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VOL. I. 


Historical and Statistical 






Derived from the Most Authentic Sources, including Original 

Documents and Papers. Together with Carefully Prepared 

Statistical Tables relating to Population, Financial 

Administration, Industrial Progress, Internal 

Growth, Political and Military Events. 



Ex-County Judge of Scott County; Private Secretary of Gov. Yates; Member 

OF THE Twenty-ninth General Assembly of Illinois; Secretary of 

THE Board of Railroad and Warehouse Commissioners, 

1880-3; Secretary and Librarian of the 

Chicago Historical Society; 

Etc., Etc. 


V(t)'IL. I 




c; 4 c *jt '} 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1887, by 

John Moses, 
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 


-Si- I 

List of Illustrations, 13 

Preface, 15 


chapter i. 

Illinois — Extent, Soil, Climate, and Productions, . 17 


Aborigines — Origin, Location, and Habits, . - 36 

Period I. — Under the French, 1682-178 i. 


Early Explorations and Discoveries, 1673 - 1700, . 52 


Catholic Missionaries — First Permanent Settlements, 81 


A District of Louisiana — Crozat's Grant — The East-Indies 
Company — Civil Government — Indian Forays — State 
of Society, 1718- 1756, ...... 94 


The French -and -Indian War — British Claims — Wash- 
ington's Mission — Position of Illinois — How affected — 
Why the French Lost the Country, 1755 -1763, 109 

Period II. — Under the British, 1761-1778. 


Pontiac's War — His Failure and Death, . . 123 


The British Government, 1765-1778, .... 131 
Period III. — Under" Virginia, 1778-1784. 


Illinois in the Revolution — Its Reduction by Virginia under 
Col. Clark — Capture of Vincennes — Indi"an Treaties, 145 




The County of Illinois — Officers and Government — La- 
Balme's and Brady's Expeditions — Attack on St. Louis 
and Cahokia — The Spanish Expedition against St. 
Joseph — Fort Jefferson — Close of the War and Ter- 
mination of Virginia Control, . - - - 158 

Period IV. — Under the United States, 1784-18 18. 


The Public Domain— How Obtained— Its Extent— What 
it Cost — How Surveyed, 174 

chapter xil 
Ordinance of 1787 — First Sales of Public Lands, 184 

chapter xiil 
As a Part of the Northwest Territory — Merged into St. 
Clair County — First Officers — Land -Titles — Indian 
Disturbances — St. Clair's Defeat — Randolph County — 
Early Attempts to Dismember the American Union, 
1789-1800, ----.-.. 193 

chapter XIV. 

As a Part of Indiana Territory — Indian Policy and Trea- 
ties — Tables — Acquisition of Louisiana — Third At- 
tempt to Divide the Union — Schemes of Aaron Burr, 
1800-1809, 213 

chapter XV. 

The Territory of Illinois— First American Settlers — Early 
Diseases — Manners, Customs, and Recreations — First 
Preachers, Lawyers, Doctors, and Merchants, 226 


Illinois Territory [Continued] — Its Organization— Governor 
Edwards and other Officers — Indian Disturbances — 
The War of 1812 — The Chicago Massacre — Cam- 
paigns against the Indians — Peace, . . 242 


As a Territory of the Second Grade — First General As- 
semblies — Territorial Laws — Officers and Members 
of the Territorial Legislatures, . . . . 258 



Early Territorial Towns — Growth, Population, Politics, 267 

Period V. — Under the First Constitution, 1818-48. 


Admission as a State — The Enabling Act — Constitutional 

Convention — First Constitution — Action of Congress, 

chapter XX. 

First State-Election — Gov. Bond — First General Assem- 
bly — Officers— Laws — Election of United-States Sen- 
ators — Congressional Election — Cook vs. McLean — 
Removal of the Capital, 287 


The Second General Assembly — State Bank — Synopsis 
of Laws — Resources and Expenditures, . 300 

chapter XXII. 

The Election of Gov. Coles — Third General Assembly — 
The Struggle to make Illinois a Slave-State — Election 
of United-States Senator — 1822-1826, . . . 307 


The Fourth General Assembly — LaFayette's Visit to Illi- 
nois — Lieut.-Gov. Hubbard, .... 327 


The Election and Administration of Governor Edwards — 
National Politics — Fifth and Sixth General Assem- 
bhes — The Winnebago Scare — Banks and Taxes — 
Close of the Governor's Career, . . . 337 


Administration of Gov. Reynolds — The Seventh General 
Assembly — Black-Hawk War — Receipts and Expen- 
ditures, . . - 352 


Elections — Eighth General Assembly — Receipts and Ex- 
penditures — Commercial Progress — Social Changes, 



Administration of Gov. Duncan — Ninth General Assembly 


— Election of United-States Senator— Abraham Lin- 
coln—Laws—Tenth General Assembly — Internal- 
Improvement System — Illinois - and - Michigan Canal 

— Removal of the Capital — Lincoln and Douglas- 
National Politics— Killing of Lovejoy— 1834- 1838, 400 


First Democratic State Convention — Administration of 
Gov. Thomas Carlin — Eleventh General Assembly — 
First Whig State Convention— Removal of the Capital 
— Special Session at Springfield — Repeal of Internal- 
Improvement System— Presidential Campaign of 1840 
— Twelfth General Assembly — Reorganization of the 
Judiciary— 1838 -1842, 424 


Administration of Governor Ford — Thirteenth General 
Assembly — Election of U.-S. Senator and State Officers 
— Bank and Public-Debt Measures — State Finances- 
Election of 1844 — Fourteenth General Assembly — 
Senatorial Election — Laws — Illinois - and - Michigan 
Canal, ._..-... 447 


Administration of Gov. Ford continued — The Mormon 
Imbroglio — The Mexican War, . . . 469 


Administration of Gov. French — Fifteenth General Assem- 
bly — Election of Douglas to the United- States Senate 

— Election of Auditor and other Officers — Laws — 
Progress, 505 

Appendix — Ordinance of July 13, 1787, . . . 519 
Treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795, . . 523 
Act dividing Indiana Territory, .... 529 
Act enabling People to form State Constitution, 531 
Constitution of 1818, adopted at Kaskaskia, - 533 
Ordinance accepting the Enabling Act, . 545 

Resolution declaring Admission of Illinois, - 545 

Cong'l Apportionment under Constitution of 1818, 546 
Table showing Genesis and Growth of Counties, 547 
List of State Officers under Constitution of 1818, 550 


Baker, Edward D., from a portrait in possession of Joseph 

Wallace, Springfield. 111., ------ 4^0 

Bond, Shadrach, from oil portrait in Executive Mansion, at 

Springfield, 111., ---..-- 286 

Breese, Sidney, from "Western Monthly," Chicago, 1870, 490 

Buffalo Rock, 1885, photo by Wm. E. Bowman of Ottawa, III, 42 
Carlin, Thomas, from oil portrait in Executive Mansion, at 

Springfield, 111., -.-.-.- 424 

Chicago in 1812, from "Massacre of Chicago," by Mrs. John 

H. Kinzie, "Ellis & Fergus, Chicago, 1844," - - 246 

Clark, Gen. Geo. Rogers, from his "Campaign in Illinois," 158 

Coles, Edward, from oil portrait in Chicago Historical Soc'y, 286 

Cook, Daniel Pope, from oil portrait in Chicago Hist. Soc'y, 342 

Douglas, Stephen A., from engraving, - - - - 508 
Duncan, Joseph, from bust, by his daughter, Mrs, Edward P. 

Kirby of Jacksonville, III, 400 

Edwards, Ninian, from oil portrait in Chicago Historical Soc'y, 242 
Ewing, William Lee D., from litho, by permission of H. W. 

Rokker of Springfield, 111., 424 

First State- House, at Kaskaskia, 306 

Ford, Thomas, from a dagueirotype in possession of his 

nephew, J. S. Hambaugh, Springfield, 111., - - - 490 

Fort Chartres, from Reynolds' " Pioneer History of Illinois," 

2d ed., 1887, 115 

French, Augustus C, from oil portrait in Executive Mansion 

at Springfield, 111., - - 490 

Hall, James, from his " Romance of Western History," 424 

Harrison, Gen. Wm. Henry, from engraving in "Magazine 

of Western History," Vol. I, 158 

Henry, Patrick, from an India-ink drawing, by A. F. Brooks, 
taken from a portrait, by Thomas Sully, in possession of 
his grandson, Wm. Wirt Henry of Richmond, Va., - 158 



Illinois in 1673, showing location of Indian tribes, drawn for 

this work, >.- 36 

Illinois in 1771, by Thomas Hutchins, - - - - 134 

II II 1812, drawn for this work, - . - - 250 

II II 1818, II II II - - - - - 276 

» II II l837> II f II II _ - - . 410 

Jones, John Rice, photo from painting owned by his son, 

Hon. Geo. W. Jones of Iowa, 158 

Kane, Elias Kent, from India-ink drawing, by A. F. Brooks, 
taken from oil portrait in possession of his granddaughter, 
Mrs. Gen. Geo. W. Smith, Chicago, - . - . 286 

Kaskaskia, Plan of in 1765, from Capt. Philip Pittman's "Settle- 
ments on the Mississippi," electrotype from Houghton, 
Mifflin & Co., 268 

Lincoln, Abraham, from a photo by Alex. Hesler of Chicago, 

taken at Springfield in summer of i860, - Frontispiece 

Menard, Pierre, from oil portrait in Chicago Historical Soc'y, 289 

"Mormon, Book of," fac-simile of characters from which it 

was alleged to be translated, - - - - - 471 

Ordinance of 1787, fac-simile of "Article VI" in handwriting of 

Nathan Dane, through W. F. Poole, LL.D., Chicago, - 512 

Peck, John Mason, from engraving by J. Sartain, in memoir 

of, by Rufus Babcock, - - - - - - 424 

Pope, Nathaniel, from portrait in U.-S. District Court, Chicago, 

by permission of Judge Henry Williams Blodgett, - 286 

Reynolds, John, from his "Pioneer History of Illinois," 2d ed., 352 

Robinson, John M., from litho, by permission of his daughter, 

Mrs. R. F. Stewart, Carmi, 111., 424 

Second State-House, at Vandalia, III, - . . . 306 

Semple, James, photo from oil painting, by permission of his 

daughter, Mrs. Lucy V. Semple Ames of Elsah, 111., - 460 

Shields, Janr.eS, from engraving, 490 

Starved Rock, from a photo in 1879, by Wm. E. Bowman of 

Ottawa, 111., -------- 42 

St. Clair, Gen. Atfhur, from engraving, "The St. Clair Papers," 158 

Thomas, Jesse Burgess, sr., from a daguerrotype in posses- 
sion of his grandnephew, H, T. Thomas, New- York City, 286 


TTI STORIES of Illinois, valuable and interesting, have 
-■--'- already been written. It is not because the author un- 
derestimates these or would detract from their importance that 
he has undertaken the same task, but for the purpose of con- 
necting what in some respects are merely fragmentary accounts, 
contained in dusty volumes, the greater portion of which have 
'. been long since out of print; of correcting or modifying many 
! previous statements in the light of later information; and of 
presenting new facts and recent events in. such accessible form 
and manner that they may be readily consulted and employed 
in every field of labor, professional as well as mercantile, official 
as well as manual. 

I In its preparation every available source of information has 
been utilized. Public documents, official records, and manu- 
scripts have been carefully examined, compared, and verified. 
The author has also very largely drawn upon his own knowl- 
edge of what such a work should contain, and how it should 
be arranged — a knowledge derived from half a century's resi- 
dence in the State, and from a long and varied experience 
in the judicial, legislative, and administrative departments of 
public life. 

The opinions expressed on public questions and men are his 
own, intended to be free from prejudice, as they certainly are 
uninfluenced by patronage or subsidies. Nor has he assumed 
to be the champion of any party, sect, or measure. 

What was originally intended for one, has grown into two 
volumes, the second of which, now nearly completed, will bring 
the history down to the date of issue. 



Among the many who have contributed information and 
rendered other valuable assistance in the preparation of the 
work, the author tenders his especial thanks to the following ' 
persons: Oscar W. Collet, librarian of the Missouri Historical 
Society, St. Louis, Mo.; Prof John H. Woods of Jacksonville,! 
111.; and Walter B. Wines, LL.B., of Chicago. ' 

In submitting his work — the result of many years of study 
and research — to the judgment of his fellow-citizens, the author 
is inspired with the hope that it may not be without its 
influence in contributing toward the expansion, elevation, and 
onward march of the people and institutions of the mighty 
State whose phenomenal progress has been a source of con-, 
gratulation and pardonable pride to all her citizens. I 

Chicago, April i, 1889. 

Illinois, Historical and Statistical 



Extent, Soil, Climate, and Productions. 

ILLINOIS is the name given by the French to a confederate 
tribe of Indians and the country wliich they inhabited. 
It is derived from the Algonquin word Inini, which the French 
pronounced Illini. It signified " the men, perfect and accom- 
plished," and, by way of sharp antithesis, implied that all other 
aborigines were "mere beasts."* The sufifix ois is purely French, 
and denotes tribe. Hence the word Illinois may be translated 
as meaning " tribe of men." It was variously written by early 
French chroniclers: Illinoics, Illinoiies, Tllimomouek, Illinewek, 
Illinhvek, and L-in-i-wek ; but its definition has always been 
the same. 

The general form of the State is that of a truncated cone, 
extending from north to south. Its boundary line, however, is 
very irregular, following as it does from its northwest corner 
the windings of the Mississippi, which separates it from the 
states of Iowa and Missouri on the west, and which washes its 
entire western and southwestern border. From Cairo, the line 
follows the still more tortuous Ohio, which divides it from Ken- 
tucky, to the mouth of the Wabash. Thence ascending this 
river to the meridian of Vincennes, it follows a straight line, 
separating it from Indiana, to Lake Michigan, from which point 
it takes a turn east, along the northern line of Indiana, to the 
middle of Lake Michigan; thence north along the middle of 
that lake to north latitude forty-two degrees and thirty min- 
utes; thence west along said line, which divides it from Wis- 
consin, to the middle of the Mississippi.-f* 

* Marquette, Hennepin, et al. 

t The boundaries of the State are officially defined by the Act of Congress of 
2 17 



As will be seen from the act of Congress, while the juris- ' 
diction of the States separated by the Mississippi and Wabash 
is concurrent and extends to the middle of said rivers, that of i 
Illinois, in regard to the Ohio River, is confined to its north- ' 
western shore. The jurisdiction of Illinois, Michigan, and Wis- 
consin is also coordinate with their respective boundary lines 
to the middle of Lake Michigan. 

Within the above-described boundaries there are 56,000 square 
miles, or 35,840,000 acres of land, and 650 square miles of water 
surface. Extending from thirty-seven degrees to forty-two 
degrees and thirty minutes north latitude, its extreme length is 
385 miles; and its greatest breadth, lying between ten degrees 
and twenty-five minutes and fourteen degrees and thirty min- J 
utes west longitude from Washington, is 218 miles. ' 

The State of Illinois is greater in extent than any of the 
original thirteen States, except Georgia. It is larger than 
either Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, or Iowa, and em- 
braces a larger territory than all of the New-England States 
combined, exclusive of Maine. It has several counties, each of 
which contains nearly as many square miles as Rhode Island, 
while two of them, McLean and LaSalle, are larger than Dela- 
ware. It comprises a larger territory than England, or than 
Denmark and Portugal together, and has more square miles 
than Holland, Belgium, and Switzerland united. 

There are no mountains in Illinois, and, with the exception 
of Louisiana and perhaps Delaware, it is the most level State 
in the Union. Cairo is but three hundred and fifty feet above 
the level of the sea, and the county of Jo Daviess, where the 
State attains its greatest altitude, is barely eight hundred and 
twenty feet higher. From this elevation in the northern portion 
of the State there is a gradual descent to the valley of the Big- 
Muddy River in Jackson County, where there is a rapid rise 

April 18, 1818, enabling the people thereof to form a state government, as follows: 
" Beginning at the mouth of the Wabash River, thence up the same, and with 
the line of Indiana, to the northwestern corner of said State; thence east with the 
line of the same State to the middle of Lake Michigan; thence north along the 
middle of said lake to north latitude forty-two degrees and thirty minutes; thence 
west to the middle of the Mississippi River, and thence down along the middle 
of that river to its confluence with the Ohio River, and thence up this latter river 
along its northwestern shore to the beginning." 


until a hilly, broken ridge is reached, which extends to the 
extreme eastern portion of the State. 

The general surface of the country inclines to the southwest, 
in which direction slope the water-shed and interior drainage. 
There are no lakes- in Illinois, but the best maps show that it 
is watered by two hundred and eighty-eight streams, great and 
small ;-f- and while many of the largest of them have been 
declared by law to be navigable, only the Illinois River has 
been of any practical use for that purpose. 

The Illinois River is formed by the junction of the DesPlaines 
and Kankakee, which unite at a point near the boundary line 
dividing the counties of Will and Grundy, The head-waters of 
the former of these two streams are in Wisconsin, near Lake 
Geneva, and its general course is southerly. The Kankakee 
rises in Indiana and flows westerly to the point of confluence. 
The course of the Illinois is at first nearly due west to Bureau 
County, thence southwesterly in a diagonal line to a point in 
Scott County, thence south until, after having traversed the 
State for five hundred miles, it empties itself into the Missis- 
sippi at Grafton, forty miles above St. Louis. 

Among the other principal streams in the State may be 
mentioned the following: Rock River, which rises in Wisconsin, 
flows southwesterly about three hundred miles, and joins the 
Mississippi just below the upper rapids, near Rock Island; the 
Kaskaskia, or Okaw as it has been sometimes called, rises 
near the eastern boundary of the State in Champaign County, 
and flowing also to the southwest, enters the Mississippi at 
Chester, six miles below the ancient village of Kaskaskia; the 
Sangamon, a branch of the Illinois, has its rise also in Cham- 
paign County; the Fox, Vermilion, and Spoon rivers are also 
tributaries of the Illinois, as is the Pecatonica of Rock River 
and the Iroquois of the Vermilion; while the Embarras and 
Little Wabash contribute their quota to swell the waters of 
the Wabash. 

The general surface of the State rises from its bottom lands 

* There are numbers of small bodies of water in the State, especially in Lake 
County, and on river bottoms, called lakes, that are not properly entitled to the 

t Porter's "The West." 


in wooded cliffs or bluffs from fifty to four hundred feet in 
height. From these extend its beautifully undulating and 
diversified treeless meadows, called, by the French, prairies. 
They first appear in Northwestern Ohio, and increasing in 
dimensions through Indiana, become so wide and extensive in 
Illinois as to give it the name of the Prairie State. 

As seen by the first explorers, the forest covered the entire 
country around the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, 
but as these diverged from each other the prairie began to inter- 
vene. At first only an occasional savannah, as the English 
called them, appeared, but proceeding northward the timber 
gradually diminished and the prairies enlarged, until, arriving 
at the centre of the State, the continuous prairie from its east- 
ern to its western boundary was only broken by narrow strips 
of timber on the Vermilion, the Sangamon, and Illinois rivers, 
and their tributaries. And from Washington County the pion- 
eer could travel a distance of three hundred miles to the Wis- 
consin line without encountering so much as five miles of 

The native prairies presented themselves to the early ex- 
plorers and settlers as marvels of beauty and design, as inex- 
plicable as they were enchanting. Their attractive feati^jres 
consisted not only in their rich carpet of verdure and flowers, 
but in their bewildering extent, their undulating surface, their 
mysterious paths, and their occasional groves, like islands in 
the sea. 

In the spring, the first coat of grass, sprouting up from the 
charred remains of autumn fires, was mingled with the violet 
and other smaller flowers of the most minute and delicate tex- 
ture, whose natural beauty no handiwork of man's cultivation 
could improve. As the stronger grass increased in size, these 
were succeeded by others of a larger growth and more gaudy 
appearance, displaying their brilliant colors in striking contrast 
to the green surface. It is impossible to conceive a more infi- 
nite diversity or a richer profusion of hues. In the summer, 
the wild prairie was covered with a long, coarse grass, which 
later assumed a golden hue, and in the rich, wet soil, fanned by 
the winds and kissed by the sun, grew to the height of eight 

* Beckwith's "Vermilion County." 


or nine feet, throwing out long, coarse leaves which reached 
above the head of the traveler on horseback. 

The prairies of Illinois differ from those west of the Missis- 
sippi in this, that while the former possess a uniform fertility, 
the latter, as they ascend tovvard the Rocky Mountains, gradu- 
ally become less fertile until a region of drouth and barrenness 
is reached, rendering them comparatively valueless. 

Inviting as w^ere the prairies for agricultural purposes, the 
first settlers were afraid of them — of their lack of shade and 
water, and of their pestiferous flies. And when, finding that 
they improved upon acquaintance, they ventured to locate upon 
them, they selected the highest situations, shunning the low, 
wet grounds which, in some portions of the State, have in late 
years most richly repaid the labor of the farmer. 

An interesting inquiry respecting the origin of the prairies 
has engaged the attention and research of many learned writers. 
The theories advanced, all of them more or less speculative, 
need not be referred to here; suffice it to say, that whether due 
to the action of water or fire, or of both these elements — the 
one to form and the other to preserve them — they furnished to 
the hardy pioneer of the West the fi^nest body of farm lands, 
ready-made as it were, upon which the sun ever shone. 

Those large districts in the southern portion of the State 
which were densely covered with forest trees and heavy belts 
of timber, extending along the banks and filling the areas 
between the forks of rivers and creeks, when the white man 
first entered the territory, have been gradually yielding to the 
ax and plow. But so many groves have been planted, and so 
many orchards and hedges now cover the ground where for- 
merly were only grass and weeds, that it has been claimed with 
great plausibility that the leaf surface of the State is larger 
now than ever before.* 

The proportion of woodland to prairie in 1880 was estimated 
as follows: in the twenty-three northern counties, seven per 
cent; in the district extending from the Illinois River below 
Ottawa to the Mississippi, twenty-one counties, fifteen per cent; 
in the Grand-Prairie district, east of this last, seventeen counties 
in the eastern- central portion of the State, six per cent; in the 

♦ Gov. Reynolds, W. C. Flagg, etc. 


Centralia district south of this, between the Wabash River and 
the Illinois- Central Railroad, seventeen counties, twenty-four 
per cent, in the Kaskaskia district, thirteen counties, twenty- 
one per cent; and in the eleven remaining counties, the grand 
chain district, twenty-seven per cent* 

While among the states of which Illinois is the centre, in the 
Mississippi Valley, the soil contains many elements common to 
all, yet certain distinctive peculiarities belong to each. While 
some of the adjoining states possess a greater proportion of 
prairie and others of timber, there is no other country of the 
same extent on the face of the globe which can boast of a soil 
so uniformly distributed over so large a territory, and so uni- 
versally productive as that of Illinois. 

The subsoil over a large portion of the State is usually a 
yellow clay, but in some of the northern counties it is gravel, 
and occasionally in the Grand-Prairie region it is of blue clay. 
The river- bluffs are more or less covered with a silicious 
deposit called loess, of uniform character and sometimes of 
great thickness. The surface soil is mainly formed of deposits 
of drift from more northern latitudes, varying from ten to two 
hundred feet in depth, overlaid with rich black loam from ten 
to fifty inches thick. It is the product of finely comminuted 
limestones, sandstones, and shales, mingled with organic, vegeta- 
ble, and animal mould left by the dead herds and unknown 
harvests of countless centuries.^j* In the north it is coarser and 
more open; in the south, finer and cleaner, which renders the 
plants in this soil less liable to damage from extreme dry cold 
or dry heat. Hence the greater certainty of winter-wheat as 
a crop in southern Illinois. 

Beside this general variation, there are important local differ- 
ences. The soil of the river bottoms is alluvial, and is practi- 
cally inexhaustible. Some tracts of land on the American 
Bottom, which stretches from Alton to Kaskaskia, have been in 
cultivation for over a century without perceptible deterioration. 
The river-bluffs composing the loess formation, as at Alton, 
Quincy, Warsaw, and other points, are specially adapted to 
fruit-culture and the production of a fine quality of vegetables. 

* Illinois Horticultural and U.-S. Special Census Reports, 
t Porter's "The West." 


Resulting from the peculiarities of soil, the midland coun- 
ties of Morgan, Sangamon, Menard, Macon, Tazewell, etc., have 
proved best suited of the upland regions for corn-culture; while 
Madison, St. Clair, Monroe, Randolph, etc., lead in winter-wheat. 
In the Grand Prairie there is a wide tract of country lying at 
the source of a radiation of rivers, and apparently only lately 
left uncovered by water, in which there is found a peaty char- 
acter in the fertile soil. The flat prairies in the counties of 
Clinton, Marion, Washington, etc., develop another condition of 
the soil. Still farther south, in the hills of the grand chain, 
appears another variety on which is found the tulip tree, the 
beech, and other forest growths, unknown elsewhere in the 
State. Here are grown some of the finest varieties of fruit 
which the State produces. Everywhere, also, the prairie differs 
from the forest soil in the same locality. The former is usually 
darker, more crude, and coarser than the latter. But these 
differences, more or less, disappear with improved cultivation 
and drainage.* 

But the lands of Illinois possess a twofold and sometimes a 
threefold value — not only for the unexcelled productions of 
the surface, but for what is found a few feet below it. The 
first-recorded evidence of the discovery of coal in the United 
States is that of Father Hennepin, near Ottawa, in Illinois, 
made in the exploring expedition of LaSalle in 1679. It is 
now estimated that of the 195,407 square miles of coal area in 
the United States, Illinois has 36,800, embracing two-thirds of 
the entire State. The coal measures may be divided into six 
principal seams of workable coal, ranging from two and three 
feet in thickness to seven feet, which are found at a depth vary- 
ing from a few feet to eight hundred. The most valuable mines 
for commercial purposes now being worked are those in the 
vicinity of Belleville, Springfield, Braidwood, LaSalle, Peoria, 
and in Jackson County. 

Just above, as well as beneath, these seams of coal are found, 
in many localities, thick beds of superior fire-clay, the manu- 
factures from which, together with those from potters- clay, 
which is found in nearly every county, are yearly increasing in 
value and importance. In Pope and Hardin counties is found 

* Prof. Worthen, W, C. Flagg, in Agricultural Reports. 


the Kaolin clay, from which is manufactured the finest kind 
of porcelain. 

In various portions of the State there are also valuable quar- 
ries of limestone, both of the upper and lower Silurian forma- 
tion. The most extensive of these, called the Niagara lime- 
stone, are at Joliet, from which was furnished the material for 
the construction of the State capitol at Springfield, the hospital 
for the insane at Kankakee, and some of the finest structures 
in Chicago. The same formation is found also at Grafton, 
where was quarried the stone for building the St. Louis bridge. 
Nauvoo furnishes the Keokuk limestone, from which the cus- 
tom-house at Galena and the post-office at Springfield were 
constructed. Sagetown, in Henderson County, furnishes the 
Burlington limestone, from which the court-house at Monmouth 
was built. In Adams County, the same variety occurs, and is 
'used not only for buildings but also for culverts, and for the 
manufacture of a fine quality of lime. The Alton beds, called 
the St. Louis limestone, are used for building, but more exten- 
sively in lime-making. At Chester, are found not only lime, 
but a superior quality of sandstone, from which the peniten- 
tiary is built. The Galena limestone, found in the northwestern 
portion of the State, is also used for both buildings and lime. 
In Alexander County there is found the Trenton limestone, 
equivalent to the Cape Giradeau marble. 

A heavy bed of sandstone is extensively worked near Rosa 
Clare, on the Ohio River; and in the same vicinity there 
is an outcrop of the celebrated Bedford limestone. In Scott 
and other river counties, are also found the Burlington, Keokuk, 
and St. Louis groups; and in the former and Hancock counties, 
a sandstone is found which dresses beautifully and makes a 
fine-appearing and durable building. At Ottawa is found the 
St. Peter's sandstone, which is used there for glass; the same 
formation appearing at Cape au Gris, from which the Alton 
glass-works obtain their supplies; and also on Rock River at 
Grand de Tour. A quarry of magnesian limestone is found at 
Utica, in LaSalle County, which is extensively used in the 
manufacture of hydraulic cement. 

Beds of peat are also found in northern Illinois, the most 
extensive of which are in Whiteside County, where they are 


from twenty to thirty feet thick. Veins of lead are confined to 
Jo Daviess County in the northern and Pope and Hardin coun- 
ties in the southern portions of the State, In connection with 
lead-ore is worked also fluor-spar, which is ground and used in 
fluxing refractory ores. Iron, which is only found in the south- 
ern portion of the State, does not appear in regular beds, and 
has not as yet been much worked. 

The State of Illinois extends, as before stated, from 42° 30' 
north latitude a little over five and one-half degrees south, and 
from 10° 25' west longitude from Washington four degrees and 
five minutes west. The northern portion of the State is in the 
same latitude as Massachusetts and Connecticut; the middle, 
as that of the lower half of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and 
northern half of Maryland; the southern as that of Virginia. 

But the climate of a country does not altogether depend 
upon its relative distance from the equator or from Washington. 
It is modified by its height above and distance from the sea, by 
the nature of its surface, the proportion of humidity, its prox- 
imity to lakes and mountains, its distance from arid or frozen 
plains and atmospheric and oceanic currents.* Thus the Gulf 
Stream, extending into the waters which wash Western Europe, 
causes a higher temperature there than in the same latitude in 
any other quarter of the globe. The mean temperature of 
Western Europe at 40° north latitude is 65.50° F, while in 
North America it is 54.11°. These differences are manifested 
when places having the same mean temperature are connected 
by what Humboldt denominates isothermal lines. The mean 
temperature of London, which lies at 51° 31' north latitude, is 
50.30°, while that of Philadelphia, which is at 39° 56', is 52.10°. 
Continents and large islands are warmer on their western than 
on their eastern sides, so that as we advance from the Atlantic 
slope to the interior the summers become warmer and the 
winters colder.-|- The extremes of heat and cold on the sea- 
board become still more apparent on the prairies of the West, 
thus showing the effect of the earth's radiation over vast sur- 
faces remote from the sea and deprived of forest belts. | 

* "Encyclopedia of Geography, " by Hugh Murray. Amer. ed., Vol. I. 

+ Humboldt. 

J Foster's "Mississippi Valley," page 181. 


While Illinois, with other states in the great basin of the 
Mississippi Valley, has the Rocky Mountains on the west and 
the Appalachian range on the east, no great barrier is presented 
to arrest the hot, southerly winds of summer or the cold, north- 
erly blasts of winter. Not only is the climate of Illinois modi- 
fied by its distance from the sea and mountains, but it is also 
materially influenced by the trade-winds which blow from the 
Gulf of Mexico between May and October, to which may be, 
perhaps, mainly attributed the sub-tropical character of the 
summers in the southern and middle portions of the State; 
while the unhindered winds from the bleak Northwest, accom- 
panied by an extraordinary depression of temperature, produce 
our almost Arctic winters. 

The annexed table* of mean annual temperatures, made up 
from a series of observations, which agree with reports to the 
State Department of Agriculture, shows that the general aver- 
age for the entire State is 50.65°, or 48° in the northern half of 
the State and 56° in the southern. That of New York is 48°; 
Pennsylvania, 54°; Ohio, 53°; Indiana and Kansas, 51°; Mis- 
souri, 55°; and Iowa, 49°. 


Alt. feet, 

. Spring. 













































From a paper prepared by Prof. Cyrus Thomas, State ento- 
mologist, the following facts in regard to the rainfall in the State 
are obtained: "For the period extending from 1840 to 1877, 
inclusive, the average annual rainfall was 38.30 inches. Divided 
into sections of seven years, the several averages were found to 
be as follows: 1842 to 1848, 41.37 inches; 1849 to 1855, 39.12 
inches; 1856 to 1862, 36.04 inches; 1863 to 1869, 37.26 inches; 
1870 to 1877, 35.82 inches." From which statement and table 
it appears that while there has been a decrease of rainfall, there 
has also been a small increase in temperature."!* 

• "Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge." By A. C. Schott 
t Foster's "Physical Geography of the Mississippi Valley," p. 191. 


Springfield, the capital of the State, is on the same parallel 
of latitude as Philadelphia in the new, and Lisbon in the old, 
world. It lies south of Madrid, Venice, Constantinople, and 
Rome. It is six hundred miles south of Paris and eight hun- 
dred miles nearer the equator than London; and while the 
mean temperature of the State is about the same as that of 
England, its summers are those of Italy and the south of 
France, while its winters are like those of Sweden or Northern 
Germany. But happily the winters, kept back by the long, 
delightful autumns and cut short by the early approach of 
warm weather, are not of long duration. 

While the mean temperature, from observations covering 
many years, is found to vary but little — the greatest difference 
being only 3.58° in 1843 — the particular seasons are variable. 
A cold winter is often succeeded by an early spring, and two 
cold, snowy winters rarely succeed each other; while an unusu- 
ally wet spring is generally followed by a dry fall. 

The winter of 1 830-1, which has become famous in the cli- 
matic history of the State, particularly in Central Illinois, where 
it constitutes an epoch in the memory of the early settlers, has 
long been known as the "winter of the deep snow." The storm 
began in the latter part of November, and the snow continued 
to fall, with but brief intermissions, until January. Then there 
came a cold rain which froze as it fell, forming a crust of ice; 
and then again came the snow; and after that a continuous 
blast of cold winds from the north, lasting over two weeks. 
Although there was only an average fall of from three to four 
feet on the level, in some places, where it had drifted, the banks 
were seven feet in depth, covering fences and filling up lanes- 
Add to this unprecedented snowfall the very low temperature, 
with the Borean tempest from the north, and the fact that the 
people generally who then inhabited the State had never expe- 
rienced anything of the kind, and were wholly unprepared for 
it, and it is not diflficult to believe the stories of the suiTering 
and destitution which its prolonged visitation entailed. 

Nearly all kinds of game were destroyed, especially deer, 
which were unable to run in the snow and fell an easy prey to 
the hunter and his dogs. The corn not gathered and the wheat 
from the buried stack had to be dug out of the snow for food; 


and roads cut through the drift to the distant mills. Stock 
perished for want of sustenance. But as no one then lived 
very far from timber, fire -wood was close at hand, though 
hauled with great difficulty; and the old-fashioned fireplace 
was never without its cheerful blaze until the snow began to 
disappear, early in March. In the towns, after the roads were 
made, the people enjoyed the splendid sleighing which lasted 
nearly three months. 

While the average temperature in winter is 29.26°, cold 
"snaps" are of frequent occurrence. On February 15, 1876, 
the thermometer fell at Beardstown to 26° below zero, and on 
January 28, 1873, it fell to 40° below throughout the central 
and northern portions of the State. With the snow in some 
places sixteen inches deep, this was the coldest day ever known 
in Illinois. 

On the other hand, periods of extreme heat have been expe- 
rienced, rivalling that of the torrid zone. One of the most 
marked of these was the 14th, 15th, i6th, and 17th days of July, 
1887, when the thermometer registered above 100° nearly all 
over the State, and on the last-named day 103° at Springfield, 
104° at Galesburg, and 100° at the signal-service station in 
Chicago, being the hottest day of record in that city. 

Not more remarkable is the climate of Illinois on account of 
its variableness, than for the extremes of heat and cold to 
which it is subject, the most memorable of which occurred in 
the central and northern parts of the State, December 20, 1836. 
Several inches of snow had fallen on that day, and it was warm 
enough for rain to fall in the forenoon, which melted the snow 
into slush and water. At about two o'clock in the afternoon it 
began to grow dark, from a heavy, black cloud which was seen 
in the northwest. Almost instantly the strong wind, traveling 
at the rate of seventy miles an hour, accompanied by a deep, 
bellowing sound, with its icy blast, swept over the land, and 
everything was frozen hard. The water of the little ponds in 
the roads froze in waves, sharp edged and pointed, as the gale 
had blown it. The chickens, pigs, and other small animals 
were frozen in their tracks. Wagon wheels, ceasing to roll, 
froze to the ground. Men, going to their barns or fields a short 
distance from their houses, in slush and water, returned a few 


minutes later walking on the ice.* Those caught out on horse- 
back were frozen to their saddles, and had to be lifted off and 
carried to the fire to be thawed apart. Two young men were 
frozen to death near Rushville. One of them was found sitting 
with his back against a tree, with his horse's bridle over his 
arm and his horse frozen in front of him. The other was partly 
in a kneeling position, with a tinder-box in one hand and a flint 
in the other, with both eyes open, as if intent on trying to strike 
a light. Many other casualties were reported. As to the exact 
temperature, however, no instrument has left any record; but 
the ice was frozen in the streams, as variously reported, from 
six inches to a foot in thickness in a few hours. 

Such sudden, violent, and extreme changes, such abrupt rising 
and falling of the mercury, however, are so exceptional as to be 
remarkable. It is to this extreme range of climate, neverthe- 
less, during the growing season, that we are indebted for our 
superiority in the cultivation of many trees, plants, and fruits, 
the most useful to man; of corn in its native soil, and of those 
indispensable cereals, wheat, rye, and oats, which, indigenous to 
the dry plains of Central Asia, find on the prairies of Illinois a 
soil and climate partaking of the same nature, yet on which 
they attain a higher degree of perfection as regards growth 
and yield. 

While the climate of Illinois — although far from being ideal 
— presents many features commonly supposed to be character- 
istic of climes better favored geographically, the level surface 
of the State has, from an early period, rendered it peculiarly 
liable to the visitation of those violent storms, whose anger 
may be traced to disturbing influences of either an atmospheric 
or electric nature, which have marked their relentless pathway 
with death and desolation. To the citizen who is unwilling to 
admit the inferiority of Illinois in any particular, it may be a 
source of gratification to know that the record of the State in 
this respect is second to none, with the possible exception of 

The first destructive hurricane of which there is any histori- 
cal mention is that which occurred on June 5, 1805. The storm 
moved from the southwest toward the northeast, crossing the 

* Judge Blodgett and S. Woods of Morgan County. 


Mississippi just below the Merrimac River. It swept across the 
American Bottom, cutting a swath about three-quarters of a 
mile in width, demolishing houses, tearing up trees, and destroy- 
ing cattle, stock, and everything movable in its tempestuous 
pathway. It swept the water out of the lakes, scattering the 
fish therein far out upon the prairies. It carried in its wrathful 
embrace, the tops of pine trees from Missouri, fifty miles away. 
No lives were lost, but several persons were severely wounded 
by flying rails and timbers.* 

Among the most extensive of these tornadoes of late years 
the following are noteworthy: That which crossed the Mis- 
sissippi at East St. Louis, March 8, 1871, and continued in a 
northeasterly direction, with great violence, as far as Sangamon 
County. A very destructive storm coming from the southwest 
swept over Mt. Carmel, at 3.20 p.m., on June 4, 1877. Its path 
was about two hundred feet wide. Seventeen persons were 
killed and over one hundred wounded and maimed. Nearly 
one hundred houses were totally wrecked, including the court- 
house, — the loss of property being estimated at a quarter of a 
million of dollars. 

But what in many respects was the most terrible of these 
dread visitants was that which occurred May 18, 1883. This 
storm had its rise in the vicinity of Springfield, Missouri, and 
extended nearly to Chicago. In its whirling, ruthless course it 
touched the earth at forty different points, and at each contact 
its descent was marked by the destruction of property and 
loss of life. But it was not until it reached Morgan County in 
this State, toward which it manifested a special animosity, that 
its uncurbed powers were fully displayed. Striking Greasy 
Prairie, south of Jacksonville, about six o'clock p.m., it literally 
wiped out everything that stood in its way, and then, proceed- 
ing on its course, came down again at Round Prairie, in 
Sangamon County, marking its contact with the earth there by 
equal violence and devastation. At both of these places many 
lives were lost. The storm -fiend here casting a backward 
glance over its pathway, as if not satisfied with its work of 
ruin and desolation, gathered back on its course and again 
broke out with increased fury about five miles northwest of 

• Reynolds' "Pioneer History of Illinois," 2d Ed., p. 347. 


Jacksonville, having for its objective point the inoffensive vil- 
lage of Literb'erry. 

The day was unusually warm for the season, and a high 
southwesterly wind had prevailed from early morning, reaching 
its greatest velocity about four p.m., when there was a slight 
fall of rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning. The omi- 
nous, funnel-shaped cloud was first descried about eight o'clock 
in the evening. It projected far below the clouds which accom- 
panied it, and was in a state of violent agitation, its rotary 
movement being plainly discernible. Its lower extremity rose 
and fell and swayed from side to side in irregular alternations; 
its motion was frightfully rapid, and it was soon lost to sight as 
it pursued its northeastern course. At first its work of devasta- 
tion was confined to fences and fields, but as its track became 
wider it gathered strength and fury. The first occupied house 
which it encountered was a two-story frame dwelling, which it 
lifted from its foundation and deposited some distance to the 
northwest, leaving two other buildings, one on either side, with- 
in a short distance of each other, entirely undisturbed. The 
width of its swath at this time was about ten rods. Subse- 
quently its path was widened, and the circular motion, charac- 
teristic of cyclones, was more pronounced as was evidenced by 
the rending of trees and fences and the hurfing of the frag- 
ments in opposite directions. 

As the cloud, now balloon shaped, approached the fated 
village, its madness and rage increased. A roaring, likened by 
a veteran soldier to the booming of artillery, and a hissing 
sound, as of escaping steam, accompanied the black monster, 
while its upper portion was illuminated with continuous flashes 
of lightning, and balls and sparks of fire. Large hailstones fell 
from it, together with portions of the debris which it had gath- 
ered in its destructive folds. Houses, fences, implements, trees, 
and entire orchards crumbled at its touch, and were scattered 
and thrown in every conceivable direction. A building would 
be torn to pieces and thrown to the north, while its contents 
would go to the south. Trees were pulled up by the roots, and 
some of them, two feet thick, twisted off a few feet from the 
ground; growing wheat was leveled to the ground in some 
fields as close as if cut by a reaper, and in others the stalks 


were bent to the ground, flattened, and covered by a thick 
deposit of mud, evenly spread out; corn-cribs were blown away 
out of sight, while their contents were left unhoused in heaps. 
Twenty-two houses, fourteen of them in Literberry, occupied 
by sixty-four adults and forty-four children, stood directly in 
the tornado's path, all of which were shattered, and their con- 
tents scattered to the four winds. Ten persons were killed and 
twenty-four injured in various degrees. 

The freaks of this storm were more numerous and astonish- 
ing than those of any other heretofore known. The feathered 
occupants of the barn-yard were rudely lifted from their perches 
and, after being carried for a brief space in the cloud, were 
dropped upon the ground as bare of feathers as though they 
had been picked and singed by the housewife for the next day's 
dinner. Freight- cars standing upon the railroad tracks were 
raised high from the ground and their boxes carried six hun- 
dred feet away, while their wheels and trucks were strewn 
broadcast over the fields in the opposite direction. A solid, 
pine plank, one inch thick and six inches wide, was literally 
driven into the trunk of a wild-cherry tree, and there firmly 
imbedded. A family was imprisoned in a storm-cave by the 
sills of their house having been blown across its door. The 
top of another cave, to which the family had fled for pro- 
tection, was destroyed by the house being blown across it. 
A corner- post of a shed in Literberry was picked up eight 
miles distant in Cass County. A house was lifted from its 
foundation and carried twenty-two feet, the L part being 
broken off; a coal-oil lamp, which was left lighted when the 
family fled from the house, was found on their return where 
it Vx-as left, and burning as if nothing had happened. A two- 
story house and small barn stood on opposite sides of a ravine 
about two hundred feet apart; the barn was first struck and 
hurled some rods to the northeast, where it was broken to 
pieces. The dwelling was carried twenty feet to the south, and 
after plowing up the earth to the depth of two feet, landed on 
one corner and shared the same fate — material and contents 
being scattered around. When the terrified inmates of the 
house came together soon after, it was found that, excepting a 
scalp wound which one had received, no one was seriously 


injured. But, to the horror of all, the baby was missing. The 
speedy search which followed was soon rewarded by finding the 
missing member peacefully sleeping .n the feather-bed upon 
which it had been laid to rest early in the evening, which had 
been carried into the spreading, sheltering arms of an uprooted 
tree, now serving as a cradle, five hundred feet away. This 
storm extended with more or less violence into Cass and 
Menard counties, where great damage was also inflicted.* 

The native flora of the State is as numerous as its soil is 
prolific and its climate varied, from the deciduous cypress and 
cane of the South to the juniper and tamarack of the North. 
Six species are found peculiar to the northern part of the State, 
sixteen to the southern, and sixty-one common to the whole;*}* 
in all eighty-three varieties, as against thirty-four in Europe. 
The oak family is represented by twelve varieties, the hickory 
by six, the ash by five, the maple by three, and the walnut by 
two. In addition to these there are the tulip, cucumber, beech, 
birch, sassafras, catalpa, elm, poplar, hackberry, cottonwood, 
sycamore, pecan, cypress, and redbud. Of wild fruit-trees, the 
State produces the plum, cherry, mulberry, crab and thorn 
apple, haw, pawpaw, and persimmon ; besides the grape-vine in 
endless variety and profusion. 

Fruit-growing is made a specialty in some sections, tobacco 
and hops in others; and it being generally too hot for wheat 
south of Illinois, and too cold for corn north of it, these two 
great cereals here find their native home and highest culture. 

When the country was first discovered, not only the richness 
of its flora rendered it an expanse of beauty f^o the eye, but 
the abundance and variety of its fauna made it still more 
attractive to the hunter. Here roamed almost unchecked and 
in countless numbers, the bufialo, the oebuck, hind, stag, and 
different kinds of fallow deer, the bear, panther wildcat, and 
wolf. The '■ivers were covered with swans, geese, ducks, and 
teals. " One can scarcely travel without finding a prodigious 
multitude of turkeys, who keep together in flocks often to the 

* Condensed from an account written for the Department of Signal- Service 
Weather Bureau, after a personal inspection of the locality the next day, by Dr. 
G. V. Black of Jacksonville, 111. 

+ " Congressional Repoi t of Foiestry, " 503. 


number of ten hundred."* And for trapping, there were the 
beaver, otter, and mink. 

From these great flocks and herds, roaming at will over the 
prairies, Col, Geo. Croghan says: "At any time, in half an hour, 
we could kill all we wanted." But although there are yet left 
the squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, and pigeon, inviting the 
sportsman to wood and field, the great flocks of geese and 
ducks which formerly nested within the State now pass over it; 
and the prairie-chicken, whose wild fields have been taken from 
him, has flown to others farther west. A few wolves and foxes 
are still left to prey upon the farmers' sheep and fowl, but the 
bufialo, with his beaten track through the prairies and groves, 
the elk and the bear, have long since disappeared with the red 
man, himself a superior kind of game, before the all-conquering 
invasion and greed of the white man. 

The impressions which the country made upon those who 
beheld it for the first time were uniformly favorable, and their 
reports of its appearance and resources were expressed in terms 
of highest praise. Father Marquette said : " We had seen noth- 
ing like this for the fertility of the land, its prairies, woods, and 
wild cattle." Father Zenobe Membre: "The Illinois River is 
edged with hills, covered with trees of all kinds, whence you 
discern beautiful prairies. The soil is good, capable of produc- 
ing all that can be desired for man's subsistence. The whole 
country is charming in its aspect." Father Marest: "We must 
acknowledge that the country is very beautiful. There are great 
rivers which water it, vast and dense forests, delightful prairies, 
and hills covered with thick woods." Col. Croghan, in 1765, 
among the first of Englishmen to visit it: "The country 
appears like an ocean. The ground is exceedingly rich, well 
watered, and full of all kinds of game." Col. George Rogers 
Clark: "On the river you'll find the finest lands the sun ever 
shone on. In the high country you will find a variety of poor 
and rich lands, with large meadows extending beyond the reach 
of your eyes, variegated with groves of trees, appearing like 
islands in the seas, covered with buffaloes and other game." 
And Thomas Hutchins, the first surveyor-general of the United 
States, then called "the geographer," whose testimony is the 

* Father Gabriel Marest. 


most valuable of all on account of his experience and ability, 
says: "The Illinois country is in general of a superior soil to 
any other part of North America that I have seen." Volney 
(C. F.), in 1796, says: "It will doubtless prove hereafter the 
Flanders of America, and bear away the prize equally for 
pasture and tillage." 

There is no "earthly paradise," nor any country, however 
attractive, on which the sun shines in regard to which there is 
left nothing to wish for. Man has never yet discovered a 
Utopia, and the physical conformation of Illinois leaves much 
to be desired in respect of both comfort and aesthetic gratifica- 
tion. The lofty mountain -ranges, with their chain of silver 
lakes, are wanting; the mineral wealth which nature has locked 
in the rock-bound caverns of the hills is not hers. The sun 
of midsummer, which sometimes scorches the very roots of the 
nodding grass upon her prairies, drives many of her people to 
seek relief from the sweltering heat in latitudes farther north; 
while the fierce western winds of winter, which sweep unchecked 
across her level surface, force others to seek a refuge in more 
genial southern climes. But while the State loses the uniform- 
ity of climate, the picturesque appearance, and the mineral 
wealth which she might have possessed had her broad bosoms 
been more broken, she can better afford to be deprived of these 
than surrender her proud preeminence as the first agricultural 
State in the Union.* 

* In writing the foregoing chapter, the author has had occasion to examine and 
refer to the following works: Foster's "Mississippi Valley"; Worthen's "Geology 
of Illinois"; the works of James Hall; H. W. Beckwith's "Vermilion County"; 
R. B. Porter's "The West"; Reynolds' "Illinois"; "A View of the Soil and Climate 
of the U. S. of America," by C. F. Volney; State Reports on Agriculture and Hor- 
ticulture; U.-S. Report on Forestry; Encyclopedia of Geography; Eames' "History 
of Morgan County"; Findlay's " Western Territory "; "Illinois Monthly Magazine"; 
Laws of Congress; etc 


Aborigines — Origin, Location, and Habits. 

HOW the inhabitants found upon the American continent 
by the first white explorers came to receive tlie misnomer 
of Indians, in consequence of tlie mii^taken belief of Columbus 
that in the West- India Islands he had found the eastern shores 
of India, is too well known to call for repetition here. 

Of the origin and previous history of the red men, scarcely 
anything is known. The nature and extent of their former 
civilization is left to extremely vague tradition and conjecture. 
That there had been a people mere advanced than those found 
here by Europeans, the mounds erected by them and the stone 
and copper weapons and utensils showing their handiwork, 
afford us the only, but not very satisfactory, evidence. Whence 
they came, whither they went, and at what periods, no one can 

Their successors found in this country on the arrival of the 
white man, with the one exception of the Shawnees, who 
claimed a foreign extraction — asserted that they were natives, 
and that they came up out of the earth. But their traditions all 
pointed to the fact that they came from the West, while their 
white conquerors came from the East. They were divided into 
different tribes, who, wandering over hills and valleys, had ap- 
portioned these among themselves by indefinite boundaries, 
which were held by an uncertain possession and title. 

They have been classified into five groups, according to lan- 
guage and dialects, as follows: the Algonquins. inhabiting the 
country from Nova Scotia to the mouth of the James River, 
thence west to the mouth of the Ohio, thence northward to 
Hudson Bay; the Iroquois, south and east of Lake Ontario, 
within the above territory; the Appalachians, south of the 
Algonquins and east of the Mississippi, the Dakotas, or Sioux, 
west of the Mississippi and north of the Missouri and Platte 
rivers; and the Shoshones, south and west of the Dakotas. 

Their numbers in 1639 were estimated at about one hundred 



and ninety thousand, as follows: Algonquins, ninety thousand; 
Iroquois, comprehending the Hurons and the Five Nations, 
twenty thousand; Cherokees, twelve thousand; Chickasaws, 
Choctaws, and Muskhogees, sixty-three thousand; Natchez, four 
thousand; beside the Shoshones and Dakotas.* In the divis- 
ions and subdivisions of tribes at this time there were included 
two hundred and fifty-two different names. 

These red men of the new world, wherever situated, in 
rocky New England, in Southern forests, or on the prairies 
of the West, were essentially the same, and altogether savage. 
Their government was tribal and each chief a petty despot; 
tlieir religion was a superstition — a blind worship of some unde- 
fined Great Spirit; they were without learning or any knowl- 
edge of the world around them ; they possessed no definite 
ideas of property or of human rights; they knew nothing of 
architecture, of mechanics, or of manufactures. They lived in 
cabins and were clothed in skins; their implements and arms 
were of the rudest sort, made from stone and wood and the 
bones of the buffalo; they were ruthless and revengeful, nar- 
row-minded and brutal, dissolute, lazy, selfish, gluttonous, polyg- 
amous, and lustful; they had no enjoyments except the chase 
and dance, no music but the rudest sounds, giving forth no 
melody. Their relaxations were those of the indolent; "their 
great business in life was to procure food and devour it, to 
subdue their enemies and scalp them." -f- 

Not the stoics they have been represented to be, but rather 
epicures, who preferred to enjoy themselves at the expense of 
duty, avoiding all hardship and peril. Hence their feeble, 
capricious, and ineffective military operations. Yet they were 
not without great leaders, men of quick perceptions and reso- 
lute will, possessing remarkable powers of oratory, and capable 
of acts of daring courage and heroic fortitude; while in not 
a few instances, these untrained, unreasoning children of nature, 
knowing no guide but instinct, displayed a fidelity to treaty 
obligations which might well put to shame the civilized. Chris- 
tianized Caucasian. 

Their mode of living was as follows: in the spring the tribe 

* Bancroft's "United States," III., p. 253. 
t McKinney's "Indian Tribes." 

C\ A P O *> 


assembled at its village or favorite camping-ground, and there 
remained until the time came for hunting. Here crops were 
raised — the women and old men doing the work — skins were 
dressed, and preparations made for hunting and trapping in the 
fall, when the tribe, separating into different bands, departed 
from their villages to occupy their winter-quarters. 

They were unacquainted with the use of iron or copper, and 
had formed but the crudest notions of trade. If left to them- 
selves, they would doubtless have continued as they were found, 
ignorant, savage, and untamable. Three hundred years of oppor- 
tunity, afforded by contact with the white race, have left them 
unbenefited and unimproved by the connection. By adopting 
the vices of the white man they have become enfeebled, and by 
learning the use of firearms they have been the better enabled 
to carry out their savage propensities. It is only when the 
blood of the white race has been infused into the veins of the 
red, and in that proportion, that the civilization of the former 
has been understood, appreciated, or adopted by the latter. 

During the period of the early explorations of the West, 
from 1673 to 1720, that portion of it called "the country of the 
Illinois" was found to be inhabited by seven different tribes of 
Indians, namely: the Illinois, Miamis, Kickapoos — including 
the Mascoutins, Pottawatomies, Sacs and Foxes, Winnebagoes, 
and Shawnees. These all belonged to the Algonquin family, 
except the Winnebagoes who were classed with the Dakotas. 

The names by which different tribes were known and desig- 
nated were not generally of their own selection, but such as 
were bestowed upon them by some other tribe, or by the 
French, to denote some supposed peculiarity. Thus the prin- 
cipal tribe, denominated the Illinois, called themselves L-in-ni- 
wek. This collective name, as applied to a nation or confed- 
eracy, included five separate tribes, called the Kaskaskias, 
Cahokias, Tamaroas, Peorias, and Mitchigamies — the latter, 
from whom Lake Michigan was named and near whose borders 
they for a time encamped, having been adopted from the Qua- 
paws living west of the Mississippi. 

The Illinois had their possessions along the river of that 
name, beginning on the Desplaines and Kankakee, and claimed 
the country adjacent thereto and on the west of these streams 


to and even beyond the Mississippi, and as far south as its 
confluence with the Ohio. Their favorite and principal loca- 
tions, however, were in the central and northern portions of 
what afterward became the State, where they had seventeen 
villages. The largest of these, their metropolis, was situated 
on the Illinois River in LaSalle County, one mile south of the 
celebrated rock subsequently fortified as Fort St. Louis, and 
adjoining the present town of Utica. This village was called 
La Vantum, and, according to Father Membre, in 1680 con- 
tained a population of seven or eight thousand, not including 
the Kaskaskias. The chief village of the Peorias was on the 
lake of that name, while that of the Tamaroas and Cahokias 
was below the mouth of the Illinois River and nearly opposite 
St. Louis. 

The character generally given to the Illinois Indians by the 
French missionaries does not differ from that of other tribes, 
and shows that they were not entitled to the distinction of 
superiority which their name implied. While they were " tall 
of stature, strong and robust, the swiftest runners in the 
world, and good archers, proud, yet affable," they were " idle, 
revengeful, jealous, cunning, dissolute, and thievish." * They 
lived on Indian corn, beans, and other vegetables, including 
fourteen kinds of roots, fruits and nuts, and fish and game. 

It is not surprising that a country so beautiful and pro- 
ductive, and so full of the finest game, as that inhabited by the 
Illinois Indians should be coveted by the surrounding tribes. 
The Dakotas (Sioux) had made hostile incursions upon it from 
the west, the Sacs and Foxes from the north, and also the Kick- 
apoos and Pottawatomies from the northeast. Its fame, indeed, 
had spread to the farther east, where the warlike Iroquois, 
having heard of this splendid hunting-ground, determined to 
dispossess its occupants and hold it for themselves. They had 
made frequent raids upon it prior to 1673, in most of which 
they had been successful, claiming, indeed, to have conquered 
the country. 

In one of these warlike expeditions, however, through the 
heroism of an Indian woman, they had to acknowledge a defeat. 
They had attacked an Illinois village on the banks of a river^ 

* Father Membre. 


and had succeeded in driving out the inhabitants with great 
carnage. A young, courageous, and patriotic woman of the 
tribe, called Watch-e-kee — the orthography of which has been 
changed to Watseka — having ascertained that their enemies 
were then exulting over their victory and rioting on the spoils 
secured in the village, urged her countrymen to take advantage 
of the situation and attack them in return. But the warriors, 
smarting under the sense of recent humiliation, refused to 
respond to her urgent call. She pointed to the darkness of 
the night, and the almost certain chances of a successful sur- 
prise. The " braves " still refusing, she called for volunteers 
from among the squaws, urging upon them that death in battle 
was preferable to torture and captivity, which might be their 
fate on the morrow. The women came forward in great num- 
bers and offered to follow their brave leader. Seeing the deter- 
mined courage of their wives and daughters, the men became 
ashamed of their cowardice, and, inspired with a valor they 
had not lately exhibited, rushed to arms. A plan of attack was 
speedily arranged, and the Iroquois, being taken unawares, in 
turn suffered an overwhelming defeat. The stream near which 
this engagement took place was called the Iroquois, as has 
been the county through which it flows, while to the county- 
seat of the latter has been given the name of the heroic Indian 
girl who compassed the overthrow of her enemies. 

When the French came to the Illinois country they were 
received not only without opposition, but with decided mani- 
festations of friendliness. With their superior arms and equip- 
ments of war, the Illinois had the sagacity to see that they 
might prove most valuable allies and defenders. They wel- 
comed their priests and listened apparently with great favor to 
the scheme of religion presented by them with so much zeal and 
fervor; and the friendship thus begun was never afterward in- 
terrupted. The two peoples, so different in birth and civiliza- 
tion, had yet so many characteristics in common that their 
mutual attachment was not unnatural. They hunted and traded 
together, fought together, and eventually many of them inter- 
married and lived together. It was an alliance which, although 
at first beneficial to the French, in the end proved fatal to both 


Having heard that the IIHnois were again assembled in large 
numbers at their village of La Vantum, and of the presence 
among them of some Frenchmen, who might divert the valua- 
ble trade in furs from their British and Dutch allies to the 
French, the Iroquois, in September, 1680, with six hundred 
picked warriors, made an attack upon them, killing twelve hun- 
dred and driving the rest beyond the Mississippi, with a loss 
of only thirty men. Further particulars of this foray will be 
given hereafter. 

The French having established themselves at the Rock, which 
they had fortified and garrisoned, the Illinois, under their favor 
and protection, again occupied their villages in that vicinity, 
with other tribes invited by LaSalle. On March 20, 1684, the 
Iroquois again came in great force and laid siege to this fort 
for seven days, but were finally repulsed and compelled to 
retreat with great loss. This was their last invasion of the 
Illinois country, and from this time until 1702, when the post 
of Fort St. Louis was disbanded as a military establishment, 
the Illinois remained at peace with their neighbors, and were 
prospered in their hunting and trading with their new-found 

About the year 1700, the Kaskaskias, learning that the 
French were establishing a military post and colony near the 
mouth of the Mississippi, as Father Gravier remarks, decided 
to remove thither prematurely. That a portion of the tribe 
had already commenced the emigration is probable, as appears 
from the journal of M. Penicaut.* He describes the Kaskas- 
kias as having "already departed and established themselves 
within two leagues of this river [meaning the Kaskaskia] in the 
interior." Father Gravier deplored this step, and through per- 
sonal influence induced the ultimate modification of the plan; 
and those of the tribe who, at the time of his arrival, still 
remained in their old hunting-grounds were induced by him to 
join their brethren in the southern portion of the Illinois coun- 
try, where they continued to reside. 

The remaining Illinois at Peoria and Fort St. Louis were 
attacked by the Foxes in 1722, but the latter were defeated 
and driven off with a loss of over one hundred and twenty men. 

* "Journal of Leseur's Expedition to Falls of St. Anthony in 1700." 


After this, however, their situation was so exposed and they 
were so subject to " constant alarm " that they decided, says 
Charlevoix, to unite with their brethren who had settled upon 
the Mississippi. How many of them thus changed their loca- 
tion can not be stated, but it seems certain that a portion, to- 
gether with some confederate bands, continued at times to 
occupy their old villages. 

The French at this period found their dusky dependants not 
only useful in their settlements and beneficial to their trade, but 
also valuable allies, rendering important services in their wars. 
The chief Chicagou, who had been sent by them to France in 
1725, where he received the attentions due to a foreign prince, 
was afterward honored with a command in their expedition 
against the Cherokees. In 1736, the number and location of 
warriors in that portion of the confederacy which had been 
incorporated under the French government in 17 18, was as 
follows: Mitchigamies, near Fort Chartres, two hundred and 
fifty; Kaskaskias, six leagues below, one hundred; Peorias, 
fifty; Cahokias and Tamaroas, two hundred; making a total 
of six hundred. They took part in the French and Indian 
war of 1755, but are not mentioned in any of the accounts 
extant of the war of Pontiac, in 1763. 

From this period their decline into a subordinate position 
among other tribes, and their inability to defend themselves, 
rendered them an easy prey to their fellow savages. They 
were hemmed in by relentless foes on all sides. On the south- 
east were the Shawnees, who, in a bloody engagement with the 
Tamaroas, nearly exterminated that tribe; to the northeast 
were the Kickapoos and Pottawatomies, against whose attacks 
they were able to oppose but a feeble resistance. 

In 1769, having been charged with the assassination of 
Pontiac, some tribes with whom that great chief was con- 
nected attacked them from the north. Fugitive bands of the 
Illinois, fleeing from these warriors, sought to defend them- 
selves in their ancient village of LaVantum, which they rudelyj 
fortified. Here a sanguinary engagement took place whicl 
lasted two days. Seeing that they were likely to be overcome, 
during a stormy night they sought refuge on the projecting 
bluff near by which had been the site of Fort St. Louis. Here ' 


they were again assaulted and besieged for twelve days. When 
at length their provisions were exhausted and they were un- 
able to obtain water, hunger and thirst accomplished what their 
relentless foes had been powerless to effect. Determined to 
sell their lives as dearly as possible, those who were able made 
a last desperate sortie, but fell easy victims to their watchful 
enemies below, who, gaining access to the top of the cliff, 
satiated their vengeance in true savage fashion by the unspar- 
ing use of the tomahawk upon their now defenceless foes who 
had been too feeble to join in the last desperate encounter. 
Only one, a half-breed, escaped to tell the tale. Their tragic 
fate and whitening bones, which were to be seen for years after- 
ward upon its summit, gave to this noted location the name of 
the Starved Rock, which it has ever since borne.* Such, at 
least, is the traditional account handed down from Indian 

Following their history to a later period, in 1773, the number 
of Kaskaskias in their village is estimated by the geographer, 
Thomas Hutchins, at two hundred and ten and of Peorias and 
Mitchigamies at two hundred and forty warriors. Col. George 
Rogers Clark, in his report of the conferences he had with the 
various tribes of Indians at Cahokia in 1778, especially men- 
tions the Illinois, Kaskaskias, Peorias, and Cahokias as having 
been present, with whom and other tribes he concluded treaties. 

The French villages in the Illinois country having been in 
possession of the British at the beginning of the Revolutionary 
War, the first predilections of the neighboring Indians were 
to ally themselves with the cause of Great Britain. But when 
they came to understand the true situation, as explained by 
Col. Clark, and learned that their ancient allies, the French, 
had sent ships of war and armies to aid the Americans — "the 
long knives," as they called them — in their struggle for inde- 

* N. Matson, in his " Pioneers of Illinois, " says that the Indians whose fate is 
here narrated constituted "the remnants of the different bands of the Illinois — in 
fact all that was left of them," and concludes his romantic account by stating that 
"thus perished the large tribe of Illinois Indians which, with the exception of a 
solitary warrior, became extinct. " A statement in which Judge J. D. Caton, in his 
"Last of the Illinois," concurs, although the latter fixes the number who escaped 
at eleven. Neither of these statements are at all consistent with other well-knowa 
and established facts mentioned in the text. 


pendence, they were easily persuaded to cease their hostility 
and transfer their friendship to the Americans.* But later they 
joined the Miami confederacy, and, the Kaskaskias certainly, 
were recognized at the making of the treaty of Greenville, in 
1795, as having participated in the war, the issues of which 
that treaty adjusted; and were in that document placed on the 
same footing, as to payments for lands ceded by them, as the 
Kickapoos, Piankashaws, and Weas. 

Coming down to the year 1800, Gov. Reynolds remarks, in his 
"Pioneer History," that at that time the entire Illinois confeder- 
acy numbered about one hundred and fifty. Their chief, DuCoign 
or DuQuoin, "a cunning man of considerable talents." had for- 
merly paid a visit to President Washington, and, as a token of 
his favor, wore a medal received from him. It was in this year 
that, according to an historical sketch by the Rev. J. M. Peck, 
they encountered their hereditary enemies, the Kickapoos, Sacs 
and Foxes, and Pottawatomies, for th'e last time at Battle 
Creek, about twenty-five miles from Kaskaskia, where the Illi- 
nois were overwhelmingly defeated. 

By the treaty of 1S03, which recites the fact of their waning 
condition, in consideration of the increase of their annuity 
from $500, under the treaty of Greenville, to $1000, of $300 
toward building a church, and the annual payment of $100 to 
a Catholic priest for seven years, they ceded all their lands, 
excepting a reservation of seven hundred acres, to the United 
States, and were thenceforward taken under the protection of 
the government."!- 

By this time drunkenness had completed their deterioration, 
physical as well as moral, and, from a race of hardy, valiant 
warriors, they had degenerated into a mere handful of idle, 
worthless hangers-on about the frontier settlements. Having 
disposed of their possessions in Illinois, the remnant of the 
tribe finally removed to their reservation in the Indian Terri- 

* Their numbers, as reported by Capt. G. Imlay in his description of the West 
in 1 79 1, were as follows: Kaskaskias, two hundred and fifty; Cahokias, two hundred 
and sixty; and Peorias, four hundred. 

+ All these facts are in conflict with the statement attributed to Gen. Harrison, 
made undoubtedly upon erroneous information, that the Illinois confederacy was 
reduced to thirty persons in 1800. 


tory, where they are now, under the name of Peorias, and num- 
bered, in 1885, one hundred and forty-nine. They are reported, 
by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to be "for the most part 
an active, well-to-do race of farmers, who live in comfortable 
frame-houses." Evidently they now possess but few traits of 
the original native — the blood has been changed. 

The Miamis, having had tribal relations with the Illinois, 
from whom they separated prior to 1673, were called by the 
Iroquois and early colonists Twigh-twees. They were divided 
into four principal tribes, known as the Miamis proper, the Eel 
Rivers, the Weas, and the Piankashaws. Having, as is alleged, 
emigrated from west of the Mississippi, through Wisconsin, 
about 1672 they were found around the southern bend of Lake 
Michigan. In 1684, they had villages near the Starved Rock, 
and numbered there two thousand warriors. Later, the Weas 
had a village near Chicago, but left it in 1718, and, passing 
around the head of Lake Michigan, settled farther east near 
other kindred bands. The Piankashaws remained in Illinois 
and subsequently fixed their villages on the Vermilion and 
Wabash rivers, their territory extending westward to the water- 
shed between the latter and the Illinois. 

The superiority in numbers and bravery of the Miamis, and 
their enterprise in procuring fire-arms, enabled them to main- 
tain their tribal independence much longer than many other 
confederacies. They were opposed to the French, British, and 
Americans by turns, and retarded the early settlement of the 
country by the bold and sagacious defence of their possessions. 
Gen. Harrison said of them that they composed the finest body 
of light troops in the world. They were classed with the 
Shawnees and Delawares as superior to other tribes in moral 
and intellectual qualities. 

The labors of the missionaries among them were not success- 
ful. They became the enemies of the French in 1694, because 
of their furnishing arms to the Sacs and Foxes, and, excepting 
the Piankashaw division, were never afterward on good terms 
with them. This band, however, having their headquarters in 
the vicinity of Vincennes, had formed a closer intimacy with 
the French, even to the extent of intermarriage. On account 
of their friendly relations, Col. Clark easily succeeded in trans- 


ferring their allegiance from the British to the Americans, and 
this feeling of amity was continued during the Indian wars 
against the whites subsequent to the Revolution, although they 
often innocently suffered from avenging blows, which should 
have fallen upon others. And, in answer to their appeal. Presi- 
dent Washington issued his proclamation especially forbidding 
attacks upon them by the whites.* 

The Piankashaws ceded their lands in Illinois by treaties in 
1805 and 1809, and removed first to Kansas and subsequently 
to the Indian Territory, where they have since remained. 

The Pottawatomies, formerly a subdivision of the Chippewas 
and Ottawas, are first mentioned in history as dwelling beyond 
the river St. Lawrence, and to the north of Lake Huron. In 
1670, they were established at Green Bay. Their next migra- 
tion was toward the south. A portion of the tribe located in 
Northern Michigan, another division settled in Northern Ohio, 
while still a third section established themselves in that part of 
Illinois lying north of the Kankakee and Illinois rivers and 
west of the territory of the Winnebagoes and Sacs and Foxes. 
The name signifies "we are making a fire," hence they were 
called by other tribes "fire-makers." 

They were described as being " tall, fierce, and haughty — a 
warlike people, fond of hunting and fishing." They early 
became attached to the French, and continued on friendly rela- 
tions with them in all their efforts to colonize the Northwest, 
during all of which period, including the I'^rench and Indian 
war, they were hostile to the British. They were among the 
most active supporters of Pontiac in his great conspiracy, and 
although, in the beginning of the Revolution, they joined in 
the border wars against the Americans, those of them in Illi- 
nois yielded to the persuasions of Col. Clark to lay down their 
arms. They were, however, prominent members of the Miami- 
Shawnee confederacy, and became parties to the treaty of 
Greenville. While they did not look with favor on the attempt 
of the Americans to settle the country, they were not so demon- 
strative in their hostility as some other tribes. On account of 
their habit of frequently roaming from one belt of timber to 
another, and never remaining long at one place, they were 
called "squatters." 

* Backwith's " Illinois and Indiana Indians." 



In 1763, of the nineteen hundred and thirty warriors of the 
Algonquin confederacy who met Sir Wm. Johnson at Niagara, 
to form a treaty of peace, four hundred and fifty were Potta- 
watomies. This would seem to indicate that they were at this 
time the first in numbers, if not the most powerful, of western 
tribes. However this may be, as will hereafter appear, they 
were always "the first to be present at a treaty where lands 
were to be ceded, and claimed the lion's share." They united 
with Tecumseh, and were won over to the British cause in the 
war of 181 2. 

The Kickapoos and Mascoutins, nominally the same, were 
found by Father Allouez, in 1670, near the mouth of Fox River 
in Wisconsin. They subsequently worked their way, in oppo- 
sition to the Piankashaws and Illinois, southward to the river 
of the latter name, thence south of the Kankakee, and still 
later, fighting their way, to the Vermilion, Sangamon, and 
Mackinaw rivers, where they remained for over a hundred years. 
Their villages were on the Vermilion, the Embarras, the head- 
waters of the Okaw, and on Sugar Creek; and their principal 
village at Old Mackinaw, in McLean County. They were 
called Prairie Indians, and although comparatively few in 
numbers, they were extremely fierce and strongly disposed to 
war. They were tall, sinewy, and active; industrious and 
cleanly in their habits, remarks Gov. Reynolds, and were better 
armed and clothed than other Indians. They were inferior to 
the Miamis, Delawares, and Shawnees in the management of 
large bodies of men, but excelled all other tribes in predatory 
warfare. Small parties of from five to twenty, with unequaled 
celerity, would swoop down upon an unprotected settlement a 
hundred miles distant, and, capturing the women and children, 
would burn the cabins, kill the cattle, and make off with the 
the horses, before an alarm could be given. 

The French were unable to influence, much less to tame, 
them. Superior to surrounding tribes in energy and intelli- 
gence, they were the persistent and uncompromising enemies 
of the whites in the very centre of the Illinois country. The 
early settlers on, and adjacent to, the American Bottom were 
for years kept in continual alarm by their midnight attacks and 
menacing presence. With the close of the war of 1 812, to the 


great relief of the pioneers, the Kick^poos ceased their hostili- 
ties. But when they finally ceded their lands, a portion of 
them manifested their continued dislike to the whites by refus- 
ing to settle within the limits of the United States, preferring 
to go to Texas. Some of them went to Mexico, while others 
removed first to Kansas and then to the Indian Territory, where 
they now reside. In 1875, the quasi-civilized portion numbered 
three hundred and eighty-five, and the wild Mexican band four 
hundred and twenty. 

The Sacs or Osaukies, and Foxes, called by the French 
Outagamies, were two allied tribes, whose principal village was 
near Green Bay, where they were found in 1666, to the number 
of four hundred warriors. Their names were familiar as house- 
hold words to the inhabitants of Illinois during the century of 
their menacing contiguity. Father Allouez, who first discovered 
them, says: "They were very much disparaged, and reputed 
by other natives as penurious, avaricious, thievish, and quarrel- 
some." Or, as Judge Hall describes them at a later period: 
" They were always the restless and discontented Ishmaelites 
of the lakes, their hand against every man and every man's 
hand against them." He further speaks of them, however, as 
"remarkable for the symmetry of their form and fine personal 
appearance. Few tribes resemble them in this particular; still 
fewer equal their intrepidity. They are physically and morally 
the most striking of their race. Their history abounds in tales 
of daring adventures and romantic incidents." 

Of all the Algonquin tribes with whom the French came in 
contact, they alone — with their kindred, the Kickapoos — proved 
not only deaf to the blandishments of flattery, but unalterably 
obdijrate to all overtures of friendship, and, indeed, utterly 
implacable. Except on one occasion, when a few of them 
joined the French in their attack upon forts George and Henry, 
they continued to be their irreconcilable enemies, encroaching 
upon their territory, dispersing their forces, and attacking their 
allies whenever the opportunity offered. 

After numerous successful forays into the country of the Illi- 
nois, which the French at that time claimed to own, the Sacs and 
Foxes finally, about the year 17 18, established themselves per- 
manently on Rock River. Continuing their attacks upon the 


Illinois, in conjunction with the Kickapoos, a few years later 
they drove them as a body south from their ancient villages. 
Being engaged at the time in a war with the lowas, whom they 
conquered and incorporated with themselves, they took no part 
in the contest which ended with the treaty of Greenville. But 
in the war of 18 12, a large portion of them, under the leader- 
ship of Black-Hawk, engaged on the side of the British. Their 
history thereafter will be taken up in its order. 

The Winnebagoes, calling themselves " fish eaters," were of 
the Dakota stock. They came from the West, and for many 
years were engaged in war with the Illinois for the possession 
of the northern part of their country; but were unsuccessful, 
the latter claiming to have driven them back, in 1640, to the head 
of Green Bay, where they located and were first encountered 
by the French missionaries in 1647. They had the reputation 
of being good-natured, manly, and uncouth ; they distinguished 
themselves for bravery in the battles with Gov. St. Clair and Gen. 
Wayne, and in the later wars against the whites they bore them- 
selves with remarkable valor, being specially mentioned by Gen. 
Harrison in his report of the battle of Tippecanoe. They ranged 
themselves on the side of the British in the war of 18 12. 

Their territorial limits in Illinois, which had long been a sub- 
ject of dispute, were settled by the Prairie-du-Chien treaty of 
1825, as follows: "Southeasterly by Rock River, from its 
source near the Winnebago Lake [in Central Wisconsin] to the 
Winnebago village about forty miles above its mouth," near the 
mouth of the Pecatonica, in Jo Daviess County. Further men- 
tion of them will be made hereafter. 

The Shawnees came from Florida and Georgia, but did not 
obtain a footing in Illinois until about 1750, when they located 
in the vicinity of that ancient town on the Ohio River which 
was named after them. They were a bold, roving, adventurous 
nation, whose leadership by Tecumseh and his brother — the 
Prophet, a few years later, marks a striking period in the annals 
of the West. They remained in Illinois only a few years, when 
they joined the remainder of the tribe on the Scioto River. 

Between the policy of the European nations in their treat- 
ment of the American aborigines and that pursued by the 
United States, there exists a wide difference. The former 


boldly claimed the ownership of the country with accompany- 
ing right of sovereignty. They occupied and used what land 
they saw fit, and paid therefor what they pleased, by way of 
gratuity. Of all the Europeans, there can be no doubt that 
the French were most successful in checking the nomadic, pred- 
atory disposition of the Indians, and establishing' with them at 
least quasi-friendly relations. On the other hand, the Ameri- 
cans, under the policy marked out by the first administration 
under the Constitution, proceeded upon the theory of conced- 
ing the possessionary right of the natives to the public domain, 
of which they could be deprived only by treaty and purchase. 
But the red man soon perceived that he was regarded as an 
interloper, an inharmonious and distasteful presence which must 
be got rid of at any cost. 

To meet the wishes, if not the imperative requirements, of 
the white settlers, treaties were negotiated with the Indians, 
whereby the latter formally ceded territory desired by the 
whites in consideration of money and habitations provided else- 
where. That such changes of location were not in accordance 
with the wishes of these "children of the forest" is indisputable. 
But they submitted, more or less reluctantly, to the inevitable, 
and a paternal government was instituted over them, by which 
schools were provided and other means taken to hasten their 
civilization. Whether this course was best for the welfare of 
the Indian, can not now with certainty be determined; but that 
it was for the interest of his white supplanter, there can be no 

It must be admitted that hitherto the Nation's enforced 
guardianship of its two hundred and seventy thousand red 
men, and their attempted civilization, have not been successful. 
Verbose treaties have been solemnly executed with these 
savages, with formalities similar to those observed in entering 
into compacts with foreign nations, and yet these same tribes 
have parted with every attribute of national sovereignty. The 
government has loudly and repeatedly declared its intention 
of teaching them self-reliance, and at the same time persists in 
treating them as though they were children. To give them 
wagon-loads of toys and trinkets can not supply the place of 
moral example. As Judge James Hall says, "the march of 
mind will never penetrate into our forests by the beat of the 


drum, nor civilization be transmitted in bales of scarlet cloth 
and glass beads." 

The sums annually expended in maintaining a policy so in- 
defensible are vast in amount. If such expenditure resulted in 
the moral or material advancement of those for whom it is 
appropriated, no voice would be raised in opposition. But so far 
from the disbursement resulting in the elevation of the red men, 
it tends to sink them lower in the depths of degradation. The 
governmental machinery for the outlay and distribution of these 
sums is complex and cumbersome, and its administration has in 
not a few instances given rise to grave national scandals. 

The asperities of the Indian character can not be softened, 
nor his morals improved, by pampering his indolence and fos- 
tering his egotism. We hold these dependants "in pupilage." 
Neither common-sense nor reflection approves of the conduct 
of the parent who supports his son in idleness, while his disci- 
pline is of the most capricious character; who encourages the 
indulgence of his vicious propensities without instructing him 
how to secure an honest livelihood; or attempting to instil into 
his mind, by both precept and example, the duty of industry 
and the principles of sound morality. 

But while these grave objections may be urged against the 
policy of our government in its dealings with the Indian 
question, the "Nation's wards," notwithstanding the opportuni- 
ties offered them, have shown very little willingness for or capa- 
bility of self-government; and in view of the fact that after 
half a century's experience and intercourse with civilization, the 
unmixed red man yet cherishes what would seem to be an 
ineradicable preference for the wild woods to cultivated fields, 
the migratory wigwam to the permanent home, and the skins 
of animals and blankets to the garments of civilization, the 
question still arises whether he possesses either the physical or 
intellectual organization which might enable him to reach any 
higher place in the scale of being than that of his aboriginal 

* The following authorities have been consulted in writing the foregoing chap- 
ter: McKinney's "Indian Tribes"; Schoolcraft; Reynolds; Brown, Peck, and 
Beck's " Western Gazetteers"; Beckwith's "Illinois and Indiana Indians"; French's 
j" Louisiana"; "Annals of the West"; American State Papers; Thomas Hutchins' 
"Topographical Descriptions"; Bancroft's "United States"; Hall's "111. Monthly 
Magazine. " 

Period I. — Under the French, 1682-1781, 


Early Explorations and Discoveries, 1673 - 1700. 

THE discovery of America marked a new era in the world's 
progress. Colonies composed of the hardy and adven- 
turous of the old world were transferred to and established in 
the new. Unaccustomed channels of trade opened up the way 
for an ever-expanding commerce; while the poor and oppressed 
found a home and a refuge where man could work and think 
for himself Not only the struggle for wealth, but for empire 
also, was transferred from the well-contested fields of the east- 
ern to the virgin forests and untrodden prairies of the western 

The Spaniards planted their colonies amid the ruins of the 
decayed civilization of the Aztecs, and among the orange 
groves of Florida, where, in 1565, they founded St. Augustine, 
the oldest city in the United States. The French sought the 
less genial, though less enervating, banks of the St. Lawrence; 
Avhile the British, with a keener eye to prospective commercial 
advantages, confined themselves at first to the broken outlines 
of the Atlantic coast. 

While that mighty artery of commerce, the Mississippi River, 
which drains one-seventh of the continent of North America, 
and passes through or forms the boundary of ten states of the 
American Union, was first seen and explored below the thirty- 
seventh parallel of latitude by Hernando de Soto, in 1541, 
Illinois owes its first settlement by white men, over a century 
later, to the adventurous courage of French explorers, a brief 
outline of whose tireless and rugged perseverance is essential 
to a thorough comprehension of its early history. 

Jacques Cartier, the sturdy sailor of Breton, was the pioneer 
French discoverer in America. He was the first to sail up the 
river St. Lawrence and gave to that stream its name. He 
reached the site of the future city of Montreal in 1535. Al- 



though other explorers soon followed, it was not until July 3, 
1608, that a permanent European settlement was made upon 
Canadian soil, at Quebec, where a French colony was planted by 
that most illustrious of French mariners, Samuel de Champlain. 
To him may be ascribed the honor of the discovery of lakes 
Huron and Ontario, as well as the beautiful sheet of water which 
bears his name. To his efforts was also due the establishment 
of new settlements and posts along the St. Lawrence River and 
around the chain of great lakes to the West. Reaching out 
beyond these inland seas, the mighty rivers and boundless 
prairies of the West were also added to the conquests of his 
master and patron, Louis XIV., "the grand monarch." 

Among those who followed Champlain, and whose names 
have been honored as the most enterprising and successful of 
the early French inland explorers on account of the import- 
ance of their discoveries relating to Illinois, the following are 
deserving of especial mention: 

I. Jean Nicolet. He came from Cherbourg in 1618, having 
previously sailed under Champlain. He lived with the Algon- 
quin Indians many years, and, having learned their language, 
was much esteemed as an interpreter. To him belongs the 
honor of discovering Lake Michigan, then generally called the 
"Lac des Illinois," on July 4, 1634. He also visited the Chip- 
pewas at Green Bay, the Menominees and the Winnebagoes 
at the lake of the latter name, where a large number of these 
natives gathered to see and hear him. He made a favorable 
impression, and was invited to a feast at which one hundred 
and twenty beavers were served. From this point he jour- 
neyed six days to the home of the Mascoutins on P'ox River, 
Having heard of a large tribe of Indians called the Illinois, 
he proceeded southward to visit them, and had friendly inter- 
views with them in some of their northern villages. After his 
return to Quebec, he was continued in the office of commissary 
and interpreter, in which position he gave great satisfaction, 
until his death by drowning, in October, 1642. He unlocked 
the doors to the Far West, and opened up the way for the 
fur-trader, the voyageur, and the missionary.* 

On the meagre accounts from which the history of those early 

• C. W. Butterfield's "Jean Nicolet." 


days is made up, many of them based upon mere hearsay, 
and upon vague and conflicting statements, in which Indian 
names with French pronunciations are often calculated to mis- 
lead as to localities, it is hardly possible to predicate positive 
statements of fact without provoking controversy. Still it may 
be asserted with tolerable certainty that Nicolet was the first 
white man to tread the soil of Wisconsin and Illinois. 

2. In 1658-9, Pierre Esprit Radisson, a noted traveler and 
trader, on his third voyage reached, it is claimed, the upper 
Mississippi. He made careful notes, from which he prepared 
full accounts of his explorations from 1652 to 1684, which have 
lately been published.* Although a native of France, he was 
a subject alternately of either France or Great Britain, as facili- 
ties for explorations were afforded by the respective countries. 
He was accompanied in his voyages by his brother-in-law, 
Medard Chouart, known also as Sieur des Groseilliers. They 
originated the forming of a settlement at Hudson Bay, out of 
which grew the celebrated company of that name. 

In consequence of the favorable reports of these explorers, 
an expedition was sent out from Montreal in August, 1660, to 
trade with the newly- found natives west of Lake Superior. 
Among those who accompanied this party were Father Rene 
Menard and his servant, Jean Guerin. Having wintered at 
Keweenaw Bay, on the southern shore of the lake, in June, 
166 1, they resumed their journey to find the Hurons. Being 
soon after forsaken by their guides, they lost their way, and 
became separated from each other. Menard was either killed 
or died from exposure. Perrot states that in the course of 
these wanderings "the father followed the Ottawas to the lake 
of the Illinois [Michigan], ^and in their flight westward as far 
as the upper part of Black River." If this statement be true, 
Menard and Guerin-f* saw the Mississippi twelve years before 
Joliet and Marquette. 

3, Nicholas Perrot, The results of the labors of this ex- 
plorer are not only important in themselves, but because of 
the intelligent and interesting account of them which he com- 
mitted to writing; and which, although it remained in man- 

* "Radisson's Voyages." By the Prince Society, Boston, 1885. 
+ "Winsor's America," Vol. IV., p. 171. 


uscript until 1864, was frequently referred to and proved to be 
a valuable contribution to the literature of that period. His 
explorations from the year 1670 to 1690 extended to the valley 
of the Fox River and around the great lakes. 

On June 14, 1671, the first conference was held between the 
natives and the French at Sault Ste. Marie, under the direction 
of the Sieur St. Lusson. It was a notable gathering, and there 
were present, by invitation, representatives from seventeen dif- 
ferent tribes, from the head-waters of the St. Lawrence, the 
Mississippi, the lakes, and as far south as Red River. The 
object of the council was to arrange what by courtesy was 
called a treaty, by which the French government was to take 
possession of the country. Fifteen Frenchmen were present, in- 
cluding Fathers Allouez, Druilletes, and Dablon, and also Joliet, 
Moreau called La Taupine, and Perrot who acted as the princi- 
pal guide and interpreter of the occasion. The arms of France 
were marked upon a cedar post, a cross was raised, and the 
ceremonies concluded by St. Lusson making the formal an- 
nouncement that he did then and there take possession of 
lakes Huron and Superior, and all the countries contiguous and 
adjacent thereto and "southward to the sea," which had been 
or might thereafter be discovered, in the name of the King of 

It was during this period that the bold and expansive policy 
of King Louis and his able minister, Jean Baptiste Colbert, 
was placed in striking contrast with the dilatory course of 
England's licentious king, Charles the Second. While France 
was animating the colonists in America to extraordinary exer- 
tions in extending its empire, England's sovereign was content 
to use the subsidies of France to minister to his own selfish 
enjoyments. Perrot discovered the first lead-min°s in the 
West. In 1685 he was placed in command of the Green-Bay 
country; and in 1688 added the upper Mississippi, the rivers 
St. Croix and St. Pierre, and adjacent regions to the dominions 
of the French crown. 

4. Louis Joliet, the next in order of date, although among 
the foremost in order of meritorious service, was the only one 
of these early explorers who was, with the possible exception 
of Perrot, born on American soil, having first seen the light at 


Quebec in 1645. He was the son of a wagon-maker. His 
parents placed his education in care of the Jesuits, under whose 
tutelage he passed four years. The young novitiate discovered 
that he had no vocation to the priesthood. His adventurous 
spirit could not longer endure the restraints of academic shades. 
To him the hunter's garb was more attractive than the cassock 
of the ecclesiastic, and the canoe more congenial than the clois- 
ter. He therefore bade farewell to the seminary, and entered 
upon a life better adapted to his active temperament. 

He entered upon his new career in 1669, when he was de- 
spatched by the intendant to explore the copper-mines of Lake 
Superior. From this expedition he returned by Lake Erie, and 
was probably the first white navigator who sailed upon its 
waters. Having justly earned the reputation of a successful 
voyagciir, and "as a man of great experience in these sort of dis- 
coveries," by this and other expeditions, he was selected by "Jean 
Talon, Intendant of Justice, Police, and Finance of Canada" — an, 
office of which the latter was the first incumbent, to command 
an expedition having for its object the discovery of the Missis- 
sippi. The appointment was confirmed by the governor, Fron- 
tenac, from whom he received instructions. These were, " to 
discover the south sea by the Mascoutins' country and the 
great river Mississippi." It was not then known that the river 
of which they had heard from the Indians was the same as 
that which had already been discovered by de Soto and others, 
and whose course had been traced upon Spanish maps over a 
hundred years before that time. It was supposed that it emp- 
tied into the Gulf of California or the "South Sea," the great 
highway to China and Japan. 

Joliet left Quebec in the fall of 1672, and arrived at Mackinac, 
December 8th. Here he remained during the winter and spring,, 
gathering information and making preparations for the contin- 
uance of his journey. At the missionary station of St. Ignace 
— the location of which it is difficult to determine, having been 
variously described as being on the north shore of the Straits of 
Mackinac, at Old Mackinaw, and on the Island of Mackinac* — 
he met Father Jacques Marquette, the missionary in charge. 

Among other arrangements made, and perhaps the most im- 

♦ Shea, H. II. Ilurlbut, and others. 


portant, was the securing of the services of this missionary to 
accompany him. Marquette had no official connection with the 
expedition, his name not appearing either in the commission by 
which it was constituted nor in the governor's report of its 
results. He was simply Joliet's priestly compagnon dii voyage, 
for which position he was well qualified by reason of his frontier 
experience, his devotion to his calling, and his acquaintance 
with Indian dialects, six of which he was able to speak. He 
had long desired to make such a trip, and gladly availed him- 
self of the opportunity which Joliet's invitation afforded. 

The account of this celebrated expedition, prepared by its 
leader, together with a map of the country traversed, and other 
valuable mementoes, was unfortunately lost on his return, by 
the capsizing of his canoe near Montreal, while about to land, 
as he says, " in sight of the first French settlements which I 
had left almost two years before." This proved to be a serious 
loss. However, he prepared the best report possible without 
the data which had cost so many months of arduous labor 
to obtain, and this, together with a map, rude in design and 
more or less imperfect, was forwarded to France by Frontenac, 
in November, 1674. The governor reported that "he has dis- 
covered some very fine countries, and a navigation so easy that 
a person can go from Lake Ontario in a bark to the Gulf of 
Mexico, there being only one carrying-place half a league in 
length. He has been within ten days' journey of the Gulf of 

The loss of Joliet's original memoranda was to some extent 
repaired by the narrative of his companion, Father Marquette, 
which assumes to be circumstantial regarding dates, localities, 
and events. The final outfit of the expedition consisted of 
"two birch-bark canoes, five men, a bag of corn-meal, some 
dried beef, and a blanket apiece"; besides beads, crosses, and 
other religious articles. Starting on May 17, 1673, from 
St. Ignace, they reached the Mascoutins on Fox River, June 
7. Having remained here three days, and secured guides, 
they resumed their journey, making a portage to the Wisconsin 
River, down which they floated until they reached the far-famed 
Mississippi, on June 17. Proceeding down this river, on June 
25, they landed at a point near to which were situated three 


Indian villages. These they visited, and, being kindly received, 
remained until the end of the month, when they again pro- 
ceeded on their journey. 

The next circumstance deemed by Father Marquette of suffi- 
cient importance to deserve special mention was the sight of the 
picture on the rocky bluff above Alton of the Piasa bird, which 
excited as much apprehension as if it had been alive. He de- 
scribes it as being "as large as a calf, having horns on the head 
like a deer, with a frightful look, bearded like a tiger, face some- 
what like a man's, body covered with scales, and a tail going 
twice around the body, with green, red, and kind of black 

He next describes the entrance into the Mississippi of a river 
which he called the Pekitanoui, supposed to be the Missouri, 
than " the noise of the rapids into which we were about to fall," 
he declared, he " had seen nothing more frightful." Soon after 
this another river, which he names the Ouaboukigou, was passed, 
below which they saw and entered the village of some Indians 
armed with guns, and having axes, hoes, knives, and beads, 
which they said they had bought of some Europeans "on the 
eastern side." They next came to a village of the Mitchi- 
gamies, where they spent the night, and the next day arrived 
at the village of the Akamseas, which he locates at the latitude 
of about 31° 40'. 

Being convinced from information received from the Indians 
that the Mississippi "had its mouth in Florida or the Gulf of 
Mexico," and that they were in danger of being arrested by 
the Spaniards if they proceeded farther, they decided to termi- 
nate their journey southward at this point. On July 17, after a 
day's rest, they commenced their return trip, to which Father 
Marquette devotes but one page of his journal. The first inci- 
dent which he notes is their arrival at the mouth of the Illinois, 
Having been assured by the Indians that this river afforded the^ 
most direct route to Mackinac, they followed it north instead 
of the Mississippi. Their first- recorded stop, of three days' 
duration, was at the village of the Peorias. They spent some 
little time also at the " Illinois town called Kaskaskias," where 
they were well received, and to which the father promised to 
return. Escorted by one of the chiefs and his young men across 


the portage to Lake Michigan, they returned to the mission of 
Green Bay, where they arrived " in the close of September." 

This narrative of Marquette was not printed by the French 
government, as were other similar accounts, but a copy was 
obtained, in some unexplained way, by Thevenot, a well-known 
Paris publisher, who issued it m 1681. When it appeared, its 
authenticity was at once disputed by LaSalle and other ex- 
plorers, and by contemporary but rival ecclesiastics. The 
former reported to the king that he was assured by all the 
nations through which he passed on his way to the mouth of 
the Mississippi, in 1682, that he was the first European who 
had descended or ascended that river. But the subsequent 
discovery, in 1844, of the original manuscript of Marquette's 
journal in the care of the nuns of the Hotel Dieu, to whose 
custody it had been transferred from the Jesuit college of 
Quebec, has settled the question of its genuineness beyond 

Nevertheless, it must be admitted that its credibility is open 
to discussion. It is to be regretted that the eminent father 
reached Green Bay too enfeebled by the exposures and labors 
of his journey to complete his narrative until the lapse of twelve 
months after his arrival.* His notes, necessarily imperfect, had 
to be supplemented by recollections, which were naturally far 
less vivid, if not somewhat distorted, after so long an interval. 
Under such circumstances it would not be strange if he had 
fallen into grave errors relating to incidents, distances, and dates. 
That his narrative on its face contains erroneous estimates of 
latitude is not denied, while the coincidence of dates ascribed to 
events happening during successive months is, to say the least, 
singular. To illustrate: Joliet set out from Mackinac on May 
17, arrived at the mouth of the Wisconsin on June 17, and 
started on the return trip July 17. If these dates are correctly 
stated, it is difficult to believe that the explorers could have 
proceeded as far south — the mouth of the Arkansas River — as 
has been contended. 

They were thirty-one days, including stoppage.'?, going from 
Mackinac to the mouth of the Wisconsin, a distance of five hun- 
dred and seventy-three miles, proceeding at the rate of nearly 

* Shea. 


twenty miles per day. From the mouth of the Wisconsin to 
that of the Arkansas the distance is eleven hundred and seventy 
miles, which is stated to have been traversed in the same time, a 
rate of speed equal to nearly forty miles per day. This was 
unprecedented for that period and mode of traveling. LaSalle, 
with greater experience and superior facilities, occupied fifty- 
three days in going from the mouth of the Illinois to the sea, a 
distance of fourteen hundred and thirty miles. Tonty, in search 
of LaSalle, well equipped for the journey, left Fort St. Louis, 
February i6, 1686, and arrived at the Gulf of Mexico, sixteen 
hundred and ninety miles, "in holy week," which began April 
7, as Easter Sunday that year fell on the 14th. Conceding 
that he made the trip in fifty days, this was only at the rate of 
thirty-three and a half miles per day. He was seventy days in 
returning over the same route. St. Cosme, in 1699, and Father 
Gravier, with five canoes well supplied, the year following, each 
occupied about the same time — twenty-two days — in making 
the journey from the village of Tamaroa to the mouth of the 
Arkansas, a distance of about six hundred miles. 

These facts, taken in connection with the statement of Father 
Gravier that the Ohio River, so designated by the Iroquois, was 
called by the Illinois and other Indians the Akansea, and 
that the tribe of Indians by that name — Akanseas — "formerly 
dwelt upon it,"* would warrant the conclusion that the village 
of that name, referred to as having been last visited by Joliet, 
was not very far below the mouth of the Ohio. And as cor- 
roborative evidence of such a conclusion, the first map made 
by Joliet on his return shows the Mississippi only a little below 
the Ohio River.-|- 

As confirmatory of the doubt here suggested. Father Anas- 
tase Douay, a priest of the Recollects, in his account of 
LaSalle's last expedition, declares positively that Joliet did 
not descend the Mississippi farther than Cape St. Anthony, 
where he was arrested by the Mausopela Indians and turned 
back. He also states that he had with him "the printed book 
[Thcvenot's "Marquette"] of this pretended discovery, and re- 
marked all along the route that there was not a word of truth 
in it," an assertion now known to be entirely too broad. 

* Shea's "Early Voyages," 120. t Winsor's "America," IV., 212. 


But while these criticisms may reflect upon the credibility of 
some of the statements made in the only journal of Joliet's 
expedition which has been preserved, they do not detract from 
the credit due to him as the discoverer of one portion of the 
upper Mississippi, whose course he followed down to, if not 
below, the junction of the Ohio, and whose waters he ascer- 
tained emptied into the Gulf of Mexico. 

Joliet returned to Quebec in August, 1674. In April, 1677, 
he applied to Minister Colbert for permission to settle with a 
colony in "the Illinois country," which was refused him on the 
ground that Canada ought first to be built up, strengthened, 
and improved.* In 1680, he was appointed hydrographer to 
the king, and afterward made a voyage to Honduras Bay, and, 
as a reward for his services, was given the island -of Anticosti. 
In 1697, he was granted the seigniory of Joliet on the river 
Etchemins, south of Quebec. He died in 1700, and among his 
descendants, who yet reside in Canada, are the Archbishops of 
Taschereau and Tache, and the Hon, Bartholomew Joliet. His 
name will be forever connected with that of Illinois, and has 
been given to one of its most enterprising young cities. 

In this connection it may be stated that, while from the pub- 
lished accounts of these early explorations in the Northwest the 
honor of "first discoveries" of particular localities is apportioned 
according to the statements and claims therein made, it is far 
from certain that such claims are correct or just. There can be 
no doubt of the fact that the first explorers were the fur- 
traders, trappers, and voyagetirs, who never took the trouble, had 
they been competent of doing so, to leave any record of what 
they saw and did. Nor were the facts of prior explorations 
by others mentioned, if known, except incidentally, but rather 
suppressed, possibly through a latent fear that they might 
detract from other claims. Thus when Marquette returned to 
Illinois, in 1675, it is stated in the narrative of his second visit 
that he found a French surgeon and two other Frenchmen 
already on the ground at one Illinois village. And it further 
appears that one of these, Pierre Moreau called LaTaupine, 
who was at the St. Lusson congress, was in the Illinois country 
trading, when Joliet was there.f It is therefore more than 

* Margry, L, 330. 

+ Winsor's "Narrative and Critical History of America," IV., 181. 


probable that not only Moreau, but many other French traders, 
had traveled over the Illinois country and other portions of the 
Northwest during the thirty years which had elapsed since its 
discovery by Nicolet, long before either Joliet or LaSalle. 

5. Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle, was the greatest of 
those early explorers whose efforts were made available by 
the French government. To him may fairly be attributed 
the credit of securing the possession of the Mississippi Valley 
to that nation. He received his name from his ancestral estate, 
near Rouen in France, where he was born in November, 1643. 
He belonged to a family of merchants, and was " capable 
and learned in every branch, especially mathematics."* If he 
entered the Society of the Jesuits, as is stated upon the unsup- 
ported and doubtful authority of Father Hennepin, he soon 
wearied of ecclesiastical control, and at the age of twenty-three 
years decided to begin active life in Canada, whither an elder 
brother, the able Jean Cavelier, a priest of St. Sulpice, had pre- 
ceded him. Having received a large grant of land at Lachine, 
near Montreal, he began to gather settlers about him and to 
engage in trade. 

On coming in contact with the Indians here, he heard from 
them the story of other portions of the country, including great 
rivers and lakes, and even seas, hitherto unknown. His active, 
teeming brain at once formed the design of visiting this terra 
incognita himself Enlisting the governor, Courcelle, and the 
intendant. Talon, in his behalf, he organized a force and set out 
on his first expedition. This was in 1669. Having had a dis- 
agreement with the priests who accompanied him, he separated 
from them at an Indian village, near Grand River, and pro- 
ceeded on his journey by himself. He was gone for over 
two years, and it is said, though the point appears not defi- 
nitely settled, that during this time and on this trip he discov- 
ered the river Ohio. It is further claimed-h that he descended 
that stream to the Mississippi; and that, in 1671, returning to 
Lake Michigan, he crossed the Chicago portage to the Illinois, 
by which he again reached the Mississippi, and descended to the 
thirty-sixth parallel of north latitude. From that point, having 
neither men nor means to prosecute his journey, he returned. 

• Father LeClerq. t Margry, I., 378. 


The authorities given to support this claim are a "Historic," 
cited by P. Margry, his biographer, purporting to have been 
written prior to 1678, from conversations with LaSalle; and a 
letter from his niece, in 1753. But the affirmative evidence of 
these papers is hardly of sufficient weight to justify a satisfac- 
tory conclusion in favor of this claim, in the light of known 
and admitted facts. These are, that in his memorials to the 
king, in 1674 and 1676, he made no pretense of having made 
any special discoveries around Lake Michigan, or of the Illinois 
or the Mississippi rivers. There was no apparent reason to 
justify the suppression of the facts of other discoveries, if made 
by him, which did not equally apply to those he claimed. 

