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THE STORV OF THE PRAIRIE STATE
THE STORY OF THE PRAIRIE STATE
Illustrated with 'Photograph*
THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY
THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY
FT. WAYNE PRINTING CO.
FT. WAYNE. IND.
Who gave me, when a child, my first interest
in the story of Illinois
I THE GEOGRAPHY OF ILLINOIS 1
II BEFORE THE FRENCH CAME 4
III THE PRIEST AND THE TRADER 8
IV LA SALLE AND TONTY 16
V UNDER THE FRENCH FLAG ....... 26
VI THE BRIEF RULE OF ENGLAND ... 33
VII THE AMERICAN CONQUEST 37
VIII TERRITORIAL YEARS 56
IX THE WAR OF 1812 63
X ILLINOIS BECOMES A STATE 70
XI E\RLY YEARS OF STATEHOOD 75
XII SLAVE OR FREE? 84
XIII A DISTINGUISHED GUEST 93
XIV THE CRAZE FOR IMPROVEMENTS 102
XV THE BLACK HAWK WAR ....... 110
XVI A PERMANENT CAPITAL 120
XVII THE ALTON TRAGEDY 127
XVIII RELIGION MIXED WITH POLITICS 134
XIX ILLINOIS IN THE MEXICAN WAR 145
XX THE CODE OF HONOR 149
XXI REAL IMPROVEMENTS . 157
XXII THE GROWTH OF A PARTY 169
XXIII RALLY ROUND THE FLAG ! 187
XXIV A SAD HOME-COMING 199
XXV THE CITY BY THE LAKE 202
XXVI EDUCATION, YESTERDAY AND TO-DAY .... 214
XXVII GREATNESS OF THE STATE 223
THE STORY OF THE PRAIRIE STATE
The Story of the Prairie State
THE GEOGRAPHY OF ILLINOIS
BEFORE you begin reading the story of Illinois,
make a picture in your mind of how the land
lies, with reference to the rest of the United States.
Perhaps you will need your geography to help you.
Very well, study the maps carefully. For it is im-
possible to read history without having geography
for your foundation.
You will find, then, that Illinois has a remarka-
ble location, more than almost any other state in
the Union. About half-way between the two oceans,
it is also half-way between north and south. Far
enough north to escape the enervating southern
heat, far enough south to escape the very severe
northern winter, its four seasons offer a variety of
You will notice, too, how many waterways Illi-
nois has the rivers that flow across it, plus those
forming its boundary lines, plus the great lake on
the northeast. Find on your map a state that has
no waterways on its boundary, find some that have
fewer than Illinois ; can you find one that has more ?
Notice how the rivers all flow southwest, but how
the land slopes so gradually that there are no rapids.
And see how nature made it easy to reach Illi-
nois, joining her to Virginia and the south by the
Ohio River, and by the Illinois, the link between the
lakes and the Mississippi, making easy connection
with the French settlements in Canada. From north
and east and south have come her people, giving
richness and variety to her story. Through all the
years, but especially in the early days, Illinois's many
waterways have been an important factor in her de-
velopment. You will find this, over and over, ,as
you read, so keep it well in mind.
Now, look at a map showing mines, and see where
Illinois stands. No gold and silver, but coal ! More
than three-fourths of the state has strata of this
black "imprisoned sunshine," made, the wise men
say, by forests of trees and tall ferns which for
centuries crystallized the sunbeams into stores of
future energy. The first coal found in the New
World was in Illinois, the first use made of it was
in Tonty's forge in the fort at Starved Rock. 1 Its
discovery was second in importance only to the find-
ing of the Mississippi Valley. Yet those early seek-
ers for mines were disappointed !
And over the coal, from ten to two hundred feet
deep, is the rich soil of the prairies. Treeless, level
or slightly rolling, extremely fertile, the surface of
Illinois has made its contribution to her greatness.
Rich, varied, unusual as are nature's gifts to the
state, they are equaled only by the romance of her
history. No other state in the Union has such a
background of color and adventure. No other has
given more to the story of the nation. Claimed by
Spain, explored and occupied by France, held by
England, conquered by the American forces, the
record is full of variety and interest. And it is not
a story merely the wonderful thing is that it is all
BEFORE THE FRENCH CAME
KNG after the voyages of Columbus, long after
Spain and France and England and Holland
had planted their colonies in America, the valley of
the Mississippi was an unknown region. Although
DeSoto's journey to the "father of waters" gave
Spain a claim to the Illinois country, and though this
claim was confirmed by the Pope, the Spanish did
nothing to explore or colonize it. Not until 1673,
when the first of the French arrived, does Illinois
history really begin.
But back of that, so far back that they are lost
in the dim past, stretch slender threads of her story.
For when the French came, they found here traces
of a vanished people. We call them the "mound
builders," from the peculiar mounds they raised.
Were they forts, or altars, or sites of towns, or
cemeteries, or signal stations ? No one can answer.
The mounds are scattered over Illinois, along the
principal waterways. By the shore of Lake Mich-
igan, along the bluffs of the Mississippi, near the
Ohio and Rock and Wabash Rivers, you can see to-
BEFORE THE FRENCH CAME 5
day the remnants of their building. 1 And curious
they are some as large as seven hundred feet, some
made of soil brought from miles away, so numerous
they hint at an enormous number of workmen em-
The very little we know of these people we learn
from the mounds themselves, and from the things
found in them flint spades and hoes, pottery,
woven cloth, polished stone implements, and others
of thin, hammered copper, silver, or iron, all show-
ing a higher stage of development than the Indians
had reached, yet far behind the civilization of Cen-
tral America. 2
But it is all so long ago that we can but guess at
their history, and only geological words go far
enough back to tell it.
Beside these traces of a prehistoric people, the
first comers found Indians here, belonging to the
Algonquin family. The Illinois were five tribes in
a federation Tamaroas, Michigamies, Kaskaskias,
Cahokias and Peorias like the famous Five Na-
tions in New York State, but not so well organized. 3
The name of state and river comes from "Illini,"
as they called themselves, with a French ending.
The Indians wandered over the prairies, living by
hunting and fishing and a most primitive agriculture.
Without knowing the use of iron, without domestic
animals, without a written language, they were sav-
ages, and fighting was their principal occupation.
For all the years they lived here, their story is con-
stant warfare war that was cruel and cowardly
and causeless, in which men and women and children
And if you argue that the Europeans had no right
to take away the Indians' land, expelling the red men
from their hunting grounds, for their own selfish
advancement, the answer is contained in just those
words. For the Indians, they were hunting grounds
and nothing more. For the white men they are per-
manent fields of grain, sites for great cities, for
manufacturing and mining, providing a livelihood
for thousands and even millions of people, where
only a few hundred Indians could live. They make
a higher civilization possible, a greater blessing to
humanity, a greater good to the greatest number.
And whatever you may say of the white man's
unfairness and injustice to the red, not an incident
in their history relates such treatment as one Indian
tribe frequently gave to another. La Salle tells of
an Iroquois invasion into Illinois, and the cruel
death of hundreds of the Illinois tribes. And the
French accounts show that in fifty-seven years their
fighting men were reduced from twelve thousand
to only six hundred warriors. 4
Our Indian history is picture after picture of
savage war between the Illinois federation and the
Cahokia, or "Monk's Mound," Madison Co., 111.
BEFORE THE FRENCH CAME 7
other tribes living in the state. It is a story of deso-
lation and extermination, for their aim was always
to waste and destroy, not to build up. Nearly two
hundred years passed, after the coming of the
French, before the Indians were finally banished
THE PRIEST AND THE TRADER
YOU have learned, in your study of United
States history, of the coming of the French to
America; how they based their claim on the voyage
of Verrazani, how Cartier started a first settlement
in Canada, how Champlain founded Quebec and
made journeys of discovery to the south and west
for a thousand miles. Their first knowledge of
Illinois was when Champlain heard from the Lake
Huron Indians of a people living still farther west,
"a nation where there is a quantity of buffalo," and
so he described the prairie country on his map. 1
The French settlements reached out toward the
southwest, up the St. Lawrence and along the Great
Lakes. Little by little they learned the geography
of this country. Traders and priests frequently
sent back Indian reports of a great water beyond,
hinting of an ocean not far away, or a river running
into some western sea. It was to settle this question
that the governor in Montreal sent Marquette and
Joliet on a trip of exploration, whose chief object,
THE PRIEST AND THE TRADER 9
wrote the Jesuit superior-general in Canada, "was
to know in what sea emptied the great river of which
the Indians tell so many stories.'*' 2 Their aim was
the very same that had sent Columbus, nearly two
centuries before, across the Atlantic to find a water
route to India. Their journey was, like his, unsuc-
cessful, but they did find something fully as impor-
Born in Quebec, Louis Joliet was a fur-trader.
In a trip to the copper mines near Lake Superior,
he had won a reputation for courage and skill. He
had the prudence necessary for a dangerous voyage,
the courage to fear nothing where there was every-
thing to fear. He had enterprise, boldness, deter-
mination. He knew several Indian languages.
There was not a man in Canada better fitted to un-
dertake a great discovery. 3
Joliet was already acquainted with the good priest,
Jacques Marquette, who for five years had been a
missionary on the lakes. The Illinois tribes had vis-
ited his mission station in 1670, telling of the rich-
ness of their country, making him eager to visit it,
to open the way for Christianity.
Marquette, with face thin and careworn, eyes deep
set, dressed in a rusty black robe, with crucifix and
rosary, was a religious enthusiast, fired with zeal.
Joliet, broad-shouldered, alert, with intelligent face
and energetic gesture, was a great contrast. The
Jesuit's one thought, the salvation of souls; the
trader's ambition, to win glory for himself and for
France they made a good team, one supplementing
the other. 4
"My companion," said Marquette to the Indians,
"is an envoy of France to discover new countries,
and I am an ambassador from God to enlighten them
with the gospel."
The winter of 1672 Joliet spent in the mission
station at Mackinac, and the two friends completed
their plans for the journey.
"As we were going to seek unknown countries,"
wrote the priest, in a report to his superior, "we took
all possible precautions that, if our enterprise was
hazardous, it should not be foolhardy; for this rea-
son we gathered all possible information from In-
dians who had frequented those parts, and even from
their accounts traced a map of all the new country,
marking down the rivers on which we were to sail,
the names of the nations and places through which
we were to pass, the course of the great river, and
what direction we should take when we got to it.
"We were not long in preparing our outfit, al-
though we were embarking on a voyage the duration
of which we could not foresee. Indian corn, with
some dried meat, was our whole stock of provisions.
With this we set out in two bark canoes, M. Jollyet,
myself, and five men, firmly resolved to do all and
suffer all for so glorious an enterprise." 5
THE PRIEST AND THE TRADER 11
Starting in May, crossing the narrow portage
from the Fox River, they paddled down the Wiscon-
sin and "safely entered the Mississippi on the 17th
of June, with a joy that I can not express." Hoist-
ing the sails on their canoes, they floated down the
"father of waters," between the "broad plains of
Illinois and Iowa, all garlanded with majestic for-
ests and chequered with illimitable prairies and
"At last, on the 25th of June, we perceived foot-
prints of men by the water-side, and a beaten path
entering a beautiful prairie. . . . We stopped to
examine it, and concluding that it was a path lead-
ing to some Indian village, we resolved to go and
reconnoitre. . . . M. Jollyet and I ... fol-
lowed the little path in silence, and having advanced
about two leagues, we discovered a village on the
banks of the river. . . . Then, indeed, we recom-
mended ourselves to God, with all our hearts; and,
having implored His help, we passed on undiscov-
ered, and came so near that we even heard the
Indians talking. We then deemed it time to an-
nounce ourselves, as we did by a cry. . . . The
Indians rushed out of their cabins, and having
probably recognized us as French, especially seeing
a black gown, . . . they deputed four old men
to come and speak with us. ... I ... asked
them who they were ; they answered that they were
Ilini, and, in token of peace, they presented their
pipes to smoke."
Marquette's report goes on to tell of their enter-
tainment in that village, and how the chief
"begged us, on behalf of his whole nation, not to
proceed further, on account of the great dangers to
which we exposed ourselves.
"I replied that I did not fear death/ and that I
esteemed no happiness greater than that of losing
my life for the glory of Him who made all. But
this those poor people could not understand."
Before they left the Indians
"made us a present, an all-mysterious calumet, . . .
than which there is nothing among them more mys-
terious or more esteemed. Men do not pay to the
crowns and sceptres of kings the honor they pay to
it ; it seems to be the god of peace and war. . . .
Carry it about you and show it, and you can march
fearlessly amid enemies. . . . Hence the Ilinois
gave me one, to serve as my safeguard amid all the
nations that I had to pass on my voyage."
South they went, past the painted bird of Piasa,
past the dangerous sweep of the Missouri, where it
joins its yellow stream to the Mississippi, the peace
pipe about Marquette's neck probably giving them
more protection than his cross. And, after a month's
journey down the Mississippi, satisfied from Indian
accounts and their own observations that it flowed
into the Gulf of Mexico, and fearing they might
THE PRIEST AND THE TRADER 13
fall into the hands of the Spaniards if they reached
the sea, they decided to return.
The priest became ill and lay helpless in the bot-
tom of the canoe for weeks, while the little party
slowly made their way against the current. Of spe-
cial interest is their route north, for they left the
Mississippi and went up the quiet Illinois, the In-
dians telling them this was a shorter route and
would bring them on their way with little trouble.
"We had seen nothing like this river," writes
Marquette, "for the fertility of the land, its prairies,
woods, wild cattle, stag, deer, . . . ducks, par-
rots, and even beaver; its many lakes and rivers."
By way of Chicago and Lake Michigan, they re-
turned to Green Bay in September, without losing
a man or receiving any hurt or injury whatever.
Joliet, returning to Canada the next spring, was
within sight of Montreal when his canoe was upset
in the rapids, and his carefully drawn map and full
report, telling all that was curious and interesting in
their voyage, was lost. Marquette thus becomes the
historian of the French discovery of the Mississippi,
and the report he wrote from the mission station in
Wisconsin is Illinois's first historic document. He
was more interested in converting the savages than
in explorations, so that his journal is brief, but cor-
rect and reliable. 8
The French were astonished at the magnitude of
their discoveries the soil and its products, the buf-
falo, the beauty of the country. And we are equally
astonished at this journey a four months' trip in
frail canoes, covering twenty-five hundred miles,
discovering the greatest valley in the world.
Marquette remained at the Green Bay mission
for a year, regaining his strength after so many
hardships, and then started south, to keep his prom-
ise and establish a mission among the Illinois tribes.
His party arrived at the site of Chicago early in
December, describing it as "a snow-covered prairie
and an ice-bound river." 7 The priest being ill again,
they determined to spend the winter there, and built
a rude hut. Though it was cold and bleak, game
was plentiful, and some friendly Indians were en-
camped near by.
By the last of March Marquette was able to travel
to Kaskaskia, where he was received as an angel
from Heaven. Five hundred chiefs and old men and
fifteen hundred youths came to the great council
where he said mass and took possession of the land
in the name of Christ. He named the mission "the
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin," re-
deeming his vow at the beginning of his voyage
with Joliet. The mission kept this name, even when
the village was moved south nearly to the mouth
of the Kaskaskia River. And the little church and
THE PRIEST AND THE TRADER 15
parish in New Kaskaskia are to-day called Immacu-
late Conception. 8
Very ill, Marquette had to leave in a few months,
and died on the way to Canada. His was a lovely
character, and his self-sacrifice endeared him to
every one. He gave himself up entirely to the most
severe and dangerous service, not with complaints,
but with the greatest pleasure. Among all the de-
vout missionaries he has no equal for piety, for holi-
ness of purpose, for the great tasks he performed.
If you would know more about him, read his life,
by Thwaites, or chapter five in Parkman's Discov-
ery of the Great West. Read Marquette's own re-
ports, which you will find translated in Breese's
Early History of Illinois, and in Shea's Discovery
and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley; part of
Shea's translation is reprinted in the first volume
of the collections of the Illinois State Historical
Library. You will like especially Marquette's de-
scription of the buffalo, of their stay in the Illinois
village, and his unfinished letter telling of his last
visit to these tribes, the end of the story written
by one of the French priests who accompanied him.
LA SALLE AND TONTY
THE news of this discovery set all Canada on
fire, and France, too, caught the fever. Most
important of the men suddenly enthusiastic for
western enterprise was Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la
Salle. The son of wealthy Rouen parents, he had
joined a brother in Montreal and become a fur-
trader. He was the first to see how important Mar-
quette's discovery was, and to make the French gov-
ernment realize it and give him authority to carry
out his plan. This was no less than to extend the
French empire in America into the southwest, to
explore the Mississippi, open the country to French
trade, and make the river a highway for the world's
Something of La Salle's difficulties you already
know : how the king gave him a title, a grant of land,
command of the forts which he might erect, but
no funds at all ; how, when Fort Frontenac was fin-
ished, he built a vessel of forty tons, with great
white sails and the figurehead of a griffin ; how from
his trading-post at Mackinac he sent the Griffin east
LA SALLE AND TONTY 17
across Lake Ontario, with a rich cargo of furs; and
how then his little party started south.
Thirty men and three priests it was certainly
not a military expedition ! The religious leader was
the ambitious Father Hennepin, more explorer than
priest. The lieutenant was Henri de Tonty, an
Italian, who had lost one hand in a battle in Sicily,
and was called by the Indians "the man with the
iron hand." They might well have named the leader,
La Salle, him of the iron will ; for his courage was
never daunted, no matter what disasters and mis-
fortunes came to him. Only such a character could
have made his achievements possible.
Without waiting for news of the boat's safe ar-
rival, they went up the St. Joe, crossed the portage,
down the Kankakee and into Illinois. It was now
December, and their provisions were very low.
Reaching an Indian village near Ottawa, they were
disheartened to find it deserted, the red men away
on their winter hunt. But they did find some corn,
stored for seed in the spring, and took what they
Farther down the river they overtook the Illinois
tribes, paid for the corn with axes, and received
permission to build a fort, promising help against
the Iroquois. The fort was named Crevecoeur, in
English "broken heart." And many writers have
thought La Salle chose it because of his disappoint-
ments and difficulties. Indeed, Father Hennepin
"We named it the fort of Crevecoeur, because
of the desertion of our men, and the other difficulties
we labored under had almost broke our hearts." 2
And certainly La Salle had every reason to be
heavy-hearted. For his little group was far in ad-
vance of any of the French settlements; the Indians
were at best uncertain friends; two of his carpen-
ters had deserted; his men threatened to mutiny,
and had tried to poison him; most of all, if the
Griffin were really lost, it meant financial ruin.
Yet, if La Salle were utterly discouraged and
heart-broken, would he have told his men? What
they needed was encouragement. Crevecceur may
sound romantic, but there must be some explana-
tion; and recent study has perhaps supplied it. A
few years before, the army of Louis XIV had cap-
tured a fort in the Netherlands called Crevecceur,
and the name may have been a compliment to the
king. This is the more credible, since we know now
that Tonty, who was for years a French soldier,
had taken part in the capture of the Dutch fort. 3
The American Crevecceur was nearly finished,
as was the boat they were building, when La Salle
divided his men. Father Hennepin, who could,
LA SALLE AND TONTY 19
thought the leader, do more good by exploring than
by preaching, was sent down the Illinois to its
mouth, and then up the Mississippi, in the hope that
it led west to India. The whole country seemed
so fine and pleasant that the priest says one might
justly call it "the delight of America."
At the falls of St. Anthony he and his two men
were taken prisoners by the Sioux Indians, detained
several months, and finally reached Canada. Like
Marquette, Hennepin wrote about his adventures,
but some of his accounts are not altogether reliable,
though they reached over twenty editions, in six
languages. "He writes of what he saw in places
where he never was," says a contemporary; "the
name of honor they gave him there (in Canada)
is the great liar."*
The second division was to return to Canada,
"All the wood had been prepared to finish the bark,
but we had neither rigging nor sails nor iron
enough," writes Tonty. "La Salle determined in
this extremity not to wait longer, but to proceed on
foot to Fort Frontenac, five hundred leagues away,
for the necessary equipment. The ground was still
covered with snow. His outfit must contain a blan-
ket, a kettle, an axe, a gun, powder and lead and
dressed skins for shoes (our French shoes being of
no use in these western countries). He must push
through bushes, walk in marshes and melting snow,
sometimes waist high for whole days, sometime
even with nothing to eat, because he must needs d<
pend for subsistence on what he might shoot an
drink only the water he might find on the wa;
Besides this he was constantly exposed to four c
five Indian nations making war on each other."
And later Tonty wrote, from his own experience
"There is no pleasure in meeting warriors o
one's road, especially when they have been unsu<
In spite of the severe weather, in spite of ston
and famine and sickness, they arrived safely. Th
Griffin had not been heard from. La Salle straigh
ened out his financial affairs, got a new outfit tc
gether, enlisted twenty-five men, and again set 01
Meantime Tonty, left at Crevecoeur with "thre
honest men and a dozen plotting knaves," was ha-\
ing serious troubles. Ten of his followers desertec
looted the magazine, took what food they coul
carry, and cast the rest into the river. Thrown o
the charity of the Indians, Tonty's little party too
refuge in their village for six months. Here th
Illinois Indians were attacked by their old enenr
the Iroquois. The French tried their best to mat;
a truce between them, the Illinois tribes retreate
UNIVERSITY OF ILUMC'S
LA SALLE AND TONTY 21
to the south, and Tonty, forced to leave, returned
So when La Salle arrived he found the fort ab-
solutely deserted. The savage Iroquois, the mo-
ment the French had gone, devastated the village,
burned the lodges, and left the ground strewn with
corpses of women and children. La Salle searched
to see if any Frenchmen were there, turning over
body after body, relieved to find no trace of them. 6
Hoping to find them prisoners, he followed the
Indians down the Illinois River to the Mississippi,
searching for loyal Tonty. There his men proposed
going on down the great fiver, but he must find
his friends first ; so they went north again, and after
fourteen months' separation La Salle met his lieu-
"Any one else except him," wrote one of the
priests, "would have abandoned the enterprise, but
he, with a firmness and constancy which never had
its equal, was more resolved than ever to push for-
ward his work." 7
The two friends had hardly greeted each other be-
fore they were planning another expedition ; and in
1682 La Salle and Tonty finally explored the Mis-
sissippi clear to the sea. Many were their adven-
tures on the way, many the strange tribes they met.
Holding up the calumet, the Italian approached one
group, who joined their hands in token of friend-
"But I, who had but one hand, could only tell
my men do the same in response."
At the mouth of the Mississippi, with imposing
ceremony, they erected a column and a cross, with
the arms of France, and took possession of the
country, calling it Louisiana. This valley was an
empire far larger than France had in Europe, and
extended her American boundary from Niagara to
the gulf. La Salle saw at once its great resources
and dreamed of its future. He conceived the idea
of a New France, controlling the St. Lawrence, the
chain of lakes and the Mississippi Valley. He
planned a chain of military stations, which should
be centers for trade and colonizing, and should hem
the English in along the Atlantic coast. He himself
built six of these posts, and his far-seeing plan be-
came the policy of the French kings, till there were
sixty forts whose possession determined the history
of America. 8
One of these posts, said La Salle, must be in the
Illinois country, to prevent Iroquois raids. On their
way north from the Gulf of Mexico, Tonty was
left to finish fortifying the great rock on the Illi-
nois River, which nature had begun. Impregnable
on three sides, the fourth could be approached only
LA SALLE AND TONTY 23
by a narrow winding path. Here the French made
additional palisades, felling trees and dragging them
up the steep path with incredible labor. Almost like
an eagle's nest, the fort was built on the summit and
named St. Louis du Rocher. 9
In the valley far below gathered the Indians,
nearly fourteen thousand of them. La Salle's plan
was to protect them, teach them agriculture and
Christianity, and sell them French goods in ex-
change for their furs. As governor of the country,
Tonty held this vast group together, kept his garri-
son busy and contented, and exerted unbounded in-
fluence over the Indians.
Priests, traders, even the Illinois tribes, when the
Iroquois appeared, found the fort a place of refuge
in the wilderness. But after twenty years a jealous
governor in Canada took away Tonty's position, the
great rock became a trading-post, and later was
burned by the Indians. The record of the "Jesuit
Relations" says that Tonty died of yellow fever, at
Biloxi, in 1704. 10 But the Indian legend is that in
the summer of 1718 Tonty's canoe once more ar-
rived at Fort St. Louis, on a sad errand, and here
died the brave Italian of the iron hand and loyal
And there is another tradition of this great rock,
telling the story of a group of Illinois Indians who
took refuge here, hoping to escape the general
slaughter that followed Pontiac's death. The sav-
age enemy they easily kept at bay, but hunger and
thirst defeated them. With true Indian fortitude
they lay down to die, and for years afterward their
bones whitened the summit of the rock. And in
memory of this tragedy the site of Tonty's fort is
called, not St. Louis, but Starved Rock.
You remember the sad ending of La Salle's ad-
ventures? How he sailed from France to form a
settlement at the mouth of the Mississippi, that Illi-
nois might have a direct connection with the West
Indies and Europe; how one ship went down in a
storm, and one was captured by the Spanish; how
by accident they went too far west and landed in
Texas ; and how the dauntless leader, starting over-
land to get help in Illinois or Canada, was murdered
by one of his jealous men?
La Salle was a busy, restless spirit, a man of in-
domitable energy, untiring in his efforts to promote
the interests of France. He was not a trader nor
a priest, but an empire builder, seeing beyond his
time the future of a continent. He was, writes
Tonty, "one of the greatest men of the age, of
wonderful ability, and capable of accomplishing any
Would you like to read more of these two
friends? Parkman's Discovery of the Great West
LA SALLE AND TONTY 25
tells their story, much of it translated from old
French reports, and written in a most fascinating
style. And you will find, in the first volume of the
Illinois Historical Collections, Hennepin's narrative
in English, and a memoir of Tonty, quaintly told
and full of details.
You'd rather have a real story? Then read the
Man with the' Iron Hand, by Parish, and Gather-
wood's Story of Tonty, where La Salle and his little
niece, Father Hennepin and Tonty are the charac-
ters at Fort Frontenac and Starved Rock.
UNDER THE FRENCH FLAG
UNLIKE most European colonies, which began
with forts and palisades, the French frontier
settlements were first a group of Indian lodges, then
missionary stations with chapels, then trading-posts
with store houses, and finally isolated villages. Vag-
abond wanderers, voyageurs, as the skilled river
boatmen were called, and the forest outlaws, cou-
reurs de bois, mingling with soldiers, priests and
traders, formed a picturesque population. Little by
little farmers came, and permanent settlements
Hunting and fishing supplied a living, the soil
was very fertile, the climate mild and healthful.
Best of all, the French were always on friendly
terms with the Indians. In comparison with the
English colonies, the early settlements in Illinois had
few difficulties. There were no taxes to be paid,
no government to be supported, the priests were the
leaders of the people.
But France was having constant war in Europe
and could not send supplies or men to this distant
UNDER THE FRENCH FLAG 27
province. So in 1712 the king granted to one of
his counselors, Antoine Crozat, the commerce of
Louisiana, which included Illinois. He was to
search for mines, paying to the crown a fifth of the
gold and silver and pearls he found, and a tenth
of any other minerals. 1 For the French, like Eng-
lishmen and Spaniards, believed the country to be
For four years Crozat's men dug and bored and
prospected, finding only the lead mines in Missouri,
opposite Kaskaskia. Clearly gold and silver were
not here, and the grant was soon surrendered to
Louisiana was then given to the Company of the
West, part of John Law's marvelous credit scheme
to rebuild the finances of France. 2 At the mouth
of the Mississippi they founded the city of New
Orleans. To protect the Illinois settlements they
built Fort Chartres, a few miles above Kaskaskia.
Where the government's notes had been worth
only twenty-two per cent., Law's shares were soon
selling for thirteen hundred, for all France went
crazy over his bank. The great fortunes made were
quickly lost, .for the scheme was a bubble that burst.
The company was wrecked, Louisiana reverted to
the crown, and the king made a new government
for this province, separate from Canada, with Illi-
nois one of its districts. For the first time men
could secure titles to the lands they had held only
at the sufferance of the Indians. 3
From Law's company the Illinois settlements re-
ceived a new impulse. New Orleans now offered
a market for all their surplus products. Going in
convoys for safety, the boats carried flour, buffalo
meat and venison, lead from the mines, furs and
hides, and brought back in exchange rice, sugar, and
cloth from Europe.
From 1740 to 1750 was the most prosperous dec-
ade, with perhaps a thousand people living in the
five French villages. Each settlement had a com-
mon where all the cattle and horses were pastured,
and each family kept up its part of the fencing.
The houses were one story high, made of large tim-
bers, the cracks filled up with mortar, and white-
washed inside and out. They were an, honest, de-
vout people, and their story has few exciting events.
So far from Europe, so isolated from other settle-
ments in America, there is little to tell save as Euro-
pean history touches Illinois.
Do you remember how James II, driven from his
English throne in 1688, fled to France, and Louis
XIV took up arms in his defense, and began a se-
ries of wars between the two countries? They are
named for the English rulers, William, Anne, and
George. You have studied in United States history
the campaigns in Canada and along the Atlantic
UNDER THE FRENCH FLAG 29
coast. Both nations recognized that distant posses-
sions would be easy points of attack. The French
realized then, if not before, the importance of their
missions in the west, builded better than the priests
knew, holding a long frontier for France, keeping
the Indians as their allies.
"God alone could have saved Canada this year,"
wrote one governor-general. "But for the missions
at the west, Illinois would have been abandoned, the
fort of Mackinaw would have been lost, and a gen-
eral rising among the natives, have completed the
ruin of New France." 4 And one of his successors,
years later, wrote to Paris: "The little colony of
Illinois ought not to be left to perish. The king
must sacrifice for its support. The principal ad-
vantage of the country is its extreme productiveness,
and its connection with Canada and Louisiana must
be maintained." 5
But war or peace in Europe did not touch Illinois
until the fourth contest began. For by 1750 Illinois
was no longer isolated. Ever east had gone the line
of French forts Niagara, Crown Point and Ticon-
deroga, Vincennes, Massac on the Ohio, Duquesne,
until they reached the eastern part of the Ohio Val-
ley just as the English were crossing the Alleghanies
from the Atlantic slope. The French gave warn-
ing that their territory was being taken. The Ohio
Company sent George Washington to warn the
French off English ground; and with his building
and surrender of Fort Necessity the war was on.
In preparation for this conflict the French rebuilt
Fort Chartres, in Illinois, spending nearly a million
dollars on a great stone fortification which they
proudly called "the Gibraltar of the west." 6 Indeed,
an English engineer described it as "the most com-
modious and best built fort in North America."
But it saw no fighting; the battles were all in Can-
ada, south of the lakes, and at the most eastern of
the frontier posts.
Remember, however, that Illinois was French and
not English, and that soldiers from Fort Chartres
were fighting, not with Braddock and Wolfe and
Washington, but under French generals. French
troops from Illinois watched "Monsieur de Wach-
enston" capitulate at Fort Necessity, and march back
to Virginia on the fourth of July. They helped in
the clever ambush that resulted in Braddock' s de-
feat. They captured a fort in Pennsylvania. They
sent men and provisions to Duquesne. Many of
them were taken prisoners at Fort Niagara. They
were under Montcalm at Quebec, when both gener-
als lost their lives in the battle that decided the fu-
ture of a continent. 7
And when peace was declared, in 1763, Canada
and Louisiana east of the Mississippi were surren-
dered to the English. For ninety years the French
UNDER THE FRENCH FLAG 31
had labored in Illinois, with never a lack of volun-
teers, when there fell some trader, explorer, or sol-
dier of the cross. Yet they left no permanent im-
press on the country.
"Our life is passed," said a priest, describing his
duties, "in rambling through thick woods, in climb-
ing over hills, in paddling the canoe across lakes and
rivers, to catch a poor savage who flies from us,
and whom we can neither tame by teachings nor
caresses." 8 And years later another sorrowfully
summed up his labors: "I can not say that my
little efforts produced fruit. With regard to these
nations, perhaps some one by a secret effort of grace
has profited; this God only knows." 9
All their years of sacrifice and toil came to
naught, for the Indians never accepted Christianity.
The Jesuits did, it is true, accumulate some prop-
erty, for when they were expelled from France and
French possessions, the commandant at Fort Char-
tres seized their mills for corn and planks, their
stone church and chapel, a large stone house, a brew-
ery, a farm of two hundred acres, and great herds
of cattle and horses.
Like their missionaries, the French settlers ac-
complished little of value. To-day the fact of their
occupancy of Illinois is scarcely more than a dream.
For they were not successful colonizers and home
builders, forming self-governing communities. Be-
neath the waters of the Mississippi their villages
disappeared, or through the gradual desertion of
their people. They were a wedge in the wilderness,
a foundation for the Americans. But all that France
did in Illinois is past history; there is no present.
Old Kaskaskia, by Catherwood, is an interesting
story of this French settlement. And you will want
to read the melancholy tale of the heroic D'Arta-
guette, commandant at Fort Chartres in the seven-
teen thirties (this you will find in the Historical
Library volume for 1905).
THE BRIEF RULE OF ENGLAND
IN succeeding to power in 1763 England soon
discovered that she had not succeeded to the
French influence over the Indians. The French had
something which adapted them peculiarly to the hab-
its and feelings of the red men, something which the
English did not have and never learned.
"When the French came hither, they came and
kissed us," said an old chief; "they called us chil-
dren, and we found them fathers ; we lived like chil-
dren in the same lodge."
