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PUBLlCflll NO. IV OF IBE IllilS mil llSlOlilClll LMfiy 



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Published by Authority of the Board of Trustees of the 
State Historical Library. 

Phillips Bros., State Peinters. 


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History, Organization and Objects of the Society I 

'II. .Journal of Proceedings. First Annual Meeting at Peoria January 5 ani 6, 1900 2 

'III. Journal of Proceedings. Special Meeting at Springfield May 23, 1900 4 

IV. President's Address, ilox. Hiram W. Beckwith 5 

\'. Secretary's Report for the Executive Committee 10 

VI. Annual Address, ^o;;. Richard Edwards 12 

VII. The Field for Archaeological Research in Illinois, Z)r. John F. Snyder 21 

VIII. Local Historical Societies. Their Field of Work and Their Relation to the State 

Society, Captain J. H. Burnham 30 

IX. Congressional Reminiscences, Genera i J'ames M. Buggies 38 

X. Recollections of Stephen A, Douglas, Major George Hurray McConnell 40 

XI. Historical Materials in the State Historical Library, Bon. George N. Black 51 



The Illinois State Historical Society was organized June 80, 1899, 
as the result of a meeting held at the University of Illinois, May 19, 
1899. It was regularly chartered May 23, 1900, as a corporation 
under the laws of Illinois. 

The present officers of the society are as follows: 

I'resident, Hon. H. W, Beckwith, of Danville; Vice-President, Dr. 
J. F. Snyder, of Virginia; Secretary and Treasurer, Evarts B. Greene, 
of the University of Illinois. 

Executive Committee — The President, the Secretary, Hon. George 
N. Black, of Springfield; Captain J. H. Burnham, of Bloomington; 
Professor Edmund J. James, of the University of Chicago; Judge 
David McCulloch, of Peoria; Hon. J. N. Perrin, of Belleville. 

The objects of the society are thus stated in the articles of incor- 
poration: "To excite and stimulate a general interest in the history 
of Illinois; to encourage historical research and investigation and 
secure its promulgation; to collect and preserve all forms of historical 
data in any way connected with Illinois and its peoples." 

The first annual meeting of the society was held at Peoria, Janu- 
ary 5 and 6, 1900, and the second annual meeting is to be held at 
Springfield, January 30, 1901. 




First annual meeting held at the Bradley Polytechnic Institute, 
Peoria, Friday and Saturday, January 5 and 6, 1900. 

First session, Friday evening, at eight o'clock. President H. W. 
Beckwith presided. An address of welcome was delivered by Judge 
N. E. Worthington, of Peoria. The president's address was delivered 
by Judge Beckwith, and the annual address by Dr. Richard Edwards, 
of Bloomington. 

Second session, Saturday morning, at half-past nine. Judge Beck- 
with presided. The literary program was carried out as follows: 

The Field for Archaeological Research in Illinois, by Dr. J. F, 
Snyder, Virginia. 

Local Historical Societies; Their Field of Work and Their Relation 
to the State Society, by Captain J. H. Burnham, of Bloomington. 

Congressional Reminiscences, by General J. M. Ruggles, of Havana. 

The business meeting was opened by the reading of the secretary's 
report for the executive committee. The officers of the society were 
unanimously re-elected. 

Captain Burnham then presented for consideration at a subsequent 
meeting the following resolution: 

"The first vice-president shall be the president of the Chicago Historical 
Society, and the presidents of all the county historical societies of Illinois 
shall be vice-presidents of this society and entitled to precedence in the 
alphabetical order of the names of the several counties." 

It was voted that a committee be appointed on publication. Judge 
Beckwith named the following committee: Messrs. (t. N. Black, of 
Springfield; E. L. Merritt, of Springfield: J. A. James, of North- 
western University; E. B. Greene, of the University of Illinois. 

It was also voted that a committee on auxiliary societies be named 
by the chair. The chair reserved the appointment of this committee 
to a subsequent time. 

It was voted that the pajjers of the session be placed on file with 
the committee on publication. 

At the close of the morning session the members of the society 
were given a luncheon by the authorities of the Bradley Institute. 
At the close of the luncheon a resolution of thanks to the authorities 
of the institute was moved and carried. 

On motion of General Ruggles, a resolution was adopted expres- 
sing the society's appreciation of the services of Mrs. Bradley in the 
founding of the institute. 

Third session, Saturday afternoon at two o'clock. 

The first number on the program was an address by Dr. Robert 
Boal, of Lacon, entitled Reminiscences, but owing to indisposition. Dr. 
Boal was unable to be present. Papers were then read by Major Gr. 
M. McConnel, of Chicago, on Recollections of Stephen A. Douglas, 
and by Hon. George N. Block, of Springfield, on Historical Materials 
in the State Historical Library. Judge David McCuUoch, of Peoria, 
presented a communication with regard to Lincoln and Douglas. 

The thanks of the society were voted for the hospitality of the 
■citizens of Peoria. 


E. B. Greene, 



A special meeting was held at the State House in Springfield, May 
23. 1900. 

President Beckwith took the chair. At a brief literary session short 
addresses were given by General John M. Palmer and General James 
M. Haggles. Hon. J. N. Perrin presented a communication with 
regard to a French civil record of the eighteenth century, deposited 
by him with the society. 

At the business meeting on the same afternoon it was voted that 
the location of the society should be fixed at Springfield. 

It was voted to establish three standing committees as follows: 

1. A committee on finance. 

2. A committee on the examination and publication of manu- 
scripts and documents. 

3. A committee on auxiliary societies. 

It was voted that the custody of manuscripts and other historical 
materials belonging to the society be vested in the librarian of the 
State Historical Library. 

The President, as chairman of the Executive Committee, an- 
nounced the following sub-committee on the program of the next an- 
nual meeting: Messrs. J. F. Snyder, J. H. Burnham, E. B. Greene. 

It was voted that the President and Secretary be authorized to is- 
sue a circular calling attention to the work of the society. 

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees, held on the same day, it 
was voted that the second annual meeting be held at Springfield 
January 30, 1901, and Hon George N. Black and Mrs. Jessie Palmer 
Weber were appointed a local committee of arrangements with power 
to select their associates. 

The following honorary members of the society were elected by 
the trustees: Gen. John M. Palmer, Gen. John A. McClernand, 
Hon. Charles P. Johnson, Judge James B. Brad well, Gen. James M. 
Kuggles, Mr. R. G. Thwaites. 

E. B. Geeene, Secretary. 


president's address delivered at the annual meeting in PEORIA 

JANUARY 5, 1900. 

By Hiram W. Beckwith. 

Much that relates to early Illinois is in manuscript at Paris and London. 
Some of the story is in print. All such matter will keep for use as wanted. 
A more urgent need is to find and connect the leading events with the places 
whei-e they occurred, before the elements or the acts of later comers have de- 
stroyed the proofs of their identitj'. 

So of mounds, of the stone and shell works of apre-historic age. There are 
more of them, they are spread over a wider field in Illinois than the like re- 
mains in any other state of the union. And in the first report of the trustees 
of the State Historical Library to the Governor, your chairman here urged 
that these monuments of a perished race be duly surveyed and examined, 
and that the more noted ones be saved from further needless waste. 

Another want too long delayed is to save what may yet be learned as to the 
■early Anglo-American settlers. They or their fathers were on the skirmish 
line of the main body that came up or over the AUeghanies and spread in the 
Ohio valley. Always in the wilds, to face the ills about them, ever at war 
with wild animals or more savage men, whose lairs they invaded, they had 
no time or means to build or support schools or churches. Indeed, while on 
the way from the Atlantic slope but a few more favored retained a knowledge 
of books, while the mass had no chance to learn either to read or write. 

In their struggle for life and its bare necessities they acquired courage, 
patience, self-reliance and an abiding faith in the God of their fathers. 
With these traits we first find them in the Illinois, having little else in hand 
than a gun, a hunter's knife and woodman's ax. They pushed on up the 
Mississippi and Wabash, or their side streams, from either border, to keep up 
their old fight against a malarial climate, the bear, the wolf, the panther 
and the Indian. In good time they knit a fringe of farms, churches and 
towns across the southern half of Illinois, where they ruled its territorial 
and state polity and politics for more than half a century. 

With their rifles and their leverage in Congress they also cleared the sav- 
ages from the northern section of the State and fitted it for a New England 
stock of settlers, whose inflow was mostly up, or from the lake and river 
di-ainage of the St. Lawrence. And in the progress of events these scions of 
the roundhead faced the descendant of the cavalier along a line drawn near 
midway across the State. Both were better fitted for the work they were to 
do, by the one having got rid of the Puritanic zeal and intolerance of his an- 
cestors, and the other of the haughty airs and indolent ways of the chivalry 
of old Virginia and the Carolinas. 

A reminiscence of these pioneers is vital to a true knowledge of Illinois. 
The work referred to eau only be done through a directing head, or State 
Historical Society, with a branch society of earnest workers at every county 
seat. The parent as well as its organized helpers will require aid from the 
State, or from the counties, or from both. They ought to be free of politics 
and sectarian bias. The head society within its orbit should be equal to, and 
not the appendage of, any other public institution of the State. Its perma- 
nent home and the storage of its archives should be at the capitol. So placed, 


it will have a hearing from the Legislature and favors from the general pub- 
lie that it would not command if located in any other part of the State. This 
is not a protest against meeting elsewhere, for your chairman favors the 
holding of special sessions elsewhere over the State from time to time, as the 
members of the society may elect. 

As for the foreign manuscripts and printed matter, old or new, or yet to 
come, the State Historical Library can and will take care of that. Let it be 
more the province of the State Historical Society, with its outreaching arms, 
to glean whatever may relate to a locality or its people. Lectures or mono- 
graphs on the like subjects, topically treated, should be invited and most 
heartily encouraged. Trivial as it may erroneously seem, a true story of the 
early church or schools of any county, or of its pioneer preachers or its itin- 
erant school masters is well worth the trouble, care and time of the best 

Before all this comes the query, "Is the work worth the time, labor and 
outlay that it implies?" More than sixty years ago this question was 
answered, "Yes," and has been so answered with an inci-easing volume ever 
since. The need to do something had become so apparent that a meeting was 
held February 4, 1837, in the State House at Vandalia. It was largely at- 
tended by judges, members of the bar, members of the Legislature, and other 
leadmg minds of the day, from among whom Samuel D. Lockwood was 
elected president and Walter B. Scates was chosen secretary. Thomas Ford, 
of a committee previously named, offered a set of resolutions, which, after 
being added to by Thomas J. Hewitt, Jesse B. Thomas and James Shields, 
set forth the aims of the meeting, which are now and here condensed as 

First— That a complete history of Illinois should be prepared so as to em- 
brace the several stages of progress from its earliest discovery down to that 
time, showing its moral, religious, military, social, political, and commercial 
advances in truthful detail, and without prejudice for or against any sect, 
party or local interest. On this broad and just plan the Eev. John M. Peck, 
then acknowledged as the best qualified, was selected for the task. 

He was to have the aid of a committee of twenty-one on correspondence to 
collect and supply the required material. Every settled portion of the State 
was represented on this committee, among whom we find the names of Sidney 
Breese, John Kinzie, Nathaniel Pope, Samuel McRoberts of Vermilion 
county, William Wilson, Thomas Ford, Cyrus Edwards, John Revnolds, 
SamuelLockwood, Zadock Casey, Peter Menard, John Russell of Bluffdale, 
John Hay, Richard M. Young of Adams county, James M. Robinson of 
White, the Rev. Gideon Blackburn of Macoupin, James Lemen and William 
Kinney of St. Clair. 

All these, like those named elsewhere at the meeting, were pioueers, and 
whether as State officers, or as lawyers, whether of the laity or the clergy, 
will be remembered in honor for the interest they took in the State whose 
good name and fame they helped create and cherished equally with their own. 

But neither they nor Dr. Peck ever began the work assigned them. A 
want of material, ignorance of much manuscript and printed matter since un- 
earthed, a lack of public interest and a want of time or means to collect local 
data, and the lack of practical method, argued a failure from the start. And 
now, after two generations have come and gone, we find ourselves not much 
better prepared to write a correct history of Illinois than were they of the 
Vandalia meeting. 

In the meanwhile the so called histories of Illinois, either as school books 
or for a deeper readmg, are copied, errors and all, from other volumes where 
dates, names, localities, or events are often left out, or sadly confused, while 
the aims of the chief actors are either mis-stated or ignored, so that the pic- 
ture misleads and gives an insuflacient and distorted view from foreground to 
perspective. This is said in no vein of censure at all. In the poverty of ma- 
terial then at hand, and without means to correct errors, to modifv conclu- 
sions or give breadth and balance to the whole, none of us could have done 
better, or perhaps even as well as did the authors of the volumes in question. 


It would be untimely here to review the writi'nffs of Peek, Brown, Reynolds 
and Ford. They are all valuable for the oripriual matter they contain which 
can not be otherwise replaced. So of the "Western Annals," that contain 
much of early Illinois, the edition compiled by James Handyside Perkins in 
1844, the revision thereof in 1851 by Dr. John M. Peck, and the enlarged 
issue of 1858 by James K. Albach, who was the proprietor of the three edi- 

The history of Illinois is I'omantic in all its earlier colorings. It is the be- 
ginning place for the histories of every other state on the water-shed of the 
Mississippi. It is the base from whence that river was explored from the 
mouth of the Illinois up to Mille Lacs, above the falls of Saint Anthony; then 
down to and through its main outlets, by Robert Cavalier, the Sieur de La 
Salle. The Illinois country east to the Wabash, with a strip on the west of 
the Mississippi, and south to the Arkansas, had been already granted to him 
as a seigniory, to induce him to explore the great river in its lower extent, 
and fortify and colonize it near the sea. He made his comrade, Henry 
Tonty, the first Governor of Illinois, with quarters at Fort St. Louis, on^ the 
spot now known as Starved Rock, that overlooks the river Illinois in LaSalle 

As a sub-province of New France, the Illinois lay partly in Louisiana and 
partly in Canada, while the boundary line between its two sections was al- 
ways in dispute. The civil, religious, and military affairs of the lower sec- 
tion were directed from Mobile, and later from New Orleans, and those of 
the more northern from Quebec. 