To these considerations may also be added the further fact 
that Gov. Frontenac, his patron and friend, who was con- 
versant with his plans and achievements, in submitting his 
report of Joliet's expedition in 1674, long after LaSalle's re- 
turn, expressly states that it was believed that "water commu- 
nications could be found leading to the Vermilion and Califor- 
nia seas by means of the river that flows from the west [the 
Missouri] into the grand river [the Mississippi] that he [Joliet] 
discovered, which runs from north to south, and is as large as 
the St. Lawrence opposite Quebec." It is not reasonable to 
suppose that Frontenac would have made such a report if 
LaSalie had made the same discoveries prior to Joliet, nor is it 
likely that LaSalle would have failed to assert his claim had 
it been valid. There were no motives of modesty or diplo- 
macy requiring him to suppress it.* 

While the report of this expedition is defective in point of 
completeness, and the actual results of the voyage yet remain 
somewhat in dispute, there can be no doubt that the journey 
was fruitful of knowledge and experience to guide LaSalle 
in his further operations. He had certainly traveled over 
a large portion of new country and obtained important infor- 
mation regarding its lakes and rivers, which was of great value 
in future explorations. Having satisfied himself, either from 
his own knowledge or from the reports of others, that the Mis- 

* Parkman thinks that LaSalle, on his first expedition, did discover the Illinois, 
but not the Mississippi. Shea thinks he entered the St. Joseph River. Butterfield 
admits the claim of Margry in favor of LaSalle in full. 


sissippi River emptied into the Gulf of Mexico, he conceived 
the plan of organizing a great establishment in the Mississippi 
Valley, to control its trade and direct its permanent occupancy. 

As a part of his plan to fortify the road from Canada to the 
West, in the summer of 1674, with the aid of the government, 
he erected Fort Frontenac at the foot of Lake Ontario, where 
Kingston now stand's. Of this fort he obtained a grant in 
seigniory, in consideration of which he agreed to plant a colony 
around it, to build a church, and to form a settlement of domes- 
ticated Indians. He visited France in the fall of 1677, and, 
having made his plans known to the king, was given authority 
"to labor at the discovery of the western parts of our aforesaid 
country of New France," to build forts and enjoy the possession 
thereof, and was also granted " the sole right of trade in buffalo 
hides;" the reason being, as stated in the letters-patent, "be- 
cause there is nothing we have more at heart than the discovery 
of this country, through which, to all appearance, a way may 
be found to Mexico." This charter was dated May 12, 1678. 

The policy of the French government, ably seconded by its 
official representatives in Canada, was to prevent and anticipate 
Spanish and possibly British encroachments on the southern 
coast of the new domain, and to secure that country perma- 
nently to the French. LaSalle the more willingly yielded him- 
self as the instrument for accomplishing this purpose, since its 
realization would naturally tend to the furthering of his own 
schemes for intercolonial settlement and trade. 

Returning to Montreal, after surmounting obstacles which 
would have proved insuperable to a weaker spirit, he suc- 
ceeded in fitting out his second expedition. With the aid of 
Henry de Tonty, and his lieutenant, La Forest, he constructed a 
vessel which he called the Grijfon, of forty-five tons burthen, 
upon which he embarked on Lake Erie, August 7, 1679. He 
proceeded, by way of Detroit, through lakes St. Clair and Huron, 
to the mission of St. Ignace, near Mackinac. Leaving here 
early in September, he sailed for Green Bay. There he loaded 
his vessel with furs, and started it on its return, September 18. 
On the same day, with seventeen men and two missionaries, in 
four canoes, he resumed his journey, skirting the west shore 
of Lake Michigan and coasting around its southern border, 


until he reached the river St. Joseph, November i. At this 
point he had appointed a rendezvous for twenty Frenchmen of 
his party, whom he had directed to come by the opposite shore 
under Tonty, and who arrived some three weeks thereafter. 
Erecting a fort here, afterward known as Fort Miami, and leav- 
ing four men as its guard, he, with his party, now numbering 
thirty-three, on December 3, resumed his journey by the 
way of the St. Joseph and Kankakee rivers to the Illinois. 
Passing down that stream, he found the great Indian town at 
the Rock deserted. 

On January 4, 1680, he passed through Peoria Lake, and on 
the next morning arrived at the Indian village of the same 
name, where he had a conference with the head men. Here, as 
a precautionary measure, six of his men having deserted and 
the attitude of the Indians toward him being uncertain, he 
resolved for the protection of his party to build a fort. Select- 
ing a site about four miles south of the village and two hun- 
dred yards from the eastern bank of the river, he erected a 
rude fort, which he called Crevecoeur, the first structure erected 
by white m.en in Illinois. As all remains of this fort have long 
since disappeared, its precise location can not now be deter- 

Not having heard from his vessel on the lake with its ex- 
pected supplies, and needing iron, ropes, and sails for the new 
one he was building with which to continue his expedition, he 
resolved to return to Fort Frontenac Before starting, however, 
in order that no time might be lost in consequence of his 
absence, he directed Michel Accault, as commander, with whom 
were associated Picard du Gay, representing trade, and Father 
Louis Hennepin the cross, to proceed to the mouth of the 
Illinois River, and thence up the Mississippi to the country of 
the Sioux." 

On March i, 1680, LaSalle, accompanied by four Frenchmen 
and one Indian, began his journey east. Pushing on across the 
country, amid snow and ice, making rafts or canoes as the emer- 
gency required, he reached the St. Joseph River, March 24, 
and Fort Frontenac, May 6, traveling a thousand miles under 

* See Father Hennepin's "Description of Louisiana," translated by J. G. Shea; 
it is not material to this history. 



such disadvantages in sixty-five days. Proceeding to Montreal, 
from which point he returned to his fort in eight days, he com- 
pleted his preparations "to go on with his discoveries." But he 
soon received important and very unwelcome news from his party 
in Illinois, which changed his plans and delayed his departure.* 

Tonty, who had been left in command at Fort Crevecceur, 
had been ordered by LaSalle after his departure to proceed 
and fortify "le Rocher" or the Rock, a site which had attracted 
his attention m route, and which he thought was a more desir- 
able situation for defensive operations than the other. After 
Tonty had set out, in obedience to this command, taking with 
him Fathers Membre and Ribourde and three other Frenchmen, 
those left behind mutinied, and, having taken possession of 
the ammunition, supplies, and other property, destroyed and 
deserted the fort. 

Tonty remained at the Indian village near the Rock during 
the summer, and was there when the attack was made by the 
Iroquois, September lo, as heretofore mentioned. In his efforts 
to make peace between the belligerents, he was suspected by 
both parties, and was pretty roughly handled by the Iroquois, 
narrowly escaping with his life. Having dete''mined to exter- 
minate the Illinois, the Iroquois prepared to break the treaty 
which Tonty had been instrumental in making, and ordered 
him to leave. This he was compelled to do, and after many 
hardships and wanderings, and the loss of Father Ribourde, 
who was killed by a Kickapoo Indian, he finally reached a 
village of the Pottawatomies, where he spent the winter. 

The fact of the desertion of a portion of his force was con- 
veyed to LaSalle by two men, Messer and Laurent, sent to him 
by Tonty. Having also learned that the deserters had com-j 
mitted like depredations at Fort Miami, and had stolen his furs 
stored at Mackinac, and that they were making their way bad 
to Montreal, he determined to give them such a reception as 
their treachery deserved. Being informed that they had dividec 
into two parties, he laid his plans and captured both — the first 
without resistance, and the other after killing two of themj 
The prisoners confessed their treason and were placed in ironsj 
to be disposed of by the governor.-f* 

* Margry, I., 496. t Margry, L, 500. 


Having satisfactorily passed through this critical episode in 
his history, on August lo, i68o, with twenty-five men, he set 
out on his second expedition to the country of the Illinois. By 
this time he had become exceedingly anxious regarding the fate 
of Tonty, upon whose strong arm he greatly relied for success, 
and from whom he had not heard since soon after his departure 
from Fort Crevecoeur. He arrived at the mouth of the St. 
Joseph River, November 4. At a village of the Miamis near 
by he was told of the defeat of the Illinois by the Iroquois, 
which increased his anxiety in regard to the fate of Tonty. 
Proceeding on his journey, he arrived at the Illinois village near 
" the Rock," where he saw the fearful evidences of the Iroquois 
raid. A great many dead bodies yet unburied and partly eaten 
by the wolves were seen ; but, upon a careful examination, he 
saw nothing to indicate the death of any Frenchmen. 

Arriving at Fort Crevecoeur, he found it " almost entirely 
demolished." The Iroquois had been there, and had taken the 
nails out of his vessel, but had not otherwise damaged it. At 
the mouth of the Illinois he attached to a tree a letter for 
Tonty, advising him of his whereabouts, and leaving near by 
a canoe, hatchet, and some skins, for his use. Returning, he 
arrived at Fort St. Joseph the last of January, 1681, where he 
spent the remainder of the winter. He had repeated con- 
ferences with various tribes of savages, chiefly the Illinois and 
Miamis. He enlarged upon the benefits which would accrue 
to them from a union with the French, whom he portrayed as 
their natural friends and defenders. His arguments proved 
so convincing that he was enabled to form important alliances 
with all the tribes represented. 

The following spring he received his first authentic news 
from Tonty, being informed by some Pottawatomies that the 
latter had passed the winter among them. On May 25, he left 
St. Joseph for Mackinac, where — after so long a separation and 
a succession of so many important events — his eyes were glad- 
dened by the sight of his ever-faithful second in command, as 
well as of Father Membre. Here he learned that the machi- 
nations of his enemies at Montreal rendered it necessary for 
him to return once more to Frontenac, whither he and Tonty 
at once proceeded. 


Reaching Montreal, he found that clamorous creditors had 
threatened to seize upon his property to satisfy debts con- 
tracted in the furtherance of his schemes of exploration. But 
his indomitable will and fertility in resource enabled him not 
only to appease their importunities but even to secure further 
advances. With the funds thus obtained he procured fresh 
supplies, and forthwith started on his third voyage, arriving at 
Fort Miami in November. Here reorganizing his force, which 
consisted of twenty-three Frenchmen, eighteen Indians, ten 
squaws, and three children, on December 23, 1681, he again set 
out on his long journey, this time going by what he called the 
Chicago River, where his faithful lieutenant, Tonty, had pre- 
ceded him, and thence by the Desplaines River to the Illinois. 
Passing down that river, the Indian villages being found depop- 
ulated, they arrived at its confluence with the Mississippi, Feb- 
ruary 6, 1682. Being detained by the ice, his journey was not 
resumed until the 13th. Landing at the third Chickasaw Bluffs 
on February 26, he built a small fort, calling it Fort Prud- 
homme, after one of his party supposed to have been lost 
there, but who was afterward recovered. 

He arrived at the mouth of the Arkansas, March 12, passing 
at that point, as at several others eii route, Indian villages, where 
he had interviews with the braves of different tribes. At length, 
on April 7, 1682, he was rewarded for his many years of toil, 
danger, and suffering by beholding the long -sought Gulf of 
Mexico. Two days thereafter he erected a column bearing the 
arms of France, and after chanting the Te Deuni, amid volleys of 
musketry and shouts of Vive le Roi, he took possession of the 
country, which, in honor of the king, had already been called 
Louisiana,* "and all the nations, peoples, provinces and cities, 
towns, villages, mines, minerals, fisheries, streams and rivers 
within the extent of the said Louisiana, and from the mouth 
of the Ohio, and also along the Mississippi River and the rivers 
which discharge themselves thereinto, from its source as far as 
its mouth at the sea, being the first Europeans who have 
descended and ascended said river;"-}* claiming to have acquired 
this right " by consent of the natives dwelling herein." 

* It is claimed that the name "Louisiana" originated with Father Hennepin. 
+ LaSalle's "Proces Verbal." 


On his return trip, begun on April 9, he was taken sick 
at Fort Prudhomme, Tonty was sent forward to Mackinac 
to make known the success of the expedition, and LaSalle, 
having recovered, joined him there in September. He now 
proceeded to carry out his plan of establishing a colony at 
the Rock, just above the Indian town of Lavantum, which 
" was to answer the double purpose of a bulwark against the 
Iroquois and as a place of storage for the furs of all the western 
tribes." Tonty was sent on in advance to begin the work of 

This Rock is an isolated cliff, an offset from the adjoining 
bluffs, almost round, one hundred and thirty-five feet high, 
and its top, containing nearly three-fourths of an acre, can be 
reached only by a steep, rocky ascent on the eastern side. Its 
other three sides are nearly perpendicular and its northern base 
is washed by the Illinois River. It was then, and is now, a 
natural fortress, and properly provisioned could defy any attack- 
ing force. Situated eight miles from Ottawa, it is a striking 
landmark, from the top of which an extensive, varied, and 
beautiful view of hills, river, prairie, forest, villages, and farm- 
houses is obtained. Stunted trees and brush grow on its top, 
as they do from the crevices of the superincumbent layers of 
stone on its sides. These being cleared away, a block, store, 
and dwelling-house was erected, outworks thrown up, the re- 
mains of which are still to be seen, and palisades built around it. 
Water was drawn from the river by a windlass, and two small 
cannon were mounted on the wooden rampart, from which a 
salute was fired as the French flag was displayed to view when 
the fort was completed. Father Zenobe Membre offered a dedi- 
catory prayer, and the fort was named St. Louis of the Rock. 

At this fort and in its vicinity, in accordance with the 
arrangement made by LaSalle and in pursuance of his invita- 
tion, his Indian allies began to assemble, in the summer of 
1682, in large numbers. The ancient village near by soon pre- 
sented a picture of life and animation, in striking contrast to 
its deserted appearance after the invasion of the Iroquois. 
Every cabin or lodge of bark and rushes was filled with the 
families of contented natives, who now felt that their safety 
and protection were assured. 


LaSalle arrived in December, and from his elevated fortress 
beheld, with a pride and satisfaction new to him, the evidence 
that his hopes and ambitions were about to be crowned with 
success. The camps and villages of his allies were on every 
side. To the south were the Illinois, to the number of six or 
seven thousand; the Miamis, numbering thirteen hundred war- 
riors, occupied Buffalo Rock, a high cliff on the north side of 
the river, two miles off; to the east were the Shawnees, two 
hundred strong; and near by, the Piankashaws and Weas, six 
hundred and fifty, and other Miamis, five hundred and thirty 
strong; in all thirty-eight hundred and eighty warriors, and, 
including women and children, a population of over twenty 
thousand.* He beheld not only his allies, but his own country- 
men, who had come in large numbers to assist in building up 
the colony. They built houses, of a better class than the Indians 
had known, and planted large fields with corn and other vege- 
tables; and the new colony was thus begun with every pros- 
pect of success. 

The securing and carrying on of the fur- trade was the 
great bone of contention among all the early white settlers 
of North America. It was chiefly in the hands of the natives, 
and was the price of the friendship and support of their 
foreign visitors. Although attended with great difficulties and 
dangers, the large profits derived from it very soon enlisted a 
class of immigrants, principally a lower order of French, mostly 
boatmen, called coureiirs des bois or rangers of the wood. They 
became active participants in the trade. Their experience in 
the new world had made them hardy, reckless, and improvi- 
dent, preferring a roaming life in the wild woods to the 
comforts of a settled home. Their dress, consisting of leg- 
gins, moccasins, and a blanket girdled by a red sash, so closely 
resembled that of the natives that it was difficult to distinguish 
the one from the other. Thus arrayed, and armed with a fusee, 
a scalping-knife, and hatchet, they were eager for any adven- 
ture, provided it led them away from the restraints of civilized 

The articles of trade with the Indians consisted of cotton 
cloth, blankets, calicos, guns, hatchets, and other implements of 

* Paikman. 


hardware, and cheap ornaments. No standard of values existed, 
but there came to be adopted a system of equivalents upon 
which trades were negotiated; that is, an iron hoe and an 
ax, a knife and a file, a pocket looking-glass and pair of scissors, 
were reckoned of equal value. 

The terms of the alliance between LaSalle and the Indians, 
upon which the colony at Fort St. Louis was established, were 
intended to be reciprocally advantageous. On the part of 
LaSalle, he undertook to assist his dusky allies in their wars 
with the Iroquois and other enemies; in return for which the 
Indians agreed to dispose of their furs to him only, in ex- 
change for such articles of merchandise as they might need 
or desire; that is to say, the conditions of the compact were 
mutual protection and trade. It was confidently expected 
that this agreement, consummated under such favorable cir- 
cumstances, could scarcely fail to result in the establishment 
of a permanent, prosperous settlement, the betterment of the 
condition of the savages, and last, but perhaps not least, in 
immense pecuniary profit to LaSalle. But, unfortunately for 
the latter, such was not to be the case. 

The great explorer spent the summer at Fort St. Louis, amid 
the most encouraging prospects. But in the meantime, Fron- 
tenac had been succeeded as governor of New France by An- 
toine Joseph le Febvre de la Barre. The latter soon discovered 
that the plans and operations of LaSalle had blocked the way 
for the realization of his own schemes, and that, if permitted to 
continue, he would soon monopolize the fur-trade, with its enor- 
mous profits and political possibilities. He therefore took 
prompt measures to render impossible the further successful 
prosecution of the great enterprise which LaSalle had at heart. 
He cut off his supplies, detained his agents, and encouraged 
the hostility of the Iroquois. Fort Frontenac, the property of 
LaSalle, was seized, against the protest of his creditors, under 
the pretext that the conditions of its grant had not been ful- 
filled. The new governor commissioned Chevalier de Baugis to 
take possession of Fort St. Louis, although Tonty was permitted 
to remain as the representative of the colonial interests. 

Had the French governor and LaSalle "pooled their is- 
sues," and, instead of endeavoring to break each other down, 


worked together, there was nothing to prevent their building 
up a colony at Fort St. Louis which would have been of great 
advantage to the interests of each, and exerted a controlling 
influence upon the destiny of New France. Had agriculture 
and permanent settlements been encouraged, in connection 
with the traffic with the Indians, a prosperous and powerful 
community might have been established, which, growing and 
extending to other equally favorable locations in the Illinois 
country, might in fifty years have constituted a community 
which would have proved an insuperable barrier against any 
foreign encroachment, in consequence of its ability to maintain 
its own integrity. But the rapacity of the one and the ambi- 
tion of the other prevented the accomplishment of such a result. 
The time had not yet arrived, nor the people, to settle Illinois. 

To meet and overcome the opposition which his enemies had 
set on foot against him, LaSalle determined once more to make 
his appeal directly to the French minister in Paris. He took 
what proved to be his final leave of Fort St. Louis in Septem- 
ber, 1683, and proceeded to France, where he arrived in the 
spring of 1684. Here he was again successful beyond his an- 
ticipations. He was re-instated in favor at court, and secured 
means for a much larger expedition than he had yet com- 
manded. It consisted of four vessels and a hundred soldiers, 
besides mechanics and laborers, and thirty volunteers, " includ- 
ing gentlemen and burghers of condition." The immediate 
object of this expedition was the establishment of a fort near the 
mouth of the Mississippi, where he could cooperate with and 
assist his colony on the Illinois River, free from the molestation 
of the authorities at Quebec. The particulars of this voyage, 
how he sailed to the west of the mouth of the Mississippi, as 
far as Matagorda Bay in Texas, his disastrous failure, and 
assassination by two of his men on March 19, 1687, not being 
facts of history especially relating to Illinois, need not be here 

LaSalle was a man of wonderful energy and indomitable 
perseverance; but he possessed neither the financial ability nor 
those natural endowments of leadership essential to the accom- 
plishment of his great designs. Impracticability was stamped 
upon his character and written upon all his works, from first to 


last. He planned better than he performed; he was morose 
distrustful, and unpopular; he quarrelled with his equals and 
was haughty and overbearing to his inferiors. Visionary, coura- 
geous, as reckless in daring as he was lavish in expenditure, 
unscrupulous in the observance of obligations as he was profuse 
in promises, he was always in debt. His life had been frequently 
threatened; desertions from his command were a common occur- 
rence; yet he persevered till the last, and finally fell a victim 
to the hatred of some of his own followers. Notwithstanding 
the tragic close of his career, while the plans which he con- 
ceived were as yet inchoate, it was through his efforts that 
Louisiana and the Illinois country were secured to the French, 
and their permanent settlement indirectly effected. 

6. Henry de Tonty, next to LaSalle, was the most conspicu- 
ous figure in the early history of what is now the State of 
Illinois. He carried a hand made of copper, in lieu of one lost 
in battle, and this he used against his foes with great effect as 
occasion might require. He was called "the iron-handed;" he 
was also strong-hearted, faithful, and brave. He was a soldier 
of fortune from Italy, and the son of a merchant who was the 
originator of a plan for raising money, now well known as the 

Having met LaSalle on one of his visits to France, and, 
by his accounts, being incited with the prospect of adventures in 
a new country, Tonty very gladly accepted his invitation to 
become a member of his company, and sailed with him from 
Rochelle in 1678. How he proved to be his most tru.sty lieu- 
tenant, accompanying him in his expeditions with great fidelity 
and courage, has already been shown. After the departure of 
LaSalle for France, in 1683, Tonty and Baugis remained in 
charge at the fort, representing different interests and having 
but little sympathy with each other's plans. In the following 
March, however, the approach of their common enemy, the 
Iroquois, compelled them to unite in a common defence of 
their post. They were besieged for six days by their deter- 
mined foes, who numbered two thousand warriors; but such 
was the strength of their position, and so adequate their means 
of defence, that the hitherto victorious Iroquois were repulsed 
with loss, and compelled to abandon the siege. This was the 


last invasion of the savages from the East. Henceforth, for 
many years, the IlHnois and alhed tribes resumed their yearly 
residence in the vicinity of the fort without molestation. The 
protecting guns of the French and the presence of Tonty, who 
made the fort his headquarters for eighteen years, rendered 
their safety secure. It was also the abode of many French 
traders and merchants, with their families. 

From this point, Tonty ranged the western world over, trad- 
ing, fighting, and exploring. In 1686, being anxious as to the 
fate of his great leader LaSalle, from whom he had not heard, 
at his own expense he fitted out an expedition to the Gulf of 
Mexico in search of him. And when, after his return, he learned 
of LaSalle's violent death, he fitted out another in search of the 
survivors of his command. He made at least six trips down and 
up the Mississippi. Besides this, he visited Montreal, Mackinac, 
and points on Lake Michigan, including Fort Chicago, which he 
says was in command of Oliver Morrell, Sieur de la Durantaye. 

In 1687, with a force of two hundred Indians and fifty 
French, he proceeded to Canada and took part in a victorious 
campaign with the Marquis de Denonville against the Iroquois, 
thus aiding in striking them a blow on their own ground. On 
his return he brought back with him the families of a number 
of French immigrants, soldiers, and traders. This arrival of 
the wives, sisters, children, and sweethearts of some of the 
colonists, after years of separation, was the occasion of great 
rejoicing, in which it was said that even Father Allouez par- 
ticipated with unwonted freedom and fervor. Life at the fort, 
henceforth, though at times not without its perilous aspects, 
was so mingled with feats of adventurous daring, the pleasures 
of the hunt, the table, and the cup, as fully to satisfy the 
desires of the gay and light-hearted children of France. 

In 1690, the proprietorship of Fort St. Louis was granted to 
Tonty, jointly with LaForest, while the fur-trade was carried 
on with greater or less success until his final departure from 
the country; these two, being excepted from the royal decree 
against the coiireurs dcs bois, were permitted to send out two 
canoes a year with twelve men, for the maintenance of the 
fort. In 1698-9, he accompanied Rev. J. F. Buisson St. Cosme 
on his trip, with a company of priests, from Mackinac down 


the Mississippi to Natchez. This missionary speaks of Tonty 
as follows: "I can not express our obligations to him. He 
guided us as far as the Akansas and gave us much pleasure on 
the way. He facilitated our course through several nations, 
winning us the friendship of some and intimidating those who, 
from jealousy or a desire to plunder, had wished to oppose our 
voyage. He has not only done the duty of a brave man, but 
also discharged the functions of a zealous missionary. He 
quieted the minds of our employes in the little vagaries that 
they might have, and supported us by his example in the exer- 
cises of devotion, which the voyage permitted us to perform, 
very often approaching the sacraments. * * He is believed 
by all the voyagers to be the one who best knows the country. 
He was loved and feared by all." 

In 1702, the governor of Canada, claiming that the charter 
of the fort had been violated, decided to discontinue it. La- 
Forest was ordered to reside in Canada, and Tonty on the 
Mississippi. Although it was thus officially abandoned, it seems 
that it was occasionally occupied as a trading-post until 171 8, 
when it was raided by the Indians and burned, on account of 
the alleged licentiousness of the French inhabitants. Deprived 
of his command and property, Tonty engaged in the service of 
Pierre LeMoyne d' Iberville, to aid him in his efforts to colonize 
lower Louisiana. Here he was employed in various successful 
expeditions until in September, 1704, when, according to one 
account, he died at Mobile.* 

But according to the Indian tradition, which, although of 
doubtful authenticity, is more in harmony with the romantic 
and poetic life of the old explorer, at the close of a day in the 
midsummer of 1718 he once more arrived at Fort St. Louis, in 
a canoe paddled by two faithful followers. His hair frosted by 
many years of exposure, enfeebled in body, forsaken by those 
whom he had befriended, he returned at last to the familiar 
scene of his former triumphs, where, his last hours consoled by 

* Another authority states that after his services under Iberville, he returned 
to Canada, and was employed at Detroit in 17 13, and that he was last heard of on 
an expedition to some distant Indians in 171 7, and probably died in Canada. 
(French's "Louisiana," III., 31; VI., 61.) But the Tonty here mentioned was 
evidently another person, a relative of whom Henry speaks in his memoirs. 


the ministrations of his church, his valiant spirit passed away. 
Brave, generous, and true, no man contributed more to the 
advancement of trade and the occupation of the Illinois coun- 
try at this early period than the poorly- requited Chevalier 
Henry de Tonty. 

Other explorers, whose names have become familiar to the 
student of the early history of the Northwest, and whose 
accounts or memoirs, containing more or less valuable infor- 
mation, have been published, are as follows: 

7. Daniel Greysolon du Lhut, called by LaSalle and others 
du Luth, from whom the city of that name was called. He 
was from Lyons, France, and was a cousin of Henry de Tonty. 
His explorations covered a period of over ten years from 1679, 
and he was the first to reach the Mississippi directly from Lake 
Superior. His memoirs bear date 1683. 

8. Henri Joutel was a fellow townsman of LaSalle and 
adhered faithfully to his fortunes; he was with him on his last 
expedition, of which he wrote a full and intelligent account; 
and on his return, he spent some time at Fort St. Louis with 

9. Pierre LeSueur was the discoverer of the Minnesota 
River. An interesting account of one of his voyages up the 
Mississippi, in 1700, is given by Penicaut, who accompanied him. 

10. Baron la Hontan made an extensive tour in the North- 
west, passing through Illinois in 1688-9, of which he pub- 
lished a glowing account in 1703. His book was illustrated, 
but his pictures and maps bear as little resemblance to the 
objects which they were intended to represent as the drawings 
of a child do to a painting by Raphael. His statements were 
often exaggerated, and his imagination fully employed. His 
observations are frequently shrewd and just, and his descriptions 
of what he saw mainly correct, but his Indian stories are gener- 
ally more entertaining than truthful. 

Routes. — The question of routes followed by early explorers 
between Canada and the country of the Illinois is as interest- 
ing as it has been provocative of discussion among speculative 
antiquarians. But as the investigation is not now of much 
practical value to the ordinary reader, but little space will be 
given to it in these pages. 


Perhaps the most prolific source of doubt and difficulty, in 
the endeavor positively to trace and identify any particular 
route, arises from the confounding of newly-discovered streams 
with those first discovered, the same name being required to do 
duty for rivers as distinct as the individuality of the explorers 
who first sailed or paddled a canoe upon them. Thus the name 
Chicago, in its various orthographies, was applied more or less 
indifferently to the St. Joseph, the Calumet, the Desplaines, and 
the Illinois rivers. Both of the latter were also called the 
"Divine." It was also applied to the country adjacent to the 
southern portion of Lake Michigan. Such confusion of nomen- 
clature renders it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to deter- 
mine precisely what stream or locality was meant when either 
of these names is used by early writers. 

It must be remembered that the fountain-head of informa- 
tion for early explorers was the Indians. To them even the 
primitive mode of transportation by horses or mules was un- 
known. They knew of but one way to abridge or vary tedious 
marches through forests or glades: that single avenue of escape 
was found in the water-ways, and the shortest practicable port- 
age connecting these was welcomed as the easiest way to avoid 
the physical labor which they considered as degrading as it 
was irksome. 

There were four possible routes which could be used in going 
to the Illinois from Eastern Canada, the choice of which 
depended upon the stage of water and season of the year, and 
the starting and the objective points. 

I. One of these was from Lake Michigan by the Calumet 
rivers, which connected with Stony Brook, from which, by a 
short portage, the Desplaines was easily reached. Beck, in 
his gazetteer of 1823, says, in speaking of this route: "The 
distance is eighteen miles, and it is nearly on a level with the 
lake. It is said boats have frequently passed through this 
channel to the Desplaines, and when such is the case it is 
impossible in many places to say whether the current sets to 
the lake or the Desplaines. About half-way between the lake 
and the Desplaines, a feather will sometimes float one way and 
sometimes the other." 
I 2. By the Grand Calumet. This stream, rising a few miles 


southeast of Lake Michigan, near what is now Laporte, Ind., 
ran to a point at present called Blue Island, in Cook County, 
and thence turning flowed back about three miles north of its 
outward course, and emptied into Lake Michigan at a point 
formerly called Indiana City. This route connected with the 
Desplaines, the same as route one. 

3. By the St. Joseph River. Ascending this stream about 
thirty-five miles, the head-waters of the Kankakee River were 
reached by a portage of about four miles. The distance to the 
Illinois River by the Kankakee was one hundred and eighty 
miles, but only eighty across the country. 

4. By the Chicago River. The distance by this route from 
the lake to the Desplaines by the South branch, including a 
portage of four miles, was twelve miles. The North branch 
was also doubtless sometimes used, although not so direct. 

Now if the wayfarer was on the Illinois River, and desired to 
reach the mission of St. Francis Xavier, at Green Bay, as did 
Joliet in 1673, the most direct and feasible of the above- 
described routes would be either the first or fourth. And 
whichever way was taken by Joliet and Marquette, in Septem- 
ber, 1673, on their return trip, was adopted by Marquette on 
his second visit in 1675, for he observes in his journal of the 
latter: "March 31 ; here we began our portage more than eigh- 
teen months ago." 

To the mariner desiring to reach the Illinois from Mackinac, 
it would be nearer to proceed down the east side of Lake 
Michigan to the Grand Calumet, and up that stream to where 
it connected with route one. But in 1679, LaSalle, being at 
Green Bay, appointed the mouth of the St. Joseph as a place 
of rendezvous for his expedition 01 route for the Illinois, and 
ordered Tonty to proceed thither on the east side of the lake, 
while he coasted along its western and southern sides. He may 
have known of the St. Joseph route, which he then pursued, and 
not of the others; or, it being in winter, it may have been more a 
question of good ways for sleighs than of water navigation. At 
all events, on this occasion he took the Kankakee route. And 
he doubtless went over the same course on his second trip, 
when searching for Tonty. On his third trip to the Illinois, 
which was also in the winter, 1681-2, he mentions the Chicago 


River; and as the Grand Calumet is plainly marked with this 
name on his map, recently discovered in Paris, and published 
by Margry, and as that would be a nearer and better route in 
the winter than the Kankakee or that by the Chicago River 
as now known, it is fair to presume that when he alluded to 
the " Chicago route " he referred to the passage of the Grand 

As early as 1698, a mission had been established among the 
Miamis, called Chicago. It is evident that this mission was 
on the route usually followed by travelers, wherever that was,^ 
along the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. St. Cosme 
and party undoubtedly followed this route in 1699, as did 
Father Gravier the year following. Prior to 1684, the Chicago 
River, as now known, does not appear upon any map then 
extant. At least, it is not on those of Marquette and Henne- 
pin; and while there is something resembling it on those of 
Joliet and LaSalle, the name of Chekagoua is plainly given by 
the latter to the Calumet, as stated above. Nor does it appear 
on that of Rafifeix, 1688, especially designed as a route map. 
As the route by the Little Calumet afforded a higher stage of 
water for navigation in the dry season, and was a better location 
for a mission-house, the supposition is authorized that it was 
the one usually taken by those going to or coming from the 
east side of Lake Michigan to or from the Illinois River. A 
careful examination of the detailed route described by Mar- 
quette and St. Cosme, and of the landmarks and streams which 
they mention, fully justifies such a conclusion.* 

After the abandonment of the French settlements on the 
Illinois River, and the emigration of the greater portion of the 
friendly Illinois Indians to the Mississippi, in 1722, neither of 
the foregoing routes were any longer used by the French while 
they held the country, nor indeed by any whites until the time 
of the Revolution. 

There was also another route from Canada to the Ohio and 
Mississippi which came to be used; that by the Maumee and 
Wabash rivers. It was first mentioned by LaSalle, in 1683, 

* An interesting paper sustaining this view, by Albert D. Hager, late secretary 
of the Chicago Historical Society, is published in Vol. I. of Andreas' " History- 
of Chicairo." 


but was not much traveled prior to 1699. In this year a colony 
of Canadians was conducted from Quebec to Louisiana by this 
route. These were followed by other families, under the leader- 
ship of M. du Tessenet. The Maumee River was originally 
known to the French as the Miami, or the Oumiami. It was 
the use of this route that served to give to Vincennes and to 
Fort Sackville, there situated, the military and strategic im- 
portance which they afterward enjoyed. Communication with 
Detroit was rendered easy by its adoption, and it gradually 
came to occupy a prominent position in the estimation of 

* Authorities: "Historical Collections of Louisiana," by B. F. French, Vols. 
I. to VI. ; Margry's "Voyages des Fran^ais"; Histories of Louisiana, by Gayarre, 
Du Pratz, Stoddard, and Martin; C. W. Butterfield's "John Nicokt "; Parkman's 
"LaSalle" and other works; "Narrative and Critical History of America," by Justin 
Winsor, Vol. IV., and papers therein by Edmund F. Slafter, Edward D. Neill, 
J. G. Shea, and the Editor; LaHontan's, Hennepin's, and Joutel's Voyages; Smith's 
"History of Wisconsin"; Reports and Collections of the Historical Societies of 
Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Chicago; Warburton's "Conquest of Canada"; "Radis- 
son's Voyages"; "Magazine of American History"; " Magazine of Western History"; 
Shea's "Down and Up the Mississippi"; the "Jesuit Relations"; Bancroft's "United 
States": Andreas' ''History of Chicago"; Beckwith's "Vermilion County." 


Catholic Missionaries — First Permanent Settlements. 

IT has been a question whether the extension of French 
settlements to the valley of the Mississippi was owing 
more to the demands of trade and the greed for gain, or to 
the religious zeal of the Catholic missionaries.. They moved 
along together — the explorer and voyager giving protection to 
the missionary, and the latter in return aiding them to concili- 
ate and make friends with the natives. The administrations of 
the cross went hand in hand with those of the government and 
trade. But alas for the peaceful spread of religion, those who 
had its advancement especially in charge in America, as in 
Europe, were divided and warring among themselves. To the 
Recollect monks of St. Francis was first assigned the care of 
the American missions, but subsequently Cardinal Richelieu 
superseded this order, and confided the spiritual welfare of the 
people and natives of Canada to the priests of the Society of 
Jesus, the disciples of Loyola. The former felt very keenly 
their exclusion from a field which they had been first to culti- 
vate, and left no means untried to regain their supremacy. 

They enlisted the sympathies of Gov. Frontenac and LaSalle, 
through whose influence and efforts they were permitted to 
return to Canada, where the bitter controversies between the two 
orders, and between the Jesuits and the civil authorities, were 
renewed and continued with aggravating circumstances. The 
last-named order not only claimed the right to regulate the 
sale and use of intoxicating liquors, but also, as was directly 
charged by Gov. Frontenac, intermeddled with private rela- 
tions, "setting husbands against wives, and parents against 
children." It also resolutely antagonized the policy of the gov- 
ernment in regard to the domestication and civilization of the 

The acrimonious quarrels between these two rival religious 
orders, intensified as they were by the participation therein of 

* Winsor's "America, " Vol. IV^ 

6 8i 


the civil authorities, continued until the suppression of the 
Jesuits in the dominions of France, in 1764. 

The data for the early history of Illinois is mainly derived 
from letters, memoirs, and narratives prepared by the priests of 
one or the other of these orders. But few of the earliest traders 
or explorers, as has been already remarked, were capable of 
writing any intelligent account of their discoveries. The rever- 
end fathers, however, were facile with the pen, and used it, it 
must be confessed, two hundred years ago very much as do 
the partisan writers of today. The adherents of either side 
strove to make the best possible showing for their own faction, 
and threw discredit and contempt upon the labors of the other. 

Of the missionaries connected with the Illinois, Fathers Mar- 
quette, Allouez, Gravier, Rasle, Pinet, Limoges, Marest, and 
Binneteau were Jesuits; Fathers Bergier and Montigny were 
secular priests; and Fatliers Membre, Douay, LeClercq, Henne- 
pin, and Ribourde belonged to the Recollects. 

Father Marquette, already mentioned, was, it is said, a native 
of Laon, France, where he was born in 1637. Having been par- 
tially restored to health after his return from his trip down the 
Mississippi, he had been appointed to the mission of the Illinois, 
and on October 25, 1674, set out for that country. Being 
again seized with his malady in November, upon arriving at the 
portage of the Illinois River in December and being unable to 
proceed farther, he spent the winter there. Having sufficiently 
recovered, on March 29 he proceeded on his journey, reaching 
the Kaskaskia village April 8. 

His constitution, however, had been thoroughly undermined. 
It was only with great pain and difficulty that he could attempt 
to discharge the duties of his sacred office, and he remained 
there but a short time. Realizing that the end was approach- 
ing, he was anxious to close his days at his old mission of 
St. Ignace, surrounded by his brethren of the order of which 
he had been so distinguished a member. He set out, accord- 
ingly, on his return by way of the eastern shore of Lake Michi- 
gan, where, at the mouth of a small river afterward bearing his 
name, he died, May 18, 1675. 

The memory of this excellent father has long been held in 
veneration. If his character was not free from the imperfec- 


tions incident to his times, he was gentle, zealous, courageous, , 
and devoted. It is true, nevertheless, that for nearly two hun- 
dred years he who was merely the chaplain of the expedition 
received credit equal with, if not superior to, that accorded 
Joliet as the discoverer of the Mississippi River, while he who 
was its commander was left to occupy a subordinate place. 

Father Claude Jean Allouez, who has been justly termed 
the great apostle of the West, was the most distinguished of 
the early missionaries. Arriving at Quebec from France in 
1658, he spent the years from 1665 to 1675 in establishing 
missions at Chegoimegon, on Lake Superior; that of St. Francis 
Xavier — he being the first Jesuit to visit this point; and, in 
connection with Fathers Dablon and Marquette, that of St. 
Ignace, on the Straits of Mackinac. During this period he 
made extensive explorations of the country around and adja- 
cent to lakes Superior and Michigan. While in counsel with 
the Indians at Green Bay, he was informed of the existence 
and direction of the upper Mississippi, which information he 
was among the first to communicate to the authorities at 
Montreal; and upon which, confirmatory as it was of reports 
from other directions and sources previously received, it was 
resolved by Talon to commission the expedition of Joliet to 
explore that river. 

At the great congress of St. Lusson, at Sault de Ste. Marie, 
Father Allouez was put forth as the orator of the occasion; 
and in his speech pronounced a glowing panegyric on the 
king, calling him "the chief of chiefs," and eulogized his native 
France; contrasting very sharply the advantages in favor of 
an alliance between the Indians and that government over one 
with Great Britain. 

Upon the demise of Father Marquette, he was appointed to 
complete the establishment of the mission of the " Immaculate 
Conception," at the Kaskaskia village of the Illinois. He 
arrived there April 27, 1677, and erected a cross twenty-five 
feet high, and preached to eight tribes there congregated. 
He remained here, with some brief absences, until the ap- 
proach of LaSalle, when he retired on account of the supposed 
unfriendliness of that leader to his order. He returned in 
1684, and remained until 1687, when he departed for Wiscon- 


sin/^ He died at Fort St. Joseph in 1690. He was the ablest 
of all the Jesuit missionaries sent to the Illinois, and against 
him no charge of unfairness, jealousy, mistrust, or abuse of 
others has ever been justly preferred. 

Father Jacques Gravier succeeded to this mission in 1688, 
and remained until 1692, when he was followed by Father 
Sebastian Rasle, who continued in charge two years. The 
latter was a learned and most devoted missionary, who left 
behind him an interesting account of the Illinois Indians and 
his labors with them. He was subsequently transferred to his 
former mission in Maine, where he was killed, bravely stand- 
ing by his Indian converts in an attack upon them by the 

Father Gravier returned in 1694, and continued there during 
the years 1694-5, laboring also among the Peorias until 1699, 
when he was recalled to Mackinac. He was succeeded by 
Fathers Binneteau and Pinet. In 1 700-1, he made a voyage 
down the Mississippi to Biloxi, an interesting account of which 
has been published.-|- It was while on this trip that, arriving 
at the Illinois mission, September 8, 1700, then in charge of 
Father Marest, he found that the Kaskaskias, separating from 
the Peorias, had determined on their removal south; a portion 
of them, as has been previously stated, having already de- 

Father Gravier was much concerned at this grave step, and 
would have prevented it had he arrived in time. He marched 
with them four days, and then went ahead with Father Marest,, 
whom he left sick at the village of Tamaroa. The Kaskaskias 
undoubtedly joined those of their tribe who had already pre- 
ceded them on the peninsula bounded by the Kaskaskia and 
Mississippi rivers. 

After remaining at Biloxi a year. Father Gravier returned to 
the Peorias, among whom he resumed his labors. Here, in an 
assault upon him incited by the medicine men of the tribe, he , 
received a severe wound which finally resulted in his death, at 
Mobile, in 1706.I He was an earnest and faithful missionary,; 

* Shea's "Catholic Missions." 

+ "Down and Up the Mississippi," Shea. 

X French's "Louisiana, " VI., 420. 


who had great influence with the lUinois Indians, as also wnth 
the other missionaries. But the credit given him by Father 
Marest, as having been the founder of the mission of the IIH- 
nois, can not now, with justice to the labors of others, be con- 
ceded. It was certainly initiated by Father Marquette, and 
more completely established by Father Allouez, who labored 
with the Illinois most of the time for ten years before Father 
Gravicr's appearance among them. 

The Peoria station, after the final enforced departure of 
Father Gravier, was left vacant as a punishment for their cruel 
treatment of that good father. But being cut off" from French 
trade in consequence, they became clamorous for the presence 
of another missionary, and promising better behavior, Father 
Deville was at length sent to them, but how long he or his 
successors remained does not appear. 

The credit of establishing the missioh of Cahokia, at first 
called Tamaroa — after the Indian tribe of that name, belongs 
to Rev. Jacques Pinet; but at what date has been a matter of 
dispute. Up to the time of St. Cosme's visit to the Tamaroas, 
in 1699, it appears that no "black gown" had been seen there, 
except Father Gravier for a few days. The following year, 
however, when LeSueur had reached this village, where he re- 
mained seventeen days, he found there three French missiona- 
ries: Rev. J. Bergier and Fathers Pinet and Joseph de Lamoges, 
and also a number of Canadian traders, who were purchasing 
furs and skins. In October of the same year (i/OO), Father 
Gravier mentions the fact in his journal, that on his way down 
the Mississippi he stopped at the village of the Tamaroas, and 
found Father Pinet there, "peaceably discharging the functions 
of a missionary," and Rev. Mr. Bergier, also, "who had care 
only of the French." Father Bergier remained at Cahokia 
until his death, July 16, 1710. 

The Tamaroas were not at their village at this time, but 
had taken up their winter- quarters two leagues below, on a 
"beautiful bay," while the Cahokias were located four leagues 
above. But the village itself, called Sainte Famille de Cao- 
quias and the mission St. Sulpice, was from this time on con- 
tinuously occupied, and is undoubtedly the oldest permanent 
settlement in Illinois. Fathers Francois Joliet de Montigny 


and probably A. Damon had charge of this mission for awhile, 
as also did Dominic Mary Varlet, who succeeded Bergier in 
17 1 2. He remained there, zealous and devoted to his calling, 
for six years. Having returned to Europe, he professed Jan- 
senism, and became an heretical bishop. Revs. Dominic An- 
thony Thaumer de la Source and Francois le Mercier suc- 
ceeded him. 

Father Gabriel Marest, when he had recovered his health, 
proceeded to join the Kaskaskias at their new location. He 
was one of the most faithful as well as intelligent of the 
French missionaries in Illinois. He was longer in service with 
that tribe than any of his predecessors, having remained at 
Kaskaskia until his death, September 17, 171 5.* 

Father Jean Mermet, it is claimed by local historians, was 
the first missionary sent to Vincennes, but was later an 
assistant of Marest at Kaskaskia. He was called by Marest 
"the soul of that mission," in 1707. He also died at Kaskas- 
kia, in 17 18. When the parish of Kaskaskia was substituted 
for the mission, in July, 1720, Father Nicholas Ignatius de 
Beaubois was appointed the first cure and administered its 
affairs for some years.-f* 

The Rev. Philip Boucher was said to have labored at Fort 
St. Louis for some time, and died there in 17 19. 

In 1750, Fathers Guyenne, Vivier, Watrin, and Meurin were 
in charge of the several Illinois missions.^: 

The Recollects confined their ministrations generally to the 
tribes whom they met while in company with LaSalle and 
other explorers, and wherever they stopped on their way, and 
especially at Fort St. Louis. Here Fathers Membre and 
Ribourde labored in 1680, and Fathers Douay and LeClercq 
in 1687-8. 

Father Hennepin, after leaving LaSalle in i68c, was the first 
to explore the upper Mississippi as far as St. Anthony's Falls. 
He was captured by the Sioux, and rescued by Du Lhut, and 
soon after returning to Quebec, departed for France. He was 
one of the leading Recollect missionaries, and left behind him. 
many interesting works relating to the early explorations of 

* Carayon's List. + Old parish records. 

X Shea's "Church in Colonial Days," 585. 


this country. His first account of the exploration of the 
upper Mississippi was admitted to be truthful and satisfactory. 
His good faith and veracity, however, in regard to later publi- 
cations have been often the subject of serious question, as was 
the case with many of these early chroniclers. 

The feeling of hostility to the Jesuits in Europe, which had 
been growing in intensity, first found authoritative sanction in 
1741, when Pope Benedict XIV, in a papal brief, characterized 
them as "disobedient, contumacious, captious, and reprobate."* 
In 1764, the order was suppressed in France, the decree being 
the culmination of a long series of condemnatory measures 
adopted by local French parlements. Before this, however, in 
1763, the Superior Council of Louisiana, following the example 
of the provincial legislative bodies of France, had declared 
the perpetuation of the Society in that province to be a 
menace to the royal authority and fraught with danger to the 
peace and safety of society. Having settled these questions 
to their own satisfaction, the council decreed the confiscation 
of the personal property of the order in Louisiana — including 
plate and vestments, the razing of their churches to the ground, 
and the banishment of the members from the country.^}* 

Not content with this, the council, disregarding the fact that 
the country of the Illinois had been ceded to Great Britain, 
and that the exercise therein by that body of any authority 
other than ecclesiastical was at least questionable, assumed to 
enforce the same policy throughout the latter territory. The 
vessels and vestments of the Jesuit chapels were ruthlessly 
seized by the "king's attorney," who made so-called sales of 
the realty of the order, inserting in these conveyances a cove- 
nant that the grantee should level the chapels to the earth. 

As to the extent of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction vested in 
the superior council, there may or may not be a question. 
How far it possessed a legal right to direct the disposition of 
the property, real or personal, of the Jesuit order in Illinois, 
in view of the fact that the proprietorship of the country had 
been ceded to Great Britain, is a question as grave as it is 

* "Encyclopedia Britannica. " 

t Winsor's "America," Vol. IV., 289; Shea's "Catholic Church in Colonial 
Days," 587. 


interesting. It is, however, a source of surprise that, notwith- 
standing the fact that French courts still exercised de facta 
jurisdiction in the district, the parties against whom the order 
was directed, and who were most deeply interested in having 
it declared to be an excess of authority, do not seem — so far 
as appears from any evidence extant — to have taken any steps 
to have its legality judicially determined. 

The decree of banishment was read to the priests by the 
attorney, and they were one and all incontinently shipped to 
New Orleans, from whence they were sent to France. Only 
one, Sebastian Louis Meurin, was allowed to return to Illinois, 
and he not until he had signed a paper obligating himself to 
recognize no ecclesiastical superior other than the superior of 
the Capuchins at New Orleans, and to carry on no commu- 
nication with either Quebec or Rome.* 

The inherent injustice of the decree, the bitter animosity 
which prompted it, and the ruthless method in which it was 
executed can not be reconciled with any known principles of 
common fairness and honesty, to say nothing of the precepts 
of Christian charity. Had the orders been literally and com- 
pletely carried out, both whites and Indians would have been 
left without any place for the public worship of God; the un- 
offending people would have been deprived alike of priests 
and altars. In a word, the profanation would have been as 
monstrous as it was unjustifiable. Happily, however, the par- 
ties deriving titles through sales made under the decree abso- 
lutely refused to demolish the chapels. 

The arduous services of the greater portion of these early 
French missionaries in a new country, under circumstances 
of the greatest hardship, deprived as they were of the com- 
forts of civilization, journeying by night and day through 
trackless swamps and forests, camping on the ground and 
sheltered only by trees, and depending mostly on wild fruits 
and game for subsistence, certainly entitle them to a high 
place on the roll of those who have sought to benefit man- 
kind. Their zeal knew no bounds, their energy was as tireless 
as the ebb and flow of the tide; their devotion to the interests 
of their respective orders knew neither limits nor modera- 
* Shea's "Catholic Church in Colonial Days," 587, 589. 


tion, and they attested sincerity of their faith by the willing 
sacrifice of their lives, either at the hand of violence or 
through the no less certain agency of exposure and depriva- 
tion. While neither primarily explorers nor colonists, they 
preserved, by their pen, the discoveries and achievements of 
others. They made known the existence of the salt-springs 
in New York, the copper-mines of Lake Superior, and con- 
tributed to the spread of geographical knowledge the world 
over. It was through their efforts that the first wheat was 
sown in Illinois and the first sugar-cane introduced into Lou- 

Not the least valuable of their labors was the reduction of 
the language and even dialects of Indian tribes to grammatical 
rules, the preservation of the traditional history of the aborig- 
ines and their national customs, and the instruction of these 
rude savages in the rudiments of music. Of such records, 
fifty-one volumes by the Jesuits alone were published in Paris. 

The estimate of the measure of success which attended the 
religious labors of these missionaries must necessarily vary 
according to the various conceptions of their aims and the 
different stand-points from which they are viewed. It can 
hardly be questioned that at each mission some adults endeav- 
ored to lead lives in accordance with the teachings of Chris- 
tianity, as explained to them by their spiritual guides. The 
latter believed strongly in the saving efficacy of infant baptism^ 
and considered it an "admirable providence," as expressed by 
Father Marquette, if they were permitted to administer the 
sacrament to a dying child "for the salvation of its innocent 
soul." But so far as the conversion or evangelization of the 
nomadic tribes is concerned, or the successful inculcation of 
those Christian precepts which exercise restraining influences 
upon the cruelties of predatory warfare, their work was a 
lamentable failure, as is shown by the testimony of the fathers 
themselves. Father Gabriel Marest, whose faithful services as 
a missionary of fifteen years among the Illinois Indians qual- 
ify him to speak intelligently on the subject, records his 
experience in these words: "Our life is passed in roaming 
through thick forests, in clambering over the mountains, in 
! ♦ Shea. 


paddling the canoe across lakes and rivers, to catch a single 
poor savage who flies from us, and whom we can tame neither 
by teachings nor caresses." In another place he says, "nothing 
is more difficult than the conversion of these Indians. It is a 
miracle of the Lord's mercy." The same authority, in speak- 
ing of the mission of St. Joseph among the Miamis, in 1712, 
says, "religion among them does not take deep root, as should 
be desired, and there are but few souls who from time to time 
give themselves truly to God." 

Father Membre says:* "With regard to conversions, I can 
not rely on any. There is in these savages such an alienation 
from the faith, so brutal and narrow a mind, such corrupt and 
anti-Christian morals, that great time would be needed to hope 
for any fruit. We baptised some dying children, and two or 
three dying persons who manifested proper dispositions." 

Father Louis Vivier, a Jesuit, in 1750, thus sums up the results 
of fifty years of missionary effort among the Illinois: "That all 
the Indian families had been baptized there but five or six, 
but that the fire-water had ruined the mission, causing the 
greater portion to abandon religion." He further says, "the 
greatest good they [the missionaries] can do them is the 
administration of baptism to children who are at the point 
of death." And the testimony of Father P. F. Watrin, him- 
self a Jesuit missionary, in 1765, is still more conclusive. In 
a report to the "Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda," he re- 
marks: "Since the year 1680, religion had begun to be dis- 
seminated among the Illinois. The Peorias alone have been 
perseveringly obstinate in rejecting it. Next to them the 
Cahokias were the most difficult to be won over, and they at 
length abandoned the faith, as did the Mitchigamies. The 
Kaskaskias for the most part have persevered in the Christian 
religion, despite the causes of seduction that perverted the 
other villages. "-f* 

While it is doubtless true that better results apparently were 
obtained in other localities, it is also true that the converts 
among the Illinois Indians that were the most highly com- 
mended, as did those in the most successful missions, soon fell 

* "Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi," by J. G. Shea, 153. 
+ "Magazine of Western History," I., 269. 


away from the faith, and that their descendants were not in the 
shghtest degree distinguished for morality above other sav- 
ages who had never yielded to the gospel call. 

The failure of the French missionaries to Christianize the 
aborigines may be chiefly assigned to two operative causes. 
The first of these relates to the missionaries themselves. Their 
methods were fundamentally erroneous. Believing that relig- 
ion was "the chief end of man," and especially that its benefits 
could be conferred and enjoyed only through the ministra- 
tions of their own church, by which they aimed to control 
the state as well as the individual, and attain a power which 
would be supreme civilly as well as spiritually, they sought to 
withdraw the savage tribes from the contaminations or inter- 
ference of the civil authorities, preferring to share with them 
the hardships of their lot rather than to open their eyes to the 
dangerous means of its amelioration. The state sought to 
gain controlling influence by localizing and civilizing the In- 
dians, by teaching them agriculture and the arts of peace; 
the priests, by isolating them from all other influences outside 
of themselves. Man is first an animal, then a social being, 
then a subject of civil government. In all of these stages of 
progress, intelligence and growth are necessarily implied. To 
make a mere savage who knows no home and recognizes no 
authority, a religious being, is an impossibility. He may 
become, to a certain extent, a machine to be worked upon 
by despotic power, but is rarely able to comprehend Chris- 

But a second cause of failure was found in the Indians them- 
selves. The difficulty of the task of their christianization, 
humanly speaking, was insurmountable. An Indian, says 
Father Le Clercq, would be baptized ten times a day for a 
pint of brandy or a pound of tobacco. The soil in which the 
missionary dropped his seed was fallow and sterile. To have 
expected it to take deep root would have been to look for the 
; impossible. The Indians could grasp the idea of the Chris- 
Itian religion neither intellectually nor spiritually. The natu- 
tral, if not inevitable, result followed. Without enlightenment, 
iroaming at will from place to place, although in some instances 
it was claimed that the ameliorating influences of religion 


were manifested, the wild native was neither humanized, chris- 
tianized, nor civilized, through the efforts of the French mis- 

But even had all other conditions been favorable, yet an- 
other cause might be mentioned for this failure. The lust for 
pelf brought to the Indian villages hosts of traders; men of 
dissolute life, who knew no god but gain, no morality but 
avarice, and who found in the deadly "fire-water" the best 
medium of exchange. In vain did the priests seek to instruct 
ignorant savages, whose brains were muddled and whose con- 
sciences were blunted with drink, and whose native moral in- 
stincts had been perverted through familiarity and intercourse 
with such depraved debauchees. 

Nor were the Protestant ministers of New England, although 
adopting different methods, any more successful in their efforts 
to Christianize the Indians. Neither was their assumption 
of ecclesiastical superiority any less pronounced than that 
of the followers of Loyola or St. Francis. And while the 
suppression of the Jesuits was the harbinger of the civil and 
religious freedom in Europe which preceded and foreshadowed 
the great French revolution, it was not until the people, fight- 
ing for freedom of thought, of speech, and of the press, 
through their colleges and schools, threw off the yoke of 
clerical domination, that New England became the cradle and 
the abiding-place of American liberty. 

It is true, however, that the erection of the cross and the 
presence of the priest at an Indian village formed a nucleus 
for the comparatively permanent abiding-place of traders and 
voyagcurs. While they generally departed with the tribe on the 
annual hunt in the fall, and returned in the spring, it sometimes 
happened that the priest, on account of ill-health or for some 
other reason, would remain at the village with a few squaws 
and old men and children. The uncouth chapel, reminding 
the itinerant white trader of a better state of society in the 
far-off home of his boyhood, drew his wandering steps most 
frequently to the place where the priest was found. Facilities 
for trade also improved there, and gradually his sojournings 
came to be of longer duration, until not infrequently he took 
a willing dusky maiden to wife. The building of a house and 


the cultivation of a small piece of ground naturally followed; 
and thus was given to these primitive settlements the elements 
of growth and stability. 

Cahokia and Kaskaskia were very favorable locations for 
settlements of this kind. Situated near the great Father of 
Waters, whose overflows were not at that time so frequent or 
well known as they afterward became, and not far from the 
mouth of the Missouri, they were directly on the great high- 
ways of the trader and hunter. The climate was mild, the 
soil extremely productive, and the vast forests around full of 
game, of nut and fruit-bearing trees, and of vines. 

While LaSalle became the owner by purchase of the entire 
Illinois country, no permanent settlement grew out of its occu- 
pancy either by himself or his immediate followers. Fort 
Crevecoeur, erected by him, was never occupied after its aban- 
donment a short time thereafter, and even its site is not now 
known. His colony established in the vicinity of Fort St. 
Louis and Buffalo Rock, under such favorable auspices, con- 
tinued but a few years after his death, and after the military 
had been withdrawn it languished and entirely disappeared. 
And although the settlements at Cahokia and Kaskaskia 
proved to be permanent, but for the establishment of the civil 
and military authority at Fort Chartres it is more than proba- 
ble that they too would have been abandoned in time for 
presumably more desirable locations. Protection of the law, 
backed up by forts and men with guns in their hands, is essen- 
tial to the safety no less than to the permanence of organized 

* Authorities: "Catholic Missions," by Shea and Kip; "Early French Voyages," 
by St. Cosme, Gravier, and others; Charlevoix's "New France"; Warburton's 
"Canada"; Winsor's "America"; French's "Louisiana"; "Encyclopedia Britan- 
nica"; "Magazine of American History" and "Magazine of Western History," and 
articles in the latter, and manuscripts, by Oscar W. Collet, secretary of the Missouri 
Historical Society; Manuscripts and Records in the Chicago Historical Society; 
"Jesuit Relations"; Shea's "Catholic Church in Colonial Days." 


A District of Louisiana — Crozat's Grant — The East-Indies 
Company — Civil Government — Indian Forays — State 
of Society, 1718 - 1756. 

IN the preceding chapters, the Illinois country, as it came 
to be called, has been considered from the direction of 
Canada. The point of view will now be changed to that of ^ 
Louisiana, of which province it became a part. The tragic 
death of LaSalle and the consequent failure of his great 
scheme to connect his colony on the Illinois with a proposed 
post about sixty leagues above the mouth of the Missis- 
sippi, was a blow from which that settlement was never able 
to recover. Fort St. Louis ceased to exist as a French post 
in 1702. It continued to be occupied by a few irresponsible 
traders and merchants, until it was partially destroyed, as 
hereinbefore stated, soon after which the colony dispersed. 

The war in Europe, in which Great Britain and France v/ere 
engaged, during the nine years following 1688, had so ex- 
hausted each in respect of both men and means as very seri- 
ously to impede the growth and prosperity of their colonies 
in North America. But no sooner had the peace of Ryswick 
afforded Louis XIV leisure and opportunity to turn his atten- 
tion toward his possessions in New France, than that monarch 
began to consider how best to utilize the important discoveries 
of LaSalle, which had opened up to French colonization and 
control a territory no less magnificent in extent than it was 
grand in possibilities. 

In 1698, Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur d'Iberville,* an eminent 
Canadian officer of the French navy, was appointed com- 
mander of and successfully conducted an expedition to the 
Bay of Biloxi, where he founded a settlement and constructed 
a fort. His brother, LeMoyne de Bienville, as the "king's 
lieutenant," was placed in charge of this colony. Upon the 

* Charles LeMoyne was the father of six sons, born at Montreal, of whom Iber- 
ville was the third, and Bienville, his successor as governor of Louisiana, the sixth, 
and second son with that title. 



crozat's grant. 9S 

renewal of hostilities between Great Britain and France^ 
however, in 1701, this post shared the fate of other colonial 
settlements, which, through neglect and want for some years, 
were forced to drag out a precarious existence. In 1708, to 
add to their other calamities the yellow fever broke out among 
the inhabitants at Biloxi, and spared in its fatal ravages only 
fourteen officers, seventy-six soldiers, and thirteen sailors.* In 
this year, the growing dissatisfaction over the administration 
of the affairs of this colony induced the French court to estab- 
lish a new form of government for Louisiana. The province 
was detached from Canada, and Nicholas de Muy appointed 
its first governor, who, however, died on his passage to Biloxi. 

But, in 1712, the condition of the settlers had greatly im- 
proved, and glowing accounts of the opportunities for trade 
and mining in the new, had reached the parent, country. It 
was represented to be the richest part of the world; "pearls 
could be fished there in abundance, and the streams rolled on 
sands of gold." 

Believing that the resources of the new territory could be 
rendered more productive to the royal exchequer through 
private enterprise than under the direction of officers of the 
crown, the king, on September 14, 1712, issued royal letters- 
patent to Antoine Crozat, Marquis de Chatel, in which were 
granted a monopoly of the commerce of the country, over 
which, through him, the "laws and customs of Paris" were to 
be administered. This patent was a lengthy and formidable 
document, granting, among other things, the right to "search 
for, open, and dig all sorts of mines, veins, and minerals 
throughout said country, and also to search for precious stones 
and pearls, reserving a fifth part of the gold and silver for 
the king." 

A question has been raised whether or not the Illinois coun- 
try was included in this grant. The language describing the 
territory over which it was to be exercised, general and some- 
what indefinite, was as follows: "Solely to carry on a trade in 
all the lands possessed by us, and bounded by New Mexico 
and by the lands of the English of Carolina, all the estab- 
lishments, ports, havens, rivers, and principally the port and 

* French's "Louisiana." 


haven of the Isle Dauphine, heretofore called Massacre; the 
river of St. Louis, heretofore called Mississippi, from the edge 
of the sea as far as tJie Illinois; together with the river St. 
Philip, heretofore called the Missouris, and of St.Jerome, here- 
tofore called Ouabache, with all the countries, territories, lakes 
within land, and the rivers which fall directly or indirectly 
into that part of the river of St. Louis." 

Another, equally indefinite, reference to the same territory 
in the document is as follows: "And further, that all the lands 
which we possess fioin the Illinois [or, rather, on this side of 
the Illinois country]* be united, so far as occasion requires, to 
the general government of New France."-f* It does not appear, 
indeed, that Crozat attempted to exercise any particular con- 
trol over the Illinois country, although Gov. Cadilac sent 
traders there in 171 3.+ In the subsequent grant to the West- 
ern Company, the territory conveyed was " the lands, coasts, 
ports, havens, and islands which form, our province of Louisi- 
ana, as well and with the same extent, as we had granted to 
Mr. Crozat." Under which later grant and under the decree 
hereinafter mentioned, jurisdiction and control was exercised 
by the company for the first time in all the Illinois country. 
Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadilac was appointed governor, 
and given a share in the grantee's profits. 

Mons. Crozat was a counsellor and secretary of the king's 
household, and this grant was intended to confer a special 
boon on his majesty's favorite, to which Louis remarks he 
was the more readily inclined because of the zeal manifested 
and the singular knowledge acquired by the secretary in 
former enterprises which had resulted in procuring to "our 
kingdom great quantities of gold and silver." It is clearly 
apparent that the object primarily in view in granting these 
privileges was to augment his majesty's revenues, by the 
royalties to be derived from mining gold and silver. Other 
commercial results were regarded as subsidiary considerations. 
While in its terms the grant was limited on the south by New 
Mexico, it is more than probable that the mines of old Mexico 
were also kept in view. However this may have been, Crozat 

* "Boundaries of Ontario, "by David Mills. 

+ Dillon's "Historical Notes," 35. J French's "Louisiana," VI, 114. 


signally failed to realize the magnificent expectations of his 
imperial patron, in the direction of either money or commerce. 
In 1 7 17, after the death of Louis XIV, he surrendered his 
grant to the crown. 

In the meantime, shrewd operators had not been slow to 
discover not only the vast resources and natural advantages 
of the country, but also its contingent value as a centre of 
commerce. Soon after the retirement of Crozat, therefore, in 
August of the same year, an organization was formed, called 
the "Company of the West," to which w'ere conveyed powers 
even more extraordinary than those conferred on Crozat. At 
the head of this company was the celebrated John Law, To 
him and his associates were granted the control of the trade 
and commerce within the limits of the territory named. Gov- 
ernmental powers, also, were conferred upon them. They were 
given a monopoly of the tobacco and slave trades, and the 
exclusive right to refine gold and silver. Subsequently, the 
sole privilege of trading with the East Indies, China, and the 
"South Sea" was also conceded, and the name of the com- 
pany changed to that of the East Indies. 

It is worthy of remark in this connection that in all the 
royal grants of these early days, especial reference is made to 
the supposed presence of gold and silver, as well as precious 
stones. The question arises, how did the idea that gold and 
silver were to be found in the Mississippi Valley obtain so 
deep a lodgment in the early European brain ? It seems 
most probable that the belief originated either from the 
sensational stories told by Spanish adventurers in Mexico 
and South America, or from statements made to the early 
discoverers by the Indians. The argument from analogy 
was easily made. From what source the Indians learned 
of the presence of the coveted metals, it is difficult to say; 
probably from tradition, possibly from actual discovery. It 
is, nevertheless, an interesting subject for conjecture whether 
the early French explorers, restlessly seeking for the precious 
yellow dust, might not have found it on the shores of the 
Pacific centuries ago, had they been successful in reaching 
what was undoubtedly their objective point. 

On September 27, 1717, the country of the Illinois, which 


had up to that time been a dependency of Canada, by a decree 
of the royal council, was united to and incorporated with the 
government of Louisiana.* 

Under the enterprising efforts of Law's company, the colo- 
nies of Louisiana and the Illinois country rapidly increased, 
as many as eight hundred immigrants arriving in one year. 
In 1717, succeeding Cadilac, the new-appointed Gov. 1' Epinay 
arrived. Following him the Sieur Jean Baptiste LeMoyne de 
Bienville, who had in previous years served in the capacity 
of commandant, and as lieutenant-governor under Cadilac, was 
appointed governor of Louisiana, and, in 1718, selected the site 
of New Orleans for the founding of a metropolis. Pierre Duque 
de Boisbriant was named by the directors of the company as 
the first commandant of Illinois, and, under their instructions, 
proceeded to Kaskaskia with a small force to erect a fort. 
Why he selected as the site of this fortification, an isolated 
spot- on the Mississippi Bottom, liable to overflow, and many 
miles distant from either of the villages then existing, it is 
difficult to comprehend. It is probable, however, that it was 
in the interest of the new settlements then projected in that 
vicinity. A poorer location, as the event proved, could not 
have been chosen. But the fort was constructed, and named 
Fort Chartres after the Due de Chartres, son of the regent 
of France, and it was made the seat of government for 
the Illinois country while the French held it. Large ware- 
houses for the reception of goods and also factories were 
erected, and around the fort there soon sprang up a thriving 
village called New Chartres, which soon became the centre of 
"fashion," as well as of power. 

In 1720, the Spaniards at Santa F6, alarmed at the encroach- 
ments upon their territory by the French, under Bernard de la 
Harpe, who had erected forts along the Red River and at 
other points, organized an expedition against the Missouri 
Indians, allies of the French. While the primary object of 
the movement was the extermination of the Missouris and the 
conquest of their country, the objective point was undoubtedly 
the Illinois. The invading force has been variously estimated 
at from seventy to fifteen hundred. The design was to form 

* Margry, V, 589. 


an alliance with the Osages, neighbors and deadly enemies of 
the tribe to be attacked. Losing their way, the Spaniards 
arrived at a Missouri village, supposing it to belong to their 
proposed allies, and made known to the chief their plans for 
destroying his nation. The cunning warrior, leaving them 
undeceived, promised ready cooperation. Falling upon their 
unsuspecting guests in the night, the savages massacred the 
entire party, with the exception of the chaplain, who after- 
ward escaped. The affair was reported to Boisbriant by the 
MissourisJ and has been considered as of importance as tend- 
ing to show the designs of the Spaniards against the French 
in those early days.* 

In 172 1, Philip F. Renault brought with him to the country 
five hundred slaves and two hundred artisans, mechanics, and 
laborers, and having, on June 14, 1723, received a large grant 
of land, he shortly afterward founded the village of St. Philip, 
a few miles north of the fort. He held the office of director- 
general of the mines of Louisiana. In 1733, Prairie du Rocher, 
four miles east of Fort Chartres under the bluff, was laid out 
on land which the commandant had caused to be conveyed ta 
himself, and which was by him in turn granted to his nephew, 
St. Therese Langlois, who conveyed it in lots to settlers, re- 
serving his seignorial rights. Subsequently, a grant of land 
was made to the village for commons, from which it yet 
derives a revenue. 

Similar grants of commons were made to other French vil- 
lages for the benefit of the inhabitants. The impetus derived 
from the energy of the Indies Company was communicated 
to Cahokia and Kaskaskia, which increased in size and num- 
bers. In 1722, a parish church and stone residence for the 
Jesuits were erected at the latter place, and new mills and store- 
houses at each of these villages. Agriculture was encouraged, 
and grants of land were made to permanent settlers. These 
grants, although inchoate in their character, were permitted to 
become allodial titles without farther concessions. The first of 
these conveyances of record, bearing date May 10, 1722, was to 
Charles Danie.-f- Another in this locality, covering several 

* "Voyages aux Indes Occidentales," Bossu, Part I, 132. 

t It reads as follows: "Pierre Duque Boisbriant, knight of the Military Order 


leagues in extent, and one also near Peoria, were made to 
Renault for the labor of his slaves. He left the country in 
1743, but some of this land is yet designated on the map of 
Monroe County as belonging to his heirs; while the title to 
other portions is now being litigated in the courts. 

These grants on the American Bottom commenced at the 
Mississippi River and extended to the Kaskaskia or to the 
bluffs, with no intervening or unsold tracts. They were so 
many arpents — 11 and 67/100 rods — in width and length, the 
lines of which ran the same course. Some of them, as at 
Cahokia, were only two arpents wide and extended five miles 
to the bluffs.* Thus large fields were within a common en- 
closure, each owner contributing his share toward keeping up 
the fence. In this way nearly all of the land in the American 
Bottom, in the vicinity of the settlements, was conveyed. 

In September, 1721, such progress had been made in the 
settlement of the new country and in building up separate 
communities, that it was deemed advisable by the commis- 
sioners of the council for the government of the Indies Com- 
pany to divide the province of Louisiana into nine civil and 
military districts. And it was provided that over each of these 
should be appointed a commandant and a judge, from whose 
decisions appeals might be taken to the superior council at 
New Orleans.-|- 

Of these districts, Illinois, the largest and next to New 
Orleans the most populous, was the seventh. It embraced 
over one-half of the territory of the present State and all 

of St. Louis and first King's lieutenant of the Province of Louisiana, commanding 
at the Illinois, and Marc Antoine de la Loire des Ursins, principal secretary for 
the Royal Indies Company; — 

On the demand of Charles Danie, to grant him a piece of land five arpents in 
front, on the side of the Mitchiagamia River, running north and south, joining to 
Michel Philip on one side and on the other to Meleque, and in depth east and 
west to the Mississippi. In consequence they do grant to the said Charles Danie 
(in soc age) the said land; whereon he may from this date commence working, 
clearing, and sowing in expectation of a formal concession, which shall be sent from 
France by Messieurs the Directors of the Royal Indies Company. And the said 
land shall revert to the domain of the said company if the said Charles Danie do 
not work thereon within a year and a day. Boisbriant. 

Des Ursins." 

* See "American State Papers," Vol. II. 

t Dillon, 43. 


that country between the Arkansas and the forty-third parallel 
of North latitude, from the Mississippi to the Rocky Moun- 
tains. It included the present states of Missouri, Kansas, 
Iowa, Nebraska, and parts of Arkansas and Colorado.* In 
1723, the Wabash region was cut off from the Illinois, and 
made a district by itself The commandant, with his Secre- 
tary des Ursins, and Michael Chassin, the company's commis- 
sary, formed the council of the district, and administered its 
affairs according to the civil law. 

Other events affecting the Illinois territory at this early day, 
in their order, were as follows: In 1722, upon request of the 
Peoria Indians living on the Illinois River, who represented 
that they were being hard pressed by the Sacs and Foxes, a 
force was sent from Fort Chartres to their relief; but before 
its arrival they had themselves defeated their foes, as hereto- 
fore related. In 1725, Boisbriant having been summoned to 
New Orleans to succeed Gov. de Bienville, who had been 
recalled to France, he was followed in the command of the 
Illinois district, at least temporarily, by Capt. du Tisne, who 
was in turn succeeded by Capt. de Liette-f- of the royal army.;]: 

Communication with the outer world was now mostly carried 
on by way of New Orleans. The old route from Canada by 
the Chicago portages having fallen into disuse, the French 
settlements on the Mississippi River were peculiarly open to 
forays from the savages — especially since the departure of the 
Peorias, in 1722, from the Illinois River. These hostile incur- 
sions were of frequent occurrence and determined the French 
to strike the Foxes an effective blow. An expedition was 
accordingly directed against them by the Marquis de Beau- 
harnais — grandfather of the first husband of the Empress Jose- 
phine — governor of Canada, in which the French and the 
Illinois Indians, commanded by Liette, took a prominent 
part.§ The Sacs and Foxes were met and defeated near 
Green Bay, Other collisions occurred between the belligerents 
in which the combined French and Indians were victorious 
under the brave St. Ange, upon whom the duties of comman- 

* "Magazine of Western History." 

t Judge Breese spells this name de Lielte, and others de Siette, and Charlevoix 
Delietto. t Oscar W. Collet. § E. G. Mason. 


dant, after Liette, had devolved. He was the father of Louis 
St. Ange de Bellerive, and died about 1742.* 

In 1734, Gov. Bienville, who had been recalled in 1725 and 
was then succeeded by Gov. Perier, was reappointed and con- 
tinued to act as governor of Louisiana until 1743, when he was 
again recalled and succeeded by the Marquis de Vaudreuil. 

In 1732, the charter of the Indies Company was surrendered, 
and Louisiana, including the district of the Illinois, was gov- 
erned by officers appointed directly by the French crown under 
a code of laws known as the "Common Law of Paris." These 
laws, however, not being adapted to the exigencies of civil or 
social relations in a new country, were not generally enforced; 
the commandant exercising an arbitrary but mild authority, 
which was acquiesced in without complaint.-f* The majority of 
colonists who had come to this country, influenced by induce- 
ments held out by the Indies Company, being indigent and 
illiterate, when the company failed, for the most part betook 
themselves to the pursuits of hunting and boating. A few men 
of talent and enterprise remained, who became merchants and 
traders on a large scale with the Indians. 

In 1734, Pierre d'Artaguiette, a young officer who had greatly 
distinguished himself in a war with the Natchez, was promoted 
to the majority of his regiment and appointed, by the governor 
of Louisiana, commandant of the Illinois district; and his 
administration proved popular and successful. In 1736, how- 
ever, he conducted a disastrous expedition against the Chicka- 
saws, who had long opposed the advancement of the French 
settlements on the Mississippi. His force was composed of a 
part of the garrison of Fort Chartres, a company of volunteers 
from the P'rench villages, and a large portion of the warriors 
of the Kaskaskias, making an army of two hundred French 
and four hundred Indians.;]: The Illinois and Miami Indians 
were under command of Chief Chicagou. At the mouth of 
the Ohio, the Chevalier Jean Baptiste Bissot, Sieur de Vin- 
cennes§ joined the expedition with his quota from the Wabash. 

* O. W. Collet. + Dillon's "Historical Notes," 60. 

t Holmes' "Annals," II, 83. 

§ Vincennes was born in 1668, and was a brother-in-law of Louis Joliet. Dillon 
and others say that his name was Francis Morgan Vincennes, Shea, in his note 


Marching out from Fort Chartres on ^ morning in February, 
his command, when mustered on board his bateaux and canoes, 
presented an imposing appearance as it floated down the Mis- 
sissippi. A cooperating force from New Orleans was expected 
to effect a junction at an agreed point near the Chickasaw 
village. Bienville failed to carry out his part of the plan. Dis- 
appointed at this unexpected failure, to fight was the only 
alternative left the brave, young commander; but he was 
severely wounded early in the engagement, as were many other 
officers; his Indian allies fled, and the Chickasaws soon re- 
mained masters of the bloody field. Artaguiette, Vincennes, 
Father Senat, Tisne, and young Pierre St. Ange — brother of 
Louis,'* were taken prisoners and burned at the stake. 

The successor of the lamented Artaguiette was Alphonse de 
la Buissoniere, who, in 1736, also led an expedition against the 
warlike Chickasaws. The opposing forces came in sight of each 
other, but, upon a careful survey of the situation, concluded to 
make peace. However, this was soon broken by the implaca- 
ble redskins, who attacked a boat at the mouth of the Ohio, 
going to the Illinois, and killed all on board except one young 
girl, who had recently arrived from France and was on her way 
to join her sister at Fort Chartres. Reaching the shore, she 
wandered through the woods for days, living on herbs and 
roots; but finally saw the flag floating from Fort Chartres, and, 
struggling on, reached the haven of her hopes. 

From this time on, for a period of over twelve years, the 
French settlements in the Illinois district were at peace with all 
the world, and prosperous. The war between Great Britain and 
France during the four years preceding the treaty of Aix-la- 
Chapelle, in 1748, involved the colonists on the Atlantic coast, 
but did not materially affect the remote and comparatively 
isolated settlers in the valley of the Mississippi. 

During this period, the commandants general, as they were 
called in official documents, succeeded each other in the follow- 
ing order: In 1740, Capt. Benoist de St. Claire was appointed 

to Charlevoix, IV, 122, gives the name as in the text. Collet says that the name 
Vincennes was one that he assumed. W. A. Brice, in his "History of Ft. Wayne," 
says that an officer by the name of M. de Vincennes was reported to have died at 
the Miami village in 1719. * O. W. Collet. 


to succeed Buissoniere; two years thereafter came the Chevalier 
de Bertel or Berthet, who held the position until 1748-9, when 
he in turn yielded the command to St. Claire, who was rein- 
stated therein. 

The early history of the French settlements in southern Illi- 
nois reads, in these days of higher civilization and broader 
culture, like a romance of Arcadia. The wants of these primi- 
tive denizens of a new territory were as simple as they were 
few. Subsequent historians have called these the "halcyon 
days of Illinois," and allude to this period as the date at which 
was established the fact that "an honest, virtuous people need 
no government."* 

The growth and prosperity of the five French villages in the 
district had been uniform and substantial. Extending along 
the American Bottom from Kaskaskia to Cahokia, frequent and 
friendly communication was maintained among their inhabit- 
ants along a line sixty miles in length. At peace with each 
other, they established and cultivated amicable relations with 
their Indian neighbors. Religious dissensions were unknown. 
The settlers recognized but one church, and to dispute her will 
in matters of faith never entered their minds. In each hamlet 
was a rude chapel, with its attendant priest, who was, not only 
in matters of religion but in all the affairs of every-day life, the 
" guide, philosopher, and friend " of his illiterate parishioners. 
The architecture of their houses partook of the simplicity of 
those who dwelt within them — a single story, surmounted by a 
thatch of prairie-grass, rested upon four posts, whose roughly- 
hewn sides were concealed by horizontal cross-ties, and whose 
interstices were filled in with clay and straw, in lieu of mortar. 
The main entrance was protected by a primitive porch or shed. 
The floors were made of puncheons. The substantial furnish- 
ing of these plain homes was designed with an eye to utility 
rather than ornament; articles of mere luxury were unkown, 
and she was a proud dame who could adorn her dwelling with 
a silver heirloom brought from her native land, to which she 
had bid a long farewell. 

The demands of dress were not at all exacting. Coarse, 

• See Reynolds' "Pioneer History of Illinois," and Breese's "Early History of 
Illinois. " 


blue cotton sufficed for summer wear, which was sometimes 
covered by a capot made of a Mackinac blanket. In winter, 
cotton was replaced by bear skin. Blue handkerchiefs formed 
the head-gear of men and women alike, while both sexes 
were content to cover their feet with loosely-fitting deer-skin 
moccasins. Their agricultural implements were of the most 
primitive kind — wooden plows without a colter, and carts with- 
out iron. They usually plowed with oxen, which were yoked 
by the horns rather than by the neck. The horses were driven 
tandem, with harness made of raw-hide, which was strong and 
neat. With such implements and outfits thousands of acres 
were cultivated on the American Bottom, yielding large and 
remunerative crops. 

They raised chiefly wheat, oats, hops, and tobacco — Indian 
corn only for hogs and hominy; against its use for bread 
they were prejudiced. Their bags were made of dried elk- 
skins. They had neither spinning-wheels, looms, nor churns 
— butter being made by shaking the cream in a bottle, or 
by breaking it in a bowl with a spoon, and very little used. 
Their commerce was chiefly with New Orleans, the people of 
which port depended mainly on Illinois for supplies of various 
kinds. Regular cargoes of flour — as many as four thousand 
sacks in 1745* — bacon, pork, hides, tallow, leather, lumber, 
wine, lead, and peltries were annually, and sometimes more 
frequently, transported in keel-boats and barges, or batteaux as 
they were called, to New Orleans, where was found an excel- 
lent market. For cargo on their homeward voyage, the little 
vessels brought to the Northern settlements sugar, rice, manu- 
factured tobacco, indigo, cotton, and such other goods as the 
simple wants of the inhabitants required. 

The Frenchmen in Illinois were excellent boatmen, and 
although the work of ascending the river was difficult and at 
some places perilous, they so mingled their amusements with 
the excitements of the voyage as to make this kind of life not 
only tolerable but enjoyable. The manner of navigating the 
Mississippi, as conducted then and for over half a century there- 
after, was by towing, sailing, and, as it was called, cordelling, 
which consisted in pulling the boat up stream by a long rope, 

* Reynolds. 


•one end of which was fastened to a tree, the other being in the 
hands of the men on board. When creeks or rivers impeded 
their progress, they swam them or were ferried over in canoes. 
The crews numbered, according to the size of the vessel, from 
ten to fifty hands, and with large boats heavily laden, four or 
five months' time was consumed in making the round trip from 
Kaskaskia to New Orleans. Besides coin, good peltries were 
an acknowledged measure of value, and passed freely in com- 
mercial transactions. 

The government of the commandant, as before stated, was 
mild and conservative, interfering but little with the every-day 
pursuits of the people, excepting in matters of commerce, over 
which he maintained absolute control. Having extensive pat- 
ronage and unlimited power over trade, as well as over all con- 
tracts for supplies, repairs, and stores for his majesty's maga- 
zines, ample opportunities were afforded him not only to secure 
the good-will of the inhabitants, but also to add very largely 
to his legitimate income. 

"The Court of the Audience of the royal jurisdiction of the 
Illinois," as Judge Breese calls it, which came to be established, 
had but little difficulty in settling the few matters of dispute 
which arose, or in enforcing its judgments and decrees, through 
the provost marshal* Each village had its own local com- 
mandant, who was usually the captain of the militia.*!- 

The burdens of the people were light; and there being but 
few social distinctions, there were no rivalries. Care was a 
stranger, and amusements always in order. Paying strict 
attention to the public duties of religion, they regarded the 
close of the mass on Sunday as the signal for the commence- 
ment of festivities on this gala day of the week. Games, visit- 
ing, and gossip were the order of the day; but their chief 
delight was in dancing, in which old and young engaged alike.;J: 

Ignorant of the expensive demands of fashion, their artifi- 
cial wants were few and easily satisfied. All it cost for a 
year's board and lodging was two months' work — one plowing 
and one harvesting.§ Thus lived in their border villages this 

* See interesting address before Illinois State Bar Association, on the " Beginning 
of Law in Illinois," by Edward G. Mason, 1887. 

t Breese, 217. J Monette, Stoddard. § Capt. Pittman. 


primitive, detached people, apparently contented with their 
situation, their government, and religion. 

But there is a reverse side to this picture. The highest prod- 
uct of any country — the outgrowth which surpasses in value all 
the combined harvests of the soil and the aggregate yield from 
its mines, however great — consists of the men and women who 
not only acknowledge that soil as their mother, but who owe 
their character and its development to the circumstances and 
institutions surrounding their birth and among which they are 


"Ill fares the land, to gathering ills a prey, 
Where wealth accumulates and men decay." 

In vain do fertile fields respond to labor, when those who culti- 
vate them are themselves the stunted product of a warped, 
incomplete, or degenerate civilization. 

These early colonists, in a very considerable proportion, were 
the product of the lower, while not a few of them had belonged 
to or descended from the criminal, classes. The higher quali- 
ties of mind and heart which often distinguish the national 
character, and which were repeatedly displayed by the enter- 
prising and loyal French who came to this country after 1780, 
they apparently either left behind them or never possessed. 

Having no educational system, they were ignorant alike of 
their rights, duties, and responsibilities as citizens. It was not 
for the interest of their rulers that they should learn either, and 
they were as destitute of ambition as the animals with which 
they plowed. Like children, they cheerfully performed the 
tasks assigned them, stimulated by the hope of the promised 
play-time which was sure to follow. In return for the permis- 
sion to indulge in their chosen pastimes without restraint, they 
willingly confided their government to others. While the)- 
were light-hearted, they were light-headed as well, and thrift- 
less; the poorer portion laboring only long enough to gain a 
bare subsistence each passing day, the rest of the time being 
spent in sporting, hunting, and wine drinking. Those who had 
slaves compelled them to labor to support their drunken mas- 
ters in idleness and debauchery.* They are represented as 
hard masters, and overreaching and profligate in their inter- 
course with the Indians. 
* Lieut. Frazier. 


Their connection with the latter, indeed, was a source of 
injury and degradation to both races. It was found that it was 
easier for the French to descend to the lower plane of savage 
life than it was for the native to improve by the specimen of 
civilization presented him by the French, while the bad qualities 
of the latter were adopted naturally and without an effort. 
The result was the demoralization and decay of both, so that 
in the end one was exterminated and the other compelled to 
give way to the sterner and more elevating civilization of the 

As remarked by a close observer of these early times, we 
look in vain for the monuments of this ancient population. 
Their memorials may be counted upon less than the fingers 
of one hand. With not one single important work of educa- 
tion, art, science, culture, benevolence, or religion are they 

* O. W. Collet, "Magazine of Western History," i, 95. 

Authorities: Gov. Reynolds' "Pioneer History of Illinois"; Dillon's Historical 
Notes; "Illinois in the Eighteenth Century," by Edward G. Mason, president of 
Chicago Historical Society; Gayarre's "Louisiana"; French's "Louisiana"; Ameri- 
can State Papers; Papers and Manuscripts by O. W. Collet; "Early History of 
Illinois," by Judge Sidney Breese; Holmes' "Annals"; "Western Annals," by J. 
H. Perkins and J. M. Peck; Papers and Manuscripts in Chicago Historical Society; 
"Magazine of Western History"; Monette's "Valley of the Mississippi"; "Char- 
levoix, New France," by Shea; Works of Judge James Hall; Martin's "Louisiana"; 
DuPratz' "Louisiana"; Stoddard's "Louisiana"; Bossu's "Voyages"; "Decouvetes 
et Establissements," etc., P. Margry; "Boundaries of Ontario, "by David Mills. 


The French -and -Indian War — British Claims — Wash- 
ington's Mission — Position of Illinois — How affected — 
Why the French Lost the Country, 1755-1763. 

THE claim of the British to the rich country of the Ohio 
and Mississippi valleys was now to be submitted to the 
adjudication of the sword. It was contended, indeed, that this 
right rested not only upon grants from the crown and treaties 
with the original owners, but upon the right of prior discovery 
by Col. Wood, in 1654, and by Capt. Bolt, in 1670.* 

In 1698, attention had been directed by Dr. d' Avenant, in a 
report on the trade and revenues of England, to the import- 
ance of securing possession of the mouth of the Mississippi 
River, and the danger to English commercial interests if the 
settlement of that valuable territory by the French was not 
checked.-^ To carry out this recommendation, an expedition 
was promptly fitted out by the English government this same 
year, consisting of a small frigate, commanded by Capt. Barr, 
and another vessel commanded by Capt. Clements, with instruc- 
tions to take possession of Louisiana and establish a colony on 
the banks of the Mississippi. | The surprise of the French 
governor, Bienville, when returning to Biloxi from his first 
exploration of the Mississippi, September 16, 1699, at meeting 
Capt. Barr on his way up may be imagined. 

An interesting conference followed. Bienville demanded of 
Capt. Barr what he was doing in the Mississippi Valley, and 
whether he was not aware that the French had already estab- 
lished themselves in that country; to which the captain, equally 
surprised at the encounter, replied that he was ignorant of the 
fact, but that the English had discovered the country fifty years 
before and therefore had a prior and better right to it than the 
French. However, without making any demonstration, he re- 

* Thomas Hutchins in Gilbert Imlay's "Topographical Description of the West- 
em Territory of North Anierica"; Coxe's "Carolina," 120; "State of British and 
French Colonies in North America," {1755), 107. 

+ Dillon's "Historical Notes," 29. :;; French's "Louisiana," VL, 60. 



versed the course of his vessel and set sail in the direction of 
the gulf; but intimated to the astonished representative of the 
House of Bourbon that the latter would hear from him again.* 

At about the same time it was ascertained by Iberville that 
English traders from Carolina were among the Chickasaws, buy- 
ing furs and slaves, and that a party of Englishmen had left 
New York for the Illinois country.-|- To fortify the claim to 
the country, based upon right of discovery, treaties were nego- 
tiated by Great Britain with the Iroquois in 1701, and subse- 
quently confirmed in 1724-6. By these instruments, that 
powerful nation conveyed their territorial rights to the British, 
retaining only the privilege of hunting. But as the Iroquois 
had never really acquired any title to the Northwest, never 
having resided in that locality, the conveyance was certainly 
not of much value.j Further, to strengthen their claim, the 
British, in 1748, concluded a treaty of alliance and friendship 
with the Twightwees, their first connection with the Miami 

During the thirteen years which followed, both Great Britain 
and France were too much absorbed in the war of the Spanish 
succession, in which they participated on opposite sides, to 
devote much attention to the affairs of their respective colonies 
in the new world. The peace which followed the formation of 
the triple alliance in Europe, in 17 17, remained unbroken for 
nearly a quarter of a century, and the relations of the two 
countries continued on a friendly footing. At the outbreak of 
the war of the Austrian succession, in 1740, these hereditary 
foes found themselves once more arrayed on opposing sides. 
The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1748, brought this war to a 
close so far as the peace of Europe was concerned, but the 
question of the respective rights of the two powers in North 
America was left unsettled by that rather unsatisfactory com- 
pact. The ownership of the territory between the Alleghanies 
and the Mississippi remained still in dispute — a casus belli des- 
tined to bring about a conflict which was to end in the transfer 
of a continent. 

* Penicaut's "Journal," French's "Louisiana," Part VI., 6o; Sauvol's "Journal,'* 
French's "Louisiana," Part III., 229-38. + French's "Louisiana," Part VI., 126. 
:J: Beckwith's " Vermilion County, " 224. § Dillon's " Historical Notes, " 63. 


The formation of the Ohio Land Company, in 1748-9, and 
the grant to it by the British government of half a milHon acres 
of land along the Ohio River, with the exclusive privilege of 
trading with the Indian tribes, precipitated the impending con- 
flict. Surveys and explorations by Christopher Gist, the agent 
of the company, followed in 1750-2, and a trading-post was 
established on Loramie Creek, forty-seven miles north of 

The French had, in the meantime, erected a fort at Presque 
Isle, on Lake Erie, and soon after advanced their posts to the 
Alleghany River. These hostile demonstrations were viewed 
with no little alarm by the governors of Pennsylvania and Vir- 
ginia. Gov. Dinwiddle, who was a stockholder therein,* was a 
ready listener to complaints by the Ohio Company of these 
belligerent acts, and appointed Capt. William Trent as a com- 
missioner to expostulate with the French commander on the 
Ohio concerning his aggressions on the territory of his Britannic 
majesty; but his mission proved a failure. Dinwiddle, however, 
was not discouraged, and at once began to look about for a 
person better fitted to represent the government in so delicate 
a mission. It was apparent that for such a task keen sagacity 
was as essential a qualification as high physical and moral 

One in whom these qualities were happily united was found 
in the person of Maj. George Washington, then adjutant-general 
of the Virginia militia, and assigned to the northern division. 
Thus the history of the "father of his country" becomes dis- 
tinctly connected with that of our own State, which, although 
at that time in hostile possession, eventually became a part of 
the State of the illustrious Washington. His commission bore 
date October 30, 1753. By its terms he was directed to pro- 
ceed to Logstown, where, after presenting his credentials to the 
French commander, he was to ascertain what had given occa- 
sion to the French invasion of British territory, what were the 
pretensions of the aggressors, and how they were likely to be 
supported. He was also directed diligently to inquire into the 
numbers of the French on the Ohio and in the adjacent coun- 
try; and correctly to inform himself as to the number and loca- 

* Irving's "Washington," I., 67. 


tion of the enemy's forts, and how the latter were garrisoned 
and appointed. 

He began the same day what proved to be a perilous and 
difficult journey. Often sleeping on the ground without a tent, 
passing through the storms and snows of winter, in danger from 
treacherous foes in a wilderness country, he developed a reso- 
lution, prudence, sagacity, and hardihood which distinguished 
him as one eminently qualified to discharge important trusts 
involving civil as well as military responsibilities. He was cour- 
teously received by the French officer, Jacques Repentigny le 
Gardeur de St. Pierre, who replied to the governor's communica- 
tion that he would transmit the same to his general, the Marquis 
Duquesne, by whose answer his conduct would be governed. 

On returning, the weather becoming more unfavorable and 
the roads deep with snow, the horses of the major and his com- 
panion gave out. They therefore determined to prosecute their 
journey by the nearest way, through the woods, on foot. This 
Washington found to be a difficult and dangerous expedient, as 
the following extract from his journal shows: 

" I took my necessary papers, pulled off my clothes, and tied 
myself up in a watch-coat. Then with gun in hand and pack 
on my back, in which were my papers and provisions, I set out 
with Mr. Gist. The day following, just after we passed a place 
called 'Murdering Town,' we fell in with a party of French- 
Indians, who had lain in wait for us. One of them fired at Mr. 
Gist or me, not fifteen steps off, but fortunately missed. We 
took the fellow in custody and kept him until nine o'clock at 
night, then let him go, walking all the remaining part of the 
night, without making any stops, that we might get the start so 
far as to be out of the reach of their pursuit the next day. 
The next day we continued traveling until quite dark, and got 
to the river, which we expected to find frozen, but it was not — 
only about fifty yards from each shore. There was no way of 
getting over but on a raft, which we set about with but one 
poor hatchet, and finished just after sunsetting. This was a 
whole day's work. We next got it launched, then went on 
board of it, and set off; but before we were half-way over we 
were jammed in the ice in such manner that we expected every 
moment our raft to sink and ourselves to perish. I put out my 


setting pole to try to stop the raft, that the ice might pass by, 
when the rapidity of the stream threw it with so much violence 
against the pole that it jerked me out into ten feet of water, 
but I fortunately saved myself by catching hold of one of the 
raft logs. Notwithstanding all our efforts, we could not get to 
either shore, but were obliged, as we were near an island, to 
quit our raft and make to it. The cold was so extremely severe 
that Mr. Gist had all his fingers and some of his toes frozen, 
and the water was shut up so hard that we found no difficulty 
in getting off the island on the ice in the morning, and went on 
to Mr. Frazier's." They arrived at Williamsburg, Jan. 16, 1754. 

The information brought by Washington having convinced 
the governor that the French were preparing to take military 
possession of the Ohio Valley, preparations were immediately 
made to counteract such a step. The Ohio Company having 
begun a fort at the confluence of the Alleghany and Monon- 
gahela rivers, Maj. Washington was ordered, in the spring of 
1754, to proceed thither and superintend its completion. He 
set out from Alexandria with a force of one hundred and fifty 
men, but was so delayed by unforeseen difficulties of transpor- 
tation that he found on his arrival that the French were already 
there in advance of him. A force of about one thousand men, 
under Capt. Antoine Pecody, Sieur de Contrecceur, with a small 
park of light artillery, had suddenly appeared before the fort, 
and, after driving off the few militiamen and workmen who 
formed its garrison, had taken possession. The French com- 
pleted the fort and named it Fort Duquesne, after the governor 
of Canada. And this was the first blow struck in the French- 
and-Indian war, the formal declaration of which was not made 
until after the capture of Fort Necessity. Although the war thus 
commenced in the Ohio Valley extended over North America, 
only those events will be referred to here which relate to the 
Northwest and are directly connected with the Illinois country. 

Washington, perceiving the situation, determined to proceed 
with his small command to the Ohio Company's storehouses, at 
the mouth of Redstone Creek. On his way he encountered a 
small party of French, under the Sieur de Jumonville de Villiers, 
who, it is alleged, had been despatched with a formal summons 
to Washington, requiring him to withdraw from the French ter- 


ritory. This party was successfully attacked by Washington, 
May 28, at a place called Little Meadows. It was his first 
battle, and resulted in the killing of ten of the French, includ- 
ing the commander, and the capture of twenty-one prisoners, 
while his own loss was but one killed and three wounded. 
From a letter found on the person of Jumonville, as well as 
from his conduct in waiting for reinforcements before delivering 
the message with which he had been charged, it would seem 
that the summons was in fact a mere pretext to cover his real 
design, which was to assume the initiative and attack Washing- 
ton as soon as he felt himself numerically able to do so. 

On learning of the defeat and death of Jumonville, his 
brother, Coulon de Villiers, who had been despatched for this 
purpose from Montreal, set out from Fort Duquesne with an 
army of five hundred French and seven hundred Indians to 
avenge his death. In view of his inferiority in numbers — his 
force being but about three hundred all told, Washington re- 
treated to the Great Meadows, where a temporary fortification 
was thrown up, known as Fort Necessity. Here, on July 3, 
he was attacked by Villiers. His defense against great odds 
was most ably conducted, but in the end he was compelled 
to surrender to the French.* 

This affair was directly connected with the history of the 
Illinois country. Fort Chartres had been reinforced under the 
commandant, the Chevalier Macarty Mactique, who had suc- 
ceeded Maj. St. Claire, in view of the threatening aspect of the 
situation in the Ohio Valley, with a sufficient number of com- 
panies to form a regiment of grenadiers. Macarty was in- 
structed to rebuild the fort, employing stone instead of wood 
in its construction. 

Besides being more substantially built, the new fortification 
was to be erected on a larger scale, and was to be equipped 
with what were then known as the "latest" appliances of civil- 
ized warfare. The work was completed in 1754 at a cost of a 
million crowns — a sum equivalent to about $1,000,000 in U.-S. 
money, and pronounced by Capt. Philip Pittman, who inspected 
it in 1766, the "most convenient and best-built fort in North 
America." The new Fort Chartres was in the form of an 

* Dillon's "Historical Notes," 71. Parkman's "Montcalm and Wolf," I., 153. 





Drawn from a survey made in 1820 by Nicholas Hansen of Illinois, and 
Lewis C. Beck. 

AAA The exterior wall — 1447 feet. 

B The gate or entrance to the fort. 

C A small gate. 

D D The two houses formerly occupied by the commandant and commissary, 

each 96 feet in length and 30 in breadth. 
E The well. 
F The magazine. 

GGGG Houses formerly occupied as barracks, 135 feet in length, 36 in breadth. 
H H Formerly occupied as a storehouse and guard-house, 90 feet by 24. 
I The remains of small magazine. 
K The remains of a furnace. 
L L L A ravine, which in the spring is filled with water. Between this and the 

river, which is about half-a-mile, is a thick growth of cotton-wood. 

The area of the fort is about four square acres. 


irregular quadrilateral. The total length of its four sides, by 
interior measurement, was four hundred and ninety feet. The 
entrance was an arched gate-way, fifteen feet high, while its 
walls, two feet two inches in thickness, rose to a height of 
eighteen feet, and contained four bastions, each having eight 
embrasures and a sentry-box. Within these walls were a store- 
house, ninety by thirty feet, two stories high, gable roofed; the 
government house, eighty-four by thirty-two feet, with iron 
gates and stone porch; the guard-house, with two rooms above 
for a chapel; two rows of barracks, each one hundred and 
twenty-eight feet long; and a magazine, thirty-eight by thirty- 
five feet, fifteen feet high; besides a prison with four dungeons 
and a guard-house. 

Upon learning of the 'defeat and death of Jumonville, Capt. 
Neyon de Villiers of Fort Chartres, was dispatched with a 
company to join the force of his brother Coulon, from Fort 
Duquesne, and aid in overcoming "Monsieur de Wachenston," 
as he was called in the French despatches. The favorable 
result of this campaign gave the gallant captain and his post 
on the Mississippi a well-earned distinction. 

The Illinois country was largely depended upon for supplies, 
which were transported in boats down the Mississippi and up 
the Ohio to Fort Duquesne, in which service Neyon de Villiers 
rendered valuable aid. 

Upon hearing of the capture of the place afterward known 
as Fort Duquesne, and the surrender of Fort Necessity, the 
British government determined upon a more vigorous prosecu- 
tion of the war, the issue of which was fraught with such 
stupendous consequences. The contest was altogether unequal, 
so far as the colonies were concerned. The British white popu- 
lation in 1749 was estimated at one million and fifty-one thou- 
sand, while that of the French — exclusive of their Indian allies 
— was computed at only fifty-two thousand.* 

The advantages of the British in all the resources of war and in 
holding the interior and lesser line of defence were even greater 
than was their superiority in numbers. But at first, success was 
with the French. The disastrous defeat of Gen. Edward Brad- 
dock, near Fort Duquesne, occurred July 9, 1755, in which his 

* Dillon's "Historical Notes, " 66, and authorities there quoted. 


loss in killed and wounded, out of a force of twelve hundred, 
amounted to seven hundred and fourteen, while that of the 
French and Indians was only sixty-seven. By this victory, the 
French were confirmed in the possession of Fort Duquesne, 
and left masters of the Ohio Valley for more than three years. 

But a change of ministry in Great Britain had placed at 
the head of the foreign office the great Earl of Chatham, 
whose splendid genius, displayed in marshalling the resources 
of Great Britain and in directing its armies, was soon rewarded 
with a succession of brilliant victories which changed the aspect 
of affairs in North America. By 1758, the British forces having 
been largely reinforced from Europe, active operations were 
once more resumed in the Ohio Valley. 

Early in September, Maj. Grant, with a force of eight hun- 
dred Highlanders and a company of Virginians, was ordered to 
attack Fort Duquesne. That fortress had just been reinforced 
by four hundred French grenadiers from the Illinois district, 
under command of the Chevalier Aubrey. Grant, dividing 
his troops, intending to draw the enemy into an ambuscade, 
was gallantly attacked in detail by Aubrey, who obtained a 
complete victory over him, inflicting a loss of three hundred.* 
A few days afterward, this intrepid commander made another 
sortie from the fort and surprised a British camp forty-five 
miles away, capturing enough horses to bring his command 
back mounted."!" 

On November 25, 1758, Gen. Washington, commanding the 
advance of a British army seven thousand strong, appeared 
before the fort. The French, who by this time numbered only 
four hundred, the most of whom had come from Fort Chartres, 
decided to destroy the fort and retreat by the light of its 
burning stockades. The greater portion of the garrison suc- 
cessfully retired to Fort Machault, some miles up the river, 
while the remainder, with the artillery — some of which was 
doubtless used at Fort Massac — made their escape by the Ohio 
River to the Illinois.} 

The reduction of Fort Duquesne, which the British repaired 

* Bancroft, IV., 312. 

