could harness even the fish of the sea to do their 
bidding. The red men were soon disabused of their first 
belief, but an understanding that fire and machinery 
were used in propelling the boat produced an im- 
pression no less profound. "We are children," they said. 

The builder of the W alk-in-the-W ater~ had paid the 
Livingston-Fulton company a sum now unknown for the 
privilege of operating the vessel, and all four men who at 
various times commanded her were brought from previ- 
ous service on the Hudson River boats of the company. 
She cost about $50,000, had two masts, and paddle-wheels 

1 The contract here summarized was contained in a document in the collection of Dr. 
Ronieyn Beek, of Albany, and later in possession of Mrs. Pierre Van Cortlandt. It was 
first published in the "Magazine of American History," Vol. xviii, Xo. 1 (July, 1887). 

2 Dr. J. B. Stewart of Js'ew York City. For a full history of the boat, see "Proceed- 
ings of the Buffalo Historical Society" for 1864; the "Detroit Gazette" of 1818-1821, and 
the "Michigan Pioneer Society Collections," Vol. 18. 



sixteen feet in diameter. In still water she could make 
nearly eight miles an hour, but owing to the strength of 
the current at Buffalo she sometimes had to be hauled by 
oxen at the end of a tow-line for a considerable distance, 
when leaving port, before trusting to her own machinery. 
As many as a hundred and fifty passengers were at times 
aboard her. She continued to run between Buffalo, Cleve- 
land, Sandusky, Detroit, and Mackinac until October of 
1821, when she was wrecked in a gale near Buffalo. Her 
usual time between Buffalo and Detroit was three days, 
and the cost of a trip between those two cities was eighteen 
dollars. 1 

In New England a number of unusual conditions and 
circumstances marked the early days of steam travel. The 
first steamboat of Boston 2 was a commercial failure. She 
was built in 1817 to run between that city and Salem, and 
on her initial trip an excursion something happened to 
the machinery and her passengers had to bs sent back to 
their homes in stage-coaches. The accident was a severe 
blow to her prestige, and the stage-coach lines thereafter 
fought her by a campaign designed to shake public faith 
in the new travel method. As a consequence the boat was 
not patronized, and her owners decided to send her to 
Charleston, South Carolina. On the trip toward that city 
she was lost. 

During the same year of 1817 Rhode Island beheld 
the first steamboat to appear in that part of the world 
since the days when Elijah Ormsbee built and operated 
his little craft, back in 1792. In 1817 the Livingston- 
Fulton company sent its boat, the Firefly, to run between 
Newport and Providence. On her arrival at Pawtucket 

1 The spread of steam power on the Great Lakes was slow. In 1821 there was one 
steamboat on those waters; in 1831, eleven; in 1836, forty-five; in 1847, ninety-three. 

2 Called the "Massachusetts." She ran about 8 miles an hour 



from the Hudson she was greeted by the usual multitude 
eager to get its first sight of the new conveyance, and 
those of the younger generation marvelled as befitted the 
occasion. But among the throng were a few who said: 
"We have seen a boat moved by steam before." The Fire- 
fly was a slow and awkward little vessel, full of machinery, 
noisy in her operation, and she required twenty-eight 
hours to reach Newport from New York on her first 

At this time 1817 a large part of the travel be- 
tween New England and the Middle States was carried 
on by regular lines of sailing packets. These were swift, 
beautifully modelled sloops of about a hundred tons bur- 
den, elaborately fitted with interior mahogany furnish- 
ings. Their hulls were painted in gay colors and some- 
times even inlaid with designs made of polished hard- 
woods. The main cabin of a packet was about twelve 
feet square, and from it opened small but comfortable 
staterooms. Excellent meals were served, with wines 
and liquors at dinner and supper. The fare from Rhode 
Island ports to New York on a packet was ten dollars, 
and with favoring winds a passage was often made in 
eighteen hours. Similar vessels plied between all Atlantic 
coast ports. They usually ran once a week, and were 
deservedly popular. 

When the Firefly appeared in Rhode Island and 
challenged the Newport and Providence packets for the 
passenger trade between those towns, the sailboats ac- 
cepted the gauge of battle. Their agents stood on the very 
wharf used by the steamboat, crying aloud that the 
packets would take travellers from one city to the other 
for twenty-five cents, and refund the money if they did 
not land their passengers before the steamboat did. The 



sailing craft gained the victory. They were more than 
a match for the mechanical vessel in point of speed as 
well as in comfort, and the Firefly soon gave up the 
contest. No sooner did tidings of success reach the packet 
men than they assembled in convention, denounced the 

125. Nearly every settler along the banks of the Mississippi chopped down 
trees and maintained a wood-pile, in order that he might sell fuel to 
passing steamboats. A boat signalled its need by whistling, and its crew 
carried the wood aboard while the owner of the fuel kept account of the 
amount taken. A vendor sometimes kept his reckoning by moving his 
hand down a series of notches cut in a long pole. 

outrage so successfully foiled and adjourned to a tavern 
to celebrate their triumph over all innovations in general 
and despicable steam in particular. That was the last 
of steamboats in Rhode Island for four years. 

Connecticut's reception of steamboats from New York 



was even more hard-hearted than the greeting given to 
them by Rhode Island. The first steamer sent to Con- 
necticut by the monopoly-holding company was the 
Fulton? She was built in 1813-1814 for use on Long 
Island Sound, but was run on the Hudson until the second 
war with England was over. In 1815 she made a num- 
ber of trips from New York to New Haven and New 
London with such small success that the service was dis- 
continued. The people of the New England communities 
were angered by the law that excluded from New York 
waters the boats of any other state unless licensed by the 
monopoly, and they in turn refused to patronize any steam 
vessels from the neighboring inhospitable commonwealth. 
Two or three small independent steamboats were built 
and operated on the Connecticut River in the years im- 
mediately following 1815, and among them was the Oliver 
Ellsworth, 2 a craft in whose success the Connecticut pub- 
lic took a keen interest. The boiler of this boat exploded 
in 1818, killing a number of passengers. The state legis- 
lature happened to be in session at the time, and one 
excited man, eager to spread the deplorable intelligence, 
rushed from the street into the Assembly Chamber in the 
midst of a debate and screamed: "The Eliver Ollsivorth 
has biled her buster!" 

In 1821, the Livingston-Fulton company again made 
an attempt to capture the passenger traffic between New 
York City and New England, and began the renewed 
service with an excursion to Providence and Newport, 
using the Fulton. No steamboat had visited those cities 
from other localities since the Firefly had been beaten 
by the packet men in 1817. She entered the Rhode Island 

1 Dimensions, 134 feet long, 30 feet wide, 9 feet depth of hold. Her paddle-wheels 
were 15 feet in diameter and she carried a mast and sails. 

2 Named after the eminent Connecticut Justice. 



harbors with a brass band blaring on her deck and her 
passengers shouting in response to the tumult ashore. The 
trip was a success, though for some reason no further 
voyages were made for nearly a year. Steam travel be- 
tween New York and the Connecticut cities was resumed 
by the company in 1822, 1 and immediately met a violent 
popular hostility. Resentment at New York's attitude 
with respect to the use of steamboats had still further 
increased, and in retaliation the legislature passed an 
act forbidding the use of Connecticut waters to any vessel 
with a Livingston-Fulton license. By this law the boats 
of the monopoly were driven from New Haven and New 
London. Notice that steam travel between New York 
and Connecticut had ceased was published in the news- 
papers in June of 1822. 

No sooner was the company ousted from Connecticut 
than it turned once more to Rhode Island, and the Ful- 
ton and Connecticut were again sent to Providence 
and Newport. 2 Neither boat had staterooms, and nearly 
all the space on board had to be filled with the enormous 
quantities of wood necessary to keep the fires going. The 
trip between New York and Newport required from 
eighteen to forty hours, according to the weather. With 
the resumption of steam service to Rhode Island the 
packet men rallied a second time in defense of their an- 
cient privilege, and their influence caused the introduction 
of a bill in the state assembly imposing a tax of fifty 
cents on each steamboat traveller and restricting the land- 
ing, on Rhode Island territory, of steamboat passengers 
from another state. This bill passed the state senate but 
failed to receive the approval of the lower house. A 
majority of its members were of opinion that the pro- 

1 With the two boats "Fulton" and "Connecticut." 

z The fare to Newport from New York was $9; to Providence, $10. 




posed law was unconstitutional. The steamboats there- 
fore continued to run, and the days of the old packets 
were numbered. For a time, however because of their 
comfort sailing vessels still held a share of the public 
patronage in New England. The Fulton and Connecticut 
each contained almost as much machinery as a small 
factory, and made a most direful noise when in operation. 
The cog-wheel that turned the paddles of the Fulton had 
teeth five inches long, and so slow was her speed that she 
once consumed five hours in going from Providence to 
Newport. When she made a trip without using sails, her 
captain boasted of it. 

Maine's first steamboat was the hull of an old, flat- 
bottomed sailboat in which Captain Seward Porter, 
of Portland, placed a little engine in the summer 
of 1822. 1 It ran to North Yarmouth and other near-by 
towns, and so strong was the effect of the innovation on 
popular imagination that even the local constable, Lewis 
Pease, burst into song at its creation and wrote a poem in 
honor of the advance in economic evolution. The stanza 
went thus: 

"A fig for all your clumsy craft, 
"Your pleasure boats and packets; 
"The steamboat lands you safe and soon 
"At Mansfield's, Trott's or Brackets'." 

"For tickets," said the steamboat advertisement, "ap- 
ply to Mr. A. W. Tinkham's store." 

Porter's vessel was an emphatic success. Within two 
years he had a new boat with a speed of ten miles an hour, 2 
and put her to work between Portland and Boston. She 

1 Its trips were advertised in the "Portland Argus" of that year. 

2 Built at New York. 





























cd oj 







;e been 

*j O 








2 "S 




o '<-! 




o . 



E k- 1 









'.vca are t 


C (_, 

2 o 










^ u 
rt rt 




D w 












in w 



' E 




















3 ti 
























a *i 1 s o . 
J= ^ | o -2 | How destroyed. 




1821 1 G5 Worn out. 



Cumb'ld R. 

1 824150 1830,Worn out. 


h Pittsburgh 

1826J150J Worn out. 




18261125 Worn out. [Chain. 




1827J135 1829 Broke in two, on Great 




1829 76 1832 Sunk by ice. 




1830 85, 




1830 150 




1830| 40 




1831 105 




1830 32 





1830111 1832!Snagged. 




1831 96i 



Browns'ille 1829 60 1833 Abandoned. 




1832 90 1832 Lost by ice. 








1827 52 

Worn out. 




1832 60! 

El'n Douglass 


N. Albany [-1833:266! 



1835 68 




1817 150 1822 Snagged, near St. Gen- 


Ky. River 

1818 250 1822 Worn out. 




1819,314 Worn out. 



New York 

182l!l50 Destroyed. 



1822 60 


Fire Fly 









Fort Adams 




Z ; Cincinnati 

1526 250 

Burnt, on Mobile river. 




Still running. 




1 .>32 260 

Worn out. 



Silver Cr'k. 

1*2:2 60 Worn out. 



New York 

1823 120 1827 Went back to N. York. 




1825200, Worn out. 




1826 170 1830 Worn out. 




1827 117 Worn out. 



do. 1827 80 1831 Sunk. 



1827 .100 1833 Burnt, on Cumberland. 


I Cincinnati 








h Nashville 

1831 155 1832 Sunk, robbed & burnt. 


li Cincinnati 

1331 lit*! 




1832 91 1833 Sunk by S. B. Senator. 

Fairy Queen 

fi;Brush Ck. 

1832 66 : 




Free Trader 

h Pittsburgh 

1832 109 

127. Sample page from James Hall's "List of Western Steamboats," giving 
information regarding the age, size, length of use and fate of about 
seven hundred river vessels. From Hall's "The West: Its Commerce and 

was called the Patent, 1 cost $20,000, carried a mast and 
sails, and had a separate cabin for women. 2 

During the years and events just reviewed the mo- 
nopoly in New York state continued to control traffic on 
the Hudson without serious opposition, and the attitude 
of that commonwealth with respect to the new travel 
method was made still more interesting by its imposition 
of a tax on people who patronized steam craft. In 1819 
the comptroller of the state reported that the tax on 
steamboat passengers in 1817 and 1818 had amounted to 
$41,440. Only $3,819.82 had been required for its col- 
lection, leaving net profits to the state of $37,620.18. A 
steamboat traveller who made a trip of more than a hun- 
dred miles paid a tax of one dollar; to go any distance 
between thirty and a hundred miles cost him fifty cents. 
He could travel twenty-nine miles by steam power with- 
out paying any tax whatever. 

But at last the long period of monopolies and exclusive 
grants for the use of steam power in water transportation 
was coming to a close, and a protracted triangular dispute 
between New York, New Jersey and the Federal govern- 
ment was the indirect means of bringing it to an end. 
New Jersey had early enacted a measure against New 
York steamboats in retaliation for the attitude of the 
larger state, and in 1814 Aaron Ogden, governor of New 
Jersey, again planned an invasion of the waters of New 
York Bay in an effort to upset the Fulton-Livingston 
claims. He had long been the proprietor of "an ancient 
and accustomed ferry" between Elizabethtown Point and 
New York City, and, in order still further to strengthen 

1 Doubtless indicating the payment of a license fee either to the Livingston-Fulton 
company or to Roosevelt. 

2 The "Boston Courier" of August 12, 1824, describes her first trip. In 1825 the steam- 
boat fare from Boston to Portland, with meals, was $5; to Bath, $6; to Augusta, $7; to 
Eastport, $11. 



his position, he also secured a coasting license from the 
United States and an assignment to himself, from Fitch's 
heirs, of the original patent granted to Fitch and all na- 
tional and state rights of every sort in connection with it. 
Having so fortified his demand he presented to the New 
York legislature a statement asserting a right to run steam 
ferry boats over his route, 1 declaring that such service 
would tend to the public accommodation, and asking for 
action on his petition. 

Ogden's memorial was considered by a committee of 
the New York legislature 2 which finally reported that the 
steamboat had been patented by Fitch, that Fitch or his 
assignee had all rights to the invention during the life of 
the patent, that the use of the contrivance afterward fell 
to the public, and that the exclusive legislation of New 
York in favor of Fulton and Livingston was unconstitu- 
tional and oppressive. This report was rejected by the 
New York senate, and Ogden was not granted the privi- 
lege he asked. Ogden then brought the matter before 
New Jersey's legislature, but there he was also defeated, 
and so powerful were the influences arrayed against him 
that New Jersey even repealed the former measure which 
excluded New York steamboats from its waters. A com- 
promise between the Fulton-Livingston company and 
Ogden was then effected, the quarrel was kept out of the 
courts, and a decisive pronouncement on the question was 
once more avoided. 

So the controversy hung for another ten years, with 
Federal jurisdiction over navigable waters still denied and 
fought by New York, until 1824. In that year it again 
arose in an acute form and was contested to a finish. A 

1 As above described. 

2 The chairman of the committee was William Duer, later president of Columbia 
College. Duer's active interest in the steamboat question, as a historical subject, dated 
from the events under consideration. 



prominent business man and lawyer of Georgia, Thomas 
Gibbons by name, had settled in Elizabethtown, and there 
he invested some money in a steam ferry to New York in 
opposition to the one run by Ogden. Gibbons was con- 
vinced that New York's attitude could not be successfully 
maintained, and he resolved to embark in whatever course 
of litigation might be necessary to prove the soundness of 
his belief. In order to involve the general government 
in the contention he also obtained a coasting license from 
the Federal authorities. Ogden promptly obtained an in- 
junction against Gibbons' ferry boat on the ground that 
his own rights had been invaded, and the Court of Errors 
sustained him because the case, in its opinion, presented no 
conflict between state and national laws and jurisdiction. 
Gibbons appealed to the Supreme Court of the United 
States. He secured the services of Daniel Webster as 
counsel to aid the Attorney-General, 1 and Webster's argu- 
ment at last placed before the country's highest tribunal 
a clear picture of the existing and intolerable conditions. 
Judgment, as pronounced by Chief Justice John Marshall, 
was rendered for Gibbons, and by that decision the navi- 
gable waters of the nation were at last opened to the free 
use of all men. State lines as a barrier to the movement 
of the people were swept away, steam vehicles were 
removed from classification with obscene books and 
contagious diseases, and the principle of unhampered 
interstate travel and transportation and commerce by 
mechanical methods was established. 

1 Wirt. 


WHILE the people had thus been engaged in their 
effort to secure an unhampered use of steam pro- 
pelled vehicles on the natural water systems of the country 
there had also been progressing a complex series of other 
events destined to have powerful influence on the land 
movement of the population and on all future phases of 
their development. Those things had to do with the 
acquirement of the Federal domain or public lands 
the final phase of the conflict between red men and white, 
and the acts of government 1 which accompanied a steadily 
increasing realization that river transportation alone 

1 Both national and state. 


could not meet the needs of the rapidly growing nation. 
The matters about to be discussed, in a word, reveal the 
methods by which all territory east of the Mississippi was 
unified under Caucasian influence, first united by overland 
highways, and finally brought into a situation which 
permitted the creation of a modern travel and transporta- 
tion system in the shape of turnpikes, canals and railroads. 

It is possible that the conditions now to be outlined, and 
certain described events, policies and acts which grew out 
of those conditions, have had a more intimate relation to 
the later affairs of the republic and the character of its 
inhabitants than is ordinarily accorded to them. The 
manner in which the American republic grew during the 
years now under review from 1795 until about 1835 or 
1840 and some of the methods by which its government 
obtained for its citizens the right to travel and spread over 
the face of the country, constitute a phase of history that 
has been somewhat neglected. 1 The generation and a half 
embraced within the years specified was a period of 
national character formation; a time during which the 
young eagle outgrew its pin-feathers, tested its wings and 
soared away toward an unknown destiny. We now seek 
to discover the direction of its first flight. 

The military and political battles of the forty or forty- 
five years subsequent to 1795 are familiar, but they are not 
the basic annals of that epoch. Its real history, as is the 
case with respect to all periods of all nations, is a tale of 
the ambitions, aversions, high endeavor, selfishness and 
intrigues of men ; not a record of the desperate struggles in 
which those human qualities reach brief but spectacular 
culmination. So for the purpose of these pages we need 
only concern ourselves with certain manifestations of the 

1 When compared with the a'tention and literature devoted to other epochs both before 
and after the one mentioned. 


ft n i fj* 


popular feeling of the time, and with various acts of gov- 
ernment that likewise reflected the underlying attitude of 
the English speaking race. A brief consideration of those 
things will make clear the strange embarrassments amid 
which the white men entangled themselves during the 
period wherein a need for increased methods of land 
travel and transport became acute. Such a survey will 
also reveal the way whereby the country finally solved 
the problems that its need created. The necessity faced 
by the whites was imperative if they \vere to march 
toward greater territorial dominion and economic de- 
velopment, but the tale of the means they took in accom- 
plishing their purpose is not in all degrees a pleasant one. 
The battle of Fallen Timbers, in the year 1794, 
indicated the end of the long era in which organized 
physical resistance was a chief method used by the 
Indians to retard Caucasian movement. With the 
Treaty of Greenville, following within a year as the re- 
sult of the defeat of the confederated Indians at Fallen 
Timbers, began the second aspect of the contest between 
the two races. The final phase of that struggle continued 
until about 1 840, and was marked, it is true, by occasional 
brief outbreaks of warfare, 1 but its most significant fea- 
tureon the Indian side was a widespread and earnest 
effort by native tribes both of the North and South to 
adopt a new order of life and social customs patterned in 
many respects after the organized society of the white 
people around them. The distinguishing features of the 
Caucasian attitude, on the other hand, were a persistent 
effort to secure freedom of travel in Indian territory by 
negotiation, and an equally insistent attempt to obtain title 
to native territory by purchase through means of interna- 

1 Such as the campaign which ended at the Battle of the Thames in 1811, and Black 
Hawk's War in 1832. 


tional treaties. Out of these conflicting aspirations finally 
grew a situation deplorable to the red inhabitants in its 
material results and perhaps equally unfortunate, in its 
moral consequences, to their victorious opponents. To the 
white participants in the struggle, however, came eco- 
nomic benefits of such enormous worth that the moral cost 
of their purchase was not then observed. The end of the 
contest found the Caucasians in undisputed ownership 
of all the territory east of the Mississippi River; with 
a right to move wheresoever they chose in that region 
without hindrance; and with a national treasure, in the 
shape of governmentally owned land, having value almost 
beyond comprehension. The course of events leading to 
the situation thus summed up bore a constantly intimate 
relation to the travel system that was expanding at the 
same time, and also to the government's position toward 
transportation facilities and their later growth. 

It was admitted by the Federal government during the 
forty years from its organization in 1789 until about 1830, 
that purchase from European nations of political claims 
over additional territory, or the addition of more land to 
the national domain through the cessions made by states, 
did not carry with it a sovereignty over the Indians, or 
ownership of soil, or the unrestricted right to penetrate, 
for purposes of travel or trade, through the regions so 
obtained. Nothing could be further from the truth than 
the supposition that white Americans, after the adoption 
of the Constitution, were at liberty to travel wheresoever 
they pleased in what they called their own country. 
There were some districts in which they were not allowed 
at all; other immense tracts that they were only permitted 
to cross by the treaty consent of Indian governments and 
in which they had to proceed without pause by certain 



designated paths; and still others to which access could be 
rightfully and safely gained only by passport. 

From the establishment of constitutional government 
the Republic conceded that the various nations and tribes 
of red natives were separate peoples vested with sov- 
ereignty over themselves and with rightful ownership and 
sovereignty over the areas they occupied. The only respect 

129. Indian traders and others who were confronted by the necessity of winter 
travel sometimes used sleds drawn by dogs while getting about the country 
now embraced in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Unless they employed dogs 
they had to go on snow-shoes. The "North West" meant by the engraver 
was the country north of the Ohio River. 

in which the Indians' sovereignty over themselves may be 
said to have been questioned was in the matter of selling 
their lands, for they were always asked to refrain from 
disposing of their territory to any other foreign state ex- 
cept the United States of America. But since the United 
States always established friendly relations with Indian 
nations through formal treaties negotiated by plenipoten- 
tiaries or commissioners appointed by both sides for the 



purpose as was the practise of the Republic in dealing 
with other independent countries and since a clause was 
placed in each foundation treaty with an Indian nation 
to define the land selling agreement here alluded to, it 
follows that the United States thereby admitted the 
sovereign right of the Indians to sell lands to whomsoever 
they pleased in the absence of a treaty proviso to a contrary 
effect. Otherwise such a stipulation would have been un- 
necessary. The language of those treaties was written by 
the white men, and sometimes the red peoples were desig- 
nated as "republics," "nations" or "confederations," and 
their executives as "kings," or "councils." 1 In short the 
situation created through the simultaneous occupation of 
the country by two radically different races was one 
between 1789 and 1830 such as presaged the troubles that 
were later to arise. The rapidly growing Caucasian 
nation held a loose political power over half a continent, 
and yet acknowledged that it did not either rightfully 
occupy or own a large part of the soil over which its flag 
waved, and that its citizens could not move unrestrictedly 
about, either on river or land, of their own free will. To 
the north of the white confederacy, on its south and west 
as well, and even in its midst, dwelt other independent 
nations that had been there from time immemorial, that 
still owned the soil, and prescribed laws for the govern- 
ment of their own communities. 

1 The first treaty between the United States of America and any Indians was that of 
1778 with the Delawares. It was a "Confederation entered into by the Delaware Nation 
and the United States." Article VI said: "Whereas the enemies of the United States 
have endeavored, by every artifice in their power, to possess the Indians in general with 
an opinion that it is the design of the States aforesaid to extirpate the Indians and take 
possession of their country; to obviate such false suggestion the United States do engage 
to guarantee to the aforesaid nation of Delawares, and their heirs, all their territorial 
rights in the fullest and most ample manner . . . And it is further agreed on 
between the contracting parties should it for the future be found conducive for the 
mutual interest of both parties to invite any other tribes who have been friends to the 
interest of the United States to join the present confederation and to form a state whereof 
the Delaware nation shall be the head, and have a representation in Congress; Provided, 
nothing contained in this article to be considered as conclusive until it meets with the 
approbation of Congress." "Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties. Compiled and edited 
by Charles J. Kappler, Wash., 1904. Senate Doc. 319: 58th congress, 2nd session." 



Those dark-skinned peoples had formerly been op- 
ponents of the whites in either an active or passive sense, 
but had seen the uselessness of forcible opposition to them 
and were even adopting, in some localities, various methods 
of social and industrial life introduced by the invading 
millions. The newer Americans, on the other hand, knew 
they could finally exterminate the remaining red men 
by force of numbers if they chose to do so. But that 
policy would have required another generation or two of 
warfare and they were not inclined to follow such a plan. 
They believed they could acquire the country by using 
methods no less effective and more peaceable. So they 
abandoned advance by force of arms, admitted the sover- 
eignty and soil ownership of the Indians, and set forth on a 
program of diplomacy under which the Indians were to 
be treated as ostensible friends and neighbors and through 
which the native possessions were to be secured by pur- 
chase and pressure as speedily as possible. Permission 
was also to be obtained for the establishment of white 
men's routes of travel over those numerous sections of 
Indian territory intervening between white communities. 

Those two policies of the government the systematic 
buying of native lands and the securing of public travel 
privileges across such extensive territories as could not at 
once be bought were usually carried out simultaneously 
whenever possible, by means of the treaty method. The 
treaty of Greenville itself, in 1795, furnished one of the 
largest early opportunities 1 for pursuing the purposes in 

1 Though not the first. Title to some of the soil now embraced within the limits of 
the southern states east of the Mississippi had been previously gained through the fol- 
lowing treaties, negotiated prior to 1795 by the Congress of the Confederation and the 
Constitutional government: 

With the Cherokees on Xov. 28, 1785. And soon after the Treaty of Greenville 

With the Chpctaws on Jan. 3, 1786. still other' fragments of the South were 

With the Chicasaws on Jan. 10, 1786. bought by the following treaties: 

With the Creeks on Aug. 7, 1790. With the Creeks on June 29, 1796. 

With the Cherokees on July 2, 1791. With the Cherokees on Oct. 2, 1798. 

With the Cherokees on June 26, 1794. With the Chickasaws on Oct. 24, 1801. 






130. Typical page from an account book kept by an Indian trader in the 
Indiana country. Date, 1801-1802. Showing the indebtedness of an Indian 
who had owed $76, of which $12 was for whisky, whose sale to natives 
was forbidden. The account and the bookkeeping method are mentioned 
in Chanter XXIV. 


question. Its provisions gave the United States title to 
about two-thirds of the present state of Ohio, 1 and a con- 
siderable tract of country now embraced in Indiana. 

But though the gaining of land ownership by the whites 
then seemed to be the most important feature of inter- 
national negotiations with the red men, it is safe to say 
that the acquirement of travel privileges through Indian 
regions was no less essential to the future development of 
the new American union of states. Certain it is that the 
permission for white movement thus constantly re- 
quested and given reveals the dependence of the new 
nation on the tolerance of those older peoples it was seek- 
ing to displace. In a geographical sense, and with rela- 
tion to methods of overland intercommunication, the 
settled districts of the w r hite men found themselves but 
poorly bound together after constitutional government 
emerged from political chaos. Throughout all parts of 
the country, except in the sections along the Atlantic sea- 
board, there lay independently governed and alien-owned 
areas, sometimes extensive in size, that formed barriers 
between districts in which the white men possessed both 
soil and political sovereignty. 

Travel into these independent foreign domains was 
not a right possessed by the white Americans. Yet with- 
out an unrestricted opportunity for white men to pass to 
and fro between all their own settlements there could be 
no broad development, no social and industrial progress 
of the whole Caucasian body of population according to 
its own methods. Hence the series of treaty provisos by 
which, from 1795 until 1830, the American government 
secured for its own citizens the establishment of white 
men's travel routes through Indian possessions. The 

1 Nearly 17,000,000 acres in that state. 



diplomatic campaign in question brought about a con- 
stant intermingling of the two races east of the Missis- 
sippi; surrounded the sovereign nations of red men with 
ever larger white communities; progressively introduced 
among the natives those practises of Caucasian society 
which drained the Indians' strength and depleted their 
numbers; and finally rendered their further close contact 
with the whites, and its attendant ills, intolerable to them. 
Whenever that situation came about, as it unremittingly 
did in some locality or other, the natives were willing to 
sell their lands to the white government and go elsewhere. 
Indeed, it was more than willingness that then impelled 
them to such action; it was necessity; the instinct and need 
of self-preservation. 

Those were some of the circumstances accompanying 
and following the plan by which, between 1789 and 1830, 
new travel routes were obtained to connect the possessions 
of the Caucasians. During the later years of the period in 
question, and as one means of inducing the Indians to 
grant desired privileges, the United States government by 
ambiguous treaty language sometimes led the natives to 
believe they were approaching citizenship in the white 
republic with a right to representation in its national 

It is apparent, then provided acts and events can be 
cited to sustain the suggestions here set forth that the 
subjects: (1) of Caucasian purpose, (2) of native 
rights and aspirations, (3) of race conflict, (4) of 
land travel by white men, (5) of the Federal ownership 
of land, (6) of governmental attitude toward further traf- 
fic facilities, and (7) of the moral, social and economic 
development of the American nation were, during the era 
discussed, very intimately allied. In fact they were so 



inextricably interwoven that no important event could 
then occur or public policy be formulated in connection 
with any one of them which did not also affect all the 
others in greater or less degree. And since they were so 
connected it is perhaps wiser not to deal with every phase 
of the subject separately, but to review various incidents of 
the period somewhat in chronological order. Each nar- 
rated circumstance will fall into its proper place as the 
story unfolds. One thing, however, should be kept in 
view. The first and fundamental purposes of the new 
nation were acquirement of land and of permission 
for its citizens to travel in regions it could not im- 
mediately buy. Those later results of the government's 
methods and vacillation, including problems growing out 
of Federal ownership of territory and adoption by the peo- 
ple of certain moral, social and economic standards; and 
embarrassments which finally brought the country within 
sight of disturbances amounting to civil war, were natural 
and perhaps inevitable outgrowths of early acts in the 
general policy pursued. 

Reference has been made to the battle of Fallen 
Timbers and the resultant treaty of Greenville 1 as jointly 
marking the commencement of the epoch now considered, 
and no better method of revealing the white man's attitude 
at that time can be chosen than by citing various passages 
from the compact which followed General Wayne's cam- 
paign. 2 That document, after transferring title in more 
than 26,000 square miles of Indian territory to the gov- 
ernment, went on to say 3 " . . . the United States re- 

1 The Indian nations subscribing to the treaty were the Wyandots. Delawares, Shaw- 
nees, Ottawas, Chippewas, Potawatomi, Miamis, Eel-rivers, Weas, Kickapoos, Pianka- 
shaws and Kaskaskias. 

- Quotations from treaties between the United States and various Indians that are 
given in the text are taken from the Government's publication on that subject. The work 
is entitled "Indian Affairs. Laws and Treaties. Compiled and edited by Charles J. 
Kappler. Senate Document 319, 58th Congress, 2nd Session." The edition is that of 1904. 

3 In article IV. 



linquish their claims to all other lands northwest of the 
river Ohio, eastward of the Mississippi and westward and 
southward of the Great Lakes and the waters uniting 
them . . .'" The jurisdiction of the natives over white 
men in Indian countries was recognized by the following 
statement: 2 "If any citizen of the United States, or any 
other white person or persons, shall presume to settle upon 
the lands now relinquished by the United States, such citi- 
zen or other person shall be out of the protection of the 
United States; and the Indian tribe on whose land the 
settlement shall be made may drive off the settler, or pun- 
ish him in such manner as they shall think fit." 3 The 
United States was also granted the right to destroy illegal 
white settlements and to remove and punish the offenders, 
on the ground that such invasions of Indian territory 
would be injurious to the Caucasian nation as well as to 
the natives. 

Now the negotiation of this treaty, in 1795, created a 
formidable barrier of alien-owned and independent terri- 
tory between various long-established white communities 
and others of more recent origin. To the eastward of the 
described Indian domain lay a part of Ohio, Pennsyl- 
vania, and all the Atlantic coast region. South of it were 
the Ohio River, Kentucky, and Tennessee, already in the 
grasp of the Caucasians. Toward the north were Detroit 
and Lakes Erie and Michigan, with their obvious impor- 
tance, and in the west were the Illinois towns won by 
Clark, and the upper Mississippi River. These posses- 
sions of the United States were all separated from one 
another, and part of them were cut off from the bulk of 

1 Certain small tracts excepted. 

2 In article VI. 

3 It is interesting in this relation to remember that only within comparatively recent 
times has the United States acknowledged that Japan possessed the right, through her 
own judicial processes, to deport or otheiwise punish American citizens who might act 
contrary to the laws of that country or who might be undesirable sojourners therein. 



white population in the East by a region that now includes 
about one-third of Ohio and practically all of Indiana and. 
Illinois, yet access to them from the East and South, and 
constant communication between them, was vital to the 
white republic. There were as yet no roads in the coun- 
try described, and the only travel routes by which such 
intercourse could be carried on were Indian trails and the 

But these forest paths and streams were in acknowl- 
edged ownership of the red men, and could not be used 
without their permission. The white settlements in the 
then western and northwestern sections of the country 
were thus isolated from one another, and from the East, 
unless a concession for white travel was obtained from the 
natives. Consequently this favor was sought and granted, 
and a considerable part of the treaty of Greenville was 
devoted to a careful description of the precise routes 
through aboriginal territory over which the Indians con- 
sented that white men might journey. In the language of 
the compact 1 ". . . the said Indian tribes will allow to 
the people of the United States a free passage by land and 
by water, as one and the other shall be found convenient, 
through their country" ( 1 ) along the route from the Ohio 
River northward by way of the Great Miami, across the 
Ft. Wayne portage and thence down the Maumee 2 to 
Lake Erie; (2) from the portage at Loromie's Store 3 to 
the Auglaize River, and down the Auglaize to Fort Defi- 
ance; (3) from the same portage to the Sandusky River, 
down that river to Lake Erie, thence to the mouth of the 
Maumee and thence to Detroit; (4) from the mouth of the 

1 Article III. The long and detailed description of the five travel routes therein 
granted to white men is here condensed. A study of any map of the territory involved 
will disclose the importance of the travel-rights concession of 1795 in its relation to later 
Caucasian expansion and movement. 

2 Then called the "Miami of the Lakes." 

3 On a branch of the Great Miami. 



Chikago 1 to the portage between that river and the Illi- 
nois, and thence over the portage and down the Illinois 
to the Mississippi; (5) from Ft. Wayne along the portage 
leading to the Wabash, and thence down the Wabash to 
the Ohio." 

So it is seen that the pale-faced Americans even after 
the final organization of their present political govern- 
ment and its theoretical extension to the Mississippi 
River were far from having the right to go whither- 
soever they chose in the so-called United States. Other 
sovereignties lay scattered about between the Atlantic 
and the Father of Waters. If they were penetrated 
by a white man desirous of reaching some point beyond 
them, he had to follow a definitely prescribed path from 
which he could deviate only at his own peril. If he tar- 
ried on his way, and undertook to establish himself on 
forbidden soil he placed himself beyond the recognition or 
aid of his own government. Even his life was forfeit if 
the people whose rights he had invaded chose to take it. 
They could "punish him in such manner as they shall 
think fit"; he was "out of the protection of the United 

These five travel routes, so obtained, linked together 
the white outposts of the Northwest and united them with 
the old communities to the eastward. Over them, for years 
thereafter, proceeded white movement in the region so 
penetrated, by canoe, flatboat, pack-train and moccasin- 
clad human feet until the forest trails at last became roads 
fit for vehicles, and little flat-bottomed steamboats puffed 
on the shallow rivers. 

Some of the first results attending the acquirement of 
travel privileges through native territory, as has been said, 

1 The Chicago River. 



131. Following the traders into the interior came overland caravans of 
white settlers, while others floated down the rivers. The white settlers 
destroyed or drove away the game, making it impossible for the Indians 
to pay the traders by means of furs. A wagon caravan marching beside 
a small stream. 

were an intermingling of the two races east of the Missis- 
sippi, the surrounding of red men by constantly growing 
white communities and the introduction, among the 
natives, of Caucasian practises harmful to Indian welfare. 
These consequences were more speedily visible and more 
widespread in the North than in the South, and may well 
be described by quoting from a document but lately dis- 
covered. The paper in question is a report dated at Fort 
St. Vincent, 1 July IS, 1801, and addressed by General 
William Henry Harrison to the Secretary of War. 2 

1 Vincennes, Indiana. 

2 Hitherto unpublished, and now in possession of the Indiana State Library. The 
document is one of several thousand records, letters and manuscripts dealing with the 
early history of the Northwest Territory and states. They were t' e accumulation of 
General Hyacinthe Lasselle and his descendants, and, being but recently acquired by 
Indiana, had not been classified in 1913. General Harrison's report appears to be either 
a preliminary draft of the communication or else a copy made for purposes of office 
record. The War Department, referring to the document in question, says in a letter 
to the Indiana State Library under date of March 4, 1912: An exhaustive search of 
the records on file in the War Department has resulted in failure to find the letter 
referred to or any record of it." Hence it is possible that General Harrison eventually 
decided not to send the document. If he did, then the copy received by the Government 
at Washington has been lost. 



Perhaps no similar statement of the time, prepared by 
a man personally familiar with the matters discussed, pre- 
sents in so clear a manner the condition of the frontier 
country and so dispassionately allots responsibility for it. 
The text of the document is as follows r 1 

FORT ST. VINCENT, July 15, 1801. 
To the Secretary of War: 

For the last ten or twelve weeks I have been constantly engaged 
in receiving visits from the Chiefs of most of the Indian Nations which 
inhabit this part of the Territory. They all profess and I believe that 
most of them feel a friendship for the United States, but they make 
heavy complaints of ill treatment on the part of our Citizens! They 
say that their people have been killed, their lands settled on, their game 
wantonly destroyed, & their young men made drunk & cheated of the 
peltries which formerly procured them necessary articles of Cloathing, 
arms and amunition to hunt with. 

Of the truth of all those charges I am well convinced. The Dela- 
ware Chiefs in their address to me mentioned the loss of six persons of 
their nation since the treaty of Greenville having been killed by the 
White people & I have found them correct as to number. In one in- 
stance however the White boy who killed the Indian was tried and 
acquitted as it was proved that it was done in self defense. In another 
instance the murderer was tried and acquitted by the Jury, altho it was 
very evident that it was a cruel and inprovoked murder. About twelve 
months ago a Delaware was killed in this Town by a Citizen of the 
Territory against whom a bill has been found by the grand jury. He 
has however escaped and it is reported that he has gone to Natchez 
or New Orleans. 

But the case which seems to have affected the Indians more than any 
other is the murder of two men and one woman of this same nation 
about three years ago. This cruel deed was perpetrated on this side 
of the Ohio, forty or fifty miles below the falls & is said to have been 
attended with circumstances of such atrocity as almost to discredit the 
whole story were it not but too evident that a great many of the In- 
habitants of the Fronteers consider the murdering of Indians in the 
highest degree meritorious. The story is this. About three years ago 
two Delaware men and a woman were quietly hunting in the neigh- 
borhood of the Ohio, I believe on the waters of Blue river. Their 
Camp was discovered by two men I think of the name 2 of * * * * 
brothers. And these * * * mutually determined to murder 

them for the purpose of possessing themselves of about fifty dollars 

1 With the exception of three paragraphs at the close, dealing more with minor 
details than questions of broad policy. 

2 The name is given in the manuscript, but is here omitted. 



worth of property and the trifling equipage belonging to the hunting 
camp of a Savage. They thought it too dangerous to attack them openly 
as one of the Indians well known to the white people by the name of 
Jim Galloway or Gilloway, was remarkable for his strength and brav- 
ery. They approached the camp as friends & as I am toled they have 
since confessed asked leave to stay at the Indians Camp and hunt for 
a few days. Their request was granted & they remained until a favor- 
able opportunity offered to carry their design into effect & then the 
Indians were murdered. Although they were missed by their friends it 
was a long time before their fate was ascertained. The murderers think- 
ing themselves safe from the length of time which had elapsed, now 
begin to talk of the affair, and one of them is said to have declared that 
he was very nearly overpowered by the Indian after he had wounded 
him, that he had closed in with him and the Indian was on the point of 
getting the better of him when his brother to whom the murder of the 
other Indian had been committed came to his assistance. 

Although I am convinced that the facts above stated are all true, 
yet so difficult is it to get testimony in a case of this kind, that I have 
not as yet been able to get the necessary depositions on which to ground 
an application to the Executive of Kentucky for the delivery of these 
people to Justice. 

Whenever I have ascertained that the Indian boundary line has been 
encroached on by the white people I have caused the Intruders to with- 
draw. But as the boundary line separating the Indian land from that 
to which the title has been extinguished has not been run, nor the man- 
ner in which it is to run precisely ascertained either a,t this place or in 
the country on the Mississippi called the Illinois, it is impossible to tell 
when encroachments- are made on the Indians at those two places. As 
this is an object of considerable importance to the Citizens of the Ter- 
ritory I must beg you Sir to obtain the directions of the President to 
have it done as soon as possible. The people have been about petition- 
ing Congress on this subject untill it was observed that the President 
was authorized by law to cause all the boundaries between the lands of 
the U. N. States & the Indian tribes to be ascertained and marked. 
Untill their boundaries are established it is almost impossible to punish 
in this quarter the persons who make a practice of Hunting on the lands 
of the Indians in violation of law and our treaty with that people. 

This practice has grown into a monstrous abuse. Thousands of the 
wild animals from which the Indians derive their subsistance have 
been destroyed by the white people. They complain in their speeches 
to me that many parts of their Country which abounded with game 
when the general peace was made in 1795 now scarcely contains a suffi- 
ciency to give food to the few Indians who pass through there. The 
people of Kentucky living on the Ohio from the mouth of the Kentucky 
river down to the Mississippi make a constant practice of crossing over 


2 q o 

3 I 5 


no S 

- 3 3 

^Q S! 


3 o. 


on the Indian lands opposite to them every fall to kill deer, bear, and 
buffaloe, the latter from being in great abundance a few years ago is 
now scarcely to be met with in that whole extent. One white hunter 
w r ill destroy more game than five of the common Indians, the latter gen- 
erally contenting himself with a sufficiency for present subsistance, while 
the other, eager after game, hunt for the skin of the animal alone. 

All these Injuries the Indians have hitherto borne with astonishing 
patience but altho they discover no disposition to make war upon the 
United States at present, I am convinced that most of the tribes would 
eagerly seize any favorable opportunity for that purpose & should the 
United States be at war with any of the European nations who are 
known to the Indians there would probably be a combination of nine- 
tenths of the Northern Tribes against us Unless some means are made 
use of to conciliate them. The British have been unremitted in their 
exertions to preserve their influence over the Indians resident within our 
Territory ever since the surrender of the Forts upon the Lakes & those 
exertions are still continued. Last year they delivered a greater quan- 
tity of goods to their Indians than they have been ever known to do, 
and I have been lately informed that talks are now circulating amongst 
them a which are intended to lessen the small influence we have over the 
Indians. I cannot vouch for the truth of this report, but I think it 
very probable that the British will redouble their efforts to keep the 
Indians in their Interest as a means of assisting them in any designs they 
may form against Louisiana, 2 which it is said will be shortly delivered 
up to the French. 

I have had much difficulty with the small tribes in this immediate 
Neighborhood, viz, the Peankashaws, Weas & Eel river Indians. These 
three tribes form a body of the greatest Scoundrels in the world. They 
are dayly in this town in considerable numbers and are frequently in- 
toxicated to the number of thirty or forty at once. They then commit 
the greatest disorders, drawing their knives and stabing every one they 
meet with, breaking open the Houses of the Citizens, killing their Hogs 
and cattle and breaking down their fences. But in all their frolicks they 
generally suffer most severely themselves. They kill each other without 
mercy. Some years ago as many as four were found dead in the morn- 
ing & altho these murders are actually committed in the streets of the 
town yet no attempt to punish them has ever been made. This for- 
bearance has made them astonishingly insolent & on a late occasion 
(within 8 weeks) when one of these rascals had killed without provoca- 
tion two of the Citizens in one of the Traders Houses in this place, 
& it was found impossible to apprehend him alive, he was put to death. 
This piece of Justice so exasperated those of his tribe in the neighbor- 
hood that they actually assembled in the borders of the town with a 

1 Among the Indians. A "talk" was a message or communication, either verbal or 

2 Meaning the whole territory west of the Mississippi River. 



design to seize some favorable opportunity of doing mischief. The 
Militia were ordered out and their resentment has subsided. 1 

Should you think proper to garrison Fort Knox with a small body of 
troops it will be the means of keeping the Indians under much better con- 
trole when they come here to trade & would enable the civil magis- 
trates to punish those who violate the laws. Indeed I do not think 
that a military force is so necessary on any part of the fronteers as at 
this place. The inhabitants tho fully able to repulse them when aware 
of their designs are constantly in danger from their treachery. Five 
Hundred Warriors might introduce themselves into the settlement un- 
discovered by the White people & after doing all the mischief in their 
power might make their escape with as much facility. I do not indeed 
apprehend in the least that the neighbouring tribes have any inclination 
to make open war upon us. I fear only the effect of some sudden resent- 
ment arising from their constant intercourse with the people of this 
town. In this intercourse causes of irritation are constantly produced. 
Twice within a few months an appeal was made to arms by both 
parties, one occasioned by some drunken Indians attempting to force a 
House in which one was killed and another wounded, the other at the 
time when the two white men were killed as above mentioned. Luckily 
however no other mischief was done in either instance. 

The Indian Chiefs complain heavily of the 'mischiefs produced by 
the enormous quantity of whiskey which the Traders introduce into 
their Country. I do not believe there are more than six Hundred War- 
riers upon this River 2 and yet the quantity of whiskey brought here 
annually for their use is said to amount to at least six thousand Gal- 
lons. This poisonous liquor not only incapasitates them from obtain- 
ing a living by Hunting but it leads to the most atrocious crimes. 
Killing each other has become so customary amongst them that it is 
no longer a crime to murder those whom they have been most accus- 
tomed to estem and regard. Their Chiefs and their nearest relations 
fall under the strokes of their Tomhawks & Knives. This has been so 
much the case with the three Tribes nearest us, The Peankashaws, 
Weas, & Eel River Miamis, that there is scarcely a Chief to be found 
amongst them. 3 The Little Beaver, a Wea Chief of note well known 
to me was not long since murdered by his own son. The Little Fox, 
another Chief who was always a friend to the white people, was mur- 
dered at mid day in the streets of his town by one of his own nation. 

1 Tn such cases, which were constantly occurring along the border, the tribes to 
wh-'ch the involved Indians belonged generally asserted that the offending warrior had 
purposely been made drunk that the white trader might coax him into buying, on credit, 
goods which he would not have bought when sober, or else that he might be cheated in 
respect of prices. When the debts of the Indians had piled up to large proportions they 
hnd no way of paying except by selling more land to the Government and then turning 
all, or nearly all. of their cash proceeds over to the traders. 

2 The Wabash. 

3 Which probably accounts, in some measure, for the trouble due to those particular 
Indians, previously mentioned. The whisky resulted in affrays, the Chiefs lost their 
lives in trying to quell the drunken warriors, and the tribes lost the restraint exercised 
by the Chiefs. 



All these Horrors are produced to these Unhappy people by their 
too frequent intercourse with the White people. This is so certain 
that I can at once tell by looking at an Indian whom I chance to meet 
whether he belong to a Neighbouring or a more distant Tribe. The 
latter is generally well Clothed, healthy and vigorous, the former half 
naked, filthy and enfeebled with Intoxication, and many of them with- 
out arms except a knife which they carry for the most vilanous purposes. 
The Chiefs of the Kickapoos, Sacks and Potawatimies, who lately 
visited me, are sensible of the progress of these measures and their Views 
amongst themselves, which they are convinced will lead to utter ex- 
terpation and earnestly desire that the introduction of such large quan- 
tities of whiskey amongst them may be prevented. 

Whether some thing ought not to be done to prevent the reproach 
which will attach to the American Character by the exterpation of so 
many human beings, I beg leave most respectfully to submit to the Con- 
sideration of the President. That this exterpation will happen no one 
can doubt who knows the astonishing annual decrease of these unhappy 

The Delawares are now making an other attempt to become agri- 
culturists. They are forming settlements upon the White river, a 
branch of the W abash, under the conduct of two Missionaries of the 
Society of "The United Brethren for propagating the gospel amongst 
the Heathens" otherwise Meravians. 1 To assist them in this plan the 
Chiefs desire that one-half of their next annuity may be laid out in 
implements of agriculture and in the purchase of some domestic animals 
as Cows and Hogs. The Kaskaskias and Peankashaws request the 
same thing, 2 and the Patawatimies wish a few horse-hoes may be sent 
with their goods. 

1 General Harrison, of course, meant "Moravians." 

2 Yet the Piankashaws were one of the three tribes named by the General as giving 
him the most trouble because of their drunkenness. Evidently even they were willing 
to make a last effort for self-preservation. 



THE process of acquiring title to the soil now em- 
braced in the state of Indiana, which was begun 
at Greenville in 1795, was resumed soon after Harrison's 
report of 1801. In 1803 the Delawares sold a large extent 
of Indiana territory through the treaty of Fort Wayne, 
and in the following year the same native nation, in con- 
junction with other tribes, granted another extensive and 
adjacent region to the United States. The Federal Con- 
gress, in 1804, also passed an act again acknowledging 
Indian ownership of their lands. 1 This law marked the 
first official step in the plan for ousting the Indians, in 
bulk, from their eastern possessions to country west of 
the Mississippi, and declared that "the President of the 
United States is hereby authorized to stipulate with any 

1 In the law of March 26, by other sections of which a part of the Louisiana Pur- 
chase was erected into the "Territory of Orleans," to be governed by a legislature of 
thirteen members appointed by the President. 



Indian tribe owning lands on the East side of the Mis- 
sissippi, and residing thereon, for an exchange of lands 
the property of the United States, on the West side of the 
Mississippi, in case the said tribe shall remove and settle 
thereon." 1 

Almost the whole eastern portion of the present state 
of Illinois had been obtained by the treaty of Vincennes 
in 1803. That compact was negotiated with "the Kas- 
kaskia tribe of Indians so called, but which tribe is the 
remains and rightfully represent all the tribes of the 
Illinois Indians."' The document said 3 ". . . Finding 
themselves unable to occupy the extensive tract of country 
which of right belongs to them and which was possessed 
by their ancestors for many generations, the chiefs and 
warriors of the said tribe . . . have, for the consid- 
erations hereinafter mentioned, relinquished and by these 
presents do relinquish and cede to the United States all 
the lands in the Illinois country . . . 

The price paid for the eastern part of Illinois by the 
United States was: 

1. Sixteen hundred and thirty acres of land within 
the territory ceded, which was to "remain to them [the 
Indians] forever"; 

2. A fence around one hundred acres of the land thus 
re-ceded to the Indians; 

3. A house for the chief ; 

4. An annuity of $1,000 a year to the tribe; 

5. A clergyman and teacher for seven years at a sal- 
ary of $100 a year; 

6. A church to cost $300 ; 

1 Section XV. For text of this and other laws quoted in this chapter, not otherwise 
identified, see "Laws of the Colonial and State Governments relating to Indians and 
Indian Affairs, from 1633 to 1831. . . . And the Laws of Congress from 1800 to 
1830 on the same subject. Washington, 1832." 

2 Language of the treaty. 

3 Article I. 



7. Cash amounting to $580. 

This aggregate payment, said the treaty, "is considered 
as a full and ample compensation for the relinquishments 
made to the United States." 1 

Various other treaties were negotiated with natives of 
the Northwest Territory and the interior during the next 
few years, 2 and in the meantime an ever increasing move- 
ment of white travel was visible over the communication 
routes already granted by the Indians. Existing Cau- 
casian settlements in the North were swiftly growing and 
new ones constantly appeared. The leaders among the 
Indians began to realize that they were being outfought in 
the battle of wits, just as they had been beaten, during an 
earlier time, in physical strife. So they sought advice 
from such white men as they trusted, and whose opinions, 
as they doubtless believed from long association, were dis- 
interested. In this way the red men hoped to obtain 
counsel which would guide them in their general course 
of action, and, especially, help them when negotiating 

1 Article III. 

2 Among them be : ng treaties with the Sacs and Foxes in 1804: with the Osage in 
1808 and the Chippewas during the same year. The Ottawas, Potawatomi, Wyandots 
and Shawnees were also parties to the Chippewa treaty of 1808, and in it they jointly 
gave the United States permission to open a travel route between the white settlements 
of Ohio and Michigan. 

Article I said in part: "Whereas, by a treaty concluded at Detroit ... in 1807 a 
tract of land lying to the west and north of the river Miami, of Lake Erie, and princi- 
pally within the Territory of Michigan, was ceded by the Indian nations to the United 
States; and whereas the lands lying on the southeastern side of the said river Miami 
still belong to the Indian nations, so that the United States cannot, of right, 
open and maintain a convenient road from the settlements in the State of Ohio to the 
Settlements in the Territory of Michigan, nor extend those settlements so as to connect 
them; in order therefore to promote th : s object, so desirable and evidently beneficial to 
the Indian nations as well as the United States, the parties have agreed to the following 
article, to wit: 

" 'In order to promote the object aforesaid, and in consideration of the friendship 
they have toward the United States for the 1'berality and benevolent policy which has 
been practised toward them by the government thereof, the s'aid nation do hereby give, 
grant, and cede, unto the United States, a tract of land for a road, of one hundred and 
twenty feet in width, from the foot of the rapids of the Miami of Lake Erie to the west- 
ern line of the Connecticut Reserve, and all the land within one mile of said road, on 
each side thereof, for the purpose of establishing settlements thereon. Also, a tract of 
land for a road only, of one hundred and twenty feet in width, to run from lower San- 
dusky southwardly to the boundary line established by the treaty of Greenville. . . .' " 

In its language, mean'np and effect this travel concess-'on wi'.l be found to be simi- 
lar to one negotiated with the Potawatomi of Indiana in 1826. Those nations which 
agreed in 1808 to the compact here quoted gave permission for the creation of white 
highways designed to aid in destroying the native power. By the language of the treaty 
the Indians were put on record as making the gift because of the liberality and benevolent 
policy of the United States toward them. 



First Hotel at Zanesville. 

133. One of the first public structures in a wilderness settlement was a log 
tavern for the accommodation of still more west-bound travellers. This 
tavern, kept by Landlord Mclntire of Zanesville, in Ohio, once had Louis 
Phillipe of France as a guest. 

with the United States for the disposal of their territories. 
But the white men's government apparently did not wish 
the Indians to receive aid of that sort, and seems to have 
taken action in prevention of it. In the official records of 
Indiana Territory is to be found the following law, passed 
in 1810 and approved on December 15 of that year by 
General Harrison, who was still the Governor. The law 
reads: 1 

"Whereas, it appears probable from certain documents which have 
been laid before the general assembly by the governor that the negotiations 
between the United States and the Indian tribes are much interrupted 
by the interference of mischievous individuals, and that the harmony and 

1 "Acts of the Assembly of the Indiana Territory Passed at the First Session of 
the Third General Assembly of the Said Territory, etc. Printed by Authority. Vin- 
cennes, 1810." Chapter XXXIV. 

good understanding between the United States and the said tribes are 
likely to be interrupted, and the peace which has so long and so happily 
subsisted jeopardized by such improper and unpatriotic conduct; and 
whereas this general assembly is desirous to shew its respect for the gen- 
eral government, 1 and to promote as far as possible its humane and 
benevolent policy of civilizing the Indians . . . and being desirous 
also to facilitate those extinguishments of Indian title which are at once 
so beneficial to the United States, their constituents, and the Indian 
tribes, 2 therefore . . . 

"5. Be it further enacted, That if any person or persons shall with- 
out the permission of the United States, or of this territory, directly or 
indirectly commence or carry on any verbal or written correspondence or 
intercourse with any Indian nation or tribe, or any chief, sachem or war- 
rior of any Indian nation or tribe, with an intent to influence the meas- 
ures or conduct of any Indian nation or tribe, or any chief, sachem or 
warrior of any Indian nation or tribe, in relation to any negotiations or 
treaties, disputes or controversies with the United States or this territory, 
or to defeat the measures of the government of the United States or this 
territory, or if any person or persons not duly authorized shall counsel or 
advise, aid or assist in any such correspondence with intent as aforesaid, 
he, she or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor and on 
conviction thereof before any court having jurisdiction thereof shall be 
punished by a fine not exceeding three thousand dollars and not less than 
one thousand dollars." 

It was during this time that Tecumseh was busily 
shaping his project for the organization of a new red con- 
federacy which should again oppose, primarily through 
passive resistance but by arms if necessary, the Caucasian 
advance. The Shawnee saw the final result of influences 
then at work if they were permitted to go on unchecked. 3 
He therefore urged the political union of all native nations 
from the Lakes to Florida, and advocated an agreement 
among them that no division of the proposed red federa- 
tion should sell any of its lands to the United States with- 
out consent of all the allied groups. This was the first 
method by which he intended to combat the white repub- 

1 The language of this Indiana Territory law seeming', y justifies the inference that ths 
Federal government had requested its passage. 

2 Governmental plans for acquiring regions from the natives were usually put in 
similar language. 

3 What! Sell land!" he exclaimed on one occasion. "As well sell air and water 
The Great Spirit gave them in common to all; the air to breathe, the water to drink, and 
the land to live upon." 



lie's effective plan of dealing with the many tribes in 
detail. On his final embassy through the South, early in 
1811, to secure cooperation of the Indians of those regions, 
he was promised the aid of the Muscogees, but his 
dramatic appeal to the powerful Choctaws and Chick- 
asaws was barren of the result he so earnestly desired. In 
the memorable midnight debate at the Council on the 
Tombigbee the assembled nations were almost equally 
divided in opinion, and the eloquence of Apushamatahah 1 
finally prevailed against endorsement of the project. 

Tecumseh, as he spoke, stood alone near the huge 
council fire in an open space some thirty feet in width. 
Behind him on the ground were the members of his ret- 
inue. By the glare of the fire he looked out over hun- 
dreds of concentric rows of silent seated men, that 
stretched upward and backward into the darkness. While 
he spoke no other sound was heard. And at the 
end, when he called on those who believed with him to 
whirl their tomahawks upward as a token of agreement, 2 
the air seemed filled with battle-axes as the light of the 
flames, for an instant, glinted from their polished blades. 
Apushamatahah followed the Shawnee, and again at the 
close of his address came that strange demonstration, im- 
pressive as before. There had been no overwhelming 
popular verdict, and the final decision was therefore left 
in the hands of a venerable councillor who at last advised 
against Tecumseh's plan and the general warfare which 
all believed would eventually grow out of its adoption. 

1 Or Pushamatahah. A Choctaw chieftain. For an extended account of the debate, 
see pages 303 to 319 of the "History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez In- 
dians. By H. B. Cushman. Greenville, Texas, 1809." The Tomb gbee Council was pos- 
sibly the largest in point of attendance, as it assuredly was one of the most important, in 
native history. 

Apushamatahah fought beside General Jackson at New Orleans. He died while on 
a visit to Washington in 1824, and the Government fired minute guns during the progress 
of his funeral. 

2 A method sometimes used at Councils to show assent. The revolving tomahawks 
went but a few feet upward, and the skill with which they were handled prevented acci- 
dents on their descent, even in a throng. 