So also was there a constant strife between the clergy and the laity for the 
control of all of the country south and west of the lakes, the one desiring to 
keep it as a land of Indian missions and the other wishing to develop its soil 
and extend its commerce. The clergy were early headed by Francois Xavier 
Laval, Bishop of Petraea and Vicar Apostolic of New France, and later 
Bishop of Quebec. The traders were led by Louis de Baude, Count de Fron- 
tenac. Governor General of New France, and among his most noted followers 
were John Talon, his intendant, and Sieur de La Salle. 

The two factions were bitter and said many hard things of each other. And 
the impartial historian will have to carefully sift and make due allowance for 
these old prejudice^. 

Later, the Illinois, with all Louisiana, their mines, revenues and trade, 
were granted to Anthony Crozat, a Paris banker. He made no pi'ofit of the 
gift and released it to France. And now John Law appeared. He hoped, on 
the death of Louis XIV. and the accession to power of the Duke of Orleans, 
together with the wretched state of French credit, to find at last a country 
that would adopt his wild financial notions. Much had already been said of 
the fertility of Louisiana, while the extent and riches of its gold and silver 
mines were reported to be greater than those of Peru and Mexico. Here was 
a basis of credit without limit. So Law took what Crozat discarded, added 
to it the fur trade of Canada and placed both in a bond and stock corporation 
known under a royal edict as "The Company of the West." In brief time 
the older Company .of the East Indies was absorbed by Law's company, and 
under the new name of the "Company of the Indies" got control of the 
French trade and revenues in Asia, Africa and America. 

Between the streets of St Denis and St. Martin in Paris was that of Quin- 
quempoix, a short lane, occupied mostly by bankers. As the excitement for 
Law's stock grew, all the houses in Quinquempoix were turned into stock 
jobbers' stalls. These did not sufiiceand it is told how in the course of a few 
days a little hunchbacked man made 150,000 livres by hiring out his hump to 
brokers for a writing desk. The street itself had come to be called Missis- 
sippi, while the investors there were known as "Mississippians." And when 
the craze declined, Law had the government conscript and clothe some 6,000 
of the very dregs of Paris to work the gold mines of Louisiana. These pau- 
pers were paraded for days through the streets with their picks and shovels, 
and then sent off in small squads to the several sea ports for shipment to 
America. Not a third of them ever got there, and in a few weeks, more than 


half of them were again in their old haunts at Paris. Still, the gullible public 
believed that work was now to begin in earnest in the new Golconda, and 
that soon the gold and silver ingots would come to France. 

In all this pretense there was one honest effort tp develop the supposed 
mines of Louisiana; namely, that of Philip Francis Kenault. Of a noted 
family, and learned in natural history and mineralogy, he was made director 
general of the company's mines in Louisiana, and induced to go there to dis- 
cover new mines and work those already reported as known. He landed at 
Fort Chartres on the American bottom, in Randolph county, Illinois, with 
200 laborers, mechanics and miners, and 500 negro slaves, bought by the 
company for him at St. Domingo, to work in the mines. 

We pass aside for a moment to say that the records of the ''India Com- 
pany" contain the following regulations for a provincial council of Illinois, 

Article 1 — The provincial council of Illinois shall hold its sessions at the 
place where the principal factories of the company shall be located, and its 
jurisdiction shall extend to all places on and above the Ai-kansas river to the 
boundaries of the Wabash river (which may here mean the Ohio river) on the 
east of the same, to where the lines of Louisiana (and Canada?) are found 
and up both banks of the Mississippi to where these lines meet. 

Article 2 — The council shall consist of (Pierre Dugue) M. de Boisbriant 
(Lord of the Manor Briarwood), first lieutenant of the King in the Province 
of Louisiana and commandant of Illinois, as chief and judge, and of M. de la 
Loire des Ursins as the general agent of the India Company. 

The company had one principal factory at Fort Chartres. The council had 
almost sovereign powers. It granted Renault four large bodies of land, two 
of them in Illinois, one of the latter being near Fort Chartres, on which five 
miles above the fort he built his headquarters, the village of St. Philip. On 
account of its local interest to Peoria, we give the description of Renault's 
other Illinois grant in full. It is as follows: 

"One league in front of Pini-i-teaui on the river Illinois, facing the east 
and adjoining to the lake bearing the name of the village, and on the other 
side to the banks opposite the village, half a league above it, with a depth of 
five leagues. The point of compass following the Illinois river down the same 
upon one side and ascending by the river Ar-cary, which forms the middle 
through the rest of the depth." 

The Ai*-cary is believed to be the Indian name of the stream now known as 
Kickapoo creek. It is a historical fact that during the regime of Crozat, he 
made a partner in his trade of de La Mothe Cadillac, an early Louisiana gov- 
ernor, who went from Mobile up the Mississippi and Illinois in search of pre- 
cious metals, and reported on his return to Mobile that he had found a silver 
mine on the latter river. His daughter, a lovely and refined girl, raised in 
luxury, bore all the fatigues and privations of this long and tedious canoe 
voyage with her father. It is also a historical fact that silver was extracted 
from the Illinois river lead ore; hence Renault's grant at Peoria. 

We might refer to the part the French and Indians of. the Illinois took in 
the American colonial war, between France and Great Britain, or tell how 
the fields of Kaskaskia, Cahokia and Prairie du Rocher provisioned Forts Du 
Quesne and Niagara, the bateaux of the one convoy going up the Ohio, and 
those of the otber up the Wabash, down the Maumee and thence along the 
south shore of Lake Erie to the rapids of Niagara. 

It could also be told that the hardj^ hunters and vo.yageurs from the Illinois 
were at Braddock's defeat; that they captured George Washington at Fort 
Necessity; gave a late and temporary relief to the besieged at Fort Du Quesne, 
to be finally beaten in a like effort near the fort at Ontario. In fact. Com- 
mandant M. de McCarty wrote from Fort Chartres that "the Illinois had lost 
the flower of its population" in that contest. And thus does the story of the 
Illinois swell up from the gorges, below the whirlpool and mingle in the roar 
of Niagara. 


Its later condition as a part of the Province of Quebec, under British dom- 
ination, could be recited as well also as its subsequent conquest bj' Colonel 
Clark, durine: the revolutionary war, and its organization, with all of Ohio, 
Indiana, Michig'an and Wisconsin into Illinois county of the Commonwealth 
of Virginia. I3ut anything more than a mere outline would be untimely here, 
for your chairman is sensible that all this is familiar ground to the learned 
assembly he is now addiessing. 

Finally, your chairman can not too forcibly u rge the necessity there is to 
localize many of the recorded events in our early State history. To illus- 
trate : 

Among the expeditions sent out from Fort Chartres to chastise the Sak and 
Fox Indians, always enemies of the French, was one that found and de- 
feated these savages entrenched towards the sources of the Sangamon river. 
Now if our zealous friend, Captain Burnham, and his industrious associates, 
can identify this battle ground in McLean county, as your chairman hopes 
they may, it will be an ample reward for the historical society at Blooming- 

Again, if Judge Cunningham, or the historians that may follow hina, can 
fix theBig Grove or other place at or near Urbana, as the turning point of 
■General Hopkins' mounted riflemen in October, 1812, the result will be well 
worth the labor the judge has given to this research. Hopkins' army crossed 
the Wabash at Fort Harrison and rode four days north through the prairies, 
intending to join Governor Edwards' forces at Peoria lake in an assault upon 
the Kickapoo villages in that vicinity. 

Somewhere near Peoria's chain of lakes and close to one of their connect- 
ing water links, La Salle, in the early winter of 1680, built his fort of Broken 
Heart, and near by the water brink began and almost finished the hull of the 
vessel in which he meant to descend the Mississippi. Now, where was the site 
of this fort and dock*? We trust that the Peoria historical society may yet 
find some spot that will, with reasonable certainty, agree at least with the 
original description of the locality. 

La Salle left the Illinois in 1683 forever, a bankrupt and broken in health, 
his trade rivals reaping in places where he had sown, and well might he say, 
as he did, "he had suffered in losses and ill fortune more through the envi- 
ous acts of others than from tempests and storms." In a land where his 
countrymen saw only peltries, game, savages or mission spots for them and 
their posterity, with petty trade and sway, which these conditions would en- 
tail, his constant theme was "its favoring climate, its forests, meads, mines 
and prairies, its herbage, roots, fruits and plants, the richness of its soil and 
its internal lakes and rivers for easy commerce." "All these," he said, 
"fitted it to invite and sustain powerful colonies." 

The winds have strewn his dust near an unknown river in Texas, but his 
great thought has been turned to account by another race having his broad 
and aggressive ways. While those who balked and mocked him are now only 
remembered because they did so, his living monument is the empire of the 
Mississippi valley, with Illinois its controlling center. His figure stands out 
boldly in the dawn of our history. By his side is Henry Tonty, the saintly 
Marquette, the Jesuit Fathers, Claude Alouez and James Gravier. All of 
them were on the Illinois river at a period which we still misname the "pre- 
historic age," and saw the savages throwing aside their rude pottery and 
stone and bone implements, in exchange for the brass kettles, needles, 
knives, hatchets and guns which the French traders were bringing to them. 

In the background along the Illinois river and the American bottom, the 
earthworks of a still more ancient race loom in the mist, where the certainty 
of history is lost in conjecture. The great mound at Cahokia, overlooks the 
valley and river as the sphinx does the Nile, seemingly to baffle all efforts to 
know when, how, or by whom it was made. Extend the footlights and widen 
the angle of view and in the nearer foreground we see the forms of General 
Thomas Gage and Captain Thomas Sterling of British rule; of Colonel 
•George Rogers Clark and Patrick Henry; of Ninian Edwards, Duncan and 
Hardin; of Douglas, Grant and Lincoln. What other State of the republic 
can array a group more varied and grand? 



secretary's report for the executive committee. 
Presented at the first annual meeting in Peoria, January fi, 1900. 

Mr. President and 3fembers of the Illinois State Historical Society: 

I have the honor to present, in behalf of the Executive Committee, the fol- 
lowing report: 

It seems appropriate to begin with a brief account of the steps which have 
led up to the organization of the society, and to the present meeting. 

In pursuance of a call issued from the State University and signed by the 
trustees of the State Historical Library in Springfield and others interested 

in the history of Illinois, a meeting was held at the University of Illinois, 
May 19, 1899, to consider the advisability of organizing an historical society 
for the State. The meeting was attended by a considerable number of per- 
sons fairly representative @f different portions of the State, and Judge H. W. 
Beckwith, the president of the Board of Trustees of the State Historical 
Library, was called to the chair. After a general discussion, it was unani- 
mously agreed that such an organization was desirable. The chairman was 
then authorized to appoint a committee, of which he was himself to be a 
member, to prepare a plan of organization and to outline the work of such a 
society. Judge Beckwith accordingly appointed as his associates on this 
committee, Capt. J. H. Burnham of Bloomington, Judge J. 0. Cunning- 
ham of Urbana, Professors E. J. James of the University of Chicago and E. 
B. Greene of the University of Illinois, and Dr. J. F. Snyder of Virginia. 

A meeting of the committee was held on June 30, 1899, at the State Histori- 
cal Library in Springfield. All the members were present except Professor 
James and Captain Burnham. Judge Beckwith acted as chairman. After an 
informal discussion it was voted to proceed to the organization of the society. 
A constitution for the Illinois State Historical Society was adopted, and the 
following officers elected: President, Judge H. W. Beckwith of Danville; 
Vice President, Dr. J. F. Snyder of Virginia; Secretary, Evarts B. Greene 
of the University of Illinois; Executive Committee, Hon. Georsre N. Black 
of Springfield, Captain J. H. Burnham of Bloomington, Professor E. J. 
James of the University of Chicago, Judge David McCuUoch of Peoria, Hon. 
J. N. Perrin of Belleville. No treasurer was elected. 

The constitution provided for annual meetings to be held at such time and 
place in the month of January as the committee might designate. After 
considerable correspondence, it was finally decided to hold the meeting in 
Peoria, it being generally understood that the next meeting would probably 
be held in Springfield, and a program of papers was prepared. 

We may now pass to a consideration of the future work of the society, and 
of the business which claims the attention of this meeting. 

The constitution calls for the election of officers annually at the January 
meeting, exception being made of such officers as the Society may deem it 
wise to elect for an indefinite period. So far, no officer has been so desig- 
nated. The election of officers will, therefore, be a part of the business of" 
this meeting. 


The constitution calls for the incorporation of the society. An application 
for incorporation should contain a statement as to the location of the organiza- 
tion. This question may, perhaps, best be decided by the society as a whole. 
A fee of ten dollars is also to be paid in advance, a sum which the executive 
committee has not thus far had at its disposal. 

The financial question should also be considered. The constitution pro- 
vides that any person may become a member on payment of an initiation fee 
of one dollar, and requires the subsequent payment of an annual fee of one 
dollar. So far, the society may be said to be almost literally an organization 
without members and thei'e is therefore little money in the treasury. The 
future enrollment of members and the consequent increase of funds will 
naturally stand in close relations with the work which it undertakes to do. 
We must, therefore, determine as definitely as possible just what our 
society can do and ought to do. 

It may fairly be said that the holding of annual meetings like the present, 
with the interchange of ideas and the stimulus of interest which are their 
result, is in itself a justification of the existence of such a society. If 
arrangements are made for the publication of these proceedings, the benefits 
gained may be generally diffused, and historical material of real value may 
be preserved in permanent form. 