+ E. G. Mason's " Illinois in the Eighteenth Century, " 

:J: Paris Doc, 956; Parkman's "Montcalm and Wolfe," II., 159. 


and rechristened Fort Pitt, terminated French domination in 
the Ohio Valley. The various tribes of Indians between the 
Ohio River and the lakes, who had hitherto been the allies of 
the French, upon seeing their discomfiture were ready to make 
terms with the conquerors.* Yet, when it was determined to 
attempt to raise the siege of Fort Niagara, all the Indian vil- 
lages in Illinois, with characteristic inconsistency, furnished 
volunteers to join the forces from Detroit and Mackinac, who 
were again gallantly led by the brave Aubrey in this desperate 

Upon reaching the scene, on July 24, 1759, they made a gal- 
lant charge upon the investing force, commanded by Sir William 
Johnson ; but after a sharp conflict were repulsed with great loss. 
Of the Illinois volunteers a large number were killed, wounded, 
and taken prisoners, among the latter being their commander. "f* 
The defeat was a disastrous one to the French authorities at 
Fort Chartres. Commandant Macarty reported that the expe- 
dition had cost him "the flower of his men, and that his garri- 
son was weaker than ever." 

But the final and fatal blow which broke the power of the 
French in North America was given at Quebec, at the battle 
of the Heights of Abraham, September 13, 1759. Here the 
French met their entire overthrow at the hands of the British, 
under the noble Wolfe. The lives of the commanders of both 
armies were lost on the sanguinary field. The glorious result 
of this day's conflict was celebrated by the proclamation of a 
day of thanksgiving and rejoicing throughout the dominions of 
Great Britain. 

The surrender of Montreal, Detroit, Mackinac, and other 
posts the following year practically ended the war. But Illi- 
nois remained loyal to France. Succeeding Macarty, Neyon 
de Villiers, who had proved himself so brave and efficient, was 
promoted to the command in 176 1. It was hoped that although 
Canada was lost, Louisiana and Illinois, at least, might be saved 
to the French. But this was not to be. For the loss of Florida, 
France, on the same day, indemnified Spain, by ceding to that 
power New Orleans and all of Louisiana west of the Missis- 

* Irving's "Washington," I., 263. t Irving and Mason. J Bancroft, IV., 452. 


This treaty sounded the death-knell of French hopes and 
ambitions in Illinois. The beautiful country which had been the 
birthplace of many and in which nearly all had so long resided, 
which had been first discovered and secured to them by French 
enterprise, and for the retention of which so many of their race 
and kindred had offered their lives on well-contested fields of 
battle, was theirs no longer. Its control had passed into the 
hands of a hated and hereditary foe, and its surrender was 
regarded by them with much the same feelings of profound 
personal loss as those of the French inhabitants of Alsace- 
Lorraine when their beautiful province was surrendered to the 
Germans a century later. Of the seven brothers who bore the 
family name of Villiers, six had been slain in defence of Canada.* 
The gallant Commandant Neyon was the only survivor. De- 
spondent, yet still devoted and hoping that Lower Louisiana 
had been saved to his country, with a few followers he departed 
for New Orleans. The last French commandant of the Illinois 
district was the veteran St. Ange, who under orders proceeded 
from Vincennes, and, with a force of forty men, held Fort 
Chartres for the new owners until they demanded possession. 
It was the last place on the continent of North America to fly 
the French flag. 

It has been often said that the French sought the new world 
to advance the cause of religion, the Spaniards to seek for 
treasure, and the British to secure greater freedom of thought 
and action. Although this statement has too often served to 
emphasize a rhetorical period, it can not be said to be destitute 
of foundation in fact. 

While it must be conceded that the French showed a capacity 
for undertaking large problems in political geography, a genius 
for exploration, and a talent for guiding their way to dominion 
in decidedly favorable contrast with the slower and "blundering 
processes of their British rivals,"'!' they failed to utilize the results 
which they had accomplished, or to take advantage of what 
they had acquired. They saw and claimed more than they had 
the ability to hold or possess. Their line of dominion extended 
from the St. Lawrence around the great lakes and through 
the valley of the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, a distance 

* "Bossu's Voyages," Part I., i6i. t Winsor's "America," IV., 23. 


of over three thousand miles. Throughout this splendid domain 
they established missionary stations and erected forts; but such 
were the inherent imperfections of their system that, although 
they occupied the country for over eighty years, they had not 
succeeded in gathering a permanent population of over four 
thousand white inhabitants from Lake Michigan to New Or- 
leans. Agriculture was confined to small holdings. Instead 
of offering inducements to tillers of the soil to become owners 
of their farms, their grants were generally held under seign- 
iorial rights. And although rents were moderate, transfers and 
sales of lands were burdened with restrictions and heavy fines.^ 
But another, and indeed the crowning, cause of the failure 
of the French settlements is found in the fact that their ener- 
gies were paralyzed by the vice-like grip of commercial monop- 
olies, under whose autocratic sway the inhabitants were forced 
to buy and sell in such quantities and at such times and prices 
as an oligarchy of favorites might see fit to establish, thus 
stamping out all mercantile competition and even ambition. 

In addition to the defects in their systems of land titles and 
of commerce, the French authorities never sought to introduce 
any scheme of education. They apparently preferred that the 
people should remain in ignorance, lest greater knowledge might 
awaken discontent and possibly lead to revolt. That they did 
not care for an intelligent population is evidenced by the fact 
that during the entire period of French domination in Canada 
not a printing-press was to be found throughout the province. 

The British policy was radically different. They stuck to 
the soil, which they were encouraged to cultivate; they built 
homes, which they had every interest to protect and defend. 
While they brought with them from the mother country their 
love of freedom and of what they termed "English privileges,'* 
they left behind their respect for class distinction. They organ- 
ized themselves into bodies of freeholders, in which every citizen 
had a voice and a vote. They encouraged learning and estab- 
lished schools and colleges, while the printing-press furnished 
them the newspaper, books, and pamphlets. They also encour- 
aged the practice of industrial arts, in order that each commu- 
nity might become self-sustaining. These settlements, mostly 
* Bancroft, IV., 459. 



in rocky New England, where was required a constant struggle 
for existence, continued to grow and increase so that, although 
planted at abqut the same time as those of the French, when 
the war broke out which resulted in the transfer of an empire 
from the one power to the other, the former numbered twenty 
to one of the latter. 

The French loved to roam in the trackless woods or on the 
wild prairies with the natives. Their traders were after furs, 
their explorers intent upon discoveries, while their missionaries 
sought for souls. On the other hand, the British settler was 
most happy when seated by his own fireside in the home which 
his own hands had made. While more or less engaged in com- 
mercial pursuits, his chief interest was in the soil. For him the 
affairs of government exercised a peculiar charm; he was as 
punctual at the "town meeting" as at the house of divine wor- 
ship, and the fervor with which he discharged his round of 
religious duties was only equalled by the zeal with which he 
participated in elections. The christianizing of the Indians 
he was entirely willing to relegate to the clergy. The only 
interest which the average layman felt in either the temporal 
or spiritual welfare of his dusky, aboriginal brother was a 
possibly latent but certainly fervid desire to get him out of 
the way. 

That the sturdy independence of the British induced a civili- 
zation far more hardy than the exterior polish of their French 
antagonists has been abundantly demonstrated at Crecy and 
Waterloo, in the old world, and at Niagara and Quebec in the 
new. And it is to the difference in the two civilizations that 
may be attributed the loss, by the French, of their magnificent 
domain in North America. 

In France, an influential party, so far from deploring this loss 
as a national calamity, regarded the event as presaging the 
downfall of a corrupt dynasty, enervated by licentiousness and 
brutalized by power. Thoughtful minds recognized in the 
humiliation of the House of Bourbon the triumph of constitu- 
tional freedom over despotism. In their intense desire for a 
radical reform of the organization of government and of so- 
ciety, they were willing to endure even national humiliation, 
provided it tended toward national liberation from a galling 


yoke.* They fixed the responsibility for the downfall of French 
power in America where it belonged. They recognized the 
patriotism and fidelity with which Montcalm's veterans, practi- 
cally deserted by the home government, had loyally battled for 
their king. They paid ungrudging homage to their devotion, 
their endurance, and their chivalry; but this very appreciation 
of the gallant services of the men who had offered their lives 
on the altar of patriotism intensified their bitterness toward the 
despot who had necessitated the sacrifice, and accepted it with- 
out recognition. They foresaw the ultimate enfranchisement of 
the Anglo-American colonies, and between the lines of the 
Treaty of Paris they read the promise of the liberation of 
France through the coming revolution. 

* Voltaire, at Ferney, emphasizing these sentiments, celebrated the triumph of 
the British at Quebec by a banquet, the performance of the drama of the "Island 
Patriot, "and a brilliant pyrotechnic display, accompanied by martial music. — Gar- 
neau's "History of Canada." 

Authorities: Dillon's "Early Settlement of the Northwest Territory"; E. G. 
Mason's "Illinois in the Eighteenth Century"; Geo. Imlay's "Western Territory" 
French's "Historical Collection of Louisiana"; Parkman's "Montcalm and Wolfe" 
■* Annals of the West"; "Magazine of Western History"; Winsor's "America" 
Bancroft's "United States"; "History of Canada," by F. X. Garneau; "Conquest 
of Canada," E. Warburton; "The Old French War," Rossiter Johnson; "History 
of Canada," John MacMulIen; " Cours d'Histoire du Canada," par J. B. A. Ferland. 

Period II. — Under the British, 1761-1778. 


Pontiac's War — His Failure and Death. 

ALTHOUGH the British had been able to rescue from their 
French rivals the coveted and long-disputed ownership of 
the Mississippi Valley, a lion, rampant, relentless, and revengeful, 
stood in the path of the peaceful occupancy of the territory by its 
conquerors. The spirit of the Indians remained yet unsubdued. 
Neither their wishes nor their interests had been consulted by 
the parties to the treaty of Paris, a fact of which the British 
were soon reminded by the unlooked-for and sanguinary sequel 
to the French-and-Indian War, known as the Pontiac War — the 
revolt of the Indians under Pontiac, chief of the Ottawas. The 
object of the insurrection was to wrest from the hated British 
the domain which French valor, even with the aid of their 
Indian allies, had failed to hold. In this great chief were 
united all the best and worst traits of Indian character, and 
both were clearly displayed in the war of which he was the 
master-spirit. That such an outbreak could end in but one 
way was to have been expected, yet such was the bravery and 
cunning of the Indians that for over two years they success- 
fully hindered the British government from reducing to posses- 
sion the country of the Illinois. 

The Indians had observed with no friendly eye the surrender 
of Detroit, Mackinac, and other French posts in the North- 
west in 1 761. The first open manifestation of their discontent 
occurred when the British troops, under Maj. Robert Rogers, were 
marching to take possession of the fort first named. The watch- 
ful and wily Pontiac placed himself in his path, and inquired 
why an invading force had entered upon his territory. The 
British officer assured his aboriginal majesty that the troops of 
King George did not contemplate any interference with the 
rights of the children of the forest; that it was their intention 
simply to take peaceable possession of the military posts which 



had been vacated by the French under treaty stipulations. 
This explanation was apparently satisfactory to the savage 
chieftain. The pipe of peace was smoked, and Pontiac assured 
Maj. Rogers that not only should his command pass unmolested 
through the land of the Ottawas, but that it should receive the 
protection of the warriors of that nation. 

This friendly understanding, however, was not destined to be 
of long duration. Pontiac had been the constant friend and 
active ally of the French, whose fortunes he had shared upon 
many a sanguinary field, from the defeat of Braddock to the 
capitulation of Fort Niagara. To witness the expulsion of his 
ancient friends, and to see their places filled by the foe whom 
he hated in every fibre of his untutored nature, and whom he 
had so long opposed with all the bravery and cruelty of an 
untamed savage, could hardly fail to excite in his breast feel- 
ings of deadly animosity. This feeling was intensified by the 
pointed contrast in the demeanor, toward himself and his 
people, of his former friends and his would-be masters. The 
French had been affable and easy-going; the British were 
haughty and contemptuous. The former had treated their un- 
civilized allies as friends and equals; the latter regarded them 
as inferiors and dependents. French missionaries had been 
among his people; they had baptized their children; they had 
buried their dead; they had won from a portion of his people 
at least an external observance of the same religion which they 
professed. The association of the traders and settlers with the 
natives had been agreeable and satisfactory. The French had 
not offensively asserted their superiority; they had been willing 
to learn many things from their savage friends, and not a few In- 
dian women had been wooed and won by their foreign admirers. 

It can not, therefore, be wondered at that Pontiac, brooding 
in his wigwam over the loss of the friendship for which he 
would have sacrificed his all, nursing his sense of wrongs — even 
if fancied rather than real — should have meditated plans for 
revenge. In such feelings he was not alone. Other chiefs also 
deplored the change which they feared they were powerless to 
counteract. The French settlers who remained in the Illinois 
district after its cession to the British crown were quick to 
perceive this sentiment, and no less ready to fan the smoulder- 


ing embers of discontent into the flames of war. Timely dis- 
covery alone prevented the successful execution of a plot to 
capture Detroit in 1762, and other hostile demonstrations were 
frustrated only by the vigilance of the British garrison. 

Pontiac's influence over the Indians — not only of his own 
tribe, but also of others, by whom he was regarded as an 
"uncrowned king" — was practically unbounded. It was an easy 
task for so popular a chief to visit the tribes in the Illinois 
country and adjacent territory and to impart to them his own 
distrust of the "British invaders." It was not difficult for him 
to convince his willing listeners that the ultimate designs of 
their former foes embraced not only a plan to occupy the 
surrendered F'rench forts, but also a scheme, regardless of the 
original proprietorship of the country, to take their lands and 
extirpate the entire Indian race. In consequence of his repre- 
sentations and personal solicitations, a powerful Indian confed- 
eracy was secretly formed, embracing the Ottawas, Chippewas, 
Pottawatomies, Sacs, Foxes, Menominees, Miamis, Shawnees, 
and Wyandotts, besides the scattered remnants of other tribes, 
to make war upon the British. So strong a confederation of 
aborigines for the accomplishment of a common end had never 
before been formed in North America. 

At a conference of chiefs, it was determined to make an 
attack — as nearly simultaneous as possible — upon the British 
posts in the succeeding May (1763). So well laid were the 
plans of the crafty leader that the forts of Mackinac, Sandusky, 
Green Bay, St. Joseph, Presque Isle, and Venango fell an easy 
prey into his hands. The capture of Detroit, Pontiac reserved 
to himself, and his tactics showed the native treachery of the 
savage. Pretending that he desired a friendly interview with 
the commandant, Maj. Henry Gladwin, he encamped, with the 
women and children of the tribe, within a convenient distance 
of the fort, the garrison of which numbered but one hundred 
and seventy-four men, while the Ottawa braves were about four 
hundred in number. His request for a powwow was readily 
granted by the officer in command, who appeared to be devoid 
of suspicion, and Pontiac, with a number of his chosen warriors, 
were admitted within the fort. The arms of the Indians were 
concealed by the drapery of their blankets. 


The plan of the attacking party had been to massacre the 
British officers at a given signal, after which the gates were to 
be thrown open for the admission of the remainder of the band, 
who were to lend their aid in completing the work of destruc- 
tion. But the gallantry of the major had won the attachment 
of a girl of the Ojibways, whose devotion to her lover proved 
to be superior to her fealty to her race. She discovered the 
plot and disclosed it to the commandant. Pontiac was admitted 
with his chosen band, and Maj. Gladwin patiently listened to 
his haughty demands, couched in the grandiloquent language 
characteristic of Indian oratory. But just as the preconcerted 
signal was about to be given, the drums of the fort rolled out 
the call to arms, and the outwitted chief found himself sur- 
rounded by troops with loaded muskets, commanded by officers 
whose drawn swords showed how cheap a price they placed 
upon the blood of himself and his co-conspirators. The dis- 
concerted chief was quick to realize the failure of his plan and 
to perceive his own discomfiture. Adopting a tone as humble 
as it had been arrogant, he sued for favor. After a few stern 
words of warning from Gladwin, the gates were thrown open 
and the baffled band permitted to depart. 

The next day, an attack was made upon the fort, but after a 
six-hours' contest the Ottawas were forced sullenly to retire. 
A three-months' siege followed, during which many desperate 
assaults were made upon the fort. 

At the same time the Shawnees and Delawares were laying 
siege to Fort Pitt, where frequent skirmishes took place. The 
successful resistance made by the defenders of both these posts 
had the effect of raising the already inflamed passions of the 
savages to fever heat. They wreaked their vengeance on the 
unprotected settlements along the western frontiers of New 
York and Pennsylvania, among which they spread desolation 
and death. The defenceless colonists were first plundered and 
then wantonly butchered. Homes were reduced to heaps of 
smoking ruins, and all the revolting excesses known to savage 
warfare were practised upon their helpless inmates. The atroc- 
ities of the confederated tribes equaled in horror those of King 
Philip's war in New England ; nothing like it had ever been 
witnessed in the valleys of the West. It was, in all its essential 
elements, a war of extermination. 


That the French officers who had been requested by the 
British to continue in command, owing to the obstacles which 
the latter found thrown in their way by the Indians, might 
have exerted a restraining influence over their former allies had 
they so desired is as certain as is the fact that at first their 
sympathies were with the savages. The latter also received 
from them moral support, and material aid as well in the form 
of provisions and munitions of war. It has even been alleged 
that not until Gen. Amherst had remonstrated with Villiers, 
upon conduct which was in as direct violation of the spirit of 
treaty obligations as it was contrary to the principles of civili- 
zation, did the French commander advise the Indians that gov- 
ernmental control of the western territory had been ceded to 
the British by solemn treaty, whose terms he must not violate. 
On the other hand, Gayarre contends, upon what seems to be 
credible authority, that Villiers acted in good faith toward the 

Finding that only the adoption of the most determined policy 
would avail to bring hostilities to a close, it was resolved in 
1764 to dispatch a force of three thousand men, under Gen. John 
Bradstreet, against the tribes in the neighborhood of the great 
lakes, while Col. Henry Bouquet was placed in command of an 
expedition against the Delawares and Shawnees. Upon the 
arrival of Gen. Bradstreet at Detroit in October, 1764, the terms 
of a treaty of peace were agreed upon with the Ottawas, Sacs, 
Wyandots, and other western tribes, but its provisions were so 
repugnant to the views of Gen. Thomas Gage, when informed 
of them, that they were rejected and subsequently arranged 
upon a more satisfactory basis. 

Col. Bouquet having gallantly defeated the savages at Bushy 
Run (Westmoreland County, Penn.), they, becoming alarmed at 
the formidable character of the preparations to subdue them, 
and having grown weary of prolonging a war hitherto barren of 
any beneficial results to them, the Delawares and Shawnees 
sued for a truce, and the terms of peace were finally agreed 
upon Dec. 5, 1764. 

The scenes attending the release of prisoners — a necessary 
incident to the conclusion of peace — many of whom had been 

* Gayarre's "LouisiaHa, " II, 99. 


in the hands of the Indians for years, were attended with dem- 
onstrations which brought tears to the eyes of grizzled veterans, 
and even moved Indian stoicism to the betrayal of emotion. 
Mothers again beheld their long-lost children. Husbands em- 
braced their wives whom they had mourned as either dead or 
dishonored. But others, alas, who had hoped to meet their 
loved ones once more found that they had perished either by 
the tomahawk or through cruel exposure. Some children had 
forgotten not only their mothers, but their mother-tongue; and 
there were found young women who were decidedly opposed 
to being taken from their savage lords, the fathers of their off- 
spring, some of whom sought the earliest opportunity of return- 
ing to the wigwam, where they voluntarily reassumed the pos- 
ition of a squaw. 

The relentless spirit of the morose Pontiac, however, was still 
unsubdued. He sullenly refused to take part in any negotia- 
tions for peace, and — like Achilles at the siege of Troy — " re- 
mained, sulking, in his tent." Loving the French as sincerely 
as he hated the British, he had risked all in what he believed 
to be their interest. That he had confidently counted upon 
their aid and had hoped to see French troops again fighting 
side by side with his own warriors can not be doubted. Ordi- 
nary caution, however, had prevented the crafty Gauls from 
furnishing Pontiac with men, and the blunt savage declared that 
he had been deceived. His confederates had made terms — each 
for themselves — with those whom he considered a common foe, 
and not a few of his own warriors had deserted him. Despond- 
ent, yet revengeful, he returned to the Illinois country. Here 
he had first received the encouragment from French traders and 
settlers which determined him to make his desperate attempt 
to throw off the British yoke, and here, at least, he would find 
his ®ld friend Villiers, to whom he went, and to that officer 
he unfolded his plans for a continuance of the war, and sought 
cooperation. But the Frenchman coldly told him, as he had 
already sent him word, that France and Great Britain were 
at peace and that his cherished scheme was impracticable. 

Notwithstanding this rebuff, he continued his efforts to form 
a new league, visiting the Kickapoos, Miamis, and others, and 
succeeded to some extent in reviving the war- spirit among 


them. Feeling once more hopeful, and learning that his friend 
St. Ange was now in command at Fort Chartres, he repaired to 
that point and demanded of that officer arms, ammunition, and 
troops, stating that he loved the French and fchat he would 
yet succeed in avenging their wrongs. St. Ange, with equal 
kindness and firmness, protested his inability to furnish the aid 
requested. The great chief bitterly declaimed against such 
lukewarm friendship, and, with his warriors, encamped about 
the fort in a menacing attitude for some days. 

Disappointed here, he next turned to New Orleans. Thither 
he dispatched an embassy of trusted braves, whose return only 
added to his chagrin when they told their tale of ill-success. 
Failing to secure French cooperation and support, and deserted 
in great measure by his confederates, the great chief at length 
perceived the folly of attempting to carry on unaided a struggle 
which could have but one result. Learning therefore of the 
approach of Col. Croghan, he resolved to go and meet him and 
to apprise him of his intention to establish friendly relations 
with those whom he saw no way to defeat. The conference 
which ensued was entirely satisfactory, and Pontiac soon after 
followed the colonel to Detroit. At the great powwow which 
followed — in August, 1765 — all the western tribes were repre- 
sented, and after much speech-making, the terms of peace were 
finally agreed upon, which were to be thereafter incorporated in 
a treaty executed on the part of the conquerors by Sir Wm. 

Thus terminated the great War of Pontiac, and with it all 
his hopes of the restoration of the empire of France in America. 
The following spring, according to agreement, he assisted at the 
making of a treaty with the British, and thenceforth the great 
chief disappears from the pages of history. Even the man- 
ner of his death is a matter of dispute. As related by Francis 
Papkman on the authority of Pierre Chouteau it was as follows: 
Pontiac had been paying a visit to his old friends St. Ange 
and Chouteau at St. Louis, where, learning that a large party of 
Indians were carousing at Cahokia, he concluded, against the 
protest of his friends, to join them. Here with the others he 
drank deeply, and while in this condition, one Williamson, an 
English trader, hired a strolling Kaskaskia Indian for a barrel 


of whisky to take his Hfe. This he did by steahng up behind 
him and burying a tomahawk in his brains. He lay on the 
spot where he had fallen until St. Ange, hearing of the catas- 
trophe, claimed the body and buried it in St. Louis. Whether 
these details are correct or not, the main fact is authenticated 
by the authority of Father Louis S. Muerin, the parish priest at 
Cahokia, who positively declares in a letter: " Pontiac was 
assassinated in this village in the second week after Easter 
[between April 2 and 8], 1769."* 

In person, the great forest chieftain was a singularly fine- 
looking man. His complexion was nearly white, a circumstance 
which gave rise to the belief that French blood ran in his veins. 
His bearing was stern and resolute. Brave, cruel at times, and 
vindictive, he was shrewd and cunning, and by his great ability 
exercised almost regal authority over the Northwestern Indians.-f* 

* O. W. Collet. 

+ Authorities: Dillon's " Historical Notes"; Parkman's "Pontiac"; Cort's "Col. 
Henry Bouquet and his Campaigns"; W. F. Poole in Winsor's "America," Vol. 
VI; Gayarre's "History of Louisiana." 


The British Government,* 1765-1778. 

THE obstructions in the path of the British, as narrated in 
the preceding chapter, rendered nugatory several attempts 
to assert their ownership by securing complete possession of the 
Northwest. The first of these was that under command of 
Maj. Arthur Loftus, who'was ordered to proceed to the Illinois 
country from Pensacola by way of New Orleans, February 27, 
1764. With a force of four hundred regulars, he embarked on 
the Mississippi and proceeding about two hundred miles up the 
river, was fired on by Indians from ambuscades on either bank. 
Several of his men being killed and wounded, he decided to 
abandon the enterprise. 

The next attempt was made by Gen. Bradstreet, who de- 
spatched Capt. Thomas Morris of the Seventeenth Regiment 
with a small force, in August, 1764, "to take possession of the 
Illinois country." It was altogether a premature expedition. 
The Indians, so far from proving as friendly as the general had 
so unadvisedly supposed, treated his subordinate with great 
disrespect. On one occasion he was assaulted, on another 
threatened, and all sorts of indignities heaped upon him. At 
Fort Miami he was seized, stripped of his clothing, and tied to 
a post, and with a mob of howling savages around him, des- 
paired of his life. He was at length driven out of the village, 
being only too glad to make his escape. 

It was then determined to reach Fort Chartres from Fort 
Pitt, and Col. George Croghan, deputy superintendent of In- 
dian affairs, was sent on in advance as an envoy. Some ap- 

* The British governors of Canada from 1760 to 1796 were: — 1760-63, Gen. 
Jeffrey Amherst; 1763-66, Gen. James Murray; 1766 (three months), Col. Paulius 
.■Emelius Irvine, president of Executive Council; 1766-70, Gen. Sir Guy Carleton, 
lieutenant-governor; 1770-74, Hector T. Cramahe, lieutenant-governor; 1774-78, 
Gen. Sir Guy Carleton; 1778-S4, Gen. Frederick Haldimand, lieutenant-governor; 
1784-85, Col. Henry Hamilton, lieutenant-governor; 1785, Col. Henry Plope, presi- 
dent of Council; 17S5-92, Gen. Sir Guy Carleton, as Lord Dorchester; 1792-96, 
Gen. John Graves Simcoe, lieutenant-go\eia >.'. 


prehension being felt lest the savages might commit some fresh 
outrage, Lieut. Alexander Fraser, who was to accompany 
Croghan, volunteered to proceed alone. When the lieutenant 
arrived at Kaskaskia, he met with rather a rough reception. 
The French traders quarrelled with him, and incited the In- 
dians to take his life. Pontiac was at the settlement and was 
plied with liquor until he became intoxicated, in the hope that 
he might be prevailed upon either to make the lieutenant pris- 
oner or offer him personal violence. A drunken debauch en- 
sued, but Fraser fortunately escaped injury. His position, 
however, was precarious, and he left Kaskaskia in disguise and 
paddled down the Mississippi to New Orleans. 

Meanwhile, Col. Croghan had left Fort Pitt on Ma)^ 15, 1765, 
accompanied by a party of friendly Indians. His progress 
was uneventful until he arrived at a small promontory on the 
Wabash, where he disembarked. On June 8, six miles below 
the mouth of that stream, he was suddenly attacked by a 
band of Kickapoos, eighty in number. In the fight which 
followed, Croghan lost two white men and three Indians, while 
most of his party, including himself, were wounded. A surren- 
der was unavoidable, and the victorious Kickapoos plundered 
the entire party. Subsequently, they assured the British officer 
that it was " all a mistake," and that they had supposed that 
the Indians accompanying him were their deadly foes, . the 
Cherokees. They brought their prisoners in safety to V^in-- 
cennes, where the Indians, many of whom had a friendly ac- 
quaintance with Croghan, strongly condemned the Kickapoos, 
and the latter in turn professed deep sorrow for what they 
persisted in calling a blunder. At Ouiatanon — now Lafayette, 
Indiana, other friendly Indians were met. Here he received a 
message from St. Ange, cordially inviting him to proceed to 
Fort Chartres. 

The Indians were now submissive and entirely obsequious; 
but the most surprising and agreeable feature of what was 
beginning to resemble a triumphal march yet awaited him. He 
had proceeded but a short distance on his way to the Illinois 
country after receiving the message from St. Ange before he 
was met by a delegation of chiefs representing various tribes, 
and, on July 18, by the hitherto implacable Pontiac himself 


at the head of a large band of Ottawa braves. There being 
now no necessity for his going to the Ilh'nois, he proceeded to 
Detroit, as before stated. 

The way being no longer contested, the British government, 
for the first time since the making of the treaty of Paris, found 
itself in a position to take actual possession of and assume con- 
trol over the entire country of the Northwest thereby ceded, of 
which Illinois formed a part. 

Capt. Thomas Stirling, in obedience to previous orders, now 
proceeded from F'ort Pitt with a hundred Highlanders of the 
Forty-second Regiment — the famous " Black Watch" — to Fort 
Chartres to take military possession. Descending the Ohio, 
he arrived at his point of destination October lo, 1765. The 
aged St. Ange formally surrendered the government to this 
British officer. The lilies of France were replaced by the cross 
of St. George, and with the disappearance of the national en- 
sign from the ramparts over which it had floated so long, the 
last vestige of the once colossal empire of the French in North 
America ceased to exist. St. Ange had grown grey in honora- 
ble service. His first military command in the West was the 
Wabash district, to which he was assigned in 1736, and which 
he continued to hold until 1764. After the formal surrender 
of Fort Chartres, the old soldier, with the few civil officers and 
troops remaining with him, removed to St. Louis, where, at the 
request of the inhabitants, he continued to act as commandant. 
In 1766, his authority was confirmed by Gov. Ulloa, and he 
remained in the Spanish service until his death, on Dec. 27, 
1774, aged 73, too soon to witness the commencement of the 
struggle which resulted in the overthrow of British power in 
the district which he had so long and so bravely defended. 

The situation of the settled portions of the Illinois country at 
the time it became one of the coveted appendages of the British 
crown is correctly shown by the map on the following page. 
The five villages were all on the American Bottom, and at the 
time of the transfer of proprietorship, or shortly before, con- 
tained a white population not exceeding sixteen hundred, dis- 
tributed as follows: at Kaskaskia, seven hundred; at Prairie du 
Rocher, one hundred and ten; at St. Philip, one hundred and 
twenty; at New Chartres, two hundred and twenty; and at 
Cahokia, four hundred and fifty. 


When the proclamation of King George III was issued, Oct. 
7, 1763, providing for the government of the country wrested 
from France— dividing it into four provinces, viz.: Quebec, East 
and West Florida, and Grenada — no reference was made to the 
Northwest, the possession of which at that time was stubbornly 
disputed by the aboriginal tribes. But in regard to all that vast 
territory the policy of the government was indicated and set 
forth in the same state paper as follows: His Majesty prohib- 
ited his subjects " from making any purchases or settlements 
whatsoever, or taking possession of any of the lands beyond 
the sources of any rivers which fall into the Atlantic Ocean 
from the west or northwest." * While the announcement of 
this policy was no doubt intended to placate the Indians, and to 
disabuse their minds of the conviction that the British wanted 
their lands, it was also clearly intended as an inhibition against 
all white settlements. All such were discouraged. Instead of 
offering any inducements for the colonization of this splendid 
region, at the suggestion of the English Board of Trade, the 
government preferred to confine all new settlements "within 
such a distance from the sea-coast as that they might be within 
easy reach of the trade and commerce of Great Britain." 

On Dec. 30, 1764, Gen. Thomas Gage, commander-in-chief of 
the British forces in North America, in view of the prospective 
occupation of the country, carefully prepared a proclamation in 
which the policy and intentions of the government in regard to 
the French inhabitants were made known. The first official act 
of Capt. Stirling was to " read, publish, and post " this impor- 
tant document, a synopsis of which is as follows: 

Beginning with a recital of the surrender of the country to 
the British by the French, it proceeded to set forth that his 
British Majesty, well knowing the religious faith in which the 
inhabitants had lived, guaranteed to each the free and undis- 
turbed exercise of religious freedom, according to the rites and 
teachings of the Roman -Catholic church. That the French 
inhabitants would be unrestrained should they choose to return 
to France or emigrate to any other country, and that a safe 
passage to all such would be assured. That they were at lib- 
erty to remove their personal effects whither they pleased, and 

* Dillon's " Historical Notes, " 97-8. 


to sell or otherwise dispose of their lands, provided the convey- 
ance was made to British subjects. That those French settlers 
who preferred to remain upon their land and were willing to 
become loyal subjects of the British crown should receive and 
enjoy the same rights and privileges as regarded person, prop- 
erty, and commerce, as native-born subjects of the king, but 
that in order to avail themselves of this favor they must take 
an oath of allegiance to Great Britain. 

But the French inhabitants beheld the surrender of the coun- 
try where they had dwelt so long and contentedly to their 
life-long foes, men of a different race and creed, whose habits, 
instincts, and tastes were so different from their own, with feel- 
ings of distrust and dissatisfaction. In addition to those who 
had retired the previous year with Villiers to New Orleans, others 
had removed to Natchez and Baton Rouge; others across the 
river to Ste. Genevieve, while quite a number took up their resi- 
dence at St. Louis, a trading-post established the previous year 
(1764) by Pierre Laclede, and which was now rapidly growing 
into a thriving village. They carried with them their property 
and slaves, and as far as possible their houses. The dwellers 
about Fort Chartres, numbering some forty families, left almost 
in a body, less than half a dozen remaining;* while those at 
St. Philip all departed but one man, the captain of the militia. 
In this way it was estimated that at least one-third of the French 
inhabitants left the Illinois country, rather than become the 
subjects of the Protestant house of Hanover, 

The mixed character of the population at this time is well 
illustrated by the record of a marriage at Prairie du Rocher, in 
which a French soldier from the Spanish city of St. Louis, was 
married to an Englishwoman from Salisbury, by a French priest 
in the British province of the lUinois.-f* 

Capt. Stirling, who had been temporarily detailed to take 
command of the fort, was, on Dec. 4, 1765, relieved by Maj. 
Robert Farmer, who brought with him from Mobile a detach- 
ment of the Thirty-fourth British Foot. The gallant captain 
no doubt took his leave of the perplexing questions which con- 
fronted him with no small satisfaction. He afterward fought 
his way up to a brigadier-generalship in the Revolutionary 

* Pittman. + E. G. Mason's " Illinois in the Eighteenth Century," p. 42, 


War, and finally died in England in 1808, a baronet and gen- 
eral, the highest rank in the army.* 

The following year, Maj. Farmer was in turn relieved by Col. 
Edward Cole, who had commanded a regiment under Gen. 
Wolfe at Quebec. He remained in command during the years 
1766-8, but the position was not at all congenial. He neither 
admired the country nor appreciated its advantages. His health 
was poor and the privations of life at a frontier fort increased 
his discontent. Accordingly, in 1768, he was relieved at his 
own request.-f- 

Col. John Reed succeeded Col. Cole, but his incumbency was 
of short duration. The inhabitants complained that he was arbi- 
trary and despotic in his government, and he was recalled the 
same year. Following him in September, 1768, came "John 
Wilkins, Esq., lieutenant-colonel of his majesty's Eighteenth or 
Royal Regiment of Ireland," and "commandant throughout the 
Illinois country," as he describes himself With him from Phila- 
delphia came seven companies of his regiment. The experience 
of these troops was that common to all new comers on the 
American Bottom in these early days, few of whom escaped 
malarial diseases. The fatality among them became really 
alarming. At one time, out of five companies, only a corporal 
and six men were found fit for duty. From Sept. 29 to Oct. 30 
three officers, twenty-five men, and twenty-seven women and 
children died.-f* 

Apart from the ever-present Indian problem and how best to 
regulate intercourse and maintain friendly relations with the 
red men, there does not seem to have been very much to occupy 
the commandant's attention. Indian affairs were under the 
general direction of Sir William Johnson, who gave them the 
closest and most patient consideration. He was greatly an- 
noyed by the efforts of the French who had removed to the 
west side of the Mississippi, in conjunction with those of the 
Spanish government, to divert the trade of the Indians from his 
majesty's subjects. Keen intellect, ready tact, and a firm 

* New-York Colonial Docs., VII., 786. Why the historians of Illinois and the 
Northwest should, without exception, persist in killing off this distinguished officer 
at Fort Chartres is one of those errors of history for which it is difficult to account. 

t "Historical Magazine," Vol. VIII, 260. 


hand were required properly to adjust these conflicting inter- 
ests, and these the experienced and popular Sir William pos- 

For some time the policy of discouraging the settlement of 
the Northwest commanded the warm support of the British 
ministry. Overtures looking toward the colonization of the 
territory, whether proceeding from would-be corporations or 
from individuals, met with disfavor. The reasons for the adop- 
tion of this line of action are briefly outlined in a letter from 
Gen. Gage to the earl of Hillsborough, written in 1769, in which 
he says : "As to increasing the settlements [northwest of the 
Ohio] to respectable provinces, * I conceive it altogether in- 
consistent with sound policy. * In the course of a few years 
necessity would force them to provide manufactures of some 
kind for themselves, and when all connection upheld by com- 
merce with the mother country shall cease, it may be expected 
that an independency in her government will soon follow." The 
governor of Georgia in a similar strain wrote to the British lords 
of trade: "This matter, my lords, of granting large bodies of 
land in the back parts of any of his majesty's northern colonies 
appears to me in a very serious and alarming light. If a vast 
territory be granted to any set of gentlemen who really mean to 
people it, and actually do so, it must draw and carry out a great 
number of people from Great Britain, and I apprehend they will 
soon become a kind of separate and independent people, who will 
set up for themselves, and they will soon have manufactures of 
their own, and in process of time they will soon become formid- 
able enough to oppose his majesty's authority."* 

And thus early were felt the premonitions of the coming 
storm, which was destined to sweep away the power of the king 
in the thirteen colonies of North America. 

But such were the demands of the people for more land west 
of the Alleghanies that the rigorous enforcement of this policy 
soon began to be relaxed. Col. Wilkins, in 1769 and after, 
made several grants of land near Fort Chartres, giving as a 
reason therefor that " the cultivation of lands not then appro- 
priated was essentially necessary and useful toward the better 
peopling and settlement of the said country, as well as highly 

* "Report of the British Board of Trade," 27. 


advantageous to his majesty's service in raising, producing, and 
supplying provisions for his majesty's troops stationed in the 
country of the IlHnois."* 

In 1774, the earl of Dunmore (John Murray), the last British 
governor of V'irginia, encouraged colonists to take warrants 
from him for lands in the Ohio Valley. A number of these 
*' land jobbers," as they were called, having been robbed and 
killed by the Indians, as was alleged, an attack was made upon 
the latter by a party of whites under one Greathouse, and sr.v- 
•eral of them killed. The war then followed which is known in 
history as the Dunmore War with the Shawnees, which lasted 
from April to December, 1774. Some severe engagements took 
place between the contending parties, and many lives were lost. 
It was at the close of this war, when propositions for a treaty 
of peace were being discussed, that the celebrated Logan, who 
had been a great sufferer thereby, delivered his eloquent speech. 
It appears in Jefferson's "Notes on Virginia," p. 105, ed. 1787, 
as follows: 

" I appeal to any white man to say if he ever entered Logan's 
cabin hungry and he gave him not meat; if he ever came cold 
and naked and he clothed him not. During the course of the 
last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an 
advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites that my 
countrymen pointed as they passed and said: 'Logan is the 
friend of the white man.' Col. Cresap the last spring, in cold 
blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relations of Logan, not 
even sparing my women and children. There runs not a drop 
of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called on 
me for revenge. I have sought it; I have killed many; I have 
glutted my vengeance. For my country I rejoice at the beams 
of peace. But do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of 
fear; Logan never felt fear; he will not turn on his heel to save 
his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan ? Not one."-|* 

On July 5, 1773, the Illinois Land Company, at Kaskaskia, 

* Dillon's "Historical Notes," 116. 

+ Capt. Michael Cresap (his father, Col. Thomas Cresap, was not in that part 
of the country at the time) was in no way responsible for the killing of Logan's 
relatives. The subject is fully treated by W. F. Poole in Winsor's "America," 
VI, p. 712. 


obtained from ten chiefs of the Kaskaskia, Peoria, and other 
tribes a deed for two large tracts of land in the Illinois. In 
1775, the Wabash Land Company purchased from the Pianka- 
shavvs at Vincennes lands amounting to thirty-seven million, 
four hundred and ninety-seven thousand, six hundred acres. 
These two companies were afterward consolidated, and after 
the country passed under the jurisdiction of the United States 
repeated efforts were made to secure a confirmation of these 
grants from Congress, but without avail. In this year, Gov. 
Dunmore, on what authority does not appear, ordered the sur- 
vey of the vacant land in Virginia, in lots of from one hun- 
dred to one thousand acres, and that it be put up for sale. 

The French subjects of Great Britain who had remained in 
the Illinois early exhibited a disposition to become troublesome, 
and as a panacea for all civil ills, Gen. Gage instructed Col. 
Wilkins to establish a court of common-law jurisdiction at Fort 
Chartres, with a bench of seven judges — the first British court 
vest of the Alleghanies. Instead of appeasing, this move in- 
creased, the discontent of the P'rench; and it must be confessed 
that it was an injudicious step to compel a people to settle their 
disputes by common-law proceedings whose only knowledge of 
jurisprudence was confined to a limited acquaintance with the 
civil law. Their opposition, especially to that bulwark of Brit- 
ish freedom, trial by jury, was insuperable. It was repugnant 
to all their ideas of justice that the rights of persons and prop- 
erty should be safer in the hands of a panel of " miscellaneous 
tailors and shoemakers" than in those of erudite and dispassion- 
ate judges. They wanted none of it. 

Among their other causes of complaint was a proclamation 
of Gen. Gage, directing the departure of settlers on the Wabash 
and at other places who were holding under grants from Jean 
Baptiste Racine, otherwise known as St. Marie, commandant at 
Vincennes. The inhabitants claimed under old French conces- 
sions, although many new ones, to small tracts around Vin- 
cennes and Ouiatanon, had been made. 

The government of the Illinois country indeed was a subject 
of embarrassing consideration in the British cabinet for several 
years.* Petitions were sent to the king setting forth the griev- 

* Canadian Archives. 


ances of the inhabitants, and delegations were also despatched 
to the colonial governor of Canada, praying to be attached to 
the province of Quebec,* for governmental purposes. 

The growing disaffection of the American colonists to the 
British government, which was by this time becoming apparent, 
decided parliament, with a view to the conciliation of the French 
inhabitants of Canada, June 2, 1774, to pass an act enlarging 
the province of Quebec so as to include the Northwest Terri- 
tory.-|- This act also confirmed to the French inhabitants the 
free exercise of their religion and restored to them their ancient 
laws in civil cases without trial by jury. The passage of this 
act by parliament, while it had the desired effect upon the French 
in attaching them to British interests, exerted a diametrically 
opposite influence upon the British inhabitants of the old thir- 
teen colonies. They denounced it in their conventions and 
through their press, characterizing it as " the very extraordinary 
and alarming act for establishing the Roman-Catholic religion 
and French laws in Canada." It was cited in the Declaration of 
Independence as one of the causes of the Revolution — a result 
foreseen by Lord Chatham, Edmund Burke, and Charles Fox, 
who opposed the passage of the law.;|: 

The administration of Lieut. -Col. Wilkins in the Illinois coun- 
try proved unpopular. Grave charges were preferred against 
him, including misappropriations of the public funds — of which 
he demanded investigation, claiming that he was able to justify 
his conduct. He was superseded in September, 1771, and 
sailed for Europe in July, 1772. 

The data for the details of events in the Illinois country from 
1 77 1 to 1778 are locked up in the Haldimand and other papers 
on file among the archives of Canada, only brief extracts from 
which have been published. § From these documents it appears 
that Capt. Hugh Lord of the Eighteenth Regiment became 
commandant after Col. Wilkins, and so continued until 1775. 

* American Archives, I, 1S6 et seq. 

t Perhaps, also, the British ministry, foreseeing the coming storm of the Revo- 
lution and its possible results, was influenced by a desire to secure this portion 
of unoccupied territory for the British crown. See W. F. Poole in Winsor's 
"America," Vol. VI, 715. 

X \V. F. Poole, in Winsor's "America," Vol. VI., p. 714. 

g A calendar of these papers has been prepared by Douglas Brymner. 


In 1772, one of the periodic floods incident to the Mississippi 
overflowed the American Bottom and swept away two bastions 
and part of the main walls of Fort Chartres.* The post being 
thus rendered untenable, the headquarters of the commandant 
were ordered to be removed to Kaskaskia, 

Fort Chartres was never again occupied or used except as a 
resting-place for wandering traders or predatory bands of sav- 
ages. Its walls were utilized in other structures in the vicinity, 
and that portion of its armament which was not at that time 
removed to Kaskaskia was afterward probably taken to Fort 
Jefferson, and some of the old British cannon were used against 
their former owners during the War of 18 12. It gradually fell 
into decay, until today scarcely a foot-path leads to the spot 
where its ancient foundations may yet be seen. The expense 
of its construction was enormous; its utility was never demon- 
strated; as a protection against the incursions of either the 
Indians or Spaniards, it proved practically valueless. 

In a letter of Gov. Haldimand of July 8, 178 1, it appears that 
Capt. Matthew Johnson received ^1200 salary for six years* 
service as " lieutenant-commandant of the Illinois," from May, 
1775. to May 1 78 1. But as to where that officer was stationed 
or what duties he performed, other than to draw his pay, the 
reader must at present be left in the dark. 

In another later letter from the governor, Capt. Sinclair of 
Mackinac is designated as "lieutenant-governor of the Illinois," 
and it is probable that that district was for a time attached to 
his command. It is clear, however, from these papers that Phillip 
Francois de Rastel, Chevalier de Rocheblave was in command 
at Kaskaskia as early as October, 1776, and that his conduct 
there was approved by Sir Guy Carleton. He had been an 
officer in the French army, and had resided at Kaskaskia a 
number of years, having been married there, as appears by the 
old parish records, April 11, 1763. With the transfer of the 
country to the British he had transferred his allegiance, and 
had been promoted as above stated. It appears that in 1766 
he was in command at Ste. Genevieve, where he became in- 
volved in serious financial difficulties. 

He was evidently a faithful and intelligent, although a com- 

• Beck's "Gazetteer of Illinois and Missouri," 108. 


plaining and captious, officer. The few settlers of British birth 
gave him more trouble than the French. Their leaning toward 
the American cause was a source of much annoyance. The 
number of regular troops comprising his garrison had been 
reduced until, after the withdrawal of the last detachment, he 
was forced to depend for the safety of his position entirely 
upon the loyalty of the militia. His repeated demands for 
funds to meet repairs and current expenses had not been hon- 
ored. He had kept on good terms with the Indians, but was 
fearful of forays from the Spaniards, and of an attack from one 
Willing, whose depredations on the Mississippi gave him much 

James Willing of Philadelphia, a young man of good connec- 
tions but of extravagant tastes and dissolute habits, having 
exhausted his means, applied for and obtained a commission in 
the American army, and was ordered West to watch the British, 
to conciliate settlers, and enlist recruits. His good address 
and persuasive eloquence enabled him in a short time to raise a 
force of over a hundred men. At Manchac, below Natchez, he 
managed to make himself master of a British armed vessel with 
which he proceeded to New Orleans. He here sold his vessel 
and with the proceeds entered upon a career of debauchery and 
crime which made him notorious. Having squandered the means 
thus obtained, he organized a fresh force of kindred spirits and 
returned to Manchac, where, taking possession of the post, he 
plundered the people indiscriminately. Thence he proceeded 
up the river, freebooting and alarming the settlers. As may be 
well supposed, his name became a terror to both loyalists and 
patriots, who finally organized a force and drove him and his 
band out of the country.* Such, at least, is the story told of 
and the character given to Capt. Willing by those who claim 
to have suffered at his hands; on the other hand, Girardin, in 
his "History of Virginia,"-f- refers to his expedition as laudable, 
and claims that the charges of cruelty and excesses brought 
against him were not justified by the facts. 

Rocheblave was a good correspondent, and kept the author- 
ities at Quebec well advised of what was going on in his district. 
He pointed out the necessity of the presence of regular troops. 

* Memoirs of Capt. Phelps, 1802. t Vol. IV, p. 357. 


and complained of his want of means, of his "constant worries," 
and requested to be relieved by "some Englishman." 

It is evident that with the opening guns of the Revolution so 
many demands were being made upon the Canadian governor's 
time and resources from what were considered more important 
localities that but little attention was given to Illinois affairs; 
and, as will be shown in the next chapter, taking advantage of 
this neglect, the Americans, through a brilliant strategic move- 
ment, were enabled to deal one of the most effective and im- 
portant blows of the war. 

Authorities: Dillon's "Historical Notes"; New-York Colonial Documents; 
Parkman's "Pontiac"; Capt. Pittman's "Settlements on the Mississippi, 1771"; 
"Magazine of Western History," and Articles therein by O. \V. Collet; Billon's 
"Annals of St. Louis"; "Illinois in the Eighteenth Century," by Edw. G. Mason; 
"Canadian Archives"; Haswell's "Memoirs of Capt. Phelps"; W. F. Poole in Win- 
sor's "America, " Vol. VI; Beck's "Gazetteer of Illinois and Missouri." 

Period III. — Under Virginia, 1778-- 1784. 


Illinois in the Revolution — Its Reduction by Virginia under 
Col. Clark — Capture of Vincennes — Indian Treaties. 

''Tr^HE issue of the French-and- Indian War gave to Great 
-L Britain a prestige greater than that country had ever 
enjoyed. Her victories on both land and sea had been un- 
precedented, and the addition of Canada and that portion 
of Louisiana lying east of the Mississippi River to her colo- 
nial domain, already imperial in the grandeur of its extent, 
formed a fitting climax to a long line of splendid achieve- 
ments. But the settlement of America had come to have a 
broader significance than the mere establishment of new marts of 
trade or the opening of new channels of commerce. The discon- 
tented emigrants from the overcrowded British Isles found in the 
newly-acquired territory opportunities for advancement which 
had been denied them at home, and the rapid accumulation of 
population soon brought about an aggregation of interests, so- 
cial and political, distinctive and peculiar to the colonies. The 
home government soon perceived this fact, and the problem how 
best to adjust the relations between the mother country and the 
growing colonies became of such vital importance and absorbing 
interest as to overshadow all other questions. 

The settlers of North America were men of rugged inde- 
pendence and firm believers in the right of free-deliberation 
and free-speech ; and the arbitrary policy of the home ministry 
awakened the most determined opposition. The assertion of 
the right of taxation without representation, the enforcement 
of the navigation act, the adoption of the stamp-tax act by the 
British parliament, were firmly and defiantly resisted. Accu- 
mulated oppressions compelled, as a necessary defensive meas- 
ure, the formation of the thirteen colonies into the American 
Union, and the creation of the Continental Congress. Follow- 
ing this came the vote to raise troops, provide means of defense, 
10 145 


the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and the War 
of the Revolution. 

The French settlers composing the great body of the inhabit- 
ants in Illinois, at the outbreak of the war, as before stated, 
were inclined to sympathize with the British. They were re- 
quired, however, as a precautionary step, to renew their oath of 
allegiance to King George,* which they willingly consented to 
do. At the same time envoys were sent among them to incite 
acts of hostilities toward their neighbors — the Revolutionists — 
on the frontiers; and especially to encourage and aid the abo- 
rigines in making depredatory incursions against settlements 
friendly to the American cause. The striking difference be- 
tween the respective policies of the British and American au- 
thorities in regard to the Indians was well illustrated in the 
rewards offered to secure their cooperation — those of the Brit- 
ish being for scalps, seldom for prisoners; while Congress offered 
rewards for prisoners, but never for scalps. The early years of 
the war, however, did not materially affect the villages of Illi- 
nois. Their remoteness from the scenes of active operations 
insured for them comparative tranquility. 

In the second year of the Revolution the attention of Virginia 
was drawn to the country of the Illinois, which was claimed to 
be within the limits of that commonwealth by virtue of ancient 
charters. The attacks of the Indians had become so frequent 
and been so successful as to cause serious alarm; but such had 
been the demands of the Confederation upon her for men and 
means that she had not been able to extend to her hardy 
backwoods settlers the aid which they so much needed. The 
British commandants at Vincennes and Kaskaskia, while unable 
to furnish men to aid the savage marauders whose midnight 
depredations had struck terror to the scattered settlements in 
Kentucky, could and did aid them with supplies and munitions 
of war. 

It was reserved for the far-seeing eye of Col. George Rogers 
Clark, then in the vigor of early manhood, to discover the sit- 
uation of affairs, and for his sagacity and valor to apply the 
remedy. Born in Albemarle County, Virginia, Nov. 19, 1752, 
and already a leading spirit in the councils of his native State, 

* Dillon's "Historical Notes," 124. 


"he had made himself familiar with the relations and con- 
ditions, the needs and resources of the West. With that intui- 
tive genius which stamps him as the most brilliant commander 
of all those who obtained distinction in border warfare," he 
was quick to perceive the policy required, which was: to trans- 
fer the line of defense and the battle-field from the settlements 
in Kentucky County to the territory which formed the enemy's 
base of supplies; to arouse sentiments of friendship among, or 
at least conciliate the opposition of, the French inhabitants 
of the Northwest; to neutralize the hostility of the sav^ages 
if possible by demonstrating to them the justice of the Ameri- 
can cause; and to accomplish what in every war is considered 
one of the greatest strategic successes — to turn the enemy's 
guns against himself. 

To confirm his views, he sent, in 1777, to Kaskaskia two 
trusted spies, one of whom was James Moore, afterward a dis- 
tinguished pioneer settler. From their report he learned that 
while the commandant lost no opportunity to incite Indian 
hostilities, the French inhabitants were not disposed to incur 
any great risks for the British crown, notwithstanding the fact 
that they had been made to believe appalling reports of the 
ferocity of "the big-knives," as the Americans were called. 
He was also made aware of the fact that while the militia was 
maintained in good order, rather from a fondness of display 
than from any desire to engage in active war or because they 
expected an attack, the fort was generally kept merely " as an 

In December, 1777, Col. Clark submitted to Gov. Patrick 
Henry of Virginia, a plan for the reduction of the posts in Illi- 
nois, which, after some discussion, was approved; and on Jan. 2, 
he received authority to recruit, for three months' service, seven 
companies of fifty men each, which he was to command. Six 
thousand dollars were given him to defray expenses. Proceed- 
ing to Pittsburg, on Feb. 4, he succeeded, after extraordinary 
exertions, in raising three companies, who rendezvoused at 
Corn Island, a point nearly opposite the present city of Louis- 
ville.* Here Lieut. Hutchings, with a portion of one company, 

* Several families who had accompanied Col. Clark's party were left on the 
island after his departure, and, removing to the mainland, laid out the town of 
Louisville in 1780. 


deserted, but enough were retaken to form, with additional vol- 
unteers, a fourth company. 

The four companies were led by captains Joseph Bowman, 
John Montgomery, Leonard Helm, and William Harrod, and 
their numbers have been variously estimated at from one hun- 
dred and fifty-three to one hundred and eighty men. 

On June 24, 1778, Col. Clark set forth, and as his party de- 
scended the Falls of the Ohio the sun became totally eclipsed, 
which not only fixes the date, but might also have been re- 
garded as an omen of the eclipse of British authority in the 
Illinois country, which the courageous determination of the 
devoted colonel and his men was soon to effect. With keel- 
boats with double-manned oars, rowing night and day, on June 
28, he reached an island at the mouth of the Tennessee River, 
where he landed. Here he fortunately met with a party of 
eight American hunters, under the leadership of John Duft", who 
had left Kaskaskia but a few days previously. They not only 
gave him all necessary information, but cheerfully took the 
oath of allegiance and joined his expedition. Although the 
colonel says " their intelligence was not favorable," they ren- 
dered valuable service, one of them, John Saunders, acting as 

On this same evening he ran his boats into a small creek, 
about one mile above Fort Massac* Here he disembarked 
his command, and on the next day, without horses, wagons, 
baggage, or artillery, he began his march across the country. 

Kaskaskia, the objective point, was one hundred and twenty 
miles away and the hitherto untrodden route lay through wil- 
derness and swamp. The guide, Saunders, becoming confused, 
lost his way, and being suspected of bad faith was threatened 
with death. Happily, however, he soon recognized a familiar 
spot, thus restoring confidence in his own fidelity and securing 
the safety of the party. After a wearisome march of six days, 
with only four days' provisions, the command arrived within 
three miles of Kaskaskia on the evening of July 4. On this very 

* Erected by Lieut. Massac in October, 1758, after the evacuation of Fort 
Duquesne by the French — the last fort built by the French in the Western country. 
— Monette's "Valley of the Mississippi," I, 317. This statement and the name of 
such an officer has not been verified. It is more probable that the fort was named 
after Mr. de Massiac, the French minister of marine at this time. 


day, Rocheblave, the commander of the post, all unconscious 
of the impending danger, was pouring forth the vexations of 
his soul in a pathetic appeal to Gen. Haldimand, governor of 
Canada. He depicted the discouragements of settlers, the dis- 
loyal conduct of those of British birth — enlarged upon the 
urgency of the need for troops, the jealousies of the inhabitants, 
Spanish encroachments, and expatiated upon the "brigandage" 
of Capt. Willing upon the Mississippi, fearing lest the latter 
might surprise and capture a position regarded as of great im- 
portance.* Col. Clark had indeed laid his plans with such 
adroitness and executed them with such skill that the appre- 
hensions of Rocheblave were concentrated upon a remote peril 
rather than upon the one which was at his door. 

As soon as he could trust to darkness to hide his manoeuvres 
from sight, Col. Clark led his command to the ferry-house on 
the Kaskaskia River, about a mile above the town, and made 
prisoners of the keeper and his family. " Finding," to use his 
own language, "plenty of boats to cross in in two hours, we 
transported ourselves to the other shore with the greatest 
silence. * * i immediately divided my little army into two 
divisions. * Ordering one to surround the town, with the other 
I broke into the fort, secured the governor, Mr. Rocheblave; in 
fifteen minutes had every street secured, sent runners through 
the town ordering the people on pain of death to keep close to 
their houses, which they observed, and before daylight had the 
whole town disarmed." Capt. Helm commanded the town 
party, and the celebrated Simon Kenton led the way to the fort, 
into which he was conducted by a friendly American who was 
there ready for this service.-f* The commandant was found 
peacefully sleeping by the side of his wife, and the success of 
the expedition was attained without the firing of a gun " or the 
shedding of a drop of blood." 

Fort Gage, according to local traditions, was built in 1736, on 
the bluff" on the opposite side of the Kaskaskia River from the 
town, as a protection against the Chickasaws and other hostile 
Indians at that time at war with the French. In 1756, during 
the French-and-Indian War, it was repaired and occupied by a 

* Brymner's "Report of Canadian Archives," 1881, p. 15. 
+ Reynolds' "Pioneer History of Illinois," 2d ed., p. 95. 


French garrison. Its shape is described by Capt. Pittman as 
that of an oblong quadrangle, and its dimensions are given as 
two hundred and ninety by two hundred and fifty-one feet. It 
was constructed of thick, square timbers, and within its walls 
were a stone magazine, the commandant's house, and other 
small buildings. It was destroyed by fire in 1766, and there is 
no evidence that it was ever rebuilt or reoccupied. 

Following the histories of the State, until within the past 
year it has been generally supposed that the fort thus taken 
by Col. Clark was that known as the Fort Gage above spoken 
of. The publication of later information, throwing a clearer 
light on the important events of this period, shows that such a 
supposition is erroneous. The commandant at Fort Chartres, 
when it was abandoned in 1772, was ordered to station his 
troops at Kaskaskia. In a letter from Capt. Lord, bearing 
date April 10, 1772, he says that Fort Gage was to be the ren- 
dezvous in case of war. And in a letter of August 30, 1773, 
from Gov. Haldimand addressed to the commandant "at Fort 
Gage," he directs that the fort should be " well provisioned." 
But the fort here referred to as Fort Gage was evidently 
on the town side of the Kaskaskia River. In neither of the 
accounts given of the capture by Col. Clark does he mention 
the name of the fort taken by him. Neither has he stated 
that he divided his troops on the eastern bank of the river. To 
have crossed the stream with his entire force and then ordered 
a portion to recross in order to march up the hill on whose 
summit Fort Gage was situated would have been a waste of 
time and an altogether indefensible military movement. In 
the preceding February, Rocheblave, in a letter to Gen. Guy 
Carlton, states that "the roof of the mansion of the fort is of 
shingles and very leaky, notwithstanding my efforts to patch it, 
and unless a new roof be provided very soon, the building, 
which was constructed twenty-five years ago and cost the Jes- 
uits forty thousand piasters, will be ruined." * The building 
referred to, situated in the southeastern portion of the town 
near the river, was the old "Jesuit House," as Pittman calls it, 
which had been substantially constructed of stone, and the 
probability is, that as the old fort had not been repaired and 

* Brymner's "Report of Canadian Archives," 1882, p. 12. 


the garrison at the time of its transfer to Kaskaskia was small, 
it was decided to convert the old Jesuit residence temporarily 
into a fort. 

As confirmatory evidence that the fort taken by Col. Clark 
was this old Jesuit mansion, the following letter to Gov. Fred- 
erick Haldimand of date June 27, 1779, from Maj. A, S. De 
Peyster, commandant of Mackinac, who was directly interested 
in procuring accurate information, would seem to be conclusive. 
He says: " The Kaskaskia is no ways fortified. The fort being 
still a sorry pinchetted [picketed.-'] enclosure around the Jesuit 
college, with two plank-houses at opposite angles, mounting 
two four-pounders, each on the ground floor, and a few swivels 
mounted in pidgeen [pigeon] houses."* 

There is no evidence, indeed, that Col. Clark ever occupied 
the old fort on the hill; but on the contrary, soon after the 
capture by him of the structure then occupied as a fort, while 
making preparations to repel a threatened attack, he says: "I 
resolved to burn a part of the town that was near the fort, and 
guard it, as I knew the greatest service we possibly could do 
was to sell the fort as dear as possible."-f From the journals of 
both Col. Clark and Capt. Bowman it appears that when the 
former's force afterward started for Vincennes, it crossed the 
Kaskaskia River, which would not have been necessary had the 
men occupied the fort on the eastern bluff.:J: 

Having thus far succeeded in his plans. Col. Clark next took 
measures to conciliate the inhabitants. In order to insure their 
more complete submission, he at first confirmed by his conduct 
and demeanor, as well as that of his men, the reports the}^ had 
heard of the daring and ferocity of the "big-knives." Surprised 
and affrighted by the offensive bearing of the soldiery, they were 
soon driven, trembling for their lives, to their houses. Some of 
the leading citizens were arbitrarily arrested, and no one was 
permitted to leave the town. Having, in accordance with their 
request, on the following morning permitted the inhabitants to 

* Michigan "Pioneer Collections," Vol. IX, p. 388. 

+ "Clark's Campaign in Illinois," p. 57. 

X These new facts concerning the location of the fort captured by Col. Clark 
were first brought to light by W. F. Poole, in his chapter on " The West, " in 
Winsor's "America," VI, 719, 720. 


assemble for public worship, he took occasion to explain to 
them the causes of the Revolution, and following the instruc- 
tions of Gov. Henry, informed them "that although they were 
a conquered people, and as such were at the mercy of the 
conqueror, nevertheless the policy, no less than the desire, of 
the American government was to make them free; and that if 
he could have surety of their zeal and attachment to the Amer- 
ican cause they should immediately enjoy all the privileges 
of government and their property be secured to them." He 
further said that while he had nothing to do with churches 
except to protect them from insult, religious liberty should 
not be interfered with. They were also informed that the 
king of France had united his armies with those of the 
Americans, and that the two peoples were making common 
cause against the British ; but that they were at liberty to es- 
pouse whichever side in the great conflict they preferred ; that 
if they decided to go with the Americans they must take the 
oath of allegiance. 

The revulsion of feeling which followed the colonel's speech 
was highly complimentary to his eloquence. Unbounded dem- 
onstrations of joyful approval greeted his address, and the in- 
habitants at once avowed their readiness to take the required 
oath and become American citizens. The colonel was disposed 
also to deal leniently with Rocheblave, and invited him to 
dine with him ; but instead of meeting his courtesies half-way 
and making the best of his misfortunes, the disgruntled Franco- 
British officer became violent and insulting. To such a length 
did he carry his insolence that the colonel felt compelled to 
place him in irons, and soon after sent him to Williamsburg as 
a prisoner of war. In 1780, breaking his parole, he made his 
way to New York, where, in 178 1, he applied for a command 
and authority to recapture the Illinois posts. His slaves were 
confiscated and sold, the proceeds, amounting to five hundred 
pounds, being distributed among the troops of Col. Clark.* 

The good work having been so successfully inaugurated at 
Kaskaskia, Capt. Bowman, with his company, was despatched 
to take possession of Cahokia. A number of the now friendly 
inhabitants of Kaskaskia accompanied the expedition to use 

* "Clark's Campaign in Illinois," 37. 


their influence to induce a like result at that point. There was 
a stockade fort at Cahokia, but it was not garrisoned, and no 
resistance whatever was made to the entrance of Capt. Bowman 
into the town. On learning what had occurred at Kaskaskia, 
the inhabitants here also readily took the oath of allegiance to 
Virginia. Many of the French, as a further pledge of their 
fealty to the new government, volunteered to enter the depleted 
ranks of the Virginia companies, and afterward did good ser- 
vice under Col. Clark. 

"Domestic affairs," says the colonel, "being thus pretty well 
settled, the Indian department came next to be the object of 
my attention." This, indeed, was the most delicate and difficult 
portion of his task. To win the friendship, or at least secure 
the neutrality of the Indians was one of the primary objects of 
the campaign. The Chippewas, Ottawas, Pottawatomies, Sacs, 
Foxes — in a word, nearly all the leading tribes of the West — • 
were represented in the repeated conferences held between Col. 
Clark and the savages, delegations of braves in some instances 
traveling a distance of five hundred miles in order to be present. 
With such consummate adroitness did he conduct these nego- 
tiations, not without a show of temper and of strength when 
occasion demanded, and so eloquently did he present the inher- 
ent justice of the American cause, that during the five weeks he 
remained at Cahokia he was enabled to conclude treaties with 
" ten or twelve different nations, among them the Miamis and 
Illinois," His success in this direction exceeded his most san- 
guine expectations. 

Having brought matters to such a satisfactory issue at Kas- 
kaskia and Cahokia, Col. Clark next directed his attention to 
Post Vincennes, called by the British Fort Sackville. The com- 
mandant of this post, Lieut.-Gov. Edward Abbott, had gone to 
Detroit, leaving the fort to be guarded by the inhabitants of the 
village. Learning this fact. Col. Clark resolved to dispatch an 
envoy for the purpose of winning over the settlers of that local- 
ity to the support of the colonial cause. For this mission he 
selected Pierre Gibault, the vicar-general of the Illinois coun- 
try, who was well known at Vincennes. His embassy was 
completely successful, the inhabitants proceeding in a body to 
the church and taking the oath of allegiance. The American 


flag was displayed from the fort to the astonishment of the 
Indians, and an officer temporarily placed in command. Capt. 
Helm, who had distinguished himself as a success.^ul Indian 
negotiator, was subsequently appointed to this post, and entered 
upon his duties as commandant the middle of August. Immed- 
iate steps were taken to conciliate the Indians, who, observing 
the success of the Americans in obtaining possession of so many 
important British posts, began to reflect whether it was not for 
their interest to make friends with the winning side. The con- 
sideration which most influenced their decision, however, was 
the fact, repeatedly urged upon them, that "their old father, the 
king of the French, had come to life again and was mad at 
them for fighting for the British." A council was held at which 
all the tribes of the Wabash were represented, who declared 
themselves to have changed their minds in favor of the Ameri- 

But now occurred one of those reverses of fortune incident to 
a state of war, which no foresight of Col. Clark could well 
have prevented. Gov. Hamilton of Detroit, having learned of 
the loss of the posts of the Illinois, and that Fort Sackville had 
been left without a garrison other than that furnished by the 
inhabitants of Vincennes, resolved at once to recapture the lat- 
ter post. With a force of thirty regulars, fifty French volunteers, 
and four hundred Indians, he started down the Wabash and 
arrived in sight of the fort, Dec. 17. Gov. Hamilton well knew 
from sad experience that if the defense of the fort depended 
upon the French militia, it would not long hold out. He had 
captured that very day one of the inhabitants of Vincennes who 
was found to carry commissions in the army from both the 
British and Americans; and he expresses himself on the subject 
of their fidelity as follows: "There is not one in twenty of the 
French inhabitants at all the outposts, I firmly believe, whose 
oath of allegiance would have force enough to bind him to his 
duty; added to this that the greatest part of the traders among 
them who are called English, are rebels in their hearts." 

Capt. Helm was not at all taken by surprise at the approach 
of the British force and had done all he could to be prepared 
for it. In a letter written to Col. Clark on that day, which was 
captured by Gov. Hamilton, he says: "The enemy is in sight, 


and my determination is to defend the garrison, though I have 
but twenty-one men, but not four men that I can really depend 
upon. Not one of the militia will take up arms, though before 
sight of the army there were no braver men." Even the four 
men that he had counted on turned out to be unreliable; but the 
brave captain refused to surrender the fort when demanded 
until terms — the honors of war — were granted him. Only him- 
self and one soldier* were surrendered, together with "three 
mounted iron guns, two swivels, fifty pounds of powder, and 
one hundred and fourteen shot."-f* Gov. Hamilton once more 
assembled the citizens, enlarged upon their perfidy, and ad- 
ministered the oath of allegiance for the second time to one 
hundred and fifty-eight of them. 

This was alarming news when communicated to Col. Clark, 
and placed him in a critical situation. He was well aware of 
the fact that the British did not intend to stop at Vincennes, 
but to recapture their lost ground in the Illinois. He also 
learned that Gov. Hamilton had decided not to make his attack 
in force until spring, and had permitted his Indian allies to 
depart on their winter's hunt and to make such forays as might 
offer. In one of these, Col. Clark came near being captured, as 
a party of forty Indians was within a few rods of him when he 
and a small guard of, six soldiers were passing, failing to fire on 
them because they were instructed to take him alive. 

Col. Clark, who kept himself well advised of the movements 
of the enemy, having also learned that Maj. de Peyster at Mack- 
inac had despatched Capt. Chas. de Langlade to raise a coopera- 
tive force of Indians to act with Hamilton at Vincennes, or more 
directly by way of the Illinois River, upon Cahokia,| decided, 
with his accustomed daring and sagacity, not to wait for the 
favorable weather, the want of which had delayed the British 
commander, but to take advantage of the absence of the In- 
dians, who were still marauding across the Ohio, and become 
the attacking party himself. He fitted up a boat mounting two 
four-pounders, and placing Lieut. John Rogers in command with 
thirty men, ordered him to proceed to Vincennes by water. 
With the detachment recalled from Cahokia and the two French 

* Moses Henry. + Michigan "Pioneer Collections," IX, p. 

:*: "Magazine of Western History," III. 


companies, which were commanded by Capts. Richard McCarty 
and Francois Charleville, he had a force of one hundred and 
seventy -three men. The American companies were led by 
Capts, Bowman and Worthington. 

On Feb. 7, 1779, the inhabitants of Kaskaskia came out in 
their hoh"day attire to bid adieu to their friends and to cheer 
them on their way with words of encouragement. Father 
Gibault made a patriotic speech on the occasion, and "gave all 
the soldiers absolution." The march across the country through 
swamps and overflowed bottoms, swimming creeks and rivers 
filled with ice and snow, was most difficult and trying. With- 
out food, the water, which was " breast-high," freezing to their 
clothes, with no dry land in sight upon which shelter and 
warmth could be procured, the men at one time refused to 
proceed any farther. Clark's persuasive powers were invoked 
in vain. At length he mounted a little drummer-boy upon the 
shoulders of a stalwart sergeant, six feet two in height, who was 
personally devoted to his commander, and gave the order, 
"March!" The sergeant at once dashed along through the 
water, the drummer-boy beating the charge from his lofty perch, 
while Clark, with sword in hand, followed, repeating the com- 
mand as he threw aside the floating ice, "Forward!" Inspired 
with the novel scene as well as amused, the entire command 
promptly obeyed the order.* 

He arrived before Vincennes at sunset, Feb. 23, and immedi- 
ately began the attack. Those of the inhabitants who adhered 
to the king had been warned by proclamation "to join their 
hair-buying general [so called on account of bounties offered 
by him for scalps] and fight like men;" while "the friends of 
liberty," although assured of good treatment, were cautioned "to 
keep out of the streets." On the next morning, after a brisk 
firing, Col. Clark demanded the surrender of the fort. This was 
refused, and the attack was renewed and continued for two 
hours. Gov. Hamilton believed that the American force was 
much larger than it was, and fearing that in case the fort should 
be carried by assault no mercy would be shown to the besieged, 
as Clark had threatened in his demand, asked for a conference, 
to which the colonel replied as follows: 

* Law's "Vincennes." 



"^ ^i>xy tC^/jhUy*^ f2A€Ay9v%^ ^^Cx^y*^ ^Ca^' ^'^l^^^-'^t/^ 


[From Winsor's " America," Vol. VI.] 

The conference which followed resulted in the acceptance of 
the terms of capitulation proposed by Col. Clark. Seventy-nine 
prisoners were surrendered, and stores valued at $50,000. The 
casualties were, one of Clark's men and six of the British 
wounded. Gov. Hamilton was sent as a prisoner to Williams- 
burg, and was exchanged March 4, 178 1.* 

* Gov. Henry Hamilton was appointed governor of Quebec in 1785, and after- 
ward governor of Dominica. He died at Antigua in 1796. 

Authorities: Dillon's "Historical Notes"; Clark's "Campaign in the Illinois," 
published by R. Clarke & Co. ; "Canadian Archives"; Reynolds' "Pioneer History of 
Illinois"; Michigan "Pioneer Collections", Vol. IX; "Magazine of Western History," 
Vol. Ill; Winsor's "America," Vol. VI and Chap. IX therein, by W. F. Poole, 
LL.D. ; " Memoirs of Capt. Matthew Phelps," by A. Haswell; "American Archives," 
Series 4, Vol. I; "Colonial History of New York"; "Virginia State Papers," Vol. I. 


The County of Illinois — Officers and Government — La- 
Balme's and Brady's Expeditions — Attack on St. Louis 
and Cahokia — The Spanish Expedition against St. 
Joseph — Fort Jefferson — Close of the War and Ter- 
mination of Virginia Control. 

THE importance of the brilliant success which crowned the 
well-laid and ably-executed plans of Col. Clark can hardly 
be over-estimated. A well-appointed British garrison remaining 
in possession of Vincennes might have rendered impossible the 
retention by the Americans of the captured posts in the Illinois. 
But in the hands of the "big-knives," whose valor the Indians 
had learned to respect, the situation was reversed and the con- 
quest of the territory rendered comparatively secure.* 

The results of Clark's brief but arduous campaigns were far- 
reaching. The importance of the conquest from a military and 
strategic point of view was readily recognized and appreciated. 
But the issue of the expedition was fraught with consequences 
of a weightier — even of an international character. These 
Thomas Jefferson was quick to perceive, and that sagacious 
statesman in a letter to Clark, written about the date of the 
inception of the expedition, after signifying his approbation 
of the scheme, says: "If successful, it will have an important 
bearing ultimately upon our northwestern boundary." Time 
justified the correctness of the prediction. Had the under- 
taking never been conceived, or had it failed, American posses- 
sion and control of the great Northwest might never have been 
realized, and the treaty of 1783 might have named as the west- 
ern boundaiy of the new nation the ridge of the Alleghanies 
rather than the channel of the Mississippi, 

The Mississippi Valley lying north of the Ohio was claimed 
by Virginia under and by virtue of ancient charters. The re- 

* The Virginia House of Delegates manifested their appreciation of Col. Clark's 
services by tendering him a unanimous vote of thanks; and later he and his com- 
mand received more substantial reward in the donation of a tract of 150,000 acres 
of land. 



ceipt at Williamsburg of official reports of the reduction of the 
British forts within this territory, inasmuch as it had been effected 
by Virginia enterprise and valor, was regarded by the general 
assembly of the commonwealth as a ground for the enforce- 
ment of such claims. The house of delegates accordingly pro- 
ceeded to extend civil jurisdiction over that country, in October, 
1778, by enacting a law establishing the county of Illinois, 
containing the following provisions: "The citizens of the com- 
monwealth of Virginia who are already settled or shall hereafter 
settle on the western side of the Ohio shall be included in a 
distinct county which shall be called Illinois County; and the 
governor of this commonwealth, with the advice of the council, 
may appoint a county-lieutenant or commandant-in-chief of 
that county during pleasure, who shall take the oath of fidelity 
to this commonwealth and the oath of office according to the 
form of their own religion. And all civil offices to which the 
inhabitants have been accustomed, necessary for the preserva- 
tion of the peace and the administration of justice, shall be 
chosen by a majority of the citizens in their respective districts, 
to be convened for that purpose by the county- lieutenant or 
commandant, or his deputy, and shall be commissioned by said 

In pursuance of the above provisions, Patrick Henry, then 
governor of Virginia, and who thus became ex-officio the first 
governor of Illinois, appointed Col. John Todd of Kentucky 
County, the commandant of the county of Illinois. Together 
with h's commission the governor sent Col. Todd a letter 
of instructions containing statesman-like suggestions regard- 
ing the course to be pursued by his appointee. Among other 
things, he said: "The present crisis rendered favorable by 
the good disposition of the French and Indians may be im- 
proved to great purposes; but if, unhappily, it should be lost, 
a return of the same attachments to us may never happen. 
Considering, therefore, that early prejudices are so hard to wear 
out, you will take care to cultivate the affections of the French 
and Indians." As the head of the civil department. Col. Todd 
was to have the command of the militia, "who are not to be 
under command of the military until ordered out by the civil 
authority and to act in conjunction with them." The governor 


advised that on all occasions he should impress upon the people 
the value of liberty and the difference between the state of free 
citizenship to which the inhabitants of the Illinois were destined 
and that of slavery; and that a free and equal representation 
and improved jurisprudence was to be guaranteed them. 

Col. Todd, who was thus authorized to inaugurate the genesis 
of republican institutions and civil government in Illinois, was a 
Pennsylvanian by birth, a lawyer by profession, and a patriotic 
military leader in the county of his residence. His appointment 
was dated Dec. 12, 1778, but he did not arrive at Kaskaskia 
and enter upon the discharge of his duties until May of the 
following year. On May 14, the militia was organized, com- 
missions being issued to Richard Winston as deputy comman- 
dant of Kaskaskia, and to Nicholas Janis and Joseph Duplassy 
as captains of companies. On May 17, Frangois Trottier was 
commissioned as deputy commandant of Cahokia, and Jean 
Bte. Barbeau to hold the same position at Prairie du Rocher. 

Having discharged these preliminary duties, Col. Todd pro- 
ceeded to carry out another important instruction of Gov. Henry 
by ordering an election of civil officers, including the members 
of courts at Kaskaskia and Cahokia, which should have both 
civil and criminal jurisdiction. The election held under this 
order was the first exercise of the elective franchise in Illinois. 
The officers chosen, with one exception, were either by birth or 
descent, French.* The lack of persons qualified to fill the few 
offices vacant, a want which in modern days is never long felt, 
rendered it unavoidable that in some cases the same incumbent 
should fill at the same time both a civil and a military position. 
Richard Winston — who held the office of sheriff" by election, in 
addition to filling other posts, appointive in their character — 
is the only name on the list of elective officeholders not of 
French origin. 

Thus were started the wheels of government by whose revo- 

* Members of the court elected at Kaskaskia: Gabriel Cerre, Joseph Duplassy, 
Jacques Lesource, Nichola? Janis, Jean Bte. Barbeau, Nicholas LeChanie, Charles 
Charleville, Antoine D. deLouvieres, Girradot; Carbonneaux, clerk; Rich- 
ard Winston, sheriff. At Cahokia, Touranjeau (Michael Godin), Francois 

Trottier, Charles Gratiot, Antoine Gioradin, Jean Bte. Saucier, Jean Beaulieu, P. 
Marthin; Francois Saucier, clerk; J. B. LeCroix, sheriff. — "Col. John Todd's Rec- 


lutions a practical knowledge of the forms necessary to the 
establishment of a free republic was substituted for those of 
monarchy. Experience proved, however, that the privileges 
of citizenship had been extended to those who appreciated 
neither its value nor its responsibilities. 

The next questions which occupied the attention of Col. 
Todd related to the public lands and the regulation of trade. 
To prevent the taking up of large tracts by speculators he 
issued a proclamation enjoining all persons from making any 
new settlements of lands, and requiring the exhibition to duly- 
appointed commissioners of the evidences of title by those 
already in possession. Licenses to erect factories and stores 
and traffic in general merchandise were granted under care- 
ful restrictions. Perceiving the rapid depreciation in the value 
of continental currency, the commandant evolved a plan for 
the creation and floating of a new circulating medium some- 
what in the nature of land-script, but the scheme eventually 
came to naught. He next visited Vincennes, where similar 
proceedings were instituted. Returning to Kaskaskia, July 27, 
he found that the lately-elected judges had met and adjourned 
their court to a distant date. It was an easy method to get 
rid of a system of jurisprudence which was at once new and 
distasteful to the inhabitants. This adjournment the comman- 
dant refused to sanction, and issued his order convening the 
courts, reprimanding the judges for their neglect of duty and 
impressing upon them the importance of regular sessions. 

Early in August, obedient to the instructions of Gov. Henry, 
Col. Todd forwarded a communication to the Spanish comman- 
dants at Ste. Genevieve and St. Louis, proposing the establish- 
ment of commercial relations between the governments of Spain 
and Virginia, and offering military assistance in case it should 
be needed.* 

The old record-book of Col. Todd, now in possession of the 
Chicago Historical Society, which is the principal authority 
for the above-cited facts, contains one page which affords a 
singular commentary upon the cruelty, ignorance, and super- 
stition of this early period. This is the minute of the capital 
condemnation of a negro slave hamed Manuel for some crime 

* E. G. Mason's "Illinois in the Eighteenth Century." 


not specified, but which, from other evidence, is supposed to 
have been what was then, as now, called voudouism, or negro 
witchcraft. The order of the commandant to the sheriff who 
was required to execute the sentence was that he *' be chained 
to a post at the water side and there be burnt alive and his 
ashes scattered." On the original entry heavy lines have been 
drawn through this portion of the record, which fact, let us hope, 
indicates that the barbarous order was revoked. Gov. Reynolds 
in his " Pioneer History," second edition, page 175, says that 
a negro of this name was shot at Cahokia for this offense. 

Commandant Todd having been appointed colonel of a Vir- 
ginia regiment, left the county of Illinois the latter part of 1779, 
and there is no accessible evidence showing that he ever again 
returned. Henceforward he was actively engaged in military 
operations, fulfilling his duties as commandant of Illinois County 
as well as distance and other calls upon him would permit. 
Through Col. Clark and others he endeavored to keep himself 
advised of the situation, and frequently corresponded with the 
governor of Virginia in regard to the affairs of the county. 

After the departure of the commandant, Col. John Mont- 
gomery was assigned, Aug. 5, 1779, to the command of the 
military department of the Illinois, with headquarters at Kas- 
kaskia. The officers in command of detachments under him 
were "at Fort Clark, Capt. John Williams, to be joined by Capt. 
Worthington's company; at Kaskaskia, Capt. Shelby, to be 
joined by Capts. Taylor and Kellar's companies; at Cahokia, 
Capt. Richard McCarty in command, to be joined by Capt. 
Quirk's company." Maj. Joseph Bowman was assigned to the 
recruiting service and Capt. L. Helm made Indian agent at 
Kaskaskia, while Capt. Linetot was ordered to duty along the 
Illinois River.* 

Since the capture of Vincennes, the loss of which was severely 
felt by the British, an attack upon the Illinois villages had been 
constantly threatened and feared. As an offset to a proposed 
expedition of Col. Clark against Detroit, Maj. de Peyster, Brit- 
ish commander at Mackinac, in July, directed Capt. Charles 
Langlade to arouse the Indians on Lake Michigan and join 
Lieut. Thomas Bennett, who was in command of one hundred 

• "Virginia State Papers,** I, 324. 


regulars at Chicago, for the purpose of making an attack upon 
the Illinois towns. He succeeded in raising a force of two 
hundred savages, but upon learning that Clark had abandoned 
his proposed expedition he returned to his post. 

In March, 1780, Col. Clark, who was kept well advised of 
these movements, writes to Col. Todd that he much fears that 
the efforts of the British to regain the favor of the Indians and 
retake Illinois will succeed. And what is very singular, he 
further states that he is " not clear but the Spaniards would 
favorably suffer these [Illinois] settlements to fall into British 
hands for the sake of having an opportunity to retake them."* 

It will be remembered that that portion of the Illinois district 
lying west of the Mississippi which formerly belonged to France 
now belonged to Spain, and that St. Louis was its chef-lieu or 
capital. The Spanish government was at this time the ally of 
the United States and the avowed foe of Great Britain, having 
declared war against that power on May 8, 1779. It would 
seem to have been the interest of the Spaniards, as friendly 
neighbors of the colonies on their eastern border, to act in 
unison with them and against the assaults of the common foe. 
Gov. Henry, as has been pointed out, had been particular to- 
enjoin such a policy upon the commandant of Illinois. But, as 
will be seen hereafter, the suspicion of the watchful and saga- 
cious Clark was fully justified by the event. 

In June, 1779, one month after the Spanish declaration of 
war. Gen. Fred. Haldimand, then governor of Canada, acting 
under instructions of the home government, of which Lord 
Germaine was the head, prepared to organize an attack upon the 
Spanish posts along the Mississippi. A military force was to 
be despatched from Pensacola under Gen. John Campbell, then 
in command of the British garrison there, and all the north- 
western governors were instructed by secret circular letters 
to cooperate with the movement. At this time the Spanish 
governor at New Orleans, Col. Don Bernardo de Galvez, a 
youthful officer — scarcely twenty-five — whose sagacity was equal 
to his valor, having learned through intercepted letters the in- 
tentions of the British, determined boldly to anticipate the 
contemplated assault by becoming himself the attacking party. 

* "Virjjinia State Papers," I, 338. 


Accordingly, in September, he started from New Orleans with 
six hundred and seventy troops on an expedition to capture the 
enemy's posts at Fort Manchac and Baton Rouge. Both points 
fell into his hands. He followed up these successes by promptly 
marching upon Natchez, the capitulation of which was likewise 

Five months after the occurrence of these events, in Feb., 1780, 
Capt. Patrick Sinclair, who had succeeded Maj. Arent Schuyler 
de Peyster in the command of the British troops at Mackinac, 
was busily engaged in organizing a force of Indians, whom, with 
a detachment of white troops, it was his intention to despatch 
to Natchez in order to cooperate with Gen. Campbell. While 
such cooperation was the ultimate object of the movement, 
•Capt. Sinclair proposed, under instructions from Gov. Haldi- 
mand, to deal the American rebels a crushing blow on the way. 
Cahokia and Kaskaskia were to be reduced and also the Spanish 
posts at St. Louis and Ste. Genevieve. The former had been 
popularly known as Paincourt — colloquially abbreviated to Pan- 
core, and the latter Misere. Sinclair had received information 
to the effect that St. Louis was protected only by a garrison 
of "twenty men and twenty brass cannon." He supposed that 
the capture of the posts named would be less difficult than 
holding them afterward. The expedition started on May 2; 
according to Capt. Sinclair's statement, it was composed of 
seven hundred and fifty men, including servants, Indians, 
traders, and twenty Canadian volunteers. Capt. Hesse was in 
command, but the aboriginal contingent was directly controlled 
by Chief Wabasha. The former was ordered to remain at 
St. Louis, while the latter was to assault Ste. Genevieve and 

All unconscious of the fact that the brilliant successes of Gov. 
Galvez had long before resulted in the transfer of Natchez to 
the Spanish power, Capt. Sinclair impressed upon Capt. Hesse 
the imperative necessity of pressing forward to that point with 
all possible despatch. With sublime faith in his success and a 
watchful eye toward resulting necessities in the way of subsist- 
ence, he thus outlined his plans in an official communication to 
Haldimand: "The two lower villages of the Illinois were to be 
laid under contribution for the support of the different garrisons 


and the two upper villages to supply LaBay with cattle to feed 
the Indians."* On May 26, 1780, the expedition arrived before 
St. Louis and prepared to make its attack. 

In the meantime, Col. Clark, who was at the Falls of the 
Ohio, had been informed, both by Montgomery and Capt. Fer- 
dinand de Leyba, lieutenant-governor of St. Louis, of the im- 
pending invasion, and with a small force arrived at Cahokia 
only twenty-four hours before the appearance of the enemy.^f" 

The conflicting reports of the affair which followed afford a 
striking illustration of the difiiculties attending nearly every 
effort to arrive at the truth regarding these early engagements 
on the border. Gov. Reynolds in his account says that the raid 
was incited by one Ducharme in revenge for personal injuries 
inflicted on him as a trader, and that his force numbered fifteen 
hundred men; and that, having killed "as many as appeased 
his wrath, he withdrew his red warriors and abandoned the mas- 
sacre." Stoddard, in his " Sketches of Louisiana," says sixty 
were killed and thirty prisoners were taken. J Local writers at 
St. Louis, however, concur in the statement that the attack was 
made in the forenoon at an early hour and not then expected ; 
that the village was without defensive works of any kind; that 
those who were killed were shot in the fields, the enemy not 
approaching within three-fourths of a mile of the post; that 
certainly not more than seven or eight of the villagers lost their 
lives, all but two of whom were buried the same afternoon, their 
names appearing in the church register; that none of them 
were scalped ; that but few were taken prisoners, and that there 
was no destruction of property.§ Col. John Montgomery re- 
ports that, " finding they [the invading force] were likely to be 
disappointed in their designs, they returned after doing some 
mischief on the Spanish shore which we would have prevented 
if, unfortunately, the high wind had not prevented the signals 
being heard." 

* " Michigan Tioneer Collection," IX, 546, 558. 

+ "Virginia State Papers," III, p. 443. 

J The discrepancy between historians as to the date of the occurrence is almost 
as great as is the divergence in their respective accounts of its results. They fix 
it variously as May 6, 1778, Judge Hall; May, 1779, Primm; May 6, 1780, Nicollet. 

§ O. W. Collet MS., 1888. 


Now contrast the foregoing with the report of the redoubtable 
Capt. Sinclair to Gen. Haldimand: "The two first of the Indian 
nations [VVinnebagoes and Sioux] would have stormed the Span- 
ish lines if the Sacs and Outigamies, under their treacherous 
leader Mons. Calve, had not fallen back so early as to give them 
well-grounded suspicion that they were between two fires. A 
Mons. Ducharme and others who traded in the country kept 
pace with Mons. Calve in his perfidity. The attack, unsuccessful 
as it was, will still have its good consequences. The Winneba- 
goes had a chief and three men killed and four wounded — the 
only sufierers. The rebels lost an officer and three men killed 
at Cahokia, and five prisoners. At Pancore, sixty-eight were 
killed and eighteen black and white people made prisoners. 
Many hundreds of cattle were destroyed and forty-three scalps 
are brought in." * In weighing this report of the captain, it 
must not be forgotten that it emanated from the head-quarters 
of an unsuccessful commandant. That his statement of losses 
inflicted upon the enemy was exaggerated to meet the exigen- 
cies of the occasion, does not admit of any doubt. 

The Hesse -Wabasha expedition made much better time in 
returning than it had done in going; the speed of the retreat- 
ing Indians being accelerated by the close proximity of Col. 
Montgomery with a force of three hundred and fifty men, 
including a party of Spanish allies, who followed them to 
Peoria lake and thence to Rock River, destroying their towns 
and crops on the way. No amount of provocation was suffi- 
cient to induce the fugitives to make a stand for the purpose 
of giving battle. The lesson taught by this fiasco was not lost 
upon the Indians, and they bore it in mind when efforts were 
subsequently made to incite them to attack Illinois, and ex- 
hibited a preference for an expedition in some other direction. 

In order to divert attention from the expedition of Capt. 
Hesse and his Indian allies, Capt. Henry Bird was despatched 
from Detroit by Maj. de Peyster in May, 1780, with a force of 
one hundred and fifty whites and one thousand Indians, with two 
field-pieces, to invade Kentucky, the fitting out of which expe- 
dition involved an outlay of over $200,ooo.f As soon as Col. 

* "Michigan Pioneer Collection, " IX, 559. 

+ Farmer's "History of Detroit," 260. "Michigan Pioneer Collection," HI, 25. 



Clark had been assured of the precipitate flight of the motley 
company which had undertaken the reduction of St. Louis, he 
directed his attention to the force from Detroit. Hastening to 
Kentucky, he quickly recruited one thousand volunteers. Bird 
appears to have taken alarm, and after storming two unimpor- 
tant stockades retreated, manifesting no disposition to encoun- 
ter the Americans on an open field. By way of reprisal for this 
inroad, Clark silently swept down upon the Indian villages north 
of the Ohio, thereby at once retaliating upon the invaders and 
diverting their attention to the support of their savage allies. 

The original conception of the plan of campaign by Lord 
Germaine, above outlined, was brilliant in design and bid 
fair to prove a success. Had not the rapidity and daring 
of Gov. Galvez forestalled its execution by preventing the 
union of the northern and southern divisions of the pro- 
posed army, it is difficult to say what might have been the 
ultimate issue of the war of the Revolution.* As it was, how- 
ever, the Spanish commander at New Orleans unintentionally 
rendered to the infant colonies the most valuable aid. The 
British advance was checked before it had fairly begun, and the 
raids of captains Hesse and Bird were the last organized at- 
tempts to regain the country of the Illinois or to capture the 
Spanish posts along the Mississippi. 

In March, 1780, Col. Clark, foreseeing the probability of 
British inroads, addressed a letter to Col. Todd recommend- 
ing the withdrawal of the troops from the outlying posts in 
the Illinois country and their concentration at a point known 
as the Iron Banks, on the east bank of the Mississippi, just 
below the junction of the Ohio with that river. On June 2, Col. 
Todd submitted this recommendation, with his endorsement, to 
the governor of Virginia. The proposition was approved by 
the general assembly, and the new post was named Fort Jef- 
ferson, in honor of the then governor of that commonwealth.-f- 
Grants of four hundred acres of land were made to heads of 
families in order to invite and stimulate immigration, and com- 
missions freely issued to volunteer officers, with a view to re- 
cruiting the ranks of the militia. 

* The author acknowledges his indebtedness to Dr. W. F. Poole for directing 
his attention to the authorities relating to the intended Campbell expedition, 
t "Virginia State Papers," Vol. I, 358, 360. 


The event proved this to have been an unwise and unfortunate 
step, which would not have been taken could its results have 
been foreseen. It was in effect an abandonment of the villages 
of Illinois, which were thereby left exposed and liable to easy 
conquest by the British. The new post was erected on the 
hunting-grounds of the Chickasaws, without their consent. In 
consequence, this tribe, which had theretofore been friendly, at 
once became hostile, and made frequent raids upon it; and 
when they became pacified, the beleaguered garrison was 
attacked by other tribes. As a result. Fort Jefferson was in 
a constant state of fear; and so far from prospering, as had 
been hoped and confidently expected, the post proved a con- 
stant source of annoyance and expense to the government. 
There was a continual dearth of supplies, particularly of a 
liquid sort, the demand for which being the hardest to satisfy, 
and their receipt affording the greatest pleasure. Thus writes 
Capt. Robert George: "We are now able to drink brandy, 
taffia, and wine, and, with your good assistance, whisky too; 
but it has not made us so saucy but we can drink all the 
whisky you can send us." The fort was evacuated June 8, 1781. 

At the same time a spirit of insubordination sprang up among 
the militia at various points. Richard Winston, as civil com- 
mandant at Kaskaskia, was having trouble with Col. Montgom- 
ery, who. Col. Todd says in a letter to Gov. Jefferson, went to 
New Orleans under circumstances which gave rise to grave 
scandal; while Capt. Richard McCarty was rendering himself 
exceedingly disagreeable " by endeavoring to enforce military 
law upon the civil authorities at Cahokia." * 

Without either regularly- constituted military authority or a 
civil government which commanded respect, the inhabitants of 
the Illinois villages were subject to the impositions of any 
adventurer seeking to use them for the accomplishment of 
his own ends. Of these, one Col. Moltin de la Balme was 
the most conspicuous. He came to this country with Lafay- 
ette, and claiming to have authority from the United States, 
went to Kaskaskia in the fall of 1780, and after obtaining 
supplies, organized an expedition for the purpose — as he al- 
leged — of capturing Detroit. He raised a force variously esti- 

* "Virginia State Papers," I, 46a 


mated at from twenty to fifty men, which was increased to one 
hundred and three by additional volunteers from Vincennes, 
besides a band of Indian allies. From here he marched to 
the post of Kekionga, at the head of the Maumee River, which 
settlement, after sacking, he destroyed. Securing the plunder, 
he proceeded to the river Aboite, and while there encamped, 
was attacked during the night by a party of Miamis, who over- 
whelmingly defeated him, killing Col. la Balme and, it was 
reported, between thirty and forty of his followers, and disper- 
sing the remainder. The colonel's watch, set with diamonds, 
his double-barrelled gun, spurs, and valuable papers were 
brought to Maj. de Peyster by an Indian.* 

Fort St. Joseph, situated on the river of that name, was the 
British post nearest to the Illinois villages. It was used not only 
as a depot of supplies, but as a general rendezvous for the Indian 
allies of the British, and from which they had made frequent hos- 
tile raids. The vigorous pursuit of the force sent against St. Louis 
and Cahokia, and the unexpected strength of the Americans 
thereby exhibited, led to the withdrawal of the British garrison 
at this post by order of Lieut.-Gov. Sinclair in the summer of 
1780. The British traders there feeling secure in the protection 
afforded them by the presence of friendly Indians, decided, 
however, to remain. When these facts became known in the 
Illinois it was determined to raise a small force and make a 
raid against the post. The company consisted of seventeen 
men only, and was commanded by Thomas Brady, a patriotic 
citizen of Cahokia who had emigrated from Pennsylvania and 
who is described as having been both restless and daring. 
Marching across the country in October, he succeeded in eluding 
the Indian guards and captured the place, taking a few British 
prisoners together with a large quantity of goods. Being over- 
confident, on his return he was attacked by a force of Potta- 
watomies and British traders, hastily organized for that purpose, 
while he lay encamped on the Calumet. His party was easily 
defeated; two of them were killed, two wounded, and ten taken 
prisoners. Brady, with two others, succeeded in making his 
escape, and, returning to Illinois, did not rest until another 
expedition was organized to rescue his friends and avenge his 

* "History of Detroit and Michigan, " by Silas Farmer, 257, 


■defeat. This was the now noted invasion of which the following 
is an account:* Learning that the post had been again occupied, 
it was determined by the authorities at St. Louis and Cahokia 
to make another effort to capture the place and avenge their 
common wrongs. An expedition composed of about sixty-five 
whites, including Spaniards and Cahokians, and some two hun- 
dred Indians, was organized to proceed against it. It was com- 
manded by a Spanish captain named Don Eugenio Pourre, and 
started out on Jan. 2, 1781, marching across the country in the 
usual pioneer fashion and meeting with but few obstructions 
and very little opposition. The Indians encountered on the way 
and in the vicinity of the fort were easily placated by presents 
and the promise of receiving a portion of the anticipated spoils. 
Arriving at the fort and finding no force prepared to oppose 
them, the raiders "valorously dashed in" and captured it without 
striking a blow. The few traders there had relied on the rep- 
resentations and friendship of the neighboring Indians, some of 
whom accompanied the attacking party, and having lent a 
willing ear to the superior inducements offered by the lat- 
ter, permitted their unopposed approach. The place was 
plundered and the goods and provisions distributed among the 
Indians as had been promised. The British flag was replaced 
by that of Spain, and possession was taken in the name of "His 
Catholic Majesty," not only of St. Joseph and its dependencies, 
but also of the Illinois River.-f* 

Possession was retained only a few days, when the fort was 
evacuated and the command returned to St. Louis. Yet from 
this affair, which was deemed of but little importance by the 
British, there arose serious international complications. A 
report of the alleged "conquest," no doubt exaggerated and 
highly colored, was forwarded to Madrid and published in 
the official gazette. Copies of this paper were transmitted to 
Gen. Washington by John Jay, our Spanish minister; and Ben- 
jamin Franklin, our minister to France, made it the subject 
of a special communication to Congress. It has, indeed, been 
contended that the expedition was "inspired and directed" by 

* The date given by Gov. Reynolds and others for this expedition, 1777, is erro- 
neous. — See "Virginia State Papers," I, 465. 

+ Dillon's "Historical Notes," 190; "Secret Journal of Congress," IV, 65. 


the Spanish ministry as a part of their scheme to acquire a 
portion at least of the Mississippi Valley. But the facts seem 
to warrant the assertion that it was simply an ordinary raid, 
having plunder for its object, which originated at St. Louis 
and Cahokia, being composed of troops from both places, 
and was intended as a legitimate retaliation to the attack by 
the British and Indians upon these places the preceding year. 
The idea of giving it the importance subsequently attached to 
it and of using it for diplomatic purposes was probably an 
afterthought, possibly justified by the misleading terms of the 
report. At all events, it served the purpose of giving added 
strength to the Spanish claim to the Mississippi Valley, for the 
assertion of which the previous reduction of British posts above 
New Orleans had already laid the foundation."^ 

The preposterous character of this claim appears from the 
following considerations: 

(i) It was evidently a joint expedition, conceived and under- 
taken by the authorities at both St. Louis and Cahokia. Cer- 
tainly neither party could fairly claim the benefit arising from 
its success exclusively for itself; and it is hardly to be supposed 
that the inhabitants of an Illinois village would engage in a 
warlike undertaking which had for its object the transfer of a 
portion of the territory belonging to the colonies to a foreign 

(2) The claim of Spain was, that in consequence of having 
taken St, Joseph, they " had made a conquest of the Illinois 
country." -f- The fact is that St. Joseph was not then, if indeed 
it had ever been, any part of the Illinois country either as a 
district or territory. In this respect and in coupling the name 
of the Illinois River with the capture, it was a bare-faced fraud, 
without a shadow of evidence to support it. If the Spanish 
government had desired to establish a bona-fide claim to Illinois 
by virtue of conquest, the coveted territory was near at hand 
— only across the river. The military had been withdrawn 
therefrom, its towns were not garrisoned except by small de- 
tachments of militia, who would not have been able to resist a 
serious attack or endure a siege. 

(3) Even if the claim had been geographically correct, the 

* "Secret Journal of Congress," IV, 62. t Spark's "Franklin." IX, 128. 


fact that no effort was made to retain possession of so important 
a post shows that it was not intended at the time to base a 
claim of conquest upon its capture. 

But, notwithstanding the effrontery and absurdity of the claim, 
it was seriously presented and urged by Spain at the preliminary 
negotiations for peace between the colonies and Great Britain 
at Paris in 1782, and was even supported by France. But 
owing to the sagacity, firmness, and wisdom of Jay, Franklin, 
and Adams, who were well acquainted with the facts and cir- 
cumstance of the case, the accomplishment of the scheme which 
might have made the Ohio River instead of the Mississippi 
the western boundry of the United States was prevented. 

This was the last expedition in which the citizens of Illinois 
are reported to have taken any part during the Revolution. 

In 1780, Col. Todd, the commandant, was elected a delegate 
from the county of Kentucky to the general assembly of Vir- 
ginia, and in November of that year he was appointed colonel 
of Fayette County. In May, 178 1, he became a citizen, and 
was elected a trustee, of Lexington. After this date he seems 
to have paid no attention to Illinois affairs, as in a letter to the 
governor of Virginia, dated Oct. 21, he makes no allusion to 
them as he had done in previous communications. He was 
killed at the battle of Blue Licks, Aug. 18, 1782. 