134. Indiana in 1817, one year after its election into a state. First of a series 
of three maps showing the growth of a white commonwealth through 
gradual acquirement of Indian possessions. The dotted line roughly indi- 
cates the boundary between the territories then owned by natives and 
Caucasians. The white region belonged to the Potawatomi, Miami, Dela- 
ware and other tribes. 


So was history made in the depths of the southern 
wilderness. The Choctaws and Chickasaws at that time 
might have mustered six or eight thousand warriors, and 
if the entire available strength of the Mississippi valley 
Indians had been successfully enlisted by the red states- 
man of the North, and used effectually in either peaceable 
or warlike manner, then farther westward movement by 
the white race through treaty acquirement of travel routes 
and land must have been halted for a long time. Tecum- 
seh started northward again, still hopeful and with much 
accomplished, but reached Indiana Territory only to find 
that his brother, The Prophet, had wrecked his plans by 
commencing hostilities in his absence and against his ex- 
press command. The battle of Tippecanoe had been 
fought and lost by the Indians, further native diplomacy 
was useless, and Tecumseh had nothing left to do but cast 
his lot with the British. He fell soon afterward at the 
battle of the Thames. 

During the period of nearly twenty years intervening 
between Tecumseh's death and the outbreak of Black 
Hawk's War, numerous further negotiations were carried 
on between the two races in the North and West. 1 Four 
of the treaties made during the interval were notably ad- 
vantageous in adding more links to the growing overland 
communication system of the white men. The first of 
these, ratified in 1817 with the Wyandots, Senecas, Ot- 
tawas, Potawatomi and Chippewas, opened the region 
embraced by northwestern Ohio and northeastern Indiana 
to white penetration. Article XIV of the compact said: 
"The United States reserve to the proper authority the 
right to make roads through any part of the land granted 
or reserved by this treaty; and also to the different agents 

1 A treaty with the Pawnees in 1818 designated that Indian government as "the sa d 
Pawnee Republic." 



the rights of establishing taverns and ferries for the ac- 
commodation of travellers should the same be found 

The next two treaties, by which native permission was 
asked for the use of an important travel route, dealt with 
the highway later destined to become famous under the 
name of the Sante Fe Trail. Congress, in 1825, passed an 
act 1 "to authorize the President of the United States to 
cause a road to be marked out from the western frontier of 
Missouri to the confines of New Mexico." Governmental 
commissioners were authorized to perform the work. But 
Congress, recognizing the rights of the Indians occupying 
regions through which the road was to run, also stipulated 
in the law that the commissioners "first obtain the consent 
of the intervening tribes of Indians, by treaty, to the mark- 
ing of said road, and to the unmolested use thereof to the 
citizens of the United States." 

The desired permission was obtained. A formal 
agreement was negotiated with the Great and Little 
Osages, in Article I of which was contained the follow- 
ing language: "The Chief and Head Men . . . 
for themselves and their nations, respectively, do 
consent and agree that the Commissioners of the United 
States shall and may survey and mark out a road, in such 
manner as they may think proper, through any of the 
territory owned or claimed by the said Great and Little 
Osage nations." For this permission the United States 
paid to the two contracting red nations $500 in money and 
merchandise valued at $300. A similar document was 
likewise drawn up in 1825 with the Kansa tribe, through 
whose territory a part of the road was to extend, and the 
Kansa were identically paid. Over the Santa Fe Trail, 

1 Approved March 3, 1825. 



for many years thereafter, passed pack-trains, thousands 
of Conestoga wagon caravans and hundreds of thousands 
of westward bound emigrants until the completion of the 
transcontinental railroads. 1 

The last of the principal transactions preceding Black 
Hawk's War by which the whites added materially to 
their travel routes in the North and West through con- 
sent of the natives was that with the Potawatomi in 1826. 
The Potawatomi still owned a broad strip of coun- 
try extending directly across the northern part of the 
newly created state of Indiana, 2 and by reason of their 
possession the United States settlements of the lower Ohio 
valley were cut off from land communicaion with 
the white people of Michigan. 3 Congress therefore 
authorized a treaty whose terms, if the natives consented 
to it, should rid the country of such a condition, and the 
representatives of the two races met at the Potawatomi 
town of Mississinewa in October of 1826, to negotiate. 4 
The Caucasians wrote the text of the agreement, as was 
the custom, and Article II reads as follows: "As evidence 
of the attachment which the Pottawattamie tribe feel 
toward the American people and particularly to the soil 
of Indiana, and with a view to demonstrate their liber- 
ality, and benefit themselves by creating facilities for 
travelling and increasing the value of their remaining 
country, the said tribe do hereby cede to the United States 
a strip of land commencing at Lake Michigan and run- 
ning thence to the Wabash River, one hundred feet wide, 

1 A few white men from the United States had penetrated the region opened by the 
Santa Fe Trail between 1800 and the date of its creation. Their adventures are narrated 
in "The Old Santa Fe Trail" by Inman. 

2 The Indian territory in question reached from Lake Michigan southward to the 
Wabash River. See illustration No. 143. 

3 There was as yet no road for vehicles extending northward to any part of northern 

4 The United States plenipotentiaries were Lewis Cass, John Tipton and James B. 


HO. ^__ 

This is to certify, that 

of the 

of ,^j j, njr-t-^, -j-^^<, in the county of 

i the collection' district of Indiana, has paid the duty of 
dollars for the year to end on the 

wheel carriage for the conveyance of persons called 
owned by / 

This certificate to be of no avail: any longer than the aforesaid carriage shall be own* 
ed by the said /& ' -> X^^ '^^^ 

unless said certificate shall be produced to the collector by whom it was granted and an 
entry be made thereon specifying the name of the then owner of said carriage, and the 
time when he or she became possessed thereof. 

Given in conformity with an act of the Congress of the United States, passed on the 
ISUiDec, 1814. 

135. Roads were made through the forest and wheeled vehicles appeared. A 
license issued by Indiana in 1817 permitting a citizen to own and use a 
chaise on payment of $2 a year. Sale of the chaise without notice forfeited 
the permit. A contemporary hand has sketched the appearance of officers 
of the Fifteen;h Dragoons. Federal troops built and occupied military posts 
to awe the natives. 


for a road, and also one section of good land contiguous 
to said road for each mile of the same and also for each 
mile of a road from the termination thereof, through In- 
dianapolis, to some convenient point on the Ohio River." 1 

Indiana was authorized to build the desired road, 
using proceeds derived from the sale of the ceded lands 
for that purpose. The thoroughfare extended from Lake 
Michigan in a generally southward direction, passed 
through the newly laid out capital called Indianapolis, 
and had its southern terminus on the Ohio River at Madi- 
son. For many years it was in effect a national highway, 
and was the principal overland travel route connecting 
the Ohio valley and Ohio River with Lake Michigan and 
the Michigan settlements. 

The Michigan Road was well built for its generation. 
It was twenty-four feet wide, and in some parts consisted 
of seasoned oak timbers, twenty feet long and a foot 
square, covered by one-and-a-half feet of soil taken from 
the ditches beside it. 2 Over its 200 miles of length pro- 
ceeded much of the population that permanently occupied 
southern Michigan and Wisconsin, and northern Indiana, 
Ohio and Illinois. In importance as a land artery of 
white movement, during the era previous to the general 
appearance of railroads in the Middle West, it was second 

1 In discussing the terms and phraseology of this treaty in his monograph "The First 
Thoroughfares of Indiana," Cottman says: "Why the Pottawattamie Indians should feel 
an especial attachment to the American people, who were gradually pushing them off the 
earth, and how they were to be benefitted by an inlet the sole purpose of which was to 
facilitate the oncoming of the usurpers, and how, by the light of previous land transfers, 
the value of their remaining country would be enhanced to them, make a series of queries 
that need not be discussed here." 

For thus granting a travel route through their territory and land adjncent to it the 
Potawatonu were paid with apparent liberality. They received merchandise appraised 
at about $30,000, were promised $2,000 a year for twenty-two years, and $2,000 per 
year for Indian education as long as Congress might think proper. The value of their 
recompense, if the annuity was paid and the proposed education was maintained for 
twenty years, would have been some $114,000. More than $240,000 was obtained by 
Indiana through sale of the land they ceded, and the road was built and maintained 
until 1840 by money so taken in. See reports of the Indiana Auditor's office.. 

2 "Reports and Estimates of the Michigan Road Survey," by Julian W. Adams, En- 
gineer. (Indianapolis) December 29, 1837. Other sections were not so well constructed, 
and in rainy weather were at times like other dirt roads almost impassable. 


only to the Cumberland Turnpike, or National Road. 
The red men did not find it to be of such advantage to 
them as the phraseology of the treaty of 1826 had led 
them to expect. The Michigan Road was one of the prin- 
cipal agencies of their undoing in the North, and that 
their assent to its creation should have been asked in such 
language as was prepared for their signatures by men 
who presumably understood the significance of the 
proposed work is, at least, unfortunate. 1 

The western part of what is now Illinois, embracing 
the country between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, 
had been sold to the United States by the Sacs and Foxes 
in 1804 and 1816.- In 1826 the Miamis of Indiana dis- 
posed of the remainder of their holdings in that state, 
lying north and west of the Wabash River. The Chippe- 
was, Menomonies and Winnebagos, in 1827, ceded certain 
territories at present included in the limits of Michigan 
and Wisconsin, and in the same year the Potawatomi 
also sold a large part of their northern lands now in 
Michigan. The Shawnees of Ohio disposed of all their 
possessions in that state in 1831 and agreed to remove 
beyond the Mississippi. In the treaty of 1831 with the 
Shawnees the United States agreed, when speaking of 



the nation's new home in the West, "that said lands shall 
never be within the bounds of any state or territory, nor 
subject to the laws thereof." 1 

This agreement with the Shawnees, which is known as 
the Treaty of Wapakonetta, is one of the comparatively 
few compacts of the sort whose connected history has been 
preserved through white testimony independent of official 
records, and a brief review of the transaction and its results 
will be of interest. 2 

The representative of the government sent to negotiate 
with the Indians made an address to them in which he 
said that Ohio was about to extend its laws over them, 
that they would be taxed, killed if they resisted, and that 
their testimony in courts would be declared incompetent. 
He procured the native signatures to the instrument on his 
verbal declaration of its provisions, without reading or 
translating its text to the assembled chiefs. The white 
Indian traders who had dealt with the tribe, and who 
were creditors of the red men, "burnt up all their books"' 
as soon as the signatures had been obtained. On reading 
the consummated treaty the Shawnees found that it stipu- 
lated a monetary payment to them which was $115,000 
less than that stated by the government's negotiator, and 
that the 100,000 acres embracing their new home in the 
West was included in a tract already owned by the nation 
through a prior treaty, 4 instead of being in addition, and 
adjacent to the land already owned, as explained to them. 
They also found that a promised clause binding the 
United States was not included in the document. 

1 Article X. 

2 The account here given is taken from the "History of the Shawnee Indians from 
the year 1681 to 1851, Inclusive. By Henry Harvey, Cincinnati, 1855." Harvey spent 
many years among the Shawnees, and was present and had personal knowledge of the 
events during and subsequent to the treaty discussed. A detailed account of the trans- 
action, including various letters from governmental officials concerning its different phases, 
is contained in his "History." 

3 Harvey's language. 

4 That of 1825. 


li HI 

5 <T> 

"r" 1 rt 

=r ET 

2 * 

fD 3 

3 <^ 

Ht 09 


o I 


The three principal features which had induced 
the natives to sign the treaty being absent from it, the 
nation sent a deputation to Washington as a means of pro- 
curing correction of the errors. Harvey, whose account 
is here followed, and whose knowledge of the circum- 
stances was believed to be of value to the Indians, accom- 
panied the party. On his arrival at the capital Secretary 
of War Cass discussed the matter with Harvey and said 
to him "that by - -' treaty the Shawnees would not 

realize one dollar for their land in Ohio." 1 Further de- 
tails of the interview are given by Harvey. 

"The Secretary," continues this narrative, "urged 
the President 2 to hear us on behalf of the Shawnees, but 
he refused. He [Cass] then proposed to make a treaty 
with the delegation now in attendance, and set - 
treaty aside; but in this he failed the President declaring 
that the Shawnees should fare no better than the Chero- 
kees did." 3 As the removal of the tribe at governmental 
expense had been promised for the spring of 1832 the 
Indians planted no crops on the lands they thought they 
were about to leave. So when the expected migration was 
not begun at that time the natives found themselves re- 
duced to starvation. Finally, on appeal of Harvey 
to Secretary Cass 4 the War Department despatched 
provisions to the Indians and saved their lives. The 
overland journey of some 800 miles into the West was 
performed during the following winter, through storms 
and snow, and the Shawnees found no shelter prepared for 
their arrival. Many of them had to furnish their own 
teams and wagons and bear a large part of the expense 

1 Harvey's description of the interview. 

2 General Jackson. 

3 A reference whose meaning will become apparent in a later chapter. 

4 In a letter dated August 8. Text in Harvey's narrative. 

452 ' 


of the journey. 1 Again they suffered from hunger. A bill 
was introduced in Congress by Mr. Vance of Ohio appro- 
priating $5,000 for their immediate relief, but it failed 
of passage, and the tribe was kept through the remainder 
of the winter by charity. 

137. Many men of the East, hearing tales of the western country, made exten- 
sive journeys through the interior on horseback, by boat, or on foot, in 
order to see the region for themselves or to pick out future homes for them- 
selves and their families. 

Among the improvements they had necessarily left in 
Ohio were their mills, which the government had prom- 
ised to duplicate for them in their new home. Other mills 
were built in the West, but the government charged the 

1 Harvey's language. They travelled to what is now Kansas. 


Shawnees $6,000 for them and took the amount from 
money due them. New blacksmith shops were erected on 
a similar basis. The Congress at length passed a bill 
acknowledging in some degree the circumstances here re- 
viewed, and appropriating $30,000 additional compensa- 
tion for the tribal lands in Ohio, to be paid in annual 
installments of $2,000. Four years elapsed without the 
annual payments thus provided for, the War Department 
taking the stand that the $30,000 was intended for use in 
canceling native debts to the white traders, but as the 
traders' claims had been found to be fraudulent, the ap- 
propriation was unnecessary. Harvey again took a hand 
in the dispute, and as a result of his protest the Indians 
received $8,000 of arrears. 1 Finally, at a still later date, 
the government reversed the action of the Indian Bureau 
regarding certain traders' claims for $8,000 which had 
been rejected as fraudulent after the burning of the ac- 
count books, and paid them by diverting four subsequent 
installments of the additional $30,000 appropriated to the 
Shawnees for their Ohio lands. 2 

Another group of Indians, the Wyandots of Ohio, gave 
up in 1832 their effort to establish a new method of life 
as civilized agriculturists, and the treaty then negotiated 
with them is in one feature unique. It is the only instru- 
ment of that description wherein United States negotiators 
were parties to an official statement that the influence of 
white men, and association with white men, lowered the 
moral standard of the natives. The treaty begins: 

1 See Harvey's correspondence with the War Department, in his "History." 

2 Harvey's summary of the Shawnee character, and his measurement of them as com- 
pared with himself and other white men is interesting. He says: 

"During the time I have spent with the Shawnees, on many occasions I have been 
looked up to for counsel by men vastly my superiors in years, in experience, in pub'ic 
affairs, in intellect and in power of speech, as well as in fine feelings; in fact, in every- 
thing except in a knowledge of letters and in the use of them. . . . They never ask 
for written evidences of the good character of a man, as we do. They only wish to see 
a man, to look him sternly in the fare, and observe his manner for a few minutes; then 
it is no hard task to obtain from them their opinion of the man, and they are not often 



"Whereas, the said band of Wyandots have become fully 
convinced that whilst they remain in their present situa- 
tion in the State of Ohio, in the vicinity of a white popu- 
lation which is continually increasing and crowding them, 
they cannot prosper and be happy, and the morals of many 
of their people will be daily becoming more and more 
vitiated ..." 

Words of similar purport were sometimes used by 
Caucasian officials in communications not primarily in-- 
tended for the public eye, such as the Report of 1801 by 
General Harrison. But never before, nor never again, 
did national treaty makers of the United States join with 
red men in a written admission that the civilization which 
they represented did not uplift, but degraded, the moral 
nature of a people popularly considered to be lower in 
character than themselves, and that the presumed bar- 
barians must go away to escape further contamination. So 
different is this Wyandot treaty language from the 
phraseology and pretentions customarily employed on 
like occasions, that a discovery of the circumstances under 
which it was introduced into the history of American 
diplomacy would be of interest. In all probability, 
however, the cause of the peculiar incident is now beyond 

The last important resort to arms by the northern 
natives east of the Mississippi, in an attempt to keep pos- 
session of their lands and hold back the white advance, 
was the brief outbreak of 1832 known as Black Hawk's 
War. Its origin can be traced to the treaties of 1816 
and 1804 by which the Sacs and Foxes 1 sold a part of 
their territories, but by the terms of which they were 
given the right to live and hunt on the ceded land as long 

1 Of which associated tribes Black Hawk was a member. 



as it belonged to the United States. 1 The treaty of 1804 
also guaranteed to the Sacs and Foxes immunity from 
molestation by intruders or unlawful settlers. Its lan- 
guage on the points in question was as follows: 

"Article 4. The United States will never interrupt the said tribes 
in the possession of the lands which they rightfully claim, but will on 
the contrary protect them in the quiet enjoyment of the same against 
their own citizens and against all other white persons who may intrude 
upon them. . 

"Article 6. If any citizen of the United States or other white per- 
son should form a settlement upon lands which are the property of the 
Sac and Fox tribes, upon complaint being made thereof . . . such 
intruder forthwith be removed." 

About the year 1818 2 an important stream of invad- 
ing population from the eastward 3 had begun to enter- 
the Illinois country, coming down the Ohio River on flat- 
boats and overland along the travel routes granted by the 
Indians at Greenville and later treaties. By 1823 this 
movement was in full swing, and had also somewhat 
affected the region now embraced in southern Wisconsin. 
The newly arrived whites objected to the continued use 
of the ceded country by Indians for hunting purposes, 
and also, as was always the case in similar advances, they 
often settled down on lands to which title had not been 
obtained. In truth the invading white people were il- 

1 "Black Hawk always alleged that the cause of his battle against the Americans was 
the invalidity of the treaty of 18U4 . . . but he a. so said when, at a subsequent treaty 
(1816) he himself had 'touched the quill,' and by which treaty the same territory was 
ceded, that he knew not what he was signing, and that he was therein deceived by the 
agent and others, who did not correctly explain the nature of the grant. Doubtless the 
indiscriminate and to a great extent the lawless spread of immigrating population over the 
newly acquired country on Rock River, and the actral occupat on of his own village by 
the ll'ino:s sett'ers, accompanied by the forcible eject'on of his own family and others 
of his band from their happy homes created a rankling wound which nothing less than 
the shedding of blood of the whites cor.ld even cicatrize, much less effectively cure. Yet 
he denied that he had gone to war willingly, and asserted that when his flag of truce was 
fired upon by Stillman's men his intention had been to surrender; but as he \vap forced 
into a combat, he said to his people: 'Since they will fight us, let us fight.'" "The His- 
tory of Wisconsin": By William R. Smith: vol. 1, p. 285. 

"That he was injured cannot be denied; and that he displayed the white flag, and 
gave notice of his willingness to surrender, with his little band of warriors, on several 
occasions, and was met and answered by the rifle, is also true." "The History of Illinois": 
By Carpenter and Arthur, Philadelphia, 1854, p. 211. 

2 When a state constitution was adopted by Illinois. 

3 The earliest movement of the sort had been into the southern part of the territory, 
and had originated chiefly in Virginia, North Carolina and Kentuc'cy. 



legally on a part of the Sac territory from the year 1823. 
Although there was still a strip of unoccupied land some 
fifty miles wide lying to the eastward of the Sac region, 
the settlers from the East did not halt upon it, as they 
might properly have done, but advanced beyond it into 
the forbidden country. Once there they plowed up the In- 
dian cornfields, whipped the native women, traded 
whisky to the men and again brought about, in an acute 
degree, those unfortunate conditions that often arose 
through the actions of a frontier population which re- 
fused to recognize the existence of native rights entitled 
to respect 



AFTER the brief and bloody campaign of 1832 was 
over the approval bestowed on its white partic- 
ipants by official decree and popular opinion speedily 
obscured many of the circumstances that preceded and 
were connected with it. But, though hidden in obscure 
places, there still remains enough contemporary Caucasian 
testimony to reveal what took place just before and dur- 
ing the last important clash of arms between red men and 
white east of the Mississippi. The question of responsibil- 
ity for the trouble was discussed by a historian of the 
period soon after the war in ths following words: 1 

"I could relate many anecdotes to show the friendly feelings enter- 
tained toward our government and people by the Sacs feelings which, 
whether of fear or of kindness, have rendered them w r holly submissive, 
and which nothing but the most unprovoked aggression on our side 
could have kindled into hostility." 2 

1 Judge James Hall, in the "Western Monthly Magazine," 1883. Hall was author of 
"Statistics of the West at the Close of the Year 1836"; "The West: Its Commerce and 
Navigation," and similar works dealing with the history of the Ohio valley. 

2 Among the incidents he thus narrates is the action of Sac chiefs in placing a guard 
around an isolated home of white settlers to protect us occupants from possible annoy- 
ance by young Indians made drunk by other white men. 



The outbreak of warfare in the early summer of 1832 1 
followed the movement of Black Hawk and his band 
into Illinois from the western side of the Mississippi. He 
and the other natives said their intention was to raise a 
much needed crop of corn with the Winnebagoes. The 
presence of some two hundred women and children in 
the party, together with domestic and agricultural bag- 
gage, may be taken as sufficient indication that warfare 
was not the purpose of the Indians. Nevertheless a great 
excitement among the whites followed the arrival of the 
red men on the eastern shore of the river, and some militia 
and frontiersmen, together with a number of Federal 
troops were started in pursuit of them. The combined 
military force was under command of Brigadier General 
Atkinson of the United States Army. On May 14 a half 
hundred or more volunteer frontiersman attached to the 
white army were authorized, at their own request, to 
make a march of observation to a designated spot about 
fifteen miles from the encampment of the troops. These 
men disobeyed instructions and proceeded about twelve 
miles beyond the point named as their destination until 
unknown to themselves they reached the vicinity of 
Black Hawk's moving village. There, just before sun- 
down, they saw coming toward them a little group of 
Indians. 2 

1 Keokuk, principal chief of the Sacs, had finally ceded all tribal possessions east of 
the Mississippi to the government in 1830. Black Hawk protested against the sale of 
his village and Keokuk promised an effort to secure its retrocession. Black Hawk and 
his adherents then departed on the usual winter hunt, only to find on their return that 
white set'lers were in possession of the village and that their own women and children 
were without shelter. Finally Black Hawk's community was ousted by Illinois militia, 
though United States General Gaines promised to provide its members with necessary 
food supplies equivalent to those abandoned, provided they remained west of the river. 
This aid was not given and the Ind'ans were reduced in the autumn of 1831 to crossing 
the river for the purpose of stealing corn which they had planted before being driven 
from the Illinois village. 

2 Six or eight in number. Black Hawk's statement that they were on a peaceful mis- 
sion and bore a white flag has been generally accepted. See the extracts from Smith's 
"History of Wisconsin" and Carpenter and Arthur's "History of Illinois," quoted in a pre- 
vious foot-note. Stillman, commander of the frontiersmen, said the natives did not bear a 
white flag. 



138. On their return home, if favorably impressed, they organized or joined 

another caravan, loaded their possessions into wagons or boats, and 

swelled the increasing multitude of west-bound emigrants. 

The whites fired on the natives, shot one or two, cap- 
tured three and chased the others, who fled toward their 
own camp. Black Hawk on hearing of the affair said, 
"Since they will fight us, let us fight," and turned his men 
loose. Twelve of the frontiersmen were killed and the 
remainder fled. On the following day Governor Reynolds 
ordered three thousand militia under arms "to subdue 
the Indians and drive them out of the state." 1 War had 
begun, and some understanding of the sentiment toward 
the Sacs with which the whites entered the campaign can 
be gained by a letter written at the time by an officer of 
the white army, who said : 

"General Atkinson will pursue them, and will give a good account 

1 An earlier petition of white settlers urging the use of armed force in driving the 
same Indians from Illinois recited a number of grievances against the natives. One item 
of complaint was Black Hawk's action in destroying a barrel of whisky which was being 
sold to the Sacs of his village. 



of them, I hope, before he is done with them. Whether we are to have 
peace or w r ar on this frontier is to be decided by the course taken with 
this band of murderers. They deserve nothing but death, and no quar- 
ters from us." 1 

In addition to the Federal and state troops called into 
the field the aid of the Sioux, hereditary enemies of the 


Sacs, was solicited by the government. The Galenian of 
July 11, 1832, printed an address delivered by General 
Street, a Federal Indian agent, at Prairie Du Chien on 
June 22 to a force of Sioux who had started to join Atkin- 
son but had reconsidered their determination to take part 
in the campaign and had turned back. General Street 
was quoted as follows: 

"Your Great Father has forborne to use force, until the Sacs and 
Foxes have dared to kill some of his white children. He will now for- 
bear no longer. He has tried to reclaim them, and they grow worse. 
He is resolved to sweep them from the face of the earth. They shall 
no longer trouble his children. If they cannot be made good they must 
be killed. They are now separated from their friends and country, and 
he does not intend to let one return to trouble him again. And he 
directed me no longer to restrain you from war. And I said, 2 'Go and 
be revenged of the murderers of your friends, if you wish it. If you 
desire revenge, you have permission to take it. I will furnish you arms, 
ammunition and provisions, and here is the man who is sent to conduct 
you to the enemy. . . .' You turn and come home without striking 
a blow. Why is this? To me your conduct is strange. I cannot com- 
prehend it, and want you to explain the reasons that have influenced 
you to so disgraceful a course. ... It was not that your Great 
Father wanted help from you that I told you to go to war. It was to 
give you an opportunity to revenge your slaughtered friends. Your 
Father has penned these Indians up, and he means to kill them all. . . . 
He does not ask you to help him ; but if you want revenge, go and take 
it. This is what I said to you. And now I repeat it if you want to 
kill the murderers of your friends and families, go now and do it; 
for your Great Father has devoted these Indians to death. He cannot 
reclaim them, and he will kill them." 

The Sioux again refused, according to the Galenian, whereupon 
the governmental agent said: 

1 Written by Major Dodge to Dr. A. Philleo of Galena, Illinois, under date of June 
25, 1832. Published in the "Galenian," of Galena, on June 27, 1832. 

2 The speaker evidently refers to a previous address made to the Sioux before they 
started. This speech was delivered after their first return. 



"Go home to your squaws and hoe corn you are not fit to go to 

Further suggestion regarding the campaign was con- 
tained in a statement made by the Detroit Journal of 
July 18, 1832, which then said: 

. We are confident in the expectation that if the Indians do 
not decamp before our troops and militia reach the ground where they 
are said to be stationed, few will be suffered to escape alive. A general 
massacre will be the inevitable consequence. General Atkinson could 
not prevent it if. he would ; and we doubt whether it be not a part of his 
orders that it should take place. Ordered or not, the blood of the whites 
is up, and nothing but blood will appease them." 

The Sacs, fleeing northward into Wisconsin, and kill- 
ing a number of settlers on the way, were overtaken 
August 2 on the east bank of the Mississippi, and there 
ensued what is called the Battle of Bad Axe. A sufficient 
insight into what then took place can best be given by 
quoting brief extracts from statements of white men who 
were present, or who through official position or investi- 
gation obtained knowledge of the circumstances of the 
affair. Such comments follow: 

"The conflict resembled more a carnage than a regular battle." * 

"It was a horrid sight to witness little children, wounded and suffer- 
ing the most excruciating pain." 2 

"It is much to be regretted that very little discrimination appears to 
have been made in the slaughter, and that the dead were of both sexes, 
and, sadder still, of all ages." 3 

"When the Indians were driven to the bank of the Mississippi, some 
hundreds of men, women and children plunged into the river and hoped 
by diving, etc., to escape the bullets of our guns; very few, however, 
escaped our sharpshooters." 4 

A steamboat called the Warrior took part in the 

1 Reynolds' "My Own Times," 2nd Edition, Chicago, 1879. 

2 Wakefield's "History of the War." Jacksonville. Illinois. 1834. 

'"The History of Illinois," by Carpenter and Arthur. Philadelphia, 1854, p. 207. 

4 The "St. Joseph Beacon and Indiana and Michigan Intelligencer" (of South Bend, 
Indiana), September 8, 1832. The same newspaper, in previously describing tie condition 
of the Indians during their attempted flight from the white troops, had said of them: 
"They are in a deplorable condition for the want of food, making use of Bark, Roots, 
etc., almost entirely for subsistence." This was published on August 22, twenty days 
after the battle but before knowledge of it had reached the paper. 


139. Second map of the series showing the growth of a white state. Indiana 
when four years old. The incoming white settlers demanded more land, 
and previous settlers had driven away the Indian game. Meanwhile the 
traders had continued to sell goods to the natives on credit. These conditions 
created a situation which made it impossible for the Indians to pay their 
debts except by selling more land to the government and giving the pro- 
ceeds to the traders. Showing the receding native boundaries after such 
transfers of territory. 


conflict. Besides her crew of some twenty men she car- 
ried sixteen soldiers of the regular army, five frontier 
riflemen and a few small cannon. Her commander, soon 
after the engagement, described the boat's participation 
in a letter which in part read: 

". . As we neared them they raised a white flag, and en- 

deavored to decoy us, but we were a little too old for them ; for instead 
of landing we ordered them to send a boat on board, which they de- 
clined. After about fifteen minutes delay, giving them time to remove 
a few of their women and children, we let slip a six-pounder loaded 
with canister, followed by a severe fire of musketry; and if ever you 
saw straight blankets you would have seen them there. . . . This 
little fight cost them twenty-three killed and, of course, a great many 
wounded. We never lost a man, and had but one man wounded. . . . 
I tell you what, Sam, there is no fun in fighting Indians, particularly 
at this season, when the grass is so very bright. Every man, and even 
my cabin boy, fought well. . . . " * 

During the fight several hundred Indian men, women 
and children were killed and a considerable number, 
variously estimated from a hundred and fifty upward, 
were drowned. 2 A large proportion of those who got 
across the Mississippi were women, children, and old or 
non-fighting men. 

The Sioux who had been invited to participate in the 
war, and who had been reprimanded by General Street, 
the Indian Agent, for their vacillation in the matter, again 
changed their minds and did take an active part in the 
campaign. The first subsequent acknowledgment of this 
feature of the case was contained in an official statement 

1 Drake's "The Life and Adventures of Black Hawk." From the third (Philadelphia) 
edition of 1856, published by Rulison under the title of "The Great Indian Chief of the 
West": pp. 163-164. 

John Throckmorton was captain of the "Warrior" and author of the letter. The 
Indians were without food, and desired to surrender. They could send no boat, for the 
two or three they had were across the river, whence some of the women and children had 
been ferried. The reference to the bright grass meant that it was no fun to shoot at targets 
which stood out so distinctly against such a background. Later in the battle the "Warrior" 
discharged canister into a partly submerged island where some swimming Indians had 
sought refuge. 

2 Reynolds says about 300 reached the west bank of the river and that fifty were 
taken prisoners. The total number of natives of both sexes and all ages was in the 
neighborhood of 1,000. The whites lost 17 killed and 12 wounded. 



by General Scott 1 dated on board the Warrior on August 
10 and addressed to Secretary of War Cass. In it General 
Scott said: 

". . .A party of 100 Sioux was sent on the morning of the 
third inst. on the principal trail of the enemy to ascertain and report the 
direction of the enemy's retreat, No report has, as yet, been received 
from this party. . . ." 

The result of thus sending the Sioux on the trail of 
the non-combatants west of the Mississippi is outlined 
by a communication published in the St. Louis Times 
of May 21, 1833, and signed "F." The letter read : 

"I should like to know, for information's sake, who it was that em- 
ployed a party of Sioux warriors to follow sixty or seventy poor unfor- 
tunate women and children of the Sac and Fox nations, who had crossed 
the Mississippi River above Prairie du Chien, and were traveling on 
their own land toward the Wabesepinnecon River where some five or 
six hunters had gone forth to furnish some meat for the half starved and 
half dead women and children ? 

"Those unfortunate women and children were getting out of the way 
of danger, when the Sioux bands were let loose, and every soul perished 
by their tomahawks and scalping knives. The murder of these unfor- 
tunate women and children ought to be enquired into by the proper 
authorities, that is to say, by the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and 
reported by him to the government ; and let those who advised the Sioux 
Indians to commit these cruelties be punished." 

Corroboration of this feature of the government's 
campaign was soon after supplied by an article in the 
Military and Naval Magazine for August of 1833, 
signed "By an Officer of Gen. Atkinson's Brigade." 2 It 
contained the following passage: 

". . . After the action a body of one hundred Sioux warriors 
presented themselves, and asked leave to pursue on the trail of such of 
the enemy as had escaped. This was granted, and the Sioux, after two 
days pursuit, overtook and killed fifty or sixty, mostly, it is feared, 
women and children." 

No governmental statement relating to the aid 
rendered by the Sioux was made, but it developed in 1859 

1 Who had reached the scene. 

- Written by Captain Henry Smith, U. S. A. 


that one of the pursuing chiefs, prior to setting forth after 
the Sacs, had been supplied by an Indian Agent and a 
"soldier father" 1 with a military uniform and a United 
States flag, under which the pursuing Indians conducted 
their later operations. 2 

After the conclusion of the war the following official 
reports regarding the campaign and battle of Bad Axe 
were made: 

By General Atkinson to General Scott, dated August 5, 1832: 
". . . I cannot speak too highly of the brave conduct of the regular 
and volunteer forces engaged in the battle. 

Secretary of War Cass to General Atkinson, on October 24, 1832: 
". . . The result was honorable to yourself, and to the officers and 
men acting under your orders." 

Secretary Cass in his annual report, dated November 25, 1832: 
". . . The conduct of the officers and men was exemplary." 

President Andrew Jackson in his annual message of December 4, 
1832: ". . . The result has been creditable to the troops engaged 
in the service. Severe as is the lesson to the Indians, it was rendered 
necessary by their unprovoked aggressions, and it is to be hoped that its 
impression will be permanent and salutary. . . . Our fellow citi- 
zens upon the frontiers were ready, as they always are, in the tender 
of their services in the hour of danger." 3 

1 An Indian term for a commanding officer or general. 

2 From a statement by Wah-Con-De-Cor-Ah, made by him to Charles E. Mix, Com- 
missioner of Indian Affairs, while the Chief was on a visit to Washington in 1859. Pub- 
lished in the Washington "Constitution" of April 17, 1S59. 

3 The following unpublished manuscript verses are copied from the original in the 
Lasselle Papers of the Indiana State library. They illustrate the viewpoint held during 
Indian troubles by those frontier citizens here mentioned by President Jackson. As soon 
as hostilities commenced even when first attack as well as provocation were due to them- 
selves the mass of the whites were genuinely unable to see but one side to the question 
and became possessed of a des're and determination to kill Indians which took on the 
appearance and proportions of an exalted patriotic frenzy. 

These verses re'ate to the P>lack Hawk War, are dated "Logansport, June 3, 1832," 
and are signed "L." They read: 


March! March! Hear ye the savage yell! 

Far to the north where war whoops are sounding. 

March! March! We'll onward to battle 

Where Black Hawk and Warriors the helpless are slaying. 

Onward! March onward where glory awaits thee! 

Remember the deeds of your Spencer and White: 

Remember their deeds! Their fame wi'l inspire thee 

When onward ye rush, the foremost in fight. 

Bright is the laurel entwined for the brave, 

Pure be the tears for the Hero who falls; 

Honored forever the youth who will save 

His country from foes, when to battle she calls. 

There is a psychological interest in the impassioned appeal with which the white 
youth is exerted to save "his country" from its "foes." The white settlers had unlaw- 
fully entered the Sac town and lands nine years before. Black Hawk's village had been 
an established and permanent Sac community for at least a century and a half. 




3 3- 

l^ p 

O fD ^D 

" vT 1 

C n> 

> S" " 
O ft 


S 3 


The treaty concluding the war transferred title to 
30,000,000 more acres of land from the Indians to the 
United States. For this territory, equal in size to the 
state of New York, the natives were promised an annuity 
of $20,000. 1 

By this period the policy of the United States had 
proved so successful that, in the North, it was in com- 
mand of the situation. The Caucasian population was 
multiplying so rapidly, and means of communication had 
been so increased by treaty, road building, canal con- 
struction and the use of steamboats that no further serious 
embarrassments were possible in carrying out the plan 
to push the natives across the Mississippi. A few more 
treaties were still to be negotiated before the remaining 
Indian territories in that part of the country fell under 
white ownership, but their speedy acquirement was seen 
to be assured. 2 Only one other feature of the time 
requires attention in completing a picture of the race 
relations as they then existed in the upper part of the 
Mississippi valley. That feature may have exerted a 
strong though regrettable after-influence on the moral 
fibre of the newer Americans, and was itself, in part, an 
outgrowth of methods and racial antagonism already 
noticed. It has been observed that the white people 
coveted the red men's land, brought pressure on the 
Indians to induce its sale, and gave money for it. It 
might be supposed that after a sale of that sort the Indians 
would then possess money but less territory. Such, how- 
ever, was not necessarily the cass. Very often they pos- 
sessed neither. The transaction was not always completed 

1 Representing a lump payment of $333,333. or about ten cents an acre. The Sacs 
and Foxes pave up 2fi 000 000 acres ?nd the \Yinnebagoes 4.000.000. 

2 For a detailed record of territorial purchases from the Indians to the date of its 
publication, see "Abstract of Indian treat'es, whereby the United States acqu'red the 
title to lands in the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois. Missouri, Mississippi and Alabama, 
and in the Territories of Michigan and Arkansas. Washington, 1828." 



to the satisfaction of a certain proportion of the whites 
until they had the land and money both. 

But little has been purposely preserved by the history 
recording race regarding those details whereby the sums 
paid for native lands were got back, but in a general way 
the arrangements for the process can be pieced together. 
And again, for that purpose, we may with profit turn for a 
moment to General Harrison's report of 1801. He refers 
in that letter to the "Traders"; to a fatal affray in one of 
their establishments in Vincennes, and to the large quan- 
tities of whisky brought into the country by them for 
sale to the Indians. For a century before that document 
was composed, and for years thereafter, the white gov- 
ernment through its various political organizations and 
agents had granted permits to white men authorizing 
them to sell merchandise to Indians. Those permits, or 
licenses, were sought by many white men as a rapid way 
to accumulate wealth, and the conditions under which 
such traffic was conducted did, in fact, often offer an 
opportunity for getting money in quantities that then 
represented riches. Several reasons combined to pro- 
duce the result named. In the first place the Indians 
as a rule were honest in their dealings and presumed the 
honesty of other men. They were disinclined to question 
records of commercial transactions kept by white men, and 
kept none themselves. The goods bought by the white 
traders cost them 1 but a small fraction of the prices at 
which they were sold to the natives, and when the Indians 
paid for their purchases by means of furs or skins, then 
those skins 2 were, in turn, only accepted at a fraction of 
their value to the trader. And finally, the methods by 

1 Even after heavy transportation charges had been paid. 

- Until the Indians began to obtain cash in large amounts for the sale of lands, furs 
and skins were specified by legal enactment as the only lawful medium of exchange when 
goods were sold to natives. 



which a trader ordinarily kept the record of his accounts 
with native customers offered unexcelled chances for 

Two examples of this manner of Indian traders' hook- 
keeping are shown by photographic illustrations else- 
where. They are typical leaves from Indian traders' 
account books, the earliest dating from 1801-1802 and the 
second from 1829-1830. Both reveal dealings with 
natives of the Indiana or Illinois country at the periods 
stated. The first is an account showing that an Indian 
called Antoine had been indebted to the trader in the sum 
of about seventy-six dollars, of which fifty-two dollars 
had been paid. In order to arrive at a correct interpre- 
tation of the account it is necessary to know the chief 
factors of the wilderness arithmetic table on which, for 
generations, Indian trade was based. 1 It was as follows: 

4 coon skins 1 "plus" 

2 bear skins 1 "plus" 

2 bear skins 3 "plus" 

1 otter skin 2 "plus" 
1 extra good 

otter skin 3 "plus" 
Beaver skin, 

per pound 1 "plus" 
Extra fine beaver 

skin, per pound = 2 "plus" 

1 "plus" two dollars. 

Antoine's account, then, showed that he had owed 38 
"plus," or $76, which he might pay by any combination of 
skins acceptable to the trader for that amount. A "plus" 
was represented in the account book simply by a small 

1 The table of fur values as here given is copied from a manuscript found among the 
Lasselle Papers of the Indiana State Library. 



vertical mark of the pen. An extra scratch or two and an 
Indian by the face of the account would owe $2 or $4 
more, as the case might be. Antoine, it seems, bought 
$12 worth of whisky at one time. 

The other account, showing a transaction of about 
1830, was kept in figures representing dollars. By that 
time the Indians were in occasional receipt of cash after 
selling lands, and paid debts either in furs or coin. In 
this case the Indian Chequa and his son maintained a 
joint account and had owed $54.66. Credits by peltries 
are entered to the amount of $31.33. As in the case of 
Antoine, there is a charge of $12 for whisky, and still 
another of $7.66 for the same commodity. 

Without question there were honest men engaged -in 
native trade, but the known practises of Indian traders 
as a class, together with the opportunity confronting them 
and the almost universal frontier Caucasian estimate of 
the Indian as a creature deserving but little more con- 
sideration than was accorded to an undesirable wild ani- 
mal, indicate that the whites, in business transactions with 
red men, generally adopted toward them an attitude lack- 
ing in fairness or honesty. 

The number of white men engaged in selling mer- 
chandise 1 to the natives by governmental permission was 
always large, especially in the region of an Indian fron- 
tier. General Harrison, as an example, issued forty 
Indian traders' licenses during the short interval between 
November 20, 1801, and January 7, 1802. 2 By that time, 
though only four months had elapsed since the prepara- 
tion of his Report, he had apparently taken the law into 
his own hands with respect to the liquor traffic. Harri- 

1 The term "merchandise" at t^e beginning of the nineteenth century in the Missis- 
sippi valley, legally included whisky. That liquor was named in the printed licenses 
issued to retailers of goods. 

2 A manuscript list of these permits is contained in the Lasselle Papers. 



son's printed traders' permits for the period read "the said 
. . . shall not, by himself, his servants, agents or fac- 
tors, carry or cause to be carried to the hunting camps 
of the Indians any . . . spirituous liquors of any kind; nor 
shall barter or exchange the same, or any of them, in any 
quantity whatever, on pain of forfeiture of this license 

141. Type of a quickly built and temporary log cabin often set up by new 
arrivals in the western forest. A cabin like this could be erected by several 
men in three or four days, and sufficed until the construction of a more 
pretentious log house. It then served as a storehouse or winter stable. 

and of the goods, wares and merchandise, and of the 
spirituous liquors which may have been carried to said 
camps . . . and the Indians of the said nation are at 
full liberty to seize and confiscate the said liquors so car- 
ried, and the owners shall have no claim for the 
same . . . 

In March of 1802 the Federal Congress took notice 



of the subject on which General Harrison had been so 
emphatic, and passed the following law. 1 "And be it 
further enacted, That the President of the United States 
be authorized to take such measures, from time to time, 
as to him may appear expedient, to prevent or restrain 
the vending or distributing of spirituous liquors among 
all or any of the said Indian tribes." But neither Gover- 
nor Harrison's regulation nor the government's decree 
had visible effect, and it was not until 1822 2 that any more 
radical verbal action was taken. In that year power was 
given to various officials by virtue of which packages of 
goods designed by traders for Indian consumption might 
be opened and searched, "upon suspicion or information 
that ardent spirits are carried into the Indian countries 
by said traders . . . and if any ardent spirits shall be 
so found, all the goods of the said trader shall be for- 

These local and general laws were ignored by the 
traders, nor does there seem to have been either a genuine 
endeavor to enforce them on the part of the authorities, 
or fear of them by their violators. 3 Various means were 
used in concerted and widespread effort to make the red 
man a heavy monetary debtor, and the sale of whisky to 
him was the most powerful illicit method employed for 
that purpose. Such a transaction not only netted large 
profit in itself, but also which was still more impor- 
tant brought the Indian to a condition in which he 
further enmeshed himself in obligations. Then, when 

1 Section 21 of the general laws of March 30, in regulation of Indian affairs. This 
proviso, coming as it did about nine months after Harrison's plea, suggests that his 
Report may have been received and have bsen the basis of Congressional action. 

2 Act of May 6: section 2. Another law, approved on the same day, brought to an 
end the activity of the government itself as an Indian trader; the practise had continued 
since 1811. 

3 As shown by the reproduction of Chequa's account, set down in 1829 or 1830, the 
trader openly recorded his sales of whisky to the Indian, and in a total bill of $54.66 
the sum of $19.66 was for that commodity. This is not an isolated or unusual case. It 
is typical. 



the Indian was drunk and had bought what he did not 
want or did. not need, the entries could be made in the 
trader's account book. It was but seldom that the indi- 
vidual native protested at records which afterward con- 
fronted him: the imposing army of straight pen marks or 
forbidding columns of figures. If he could not find 
the goods set down against him, then so the trader 
might argue or he himself believe he must have lost 

These things had a vastly greater significance in In- 
dian trade than they would have had in the similar case 
of a white purchaser. To the white customer it would 
have meant an individual obligation merely, or else bank- 
ruptcy and relief from debt through legal process. 1 But 
with the Indian this was not so. White traders encour- 
aged the individual natives to buy and put no limit on 
the credit extended to them, even though they might be 
penniless and without peltry. That was one of the surest 
methods by which the pale-skinned race obtained more 
travel routes over the face of the land; more square miles 
of territory. 

The explanation of this apparent mystery lies in the 
fact that, in the last analysis, an Indian's individual debts 
were tribal obligations. If a member of the tribe could 
not pay then his nation would pay, and did pay. His 
race-brothers would sell the far-spreading hunting 
grounds of the whole people; would sell their farms and 
the earth above the bones of their fathers, if necessary, 
rather than let it be said that any member of the tribe 
rested under an obligation which he could not requite. 
Therefore it was a practise of the whites to involve an 

1 Ordinary dealers in merchandise neyer extended to poor white men of a community a 
tithe of the credit that was habitually given to red men by Indian traders. 



142. Third in the series of maps. Indiana in 1827. Showing nearly all the 
lately purchased territory organized into white counties. The Potawatomi 
were then the largest proprietors of land north of the Wabash, and their 
country blocked intercourse between the white settlements of Michigan and 


Indian nation or community in heavy debt composed of 
individual accounts while at the same time as General 
Harrison points out driving away the game by wholesale 
slaughter. With the banishment of animal life from the 
forest the natives could not offset their debts with furs 
and skins, and a sale of tribal land to the government was 
their only recourse. When the day approached whereon 
they were to be reimbursed by Federal money for ceded 
territory their creditors gathered at the appointed spot. 1 
The accounts of the traders, and of all others who 
either honestly or dishonestly claimed reimbursement 
for goods sold or services rendered were presented to the 
tribal council and paid. Often, in such cases, there was 
no money left. If there was, then whisky and merchan- 
dise appeared as soon as the national government's rep- 
resentatives had finished their work and gone away," and 
the tribe was once more started on its path around the 
same financial circle. The white men also began their 
work of cutting new roads through the ceded region and 
dividing it up into farms. 

On occasions when it was known that the Indians 
were to receive considerable amounts of money there were 
sometimes disorders at Payment Grounds. Perhaps the 
curtain of hypocrisy would for the moment be torn away 
and avarice, dishonesty, imposition, fraud and theft would 
be disclosed, like a flock of vultures waiting for the feast. 
Such incidents were hushed up if possible, however, and 
rarely attained more than a local publicity. They were 
among the things concerning which but little was said 
in the public prints of the day. Only when white men 
friendly to the Indians were present, and when the pro- 

1 The place where government officials met the tribe to pay over the purchase money 
was called a "Payment Ground." The cash was usually given to the natives in the 
shape of silver dollars, packed 1000 in a box. 

2 Which was usually very quickly. 



ceedings excited the anger of such white men to a point 
which overcame considerations of self-interest, was 
clamor made. And even then it was necessary for the 
friendly whites to voice the Indian protest, for the red 
men, if left to their own initiative, generally decided to 
endure in silence. 

An event somewhat of this sort happened in connec- 
tion with the payment of $63,000 to the Potawatomi 
Indians of the Wabash, in 1836. These were the Indiana 
Indians who, ten years before, had granted to the United 
States and Indiana the right to build the Michigan Road, 
and who had also parted with some of their land in order 
that it might be constructed. The Wabash Potawatomi 
had in 1836 sold the remainder of their heritage and 
had gathered to receive their money. Part of the tribe, 
as usually happened in transactions of the sort, was 
strongly opposed to removal beyond the Mississippi, but 
the treaty had been signed and further objections by the 
disaffected ones, though bitter, were futile. A record of 
what happened at the Payment Ground was made by a 
white man friendly to one native faction, and from the 
account therein contained and also from what appears 
between the lines of it can be reconstructed the drama 
which led up to and accompanied the disappearance of 
the Potawatomi from their former home. That divi- 
sion of the nation which objected to the sale and removal 
also had its white champion, and his views are indirectly 
set forth by the chronicler. Both native factions were of 
course willing to pay their just debts. The main conten- 
tions were concerning the methods by which the whites 
had secured the treaty, and over the disposal of the money 
received. The narrative is in the shape of an appeal to 



the President by the treaty-signing faction, and reads as 
follows: 1 

To our Great Father, 
Andrew Jackson, 

President of the United States. 

". . . .Father, we have always listened well to your good advice 
and wise counsels, and we find them good. We know you are a great, 
brave and good man, that you w T ill do as you promise. We come now 
with sore hearts and our minds filled with sorrow to speak with you and 
tell you true. We intended to speak to you through our Father whom 
you have placed here near us (Col. * * * *) 2 but he has gone away and 
can't hear us. Before we had signed treaties to him, Father, for all our 
Lands, he was always ready to hear us and to promise us the protection 
of your strong arm 3 but now he has our Treaties in his pocket for our 
entire Country, he has no time to hear us, nor to protect us. ... 

"We wish and intend to follow the advice and counsels of our Great 
Father and we look to him for support and protection. That protection 
has been promised us, and which was a strong inducement with us when 
we sold our Lands. . . Again we saw there were too many white 
people about our reserves for us to live on them in pease and we signed 
a general Treaty in September last, selling all our lands to our Great 
Father, and agreed to go West of the Mississippi, and accept of that 
home he had there provided for us. 

"Father, so soon as this fact was known . . . being now as- 
sembled together near the Tippecanoe River where we were to receive 
our money a great excitement prevailed. Those Indians who opposed us 
held a Council of War and resolved that every one of us who had signed 
the Treaty should be killed, and they proceeded to appoint War Chiefs 
whose duty it should be, and now is, to see their decree put in execution 
And on the next day, being the day on which we had received our 
annuity and Treaty money, the house we were in transacting business 
was surrounded by those Indians and their associates and advisers. . . . 
Alex Coquillard, a bad man who has always opposed our Great Father's 
policy, was among them. . . . He got upon a house and made a 
speech. . . . He told them we were not Chiefs, that we were boys 
and hog thieves, that the President of the United States was a bad man, 
a rascal, and that he had stolen the Indian Lands, that he was now 
robbing them of their money (because we were willing to pay our just 
debts) and that he would next send us away like dogs west of the Mis- 
sissippi where we would be poor and unhappy. . . . 

"Father, when the white people found we were willing to pay our 

1 Copied from the manuscript contained in the Lasselle Papers, in the Indiana State 

2 Name stated in manuscript but omitted here. The Indian Agent. 

3 The "strong arm" of a President, or of the United States government, was an 
Indian figure of speech meaning the army, or soldiers. 



honest debts and that we were willing to appropriate the most of our 
money 1 for this purpose they began to make papers [claims] and in this 
way and upon the Payment Ground, whilst we were transacting our 
own business and trying to do what was right and honest, claims and 
papers amounting to $200,000 were made and pushed in upon [us] for 
immediate payment. . . . Many large claims were urged by men 
from the River Raisin and from Detroit and from Post Vincennes of 
twenty-five and thirty years standing. Those we have no knowledge of, 
believe they are not just, and are not willing to pay any such claims. 
All the claims were paid by us in the treaties of 1826, 1828 and 1832, 
and some of them paid two or three times over. These claimants after 
getting drunk . . . rushed into the house in part and others began 
to tear it down, crying 'we will take the money by force,' and in this 
way a general mob took place. . . . We went to our Agent and re- 
minded him of his promise that he would protect us and that we expected 
him to do so, that we had not done anything wrong as we were aware of. 
He spoke like a man to us, and said that the Great Father never broke his 
word and that he [the Agent | would protect us or would die, us tu be 
quiet and keep still and leave the balance to him. This speech he made 
to us through our friend Ewing ~ and we believed it. ... 

"We then agreed, in order to satisfy the white people that we wanted 
to do what was right, that Colonel * * and Captain Simonton :! might 
select five good white men more who should be entirely disinterested and 
they should be under our control, should help us pay out part of our 
money to our own people, and that they then should pay out such sums 
on the different claims against us as we should direct them to pay, after 
having first examined the claim and satisfied ourselves it was just. To 
do this it was thought best to remove the money from the payment ground 
to Judge Polk's about three miles distant. Accordingly five men were 
named by our Agent, but he did not select good or honest men, nor were 
they disinterested. . 

"Our agent, after having told these men that they were to pay out 
that money as we should direct, and presuming we supposed that there 
would be no further trouble about it, left us and went into Logansport 
which we were very sorry for. He had promised and we think he 
should have staid with us until we had finished our business, for no 
sooner had he left than those five men took full possession of our money. 
We were not permitted to go into the house but were turned out and 
told that we had nothing to do with that money, that they were going 
to do as they pleased with it and truly they did so. ... They 
never examined one single claim nor asked us whether we did or did not 

1 The amount received by the native nation on this occasion was "Sixty Throe 
TCoxes"; that is to say, $63,000. The accounts against members of the tribe which the 
Chiefs believed to be honest and were willing to pay amounted to the sum of $40.000. 

2 Ewing, who had lived among the Potawatomi for fifteen years, spoke their language. 
It was Kwing who prepared the manuscr pt letter here quoted. 

3 Whose only relation to the m&tter lay in the fact that he was the army officer who 
brought the money and paid it to the Indians. 



owe certain claimants but gave it out thus arbitrarily or kept it them- 
selves in part we know not how. Nor will they even give us a list of the 
names of the persons to whom they paid away our money. 

"Father, is not this Robbery? And will you suffer us to be thus 
abused? We owed honest debts and were anxious to pay them, but we 
wanted the privilege of settling those debts ourselves . . . we 
poor, no money and those who have cheated us out of our money are 


143. Examples of roads built through Indian territory by native consent, in 
order that white men mieht travel between their disconnected settlements. 
Showing the Michigan Road (in the center) granted to the United States 
by the Potawatomi of Indiana by treaty in 1826. The Indians donated 
the land occupied by the highway and additional land whose sale procured 
enough money to pay for building the road, which extended to the Ohio 
River. From Mitchell's "Travellers' Guide Through the United States: 

gone we know not where. . . . We wanted to talk to our Father, 
the Agent, but he left this morning. 

"It is true we have no more lands to sell, but we hope our Great 
Father will not refuse to listen to his red children because they have no 
more land to sell. We have sold all our country to you, Father, be- 
cause you told us you wished us to do so, and we are always willing to 
listen to your good counsels. . 

"We want our Great Father to send a good talk to this frontier. 
Tell these bad Indians and the bad white people, too, that they must 
not do as they have done and that you will punish them for the injury 
they have already done. 



"Father what we have said comes through our hearts. It is true 
and we have nothing more to say." 

A Federal investigation resulted in this instance, and 
its findings were printed in two obscure pamphlets during 
the following year. 1 Among other statements made by 
the Commissioner in his report was the following: 

"The gentlemen who distributed the money in 1836 also preserved 
and delivered to me most of the claims presented to them, and the receipts 
then given for the money, which they paid. Those papers I also transmit 
herewith. They show several instances in which persons obtained money 
in 1836 to which they had no claim, and in direct violation of their full 
acquittances of the previous year. . . . " 2 

The report also said: 

"It is evident from all this that these Indians are fast sinking to the 
most abject poverty, and when to this is added the habits of intoxication 
which are produced by their vicinity to the white people, we must be 
aware that their entire destruction is close at hand. . . . They must 
be removed beyond the Mississippi, out of reach of the white men. . . . 
To remain among the white people must be certain destruction to them. 
A regulation rendering it impossible to collect of an Indian 
a debt of more than a year's standing would save them from a load of 
imposition. . . . They feel, as one of the Chiefs expressed it to me, 
'These things make us blind ; we cannot see ; do you see for us.' ' 

Reduced to figures the Commissioner reported the fol- 
lowing financial situation of the tribe: 

Total claims of alleged creditors $169,446.64 

Obviously fraudulent and unsupported. . 83,883.50 

Compelled to allow 4 85,563.14 

Paid out in cash to creditors 62,802.10 

Cash left to Indians out of $63,000 197.90 

Indians still in debt 22,761.04 

To which he adds that the nation had already paid in 

United States government imprint. 
2 Report on the "Claims": p. 5 

3 Report on the "Disturbance": p. 7. 

4 Though he says many here included were probably fraudulent. However, the 
account books of creditors were produced as proof of the debts. 



cash to creditors $27,022.50 in 1835 and $41,1.50.00 in 

Here, then, was a small and comparatively insignifi- 
cant Indian tribe 1 which, in two years' time, had lost all 
its territorial possessions, had paid out $130,974.60 in 
money, and still owed $22,761.04. The case is one which 
illustrates what has been said, namely, that in transactions 
involving purchases of territory from the natives there 
was a part of the white race which did not consider the 
matter satisfactorily closed until it had the land and 
money both. Nor was the instance, in its general fea- 
tures, an isolated one either in the North or South. The 
methods illuminated by it had been in operation for many 
years. In 1830 the Miami nation of Indiana 2 had under- 
taken to build up a civilization resembling that of the 
surrounding white race, and even appropriated money 
out of the national fund for use in the education of its 
youth. Yet by 1840 the red community was overwhelmed 
by a traders' debt of $300,000.00, was forced to sell its 
territory, and its creditors had an influence sufficient to 
cause the insertion of a proviso in the arrangements which 
declared that the sum named must be applied at once "to 
the payment of the debts of the tribe." 

No satisfactory estimate of the extent of the business 
carried on by traders with the Indians or set down in 
their books as a basis for future claims can ever be possi- 
ble, but from the instances here mentioned, which affected 
only about two thousand red people in one end of one state, 
and which were embraced within a period of ten years, 
it is apparent that the similar aggregate dealings through- 
out the country were enormous. They were a part of 
the white man's procedure, privately conducted and gov- 

1 It numbered but about a thousand souls, all told. 

2 Neighbors of the Potawatomi. 



ernmentally tolerated, which had for its design the weak- 
ening and ousting of the Indian in order that the newer 
race might spread over the land without physical conflict. 
The system of which such transactions were a part, and 
into which they fitted, was a masterpiece of economic, 
social and commercial diplomacy from every standpoint 
except that of the aborigine. 