This brings us to the question of publication. It certainly seems desirable 
to publish at least in part the proceedings at our annual meetings. May we 
not go beyond this and provide for the publication of historical material on a 
larger scale? The work of publishing unedited manuscript material and the 
results of historical research is certainly not now being done on such a scale 
as to preclude our entering upon that field. Would it not be wise to assign 
to a special Committee on Publication and Historical Manuscripts the task of 
canvassing the subject and reporting to the society at its next annual meeting 
a plan for action in this direction f 

The paper presented by Captain Burnham indicates a line of activity 
clearly open to the society. There are various local historical societies and 
"old settlers" associations whose activity should be brought into fruitful 
relations with the work of a State society. Our meetings should suggest 
lines of profitable local research, the best results of which may appear in the 
annual meetings of the society or in its publications. The society may also 
organize a sort of central bureau of inquiry to which local workers can appeal 
for suggestions and assistance of various kinds. The "Bulletins of Informa- 
tion" published by the Wisconsin society show what may be done in_ this 
way to guide local effort. Should we not consider the adoption of a definite 
plan of atfiliation for societies auxiliary to the State society. 

One of the functions proposed by the constitution is that of forming collec- 
tions of books and objects of historical interest. It is a question open to dis- 
cussion whether this society should undertake the formation of any independ- 
ent library in addition to those already in process of formation. Will it not 
be better for our society to foster these institutions already in existence than 
to enter the field as a rival of any or all of them? 

A new organization is certainly bound to justify its existence by showing 
just what work it can do which really needs to be done. Yet it is certainly 
desirable to develop our work gradually and cautiously. We certainly do not 
wish to duplicate work now well done by others. If agencies already in the 
field are prevented by deficient resources from accomplishing all that they 
might accomplish, we ought not to withhold our support until assured that 
these existing instrumentalities are incapable of doing what they have been 
set to do. These are practical questions to be answered by experience. There 
is much, therefore, which we may leave to future decision, believing that it 
is better to do a few modest things well than to run the risk of breaking, 
down with a moi'e ambitious program. 

Respectfully submitted, 

E. B. Greene, Secretary. 

For the Executive Committee. 



By Hon. Richard Edwards. 

I understaud that the Illinois State Historical Society is a new organiza- 
tion, and may be said to be just entering upon its work. Under these cir- 
cumstances it has occurred to me that a certain class of facts and inferences 
bearing upon the usefulness of history in general, and of the history of Illi- 
nois in particular, may at this time fitly be considered. We ought to be able 
to show that an association like this meets a necessity. We ought to be able 
to show that there is an important work waiting to be done by it. Certain 
significant events have occurred, the memory of which needs to be preserved 
for the use of coming generations. The progress of civilization demands this. 
If this duty should be neglected the generations that shall follow us would 
suffer — they would suffer from a povertj' that might have been avoided. 

We are often told that the human being is molded by his environments. 
The sights that we see, the sensations that we feel, the beaut^^ of the exter- 
nal world, yea, the yery burdens that are laid upon us in our efforts to adapt 
our environments to our needs, — all these, if rightly used, are helpful in de- 
veloping our best possibilities. In a recent address Dr. Butler, of New York, 
tells us that our environments may be divided into two classes. The first 
class consists of our physical surroundings, — the earth whereon we tread, the 
sky that spreads its glories above us, and the material substances against 
which we daily impinge. These from age to age continue substantially the 
same. The second class consists of that vast accretion of knowledge and its 
results in habit and conduct which we call civilization. In this there is con- 
tinual progress. We today ought to be in advance of those who have gone 
before us in respect to this class of environment. We are the heirs of all the 
past. This inheritance may have come to us through the records of former 
achievements, and it may have come through the development of character 
which these achievements have wrought. 

Now, it is the business of history to make this transmission — to supply for 
each generation of mankind this noble environment. The true historian is he 
who so compiles the facts, who so adjusts the records of the forces which pre- 
vail around him, that his reader in after times may get the full benefit of 
them. He thus furnishes to those successors a platform whereon they may 
stand, and from which they may build a higher and a nobler structure. Prom 
this it appears that true history deals with the highest and noblest forces of 
the time to which it relates. It is not a mere record of outward events. It 
also indicates the aspirations, the motives, the human desires, from which 
events spring. It shows, not merely the outward deeds that men perform, but 
it also shows the intellectual and moral status of the performers. So much as 
to what history ought to be. 

But how ought history to be studied? How shall we make it a valuable 
element in our education and a valuable guide in social and political enter- 
prises? How shall we so use the history that we read as to secure tuat pro- 
gress in education which is essential to the true life of mankind? History is 
sometimes studied from motives of curiosity. Because it satisfies our desires 
in this particular, it becomes interesting to us. We read the accounts of 
splendid militarj' movements, of grand political schemes, and of men who 
Jiave been leaders among their fellows, somewhat as we would look upon a 


spectacular play. It appeals to our sensibilities. We are stirred with admira- 
tion for the heroes. We are made indignant by the conduct of the villains. 
And this is commendable. We have many times been told that in educa- 
tional work one of the most important objects to be attained is the awakening 
of interest in the mind of the student. The indifference of the soul must be 

But surely something more than this must be accomplished. We are told 
by the poet that the proper studj' of mankind is man. By this I suppose is 
meant that from the study of men's deeds, from an analysis of their motives, 
from the application of ethical principles to deeds and motives, from the sur- 
vey of consequences that have followed upon certain lines of action, from a 
careful discernment of the forces that have given strength to nations and of 
the opposite forces that have brought about their decay, — from all these 
lines of study, individuals may derive intellectual strength and clearness, and 
also a wholesome energy of moral purpose. And under a free government 
like ours, if such studies become general and are thoroughly pursued, the 
effect upon the national destiny can not fail to be wholesome. It will clarify 
the intellectual vision. It will intensify the sense of political responsibility. 
We study the history of former generations, not for the purpose of imitating 
them. We read of Nebuchadnezzar's hanging gardens, not that we may be 
able to reproduce that kind of structure, but in order that we may be able to 
discern the motive that governed the Balaylonian ruler, and in order that we 
may see how certainly and speedily a selfish autocracj' encounters its doom. 

Take for an illustration, the history of the Grecian communities. Here we 
find a race whose attainments in literature, in philosophy, in the higher arts,- 
have secured for them the admiration of mankind through the centuries. 
They are renowned as having attained the highest mental culture. They have 
been the teachers of the race in sculpture, in painting, and in all aesthetic 
culture. More than this, their most famous teachers enunciated some of the 
noblest ethical truths. Socrates understood and proclaimed some of the fun- 
damental maxims of right living. Plato elaborated beautiful theories con- 
cerning the social relations of human beings. It would seem that such knowl- 
edge as this ought to have equipped men for the struggle of life, ought to 
have made them the dominant race among nations, as well as in the schools. 
And yet we find that they failed in establishing among themselves the prac- 
tical union which is essential to a iust and successful government. The small 
communities into which the Hellenic race was divided, instead of uniting for 
mutual good, were much of the time engaged in war with each other. 
Some of their wisest and noblest men were condemned to ignominious 
death. And at last they were doomed to the condition of a subject race. 
Now, as the American citizen reads this history, let him carefully weigh the 
facts. Let him discern, if possible, the cause of this failure. Why was it 
that the accomplished Greek, with all his theoretic skill, with his wonderful 
appreciation of the beautiful, could not for any length of time maintain a re- 
spectable city government in Athens, or become a citizen of a strong, prac- 
tical and humane commonwealth? Was it because in private life he disre- 
garded the etnical prmciples which he could so clearlj' set foi'th? Was it 
because his every day deeds were dictated by mere impulse, and not by the 
thoughtful logic of which he was master? Was it because of an excessive 
egotism, a proud superciliousness which led him to designate all of mankind, 
not immediately allied to himself, as barbarians? Was it because of a dom- 
inating habit of mind that led him finally to exhibit this supercilious spirit 
even in his intercourse with men of his own race? I am not attempting here 
to solve the enigma. I am not attempting formally to answer my own ques- 
tions. I am only suggesting to the student of history the lines of investiga- 
tion which he may follow. Philosophy, art, a masterful logic, do not consti- 
tute all of life. In the practical development of character, in the highest and 
most efficient use of life something moi-e is required than even the grand 
endowments of this distinguished race. For the highest development of life 
there must be a love of justice, a spirit of gentle and patient good will toward 
others that shall enable men to dwell together in harmony. In short, there 
must be that exaltation of chai-acter which makes human society in its high- 
est and noblest sense possible. In this the Greeks were lacking. 


And what of that great power whose seat was on the banks of the Tiber? 
Its beginning's were small. Tradition tells us of the founding of the eitj^ of 
Rome some time in the eighth century before Christ. Little by little the 
authority and influence of the new community was extended. There were 
many wars. There were civil tumults. After more than two hundred j'ears 
of conflict, the autocrats of the early period were overthrown. But the new 
government established was far from being an absolute democracy. From 
time to time kings were appointed for short periods. The real power lay in 
the hands of an oligarchy. But at last the common people, the plebs, 
asserted their power and, to some extent, secured equal rights. But during 
all these changes the significant fact appears that these people clung together. 
They did not permit themselves to be divided into separate and hostile com- 
munities. The result was that their power grew. Little by little their 
authority expanded, until at last Rome became the mightiest political and 
military force on the face of the earth. And one of its grand characteristics 
was that amid all the conflicts that prevailed, notwithstanding the rivalries 
and the jealousies, there was developed a wholesome regard for law. The 
principles that must govern associated humanity were studied by the Roman 
jurists. From time to time these principles were committed to writing, and 
were solemnly acknowledged by the governing power. And it is certainly to 
the honor of the Roman commonwealth that their system of jurisprudence 
has been preserved to our own day, and that among the freest nations now 
existing on the face of the earth it forms the basis of the prevailing legal 

But there were two Romes. One was this of which we have been speaking. 
Its history covered a period of some seven hundred years from the traditional 
settlements on the Tiber to the inauguration of the empire under Augustus. 
The second began its career shortly before the Christian era, and continued 
until the seat of empire was transferred to Constantinople. We have seen 
that during the first epoch there prevailed among the people a wonderful 
spirit of patriotism. They acted in unison. To be a Roman citizen was a 
badge of honor in any part of the earth. The Roman of the earlier days had 
also felt the force of what we call moral obligation. There were certain 
things that he felt compelled to do whether the doing was agreeable to him- 
self or not. There were certain other things from which he felt impelled to 
abstain, however painful the abstinence might be. Measured by the Chris- 
tian standard the ethical ideals were not always of the highest, but they were 
potent. Men felt the force of them. They were also strongly under the in- 
fluence of religion. They believed in the gods. And this belief influenced 
them in their daily actions. Undoubtedly, their ethical convictions also were 
greatly strengthened by their religious faith. Their women were noble pat- 
terns of vii-tuous living. How the Roman matron of these early days is ex- 
alted in the. literature of the time! 

But under the empire things began to change. Wealth had accumulated. 
The spoils of a conquered world were gathered into Rome. The Roman no- 
bleman had the ready means for the gratification of every desire, and under 
these circumstances ethical considerations lost their power. The old pagan 
religion became a dead thing. Men no longer cared for the gods. Neither 
did they care for righteousness. The contemporaneous literature is full of 
sneers at the pagan faith and also at the honest simplicity of ancient man- 
ners. It is also full of wailing over the moral degeneracy. Horace says 
"The age of our fathers, worse than that of our grandfathers, has produced 
us who are yet baser, and who are doomed to give birth to a still more de- 
graded offspring." And what followed? We have seen that the earlier Rome 
grew mighty from day to day. Its power expanded. The respect felt for it 
by the nations of the earth grew more and more intense. But in the case of 
this second Rome the movement, after a little, was in exactly the opposite 
direction. The power of the empire weakened. Barbarous tribes found that 
they could successfully resist its arms. The superstitious awe iia which Rome 
had been held began to fade away. Little by little its magnificent power 
crumbled and the northern barbarians built their empires upon its ruins. 

Now let the reader of history establish the connection in these events be- 
tween cause and effect. What forces were at work to produce the later disin- 


tegration? It may be said that the substitution of the empire for the republic, 
with the placing of power in the hands of one man instead of distributing it 
among the people, is sufficient to account for the change. I will not argue 
that question, but will simply recall one fact concerning the establishment of 
the empire. It is the opinion of historians that the foundation tor the empire 
was laid when the plebeians were admitted to a share in the government. If 
the oligarchs had retained their ancient and exclusive power, it is believed by 
. many that the empire never would have been born. I think a little study of 
the condition of things in the time of Julius CiBsar will throw some light on 
this subject. I think that we may affirm that the causes ot the decay were 
more deeply seated than this. The change in the form of government is not 
sufficient to account for it. No change in the political constitution of the state 
could convert such a woman as Cornelia, the noble mother of the Gracchi, into 
such a reprehensible character as Messalina, the mother-in-law of Nero. 

In the history of every nation the thoughtful student may find something 
worthy of imitation, a? well as much of the opposite character. We refer to the 
American Revolution, by which this great republic was brought into existence, 
and we glory in the achievements of that period. And yet the Americans of 
that time were not immaculate saints. Among the patriots of the Revolution- 
arj' War there were jealousies, and to some extent, conspiracies. And we find 
George Washington in his letters vigorously denouncing some of the members 
of Congress for their lack of interest in the great cause, for iheir lack of fer- 
vid patriotism, and for the selfish schemes into which they were drawn. If 
these baneful influences had been in the ascendency, the effort to establish a 
new nation would never have succeeded. The final inspiring outcome 
was due t® the fact that the country, the Congress and the army contained 
more patriots than traitoi's, and that the energetic, vigilant and united activity 
of the true men was more than a match for the plots and schemes of their 
opponents. You remember the old story about Sodom. If ten righteous men 
could have been found in it the city would have been saved. We have reason 
to be thankful that in the struggles accompanying the birth of our nation, the 
land contained more than this minimum percentage of righteousness. While 
uplifting forces are dominant, nations gather strength in spite of all opposing 
tendencies. And they come to disaster only when shameless iniquity becomes 
the ruling power. 