But little now remains to be added regarding Illinois as a 
county of Virginia. In 1782, one "Thimothe Demunbrunt, Lt. 
comd'g par interim, etc.," as he signed himself in the old record- 
book, exercised authority; and claimed to act as commandant 
until the arrival of Gov. Arthur St. Clair, in 1790;* but so far 
as appears, his official acts were confined to " affording succor," 
upon their application, to some Delaware and Shawnee Indians. 
They pleaded poverty as their excuse for asking assistance, and 
professed their willingness to be conciliated by the receipt of 
corn, flour, tobacco, and taffia, of which the latter article was 
much the largest quantity in proportion to the others. It is 
also known that Demunbrunt was quite liberal in the issuing 
of land-grants, which afterward formed the subject of much 

After the close of the war of the Revolution, however, the 

* "Virginia State Papers," V, 408. 


civil affairs of the country were entirely neglected by both 
Virginia and Congress, and the people were left without a 
government. Courts ceased to be held and public officers failed 
or refused to discharge their duties.* To make the condition 
of the people, if possible, still more deplorable, in 1784, after 
the cession of the country to the United States, an irresponsible 
body of soldiers, pretending to have authority from Virginia. 
organized themselves, assumed control, and plundered and op- 
pressed the inhabitants "with a high hand."i- 

The old record-book contains no entries from April 29, 1782. 
until June 5, 1787, and only two thereafter. The last of these 
is the record of a jury trial between John Edgar, plaintiff, and 
Thomas Green, defendant. Col. Josiah Harmar had visited the 
country and endeavored to restore order by reestablishing the 
courts, but in effect there was neither law nor order in the 
Illinois country for the seven years from 1783 to 1790. The 
French inhabitants were the greatest sufferers on account of 
the absence of these essential safeguards of society, being ignor- 
ant and easily imposed upon. The American settlers, though 
as yet few and scattered, were better able to take care of them- 

* Dillon's "Historical Notes," 405. t Gen, St. Clair's report to Congress. 

Authorities: Calendar of Virginia State Papers; "Western Annals"; "Michigan 
Pioneer Collection, "Vol. IX; "Report of Canadian Archives"; Winsor's "America," 
Vol. VI, Chap. V, by William F. Poole; "Magazine of American History, " Vol. XV; 
"March of the Spaniards across Illinois," by E. G. Mason; "Secret Journals of 
Congress"; Farmer's "History of Detroit and Michigan"; Dillon's "Notes and 
Northwestern Territory"; "Magazine of Western History"; Butler's "History of 
Kentucky": Reynolds' "Pioneer History of Illinois"; Col. Todd's "Old Record- 
Book"; Mason's "Illinois in the Eighteenth Century"; Girardin's "History of 
Virginia," IV; Pitkin's "History of the United States." 

Period IV. — Under the United States, 


The Public Domain— How Obtained— Its Extent— What 
it Cost — How Surveyed. 

THE treaty of peace between the United States and Great 
Britain, concluded at Paris, Sept. 3, 1783, was ratified by 
Congress, Jan. 14, 1784. The second article of the treaty 
defined the western boundaries of the United States as follows: 
" From the most northwest point of the Lake of the Woods on 
a due-west course to the River Mississippi, thence by a line to 
be drawn along the middle of said River Mississippi until it 
shall intersect the northwest part of the thirty-first degree of 
north latitude." 

The claims of Virginia and of other states to the territory of 
the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, whether the same had been 
included in ancient charters, in treaties with the Indians, or 
obtained by conquest, were opposed by the states of Delaware. 
Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New 
Hampshire, which had no claims to western lands. 

Under the Articles of Confederation it was provided that no 
State should be deprived of territory for the benefit of the 
United States; and that settlements of disputed boundaries or 
jurisdiction as between the states should be by commissioners 
appointed by Congress. Maryland refused to agree to the 
Articles of Confederation because of the above provisions until, 
in May, 1781 — the other five states having done so, protesting 
against it. The disagreeing states claimed that if the unsettled 
western country ceded by France to Great Britain had been, as 
they contended, wrested from the common enemy by the blood 
and treasure of the thirteen states, it should be considered as a 
common acquisition to be divided by Congress into free and 
independent governments " in such manner as its wisdom might 
direct." It was contended that if the claim of Virginia to the 



country lying east of the Mississippi should be allowed, she could 
raise and equip volunteers on more favorable terms than the 
other states by offering large bounties in the form of lands; that 
that commonwealth would also be able to derive a vast revenue 
from sales of the same, thus securing an undue advantage in 
the way of taxation. She would also, by attracting settlers to 
cheap lands, deprive other states not so advantageously situated 
of their most enterprising citizens. 

Virginia and North Carolina, under that provision of the 
Articles of Confederation which left the disposition of lands to 
the states owning them, opened land-offices as early as 1779, 
and proposed to dispose of them by grants of bounties and 
sales. So pronounced had become the opposition to these pro- 
ceedings that Congress, on Oct. 30, 1779, adopted a resolution, 
which was transmitted to the different states, "that it be ear- 
nestly recommended to the State of Virginia to reconsider their 
late act of assembly for opening their land-office, and that it be 
recommended to said state, and all other states similarly cir- 
cumstanced, to forbear settling or issuing warrants for unappro- 
priated land, or granting the same during the continuance of 
the present war." * 

New York was the first state to respond, and on March 7, 
1780, her legislature passed an act authorizing her delegates in 
Congress to limit and restrict the boundaries of the state in 
such manner as they should judge to be expedient, and to cede 
its claim to western lands. Virginia remonstrated and held 
back, but on Sept. 6, 1780, on the report of a committee. Con- 
gress resolved "That it be earnestly recommended to those 
states who have claims to the western country to pass such laws 
and give their delegates in Congress such powers as may remove 
the only obstacle to a final ratification of the Articles of Con- 
federation." As a farther act of pacification, Congress, on Oct. 
10, adopted a resolution "that the unappropriated lands that 
may be ceded or relinquished to the United States pursuant to 
the recommendation of Sept. 6, shall be disposed of for the 
common benefit of the United States, and be settled and be 
formed into distinct republican states, which shall become 
members of the Federal Union and have the same rights of 

* "Public Domain," 63. 


sovereignty, freedom, and independence as the other states."* 

On Jan. 2, 1781, Virginia passed an act proposing to Congress 
to cede her lands northwest of the Ohio River on certain con- 
ditions. On Oct. 31, 178 1, the resolution of Oct. 10, together 
with the acts and resolutions of New York and Virginia, were 
referred by Congress to a committee of seven. The formal 
deed of cession of New York was made and filed in Congress 
March i, 1781, but no immediate action was taken thereon. 

In the meantime, other claimants had arisen to a large por- 
tion of the lands in question, namely, the Indiana, the Vandalia, 
the Illinois, and the Wabash land companies, who filed their 
petitions before the committee, setting up their claims by right 
of purchase from the Indians. Against this action Virginia 
protested, and raised the question that the committee had no 
authority to consider these claims. 

On Nov. 3, 1 78 1, the committee, as appears by subsequent 
proceedings, made its report, which was not only adverse to 
Virginia, but recommended favorable action in regard to certain 
of the land-claims filed, and in favor of the right of New York 
to the western territory, on the ground " that all the lands 
belonging to the Six Nations [of which these were claimed to 
be a part] and their tributaries had been in due form put under 
the protection of England by said Six Nations, as appendant 
to the late government of New York." When this remarkable 
document came up for consideration. May i, 1782, Theodoric 
Bland, a delegate from Virginia, offered the following resolution: 
^'Resolved, That previous to any determination in Congress 
relative to the cessions of the western lands, the name of each 
member present be called over by the secretary; that on such 
call, each member do declare upon his honor whether he is or 
is not personally interested, directly or indirectly, in the claims 
of any company or companies which have petitioned against 
the territorial rights of any of the states by whom such cessions 
have been made, and that such declarations be entered upon 
the Journal." 

The legislative squabble which not unusually follows the in- 
troduction into Congress of unpalatable measures now occurred. 
Motions to postpone and amend were made, and the body 

* "Journal of Congress," III, 535. 


adjourned without reaching a vote on Mr. Bland's proposition. 
The next day its consideration was declared out of order; but 
no vote upon the adoption of the committee's report was ever 
taken in Congress, although action was frequently sought by 
the Commonwealth of Virginia, as the journals show. On Oct. 
29, 1782, the cession of New York was formally filed and 
accepted as an independent proposition. 

After failing to agree upon several intervening reports, the 
whole matter, including the report of Nov. 3, 1781, was referred 
to a new committee, who brought in what proved to be a final 
report on Sept. 13, 1783, in which the entire question is dis- 
cussed, and the proposition of Virginia as originally made was 
recommended to be accepted with but few, and those imma- 
terial, modifications. The report was adopted, and on March i, 
1784, the deed of cession, signed by Thomas Jefferson, Samuel 
Hardy, Arthur Lee, and James Monroe, was presented, formally 
executed, and accepted, New Jersey alone voting in the nega- 

The conditions insisted upon by Virginia and agreed to 
before the cession were: That the expenses incurred by the 
state in subduing any British posts, or in maintaining forts and 
garrisons therein, should be reimbursed by the United States; 
and that the French inhabitants and other settlers of Kaskaskia 
and neighboring villages who had become citizens of Virginia 
should have their possessions and titles confirmed to them and 
be protected in the enjoyment of their rights and liberties; and 
that the one hundred and fifty thousand acres of land promised 
by the state should be allowed and granted to Gen. George 
Rogers Clark and the officers and soldiers of his regiment who 
marched with him when Kaskaskia and Vincennes were reduced, 
and the officers and soldiers who have been since incorporated 
in said regiment, to be laid off in one tract and to be divided 
among said officers and soldiers in due proportion. There was 
also another stipulation of reservation in the deed relating to 
the "Virginia Military Lands" in Ohio. 

Without regard to the claim of Virginia to the western terri- 
tory by virtue of ancient charters, which it is not necessary here 
to discuss, her claim in right of conquest was certainly well 

* "Journal of Congress," IV, 344. 


founded, if, indeed, it was not unimpeachable. The Articles of 
Confederation (VI) provided that " no state shall engage in any- 
war without the consent of the United States in Congress assem- 
bled, unless such state be actually invaded by enemies or shall 
have received certain advice of a resolution being formed by 
some nation of Indians to invade such state, and the danger 
is so imminent as not to admit of delay." Just the condition of 
things contemplated by this article existed when, in 1778, 
Virginia organized and sent the expedition under Col. George 
Rogers Clark which reduced the posts in Illinois, and subse- 
quently held them by Virginia authority until the close of the 
war. They had been in possession of and garrisoned by British 
forces, and were continually stirring up the Indians in what is 
now Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois to make hostile and murderous 
raids into Virginia. These were constantly occurring — the 
British furnishing not only men to assist, but ammunition and 
supplies to maintain the invading forces. The timely campaign 
of Col. Clark was the outgrowth of Virginia foresight, enterprise, 
and valor, and Virginia money paid the bills. But for this 
conquest the Northwest at the close of the Revolution would 
have been in possession of the British and would doubtless have 
so remained, as did Canada; and the western line of the United 
States, as before observed, would have been the ridge of the 
Alleghanies and the Ohio River, instead of the channel of the 
Mississippi. The supreme court of the United States in speak- 
ing of this title says " the grant of Virginia contained reserva- 
tions and stipulations which could only be made by the owners 
of the soil." "■ 

That the claim of New York through the Iroquois, so readily 
yielded at the time, was presented more for the purpose of 
effecting a favorable settlement of its disputed claim to the 
territory of Vermont, or to serve some other special purpose, 
than with any serious belief in its merits is more than probable. 

The title of the Indians to land in this country has been long 
settled by both the British and American governments, and the 
adjudication of the courts. While they were admitted to be 
rightful occupants, with a legal and just claim to possession, 
they never acquired any proprietary interests in the vast tracts 

* "Wheaton," VIII, 593. 


of territory over which they wandered, and had no power of 
aUenation. The purchases made from them by colonies were 
merely a measure of policy to prevent hostilities.* The claini 
of the Iroquois to western lands, although that confederacy was 
never backward in asserting its demands, was never so strongly 
urged by themselves for their own benefit as by the British 
government for the purpose of effecting its controversy with 
France, which brought on the French -and -Indian War. The 
claim of the Six Nations to the western country by right of 
conquest before 1700 was undoubtedly an afterthought. They 
frequently fixed their boundary themselves, and in the year 
1744, at the Lancaster conference, when explicitly requested by 
the governor of Virginia to define the extent of these claims, 
either original or as acquired by conquest, and to name what 
nations they had conquered any lands from in Virginia, replied 
that it was the territory only between the Potomac and the 
Warrior Ridge, and was bounded by the lands of the Susque- 
hanna and Potomac Indians,-f making no pretense of claim to 
the Wabash or Illinois country. 

By 1763, their claim by conquest had grown in inverse ratio 
to their power, which had been steadily waning. It extended, 
according to Sir William Johnson, as far west as the Falls of the 
Ohio, and thence northerly to the south end of Lake Michigan.;]: 
The nations claimed to have been subdued were the Shawnees, 
Delawares, Miamis, and other Western Indians, who had become 
their tributaries. As to the Delawares, the assertion had some 
semblance of truth, but none whatever so far as relates to the 
others. While the Iroquois had on several occasions, by reason 
of their having been supplied with firearms, successfully attacked 
the Illinois tribes and at one time driven them beyond the 
Mississippi, the latter never failed in any year to reoccupy their 
old camping-grounds, and frequently defeated and drove back 
their ancient foes. So far from conquering the Miamis, the 
latter were able not only to take care of themselves at home, 
but to attack their enemies on their own ground, where they so 
roughly handled them as to compel them to fly to' the governor 

* "V^heaton," VIII, 595. 

+ Colden's "History of the Five Nations," II, 81. 

:J: "Pennsylvania Archives," VI, 602. 


of New York for help. While a few of the Shawnees acknowl- 
edged for a time a limited dependency upon the Iroquois, they 
early threw off the yoke and ranged themselves on the side of 
the French against them. All the Western Indians, including 
the Miamis and Shawnees, formed an independent alliance 
under Pontiac in 1762, claiming to own the territory of the 
Northwest themselves, and it was in support of this claim that 
they went to war under the great Ottawa chieftain. 

At the treaty of Fort Stanwix, in 1768, however, the claims 
of the Iroquois, real as well as pretended, including those by 
right of conquest, were fully considered, and that nation's 
boundary was definitely established as follows: "We begin at 
the Ohio at the mouth of the Cherokee River, which is our just 
right, and from thence we go up on the south side of the Ohio 
to Kittaning, above Fort Pitt; from thence in a direct line to 
the forks of the Susquehanah," and thence by various courses 
as described, northward to Fort Stanwix. "And this we declare 
to be our final resolves."* 

Thus was effectually concluded whatever claim New York 
had to any portion of the western lands by reason of her alleged 
protectorate over the Iroquois. And the assurance of the com- 
mittee in endorsing a claim so attenuated is equaled only by 
the apparent obliviousness of facts shown by attempts at this 
late day to revive the alleged reasons originally advanced in its 

Other deeds of cession to the United States were made as 

follows: By Massachusetts, April 19, 1785, including a strip 

about eighty miles in width, beginning at the western boundary 

of New York from 42° 2' north latitude to 43° 43' 12" across 

the country to the Mississippi River. By Connecticut, Sept. 13, 

1786, including a strip of land about sixty-two miles in width, 

commencing west of a meridian passing one hundred and twenty 

miles west of the west boundary of Pennsylvania and extending 

westward from 41° to 42" 2' north latitude, running also to the 

Mississippi River. By South Carolina, Aug. 9, 1787, to the 

* "Colonial History of New York," VII [, 136. A second treaty of Fort Stan- 
wix, concluded with the United States, Oct. 22, 1784, and subsequently reaffirmed 
by the treaty of Fort Ilarmar, Jan. 9, 17S9, still farther restricted the boundary 
of the Six Nations, and declared in express terms that they yielded all claims to 
the country west of the western boundary of Pennsylvania, north of the Ohio. 



northern portions of the present states of Georgia, Alabama, 
and Mississippi. By North CaroHna, Feb. 25, 1790, under our 
present constitution, to what is now the State of Tennessee. 
And by Georgia, April 24, 1802, to a strip lying west of its 
western boundary and to the Mississippi River, between paral- 
lels 31° and 34° 41' north latitude in the states of Mississippi 
and Alabama. 

And thus it was through these several cessions by seven 
states of the original thirteen that the United States consum- 
mated its title to the public domain lying east of the Mississippi 

The area and number of acres thus acquired is shown by the following table : 


Massachusetts ( claimed and disputed, includ- / Apr. 19, 1785. 
Connecticut ( ed in Va. cession, estimated ) Sep. 13, 1786, 

New York and Massachusetts, actual, Mar. i, 1781 

Virginia, disputed and undisputed, exclusive 

of Kentucky, western reserve, and fire lands. Mar. i, 1784; 
Connecticut, western reserve and fire lands, Sept. 13, i 
South Carolina, . . . . Aug. 9, 1787 

North Carolina, nominal, the area of Tennessee 

being almost covered with reservations, Feb. 25, 1790, 

Georgia, ..... Apr. 24, 1802, 



315 202,187 

259,625 166,159,680 
5,937 3,800,000 

4,900 3,136,000 

/'paid Yazoo 
45,600 29,184,000 gjrip 

88,578 56,689,920 -< claims, 

- l^ $6,200,000 

404,955 259,171,787 

By adding to the foregoing the subsequent purchases 
by the United States, the entire extent and cost of 
the public domain is shown, as follows : 

The Louisiana purchase from France, 
East and West Florida from Spain, 
Mexican acquisition by treaty of Guadalupe 

Hidalgo, .... 

The State of Texas, Sept., 1850, $8,500,000: 

1855, $7,500,000, ... 

The Gadsden purchase from Mexico, 
Alaska, from Russia, ... 

Making a grand total of 

Apr. 30, 





Feb. 22, 





Feb. 2, 





Feb. 28, 





Dec. 30, 





Mar. 30, 









Expenses of surveys, to June, 1880, ....--- $24,468,691 

Expenses of executive and administrative departments, to June, 1880, partly estimated, 22,094,611 
Amount paid to extinguish Indian titles, annuities, and expenses, to June, 1880, 187,338,904 

Total cost, to June, i88o. 
Sold at New York to June 30, 1796, 1,484,047 acres. 
Sold since at public sale, net receipts, to June, 1880, 

Total cost above receipts to June, 1880, 


- $322,049,595 


There remained unsold, June 30, 1880 (not including Alaska), 791,178,438 acres, 
which were valued, according to the testimony and estimates in the report of the 
public-land commissioner, Feb. 24, 1880, at $1,159,921,261. — Compiled principally 
from "The Public Domain; Its History, with Statistics. By Thomas Donaldson. 
Washington, 1884." Published as a congressional document. 


The United States having thus acquired the ownership of the 
public lands heretofore belonging to the respective states, it 
became necessary to provide for their disposition. Three prob- 
lems presented themselves requiring an immediate solution: 
First, what plan to adopt for their survey and sale; second, how 
to provide satisfactorily for the extinguishment of the claim of 
the Indians thereto; and third, what form of government should 
be adopted for the people residing thereon. Each of these 
questions presented grave difficulties, but that relating to the 
title of the red man was the greatest. It confronted Congress 
at the beginning, and out of it grew those Indian wars which 
marked the bloody period of pioneer settlements in the entire 
Northwest. Its adjustment involved the expenditure of mil- 
lions of money and the sacrifice of thousands of lives. 

The first law passed by Congress on the subject of the dis- 
posal of the public lands was dated May 20, 1785, and provided 
for a survey, and after setting apart one-seventh part for the 
use of the Continental army, and making reservations for school 
purposes, and providing for the division of the remainder among 
the original thirteen states, for their sale; but failing to answer 
the purpose for which it was framed, it was in its main features 
repealed by the ordinance passed July 9, 1788. 

The system of land-surveys authorized by this law, and which 
have been continued ever since, is called the rectangular. From 
the principal bases, townships six miles square were to be laid 
out and established, each containing thirty- six sections one mile 
square, numbered from one to thirty-six, beginning at the north- 
east corner of the township, each section to contain six hundred 
and forty acres. Principal meridians and bases were initiated 
as follows: The first principal meridian, coincident with 84° 51' 
of longitude west of Greenwich, divides the states of Ohio and 
Indiana, having for its base the Ohio River. The second, 
coincident with longitude 86° 28' governs the surveys in Indiana 
and a portion of those in Illinois. The third, coincident with 
longitude 89° 10' 30", governs the surveys in Illinois east of said 
meridian, with the exception of those lands on the west side of 
the Illinois River. The fourth begins in the middle of the 
channel of the Illinois River at its mouth, in latitude 38° 58' 12" 
north, and longitude 90° 29' 56" west, governs the surveys in 


Illinois west of the Illinois River and west of the third principal 
meridian north of said river. Other meridians were initiated 
for other states and territories westward as the surveys required. 

The first officer in charge of the surveys of the public lands 
was Thomas Hutchins, who was appointed under the law of 
1785, and was called the geographer. He had been a captain 
in a British regiment — Sixtieth Royal, and was assistant-engi- 
neer in Bouquet's expedition. He was for a time stationed at 
Fort Chartres, but when the Revolution broke out, being 
strongly in sympathy with the colonists, he relinquished his 
position. In 1779, he was imprisoned in London on a charge 
of being in treasonable correspondence with Benjamin Franklin. 
After his release he proceeded to Charleston, and joined the 
army of Gen. Greene. He was the author of a "Topographical 
Description of Virginia," and several other valuable works.* 

It is claimed for him that he was the author of the plan of 
surveys adopted by congress, and to him was committed the 
task of putting it into successful operation, which he performed 
with remarkable care, patience, and ability. His work and 
descriptions of the country surveyed by him are of great value. 
Rufus Putnam was the first surveyor-general, so called, and was 
appointed under the act of 1796, creating the ofifice. No lands 
were disposed of under the law of 1785. 

* He was born in Monmouth, N.J., in 1 730, and died in Pittsburg, Penn., April 
2S, 1 789, where his remains now lie unnoticed in the cemetery of the First Pres- 
liyterian Church. — Allen's "American Biographical and Historical Dictionary." 
" Ohio Surveys, " Tract, No. 59. 

Authorities: "The Public Domam" (cong. doc), by Thomas Donaldson; "Jour- 
nals and Laws of Congress"; early Illinois pamphlets; "United-States Supreme-court 
Reports"; Cadwallader Colden's "History of the Five Nations," 3d ed. ; "Pennsyl- 
vania Archives"; "Colonial History of New York." 


Ordinance of 1787 — First Sales of Public Lands. 

THE necessity in the meantime of providing the people of 
the Northwest Territory with the means of governmental 
protection became apparent and even urgent. Accordingly, on 
March i, 1784, a committee, of which Thomas Jefferson was 
chairman, was appointed to prepare a plan for the temporary 
government of the western territory. The report submitted 
by Jefferson proposed to divide the territory into seven 
states, to be named as follows: Sylvania, Michigania, Cher- 
sonesus, Assenisipia, Metropotamia, Polypotamia, and Poli- 
sipia; and among other things it was provided that after the 
year 1800, "there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servi- 
tude in any of the said states otherwise than in punishment of 
crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." This 
was recommitted, but the second report agreed in substance 
with the first, omitting the names given to states. The anti- 
slavery clause, failing to secure a majority of states for its 
retention, was striken out. The report was then adopted, April 
23, in the form of a resolution. Provision was made for the 
organization of states by the people, but it was left to congress 
to provide such measures for the preservation of peace and 
good order among the settlers as " might from time to time be 
taken." No such action, however, was taken by congress. 

The resolutions of 1784 having failed to serve any practical 
purpose, remaining in fact inoperative, the inhabitants of Kas- 
kaskia in August, 1786, petitioned congress to provide some 
means by which they could form a better government. That 
body directed its secretary to reply " that congress have under 
consideration the plan of a temporary government for said 
district, and that its adoption will no longer be protracted than 
the importance of the subject and due regard to their interests 
may require." 

On Sept. 19, 1786, the plan above referred to was reported 
to congress, and after some discussion its further consideration 



was postponed. On April 29, 1787, the same committee re- 
ported another measure, which was read a second time and 
ordered to a third reading on May 10. On that date, however, 
action was again postponed. It contained none of those declar- 
ations in favor of freedom and human rights which distinguished 
the ordinance afterward adopted. 

After these repeated delays, all at once the situation was 
changed. Apathy gave place to interest, and inaction to earnest 
effort, and the greatest work of the Continental Congress was 
soon to be accomplished. The influence which produced this 
desirable result grew out of a plan to purchase western lands. 
A number of gentlemen in New England, nearly all of them 
ex-officers of the Revolutionary army, owning large amounts of 
government certificates of indebtedness, then not marketable, 
the previous year had organized themselves into a company 
for the purpose of converting their pap6r into land, with which 
the government was decidedly better supplied than with money 
to pay its debts. The most able and active member of the 
company was sent to New York to conduct the negotiations. 
This was Rev. Manasseh Cutler, D. D., a distinguished New- 
England divine who had served sometime as a regimental 
chaplain. He was a ripe scientist, an eloquent speaker, and a 
man of large experience. His person was commanding and his 
address as courteous as his oratory was convincing. His asso- 
ciates in the company, generals James Mitchell Varnum, Samuel 
Holden Parsons, Benjamin Tappan, colonels Rufus Putnam, and 
Ebenezer Sproat, and Maj. Winthrop Sargeant, were all men 
of influence and ability. Gen. Parsons had presented to con- 
gress the memorial embodying the proposed plan of exchanging 
scrip for land the previous May. 

Dr. Cutler arrived in New York on July 5, and at once 
entered upon the work assigned him. He sought to impress 
upon members not only the advantage of the proposed ex- 
change, but also how^ essential it was that a proper founda- 
tion for a good system of government should be laid for 
the people who should reside in the Far-West where the land 
desired by the New- England creditors of the government 
was situated, and without which the grant, if made, would 
be worthless. He even insisted that this was the first thing 


demanding consideration; and as that subject was then occu- 
pying the attention of congress, the doctor became very busy. 
He interviewed Gen. Arthur St. Clair — president of congress, 
and other leading members of that body, besides capital- 
ists and prominent citizens. The first-fruit of his efforts was 
the appointment, on July 9, of a new committee, composed 
mostly of fresh material : Edward Carrington and Richard 
Henry Lee of Virginia, John Kean of South Carolina — new 
members ; Nathan Dane of Massachusetts, and Melancthon 
Smith of New York- — old members. The bill as it then stood 
was submitted to Dr. Cutler "with leave," as he says "to make 
remarks and propose amendments." These he reported, and 
having favorably presented his proposition and put new life into 
the proposed ordinance, on July 10, he departed for Philadel- 
phia, where the Constitutional convention was in session. 

The time for dilatory proceedings had now passed. Here 
was an opportunity presented to congress to discharge several 
millions of dollars of the Nation's indebtedness in exchange for 
lands on the frontier, which could not be expected to have any 
market value for years if left to the natural course of events; 
and also to interpose a bulwark of settlements against Indian 
invasions of Virginia, New York, and Pennsylvania, which 
opportunities ought not to be neglected. An enactment for 
the government of the people of the proposed new settlement 
which would be satisfactory to the promoters of the enterprise 
was a prerequisite which ought not to be withheld or deferred. 

The committee went to work in earnest, and the new ordi- 
nance as prepared was reported to congress and read on July 
II. The next day it was read a second time and amended by 
the insertion of the sixth article; and on the day following, 
July 13, it was passed, receiving the unanimous vote of eight 
states, to wit : Virginia, Massachusetts, Delaware, New York, 
New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, all 
that were present. A majority of these were slave -states — 
indeed, slaves were held in all the states except Massachusetts. 
But slavery had not yet become a political question, and many 
of the leading men of the Southern States were strongly 
opposed to its existence and had so expressed themselves. 
While they would not favor the emancipation of slaves in their 


own States, it was not difficult for them to consent to its exclu- 
sion from the Northwest Territory. Grayson of Virginia, ex- 
plained his vote by saying that the anti-slavery clause in the 
ordinance would prevent the raising of tobacco, cotton, and 
indigo north of the Ohio River. Other Southern members 
were no doubt influenced by similar considerations. 

This celebrated enactment, justly distinguished as the great 
"American charter," and which in the centennial year of its 
adoption was the subject of renewed encomiums, was in the 
nature of a compact, and older than the constitution itself. 
While the object primarily sought to be obtained by its passage 
was the provision of a government for, and the encouragement 
of the settlement of, a vast territory destined to expand into 
future states, congress seized upon the opportunity thus offered 
to engraft upon the organic law, by legislative enactment, the 
fundamental principles of human freedom and equal rights, of 
which the Declaration of Independence formed the grandest 
statement which the world had yet seen. The ordinance vital- 
ized and put into practical operation those eternal truths which 
the Declaration stated only doctrinally, upon which the Ameri- 
can government was founded and upon the preservation and 
maintenance of which its existence alone depends. 

Daniel Webster said of it: "We are accustomed to praise the 
law-givers of antiquity; we help to perpetuate the fame of 
Solon and Lycurgus ; but I doubt whether one single law, 
ancient or modern, has produced effects of more distinct, 
marked, and lasting character than the Ordinance of 1787." 
Chief-Justice Salmon P. Chase, while governor of Ohio, spoke 
of it as follows: "Never, probably, in the history of the world 
did a measure of legislation so accurately fulfil, and yet so 
mightily exceed the anticipations of the legislators. It has 
been well described as having be6n a pillar of cloud by day and 
of fire by night in the settlement and government of the North- 
western States." 

It is not surprising that the question of authorship of so 
important a document should have awakened more than ordi- 
nary interest. And here it must be noted that the era in which 
it was produced was remarkable alike for its discussion of ques- 
tions relating to the rights of man, and for the advancement made 


in theories of human government. It was a period of bold 
thought and searching investigation. The splendid rhetoric of 
Edmund Burke, the unanswerable logic of Thomas Jefferson, 
the keen satire of Thomas Paine, and the profound philosophy 
of Benjamin Franklin revolutionized public sentiment. Old 
ideas of the prerogative of kings, hereditary rights, and class 
legislation, with their attendant train of suffering and oppres- 
sion were shown to be untenable. Man was lifted up to a 
higher plane, where his eyes were opened to a clearer concep- 
tion of his rights, no less than of his duties and obligations. 

It was, therefore, in line of the thought of the age that in 
providing for the government of the inhabitants of that magnifi- 
cent domain, lately acquired by the general government, all 
the benefits — social, political, and educational — derived from 
enlarged views of freedom and culture should be extended to 
them and embodied in their fundamental law. The principles 
announced in the Declaration of Independence remaining there 
without form of law to enforce them would indeed have proved 
to be merely "glittering generalities." But they had already been 
vitalized by enactment into the constitutions of Virginia, Penn- 
sylvania, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, New 
Hampshire, and especially in Massachusetts. In all of these 
instruments articles were adopted in favor of religious liberty, 
the benefit of the writ o{ habeas corpus, the trial by jury, estab- 
lishing the common law, the right to bail, that fines should be 
moderate, and that no man should be deprived of his liberty or 
property without due process of law, and that full compensation 
should be made for private property taken for public uses. 

In the constitutions of Massachusetts, Georgia, Pennsylvania, 
North Carolina, and New Hampshire provision was made for 
the establishment of public-schools and their support by the 
state. In Massachusetts, almost the precise language was used 
as that in the ordinance, the statement being, " the happiness of 
the people and the good order and preservation of civil govern- 
ment essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality." 
" Wisdom and knowledge as well as virtue diffused generally 
among the body of the people being necessary for the preserva- 
tion of their rights and liberties." 

In regard to real property, it repealed the leading features of 


feudalism by which all lands before the Revolution were held 
by socage tenure, denoting a fixed and determined service.* 
In thus providing for the free and unconditional alienation of 
the public lands by the general government, and for the equal 
distribution of estates among the descendants of intestates and 
their dispositon by will, as against the English laws of primo- 
geniture, and the alienation of real estate by lease and release 
or bargain and sale by deed, in fee simple, "it struck the key- 
note of our liberal system of land laws, not only in the states 
formed out of the public domain, but also in the older states."-f- 

But even these important provisions, although not so broadly 
and clearly shaped, were already contained in the Constitution 
of Georgia, (Art. II.) 

It appears, in fact, that some of the most important declara- 
tions of rights contained in these early constitutions, and since 
reenacted, were not included in the ordinance, namely: the 
liberty of the press, the right of free-speech, the right of peti- 
tion, the freedom of elections, the right to bear arms, and 
the prohibition of cx-post-facto laws. 

The proposition that certain articles should be considered as 
a compact between the original States and the people and States 
in the said territory, seems to have originated with Jefferson. 
It was in the ordinance reported by him in 1784. This ordin- 
ance also contained an article of which Jefferson was the author, 
prohibiting slavery in any state to be formed out of said terri- 
tory after the year 1800; but Jefferson, in 1787, was our min- 
ister to France, and took no part in the later enactment. In 
1785, Rufus King of New York, introduced a resolution as a 
supplement to the ordinance of 1784, providing for the pro- 
hibition of slavery in the States to be formed out of said terri- 
tory. It was referred to a committee and never reported upon. 

That portion, therefore, of Art. VI. which prohibited slavery 
in the territory was new. The original draft was in Mr. Dane's 
handwriting, as indeed was the entire instrument, and he says 
in his letter to Rufus King that " when I drew the ordinance, 
which passed, a few words excepted, as I originally formed it, 
I had no idea the States would agree to the Sixth Article, as 
only Massachusetts of the Eastern States was present, and 

* Kent, III, 527. t Com'r, J. S. Wilson. 


therefore omitted it in the draft ; but finding the House favor- 
ably disposed on the subject after we had completed the other 
parts, I moved the Article which was agreed to without opposi- 

On the other hand, Judge Ephraim Cutler, son of the doctor, 
tells us that while on a visit to his father, then a member of 
Congress, at Washington, in 1804, having informed him that he 
had prepared the anti-slavery clause of the Ohio constitution, 
his father stated in response, that it was a singular coincidence, 
as he himself (the doctor) had prepared that part of the Ordin- 
ance of 1787 while he was in New York negotiating the pur- 
chase of lands for the Ohio Company. 

In regard to other clauses, the doctor informs us in his diary 
that on his return from Philadelphia, July 19, he found that the 
ordinance which had been adopted had been " in a degree new- 
modeled," but that the amendments proposed by him had all 
been made except one, which related to taxation. These, as 
claimed by him, it appears, were the provisions relating to 
religion, education, and slavery.* 

The provisions of the ordinance which were distinctly new, 
in addition to article six, were as follows : 

The plan for the organization of a civil government for 
the northwestern territory was a venture into an entirely new 
field. The grant of power to the people was, however, not 
very liberal. Every office of the territory was to be filled 
by appointment, and the incumbents were required to be 
land owners. The minimum was a free-hold estate therein of 
five hundred acres each by the secretary and judges, and one 
thousand acres by the governor. All "magistrates and other 
civil officers " were appointed by the governor, who, with the 
judges made the laws, until the territory rose to the second 
grade. The elective franchise, only to be exercised after the 
territory had obtained five thousand inhabitants, was confined 
to the election of members of the general assembly. A repre- 
sentative was required to be a citizen of the United States, a 
resident of the district, and the owner of two hundred acres of 
land ; while an elector must be the owner of fifty acres. 

Both reflection and experience demonstrated the fact that 

* Cutler's "Life of Rev. Manaseh Cutler," I., 342-3. 


these provisions were too narrow, and the ordinance was 
amended in 1809 so that the people were authorized to elect 
a council, theretofore appointed by the president and a member 
of congress, previously chosen by the Legislature; and in 18 II, 
the right of suffrage was extended to all those who paid a tax 
and resided one year in the territory. 

The other provisions of the ordinance which were new, were 
(i) the clause in regard to the inviolability of private contracts; 
and (2) that in regard to the treatment of the Indians. The 
claim of originality by Dane to both of these, seems to be well 
founded, and has not, indeed, been seriously questioned. That 
the committee was greatly benefited and assisted by the sug- 
gestions and personal influence of Dr. Cutler, during the final 
preparation of the ordinance, there can be no doubt. But the 
eminent services of the able Dane, who, in his official capacity 
as a member of congress, prepared and aided in securing the 
passage of the document, can not be over estimated by the 
millions of people who are now reaping and enjoying the bene- 
fits of its wise provisions. 

Having shown how the public domain was acquired, the 
system of surveys established, and the provision made for the 
government of the inhabitants residing thereon, a brief space 
will now be devoted to the plan adopted for its disposition. 

The first sale of land after the passage of the Ordinance of 
1787, was made in pursuance of an act of congress, July 23, the 
same year, instructing the Board of Treasury to contract for 
the sale of the large tract to the Ohio Land Company, of 822,- 
900 acres, receiving therefor certificates of ownership and army 
land-warrants valued at $642,859. This was followed by one 
to John Cloves S^mmes, of 272,540 acres, for which he and his 
associates paid $189,643; and by another to the State of Penn- 
sylvania, of 202,187 acres. All other sales of public lands of 
the United States were made under general laws.* 

On May 19, 1796, an act was passed by congress for the sale 
of lands in Ohio; but the general system finally adopted, 
under which all the public lands have been since disposed of, 
was embraced in the act of May 10, 1800, the credit for 
originating which is due to the profound thought, and far- 

* " Public Domain," 17, 197-8. 


reaching sagacity of that eminent financier and statesman, 
Alexander Hamilton. The subject having been referred to him 
as secretary of the treasury, he presented a report in which he 
recommended the establishment of a general land-office, the 
appointment of a surveyor-general, and all the other prominent 
features embodied in the act last named. Provision was made 
for receivers and registers; the lands were to be offered at pub- 
lic sale in lots of 320 and 640 acres, and at not less than two 
dollars per acre, one-fourth of the purchase morjey to be paid 
within 40 days and the remaining three-fourths in two, three, 
and four years, with interest at the rate of six per cent per 
annum on the deferred payments. 

Prior to the passage of the act in question, the only portion 
of the public domain sold had been in Ohio. The sales had 
aggregated 1,484,047 acres, for which there had been paid into 
the Treasury the sum of $1,201,725.* 

Amendments were made to the law of May 10, 1800, at 
various times, extending the time of payments, and providing 
for sales in smaller quantities than 320 acres, until in 1820 the 
credit system was abolished and sales of eighty-acre lots per- 
mitted, and the price fixed at $1.25 per acre. Subsequently 
entries also were allowed for forty-acre lots. Under the credit 
system there had been sold in Illinois 1,593,247 acres. 

In every instance the following tracts were excepted from 
sale: (i) One thirty-sixth portion (640 acres) of each township 
for the support of schools. (2) Seven entire townships, viz: 
Two in Ohio and one each in the territories of Michigan, Indi- 
ana, Illinois, Mississippi, and Louisiana, were reserved for the 
support of seminaries of learning. (3) All salt-springs and lead- 
mines were also reserved, but might be leased by the president. 

* "Public Domain," 17. 

Authorities : Laws and Journals of Congress ; Article in " North American 
Review," April, 1876, by W. F. Poole; "The St. Clair Papers," by W. H. Smith; 
" Life, Journal and Correspondence of Manasseh Cutler, " by W. P. and J. P. 
Cutler; "Charters and Constitutions," by Ben. Perley Poore; "The Public Do- 
main," Congressional Document. 


As a Part of the Northwest Territory — Illinois Merged 
into St. Clair County — First Officers — Land-Titles in 
Illinois — Indian Disturbances — St. Clair's Defeat — 
Randolph County — Early Attempts to Dismember 
the American Union, 1789-1800. 

THE chronological sequence of events having been broken 
somewhat in the two foregoing chapters, it will now be 
resumed before taking up the subject of Indian treaties. 

A plan for the government of the Northwest Territory hav- 
ing been formulated and adopted by congress, it became neces- 
sary to appoint officers to administer it. 

This question had already received some consideration, even 
at the time of the passage of the Ordinance of 1787. That 
famous statute and the act authorizing the sale of western lands 
were in charge of congressional committees -whosQ persomiel v^3.s 
almost identical, both having the same chairman, and three of 
the members of one being also members of the other. It soon 
transpired that the parties interested in the Ohio Land Com- 
pany desired Gen. Parsons for governor. The act of congress 
providing for the sale, as passed July 23, was not satisfactory to 
the proposed purchasers, especially in regard to the security re- 
quired for the unpaid purchase money, and Dr. Cutler addressed 
a letter to the treasury requesting modifications. There was a 
serious hitch in the proceedings, and the doctor threatened that 
unless the terms proposed in his letter were complied with the 
company would purchase land from the states. But the chief 
obstacle in the way to success, as he soon began to suspect, was 
the company's candidate for governor. The program was 
accordingly changed, the doctor frankly declaring to Col. Gray- 
son and other members of congress, "that if Gen. Parsons could 
have the appointment of first judge, and Sargent secretary, we 
should be satisfied; and that I heartily wished Gen. St. Clair 
might be governor, and that I would solicit the Eastern mem- 
bers to favor such an arrangement." The doctor further states 
13 193 


that he found this suggestion "rather pleasing to the Southern 
members;" and the next morning meeting Gen. St. Clair, that 
gentleman informed him that "he would make any possible ex- 
ertion to prevail with congress to accept the terms contained in 
our letter." Dr. Cutler added 'that things went on much bet- 
ter since St. Clair and his friends had been informed that we 
had given up Parsons; " and on that very day, July 23, congress 
accepted the proposed modifications and closed the contract.* 

The reverend doctor's experience in public affairs proved to be 
of great advantage to him in this emergency, and enabled him to 
consummate his great scheme without the surrender of a single 
point seriously insisted upon. 

The officers for the Northwest Territory were finally ap- 
pointed February i, 1788, as follows: Gen. Arthur St. Clair, 
governor; Winthrop Sargent, secretary; and Samuel Holden 
Parsons, James Mitchell Varnum, and John Cleves Symmes — 
vice John Armstrong declined — ^judges. The ordinance having 
been amended to conform to the Constitution in regard to 
appointments, these officers were all re-appointed by President 
Washington and confirmed by the Senate, Aug. 8, 1789.-!- 

Gen. St. Clair was a native of Scotland, whence he emigrated 
to North America in 1755, when he was twenty-one years of 
age. He entered the army and served through the French and 
Indian wars and that of the Revolution, leaving the army with 
the rank of a major-general. In 1786, he was elected a dele- 
gate to congress from Pennsylvania, and was president of that 
body when he received his gubernatorial appointment. 

He was now to enter upon an untried field. The theory of 
congress was to be put to the crucial test of actual experiment. 
Stupendous results might depend upon the success or failure of 

* Cutler's Journal in Smith's " St. Clair Papers, " I, 129. 

+ Other officers, in place of those who had died or resigned, were subsequently 
appointed as follows: Judges, George Turner, Sept. 12, 1789 — vice Win. Birton, 
declined — resigned 1797; Rufus Putnam, March 31, 1790 — vice S. H. Parsons, 
deceased — resigned 1796 ; Joseph Oilman, Dec. 26, 1796, in place of Putnam ; Re- 
turn Jonathan Meigs, Jr., Feb. 12, 1798, in place of George Turner ; .Secretaries, 
Wm. H. Harrison, 1798-9; Charles Willing Byrd, 1799 to 1803; Attorney Gen- 
eral, Arthur St. Clair, Jr., from 1796; Treasurer, John Armstrong, from 1792; 
Auditors of Public Accounts, Rice Bullock, 1799; Thomas Gibson, from i8ooj 
Delegates to Congress, Wm. H. Harrison, 1799-1800, William McMillan, 1800-1, 
Paul Fearing, 1801-3. 


his initiatory efforts to lay broad and deep the foundation on 
which was to rest the superstructure of five mighty states, and 
the welfare of the unborn millions who would people them. 
How to deal with the white inhabitants, separated from the 
restraints of older communities, and with the red men, who 
largely outnumbered them; how equitably to settle complicated 
and conflicting land claims arising from grants and treaties; 
how to provide wholesome laws and regulations adapted to the 
growth and prosperity of the inhabitants — these were a few of 
the profound as well as perplexing problems which the situation 

On July 9, 1788, the twelve-oared barge of the governor 
reached Marietta, the name of the settlement which formed the 
nucleus of the colony to be planted by the Ohio Land Company; 
and as he stepped on shore, he was received by the recently 
arrived citizens with military honors. 

On July 15, the governor and judges formally proceeded to 
organize the new government. The county of Washington was 
established, and a code of laws adopted and published.* 

It was not long before it was evident that there was a lack of 
harmony between the executive and judicial departments. 
They entertained different views as to their respective and rela- 
tive powers, and did not agree as to the character of needed 
legislation. Some of the laws adopted were construed to be in 
violation of the ordinance, and subsequently failed of ratifica- 
tion by congress. 

The governor found his situation neither pleasant nor profit- 
able, and returning to Philadelphia in the Fall, seriously thought 
of tendering his resignation. But his plans for preferment and 
the advancement of his personal interests in his old home failed, 
and he returned to his position. 

* These laws were not always adopted from the statutes of the original states as 
required by the ordinance, but were changed at first to meet the supposed exigencies 
of the case. This action was not approved by congress, but the laws were generally 
permitted to remain in force until reenacted by the first territorial legislature. " After 
1795, the laws adopted were almost literal transcripts of those of other states, of 
which, up to 1799, when the governor and council were superseded by the legisla- 
ture, twenty-five (limitations, settlement of estates, wills, enclosures, ejectment, etc.) 
were taken from Pennsylvania, eight (dower, divorce, coroners) from Massachusetts, 
four each from Virginia, Connecticut, and Kentucky, two from New York and one 
from New Jersey. 


In January, 1790, the governor and judges proceeded to Fort 
Washington, where the county of Hamilton was organized, and 
the name of the village changed from Losantiville to Cincinnati.* 

From here the governor and secretary determined to visit for 
the first time the Illinois country, and arrived at Kaskaskia 
March 5, 1790. The county of St. Clair was established (named 
after himself) being laid oft" into three districts, and officers ap- 
pointed therein. The selection of the latter the governor found 
to be a difficult task, since, as he says " not a fiftieth man could 
read or write," and the entire district "afforded barely a suffi- 
cient number of persons who were in any degree qualified to fill 
the necessary offices." So, doubtless, it appeared to the gov- 
ernor, but why it happened that so few Americans received 
appointments, when there were then nearly a hundred in the 
county, among them the Moores, Ogles, VVm. Arundel, Shad- 
rach Bond, sr., the Clarks, Lemons, George Atchison, and many 
others who possessed qualifications above the average pioneer 
•settler, it is impossible to conjecture. Did they prefer to re- 
main out of the way, waiting to see how they might be affected 
by the changed aspect of affairs .^-f- 

The governor made his first visit to Cahokia April 27, 1790. 
He found the inhabitants of the Illinois country in a deplor- 
able condition. Ever since it had fallen under American con- 
trol they had been involved in no little distress. They had with 
great cheerfulness furnished Col. Clark and his troops with sup- 
plies, robbing themselves even of necessaries. The certificates 
which they had received in payment, were still in their hands 
unliquidated and unpaid. The authorities of Virginia had re- 

* Dillon's "Historical Notes," 40. 

+ The first officers appointed in St. Clair County were as follows : 
Judges of the Court of Common Pleas : Jean Bte. Barbeau, John Edgar, Antoine 
Gerardin, Philip Engle, and John de Moulin ; Justices of the Court of Quarter 
Sessions and Justices-of-the-Peace : John Edgar, Philip Engle, Antoine (ierardin, 
Antoine Louviers ; Justices of the Court of St. Clair County : Francuis Trottier, 
F. Janis, Nicholas Smith, James Piggott, B. Saueier ; Judge of Probate : Bartholo- 
mew Tardiveau ; Clerk and Recorder of Deeds : William St. Clair, a nephew of 
the governor; Sheriff: William Briggs ; Coroner: Charles le Fevre ; Surveyor: 
Antoine Gerardin ; Militia: Lt-Colonel, Bartholomew Tardiveau; Major, Antoine 
Geradin ; Captains, John Edgar, J. B. Dubergin, Philip Engle, F. Janis, and 
James Piggott; Notary Public: Joseph La Bussiere. — Sargent's fournal in "St. 
Clair Papers." 


fused payment because the obligation had been assumed by the 
general government, and the latter had failed to provide for 
them. Added to this they had suffered the loss of the Indian 
trade, and extortions at the hands of those who had been for- 
merly their friends. Other misfortunes followed, among the chief 
of which had been three successive and extraordinary inunda- 
tions of the Mississippi, which swept away their crops or pre- 
vented their being planted, together with the loss of their pre- 
vious crop by an untimely frost. 

Father Gibault, the patriotic priest who had rendered such 
valuable service to Gen. Clark in 1778, in order to meet the de- 
mands for supplying American troops, and as an example and 
encouragement to others, had even "parted with his tithes and 
his beasts, receiving therefor only paper dollars," and was "com- 
pelled to sell two of his good slaves" to raise a required sum of 
$1500. He had done all in his power to aid the Revolutionary 
cause, only, as he claimed, " to perceive that it was intended to 
pillage and abandon the French inhabitants." 

Charles Gratiot, at Cahokia, performed like patriotic services 
on a much larger scale. Himself and Francois Vigo, with 
others, contributed large sums not only to supply troops but 
also to purchase goods for the Indians to close treaties, without 
which they could not have been successfully concluded. Gra- 
tiot presented his claims at Richmond and after repeated visits 
there, and years of effort, he finally succeeded in having them 
allowed, receiving but little ready money for them, however, be- 
ing compelled to take pay in tobacco, slaves, and lands at high 

Vigo's claim was originally $8716, a large sum in those days, 
the failure to collect which kept him poor. His heirs finally 
succeeded in securing its allowance in the Court of Claims, 
but the United States appealed from the decision to the Su- 
preme Court, where it was reaffirmed in 1876, amounting then 
to about $50,000.* 

The French inhabitants of the Illinois territory had, indeed, 
experienced the most remarkable vicissitudes of political for- 
tune. They had become the subjects of their own conquerors 
and the victims of their own wars. Subjugated by the British, 

* "Magazine of Western History," I, 230. 


deserted by the Indians, despoiled and cheated by the Ameri- 
cans, it is not surprisinfT if, in their present condition, they 
looked back with regretful longings to the good old days of 
French rule, or even to the time when the British were over 
them, who, if they took their property, paid for it at a fair valu- 
ation in gold. 

The governor remained in the new county until June 11, after 
which time he did not revisit it for five years. In the meantime 
the government which he had inaugurated therein was far from 
being a success. The militia organization had proved an entire 
failure, many of the officers refusing to discharge their duties, 
and their successors manifesting no desire to improve the ser- 
vice. The men were insubordinate, and had refused to muster 
for eighteen months. The judiciary was in an equally unsatis- 
factory condition. The courts were rarely convened, their few 
sessions being marked by the absence of order or decorum. In 
other respects also the government was a failure, and the pros- 
pects of the people were indeed gloomy.* 

In 1795 Judge Turner, at the request of the governor, pro- 
ceeded to St. Clair County to hold court. His visit was pro- 
ductive of more harm than good. He ordered the removal of 
the records from Cahokia to Kaskaskia, and removed the clerk 
from office because he opposed the transfer. Out of this pro- 
ceeding arose a controversy between the governor and the 
judge, which resulted in the preferment of charges against the 
latter, and in his ultimate resignation. The division of St. Clair 
County, and the establishment of Randolph — named after Gov. 
Beverly Randolph of Virginia — also had its origin in' the same 
cause. This event occurred in 1795 — the dividing line between 
the counties ran from the Mississippi through the New Design 
settlement to the Wabash. Kaskaskia was made the county- 
seat of Randolph County, and Cahokia of St. Clair. 

The governor revisited these counties in 1796, and with him 
came Judge Symmes, who held court at both Kaskaskia and 

At the latter place an exciting incident was the attempt to 
indict Col. William Whiteside and others for the killing of cer- 
tain Indians. The grand jury refused to find a bill, and the 

* "Report of William St. Clair," in June, 1793, " St. Clair Papers." 


governor, who was present, approved their action, stating that 
the kilhng was not only justifiable but praiseworthy.* 

The complications arising out of conflicting claims and titles 
to land in Illinois were as difficult of adjustment as they were 
various and perplexing. There were the old French grants, 
whose lines were often difficult to find, the British grants, and 
those of the Virginia authorities. These latter were judiciously 
restricted and guarded by Col. Todd, but not by his successor, 
who, it is said, made grants indiscriminately. 

To make " confusion worse confounded," in accordance with 
the stipulations of the deed of cession by Virginia, in part com- 
pensation for the hardships imposed upon the inhabitants of 
Illinois by the events of war which followed the capture of Kas- 
kaskia by Gen. Clark, congress on the 29th of August, 1788, 
had passed a resolution providing for the confirmation in their 
possessions, and titles of the French and Canadian inhabitants, 
and other settlers about Kaskaskia and Vincennes, who on or 
before the year 1783, had professed themselves citizens of the 
United States, or any of them; and also donating a tract of 
four hundred acres of land to each head of family of the same 
description of settlers. The act was just and right, the difficulty 
lay in the failure to execute it. 

Although ten years had elapsed since the conquest of the 
country, and five years since the close of the Revolutionary war, 
congress had taken no action in compliance with the numerous 
petitions of settlers requesting that their claims be confirmed 
and their titles quieted. Mindful of the injury being done in 
consequence of these delays, in his first letter of instruction to 
Gov. St. Clair, President Washington, in October, 1789, called 
especial attention to this subject, and directed him to "execute 
the order of congress," stating that it was a matter of import- 
ance "that the said inhabitants should as soon as possible 
possess the lands to which they were entitled by some known 
and fixed principle." 

Gov. St. Clair found the task assigned him by the resolution, 
which required him to make lists of the persons entitled to 
lands and have them surveyed, a most trying one, the difficul- 
ties of which were enhanced by the passage of the act of con- 

* "St. Clair Papers." 


gress of March 3, 1791. This law extended the benefits of the 
resolution not only to those who had removed from one place 
to another within the district, but also to such as had removed 
out of the limits of the territory specified, upon condition of 
their returning and occupying said lands within five years. 

It further provided that when lands had been actually im- 
proved and cultivated within the limits before mentioned under 
a presumably valid grant of the same by any commandant or 
court claiming authority to make such grants, the governor was 
"empowered to confirm the same to such persons, their heirs or 
assigns, or such parts thereof as he might deem reasonable, not 
exceeding four hundred acres to any one person." The statute 
also contained a provision to the effect that "the governor be 
authorized to make a grant of land not exceeding one hundred 
acres to each person who hath not obtained any grant of land 
from the United States, and who on the first day of August, 
1790, was enrolled in the militia at Vincennes, or the Illinois 
country, and has done militia duty." 

Various lists and additions thereto were made out by the 
governor under the foregoing resolutions and act of congress, up 
to the time of the division of the Northwest Territory, and even 
thereafter, from which great confusion and uncertainty arose. 
Many of the original claimants were dead, many had removed, 
some had assigned their claims, and not a few persons presented 
themselves as having resided in the territory at the time pre- 
scribed, but who had never been heard of by the traditional 
"oldest inhabitant." But no surveys were made under the 
direction of the governor, and the law remained practically a 
dead letter, to the great dissatisfaction and inconvenience of the 
people. Another plan for the adjustment of these claims had 
therefore to be adopted. This was embraced in the act of 
March 26, 1804, establishing land-offices at Vincennes and Kas- 
kaskia. Under this act Michael Jones was appointed register 
and Elijah Backus, receiver; who were also authorized to act as 
commissioners with full power to receive and adjudicate such 
claims; which were classified thus: (i) Ancient grants, (2) 
donation, or head-rights, as they were called ; {3) improvement, 
and (4) militia claims. John Caldwell was added to the 
commission in 18 12, and Shadrach Bond was acting as register 


when the final report was made in 1815. Naturally the age of 
these claims and difficulty attending their proof, opened wide 
the door to fraudulent speculators. The assignment of a claim 
frequently implied as a necessary adjunct the production of a 
perjured deposition to establish it. There were filed with the 
commissioners seven hundred claims, of which they reported 
that two hundred were subsequently admitted to be false by the 
persons making them. Signatures to deeds and assignments 
were frequently forged, and in these questionable transactions 
some of the leading citizens of Kaskaskia were implicated. 
Many of those who had left the country and were not aware of 
the act of congress sold their claims for a mere song. 

Many French inhabitants fled the country in consequence of 
being told that they would be required, under the Ordinance of 
1787, to abjure their religion and forfeit their slaves if they re- 
mained. As might have been expected, such ignorant fugitives 
gladly disposed of their titles at a merely nominal price. 

Finally, as reported by the commissioners, more than thirty 
years after the claims originated, of the 2294 claims presented, 
1171 had been confirmed. Of the 254 donation claims con- 
firmed in the first report and approved by congress, 194 had 
been assigned. Of the 172 in the second report, every one had 
passed into the hands of new parties. Exclusive of the ancient- 
grant claims, the following persons, who were the largest holders 
at the time of the presentation of the final report, had their 
titles confirmed to the number of acres set after their respective 

Nicholas Jarrot, 25,000; John Rice Jones, 9400; William 
Morrison, 15,040; John Edgar, 49,200; James O'Hara, 6000; 
Jean Francois Perry, 5500; William Mcintosh, 8800. 

Although a state of war existed between the Indians and the 
inhabitants of Kentucky and the Northwest Territory, which 
was characterized by great ferocity and vindictiveness on both 
sides during the years from 178 1-5, the white settlements in St. 
Clair County, which by this time numbered forty or fifty fami- 
lies, escaped serious molestation. The act of congress of June, 
1785, warning settlers to depart from the public lands, as it was 
the intention of the government to have them surveyed and 
offered for sale, aroused the jealousy of tribes on the Wabash, 


who determined to make war upon the white settlers in St. Clair 
and Knox counties, the latter having been laid out at Post Vin- 

The salient features of the war, if the desultory guerilla war- 
fare may be dignified by that title, were marauding expeditions 
and midnight attacks, in which the Kickapoos bore a prominent 
part. During the years 1 786-1 795, these sanguinary raids were 
of frequent occurrence in the Illinois country, and resulted in 
the capture or massacre of many of the inhabitants. 

A few individual cases, which have come down to us through 
particular mention, may be especially noticed: During one of 
these predatory incursions in 1786, James Andrews, with his 
wife and daughter, James White and Samuel McClure were 
killed. In 1788, John Vallis was killed and Wm. Biggs taken 
prisoner. The same year, Samuel Garrison and Mr. Reddich 
were killed and scalped, and Benj. Ogle wounded. In 1789, 
David Waddle was wounded and scalped, but afterward re- 
covered ; James Turner and John Ferrel with three others were 
killed, and several wounded. In 1790, James Worley was 
among the killed. 

As a defense and protection against these attacks, block- 
houses were built in all the settlements. These were from one 
and a half to two stories high. In their construction, ornament 
was discarded for utility, and symmetry sacrificed for strength. 
The lower story was provided with port-holes through which to 
shoot. The second story projected three or four feet over the 
first, and its floor was perforated with similar holes. 

Occasionally, more elaborate architectural plans were fol- 
lowed; several families made common cause in mutual protec- 
tion against the treacherous foe. In such cases four houses 
were erected on the four corners of a square piece of ground, 
the intervals between being filled by heavy timbers set endways 
in the ground to a height of fifteen feet. Within the enclosure 
were cabins for the residence of the families, care being taken to 
choose a location near a spring of running water. Wells were 
sometimes dug on the inside to be used in case of siege. When 
danger seemed imminent, horses and other stock were driven 
inside the inclosure for safe keeping. The trees were nearly all 

* Dillon, 201. 


cut down to guard against ambuscades; but even this precau- 
tion did not avail to prevent occasional casualties when the 
gates were opened in the early morning. 

In 1 79 1, all overtures for peace having been rejected by the 
Indians, who plainly showed their ability and willingness to 
fight for the lands of which they claimed to have been deprived, 
Gov. St. Clair determined to establish a series of forts in the 
enemy's country in the neighborhood of the Miami village and 
to attack him wherever met. His experience in the Revolu- 
tionary war was not without value to him in the performance of 
the task which his official position imposed upon him, and 
served him in good stead at a time when experience was more 
rare than courage. He started on his campaign on September 
7. On November 3, his forces, numbering some 1450 men, 
reached a point near what was afterward the site of Fort Henry, 
and went into camp. Here on the morning of September 4, 
just before sunrise, he was unexpectedly attacked by a force of 
1200 Indians, commanded by Little Turtle and Blue Jacket, 
with whom were the notorious Simon Girty and a few other ren- 
egade whites. The militia fled at the first fire, but the regulars 
stood firm, and to save the day, which was going against them, 
made repeated and most heroic bayonet charges. Their deter- 
mined valor, however, did not avail, and a retreat was ordered. 
The fierce yells of triumph from a thousand savages, and the 
furious onslaught of the now victorious foe, turned the scene 
into a pandemonium of destruction and death. 

The brave old commander, thoU'^h so severely afflicted with 
the gout as to be unable to seat himself in his saddle, was in the 
thickest of the fight, continually urging his men to stand and 
charge. He had four horses killed while trying to secure a 
mount. He was not in uniform. His long grey hair flying in 
the wind was as conspicuous as were the white plumes of Henry 
of Navarre at Ivry. He led the charge which drove back the 
first assault and the one which cut a way through the enemy 
and made retreat possible. The loss was fearful, especially 
among the officers, thirty-nine of whom were left dead upon the 
field. Of the men, five hundred and ninety were killed or miss- 
ing. Twenty-two officers and two hundred and forty-two men 
were wounded. The loss of the Indians was estimated at only 


one hundred and fifty. The value of the property secured by 
them was estimated at $32,810.* 

As might have been expected, their success in this engage- 
ment encouraged the "red skins" to still bolder acts of hostility. 
But the American settlements in St. Clair County had been 
lately reinforced and greatly strengthened by the immigration 
of the families of Whiteside, Ogle, Judy, and others from Ken- 
tucky, who, by their daring, became a terror to the Indians, and 
kept them at bay. 

Gen. St. Clair having resigned his command in the army, was 
succeeded by Gen. Anthony Wayne. The campaign entered 
upon by him resulted in the victory of the Maumee Rapids, on 
August 20, 1794, and led to a suspension of ho.stilities. The 
Indians having by this time become convinced that it was idle 
for them to prolong the struggle, even should the British re- 
deem their doubtful promises of support and co-operation, con- 
cluded to agree to a general conference, which resulted in the 
Treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795. 

The news of the execution of this important treaty was hailed 
with joy throughout the Northwest. Other treaties being made 
soon after, immigration revived and the people resumed their 
peaceful pursuits, nor was the improvement of the country again 
interrupted by the disturbing element of Indian depredations 
for over fifteen years. 

Among those facts of general American history which sustain 
an intimate relation to the Northwest at this period, may be 
mentioned the diplomatic complications which existed between 
the United States on the one hand, and Great Britain, France 
and Spain, on the other. That the monarchial governments of 
Europe would have rejoiced to witness the downfall of republi- 
can institutions in the new world, is a question not admitting of 
much doubt. Whether or not any or all of the great powers 
hoped for an ultimate partition of the continent of North Amer- 
ica — each in its own interest, the fact remains that American 
affairs constituted one of the chief topics of discussion in the 
cabinets of the old world. The latter regarded the successful 
establishment of a republic on the western shores of the Atlan- 
tic as a standing menace to the integrity of those ancient insti- 

* Dillon's "Historical Notes," and Smith's " St. Clair Papers." 


tutions whose perpetuity they sought to maintain. Two modes 
of securing the overthrow of the new government presented 
themselves; one to embroil the United States in a foreign war, 
and the other, to sow the seeds of sectional jealousy and dissen- 

Great Britain having, in 1794, erected forts within the terri- 
torial limits of the United States, on the Maumee River, from 
which aid was extended to the hostile Indians, an acrimonious 
controversy arose respecting the same. The attitude of Great 
Britain toward our government at this period was so especially 
offensive that only the firm prudence of President Washington 
and the diplomatic skill of John Jay averted the precipitation of 
hostilities, which, to say the least, might have been fraught with 
grave peril to the young republic. On November 19, 1794, at 
London, a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, was con- 
cluded with Great Britain which happily settled all existing 
causes of quarrel with that government.* 

In 1793, the French Republic, now in the midst of its strug- 
gles with the monarchies of Europe to maintain its existence, in 
view of the essential aid which France had rendered the United 
States in the Revolution, through its minister, Edmond Charles 
Genet, endeavored to persuade the American government to 
make common cause with France, and render it equally valu- 
able assistance. He was received with much favor by the peo- 
ple generally. Becoming intoxicated by the fumes of popular 
adulation, he ventured to endeavor to make proselytes to his 
own political theories and to enlist recruits in the French cause. 
He secretly organized Jacobin clubs in the East, and dispatched 
emissaries to establish similar organizations in the West — not- 
ably in Kentucky. Failing to secure the cooperation of the 
government in his schemes, he urged upon the people of the 
West the advisability of setting up for themselves a new and 
independent government. He called for volunteers against 
Spain, offering large inducements and high positions in the 
French army. A force of two thousand men enlisted for this 
service, at the head of which, with a commission as major-gen- 
eral, was Gen. George Rogers Clark. 

But while both President Washington and the members of his 

* Dillon's " Indiana, " 382, et seq. 


cabinet were personally in sympathy with the republican move- 
ment in France, they wisely determined that the best interests 
of the United States required the government to maintain a 
strict neutrality as between France and the other powers. The 
conduct of Minister Genet was so rash, impolitic, and even un- 
friendly, that his recall was insisted upon by the American 

By order of the President, Gov. St. Clair issued a proclama- 
tion informing the people of the contemplated invasion of 
Spanish territory, and warning them of the dangerous conse- 
quences of participating in it; and on March 24, 1794, he issued 
a second proclamation to the same effect, and ordered Gen. 
Wayne to garrison and provision Fort Massac, for the pur- 
pose of preventing the contemplated expedition from going 
down the Ohio. Genet's wild scheme having been thus frus- 
trated by the adoption of these measures was necessarily aban- 

This action of the United States, and especially its ratifica- 
tion of the late treaty with Great Britain, was claimed by the 
French government to operate as a suspension of the treaty 
made between France and the United States in 1778 — the 
F'rench directory charging our government with a breach of 
friendship, an abandonment of its neutrality, as well as a viola- 
tion of its tacit engagements. Amicable relations between 
France and Spain were renewed by the treaty of August, 1796^ 
and in December following James Monroe, our minister at 
Paris, was officially notified that France declined longer to re- 
ceive a minister from the United States. 

Leaving for the present this threatening attitude of France 
toward the United States, the machinations of the Spanish 
authorities in the Western country against the peace and integ- 
rity of the American Union will be now briefly noticed. 

The discontent of the inhabitants of Kentucky and certain 
portions of North Carolina, afterward embraced within the 
limits of Tennessee, over the question of the navigation of the 
Mississippi River below the thirty-first degree of latitude, which 
had been reluctantly conceded to Spain by the United States 
in 1782, was now greatly aggravated by the repeated refusals of 
congress, in answer to their petitions, to take up this question 


and to insist that all impediments to the free navigation of that 
river should be removed.* 

Seven states, indeed, had authorized Minister Jay to conclude 
a treaty with Spain in which the United States would agree to 
forbear to navigate the Mississippi for twenty-five or thirty 

The Mississippi forn^cd the natural outlet of the products of 
the West. Spain not only had possession of the lower portion 
of this great artery of commerce, but controlled its navigation 
and had more than once seized American vessels attempting its 
passage, confiscating both boat and cargo. 

Said Mr. Madison, "the Mississippi is to the people of the 
Western country everything. It is the Hudson, the Delaware, 
the Potomac, and all navigable streams of the United States 
formed into one stream." I 

The people expressed their own views on the subject as fol- 
lows: "The Mississippi is ours by nature. Its mouth is the 
only issue which nature has given to our waters and we wish to 
use it for our vessels. No power shall deprive us of this right. 
If congress refuses us effectual protection we shall adopt the 
measures which our safety requires, even if they endanger the 
peace of the Union, and our connection with other states. 'No 
protection, no allegiance.' " § 

The restlessness and discontent of the people was also in- 
creased by the refusal of congress to admit Kentucky as a state. 
To have admitted Kentucky would have disturbed the sectional 
preponderance of the East in the national counsels; and as the 
proposed new commonwealth sought admission as a slave-state, 
eastern members promptly and emphatically declared that if 
the demand of Kentucky was granted, they would peremp- 
torily insist upon the admission of Maine or Vermont as a free- 

Spain, not unmindful of its failure to secure a portion of the 
territory of the Northwest east of the Mississippi in 1783, had 
never ceased to cast a longing eye upon that rich domain, to 
strengthen its possessions on the west. Its aim now was to 

* Madison's Works, IV, 558. 

t "Magazine of Western History," I, 365, Dillon's "Indiana," 189. 

t "American State Papa-s," II, 513. § Barbe Marbois' "Louisiana," 235. 


take advantage of this revolutionary feeling in the Northwest, 
of which it had been the primary cause, and to incite the people 
either to establish a separate government, or to attach them- 
selves with their territory to Louisiana. Efforts for the accom- 
plishment of this end were sedulously put forward for nearly 
five years. Spanish agents visited leading men in the coveted 
territory and freely offered both men and money to aid them 
in the prosecution of the scheme. Gen. Miro, the Spanish gov- 
ernor at New Orleans, was active and adroit in his efforts to 
urge the people of the disaffected district to revolt. Neither 
were there wanting ambitious leaders therein, who not only 
lent a willing ear to these counsels, but were also ready to 
cooperate with him in his plans. 

But fortunately the people of Kentucky were divided among 
themselves regarding the policy to be pursued. While some 
favored the establishment of a new republic, others were in- 
clined to attach the would-be state to Louisiana ; a third fac- 
tion believed that the Spanish power in North America might 
be overthrown by a well-planned attack on New Orleans, and 
there was yet a fourth party who contended that the panacea 
for their political woes was to be found in the establishment 
of a French protectorate. 

But in the meantime, pending negotiations between Spain 
and the United States were finally concluded by the treaty of 
October 27, 1795, among whose provisions were the following: 
That the middle of the Mississippi should be the Western 
boundary of the United States; that the navigation of the en- 
tire river should be free to the people of the United States, and 
that the latter should, for three years, have the privilege of 
using the port of New Orleans as a port of both entry and ex- 
port, being subject to the payment of local charges only. It is 
a remarkable fact that as the navigation of the Mississippi 
was reluctantly conceded by the United States to Spain in 
1782, in consequence of the fear that the states of South Caro- 
lina and Georgia, then occupied by the British, might fall into 
the hands of that government, so the favorable concessions by 
Spain, in the treaty of 1795 to the United States, were secured 
from that government because it desired to interpose the United 
States as a neutral power and barrier between Canada and 



Louisiana in the then pending war between Spain and Great 

On the part of Spain, however, the treaty of 1795 seems to 
have been signed with a mental reservation. No sooner had 
the British war cloud disappeared from the horizon than Baron 
Carondolet, the Spanish governor at New Orleans, declared that 
the agreement for the free navigation of the Mississippi "was 
only a temporary arrangement," and renewed his efforts to 
foment the spirit of discontent in the West. Thomas Power, 
who, as his emissary, had already been over the ground on a 
similar mission, was again dispatched to sow the seeds of 
discord. The terms of his commission as well as of his in- 
structions were secret, and a system of private communication, 
through signs and cipher dispatches, was arranged before his 
departure. He was directed to impress upon the leading citi- 
zens, to whom he was sent, the necessity for withdrawing from 
the federal Union and forming a separate Western government. 
The best talent the country afforded was to be employed in 
writing well-timed publications, to expose the inconveniences 
and disadvantages of any further connection with the Atlantic 
States, and to enlarge upon the benefits to be derived from 
autonomy. To cover the cost and expenses of this branch of 
the work, the Baron pledged one hundred thousand dollars. 

Immediately after the promulgation of the declaration of in- 
dependence. Fort Massac was to be seized by the putative gov- 
ernment, which would be supplied with munitions of war by the 
King of Spain, and one hundred thousand dollars donated for 
raising and maintaining troops. Power traveled through 
Tennessee and Kentucky with great secrecy and after holding 
interviews with leading citizens proceeded to Detroit to confer 
with Gen. Wilkinson, who had been regarded as an active ad- 
herent of the scheme of disintegration, but the latter had appar- 
ently begun to lose faith in the "well-laid plan " for separation, 
and, although he had private conferences with Power, he sent 
him away publicly under guard, and in disgrace. 

The people of the West having secured, by the treaty of 

1795, the right to navigate the great river without hindrance, 

and a place of storage at New Orleans without being subjected 

to unreasonable charges, now found but little cause of com- 



plaint against the general government. Their attachment to 
the new constitution had grown stronger as their desire for sep- 
aration had weakened, and in March, 1796, Spain, having lost 
all hope of effecting a secession of the western country from 
the Republic, evacuated the fort of Natchez, which was the next 
day taken possession of by the United-States troops. 

To return to the French. The refusal of that government to 
receive a minister from the United States, and the depredations 
committed by its vessels upon American commerce, ^mpelled 
our government to adopt and enforce measures of defence and 
retaliation. These were (i) to raise a provisional army, (2) to 
suspend commercial relations between the two countries, (3) to 
authorize the armed resistance of merchant vessels, and (4) to 
enact stringent penalties for the punishment of certain crimes 
against the United States. 

Meanwhile a great change had taken place in the internal 
administration of France. The new ministry, perceiving that it 
was for French interest to maintain friendly relations with the 
United States, intimated as much to our minister at the Hague. 
As a result a treaty of international amity was again concluded 
between the two governments on September 30, 1800. And 
thus happily were averted those foreign complications which 
had threatened serious disaster to the young republic. 

In 1798, it having been ascertained that the Northwest Terri- 
tory contained a population of five thousand inhabitants, steps 
were taken to advance it to the rank of a territory of the second 
grade. An election was ordered for representatives to a gen- 
eral assembly, which was to convene at Cincinnati, February 4, 
1799. To this body Shadrach Bond was elected a delegate 
from St. Clair County and John Edgar from Randolph. After 
nominating persons whose names were to be sent to the Presi- 
dent from among whom he might appoint the council, an 
adjournment was had until September, when the organization 
was completed. During the first session, which terminated 
December 19, forty-eight acts were passed, of which thirty- 
seven were approved by the governor and eleven vetoed. 

The territorial legislature was composed of an able body of 
men, among them being Return J. Meigs, afterward judge of 
the Supreme Court, governor of Ohio, and postmaster-general; 


Thomas Worthington and Edward Tiffin, both of them subse- 
quently governors of the State and senators in congress; Gen. 
James Findlay, for many years a member of congress from the 
Cincinnati district; Jacob Burnet and Solomon Sibley. Serious 
and unhappy differences of opinion upon proposed legislation 
between the governor and the legislature were soon apparent, 
provoking no little controversy, which probably hastened the 
creation of Indiana Territory, and the admission of Ohio as 
a state. 

Wm. H. Harrison, who had been appointed secretary of the 
territory, June 26, 1798, in the place of Winthrop Sargent who 
had been promoted to the governorship of Mississippi, was 
chosen a delegate to congress, defeating Arthur St. Clair, son of 
the governor, by one vote. 

The division of the Northwest Territory makes it no longer 
necessary to follow the fortunes of Gov. St. Clair. In parting 
with the veteran pioneer executive, it can hardly be claimed for 
him that his administration was a success. Although an ardent 
patriot, he was a high federalist, and a believer in the theory of 
a "paternal government," in life-tenures of office, and in execu- 
tive appointments rather than in popular elections. In his 
official conduct he was arbitrary, opinionated, self-confident, and 
stubborn. He had misunderstandings with the first secretary,. 
Sargent, quarrelled with and antagonized his successor, Gen. 
Harrison, and bitterly opposed the last secretary, Byrd. He 
controverted the judges, and had frequent collisions with the 
territorial legislatures. His appointment of his son, Arthur, Jr., 
as attorney general, and of his nephew William, clerk and 
recorder of St. Clair County, and above all his confirmation of 
an alleged grant of thirty thousand acres of land to John Edgar 
and J. Murry St. Clair, another son, in 1800, after the termina- 
tion of his authority to act as land commissioner — which con- 
firmation was afterward declared a nullity — were acts fairly 
open to severe criticism. He was rebuked by two presidents, 
Washington and Jefferson, and was finally removed from office 
by the latter on account of his conduct growing out of the 
division of the territory and the steps taken to form the state 
government of Ohio. 

In person he was tall and erect and his address was courtly. 


He was brave in battle and faithful to his friends. He ad- 
vanced large sums from his private means to sustain the gov- 
ernment in the darkest hours of the Revolution, as well as to 
defray the current expenses of the territorial government, which 
were never repaid to him. The last days of the old soldier, 
whose name is so closely interwoven with the early history of 
Illinois, were dark and lonely. His fortune — once a large one 
for the times in which he lived — had been mainly spent in the 
service of his country, and he found himself in his old age re- 
duced from affluence to penury. Neglected by his friends, he 
dragged out a wretched existence in poverty, if not in actual 
want, his only support being the beggarly pension allowed him 
by the government, until, at the age of eighty-four years he 
closed his days in a log-cabin in Pennsylvania, a striking illus- 
tration of the proverbial "ingratitude of republics." 

Authorities: "The St. Clair Papers," by William Henry Smith ; "Notes on the 
Early Settlement of the Northwest Territory," by Jacob Burnet; Dillon's " Historical 
Notes;" "American State Papers;" old MSS. in Chicago Historical Society; 
"Magazine of Western History," Vol. I. — a series of papers therein edited by O. 
W. Collet; "Life, Journal, and Correspondence of Manasseh Cutler, " by W. P. 
and J. P. Cutler; U. S. Treaties; "Laws of Congress;" "Western Annals;" 
Gayarre's and Marbois' " History of Louisiana; " Bancroft's "History of the Con- 
stitution;" Butler's and Marshall's "History of Kentucky." 


As a Part of Indiana Territory — Indian Policy and Trea- 
ties — Tables — Acquisition of Louisiana — Third At- 
tempt to Divide the Union — Schemes of Aaron Burr, 
1 800- 1 809. 

ON May 7, 1800, congress passed an act dividing the North- 
west Territory, by the provisions of which, after July 4, 
" all that portion thereof which lies to the westward of a line 
beginning on the Ohio, opposite the mouth of the Kentucky 
River, and running thence to Fort Recovery, and thence north 
until it shall intersect the territorial line between the United 
States and Canada, shall for the purpose of a temporary govern- 
ment, constitute a separate territory, and be called the Indiana 
Territory." The seat of government designated was "Saint 

Gen. Wm. Henry Harrison, then a member of congress, hav- 
ing become widely known as an able and efficient public officer 
by reason of his military and administrative, as well as legisla- 
tive services, was, on May 13, 1800, appointed governor of this 
new territory. He was the son of Gov. Benjamin Harrison of 
Virginia, where he was born February 9, 1773. Leaving the 
college of Hampden Sydney at the age of seventeen, he was 
placed at a medical college in Philadelphia by his father, who 
intended he should be a physician. But the news of the Indian 
disturbances in the West reaching him aroused his military 
spirit, and he determined to exchange the pestle and mortar for 
the more enlivening music of the fife and drum. 

He was commissioned an ensign by President Washington in 
1 79 1, and as the aid-de-camp of Gen. Wayne, greatly distin- 
guished himself, especially in the battle of the Maumee Rapids. 
From this date his advancement in rank was as rapid as it was 
deserved. The young captain was no less successful in the lists 
of Cupid than upon the field of Mars. He wooed the daughter 
of the wealthy Judge Symmes, and though his suit was prosper- 
ous with the lady, the father refused his consent to the proposed 



alliance. Taking advantage of the absence of the prospective 
father-in-law, the young couple proceeded to have the hyme- 
neal knot securely tied. Upon his return home the judge met 
his son-in-law at a dinner-party given by Gen. Wilkinson to 
Gen, Wayne, and accosting him, said, "Well, sir, I understand 
you have been married to Annie.-*" "I have, sir," was the reply. 
"How do you expect to support her.''" inquired the father. "By 
my sword and my own right arm," was the response. His sub- 
sequent splendid career justified his confidence and showed that 
his brave words were not mere idle vaporing. 

John Gibson of Pennsylvania, was appointed secretary of the 
Territory under Gen. Harrison, and William Clark, John Griffin, 
and Henry Vanderburgh, judges. The arrival of the governor 
having been delayed until January, 1801, the secretary, as 
empowered by law, organized the new government by appoint- 
ing the necessary subordinate officers in the three counties of 
Knox, St. Clair, and Randolph.* 

After the governor had reached Vincennes he met the judges 
in legislative session, at which laws for the government of the 
Territory were enacted, courts established, other officers selected 
and the new government successfully launched. 

The long career of Gen. Harrison as governor of Indiana 
Territory was particularly distinguished by the success which 
attended his judicious, yet firm, Indian policy. He has been 
not inaptly styled "the great treaty-maker," his name appearing 
as the representative of the United States, on no less than thir- 
teen treaties with different tribes in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, 
all of which were executed during the period of his occupation 
of the gubernatorial chair, and included nearly all the lands in 
the Northwest Territory. 

The first Indian treaty relating to cessions in the section indi- 
cated was that of Fort Mcintosh, made January 21, 1785, and 
embraced only lands in Ohio. 

On January 31, 1786, a treaty was concluded at the mouth of 

* Those designated in Randolph County were: Robert Morrison, Paul Harral- 
son, and James Gilbreath, county commissioners; George Fisher, sheriff; Robert 
Morrison, clerk of the court of quarter -sessions; William Wilson, county sur- 
veyor; William Kelley, coroner; and Lardner Clark, recorder. In St. Clair 
County they were: John Hays, sheriff; William Arundel, clerk; and John Hay, 


the Miami, which covered not only lands in Ohio but also in 
Indiana. Then followed that of Fort Harmar, January 9, 1789, 
between Gov. St. Clair and the Six Nations, and certain western 
tribes including the Ottawas, Pottawatomies, and Sacs and 
Foxes, which was chiefly confirmatory of that of Fort Mcintosh. 

These treaties, and the subsequent action of congress relating 
to the public lands, proved to be unsatisfactory to the Indians, 
and gave rise to frequent disputes, which culminated in war as 
has been already stated. In 1793, a commission consisting of 
Benjamin Lincoln of Massachusetts, Beverly Randolph of Vir- 
ginia, and Timothy Pickering of Pennsylvania, was appointed 
by congress to consider all the questions involved and, if pos- 
sible, arrive at some satisfactory settlement. For the guidance 
of the commission, instructions were framed, which can not but 
be read with interest at the present day, since they not only 
defined the duties and powers of the commissioners, but also 
clearly outlined the then existing policy of the national govern- 
ment toward the aborigines. 

The principles by which the commissioners were- to be guided 
were formally set forth as follows: "With respect to the treaties 
made between the United States and the several hostile tribes 
since the peace with Great Britain in 1783, it is to be observed 
that the treaty of Fort Harmar, made in January, 1789, is re- 
garded as having been made on solid grounds — the principle 
being that of a fair purchase and sale. The government con- 
siders the Six Nations, who claimed the lands by virtue of for- 
mer conquests, lying between the Ohio and Lake Erie, [east of 
the western line of Pennsylvania and north of the Ohio] which 
were ceded and confirmed to the United States by said treaty 
with said Six Nations, together with the VVyandots, Delawares, 
and Ottawas, and other hostile Indians, who were the actual 
occupants of the lands, as the proper oiviicrs thereof : that they 
had the right to convey said lands to the United States ; and 
that they did accordingly make the said conveyance with their 
free consent and full understanding. Parties, however, who 
were not at the treaty of Fort Harmar may have been at the 
treaty of Fort Mcintosh or the Miami. But if it shall appear 
upon a further investigation of the subject, at the place of con- 
ference, that there were other tribes interested in the lands then 


ceded to the United States, than those who subscribed the said 
treaty, or that the consideration given was inadequate, it may- 
be proper, in either or both cases, that a Hberal compensation 
be made to the just claimants." * 

At the various conferences subsequently held between the 
commissioners and the Indians, delegates were present from the 
following tribes: the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawnees, Miamis, 
Mingoes, Pottawatomies, Ottawas, Chippewas, Seven Nations of 
Canada, Cherokees, Mohicans, Senecas, Munsees, Convoys, and 
Creeks. The Indians contended that the treaties of Fort Stan- 
wix and Fort Mcintosh had been executed by them through 
fear, and that they were ignorant of the fact that they provided 
for cessions of lands. They further urged that the treaty of 
Fort Harmar was made by Gen. St. Clair with a few chiefs of 
two or three nations only, after he had been informed that at a 
general council of the tribes, previously held, no bargain or sale 
of any portion of their lands would be considered as valid or 

The commissioners found it necessary to recede from the 
position first taken by the government, that the whole of the 
Northwest Territory was owned by the United States, as suc- 
cessors of Great Britain, making use of the following language: 
"We by express authority of the President do acknowledge the 
property, or right of soil of the great country above described 
to be in the Indian Nations, so long as they desire to occupy 
the same. We only claim particular tracts in it * * and the 
right of purchasing of the Indian Nations disposed to sell these 
lands, to the exclusion of all other white people." 

To this the Indians replied, that they had never granted to 
the King of England or any other European power the exclu- 
sive privilege of purchasing their lands and said, "and we de- 
clare to you that we consider ourselves free to make any bar- 
gain or cession of lands whenever and to whomsoever we please." 

The views of the contracting parties, it will be seen, were wide 
apart; and no agreement having been reached after a discussion 
lasting through July and August, the pending negotiations were 
broken off. 

An appeal was once more made to the sword, and the cam- 

* Dillon's "Indiana," 301. 


paign of Maj.-Gen. Anthony Wayne begun in July. 1794 was 
brought to a successful close by the battle of the Maumee 
Rapids, August 20, in which the allied Indians were defeated. 
The loss of the Americans was twenty-six killed and eighty- 
seven wounded; that of the Indians, more than double that 
number, forty being left dead upon the field.* This engage- 
ment was followed by the Treaty of Greenville, executed Aug- 
ust 3, 1795. 

This was the first treaty relating to lands in Illinois in which 
the Western tribes claiming to own them united. The lands 
conveyed thereby were as follows: six miles square at the mouth 
of the Chicago River; twelve miles square at or near the mouth 
of the Illinois River; six miles square at the old Peoria fort; the 
post of Fort Masaac; the 150,000 acres assigned Gen. Clark and 
his soldiers; "and the lands at all other places in possession of 
the French people and other white settlers among them, the 
Indian title to which has been thus extinguished," 

The United States relinquished its claims to all other Indian 
lands northward of the river Ohio, eastward of the Mississippi, 
and south of the great lakes, afterward explained and defined in 
the treaty to mean "that the Indian tribes who have a right to 
these lands are quietly to enjoy them hunting, planting, and 
dwelling thereon, so long as they please, without any molesta- 
tion from the United States; but when those tribes, or any of 
them, shall be disposed to sell their lands, or any part of them, 
they are to be sold only to the United States." 

These concessions thus wisely secured by Gen. Wayne formed 
the basis of all future negotiations with the Indians; and now it 
was no longer required to wait until all the tribes pretending to 
be interested could be got together, as all that was necessary 
for the government to do was to hold out sufficient inducements 
to any single tribe, in order to secure the title to the land which 
it claimed to own. 

Accordingly, when, in consequence of the extensive settle- 
ments toward the Mississippi, it became necessary to secure 
more land in that direction, a treaty was concluded with the 
Kaskaskias representing the Kaskaskias, Cahokias, Mitchigamis, 
and Tamaroas, of the ancient confederation of the Illinois Ind- 

* "American Pioneer," Vol. I, 315-320. 



ians, for over eight million acres of land in the southern portion 
of what is now the State of Illinois. This treaty was executed 
at Vincennes by Gov. Harrison, Aug. 13, 1803.* Following 
the treaty last cited, others were made with the Shawnees and 
Piankashaws, the same year; with the Piankashaws and Sacs 
and Foxes in 1804; the Kickapoos and Pottawatomies in 1809; 
the Peorias, Illinois, Weas, and Kickapoos in 18 18, by which 
Indian claims to lands in the greater portion of Illinois, were 
extinguished. i* 

* "Revision of Indian Treaties," 424. 

f The following shows in a compact form the time and place of execution of 
those treaties relating to lands in Illinois, the names of the tribes with whom made, 
the amount of territory ceded, and, as nearly as can be ascertained, the considera- 
tion paid therefor: 


Greenville, ^ 

By Gen. Wayne. ) 

Fort Wayne, '^ 

Gov. Harrison. ) 

Vincennes, ) 

Gov. Harrison. f 

St. Louis, 

Gov. Harrison. 

Gov. Harrison. 
Fort Wayne, 

Gov. Harrison. 

Gov. Harrison. 
St. Louis, 

Gov. Edwards, Wm. ,- 

Clark, A. Chouteau, j 
Edwardsville, 1 

Gov. Edwards and r 

A. Chouteau. 1 

St. Mary's, I 

Lewis Cass, et al. f 
Fort Harrison, 

Benjamin Parke. 
St. Joseph, 

Lewis Cass, Pierre , 

Menard. ) 

Pr.)irie du Chien, 

Aug. 3, 1795. 

June 7, 1803. 
j- Aug. 13, 1803. 
!■ Nov. 3, 1804. 

Dec. 30, 1805. 
Sept. 30, 1809. 

Dec. 9, I 

Aug. 24, 1816, 


/ Wyandots, Delawares, Ottawas, ^ 

J Chippewas, Miamis, Shawnees, ( 

"1 Pottawatomies, Kaskaskias. Eel 1 

V River, Kickapoos, Piankashaws/ 

I Delawares, Shawnees. Miamis, \ „ 

1 Pottawatomies, and Kickapoos. ) 2,038,400 

j Kaskaskias, representing them- ) o 

i selves Cahokias, 4 Mitchigamis. f **'9"-«5o 



Sacs and Foxes. - - . 
Piankashaws. ... 

Delawares, Miamis, Eel River, 
Pottawatomies, and Weas. 

11,808,499 $210,000 

2,038,400 4,000 


809. Kickapoos, 

Sept. 30, 18 18, 

Oct. 2, 1S18. 
j- Aug. 30, 1 8 19. 

Sept 20, 1828. 

Pottawatomies, Chippewas, 

Peoria and Illinois. 

Weas, . - . . - 

Kickapoos of the Vermilion. 


•.)irie du Chien, I j _ j 

Pierre Menard, etal. f Ja"- 2, i»3o- "j 

Pottawatomies, Chippewas, 



r Oct. 2o, 1832. 
Oct. 27, 1832. 

Fort Armstrong and 
Prairie du Chien. 
St. Louis. 

Pottawatomies of the Prairie. 

Pottawatomies of Indiana. 

I Sept. 26, 1833. -f Pottawatomies, Chippewas, I 
) > oj j Ottawas. ( 

Winnebagoes. .... 

Kaskaskias and Peorias. 















/■ 1829 and 1832. 
Oct. 27, 1832. 

5,104,960 7,624,289 

10,346,000 5,195,252 
I 920 155.780 

The same lands, it will be noted, are in some instances included in different 
treaties with different tribes. — See "American State Papers," Schoolcraft's "Indian 
Tribes, "and Dillon's "Indiana, " 578. 


It was in consequence of the success of Gov. Harrison in 
obtaining from the Indians the title to their lands in Indiana 
and Illinois, that the animosity of the Shawnees, under Tecum- 
seh and the Prophet, was again aroused, they claiming that no 
single tribe was invested with the right to make cessions without 
the consent of all others interested. Their hostile attitude was 
encouraged by British agents in order to secure their alliance 
and support in the threatened war of 18 12. Other tribes, 
notably the Pottawatomies and Kickapoos, always ready to 
engage in a fight against the Americans, were easily induced to 
join the Shawnees, thus forming a strong combination. The 
defeat of the red men at the battle of Tippecanoe, Nov. 11, 
181 1, by Gen. Harrison, terminated the campaign, but left the 
disaffected tribes as hostile as ever. 

The difficulties in the way of securing cessions were increased 
by the conflicting claims of different tribes to the same tracts. 
And it is especially noticeable with what uniformity of demand 
the Pottawatomies appeared at every place where negotiations 
were being carried on. Their greed was only equaled by their 
assurance. Wherever there was even an apparent opportunity 
to receive any money, they were promptly "on hand" to put in 
a claim, and, as will be seen by the table, generally succeeded 
in carrying off the lion's share. 

The ownership of the vast territory of the Northwest, east of 
the Mississippi, was adjudicated by the sword; that west of it, 
together with the destiny of the people who lived upon it, was 
the subject of frequent barter and sale in the European mart 
where crowned heads, at their will, made and unmade nations 
and empires. 

The great Napoleon, whose keen political vision scanned every 
continent and whose unerring judgment accurately weighed the 
value of the possessions of his rivals, determined to retrieve the 
error of the Bourbon dynasty in the surrender, in 1763, of the 
magnificent domain of Louisiana to Spain; and by the treaty 
of Ildefonso, Sept. 15, 1800, Spain was forced to retrocede that 
territory to France, after having owned it for nearly forty years. 

Before the formal transfer was completed however. Napoleon 
was again threatened with war by Great Britain, and reluctantly 
concluded that he would not be able to hold the province 


wrested from his southern neighbor. He said, "I know the full 
value of Louisiana, but the English wish to take possession of 
it, and it is thus they will begin the war. They have already 
twenty ships of the line in the Gulf of Mexico. The conquest 
of Louisiana would be easy. I have not a moment to lose in 
putting it out of their reach. The English have successively 
taken from France the Canadas, Cape Breton, New Foundland, 
Nova Scotia, and the richest portion of Asia. But they shall 
not have the Mississippi which they covet."* 

The United States also coveted it as well as Great Britain. 
James Monroe and Robert Livingston, our representatives at 
Paris, were at first authorized to negotiate only for the purchase 
of New Orleans and the Floridas; Livingston, indeed, stated that 
the United States did not desire the territory of Louisiana. 
Monroe, however, was in full possession of the views of Presi- 
dent Jefferson, who he knew strongly desired to acquire the 
whole country. Although the United States was young and 
poor, and the constitution had made no provision for the pur- 
chase of or holding foreign territory, Jefferson recognizing the 
value and importance of the proposed acquisition, did not hesi- 
tate to urge it upon his ministers, even furnishing them with 
arguments to accomplish it; trusting to the people to ratify a 
policy so far-reaching, and a purchase so manifestly favorable to 
the best interests of his country. 

When Napoleon finally declared his inflexible purpose to 
dispose of the territory, the negotiation was speedily concluded, 
April 30, 1803, and the United States became the owner of 
Louisiana and West Florida for $15,000,000. Spain surrendered 
possession to France, Nov. 13, and France to the Unite J States, 
Dec. 20, 1803. Napoleon not only received more than he at 
first asked for Louisiana, but was rejoiced to find a purchaser in 
the American Republic, remarking that " this accession of terri- 
tory strengthens forever the power of the United States. I have 
given England a rival." 

By act of March 26, 1804, all that portion of Louisiana lying 
north of the thirty-third degree of n'^'th latitude and west 
of the Mississippi River was annexed to Indiana Territory 
for the purposes of government; and the govenor and judges 

* James G. Blaine's "Twenty Years of Congress," I, 6. 


in October, following, framed the necessary laws for that district. 
This consolidation of the old Illinois country under one juris- 
diction, only continued, however, until the following March, 
when a separate organization was provided by congress for the 
Louisiana Territory. 

It was at this period that the name of Aaron Burr became 
prominently connected with the history of the West. He had 
been a distinguished officer in the Revolution, and had tied 
Thomas Jefferson in the electoral college as a candidate for presi- 
dent. He was neither a great lawyer nor a profound statesman, 
but the brilliancy of his intellect and the fascination of his 
address were acknowledged by all who came under the charm 
of his magnetic presence. The true story of his life, public and 
private, more like a romance than a recital of prosaic facts, has 
never been written. The odium attached to his name after his 
causeless duel with Alexander Hamilton, July ii, 1804, was so 
great as to annihilate all his prospects of political preferment in 
the East where his public career ended with the termination of 
his vice-presidential term, March 4, 1805. Such was the power 
of his eloquence notwithstanding the obloquy resting upon him, 
that at the close of his valedictory address the whole senate was 
in tears, and the senators so unmanned that it was half an hour 
before they could recover themselves and resume their ordinary 

Burr was unable to stem the tide of opposition, which had set 
in against him, and to use his own language: " In New York, I 
am to, be disfranchised, and in New Jersey, hanged. Having 
substantial objections to both, I shall not for the present hazard 
either, but shall seek another country."* His friends urged him 
to seek new fortunes in the Southwest where his reputation as 
duelist would rather advance than mar his prospects. They 
even offered to assist him to an election to congress from the 
territory of Indiana or from .some district in Kentucky or Ten- 
nessee. He soon thereafter visited these states, where his 
admirable tact, ready wit, and courteous affability so endeared 
him to the people that his reception by them resembled an 
ovation. New Orleans had vied with Nashville, and Louisville 
with Lexington in paying him homage. He captivated, as he 

* Davis' "Memoirs of Aaron Burr." 


was entertained by their leading citizens. His reception grati- 
fied his vanity and excited his ambition. Schemes for advance- 
ment to wealth and power, some of them as visionary as bold, 
presented themselves to his heated imagination. The first of 
these was to locate a colony of choice spirits in Louisiana, for 
which purpose he purchased 750,ocx) acres of land on the Washita, 
a tributaty of the Red River. He paid $5000 down for it out of 
his own pocket, and the balance of the purchase-money $45,000 
was readily raised by accommodating and admiring friends in 

His success in this direction stimulated his mind to the con- 
ception of still grander and more far-reaching schemes. He 
fixed his eye upon Mexico. The separation of this province 
from Spain had been a cherished project ever since the unsuc- 
cessful attempt of Gen. Miranda, in 1797-8, to enlist the govern- 
ments of Great Britain and the United States in the scheme of 
revolutionizing South America. The difficulties between Spain 
and the United States growing out of the navigation of the 
Mississippi, had reached such a point that war with that country 
now seemed inevitable. It was a critical and exciting period. 
The people of the West were in a state of ferment, and a large 
element was ripe to engage in plans of revolt or conquest. 
The inhabitants of New Orleans had never acquiesced in this 
transfer of their territory to the United States, and were willing 
listeners to any proposition which would place them under some 
other flag. The plan of forming Mexico into an independent 
republic, whose leading officers should be Americans, with Col. 
Burr at the head, was popular and seemed feasible, if the nec- 
essary men and means could be raised. Gen. James Wilkinson, 
then at the head of the army, the available portion of which had 
by him been lately transferred to the Sabine River, was con- 
sulted, and no doubt at first entered heartily into Col. Burr's 
plans. Conferences were had with him, in 1806, at Fort Massac 
and St. Louis. Consultations were had also with Gen. Andrew 
Jackson and Gov. Wm. H. Harrison, and other leading citizens. 
Kaskaskia and Vincennes were visited. Large sums of money 
were promised, and recruits were raised and enrolled, and Blen- 
nerhassett's Island appointed as a place of rendezvous. Just 
what the great agitator intended to accomplish remains '•! doubt. 

AARON r.UKR. 223. 

At New Orleans, it is alleged, he openly avowed his intention 
to divide the American Union. With some, his theme was the 
settlement of his colony on the Wishita, with others, he held out 
to view the inviting prospect of a new republic in Mexico. 

On Nov. 3, 1806, at Frankfort, Kentucky, while on his way to 
join his expedition, he was arrested "for treasonable practices," 
but the grand-jury refused to indict him. On Nov. 27, 1806, 
President Jefferson having received what he declared was suffi- 
cient information of the treasonable character of Col. Burr's 
expedition, issued his proclamation warning all loyal citizens 
against engaging therein. In December, Burr left Nashville 
with but two boats to effect a junction with Blennerhassett's 
fleet of nine barges at the mouth of the Cumberland, whence 
they proceeded down the Mississippi. At Chickasaw Bluffs, a 
post commanded by Lieut. (Jacob }) Jackson, it is said, that 
officer was strongly urged to join him, but he firmly declined. 
Becoming convinced that his situation was now desperate, he 
boldly declared that the sole object of his expedition was to 
plant his colony in Louisiana; and he destroyed the evidence of 
its military character by throwing his chests of arms into the 
river. On Jan. 17, he gave himself up to Gov. Cowles Mead, 
acting-governor of Mississippi Territory, but the grand-jury 
declared there was no evidence against him, and pending his 
request to be released on his own recognizance, learning that he 
would again be arrested, he disguised himself and escaped. He 
was re-arrested in Alabama, and taken to Richmond, Virginia, 
for trial. It was a celebrated case, attracting world-wide atten- 
tion, and resulted, as is well known, in a verdict of acquittal, 
under the rulings of the court, that the prisoner must have been 
present when the overt act was committed, which fact was not 

Burr was more of a hero than a prisoner while undergoing 
this trial. His rooms in the jail were daily crowded with friends 
and admirers of both sexes, who brought him the best of the 
land to live on, and loaded his table with flowers and fruits. 
As to the main charge, Burr on his death- bed, in answer to the 
question if he had at any time contemplated a disruption of the 
Union, replied: "No; I .would as soon have thought of taking 
possession of the moon and informing my friends that I intended 


to divine it among them." Still the popular verdict was against 
him, and the cloud which hung over him at the time of his 
death, has never lifted. 

On Sept. II, 1804, an election was held in the Territory to 
decide upon the proposition to advance the government to the 
second grade. Only 400 votes were polled of which a majority 
of 138 were in its favor — Randolph County, with 61 votes, gave 
a majority of 19 in favor of, and St. Clair, with 81 votes, re- 
turned a majority of 37 against, the proposition. An election 
of delegates to the first territorial general assembly was held 
on Jan. 3, 1805. The members elected from St. Clair County 
were Shadrach Bond, sr., and William Biggs; S. Bond, sr., 
becoming a member of the legislative council, S. Bond, jr., in 
May, was elected in his place. From Randolph County, George 
Fisher was returned. The body met at Vincennes, Feb. 7, 1805; 
and having recommended a list of persons from whom to select 
a legislative council, adjourned. Those finally appointed from 
Illinois were Pierre Menard and John Hay. On July 29, the 
assembly again convened in regular session. Provision was 
made for a revision of the territorial laws by John Rice Jones 
and John Johnson. This revision was published in one volume, 
and included the laws passed at that session. Benjamin Parke 
was elected territorial delegate to congress. 

The second session of the territorial legislature began Aug. 
17, 1807. The members from St. Clair County were William 
Biggs and Shadrach Bond, jr.; and from Randolph County, 
George Fisher. 

The question of the division of the Territory had been for 
some years a subject of exciting and acrimonious controversy. 
Upon a petition to congress in 1806, praying for separation, a 
committee of the house reported that it was at that time 
"inexpedient." A special session of the territorial legislature 
was called to meet on Sept. 27, 1808, when this subject once 
more became an issue of absorbing interest. In the meantime 
fortuitous circumstances had occurred which now insured its 
favorable consideration. Pierre Menard from Randolph County, 
and John Hay from St. Clair County, having resigned from the 
council, Shadrach Bond and George Fisher, members of the 
house, were appointed to fill the vacancies thus created. A 


special election, being ordered in these two counties, resulted in 
the choice of Rice Jones from Randolph and John Messinger 
from St. Clair, thus replacing two opponents of separation by 
two zealous advocates of that measure. Jesse Burgess Thomas, 
member of the house from Dearborn County and speaker of 
that body, was a candidate for congress, to the successful issue 
of which question he was willing to subordinate all others. He 
found it not difficult therefore to effect a combination with 
those who cared more for division than for a choice of congress- 
man, looking to the accomplishment of both purposes. The 
bargain was struck and as has been asserted a written obligation 
from the beneficiary for its faithful performance was exacted. 
However this may have been, the agreement was promptly and 
scrupulously carried out. 