Not so the English. When they obtained the
country dissatisfaction showed immediately among
the western tribes. "The conduct of the French
never gave rise to suspicion," commented Pontiac,
"the conduct of the English never gave rest to it."
So he planned to drive the "dogs in red clothes"
into the sea, by uniting the tribes along the whole
frontier, more than a thousand miles, into a con-
You remember how the Indians determined to
"shut up the way/' by attacking all the British posts
on the same day; and how, by a ball game and other
tricks, they did win eleven forts, taking the English
wholly by surprise? Their plan seemed near suc-
cess when word came to Detroit that peace was
made between French and English, and the red men
would be given no more ammunition.
"Our great father," said the French commandant
at Fort Chartres, "can do no more for his red chil-
dren; he is beyond the sea and can not hear their
voices; you must make peace with the English." 2
Gradually Pontiac's eighteen tribes deserted, he
abandoned Detroit and went to Illinois, where he
was murdered by a vagabond Indian, bribed with a
barrel of whisky. But for two years he was vir-
tually the ruler in the western country, and England
made several vain attempts to take possession of
Illinois. Her officers were waylaid, taken prisoner,
or killed; the Indians continued to "shut up the
Not until October, 1765, did a company of kilted
Highlanders arrive at Fort Chartres. The twenty-
one French soldiers formally surrendered the "Gi-
braltar of the west." The white flag of France,
with the three lilies, came down, and in its place
was the red cross of St. George.
Illinois was now an English colony, part of the
THE BRIEF RULE OF ENGLAND 35
province of Quebec, governed by George III. Un-
der orders from General Gage, commander-in-chief
of all the British forces in America, the same Gen-
eral Gage who was afterward in Boston, a royal
proclamation was read at Kaskaskia, promising re-
ligious freedom to the French, who were Roman
Catholics. 3 Even with this assurance the inhabi-
tants so dreaded English rule that fully a third of
.them left their homes, crossing to the Spanish at
St. Louis or going down the river to New Orleans.
So the newcomers did no more than keep the popu-
A small English garrison was stationed at Fort
Chartres. When the Mississippi, suddenly rising
one spring, washed away one side of the stone fort,
the troops were moved to Kaskaskia, where they
surrounded the old Jesuit building with a stockade
and called it Fort Gage. 4
The thirteen years of British rule in Illinois are
singularly eventless, especially when you remember
the remarkable happenings of these years along the
coast. For during this time Parliament was tax-
ing the colonies without giving them representation.
The great debt following the French wars was in-
curred, said the English, for your defense, and you
must help pay.
Not in that way, said the colonies. The tax on
tea, the Boston party, the shots fired at Lexington,
the battle of Bunker Hill, brought on the Revolu-
tionary War. But, just as during the French wars,
Illinois was far away from the actual fighting.
THE AMERICAN CONQUEST
WHILE the thirteen colonies were righting the
armies of George III the first settlements
were being made on the frontier. From Virginia
and North Carolina the newcomers advanced into
Kentucky to take possession of the land.
Immediately there was trouble with the Indians.
Stirred up by the English traders and by Hamilton,
the governor at Detroit, known as "the hair-buying
general," because he paid in advance for scalps, the
red men began their attacks. And the Americans
banded together to defend their homes.
One of the leaders was a young Virginian, who,
like Washington, was a backwoods surveyor. Placed
at the head of Kentucky's militia, George Rogers
Clark was planning how best the settlements could
be defended. The Indian raids he traced directly
back to the English, who were furnishing guns and
ammunition to the savages, from Kaskaskia, Vin-
cennes and Detroit. Taking these posts from the
British, he determined, was the one possible way of
ending these barbarous attacks.
That Clark was right in thinking the English were
the cause of the whole trouble we know now, posi-
tively, from many letters found in the British rec-
ords in Canada. This is a sample:
"It is the King's command," the colonial secretary
at London wrote to the governor-general at Quebec,
"that you direct Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton of
Detroit to assemble as many of the Indians of his
district as he conveniently can, and placing a proper
person at their head to ... employ them in
making a diversion and exciting alarm on the fron-
tiers of Virginia and Pennsylvania." 1
And Hamilton, while marching from Detroit to
Vincennes, writes back to Quebec :
"It will be practicable to establish a post and build
a fort . . . but for this, aids of men and mer-
chandise will be necessary, to support what may be
undertaken and to keep up the good disposition of
the Indians. Those of this nation have promised
to raise all their warriors next spring, and to spread
themselves in all directions on the frontier." 2
In his long surveying trips Clark had become well
acquainted with the various settlements west of the
Alleghanies. He was the first to appreciate the ad-
vantages of extending the colonies' western bound-
ary to the Mississippi. Like La Salle, he planned
for the future.
THE AMERICAN CONQUEST 39
In the summer of 1777 he sent two spies to the
forts on the Wabash and the Illinois; and they re-
ported to him that the militia were well organized,
but the English kept a loose guard, and though the
French had been told that the Kentuckians were
more cruel than the Indians, many of them were
plainly in sympathy with the colonies.
Back to Virginia hastened Clark, to lay his plan
before the governor, Patrick Henry. The Ameri-
cans had just won the battle of Saratoga, and Bur-
goyne's surrender made the suggestion for a vigor-
ous campaign in the west especially opportune. The
scheme, bold and well thought out, was enthusias-
tically received, when Clark put it before the gov-
ernor and his advisers. They saw its vast possibil-
ities, as well as its enormous difficulties.
"What will you do," asked Thomas Jefferson, "in
case you are defeated?"
"Cross the Mississippi," came the prompt reply,
"and seek the protection of the Spaniards!" 3
And with the foresight which later marked his
purchase of Louisiana, Jefferson said to Clark that
his campaign "would, if successful, have an impor-
tant bearing ultimately in establishing the north-
western boundary." 4
The plan was regarded as extremely hazardous;
its one chance of success, absolute secrecy; so the
legislature was asked to send an expedition for the
defense of Kentucky. And true that was Clark's
primary object was to end the Indian raids !
Virginia, using her every energy to help Wash-
ington, gave what aid she could twelve hundred
pounds in paper money, far below par ; authority to
raise seven companies, of fifty men each, wherever
Clark could find them ; and a promise to each soldier
of three hundred acres of land in the conquered ter-
But the secrecy made it difficult to find the seven
companies. And it was not until May that Clark's
boats, with less than two hundred men, started west
from Fort Pitt. The usual route to Kaskaskia was,
of course, all the way by water, down the Ohio and
up the Mississippi. But there must be no advance
news of their coming. Learning that French and
Indian scouts were watching the river, Clark deter-
mined to march overland.
Two things occurred to make them more certain
of success. A letter came from the east with the
good news that France had joined with the colonies
in their war against England, and was sending her
fleet and an army. This would make a favorable im-
pression on the French inhabitants, thought Clark,
and also on the Indians.
Then they met some hunters who had lately been
at Kaskaskia. All that the spies had reported, a
THE AMERICAN CONQUEST 41
year before, they confirmed, adding, writes the
leader in his journal :
"that if they received timely notice of us, they
would collect and give us a warm reception, as they
were taught to harbor a most horrid idea of the bar-
barity of Rebels, especially the Virginians; but that
if we could surprise the place, which they were in
hopes we might, they made no doubt of our being
able to do as we pleased."
"No part of their information pleased me more,"
Clark goes on, "than that of the inhabitants view-
ing us as more savage than their neighbors, the In-
dians. I was determined to improve upon this, if
I was fortunate enough to get them into my pos-
session ; as 1 conceived the greater the shock I could
give them at first, the more sensibly would they feel
my lenity, and become more valuable friends." 6
With these hunters as guides the Virginians
struck across country, a distance of a hundred and
twenty miles from Fort Massac, where the Amer-
ican flag was first unfurled in Illinois, to "the an-
cient French village of Kaskaskia." It was not
an easy journey at best, for it was a wild region,
with streams to be forded and many swamps. With
great caution they pushed through the forest and
over "those level plains that is frequent through-
out this extensive country, . . . much afraid
of being discovered in these meadows, as we might
be seen in many places for several miles." 7 Secrecy
was so important that Clark was afraid to send out
hunting parties in search of game, lest they be dis-
Such an army as they were! They had left be-
hind all unnecessary baggage, and traveled as light
as Indians. They had no uniforms other than the
fringed hunting shirt, homespun trousers, and moc-
casins which made the usual dress of the backwoods-
man. Their clothes were torn and soiled from the
rough usage given them. Their beards were three
weeks long. The officers could not be distinguished
from their men !
On the afternoon of the fourth of July they
reached the Kaskaskia River, three miles from the
town. Hiding in the woods till dusk, they took pos-
session of a farmhouse and learned from the family
that the day before the soldiers were all under arms,
but had concluded there was no cause for alarm and
were off their guard.
Like Stark at the battle of Bennington, Clark
made a speech to his men, brief, but conveying the
precise idea, he intended :
"The town is to be taken at all events." 8
"I immediately divided my little army into two
divisions. With one of the divisions I marched to
THE AMERICAN CONQUEST 43
the fort, and ordered the others into different quar-
ters of the town. If I met with no resistance, at
a given signal, a general shout was to be given,
. . . and men of each detachment, who could
speak the French language, were to run through
every street and proclaim what had happened; and
inform the inhabitants that every person that ap-
peared in the streets would be shot down. . . .
"In a very little time we had complete possession
and every avenue was guarded, to prevent any es-
cape to give the alarm to the other villages. . . .
I don't suppose greater silence ever reigned among
the inhabitants of a place than did at this at present ;
not a person to be seen, not a word to be heard by
them for some time, but designedly, the greatest
noise kept up by our troops through every quarter
of the town, and patroles continually the whole night
round it." 9
One of Clark's men describes the attack, telling
how they found the gate of Fort Gage open, pushed
on in the dark to the commandant's house, found
the unsuspecting governor, Rocheblave, up-stairs in
bed, brought him down a prisoner, and then gave a
loud huzza., answered by the others. The French
began screaming, "The Long Knives! The Long
Knives!" (the name used for the Virginians by
both French and Indians) and the Americans, yell-
ing like mad, easily overpowered the garrison, and
in fifteen minutes were masters of the place, with-
out firing a gun. A bloodless conquest, surely !
Clark raised the terror of the French inhabitants
to a painful height. He arrested the principal men
of the village, for talking earnestly together, and
put them in irons without allowing them to say a
word in their defense. He forbade the people to
have any intercourse between themselves or with
the soldiers. Remembering the fate of their coun-
trymen in Acadia, the poor creatures expected nei-
ther mercy nor compassion.
The priest, Pierre Gibault, with five or six elderly
citizens, asked for an audience with Clark. In a
low submissive voice he begged permission for them
all "to assemble once more in the church to take
final leave of each other, as they expected to be
separated, never to meet again on earth." The
American assented, but said they must not venture
out of the town.
"They remained a considerable time in the
church," goes on his journal, "after which the priest
and many of the principal men came to me to re-
turn thanks for the indulgence shown them, and
begged permission to address me further on the
subject that was more dear to them than anything
else; that their present situation was the fate of
war; that the loss of their property they could rec-
oncile; but were in hopes that I would not part
them from their families; and that the women and
children might be allowed to keep some of their
clothes and a small quantity of provisions." 10
THE AMERICAN CONQUEST 45
Clark now threw off his disguise and said to the
committee, who listened in utter amazement, afraid
to trust their ears :
"Do you mistake us for savages? Do you think
that Americans intend to strip the women and chil-
dren, or take the bread out of their mouths? My
countrymen disdain to make war upon helpless in-
nocence. It was to prevent the horrors of Indian
butchery upon our own wives and children that we
have taken arms and penetrated into this remote
stronghold of British and Indian barbarity. . . .
And now, to prove my sincerity, you will please in-
form your fellow citizens that they are quite at
liberty to go wherever they please, without the least
apprehension. . . . And your friends who are
in confinement shall be immediately released." 11
The joy of the inhabitants was so intense on hear-
ing this message that it is difficult adequately to de-
scribe it. The bells rang, the little church was
immediately crowded, and thanks returned to God
for the miraculous manner in which He had subdued
the minds of their conquerors.
"Joy sparkled in their eyes," writes Clark, "and
they fell into transports that really surprised me.
. . . In a few minutes the scene of mourning and
distress was turned into an excess of joy, nothing
else was seen nor heard. Adorning the streets with
flowers, pavilians (flags) of different colors, com-
pleting their happiness by singing, &c." 12
Every one of the inhabitants took the oath of
loyalty to the commonwealth of Virginia. And
when soldiers were sent to take possession of Ca-
hokia, a company of Frenchmen volunteered to join
them, to persuade their relatives and friends to fol-
low their example. As one man, Cahokia went over
to the Americans. There was, however, one ex-
ception, the commander of the garrison at Kaskas-
kia, who was violent and insulting. So Clark, des-
patching a report to Patrick Henry, sent him along
to Virginia as a prisoner, sold his slaves for two
thousand five hundred dollars and divided the
money among his men.
Thus a country larger than the British Isles was
added to the colonies, by the energy of one man,
commanding four companies of militia.
But Clark recognized the difficulties of his situa-
tion. With so few soldiers, he was surrounded by
French, Spanish and numerous bands of savages on
every quarter. "Every nation of Indians could
raise three or four times our number," and they
were "savages, whose minds had long been poisoned
by the English." 13 The sudden arrival of the "Long
Knives" had thrown the red men into the greatest
consternation. They did not know which side to
THE AMERICAN CONQUEST 47
stand by. But they sought advice from their old
friends, the French traders, who counseled them to
"come and solicit for peace, and did not doubt but
we might be good friends."
"I am a man and warrior, not a councilor," said
Clark to the Indians. "I carry war in my right
hand, peace in my left. I am sent by the great coun-
cil of the Long Knives and their friends, to take
possession of all the towns occupied by the English
in this country, and to watch the red people; to
bloody the paths of those who attempt to stop the
course of the rivers, and to clear the roads for those
who desire to be in peace. . . . Here is a bloody
belt, and a peace belt; take which you please; be-
have like men, and do not let your being surrounded
by Long Knives cause you to take up one belt with
your hands while your hearts take up the other. If
you take the bloody path, you can go in safety and
join your friends, the English. We will try then
like warriors who can stain our clothes the longest
with blood." 14
If, on the other hand, they took the path of peace,
they would be received as brothers to the Big Knives
with their friends, the French. An alliance was
formed with various chiefs, and these tribes re-
mained the faithful friends of the Americans.
Clark realized that he must have also the good
will of the Spanish just across the Mississippi at
St. Louis. His advances were well received, "our
friends the Spaniards doing everything in their
power to convince me of their friendship." In-
deed, their governor formed an attachment for the
tall Virginian, who on his side writes that, as he
"was never before in company with any Spanish
Gent, I was much surprised in my expectations, for
instead of finding that reserve thought peculiar to
that nation, . . . freedom almost to excess gave
the greatest pleasure." 15
Meantime there was the English post at Vin-
cennes, between Kaskaskia and Virginia, threaten-
ing to stop all communication, making their position
unsafe in the extreme. Clark planned an expedition
against the fort on the Wabash, and sent for Father
"He had great influence over the people at this
period, and Post Vincennes was under his jurisdic-
tion. I made no doubt of his integrity to us."
Indeed, the "patriot priest of the Northwest" was
Clark's zealous friend, after he was told that an
American officer had "nothing to do with churches
more than to defend them from insult, that by the
laws of the state of Virginia his religion had as
great privileges as any other."
"In answer to all my inquiries," says Clark's jour-
nal, "he informed me that he did not think it worth
while to cause any military preparation to be made
. . . for the attack of Post Vincennes, although
the place was strong and a great number of Indians
in its neighborhood . . . that he expected that
when the inhabitants were fully acquainted with
what had passed at the Illinois, and the present hap-
piness of their friends, and made fully acquainted
with the nature of the war, that their sentiments
would greatly change . . . that if it was agree-
able to me he would take this business on himself,
and had no doubt of his being able to bring that
place over to the American interest, without my be-
ing at the trouble of marching against it."
So the troops stayed quietly at Kaskaskia, while
the priest's party set out, on the fourteenth of July,
"arrived safe, and after spending a day or two in
explaining matters to the people, they universally
acceded to the proposal, and went in a body to the
church, where the oath of allegiance was adminis-
tered to them in the most solemn manner. An of-
ficer was elected, the fort immediately garrisoned,
and the American flag displayed, to the astonishment
of the Indians, and everything settled far beyond
our most sanguine hopes." 16
But Vincennes was too important for the English
to lose so easily. General Hamilton was greatly an-
noyed at the news, raised an army at Detroit, and,
heading it himself, set out to recapture the town.
Delayed at the portage by their great amount of
baggage, and by the ice on the streams, they did
not arrive till December.
Only two Americans were in the fort, but a splen-
did resistance they made. A cannon, well charged,
was placed in the open gate, and Captain Helm stood
by it, with a lighted match in his hand. When the
English came within hailing distance he called out
in a loud voice, "Halt !"
Hamilton stopped and demanded the surrender of
"No man shall enter until I know the terms," was
The English answered, "You shall have the hon-
ors of war," and the garrison surrendered, one of-
ficer and one man!
Over a month passed before this news reached
Clark in Kaskaskia, with the further report that
Hamilton was planning a great spring campaign in
Illinois, after which he would make a clean sweep
of the Kentucky settlements. Had the English
pushed forward at once to Kaskaskia, the Ameri-
cans would have had to surrender, or cross the
Mississippi, giving up what they had gained.
"I knew that if I did not take him, he would take
me," wrote Clark in his journal, and made a bold
plan to attack first, by a march overland. And the
THE AMERICAN CONQUEST 51
story of that attack is most interesting, but too long
for more than a hint at its dramatic events: how
Clark sent the St. Louis merchant, Francis Vigo,
to find out the strength of the troops at Vincennes;
and how Vigo, arrested as a spy, kept his parole
to Hamilton, and yet brought the needed informa-
tion ; 17 how the Americans fitted out a boat to carry
their supplies and cannon, but it arrived three days
too late; how the force of a hundred and seventy
men marched two hundred and thirty miles in Feb-
ruary, when the rivers were all out of their banks,
and they often had to cross in water up to their
shoulders; how Clark, six feet tall, red-headed, al-
ways dashed into the cold water first, encouraging
the weak, starting a gay song, alternately sternly
commanding and teasing his men; how for four
days they were near enough to hear the morning
guns at Vincennes, without fires at night, for two
days with no food; how Clark marched his men
back and forth, with all their flags showing, in sight
of the town, but partly hidden by the rising ground,
till the Vincennes people thought they were at least
a thousand ; how the inhabitants were won over by
a clever letter; how they fired on the English gun-
ners through the loopholes, until Hamilton could
no longer keep them at their posts ; how Clark forced
the British to accept his terms of surrender, and the
whole garrison, thirteen cannon, and all the military
stores, fell into the hands of the Americans. All
this you must read for yourself, for this capture of
Vincennes is one of the most notable and heroic
achievements in the nation's history a bold scheme,
well planned and skilfully carried out, by a small
party of ragged and half-famished soldiers. 18
Hamilton, the hair-buying general, you may be
glad to know, was sent to Virginia as a prisoner,
and kept in close confinement. Despite the many
protests of the English, that state, because of the
cruel practises he had encouraged, "refused to ex-
change him on any terms," until near the close of
While they were still at Vincennes word came
from Governor Henry, thanking the troops for their
capture of Kaskaskia. The Virginia legislature
made all the territory west and north of the Ohio
River into Illinois County, the largest county in the
world. John Todd of Kentucky was appointed
county lieutenant, to take charge of the civil de-
partment, so that Clark could give all his time to
"I was anxious for his arrival, and happy in his
appointment, as the greatest intimacy and friendship
subsisted between us; and in May had the pleasure
of seeing him safely landed at Kaskaskia, to the
joy of every person. I now saw myself happily rid
of a piece of trouble that I had no delight in." 19
THE AMERICAN CONQUEST 53
The civil government and the courts well started
under Colonel Todd, Clark returned to Virginia.
He wanted to attack Detroit, to push the American
frontier farther north, and frightened the British
by his preparations. But the colonies could not give
him the men and money he required, and, much to
his disappointment, he never undertook what would
have been the crowning achievement of his career.
But he had made a great reputation, and in 1783
Thomas Jefferson wrote him, proposing another ex-
pedition to the west.
"I find," says his letter to Clark, "they have
subscribed a very large sum of money in England
for exploring the country from the Mississippi to
California. They pretend it is only to promote
knowledge. I am afraid they have thoughts of col-
onizing into that quarter. Some of us have been
talking here . . .of making the attempt to
search that country. . . . How would you like
to lead such a party?" 20
This plan, however, came to nothing. But Jef-
ferson never forgot it. And just twenty years later,
Clark's younger brother William set out, with Meri-
wether Lewis, on a similar expedition, under orders
from Jefferson, who was then president. They
traced the Missouri to its source and went down
the Columbia to the Pacific. So both the Clarks
added a large and rich district to the United States.
For the remainder of the Revolutionary War Vir-
ginia held- the Illinois country, and the Indians were
friendly. Clark was the one man whose personal
influence, plus a small force of soldiers, could keep
the people in order. The French respected him, the
border men adored him, the red men feared him.
In discussing terms of peace, in 1782 and '83,
the English commissioners claimed this territory as
a part of Canada. But Jay and Franklin persisted
in demanding for the colonies the country Clark had
won and Virginia was then holding. England
yielded, less because of the garrisons then in pos-
session than because of Benjamin Franklin's argu-
ment that there could be no permanent peace unless
the United States had room for growth; that the
westward movement over the mountains could not
be stopped, the rough border men could not be re-
strained from constant encroachment on the wilder-
ness, and that the frontier, on any other terms,
would provide an endless fight. 21
Of course you will want to read the story of
Clark's conquest in detail. Thwaites's How George
Rogers Clark Won the Northwest is a brief ac-
count, very interesting. Butterfield's Clark's Con-
quest of the Northwest is a longer narrative, giv-
ing Bowman's journal and Clark's memoir and
letter. These you will find, also, in volume one of
THE AMERICAN CONQUEST 55
the Illinois Historical Collections; and volume eight
is wholly Clark papers letters and journals and
memoirs, often with no changes in the quaint spell-
ing and punctuation of the Virginian officer. The
Conquest is a Clark story, written by Dye.
SO the Revolutionary War ended by England's
recognizing the independence of the United
States, and fixing the boundary at the Mississippi
The Illinois country was claimed by Virginia,
because the grant of James I to the London Com-
pany included all the land westward to the Pacific
Ocean, and because of Clark's conquest. Had not
the French inhabitants sworn allegiance to the com-
monwealth of Virginia? Were not her soldiers in
the frontier garrisons? Were net the courts of jus-
tice administering her laws?
But New York claimed part of the land, because
of her treaty with the Five Nations. And Massa-
chusetts and Connecticut claimed parts of the coun-
try, because their grants from the King of England
ran to the Pacific. And a splendid quarrel threat-
It was a patriotic and wise plan, first proposed
by Maryland, and in time agreed to by all four
states, that each should yield to the federal govern-
TERRITORIAL YEARS 57
ment its western land claims. 1 Like Hamilton's plan
to establish the tariff and take over the state debts,
this gave each state a direct interest in the success
of the national government. The Northwest Ter-
ritory, as it \vas now called, thus became property
held in common, for the benefit of all the states.
The gradual sale of the land would help pay the
Not until 1786 did the last state make its tardy
cession, and the following year Congress passed an
ordinance establishing a government for the new
"We are accustomed," said Daniel Webster, "to
praise the law-givers of antiquity; we help to per-
petuate the fame of Solon and Lycurgus, but I doubt
that one single law, ancient or modern, has produced
effects of more distinct, marked and lasting char-
acter than the ordinance of 1787." 2
For it did more than meet the immediate needs,
it planned for the future, providing government by
Congress for the whole territory, then semi-self-
government, and finally admission to the Union as
three or five states. Special provisions were made,
"to remain forever unalterable, unless by common
consent," guaranteeing freedom of worship, trial by
jury, the encouragement of schools, and no slavery.
This ordinance has been called "the great Amer-
ican charter," for it determined the destiny of the
states formed from the Northwest Territory, and
was a powerful factor in settling two great national
questions slavery and state sovereignty. It was
passed unanimously, by men building better than
they knew. And it is interesting to note that of
the eight states represented that day in Congress,
seven were slave states. 3 Perhaps they agreed to
the "no slavery" clause because in 1787 slavery was
not a political issue. Indeed, one Virginian voted
for it, saying that this would prevent raising tobacco
and indigo and cotton north of the Ohio River. 4
For thirteen years the people in the Northwest
Territory had no share in the government. Con-
gress appointed the governor and secretary, and
established a court with three judges, who, with
the governor, adopted such laws of the other states
as were needed. The first governor was Arthur St.
Clair, who had been an officer in the Revolution.
His was a difficult position, for his people were
widely scattered and the Indians unfriendly. The
peace of 1783 had not included the red men, and
they were constantly attacking the new settlements.
Both English and French traders had wanted
furs, furs, furs ; they wished the country to remain
a wilderness. But these Americans, crossing the
Alleghanies, spread over their hunting grounds and
TERRITORIAL YEARS 59
made farms along the rivers. The Indians saw
themselves driven from the land, like leaves before
the autumn wind. And always there was the Brit-
ish agent, at the posts still held in the northwest,
stirring up trouble :
"Your father, King George, loves his red chil-
dren, and wishes his red children supplied with
everything they want. He is not like the Ameri-
cans, who are continually blinding your eyes, and
stopping your ears with good words, that taste sweet
as sugar, while they get all your lands from you." 5
The Americans suggested a treaty, giving a fair
equivalent for the land, but the Indians refused
every proposal. The raids must be stopped, and
soldiers were sent to the frontier. A first army was
driven back by the savages, the next met a Brad-
dock's defeat; then Wayne, the "Mad Anthony
Wayne" who captured Stony Point, won a great
victory, laid waste their cabins and corn fields for
fifty miles, and the Indians made a treaty giving up
a large tract of land. If it was ever broken, threat-
ened Wayne, he would rise from his grave to fight
them again. This quieted the excitement along the
whole frontier, and Wayne's treaty was kept until
When this news spread abroad, with life and
property secured, settlers began to pour into the ter-
ritory in a steadily increasing stream. The frontier
was pushed back by the hardy pioneers.
In 1800 Congress divided the unwieldy North-
west Territory into two parts: Ohio, and all the
rest, called Indiana Territory. William Henry Har-
rison was appointed governor of Indiana, with Vin-
cennes as the capital; and for nine years Illinois
was a part of Indiana, without even a name of its
As settlements increased in the neighborhood of
the Mississippi, the sentiment in favor of separating
from Indiana grew. For between them and Vin-
cennes the country was a wilderness, the journey to
the capital full of hardship and danger. In 1806
and '07 and '08, memorials were sent to Congress,
asking that Illinois be separated from Indiana, and
the following year Washington made the division. 6
On the recommendation of Henry Clay, Ninian
Edwards of Kentucky was appointed as governor
of Illinois Territory; and Nathaniel Pope was made
In a brief three years Illinois grew so rapidly that
it was advanced from the first to the second stage
of territorial government. The governor was ap-
pointed as before, but the laws were now made by
the legislature seven representatives and five coun-
UNIVERSITY IF HI*" 1 *
TERRITORIAL YEARS 61
cilors elected by the people. They also elected a
delegate to Congress.
The first territorial legislature of Illinois met at
Kaskaskia in November, 1812, in an old building of
rough limestone, with steep roof and gables of un-
painted boards. The first floor, a low cheerless
room, was for the house of representatives. A small
room up-stairs served for the council. There was
one doorkeeper for both houses. The twelve mem-
bers boarded with the same family, and lodged, it
is said, all in one room! And it is an interesting
little fact that of these dozen legislators, not one was
a lawyer, and each one had been a soldier.
Unlike the old French regime, the government
had to be financed. The funds for the territory
were raised by a tax on land: a dollar for every
hundred acres of bottom land, seventy-five cents
for the uplands. The county revenue was a dollar
tax on slaves, fifteen dollars for merchants, ten dol-
lars for a ferry, a small tax on houses worth two
hundred dollars or more; horses fifty cents, and
cattle a dime. 7
Some of the old laws of the territory of Illinois
are especially interesting. Treason and murder, ar-
son and horse stealing were punished by death. For
stealing a hog a man was fined from fifty to a hun-
dred dollars, and given from twenty-five to thirty-
nine lashes on his bare back. Altering the brand
on a horse meant a hundred and forty lashes. And
a man who received a stolen horse, knowing it to
be stolen, was declared as guilty as the thief. 8
Other punishments were confinement in the pil-
lory and stocks and heavy fines. If unable to pay,
the culprit was hired out by the sheriff to any one
who would pay his fine; if a man ran away, his
penalty was double time. You see, the territory of
Illinois was almost as puritanic as New England.
THE WAR OF 1812
WHILE Illinois was taking the first steps in
self-government the War of 1812 began.
You remember how England kept the forts in the
northwest, in spite of the treaty of peace, and abused
our sailors on the high seas? There was no fight-
ing in Illinois between British and American troops,
just as in the previous wars. The battles, you know,
were on the ocean, in Canada, and near New Or-
But the war came directly to Illinois, on account
of the Indian attacks incited by English agents all
through the northwest. The great leader of the red
men was Tecumseh, who with his brother, the
Prophet, joined many tribes in a conspiracy, like
Pontiac's, to drive the white men east over the
mountains, away from the hunting grounds of the
whole Mississippi Valley.
In his interviews with Harrison, who had fol-
lowed Wayne's plan of securing land by treaties,
Tecumseh insisted that none of these agreements
was binding, as they had been made by individual
tribes, instead of with the consent of all the tribes.
He offered an alliance, if the Americans would give
up all the lands they held by treaty or purchase.
But Harrison replied "that the president would put
his warriors in petticoats, sooner than give up the
country he had fairly acquired, or to suffer his peo-
ple to be murdered with impunity." 1
"Then the Great Spirit," said Tecumseh, "must
decide the matter. It is true the president is so far
off that he will not be injured by the war. He
may sit still in his town, and drink his wine, while
you and I will have to fight it out." 2
And fight it out they did, in the battle of Tippe-
canoe, a famous Harrison victory.
When war was finally declared, the Americans
wanted to conquer Canada, just as in the early days
of the Revolution. General Hull crossed at Detroit
and encamped on Canadian soil, but soon withdrew
his force and surrendered Detroit and the whole ter-
ritory of Michigan, while his men wept at the dis-
grace. Other posts suffered, too, miserably pro-
vided for, through Hull's incompetence, or because
his requests for men and supplies were not met at
Chief of these was the little fort on the Chicago
River, which had been built eight years before, "to
supply the Indians' wants and to control the In-
dians' policy." It consisted of two blockhouses,
THE WAR OF 1812 65
surrounded by a stockade, a subterranean passage
from the parade to the river, and three pieces of
light artillery. It was named Fort Dearborn, after
a general in the United States Army.
This summer of 1812 it had a garrison of seventy-
five men under Captain Heald. Hull, commanding
the entire northwest, sent a friendly Indian to
Heald, with orders "to evacuate the fort at Chi-
cago if practicable, and in that event, to distribute
all of the United States property contained in the
fort, and the United States factory, or agency,
among the Indians of the neighborhood, and repair
to Fort Wayne." 3
If the garrison was not to be reinforced, leaving
this isolated fort was perhaps a wise move. Not so,
the indiscriminate giving to the Indians !
The messenger urged that the Americans, if they
were going, should go without a moment's delay,
leaving all things standing, and make their retreat
while the savages were busy dividing the spoils.
Several of the officers remonstrated with Heald,
saying it was little short of madness, urging him
to stay in the fort, for they had provisions and am-
munition for six months, and it was better to fall
into the hands of the English than become the vic-
tims of the savages. But Heald was a soldier, with
orders from his general, and disregarded this pru-
The! Indians were showing distinct signs of un-
friendliness, walking boldly into the fort without
answering the sentinels. Yet Heald called them to
a council and asked their escort to Fort Wayne,
promising large rewards on their arrival, in addition
to the presents he would give them immediately.
To this the red men agreed.
The next day all the goods and provisions in the
government store were distributed among the In-
dians blankets, broadcloths, calicoes, paints. But
even Captain Heald was struck with the folly of
giving them arms and ammunition, and liquor to
fire their brains. At night, with the greatest silence
and secrecy, the barrels of whisky were rolled
through the underground passage and emptied into
the stream, the guns and powder thrown into a well.
But the Indians, suspecting the game, approached
as near as possible, heard the knocking in of the
barrel heads, and saw the whole affair. The river
tasted "like strong grog," they said the next morn-
ing. Murmurs and threats were heard on every
side. They bitterly reproached the Americans for
not keeping their pledge. Years later Black Hawk
insisted that Heald's broken promise brought on the
But some of the Indians were truly the friends
of the white men. One chief warned them that the
Pottawatomies could not be trusted. Another,
THE WAR OF 1812 67
Black Partridge, went to Captain Heald after the
council, saying, "Father, I am come to deliver up
to you the medal I wear. It was given me by your
countrymen, and I have long worn it, as a token
of our friendship. Our young men are resolved to
imbrue their hands in the blood of the whites. I
can not restrain them, and will not wear a token of
peace when compelled to act as an enemy." 5
Notwithstanding all these warnings, on the morn-
ing of the fifteenth of August, Captain Heald
marched out of the fort at the head of his troops,
their families and baggage, and bringing up the rear
was a force of five hundred Indians, the escort to
Fort Wayne. The long line started down the beach
road, near the lake. A mile and a half from the fort,
the Indians changed to the prairie road, with sand
dunes intervening between them and the Americans.