The field of labor for this society is to be the State of Illinois What is the 
nature of the events that have occurred in the history of this commonwealth? 
What lessons of righteousness, of patriotism, of heroism in the pursuit of 
worthy objects does this history illustrate? In the year 1G73, the French 
authorities in Canada conceived the project of extending French influence, 
and promoting the prosperity of the French colonies established in North 
America, by finding a passage between the Canadian settlements and what 
they called the South Sea. They did not know whether it was the Pacific or 
Gulf of Mexico. The enterprise was entrusted to Louis Joliet and the priest, 
Marquette. These men, inspired apparently by high ideals, one of them hop- 
ing to extend French commerce, and the other, impelled by the deepest re- 
ligious emotion, hoping to convert the aborigines to Christianity, launched 
forth in two canoes on Lake Michigan, attended by five other men. After 
much labor they came to the Wisconsin river and found their way down the 
Mississippi to the 34th degree of latitude. On their return, it is said that 
Father Marquette founded a mission within the limits of the State of Illinois. 
He appears to have been, in all respects, a worthy man, animated 
by a spirit of the highest Christian philanthropy. Thus we see that 
the first white settlement made in this State was inspired by no mean 
or selfish sentiment. About the year 1679 LaSalle, after many disasters, 
built a fort upon the Illinois river and called it the Fort of the 
Breaking Heart. Not long afterward the appropriateness of the name 
was verified by the fact that the garrison had mutinied and destroyed the fort, 
making their way back to Canada. Other French settlements followed in dif- 
ferent parts of the State. In the year 1751 it is said that there were five 
flourishing French colonies within the limits of what now constitutes our 


In 1763, as a result of the Seven Years' War, the French possessions 
east of the Mississippi were ceded to England, as far south as the Iberville, 
not far from the present capital of the state of Louisiana. To this transfer 
the French colonists do not seem to have taken kindly. One of the effects 
was to diminish the population of some of the most prominent of them. Kas- 
kaskia, in its best days under the French regime, contained, it is said, from 
two to three thousand inhabitants. Under the British dominion the popula- 
tion decreased to 460 souls in 1773. This was the condition of things at the 
ijreaking out of the American revolution. George Rogers Clarke, a young 
Virginian, while floating down the Ohio river in 1776, being then only twenty- 
four years of age, conceived the idea of conquering the country bordering on 
the Mississippi for the new republic, or for Virginia. In January, 1778, by 
authority of Patrick Henry, then governor of Virginia, he arranged an ex- 
pedition for this purpose. On the 26th of June of that year, he began the 
descent of the Ohio river from the vicinity of Louisville. Leaving the river 
at Fort Massac, he marched to Kaskaskia. The place soon fell into his hands. 
Soon after he took possession of Cahokia and other settlements which had 
been transferred to England by the French crown. Very little fighting was 
necessary to achieve these results. The discontented Frenchmen, who formed 
the bulk of the inhabitants, were ready to welcome the invader. The town of 
Vincennes, in Indiana, surrendered to a mere proclamation when there was 
not an American soldier within one hundred miles of the place. The French 
settlers had been able to make themselves very acceptable to the Indians. 
But thej' felt great repugnance towards the English and in five weeks Clarke 
settled a peace with ten or twelve tribes. It was not long before he captured, 
also the British governor, Hamilton, whose headquarters were at Detroit, and 
sent him a prisoner to Virginia. When the American commissioners, at the 
close of the revolutionary war, met the representatives of Great Britain for 
the arrangement of peace, they could plead very effectively that the Illinois 
and the Wabash country was, and for sometime had been, in the undisturbed, 
possession of the United States. Clark's achievements, in behalf of the new 
republic, were certainly of great value. And it was fitting that the fort, 
erected near the spot on which we stand, should be called Fort Clark. 

The events, to which I have referred, furnish a starting point for us in our 
efforts to estimate the progress of this State. In the 130 years that have since 
elapsed, what results have been produced? Beginning substantially at the 
zero point in the year 1778, what gains have been made, and in what direc- 
tions? Looking first at the material phase of the question, i see it stated 
that this year the Board of Equalization put the real value of property in this 
State at $4,760,497,870. And we have many reasons for believing that the 
Board of Equalization have been very modest in their estimates.^ To- day 
Illinois is the first state in the Union in the mileage of railways, and it is the 
third in population. It is one of the chief states in the production of cereals, 
and its manufactures have achieved a wonderful success. It has wielded a 
mighty influence in the politics of the country, as well as in the nations' 
military achievements. Citizens of this State have been elected to the chief 
magistracy of the nation for a period covering sixteen years, and each of the 
two men thus honored was re-elected. In this respect Illinois has been ex- 
ceeded by but one state, and that is Virginia, whose political prestige in the 
early years of the government was unequaled. It contains a municipality on 
the lake shore which in a little more than sixty years has grown from an 
insignificant settlement to be the second city in the L^nited States. These 
are evidences of material progress, and many others might be given. 
Material progress, if rightly subordinated to higher uses, is not to be 
despised. It is a pi-oof of effective energy, guided by wisdom and practical 
skill. Speaking broadly, there are two ways for securing it. One is by the 
right development of natural conditions — by skillfully using the forces which 
God and nature put into the hands of men. And this has been the method 
employed in the wonderful development of this State. But in other cases, as 
in that of ancient Rome, wealth has been accumulated by mere robbery, by 
military conquest, by forcible seizing upon that which belonged to others. 

And how has it been with higher forms of progress? What provisions 
have been made for the development of the intelligence of the people? 
Surely, in this respect we can give a good account of ourselves. Our public 


school system was somewhat slowly developed. For many years the educa- 
tion of children could only be accomplished by a degree of effort and by an 
amount of expenditure in money which would seem strange to us now. 
Slowly, however, the people of the State reached the conviction that a great 
responsibility in thia matter rested upon them. And in the year 1855 our 
efficient school law went into effect. In the yc-ar 1857 our first normal school 
was established. And in 18G0 it began to occupy the building which is still its 
home and which, considering the time of its erection, must be pronounced a 
very superior structure. From small beginnings that institution has grown 
to be a power in the laud, and to-day it stands in the very first rank of nor- 
mal schools in the United States. So successful has it been that the State 
has gone on increasing the number of such institutions, until now four are in 
actual operation, and another is established by law. And at the head of the 
entire educational system is the magnificent State University at Cbampaign 
with its fine buildings, its splendid grounds, its excellent equipments, and its 
able and faithful faculty. If in the year 18(30 some prophet had foretold that 
in forty years the State would make the vast appropriations for the prepara- 
tion of teachers and for the higher education of young men and women that 
it is today making that prophet would have been contemptuously discredited. 
Besides all these we have private institutions of learning of all grades, from 
that marvelous institution, the Chicago University, down to the parochial 
school. For the support of these, vast sums of money are freely given year 
by year. Consider also the activity of the churches within the limits of our 
State. Think what a power for good they have wielded and are wielding. 
Think of the self-denying efforts that have been put forth under their 
auspices for the improvement of humanity here and elsewhere. Surely, civil- 
ization has made a noble progress in Illinois since the days of Marquette and 

Any why are these things mentioned? They are not named for the purpose 
of gratifying our vanity as citizens of the State. They ought not to be 
looked upon with Pharisaic eyes as proofs of our superiority. They are 
brought forward in order indicate the work that this society has before it. 
You are to gather the story of this great progress. You are to make a record 
that shall be studied by future generations. You are to show, as far as pos- 
sible, by what forces these results have been achieved. These events furnish 
an object lesson to the student of human progress. When properly recorded 
and arranged they can not fail to arouse the latent energies of those who 
peruse them. As I have already intimated, succeeding generations have a 
right to demand this of us. If any good has been achieved here they have a 
right to know it and to know how it was accomplished, so that, if they will, 
thej' may utilize it in solving the problems of their own time. 

But the student of the history of our Slate will find something in the way 
of warning as well as encouragement. Our citizens have not all been glori- 
fied saints. Even in the earliest days, those heroic days to which we have 
already referred, the days of enthusiastic explorations, there were evils and 
some of them terrible. It is said that several times LaSalle, the explorer, 
barely escaped being poisoned, and at last, on account of the jealousy of 
those with whom he was associated, he was basely murdered. The faithful 
student must look at these events from all sides. He must be impartial in de- 
ciding upon the motives and chai-acters of men. He must carefully weigh 
the influence of good and bad actions upon the progress of civilization. The 
lesson that he will thus learn will be of infinite value to him, for it will teach 
him that "righteousness exalteth a nation and sin is a reproach to any 

John Morley in his "Oliver Cromwell" speaks of the importance of what 
he calls the historic sense. He thinks that in recent writings this sense is 
more apparent than it was in former works. That is, we are beco ming bet- 
ter able to discern the facts that possess a truly historic character, and to be 
guided by that discernment in our writing. In other words, recent writers 
of history have more skill in determining which of the events that are occur- 
ring about us have a real historic value. Of the acts that are performed day 

— 2H. 


by day in these communities, what ones will really have an influence in de- 
terming the true history of this and subsequent times? It must be conceded 
that some ot: the daily actions which we observe are not very sig:Qificant in 
this respect. The historian must have the power of discernment, as we have 
said. But this is not all. He must feel constrained to be guided by this dis- 
cernment. He must not allow himself to be swayed by prejudice or self- 
interest in arranging his facts, in other words, the historian must labor 
under a strong sense of responsibility. If he fails in this, and his work be- 
comes in any sense the guide of others, great injustice may be done. False 
lessons may be taught, and the readers of the history may be led into the 
advocacy of measures, and into the doing of deeds that shall result in disas- 
ter. Mr. Morley refers to Clarendon's history of the English rebellino of 
the 17th century as an illustration of this. This writer was not lacking in 
intellectual ability. He was also thoroughly conversant with the facts with 
which he dealt. But his judgment was swaj^ed by his theory of government 
and by bitter personal animosities. And yet on account of the author's 
superior ability, and of his consequent skill as a writer, the English nation, 
for two hundred yeai's, were misled in regard to the events of which he 
treats. Men who had shown themselves to be thoroughly patriotic, were, by 
this author, held up to the execration of their countrymen, and continued for 
many decades of years to be regarded as reprobates. Not until after Burke 
and Macaulay and Gardiner and Goldwin Smith had presented a thorough 
refutation of Clarendon's errors were the British people prepared to do jus- 
tice to the heroes of the times of Charles I and the commonwealth. 

Now every such misrepresentation of history retards the true progress of 
the race. We can not afford to waste the centuries in groping through such 
historic darkness. There is never a time when we do not absolutely need all 
the knowledge we can possibly have to enable us to use aright our opportuni- 
ties. The problems of government, and of sociology, are very intricate. The 
possibilities of error in them are very numerous. The misleading by-paths 
allure us continually from the right way. We have, therefore, no time for 
wandering after false lights. We need, and those who ai-e to follow us will 
need, the most absolutely reliable guidance. Is not an association, organized 
as this is, precisely the instrumentality that is needed in this work? We 
have already determined that this great State is a worthy field for this kind 
of historic investigation. Who shall make it? Some local organization? 
Some skillful writers animated by partisan views in politics, by sectarian be- 
liefs in religion? The local organizations will be very helpful assistants to 
the State society. They can perform work of great value, and they are 
already doing it. Many of them, too, are exhibiting a spirit of commendable 
catholicity. They are making truthful and just records of the events with 
which they are dealing. But surely we can not fail to see that something 
more is needed here. We do not entrust the senators and representatives, 
even from Peoria county, with the making of laws for all Illinois. Peoria 
legislators need to have their wisdom corrected and enlarged by the knowl- 
edge that has been developed under other and varying conditions. Let the 
local organizations pour their wealth of facts and opinions into the treasury 
of the State society. There let them be assorted and compared by competent 
authority, by those who possess the historic sense, and who are animated by 
a profound sense of responsibility in the use of their material. 

The present social condition of our State suggests many important and in- 
teresting questions. Take, for example, the question of the amalgation of 
the different branches of the Caucasian race. That process is certainly go- 
ing an all about us. What is to be the effect of it? Is it true, as claimed by 
some, that the mightiest and the best nations are of mixed origin? If that 
proposition is correct, we are likely to develop a very superior type of man- 
kind. The elements of the new compound are all here. The Frenchman is 
here, and has been from the beginning, with all his striking and interesting 
peculiarities— his vivacity, his love of art, his social tendencies, and whatever 
drawbacks he may labor under. And so of the Irishman and the Cambrian, 
with their excitability and emotional tendencies. Here, also, are the sturdy 
Anglo-Saxon, and the staid and philosophic German, not to mention many 
other more recent comers, whose presence fimong us has had the effect of 
complicating our social questions. What is to be the effect of all this? Is 


there to be developed here a single, compact and superior race that shall ab- 
sorb into itselt all the good qualities of the families from which it sprang, 
while it discards every objectionable trait? Are we to grow up into a noble, 
healthy, energetic people, marked by a serene and just self-control, and pro- 
ducing in our civilization a normal exhibition of artistic culture, love of 
liberty, and a spirit of unselfish good will? Mr. Morley, quoting from Gold- 
win Smith, says that "Oliver Cromwell was about the greatest human foi-ce 
ever directed to a moral purpose, and in that sease about the greatest man 
that ever trod the scene of history." And then he goes on to show that this 
same Cromwell, so far from being a pure Anglo-Saxon, was a descendent of 
Richard Williams, a Welshman from (xlamorganshire, who was associated 
with Thomas Cromwell in the time of Henry Vtll. So that those who insist 
that what is called a Celtic strain is needed to give fire and speed to the Eng- 
glish stock, had Oliver a case in point. Let the lUiaois Historical Society 
«Qlightea us oq this point. Or perhaps it is not true that a mingling of races 
is necessary to the development of which we speak, that the experiences of 
this western world and the scenery by which we are surrounded, the oppor- 
tunities presented to every man, the incentives to industry and right develop- 
ment, are of themselves enough to m )dify character. Does the Patrick, who 
brings to these prairies all his effusive peculiarities, undergo a transforma- 
tion as the years come and go? Does he, after awhile, take on some of the 
staid solidity of the Anglo-Saxon? Let the historical society find out. 