The final passage of the act of separation on Feb. 3 1809, 
renders it unnecessary longer to follow in this work the fortunes 
of Gen. Harrison. His military career, and skilful treatment 
of the Indian complications of the Northwest, fairly earned for 
him a reputation as broad as it has proved lasting. He was a 
statesman of the old school. Opposed to slavery in the abstract 
yet he was willing to introduce the institution into Indiana and 
Illinois. How he subsequently became a prominent member of 
congress, and finally reached the presidential chair, are familiar 
facts, calling for no further reference in this volume. 

Authorities: Dillon's "History of Indiana"; "History of Randolph and St. 
Clair Counties"; United-States compilation of "Indian Treaties"; Blaine's " Twenty 
Years in Congress"; "Magazine of Western History"; Hammond's "Political History 
of New York"; Foote's "Texas and Texans"; Schoolcraft's "Indian Tribes"; Davis' 
"Memoirs of Aaron Burr"; "American State Papers"; "Indiana, a Redemption 
from Slavery, " by J. P. Dunn, jr. 



The Territory of Illinois — First American Settlers — Early- 
Diseases— Manners, Customs, and Recreations — First 
Preachers, Lawyers, Doctors, and Merchants. 

THE Act of Congress of Feb. 3, 1809, dividing Indiana 
Territory into two separate governments, revived the name 
of Illinois, which had officially disappeared after the organization 
of the Northwest Territory in 1789. It was a name dear to 
the inhabitants, however, had become familiar by long usage,, 
and was never willingly surrendered. Judge Thomas was there- 
fore but carrying out the unanimous wishes of its inhabitants, 
when, seizing upon the first opportunity which offered, he 
secured the restoration of the old name, as that by which the 
"Illinois Country" was henceforth to be designated. 

The language of the Act was as follows: "That from and 
after the first day of March next, all that part of the Indiana 
Territory which lies west of the Wabash River and Post Vin- 
cennes, due north to the territorial line between the United 
States and Canada, shall, for the purpose of temporary govern- 
ment, constitute a separate government, and be called Illinois." 
The seat of government was established at Kaskaskia. 

No history of Illinois could claim to be complete which failed 
to make mention of that sturdy element in the first settlement 
of the country, which exercised an influence so potent in the 
development of its virgin resources, and which constituted at 
once the prototype and the example of that class honored to- 
day from Lake Michigan to the Ohio as the "American pioneer." 

At the time of Clark's conquest there do not appear to have 
been any but French inhabitants, except the party of hunters 
who joined his expedition, and Thos. Brady and Rich'd McCarty, 
already mentioned, who resided at Cahokia in 1777. Aside 
from the members of Clark's command, some of whom doubt- 
less remained continuously in the country, the first original im- 
migrant appears to have been Capt. Nathaniel Hull, from Mas- 
sachusetts. Then a young man, he at first settled on the Ohio^ 



at a point near the present site of Golconda. His place was 
called Hull's Landing. He laid out the first road to Kaskaskia, 
along which he soon journeyed in search of a new home, which 
he found in the American Bottom. He was a patriotic, leading, 
and influential citizen, always ready to repel Indian aggressions, 
and faithfully to discharge the official duties he was called upon 
to perform. He raised a large family, and well improved his 
farm, where he died in 1806. 

In 1 78 1, an enterprising company of immigrants, consisting 
of James Moore the leader, James Garrison, Shadrach Bond, sr., 
Robert Kidd, Larkin Rutherford, and James Piggott, with their 
families, came from Maryland, and settled on the American 
Bottom — this name originating with them. All of them, with 
the possible exception of Garrison, had been soldiers under 
Clark, and it was the glowing descriptions of the natural advan- 
tages of the country which they, and others of Clark's com- 
mand, gave on their return, that induced so large an emigration 
from Virginia and Maryland, of which this party formed but the 
advance guard. 

Before and during 1783, the following additional soldiers in 
the Clark campaign had also become inhabitants; William Biggs, 
Robert Seybold, Jacob Groots, John Hiltebrand, John Dodge, 
George Camp, Levi Teel, James Curry, Robert Whitehead, 
George Lunceford, Joseph Anderson, David Pagon, John Doyle, 
John Montgomery, Thomas Hughes, and William Murray, who 
settled in and near Kaskaskia. 

The New-Design settlement was begun in 1782, and included 
a number of those whose names have been mentioned above. 
It was located on a beautiful elevation overlooking both the 
Mississippi and Kaskaskia rivers, about four miles south of Belle- 
fontaine, where Moore and others of his party had settled. 

A settlement was also made about the same time east of the 
Kaskaskia River, by Henry and Elijah Smith, Daniel Hicks, 
Hayden Wells, Leonard Harness, Michael Huff, James Hender- 
son, and Isaac Chalfin. These were soon reinforced by the fol- 
lowing: William Arundel, at Cahokia, John Seeley, Francis and 
John Clark, John Edgar, Joseph Ogle, Joseph Worley, James 
Andrews, James Lemon, James McRoberts, George Atchison, 
David Waddle, Ichabod Camp, Henry Golding, Thomas and 


Elijah Flanary, John McElmuny, John Murdoch or Moredock, 
(two of this name,) Jacob and Samuel Judy, Benjamin Ogle, 
John Cook, and John K. Simpson, who settled at one of the 
above-named places or at Kaskaskia. 

From 1780 to 1788, inclusive, there were, according to the 
reports of the Commissioners to Congress confirming their 
claims to donations of land, under the act of congress, one hun- 
dred and thirteen American heads of families in the Territory. 

Prior to this time, owing to the hostile attitude of the Indians, 
only the hardiest and boldest pioneers ventured to immigrate; 
but with the treaty of Greenville came the blessings of peace, 
and although the difficulties in regard to land-titles were a seri- 
ous hindrance, yet many settlers from the older states, attracted, 
by the reports of the extraordinary productiveness of the soil, 
continued to come in. 

Among the arrivals in 1797 was a colony from Virginia, 
headed by Rev. David Bagley, numbering one hundred and 
iifty-four. The season was unusually wet, and the hardships 
and exposures of the journey left them in but a poor condition 
to begin life in a new country where there were no houses to be 
occupied, nor any of the ordinary comforts of life to be procured. 
A malignant fever broke out among them, which resulted in the 
death of half the colony. A prevalent disease at that day, and 
for many years afterward, and one to which all new-comers in 
such a rich country are liable, was what was called the " fever 
and ague," which was produced by the malaria arising from 
decaying vegetable matter in the early Fall. It was not, how- 
ever, a fatal disease, and generally yielded to the then universal 
remedies of "tartar emetic, calomel and jalap, and Peruvian 

Another disease peculiar to these early times was known as 
the " milk-sick" which, it was claimed, was induced by drinking 
the milk, or eating the butter or meat of an animal infected with 
the poison. What this poison was could not be ascertained, the 
general supposition being that it was emitted from some mineral 
substance which, rising in a gaseous form covered vegetation or 
infused itself in the matter, thus communicating disease. It was 
generally fatal to both man and beast. The experience of 
these new settlers very naturally gave rise to the report that 


Illinois was a sickly country, which rumor for some time pro- 
duced a marked effect upon the tide of immigration. 

Important additions were made to the population from 1790 
to 1800 by the arrival of the following settlers: John Rice Jones, 
Pierre Menard, Shadrach Bond, jr., William, James and Robert 
Morrison, John and Israel Dodge, John Hays, John Hay, James 
McRoberts, William, John and Samuel Whiteside, Joseph and 
William Kinney, Isaac Darnielle, Rev. John Clark, John de 
Moulin, Robert Reynolds, John Messenger, Dr. George Fisher, 
William Goings, sr. and jr., R. E. Heacock, John T. Lusk, John, 
William, Stephen, and Nelson Rector, Dr. William L. Reynolds, 
Benj. H. Doyle, James Haggin, William Mears, Dr. Caldwell 
Cairnes, Dr. Wallace, Dr. Truman Tuttle, Nicholas Jarrot, John 
Pulliam and Dr. James Rose, nearly all of whom afterward 
became well known, and officially connected with either the 
territorial or state governments. 

In 1805, a colony of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians arrived from 
South Carolina: the Andersons, Thompsons, Erwin, MacDonald, 
McBride, Cox, Miller, Couch, and others, which in a few years 
increased to forty families. 

Immigration was further stimulated in consequence of the 
conclusion of treaties with the Indians in 1803 -4- 5, and the 
establishment of the land-office at Kaskaskia, in 1804. 

The larger proportion of these first-American settlers came 
from Virginia and Maryland. While a few had received a 
rudimentary education, and had lived among communities which 
may be said to have been comparatively cultured, the most of 
them were hardy, rough, uncultivated backwoods-men. They 
had been accustomed only to the ways of the frontier and camp. 
Many of them had served in the war of the Revolution, and all 
of them in the border wars with the Indians. While they were 
brave, hospitable, and generous, they were more at ease beneath 
the forest bivouac than in the "living-room" of the log-cabin, and 
to swing a woodman's ax among the lofty trees of the primeval 
forest was a pursuit far more congenial to their rough nature 
and active temperament than to mingle with society in settled 
communities. Their habits and manners were plain, simple, and 
unostentatious. Their clothing was generally made of the 
dressed skins of the deer, wolf, or fox, while those of the buffalo 


and elk supplied them with covering for their feet and heads. 
Their log-cabins were destitute of glass, nails, hinges, or locks. 
Their furniture and utensils were in harmony with the primitive 
appearance and rude character of their dwellings, being all 
home-made, with here and there a few pewter spoons, dishes, 
and iron knives and forks. With muscles of iron and hearts of 
oak, they united a tenderness for the weak and a capability for 
self-sacrifice, worthy of an ideal knight of chivalry; and their 
indomitable will, which recognized no obstacle as insuperable, 
was equaled only by their rugged integrity which regarded dis- 
honesty as an offence as contemptible as cowardice. For many 
years they dwelt beyond the pale of governmental restraint, nor 
did they need the presence of either courts or constables. 
Crimes against person, property, or public order were of so 
infrequent occurrence as to be practically unknown. In moral 
endowments — even if not in mental attainments — these sturdy 
pioneers of Illinois were, it must be admitted, vastly superior to 
many of those who followed them when better facilities for 
transportation rendered the country more accessible. 

Although the distance from the older states was so great, and 
the modes of conveyance so slow, and notwithstanding the 
reports of an unhealthy climate, and the efforts of the Ohio 
Land Association, and proprietors of the Western - Reserve 
country to attract purchasers to their localities by offering them 
lands at the low price of forty cents per acre, the rich prairies of 
Illinois proved a superior inducement, and immigrants continued 
to pour in. Gradually but surely, old settlements were ex- 
tended and new ones formed in what afterward became Madi- 
son, Pope, Alexander, and Gallatin counties, and the white 
population which, in ,i8oo, did not exceed 2500, in 18 10 num- 
bered 12,282. 

Freed from the fear of Indian depredations, by the formal ex- 
ecution of treaties, they found time to cultivate the arts of peace. 
Land was reclaimed, farms improved, and trade extended. Al- 
though the officers and general administration of the territorial 
government had been so far away as to exercise over them but 
a nominal control, yet a knowledge of its existence had given 
them hope of the adoption of regulations better suited to their 
advancement when its arm should reach and embrace them. 


The people generally had no costly tastes to gratify, no 
expensive habits to indulge. They neither possessed nor cared 
for luxuries. Their living, such as they required, cost but little 
of either time or labor. The corn from which they made their 
bread, came forth from the prolific soil at the touch of their rude 
plows. Their cattle and hogs found abundant sustenance on 
the broad prairies — which in the summer yielded the richest 
grass — and from the woods, where in the fall the ground was 
covered with mast. They raised flax and cotton, and their 
sheep furnished them wool, from which the women manufactured 
their homespun garments, which were sufficient for their wants 
and tastes. 

Of leisure they had a superabundance, and it was cheerfully 
devoted to mutual assistance, without thought of recompense 
■except in kind. Thus the labor of house-raising, harvesting, 
and plowing was rendered light by "changing work" and assist- 
ing each other. And if any one fell behind through sickness, 
or other misfortune, his neighbors would " turn in and help him 
out," making the occasion a frolic, thus mingling labor with 

If a field of flax was to be pulled, or of wheat to be cut, the 
neighbors came in with their wives, daughters, and sons; and 
while the men were pulling the flax or reaping and shocking 
the wheat, the women at the house were preparing the harvest- 
noon feast. The rough table, for which the side and bottom 
boards of the wagon were frequently used, was laid under the 
shade of a spreading tree in the yard. The visitors contributed 
from their own meagre stock such dishes, knives and forks, and 
spoons as might be needed. Around the table, seated on 
benches, stools or splint-bottom chairs, with such appetites as 
could only be gained from honest toil in the open field, the 
company partook of the bounties before them. 

These consisted, in addition to the never- failing cornbread 
and bacon, of bear and deer meat, of turkey or other game in 
its season, and of an abundance of vegetables, which they called 
"roughness." The bread was baked on "jonny" or journey 
boards, which gave it the name of jonny-cake. These boards 
were smooth, two feet long and eight inches wide. The dough 
was spread out on the boards, which were then placed before 


the fire; after one side was baked, the dough was turned and 
baked on the other. 

However it might be abstained from at other times, a harvest 
without whisky was hke a dance without a fiddle. It was par- 
taken of by all — each one, male and female, drinking from the 
bottle and passing it to his or her next neighbor. Drinking- 
vessels were dispensed with as mere idle superfluities.* 

Dinner over, the company scattered. The elders gathered 
together, and seated or stretched themselves upon the ground, 
and after the filling and lighting of the inevitable pipe, con- 
versation became general. The news of the day — not always, 
as may be imagined, very recent — was commented upon, and 
then, as now, politics were sagely and earnestly discussed. 
Stories, mainly of adventure, were told; hair- breadth escapes 
from Indian massacre were recounted and the battles of the 
Revolution again fought over beneath the spreading branches 
of the trees. Meanwhile, the boys and girls wandered off in 
separate and smaller groups, and enjoyed themselves in sing- 
ing, and playing, and making love as they do today. 

Another amusement of those days, and one which did not fall 
into disfavor for many years, was what was known as "shucking 
bees." To these gatherings were invited both old and young. 
Stacks of corn in the husk were piled upon the ground near the 
crib where the golden ears were to be finally stored. Upon the 
assemblage of the guests, those who had "made a record" as the 
best corn-huskers were appointed leaders; each leader filled the 
ranks of his own party by selection from the company present, 
the choice going to each in rotation. The corn was divided into 
piles of as nearly equal size as might be, and each party was 
assigned its own pile. The object of the contestants was tO' 
complete the husking, each of their own allotment; and the 
party first attaining this result was declared the winner. The 
lucky finder of a red ear was entitled to a kiss from the girls. 
The contest ended, supper followed, and after supper came the 
dance. Swiftly were the tables stripped of dishes, and no less 
quickly were they drawn aside and the room swept by eager 
hands. Then came the struggle for partners and the strife to 
be " first on the floor." The only music was the violin, and 

* Reynolds' "Pioneer History of Illinois, " 2d ed., 316. 


"fiddlers" were in great request. The figures most in favor 
were the reel and the jig, in which all were moving at the same 
time, and all participated with a zest and abandon unknown in 
the modern ballroom. " They danced all night till broad day- 
light and went home with the girls in the morning," some on 
foot, and some on horseback, the only modes of conveyance. 

But the amusement par excellence in those early days was 
horse - racing. This was patronized by all classes, and turf- 
meetings brought out the entire population. They were made 
in a great measure to serve the purpose of the modern county- 
fairs. While they exhibited nothing save themselves and their 
horses, trading of all kind was transacted, contracts entered into, 
debts paid, and questions of the day discussed. Besides the 
running of horses, that of men was indulged in, as also were 
wrestling, jumping, and other athletic pastimes. Whisky was 
freely used and the meetings generally wound up with "fist and 
skull," "rough-and-tumble" fights, in which every advantage 
was taken, and "fouls" were unrecognized. The excitement and 
enjoyment were most intense when some rough, sleepy-looking 
horse came out ahead in the race, or some small, wiry man 
gained the victory over a large one in a fight. 

Corn for bread was broken in a mortar and ground in a grater, 
or hand-mill. Mills were few and far apart, some of the back- 
settlers having to go fifty miles for their grist. Here the saying 
"first come, first served" originated, which frequently carried the 
late arrival over the night, and sometimes prolonged the trip to 
procure a few bushels of meal three or four days. "Band-mills" 
run by horses, and small water-mills, where the situation per- 
mitted, came into use to supply the demand of larger ones. 
The building of a good mill was hailed with more satisfaction 
than that of a church. 

Education received but little attention. School-houses, always 
of logs, were scarcely to be seen. Schools were sometimes 
opened at private houses, or at the residence of the teacher; but 
"book larnin" was considered too impractical to be of much 

While the standard of morality, commercial as well as social, 
was of a high order, few of these early settlers were members of 
any church. Many of them, however, had been raised in relig- 



ious communities by Christian parents, had been taught to 
regard the Sabbath as a day of worship, and had been early 
impressed with a sense of the necessity of rehgious faith and 
practice. Many of the prominent citizens encouraged these 
views by occasionally holding meetings in their cabins, at which 
the scriptures and sometimes sermons were read and hymns 
sung — but no prayers were offered.* 

The first regular religious services in the Territory were held 
by Rev. James Smith, a Baptist minister, who visited New Design 
in 1787. His labors were measurably successful, but were ab- 
ruptly terminated. On his way from one blockhouse to another 
he was captured by the Indians, and although he was ransomed 
by the payment of $170, by his friends, he was satisfied that 
Illinois was not the country to which his duty called him, and, 
while he subsequently visited the Territory, he transferred him- 
self and his ministrations to Kentucky. 

The next preacher to visit the country was Rev. Joseph Lil- 
lard, a Methodist, also from Kentucky, who, in 1793, formed the 
first class in the territory, with Capt. Joseph Ogle as leader. 

In 1794, Rev. Joseph Dodge held meetings at New Design, 
and for the first time the rite of baptism was administered in 
the Territory. In 1796, Rev. David Bagley, who subsequently 
brought a large colony from Virginia to Illinois, with Joseph 
Chance, a lay-elder, organized, with twenty-eight members, the 
first Baptist church in the Territory."' 

The first circuit-preacher under the direction of a conference 
of the Methodist-Episcopal church, was Rev. Berryman Young, 
in 1804. He was followed by Rev. Joseph Oglesby, in 1805, 
and by Rev. Charles R. Matheny, in i8o6.-f- Rev. Jesse Walker 
was also a noted and successful circuit-rider and presiding-elder 

* Rev. John Milton Peck in "Pioneer History of Illinois," 256. 

+ Charles R. Matheny was born in Virginia, in 1786, and while preaching read 
law and was admitted to the bar. He was a member of the third Territorial, and 
second State, general-assemblies. He removed to Springfield in 1821, where at one 
time he held the offices of probate justice, county auditor, clerk of the circuit- 
court, and clerk of the county-court. The latter office he continued to hold until 
his death in 1839. He was succeeded by his son Noah W. Matheny, who held the 
office until 1873. At this time, James H. Matheny, another son, was elected county- 
judge, a position he still occupies. This is an example of county civil-service that 
is unprecedented, and in which the family who have enjoyed the well-earned distinc- 
tion may feel a just pride. 


in Illinois from 1806 to 18 18. In connection with Rev. Wm. M. 
McKendree, afterward bishop, he held the first camp-meetings 
in Illinois in 1807. 

Rev. John Clark, a Scotchman, was a preacher and a school- 
teacher of those days, of great usefulness. He was also a 
member of the Methodist-Episcopal church, and was the first 
Protestant to cross the Mississippi and preach to the Americans 
there, in 1798.* Other noted preachers of these early times 
were as follows: John Scripps, Jacob Whiteside, Josiah Patter- 
son, J. Nowlen, A. Amos, Elders John K. Simpson, Wm. Jones, 
James Lemon, sr. 

The restraining and moulding influence of these early Christ- 
ian efforts upon the habits and morals of the people, was in 
every respect wholesome and beneficial. The attention of the 
people was arrested and turned to the study and investigation 
of moral and religious questions, and direction was given to 
the contemplation of higher thoughts and a better life. 

In the meantime, other elements were introduced which effec- 
ted a radical change in the habits of the people for both good 
and evil. The first settlers lived in the country, in the woods 
and wilds, whose "clearings" were far apart. Not one in ten of 
them had ever dwelt in any town, or even visited one having as \ y 
many as a thousand inhabitants. And now there came the mer- \ 
chant, the lawyer, the doctor, and the mechanic, who resided 
in the towns, which began to grow and to put on a new life. 
Most of these had enjoyed superior advantages, so far as 
related to education, and that worldly wisdom which comes 
from experience in older communities. Some of them had come 
from across the ocean, and others from the larger American 
cities, bringing with them manners, customs, furniture, and wares, 
of which the like had never been seen by the oldest inhabitant. 

Large stores were opened in Kaskaskia and Cahokia, and 
goods were supplied from these at wholesale and retail, to all 
the country around, including the villages of St. Louis, St.Gen( 
vieve, and Cape Girardeau. A large and profitable trade was'' 
opened with Pittsburg and New Orleans, by which, in exchange 
for goods purchased, the flour, provisions, lead, and furs of the 
country were marketed and exported in barges or flat-boats. 

* J. M. Peck in Reynolds' "Pioneer History of Illinois," 2d ed., 266. 


And thus were gradually introduced the methods and appli- 
ances of a more advanced civilization. The pioneer and his wife, 
hearing of these things, would occasionally "go to town" to see 
"the sights," and would there discover that there were many 
useful and convenient articles for the farm and kitchen which 
might be procured in exchange for their corn, bacon, eggs, 
honey, and hides; and although the shrewd merchant was care- 
ful to exact his cent per cent, the prices asked were little heeded 
by the purchaser who was as ignorant of the value of the com- 
modities offered, as he was delighted with their novelty and 
apparent usefulness. 

There was need for but few members of the legal profession 
in these early days. The sessions of the courts were far apart, 
and presented but a beggarly docket of litigated cases when con- 
vened. The distinction of being the first' lawyer in Illinois be- 
longs to John Rice Jones, who was a native of Wales, where he 
was born in 1759, and came to Kaskaskia from Philadelphia in 
1790; he was a classical scholar, and possessed fine native abili- 
ties. His practice was large and very remunerative. He re- 
moved to Vincennes in 1802, where he became a member of 
the legislative council and assisted in a revision of the territorial 
laws. Removing to the territory of Missouri in 18 lO, he was 
elected a member of the constitutional convention, and subse- 
quently judge of the Supreme Court, which position he con- 
tinued to hold until his death in 1824. He was the father of 
Hon. George W. Jones, a former U.-S. Senator from Iowa. 
Rice Jones, a son of John R. Jones, located in Kaskaskia in 
1806. He bid fair to become eminent, but was assassinated soon 
after his arrival. 

Isaac Darnielle, the second lawyer to become a resident of 
Illinois, was a native of Maryland, and settled at Cahokia in 
1794; he had received a collegiate education, and possessed a high 
order of intellect; was a fluent speaker, of fine personal appear- 
ance and popular manners; a great admirer of the fair sex, to 
whom he paid court with a greater devotion than to his profes- 
sion; was never married according to law, says Gov. Reynolds, 
" but to all appearances was never without a wife or wives." 
His irregularities in this direction, his only weakness, for he 
neither drank nor gamed, compelled him to abandon his practice, 


and to remove to Kentucky, where after teaching school for 
some years, he died, rather "humbled and neglected," in 1830, 
aged 60. 

James Haggin came from Kentucky in 1804, to Kaskaskia, 
where he practised law for several years; returning to Kentuck}' 
he became eminent in his profession. 

Benjamin H. Doyle emigrated from Tennessee in 1805; 
was appointed attorney-general of the Territory in 1809, but 
soon after resigned his office and left the country. 

John Rector — one of a family of nine brothers — located in 
Kaskaskia in 1806, and remained only a few years in the Ter- 

William Mears, an Iri.shman by birth (1768), emigrated to Ca- 
hokia in 1808; was clerk of the house of representatives in 18 14, 
was appointed attorney-general in 1800, and later a judge of the 
circuit-court; was a man of good education, industrious habits, 
and an able lawyer; and died at Belleville in 1824. 

Russel E. Heacock practised law in Kaskaskia in 1808 ; and 
removed to Jonesboro, where he remained several years; thence 
he returned to New York, his native state, and subsequently 
came back to Illinois, settling at Chicago, where he acquired a 
large property; he died of cholera, June 28, 1849, aged 70. 

Nathaniel Pope became a permanent resident of Kaskaskia 
in 1808, having first settled at St. Genevieve, Mo. He was born 
at Louisville, Ky., in 1784, and was educated at Transylvania 
University, whence he graduated with high honors. He read 
law with his brother, Senator John Pope. In 1809, he was 
appointed secretary of Illinois Territory, which position he held 
until 1 8 16, when he was elected a delegate to congress. Upon 
the admission of Illinois as a state, he was appointed a judge of 
the United-States district-court in which office he continued 
until his death, November, 1850. He was a profound lawyer, 
an able legislator, a dignified and upright, yet courteous judge, 
and wore the ermine for over thirty years without a stain. He 
was the father of Maj.-Gen. John Pope. 

Samuel D. Davidson came from Kentucky in 1809. Gov. 
Reynolds says of him that " he was a decent young man, wrote 
a beautiful hand, but was not much of a lawyer." He served 
in the war of 18 12, and thereafter disappeared from public view. 


Joseph Conway became a resident of Kaskaskia in 1812, and 
after the war, in which he served, practised law for some years. 
He was a senator in the fourth and fifth general assembHes, 

In addition to those aheady mentioned, the following" mem- 
bers of the legal profession, who will be more particularly re- 
ferred to elsewhere, became citizens of Illinois during its terri- 
torial existence, namely, Thos. C. Browne, John McLean, Daniel 
Pope Cook, Jeptha Hardin, John Warnock, Elias Kent Kane, 
Robert K. McLaughlin, Alonzo C. Stuart, Joseph Phillips, 
George Forquer, Sidney Breese, John Reynolds, Thomas Rey- 
nolds, and David Jewett Baker. 

Among the early physicians, perhaps the most distinguished 
was Dr. George Fisher, who came from Virginia, and settled at 
Kaskaskia before 1800. He was not only talented in his pro- 
fession, but very popular with the people. He served as sheriff 
of Randolph County, and member of the first and third territo- 
rial legislatures, of both of which he was elected speaker. He 
was also a member of the constitutional convention of 18 18; he 
died on his farm in 1820. 

Dr. George Caldwell was also an eminent pioneer physician, 
who settled first on the American Bottom, near Fort Chartres, 
and afterward removed to Madison County. Entering public 
life, he served as judge of the County Court of both St.Clair 
and Madison counties, and as a representative from Madison 
in the first and second general assemblies, and from Greene 
County in the third. He lived to an old age, and died in 
Morgan County. 

Dr. Wm. L. Reynolds was also a noted physician, who prac- 
tised many years very successfully at both Kaskaskia and Ca- 
hokia; he came from Kentucky, was a classical scholar, and 
"regular bred." 

Dr. Truman Tuttle was from the East, and came to Illinois 
as a surgeon of the U.-S. Army in 1802. He resigned his 
position and settled in Kaskaskia, afterward moving to Cahokia, 
where he became eminent in his profession. He also filled the 
office of judge of the Court of common pleas of St. Clair County. 

Still earlier physicians, of whom not so much is known, were 
Drs. Wallace at New Design, and John Lyle at Cahokia. 

Dr. James Rose settled in Kaskaskia from Kentucky in 1805, 


and had a large practice for many years ; removed to Belleville 
subsequently, where it is said that "neglecting his profession it 
neglected him." 

Dr. Caldwell Cairnes, known as "a good physician" as early 
as 1805, was from Pennsylvania. He also entered into public 
life and represented Monroe County in the constitutional con- 
vention of 18 18. 

John Edgar, a native of Ireland, came to Kaskaskia in 1784, 
bringing with him a stock of goods, and soon built up an exten- 
sive trade, to which he added the business of milling; was 
industrious, intelligent, and hospitable, and was at one time the 
wealthiest man in Illinois. He filled many stations of honor 
and trust, including the position of major-general of Illinois 
militia. He died at Kaskaskia, at an advanced age in 1832. 

William Morrison, a native of Pennsylvania, immigrated from 
Philadelphia to Kaskaskia in 1790. He was a man of great 
energy and enterprise, and for many years stood in the foremost 
rank in all the commercial transactions in the Territory. He had 
large stores in Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and at other points, from 
which goods were shipped to St. Louis, and all the surrounding 
country. His business extended even to Pittsburg, New Orleans, 
and the Rocky Mountains. He accumulated a large amount of 
property. His residence was a spacious stone house at Kas- 
kaskia, where for many years he dispensed a generous hospital- 
ity. His personal appearance, we are informed, was "dignified^ 
commanding, and prepossessing." He dressed richly, with taste 
and elegance. He died in April, 1837. 

William Morrison was followed to Illinois by his brothers,. 
Robert and James in 1798, by Jesse in 1805, and by Samuel in 
1807, all of whom became prominent merchants and influential 
citizens. Col. Jas. Lee Donaldson Morrison, prominent in the 
politics of Illinois and Missouri, was a son of Robert Morrison;, 
and Col. William R. Morrison, for so many years a representative 
in congress from the district in which he was born, is the son of 
Jesse Morrison {?). 

The Menards, Pierre, Hypolite and Francois, who were natives 
of Quebec, also came to Kaskaskia in 1790, and became leading 
traders and merchants. Their transactions, including the Indian, 
trade, which they mostly controlled, were large and very profit- 


able. Pierre, as will elsewhere appear, also became prominent 
in political circles. 

Jean Bte., Michael, and Francois Saucier, whose father had 
been a French officer at Fort Chartres, located at Cahokia in 
1780, where they carried on a large business. Daughters of 
Francois were married to Col. Pierre Menard, James and Jesse 
Morrison, and George Atchison. 

Charles Gratiot, another early merchant, was born in Switzer- 
land in 1752. He had been a trader in Illinois as early as 1774, 
and was at Cahokia when it was captured by Col. Clark in 1778. 
He subsequently had stores at Cahokia and Kaskaskia, from 
which his business extended to the Wabash and Maumee rivers. 
He removed to St. Louis in 1784, where he was a leading citizen, 
until his death, April 20, 1817. 

Jean Francois Perry immigrated from France in 1792, and 
settling in Prairie du Pont soon became a successful merchant 
and miller. He was well educated, and filled various civil 
offices in his county very creditably. He was benevolent, hos- 
pitable, and influential; and left a large estate unencumbered 
by a single debt. 

Nicholas Jarrot, also a native of France, reached Cahokia in 
1794. By his ability, industry, and energy, he soon built up a 
large business both as an Indian trader and local merchant. 
He acquired a large fortune, the most of which descended to 
his heirs. He acted as justice-of-the-peace, and judge of the 
county-court for many years. He resided in a spacious brick- 
dwelling, where he raised a large family and died in 1823. 
Vital Jarrot, long prominent in St. Clair County, was his son. 

The account-books of P. Menard & Co., as probably those of 
other French mxCrchants, prior to 1800, were written in French, 
and values were generally expressed in piastres, but sometimes 
in pounds sterling, and again in dollars and "bits"(i2i/^ cents.) 

The articles charged were chiefly whisky, sugar, and coffee, 
the prices for which were the same — that is a pound of coffee 
or sugar or a quart of whisky, cost two and a-half piastres, or 
fifty cents. Lard was 25 cents per pound, and flour $8 per 
barrel. Bohea tea was 66}^ cents per pound, and calico, the 
same price per yard, and flannel 50 cents. In 1797, it appears 
that prices were as follows: corn 50 cents per bushel, pork 123^ 


cents, and hams 25 cents per pound, foolscap paper 50 cents per 
quire, and nails 31% cents per pound.* Their customers appear 
to have been principally French and Indians. 

Col. John de Moulin, although rather a speculator in land, 
than a merchant, engaged in milling to some extent, and was a 
very conspicuous and popular character in his day. He was a 
Swiss, but came to Cahokia in 1788 from Canada, He was a 
classical scholar and a good lawyer. He was judge of the court 
of probate, and presiding judge of the court of common pleas in 
St. Clair County for many years. The Colonel was a fine- 
appearing and well-preserved gentleman of the old school. 
He had no family, and died in 1808. 

The first American merchant in Cahokia was Wm. Arundel. 
He located there in 1783, having previously been engaged in 
business at Peoria. He was of Irish descent, of fair education, 
and agreeable manners. 

William Kinney, lieutenant-governor in 1826, although begin- 
ning life as a farmer, at an early day tried the experiment of a 
country store. His venture was successful, and he gradually 
built up a large and prosperous business. He early conceived 
a fondness for political life, and his public career will be here- 
after noticed. 

Gov. Edwards was the foremost merchant of his day. Aban- 
doning the practice of law after his removal to the Territory, 
he engaged in commercial pursuits on a most extensive scale. 
He established saw and grist mills, and stores in Kaskaskia, 
Belleville, Carlisle, Alton, and Springfield in Illinois, and at 
St. Louis, Chariton, and Franklin in Missouri; he gave them 
his personal attention so far as was consistent with his official 
duties, himself purchasing the immense stocks of goods required 

Mather and Lamb — a firm composed of Col. Thomas Mather 
and James L, Lamb, at a later period were extensive merchants 
at Kaskaskia, with branches at several other points. They were 
the first pork-packers in Illinois; and both afterward removed 
to Springfield, where the Colonel became president of the bank 
and Lamb continued to manage their large business. 

* From original MSS. in possession of Chicago Historical Society, Vol. 61. 

Authorities: "Laws of Congress"; "American State Papers"; Reynolds' "Pioneer 
History of Illinois"; ."History of Sangamon County"; Dillon's "Indiana." 


Illinois Territory [Continued] — Its Organization— Governor 
Edwards and other Officers — Indian Disturbances — 
The War of 1812 — The Chicago Massacre — Cam- 
paigns against the Indians — Peace. 

FOR the people whose primitive customs have been described 
in the foregoing chapter, a government was now to be 
organized within the Hmits of their own newly-created Terri- 
tory; — its chief seat was to be at their own largest town, and 
they were to be brought into more direct contact with the 
machinery of courts and the mysterious forms of law with which 
they had heretofore been but distantly related, and for which, 
indeed they had had but little need. Whatever benefit was to 
be derived therefrom, they were anxiously waiting to receive. 

John Boyle, associate-justice of the Kentucky court of appeals, 
was at first appointed governor of the newly-formed Territory, 
but, preferring to remain on the bench, he declined the proffered 

Ninian Edwards, chief- justice of the same court, upon the 
recommendation of Senator John Pope of Kentucky, and of 
Henry Clay, late a U.-S. senator and soon to reoccupy that 
position, thereupon received the appointment from President 
Madison, April 24, 1809. 

Nathaniel Pope, heretofore mentioned, was appointed secre- 
tary of the Territory, March 7. In the absence of the governor, 
who was detained in Kentucky closing up his affairs, preparatory 
to removal, the secretary proceeded to organize the government, 
April 28, by proclamation, reestablishing the counties of St. 
Clair and Randolph, with their existing boundaries. 

The first-appointed territorial judges were Alexander Stuart, 
Obadiah Jones, and Jesse Burgess Thomas, late delegate to 
congress from the territory of Indiana. Judge Stuart being 
transferred to Missouri, Stanley Griswold was appointed to 
succeed him. 

Gov. Edwards arrived at Kaskaskia early in June, and soon 


•^L. J^-^ 


^:>y--L^^^C:A^-^^ C <^^^<:^./^^-^-'C>:7 


thereafter entered upon the discharge of his official duties. 
The precedent of appointing distinguished and influential citi- 
zens to the office of territorial governor had not been departed 
from in his selection. The son of Benjamin Edwards, he was 
born in Maryland, March 17, 1775. His early education was 
under the direction of William Wirt, between whom and himself 
a devoted, life -long friendship was cemented. His collegiate 
course was completed at Dickinson College, Penn. At the early 
age of nineteen, he left his paternal roof, taking with him ample 
means to purchase and improve lands in Kentucky; where he 
laid out farms, built tanyards, and distilleries, and erected houses. 
Like many other young men, however, of warm and generous 
dispositions, but wanting experience, he entered without restraint 
into all the excesses of society, as it then existed, and became 
dissipated. Having suddenly awakened to the fact that he had 
squandered his patrimony, impaired his health, and disappointed 
his friends, he formed the resolution to break away from his 
wild associates and thoroughly reform his life. This resolve he 
manfully carried out and never after fell into irregular habits. 
Removing from Nelson to Logan County he devoted himself to 
the study and afterward to the practice of law, in which he soon 
attained distinction. Although beginning life anew without a 
dollar, he firmly refused the proffered aid of his father, and in a 
few years, by the practice of his profession and through prudent 
investments, he amassed the nucleus of a large fortune.* Hav- 
ing served two terms in the Kentucky legislature, he filled 
successively the offices of presiding-judge of the general court, 
circuit-judge, and chief-justice of the court of appeals. His 
promotion had been as rapid as it was merited. Henry Clay 
said of him: "his good understanding, weight of character, and 
conciliatory manners gave him very fair pretentions to the office 
[of governor]. I have no doubt that the whole representation 
from the State [Kentucky] would concur in ascribing to him 
every qualification for the office in question," 

Without the wide experience of St. Clair, or the military 
training of Harrison, his previous service on the bench and in the 
forum gave him superior advantages over either of his predeces- 
sors in discharging the civil duties upon which he now entered. 

* Edwards' "History of Illinois," 241. 


Gov. Edwards found on his arrival the people divided into 
parties and cliques, as in older communities. The controversy- 
over the division of the Territory had been bitter, and left 
behind it the stings of disappointment and defeat. While the 
majority had been in favor of separation and the establishment 
of a new government, whose proximity might enable them 
personally to participate in its administration, a very consider- 
able minority had preferred that it should have remained at a 
distance, thinking perhaps, that their schemes of speculation and 
trade would be less liable to provoke interference. Those who 
had been successful in the contest thought that they should be 
preferred by his excellency in the distribution of his favors, 
because of "the calumnies, indignities, and otJier enormities which 
had been heaped upon them by those who had opposed that 

The white population of the Territory at this time was esti- 
mated at nine thousand, and the number of Indians, who 
occupied the larger portion, was supposed to be about eighteen 

On June i6, the governor and judges formed themselves into 
a legislative body and enacted a code of laws for the government 
of the Territory. Most of these were copies of those heretofore 
■existing, with which the people were already tolerably familiar. 

The appointments of officers already made by the secretary 
were generally concurred in.-f- 

The new government having been thus successfully inaugura- 
ted, the governor next turned his attention to the organization 
of the militia. In this task he encountered fresh difficulties. 
Although the contest over the appointment of civil officers had 
been bitter, that for military honors was equally acrimonious. 

* Letter in Edwards' "Illinois," 28. 

t The list as amended was as follows: Benjamin H. Doyle, attorney -general, 
having resigned, the office was tendered to John Jordan Crittenden of Kentucky, who 
declined, and Thos. Leonidas Crittenden was appointed. Robert Morrison, adjutant- 
general, vice Wm. Rector, resigned. For Randolph County: Robert Morrison, 
clerk of the general court ; Benjamin Stephenson, sheriff; Wm. C. Greenup, clerk of 
the county-court. For St. Clair County : Wm. Arundel, recorder ; John Hay, clerk 
of the court of common pleas, which office he held until his death in 1845; John 
Hays, sheriff, which office he held until 1818; Enoch Moore, coroner; John Mess- 
inger, surveyor. 


In order to avoid the charge of affiliating with any faction, the 
governor adopted the plan of permitting each company to elect 
its own officers, and the latter to chose those for the regiment. 
Senator Pope, with whom he advised, severely criticised this 
course, and in commenting upon one of his appointees thus 
recommended said, he knew him to be a scoundrel. 

The machinery of the territorial government had been scarcely 
set in motion before the executive was required to give earnest 
attention to his ex-officio duties as superintendent of Indian 
affairs. The era of peace and prosperity which had continued 
for nearly twenty years in the Territory was about to be disturbed 
once more by the "rude alarms" of war. It has been already 
pointed out that the cessions of such large portions of the lands 
of the different tribes, between 1803 and 1809, to the whites had 
given rise to much dissatisfaction among the native proprietors, 
who believed that their rights had been bartered away for a song. 
Sentiments of jealousy and enmity were aroused, which required 
but little fanning to be kindled into a blaze of war. The great 
Tecumseh, with his brother, the Prophet, took the lead in 
attempting to excite the dissatisfied tribes to revolt. They were 
untiring in their efforts to sow and foster the seeds of discontent, 
alleging that the Americans would soon overrun the entire 
country, and the red men be driven across the Mississippi. 
These representations were urged with such vehemence that 
attacks by marauding bands upon the defenceless settlements 
of Illinois and Missouri began to be of more or less frequent 
occurrence, resulting in the loss of many lives and the destruc- 
tion of considerable property. Demands were made upon the 
Pottawatomies and Kickapoos to deliver up the perpetrators of 
these outrages. Frequent interviews and councils were held 
between the governor and his agents on the one hand and lead- 
ing chiefs on the other, to see if some satisfactory arrangement 
could not be effected which would prevent further hostilities. 
The chiefs, though friendly in their demeanor, very emphatically 
contended that they had causes of grievance against the whites 
no less serious than those which the latter urged against the 
Indians — in a word, that wrongs had been committed on both 

From the temper of the savages displayed in these conferences, 


and information carefully collected, together with the fact of the 
commission of further depredations, Gov. Edwards was convinced 
that the larger portion of the Indians in Illinois were only 
waiting for a more thorough organization and a favorable oppor- 
tunity to make war upon the white settlements of the Territory. 
A careful enumeration of the warriors of the different tribes 
residing in Illinois at this time, made under the direction of the 
governor, showed the following result: 

Pottawatomies on the Illinois River - - - 350 
Pottawatomies on the Little Calumet, Fox, and 

Kankakee rivers - - - 180 

Pottawatomies and Ottawas near Chicago - - 300 
Kickapoos and mixed near Peoria Lake and on 

the Little Mackinaw River - 330 

Sacs and Foxes on Rock River _ _ _ 1400 

Winnebagos --_-__- 450 

Making in all 3010, which would indicate a hostile population of 
about 15,000, very far exceeding that of the whites. It will be 
seen that no Piankashaws nor the remnants of the Illinois, both 
of whom were friendly, were included in the estimate. 

The battle of Tippecanoe, from which was taken one of the 
favorite political war-cries of Harrison's presidential campaign, 
was fought Nov. 6, 1811. Gen. Harrison, with a force of 700 
strong, was attacked with unwonted ferocity, early in the mor- 
ning, by Tecumseh with a superior force. After an obstinate 
and bloody contest, the enemy was repulsed and driven off the 
field; not however without inflicting a severe loss upon the 
Americans, 37 of whom were killed, 25 mortally and 126 seri- 
ously wounded. The Indian losses were still greater. 

Illinois was not without its representation on both sides of 
this sanguinary contest. The Pottawatomies and Winnebagos 
were there, and also the Kickapoos, the latter of whom were 
especially distinguished by their fierce assaults and determined 
courage. Capt. Isaac White from Gallatin County, who com- 
manded a company of militia, was among the slain. Here also 
fell the gallant Col. Joe Daviess at the head of his command. 

The defeat of Tecumseh only serving to intensify the spirit of 
war among the savages, Gov. Edwards, without delay, proceeded 




































>— 1 








to make such preparations as his means permitted, for the 
defence and protection of his Territory. In advance of the action 
of congress providing for the organization and equipment o* 
volunteer companies, he called out the militia, and advanced 
large sums from his private means for the purchase of arms, the 
building of stockade forts, and the establishment of a line of 
defensive works from the Missouri to the Wabash rivers," 

In 181 1, however, congress provided by law for ten compa- 
nies of mounted rangers, constituting the seventh regiment, to 
protect the frontiers of the West, the command of which was 
entrusted to Col. Wm. Russell of Kentucky. Four of these 
companies were raised in Illinois, and were placed under the 
commands respectively, of Capts. Samuel Whiteside, W^illiam B. 
Whiteside, James B. Moore, and Jacob Short. Five indepen- 
dent cavalry companies were also organized for the protection 
of settlements on the lower Wabash, of which Willis Hargrave, 
William McHenry, Nathaniel Journey, Thomas E. Craig, and 
William Boon were respectively commanders. 

If there were wanting any evidence to vindicate the judgment 
of the governor regarding the hostile intentions of the savages, 
and the necessity for making vigorous preparations for defence, 
it was soon furnished by the massacre of the garrison of Fort 
Dearborn at Chicago, August 15, 18 12. The story of this un- 
provoked collision, the bloodiest that ever occurred between 
the whites and Indians in Illinois, is as follows: 

Chicago was a designation applied indifferently by explorers 
to rivers, posts, and routes, as early as 1675. A French trad- 
ing-post, mission, and fort existed under that name before 
1700, but their precise location can not be now determined. 
By the treaty of Greenville, the Pottawatomies ceded six miles 
square of territory at the mouth of the Chicago River, "where 
a fort formerly stood." This is the first official connection of 
the name with a definite locality of which we have any record. 
It was a favorite trading-post of the Indians, and in 1803-4 the 
United States built a fort on the south side, and near the 
mouth of the Chicago River, which was called after a general 
of the army and then secretary- of- war, Fort Dearborn. It 
consisted of two block-houses, with a parade-ground and sally- 

* Edwards' " Illinois, " 68. 


port, surrounded by a stockade. In July, 18 12, the garrison 
was composed of seventy -four men commanded by Capt. 
Nathan Heald. The other officers were Lieut. Linai T. Helm, 
Ensign George Ronan, and Surgeon Isaac V. Van Voorhis; 
John Kinzie being the principal trader. 

During the preceding April, much alarm had been excited by 
a hostile demonstration against some settlers at a farm known 
as "Lee's place," about four miles from the fort up the south- 
branch of the river, which had resulted in the killing of Liberty 
White, the tenant, and a French employe. 

Perceiving the growing animosity of the savages, and fearing 
that it would not be possible to hold the fort in the event of an 
attack. Gen. William Hull, in command at Detroit, directed its 
evacuation, and, as is generally stated, the distribution of the 
property among the Indians as a peace-ofifering. Capt. Heald, 
however, in his report on this point says, "leaving it to my dis- 
cretion to dispose of the public property as I thought proper." 
These orders were brought to the fort Aug. 9,* by Winnemeg, a 
friendly Pottawatomie chief, who was well informed in regard to 
the hostile plans of the Indians, and it is said strongly urged, 
that as the fort was well provisioned and in good condition to 
stand a siege, that the order be disregarded; and further that if 
the fort were evacuated, that it be done at once, leaving every- 
thing in static quo, before the Indians could concentrate and 
prepare for an attack. But Capt. Heald, who it would now 
seem, was singularly blind to his perilous situation, decided to 
notify the neighboring tribes of the order to abandon the fort, 
and of his intention to divide the goods among them. This 
action of the commandant, it is asserted, was strongly opposed 
by the other officers, and by John Kinzie, who pointed out the 
danger of such a proceeding. The Indians upon being notified 
of the order became insolent and unruly, entering the fort in 
defiance of the sentinels. They had been advised by Tecumseh 
of the fall of Mackinac, July 17, of the proposed attack upon 
Detroit, and had been urged by that chief with whom they had 
already acted, and in whose judgment they had great confidence, 
to take up arms against the Americans, and the garrison at Fort 
Dearborn afTorded them the opportunity. 

* Capt. Heald's "Report" — Mrs. Kinzie says Aug. 7. 


Aug. 12, the Indians having assembled in council, as invited 
by the commander of the Fort, it was agreed that in consid- 
eration of the delivery to them of the goods in the fort, the 
Indians should furnish the garrison an escort and safe passage 
to Fort Wayne. In this conference, entirely distrusting the 
sincerity and good faith of the Indians, it is claimed that the 
other officers refused to participate; Aug. 13, Capt. William 
Wells, who was an uncle of Mrs. Heald, arrived from Fort 
Wayne with thirty friendly Miamis, to aid in escorting the 
garrison to that place. 

The next day (14th), when the property, consisting mostly of 
broadcloth, calico, and paints, was distributed, the Indians did 
not fail to notice that a large portion of the supplies promised, 
according to their understanding, had been withheld. Their 
suspicion of bad faith on the part of the whites having been 
thus aroused, was confirmed, and their indignant resentment 
inflamed to the highest pitch when while prowling around the 
fort during the following night they saw the muskets which they 
so much coveted broken and destroyed, and the casks of spirits 
which they still more desired, rolled to the river bank, the heads 
knocked in, and the liquor poured into the stream. Capt. 
Heald on this point remarks: "the surplus arms and ammuni- 
tion, I thought proper to destroy, fearing they would make bad 
use of it, if put in their possession. I also destroyed all liquor 
on hand, soon after they began to collect." 

The violation of what is supposed was the original agreement, 
had been insisted upon, it is said, by the other officers, and will- 
ingly assented to by Capt. Heald, who saw when too late, how 
dangerous it would prove to carry it out in its fullest extent. 
The wrath of the Indians on being thus deprived of the coveted 
stores was deeply felt and vehemently expressed; and Black 
Hawk who passed by the fort soon after, in speaking of the 
transaction said: "that if they [the whites] had fulfilled their 
word to the Indians, I think they would have gone safe." 

While the destruction of ammunition, guns, and liquor was 
undoubtedly an aggravating circumstance, which was made use 
of by the Indians as a justification of their own bad faith, it is 
more than probable that the attack which followed would have 
been made in any event. It had been fully determined upon.. 


Black Partridge, a Pottawatomie chief who had been on terms 
of friendship with the whites, appeared before Capt. Heald and 
informed him plainly "that his young men intended to imbrue 
their hands in the blood of the whites"; that he was no longer 
able to restrain them, and surrendering a medal he had worn in 
token of amity, closed by saying: "I will not wear a token of 
peace while I am compelled to act as an enemy." 

In the meantime the Indians were "rioting upon the provi- 
sions," and becoming so aggressive in their bearing that it was 
resolved to march out the next day. The fatal 15 th arrived. 
To each soldier was distributed twenty-five rounds of reserved 
ammunition. The baggage and ambulance wagons were laden, 
and the garrison slowly wended its way outside the protecting 
walls of the fort — the Indian escort of five hundred following in 
the rear. What next occurred in this disastrous movement is 
narrated by Capt. Heald in his report, as follows: "The situation 
of the country rendered it necessary for us to take the beach, 
with the lake on our left, and a high sand-bank on our right, at 
about three hundred yards distance. We had proceeded about 
a mile and a-half when it was discovered [by Capt. Wells] that 
the Indians were prepared to attack us from behind the bank. 
I immediately marched up with the company, to the top of the 
bank, when the action commenced: after firing one round, we 
charged, and the Indians gave way in front and joined those on 
our flanks. In about fifteen minutes they got possession of all 
our horses, provisions, and baggage of every description; and 
finding the Miamis did not assist us, I drew ofl" the few men I 
had left, and took possession of a small elevation in the open 
prairie out of shot of the bank or any other cover. The Indians 
did not follow me but assembled in a body on the top of the 
bank, and after some consultation among themselves, made 
signs for me to approach them. I advanced toward them alone, 
and was met by one of the Pottawatomie chiefs, called Black 
Bird, with an interpreter. After shaking hands he requested me 
to surrender, promising to spare the lives of all the prisoners. 
On a few moments consideration I concluded it would be most 
prudent to comply with his request, although I did not put en- 
tire confidence in his promise." The troops had made a brave 
defence, but what could so small a force do against such over- 

THE WAR OF l8l2. 2$ 1 

whelming numbers? It was evident with over half their number 
dead upon the field, or wounded, further resistance would be 
hopeless. Twenty - six regulars and twelve militia, with two 
women and twelve children were killed. Among the slain were 
Capt. Wells, Dr. Van Voorhis, and Ensign Geo. Ronan. Capt. 
Wells,* when quite young, had been captured in Kentucky by 
the Miamis and adopted into their tribe. He had lived with 
them, taking an Indian woman for his wife, until manhood, 
when he decided to return to his friends and relatives, and 
adopt the customs of civilized life. He was familiar with all 
the wiles, strategems, as well as the vindictiveness of the Indian 
character, and when the conflict began he said to his niece, by 
whose side he was standing, "W^e have not the slightest chance 
for life; we must part to meet no more in this world. God 
bless you." With these words, he dashed forward into the 
thickest of the fight. He refused to be taken prisoner, know- 
ing what his fate would be, when a young redskin cut him down 
with his tomahawk, jumped upon his body, cut out his heart, 
and ate a portion with savage delight."f- 

The prisoners taken were Capt. Heald and wife, both wounded, 
Lieut. Helm, also wounded, and wife, with twenty - five non- 
commissioned officers and privates, and eleven women and 
children. The loss of the Indians was fifteen killed. Mr. Kinzie's 
family had been entrusted to the care of some friendly Indians, 
and were not with the retiring garrison. The Indians engaged 
in this outrage were principally Pottawatomies, with a few 
Chippwas, Ottawas, Winnebagos, and Kickapoos. Fort Dear- 
born was plundered and burned on the next morning.:^: 

* Capt. Wells, a brother of Gen. Samuel Wells of Kentucky, was twice married 
to Indian women, one of whom was a daughter of Little Turtle — his adopted father. 
When the captain decided to sever his connection with the Indians, he said to 
Little Turtle, " Father, we have been long friends. I now leave you to go to my 
own people. We will be friends until the sun reaches its midday height. From 
that time we will be enemies; and if you want to kill me then, you may; and if 
I want to kill you, I may." He was afterward joined by his wife and children, 
who were well educated, and after the peace of Greenville, by Little Turtle, who 
resided with him. — "Fort Dearborn," by Hon. John Wentworth. 

+ Lossing's "Field-Book of 1812." 

J Without exception, historians have relied for their facts in regard to the Massacre 
at Chicago, which ought to be more properly described as the massacre of Fort 
Dearborn, upon the account given of the event by Mrs. Juliette A. Kinzie, wife of 


The declaration of war against Great Britain by congress was 
made June 19, 1812. The Pottawatomies, with portions of other 
tribes in lUinois, openly sided with the British. Their success 
at Chicago had increased their self-confidence and deepened 
their hostility. Gov. Edwards decided to anticipate further 
attacks, by himself assuming the offensive. Although his 
experience as a military commander had been limited to a brief 
service as major in a Kentucky militia regiment, he determined 
to take the field in person. 

Constructing a fort at Camp Russell, near Edwardsville, where 
he made his head-quarters, he collected a force of three hundred 
and fifty mounted volunteers; and was soon afterward joined by 
Col. William Russell with portions of two companies of rangers, 
numbering one hundred officers and men. Having sent out 
small detachments which had successfully attacked and driven 
off several bands of the enemy from the immediate frontiers, on 
Oct. 18, he began his march to Peoria. He expected to cooperate 
with Gen. Hopkins, who, with a force of two thousand troops 
from Kentucky, had been ordered to disperse the Indians and 
break up their villages on the Wabash and Illinois rivers. 

The governor organized his force into two regiments, one of 
which was commanded by Col. Charles Rector, and the other 
by Col. Benjamin Stephenson; Col. W^m. Russell was placed 
second in command. In addition to the two companies of 
rangers, Capt. Samuel Judy had an independent company of 
spies. The governor's staff consisted of Secretary Nathaniel 
Pope, Nelson Rector, and Robert K. McLaughlin. 

John H. Kinzie, who was the son of John Kinzie. This embodies the facts as under- 
stood by them, and as reported by Mrs. Margaret Helm, a step-daughter of John Kinzie. 
Naturally the accounts of any military movement which resulted disastrously, is 
colored against its commander, by those who have suffered from it, either the loss of 
property or friends. Of course it was for the pecuniary interest of Mr. Kinzie as sub- 
Indian agent, to have the troops remain and hold the fort, and he would be inclined 
to criticise the actions of the officer in command, which were opposed to his own 
views. While this is so, it must be admitted that the statements in Mrs. Kinzie's 
narrative bear upon their face the appearance of truth and fairness. It was not pub- 
lished however until twelve years after the death of Capt. Heald, who never had the 
opportunity of replying to its strictures. 

For interesting information concerning Fort Dearborn, the Massacre, and fate of 
the prisoners, consult " Fort Dearborn, " an address by Hon. John Wentworth, No. 
16, Fergus' Historical Series; also, "The Massacre of Chicago," by Mrs. John H. 
Kinzie, No. 30, Fergus' Hist. Series. 


After a march of fiv^e days, having burnt two Kickapoo vil- 
lages en route, the army came in sight of the enemy at the head 
of Peoria Lake. Here an Indian and his squaw, approaching 
for an interview, were mercilessly shot down by the spies, the 
leader exclaiming that they had not left home to take prisoners. 

It is a deplorable fact in connection with this and other 
campaigns against the Indians, that the innocent were made to 
suffer with the guilty. The hostile bands lived in the same 
villages with those who were really friendly toward the whites, 
and it was impossible to discriminate between friends and foes. 
The village, which was the object of this attack, was that of 
Black Partridge and Gomo, who had done all in their power to 
prevent their warriors from arraying themselves against the 
United States, and knowing their own friendly feelings, had 
evidently no apprehension of being thus attacked. When the 
town was first seen the Indians were preparing breakfast, and 
the "children playing on the green." Upon seeing an armed 
force approach, they proceeded to get away hurriedly, on foot 
and on horseback, as best they could, but, as was supposed, to 
form in order of battle. But there was really no resistance to 
the assault, the whites shooting down all of the fleeing inhabi- 
tants that came within their range. Thirty of the redskins were 
reported killed and several wounded. Their town with its 
valuable stores, was burned. Four prisoners, and eighty head 
of horses were captured. The loss of the assailants was one 
man wounded. Among the rangers in this expedition were 
John Reynolds and Thomas Carlin, both afterward governors 
of the State. It is to be hoped, for the sake of humanity, 
that the blood-curdling report of the governor, with his cen- 
tre, and right and left wings, charging upon an unprepared 
and defenceless Indian village, with the terrible array of "killed, 
wounded, and missing," which he is careful to state, however, 
was, according to the reports of the Indians, altogether too- 
highly colored. 

Not meeting with, or hearing from Gen. Hopkins, who had 
decided to abandon the expedition after reaching the head- 
waters of the Vermilion, Gov. Edwards returned to Fort Rus- 
sell, after an absence of thirteen days. 

In the meantime, Capt. Thomas E. Craig had been dispatched 


with a company and two boats to capture the ancient French 
village of Peoria. It had been represented to the governor as 
being a seditious place, whose inhabitants were in sympatliy 
with the Indians. They were traders, hunters, and voyagctirs, 
as were the dwellers in other French villages, and were estima- 
ted to number over two hundred. 

The captain was an energetic, uncouth frontiersman, whose 
characteristics were those of a fighter rather than a diplomat. 
His hatred of the red men obscured every other feeling. Arriving 
at the town, he and his men visited the houses in search of 
evidence to establish the disloyalty of the owners. Especially 
was he suspicious of and prejudiced against, the well-known 
Indian agent, Thomas Forsyth, who was not only thoroughly 
reliable, but whose relations with the government were of a 
confidential nature. Early on the morning of November 8, his 
boat having been blown ashore in a storm, he heard several 
shots, as many as ten, he says in his report, which in fact had 
been fired by some hunters at game. Craig, however, supposing 
that they came from an attacking party, shelled the woods, and 
prepared for battle; but on advancing no enemy was found. 
Reporting the incident to Forsyth and others who made light of 
it, he became enraged, and charged them all with being in league 
with the Indians. He therefore made prisoners of every one 
he could find in the town, men, women, and children, seventy- 
five in all, including Forsyth, whose commission was shown 
Craig, but which he pronounced a forgery — and "burnt down 
about half the town." 

With his prisoners, including men, women, and children, he 
started down the river, but finally released them, landing them 
on the east bank of the Mississippi, just below Alton, thence to 
make their way home in the middle of winter as best they 
could. The brutality and ignorance of this officer may be 
inferred from his report to the governor, which he concludes as 
follows: " Forsyth appeared sulky and obstinate. He claimed 
property, after refusing to receive it, at Peoria. He got all his 
property, and I am afraid more. He and the rest of the damned 
rascals may think themselves well off that they were not 
scalped." * 

* " Edwards Papers, " p. 86. 


The year 18 12 closed with but few victories over the Indians. 
The savages continued their midnight raids and murderous 
assaults against the white settlements without successful opposi- 
tion. Block-house stations and stockades were repaired and 
strengthened, yet many of the inhabitants, venturing to expose 
themselves, were either taken prisoners or killed — the latter 
numbering sixteen in February and March, 18 13. 

In 18 1 3, another expedition was sent against the Pottawato- 
mies and Kickapoos on the Illinois River. The forces were 
commanded by Gen. Benjamin Howard, formerly governor of 
Missouri. The regiment of Illinois troops was commanded by 
Col. Benjamin Stephenson. Leaving Camp Russell in August, 
they were joined by a force from Missouri at Fort Mason on 
the Mississippi below Ouincy. Arriving at Gomo's village, the 
present site of Chillicothe, no enemy was to be found. Return- 
ing to Peoria, Fort Clark was built, and several fruitless attempts 
were made from there to find the foe. The expedition returned 
to Camp Russell, October 23, without the accomplishment of 
any important results. 

In 18 14, no very sev^ere punishment having been inflicted upon 
the savages, they continued their attacks upon exposed settle- 
ments with renewed ferocity. Marauding bands hung around 
the outskirts of remote settlements, and the unerring bullets of 
the redskins laid low many a head, whose scalp hung, as a 
prized trophy, from the belts of the savage assassins. The 
perpetrators of these depredations escaped the vengeance of 
the white settlers by precipitate flight, when attacked even 
by an inferior force. 

The first organized expedition sent out in 18 14, was under 
Lieut. John Campbell, to strengthen Prairie du Chien. Two 
companies of this small army were commanded by Captain 
Stephen Rector, and Lieut. (John }) Riggs. After reaching Rock 
Island, and while passing up the river in boats, a severe engage- 
ment took place, the Indians being commanded by the renowned 
Black Hawk. The barge of Lieut. Campbell having been blown 
ashore by a gale, he was placed at the mercy of the foe. Seeing 
his perilous situation, Rector and Riggs, who had passed in 
safety, endeavored to return to his assistance The boat of 
Riggs was stranded on the rocks; but Rector having anchored 


opened an effective fire upon the enemy. The barge of Lieut. 
Campbell, who was badly wounded, caught fire, when the heroic 
Rector, having raised his anchor, in full view of the infuriated 
savages, and within easy range of their deadly rifles, floated 
down to the burning barge and succeeded in transferring to his 
own boat not only the survivors, but also the killed and wounded. 
The loss of the Americans was nine killed and sixteen wounded. 
The expedition then returned to St. Louis — Lieut. Riggs, whose 
stranded boat was so exposed as to afford little hope of his 
safety, escaping also under cover of night.* 

Another expedition was sent up the Mississippi this year, 
commanded by Maj. Zachary Taylor, afterward president, and 
with it were Capts. Nelson Rector, and Samuel Whiteside, 
commanding the Illinoisians. At Rock Island, it was discovered 
that th» British had a detachment there with artillery, and that 
the force of Indians was very large. Some severe fighting 
occurred. An assault ordered by Taylor upon the upper island 
was successful, many of the enemy being killed. Another assault 
by Capt. Rector upon the lower island, failed in consequence of 
the Indians having been largely reenforced. In his efforts to 
reach his boat, which had grounded, a desperate hand-to-hand 
encounter took place; but Capt. Whiteside came to his support 
and saved the day. Major Taylor, finding his force insufficient 
to contend successfully with the enemy, withdrew down the 
river, and, on the present site of Warsaw, constructed Fort 
Edwards. From this point also, the whites were compelled to 
retreat, and the Illinois rangers and volunteers returning home, 
were discharged from service, October 18. The result of this 
year's operations were as unsatisfactory and unfavorable as had 
been those of the two preceding. The Indians remained in 
complete and defiant possession of the upper Illinois country. 
It may be said to have been exceedingly fortunate for the people 
of the Territory of Illinois that the issues of the war of 18 12 
were not dependent upon the success which crowned their efforts 
to subdue the foe which was at their own doors. 

Although the treaty of peace between Great Britain and the 
United States was signed at Ghent, Dec. 24, 18 14, no formal 
treaty with the Indians was concluded until the following year, 

* Reynolds', "My Own Times," 2d Ed., 100. 


when articles between the United States and the hostile 
tribes were signed at a point on the Mississippi River, below 
Alton in July, 18 15, the American commissioners being Govs. 
William Clark of Missouri and Edwards of Illinois, and Auguste 
Chouteau. Most of the Northwestern tribes, including the 
Pottawatomies, were represented.* 

In these frontier wars of 18 12-14, the names of William and 
Samuel Whiteside, James B. Moore, Jacob Short, John More- 
dock, William and Nathan Boon, William, Nelson, and Stephen 
Rector, Nathaniel Journey, Willis Hargrave, Jacob and Samuel 
Judy, Benj. Stephenson, and W^m. McHenry were conspicuous 
as commanders of either companies or regiments. The records 
of those times show that they bore themselves with most dis- 
tinguished bravery and heroism. They had themselves at the 
hands of the hostile redskins suffered the loss of property and 
friends. In addition to the impulses of patriotism, therefore, 
they were influenced by the recollection of personal injuries; 
and it is somewhat surprising that in no published report of 
the governor is any mention made of their services or even of 
their names. "f* 

* "American State Papers." 

t The following were among the casualities during the war not mentioned in the 
text: 1812 — Andrew Moore and son, on Big Muddy; Barbara at Jordan's Fort; 
1813 — Two families on Cash River — several killed and wounded; Francois Young 
at Hill's Ferry; Joseph Boltenhouse, near Albion; Hutson, wife, and four children, 
on the Wabash; the Lively family (seven) in Washington Co.; 1814 — Mrs. Reason 
Reagan and six children on Wood River, Madison Co. ; Henry Cox and son, on 
Shoal Creek ; Mrs. Jesse (Jane Bradsby) Bayles and Miss Bradsby, on Sugar Creek. 
— Reynolds', "My Own Times." 

Authorities: Capt. Nathan Heald's official report, from "Niles' National Register"; 
*' Wau-Bun," by Mrs. J. H. Kinzie; "Fort Dearborn," by Hon. John Wentworth; 
Edwards' "History of Illinois"; Reynolds' "My Own Times" and "Pioneer History 
of Illinois." 



As a Territory of the Second Grade — First General As- 
semblies—Territorial Laws — Officers and Members 
of the Territorial Legislatures. 

BY the Act of congress dividing the territory of Indiana, it 
was provided that so much of the Ordinance of 1787 as 
related to the organization of a general assembly therein, 
should be and remain in full force and effect in the Illinois 
Territory, whenever satisfactory evidence should be adduced that 
such was the wish of a majority of the freeholders, notwithstand- 
insf there misfht not be five thousand free white male inhabitants 
therein of the age of twenty-one years and upward, as required 
in the ordinance. 

The people of the Territory began early in the year 18 12 to 
agitate the question of the election of their own law-makers; 
and having petitioned the governor to that effect, he, on March 
14, ordered an election to be held in April for the purpose of 
taking the sense of the freeholders on that subject. The vote 
was nearly unanimous for the proposed change. 

Owing to the fact that but few of the settlers had as yet 
acquired any legal title to the lands occupied by them, there 
were not more than three hundred voters in the Territory pos- 
sessing the required qualification of freeholders, as prescribed 
by the ordinance. 

These facts being reported to congress, that body by the act 
of May 21, not only raised the territory to the second grade, 
but also extended the right of suffrage to all white male inhabi- 
tants of twenty-one years of age, who paid taxes, and had 
resided one year in the Territory. 

In pursuance of the provisions of this act, the governor issued 
his proclamation ordering an election to be held in each county 
of the Territory — the counties of Madison, Gallatin, and Johnson 
having been added to those of St. Clair and Randolph — on Oct. 
8, 9, and 10, 18 12, for the purpose of electing five members of 
the council, and seven representatives to the general assembly. 



This first general election in the Illinois Territory, held during 
the existence of a war, in which the people felt a greater 
interest, was quietly conducted and resulted in the choice of the 
following persons: for members of the council: Pierre Menard, 
merchant, from Randolph County; William Biggs, farmer, from 
St, Clair; Samuel Judy, farmer, from Madison; Thomas Fergu- 
son, from Johnson; and Benjamin Talbot, from Gallatin. For 
members of the house of representatives: George Fisher, physi- 
cian, from Randolph County; Joshua Oglesby, a Methodist 
minister, and Jacob Short, farmer, from St. Clair; Wm. Jones, a 
Baptist minister, from Madison; Col. Philip Trammel, ranger, 
and Alexander Wilson, tavern-keeper, from Gallatin; and John 
Grammar, farmer, from Johnson. It will be noted that none of 
them were lawyers; all, however, had been enrolled as their 
country's defenders. The general assembly met at Kaskaskia, 
November 25, and organized by the choice of Pierre Menard, 
president of the council, and John Thomas, secretary. George 
Fisher was elected speaker-of-the-house, and Wm. C. Greenup, 
clerk. One doorkeeper was sufficient for both bodies; and all 
the members, it is said, were entertained at one tavern. 

The message of the governor was principally devoted to a 
discussion of the war, and proposed changes in the militia and 
revenue laws. An omnibus bill was passed December 13, 
reenacting all the laws passed by the Indiana legislature, and 
by the governor and judges of Illinois Territory, which were 
then in force. 

The people soon began to perceive that they could not hope 
to enjoy an increase of political power without having to submit 
to a corresponding increase in public expenses. The revenue 
for the support of the government was raised by taxing lands at 
the rate of seventy-five cents on the one hundred acres. County- 
revenue was raised by a tax on personal property, and by 
licenses — merchants being required to pay a fee of from ten to 
fifteen dollars for the privilege of carrying on business. Ov/ners 
of horses were required to pay fifty cents per head, and each 
head of cattle was taxed ten cents. The legislature continued 
in session thirty-two days. 

At this same election Shadrach Bond was selected as the first 
delegate to congress from the new territory of Illinois. This 


was considered then, as now, a desirable position ; but not on 
account of the salary attached — which was but eight dollars per 
day and mileage, the annual session averaging about 140 
days — nor because Washington was within easy reach, or an 
attractive place of residence. The mode of travel was on horse- 
back and by stage-coaches, and it required thirty-five days to 
make the trip from Kaskaskia to the capital. Washington then 
contained only a few houses, and these so far separated as to 
entitle the incipient city, to the sobriquet of "the city of magnif- 
icent distances," which it has maintained to this day. 

The office seemed to be prized rather for the opportunity it 
afforded to secure what were then regarded as higher posts of 
honor, in other words as a stepping-stone to other positions of 
influence, emolument, and power. Gen. St. Clair and Capt. Wm. 
H. Harrison were transferred from congress to territorial 
governorships, and later, Jesse B. Thomas and Nathaniel Pope 
were made United-States circuit-judges; and Capt. Shadrach 
Bond and Benjamin Stephenson were nominated to receiver- 
ships in the land-office — all of them securing their new appoint- 
ments before the expiration of their term of service in congress. 

The relationship of the territories to the general government 
clothed the office with unusual importance at this time. Troops 
to aid in the defence of the settlements were to be raised, 
organized, equipped, and paid. Questions relating to land- 
titles were yet unadjusted, and required attention. In regard to 
all these matters, Capt. Bond rendered laborious and able 
service. Especially was he entitled to great credit for securing 
the passage of the first preemption law of the Territory, which 
was a very popular measure, effecting most desirable results. 

The second territorial general assembly convened at Kaskas- 
kia, Nov. 14, 1 8 14. The council having been elected for four 
years was unchanged. Of the lower house, however, but one 
member, Philip Trammel, was reelected.* 

The legal profession had its first representative in the legisla- 
tive councils of Illinois this year in the person of Thos. C. Browne. 

* Second territorial general assembly — Council the same. House of representatives: 
Risdon Moore, speaker, and James Lemen jr., St. Clair; Wm. Rabb, Madison; 
James Giibreath, Randolph; Philip Trammel and Thomas C. Browne, Gallatin; 
Owen Evans, Johnson ; Wm. Mears, clerk. Second session : Jervis Hazelton, vice 
Giibreath, expelled ; John G. Lofton, Madison ; Daniel P. Cook, clerk. 


Now that peace was once more assured, the people again 
turned their attention to poHtics, and found it a more pleasing, 
if less exciting and dangerous occupation than Indian warfare. 
One subject which early engaged their consideration was the 
organization of the courts. This was a never-failing source of 
agitation and dispute. To be sure, there was hardly anything 
for the courts to do; their sessions were generally merely 
nominal; and it would not have made the slightest difference, so 
far as the welfare of the people was concerned, which of the 
plans proposed should be adopted. Still the question provoked 
as much discussion as though their very safety and existence as 
a people depended upon the particular form of their judicial 
system. This legislature passed a law establishing what it called 
the supreme, in place of the general court, and required the 
judges to hold circuit-courts. The judges opposed the law. 
The governor favored it, and wrote a voluminous message in 
support of his view, which was spread upon the journals of both 
houses. The dispute was carried to congress, and that body 
finally disposed of the question by sustaining the legislature. 
This harmless but exciting controversy, which continued for 
years, afforded a convenient yet ever-present ground of political 
discussion, to the exclusion, sometimes, of more important issues. 

The second general assembly had two sessions. Among its 
most important acts were those relating to the judiciary, and 
providing for the formation of the counties of Edwards, Jackson, 
and White. 

The third general assembly, elected in 18 16, met Dec. 2, and 
adjourned Jan. 14. A second session began Dec. i, 18 17, and 
ended Jan. 12, 1818.* 

Among the laws passed, were those for the incorporation of 
the Bank of Illinois; dividing the Territory into judicial circuits; 
abolishing the office of county-treasurer; incorporating the City 

* Members of the third general assembly Council — Pierre Menard, president, 
Randolph Co.; John G. Lofton, Madison; Abraham Amos, St. Clair; John Gram- 
mar, Johnson; Thomas C. Browne, Gallatin; Joseph Conway, secretary; and house 
of representatives — George Fisher, speaker, Randolph; Charles R. Matheny and 
\Vm. H. Bradsby, St. Clair; Nathan Davis, Jackson; Joseph Palmer, Johnson; 
Seth Gard, Edwards; Samuel O'Melveny, Pope; R. K. McLaughlin, clerk. At the 
second session, Willis Hargrave succeeded Nathan Davis, and M. S. Davenport, 
Seth Gard. Daniel P. Cook, clerk. 


and Bank of Cairo; establishing the counties of Franklin, Union, 
and Washington; and to incorporate medical societies — under 
the provisions of which no one was permitted to practise medi- 
cine or surgery without obtaining a license from the society. 

The laws adopted in the Northwest Territory were generally 
continued in force in the territory of Indiana, and those of the 
latter in Illinois, as has been pointed out. Among these, it is 
of interest to mention the following as illustrating the changes 
in public sentiment which have since occurred — especially relative 
to punishments for crime: 

Treason, murder, arson, and rape, were punishable by death. 
Burglary and robbery, by whipping, fine, and imprisonment not 
exceeding three years. Forgery, by fine in double the sum of 
which the party had been defrauded; the culprit being inca- 
pacitated from giving testimony, serving as juror, or holding 
office, and to be "set in the pillory not exceeding three hours." 
Bigamy, by whipping, fine, and imprisonment, and in 1803, 
the penalty was death. Perjury, by fine, and whipping, and 
standing in the pillory. Larceny, by fine, whipping, and being 
required to restore the stolen property. Sabbath-breaking, by 
a fine of from fifty cents to two dollars, for which distress might 
be levied. Profanity, that is, "swearing by the name of God, 
Christ Jesus, or the Holy Ghost," same penalty as sabbath- 
breaking. Disobedience of children or servants, by being sent 
to the house of correction ; and for assaulting parent or master, 
whipping. Drunkenness, for the first offence, a fine of five dimes, 
and for each succeeding offence, one dollar; on a failure to pay 
the fine, the delinquent was to be placed in the stocks for one 
hour. Cock-fighting, gambling, or running horses in the public 
highway^ by fine. Duelling, when death resulted, was made 
murder, and those who aided and abetted the principal were 
made equally guilty; the sending or accepting of a challenge 
incapacitated either party from holding office. Bribery, the 
procuring of votes by treating with meat or drink, by any can- 
didate or other person for him, was punishable by rendering 
the offender ineligible to a seat in the general-assembly for two 
years. In case the defendant was unable to pay the fine 
imposed, the court might order him to be hired out or sold for 
a period not exceeding seven years, to any "suitable" person 
who would engage to pay the fine. 


In the collection of debts, all the debtors' property whether 
personal or real, was liable to sale under execution, and if land 
failed to sell for want of bidders, the creditor had the privilege 
of taking it at its appraised value — if there was not sufficient 
property found to satisfy the execution, the body of the debtor 
might be taken and committed to the county-jail. 

To defray the expenses of the territorial government, a tax 
was levied on land, which was divided into three classes, the first 
of which paid Z7% cents, the second, 75 cents, and the third, 
one dollar on each hundred acres. 

County revenue was raised by taxing horses, cattle, slaves, 
town-lots, out-lots, houses in town, and "mansion houses in the 
country," valued at two hundred dollars and upward, and by 
licensing ferries, billiard-tables, and merchants. 

By a law of 1809, commissioned officers, federal or territorial, 
except justices-of-the-peace and militia officers, were rendered 
ineligible to a seat in the general-assembly; but the law being 
very unpopular was repealed in 18 14. 

The feeling of the people toward the aborigines was displayed 
by an act passed in 18 14, which offered a reward of fifty dollars 
for each Indian taken or killed in any white settlement, and of 
■one hundred dollars for any "warrior, squaw, or child taken 
prisoner or killed in their own territory." 

In 1 8 16, the Bank of Illinois at Shawneetown, with branches 
at Edwardsville and Kaskaskia, were incorporated as banks of 
issue and deposit; and to sustain their circulation the people 
were required to receive their bills for all debts or submit to a 
postponement of their collection. The bank at Shawneetown 
was said to be well managed, and the people sustained no losses 
thereby; but the general government lost $54,000 by the bank 
at Edwardsville. 

The supreme or general court held by the federal judges 
had concurrent, original jurisdiction in "all cases, matters, and 
things pertaining to property: real, personal, and mixed"; and 
exclusive original jurisdiction of the higher criminal offences, 
and in all cases in equity where the amount in controversy 
exceeded one hundred dollars. / It possessed appellate jurisdic- 
tion in all causes from the inferior courts, and the power to 
examine, correct, and punish the contempts and omissions of 


any justice-of-the-peace, sheriff, clerk, or other civil officer, 
within their respective counties. 

By act of 18 14, the general court was superseded by the 
establishment of the supreme court, composed of the same 
judges, who were also required to hold circuit -courts. At this 
same session the court of common pleas was abolished, and 
county-courts, with inferior jurisdiction, established in its place. 

The federal judges first appointed continued in office until 
1813, when Wm. Sprigg succeeded Obadiah Jones. In 1815, 
Thomas Towles was appointed in the place of Stanley Griswold, 
who had been transferred to Michigan Territory, and of whom 
Reynolds says: "Was a correct, honest man; a good lawyer; 
paid his debts; and sung David's psalms." 

In 18 18, territorial circuit-courts were established, upon which 
was conferred the same original jurisdiction as that which had 
been exercised by the supreme court, but no appellate. Under 
this act the following judges were appointed: Daniel P. Cook, 
John Warnock, John McLean, (declined), Elias Kent Kane, 
William Mears, and Jeptha Hardin.* 

The attorneys, at one time, were required to take and subscribe 
the following oath, before they could be permitted to practise: 
"I swear that I will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing 
of any, in the courts of justice; and if I know of any intention 

* The Territorial officers were: Governor — Ninian Edwards, April 24, 1809 to 
Dec. 6, 1 818; Secretaries — Nathaniel Pope, March 7, 1809 to Dec. 17, 181 6; 
Joseph Phillips, Dec. 17, 1816 to Oct. 8, 1818. Auditors of public accounts — H. 
H. Maxwell, 1812 to 1816; Daniel P. Cook, Jan. 13, 1816 to April 1817 ; Robert 
Blackwell, April 5, 1817 to Aug. 1817; Elijah C. Berry, Aug. 28, 1817 to Oct. 9, 
1818. Attorneys General — Benj. H. Doyle, July 24, 1809 to Dec. 1809; Thomas 
T. Crittenden, April, 1810 to Oct. 1810; Benj. M. Piatt, Oct. 29, 1810 to June, 
1813; Wm. Mears, June 23, 1813 to Feb. 17, 1818. Treasurer — John Thomas, 1812 
to 1 81 8. Delegates to congress — Shadrach Bond, Dec. 12, 181 2 to 18 14, resigned; 
Benj. Stephenson, Sept. 29, 1814 to 1817; Nathaniel Pope, 1817 to 1818. Adju- 
tants General — Elias Rector, May 9, 1809 to July 18, 1809; Robert Morrison, July 
18, to May 28, 1810; Elias Rector, May 28, 1810 to Oct. 25, 1813 ; Benj. Stephen- 
son, Dec. 13, 1813 to Oct. 27, 1814; Wm. Alexander, Oct. 27, 1814 to Dec. 1818. 
Territorial Judges — Obadiah Jones, March 7, 1809 to 1S15; Alexander Stuart, 
March 7, 1809, resigned; Jesse B. Thomas, March 7, 1809 to 1818; Stanley Gris- 
wold, March 16, 1809 to 1816; William Sprigg, July 29, 1813, to 1818; Thomas 
Towles, Jan. 16, i8i6to 1818. Circuit judges — all in 1818, Daniel P. Cook, John 
Warnock, John McLean, (declined), Elias Kent Kane, Wm. Mears, Jeptha Hardin. 

The salary of the governor was $2000; secretary $1000; territorial judges, ap- 
pointed by the president, $1200 each. 


to commit any, I vviil give knowledge thereof to the justices of 
the said courts, or some of them, that it may be prevented. I 
will nor willingly or wittingly promote or use any false, ground- 
less, or unlawful suit, nor give aid or counsel to the same; and 
I will conduct myself in the office of an attorney within the said 
courts, according to the best of my knowledge and discretion, 
and with all good fidelity, as well to the courts as my clients, so 
help me God. '* 

Among other duties devolving upon the governor was that of 
superintending United-States salines. The salt-works of the 
government in Gallatin County were extensive and profitable. 
By the terms of the leases not less than 120,000 bushels were 
to be made annually, and the price fixed at from seventy cents 
to one dollar per bushel; the rent to be paid was at the rate of 
36,000 bushels for every 120,000 bushels manufactured. It was 
the duty of the superintendent to make all contracts for leasing 
the works, collect the rent, and provide for shipping the proceeds. 
The greater portion of the labor at these works was performed 
by slaves, mostly brought from Kentucky and Tennessee. All 
the salt required by the people of the Territory and surrounding- 
country was supplied from these works. By the act enabling 
the people to form a constitution and state government all the 
salt-springs within the State, and the land reserved for their use 
were granted to the State for its use on such terms, conditions,, 
and regulations, as the legislature might prescribe. The salt- 
springs in Vermilion County, included in this grant, in 1824 
from eighty kettles produced sixty to eighty bushels of salt per 
week. The leasing and disposition of the salt-works was a 
never-failing subject of legislation for thirty years. The receipts 
from rents were not large nor satisfactory. In 1827, provision 
was made for the sale of thirty thousand acres of these lands, 
one-half the proceeds arising therefrom in Gallatin County 
being appropriated to the erection of the first penitentiary in 
the State, and the balance to the improvement of Saline Creek, 
of the road across Maple Swamp, the building of a bridge across 
Eagle Creek, and to improve the navigation of the Little-Wabash 
River. The proceeds arising from the Vermilion-County sales 
were appropriated to improve the Great-Wabash River. 

* Dillon's " Historical Notes, " 324. 


In 1829, the legislature provided for the sale of the entire 
reservation in Vermilion County, the proceeds of which were 
appropriated to the improvement of various streams, and roads, 
and the building of bridges. In 1833, provision was made for 
the disposition of the saline-lands in Bond County. Further 
provision was made for the sale of the salines in Gallatin County 
in 1836, and $12,000 of the proceeds appropriated for the erec- 
tion of a bridge across Saline Creek, and the balance for other 
bridges and roads. In 1847, ^^ ^ct was passed authorizing the 
sale of the salt-wells and coal-lands in Gallatin County not 
already disposed of. No report of the quantity sold, or the 
amount received from any of these sales, appears among the 
published reports made to, or proceedings of the legislature. 

The receipts and expenditures, in gross, of the territorial 
government, were, as nearly as can be ascertained, as follows: 

Total amount of revenue from Nov.i, 18 12, to 

Nov. I, 1814 ------ $4875 

Total amount collected - - - - 2516 

Amount uncollected in hands of sheriffs - $2359 

(No returns published for 18 15, and 18 16). 

Received by treasurer in 1 8 17 _ - - 1508 

Received by treasurer ini8i8 - ^ - 2471 

Amount paid out ----- 4039 

Deficit $60 

Authorities: "Laws of Congress;" Reynolds' "Pioneer History of Illinois;" 
Edwards' " History of Illinois;" Laws and Reports of Illinois. 


Early Territorial Towns — Growth, Population— Politics. 

THE oldest town in Illinois is Cahokia, on whose site, near 
the villages occupied by the Tamaroa and Cahokia Ind- 
ians, Father Pinet established a mission in 1699, where many- 
French were found settled the following year,'^ as heretofore 
stated. It is situated on the eastern bank of the creek of that 
name, three-fourths of a mile east of the Mississippi, and four 
miles from St. Louis. There is no evidence to support the state- 
ment that some of LaSalle's followers, or Tonty, made a settle- 
ment at this place or at Kaskaskia prior to this time; but a 
continuous occupancy by the priests, traders, and voyagetirs can 
be traced from 1699. A house of worship and other buildings 
were erected, and to each new-comer was given a lot three 
hundred feet square, which continues to be the size of the town- 
lots to this day. Owing to the natural disadvantages of loca- 
tion it remained a mere trading-post and mission-station with 
but little growth for many years. In 1722, this village was 
granted two tracts of land, one for the use of the inhabitants as 
"common fields" and one for "commons," the latter four leagues 
square; which was subsequently confirmed by congress. In 
1766, it contained, according to Capt. Pittman, forty-five houses. 
After the Revolution its growth was more marked, and in 1795, 
it was designated as the county-seat of the county of St. Clair, 
which it remained until 18 14. In iSoo, its population was 
about 400, which in 18 18 with lOO houses had increased to 
5CX). During this latter decade, the place was really prosper- 
ous and a large amount of business was transacted. It was 
greatly damaged by the flood of 1844, and thereafter gradually 
fell into decay, its trade and some of its best citizens having 
been attracted to St. Louis, and later to East St. Louis, so that 
at this time it is a mere hamlet, rejoicing, however, in the recent 
restoration of its post-ofiice, of which it was deprived some 
years ago. 

* Vide Chapter IV, page 85. 




Kaskaskia, the largest of these first villages, was situated on 
the right bank of the Kaskaskia River, six miles north of its 
junction with the Mississippi and four miles east of that river. 
It is at the southern extremity of the American Bottom, the bluff 
upon which Fort Gage was erected overlooking it from the east. 

'^■»Z -iLi; * ■■- * Tj»"?» » * 

A Plat of Kaskaskia, 1765.* 

It was Known as a thriving and populous village long before 
the founding of New Orleans, Pittsburg, or St. Louis. It is 
half a century older than Cincinnati, and had passed the merid- 
ian of its fame, and into the sere and yellow leaf of decadence 
before Chicago was even dreamed of Old as the town really 
is, it must be admitted, however, that it is neither so old nor 
was it ever so large as some authorities have claimed. The 
evidence is conclusive that there was no village known by that 
name in that locality prior to A.D. 1700. 

The journals of Fathers St.Cosme and Gravier, and the nar- 

* Reduced from a plate in Philip Pittman's " Present State of European Settle- 
ments on the Mississippi" (London, 1770). Key: A, the fort; B, the Jesuits' resi- 
dence; C, formerly commanding-officer's house; D, the church. Used by permission 
from Winsor's "Narrative and Critical History" (W. F. Poole's chapter on the 
West, Vol. VII). 


rative of Pierre LeSueur, of expeditions down and up the Mis- 
sissippi about this time, conclusively establish this fact.* 

According to the traditions of the inhabitants, the village of 
Kaskaskia was founded in 1707, it being conceded that the 
settlement of Cahokia was some years earlier.-f- In 17 10, 
M. Penicaut informs us that near the village of the Illinois 
(Kaskaskias) Indians there were three mills for grinding corn; 
"one wind-mill owned by the Jesuits, and two horse-mills 
belonging to the Illinois;" and that they had a very large 
church in their village, which was well arranged in the interior; 
besides the baptismal fonts, there were "three chapels, orna- 
mented with a bell and belfry," j which statement was confirmed 
by Father Marest in 171 1, who stated further "that many French 
had arrived there and established themselves." It is said to 
have become an incorporated town in 1725 ;§ and in I743> 3- 
grant of land for a commons, previously made by Boisbriant in 
1722, was confirmed to it by Gov. Vaudreuil. The decade from 
1740 to 1750 constituted the halcyon period of its existence, 
when the villagers enjoyed all the blessings of peace and con- 
tentment and a prosperous trade; and the village had a steady 
growth. In 1765, according to Capt. Pittman, it contained 
sixty-five families of whites, "besides merchants and casual 
people." In 1771, as stated by Thomas Hutchins — afterward 
the government geographer, it contained eighty houses, "many 
of them well built, several of stone, with gardens and large lots 
adjoining," and a population of_500 whites and 500 negroes. || 

Although the largest village therein, Kaskaskia did not 
become the capital of the Illinois country until 1772, after the 
abandonment of Fort Chartres by the British, as before related. 
Before this time, however, it is supposed that one-third of the 

* "Early Voyages Up and Down the Mississippi." "Magazine of American 
History," Vol. VI, 161, article by E. G. Mason. 

+ Historical Sketch, page 7, by William H. Brown, who formerly resided at 
Kaskaskia. Also confirmed by Pittman, p. 83. 

J French's "History of Louisiana, " VI, 108. 

§ "History of Randolph County, "p. 304. 

II The statement of Maj. Bowman, with Col. Clark, that Kaskaskia contained 
250 houses at the time it was captured, in 1778, was undoubtedly erroneous, prob- 
ably a typographical error, as was that placing the number of inhabitants at 8000 
at one time, an extra cipher making all the difference. 


French inhabitants had removed to Ste. Genevieve and St.Louis 
rather than become subjects of British rule. After its capture 
by Col. Clark, the town still further declined in population, as 
well as in wealth, until the American immigration began after 
the Revolution. From this time its growth steadily increased, 
receiving a new impetus from the arrival of the territorial officers 
in 1809. In 1 8 16, the number of houses had increased to 160.* 
Judge Breese, who became a resident of the place in 18 18, and 
continued to live there for several years, says, that the popula- 
tion did not exceed 800 whites "in its palmiest days." 

With the removal of the State capital in 1821, the fame of 
Kaskaskia began to wane. It still continued to be the county- 
seat of Randolph County, however, until 1847. The loss of this 
prestige, following the great overflow of 1844, was the finishing- 
stroke to its greatness. The first brick- house built west of 
Pittsburg, in 1792, still stands, and the dwelling occupied by 
Gov. Coles; but the old academy, or convent as it was some- 
times called, which cost $30,000, and the mansions of Edgar 
and Morrison have long since gone to decay. It is now a still- 
declining and out-of-the-way village, whose final destruction the 
mighty Mississippi, which has already made an island of its site 
by cutting its way through to the Okaw, threatens soon to 

For over half a century, however, it was the metropolis of the 
Upper- Mississippi Valley, and during this period it was the 
Mecca of all explorers, and the focus of commerce in the North- 
west Territory. The most interesting associations cluster around 
its historic name. 

Here resided John Edgar, Wm. and Robert Morrison, Pierre 
Menard, Ninian Edwards, Shadrach Bond, Edward Coles, Dan'l 
P. Cook, Nathaniel Pope, E. K. Kane, Jesse B. Thomas, Benj. 
Stephenson, Thomas Mather, Sidney Breese, David J. Baker, 
Richard M. Young, Philip Fouke, William H. Brown, James 
Shields, and Thomas Reynolds, all of whom have borne a dis- 
tinguished part in the formative political movements of the 
State. Some of them were married there, and the remains of 
others are there buried. The old-church bell, memento of a dim 
past, cast expressly for the Church of the Illinois, and which 

* Brown's "Gazetteer," p. 27. 


first pealed forth its glad or solemn sounds a hundred and fifty 
years ago, still swings in the belfry, calling to matins or vespers 
as of yore; but all those who walked the streets of the old 
town, and carved high their names upon the roll of fame, are 
now in their silent graves, and today the old bell seems only 
to chant the solemn requiem of the past.* 

Prairie du Rocher, another of the ancient French villages,. \ 
having a church and a store at this early period, being more 
isolated than Cahokia and Kaskaskia, did not experience the 
adverse fortunes of those towns, but pursued the even tenor of 
its way, and at this time contains a population of over 300. 

Peoria, an ancient French and Indian village of this name, 
was situated on the west bank of Peoria Lake, at a very early 
day; it was called by the French Opa, and was first occupied by 
them it is said, in 171 1. This village was abandoned by the 
French about 1775, for a healthier and more convenient location, 
near the outlet of the lake, the site of the present city. From 
1778, when the first house was built, this village was continu- 
ously occupied until 18 12, when the place was taken by Capt. 
Craig, the inhabitants to the number of seventy-five forcibly 
removed therefrom, and the village destroyed. At this time it 
contained a population of about two hundred.^f* No attempt 
was made to re-occupy the town from that time until 18 19 when 
a colony, consisting of Abner Eads, J. Henry, Seth Fulton, 
Josiah Fulton, S. Dougherty, J. Davis, and T. Russell immi- 
grated to the place, then called Fort Clark, from Shoal Creek 
in Clinton County.:]: From the rude log-cabins of these hardy 
pioneers has arisen the present beautiful and growing city of 
this name. 

Shawneetown, which was laid out in 1808, had by 1818, grown 
to be one of the largest towns in the Territory. Then as now, 
it was the county-seat of Gallatin County, and was for years the 

* This old bell, the first of any size in the Upper- Mississippi Valley, weighs 
about six hundred and fifty pounds — height about twenty-eight inches — ornamented 
on one side with three groups of fleu7--de-lis in relief; on the other by a cross and 
pedestal, the top and arms of cross terminating in grouped fleur-de-lis. The follow- 
ing inscription is cast in the bell : " Pour I'eglise des Illinois. Par les Soins du 
Sr. Dutreleau, L.B.M., Normand, a la Rochele, 1741." O. w. COLLET. 

t Gov. Coles, in Edwards' " Illinois, " 66. 

X Ballance's "History of Peoria," 45. 


iirst stopping place for immigrants to Illinois. It boasted of a 
bank, a printing-office, a land-office, lOO dwelling-houses, and a 
population of 500. It was in some respects a rival town to 
Kaskaskia. Here resided, John McLean, Thomas C. Browne, 
Joseph M. Street, Michael Jones after 18 14, Wm. J. Gatewood, 
and Adolphus Frederick Hubbard. 

Upper Alton was founded in 18 16, and two years later con- 
tained nearly one hundred houses. The inhabitants were chiefly 
enterprising immigrants from the Eastern States. 

Alton was laid out in 18 18, and grew rapidly. It very soon 
assumed a leading place among the growing towns of the 
State. Having a fine steamboat-landincr, and inexhaustible 
beds of coal and limestone of superior quality in its immediate 
vicinity, large amounts of capital were attracted to the place, 
and business of a considerable volume transacted. 

Belleville was situated in the flourishing settlement called 
Turkey Hill. It was selected as the site of the county-seat of 
St. Clair in 18 14, and by 18 18, contained a population of 500, 
priding itself on the possession of a court-house, jail, an acade- 
my, and a public library. At different periods in its history it 
has been the home of three of the State's executives — Edwards, 
Reynolds, and Bissell. 

Edwardsville was founded in 18 15, and three years thereafter, 
it contained seventy dwellings, besides a number of public 
buildings, among them a land-office, court-house, jail, and a 
brick market-house. Gov. Edwards, in whose honor the town 
was named, resided here at one time, as did also Gov. Coles. 

The towns of Carmi, Fairfield, Waterloo, Golconda, Lawrence- 
ville, Mt. Carmel, Harrisonville, and Vienna, had just sprung 
into existences Neither Springfield, Jacksonville, Carrollton, 
or Quincy, had as yet been thought of, and Chicago was men- 
tioned in "Beck's Gazetteer" as "a village in Pike County." 

With the close of the war in 181 5, the inhabitants of Illinois 
Territory entered upon a new era of peace and prosperit}'. 
During that dark period many settlers, discouraged in their 
effiDrts to protect themselves from the attacks of the Indians, 
and finding only a precarious security for their possessions, had 
packed up their "plunder" and turned back whence they came. 
These, with large additions, now returned to the "beautiful 


country of the Illinois." No more glowing accounts of its 
attractive features could have been given than those of the 
soldiers who had lately traversed its prairies and groves in 
battle array. Their praise of its rich soil, its forest- fringed 
streams, and agreeable climate, was carried back not only to their 
own neighborhoods, but to other states, and as a result old 
settlements were henceforth continually enlarged and new ones 

The passage of the preemption law in 1813, by which the 
settler was given an opportunity to secure a title to his home, 
the tenure to which had been before uncertain, disposed of one 
of the gravest objections to removing to the Territory. When 
immigrants realized that they might acquire a title in fee to the 
soil whereon they lived, and provide permanent homes for their 
families, both old and new settlers conceived a stronger attach- 
ment as citizens to the country of their choice. 

During the four years of unprecedented territorial growth 
which followed the close of the war, to the counties of St. Clair, 
Randolph, Madison, Johnson, and Gallatin, which had been or- 
ganized prior to 18 14, there were added the following: Edwards 
and White, taken from Gallatin; Jackson, from Randolph and 
Johnson; Monroe, from Randolph and St. Clair; Pope, from 
Gallatin and Johnson; Crawford, from Gallatin; Bond, from 
Madison; Franklin, from Gallatin, White and Jackson; Union 
from Johnson; and Washington from St. Clair; making in all 
at the close of the territorial period, fifteen counties, covering 
the southern one-fourth of the State, and in each of which were 
sparse, but rapidly-increasing settlements and communities. 

The old familiar French names in the counties of St. Clair, 
Randolph, and Monroe, gradually disappeared from the lists of 
officers and juries. American ideas, with the introduction of 
American laws and custQms, began to predominate. Yet the 
two classes were not antagonistic, but rather mingled harmoni- 
ously, and formed a society, at once agreeable and lively, and 
conducive to the growth and importance of the towns formerly 
nearly all French. 

Although parties were not then organized as they came to be 
after 1832, they existed nevertheless in all their fulness and 
strength. The cry of "Measures not men" had not yet been 


evoked from political chaos, but on the contrary, party- lines 
and divisions were formed altogether upon personal predi- 
lections for public men. It thus frequently happened that a 
candidate's warmest supporter was a friend with whom on 
public questions he was as likely to differ as to agree. Or 
while there might be some point of agreement on a particular 
question upon which there had been a union of interest, upon 
all others their views would be widely separated. 

Inconsistent as was this division of voters, it was not without 
its advantages to the people. A public man was required to 
possess certain qualifications, without which no road to success 
was ever opened to him. One of these was a prepossessing 
personal appearance; another was the ability to make a speech. 
He must also be good natured, generous, witty, and brave. He 
was the focus of all eyes, and the constant object of the critical 
watchfulness of his opponents. Woe be to the candidate for 
official preferment, who was known or even suspected of doing 
a mean or cowardly act; for this the judgment was sudden and 
severe, and there was no forgiveness. Mistakes, unless com- 
mitted by a sufficient number to form a party, met with as 
swift, and unrelenting condemnation, as crimes, A man might 
be known to be fond of cards or the turf, or to indulge too freely 
in his cups, without detriment, but to support and vote for an 
unpopular measure was an offence not to be overlooked or for- 
gotten — it was ever after "thrown up to him." 

During the territorial period of Illinois, and for some ten 
years thereafter, parties thus constituted were divided as follows: 
on the one side were arrayed Gov. Edwards, Judge Pope, D. P. 
Cook, Judge Browne, George Forquer, and others of less note; 
on the other Gov. Bond, Judge Thomas, Michael Jones, John 
McLean, E. K. Kane, and Wm. Kinney. John Reynolds so 
managed as to be friendly with and receive support from both 
sides, but was generally found with the Edwards party. 

The people were no mean politicians, and were not unin- 
formed in regard to all public questions. Although they pos- 
sessed but few books, and the one or two newspapers of but 
four pages in the Territory contained only advertisements and 
official publications; with the mails only bringing them a few 
documents now and then, and the most of the voters being 



barely able to read "coarse print," and sign their names, they 
had a thorough comprehension of the status of parties, a keen 
appreciation of the arguments by which their measures were 
sustained, and a clear insight into the lives and characters of 
all public functionaries. Having no occupations demanding 
much time or attention, they devoted the largest portion of 
both to the gaining of information through oral discussions at 
their firesides, and all public gatherings. 

The contests at elections with parties thus constituted, during 
these many years, as may well be imagined, were full of interest 
and attended by great excitement. The success of a personal 
friend, or of an admired public man was at stake; and every 
effort was put forth to secure him votes at the polls. 

Period V. — Under the First Constitution, 



Admission as a State — The Enabling Act — Constitutional 
Convention — First Constitution — Action of Congress. 

NEITHER the Ordinance of 1787 nor the constitution pre- 
scribes any form of procedure for the organization and 
admission of new states. Each appHcation has been considered 
solely upon the merits of the particular case inviting congres- 
sional action, according to the facts. Nor have the enabling 
acts of congress shown any uniformity in either the rules laid 
down, or the limitations and restrictions imposed; and indeed 
the following- named states: Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, 
Maine, Michigan, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, California, and Ore- 
gon, were admitted into the Union without the preliminary 
passage by congress of any enabling act whatever. 

At the January session, 18 18, of the Illinois territorial legisla 
ture, so greatly had the population increased, that a resolution 
was adopted directing Congressional-delegate Nathaniel Pope, 
who had been elected in 18 17 to succeed Benjamin Stephenson 
to present a petition to congress requesting the enactment of a 
law to enable the people to form a state government; and a bill 
for that purpose was introduced, April 7, 18 18. 

The Ordinance of 1787, in fixing the limits of the three states 
to be formed out of the Northwest Territory, provided that 
congress should have authority to form one or more states out 
of so much of that portion of the territory set apart for the 
western state therein "which lies north of an east-and-west line 
drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Mich- 

With this provision in view, in the bill as reported by 
the committee, the northern boundar}- of the proposed new 
state was fi.xed on the north parallel of 41" 39". The house 
having resolved itself into a committee of the whole to con- 



sider the same, Mr. Pope moved to amend by striking out 
the hnes defining the boundary of the new state and inserting 
the following: "Beginning at the mouth of the Wabash River, 
hence up the same, and with the Hne of Indiana to the north- 
west corner of said State, thence east with the Hne of the same 
State to the middle of Lake Michigan, thence north along the 
middle of said lake to north latitude 42° 30", thence west to the 
middle of the Mississippi River, and thence down along the 
middle of that river to its confluence with the Ohio River, and 
thence up the latter river along its northwest shore to the 

Mr. Pope explained the object of his amendment, and urged 
its adoption for the following reasons: that the proposed new 
state by reason of her geographical position even more than 
on account of the fertility of her soil, was destined to become 
populous and influential; that if her northern boundary was 
fixed by a line arbitrarily established rather than naturally 
determined, and her commerce was to be confined to that great 
artery of communication, the Mississippi, which washed her 
entire western border, and to its chief tributary on the south, 
the Ohio, there was a possibility that her commercial rela- 
tions with the south might become so closely connected that in 
the event of an attempted dismemberment of the Union, Illinois 
would cast her lot with the Southern States. On the other hand 
to fix the northern boundary of Illinois upon such a parallel of 
latitude as would give to the state territorial jurisdiction over 
the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan, would be to unite 
the incipient commonwealth to the states of Indiana, Ohio, 
Pennsylvania, and New York in a bond of common interest 
well-nigh indissoluble. By the adoption of such a line, Illinois 
might become at some future time the keystone to the perpetu- 
ity of the Union. 