Suddenly a volley of musketry poured in upon
the soldiers. Brought into line, the troops charged
up the bank, and the battle at once became general.
The Americans behaved most gallantly, and though
they were few in number, sold their lives dearly.
But when two-thirds of them had been killed, the
remainder surrendered, stipulating for their own
safety, and the safety of the women and children.
The wounded soldiers were not specifically men-
tioned, and the Indians, insisting they had not been
included, tomahawked them during the night. The
dozen children in one of the baggage wagons were
killed. The fort was plundered and burned to the
ground. The prisoners were distributed among the
savages, and not till a year later ransomed at De-
This massacre at Fort Dearborn was the greatest
that ever occurred in Illinois. Troops were at once
enlisted for expeditions against the tribes that had
taken part, several of their villages were destroyed
and their fields laid waste.
For the rest of the war the frontier was put in a
state of defense. Blockhouses and stockade forts
were repaired and strengthened. Remote settlers
and garrisons were moved to the villages. New
companies of "rangers," mounted militia, patroled
In spite of these precautions, the frontier reached
so far that the greatest diligence in ranging could
not give perfect security. Raids and murders in-
creased as the war went on, for the Indians were
given additional incentives by the British, who kept
up their work of "setting the red men like dogs
upon the whites." Perry's victory on Lake Erie
and Harrison's at the Thames forced the savages to
retreat from Canada, and center their attacks on the
Mississippi settlements. North of the Illinois River
the Indians kept the upper hand until peace finally
brought them to terms.
THE WAR OF 1812 69
Mrs. Kinzie, whose family were among the first
settlers at Fort Dearborn, wrote a most interesting
story called Waubun, the Early Day in the North-
west. You will enjoy her account of the massacre,
told partly in the words of an eye-witness, the wife
of one of the officers, who was saved by Black Par-
tridge. The Wentworth essays, published in the
Fergus historical series, and Quaife's Chicago and
the Old Northwest are other interesting accounts;
and you will find a good chapter in Parrish's His-
ILLINOIS BECOMES A STATE
PROVINCE, county, territory, Illinois was soon
ready to ask for a final form of government.
After the War of 1812 the number of settlers in-
creased very rapidly. The fertility of the soil and
the healthful climate attracted many immigrants.
The cessation of Indian attacks made life and prop-
erty secure. The introduction of steamboats on
lakes and rivers made the journey far easier. Best
of all, Congress passed an act giving settlers the
right of preemption on public lands, protecting them
against speculators. 1 In ten years the population
increased nearly five hundred per cent.
Early in 1818 the legislature of the territory sent
a petition to Nathaniel Pope, their delegate at Wash-
ington, asking for the admission of Illinois to the
Union. A bill for this purpose was introduced in
Congress in April.
Pope, looking to the future, suggested two amend-
ments. In the other states formed from the North-
west Territory three per cent, of the public land
BECOMES A STATE 71
money was given to the states for building roads
and bridges. But in Illinois this was to be used for
Still more important was the question of the
boundary, which had been fixed by the ordinance
of 1787; but Pope suggested that the line from the
Mississippi to Lake Michigan should be moved far-
ther north. Illinois, said he, is the keystone in the
arch of western states. Her size and the oppor-
tunity afforded for supporting a large population
will make her an influential state. She will be an
important factor in preserving or dissolving the
Union, should that question arise. Geography ties
her closely to south and west, because of the river
commerce on the Mississippi and its tributaries.
Now, if we give Illinois a frontage on Lake Mich-
igan, where the steamboats will soon increase trade,
she will have equally strong business ties with the
eastern states. Linked to both south and east, her
interests would be conservative, and she will support
the federal union. 3
Congress agreed unanimously with Pope, and the
line was fixed at 42 30'. Wisconsin made repeated
efforts to have her land restored; but her petitions
to Congress were tabled and she was admitted to
the Union in 1848 with no change in the boundary.
This moving of the northern line and the pro-
vision for the support of schools were urged by
Pope without special instructions from the legisla-
ture. Illinois was being built better than the people
knew. Without Pope's line the entire history of
state and nation would have to be changed. For it
added to Illinois a strip of land, sixty-one miles
wide, from which fourteen counties were made. It
gave her the lead mines of Galena, a generous share
of the lake front, the site of Chicago. It made pos-
sible the Illinois-Michigan Canal and the Illinois
And when you learn that the vote of these north-
ern counties, in later years, kept Illinois a free state,
carried the state Republican in 1856 and made Lin-
coln a presidential possibility, and gave him the vote
of Illinois in 1860, you may well marvel at Pope's
suggestion as that of a prophet, foreseeing the dan-
ger to the nation in slavery and state sovereignty,
and placing Illinois squarely in the right. Forty-
two years later the prophecy was fulfilled. The
south did secede, but Illinois remained in the Union,
setting an example of loyalty to Missouri and Ken-
tucky, her neighbors on the border.
During the summer of 1818 a convention met at
Kaskaskia, to make a constitution for the new state
of Illinois. It divided the government into three
parts, just like the federal plan : legislative, with two
branches, executive and judicial. The governor,
lieutenant-governor and senators were to be elected
BECOMES A STATE 73
every four years, the representatives every two. The
supreme court was to have four judges, who heard
cases in the circuit courts also.
The governor must be at least thirty years of age,
a resident of the United States for thirty years and
of Illinois for two years before his election. The
same requirements were made for the lieutenant-
governor, but after the constitution was completed
and signed by the delegates, this was changed. The
clause, "a citizen of the United States for thirty
years," was stricken out from the qualifications for
lieutenant-governor, that Pierre Menard, a French-
man in Kaskaskia who had just been naturalized,
might hold this office. 4
This first constitution for Illinois had several pe-
culiar features. The legislature, not the governor,
appointed almost all the officials for counties and
state. Hordes of place hunters went to the capital
at every session and besieged members for offices.
The legislature had the right to grant divorces.
Worst of all, it could pledge the state's credit with-
out limit, a fact that later brought Illinois to the
verge of bankruptcy. It had one splendid provi-
sion no imprisonment for debt, Illinois being one /
of the first states to do away with this practise.
A draft of the new constitution was sent to Con-
gress and that body passed a resolution on the third
of December, 1818, declaring Illinois to be "one of
the United States of America, and admitted to the
Union on an equal footing with the original states
in all respects."
EARLY YEARS OF STATEHOOD
OUR state history begins, then, in the winter
of 1818, with Kaskaskia as the capital. But
almost the first thing done by the legislature, follow-
ing the example of Congress in making Washington
the capital of the nation, was to choose a new cap-
ital for Illinois.
Congress, when petitioned, granted the state four
sections of land, and commissioners were appointed
to select the site and lay out a town, to be the capital
for twenty years. They were considering Carlyle,
a place on the river just above Kaskaskia, and a
high bluff belonging to Nathaniel Pope, when a
noted hunter and trapper named Reeves came into
town. Still farther up the river, twenty miles from
any settlement, he had a cabin, and spoke in the
most glowing terms of the beauty of the country
there. "Pope's bluff nor Carlyle wasn't a primin'
to his bluff !" and that won over the commissioners,
who voted for Reeves's home. 1
Though in the midst of a wilderness, it was a
beautiful spot, covered with gigantic trees. The
site selected, the commissioners must have a name,
euphonious and historic. The story goes that a wag
said the Vandals were once a powerful nation of
Indians on the Kaskaskia River. Without troubling
themselves about history the officials adopted this
suggestion and the new capital was named Van-
A town was laid out, with a handsome public
square and broad streets. Lots were sold at auction,
for fabulous prices, as high as seven hundred and
eighty dollars. The people proved themselves Van-
dals indeed, for their first act was to cut down the
forest trees ! The plans for a fine state house ended
in a plain two-story frame building, with a rough
stone foundation, set in the center of the square.
In December, 1820, the archives of Illinois were
moved from Kaskaskia to Vandalia, making one
wagon load. It was indeed a pioneer trip, for part
of the way the clerk of the secretary of state had to
cut a road through the woods.
Three years later the state house burned in the
night, not a piece of furniture being saved. Imme-
diately the citizens of Vandalia started a subscrip-
tion to rebuild it, and raised three thousand dollars
in three days. Using this sum, and state funds in
addition, a large brick building was erected, serving
as the capitol till 1839 and since then as the county
EARLY YEARS OF STATEHOOD 77
And now, what kind of place was Illinois, what
people lived here, in those early days? What were
their occupations and their interests?
The settlements were all in the south, below Al-
ton, and near the rivers. There were large tracts
of wilderness country inhabited only by the wolves
and Indians. But there was constant change, the
number of people increasing with phenomenal ra-
pidity. See what the census reported each decade
12,000 people, 57,000, 72,000, 157,000, and then
480,000, with an increase in wealth in nearly the
Immigration came in waves, flowing in in a great
tide, ebbing, and flooding in again. After Wayne's
treaty, after the conflict with England, after the
election in 1824, after the Black Hawk war, large
numbers of people arrived to settle in Illinois. In
1825 the current set toward the center of the state.
In Vandalia alone, in three weeks' time, two hun-
dred and fifty wagons were counted, all going north-
ward. 3 And one fortnight saw four hundred immi-
grants passing through the capital, bound for the
Sangamo country. Five years more saw people liv-
ing as far north as Peoria, and by 1840 practically
the whole state was settled.
Scarcely a twentieth part of the inhabitants of
Illinois were of French descent. Nineteen-twenti-
eths were American, first Clark's sturdy soldiers,
then groups from Kentucky and Virginia, stamping
the social customs of the south on all of southern
Illinois. The settlers in the north were Yankees
so enterprising, so restless, so industrious that the
north soon went ahead in farms and villages, in
roads and bridges, in churches and schools. For
a while the southern part of the state, being older
and better cultivated, "gathered corn as the sand
of the sea." And people in the center and north,
after the manner of the children of Israel, went
"thither to buy and bring from thence that they
might live and not die." And so the southern part
of Illinois was named Egypt, and is so called to this
But the fame of the agricultural advantages of
Illinois had spread far beyond the Atlantic states.
It had attracted the attention of Europeans. 5 A
German colony called "Dutch Hollow" was started
in St. Clair County. A Swiss colony was planted
near by. * And in Edwards County was the flourish-
ing town of Albion, founded by two Englishmen,
Flower and Birkbeck. From the British Isles they
brought out several hundred families artisans, la-
borers and farmers and this community became
one of the most prosperous in the state. Morris
Birkbeck had met Edward Coles in London. Two
years later they were both in Illinois, where one
became governor, the other secretary of state.
Many men of the East, hearing tales of the western country,
made extensive journeys through the interior on horseback,
by boat, or on foot, in order to see the region for themselves
or to pick out future homes for themselves and their families
UHIVERSITY Of IUMQIS
EARLY YEARS OF STATEHOOD 79
These settlers from the east brought money with
them. This was quite a novelty in Illinois. 6 Deer
and raccoon skins had been the standard of ex-
change, and answered every need-. Three pounds
of shaved deer skin was considered a dollar.
The people were farmers and hunters and stock-
men. They raised their own provisions and supplied
most of their own wants. Every settler was his
own carpenter. The houses were mostly log cab-
ins, with no glass, nails, hinges or locks. The fur-
niture was made by hand, as were the carts and
wagons, yokes for the oxen, harness for the horses.
Though they were often rough and unrefined, these
pioneers had sterling qualities ; they were brave and
energetic and hospitable.
Nearly all of the immigrants had come to this
new country to acquire some property. But among
them were adventurers and fugitives from justice.
For a year or two the state was overrun with bands
of horse thieves, so numerous and so well organized
that they defied the authority of the law. Indeed,
many of the police, the sheriffs and justices of the
peace, even some judges, were connected with the
thieves. If they were arrested they would be let
off by some friends on the jury or through false
witnesses. In one county the rogues, by voting all
one way, even elected their own sheriff! 7
Finally the citizens became so enraged that they
organized companies called "regulators." Despair-
ing of enforcing the laws in the customary way,
judges, and even the governor, gave them every
possible encouragement unofficially. Armed, the
regulators would assemble at night, march to a
thief's house, arrest him, thrash him soundly and
expel him from the state. And gradually Illinois
was rid of the scoundrels.
The courts were very simple. The people did not
require the judges to be men of great learning, but
of good common sense. Court was held in a log
house, in a store or an inn, with temporary seats
for judge, lawyers and jurors. At the opening of
the first circuit court held by Judge Reynolds, who
was afterward governor of the state, the sheriff,
sitting astride a rude bench, called out, "Boys, come
in our John is going to hold court."
And another judge said to the lawyers, asking
for instructions to the jury, "Why, gentlemen, the
jury understand the case. No doubt they will do
justice between the parties." 8
Some of the legislators were simple, uneducated
men. One of them, John Grammar, was chosen first
to the territorial, then to the state legislature, for
nearly twenty years. When first elected, being ut-
terly destitute of civilized clothing, he and his sons
gathered a large quantity of hickory nuts which they
traded for blue strouding. The women of the neigh-
Pioneer Life in the West.
Type of early Illinois cabin dweller's home
Preparing a meal over the camp fire
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
EARLY YEARS OF STATEHOOD 81
borhood met to make up the garments he needed,
but' found that he had picked too few nuts. In every
possible way they tried the pattern. The cloth was
too scant! So they made a bob-tailed coat and a
long pair of leggings, and arrayed in these he ap-
peared at Kaskaskia, and patiently waited for the
passing of a bill for the members' salaries. Then
he set out to buy a pair of fashionable "unmention-
Here is the speech of an early candidate :
"Fellow citizens, I offer myself as a candidate
before you for the office of governor. I do not pre-
tend to be a man of extraordinary talents; nor do
I claim to be equal to Julius Caesar or Napoleon
Bonaparte, nor yet to as great a man as my oppo-
nent, Governor 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
But Ninian Edwards, who had been governor of
Illinois Territory, arrayed in his broadcloth coat,
ruffled shirt and high-topped boots, made his canvass
over the state, traveling in his carriage or on horse-
back attended by his colored servant. His friends
feared people would be driven away by his aristo-
cratic appearance. But this attracted them, and they
thought it an honor to support "such a high-toned,
elegant old gentleman." So Edwards was elected,
for in that early day personal considerations counted
as all-important with the voters.
The legislature re-enacted the territorial laws,
with all the old punishments. But until 1827 they
were changed at every session, and men said it was
"a good thing that the Holy Scriptures did not have
to come before the legislature, for that body would
be certain to alter or amend them, so that no one
could tell what was or was not the word of God,
any more than could be told what was or was not
the law of the state." 10
The very word tax was odious to the people;
and when a bill was passed levying a tax on prop-
erty, to support the schools and repair the roads,
it was promptly repealed. For men said they'd
rather work on the roads themselves and let their
children grow up in ignorance!
Indeed, the people were parsimonious with state
funds. In 1824 provision was made for five cir-
cuit judges, to receive six hundred dollars a year,
while the supreme court judges were to have eight
hundred. This was considered a most extravagant
outlay of public moneys, practically pensioning the
supreme court judges. And such a clamor was
raised that the next legislature repealed the act and
EARLY YEARS OF STATEHOOD 83
ordered the supreme court judges to hold both
Would you like to read more about these early
days ? George Flower, when an old man, wrote the
story of the English colony in Edwards County. It
is full of picturesque descriptions of scenes and
events, of the struggles and labors of the early set-
tlers. You will especially enjoy his account of their
journey on horseback from Pittsburgh to Vincennes
and the ever-receding prairies; of how Albion was
located; of their blooded English cattle and sheep;
of the pioneer churches and the camp meeting; and
the beauty of the prairies in different seasons.
In other books you may read of interesting types
among the early settlers : the Yankees, cordially dis-
liked in the southern part of the state; the Irish
school-teacher; the singing master; the circuit-rid-
ing lawyers ; and the pioneer missionaries, like John
Mason Peck and the eccentric Peter Cartright.
SLAVE OR FREE?
YOU remember that the ordinance of 1787 ex-
pressly states that there should be no slavery
in the Northwest Territory ? But the question came
up constantly. Settlers from the southern states,
coming into Illinois, were allowed to bring their
slaves with them. The constitution prohibited the
further introduction of slaves, but "indentured serv-
ants" could be held for the whole term of their con-
tracts and this was generally ninety-nine years! 1
And in 1819 the legislature passed the famous
"black laws," which were not repealed until 1865.
No negro could settle in the state unless he had a
certificate -of freedom with the court's seal; and this
he must register in the county where he proposed
to live. This was to discourage free blacks from
coming to Illinois. Every negro without this cer-
tificate was considered a runaway slave. To har-
bor a fugitive slave, or hinder his owner from re-
taking him, was punished by a heavy fine and thirty
But the most odious feature of this law was that
SLAVE OR FREE? 85
no adequate provision was made for punishing kid-
nappers. Capturing free blacks, running them south,
and there selling them into slavery was for years
a common crime; and southern Illinois afforded a
safe retreat for the kidnappers, who made this a
regular business, profitable and almost respectable.
Thus the free state of Illinois was given a com-
plete slave code, 2 as severe as in any southern state,
where the number of negroes equaled or was greater
than the number of whites while in Illinois the
slaves made up a very small percentage of the pop-
The question of slavery was uppermost then all
over the country, because of the frenzied agitation
when Missouri was admitted to the Union. The
Missouri compromise line, which, it was hoped,
would settle the question forever, was in fact sug-
gested by an Illinois senator. The new state on the
west was well advertised by this nation-wide discus-
sion, and many people from the southern states emi-
grated there, often from the wealthiest and best-
educated classes. For some time there had been
comparatively few new settlers in Illinois, and few
sales of land.
"Many of our people who had farms to sell looked
upon the good fortune of Missouri with envy ; whilst
the lordly immigrant, as he passed along with his
money and droves of negroes, took a malicious
pleasure in increasing it, by pretending to regret
the short-sighted policy of Illinois, which excluded
him from settling with his slaves among us, and
from purchasing the lands of our people." 3
Even uneducated immigrants argued in the same
way. One of them, asked why he did not stop in
Illinois, replied, "Well, sir, your sile is mighty far-
til, but a man can't own niggers here ; gol durn ye." 4
Governor Coles, who had freed his negroes on
the journey from Virginia to Illinois, urged the leg-
islature to revise the "black laws," to emancipate
the old French slaves, and to punish kidnapping ade-
quately. These paragraphs in his message were
enough to fan into a t>laze the embers that had been
smoldering. The slave owners determined to legal-
ize slavery in Illinois.
Now this meant a complicated procedure it was
necessary to amend the constitution in a convention
called for that purpose. The people must vote
whether the convention should be called or not, and
a two-thirds majority in both houses of the legisla-
ture was necessary to submit the question to the
Now the legislature was strongly pro-slavery, and
the resolution was sure of a two-thirds vote in the
senate. But only a trick passed it in the house of
representatives. In one of the northern counties
there had been a contested election, and the house
SLAVE OR FREE? 87
decided the matter, seating one of the two claimants.
But some nine weeks later the slavery party found
that they needed one more vote to make a two-
thirds majority for the convention. Desperate, they
determined to have this contested election reconsid-
ered and seat the other man. In gratitude to their
party for putting him into the legislature he would,
of course, vote their way.
This scheme they actually carried out, unseating
a representative who had served more than two
months of his term, and sending a special messenger
over a hundred miles to notify his opponent, created
a member of the house for this one purpose. With
relays of horses, the new representative made the
trip in four days, arriving in time to vote for the
convention resolution, which was thus carried. 5
Against this outrage there was a storm of protest,
for the manner in which it was done, for the ob-
ject for which it was done. It proved to be a strong
argument to plague its inventors. When the elec-
tion took place it recoiled on their own heads like
The passing of the convention resolution the
slavery party considered equal to a victory at the
polls. Public dinners were held, with toasts wel-
coming slavery to Illinois. They celebrated with a
torchlight procession in Vandalia. The mob, wild
and indecorous, marched to the residence of Gov-
ernor Coles, with all the horrid paraphernalia of
the old-time charivari, thus described by Ford:
"The night after the resolution passed, the con-
vention party assembled to triumph in a great ca-
rousal. They formed themselves into a noisy, dis-
orderly and tumultuous procession, headed by"
and he calls the leaders by name "followed by
the majority of the legislature, and the hangers-on
and rabble about the seat of government; and they
marched with the blowing of tin horns and the beat-
ing of drums and tin pans, to the residence of Gov-
ernor Coles, and to the boarding-houses of their
principal opponents, toward whom they manifested
their contempt and displeasure by a confused medley
of groans, wailings and lamentations. Their object
was to intimidate and crush all opposition at once." 6
The anti-convention party, defeated in the leg-
islature, was determined to win before the people.
Fortunately, voices could not be stifled, as in the
house of representatives, where all debate was shut
off. And the election was eighteen months away,
giving the "friends of freedom" time to make a
thorough canvass throughout the state, and save Il-
linois from this shame and disaster.
Never was there such a campaign ! Newspapers
were established for one side or the other. Fiery
handbills and pamphlets were printed and circu-
lated broadcast in every county. The governor
SLAVE OR FREE? 89
worked whole-heartedly against the convention with
all his official and personal influence, giving his en-
tire salary to the cause. The pioneer preacher, Peck,
organized anti-slavery societies along with his Sun-
day-schools, distributing Bibles and tracts crusading
against slavery. Ministers and teachers helped.
Stump speakers held forth. The rank and file of the
people did scarcely anything but read handbills and
papers, and wrangle and argue constantly, while
industry was almost at a standstill. 7
The convention party had on its side many of
the ablest men in the state. But a great cause will
produce earnest and effective leaders. The anti-
slavery men were better organized and made up for
their Jack of wealth and influence and talents in
energy and zeal. They made direct attacks on the
merits of slavery, while their opponents avoided the
issue, saying that the constitution needed changes
in several particulars; and if slavery was established
it would doubtless be for a limited number of years.
The people and the state were financially embar-
rassed, and they painted golden pictures of the pros-
perity which would come with slave labor. 8
These arguments religious, benevolent, political,
expedient were answered by Peck and Coles and
Birkbeck, the founder of the Edwards County col-
ony. He was the financier of the "friends of free-
dom," and wrote constantly against slavery. Some-
times he would issue a scholarly paper, with telling
arguments and statistics showing the actual results
of slavery in other states and countries, how it
checked immigration and impeded manufacturing
and hurt agriculture. Again, under the nom de
plume of Jonathan Freeman, he would write to the
newspapers a letter so simple and full of such
homely illustrations that the most ignorant voter
could not fail to understand his points. Here is a
part of one :
"To the Editor of the Illinois Gazette:
"SiR I am a poor man ; that is to say I have no
money. But I have a house to cover me and the
rest of us, a stable for my horses, and a little barn,
on a quarter of good land paid up at the land office,
with a middling fine clearing upon it and a good
fence. I have about thirty head of cattle, and a
good chance of hogs; and by the labors of my boys,
we make a shift to get along. We help our neigh-
bors, who are generally as poor as ourselves some
that are newcomers are not so well fixed. They
help us in turn; and as it is the fashion to be in-
dustrious, I discover that we are all by degrees
growing wealthy, not in money to be sure, but in
"There is a great stir among the land-jobbers and
politicians to get slaves into the country; because,
as they say, we are in great distress ; and I have been
thinking how it would act with me and my neigh-
SLAVE OR FREE? 91
bors . . . four citizens out of five in the state.
I have already seen people from Kentucky, and some
of the neighbors have been traveling in that country.
They all agree in one story, that the Kentuckians
are as bad off for money as we, some say worse.
People that have been to New Orleans say it is the
same all down the river ; no money. ... I don't
see how those slave-gentry are to make it plenty,
unless sending more produce to New Orleans would
raise the price; as to our neighbors, give me plain
farmers, working with their own hands, or the
hands of free workmen. Not great planters and
their negroes; for negroes are middling light-fin-
gered, and I suspect we should have to lock up our
cabins when we left home, and if we were to leave
our linen out all night, we might chance to miss it
in the morning. The planters are great men, and
will ride about mighty grand, with umbrellas over
their heads, when I and my boys are working per-
haps bareheaded in the hot sun. Neighbors indeed !
They would have it all their own way, and rule
over us like little kings; we should have fo patrol
round the country to keep their negroes under, in-
stead of minding our own business; but if we
lacked to raise a building, or a dollar, never a bit
would they help us.
"This is what I have been thinking, and so I sus-
pect we all think, but they who want to sell out;
and they that want to sell, will find themselves mis-
taken if they expect the Kentuckians to buy their
improvements, when they can get Congress-land at
a dollar and a quarter an acre. It is men who come
from Free states, with money in their pockets, and
no workhands about them, that buy improvements.
"Yours, JONATHAN FREEMAN." 9
Election day, the first Monday in August, 1824,
finally came. The aged, the crippled, the chronic
invalids, everybody that could be carried to the
polls, was brought in to cast his vote, for or against
the convention. The ballots more than doubled the
number at the presidential election a few months
later. The result was a majority of some sixteen
hundred against the convention. This was the most
important, the most excited and angry election in
the early history of the state. But it was regarded
as final. Once for all the question of slavery was
settled for Illinois.
If you are interested in this chapter and want to
know more about the slavery campaign in Illinois,
read Washburne's Sketch of Edward Coles. Flow-
er's story of the English settlement in Edwards
County gives a fine account of Birkbeck's share in
carrying the election for the "friends of freedom."
A DISTINGUISHED GUEST
A PLEAS ANT episode occurred in 1825 to vary
the monotony of western life. Lafayette, the
brilliant young Frenchman who fought under Wash-
ington in the Revolution, paid a second visit to
America, as the guest of the nation.
As soon as he reached New York the legislature
sent him an address of welcome, and earnestly in-
vited him to visit Illinois. With their letter was
sent an affectionate note from Governor Coles, who
had known Lafayette in Paris; and the Frenchman
replied from Washington :
"It has ever been my eager desire, and it is now
my earnest intention, to visit the western States
and particularly the State of Illinois. The feelings
which your distant welcome could not fail to excite
have increased that patriotic eagerness. ... I
shall, after the celebration of the 22d of February
anniversary day, leave this place for a journey to
the southern, and from New Orleans to the western
states, so as to return to Boston on the 14th of June,
when the cornerstone of Bunker's Hill monument
is to be laid, a ceremony sacred to the whole Union,
and in which I have been engaged to act a peculiar
and honorable part." 1
The whole journey was a series of receptions and
ovations, of which his secretary kept a charming
record, writing "that he gives the details of a tri-
umph which honors as well the nation which be-
stowed it as the man who received it." But as La-
fayette's trip progressed he found it impossible to
visit all the places that were inviting him and re-
turn to Boston in June. So in April he writes to
Governor Coles, from New Orleans :
"I don't doubt that by rapid movements, can
gratify my ardent desire to see every one of the
Western States, and yet to fulfill a sacred duty as the
representative of the Revolutionary Army, on the
half secular jubilee of Bunker Hill. But to do it,
my dear sir, I must avail myself of the kind, indul-
gent proposal made by several friends to meet me
on some point near the river, in the State of Illinois.
... I will say, could Kaskaskia or Shawneetown
suit you to pass one day with me ? I expect to leave
St. Louis on the 29th of April. . . . Excuse the
hurry of my writing, as the post is going, and re-
ceive in this private letter, for indeed to the Gov-
ernor, I would not know how to apologize for so
polite proposals, receive, I say, my high and affec-
tionate regard. LAFAYETTE." 2
Accordingly Illinois received the great French
general, not at Vandalia, the capital, but at Kas-
kaskia. Writes the secretary:
"It was decided that we should stop at Kaskaskia,
a large village of that state, and although nearly
eighty miles distant, we arrived there a little while
before noon, so fortunate and rapid was our navi-
gation. Since the application of steam to naviga-
tion, the changes produced in the relations of the
towns on the Mississippi is prodigious. Formerly
the voyage from New Orleans to St. Louis required
three or four months of the most painful toil that
can be imagined; the action of the oar was not al-
ways sufficient to overcome the resistance of the
current. They were often obliged to warp the boat
by hand, advancing from time to time with a small
boat to tie a rope to a tree or stone on the shore.
... At present the same passage, which is nearly
fifteen hundred miles, is made in ten days, without
The Illinois legislature had appropriated $6,475
for the entertainment of the guests, almost a third
of the state's income for the year. About noon,
April thirtieth, the boat, gaily decorated for the oc-
casion, arrived at the wharf in Kaskaskia. Governor
Coles had sent his aid-de-camp, Colonel William
Stephen Hamilton, "the son of your old and particu-
lar friend, Alexander Hamilton," to meet Lafayette
en route, and himself joined the party in St. Louis.
Evidently there was no way to notify the village of
their coming, so that the success of this impromptu
reception is the more remarkable.
"General Lafayette was not expected at Kaskas-
kia, and nothing had been prepared for this unfore-
seen visit. While we were landing some one ran to
the village, which stands a quarter of a mile from
the shore, and quickly returned with a carriage for
the general, who, an instant after, was surrounded
by many citizens, who ran before to receive him. In
the escort which formed itself to accompany him
we saw neither military apparel nor the splendid
triumphs we had perceived in the rich cities; but
accents of joy and republican gratitude which broke
upon his ear, was grateful to his heart. . . . We
followed the general on foot, and arrived almost at
the same time at the house of General Edgar, a ven-
erable soldier of the Revolution, who received him
with affectionate warmth, and ordered all the doors
to be kept open, that his fellow citizens might enjoy,
as well as himself, the pleasure of shaking hands
with the adopted son of America."
A great multitude of patriotic people assembled.
From the steps of the Edgar house the governor
gave an address of welcome, to which Lafayette re-
plied in very good English, expressing their grati-
fication for the honor done them. Men who were
there differ widely in their descriptions of the hero;
A DISTINGUISHED GUEST 97
one says he was "tall and slender, with a florid com-
plexion," another "inclining to corpulency."
"Age had bent his form a little," narrates a pio-
neer, "but he was still gay and cheerful. It seemed
that his lameness added to his noble bearing, as it
told to the heart the story of the Revolution." 4 And
another comments : "He limped slightly, the result
of a wound he received on achieving our liberties,
which added much interest to his character." But
he was still the courtly, affable French nobleman,
enthusiastic for liberty, who had won Washington's
heart half a century before.
"During an instance of profound silence," writes
the secretary, "I cast a glance at the assembly, in
the midst of which I found myself, and was struck
with astonishment in remarking their variety and
fantastic appearance. Beside men whose dignity of
countenance, the patriotic exaltation of expression,
readily indicated them to be Americans, were others
whose coarse dresses, vivacity, petulance of move-
ment, and the expansive joy of their visages,
strongly recalled to me the peasantry of my own
country; behind these, near to the door, and on the
piazza which surrounded the house, stood some im-
movable, impassable, large, red, half-naked figures,
leaning on a bow or a long rifle ; these were the In-
dians of the neighborhood."
While the general was resting, before the ban-
quet, his son George Washington Lafayette and the
secretary visited the encampment of the Indians,
come to Kaskaskia for the yearly sale of their furs.
The record gives many more pages to their interest
in the red men than to the Illinois entertainment.
But we do know that there was a public reception,
where some soldiers who had fought under him at
Brandywine and Yorktown advanced from the
crowd to shake hands with their old general. Then
came a dinner at the tavern, the big, square banquet
room decorated with laurel, while the guest table
had a rainbow canopy of roses and other flowers.
Lafayette proposed this toast to Kaskaskia and
Illinois : "May their joint prosperity more and more
evince ^the blessings of congenial industry and free-
Governor Coles followed with one to the inmates
of La Grange (Lafayette's home in France) : "Let
them not be anxious ; for although their father is a
thousand miles in the interior of America, he is yet
in the midst of his affectionate children."
When Ex-governor Bond proposed "To General
Lafayette : may he live to see that liberty established
in his native country which he helped to establish in
his adopted country," the general rose and observed
that he would drink the latter part of the toast
Following this was a ball, where Lafayette led the
grand march with a granddaughter of Pierre Men-
A DISTINGUISHED GUEST 99
ard, and the weary visitors left at midnight on their
steamer. This ball was a great occasion; women
who were honored with an invitation preserved as
souvenirs their white gloves, the slippers in which
they danced, and their fans with the hero's picture.
During the ball an uninvited guest arrived an
Indian squaw whose father, Louis DuQuoin, a chief
of the Six Nations, had fought under Lafayette
during the Revolution. Hearing that the great
White Chief was to be in Kaskaskia, she came to
see the man with whose name she had been familiar
since childhood. To identify herself, she brought
an old worn letter that Lafayette had written to her
father, who had preserved it with the greatest care
and had bequeathed it to her as a most precious
The weekly newspaper published in Vandalia, in
its last issue for May, 1825, reports another enter-
tainment given for Lafayette in Illinois. Going up
the Ohio River, en route for Pittsburgh, the party
stopped at Shawneetown.
"A salute of twenty- four rounds was fired as the
Steam-Boat approached the landing," reads the ac-
count in the faded, yellow paper. "The citizens of
Shawneetown and the neighboring country were
then formed in two lines extending from Mr. Rawl-
ings' Hotel to the water's edge. The Committee of
Arrangement and the Trustees of the Town passed
down the line of citizens and received the
NATION'S GUEST at the Steam-Boat. ... As
he passed up the line, the citizens uncovered them-
selves, and observed the most perfect silence,"
while little girls showered flowers upon him.
There was an address of welcome, the orator of
the day comparing their reception with the elaborate
ceremony of other places.
" 'You find our state in its infancy, our country
thinly populated, our people destitute of the luxu-
ries and elegancies of life. In your reception we de-
part not from the domestic simplicity of a seques-
tered people. We erect no triumphal arches, we offer
no exotic delicacies. We receive you to our humble
dwellings, and our homely fare. . . . We take
you to our arms and our hearts.'