In a recent publication President Eliot, of Harvard University, gives an 
account of the mode of life pursued by the dwellers on one of the islands be- 
longing to the state of Maine. The people are described as industrious and 
economical. Their life is one of continuous labor. The profits that accrue 
to them in dollars and cents are small. Their dwellings are simple and inex- 
pensive. The man who is taken as representative of his class in the descrip- 
tion, at one time as a result of a long practice of the virtues of industry and 
economy, finds himself in possession of nearly $1,000, and is on that account 
regarded as a successful capitalist. On another occasion fire broke out in a 
smoke house belonging to him, causing a loss of about $500, and it was regarded 
as a gigantic misfortune. Dr. Eliot goes on to describe the labor performed 
in picking up the cobble-stones upon the ground to be cultivated and build- 
ing Ihem up into walls to serve as fences and also as a protection against the 
washing away of the land on the coast. The writer is evidently greatly in- 
terested in his subject, and he goes on to show that notwithstanding the 
apparent hardships which he has described, these people maintain good 
schools, are themselves intelligently informed in regard to many of the 
occurrences of the time, that their sense of moral responsibility is strong and 
practically active, and that they live cheerful and happy lives. 

And are there not in our country many millions of men and women to 
whom this description might in a general way apply? And how are these 
people connected with the general welfare of the country? Are they not in 
an important sense the creators of its prosperity? There can be no increase 
of wealth except as in some way wealth is earned by the development of 
natural resources. The man who causes two blades of grass to grow where, 
without his labor, only one would grow, is a creator of wealth, while the man 
who enriches himself by a sharp bargain contributes nothing to the real 
wealth of the country. And one is therefore not surprised to find Dr. Eliot, 
at the close of his description, uttering this sentiment, "This is the life of 
one of the forgotten millions. It contains no material for distinction, fame 
or long remembrance; but it does contain the material and present the scene 
for a normal human development through mingled joy and sorrow, labor and 
rest, adversity and success, and through the tender loves of childhood, 
maturity and age. We can not but believe that it is just for countless quiet, 
simple lives like this that God made and upholds this earth." 

Now suppose that in the history of the nation the enterprises of these com- 
paratively obscure people were to be neglected. Suppose the historical ac- 
•counts busy themselves only with great battles, with the manipulations of 
shrewd politicians, with the movements by which empires are artificially 
built, or even with the names of those who acquire fame in literature and art. 
What an inadequate representation of the genuine life of the people it would 


be! What an incomplete expression o£ that which really makes for the 
national life? The world has been misled. Men and women have had 
their enerpfies directed to the mere frivolities of life by reason of this partial 
way in which history has been written. Let me implore the members of this 
association therefore to see to it that as far as it is possible for them, the real 
life of the people shall be set forth in their records. Let history show the 
progress which has been made in the industrial arts, in the tilling of the soil, 
in the securing of domestic comforts, in the development of those arts by 
which the wants of ordinary humanity are supplied, and by which common- 
place men and women are strengthened in intellect and ennobled in character. 

And let us remember that we are continually making history. This society 
must deal with the seething; activities of today. Never since time began has 
humanity been so active as it is now. There are many evil activities. There 
are forces at work for the destruction of men and women. But, thank God, 
there are also beneficient activities. There never was a time when wealth 
was so freely used for humane purposes. Institutions of learning, by the 
beneficence of states and of individuals, are multiplying on every hand, and 
special efforts are made to meet special necessities as they appear. Of this 
we have an illustration in the finely equipped institution to whose attractive 
home this society has at this time been invited. The Bradley Institute, with 
its impulse of benevolence and with its discriminating efforts to dighify 
ordinary human labor, is one of the characteristics of our times. I was talk- 
ing with a friend the other day about a school established in Chicago for the 
purpose of training the children, the boys and girls of Russian Jews, who 
have been driven by the tyranny of their native homes to this western re- 
public. These are worthy efforts. They are efforts in the line of a genuine 
civilization. And the history that forgets them leaves out of the account one 
of the worthiest elements in modern life. Let the State Historical Society 
make a record of these worthy enterprises. Let its record be preserved for 
the use of future generations, so that those who come after us shall be stim- 
ulated not to imitation merely, but to improvement and enlargement of the 
worthy enterprises of today. 




By Dr. J. F. Snyder. 

"And did the dust 
Of these fair solitudes once stir with life 
And burn with passion? Let the mighty mounds 
That overlook the rivers; or that rise 
In the dim forest crowded with old oaks 
Answer,"— Bryant. 

The term "Archaeology," is employed in this paper in its broad and com- 
prehensive sense, including all that is known, and that may yet be learned, 
of primitive man; especially in America. 

Before considerins: the conditions and elements constituting Illinois an at- 
tractive field for archaeological reserch, it may be proper to briefly review 
the progress of American Archaeology, as a science, and its deducted con- 

The written history of Illinois began in 1673 with the canoe vogage of a fa- 
natical Jesuit missionary and his companion down the Mississippi river, along 
the State's entire western border, then up the Illinois river, from its conflu- 
ence with the Mississippi to its extreme source near Lake Michigan. 

Illinois has an earlier — more ancient and yet unwritten — history extending 
from the dim, unknown past to that daring canoe voyage of Marquette and 
Joliet. The Rosetta Stone of patient investigation is now slowly but surely 
interpreting the confused object records of this antecedent history, and dis- 
sipating the mist that has so long obscured it. 

The first Europeans in this region found it populated by roving tribes of 
savages having neither written language, fixed habitations, nor knowledge of 
their origin or ancestry. As civilization began to encroach upon this newly- 
discovered territory curious evidences of its long-continued occupancy, in the 
form of mounds, and other products of human agency, were observed, 
scattered over the hills and valleys, concerning which the natives were as 
profoundly ignorant as were the white invaders. The ignorance of the sav- 
ages, in possession of the country, of any history of the strange antiquities, 
obviously of artificial construction, led to the conclusion that America had, 
at some period anterior to the coming of the Indians, been, for a long time, 
the home of an unknown people, differing widely from any known on the 
Eastern hemisphere, and as was until recently generally believed, also very 
different in racial characteristics from the red Indians found here. 

By degrees, surprisingly slow, this conclusion was accepted by the public; 
but not without vigorous protests from many of the most advanced scholars 
of the day. Mr. Bancroft, in the introduction to his great History of the 
United States, expressed his skepticism of this belief, as follows: "In all 
ancient walls in the West, geology sees only crumbs of decaying sandstone 
clinging like mortar to blocks of greenstone, in parallel entrenchments, it 
discovers only a trough that subsiding water plowed; it explains all tesselated 
pavements as layers of pebbles aptly joined by water; it esteems all mounds 
as natural cones, and ascribes them to that Power which shaped the globe." 
About the time this was written a Minister from a foreign country to our 
government said contemptuously of this country, that it was only fit for 


savajjes, having: no ruins, or other antiquities to interest European tourists. 
The word "prehistoric" had not yet been coined when the fii'st edition of 
Noah Webster's dictionary was issued; and that noted lexicographer then be- 
lieved, with Dr. Franklin, and (Others, that all the western mounds had been 
made by DeSoto and his band of marauders. 

The unmistakable vestiges of an archaic, wide-spread population were, 
however, too conspicuous and numerous to be satisfactorily accounted for by 
all the romance that embellished the wonderful march of De Soto. As the 
accumulated proofs of a former people could no longer be misconstrued, or 
denied, many theories were advanced to explain them. "In attempting to 
reconstruct the past," says Sir John Lubbock, "students have too often al- 
lowed imagination to usurp the place of research, and have written in the 
spirit of the novelest rather than in that of the philosopher." A very com- 
mon propensity of mankind is to exaggerate the marvelous and magnify the 
mysterious; and to invoke imaginative and impossible causes in explanation 
of the apparently incomprehensible, when adequate causes, if earnestly 
sought for, might be found ready at hand. This tendency has been mani- 
fested, even by the learned, until recent years, in the many vague, and too 
often ludicrous, hypotheses, framed to reconstruct the history and life of the 
builders of the mounds, who left no trace of the route by which they came, 
or of how they disappeared. 

The mystery of an unknown, vanished people so advanced in mechanical arts 
as to be capable of executing the works they left, w-as full of fascinating 
interest. They were generally believed to have been a distinct race, unlike 
and superior to the red Indians, who had attained a considerable degree of 
civilization, having a formulated religion and well-organized political govern- 
ment, ruled by a soverign and court of oriental magnificence. They were 
thought to have flourished here for many centuries, and to have disappeared 
before the advent of the Indians; or by the incoming savages, overthrown 
and disbursed. There are intelligent persons who yet entertain this belief; 
and this class invariably write "mound-builders" with capital M. and B. 

The researches of archaeologists within the last few decades have effectually 
dispelled such fanciful notions, and restored for our inspection the mound build- 
ers as they actually were in their highest stage of development. With more 
extended discoveries of their works, and careful analysis and comparison of 
their remains and arts, much of the mysticism and confusion that seemed ta 
surround them has been removed, giving us a clearer view of their traits, and 
a more rational conception of their existence here The conclusions reached 
regarding the true status of the Mound Builders may be summarized as fol 
lows: that America, from the Arctic regions to Terra delFuego, was peopled 
by one race, the red Indians; excepting the Eskimos, who are probably an 
intrusive people of comparatively recent arrival. Consequently, the Mound 
Builders were simply Indians, and none of the remains of their industries and 
arts, either in magnitude, design or artistic perfection, are above the capa- 
bilities of the Indians encountered by De Soto early in the sixteenth century. 
The mounds and other prehistoric earthworks are merely signal stations, 
military defenses, tombs of the dead, or remains of Indian villages and set- 
tlements. The builders of the Mounds had made but slight approach to civi- 
lization, all indications proving their condition of society to hav^e been as 
primitive and rude as that of known Indians. They had emerged from sav- 
agery, but had only reached the lower, or, at best, the middle status of bar- 
barism. As all other barbarians, their social atmosphere was darkened and 
chilled with superstition. Their crude religious sentiments found expression 
in rites and practices of the grossest absurdity and cruelty. They made ex- 
traordinary sacrifices to propitiate mythical spirits; and entertained profound 
faith in a future existence of ease and sensual pleasure— but were not suffi- 
ciently enlightened to believe in future endless punishment. They had no 
knowledge of metals; not having discovered the fusibility of minerals— not 
even that of galena, the most readily fused of all of our economic ores. They 
utilized copper as a malleable stone, beating it into shape with other stones; 
and held hematite in high esteem as a stone possessing extraordinary virtues. 
In the domestic and industrial arts they had acquired high proficiency; par- 
ticularly in manipulating stone, bone, shell and other substances; and in the 


ceramic art, making pottery of exceeding exeellenee, in graceful, artistic and 
elegant forms. They were very expert in tlie fabrication of cords, nets, mats 
and closely woven cloth of vegetable dbers. Their esthetic perceptions were 
well displayed, not only in their pottery, but also in pipes, amulets and 
charms, often carved of the most refractory rocks, in strange and unique 
designs, and finely polished. 

Of all the products of their industries those objects manufactured of endur- 
ing materials alone have survived to our era. A few* remnants of their best 
houses, flimsilj' constructed of poles and canes, have been preserved buried 
in mounds; but their bows, arrow-shafts, and the numberless implements, 
utensils, tools and appliances; and also articles of dress and personal adorn- 
ment, they made and used in profusion, of wood, bark, skins of animals and 
other substances that soon decayed, have long ago totally disappeared. Their 
arts of subsistence had progressed to the use of salt, and the cultivation of 
corn; from which it must be inferred they were no longer nomadic; nor yet, 
were they permanently sedentary; often changing their villages from one lo- 
cality to another; probably with the ch.anges of seasons, or movements of the 
wild animals, or fish, upon which they preyed. Their only domesticated ani- 
mal was the dog — presumably a tamed wolf. The burdens and drudgery of 
domestic life — as is customary with all barbarians — fell to the lot of the fe- 
males; the chief pursuits of the males, judging from the quantity and quality 
of their weapons and remains of their defenses, were war and the chase. In 
stature, features, and other physical characteristic, they were, with some ex- 
ceptions, in all essential respects, identical with modern Indians. The hue 
of their skin is not definitely known, and no normal specimen of their hair 
has survived the destroying tooth of time; but the portraits they have trans- 
mitted to us on their pottery, and engraved on their pipes, accurately por- 
tray Indian features with coarse, straight hair. 

Of their form of government we can, of course, know nothing; but have no 
reason for believing that it could have been more complicated in spirit or 
structure than that of the Iroquois, or Creeks; consisting of a confederation 
of tribes equal in council, and coherent for mutual defense, or predatory war- 
fare; each tribe ruled by a chief, and organized by gens and lihrutry under 
subordinate chieftains. 

The culture of the Mound building Indians was, beyond doubt, indigenous 
and a gradual evolution from a lower savage type. The period of time re- 
quired for the inception and growth of this advancement is not certainly 
known; but the intrinsic evidences of the mounds and other remains do not 
warrant the extreme antiquity generally assigned them. The beginning of 
Mound building, with its concomitant culture, in the hydrographic basin of 
the Mississippi, can not be referred to a period more remote than five or six 
centuries ago; and it was continued for a little time after the discovery of 
the country by Europeans. There is no reason to doubt that the southern 
mound builders were the same stock of Indians found by our early pioneers 
in the middle and gulf states; and evei'y element of fact and probability 
strengthens the conviction that the Indians who fiercely contested De Soto's 
progress were the immediate descendants of the builders of the mounds there; 
possessing and practicing, at that time, all the arts, customs, usages and su- 
perstitions of their ancestors. The ethnological distinctions between the 
mound builders and wild, nomadic savages that surrounded and in some lo- 
calities supplanted, them, consisted not so much in ethnic or racial divergen- 
cies as in degree of advanced culture. The one branch of the race pro- 
gressed, by the development of their innate capabilities, through long periods 
of peace, to the first, or second, plane of Barbarism, while the other, retain- 
ing their wandering instincts, and continually at war, remained in their prim- 
itive condition of degraded savagei'y. 