The feasibility of opening a canal between Lake Michigan 
and the Illinois River, was admitted by every one who had 
inspected the location, and given the subject consideration. 
If the port of Chicago were included within the boundaries of 
the proposed state, the attention of the inhabitants of the latter 
would naturally be directed to the opening up of a water-way, 
between the river named and the great fresh-water sea, and the 


early improvement of the entire region. The successful prose- 
cution of such an enterprise, would not only open up new chan- 
nels of trade, but would tend to bind together the East and West 
by a chain whose links would be welded together not only by 
friendship but by a community of interest. And thus with 
common ties, and interests reaching out to the East as well as 
the South, an equilibrium of sentiment would be established, 
which would forever oppose the formation of separate and 
independent confederacies on the north, south, east, or west. 

The arguments adduced by Mr. Pope were deemed conclusive, 
and his amendment was adopted without a division. By this 
well-timed action, thus wisely forecasting future events, and 
indeed anticipating a contingency which actually occurred less 
than fifty years thereafter, there was secured to Illinois an addi- 
tional strip of territory, fifty-one miles in width, extending from 
Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River, out of which afterward 
were formed fourteen populous and wealthy counties. 

Had the line originally proposed by the committee been 
adopted, Chicago would not have grown into the imperial city 
she now is, because the building of the Illinois-and-Michigan 
Canal, and' the Illinois-Central Railroad, which have contributed 
so largely to her progress and prosperity, and which were wholh^ 
the offspring of Illinois enterprise and statesmanship, would 
never have become accomplished facts. 

Mr, Pope "builded even better than he knew." But for the 
vote of these counties since 1854, Illinois would have been as 
thoroughly a democratic state as Missouri; the legislature 
elected that year would have sustained Stephen A. Douglas 
in his Kansas-Nebraska bill, and Lyman Trumbull would not 
have been elected to the U.-S. senate. It was the vote of these 
counties that elected the republican state-ticket in 1856, which 
secured the State to that party, and rendered possible the can- 
didacy of Abraham Lincoln for the presidency in i860. And 
the whole train of momentous events wrought out by his elec- 
tion, would never have occurred but for the fact that these 
fourteen northern counties were included within the limits of 
Illinois, rather than those of Wisconsin. 

While Mr. Pope was aware of the fact that the place of 
indefinite locality called Chicago, including the country around 


the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan, had always been 
considered as a part of the legitimate territory of Illinois, and 
that the project of the canal referred to by him was purely an 
Illinois measure, yet the securing of the adoption of the above 
important amendment, fraught with such material results was 
of his own motion, and on his own responsibility, without the 
instruction or advice of his constituents. 

Subsequent attempts were frequently made to restore the 
northern boundary-line as originally reported, and as late as 
1842 an effort was put forth in that direction by Gov. Jas. Duane 
Doty of Wisconsin Territory, who addressed a communica- 
tion to the residents within the district in Illinois covered by 
the terms of Pope's amendment urging them to avail themselves 
of their supposed right to form an independent government. 
And strange as it may now appear many of the inhabitants in 
the middle and western portions of the disputed territory were 
strenuously in favor of being set off to Wisconsin. Meetings 
were held, resolutions condemning the change of line as a vio- 
lation of the Ordinance of 1787, and in favor of the proposed 
action were adopted, and a committee appointed to secure the 
cooperation of the Wisconsin authorities. Chicago, however, 
had a clearer conception of her interests, and although she was 
offered a United-States senatorship in exchange for her support 
of the Wisconsin project, her citizens gave it no countenance.* 

The legislative council of Wisconsin in February, 1842, re- 
ported a bill referring the question of forming a state govern- 
ment to the people at the next election, and invited the 
inhabitants of the disputed territory to hold an election at the 
same time on the question of uniting with the people of 
Wisconsin in forming such state government. D. A. J. Upham, 
a member, insisted upon this action, and in a speech stated that 
"with legal and immutable justice on our side, the moral and 
physical force of Illinois, of the whole Union, can not make us 
retrace our steps." But the house did not sympathize with this 
belligerent spirit, and refused to adopt the proposed measure. 
Gov. Doty, however, in the following June, officially notified 
Gov. Carlin that the fourteen northern counties of the State 
of Illinois were not within the constitutional boundaries of 

* Hon. John Wentworth's MS. 


that State; and that its exercise of judisdiction therein was 
"accidental and temporary." To this communication no reply- 
was made. In the following August, Gov. Doty issued a proc- 
lamation, on his own responsibility, calling on all the people 
within the "ancient limits of Wisconsin" to vote on a day named, 
on the question of forming a state government; to which but 
little attention was paid. This he repeated the following year 
with a like result — the general assembly having refused to make 
such a call. 

The legislature of 1843-4 adopted an elaborate address to 
congress on the subject, which that body failed or refused to act 
upon, and the controversy thereupon ended, until the admission 
of the state, in 1848, when the line of 42° 30" was confirmed — 
not however without an unsuccessful effort to revive the question 
of its validity in the constitutional convention.* 

Whether the action of congress in establishing the northern 
boundary-line of Illinois was an infraction of the Ordinance of 
1787, was a question to which Pope had undoubtedly given very 
careful consideration before he ventured on proposing it. He 
was an able lawyer himself, and there were many other mem- 
bers of congress familiar with the subject, who would not have 
consented to the proposition if there had been any doubt in 
regard to its constitutionality. 

The proviso of the ordinance in question (Art. 5) has already 
been given. The legal question involved, and the argument to 
sustain the constitutionality of the action of congress, have been 
by no one more clearly stated than by Gov. Ford, who was one 
of the ablest of Illinois' early judges, and whose attention was 
directed to it in consequence of his official relations to the 
controversy, as the executive of Illinois. "There is nothing," 
says the governor, "in the ordinance requiring such additional 
state (or states) to be formed of the territory north of that 
line; another state might be formed i7i that district of country, 
but not of it; it need not necessarily include the whole. By 
extending the limits of Illinois north of the disputed line, con- 
gress still had the power to make a new state in that district 
north of it, not including the portion g*iven to IlUnois."-f- As 

* "Wisconsin Historical Collections," XI, 498-500. 
+ Ford's "History of Illinois," 21. 


notwithstanding all the efforts of those who advocated the other 
view, congress refused to disturb its former action, it is fair to 
conclude that the opinion thus expressed was considered sound ; 
and indeed it has never since been seriously questioned by any 
competent authority. 

The bill as originally presented provided that the State's pro- 
portion of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands should be 
appropriated to the construction of roads and canals. Mr. Pope 
offered the following amendment: "that two-fifths of said pro- 
ceeds be disbursed under the direction of congress in making 
roads leading to the State; the residue to be appropriated by 
the legislature of the State for the encouragement of learning, of 
which one-sixth part shall be exclusively bestowed on a college 
or university." 

In support of this amendment he remarked: that the applica- 
tion of this fund to the construction of roads, in other states, 
had not been productive of the good results anticipated, but 
that the importance of education in a republic was universally 
acknowledged. He pointed out the fact that the want of roads 
in new communities, being immediate and local, might safely 
be left to the inhabitants to provide for as their existing inter- 
ests might require; but that education being a more remote 
benefit might be neglected. This important amendment was 
also adopted without objection. It brought to the permanent 
school fund of the State a sum which now amounts to $156,613. 

Another vital point calling for consideration in the enabling 
act, was the question of population. The Ordinance of 1787 
provided that "whenever any of said states shall have 60,000 
free inhabitants therein such state shall be admitted, by its 
delegates, into the congress of the United States, * * and 
so far as it can be, consistent with the general interest of the 
confederacy, such admission shall be allowed at an earlier period, 
and when there may be a less number of free inhabitants in the 
state than 60,000." Mr. Pope well knew that the Territory did 
not contain the required 60,000, and he succeeded in fixing in 
the act the number of 40,000 as being sufficient.* 

The bill as thus variously amended became a law, April 18, 
1 8 18. No man ever rendered the State a more important ser- 

* "Abridgment of the Debates of Congress," VI, 173. 


vice in congress than did Nathaniel Pope, to whom the people of 
Illinois are indebted for securing the passage of this enabling 
law, upon which he succeeded in ingrafting the important pro- 
visions above set forth. And if political rewards were meted 
out in proportion to the merits of the service rendered, the 
people's representatives would with one accord have selected 
him as their senator in congress, at one time when he had signi- 
fied his willingness to accept that position; bright and steady as 
was his fame as a jurist, it would have paled before the brilliant 
lustre of his career as a statesman. 

The taking of the census of 1818 was certainly liable to 
objection as to the exceedingly doubtful methods adopted to 
swell the figures. The admission as a state that year depended 
upon the fact that the population numbered 40,000; and when 
it began to appear that it might fall short, the marshal sta- 
tioned his deputies on the large thoroughfares, and instructed 
them to count everybody that passed, explorers as well as 
movers; nor were any inquiries to be made of immigrants as to 
their ultimate destination. Thus entire families were sometimes 
counted not only when they entered the Territory, but repeatedly 
after as they passed through on their way to their journey's end.* 
In this way the returns were made to foot up the requisite 
40,000, but as corrected and subsequently ascertained, the popu- 
lation really amounted to but 34,620. "f* Illinois was therefore 
admitted into the Union with the smallest population of any of 
the thirty-eight states of which it is now composed — that of 
Ohio was 45,365, Indiana, 63,897, Arkansas, 52,240, Nevada, 
40,000, and all the others still larger. 

The way being now made clear by the completion of the 
census, an election was held, as provided for in the enabling 
act, on the first Monday in July (6), 18 18, and the two following 
days, for the selection of delegates to a convention to frame a 

The delegates thus elected assembled at Kaskaskia, on the 
first Monday in August (3), and the body organized by the 
election of Jesse B. Thomas as president, and Wm. C. Greenup, 
secretary. There is no official record of its proceedings, among 

* William 11. Brown, in "Fergus' Historical Series," No. 14. 
+ Senate doc. 49. Congressional Report 15. 


the State archives. If any was made or published, neither the 
original nor any copy has been preserved. It was composed of 
thirty-three members, chiefly farmers of limited education, but 
many of whom were not without fine natural abilities, sound 
judgment, and experience in public aftairs. The bar was slimly 
represented, having only five members, Messrs. Thomas, Hub- 
bard, Hall, Kitchell, and Kane. The latter it is generally 
admitted was its leading spirit, and to him must be awarded 
the credit of the arrangement, as well as of the composition, 
wherever original matter was introduced into the instrument 
adopted. The article relating to slavery was the subject of 
warm debate, and furnished the only exciting topic of discus- 
sion during the session." The convention concluded its labors 
August 26, and a copy of the constitution was immediately 
transmitted to congress for approval.-f- 

When John McLean, who had been elected to congress, pre- 
sented himself in the house with the instrument, and asked 
leave to take his seat as a representative from Illinois, objection 
was made on the ground that congress had not concluded the 
act of admission. Gen. Harrison, then a member from Ohio, 
insisted that according to precedent, the house had taken it for 
granted that the requirements of the enabling act had been 
complied with, and that the member elect should be admitted 
without question. But the request was denied by a decisive 
majority, and the constitution at the same time was referred to 
a select committee composed of Richard C. Anderson, jr., of 
Kentucky, George Poindexter, and William Hendricks. On 
November 20, the committee reported a resolution in favor of 
the admission of the State on an equal footing with the original 
thirteen ; which was read twice and ordered to a third reading. 
On November 23, it was read a third time, and on the question 
of its passage, James Tallmadge, jr., of New York, opposed its 
adoption on the following grounds: first, there was not sufficient 
evidence before congress that the Territory contained the requi- 
site population; and secondly, and chiefly because the principle 
of slavery, if not positively sanctioned, by the constitution, was 

* William H. Brown, "Fergus' Historical Series," No. 14. 
t The pay of the members was $4 per day, and the entire amount expended for 
stationery was $74.55. 


not sufficiently prohibited. During the discussion he read the 
provision relating to this subject and called particular attention 
to the clause reading that slavery "shall not hereafter be intro- 
duced into the State." He urged his objections at some length. 

Mr. Poindexter of Mississippi, in reply, stated that while he 
agreed with what had been said as to the evils of slavery, and 
that it would be a blessing if some wise plan could be devised to 
get rid of it, and that he hoped that neither Ohio, Indiana, nor 
Illinois would ever permit its introduction within their limits, yet 
he could see no reason to find fault with the provisions of this 
constitution on that subject. 

Mr. Anderson also spoke in favor of the resolution, taking the 
ground that the people of the State, after it was admitted, had 
the right to change its constitution and permit slavery without 
the interference of congress. 

Gen. Harrison also favored the adoption of the resolution, and 
remarked that as one of those who was opposed to the further 
extension of slavery, he thought the restriction was satisfactory. 
Tallmadge replied, and others participated in the debate, the 
question of the binding force of the Ordinance of 1787 prohibit- 
ing slavery, entering largely into the discussion.* 

The vote upon the passage of the resolution when finally 
reached showed a favorable majority of 1 17 yeas to 34 nays. 

The first constitution of Illinois was, in its principal provi- 
sions, a copy of the then existing constitutions of Kentucky, 
Ohio, and Indiana. The bill of rights is almost identically the 
same in each, with the exception of the clauses relating to 
slavery. Many of the articles are exact copies in wording 
although differently arranged and numbered. As will be seen 
by reference to the instrument, provision was made for the 
election by the people of the following officers only: governor, 
lieut.-governor, sheriff, coroner, and county commissioners. In 
Ohio and Indiana, the office of justice-of-the-peace was also 
elective. The secretary of state, treasurer, auditor of public 
accounts, public printer, and supreme and circuit-court judges 
were to be appointed by the governor, or general assembly. 

It was not yet deemed advisable to place too much power in 
the hands of the people — they were not even permitted to have 

* "Abridgment of the Debates of Congress," VI, 205. 


a voice in the adoption of their fundamental law, no provision 
being made for the submission of the constitution to popular 
ratification or rejection. Neither were the constitutions of 
Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, or Tennessee, nor indeed, subse- 
quently those of any slav^-state submitted to the people. The 
first constitution thus ratified was that of Maine in 1820, and 
the precedent thus established was followed by Michigan in 
1837, Iowa in 1845, Wisconsin in 1847, and indeed by all the 
free-states admitted since that time. 

Instead of vesting the executive with the veto power as in 
Kentucky and Indiana, the governor, and the judges of the 
supreme court were constituted what was termed a Council of 
Revision, with authority to pass upon the validity of the laws 
as they were enacted. The return of an act with their object- 
tions rendered necessary its reconsideration, when a majority 
of all the members elected was required again to pass or 
approve it. 

The section relating to imprisonment for debt, providing that 
when there was not strong presumption of fraud, the person of 
a debtor should not be detained in prison after delivering up 
his estate for the benefit of his creditors, was the same as that 
in the constitutions of Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. 

The elective franchise was granted to all white male inhabi- 
tants, above the age of 21 years, who had resided in the State 
six months. No salaries were fixed except that that of the 
governor should not exceed $1000, nor that of the secretary 
of state $600, prior to 1824. 

The most objectionable feature of the instrument was the 
vesting of the legislature with the appointing power. As origi- 
nally framed, this power was committed to the executive, but 
as it was expected that Shadrach Bond would be elected gov- 
ernor, and that he would not appoint a particular candidate who 
had secured the suffrages of the members, to the office of state 
auditor, a provision was inserted in the schedule that " an 
auditor of public-accounts, an attorney -general, and such other 
officers of the State as may be necessary, may be appointed 
by the general assembly." At first the legislature limited its 
exercise of this power to the appointment of the above-desig- 
nated officers, the governor appointing the state's -attorneys, 



recorders, and other officers and agents provided for by law; 
but whenever it happened that the governor was not in accord 
with the general assembly, it would deprive him of his patron- 
age. Thus there was a continual liability to a change of 
powers, which produced not only uncertainty and embarrass- 
ment, but was fruitful of intrigues and corrupt combinations. 

The defects of this first constitution, are even more clearly 
apparent on account of the absence of necessary limitations and 
restrictions of the legislature, than for its prodigal grants of 
power to that department, as the administration of the state 
government subsequently proved. 

Such was the first constitution, and the circumstances and 
proceedings under which the sovereign State of Illinois was 
admitted into the sovereign Union of states, on Dec. 3, 18 18. 
It was the eighth new state added to the old thirteen, and had 
a greater area than any other state then in the Union except- 
ing Georgia.* 

* Table showing the date of admission of new states into the Union, from what 
territory acquired, population, and area: 








Virginia, .... 

Feb. 4, 1791, 




New Hampshire and New York, 

- Feb. 18, 1791, 




North Carolina, ... 

June I, 1796, 




Northwest Territory, 

- April 30, 1802, 




French Purchase, ... 

April 8, 18 12, 




Northwest Territory, 

- Dec. II, 1816, 




South Carolina, Georgia, and France, 

Dec. 10, 1817, 




Northwest Territory, 

Dec. 3, 1S18, 




South Carolina, Georgia, and France, 

Dec. 14, 1S19, 




Massachusetts and Great Britain, 

- March 3, 1820, 




French Purchase, ... 

March 2, 1821, 




French Purchase, 

- June 15, 1836, 




Northwest Territory, 

Jan. 26, 1837, 




Annexed, ... 

- March i, 1845, 




French Purchase, ... 

March 3, 1845, 




Spain, .... 

- March 3, 1845, 




Northwest Territory, 

March 3, 1847, 





- Sept. 9, 1850, 




Northwest Territory and France,- 

May 4, 1858, 




Ceded by France, 

- Feb. 14, 1859, 




Ceded by France and Texas, 

Jan. 29, 1861, 



West Virginia, 

Virginia, .... 

- Dec. 31, 1862, 




Mexico, .... 

March 11, 1864, 




Ceded by France, 

- Feb. 9, 1867, 




France and Mexico, 

March 3, 1875,! 



As will be seen, up to 1850, with the exception of the compromise state of Mis- 
souri, the states were admitted in the order of first a slave-state and then a free-state. 
* Estimated. 1 Took effect Aug. i, 1876. 


First State-Election — Gov. Bond — First General Assem- 
bly — Officers — Laws — Election of United-States Sen- 
ators — Congressional Election — Cook vs. McLean — 
Removal of the Capital. 

THE first election for State -officers, and members of the 
general assembly under the constitution of 1818, was 
held on the third Thursday (17), and the two following days in 
September. The mode of voting was by ballot, which was 
continued until 1829, when a return to the viva-voce method 
was determined upon. 

Shadrach Bond was elected the first governor of the State by 
a practically unanimous vote. He came to the Territory from 
Maryland in 1794, having barely passed the age of twenty-one, 
and resided at first with his uncle, of the same name, on the 
American Bottom, in what is now Monroe County, He was 
raised a farmer, and so continued. He received only a common- 
school education. His hand-writing was poor, and his acquain- 
tance with the spelling-book was not intimate; yet in the school 
of experience, and of every-day intercourse with his fellow-men, 
he acquired a large stock of useful knowledge and practical in- 
formation, which was of even greater value to a public man in 
those early days than the learning to be derived from schools. 
His person was erect, compact, and formed with perfect sym- 
metry; his bearing was noble, dignified, and commanding. His 
complexion was dark, and his hair a glossy jet-black. He had 
a high forehead, indicating a large brain, and a countenance 
expressing rare intelligence. He was a great admirer of and 
favorite with the ladies; "yet" says Gov. Reynolds, "his gallant- 
ries, though many, were always circumscribed with propriety" — 
a remark which can not be truthfully repeated of all 'his 
successors in the executive chair. He kept his horses and his 
hounds, and was fond of racing and hunting. Being of a jovial 
and convivial spirit, in society as in public life, he was person- 
ally agreeable and popular. He was decided in his opinions 



and faithful to his friends and allies. He participated promi- 
nently in the political controversies of his day, one of which 
resulted in the sending and accepting of a challenge to fight 
a duel with Rice Jones. After the parties had taken their 
position in the field, the pistol of Jones, a hair-trigger, was acci- 
dentally discharged. Bond's second promptly declared it a fire, 
and insisted upon the right of his principal to return it. But 
Bond, with characteristic magnanimity, at once exclaimed "it 
was an accident," and refused to take advantage of a purely 
technical right, even at the hazard of his life, declaring that 
Jones was entitled to the stipulated shot. This magnanimity 
on the part of Bond led to an honorable adjustment of the 

Gov. Bond had been a member of the territorial legislatures 
of Ohio and Indiana, a captain in the war of 1812, and was 
the first delegate elected to Congress from Illinois Territory, 
taking his seat Dec. 3, 18 12. The latter position he resigned in 
1 8 14, to accept the appointment of receiver of public moneys; 
when he removed from his farm in St. Clair (now Monroe) 
County to another just west of Kaskaskia, on which, in sight of 
that ancient village, he erected a large, and as was thought at 
that time, palatial brick-residence, where he spent the remain- 
ing years of his life. 

In congress, he faithfully represented the interests of his con- 
stitutents, securing the passage not only of the law providing 
for raising and equipping three companies of rangers for the 
protection of the infant settlements, but also of that important 
and popular measure known as the preemption law of 1813. 

In 18 16, upon the election of Nathaniel Pope to congress. Col. 
Bond was a candidate for the office of territorial secretary, and 
requested the support of Gov. Edwards, which was refused; and 
from this time the antagonism between these distinguished 
officials marked more plainly the dividing line between their 

* Unfortunately, however, the affair was not destined to be without bloodshed. 
The bad feeling engendered between Bond's second — ^James Dunlap, and Jones, a 
short time after, resulted in the assassination of the latter by Dunlap in a public 
street of Kaskaskia. The killing is characterized by Gov. Reynolds as having been 
unprovoked and cowardly — Dunlap firing at his victim from behind. The mur- 
derer escaped the vengeance of the indignant citizens by flight to Texas, and was 
never brought to justice. 

Oct. 7, jjdb.—June ij, 1844. 


respective adherents. At this first election, however, it seems 
that a truce had been agreed upon between the warring- fac- 
tions, by the terms of which Bond was to be elected governor 
and Edwards United-States senator. 

The governor was fortunate in his appointment of Elias Kent 
Kane as secretary of state, of whose able assistance he freely 
availed himself in the preparation of his state-papers. 

Pierre Menard, the lieutenant-governor elect, was born at St. 
Antoine, thirty-five miles from Montreal, October 7, 1766, and 
came to Kaskaskia, from Vincennes, in 1790, where he engaged 
in business as a merchant. He soon became active in public 
affairs, however, and was elected a member of the territorial 
legislature of Indiana. He was president of the council of the 
territorial general assembly of Illinois during the entire period 
of its existence. His height was below the average, his manners 
quick and abrupt, his temperament nervous, and his nature 
kind-hearted, though impulsive. He seemed to know instinc- 
tively how to manage the Indians, over whom he wielded great 
influence. As a government agent his popularity was equalled 
only by his success in negotiating important treaties. He was 
the most distinguished of those French emigrants who came to 
Illinois during and after the Revolution, nearly all of whom 
were enterprising, patriotic, and intelligent — a very different 
class from those who had preceded them, to whom they were 
far superior. 

His command of the English language was limited and his 
speeches though pointed were of the shortest. But he had a 
sound judgment, and comprehensive mind.* 

His hospitality was boundless, embracing every comer, white 
or red. Unlike the class of merchants described by Burke — 
"their counting-house is their church, their desk is their altar, 
their ledger is their bible, and their money is their God," his 
heart went out to the care of his slaves, and the suffering poor 
around him. At one time there was a great scarcity of salt in 

* When the proposition came up in the senate to memoralize the treasurer of the 
United States to receive the bills of the Bank of Edwardsville in payment for lands, 
believing it to be iniquitous, he refused to put the question. Upon being shown 
that it was his duty to put it to vote, he said, "Gentlemen, if I mus', I mus'. You 
who are in favor of dis resohition, will say aye; but I bet you one thousand dollar 
congre never make him land-office money; you who are opposed, will say no." 



the country, and Menard held the only supply outside of St. 
Louis. A number of his neighbors called upon him to engage 
what they wanted; he declined to let them know whether he 
could supply them or not, but told them to come to his store 
on a certain day, when he would inform them. They came 
at the appointed time, and were seated; Menard passed around 
among them, and inquired of each one, "You got money.-'" 
Some said they had, and some that they had not, but would 
pay as soon as they killed their hogs. Those who had money 
he directed to range themselves on one side of the room, and 
those who had none on the other. Of course those who had 
the means expected to get the salt, and the others looked very 
much distressed and crestfallen. Menard then spoke up in his 
brusque way, and said, "You men who got de money, can go 
to St. Louis for your salt. Dese poor men, who got no money 
shall have my salt, by gar."* Such was the man — noble-hearted, 
and large minded, if unpolished and uncouth, who was now to 
preside over the first State senate.-f* 

In the apparently complex system of the distribution and 
correlation of powers between the federal and state governments 
of this country, while the prosperity of the Nation largely rests 
upon the administration of its affairs in relation to foreign 
governments, the raising of revenue, its coinage and currency 
laws, and the management of its war, naval and interior depart- 
ments by congress; so also does the growth and progress of a 
state depend very much upon the character of the legislation 
framed, within constitutional limitations, under which the 
administration of its domestic affairs is conducted. A wide field 
is here opened for the adoption of such measures of internal 
policy as are best calculated to develope its resources, amelior- 

* Joseph Gillespie, in "Fergus' Historical Series," No. 13. 

t He retired from public life at the expiration of his term of office, and died at 
Kaskaskia, June i j. 1844. ^I^ left a large estate; and among his papers were found 
many notes of his friends upon which his name appeared as endorser, and which he 
had paid. He also left a large number of uncoUectable accounts due from those to 
whom he had too trustingly parted with his goods. The county of Menard was 
named after him; and a monument to his memory — the generous and munificent gift 
of Charles Pierre Chouteau of St. Louis, whose father was formerly Menard's partner 
in business— ^has been erected at the east front of the capitol, in the grounds of the 
State-house at Springfield. 


ate the condition of the people, and improve their industries; 
in which field, untried legislators, and embryo statesmen, may 
and do often venture upon the passage of ill-advised laws, which 
retard rather than advance the highest interests of the common- 
wealth. Instances of this kind, as will be seen, have frequently 
occurred in the history of this State, which have seriously im- 
peded its growth, and hindered the welfare of the people. 

The first general assembly of the State, composed of thirteen 
senators and twenty-seven representatives, convened at Kaskas- 
kia, Oct. 5, 18 18. The State-house in which the body assembled, 
and which had been previously occupied by the territorial 
legislature, was built of limestone, surmounted by a gambrel-roof 
of unpainted boards and shingles, in which were placed dormer- 
windows. The lower floor was fitted up for the house, and the 
chamber above for the senate. Only two of those who had 
served in the territorial legislature were honored with seats in 
this, namely, Willis Hargrave in the senate, and Risdon Moore 
in the house. Five senators and an equal number of represent- 
tatives had been members of the recent constitutional conven- 
tion. The house was organized by the election of John Mes- 
senger, speaker, and Thomas Reynolds, clerk. Messenger was a 
native of Massachusetts, and had become a resident of Illinois 
in 1802. His occupation was that of a surveyor, in which 
capacity he was known and distinguished throughout the 
country. He was a cartographer of no mean pretentions, as is 
shown by his map of Illinois. He had been a member of the 
constitutional convention, where he displayed marked ability as 
a politician. His preference, however, was for the chain and 
compass, and the more attractive home- life on his farm, where 
he resided until his death in 1846. 

Thomas Reynolds, a younger brother of Gov. John Reynolds, 
was an active politician in this' State until 1828, when he 
removed to Missouri, of which commonwealth he was elected 
governor in 1840. William C. Greenup was elected secretary 
of the senate. 

The governor's first message to the general assembly was a 
modest, brief, and cfearly-written document. After acknow- 
ledging his obligations to the people for their confidence and 
support, he referred to the deple.ted condition of the treasury, 


and the necessity of providing means to meet the expenses of 
the State government. He recommended a revision of the laws, 
and called attention to the subject of education, remarking, 
that "it is our imperious duty, for the faithful performance of 
which we are amenable to God and our country, to watch over 
this interesting subject." He advised that provision for the 
leasing of the salt-springs should be made; and urged upon the 
attention of the legislature the importance of a canal to con- 
nect Lake Michigan with the Illinois River. His message 
devoutly closed as follows: "and may that almighty Being from 
whose goodness and bounty all the blessings we enjoy have 
emanated, be present in your councils, and bless the measures 
of your adoption." 

After the delivery of the governor's inaugural the general 
assembly at once proceeded to elect two United-States senators, 
and the remaining State-officers, and judges of the supreme 
court, the latter to serve also as circuit-judges. The two sena- 
tors elected were: Ninian Edwards on the first ballot, receiving 
thirty-two votes, and Judge Jesse Burgess Thomas on the third 
ballot, receiving twenty-one votes, to eighteen for Leonard 
White and one for Michael Jones; John Thomas was elected 
State-treasurer; Elijah C. Berry, auditor of public accounts; 
Daniel P. Cook, attorney-general; Joseph Phillips, chief-justice 
of the supreme court; and Thomas C. Browne, William P. 
Foster, and John Reynolds, associate-justices. 

Elias Kent Kane, having been appointed by the governor, 
was confirmed as secretary of state; and the firm of Blackwell 
& Berry was elected public printers. 

Jesse B. Thomas, one of the senators elect, had been a 
prominent figure in Illinois from the time of its territorial 
organization. He was born in Hagerstown, Md., in 1777, 
and claimed direct lineage from Lord Baltimore. He located 
in Lawrenceburgh in 1803, and in 1805 was elected to the 
Indiana territorial legislature, of which he was chosen speaker. 
Having been elected to congress on the issue of a division 
of Indiana Territory, as heretofore related, upon the organi- 
zation of the territory of Illinois he removed to Kaskaskia. 
He was a delegate to the constitutional convention, over which 
he presided. He was finely proportioned physically, being 


in stature fully six feet, with a florid-brown complexion, dark- 
hazel eyes, and dark -brown hair. He was not regarded as 
a great lawyer, and made no pretentions as a public speaker — 
acting rather upon one of his proverbs, that "you could not talk 
a man down, but you could whisper him to death." But he 
more than compensated for these deficiencies by his dignified 
bearing, his agreeable address, and refined manners.* He was 
the author of the celebrated Missouri compromise of 1820, and 
was instrumental in securing its adoption. 

Judge Phillips, elected chief-justice, had been a captain in 
the regular army, and secretary of the Territory. He was a 
good lawyer and an able man. 

John Reynolds for the first time made his appearance in the 
political arena at this session. He visited the seat of govern- 
ment, as he remarks, at the solicitation of friends, out of mere 
curiosity; and the proposition to elect him one of the supreme- 
judges "broke upon him like a clap of thunder."-f- But the taste 
for public life which this office created, remained with him ever 

Thomas C. Browne, another of the justices of the supreme 
court elected, became a resident of the State at Shawneetown 
in 1812, and had been a member of the territorial legislature, 
and also prosecuting attorney. 

The career of Foster, another of the judges elect, afibrds a 
striking illustration of the possible success of a polished but 
unscrupulous adventurer, in a new country. An entire stranger 
in the Territory, a lawyer by neither profession nor practice, in 
a few weeks, through his plausible address and skilful manipu- 
lations of credulous members, he succeeded in capturing one of 
the highest judicial offices in the gift of the legislature. He 
never took his seat upon the bench, and after drawing a year's 
salary for services not rendered, he left the State. His sub- 
sequent career was that of an accomplished swindler who 
traveled from city to city, numbering his victims by the score, 
Foster was succeeded by William Wilson, then a talented young 
lawyer, who worthily occupied the bench for many years. 

The interest in the first election under the constitution cen- 

* Reynolds' "Pioneer History of Illinois," 2d ed., 402. 
t "My Own Times," 35, 2d edition. 


tered in the race for congress, although the term of the office 
would expire on the third of March, following. The candidates 
were John McLean of Shavvneetown, and Daniel Pope Cook of 
Kaskaskia. They were both lawyers, young, talented, and 
ambitious, having immigrated to the Territory the same year, 
1815, and attached themselves to rival political factions. Mc 
Lean was born in North Carolina in 1791, and raised in Ken- 
tucky. He belonged to the family of Ewing, which has pro- 
duced so many distinguished inen. Cook was born in Kentucky 
in 1794. He was a member of the influential Pope family of 
that State, being a nephew of Nathaniel Pope, the first secretary 
of Illinois Territory. He entered successfully into the practice 
of the law, attending the courts in nearly all the organized 
counties. In 1816, he combined with his practice a part owner- 
ship and management of the Illinois Intelligencer, the first, and 
at that time, the only newspaper in the Territory. His rise in 
public life was unexampled; he was elected clerk of the second 
and third territorial houses of representatives; auditor of public 
accounts from January, 18 16 to April, 18 17; appointed circuit- 
judge in 1818, and then attorney-general. He found time also 
to discharge the responsible duties of a bearer of dispatches to 
our minister at the British court, where he made the acquain- 
tance of John Quincy Adams, with whom his relations were 
ever afterward intimate. The Missouri question was then the 
absorbing subject of discussion and agitation from one end of 
the country to the other. The admission of that Territory as a 
slave-state would have a serious if not controlling influence 
upon the question whether Illinois should not also adopt the 
same policy. McLean w^as on the side of slavery, and Cook on 
that of freedom. Both being singularly well-equipped by study, 
experience, and inclination, for public debate, and each of them 
feeling confident in the justice of his respective side, joint 
discussions were held by them in all the principal counties. 
Hon. Orlando B. Ficklin, who heard these, as also, many 
years afterward, the debates between Lincoln and Douglas, 
involving the same questions, "awarded the palm" for oratory 
and interest to the former. McLean, though of lighter com- 
plexion, was said to resemble the great Charles Fox in person, 
and in his style of oratory. Cook on the other hand was small 


in stature, and of delicate physique, being an exception to 
the rule in those early days that a public man to be suc- 
cessful must have an imposing and prepossessing personal 
appearance. But Cook held his rare gift of eloquence well in 
hand; and with clearness of thought, boldness of expression, 
and intensity of purpose, made an impression upon an audience 
at once deep and lasting. So sincere and defiant was his 
advocacy of liberty for all, slavery for none, among those whose 
prejudices were on the side of "the peculiar institution," that 

his opponents gave him the nick-name of "that d d little 

Yankee." His habits were abstemious, his manners charming, 
his voice strong and melodious. 

The contest in 1818 resulted in the success of McLean by 
the small majority of fourteen. The following year, when the 
same race was repeated, with added interest and excitement, 
Cook was successful by a majority of 633 — the poll standing 
in the nineteen counties, for Cook 2192, McLean 1559. 

Further than the election of officers, the general assembly did 
not propose to proceed until the result of the application to 
congress for the admission of the State had been ascertained; 
and after a session of eight days the body adjourned to meet 
the following January. As has already been seen, this applica- 
tion was successful and Illinois assumed its position as the 
twenty-first state in the sisterhood of the "United States of 

At the reassembling of the legislature, January 4, 18 19, law- 
making began in earnest. A code was adopted which for the 
most part was copied from the statutes of Virginia and Ken- 
tucky, including the law concerning "negroes and mulattoes" 
so long continued on. the statute books of this State. Mr. 
Kane, who in addition to his duties as secretary of state, 
acted as clerk of the judiciary committee, was the compiler of 
the greater portion of these laws, in the performance of which 
task he manifested great care and intelligence. This code, how- 
ever, in its entirety, had but a very short and feeble existence. 
Its provisions were altered by each succeeding general assembly 
with a regularity and persistency wonderful to behold. A 
session of the legislature was like a great fire in the bound- 
less prairie: it consumed everything. But it was also like the 


genial breath of spring, making all things new.* This insatiate 
desire to tinker the laws became, so to speak, an epidemic, the 
ravages of which were not checked until the winter of 1826-7, 
when the revised code, framed by the justices of the supreme 
court was adopted. 

This was the longest session of the general assembly held 
prior to that of the eighth in 1832. The revenue law enacted 
provided for the raising of money for State purposes by taxing 
the lands of non-residents, which were divided into three classes, 
whose respective values were fixed in the act at two, three, and 
four dollars per acre. County revenue was to be derived from 
taxation of personal property and real estate of residents. 

The salaries of State-officers were fixed as follows: governor 
$1000, judges the same, state auditor $700, secretary of state 
$600, State treasurer $500, attorney-general $250, circuit-attor- 
neys $150, adjutant-general $100. 

The penalties affixed to specified offenses by the code of the 
territory were all reenacted, including those of whipping, con- 
finement in the stocks and pillories, as well as that of death by 
hanging, for the crimes of rape, arson, horse -stealing, and 

Not the least important of the acts passed was that providing 
for the removal of the seat of government. It does not appear 
that there was any popular demand for such a measure. The 
movement grew out of the mania for speculation, then so rife, 
by which the members of a certain coterie hoped to realize great 
fortunes. Kaskaskia, the leading commercial town of the State, 
and the most populous, as well as the most readily accessible 
by steam navigation and post-roads, might have remained the 
capital had it not been that some of its most influential citizens 
had become interested in a project for making money out of the 
choice of a new location. The scheme first showed its head in 
the constitutional convention, by the adoption of an article as 
far-reaching in its scope as it was harmless on its face, which 
provided that the seat of government should remain at Kas- 
kaskia until the general assembly should otherwise determine; 
and that that body at its first session should petition congress 
for a grant to the State of four sections of land for the seat 

• Ford's " History of Illinois, " 32, 


of government, and if the prayer was granted a town should 
be laid out thereon which should remain the capital for the 
period of twenty years. Under this provision, the legislature at 
its first session adopted the petition as directed, which was duly 
presented to congress and upon which favorable action was 
secured by the new senators on March 3, 18 19, by the passage 
of an act granting the four sections of land as requested. 

At this second session, five commissioners were appointed to 
make the selection of land, to lay out the town, and erect a tem- 
porary two-story building for a State-house. They were limited 
in their choice of a location to the Kaskaskia River and " as 
near as might be east of the third principal meridian on that 
river." The place selected was known as "Reeve's Bluff," a 
high, heavily-timbered tract, beautifully situated on the right 
bank of the river. It was eighty-two miles northeast of Kas- 
kaskia, fifty-seven miles nearly due east of Alton, and twenty 
miles north of any settlement — the county of Fayette not having 
been established until February, 1821. 

There are two accounts of the origin of the name given to the 
prospective capital, which are substantially the same. The 
commissioners were anxious to fix upon a cognomen which 
should be at once euphonious and historic — their preference 
being for one which would not only please the ear but perpetu- 
ate the memory of the aboriginal inhabitants. A wag who was 
present gravely suggested that the Vandals had once been a 
powerful tribe of red men living on the Kaskaskia, and that 
Vandalia a word derived from their name would preserve the 
memory of that once renowned, but now extinct race. The 
commissioners were delighted with the suggestion, which was 
adopted without a dissenting voice.* However this may be, 
it was symbolically appropriate in one respect at least, as those 
who laid out the town suffered not a single one of the many 
noble forest trees which covered its site to remain standing to 
adorn its public-square and streets. 

The selection of a town -site for a capital from the lands of 
the government, without in the least regarding their interests, 
proved a death blow to the speculators, and a sad disappoint- 
ment to those citizens of Kaskaskia who had favored a change. 

* Ford's "History of Illinois," 35. 


But the location having been irrevocably fixed, the next best 
thing that offered in the way of speculation was to "boom" the 
town-lots. Of these, the number to be sold by the commission- 
ers was limited to one hundred and fifty. So great was the 
anxiety thus created to secure a foothold in a city which 
everyone regarded as destined to become a centre of commerce 
and influence, that the prices realized for lots were simply 
astounding. The lowest price bid was $100, while for more 
elegible locations in this wilderness, as high as $780 was willingly 
agreed to be paid — the average price being $234, and the 
aggregate proceeds reaching the sum of $35,234. Sales were 
made on time, and as might have been foreseen, many pur- 
chasers failed to meet their contracts, and the property thus 
forfeited was subsequently sold for about one-tenth of the price 
originally agreed upon. 

As required by law, the commissioners proceeded to erect 
a temporary building to be used as a State-house; it was a 
two-story frame of the plainest description of architecture. To 
this humble structure, which stood in the midst of a forest, tl.e 
State officers removed in December, 1820. The archives of the 
State, in the care of Sidney Breese, making in all one small 
wagon-load, were transported at a cost of $25. It was indeed 
a pioneer trip, and the roadway had frequently to be cut 
through dense forests before the new capital was reached. 

To return to the proceedings of the first general assembly: 
in the legal lottery between the two recently-elected United- 
States senators. Gov. Edwards had drawn the short term, which 
would expire March 3, 18 19; and it therefore became necessary 
to elect his successor. He had hardly taken his seat in Wash- 
ington before his opponents began to intrigue against his reelec- 
tion. One of the schemes to accomplish this result, was a 
proposition to divide the State into two senatorial districts, 
which was only defeated in the house by a majority of three. 
Michael Jones, then a senator from Gallatin County, was the 
opposing candidate. He was from Pennsylvania, and had been 
a very active member of the anti- Edwards party ever since his 
incumbency of the registry of the land-office in 1812-15. He 
was a man of no mean ability, of good address, but having a 
violent temper, which he was not at all backward in showing 


as occasion might require. All the hostility to the ex-governor 
which his ten years of public service had engendered was 
developed in Jones' favor. Edwards had been led to suppose 
that Gov. Bond would remain his friend and supporter; what 
was his surprise, then, when he received a letter from him in 
which, incidentally referring to the pending senatorial election, 
doubtless intended to prepare him for news of his defeat, he 
read as follows: "it has been stated by some that you are willing 
to serve again. Col. Jones is also a candidate. I can not say 
who will be elected, for there is considerable division among 
the members."* The senator might well have exclaimed, "call 
you this backing your friends.''" 

The Edwards men after a careful canvass confidently reck- 
oned on his receiving at least twenty-six votes, but when the 
ballots were counted at the joint session on February 8, it was 
found that he had received only twenty-three, to nineteen for 
his opponent — leaving but a small margin in his favor. 

The second session of the first general assembly adjourned 
March 31, after sitting eighty-seven days. 

* "Edwards Papers," 153. 


The Second General Assembly — State Bank — Synopsis 
of Laws — Resources and Expenditures. 

DURING the two years which elapsed between the admission 
of the State and the meeting of the second general 
assembly at Vandalia, December 4, 1820, the expectations of 
the advocates of a state government had been fully realized. 
The population had increased from the more than doubtful 
40,000 reported by the census-takers to the unquestionable 
number of 55,120. Four new counties had been organized, 
namely: Alexander, Clark, Jefferson, and Wayne. New towns 
had been laid out, and settlements commenced as far north as 
Greene County, and were rapidly extending. 

With the exception of the hold-over senators, the second 
general assembly was composed almost entirely of new material, 
only three members of the last house being reelected, namely, 
Samuel McClintock, Risdon Moore, and Alex. Phillips, besides 
Conrad Will, of the last senate. John McLean from Gallatin, 
was elected speaker, and Thomas Reynolds, clerk. James 
Turner was chosen secretary of the senate. 

The message of the governor was as unpretentious and brief 
as had been his inaugural address. He recommended the 
adoption of a liberal policy in regard to the improvement of the 
capital, and the erection of suitable public buildings, among 
which he included a "seminary of learning." This institution 
he naively argued ought to be at the seat of government, 
" because by an occasional visit at the houses of the general 
assembly, and the courts of justice, the student will find the 
best specimens of oratory the State can produce; imbibe the 
principles of legal science, and political knowledge, and by an 
intercourse with good society his habits of life would be chast- 
ened, and his manners improved." He referred to the fact of 
the extinguishment of the debt of the territorial government, 
and called attention to the scarcely less gratifying circumstance 
that the State treasury was in a healthy condition. He recom- 



mended a revision of the laws against gaming, and as if incited 
to an unusual glow at the moral aspect of the discussion, and 
with a reverence, even greater than that shown in his first 
message, closed as follows: "may the Almighty God, to whose 
kind providence we are indebted for the safe and tranquil con- 
dition of our common country, and the plentiful harvest of the 
year, teach us to distrust ourselves, and to rely firmly upon Him, 
that we may live to His glory, and die in His love." 

The most exciting subject of discussion at this session was 
the law to incorporate a State bank. The times were hard. 
Over-trading and speculation induced by the too-abundant issue 
of paper currency by the banks of adjoining states had brought 
everyone in debt. Lands and goods had been purchased, and 
houses erected, not demanded by the legitimate growth and 
trade of the country. The banks in Ohio and Kentucky 
failed, and those at home and in St. Louis ceased to do busi- 
ness. The currency had driven specie out of the country, and 
when the former became worthless there was no money left; 
and but little commerce to bring it in. The people began to 
collect their debts by law, but as there was more property than 
money, a very little of the latter would purchase a large amount 
of the former. It would take a large farm to pay a small debt. 

To provide a way to escape the existing evils, the legisla- 
ture chartered the State Bank, based entirely upon the credit 
of the State. The principal bank was to be at Vandalia, with 
branches at Shawneetown, Edwardsville, and Brownsville. One, 
two, three, five, ten, and twenty-dollar notes were authorized to 
be issued — bearing two per cent interest per annum payable by 
the State in ten years; and the bank was directed to loan its 
bills to the people in sums of not less than $100 on personal 
security. The bills were made receivable in payment of state 
and county taxes, and of all costs and fees, and the salaries of 
public officers; and if a creditor refused to indorse on his 
execution his willingness to receive them in payment of his 
debt, the debtor might replevy or stay its collection for three 
years, by giving personal security. 

There was strenuous opposition to the bill, led by Speaker 
McLean. By a singular provision of the rules, the speaker was 
not permitted to participate in the debates except when the 


house had resolved itself into a committee of the whole, nor, 
indeed to vote on any question, except when a tie occurred. In 
order to deprive the eloquent speaker from exposing the objec- 
tionable features of the proposed measure, the house, which 
contained an assured majority in its favor, refused to go into a 
committee of the whole. McLean, indignant at such treat- 
ment, resigned his position, and upon the floor of the house 
made a powerful argument against the bill, in which he pro- 
phetically predicted all the evils which ultimately resulted from 
the operations of the bank. But the bill passed nevertheless; 
and when the council of revision returned it pointing out the 
objections to its provisions, and showing that it was inexpedient 
and unconstitutional, it was again enacted by the requisite 
majority. It was championed in the house by Richard M. 
Young, with regard to whose subsequent election to the United- 
States senate Gov. Ford remarks, "he was one of the very many 
examples in our history of the forgiving disposition of the 
people, to such of their public servants as have been so unfor- 
tunate as to be in favor of bad measures, or opposed to good 

The subsequent history of the operations of this bank will 
only be briefly alluded to. At first, it was a very popular 
institution, everybody that wanted money, which included 
nearly the entire population, was accommodated, without much 
regard being paid to the kind of security offered. In this way 
$300,000 was soon put in circulation. As there was not enough 
silver in the country for change, the bills were cut to serve the 
purpose of fractional currency. In the meantime payments to 
the banks of their loans were slow and uncertain. No such 
thing as redemption was thought of, and the bills began to fall 
below par — first the depreciation was twenty per cent, but the 
value of the currency gradually decreased until it was worth 
but thirty cents on the dollar. The derangement of business, 
and the difficulties of carrying on a government, with such a 
system of currency, for the five or six following years, need not 
be particularly described. They fully justified the state of 
things presaged by those who had tried so hard to prevent the 
passage of the law. The State in issuing auditor's warrants, as 
it did in 1825, at the rate of three dollars for one, to defray 



current expenses, lost $75,000; and this expensive system must 
have cost the State altogether a sum at least equal to the 
amount of bills issued by the bank — $300,000. 

Another law passed by the second general assembly, only 
less ill-advised than the banking-law, because it covered less 
ground, was the stay-law, by which all previously-issued execu- 
tions on judgments were to be stopped or returned, and no new 
ones issued until after November 20, following, unless there was 
danger of losing the debt, in which case it might be stayed by 
giving bond with security. This was also reenacted over the 
objections of the council of revision; as were also the laws 
providing for the trial of rights of property; and to establish a 
court of probate. 

As if not satisfied with their action in antagonizing the gover- 
nor and supreme court, the two houses of the general assembly 
were decidedly outspoken in the interchange of mutual compli- 
ments when, as was supposed, their own dignity was at stake. 
The senate had adopted a joint resolution authorizing the 
secretary of state to give his certificate, and the auditor his 
warrant, for the payment to the proper parties, of the same 
amount for returning the vote for president and vice-president, 
as for other elections. Instead of acting upon this resolution, 
the house passed a bill for that purpose and sent it to the 
senate in the usual way for its concurrence. The senate at 
once passed a resolution of inquiry regarding the disposition of 
their joint resolution, "believing," as therein expressed, "that 
they are entitled to decorous and parliamentary treatment and 
attention from the house!" In reply to this the house promptly 
passed and transmitted to the senate a resolution setting forth 
"that they had laid said resolution on the table to be acted 
upon when they forgot the constitution and fundamental laws 
of the State." The issue was becoming decidedly interesting, 
and the senate not to be over hasty in its action referred what 
was considered a belligerent message to a select committee, 
which without unnecessary delay made a report as follows: "We 
see no cause to regret the conduct of the senate, and that 
although we feel every disposition to pass over the subject as 
lightly as possible, making at the same time any reasonable 
allowance for the passions of the moment, and the frailties of 


human nature; yet we believe that it behooves the senate as an 
independent branch of the government to maintain their rights. 
Therefore, resolved, that the resolution of the above alluded to 
lie tmder the table, there to remain until the senate forget their 
rights, or the house of representatives adhere to the joint rules 
for the government of both houses of this general assembly." 

No regular elections were to be held at this session, but 
vacancies were to be filled in the offices of associate-justice of 
the supreme court, and attorney-general. For the former, Wm. 
Wilson was elected; and for the latter, Samuel D. Lockwood, on 
the fourteenth ballot, his opponents being Henry Dodge and 
Theopholis W. Smith. Following this came the extraordinary 
election for the newly-created bank officers^ and judges of 
probate, with the attendant button-holing and log-rolling. So 
that this legislature did not adjourn without passing through 
all the different phases of excitement incident to these early 

Although the second general assembly contained some 
members of ability and good law-making talent — such men as 
McLean, Young, Slade, Eddy, Mather, and Alexander, it must 
be admitted that the aggregate of its work was very bad — so 
bad in fact that it was many years before the State recov- 
ered from the unwise legislation for which it must be held 

The administration of Gov. Bond outside of the political con- 
troversies which were never permitted to sleep or rest, and which 
in many of their aspects were transferred to Washington, was 
quiet and uneventful. The change from a territorial to a state 
government had been effected without friction or disturbance. 
There was really not much for the executive to do — no rail- 
roads — no state institutions requiring attention, no asylums, 
not even a penitentiary. The Indians were quiet and peaceable 
— in fact the most of them had removed from the settled 
portion of the State. His clemency was invoked to stay the 
execution of William Bennett, who had in 1820 killed Alphonso 
Stewart in the first and last duel ever fought in the State; but 
the governor would yield to no entreaties, and Bennett was 
hung in the presence of a large crowd. It was thought that the 
firmness of the governor in insisting upon the execution of the 


law had much to do with making duelling unpopular and 
discreditable in the State. 

The governor was not required by the first constitution to 
reside at the capital, except during the sessions of the legisla- 
ture. These over, Gov. Bond returned to the more congenial 
pursuits of his farm, the raising of stock, and the enjoyment of 
hunting. Upon the expiration of his term as governor he was 
again appointed to the office of register of the land-office — at 
that time the most lucrative position in the State, the salary 
being $3000. In 1824, Bond became the Crawford candidate 
for congress against Daniel P. Cook, who was understood to be 
the friend of J. Q. Adams, but certainly opposed to Crawford. 
It was a presidential year, and the friends of the ex-governor 
entered warmly into the contest, bringing every possible 
consideration of a personal or political nature to bear in his 
favor, but all without avail against his more popular competitor 
— the result being for Cook 7460, Bond 4374. This was Gov. 
Bond's last appeal as a candidate directly to the people; there- 
after he confined his attention to the duties of the land-office, 
and the entertainment of his friends at his mansion, where, 
upon its broad verandas, the old battles were fought again, 
and new combinations made for future contests. His death 
occurred April 12, 1832. His old residence, long since sur- 
rounded by bushes and weeds, has gone to decay. But the 
State in 1881, mindful of the faithful services of its first gov- 
ernor, provided for the removal of his remains to Chester, and 
the erection of a monument over his grave. 

The expenditures of the state government at this time were 
certainly economical and were mainly confined to the ordinary 
expenses of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments. 
The bills for stationery for the second general assembly 
amounted to $97.50, among the items being, 5 cork inkstands, 
$1.87; 2 pewter inkstands, $1.25; i china inkstand, $1.50; 2 
reams writing-paper, $13.50; English quills, per 100, $1.25; ink, 
per bottle, $1.00. Fire-wood cost $1.50 per cord, of which 
seventy cords were consumed; 150 copies only of the governor's 
message were ordered printed. The members of the first 
general assembly received $4.00 per day and mileage, and 
those of the second, $3.50 and mileage. 


The entire State receipts and expenditures during Gov, 
Bond's administration were as follows: 

Receipts from Oct. i8, 1818, to Dec. 31, 1820, $53,362.22 
Expenditures, as ascertained from auditor's report, $35,655.00 
Receipts from Dec. 31, 1820, to Dec. 31, 1822: 

Cash on hand --_._- $17,707.22 

Collected from sheriff ----- 7,268.23. 

Taxes received from non-residents - - 38.437-75 

Non-resident bank-stock _ _ - _ 97-77 

From salines on Ohio and Muddy rivers - 10,763.09 

From sales, Vandalia lots _ _ - - 5,659.86 


Expenditures Dec. 31, 1820, to Dec. 31, 1822: 

Legislative department - - $14,966.18 

Executive department - - 6,940.06 

Judicial department - _ - 7,932.33 

Prosecuting-attorneys - - - 1,531.08 

Contingent fund — Printing, etc. - 3.976.36 

Ohio saline _ _ _ 1,800.00 

Repairs and furnishing state-house 1,101.57 

Militia ------ 748.00 

Postage for state officers - - 234.10 
Special appropriations (including 

boundary-line expenses $784, state 

bank $2000, Pike County $1500) 7,9i5-57 47.145-25 


The receipts of the State of Indiana during the same period 
were $102,102 and the expenditures $102,168. 


The Election of Gov. Coles — Third General Assembly — 
The Struggle to make Illinois a Slave-State — Election 
of United-States Senator — 1822-1826. 

THE career of Edward Coles in Illinois constituted a remark- 
able episode in his own life, and an era in the history of 
Illinois signalized by a series of events as imposing as they 
were important in their results. Of the fourscore years which 
his span of life exceeded, only thirteen were passed in the State; 
but these were years of unexampled industry, and heroic 
conflict, in which he made a record as valuable as it is 

He was born in Albermarle County, Virginia, Dec. 15, 1786; 
and was descended from a prominent and influential family. 
After attending the college of Hampden Sidney a short time, 
he entered that of William and Mary, where he remained two 
years, but was compelled to leave before graduation on account 
of a severe fracture of his leg. He was nearly six feet in 
height, of a slender build, with brilliant eyes, and strongly- 
marked but agreeable features. After two years study at home. 
President Madison tendered him the appointment of private 
secretary, which position he acceptably filled six years; when, 
at the urgent request of the president, he accepted the appoint- 
ment of special messenger to Russia, in which capacity, to use 
the language of James Monroe, "he discovered sound judgment, 
united to great industry and fidelity." 

He first visited Illinois in 18 15, while making a tour of the 
western' country, seeking a location; and again in 1818, stop- 
ping a while at Waterloo. He was at Kaskaskia while the 
convention to form a constitution for the new state was in 
session. Although an hereditary slave-holder he had deter- 
mined to remove from Virginia and no longer remain an owner 
of human chattels. Impressed with the advantages which Illi- 
nois offered to new settlers, he became deeply interested in the 
deliberations of the convention on the subject of slavery, and 



exerted his influence to secure the adoption, in the organic law 
of the commonwealth where he intended to make his home, of 
the anti-slavery article in pursuance of the requirement of the 
Ordinance of 1787. 

Having finally decided to remove to Illinois, his preparations 
all completed, on April i, 18 19, he set out from his Virginia 
plantation for the more inviting fields of the Prairie State. 
The little caravan which he headed was of modest proportions, 
consisting of canvas-covered wagons, which conveyed his ten 
negroes, with their offspring, and his household effects; himself 
riding on horseback. Arriving at Brownsville, Pa., he purchased 
two flat-boats in which the journey was continued to a point 
below Louisville, where the party disembarked, and continued 
their way by land to Edwardsville. 

Mr. Coles had carefully refrained from giving his slaves any 
intimation of his intention to enfranchise them until after they 
had passed Pittsburg. The manner of its announcement, and 
the dramatic scene which followed, are best portrayed in his own 
language. He says: "Being curious to see the effect of an in- 
stantaneous severing of the manacles of bondage, and letting 
loose on the buoyant wings of liberty the long pent-up spirit 
of man, I called on the deck of the boats which were lashed 
together all the negroes and made them a short address; in 
which I commenced by saying, that it was time for me to 
make known to them what I intended to do with them, and 
■concluded my remarks by so expressing myself that by a turn 
■of the sentence I proclaimed in the shortest and fullest manner 
possible that they were no longer slaves, but free — free as I 
was, and were at liberty to proceed with me, or to go ashore at 
their pleasure. The effect was electrical, they stared at me as 
if doubting the accuracy or reality of what they heard. In 
breathless silence they stood before me, unable to utter a word, 
but with countenances beaming with expression, which no 
words could convey, and which no language can now describe. 
* * After a pause of intense and unutterable emotion, bathed 
in tears, and with tremulous voices, they gave vent to their 
gratitude, and implored the blessings of God on me." 

His former vassals having expressed a desire to remain with 
him until they had seen him "comfortably fixed" in his new 


home, he kindly but firmly declined the offer, and to their 
further bewilderment assured them that upon arriving at their 
destination — now the Eldorado of their hopes — as a reward 
for their past services, and as a stimulant to future exertions 
in the struggle for self-support, it was his intention to give 
each head of family one hundred and sixty acres of land; 
which promise he redeemed to the letter, against the protests 
of his beneficiaries. 

Upon arriving at Edwardsville, Mr. Coles at once entered 
upon the discharge of the duties of the office of register of the 
land-office, to which position he had been appointed, March 5, 
by President Monroe, before leaving Virginia, and which he 
filled not only faithfully, but to the satisfaction of the public. 

As the period approached for the election of State officers in 
August, 1822, candidates for gubernatorial honors began to 
multiply. They were definitely announced as follows: Joseph 
Phillips, chief- justice of the supreme court, supported by the 
friends of ex-Gov. Bond, who was not eligible to reelection; 
Thomas C. Browne, a justice of the supreme court, supported by 
the followers of Gov. Edwards; Gen. James B. Moore, a noted 
Indian fighter, supported by the old rangers; and Edward Coles. 

While the direct issue of making Illinois a slave-state was not 
raised in the canvass for governor, "it was in the air," and its 
consideration undoubtedly exercised more or less influence 
upon the choice of candidates. It vvas felt that the question 
could not long be deferred, and indeed was even then being 
agitated by some aspirants for the legislature. Of the candi- 
dates, Phillips and Browne were known to be pro-slavery, while 
the action of Coles had identified him very squarely with the 
anti-slavery party. 

His position as register had brought him into direct personal 
contact with his fellow-citizens from all sections of the State, 
and the acquaintances thus formed proved to be of no small 
advantage to his political prospects. When the time came for 
voting, he found that he could count upon the support of many 
of those rough, plain farmers, clad in homespun, whose interests 
he had protected and who had found him attentive in the 
discharge of his duties, courteous in manner, and, if somewhat 
stiff and angular, intelligent and sympathetic. 


It was supposed that the contest lay between Phillips and 
Browne, and that Coles had but very little chance of success. 
The result was one of those political surprises which have not 
been infrequent in elections in this State, when the candidate 
least expected came out ahead in the race. The canvass 
showed that Coles had received 2854 votes, Phillips 2687, 
Browne, 2443, and Moore, 622 — Coles plurality being only 167, 
while on the total vote cast he was in a minority of 4752. 

Under the circumstances it was a great triumph. Coles had 
not been identified with either the Edwards or Bond factions, 
and was opposed by both. He had no official patronage, nor 
the advantage of any "machine." But, which was much better, 
he had the sympathy and cordial support of the anti-slavery 
element among the voters, who remembered with gratitude the 
practical and generous evidence he had given of his abiding 
faith in free soil and free men. 

To the discharge of his duties as governor, Coles brought an 
unimpeachable integrity, an unswerving fidelity to honest con- 
victions, and a conscientious solicitude for the welfare of the 
people. At the same time he lacked that experience in public 
affairs which might have enabled him to tide over more than 
one of those stormy waves which at times threatened to engulf 
his administration. Prior to his appointment as register, as has 
been seen, his life had been uneventful and but little calculated 
to develop those qualities indispensable to an executive man- 
agement, at once wise and popular in a young and growing 
state. Without previous training in either the executive or 
legislative departments of such a commonwealth, he entered 
upon the discharge of his grave duties at a serious disadvantage. 

The candidates for congress at this election were Daniel P. 
Cook, and John McLean, who made the race against each other 
for the third time; the former was again successful, by a 
majority of 876 votes. 

The slavery question was by no means a new one in Illinois. 
It had been the subject of frequent and always exciting discus- 
sion in and out of the legislature from the time of the territorial 
organization. African slaves were first introduced, as heretofore 
stated, by Renault in 1722; and in 1724, the government of, 
police over, and traffic in negro slaves in Louisiana of which 


Illinois was a part, was regulated by ordinance of the King of 
France. When Louisiana was transferred to Great Britain in 
1763, that government by proclamation of Gen. Gage, declared 
that the late subjects of France should enjoy the same rights 
and privileges, "the same security for their persons and effects," 
as the old subjects of the king. As slavery was at that time 
recognized in her colonies by Great Britain, there was no inter- 
ference in Illinois with slave-property. Negroes were continued 
in servitude as before. It was also expressly stipulated in the 
Virginia deed of cession to the United States "that the French 
and Canadian inhabitants, and other settlers of the Kaskaskias, 
St. Vincents, and the neighboring villages who have professed 
themselves citizens of the State of Virginia, shall have their 
possessions and titles confirmed to them, and be protected in 
their rights and liberties,"- — which was understood and inter- 
preted at the time to mean that the right of property in slaves 
should be recognized and protected. And in pursuance of this 
stipulation, while slavery was prohibited in all that territory by 
the Ordinance of 1787, that instrument contained a clause as 
follows: "saving however to the French and Canadian inhabi- 
tants and other settlers of the Kaskaskias, St. Vincents, and the 
neighboring villages, who have heretofore professed themselves 
citizens of Virginia, their laws and customs now in force among 
them relative to the descent and conveyance of property." 
The effect of these provisions was considered by the inhabit- 
ants, and construed by Gov. St. Clair to mean that while the 
extension of slavery was prohibited, existing property rela- 
tions, including slavery, were recognized and upheld — that is 
that the slaves in the Territory, and their descendants, should 
remain in their previous condition, but that no more slaves 
should be imported into the Territory. This was the conserva- 
tive view; others, and among them Gov. Edwards, went still 
farther, and contended that the Ordinance of 1787 was uncon- 
stitutional, congress having exceeded its power in adopting the 
sixth article. Others again claimed that the children of all 
slaves born after 1787 became free by virtue of the ordinance. 

Slaveholders began to exhibit uneasiness on the subject of 
their tenure, and as early as 1794 the question was raised of 
repealing or superseding the prohibitory clause of the ordi- 


nance, and a number of persons petitioned congress at least to 
suspend its operation. So widespread had this feeling become 
by 1802, that Gen. Harrison was induced to call a delegate 
convention, which assembled at Vincennes, December 20, to 
consider the question. The members from Illinois were 
Shadrach Bond, John Moredoch, and Jean F. Perry, from St. 
Clair County; and Robert Morrison, Pierre Menard, and Robert 
Reynolds, from Randolph. A memorial to congress was 
adopted, setting forth the great benefits which would flow to 
the people from slaveholding, and praying for the repeal or 
modification of the sixth article of the Ordinance of 1787. This 
document was transmitted to congress, and was referred to a 
committee of which John Randolph was chairman, who in 
March, 1803, presented a report in which were set forth with 
great clearness the following advanced views: "that the labor of 
slaves is not necessary to promote the growth and settlement 
of colonies in that region. That this labor, demonstrably the 
dearest of any, can only be employed to advantage in the culti- 
vation of products more valuable that any known to that 
quarter of the United States; that the committee deem it 
highly dangerous and inexpedient to impair a provision wisely 
calculated to promote the happiness and prosperity of the 
northwestern country, and to give strength and security to that 
extensive frontier. In the salutary operation of this sagacious 
and benevolent restraint, it is believed that the inhabitants will, 
at no very distant day, find ample remuneration for a temporary 
privation of labor and immigration." 

This adverse report submitted at the close of the session was 
not acted upon. At the next session, the memorial was referred 
to a new committee of which Caesar A. Rodney of Delaware 
was chairman, and a report was presented recommending the 
granting of the memorialists request, and the suspension of the 
obnoxious article for ten years, but no action was taken thereon. 

In the territorial legislature of 1805 the question was again 
brought forward, and another memorial to congress was 
adopted of similar import to that already forwarded. This was 
also favorably reported upon in congress but no action thereon 
followed. But still persistent, Gen. Harrison transmitted another 
legislative petition to the next congress, with like result. 


In 1807, a largely - attended meeting of influential citizens 
was held in Clark County, Indiana, at which a remonstrance 
against the proposed introduction and continuance of slavery 
was extensively signed; this also was forwarded to congress, 
and doubtless had its effect, as the committee to whom this 
subject was again referred, reported adversely to the memorial; 
and thus terminated the efforts in congress to abrogate the 
article prohibiting slavery in the Northwest Territory. 

Having been unsuccessful in their appeal to congress, the 
advocates of slavery in the Territory determined to evade the 
restrictive provision of the Ordinance of 1787 and accomplish 
the desired result in another way. This was by the enactment 
of a law by the first territorial legislature, and revised in 1807, 
entitled "an act concerning the introduction of negroes and 
mulattoes into this Territory." It provided that any slave- 
holder might bring his chattels over fifteen years of age into 
the Territory and have them indentured and registered, and 
continued in servitude upon certain conditions. Slaves under 
that age might be brought in and held — the males until thirty- 
five years and females until thirty-two years of age if properly 
registered. Children born of indentured slaves must serve the 
master of the mother — males until thirty years and females 
until twenty-eight years of age — the scope of which act virtu- 
ally legalized slavery in the Territory to a certain extent. 

In all the efforts put forth to effect the nullification of the 
sixth article of the Ordinance, nearly all the leading men in the 
counties of Randolph and St. Clair — Bond, Menard, Edgar, 
Fisher, Perry, and the Morrisons — heartily concurred and 
assisted; and the Indenture Law received their cordial support. 
In fact, in 1796, Edgar, Wm. Morrison, William St. Clair, and 
John du Moulin had forwarded the first petition to congress 
praying for the repeal of the anti-slavery article. And although 
public sentiment against slavery, under the leadership of such 
men as Jonathan Jennings and James Beggs, had grown so 
strong in the territory of Indiana as to enable the friends of 
freedom to repeal the obnoxious Indenture Law in 18 10, there 
was no voice of any strength raised against it in Illinois; where 
among the first acts adopted by Gov. Edwards and the judges- 
was this one, which was also reenacted by the first territorial 
legislature in 18 12. 


Under this law the number of slaves rapidly increased. In 
1800, there were but 133 reported in the territory of Indiana, 
which then included Illinois. Ten years later there were 168 
in Illinois alone, and in 1820 the number had risen to 917. 

Meanwhile the constitution of 18 18 had been adopted, in 
which it was provided that "neither slavery nor involuntary 
servitude shall hereafter be introduced into this State." This 
article met with serious opposition from the slaveholding 
element, and as a concession to their views the section recog- 
nizing indentured slavery was adopted. Further than this the 
majority did not deem it prudent to go and run the risk of the 
rejection of the instrument by congress. 

The opposition to the admission of Missouri as a slave-state 
had a quieting effect, but the introduction and advocacy by a 
senator from Illinois of the pro-slavery compromise, which was 
afterward adopted, revived the discussion and gave renewed 
confidence to the hope of slave-owners and other pro-slavery 
advocates that with proper efforts Illinois might yet be made 
a slave-state. To further this end, during the winter of 1819-20 
the friends of slavery extension had conceived the project of 
establishing a party organ at Edwardsville, which failed only 
because the person selected as editor had previously found a 
more lucrative employment in another field.* 

Senator Thomas, who was a candidate for reelection, and 
known as a pro-slavery champion, naturally interested himseli 
to secure the election to the legislature of those who were in 
sympathy with him on this subject, and whenever it could be 
done safely, the issue was made. 

Adolphus Frederick Hubbard was elected lieutenant-gover- 
nor; and as will be seen there was a large majority returned 
of those who proved to be pro-slavery or pro-convention mem- 
bers in both houses of the general assembly, some of them 
succeeding in districts where, if the question had been squarely 
presented, they would have been defeated. Such, briefly 
outlined, was the previous history of slavery agitation, and such 
the influences at work to make Illinois a slave-state, when the 
contending forces "locked horns" at the opening of the third 
general assembly, Dec. 2, 1822. 

* Edwards' "History of Illinois," 1S4-5. 

GOV. coles' inaugural. 315 

The hoube organized by the election of Wm. M. Alexander 
as speaker, and Charles Dunn, clerk. Thomas Lippincott was 
elected secretary of the senate, and Henry Dodge enrolling 
and engrossing clerk. 

In his inaugural address, delivered in person before the joint 
assembly of the legislature, after alluding to the deranged 
financial condition of the State, and pointing out some object- 
ionable features of the existing banking-law. Gov. Coles urged 
upon the members the importance of establishing a navigable 
waterway between the Mississippi and the great northern 
lakes. Had he studied the temper of the body he was address- 
ing and closed his communication at this point, the antagonism 
of those opposed to him who were still smarting under the 
humiliation of unexpected defeat, would not have been so 
strongly aroused. But he was a man of strong convictions, and 
oblivious of the fact that the majority was in no humor to 
submit to the dictation of a minority executive, he took the 
risk of still further widening the breach between himself and 
them, by boldly entering upon a discussion of the slavery 
question, which he made the emphatic and prominent feature 
of his address. He called attention to the fact that despite the 
provisions of the Ordinance of 1787 slavery still existed in the 
State, and he earnestly recommended its extinction, declaring 
that "justice and humanity required a general revisal of the 
laws relative to negroes, in order the better to adapt them to 
the character of our institutions and the situation of the 
country." He also advised the enactment of more effective 
laws to prevent the kidnapping of free blacks — a crime at that 
time frequently committed with impunity, and which he re- 
garded as a disgrace not only to the State, but to christian 
civilization as well. 

This was bearding the lion in his den. To say that the 
address evoked all the latent hostility to the governor, which 
needed only a breath to kindle into a flame, is to state but 
mildly the storm of opposition which beat around him. His 
course was doubtless impolitic, but subsequent events have 
shown that if this enthusiastic Virginia abolitionist precipi- 
tated a conflict which had been long delayed, perhaps no 
better period in the history of the State could have been 


selected nor could more favorable circumstances have existed 
under which to bring it to a decisive issue. It formed the 
distinguishing feature of Gov. Coles' administration, "and in- 
volved consequences to the State and Union which can not be 
measured by human ken." 

Before narrating the proceedings of the legislature following 
the governor's message, however, it will be proper to note 
the result of the animated contest for the office of United- 
States senator, which first engrossed attention, and for the 
time being subordinated all other questions. The candidates 
were Jesse B. Thomas to succeed himself, John Reynolds, 
Leonard White, then a senator, and Samuel D. Lockwood. 
All of these except the last named favored the calling of a con- 
vention. Reynolds supposed that if the election could be 
delayed until spring the elements opposed to Thomas would be 
enabled to unite and accomplish his defeat.* But the effort 
put forth in this direction failed. Thomas had his forces so 
well trained that he was able to hold them together, and 
succeeded in fixing January 9 as the day for the election. 
The result was, Thomas received twenty-nine votes, Reynolds 
sixteen, White six, and Lockwood two, insuring the election 
of the former by a majority of five. 

State officers were appointed or elected as follows: Samuel 
D. Lockwood, secretary of state; Elijah C. Berry, auditor; 
Abner Field, treasurer; and James Turney, attorney-general. 

There being no further matters requiring preliminary action 
the special committee to which had been referred that portion 
of the governor's message relating to slavery, presented major- 
ity and minority reports. 

Messrs. Beaird, Boon, Ladd, Kinney, and White reviewed the 
entire question from a pro-slavery stand-point, and after stating 
that "your committee are clearly of opinion that the people 
of Illinois have now the same right to alter their constitution 
as the people of Virginia or any other of the original states, 
and may make any disposition of negro slaves they choose 
without any breach of faith, or violation of compact, ordinance, 
or act of congress," they recommended the adoption of a 
resolution that the electors at the next general election vote for 
or against a convention to amend the constitution. 
* " Edwards' Papers, " 204. 


Messrs. Moore and Emmet in their minority report, recom- 
mended the entire abohtion of slavery; and Conrad Will made 
a separate report. 

By the terms of the constitution that instrument could not 
be altered or amended unless the question of a convention for 
that purpose should be submitted to the people by a joint- 
resolution of the general assembly, adopted by a two -third 
vote. The advocates of a convention had the necessary two- 
thirds in the senate, but lacked one vote in the house. Con- 
fident of success at the polls, and that all that was necessary 
to accomplish their design was to adopt the resolution calling 
the convention, this one vote they were determined to secure. 
It soon transpired that William McFatridge, formerly identi- 
fied with the minority, had been induced through some occult 
influence to vote for the resolution. 

No cause for farther delay existing, the resolution was put upon 
its passage in the house, having previously passed the senate, 
February 11, 1S23. After so much labor and the employment 
of so much diplomacy the hopes of the convention men were 
about to be realized. But when the roll was called, to the 
surprise and dismay of the majority, Nicholas Hansen of Pike 
County, recorded his vote in the negative, and after all the 
resolution was lost. 

The election of Hansen had been contested by John Shaw, 
but the committee on elections had reported unanimously in 
favor of Hansen, and he was seated by a majority of the mem- 
bers. His position on the absorbing question had undoubtedly 
been sounded and found satisfactory; and in the preliminary 
voting, he had ranged himself with the majority as had been 
expected. But it seems that there were "influences" at work 
on the side of freedom as well as slavery, and when the test 
came Hansen gave the decisive vote which defeated the 

The conventionists were furious, and their indignation against 
Hansen was both deep and loud. Their watchword, however, 
had been "convention or death"; and they were ready for the 
adoption of any means, however desperate, to bring about the 
desired result. How was the situation to be changed — could 
another member be won over? It did not take long for unscrup- 


ulous and determined managers to solve the problem. There 
was one palpable way to secure the much-needed vote. John 
Shaw, who had failed in his contest for Hansen's seat and gone 
home, although claiming to be anti-slavery in principle, was 
known to be in favor of a convention. What if the house 
had already decided the case against him } That one vote 
must be obtained. Accordingly when the body met the next 
morning, Alexander P. Field, afterward secretary of state for 
fourteen years, moved a reconsideration of the vote declar- 
ing Hansen entitled to his seat, and made a long speech in 
its favor, covering the ground already gone over, no new facts 
whatever being introduced. A strong effort was made by the 
minority to defeat the motion, but the edict had gone forth, 
and the subservient members dare not refuse to obey the man- 
dates of their leaders. The vote was reconsidered, and the name 
of John Shaw having been inserted in place of that of Nicholas 
Hansen — eleven members having changed sides on the question 
— the resolution as amended was carried. A messenger was 
despatched in hot haste to Pike County, a distance of over a 
hundred miles, to inform Shaw of the unexpected honor which 
awaited him, and he responded to the call with equal alacrity. 

There was still a hitch in the proceedings after Shaw's 
arrival. The speaker had previously decided that a member 
of a constitutional minority could not move a reconsideration. 
Now this action was reversed, and a motion by a member who 
voted on the losing side to reconsider the last convention reso- 
lution, was carried, the resolution again put on its passage and, 
receiving the requisite twenty-four votes, was finally passed.* 

* Nicholas Hansen, whose name became so noted in connection with this contro- 
versy, was a graduate of Union College, and a member of the bar formerly of Albany, 
New York. He was probate-judge of Pike County in 182 1-2, was elected to the 
legislature in 1822, and again in 1824. He was colonel of the Seventeenth Regiment 
Illinois Militia in 1821, and commissioned as brigadier-general in 1824; was judge 
of probate in 1826. He returned to New York in 1829, where he resided until his 
death in 1872 at the age of ninety-one years. He was a man of ability and superior 
education, but intemperate habits. 

John Shaw was also an early settler in Pike County from which he afterward 
removed to Wisconsin. He was engaged in various kinds of business and had a 
fondness for politics. He had the reputation of being ambitious, restless, and enter- 
prising. He died Aug. 31, 1871, aged 89. 

Those who voted for the resolution were Messrs. Theophilus W. Smith, John 
Grammar, Thomas Sloo, jr., Martin Jones, William Boon, Samuel Crozier, Leonard 


The triumph of the convention men was celebrated by a wild 
and drunken carouse. Forming themselves into a noisy and 
disorderly procession, headed by Judges Phillips, Smith, and 
Thomas Reynolds, and senator, afterward lieutenant-governor, 
William Kinney, followed by the pro-slavery members of the 
legislature and the sympathetic lobby, they marched to the 
music of horns and the beating of drums and tin-pans to the 
residence of the governor, and those of their more prominent 
opponents, whom they greeted with a contemptuous med- 
ley of cat-calls, groans, wailings, and derisive cheers; intend- 
ing thus not only to humiliate the anti-convention men but to 
intimidate them, and crush out all opposition."' The little town 
of Vandalia indeed was practically handed over to the mercy 
of a howling mob — as Gov. John Reynolds characterizes it "a 
wild and indecorous procession by torch-light and liquor.""f* 

The success of the pro - convention party though resisted 
heroically at every point, imparted to the situation an aspect 
of gravity which was fully recognized by the friends of freedom. 
But while discouraged, they were not disheartened, and deter- 
mined to meet the issue thus tendered with all the means and 
resources at their command. No time was lost by either side 
in getting ready for the conflict. Addresses were issued to the 
people, private conferences and public meetings were held, 
organization perfected, money raised, and leaders selected. 
The high-handed and revolutionary proceeding of unseating a 
legally-elected member to obtain the lacking vote, and the 
subsequent riotous conduct of the pro-slavery leaders, which 
as Gov. Reynolds, himself a conventionist, says "was con- 
White, Milton Ladd, William Kinney, Joseph A. Beaird, Michael Jones, and Lewis 
Barker, of the senate; and Messrs. Wm. M. Alexander, Wm. Alexander, Samuel 
Alexander, James .A. Whitside, Emanuel J. West, Wm. Berry, Zadoc Casey, Thos. 
Dorris, J. G. Daimwood, James S. Davenport, John Emmett, G. R. Logan, R. C. 
Foj-d, Alex. P. Field, John Mcintosh, William McFatridge, Alex. Phillips, John 
Shaw, Joseph Trottier, John McFerron, Thomas Rattan, James Turney, Conrad 
Will, and James Campbell, of the house. Those who voted against the resolution 
were Messrs, Stephen Stillman, Andrew Bankson, David Parker, William Kinkead, 
George Caldwell, and Robert Frazier, of the senate; and Curtis Blakeman, George 
Churchill, Abraham Cairnes, David McGahey, Wm. Lowrey, Risdon Moore, Jacob 
Ogle, Thomas Mather, Raphael Widen, Jonathan H. Pugh, Gilbert T. Pell, and 
James Sims, of the house. 

* Ford's "Illinois," p. 53. + "My Own Times," 2d Ed., 153. 


demned by all honest men," was fully set forth and published 
through the State, constituting one of the most effective cam- 
paign documents ever issued. 

Of the five newspapers in the State, the Edzvardsville 
Spectator, edited by Hooper Warren, was opposed to the con- 
vention, as was also The Illinois Intelligencer after it changed 
hands early in the campaign, edited by David Blackwell. TJie 
Illinois Gazette, printed at Shawneetown, managed by Henry 
Eddy, published articles on both sides, but was regarded as 
more friendly to that of freedom. TJie RepJiblican Advocate 
at Kaskaskia, controlled by Elias K. Kane, afterward United- 
States senator, and Thomas Reynolds; and TJie Republican at 
Edwardsville, under the direction of Judge Theophilus W. 
Smith, Emanuel J. West, and Judge Samuel McRoberts, after- 
ward United-States senator, were the organs of the convention. 

The contest which followed these preparations and which 
continued for the long period of eighteen months, was not only 
the most exciting that had yet occurred in the State, but 
loomed up into national importance. With Illinois as a slave- 
state, the preponderance of the slave-holder's party in the 
national councils would be assured, and the eyes of the peo- 
ple of the entire country were turned toward the Prairie 
State with anxious looks. Missouri had been thus secured, 
would the effort be successful in Illinois .-* The aspects of the 
conflict in the State were most extraordinary. The popular 
interest was confined to neither age, sex, nor color — even the 
women and children entering earnestly the arena of party- 
strife. Other elections had aroused more or less activity and 
rancour, but into this campaign was infused a spirit of bitter- 
ness, if not of malignity which only the agitation of the slavery 
question could have generated. The press fairly sparkled with 
the sharpest of editorials, which were eagerly and sometimes 
laboriously perused by the light of "dip-candles" in border 
log-cabins. The hustings were occupied by the most eloquent 
speakers either side could produce; while the rude pulpit of 
those days, especially on the side of freedom, counting it as 
a christian virtue, thundered its anathemas against those who 
would pollute the soil by the spread of human slavery over 
the Prairie State. When reason failed to convince, resort was 


not infrequently had to personal conflicts, and indeed every 
avenue through which the public mind might be reached and 
influenced was employed. 

The advocates of the convention undoubtedly had the advan- 
tage in the number, official position, and personal and political 
influence of their leaders. Among these were Jesse B. Thomas, 
John McLean, Elias Kent Kane, John M. Robinson, Samuel 
McRoberts, and Richard M. Young, the former of whom then, 
and each of the latter subsequently, filled the office of United- 
States senator; Joseph Phillips, late chief-justice, John Reyn- 
olds, and Thomas C. Browne of the supreme court, A. F. 
Hubbard, then, and Wm. Kinney, and Zadoc Casey, afterward 
lieutenant-governors of the State, Gen. Willis Hargrave, Col. 
A. P. Field, T. W. Smith, afterward judge of the supreme 
court, Chief-Justice Thomas Reynolds, E. J. West, and ex-Gov. 

At the head of the resolute opposition was Gov. Coles. He 
had cheerfully given the salary of his entire term, $4000, to the 
cause, and had thrown into the scale the weight of his official in- 
fluence and personal ability. His efforts were untiring, covering 
not only every county in the State, but even reaching to leading 
statesmen in other commonwealths, who were induced to con- 
tribute their aid by both tongue and pen. Next to the governor, 
the man who labored in most hearty cooperation with him to 
stem the onslaught of slavery, and who perhaps accomplished 
better results than any other man in the State was the Rev. John 
Mason Peck, a Baptist minister of Rock Springs in St. Clair 
County. A native of Connecticut, he had come west in 18 17 
as a missionary. To a natural intelligence, far above the aver- 
age, he joined the advantages of a collegiate education, and had 
been a tireless worker in the organization of churches, Sunday- 
schools, Bible and temperance societies throughout the State. 
When the question of calling a convention, which involved the 
possibility of making Illinois a slave- state, was presented, it 
aroused the deepest feelings of his nature. He entered the 
contest with an enthusiasm, intense energy, and holy zeal for 
freedom equalled only by his love for the success of the gospel 
of Christ. Fearlessly, with unsurpassed ability, and skill in 
argument, he denounced slavery as a crime against God and 


man. In log-churches, in private houses, where meetings were 
frequently held, everywhere, by day and by night, he pro- 
claimed the right of liberty, and the glory of a free-state. 
Especially was he influential with his brother preachers, many 
of whom he fired with an ardent kindred to that which ani- 
mated his own breast, and among whom a most effective organi- 
zation was perfected. Though one of the despised Yankees, 
he comported himself with such shrewdness and tact as to 
escape the odium which in those days attached to anyone from 
New England. He lived long to enjoy the fruits of his efficient 
and self-denying labors. 

The ablest man on the stump against the convention was D. 
P. Cook, who was more than a match for any speaker that 
could be brought against him. When he returned from Wash- 
ington in 1824, he devoted himself exclusively to his own 
campaign against ex-Gov. Bond for congress, and the defeat 
of the convention resolution. He was a host within himself, 
and brought his personal influence to bear to secure the support 
of others. 

The fact that the advocates of a change in the organic law 
had the advantage of the active cooperation of the leading 
politicians of the State was in some measure counterbalanced 
by the circumstance that the anti-slavery party had rallied 
to its standard the best literary talent of the commonwealth. 
In this sort of conflict "the pen is mightier than the sword," 
and this inoffensive-looking implement was wielded with potent 
effect. Among those who were most active in its use, and 
who also bore the brunt of battle in other ways, were Samuel 
D. Lockwood, Geo. Forquer, Morris Birkbeck, Geo. Churchill, 
Thomas Mather, and Rev. Thomas Lippincott. The writings 
of Mr. Birkbeck especially were of marked power. He was a 
regular contributor to the papers, and published a pamphlet 
which is said to have contained the best arguments presented 
against slavery, Robert Vaux, the noted quaker philanthropist 
of Philadelphia also lent his able pen, as did also William H, 

Gov. Edwards had been claimed by both sides of the contro- 
versy. He was then a slave-holder, and had voted while in 
congress for the admission of Missouri as a slave-state, while 


his able son-in-law, Cook, had voted against it If the ex- 
governor wrote "the scratch of a pen" to indicate on which 
side he stood it has not been published among his voluminous 
papers. Sidney Breese was another of those who held slaves 
at Kaskaskia, and who failed to leave any record showing which 
side of this question he favored. 

The settlement of Missouri at this time by wealthy and 
respectable immigrants from the South, passing through Illinois 
with their flocks and herds and slaves and their well-equipped 
wagons drawn by fine horses, who would doubtless, as it was 
asserted, remain in Illinois but for the constitutional anti-slavery 
restriction, was used as a strong argument in favor of its abro- 

Another argument, shrewdly advanced in favor of the con- 
vention was, that the constitution required amendment in other 
respects, and that the calling of a convention need not neces- 
sarily result in making Illinois a slave-state. Quite a number of 
votes were undoubtedly gained for the call by this considera- 
tion, from the anti-slavery ranks. But as the time for the 
election drew near the mask of the pro-conventionists was 
dropped, and the real issue became more and more distinctly 

At length arrived the eventful day which was to settle a 
question more momentous to the citizens of Illinois and to 
their posterity than any that had yet been submitted to the 
electors of the State. With the closing of the polls on the first 
Monday in August (2), 1824, terminated a struggle that for eigh- 
teen months had absorbingly engrossed the mind of every 
citizen and had awakened a partisan bitterness theretofore 
unknown. It was with a feeling of relief that both parties saw 
the sun set on the day which was to conclude a controversy 
wearisome through its very intensity. 

How overwhelming was the majority against the convention, 

* Even the poor immigrant from the slave-states, with his one old horse hitched to 
a broken-down wagon, in which was contained his worldly all, with his " old woman" 
and tow-headed children, and not enough "plunder" to buy a cat — who never owned 
a slave, nor expected to be able to do so, would talk in the same way. Judge Gil- 
lespie speaks of one of these on his way to Missouri, who, upon being asked why he 
did not stop in Illinois, answered, " well sir, your sile is mighty fartil, but a man 
can't own niggers liere; gol durn you. " 



is shown by the table given below,* The battle had been 
fought and won. 

That the election was on the whole a fair one was generally 
conceded. Some apprehension had been felt lest voters from 
the states of Kentucky and Missouri might be colonized in 
adjoining districts, but there is no evidence that this was 
attempted. The full vote was brought out, the aggregate poll 
being 47 more than that cast for congressman. As compared 
with that of the presidential election which followed, there was 
the startling falling off in the latter of 7080 votes. 

It will be seen by the table that if left to the first-settled 
counties of the State the convention would have been called — 
the majority against it having been given in the seven northern 
counties last organized, namely, Bond, Edgar, Sangamon, Mor- 
gan, Pike, Greene, and Fulton. And it may be further remarked 
that so involved and identified did the question of slavery 
subsequently become with that of the success of a political 
party, it is very doubtful if there ever was a time after this 
election up to the period of the secession of the Southern States 
in 1 860-1, when these seven counties would have given so 
large a majority, if any, against making Illinois a slave-state. 

It is also a remarkable fact that the governor and the brill- 
iant congressman who cooperated with him, as well as ten out 

* Official vote (Aug. 2, 1824) 

corrected — first time printed- 

-by counties. 

for an 

against the convention to alter 

or amenc 

the constitution 






Alexander, - 






















- 141 





Morgan, - 










• 125 


Pope, - 







- 357 











St. Clair, 

• 408 















- 180 


Wayne, - 








- 355 









of the eighteen members of the legislature who voted and 
worked against the convention resolution were from slave- 
holding states.* 

On the other hand, it is an equally singular fact that at least 
four of the leading spirits who were willing to make Illinois a 
slave-state and who were the most active among the advocates 
for a convention, were from free-states, namely, Elias Kent 
Kane, Judge T. W. Smith, both from New York, and John and 
Thomas Reynolds, of Irish parentage, born in Pennsylvania."f 

This was also a presidential year, and while the anti-conven- 
tion party was firmly united on that question, its members 
differed widely on all others especially in their preferences for 
president. The convention men on the other hand generally 
enrolled themselves under the banner of Andrew Jackson. The 

* The names of the latter are as follows: Messrs. Moore, (Ga. ); Frazier, Cairnes, 
and Lowrey, (Ky. ); Kinkead, McGahey, Parker, and Bankson, (Tenn.); Ogle, (Va. ); 
and Sims, (S. C). 

+ It may not be uninteresting to the reader to show what have been the decisions 
of the courts on the question of slavery in Illinois. In the case of Winney vs. White- 
side (i Mo. 427) the supreme court of Missouri, in 1827 held, that a negro woman 
who had been taken into the Illinois Territory since the adoption of the Ordinance 
of 1787 by her owner, who resided there four years, thereby became free, and upon 
being afterward taken to Missouri was not again remitted to slavery; and that con- 
gress under the confederation had the power to pass the ordinance. 

In another case (i,Mo., 725) the same court held that when the mother of the 
plaintiff had been held as a slave in Virginia, and taken to Illinois before the 
adoption of the Ordinance of 1787 and held in slavery there before and after its 
passage, the plaintiff being born there after its passage was free. 

In the case of Phoebe vs. Jarrot (Breese's "Illinois Reports," p. 268), it was 
decided that while that portion of the Indenture Law permitting the owner to bring 
his slaves into the Territory and hold them as such was void, that the other section 
providing for their indenture was valid, because the act of congress accepting the 
constitution of 1818, which recognized that kind of contracts, abrogated so much of 
the Ordinance of 1787 as was repugnant to it. 

The supreme court of Louisiana (20 Martin, 699), 1830, held that the deed of 
cession by Virginia did not deprive congress of the power to pass the sixth article 
of the Ordinance of 1787, and that this ordinance fi.\ed forever the character of 
the population over which it extended, and that a negro born in the Northwest 
Territory since the ordinance was free. 

It was by virtue of the provision of the constitution of 1818 relating to indent- 
ured and registered slaves, and this alone, that the supreme court of this State 
held in the cases of Nance vs. Howard, Breese, p. 187; Phoebe vs. Day, Breese, 
p. 207; Boon vs. Juliet, i Scammon, p. 258; Choisser vs. Borders, 4 Scammon, p. 
341, that colored persons could be held to a specific performance of their contracts 
and indentures under the act of Sept. 17, 1S07, of the Indiana Territory (reenacted 


falling off in the number of votes polled at the presidential elec- 
tion, however, was surprising, the whole number being only 4707 
as against 1 1,787, cast at the previous general election in August. 
These were divided among the several candidates as follows: 
for John Quincy Adams 1541, Andrew Jackson 1273, Henry 
Clay 1046, Clay and Jackson, generally counted for the latter 
629, William H. Crawford 218.* There was no choice of presi- 
dent by the people at this election, and the United-States 
house of representatives elected Mr. Adams, for whom the vote 
of Illinois was cast by Mr. Cook. The latter was the only 
representative in congress from the State at this time, having 
been again successful at the August election in his candidacy 
against Shadrach Bond by 3016 majority. 

ill Illinois in 1809-12), and that without that constitutional provision they would 
be entitled to their freedom, for the reason that the provisions of that act were 
void as being repugnant to the Ordinance of 1787. Jarrott vs. Jarrott, 2 Gilles- 
pie, I, 1843. 

In the last -cited case it was held that "the Ordinance of 1787 from the time 
of its first enactment became and has continued to be an organic regulation for 
the government of the whole Northwest Territory, of which Illinois forms a part, 
and still remains of binding influence, except only in such instances as it may have 
been repealed or abrogated by the parties to the compact;" and that the descend- 
ants of the slaves of the old French settlers born since the adoption of the Ordi- 
nance of 1787, and before or since the constitution of Illinois was adopted, can not 
be held in slavery in the State. It was also held that slaves were legally held in 
Illinois prior to the adoption of said ordinance. 

The supreme court at this time was composed of the following judges: Wilson, 
Lockwood, Browne, Scates, Young, Shields, Thomas, and Treat; the last three of 
whom dissented from the opinion. 

• Edwards' " Illinois. " 265. 


The Fourth General Assembly— LaFayette's Visit to Illi- 
nois — Lieut.-Gov. Hubbard. 

THE fourth general assembly was convened by proclamation 
of the governor, November 15, 1824, three weeks prior 
to the time fixed by the constitution, for the purpose 
of remedying a defect in the law providing for returns of the 
vote for presidential electors. The first State-house having 
been destroyed by fire, December 9, 1823, a new brick-build- 
ing, much more roomy and convenient, had been constructed 
at a cost of $12,381.50,* and was now occupied for the first time. 

Thomas Mather was elected speaker of the house, and Chas. 
Dunn, clerk. Emanuel J. West was elected secretary of the 
senate, and Benjamin Ogle sergeant-at-arms. 

Joseph Duncan and Thomas Carlin were among the new 
senators. In the house, the following members were reelected; 
Curtis Blackman, Zadoc Casey, George Churchill, Nicholas 
Hansen, George R. Logan, Thomas Mather, Risdon Moore, 
David McGahey, James A. Whiteside, and Conrad Will. 
Among the new members were Elias Kent Kane, David Black- 
well, William B. Archer, and George Forquer, 

The law regulating the returns of votes cast for electors, hav- 
ing been amended, the next subject which engrossed the atten- 
tion of the legislature, was the election of two United-States 
senators; one to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation 
of Senator Edwards the previous March, whose term expired 
March 3, 1825, and the other for the full term beginning at 
that date. Ex-Gov. Edwards, who had resigned to accept the 
appointment of minister to Mexico, and becoming soon after 
involved in an unfortunate quarrel with William H. Crawford, 
then secretary of the treasury, had resigned that position also, 
having returned home, was now a candidate to fill out the 
remainder of his term. He was opposed by John McLean, 
William M. Alexander, and Nathaniel Pope. The contest was 

* Toward which sum the citizens of Vandalia had contributed $3000. 


close, the first ballot standing twenty-two votes for McLean, 
eighteen for Edwards, nine for Alexander, and three for Pope. 
On the third ballot nearly all the supporters of Alexander went 
over to McLean, giving him thirty-one votes, insuring his elec- 
tion, to nineteen for Edwards and two for Pope. This was on 
Nov. 23, and on the 30th, the two houses again met in joint ses- 
sion to choose the senator for the full term. McLean was again a 
candidate, as were also'Elias Kent Kane, Samuel D. Lockwood, 
Edward Coles, and Thomas Sloo, jr. On the first ballot the 
vote stood for McLean 13, Kane 13, Lockwood 18, Coles 4, 
Sloo 4. Kane was elected on the tenth ballot which stood 
Kane 28, Lockwood 21, Coles i, Sloo 2. 

The result in both cases was inexplicable. An anti-conven- 
tion legislature had elevated to the highest office within their 
gift, two of the leaders of the opposition whom they had 
most bitterly fought at the polls and overwhelmingly defeated; 
and this too in preference to their own able and deserving co- 
workers, Coles and Lockwood. 

Elias Kent Kane, the successful candidate for the long term, 
was the youngest son of Capt. John Kane, a sailor by profes- 
sion, who during the Revolution emigrated from Ireland to 
New York, where Elias was born June 7, 1786. His brother 
John K., was the father of the celebrated explorer, Elisha Kent 
Kane. Elias Kent was educated at Yale College, and after 
reading law decided to locate in the West; stopping first for a 
time at Nashville, Tenn., he finally determined to settle per- 
manently in Illinois and arrived at Kaskaskia in 18 14, where 
he soon after married Felicita Peltia, a descendant of an old 
French family. He was an able lawyer, and early distinguished 
himself as such, as well as a successful politician. 

These elections having been thus disposed of, the perennial 
question of the composition of the courts next claimed the 
attention of the legislature, which proceeded thoroughly to re- 
organize the judicial system of the State. Five circuit-judge- 
ships were created whose incumbents were required to hold the 
circuit-courts, and provision was made for the election of four 
supreme-court judges who were to hold two sessions of that 
court each year at the capital. 

William Wilson was elected chief- justice of the supreme 


court, and Thomas C. Browne, Samuel D. Lockwood, and 
Theophilus W. Smith, associates; John York Sawyer, Samuel 
McRoberts, Richard M. Young, James Hall, and James O. 
Wattles, were elected circuit-judges. The anti - convention 
party again exhibited a generous magnanimity in supporting 
from among the candidates for judicial honors some of those 
who had but lately been their most strenuous opponents. 

The judges of the supreme court were directed to prepare a 
revision of the laws and report at the next session. 

So little was the governor in accord with the legislature that 
but few of the measures recommended by him were adopted. 
There was, however, one notable exception, namely, the law 
introduced by Joseph Duncan relating to free-schools, whose 
scope will be more particularly explained and commented upon 
in another place. 

An interesting incident during the administration of Gov. 
Coles was the visit of Gen. Lafayette to the State in 1825. 
The governor had formed the acquaintance of the distinguished 
French general in Paris, and while the latter was making his 
grand tour in the United States he was easily persuaded to 
include Illinois among the localities to be visited. The legisla- 
ture had extended the invitation and had been liberal in making 
provision for defraying the expense of the entertainment, which, 
as subsequently ascertained, amounted to $6473, about one- 
third of the tax-receipts of the State treasury for that year. 

A large delegation from Missouri accompanied the general 
from St. Louis to Kaskaskia, where the reception was held. 
The steamer Natchez, on which the trip was made, was gaily 
decorated for the occasion, and the landing was effected amid 
the strains of martial music and the booming of cannon. Gov, 
Coles delivered the address of welcome, to which a feeling 
response was made in very good English by the honored guest. 
A reception followed which was held at the residence of Gen. 
John Edgar, and after this came a sumptuous dinner at the 
tavern of Col. Sweet; the entertainment concluding with a 
grand ball at the stone mansion of William Morrison, in which 
all participated. 

Gov. Coles accompanied Lafayette to Nashville, on a boat 
chartered by the State, and on the return trip, a stop was 


made at Shawneetown, where an address of welcome was 
delivered by Judge James Hall. The General expressed him- 
self as much pleased with his visit to Illinois, whose citizens 
were indeed among the foremost in showing honor to the man 
whom the entire Nation regarded as entitled to her gratitude 
and esteem for the glorious part he had borne in the war of the 

In pursuance of a resolution of the general assembly request- 
ing that it be called together for the purpose of enacting an 
apportionment law under the census of 1825, Lieut.-Gov. 
Hubbard, in the absence of the governor from the State, issued 
his proclamation convening the body, Jan. 2, 1826. Samuel 
Smith and Gabriel Jones had been elected in Randolph County 
to succeed E. K. Kane and Thomas Mather, resigned, and 
Thomas James in Monroe County, vice George Forquer, re- 
signed. David Blackwell was elected speaker of the house in 
place of Col. Mather. This special session was characterized 
by a spirit of harmony and mutual concession, little change 
being made in existing laws and but few new ones being passed 
aside from that of the apportionment. It adjourned Jan. 28. 

In closing the narrative of Gov. Coles' administration, it may 
be not unjustly observed that he was the least popular of all 
those who have occupied the executive chair in this State. Be- 
ing a bachelor, he was without that social influence and standing 
which are so frequently given by family ties and connections. 
Without a cohesive local party, he was unable to accomplish 
those political results which are effected only through party 
organization. In national affairs he had managed to antago- 
nize many of those who had acknowledged him as their leader 
on the question of calling a convention — his choice for president, 
in 1824, being William H. Crawford, the least popular in this 
State of all the candidates. Gov. Coles had a plain, blunt way 
of springing his measures upon the legislature without consult- 
ing the public pulse, or making any effort to conciliate well- 
recognized opposition. Personally the antagonism to him was 
so great that every means was employed to annoy and humili- 
ate him. One of the most contemptible of these measures, 
prompted by personal malice and prejudice, was the suit 
brought against him under the law of 18 19, to recover a penalty 


of $200 for each negro emancipated by him and brought into 
the State, he having failed to give security that he or she would 
not become a county charge; and this, notwithstanding the 
well-known fact that these people had been industrious, sober, 
correct in their habits and entirely self-sustaining. The prose- 
cution was conducted with persistence and malignity, and a 
verdict of $2000 was obtained against him. Before any 
judgment was rendered, the legislature released him from the 
penalty; but when the act was pleaded in bar of the judgment, 
Samuel McRoberts, the circuit-judge, declared it void and 
unconstitutional, which decision, however, the supreme court 
promptly reversed. 

Gov. Coles having published some strictures upon the rulings 
of McRoberts in the case, that judge went before the grand- 
jury of Madison County and secured his indictment for libel, 
and as though that were not likely to prove sufficiently annoy- 
ing, commenced a civil suit againt him for $5000 damages. As 
the time approached for the trial and the facts became better 
known, the plaintiff concluded to dismiss the case and, at his 
suggestion it is stated, a nolle prosequi was entered in the 
criminal case, against the protest of the defendant who was 
ready and anxious for a hearing. 

To add to the governor's troubles, about this time he had 
the misfortune to lose by fire, two-thirds of all the buildings 
and inclosures on his farm, together with about 200 apple-trees 
and as many peach-trees. Soon after this, the State-house 
having been burned and the governor refusing for good reasons 
to make a private subscription toward the erection of a new 
building, the friends of the project vented their spleen by 
inciting a mob against him, which paraded the streets till early 
dawn, making night hideous with their noise. 

The pro-slavery senate of the fourth general assembly 
rejected the governor's nomination of Morris Birkbeck to the 
office of secretary of state — in which position he only served 
three months. The house at the same time voted down a 
resolution according the governor the privileges of the floor. 
During the closing days of the session, this same body, whether 
as a compliment to the governor or rebuke of the senate, or 
both, can not now be determined, adopted a resolution by a 


nearly unanimous vote, thanking Morris Birkbeck "for the able, 
impartial, and satisfactory manner in which he had discharged 
the duties of the office of secretary of state." 

Thus harassed by malicious law suits, the victim of preju- 
dices as unreasoning as they were unjust, it is not surprising 
that Gov. Coles' occupancy of the gubernatorial chair was as 
painful as it was embarrassing, and that when the time came he 
yielded up the sceptre of State without regret. 