The original and most effective use, in America, of 
the principle of monopolistic combination and the sup- 
pression of competition as a means of acquiring wealth 
and economic power, lay in the policy pursued by the 
Federal government toward the Indians for the purpose 
of acquiring native territories. The white common- 
wealths acted as a combination; objected to combination 
by their opponents; denied advice to their adversaries; 
created conditions that weakened the opposition; refused 
to permit the opposing side to deal, in land transactions, 
with other customers than themselves; and fixed the 
prices that were paid. As a consequence the white 
monopoly was able to buy hundreds of millions of acres 
of Indian lands at an average cost of about three and a 
half cents an acre. 

The later copying of this governmental example by 
groups of private individuals, and the application of iden- 
tical practises to economic phases of national development 
conducted under private auspices, led to those commercial 
monopolies and business methods which the Federal gov- 
ernment now characterizes as reprehensible and is seeking 
to abolish under conditions providing for restitution to the 
injured and punishment for the wrongdoers. 



THE methods by which the white race secured in the 
South a right to travel through and settle in that 
region during the period previous to the introduction of 
the railroad, and by which they also linked their southern 
settlements with one another and with those of the North 
by overland routes, closely resembled in some particulars 
the processes just described. But in certain other of its 
features, and also in some of the results which flowed from 
them, the situation in that part of the country was quite 



different from the one already outlined. Several factors 
contributed to this state of affairs. The white population, 
for one thing, was smaller than in the northern states and 
territories, and the native nations, though fewer in num- 
ber, were larger and more powerful both in population 
and landed possessions. There was also for a consider- 
able time, less close intermingling of the races. This 
resulted in the longer and more vigorous maintenance, 
among the southern Indians, of those native qualities of 
self-respect, dignity, sobriety, home-love and desire for 
self-government that were imperilled by intimate contact 
with Caucasians. 

It is probable that shortly after the beginning of the 
nineteenth century the red commonwealths of the South 1 
contained an aggregate population of a hundred thousand 
souls and that they owned not far from a hundred thou- 
sand square miles of territory, or an area considerably 
more than twice as, large as that contained within the 
boundaries of the state of New York. These extensive 
holdings were of course divided into different tracts, some 
of which were entirely surrounded by possessions of the 
United States while others adjoined neighboring Indian 
territory on one or more sides. 

At the time mentioned and for years afterward, the 
districts occupied by white men in Louisiana, in 
southern Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, and also 
in Spain's territory of Florida, were almost entirely cut 
off from unimpeded overland intercourse with the North' 
by a chain of Indian nations that extended westward with 
scarcely a break from South Carolina to the farther side 
of Arkansas Territory, a distance of more than six hun- 

1 The principal native peoples of that part of the continent were t'-en the Cherokees, 
Chickasaws, Choctaws and Creeks. The Seminoles occupied Spanish territory, in Florida. 

2 Except by consent of the natives. 



dred miles. 1 Along the southern boundaries of North 
Carolina and Tennessee, and extending far south into 
Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, lay the rich countries 
of the Cherokees, Creeks, Chickasaws and Choctaws. 
These were then the most powerful red peoples within 
the boundaries of the so-called United States east of the 
Mississippi River. Thsir land holdings were compact 
and extensive; their population large, vigorous and intel- 
ligent. The regions they owned were not only valuable, 
but from the economic standpoint of the expanding white 
race, extremely important. Yet for a generation those 
tribes clung with tenacity to their historical position; 
secured in long established and undisputed rights; hold- 
ing no official dealings with white men save through the 
Federal government of the United States by treat- 
ies. 2 They governed themselves, and their right so to do 
was acknowledged. 

These conditions in themselves presented an extraor- 
dinary and grave problem to the new white nation, and 
one demanding, for its final settlement with mutual honor 
and benefit, a high degree of statesmanship on both sides. 
And there was still another element to the situation that 
gave it an even greater complexity. For the geographical 
boundaries of the four most important Indian nations of 
the South as those limits had been defined and guaran- 
teed by treaties with the national government of the 
United States included, in each case, parts of two or 
more different states of the Federal Union. The posses- 
sions of the Cherokees embraced undivided and continu- 

1 The southern territory within the present limits of the United States, not including 
Florida, which was acknowledged by treaty to be within the ownership and jurisdic- 
tion of Indian nations, originally exceeded in size the combined area of Maine, New 
Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey and 

2 Except in the technical case of a few hundred Indians in South Carolina who by 
consent of the Federal government and natives, treated with the state directly. 


144. Map showing the overlapping of three white and red sovereignties in the 
South. The Chickasaw nation, by treaty with the United States, extended 
across the state line into Alabama, north of Marion county. The Choctaw 
nation's southern boundary penetrated Alabama to the Tombeckbe River, at 
a point north of Washington county. The map also shows The Old Natchez 
Road, built through the two Indian nations by their consent; the Robinson 
Road, General Jackson's Road, and other thoroughfares permitted to the 
whites by the natives. From "Mitchell's Map of Louisiana, Mississippi and 
Alabama, 1834." 


ous lands extending across the boundary lines that sepa- 
rated Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee, 
and included territory in all those commonwealths. A 
like condition was true with respect to the Creek nation in 
Georgia and Alabama. Further to the west the Chicka- 
saws and their southern neighbors the Choctaws owned 
about half of the state of Mississippi, and in each case 
their national possessions and authority extended east- 
ward over contiguous and unseparated districts into 

Here, then, were three apparently overlapping and 
conflicting sovereignties occupying the same geographi- 
cal limits. The separate white states acknowledged alle- 
giance to their common Federal government. The 
national white union conducted the mutual affairs of the 
white states while at the same time it recognized the sov- 
ereignty of the red nations, and defined the territorial 
limits of those native peoples by treaties that admitted 
their ownership and control of lands which lay within 
and overlapped the theoretical boundaries of white politi- 
cal divisions. The Senate approving those treaties was 
composed of representatives of the affected Caucasian 
states. 1 The southern white states among which lay Indian 
nations acknowledged that their own jurisdiction did not 
cover the native possessions or peoples. And finally, the 
Indian commonwealths neither owed nor gave allegiance 
to local 1 Caucasian laws, but conducted their relations 
with the white race through treaties with the United 
States and its accredited national representatives resident 
among them. 

Such in effect was the situation in the South at the end 
of the long period during which the Indians had resorted 

1 For all the white states were intimately concerned in the question of Indian 
possessions and sovereignty. 


145. Showing the Cherokee and Creek nations overlapping the boundary be- 
tween Georgia and Alabama. All white roads came to an end when they 
reached the Creek country. The highway through the Cherokee nation 
from Etowee to the Tennessee River was the Unicoy Road, for the use of 
which, by whites, the Cherokees received monetary payments. From the 
same map as the preceding. 


to warfare as their chief method of preventing Caucasian 
advance over the face of the land. The strong, ambitious, 
restless, arrogant and intolerant multitude of com- 
paratively late arrivals had won their own independence 
and formed a far-spreading political organization. And 
at almost the outset of their national career they were 
confronted by the fact that their apparently close-knit 
union was not one in actuality, and that their intercourse 
and association with one another were in many localities 
impeded by the conditions here recited. The Federal 
government had taken a position concerning the standing 
of the red nations that was destined to interfere seriously 
with the methods, convenience, desires and ambitions of 
the individuals and communities of which it was com- 

That such a condition contained the elements of future 
trouble is apparent. The only way in which trouble could 
have been avoided under the circumstances was through 
the exercise by the master-people of those traits of 
friendliness, forbearance and good-will which were so 
obviously demanded by the situation and by their own acts 
and pledges. A sincere endeavor based on those motives 
of human action, rather than on hostility and greed, 
might have solved the problem. Had such an attempt 
been successfully made the white race in this country 
would perhaps for a time have remained somewhat less 
opulent in its material possessions, but it might also have 
offset the worldly loss by gaining a larger store of that 
inward wealth of honesty and fair dealing between man 
and man which was then overlooked, which has since 
been so much needed, and which in the end is a more 
secure foundation for national health, strength and 



In view of the attitude long held toward the red men 
in all parts of the country it is not surprising that the event 
fell otherwise. Trouble did arise within a generation, 
and before the crisis was passed the country had been 
brought within measurable distance of disturbances 
which would have amounted to civil war. 

The first important treaty negotiated by the United 
States with a southern Indian nation after the adoption 
of the Federal Constitution in 1789, was one made with 
the Cherokees in 1791. By that instrument the natives 
ceded a little land and granted two important travel con- 
cessions to the whites. Article V said: 

"It is stipulated and agreed that the citizens and inhabitants of the 
United States shall have a free and unmolested use of a road from Wash- 
ington district to Mero district, 1 and of the navigation of the Tennessee 

This treaty was the outgrowth of a previous negotia- 
tion between the same parties in 1785, which had de- 
clared that a white intruder on Cherokee territory "shall 
forfeit the protection of the United States, and the Indians 
may punish him or not as they please." The violation of 
the compacts of 1785 and 1791 by whites was described by 
Secretary of War Knox as disgraceful. 2 When the treaty 
of 1791 was drawn it repeated the prohibition of white 
intrusion into Cherokee territory and contained a pro- 
vision that no United States citizen might travel in the 
Cherokee sovereignty without a passport. Nevertheless 
white men continued to enter the forbidden region 
without permission, and after finding themselves unable 
to keep intruders out by means less severe the Indians 
punished invaders by death. Such methods were 
extreme, but the natives were within their treaty 

1 In Tennessee. 

2 And as due to the attempt of "white people to seize by fraud or force" the Indian 



privilege. They could fix the punishment. Other 
white men retaliated by killing friendly Indians without 
provocation, and the red men, angered by the way in 
which their rights were ignored, committed similar 
crimes. They also demanded the protection of Congress. 
The Federal government attitude at the time, as put into 
words, can be shown by a communication from Jefferson 
to General Knox, in which he said: 

"Government should firmly maintain this ground, that the Indians 
have a right to the occupation of their lands independent of the States 
within whose chartered lines they happen to be ; that until they cede 
them by treaty, or other transaction equivalent to treaty, no act of a 
State can give a right to such lands. . . . The Government is 
determined to exert all its energy for the patronage and protection of 
the rights of the Indians." 1 

In actions, however, the national administrations of 
the period were not effective in abating the troubles com- 
plained of, and more or less friction was always existent 
on the Cherokee frontier. The next treaty with the 
Cherokees, in 1798, was distinguished by another travel 
concession to the white republic. Its seventh article read: 

"The Cherokee nation agree that the Kentucky road, running be- 
tween the Cumberland Mountain and the Cumberland River, where 
the same shall pass through the Indian land, shall be an open and free 
road for the use of the citizens of the United States in like manner as 
the road from Southwest Point to Cumberland River." 

Tennessee and Kentucky were the most thickly popu- 
lated and important outlying regions held by the whites, 
and the travel privileges already obtained from the 
Cherokees, and here referred to, had been for the pur- 
pose of gaining a freer movement between those interior 
parts and the East. It was also highly desirable that other 

3 Previously, and under the Confederation, the question of state rights in the matter 
of an Indian treaty had arisen in 1785, when North Carolina fruitlessly protested against 
the Cherokee compact as infringing the legislative rights of that state. After 1785, for 
more than forty years, no state took the position that such negotiations were not 
properly a function of the Federal Union. 


146. Selling goods to the Indians on credit, under governmental authority, con- 
tinued unabated. Page from an Indiana-Illinois trader's book in 1829-1830. 
Amounts set down in figures. The Indian was debited with $54.66, of 
which $19.66 was for whisky. 


similar routes be secured which would permit the white 
people of Kentucky and Tennessee to reach United States 
settlements in Mississippi and other sections of the South 
by overland travel. So in 1801 two treaties were nego- 
tiated with the powerful Ghickasaw and Choctaw nations, 
whose possessions obstructed such movement, whereby 
the much-needed roads were obtained. Article I of the 
Chickasaw treaty was as follows: 

"The Mingco, principal men and warriors of the Chickasaw nation 
of Indians, give leave and permission to the President of the United 
States of America to lay out, open and make a convenient wagon road 
through their land between the settlements of Mero district in the State 
of Tennessee and those of Natchez in the Mississippi Territory, in such 
way and manner as he may deem proper ; and the same shall be a highway 
for the citizens of the United States and the Chickasaw. . . . Pro- 
vided always that the necessary ferries over the water courses crossed by 
the said road shall be held and deemed to be the property of the Chick- 
asaw nation." 

And article II of the Choctaw treaty read: 

"The Mingos, principal men and warriors of the Choctaw nation of 
Indians do hereby give their free consent that a convenient and durable 
wagon road may be explored, marked, opened and made under the or- 
ders and instructions of the President of the United States, through 
their lands to commence at the northern extremity of the settlement 
of the Mississippi Territory, and to be extended from thence 
until it shall strike the lands claimed by the Choctaw nation; and the 
same shall be and continue forever a highway for the citizens of the 
United States and the Choctaws." 

In this way, and by permission of the Indians, the 
country obtained a highway which was for more than 
thirty years the principal overland thoroughfare between 
North and South in the Mississippi vallsy. It came to 
be universally known as the "Old Natchez Road," and 
was one of the main factors in populating and upbuilding 
the interior, ranking in importance with the Cumberland 
and Michigan Roads. Both treaties here quoted were 
necessary for its creation, and it extended for about two 



hundred miles through Indian sovereignties that could 
not have been crossed by white travel and commerce with- 
out it and the consent for its construction. Far indeed 
were the white Americans, during the period between 
1800 and 1830, from right to go where they pleased in 
the United States without permission. 

During the same year of 1801 the Cherokees were 
asked to cede more land and permit the construction of 
certain roads through a part of their territory for the 
greater convenience of white travel, but they declined to 
grant either request at that time. In the instructions given 
to the Federal commissioners who then visited them was 
contained the following language: 

"It is of importance that the Indian nations generally should be con- 
vinced of the certainty in which they may at all times rely upon the 
friendship of the United States, and that the President will never aban- 
don them or their children." 

The year 1802 was marked by the passage of a Fed- 
eral law entitled "an act to regulate trade and intercourse 
with the Indian tribes, and to preserve peace on the fron- 
tiers." This legislation contained various provisions 
recognizing the sovereignty of the still existing Indian 
nations, and two of its sections were afterward destined to 
play a profoundly important part in the final diplomatic 
contest between the races. One of its articles subjected 
United States citizens to fine and imprisonment if they 
entered the Indian nations south of the Ohio River with- 
out Federal passports. Another forbade any representa- 
tive of an individual state to discuss the land question 
with natives except at a United States treaty conference, 
and in the presence and with the approbation of the Fed- 
eral commissioner. A third section provided that if an 
Indian came into a white state and committed a crime, 



the state could not seize him except in its own jurisdic- 
tion. If he escaped back into native jurisdiction the state 
could not act, but an application for extradition of the 
criminal Indian must be made "under the direction or 
instruction of the President of the United States," and by 
a Federal official. The Indian nation then had a vear to 


comply, and the United States guaranteed indemnity to 
the injured white person. 

But the two parts of the law of 1802 which were later 
to have such deep effect on the affairs of the two races 
were sections V and XIX. The first of these read: 

"That if any such citizen or other person shall make a settlement on 
any lands belonging, or secured, or granted, by treaty with the United 
States, to any Indian tribe, or shall survey, or attempt to survey, such 
lands . . . such offender shall forfeit a sum not exceeding one 
thousand dollars, and suffer imprisonment, not exceeding twelve months. 
And it shall, moreover, be lawful for the President of the United States 
to take such measures, and to employ such military force as he may judge 
necessary; to remove from lands, belonging, or secured by treaty, as 
aforesaid, to any Indian tribe, any such citizen, or other person, who has 
made, or shall hereafter make, or attempt to make, a settlement thereon." 

And section XIX ran: 

"That nothing in this act shall be construed to prevent any trade or 
intercourse with Indians living on lands surrounded by settlements of 
the citizens of the United States, and being within the ordinary juris- 
diction of any of the individual states, or the unmolested use of a road 
from Washington district to Mero district, or to prevent the citizens 
of Tennessee from keeping in repair the said road, under the direction 
or orders of the governor of said state, and of the navigation of the 
Tennessee River, as reserved and secured by treaty; nor shall this act 
be construed to prevent any person or persons travelling from Knox- 
ville to Price's settlement, or to the settlement on Obed's River (so- 
called), provided they shall travel in the trace or path which is usually 
travelled, and provided the Indians make no objection; but if the In- 
dians object, the President of the United States is hereby authorized to 
issue a proclamation, prohibiting all travelling on said traces, or either 
of them, as the case may be, after which the penalties of this act shall 
be incurred by every person travelling or being found on said traces, 
or either of them, to which the prohibition may apply, within the In- 
dian boundary, without a passport." 



It would be difficult to show more clearly than by the 
significance of this language, the dependence of the 
United States on the red race at that time for the privi- 
lege of lawful travel in some parts of the country. The 
mere objection of the Indians to the use of certain paths 
by the whites was a sufficient cause for the President to 



147. The battle of Bad Axe, fought on the Mississippi at the mouth of Bad Axe 
River, in 1832. Culmination of race troubles brought about by the entry 
of white men into the Illinois country. A steamboat was used in the fight 
by the government troops. Many men, women and children of the moving 
Indian village, guided by Black Hawk, were killed. After a sketch by the 
American artist Henry Lewis. 

issue a public proclamation to the whole people, inform- 
ing them that if they ventured on designated roads with- 
out passports they would be liable to arrest, fine and 

Interesting as is the revelation of travel conditions 



thus made, however, the particular feature of section 
XIX, fated to become so vital at a later date, was the first 
portion of it, which discusses the law in its relations to 
"Indians living on lands surrounded by settlements of 
the citizens of the United States, and being within the 
ordinary jurisdiction of any of the individual states." 

It is apparent that we are here dealing with a sharp 
and intentional distinction between two separate and 
widely differing conditions of Indian society. To one of 
them, and to the relations of the white race with it, the 
law applied; to the other it did not. If the difference in 
the two sorts of native life was sufficiently pronounced to 
render the same law applicable to one and yet unfitted 
for the other, then that distinction between them must 
have been radical indeed. The quesion arises: What is 
the meaning intended to be contained in the language of 
the law? 

The only manner whereby that part of native society 
untouched by the law is defined, is its description as 
"Indians living on lands surrounded by settlements of the 
citizens of the United States, and being within the or- 
dinary jurisdiction of any of the individual states." Now 
as a matter of fact in one sense all the Indians in 
the country east of the Mississippi lived on lands in some 
degree surrounded by United States citizens, since all the 
remaining Indian sovereignties were, geographically, 
scattered over the continental area like plums in a slice 
of pudding. Yet it is obvious that the distinct red na- 
tions still owning their own territories were not included, 
or intended to be included, in the exception named in the 
law to which the act did not apply, because regulation of 
intercourse between those native states and the whites 
was the purpose of the act. Those native sovereign- 



ties were still further removed from inclusion in the In- 
dian society untouched by the law through the fact that 
they framed and lived under their own governmental 
regulations. In order that a group of Indians might be 
embraced in the section of red population which the 
Federal law of 1802 did not affect, it had to be both 
surrounded by white settlements and "within the ordinary 
jurisdiction of any of the several states." 

Congress therefore meant to describe in its exception 
those numerous small communities of red people, here 
and there, which had lost all their national functions and 
vitality. 1 Such fragments of once strong tribes had 
in the slow lapse of time and in nearly every case 
prior to the organization of Constitutional govern- 
ment given up their native rights and customs, 
fitted themselves into their new surroundings and volun- 
tarily placed themselves, little by little, under the statutes 
and protection of the white states in which they lived. By 
their relinquishment of ancient privileges and treaty re- 
lations with the national government they had thus finally 
come, as the law of 1802 described it, within the "ordi- 
nary" jurisdiction of the white people. And, also, such 
little groups lived within close and constant reach of 
established seats of justice and all the operating fabric 
of white government, to which they might resort upon 
desire, or which could extend a hand to seize them, if 
need be, without undue exertion or the creation of new 
machinery or jurisdiction for the purpose. 

That, in short, seems to have been the Indian popu- 
lation which Congress intended should be unaffected by 
the operation of the law of 1802. The people were quite 

1 As the Shinnecocks of New York, Penobscots of Maine, Narragansetts of Rhode 
Island, Xanticokes of Maryland, Pamunkeys of Virginia, and many dozens of other tribal 



familiar with those natives who had thus become vir- 
tually merged with white communities, just as they also 
knew the large, powerful red nations who still governed 
themselves, who still held immense territories and to 
whose courtesy they were often indebted for the privilege 
of travelling somewhere. So well known to every class of 
white society and to government were the two elements 
of red population and the radical differences between 
them, that their further identification by Congress was 
probably considered superfluous. Yet on the interpreta- 
tion, by one man, of this short passage of forty-one words 
was later to hang the fate of a widespread, flourishing, 
peaceful Indian civilization, and the destiny of the red 

Still another event of the year 1802 was ordained to 
figure with equal prominence in the eventual downfall 
of Indian effort to build up a modern social and economic 
system. Georgia, in that year, ceded to the United 
States "all the right, title and claim" which she had in 
the country lying immediately to the westward. Out of 
the region thus acquired by the Federal government were 
soon afterward erected the territories of Alabama and 
Mississippi. The United States paid to Georgia a cash 
consideration and also promised to extinguish Indian title 
to native possessions in Georgia "as early as the same can 
be peaceably obtained, on reasonable terms." 1 

More overland routes were constantly being asked of 
the southern red nations, and by 1805 the Cherokees were 
again in an obliging frame of mind. The treaty then 
negotiated with them at Tellico" contained this: 

"The citizens of the United States shall have the free and un- 
molested use and enjoyment of the two following described roads, in 

1 Thus leaving with the Cherokees and Creeks a right to determine when, if ever, 
the extinguishment in question might take place. 

2 October 25, 1805. Article IV. 


1. A spirit of adventurous enterprise : a willingness to 
go through any hardship or danger to accomplish an object. 
It was the spirit of enterprise which led to the settlement of 
that country. The western people think nothing of making 
a long journey, of encountering fatigue, and of enduring 
every species of hardship. The great highways of the West 
its long rivers are familiar to very many of them, who 
have been led by trade to visit remote parts of the Valley. 

2. Independence of thought and action. They have felt 
the influence of this principle from their childhood. Men 
who can endure any thing : that have lived almost without 
restraint, free as the mountain air, or as the deer and the 
buffalo of their forests and who know that they are Amer- 
icans all will act out this principle during the whole of life. 
I do not mean that they have such an amount of it as to 
render them really regardless alike of the opinions and the 
feelings of every one else. 13ut I have seen many who have 
the virtue of independence greatly perverted or degenerated, 
and who were not pleasant members of a society, which is 
a state requiring acompromising spirit of mutual co-opera- 
tion in all, and i determination to bear and forbear. 

3. An apparent roughness, which some would deem 
rudeness of manners. 

These "traits characterize, especially, the agricultural 
portions of the country, and also in some degree the new 
towns and villages. They are not so much the offspring of 
ignorance and barbarism, (as some would suppose), as the 
results of the circumstances of a people thrown together in 
a new country, often for a long time in thin settlements ; 
where, of course, acquaintances for many miles around are 
soon, of necessity, made and valued from few adventitious 
causes. Where there is perfect equality in a neighbour- 
hood of people who know but little about each other's pre- 
vious history or ancestry but where each is lord of the 
soil which he cultivates. W 7 here a log cabin is all that the 
best of families can expect to have for years, and of course 
can possess few of the external decorations which have so 
much influence in creating a diversity of rank in society. 
These circumstances, have laid the foundation for that 
equality of intercourse, simplicity of manners, want of defer- 
ence, want of reserve, great readiness to make acquaint- 
ances, freedom of speech, indisposition to brook real or 
imaginary insults, which one witnesses among the p'eople 
of the West. 

The character and manners of the traders and merchants 
who inhabit the principal cities and towns of the West, do 
not differ greatly from those of the same class in the 
i Atlantic states. , 

148. Character and manners of the settlers of the interior. From Baird's 
"View of the Valley of the Mississippi, or the Emigrants' and Trav- 
ellers' Guide to the West"; published in 1834: pp. 102-103. 


addition to those which are at present established through their coun- 
try, one to proceed from some convenient place near the head of 
Stone's River, and fall into the Georgia road at a suitable place toward 
the southern frontier of the Cherokees. The other to proceed from the 
neighborhood of Franklin, on Big Harpath, and crossing the Tennessee 
at or near the Muscle Shoals, to pursue the nearest and best way to the 
settlements on the Tombigbee." 

The Cherokees, at almost the same time, 1 granted per- 
mission for the conveyance of the mails through their 
territory. The treaty language ran: 

"And whereas the mail of the United States is ordered to be carried 
from Knoxville to New Orleans through the Cherokee, Creek aad 
Choctaw countries; the Cherokees agree that the citizens of the United 
States shall have, so far as it goes through their country, the free and 
unmolested use of a road leading from Tellico to Tombigbee." 

Creeks and Choctaws were equally accommodating 
in the matter, and the mails went through. Still later 
in the same year the Creeks donated a horse path to the 
white people. Their consent read: 2 

"It is hereby stipulated and agreed, on the part of the Creek nation, 
that the Government of the United States shall forever hereafter have 
a right to a horse path through the Creek country, from the Ocmulgee 
to the Mobile, in such direction as shall, by the President of the United 
States, be considered most convenient, and to clear out the same, and 
lay logs over the creeks; and the citizens of the United States shall, 
at all times, have a right to pass peaceably on said path, under such 
regulations and restrictions as the government of the United States 
shall, from time to time, direct; and the Creek chiefs will have boats 
kept at the several rivers for the conveyance of men and horses; and 
houses of entertainment established at suitable places on said path for 
the accommodation of travellers. . . . " 3 

The Choctaws, also in 1805, permitted the establish- 
ment of inns for travellers on some of the roads through 

1 By Article II of the treaty of October 27, 1805. Louisiana had been bought from 
the French and it was necessary to have communication between it and our northern 

2 Article II of the Treaty of Washington; November 14, 1805. The Creeks also, in 
the same treaty, gave permission to the whites to navigate the Ocmulgee River. 

3 A treaty of 1802, held to name the limits between "the United States of America 
and the Creek Nation of Indians," was denned as having been agreed to by "Commis- 
sioners Plenipotentiary of the United States, on the one part, and the Kings, Chiefs, 
head men and warriors of the Creek Nation." 



their territory whose use was given to white men, and 
later confirmed their concession in treaty language as 
follows: 1 

"The lease granted for establishments on the roads leading through 
the Choctaw country is hereby confirmed in all its conditions." 

These taverns built in Indian countries along roads 
whereon whites were allowed to travel by international 
agreement were always kept by business men among the 
natives themselves, except in occasional cases wherein 
the red men did not desire such proprietorship. The fer- 
ries, also, were exclusively owned and operated by the 
Indians of nations in which they existed, and stipula- 
tions to that effect were put into the treaties. Both inns 
and ferries were operated as elsewhere, and the charges 
for their service corresponded to similar rates throughout 
the country. The food at Indian taverns was usually ex- 
cellent and bountiful. 

During Jefferson's presidency, from 1801 to 1809, 
the southern red nations progressed noticeably in their 
effort to build up a society based on the best principles 
employed by the white race, and Jefferson actively en- 
couraged them in so doing. In a communication to the 
Cherokees 2 he said, "I sincerely wish you may succeed 
in your laudable endeavors to save the remnant of your 
nation by adopting industrious occupations, and a gov- 
ernment of regular law. In this you may always rely 
on the counsel and assistance of the United States." He 
recognized them, as his predecessors and the government 
had uniformly done for twenty years, as independent 
neighboring nations. He continued to hold treaties with 
them, conducted extradition proceedings with them under 
the law of 1802, and referred to them in his public papers 

1 Treaty of November 16, 1805. Article VI. 

2 January 9, 1809. 


as foreign peoples. Extracts from his annual message to 
Congress in 1808, near the end of his last term, will 
illustrate the United States' attitude on these points as ex- 
pressed by its Executive. In that document President 
Jefferson said: 

"With our Indian neighbors the public peace has been steadily 

"Beyond the Mississippi the loways, the Sacs and the Alabamas 
have delivered up for trial and punishment individuals from among 
themselves accused of murdering citizens of the United States. On' 
this side of the Mississippi the Creeks are exerting themselves to arrest 
offenders of the same kind. . 

"Husbandry and household manufacture are advancing among them 
more rapidly with the southern than northern tribes, from circum- 
stances of soil and climate, 1 and one of the two great divisions of the 
Cherokee Nation have now under consideration to solicit the citizen- 
ship of the United States, and to be identified with us in laws and gov- 
ernment in such progressive manner as we shall think best. 

Nevertheless he did not neglect opportunity to acquire 
more territory fr6Vn the Indians when favorable occasion 
presented itself. One of his messages on the subject of 
buying lands from them also indicates tha^Mhe southern 
natives were in some degree being subjected to the same 
commercial processes which afterward wrought the un- 
doing of the Potawatomi and many other of the north- 
ern tribes. The message 2 states that: 

"... The Choctaws, being indebted to certain mercantile 
characters beyond what could be discharged by the ordinary proceeds 
of their huntings, and pressed for payment by those creditors, proposed 
at length to the United States to cede lands to the amount of their 
debts, and designated them in two different portions of their country. 
These designations not at all suiting us, their proposals were declined. 
Still urged by their creditors, as well as by their own desire 
to be liberated from debt, they at length proposed to make a cession 
which should be to our convenience. . . . The cession is supposed 
to contain about 5,000,000 acres, of which the greater part is said to be 
fit for cultivation, and no inconsiderable proportion of the first qual- 

1 And also, as has been pointed out, because the southern nations were in a better 
position to prevent intimate and constant intercourse with large numbers of whites. 

2 To the Senate, on January 15, 180S. 













" Westward the star of empire takes its way." BERKELEY. 



149. Title page of the volume in which is contained the text shown in the 
preceding. An example of the guide books published to acquaint the 
eastern people with conditions in the Mississippi valley after Black Hawk's 


ity . . . and the Choctaws and the creditors are still anxious for 
the sale. I therefore now transmit the treaty. . . ." 

The United States' attitude during Jefferson's admin- 
istration, and the President's utterances concerning the 
social and industrial development of the Indians had a 
deep effect on the large southern nations. Coming as it 
did after a considerable interval almost equally favorable 
to their aspirations, it led them to believe that the end 
of their long troubles had been reached and passed. With 
the systematic and officially expressed encouragement of 
the white republic they had definitely abandoned their 
old order of life, had settled down permanently on rich 
possessions and were turning as rapidly as possible toward 
practical agriculture and the domestic arts and crafts in 
keeping with their neighbors. 1 They still continued their 
hunting in regions where some game was left, but each 
year showed more acres under cultivation, more manu- 
facturing, more houses built, more live stock in the pas- 
tures and a better ordering of their internal affairs. In- 
deed, so rapidly were the southern natives advancing in 
civilization and settled habits in accordance with declared 
governmental desire of the United States that as Jeffer- 
son stated in his annual message of 1808 some of the 
Cherokees were already considering the question of 
abandoning their national identity provided they might 
merge themselves in the United States as citizens. 

Several more years elapsed, unmarked by events of 
consequence save the steady development of the Indians. 
Then, in 1813, the states of Tennessee and Georgia felt 
pressing need for a thoroughfare over which travel and 
commerce might be carried on between them. There was 

1 The law of 1802 had also said (section XIII) : "That in order to promote civiliza- 
tion among the friendly Indian ti ibes, and to secure the continuance of their friendship, 
it shall he lawful for the President of the United States to cause them to be furnished 
with useful domestic animals, and implements of husbandry, and with goods or money, 
as he shall think proper ..." 



nothing to do but appeal to the Cherokees as usual, for 
that nation lay between the two commonwealths and com- 
manded the situation. So the states appointed commission- 
ers who met the red men by consent of the Federal 
government, 1 and an agreement was concluded 2 under 
whose terms the necessary road was brought into existence. 
But this time the Cherokees demonstrated their advance- 
ment by proposing a legally organized company in which 
they should have equal representation with the whites, 
with national emoluments for the concession, and so the 
agreement was perforce made that way. The official 
document is in other respects an unusual one. It de- 

"We, the undersigned, Chiefs and Councillors of the Cherokees, 
in full Council assembled, do hereby give, grant and make over unto 
Nicholas Byers and David Russell, who are agents in behalf of the 
states of Tennessee and Georgia, full power and authority to establish 
a turnpike company to be composed of them, the said Nicholas and 
David, Arthur Henly, John Lowry and one other person by them to be 
hereafter named in behalf of the state of Georgia; and the above named 
persons are authorized to nominate five proper and fit persons, natives of 
the Cherokees, who, together with the white men aforesaid, are to 
constitute the company, which said company, when thus established, 
are hereby fully authorized by us to lay out and open a road from the 
most suitable point on the Tennessee River, to be directed the nearest 
and best way to ... the Tugolo River, which said road . 
shall continue and remain a free and public highway, unmolested by 
us ... for the full term of twenty years yet to come after the 
road may be open and complete; after which time said road, with all 
its advantages, shall be surrendered up, and reverted in, the Cherokee 
Nation. . . . And the said Turnpike company do hereby agree to 
pay the sum of $160 yearly to the Cherokee Nation." 

Thus was presented the spectacle of an independent 
Indian nation becoming part owners of an important link 
in the internal travel system of the country and receiv- 
ing money for permitting United States citizens to go 
back and forth between Georgia and Tennessee. Further- 

1 Under the terms of the law of 1802. 

2 The grant of Highwassee Garrison, March 8, 1813. 



more, if future events had not happened as they did the 
Cherokees would have become entire owners of the thor- 
oughfare. This turnpike was the famous Unicoy Road, 
one of the chief routes through the South for a long time. 
No pretentions were made by Georgia, at this period, 
that her state boundaries included the possessions of either 
the Cherokee or Creek nations, or that her jurisdiction 
extended over the Cherokee or Creek nations; or that 
she could deal with them other than through the United 
States according to the provisions of the law of 1802. 
As recently as 181 1 1 she had, in fact, taken legislative 
action which disclosed her attitude on those points and 
contained her acknowledgment of established boundary 
lines between her sovereignty and that of the two red 
peoples. The 1811 resolution of Georgia's legislature 
read : 

"Whereas disputes have frequently arisen between the frontier 
inhabitants of Jackson and Franklin counties and the Cherokee nation 
of Indians, which might in a great measure be prevented by having 
the Chatahuchee River made the line between this state and the said 
Cherokee nation of Indians, and there being good reason to believe 
that the said Indians on proper application being made would dispose of 
said lands. 

"Be it therefore resolved, That his excellency the governor be, and 
he is hereby authorized and requested, to appoint not exceeding three 
persons as commissioners on the part of this state, to make application 
to the Cherokee nation of Indians through the agency of the United 
States, for the purpose of obtaining the consent of said Indians to a 
disposition of the land lying within the following boundary, viz. : begin- 
ning where the line between this state and the Creek nation of Indians 
leaves the Appalachee River; thence on the said line to where the same 
crosses the Chatahuchee River [here follows a further description of the 
boundaries of the country desired] or so much thereof as the said 
nation of Indians may be disposed to part with." : 

1 Tn the resolution of the state legislature approved November 30, 1811. 

2 Reference to a proper map will disclose the significance of this statement by 
Georgia. The Chatahuchee Kiver runs entirely across the state in a southwestern direc- 
tion, and Georgia's largest hope at the time in question was to have that stream sub- 
stituted as the boundary line in place of the one then existing. A vertical tier of five 
counties, either in whole, or in part, lies directly north of the then frontier counties of 
Jackson and Franklin; and that part of the Cherokee sovereignty lying north of the 
Chatahuchee River in 1811 was, in 1838, represented by 14 Georgia counties and parts 
of three others. 


o j" 1 * c a 


The friendly attitude thus shown by Georgia still ex- 
isted in 1814, when the state legislature passed a resolu- 
tion 1 stating that many citizens of the state "have gone and 
frequently are going over and settling and cultivating" 
the Indian lands, by which action "considerable feuds are 
engendered between us and our friendly neighboring In- 
dians." The Governor was requested to bring about the 
removal of such intruders and take proper steps "to pre- 
vent future aggressions." 

With the close of the second war between the United 
States and Great Britain 2 the immigration from Europe 
became decidedly larger, and it was found necessary to 
place foreigners on the footing occupied by American 
citizens concerning restrictions of travel in native ter- 
ritories. 3 Accordingly, in 1816, Congress passed a law 1 
supplementary to existing legislation and providing that 
no foreign subject without a passport might "go into any 
country which is allotted to or secured by treaty" to the 
Indians, on pain of fine not exceeding one thousand dol- 
lars or a year's imprisonment. 

During the same year the Cherokees granted to the 
whites the most extensive travel privileges they had yet 
conceded. This action was indirectly due to the rapid 
filling up of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi then in 
progress, and the Federal administration, under spur from 
the South, made an especially urgent and successful plea 
to the natives. The red ambassadors were brought to 
Washington for the negotiations, where they were treated 
with dignity and attention both by the official and private 

1 Approved November 19, 1814. 

2 During this war the United States, as was customary when she was in danger, 
sought and obtained the aid of Indians as allies. In 1814 the instructions of the War 
Department to General Jackson referred to the southern Indians as follows: "The 
friendly Indians must be fed and paid, and made to fight when and where their services 
may be required." Numerous Indians did fight under Jackson. 

3 The law of 1802 already regulated the passport question for United States citizens. 

4 Approved April 29, 1816. 


life of the capital. Article II of the compact contained 
the valuable concession desired and was thus phrased: 

"It is expressly agreed on the part of the Cherokee Nation that the 
United States shall have the right to lay off, open and have the free 
use of such road or roads, through any part of the Cherokee nation 
lying north of the boundary line now established, as may be deemed 
necessary for the free intercourse between the states of Tennessee and 
Georgia and the Mississippi Territory. And the citizens of the United 
States shall freely navigate, and use as a highway, all the rivers and 
waters within the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Nation further 
agree to establish and keep up, on the roads to be opened under the 
sanction of this article, such ferries and public houses as may be neces- 
sary for the accommodation of the citizens of the United States." * 

In 1817 the national government succeeded in obtain- 
ing another small part of the Cherokee territory, 
but the Cherokees and Creeks, in company with the 
Chickasaws and Choctaws, had no thought of relinquish- 
ing all their possessions. The ceding of slices now and 
then, and the granting of travel permits were actions taken 
partly because of good will and in part because their hold- 
ings were greater than they needed. 

Danger lay in these conditions unless the white repub- 
lic based its future actions on loftier principles than had 
sometimes animated it in earlier phases of the long race 
controversy. If the white states of the South changed their 
attitude ; challenged the validity of the position held by the 
red nations under Federal acknowledgment since the or- 
ganization of constitutional government; placed their own 
immediate material profit above all else and looked at the 
complex situation solely from the white standpoint, then 
the consequences could not be foreseen. 

A blunder had been made in 1814, through a 
treaty negotiated with the Creek nation. The Creeks in 
that year ceded a considerable section of their holdings 

1 In this same treaty South Carolina was authorized to arrange for buying the 
Cherokee lands overlapping the boundary of that state, and the United States became a 
surety to the natives for South Carolina's payment of $5,000 for the cession. 



within the present limits of Alabama, and the action 
tended to move a part of the nation into the eastern section 
of their territory, at present embraced in Georgia. The 
United States thereupon guaranteed to them the integrity 
of their remaining possessions. This pledge was incon- 
sistent with the 1802 compact with Georgia. 

Still another similar promise by which the white re 
public agreed to the inviolability of a native nation's ter- 
ritory was that given to the Choctaws in 1820. 1 On that 
occasion the Choctaws ceded part of their country in 
exchange for a tract west of the Mississippi River, where 
such of them as wished to maintain the old hunter's life 
were willing to go. The remaining Choctaw possessions 
were guaranteed to the nation in Article IV as follows: 

"The boundaries hereby established between the Choctaw Indians 
and the United States, on this side of the Mississippi River, shall re- 
main without alteration until the period at which said nation shall 
become so civilized and enlightened as to be made citizens of the United 
States. . . ." 

One of the Commissioners Plenipotentiary of the 
United States who in this manner indicated that the Choc- 
taws were so advanced in their methods of life that their 
prospective status as citizens of the Union might with 
propriety be discussed in a treaty was General Andrew 
Jackson. 2 

It will thus be seen that the Federal government's pol- 
icy toward the southern Indian nations was not a consistent 
one. While some of its manifestations effectively served 
to establish the natives as permanent and settled communi- 
ties, and encouraged them in civilized endeavor, other of 
its acts had an opposite tendency. There was discord of 
purpose in urging and inducing the red men to adopt 

1 By the treaty of October 18. 

- General Jackson 1 ad already acted in a similar capacity during treaty negotiations 
with the Cherokees in 1816 and 1817. 



husbandry, manufacturing, permanent homes and self- 
government while at the same time gradually buying or 
trying to buy the regions thus transformed and improved 
by the natives. The only features wherein the white pol- 
icy had remained unaltered for the twenty-nine years 
between 1789 and 1818 were in the recognition of sov- 
ereignty accorded to the large nations of the South, and in 
the acquirement of travel routes and territory from them. 
The first hints of a possible change in the attitude of the 
government appeared during the administration of Mon- 
roe, and can be discerned in certain of his public papers. 
They also seem to indicate, in some particulars, either a 
considerable misapprehension of existing conditions or the 
symptoms of a governmental purpose to foster, in the 
public mind, a misconception of those conditions. 

President Monroe's annual message of 1817 did not 
suggest the new Caucasian position soon to be assumed. It 
is, however, valuable because of its revelation of the wide- 
spread extent to which the whites were still dependent on 
the consent of the red men for opportunity to connect their 
scattered settlements and move between them. A part of 
it reads: 

". . . By these purchases the Indian title, with moderate reserva- 
tions, has been extinguished as to the whole of the land within the limits 
of the State of Ohio, and to a part of that in the Michigan Territory 
and of the State of Indiana. From the Cherokee tribe a tract has been 
purchased in the State of Georgia and an arrangement made by which, 
in exchange for lands beyond the Mississippi, a great part, if not the 
whole, of the land belonging to that tribe eastward of that river in 
the States of North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, and in the Ala- 
bama Territory, will soon be acquired. 1 

"By these acquisitions, and others that may reasonably be expected 
soon to follow, we shall be enabled to extend our settlements from the 
inhabited parts of the State of Ohio along Lake Erie into the Michigan 
Territory, and to connect our settlements by degrees through the State 

1 A mistaken opinion. A few Cherokees removed to the West in 1817, and another 
Jroup followed in 1819. 



of Indiana and the Illinois Territory to that of Missouri. A similar 
and equally advantageous effect will soon be produced in the South 
through the whole extent of the states and territory which border on 
the waters emptying into the Mississippi and Mobile. 

". . . The difficulties attending early emigrations 1 will be dis- 
sipated even in the most remote parts." 

Three further references to the subject by President 
Monroe, together covering a period of more than two 
years, are filled with significant statements and evidences 
of the misapprehension or new attitude alluded to. The 
first of these, contained in his annual message of 1818, 

"To civilize them, and even to prevent their extinction, it seems 
to be indispensable that their independence as communities should 
cease, and that the control of the United States over them should be 
complete and undisputed. The hunter state will then be more easily 
abandoned, and recourse will be had to the acquisition and culture of 
land and to other pursuits tending to dissolve the ties which connect 
them together as a savage community. . . ." 

Aside from a recognition that the red nations still 
possessed independence, this summary of conditions and 
suggestion of future policy particularly with relation 
to the southern natives was unfortunately erroneous 
and even conflicted with similar public announcements by 
previous Presidents, such as that by Jefferson ten years 
before. The very Indian nations whose independence had 
been most frequently and elaborately recognized those 
of the South were the ones most flourishing and furthest 
advanced in civilization. In those nations the hunter 
state was already abandoned as a matter of definite future 
policy, and played a small and constantly decreasing part 
in the life of the population. Recourse to the culture of 
land and other pursuits had already taken place, though 
the Indians were much less concerned in the acquisition 
of more land than in the effort to keep what they already 

1 By this the President meant the travels of citizens throughout the country. 



had. There were no indissoluble ties which connected the 
southern red nations together as savage communities, but 
many ties that bound them into rapidly advancing peoples. 
Among these the practises of husbandry, manufacturing 
and commerce were the most notable. 

It was no longer possible accurately to discuss the 
Indian population of the whole continental extent under 
broad generalizations such as are here used by Monroe. 
Conditions among the natives were almost as diverse as 
among the whites. The Cherokees, Choctaws and Chicka- 
saws were increasing in numbers and growing in 
wealth and civilization. They had successfully adopted 
a new culture. Many other tribes and nations, on the 
other hand, were unsuccessfully trying to accomplish the 
same result against odds that made their endeavor impos- 
sible, and still others were swiftly deteriorating in all the 
respects here named. 

The statement of Monroe, above quoted, is the first 
official intimation of a coming change in the govern- 
ment's attitude toward the red peoples. 



THE second of Monroe's three statements heretofore 
alluded to was one contained in the President's 
message of November 14, 1820. It ran: ". . . Left to them- 
selves their extirpation is inevitable. By a judicious regu- 
lation of our trade with them we supply their wants, ad- 
minister to their comforts, and gradually, as the game re- 
tires, draw them to us." 

The archives of the government contained a 
mass of reports, treaties and other evidences testifying 
to the contrary. 1 When left to themselves or when in 

1 The most recent of which was an elaborate review of the conditions of Indian 
society made by Jedediah Morse under commission by the President dated February 7, 
1820. Extracts from Morse's statements respecting native civilization of the period are 
contained in an Appendix. 



association with non-parasitical whites, the natives did 
well. It was when they were not left to themselves, but 
compelled against their desire closely and constantly to 
mingle with the unscrupulous white population which 
hovered about them like vultures, that they failed to do 
well. So excellently did they progress when able to pro- 
tect themselves from excessive spoliation that President 
Monroe's Commissioner Plenipotentiary, General An- 
drew Jackson, had anticipated United States citizenship 
for an entire red nation only twenty-seven days before the 
President made the foregoing statement. 1 The nature and 
deplorable results of the trade permitted with the natives 
have been discussed. It did not administer to their com- 
forts but added to their troubles. Judicious regulation of 
that trade was not a distinguishing characteristic of the 
government's attitude. Instead of being drawn closer to 
the whites as the game retired, the natives were as a rule 
despoiled to whatever extent was possible and thrust fur- 
ther away. The most notable exceptions to this rule, at the 
time, were to be found in the nations of the South, which 
still insisted on maintaining their independence unless 
their inhabitants were made citizens of the United States. 

The third of the three statements by Monroe indicating 
a changing attitude on the part of the government was 
made in his second inaugural address, on March 5, 1821. 
It contained the first unequivocal declaration that national 
independence of Indian peoples was not desired by the 
United States. The utterance was: 

"The care of the Indian tribes within our limits has long been an 
essential part of our system, but, unfortunately, it has not been exe- 
cuted in a manner to accomplish all the objects intended by it. We 
have treated them as independent nations, without their having any 
substantial pretentions to that rank. The distinction has flattered their 

1 The Choctaws. The treaty with them negotiated by Jackson was dated, as has 
been said, on October 18, 1820, and Monroe's message was dated November 14. 



pride, retarded their improvement, and in many cases paved the way 
to their destruction. Their sovereignty over vast territories should 

The President did not state what were the objects 
intended to be accomplished by our dealings and rela- 
tions with the natives. If those objects were, as often 
declared in words, 1 a genuine and unselfish desire to 

151. Development of the stage-coach from the Flying Machine and Stage 
Wagon. A New England coach of 1815-1820. Heaviest of all American 
vehicles of the sort, and built with especial thought for the comfort of 
passengers in cold weather. This and the twenty-seven illustrations to No. 
178, inclusive, concern the evolution of the stage-coach and incidents of its 
use, between New England and the Mississippi River, from 1815 to about 

aid the red population in attaining civilization and a 
manner of life similar to that of the Caucasians, 
then those purposes had thus far only failed when 
the government, by its discordant or lax methods, 
had neglected to protect the Indians from its own citizens 
and had indirectly interrupted their upward progress by 
buying their lands. Plentiful evidences existed that in 

1 As recently as March 3, 1819, President Monroe had approved an act of Congress 
authorizing the President to send among the Indians instructors in agriculture and the 
ordinary branches of education, as a means of "providing against the further decline" 
of the natives and of "introducing among them the habits and arts of civilization." 



cases wherein those impediments to development did not 
unduly occur the native population responded to the 
impulse in question, no matter from what quarter it came. 
Consequently it was only necessary to eliminate those 
retarding conditions in order to achieve success, pro- 
vided that was really the national object, left unexplained 
by President Monroe. The situation as then visible in the 
South where the most conspicuous examples of the 
national white policy were existent did not warrant a 
statement that the plan of treating the red peoples as inde- 
pendent nations had retarded their improvement or paved 
the way to their destruction. So if their impending de- 
struction was in truth visible then its cause must also have 
been visible, and must have been discovered in some factor 
of the problem not inherent in the new red civilization 

But if the principal and underlying purpose of the 
Republic had been, and still was, the easy capture of the 
territorial possessions of the Indians, then it was true, 
as Monroe said, that the government's system had not 
been carried out in a manner to accomplish all the ob- 
jects intended by it. The remaining important red na- 
tions were visibly entering into the realm of civic pride 
and a social state similar to that of the whites, and had 
announced a determination to ssll no more land. Hence 
if the acquisition of their countries was the main ob- 
ject of the white nation, that desire had apparently been 
thwarted through a concrete realization by the Indians 
of the condition toward which they had been thought- 
lessly encouraged. Such a theory would perhaps explain 
the altered position which the United States was ob- 
viously taking and whose symptoms first became visible 
during the Monroe presidency. Flattery, cajolery, small 



monetary payments and large promises no longer wrought 
their magic as of old. The red men of the South were 
becoming nations of settled farmers, merchants, inn-keep- 
ers and small manufacturers, with schools, councils, legis- 
latures, laws and judges of their own, and had their eyes 
on Federal citizenship. The Caucasian republic stood at 
last beside a Rubicon of policy. It had either to prove 
the sincerity of its former protestations by endorsing the 
native progress and unselfishly perpetuating it, even at 
worldly expense and inconvenience to itself for a time, or 
else adopt some other course of action that would disclose 
another purpose. 

It was at such a time that President Monroe said: 
"Their sovereignty over vast territories should cease." 
The inhabitants of the southern states had become restive 
as they gazed toward the rich countries of Cherokee, 
Creek, Chickasaw and Choctaw, and two years before, in 
1819, Georgia had begun a series of protests addressed to 
the Union in relation to the still unfulfilled obligation 
incurred by the United States in the agreement of 1802. 
From that time on events moved steadily toward the final 

Early in 1824 1 Monroe, being under a constantly in- 
creasing pressure from the South and especially from 
Georgia, 2 sent an urgent message to the Cherokee nation 
begging its people to sell their country and remove west of 
the Mississippi. The nation refused. Its answer con- 
tained these passages: 

". . . We assert under the fullest authority that all the senti- 
ments expressed in relation to the disposition and determination of the 
nation never to cede another foot of land are positively the product 
and voice of the nation. . . . They have unequivocally determined 

1 January 30th. 

- Which state was now insistently calling for an extinguishment of Cherokee and 
Creek titles. 













'Some of the principal Lines of Stages, Steam-boats, and Packets; 
Statements at large of some of the raost Respectable Hotels, 
Genteel BoareJiug Houses, Establishments, and Institutions, in 
the large 'Cities, at the Springs, and Places of Fashionable 






Lecturer on Geography. 


152. Early literature relating to travel in America. Title page of Hewett's 
Directory of Post Roads. First guide book of national scope issued for the 
benefit of stage-coach travellers, and first comprehensive printed list of 
United States roads. 


never again to pursue the chase as heretofore, or to engage in wars, un- 
less by the common call of the government to defend the common rights 
of the United States. . . . 

"The Cherokees have turned their attention to the pursuits of the 
civilized man; agriculture, manufactures, and the mechanic arts and 
education are all in successful operation in the nation at this time; and 
while the Cherokees are peacefully endeavoring to enjoy the blessings 
of civilization and Christianity on the soil of their rightful inheritance, 
and while the exertions and labors of various religious societies of these 
United States are successfully engaged in promulgating to them the 
words of truth and life from the sacred volume of Holy Writ, and 
under the patronage of the general government, they are threatened 
with removal or extinction. . 

"We appeal to the magnanimity of the American Congress for 
justice, and the protection of the rights and liberties of the Cherokee 
people. We claim it from the United States by the strongest obligation 
which imposes it on them by treaties; and we expect it from them 
under that memorable declaration 'that all men are created equal; 
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; 
that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' " 

The President, in a special message to Congress 1 in- 
formed that body of the result of his appeal, saying: 

". . . By this it is manifest that at the present time and in 
their present temper they can be removed only by force. 

"I have no hesitation, however, to declare it as my opinion that 
the Indian title was not affected in the slightest circumstance by the 
compact with Georgia, and that there is no obligation on the United 
States to remove the Indians by force. The express stipulation of the 
compact that their title should be extinguished at the expense of the 
United States when it may be done peaceably and on reasonable condi- 
tions is a full proof that it was the clear and distinct understanding of 
both parties to it that the Indians had a right to the territory, in the 
disposal of which they were to be regarded as free agents." 

Monroe nevertheless continued his diplomatic attempts 
to clear the southern country east of the Mississippi of the 
native races there established, and later in 1824 he called 
on John C. Calhoun, his then Secretary of War, for a re- 
port describing the condition of those peoples. In answer 
to this request Secretary Calhoun said to the President: 2 

". . . Almost all of the tribes proposed to be affected by the 

1 On March 30, 1824. 

2 In his report dated January 24, 1825. 


,-r tht coryrn Y 


^ ^ 


153. Map of overland highways leading to Pittsburgh in 1812. The town 

could then be reached by one wagon road from the north, four from 

the east, two from the south and one from the west. 


arrangement are more or less advanced in the arts of civilized life. . . . 
One of the greatest evils to which they are subject is that incessant 
pressure of our population, which forces them from seat to seat, with- 
out allowing time for that moral and intellectual improvement for 
which they appear to be naturally eminently susceptible." 

There fortunately exists a contemporary record 
whereon dependence may be placed that carefully describes 
the most extreme extent to which civilization had pro- 
gressed among the southern Indian nations at the precise 
period under consideration. Happily, also, it deals with 
the Cherokees, whose affairs had already begun to attract 
so large a measure of attention throughout the country. 
The description referred to is a report made by Commis- 
sioner of Indian Affairs Thomas L. McKenney to Secre- 
tary of War Barbour 1 under date of December 13, 1825, 
and reads: 

"The Cherokees on this side the Mississippi are in advance of all 
other tribes. They may be considered as a civilized people. 
It is truth we are in quest of, and facts are the best instruments for its 
development. Theory, and all previously conceived opinions which are 
adverse to Indian capacity and Indian improvement must give way to 
the stubborn demonstrations of such facts as David Brown discloses, 
even if there were no others; but there are many such." 

The David Brown mentioned by McKenney was a 
citizen of the Cherokee nation who had recently pub- 
lished an article 2 descriptive of his country and its prog- 
ress. McKenney, being able of his own knowledge 3 to 
endorse Brown's account as one of fact, which he did in 
connection with the comment that there were many other 
similar facts not recorded by Brown, felt that he could 
in no better way reveal Cherokee conditions than by using 
a red man's own statement concerning those conditions. 

1 At the order of the Secretary of War on October 3, 1825, calling for information on 
the effects "of the present system for civilizing the Indians." 

2 In the "Family Visitor" of Richmond, Va., on September 2, 1825. 

3 McKenney's studies of Indians extended over many years and were made at first 
hand among numerous tribes. He lived among them in their own manner. His works 
On the subject are well known. 



This he accordingly did, incorporating into and making a 
part of his own report the following paragraphs by 
B rown : 

". . . These plains furnish immense pasturage, and number- 
less herds of cattle are dispersed over them ; horses are plenty, numerous 
flocks of sheep, goats and swine cover the valleys and the hills. On 
Tennessee, Ustanula and Canasagi rivers Cherokee commerce floats. 
The climate is delicious and healthy ; the winters are mild ; the spring 
clothes the ground with the richest scenery, flowers of exquisite beauty 
and variegated hues meet and fascinate the eye in every direction. In 
the plains and valleys the soil is generally rich, producing Indian corn, 
cotton, tobacco, wheat, oats, indigo, and sweet and Irish potatoes. 

"The natives carry on considerable trade with the adjoining states; 
some of them export cotton in boats down the Tennessee to the Mis- 
sissippi, and down that river to New Orleans. Apple and peach or- 
chards are quite common, and gardens are cultivated, and much at- 
tention paid to them. Butter and cheese are seen on Cherokee tables. 
There are many public roads in the nation, 1 and houses of entertain- 
ment kept by natives. Numerous and flourishing villages are seen 
in every section of the country. Cotton and woolen cloths are manu- 
factured ; blankets of various dimensions, manufactured by Cherokee 
hands, are very common. Almost every family in the nation grows 
cotton for its own consumption. 

"Industry and commercial enterprise are extending themselves in 
every part. Nearly all the merchants in the nation are native Chero- 
kees. Agricultural pursuits engage the chief attention of the people. 
Different branches in mechanics are pursued. 

"White men in the nation enjoy all the immunities and privileges of 
the Cherokee people, except that they are not eligible to public offices. 
. . . The Christian religion is the religion of the nation. . . . The 
whole nation is penetrated with gratitude for the aid it has received 
from the United States Government. . . . Schools are increasing 
every year ; learning is encouraged and rewarded ; the young acquire the 
English, and those of mature age the Cherokee system of learning. . . . 
We are out of debt, and our public revenue is in a flourishing condition. 
Besides the amount arising from imports, perpetual annuity is due from 
the United States in consideration of lands ceded in former periods. 

"Our system of Government, founded on republican principles by 
which justice is equally distributed, secures the respect of the people. 
New Town, pleasantly situated in the center of the Nation, 
is the seat of government. The legislative power is vested in a national 
committee and council. ... In New Town a printing press 

is soon to be established ; also a national library and museum." 

1 Of their own as well as those on which whites were permitted to travel. 



The printing establishment mentioned by McKenney 
was soon afterward set up. It was the property of the 
nation, and the work in connection with its operation was 
done in part by native editors, writers, translators, type- 
setters, printers, bookbinders and other craftsmen. From 
it issued hymn books, gospels and various other volumes 
in the native language, and a newspaper in both the Chero- 
kee language and in English. 1 The Cherokee tongue had 
been reduced to a written and printed alphabet, also by a 
member of the nation, 2 as early as 1820, and the national 
Cherokee legislature had in 1823 conferred on him a 
medal for eminent public services. The affairs of the 
nation were carried on under a constitution shaped some- 
what after that of the United States. Officials held office 
by popular election. A moderate system of taxation was 
in operation and the public funds were carefully admin- 
istered. Crime was practically non-existent. 