They all from the most remote times to the introduction of iron among 
them by Europeans, employed practically the same industrial arts and meth- 
ods of life; manufacturing very much the same weapons, tools and pottery, 
of the same materials and in tlie same way. Consequently, it is impossible to 
make any reliable distinction between the moveable artefacts of prehistoric 


Indians who built mounds and those of the Indians who were not mound 
builders. All the aborigonees of this region were, then, of the same race, 
and, inferentially, sprung from the same origin. 

Whence came they? is the question next suggested. A great variety of 
opinions, sustained by few tangible facts, have been offered in answer to this 
inquiry. The distribution of species, including .(/enjts homo, over the world, is 
beset with many perplexing and insuperable difficulties in the way 
of its complete reconciliation with the legend of Noah's Ark. Some 
learned Anthropologists, relying on generally accepted potentiality 
of Drfity, have believed the Indian to be indigenous; a true au- 
tochthon and product of independent local creation. But Biology has pro- 
claimed the dogma of unity of the human family to be infallible, and deci'eed 
the primeval American an exotic. It has been gravely surmised by some that 
he descended from an antediluvian tribe that miraculously escaped the deluge. 
Others have found scriptural proof that his progenitors \yere the lost tribes of 
Israel; and, in the extravagance of unreasoning conjecture, the Indian's 
origin has been attributed to almost every ancient nation of Europe, Asia, 
Africa, Polynesia and the fabled Atlantis. Another hypothesis, not without 
some sanction of science, supposes the first peopling of America to have been 
made by voluntary, or tempest-tossed, immigrants from various countries, 
east and west, who commingling here, isolated from the balance of the world, 
by the influence of dietary, climatic and topographical environments, in the 
course of long ages, crystallized into the distinctive race of American red men 
— a process now being repeated, though under more favorable conditions and 
with promises of higher results, by the present heterogeneous mixture of di- 
verse peoples on this continent. 

All these speculations, however, have little more solid basis of demonstra- 
ble facts than had the theory of pious old Cotton Mather, who believed the 
Indians were originally Europeans, "seduced over here by the devil to keep 
them out of the sound of the silver trumpets of the Gospel." After all, the 
Indian's origin remains an inscrutable mystery; yet, students of American 
archaeology are not disposed, as was Sir Francis Palgrave, to "give up that 
speechless past," and exclaim, in despair, "lost is lost; gone is gone forever," 
but rather will, in the spirit of our own immortal Lincoln, keep on "pegging 
away," at this discouraging problem until every possible clue has been ex- 

The most sanguine investigator may not expect to discover here, in Illinois, 
many legible traces of the Indian's origin, but he will find here for study a 
field rich in prehistoric archaeology, yet slightly disturbed, save by relic- 
hunting vandals. What revelations it may contain, in decipherable records, 
of early migrations, mutations and successions of Indian tribes; of their var- 
ious modes of life and degrees of culture; of their different mortuary customs 
and mythology; of their ethnological characteristics and advancement in arts, 
and their progress to a higher and better social condition, are yet to be ascer- 
tained — not by far fetched theorizing, but by the pick and shovel of the care- 
ful explorer. Within the limits of Illinois are remains of the mound building 
Indians, as numerous and varied in form, design and dimensions, and, no 
doubt, as replete with tantalizing interest, as may be found in any other state 
in the Mississippi valley. The vicinity of streams and lakes were the favorite 
haunts and abiding places of the red men for ages past; and there — near the 
shore of Lake Michigan; on the river bluffs from Duuleith to Cairo, from Chi- 
cago to Grafton, along the Ohio, the Wabash, Kaskaskia, Vermilion, Kanka- 
kee, Sangamon and other lesser water courses of the States-are the vestiges 
of their camp sites and villages, and the graves and tumuli of their dead, 
awaiting the searching scrutiny of the astute archaeologist. 

In the valley of Rock river, as far down as Kishwaukee, in Winnebago 
county, is a class of curious earthworks known as "Effi2;y" mounds, supposed 
to represent figures of the human form and of birds, quadrupeds, reptiles and 
nondescript objects. Some of them were projected on a gigantic scale, exceed- 
ing four hundred feet in length. There is one in the city of Rockford, locally 
known as the "Turtle Mound," preserved from mutilation in private grounds, 
described by Judge James Shaw, in the fifth volume of Illinois Geological 
Survey Reports, as being "150 feet long by 50 feet in width behind its front 


legs, and resembles an alligator with its head out off more than it does a tur- 
tle." These eecenlrie structures of earth enclose no buried relics or human 
remains, and are thought to have simply represented tribal totems. The 
Rockford "turtle" may have been thrown up there as a stationary totem of 
the Lizard gens, and its head, now wanting, was probably fashioned as a 
Council house, or chief's residence, of perishable materials that time has long 
since reduced to dust. Emblematical mounds of this class are limited to the 
State of Wisconsin and the Rock river extension in this State, the only known 
exceptions, as stated by Prof. Cyms Thomas of the U. S. Bureau of Ethnol- 
ogy, "being two or three in Ohio and two in Georgia." The recent Dakota 
Indians had a somewhat analogous custom of forming figures of men, women, 
animals and unknown objects, in outline, on the prairies, with convenient 
drift boulders placed contiguously, to commemorate important events, or to 
communicate their movements to others of the tribe passing that way. Effi- 
gies of this kind — if they can be termed effigies — involved the expenditure of 
but little time or labor, and were obviously nor tribal symbols. 

There is no one phase of American archaeology, confined to a space so cir- 
■cumscribed, and, apparently the work of a single tribe, as anomalous and in- 
explicable as the effigy mounds of Wisconsin and Rock river valley. Rev. 
Stephen D. Peet has reported the discovery, near Mendon, in Adams county, 
•of a "Serpent mound," or rather, of a series of small mounds, uniform in 
size, placed in such consecutive order and so connected as to represent the 
figure of a serpent; and infers that the authors of this work were addicted to 
serpent worship. The serpent has occupied a conspicuous place in the myth- 
ology of all savages. It was, says General Thurston, in his Antiquities of Ten- 
nessee, a favorite totem with the ancient stone grave race of that state. It was 
very prominent in the worship of the early Mexican nations, and is yet in cer- 
tain religious ceremonies of the Pueblo Indians of Arizona and New Mexico; 
but we have not, so far, sufficient evidence to warrant the belief that prehis- 
toric Indians of this locality were worshipers of the serpent — or, indeed, of any- 
thing else. Few sections of our country, between the Rocky mountains and 
the Appalachian chain, surpass in antiquarian interest the district extending 
from this city. Peoria, to the mouth of the Illinois river, and on down to that 
of the Ohio. Here the aborigines revelled amidst the spontaneous productions 
of the prolific soil, and were bountifully supplied with fish in great variety 
from the rivers and the choicest game from the forests and prairies. The 
sublime landscapes viewed from every peak and ridge of the bluffs must 
have touched and awakened the esthetic sentiment in the savage, and 
tended to mollify his brutal instincts. Throughout its entire extent the dis- 
trict mentioned is strewn with numberless remains of a dense population; or, 
more probably, of successive invasions of different tribes, continued for in- 
definite periods of time. Mounds of various forms are scattered all through 
it; and it has yielded to curiosity-mongers and relic hunters many thousands 
of primitive art remains of great value. Indians, differing in habits and cus- 
toms, have occupied it, but in what chronological order remains yet to be 

In the misty past, a colony of the stone grave tribes, presumably from the 
valleu of the Cumberland, appeared in Illinois near the junction of the Ohio 
and Mississippi rivers, and graduall.y spread from there northward to the 
present county of Monroe, where they halted for a time, and then crossed the 
Mississippi and settled about the present sites of St. Genevieve, Florisant 
and Fentou, in Missouri. They marked their trail well by their peculiar 
manner of burying tbeir dead in stone cists, or graves lined and covered with 
thin, rough flag stones; generally separately, sometimes collectively and en- 
closed in mounds of earth. A few scattered graves of this description have 
been observed as far north as the Sangamon river, and are quite numerous 
at several points in the southern portion of the State. The osseous and art 
remains preserved in the Illinois stone graves are. in the main, identical with 
those taken from similarly constructed graves of the ancient cemeteries in 
and around Nashville, Tennessee, proving satisfactorily the unity of the In- 
dians who practiced tliis custom of burying their dead. Plates of thin ham- 
mered copper have been found in ordinary stone graves in southern Illinois, 
with strange masked human figures impressed upon them, similar to those 


from the Etowah mount in Georgia, and so manifestly of typical Central 
American art as to sug-gest contact, at some time, of Illinois stone grave peo- 
ple with the ancient semi civilization of the far south. An impressed copper 
plate bearing tlie spirited image of an eagle was found some years ago in a 
mound near this city (Peoria) by Major Powell, director of the U. S Ethno- 
logical Bureau, executed in a style of art wholly foreign to that of the most 
advanced mound builders. 

In the upper part of the American Bottom, opposite the city of St. Louis; 
fifty miles above the stone grave cemeteries on or near the bluffs in Monroe 
county, was the remarkable settlementof another branch of the precolumbian 
Indian race. They were the builders of so-called "Temple" mounds. Their 
chief work here, the great Cahokia mound, the largest memorial of prehistoric 
Indian life in the United States, is 97 feet in height, with a base 700 feet in 
length by 500 feet in width, covering an excess of six acres, and comprising 
in its solid contents 1,076,000 cubic yards of earth, the greater part of which 
was taken from the bluffs, three miles distant. This huge monument is sur- 
rounded by a group of 61 smaller mounds, ranging in size from 50 to 400 feet 
in diameter, and in altitude, from 15 to 60 feet. Fifteen miles east of this 
grand assemblage of mounds, on the border of the high, open prairie in St. 
Clair county, is one of the most beautiful and symmetrical mounds in the 
State, known locally as the "Emerald mound." It is a truncated pyramid 
with square base, each side 225 feet in length, 40 feet in elevation, and its 
level top. conforming exactly with its base, is 150 feet square. Time has 
dealt leniently with tlais handsome structure, as, unlike the Cahokia mound, 
all its lines and angles are yet sharp, regular and well preserved. A few 
yards distant from its north and east angles respectively, is a smaller circular 
mound with fiat top, aad 800 feet from its west angle is a long ridge-like, or 
oval elevation, apparently artificial and perhaps sepulchral. 

In this splendid system of ancient earthworks — comprising nearly 200 
mounds within an area of twenty-five miles square — there is an identity of 
type with the mounds of eastern Arkansas, Mississippi and the Etowah group 
in Georgia. There is also an identity of art type in the pottery, and other 
domestic relies, found about them all, suggesting the inference that their 
authors were the same people. 

The sixteen large flint spades, polished at their edges bj^long use, found buried 
together near the base of Emerald mound when excavating for a house founda- 
tion; the amazing deposit of finely chipped flint spades and neatly finished 
"notched" flint hoes exhumed when grading a railroad bed about where the bus- 
iness center of East St. Louis is now; the artistic pottery; fine, polished stone im- 
plements, shell beads, and tortoise shells and parts of the lower jaws of the 
deer with incisor teeth intact, and other objects, exquisitely plated with thin 
sheets of copper, almost rivaling modern gilding, well attest the culture of 
the Cahokia mound builders and their industrial progress. The erection of 
this multitude of studendous earthen monuments bespeaks a large population 
here for a great length of time, yet, so far, no cemeteries, graves or other de- 
positories of their dead have been discovered, nor any remains indicating the 
practice of cremation. How they disposed of those who died is a mystery, 
but it may be that some of the stately tumuli of the number, when probed by 
the experienced archaeologist, will disclose this secret they have securely 
guarded for ages. 

There are yet other questions awaiting solution, concerning the Indians of 
the American Bottom who made stone-lined gi-aves, and those who built large 
platform mounds. Did the same Indians construct both? If the same peo- 
ple, it remains to be explained why no great platform mounds were raised 
near the stone cist cemeteries in Monroe county, and why no stone graves 
are seen in the vieitiity of the Cahokia mounds. " If not thesaue people, were 
they cognate, or allii'd tribes? If distinct and different tribes, v/ere they con- 
temporaneous in Illinois? If not, which had priority in this territory, and 
why was each restricted to well-defined limits? 

The question, What has Illinois to invite archaeological research? may be 
adequately answered by the single statement that not one of the vast group 
of Cahokia mounds has yet been systematically explored. 