No governor of the State ever gave closer personal attention 
to the details of the office than Gov. Coles. He wrote his own 
State-papers, and all of his official correspondence was in his 
own handwriting — even the copies of his letters being made by 
himself He was not a public speaker, but as a writer he was 
clear and concise, stating his propositions tersely and being 
happy in the elucidation of his ideas. In recalling the stormy 
scenes of his administration, it must be admitted that he was 
the most conspicuous figure in unswerving loyalty to the cause 
of freedom, and that to him are the people most indebted for 
"saving the State then and forever from the black curse 
of African slavery." While monuments have been erected to 
the memory of other governors, who on this question were on 
the wrong side, is it not time that some expression should be 
made in honor of this intrepid champion of human rights at 
the mention of whose name posterity should bow its head in 

At the close of his term he retired to his farm near Edwards- 
ville and devoted himself to its cultivation and improvement. 
He was fond of such pursuits, especially that of horticulture, 
and enjoys the honor of being the founder of the first agricul- 
tural society in the State.* 

In 183 1, supposing that the asperities of his gubernatorial 
career had been forgotten, upon the solicitation of many friends 
he consented to become a candidate for congress, but the result 
showed that his unpopularity still continued. The other can- 
didates were Joseph Duncan and Sidney Breese, the former 
of whom received nearly as many votes as both of his competi- 
tors — the ex-governor bringing up the rear. 

He now became convinced that it would be hopeless for 

• E. B. Washburne's "Sketch of Edward Coles," 245. 


him to seek further poHtical preferment in Illinois. Having 
no home- ties, he divided his time between his former resi- 
dence in Virginia and traveling in eastern cities. Becoming 
attached to Philadelphia, he decided to make that city his 
home, and thither he removed in the autumn of 1832. There, 
on Nov. 28, 1833, he was married to Miss Sallie Logan Roberts. 
And in that "city of brotherly love," possessed of an ample 
fortune, surrounded by an interesting family and sympathetic 
friends, he passed the residue of his days. 

The financial condition of the State, as a result of previous 
legislation and political excitement, had steadily grown from 
bad to worse during Gov. Coles' administration. The public 
expenditures had nominally increased threefold by reason 
of the depreciation of the State- Bank paper. Besides this, 
there had been the extraordinary expenses of the additional 
judges, special session of the general assembly, the rebuilding 
of the State-house, taking the census, and the visit of Gen. 

As near as can be ascertained the receipts of the State- 
treasury for the years 1823 and 1824 were - - $81,966 
Amount of warrants paid . _ - _ _ 79,868 
Amount outstanding not known. 

Receipts for 1825 and 1826 . - _ - $93,880 

Amount of warrants paid - - - - -111,612 
Amount outstanding ------ 34,015 

No history of Gov. Coles' administration would be complete 
which failed to mention the part taken therein by the 
lieutenant-governor. The name of this shining light in the 
political firmament of those days, was Frederick Adolphus 
Hubbard, and Shawneetown enjoyed the distinction of being 
his place of residence. He seems to have been a lawyer by 
profession, of the kind which only the day and age in which 
he lived could have produced. It is related of him that while 
engaged in the trial of a lawsuit, involving the title to a certain 
mill run by Joseph Duncan, the opposing counsel, David J. 
Baker, then recently from New England, had quoted from John- 
son's "New -York Reports," a case strongly against Hubbard's 
side. Reading reports of the decision of courts before juries 


was a new thing in those days, and Hubbard to evade the 
force of the authority as a precedent, coolly informed the jury 
that Johnson was a Yankee - clock peddler, who had been 
perambulating up and down the country gathering up rumors 
and floating stories against the people of the West and had 
them published in a book under the name of "Johnson's 
Reports." He indignantly repudiated the book as authority 
in Illinois, and clinched the argument by adding, "gentlemen 
of the jury, I am sure you will not believe anything that comes 
from such a source; and besides that, what did this Johnson 
know about Duncan's mill anyhow.'" Of course this was con- 
clusive with the jury, and Hubbard gained his case.* 

Hubbard had been a member of the constitutional conven- 
tion, and if in his subsequent career he did not attain to the 
utmost height of his "vaulting ambition," the failure can not be 
ascribed to any lack of effort on his part. At one time, after 
repeated and annoying application, he obtained from Gov. 
Edwards what he had reason to believe was a recommendation 
for a certain office. The more he thought about it however, 
the greater became his distrust of the contents of the governor's 
letter. In speaking of it afterward, in his lisping manner, he 
said: "contrary to the uthage amongst gentlemen he thealed 
it up, and contrary to the uthage amongst gentlemen I broke 
it open; and what do you think I found.'' Instead of recom- 
mending me, the old rathscal abused me like a pick-pocket." 

At the time when Gov. Edwards resigned his seat in the 
United-States senate in March, 1824, it happened that Hub- 
bard was in Washington on a visit. Seeing as he supposed a 
splendid opportunity to advance his own political fortunes, he 
prevailed on the senator to allow him to deliver the letter of 
resignation to Gov. Coles in person. This he did, adding the 
gratuitous statement that Edwards and Cook had selected him 
as the bearer of the document, in the belief that the governor 
would either resign, in which case he (Hubbard) as his succes- 
sor to the gubernatorial power would appoint him (Coles) to 
fill the unexpired senatorial term, or that if the latter preferred 
the governor's chair, then in return for the generous proposal, 
Coles should appoint no less a person than the aspiring Fred- 

* Joseph Gillespie, in "Ferj^us' Historical Series," No. 13. 


erick Adolphus Hubbard to represent Illinois in the councils 
of the Nation ! To his astonishment and chagrin, Gov. Coles 
was by no means favorably impressed with the suggestion. 
In plain words, he indignantly and contemptuously spurned 
the proposition, informing the ambitious politician that he 
declined to become a party to any such dishonorable dickering. 
"Time brings its revenges," and Hubbard's opportunity to 
repay what he considered the insolence of his superior came 
within the following year. In 1825, the governor notified 
the lieutenant-governor that circumstances would call him out 
of the State for a short period after July, and that during his 
absence the responsibilities of the executive office would 
devolve upon the latter. In the autumn, Gov. Coles returned^ 
prepared to enter upon the discharge of his official duties. 
But Frederick Adolphus having once tasted the sweets of eleva- 
tion to power, was loth to abandon the chair whose occu- 
pancy he had thoroughly enjoyed. Remembering the affront: 
which he had suffered at the hands of Gov. Coles, his brilliant 
legal mind believed that it discerned an opportunity for gratify- 
ing at once his ambition and his desire for revenge. He 
therefore, under that clause of the constitution which provided 
that the lieutenant-governor should exercise all the power and. 
authority appertaining to the office of governor in case of the 
latter's absence from the State "until the time pointed out by 
the constitution for the election of governor shall arrive," 
claimed that Gov. Coles by his absence had forfeited the office, 
and that he, the lieutenant - governor, had fallen heir to it. 
Finding a number of backers among those with whom he 
fraternized, he determined to bring the question before the 
courts, and November 2, he appointed W. L. D. Ewing, pay- 
master-general of the Illinois militia, and requested Secretary- 
of-State George Forquer to issue the commission therefor, 
which he refused to do. Ewing, as had been arranged, applied 
to the supreme court for a writ of niandamics to compel the 
secretary to sign and issue the commission, and the motion 
was gravely argued at great length before a full bench. Judges 
Lockwood and Smith delivered separate opinions in the case 
"of great learning and research," the court unanimously reach- 
ing the conclusion that there was no ground on which to award 
the writ. 


Not satisfied with this judicial determination of his claim, 
the redoubtable lieutenant-governor appealed to the legislature, 
where his application was equally unsuccessful, there being 
but one member in each house favorable to his pretensions; 
although Gov. Coles stated that there would doubtless have 
been more had there been a reasonable prospect of ousting 
himself The wonder now is that a claim so unfounded should 
have been so seriously considered. 

The occupancy of the governor's office for ten weeks, and 
the proceedings incident to his contest for its retention, had 
made the name of Adolphus Frederick Hubbard quite noted 
and familiar in the State, of which celebrity, construing it to 
mean popularity with the people, he was not slow to take 
advantage, and accordingly offered himself as a candidate for 
governor in the general election of 1826. He canvassed the 
several counties and made speeches, a sample of which is given 
by Gov. Ford, as follows: "Fellow-citizens, I offer myself as a 
candidate before you for the ofiice of governor. I do not 
pretend to be a man of extraordinary talents; nor do I claim 
to be equal to Julius Caesar or Napoleon Bonaparte, nor yet to 
be as great a man as my opponent Gov. Edwards. Nevertheless 
I think I can govern you pretty well. I do not think it will 
require a very extraordinary smart man to govern you ; for to 
tell you the truth, fellow-citizens, I do not believe you will be 
very hard to govern, no how." 

The number of votes cast for him, no doubt to his great 
surprise and dismay, was only 580, and the smallness of his 
poll was unquestionably the first convincing intimation he had 
received that his great abilities and aptitude for office were so 
much underrated by the people. 

From this time forward the name of the Honorable Adolphus 
disappears from the page of history; but though "lost to sight 
it will long remain to memory dear," as an illustration of that 
peculiar class of men which was the outgrowth of the primi- 
tive times in which he lived. 


The Election and Administration of Governor Edwards — 
National Politics — Fifth and Sixth General Assem- 
blies — The Winnebago Scare — Banks and Taxes — 
Close of the Governor's Career. 

THE contest which resulted in the election of Ninian 
Edwards to the office of governor in 1826, was pro- 
tracted and exciting. The extended period of his public 
service had rendered him a conspicuous character in both the 
State and Nation. As a United-States senator he had com- 
manded the respect and esteem of the most distinguished 
statesmen of all parties. He had made his mark as a writer 
and speaker high upon the roll of fame. But the strife for 
office in his State in which, as he claimed, he had not been able 
to secure a fair share of patronage for his friends whose 
interests he made his own, and the general political turmoil 
which existed among contending factions at Washington for 
the ascendency had so disgusted and annoyed him as to cause 
him seriously to contemplate retirement from public life. 

When, therefore, President Monroe offered him the mission 
to Mexico, he willingly availed himself of the opportunity 
thus afforded to abandon the field of politics for that of diplo- 
macy. , Having resigned his seat in the senate and drawn his 
outfit, on his way home, whence he expected immediately to 
proceed on his mission, his attention was directed to a state- 
ment made by William H. Crawford, secretary of the treasury, 
throwing discredit upon the testimony which Senator Edwards 
had lately given before a committee of the lower house 
of congress. He construed this statement as an imputation 
upon his standing as a senator and his character as a man. 
Feeling much incensed, upon the spur of the moment he 
forwarded a communication to the house, in which were 
contained charges against Mr. Crawford, of illegal and corrupt 
administration of the affairs of his department, especially in 
reference to the deposit of public funds in the Edwardsville 
22 337 


bank, which had proved a defaulter to the United States to 
the amount of some $40,000 — the question being whether 
Edwards had notified the secretary of the insolvent condition 
of the bank — the former contending that he had done so, and 
the latter that he had not. 

The feeling between the two men had been by no means 
friendly for some time. Senator Edwards having been opposed 
to the secretary's candidacy for the presidency. Of course the 
presentation of the charges occasioned a fresh outbreak 
of hostilities between the parties, which attracted wide atten- 
tion. The fact of the delay in formulating the charges until 
.after the senator had left the capital, as if he were afraid 
to urge them personally, excited much unfavorable comment 
even from his friends, among whom was Mr. Adams, who, 
although himself a candidate for the presidency, could not 
justify the manner in which the charges were preferred. 

An investigation by a congressional committee being 
demanded, Mr. Edwards was notified to return to Washington 
and make good his accusations. This he failed to do in time^ 
and the committee having heard the evidence as presented^ 
made a report, in which the conclusion was reached, that 
while many of the matters of fact as stated in the charges 
were true as alleged, "nothing had been proved to impeach 
the integrity of the secretary, or to bring into doubt the gen- 
eral correctness and ability of his administration of the public 
finances." Neither did the committee find any reason to 
condemn Mr. Edwards; but on the point charged against him 
by Mr. Crawford, he was clearly acquitted, it appearing that 
the letter testified to by him was written as stated, although 
"there was no evidence that the same had been communicated 
to the secretary of the treasury." 

This report was claimed, in a measure, as a vindication by 
both parties, and so far as congress was concerned, there the 
matter rested. But it was otherwise with the public, which 
was so deeply stirred over the controversy, that Senator 
Edwards, who had now returned to Washington in an enfeebled 
state of health, felt compelled to tender his resignation as 
minister to Mexico, rather than embarrass the administration 
by giving its enemies any further pretext for assailing it on 


his account. It was also prompted, as claimed by his friends, 
by a determination to remain in this country in order to defend 
his course which had been bitterly assailed at home. Both 
parties to the quarrel suffered, however, in their national repu- 
tation to a greater extent than either of them could have 
foreseen. The effect of the blows dealt in Illinois by the ex- 
governor against his foe, in the presidential election of 1824, 
had been as gratifying to the senator as mortifying to the 
secretary. The effect upon himself remained to be discovered 
after he had announced himself as a candidate to fill out his 
own unexpired term in the United-States senate. This, com- 
bined with other causes, as has already been shown, he had 
found equally disastrous. 

Gov. Edwards was now for the first time in over twenty 
years without an official position. He had served the State 
both at home and in congress with great faithfulness and 
ability, to the neglect of his private business and personal 
comfort. His stores and mills had been left to the manage- 
ment of agents who had not always proved trustworthy, and 
he had lost $50,000 in bad debts which he would have secured 
had he been able to give the matter his personal attention.^" 
With a depleted purse and waning popularity, criticised by his 
friends and jeered by his foes, it began to appear as though the 
political sun of his life were about to set in a bank of lowering 
clouds through which no ray of light could penetrate. 

He soon became satisfied however, that the vote of the 
legislature in the senatorial contest was not a fair exponent 
of his strength as a leader, and did not accurately reflect his 
popularity before the people. He therefore decided as early 
as June, 1825, to appeal directly to his fellow-citizens for an 
endorsement of his public career, and accordingly announced 
himself as a candidate for governor in 1826. 

His candidacy was at first received with such favor by the 
rallying of old friends and supporters to his standard, that it 
seemed doubtful whether the opposition could find any one 
who would be willing to stand as his competitor at the polls. 
But as time went on the old feuds in which the governor had 
been engaged broke out afresh and the old party-lines were 

* Vol. 50, Autograph Letters, Chicago Historical Society. 


firmly drawn against him. To lead the opposing factions 
Thomas C. Sloo, jr , was chosen. He was a successful merchant 
at Shawneetown, and had served four years acceptably in the 
State senate. He had not taken a leading part in politics, 
and made no pretensions as a public speaker, but by his 
agreeable manners and admitted integrity had made many 
friends throughout the State. 

In the campaign which now followed, Gov. Edwards showed 
that whatever other faults might be imputed to him, he was 
at least not deficient in the qualities of a fighter. In his first 
address he threw down the gauntlet, by making a vigorous 
attack upon the management of the State Bank, and of the 
State finances. By this step he awakened the united opposition, 
not only of the bank officials, but of all those members of the 
legislature who had favored the then-existing financial policy 
of the State. Not content with this, he attacked the circuit- 
court system on account of its extravagant costliness, and 
also the existing administration, many of whose friends had 
also been his. 

Consulting only the policy marked out by himself, regardless 
whom it affected, and soliciting aid from none of the leading 
politicians, he conducted his campaign with the boldness of a 
Jackson, the persistence of an Adams, and the eloquence of a 
Clay. Despising the arts of the demagogues of those days — 
a species by no means extinct — who went about electioneering 
in old and shabby clothes to ingratiate themselves with the 
poorer classes; who drank whisky with the crowd and went 
unshaven and unshorn, he, on the contrary, arrayed himself in 
the style of an old-fashioned gentleman, in his broadcloth coat, 
ruffled shirt and high-topped boots, and traveled over the State 
in his carriage or on horseback attended by his colored servant, 
notwithstanding the anti-slavery prejudices engendered by the 
recent agitation. 

The people, whom it was supposed would be driven away by 
his aristocratic appearance, were really attracted to him and 
claimed it an honor to have the privilege of supporting "such 
a high-toned, elegant old gentleman." His campaign speeches, 
if at times somewhat verbose and stilted, contained many tell- 
ing points on the subject of government and reform, and were 
effectively delivered. 


Replying to the charge that he was becoming too advanced 
in years to hold office, he said, "there are many things both in 
the moral and physical world, that grow better as time waneth : 
old whisky, old wine, old bacon, old servants, old acquaint- 
ances, and old friends are agreeable to us all, and I should 
not be surprised if you should even like some of the good old 
ways by which we contrived to get along while I had the 
honor of being your governor." In reply to the inquiry "is he 
to be trusted.''" he remarked — "I have been tried for many 
years, and when, or where, or how have I deceived the people ? 
Was it during those territorial times that tried men's souls ? 
was it when our frontiers were smoking with the blood and 
strewed with the mangled bodies of our men, women, and 
children, indiscriminately slaughtered by ruthless savages ? 
Did I then consult my own ease and comfort and interest, or 
shrink from the highest responsibility.'' Did I wait for author- 
ity to act, or did I not unhesitatingly act without it, and freely 
risk my commission, my property, and my life, to defend my 
fellow-citizens and punish barbarian aggression ? Did I then 
betray or deceive you on any of those great questions which 
so vitally affected your interests .-' " Such appeals, which went 
home to the popular heart, made a strong impression and were 
not without their effect at the polls. 

One of the most serious obstacles in the way of Gov. 
Edwards' success was the charge that himself and relatives had 
already held too many posts of high official preferment in the 
State, and, constituting a family oligarchy, had too long wielded 
a preponderating influence in public affairs — a charge which it 
must be admitted was not without foundation in fact. The 
governor and his son-in-law D. P. Cook, who was again a can- 
didate for congress in his old district, had represented the 
State, the one in the senate and the other in the house, for the 
whole period of its existence. Judge Pope, his cousin, held 
the United-States judgeship; Abner Field, A. P. Field, and 
Benjamin Stephenson, all of them family connections, had 
also held important offices. 

Notwithstanding the determined fight made against him, 
the verdict of the people at the polls was in his favor, but only 
by a small plurality — the poll standing for Edwards 6280; 
Sloo 5834; Hubbard 580. 


Samuel M. Thompson, a Methodist minister, the candidate 
for Heutenant-governor on the same ticket with Edwards, was 
defeated by William Kinney by 365 votes. Daniel P. Cook was 
also defeated for congress by Joseph Duncan, an unexpected 
result. It had been found difficult to agree upon a candidate 
to oppose one so popular and so able as Cook, his old antago- 
nists fearing to enter the race against him. His health was 
not good, and supposing that his success was certain, he had 
spent most of the time during the active canvass out of the 
district. Duncan, who announced himself as a candidate, had 
made a good record in the State senate and stood fairly well 
as a rising public man. He went over the district making 
short plain speeches as a supporter of Jackson, who was 
evidently the coming candidate* for president. The fact that 
Cook had cast the vote of Illinois in 1825 for Adams, although 
he tried to explain it away, made many vote against him, and 
to the surprise of nearly every one, and the regret of many 
leading men in and out of the State, his opponent was elected 
— the vote standing for Duncan 6323, Cook 5629, and James 
Turney, also a candidate, 824.* 

During his last sesssion in congress, Mr. Cook discharged 
the duties of chairman of the committee of ways and means, 
a position which involved so much labor as to overtask his 
physical powers, and the close of the session found him with 
health seriously impaired. With a view to the recovery of his 
strength he accepted the appointment of a special mission to 
Cuba, and embarked for that island expecting great benefit 
from its mild climate. In this he was disappointed, and return- 
ing to Illinois he spent a short time with his family, when 
there being no longer any hope of recovery, he resolved to 
return to Kentucky the home of his nativity, and die on the 
spot that gave him birth, where he breathed his last Oct. 16, 
1827, and where his remains repose. 

In public as in private life he commanded the affectionate 
regard of both political friends and foes, no less for his moral 
worth than for his mental acumen. John C. Calhoun said 
of him, "I have a genuine respect both for his talent and 

* At this election a poll was opened in Chicago, then in Peoria County, where 
thirty votes were cast, all of them for Edwards, Cook, and Thompson. 


character. He is honest, capable, and bold." Judge McLean 
spoke of him as follows: "he stands well with all parties, and 
is not excelled in weight of character, talents, and influence 
by any member from the West." 

It is to him that Illinois is indebted for securing, after 
repeated efforts, the passage through congress of the act 
of 1827 granting to the State, without reservation, the alternate 
five sections upon each side of the lllinois-and-Michigan 
Canal, for the purpose of aiding in its construction, amount- 
ing to nearly three hundred thousand acres of land, includ- 
ing the original site of Chicago. In part acknowledgment of 
this debt, Cook County bears his honored name. 

The fifth general assembly assembled December 4, 1826. 
William B. Archer, Zadoc Casey, and Timothy Gard had been 
transferred from the house to the senate. In the house, twenty- 
six of the thirty-six members were newly elected, those who 
had served previously being, David Blackwell, Geo. Churchill, 
Thomas W. Dorris, Alex. P. Field, William McHenry, John 
McLean, Jonathan H. Pugh, Charles Slade, and Conrad Will. 
John Reynolds, Thomas Reynolds, Robert K. McLaughlin, 
Alfred W. Caverly, James Hall, Henry I. Mills, appearing for 
the first time in the legislature as members of the house. 

John McLean for the second time was elected speaker of the 
house, and Wm. L. D. Ewing, clerk. Emanuel J. West was 
again elected secretary of the senate. 

The governor delivered his inaugural in person, and, true to 
those instincts of formal propriety, which formed so prominent 
a trait in his character, appeared before the joint session in a 
gold-laced coat. The message was devoted to the questions 
of taxation, State expenditures, and the alleged mismanagement 
of the banks; and recommended sixteen distinct propositions 
of legislative reform. But the governor soon discovered that a 
large majority of the members of the legislature were first 
and foremost Jackson men, and that his individual supporters 
were largely in the minority. But little attention was paid to 
his excellency's recommendations, and his first message was 
followed by others, until as was remarked, they became so 
"stale as not to be noticed." Becoming, however, more emphati-c 
and aggressive in his statements, he finally charged specific 


acts of corruption against the officers of the bank of Edwards- 
ville, and a committee from the house of representatives was 
appointed to investigate the charges. A large mass of testi- 
mony was taken and a long time occupied in making the 
examination. The charges appear to have been instigated in 
no small degree by a feeling of irritation on the part of the 
governor. They certainly were hastily considered and alto- 
gether too sweeping in their denunciations. Embracing as they 
did, not a few of the most prominent men of the State, to 
whom no taint of suspicion could rightfully attach, they 
resulted in the formation of a powerful combination to defeat 
the investigation. Had the governor shown more discrimina- 
tion in selecting those whom he accused, the ultimate result 
might have been different. 

As it was, however, the unquestionably innocent and the 
possibly guilty found themselves forced to make common 
cause, and the fact that Gov. Edwards had before preferred 
equally grave charges against Mr. Crawford, which he had 
failed to sustain, was used against him with marked effect.* 

While the testimony showed that there had been careless 
mismanagement of the bank, the committee felt warranted 
from the evidence in bringing in a report that "nothing was 
proved against the officers of the bank, to-wit: William Kin- 
ney, Shadrach Bond, Thomas Carlin, Abraham Prickett, Elijah 
lies, and Theophilus W. Smith, which would justify the belief 
that they had acted corruptly or in bad faith in the manage- 
ment as officers of said bank." 

Notwithstanding the governor had so signally failed in his 
onslaught upon the officers of the bank, he had the satisfaction 
of seeing his recommendation in favor of legislating the circuit- 
court judges out of office, adopted. The law of the previous 
session creating them was repealed, and the State being 
divided into four circuits, the judges of the supreme court were 
directed to hold the circuit- courts — Lockwood in the first, 
Smith in the second, Browne in the third, and Wilson in the 

Another exciting subject which occupied the attention of 
this session was the election of State treasurer. The candidates 

* Reynolds' "My Own Times," 173. Ford's "Illinois," 63. 


were Col. Abner Field, the then incumbent John Tillson, Abra- 
ham Pricket, and James Hall, the latter of whom proved suc- 
cessful on the ninth ballot.* 

Judge Hall was the distinguished pioneer author of Illinois, 
whose able contributions to the literature of this period, con- 
tributed very largely to the material and intellectual progress 
of the Prairie State. His writings, including favorable descrip- 
tions of its soil and climate, biographical sketches, and historical 
incidents, were voluminous, and read with great pleasure and 
interest by all who admire a style at once graceful, concise, and 

The most valuable as well as important work of this general 
assembly was the revision of the laws. The judges of the 
supreme court, who it will be remembered had been directed at 
the last session to perform this work, now made their report, 
which, with but very few changes, was adopted; and so thor- 
oughly and wisely was this task executed that the most of the 
statutes thus reported, in their titles, method of arrangement, 
and in some instances the language, have been preserved in 
every subsequent revision. | 

Another important law enacted at this session was the pro- 

* As soon as the result was known, before the members left the hall, Field walked 
in and administered personal chastisement to four of the largest and strongest of his 
opponents — the members generally breaking out of the chamber one way or another, 
like sheep from a fold invaded by a wolf. — Ford's "History of Illinois," 82. 

t James Hall was born in Philadelphia, Aug. 19, 1793, served in the War of 
1812, and being afterward admitted to the bar, removed to Shawneetown, 111., in 
1820. The next year he was appointed State's attorney, and in 1825 was elected one 
of the circuit- judges. Being with others legislated out of office he removed to 
Vandalia, where he resided until 1S33, and was elected treasurer as above set forth; 
removing thence to Cincinnati, where he died July 5, 1868. He was the author of 
"Legends of the West," "Tales of the Border," "Notes on the Western States," 
"Statistics of the West," "Romance of Western History," etc. He also was the 
editor of the "Western Monthly Magazine." 

X Judge Lockwood was the author of the criminal code, while he and Judge 
"Snulh jointly were said to have been the authors of the following titles: abatement, 
account, amendments, jeofails, apprentices, attachments, attorneys, bail, bill of 
exchange, chancery, conveyances, depositions, dower, evidence, forcible entry and 
detainer, habeas corpus, jail, jailors, limitations, mandamus, ne exeat and injunctions, 
oaths and affirmations, promissory notes, replevin, right of property, and sheriffs and 
coroners. Judge Samuel McRoberts prepared the act concerning frauds and perjuries; 
John York Sawyer the act concerning insolvent debtors; Richard M. Young concern- 
ing wills; and Henry Starr concerning judgments and executions. 


viding for the construction of a penitentiary at Alton. This 
was a favorite measure of John Reynolds, who was opposed 
therein by the governor. The State treasury was empty, and 
as no one at that day had the temerity to propose a loan, the 
question arose how the funds were to be provided to erect the 
necessary buildings. The saline lands, of which only the use 
had been granted to the State, failed to produce that income 
which was anticipated from them, and there was difficulty in 
collecting the rents, some of which were lost. Now if these 
lands belonged to the State in fee, and were sold, the required 
means could be raised. Accordingly upon the memorial of the 
legislature to congress, the State was authorized to sell thirty 
thousand acres of the "Ohio Saline in Gallatin County and to 
apply the proceeds of the sale to such objects as the legislature 
may by law direct." The way was now opened, and a com- 
bination was made by which the eastern section of the State 
should have one-half of said proceeds to make certain improve- 
ments of roads and bridges; and the western portion the other 
half, to be expended in building the penitentiary. The law 
was proposed and the site selected by Reynolds. The first 
commissioners were Shadrach Bond, William P. McKee, and 
Gershom Jayne, who were authorized to superintend the work.* 
Soon after the adjournment of the legislature occurred the 
first Indian disturbance in Illinois since the War of 1812. It 
was of very small proportions, although it has been dignified 
by the high-sounding title of the "Winnebago War." W^'" 1 
rumors were carried in hot haste by terrified runners, of fearful 
massacres in the northwestern portion of the State, and the 
serenity of years of peace gave place to wide-spread alarm. 
The governor called out the militia, and the miners of Jo Daviess 
County were formed into companies and equipped for action. 
Gen. Nicholas Hansen, one of the parties to the famous case of 
contest in the third general assembly, was directed to call out 
one- fourth of the four regiments of his brigade for service; and 
a regiment (the 20th) was raised in Sangamon and Morgan 
counties under the command of Col. Thomas M. Neale, and 
ordered to proceed to the scene of anticipated danger. Gur- 
don S. Hubbard carried the alarming news from Chicago to 
* Reynolds' "My Own Times," 2d Ed., 173. "Laws of Congress." 


Danville, where was quickly raised the Vermilion - County 
"battalion" as it was called — a company of fifty men — which 
marched at once to Fort Dearborn. 

In the meantime, Gen. Henry Atkinson of the United-States 
army appeared upon the scene with a force of about 600 
infantry and 130 mounted riflemen. 

The "head and front of the offending" of the Indians which 
caused these extensive preparations for war was as follows: an 
attack was made by the Winnebagos upon the Chippewas, who 
were by treaty regulations under the protection of the United 
States, in which a number of the latter were killed. The 
United- States commissioner at St. Peters, caused four of the 
offending Winnebagos to be arrested and delivered up to the 
Chippewas by whom they were shot. In the meantime a 
question had arisen involving the right of the Winnebagos to 
the possession of the land in the vicinity of the lead-mines at 
Galena, which had been intruded upon by the miners, some 
thousands of whom had lately arrived upon the ground. Out 
of this had grown several acts of reciprocal hostility between 
the red men and their white neighbors along the upper Missis- 
sippi. There were therefore, various sources of irritation to the 
Winnebagos which determined Red Bird, a noted chief of that 
tribe to renew his attacks upon the Chippewas and also the 
whites; in one of which near Prairie du Chien, two of the latter 
were killed. A few days after this, two keel-boats laden with 
supplies for Fort Snelling stopped at a camp of the Winneba- 
gos on the Mississippi not far above Prairie du Chien. The 
Indians collected about the boat, as was alleged with hostile 
intentions, and for purposes of plunder. They were plied with 
liquor and made drunk, and six or seven squaws who had also 
become intoxicated, were captured, carried off and outraged. 
Realizing, when they became sober, the great injury they had 
sustained, several hundred infuriated warriors assembled to 
avenge their wrongs when their aggressors returned. On July 
22, the boats came in sight, and knowing that their conduct 
would naturally stimulate the Indians to make reprisals, they 
had prepared for defence. One boat passed safely, but the 
other grounded and was savagely assailed, and after a severe 
struggle the Indians were repulsed. Two white men were 


killed, and so many wounded that it was with difficulty that 
Capt. Allan Lindsay, the officer in charge at this time, and the 
remnant of his crew were able to reach Galena. 

The arrival of Gen. Atkinson prevented any further outbreak. 
Red Bird, with six other Indians, voluntarily surrendered to 
save their nation from a war which could prove only disastrous 
to them. Some were acquitted and some convicted, but it was 
the fate of Red Bird, who died in prison, Feb. i6, 1828, and is 
described as one of the noblest of savage chieftains, having will- 
ingly sacrificed his liberty, the loss of which he could not 
survive, to his patriotic devotion to his race. After all, it was 
not much of a war. 

The Winnebago "scare" having been disposed of, the people 
once more turned their attention to questions of state and 
national policy. The constitutent elements of party strife 
began for the first time to form themselves into that shape and 
consistency which soon afterward developed into the distinct 
divisions of the whig and democratic parties. There were but 
two candidates for the presidency in 1828, Jackson and Adams, 
and, as the vote of the four years previous had foreshadowed, 
the extraordinary popularity of the great military hero, carried 
everything before it. The fact that such a man was their 
leader, gave the democrats an advantage in national affairs 
which they easily maintained for the next twelve years. In 
Illinois, Joseph Duncan was again elected to congress defeating 
George Forquer by over 4000 votes. 

The sixth general assembly, containing a large majority of 
Jackson men, convened Dec. i, 1828. Robert K. McLaugh- 
lin and Conrad Will had been transferred to the senate, and 
among the large number of old members returned to the house 
were John Reynolds, George Churchill, A. P. Field, Thomas 
Mather, and John McLean. Peter Cartwright, Wm. L. May, 
and John -Dement were among the new ones. John McLean 
was for the third time elected speaker — an honor he alone has 
achieved in the legislative history of the State. Wm. L. D. 
Ewing was elected clerk, and Emanuel J. West, for the third 
time also, secretary of the senate. 

The message of Gov. Edwards — the longest ever delivered 
to any legislature in this State, occupying as it did thirty-nine 


printed pages of tlie house journal — was principally devoted 
to a discussion of the right of the State to the public lands 
within its limits. A movement having been made at the pre- 
vious session to memorialize congress to reduce the price of the 
public lands, and a committee having reported in favor of call- 
ing upon the United States to surrender the same "uncondition- 
ally," the governor set forth at great length and with much 
earnestness the arguments in support X)i the claim that they 
belonged to the State, founded upon the doctrine of state sover- 
eignty. This was a master-stroke upon the part of the gov- 
ernor and awakened the liveliest interest. If his position were 
correct, and his reasoning sound, which but few believed, yet 
which no one had the temerity to controvert, and if he were 
sustained by congress and the courts, here would be laid the 
foundation for enriching the State with the ownership of her vast 
tracts of rich farming-lands. No one dared to oppose a measure 
so popular; accordingly resolutions were adopted by the gen- 
eral assembly in which it was declared that "the United States 
can not hold any right of soil within the limits of the State, 
but for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, 
and other needful buildings." As it would be equally impolitic 
to oppose the author of this wonderful political discovery, the 
governor had but little difficulty in securing a favorable hearing 
for his measures, and the confirmation of his nominations for 

It was at this session that the policy was adopted of selling 
the school and seminary lands, the State borrowing the pro- 
ceeds at six per cent interest, to be used in meeting the current 
expenses of the State government. 

In revising the election law, a return to the viva-voce method 
of voting, was provided for. 

A new judicial circuit was created, the fifth, and Richard M. 
Young appointed its judge. 

It was at this session also that the law, approved Jan. 22, 1829, 
was passed, providing for the appointment of commissioners to 
fix upon the route of the Illinois-and-Michigan Canal, and to 
select the alternate sections of land granted to the State to 
aid in its completion, to provide for their sale, and to begin the 
work of its construction. The commissioners appointed by the 


governor were, Charles Dunn, Gershom Jayne, and Edmond 

For the first time, a United-States senator was elected by a 
unanimous vote — the honor having been conferred upon John 

State officers were appointed or elected as follows: Alexander 
P. Field secretary of state, James Hall reelected treasurer, and 
George Forquer attorney-general. 

The administration of Gov. Edwards closed amid general 
expressions of satisfaction and good-feeling. Although he had 
not accomplished the reforms he advocated, the bitterness 
attending the commencement of his term had passed away 
and many of those who had strongly antagonized his course 
were outspoken in their encomiums, among them being ex- 
Gov. Bond and John McLean. 

It would perhaps have been wiser for him to have ended his 
public career, as he had originally intended, at the close of his 
executive term, but such were his relations to public affairs, 
that he did not feel at liberty to refuse the request of many old 
friends to become a candidate for congress in 1832. Four other 
gentlemen had already entered the field: Charles Slade, Sid- 
ney Breese, Charles Dunn, and Henry L. Webb. Had the 
governor announced himself earlier and made an active canvass 
he would no doubt have met with better success. As it was, 
he was defeated by Mr. Slade, the vote standing; Slade 2470, 
Edwards 2078, Breese 1670, Dunn 1020, Webb 551. In the 
counties where he was best known, St. Clair and Madison, he 
received a larger vote than that of all the other candidates 

The governor now finally retired to his home in Belleville, 
where on July 20 of the following year, 1833, he died of chol- 
era, to which dread disease he fell a victim in consequence of 
his humane exertions for the relief of his afflicted neighbors. 
He left a large estate of real and personal property. 

His earliest places of residence in Illinois were at Kaskaskia 
and on his farm of "Elvirade" — so named from his wife Elvira 
— near Prairie du Rocher, where he resided most of the time 
until 1818. He then removed to Edwardsville where he 
remained until 1824, when he became a resident of Belleville, 


He stocked his farm with horses and sheep of fine breeds from 
Kentucky, and brought with him a choice selection of fruit- 
trees, vines, and shrubbery; all of which encouraged and pro- 
moted the raising of improved stock and the adoption of better 
agricultural methods. 

In person, to use the language of his contemporaries, he was 
large and well made, with a noble and even princely appear- 
ance — "a magnificent specimen of a man physically and 
intellectually." He was dignified and polished in his manners 
and courtly and precise in his address. He was a despotic 
leader, dictatorial, fond of display, impulsive, and arbitrary, 
yet as sensitive as a child. He was subject to fits of choleric 
passion which carried him beyond himself, and in one of which 
he fell to the floor, while making a speech in the United-States, 
senate, and had to be carried out of the chamber and bled. 

His speeches evince great research and power of amplifica- 
tion, and, although lacking precision, were ornate, and always 
commanded attention. 

Relying for success, as he remarked, "upon the candor, good 
sense, and judgment of the people," his aim was to be guided 
by that principal of political action, as originally defined by 
himself, that "an office is a trust, deposited in the hands of an 
individual, who holds it not for his personal benefit and advan- 
tage, but for the public good." * 

In private life he was kindly, benevolent, and hospitable. 
Though not "a professor of religion" he was a patron of tem- 
perance and morality, and an attendant upon public worship. 
He exerted a wide-spread influence in the State during his 
long connection with public affairs, and will always be remem- 
bered as one of the most striking characters among the 
prominent men of his period. 

The receipts and expenditures during Gov. Edwards' administration were as follows: 
receipts, 1827-8, $96,106 — Disbursements, $79,524; leaving a balance against the 
treasury, including outstanding warrants and sums not collected, of $45,999. 
Received during 1829-30 with the balance on hand of $7319 — 116,452 — Disburse- 
ments, $84,047; leaving a balance in the treasury Dec. I, 1830, of $32,404. 
Amount of outstanding warrants $11,516, school-fund warrants $28,283 — balance 
against the treasury $7396. There was at the same time due the State from non- 
resident delinquent tax-list $ii,6oo; from A. Field, late treasurer, $12,516; for 
rents of the Ohio Saline $5866 ; from sheriffs on judgments $805. 

* Edwards' " Illinois, " 29. 


Administration of Gov. Reynolds — The Seventh General 
Assembly — Black -Hawk War — Receipts and Expen- 

THE contest for gubernatorial honors in 1830, was confined 
to two candidates, but was even more protracted than 
the preceding one, which it surpassed in excitement and per- 
sonal rancor. John Reynolds, then a member of the legislature, 
announced himself as a candidate in the winter of 1828-9. 
His experience on the bench and at the bar had made him 
popular with the legal fraternity, who generally favored his 
candidacy. William Kinney, the lieutenant-governor, was put 
forward as a candidate at the same time. They were both 
Jackson men, but Kinney was the most tUtra, while the 
moderation and conservatism of Reynolds on this point, won 
for him the support of the Adams-Clay whigs, who decided, 
after the poor showing they had made at the polls in 1828, not 
to offer any candidate. There were, therefore, no principles at 
stake and no questions of national, or indeed, of State policy at 
issue, other than the construction of the Illinois-and-Michigan 
Canal, which project Reynolds favored and Kinney opposed. 
Both candidates addressed the people in every county, though 
not together. They spoke in churches, court-houses, and "gro- 
ceries," but mostly in the open air, the better to accommodate 
the large crowds which no halls of those days could hold. A 
tree would be cut down in the forest near the town, and the 
stump hewed smooth, and on this the speaker took his stand — 
hence the origin of the phrase "stump-speech." 

John Reynolds was born of Irish parentage in Pennsylvania, 
Feb. 26, 1788. He removed with his father to Illinois in 1800, 
and lived with him on his farm until 1809, when he decided to 
attend college at Knoxville, Tenn. His education previous 
to that time had been confined to the arts and mysteries of 
horse- and foot-racing, and shooting-matches, in which he had 
graduated with first honors. Having remained at college two 



years, he began the study of law. He sensed in the war of 
1812 in a company of rangers, which circumstance gave him 
the sobriquet of the "old ranger." He first "hung out his 
shingle" as a lawyer at Cahokia in 18 14, announcing himself 
in the Illiiiois Herald, published at Kaskaskia, as follows: "To 
the poor people of Illinois and Missouri Territory: To the above 
class of mankind whose pecuniary circumstances will not admit 
of feeing a lawyer, I tender my professional services as a lawyer, 
in all courts I may practise in, without fee or reward. JOHN 

A lawyer so unselfish could not be long without clients, and 
as a reward for his generous offer of gratuitous services he soon 
enjoyed a practice both large and remunerative. His elevation 
to the bench, and election to the legislature, and the political 
tactics employed by him have already been described. The 
present race had been entered upon with "savage energy," and, 
to use his own words, a resolute determination to win. The 
leading newspapers of the State were in his favor, though the 
Illinois hitelligcnccr, edited by the scholarly Judge Hall, sup- 
ported his opponent.* 

His management of the campaign of 1830 was characterized 
by a high degree of political sagacity and shrewdness. His 
efforts were directed to the capture of a fair share of both the 

* He wrote to Gov. Edwards very suggestively as follows: "presses, speeches, and 
much riding must be brought to our aid, I will do my part. I was placed on the track 
at Vandalia for this purpose — that I could help myself. I have not been lazy in the 
business. We are all equally interested in the present approaching contest [over a 
year off]. The office I go in for, with the wishes of our friends, is not the only one." 

In another letter he said, " I shall have no choice among friends, but I do love an 
active man more than a drone. Believe me the county elections shall not be for- 
gotten. On this much depends. I sincerely recommend to the prominent Adams 
men, not to abuse Jackson but to go in for his administration as far as it is right * * 
and particularly for them to keep cool and dark on the election between me and 

From Jonesboro: "the Revs. Peck and Green of Rock Springs have great weight 
with their churches in this county. All here look to these men for information. * * 
Please attend to this matter. It is right for the good of the country it should be done. 
Get them to write and keep a writing down here. " 

"I received from Mr. Cowles, the writing." [A hand-bill prepared for him for 
circulation as a campaign document.] " I thought it advisable to change some of the 
expressions more into my lingo. * * I have not concluded if the Cross Canal is not 
a little too digging. * * I know not how many of these handbills ought to go out. 
I was thinking of looo." 


Jackson and anti-Jackson vote, besides securing the support of 
Gov. Edwards and the State administration, all of which ends 
he accomplished. 

William Kinney was born in Kentucky in 1781 and had come 
to Illinois early in life. His educational advantages had been 
of the most limited description, having been taught to read by 
his wife, after marriage. He possessed, however, naturally a 
strong intellect, and being an original thinker, and of unim- 
peached honesty and tried fidelity to his friends, his popularity 
with the people was unquestioned. He was a preacher of the 
"regular" or, as sometimes called, "hard-shell, anti-missionary "^ 
Baptists, and was accustomed to off-hand speaking, and having 
a large store of witty anecdotes which he could tell and apply 
with effect, was no mean antagonist on the stump. His previous 
service in the legislature, and as lieutenant-governor, had made 
him well and favorably known throughout the State. He 
claimed to be the representative of the administration of 
President Jackson, whose patronage in this State he controlled. 
So great was his admiration of the old hero that he had under- 
taken the long journey to Washington to witness his inaugura- 
tion and to grasp his hand. 

Both candidates followed the practice of "treating" — it being 
said, indeed, that Kinney, not to be behind in this respect, 
as a clergyman, carried a Bible in one pocket, and as a candi- 
date, a bottle of whisky in the other. 

A large amount of electioneering was done by means of 
handbills and circulars, many of them being prepared by the 
friends of each candidate, and circulated without (.'') his knowl- 
edge. The attention of Kinney being called to the fact that 
in one of these, the I's were all small or lowercase i's, he replied 
"O, yes, that's all right. Reynolds has used up all the big I's 
in his circulars." 

All sorts of tricks were played with these handbills by both 
sides. While Matthew Duncan, who distributed for Kinney, 
was stopping at Jacksonville with his saddle-bags full of docu- 
ments, some friends of Reynolds, who were also there, during 
the night exchanged circulars. Duncan went on giving out 
the latter for sometime before he found out the joke played 
upon him. 


Gov. Edwards and Senator-elect McLean, with their particu- 
lar friends, espoused the cause of Reynolds; while Senator 
Kane, Judge McRoberts, and Joseph Duncan rallied their 
adherents to the support of Kinney. One interesting fact 
relating to the contest is that a large amount of money for 
those days — all that the parties could raise — was used. Gov. 
Edwards complained in one of his letters that he "had ad- 
vanced more money than all the other friends of Reynolds put 
together," but offered to become his indorser for still further 
funds required, which might be raised by paying twelve and 
one-half per cent interest.* Re}'nolds himself says that "large 
sums of money were expended in the canvass. ""f" 

As the day of election approached, party feeling ran high and 
wagers were freely made on the result, through which the 
friends of Judge Reynolds, acting upon advices privately 
received from him, were in a large measure enabled to recoup 
their outlays during the campaign.-f- 

The counting of the votes showed that there was no cause 
for the anxiety felt by the friends of Reynolds, he having 
received of the 21,975 polled, a majority of 3899. 

The candidates for lieutenant-governor were Zadoc Casey on- 
the Kinney ticket, and Rigdon B. Slocumb on that of Reyn- 
olds. Both had served in the legislature, but the former was 
better known than his opponent, and being an able speaker 
both in the pulpit and on the stump, made an active canvass. 
The latter not having the gift of oratory, remained at home, 
and was left behind in the race. Joseph Duncan was reelected 
to congress. 

The seventh general assembly met Dec. 6, 1830. There 
were but four new members in the senate, while twelve of those 
who had formerly served in the house, were returned. Among 
the new members were Wm. J. Gatewood, Edmund Dick 
Taylor, and Thos. J. V. Owen. Wm. Lee D. Ewing, was elected 
speaker of the house, and David Prickett, clerk. Jesse B. 

* "Edwards Papers," 531. 

In one of the letters of George Forquer to Gov. Edwards, in which he was 
taking a despondent view of the prospect, he uses this expression "we will be whipped 
to death, but I mean to die in the last ditch." This is probably the origin of this 
expression which came to be so famous in the late civil war. — "Edwards Papers," 
p. 51S. t "My Own Times," 2d ed., 189, 190. 


Thomas, jr., was chosen secretary of the senate. The inaugural 
message of Gov. Reynolds was in marked contrast with that 
of his predecessor — while the latter had been lengthy and 
aggressive, the former was brief and non-committal; in dic- 
tion it was direct and homely, rather than polished and pre- 
tentious. He outlined no clearly-defined policy, confining his 
official recommendations to two subjects — the completion of the 
penitentiary and the winding-up of the aff'airs of the old State 
Bank. He also referred favorably to the construction of the 
Illinois-and-Michigan Canal. 

While the relations subsisting between the governor and the 
legislature were not of that strained character which had marked 
the early intercourse between his predecessor and the fifth 
general assembly, a majority of the senate was politically 
opposed to him and displayed marked cheerfulness in rejecting 
his nominations. He was, however, able to bring about the 
election of John Dement as State treasurer, after a heated con- 
test with Judge Hall, the then incumbent. 

The talented and eloquent McLean having died October 4, 
made it necessary to elect two United-States senators. Hon. 
E. K. Kane was elected to succeed himself, without very serious 
opposition. Hon. John M. Robinson was elected to fill the 
unexpired term of Senator McLean, on the fifth ballot, receiv- 
ing 34 votes, to 15 for Col. T. Mather, and three votes scatter- 
ing. He was a brother of Gov. James F. Robinson of Kentucky, 
in which State he was born April 10, 1794. He settled in 
Carmi in 18 17, and devoted himself exclusively to his profes- 
sion as a lawyer — not having previously filled any civil office 
except prosecuting attorney. He was of commanding appear- 
ance, being six feet four inches in height, straight as an arrow, 
and finely proportioned. His only other office had been that of 
a brigadier-general of militia. He was a strong Jackson man, 
and probably owed his success on this occasion to the fact that 
he had not objectionably identified himself with the personal 
factions which had heretofore controlled state politics. 

Comparatively few measures of general public interest were 
enacted by this legislature, among the chief of which were the 

I. The amendment of the criminal code by the substitution 


of confinement in the penitentiary for public whipping, and 
imprisonment in the pillory. 

2. The passage of a law authorizing the borrowing by the 
State of $100,000, to redeem the outstanding circulation of the 
old State Bank, which fell due the next year — which resulted in 
the celebrated Wiggins' loan. Concerning this legislation, Gov. 
Ford sententiously remarks that "the credit of the State was 
saved, and the legislature was damned for all time to come." 

This was really a measure of necessity, but those who voted 
for it became unpopular. It was even stated that Wiggins had 
purchased the entire State, and that the inhabitants "for gene- 
rations to come had been made over to him like cattle." The 
members instead of justifying their action as being prompted 
by a desire to protect the credit of the State, and denouncing 
the demagogues who thus assailed them, acted upon the defen- 
sive and pusillanimously apologized for, and tried to excuse, it. 
As a result, says Gov. Ford, "the destruction of great men was 
noticeable for many years thereafter." 

At this session the State was reapportioned into legisla- 
;ive districts under the census of 1830, giving the senate 
twenty-six members and the house fifty-five. And the State, 
which had heretofore constituted but one congressional district, 
was divided into three. The legislature adjourned February 16, 
1 83 1, after a session of seventy-two days. 

The event of most interest to the people during Gov. Reyn- 
olds' administration was the disturbance familiarly known as 
the Black-Hawk War; and of all the many Indian embroil- 
ments which excited the early residents of Illinois to acts of 
reprisal and hostility none have occupied so large a place in 
.listory, or been more unduly magnified. 

It is the story of the calling out of eight thousand volunteers, 
to cooperate with fifteen hundred soldiers of the regular army, 
in expelling from the State a band of about four hundred Indian 
warriors with their one thousand women and children, at an 
expenditure of millions of money and three months of time, 
besides the loss of over a thousand lives. 

It has been made the theme of no little self-glorification on 
the part of some of the actors, and its chief incidents were for 
years freely employed to advance the interests of political 


demagogues. In consequence, there are few published accounts 
of this, the most picturesque and bloody of Indian wars in this 
State, free from either personal or partisan prejudice; and the 
vague, popular impression of its stormy incidents and tragic 
termination is usually far from being correct. 

The real cause of the war existed in that almost universal 
detestation in which the Indians were held by the pioneers. 
Their presence could not be tolerated, and whether the lands 
occupied by them were needed by the whites or not, the cry 
was "the Indians must go." 

The alleged origin of the struggle, however, arose out of a 
question of interpretation of certain provisions of the treaty 
of November 3, 1804, between the general government and 
the tribes of the Sac and Fox Indians. As was not unusual 
in such compacts, most of the advantages were on the side of 
the whites. The United States assumed the payment to the 
two confederated tribes of the sum of $1000 per annum in per- 
petuity, and in consideration thereof the Indians ceded all the 
territory lying between the Wisconsin River, the Fox River of 
Illinois, the Illinois and the Mississippi rivers, together with a 
tract comprising about the eastern third of the State of Mis- 
souri. The land thus cheaply acquired amounted, in round 
numbers, to about 50,000,000 acres. The treaty, however, con- 
tained a provision that as long as the ceded lands remained the 
property of the United States, the "Indians belonging to said 
tribes should enjoy the privilege of living or hunting upon 
them." It was without doubt the construction of this article, 
so vague in wording, which formed the ostensible cause of the 
war. In order to a clear comprehension of the nature of the 
conflict, it will be necessary briefly to survey the situation as 
it actually existed in 183 1, the year of the outbreak. 

Not far from Rock Island, three miles above the mouth 
of the Rock River was situated the chief seat of the Sacs, 
which tribe had for nearly one hundred years dwelt along the 
eastern bank of the Mississippi, roaming at will between the 
mouths of the Wisconsin and the Missouri. Their principal 
village, called Saukenuk, comprised some five hundred families, 
a number then almost without parallel among Indian villages. 
Here were the nation's graves, and at this point focused the 


interests and affections of the entire tribe. About three thou- 
sand acres of rich alluvial soil had been placed under a rude 
sort of cultivation, and the crops garnered therefrom were a 
source of no little pride to the semi-savage agriculturists. 

The Sacs may be said to have been split into two parties. 
One of these was friendly to the American government, while 
the other, from its attachment to British interests, agents and 
traders, came to be known as "the British band." At the head 
of the latter element was Makabaimeshekiakiak, the significa- 
tion of which appellation is "the Black Sparrow Hawk," com- 
'monly abbreviated into Black Hawk, who was the central figure 
in these disturbances. In the characteristics of his moral 
nature were exhibited some strange incongruities. He was 
brave, ambitious, but without the higher qualities fitting him to 
command; easily influenced, and peculiarly susceptible to 
flattery, he became the ready dupe of designing men, while he 
was strangely suspicious of those who wished him no harm. 
It had been the policy of the British, during the period be- 
tween the close of the Revolution and the outbreak of the 
war of 1812, to incite and foster a spirit of hostility to the 
United States among the Indians of the Northwest Terri- 
tory, and the restless nature of Black Hawk made him a fit 
subject for the blandishments of the British military agent at 
Maiden. In the war of 18 12, he served with his band on their 
side, and engaged in a series of depredations against the 
Americans until a date nearly eighteen months after the con- 
clusion of the treaty of peace between Great Britain and the 
United States. 

As early as 1823, the fame of the fertility of the lands of the 
Sacs had come to the ears of that restless class of squatters 
who were always reaching out for the farthest frontier. The 
lands had not been surveyed and were more than fifty miles in 
advance of regular settlements, where millions of acres just as 
good, were open to legal entry and sale. But from this time 
on for the next five or six years portions of the lands already 
cultivated by the red men were squatted upon, without a shadow 
of right, and continuously occupied. 

The whites taking advantage of the absence of the Indians 
on their annual hunts, even went so far as to f€nce in and 


cultivate their cornfields, and drive off the squaws and children 
who ventured upon the claims thus marked out — in some 
instances burning their lodges over their heads. Each year 
when the Sacs returned to their village in the spring the 
evidence of the increasing encroachments of these intruders 
became more apparent. 

Complaints, recriminations, and actual collisions between the 
whites and Indians naturally followed this state of things until 
in 1828, Gov. Edwards demanded the expulsion of the Indians, 
and as the result of his persistent efforts, President Jackson 
made an order for their removal across the Mississippi in 1829; 
but upon the personal application of Col. George Davenport, 
Indian trader on Rock Island, the time .was extended to April 
I, 1830. 

In 1829, Col. Davenport, and Davenport & Farnham, 
purchased from the United States the site of Saukenuk and 
nearly all the lands cultivated by the Sacs, the ulterior object 
being to permit their continued and unmolested occupancy by 
the Indians. Black Hawk, when he learned of the purchase, 
failing to understand the motive which prompted it, was greatly 
incensed against the colonel, who thereupon offered with the 
consent of the government, to exchange these lands for others, 
or even cancel the sale, and allow the Indians to remain in 
peaceable possession. A deputation headed by Keokuk, pro- 
ceeded to Washington, to endeavor to effect such an arrange- 
ment. But President Jackson would not consent to it, and 
notified the Indians that all the lands, embodied in the treaty 
of 1804, must be surrendered and they remove to the west 
side of the Mississippi, as had been previously ordered. 

Keokuk, acting in concert with the United-States Indian 
agent at Fort Armstrong, advised submission. But Black 
Hawk, moody and discontented, and feeling that injustice had 
been done his band, upon the advice of White Cloud, the 
Prophet, who exercised a controlling influence over him, and 
after consulting with his "British father" at Maiden, determined 
not to abandon his ancient village and lands, but to insist upon 
his right to occupy them. 

On the return of the Sac chief and his braves in the spring 
of 1830 from their annual hunt, it was found that the settlers. 


emboldened by the action of the government, had practically 
taken possession of his farms, had nearly ruined his town by 
burning many lodges, and had obliterated even the graves of 
his dead by the plow. Still, no actual outbreak occurred until 
the return of the Indians in 183 1. The winter had been severe 
and the chase unsuccessful, and on reaching the village the 
disheartened aborigines were ordered to depart in terms full 
of menace. This quickly precipitated the climax. Quietly, 
but with native dignity, Black Hawk replied that the land was 
his, and that if any one were to withdraw it must be the white 
interlopers, and that to secure this end he was prepared to 
use force. 

The white settlers, now numbering about forty inhabitants, 
who had come to believe that under no circumstances need 
they apprehend resistance or retaliation, construed these words 
in accordance with their fears and promptly appealed to Gov. 
Reynolds for protection against the "blood-thirsty savages." 
Although Black Hawk himself subsequently declared that he 
contemplated only "muscular eviction without bloodshed," 
whatever that may mean, the whites assured the governor 
that he had thrown down their fences, destroyed their grain, 
demolished their houses, driven off their cattle, and made 
threats against their persons. Two petitions were sent to Gov, 
Reynolds setting forth the grievances of the settlers, one dated 
April 30, and one May 19, in response to which on May 26, 
the governor issued a call for seven hundred militia "to remove 
the band of Sac Indians now residing about Rock Island." At 
the same time he notified Gen. Edmund P. Gaines, in command 
of the military district, of his action and requested his coopera- 
tion. Gen. Gaines replied that he had ordered six companies 
of regular troops, stationed at Jefferson Barracks, to repair 
forthwith to Rock Island, and promised if necessary, that he 
would add four companies more from Prairie du Chien. With 
this force, the general informed the governor, he was satisfied 
he would be able to repel the alleged invasion of the Sacs and 
protect the frontier; and that he did not think it "necessary or 
proper to require militia, or any other force" besides the regular 
army for that purpose. 

The militia assembled, however, at Beardstown, early in 


June, as directed, but in double the number called for. Two 
regiments one commanded by Col. James D. Henry, and the 
other by Col. Daniel Leib, an odd battalion, and a spy battal- 
ion were organized, and all placed under command of Gen. 
Joseph Duncan. The governor's principal aides. Cols. Milton 
K. Alexander, Enoch C. March, and Samuel C. Christy, were 
appointed quartermasters, and Col. E. C. Berry adjutant- 

On June 5, Gen. Gaines notified Gov. Reynolds that having 
learned that the Sacs had invited the support of the Winne- 
bagos, Pottawatomies, and Kickapoos in a determined resist- 
ance, requested of his excellency the assistance and coopera- 
tion of "the battalion of mounted men" previously offered. 

The combined armies numbering some twenty-five hundred 
troops, appeared before the village occupied by the Sacs, June 
25, 183 1. Black Hawk perceiving his inferiority in point of 
numbers, not having over three hundred warriors present, 
successfully evacuated the fort during the night, effecting a 
withdrawal to the west bank of the Mississippi about twelve 
miles below. After burning the deserted town, the whites 
proceeded to Rock Island, where Gen. Gaines declared his 
intention to pursue and attack the fugitives, and so notified 
their chief This had the desired effect of bringing Black Hawk 
back to the general's headquarters, where, on June 30, a treaty 
was signed, by which he obligated himself and band to remain 
away from the east side of the river unless their return was 
permitted by the United States. Whether or not this compact 
was reported to the president, as other Indian treaties had 
been, or whether it was inherently defective, it was never rati- 
^ed by congress, and does not appear among the published 

* The officers of the regiments and companies were as follows: 1st regiment, Col. 
James D. Henry, Lieut. -Col. Jacob Fry, Major John T. Stuart, Adjutant Thomas 
Collins; captains: Adam Smith, Wm. F. Elkin, A. Morris, Thomas Carlin, Samuel 
Smith, John Lorton, and Samuel C. Pease ; 2d regiment. Col. Daniel Leib, Lieut. - 
Col. (unknown), Major Nathaniel Butler; captains : H. Matthews, John Hanes, 
•George Bristow, Wm. Gillham, James Kinkead, Alexander Wells, Wm. Weather- 
ford. The "odd battalion," Major Nathaniel Buckmaster, Adjutant James Semple, 
Paymaster Joseph Gillespie; captains: Wm. Moore, John Laramie, Solomon Miller. 
The "spy battalion," Major Samuel Whitesides, Adjutant Samuel F. Kendall, 
•Quartermaster John S. Greathouse, Paymaster P. H. Winchester; captains: Wm. 
Bolin Whiteside, W^m. Miller, and Solomon Prewitt. 

CAMPAIGN OF 1 83 I. 363 

collection of such treaties. And thus without bloodshed ter- 
minated the campaign of 1831: 

" The King of France, with all his men, 
Marched up the hill, and then marched down again." 

Black Hawk and his followers now realized the hardships 
and sufferings incident to a forced expatriation, at a season 
of the year before the hunt began, and when it was too late to 
raise any crops for their sustenance. Although they received 
some corn and other assistance under the treaty, his band 
passed a wretched summer. 

Smarting under a sense of humiliation and want, as if to 
complicate the difficulties surrounding him, he engaged in a 
raid against the Menominees in retaliation for an attack by 
that tribe and some Sioux upon the Sacs the previous year, in 
which a number of the latter had been killed. The Menominees 
were encamped upon an island opposite Prairie du Chien, where 
they were savagely assailed by Black Hawk, and but one of the 
band of twenty-eight, escaped mutilation or massacre. Upon 
demand by Gen. Joseph M. Street, Indian agent, to deliver up 
the murderers. Black Hawk unhesitatingly refused, contending 
that his foray was one of justifiable reprisal. 

In the meantime Neapope, second in command of the Hawk's 
band, had again visited "the British father" at Maiden, and had 
interviewed the Winnebagos and Pottawatomies, from all of 
whom he brought back glowing assurances of sympathy, and 
support. Relying upon these, and in pursuance of the advice 
of the Prophet, Black Hawk once more resolved to reoccupy 
his old village and farms if permitted; or in case of refusal 
by the proper authorities, to proceed to the Prophet's town 
and raise a crop with the Winnebagos. Of course this step 
was in direct violation of the treaty of the year before, if that 
agreement, extorted from him as it was under the threat of 
an immediate attack, was of binding force. He apparently 
regarded it as having been already violated through the failure 
of the whites to provide adequate supplies for his band. 

However this may be. Black Hawk with his band of five 
hundred warriors, their squaws, children, and household effects, 
crossed the Mississippi, April 6, 1832, at the Yellow Banks on 


his way to the Rock River — his design being as subsequently- 
avowed by himself, to proceed peaceably to the country of the 
Winnebagos for the purpose of raising a crop. 

At this time northern Illinois was almost an uninhabited 
wilderness. There was a settlement of some thirty farmers 
on Bureau Creek, and a few cabins at Peru, LaSalle, Ottawa, 
Newark, Holderman's Grove, and on Indian Creek, besides 
the towns of Galena and Chicago. There were many Indian 
trails, but there was only one wagon-road north of the Illinois 
River, sometimes called Kellogg's trail, between Peoria and 
Galena, over which daily traveled the mail-coach, carrying the 
news, and often loaded with passengers going to the mines. 
Along this route houses of entertainment were kept by "old 
man" Kellogg at Kellogg's Grove, Mr. Winter on Apple River, 
John Dixon at Dixon's Ferry, on Rock River "Dad Joe" at 
the grove of that name, Henry Thomas on West-Bureau Creek, 
and Charles S. Boyd at Boyd's Grove. An Indian trail con- 
nected Galena with Chicago by way of Lake Geneva, and what 
was denominated the great Sac trail extended across the State 
from Rock Island to the south shore of Lake Michigan and 
thence to Maiden. 

The scattered population was made up of two classes — first 
the hardy pioneers from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, who 
were enterprising, accustomed to privations and dangers, and 
bold and skilful hunters; and second, the lawless adventurers, 
destitute alike of principal or property, who infest frontier 
settlements as tigers do the jungles. To the latter class, the 
prospect of an Indian war held out the allurements of plunder 
and rapine; while among the more honest, hardy settlers, with 
whom money was scarce, a war which promised a large expen- 
diture of the coveted gold of the government, was hailed with 
satisfaction. Besides this, not a few of these had suffered in 
person and property from savage depredations, which they 
thirsted to avenge, while at the same time gratifying the love 
of adventure incident to dwellers in a new country. 

Meanwhile, the outrage committed upon the Menominees 
by Black Hawk's band had been brought before the govern- 
ment in such a form that Gen. Henry Atkinson had been dis- 
patched to Fort Armstrong with a company of regular troops. 

BLACK- HAWK WAR, 1 832. 365 

to enforce the surrender of the perpetrators. The intelligence 
that the latter had crossed the river did not reach him until 
seven days thereafter. 

Gen. Atkinson was possessed of personal bravery and mili- 
tary skill, but certainly in this campaign evinced as little 
knowledge of the aboriginal nature as he did skill in combat- 
ting their methods of war. While he was not unnecessarily 
alarmed, he could but regard the invasion of Black Hawk, 
under the circumstances, as a warlike menace of no ordinary 
proportions. Without knowing to what extent other tribes 
were expected to cooperate with him, he thought it prudent to 
prepare for a decisive campaign. He therefore at once made 
a requisition upon Gov. Reynolds for a militia force to support 
the regulars in protecting the frontier. 

The governor issued his call April 16, 1832, for "a strong 
detachment of militia" to rendezvous at Beardstown, April 22. 
The volunteers were organized into four regiments, an odd 
battalion, a spy battalion, and a foot battalion, who were placed 
in command of Brig.-Gen, Samuel Whiteside. These regimeats 
were commanded respectively by Cols. John Dewitt, Jacob Fry, 
John Thomas, and Samuel M. Thompson; the spy battalion 
by Maj. James D. Henry; the odd battalion by Maj. Thomas 
James, and the foot battalion by Maj. Thomas Long. The 
governor's aides were Cols. James T. B. Stapp, and Joseph M. 
Chadwick. James Turney, paymaster- general; Vital Jarrot, 
adjutant-general; Cyrus Edwards, ordnance officer; William 
Thomas, quartermaster; and Murray McConnell, "staff officer." 

Besides the above organizations, the governor ordered a levy 
of two hundred mounted men to guard the frontiers between 
Rock Island and the Illinois River, who were placed under 
command of Maj. David Bailey; and a like number, to guard 
the frontiers nearer the Mississippi, who were commanded by 
Maj. Josiah Stillman. These two last bodies of troops were 
subsequently organized into the fifth regiment. The total force 
thus called out, comprising forty companies, numbered 1935 
men, rank and file — the regulars about one thousand. 

The army began its march, accompanied by the governor, 
April 27, and reached Fort Armstrong May 7, where the volun- 
teers were mustered into the service of the United States. 


Col. Zachary Taylor, afterward president, here reenforced the 
army with the troops from Ft. Crawford and Ft. Leavenworth 
to the number of three hundred. A lieutenant of one of his 
companies was Jefferson Davis, while Abraham Lincoln com- 
manded a company in the fourth regiment of volunteers. 

A story is related of "old Zach", as he afterward came to be 
called, that upon ordering an advance movement in which he 
did not feel certain of the conduct of the volunteers, some of 
whom seemed to hesitate, he rode out in front of them and 
made them a little speech. He said "Soldiers, the order you 
have just heard must be promptly obeyed. The safety of all 
depends upon the obedience and courage of all. You are citi- 
zen soldiers, some of you may fill high offices, or even be 
president some day, but not if you refuse to do your duty. 
Forward, march!" Himself and one of his hearers — the great 
Lincoln — must have remembered that speech in after years, as 
well as he, afterward his son-in-law, who presided over the 
so-called Southern Confederacy. 

The army was divided into two wings, one of which, under 
Atkinson, proceeded up Rock River by boats, while the other, 
under Whiteside, marched by land along the eastern bank. 
The stream was swollen, the ground a swamp; and the hard- 
ships and fatigues encountered by both bodies were severe and 
trying. Whiteside's force was the first to reach the Prophet's 
village. This they found deserted by Black Hawk, the Prophet, 
and all their followers. Pushing forward, despite the lack of 
needed rest, the volunteers reached Dixon's on May 12, tired, 
hungry, wet, and comparatively destitute of supplies. At 
this point they were met by the two battalions of independent 
rangers, under command of Majs. Stillman and Bailey, who had 
joined themselves together, for the purpose of effecting more 
speedy and brilliant results. These untried militiamen had 
great confidence in their prowess, and ability to annihilate 
the foe at the first onset. They had an abundance of both 
supplies and ammunition, and as they refused to attach them- 
selves to the main body, Gov. Reynolds ordered them to 
advance to "the head of Old Man's Creek," where there were 
supposed to be some hostile Indians whom they were "to 
coerce into submission," On the fourteenth they encamped in a 


strong position containing rare advantages for attack or defence. 

Meanwhile, Black Hawk had been sadly disappointed by the 
failure of the Winnebagos and Pottawatomies to rally to his 
standard, and the chief was beginning to suspect treachery. 
Some years afterward he himself declared that he had, at this 
time, fully made up his mind to re-cross the Mississippi and 
never return to its eastern bank. While in this mood, he w^as 
informed that a company of white horsemen had encamped 
some six miles away. He supposed this to be Atkinson's force, 
although in reality it was the 275 rangers under Stillman. 
Black Hawk at once dispatched an envoy of three young 
braves to inform Atkinson that he was ready to meet him in 
council at the latter's camp. Five other braves were sent at a 
safe distance to watch the result of the interview. The bearers 
of the flag of truce were descried about a mile from the 
ranger's camp and captured. The five spies were also sighted 
and pursued and two of their number slain. It is difficult to 
account for the perpetration of an outrage so cruel and a viola- 
tion of the rules of war so flagrant except upon the theory — 
confirmed by statements made at the time — that many of the 
rangers were excited and maddened by liquor. The three 
Indians who escaped fled to the camp where Black Hawk was 
preparing to depart himself, with a flag of truce, to attend the 
interview which he had proposed. Great was the rage of the 
old chief when he learned the fate of his ambassadors. He 
tore into tatters the flag which his hands had held, and ear- 
nestly appealed to his men to follow him and avenge the blood 
of those who had been thus wantonly slaughtered. 

At this time he had with him but forty braves of his own 
tribe, his Pottawatomie allies being encamped some seven miles 
away, and those of the latter tribe who were his guests decid- 
ing to preserve a position of neutrality at once departed for 
their villages. When the white rangers saw the band approach- 
ing, they charged wildly forward — a disorderly, undisciplined 
mob. The crafty Black Hawk ordered his men to retire into 
ambush and stand firm. The fiery courage of the advancing 
party began to cool when they caught a glimpse of the grim- 
visaged, dusky warriors, and they came to a halt. The pause 
was fatal. The Hawk raised the blood-curdling warwhoop of 


the Sacs and the little party of Indians rushed forward and 
fired. Stillman's men did not wait for a second volley. 

The gallant 275 incontinently turned tail and fled. The pre- 
cipitation of the rout was equalled only by its completeness. 
Madly they dashed through their own camp, the contents of 
which were abandoned. Neither swamps nor swollen streams 
served to check the impetuosity of their retreat. A gallant, 
stand was made by Maj. Perkins and Capt. Adams with fifteen 
men, but to no purpose. Singly and in squads the fugitives 
arrived at Dixon's, thirty miles away, from whence many of 
them continued their mad gallop forty or fifty miles to their 
homes. Through all the country which they traversed they 
spread the story that the dreaded Hawk, at the head of 2000 
blood-thirsty braves, was descending in one fell swoop upon 
the unprotected, outlying hamlets to the north. Conster- 
nation reigned supreme. The settlers who had returned to 
their farms, once more sought shelter in the forts, and the name 
of Black Hawk became a menace and a dread in every house- 
hold. The actual loss of the whites in the rout, greatly exag- 
gerated at the time, was eleven killed and two wounded — that 
of the Indians the two spies before mentioned and one of the 
flag bearers.* 

On May 19, the entire army under Atkinson proceeded up 
Rock River, the remnant of Stillman's rangers being left at 
Dixon's to guard the wounded. But the men who had fled 
panic-stricken before an insignificant force, put the finishing 
touch to their record by deserting their post as soon as Atkin- 
son was out of sight. Yet these men properly officered and 
disciplined might have made the best soldiers in the world. 
Learning of this fresh act of perfidy, Atkinson with the regu- 
lars returned to Dixon's, instructing Whiteside with his brigade 
to follow Black Hawk. 

The Sac commander, highly elated at his easy and unex- 
pected victory, had, after enriching himself with the abun- 
dant spoils of Stillman's deserted camp, retired up the Kish- 

* List of casualties : killed, Capt. John G. Adams, Sergt. John Walters, Corp. 
Bird W. Ellis; Privates: David Kreeps, Zadoc Mendenall, Isaac Perkins, Joseph 
Draper, James Milton, Tynes M. Child, Joseph B. Farris, and Gideon Munson, 
scout; wounded: Sergeants Reding Putnam and Jesse Dickey. 


waukee to the swamps of Lake Koshkonong. Here he left the 
women and children of the tribe, and once more returned to 
the vicinity of the Rock River, gathering recruits from the 
Pottawatomies and Winnebagos as he advanced. 

He divided his force into small bands. The largest of these 
— numbering about 200 — was under his own leadership. In 
addition, about lOO Pottawatomies were commanded by a 
disreputable half-breed named Mike Girty, while desultory 
troops of Winnebagos swept down upon defenceless homes, 
killing, scalping, and outraging wherever it seemed safe. The 
most noted of these forays was the massacre upon Indian 
Creek in LaSalle County. Here on May 21, thirty Indians — 
a mixed band — rushed into the house of Wm. Davis and killed 
all of its occupants except Sylvia and Rachael Hall, aged 
respectively 17 and 15 years, whom they made prisoners.* 

In the meantime the Illinois volunteers became so much 
dissatisfied with the results so far attained that a majority of 
them refused to proceed, The discontent was wide-spread, 
affecting every company more or less. They declared that they 
did not enlist to follow the Indians into the bogs and swamps of 
Michigan (Wisconsin), that such an expedition would be useless, 
and besides, that their term of service had expired. Whiteside 
expostulated with them and begged them to go on, but without 
effect, and after a counsel of war and a general consultation 
among the men, it was decided to return to Ottawa, where on 
May 28, the 37 companies of Whiteside's army were mustered 
out by Lieut. Robert Anderson of Fort Sumter fame. 

But one course remained open to Gov. Reynolds. He at 
once issued a third proclamation calling, this time, for 2000 
men, whose enlistment was to be for the war. In addition. 
Gen. Winfield Scott was ordered to proceed with 1000 regulars 
from the East. 

Pending the completion of these arrangements, at the per- 
sonal solicitation of Gov. Reynolds and Gen. Atkinson, a 
regiment of 300 volunteer rangers had been recruited for twenty 

* The killed were Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Hall and daughter Elizabeth, Mr. and Mrs. 
Wm. Pettegrew and two children, Mrs. Wm. Davis and five children. The following 
were killed outside : Wm. Davis, Robert Norris, and Emory George — sixteen in all. 
The prisoners were subsequently ransomed. 


days from the companies just disbanded. It was officered by- 
Col. Jacob Fry, Lieut.-Col. James D. Henry, and Maj. John 
Thomas. The five companies composing the regiment were 
commanded by Capts. Adam W. Snyder, Samuel Smith, W. C. 
Ralls, Benj. James, and Elijah lies. Gen. Whiteside enlisted 
as a private and showed himself as willing to obey as he was 
able to command, Abraham Lincoln also reenlisted as a 

In addition to this regiment of Col. Fry, five companies from 
Putnam County, commanded by Capt. Robert Barnes, William 
Hawes, William M. Stewart, and George B. Willis, aggregating 
195 men, were organized into a regiment commanded by Col. 
John Strawn; and also eight companies from Vermilion County, 
under Capts. Eliakin Ashton, Alex. Bailey, J. M. Gillespie, 
James Gregory, Corbin R. Hutt, James Palmer, Morgan L. 
Payne, and John B. Thomas, were organized into a regiment 
commanded by Col. Isaac R. Moore, with Gurdon S. Hubbard 
as lieutenant-colonel; and the independent companies of Capts. 
Cyrus Matthews, George McFadden, John Stennet, M. L. 
Covin, John S. Wilbourn, and Aaron Armstrong, were accepted 
and all the above ordered to do guard-duty from May 28 to 
June 19. 

The new volunteers called out by the governor rendezvoused 
at Fort Wilbourn, near Peru, June 15. They were organized 
into three brigades, composed of three regiments and a spy bat- 
talion each. The first of these, 915 strong, elected Alex. Posey 
as its commander, with the rank of brigadier-general. John 
A. McClernand, now general, was a member of his staff. The 
second regiment elected as their officers, John Ewing, colonel, 
John Raum, major; officers of other regiments not known. 
Maj. John Dement, father of Henry D. the present secretary of 
state, was elected from the ranks to command the spy battal- 
ion. Stinson H. Anderson, afterward lieutenant-governor, was 
adjutant, and Lieut.-Gov. Z. Casey, paymaster. 

The second brigade was commanded by Gen, Milton K. 
Alexander, and the spy battalion by Maj. William McHenry. 

The third brigade elected Gen. James D. Henry as its com- 
mander. The first regiment was commanded by Col. S. T. 
Matthews, Lieut.-Col. James Gillham, Maj. James Evans, Adjt. 


William Weatherford, Quartermaster Nathan Hunt, Paymaster 
Alex. Bell. Col. Gabriel Jones commanded the third regiment, 
and its lieutenant-colonel was Sidney Breese. The spy battal- 
ion of this brigade was commanded by Maj. Wm. L. D. Ewing. 
The three brigades numbered, rank and file, 3148 volunteers. 

The governor's staff, as reappointed, was as follows: aides, 
Cols. Benj. F. Hickman and Alex. F. Grant, Judge T. W. Smith, 
adjutant-general, and E. C. March, quartermaster-general. 

The volunteer force was still further increased by a battalion 
of recruits under Col. Henry Dodge. Including the regular 
troops the available force of the whites numbered 4000 men. 

A portion of Posey's brigade was ordered between Galena 
and Rock River. Alexander's and Henry's brigades, having 
arrived at Dixon, the former was dispatched to Plum River to 
intercept Black Hawk; the latter, remaining with Gen. Atkin- 
son at Dixon. 

For a time outbreaks and skirmishes followed each other at 
short intervals, resulting in the death of many whites and not a 
few red men. On June 6, Black Hawk in person led an attack 
upon the fort at Apple River, fourteen miles east of Galena, 
defended by Capt. Stone, but after a brief engagement, the 
besieging party withdrew, devastating the surrounding country 
with torch and flame. 

On June 14, occurred the skirmish of Pecatonica, in which 
Black Hawk was engaged with a portion of Posey's brigade 
under Maj. Dodge, resulting in the loss of three whites and 
eleven Indians. 

The company of Capt. A. W. Snyder, while passing through 
Burr-Oak Grove, June 16, was suddenly and fiercely attacked 
by a party of seventy of the enemy. The coolness of the 
commander and the determined courage of privates Gen. 
Whiteside and Col. James Semple prevented a stampede, and 
order being restored the savages were repulsed, with a loss to 
the whites of three killed — that of the Indians not known. 

On June 17, Capt. James W. Stephenson had a severe skir- 
mish with a party of Indians at Prairie Grove in which he lost 
three men killed, and two wounded — the enemy losing one. 

The battle of Kellogg's Grove occurred June 25. Maj. John 
Dement with his battalion had been ordered to defend this post 


by Col. Z. Taylor. Learning that a large force of the enemy 
commanded by Black Hawk himself was in the vicinity, he or- 
dered out fifty men to reconnoitre. Upon sight of the foe they 
rushed forward without orders and as Dement soon perceived 
were likely to fall into the ambush prepared for them. Before 
he was able to make himself heard and understood in his efforts 
to stop the advance, his men were caught in the trap set, when 
at the entrance of a bushy ravine, they were met with a warcry 
and a sharp fire, all the more galling because concealed. The 
strategy of the cunning leader of the Sacs was successful, and 
terror and confusion reigned in the ranks of the whites. But 
the gallant Dement, whose bravery was equalled only by his 
coolness and comprehension of the situation, ably seconded by 
Lieut.-Gov. Zadoc Casey, rallied his fleeing forces to repeated 
stands, fearlessly presenting himself in exposed positions, and 
finally succeeded in withdrawing his command within the stock- 
ades. Here the attack was renewed, the principal result being 
the killing of 47 horses, which had been left hitched outside 
by the beleaguered party. The loss of the whites was four 
killed and two wounded; that of the Indians, reported at six- 
teen killed.* 

On June 27, Gen. Atkinson, supposing that the headquarters 
of the Sacs were still at Lake Koshkonong, left Dixon with 
the main army 2600 strong, the volunteers being commanded 
by Gen. Henry. On the 30th, he crossed the State line, one 
inile east of Beloit. The army reached the outlet of Lake 
Koshkonong, July 2, but no enemy was found, it being now 
supposed that Black Hawk had gone to his stronghold near 

* As a tribute to the memory of those who fell in this battle and in other skir- 
mishes in this vicinity, the county of Stephenson erected a monument over their 
collected remains, on the battlefield, now called Timmis Grove, which was dedicated 
Sept. 30, 1886, by the Wm. R. Goddard Post G. A. R. of Lena. The monument, 
consists of a single shaft constructed of yellowish, flinty limestone, quarried near by, 
rising thirty-four feet, resting on a suitable base. Into the sides of the shaft are sunk 
marble slabs containing appropriate inscriptions — the names honored are as follows: 
Wm. B. Mahenson, Benjamin McDaniels, and a little drummer-boy Bennie Scott, 
killed in the skirmish of Burr- Oak Grove; Wm. Darley, killed May 19; George 
Eames, Stephen P. Howard, and Micheal Lovell, killed in the battle of Prairie 
Grove; Felix St.Vrain, and Hale, Fowler, and Hally, (christian names not known,) 
killed near the monument while carrying dispatches; and Wm. Allen, James P. 
Band, James Black, and Abner Bradford, killed in the battle of Kellogg's Grove. 


the mouth of the Kishvvaukee River. Two days after, Gen. 
Alexander arrived with his brigade, and on the 6th, Posey 
reported with his and Dodge's commands. 

The Winnebagos — some of whom had connected themselves 
with the latter's force — were undoubtedly plotting the destruc- 
tion of the entire army by giving erroneous information. 
The chief who joined Dodge magnanimously offered to guide 
him directly to the camp of the hostile Sacs on Bark River, 
a stream which flowed into Lake Koshkonong from the east. 
Meanwhile an old one-eyed Winnebago, who claimed to be 
a chief, named Decori, had volunteered to pilot Gen. Atkin- 
son to their secret hiding-place, which he located at a dif- 
ferent spot. As superior in command. Gen. Atkinson sent 
orders to Dodge to join him at once. Much disappointed 
at the loss of an apparent opportunity to meet the enemy^ 
the latter, with true military subordination, obeyed, and to 
this circumstance may be attributed his fortunate escape from 
an ambush, in which it is not unlikely his whole command 
would have perished. While, however, the army was running 
about for several days vainly looking for Black Hawk and 
his followers, the savage had fled from an almost inaccessible 
position on the east bank of Rock River, where he had been 
encamped at the top of a steep bluff. 

At this juncture. Gov. Reynolds, and a portion of his staff, 
becoming discouraged at what they deemed a fruitless pursuit, 
determined to "quit soldiering" and return to the more con- 
genial pursuits of civil life. 

On July lo, the army was again divided. Alexander and 
Henry, with their forces, were sent to Fort Winnebago, for 
supplies. Col. Ewing, with the second regiment of Posey's 
brigade, descended the Rock River to Dixon, the rest of this 
division being sent, under Posey himself, to Fort Hamilton, to 
protect the mining region. Atkinson and his regulars having 
retired to Lake Koshkonong, erected temporary fortifications 
on the Bark River, not far from the site of the present village 
of Fort Atkinson. 

While at Fort Winnebago, the officers ascertained from 
Pierre Poquette, a well-known half-breed scout and trader, the 
true location of Black Hawk's camp. Henry and Dodge at 


once resolved to return to Atkinson by this route, and engage 
the chief in battle, if possible. Gen. Alexander's men refused 
to join in the expedition, returning by the most direct route, 
and the officers named proceeded without them, having an 
aggregate force of about seven hundred and fifty men. Poqu- 
ette and a dozen Winnebagos acted as guides. On July i8, 
arriving at the spot where they had expected to find the 
enemy, no Sacs were to be seen. The Indians of the village 
declared that they had gone to Cranberry, now Horicon, Lake, 
about a half-day's march up the river. Atkinson's camp was 
thirty-five miles distant, and adjutants Merriam and W. W. 
Woodbridge were dispatched thither Avith information to the 
commander. After proceeding a few miles on their way, they 
discovered a broad, fresh trail leading westward. 

When Gen. Henry learned that Black Hawk and his followers 
had turned their faces toward the Mississippi, and perceived that 
they were actually in flight, the enthusiasm of his command was 
unbounded. The pursuit was begun without delay, and pushed 
with the utmost energy. Wading through swamps and some- 
times through water up to their armpits, the volunteers hurried 
forward, cheered by information, gathered from hungry and 
footsore Winnebago deserters, that the enemy was but a few 
miles in advance. Exhausted horses had been abandoned, and 
camp equipage and other incumbrances cast aside, while along 
the trail were seen Indian kettles, blankets and other parapher- 
nalia, hastily thrown away to insure greater speed. Marching 
across the site of Madison, the present capital of Wisconsin, 
about three o'clock in the afternoon of July 21, the Indian rear 
guard under Neapope was overtaken and skirmishing began 
and continued until the bluff of the Wisconsin River was 
reached. Neapope had with him about twenty warriors, but 
an hour later these were reenforced by a like number under the 
Hawk — who determined to make a bold stand, and cover 
the retreat of the main body — himself seated on a white 
pony directing the battle. There was some hot firing, with 
about equal loss on both sides, when the Sacs made a charge, 
which was repulsed with loss, by the troops under Cols. Fry 
and Jones. The Indians now fell back into the tall grass, and 
kept up the firing unseen, for some time until Dodge, Ewing, 


and Jones drove them with the bayonet to some rising ground, 
where was encountered a fresh band of savages. Here another 
charge compelled their retreat down the bluffs where they joined 
the non-combatants, now engaged in crossing the river. 

Thus ended the battle of Wisconsin Heights, in which the 
loss of the Indians, though variously stated at the time to 
have been from forty to sixty-eight, was really, as reported by 
Black Hawk, only six killed, while that of the whites was one 
man killed and eight wounded. 

That night the Indians placed upon a raft and in canoes a 
large number of their women, children, and old men, and 
sent them down the river, believing that the regular troops 
at Fort Crawford, which guarded the mouth of the Wis- 
consin, would permit them to cross the Mississippi at that 
point. Learning of their approach, Indian agent Street dis- 
patched Lieut. Ritner with a few regulars to intercept them. 
Mercilessly were his orders obeyed. A fire from the troops 
killed fifteen, while thirty-two women and children and four 
men were made prisoners. About fifty were drowned, and of 
those who fled into the woods not more than a dozen escaped 
death through exposure and starvation, or massacre by a band 
of Menominee allies under Col. Samuel C. Stambaugh and a 
few white officers. Truly it was a glorious achievement ! 

On the next morning the victorious army of the Wisconsin 
Heights discovered that the entire force of the enemy had 
escaped. The soldiers remained on the field all day, sleeping 
on their arms during the following night, and on the 23d 
started for the Blue Mounds to join Gen. Atkinson. 

On July 28, a junction of all the troops, regulars and volun- 
teers, was effected at Helena, a deserted village on the Wiscon- 
sin River. The logs of the cabins were converted into rafts on 
which the army crossed the river. As the trail of the savages 
was followed across steep, wooded hills, marshy ravines, and 
swollen streams, evidences of the sufferings of the fugitives 
multiplied. Trees were found stripped of their bark which had 
been devoured by the famished wretches, together with the meat 
cut from the carcasses of their dead ponies, while here and there 
along the march was found the lifeless body of a brave who 
had literally fallen from starvation. 


But Black Hawk reached the Mississippi in advance of his 
pursuers, at a point forty miles from the Wisconsin River, at 
the mouth of an insignificant stream known as the Bad Axe. 
Very few canoes were obtainable and the work of ferrying the 
half-starved remnant of his depleted band was a tedious and 
difficult task. Suddenly, the military transport Warrior ap- 
peared on the scene, as she was returning, from an expedition 
undertaken to warn the Sioux of the approach of the Sacs. 
Fifteen regulars and six volunteers were aboard, under I^ieuts. 
Holmes and Kingsbury, Black Hawk displayed a white flag, 
evidenced his readiness to surrender, and asked that a boat be 
sent ashore. The officer was fearful of an ambush and replied 
that the chief must come aboard the steamer. The latter 
attempted to explain that this was impossible on account of 
the want of a canoe. At once three deadly volleys of canister 
were discharged from the steamer, causing no little havoc 
among the few Indians on the shore. An exchange of firing 
followed, resulting in the killing of one white man and twenty- 
three Indians. Having accomplished this gallant feat, the 
Warrior, which needed fuel, returned to Prairie du Chien. 
After the departure of the steamer, the work of ferriage was 
resumed and a few more canoe loads transported across the 
river. But here Black Hawk, seeing that further resistance 
was entirely hopeless, during the night, in company with the 
Prophet and a party of squaws and children, deserted the 
remainder of the tribe and fled, precipitately, to the east, where 
some Winnebagos offered to hide him. 

On the morning of August 2, the troops under Gen. Henry, 
forming the left wing of the army, came upon the Indians yet 
remaining at the mouth of the Bad Axe and began the attack. 
Atkinson soon arrived with the main army, and for three hours 
was witnessed a scene of carnage as appalling as it was revolt- 
ing. No mercy was shown — only the bleaching bones of mas- 
sacred whites were remembered. Bayonet charges drove the 
frightened, feeble Indians into the tops of trees and into the 
river. Sharpshooters picked ofi", with unerring aim, warriors, 
women, and children alike. The troops on the Warrior re- 
turned and nobly sustained their record of the previous day 
hy pouring canister into the mob of fleeing savages. Yet the 


Indian braves, with a heroism worthy of stoic philosophers, 
perished like warriors with their faces toward the foe. The 
conflict against odds so overwhelming was virtually one of 
useless resistance on the one hand and of wanton extermina- 
tion on the other. Twenty whites were killed and twelve 
wounded, while of the Indians one hundred and fifty were 
killed outright, and about the same number drowned. As 
the "battle" neared its close, the venerable chief of the 
hostile Sacs, who heard the firing, and whose heart smote 
him on account of his desertion of his followers, returned. He 
was in time to witness the completion of the ruin which he was 
powerless to avert. With a yell, in which he voiced the rage 
and disappointment which he could not conceal, he once more 
fled back into the trackless wilderness. 

Some forty prisoners were taken, nearly all women, and 
about three hundred, in all, escaped to the west bank of the 
Mississippi. Most of the latter were non-combatants; all of 
them were helpless from hunger and exhaustion; and not a few 
suffering from undressed wounds. They were now, however, 
where they had been repeatedly ordered to go, and doubtless 
they fancied themselves secure from further molestation. 
But with a vindictiveness and cruelty unworthy of civilized 
warfare. Gen. Atkinson had instructed a band of one hundred 
Sioux, under Wabasha, to attack them, and nearly one-half of 
this wretched remnant were ruthlessly slain. Of the remainder 
many more perished before they reached the homes of Keokuk, 
and the others of their tribe who had refused to follow Black 

On August 15, the volunteers were mustered out at Dixon, 
having been disbanded by Gen. Winfield Scott, who had by 
that date arrived at Prairie du Chien and assumed command. 
His tardy appearance on the scene was due to the ravages of 
cholera among his troops at Detroit, Chicago, and Rock Island, 
About 250 regulars perished through this scourge, and about 
an equal number of troops and settlers were killed in skirmishes 
and Indian massacres. The pecuniary cost of the struggle was 
about $2,000,000. And thus ended the Black - Hawk War, 
which was brought on by the interference of the State authori- 
ties, with those of the United States, upon the false pretenses 


and clamorous demands of a few interloping squatters, who 
were themselves in the wrong. But for this interference, the 
whole difficulty with the Sac chief might have been settled by 
the payment of a few thousand dollars, and his peaceable 
transfer to the west side of the Mississippi River effected. 

Black Hawk gave himself up to the Winnebagos, who surren- 
dered him to Indian-agent Street on August 27. On September 
21, the formal treaty of peace was signed. Black Hawk, Nea- 
pope, and the Prophet, who had certainly forfeited his claim 
to seership, were detained as hostages, and imprisoned at 
Fortress Monroe, from April, 1833, until June 4. The distin- 
guished guests of the Nation were then taken on a tour of 
inspection through the principal eastern cities. On August i, 
they were returned to Fort Armstrong, where Black Hawk was 
formally made the ward of Keokuk. This committal, the aged 
Sac regarded as the crowning indignity which had been heaped 
upon his whitened head. For five years his proud spirit chafed, 
until October 3, 1838, at the age of seventy-one, he bade a final 
adieu to a world in which he had found only disappointment 
for his most cherished schemes. A reservation had been set 
apart for him in Davis County, Iowa, and here he died. It is 
said that within nine months his skeleton was stolen and sold. 
After what, in the case of a living man, might be termed 
various mishaps, it finally adorned the walls of the rooms of 
the Burlington (Iowa) Historical Society, where in 1855, it was 
destroyed by fire.* 

* The following authorities have been consulted in writing the foregoing chapter: 
"Life of Black Hawk," by Benj. Drake; "History of the Black-Hawk War," by 
John A. Wakefield; "Life of Black Hawk," dictated by himself; Reynolds' "My 
Own Times"; Ford's "History of Illinois"; "The Sauks and the Black-Hawk War;" 
by Perry A. Armstrong; "The Black-Hawk War, " by Reuben G. Thwaites, in Vol. 
V, "Magazine of Western History." 


Elections — Eighth General Assembly — Receipts and Ex- 
penditures — Commercial Progress — Social Changes. 

THE Black-Hawk War made the political fortune of a large 
number of aspiring statesmen. Although it did not 
close in time for many of them to participate personally in the 
election held on the first Monday in August (6), they were 
represented by their friends, and met with but little difficulty 
in securing the positions sought. 

Charles Slade, Zadoc Casey, and Joseph Duncan, all of them 
pronounced Jackson men, were elected to congress from the 
first, second, and third (new) districts respectively. 

The eighth general assembly convened Dec. 3, 1832. The 
senate, numbering twenty-six, was divided about equally be- 
tween old and new members. Among the former were Wm. B. 
Archer, Joseph Conway, James Evans, Elijah lies, Adam W. 
Snyder, and Conrad Will; among the latter were Wm. H. David- 
son, Henry I. Mills, James M. Strode, and Archibald Williams. 
Wm. L. D. Ewing, Thomas Mather, George Forquer, and Thos. 
Rattan had been transferred from the lower to the upper 
house The house of representatives was composed almost 
entirely of new members. Peter Cartwright, Michael Jones, 
formerly of the senate, Edmund D. Taylor, James A. and John 
D. Whiteside, were among the old ones; and John Dougherty, 
Cyrus Edwards, Gurdon S. Hubbard, Benjamin Mills, Wm. A. 
Minshall, James Semple, John Todd Stuart, and Murray Mc- 
Connell — all of them wearing laurels won in the late war — were 
among the new. 

Alexander M. Jenkins was elected speaker of the house, and 
David Prickett reelected clerk. Jesse B. Thomas, jr., was 
chosen secretary of the senate, and Wm. Weatherford, sergeant- 

The governor, in his message to the legislature, after congrat- 
ulating the people on the satisfactory termination of the late 
war, made the following recommendations: i. The establishment 



of a system of common schools; 2. The improvement of the 
Chicago harbor — "that it be made a good one"; 3. The connec- 
tion of the waters of the Illinois River with Lake Michigan, 
either by a railroad or canal, his own preference being in favor 
of the former. He closed with a strong appeal to support the 
president in his controversy with South Carolina — in favor of 
the union of the states "as the pride and support of every 
American," and denouncing the "dangerous doctrine of nullifi- 

The first general acts of incorporation were passed at this 
session, providing for the organization of towns, and public 
libraries. The subject of building railroads, also, for the first 
time received attention, among the routes proposed being one 
from Lake Michigan to the Illinois River, instead of the canal; 
one across the centre of the State through Springfield, and 
anticipating the Illinois-Central, one from Peru to Cairo. 
Several charters authorizing the incorporation of railroad com- 
panies were granted, but no organizations under them were 
ever perfected. It is a significant fact, however, that the atten- 
tion of the people of Illinois was thus early directed to the 
adoption of this improved, but yet tentative, method of trans- 

The distinguishing feature of this general assembly, however, 
was the impeachment of Theophilus W. Smith, one of the 
justices of the supreme court. Five distinct charges were 
preferred against him by the house, involving oppressive con- 
duct, corruption, and other misdemeanors. The senate resolved 
itself into a high court of impeachment, and the proceedings 
were characterized "by great decorum and solemnity." The 
managers, on the part of the house, were Benjamin Mills, John 
T. Stuart, James Semple, Murray McConnell, and John Dough- 
erty; the accused was defended by Sidney Breese, Richard M. 
Young, and Thomas Ford. The trial lasted from January 9 to 
Feb. 7, 1833. The specifications were: selling a circuit-clerk's 
office; swearing out vexatious writs, returnable before himself, 
for the purpose of oppressing innocent men by holding them 
to bail; imprisoning a Quaker for not taking ofT his hat in 
court; and suspending a lawyer from practice because he 
had advised his client to apply for a change of venue from 
his circuit. 


The trial was conducted with marked abiUty on both sides. 
The speech of Mr. Mills, especially, which occupied three days 
in its delivery, was pronounced unsurpassed for its finished 
and scholarly eloquence — brilliant passages from which — gems 
of thought — were for a long time after quoted upon the streets 
of Vandalia."^ 

The protracted trial resulted in a negative acquittal of the 
accused — that is, twelve senators concurred in believing him 
guilty of some of the specifications, ten were in favor of an 
acquittal, while four were excused from voting, it requiring two- 
thirds to convict. 

The prosecution having failed, the house of representatives 
adopted a resolution for the removal of the judge by address, 
but in this also the senate refused to concur. And thus ended 
the first and last impeachment trial in this State. 

The first law providing for a mechanics' lien was passed at 
this session; also that concerning the "right of way" for "public 
roads, canals, or other public works." 

The general assembly adjourned March 2. 

The receipts and expenditures during Gov. Reynold's admin- 
istration, are shown in the annexed table.-f* 

* Gillespie's Recollections, in "Fergus' Historical Series," No. 13. 

Benjamin Mills enjoyed the reputation of being one of the most able lawyers and 
polished orators in the State at this time. His father was an eminent Presbyterian 
minister in Massachusetts, from whence the son immigrated to Illinois in 1S19, 
locating first at Greenville, and later at Galena. The celebrated Felix Grundy, who 
was pitted against him in a noted murder case, said that it was inhuman to employ 
a man of such transcendent ability in the prosecution — that it was not giving the 
accused a fair chance. He was witty and as a conversationalist was the very life and 
soul of convivial gatherings. As a specimen of his ready humor, it was told of him 
that having joined a temperance society and being found soon after in a grocery 
drinking out of a wineglass, instead of a tumbler, a friend said to him "Mills, I 
thought you had quit drinking?" "So I have," said he, holding up the wineglass, 
" in a great measure. " 

He ran for congress, as a whig, against Wm. L. May in 1834, but was unsuccess- 
ful. He was said to bear a striking resemblance to the great Irish orator Curran. 
He died in 1835. 

+ Receipts during 183 1-2, ordinary revenue .... $88, 2 18 

From sales of Vandalia lots -.-... 2,316 

From sales of saline lands - - - - • - - 5,312 

From sales by sheriffs -.-....- 6,783 

From sales of seminary lands ....... 40x3 

Ordinary expenditures ..... $77,979 


Before the expiration of Gov. Reynolds' term, he decided to 
become a candidate for congress. He had already filled the 
highest offices in both the executive and judicial departments 
of the State government, and now again became possessed by 
an ambition to sit in the national councils at Washington. His 
principal opponent was Col. Adam Wilson Snyder, who was a 
member of the legislature, an able and popular lawyer, and who 
had brought home with him from the war the scars of battle. 
He was a fine speaker, of an ardent temperament, and ambitious. 
Col. Edward Humphries was also a candidate; but the superior 
tactics of the governor secured him the victory. He was also 
elected to fill the unexpired term of Charles Slade, who had 
recently died of cholera. 

At the next general election, the ex-governor being too 
busily engaged in congress to make a personal canvass, Snyder 
again became a candidate, and secured the prize. 

Reynolds and Snyder both resided in Belleville, both were 
democrats, and rivals for popular favor. Being generally aspir- 
ants for the same place, they were very much in each other's 
way; an antagonism which continued for many years.* 

The complete statement for 1833-4 is as follows: 

Receipts from ordinary revenue $76,864 

From sales of Vandalia lots, canal, and seminary lands - - 5,708 

From sale of saline lands - 14,833 

School fund received 32,088 

State-bank paper funded 3j790 

From James Hall 571 

From debts due state bank ........ 6,895 

Redemption money 878 


Cash on hand Nov. 30, 1832 5,447 


Paid for ordinary expenses general assembly, legislature, 

and executive ...... $50,748 

Special appropriations, including $6161 for the 

penitentiary ....... 24,914 

Miscellaneous 32,728 

Funded stock, redeemed .... 16,362 

Interest on $100,000, 2 years .... 15,090 

State-bank paper burned 5898 

Sundry items 1037 $146,777 

Balance in treasury $297 

* Snyder being applied to to obtain some testimony with a view to its perpetua- 


But Col, Snyder was forced in turn to give way to Reynolds^ 
who was elected to the 26th and also the 27th congress. 

In 1839, the ex-governor was appointed the financial agent 
of the State to effect a loan in England under the internal- 
improvement system. 

He closed his congressional career in 1843, ^"d in 1846 was 
again elected to the legislature, and reelected in 1852, when he 
was made speaker of the house. 

Perhaps no man better understood the people of Illinois 
from 1 8 18 to 1848 than did Gov. John Reynolds. He was a 
close observer of their needs, wishes, and tastes, and was accord- 
ingly able to adopt a policy which commanded popular support 
and approval. 

To use his own expression, there were but few offices in 
sight which he did not "go for;" and while not invariably suc- 
cessful, no public man of his day received a more generous 
support, or more acceptably served the people in a greater 
diversity of fields. He was quick to discern on which side of 
every vital issue stood the common people, to whom he ap- 
pealed and the champion of whose interests he always assumed 
to be. In his relations to other public men of his time he 
seems unconsciously to have adopted and made his own the 
suggestion offered by William Wirt to Gov. Ninian Edwards — 
that the triumph of a politician is "to convert his opposers 
into instruments for his own higher elevation." 

As a speaker he was not fluent and made no pretensions to 
oratory, yet he always managed to interest and influence large 
audiences, because he had carefully studied their pecularities 
no less than their wants and sectional predelictions. Although 
a good Greek, Latin, and French scholar, knowing the con- 
tempt of the early settlers for "book larnin'," he was careful to 
avoid anything like a parade of higher education, employing 
the homely language of the common people in conversation,^ 
and affecting an ignorance which was wholly feigned. 

tion, on being informed that Gov. Reynolds was the witness required, broke out with 
an exclamation that he never heard of such nonsense as to go to the expense and 
trouble of perpetuating his testimony. "Why, confound him, he'll nez'er die," said he, 
" I have been waiting a quarter of a century for him to kick the bucket, and his hold 
on life is stronger than it ever was. I will not make a fool of myself by seek- 
ing to perpetuate the testimony of a man who will outlive any record in existence. " 


The governor always favored the extreme measures of his 
party, including the Mexican War, the acquisition of Texas, the 
conquest of Cuba, and with regard to the Oregon boundary- 
Hne, "54° 40' or fight." While in congress he rendered himself 
particularly offensive to John Quincy Adams, who, in his diary, 
stigmatizes him as "course, vulgar, ignorant, and knavish" — a 
description by which "the old ranger" would hardly have recog- 
nized himself 

The governor had his own newspaper in Belleville and his 
own chairman of public meetings, who invariably decided in 
his favor according to previous training; and no matter how 
strongly the sense of the meeting was against him, as it some- 
times proved to be, the proceedings were invariably published 
as he wanted them to appear. He would have been the admi- 
ration, as he was the prototype — of the present ward commit- 
teeman, who so "fixes" the judges of the primaries, who on their 
part so manipulate "the returns" as that the will of the com- 
mittee is expressed, rather than that of the voters. 