These demonstrations of native advancement, together 
with the conditions catalogued by McKenney, had ap- 
peared during the period of thirty-nine years following the 
adoption of constitutional government by the United 
States. The social and economic development shown in 
that interval by the Cherokees compared favorably with 
the progress accomplished by the earliest English settlers 
in New England during an even longer time. The first 
white colonists landed in Massachusetts in 1620, and sev- 
enty-two years later the communities they founded pos- 

1 It was a four-page weekly paper called the "Cherokee Phoenix," and was first pub- 
lished on February 21, 1828, continuing to appear at the Cherokee capital until May ot 
1834. Each issue contained several columns in each of the two languages. Partial tiles 
of this, the first Indian newspaper, are contained in the collections of the British Museum, 
the New York City Library and the Boston Atheneum. Occasional copies are also 
owned by Wilberforce Eames, Esq., of New York; by W. J. De Renne, Esq., of Atlanta, 
and perhaps by a few other collectors. The editor of the "Phoenix" was Elias Boudtnot, 
an Indian, whose parents could not speak English. . 

The state papers of the Cherokees, and the editorial discussion of Indian affairs 
contained in the columns of the "Phoenix" from 1828 to 1834 are worthy of comparison 
with similar United States productions during the same period. An example ot the native 
messages referred to is given in an Appendix. 

2 George Guess, whose native name was Sequoyah. 


k**^zllNy* _y n 

154. Map of the travel and transportation facilities in the vicinity of New 
York City in 1826. The city and bay were touched by seventeen roads. 
From Melish's map, published in some copies of the second edition of 
Goodrich's Northern Traveller: 1826- 


sessed scarcely more than an outward semblance of real 
self-government. They were still substantially under the 
rule of a theocracy that was torturing or mutilating the cit- 
izens of both sexes and sometimes burning them to death. 1 

The Chickasaw, Choctaw and Creek nations had not 
displayed all of the exceptional qualities manifested by 
the Cherokees, but their development had nevertheless 
been correspondingly rapid. They, likewise, had herds 
and cultivated acres, some comfortable houses, a little 
commerce, domestic manufacturing, schools and ambition. 
The principal matter respecting which they were less swift 
in advancement was that of altering their machinery of 
self-government. Their systems, though effective, still 
clung much more closely to traditional methods and suf- 
frage was more restricted. 

Meanwhile President Monroe had advanced a further 
opinion 2 regarding the question of national attitude to- 
ward the Indian problem. It upheld native rights, yet in 
some features manifested a relapse toward that non-com- 
prehension of the subject revealed in some of his earlier 
utterances, and also failed of clearness on an important 
point. He said: 

". . . Experience has shown that unless the tribes be civilized 
they can never be incorporated into our system in any form whatever, 
. . . Their civilization is indispensable to their safety. . . . 

1 In 1692 trials or executions for witchcraft had been taking place in New England 
for more than forty years. This comparison is in a certain respect, however, unfair to 

which McKenney characterized as "Indian capacity." 

to make the transposition unfair. 


"Difficulties of the most serious character present themselves to 
the attainment of this very desirable result on the territory on which 
they now reside. To remove them from it by force, even with a view 
to their own security and happiness would be revolting to humanity 
and utterly unjustifiable. . . ." 

Instead of civilization being a condition indispensable 
to the safety of the red peoples it was beginning to look as 
if their civilization, wherever attained, subjected them to 
a danger no less extreme than any they had previously un- 
dergone. The four biggest nations already revealed a 
state of society presenting more stability, quiet, thrift and 
wealth than might be shown by many frontier Caucasian 
communities. Two of them 1 had been discussing the ques- 
tion of American citizenship with the United States for 
years, and President Monroe had himself negotiated a 
treaty with one 2 guaranteeing the permanence of its exist- 
ing possessions until the members of the nation were made 
citizens. Now, four years afterward, he found himself to 
be of opinion that difficulties of the most serious charac- 
ter interfered with the attainment of native civilization on 
the territory where they were then residing, even though 
that territory was their own. He overlooked the evidences 
that several of the red peoples had already substantially 
reached that state of society, and that they could assuredly 
proceed more easily toward the visible goal 3 in their long 
established homes than elsewhere, unless prevented by in- 
jurious outside influences from so doing. If the civiliza- 
tion of the Indians was really the main desire of the gov- 
ernment in its relations with them, then no shifting of them 
could be of advantage, since that act would only be trans- 
ferring the process to another and less favorable locality, 

1 The Cherokees and Choctaws. 

2 The Choctaws. 

3 The degree of development which the United States government was insisting on 
before awarding citizenship. 




155. Type of stage-coach most widely used throughout the country from 1815 
to 1825. Its body, built of wood and sole-leather, was shaped somewhat like 
a football, and was swung on many thick strips of leather riveted together 
and called thorough-braces. Capacity, either six or nine passengers inside. 
Commonly drawn by four horses. From a drawing made by Captain Hall 
of the British Navy in 1825. 

with loss of years and material gain as well as probable 
loss of native courage. The one decisive element to be 
dealt with in any honest and unselfish effort for Indian 
welfare had long since been seen to be 'the manner and 
purpose of Caucasian contact with the red people, and that 
element could not be dodged. Two centuries of experi- 
ence had afforded ample demonstration of the point. Post- 
ponement of a problem does not accomplish its solution. 
The secret of a successful endeavor to protect and aid the 
natives lay then, as it had always done, in regulating that 
part of the white population which sought to prey upon 

Monroe did not explain the nature of the serious dif- 
ficulties whose existence he so unequivocally asserted. 
They did not abide in any quality or methods of the In- 
dians, and soon became visible to all men. 



President J. Q. Adams took office on March 4, 1825, 1 
and his first encounter with the questions under review had 
to do with a treaty negotiated by the previous administra- 
tion 2 with the Creek nation. By its terms the Creeks ap- 
parently ceded their territories embraced in the modern 
area of Georgia. In discussing this transaction in a special 
message to the Senate 3 President Adams used the follow- 
ing language: 

"I do not deem it necessary to decide upon the propriety of the 
manner in which it was negotiated. Deeply regretting the criminations 
and recriminations to which these events have given rise, I believe the 
public interest will best be consulted by discarding them altogether from 
the discussion of the subject." 

The delicacy of the Executive is forbidden here. It 
was sometimes a custom of white treaty makers, on occa- 
sions when other efforts had no effect, to resort to methods 
of persuasion, deception and bribery which should never 
have been employed. The Creek treaty of 1825 was ob- 
tained in such a way. It was incorrectly reported to the 
government as having been concluded with a large ma- 
jority of the chiefs of the Creek nation and with a 
reasonable prospect of immediate acquiescence by the re- 
mainder. When the people of the Creek nation heard the 
terms of the treaty they uprose. Two of the native signers 
were put to death as traitors for an attempt to sell their 
country, and the others fled. After discovering the circum- 
stances surrounding the transaction the Federal govern- 

1 On Adams' accession, in 1825, the number of Creeks living under their own rule 
and on their own lands in Georgia and Alabama totaled some 20,000 souls; the Choctaws in 
Mississippi and Alabama were about 21,000 in number and the Chickasaw nation, in 
Mississippi, had a population of about 3,600. 

At the same date the Cherpkees still owned 5,292,160 acres in the limits of modern 
Georgia, while the Creeks retained 4,245,760 acres in the same region. The aggregate 
holdings of the same two nations in Alabama were 5.995,200 acres, and the Cherokees 
also had 1,055,680 acres in Tennessee. The possessions of the Chickasaws and Choctaws 
in Alabama aggregated 1,277,376 acres, and in Mississippi the two tribes ruled over and 
owned no less than 15,705.000 acres. The total southern territory thus still in possession 
of the four red nations in the vear named equalled 33.571,176 acres, or a region one 
and one-half times larger than the combined areas of New Hampshire, Vermont, Con- 
necticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. 

2 The treaty of February 12, 1825. 

3 Dated January 31, 1826. 



ment under Adams made no effort to enforce the treaty, 
and it was declared cancelled. A new agreement was made 
under whose terms a part of the Creek possessions were 
obtained on immediate payment of $217,600, a perpetual 
annuity of $20,000, and a cession of territory west of the 
Mississippi for such of the nation as decided to remove 
thither. 1 

The dissensions among the Creeks brought about by 
the methods employed by the United States during 
the last days of the Monroe administration weak- 
ened the native nation, and in the winter of 1 826-7 Georgia 
entered its territory contrary to treaty rights of the In- 
dians and the Federal law of 1802. Surveyors were in- 
structed to plat a part of the Creek possessions, and the 
agents of the state were told they would be protected in 
their work by Georgia troops if necessary. The native 
nation appealed to President Adams, who, under the law 
of 1802, had power to halt Georgia's action either by 
civil process or use of the Federal army. Adams sent a 
special message to Congress 2 reciting the situation and 
stating his intentions in the following words: 

In abstaining at this stage of the proceedings from the 
application of any military force I have been governed by considera- 
tions which will, I trust, meet the concurrence of the legislature. 
Among them one of paramount importance has been that these sur- 
veys have been attempted, and partly effected, under color of legal au- 
thority from the State of Georgia ; that the surveyors are, therefore, not 
to be viewed in the light of individual and solitary transgressors, but 
as the agents of a sovereign state, acting in obedience to authority which 
they believed to be binding upon them. Intimations had been given 
that should they meet with interruption they would at all hazards be 
sustained by the military force of the State, in which event, if the mili- 
tary force of the Union should have been employed to enforce its 
violated law, a conflict must 3 have ensued which would itself have in- 

1 The Creeks who departed to the westward also received $100,000. 

2 On February 5, 1827. 

3 The word "must" is emphasized in the original. 



flicted a wound upon the Union and have presented the aspect of one 
of these confederated states at war with the rest. 

"It ought not, however, to be disguised that the act of the legislature 
of Georgia, under the construction given to it by the governor of that 
state, and the surveys made or attempted by his authority beyond the 
boundary secured by the Treaty of Washington of April last to the 
Creek Indians, are in direct violation of the supreme law of this land, 


156. Stage-coach similar to the preceding, entering a town. The driver is 

announcing his arrival by blowing his horn. A chair and 

a chaise are also shown. 

set forth in a treaty which has received all the sanctions provided by 
the Constitution which we have sworn to support and maintain. . . . 
"In the present instance it is my duty to say that if the legislative 
and executive authorities of the State of Georgia should persevere in 
acts of encroachment upon the territories secured by a solemn treaty to 
the Indians, and the laws of the Union remain unaltered, a super-added 
obligation even higher than that of human authority will compel the 
Executive of the United States to enforce the laws and fulfill the duties 
of the nation by all the force committed for that purpose to his 
charge. . . ." 



Georgia soon took still more radical action. She 
passed a resolution which nullified Federal treaties with 
the Cherokees and Creeks, declared state ownership of 
such of their possessions as lay within her charter limits, 
and indicated an intention to seize those territories by 
force of arms if she could not obtain them in any other 
way. This resolution read: 1 

"A Resolution of the Legislature of Georgia, approved December 
27, 1827. 

"Resolved, That the United States in failing to procure the lands in 
controversy 'as early' as the same could be done upon 'practicable' 2 
and 'reasonable terms' have palpably violated their contract with 
Georgia, and are now bound at all hazards, and without regard to 
terms, to procure said lands for the use of Georgia. . . . 3 

"Resolved, That all the lands appropriated and unappropriated, which 
lie within the conventional limits of Georgia, belong to her absolutely; 
that the title is in her; that the Indians are tenants at her will, and 
that she may at any time she pleases, determine that tenancy by taking 
possession of the premises and that Georgia has the right to extend 
her authority and laws over her whole territory, and to coerce obedi- 
ence to them from all descriptions of people, be they white, red, or 
black, who may reside within her limits. 

"Resolved, That Georgia entertains for the general government 
so high a regard and is so solicitous to do no act that can disturb or 
tend to disturb the public tranquillity, that she will not attempt to im- 
prove her rights by violence until all other means of redress fail. . . . 

"Resolved, That if such treaty be held, the President be respect- 
fully requested to instruct the commissioners to lay a copy of this re- 
port before the Indians in convention, with such comments as may be 
considered just and proper, upon the nature and extent of the Georgia 
title to the lands in controversy, and the probable consequences which 
will result from a continued refusal upon the part of the Indians to 
part with those lands. 

"Resolved, That the late proceedings of the Cherokee Indians, in 

1 Three sections are here omitted. They are in the nature of emphasis and repetition, 
and do not affect the meaning of the resolution in any way not disclosed by the remainder 
as here quoted. 

2 An improper rendering of the compact of 1802. The word in the original was 
"peaceable," not "practicable." 

3 Up to 1824 the Federal government, in an endeavor to carry out its obligations 
under the compact of 1802, had bought lands for Georgia as follows: 

From the Creeks, 14,748,690 acres; 

From the Cherokees, 1,095,310 acres. 

Between 1824 and 1830 the government further bought 4,083,200 acres from the 
Creeks for Georgia, making a total Federal purchase for Georgia under the 1802 act of 
19,927,200 acres. 


_ - 


framing a constitution for their nation, and preparing to establish a 
government independent of Georgia, is inconsistent with the rights of 
said State, and therefore not recognized by this government, and ought 
to be decidedly discountenanced by the general government." 

The Cherokee National Council, sitting as a Constitu- 
tional Convention, had drawn up a written national con- 
stitution during the previous July. The Cherokees had 
not, however, lately proceeded to establish a government 
independent of Georgia for such an independent native 
government had existed since the organization of the Fed- 
eral Union and .had been recognized by it and by Georgia. 
Nor did the adoption of a constitution in 1827 mark the 
first occasion on which the Cherokees had altered their 
machinery of government in accordance with their 
development. They had begun to enact general laws 
by National Council in 1808. In 1819 they established a 
Commission government vested in a Standing Committee 
of 13 elected members. In 1820 the nation was divided 
into eight districts, each represented in the National 
Council by four salaried members chosen through popu- 
lar election. Courts were established and judges ap- 
pointed in the same year. Finally, in 1827, came the first 
written constitution and a legislative body composed of 
two houses. 1 

A contemporary account of the Cherokees and their 
republic, written and published in the same year that wit- 
nessed the foregoing action of Georgia, reads as follows: 2 

"Within the last twenty years the Cherokees have rapidly advanced 
towards civilization. They now live in comfortable houses, chiefly in 

1 The enactments of the Cherokees from 1808 to 1835, together with the Constitution 
of 1827, were collected and issued in 1852 by the Indians' governmental printing office, 
in a volume of 179 pages, under the title "Laws of the Cherokee Nation: Adopted by 
the Council at Various Periods. Printed for the Benefit of the Nation. Cherokee 
Advocate office, Tahlequah, C. X., 1852." 

The second written constitution (that of 1839) and their legislative acts from 1839 
to 1851 were similarly published at the same time in a volume of 248 pages entitled, "The 
Constitution and Laws of the Cherokee Nation. Passed at Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation, 
1839-51. Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation, 1852." 

Tahlequah was the native capital after the removal west of the Mississippi. 

* l-'rcm Sherwood's "Gazetteer of Georgia, 1827." 



villages, and cultivate large farms. They raise large herds of cattle, 
which they sell for beef to the inhabitants of neighboring states. Many 
median ical arts have been introduced among them. . . . The 
population, instead of decreasing, as is the case generally with tribes 
surrounded by the whites, increases very rapidly, . . . increase in 
the last six years, 3,563. . . . Their government is republican, 
and power is vested in a Committee and Council, answering to our 
Senate and House of Representatives. The members are elected once 
in two years. . . . Their judges act with authority." 

During the year 1828 the Georgia legislature passed 
two more acts dealing with the Indian question. The 
first of these was directed against the Creeks, and con- 
tained the following provisions: 

"That from and after the passage of this act, it shall not be lawful 
for any Indian or descendant of an Indian, belonging to the Creek 
nation of Indians, to cross the river Chatahouchee, and enter upon the 
territory of said state, under any pretext whatever, except they have, 
and can shew a written permit from the United States agent . 
which permit shall not exceed ten days' duration. . . . 

"And be it further enacted, That when any Indian or Indians 
shall be strolling over any country, on the frontier of said state, with 
such permit as aforesaid, and shall interfere with the private property, 
or interrupt the peace and tranquillity of any of the citizens afore- 
said, it shall and may be lawful for them to be apprehended as afore- 
said, on its being made appear to the satisfaction of the magistrate, 
to whom the warrant is made returnable, that said Indian or Indians 
were without lawful business, and disturbing the peace, or molesting 
the property of said citizens; for said magistrate to imprison said In- 
dian or Indians not exceeding the term of time aforesaid. . . ." 1 

The remaining Georgia law of 1828 was directed to- 
ward both the Cherokee and Creek nations, and was en- 
titled, "An act to add the territory lying within the limits 
of this state, and occupied by the Cherokee Indians, to the 
counties of Carroll, De Kalb, Gwinnett, Hall and Haber- 
sham; and to extend the laws of this state over the same, 
and for other purposes." The first five sections of the 
enactment defined the various geographical parts of the 

1 Ten daj'S. Indians without permits were subject to similar imprisonment whether 
they interrupted the peace and tranquillity of the whites or not. It was more difficult for 
natives to travel safely in Caucasian territory than for whites to travel in native regions. 



Cherokee territories placed within the counties named. 
Section six provided that all white persons in the affected 
districts fell under the operation of the statute immedi- 
ately after its passage. Section eight read: 

"And be it further enacted, That all laws, usages, and customs 
made, established and in force, in the said territory, by the said Chero- 
kee Indians be, and the same are hereby, on and after the first of June, 
1830, declared null and void." 

Sections 7 and 9 of the statute related to the jurisdic- 
tion set up by Georgia over the individual Indians of 
the Cherokee and Creek nations, and to the amenability 
of the Indians of those nations to laws passed by the 
Georgia legislature. Though separated in the original 
act by section 8 just quoted, the relationship of sections 7 
and 9 is such that they require to be read together. The 
text of the two sections ran : 

"Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That after the first of June, 
1830, all Indians then and at that time residing in said territory, and 
within any one of the counties as aforesaid, shall be liable and sub- 
ject to such laws and regulations as the legislature may hereafter 

"Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That no Indian, or descendant 
of Indian, residing within the Creek or Cherokee nations of Indians, 
shall be deemed a competent witness, or a party to any suit, in any 
court created by the constitution or laws of this state, to which a 
white man may be a party." 

This state law spoke the approaching downfall of the 
Indian nations of the South, and both the date of its pas- 
sage and part of its phraseology may have a significance 
which does not appear on the surface of the action. It 
was passed by Georgia's legislature on December 20, 
1828, after it was known that Andrew Jackson was to 
succeed Adams as Chief Executive of the country. 1 
Adams' attitude on the question of Indian rights under 
Federal law and treaties had been tested, and the law was 

1 Adams did not receive a vote in Georgia in 1828. 



so worded that only white people in the annexed terri- 
tories should be touched by it while Adams remained 
President. The application of the statute to the Chero- 
kees and Creeks as individuals, and its destruction of 
Cherokee government, were to occur after the next 
Federal administration should be in office. Jackson had 
for some time declared "that if the states chose to 

158. Metallic ticket of a passenger stage line in New York City. Revealing a 
vehicle similar to some of those portrayed in the preceding illustration, 
but here called an "omnibus." Date, about 1830-1835. Brass; actual 

extend their laws over them [the Indians] it would not 
be in the power of the Federal Government to pre- 
vent it." 1 

By the year 1828 the problem arising from the Indian 
situation in the South was attracting the attention of the 
country, and the predicament into which the white race 
had fallen was recognized. Government exerted its ut- 
most legitimate effort to induce a migration of the four 
great red nations and the cession of their countries, but 
without avail. The natives refused either to sell or to go, 
stood on their treaty rights and demanded protection 
from invasion in order that they might develop in peace. 
President Adams' action in behalf of the Creeks prevented 
any further overt movement by a white state during the 
remainder of his term of office, but in the last year of his 

1 His own language in defining his position. Contained in a message to the Senate 
under date of February 22, 1831, in answer to the Senate's request for an explanation 
of his acts and policy toward the Indians. The alteration in Jackson's opinion must, 
however, have taken place since 1820, for in that year, as a Plenipotentiary of 
the United States, he had guaranteed the inviolability of the Choctaw possessions until 
the members of the nation became United States citizens. 



administration it was seen that a crisis could not be far 
distant. One of Adams' efforts to secure the removal 
of the Cherokees consisted in negotiating a treaty 1 with 
them, non-compulsory in character as far as immediate 
general migration was concerned, but which, it was 

159. Metallic ticket of the Telegraph Line of passenger stages in New York 
City. Showing a further development of the former stages toward the 
omnibus type. All known examples are punched. Probably the driver 
carried his stock of tickets strung on a wire, to prevent loss. Brass; actual 
size. Date, about 1840-1845. 

hoped, would offer guarantees for the future that might 
attract the bulk of the nation from the eastward. Never 
before had the United States used similar language in 
dealing with a native tribe. The tone of patronage and 
protestations of philanthropy that had so long distin- 
guished Indian treaties did not appear. Conditions were 
serious at last. The pledges of the treaty are here given : 

"Whereas it being the anxious desire of the Government of the 
United States to secure to the Cherokee nation of Indians ... a 
permanent 2 home, and which shall, under the most solemn guarantees 
of the United States, be, and remain, theirs forever a home that 
shall never, in all future time, be embarrassed by having extended 
around it the lines, or placed over it the jurisdiction of a Territory or 
State, nor be pressed upon by the extension, in any way, of any of the 
limits of any existing Territory or State; . . . the parties hereto 
do hereby conclude the following articles, viz. : 

"Article 2. The United States agree to possess the Cherokees, 
and to guarantee it to them forever, and that guarantee is hereby sol- 
emnly pledged, of seven millions of acres of land, to be bounded as 

J Dated May 6, 1828. 

c "Permanent" is emphasized in official government texts. 


O M. ', 

o n i; 
D rt ^ 

3 = 

-! O- y 


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(jq ^j n 

CTQ 3 
OQ ~ oo 

3 T3 3 


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follows. ... In addition to the seven millions of acres thus 
provided for, and bounded, the United States further guarantee to the 
Cherokee nation a perpetual outlet, West, and a free and unmolested 
use of all the country lying West of the Western boundary of the 
above described limits, and as far west as the sovereignty of the United 
States, and their right of soil extend." 

Those Cherokees who had removed to Arkansas in 
1817 and 1819 thereupon gave up the Arkansas lands se- 
cured to them at that time and accepted the pledges and 
territory above recited, 1 but there was then no general 
exodus of the tribe from Georgia. 

Near the close of his administration President Adams 
gave his views on the race conflict in his last annual mes- 
sage, 2 and in the following terms : 

"At the establishment of the Federal government under the pres- 
ent Constitution of the United States the principle was adopted of con- 
sidering them as foreign and independent powers and also as proprietors 
of lands. They were, moreover, considered as savages, whom it was 
our policy and our duty to use our influence in converting to Chris- 
tianity and in bringing within the pale of civilization. 

"As independent powers, we negotiated with them by treaties; as 
proprietors, we purchased of them all the lands which we could prevail 
upon them to sell. . . . The ultimate design was to incorporate 
in our own institutions that portion of them which could be converted 
to the state of civilization. In the practice of European states, before 
our Revolution, they had been considered as children to be governed; 
as tenants at discretion, to be dispossessed as occasion might require; 
as hunters to be indemnified by trifling concessions for removal from 
the grounds from which their game was extirpated. 

"In changing the system it would seem as if a full contemplation of 
the consequences of the change had not been taken. We have been 
far more successful in the acquisition of their lands than in imparting 
to them the principles or inspiring them with the spirit of civilization. 
But in appropriating to ourselves their hunting grounds we have brought 
upon ourselves the obligation of providing them with subsistence; and 
when we have had the rare good fortune of teaching them the arts of 
civilization and the doctrines of Christianity we have unexpectedly 

1 The inviolable region then given to the Cherokees, which was never to have 
extended around it the lines of any territory or state, lies south of Kansas, not far 
from the present geographical center of the United States. 

2 December 2, 1828. 



found them forming in the midst of ourselves communities claiming 
to be independent of ours and rivals of sovereignty x within the terri- 
tories of the members of our Union. This state of things requires that 
a remedy 2 should be provided a remedy which, while it shall do 
justice to those unfortunate children of nature, may secure to the mem- 
bers of our confederation their rights of sovereignty and of soil. ..." 

Three or four elements of President Adams' opinion 
require attention. One relates to his Executive declara- 
tion the last one in history to the effect that Indian 
nations were, in the eyes of the United States, "foreign 
and independent powers." With the expiration of Adams' 
term they had held that rank for forty years. Another 
phase of the retiring President's view has to do with the 
surprise voiced by him, and which suddenly swept over 
the white people when they at last realized that some of 
the red nations possessed qualities of manhood and civic 
pride which, under conditions even in a small degree 
favorable, made it possible for them to walk with their 
Caucasian fellows toward higher conditions of life 
in the material sense. The mass of the newly arrived 
Americans had seemingly underrated the basic character 
of the red men, perhaps because they found it so easy to 
deceive them in matters which hung on the principle of 
honesty. They had hard work to comprehend a people 
who meant what they said; a people who before the 
white men came had apparently heard truth so long that 
they could not avoid the habit of believing, and who still 
tried to believe even when they knew they shouldn't. So 
the misconception got an early start and thereafter re- 
mained. Much of the civilizing process to which the 
natives had been subjected for nearly two centuries was 

1 A contradiction of the previous part of the message, wherein the President had 
already stated that the red people had long been officially recognized as foreign and 
independent powers. 

- The remedy suggested by Adams was a colonization plan in the West, drawn up 
Dy the War Department and submitted with the message. 



that which tended to drag them down 1 and make savages 
out of them. Civilizing a man does not necessarily make 
him morally better. It may make him worse. 

Finally the red nations of the South got a chance, 
after the era of warfare ended, personally to select from 
the plane of human society called civilized life those ele- 
ments of it which they desired, and to keep at arm's length 
for a time those other features of it which the white race 
had so lavishly bestowed on many natives. The result was 
immediate, and no doubt unexpected by the mass of the 
Caucasians. A feeling somewhat akin to indignation 
came over them. They acted as if they had bsen grossly 
deceived. They were angry at their own government, 
and blamed it for such a lamentable miscarriage of mani- 
fest destiny. Unfortunate children of nature, they felt, 
ought not experiment with patriotism and legislatures, 
and should either accept the particular variety of civili- 
zation offered to them by self-confessed benefactors or go 
without its blessing altogether. 

President Adams said: "We have been far more suc- 
cessful in the acquisition of their lands than in imparting 
to them the principles or inspiring them with the spirit 
of civilization." There had apparently been no general 
desire by the white population to inspire the natives with 
the spirit of civilization in any fine significance of that 
expression, nor an unselfish and honest effort of the gov- 
ernment toward the same end. The Cherokees and a few 
other red nations did believe until about 1825 that the 
republic's official interest in their welfare was unselfish, 
and they were grateful for it. But for us of these later 
days the sight of two consecutive Presidents trying for 

1 Reference is here made to the influence of the whites en masse; not to the splend d 
and helpful work of numerous individual white missionaries. The natives often asked 
such missionaries why they did not devote their effort to their own white brothers, whc 
appeared to need it so much in matters of every-day living and mutual association. 


161. The Concord Coach. A stage of Beltzhoover and Company's Phoenix 
Line, running between Washington a;;d Baltimore about 1830. Probably 
the largest and most pretentious American stage-coach print. Engraved 
by the artist Swett, after his own drawing. 

a period of years to find a remedy for native civilization 
and its logical and beneficial results, casts a doubt on 
the sincerity of contrary governmental protestations. 
Congressional endorsement of Indian progress, and white 
legislative action designed to supply the southern native 
nations with materials of husbandry, ceased after unmis- 
takable symptoms of their advancement became visible. 

In giving concrete application to President Adams' 
remarks on the ratio existing between land acquired from 
Indians and civilization bestowed upon them, it will be 
found that the situation in the South was the contrary 
of his statement; nor had the United States brought upon 
itself any obligation to provide the southern nations with 
subsistence. They, instead, were exporting their surplus 



crops to white communities. Again, their claim of in- 
dependence and sovereignty to which the President refers 
as an unexpected phenomenon was but the inevitable 
corollary of the recognition accorded to them by the 
United States from the foundation of constitutional gov- 
ernment. It could scarcely have been expected that their 
love of country would steadily dwindle, as they became 
more secure and prosperous in its possession, until finally 
they would be ready to abandon it. And every advancing 
step in their progress could not but be marked by an in- 
crease in the governmental machinery necessary to con- 
duct the affairs of a more busy and complex society. 

A sincere desire by one people, for any sort of civiliza- 
tion on the part of another people, must take thought of 
those elemental and essential features of civilization here 
mentioned, and expect them duly to appear. Indeed, a 
failure to anticipate them by those capable of 
anticipation is in some measure a suggestion that any 
advocacy of human advancement which fails to consider 
them is insincere. President Monroe had mentioned the 
lack of foresight used in dealing with the Indians, and 
now Adams in commenting on the policy adopted to- 
ward them in 1789 was to say: "It would seem as if 
a full contemplation of the consequences of the change 
had not been taken." 

One other matter mentioned by Adams in his last 
message commands attention before the recital of his- 
torical events is resumed. It is a subject that at all times 
bore a more or less intimate relation to the misunderstand- 
ing between the races. President Adams mentioned that 
the red men had been looked on as savages, and that it 
had been considered both the duty and the policy of the 
whites to convert them to Christianity. 



Now it so happened that the most deplorable tragedy 
enacted in the relations between light-skinned and dark- 
skinned peoples was due to the unfortunate and mistaken 
policy of Spain in her treatment of American Indians. 
A part of the persecutions to which the natives were sub- 
jected by early Spaniards took place in the near-by part 
of North America now occupied by Mexico, and their 
extent and long continuance caused a vague knowledge of 
them to spread slowly through a large part of the red 
population to the northward. Even after those cruelties 
abated the memory of them still persisted. Spain was a 
Christian nation and the native population, in some degree 
at least, came to link deception, avarice, injustice and op- 
pression with Christianity as one of the phases or outcrop- 
pings of that religion. So when another light-skinned 
horde of invaders came, proclaimed Christianity as its 
religion and urged that belief upon the natives in place of 
their own, any endeavor to secure its general adoption by 
them was handicapped. The red men at once discovered, 
it is true, that there were many fine characters among the 
multiplying strangers; but certain traits, methods and 
practises which were exposed to view by the English 
speaking people as time went on often led the Indians to 
believe that though the Caucasian religion was from 
their standpoint a much milder and less dangerous kind 
of Christianity than that of which tradition told them, it 
was nevertheless not one which appealed strongly to them 
if men could believe in it and at the same time do various 
things which the white men did. 

The sole standard of the natives for the measurement 
of human belief and action was their knowledge of them- 
selves. Among the most advanced of them there was a 
considerable uniformity of basic ethical principles and a 



similar uniformity in the manifestations of those funda- 
mental beliefs through deeds. This was not so among the 
white people, but the red men, applying their own stand- 
ards of measure, long thought it was so, and therefore they 
attributed to white men generally a willingness to commit 

162. A flat-topped coach, probably on the road from Philadelphia to Baltimore, 
about 1832-1835. Engraved by the artist Tudor Horton. 

the wrong acts which they saw individual white people 
employ. Thus the natives in a measure misunderstood 
those who had come among them. 

The mass of English speaking people, on the other 
hand, based their misconception of Indian character 
and capacity on different, broader and characteristic 
grounds. They simply took it for granted that no 
primitive people and especially one using bows and 
arrows could be their own equals in any respect either 
of deed, thought or belief, and that consequently any 
ethical or moral convictions which the Indians might by 
chance possess could not be worthy of holding. 

This attitude of the whites was no doubt one of the 
gravest of their errors in dealing with the natives. It 



prevented a possible meeting of the two races on a com- 
mon plane of human sympathy and understanding that 
might perhaps have solved many of the difficulties of 
the situation without the unhappy events which did 
attend their solution. It was due to the mental arrogance 
of the Caucasians and to mistaken belief that human 
superiority, either among individuals or peoples, is 
chiefly demonstrated if not invariably proved by 
material possessions and physical power. The red men 
did not number more than a few hundred thousand 
souls, and the practical sense and clear, direct reasoning 
characteristic of their mental processes speedily showed 
them the advantage of harmonious relations and mutual 
good will. Had they been consistently met in the 
same spirit it is doubtful if the white Americans would 
in the end have lost anything they now possess, while both 
they themselves and the Indians would assuredly have 
preserved much that was lost. 

As far as the ethical beliefs and resultant practises 
of the more advanced natives in their natural state were 
concerned they did, in fact, compare rather favorably with 
the strangers. Only a small number of competent white 
men gave serious study to those things until comparatively 
recent times, or had opportunity to do so, but the testimony 
they left is often valuable and enlightening. Three short 
examples of it are here given: 1 

"I fearlessly assert to the world, and I defy contradiction, that the 
North American Indian is everywhere in his native state a highly moral 
and religious being . . . 

"I never saw any other people who spend so much of their lives in 
humbling themselves before and worshipping the Great Spirit as these 
tribes do, nor any whom I would not as soon suspect of insincerity and 

1 The narratives of others who carefully studied the Indians while they were yet 
unaffected by intimate contact with the whites, and of travellers among them, will reveal 
similar opinions and statements. 



"To each other I have found these people kind and honorable, and 
endowed with every feeling of parental, filial and conjugal affection that 
is met with in more enlightened communities." 1 

Another comment reads : 

" . . . Simply to call these people religious would convey but a 
faint idea of the deep hue of piety and devotion which pervades the 
whole of their conduct. Their honesty is immaculate ; and their purity 
of purpose and their observance of the rites of their religion are most 
uniform and remarkable. They are certainly more like a nation of 
saints than a horde of savages." 2 

The third of these observations is a more detailed 
statement, and deals with the Sioux as they were in 1818. 
The later history of the West gives these comments an 
added significance: 3 

"The pagans on the River St. Peter have no knowledge of the Bible, 
but they believe in a Great Spirit who lives forever in a palace above all 
clouds and that he made the sun, the moon, the stars, the earth, the 
lakes, rivers, trees, cattle, fishes, birds, and all things, and gave them to 
the Indians, who are like Him in shape, in benevolence, and in goodness ; 
and they believe that if they are moral and pious they will be sent for 
by the Great Spirit to live with him in his palace forever, and want no 
good thing. Also they believe in the following revelation and laws, sent 
to their ancestors by the Great Spirit. 

"1 Fear, love and praise the Great Spirit. 

"2 Be honest. 

"3 Love one another. 

"4 Be charitable. 

"5 Injure no man. 

"6 Be merciful to animals. 

"Thus live the Sioux Nations on the West side of the Mississippi to 
the Shining Mountains in perfect orthodoxy; no ways troubled about the 
opinions of fathers, councils, bishops, or churches, but contented with 
their short creed and divine rules. 

"Since residing here amongst many pagan tribes, w T ho are the most 
innocent, benevolent and moral part of the human race I ever saw, I 
have thought much. The moral perfection of these Indians and their 
creed have brought me to join with them in saying that their Articles 
are as good as the Articles of the multiformed churches of Christendom. 

1 "Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs and Condition of the North American 
Indians." Second Edition: Vol. II, p. 243. 

2 "The Adventures of Captain Bonneville": chapter 9. Refers to the Nez Perces. 

3 This letter has apparently escaped notice in any history of the western Indians or 
of the regions concerned. It was written at Prairie du Chien, in Alay of 1818, and printed 
in the "Indiana Centinel" of May 29, 1819. 



"These pagans have high prejudices against Christians, and believe 
the Spaniards are the only true Christians, whose cruelties, murders and 
robberies in South America of the Indians are well known by tradition 
among the Sioux tribes ; and when any white traders cheat and deceive a 
Sioux Pagan they are called Spaniards and Christians. . . . 

"If the Americans should ever attempt to introduce Christianity 
among the Sioux tribes, they must send honest traders, sensible and moral 
men, to deal with them, and make use of no severity. Mildness, benevo- 
lence and pious examples must be used among the Sioux Nations to in- 
duce them to adopt a life of civilization, and no use is to be made of the 
word Christian or Spaniard. 

"Military compulsion will not be useful in civilizing Indians. The 
Sioux know they are the real and rightful owners of the land by virtue 
of the Great Spirit, by long possession and occupancy, and no white peo- 
ple have a right to build forts, houses, and cultivate their lands, until 
they obtain from the Indians a right by purchase, and consent of the 
owners and present possessors. 

"This doctrine is not pleasing to military commanders, but must be 
attended to by our government, to prevent a war with the many tribes 
of Indians in this western territory. For two years past no crime has 
been committed among all these many Indian tribes." 

The native beliefs of the red peoples, together with 
a discord which they observed between the spoken re- 
ligion and numerous outward acts of the white men, were 
the causes contributing to the result mentioned by Presi- 
dent Adams. Nevertheless some natives did embrace 
the religious beliefs so constantly offered to them by ear- 
nest and self-sacrificing missionaries in all parts of the 
country. In the case of the Cherokees practically the 
whole people became converts, built churches, and printed 
their own hymn books and other similar volumes in their 
own written language, from type set up in the govern- 
ment printing establishment in their capital, New Echota. 




THE states of Mississippi and Alabama joined with 
Georgia in refusing longer to recognize the sov- 
ereignty of the southern Indian nations immediately after 
President Jackson assumed the duties of his office. 
A year previous to that time, while Adams was still in 
power, Mississippi had addressed a memorial to the 
Federal Congress 1 recognizing that the United States 
alone could treat with the Chickasaws and Choctaws 

J On February 17, 1828. 



within the modern bounds of the state. The document 
related existing conditions, announced that white men had 
gone into the native territories and said: "Your memo- 
rialists therefore respectfully suggest, that the removal 
of the aforesaid white persons by general government, 
and a judicious selection of commissioners to treat with 
these nations for their lands would obviate most of the 
difficulties which have heretofore opposed themselves to 
the acquirement of the Indian lands." The memorial 
also said: "A large portion of the most valuable terri- 
tory within the chartered limits of this state is occupied by 
savage tribes." 1 

The Mississippi statute designed to cancel the sov- 
ereignty of the two red nations whose existence the state 
had decided thereafter to ignore despite Federal treaties 
was enacted on February 4, 1829, 2 some five weeks after 
Georgia's similar action. It was entitled "An act to ex- 
tend legal process into that part of this state now occupied 
by the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes of Indians." Fol- 
lowing the law of 1829 Mississippi passed, in 1830, a 
statute reading: 

"An act to extend the laws of the State of Mississippi over the per- 
sons and property of the Indians resident within its limits. 

"Sec. 1. Be it enacted . . . That from and after the passage of 
this act, all the rights, privileges, immunities and franchises, held, 
claimed or enjoyed by those persons called Indians, and their descend- 
ants, and which are held by virtue of any form of policy, usage or cus- 
tom existing among said persons, not particularly recognized and estab- 
lished by the common law or statutes of the state of Mississippi, be, and 
the same are hereby wholly abolished, and taken away." 

Section two granted to the Indians "all the rights, privileges, immu- 
nities and franchises held and enjoyed by free white persons" of the said 

1 "Laws of the State of Mississippi passed at the Eleventh Session of the General 
Assembly, held in the Town of Jackson. Published by authority, Jackson, 1628": 
pp. 144-145. 

- Winter travellers and news then required about two or three weeks to proceed 
from interior Mississippi to Washington, and information regarding the step taken would 
therefore have reached the capital in the final fortnight of Adams' term. 



163. A Concord coach on a road in the Catskill Mountains. About 1840. 

state, "in as full and ample a manner as the same can be done by act of 
the General Assembly." 

"Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That all the laws, statutes and ordi- 
nances now in force in the said state of Mississippi, be and the same are 
hereby declared to have full force, power and operation over the persons 
and property of and within the territory now occupied by the said 
Indians. . . . 

"Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That any person or persons who 
shall assume on him or themselves, and exercise in any manner what- 
ever the office of chief, mingo, head-man or other post of power estab- 
lished by the tribal statutes, ordinances or customs of the said Indians, 
and not particularly recognized by the laws of this state, shall, on con- 
viction upon indictment, or presentment before a Court of competent 
jurisdiction, be fined in any sum not exceeding one thousand dollars, and 
be imprisoned any time not exceeding twelve months, at the discretion 
of the Court before whom conviction may be had." x 

Alabama's enactment in nullification of Federal 
treaties, passed in 1829, was called "An act to extend the 

1 "Laws of the State of Mississippi. Thirteenth Session. Jackson, 1830": pp. 5-6. 
The parts here omitted sections 4 and 6 do not alter the meaning of the remainder. 



jurisdiction of the State of Alabama over the Creek na- 
tion." It contained no severe sections of individual appli- 
cation. Two articles read: 

"Sec. 6. That nothing in this act shall be so construed as to impose 
taxation or military duty on the Indians, until the same shall be specially 
authorized by the state legislature." 

"Sec. 8. That the Secretary of State be required forthwith to fur- 
nish the agent of the Creek Indians and each of our Senators in Con- 
gress, with a copy of this act." 

President Jackson's first annual message 1 contained an 
elaborate review of the critical situation in the South and 
his attitude toward the problem presented by it. The 
Executive and governmental position, as expounded by 
him, was a reversal in almost every particular of the 
policy uniformly pursued by the nation from its constitu- 
tional organization up to that time. The Governor of 
Georgia had written to the Federal Secretary of War say- 
ing that if the President sustained the Indians, "the conse- 
quences are inevitable," and that if the Federal govern- 
ment opposed by force the occupation of the Cherokee 
region, then Georgia would be compelled to "war upon, 
and shed the blood of brothers and friends." Jackson 
said in his message: 

It has long been the policy of Government to introduce 
among them the arts of civilization, in the hope of gradually reclaiming 
them from a wandering life. This policy has, however, been coupled 
with another wholly incompatible with its success. Professing a desire 
to civilize and settle them, we have at the same time lost no opportunity 
to purchase their lands and thrust them farther into the wilderness. By 
this means they have not only been kept in a w r andering state, but been 
led to look upon us as unjust and indifferent to their fate. Thus, though 
lavish in its expenditures upon the subject, Government has constantly 
defeated its own policy, and the Indians in general, receding farther and 
farther to the west, have retained their savage habits. 2 A portion, how- 

1 December 8, 1829. 

2 They were abandoning their earlier habits and adopting pastoral lives east of the 
Mississippi to the utmost extent compatible with their surroundings and the influence 
of the white race. Instances wherein this was not true were due to the fear, on their 
part, that it would be useless and that they would again be evicted. 



ever, of the Southern tribes, having mingled much with the whites and 
made some progress in the arts of civilized life, 1 have lately attempted 
to erect an independent government within the limits of Georgia and 
Alabama. 2 These states, claiming to be the only sovereigns within their 
territories, extended their laws over the Indians, which induced the 
latter to call upon the United States for protection. 

"Under these circumstance; the question presented was whether the 
general Government had a right to sustain those people in their preten- 
sions. 3 The Constitution declares that 'no new state shall be formed or 
erected within the jurisdiction of any other state' without the consent of 
its legislature. 4 If the general Government is not permitted to tolerate 
the erection of a confederate state within the territory of one of the 
members of this Union against her consent, much less could it allow a 
foreign and independent government to establish itself there . . . 5 

"Actuated by this view of the subject, I informed the Indians inhab- 
iting parts of Georgia and Alabama that their attempt to establish an 
independent government 6 would not be countenanced by the Executive 
of the United States, and advised them to emigrate beyond the Missis- 
sippi or submit to the laws of those states. 7 

"Our conduct toward these people is deeply interesting to our na- 
tional character. Their present condition, contrasted with what they 
once were, makes a most powerful appeal to our sympathies. Our an- 
cestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast regions. By 
persuasion and force they have been made to retire from river to river 
and from mountain to mountain, until some of the tribes have become 
extinct and others have left but remnants to preserve for awhile their 
once terrible names. Surrounded by the whites with their arts of civil- 
ization, which by destroying the resources of the savage doom him to 
weakness and decay, the fate of the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the 

1 The progress made by the southern red nations was rather due to their refusal to 
mingle with the whites to the extent that occurred in the North. The southern tribes 
kept the bulk of the Caucasians at arm's length, thus becoming less contaminated by 
weakening vices and accepting only the useful teachings they could offer. 

2 The Cherokees' independent government here referred to, had been sixteen times 
recognized by the Federal Union and had been a matter of Congressional admission and 
Executive pronouncement for 40 years. 

3 Three years previously the general government, through its Executive, had declared 
its intention to sustain them, if necessary, by its military power. 

4 The United States had recognized the Cherokees as an independent state prior to 
the adoption of the Constitution, and had dealt with them by treaty in 1785. The recog- 
nition given to them was a continuing process whose origin antedated the Constitution. 

5 As already suggested, a foreign and independent government was already there 
in the case of the Cherokees, and it had held treaty relations with the Congress of 
the Confederacy before Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina had relations 
either with one another or with the Federal government under a Constitution; and before 
Alabama and Tennessee existed. 

The points here advanced in connection with Jackson's presentation of the matter 
are examples of the difficulties and confusion, mentioned in an earlier chapter, in which 
the United States found itself involved at a time when the need of unimpeded communi- 
cation between all parts of the country began to be keenly felt. 

6 Again the President phrases his address in a manner to make it appear that pro- 
fession of native independence was a new thing. 

7 Thereby again wrecking "the policy of Government" by once more "thrusting them 
farther into the wilderness." 


Of Stages from Worth-Canaan to 
1'orfc. 184 

164. Stage-coach way-bill, or manifest. The driver of a stage, or an agent 
at the starting point, kept a record of passengers on a printed form like 
this, and delivered the document to the owner of the line as an account of 
business transacted. 

Delaware is fast overtaking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek. 1 
That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the 
states does not admit of a doubt. Humanity and national honor demand 
that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity. It is too 
late to inquire whether it was just in the United States to include them 
and their territory within the bounds of new states, whose limits they 
could control. That step can not be retraced. 2 A state can not be dis- 
membered by Congress or restricted in the exercise of her constitutional 
power. 3 But the people of those states, and of every state, actuated by 
feelings of justice and a regard for our national honor, submit to you the 
interesting question whether something can not be done, consistently with 
the rights of the states, to preserve this much-injured race. 

"As a means of effecting this end I suggest for your consideration the 
propriety of setting apart an ample district west of the Mississippi. 
. . . There the benevolent may endeavor to teach them the arts of 
civilization, and, by promoting union and harmony among them, to raise 
up an interesting commonwealth destined to perpetuate the race and to 
attest the humanity and justice of this Government. 

"This emigration should be voluntary, for it would be as cruel as 
unjust to compel the aborigines to abandon the graves of their fathers 4 

1 The southern Indians were no longer savages. Their man-created resources had 
never been more valuable, or their prosperity and advancement more marked. 

2 The question then remained whether or not the United States would abide by the 

3 The affected southern states had disclaimed ownership or jurisdiction of Indian 
territory until a short time before. 

4 While it is true that the southern nations, like other Indians, did have sentimental 
affection for their familiar territories, they were nevertheless more concerned about 
giving up their homes, flocks, farms, mills and the other material improvements of a 



and seek a home in a distant land. But they should be distinctly in- 
formed that if they remain within the limits of the states they must be 
subject to their laws. In return for their obedience as individuals they 
will without doubt be protected in the enjoyment of those possessions 
which they have improved by their industry. 1 But it seems to me vis- 
ionary to suppose that in this state of things claims can be allowed on 
tracts of country on which they have neither dwelt nor made improve- 
ments, merely because they have seen them from the mountain or passed 
them in the chase. 2 Submitting to the laws of the states, and receiving, 
like other citizens, protection in their persons and property, they will ere 
long before merged in the mass of our population." 3 

Following the utterance of Jackson the position 
of the Indians of the South became more precarious 
than before. This was especially the case in Georgia, 
which state had assumed a somewhat more advanced atti- 
tude in hostility to them than had either Alabama or 
Mississippi. All four of the red nations were dismayed 
by the sudden alteration in the Republic's relation to 
them, but under the counsel of their leading men main- 
tained a quiet demeanor and busied themselves with prep- 
arations for a decorous pleading of their cause in what- 
ever quarter that method of defense appeared to offer best 
chance of success. Extreme care was taken by them to 
prevent clashes of violence, and, in consequence, very 
little disorder took place. White surveys of Indian lands 
were resumed in some quarters, but without resistance 
on the part of the natives. The United States for a time 
sent representatives to the South in an effort to prevail 

1 State laws already framed scarcely warranted the President's conclusion. In addi- 
tion to those already quoted, Georgia had organized a lottery with Creek lands as prizes. 

2 The southern nations made no claims to territory that were not defined by treaty 

tions and opinions with a belief in the sincerity or ignorance of their author. It is easier, 
rather, reluctantly to believe that Jackson was influenced by a knowledge that individual 
states were in revolt against Federal authority, with civil war a probability unless h,- 
yielded, and that he chose a way out of the complicated dilemma which apparently 
benefited his fellow white men. 


on the nations to sell their possessions and remove at once 
to the westward of the Mississippi. These agents re- 
ceived instructions to work on the principal men of the 
nations "in the line of their prejudices"; to "enlarge on 
the advantages of their condition in the West"; to "make 
offers to them of extreme reservations in fee simple, and 
other rewards, to obtain their acquiescence"; to "appeal 
to the Chiefs and other influential men, not together, but 
apart, at their own houses." 

Considerable quantities of gold were found in the 
streams of the Cherokee country at the same time, and that 
discovery further excited the white population of the 
South and made it still more insistent upon the departure 
of the Indians. Many southern gold-seekers flocked to 
the wealth-bearing rivers and creeks in violation of exist- 
ing treaty regulations. 1 The Cherokees sent a delegation 
to Washington to employ counsel and defend their in- 
terests, and John Ross, Chief Executive of the nation in 
1830, convened the native Congress in extraordinary 

Among the counsel before whom the matter of Indian 
independence was laid by the Cherokees for opinion was 
William Wirt, and his opinion read thus: 

"On every ground of argument on which I have been enabled, by my 
own reflections or the suggestions of others, to consider this question, I 
am of the opinion : 

"1. That the Cherokees are a sovereign nation: and that their hav- 
ing placed themselves under the protection of the United States does not 
at all impair their sovereignty and independence as a nation. 'One com- 
munity may be bound to another by a very unequal alliance, and still be 
a sovereign state. Though a weak state, in order to provide for its safety, 
should place itself under the protection of a more powerful one, yet ac- 
cording to Vatell (B 1. Ch. 1. par. 5 and 6) if it reserves to itself the 

1 "We learn by a gentleman just from Georgia that there are about 5000 hands now 
digging gold in the Cherokee nation . . . The Indians and their agent begin to 
dispute with the Georgians about the soil and threaten to drive them off. The Georgians 

Promise resistance and will not be easily removed." From the "Western Sun" (Vincennes, 
nd.) of May 1, 1830. 



165. Changing horses at a relay station. Fresh animals were attached to a 
stage at intervals of ten or fifteen miles. The new team stood awaiting 
the arrival of the coach, which was on its way again in one or two 

right of governing its own body it ought to be considered as an inde- 
pendent state.' 20 Johnson's Reports 711-712. Goodell vs. Jackson. 

"2. That the territory of the Cherokees is not within the jurisdiction 
of the state of Georgia, but within the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of 
the Cherokee nation. 

"3. That consequently, the state of Georgia has no right to extend 
her laws over that territory. 

"4. That the law of Georgia which has been placed before me is 
unconstitutional and Void ; ( 1 ) because it is repugnant to the treaties be- 
tween the United States and the Cherokee nation, (2) because it is 
repugnant to a law of the U. States passed in 1802, entitled 'an act to 
regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes and to preserve 
peace on the frontiers'; (3) because it is repugnant to the Constitution, 
inasmuch as it impairs the obligation of all the contracts arising under 
the treaties with the Cherokees: and affects moreover to regulate inter- 
course with an Indian tribe, a power which belongs exclusively to 

"Baltimore, June 20, 1830. WILLIAM WIRT." 

The policy of the Jackson administration was ex- 
plained and defended at this time by the Secretary of 
War, and extracts from his argument 1 are here given : 

1 Contained in a letter written by Secretary Eaton, on June 30, 1SSO, to Eli Baldwin, 
Corresponding Secretary of the Indian Board. 



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5 si - 
S. < a 

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3 2. 
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W S3 O 
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"His [President Jackson's] fears are that strife, difficulty and dan- 
gers may be consequent upon a disposition on their part to remain where 
they are ; 1 and these he has an anxious desire to avert, if within his 
power, through the exercise of any legitimate means." 

"It is high time they were aroused to a sense of their actual and true 

"Every American would desire to preserve, not to oppress them. 
They will never be driven from their homes." 

"It is not in his power to interfere with the exercise of the sovereign 
authority of a state, to prevent the extension of their laws within their 
own territorial limits." 2 

"Can he say to Georgia, you shall not consider an Indian a citizen 
and answerable to her civil and criminal jurisdiction?" 3 

" . . . So far, then, as the government of the United States is con- 
cerned there is no course under action, or in anticipation, calculated to 
induce to any other than a voluntary departure." * 

"If a desire to harass and ultimately to destroy was the governing 
motive, the argument to be adduced to them would be not to remove, but 
remain where they are." ! 

Congress in the meantime had passed a general law 6 
providing for concentrating the Indians in a region west 
of the Mississippi. The national legislature did not make 
their migration obligatory, but the bill was originally 
drawn without reference to existing treaties with the na- 
tives. This defect was altered by an amendment reading: 
"Provided, that nothing in this act contained shall be 
construed as authorizing or directing the violation of any 
existing treaty between the United States and any of the 
Indian tribes." The law also said: "It shall and may 
be lawful for the President solemnly to assure the tribe or 
nation with which the exchange is made, that the United 

1 This way of stating the question tended to place responsibility on the natives for 
strife which would have come through the determination of the white race to dispossess 

2 The Secretary of War here assumes that the sovereignty of the affected states did 
extend over the Indian possessions, w..ich was the princ.pal and newly arisen point of 

3 Such, nevertheless, had been the position of both Georgia and of the United States 
for the thirty-eight years between 1789 and 1827. 

4 Scarcely an accurate statement. As soon as Georgia had officially notified Jackson 
of her claim to sovereignty over the Cherokee possessions he withdrew from the Cherokee 
boundary those Federal troops which had been previously stationed there to prevent white 
intrusion on Indian land. Lack of protection was what made departure compulsory. 

5 This was correct on the presumption that the United States would no longer carry 
out its treaty obligations, but leave the natives under the laws of the states. 

6 Approved May 28, 1830. 



States will forever secure and guarantee to them and their 
heirs or successors, the country so exchanged with them." 1 
The passage of the law of 1830 by Congress was hailed 
with relief by the white population of the country, which 
had likewise looked with approval on the attitude of 
President Jackson.' For several years the Indian problem 
had been one of the matters chiefly engaging public atten- 
tion, and it was realized that some definite settlement of 
it must speedily be made. The new law, it was hoped, 
gave promise of that result. It had also been generally 
admitted that civil strife was in sight if the South was 
not permitted to have its way. An example of the usual 
newspaper comment of the day will best indicate popular 

"The great Indian question has been finally settled, leaving the red 
man the choice of remaining where he is, subject only to the laws of the 
state or territory in which he resides in common with the white inhabi- 
tants, or of removing to the west of the Mississippi under the bounty 
and protection of the general government, and receiving there in ex- 
change for the land he quits a much wider territory, healthier climate 
and more abundant and profitable hunting grounds. This measure was 
projected under the former administrations, and its execution made nec- 
essary at this time to avoid the more serious alternative of civil war. 
Men the best acquainted with the subject in all its bearings consider the 
act equally the dictate of humanity as of necessity." 3 

When the Cherokee legislature had assembled in ex- 
traordinary session 4 to consider the course of the nation 
in the crisis that had arisen, Ross, the Executive, delivered 
to it the subjoined message:* 


"To the Committee and Council, in General Council convened: 

"Friends and Fellow Citizens: The constituted authorities of 
Georgia having assumed .the power to exercise sovereign jurisdiction 
over a large portion of our Territory, and our Political Father, the Chief 
Magistrate of the United States, having declared that he possesses no 
power to oppose or interfere with Georgia in this matter, our relations 
with the U. States are placed in a strange dilemma. The grave aspect 
of this picture calls for your calm and serious reflections. I have there- 
fore deemed it my incumbent duty, on this extraordinary occasion, to 
convene the General Council of the Cherokee Nation. 

"The prayers of our memorials before the Congress of the United 
States have not been answered. But it is edifying to know that numer- 
ous similar petitions from various sections of the United States have 
been presented in favor of our cause by a large portion of the most re- 
spectable class of the community, and that our rights have been ably 
vindicated in Congress by some of the most distinguished statesmen. But 
notwithstanding the unanswerable arguments which have been advanced 
under these appeals, there seems to have been a settled determination, by 
a small majority in Congress, to make further efforts to bring about a 
removal of all the Indians east of the Mississippi beyond that great river, 
by making the question a general one, and acting upon the principles of 
policy and expediency. The respective claims and rights of each tribe 
under existing treaties with the United States were viewed only as a sec- 
ondary consideration. Consequently an act has been passed 'To provide 
for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states 
or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi.' The 
House of Representatives, however, by a very large majority, adopted 
this amendment, which has been accepted by the Senate, 'Provided that 
nothing in this act shall be construed as authorizing or directing the vio- 
lation of any existing treaty between the United States and any of the 
Indian tribes.' 

"It is much to be regretted that we find in the reports of some of the 
acting agents of the general government and other designing and inter- 
ested individuals that our true motives, disposition and condition have 
been grossly perverted and misrepresented. This may in part be attrib- 
uted to a want of correct and full information upon the points of which 
they pretend to speak, and in some respects to an inclination to deceive 
the public with the view of effecting certain political ends. 

"The fee simple title to the soil has been vainly asserted to be in the 
people of Georgia; and that state has arrogated to herself the power to 
exercise sovereign jurisdiction over us, and by legislative enactments has 
declared all our laws, ordinances, orders, regulations and usages to be 
null and void, and peremptorily demands submission to her prescriptive 
and oppressive laws under the most degrading circumstances. She has 
pointed to her jails, penitentiary and gallows for practicing obedience to 



our own laws, and independent of all our treaties with the United 
States and the acts of Congress which have been passed for the protec- 
tion of our individual and national rights, the Chief Magistrate of the 
Union has warned us against any hope of interference on his part with 
Georgia in the exercise of this power; yet he says that such power as 
the laws give him, for our protection shall be executed for our benefit, and 
this will not fail to be exercised in keeping out intruders ; beyond this he 
cannot go. An officer commanding a detachment of U. States' troops, 

Passengers sre. rfijur^U'tl tn t^nntaitH wulk, OTIC Cenlpartirnlnrly objects. 
167. A frequent experience. But the Gent always got out sooner or later. 

who has been ordered into the nation, as it is said, for the purpose of 
removing intruders, has communicated to the Cherokees at the gold 
mines the following notice: 

" 'An arrangement has been entered into by which there will be 
mutual assistance between the U. States' troops and the civil authority 
of Georgia in all civil processes, the jurisdiction of Georgia having been 
extended over the chartered limits, and all the natives are hereby ad- 
vised to return to their homes 1 and submit to the proclamation of the 
state authority.' 

(Signed) E. TRAINER, Lieut. Com'g. 

' 'P. S. They cannot be supported any longer in anything incon- 
sistent with the laws of the state.' 

"Thus you will see that the rights and liberties of the Cherokee 
people are most grievously assailed. 