The valley of the Illinois river, from its prairie banks, about Starved rock,, 
to the Mississippi, was at a very early date in possession of a yet different 
branch of the native American race; whose mode of mound building', and man- 
ner of disposing of their dead, plainly connect them with the Monnd building- 
tribes of Ohio. Here we meet with the so-called "Altar" mounds, usually on low, 
alluvial bottoms; and the "platform" pipes and tinely-wrought implements and 
ornaments of copper. Here also have been found those extraordinary propiti- 
atory offerings to their evil, or guardian spirits. It has been the fortune of the 
writer in his limited explorations in this territory, to discover astonishing de- 
posits of dark colored, or black, flint disks, each from three to eight inches in 
diameter, under conditions that leave no doubt of their sacrificial intent. At 
the base of a mound on Paint creek, in Ross county, Ohio, a deposit of simi- 
lar flints was unearthed in 1847 by Messrs. Squier and Davis, and subse- 
quently, on further search, by Prof. W. K. Moorehead, which aggregated 
8,185 in number. Buried in the bank of the Illinois river, at Beardstown^ 
were found 1,500 well finished disks of black hornstone, closely laid together, 
a few feet below the surface. A deposit of 3,500 similar flints was, sometime 
before, uncovered four miles above on the opposite side of the river. Two 
very large mounds, side by side, on the alluvial bottom, in Brown county, 
were opened, and at the base of the one were found 6,199 oval disks of glossy 
black flint; and at the bottom of the other the enormous number of 5,31(5 com- 
pletely finished lance-shaped implements, from three to eight inches in length, 
of the same black flint. This stone is nowhere found in situ in Illinois; but 
occurs in southeastern Indiana, and in portions of Kentucky. These buried 
flints therefore must have been transported by canoe down the Ohio and up- 
the Mississippi and Illinois rivers for the special purpose of final interment on 
the banks of the latter stream. "If they were placed there as an offering," 
saj's Mr. Squier, "we can form some estimate, in view of the facts that they 
must have been brought from a great distance and fashioned with great toil, 
of the devotional fervor which induced the sacrifice, or the magnitude of the 
calamity which that sacrifice was perhaps intended to avert." 

As is well known, the mound building Indians maintained a far-reaching 
system of commerce, or barter, with distant tribes. In their sepulchral 
mounds on the Illinois river — as elsewhere — occur marine shells from the Gulf 
of Mexico, or the ocean; copper from Lake Superior; catlinite from the pipe- 
stone ledges of Minnesota; obsidian from New Mexico, or the Kocky moun- 
tains; mica from North Carolina, and hematite and galena from southeast 
Missouri, or the upper Mississippi. The Illinois river "Altar" mounds exam- 
ined were certainly very old; but further investigation will be required to de- 
termine their relative age in comparison with that of other systems of mounds 
on the Mississippi, and in other parts of the State. At the time of their erec- 
tion their builders had not yet become adepts in the ceramic art, the few pot- 
tery vessels found, with the original deposits, being, rude and without 
decoration. The human skeletons among the primal burials in these mounds- 
exhibited anatomical characteristics of very low order. Their crania were 
hraclu) cephalic, comporting, in that respect with the American Indian type- 
generally— though, in the Illinois mounds, skulls of ancient Indians are met 
with of all the various forms — brachy cephalic, dolieocephalic, orthocephalic, etc.,. 
and having wide variation of facial angles. The builders of these mound& 
had low, retreating foreheads, with enormous supraorbital ridges: progna- 
thaus jaws; perforations of the humerus; elongated coccyx and platycnemism- 
of the'tibiae. They were ape-like and hideous, but exceedingly skillful arti- 

Our early pioneer settlers in the southern portion of the State were sur- 
prised by seeing evidences there of salt production, on an extensive scale, by 
crude processes conducted doubtless by the Indians in prehistoric times. All 
about the saline springs— particularly in Gallatin county — were fragments of 
huge, shallow, earthenware vessels, partially buried in the soil accumulations, 
associated with fire-scarred stones and ordinary camp refuse; indicating that 
the method of obtaining salt had been by evaporation of the saline water of the 
springs by the agency of heated stones. Near by the springs were the ceme- 
teries of the ancient salt makers, where they deposited the remains of their 
dead in stone-lined graves, thereby identifying them as of the tribes with 
whom that mode of burial was an ethnic custom. Similar fragmentary salt- 


pans of coarse pottery ware, burnt stones, and, near by, the mortuary stone 
cists, have been left as a record of this industry, by the same Indians in the 
vicinity of Saline springes at St. Genevieve, Missouri, Nashville, Tennessee, 
and in other localities. The use of salt was with the early Indians an acquired 
taste, borrowed perhaps with the use of corn, beans, etc. , from Central Amer- 
ica, or the Pueblos of the southwest. The Pottawattamies, and in fact all the 
Indians north and west of Lake Michigan, when first seen by French explor- 
ers, reg:arded salt with great disgust, as a poison; and the nomads of the 
western plains and Rocky mountains were ignorant of its use as late as the 
expeditions of General Fremont and the Mexican war. 

Mr. Clarence B. Moore has reported the examination of a mound— one 
among many — on St. John's river, in Florida, covering thirty-five acres, and 
eighty feet in height, composed of river shells, the refuse of Indian feasting. 
There, fluriatile mollusks, as well as marine shell-fish, were an important 
article of Indian diet. Shell heaps of modest proportions are occasionally 
seen on some of our Illinois streams, but are very rare. Mussels may have 
been used for subsistence sparingly by the early Indians here in times of great 
scarcity of other foods, but it is more probable that the few shell heaps ob- 
served in this State are the refuse of Indian pearl hunters. All such accumu- 
lations of shells on our river banks should be carefully examined for imple- 
ments, or other remains that possibly may determine their age and purpose. 

The prehistoric antiquities of the Wabash watershed, in Illinois, when criti- 
ically examined, may contribute many new facts in elucidation of some of our 
obscure archaeological problems. There is a broad and interesting field for 
antiquarian research in that quarter of the State and also in the vallej's of the 
Kaskaskia, Sangamon and other central water courses of the State, as yet 
only known to the vandal and mercenary relic hunter. 

Another question much agitated in scientific circles a few years ago, and 
not yet eliminated from controversial antiquarian literature, awaits the prac- 
tical investigation of Illinois archaeologists. Claims have been made of find- 
ing in the glacial drift underlying Chicago flint implements of the true pal- 
aeolithic age; implying the presence there of Man during the glacial or inter- 
glacial epochs. Ancient moraines and other glacial deposits are predominant 
features of our surface geology all over the State, offering an inexhaustible 
field for palaeolithic search. Primitive Man in America, it is now generally 
conceded, had attained the neolithic stage ot stone art at the time of his first 
arrival here. It remains to be seen by the diligent scientist of the future if 
the clay and gravel beds of Illinois are concealing testimony that will reverse- 
this view, and carry the primeval American back to the immensely distant 
period of the Quaternary deposits. 

While the multitudes of undisturbed, and undiscovered, remains of aborigi- 
nal tribes in Illinois constitute the State a most alluring and promising field 
for archaeological study, it may be pertinent to ask, what has Illinois done to 
investigate and preserve its antiquities? By its legislative authority, absolutely 
nothing, beyond the expenditure of a few hundreds of dollars for the pur- 
•chase of the McAdams collection of Indian relics, which, with commendable 
liberality, was divided between the show room at the State Capitol and the 
State University. And the portion of this received by the university comprises 
about all the exhibit of Illinois archaeology in its museum. At no time has 
the State, by any official act, taken the slightest coguizance of the marvelous 
remains of its prehistoric inhabitants; or, in any manner, given aid or en- 
couragements to citizens interested in their interpretation and preservation. 
We turn to the magnificent Reports of the (twenty-four years) Geological Sur- 
vey of our Stale, and find there two or three pages devoted to its antiquities, 
from which we learn that ninety per cent of the mounds are natural eleva- 
tions — "outliers of the drift formation!" 

Secular critics arraign our sectarian philanthropists with inconsistency in 
expending large suras for raissionary service abroad, and ignoring the vice, 
crime and depravity rampant in the very shadows of their churches here at 
home. A few of the great, wealthy institutions of learning in Illinois are 
amendable to au analogous indictment, for sending well- equipped exploring 
parties to the far Northwest, to Central and South America, and other remote 


corners of the earth, to study archaic man and his arts, and totally overlook- 
ing one of the richest fields for this study at their very doors. Ohio has sur- 
veyed its ancient earthern monuments, and has an accurate map, and descrip- 
tions of them, almost completed. New York has, by liberal appropriations, 
through the medium of its state university, provided for full descriptive cata- 
logues of its antiquities; and in Georgia, Wisconsin, Florida and Tennessee 
this task has been admirably done by learned citizens without state aid. In 
Illinois no systematic archaeological work has yet been undertaken, and the 
field is too vast to be thoroughly explored by individual enterprise. This can 
only be accomplished by the united efforts of our educational institutions or 
by the State. 




By Captain J. H. Burnham. 

It requires considerable courage for the members of this society to take a 
look at the wide field for labor which opens so appealingly to our sight. In 
the first place, who can point out just how much historical research has been 
accomplished, or if this is partially shown, who can lead us forth to see the 
immense depth and breadth of the work yet remaining for willing hands? 
Several volumes of our State's early and modern history have been written, 
and they are of inestimable value. Other volumes of the expeditions of the 
early French explorers and missionaries are in circulation, but the half has 
not been told in either of these spheres of historical investigation, or in that 
other equally alluring field of archaeology. 

We have reason to believe that much important matter still remains to be 
translated from the archives of French ecclesiastical, militarj' and civil re- 
ports, while other documents may yet be discovered giving new facts regard- 
ing the British occupation, to say nothing of the difficult subject of the history 
of our own modern Illinois Indians. But the work that is uncompleted along 
these lines will yet be attended to by able scholars; and members of our own 
society are quite likely to perform their full share. 

Critical scholars of our own, or kindred societies in the Northwest, may be 
trusted to unearth and classify the new facts of our archaeological or early 
colonial history, but the more common, and less fascinating study of our later 
history, including the marvelous development of our modern civilization, 
must be carried on and perfected generally through the employment of plod- 
ding ordinary investigators, unstimulated by great love of historic lore, or by 
any thorough appreciation of the beauty of any theories of historical develop- 
ment, and perhaps unprepared by any special preparation for the work in 

It is almost impossible for those of us who would like to make plans for 
carrying forward this line of modern and local historical investigation and 
development, to understand exactly what has alreadv been accomplished in 
the way of published Illinois history. We are aware of the great value of 
GUI State histories, even if we realize as fully what are their greatest imper- 
fections, but we do not appreciate as we ought, to what extent our pioneer, 
war, ecclesiastical and civil history has already been placed within the reach 
of those most interested. An examination of the books in the library of the 
Chicago Historical Society, and of those in our own State Historical Library 
will show that already a very large amount of this material has been gathered, 
so large that it takes more than a casual look at these published volumes to 
see that a vast amount of work remains to be accomplished, a labor which 
can probably only be done under the lead of a State society, thoroughly or- 
ganized, reaching all portions of the State, and reaching them , quite possibly, in 
some sort of a semi-official manner, possibly as a legal adjunct of our State 
Historical Library, possibly through some agency yet to be discovered and 
put in operation. 

These historical publications of local interest are of various types and styles. 
They are mostly of a commercial character, written and published as money- 


makers, so that they may be generally called cotnmereial histories. Some 
are county, town, or city histories. Many are bioe:rHphical albums or biogrraph- 
ical dictionaries, while some of ttiem are valuable publications and can well be 
taken as our gruides and models. They are quite apt, however, to be shaped 
entirely to suit the buyer or payer, and are not generally entitled to take high 
rank as historical authority. Still, on the shelves of the Chicago Historical 
Libi'ary, and in our State Historical Library, these works have been largely 
collected, and such as they are, they are of value and must be considered as 
the beginning of our State's local history. It is highly important for us to 
know the full value of this published historical material, and if the Chicago 
Historical Society and the trustees of our State Historical Library can co- 
operate in furnishing an accurate list of such works as now exist, we shall be 
very materially assisted in finding our historical bearings, so to speak, and 
learning where it is best to begin our labor with a view to immediately se- 
curing what is most important to be rescued from oblivion. 

If we stop to consider some few of the salient points to be covered by a 
local history, such as will meet the demands of modern times, impartially and 
fairly written, we shall see how far very many of these published works fall 
short of beiner what the public should have access to, and how much remains 
to be accomplished by our society, or by other agencies. 

A county, or other local history covering much territory, should not only 
treat of its topography and geogi-aphy, but should faitly develope its natural 
history, its trees, grasses and flowers as they existed in a state of nature; its 
birds, animals, insects and fishes; its soils, its geology and its political divi- 
sions with their origin and with all the later civil and political changes. 

Nothing is more attractive to the general public than the military and 
political history of a community, and the best of its patriotic record should be 
carefully furnished, including the names of all the soldiers of the war of 1812, 
if the county be in southern Illinois; the volunteers in all of the Indian wars, 
the Mormon, Mexican, Civil and Spanish-American Wars, with well written 
accounts of the most daring and heroic acts of these soldiers. These military 
records will generally be found the very best foundations on which to build a 
county demand for a county history, and on this foundation, even at this 
late day, may often be discovered the nucleus of an interest in local history. 
In the state of Wisconsin, the law recognizes the state organizations of the 
order of the Loyal Legion, the Grand Army of the Republic, the Sons and 
Daughters of the Revolution, and other patriotic organizations, as auxiliaries 
of the State Historical Society, and we should carefully consider whether we 
can in some manner follow this example. We are just beginning to enter on the 
period when the thrilling deeds of the 200,000 patriotic volunteers of the civil 
war are being appreciated by the rising generation. Illinois soldiers from 
city and country served nearly all over the theater of that gigantic struggle, 
and heroes of the Potomac, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chickamaiiga, and most 
of our historic battlefields may be found throughout the Prairie State. 

In some of our counties, we must admit, the elements for a thoroughly 
interesting history, outside of the pioneer history which we find everywhere 
do not always exist, but nearly every neighborhood had its gallant heroes of 
our civil war, and the records of their deeds, which should be conscientiously 
prepared, will go far towards filling out the local history of each of the town- 
ships, cities, villages or counties of our patriotic State. Not only can we 
thus makeup the record of each county's share in the great struggle, but 
only thus can the nation's complete history be obtained, for Illinois has per- 
haps the proudest war record of any state in the union. 

" Not without thy wondrous story, 

Illinois. Illinois, 
Can be writ the Nation's glory, 

Illinois. Illinois, 
On the record of thy years, 
Abraham Lincoln's name appears. 
Grant and Logan and our tears, 

Illinois, Illinois. 