"The reply of Lafayette was short and unpre-
meditated, and was delivered in a voice which
seemed tremulous rather with emotion than with
After the reception, a collation and many toasts,
"General Lafayette was conducted to the Steam-
Boat by the Committee, through lines formed by the
citizens as before. . . . Another salute was fired at
their departure. Throughout the whole of this in-
teresting scene the citizens evinced by their respect-
ful and kind deportment the warmest attachment
for the person and the most exalted veneration for
A DISTINGUISHED GUEST 101
the character of this truly great man. The General,
although apparently too frail to support the fatigue
of such an interview, received the congratulations
of the people with ease and cheerfulness, and seemed
to be deeply touched by this humble though sincere
display of national gratitude."
The book written by Levasseur, Lafayette's sec-
retary, is very rare; but the tenth and twelfth vol-
umes of the Illinois Historical Society have the
story of this visit, told in detail. Davidson and
Stuve's history gives it an interesting chapter.
THE CRAZE FOR IMPROVEMENTS
WHEN immigration set in toward Illinois the
settlers from the eastern states brought
money with them. And the presence of money
made a radical change in the condition of the peo-
ple. It created new desires, the principal one being
a mad wish to speculate in land. The national gov-
ernment charged two dollars an acre, one- fourth to
be paid in cash, the balance in five years. At that
price everybody was eager to buy, thinking he could
sell to the settlers who were sure to arrive and thus
make a handsome profit. This they called "develop-
ing the infant resources of a new country." 1
Paper money was abundant. Every man's credit
was good. Property rose rapidly in value. A spirit
of speculation was rife. Towns were laid out, on
paper. Lots bought, on time. Houses built, on
promises. Everybody invested to the limit of his
credit, expecting to make a fortune before his notes
fell due. Everybody was in debt, inextricably, to
CRAZE FOR IMPROVEMENTS 103
A day of reckoning was coming, before their
dreams could come true. Paper towns ' failed to
flourish. There was no commerce to bring money
into the country. Contracts, wildly entered into, ma-
tured. When the notes to the federal government
came due, people could not pay them.
To put an end to these evils, in 1821 the legisla-
ture created a state bank, whose only support was
the credit of Illinois; its sole capital, plates for mak-
ing paper money. And paper money the state bank
proceeded to make, issuing large quantities of notes
payable in ten years. The bank was enormously
popular at first, for it loaned to any citizen a hun-
dred dollars on personal property, and a thousand
on real estate. People imagined because the state
had issued these notes they would be worth par.
They could be used for taxes, and if any creditor
refused to accept them he must wait three years to
collect his debt. 2
Thinking that laws could give paper money a
specified value, the legislature even passed a resolu-
tion that these notes could be used in payment for
land at the federal office. When the question came
up in the senate, the lieutenant-governor, the
Frenchman Menard, said :
"Gentlemen of de senate, it is moved and sec-
onded dat de notes of dis bank be made land office
money. All in favor of dat motion say aye; all
against it, say no. It is decided in de affirmative.
And now; gentlemen, I bet you $100 he never be
made land office money."
And he never was ! For the national government
accepted only cash.
People had the impression that paper money
could be made to supply every financial want. Soon
notes for three hundred thousand dollars were in
circulation. But the remedy was worse than the dis-
ease, the new bills only made matters worse. Notes
had to be cut in halves and quarters to serve as
change, for there was no specie at all. Scarcely had
the bank begun business when its bills fell below par
first down to eighty, then down, down, down, till
it took three dollars to buy one dollar's worth of
goods. Instead of increasing its income, the state
had to spend three times as much for current ex-
In 1831 the notes came due, and to save the honor
of Illinois a large loan was taken, and with this
money the notes were redeemed. This banking folly
cost the state half a million dollars, but her financial
standing was preserved. 3
Without profiting by this expensive lesson, the
legislature of 1835 chartered a new state bank, in
which the state held stock. The mania for land
speculation, asleep for a time, broke out with re-
newed strength. It commenced at Chicago, and in
CRAZE FOR IMPROVEMENTS 105
two years that place grew from a village of a few
houses to a city of several thousand people. Quick
fortunes were made, their stories arousing first
amazement, then a gambling spirit of adventure,
then an absorbing desire for sudden wealth.
Throughout the state this example spread. Maps
of paper towns were sent to Chicago and lots for
a hundred miles around were auctioned off. Maps
were even sent to New York and Boston, a ship
freighted with land costing less than a barrel of
flour. Indeed there was said to be a danger of
crowding the state with towns and leaving no room
As there were more lots than could be sold, men
said that if the country could be rapidly settled, they
would all find a market; and to attract settlers, the
one thing needed was a system of internal improve-
ments. Illinois is a great state, ran their argument;
rich soil, fine climate, great extent of territory. All
she needs is people and enterprise. Improvements
would invite both.
And this was not confined to Illinois. The whole
country was possessed by a mania for improved
transportation. New York had built the Erie Canal ;
Pennsylvania miles of railroads; Kentucky macad-
amized roads ; Indiana and Illinois, because of their
level surfaces, went in for railroads. People and
legislators alike lost their heads, and surrendered
their sober judgment to arguments of the wildest
imaginations. No scheme was so extravagant that
it lacked plausibility. The most impossible calcula-
tions were made of the advantages that would fol-
low the construction of these improvements; the
state had resources enough, men said, to meet all
expenditures. All debts could be met without taxa-
tion. Once made, they would pay for themselves;
nay, more, in time they would provide the running
expenses of the state ! 4
The legislature voted eight million dollars, to be
used for railroads in various parts of Illinois, run-
ning from east to west, north to south, criss-cross
back and forth, a total of thirteen hundred miles.
Five rivers were to have their channels deepened.
And finally the sum of two hundred thousand dol-
lars was voted to those counties in which no rail-
roads were to be built or no rivers improved. As a
crowning act of folly, it was enacted that work-
should commence on all the roads, at each end, and
from the crossings of all the rivers, simultaneously !
This wholesale system of improvements had to be
adopted in order to get any one voted through.
The friends of the canal had to agree to the others,
to succeed with their measure. Politicians anxious
to move the capital to Springfield would support
any other scheme in exchange for votes. And in
this way each section of the state was won over.
CRAZE FOR IMPROVEMENTS 107
Like Napoleon giving away thrones, the people
voted millions. But only one of these improve-
ments was ever completed a little railroad fifty-
one miles long, of no advantage to the state, and its
income was not enough to keep it in repair. 5
The next legislature not only refused the gov-
ernor's suggestion to repeal or modify the system,
but actually voted an additional eight hundred thou-
sand dollars. And for three years the infatuated
people of Illinois continued this ruinous policy, until
the whole scheme tumbled about their ears. In the
spring of 1837 banks throughout the United States
stopped specie payments, including banks in Illinois.
It was a period of national hard times. The loans
made by the state could not be obtained at par.
Bonds were sold on credit. A London firm, agents
for the bonds, failed and the state lost heavily. Fin-
ally the people, recovering their sanity, were aston-
ished at their own folly.
Their internal improvement system was discon-
tinued. But in 1841 Illinois could not meet the in-
terest charges on her debt. The next year the state
bank failed and completed the general distress.
There was a debt of nearly fourteen millions. The
treasury was empty, there was not enough money
to pay postage on the state's letters. Heavy taxes
would only drive the people away. Illinois had bor-
rowed beyond her means and had no credit. The
people owed the merchants, who in turn owed for-
eign merchants or the banks, the banks owed every-
body, and nobody could pay!
The state must repudiate her debt, said some.
She never can nor will pay. Every one ought to see
that and stop discussing it; that won't charm it
away. But under the management of Governor
Ford, a man of great skill and integrity, Illinois
sold some of her lands, received back her bonds
held by the state banks, and withdrew from circula-
tion the worthless "bank rags" and "wildcat
money." 6 The affairs of the bank were wound up
in an honorable manner. A special tax was levied
for interest charges. And in three months' time the
credit of the state was so good that it was possible
to sell a new issue of canal bonds. But the people,
like France with John Law's scheme, paid dearly
for their lesson in high finance. Forty years later
they redeemed the last of these bonds !
To make impossible a repetition of these financial
troubles, the revised constitution of 1848 greatly
curtailed the power of the legislature. 7 It could
pledge the credit of Illinois to the amount of fifty
thousand dollars, for state expenses only. It could
not create a state bank. The strictest economy was
insisted on in the matter of salaries, the sum for
each being fixed at a stated amount "and no more."
Even the length of the legislature's session was
CRAZE FOR IMPROVEMENTS 109
fixed, but these provisions proved a false economy
and as time went on they were notoriously evaded.
The governor's salary, for example, was one thou-
sand five hundred dollars, so an additional four
thousand five hundred dollars was voted him "for
fuel and lights for the executive mansion." Only
the letter of the law was kept, and these abuses
sapped the integrity of the public service and les-
sened respect for the laws. In 1870 the constitution
was again revised, "by the finest deliberative body
that ever sat in a state," and this penurious system
To two of her early governors Illinois owes a
great debt: to Edward Coles, who kept her free
from the blight of slavery; and to Thomas Ford,
who brought her out of her distress and maintained
her financial integrity without repudiation. Each
of them so fully and so decisively met the situation
that pro-slavery men and repudiators never raised
the question again.
THE BLACK HAWK WAR
IN 1804 William Henry Harrison made a treaty
with the Sacs and Pox Tndians", giving the Amer-
icans a tract of land near Rock River. The red men
were to have the use of it until it was sold to indi-
viduals. This was confirmed by later treaties in
1815, '19, '22 and '25. But one of the Sac chiefs,
Black Hawk, said, like Tecumseh, that the treaty
had been made without the consent of all the tribe,
and was not binding. 1
The whites, he insisted, "squatted" on the In-
dians' lands and tried to steal their village. When
they returned from the winter's hunt, they found
the Americans had practically taken possession of
their fields, had burned many of their lodges, and
even plowed up their graveyards. The land is ours,
said Black Hawk, establishing himself on the ter-
ritory in dispute with a party of warriors; and if
any one must withdraw, it must be the interloping
The forty settlers accordingly appealed to Gov-
THE BLACK HAWK WAR 111
ernor Reynolds, who called out seven hundred of
tHe militia and asked the cooperation of the regular
army as well. Double the number of volunteers re-
ported for duty; some thirsting to avenge their
losses from Indian raids, some eager for excitement
and adventure, some anticipating plunder, others
with whom money was scarce, delighted with the
promise of a large expenditure of gold by the gov-
ernment: Twenty-five hundred soldiers appeared at
Saukenuk, the principal Indian village. But Black
Hawk, who had only three hundred men, slipped
away in the night and crossed the Mississippi. The
Americans burned the deserted town and announced
that the fugitives would be pursued. This had the
desired effect of bringing Black Hawk to the gen-
eral's headquarters, where he signed an agreement
to stay on the west side of the Mississippi.
The Indians were promised corn, to make up for
the abandoned fields. Many of the soldiers ridiculed
this, calling it a corn treaty, and said, "We give
them food when it should have been lead." 2 The
winter's supply was not sufficient, however, and a
new series of troubles began immediately. Black
Hawk briefly described it, years later : "In this state
of things, the Indians went over the river to steal
corn from their own land." In April, 1832, the
tribe crossed the Mississippi, and the war was on
_ Governor Rejmolds called out the troops militia,
rangers and some companies of the regular army
under Zachary Taylor, In the volunteer regiments
E. D. Baker was a lieutenant, and Abraham Lin-
""coETa captain, re-enlisting as a "private horseman."
This was the frontier method of selecting a captain,
as described by Lincoln: each candidate made a
speech to the men, telling how gallant he was, in
what wars he had fought, bled and died, and how
he was ready to lead them to glory. And when the
speech-making was over, the soldiers formed in line
behind their favorite. The fellow who had the long-
est tail to his kite was elected captain. It was a
good way, no chance for a stuffed ballot box or a
false count ! s
"I can not tell you," said Lincoln, nearly twenty
years later, "how much the idea of being the cap-
tain of that company pleased me!" And while he
was president he referred to it again as "a success
which gave me more pleasure than any I have had
One day when Lincoln was drilling his men they
were marching across a field, twenty abreast, and
the captain saw a fence ahead. "I could not for the
life of me remember the proper word of command
for getting my company endwise so that I could
get them through the gate, so as we came near I
shouted 'Halt ! This company is dismissed for two
Stephen A. Douglas
THE BLACK HAWK WAR 113
minutes, when it will fall in again on the other side
of the fence. Break ranks !' '
Among the regular soldiers were two young
lieutenants, Jefferson Davis and Robert Anderson,
the latter detailed as inspector-general of the Illi-
nois militia. Nearly thirty years later__Lincoln met
Anderson in Washington. After the president had
thanked him for his gallant conduct at Fort Sumter,
he asked :
" 'Major, do you remember of ever meeting me
" 'No, Mr. President, I have no recollection of
ever having had the pleasure before/
" 'My memory is better than yours,' said Lincoln ;
'you mustered me into the service of the United
States, in 1832, at Dixon's Ferry, in the Black
Hawk war.' " 5
Besides these troops for service against the In-
dians, there were two hundred and seventy-five
rangers under Stillman, an independent force who
refused to fight under the main body, but begged for
some dangerous service. They were ordered up
Rock River to spy out the enemy. Encamping at
sundown, they saw five Indians on a mound at a
distance. Without orders or a commander, some
men whose horses were not yet unsaddled gave
chase. The others followed in confusion, stringing
along for a quarter of a mile, pursuing the red men
into the edge of the forest. Here_Black Hawk with
a party of forty warriors rushed on the rangers,
with a war whoop aad a volley.
In consternation, without returning the fire, the
Americans began a disorderly flight. Reaching their
camp, the panic spread to the men who had remained
there. All of them, some without saddles, some
without bridles, joined in the flight. They left their
tents, camp equipment, provisions, ammunition.
Neither swamps nor swollen streams could check
them, till they reached Dixon's Ferry, thirty miles
away; and some of them continued their mad gallop
forty miles farther to their homes. The first fugi-
tives arrived about midnight; from then till morn-
ing they continued to come, by threes and fours
or singly, each reporting that the Indians were just
behind. Black Hawk, at the head of two thousand
braves, they said, was advancing on the unprotected
settlers. People took refuge in the forts. His name
became a dread in every household. Consternation
filled the whole country, after the battle (?) of
Stillman's Run. 6
The governor issued a fiery proclamation, calling
for three thousand more militia, "to subdue the In-
dians and drive them out of the state." More fed-
eral troops were asked for, and General Winfield
Scott came from the Atlantic coast to take com-
mand. The savages boldly committed depredations
THE BLACK HAWK WAR 115
everywhere, attacking small settlements, cutting off
communication between towns, murdering scattered
groups of soldiers or citizens.
For three months the troops were pursuing the
Indians, who took refuge in the unexplored swamps
of the north. They were delayed by the jealousies
of regular and militia officers, by the expiration of
the volunteers' time, by their ignorance of the coun-
try, and their lack of confidence in their Indian
guides. By the middle of July, however, they were
on the trail of Black Hawk and his braves. They
left their baggage, marched fifty miles one day in
a storm, and crossed the river, hot in pursuit. The
ground was strewn with kettles and blankets, thrown
away for the sake of speed. And on the twenty-
first they came up with the rear guard of twenty
Indians, who made a bold stand and gave the main
band time to retreat. The next morning the Amer-
icans found the enemy had escaped during the night.
Over wooded hills, marshy ravines, swollen
streams went the fugitives, the followers slowly
gaining as they neared the Mississippi. When the
Americans appeared the Indians raised a hideous
yell. "Stillman is not here!" was the answering
cry, and the disgrace of the flight was wiped out
by a splendid charge. In the battle of the Bad Axe
the whites showed no mercy. They charged with
the bayonet. The sharpshooters picked off war-
riors, women and children, all alike, in the tall grass.
The transport fired on those who tried to cross the
river. Over three hundred Indians perished in three
Black Hawk and his two sons escaped, only to
be captured by some Winnebagoes, who, wanting
the friendship of the Americans, surrendered them
to the United States Indian agent. The former
chief made this speech :
"My warriors fell around me; it began to look
dismal. I saw my evil day at hand. . . . This
was the last sun that shone on Black Hawk. He is
now a prisoner to the white man. But he can stand
the torture. He is not afraid. of death. He is no
coward. Black Hawk is an Indian; he has done
nothing of which an Indian need to be ashamed.
He has fought the battles of his country against
the white men, who came, year after year, to cheat
them and take away their lands. You know the
cause of our making war it is known to all white
men they ought to be ashamed of it. The white
men despise the Indians, and drive them from their
homes. But the Indians are not deceitful. The
white men speak bad of the Indian, and look at him
spitefully. But the Indian does not tell lies ; Indians
do not steal. Black Hawk is satisfied. He will go
to the world of spirits contented. He has done his
duty his Father will meet him and reward him.
. . . Farewell to my nation ! Farewell to Black
THE BLACK HAWK WAR 117
The volunteers were disbanded, and a treaty made 1
with the Indians in September, for which the chief
and his sons were held as hostages. Under charge
of Lieutenant Jefferson Davis they were taken to
St. Louis; and later were transferred to Washing-
ton. Black Hawk had an interview with President
Jackson, greeting him with "I am a man, and you
are another." At the close of his speech he said :
"We did not expect to conquer the whites they
had too many houses, too many men. I took up the
hatchet, for my part, to revenge injuries which my
people could no longer endure. Had I borne them
longer without striking my people would have said,
'Black Hawk is a woman he is too old to be a
chief he is no Sac.' These reflections caused me
to raise the war-whoop. I say no more of it. . . .
Black Hawk expects that, like Keokuk, we shall be
permitted to return." 8
Jackson replied that when peace was secured they
might return. And when they had been at Fortress
Monroe for three months his order released them.
They went to Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York
and other cities, that the Indians might see the great-
ness of the country. Crowds collected everywhere
to see Black Hawk. The Indians even- divided pub-
lic curiosity and attention with Jackson, who was
then making a tour of the northern states. The
ladies especially sought his acquaintance, and in re-
turn for their polite sympathy, Black Hawk said
they were "very pretty squaws."
The broken-hearted warrior died five years later
on an Iowa reservation. In comparison with Philip,
or Pontiac, or Tecumseh, he was not an extraordi-
nary Indian, not a great leader, not great in plan-
ning a course of action. He was restless and am-
bitious, brave and resentful.
The importance of this war, the last stand of
the red men against the white settlers in Illinois,
has been greatly exaggerated. It cost the Ameri-
cans over two hundred lives, three months' time,
and two million dollars. Yet it was fought against
four hundred Indians, with perhaps a thousand
women and children. Fortunately for her finances,
almost the total expense was borne by the national
government, for the state would have had great dif-
ficulty in meeting this bill. But it is Illinois's one
and only war, distinctly native.
Black Hawk is a unique character. What can
you find about his connection with the War of 1812 ?
In Thwaites's How George Rogers Clark Won the
Northwest there is ah account of "The Black -Hawk
war. Ford's history tells about it. Perhaps you
can secure a copy of Drake's Life of Black Hawk.
And Frank Stevens's The Black Hawk War will
give you a detailed account-o'f these battles (?) and
THE BLACK HAWK WAR 119
of the old Indian chief. Do not fail to read Black
Hawk's Autobiography, transcribed by an Indian
trader. It will give you the inside view of an
A PERMANENT CAPITAL
V AND ALIA had become the capital of Illinois
in 1820, with the understanding that this was
only temporary. Long before the twenty years were
over the question of a new capital was being dis-
cussed. The movement of population was wholly
toward the center of Illinois. This was before the
era of railroads, and travel to and from the capital
made distance an object to be seriously considered.
The legislature of 1833 submitted the question
to the people, and the election the following year
gave Alton the highest number of votes, with
Springfield standing third. But no appropriation
was made to second this choice, and the matter came
Now when the question came up again in the
legislature, bills for the Illinois-Michigan Canal and
for internal improvements were being considered.
Sangamon had become, in fifteen years, the most
populous county in the state. She had two senators
and seven representatives, called the "Long Nine,"
A PERMANENT CAPITAL 121
because they averaged six feet in height. Their
one object was to Obtain the capital for Springfield.
Dexterous in the handling of men, and led by Abra-
ham Lincoln, perhaps the most skilful of all the
politic statesmen of his day, they voted as a unit
from the very beginning of the session. For every
local measure introduced they had nine votes, for or
against, but always bargaining for votes for Spring-
field. They gave "a long pull, a strong pull, and
a pull all together." Like a snowball, the "Long
Nine" gathered accessions of strength with every
roll call; and when the location of the capital was
finally decided, though twenty-nine places were
voted for, Springfield won on the fourth ballot. 1
The legislature appropriated fifty thousand dollars
for the erection of a state house, on condition that
the citizens of Springfield give a like sum and two
acres of ground.
The Sangamo country, meaning in the Indian
tongue "the country where there is plenty to eat,"
in Biblical phrase "the land flowing with milk and
honey," was first known to Americans through the
reports of the rangers. In the autumn of 1819 a
weary immigrant family who had traveled from
North Carolina encamped on the bank of Spring
Creek. Lighting their campfire, they gathered about
the frugal supper, on the site of their new home in
the wilderness. The next morning the ring of the
ax resounded in the forest. And in a few days John
Kelly's family had a rough log cabin, where now
Jefferson and First Streets cross in the capital city. 2
This was the nucleus of a town, named Spring-
field in honor of Spring Creek and Kelly's field. Set-
tlers came in large numbers, for the "St. Gamo
Kedentry," as Sangamon County was called in the
vernacular, soon became famous. A town was laid
off and plotted, called Calhoun, but to this people
objected, and the name Springfield was revived.
When the capital was moved here the town had
about eleven hundred inhabitants. The houses were
mostly frame and poorly constructed. Springfield
could boast but little wealth, and many of the citi-
zens were greatly embarrassed through their efforts
to raise the fifty thousand dollars required for the
new state house. The streets were unpaved; there
were no sidewalks in many places ; in spring and au-
tumn the mud was unfathomable. For many years
the town was crude in appearance and in fact.
Lincoln had a favorite story illustrating this. The
secretary of state had the care and letting of the
assembly chamber, and one day had a request from
a meek-looking man with a white necktie to use the
room to deliver a course of lectures. Asked the
subject, he replied, with a very solemn expression
of countenance, "The second coming of our Lord."
"It is of no use," said the secretary, "if you will
A PERMANENT CAPITAL 123
take my advice, you will not waste your time in this
city. It is my private opinion that if the Lord has
been in Springfield once, he will not come the sec-
ond time." 3
But the capital city did not long remain uninvit-
ing. Her citizens had enterprise and industry. Out-
side capital came in; factories were established;
railroads developed her coal mines; streets were
paved; prosperity arrived and stayed.
The cornerstone of the state house was laid on
the fourth of July, 1837, with an address by the
brilliant orator, E. D. Baker. It was estimated that
the cost would be one hundred thirty thousand dol-
lars, but this was only half the sum needed. Before
the new building was ready the governor called a
special session of the legislature; the house of rep-
resentatives met in the Presbyterian church, the sen-
ate in the Methodist church, and the supreme court
in the Episcopal.
Erected in the center of the public square, the
state house was built of cut stone from a quarry
ten miles away, brought to the city by ox teams.
With its two porticos and massive columns, spacious
halls and generous rooms for legislature, supreme
court and committees, it was the wonder of the
country round. It was admired as a model of archi-
tectural beauty, and supposed to be ample for the
needs of Illinois for all time to come.
But so rapid was the progress of the state that
in less than a quarter of a century this building was
regarded as no longer adequate. Many departments
had to occupy rented rooms. The capitol was called
"a squat and unshapely pile," not suited to the pride
and pretensions of the people of the fourth state in
the Union. It ought, said many, to represent the
greatness and dignity of Illinois.
In 1865 a bill was introduced 'in the legislature
to remove the capital to Peoria. Springfield's hotel
accommodations were inferior, the charges exorbi-
tant. This bill was finally tabled, but it made the
citizens of Springfield anxious. They recognized
the consequences that might follow. Immediately
they built a new hotel, and made plans for a new
state house. The county agreed to buy the old
building and the square for two hundred thousand
dollars. The city gave eight acres as the site for a
new capitol, and a bill was introduced for an initial
There were, of course, other cities wanting the
state house. But, as before, many other bills were
being considered. One county was asking for the
state university, another section for a penitentiary,
Chicago was eager to have park and canal bills
passed. And with so many interests, not combined
against her, Springfield won. As the final argument
it was urged that the residence of Abraham Lincoln
had made the city historic ground, sanctified by his
The new capitol was limited to a cost of three
million dollars. A prize of three thousand dollars
was offered for the best design, and twenty-one were
submitted. The one chosen was a blending of classic
and modern architecture, in the form of a great
cross with a stately dome. The plan to have statues
of Lincoln and Douglas at the north and south por-
ticos was never carried out. The cornerstone was
laid in October, 1868, but work went along very
Three years later Peoria offered to reimburse the
state for the full amount expended, nearly a million
dollars, and donate ten acres for a site, if the capital
was moved to that city. Springfield, however, of-
fered additional ground, and finally succeeded in
getting the appropriations for the state house passed,
despite Peoria's lobbying and the free excursion to
that city given to the legislature. 5
Completed with an additional expenditure of
nearly a million and a half, the building was occu-
pied in 1876, although it was not finally finished
till twelve years later. One of the most beautiful
of the state capitols, its dignity and strength fitly
symbolize the resources and power and pride of
Illinois. The growth of the state's business, dur-
ing the last decades, has made what seemed most
generous quarters crowded and cramped. But in-
stead of a new state house, the plan is to erect addi-
tional buildings near by, making a beautiful archi-
tectural unit. The arsenal, the supreme court
building, and the new centennial building, with the
state house, are an earnest of a civic center of which
Illinois will be justly proud.
THE ALTON TRAGEDY
ELIJAH PARISH LOVEJOY was a New
Englander, a Presbyterian minister, who
moved to Illinois in 1836. For three years he had
been editing a religious newspaper in St. Louis.
Many of his editorials were strong arguments
against slavery, and, published in a slave state, they
excited unfavorable comment. When a group of
influential citizens counseled him "to pass over in
silence everything connected with the subject," he
refused in an article on the liberty of the press. Re-
quested then to resign, he announced his intention
of removing the paper to Alton.
On the eve of his departure a mob entered his
office and most of the press was destroyed. The
remnants, shipped to Alton, arrived on Sunday.
Love joy planned to leave the press on the wharf
till the next day; but that night it was broken in
pieces and thrown into the river. Men said it was
disrespectful to the city of Alton to permit the press
to be established there when the paper could not be
published in Cincinnati or Louisville or St. Louis.
They feared that an abolition journal so near Mis-
souri, a slave state, would do the town a serious
injury and prevent its growth.
But the people of Alton were excited by this
cowardly destruction of property, and a public meet-
ing was called, where Love joy made a speech. He
stated that, though he was opposed to slavery and
thought it wrong, he was not an abolitionist, and
had indeed been frequently denounced by Garrison
because he did not favor their extreme measures.
He said that "he was now removed from slavery
and could publish a newspaper without discussing
it, and that it looked like cowardice to flee from the
place where the evil existed and come to a place
where it did not exist to oppose it." 1 He wished to
establish, not an abolition paper, but a religious
weekly. Funds were raised for a new press, and
copies of the Alton Observer appeared.
Begun solely as a religious journal, Love joy's edi-
torials soon changed. Slavery was very moderately
referred to, then denounced mildly, but presently
the fiercest and most rabid abolition doctrines were
being preached. Religion was pressed into service
as a mere auxiliary to the cause. Here, for exam-
ple, is a Love joy paragraph on the fourth of July :
"This day reproaches us for our sloth and inac-
tivity. It is the day of our nation's birth. Even
as we write crowds are hurrying past our window
THE ALTON TRAGEDY 129
in eager anticipation to the appointed bower, to
listen to the declaration that 'All men are created
equal'; to hear the eloquent orator denounce, in
strains of manly indignation, the attempt of Eng-
land to lay a yoke on the shoulders of our fathers
which neither they nor their children could bear.
Alas! what bitter mockery is this! We assemble
to thank God for our own freedom, and to eat with
joy and gladness of heart while our feet are on
the necks of nearly three million of our fellow men.
Not all our shouts of self -congratulation can drown
their groans; even that very flag which waves over
our head is formed from material cultivated by
slaves, on a soil moistened by their blood, drawn
from them by the whip of a republican task-mas-
The citizens, not wishing to see the public peace
disturbed, sent a deputation to call on Love joy, to
remind him of his first plans for the Observer, and
urging him to desist from his course. He denied
having made any promise and contended for the
liberty of the press. The people assembled, quietly
took press and type, and threw them into the Mis-
It was now apparent to all rational men that the
Observer could no longer be published in Alton as
an abolition paper. 3 The more reasonable of Love-
joy's party thought it useless to try again, and dis-
cussed going to Quincy or some other city. Some
of the group, however, seemed to think the salvation
of the black race depended on continuing publication
of the Observer. Sustain the press at all hazards!
Others said it was madness to make the attempt,
that already their efforts had come near destroying
the religious feeling of the community.
Perhaps not more than fifty men upheld Lovejoy
in this crisis, when he said, "I will start another
paper, no matter what the consequences may be."
Far from being discouraged, he was more deter-
mined than ever to publish his sheet in Alton, at
the point of the bayonet, if necessary. Another
press was ordered, arrived in a few weeks, and was
promptly cast into the river. Still another was sent
and destroyed, the excitement assuming a spirit of
frenzy, increasing to a perfect tornado.
An outbreak was now confidently looked for. All
business was suspended. Nothing was talked of but
the efforts of the abolitionists. 4 Love joy's followers
formed themselves into a military company and kept
guard at the wharf. When the next press arrived,
on the night of November sixth, they removed it
to a warehouse and kept watch about the building
all the following day. But in the evening every-
thing was' quiet, and all but nineteen of the fatigued
The citizens were goaded on to madness by the
taunts and threats of the abolitionists that they
THE ALTON TRAGEDY 131
did not dare touch the press, that powder and lead
were not mere playthings, that they had thirty
rounds of cartridges and the mob should feel their
virtue! Soon after nine o'clock a group of thirty
men assembled in front of the warehouse and de-
manded that the press be given up to them. The
night was so clear that both parties were distinctly
visible during the parley. The men within replied
that they were well provided with arms and ammu-
nition and would defend the press to the last ex-
tremity rather than surrender it. With stones and
brickbats the assailants attacked the building, trying
to carry it by storm. Some one in the warehouse
fired from the second floor, killing one of the crowd.
Loud and bitter imprecations were heard, and the
death of all in the defending group was boldly
The party outside scattered. Some went to get
powder, to blow up the stone building; some for
ladders, to set the roof on fire ; the bells of the city
were rung, and horns blown to assemble a greater
multitude. 5 Armed men came rushing to the scene
of action. One side of the warehouse had no win-
dows; and here, safe from shots from within, a
man ascended a ladder with a burning torch in his
hand. When volunteers were called for to dislodge
him, Love joy and two others responded, stepped out
on the levee, and aimed at the figure on the ladder.
The fire was returned by several men hidden behind
a pile of lumber, and Lovejoy was hit by five bul-
lets. Running into the warehouse, he exclaimed,
"My God! I am shot!" and died in the arms of a
The crowd continued to fire at the building until
the defenders surrendered the press, which was
broken up and thrown into the river. The fire com-
pany extinguished the flames on the warehouse roof,
and all quieted down into darkness and oblivion.
Several men on both sides were indicted in cases
arising from this riot, but none was found guilty.
Both parties judged it advisable to forgive and for-
get the whole transaction. Indeed, it was made a
matter of court record that the abolitionists had not
provoked an assault, that there had been no mob,
and that no one was killed or wounded !
The day after the tragedy, without ceremony,
Lovejoy's body was buried on a high bluff in the
south part of Alton. 6 Some years later this site was
chosen for a cemetery, and the main avenue chanced
to pass over his grave. His ashes were moved to
another place, and on the sixtieth anniversary of his
death a monument, erected half by the state and
half by public subscription, was dedicated "in grat-
itude to God, and in the love of liberty."
A man of talent and extraordinary energy and
pertinacity, Lovejoy's life was aggressive, his death
THE ALTON TRAGEDY 133
tragic. Like all true reformers, he had a grasp of
intellect enabling him to see and act ahead of his
time. His convictions were deep-seated, but his
course was needlessly irritating and offensive to his
fellow citizens. In pursuing his end he lost sight
of the best means for its attainment.
Because it concerned slavery, the Alton riot
caused immense excitement throughout the country. 7
It was discussed at public meetings and in the press
and pulpit. Some papers came out in mourning.
Ministers preached on Love joy as a martyr. The
voice of condemnation was almost universal. Love-
joy had found his grave, it was said, in the bosom
of a free state, and his death would kindle a flame
which years could not extinguish. Indeed, it took
a costly civil war to wipe out the stain.
But Lovejoy was not a member of the abolition
party. He was fighting for the freedom of the press
and for free speech.
Besides the accounts in the various histories, you
will be interested in the Memoir of Lovejoy, writ-
ten by his two brothers.
RELIGION MIXED WITH POLITICS
IN 1839 there came to Illinois a group of settlers
whose career is one of the most unusual in his-
tory, whose few years in our state make one of its
most unique stories. These people were the Mor-
mons, or, as they called themselves, "the Latter-Day
Saints," and their leader was Joseph Smith.