"Our delegation 2 were authorized, if it should become necessary, to 

1 Many of the Indians were digging gold at the mines discovered in their territory. 

2 The national delegation sent to Washington. 



consult and employ counsel to defend our cause before the Supreme 
Court of the United States, in which tribunal, as the conservatory of the 
Constitution, treaties and laws of the Union, \ve can yet hope for justice, 
and to which we should fearlessly and firmly appeal. I would, there- 
fore, recommend the expediency of passing a law authorizing some per- 
son to assert the rights of the Cherokee nation in all the courts of law 
and equity in the United States; also to address the President of the 
United States frankly, openly and respectfully on the subject of our 
unhappy situation, and request his paternal interference in all points as 
far as the treaties and laws of the United States acknowledge and secure 
to us our rights; until the controversy at issue with Georgia be decided 
by the Supreme Court of the United States. 

"I would further submit for your consideration the necessity of 
adopting some suitable and proper regulations for the observance of our 
citizens in working the gold mines of the nation and other valuable min- 
erals, such as the public interest and peace and good order of society 
may seem to require. 

"Confiding in the superintending care of a kind providence we 
should not despair, even should we for a season be plunged into the cells 
of Georgia's prisons. Means for our deliverance may yet be found. Let 
us not forget the circumstance related in Holy Writ, of the safe passage 
of the children of Israel through the crystal walls of the Red Sea and 
the fate of their wicked pursuers ; let our faith in the unsearchable mys- 
teries of an Omnipotent and all-wise Being be unshaken ; for in the ap- 
pearance of impossibilities there is still hope. 

"NEW ECHOTA, C. N., July 11, 1830. JOHN Ross." 

The official messages, protests and other papers of the 
Indians 1 at this time were occasionally characterized in 
Caucasian state documents as "tricks of vulgar cunning" 
or "insults from the polluted lips of outcasts and vaga- 
bonds." But such instances were fortunately rare. Their 
strength and sincerity made it impossible to deal lightly 
with them, however great might be the opposition to the 
arguments and claims they advanced. 

Meanwhile the Choctaw National Council had also 
met 2 to take action due to Mississippi's claim of jurisdic- 
tion over the nation and Jackson's endorsement of Missis- 

1 Those of the Cherokees were printed in their newspaper, often in the English 
language. Some of the Cherokee state papers are also contained in the second edition of 
Armroyd's "Connected View of the Whole Internal Navigation of the United States. 
Philadelphia, 1830." 

2 On March 15, 1830. 



168. A stage-coach struck by a railway train and left on the roadside. Un- 
signed water-color sketch, perhaps made by an unhurt traveller, while sit- 
ting on a stump, as a memento of his journey. Date, about 1845. 

sippi's position. The proceedings of the Choctaws have 
been preserved in a letter published in a number of news- 
papers at the time. 1 It reads: 

"The National Council met on Monday the 15th day of March past, 
to determine the future course in this great crisis of their national ex- 

"On the evening of the first day of the Council the Captains re- 
elected Greenwood Leflore Chief of the Western District without a dis- 
senting voice. He was then carried in triumph through the Captains 
of the other districts and a large assembly of Warriors, his officers sing- 
ing a hymn in their native language ; they then prostrated themselves 
before the Eternal, when their Chief-elect closed the solemn scene by an 
affecting prayer in behalf of his nation. 

1 Among them the Natchez (Miss.) "Galaxy" and Vincennes (Ind.) "Western Sun." 
The text as here given is from the "Western Sun" of May 8, 1830. 



"On the forenoon of the second day of the Council (the 16th) the 
Chiefs of the other two districts came forward with their Captains and 
Warriors, resigned their several offices, and unanimously elected Green- 
wood Leflore the Chief of the whole nation. Then followed a pleasant 
season of rejoicings, and the exercises of the forenoon closed by their 
Chief-elect in solemn prayer in which the whole assembly united as with 
the heart of one man. 

"In the afternoon the National Council was organized, and the im- 
portant object of its call introduced by the Chief. 

"The Chief presented a concise view of the difficulties of their situa- 
tion, and the alternatives which were before them, and the necessity of 
immediate choice. The address of the Chief was followed by one from 
an aged warrior who had fought under General Jackson, and another 
from a warrior still older who fought under General Wayne. 1 The dis- 
cussion continued to a late hour, when the vote being taken was found 
in favor of emigration. 

"On the 17th articles of a treaty were prepared, 2 and on that night 
signed by the Chief, the two late Chiefs, the Captains, and two or three 
hundred principal warriors. . . . 

"The Chief directed all his Captains to execute faithfully the laws 
of the nation, not in opposition to Mississippi, but with belief that Mis- 
sissippi would not interfere when she discovered the Choctaws were 
endeavoring to get out of her way. 

"The Chief expressed a determination not to emigrate with a poor, 
penniless and ruined people. 

"Throughout the whole proceeding the spirit of brotherly kindness 
and fervent piety were evinced, and the full faith that the Great Spirit 
would be with them in their removal and bless them in their new home." 

The Choctaws numbered not far from 20,000 souls, 
and then owned nearly one-third of Mississippi and some 
one thousand four hundred square miles of territory in 
Alabama. They asked about one million dollars for their 
eastern possessions, in addition to unimproved lands in 
the West. 

When Jackson submitted the Choctaw proposals to 
the Senate, 3 he said: 

"It will be seen that the pecuniary stipulations are large; and in 
bringing this subject to the consideration of the Senate I may be allowed 

1 Some of the southern Indians fought with the United States under Wayne against 
the northern red confederation in the struggle that broke the Indian power of the North- 
west Territory. 

2 Xot the treaty itself, but the Choctaw terms for a treaty. 

3 In a special message on May 6, 1830. 



to remark that the amount of money which may be secured to be paid 
should, in my judgment, be viewed as of minor importance. . . . The 
great desideratum is the removal of the Indians and the settlement of 
the perplexing question involved in their present location a question in 
which several of the states of this Union have the deepest interest, and 
which, if left undecided much longer, may eventuate in serious injury 
to the Indians." * 

A treaty with the Choctaws was concluded later in the 
same year 2 by whose terms the nation ceded to the United 


169. Stages arriving and departing from a typical city tavern of the best 
sort. The large inns of the tcwns had begun to call themselves hotels. 

States all their country east of the Mississippi. The 
United States, on its part, reaffirmed the nationality of the 
Choctaws which it had recently denied, acknowledged 
their civilized state and re-created, in the West, the same 
native conditions that had until then existed in the East. 

1 Jackson's fear or expectation of white violence is indicated. 

2 September 27, 18SO. As sent to the Senate by the President it contained a state- 
ment saying he could not protect the Choctaws from Mississippi laws. This was stricken 
out by the Senate, possibly because of Adams' recent successful protection of the Creeks 
from Georgia laws. 



The principal paragraphs by which this state of affairs 
was brought about were: 

"Article IV. The Government and people of the United States are 
hereby obliged to secure to the Choctaw Nation of Red People the juris- 
diction and government of all the persons and property that may be 
within their limits west, so that no territory or state shall ever have a 
right to pass laws for the government of the Choctaw Nation of Red 
People and their descendants ; and that no part of the land granted to 
them shall ever be embraced in any Territory or State ; but the United 
States shall forever secure such Choctaw Nation from, and against, all 
laws except such as from time to time may be enacted in their own 
National Councils, not inconsistent with the Constitution, Treaties and 
laws of the United States. . . 

"Article V. ... No war shall be undertaken or prosecuted by 
said Choctaw Nation but by declaration made in full Council, and to 
be approved by the United States unless it be in self defense against an 
open rebellion or against an enemy marching into their country, in 
which case they shall defend until the United States are advised thereof." 1 

"Article XXII. The Chiefs of the Choctaws have suggested that 
their people are in a state of rapid advancement in education and refine- 
ment, and have expressed a solicitude that they might have the privilege 
of a Delegate on the floor of the House of Representatives extended to 
them. The Commissioners do not feel that they can under a treaty 
stipulation accede to the request, but at their desire present it in the 
Treaty, that Congress may consider of, and decide the application." 

The condition of Choctaw society at this time may be 
understood from further treaty provisos in which they 
insisted on three churches in their new country; the erec- 
tion of a national Council House; public schoolhouses 
for their children; $50,000 for school teachers' salaries; 
blacksmiths; a millwright; one thousand carding ma- 
chines; the same number of spinning wheels; four hun- 
dred looms; a thousand plows; quantities of other agricul- 
tural implements; three tons of iron and six hundred 
pounds of steel annually for sixteen years; and the educa- 

1 Treaty clauses like these do much to explain the later action of many of the 
transplanted Indians and tribes native to the West when the whites began their march 
across the plains toward the Pacific. The whites sometimes comported themselves as enemies 
or invaders during the western migrations, and the Indians believed, in view of such 
treaties, that they were defending themselves and their territories. 



1 *v'^U V - '^ 








leave Cumberland every Evening 
Cars at that place, for I'ittshurt 


Louisville, St. Louis and New Or3 
bnrg or Wheeling in forty-four hours. P 
this route will he out one nijjhtonly. Let 
twice daily, Winter and Summer. For Si 
Tickets, or entire Coaches, ipply al the (n 
and St'io-f- Oilici- "' 15 S . ' -"-'"' ; 

Road Office i : ;:^ \ Lh md v irket-Stn 


N. B, 


T. B 







<-i* f *r<-v 

170. A route to the Middle West in 1852. Advertisement showing the coop- 
eration of stage-coaches and railways. The Baltimore and Ohio road had 
been opened to Cumberland, and by taking a coach at that town a traveller 
from the East might reach Pittsburgh in 44 hours. Thence, by stage, he 
could continue to Cincinnati in about three days more, or to St. Louis in 
about seven days. 


tion of forty selected Choctaw youths each year in Cau- 
casian institutions. 1 

All efforts designed to persuade the Chickasaws into 
migration having failed, President Jackson journeyed in 
person to meet them and discuss the question. That nation 
had for some years suffered much annoyance from white 
intrusion and cheating, and being desirous of escape from 
those troubles had expressed a willingness, under certain 
stated conditions, to give up its possessions in Mississippi 
and Alabama. The terms under which it would consent 
to retire westward had been named in an address issued 
in 1827, 2 and the chief provisions therein contained were 

". . . As you have pointed us out a country on the north of the 
State of Missouri, . . . and speak well of it, we agree, first and foremost, 
to go and look at it, and any other country that we may choose. When 
twelve of our people three from each district have examined it, 
assisted by a scientific doctor to see to our health, and by three good 
white men to be selected by ourselves, and three of your men of science 
from Washington or elsewhere we say, when we have examined it ; 
if we like it, if its soil is good and well wooded, if water is plenty and 
good, we will agree to exchange, acre for acre: provided you on your 
part will mark out the country and divide it into counties, and leave 
a place in the center for a seat of government, and then drive everybody 
off of it, and guaranty it to us for ever ; and, as soon as may be, divide it 
for us into farms; . . . and provided also, that in addition you 
examine our houses, and mills, and fences, and our work-shops here ; 
also our orchards, and build and put up and plant as good there, at 
such places within the territory as we may choose ; also, provided you 
count our stocks here, and put an equal number, and of each kind, 
within their respective owners' limits there; also, provided you establish 
schools in all the counties sufficient for the education of our children 

1 In the annual Executive message to the Cherokee National Council in 1828 it was 
stated that to each Cherokee citizen consenting to remove west of the Mississippi the 
United States had offered "a bounty consisting of a rifle gun, a blanket, a steel trap, a 
brass kettle and five pounds of tobacco." In commenting on this proposition the msssage 
said: "Such are the temptations offered to induce us to leave our friends, our relatives, 
our houses, our cultivated farms, our country, and everything endeared to us by the 
progress of civilization. " The offer was described as a "burlesque." It was made about 
three years after the Cherokee civilization was icported to the Secretary of War by Com- 
missioner McKenney. 

2 On October 9. The Chickasaw statement was incorporated by Armroyd in his "Con- 
nected View of the \Yhole Internal Navigation of the United States. Second Edition. 
Phila., 1830": pp. 516-8, from which the extracts here given are quoted. 



Between Zaneaville, (Ohio,) & Maysville; (Kentucky.) 

The Bainbridge and Cincinnati, Lancaster and Co- 
lumbus Pilot line of four horse Post Coaches, leaves 
Zanesvilie every morning at 8 o'clock, running through 
Lancaster, Chillicothe and Bainbridge to Maysville, 
(Ken.) connecting at Bainbridge with his line to Cincin- 
nati, through to Maysville in 36 hoars, or to Cincinnati 
in 48 hours. 

$CJ* For seats in Zanesvilie, apply at the office o 
Moore fy> Co>s General Stage Office, National House, 

|C7* The subscriber informs t|ie public, that he has the 
road stocked with the best horses, 'coaches and drivers, 
the country atords | and there shall be nothing wanting 
on his part, to add to the comfort and convenience of ail 
who may please to patronize him,' 


Zanesvitle, Ohio. 

.'. :.!' .- ':'. i ?",>: '. ; ::.'.'"' ""'^'Hf : - " '*. '!'.,'' . '" "i. . < ''- ". . :'..'./ /,'..''' ft '' - n"^fi 

171. Stages were running through Ohio for twenty-five years before railroads 
crossed the state, and primitive stage wagons had appeared on the same 
roads as early as 3808. The line advertised by Tallmadge, in 1837, ran its 
vehicles over the road originally called Zane's Trace. According to the 
schedule here given the traveller was carried about two-thirds of the dis- 
tance across Ohio in two days. One of the principal overland routes to 
Cincinnati and Louisville before the davs of the locomotive. 


and to teach our girls how to spin and manage household affairs ; and 
provided, also, you send a sufficient force there to ensure our protection, 
and organize our people into companies like your militia; . . . and 
provided that you establish a government over us in all respects like 
one of your territories, Michigan, for example, and give the right of 
suffrage to our people as they shall be prepared, by education, to vote 
and act ; and allow us after the territory is organized a delegate like 
your territories enjoy, in Congress: . . . give us the privileges of 
men . . . and we will treat for exchange upon the above basis. 

"Should our offer not be accepted, then we are done. We hope 
to be let alone where we are, and that your people will be made to 
treat us like men and Christians, and not like dogs. We tell you, 
now, we want to make our children men and women, and to raise them 
as high as yours in privileges . . . 

"Understand nothing is done unless the country we go to look at 
suits, and not then unless all we require is agreed to on your part. . ." 

At the time the Chickasaws made the statement of 
their wishes and future hopes they were again on the 
up-grade with regard to numbers, having increased in 
population to the extent of about four hundred souls 
during the previous five or six years. 1 They lived in eight 
hundred houses of an average cost of a hundred and fifty 
dollars each, though some of their dwellings were worth 
from a thousand to two thousand dollars. Most of the 
native farm properties had barns, corn-cribs and other 
out-buildings. The nation also possessed ten mills, about 
fifty mechanical workshops of various sorts and a few 
orchards. Their live stock averaged two horses, two cows, 
five hogs and a flock of chickens to each householder. 
The total value of their stock, in that era of cheap prices, 
was about eighty-four thousand dollars. The value of the 
fences they had built around their farms was fifty thou- 
sand dollars. 2 

They maintained taverns and ferries along the roads 

1 As reported to Secretary of War Barbour by Indian Agent McKenney in his com- 
munication of October 10, 1827. 

- This summary of Chickasaw affairs in 1827 is condensed from McKenney's reports. 
For further information dealing with the same nation's condition in 1830 the year of 
Jackson's visit to them see "Report of John L. Allen, United States Sub-Agent among 
the Chickasaws. February 7, 1830." 



granted by them for the privilege of white travel through 
their territories, and, like the Cherokees and Choctaws, 
exported a part of their agricultural produce and domes- 
tic manufactures to neighboring white states. 

President Jackson went in person to see these men, and 
spoke thus to them: 1 

"Friends and Brothers: Your great father is rejoiced once more 
to meet, and to have it in his power to assure you of his continued 
friendship and good-will . . . 

"By a communication from your elder brethren and neighbors, the 
Choctaws, during the last winter, your great father learned that in 
consequence of the laws of Mississippi being extended over them, they 
were in great alarm; and of their own free will, and without any 
application from him, they asked to leave their country and retire across 
the Mississippi river . . . 

"By an act of Congress it was placed in his power to extend justice 
to the Indians . . . and to give them a grant for lands which should 
endure 'as long as the grass grows or water runs.' A determination 
was taken immediately to advise his red children of the means which 
were thus placed at his disposal to render them happy and preserve 
them as a nation. It was for this that he asked his Chickasaw and 
other friends to meet him here. 2 You have come, and your great father 
rejoices to tell you through his Commissioners the truth, and point you 
to a course which cannot fail to make you a happy and prosperous 
people. Hear and deliberate well on what he shall say, and under 
the exercise of your own reason and matured judgment, determine what 
may appear to you best to be done for the benefit of yourselves and your 

Brothers: You have long dwelt upon the soil you occupy, and in 
early times before the white man kindled his fires too near to yours, and 
by settling around, narrowed down the limits of your chase, you were, 
though uninstructed, yet a happy people. Now your white brothers are 
around you. States have been erected within your ancient limits, 3 which 
claim a right to govern and control your people as they do their own 
citizens, and to make them answerable to their civil and criminal codes. 

1 At Franklin, Tennessee, where the Delegates of the nation met him on August 23, 
1830. The speech is not contained in biographies of Jackson, in Cushman's "History of 
the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians," or in other works on the southern tribes. 
The text as here given is that contained in the "Western Sun" of September 25, 1830, 
by which it was reprinted from the "Nashville Republican." 

2 The Choctaws refused to attend the meeting because of differences over the question 
of emigrating. 

s In addressing the white Congress, a few months before, he had spoken of new 
Indian states whose erection had been attempted in Caucasian commonwealths. 



Your great father has not the power to prevent this state of things, 1 
and he now asks if you are prepared and ready to submit yourselves to 
the laws of Mississippi, and make a surrender of your ancient laws and 
customs, and peaceably and quietly live under those of the white man? 

"Brothers, listen The laws to which you must be subjected are not 
oppressive, for they are those to which your white brothers conform and 
are happy. Under them you will not be permitted to seek private re- 
venge, but in all cases where wrong may be done you are through them 
to seek redress. No taxes upon yourselves, except such as may be im- 
posed upon a white brother, will be assessed against you. The courts 
will be open for the redress of wrongs; and bad men will be made an- 
swerable for whatever crimes or misdemeanors may be committed by 
any of your people, or our own. 

"Brothers, listen To these law r s, where you are, you must submit 
there is no preventive no other alternative. Your great father cannot, 
nor can Congress, prevent it. The states alone can. Do you believe 
that you can live under those laws? That you can surrender all your 
ancient habits, and the forms by which you have been so long con- 
trolled ? If so, your great father has nothing to say or advise. He has 
only to express a hope that you may find happiness in the determination 
you shall make, whatever it may be. His earnest desire is, that you may 
be perpetuated and preserved as a nation ; and this he believes can only 
be done and secured by your consent to remove to a country beyond the 
Mississippi, which for the happiness of our red friends was laid out by the 
government a long time since, and to which it was expected ere this they 
would have gone. Where you are, it is not possible you could ever live 
contented and happy. Besides the laws of Mississippi which must oper- 
ate upon you, and which your great father cannot prevent, white men 
continually intruding are with difficulty kept off your lands, and diffi- 
culties continue to increase around you. 

"Brothers The law of Congress usually called the 'Intercourse 
Act' has been resorted to to afford relief, but in many instances has 
failed of success. Our white population has so extended around in 
every direction that difficulties and troubles are to be expected. Cannot 
this state of things be prevented? Your firm determination can only 
do it. 

"Brothers, listen There is no unkindness in the offers made to you. 
No intention or wish is had to force you from your lands, but rather to 
intimate to you what is for your own interest. The attachment you 
feel for the soil which covers the bones of your ancestors is well known. 
Our forefathers had the same feelings when a long time ago, to obtain 

1 Since the previous May the President and his administration had been negotiating 
the Choctaw treaty above quoted (and which was signed thirty-five days after this speech), 
wherein the United States guaranteed to protect the Choctaws in future against the state 
of things complained of by the southern nations and here described to the Chickasaws as 
being beyond the power of government to prevent. 



happiness, they left their lands beyond the great waters and sought a 
new and quiet home in distant and unexplored regions. If they had not 
done so, where would have been their children and the prosperity they 
enjoy? The old world would scarcely have afforded support for a peo- 
ple who, by the change their fathers made, have become prosperous and 
happy. In future time so will it be with your children. Old men! 
Arouse to energy and lead your children to a land of promise and of 
peace before the Great Spirit shall call you to die. Young chiefs! For- 
get the prejudices you feel for the soil of your birth, and go to a land 
where you can preserve your people and nation. Peace invites you there 
annoyance will be left behind within your limits no state or terri- 
torial authority will be permitted. 1 Intruders, traders, and above all, 
ardent spirits so destructive to health and morals will be kept from 
among you, only as the laws and ordinances of your nation 2 may sanc- 
tion their admission. And that the weak may not be assailed by their 
stronger and more powerful neighbors, care shall be taken and stipula- 
tions made that the United States, by arms if necessary, will preserve 
and maintain peace amongst the tribes, and guard them from the as- 
saults of enemies of every kind, whether white or red. 3 

"Brothers, listen These things are for your serious consideration, 
and it behooves you well to think of them. The present is the time you 
are asked to do so. Reject the opportunity which is now offered to 
obtain comfortable homes, and the time may soon pass away, when such 
advantages as are now within your reach may not again be presented. 
If from the course you now pursue this shall be the case, then call not 
upon your great father hereafter to relieve you of your troubles, but 
make up your minds conclusively to remain upon the lands you now 
occupy, and be subject to the laws of the state where you now reside to 
the same extent that her own citizens are. In a few years becoming 
amalgamated with the whites, your national character will be lost, and 
then like other tribes who have gone before you, you must disappear 
and be forgotten. 

"Brothers- If you are disposed to remove, say so, and state the terms 
you may consider just and equitable. Your great father is ready and 
has instructed his commissioners to admit such as shall be considered 
liberal, to the extent that he can calculate the Senate of the United 

1 Seemingly a contraction of his introductory statement that conflict between Indian 
independence and state authority could not be avoided. If it could not be prevented in 
the East, could it later be escaped in the West, as promised, where white settlements were 
already appearing beyond the Mississippi? In the East the states of Alabama and Mis- 
sisippi had been erected to embrace part of the pre-existent Chickasaw sovereignty, and a 
similar process might not unreasonably be expected to occur in future beyond the great 

2 The nationality and right of self-government of the Chickasaws seems to be taken 
for granted. 

3 Existing treaties and laws recently used with success by J. Q. Adams already pro- 
vided for the military protection of the red nations as here discussed by the President. 
Jackson had withdrawn Federal military protection from the southern red nations. In 
the case of the Cherokees this action had been taken at t'-e request of the Governor of 
Georgia after that state had asserted jurisdiction over the Cherokee territories. 



States will sanction. Terms of any other character it would be useless 
for you to insist upon, as without their consent and approval no arrange- 
ment to be made could prove effectual. Should you determine to re- 
main where you are, candidly say so, and let us be done with the sub- 
ject, no more to be talked of again. But if disposed to consult your true 
interests and to remove, then present the terms on which you are will- 
ing to do so to my friends, the Secretary of War and General John 
Coffee, who are authorized to confer with you, and who in the arrange- 
ments to be made will act candidly, fairly and liberally toward you." 



GENERAL JACKSON'S picture of future freedom 
wrought its effect, and four days later the Chickasaw 
nation decided to give up its country in exchange for ths 
promised liberty. Fear of civil war was considerably 
reduced, and the unification of white territory east of the 
Mississippi was apparently in sight. Jackson's relief at 
the success of his plans was shown in his annual message 
at the close of the year. 1 In that utterance he returned to 
the former Caucasian attitude of self-laudation, and again 
affirmed the philanthropy, benevolence and generosity of 

1 December 6, 1830. 



the government. He also said that peril of civil conflict 
had existed as a consequence of conditions in the South, 
and drew attention to the consolidation of the national 
domain resulting from the success of the government's 
bloodless conquest. His argument in behalf of the Ad- 
ministration's action was put in the following terms: 

"It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent 
policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly thirty years, in 
relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is 
approaching to a happy consummation. Two important tribes have ac- 
cepted the provision made for their removal at the last session of Con- 
gress, and it is believed that their example will induce the remaining 
tribes also to seek the same obvious advantages. 

"The consequences of a speedy removal will be important to the 
United States, to individual States, and to the Indians themselves. The 
pecuniary advantages which it promises to the Government are the least 
of its recommendations. It puts an end to all possible danger of collision 
between the authorities of the General and State Governments on account 
of the Indians. It will place a dense and civilized population in large 
tracts of country now occupied by a few savage hunters. By opening the 
whole territory between Tennessee on the north and Louisiana on the 
south to the settlement of the whites it will incalculably strengthen the 
southwestern frontier. . . It will relieve the whole State of Mississippi 
and the western part of Alabama of Indian occupancy, and enable those 
States to advance rapidly in population, wealth and power. It will 
separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; 
free them from the power of the States; enable them to pursue happiness 
in their own way and under their own rude institutions ; will retard the 
progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause 
them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through 
the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become 
an interesting, civilized and Christian community. . . 

"Toward the aborigines of the country none can indulge a more 
friendly feeling than myself, or would go further in attempting to reclaim 
them from their wandering habits. . . . * 

"With a full understanding of the subject, the Choctaw and Chicka- 
saw tribes have with great unanimity determined to avail themselves of 
the liberal offers presented by the act of Congress, and have agreed to 
remove beyond the Mississippi river. . . In negotiating these treaties 
they were made to understand their true condition, and they have pre- 
ferred maintaining their independence in the western forests to sub- 

1 In view of his recent effort to uproot the settled and prosperous Chickasaws, the 
declaration is little less than extraordinary. 



The subscriber lias prepared himself with a first rate 



At his Ferrj opposite Market street, Vincennes, im- 
mediately on the road to St. Louis, where, bj his 
strict attention and care, he flatters hiilself all who 
maj wish to cross the Wabash will be accommodat- 
ed to their satisfaction. 

October lith* 1838. 

172. Broadside issued by a ferry-boat owner on the mail stage road from 
Louisville to St. Louis, during the early years of periodic overland travel in 
the Mississippi valley. A line of stage wagons between the two cities 
named, and running through Vincenne, had been established in 1821. The 
stage-coach trip on this first periodic line of the interior required five days. 

mitting to the laws of the States in which they now reside. 1 These 
treaties, being probably the last which will ever be made with them, are 
characterized by a great liberality on the part of the Government. If it be 
their real interest to maintain a separate existence, they will there be at 
liberty to do so without the inconvenience and vexations to which they 
would unavoidably have been subject in Alabama and Mississippi. 

"Humanity has often wept over the fate of the aborigines of this 
country, and Philanthropy has been long busily employed in devising 
means to avert it, but its progress has never for a moment been 
arrested. . . But true philanthropy reconciles the mind to these vicis- 

1 The embarrassment of the government was such that a consistent statement was 
seemingly impossible. 


situdes as it does to the extinction of one generation to make room for 
another. . . Nor is there anything in this which, upon a comprehensive 
view of the general interests of the human race, is to be regretted. 
Philanthropy could not wish to see this continent restored to the condi- 
tion in which it was found by our forefathers. What good man would 
prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand 
savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns and pros- 
perous farms, embellished with all the improvements which art can 
devise or industry execute, occupied by more than 12,000,000 happy 
people, and filled with all the blessings of liberty, civilization and re- 

"The present policy of the Government is but a continuation of the 
same progressive change by a milder process. . . The waves of popu- 
lation and civilization are rolling to the westward, and we now pro- 
pose to acquire the countries occupied by the red men of the South and 
West by a fair exchange. . . Doubtless it will be painful to leave the 
graves of their fathers; but what do they more than our ancestors did 
or than our children are now doing? 1 To better their condition in an 
unknown land our forefathers left all that was dear in earthly ob- 
jects. . . Does Humanity weep at these painful separations from 
everything, animate and inanimate, with which the young heart has be- 
come entwined ? Far from it. . . Can it be cruel in this Government 
when, by events which it cannot control, the Indian is made discontented 
in his ancient home? . 

"And is it supposed that the wandering savage has a stronger attach- 
ment to his home than the settled, civilized Christian? Is it more 
afflicting to him to leave the graves of his fathers than it is to our brothers 
and children. Rightly considered, the policy of the General Government 
toward the red man is not only liberal, but generous. He is unwilling to 
submit to the laws of the States and mingle with their population. To 
save him from this alternative, or perhaps utter annihilation, the General 
Government kindly offers him a new home, and proposes to pay the 
whole expense of his removal and settlement. . 

"No act of the General Government has ever been deemed necessary 
to give the State jurisdiction over the person of the Indians. That they 
possess by virtue of their sovereign power within their own limits in as 
full a manner before as after the purchase of the Indians lands; nor can 
this Government add to or diminish it. 

"May we not hope, therefore, that all good citizens, and none more 
jealously than those who think the Indians oppressed by subjection to the 
laws of the States, will unite in attempting to open the eyes of those 
children of the forest to their true condition, and by a speedy removal to 
relieve them from all the evils, real or imaginary, present or prospective, 
with which they may be supposed to be threatened." 

1 One group of humanity mentioned was willingly moving toward a wider dominion; 
the other unwillingly moving toward a lesser. 



The use of such expressions as "wandering savages," 
"children of the forest" and "savage hunters," in describ- 
ing the Indians east of the Mississippi and especially 
the southern nations during the period just discussed, 
wa-s a habit of many whites in official position. Judg- 
ing from an examination of governmental contemporary 
evidence set down by those who had knowledge derived 
from personal observation, examples of which have been 
presented, those terms did not fit the peoples to whom 
they w r ere applied. Nor is it easy to believe that Presi- 
dents, Cabinet Ministers and other men in high place, 
with such evidence at their command, could have re- 
mained so uninformed of the condition and aspirations 
of the southern red nations as thus to characterize them 
with honest error. It seems more probable, in view of 
what was taking place, that the systematic use of such 
expressions was part of a method used to spread abroad 
a general misapprehension of the Indians in the minds 
of those who did not have personal knowledge of the 
facts, and so make it easier to overcome the natives by 
diplomacy without the necessity of combating any serious 
public sentiment opposed to the process in hand. The 
overwhelming preponderance of public opinion was then, 
as always before, against the natives, and it was obviously 
to the advantage of the administration that it should so 
continue. In his annual message just quoted, Jackson dis- 
cussed the relationship of popular opinion to his actions 
in these words: 

"I know of no tribunal to which a public man in this country, in a 
case of doubt or difficulty, can appeal with greater advantage or more 
propriety than the judgment of the people; and although I must neces- 
sarily in the discharge of my official duties be governed by the dictates 
of my own judgment, I have no desire to conceal my anxious wish to 
conform as far as I can to the views of those for whom I act." 





'^ : 


~ff~T" YIT 1 

Union Hall 



TEE subscriber respectfully in- || 
forms the travelling public, and the b- 
., ; citizens generally, that he has purcha- J 
sed, and now occupies, that eligible $ * 
long established tavern stand, on Main jj| 
street, where ladies ^r gentlemen who jj* 
favor him with a call, shall be accom- i> 
modated in comfortable village stjle. !j 

There is a FERRY attached | 
to the premises, which shall : "J 

be attended to in such a manner as to J: 

deserve public patronage. 


>* 1'iti <* 111 IIP i* \ S**) % !- 

Ol 81 1C 111 UL I , IO.-i/. 

173. A broadside address to travellers circulated by a tavern keeper on the 
Louisville-St. Louis stage road in 1825. 

These are laudable sentiments for an Executive pro- 
vided he does not mislead the people by distorting cir- 
cumstances at issue in accordance with his own desire 
and thus foster an erroneous popular judgment which will 
uphold him in his chosen course, and to which he can 



Travellers & Movers. f . 

The subscriber having purchased the 


crossing the Wabash from Market street, Vincennes, and ]| 
the farm opposite, on the state road leading to St. Louis, f| 
formerly owned by Mr. Oibson where 

Corn, Ilmi & Oats I 

*/ og7 [J. 

will be kept, and sold low for cash ? a lot will be prepar- f| 
ed for the accommodation of Drovers, Movers, tyc. new & 
and substantial BOJLTti will he soon completed, one for 
the conveyance of heavy teams, one for carriages y light f| 
waggons, and the best skill's. The ferry will be attend- P 
\ ed by experienced and trusty hands, and all damages that f> 
"" may result from the neglect or bad management of the | 
hands will be paid for upon demand, by the proprietor, p 
living at the Ferry landing, corner of Market <$* Water ^ 
streets, Vincennes, where he has, connected with Mr. B. " 
Olney,a general assortment of Groceries, Liquors, Oruggs, 
Patent Medicines, Salt, Tar, <|*c. 

Vincennes, August 13, 1835. 


174. Another broadside circulated by a. ferry owner on the same road, appeal- 
ing for the patronage of the travelling public. From the information (on- 
tained in the hand-bill it is apparent that a considerable traffic, of diversified 
character, was moving over the highway. 


then point as the mandate of those for whom he acts. Such 
a procedure was easier in those days than it now is, and 
was sometimes resorted to. Whether or not it was under- 
taken during the years under review, in connection with 
the grave crisis then attending the Indian question, is a 
matter of opinion and a debatable question. Certain it 
is, however, that Jackson's message of 1830 in so far 
as it dealt with native character, conditions and progress 
- was a collection of sophistries, misleading suggestions 
and erroneous declarations in contradiction of official in- 
formation gathered by the government during the period 
of ten years just preceding. 

The foundation of Jackson's attitude toward the 
Indian question lay in the assumption as voiced by 
him in the message of 1830 -- that no act of the general 
government was necessary to give a state jurisdiction over 
the persons and territories of the Indians; that individual 
states possessed such power even before the acquisition of 
native lands; and that the general government could 
neither add to nor increase such power. He had made 
public utterance of his opinion in that respect before his 
election to the Presidency, and when vested with Execu- 
tive duty he proceeded to act in accordance therewith, 
although he could scarcely have been unaware that his 
attitude was in conflict with both principle and practise 
as laid down and adopted by the executive, legislative and 
judicial departments of the government from its or- 

From two of those departments he had nothing to fear 
in carrying out his program. He himself was Chief 
Executive, and the Congress displayed general com- 
plaisance with the essential feature of his policy, which 
was to force Indian evacuation of the East through a 



denial of native independence. 1 The only visible snag 
on which his plan might founder was a possible attitude 
by the judiciary which would emphasize his con- 
stitutional duty to uphold native rights, in some specific 
case, against the newly advanced contention of the 
southern states and himself. Such a possibility had indeed 
been in sight for nearly a year, .for the Cherokees had 
entered on a course of action having for its ultimate pur- 
pose a test of their position before the United States 
Supreme Court. And unequivocal as were Jackson's 
declarations regarding state jurisdiction over the Indians, 
his personal journey to Tennessee in company with the 
Minister of War, in an effort to persuade the Chickasaws 
and Choctaws to a policy of emigration in advance of 
any legal pronouncement on native sovereignty lends 
some weight to an inference that he was not altogether 
easy in mind concerning the outcome of the impending 
judgment, and wished to commit as many red nations 
as possible to his policy before an unappealable verdict 
was handed down. 

But an unexpected event forced the President to re- 
veal his ultimate attitude even before the case of the 
Cherokees was decided. In June of 1830 Georgia had 
asserted that she possessed title to all Indian lands 
within her newly claimed jurisdiction, and soon after- 
ward she forbid the natives to mine the gold lately dis- 
covered in their territories. These acts were followed 
by another order to survey certain Indian lands. Some 
of the Indian improvements were seized, and arrange- 
ments were made to distribute Cherokee lands among 

1 This definition, however, does not precisely fit Jackson's attitude, which, in fact, 
is apparently impossible of exact definition. It has been seen that he refused to acknowl- 
edge native independence if the Indians remained in the East, while at the same time he 
acknowledged it and pledged its continuance in perpetuity if they removed to the West. 





"It sh'tuM b kept in mind, 
that the proper ohject of covtrn- 
mrnt n, to protect all person* 
ID their rehg>ou M well c.vil 

175. Many of the stages or stage wagons first operated in the interior bore 
resemblance to the vehicle here depicted. They constituted an inter- 
mediate form between the earlier stage wagon of the East and the Concord 
type that afterward replaced them. Title of the large broadside con- 
taining the Congressional committee reports which determined the Federal 
government's attitude toward Sunday travel. Issued in 1829. 

the whites by lottery. In the midst of the disorders 
brought about by these procedures a Cherokee named 
Tassel, while resisting the execution of Georgia law in 
Cherokee territory, killed a man. Tassel was taken into 
custody by Georgia, convicted of murder by a state court 1 
and sentenced to death. The Cherokee nation appeared 
before the Supreme Court of the United States in pro- 
test against these proceedings, and a writ of error issued 
from that tribunal commanding Georgia, in the person 
of its Governor, to appear and answer for having unlaw- 
fully arrested and condemned a Cherokee citizen. 

On receipt of this mandate Governor Gilmer of 
Georgia sent a message 2 to the legislature saying he had 
received a document "purporting to be signed by the 
Chief Justice of the United States," and declaring that 
"orders received from the Supreme Court for the purpose 
of staying, or in any manner interfering with the decisions 

1 The Superior Court of Hall county. 

2 December 22, 1830. 


ft zr .-.^O'-(---'-ii~ 

? c " Q ^ ^ cr^-g^ 


of the courts of the state, in the exercise of their con- 
stitutional jurisdiction, will be disregarded and any at- 
tempt to enforce such orders will be resisted with what- 
ever force the laws have placed at my command." 

The state legislature passed a resolution in which 
the Governor and all other officers of the state were en- 
joined "to disregard any and every mandate and process 
that has been or shall be served upon him or them, pur- 
porting to proceed from the Chief Justice or any Asso- 
ciate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States," 
and the Governor was "authorized and required, with all 
the force and means placed at his command by the Con- 
stitution and laws of this state, to resist and repel any and 
every invasion from whatever quarter upon the adminis- 
tration of the criminal laws of this State." 

Tassel was hanged, and the issue of nullification of 
supreme Federal authority by an individual state was 
thus unexpectedly confronted by Jackson. The President 
did nothing. 1 

Georgia was served by the Cherokee nation in De- 
cember of 1830 with notice of a motion for an injunction 
restraining the state from enforcing its recent laws within 
the native possessions. The motion came before the Su- 
preme Court on March 5, 1831, the plaintiff appearing 
under that section of the Constitution giving foreign and 
sovereign nations the right to make such an appeal. Chief 
Justice Marshall handed down the decision of the Court, 
and the essential substance of its majority finding is em- 
braced in the following extracts from his opinion: 2 

" . . So much of the argument as was intended to prove the charac- 
ter of the Cherokees as a State, as a distinct political society, separated 

1 It is not unlikely that Georgia's successful nullification of 1830 was to some extend 
responsible for South Carolina's attempted nullification of national law in the more trivial 
matter of customs duties a short time afterward. 

2 Texts of all the opinions, assenting and dissenting, in 5 Peters, 1. 





8 Miles 

* - 

To Taylor's - 

- 2 

Delotig's - 

.' .. ' 


Morehouse's - 

Dummetts', Fox R. 

* At 


McCalley's, L. W. 




.' 2 




Fitch's - 
Joshoa Piles' 








- 8 










Shoal Creek 





P 7 






10 ( 



-. 10 


. 10 j|t 

St. Louis 

. - 2 j} 

E. STOXJT PR. Vincennes. 

177. A stage-coach way-bill, or manifest, used by another line running coaches 

between Vincennes and St. Louis at the same period. Distances were still 

commonly reckoned in miles intervening between taverns. 


from others, capable of managing its own affairs and governing itself has, 
in the opinion of a majority of the judges been completely successful. 
They have been uniformly treated as a State, from the settlement of 
the country. . . . The acts of our Government plainly recognize 
the Cherokee nation as a State, and the courts are bound by those acts." 

Having established in law the contention of the 
Cherokees respecting their separate and self-governing 
character as a state, the opinion went on to say: 

". . . It may well be doubted whether those tribes which reside 
within the acknowledged boundaries of the United States can, with 
strict accuracy, be denominated foreign nations. They may, more cor- 
rectly, perhaps, be denominated domestic dependent nations." 

Thus the motion for an injunction and the merits of 
the case were not reached, on the declared grounds 
that the Cherokees were not a foreign nation ; that the 
Court had no jurisdiction; and that the plaintiff could 
not apply to it for relief. One state is foreign to another 
if it is wholly under a different governmental jurisdiction, 
without regard to the relative geographical positions of 
the two sovereignties concerned. The political distinc- 
tion embodied in the term "foreign" is in no sense related 
to or dependent upon geographical or territorial con- 
siderations. The decision was substantially equivalent to 
a pronouncement that an old, established and independent 
political state, if gradually surrounded by the territory of 
a newly created government, automatically loses its sover- 
eignty and foreign quality to the younger nation by virtue 
of that process. 

Justice Johnson, in assenting to the majority opinion 1 
that the Court had no jurisdiction to give the Cherokees 
relief, stated that existing conditions in the South 
amounted to war and that the native nation's only appeal 
was to the sword. He said : 

". . . Their present form of government . . . certainly must 
be classed among the most approved forms of civil government. 

1 Justices Thompson and Story dissented. 



"What does this series of allegations exhibit but a state of war, and 
the fact of invasion ? They allege themselves to be a sovereign independ- 
ent state, and set out that another sovereign state has, by its laws, its 
functionaries, and its armed force, invaded their State and put down 
their authority. This is war, in fact; though not being declared with the 
usual solemnities it may perhaps be called war in disguise. And the 
contest is distinctly a contest for empire . . . not an appeal to laws, but 
to force. A case in which a sovereign undertakes to assert his right upon 
his sovereign responsibility; to right himself, and not appeal to any arbiter 
but the sword for the justice of his cause. . . In the exercise of sovereign 
right the sovereign is sole arbiter of his own justice. The penalty of 
wrong is war and subjugation." 

Thus the Cherokees, having abandoned fighting for 
industry, appealed to the highest tribunal of their adver- 
saries and were met with the information that the whites 
were making warfare on them in a contest for empire, 
and that their remedy was to seek their rights in battle 
and subjugate Georgia by the sword. 

Neither of the two cases hitherto cited involved the 
lives, liberties or other rights of United States citizens 
in the dispute concerning the political status of the red 
nations. But an event soon occurred which did introduce 
those new elements into the controversy, with attendant 
results of importance. Georgia had passed an act 1 pro- 
hibiting white men from living among the Cherokees 
without permission from herself, and after the Supreme 
Court had denied its jurisdiction over the race quarrel, the 
commonwealth felt emboldened to adopt measures more 
extreme than those previously taken. Under the law men- 
tioned she arrested a number of white men residing in 
the Cherokee nation with its permission, but without li- 
censes from Georgia, and who had not taken oath to obey 
the laws of Georgia while they remained in native juris- 
diction. One of these men was Samuel Worcester, a 

1 December 22, 1830, during the nullification of Federal authority in the Tassel case. 



missionary and citizen of the state of Vermont. 1 
Worcester was tried under the law in question, found 
guilty, sentenced to the penitentiary for a term of four 
years at hard labor and there imprisoned. The Vermont 
man took his case to the Supreme Court, which cited 
Georgia to appear before it as in the Tassel matter, and 
Georgia again ignored the summons. Argument was 
heard in January of 1832, and the opinion of the Court, 
as handed down by Chief Justice Marshall reviewed the 
whole range of international relationship existing between 
the white and red nations. 2 The Treaty of Holstein in 
1791, said the Court, was one 

"Explicitly recognizing the national character of the Cherokees, and 
their right of self-government. . . All these acts [those of the United 
States from the commencement of constitutional government] manifestly 
consider the several Indian nations as distinct political communities, hav- 
ing territorial boundaries within which their authority is exclusive. . . 

"The Indian nations had always been considered as distinct, independ- 
ent, political communities, retaining their original natural rights. . . 
The very term, 'nation,' so generally applied to them, means 'a people dis- 
tinct from others'. . . The constitution . . admits their rank among 
those powers who are capable of making treaties. . . The words 'treaty' 
and 'nation' are words of our own language, selected in our diplomatic 
and legislative proceedings by ourselves, having each a definite and well- 
understood me'aning. We have applied them to Indians, as we have 
applied them to the other nations of the earth; they are applied to all 
in the same sense. 

". . . Georgia, herself, has furnished conclusive evidence that her 
former opinion on this subject concurred with those entertained by her 
sister states, and by the Government of the United States." The 
acts of her legislature, the opinion continued, "proved her acquiescence in 
the universal conviction that the Indian nations . . possessed rights 
with which no state could interfere," and "that their territory was sepa- 
rated from that of any state." . . Her new series of laws, manifesting 
her abandonment of these opinions, appears to have commenced in De- 
cember, 1828. . . 

"The Cherokee nation, then, is a distinct community, occupying its 
own territory, with boundaries accurately described, in which the laws of 

1 Others were Elizur Butler, James Trott, Samuel Mays, Surry Eaton, Austin Cope- 
land and Edward Losure. 

2 Judgment contained in 6 Peters, 515. 



The following specification of the fare of the principal Stage 
Routes, by which the traveller may reckon the cost of his 
tour, will not be superfluous. 


From Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, 300 $15 00 

Philadelphia Baltimore, 

Baltimore Wheeling, 

Pittsburgh Wheeling 

Wheeling Columbus, 

Columbus Cleaveland, 

Columbus Chillicothe, 

Chillicothe Cincinnati, 

Columbus Cincinnati, direct, 

Indianapolis Madison, 

Cincinnati Lexington, 

Lexington Louisville, 

Louisville St. Louis, via Vincennes, 

Louisville Nashville, 180 12 00 

Richmond Cincinnati, via Staunton, 
Lewisburg, Charleston on the Kanha- 
way and Guyandot, thence 155 miles 
by steamboat, 51$ 28 00 

Richmond to Knoxville, via Lynchburgh, 

Abington, Kings port, &c., 444 28 50 

Baltimore to Richmond, via Norfolk, by 

Knoxville to Nashville, via McMinville, 

Nashville Memphis, 

Nashville Florence, 

Huntsville Tus^aloosa, 

Florence Tuscaloosa, 

Tuscaloosa Montgomery, 

Tuscaloosa Mobile, by steamboat, 

Augusta Montgomery, 

Montgomery Mobile 

Mobile New Orleans, 

St. Augustine to New Orleans, 

Boston and New York to New Orleans, 
by packet, cabin passage, fare inclusive, 
from $40 to 50 00 

178. List showing the cost of various stage-coach trips in the East, South and 
Mississippi valley in 1848. From Warner's "Immigrant's Guide," pub- 
lished in the year named. The ticket for a journey from Louisville to St. 
Louis then cost $15.50. 


Georgia can have no force, and which the citizens of Georgia have no 
right to enter but with the assent of the Cherokees themselves. . 

"The act of the State of Georgia, under which the plaintiff in error 
was prosecuted is consequently void, and the judgment a nullity. . . 
The acts of Georgia are repugnant to the constitution, laws and treaties 
of the United States. . . ." 

This judgment constituted a reversal of the Court's 
opinion in the case brought directly by the Chero- 
kees themselves and placed them in the rank of foreign as 
well as independent nations. It stated that they had 
retained those original natural rights possessed by them 
before the United States territory had reached and encom- 
passed them, and that, instead of being so-called "domestic 
dependent nations," the term "nation" as given by the 
United States to an Indian state was applied to it as to the 
other nations of the earth, and in the same sense. The 
violated rights of a white man had brought forth that 
unequivocal assertion of native sovereignty without which 
the United States citizen could not have been restored to 

Worcester was not set free. A mandate issued 
from the Supreme Court ordering Georgia to liberate the 
prisoner, but it was not obeyed. Georgia maintained her 
attitude of nullification, the missionary was held in prison, 
and later released through the process of a state pardon. 

Jackson again did nothing. Various efforts were made 
to procure Worcester's release not only before, but during 
and after the Supreme Court's consideration of the case, 
and among these endeavors was that of the American 
Board of Missions. That body laid a statement of the 
matter before Jackson and asked his aid. In reply the 
President addressed the following letter to the Board: 1 

"Gentlemen: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 

1 Apparently not included in biographies of Jackson or other historical reviews of the 
events or times under discussion. Its text as here given is copied from "The St. Joseph 
Leacon" (South Bend, Indiana) of September 29, 1832. 



memorial, stating that certain missionaries in the State of Georgia have 
been imprisoned for alleged offenses against the State, and requesting 
my interference in furthering their release. 

"In reply I have to inform you that the power vested in me has been 
placed in my hands for the purpose of seeing the laws of the United 
States justly and impartially administered, and not for the purpose of 
abusing them, as I most assuredly should do w r ere I to interpose my 
authority in the case brought before me in your memorial. The State of 
Georgia is governed by its own laws; and if injustice has been, or is 
committed, there are competent tribunals at which redress can be ob- 
tained. I do not wish to comment upon the causes of the imprisonment 
of the missionaries alluded to in the memorial ; but I cannot refrain from 
observing that here, as in most other countries, they are, by their injudi- 
cious zeal (to give it no harsher name) too apt to make themselves 
obnoxious to those among whom they are located. 


During the same period wherein Georgia was 
declaring her nullification of national law with the 
purpose of ousting the Indians, South Carolina was 
threatening to take like action toward the Federal 
collection of tariff duties within her boundaries. Against 
South Carolina's attitude Jackson stood like adamant. 
In his dispute with that commonwealth he took the ground 
that nullification was inconceivable, and that as a matter 
of principle, in any form, was not to be tolerated. Among 
his utterances on the subject, made at the time, were the 

"... I fully concur with ycfU in your views of nullification. It 
leads directly to civil war and bloodshed and deserves the execration of 
every friend of our country. . . The Union must be preserved and its 
laws duly executed by proper means. . . We must act as the instru- 
ments of the law, and if force is opposed to us in that capacity, then we 
shall repel it. . . 2 

Another letter said: 

". . . In forty days I can have within the limits of So. Carolina 
fifty thousand men, and in forty days more another fifty thousand. . . 

1 Worcester and the other missionaries were located among the Cherokees at the 
desire of the nation. The President still clung to the assumption that they were located 
in Georgia. 

2 Manuscript letter from Jackson to Joel Poinsett of South Carolina, under date of 
December 2, 1832. Archives of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. 



The Union will be preserved. The safety of the republic, the supreme 
law, which will be promptly obeyed by me. . . . " 1 

Jackson's public expression relating to state nullifica- 
tion of Federal law was embodied in his "Proclamation." 2 
The document contained this passage: 

"I consider the power to annul the law of the United States, assumed 
by one state, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted 
expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, 
inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destruc- 
tive of the great object for which it was formed." 

A third private message to Poinsett 3 ran: 

"... I can, if need be which God forbear, march two hundred 
thousand men in forty days to quell any and every insurrection or rebel- 
lion that might arise to threaten our glorious confederacy and Union 
. . . Fear not, the Union will be preserved and treason and rebellion 
promptly put down, when and where it may show its monster head." 

The letters to Poinsett and the Board of Missions 
were contemporaneous with the nullification crisis as it 
existed in two states, dealt with the same fundamental 
principle, and were substantially simultaneous utter- 
ances. The basic question in the two cases defiance 
of Federal law by an individual state was identical. 
Jackson's attitude in each was diametrically opposed 
to the position he concurrently assumed in the 
other. Public opinion upheld him in both. One 
state was subdued in a tariff argument; the other was 
permitted to have its own way in the larger matters of 
property, liberty and life. It was seemingly, then, not 
the principle of nullification which brought forth popular 
condemnation and Executive pronouncements threatening 
force for its suppression, but the particular sort of nullifi- 
cation which proposed to divide the white nation against 
itself. That other and graver nullification of Federal 

1 Ibid. Dated December 9, 1832. 

2 Issued on December 16, a week after the second letter to Poinsett. 

3 Manuscript letter in the Pennsylvania Historical Society. Date, January 24, 1833. 



authority, which apparently tended to increase the future 
strength and unity of the white nation, was tolerated by 
the people and their official representatives. 

Even after the Supreme Court, by its judgment in the 
Worcester case, swept away the Executive contentions 
and made Jackson the only competent tribunal to which 
an appeal might be made for the enforcement of law, he 
remained a passive spectator of the proceedings against 
the natives in the South. 



THE action of the Supreme Court in the case of the 
Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia, whereby that body 
declared it had no jurisdiction in a native appeal against 
Caucasian invasion of Indian sovereignty, seemingly 
killed the last hope of the southern red states. They saw 
no help could be expected from the obstinate old warrior 
who had been elevated to power by the whites; they were 
shut off from the aid which might have been gained 
through legal means, and could no longer endure the 
methods employed to destroy their character as inde- 
pendent peoples in the East. Nothing was left for them 



but to fight or to abandon the upward struggle begun a 
generation before at the urging of the Government and 
Jefferson. 1 So they capitulated. Jackson vigorously con- 
tinued his efforts during the critical year of 1832, and 
before its end he had secured treaties under which the 
Chickasaws, Creeks and Seminoles ceded all their posses- 
sions east of the Mississippi in exchange tor lands west of 
that river and the customary pledges. 

Article XIV of the Creek treaty 2 said: 

"The Creek country west of the Mississippi shall be solemnly guar- 
anteed to the Creek Indians, nor shall any state or territory ever have 
a right to pass laws for the government of such Indians, but they shall 
be allowed to govern themselves, so far as may be compatible with the 
general jurisdiction which Congress may think proper to exercise over 
them." 3 

The preamble to the Chickasaw treaty 4 declared: 

"The Chickasaw nation find themselves oppressed in their present 
situation, being made subject to the laws of the states in which they 
reside. Being ignorant of the language and laws of the white man they 
cannot understand or obey them. Rather than submit to this great evil 
they prefer to seek a home in the West, where they may live and be 
governed by their own laws. 5 . . " 

Had the Choctaws, Creeks, Chickasaws and Cherokees 
unitedly withstood the pressure on them until after the 
decision in the Worcester case then the treaties with them 
would not have been written as they were, for it over- 
threw the new white claim that those Indian nations lived 
in United States territory and were subject to its laws. 
That contention, jointly maintained during the crisis 

1 Associate Justice McLean, who concurred with Chief Justice Marshall in the case 
of Worcester vs. Georgia, also said in his opinion: "Would it not be a singular argument 
to admit that so long as the Indians governed by the rifle and tomahawk their government 
may be tolerated; but that it must be suppressed so soon as it shall be administered upon 
the enlightened principles of reason and justice?" 

2 Dated March 24, 1832. 

3 The proviso concerning Congressional jurisdiction was a result of the Supreme 
Court's definition of Indian states as "domestic dependent nations" in the case of the 
Cherokees against Georgia. 

4 Dated October 20, 1832. 

5 A later treaty guaranteed that the Chickasaw possessions in the West should be 
kept "without the limits of any State or Territory." 



179. The canal era. A packet, or swift canal boat, used exclusively for pas- 
senger traffic. It maintained a steady speed of three or four miles an hour, 
both day and night. The regular, or "line," boats carried freight as well 
as passengers, and only moved at the rate of about two miles an hour. 
Done by the artist Alexander Robb. The succeeding twenty-six illustrations, 
to No. 205 inclusive, concern the canal period and life while travelling 
on a canal boat. 

by the Executive, the southern states and the Supreme 
Court, was the crucial consideration which induced the 
natives to cede their countries. Had they waited 
a little longer one of three situations must appar- 
ently have arisen. Either the red nations of the South 
would have been despoiled by organized force in defiance 
of law, or the white race would have engaged in civil 
war over the question, or else the Indian states would have 
been left to develop in peace, thus splitting the eastern 
half of the present white republic into two sections sepa- 
rated in part by foreign soil unless the Indians had after- 
ward consented to a political amalgamation on their own 
terms. Viewed in any light the years here considered 
possess a relationship to the later development of the 
country exceeded in importance by but few other periods 
of its history. 

The Cherokee nation was the only native common- 
wealth of the South 1 which had not committed itself to 
the sale of its territories and the westward emigration of 
its people when the decision in the Worcester case was 
announced. That decree encouraged them, for a time, 
to believe they might still maintain their position, but 

1 And the only important red state east of the Mississippi either North or South. 


A N 




The Canal Navigation in Pennfylvania. 



Abftra&s of the /itlt of the Lt^iflature fmce the Year 1790, and their Grants of 
Money for improving ROADS and NAVIGABLE WATERS throughout the Stat&$ 



* Here fiaoMh CAHALS, acrofs th' extended plain 
Stretch their long arms to join the diftant main. 
The Sons of Toil, with m?.ny a weary ftrokc, 
Scoor. the hard bofom of t!ic folid rock; 
Refiftlefs tlirougJi the ftiff, oppoiinj- c'ay. 
With fteady patience, work tiicir gradual way; 
Compel tlic Genius of th' unwilling Cooil, 
Through the brown horrors of ll;t aged wood; 
Oofs the lone wafte the; r urn tlu'y pour, 
And cheer the barren heuth, or fallen mt or. 
The travtUer, with ploufis'..? ^" ''' 
The white fail .gleaming tlrog!; the dofKy trees; 

And views the alter'd landfcape with furprize, 
Am! doubts the ifcagic ffenc^ which round him rife, 
New, like a Hock of fwans, above his head, 
Their woven wings the flying vtJlels fprcad; 
Now, meeting ftrcams, in artful, glide, 
While each, unming.ed, pours a i'cpsrate tide; 
Now, through the hidden veins of earth they flow, 
And vifit i'uij"'iUrous mines ;m<i caves below. 
^ The disfi-ilc f l re,i:ns obey tlie-guiding hand, 
And facial Plenty crowns the HAPPY I.AND !" 




180. Early literature relating to travel in America. First American printed 
book on the subject of canals. Although published in Philadelphia in 
1795, five years after Fitch had operated his steamboat as a public con- 
veyance on the Delaware River, the book contains no reference to the pos- 
sible use of steam in connection with transportation. 


the hope was short lived. An uninterrupted series of 
local harassments still pressed upon them, and in the 
face of these troubles a portion of the red farmers and 
artisans gradually lost some of their former spirit of 
resistance. The Federal white government, in addition, 
continued its pressure upon certain of the important na- 
tives in an effort to win their consent to a treaty. This 
endeavor was at last successful, and in 1835 1 about twenty 
officials of the nation signed a paper purporting to embody 
the consent of all the Cherokees, and which ceded to the 
United States the red nation's possessions east of the Mis- 
sissippi in exchange for some seven millions of acres in 
the West. Some of the guarantees made by the United 
States in the agreement were as follows: 

"Article V. The United States hereby covenant and agree that the 
lands ceded to the Cherokee nation in the foregoing article shall, in no 
future time without their consent, be included within the territorial 
limits or jurisdiction of any State or Territory. But they shall secure to 
the Cherokee nation the right by their national councils to make and carry 
into effect all such laws as they may deem necessary for the government 
and protection of the persons and property within their own country be- 
longing to their people or such persons as have connected themselves with 
them : provided always that they shall not be inconsistent with the Consti- 
tution of the United States and such acts of Congress as have been or may 
be passed regulating trade or intercourse with the Indians; and also, that 
they shall not be considered as extending to such citizens and army of 
the United States as may travel or reside in the Indian country by 
permission according to the laws and regulations established by the 
Government of the same." : 

"Article VII. The Cherokee nation having already made great 
progress in civilization and deeming it important that every proper and 
laudable inducement should be offered to their people to improve their 
condition as well as to guard and secure in the most effectual manner 
the rights guaranteed to them in this treaty, and with a view to illus- 
trate the liberal and enlarged policy of the Government of the United 
States toward the Indians in their removal beyond the territorial limits 
of the States, it is stipulated that they shall be entitled to a delegate 

1 December 29th. The treaty of New Echota. 

2 The last clause is ambiguous and obscure. The Cherokees understood that the 
"permission," "laws" and "reguktions" referred to were to be of their making, since their 
country was the last that had been previously mentioned in the clause. 



in the House of Representatives of the United States whenever Con- 
gress shall make provision for the same." 