Notwithstanding his emphatic denunciation of the nullifica- 
tion theories of Calhoun in 1832, in 1858, he had become 
a pronounced advocate of the doctrine of "state -rights," and 
in i860 was chosen a delegate to the Charleston convention 
as a representative of the anti-Douglas democrats. He never 
admired Judge Douglas, and would not admit that he was a 
great man, "except in small things." When the rebellion was 
imminent, he not only wrote to Gov. Smith of Virginia sus- 
taining the South, but also to Jefferson Davis, advising a resort 
to arms for the disruption of the Union.* He lived long 
enough, however — until May, 1865 — to witness the downfall of 
the confederacy, and the disappointment of his expectation 
regarding the results of rebellion. 

In the later years of his life he devoted himself to the writing 
of a "Pioneer History of Illinois" — a work of rare merit and 
interest. Although without order or arrangement, and ram- 
bling in style, it is replete with quaint observations, and most 
valuable information relating to the early settlement and history 
of the State. In his criticisms upon the character and actions 
of public men, contemporary with himself, with many of whom 
* Recollections of Joseph Gillespie, p. 21, "Fergus' Historical Series," No. 13. 


he had come in conflict, he evinces an appreciation of the worth 
of his opponents as keen as his treatment of the weaknesses 
of his friends is candid. His next Hterary effort was "John 
Kelley," and later, he wrote "A Glance at the Crystal Palace 
in New York," and "My Own Times," — all exceedingly valuable 
contributions to the literature of the State. 

Gov. Reynolds possessed a fine physique, having been in his 
youth an accomplished athlete. He had a long face, a high 
forehead, and large eyes, singularly expressive. He was soci- 
able, yet temperate, fond of gossip though kindly. If in the 
attainment of his political ambition he was selfish and grasping, 
enforcing despotic obedience among his followers, he did not 
materially depart from the example of other successful politi- 
cians of his day and age. 

Upon the resignation of the governor in November, 1834, 
on account of his election to congress, Wm. L. D. Ewing, who 
had been elected president of the senate in place of Lieut.-Gov. 
Casey, also elected to congress, succeeded to the executive 
chair — a position he held only fifteen days. 

The growth of the State from 1820 to 1835 was unexampled, 
the population having increased from 55,162 to 269,974. Of 
this extraordinary accession, 102,283 were added during the 
first decade and 112,529 during the five years between 1830 
and 1835. The nineteen counties of 1820 had been trebled, 
there being fifty-seven in 1835. During the earlier years of 
this period — from 1821 to 1823 — the influx of settlers was 
toward the "Sangamo Country," resulting in the organization of 
the counties of Montgomery, Greene, and Sangamon in 1821, 
and Morgan in 1823. In the latter year, however, the fame of 
the district known as the "military tract" became noised abroad, 
and there was a rush of immigrants in that direction. The lands 
constituting the section to which this title was applied were 
given as a bounty to the soldiers of the War of 1812, and 
extended on the fourth principal meridian from the mouth of 
the Illinois 160 miles north, the tract comprising the peninsula 
between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. Within its limits, 
in 1824-5, were created the counties of Adams, Calhoun, Han- 
cock, Schuyler, Knox, Warren, Peoria, Mercer, Henry, and 
Putnam; Pike and Fulton counties, lying in the same tract, 


had been already organized, the former in 1821 and the latter 
in 1823, while McDonough followed in 1826, On the east side 
of the Illinois River, the incoming tide of population resulted 
in the organization of Tazewell County in 1827, Macon in 1829, 
and McLean in 1830. Afterward, as the project of building a 
canal which should connect the waters of the Illinois and 
Lake Michigan began to assume tangible shape, settlers ven- 
tured still farther north, and in 1831 were formed the coun- 
ties of LaSalle, Rock Island, and Cook. Their growth was 
not a little stimulated by the favorable reports of the coun- 
try carried to the south and east by soldiers returning from 
the Black-Hawk War. The pay of the volunteers in that 
struggle, amounting to about half a million of dollars, was 
expended in paying for land already acquired and for entering 
new claims — one very material benefit, at least, derived from 
that war. 

A majority of the new settlers came from Kentucky, Vir- 
ginia, and Tennessee; but Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and 
even New England contributed their quota, many of the 
eastern immigrants settling in the towns, to whose growth they 
imparted a decided impetus. 

But the fame of the agricultural advantages offered by Illi- 
nois had spread beyond the seas, and attracted the attention of 
dwellers in foreign lands. Among the most eminent of these 
were Morris Birkbeck and George Flower, both of England. 
The latter had made a tour of the West in 18 16; the former 
was introduced to and visited by Edward Coles on the occasion 
of that gentleman's visit to London in 18 15. The impression 
made upon Mr. Birkbeck by the prospective governor was such 
that he decided to emigrate to the United States. In May, 
18 1 7, with his family he landed at Richmond, Va., where he 
was joined by Mr. Flower. Together the party of ten traveled 
by stage to Pittsburg, from which point they proceeded on 
horseback, reaching Big Prairie in Edwards County, Aug. 2, 
18 17. Each of the gentlemen entered 1500 acres of land, and 
began life anew in a strange country. As a result of the glow- 
ing accounts sent home by Mr. Birkbeck, in the form of letters 
published in England, a colony of artisans, laborers, and farm- 
ers soon set sail with a view to settling in the new Arcadia. 


Farms were purchased, the town of Albion laid out, and the 
foundation started for one of the most prosperous settlements 
ever made in the State. They brought with them a better 
knowledge of agriculture and introduced as well some stock of 
improved breeds, both of which proved of no little benefit to 
the community. And in the stormy times which were ushered 
in by the slavery conflict of 1824, these English colonists were 
prompt to array themselves on the side of freedom.'^ 

Another English colony, from Lancashire, settled in Monroe 
County in 1818; and soon after numerous families from each 
division of the United Kingdom found homes in Greene and 
Morgan counties and in other sections of the State. About 
this same period was begun the first German settlement at 
a point in St. Clair County, soon known as "Dutch Hollow," 
which formed a rallying point or centre, for the large number 
of thrifty emigrants from "the Fatherland," who soon began to 
pour into that and adjoining counties. 

Thus it came about that before the close of 1834, the centre 
of population, which for nearly a century had remained in the 
vicinity of Kaskaskia, had been removed to a point considerably 
north of Vandalia. 

With the advent of these permanent settlers, the careless 
squatter, always shiftless and sometimes dissolute, began to 
disappear. His aim seems to have been to keep always a trifle 
in advance of the tide of civilization, which carried him forward 
as does the sea the driftwood that floats upon its waves. He 
chafed under the restraints of organized society, and preferred 
the wildwoods, with the companionship of his dog and gun, to 
the more staid ways of a settlement. Accordingly, when 
"neighbors" came so near that he could hear the crack of their 
rifles, he hastily accepted the first offer made him for his little 
patch of corn and beans, and followed the receding red man 
toward the setting sun. 

But the fascinations of the chase were felt by his successors 

* Most interesting is George Flower's local " History of the English Settlement 
in Edwards County," with notes by Hon. E. B. Washburne (No. i of the Chicago 
Historical Society Collections). It is filled with valuable information and abounds 
in romantic incidents described in a graphic and fascinating style. The story of the 
rivalry of Morris Birkbeck and the author for the hand of one of the ladies of their 
pioneer party, and their subsequent estrangement, is of enthralling nterest. 


as well. Grouse, wild turkeys, deer, and even bears were abun- 
dant, not only in the woods but even on the farms; and for 
many years it was no rare luck for a pioneer to bring down an 
elk or buffalo. Salted bear meat formed no insignificant item 
of the winter's supplies, and sometimes a hunting party would 
return with the carcasses of as many as thirty or forty of these 
carnivorous pests. Of venison, there was no lack — a single 
sportsman sometimes shooting half a dozen deer in a day, 
besides bringing in a bag well filled with smaller game. Such 
a redundancy of sport at first resulted in a rivalry between the 
chase and the farm. But as years went by, and game became 
less plentiful, and the fields and orchards larger and better 
improved, settlers began to see that their best interests lay in 
the cultivation of their farms, and hunting became a pastime 
rather than a vocation. 

Immigrants from beyond the Alleghanies, until better facili- 
ties were offered by canals and railroads, traveled on horseback, 
by wagons and stage to Pittsburg, thence usually in flat-boats 
down the Ohio River to Shawneetown, at which point land- 
carriage was resumed, although the procuring of transportation 
thence was attended with great difficulties. The stage fare 
was six cents a mile. Occasionally the entire journey was 
^made by land, the better class of settlers traveling in their 
.own carriages or covered wagons, drawn by two or four horses. 

A great drawback to emigration and commerce in these 
early times was the want of good roads. A great deal of 
costly work, under the patronage of congress, had been done 
up to 1835 upon the National Road, extending in Illinois from 
opposite Terre Haute to Vandalia; but aside from this, while 
a number of state roads were established connecting the prin- 
cipal towns — which were used for mail and stage-routes — that 
from Springfield to Chicago in 1826, and from the latter place 
to Decatur and Shelbyville in 1832 — but little labor or money 
was expended upon them, none of the smaller and only a few 
of the larger streams being bridged. 

Houses on the roads being ten to twenty miles apart, way- 
farers would sometimes lose their way, or being caught in a 
storm, would have to camp out until they could ford swollen 

* On one occasion, Judges Wilson and Lockwood, and Henry Eddy, in going on 


The first steamboat to ascend the Mississippi above Cairo, 
was the General Pike, which reached St. Louis Aug. 2, 18 17; 
and the second, the Constitutio)i, two months thereafter. But 
at first the service was irregular, and the accommodations found 
but little favor with the traveling public. The time made was 
from six to eight miles an hour up stream, and ten to twelve 
down. But improvements in machinery and in the construction 
of boats soon began to work a great revolution in this mode 
of transportation, which by 1825 and 1830, had come to be 
generally adopted when available. The first steamboat began 
to ply upon the Illinois River in 1826. The opening of the Ohio 
Canal from Cleveland to Portsmouth, and the railroad and 
canal from Philadelphia to Pittsburg, in connection with the 
improved navigation of western rivers by steamboats, offered 
such increased facilities to travel as greatly to stimulate immi- 
gration and trade. 

The arrival of a family at their new home was often provo- 
cative of great disappointment. To the masculine head, with 
heart of oak and muscles of steel, already rejoicing in the pros- 
pect of drawing from the unbroken soil its treasures of golden 
grain, the situation was not so discouraging. But upon the 
wife, who had been, perhaps, educated and brought up in 
luxury, the entering upon a new life, without any of its com- 
forts, deprived of ail its higher enjoyments, and the society of 
neighbors and friends, entailed a sacrifice which taxed her 
courage and fortitude to the utmost.* 

horseback from Carmi to Vandalia — a distance of sixty miles — were overtaken by 
a storm of wind, sleet, and snow, and after traveling all day, became so fatigued 
that they were unable to proceed farther. Tying their horses, they spread a blan- 
ket on the ground near a fallen tree, and squatted down close together, Lockwood in 
the middle, and thus spent the dismal night. Proceeding in the morning, half-frozen, 
they reached the Kaskaskia River opposite Vandalia about noon, and found its banks 
full to overflowing. There was no alternative, and in they plunged and swam over, 
riding into town about "used up". Lockwood, who had long been in delicate health, 
as a consequence of the exposures of the trip resigned himself to a certain and speedy 
demise, but, strange to relate, from that very time he enjoyed better health than he 
had for many years previously. — Flower's "English Settlement, " p. 28. 

* An interesting anecdote is told of the advent from New York of Henry, father 
of United-States Senator Charles Benjamin Farwell, with his family, at his farm in 
Ogle County. The party arrived at the dilapidated log-house surrounded by a crazy- 
worm fence and presenting a general air of desolation in the evening. The outlook 
was so forbidding and the prospect of ever making his family comfortable was so slim, 


From what has been said regarding the variety of sources 
from which came these early settlers, it is easy to comprehend 
the inharmonious character which for a time was a distinguish- 
ing mark of the people of the State. They were of all pro- 
fessions, trades, and callings; and came from localities where 
they had acquired habits of life and business methods varying 
almost as widely as did their respective idiosyncrasies of men- 
tal and moral constitution. At first, the result of thus bringing 
together elements so divergent was to induce a clash. The old 
settlers looked with distrust upon the new-comers, at many of 
whose methods they were disposed to sneer as "new-fangled 
inventions," which they were slow to recognize as improvements 
upon their own more primitive ways. In consequence, verbal 
collisions were not infrequent, the thoughts and ideas of one 
side being vehemently contested by the other. Especially were 
such wordy battles common between settlers from the South 
and immigrants from New England and New York, to both of 
whom, was applied the then opprobrious epithet of "Yankees." 

Looking back at the situation from the more clearly illu- 
mined standpoint of the present, the student of history is able 
to discern not only the operative causes then at work, but 
also the definite results which have become manifest in later 
years. It was the soil of the northwest, of which Illinois formed 
an integral part, that witnessed, virtually for the first time, the 
union of the descendants of those first colonists, so diverse in 
aims and religious faith, who landed respectively at Jamestown 
and Plymouth Rock, two hundred years before. In other words, 
the progeny of the Roundhead and the Cavalier here met upon 
common ground. In habits of thought, as in religion, they 
were still apart. The Eastern immigrants — most of whom 
were merchants or mechanics — gravitated toward the towns, a 
few only at first entering claims for farm-lands. In most 

that the father decided in his own mind to go back and not subject his wife and 
children to the apparently hopeless task of ever attaining a fair proportion of the en- 
joyments of life in such a place. After supper he advised his family of the conclu- 
sion he had reached, but said he would leave it to them to decide. Some of the 
boys discouiaged at the outlook, voted with the father, others on the other side, so 
that the wife had the casting-vote. She remarked, "Well, it's left to me, is it?" 
They all replied, "Yes, you must decide." "Well," she said, "we shall stay right 
here and work it out; I have no fears of the result." 


essential points, the "Yankee" was the reverse of his neighbor 
from the South — the former was temperate, industrious, shrewd, 
close-fisted, ingenious, and self-contained; the latter was inclined 
to be "easy-going," was hospitable, dignified, frank, sociable, 
sensitive, and jealous of his rights. These differences in char- 
acteristics tended to strengthen prejudice and induce friction — 
a tendency which the sharp trading of the "Yankee clock- 
peddler" in no wise diminished. Ebullitions of temper on 
either side were common and hard words were freely inter- 
changed. The following story, illustrative of this feeling is 
told by Judge Gillespie. An old "hardshell" Baptist preacher. 
Father Biggs by name, holding forth on one occasion on the 
richness and universality of God's grace said, "It tuk in the 
isles of the sea, and the uttermost parts of the yeth. It 
embraces the Esquimaux, and the Hotentots, and some, my 
dear brethering, go so far as to suppose that it takes in the poor 
benighted Yankees, but I doiit go that fur!' The same divine 
accounted for the word "sprinkle" being in the Bible by con- 
tending "that it was an infernal Yankee trick." One of the 
objections seriously urged in the southern part of the State 
against the construction of the canal was, that it would be the 
means of flooding the State with Yankees. 

Together with merchants, lawyers, physicians, came also the 
editor, the school-teacher, the singing-master, and the mission- 
ary, not ignoring the Methodist circuit rider, each of whom 
wielded a distinctive but no less potent influence in shaping 
the progress of society. 

The first newspaper printed in the State was published at 
Kaskaskia, and called the Illinois Herald, Matthew Duncan 
being its proprietor. Its name was changed to the Illinois 
Intelligencer in 1817, at which time it was owned by Black- 
well and Berry, state printers, who, in 1820, removed their 
establishment to Vandalia. 

Other early newspapers printed in the State, in their order, 
were the Illinois Emigrant, published by Henry Eddy and 
Singleton H. Kimmel, at Shawneetown in 18 18, the name of 
which was changed to that of the Illinois Gazette va. 1824; the 
Edwardsville Spectator, by Hooper Warren in 18 19; the Star 
of the West, at the same place in 1822, changed to the Illinois 


Republican in 1823; the Republican Advocate at Kaskaskia in 
1823, by R. K. Fleming; the Illinois Journal at Galena, by 
James Jones, in 1826; the Sangamo Spectator at Springfield, 
the same year by Hooper Warren; the Illinois Corrector at 
Edwardsville, in 1828; the Galena Advertiser, by Newell, Philleo 
& Co., in 1829; the Alton Spectator, in 1830, by Edward Breath; 
the Telegraph, at the same place, by Parks & Treadway, after- 
ward controlled by John Bailhache — and a still leading paper 
in Madison County; the Sangamo Journal, now the State 
Journal, in 1831, by Simeon Francis, which he conducted until 
1855, the publication of which has been uninterruptedly con- 
tinued until the present time; and the Chicago Denocrat, by 
John Calhoun, at Chicago in 1833. 

Other papers, at the new county-seats, soon followed. While 
these newspapers, all of them published weekly, were in many 
instances ably conducted — notably the Illinoisan at Jackson- 
ville, whose editorials on leading subjects would attract atten- 
tion in the most influential journals of the present day — it 
must be admitted that great improvements have taken place 
in their "make-up" and management. The most of them con- 
taining principally extracts from Eastern papers, very little local 
news, and single, heavy editorial " leaders," were exceedingly 
dry reading. 

Of the early writers and authors of Illinois Judge James 
Hall has already been mentioned. In addition to his labors 
as a missionary. Rev. J. M. Peck also wielded the pen with 
great ability and effect. He was the author of "A Guide 
for Emigrants," "A Gazetteer of Illinois," and, in connection 
with Rev. James H. Perkins, the "Annals of the West," in all 
of which were clearly set forth important facts, whose publica- 
tion tended to promote the settlement and improvement of the 

Perhaps the most graceful and scholarly writer of this period 
in the Prairie State was Prof John Russell, of Blufifdale in 
Greene County, a native of Vermont. His contributions to 
the newspapers and periodicals of the day were frequent and 
called forth encomiums from the Eastern press and even at- 
tracted attention in Europe. 

* Mr. Peck was also the author of "Life of Rev. John Turner," the "Indian 
Captive," and the "Life of Rev. John Clark." 


Another element which at this time entered largely into the 
moulding and formative processes of society, and the elevation 
of the people was the establishment of higher schools, or 
seminaries and colleges. The first of these was the theological 
seminary and high-school at Rock Springs, in 1827, in the 
founding of which the indefatigable Peck was the moving spirit. 
In 1 83 1, the institution was transferred to Upper Alton and 
reorganized into what has since been known as ShurtLeff 

The Lebanon Seminary, under care of the conference of the 
Methodist-Episcopal Church, was established in 1828, and in 
1830, it was given the name of McKendree College, which it 
still bears. 

A seminary of learning under the auspices of Rev. John 
Ellis, a Presbyterian missionary, was established at Jacksonville 
in 1829, and subsequently, through the efforts of an association 
of theological students of Yale College, was redrganized into 
Illinois College in 1832. 

The legislature for many years refused to pass acts of incor- 
poration for colleges with anything like liberal provisions, 
insisting upon the insertion of restrictive clauses in regard to 
the teaching of theology; but in 1835 a combination of the 
friends of the institutions above named succeeded in securmg 
the passage of a satisfactory "omnibus bill," providing for their 

No estimate of the forces which guide and shape the prog- 
ress of society in a State, would be complete which failed to 
include the influence of religion. 

In territorial days there were but few meeting-houses, and 
preaching services were at long intervals. Sunday was not 
observed with much strictness. The sermon, at some neigh- 
bor's house or adjacent grove, being over, the afternoon was 
often devoted to games and races, the preacher frequently act- 
ing as judge of the respective events. One of these pioneer 
clergy is said to have given notice on one occasion, that he 
would preach at the same place the following Sunday, unless 
it should happen to be a good day for hunting bees. 

The style of preaching was of the long, loud, declamatory 
sort, in which the speaker gradually worked himself up into a 


kind of frenzy, when he would fairly foam at the mouth, and 
■cease only when exhausted nature could hold out no longer. 
The singing was after the same pattern, both ear and throat 
splitting. He that could wake the echoes from the greatest 
distance was the best singer. 

When Rev. J. M. Peck, the first protestant "missionary," came 
west in 1817, the prevailing denominations were Baptists and 
Methodists. The Baptists, while entertaining Calvinistic views 
on many cardinal points, listened to the teachings of the East- 
ern propagandist on the subject of temperance, foreign and 
domestic missions, Sunday-schools, an educated ministry, and 
Bible societies, with great disfavor, and which they regarded 
as innovations upon their ancient faith and customs. The 
result was a schism, and the division of that Church into 
"regular" and Missionary Baptists. The former continued to 
confine their ministrations to the country, as they do at the 
present time, while the latter generally erected their houses of 
worship in the towns. 

The Methodists as a body, were the pioneers in all effective 
religious movements. And if the great John Wesley had lived 
a hundred years later, the added experience thus acquired 
would not have enabled him to devise a system of religion 
better adapted to the wants of the people in the Western 
States at this period. Wherever a new log-cabin was erected, 
with the first smoke rising from its mud-plastered chimney of 
sticks, and floating away among the tree tops, was to be seen 
the never-failing circuit-rider, dressed in a single-breasted cloth 
coat, and white hat, mounted on his stout horse, his wardrobe 
and library carried in his saddle-bags. Courageous, industri- 
ous, and enthusiastic in his calling, he was earnest, thorough 
going, and untiring in his efforts to give a free gospel to the 
poor. He was a cross between the old "regular" Baptists, and 
the missionary from New England; while conforming to the 
popular style of preaching and hearty western manners, he was 
at the same time progressive, and quick to recognize the advan- 
tages of a higher education. 

These men believed in all sincerity what they preached, and 
preached what they believed with inspiring fervor. Their mode 
of life, affording as it did continual opportunities for reflection 



and self-communion, enabled them the better to cultivate the 
gift of oratory, which not a few of them possessed in a high 
degree. The class- meeting unloosened the tongues of both 
men and women to speak of their progress in the divine life, 
and of their encouragements and hindrances by the way. It 
was to this agency, in connection with its system of itinerac}' 
that this denomination owed its extraordinary growth and 
leading position.'^ 

This was the hey-day of camp-meetings. They originated 
with the Presbyterians in Kentucky in 1800, but their advan- 
tages were quickly perceived by the Methodists who made them 
an "institution" peculiarly their own. The scenes at these meet- 
ings, where thousands of people frequently congregated, were as 
exciting as they were grotesque. At times, under the preaching 

* One of the most conspicuous of these early itinerants was Rev. Peter Cartwright 
who came to the State from Kentucky in 1S23, and settled in Sangamon County, 
where he resided until hi.^ death. For forty years he was in the front of the work 
of church extension. His district at first extended from Kaskaskia to Galena, and 
was so large that he was never able to go over it in any one year. He was of power- 
ful frame, and possessed a strong intellect, not very highly cultivated, however, in the 
learning of the schools. He was a ready speaker, logical, witty, fearless — even bel- 
ligerent. He was afraid, indeed, of neither man nor the devil, and was as ready 
with his strong right ai'm to subdue a refractory member of his flock, or disturber of 
his congregation, as he was with his tongue to contend with and silence a dissenter 
from his branch of the church. 

He was .. consistent defender of the faith on all occasions; whether in requesting 
Gov Edwards to ask a blessing at a dinner-party upon seeing that he was going to 
dispense with that ceremony; or in forcibly evicting the termagant wife of a brother 
preacher from her own door, outside of vv'hich she was kept until she begged to be 
let in, because -he persisted in objecting to family worship. 

Upon one occasion in Nashville, as he was al^out commencing his sermon, a tall, 
graceful gentleman came in, who, it was whispered to him by a brother in the pulpit, 
was the celebrated Andrew Jackson. Feeling indignant at the toadyism which 
prompted the interruption he at once spoke up "Who is Gen. Jackson? If he don't 
get his soul converted, God will damn him as quick as he would a Guinea nigger!" 

He was an object of great interest at the general conferences in New York, where 
on one occasion he created no little astonishmsnt at the hotel at which he was stop- 
ping, by asking the clerk for an ax, with which he said, he proposed to " blaze his 
way" up six pair of stairs, so that he could find his way out. 

He also ventured into the field of politics, having been twice elected to the legis- 
lature (1828-1832). Here, however, he was out of his element, and cut but a poor 
figure. He was also induced to become the democratic candidate for congress 
against Abraham Lincoln in 1846, and failed of election by a large majority. 

In 1856, he published his autobiography, containing a very graphic account of his 
adventures and experiences. 


of some "powerful" revivalist, hundreds would be "struck down 
under a conviction of sin," and the entire camp become a scene 
of mingled groaning, praying, and shouting. Some would be 
seized with a paroxysm of spasmodic jerkings, others would 
spring up and dance until they were exhausted — all of which 
bodily exercises were claimed to be the supernatural workings 
of the Holy Spirit. Then again the commotion would take the 
direction of song, when the volume of sound swelling upon the 
unconfined breeze, might be heard for miles around. The 
camp-meeting still exists, but its weird and extragavant scenes 
have become but a memory of the past. 

Before 1825, several new Catholic parishes, in addition to 
those at Kaskaskia and Cahokia, had been established, while 
the Cumberland Presbyterians and Episcopalians had also found 
a foothold in several counties. By 1830, influential Presbyterian 
churches had been organized in the counties of St. Clair, Madi- 
son, Bond, and Fayette. 

With the tide of immigration which set in after 1832, came 
in increasing numbers the missionaries from New England. 
They were generally fresh from college, and had a much larger 
acquaintance with books, than with men and things. Their 
methods were not popular with Western people, who approved 
neither their precise manners, their correct mode of speaking, 
their wearing fine clothes, their extreme anti-slavery senti- 
ments, nor, least of all, their persistent and ever-recurring Sun- 
day collections. The people were accustomed to an animated, 
even boisterous style of preaching, and craved spiritual excite- 
ment. They believed in a demonstrative religion, induced by 
the stirring of the feelings to their very depths; and were but 
little interested in, or affected by, a sermon read from manu- 
script, in a low tone of voice. Still these devoted missionaries 
persevered, under great difficulties, and even hardships at times, 
in the establishment of churches — chiefly Presbyterian — in 
organizing Sunday-schools and Bible societies, and in securing 
funds for the building of houses of worship. Under their min- 
istrations, families no longer sat apart — the males on one side 
of the church and the females on the other, but were grouped 
together on one seat. 

The most striking result of their labors, however, was seen in 


the prominence given to an intellectual over an emotional relig- 
ion. They sought to replace mere excitement by a sober 
conviction of duty, and it is not too much to say that the 
faith of their congregations was strengthened through the 
elevation of their minds to a higher plane of thought. While 
these missionaries were generally under the thorough influence 
of their creeds, they were self-denying and steadfast in their 
labors. And although they never succeeded in making much 
impression upon the western- country people, the churches 
established by them were well-founded and have continued to 
prosper and multiply. 

By reason of the convergence of so many diverse forces 
and elements, which burst upon the young State, as it were, in 
a day, wonderful changes, transformations, and amalgamations 
took place in the habits and lives of the people. 

One of the most marked results following the establishment 
of churches from Eastern material, was the impovement in 
church music. The education of the missionary himself had 
not been neglected in this direction, and through the efforts of 
the "singing-master" whom he invited and encouraged, a radi- 
cal reform in this respect was effected. The old patent-note 
singing-books, with their tunes generally in minor keys, were 
exchanged for the better and more modern collections of Low- 
ell Mason and others; and men began to see that for the pro- 
duction of harmonic effects in the mingling of voices, something 
more was required than mere noise. With the training which 
improved methods produced, more satisfactory results were 
accomplished. Indeed, among the influences at work, in mould- 
ing the character and forming the tastes of the young people 
of that period, the education of the singing-school, which gave 
a new direction to their attention, and afforded at once instruc- 
tion and enjoyment, was not the least important. 

The impetus given to religious movements, as evidenced by 
the spread of churches and Sunday-schools which kept even 
pace with the increasing population, undoubtedly exerted a 
decidedly controlling influence upon the social no less than the 
moral well-being of the community. The people were brought 
together more frequently, and saw much more of each other 
and their new neighbors than they had theretofore. New ideas 


of dress and of manners were acquired, emulation was awa- 
kened, and industry stimulated to attain better and more 
desirable ends. The old shanty gave place to a better log- 
cabin, the coon-skin cap for one made of wool, the linsey 
hunting-shirt to a coat made of cloth, the short, striped or 
cross-barred cotton or woolen frock to more stylish gowns 
made of calico or silk, and the deerskin moccason, to shoes 
of leather. And Sunday, which had been as other days, or 
passed in strolling through the woods and fields or in visiting, 
began to be looked forward to, especially by the younger peo- 
ple, with joyful anticipations, as a day on which to adorn them- 
selves in their bright new clothes, and as an occasion for meet- 
ing their acquaintances in the neighboring chapel or school- 

And it was a fact which none could fail to observe, that in 
those communities where they had the best meeting-houses, 
where services and Sunday-schools were the most regularly 
attended, and the day-school well sustained, there was the best 
order, the most enlightened and progressive society; while in 
those neighborhoods where religion was ignored, where the Sab- 
bath brought no change, and ministers were unwelcome guests^ 
the population was uncouth, ignorant, and retrogressive — if not 

A better acquaintance resulted in the formation of closer 
relations between the old and new settlers, and the gradual 
attrition of the sharper points of difference. Each class became 
more willing to listen to and adopt important and valuable 
suggestions as to modes of living and trading. The settler 
from the East grew to be more liberal in his views, more frank 
and hearty in his demeanor, and more social in his intercourse 
with his neighbors; while the settler from the South learned 
habits of caution, industry, close farming, economy, and enter- 
prise. In fact, it came to be said that when a Kentuckian 
fairly set himself to the task of sharp trading he could put 
even a Yankee to the blush.* 

* A story is told of one of these who had impressed upon his own son the desira- 
bility of emulating in matters of business the example of his neighbors from the 
East. In the receptive mind of the youth the seed thus sown fell into fertile soil, 
and was well-cultivated. One day his father sent him to tovm. to sell a calf, and how 
well he succeeded in the transaction was thus told by a neighbor who met him 
returning home. "Well, sir," he said, "what do you think? I'll be blowed if he 


The merchant, with his large stocks of goods, groceries and 
manufactured articles, including not only what might be termed 
necessaries, but even luxuries, tempted the pioneer to add very 
greatly to his hitherto meagre supplies, and extend his rela- 
tions with trade.* 

No recital of the plastic influence at work in Illinois at this 
time would be complete, however, which failed to accord a posi- 
tion in the foreground to the lawyer. He was as ubiquitous as 
the "circuit-rider," whom he emulated in the mode and extent 
of his travels; except that the preacher went alone, while the 
lawyers went together. He followed the judge around the cir- 
cuit, and like his clerical prototype carried with him all that he 
had in the way of physical and intellectual outfit. As the 
number of circuits was multiplied, popular interest in courts of 
justice widened and deepened; the court-room was filled, not 
only with suitors, their witnessess and friends, but with a 
gaping crowd of onlookers attracted by their interest in local 
quarrels, who never tired of the exciting proceedings. 

A jury-trial of this period not only supplied the place of 
theatres, the lecture and concert room, but formed a valuable 
agency in the education of the people, as well in regard to legal 
knowledge as in the broad fundamental principles which underlie 
the framework of civil government. The wit and eloquence of 
the advocate delighted, while the dignified bearing of the judge 
impressed them. The lawyers, appreciating the fact that suc- 
cess in their forensic tilts led to professional preferments, no 
less than to political advancement — and few of them were not 
politicians — were stimulated to put forth their best efforts. 

Such at this time were the forces at work to evolve from the 
social chaos, incident to a new community, the civic order 
which characterizes that mighty aggregation of wealth, power, 
and influence which constitutes the Illinois of today. 

did'nt have a respectable pony, nine dollars in money, and the identical calf he 
started with in the morning. " 

* It often happened that the useful and improved articles brought in and purchased 
were as strange as they were new. A farmer having seen for the first time in the 
Black- Hawk War a team driven abreast in harness sent for a set, but when it 
arrived he found himself totally unable to adjust it to the horses, and had to send 
ten miles for a man who knew how to put the harness, the horses and wagon 
properly together.— "Gabriel Jones' autograph letters. Vol. 19, Chicago Historical 
Society's Collections. " 


Administration of Gov. Duncan — Ninth General Assembly 

— Election of United-States Senator— Abraham Lin- 
coln — Laws — Tenth General Assembly — Internal- 
Improvement System — Illinois -and -Michigan Canal 

— Removal of the Capital — Lincoln and Douglas — 
National Politics— Killing of Lovejoy— 1834- 1838. 

IN 1834, there were four candidates for governor, namely, 
Joseph Duncan, James Adams, William Kinney, for the 
second time, and Robert K. McLaughlin, an uncle of Duncan, 
who had served four years as State treasurer, and six years in 
the legislature. Gov. Duncan remained at Washington attend- 
ing to his duties as a member of congress during the entire 
campaign, reaching his constituents solely through newspapers 
and by circulars — the only instance in this State of the election 
of a governor who had not been personally present, and actively 
engaged in making speeches or otherwise conducting the can- 
vass. Although formerly an ardent admirer of Andrew Jack- 
son and a strong supporter of his administration, he had become 
convinced that the policy which his adherents must endorse, 
was neither wise nor safe, and had accordingly allied himself 
with the opposition. Had the change in his views been cer- 
tainly known to the electors, the result might have been differ- 
ent; but although his defection was suspected and was charged 
against him, such was the confidence of the people in his fitness 
for the position, that he was elected by a flattering" majority, 
the vote standing for Duncan 17,349, Kinney 10,229, McLaugh- 
lin 4,315, Adams 887. 

At the same election there were three candidates for lieuten- 
ant-governor — Alexander M. Jenkins, who received 13,795 
votes, James Evans 8609, and William B. Archer 7573. 

Joseph Duncan removed to Illinois in 18 18, from Paris, Ky., 
where he was born February 22, 1794. His father Maj. Joseph 
Duncan, of the regular army, had emigrated from Virginia to 
Kentucky in 1790, and had five sons, all of whom received a 


Chicago I'lio'-o Grdvuro Co, 



collegiate education except Joseph. Capt. Matthew Duncan, 
also of the regular army, and a brother of the governor, came 
to Illinois four years earlier, and founded at Kaskaskia the 
first newspaper published in the State. 

At the outbreak of the War of 18 12, Joseph Duncan, true 
to the martial instincts and military fame of his family, was 
among the first to enlist; and, although young in years, soon 
attained distinction, and was promoted to a lieutenancy. In 
1834, congress, by joint resolution, instructed the president to 
present him and other officers named therein each with a sword 
"as a testimony of the high sense entertained by congress, of 
the gallantry and good conduct displayed in the brilliant and 
memorable defense of Fort Stephenson." In 1823, he was 
commissioned as major-general of the Illinois militia, and in 
the following year was elected to the State senate. He began 
his service in congress March 4, 1827, and resigned his seat in 
1834, to accept the position of governor.* 

Upon assuming the duties of the executive office after a service 
of eight years in congress, Gov. Duncan found that as regarded 
population and enterprise, Illinois had undergone a marked 
change since the day upon which he had left the State senate. 
The counties of Greene, Morgan, and Sangamon alone con- 
tained more people than did the entire Territory when it applied 
for admission into the Union. But if the State had grown in 
population and advanced in the development of her material 
resources, the ideas of the governor had broadened in a cor- 
responding ratio. His congressional experience had afforded 
him not only a wider acquaintance with public men and a 
keener insight into public business, but it had also enlarged and 
enlightened his views on all questions relating to the successful 
administration of the internal affairs of a great commonwealth. 

The first session of the ninth general assembly began Dec. i, 
1834. James Semple of Madison County was elected speaker 
without opposition. David Prickett was for the third time 

* Returning home he met his old friend John Reynolds who had resigned the 
governorship to take his seat in congress. After a cordial greeting, Duncan said, 
"Well, governor, we ar^ changing horses here, ar'n't we? You are going from gover- 
nor to congress, and I am going from congress to governor." "Yes," said the old 
ranger, "and we are changing horses politically, too. You are riding the Yankee 
mule, and I am going to keep straddle of Old Hickory. " 


elected clerk of the house, Walter B. Scates, assistant clerk, 
Ebenezer Z. Ryan, engrossing and enrolling clerk, and William 
C. Murphy, doorkeeper. Leonard White was elected secretary 
of the senate, and Robert M. Gordon, sergeant-at-arms. 

A majority of the senate were old members; among those 
now entering upon their first term were, Benjamin Bond, Cyrus 
Edwards, William J. Gatewood, John S. Hacker, Archer G. 
Herndon, James W. Stephenson, Edmund D. Taylor, and Wm, 
Thomas. The new members of the house who soon rose into 
prominence as leaders were, Milton Carpenter, Newton Cloud, 
Jesse K. Dubois, Jesse B. Thomas, jr., Edwin B.Webb, Orlando 
B. Ficklin, Charles Dunn, William Manly, and William Ross. 
Among these also was Abraham Lincoln. 

In the message of Wm. L. D. Ewing, acting governor, the 
financial condition of the State was the chief topic discussed. 
In addition to its indebtedness of $ioo,ooo, called the "Wig- 
gins' Loan," the sum of $i 17,276 had been by this time diverted 
from the school and seminary fund — a forced loan used to 
defray ordinary expenditures. 

The inaugural of Gov. Duncan was mainly devoted to the 
discussion of the benefits to be derived from the establishment 
of a system of public schools, which he strongly recommended, 
and the importance of constructing the Illinois-and-Michigan 
Canal. He indeed recommended the adoption of a general 
system of internal improvements, without specifically suggest- 
ing the manner in which it should be carried out. He was 
also the first to recommend in this address, the passage of a 
homestead-exemption law, remarking that "such an act would 
have a tendency to induce every family, however poor, to pro- 
cure a permanent home, and would further tend to make our 
population more stationary, and secure the families of the 
unfortunate against those casualties and misfortunes to which 
we are all liable." In the management of the affairs of State 
the governor commends this general policy, "nor is it desirable 
that the people should be entirely relieved from the burden 
of supporting the government, lest they might become indiffer- 
ent to its administration, careless in selecting their officers, and 
less vigilant in scrutinizing their public conduct. To keep the 
government poor, and the people rich, is a political maxim 


which ought never to be forgotten by those who are charged 
with preserving the purity of our institutions, and jealously 
guarding those principles in our constitution, which secure the 
rights, the power, and freedom of the people." 

The two houses met in joint session December 20, for the 
purpose of electing a United-States senator. The candidates 
were Gen. Robinson to succeed himself, and Richard M. Young. 
The former was successful, receiving 47 votes to 30 for the 

This general assembly also witnessed at different periods the 
usual contests over the election of other officers as follows: for 
auditor, in which James T. B. Stapp was reelected; for treas- 
urer, in which John Dement was again successful; and for 
attorney general, which resulted in favor of Ninian W. Edwards. 
On January 14, the following circuit judges were elected — 
Stephen T. Logan, Sidney Breese, Henry Eddy, Justin Harlan, 
and Thomas Ford. 

In the distribution of places on the committees, Mr. Lincoln 
was assigned to that on public accounts and expenditures. 
His first act as a member was to give notice that he would ask 
leave to introduce a bill limiting the jurisdiction of justices-of- 
the-peace — a measure which he was successful in carrying 
through. His next appearance on the floor of the house, was in 
making a motion to change the rules, so that "it shall not be in 
order to ofifer amendments to any bill after its third reading," 
which was not agreed to, although it has been long since 
adopted by all legislative bodies. His next motion was to take 
from the table a report which had been submitted by his com- 
mittee, which also met with a like fate. His first resolution, 
relating to a State revenue to be derived from the sales of the 
public lands, was denied a reference, and laid upon the table. 

The failure of these several initiatory efforts seems to have had 
a depressing influence upon him, as his name does not again 
appear upon the journals, except in the roll-calls, where it was 
invariably recorded. It is said however by his fellow-members 
that on two or three occasions he arose in his place and spoke 
briefly upon pending questions, without giving any special 
promise, however, of ability as a debater or speaker. He seemed 
rather to be feeling his way, and taking the measure of the 


rising men around him, with whom he might at no distant day 
come in contact. 

Jesse K. Dubois, Mr. Lincoln's hfe-long friend, also a new 
member, took a more prominent part in the proceedings than 
he, and while they were personally friendly they ranged them- 
selves on different sides. Mr. Lincoln supported Young for 
senator, and Dubois, Robinson. Lincoln favored the canal 
while Dubois opposed it. 

Among the laws passed at this session were the following: 
to incorporate the Bank of the State of Illinois; for the distrib- 
ution of the school-fund; and for the construction of the Illin- 
ois-and-Michigan Canal, in which provision was made for a 
loan of $500,000, and for a board of commissioners, who were 
authorized to contract for work thereon. 

A law was also passed authorizing the school commissioners 
of Cook County to loan to the county of Cook for the purpose 
of erecting a court-house, twelve thousand dollars, at a rate 
of interest not less than ten per cent per annum. 

When the legislature had completed its work, the members 
feeling doubtless that they had been faithful in the discharge 
of their public functions and ought to express their thanks 
therefor, as well as have their spiritual strength renewed, 
requested a minister who was present to close the session with 
prayer. He signifying that it would afford him pleasure to do 
:so, the concluding minute on the journal records the fact that 
"the Rev. Mr. Hunter, then addressed a prayer to the Throne 
of Grace, after which the speaker adjourned the house." 

The second session of the ninth general assembly was con- 
vened Dec. 7, 1835, ii'' pursuance of a resolution recommending 
the same adopted at the first session — the principal object 
being to apportion the State into legislative districts under 
the census of 1835. The governor in his message called atten- 
tion to the fact that the canal commissioners appointed under 
the law of the previous session, had failed to negotiate a loan 
and suggested a revision of the law. 

The governor also referred to the demand for other internal 
improvements, observing that "while I would urge the most 
liberal support of all such measures as tending with perfect 
certainty to increase the wealth and prosperity of the State, 


I would at the same time most respectfully suggest the pro- 
priety of leaving the construction of all such works wherein it 
can be done consistently with the general interest, to individual 
enterprise" — which advice, had it been heeded by the people's 
representatives, would have been the means of averting many 
serious evils which afterward befell the State. 

A new act for the construction of the canal was passed, giv- 
ing enlarged powers to the commissioners and pledging the faith 
of the State for the payment of any loan they might be able 
to negotiate. Under this law a loan of $100,000 was secured by 
the governor, with the proceeds of which, work was begun the 
following June. 

The new apportionment law provided for the election of 
forty-one senators, and ninety-one representatives. 

The unexpected demise of Hon. E. K. Kane, which occurred 
at Washington four days after the meeting of the legislature, 
devolved upon that body the duty of electing his successor. 
A decidedly animated contest ensued, the principal candidates 
being W. L. D. Ewing, James Semple, and Richard M. Young, 
speaker of the house. It required eleven ballots to reach a 
result, Young having been dropped on the eighth, although he 
had more votes than Ewing on the first. Semple and Ewing 
were twice tied in the subsequent ballotings, the latter at last 
succeeding by the close vote of forty to thirty-seven. Mr. 
Lincoln, with nearly all the anti- Jackson men, voted for the 
successful candidate. 

Gen. Ewing was born in Kentucky in 1795. He had for a 
number of years occupied responsible positions, as an officer 
and member of the legislature, having presided in both houses. 
He had also come out of the Black- Hawk War with consider- 
able credit as a brave and dashing commander. His personal 
appearance was altogether in his favor, and with agreeable 
manners, and fair ability as a lawyer, he was quite popular at 
the capital of the State, where he resided. 

Party-lines of demarcation, from this time forward, became 
more clearly defined. Those who had been supporters of 
A,dams and Clay, and in favor of a national bank, merging 
other political differences, called themselves whigs, while the 
followers of Jackson and Van Buren took the name of demo- 


crats. Neither party accorded to the other the name claimed 
by it, and hence arose the nicknames of federaUst for the one 
and locofocos for the other.* 

The first national democratic convention for the nomination 
of a president and vice-president was held at Baltimore, in 
May, 1835; at which Martin Van Buren received the nomina- 
tion for the first office, and Richard M. Johnson for the second. 
No national whig convention for the nomination of a candidate 
to oppose Van Buren was held. Gen. Harrison was nominated 
by several state conventions, and Hugh L. White by the legis- 
lature of Tennessee, Daniel Webster by the opposition in 
Massachusetts, and Willie P. Mangum of North Carolina, by 
the legislature of South Carolina. 

Resolutions endorsing the candidacy of Mr, Van Buren being 
introduced into the house, produced an exciting discussion. 
Among other questions entering into the debate, was the policy 
of adopting the "convention system," now first coming into 
vogue in this State, by which all candidates were to be nomi- 
nated by party-representative conventions, duly constituted, 
instead of being brought out by an unauthorized caucus, or by 
their own announcement. The democrats advocated the conven- 
tion, and the whigs, knowing themselves to be in the minority, 
and believing they had better chances of success by preventing 
the union of their opponents on one candidate, determinedly 
opposed it. As a result of the discussion, the resolution endors- 
ing Van Buren was adopted by a vote of thirty to twenty, and 
that approving of the convention plan, by the close vote of 
twenty-six to twenty-five. 

The election of 1836 was the first popular expression under 
a new political era. The great popularity of Andrew Jackson, 
the founder and chief exponent of the democratic party, 
together with its superior organization and management, 
enabled Mr. Van Buren to carry the State by 2983 majority. 

The tenth general assembly, which convened December 5, 
1836, was one of the most remarkable bodies of law-makers 

* This latter sobriquet originated this year (1835) in New-York City. One faction 
of democrats had put out the lights in a public hall to bring a meeting to an abrupt 
termination; the other faction, having anticipated this move, immediately produced 
candles, which they ignited with friction, then called locofoco matches, and, relight- 
ing the hall, continued the meeting to its successful close. 


which ever assembled in the legislative halls of Illinois or of 
any other state. Not only in numerical strength did it sur- 
pass all preceding legislatures, but none of its successors has 
even approached it in respect of intellectual calibre, nor has the 
roll of any included so many names destined to become historic 
in the annals, not only of the State, but of the Nation. 

Among its members were included a future president of the 
United States, a defeated candidate for the same high office, 
six future United -States senators, eight members of the 
national house of representatives, a secretary of the interior, 
three judges of the State supreme court, and seven State 
officers. Here sat side by side Abraham Lincoln and Stephen 
A. Douglas; the gallant Edward Dickinson Baker, who repre- 
sented at different times the states of Illinois and Oregon in 
the national councils; O. H. Browning, a prospective senator 
and future cabinet officer, and William L. D. Ewing, who had 
just served a brief period in the senate; John Logan, father of 
the late senator, Gen. John A. Logan; Richard M. Cullom, 
father of Senator Shelby M. Cullom, John A. McClernand, 
afterward member of congress for many years and a distin- 
guished general in the late civil war, who is yet living; 
"Uncle" Jesse K. Dubois, afterward State auditor for eight 
years, Gen. James Shields, Col. John J. Hardin, Wm. A. Rich- 
ardson, John Hogan, Robert Smith, and James Semple, speaker 
of the house, all of them future members of congress, either in 
the senate or house, or both; Augustus C. French, a future gov- 
ernor, Usher F. Linder, Milton Carpenter, John Moore, John 
Dougherty, Newton Cloud, Archibald Williams, Cyrus and 
Ninian W. Edwards, W. A. Minshall, Edwin B. Webb, William 
Thomas, and John Dement.* 

The political affiliations of more than two-thirds of the 
house were democratic. In the senate, a small whig majority 
enabled that party to elect the president in place of the lieu- 
tenant-governor, A.M.Jenkins, resigned; while the honor ot 
the speakership once more fell to James Semple, who out- 
stripped in the race two competitors, Newton Cloud and John 

* In this connection it is worthy of especial remark, that of the eminent whig 
leaders in this brilliant array, three, Lincoln, Baker, and Hardin, met with death 
by violence in their country's service. 


Dement, all of them democrats, the minority declining to nom- 
inate a candidate. It so happened that Lincoln and Douglas 
for the first, and probably the last time, found themsel^^^es 
voting for the same candidate, Mr. Cloud being the choice of 

This session of the legislature was not only distinguished by 
the activity of its members, but was even more conspicuous on 
account of the important character of its proceedings and leg- 
islation. The election of a United- States senator, several cir- 
cuit judges, and State officers, brought together more than the 
usual number of hangers-on, lobbyists, and candidates. Van- 
dalia never was so full of people, and the opportunities for 
effecting combinations and trades were never so great. Every 
day brought forth its exciting discussions, and every night its 
secret conclave and factional manoeuvring. 

The governor in his message, after referring to the canal- loan 
of $100,000, which he had effected, reiterating his views in favor 
of free schools, and recommending that the State subscribe for 
stock in the State Bank, branched out upon the subject of 
national politics, arraigning President Jackson for having vio- 
lated the constitution, and condemning his abuse of the 
appointing power, concluding by invoking an expression of 
opinion on these topics by the legislature. It was an unfortu- 
nate appeal, the house placing on record its approval "of the 
general course of the administration" by the emphatic vote of 
sixty-four to eighteen. Following this came a discussion on the 
slavery question, which had a conclusion still more one-sided, 
Mr. Lincoln and five others being all that could be mustered 
on the anti-slavery side. 

The senatorial election was held December 14. There were 
five candidates, namely, Richard M. Young, Samuel McRob- 
erts, Archibald Williams, Wm. L. D. Ewing, and Thomas C. 
Browne, and three ballots were required to decide the contest, 
when Young received 68 votes, McRoberts 24, Williams 17, 
Ewing 12, Browne 7, and Wm. Wilson i. 

Judge Young was a native of Kentucky, and had served on 
the bench very acceptably since 1825. He was not gifted as a 
speaker, but possessed attractive manners and a splendid phys- 
ique — being said, indeed, to be the finest-looking man in the 


The election of State officers occurred Jan. 16, and resulted 
in the selection of Levi Davis, auditor of public accounts, John 
D.Whiteside, treasurer, and Usher F. Linder, attorney-general. 

In the meantime, as the two most important subjects of legis- 
lative action came more prominently into view, all other ques- 
tions were left in abeyance. These were internal improve- 
ments, and the removal of the capital. 

The people of the entire country had at this time become 
possessed by the spirit of improvement in the means of trans- 
portation. In New York, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, impor- 
tant works of this character had either been completed, or were 
in process of construction. Canals found the greatest favor in 
the East, while in Kentucky, macadamized roads received the 
popular endorsement. The people of Illinois had for two years 
been seeking to find some means by which their State could be 
placed in the front rank in this "march of progress," and the 
question now took complete possession of the minds of the- 
enthusiastic young statesmen to whom had been intrusted the 
legislation of the commonwealth. Owing to the level conforma- 
tion of the State's surface, the construction of railroads seemed 
to afford the readiest solution of the problem. Their success- 
ful operation in England, and their growing popularity wher- 
ever they had been tried in this country, were strong arguments- 
in their favor. 

The advocates of this improvement pointed to the fact that 
the twenty-three miles of this new method of transportation 
which existed in the United States in 1830, had grown to- 
nearly eleven hundred miles in 1836, of which Massachusetts 
had 140 miles. New York 175, New Jersey 109, Pennsylvania 
231, Maryland 156, Virginia 100, and South Carolina 136. 

Pennsylvania had taken the lead in internal improvements,, 
having now in operation 218 miles of railroads and 914 miles of 
canals. Why should the State of Illinois fall behind others in 
providing the necessary facilities for commerce and trade. ■^ 

To strengthen and encourage this feeling on the part of their 
law-makers, the people held public meetings in various portions- 
of the State, at which its superior advantages — its fertile soil, 
genial climate, and broad extent — were presented as only 
needing the improved means of transportation furnished by 


railroads to enable it to take the lead in population and wealth. 

Perhaps the most important of these meetings was a con- 
vention held at Vandalia, attended by delegates from all parts 
of the State, at which the legislature was urged to act without 

The first member formally to move in proposing a plan to the 
legislature was Stephen A. Douglas of Morgan County, who, 
early in the session, introduced a series of resolutions, in which 
the improvements to be made were specifically described, and 
setting forth that they should be constructed and owned by the 
State, and that for the purpose of carrying them forward a loan 

of millions of dollars should be negotiated on the faith 

of the State. These resolutions formed the basis of the 
report of the committee on internal improvements, which 
indorsed and enlarged upon the plan thus briefly outlined. The 
example of Pennsylvania and Indiana in adopting a general 
system of improvements was cited, and it was urged that if Illi- 
nois failed to exhibit equal enterprise, not only would immigra- 
tion cease, but the State would lose the inhabitants she already 
had; that such a system was entirely practicable, and, if 
adopted, would result in the entry of large quantities of land, as 
well as increasing the taxable property; and that the tolls on 
the road would yield a sum sufficient to pay the interest on the 

A bill, embodying substantially the plan recommended by 
the committee, was introduced, and after full discussion and a 
few amendments, was finally passed, Feb. 27. In the house, the 
vote stood sixty-one yeas to twenty-five nays. Among the for- 
mer were Douglas, Baker, Edwards, French, Hogan, Lincoln, 
Snyder, McClernand, Robert Smith, Shields, and Semple; 
among the nays were Hardin, Minshall, and Richardson, in the 
house, and Browning and Thomas, in the senate. 

The council of revision returned the bill with their objections, 
the governor taking occasion to remark, in accordance with his 
well-known and frequently-expressed views, that such works 
could only, in his opinion, be made safely and economically in a 
free government by citizens, or by independent corporations, 
aided and authorized by the government. But notwithstand- 
ing the objections so wisely urged, and the persistent efforts of 


the able minority, the bill again passed by the constitutional 

The bill providing for a change in the seat of government 
was under the charge of Mr. Lincoln and the nine members 
from Sangamon County. This delegation was remarkable, not 
only for the mental ability of its members, but also for their phys- 
ical stature, their combined height aggregating precisely fifty- 
four feet — an average of six feet for each. For this reason they 
were then, and have been ever since, spoken of as the "long 
nine." Their names were A. G. Herndon and Job Fletcher, in 
the senate, and Abraham Lincoln, Ninian W. Edwards, John 
Dawson, Andrew McCormick, Dan Stone, Wm. F. Elkins, and 
Robert L. Wilson, in the house. 

The movement of population toward the centre of the State, 
had made it evident for some years that Vandalia would not be 
permitted to remain the capital after the expiration of the 
twenty years specified at the time of its location. A bill, in- 
deed, had been passed at the session of 1833, submitting the 
question of a relocation to the people, offering them a choice of 
selection between Springfield, Jacksonville — the centre, Alton, 
Vandalia, and Peoria; but neither of these points was able to 
command anything approaching a majority. Vandalia led in 
the poll, but received only about one-fifth of the votes cast. 

One of the reasons urged for the necessity of a speedy 
change was that the State-house, which had been badly con- 
structed, was no longer habitable. To obviate this difficulty the 
old building had been torn down during the summer and a new 

* The gigantic scheme thus adopted provided for the construction of the following 
public works, at the cost specified : — 

Improvement of the Wabash, Illinois, and Rock rivers, $ioo.cxx3 

each; the Little Wabash and Kaskaskia rivers, $50,000 each; 

total for rivers, ...... $400,000 

For the improvement of the Great Western Mail-Route, • - 250,000 

On Railroads: from Cairo to Galena, .... 3,500,000 

Alton to Mt. Carmel, 1,600,000; Northern-Cross R.R., 1,800,000, 3,400,000 
A branch of the Central Road to Terre Haute, - - 650,000 

Peoria to Warsaw, 700,000; Alton to Central R.R., 600,000, 1,300,000 

Belleville to Mt. Carmel, ..... 150,000 

Bloomington to Mackinaw town, ..... 350,000 

To counties in lieu of railroads or canals, ... 200,000 

$10, 200, coo 


one built, at a cost of some $16,000, of which the citizens and 
workmen took the risk. Of this sum, the governor had 
advanced $6000 from the contingent fund. But when the peo- 
ple found that their enterprising scheme had failed to affect the 
question of removal, they were very glad to have an appropria- 
tion bill passed covering the amount of the bills for its erection. 

The single measure, to the success of which the "long nine" 
bent all their energies, was the permanent location of the capi- 
tal at Springfield. They had no favorite route for a railroad, 
and were thus left perfectly untrammeled to assist and promote 
the pet schemes of others, who were willing to reciprocate in 
kind. Nine solid votes would go far toward turning the scale 
in favor of any close question, and were always thrown where 
they would accomplish the most satisfactory results. Still, such 
was the power of local interests, every other w^ould-be capital 
having its friends outside of its delegation, as well as its active 
"log-rollers," that at one time the fate of the bill seemed more 
than doubtful, and the hopes of its promoters began to fade. Mr. 
Lincoln, however, never for a moment faltered. Assembling his 
colleagues for consultation, he proceeded to outline a policy, 
evincing at once his sound, practical sense and his perfect knowl- 
edge of human nature. The result was to inspire the advocates 
of the measure with fresh courage.* New combinations 
were effected, and the bill was finally passed, Feb. 25, the vote 
standing in the house 46 to 37, and in the senate 24 to 13. 

The internal-improvement measure became a law, Feb. 27^ 
and the next day the two houses met "to select a place for 
the permanent seat of government," in pursuance of the pro- 
visions of the former bill, which resulted in the selection of 
Springfield on the fourth ballot.f 

The act appropriated $50,000 toward the erection of a State- 
house at the point to be selected, contingent upon the donation 
by individuals of the same amount, to be secured by bonds, 

* Arnold's "Life of Lincoln," 5. 

+ The following is a statement of the balloting in detail: — 















































together with not less than two acres of ground, to be donated 
to the State, upon which to erect the pubUc buildings. 

A necessary part of the system of improvements adopted 
was the construction of the Illinois-and-Michigan Canal, to fur- 
ther which a law was passed authorizing the sale of canal 
lands to the amount of $1,000,000, and providing for an addi- 
tional loan of $500,000, the proceeds of which were to be 
expended during 1838. 

The fact that the internal-improvement and canal schemes, 
and that for the removal of the seat of government, were made 
to support each other, secured many votes for each which it 
might not have been able to obtain on its own merits. The 
friends of the canal were menaced with defeat if they failed to 
support the general-improvement bill, while the promoters of 
the latter threatened to withhold support from the canal unless 
their measure went through. The counties which failed to 
secure any railroads or canals were placated with the promise of 
$200,000, to be divided among them according to population. 
The "long nine" in the meantime stood ready on all occasions 
to apply their strength wh^re the most valuable returns might 
be obtained. 

Another measure which was also made to bear upon the gen- 
eral result was the law increasing the capital stock of the State 
Bank $2,000,000, and that of the Bank of Shawneetown 

After having enacted laws more far-reaching in their results 
than the members had foreseen, the legislature adjourned, 
March 6, amid the plaudits of a grateful constituency. Only 
the so-called misguided and narrow-minded minority were 
received with coldness, and made the subjects of public censure. 

The adjournment was followed by an era of speculation 
unprecedented in the history of the State. There was about to 
be realized in rich fruition the rose-colored future of prosperity 
depicted by the governor in his message of 1835, in which he 
alluded to the construction of railroads and canals as "bearing 
with seeming triumph the rich productions of the interior to the 
rivers, lakes, and ocean, almost annihilating time, burthen, and 

The fever of speculation, then in its incipient stages, rapidly 


advanced in intensity until, when, the advocates of a vast sys- 
tem of improved transportation beheld, in the passage of this 
act, the materialization of their wildest dreams, fever developed 
into mania, reason was dethroned, and the folly of inflation held 
high carnival. 

The ease with which sales of real estate were effected was 
equaled only by the phenomenal profits realized upon its redis- 
posal. Towns sprang up in a night, and cities in a day, the 
names even of some of which have long since been forgotten. 
On paper, each was destined to become the metropolis of a 
dense population, and corner lots sold at fabulous prices, while 
less eligible sites were valued in proportion. 

This speculative craze, however, proved an ultimate boon to 
Chicago, toward whose extraordinary growth both blind chance 
and sagacious foresight seem to have contributed, for in her 
case the vagaries of speculators served as an advertisement, 
against whose value even the subsequent hard times failed to 

With the hurricane of speculation which swept over the 
State, the tide of immigration flowed in like a torrent; every 
steamboat on the rivers and lakes was crowded with eager 
passengers, coming either to locate permanently or to partici- 
pate in the prospective gains which this furor of inflation prom- 

Soon after the adjournment of the legislature occurred an 
event as unexpected as it ultimately proved to be disastrous to 
the business interests of the country. This was the suspension 
of specie payments by the banks throughout the United States 
— a policy which necessity forced the Illinois banks to adopt. 
But as the law incorporating these banks provided that if they 
refused specie payments for sixty consecutive days they should 
forfeit their chartered privileges, the governor was requested to 
call a special session of the legislature to determine the ques- 
tion of legalizing the suspension. It met July lo, and the gov- 
ernor, after referring in his message to the deranged financial 
condition of the country, availed himself of the occasion to 
recommend the repeal of the internal-improvement law of the 
last session, wisely remarking that "the disasters which had 
already fallen upon the commercial world suggested the neces- 


sity of escaping from the perils of a system which could only be 
fraught with evil." The law to legalize the suspension of the 
banks was passed, but the bill for the repeal of the internal- 
improvement system, introduced in accordance with his advice, 
was laid on the table by a vote of 53 to 34. 

Little other business was transacted at this session, which 
adjourned July 22. 

The fund commissioners, under the law, were clothed with 
the power of negotiating all loans, and the care of the moneys 
arising therefrom. They were elected by the legislature, the 
first board consisting of Thomas Mather, Charles Oakley, and 
M. M. Rawlings. In the latter part of July, 1837, the commis- 
sioners proceeded to New York for the purpose of raising 
money. And although they were somewhat disappointed in not 
finding that demand for State securities which they anticipated, 
and notwithstanding the disturbance in bank circles, which the 
opponents of the "system" hoped would prevent the making of 
any loans, they succeeded in effecting sales of 4869 bonds, 
whose par value aggregated $4,869,000. One hundred sold at 
a premium of 5 per cent, 200 at 2^^ per cent, 12 16 at 2 per 
cent, and the remainder at par. Other sales were negotiated, 
and by Dec. 24, 1838, there had come into the hands of the 
commissioners, as shown by their report, the sum of $5,668,000, 
while the amount disbursed by them up to this time was 
$4,648,399, on the following accounts: — 

For bank stock, _ _ _ _ $3,000,000 

To the commissioners of public works, - 1,142,027 

To counties, ----- 144,700 

For interest, _ _ _ _ 292,250 

For iron and expenses, _ _ _ 69,422 

Leaving an unexpended balance of - 1,019,604 

The board of public works, also elected by the legislature, 
consisted of William Kinney — president, Murray McConnel, 
Elijah Willard, Milton K. Alexander, Joel Wright, John Dixon, 
and Ebenezer Peck. As fast as routes could be surveyed in 
their respective districts, contracts for construction were let. 
The first work done was on that part of the Northern-Cross- 
Railroad, from Meredosia to Jacksonville, in May, 1837. The 


amount expended by the board upon the several objects of 
improvement up to Dec. 24. 1838, was as follows: Railroads, 
$950,593; the Great Western Mail-route, $102,988; rivers, 

The State debt at the incoming of Gov. Duncan's administra- 
tion was $217,276, which included the amount of the Wiggins 
loan of $100,000, and the forced loan from the school and sem- 
inary fund, $117,276. At the close of his term, Dec. 4, 1838, it 
reached $6,688,784, as follows: — 

Bonds sold for bank stock - - - $2,665,000 

Bonds for internal improvements - - - 2,204,000 

Bonds for construction of the canal - - i, 000,000 

Due to the school and seminary fund - - 719,784 

Amount of the Wiggins loan - - - 100,000 

Total $6,688,784 

Having brought the history of Gov. Duncan's administration, 
■so far as it relates to legislation and internal policy, to its close, 
an event will now be noticed which not only formed an exciting 
episode of the time, but assumed even national importance — 
namely, the Alton riots. 

Elijah Parish Lovejoy, a native of Maine, where he was born 
Nov. 8, 1802, was the son of a Congregational minister. Emi- 
grating to St. Louis in 1827, he found employment upon the 
staff of the St. Louis Times, a whig newspaper. After entering 
the Presbyterian ministry, in 1833, he assumed editorial control 
of the St. Loitis Observer, a religious newspaper, patronized prin- 
cipally by his denomination in Missouri and Illinois. In 1835, 
Mr. Lovejoy became earnestly interested in the slavery question, 
.and many of his editorials contained strong arguments against 
"the peculiar institution." Being published in a slave-state, 
they not unnaturally excited unfavorable comment and even 
animadversion. So much so, indeed, that nine influential citi- 
zens and supporters of his paper, among them Judge Gam- 
ble, Rev. Dr. W. S. Potts, and Nathan Ranney, addressed him 
a letter protesting against his course, and counselling him, in 
view of the excited state of the public mind on the subject of 
abolitionism, "to pass over in silence everything connected with 
the subject." To which request, in a very able article on the 

REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 417 

liberty of the press, he dechned to accede. He was then 
requested by the proprietors to retire from the editorship of the 
paper, to which he consented; but in the meantime the paper 
changed hands, and he was continued in charge as before. In 
the issue of June 21, 1836, he announced his intention of 
removing the paper to Alton, but on the eve of its transfer the 
office was entered by a mob and most of the material 
destroyed. What was left of the press was in due time 
shipped, but during the night after it was landed was thrown 
into the river and destroyed. The citizens of Alton, at a pub- 
lic meeting, disavowed the act, and subscribed money to pur- 
chase a new press, and the first number of the paper was issued 
at Alton Sept. 8, 1836. 

At the public meeting alluded to, Mr. Lovejoy stated that, 
while strongly opposed to slavery, he was not an abolitionist, 
and it has been alleged on the one hand and denied on the 
other that he gave a pledge not to meddle with the subject. Be 
this as it may, as the months rolled by the anti-slavery tone of 
the paper became more distinct, and his paper came to be as 
offensive to the pro-slavery element at Alton as it had been at 
St. Louis, and the general indignation found expression in reso- 
lutions condemning the course of the Observer, adopted at a 
public meeting July 11, 1837. His reply to the committee who 
presented them was courteous but unyielding, and on the night 
of August 21, a mob of a dozen persons broke into the office and 
destroyed the press and material. 

Funds were not wanting from willing contributors, with which 
a third press and type were purchased, which arrived Sept. 21, 
and in the absence of Mr. Lovejoy were placed in a warehouse. 
That same night another mob gathered, this time partially dis- 
guised, forced an entrance into the store, rolled the press out, 
broke it into pieces, and sent it after the others into the Missis- 

A fourth press was ordered, but by this time such was the 
bitter antagonism which assailed him that it was considered 
whether it would not be better to remove to Ouincy, or some 
other point, rather than attempt to stem the storm of opposition 
at Alton. But when it became known that he had determined to 
fight it out, a public meeting was called, Nov. 2, to consider the 


situation. The popular feeling, as shown b}' speeches from such 
men as Gen. U. F. Linder, Rev. John Hogan, and Cyrus Edwards, 
was decidedly against Mr. Lovejoy. He appeared in his own 
defense, and made a most eloquent and affecting appeal in sup- 
port of a free press and free speech, in which he said: "I have, 
Mr. Chairman, not desired nor asked any compromise. I have 
asked for nothing but to be protected in my rights as a citizen 
— rights which God has given me, and which are guaranteed to 
me by the constitution of my country. Have I, sir, been guilty 
of any infraction of the laws.? What, I ask, has been my 
offense.'' Put your finger upon it — define it — and I stand ready 
to answer for it. If I have committed any crime you can 
easily convict me. You have public sentiment in your favor. 
* * * But if I have been guilty of no violation of law, why 
am I hunted up and down the country like a partridge upon the 
mountains.'' I plant myself, sir, down on my unquestionable 
rights, and the question to be decided is, whether I shall be 
protected in the exercise and enjoyment of those rights; 
whether my property shall be protected; whether I shall be 
suffered to go home to my family at night without being 
assailed and threatened with tar and feathers and assassination; 
whether my afflicted wife, whose life has been in jeopardy from 
continued alarm and excitement, shall, night after night, be 
driven from her sick-bed into the garret, to save her life from 
the brick-bats and violence of the mobs — that, sir, is the qit-es- 
tioiif * * •» I have concluded, after consultatiofi with my 
friends, and earnestly seeking counsel of God, to remain at 
Alton, and here to insist on protection in the exercise of my 
rights. If the civil authorities refuse to protect me, I must look 
to God; and if I die, I have determined to make my grave in 

The speech made a deep impression, and there was a time 
when the tide seemed to be turning in his favor; but all to no 
purpose. Resolutions were adopted to the effect that it was 
indispensable that Mr. Lovejoy should not be allowed to con- 
duct a paper, and that he ought to retire from the charge 
of the Alton Observer. 

The fatal issue was joined. The fourth press was landed on 
the night of Nov. 6, 1837, and safely stored in the warehouse of 


Godfrey, Gilman & Co. Fearing an attack a volunteer guard of 
sixty was maintained about the building all the next day, and 
until nine o'clock at night, when everything remaining quiet, the 
guard went to their homes, with the exception of nineteen, who, 
at the request of Mr. Gilman, remained on the premises. Pres- 
ently, however, a large mob began to gather around the ware- 
house — a double building, three stories high. Two of the lead- 
ers, asking for admittance, demanded the surrender of the 
press, stating that if it was not given up the house would be 
burned, and all within put in peril of their lives. The demand 
was refused. The mob then attacked the building and 
attempted to batter down the front door. A shot was fired 
from the inside which killed Lyman Bishop. This enraged the 
assailants, who renewed the attack with redoubled force. 
Mayor John M. Krum appeared on the scene and ordered the 
attacking party to disperse, a command to which no attention 
was paid. A ladder was raised on the east side of the building 
and a man sent up to fire the roof Volunteers were called for 
to dislodge the incendiary, which was responded to by Lovejoy 
and two others, who stepped out upon the levee and fired upon 
the man on the ladder, but without effect. The fire was imme- 
diately returned by two or three men concealed near by behind 
a pile of lumber. Lovejoy, who was in plain view, received five 
buckshot in his body, and running into the building and up- 
stairs, exclaimed: "My God! I am shot!" and, falling into the 
arms of a^riend, died without a struggle. No inquest was held 
on the body, and he was buried the following day. 

At the January term (1838) of the Alton municipal court, 
Winthrop S. Gilman, representing his associates, the defenders 
of the press, was tried for riot and acquitted. At the same 
term John Solomon, Horace Beall, James M. Rock, Jacob 
Smith, James Jennings, and others, the assailants, were 
arraigned on a similar charge, with like result. 

It was claimed that the fatal shots which caused Lovejoy's 
death were fired by Dr. Jennings and his comrade, Dr. Beall. 
And it is said that the former was afterward cut to pieces in a 
bar-room fight in Vicksburg, Miss., and that the latter, while 
attached to a scouting party of Texas rangers, was captured by 
the Comanche Indians and burned alive. 


The tragic death of Lovejoy created widespread excitement. 
It was discussed at public meetings and in the press — some 
papers coming out in mourning. The voice of condemnation 
was almost universal. Lovejoy, it was said, had found a grave 
in the bosom of a free-state; and the martyrdom of the repre- 
sentative of philanthropy, liberty, and justice would kindle a 
flame which years could not extinguish. 

In the character of Mr. Lovejoy were combined many traits 
of rare excellence. His mental powers were of a high order; 
he was endowed with keen perceptions, and attained merited 
distinction as both a writer and pulpit orator. His convictions 
were deep-seated, and his fidelity was shown by that undaunted 
bravery with which they were maintained. To physical and 
moral courage were united a temperament as ardent as it was 
amiable. Reviewing his course from the standpoint of today, 
however, after the lapse of half a century fraught with events 
so momentous to the nation and to the world, it must be admit- 
ted that it was needlessly irritating and offensive to a majority 
of his fellow-citizens, among whom were many personal and 
political friends. His intellect and will surpassed his judgment, 
and his enthusiasm developed into zealotry. In his contempla- 
tion of the end he lost sight of the best means by which it 
might be attained; ordinary prudence seemed to him a mere 
juggling with principle. His friends insisted that he was not 
.an ultra-abolitionist, but that he died a martyr to free speech, 
and as such revere his memory today. Yet it must not be for- 
gotten that in his day and generation lived other reformers 
whose detestation of slavery was as deep as his, yet whose 
better-balanced minds perceived that to be outspoken was not 
necessarily to be intolerant; and that inconsiderate aggression 
was often a less potent agency than the quiet moderation which 
not infrequently covers a hidden but smouldering fire. 

The attitude of Gov. Duncan toward^the Alton riot was both 
conservative and consistent. His authority as chief executive 
was invoked "to save the State from lawless violence and 
blood-guiltiness." He characterized the work of the mob as 
"an outrage, which must be disapproved and regretted by all 
good citizens," but at the same time he expressed his decided 
disapprobation of the agitation of the slavery question in any 


community, where it produced only violence and discord, with- 
out the probability of effecting any good result. 

The effect of the assassination of Lovejoy was twofold. At 
the time, such a violent outbreak of pro-slavery sentiment could 
hardly fail to impress the opponents of the system with the 
knowledge that they were treading on dangerous ground; and 
while they were resolved not to intermit their earnest efforts in 
behalf of the slave, policy, no less than wisdom, indicated that 
they should be conducted with greater prudence and circum- 
spection. The advocates of slavery, on the other hand, while 
denouncing mob violence, yet cherished the hope that free 
thought and free speech had received a blow which could hardly 
fail to produce an intimidating and therefore salutary effect. 
But as the seed dropped into the ground dies before it bears 
fruit, so did each act of violence, though apparently ignored, 
bring forth fruit in the minds of even the most conservative 
opponents of slavery. And as imprisoned volcano fires, when 
once they burst their barriers of confining crust, pour forth in 
a torrent all the more impetuous because long restrained, so 
did the smouldering indignation of the friends of freedom ulti- 
mately burst forth, until, like a resistless torrent, it had swept 
from the face of the country the last vestige of the Nation's 

Seizing upon this aspect of the effect of the martyr's death, 
and as prophetic of the coming storm, his brother, Owen Love- 
joy, in i860, concluded a speech at Alton in which he referred 
to the tragic event in these words: — 

"Twenty-three years ago the blood of my brother, slain in 
these streets, ran down and mingled with the waters of the 
mighty river which sweeps past your city to the sea: 

'The Avon to the Severn runs, 

The Severn to the sea — 
And scattered wide as WyclifFe's name, 

Shall Wycliffe's ashes be.' " * 

At the close of his term of office. Gov. Duncan returned to 

* Authorities: — "Memoirs of E. P. Lovejoy, by Joseph C. and Owen Lovejoy;" 
"Alton Riots, by Edward Beecher;" "Alton Trials, by Wm. S. Lincoln;" "Mar- 
tyrdom of Lovejoy, by Henry Tanner;" "Lovejoy — An Address, by Thomas Dim- 


his home in Jacksonville, to which place he had removed soon 
after his marriage, in 1828,* and where he built the first frame- 

The structure, known during his term as the "executive man- 
sion," and which is yet in a fine state of preservation, was erected 
in 1834. It is an old-fashioned two-story frame building,-f- with 
a side front, and was modeled after his father's house in Paris, 
Ky., in which he was born. 

The governor devoted his time after his return home to busi- 
ness and the care of his large landed estate. He was a warm 
friend of temperance, to which cause he gave $500 per annum 
toward sustaining a paper. He was ever active in educational 
circles, and contributed $10,000 to the Illinois College, of which 
institution he was a trustee for many years. He was also the 
first president of the board of trustees of the institution for the 
education of the deaf and dumb, at Jacksonville. 

He became a member of the Presbyterian church in 1835, 
and was ever after an earnest member of that denomination. 

In 1842, he was induced again to enter politics, and became 
the whig candidate for governor, and for the first time met with 

Gov. Duncan was of massive frame, and finely proportioned. 
He had brown, expressive eyes, dark, curly hair, a smooth face, 
and clear complexion. He was kindly and genial, though reso- 
lute of purpose. Modest and unassuming, he was tenacious of 
his views, and courageous in giving them expression. 

Not belonging to any of the learned professions which afford 
opportunities for display, it is very doubtful if he received credit 
for the real abilities he possessed. He was not gifted as a public 
speaker, but his writings, though not numerous, evinced deep 

* He was introduced to his wife, Elizabeth Caldwell Smith, daughter of a retired 
banker and merchant of New- York City, at a dinner-party at President Adams'. 
Henry Clay sat next to her, and whispered in her ear that "Duncan was not only a 
good-looking fellow, but, what was better, was a good son, having taken care of his 
widowed mother and educated his sister and two younger brothers." Miss Smith 
was attired on this occasion in a crimson-silk dress, thread-lace ruffle at the throat, 
embroidered-silk stockings, satin slippers the same color as her dress. Her hair was 
worn in three puffs on the top of the head, three puffs on each side, and a high tor- 
toise-shell comb. — "Biographical sketch of Gov. Duncan by his daughter, Mrs. 
Julia D. Kirby." 

t It is now occupied by his son-in-law. Judge Edward P. Kirby. 


thought, excellent judgment, and were in a style at once clear 
and forcible. Foreseeing the certain ruinous collapse of the 
internal-improvement system, he steadily argued against it, and 
refused to be drawn into its support. He had few enemies, and 
his death, which occurred at his home in Jacksonville, Jan. 15, 
1844, was mourned as a personal bereavement by men of all 


First Democratic State Convention — Administration of 
Gov. Thomas Carlin — Eleventh General Assembly- 
First Whig State Convention— Removal of the Capital 
— Special Session at Springfield— Repeal of Internal- 
Improvement System — Presidential Campaign of 1840 
— Twelfth General Assembly — Reorganization of the 
Judiciary— 1838 - 1842. 

WHILE the excitement relating to internal improvements 
was at its height, the period recurred for the quadrennial 
election of governor and lieutenant-governor. The first regu- 
larly constituted democratic State convention for the nomi- 
nation of these officers was held at Vandalia, Dec. 4, 1837, 3.t 
which Col. James W. Stephenson was nominated for governor 
and John L. Hacker for lieutenant-governor. Serious charges 
being made against Col. Stephenson's administration of the 
receivership of the land -office, he was induced to withdraw 
from the contest; Mr. Hacker also declined his nomination. 
The convention was reconvened June 6, 1838, and was presided 
over by Wm. L. D. Ewing. The names presented for governor 
were Thomas Carlin and Sidney Breese; Carlin secured the 
nomination; while that for lieutenant-governor was given to 
Stinson H. Anderson of Jefferson County, who had served with 
distinction as a member of the eighth and ninth general assem- 

Thomas Carlin was born in Kentucky, of Irish parentage, 
July 18, 1789. He first came to Illinois in 18 12, and served as 
a soldier throughout the war of that period. In 18 18, he 
removed to Greene County and settled upon the future site of 
CarroUton, the county-seat. In the Black-Hawk War, he com- 
manded a company and distinguished himself as a brave and 
efficient officer. He was the first sheriff of his county, had been 
twice elected to the State senate, and at the time of his nomi- 
nation was register of the land-office at Ouincy. He had been 
inured to the life of a backwoodsman, and never had an oppor- 


ELECTION OF 1838. 425 

tunity to receive an education, except such as he made for him- 
self. Of medium height, spare form, and sandy complexion, he 
was a man of iron nerve, and as courageous as a lion. He was a 
splendid horseman and marksman, and always ready for a fight. 
He was a warm admirer and consistent follower of Gen. Jackson, 
and was not partial to Eastern immigrants unless they were 
democrats. There were a hundred different men in his party 
better fitted for the office of governor by ability and education,, 
but none on the score of high character and unswerving integ- 
rity — and it was the possession of these generally-recognized 
qualities which secured his success. 

Cyrus Edwards was the candidate of the whigs, but not as 
the choice of a State convention. He was, as had been the 
custom, first mentioned in a caucus of friends, was then endorsed 
by some county conventions, and taken up by the whig news- 
papers as their candidate by general consent. He was a brother 
of the late Gov. Edwards, had served acceptably as a member 
of both houses of the general assembly, and was respected for 
his ability and sterling worth throughout the State. 

Wm. H. Davidson of White County, who had served many 
years in the senate and was president of that body in 1836-7, 
was brought out in the same way as the whig candidate for 

Notwithstanding the immense interests involved under the 
internal-improvement system, the issues presented in the cam- 
paign were generally national rather than local. Both candidates 
for governor were understood to be in favor of the system; 
although it was known by the friends of Edwards that while 
he was a zealous advocate of internal improvem.ents, he was 
opposed to the law as passed, having voted for it reluctantly and 
only in compliance with direct instructions from his constituents. 
In some counties, indeed, the question was brought prominently 
into the canvass, as for instance in Morgan, where the whig 
tickets were headed "Anti-Subtreasury Ticket. For a sound 
specie - paying National Bank, and for curtailing the Internal- 
Improvement System." The democratic ticket had at its head, 
"For the Subtreasury. Against a National Bank, and for a 
vigorous prosecution and final completion of the Internal- 
Improvement System." The issues were clearly defined. 


It was a very lively campaign. Joint discussions on national 
questions were the order of the day — Douglas, Lamborn, John 
Calhoun, and Linder on one side, Baker, Hardin, Lincoln, and 
Stuart on the other, were constantly in the field, taking the 
stump as they followed the courts from one point to another 
around the circuits. The contest for congress in the third 
district between Douglas and Stuart was especially exciting and 
close, the latter receiving a majority of only 14 votes. The 
majority for Carlin over Edwards was 996 — the nearest the 
Avhigs ever came to carrying the State. 

The eleventh general assembly met Dec. 3, 1838. The sen- 
ate was composed of twenty-one whigs, sixteen democrats, and 
three independents. There were but fifteen new senators, among 
them being Wm. A. Richardson, Wm. J. Gatewood, Robert 
Blackwell, and Ebenezer Peck from Cook, who having resigned 
at the close of the session was succeeded by James H. Wood- 
worth. Browning, Davidson, Hacker, Herndon, Wm. Thomas, 
and Servant were among the old members. 

In the house there were forty-six whigs, forty democrats, and 
^ve independents. Among the old members were Edward D. 
Baker, Milton Carpenter, Newton Cloud, Jesse K. Dubois, 
Ninian W. Edwards, Wm. L. D. Ewing, O. B. Ficklin, John J. 
. Hardin, Abraham Lincoln, Robert Smith, E. B. Webb, and 
Archibald Williams. Among the new were Willis Allen, John 
Calhoun from Sangamon, Augustus C. French, Wm. H. Hen- 
derson — father of Congressman Thomas J., John Moore, Wm. 
F. Thornton, and Henry L. Webb. 

Abraham Lincoln, who had by this time achieved a reputa- 
tion not only as a debater but as a watchful and successful repre- 
sentative, was the candidate of the whigs for speaker, but failed 
to receive the full vote of his party. When the balloting began 
three whigs, for some reason which was never satisfactorily 
explained, were conveniently absent, while four of those who 
were present threw away their votes on other members. Wm. L. 
D. Ewing was therefore elected on the fourth ballot, receiving 
forty-three votes, to thirty-eight cast for Mr. Lincoln, and four 
scattering. David Prickett was for the fifth time elected clerk 
of the house, and Benj. Bond chosen secretary of the senate. 

In the valedictory message of Gov. Duncan, he again empha- 


sized his opposition to the internal - improvement system, 
remarking that in regard to its impoHcy his mind had under- 
gone no change. He said: "Experience has now sufficiently 
shown that all my objections to it must in time be fully realized. 
* * That there should have been many mistakes committed, 
and much waste of public money in conducting a system of 
internal improvements upon so large a scale, in a country almost 
entirely destitute of skill and experience in such works was to 
be expected. But I confess they have occurred to an extent 
never anticipated by myself — and whether by mistake or design 
it is very manifest that large sums have been squandered on 
objects of little or no general utility, and in some cases to the 
detriment of the public interest. * "' The want of economy 
and the deleterious effects of such a system owned, controlled, 
and carried on by the State, are great and insurmountable 
objections to it, but, in my opinion, not so great as the powers 
it confers on the State government, through its numerous 
officers and dependents to influence elections and legislation." 
He therefore again recommended that all such works be left to 
the prosecution of individual citizens of the State, or to corpo- 
rations created by law. 

The governor approvingly referred to the fact that work on 
the canal had progressed rapidly, expenditures to the amount 
of $1,400,000 having been made the preceding year. He then, 
after alluding to the subject of national politics, for the first 
time called attention to the fact that the revenue of the State, 
at that time was, and for a number of years had been, "alto- 
gether inadequate to its expenditures." 

Three days after the delivery of this valedictory came the 
inaugural of Gov. Carlin. The era of personal politics, when the 
incumbent of the executive chair made his own platform and 
shaped the policy of his own administration, had passed away. 
He was now the mouthpiece of his party and was required to 
follow that course which its leaders marked out for him. The 
messages of the governor were evidently the expression of the 
views of his party prepared by its leaders, to suit the supposed 
exigency, rather than his own. They showed on their face the 
handiwork of different authors; in some places the style being 
finished and elegant, and in others clumsy and ungrammatical. 
while a general inconsistency ran through the whole. 


On this occasion he presented a glowing picture of the 
increasing wealth and prosperity of the State. Regarding the 
all-absorbing question of internal improvements, he presented a 
view quite opposite to that of his predecessor, remarking that 
"The signal success which has attended our sister states in the 
construction of their extensive systems of improvements can 
leave no doubt of the wise policy and utility of such works. * * 
In the principles and policy of this plan, contrasted with that 
of joint- stock companies and private corporations, I entirely 
agree. Had I occupied my present situation at the establish- 
ment of this system I would have recommended its adoption on 
a less expensive scale, and the construction of the most impor- 
tant works first. Under the present plan of proceeding, however, 
near two millions of dollars have been expended, and whatever 
diversity of opinion may now exist as to the expediency of the 
system as originally projected, all must admit that the character 
and credit of the State forbid its abandonment." He concurred 
with Gov. Duncan in regard to the construction of the canal, 
but joined issue with him on all questions of national politics, 
especially in reference to a national bank, the re-creation of 
which he strongly opposed. 

The legislature agreed with the incoming governor on the 
question of internal improvements, and with the outgoing 
governor in regard to banks. All efforts to repeal or modify 
the internal-improvement system failed, but resolutions in favor 
of the expediency and constitutionality of a national bank 
were adopted. 

Not only was the original measure not repealed but an addi- 
tional expenditure of $800,000 was authorized for improvements 
of water-ways and the construction of railroads. 

A large portion of the time of this legislature was consumed 
in the discussion of questions of national, rather than State, 
policy; although the body found time to adopt a number of 
important measures pertaining to State affairs. One of these 
was a proposition introduced by Mr. Lincoln from the finance 
committee that the State should purchase all the public lands 
therein, estimated at 20,000,000 acres, at twenty-five cents per 
acre, "pledging the faith of the State to carry the proposal into 
effect if accepted by the general government." 


Among the laws passed, of sufficient general interest to be 
noted, were the following: Making the first appropriation for 
a library for the supreme court; To establish the " Illinois Asy- 
lum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb"; To incorporate 
the Chicago Lyceum; Requiring the governor to reside at the 
seat of government; To prohibit the circulation of bank notes 
of a denomination less than five dollars. 

This was the last session of the general assembly held at 
Vandalia, which, under the law providing for the removal of 
the public offices to Springfield, ceased to be the capital of the 
State after July 4, 1839. The legislature adjourned March 4. 

In the meantime, the work of internal improvements, the 
letting of contracts and the selling of bonds, and piling up 
of the State debt, went " bravely on." Ex-Gov. Reynolds 
and Senator Young were appointed agents to negotiate state 
securities both in the United States and Europe. Neither of 
these gentlemen possessed that knowledge of financial affairs 
which qualified them for such a mission. They sold and deliv- 
ered in New York three hundred bonds, agreeing to accept 
payment therefor in monthly instalments — the last of which did 
not fall due until Jan. 15, 1840, under which arrangement tne 
interest on all deferred payments was lost. One thousand 
bonds, representing $1,000,000, were negotiated with Thomas 
Dunlap of Philadelphia, payments for which were also to be 
made in instalments, in United-States bank notes, which before 
the State received them had depreciated ten per cent — by 
which the State lost not only the interest but $100,000 besides. 
About one hundred of the bonds were sold on credit to New- 
York banks, to be used by them in the experiment of free 
banking, about to be put on trial in that State. Before pay- 
ment for these had been made, the banks failed, thereby entail- 
ing a loss on Illinois, not only of the unexpended currency 
received, but also of the amount yet due on instalments not 

Upon the conclusion of these blundering negotiations in New 
York and Philadelphia, the putative financiers embarked for 
London, taking with them Gen. Rawlings and Col. Oakley, two 
of the fund commissioners, to see what they could accomplish 
there. Finding the money market close, the State agents 


deposited looo bonds ($1,000,000) with John Wright & Co. in 
London and authorized them to sell the same. They sold 
about half the bonds for ^^"91 on the ;^ioo, and that firm having 
failed before the proceeds of the sales by them had been paid 
over, the State had to accept the same dividend as other credi- 
tors of the bankrupt firm, which amounted to only a few shillings 
in the pound. 

By Dec. i, 1839, the general account on the public ledger 
presented the following appalling appearance: 

Bonds sold to the State Bank and Bank of Illinois, invested 
as capital therein _ . _ . _ $2,665,000 

Internal-improvement bonds sold in United States 3,1^7,000 
Internal-improvement bonds disposed of in London 1,500,000 
Canal-bonds sold ____>_ 3,400,000 

State-house bonds ------ 128,000 

Due to the school-and-seminary fund - - 750,000 

Due to the banks for auditor's warrants - - 142,550 

Due to contractors and interest on loans - - 1,458,000 

Total $13,230,550 

Early in the fall of 1839, ^he governor became alarmed over 
the expansion of state credit and the prospect of impending 
disaster. The people also began to move and to express their 
discontent and dissatisfaction at the outlook of state affairs, in 
public meetings, which were held in fifteen counties. A few- 
months of experience in the executive chair had wrought an 
entire change of opinion in the governor's mind, and in view of 
the fact that the public credit had been extended to exhaustion, 
and the state debt enlarged to such enormous proportions, he 
determined to call a special session of the legislature, to con- 
sider the grave crisis. "The town of Springfield," now the 
capital of the State, was designated as the place of meeting. 

The commissioners appointed to locate, temporarily, the 
county-seat of Sangamon County in 182 1, designated the same 
as " a certain point in the prairie, near John Kelly's field, on the 
waters of Spring Creek," and called the place Springfield. 
When the proprietors, Pascal P. Enos and Elijah lies, came to 
plat the town after the opening of the land-ofiice in 1823, they 
called it Calhoun, after the distinguished senator of that name; 


but this appellation being as objectionable to the people as 
the first one was to the proprietors, the former insisted upon 
calling it Springfield, until finally the name of Calhoun was 
abandoned and the former one restored. 

Being the distributing point for a large section of rapidly- 
growing territory, and having no rival in any direction within 
seventy miles for the first few years, it soon filled up with an 
enterprising population of merchants, mechanics, and traders. 
By 1830, it numbered a thousand inhabitants, which number 
in four years had increased to 1400, making it the largest town 
in the State except Jacksonville, which claimed 1600. 

It was incorporated as a town in 1832; and among its trustees 
from that period until it was organized as a city in 1840, under 
a special charter, were Charles R. Matheny, who was most of 
the time president of the board, Stephen T. Logan, Abraham 
Lincoln, Samuel H. Treat, Philip C. Latham, and Wm. Butler. 
Its selection as the capital of the State added largely to its 
growth and influence. Among other festive celebrations in 
honor of the event, in the fall of 1839, ^ "grand ball" was given 
at the American House, to which invitations were sent to Chi- 
cago and air the principal towns of the State and to St. Louis,, 
many of which points were represented on the occasion, 
although acceptance involved for those from St. Louis a stage 
ride of twenty-four hours, and for those from Chicago a week's 
time. But it was designed to be a grand affair which was to 
include the wit, the beauty, and fashion of the entire State. 
Among the managers appear the names of A. Lincoln, S. A. 
Douglas, James Shields, N. W. Edwards, J. A. McClernand, 
Nicholas H. Ridgely, J. F. Speed, E. D. Taylor, W. S. Prentice, 
Isaac R. Diller, and Robert Allen. And although the event 
occurred half a century ago, Gen. McClernand, Hon. N. W. 
Edwards, Col. E. D Taylor, Rev. W. S. Prentice, D.D., and 
Isaac R. Diller still survive to tell the tale. 

When Springfield became the capital of the State its houses 
were mostly frame and poorly constructed. It contained but 
little wealth, and many of its citizens found themselves greatly 
embarrassed through their efforts to raise the $50,000 required 
under the law toward erecting the new state-house. Its streets 
and most of its sidewalks were unpaved, and in the spring and 


■fall its normal condition was that of unfathomable mud. In- 
deed, for many years, it was far from being an inviting city. 
Mr. Lincoln told a favorite story to illustrate this point. 
Thompson Campbell, the secretary of state, who had the care 
and letting of the assembly chamber, one day received an 
application from a meek- looking man, with a white necktie, 
for the use of the chamber to deliver a course of lectures. 
"May I ask," said the secretary, "what is to be the subject 
•of your lectures.''" "Certainly," was the reply, with a very 
•solemn expression of countenance; "it is on the second com- 
ing of our Lord." "It is of no use," said Campbell, "if you 
will take my advice you will not waste your time in this city. 
It is my private opinion that if the Lord has been in Spring- 
field 07ice, he will not come the secoiid timer 

But its citizens possessed enterprise and industry; capital 
came in; manufactories were established ; railroads developed its 
■splendid coal-fields; and at the outbreak of the late civil war, 
with the gathering ot troops at the central point, the establish- 
ment of camps and depots of supplies, it entered upon an un- 
broken era of prosperity. In 1883, a system of street pave- 
ments was adopted, the transforming effect of which has con- 
verted it into one of the most attractive cities of the West. 

The corner stone of the state-house was laid July 4, 1837, 
with imposing ceremonies, an eloquent address being delivered 
by Col. E. D. Baker. It had been estimated that the building 
would cost $130,000, but $240,000 was expended upon it before 
its completion.* It was not ready for occupancy at the time of 
the called session, and the Second Presbyterian Church — a new 
brick building — was secured for the house, the Methodist Church 
for the senate, and the Protesant-Episcopal Church for the 
supreme court. 

* The capitol occupied the centre of the public square, nearly three acres in extent, 
and was constructed of cut-stone brought from a quarry six miles distant. It was 
123 feet in length, 89 feet in width, and 44 feet high, with two porticos fronting north 
and south, supported by massive columns. The basement was divided into four 
large rooms for offices, for fuel and storage, and a fire-proof vault. A spacious hall 
32 feet in width open to the dome, from which it was lighted, extended entirely 
across the first story, on one side of which was a room for the supreme court 50 x 40 
feet, two rooms 23x17 feet each ; and on the other side three rooms 40 x 24 for 
library and offices, 16 feet in height. The second story contained the hall of the 
house of representatives, on the west side, 82 x 40 feet, and a senate chamber across 
the hall, on the east side 40 x 50 feet, and eleven committee rooms. 


The governor in his message set forth the reasons which had 
induced him to reconvene the legislature. He stated that while 
he had been in favor of the state system of improvements, he 
was opposed to its extent, and that the fatal tendency to enlarge 
the system at the last session and "the ruinous policy of simul- 
taneously commencing all the works and constructing them in 
detached parcels was ^.like at variance with the principles of 
sound economy, destructive to the interests of the State, and to 
the system in all its parts." He therefore recommended a modi- 
fication of the system, and the completion of such portions of 
the works as would produce a revenue. With regard to the 
canal, he recommended the sale of additional lands to an 
amount sufficient to meet the liabilities for work contracted, and 
interest on the debt. 

And now began the struggle in the legislature for a change 
of state policy. Party lines were effaced. Those who still 
adhered to their former views contended that to abandon the 
system now would be to have nothing left to show for the vast 
expenditures already made; that the works would become 
useless and only the decaying monuments of a vacillating 
policy; that out of the wreck there might be gathered a fund 
amounting to about $1,500,000 which, after meeting the inter- 
est, would yet leave a sum sufficient to complete 129 miles of 
railroad now nearly finished. They made a desperate effort 
to carry their point but without avail. A sufficient number of 
their former allies were won over to the other side to secure the 
passage of laws which virtually abrogated the entire system. 

The board of fund commissioners and that of commissioners 
of public works were abolished. A single fund commissioner 
was provided for, and elected, who was to receive and take 
charge of the railroad iron purchased in Europe, to receive back 
and destroy all unsold bonds, and to audit and settle the 
accounts of the late boards. 

Provision was made for the election of a new board of public 
works, composed of three commissioners, who were authorized 
to adjust all liabilities under the internal-improvement system. 
Only those engineers and agents whose services were required 
to ascertain the amount due to contractors were to be retained, 
and even these were to be discharged as soon as practicable. 


Such roads as were completed were to be opened and managed 
by the board. Richard F. Barrett was elected fund commis- 
sioner, and Joseph Bealle, Hart Fellows, and John Hogan com- 
missioners of public works. 

And thus came to a disastrous conclusion in this State, as it 
had in others, an attempt on the part of the commonwealth to 
carry on a system of public improvements. 

As a result of this stupendous scheme, only a portion of one 
of the projected improvements was completed, namely, the 
railroad from Meredosia on the Illinois River to Springfield, a 
distance of fifty-one miles. This was done after the expendi- 
ture of another $100,000 derived from the sale of canal-bonds^ 
and the road finally surrendered to the State, May 13, 1842. 
From this time, it was leased to individuals and operated gen- 
erally at a loss, until 1845, when it had fallen into such bad 
repair that it was practically useless. Its one locomotive had 
been run off the track and abandoned. Mules were then sub- 
stituted for steam power — the road carrying only freight, 
passengers preferring to go by wagon or stage. Finally, in 
pursuance of the law of 1847, the road which had cost the 
State nearly a million dollars was sold at public auction, and 
purchased by Nicholas H. Ridgely, of Springfield, for $21,100.* 

The precipitate rashness attendant upon the origination of 
the works found its fitting counterpart in the undue haste and 
anxiety displayed in the disposition of the property, real and 
personal, left from the general ruin. The Northern-Cross Rail- 

* The following incident occurred at the sale. Mr. Ridgely bid $10,000, and the 
road was cried for that sum for some time — going, going at $10,000, until he began 
to think it would be knocked down at that figure. A wealthy speculator by the 
name of Col. Johnson who heard the crying of the sale across the street in a barber- 
shop where he was undergoing a tonsorial operation, upon being informed what sale 
it was, started to his feet and exclaimed " wipe me off quick, old man, and I will go 
over and make a bid myself " He arrived just in time to offer a hundred dollars more. 
Mr. Ridgely raised his bid $1000. Johnson added another $100, and so it went on 
for some time, rather monotonously for Mr. Ridgely. Finally he inquired of the 
colonel if he was bidding for himself or some other party. He replied "for parties 
in St. Louis, who have agreed to pay me a commission. " Mr. Ridgely inquired, 
"would you not as soon receive a commission from Springfield as St. Louis?" "Cer- 
tainly — that is satisfactory," said Johnson; and he walked off. The road was accord- 
ingly struck off to Mr. Ridgely. The next day the colonel called upon him, and,, 
without a word being said except to pass politely the time of day, received a check 
for $1000, for his commission. 


road, had the State retained its ownership for a few years, would 
have sold for twenty times the amount realized from this sale. 
The railroad iron hardly brought enough to pay freightage; and 
the 42,000 acres of land were hurriedly disposed of to purchasers 
at almost nominal prices. There still remained the canal and 
the bank stock, while those counties who at the time thought 
they were grievously treated, had received the two hundred 
thousand dollars which fell to their lot as the price of their 
support of the system. 

That a body of law-makers could be found who could be 
induced to sanction a system so crude in inception, so extrava- 
gant in dimensions, so impracticable in details, and so chimerical 
in its aims, is only another illustration of the remark that 
"splendid abilities and the power of ingenious speculation are 
not statesmanship." Their action can not be ascribed to any 
lack of earnest conviction or genuine integrity of purpose, but 
rather to a headlong rashness due to a want of experience in 
affairs. Nevertheless, as a clock striking in advance of time 
only anticipates the hour, so did these legislators, by but a few 
years, antedate the progress which the State was ultimately to- 
make through the stimulus imparted to the development of its 
resources by railroads. In the selection of routes clear fore- 
thought and sound judgment were shown, all of the lines marked 
out having long since, through private enterprise, become im- 
portant and successful arteries of commerce. And it may be 
further remarked in defence of their gigantic scheme, that it is 
yet a moot question among political economists whether gov- 
ernmental ownership and operation of railroads, as in some 
states of continental Europe, is or is not the soundest policy. 

Illinois, however, was not alone in the financial straight to 
which she had been brought by the ill-considered legislation of 
amateur statesman. The other states of the northwest suffered 
equally from the same cause and on the same account; the debt 
of Ohio at this time being nearly $15,000,000, and that of 
Indiana $14,000,000, while that of Michigan, with a population 
of only 212,276, had reached the sum of $6,000,000. But, as 
will be seen hereafter, Illinois was more fortunate than the 
other states named, in the fact that the representatives who 
were among the most active in promoting her scheme of inter- 


nal improvements more than compensated for the bad results 
which flowed from it by securing to the State, largely through 
their own efforts, that magnificent grant of land for the Illinois 
Central, through the revenue derived from which railway the 
State has more than redressed all her losses. 

When the people awoke from their dream of fancied prosper- 
ity to find themselves staggering under the burdens of a 
colossal public debt — when they saw their hopes shattered and 
their resources likely to be drained by a necessary but unparal- 
leled taxation, they looked back upon their former infatuation 
with a sort of incredulous amazement. 

Having become involved in this difficulty, the question which 
next presented itself was how to extricate the State, with credit 
and honor, from the embarrassment incident to the creation of 
such an enormous debt, which will be considered in the proper 

Notwithstanding the fact that the interests of the people, 
tnaterial and political, were most intimately connected with 
questions of State policy, the election of 1840 was conducted 
wholly upon national issues. 

Following the historical line thus indicated, the attitude of 
political parties at this time, naturally, next claims attention. 

The opposition to the democracy having learned through 
•defeat the advantages consequent upon that partisan cohesion 
•resulting from intelligent organization, decided to emulate the 
•example of their party foes. Accordingly, at the suggestion of 
leading papers, the first whig State convention was convoked 
at Springfield on Monday, Oct. 7, 1839, to effect an organiza- 
tion and to name delegates to the national convention, already 
called to meet in December at Harrisburg. Delegates were 
present from thirty counties. Edward D. Baker was appointed 
t\\e pro-tem, and Wm. Moore the permanent president. A State 
central committee was appointed, composed of A. G. Henry, 
Richard F. Barrett, E. D. Baker, Abraham Lincoln, and J. F. 
Speed. The delegates selected to the national convention were 
George W. Ralph, Ezra Baker, Wm. B. Warren, Wm. A. Min- 
shall, and Walter L. Newberry of Cook. Presidental electors 
were named as follows: at large, Cyrus Walker and Buckner S. 
Morris; 1st district, Samuel D. Marshall; 2d district, Edwin B. 


Webb; 3d district, A. Lincoln. The convention was said to be 
"the largest and most intelligent ever convened in the State," 
and was conducted with great harmony and spirit. 

The whigs nominated Gen. Harrison as their candidate for 
president and John Tyler for vice-president, at Harrisburg, 
Dec. 4, 1839, but adopted no platform of principles whatever, 
making the general issue in the campaign opposition to the 
democratic administration. 

Martin Van Buren was