Some years before he had started a church in
western New York, preaching from the Bible, and,
like Mahomet, adding to it. His Book of Mor-
mon gives a long account of the lost ten tribes of
Israel and tells how they settled in America. By
means of two crystal stones Smith translated this
from the gold plates he discovered, where it was
written in peculiar characters. His church had
power over the consciences and spiritual affairs of
its members, and also over their persons and prop-
erty. The Jesuit organization was not more com-
From New York the group moved to Ohio and
then to Missouri, their numbers constantly increas-
ing. Organized as a community, they said that the
RELIGION AND POLITICS 135
Lord had given them all that country, as they were
His Saints. They refused to acknowledge the au-
thority of the state of Missouri, plundered near-by
towns, and at last the militia was called out against
them. The Mormons surrendered, were ordered to
leave the state, and sought refuge in Illinois.
Though it was known that they had left Ohio be-
cause of the questionable failure of Smith's bank,
though Missouri had found them such undesirable
citizens, they were welcomed in Illinois. Several
counties vied with one another in their offers of hos-
pitality, and tried to get the strangers to settle with-
in their boundaries. The Mormons told a romantic
story of the cruel treatment of their enemies, of
their escape through perils of field and flood. They
made themselves out as the weaker, persecuted
party. And the good people of Illinois expressed
much sympathy for these men who suffered in the
cause of their religion. 2 After wandering about for
some time, they selected a place on the Mississippi
River in Hancock County, and started a town which
they called Nauvoo, meaning peaceable or pleasant.
Here they planned to build a great city and tem-
ple, as the place for the gathering to Zion. In two
years they had put up more than two thousand
houses, and Nauvoo, with sixteen thousand people,
was the largest town in the state. Into the county
people poured, from every part of the world. The
discontented from all other sects, men who loved
the new and the mysterious, men who saw in Mor-
monism a stepping stone to power and wealth; vi-
sionary, enthusiast, scoundrel, dupe, made up the
members, all fanatical followers of the prophet, Joe
The great temple is said to have cost a million dol-
lars in money and labor. The people worked on it,
every tenth day, or gave money to pay a mason or
carpenter. Placed on the river bluff in a command-
ing position, it overlooked the country in Illinois
and Iowa for twenty miles. It was not planned
after any order of architecture, unless we call it
Mormonic. Indeed, the Saints themselves said it
was begun without a plan, and from day to day the
master builder received directions directly from
"And really," says a contemporary writer, "it
looks as if it was the result of such frequent change
as would be produced by a daily accession of new
ideas. It has been said that the church architecture
of a sect indicates the genius and spirit of a reli-
gion." He goes on to describe the characteristic
Catholic and Methodist and Presbyterian church,
and concludes, "If the genius of Mormonism were
tried by this test, as exhibited in the temple, we
could only pronounce that it was a piece of patch-
work, variable, strange, and incongruous." 4
RELIGION AND POLITICS 137
But interesting as the Mormons were, had they
remained an unobtrusive religious community, their
place in Illinois history would be no more important
than any other group of settlers, far less than the
English colony in Edwards County. But the Mor-
mons almost immediately mixed in Illinois politics,
and became an important factor for the years they
lived in the state. At that time party feeling ran
high, and the contest between Whigs and Democrats
was close and bitter. Both sides wanted the Mor-
mon vote, which Smith seemed to hold in the hollow
of his hand. He announced that his people should
vote 'for this man or that, with the same assurance
as when he told of an angel's message about the
Book of Mormon. And, like a Jesuit leader's, his
power was absolute.
From the legislature the Mormons asked a char-
ter for the town of Nauvoo. Both parties, flattered
with the hope of Mormon votes, hurried its passage.
In the senate, the ayes and noes were not called for ;
in the house it was read only by title. It was rushed
through, at the opening of the session, even before
the "poetry bill," which provided for the members'
And such powers as this charter gave Nauvoo ! 5
A government within a government a city council
with power to pass ordinances contrary to the laws
of the state ; a court sitting in all cases arising under
the city laws; a military force, called the Nauvoo
Legion, governed by its own ordinances, supplied
with arms by the state, but subject only to the gov-
ernor. The legislature granted another charter for
a great tavern, the Nauvoo House, where the
prophet and his heirs were to have a suite of rooms
Smith was, at one and the same time, prophet,
priest, merchant, president, elder, editor, general of
the Nauvoo Legion, mayor, legislator in the council,
judge in one court and chief justice in another, real
estate agent for the town, and tavern keeper. 6 He
was a fugitive from justice in Missouri, but repeated
warrants issued for his arrest were not served. The
council of Nauvoo passed a law making it illegal to
serve a warrant in that city, unless it had been ap-
proved by the mayor Smith himself. And another
ordinance made it lawful to arrest any man who
comes "to arrest Joseph Smith with process growing
out of the Missouri difficulties."
It was impossible to serve writs in Hancock
County. The Mormons became more and more ar-
rogant and insolent. They petitioned Congress to
establish a separate government for them in Nau-
voo. Smith announced himself as a candidate for
the presidency of the United States. The people
became embittered against the Saints, saying that
RELIGION AND POLITICS 139
they voted in a body and thus held the balance of
power, for no election was possible in the county
without their influence and ballots. It was said that
they were about to set up a government of their
own; that they made counterfeit money; that be-
lieving they were entitled to all the goodly farms in
the country, it was no moral offense to anticipate
God's putting them in possession by stealing when
opportunity offered; that Nauvoo sheltered outlaws
and murderers and thieves, making religion a cloak
for crime; and that under the name of "spiritual
wives" Smith encouraged polygamy and immoral-
So it is not surprising that when a schism oc-
curred in the church, led by a man named Law, num-
bers of outsiders joined his group against the des-
potic prophet. Law started a newspaper, to put his
cause before the people, to expose Smith's iniquities
and fight his doctrine of polygamy. But only one
number was published, when the Mormons scattered
the press to the four winds and expelled Law and his
friends from the church. Warrants against Smith
were discharged in his court. An appeal was then
sent to Governor Ford, asking him to send the mili-
tia to arrest the offenders. The assailing of the lib-
erty of the press was of course a powerful argu-
When troops were called out to serve as a con-
stable's posse, Smith assembled the Nauvoo Legion
and declared martial law. The governor himself
went up to Carthage. The prophet and his brother
surrendered at his request, and were locked up in
jail on a charge of riot. The Legion gave up their
arms. Now Ford knew that the troops were only
waiting for some excuse to attack the Mormons.
When he learned of a plan to fire on the soldiers and
accuse the Saints of the deed, he promptly disbanded
all the militia except a guard for the Carthage jail.
Going over to Nauvoo, the governor addressed
the Mormons, explaining the situation and receiving
their pledge to abide by the laws, even against the
orders of their church. This would probably have
postponed any collision, but while the governor was
absent on this mission, an armed mob was taking
charge of affairs in Carthage. And this mob was
none other than some of the disbanded soldiers of
the state !
"About two hundred of these men," says Ford's
account of this event, "many of them disguised by
blacking their faces with powder and mud, hastened
immediately to Carthage. There they encamped, at
some distance from the village, and soon learned
that one of the companies left as a guard had dis-
banded and returned to their homes ; the other com-
pany, the Carthage Greys, was stationed by the cap-
tain in the public square, a hundred and fifty yards
RELIGION AND POLITICS 141
from the jail. Whilst eight men were detailed to
guard the prisoners.
"A communication was soon established between
the conspirators and the company; and it was ar-
ranged that the guard should have their guns
charged with blank cartridges and fire at the assail-
ants when they attempted to enter the jail. . . .
The conspirators came up, jumped the slight fence
around the jail, were fired upon by the guard, which,
according to arrangement, was overpowered imme-
diately, and the assailants entered the prison, to the
door of the room where the two prisoners were con-
fined, with two of their friends, who voluntarily
bore them company.
"An attempt was made to break open the door;
but Joe Smith, being armed with a six-barreled pis-
tol, furnished by his friends, fired several times as
the door was bursted open, and wounded three of
the assailants. At the same time several shots were
fired into the room, . . . and Hiram Smith was
instantly killed. Joe Smith now attempted to es-
cape by jumping out of the second-story window;
but the fall so stunned him that he was unable to
rise ; and being placed in a sitting posture by the con-
spirators below, they dispatched him with four balls
shot through his body. Thus fell Joe Smith, the
most successful impostor in modern times." 8
But his death, instead of ending the sect, gave the
Mormons a new confidence in their faith, an in-
creased fanaticism, and many more members. Their
vote was sought by both parties in the presidential
election of 1844. The anti-Mormon group grew
more and more bitter. In spite of the governor's
resolution to have the assassins of the two Smiths
punished with the utmost rigor of the law, it was im-
possible to convict them ; for the anti-Mormons had
a jury of their friends. Neither was it possible to
convict the men guilty of destroying the printing
press, for the Mormons were tried before a Mormon
"No leading man on either side could be arrested
without the aid of an army. . . . No one would
be convicted of any crime in Hancock; and this put
an end to the administration of civil law in that dis-
tracted county. Government was at an end there,
and the whole community were delivered up to the
dominion of a frightful anarchy." There was little
but riot and warfare. In the autumn of 1845 the
Mormons in one village were told to leave, but re-
fused. A mob burned their houses, and the inmates
in utter destitution fled to Nauvoo. The Mormon
sheriff there promptly raised a posse, drove the anti-
Mormons out of the county, and burned their homes,
plundering and laying waste with fire and sword.
The soldiers were called out again. The Mormon
elders, convinced by now that they could not remain
longer in the state, bargained that they would leave
in the spring, if they were not molested during the
RELIGION AND POLITICS 143
winter. A small garrison stayed in Nauvoo. Meet-
ings of more than four men were prohibited. The
strictest military order was kept and peace main-
All the houses in Nauvoo, even the great temple,
were transformed into workshops. By spring more
than twelve thousand wagons had been made, to
carry the people and their goods to the Pacific coast. 9
In February, while the river was covered with ice
and the ground with deep snow, the twelve apostles
and a few followers started the story is, to avoid
arrest for counterfeiting. And in May about six-
teen thousand Mormons set out together, but a diffi-
cult journey they had to their promised land.
Forcibly ejected from Missouri, they had to make
a roundabout trip through Iowa. They spent the
winter near Council Bluffs, where they had cholera
and fever. The Indians hovered about, ready to
plunder them. Not till July did they reach the val-
ley of the Great Salt Lake, where they remained. In
that desert country there was, for a long time, no
anti-Mormon party, and the Latter-Day Saints pros-
Thus into Illinois and out of the state passed this
sect, based on delusion and imposture, led by a man
of so little education that he read indifferently and
wrote and spelled badly, who nevertheless main-
tained his authority as spiritual and temporal and
political leader of an ever-increasing group of
But the Mormons were not through with Illinois.
There were two young men, law partners in Spring-
field, who had seen the evils of polygamy during the
Mormon residence in Illinois. 10 In 1865 one of them,
a representative in Congress, introduced a bill pro-
hibiting plural marriages. It passed the house but
failed in the senate. Eighteen years later, as senator
from Illinois, Cullom introduced the same bill and
secured its passage. His former law partner was
appointed federal judge in Utah, then a territory
governed by Congress, and the law was enforced
strictly and fearlessly. The Mormons themselves
appreciated the justice and high-mindedness of this
Illinoisan, and when Utah was admitted as a state,
their vote elected Zane as their chief justice.
A group of Mormon wagons and a herd of live stock crossing
The Missouri River at Council Bluffs ferry
ILLINOIS IN THE MEXICAN WAR
IN the very month when the Mormons left, an-
other group of men were preparing to start from
Illinois, but for a far different reason. The annexa-
tion of Texas in May, 1845, was made an excuse for
the war with Mexico, and just a year later the presi-
dent called for volunteers. Illinois's apportionment
was four regiments.
A wave of patriotism swept over the state. Men
were enlisting everywhere. The women formed
sewing societies to make uniforms, for each soldier
provided his own, and was later reimbursed for his
outlay. By the middle of June nine regiments were
enrolled, but only the four asked for could be ac-
The United States had at that time a very small
regular army, and the brunt of the war fell on the
volunteers. The quickness of their assembling, their
prodigious journeys, their splendid esprit de corps,
are among the wonderful incidents of the war.
They made long marches over mountainous and des-
olate country, over arid prairies under a tropical sun.
They reached the enervating southern climate in the
very heat of midsummer. There was an unprece-
dented amount of sickness.
"Heat heat heat ;" wrote home one Illinois sol-
dier, "rain rain rain; mud mud mud, inter-
mingled with spots of sand gravel, form the prin-
cipal features of the route from Levacca to San
Antonio. Loaded wagons, of course, moved slowly
over the roads, and our troops were scourged on the
route by the mumps and measles." 1
The Illinois regiments missed Palo Alto and
Monterey, but did arrive in time to fight at Buena
Vista, to help invest Vera Cruz, and to storm the
last stronghold of the- Mexicans at Cerro Gordo.
Special praise they won at Buena Vista, a narrow
pass in the mountains, called "a perfect Thermopy-
lae." Santa Anna, with a force of twenty thousand
men, entered the valley on the twenty-second of Feb-
ruary. In honor of the day the American watch-
word was "the memory of Washington." The Mex-
icans sent Taylor a flag of truce, assuring him he
would be cut to pieces and summoning him to sur-
render. The answer was, "General Taylor never
surrenders," though his force was less than five
thousand. That night the Americans bivouacked on
the field, without fires, resting on their arms. It was
IN THE MEXICAN WAR 147
cold and dreary, with rain and gusts of wind. Santa
Anna made a speech to his soldiers, telling in burn-
ing words the wrongs heaped on Mexico by the bar-
barians from the north, who could plainly hear the
vivas greeting him. They could hear the Mexican
band playing till late in the night. 2
The next morning the battle began, lasting till
dark. Because of the deep gullies and gorges, only
a limited number of men could fight at one place.
And in some of the attacks the Mexicans charged
six to one, eight to one, even ten to one. But the
Americans stubbornly resisted, no matter how over-
whelming the numbers of the enemy. Illinois vol-
unteers, never under fire before, made a gallant
twenty-minute charge that practically won the day,
and during the night Santa Anna withdrew from the
field. This was the most stubborn battle of the war,
and its turning point.
"The first and second Illinois and the Kentucky
regiments," wrote Taylor in his official report,
"served immediately under my eye, and I bear a will-
ing testimony to their excellent conduct throughout
the day. The spirit and gallantry with which the
First Illinois and Second Kentucky engaged the en-
emy in the morning, restored confidence to that part
of the field, while the list of casualties will show how
much these three regiments suffered in sustaining
the heavy charge of the enemy in the afternoon." 3
In every battle the officers and men of Illinois
distinguished themselves. Their daring courage and
intrepid valor won honor for themselves and glory
for the state. Nobly Illinois acted her part, gain-
ing character and standing by the extraordinary ef-
forts of her soldiers. Because of the few men en-
gaged the victories of Scott and Taylor were the
more brilliant. Indeed, it has been said that the
only battles in history to be compared with these
in the Mexican War are the stories in the Old Tes-
The Illinois troops, enlisted for one year, were
mustered out in May, 1847. Two more regiments
were sent to Mexico, but they had only skirmishes
with guerrillas, and heavy losses from sickness. For
the war was practically over, and peace was made
early in 1848.
The troops brought home as a trophy a cannon
which they captured at Cerro Gordo and turned on
the enemy. Charging, there on the retreating Mex-
icans, they came on the carriage of Santa Anna.
Only a few moments before he had escaped on one
of the mules, cut from the traces. Among the ef-
fects found in the carriage was the general's wooden
leg. It was held up to the view of the soldiers, and
brought back to Illinois. 4 And to this day it is one
of the treasures in Memorial Hall in the state house.
THE CODE OF HONOR
THE practise of dueling, an inheritance from
the French, was never so popular in Illinois
as in many other states. But her history tells of
some interesting challenges, and she took a leading
part in abolishing this custom.
The first duel in Illinois was in 1765, when the
British troops came to take possession of Fort Char-
tres. Two young officers, one French, the other
English, were rival suitors for the hand of a young
lady in the neighborhood. 1 A quarrel arose which
led to a challenge. One Sunday morning they
fought with small swords near the fort and the
English officer was killed. The Frenchman made
haste to go down the Mississippi to New Orleans,
showing how the public of that early day felt to-
When the separation of Illinois and Indiana was
being excitedly discussed, a personal controversy
developed between Rice Jones, a promising young
lawyer, and Shadrach Bond. A challenge and ac-
ceptance followed. They met on an island near
Kaskaskia. The weapons were hair-trigger pistols,
and Jones's was discharged prematurely. Bond's
second claimed that, according to the code, it was
now his turn to fire. But Bond, unwilling to take
such a murderous advantage of his adversary, cried
out, "No, it was an accident!" and refused. To
conduct so noble Jones responded, their difficulty
was reconciled, and they left the field together. But
later the second quarreled with Jones, and assassi-
nated him in the street, while he was talking to a
lady. The murderer escaped to Texas, but public
opinion was aroused. The following year Governor
Edwards and the judges adopted a law that a fatal
duel was murder. The men aiding the principals
were equally guilty. 2 Sending or accepting a chal-
lenge prevented a man from holding any office of
honor or trust. This was an important step in sup-
In 1819 occurred the first and last fatal duel in
the state. At a carousal in Belleville two men quar-
reled, and a sham duel was proposed, to provide
some rare sport for the crowd. The weapons were
to be rifles, loaded with powder only. The com-
batants took their places, forty steps apart, and at
the signal both fired. One man fell, mortally
wounded, and died in a few minutes. His opponent,
suspecting a cheat, had secretly slipped a ball into
THE CODE OF HONOR 151
Arrested, the murderer escaped from jail. Two
years later he was discovered in Arkansas, brought
back to Belleville by a trick, tried and convicted.
Governor Bond was besieged with petitions for his
pardon. But the man who had refused twelve years
before to take advantage of his foe would not yield
in this case and the murderer was hanged. Bond's
firmness in insisting on the execution of the law
had much to do with making dueling unpopular and
A few years later an unusual duel took place in
a mining camp near Galena. Two men fell out and
agreed to fight a duel with rocks. Two piles of
stones, alike in number and size, were arranged ten
paces apart by the seconds, and the coni^atants sta-
tioned by them. Stones flew thick and last for a
time, but one man was so strong and so expert in
throwing that the other had to flee to save his life.
So this duel was of short duration.
During the legislature of 1840 so many "affairs
of honor" were threatened among the members that
one senator proposed the dueling law should be sus-
pended for a fortnight, to give full opportunity for
the settling of all personal d'fficulties. One case, be-
tween a youthful member of the house and a su-
preme court judge, actually went so far that time
and place and weapons had been agreed upon, when
a complaint was lodged by the attorney-general of
Illinois. A warrant was issued, the judge arrested,
and placed under bond to keep the peace. 4 This was
the end compassed by mutual friends in several of
The most famous duel in Illinois was the one
where Shields challenged Lincoln. The state treas-
urer and Shields, the auditor, had issued a procla-
mation that taxes must be paid in specie, not in paper
money. This was the year when the state bank
failed, the very worst of the hard times. Lincoln
wrote a letter to a Springfield newspaper, dated
from "Lost Township," a dialogue between Aunt
Rebecca and a neighbor who had
"been tugging ever since harvest getting out wheat
and hauling it to the river to raise State Bank
paper enough to pay my tax this year and a little
school debt I owe ; and now, just as I've got it, here
I open this infernal EXTRA REGISTER, expect-
ing to find it full of 'Glorious Democratic Victories'
and 'High Comb'd Cocks,' when, lo and behold!
I find a set of fellows, calling themselves officers of
the State, have forbidden the tax collectors and
school commissioners to receive State paper at all;
and so here it is dead on my hands."
"Shields is a fool as well as a liar. With him
truth is out of the question; and as for getting a
good, bright, passable lie out of him, you might as
well try to strike fire from a cake of tallow. . . .
THE CODE OF HONOR 153
He's a Whig, and no mistake; nobody but a Whig
could make such a conceity dunce of himself. . . .
And now, Mr. Printer, will you be sure to let us
know in your next paper whether this Shields is a
Whig or a Democrat? ... I know well enough
how it is already; but I want to convince Jeff. It
may do some good to let him, and others like him,
know who and what these officers of State are. It
may help to send the present hypocritical set to
where they belong, and to fill the places they now
disgrace with men who will do more work for less
pay, and take a fewer airs while they are doing it." 5
A week later a second letter was published, and
then Rebecca sent a third in rhyme. These were
written, not by Lincoln, but by two young ladies in
Springfield, one of whom he afterward married,
while the other became Mrs. Lyman Trumbull.
These publications subjected the vain and irascible
Irish auditor of Illinois to merriment and ridicule
on every side. Instead of laughing at the satire, he
demanded of the editor the name of the author who
was attacking his "private character and standing
as a man."
"Give him my name," said Lincoln, "and say not
a word about the young ladies."
Shields demanded a full, positive and absolute
retraction and apology for the insults. Lincoln
could not in honor say that the second and third
letters were written by two estimable ladies. And
Shields was not satisfied by his saying that in writ-
ing the first letter he was concerned only with its
political effect and had no thought of anything per-
sonal. He was promptly challenged to a duel and
"I am wholly opposed to dueling, and will do
anything to avoid it," he said, "that will not de-
grade me in the estimation of myself and friends;
but if degradation or a fight are the alternatives, I
shall fight." 6
As the challenged party had the privilege of
choosing weapons and position, Lincoln selected
cavalry broadswords of the largest size; and stipu-
lated that a board should be set up between him and
Shields, over which they were to hack away at each
other, at a distance of three feet more than the
length of the sword. In spite of the length of Lin-
coln's arms, this placed them both out of harm's
Lincoln insisted that as dueling was against the
law in Illinois, the meeting should be in Missouri.
The affair went so far that the combatants actually
left the state, their seconds provided with the two
swords, but mutual friends patched up a reconcilia-
tion and the ludicrous duel never came off. Later
Shields challenged one of Lincoln's seconds, and a
third duel was threatened between two of the
"friends"; but these, like the original one, came to
THE CODE OF HONOR .155
nothing. And the whole affair, which Lincoln used
to call "my scrape with Shields," through ridicule
and derision, tended the more to discredit dueling.
Outside the state there were three duels where
Illinoisans were involved. Two on the Pacific coast
resulted fatally, and E. D. Baker, pronouncing the
funeral oration, launched a marvelous philippic
against dueling, which stirred the nation. "The
code of honor is a delusion and a snare ... a
shield, blazoned with the name of chivalry, to cover
the malignity of murder." 7
The third was in Washington, during the long
discussions before the compromise of 1850 was
adopted, when southern congressmen vaunted their
chivalry and disparaged northern courage by fre-
quent reference to the Mexican War. A Virginian
tried to award the whole credit for the battle of
Buena Vista to a Mississippi regiment, commanded
by Jefferson Davis, then United States senator. Ex-
ception was taken by a member from Illinois, Colo-
nel Bissell, whose regiment had charged and snatched
victory from defeat. His brilliant reply vindicated
the courage of the northerners and pricked the vain
assumption of the south. Davis at once challenged
him as if a duel could vary the facts of history
and move his regiment a mile and a half nearer the
scene of action !
All Washington was on the qui vive. K
"Will he accept? Will Bissell stand fire?" they
Daniel Webster came over from the senate to the
floor of the house, and asked to be introduced to
him. "He will do, the south has mistaken its man,"
was his comment.
Promptly the challenge was accepted. Bissell
selected the common army musket, loaded with a
ball and three buckshot, the combatants to be sta-
tioned at forty paces, with liberty to advance to
ten. This showed his purpose to fight to the death,
and the southerners were amazed.
"But an army musket is not the weapon of a
gentleman," protested Davis.
"No real gentleman settles a difference by fight-
ing a duel," was Bissell's reply.
The meeting was to take place on the last day of
February. The evening before, the president, who
was the father-in-law of Jefferson Davis, took le-
gal steps to stop the duel. But after midnight mu-
tual friends effected a reconciliation, the challenge
was withdrawn, and the affair ended, a source of no
little pride to Illinoisans. 8
ILLINOIS found, by bitter experience, that im-
provements in transportation could not be wisely
and economically made by the state. But the fail-
ure of the internal improvement system could not
long delay the canal.
A water connection between Lake Michigan and
the Illinois River had been suggested by Joliet in
1673. The following year Father Dablon wrote :
"According to the researches and explorations of
Joliet, we can easily go to Florida in boats, and by
a very good navigation, with slight improvements.
There will be but one canal to make and that by
cutting only one-half a league of prairie from the
lake of the Illinois (Michigan) into the St. Louis
river (the Illinois), which empties into the Missis-
sippi. . . . The bark, having entered this river,
could easily sail to the Gulf of Mexico." 1
La Salle mentions it, then silence until 1795,
when the Indians by treaty gave "a free passage
by .land and by water, as one and the other shall
be found convenient, through their country, from
the mouth of the Chicago to the commencement of
the portage between that river and the Illinois, and
down the Illinois river to the Mississippi."
From that time on it was frequently discussed,
as the link between east and west, important for
military and commercial purposes. Governor Ed-
wards, urging the construction of the canal, made
a treaty with the Indians for a tract of land ten
miles wide on either side of the suggested route
from the lake to the Illinois River. The red men
received "a considerable quantity of merchandise"
and a promise of goods to the value of a thousand
dollars a year for twelve years the amount so small
because the Indians were assured of the canal's ad-
- vantages to them: they could ply their canoes on
its surface, and seek their game!
Beginning in 1818, with Governor Bond, each
governor in his message to the legislature urged the
canal. Because the portage was so short it was re-
garded as easily accomplished. More than once the
state gave money for a survey. An early estimate
of the cost was six hundred forty thousand dollars.
The legislature in 1826 asked Congress for aid in
building the canal. Through the efforts of Daniel
P. Cook, one of the Illinois representatives, the fed-
eral government gave to the state alternate sections
of land on both sides of the canal for five miles.
REAL IMPROVEMENTS 159
This totaled nearly three hundred thousand acres,
and included the original site of Chicago. 2 People
called it "the sheet anchor of the canal."
At one time the plans were abandoned entirely
and it was decided to build a railroad instead of
the canal, as this would cost only one million in-
stead of four. An attempt to have a private corpo-
ration build the canal was made and a charter se-
cured, but no stock was sold. Finally, when the
internal improvement craze was on, the friends of
the canal, in the general log-rolling of that session
of the legislature, by voting for railroads all over
the state, secured votes for their measure, and canal
bonds were issued. This expense of a million and
a half was not included in the eight millions of in-
ternal improvements, for the canal was always kept
Ground was broken on the fourth of July, 1836,
and at this time the cost was estimated at nearly
nine million dollars four times the cost of the Erie
Canal, but its dimensions were larger. Much of
the route lay through marshy lands, flooded in
spring and autumn, difficult of access. The first
year forty thousand was spent on roads leading to
the canal site ! The excavating through rock proved
enormously expensive. The country bordering the
canal was settled scatteringly, and afforded no shel-
ter and no provisions for the laborers. All supplies
had to be brought from abroad. Workmen were
paid from twenty to thirty dollars a month, plus
board. Potatoes cost in Chicago seventy-five cents
a bushel, flour twelve dollars a barrel, and other
articles in proportion. 3 So the high cost of living in
1836 made the canal an expensive undertaking.
The grand muddle of the state's finances, follow-
ing the failure of the banks and the internal im-
provement system, involved the canal in temporary
difficulties. There were no funds to meet the in-
terest on the canal bonds. All work stopped for
two or three years. Illinois investments were uni-
versally discredited. A Chicago lawyer proposed
that the state give the canal in trust to the bond-
holders : they to finish it, manage the property, and
receive the tolls, in return for taking additional
bonds for one million six hundred thousand dollars.
The canal to be their property until all the bonds
were redeemed. This plan was adopted by the leg-
islature, and the day was saved for the canal. For
the primary object of the state was to open this ave-
nue of commerce for the benefit of the public, not
to have the income it might yield.
Finally the canal was completed and the first boat
passed through in April, 1848, celebrated with en-
thusiastic demonstrations along the entire route. It
remained the property of the trustees for the bond-
REAL IMPROVEMENTS 161
holders for twenty-six years and then reverted to
In 1865 sanitary reasons made it imperative to
deepen the canal to turn the pure waters of the
lake into the shallow, disease-breeding Qhicago
River and reverse its current into the Illinois.! Since
the opening of the Panama Canal plans are fbrming
to make Illinois's waterway deep enough for ocean
vessels, that can then load their grain at Chicago, go
down the Mississippi to the gulf, and cross to South
America or Europe, or through the isthmus into
The total cost of the canal has been twenty times
the original estimate, but the sales of land paid
nearly half of this. Contrary to the hopes of its
early supporters, its income has failed to pay the
expenses of the state government. But, through
the leases of water power and land and ice, the sales
of clay an<i stone, and the tolls, it is no longer an
expense to Illinois.
But more than the canal Illinois needed railroads
to market her surplus products. They must be built
by private companies, not by the state. The first
railroad in the United States was in use by 1830,
and just six years later the first one in Illinois, a
road six miles long, to carry coal to the Mississippi
River opposite St. Louis. Next a road was planned
/from Chicago to Galena, and a part of it was actu-
/ally built. The third was one of the internal im-
f provements, which the state was glad to sell for a
tenth of its cost. 4
And then came the Illinois Central, called "the
most splendid and most magnificent road in Amer-
ica" ; and to-day Illinois has more miles of railroads
than any other state in the Union. In October,
1835, Sidney Breese, in a newspaper letter, called
attention to the importance of a railroad connecting
the canal with the lower Mississippi, by a route that
would never be obstructed by low water or ice. The
grand scheme to join Cairo and Chicago was part
of the internal improvement craze, and the sum of
six hundred thousand dollars was voted for this
road. Some work was actually done, but it was
abandoned with the collapse of the system.
Various plans were made during the next decade,
and a bill introduced in Congress granting land for
railroad purposes. This twice passed the senate,
but failed in the house, once by two votes. It finally
succeeded in 1850, largely through the efforts of
Stephen A. Douglas. 5 The people and newspapers
of the state hailed the news with joyful demonstra-
tions. Chicago celebrated with the firing of can-
non and a public dinner to Douglas, but he modestly
insisted that his colleagues in the house should be
REAL IMPROVEMENTS 163
The grant from Congress gave to Illinois a right
of way two hundred feet wide from Cairo to the
south end of the canal, branching there to Chicago
and Galena; and the even numbered sections of
land on each side of this right of way for six miles
a total of nearly three million acres. The state
chartered the Illinois Central Railroad Company,
giving to this corporation the lands granted by Con-
gress, with the provision that, instead of taxes, the
road should pay seven per cent, of its gross income
each year to the state treasurer.
With the land as security, stock and bonds for
the new road sold at par, sales of land paid the
interest charges and yielded so much more that the
road almost paid for itself ! Work began in north
and south in 1852 and continued with little inter-
ruption. The main line was completed by June
of 1855, the branches by September of the follow-
ing year, though trains began running as soon as
any one portion was finished.
Through the wildest and most sparsely settled
sections of the state this road was laid out. Deer
and wild game roamed at will. Neither house nor
tree was to be seen, frequently, on the boundless
prairies. And in the entire route of seven hundred
miles it did not pass through a dozen towns large
enough to be on the map. 6
But the national government did not lose by this
generous grant to Illinois. Its land had been on
the market for twenty years, at a dollar and a quar-
ter an acre, yet found no purchasers. With the rail-
road a certainty, this same land sold for an average
price of five dollars an acre; and the federal govern-
ment, by casting its bread on the waters, made some-
thing over nine millions.
And the results to the state were no less marked.
The unsettled interior was opened to immigrants.
The rich soil was brought into cultivation. Almost
overnight ten million acres in private hands in-
creased in value and added forty millions to the
taxable wealth of Illinois. The rich agricultural
and mineral products of the newly developed region
found ready markets. Chicago had another "boost"
in her marvelous growth. 7
Best of all, in forty years the state treasury re-
ceived more money from the Illinois Central than
was appropriated for the whole internal improve-
ment system. Lest the railroad might try to have
this seven per cent, provision changed, and some
legislature yield to the demand, in 1870 this was
written into the state constitution. And this income
for the state, constantly increasing, is now perpetual.
But more than the canal and more than the rail-
roads the prairie-breaking plow is responsible for
the prosperity of Illinois. It is the realest of her in-
ternal improvements. For it made the prairie coun-
A train entering the Chicago railway station of the Illinois
Central and Michigan Central roads. Date, 1857
B nODQIQO Pin DDE E
Style of passenger car most frequently used during the decade
from 1840 to 1850. The windows of this vehicle were not
raised, but the entire panels were dropped bodily down into
the sides of the car
REAL IMPROVEMENTS 165
try, covering about two-thirds of the state, available
for farms. It opened an avenue of wealth greater
than all the mines of gold and silver in the nation.
^The earliest settlers cleared the timber land with
axes and broke its soil with a wooden plow banded
with iron. The prairies they used only for pas-
turage. A beautiful wilderness it was covered
with waving grass, taller than a man on horseback ;
with rosin weed, gay with yellow blooms; with
many bushes and flowering shrubs, with acres and
acres of wild strawberries. But it was so infested
with swarms of yellow-headed flies, mosquitoes and
buffalo gnats that in the summer-time travelers
journeyed only at night. 8 The pioneers ridiculed
the idea that the tough prairie sod would ever yield
to the civilizing plow, and would produce greater
crops than the timber land.