In another article of the document the United States 
recognized the illegal despoilment of the natives during 
the previous seven years by agreeing to recompense them 
for "such improvements and ferries from which they have 
been dispossessed in a lawless manner or under any exist- 
ing laws of the state where the same may be situated." 

That this treatv sale of the native lands did not cor- 


rectly represent the attitude of the Cherokee population 
was indicated by the assassination of several native signers 
of the document who were denounced as traitors, and by a 
general refusal of the Indians to abide by its terms. 1 To 
such an extreme degree did a large proportion of the na- 
tion carry repudiation of the transaction that, though grad- 
ually ousted from their homes and farms by invading 
whites and brought to poverty, they refused food, clothing 
or other aid from the Federal government for fear they 
would be considered, by that act, as acknowledging 
the validity of the treaty. 2 From a condition of prosperity 
and comfort they were reduced to hunger, and lived on 
roots and the sap of trees. 3 Early in 1837 the nation met 
in council at their settlement of Red Clay and denounced 
the compact of New Echota. Other features of the as- 
semblage at Red Clay were religious services attended by 
several thousands of the Indians, and their united sing- 
ing of hymns translated into the Cherokee language. 4 By 
this time the patience of President Jackson never not- 
able for its enduring qualities had been exhausted, and 
finally realizing that he was dealing with an unusual 

1 Even after the two years within which the removal was to take place. 

2 One of its sections stated that the nation had been so beset that "their crops are 
insufficient to support their families, and great distress is likely to ensue," and provided 
for an advancement of Federal money to be used in the relief of suffering. 

3 "Thousands, I have been informed, had no other foods for weeks." General Wool's 
Report of 1837 to the War Department. 

4 "Early Indian Missions," by Walter N. Wyeth, p. 42. 



181. Building the first important artificial waterway. Scene during the digging 

of a deep cut on the Erie Canal in New York State. Published 

in 1825, just after the entire work was put in operation. 

people who were in earnest he turned with reluctance 
to his one remaining method of persuasion the bayonet. 
The United States possessed its signed copy of the compact 
of 1835 promising evacuation of their territories by the 
Cherokees, and they had to go. Treaties made by nations 
with one another must be kept. A Federal army was ac- 
cordingly sent into the Cherokee country in the winter of 
1838-1839 and General Scott, its commander, issued to 
the red nation the following proclamation in the spring of 
the last named year: 

"Cherokees: The President of the United States has sent me with 
a powerful army to cause you, in obedience to the treaty of 1835, to 
join that part of your people who are already established on the other 
side of the Mississippi. . . . The emigration must be commenced 
in haste, but I hope without disorder. I have no power, by granting 
a further delay, to correct the error that you have committed. The 
full moon of May is already on the wane, and before another shall 
have passed away every Cherokee man, woman and child in these States 



















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must be in motion to join their brethren in the West. . . . My 
troops already occupy many positions in the country that you are to 
abandon, and thousands are approaching from every quarter, to render 
resistance and escape alike hopeless. . . . Spare me, I beseech 
you, the horror of witnessing the destruction of the Cherokees. 
This is the address of a warrior to warriors. May its entreaties be 
kindly received, and may the God of both prosper the Americans and 
Cherokees, and preserve them long in peace and friendship with each 

The Cherokees offered no physical resistance. Dur- 
ing the last days of May the troops began the task of 
collecting them into camps preliminary to their exodus, 
and the process continued for two or three weeks. A 
highly colored description of the scenss and conditions 
attending this final downfall of Indian government east 
of the Mississippi was written by a white missionary 
present at the time. It says in part: 

"The Cherokees are nearly all prisoners. They have been dragged 
from their houses and encamped at the forts and military posts all over 
the Nation. In Georgia, especially, multitudes were allowed no time 
to take anything with them except the clothes they had on. Well- 
furnished houses were left a prey to plunderers, who, like hungry 
wolves, follow in the train of the captors. These wretches rifle the 
houses and strip the helpless, inoffending owners of all they have on 
earth. Females who have been habituated to comforts and compara- 
tive affluence are driven on foot before the bayonets of brutal men. 
Their feelings are mortified by vulgar and profane vociferations. It is 
a painful sight. The property of many has been taken and sold before 
their eyes for almost nothing the sellers and buyers, in many cases, 
being combined to cheat the poor Indians. . . . The poor captive, 
in a state of distressing agitation, his weeping wife almost frantic with 
terror, surrounded by a group of crying, terrified children, without a 
friend to speak a consoling word, is in a poor condition to make a good 
disposition of his property and is, in most cases, stripped of the whole 
at one blow. And this is not a description of extreme cases. . . ." l 

1 From an account written by Evan Jones, of the Baptist Mission to the Cherokees, 
and contained in Wyeth's "Early Indian Missions," (p. 43) previously mentioned. Pos- 
sibly Jones' obvious desire to put the actions of the soldiers in the most unfortunate light 
was to some extent due to the fact that he himself had been arrested and deported 
from Cherokee territory in 1836. Yet it is apparent that the migration of the south- 
ern nations djd result in heavy property losses to them, for the Cherokees and Creeks 
alone were able to prove such damaces as Jones described to the extent of about a m'l- 
lion dollars. In 1838 the United States agreed by treaty to pay to the Creeks $400,000 
for "property and improvements abandoned or lost" in their emigration. The Cherokees 
were allotted $600,000 for expenses and losses incidental to their removal westward. Jones, 
the missionary, together with a few other wh : te men, accompanied the nation on its over- 
land journey in an endeavor to keep its members in good cheer. 



The total number of Cherokees to be moved was some 
eighteen thousand. The government planned to have 
about half of them make the journey of seven hundred 
miles on foot. Against this project the nation protested 
and asked the privilege of conveyance by wagons, esti- 
mating the cost at $65,000 for each thousand persons so 
transported and offering to let the expense be charged 
against themselves. Regarding this request the Commis- 
sioner of Indian Affairs reported: "As their own funds 
pay it, and it was insisted on by their own confiden- 
tial agents, it was thought it could not be rejected." 
The officials of the nation also noted the omission of 
soap from the list of supplies to be furnished during 
the trip, and that article was also provided for the 

It was at first intended by the government, as set forth 
in General Scott's manifesto, to conduct the movement 
during the hot months of summer, but such an earnest 
objection to this procedure was made by the Indians that 
after three thousand of them had been started away dur- 
ing June the remainder were held in camp until Septem- 
ber. The road taken by the red emigrants was by way 
of Nashville, in Tennessee, and from three to five months 
was consumed on the pilgrimage by each of the fourteen 
detachments into which the whole body of natives was 
divided. From May 23d, when the enforced assemblage 
of the nation was begun by the troops until the last com- 
pany reached its new home in the West, a period of ten 
months elapsed. The number of Cherokees who died on 
the way was more than four thousand not far from 
twenty-two per cent, of those who started. After the terms 
of the treaty of 1835 had been fulfilled the Commissioner 



of Indian Affairs made a report on the movement in 
which he said: 

"The case of the Cherokees is a striking example of the liberality 
of the Government in all its branches. ... A retrospect of the 
last eight months in reference to this numerous and more than ordi- 
narily enlightened tribe cannot fail to be refreshing to well-constituted 

The Secretary of War said in his report: 

"The generous and enlightened policy evinced in the measures 
adopted by Congress toward that people during the last session was 
ably and judiciously carried into effect by the General appointed. . . . 
Humanity no less than good policy dictated this course toward these 
children of the forest," [which course was adopted | "in the hope of 
preserving the Indians and of maintaining the peace and tranquillity 
of the whites." 

The Commissioner of Indian Affairs further stated 

"If our acts have been generous, they have not been less wise and 

183. Invitation issued by New York City to its guests on the occasion of the 
formal opening of the Erie Canal. When the steamboat reached Sandy 
Hook, some water brought irom Lake Erie was poured overboard to 
symbolize the union of the Great Lakes and the Ocean. 



politic. A large mass of men have been conciliated; the hazard of an 
effusion of human blood has been put by; good feeling has been pre- 
served, and we have quietly and gently transported eighteen thousand 
friends to the west bank of the Mississippi." 1 

The conditions and events outlined in the last few 
chapters indicate in a general way the relations of the two 
races between 1789 and 1838. Such were the methods 
used throughout the country, both North and South, in 
clearing the region east of the Mississippi for white move- 
ment and dominion, and that constituted the foundation 
on which the white race erected the unparallelled system 
of highways, canals and railroads by whose means the 
nation was finally bound into one homogeneous social 
unit. The crisis to the Indian question was reached dur- 
ing General Jackson's administration and was met by him 
in the manner described. Yet the small segment of Jack- 
son's character and executive record here suggested can- 
not be taken as a picture of the whole man. He embodied, 
in extreme degree, nearly all the excellencies as well as 
many of the defects typical of the time in which he was 
such an overmastering figure. Superlative in vehemence, 
ignorance, obstinacy, contradiction and narrowness, he 
was also equally astonishing in chivalry, valor, power, 
perception and the courage of right purpose in many vital 
things. He was a product of the days that beheld him, 
and no understanding of his character in its entirety may 
be gathered without broad knowledge of the social 
crucible in which he was compounded. In discussing his 
relation to the Indian question his most ambitious early 
biographer said of him: 2 

"To this part of the policy of General Jackson praise little qualified 

1 By his expression "human blood" the Commissioner refers to the hazard of an 
effusion of white men's blood, due to the previous possibility of civil war over the Indian 
question. His error in the number of natives transported is due to using the number of 
Cherokees who started on the journey. 

2 Parton, in the "Life of Andrew Jackson": New York, 1860. Volume III, pp. 279-280. 



can be justly awarded. The irrevocable logic of events first decreed 
and then justified the removal of the Indians. Nor need we, at this 
late day, revive the sad details of a measure which, hard and cruel as 
it was then thought, is now universally felt to have been as kind as it 
was necessary." 

To-day we challenge the manner in which that opinion 
was set down. It is not the province of the student or his- 
torian to suppress those essential details whatever their 
character may be without which no appreciation of the 
relationships of past and present events can be obtained ; it 
is not his function to award praise or condemnation with- 
out presenting the principal features of the case on which 
the verdict is based. He must tell what has happened, 
and how it happened, and leave the final verdict in other 
hands than his. Then, if he choose, he may express his 
own opinions and accept the risk which such a course 

In considering those governmental promises which 
finally brought about a trans-Mississippi migration of the 
Indians without warfare our chief present speculation 
must be: Were such words set down in duplicity, or 
were they a genuine manifestation of the stupidity which 
their honesty presupposes. The mind shrinks from adopt- 
ing either theory, yet one or the other must seemingly be 
true. If the promises were honest pledges made in the 
light of what had taken place after similar negotiations 
for nearly two centuries, then the creation of a mental 
vacuity sufficient to produce them is, at least, a comforting- 
evidence of the resources of Omnipotence. 

Considered in all its aspects the subject is one that 
has not yet been treated with detail in written accounts of 
our formative period. 1 Chroniclers, in describing the era, 
have dwelt largely on the finer sentiments, valor, political 

1 In any one connected narrative. Nor is it so treated here. 



quarrels and worthy accomplishments of its principal fig- 
ures. So much attention has been paid to those phases of 
the time that the designs and deeds of the people as a mass, 
and related actions taken by public servants in accordance 
with popular desire have been skimped or omitted alto- 
gether. So commonly has this oversight occurred that it 
has sometimes seemed as though the particular phase of 
national development here discussed was looked upon 
somewhat as a skeleton-in-the-closet, and, if it were in 
truth such, that no good could come of throwing wide the 
door. By and by the bones would crumble and be for- 
gotten. Or, if the ends attained by popular and govern- 
mental action from 1794 to 1839 were of necessity to be 
reviewed, then it has seemed that the immediate material 
value of those results was considered as the essential fea- 
ture of the story demanding attention. The motives and' 
methods used in obtaining the results, it appeared, need 
be but lightly touched. The things that happened were 
condoned as inevitable because the red men of the East 
were still popularly considered to be a race of savages. 
General Washington's opinion that a treaty with the In- 
dians was a sop to quiet them was lamented as a thought- 
less indiscretion, and the recompense therein contained 
was overlooked. For candor like that is surely a sufficient 
basis on which to build the Isgend that he never told a lie. 
But there may be a value in the record of these somber 
years which is not yet utilized. The story of the civic 
and military glories of a nation's vanished heroes is not 
of necessity the wholesomest food on which to rear its 
later citizens. While men remain what they are, the tale 
of their deeds will not be one to inspire admiration only. 
Heroes make mistakes. A whole population can be car- 
ried away by an impulse that breeds ignoble things. The 



thought, attitude, practises and entire life of a nation, at 
any given time, is a product of the human qualities that 
have swayed its preceding generations. 1 Whatever is 
excellent in a nation's life, whether it be of old inheritance 
or sudden acquisition, is clearly to be seen and readily ac- 
counted for. Those other and dangerous traits, that at 
times steal like a poison through the character of a people 
until it is in peril of decay, are not so easily explained. 
Yet they too have their origin, and it is always to be 
sought in some widespread condition that presents to the 
people a choice between moral principles and material 
benefit at a time when the worldly profit can apparently 
be grasped without harm to themselves or to their country. 
If they then yield to temptation and resort to methods 
which win them earth-power at the expense of principle, 
they excuse themselves with the belief that only their in- 
creased opulence will descend to the future. They do 
not see that the chief inheritance they bequeath is a broad 
example of wrong committed and wealth unfairly gained 
without incurrence of risk or penalty. And the succeed- 
ing generation, thus corrupted before its birth by the 
worldly benefits awaiting its arrival as the result of such 
procedure, is not only forced into a defense of the sordid 
methods by which those riches were obtained, but is itself 
encouraged, in its turn, to continue the same policy of 
unfair acquisition from whatsoever class may appear to 
be its safest victim. 

May it not be possible that in the treatment accorded 
to the red men by the American nation from its organiza- 
tion until 1839 is to be found an inciting cause of that 
insidious malady whereof fraud, corruption and violence 

1 "A Review of the Sinister Phases of American History: Their Causes, Relations and 
Later Effects on the Thought, Practises and Life of the People," is a needed book which 
has not yet been written. 



184. An example of the numerous private medals and advertisements issued 

in celebration of the construction of the Erie Canal, and of similar early 

public improvements. Brass. Actual size. Date, 1823. 

are the outward symptoms, which has since persistently 
spread and wrought such harm to the people? It was 
during the years under discussion, and through associa- 
tion and dealings with the Indians, that a large class of 
Americans first had the opportunity, yielded to the temp- 
tation, and applied on an extensive scale the corrupt art 
of getting something of great value for little or nothing. 
The practise, long existent in lesser degree, finally became 
general wherever and whenever chance for its use was 
possible, and was carried on by individual and govern- 
ment alike. Many of the methods used, together with the 
success attending them, have been suggested. So wide- 
spread, safe, productive and long-continued was the 
malign yet effective white system for self-enrichment at 
the expense of the natives that it affected, either directly 
or indirectly, a majority proportion of the population and 
all classes of society. Many frontier communities existed 
chiefly by virtue of the process. In distant cities, far 
removed from direct contact with the operation, were 
business men whose fortunes swelled through deeds or 
conditions they did not personally see. The government 
ceaselessly bought native territory at an average of a few 
cents an acre 1 and sold it to settlers at two dollars an acre, 
or else disposed of extensive tracts to speculators who 

1 Less than 3^ cents an acre up to 1825. See Appendix. 



fattened without labor at the expense of other factors in 
the transaction. 

The whole process was so simple and its immediate 
material profits so immense that the white race soon found 
itself gazing with complaisance on an almost national 
use of trickery, deceit, robbery and violence in the pursuit 
of gain. Those whites who were of contrary mind did 
indeed protest, but their objections were overruled by 
avarice and a predominant and perhaps partly genuine 
opinion coming from exalted station as well as from 
the general public that nothing but blessings to civil- 
ization could result from events and methods then in 

If an apportionment of responsibility for conditions 
then existing could now be made, it is probable that the 
chief burden would fall on those who, in high office, either 
yielded to the clamor of evil voices or themselves served 
as examples to the mass of the population. No people - 
when unmoved by the hysteria of warfare has been 
more keen than this in estimating the essential qualities 
of its public men; none has been more quick to advance 
or halt in harmony with the will of real strength and lead- 
ership on the isolated occasions of their display. They 
have responded to the eloquence of honest purpose simply 
stated, and sensed the falseness of an unsound argument. 
When a President said he would use the power of the 
Federal Union to preserve to the Indians those rights 
guaranteed to them since the foundation of the govern- 
ment the country knew he meant it, and the destruction 
of the native commonwealths paused until a season more 
convenient for its accomplishment. During the years 
under review the people, as always, were balancing the 



words of public servants with their performances, and 
observing a general inconsistency between those man- 
ifestations of national policy, themselves proceeded 
along the indicated road of action rather than by the 
path of rhetoric. Thus the final tragedy was brought 

Yet there was one bright side to the picture; bright, 
at least, in its ethical aspect. The Indians, in still forcing 
themselves to believe and to trust, reached in the con- 
summation of their final defeat a height they could not 
have climbed by the aid of any alien civilization. It 
could only have been attained through the manifestation 
of their character as men. When they once again took 
up their western ways; without warfare, leaving behind 
their immemorial country fresh-covered by evidences 
of intelligence and thrift, and with courage set out to 
build anew in a distant land, they won a victory which 
need not fear comparison with the triumph of their con- 

At last they were alone and safe again. The ranks 
of their people were thinned and the new country was 
not as the one they had given up, but they were free, of 
the ceaseless wrangle; free to grow. So they built their 
villages once more, planted their fields, re-established 
their affairs and clung to the words of the Great White 
Father; dreaming that some day they also might stand 
and speak in the vast stone Council House on the shore 
of the far Potomac. 

When the native possessions east of the Mississippi 
had finally fallen into the hands of the white race, and 
the red men for a time had retired beyond easy access, 
the practises of which they had been the victims did not 
disappear. Their employment was shifted to a new quar- 



ter. 1 Instead of a substantially intact alignment of Cauca- 
sians against natives the white race became divided 
against itself, and the type that systematically seeks to 
gain wealth, power, or both, by fraud cloaked in outward 
respectability has since existed; not as a sporadic exhibit 
but as a large, recognizable, organized and material fac- 
tor of society. Every basic method of the system first 
widely employed against the Indians has continued to 
flourish and has been deftly applied to new conditions as 
they arose. The general employment of violence against 
human life, together with popular indifference to the 
value of human life has also persisted. In governmental 
corruption, commercial immorality, crimes of violence 
and carelessness of human rights and welfare the United 
States has consistently held, since the era under discussion, 
a separate place among nations similarly advanced in the 
surface manifestations of civilization. 2 

The rise of such an abnormal condition predicates an 
inciting cause commensurate with its effect. If it be true 
that one origin of the grave dangers to popular welfare 
here enumerated is to be found in the methods employed 
by our predecessors in seeking wealth and aggrandizement 
at the expense of the Indian, then the nation has suffered 
memorable chastisement. And if these suggestions are 
sound, then it is not by adulation of earlier physical hero- 

1 A comparison of the inter-relations of the whites in commercial and allied affairs 
of life as those relations existed prior to 1789 with the similar inter-relations of the 
whites from about 1835 onward, discloses a marked alteration in the general standards of 
action by which those affairs were usually conducted. A new element, unfortunate in its 
influence, had apparently entered into the moral character of t'*e people as a whole. 

2 Several of the present standardized methods of commercial trickery, fraud and un- 
fairness, such as are employed against individuals, each procure for their users a revenue 
of more than a hundred million dollars a year, obtained from those whose trust is 
invited. The extent of governmental corruption in American cities and states during the 
past two generations, together with its relation to national legislation, require no comment. 
The annual murders of the country are numbered in t'-e tens of thousands; other crimes 
of violence are in proportion, and several hundred thousand human beings are yearly 
killed or gravely injured by industrial processes, nearly all of which economic loss is 
preventable. It is proper to say, however, that during very recent years, and more specially 
during the four years devoted to the writing of this book, numerous encouraging indi- 
cations of a public awakening to the significance of these perilous conditions, and of a 
desire to combat the disease of which they are symptoms, have appeared. 



ism or political patriotism that the needs of this and after 
times will be most surely satisfied. Only by searching into 
the darker pages of the national story; by analyzing mo- 
tives; studying methods; observing results and gazing be- 
hind the panorama of superficial fame can we find 
inspiration to correct the present effects of mistakes 
already made and most surely fortify ourselves against 
the making of new ones. While we condone what 
should not have been done, so long will we tolerate 
eradicable consequences of former error and run the 
risk of more. 

Whatever of blame may rest upon the people of 
America for certain methods it pursued in upbuilding 
and connecting the several parts of its present continental 
empire does not lie on scattered communities or states 
alone. The attitude of Georgia, Alabama and Missis- 
sippi toward Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw and Creek 
was but motive-brother to the deeds committed by Ohio, 
Illinois and Indiana toward Wyandot, Sac, Shawnee and 
Potawatomi. If one region attained its end by intimi- 
dation and craft, so also did the other gain its purpose 
through the ruder but no less effective means of robbery, 
debauch and blood. And behind those commonwealths; 
behind official hypocrisy and governmental or individual 
wrong there could be heard the majority whisper of popu- 
lar consent. An epoch is the picture of its people's moral- 
ity. The stream of human events is a canal dug by 
human desire. The directness of its course and swift- 
ness of its building is the measure of human agree- 

Without substantial accord of the Caucasian popula- 
tion the phase of the country's history here outlined could 
not have been written as it was. The most effective con- 



spiracy is that which is without organized form. Each 
of its myriad members can disavow. Together, they ac- 
complish. All are responsible for what is done. 

We do not too severely chide the boy for the cruelties 
of unreasoning youth, no matter how wrong he may have 
been, but when he has come to his full strength and 
stature it is for him to look back and speak the truth 
in a man's fashion. 



ONE of the subjects discussed by the convention which 
framed the Federal Constitution was the political 
and economic future of the region west of the Alleghany 
Mountains. It was proposed, among other things, that the 
country between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi 
River be kept subsidiary to the eastern states in order that 
the backwoodsmen might not obtain too much influence; 
that the future population of the interior be in some way 
controlled and restrained by the East, so that when if 
ever the Mississippi valley came to contain more people 
than the Atlantic coast states the rule of the wiser, 
wealthier and longer-established minority of the East 
might still prevail in giving shape to the destinies of the 

In tracing the course of past events we have thus far 



observed the life, methods and habits of mind of the 
eastern cabin dwellers as they conquered the wilderness 
and penetrated it by their caravans, pack-trains and 
cumbersome wagons ; we have followed the men who 
toiled on the rivers in their keel-boats, flatboats, barges 
and batteaux; we have watched the building of the first 
crude highways and the appearance of the periodic stage- 
coach; we have beheld the creation and later adoption of 
the steamboat, and we have witnessed the eviction of the 
red men from their eastern possessions. The part played 
in some of these developments by the men of the Missis- 
sippi valley was a large one, and it is apparent they could 
never have been kept in subjection to the East even if a 
constitutional plan for that purpose had been adopted. 
They would probably have fought the East for their own 
independence even more quickly than the original thirteen 
colonies resorted to arms against Britain for a like purpose. 
The united strength of both East and interior was neces- 
sary for the task of continental conquest by means of traffic 
routes. After the direction of human movement shifted 
from its north-and-south groove to the westward trend it 
was the men of the trans-Alleghany country, indeed, who 
thenceforth exercised a controlling influence on the com- 
plex course of events under review. 

The East had created the first highways and estab- 
lished periodic travel on them while yet the general move- 
ments of population ran north and south along the Atlantic 
coast, but it was the backwoods pioneers of the Carolinas 
and Virginia who altered the direction of those roads and 
extended them far into the wilderness. It was the back- 
woodsmen who adopted the timber boats of the East to 
the interior rivers and on them floated into distant and 
little known regions. While business men, legislatures 


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TO frj 


and courts of the East were seeking to restrict the use of 
steam and to convert steam-propeiled vehicles into a 
licensed and country-wide monopoly it was men of the 
interior who first fought that purpose. And it was in 
the great central valley, and in the middle South, that 
the last scenes of the contest against independent Indian 
commonwealths were enacted. 

The adoption and use of steam as a means of trans- 
portation on the rivers and the final struggle with the 
natives for possession of the land east of the Mississippi 
were two features of the story which moved side by side. 
Particularly was this true with relation to the years be- 
tween 1810 and 1840. But those years contained other 
events calculated to make them even more important in 
the tale of national growth. They also witnessed the 
culminating point in the importance of stage-coach travel, 
the widespread but ill-timed resort to canals as arteries 
of commerce, and the sudden appearance of the railroad. 
The introduction of so many new factors into the ordinary 
life of the people within one generation produced an 
orgy of kaleidoscopic activity, a whirl of picturesque and 
confusing conditions, and a considerable alteration in the 
character and viewpoint of the people as a whole. It is, 
of course, true that the mental qualities of the population 
had been gradually altering with the slow passage of 
those blending and overlapping periods thus far discussed, 
but the change which came about during the era now 
mentioned was decidedly more sudden and radical. 
Within less than one short lifetime the people of the in- 
terior beheld a revolution in their surroundings, methods 
and material affairs that doubtless equalled and perhaps 
surpassed in the extremes of contrast and visions of the 
future presented by it any similar experience that has 



affected mankind in an equal interval. All those changes 
were due to their new devices for moving over the face of 
the country, and to the increased facility with which 
they met and communicated with one another. 

The young men who penetrated to the interior on foot 
or by pack-train at the rate of ten or twenty miles a day 
were soon travelling in stage-coaches at a spsed of seventy- 
five or a hundred miles a day. Families who floated 
down the rivers in flatboats, consuming weeks in their 
journeys, could in a few years embark on steamboats and 
be carried from Cincinnati to New Orleans in a week. 
Pioneers who once staggered through swamps to fight 
the Indians found themselves assembling, not long after- 
ward, to discuss the building of a local railroad. Those 
incongruous conditions and situations, furthermore, often 
existed at the same time. The ark and steamboat lay side 
by side along the river banks; the east-bound stages still 
passed the west-bound pack-trains and Conestoga wagons; 
the last Indian fighting and the first railroad planning 
went on together. In his physical progress from place to 
place the average man of the period frequently started 
his journey on horseback, then resorted in turn to a steam- 
boat, to a stage-coach and to a canal packet, and finally 
finished his travels on a little railway at fifteen miles an 
hour. His mental processes were no less interesting. It 
was an era of readjustment in thought as well as in 
material surroundings; an epoch in which the old and 
the new ideas for a time waged warfare. There were 
some as always who could not see what was happening. 
Conservatism and progress were again at grips in their 
immemorial contest, but this time the issue was more 
clear cut than usual and the result of the battle did not 
long remain in doubt. 



One human characteristic that speedily developed as 
a consequence of the new conditions in which the people 
found themselves during the years in question was an ex- 
treme spirit of self-sufficiency and self-importance, mani- 
fested to a degree never before nor since approached by 
them. That this was true is not a cause for wonder, nor 

186. When a canal passenger failed to reach the starting place of a packet 
before its departure he was in no concern. He walked to the nearest 
bridge spanning the canal, waited the approach of the boat, and then 
leaped to its roof, some three or four feet below, as it passed under the 

is it remarkable that the generation so affected should it- 
self have denied the accusation. The white Americans 
were then somewhat in the position with regard to the 
rest of the world of a child of eight or ten without play- 
mates, who, because of isolation, is growing into a savage 
boyhood possessed of the unfortunate and peculiar type 
of imagined wisdom which can only be attained through 



absence of association with others of its kind. They had 
no convenient standards for constant comparison and self- 
estimate; no near-by companions whom they might daily 
contemplate, and with whom they might mingle, play, 
and argue on occasion. They could only watch them- 
selves and soliloquize. The life of a people is measured 
in millenniums, not in years, and this people was hardly 
out of its swaddling clothes. There is no cause for sur- 
prise that the infant nation was narrow-minded and self- 
centered, and that it gazed about with distorted vision, 
incapable for a time of seeing its relation to other and 
supposedly trivial details of the planet. It had begun to 
catch fantastic glimpses of its own destiny; it beheld the 
mirage of the Future. 

In short, the situation was simply this: The white 
Americans and especially those of pioneer location, 
spirit and action having finally awakened to a realiza- 
tion that they had already accomplished numerous im- 
possible things, and that they were in process of doing 
others of the same sort, were blinded to the still, existing 
crudities and ignorance of their own generation, and 
unconsciously assumed an attitude that discounted the 
unknown wonders which they knew were coming. In 
addition to the deeds of their own age they cloaked them- 
selves in the greatness of their children, and believed 
themselves already the elect of the earth in all particu- 
lars. This state of mind was necessarily most manifest 
in the interior, where knowledge of other peoples and 
civilizations was vague and almost negligible in its effect, 
and relations even with the older eastern communities 
were limited by the difficulty of communication with 

Thus there arose an interesting state of affairs possible 



only among a people so isolated, with such a record of past 
endeavor, and in such a period of transition from old 
things to new. A generation exceedingly rough of man- 
ners and speech, familiar with hardships, living for the 
most part amid conditions immeasurably removed from 
those obtaining in older countries and with scant time for 
book knowledge or self-culture, had in one sense 
adopted an inner life which far outstripped its outward 
surroundings. Moreover that inward life and its at- 
tendant pride based on the anticipation of excellencies 
dreamed but not attained was apparently more real to 
its possessors and often more powerful in shaping their 
common acts and decisions than the hard material situa- 
tion daily confronting them. 1 

So deeply did this attitude take root among the 
population, and especially among the western pioneers in 
the years soon after 1800, that widespread irritation- 
even anger arose when foreign visitors, after journeys of 
investigation, wrote books about America in which more 
attention was given to frankly adverse criticism of the 
manners of the inhabitants and rawness of the country than 
to its unrealized destiny. 2 

Those Americans of the first four decades after 1800 
touchy, enthusiastic, rough, crude, practical, and yet 

1 The entrance of those qualities into the life of the people the increased tendency 
to anticipate the future was in a certain way illustrated by the contrasting receptions 
given by the public to the steamboats of Fitch and Fulton. The public many times saw 
Fitch's boat propelled at five miles an hour and was unable to grasp the future significance 
of the event. But the first time it beheld Fulton's boat do the same th'ng, about twenty 
years later, there was an immediate and general popular recognition of what it portended. 

2 Two such descriptions arousing the special ire of the American public were those 
of Captain Basil Hall, of the British Xavy, and of Mrs. Trollope, the mother of Anthony 
Trollope. Mrs. Trollope s book really created a national furore. It was entitled "The 
Domestic Manners of the Americans." The three descriptions of America already men- 
tioned in Chapter xviii those of Cuming, Schultz and Michaux avoided detailed discus- 
sions of the rough personal appearance, demeanor and habits that were intermingled 
with the numerous finer qualities of the western inhabitants, and, though honest in 
speaking of the difficulties of life in a new land, were therefore better liked. The Ameri- 
cans of the eastern cities, while appreciating the truth of some adverse published com- 
ment regarding the people of the interior, were nevertheless also angered by it because 
of their realization that crude conditions were for a time inevitable, and contained in 
themselves no valid indictment against the country. 



swept on by dreams were the ones who created modern 
conditions by building the National Road, the canals and 
the railroads. And it was to be their sons who in turn 
were to overwhelm the western half of the continent in 
one tremendous human surge and finally unite it to the 
east by bands of steel. It is due to them, therefore, that 

187. Packets rounding a curve on the Erie Canal. The big ditch followed 
the valleys of natural streams, and was also parallelled, in some localities, 
by country roads. Any individual or company choosing to do so could 
operate boats on payment of prescribed tolls, and scores of the craft were 
met or overtaken in the course of a day. 

before proceeding to the final events of the story in which 
they played so large a part that we take a little glimpse at 
the actual men whose constructive work is about to con- 
cern us. We shall perhaps have a better understanding for 
the things they did if we first get a little closer to their 
character and personality. And to accomplish this pur- 
pose it is not necessary for us to linger in the older cities. 
They also had their necessary share in the approaching 
tasks, but cities in a new and growing country rarely 



originate the deeper purposes of its people or control their 
larger undertakings. The cities of a new land, rather, 
are mirrors reflecting those policies and instruments 
whereby certain details of the work are done. So it was 
in America. The impulse which put its stamp most in- 
delibly on our history between 1800 and 1840 was the 
determination of the interior valley to bring itself into 
closer touch with the East by means of new communica- 
tion facilities. The East likewise recognized the impor- 
tance of such an undertaking, but was more self-contained 
and so had less requirement for the impending change. 
It looked at the subject from a more narrow and mercan- 
tile standpoint. But to the region beyond the Alleghanies 
the need was indeed vital in every respect. There could 
be no extensive growth, no broad progress, no economic 
and social unity of the two sections, without it. 

Whatever method of movement was from time to time 
under discussion during that generation whether it was 
a national turnpike, canals or railroads the building 
impulse itself and the most insistent cry came from the 
West. The first great governmental work in response to 
the need and in aid of better communications was a turn- 
pike to the West. The first great canals were planned to 
reach the West. The first real railroads ran toward the 
West. In each case the actual process of building began 
in the East, but the cities of the older regions were only 
complying with an irresistible demand that came to them 
from across the mountains. So if we would enter into the 
actual spirit of those times, and behold the men really 
responsible for what was about to happen we must throw 
aside the retrospective attitude, leave the older com- 
munities, their colleges, busy streets, pretentious hotels 
and settled habits of civilization, and live once more amid 



the human figures who were out on the firing line of deeds 
and action. 1 

Some aspects of the social conditions prevailing in the 
Ohio valley at about the commencement of the nineteenth 
century have already been indicated in General Harrison's 
report of 1801. But that document dealt with matters 
connected with the race quarrel, and therefore failed to 
reveal innumerable other circumstances of life and human 
Qualities which plead for attention in any consideration 
of the period and region involved. 

At the time General Harrison prepared the document 
mentioned, and for a considerable interval both before 
and afterward, he and a few other men officially as- 
sociated with him in the government of the Northwest 
Territory actually possessed, and sometimes exercised, 
an almost autocratic power. When the region now em- 
braced in the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan 
and Wisconsin was given a political organization it was 
so remote and inaccessible from the Federal government 
as regards possibility of frequent communication that 
the creation and enforcement of laws in the Territory was 
a matter of which the national administration knew little 
or nothing. It was inevitable that conditions of life in 
the vast and distant country north of the Ohio would 
produce situations requiring action by men having 
personal knowledge of them. Out of these things grew 
a state of affairs which as far as civil government is 
concerned was probably one of the most unusual that has 
ever developed in a land whose society was supposedly 
controlled by regulations having their source in popular 

1 Since the descriptions and comments of many foreign visitors during that period 
were then insistently denied, and are still the subjects of controversy, no informat'on 
gained from such sources is used in this and the following chapter for purposes of pictur- 
ing Americans and pioneer American conditions of the time. All material of the sort 
here used is derived from American writers, from official publications, original manuscripts 
of Americans and files of contemporary native newspapers. 



188. The passengers, unless they were experienced voyagers familiar with 
the operation, always gathered on the roof of the packet to observe the 
process of lifting or lowering it to another level by means of the locks. 

rule. For some eleven years the Northwest Territory did 
not possess a legislature, and the whole body of its local 
law had its origin in the pronouncements of three or four 
men whose arbitrary decrees could not, in the nature of 
things, be closely watched by the general government. 
The Federal authorities sent out individuals to act as 
governor and judges, and with that procedure their active 
participation in the affairs of the interior ceased. The 
result was an oligarchy. The little group of men out in 
the northern forest not only decreed the laws, but in- 
terpreted them and enforced them. They embodied all 
the functions of legislative, judicial and executive 
authority. Two circumstances gave a reasonable measure 
of success to this unrepublican form of government. 
Those in whose hands lay the despotic power exercised it 



in the main with good judgment according to the light 
of their surroundings. The Caucasian population whose 
lives, liberty and property were under the control of the 
oligarchy recognized its necessity, and by their actions 
toward one another even if not toward the native peoples 
made the task of their rulers somewhat less difficult than 
it easily might have been. 

During the fifteen or twenty years following 1800 
there was not much change in the relations between the 
white and red races of the interior valley. Acute situa- 
tions sometimes arose, 1 but the ordinary status was a strong 
dislike and distrust of each race for the other, manifested 
by an interminable series of misunderstandings, differ- 
ences and downright quarrels for which each side was in 
greater or less degree to blame. Those troubles were al- 
ways made worse by the unfortunate fact that an over- 
whelming bulk of the Caucasians despised the Indians and 
would neither try to comprehend their position nor culti- 
vate the Indian languages to a degree necessary for better 
interchange of ideas. Even the necessary official inter- 
course between white and red men, at military posts and 
elsewhere, was often hampered by an inability on the part 
of each group to use the speech of the other. This dif- 
ficulty was at times a matter of record, and one case of the 
sort is indicated in a letter written by W. W. Morrison, 
commanding officer at Turmonds Station, in Indiana Ter- 
ritory, to his superior at Fort Harrison, 2 under date of 
February 18, 1816. The letter said: 

"Sir I hope you will See the nesesety of a person at this Station 
who Can Speak the Ingin Language & I am informed that you have in 
your Companey Severell Frenchmen that Can Speak ingin I hope you 

1 The most important of which was the outbreak led by The Prophet, connected with 
Tecumseh's aspirations for a native confederacy. 

a '1 he document was addressed to Lieutenant Lasselle, and the original is among the 
Lasselle Papers in the Indiana State Library. 



will order one of them heir under my Command the Ingins has Cald 
Severell time on mee I am at a Loss for a interpetor." 

The social conditions unrelated to race troubles 
that prevailed among the English speaking people of 
the interior near the close of the eighteenth century 
and the commencement of the nineteenth can be 
well shown by citing some of the laws under which 
they lived. The first oligarchy in charge of the North- 
west Territory was composed of Governor Arthur St. 
Clair, and Judges Samuel Holden Parsons, John Mitchell 
Varnum and John Cleves Symmes, who assumed their 
responsibilities in the summer of 1788. One of its first 
decrees 1 defined the punishments inflicted on lawbreakers 
of various sorts. A man found guilty of burning a house 
was put to death, as were also traitors and murderers. A 
burglar was fined and lashed with thirty-nine stripes on 
the bare back and could then be imprisoned for any length 
of time up to forty years. A perjurer, after being fined in 
an amount not exceeding sixty dollars, might be given 
thirty-nine lashes, placed in a pillory for two hours and 
disfranchised. Larceny was punished by fine or whipping 
at the discretion of the court. If the man found guilty 
of larceny could not pay his fine, then the decree em- 
powered the court to sell the convicted man into slavery, 
for a period not exceeding seven years, to any citizen who 
would pay the fine. 2 Forgery was punishable by fine, dis- 
franchisement and committal to the public pillory. A 
drunkard was punished by fine or by being placed in the 
stocks for an hour. 

By 1792 the oligarchy governing the Territory con- 
tained only one of its original members, and then con- 

1 That of September 16, 1788. 

2 The judges of the court were themselves members of the oligarchy, and in their 
capacity as rulers they framed the law giving the power here described into their own 



189. The poetry of travel by canal. Slipping through an Erie gorge on a 

moonlit summer night. Some of the skippers carried organs on board, 

and the passengers had concerts before turning in. 

sisted of Winthrop Sargent, 1 John Cleves Symmes and 
Rufus Putnam. One of the decrees published in that 
year was designed to supply an important need of the 
pioneer society, namely, accommodations for travellers. It 
provided that: 

"The commissioner for granting licenses shall have a 
power of establishing public inns and taverns." He was 
authorized to grant licenses "to such persons as the 
Justices of the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace in 
their wisdom may deem really necessary well qualified 
in person and character, well provided in accommodations 
for guests, and well situate in point of residence for the 
accommodations of travellers." The tax on such a license 

1 The Acting Governor. 



was fixed at sixteen dollars a year, and the tavern keeper 
had to "set up in a proper manner on the front and out- 
side of his house a board or sign with his or her name 
written thereon and some device expressive of his business 
as a tavern keeper. ... on which board or sign shall also 
be written in large fair letters 'By Authority a Tavern.' ' 
The act also provided that if the tavern keeper "neglect 
or refuse to do his or her duty therein as well in providing 
good and wholesome food for man and beast as in keep- 
ing ordinary liquors of a good and salutary quality and 
suitable lodgings and attendance for guests in a reasonable 
and proper manner according to the common usage and 
custom of well-kept taverns in an inland country," the said 
innkeeper's license lapsed and he became liable to the 
traveller for any damages sustained through failure to 
provide the liquor, lodgings or food aforesaid. 1 By later 
decree on the same subject, dated June 17, 1795, the 
penalty imposed on a tavern keeper for failure to provide 
for a guest was reduced to five dollars. The number of 
inns was curtailed, and no one could conduct such an 
establishment unless recommended by a judge on pain of a 
fine of one dollar a day. The pronouncement of 1795 also 
provided that an innkeeper could not get his license in 
the first place until he had given a bond of three hundred 
dollars for his good behavior. 2 

Nearly all the laws promulgated during succeeding 
years related to such matters as taxation, legal processes, 
court procedure, and offenses against public order. A 
curious decree of the last named sort, issued in May of 
1798, 3 possesses unusual importance because of its revela- 

1 "Laws passed in the Territory of the United States North-West of the River Ohio, 
from July to December, 1792. Published by Authority. Philadelphia: MDCCXCIV." 

2 "Laws of the Territory of the United States North-West of the Ohio, Etc. By 
Authority. Cincinnati: MDCCXCVI." 

J The oligarchy then consisted of Winthrop Sargent, John Cleves Symmes, Joseph 
Gilman and Return Jonathan Meigs, Jr. 



tion regarding a certain savage custom of those days. It 
read thus: 

"Whosoever . . . shall voluntarily, maliciously, and of pur- 
pose, pull or put out an eye while fighting or otherwise, every such 
offender, his or her aiders, abettors, and counselors, shall be sentenced 
to undergo a confinement in the jail of the county in which the offense 
is committed, for any time not less than one month nor more than six 
months, and shall also pay a fine not less than fifty dollars and not ex- 
ceeding one thousand dollars one-fourth of which shall be to the use 
of the territory, and three-fourths thereof to the use of the party 
grieved ; and for want of the means of payment, the offender shall be 
sold to service by the court before which he is convicted for any time 
not exceeding five years, the purchaser finding him food and raiment 
during the term." And the decree concluded: "The foregoing is hereby 
declared to be a law of the Territory." 1 

This phraseology relates to the strange early frontier 
practise of gouging out a human eye with the thumb. 
Contemporary literature relating to conditions in America 
about the year 1800 contains few references to the barbar- 
ism in question, and those mentions of it have often been 
challenged. 2 According to tradition the practise was not 
altogether an uncommon one, and its employment in a 
fight was usually contingent upon a mutual agreement 
or understanding of the participants. When two men 
engaged in combat, and it was agreed that the mutilation 
was permissible, it became the purpose of each man to 
pin his adversary flat on his back. Then the success- 
ful fighter would insert the end of his thumb in an eye 
socket of his opponent and deliberately gouge out the eye- 
ball. It was then the privilege of the prostrate man to 

1 "Laws of the Territory of the United States North-West of the River Ohio, etc., 
etc. By Authority. Cincinnati. Printed and Sold by Edmund Freeman: MDCCXCVIII." 

2 Probably the most widely known contemporary reference of the sort is that made 
by the English traveler, Charles William Janson, and contained in his "The Stranger in 
America." London: 1807. Similar comments, whether made by native writers or foreign 
visitors, were almost always based upon hearsay, and some later commentators on the 
period have expressed the opinion that contemporary writers who mentioned gouging 
from hearsay had been deceived by American frontiersmen who "pulled the long bow." 
But Janson says he was the spectator of an encounter between two men in which the 
deed in question was committed, and since he is possibly the only contemporary chronicler 
who makes such an assertion the dispute has been largely centered upon his statement. 



indicate, if he chose, that he was defeated, and by such 
admission he saved his other eye. 

The act of the rulers of the Northwest Territory in 
1798, in framing the law above quoted, seems to be con- 
clusive concerning the existence of such a practise as 


190. Going to bed on an Erie packet. Three tiers of bunks were erected along, 
each side of the main cabin after supper, and the passengers were usually 
permitted to select their berths according to the order of their arrival on 
board. The women's cabin was similarly arranged. If the number of men 
travellers exceeded the number of beds, then the late arrivals slept on the 
floor or the supper tables. The captain is calling the roll and alloting the 

pulling out an eye. It also shows the extreme nature of 
the powers at times assumed by the oligarchy, for it 
provided that a man found guilty of the mutilation de- 
scribed might be sold into slavery unless he could pay the 
damages assessed against him. On this point the decree 
was not optional, but mandatory. It provided that the 
man "shall be sold to service." The law probably marked 
the last occasion whereon, in the United States, a white 



man might be reduced to the status of a slave by govern- 
mental process. 

Another beam of light though of a very different sort 
is cast on the territorial affairs of the Northwest through 
a letter written by General Arthur St. Clair in 1796, in 
which he cautions a government surveyor about the 
devices often used by settlers in obtaining title to undue 
amounts of land. The communication 1 was addressed to 
Colonel Robert Buntin, who had been appointed a sur- 
veyor by St. Clair in October of 1795 and who, at the 
time of the incident here told, was in Vincennes. The 
epistle was dated "Cincinnati, September 19, 1796," and 
read in part: 

"Be pleased to observe it [the work done by settlers to obtain home- 
steads] must be actual improvement, not the marking or deadening a 
few Trees or throwing a few loggs together in form of a Cabbin, which 
are very commonly called improvements, in which way two or three 
Persons in one single week could cover a large tract of country." 

But it was the brief postscript to this letter which after 
all gave to it its largest historical value. St. Clair said in 
his postscript to Buntin: 

"I am not certain whether it was you or not that was appointed 
Treasurer. If it was not you let me know who it was, for it seems I 
neglected to remember it." 

At this late day we can only hope that Governor St. 
Clair discovered the identity of his treasurer, and that his 
mnemonic system of governmental records proved more 
efficient on other similar occasions. 

By order of St. Clair the first popular elections in the 
Territory took place in December of 1798, and the legis- 
lature which consisted of a lower house of nineteen 
elected members and an upper house of five members 2 - 

* An unpublished letter among the Lasselle Papers in the Tnd'ana State Library. 

- Called the Legislative Council. Its members were appointed by the President from 
a list of ten names submitted by the lower house. 



was finally organized in the autumn of 1799. Among the 
earliest laws passed by the assembly were three acts re- 
lating to the travel facilities of the region. The first of 
these was "an act to establish and regulate ferries." It 
provided that any citizen might establish a ferry after giv- 
ing three months' public notice of his intention and secur- 
ing a special act of authorization. The courts were em- 
powered "to fix, from time to time, the rates which the 
ferry keeper shall hereafter demand for the transportation 
of passengers, wagons, carriages, horses, etc." A ferry 
owner was required to keep proper boats in operation 
during the daytime, and also at night unless night naviga- 
tion was dangerous. For his services during the hours of 
darkness he was permitted to collect a double price, but if 
he overcharged at any time he was compelled to refund 
the ferriage and pay to the traveller two dollars in addi- 
tion, as a penalty. This law made it an offense for any one 
but a public ferryman to transport "any person over any 
river or creek" within five miles of a public ferry, on 
penalty of a fine not exceeding twenty dollars. 1 

The second of the three laws mentioned dealt with 
conveyances commonly used in water travel and trans- 
portation. It provided that any one who found a "boat, 
flat, periague, canoe, or other small vessel" must give the 
authorities an exact description of it, which description 
was then officially posted on the court-house door. If the 
craft was claimed by its owner the finder was entitled to 
a reward of from fifty cents to a dollar, in accordance with 
the size and value of the boat. If it was not claimed 
within a year and was not worth more than five dollars, 

1 "Laws of the Territory of the United States, North- West of the River Ohio. Passed 
at the First Session of the General Assembly . . .at Cincinnati . . . 1799; 
Also, Certain laws enacted by the Governor and Judges of the Territory from the com- 
mencement of the Government to 1792. Etc., etc. Published by Authority. Cincinnati: 
MDCCC." The date of the act was November 15, 1799. 



the boat belonged to the finder. If a craft worth more 
than five dollars remained unclaimed for a year it re- 
verted to the Territory as public property. 1 

The third law provided for the construction of wagon 
roads on petition of the public, in case the requested roads 

191. View of a passenger boat going through the deep cut near Lockport, shown 

in illustration No. 181. The animals and their driver walked on a 

narrow shelf high up on the wall of masonry at the right. 

were found to be desirable. The width of such thorough- 
fares was sixty-six feet. 2 The law also provided for a 
tax whose proceeds should be used in road building, 
ordered that male citizens contribute two days' labor dur- 
ing each year to such public work, and further directed 
that no citizen, while so working, might ask a traveller for 
either money or drink, on pain of a fine of one dollar. 

Although the year 1799 witnessed the end of oligarchi- 
cal government in the region now embraced by Ohio, the 

1 Ibid. Act of December 2, 1799. 

2 "Cart paths" 33 feet wide were also authorized. 



same thing was not true in relation to the other parts of 
the Northwest Territory, of which the country now in- 
cluded in Illinois and Indiana was the only portion con- 
taining enough Caucasian population to justify attention. 1 
"The Indiana Territory" was erected into a separate 
governmental jurisdiction in 1800, 2 and the oligarchy 
system was at once re-established there. The first three 
rulers were William Henry Harrison, 3 William Clarke 
and Henry VanderBurgh. 4 They met for the first time 
at Vincennes in January, 1801, and ordained ten laws, all 
but one of which related to methods of legal procedure 
and kindred subjects. The solitary act dealing with 
public improvements gave to the governor power to 
create public ferries by proclamation or otherwise. 5 

Almost no attention was given by the Indiana rulers 
to the subject of public improvements during the remain- 
ing four years in which all executive, legislative and 
judicial functions reposed in the hands of three or four 
men. During their fourth session, 6 however, steps were 
taken to minimize the danger connected with navigating 
the rapids of the Ohio, where many flatboats and other 
craft had been lost each year for a long time. The 
governor was authorized to appoint competent pilots who 
should receive two dollars for every boat taken past the 
dangerous spot. The decree also provided that any un- 
authorized person who acted as pilot at that place should 
be fined ten dollars, although the owner of a boat was 

1 Early in the summer of 1800 the civilized population of the Indiana Territory was 
estimated at 4,875. John B. Dillon's "Oddities of Colonial Legislation in America, etc., 
with Authentic Records of the Origin and Growth of Pioneer Settlements," p. 543. 

2 By Act of Congress approved May 7. It took effect on July 4. 

3 Who had been confirmed as Governor by the Federal Senate on May 13, 1800. 

4 Clarke and VanderBurgh were two of the three judges for the Territory. They, 
together with John Griffin, had been appointed by President Adams and confirmed by the 
Seriate on May 14, but Griffin does not appear by name with the others in printed records 
reciting the acts of the territorial rulers. 

E "Laws adopted by the Governor and Judges of the Indiana Territory at their First 
Sessions held at Saint Yincennes, lanuary 12, 1801. Published by Authority. Frank- 
fort, (K.) 1802." 

6 Held at Vincennes from September to November, in 1803. 


permitted to conduct his own craft through the rapids if 
he so desired. The only other public improvements law 
issued in 1803 provided for the construction of bridges 
where necessary, although the provision for the building 
of bridges was made in connection with, and subsidiary 
to, the erection of "jails, pillories, stocks and whipping 
posts." 1 

One of the miscellaneous decrees ordained by the three 
men who ruled Indiana Territory in 1803 is especially 
illustrative of the sharp line drawn by the Caucasian 
pioneers between themselves and all other classes of 
society. The triumvirate during its fourth session pre- 
pared an elaborate code of civil and criminal laws which 
among other things provided that "no negro, mulatto or 
Indian shall be a witness except in the pleas of the United 
States against negroes, mulattoes or Indians, or in civil 
pleas where negroes, mulattoes or Indians alone shall be 
parties." 2 

General Harrison at the time in question as he had 
been when he wrote his report of 1801 was Governor of 
the Territory. He was also the Indian Agent of the 
Federal government in the Territory, and, as now further 
appears, he was also one of three men who proclaimed all 
the conditions under which lived every individual of every 
race in the Territory. He interpreted the laws of which 
he was joint author; enforced those laws according to his 
own interpretation; and, with his two colleagues, had 
power over the life and liberty of his fellow men. Thus 
embracing within one personality an authority all but 

1 The two decrees last mentioned are to be found in "Laws Adopted by the Governor 
and Judges of the Indiana Territory at their Second and Third Sessions, begun and held 
at Saint Vincennes 30th January, 1802, & February 16, 1803. Published by Authority. 
Vincennes, (I. T.) 1804." This volume also contains the decrees resulting from the fourt'i 
session of the oligarchy, in whose membership Thomas T. Davis had taken the place of 
William Clarke. 

2 Paragraph twenty-first of the first act of the Session. Text contained in the volume 
last mentioned. 



unique in modern times especially in a state ostensibly 
under republican form of government General Harrison 
promulgated the act here quoted and established, under 
the law, the racial cleavage created by it. By the terms of 
this decree no white man might be charged by an Indian 
with any crime or other wrong against native life, rights 

192. Four days and fourteen hours out from Albany, westward bound. Ap- 
proaching the series of five locks at Lockport, thirty miles from Buffalo, 
by which boats were lifted for 62 feet to a higher level. 

or property. In such a case Indian testimony was non- 
existent, irrespective of the character and reputation of 
the native or natives involved. When considered in con- 
nection with the official positions held by General Harri- 
son, and especially when considered in contrast to the 
sentiments contained in the report written two years be- 
fore, the law of 1803 has unusual interest and suggests 




the existence of deep and powerful Caucasian desire in 
accordance with its provisions. 

In setting up the oligarchical governments that ruled 
the Northwest Territory from 1788 to 1799, and that 
afterward administered the affairs of the Indiana Terri- 
tory from 1801 to 1805, the Federal Congress reserved to 
itself the right to disapprove such laws as were pro- 
mulgated for the control of those distant regions. But 
in the nature of things there could be little or no inter- 
ference by the national legislature in such pronounce- 
ments as have been cited. The legislators from the old 
established states of the East could have but vague knowl- 
edge of conditions in the remote West, and were of neces- 
sity forced to leave the affairs of that far country in the 
hands of the men designated to administer them. It was 
not possible for the central administration to keep in 
touch with circumstances on the frontier. Sometimes as 
much as six months elapsed during which no official com- 
munications from Washington reached General Harrison 
at Vincennes. The decrees of the oligarchy were put into 
effect upon their utterance, or quickly thereafter. They 
could not await the long time necessary for their submis- 
sion to Washington, their consideration there, and the 
return of an approval or veto. If Congress had been in 
the habit of vetoing such laws, many months or a year 
after their promulgation, the Northwest could never at 
any time have known what was lawful and what was not. 
The result would have been a region without any law. 
And besides, Congress was not always in session. 

Whatever sentiment existed in Congress toward Gen- 
eral Harrison and the Indiana Territory laws must have 
been favorable, for in the year 1804 1 all that immense part 

1 By act of March 26. 



of the recently acquired territory of Louisiana lying west 
of the Mississippi River and north of the thirty-third 
degree of north latitude 1 was attached to Indiana Ter- 
ritory under the name of the "District of Louisiana," and 
placed under the control of General Harrison and his col- 
leagues. 2 During the year in which this arrangement was 
continued 3 Governor Harrison and the two or three men 
associated with him had immediate jurisdiction and power 
over a region containing not far from one million square 
miles, and all the human beings who inhabited it. In 
October of 1804 they met at Vincennes and issued decrees 
for the enormous country under their administration. But 
in 1805 4 a segment of Indiana Territory was detached 
from it and erected into the separate Territory of Michi- 
gan, and the same year witnessed the creation of the first 
Indiana legislative assembly. With the advent of that 
elective body ended a period of seventeen years during 
which time a very large part of the interior and its people 
had almost constantly remained subject to the peculiar 
governmental system here described. With the appear- 
ance of a popularly elected assembly in Indiana Territory 
that district entered, after the usual pioneer fashion, upon 
a course of progress having to do with better communica- 
tion facilities and convenience in using them. 

Human overland movement in the West was then con- 
fined almost entirely to travel on horseback, 5 and as a con- 
sequence any offense against the one means of locomotion 
was punished with exceptional severity. During its first 

The boundary line of the modern state of Louisiana. 

2 The Governor and Judges of the territory were invested with authority to exercise 
over the District of Louisiana powers similar to those they were authorized to exercise 
for the maintenance of government in the Territory of Indiana. 

3 Louisiana District was detached from Indiana Territory by act of Congress on 
March 3, 1805. It had been attached to Indiana March 26 of 1804. 

* By act of January 11, taking effect on June 30. 

5 In which feature the conditions there existing constituted a repetition of the era that 
had prevailed a century and a half before, in the Atlantic coast regions, only a few hun- 
dred miles to the eastward. 



session the Indiana assembly passed a law providing that 
if a person stole "any Horse, Mare, Gelding, Mule or 
Ass," he should for the first offense pay to the owner the 
value of the animal, should be imprisoned until said value 
and costs were paid, and should receive from fifty to two 
hundred lashes on the bare back. The act provided that 
for a second offense the offender should "suffer the pains 
of death." 

During the same session the assembly provided that all 
citizens should be compelled to work twelve days of each 
year in the creation of public roads, and made provision 
for the introduction of taverns. The law stipulated that 
tavern licenses could only be issued by courts, and the 
courts were in addition authorized to establish the rates 
to be charged against travellers by the tavern keepers. If 
an innkeeper presumed to collect any higher amount than 
that fixed by the court, his license was forfeited and he was 
compelled to pay twenty dollars to the complainant. 1 

The days that had intervened between Boone's 
journey and the close of the century had been marked, in 
the interior, by a hurly-burly of confusion and violence. 
But at last a systematic effort was on foot to bring about 
a more settled state of affairs. The inflowing horde of 
whites no longer remained close to the rivers and first 
settlements, but scattered rapidly over the country. The 
task of suppressing disorder, which had previously fallen 
in large measure directly on the people themselves, was 
more actively undertaken by state, territorial and local 
authorities. This endeavor was shown by the nature of 
certain laws here mentioned. New exertions were made 
to increase the security of travellers both by land and 

1 The early enactments of the First Indiana Territorial Assembly here mentioned are 
contained in "Laws Passed at the First Session of the General Assembly of the Indiana 
Territory, begun and held at the Borough of Vincennes, on Monday the twenty-ninth of 
July in the year 1805. By Authority. Vincennes: Printed by Elihu Stout. (1805.)" 



194. Some of the families whose men-folk spent their lives in canal work lived 

in boats that were furnished after the manner of houses. Even 

the family horse was kept on board. 

water. The severity of punishment visited upon horse 
thieves represented in part a determination to insure safety 
and speed in movement from place to place. 

Nor were the river pirates overlooked. Although they 
had long been a danger to travel on the Ohio and some of 
its tributaries, no official effort had as yet been made 
to destroy them and put an end to their operations. But 
this matter of safety on the Ohio was taken up by Ken- 
tucky soon after the opening of the century. It will be 
remembered that Cave-in-Rock was a favorite haunt of 
the river desperados, and at the time Kentucky began her 
fight to exterminate them the most active group of pirates 
was believed to contain about thirty members. Kentucky 
went to the extent of organizing a military expedition 
against the outlaws, and the militia met them in battle and 
came out of the fray victorious. A considerable number 



of the criminals were killed and the remainder were dis- 
persed. Organized attacks on flatboats and other river 
craft never became popular afterward, and one danger of 
river travel disappeared. But the conflict that brought 
safety to river voyagers proved a curse to some of those 
emigrants who had occasion to journey overland through 
the South. The survivors of the pirate band, after their 
defeat, united under the leadership of three famous bandits 
named Mason, Corkendale, and Harpe, and for several 
years infested the region of southern Tennessee and north- 
ern Mississippi, where they killed and robbed travellers 
almost at will. Finally their operations became an intole r - 
able scourge and the governor of Mississippi Territory 
offered a reward of five hundred dollars for the capture 
of Mason. The highwaymen heard of the offer, and two 
of them turned traitors to their chief and put an end to 
him. Then the two fell into a debate concerning the best 
method of proving their exploit and securing the promised 
money. This problem they solved by cutting off Mason's 
head and carrying it to Natchez, where, after a discussion 
with the authorities, and conferences between the author- 
ities, the five hundred dollars was duly paid over to them. 
The two bandits were then arrested, tried, and executed, 
and as no heirs appeared to claim their estate which con- 
sisted of the aforesaid five hundred dollars the money 
duly reverted to the treasury of the commonwealth. The 
conferences of the territorial officials which preceded the 
payment of the reward may have had some connection 
with the final outcome of the case. 

The pioneers who penetrated into the Indiana and Il- 
linois country during the first fifteen or twenty years after 
1800 encountered natural conditions that were substan- 
tially identical with those which had surrounded the New 



to t 


n' O 


England pioneers more than a century and a half before. 
The region north of the Ohio River, and extending west- 
ward from the Ohio boundary to the Mississippi River, was 
girdled by long-established Indian trails, and those were 
at first the only routes used by the newcomers. In Indiana 
the elaborate system of native paths seemed to converge 
at two points, from which they radiated somewhat like 
the spokes of a wheel. One of these junction spots of 
native travel lay on the White River, where it is joined by 
a small tributary now known as Fall Creek. To this spot 
extended a trail from Vincennes, another from the falls 
of the Ohio, 1 another from the White Water River, 2 and 
still others that reached down from the Potawatomi, 
Miami and Delaware towns in the north. 

The other nucleus of native trails was the important 
Miami town called Ke-ki-on-ga, the present site of Fort 
Wayne. It was Ke-ki-on-ga, with its radiating system of 
various routes, which was described by Little Turtle, in 
his address to General Wayne at Greenville, as "that 
glorious gate . . . from the North to the South, and from 
the East to the W^est." 

The first two distinctively Caucasian overland roads 
into the Indiana region were at first known as the "Berry 
Trace" and the "Whetzel Trace." 3 The Berry Trace was 
the principal path of white travel northward from the 
Ohio River into the interior of the territory, and for a 
considerable part of its distance it was merely an improve- 
ment on the pre-existing Indian trail extending northward 
from the falls of the Ohio to the White River. The 

1 At present followed by the tracks of a railway extending northward from Jefferson- 
ville to Indianapolis. This trail was used by the Potawatomi, Miamis and Delawares 
of the upper Indiana country in their annual journeys to the neutral hunting grounds of 

z This route is now occupied by the Pennsylvania Railroad. 

3 The first named was marked out by Captain John Berry, and the other by Jacob 
Whetzel, one of the members of a family that played a prominent part in the pioneer 
development and race wars of the interior. 




195. The living quarters on a boat of the sort shown in the preceding, 
may be an interior view of the same room from 
whose window the woman is looking. 


Whetzel Trace was the principal line of white travel into 
the interior of Indiana from the Ohio region and the East. 1 
For a part of its extent it was really created by white men. 
Whetzel and his son Cyrus and four companions, all 
armed with axes, chopped their way westward through 
the forest for many miles during the year 1818, clearing 
a roadway sufficiently wide for the passage of a team- 
although there were then practically no teams to use it. 
The labor of Whetzel and his companions found an end 
only when they had penetrated to the interior of the state, 
where they at last reached the Berry Trace that led south- 
ward to the Ohio River. 2 The Whetzel Trace was used 

1 It began toward the eastern boundary of the territory, near the present town of 
Laurel in Franklin county, and extended in a generally westward direction to White 
River. A discussion of the first white traces of Indiana Territory, and of the preceding 
system of Indian trails, is to be found in Cottman's "The First Thoroughfares of Indiana." 

2 The junction point of the Whetzel and Berry Traces was in the central part of 
Johnson county, south of and not far from the site of Indianapolis. 



by incoming white settlers from the East until about 1826. 
They followed its course westward until they came to its 
intersection with Berry's road, and then continued north- 
ward along that thoroughfare and the Indian trails lead- 
ing still farther north toward Ft. Wayne. Numerous 
lateral trails diverged to all parts of the territory from the 
trunk lines of aboriginal travel already mentioned, and 
in later years, after the new state had begun its own road 
building, it adopted the routes followed by native paths in 
many cases. 1 

The Illinois country also contained several local 
points from which Indian highways radiated. Two such 
places in the southern part of the state were Kaskaskia 
and Fort Massac, 2 and similar situations in the north were 
Black Hawk's village 1 ' and the present sites of Chicago 
and Galena. An important native path extended across 
Illinois from Galena to the neighborhood of Chicago, 4 
and a similar thoroughfare joined the Sac and Fox settle- 
ment on Rock River with the southern end of Lake Michi- 
gan. A third trail connected Kaskaskia and Fort Massac, 
and still another forest trace united the northern and 
southern parts of the territory. These native routes 
through Illinois constituted the first roads used by white 
settlers in their overland journeys through that region. 
Not until 1827 did the white men have a road of their own 
making in the northern part of Illinois. In that year a 
path called "Kellog's Trail" was opened between the 

1 "When James Blake and William Conner viewed, as commissioners, the first road 
between Indianapolis and Ft. Wayne, they found that after leaving White river they 
could not improve upon the judgment of the Indians as shown in their old trails." Cott- 
man's "The First Thoroughfares of Indians," p. 13. 

"One of the earliest wagon-ways out of Indianapolis, . . . which led to Wayne 
county before the coming of the National Road, was laid out on the White Water 
trail." Ibid, p. 14. 

2 An important frontier junction point on the Ohio River, nearly opposite the mouth 
of the Tennessee. 

3 On Rock River, about three miles above its junction with the Mississippi. 
* Later to be followed by a railroad. 



settlement of Peoria, in the north-central part of the state, 
and Galena in the extreme northwest corner. Kellog's 
Trail made it possible for the people of southern and 
central Illinois to penetrate into its northern parts over a 
thoroughfare created by themselves. 

The custom of blazing the trees along a wilderness 
road, which was brought into the interior by the pre- 
revolutionary pioneers, was continued in the Middle West 
during the period under discussion. But the later western 
men improved on the practise. Besides blazing the ways 
through the forest they adopted a method of showing the 
distances that had been traversed. At the end of each mile 
as nearly as the distance could be determined a 
prominent tree at the edge of the trail was selected, and 
on its -trunk were carved large and deep numerals in- 
dicating the number of miles from the starting place to 
the point thus marked. The figures cut into the tree were 
then painted red in order that they might be still more 

The primitive communications system of Illinois was 
united to that of Indiana by the native trails on the north, 
by the Illinois and Wabash Rivers, and by the Ohio River 
on the south. The Indiana paths, in turn, were linked with 
those of Ohio by the Ohio River on the south and by the 
native highways extending eastward from Ke-ki-on-ga to 
Sandusky, to the western end of Lake Erie, and to Detroit. 
Three trails extended northward through the forests of 
central and western Ohio. The easternmost of these 
proceeded from a little settlement called Columbus to a 
line of forts called Morrow, Ferree, Seneca and Stephen- 
son. Somewhat farther to the westward a second Ohio 
trace ran north from Springfield to military stations 
named Forts McArthur, Necessity, Finley and Meigs. 



The third Ohio forest path reached from Dayton, on the 
south, to Forts Lorain, St. Mary, Amanda, Jennings, 
Brown and Defiance. All three of these Ohio wilderness 
highways were connected in the north by east-and-west 
traces, and at Fort Defiance the north-and-south trail of 
western Ohio joined the native highway proceeding east- 
ward from Ke-ki-on-ga, in Indiana. 1 

The methods whereby travellers from the East reached 
the Ohio country before the introduction of periodic travel 
in that region have already been considered. On their ar- 
rival in Kentucky or in southern or western Ohio they 
were enabled, by means of the natural and native routes 
here outlined, to penetrate through nearly all the northern 
territory east of the Mississippi River. 

1 The early western system of overland travel communications, as above outlined, is 
well shown on the large folio map of "Ohio and Indiana," in the "American Atlas," pub- 
lished by H. S. Tanner in 1819. 






SUCH were the social conditions and travel routes 
found in the interior during the first two decades of 
the nineteenth century by those restless multitudes who 
came from the East by means of their horses and boats, or 
on their own feet. On such a primitive foundation the 
settlers were destined to erect, in little more than a genera- 
tion, the edifice of a new and modern society connected 
with the Atlantic coast by turnpikes, canals and railroads. 
Those are the people whose characters and habits 
during the years while they still remained a compara- 



lively isolated community we are about to observe. The 
testimony here presented concerning them and their 
lives during the interval in question will consist of records 
left by themselves. And since one of those pioneers after- 
ward preserved in written form a mass of unusual detail 
concerning the daily affairs of the people among whom he 
lived it is well to indicate, in his own words, the conditions 
found by him on his arrival amid the scenes in which his 
later life was to be passed. 1 In describing them, he said: 

"At the time I came to the state [Indiana], in March, 1817, there 
was not a railroad in the United States, nor a canal west of the Alle- 
ghany Mountains . . . Fire was struck by the flint and steel; 
the falling spark was caught in punk taken from the knots of the 
hickory tree. There was not a foot of turnpike road in the State and 
plank roads had never been heard of ; the girdled standing trees covered 
the cultivated fields; . . . not a bridge in the State; the traveling 
all done on horseback, the husband mounted before on the saddle, with 
from one to three of the youngest children in his arms the wife, with 
a spread cover reaching to the tail of the horse, sitting behind, with the 
balance of the children unable to walk in her lap; not a carriage nor 
buggy in all the country." - 

The pioneer chronicler made an error in the passage 
just quoted. He said there was "not a carriage nor buggy 
in all the country." He was living in the interior of In- 
diana, and did not know that a few vehicles such as he 
described had already appeared in the southern and more 
settled parts of the region. On another page is reproduced 
an official document issued bv the infant commonwealth 


then one year old and showing that a resident of the town 
of Vincennes had paid a tax of two dollars for the privilege 
of owning and using for one year "a two-wheel carriage 

1 The individual to whom reference is here made was Oliver H. Smith, one of the 
prominent figures in the early group of Indiana pioneers. He was a circuit lawyer, a 
state lawmaker and United States Senator. His descriptions of the people among whom 
he lived are narratives of personal knowledge. His anecdotal history of the Middle West 
was published in Cincinnati in 1858 under the title, "Early Indiana Trials; and Sketches." 
Statements or stories quoted from his book are hereafter indicated by the foot-note 

2 Smith, p. 116. 




196. Scene on the Morris Canal, in New Jersey. On this canal the boats 
were lifted nnd lowered 1,334 feet to different levels by means of twenty- 
three inclined plane railways. Only 223 feet were overcome by the lock 
system. The boats were eight and a half feet wide and from sixty to 
eighty feet long. 

for the conveyance of persons called a chaise." So there 
can be no doubt that travel vehicles of the sort described 
had reached Indiana by the year named, although the 
action of the state in putting a tax upon them indicated 
that such things were regarded as luxuries which they 
undoubtedly were. 

Other taxes imposed by the territory and state of 



Indiana at about the same time shed further light on 
social conditions in the region. Between the years 1804 
and 1807 a man who sold merchandise by retail was re- 
quired to pay an annual sum of fifteen dollars. By 1817 
this merchandising tax hacl been increased to twenty-five 
dollars, but the retailer was also permitted to sell wines 
and liquors as well as shoes, clothing, groceries and such 
things. A tavern keeper was required to pay an annual 
license fee of twelve dollars in 1813, and in 1816 the 
similar amount had been raised to twenty dollars, at which 
figure it remained at least until 1819. From earliest days 
the western people were imbued with a craving for play- 
ing the games known as billiards and pool, and the heavy 
tables required for that amusement were shipped into the 
interior on flatboats at large expense. The paraphernalia 
in question were always taxed, and in 1816 the proprietor 
of a billiard table was assessed no less than fiftv dollars for 


the privilege of maintaining it in his establishment. 1 

In continuing his narrative of early western conditions 
Smith wrote: 

"I stood ... on the site of Indianapolis, the capital of our State, 
when there was scarcely a tree missing from the dense forest around it. 
I passed through the wilds of Marion [the name of the county] on my 
pony, upon the winding Indian path, when the bear, the deer and the 
wolf sprang up before me. ... I recollect when the commerce of 
Marion and the infant capital was carried between Cincinnati and young 
Indianapolis by the semi-monthly six-ox train. . . . This was the 
second stage of commercial operations in Marion ; the single horse and 
the pack saddle being then employed in carrying the mail, the letters and 
papers having become too bulky to be carried in the pockets of the mail 
boy." 2 

1 There was a peculiar tax in vogue in Tennessee, at a little later period, the under- 
lying reason for which is not very clear. For a time during the third decade a law of the 
state provided that travellers or other people who were moving up-stream on any of the 
rivers in the western district of Tennessee must pay a tax if they sold groceries, during 
such up-stream trips, to the inhabitants of the regions they penetrated. This law was not 
operative against people who were s multaneously moving down-stream on the same rivers. 
In 1829 the act was amended, and such up-stream travellers were relieved of the tax 
during the months of April, May, June, October and November, although it remained in 
effect during the other portions of the year. "Acts passed at the Stated Session of 
the Eighteenth General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, 1829. Nashville; 1829." 

2 Smith, p. 287. 



Although the population of the western country in- 
creased rapidly during the years immediately following 
Smith's arrival, the travel conditions encountered by the 
people did not alter in any material degree in much of the 
region north and west of Ohio until subsequent to the year 
1830. Nine years after Smith had reached his new home 
he found himself a candidate for Congress, and in his 
memoirs he told of a campaign trip which he made be- 
tween the towns of Indianapolis and Ft. Wayne in 1826. 
His description of the journey ran: 

"There were no roads, nothing but Indian paths, to travel at that 
day through the wilderness. . . . The streams were high and the 
path for miles under water in places. ... I rode in that campaign 
a small brown Indian pony, a good swimmer. 1 . . . The path wound 
around the ridges until the river [Wabash] came full in sight. . . . 
The moment we reached the river the Indian 2 jumped down and . . . 
was out of sight in a moment in the w r oods, and I saw nothing of 
him for an hour, when he returned with the bark of a hickory tree about 
12 feet long and 3 feet in diameter. A fire was soon made. The bark 
was metamorphosed into a round-bottomed Indian canoe. . . . The 
canoe was launched ; my saddle, saddle-bag and blanket placed in one 
end, and I got in the other. With my weight the edges were about an 
inch above water. I took the paddle, and, by using the current, landed 
safely on the other shore. 3 The Indian swam the horse over. ... It 
was after twilight when I came to a large lake directly in my way. 
Fearing to go on, I turned the pony and rode out into the woods, to a 
beech tree that had been blown down some time before. Dismounting, 
I tied the pony to the brush of the tree, took off the saddle-bag and 
blanket, and laid down, without anything to eat, and very tired. In a 
few moments I heard the howling of wolves in every direction, some- 
times close to ms. The last thing I heard, as I fell asleep, was an old 
wolf barking some 20 feet from me. I slept soundly through the night, 
and when I waked the sun was full in my face. At dinner I was at the 
hotel table at Fort Wayne, w r ith an excellent appetite, having eaten noth- 
ing from early breakfast the day before. I made a speech that day from 

1 All western horses used for travel at that time were thoroughly trained in the art 
of swimming. 

2 It was a usual thing for travellers through unknown districts to employ native guides. 

3 The incident is reminiscent of the experience related by Mistress Knight, of Boston, 
regarding her journey from Boston to New York about a century and a quarter before. 
One of the same travel methods employed with such trepidation by the New England 
schoolmistress was still commonly in use only a few hundred miles west of the spot where 
her canoe adventure took place. 



the porch of the hotel. ... I received just ten votes in the county 
to reward me for my perilous trip. 1 

During this same campaign of 1826 Smith one day 
borrowed a buggy which he intended to use on a road that 
permitted such an exploit. The vehicle had recently been 
brought from New England by a neighbor named Love- 
joy, and had occasioned considerable talk. But after brief 
thought the candidate reconsidered his determination to 
move about the country on wheels, and he afterward gave 
his reason thus: 

"I borrowed it to ride to Wayne County, but I gave up the buggy 
and took my horse, for fear the people would think me proud, and it 
would injure my election." 2 

On another occasion in the campaign of 1826 Smith 
and his adversary" 5 engaged in a joint debate at the town 
of Allenville, and he later referred to the incident in his 

"The whole country was there," he said. "The judge was speaking, 
and for the first time introduced the new subject of railroads. He 
avowed himself in favor of them . . . and then, rising to the top of 
his voice: 'I tell you, fellow citizens, that in England they run the cars 
30 miles an hour, and they will yet be run at a higher speed in America.' 
This was enough. The crowd set up a loud laugh at the expense of the 
judge. An old fellow standing by me bawled out: 'You are crazy, or 
do you think we are all fools; a man could not live a moment at that 
speed.' The day was mine." 

At another meeting in joint debate the two candidates 
discussed the tariff. "The people knew but little about it," 
said Smith, "but what they had heard was decidedly 
against it. . . One old fellow said he had never seen one, 
but he believed it was hard on sheep." 4 

Despite the deplorable lack of appreciation displayed 
by Wayne county in giving him only ten votes Smith was 

1 Smith, pp. Sl-2. 

- Smith, p. 116. , 
"Judge John Test. 

* Smith, p. 80. 



elected, and he started from Indianapolis to Washington 
in. November of 1827. He made the trip on horseback, 
and rode to the national capital in the short time of seven- 
teen days. In commenting on the journey he afterward 
explained in his history that he could have availed himself 
of stage-coach accommodations for part of the distance, 

197. A Morris Canal boat was floated upon a massive wheeled cradle made of 
heavy timbers. There it was fastened, and the cradle was pulled up or 
let down the inclined plane by means of rope cables. On reaching the 
new level the cradle ran beneath the water on submerged tracks, and the 
boat was released and floated free again. 

but preferred not to do so. "Stages were all the go," he 
declared, "and travelling on horseback fast going out of 
fashion." 1 

The conditions of overland travel in the Illinois coun- 
try during the same years were identical with those just 
described. White men were wandering over the land in 

1 Smith, p. 



all directions; extreme interest was manifested by the 
public in reliable information regarding natural condi- 
tions, and the newspapers of the time sought in every way 
to satisfy the craving for such knowledge. They fre- 
quently printed letters written by men who had penetrated 
to out-of-the-way spots. A sample communication of the 
sort, written in 1822, is here quoted. It dealt princi- 
pally with an almost unknown little settlement called 
Chicago, and read in part as follows: 1 

"After experiencing considerable privations and dangers in traveling 
by land from Green Bay to Chicago, a distance of about 230 miles, I 
was amply compensated by a view of the latter place, which presents so 
much for interesting observation. Nature has in store so many and so 
great advantages at this spot, which can be easily recognized [grasped] 
by unlocking them at a moderate expense, that any great length of time 
will not, according to the progress of improvement making in our coun- 
try, continue before great attention is attracted to it. ... Public 
attention will ere long be attracted to this important and interesting sec- 
tion of the country. The Indian title is getting fast extinguished, and is 
mostly done already, and the Indians are clearing out of it. ... But 
few men of science and observation have yet visited the country, as the 
dwelling of a white man is not to be seen from Fort Clark to Chicago." 

The extreme economic importance of the horse in the 
interior during the early part of the century constantly 
resulted in efforts to acquire beasts of burden by dishonest 
methods. A scheme sometimes used by plausible scoundrels 
who were engaged in horse stealing as a profession was 
to appear in a new community and set up in business as 
liverymen. This device was usually operated by two 
swindlers who worked together. After they had become 
established, and had been given custody of a quantity of 
horse-flesh they would disappear between two days, taking 
with them the valuable property entrusted to their care. 

1 Printed in the "Farmers and Mechanics Journal," of Vincennes, on June 12, 1823, 
and by that paper credited to the "Vandalia Intelligencer" of an unnamed earlier day. The 
letter was published under the title "Journal of a Traveller through the Great Western 
Lakes and down the Illinois River, in July, August and September, 1822." 

A picture showing Chicago as it appeared about the same date is elsewhere reproduced. 


The customary aftermath of such an incident an in- 
dignant advertisement in the local newspaper seldom 
produced the desired results. A typical public notice of 
such an incident began i 1 

"Eloped from Vincennes with one handsome roan Mare, two bay 
mares and one small flee-bitten grey." The advertisement, after describ- 
ing the two swindlers, went on to say: "These rascals came to Vin- 
cennes some time ago, and got into business as Livery Stable Keepers, 
and by their fair speeches and apparent honesty and industrious habits, 
induced the subscribers to become their sureties in contracts to a large 
amount; and, after carrying on for some time, getting into debt as much 
as possible, and pocketing all the cash they could, they made their escape, 
leaving many people in the suds." 2 

Another popular way of acquiring horses through il- 
legitimate means was the method of buying them by 
counterfeit money, of which a large amount was in circula- 
tion throughout the country. One Jesse Britton, also of 
Vincennes, was a victim of this practise during the same 
year of 1820. He sold a fine horse for a hundred dollars 
in counterfeit bills, and told his trouble to the public in 
an advertisement as usual. 3 Britton's notice in the news- 
paper was of no especial importance as a document afford- 
ing new information on certain financial methods of the 
time, but it was noteworthy in a particular unrealized by 
its author. It contained what mav w r ell be one of the 


most vivid portrayals of the early type of American con- 
fidence-man or "sport" to be found in the literature of 
those years. Here is the description of the stranger: 

"The rascal is rather stout built, 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high, wtvV 
hair and whiskers, red flushed complexion, hairy and sunburnt about the 
neck, with long, yellow and disagreeable looking teeth. He wore an old 
white fur hat, green frock coat, the cuffs of which were edged with 
velvet blue striped domestic overalls or trousers, short boots or bootees, 
which had been mended, and a seam across one of them." 

1 From the "Indiana Centinel" (Vincennes) of November 4. 1820. 

2 The expression of pioneer American slang which concludes this advertisement is 
probably the early form of a present-day expression which measured by slang standards- 
is decidedly less dignified. 

s In the "Indiana Centinel" of July 8. 







198. Early literature dealing with the subject of travel in America. Title page 
of a guide book written for those using the Schuylkill Canal. It gave the 
location of all stumps, rocks and similar dangers to navigation, with other 
information necessary for the avoidance of shipwreck. 


The advertisement concluded with the information 
that whoever caught the scoundrel was to receive twenty 
dollars in genuine money. No immediate results seem to 
have been produced by the proclamation, for it continued 
to appear in the newspaper for several weeks. 

The very striking masculine costume just described 
was characteristic of the period, and a somewhat similar 
array was worn by nearly every man who tried by means 
of his apparel to surround himself with an atmosphere of 
dignity, or the nearest approach to that quality which he 
could simulate. The imposingly tall and somewhat bell- 
crowned stovepipe hats of the time were either white, 
gray, brown or straw-colored, according to the taste of the 
wearer. The voluminous frock coat was blue, green, 
claret-colored, brown, dull red, or of any other color de- 
sired, and usually had a collar and cuffs made of velvet in 
some contrasting shade. The trousers were often equally 
spectacular in appearance, and the bootees reached 
about half-way between the ankle and the knee. The 
waistcoat not mentioned in the above advertisement- 
was ordinarily of some color that would contrast with the 
big frock coat beneath which it was worn. Very little of 
the clothing used by men during the American pioneer 
period has survived to the present day, and such apparel 
is now exceedingly rare. 1 

Once in a while a few of the innumerable horse thieves 
who plied their trade throughout the West were captured 
and brought to jail. This usually happened after an 
epidemic of thievery, and a case of the sort that took place 
at Vincennes in the early days was described by Smith in 

1 Possibly the most comprehensive collection of the sort extant is that preserved in 
the little village of Geneseo, in New York state. It is in some respects unfortunate that 
the remarkable Geneseo collection of civilian and military apparel, personal belongings 
and household utensils of the pioneers is not located in a more accessible center where 
the significance and value of its treasures might be more widely recognized. 



his reminiscences. Thirty-nine lashes on the bare back 
still remained the penalty inflicted on conviction for a first 
offense. The jail was for once full of horse thieves, and 
when the time arrived for their trial the judge before 
whom they were fated to appear was General Marston G. 
Clark, a cousin of George Rogers Clark. The judge was 
an unusually perfect and eye-filling specimen of the finest 
type of western pioneer, and Smith described his appear- 
ance as he presided over the backwoods tribunal. 

"He was," said Smith, "about six feet in his stockings, 
of a very muscular appearance; wore a hunting shirt, 
leather pants, moccasins and a fox-skin cap, with a long 
queue down his back." 1 

When the first malefactor appeared before that awe- 
inspiring figure his lawyer made formal objection to the 
indictment on the ground that his client was improperly 
named in the instrument. Such was in truth the fact, for 
the defendant's middle initial had been omitted. The 
judge overruled the objection in the following language : 

"That makes no difference; I know the man, and that is sufficient." 
Objection number two : "There is no value put on the horse in the 

Ruling: "I know an Indian pony is worth ten dollars." 
Objection number three: "It is charged in the indictment to be a 
horse, when he is a gelding." 

Ruling: "I shall consider that a gelding is a horse; motion over- 

These preliminaries having been disposed of, the trial 
proceeded. Legal technicalities had already appeared in 
American judicial history, but had not yet acquired the 
commanding importance they afterward attained. Tes- 
timony was taken, the man was found guilty, and was 

1 One or more of the Justices of the United States Supreme Court still wore similar 
queues at as late a date as 1827. 



sentenced to receive thirty-nine lashes. Whereupon the 
convicted man's lawyer interposed another objection. 

"We move an arrest of judgment," he said, "on the 
ground that it is not charged in the indictment that the 
horse was stolen in the Territory of Indiana." 

The figure on the bench remained for a moment silent. 
He sat as still as a graven image. "That I consider a 
more serious objection," he finally replied. "I will con- 
sider on it till morning." 

Late in the evening Judge Clark held a brief consulta- 
tion with the sheriff, and at midnight that official took the 
prisoner from the log jail, escorted him far into the forest, 
bound him to a tree with his face toward its trunk, 
stripped off his shirt, and laid thirty-nine fearful lashes 
on his bare back. In the morning the prisoner was again 
brought before the judge without having opportunity to 
communicate with his counsel, and the lawyer again arose 
and repeated his objection. Judge Clark announced that 
he had decided to grant the defendant a new trial. 

Up sprang the prisoner. "No!" he screamed. "No! 
for heaven's sake! I discharge my attorney and with- 
draw the motion." 1 

Every other man in the jail got a like dose, and horse 
stealing was for several years a lost art in Indiana. What 
could technicalities avail against that ominous figure on 
the bench. Six feet of muscle in a hunting shirt, fox-skin 
cap, moccasins and leather pants. It was justice in- 
carnate. 2 

In those days, even as in these, many of the beliefs and 

1 Smith, pp. 160-1. 

2 Immediately after the Republic of Texas came into existence, a few years after- 
ward, the Congress of that nation passed a law ordaining that a horse thief should have 
the letter T branded on his flesh with a red-hot iron, "in such place as the court shall 
direct." That penalty was in addition to a fine not exceeding $1000, imprisonment up to 
one year, and 39 lashes on the bare back. "Laws of the Republic of Texas, etc. Printed 
by Order of the Secretary of State. Houston, 1838," p. 189. The law was approved 
December 21, 1836. 



practises of the people were reflected in their legal dis- 
putes, and the lost colloquial story of the early courts 
could it have been preserved in its entirety would have 
been an invaluable commentary on the life and society of 
the time. Smith told this incident: A case was presented 
to the grand jury against a man who had sold whisky at 


FjflO accommodate those wish to attend the Wor- 
Ji cester Cattle Shnv, from Providence, and the 
intermediate places, the packet boat Carrington will 
leave the Basin on Tuesday morning, October 6, at 
6 o'clock for Worcester, going through en that clay, 
returning, will leav.e Worcester on Thursday morn- 
ing, and arrive in Providence the same evening. 

Passengers who intend going in bar, must be on 
board at the tune above mentioned, as she will leave 
precisely at that hour. sent 28 

199. Special excursion canal boats were run to accommodate the public on 
unusual occasions. Advertisement of such an excursion boat, which car- 
ried passengers from Providence, in Rhode Island, to the cattle show in 
Worcester, Massachusetts, in one day. 

retail without license. The proof was positive. The 
question was put and the jurors unanimously voted that an 
indictment be drawn. Mr. Fletcher, the prosecuting at- 
torney who was presenting the evidence to the grand jury, 
drew the bill, handed it to the foreman and asked him to 
sign it. The foreman replied: "I shall do no such thing, 
Mr. Fletcher; I sell whisky without license myself, and 
I shall not indict others for what I do." A deadlock 



thereupon ensued, and the two guardians of the public 
peace explained the situation to the judge in person, but 
that official was either unable or disinclined to suggest 
any practical solution to the dilemma. So the two men 
went back to the grand jury room again. Then Prosecu- 
ting Attorney Fletcher took off his coat, doubled up his 
fists, stepped up to the foreman and said, "The law re- 
quires the last step to be taken." The foreman signed the 
indictment. 1 

Another legal combat described by Smith shows the 
political feeling of those days and the personal animosity 
in which it sometimes resulted. The two political parties 
of the time were the Democratic-Republican, which was 
then in power, and the Federalist, whose influence was 
rapidly disappearing. Almost all the western people 
were Democrats, and according to the incident narrated 
a citizen named John Allen had called another man 
named Joshua Harlan "an old Federalist." Harlan 
brought suit against Allen for damages. His complaint 
declared that "by the publishing of which false, slanderous 
and defamatory libel the plaintiff has been brought into 
public disgrace, and his neighbors have since refused to 
have any intercourse with him." 

The case came to trial and the first witness for the 
plaintiff was a man named Herndon, who had come to 
Indiana in very early days. He was asked the question: 

"Do you consider it libelous and slanderous to call a man a Fed- 

Answer: "I do." 

Question : "Which would you rather a man would call you, a Fed- 
eralist or a horse thief?" 

Answer: "I would shoot him if he called me one or the other." 

Twenty-nine more witnesses gave identical testimony 

1 Smith, pp. 57-8. 



for the plaintiff. The jury debated the subject all night 
and came back into court next morning with a verdict find- 
ing Allen guilty and fining him one thousand dollars. 
After the jury had announced the result of its delibera- 
tions the presiding judge said to its members : "The court 
are well satisfied with your verdict, gentlemen; you are 
discharged." 1 

The testimony of a defendant in a commonplace case 
wherein the charge was assault and battery was set down 
by Smith as follows : 

"I told him he lied ; he told me I lied. I spit in his face ; he spit in 
my face. I slapped him in the face ; he slapped me in the face. I kicked 
him; ha kicked me. I tripped him up; he tripped me up. I struck him 
and knocked him down; he got up and knocked me down. I then got 
mad; he got mad, and we were just agoing to fight when the saloon 
keeper got between us. That is all." 2 

The plaintiff was fined one dollar; the defendant was 
fined one dollar. 

But the case which was in one way the most im- 
portant of all those recounted by Smith was a series of 
trials in which four white men were charged with the 
killing of nine Indians. The affair took place in 1824, at 
a time when the prejudice entertained by the mass of the 
whites against the natives was still occasionally in evi- 
dence, though not so extreme in its character as in former 
years. Two men of the Seneca nation, together with their 
wives and one other squaw, and four children between the 
ages of infancy and ten years, had established a hunting 
camp in the forest. Five white men came to the Indian 
camp one day saying they were travellers who had lost 
their horses in the woods. The Indian men dropped their 
own affairs, offered their help in recovering the animals, 

1 Smith, pp. 120-122. 
* Smith, pp. 335-6. 



and set forth with their visitors for that purpose. After 
the Senecas had been shot from behind the white men 
returned to the camp and killed the women and three of 
the children. The fourth child was only wounded, and 
was despatched by having its brains knocked out against 
the end of a log. 

One of the whites concerned in the affair made his 
escape, but the other four were arrested. Although the 
old frontier doctrine that "the only good Indian is a dead 
Indian" still commanded supporters as a theoretical 
proposition, the crime inspired a general feeling of con- 
demnation among the Caucasian population. The four 
prisoners were tried separately. The cases were con- 
sidered to be of such importance, and public interest in 
them was so widespread, that a new and pretentious log 
court-house, containing two rooms, was built to serve as 
the theater of the legal drama. The court room itself was 
some twenty-five or thirty feet square, and the judges sat 
on a narrow platform about three feet high, built along 
one side of the room. Their seat was a long wooden 
bench. On the floor in front of the judges' platform was 
a similar bench for the lawyers, a little wooden pen for 
prisoners, a table for the clerk of the court, and still 
another bench for witnesses. A long pole separated the 
official section of the court from that part of its area de- 
voted to the use of spectators, who stood up. The other 
room in the court-house was for the use of jurymen, and 
its dedication to such a purpose marked a decided ad- 
vance in that element of pioneer court procedure. The 
grand jury which had indicted the four men had carried 
on its discussions while seated on a fallen log out in the 



An imposing array of counsel, including General 
Sampson Mason of Ohio, defended the first of the 
prisoners brought to account. General Mason discussed 
the scenes attending the trial in a letter that he sent back 
to Ohio, and which finally found publication in a news- 
paper there. One part of his description read: "As I 
entered the court room the Judge was sitting on a block 
paring his toenails, when the sheriff entered, out of breath, 
and informed the court that he had six jurors tied, and his 
deputies were running down the others." In discussing 
the passage here quoted from the letter of the eminent 
Ohio lawyer, Smith said: "General Mason, with all his 
candor, unquestionably drew upon his imagination in this 
case." It is a loss to the riches of historical integrity that 
Smith himself was not more specific in challenging the 
accuracy of his colleague. For if we analyze both General 
Mason's description and the precise terms of its impeach- 
ment, we find that Senator Smith might have based his 
contradiction on the point that the sheriff was not out of 
breath when he made his announcement. 

The twelve men who sat in judgment were arrayed in 
the pioneer habiliments of the day, including moccasins 
and side-knives. The case was concluded for the prisoner 
"in able, eloquent and powerful speeches, appealing to 
the prejudice of the jury against the Indians; relating in 
glowing colors the early massacres of white men, women 
and children by the Indians; reading the principal in- 
cidents in the history of Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton 
. . . and not forgetting the defeat of Braddock, St. Clair 
and Harmar . . . Judge Wick charged the jury at some 
length . . . and distinctly impressing upon the jury . . . 
that the murder of an Indian was equally as criminal in 
law as the murder of a white man." 



One of the defendants was found guilty of man- 
slaughter and the other three were convicted of murder 
in the first degree. The sentence of one murderer was 


commuted, and the other two suffered the extreme penalty 
of the law. Of the final scene Smith remarked: "A 
Seneca Chief, with his warriors, stood on a hill that com- 
manded a view of the gallows. 'We are satisfied,' the 
Chief said. Thus ended the only trials where convictions 
of murder were ever had, followed by the execution of 
white men, for killing Indians in the United States." 1 

Two other incidents contained in the printed annals of 
the time one dealing with a tavern keeper and the other 
with an adventure of Davy Crockett will be of aid in 
portraying the pioneer men whose lives, manners and 
characters are here discussed. The innkeeper in question 
was Captain John Berry, 2 who kept a tavern at Anderson- 
town, in Indiana. Berry was inordinately proud of the 
cleanliness of his establishment, and his well-known feel- 
ing in that regard was on one occasion made the basis of a 
practical joke which came near to ending in unpleasant 
consequences. The date of the incident was about 1830, 
at which time it was the custom of probably a large 
majority of men especially in the frontier regions to 
retire for the night, no matter where they slept, without 
removing the shirts worn by them in the daytime. That 
useful garment known as the nightshirt, although well 
established and growing in popularity throughout the 
East, had not yet appeared in the West in sufficient quanti- 
ties or with sufficient frequency to make it a familiar 
article of apparel. A man travelling in the interior went 
to bed in his shirt and never gave the matter a thought; 
nor did the tavern keeper at whose house he lodged. 

1 Smith, pp. 51-57 and p. 179. 

- From whom the "Berry Trace" was named. 



Now it so happened that there one day came to Berry's 
tavern in Andersontown a little group of prominent men 
among whom were the Smith mentioned in these pages, 
and another well-known lawyer named James Whit- 
comb. 1 Whitcomb possessed a njightshirt, and what is 
more he carried it about the country with him and used it. 
His companions of course knew of his idiosyncrasy, and 
on arrival at the Berry establishment they decided to play 
a joke on the proprietor which should have the Whitcomb 
nightgown as its foundation. So giving the matter an 
aspect of unusual importance and secrecy they went to 
Berry and told him that Whitcomb, on a previous visit, 
had acquired a poor opinion of the cleanliness of the 
sheets used on Berry's beds and that he had therefore 
brought with him a special shirt which he intended to 
wear when he went to sleep, in order that he might not 
soil his regular shirt. 

Berry refused to believe the charge. He could not 
think so ill of his distinguished guest. But the con- 
spirators insisted they were right, and told the landlord 
he might convince himself with his own eyes at the proper 
time. When Whitcomb retired to his room at night the 
landlord tiptoed silently behind him, still unconvinced, 
and gluing his eye to the keyhole he watched the procedure 
within. He saw Whitcomb actually take off his shirt and 
put on another one, as had been described. The sub- 
stitute even seemed longer than the ordinary shirt, as 
though its wearer desired to protect himself to the last 
degree. The incredible story, then, was alt too true. 
Berry burst open the door in a fury, rushed in, sprang 
upon Whitcomb and bore him down, preparatory to the 
infliction of condign punishment on a man who dared cast 

1 Who not long afterward became Governor of Indiana. 



such unmerited odium on his establishment. The per- 
petrators of the hoax, hearing the struggle, hurried to the 
spot and declared it was all a joke, insisting that people in 
other parts of the country really wore such things also. 
Finally they convinced the landlord or at least instilled 
a doubt into his mind and peace was restored. 1 

It was this same Captain Berry who, while walking 
on Broadway one Sunday during his first journey to New 
York, paused in front of a pretentious building into which 
numerous people were entering. The edifice was a 
church, though the stranger from Indiana was not aware 
of the fact. He was cordially invited to enter by a man 
stationed outside for the purpose, and just at that moment 
the organ inside burst into the strains of a march. Where- 
upon Captain Berry hastily declined the invitation, saying 
that he "never danced." 2 

The Crockett adventure was written by himself, and 
was found among his personal papers in Tennessee after 
he fell at the Alamo. Though but a fragment describing 
an alleged incident of river life in the early days, it re- 
vealed the temper, customs and vernacular of a certain 
type of western men whose numbers were far from small. 
Crockett's narrative read: 

"One day as I was sitting in the stern of my broad horn, the old Free 
and Easy, on the Mississippi, taking a horn of midshipman's grog, with 
a tin pot in each hand, first a draugh of whiskey, and one of river 
water, who should float down past me but Joe Snag; he was in a snooze, 
as fast as a church, with his mouth wide open ; he had been ramsquaddled 
w r ith whiskey for a fortnight, and as it evaporated from his body it 
looked like the steam from a vent pipe. Knowing the feller would be 
darned hard to wake, with all this steam on, as he floated past me I 
hit him a crack over his knob with my big steering oar. He waked in a 
thundering rage. Says he, halloe stranger, who axed you to crack my 
lice? Says I, shut up your mouth, or your teeth will get sunburnt. Upon 

1 Smith, pp- 74-5. 

2 Smith, p. 75. 



this he crooked up his neck and neighed like a stallion. 1 I clapped my 
arms and crowed like a cock. 2 Says he, if you are a game chicken I'll 
pick all the pin feathers off of you. For some time back I had been so 
wolfy about the head and shoulders that I was obliged to keep kivered 
up in a salt crib to keep from spiling, for I had not had a fight for as 
much as ten days. Says I, give us none of your chin music, but set your 
kickers on land, and I'll give you a severe licking. The fellow now 
jumped ashore, and he was so tall he could not tell when his feet w r ere 
cold. He jumped up a rod. Says he, take care how I lite on you, and 
he gave me a real sockdologer that made my very liver and lites turn to 
jelly. But he found me a real scrcuger. I brake three of his ribs, and 
he knocked out five of my teeth and one eye. He was the severest colt 
that ever I tried to break. I finally got a bite hold that he could not shake 
off. We were now parted by some boatmen, and we were so exorsted 
that it was more than a month before either could have a fight. It seemed 
to me like a little eternity. And although I didn't come out second best, 
I took care not to wake up a ring tailed roarer with an oar again." 3 

The conditions and incidents that have been related- 
glimpses at the people of the interior through records left 
by themselves certainly do not constitute a complete pic- 
ture of those times, nor is their present use intended to sug- 
gest such a canvas. But nevertheless they have their value 
to us in our desire to build up a better present understand- 
ing of the Americans of those days. For, somewhat as the 
comparative anatomist by the aid of five or six bones 
may reconstruct with marvellous exactitude an unknown 
animal of long ago, and discover its habits and methods 
of life, so also may we gain a little broader knowledge of 

1 A challenge to battle. 

2 Acceptance of the challenge. 

3 From Vol. 7, No. 4, of "Davy Crockett's Almanack of Wild Sports in the West, etc." 
Nashville, Tenn., 1838. The preface of this publication states that it is printed by the 

' - s of Colonel Crockett, and that in addition to those numbers already issued, five more 



statement tnen soes on to say: Mis posthumous papers contain a great number pt 
wild frolics and scrapes, together with adventurous exploits in the chase, both those in 
which he was engaged himself, and others that came w;thin his knowledge. The engrav- 
ings are mostly taken from his drawings, which are very spirited. He drew on birch 
bark with a burnt stick." 

ns to have been unknown to American bibliog- 


the generation in question by the study of such frag- 
ments as these. Each circumstance, law or story in itself 
is a small thing, by no means dependable as a basis for 
general conclusions concerning the period discussed. Yet 
when all of them are considered together we feel that we 


Between New-York and Philadelphia, via Delaware ami Karitan Canal. 


AT) V fS//i~\ THO M S <> N 4" fflLSO?r,JYetl Sine!, opposite Pier 2 X. R., jVew York, Proprietor*. 
UV't/''dzK&A^ ***** *HIPIWaH OW/i HTtoma, PModfJphm, Agent. 

201 After railways had appeared in the East and had made the old horse- 
drawn canal craft unprofitable, a few of the boat companies tried to keep 
up the fight by using steam tow-boats. Billhead of the Merchants' Line 
on the Delaware and Raritan Canal, between New York and Philadelphia, 
in 1843. 

possess more than a surmise respecting the years we are 
striving to see. 

The laws, events, conditions, sketches and anecdotes 
given in this and the preceding chapter are selections from 
hundreds of similar ones that might be cited from the 
same and other contemporary native sources. It is a 
principle of historical narrative that the one who 
writes must not incorporate in his recital any unusual 
condition of earlier times merely because it was unusual, 
or an isolated circumstance of former days whose 
character is apt to produce, in the mind of the reader, an 
impression inconsistent with truth. To avoid the creation 



of a false belief, and to paint, as far as is possible, a real 
and somewhat comprehensive picture of an epoch 
under consideration, it is necessary that a historian 
summon to his aid the laws, surroundings, habits, beliefs, 
speech and deeds of the men he discusses. And it is best 
for him to let them tell their own story, adding only such 
comment and interpretation as he hopes will make their 
self-told narrative more clear and connected. 

Even then he often fears he will in some degree mis- 
lead, for his space is limited, and, if he is dealing with a 
period rich in interest, whose story has formerly been told 
in diverse ways, he can only present a fragment of the 
material at his command, and that he has weighed. More 
than ever, in such case, does he see the need of choosing 
records that are typical, rather than exceptional. His 
best assurance of safety lies in the discovery that the 
illustrative matter so chosen by him from the laws, sur- 
roundings, habits, beliefs, speech and deeds of the men 
portrayed, and from original sources widely separated 
and independent of one another is consistent and inter- 

It must not be understood, in visualizing the last 
pioneer generation of America, that all men of that time 
from 1800 to about 1835 lived on the same plane of social 
development. Nothing could be further from the fact. 
There were then American men and women of culture 
limited only by world-progress up to that interval. Every 
city and nearly every town held them. One of the first 
activities of every new commonwealth was the organiza- 
tion of a school system and a state college. But that 
element of society did not then any more than now 
dominate the beliefs or acts, or swiftly alter the circum- 
stances of their fellow men. We are dealing with society 



in bulk. It is not unsafe to say that if we misjudge the 
pioneer population here considered, there is more likeli= 
hood that we err in allotting to those men too great a 
degree of polish and advancement, rather than in con- 
sidering them too uncouth and distant, as compared with 
the generation of to-day. 

We feel that men who thus spoke and acted in their 
mutual association must have had attributes in keeping 
with the deeds and utterances disclosed that a people 
wherein such qualities were revealed as matter-of-fact ele- 
ments of social life must have been, at least, a more con- 
sistent generation than the one of which we, amid the com- 
plexities of present days, form a part. And if we are right, 
and those men were consistent in so far as their 
mental attitude and intercourse with one another were 
concerned, then we can draw with reasonable sureness the 
chief outlines of the social era in which they lived. We 
find ourselves, like the comparative anatomist, building up 
the dominant American traits of the period as those 
qualities existed in the regions where new national im- 
pulses found their birth. 

In this process we are aided by our knowledge of 
much that had gone before. The Americans of the 
years which witnessed the critical rush into turnpike, canal 
and railway building had been moulded in the rough, be- 
fore their birth, by earlier conditions that had shaped the 
fundamental features of their character. The lesser 
features of that national character as manifested during 
the period in question were shaped by those new needs 
in which the people found themselves for the first time 
involved, to whose solution they could only bring inherited 
beliefs and methods, reinforced by such small experience 
as might be gained day by day. So, in hereafter following 



202. Canal travel in the Middle West. A packet boat on the Miami Canal, in 

Ohio. The passengers are gathered under an awning that has been 

stretched to protect them from the sun during the voyage. 

the story of their successes and failures as they entered 
upon the important activities about to be recited, we will 
be aided in comprehending their aspirations and methods 
by an appreciation of the human qualities out of which 
their desires, limitations and acts necessarily sprang. 

Some of those qualities have at least been suggested. 
The Americans of the epoch between 1800 and 1835 
during which time definite trend was given to present-day 
conditions of social and economic affairs throughout the 
country were still a pioneer people in thought and man- 
ner of life. They had conquered a Wilderness of one sort, 
and had accumulated much learning of one sort in so do- 
ing. In other knowledge they were, as a people, unusually 
deficient. Their long, unrelaxing struggle had given them 
no time to delve into the study of matters not in some way 
related to visible and immediate needs. All their immense 
fund of experience was of specialized character, exquis- 



itely fitted to its purpose, and that purpose was ceasing to 
exist. They had reached the Mississippi. 1 The eastern part 
of the continent at the commencement of the century was a 
country of widely scattered, inert and immobile population 
groups, large and small, between which slowly trickled a 
few insignificant streams of information, commerce and 
human movement. Then, during about a decade of time 
from 1802 to 1815 2 there was borne in upon the people 
a comparatively sudden realization that the contest with 
nature which had occupied them for nearly two centuries 
was practically finished. From that time onward, for a 
score of years, the necessity for better means of transporta- 
tion between different sections was the new and principal 
subject of discussion. 

The Wilderness as such was gone. Much of it had 
been swept bodily away; the part remaining was simply a 
forest and an obstacle. 3 And then, behold! there loomed 
still another Wilderness before the last generation of the 
pioneers. It was not a wilderness of nature, but one of 
men's own making, for they themselves had created it. It 
was not a wilderness of material form, assailable by the 
brute strength of the ax, but one that needed for its suc- 
cessful conquest the use of knowledge and much wisdom. 
It was a wilderness composed of civilization's necessities 
and the desire of men to mingle with one another. Its 
possible pitfalls, darkness and labyrinths were the intangi- 
ble but no less dangerous elements of human ignorance, 
avarice, jealousy and mistaken judgment. 

Possibly no other people were ever before confronted 
with a common task demanding for its best performance 

1 Missouri was the only state west of the river until 1836. 

2 Three years of this period were occupied by the War of 1812, which temporarily 
distracted popular thought from the subject of better transportation facilities. 

3 Our long national blindness to the value of forests as a national economic asset is 
doubtless due to the fact that for many generations we were smothered in riches of that 



a more wise conception of the future, and a more unselfish 
consideration of the general welfare, than were those 
Americans who first keenly realized the need of linking 
all parts of their vast dominion by new and better methods 
of communication. That problem was the second and 
greatest Wilderness which they faced in their work of 
continental conquest. Upon the foresight and methods 
employed in their new undertaking depended, for an in- 
definite time to come, the material conditions under which 
they and their descendants were to live and progress. 
Every phase of the nation's life was thereafter to be 
shaped, and all its future inhabitants were to be intimately 
affected by their procedure and the attitude of their 
chosen servants. It is needless to say that neither the 
people of that period nor their governmental representa- 
tives realized, as we now do, the truths here stated. While 
following the developments of the decisive years soon to 
be considered, wherein our modern transportation system 
had its beginnings and took definite shape, we find 
numerous occasions on which the future economic history 
of the nation hung in the balance or swerved from one 
course to another. 1 And at times we are almost tempted to 
wonder whether the trend of events was not affected by 
some determining influence now beyond tracing, but 
whose source lay in the selfish foresight of a few rather 
than in any honest lack of foresight by the many. 

The principal thought that needs be borne in mind 
while following the creation of our modern transportation 
system through the instrumentality of the national govern- 
ment, the state governments and private activities, is that it 
was brought into being by a pioneer generation; that 
definite shape was assumed by the system between 1802 

1 As is the case to-day. 




Three Daily Lines between CHICAGO and LASALLE, as follows : 
Two daily lines of Mail Passenger Packets leave Chicago and Lasalle 
at 8 A. M. and 5 P. M , through in 22 hours, distance 10l) miles, fare 4 ; 
connecting at Chicago with the Michigan Central Railroad Line, and 
Lake line of steamers to Detroit and Buffalo ; at Lasalle with a daily 
line of Passenger Steam Pa'.-kets for St. Louis and intermediate places. 
Time from Chicago to St. Louis, from two to three days. Also, one 
daily line of freight packets between Chicago and Lasalle, leaving 
Chicago at 2 P. M., and Lasalle at 7 P. M., for the transportation of 
passengers and light freight generally. EMIGRANTS, with their furni- 
ture, &c., fare $3. 












$ cts. 


$ cts. 






Summit . 





1 00 






1 60 



1 00 

AHX Sable 


1 75 

Lock port . 


1 40 

Dresden . 


1 85 



1 50 

Kankakee F 




2 00 



2 03 




Kankakee Fe 




2 00 



2 50 

Dresden . 


2 25 

Lookport . 


2 75 

Anx Sable 


2 25 



3 00 



2 50 



3 20 



3 25 

Summit . 


3 50 



3 50 



3 85 



4 00 



4 00 

204. Westernmost work of the canal-building era. The Illinois and Michigan 
Canal was a hundred miles long, had three boats a day in each direction, 
and carried passengers over the whole distance in 22 hours, at a cost of 
four dollars. From "Disturnell's American and European Railway and 
Steamship Guide: 1851." 

and 1835 while the people were necessarily untrained in 
the creative and administrative work they were perform- 
ing. The only weapons they possessed for use in at- 
tacking the most formidable and complex wilderness 
that man can encounter the problem of his own social 
and economic well-being were such desires, ideas and 
methods as they had applied to ths conquest of the 
least formidable variety of wilderness and to their own 



lives while so occupied. It follows that their first at- 
titude toward the new work on which they entered, 
and the things they did during the early stages of that 
work, were direct manifestations of the national character 
as it then existed. Therefore any addition to our knowl- 
edge of the men of those days however small is of ad- 
vantage in understanding their purposes, earnestness, en- 
thusiasm, disputes, shiftings, wisdom, blindness and 
methods of procedure during a time whose events were 
freighted with such significance for the future. 

As the story proceeds, and as the governmental turn- 
pikes and the canals and railroads appear upon the stage 
of progress, we will be able to discern significant oc- 
casions whereon certain attributes of the national 
character exercised a controlling power in the develop- 
ment of events either for good or ill. Some of the 
qualities of mind acquired by the people through their 
long battle with primitive conditions were useful in 
various phases of their new undertaking, and were ap- 
plied to it with benefit. Still others occasionally wrought 
harm. The central government's determination to un- 
dertake important social and industrial tasks for all the 
people in common first manifested, 1 as will be seen, in 
connection with the need for interstate communication 
facilities in 1802 no doubt had its birth in the human 
instinct that caused all members of a wilderness com- 
munity to unite in erecting the cabin of a newcomer be- 
cause he alone could not build it. And the opposition of 
individual states to federated governmental purpose 
which opposition was later to become politically known 
as "The State's Rights Doctrine"- - together with the mu- 
tual jealousies displayed by various states and communi- 

1 The carriage of mails was not an exception. Private companies and individuals com- 
peted with the government in that activity until after 1840. 



ties in connection with transportation plans, may likewise 
have had its ultimate source in the pioneer American con- 
viction that each man was his own sovereign. So he was 
in the natural forest, but not afterward. Those days had 

There were three prominent qualities of the national 

Mr ' - 


205. Even travel by canal packet had its dangers in the eyes of the early 


character, all being outgrowths of previous pioneer con- 
ditions, that were to become noticeable in the years wit- 
nessing the birth of interstate turnpikes, canals and 
railroads. Those qualities were inventiveness, cock- 
sureness, and a desire for argument, The facility with 
which the American pioneer had long devised expedients 



fitted for his need was to be again proved. Through the 
manifestation of his versatility in that respect the trans- 
portation system created by him at once assumed its own 
individuality and was characterized, from the first, by 
many devices that he originated. 

The popular tendency to argument, so prominently 
displayed in connection with the newly realized travel 
and transportation needs of society, grew out of the long 
national isolation and tendency to soliloquize which have 
already been mentioned. 

Those human qualities that had been necessary for 
doing what had already been done by the American 
people were hardihood, directness of purpose and dogged 
determination. The task hitherto performed notwith- 
standing its immensity had been one essentially simple 
in its character. The knowledge they had gained during 
the process had been so drilled into their lives that it had 
literally become a part of them. The things they did know 
they knew most marvellously well. They had been so 
long isolated with regard to other Caucasian peoples and 
exterior information that they had gradually arrived at 
a state of mind which virtually ignored the existence of 
other conditions than their own. They were extraordi- 
narily wise through the small arc of their own experience, 
and equally ignorant and narrow-minded throughout the 
remainder of the circle of human life and work. But 
since the remainder of that circle was unknown to them, 
and since they did possess a conscious mastery of their 
own environment, they imagined that their wisdom might 
be applied with propriety and profit to all departments 
of human affairs. Hence the phenomenon of American 
cock-sureness, a national trait whose most acute symptoms 
are perceptibly subsiding under the soothing ministrations 



of time, and which, in days soon to come, will seemingly 
be brought so far under control as to warrant a firm hope 
of complete recovery. 

They had not hitherto been constantly required to 
apply a knowledge already obtained to the solution of 
new and radically different conditions of existence. They 
were in a rut, so far as methods of community life were 
concerned, and had been long in that situation. They had 
not discovered that ability to grasp the vital principle 
governing any social or economic condition, coupled with 
moral and mental strength to sweep away outgrown proc- 
esses connected with its former use and courage to apply 
the principle itself divested of hampering customs in 
an effort toward achieving a better condition, is one of 
the highest manifestations of a people's civilization. 

For these reasons the members of the last pioneer gen- 
eration of Americans did not possess the qualifications 
which would have enabled them to attack with undiluted 
success the new situation faced by them. Probably no 
people so situated, and with such a past, could have done 
it. The wonder is, rather, that they succeeded so well as 
they did. Blind in large measure to their own deficiencies, 
and upheld by a supreme self-confidence and energy, they 
set about the work which was theirs to do. The creation 
of modern turnpikes, canals and railroads began. 





IT was said in a. previous chapter that the inspiration 
for the building of the important governmental traffic 
route the old National Road came from the West, 
arid that the work itself, though begun in the East, 1 was 
commenced in response to the repeated and imperative de- 
mands of the western pioneers. It should be added here 
that the realization of the western desire was long delayed 
by two causes. The first of these was the slowness with 
which that part of the highway east of the Ohio River 
was completed, and the other was due to a political strug- 

1 As a westward extension of existing roads. 


gle arising from a contention that the Constitution did not 
confer upon the central government the power to under- 
take public improvements of the kind in progress. 

The National Road or Cumberland Road, as it was 
at first called was begun in Maryland in 1808 and did 
not reach the border of Ohio until nine years afterward, 
in 1817. The first congressional act looking toward its 
creation was passed in 1802, and the Federal decision to 
unite the Atlantic coast with the Mississippi River by an 
overland governmental highway was reached in 1806. 
But it was not until 1820 that the work of surveying and 
locating the exact position of ths road was begun through 
Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and not until 1825 after a 
national political campaign fought largely over the con- 
stitutional question just mentioned that heavy ap- 
propriations for its construction through the interior were 
made and the enterprise pushed forward in that part of 
the country. 

The purpose of the government to build a continuous 
road from the East to the Mississippi as that pioneer 
intent existed before structural operations began on any 
section of ths route is shown in the message with which 
President Jefferson submitted to Congress a statement of 
the course chosen for the road in the East. Under date 
of February 19, 1808, he said: 

". . .1 shall pay material regard to the interests and wishes of 
the populous parts of the State of Ohio, and to a future and convenient 
connection with the road which is to lead from the Indian boundary 
near Cincinnati, by Vincennes, to the Mississippi at St. Louis, under 
authority of the act of April 21, 1806. In this way we may accomplish 
a continuous and advantageous line of communication from the seat 
of the General Government to St. Louis, passing through several very 
inter eating, pointy to the Western country." 

The genesis of the movement which resulted in the 






206. Cartoon indicating the opinion entertained by travellers toward the 
sleeping-bunk system so long offered for their accommodation by barges, 
steamboats and canal boats. Boarding-house landladies did not equip their 
bedrooms in that manner, but the artist apparently intended to suggest that 
they also might decide to adopt the prevailing fashion. 

building of this transportation route from the East to 
the interior by public funds, as an interstate Federal proj- 
ect for the benefit of the entire country, is to be found 
in a law of April 30, 1802, entitled "An Act to Enable 
the People of the Eastern Division of the Territory 



Northwest of the River Ohio to form a Constitution and 
State Government, and for other Purposes." Section 7, 
Article III, of the Act read: 

"That one-twentieth part of the net proceeds of the land lying within 
the said State [Ohio] sold by Congress, from and after the thirtieth of 
June next, after deducting all expenses incident to the same, shall be ap- 
plied to the laying out and making public roads, leading from the 
navigable waters emptying into the Atlantic, to the Ohio, to the said 
State, and through the same, such roads to be laid out under the authority 
of Congress, with the consent of the several States through which the 
road shall pass." 