In 1826 Oramel Clark, a Connecticut blacksmith
who had settled in Sangamon County, made a sod
plow. It was drawn by oxen and held to the fur-
rows by a man walking behind it, grasping its han-
dles. But when the share struck a red-root, the
toughest of the prairie grasses, the handles would
strike the man, and usually knocked him flat. Clark, /
however, was patient and persisted; and in 1830 a ? -
prairie-breaking plow was achieved rude and j
clumsy and awkward, but efficient. 9
Fastened to a six-inch beam of oak was the iron
share, with edge of steel. There were wooden
trucks, one wheel at the side and one in the fur-
row, and a very heavy frame, so that the whole
weighed about a thousand pounds and was five times
as large as the plows of to-day. But it had a tough
work to accomplish and must needs be massive and
heavy, to stay in the furrow. Improvements in
Clark's plow followed, and soon the crack of the
ox-whip announced a new day for Illinois. With
five or six, or even eight yoke of oxen, the prairie
soil was broken up; but so tough and thick was the
grass that if corn was to be planted the same year
holes had to be chopped with an ax or hatchet for
the kernels to be dropped in. By twelve months
later the grass had begun to rot.
One of the picturesque characters of the day was
the old ox driver, carrying his great whip, with a
handle six feet long and a twelve- foot lash. He
could wield it so skilfully that, twenty feet distant,
he could flick a prairie fly off the back of a certain
ox. The oxen were trained to come under the yoke,
to turn to right or left. They went slowly but stead-
ily up and down the field, turning a two- foot fur-
row, often half a mile long. The plowman usually
owned his oxen and offered the service of himself,
his heavy implement, and his patient animals, charg-
ing from two to three dollars an acre. People
complained at paying double the initial cost to have
REAL IMPROVEMENTS 167
the land made ready for a crop. But timber land,
cleared, was worth twenty dollars an acre, and
though they were perhaps equally rich, the prairie
land retained its fertility longer.
This conquest of Illinois, begun in the thirties,
lasted for thirty years; a bloodless conquest, not
less deserving of renown than victories in war. Its
results were a revolution in western farming, a
movement and shift of population seldom equaled
in the history of the world. It changed millions
of acres from trackless wilderness into prosperous
farms. People from the eastern states and immi-
grants from Europe flocked to Illinois, and in the
fifties, the principal decade of the subjugation, the
population more than doubled.
But after the prairies began to be cultivated and
prolific crops produced, there was no market for
corn and wheat, flax and tobacco. The farmers
fed their corn to cattle and hogs and drove them
to St. Louis and Cincinnati and Chicago, sometimes
even over the mountains to New York and Phila-
Clark's prairie-breaking plow was a John the Bap-
tist in the Illinois wilderness, heralding a new order
of things. For -just in the years when, perfected,
it was being widely used, began the success of rail-
roads and farm machinery in the west. The very
decade which saw the prairies conquered saw the
building of the Illinois Central, and miles and miles
of other roads for the prosperity of the farms and
the success of railroads are interdependent. The
same years saw, too, the invention of agricultural
machinery as we know it to-day planters and cul-
tivators, reapers and threshers. Rapid transporta-
tion, underground drainage, a wise rotation of
crops, seed selection, good roads, have added to
the agricultural resources of Illinois. To-day the
scientist is among us. The soil chemist, trained at
a state agricultural college, is teaching the farmers
of Illinois how to preserve the fertility_pf their
fields, how to use and not abuse the land. Wko-can
foretell what future improvements will be?
THE GROWTH OF A PARTY
UP to now the story of Illinois has been all her
own, touching the history of the nation only
incidentally. But for the next few years events, in
Illinois are not a part of the country's history, rather
they are the story of the nation. Take away from
United States history these incidents and you have
During her early years as a state the politics of
Illinois were personal and confused, with no clear-
cut issues. The slavery campaign in 1824 is the one
exception, but this was not related to any national
event. Beginning in the early thirties, however,
Illinois had definitely organized political parties.
There were regular conventions held by Whigs and
Democrats. And for twenty- four years one party
carried the day, for Illinois was a Democratic
stronghold, with only an occasional Whig to vary
the monotony of her delegations in Congress. By
1850 one of her senators was a recognized national
leader in his party, and was even talked of for the
On the question of slavery, the people of Illinois
were very conservative. They had, you remember,
voted against establishing slavery in their own state.
But they were not in favor of interfering with it
elsewhere. You already know, from the Lovej.oy
story, how strong the feeling was against abolition.
And this was true, not only in Alton, but among
most of the responsible leaders in the state. Illinois
congressmen voted as a unit against the Wilmot
But the slavery question, like Banquo's ghost,
would not down. And gradually a change was
coming. The underground railroad became well
organized in certain Illinois towns. The law made
every citizen a slave-catcher, and against this the
lovers of freedom rebelled and secretly helped fugi-
tives on their way north. Canada was their -Mecca,
especially after the proclamation of Queen Victoria
"that every fugitive from United States slavery
should be recognized and protected as a British sub-
ject the moment his foot touched the soil of her
Negroes were hidden in barns and garrets, even
in the cupola of a church. Supplies of clothing were
kept in readiness. And on dark and stormy nights
this human freight was forwarded from one station
to another. Being a conductor on this railroad
meant great labor and expense, the risk of a heavy
THE GROWTH OF A PARTY 171
fine or six months in prison, and social ostracism.
But resistance to the law increased, and when one
house became too well known as a stopping place,
the station was changed.
Chicago was the great railroad center in Illinois,
for slaves could be sent by boat to Detroit and then
slip over to Canada. Ottawa, Quincy and Jackson-
ville were stations, while a runaway slave was as
safe on the streets of Galesburg as if he were al-
ready in a free land.
Politically, too, a change was at hand. The Free
Soil vote in 1848 was a straw showing how the wind
blew. And the turn of the tide was clearly indicated
by the criticism poured on the head of Senator
Douglas, denouncing him for his vote on the fugi-
tive slave bill in 1850. Both Whigs and Democrats
had worked for this measure and approved of the
compromise. The presidential election two years
later made the Democratic party seem well-nigh in-
But suddenly public opinion changed. The slav-
ery question came up again, more violent and bitter
than ever before. The cause was the Kansas-Ne-
braska bill, which canceled the Missouri line by
saying, "Instead of having an arbitrary division be-
tween free and slave states, we will leave this to
the people of each territory to decide for them-
selves." Douglas called it "non-intervention"; the
people named it "squatter sovereignty." Though
it was suggested by a Whig senator from a southern
state, the credit or blame for the measure centered
wholly on Stephen A. Douglas, who was chairman
of the committee on territories and fathered it
through Congress. 3
Like a clap of thunder in a clear sky the Kansas-
Nebraska bill came on the country. Its passage
was greeted by salvos of artillery in Washington,
announcing a triumph. But the booming of these
cannon wakened the echoes and aroused the north,
filling the people with indignation. It caused a
spontaneous combustion, kindling the fires of free-
dom and forming a new group in politics. Every-
where it made fatal changes in the old party lines.
The Whigs became a name only. The Free Soilers
and the American party, with many ardent ex-
Democrats and zealous ex- Whigs, plus citizens of
foreign birth, joined to create the Republican party.
These odds and ends, incongruous, heterogeneous,
largely through the shrewd advice of Abraham Lin-
coln, were fused into harmony and union. The
members disagreed on almost every question, but
did agree in this one thing : opposition to the repeal
of the Missouri Compromise. 4 The Republicans
were wise in selecting their time, Lincoln skilful in
choosing this one issue.
In the local elections in 1854 Illinois went anti-
THE GROWTH OF A PARTY 173
Nebraska, and the new party had votes enough in
the legislature to elect a senator. But they had two
candidates, Lincoln, almost their unanimous choice,
and Lyman Trumbull, an ex-Democrat. The ex-
citement became intense as the balloting continued
and the Democratic candidate crept up within three
of a majority. Quick to see the impending danger,
Lincoln, placing principle above self, besought his
friends to support Trumbull. Judge Logan trans-
ferred his vote with tears, the others followed, and
Trumbull, strongly anti-Nebraska, became senator. 5
Two years later the Republicans, like an infant Her-
cules, were strong enough to secure the governor-
ship, though the legislature was Democratic.
Meanwhile the Nebraska matter had assumed a
new phase. Douglas's principle of squatter sov-
ereignty, if honestly applied and fairly carried out
in a new territory, offered the chance of a peaceful
solution of this burning question. But to Kansas
and Nebraska armed immigrants were promptly sent
by the north, while armed slave holders pressed
over the Missouri border. Naturally collision fol-
lowed and border war. The Lecompton constitu-
tion, forcing slavery on an unwilling people, voted
through by fraud, was opposed by Douglas. Its
submission to the people, he said, was a mockery
and an insult, and he would resist it to the last,
as illegal and unfair. 6 He became the champion of
the people of Kansas, standing with the "black Re-
publicans" against his Democratic friends. He dis-
regarded party ties, he opposed the wish of Presi-
dent Buchanan, though he knew the slave power
would not forgive him. And the Republican news-
papers heartily praised his course.
Another event changed the temper of the peo-
ple. This was the famous Dred Scott decision,
making it legal for a slave owner to take his negroes
into a free state and still own them as personal
property. Look up this test case and see how Illi-
nois touches the story of Dred Scott and his wife
Harriet. Look up, too, the members of the supreme
court, and see how many of them were southerners,
and you can then understand their decision about
the slaves of this army surgeon. 7 Douglas upheld
the court, Lincoln opposed it.
As regards the slavery question, Lincoln saw that
men must now stand on one side or the other, with
no middle ground and no third party. He was to
make a speech in a Republican state convention, and
submitted this paragraph to his friends :
" 'A house divided against itself can not stand.'
I believe this government can not endure perma-
nently half slave and half free. I do not expect
the Union to be dissolved I do not expect the house
to fall but I do expect that it will cease to be di-
THE GROWTH OF A PARTY 175
vided. It will become all one thing or all the
other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest
the further spread of it and place it where the pub-
lic mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the
course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will
push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in
all the states, old as well as new, north as well as
His friends were startled at this radical sugges-
tion. Only one of them approved.
" 'It will never do for you to make that speech,'
they urged. 'What you say is true, but the time
has not come for you to say it. It will defeat your
election. It will ruin the party.'
" 'My friends,' Lincoln replied, 'the time has come
when these sentiments should be uttered; and if
it is decreed that I should go down because of this
speech, then let me go down linked to the truth let
me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.' " 8
And after the speech was made and he had been
nominated as candidate for senator, he wrote to a
pessimistic friend, "If I had to draw my pen across
my record and erase my whole life from sight, and
if I had one poor choice left as to what I should
save from the wreck, I should choose that speech
and leave it to the world as it is."
Lincoln and Douglas were the standard bearers
of their parties. They spoke at Chicago, on suc-
cessive days, and again in Springfield, and then Lin-
coln challenged Douglas to a series of joint debates.
This method of presenting a political issue had come
to Illinois from Kentucky, and the people had al-
ways favored it. Candidates must be accustomed
to public speaking and willing to meet their oppo-
nents on the stump or they had no chance of success
at the polls. There were no daily papers and few
weeklies in the pioneer days. And a public debate
was the best way to tell the people about political
matters. A candidate could not mislead his hearers
when both were heard at one meeting. By 1858,
of course, the reason for debates, through the mul-
tiplication of papers and magazines, had disap-
peared. Yet people still felt that hearing the leaders
argue was the best way to arrive at the merits of
any political controversy. 9
Douglas accepted the challenge, and it was ar-
ranged that they should have seven debates an
hour's opening, followed by a ninety-minute speech,
the first speaker to have a half hour to reply. Doug-
las's friends called him the "little giant." Physically
and intellectually Lincoln was the big giant. The
Democrats, from the senator down, were confident.
They boasted that "the little giant would use up
Old Abe and utterly demolish him." So noisy and
demonstrative were they, so absolutely sure of sue-
THE GROWTH OF A PARTY 177
cess, that some of the Republicans became alarmed.
One of Lincoln's friends spoke to him of their
"Sit down," was his reply, "let me tell you a story.
You and I, as we have traveled the circuit together
attending court, have often seen two men about to
fight. One of them, the big or the little giant, as
the case may be, is noisy and boastful. He jumps
high in the air, strikes his feet together, smites his
fists, brags about what he is going to do, and tries
hard to skeer the other man, who says not a word.
His arms hang down, his fists are clenched, his
teeth set, his head settled firmly on his shoulders,
he saves his breath and strength for the struggle.
This man will whip, just as sure as the fight comes
off. Good-by, and remember what I say." 10
The friends of Douglas managed his campaign
well. A special train, decorated with flags and ban-
ners, carried him from city to city like a conquering
hero. Its arrival was announced with the booming
of cannon, bands playing, ladies waving their hand-
kerchiefs, and air-splitting cheers. At night there
were fireworks. Lincoln traveled alone, with no
trumpeter to herald his coming.
And now blazed forth in full splendor the most
remarkable canvass ever made in Illinois. The very
prairies seemed alive with political discussions. The
people talked of little else. The railroads did an
enormous business, for excursions were the order
of the day. From five to twenty thousand people
heard each of the debates, held out-of-doors because
no halls were large enough to accommodate the au-
diences. Men went in wagons, with supplies of
food, and camped out in the groves at night. They
were aglow with the fire of the two leaders, as up
and down the state, through its length and breadth,
raged the great political battle of these Illinois
Far beyond the mere personal success of one can-
didate or the other, the debates arrested public at-
tention in every part of the Union. Many leading
newspapers in St. Louis, Cincinnati and New York
had their own correspondents on the ground. The
speeches were taken down, printed, and scattered
broadcast. They were so widely read that the whole
nation heard the debates and paused to watch this
contest for an Illinois senatorship. 11
Douglas was a popular speaker, able to manage
a mixed audience, to bridge over a hard place in an
argument, to make the most of a weak point in his
opponent's armor. But Lincoln was a born logician
and could demonstrate a public question with mathe-
matical clearness and certainty. His chief advan-
tage was the sincerity of his belief, the earnestness
and fearlessness with which he spoke his conviction :
THE GROWTH OF A PARTY 179
free labor is preferable to slave labor, and slavery
is inherently wrong.
Politically and intellectually different, their phys-
ical contrast was no less striking. Lincoln, tall,
lank, lean ; Douglas, short, round, robust. The voice
of Douglas, sonorous and full; Lincoln's sharp and
thin, though of large compass. Lincoln with an
inexhaustible store of wit and humor, and apt anec-
dotes to illustrate his points ; Douglas with sparkling
repartee which helped him to make happy turns of
thought against his rival. Lincoln, with unpolished
strength, closely reasoning, at times highly eloquent,
using simple, homely, accurate words ; Douglas bold,
decided, magnetic, plausible. Douglas carried away
the more popular applause ; Lincoln made a deeper,
more lasting impression.
"Somehow," said a man who heard the debates,
"while Douglas was greeted with constant cheers,
when Lincoln closed the people seemed serious and
thoughtful, and could be heard all through the
crowd gravely and anxiously discussing the subjects
on which he had been speaking." 12
"Why don't you tell funny stories and make the
people laugh and cheer you?" a friend asked Lin-
"The occasion is too serious, and the issue too
grave. I do not seek applause, or to amuse the
people, but to convince them."
Lincoln was frank and fair and courteous, an-
swering every question, always good humored;
Douglas was arrogant, at times evasive, when hard
pressed irritable, once almost brutal. Douglas had
the advantage of education and fifteen years' expe-
rience in Congress. To offset this Lincoln had two
things in his favor : he had a more familiar knowl-
edge of the slavery question than any other states-
man of the day; and he was on the right side, the
side of liberty, toward which the tide of popular
feeling was setting, with tremendous force. Con-
scious of the greatness of his cause, he spoke with
an energy, ability and power which rapidly gave him
a national reputation.
There was but one real issue between them the
question of slavery : the repeal of the Missouri Com-
promise, the theory of squatter sovereignty, the duty
of Congress to prohibit slavery in future states.
Said Douglas :
"Lincoln says that he looks forward to a time
when slavery shall be abolished everywhere. I look
forward to a time when each state shall be allowed
to do as it pleases. If it chooses to keep slavery
forever, it is not my business, but its own; if it
chooses to abolish slavery, it is its own business
not mine. I care more for the great principle of
self-government, the right of the people to rule,
than I do for all the negroes in Christendom."
THE GROWTH OF A PARTY 181
Said Lincoln :
"Douglas contends that whatever community
wants slaves has a right to have them. So they
have if it is not a wrong. But if it is a wrong,
he can not say that people have a right to do wrong.
He says that, upon the score of equality, slaves
should be allowed to go in a new territory like other
property. This is strictly logical if there is no dif-
ference between it and other property. . . . But
if you insist that one is wrong and the other right,
there is no use to institute a comparison between
right and wrong. . . .
"That is the real issue. That is the issue that
will continue in this country when these poor
tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent.
It is the eternal struggle between these two princi-
ples right and wrong throughout the world." 13
The wisdom of putting one question was dis-
cussed by Lincoln with his friends. They advised
against it. They insisted that an answer from
Douglas would help his fortunes in Illinois, with-
out hurting him in the south. They urged him not
to ask the question, saying, "If you do, you can
never be senator."
But Lincoln, persisting in his determination to
force an answer, replied : "Gentlemen, I am killing
larger game; if Douglas answers, he can never be
president, and the coming battle of 1860 is worth
a hundred of this."
So the question was put : How can you reconcile
the Dred Scott decision with your popular sover-
eignty theory? You are holding that a thing may
lawfully be driven away from a place where it has
a lawful right to go! At once the southern states
charged that Douglas was two-faced on this point,
contending for the extension of slavery under the
decision, and for its exclusion under the Kansas-
Nebraska bill. 14
The debates ended, a drawn battle. The victory
was claimed by Lincoln and by Douglas. The im-
mediate result was the election of Republican state
officers and a Democratic legislature, so that Doug-
las became senator. But this campaign simply fore-
shadowed the presidential election. That was
fought out on the same principles. As Lincoln
prophesied, Douglas had made it impossible for the
south to support him; he did indeed win the nom-
ination of the northern Democrats, but this split in
the party assured the election of a Republican pres-
For during these two years, tension of feel-
ing had not relaxed, and the bitterness was in-
creased. Both north and south, for or against
slavery, were unyielding and determined. Lincoln,
defeated for the senate, was now brought to the
front as candidate for the much higher office of
president. The notoriety of his contest with Doug-
THE GROWTH OF A PARTY 183
las, the masterly presentation of his side, his vig-
orous logic, his love of liberty, had made him
friends all through the north. Introduced to the
east by his famous speech at Cooper Union, he was
by no means an unknown candidate. 15
The Republicans were to meet at Chicago in na-
tional convention. Asked if he should be present,
Lincoln replied: "Well, I am unable to decide
whether I am enough of a candidate to stay away,
or too much of one to go." He determined, how-
ever, to remain in Springfield, and a special wire
from the "Wigwam" kept him in touch with every
happening. While waiting for telegrams Lincoln
played ball with some friends. And when a mes-
sage came that he had been nominated on the third
ballot, he read it through to himself, then aloud,
adding: "There's a little woman down on Eighth
Street that would like to hear this. I'll go down and
tell her." Without waiting for the congratulations
of his friends he took the news to Mrs. Lincoln.
In the exciting campaign that followed Lincoln
took no active part. But Douglas, ever ready for
a fight, spoke in every slave state almost the first
time in our history that a candidate for the presi-
dency went directly before the people. But Douglas
knew that his one chance of success was in the union
of his party. In ten southern states Lincoln received
no vote at all. But he carried every free state but
one; and in the electoral college he had a hundred
and eighty votes, to seventy-two and twelve for the
two Democratic candidates.
As soon as the result of the election was known
the south realized that her long supremacy in na-
tional affairs was at an end. She must submit to
Republican rule or put in practise her often re-
peated threats to dissolve the Union. During the
four months between Lincoln's election and inaugu-
ration, while Buchanan did nothing, the southern
states seceded and organized a separate government
with slavery as its cornerstone. Douglas, in his
last speech in Congress, made a powerful argument
against this right of secession, and the whole Illinois
delegation united in condemning it. 16
In February, 1861, Lincoln left his old home at
Springfield for* the journey to Washington. A large
number of his friends assembled at the station to
bid him God-speed. Standing on the platform of
the train in the falling snow, Lincoln said :
"My friends, no one, not in my position, can
appreciate the sadness I feel at this parting. To
this people I owe all that I am. Here I have lived
more than a quarter of a century. ... I know
not how soon I will see you again. A duty devolves
upon me which is perhaps greater than that which
has rested upon any other man since the day of
Washington. He would never have succeeded ex-
THE GROWTH OF A PARTY 185
cept for the aid of Divine Providence, on which he
at all times relied. I feel that I can not succeed
without the same divine aid which sustained him.
On the same Almighty Being I place my reliance
for support, and I hope you, my friends, will pray
that I may receive that divine assistance, without
which I can not succeed, but with which success is
certain. Again I bid you an affectionate farewell."
And with him, as he started forth on his great
mission, went the hearts and the prayers of the peo-
ple of Illinois.
Stopping in many towns on his way east, Lincoln
spoke to the loyal citizens who greeted him, ex-
pressing his devotion to the Union and his desire
to maintain it without resort to arms. Warned of
many plots against his life, he made the last part
of the journey in secret.
On the fourth of March, on the steps of the cap-
itol at Washington, Abraham Lincoln was inaugu-
rated president, sworn in by a chief justice known
in history for his Dred Scott decision, while Stephen
A. Douglas held his hat. With a clear and distinct
voice he read his address, an earnest plea for peace,
on the verge of war, closing with these beautiful
"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow country-
men, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil
war. . . . We are not enemies, but friends.
We must not be enemies. Though passion may have
strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.
The mystic cords of memory, stretching from every
battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart
and hearth-stone all over this broad land, will yet
swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched,
as surely they will be, by the better angels of our
RALLY ROUND THE FLAG!
THE inauguration of Lincoln, whom Illinois
gave to the nation, was the signal for a life-
and-death struggle, testing whether or no the Union
could endure. The outcome depended wholly on the
loyalty of the states. And as always, Illinois came
proudly to the front, and did her share and more.
After the attack on Fort Sumter, Lincoln called
for volunteers. Illinois's quota was six regiments.
In ten days, ten thousand men had offered their serv-
ice. Nearly a million dollars was tendered to Gov-
ernor Yates, by private citizens, as in the sudden
emergency the state had no funds available to organ-
ize and equip her troops. The prairies blazed with
excitement. 1 Every town and village held meetings.
The spirit of '76 was kindled afresh. Ministers of
all denominations preached against secession, join-
ing Christianity and freedom and the maintaining of
the Union, just as Peck and his associates a genera-
tion before had joined religion with the anti-slavery
All through the state, democratic newspapers con-
demned the south and sustained the president.
Among the first to call on Lincoln was Stephen A.
Douglas, tendering his cordial sympathy and sup-
port. Reaching Springfield during the called session
of the legislature, the "little giant" was invited to
address the members. With all his influence and
eloquence, he now stood loyally by his former oppo-
nent, saying that the first duty of every citizen was
obedience to the constitution and the laws, that there
could be now only two parties not Republican or
Democrat, but patriot or traitor.
"It is a duty we owe to ourselves, and our chil-
dren, and our God," he said in closing, "to protect
this government and the flag from every assailant,
be he who he may."
This speech sent thousands of northern Demo-
crats into the army, and the sudden death of Doug-
las in June was a greater loss to the Union cause
than a defeat in battle. 2
In honor of the six regiments that had served in
the Mexican War, the new troops of Illinois were
numbered from seven to twelve, for no more than
the quota could be accepted. This first call was but
a beginning, and by the end of the war the infantry
regiments had reached one hundred and fifty-six,
with seventeen of cavalry, and artillery besides.
The legislature, anticipating that more troops
RALLY ROUND THE FLAG! 189
would be needed, authorized ten additional regi-
ments; and when double the number of men volun-
teered, they were organized at once and put in train-
ing. The second call, however, gave Illinois another
quota of only six regiments. A special messenger
was sent to Washington, to urge the War Depart-
ment to accept a larger force, and his errand was
successful. Hundreds of Illinoisans, denied the
privilege of serving in their own state, enlisted in
Missouri, and in two cases their numbers made up
a majority of the regiment, and the name was later
changed to Illinois.
After the battle of Bull Run, Lincoln asked for
still another army of half a million. The following
day, Yates offered him sixteen regiments, most of
them "now ready to rendezvous t " and added, "Illi-
nois demands the right to do her full share in the
work of preserving our glorious Union from the as-
saults of high-handed rebellion." July of 1862 saw
another army called for, and still another in August,
each state given a quota and ordered to draft if the
number of volunteers was too small.
This new levy took a different class of citizens
farmers from the midst of harvest, mechanics and
merchants, lawyers and doctors and ministers, the
influential and prosperous men of each community.
The people were aroused as never before. Meetings
were held throughout the state, and in eleven days
Illinois had made up the required number a rally-
ing to the flag unexampled in history. 3
When their time expired, forty-four of her regi-
ments re-enlisted as veterans, and not until the last
call for volunteers was made, at the end of 1864,
did the state resort to compulsory service, and then
only three thousand men were drafted, of the two
hundred fifty-six thousand Illinois gave to save the
Union. She sent ten thousand in excess of the va-
rious quotas, nearly a tenth of the whole army. 4
Only one state in the Union gave a greater propor-
tion of her population, and that was Kansas, a new
state with an unusually large percentage of men of
The Illinois regiments were sent to the front in
the south and southwest. At Donelson, the first sig-
nal success of the war; Pea Ridge, hotly contested;
the sanguinary and stubborn conflict on Sunday
morning, near the Shiloh meeting-house; Corinth,
where, though Oglesby was wounded, his men with-
stood a bayonet charge till the enemy fled; Stone
River, where five color bearers laid down their lives
to save a regimental standard; in the monotonous
routine in the siege of Vicksburg, till the stars and
stripes floated over the city, on the fourth of July;
Chickamauga, where Palmer anticipated Grant's
orders and won his hearty approval ; in the amazing
charge up Missionary Ridge ; at Atlanta, where the
RALLY ROUND THE FLAG! 191
popular Logan, seizing the mantle of the fallen Mc-
Pherson, galloped hatless along the front and turned
apparent defeat into a brilliant victory; and finally
the march across Georgia to the sea list the en-
gagements in the campaigns near the Mississippi,
and you list the battle-fields where Illinois soldiers
rallied round the flag. Take her men out of these
battles, and the story of the war would have to be
The Union army was made up of enlistments
through the agency of the loyal states. The respon-
sibility for this fell on the governor and adjutant-
general; and here Yates and Fuller did splendid
service. The year 1861 found the north unprepared.
Securing uniforms and tents and food and medical
supplies for thousands of soldiers, on short notice,
involved no small task. Those who worked at home
deserve their share of praise, for making possible
the efficiency of the soldiers in the field.
Two rendezvous were established in Illinois
Camp Douglas, at Chicago, and Camp Butler, near
Springfield; and here the boys in blue were trained
for military duties. After the victory at Fort Don-
elson, Confederate prisoners were sent here, and
during the war thirty thousand Johnny Rebs were
held in these two camps and at Rock Island and
At the beginning of the conflict, Illinois had
plenty of men, but no muskets. A messenger sent
to Washington returned, not with the coveted arms,
but with an order on the arsenal at St. Louis. But
it was known that traitors were watching, and a mob
was ready to seize the arms if any attempt was made
to remove them. Captain Stokes volunteered to
bring them up to Springfield. He found batteries
erected near the arsenal and on the levee. Hundreds
of spies were around the building, and its com-
mander questioned if it was possible to take the mus-
kets, though he gave permission to make the at-
Stokes telegraphed to Alton to have a steamer
come down the river and land opposite the arsenal at
midnight. To divert attention he openly put five
hundred unserviceable muskets in another boat. The
crowd soon detected this, and with shouts and ex-
citement left the arsenal. Stokes and his men loaded
the steamer, being given more arms than their order
"Which way?" asked the captain of the boat.
"Straight in the regular channel for Alton."
"What if we are attacked?"
"But what if we're overpowered?"
"Run your boat to the deepest part of the river
and sink her."
"Aye, aye, sir!", and past the rebel battery went
RALLY ROUND THE FLAG! 193
the steamer with its precious burden, reaching Alton
at five o'clock in the morning.
Stokes ran to the market and rang the fire bell.
In all sorts of dress the citizens came flocking down
to the river. The captain told his story and pointed
to the freight cars. Men, women and children
boarded the boat, seized the heavy boxes, and tugged
and pulled with might and main. In two hours the
muskets were all aboard and the train started to
Springfield amid rousing cheers. A day later, two
thousand southerners arrived to attack the arsenal,
but by that time these arms were equipping the
troops of Illinois. 5
The governor's rooms were crowded, in the first
days of the war, with men eager to give their serv-
ices, insisting on commissions, offering funds. In
the crowd was a quiet man from Galena, who had
been a captain in the regular army. Like many
others, he, too, offered his service, only to learn that
every place was filled. A major on the governor's
staff said he believed they were short of men in the
adjutant-general's office. The modest man from
Galena was given a desk there, and put to work
sorting and filing papers.
A few days later, Yates told his major that he
must have a regular army officer to perfect the or-
ganization of the new camps. There had come
quietly into the room the new clerk. Reminding the
governor of his army training and experience, he
suggested that he could be more useful in this service
than at a desk.
"Why, Captain, you are just the man we want!"
exclaimed Yates. 6
And that very day he was made commandant in
the training camp. Seven weeks later, he was colo-
nel of a*n Illinois regiment. In a few months, he
was brigadier-general. Donelson gave him a major-
generalship and his nickname of "Unconditional
Surrender." He led his men from victory to vic-
tory, even though it took all summer, till the "father
of waters" went unvexed to the sea. And in the
spring of 1864 Lincoln borrowed him for the east-
ern army, to carry the flag to Richmond. When Lee
surrendered to the quiet man from Galena the Union
But soldiers were not the only contribution Illi-
nois made. Stay-at-homes are always needed, to
carry on trade and manufacturing, to administer
civil offices, to make possible the work of the sol-
diers. The backbone of the army was the unfalter-
ing support of the loyal people at home, who helped
raise and maintain it, who followed it with aid and
Perhaps the brightest page in the story is the con-
tribution of Illinois women. They sent their men to
the front. They formed relief societies, to supply
RALLY ROUND THE FLAG! 195
food, clothing, medicine, hospital delicacies. And
as the war continued and the needs increased, their
efforts increased also and were better organized. 7
Not as a substitute for the work of national and
state governments, but as a supplement, these sol-
diers' aid societies looked after the families of the
men in blue ; they established soldiers' homes, where
convalescents invalided north were provided with
board and lodging. Fairs were held to raise money.
An army so vast and so hurriedly collected could
not but have inadequate facilities for the care of the
sick and wounded. After the victory at Donelson,
the "war governor," with other state officers, went
down to the battle-field, to look after the wounded
Illinoisans. Immediately after this came the news
from Shiloh, with its appalling list of wounded sol-
diers. Before twenty-four hours had passed, Yates
had chartered a steamboat and was on his way, with
doctors and nurses and medical supplies. The hastily
improvised army hospitals were not sufficient to pro-
vide for the most serious cases even. Hundreds
of men were lying where they had fallen, hundreds
more were dying from disease and exposure.
No wonder Yates received the name of "the sol-
diers' friend." His coming was most opportune.
In a few hours the boat had started north, with three
hundred of the most severely wounded. State hos-
pitals were established at Quincy and Peoria and
Springfield. Two more trips this steamer made,
bringing over a thousand men back to homes and
"We must not let our brave boys think they are
forgotten," the governor used to say, "but follow
them in their many marches, with such things as
they need for their comfort which the government
can not supply, . . . wherever they go and at
But you must not think that the long war, with all
the delays and defeats of the first years, had no crit-
ics in Illinois. She was, indeed, a strong Union
state; but there were "copperheads" not a few men
who believed in the Union but not in Lincoln's meth-
ods ; who opposed the administration at every point ;
who were bitter at the issuing of the Emancipation
Proclamation; who welcomed every opportunity to
talk peace, peace, even with slavery; who suggested
that if the south was to be a separate country, the
northwest should organize its own government,
without New England.
Disloyal at heart, some of them formed a secret
society called the "Sons of Liberty," 8 to discourage
enlisting, resist the draft, and cooperate with the
rebels. They planned to release the Confederate
prisoners at Chicago and Rock Island, but the plot
was discovered in time and failed entirely.
RALLY ROUND THE FLAG! 197
The opponents of the administration were strong
enough, during the progress of the rebellion, to elect
a legislature almost wholly Democratic, embarrass-
ing the government by the resolutions passed against
Lincoln and the war, and in favor of peace. These
resolutions were promptly repudiated by both citi-
zens and soldiers, and the legislature prorogued by
Two other men in Illinois made notable contribu-
tion to the Union cause. The truth of the old say-
ing, "Let me make the ballads of a nation, and I care
not who makes its laws," was never more apparent
than during the war. After the battle of Stone
River, a Chicago glee club went down to visit the
Illinois regiments in camp, with a new song by
George F. Root, who lived in that city. It rang
through camp like wildfire, inspiring the discour-
aged men with fresh courage and hope and en-
thusiasm, its effect electric:
"The Union forever, hurrah ! boys, hurrah !
Down with the traitor, up with the stars ;
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once
Shouting the battle-cry of freedom !" 10
Root was also the author of Just Before the Bat-
tle, Mother, and Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys
Are Marching; while another Chicagoan wrote
Marching Through Georgia. The songs of Illinois
were heard at every Union campfire. They nerved
the troops at the front, and stirred the people at
home. At meetings to raise funds or recruits, these
songs, simple in melody, powerful in their appeal,
were sung with a will by the entire audience.
After Lee's surrender a Confederate soldier said :
"I shall never forget the first time I heard Rally
Round the Flag. It was a nasty night during the
seven-days' fight, when just before taps some fellow
on the other side struck up that song and others
joined in the chorus. Tom sung out, 'Good heavens,
Cap, what are those fellows made of? Here we've
licked them seven days running, and now, on the
eve of the seventh, they're singing Rally Round the
Flag!' I tell you that song sounded to me like the
knell of doom, and my heart went down into my
boots, and it's been an uphill fight with me ever
since that night."
And a southern officer, hearing these Illinois
songs for the first time, remarked, "Gentlemen, if
we'd had your songs, we'd have licked you out of
your boots !"
And to-day these war melodies are sung, with a
spirit of thanksgiving that we are one people, with
loyal devotion to the Union.
A SAD HOME-COMING
GRANT'S victories in Virginia and the fall of
Richmond were welcomed throughout the
north as the last steps in the triumph of freedom.
Bells in city churches and in country meeting-houses
pealed forth the news, to a people really free, of a
Union forever indissoluble. Bonfires were lighted,
and meetings of rejoicing held.
But the exultant gladness of Easter was suddenly
changed to a bitter grief. On the morning of the
fifteenth of April, news came that the president had
been assassinated in Washington. The best years
of his manhood, the highest powers of his 'mind,
even the lifeblood of his great heart, Lincoln gave
unselfishly, for the Union and the cause of human
A regiment of colored soldiers formed the escort
of his funeral procession from the White House to
the capitol, where the body lay in state. There was
some talk of burying the president in Washington,
in a vault under the dome of the capitol which had
been prepared for the body of the first president, but
never used. But Illinois claimed his last resting
He who had left Springfield asking for the pray-
ers of his friends at home was now to return amid the
tears of the nation. Army and navy officers, sen-
ators and representatives, formed his guard of
honor. The route taken by the funeral train was the
same Mr. Lincoln had traveled in 1861, but now the
people were all in mourning. States and cities and
villages paid homage to his greatness. Hundreds
gathered, to catch a glimpse of the passing train.
Countless throngs filed by, where the body lay in
state. For sixteen hundred miles the sad pilgrimage
In Springfield a burial place near the state house
was suggested, but Mrs. Lincoln preferred Oak
Ridge Cemetery, because it was more retired. And
in that beautiful spot his remains were placed. The
ceremonies were very simple ; a hymn and prayer, a
brief address and the reading of his second inaugu-
ral. All the world laid wreaths upon the grave of
this man who had malice for none and charity for
Since his death the nations of the earth have
joined in magnifying his fame. Lincoln is to-day
more in the minds and hearts of the world than any
other human character. In May of 1865 an associa-
A SAD HOME-COMING 201
tion was formed, with Governor Oglesby as its
president, to erect a monument to his memory. Illi-
nois gave a fourth of the sum needed; and contri-
butions came from every state, from sailors and
soldiers, from churches and societies, from many
children. The monument was dedicated in 1874,
with Grant and Sherman among the speakers. 2
And it is to-day one of the hallowed spots of
America, sought by "men of all faiths and tongues
and races and backgrounds, who are become one and
indivisible in their love and honor for the memory
of Abraham Lincoln." 3 It is a shrine which north
and east and south and west visit, to rekindle their
patriotism and their devotion to that cause for
which he gave the last full measure of devotion.
THE CITY BY THE LAKE
THE story of Chicago begins long ago with the
Indian tribes who hunted there. From them
came its name, for Checaqua was the title of a suc-
cession of chiefs, like the Pharaohs of Egypt. We
know that Marquette spent a winter here, that La
Salle and Tonty passed through it more than once,
that it was the site of a French fort, mentioned in
Wayne's treaty with the Indians.
In 1796 a West Indian negro, Jean Baptiste Point
au Sable, built a rude cabin at the mouth of the Che-
kajo River, so that the red men used to say, "The
first white settler was a negro!" His claim was
"jumped" by a Frenchman, who sold out to John
Kinzie, an Indian trader and agent for the American
Fur Company. 1 In the year when Fort Dearborn
was built, Kinzie brought his family out, and im-
proved Baptiste's cabin into "a tasteful dwelling."
They lived across from the fort, and at the time of
the massacre were saved by some friendly Indians.
Rebuilt in 1816, the blockhouse was occupied for
some thirty years. But the massacre kept settlers
THE CITY BY THE LAKE 203
and traders away from Fort Dearborn. In 1827
there were only three families here, all living in log
cabins. The future city was due to Daniel Pope
Cook, for whom Cook County was named; and its
foundation was the grant of land from Congress for
the building of the canal. 2 Long before it was com-
pleted, in fact before it was begun, public attention
was attracted to Chicago, and the commercial ad-
vantages of this site, as the terminus of the canal,
were emphasized. Geography made it a natural
depot for the receiving and forwarding of western
products, and for the distributing of eastern manu-
factures to the entire northwest. Its citizens, seeing
this natural advantage and foreseeing its future, ac-
complished the rest through their energy and enter-
But in comparison with the story of other Amer-
ican cities, Chicago's is wholly recent. Thanks to
Nathaniel Pope, the site was secured for Illinois.
First platted and named in connection with the sur-
vey for the canal route in 1830, the town covered
three-eighths of a square mile. The following year
three vessels arrived in its harbor. When incorpo-
rated in 1837, its population was only forty-one
Winfield Scott, ordered west to take charge of the
campaign against Black Hawk, was delayed in Chi-
cago by an outbreak of cholera among his troops
and so took no part in the war. But he returned
east with such glowing accounts of the place that
general attraction was drawn to it. And on his rec-
ommendation Congress appropriated money to im-
prove the harbor. 3
Then came a period of inflation, when Chicago
was the Mecca of speculators. Nothing was dis-
cussed but the price of corner lots. Every one was
rich, on paper. Men talked in millions who had no
cash to pay their board bills. A hundred new citi-
zens came in ten days. Half a million dollars' worth
of property was sold in six months. The people
multiplied by eight in a year. And it must be said
for these promoters that everything they prophesied
was later carried out. The trouble was, they wanted
to go too fast, they were a generation ahead of their
The year 1837 and its panic brought stagnation. 4
The one thing that kept Chicago alive was the canal
project. Even though all work stopped, it was
never allowed to die out. Real estate was, to be
sure, offered at a twentieth of former prices. But
Chicago people had real grit, and gradually industry
took the place of speculative idling. During these
lean years, two of the city's greatest enterprises be-
gan the packing business, and the exporting of
grain, which began in a small venture with thirty-
nine bags of wheat.
UNIVERSITY Of ILLINOIS
THE CITY BY THE LAKE 205
After 1842 came a steady sure growth, with only
a temporary check at the panic of '57. During this
time the canal was finished, the Illinois Central com-
pleted and other roads to east and west. Not the
canal, as its friends anticipated, but the dozen roads
centering at Chicago, carried its products and made
its greatness. Manufacturing developed locomo-
tives and cars, brick, carriages and wagons, furni-
ture, stoves, agricultural implements, leather goods,
to mention only a few of the many things made in
The Civil War gave a remarkable stimulus to the
city, for it became immediately an important base
of supplies. 5 Far enough from the front to be abso-
lutely safe, closely connected by rail with every part
of the country, supplies and men could be moved
easily. Large amounts of corn and pork, of cloth-
ing and saddlery, thousands of horses and wagons,
were sent from Chicago to the Union armies. Dur-
ing the sixties, her population more than kept pace
with the increase in the nation. Her growth and
prosperity were without precedent. She was the
pride of Illinois, the wonder of the world.
And this prosperity continued until a sudden
check came in the autumn of 1871. One Sunday
night in October, as people were going home from
church, the alarm of fire was sounded by the court-
house bell. 6 A poor woman, living in the poorest
quarter of the town, had gone out late to milk her
cow. The restless cow kicked over the kerosene
lamp, the hay in the shed caught fire, and in a mo-
ment the flames had spread. It was a section of one-
story houses, stables and sheds, each within a few
feet of its neighbor, and all of wood. They burned
like so much kindling. There had been no rain for
weeks. A high wind was blowing. The nearest
alarm box was several blocks away. And the cow,
and Mrs. O'Leary, who lived in a little frame shanty
without even a street number, won a place in the his-
tory of Chicago.
The firemen had been hard at work all Saturday
night and most of Sunday, fighting a big down-town
fire. But they responded promptly and tried to
stay the progress of the flames. Days later the ruins
of the engine were found in the street. The wind
had become a gale. Directly in its path was a four-
mile line of wooden buildings. The intense heat
made it impossible for the department to work. By
midnight the fire had reached the densely populated
section. Wider streets will keep it from spreading,-
said the onlookers. But the flames jumped across
and blazed more fiercely. .
Well, the burned district of last night will stop it.
At any rate, the river will limit it. But with a
hop, skip and jump, the flames were across the
THE CITY BY THE LAKE 207
bridge, at place after place, sweeping all before
them. Flanking columns were sent off to each
side, devastating a wide swath of business blocks.
Buildings of stone and brick and iron, supposed to
be fireproof, crumbled and melted down before the
awful heat. They ignited suddenly all over, just as
a sheet of paper, held to the fire, is scorched and
breaks out in flame.
From ten o'clock till morning, till noon, till night,
the fire raged. Miserable hovels, splendid public
buildings, beautiful homes, stores, churches, all fell
before it, like ripe wheat before the reaper. The
pumping engines at the water-works were disabled,
set on fire when a burning roof fell on the tower.
And with the lake at hand, three hundred and sixty
miles long and seven hundred feet deep, the supply
of water was cut off and the people were helpless. 7
In some places counter-fires were started, and build-
ings blown up with gunpowder, but against the gale
nothing was accomplished. It was a vast ocean of
flame, sweeping over the city in mile-long billows
The streets were as light as day, and were
crowded with people, first as spectators, later as
refugees. Goods piled up in the street to be carted
away were frequently carried off. Draymen charged
enormous prices for taking loads. Some hackmen,
extorting a poor woman's all, threw off her goods at
the next corner and repeated the process upon an-
other customer. Frequently the owner was reas-
sessed, half-way to safety. And payment must be
"What's your check worth?" one driver asked.
"The bank's already burned !"
In the confusion and turmoil streets were gorged
with crowds of people and passing vehicles. Dazed
animals dashed about. There were thrilling rescues,
sad separation of families, heroism on every side,
baser passions breaking out insults, robbery, as-
sassination. Prisoners, released to save their lives,
promptly pillaged a jewelry store.
"The scene was indescribable," said an onlooker
the next day. ". . . The great, dazzling, mount-
ing light, the crash and roar of the conflagration,
and the desperate flight of the crowd. . . . They
stood transfixed, with a mingled feeling of horror
and admiration, and while they often exclaimed at
the beauty of the scene, they all devoutly prayed that
they might never see such another.
"To the roar which the simple process of com-
bustion always makes, magnified here to so grand an
extent, was added the crash of falling buildings and
the constant explosions of stores of oil. The noise
of the crowd was nothing compared with this chaos
of sound. . . .
"I saw men, women, and children, in every vari-
ety of dress, with the motley collection of effects
THE CITY BY THE LAKE 209
which they sought to save. Some had silver, some
valuable papers, some pictures, carpets, beds, etc.
One little child had her doll tenderly pressed in her
arms. An old Irish woman was cherishing a grunt-
ing pig. There was a singular mixture of the awful,
the ludicrous, and the pathetic. . . .
"A torrent of humanity was pouring over the
bridge. . . . Drays, express wagons, trucks, and
conveyances of every conceivable species and size,
crowded across in indiscriminate haste. Collisions
happened almost every moment. The same long line
of men dragging trunks was here, many of them
tugging over the ground with loads which a horse
would strain at. Women were there, staggering
under weights upon their backs. Now and then a
stray schooner came up, and the bridge must be
opened. Then arose a howl of indignation along
the line, audible above the tumult. . . .
"I saw an undertaker rushing over the bridge
with his mournful stock. He had taken a dray, but
was unable to load all of his goods into the vehicle.
So he employed half a dozen boys, gave each of
them a coffin, took a large one himself, and headed
the weird procession. The sight of those coffins,
upright, and bobbing along just above the heads of
the crowd, without any apparent help, was startling,
and we laughed quite merrily." 8
Crowds collected on the beaches, and were fre-
quently driven into the lake for refuge against the
scorching flames. People gathered in an old ceme-
tery, and on the bleak prairie back of the city. Sick
and helpless, young and old, rich and poor, the
vicious and the good, were huddled together, with-
The Chicago fire had no precedent in history. It
is the most overwhelming that ever visited a com-
munity. The city had been built up by persistent
energy, daring enterprise, and far-reaching plans.
Now, a hundred thousand people were homeless and
out of employment, twenty thousand buildings were
destroyed, and property worth nearly two hundred
Prostrate as the city was, Monday saw deter-
mined efforts to bring order out of the chaos. The
mayor had telegraphed to Joliet and Springfield,
even to Milwaukee and Detroit, for fire engines. He
now asked for carloads of bread. He issued a proc-
lamation fixing the price for a loaf and for drayage,
telling people where to apply for food, and warning
them of the danger of falling walls.
Theft and arson were frequently reported.
"Roughs" from all parts of Chicago and neighbor-
ing towns invaded the scene, plundering the suffer-
ers. Two thousand extra police were sworn in, state
troops were called out, and Sheridan, with several
companies of the regular army, took charge in the
The mayor organized bureaus to give out relief
with system and efficiency. Carloads of provisions
THE CITY BY THE LAKE 211
and clothing were received. A wave of sympathy
and practical benevolence set in toward Chicago,
from every part of the world. Such a going forth
of help, instant and mighty, was never known be-
fore in human history. While the fire was still
burning, cities great and small, in every state, sent
messages telling how much they felt for the suffer-
ers, in dollars. St. Louis and Cincinnati, Chicago's
two competitors in trade, gave generously, their
charity forgetting all rivalry.
And while temporary help was being given, plans
were making to rebuild. No one said, "The town
is gone up. Our capital's wiped out of existence.
There will not be an insurance company left. The
city's trade must go to St. Louis and Cincinnati. If
we had any customers we couldn't do business, for
we've no place to transact it. We may as well leave
at once." Instead, merchants ordered new stocks of
goods from the east, the moment the telegraph wires
were repaired. Long before the ruins had cooled
one man put up a shingle on the site of his store,
which read, "All gone but wife, children, and en-
ergy" and he was typical of the others.
Instead of losing heart and being overwhelmed
by the loss, Chicago undismayed planned a greater
city. For the fire had destroyed the results, not the
causes, of her success the lake, the canal, the rail-
roads, the inherent vitality and buoyant spirits of
her people. The fire could take in a night what had
been forty-four years in building. It could par-
alyze the city's energy for a day, it could not burn
her indomitable pluck and elastic hope. On the con-
trary, she gained a great stimulus to activity and
resolutely faced the task of rebuilding. With noth-
ing but the future greatness of their city as security,
her bankers borrowed millions from eastern capital-
Like the phcenix of old, in three short years there
rose beside the lake a new Chicago, a monument to
the energy and faith of her citizens. And to-day she
is the metropolis not only of Illinois, but of the Mis-
sissippi Valley and the northwest. . With the an-
nexation of suburban towns, she is now the fifth
city in the world, with a larger area than Berlin or
Paris, than New York or London. 10 Her market for
livestock and grain is the greatest in the land. She
is the largest railroad center. Her system of parks
and connecting boulevards is the most magnificent in
And only twenty years after the great fire, Con-
gress chose Chicago as the site for the "White
City," to house the world's fair celebrating the four
hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America.
Currey's History of Chicago and Quaife's Chi-
cago and the Old Northwest will tell you more of
THE CITY BY THE LAKE 213
the city by the lake. Chicago and the Great Con-
flagration, written by Colbert and Chamberlin, is
a detailed story of the fire, with many individual
EDUCATION, YESTERDAY AND TO-DAY
"T THANK God there are in Virginia no free
A schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not
have; for learning hath brought disobedience and
heresy into the world," wrote Governor Berkeley in
1670. And a century later this same state of Vir-
ginia was surveying the Illinois territory, on the new
township system, and reserving every section six-
teen for the use of schools !
One of the stipulations in the ordinance of 1787,
you remember, was that "schools and the means of
education shall forever be encouraged," for knowl-
edge and religion and morality were declared "nec-
essary to the good government and happiness of
The far-seeing Nathaniel Pope, who accomplished
so much for Illinois in changing the northern bound-
ary, did perhaps an equal service in putting through
his suggestion that three per cent, of the land office
sales should be used for educational purposes, and
a sixth of this sum for a college or university. In
1819 the state transferred the school lands to the
various townships, with power to lease, and later
to sell them. 2 The money from these sales was kept
as a permanent and separate fund and loaned at
interest to the state. But if the land had been hus-
banded, as was done in Texas, it would be worth
many millions to-day, and its income would make
the school tax a nominal sum.
The very first schools in Illinois were taught by
the French priests, but little is known of them.
Among the early American settlers, schools were
established soon after their arrival, the first of
which we have record in Monroe County in 1783. 3
They were not very good schools, it is true, but the
best possible under pioneer conditions. The marvel
is that with land to be cleared and houses raised,
men had a moment to give to education. But early
a start was made and the work endured.
The first schools were private. Each teacher
worked up his own, by a house-to-house visit, carry-
ing his subscription paper and getting pupils signed
up. Tuition was a dollar and a half or two dollars
for a term of eleven weeks, in rare cases, three dol-
lars. Often a parent would subscribe for a half-
pupil: this meant that his child would go half the
time. Where there were several children in one
family and a scarcity of money, it was a common
custom to pay for two and divide the term among
the whole number. "You can imagine the uphill
work of getting any schooling," says a great-grand-
mother, telling of her pioneer childhood. 4
The teacher was usually Irish or Scotch; some-
times a surveyor or mechanic, who taught in the
winter and took up his craft again when spring
opened. In most schools it was a sufficient qualifi-
cation if he knew the three R's; he must be able to
make a quill pen that would not scratch; he must
also have the ability to wield the birch well, for
"larnin' and lickin' " were inseparable. Some teach-
ers whipped every pupil on Friday afternoons,
whether it was deserved or not, on the general prin-
ciple that it was good for the school. One teacher
was described as "a worthy man and an excellent
scholar, but so easy with children in regard to dis-
cipline that his school was considered as defective."
The schoolhouse was a log cabin, fourteen by six-
teen feet, occasionally eighteen by twenty. The
space between the logs was "chinked" with clay.
Sometimes greased paper was used for window
glass ; sometimes one log was left out for the entire
length of the building, and a row of small panes of
glass inserted. The cabin had a clapboard roof, kept
down by "weight poles" ; a puncheon floor, seats
made of slabs sawed from the sides of logs, without
backs of any kind. There was always a great fire-
place, but most of the heat went up the chimney.
On the opposite side of the room children suffered
The old log school house
A rural community centre with its consolidated school and church
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
from the cold. There were two or three shelves for
spare books and dinner baskets, a small puncheon
table and splint-bottomed chair for the teacher.
Text-books were few in number, and uninterest-
ing; always a speller, and reader often this was
gossipy Parson Weems's Life of Washington,
which Lincoln shared with many a frontier child.
Writing books were made at home, of unruled pa-
per, the teacher ruling lines as needed, with a bit of
lead. The slates had no frames, and to prevent their
being dropped and broken, a hole was made in one
side, a string put through it, and the slate hung
round the pupil's neck.
What was known as the "loud school" was not
uncommon. "Pupils will study spelling," the
teacher would announce. And they would all begin
aloud, each for himself, without trying to keep to-
gether. When a lull came after a while, the teacher
would stamp on the floor and say, "Study harder!"
The noise, of course, was terrific, but it sounded as
if something was being accomplished.
In 1824 Joseph Duncan, who was afterward gov-
ernor, introduced into the senate a bill for establish-
ing free schools, and this was passed. It provided
for a school or schools in every county, for trustees
and the examination of teachers, and a school tax,
which could be paid in cash or in good merchantable
produce at the market price. 5 Ford says that the law
worked admirably well; but such a storm of disap-
proval and clamoring opposition as went up over
the school tax !
"Poor people found that their children would
be educated and wholly unfitted for work on the
farm." The very class it was planned to benefit op-
posed it most bitterly, though their wealthier neigh-
bors bore the brunt of the expense. At the very next
session of the legislature, the law was so amended
that its usefulness was gone. Peck complained that
its short life was due to designing and selfish poli-
ticians who "seized hold of it to raise popular fer-
Duncan's was a good measure, how good you may
judge when you learn that to-day's law embodies the
very same fundamental principles and many of its
details. 6 But it was in advance of the age, and the
circumstances of the common people; and of the
teachers, too! Very few applicants could meet the
requirement for history, geography and grammar,
in addition to the three R's ; and as late as 1847 cer-
tificates were given for one or more subjects.
But some people did not lose sight of the Duncan
plan, and the question of better schools was agi-
tated. This was especially true after the settlers
from the eastern states and New England began
coming to Illinois in large numbers. In 1840 an
association was formed to secure a better system of
common schools. For years it kept up a persistent
campaign of education, through meetings, a mag-
azine, local societies and memorials to the legisla-
They found throughout the state a listless apathy,
far worse than fiery opposition ; but slowly they won
public opinion to see the need for free schools.
Educating popular sentiment to a higher standard is
never an easy task overcoming old and deep-
rooted prejudices, opposing false ideas of economy
in state affairs, convincing men that it is both a right
and a duty to tax every man's property and spend
the money to educate every child. For this is a pub-
lic benefit, they urged, as necessary as courts or
highroads. It is cheaper to sustain schools than
poorhouses and prisons! 8
The legislature in 1845 voted to have a state
superintendent of schools; but for the sake of econ-
omy the secretary of state was given this work, in
addition to his own. Nine years later it was made
a separate office, first held by Ninian W. Edwards.
The year 1855 marks the commencement of the
wonderful school system which to-day is the state's
pride. The average cost for a pupil is now thirteen
times the sum spent in the fifties. The permanent
school funds provide about a tenth of the amount re-
quired each year, and the balance is raised by taxa-
tion. Illinois now ranks fourth among the states
for the money spent each year for public
Immediately after the passage of the Edwards
law providing for this school tax, one county re-
ported, "As common sense would teach, it has put
life into the system, and shows at once, as the old
proverb says, 'Money makes the mare go.' So does
it make the schools go, and without it they wouldn't
go." But the report continues, "Our teachers are
deficient both in literary attainments and practical
experience, but even of such as are to be had, the
supply is by no means sufficient." 9 This was the
complaint everywhere, and in 1857 a normal school
was opened, the first in the middle west; and so
great was its success, so great the demand for
trained teachers, that Illinois now has five normal
Education in the cities has made steady progress,
with improved buildings, more and better trained
teachers, better books, and the establishment of high
schools. But the improvements in the rural schools
have been even more marked. Attractive buildings
and grounds, careful grading and regular promo-
tion, and consolidated schools, have banished the un-
inviting "little red schoolhouse."
The seminary of learning for which Pope made
provision did not materialize for nearly half a cen-
tury, though thirty-six sections of land were re-
served for this purpose. Congress in 1$62 made a
donation of land to the several states, for agricul-
tural and industrial colleges. Illinois's share was
four hundred eighty thousand acres. When the leg-
islature offered the new institution to the highest
bidder, Champaign won the prize. And the Uni-
versity of Illinois has now six thousand students.
But you must not think that the pioneers were in-
terested only in schools for children, and that no
plans were made for higher education. John Mason
Peck was sent west in 1817, to establish headquar-
ters for the frontier work of a missionary society,
whose expressed purpose was "to spread the gospel
and promote schools." He traveled through the
Mississippi Valley, starting a church and a school
side by side. 10 Visiting Vandalia, he secured the
promise of many public men, to help in starting an
institution of learning. Their help, however,
amounted to little more than a board of trustees.
Peck did the work and carried the burdens.
A stranger on horseback came along the road
running from St. Louis to Vincennes, where he was
"What are you doing here?"
"I am building a seminary."
Opened in 1827, with teachers from the east,
Rock Spring Seminary was the pioneer of higher
education in the west. Later it was moved to Upper
Alton, and the name changed to Shurtleff College,
because of the generous gift of Doctor Shurtleff, of
Boston. 11 A strong friendship grew up between
Peck and the traveler on horseback, who afterward
founded Illinois College at Jacksonville. McKen-
dree had opened at Lebanon ; and these three pioneer
colleges, chartered by the legislature in 1835, are
still educating the young people of Illinois.
Meanwhile the number of colleges and universities
in the state has increased to thirty-two. Illinois
has thus exemplified her belief that the sure founda-
tions of the state are laid in knowledge and not in
And much of this progress in education is indi-
rectly due to the churches of Illinois. From the
French priests to the itinerant preachers of the pio-
neerperiod, and on to the highly educated ministers
of to-day, the promotion of schools and colleges has"
been conspicuous among church activities. For re-
ligion and learning advance among a people with
equal strides. And the churches of Illinois have
always recognized that education makes a valuable
contribution to the best type of Christian service.
GREATNESS OF THE STATE
CENTURIES ago nature began a generous pol-
icy with Illinois. Waterways and mines and
rich, rich soil she provided with unstinted hand.
And, thanks to her gifts and to the wise conserva-
tion that is now being adopted, she promises to be a
great mining and agricultural state for generations
to come. In the production of coal and in manu-
facturing, she stands third in the list of states;
fourth for wheat ; second for oats, first for railroads
and meat packing and for corn. Of the eight banner
agricultural counties in the nation, four are in Illi-
But these are her material wealth. And among
the states she ranks high in other lines. One of these
is the special care she gives to her wards. In the
early days, the number of such citizens was very
small. In one county, Pope and Bond dispensed
public charity, their yearly duty being to farm out to
the lowest bidder the care of one old man who was
both poor and blind. 1 From this beginning came the
present splendid system of state charity, which cares
for twenty-one thousand persons and costs six mil-
lions a year^
In the early days, law breakers were punished by
public flogging; but soon imprisonment was substi-
tuted. Instead of the whipping-post and stocks, the
community built a rude log jail. Prisoners often
escaped, and better places of confinement were
needed. But the people were poor and bitterly op-
posed to taxation for any purpose; so they would
never consider a special tax for a prison. How raise
The legislature again asked Congress to help,
and some forty thousand acres of saline lands were
granted, and part of the money from their sale used
for a state prison at Alton. This first penitentiary,
opened in 1833, had twenty-four cells, and for
twenty- four years more were built as needed. But
the accommodations were entirely inadequate, as the
population increased, and a new prison was built at
Joliet. The last convicts were sent from Alton in
1860. But in less than ten years this building, too,
was overcrowded and another was planned for
Illinois was one of the first states to experiment
in prison reform. The indeterminate sentence, the
wearing of stripes only as a special punishment, the
GREATNESS OF THE STATE 225
honor and merit systems, are some of the steps taken
in recent years for a more intelligent and humane
care of these people.
Aside from actual convicts, the only citizens re-
ceiving public care, in the early days, were the pau-
pers. But attention was called to the fact that n.any
of these so-called paupers might become self-sup-
porting, if they could be given some education. For
deaf and dumb children a special school was planned
in Jacksonville. Beginning in 1842 with four pupils,
it is now the largest of its kind in the world. About
this time and in the same city, a blind man started
a school for blind children. Supported at first by
private subscription, it soon became a state school,
with this same man as its head. These two schools
train into useful citizens children who would other-
wise be only a burden to society. 3
To Dorothea L. Dix Illinois owes the beginning
of her care for the insane. She traveled over the
state, addressing meetings everywhere in behalf of
these unfortunates. She visited Springfield and ad-
dressed the legislature; and as a result of her ef-
forts a state hospital was opened in 1851. This
work has greatly increased, with the growth of pop-
ulation and of city life, with its constant strain and
stress. To provide for these patients, Illinois has
added hospital after hospital till she now has seven,
and an eighth for insane criminals. The one in
Kankakee, built on the cottage plan, has been widely
copied in other states.
Illinois has also an institution for feeble-minded
children, a colony for epileptics, a home for soldiers
and sailors, for soldiers' orphans, for soldiers' wid-
ows, and reform schools for juvenile offenders.
Each year a larger number of persons is cared for,
but the per capita cost has decreased in the last dec-
ades. Much of this is due to an effort to take the
state institutions out of politics, making merit and
not party service the reason for all appointments,
and putting the management for all the twenty-one
into the hands of a central organization. Instead of
one hundred and twenty-five boards and commis-
sions, Illinois now has nine men in charge of this
work, a department of public service planned for a
businesslike and efficient administration of the care
of her wards.
But great as is Illinois for her natural resources
and her state institutions, her true greatness is her
people. Therein rests the greatness of any state.
She has a varied population, the richer for this
mingling and mixing, this combining of many peo-
The French, the earliest comers, contributed a
strain of romance and gaiety. . The soldiers of
Clark's expedition were a sturdy backwoods type,
GREATNESS OF THE STATE 227
hardy pioneers, adventurous and boldly daring, self-
reliant. Then came settlers from the southern
states, from the Carolinas, from Virginia and Ken-
tucky, giving 'a southern flavor to society and poli-
tics that lasted for more than two generations. Fol-
lowing them were the New Englanders and men
from New York and Pennsylvania, energetic and
enterprising Yankees, good business men, starting
schools and churches as soon as their own cabins
were under way. And all of these, with a wonder-
ful pride in the state, loyal and faithful to Illinois.
Last of our settlers are the immigrants from
Europe, citizens of the old world, come to find in
the new, social and religious and political liberty;
the chance to improve, to forge ahead if they have
ability, instead of staying always in the class where
they were born. In the American melting pot Illi-
nois does her share of the fusing process ; for only
two states have a larger number of foreigners.
In the middle of the century men from Ireland
and Scotland, from Germany and Scandinavia, fol-
lowing the parallels of latitude, came to Illinois and
settled in the country, taking up government land.
Of late years there has been a decided change in
the character of our immigrants. They now come
from the south of Europe, Italians and Russians
and Hungarians. The growth of manufacturing
and the absence of cheap land have planted these
newcomers in the cities instead of on the farms.
On the streets of Chicago every other man you meet
is a foreigner or the son of a foreigner. The city
has become a great distributing station for all the
northwest. Its immigrant population is constantly
changing: the newcomers live there a few years,
to be near their friends, to learn English, to get
adjusted to life in a new country.
Many of these foreigners need our help during
the slow process of adjustment and assimilation.
They need a background of American history, and
the American "feel." They need to be told of the
educational advantages open to them, of help easily
secured. They need to be warned of dangers and
pitfalls, that they may see the best and not the
worst of our communities. Their coming to us is
a responsibility, creating, it is true, many problems
in our social and industrial and political life, in-
creasingly important. But it is a responsibility well
worth while. For they provide material for loyal
citizens. They add a variety and richness to the
nation, if we will use and not abuse their presence
Illinois is, you realize, a great state, with a past
rich and interesting, a present proud and promising.
What of the future? That rests with us, her chil-
dren, to build it worthily. It is to him that hath
GREATNESS OF THE STATE 229
that much is given. Reverently we guard, tenderly
we treasure the memory of our forefathers. In-
heritors of such a past, we have a great responsi-
bility, inescapable, nor would we escape it if we
To belong to Illinois, to the state of Lincoln,
spells duty and privilege and high obligation. For
he is the vindication of American democracy, of
the dignity and nobility of the common people.
"With malice toward none, with charity for all,
with firmness in the right as God gives us to see
the right, let us strive on to finish" worthily the
work we are in to achieve in Illinois a true democ-
racy, a government of and by and for the people.
SUCH, briefly told, is the story of Illinois. But
this book will have failed of its purpose if you
read it and no more. What it has tried to do is
to arouse your interest in the great story of a great
state, and make you want to find out more for your-
Did you know that John Todd's record book tells
of an incident in Illinois paralleling the Salem witch-
craft? 1 That the tragedy at Mararnech duplicates
the story of the Pequot war? 2 That in the dead of
winter an Illinois soldier made a Paul Revere ride,
galloping across seven counties to warn the Fort
Armstrong garrison to be up and to arm? 3
Did you know that one Illinois governor was
secretary to a president and went to Europe on a
diplomatic mission to the Czar? 4 That one governor
was inaugurated in the executive mansion, instead
of in the state house? He was, by the way, the
colonel who almost killed (?) Jefferson Davis in
Did you know that Illinois touches the story of
Aaron Burr and the Blennerhassets ? 5 Have you
read the thrilling tale of the 1814 rangers under
Stephen Rector, who so gallantly and coolly rescued
their comrades from Black Hawk's band at Camp-
bell's Island, "as heroic a deed of daring as was
ever performed in war"? 8 There are so many in-
teresting incidents !
To name only a few among the many whose sto-
ries you will greatly enjoy, find out something about
Shabona, "the white man's friend," 7 and Baker,
"the modern knight-errant." 8 Look up the lives of
Francis Vigo 9 and D'Artaguette, 10 of John Mason
Peck 11 and Jean Gabriel Cerre. 12 What can you
learn of Edgar, 13 of Pierre Menard and his salt, 14
of Fort Massac? 15 Of the Bishop Hill colony, 16
the Spanish invasion, 17 the lead mines at Fever
River, 18 the soldier of fortune, St. Leger Grenfell? 19
Did you know that after the Mormons left Nau-
voo, the Icarians settled there, and developed a
community life which was for a time most success-
ful? 20 There is an interesting story about their
leader, Etienne Cabet, the son of a cooper, who was
at one time attorney-general of France for Corsica.