Commonplace as this language appears, the para- 
graph just quoted contained potentialities hardly sur- 
passed in importance by those of any other law enacted 
by Congress during its history. For although the purpose 
of the act was merely the making of a turnpike, it affirmed 
the government's acquirement of powers so broad in their 
character that the nation, under its operation and the 
operation of later laws of like nature and purpose, was 
afterward brought within close and measurable distance 
of building its own railroads as Federal enterprises. A 
consideration of the circumstances accompanying, and 
developing out of the act, will indicate its character. 

The present constitutional government had been put 
in operation in 1789. Vermont had entered the "Union" 
in 1791, but the admission of that state, owing to her loca- 
tion, had not brought up the question of communication 
facilities between her and her sister commonwealths. 
Kentucky and Tennessee became states in 1792 and 1796 
respectively, but, as has been seen, they were already 
united with the East by usable roads created through 
pioneer enterprise. With Ohio destined to be fourth 
in the list of new states the situation was different. The 
northern edge of her territory could be reached by way 


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o 2. 



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o -o 


_ o 

?$ ^^^^s?^'?^^?^ IN 
l^ 1 f f i i f 1 1 1 1 1 -1 1 1 1 1 1 1 i S 
^> I- 1. s- a: 1 1 i 1 1 <.^ i s 1-1 1 & s 


of the Mohawk valley and Lake Erie, and her southern 
border could be attained by using the Ohio River or the 
roads leading up from Kentucky. There remained, how- 
ever, a large expanse in the interior to which there was no 
easy access, for, though two crude pioneer roads extended 
to her eastern lands they offered no desirable alternative 
to prospective emigrants who wished to avoid the water 
journey and at the same time wanted to reach the center 
of the new country. Nor could the people already in 
southern Ohio move through the interior of the territory, 
or go back and forth between their settlements and the 
East without making the wide detour into Kentucky. 
Thus placed, Ohio demanded statehood and better means 
of intercourse with the coast region. Her remote situa- 
tion, condition and needs presented a new social and 
economic problem to the operating machinery of the 
young nation. 

The act of 1802 was the response to Ohio's request. 
It contained one provision which placed the territory in 
a peculiar and unprecedented position, for the paragraph 
known as Article III of Section 7 just quoted was one 
of several offers made to Ohio in these words : 

"That the following propositions be, and the same are hereby, offered 
to the convention of the eastern State of said territory, when formed, for 
their free acceptance or rejection, which, if accepted by the convention, 
shall be obligatory on the United States." 

Thus it appears that on the first occasion when real need 
of interstate roads and transportation facilities arose under 
the Constitution the Federal government, through Con- 
gress, declared its power to appropriate public money 
for the purpose of creating such interstate traffic routes; 
enunciated the principle that those routes be laid out 
under the authority of Congress; and seemingly took for 



granted the consent of any affected states. It went fur- 
ther, for it laid on Ohio the alternative of accepting or 
rejecting as part of her basic law the proposition that 
the central government had power to build a transporta- 
tion route through her jurisdiction. Ohio could have be- 
come a state under the phraseology of the enabling act- 
even though she had rejected the proposition. But she 
did not; she accepted it, and so entered the Union on the 
basis of an acknowledgment that the Federal administra- 
tion had authority to build traffic routes in and through 
the state, and with knowledge that such action would 
be taken. 

Ohio became a state under the act of 1802, and in 
due course of time a Congressional committee, to which 
the subject of the planned interstate road had been re- 
ferred, made a report 1 recommending that the eastern 
section of the route extend from Cumberland, in Mary- 
land, to Wheeling, in Virginia. In the report it was 
stated, among other things, that 

"They [the committee] suppose that to take the proper measures for 
carrying into effect the section of the law respecting a road or roads to 
the State of Ohio, is a duty imposed upon Congress by the law itself, and 
that a sense of duty will always be sufficient to insure the passage of the 
bill now offered to the Senate. To enlarge upon the highly important 
considerations of cementing the union of our citizens located on the 
Western waters with those of the Atlantic states would be an indelicacy 
offered to the understanding of the body to whom this report is ad- 
dressed, as it might seem to distrust them." 

The bill providing for the building of a Federal in- 
terstate highway was passed by Congress, and approved 
by President Jefferson on March 29, 1 806. The four states 
of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, through 
which it was to extend, duly communicated to the gov- 

1 On December 19, 1805. Senate Document Number 195. Ninth Congress; First 



ernment their consent 1 as suggested in the act of 1802, 
and work was begun. 

Indiana was the next territory lying across the pro- 
jected line of the government's road which sought state- 
hood and better transportation connections with the East. 
The law admitting her to the Union was dated April 
19, 1816, and Section 6, of Article III after confronting 
her with the identical alternative faced by Ohio read: 

"That five per cent, of the net proceeds of lands lying within the 
said territory, and which shall be sold . . . from and after the 
first day of December next, after deducting all expenses incident to the 
same, shall be reserved for making public roads and canals, of which 
three-fifths shall be applied to those objects within the said State, under 
the direction of the Legislature thereof, and two-fifths 2 to the making 
of a road or roads leading to the said State under the direction of 

It will be observed that this legislation differs from 
the law dealing with Ohio in an important respect which 
suggests that the power of the general government to con- 
struct interstate traffic facilities without regard to the 
attitude of the states had by that time ceased to be a 
questionable matter even to the extent fairly to be in- 
ferred from the act of 1802. For the Congress announces 
an intention to build a road or roads leading toward 
Indiana without reference to the consent of any states 
through which it or they might pass. 

Two years afterward Illinois was authorized to erect 
a state government, 3 and again did Section 6 of Article 
III after the usual alternative and land-sale prelim- 
inaries read: 

"Two-fifths to be disbursed, under the direction of Congress, in 

1 Virginia and Maryland consented later in 1806 and Pennsylvania in April of 1807. 
Ohio's consent was given in her acceptance of the act as the basis of her constitution. 

2 In 1803 a supplementary law in relation to Ohio had been passed apportioning the 
Ohio money in a similar ratio, so that three-fifths of it, or three per cent., should be 
devoted to building roads within the state, and two per cent, to the road or roads leading 
to the state. 

3 The date of the Act was April 18, 1818. 


O (1> 



making roads leading to the state; the residue to be appropriated, by 
the Legislature of the State, for the encouragement of learning. ..." 

By the terms of this law, a road leading to Illinois 
through Indiana could not come under the supervision of 
the Indiana legislature, but was placed "under the direc- 
tion of Congress." This feature of the act, when con- 
sidered in connection with the Indiana law of 1816, may 
indicate the existence of a distinction, at that time, between 
the interstate highway in process of creation and other 
roads local in character. Again was there no reference 
to the consent of such states as might be traversed by the 
roads which Congress announced would be built by the 
government toward Illinois. In 1820 Missouri's entrance 
to the Union was authorized, 1 and the familiar Section 6 
of Article III in her case read : 

"Five per cent. . . . shall be reserved for making public roads 
and canals, of which three-fifths shall be applied to those objects within 
the State, under the direction of the Legislature thereof; and the other 
two-fifths in defraying, under the direction of Congress, the expenses 
to be incurred in making a road or roads, canal or canals, leading to the 
said State." 

Two months afterward 2 the national lawmakers made 
provision for surveying the route to be followed by the 
Cumberland Road in its future extension from Wheel- 
ing to the Mississippi River. By the year 1817 the 
thoroughfare was in use to Wheeling, and from 1802 
until the date named fourteen governmental acts had been 
placed on the statute books in connection with its creation, 
after being formulated by ten Congresses and signed 
by three Presidents during five Presidential terms. 

We see in these events, then, the birth, establishment 
and maintenance of a continuous Federal policy having 

1 The date of the Act was March 6, and it contained the same chance to accept or 
reject the road proposition. 

2 By Act of May 15, 1820. 



for its object the building of a transportation route by 
public funds for the general welfare. At the inception 
of the plan, in 1802, the government seemingly took for 
granted the consent of some states to its operations within 
their limits and received their consent, msanwhile offer- 
ing to a new state the chance to reject the largs Federal 
power implied. After that time, during an interval of 
twenty years, the general government no longer directly 
requested state consent for its traffic-route enterprises but, 
as occasion arose, gave territories the choice that has been 
defined. The later acts of the series were weightier than 
the earlier ones in their suggestion of Federal power, 
sines neither in providing for roads leading to Illinois, 
nor in allotting governmental funds for a road or roads 
to Missouri, was Illinois or its legislature mentioned. 

Two other features contained in this series of laws 
call for attention. They indicate that Congress thought 
of the possibility of building more than one road if 
it so chose, and they show that the government did not 
consider itself limited to turnpikes as the only constituent 
parts of the Federal transportation system, but that it 
believed itself able to create other kinds of traffic routes, 
such as canals, if it saw fit to do so. By the year 1820 
the government was apparently established in a position 
- based on public opinion and approved as indicated by 
the action of the people's legislative representatives and 
executives that would have permitted it, without the 
alteration of its policy or of any other element in the 
situation, to build railways just as it was already building 
an interstate roadway or just as it proposed to build canals 
if it so decided. 

Then befell an action by President Monroe the first 
effect of which was to precipitate a violent political and 



economic controversy over the government's attitude to- 
ward interstate transportation facilities, and whose ulti- 
mate result was a reversal of the established Federal 
policy regarding that subject and an abandonment of the 
National Road as a national undertaking. On May 4, 
1822, he vetoed an act "for the preservation and repair 
of the Cumberland Road," saying that he did so "under 
a conviction that Congress do not possess the power, un- 
der the Constitution, to pass such a law." His message 
went on to say : 

"A power to establish turnpikes, with gates and tolls, and to enforce 
the collection of tolls by penalties, implies a power to adopt and execute 
a complete system of internal improvements. ... A right to 
legislate for one of these purposes is a right to legislate for the others. 
It is a complete right of jurisdiction and sovereignty for all the purposes 
of internal improvement, and not merely the right of applying money 
under the power vested in Congress to make appropriations (under 
which power, with the consent of the States through which the road 
passes, the work was originally commenced, and has been so far ex- 
ecuted). I am of opinion that Congress do not possess this power. ..." 

It is not likely that the President, when here speaking 
of the work "so far executed," referred to the manual labor 
then in progress as an outcome of the governmental man- 
dates. He was discussing national prerogatives and 
policy. But if he did have in mind that phase of the un- 
dertaking when he said the work so far executed had been 
done "with the consent of the states through which the 
road passes," it is only needful to remember that, for the 
two years preceding, part of the human labor involved on 
the roadway had been performed in the jurisdictions of 
Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, in connection with surveying 
and laying out the thoroughfare. That w r ork was being 
done under the direction of Congress, at the expense of 
the national treasury. When Monroe made his statement 
concerning the relationship of the states to the work so 




O" C/3 


ft 3 o 

OQ - 



far executed, the Federal government had created by 
legislation a highway extending from Maryland to Mis- 
souri; had provided financial means for its progress 
throughout its length; had completed much of it, and was 
at public cost fixing its exact course through that part 
of its extent still unfinished. And the government had 
not, for sixteen years, directly asked the consent of any 
state crossed by the work or had its action in the matter 
challenged by any state concerned. 1 The congressional 
representatives of all the states had formulated the acts 
by which those things were done. Three laws providing 
for further road building on the highway between the 
Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, under the direction of Con- 
gress, had been passed during Monroe's administration 
and signed by him. 

From that time the broad subject of Federal rights 
and duties in matters affecting the public irrespective of 
state boundaries became in much larger degree a shuttle- 
cock of politics in an era of increasingly violent partisan- 
ship. Party strategy and the possibility of personal or 
corporate advantage gradually became paramount to other 
considerations in determining the economic course of the 

Monroe, indeed, was right in his definition of the 
significance contained in the attitude so long held by the 
nation. The series of related acts passed by the legislative 
branch of the government, beginning in 1802 and ending 
with the one vetoed by him twenty years later, did imply, 
as he said, "a power to adopt and execute a complete 
system of internal improvements." 

Thus close did the country come to the building and 

1 The consents of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania had not been embodied in 
their basic laws, and could have been withdrawn, though it is by no means certain that 
the rest of the country would have stopped the work in that event. 



ownership of its railways from the beginning. Within 
three years after Monroe's veto of 1822 the first railway 
of the world designed as a public utility 1 was in opera- 
tion; within four years thereafter the probable value of 
railroads as a method of travel and transportation was 
the principal subject of economic discussion in America; 
and one year afterward American state charters were 
being asked and granted for the construction of railways 
by private corporations. By that time the government 
would have found itself face to face with the ques- 
tion of building railroads as public enterprises, and if 
the new transportation method proved advantageous - 
might have entered naturally and logically into their 
creation under the policy it had pursued since 1802. Only 
by that action could it have kept abreast of progress and 
the needs of the people in the one matter then of supremest 
importance to them. President Monroe's action chal- 
lenged Federal right to compete with corporate enter- 
prise in supplying the people with those public utilities 
most requisite for their general welfare and daily use. No 
other method than that could seemingly have diverted the 
country from its established policy to another and radically 
different position which permitted the country's most im- 
portant interstate and national highways to become 
projects of corporate creation, financial speculation and 
eventual private fortune-building accomplished to an un- 
known degree by illegitimate inflation of capital and 
service charges fixed in accordance therewith. 

The juxtaposition of Monroe's veto and the appearance 
of the first railroads was a fateful coincidence. The 
significance of the American government's attitude from 
1802 to 1822; its later logical result if uninterrupted; the 

1 The Stockton and Darlington road, in England. 



date of the appearance of railways; the clouding of 
American pioneer purpose by argument over the technical 
legality of that purpose; and the effect produced by 
diverting the government's activity from its previous chan- 
nel, are matters possessing a close relationship. If the 
radical alteration in the national policy at a most critical 
time of American economic history was not brought about 
by any contemporaneous foresight of its enormous conse- 
quences, then the chain of events here outlined does indeed 
indicate how profoundly the affairs of men are sometimes 
affected by the whims of chance. 

The only specific Constitutional authorization bear- 
ing upon the point at issue so strongly emphasized by 
Monroe was the clause which provides that Congress 
shall have the power "to establish Post Offices and Post 
Roads." "Strict constructionists" denied that this gave 
the general government a right to undertake such work 
as the building of interstate communication facilities. 
"Broad constructionists" of the Hamiltonian school met 
the argument with their doctrine of "implied powers," 
and pointing to the "general welfare" clause and that 
other "elastic clause" which confers upon Congress the 
right "to make all Laws which shall be necessary and 
proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing 
Powers," contended that the authority of the central 
government was ample for such internal improvements. 

It should not be understood that the attitude of Con- 
gress toward the Cumberland Road was always uniform, 
even before Monroe's veto of 1822, or that the national 
legislature gave a continuous measure of unanimous ap- 
proval to all other plans of internal improvement. That 
was not the case. Sometimes a Congress would be elected 
in which the preponderance of sentiment was so strongly 



in favor of such general welfare work that the bills in 
behalf of the government's road would be decisively 
passed as a matter of course. At other times a Congress 
would be returned whose membership was more equally 
divided with regard to the wisdom or constitutional pro- 
priety of the procedure on which the country had em- 
barked, and then there would be long often sharp and 
earnest debates on the subject, and the interstate road 
bill would be temporarily beaten, or carried by a smaller 
majority than usual. But the general trend of thought 
was always in favor of the project, and even after it 
had been made a subject of factional argument and a 
pawn in the struggle for political supremacy the only 
substantial opposition to it was outwardly based on doubt 
respecting the constitutional power of the government 
to create such a thoroughfare as a national undertaking. 
Monroe's predecessor Madison had been one of 
those who favored the creation of an interstate transporta- 
tion system by Federal authority and ths use of treasury 
funds, even though he was at times doubtful whether the 
Constitution contained provisions specific enough to war- 
rant the performance. But his doubt on the point was 
evidently not sufficiently marked to influence him against 
the Cumberland Road project, for during his presidency 
he signed seven bills authorizing the expenditure of 
money for its building. His attitude toward govern- 
mental participation in highway and canal construction 
was shown in his annual message of December 5, 1815, 
when he discussed the subject in these words: 

"Among the means of advancing the public interest, the occasion is 
a proper one for rousing the attention of Congress to the great impor- 
tance of establishing throughout our country the roads and canals which 
can best be executed under the national authority. No objects within 
the circle of political economies so richly repay the expense bestowed upon 



them. There are none the utility of which is more universally ascertained 
and acknowledged; none that do more honor to the Government. . . . 
Nor is there any country which presents a field where nature invites 
more the art of man to complete her own work for their accommoda- 
tion and benefit. The considerations are strengthened, moreover, by the 
political effect of these facilities for intercommunication and bringing 
and binding more closely together the various parts of our extended 

"Whilst the states, individually, with a laudable enterprise and emula- 
tion, avail themselves of their local advantages by new roads, by 
navigable canals and by improving the streams susceptible of navigation, 
the general government is the more urged to similar undertakings requir- 
ing a national jurisdiction and national means, by the prospect of thus 
systematically completing so inestimable a work. And it is a happy 
reflection that any defect of constitutional authority which may be 
encountered can be supplied in the mode which the Constitution itself 
has providentially pointed out." 1 

Jefferson had looked with favor on Federal participa- 
tion in the making of a national transportation system, 
for he had approved the basic law of 1802 that 
provided for a road to Ohio. It was also during his 
presidency, and by his financial secretary, Gallatin, that 
the plan for the Cumberland Road was proposed as an 
administration measure. The construction work on it 
was begun by Jefferson after he had asked and received 
the consent of the first states involved. 

On at least one occasion, namely in 1824, the national 
campaign for the presidency was fought largely on the 
issue of the government's constitutional right to build 
roads and canals. Despite the obvious benefit to the 
country of the construction of such an East and West 
interstate highway as a national road, the thoroughfare 
in question could only occupy a certain specific location, 

1 On the day before retiring from office he did veto one bill setting aside money 
received by the government from the second United States Bank and the proceeds of 
the bank shares held by the government, for the purpose of constructing roads and canals. 
In his veto message he said: "The power to regulate commerce among the several states 
cannot include a power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of 
water courses, in order to facilitate, promote, and secure such a commerce, without a 
latitude of construction departing from the ordinary import of the terms." 

Those who advocated such work, however, did not base their support of it on the 
constitutional power to regulate commerce between the states. 



and some of its benefits, in consequence, were naturally 
more apparent in the immediate vicinity of the highway 
than in regions remote from it. This inevitable condi- 
tion aroused the jealousy of the states and districts it did 
not penetrate or at least the jealousy of various political 
leaders in those localities. The people as a whole were 
in favor of the enterprise, whereas some public men both 
of large and petty importance w r ere willing it should be 
discontinued provided its further extension brought 
no personal benefit to them rather than behold the 
country reap advantages from its existence. The use of 
political warfare over an economic policy which con- 
tained no element of partisanship or incentive thereto 
was but a further manifestation of a long existing con- 
dition. Again did the masses of the people have clearer 
vision than their ostensible leaders. In matters touching 
the economic and social well-being of a nation its citizens 
prefer to turn unheeding from any advice or plea to 
which suspicion of self-interest may attach, and decide the 
question in the light of experience gained by themselves 
or others, according to their best understanding. If 
instead they permit themselves to be inflamed by appeals 
to partisanship they lose in corresponding degree the 
faculty of judgment and more easily become the dupes 
of designing men. An error of popular judgment at- 
tributable to no other cause than lack of knowledge or 
careless thought is reasonably sure of speedy detection 
and correction, whereas the public error born of pas- 
sion and nurtured by partisanship breeds still further 
passion and more error when its victims recognize their 
situation and seek to escape from its effects. 

The popular champion of the westward extension of 
the Cumberland Road was Henry Clay. He advocated 



the measure as one national in its character, beneficial 
to all the country and not merely to the West. He 
pointed out that not one of the three states in which were 
contained the entire extent of the original Cumberland 
Road nor all of them together would of their own 
volition have created that highway; that two of them, 
in fact, afterward tried for a short time to place impedi- 
ments in the way of its completion. During the cam- 
paign of 1824, as part of an address advocating the par- 
ticipation of the central government in the creation of 
improved transportation facilities, he thus gave utterance 
to his vision of the future: 1 

"The gentleman from Virginia sought to alarm us by the awful em- 
phasis by which he stated the total extent of post road in the Union. 
'Eighty thousand miles of post road!' exclaims the gentleman; 'and will 
you assert for the general government's jurisdiction and erect turnpikes 
at such an immense distance?' Not to-day, nor to-morrow, but this 
government is to last, I trust, forever; we may at least hope it will endure 
until the wave of population, cultivation, and intelligence shall have 
washed the Rocky Mountains and mingled with the Pacific. And may 
we not also hope that the day will arrive when the improvements and 
comforts to social life shall spread over the vast area of this con- 
tinent? . . . It is a peculiar delight to me to look forward to the 
proud and happy period, distant as it may be, w T hen circulation and asso- 
ciation between the Atlantic and Pacific and the Mexican Gulf shall 
be as free and perfect as they are at this moment in England or in any 
other country of the globe." 

Clay was at last temporarily victorious. Congress 
passed a law appropriating one hundred and fifty thou- 
sand dollars for further work on an extension of the road 
through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and directing the 
completion of the survey ordered by the act of May 15, 
1820. This act was approved and signed by Monroe 
on March 3, 1825, as one of his last Presidential duties. 
It was the first piece of legislation in behalf of the Na- 

1 In his speech of January 31. Text from the "Western Censor" (Indianapolis, Ind.) 
of March 22, 1824. 


210. Two ancestors of the twentieth-century motor-car. David Gordon's patent 
was dated 1824. He thought it was necessary to imitate the action of horses' 
feet, and his car was propelled by mechanical legs. The other carriage 
was made by Horace Gurney, about 1848, and had a speed of 8 1/2 miles 
an hour on common roads. 


tional Road west of Wheeling that had been enacted since 
Monroe, in his veto of 1822, had brought forward in 
acute form the subject of the government's constitutional 
right to do the work. The building of the turnpike then 
went ahead, and during John Quincy Adams' administra- 
tion between 1825 and 1829 that Executive ap- 
proved eight bills carrying appropriations aggregating 
nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for maintaining 
the highway and extending it westward. 

But the question previously raised by Monroe and 
especially his clear definition of the tremendous signifi- 
cance contained in the government's previous policy 
was having its effect. By the time Jackson took office, 
in 1829, two conditions were clearly visible. Rail- 
roads were in actual process of construction, for one 
thing; and the doctrine that the central government had 
no power in or over a state except as specifically and un- 
mistakably set forth by the Constitution was in the 
ascendency. These two factors in the national life- 
one economic and the other political -interacted on each 
other, and both influenced the government's attitude 
toward the National Road. Jackson himself was a 
"state's rights" man in the broad sense of the term, and his 
opinions on that subject were in harmony with those of 
the party which had placed him in power. He did not 
permit his belief to affect his financial support of the 
National Road, for during the eight years of his Presi- 
dency he approved ten laws appropriating nearly three 
and three-quarter millions of dollars for that enterprise, 
but he did oppose Federal ownership and control of the 
highway, and during his administration the several sec- 
tions of the road were transferred to those states within 
whose borders they lay. 



Thus, at the commencement of the railway era, the 
existing national policy which if continued could have 
resulted in Federal building of railroads was reversed, 
and it naturally followed that administrative endorse- 
ment for any proposals for governmental creation of 
the new metal highways was impossible while Jackson re- 
mained the chief executive. Those were the critical years 
during which the economic method of railroad building 
in America was decided. 

Although Jackson's natural habit of mind was doubt- 
less in harmony with the position he took toward the 
National Road, his attitude in that matter and kindred 
questions was very possibly strengthened by a certain situ- 
ation encountered by him during the first part of his 
Presidency. The earlier governmental adoption of a 
policy that Federal resources might be constitutionally 
used in the creation of public thoroughfares had un- 
covered a rich stream of popular avarice. It had resulted 
in a widespread effort to obtain national assistance not 
only for important and necessary projects, but for a multi- 
tude of enterprises entirely local in character and which 
had no justifiable claim for the assistance of the central 
treasury. Instead of formulating a clear-cut, carefully 
planned and reasonable scheme for developmental work 
under the adopted policy, Congress had gradually be- 
come the theater of a mad scramble in which nearly all 
states and sections of states took part, in an endeavor to 
obtain public money for small, unimportant and non- 
national enterprises. This tendency had become especially 
evident during the years from 1825 to 1829, in which 
period the need of improved transportation was a subject 
uppermost in public thought. Hundreds of these schemes 
were doubtless devised without expectation of their value 



or permanent success as economic undertakings, but in 
the hope that the physical construction called for by them 
would bring rich profits to their projectors. 

By the year 1830 bills had appeared in Congress for 
the proposed construction of isolated and disconnected 
turnpikes, canals, railroads and similar enterprises whose 
completion would have required more than two hun- 
dred and sixty millions of dollars. This state of affairs 
made it apparent that a rigid line must be drawn which 
would effectively exclude non-national public works from 
participation in national support, or else the Federal gov- 
ernment would be compelled to abandon its position that 
the investment of treasury funds in such construction was 
warranted by the Constitution. The question thus pre- 
sented became an important issue throughout the country, 
and in 1830 President Jackson took occasion, on the pres- 
entation to him of a bill which had been passed for the 
building of a small local turnpike, 1 to write a very strong 
veto message in which he pointed out that the govern- 
ment had no right to use its money for the creation of any 
enterprises confined wholly to individual states. His 
position was generally endorsed by the press and public, 
and the proposed raids on the treasury decreased from 
that time on. 

At the time President Jackson vetoed the Maysville 
Road Bill not less than a hundred and eleven surveys, esti- 
mates and plans for canals, roads, railroads and river 
improvements were formally before Congress. These, it 
was calculated, would cost about sixty-three million dol- 
lars. Other similar projected improvements not so far 
advanced in legislative consideration would have cost 
two hundred million dollars more. At that period the 

1 The Maysville Road Bill. The project was a proposed turnpike sixty miles in length 
and lying wholly within the state of Kentucky. 



total Federal receipts were only about twenty-four mil- 
lion dollars a year, of which sum ten per cent, was ap- 
propriated for decreasing the national debt, leaving less 
than twenty-two million dollars a year for paying all 
other operating expenses of the government. It was 
therefore obvious that embarkation in such an over- 
whelming amount of work as was contemplated by the 
mass of bills for public improvements even though 
they had all been legitimately deserving of support under 
the policy adopted by the government was out of the 

President Jackson's action in calling a halt to the effort 
to use public money in local enterprises did not, how- 
ever as has been shown apply to the National Road. 
Even Jackson, at the same time he wrote his elaborate 
message vetoing the Maysville Road Bill, approved an- 
other act which appropriated two hundred and fifteen 
thousand dollars 1 additional for the further extension and 
improvement of the government-built turnpike. 

As originally planned, the Cumberland Road from 
Cumberland to Wheeling, a distance of practically one 
hundred and thirty miles, was to cost one and three- 
quarter millions of dollars. The further westward projec- 
tion of the highway brought it to Columbus, Ohio, in 1833, 
and to Vandalia, Illinois, in 1852. More than thirty acts 
of Congress contained provisions for its building and 
maintenance between 1806 and 1838, and its total cost to 
the government was not far from seven millions of dollars. 2 

The roadway was made eighty feet wide, with a cen- 
tral section thirty feet in width covered with broken stone 
a foot deep and topped with a surface layer of gravel. 

1 Of which sum $115,000 was to be expended in Ohio, $60,000 in Indiana, and $40,000 
in Illinois. 

2 Some estimates put the figure at about ten millions. The difficulty of analyzing 
and tracing early financial legislation makes it impossible to give the exact amount. 



But this turnpike construction was not continued west of 
Indiana. Long before the road reached the town of 
Terre Haute, on the western edge of that state, it was real- 
ized by the people that the highway and its stage-coaches 
were not destined to be the chief means and method for 
all future communication with the East. Canals had 
come, only to be threatened in their turn by the westward 
creeping iron rails, and desire turned from the old ways 
to seek the new. So the turnpike lapsed into a dirt 
road across the prairies of Illinois and finally came to an 
end at Vandalia, whence another similar route led onward 
to St. Louis. 



THE first stage-coach which rumbled over the entire 
eastern section of the famous interstate highway be- 
tween Cumberland and Wheeling reached the last-named 
town on August 1, 1817. After that date the project as 
far as its value to the interior was concerned remained 
at a standstill for a number of years. But after its ex- 
tension through the Mississippi valley, and from about 
1827 until about 1850, the National Road became the 
chief east-and-west artery of traffic from the Atlantic 
seaboard to the middle states. Its activities not only in- 
timately affected the growth of the interior, but through- 
out its entire length played an important part in the 



regions which it traversed. Thousands of individuals were 
concerned, as a matter of business enterprise, in its main- 
tenance and in the traffic which it bore. The tavern keep- 
ers, wagoners, packmen, stage drivers, hostlers, and all 
others who spent their lives in going back and forth upon 
it, or in ministering to the needs of travellers, were very 
largely the descendants of English emigrants, and their 
names furnish an interesting exhibit of one element which 
had colonized the country. 1 

The following is a list of some of the well-known 
characters of the National Road during the heyday of 
its importance: 

Charles Allum 
Davis Ashkettle 
Samuel Breakbill 
Jacob Breakiron 
Redding Bunting 
George Buttermore 
David Bonebraker 
George Clum 
Caleb Crossland 
Joseph Doak 
Hugh Drum 
Paris Eaches 
Frank Earlocker 
George Gump 

John Guttery 
Robert Hogsett 
James Klink 
John Livingood 
Michael Longstaff 
Jeff Manypenny 
John Mauler 
Spencer Morherspaw 
Baptist Mullinix 
James Noggle 
John Olivine 
Abner Peirt 
Peter Penner 
Elias Petticord 

Samuel Riddlemoser 
Jeph Riggle 
Basil Sheets 
Caldwell Slobworth 
Samuel Sidebottom 
Isaac Skiles 
Philip Slipe 
John Smasher 
Quill Smith 
Nimrod Sopher 
Michael Teeters 
Thomas Thistle 
Jacob Wagoner 
Adam Yeast 

A knowledge of the methods used in constructing the 
highway can be obtained from newspapers of the time. 
When Congress had authorized its opening through Ohio 
and Indiana, the Indiana superintendents of the work 
published advertisements in the papers of the state in 
June, 1829, reciting the conditions required of the con- 
tractors. The road there, as elsewhere, was to be eighty 
feet wide, and for a width of thirty feet in the center 

1 Nearly all these surnames have become practically extinct in modern American 



according to the first specifications published all 
stumps were to be grubbed up and removed entire. All 
hills were to be cut down and all valleys filled, so that 
no grade should exceed four degrees after the road was 
completed. On either side of the thirty feet all timber 
was to be cut and removed. 

Investigation speedily brought to light the fact that 
such an amount of timber cutting and stump grubbing was 
not practicable. It would have exhausted the appropria- 
tions while building but a small part of the proposed 
thoroughfare. In August, therefore, the specifications 
for the road were amended and new ones were issued 
which read: 

"The central part of thirty feet to be cut in the following manner, 
to wit: All the trees of one foot in diameter (at one foot from the 
ground) and under to be cut level with the surface; all from one foot 
up to eighteen inches in diameter to be cut not exceeding nine inches from 
the surface of the ground ; and all trees over eighteen inches diameter 
to be cut not exceeding fifteen inches from the surface ; and all stumps 
within the said center of thirty feet must be rounded and trimmed in 
such a manner as to present no serious obstacles to carriages." The 
specifications further said that "of the remaining fifty feet all stumps 
must be left not exceeding one and a half feet in height." 1 

The careful manner in which is here described the 
extent to which stumps might be left in the most im- 
portant overland traffic route then being built in the 
country, indicates the nature of the roads of the Middle 
West at that period and the difficulties which attended 
their use. It is evident that stumps one foot or more in 
width and from nine inches to fifteen inches in height 
were not then considered as serious obstacles to vehicular 
traffic. There still exists in Indiana a legend that many 
of the stage-coach drivers who piloted their craft over the 
path here described could tell on the darkest night 

1 From the "Western Sun," September 12, 1829. 


whether they had strayed from the thirty feet of good 
road into the margin at the side. 

But considering the handicaps which then beset road 
builders, much of the work was exceedingly well done; 
better in some aspects than is often the case when public 
works are in process of construction to-day. 1 The stumps 
obstructing the roadway through the three western states 
gradually disappeared, the surface of broken stone and 
gravel altered it to a turnpike in Ohio and many parts 
of Indiana, and for years it excellently served the pur- 
poses that inspired its creation. 

That part of the National Road between Cumberland 
and Wheeling was much more substantially built than 
those portions of it lying between the Ohio River and its 
western terminus. Of the eastern section of the highway 
it has been said: 

"Its numerous and stately stone bridges, with handsome, turned 
arches, its iron mile-posts, and its old iron gates, attest the skill of the 
workmen engaged on its construction, and to this day remain enduring 
monuments of its grandeur and solidity. 2 . . ." 

The same authority just quoted gives this description 
of traffic on the road during the days of its greatest im- 

"As many as twenty four-horse coaches have been counted in line 
at one time on the road, and large, broad-wheeled wagons, covered with 
white canvas stretched over bows laden with merchandise and drawn 
by six Conestoga horses were visible all the day long at every point, and 
many times until late in the evening, besides innumerable caravans of 
horses, mules, cattle, hogs and sheep. It looked more like a leading 
avenue of a great city than a road through rural districts. 

iron gates here mentioned have disappeared 

211. Development of the railway. An English coal wagon, about the year 
1800. Most advanced application of the railed track principle, either in 
Great Britain or America, at that time. England had been running 
wagons on rails since about 1649, and had been making iron rails since 1738. 
The following one hundred and twenty-one illustrations, to No. 332 inclu- 
sive, depict the introduction of railroads into America, their improvement 
and effects, human experience in their use, and their westward advance 
toward the Mississippi River until the year 1857. 

Excitement followed in the wake of the coaches all along the road. 
Their arrival in the towns was the leading event of each day, and they 
were so regular in transit that farmers along the road knew the exact 
hour of their coming without the aid of watch or clock. They ran 
night and day alike. Relays of fresh horses were placed at intervals 
of twelve miles as nearly as practicable. . . . Teams were changed 
almost in the twinkling of an eye. The coach was driven rapidly to 
the station, where a fresh team stood ready harnessed waiting on the 
roadside. The moment the team came to a halt the driver threw down 
the reins and almost instantly the incoming team was detached, a fresh 
one attached, the reins thrown back to the driver, who did not leave 
his seat, and away again went the coach at full speed." 1 

The three characteristic features of traffic over the 
National Road were the stage-coaches, the trains of 
Conestoga freight wagons, and pack-trains of either mules 
or horses mules being usual. The stage-coaches were 

1 Searight: pp. 16 and 147. 



ornate and spectacular apparitions, painted in bright 
colors and occasionally even gilded. Their panels were 
decorated with portraits of famous men, with allegorical 
designs or landscapes. 1 Their interiors were handsomely 
finished and painted, and lined with soft silk plush. The 
coaches were, indeed, vastly different from those else- 
where observed in the panorama of the early days. The 
slow and primitive canvas-covered "Stage Wagons" and 
"Flying Machines" of seventy-five years before had first 
developed into the more substantial type of vehicle such 
as was used throughout the East from 1780 to 1800. 
These, as indicated in contemporary pictures of them, 
had heavy wooden sides and tops. The next step in the 
evolution of the American stage-coach was its assump- 
tion of body lines that were slightly curved, and so 
pronounced did this ellipse-like tendency become that by 
1820 the typical American coach was similar to the one 
drawn by Captain Hall of the British Navy, or the coach 
approaching the mansion house at Middletown, and the 
stage-coach of 1818. By this time the football shape was 
the distinguishing characteristic of the coach body. The 
top continued the curve of the under portion of the 
vehicle, and no baggage or other burden could be carried 
on the roof. 

An ordinary stage-coach of 1820 and thereafter con- 
tained three transverse seats, and each seat accommodated 
three passengers. The three travellers who occupied the 
front seat sat with their backs toward the driver; the 
others faced the horses. A tenth passenger could be ac- 
commodated outside with the driver, and in fair weather 

1 "There was one mail coach that was especially imposing, and on its gilded sides 
appeared a picture of a post boy, with flying horses and horn, and beneath in gilt letters 
this awe-inspiring inscription : 

"He comes, the herald of a noisy world, 
News from all nations lumbering at his back. 
"No boy who beheld that old coach will ever forget it." Searight: p. 148. 




this position was eagerly sought. Small luggage could be 
stowed away under the seats, and more bulky objects 
were deposited in a receptacle at the rear called a "boot." 
But one more noticeable change in the appearance of the 
stage-coach took place during the years of its widespread 
use. That was an abandonment of the oval roof for the 
comparatively flat surface on which baggage could be 
carried. This change also permitted a little additional 
space in the interior. Since those were the days before 
metal springs, the propriety of conveying passengers 
intact to their destinations combined with a strong de- 
sire of the travelling public to be so delivered had 
resulted in the creation of a device called thorough- 
braces. The contrivance was a pair of leather springs, 
or supports on which the body of the coach hung above 
the axles, and which transformed the old jolting of the 
Flying Machine into a series of oscillations that were al- 
most equally violent, but decidedly less destructive to the 
occupants of the vehicle thus equipped. Thorough- 
braces were very long and wide, the pieces of tanned hide 
being either riveted or laced together, and each super- 
imposed on another until a support equal in thickness 
to a dozen strips of heavy leather had been built up. 
On these two fore-and-aft supports the stage-coach body 
rested, and by their use a considerable part of the earlier 
discomfort of travel by stage was taken away. 

The flat-topped coach which probably first ap- 
peared about the middle of the third decade came to 
be universally known as the Concord coach because its 
finest and most popular examples were the product of the 
little village of Concord, in New Hampshire. After the 
Concord coach appeared it soon superseded all other 
varieties of stage conveyances and spread through all parts 


213. The American Traveller Broadside issued in Boston in 1826. Probably 
the primary picture of an actual railway printed in the United States. 
Explaining the Hetton railway of England, and discussing the interest in 
railroads already acute in some parts of this country. First of six illus- 
trations of early American literature on the subject. 


of the country. It continued in active use in the West 
until as recent a date as 1880, and a few specimens are still 
employed in out-of-the-way localities. 

Every coach on the National Road and its contem- 
porary turnpikes had an individual name which was 
painted on each door. All the early heroes of the Re- 
public as well as prominent personages of the times were 
immortalized by vehicles named in their honor. There 
was a Washington coach, a Lafayette, a General Wayne, 
a General St. Glair, a General Harrison, a Rough and 
Ready, a Madison, a Monroe, a Henry Clay, and even a 
Columbus, a Pocahontas, a Santa Anna and a Queen Vic- 
toria. Other coaches were named for the principal states 
and cities of the country and for foreign countries. There 
was also an Erin Go Bragh. 

The two principal characteristics that exalted any 
particular stage-coach driver among his fellows of the 
craft were redoubtable feats of driving or personal 
peculiarities. Three of the most famous drivers of the Na- 
tional Road were Homer Westover, Redding Bunting and 
Montgomery Demming. 

Westover was one of the most expert reinsmen of his 
time, and his feat of driving from Uniontown to Browns- 
ville a distance of twenty miles in forty-five minutes 
long remained a record to be aimed at by his almost 
equally skilful competitors. This bit of work was per- 
formed as part of the task of distributing to the public 
printed copies of a special message addressed to Congress 
by Van Buren. The message was taken from Frederick 
to Wheeling two hundred and twenty-two miles in 
twenty-three and a half hours. A speed of almost ten 
miles an hour was thus maintained for a day and a night. 

The famous Redding Bunting was notable for both 



those reasons which made a driver conspicuous among his 
rivals. He was six feet and six inches tall without his 
boots, stood straight as a ramrod, had large, strong fea- 
tures, a red face, and a deep and powerful voice. When 
perched on top of the immense mail coach of the Stockton 
Line and guiding its splendid team of six matched horses, 
he assuredly cut an imposing figure. Many were his deeds 
of valor, but perhaps his most extraordinary accomplish- 
ment was on the occasion of the conveyance of the message 
in which President Polk notified the country that war 
with Mexico had begun. On that occasion he drove one 
hundred and thirty-one miles in twelve hours, or prac- 
tically at the rate of eleven miles an hour. When his 
passengers recovered they said they would never forget 

Montgomery Demming, while a good driver, owed 
his celebrity chiefly to his vast bulk. He slightly exceeded 
six feet in height and his average weight, when in good 
training, was four hundred and sixty-five pounds. But 
that was in the heyday of his busy career. As he grew 
older his size increased, and at his death he weighed six 
hundred and fifty pounds. 

Another striking feature of daily life along the Na- 
tional Road was the Conestoga wagon traffic. The bottom 
of a Conestoga wagon curved upward both in front and 
rear, for a reason already stated, and all such vehicles 
were substantially identical in appearance. The pon- 
derous wheels bore wrought iron tires from four to six 
inches in width. Six horses constituted the customary 
team, and the harness in which they marched was in keep- 
ing with the remainder of the massive outfit. The back- 
bands were usually fifteen inches in width, the hip-straps 
were ten inches wide, and heavy black housing covered 



7. But the most curious thing at 
Baltimore is the rail-road. I must tell 
you that there is a great trade between 
Baltimore and the states west of the 
Alleghany Mountains. The western 
people buy a great many goods at Bal- 
timore, and send in return a great deal 
of western produce. There is, there- 
fore, a vast deal of travelling back and 
forth, and hundreds of teams are con- 
stantly occupied in transporting goods 
and produce to and from market. 

the horses' shoulders 
down to the bottom of 
the hames. The traces 
by which a wagon was 
pulled were heavy iron 
chains made of short, 
thick links. The wag- 
oner's saddle was a ca- 
pacious seat covered 
with black leather and 
having long wide skirts. 
The bells used on the 
harness of the horses 
were not like the sleigh- 
bells of to-day. They 
were cone-shaped, al- 
most as large as small 
dinner bells, and were 
fixed on wrought iron 
arches over the tops of 
the hames. 

The men who had 
charge of these huge, 
gaudily colored wagons 
and heavily laden pack 
animals were a distinct 
class of the society of 
those days. They occu- 
pied, in the affairs and 
life of the National 
Road, a position very similar to that held on the rivers by 
the flatboat men. Their days were arduous, full of oaths, 
excitement and hard labor. In the early morning, after 


Rail-road Car. 

8. Now, in order to carry on all this 
business more easily, the people are 
building what is called a rail-road. 
This consists of iron bars laid along 
the ground, and made fast, so that car- 
riages with small wheels may run along 
upon them with facility. In this way, 
one horse will be able to draw as much 
as ten horses on a common road. A 
part of this rail-road is already done, 
and if you choose to take a ride upon 
it, you can do so. You will mount u 
car something like a stage, and then 
you will be drawn along by two horse:?. 
at the rate of twelve miles an hour. 

214. A description of the Baltimore and 
Ohio railroad in its earliest days, and 
picture of a horse-drawn car on it. 
From a schoolbook of the period. 


hurried breakfasts, they deftly assembled their caravans 
amid a hurricane of loud cries and curses, and set off for 
the day's journey. They usually halted for an hour or 
two in the middle of the day at some well-known roadside 
hostelry where they could feed their animals, eat an 
enormous quantity of food themselves, and meet and argue 
with such acquaintances as might also have reached the 
same point while travelling in the opposite direction. 
Then, after copious drinking and boisterous farewells, 
they would again take up their appointed way. Many 
of the countrymen and settlers of the near-by districts 
could also be found at the taverns at such times, and on 
the occasion of the arrival of one or more large pack- 
trains and several stage-coaches laden with travellers, the 
scene before an inn was one of almost indescribable 
animation, noise and confusion. 

Stage-coach travellers and freight traffic did not stop 
at the same taverns along the National Road. 1 When a 
wagoner reached his destination of the day he put his 
team in the wagon yard, where the horses remained until 
morning without regard to the state of the weather. Dur- 
ing winter nights the animals were protected by blankets. 
They were fed from two feed troughs carried during the 
journey at the rear of the vehicle. When in use the feed 
troughs were attached to the wagon tongue, to which the 
horses were also tied, three on a side. 

The wagoners carried their own bedding with them, 
and when they had finished their duties to the horses they 
took their blankets into the big assembly room of the tav- 
ern and threw them on the floor, where they themselves 
passed the night. Both white and negro wagoners slept 
at the same taverns, but the dark-skinned men ate at sep- 

1 Those taverns patronized by freight traffie were known as "wagon stands." The 
others were "stage houses." 



arate tables. The cost of a meal at a wagon stand was 
twelve and a half cents; that of a drink of whisky was 
three cents. Two drinks ordered at the same time cost 
five cents. 1 

The assembly room of a wagon stand was at night 
the scene of many rude festivities. The wagoners drank, 
joked, sang and danced. They especially liked to dance, 
and all those establishments whose proprietors boasted a 
practical working acquaintance with the fiddle were sure 
of plentiful patronage. The spectacle presented by a 
hoe-down or a Virginia reel danced by thirty or forty 
boisterous, rollicking and roaring men, who sometimes 
diversified their enjoyment by resort to practical jokes 
and fisticuffs, must have somewhat resembled the similar 
antics that would have been displayed in like situation 
by a large den of good-natured grizzly bears. In those 
days the ethics and rules of practical joking were even 
more loose than those which now govern that branch of 
sport, as was attested by the experience that once befell 
a tavern character known as Gusty Mitchell. It was a 
habit of Mitchell to steal the wagoners' whisky, and one 
night in a spirit of playful remonstrance at his failing a 
group of his victims poured turpentine over him and set 
him on fire. Then with some effort they extin- 
guished the flames before fatal injury had been inflicted 
on Mitchell, who abjured the company of wagoners from 
that hour. 

The scenes in and around a wagon stand at the close 
of day have been thus described by one who beheld them: 2 

"I have stayed over night with William Cheets, on Nigger Moun- 
tain, when there were about thirty six-horse teams in the wagon yard, 
a hundred Kentucky mules in an adjoining lot, a thousand hogs in their 

1 At stage houses the cost of one drink of whisky was five cents. 

2 Searight: p. 142. 



215. The New-York American newspaper of March 11, 1830. Its first page 
was devoted to an account of the steam locomotive tests undertaken by the 
Liverpool and Manchester railway. The tests, thus treated as news, had 
taken place five months before, in October of 1829. Braithwaite's "Novelty" 
engine is shown on the left, and Stevenson's "Rocket" on the right. 


enclosures, and as many fat cattle in adjoining fields. The music made 
by this large number of hogs in eating corn on a frosty night I shall 
never forget. After supper and attention to the teams, the wagoners 
would gather in the barroom and listen to the music on the violin fur- 
nished by one of their fellows, have a Virginia hoe-down, sing songs, 
tell anecdotes, and hear the experiences of drivers and drovers from all 
points of the road, and, when it was all over, unroll their beds, lay them 
down on the floor before the barroom fire side by side and sleep w y ith 
their feet near the blaze as soundly as under the parental roof." 

One of the wagoners on the National Road in its 
earliest days was a strong, swarthy young man named 
Tom Corwin. This youth afterward became a member 
of the lower house of Congress, and still later was Gov- 
ernor of Ohio and Federal Senator from that state. On 
an occasion while he and Henry Clay were travelling to 
Washington together, the two stopped one day at a stage 
house where Clay was well known but in which Corwin 
was a stranger. The landlord heard Clay address his com- 
panion as "Tom," and this incident coupled with Cor- 
win's dark complexion caused the landlord to believe 
that Corwin was a servant of color in attendance upon the 
Kentucky statesman. Clay saw the opportunity for a joke 
on the tavern keeper, and assumed an attitude that served 
to confirm him in his error. Corwin, of course, fell in 
with the spirit of the occasion. When dinner was ready 
Corwin was given a place at the servants' table, which 
he took in a matter-of-fact way, and during the meal Clay 
called over to him, "How are you making out, Tom?" 
To which Corwin replied, "Very well, sir." After the 
meal was finished the landlord served his distinguished 
guest with a cigar, and then in an effort to find favor in 
the eyes of the famous Kentuckian he presented one to 
"Tom" also. When the stage was ready to resume its 
journey Clay formally introduced Corwin to the land- 
lord, who was overwhelmed with mortification until the 













Mifllin & Parry, Prinlfri. 


216. Title page of an American book on the subject of railways printed in 
1830. Quotations from its opinions are given in Chapter XLII. 


Ohio man pointed out that he himself had been a party 
to the deception. 

There were still other phases of traffic over the road. 
There were emigrant families crawling slowly to the 
West in their smaller canvas-covered wagons, in which 
the women-folk rode by day and slept by night. Parties 
like these were usually independent of the taverns, yet 
whenever possible they encamped for the night near such 
an establishment in order that their members might 
mingle with the other travellers, listen to the news and 
acquire more information regarding the new regions to 
which they were moving. There were solitary men 
trudging afoot, often bearing packs upon their backs. 
These were sometimes advance scouts of families who 
were contemplating a removal to the interior and who 
had commissioned some member to go on ahead and gain 
knowledge that might aid the family in its final choice 
of a new home. Still others were similar investigators 
on horseback. And all of these, as well as all the other 
elements which composed the traffic that thronged the 
old National Road, met on a common footing at the 
taverns which were sprinkled along the thoroughfare at 
distances of two or three miles. 

Numerous competing lines of stage-coaches plied on 
the old government turnpike as well as on all the other 
highways of that period. Among th? stage-coach com- 
panies of the National Road were the June Bug Line, the 
Pioneer Line, the National Line, the Good Intent Line, 
the Oyster Line and the Shake Gut Line. The Oyster 
Line, as its name implied, made a specialty of transport- 
ing oysters, and was a freight enterprise rather than a 
travel service. The Shake Gut Line was largely em- 
ployed in the swift conveyance of small and important 



parcels or perishable freight. 1 The June Bug Line re- 
ceived its name because of a prediction made at the time 
its service was begun that the enterprise would not survive 
until the appearance of the June bugs. The prediction 
was not fulfilled. 

Although there was a keen competition for traffic 
among the various companies, it w r as usually the case that 
all competing stages were taxed to their capacity under 
ordinary circumstances. Travel over the road was always 
heavy. It often happened that a dozen or more coaches 
would leave Wheeling at the same time and in the same 
direction either west-bound or east-bound on the 
arrival of the passengers for whom they had been wait- 
ing. Then began a mad race toward the nearest relay 
station, where fresh horses were to be obtained. It was 
a subject for legitimate boasting when one stage out- 
distanced its 'competitors and excelled them in the speed 
with which the relay was accomplished. Coaches were 
often bereft of their exhausted animals and supplied with 
fresh ones within less than a minute of time. The one 
hundred and thirty miles of road between Cumber- 
land and Wheeling were covered by the fastest coaches 
in twenty-four hours, or at a speed of about five and 
one-half miles an hour. Such was the regular schedule. 
It occasionally happened in stress of circumstances, 
when necessity arose, that the trip was made in twenty 
hours, though this was a severe strain not only on the 
passengers but on the equipment. 

Those two events that always created the most excite- 
ment along the National Road, and that inevitably re- 
sulted in the performance of almost incredible exertions 

'At first this was called the "Express Line." Its better known name was bestowed 
upon it because of its employment of Montgomery Demming, aforementioned, after that 
driver had ceased to pilot a "June Bug" coach. 



on the part of the stage-coach companies were the annual 
transportation of the President's message to the West, 
and the trip of a President himself over the turnpike. 
One reason making the rapid carriage of the President's 
message a thing of consequence aside from the public 
interest with which such documents were always awaited 
at the time was the fact that much importance was 
placed by the Federal Post-office Department on the 
speed attained while transferring such a message in the 
mails. For occasions of this sort the most ambitious and 
expert stage drivers were selected, and as one of them 
sped madly across the country, urging on his six horses 
from the top of a heavy and careening vehicle, the popu- 
lation of all the region along the .road gathered to watch 
and cheer him. In carrying an executive message the 
driver sometimes covered ISO or 200 miles at the rate 
of ten miles an hour. There was no profit to the com- 
panies in work of this sort however. The special relays 
of horses had to be provided at much more frequent in- 
tervals than was usual, and valuable animals were ruined 
by the exertions to which they were forced. 

It was customarily the case especially if the roads 
were bad that the conveyance of the President's mes- 
sage by a stage-coach resulted in the avoidance of that 
particular vehicle by travellers who were not seriously 
pressed for time. They well knew the direful shaking 
they would receive if they became fellow passengers with 
the Presidential document. But if they were of neces- 
sity forced to travel with the annual address to Congress 
they made the best of it, and arrived finally at their desti- 
nation, where the executive wisdom was enthusiastically 
received by the expectant multitude while they limped 
slowly and painfully to bed. 



Whenever a President-elect travelled over the Na- 
tional Road to his inauguration at Washington, or when 
a President made a trip to the West over the same road, 
the company which he honored with his patronage either 
built a new coach for the occasion or else refitted the 
best one in its possession. The vehicle in that event was 
decorated with even greater vividness than usual. The 
coach itself was called The President, or the General 
Jackson, or Old Tippecanoe as the case might be 


VEW.Y'OKK, JANf.vnY 2, 

217. Heading; and Title to Volume I, Number 1 of the Rail-road Journal. The 
Journal was the second American periodical, in point of time, which was 
established to advocate the revolutionary method of transportation. 

and the name was painted on the door panels in brilliant 
red or blue with all the skill of an artist engaged for the 
occasion. The dignity and consequence assumed and there- 
after maintained by the driver of a President's coach need 
not be discussed. He was ever afterward looked upon as 
the possessor of an importance considerably surpassing 
in most respects that of his equally famous passenger. 

President-elect Jackson declined the offer of free 
transportation in the new coach prepared to convey him 
to Washington in 1829, but permitted his family to occupy 



it. He himself paid his own way, in accordance with his 
rule to refuse gifts of value. When General Harrison 
went eastward over the road to his inauguration in 1841 
he travelled in a fine new coach named The President. 
Polk and his immediate party occupied a similar vehicle. 
One of the incidents of the trip of General Taylor over the 
road in 1849 has thus been told: 

"President Taylor and his party were, in 1849, conveyed over the 
road under the marshalship of that most indefatigable Whig, Thos. 
Schriver, who, with some other Cumberlanders, proceeded to the Ohio 
river and met the presidential party. . . . The Road was a perfect 
glare of ice and everything above ground was literally plated with 
sleety frost. The scenery was beautiful ; to native mountaineers too 
common to be of much interest, but to a southerner like General Tay- 
lor, who had never seen the like, 1 it was a phenomenon. In coming 
down a spur of Meadow Mountain the presidential coach, with the 
others, danced and waltzed on the polished road first on one side and 
then on the other with every sign of an immediate capsize. But the 
coaches were manned with the most expert of the corps of drivers. 
Schriver was in the rear and in the greatest trepidation for the safety of 
the President. He seemed to feel himself responsible for the safety of 
the head of the nation. Down each hill and mountain his bare 
head could be seen protruding from the window of his coach to dis- 
cover if the President's coach was still upon wheels. The iron gray head 
of the General could almost with the same frequency be seen outside of 
his window, not to see after anybody's safety but to look upon w r hat 
seemed to him an Arctic panorama. After a ride of many miles the 
last long slope was passed and everything was safe. At twilight the 
Narrows were reached, two miles west of Cumberland, one of the bold- 
est and most sublime views on the Atlantic slope. General Taylor 
assumed authority and ordered a halt, and he got out in the storm and 
snow and looked on the giddy heights of Will's Creek until he had taken 
in the grandeur of the scenery. He had beheld nothing like it before, 
even in his campaigns in Northern Mexico." 

The mention of Presidential trips over the National 
Road would not be complete without reference to an in- 
cident that happened to Van Buren near the western end 
of the thoroughfare in 1844. Although not chief executive 
of the nation at that time, he was making an extended trip 

1 In reality, Taylor bad seen too much of the world to be astonished by the mountains 
of Maryland, but he no doubt enjoyed them. 



through the Middle West in the hope of securing the 
nomination soon to be made by his party, and in the course 
of his journey he reached the town of Indianapolis. A 
considerable feeling of hostility to Van Buren then existed 
in Indiana, partly as a result of his earlier action in veto- 
ing a bill designed for the completion of the National 
Road through that state. So a number of his Hoosier 
Whig opponents sought out the stage driver who was to 
pilot him westward to St. Louis and had a secret confer- 
ence with that individual. Van Buren resumed his trip 
the next day, and hardly was he out of sight of Indianapo- 
lis when the driver ran off the road and upset the coach. 
But owing to the discrimination with which the scene of 
the accident had been selected the ex-President entirely 
escaped any injuries save those consequent upon his 
precipitation into a large mud-hole. It is needless to say 
that both his temper and apparel were seriously damaged. 
Thus did the Whigs of Indiana glut themselves with re- 
venge for a President's opposition to the building of an 
interstate thoroughfare. 

The ordinary rates of passage paid by stage-coach 
travellers on the eastern section of the National Road and 
its Baltimore connection were as follows: 

From Baltimore to Frederick $2 . 00 

From Frederick to Hagerstown 1 2 . 00 

From Hagerstown to Cumberland 5 .00 

From Cumberland to Uniontown 4.00 

From Uniontown to Washington 2 . 25 

From Washington to Wheeling 2.00 

Through (are to the Ohio River $17.25 

There is an interesting tradition to the effect that the 
custom of granting free travel privileges to favored in- 

1 Hagerstown was not directly on the Road, but best reached by it, and so near that 
the town was always considered a a National Road "point." 

, 733, , 


dividuals originated on the National Road in connection 
with its use by government officials. The story goes that 
a well-known stage line proprietor named Reeside framed 
a cabalistic signature which he made with chalk on the 
hat of a man to whom he was granting free transportation. 
Reeside's agents w r ere instructed to collect no money from 
passengers whose beavers bore the magic sign. The drivers 
soon came to say of such a favored traveller, "The old man 
has chalked his hat." 1 

One other peculiar and omnipresent feature of modern 
life for which the old National Road is responsible de- 
serves notice. The drivers of the Conestoga wagons were 
inordinate users of tobacco, but owing to their small wages 
they protested loudly against paying the customary price 
for cigars. Some unknown genius thereupon devised a 
scheme for satisfying the wagoners. He invented an ob- 
ject, made of cheap tobacco and having the general size 
and shape of a lead pencil, which could be held between 
the teeth, and which would produce large quantities of 
strong smoke when manipulated according to the usage 
to which a cigar is customarily subjected. These name- 
less objects he placed on the market at four for one cent. 
They were adopted by the wagoners with enthusiasm, and 
were promptly dubbed "Conestoga cigars" by those who 
beheld them from a safe point of vantage. From this era 
of their history their transition to "Conestogys" and thence 
to "Stogies" was speedy and inevitable. "Stogies" they 
have since remained, and the smoke into which they dis- 
appear by the hundreds of millions is an incense fig- 
uratively speaking offered up to the memory of a 
vanished day. 

1 Possibly the still existing practise of railroad conductors, who often stick small 
pasteboard cards in passengers' hat-bands, is a survival of this early custom which made 
it necessary to look at a man's l:at to discover if his fare had been collected. 


380D911H1915 .. ... .