With his followers, men of six countries, he came to
America, not expecting to make people perfect, but
to establish a colony which should be a practical im-
provement of society. Can you find out where they
got their name? Trace their journey from France.
Why did so few of them reach Nauvoo? How
many Icarians made up this single family, where
all property belonged to the community, and each
one worked for all? Could they produce every-
thing they needed? What trades did they follow,
and where did they sell their surplus goods? How
many hours made a day's work in summer; in win-
ter? How were they governed? You must read
about the Mormon temple, converted into a great
dining-hall, with tracks laid from the kitchen and
cars of food running to the different tables. Did
they really live well on seven cents a day ? Perhaps
this will interest you in other community experi-
ments in Illinois.
What governors, beginning with St. Clair, owe
their positions in part to their war records? How
many limped into office on Santa Anna's wooden
leg? Is this more or less than the number of war-
record presidents? How many of our governors
were born in Illinois? Which state has furnished
us the most? Can you think why?
Reminders of her history Illinois has preserved
in the names chosen for villages and towns and
cities, for townships and counties. Go over these
lists and see how many you can find that are French
in origin, like Fayette and Joliet. How many sug-
gest New England, like Warren; or Virginia, like
Henry? How many are named for some natural
feature, like Island Grove or Buffalo Hart? How
many are Indian, like Peoria ? How many can you
find commemorating the public service of some dis-
tinguished man, like Edwards or Pulaski?
Make friends with the pioneers of your commu-
nity. All too quickly they are passing. From such
stories and reminiscences as theirs, and from their
old letters, history is made to-morrow. And to
you, in becoming more familiar with the story of
Illinois, the author wishes half the keen pleasure
found in the preparation of this book.
It would not be possible to tell you all the people
who have helped in its making. But needs must
be mentioned the generous service of the state his-
torical library; and the indebtedness of the author
to many writers of histories of Illinois, to newspa-
per files and magazine articles, to pamphlets and
books on special subjects, and last but not least, to
the invaluable publications of the state historical
Among the books consulted, which have proved
of especial help, are :
Arnold, Isaac N. The Life of Abraham Lincoln.
Bateman and Selby Historical Encyclopedia of Il-
Birkbeck, Morris Letters from Illinois (1817).
Notes on a Journey in America (1818).
Breese, Sidney The Early History of Illinois
Brown, Henry History of Illinois (to 1844).
Brown, William H. Early Movement in Illinois
for the Legalisation of Slavery.
Butterfield, Consul Willshire History of George
Rogers Clark's Conquest of the Illinois and Wa-
Catherwood, Mary Hartwell Old Kaskaskia. The
Story of Tonty.
Coffin, Charles Carleton- Abraham Lincoln.
Colbert and Chamberlin Chicago and the Great
Cook, John W. History of Education in Illinois.
Currey, Josiah Seymour History of Chicago.
Davidson and Stuve A Complete History of Illi-
Dillon, John B. History of Indiana.
Drake, Benjamin Life and Adventures of Black
Dye, Eva The Conquest.
Edwards, Ninian Wirt History of Illinois (1778-
1833) and Life and Times of Ninian Edwards.
English, William Hayden Conquest of the Coun-
try Northwest of the River Ohio and Life of
George Rogers Clark.
Farnum, Eliza W. Life in Prairie Land.
Fergus Historical Series.
Flower, George History of the English Settlement
in Edzvards County.
Foi;d, Thomas History of Illinois (1818-1847).
Gerhard, Frederic Illinois as It Is (to 1857).
Green, E. B. The Government of Illinois.
Harris, N. Dwight The History of Negro Servi-
tude in Illinois.
Herndon, William Henry, and Weik, Jesse Abra-
ham Lincoln, the True Story of a Great Life.
Illinois Historical Collections.
Illinois State Historical Society Transactions,
Kinzie, Mrs. John H. Waubun, the Early Day in
Levasseur, A. Lafayette in America.
Lincoln, William S. Alton Trials.
Lovejoy, Joseph and Owen Memoir of Elijah P.
Mason, Edward G. Chapters from Illinois His-
Mather, Irwin F. The Making of Illinois.
Meese, William A. The Battle of Campbell's Is-
land. The Beginnings of Illinois.
Moses, John Illinois, Historical and Statistical.
Nicolay and Hay Abraham Lincoln, a History.
Nida, William Lewis The Story of Illinois and
Ogg, Frederick Austin (Ed.) Personal Narrative
of a Residence in the Illinois Territory, 1817-
1818, by Elias Pym Fordham.
Parish, John Carl The Man with the Iron Hand.
Parkman, Francis The Conspiracy of Pontiac. La
Salle and the Discovery of the Great West. The
Struggle for a Continent.
Parrish, Randall Historic Illinois.
Patterson, J. B. (Ed.) Autobiography of Black
Ouaife, Milo Milton Chicago and the Old North-
Reynolds, John My Own Times. The Pioneer
History of Illinois (to 1818).
Roosevelt, Theodore The Winning of the West.
Shaw, Albert Icaria, a Study in Communistic His-
Shea, John G. Discovery and Exploration of the
Smith, George Washington A Student's History
Thwaites, Reuben Gold (Ed.) Jesuit Relations.
Thwaites, Reuben Gold Early Western Travels
(1748-1846). How George Rogers Clark Won
the Northwest, and Other Essays in Western His-
tory. Life of Marquette.
Wallace, Joseph Life and Public Services of Ed-
ward D. Baker.
Washburne, E. B. A Sketch of Edward Coles.
Where are mounds found in Illinois?
What suggestions can you give for their probable use?
What do the articles found in the mounds indicate about the
Why was Illinois so named?
What has been the gain to civilization in the white men's
taking the land from the Indians?
What was the basis of the French claim to Illinois?
Why was the first exploring party sent out?
Describe their journey. What record have we of it?
Why did Marquette return to Illinois?
Why is La Salle called the seventeenth-century imperialist?
What difficulties did he meet, and overcome?
How did his work affect American history?
Why was Fort St. Louis an important post?
How did it get its present name?
What result did Law's schemes have for Illinois?
Describe life in a French village.
What part did the French in Illinois have in the colonial
What are the dates for the beginning and end of French
rule in Illinois?
Why was there a delay in England's taking possession?
Describe the arrival of the Highlanders.
How long did the British govern Illinois?
What were Clark's qualifications for leading this expedi-
What was the reason for secrecy?
What was his policy with the French?
Is Gibault appropriately named "the patriot priest of the
Describe the journey to Vincennes and its surrender.
Why was Clark's conquest important in making the peace
What states claimed Illinois, and on what grounds?
Name the important provisions of the ordinance of 1787.
What was the fundamental difficulty between the Americans
and the Indians ?
Name the governors of Illinois, up to 1818.
What changes in government were made in 1800, in 1809, in
Why did the War of 1812 touch Illinois more closely than
the previous wars ?
Why was a fort built at the mouth of the Chicago River?
Describe the evacuation of Fort Dearborn.
How was the frontier protected, for the remainder of the
What two great provisions did Nathaniel Pope make for
How did the northern boundary affect future history?
What were the important features of the first state consti-
What were its peculiar features?
What is the date for the admission of Illinois as a state?
Why was the capital changed from Kaskaskia?
Where did most of the settlers live? Why?
Whence did they come?
What were their occupations?
Name some of the foreign colonies in Illinois.
Why were the regulators needed?
What were the "black laws" ?
Why was it proposed to amend the constitution?
What were the necessary steps?
What trick passed the resolution in the house?
Who were the leaders on each side?
What was the result of the election?
Why was Lafayette entertained at Kaskaskia ?
Describe the reception and dinner.
Who were the guests at the ball?
How was Lafayette received at Shawneetown?
What were the effects of paper money in Illinois?
Can you account for the speculation in land?
Why were internal improvements urged?
Why was it necessary to vote such a large sum?
How did Ford meet the arguments for repudiating the
How was a repetition of this financial trouble made impos-
What was the American pretext for the Black Hawk War?
What was the Indian argument?
Name some soldiers in this war who became prominent later.
Describe Stillman's Run and the battle of the Bad Axe.
What can you tell of Black Hawk's life, after the war?
What was the "Long Nine" ?
How was the capitol secured for Springfield?
Describe conditions in the pioneer Springfield. Compare
with the city of to-day.
Compare the two state houses in Springfield.
Why did Love joy move to Alton?
For what was he contending?
What were the arguments against his course?
Tell the story of the tragedy at the warehouse.
Where did the Mormons live before they settled in Illinois?
Describe the building of the Mormon temple.
How did the Mormons, who were nominally a religious
group, come into Illinois politics?
What favors did they receive from the legislature? Why?
Why were troops sent against the Mormons?
Tell of Smith's death.
Trace the journey of the Mormons to Utah.
How did Illinois influence their course there?
In what battles of the Mexican War did Illinois troops take
Tell of their service at Buena Vista.
What trophies did they bring home?
Tell the story of the Bond-Jones duel.
What law concerning dueling was adopted?
How did Bond enforce it?
Tell about Lincoln's scrape with Shields, of Baker's great
speech against dueling, and of the challenge to Bissell.
How many years elapsed between the first suggestion for
the Illinois-Michigan Canal and its completion?
Why was it so expensive?
How was the canal financed?
When and why was it deepened?
Who proposed the Illinois Central?
To whose efforts was the congressional grant due?
Compare the financing of the railroad and of the canal.
What were the results for the state?
Why did the first settlers live in the timber country?
Describe Clark's plow.
Name other agricultural improvements.
Why were early politics in Illinois personal and not party?
Tell about the underground railroad in Illinois.
What changed the attitude of Illinois people on the question
Who made up the Republican party?
Tell of Trumbull's election to the senate.
Compare Lincoln and Douglas. What was the real issue
between them? Why were the debates a matter of national
importance? What was the immediate outcome? The final
What was Douglas's attitude when war was declared ?
How many regiments did Illinois send to the war?
Where did they fight?
Where were the training camps?
Tell of the great general Illinois gave to the nation.
What contribution did the women make?
How did Yates win the name of "the soldiers' friend"?
Tell of the efforts of the copperheads and the Sons of Liberty.
What songs were written by Illinois men?
Compare Lincoln's journey to Washington in 1861 with the
return in 1865.
244 , QUESTIONS
Describe the services in the various towns and in Springfield.
How was the sum for the monument secured?
Why is his grave a shrine for all Americans?
To what was the early importance of Chicago due?
Trace the steps in its growth.
How did the great fire start? Why did it spread so rapidly?
Tell of the relief work.
To what was attributable the rebuilding of Chicago?
What was Pope's service to the cause of education?
How were the early schools financed?
Describe a pioneer school.
What was the Duncan law? Why was it unpopular?
What was the result of the Edwards law?
Tell the story of the first college in Illinois.
What was the first state charity?
Why was a penitentiary needed ?
Why were the schools for special classes of children opened ?
Who initiated the work for the insane?
Tell of the recent changes in penitentiary methods, and in
the administration of the state institutions.
Name the various groups who settled in Illinois. What did
What is our responsibility to-day?
1 111. Hist. Lib. No. 11; pp. .209-210.
1 Parrish, 18.
2 Davidson and Stuve, ch. 3.
3 Davidson and Stuve, 32-35.
4 Parrish, 30-32.
1 Mason, 1.
2 Breese, 78.
3 Mason, 8-12.
4 Parrish, 42^3.
5 111. Hist. Collections, I, 10; and for the following quo-
tations, pp. 17, 20-21, 23, 27 and 40.
6 Mason, 27-29.
7 Mason, 32.
8111. Hist. Lib. No. 20, p. 110.
1 Mason, 46.
2 Breese, 115.
3 Mason, 67 ; 111. Hist. Lib. No. 7, p. 183.
4 Brown's History, 130, note 4.
5111. Hist. Collections, I, 146.
6 Parrish, 61-64; Mason, 112-117.
7 Davidson and Stuve, 93.
8111. Hist. Lib. No. 11, p. 207.
9 Moses, I, 66, 69.
10 Jesuit Relations, 63 : 305.
11 Moses, I, 75-76; Parrish, 87.
12 Mason, 187.
1 Breese, 160, 161.
2 Breese, 165-168; Davidson and Stuve, 115-119; Brown's
3 Breese, 170.
4 Davidson and Stuve, 109.
5 Mason, 227.
6 Parrish, 182 ; Mason, 228.
7111. Hist. Lib. No. 10, p. 137; Mason, 228-231.
8 Davidson and Stuve, 110.
9 Parrish, 92.
1 Brown's History, 196-198.
2 Mason, 235.
3 Moses, I, 135-136; Brown's History, 212-213.
4 Moses, I, 150; Mason, 241.
1 111. Hist. Collections, I, 174.
2111. Hist. Collections, I, 224.
3 Brown's History, 230.
4 Davidson and Stuve, 199.
5 Thwaites, How George Rogers Clark Won the North-
west, 18, 19.
6111. Hist. Collections, I, 197-198.
7 Thwaites, 26.
8 Brown's History, 235.
9111. Hist. Collections, I, 200.
10111. Hist. Lib. No. 10, p. 25.
11111. Hist. Collections, I, 202.
12 Thwaites, 32, 33.
13 Thwaites, 34.
14 Brown's History, 246.
15 Thwaites, 37, 38.
16111. Hist. Collections, 1, 203-204.
17111. Hist. Collections, 1, 238.
18 Thwaites, 45-63.
19 Mason, 256.
20 Thwaites, 67, 68.
21 Thwaites, 71-72 ; Davidson and Stuve, 200.
1 Meese, Beginnings of Illinois, 2, 3.
2 Moses, I, 187.
3 Moses, I, 186.
4 Meese, 8.
5 Brown's History, 275.
6 Thwaites, 82-93.
7 Moses, I, 259.
8 Davidson and Stuve, 286, 287; 111. Hist. Soc. Journal, 8,
No. 4, p. 539.
1 Gerhard, 43.
2 Brown's History, 278.
3 Brown's History, 306.
4 Moses, I, 249.
5 Brown's History, 310.
6 Gerhard, 47-49.
1 Davidson and Stuve, 291.
2 Brown's History, 345.
3 Moses, I, 277-279 ; Meese, Beginnings of Illinois, 13-15.
4 Brown's History, 351.
1 Davidson and Stuve, 915.
2 Ford, 35.
3 Davidson and Stuve, 330.
A Davidson and Stuve, 351.
5 Davidson and Stuve, 349-350.
6 Gerhard, 54.
7 Gerhard, 92-95, 122, 123 ; Ford, 232-234.
8 Gerhard, 69-70.
9 Ford, 61.
10 Ford, 32.
1 Harris, 32.
2 Davidson and Stuve, 317-319.
3 Davidson and Stuve, 321.
4 Moses, I, 323, note.
6 Ford, 53.
7 Davidson and Stuve, 326.
8 Ford, 53-55.
9 Flower, 210, 211.
1 Davidson and Stuve, 322.
2_Washburne, 233, 234.
3 Levasseur, II, 129-130.
4 Reynolds, My Own Times, 164 ; 111. Hist. Lib. No. 12, p. 81.
5 Davidson and Stuve, 333.
6 Levasseur, II, 147; 111. Hist. Lib. No. 10, p. 137.
1 Gerhard, 58.
2 Ford, 43-46.
3 Davidson and Stuve, 367.
4 Moses, 1, 409 ; Ford, 184-189.
5 Moses, 1, 434.
6 Ford, 291-295.
7 Davidson and Stuve, 546-549.
1 Ford, 108-110.
2 Reynolds, My Own Times, 220.
3 Stevens, 280 ; ed. Rice, Reminiscences of Lincoln, 464, 465.
4 Arnold, 34; Nicolay, Abraham Lincoln, 32.
5 Arnold, 36.
6 Davidson and Stuve, 385-388; Patterson, 96-101, 155-158;
Brown's History, 361-364.
7 Parrish, 265-269.
8 Brown's History, 372-376.
1 Ford, 186-187 ; Davidson and Stuve, 916-918.
2 Davidson and Stuve, 918-919.
3 Moses, I, 431^32.
4 Davidson and Stuve, 919-920.
5 Davidson and Stuve, 923.
1 Davidson and Stuve, 428, 429.
2 Davidson and Stuve, 429.
3 Ford, 235-237.
4- -Moses, 1, 419. \
5 Ford, 242-245.
6 Parrish, 331-332.
7 Moses, 1, 420 ; Davidson and Stuve, 432.
1 Reynolds, My Own Times, 363 ; Moses, I, 469-472.
2 Ford, 259-261 ; Davidson and Stuve, 495.
3 Ford, 313 ; Moses, I, 474-475 ; Brown's History, 399.
4 Ford, 404; Davidson and Stuve, 516.
5 Ford, 262-265 ; Brown's History, 395 ; Davidson and
6 Brown's History, 386, 398.
7 Gerhard, 100, 110; Reynolds, 368, 370; Ford, 268, 319-
322, 327 ; Davidson and Stuve, 501.
8 Ford, 335-337, 352-353, 369.
9 Ford, 410-412.
10111. Hist. Lib. No. 20, pp. 58, 70.
1 Davidson and Stuve, 527.
2 Davidson and Stuve, 532-536.
3 Moses, I, 495^96.
4111. Hist. Lib. No. 10, p. 213 ; Davidson and Stuve, 539, note.
1 Mason, 237.
2 Davidson and Stuve, 618-619 ; Parrish, 334, 335.
3 Davidson and Stuve, 620 ; Ford, 48, 49.
4 Davidson and Stuve, 622 ; Parrish, 337.
5 Herndon, II, 231-239.
6 Coffin, 120-121.
7 Wallace, 58.
8 Parrish, 343; Moses, II, 604, 606; Davidson and Stuve,
1 111. Hist. Lib. No. 11, pp. 153, 154.
2 Moses, I, 463-464; Ford, 179; Reynolds, My Own Times,
3 Davidson and Stuve, 475-479.
4 Moses, II, 1043-1046; Reynolds, 321-322.
5 Moses, 11,572-578; Davidson and Stuve, 571.
6 Moses, II, 579.
7 Davidson and Stuve, 581-583.
8 Farnum, 237, 295 ; Bateman and Selby, II, 778.
9 Bateman and Selby, II, 779-780.
1 Davidson and Stuve, 635.
2 Chapman, History of Knox County, 203.
3 Davidson and Stuve, 637-639.
4 Davidson and Stuve, 650-654.
5 Davidson and Stuve, 689 ; Moses, II, 593; Horace White,
Life of Lyman Trumbull, 43-45.
6 Moses, II, 609 ; Davidson and Stuve, 692-695.
7 Coffin, 153, 154.
8 Coffin, 165, 166.
9 Moses, II, 612, 613.
10 Arnold, 147.
11 Arnold, 142; Davidson and Stuve, 709, 710.
12 Coffin, 169.
13 Moses, 11,615,616.
14 Moses, II, 619.
15 Coffin, 175, 176.
16 Davidson and Stuve, 726.
1 Moses, II, 642-644.
2 Moses, II, 643 ; Davidson and Stuve, 870.
3 Moses, II, 639 ; Davidson and Stuve, 736.
4 Moses, II, 701, 734.
5 Moses, II, 648 ; Davidson and Stuve, 744-745.
6 Moses, II, 646-647.
7 Moses, II, 755-757 ; Davidson and Stuve, 741-742.
8 Moses, II, 691-699.
9 Moses, II, 681, 683, 684 ; Davidson and Stuve, 878, 897.
10 Moses, II, 760-761.
1 Arnold, 435.
2 Moses, II, 724.
3 Stephen Wise, Lincoln, Ma*" and American, 66.
1 Colbert and Chamberlin, 17, 18.
2 Davidson and Stuve, 486, note.
3 Colbert and Chamberlin, 27-30.
4 Colbert and Chamoerlin, 49-51.
5 Colbert and Chamberlin, 107.
6 Colbert and Chamberlin, 201-205 ; Davidson and Stuve, 939.
7 Davidson and Stuve, 940.
8 Colbert and Chamberlin, 230-233.
9 Moses, II, 805.
10 Moses, II, 940.
1 Moses, II, 988, 989 ; Davidson and Stuve, 609.
2 Ford, 59, 60 ; Davidson and Stuve, 610.
3 Cook, 59 ; Moses, II, 993.
4 Cook, 60-65 ; Bateman and Selby, II, 791-793.
5 Moses, II, 994; Ford, 58, 59.
6 Davidson and Stuve, 611, 612.
7 Cook, 44, 45 ; Moses, II, 995.
8 Davidson and Stuve, 609-612.
9 Bateman and Selby, 11,796; Moses, II, 998, 999.
10111. Hist. Lib. No. 12, p. 145.
11 Moses, I, 393; Reynolds, My Own Times, 125.
1 Moses, II, 1013.
2 Moses, II, 1013 ; Davidson and Stuve, 924-926.
3 Moses, II, 1015-1019.
1 Moses, I, 161, 162 ; Mason, 264-266.
2 Parrish, 144-149 ; 111. Hist. Lib. No. 7, p. 148.
3 Parrish, 125-126.
4111. Hist. Lib. No. 8, p. 97.
5 Parrish, 185.
6 Parrish, 248-251; Patterson, 46-48; Meese, Battle of
7 Matson, Memories of Shabona.
8 Matheny, The Modern Knight-Errant.
9 Reynolds, Pioneer History, appendix.
10111. Hist. Lib. No. 10, p. 135.
11111. Hist. Lib. No. 12, p. 145 ; Moses, 1, 321.
12111. Hist. Lib. No. 8, p. 275.
13111. Hist. Lib. No. 12, p. 64.
14 Moses, I, 289, 290.
15111. Hist. Lib. No. 8, p. 38.
16111. Hist. Lib. No. 7, p. 101 ; Parrish, 347-353.
17 Mason, 293-311.
18 Parrish, 162-173.
19 Moses, II, 700.
20 Shaw; Reynolds, My Own Times, 371-376; 111. Hist. Lib.
No, 11, p. 103.
Do you like to make maps? There are such interesting
ones to do for the story of Illinois.
First, on a map of the United States, color Illinois solid
and trace in colors the waterways connecting it with Canada
and Virginia and New Orleans. See what an important place
Illinois has in the geography of the nation.
Trace on a map which shows the Great Lakes and the
Mississippi Valley the route of Marquette and Joliet, from
Wisconsin to Arkansas and their return. Mark the mission
station whence they started, the portage, Piasa, and the two
. Trace on a similar map the journeys of La Salle and Tonty.
Mark Fort Crevecoeur and Fort St. Louis. The frontispiece
of Parkman's La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West
will help you. On anothef map indicate all the French forts
in America (look at page 37 of Thwaites's France in Amer-
ica). You will want to make a distinctive mark for the six
posts built by La Salle Frontenac, Conti, Miami, Crevecoeur,
Prudhomme and St. Louis.
Make a map showing Clark's route from Pittsburgh to
Kaskaskia, and then to Vincennes. You will find an ex-
cellent sketch in Thwaites's How George Rogers Clark Won
the Northwest, facing page 26.
Do a series of sketch maps showing the various changes
in the territory of which Illinois was a part the entire
Northwest Territory, the change made in 1800, and the sep-
aration from Indiana in 1809 (see pages 79, 83 and 92 in
Thwaites's How George Rogers Clark Won the Northwest).
And last but not least a map showing the northern boundary
change. Facing page 118 in Jones's Decisive Dates in Illinois
History is a map showing Pope's line; but continue your
map to the east, showing the extreme southern end of Lake
Michigan, and extend the dotted line to meet it. Sketch in
the boundary lines of the fourteen northern counties.
Make a population map for Illinois in 1812, like the one
on page 59 of Buck's Illinois in 1818.
Make a map showing all the internal improvements sug-
gested, like the one facing page 410 in volume one of Moses"
Illinois Historical and Statistical. Draw the canal very dis-
Abolitionists, 130, 132, 170.
Admission to Union, 73, 74.
Agriculture, 3, 165, 167, 168, 223.
Albion, 78, 83.
Alton, 120, 127-30, 132, 170, 192, 193, 224.
Alton Observer, 128-30.
Anderson, Robert, 113.
Armstrong, Fort, 230.
Bad Axe, battle, 115, 116.
Baker, Edward D., 112, 123, 155, 231.
Berkeley, Governor, 214.
Birkbeck, Morris, 78, 89-92.
Bishop Hill Colony, 231.
Bissell, Colonel, 155, 156, 230.
Black Hawk, 66, 110, 111, 114-9, 203, 231.
Black Hawk War, 77, 110-8.
Black laws, 84-6.
Black Partridge, 67, 69.
Bond, Shadrach, 98, 149-51, 158, 223.
Boundary, northern, 71.
Breese, Sidney, 15, 162.
Buena Vista, battle, 146, 147, 155.
Burr, Aaron, 230.
Cabet, Etienne, 231.
Cahokia Indians, 5.
Calumet, 12, 21.
Campbell's Island, battle, 231.
Camp Butler, 191.
Camp Douglas, 191.
Canal, Illinois-Michigan, 157-61, 203-5.
Capital moved to Springfield, 106, 120, 121.
Cartright, Peter, 83.
Cerre, Jean Gabriel, 231.
Cerro Gordo, 146, 148.
Chartres, Fort, 27, 30-2, 34, 35, 149.
Chicago, 13, 14, 72, 164, 167, 171, 202-5, 228.
Chicago fire, 205-13.
Churches, 83, 89, 187, 222.
Clark, George Rogers, 37-56, 226, 227.
Clark, Oramel, 165-7.
Clark, William, 53.
Clay, Henry, 60.
Coal, 2, 223.
Coles, Edward, 78, 86-9, 92-5, 98, 109.
Company of the West, 27.
Congressional grants of land, 158, 159, 162-4, 224.
Constitution of 1818, 72, 73.
Constitution of 1848, 108.
Constitution of 1870, 109.
Cook, Daniel Pope, 158, 203.
Coureurs de bois, 26.
Courts, early, 58, 80, 82, 83.
Crevecceur, Fort, 17, 18, 20, 21.
Crozat, Antoine, 27.
Cullom, Shelby M., 144.
D'Artaguette, 32, 231.
Davis, Jefferson, 113, 117, 155, 156, 230.
Dearborn, Fort, 64, 65, 202.
Dearborn, Fort, massacre, 66-8.
Democratic party, 169, 171, 197.
Detroit, 37, 53, 64, 68.
Dix, Dorothea L., 225.
Dixon's Ferry, 113, 114.
Douglas, Stephen A., 125, 162, 171-85, 188.
Dred Scott decision, 174, 182, 185.
Duncan, Joseph, 217, 218.
Dutch Hollow, 78.
Edgar, General, 96, 231.
Educational association, 218, 219.
Edwards, Ninian, 60, 81, 82, 150, 158, 233.
Edwards, Ninian W., 219, 220.
Election of 1824, 92, 169.
Election of 1860, 183, 184.
English colony, 78, 83, 137.
Fever River, 231.
Flower, George, 78, 83.
Ford, Thomas, 88, 108, 109, 139-42, 217, 218.
Franklin, Benjamin, 54.
Freeman, Jonathan, 90-2.
Free Soil party, 171, 172.
Friends of freedom, 88, 89.
Frontenac, Fort, 16, 19.
Fuller, Adjutant-General, 191.
Gage, Fort, 35, 43.
Gage, Thomas, 35.
German colony, 78.
Gibault, Pierre, 44, 48, 49.
Grammar, John, 80, 81.
Grant, U. S., 190, 193, 194, 199, 201.
Grenfell, St. Leger, 231.
Griffin, 16, 18, 20.
Hamilton, General, 37, 38, 49-52.
Hamilton, William Stephen, 95.
Harrison, William Henry, 60, 63, 64, 68, 110.
Heald, Captain, 65-7.
Helm, Captain, 50.
Hennepin, Father, 17-9.
Henry, Patrick, 39, 46, 52, 232.
Hull, General, 64, 65.
Icarians, 231, 232.
Illinois Central Railroad, 72, 162-4, 168, 205.
Illinois College, 222.
Illinois County, 52.
Illinois federation, 5-7.
Illinois-Michigan Canal, 72, 120, 157-61, 203-5.
Illinois River, 13, 157, 158, 161.
Illinois territory, 60-2.
Immigrants, 77, 78, 167, 226-8.
Indentured servants, 84.
Indiana territory, 60.
Indians, 5-7, 97, 98.
Insane, hospitals for, 225, 226.
Internal improvements, 105-7, 159.
Iroquois Indians, 6, 17, 20-3.
Jackson, Andrew, 117.
Jacksonville, 171, 222, 225.
Jay, John, 54.
Jefferson, Thomas, 39, 53.
Jesuits, 10, 31.
Joliet, Louis, 8-14, 157, 232.
Jones, Rice, 149, 150.
Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 171-3, 182.
Kaskaskia, 14, 27, 35, 37, 40-3, 48-50, 52, 61, 72, 75, 76, 95.
Kaskaskia Indians, 5.
Kidnapping, 85, 86.
Kinzie, John, 202.
Kinzie, Mrs., 69.
Lafayette, George Washington, 97.
La Salle, 6, 16^5, 38, 157, 202.
Latter-Day Saints, 134.
Law, John, 27, 28, 108.
Laws of Illinois territory, 61, 62.
Lecompton constitution, 173, 174.
Levasseur, A., 94-8, 101.
Lewis, Meriwether, 53.
Lincoln, Abraham, 72, 112, 113, 121-5, 152-5, 172-88, 199-201,
Logan, John A., 191.
Logan, Judge, 173.
Long Knives, 43, 46, 47.
Long Nine, 120, 121.
Louisiana, 22, 27, 29, 30.
Lovejoy, Elijah P., 127-33, 170.
McKendree College, 222.
Manufacturing, 205, 223.
Marquette, Jacques, 8-16, 202.
Massac, Fort, 29, 41, 231.
Meat packing, 204, 223.
Menard, Pierre, 73, 103, 104, 231.
Mexican War, 145-8.
Michigamie Indians, 5.
Mines, 2, 72, 223, 231.
Mississippi River, 2, 4, 11-3, 16, 21, 22, 32.
Missouri compromise, 85, 172, 180.
Missouri River, 12.
Money, 79, 102.
Mormons, 134-44, 231.
Mormon temple, 135, 136, 143, 232.
Mound builders, 4, 5.
Nauvoo, 135, 231.
Necessity, Fort, 30.
New Orleans, 27, 28, 35, 91.
Niagara, Fort, 29, 30.
Normal schools, 220.
Northern boundary, 71.
Northwest territory, 57, 58, 70.
Oglesby, Richard, 190, 201.
O'Leary, Mrs., 206.
Ordinance of 1787, 57, 58, 84, 214.
Ottawa, 17, 171.
Palmer, John M., 190.
Paper money, 102-4.
Peck, John Mason, 83, 89, 187, 218, 221, 222, 231.
Penitentiaries, 224, 225.
Peoria, 77, 124, 125, 232.
Peoria Indians, 5.
Piasa bird, 12.
Point au Sable, Jean Baptiste, 202.
Polygamy, 139, 144.
Pontiac, 24, 33, 34, 118.
Pope, Nathaniel, 60, 70-2, 75, 203, 214, 220, 223.
Population of Chicago, 203-5.
Population of Illinois, 77.
Prairie plow, 164-7.
Prairies, 3, 83, 165.
Quincy, 129, 171.
Railroads, 105-7, 159, 161-4, 168.
Rangers, 68, 113, 230.
Rector, Stephen, 231.
Regiments in Civil War, 188-91.
Regiments in Mexican War, 145, 148.
Regulators, 79, 80.
Republican party, 72, 172, 173.
Repudiation, 108, 109.
Reynolds, John, 80, 111, 112.
Riot at Alton, 130-3.
Rocheblave, 43, 46.
Rock Spring Seminary, 221, 222.
Root, George F., 197, 198.
St. Clair, Arthur 58, 232.
St. Louis du Rocher, Fort, 23.
Sacs and Fox Indians, 110.
Sangamon County, 77, 120-2.
Santa Anna, 146-8, 232.
School lands, 214, 215.
Schools, 71, 215-8.
Schools for blind, for deaf and dumb, 225.
Scott, Winfield, 114, 148, 203, 204.
Sheridan, Philip, 210.
Shields, James, 152-5.
Shurtleff College, 222.
Slave code, 84, 85.
Slavery, 58, 72, 84-92, 109, 127-9, 133, 170, 171, 173-5, 179-82,
Smith, Joseph, 134-41, 143, 144.
Sons of Liberty, 196.
Spaniards, 4, 13, 24, 39, 48, 231.
Speculation in land, 102, 104, 105, 204.
Squatter sovereignty, 172.
Starved Rock, 2, 23, 24.
State bank, 103, 104, 107, 108, 152.
State houses in Springfield, 123-6.
State house in Vandalia, 76.
State institutions, 224-6.
Stillman's Run, 113-5.
Stokes, Captain, 192, 193.
Swiss colony, 78.
Tamaroa Indians, 5.
Taylor, Zachary, 112, 146-8.
Tecumseh, 63, 64, 110, 118.
Territorial legislature, 61.
Todd, John, 52, 53, 230.
Tonty Henri, 2, 17-25, 202.
Trumbull, Lyman, 173.
Underground railroad, 170, 171.
Union, admission to, 70, 73, 74.
University of Illinois, 221.
Vandalia, 76, 77, 87, 88, 120.
Vigo, Francis, 51, 231.
Vincennes, 29, 37, 48-52, 60.
War of 1812, 63-70, 77.
Washington, George, 29, 30, 37.
Waterways, 1, 2, 161.
Wayne, Anthony, 59, 63, 77.
Webster, Daniel, 57.
Whigs, 169, 172.
Yankees, 78, 83, 227.
Yates, Richard, 189, 191, 193-6.