Biographies of a country's most eminent statesmen, legislators, or politi- 
cians must not be omitted, and in addition, particular emphasis should be 


ffiven to the lives of its most worthy and heroic people, even if such persons 
have not been successful as the woi'ld counts success. The well written life 
of a true man or a true woman is an inspiration to the rising generation, and 
goes far toward inducing a spirit of contentment in the minds of the honest 
poor who constitute the bed-rock of all our best communities. 

Pictures of pioneers, of brave soldiers, of early houses, and of anything 
which will help show the varying phases of our early and later civilizations 
must be liberally secured. . All that can be told of its past settlers should be 
gleaned, their origin traced, and the main sources of leading emigrations 
plainly pointed out. Its mines, its improved swamps, its leveed rivers, its 
manufactories, its schools and colleges, its churches, its clubs and societies, 
its various crops, all of its means of material wealth, the history of the devel- 
opment of that wealth, and the various improvements in agriculture and me- 
chanical processes, all should be carefully written. 

The early French colonists made their living partly by hunting and partly 
by a rude form of agriculture, which barely hinted at the almost fabulous 
fertility of our soil; while the early American settlers utilized these vast 
prairies by grazing large herds of cattle. These changed conditions were 
followed at a later date by the introduction of plows that would polish in our 
sticky soils, by the improved agiicultural implements which have magically 
revolutionized farming within the memory of men now living, and which, 
with our railroads, have been the main causes of all our modern prosperity. 
Faithful portrayals of these wonderful results should be furnished from every 
portion of this great State, and should form an important part of the local 
history of almost every agricultural community therein. 

Such sketches will also indicate the conditions which have taken place by 
the change from steam-boating to railroading. These sketches will show how 
Galena was reduced from its proud position of being the great steamboat 
headquarters of the Northwest; how Hennepin, Naples and Meredosia on the 
Illinois river lost their former supremacy, and how New Boston and Oquawka 
on the Mississippi have had to share the same fate. 

The field of work for local historical societies is too large and too diversi- 
fied to allow more than a glance at some of its many features. Such soci- 
eties, when properly managed, and well supported by public opinion, can do 
much to enliven the monotony of life in our smaller communities. Their 
meetings can occasionally be made of great public interest, while they can 
always be the means, through appropriate papers and discussions, of putting 
into print or filing for future use the fleeting records of the past. The news- 
papers are generally glad to publish the most important papers, or an ab- 
stract of the discussions, thus spreading broadcast the results of the labors of 
those who are most active in collecting such materials as ought to be pre- 
served for local history. 

Such societies can suggest the celebration of anniversary events, and when 
they occur can take the lead in their appropriate observance. They can in- 
augurate and can-y through occasional field meetings or old settlers' picnics, 
always taking care to put into written form what is now too apt to be a mere 
entertainment for the moment, saving to posterity the very valuable remin- 
iscences which are usually listened to but not permanently recorded on such 

As the sources of our early and later immigrations sre so distinct and sep- 
arate, bringing to Illinois many nationalities and races of men. speaking dif- 
ferent languages and living in different degrees of cultivation, we may con- 
fidently look here for a new civilization, a different kind of society, and its 
origin and sources will some time be carefully studied. It is our duty to fur- 
nish future students of social life with all possible material for its study, and 
this can be done only by a very careful attention to the details of the origin 
of our immigration. Illinois has absorbed for several generations good soci- 
ety from the East, the North and the South. We see here representatives of 
the best society of twenty different states, with the cultivated sons and 
daughters of a dozen different European nations. These have made their 
homes here, bringing with them manners and customs as various as their 
differing nationalities. How natural that there should grow up a social sys- 


tern culled from the best of the different standards! How easy to form here 
a model for future generations yet unborn! Here we find the courtly South- 
erner, the careful Easterner, the thrifty New Yorker, the staid Quaker, 
meeting in one social family; and the result would naturally be what we 
claim, a new society, more pleasant than either, with the best social ethics 
of all, mingled in one common fountain from which will flow the elements of 
the best society in the world. The Illinois of the future may not only be the 
geographical center of the nation, but it may become the center of soc'al in- 
fluence and wealth, and the radiating center of political power and political 
influence. How important, therefore, will be its past, present and future 
history to the millions of its distant and highly intelligent future generations! 

This enumeration is not intended to be considered as complete or exhaust- 
ive, but rather to give a few samples of the topics and subjects to be investi- 
gated and recorded, to be varied according to circumstances, and to be en- 
larged upon in all cases. Enough has been said to indicate that probably 
very few of the so-called commei'cial histories have thoroughly covered the 
historic field. It therefore may be taken for granted that an enormous 
amount of careful work remains to be performed, and it is left for us to dis- 
cuss some of the means which may profitably be employed to carry forward 
the great work in which our State society may hope to take the lead, but a 
work which should become popularized by the assistance of all good citizens 
in every portion of our fair State. Fortunately we are led to believe that the 
present great revival of interest in history may be a most opportune time for 
a hearty public response to the urgent request for local organization which 
it is our duty to send out to every nook and corner of Illinois. 

There are in the State of Illinois 102 counties. Of these 19 are under what is 
called the county commissioner system, mostly in southern Illinois, contain- 
ing 158 organized road districts, which are generally equivalent to, or identi- 
cal with, voting precincts, but with such a changeable and loose organization 
that they can hardly be called political units, and in these counties we must 
probably refer all historical investigation to the county itself. There are 82 
counties, comprising much the larger part of the State, which are known as 
township organization counties, containing 1,292 different townships, each of 
which may well be called the unit to be considered in all local historical 
investigations. Cook county has a peculiar organization, partaking of both 
of the other county systems, and contains 33 townships, besides the great 
city of Chicago. Within all of these counties and townships may be found 
about five hundred cities and incoporated villages with their own legal 
boundaries, which in many cases must be considered as the units to be or- 
ganized instead of the towns and counties. Adding together all of the 
counties and townships, excluding cities and villages and the voting pre- 
cincts, we find not less than 1437 counties and townships, within which, but 
not besides which, are the aforesaid 158 voting precincts and five hundred 
cities and villages. 

The pioneer history of this large State, its Mormon, Mexican, Civil and 
Spanish war history, its political, ecclesiastical and natural history will never 
be completely and systematically gathered and arranged until all of these 
varying communities have been reached by some system of organization 
which will embrace them all within its capacious folds. The work of over- 
seeing the proper organization of these various civil units which go to make 
up our great State, is one which may well call for the united wisdom of this 
society, with all of the friends it can induce to join in the good cause. I have 
counted and grouped these units in order to assist in comprehension of the sub- 
ject in hand, and not with the idea that the business can be organized and 
carried out by any hard and fast rule, as we shall probably learn in time that 
the end desired must be attained through a great diversity of methods, and 
by a variety of differing organizations. 

A good beginning has already been made in this great field of labor. The 
Chicago Historical Society, of which I am proud to say I am a corresponding 
member, has performed a noble work. It has a magnificent fire-proof building 
in the city of Chicago, costing $175,000 besides cost of the lot. It has covered 

— 3H. 


a great field of original investigation, including the entire northwest, and 
particularly the State of Illinois. It has touched here and there the vast field 
of local history in this State outside of Chicago, but it is precisely because it 
has only been able to touch it hero and there, that a necessity exists for the 
organization we are just now considering. There are a few, perhaps half a 
dozen, county or other local historical societies in this State, which are begin- 
ning to do what is needed to be done in all of the local political units under 

Besides the great Chicago society before mentioned, we have the historical 
societies of the counties of Vermilion, Adams, Jersey, McLean and Cham- 
paign, the New England Society of Rockford, the Scientific Society at Elgin, 
and the Illinois Historical Club at Canton, all engaged wholly, or in part, in 
gathering up the local history of their cities and counties, or immediate 
neighborhoods; while at certain places we are given to understand that 
various clubs, societies or individuals are all ready to enter enthusiastically 
upon the work to be inaugurated by the Illinois State Historical Society. 
The problem before us is: How shall we proceed to direct the full energies of 
this society? 

At the outset I will frankly say that I have stated a question far, far be- 
yond my own ability to answer. I doubt if there is an individual living who 
is able to give it a suitable answer. I will go farther, and will say that I fear 
that the united wisdom of this whole society is unable at present to frame a 
complete answer. The most that I can hope to do is to furnish a few feeble 
suggestions which may cause a discussion among ourselves, a discussion 
which should lead to practical results, and which may set in motion forces to 
grow in power with the increase of this society, and the growth of public 
opinion and interest, until in the end those who come after us may see a 
final solution of what to us now seems a question entirely too large for our 
immediate comprehension. 

One of the results of our attendance at this meeting should be the preparation 
of quite a list of names of persons, societies or clubs in different parts of this 
State known to be interested in the local history of their own neighborhoods. 
This list should be enlai-ged from time to time by our own officers and as 
rapidly as possible. These officers, or some appropriate committee, should 
immediately issue an address to the people of this State, to be published m 
all of its newspapers, urging the formation of local historical societies, and 
this address, accompanied by a suggestive circular with an appropriate form 
for organization, should be sent to the list of clubs, societies or persons 
known to be interested in this work, and they should be requested and urged 
to take whatever steps may be deemed appropriate to organize their own 
township, city or county, or districts of counties, into such a society as may 
best be suited to the end in view. 

Under the impetus to be given the good work as a result of this meeting 
and the immediate efforts of this society, supplemented by the influence of 
their own local and interesting Indian, French, Colonial or early State his- 
tory, it is safe to assume that such large counties as LaSalle, Peoria, Madi- 
son, St. Clair, Will, and Sangamon can soon report an efficient county his- 
torical society, ready and willing to aid our State society and to become its 
auxiliary. Smaller counties like Jo Daviess, Morgan Pike, Macoupin, Rock 
Island, Livingston, Winnebago, Hancock, Bureau, Knox, Ogle, Macon, Coles 
and Iroquois, and many others of similar size and character, may be .lust as 
likely to become as deeply interested and to be the first to form the desired 
local organizations. In many counties there is already a deep interest m this 
work, as well as a large amount of historical material at hand, and we may 
find that smaller counties, compactly organized, with interests greatly cen- 
tralized, like Randolph, Monroe and Menard, with their wealth of local his- 
tory, may prove to be the first to organize and the easiest to be aroused to a 
lively zeal in this important enterprise. Scott, Carroll, Stephenson, Kanka- 
kee, Edgar, Warren, Logan, McDonough, and several others, are also ex- 
amples of counties with interests so pleasantly centralized that their people 
can readily cooperate in almost any enterprise that is plainly to the interest 
of the entire public. 


There is, however, a class of counties of which we have several examples, 
•which I prefer not to name, where county seat dissensions or other disquiet- 
ing questions continue to vex the people so that we must expect to wait for 
more auspicious seasons before looking for harmonious and cheerful coopera- 
tion under county organizations, and in these, as in some other places, we 
may reasonably expect that much work can be accomplished through the 
medium of township, village or city organizations. Then there are several 
small counties, like Putnam, Calhoun, Massac, Hardin, Pulaski, and several 
others of larger territory with a very low real estate valuation, like Johnson, 
Pope, Saline, and unfortunate Gallatin, with its wealth of political history, 
where we can not reasonably look for the response that can be given by more 
fortunately situated districts. As the greatest good of any prosperous com- 
munity is found by assisting its weakest members, it is reasonable to believe 
that our wealthy and populous commonwealth, will sooner or later subserve 
its own interests by taking steps to assist the poorer counties, if their finan- 
cial inability to carry on this work is fully demonstrated. 

But before we decide that such a step will ever be necessary we must try 
all possible efforts to organize and pursue this work by other means. For in 
stance, Calhoun covanty, one of the weakest counties from its territorial situa- 
tion has usually been districted for congressional, legislative, and judicial 
purposes, wilh the county of Pike, and the people of these two counties fra- 
ternize so completely that it might be perfectly agreeable for them to consol- 
idate their interests in one society. Little Putnam could perhaps, easily unite 
with its pleasant neighbor, Marshall county. The small counties of Brown 
and Schuyler, separated only by a narrow stream and accustomed for a half 
a century to act together on neai'ly all questions, could perhaps easily organ- 
ize and act together for the purpose under consideration. Alexander, Pu- 
laski and Union at the southern extremity of Illinois, each small and weak, 
thrown together by necessity in district organizations, and having had their 
local history in part, once published in the same volume, might find it easy to 
go forward and carry out the suggestions to be made by this society. These 
illustrations might be carried further, but enough has been said to show that 
by the well directed energy of the friends of this society, together with the 
best efforts of interested citizens of all parts of our State, including even our 
most sparsely settled districts, and by the use of all the means available, it 
is entirely possible to see the whole state well organized into local historical 
societies suitable to the purposes designed. 

Let us exert ourselves for one year to the utmost, and if, at the end of our 
first year, we can show progress in organization commensurate with the im- 
portance of the subject, and can demonstrate our society's ability to grapple 
fully with this problem, it will then be time enough, at our next annual meet- 
ing to formulate a request to the legislature, to give us material assistance 
and legal authority to go forward and fill in the gaps still left in the large list 
of cities, towns and counties, to be finally reached. 

We can not help regarding the State Historical Society of Wisconsin as a 
model society, and its example can be wisely followed in almost every par- 
ticular. That society as is well known, has been one of the most successful 
in the United States, yet its field of historical work, is not fully covered. 
The need of more perfect organization caused the passage of a state law two 
years ago, providing for the oi'ganization of local societies which shall be 
auxiliary to the State Society, and as its constitution allows these local so- 
cieties to be represented in all general meetings of the parent society by one 
delegate, it will be seen that the whole state can thus be made to feel an in- 
tegral interest in the work now being carried on so nobly by that great 
society, and which it is our ambition to see initiated in Illinois. 

Whether we shall wait for legislation next winter, and then attempt to fol- 
low the example of Wisconsin in the other particulars which can not be 
enumerated here, or whether we shall proceed to act vigorously during this 
year, and ask for legislation later, are questions which I shall not attempt 
to answer, but it is my opinion that we should enthusiastically act at 
once according to our best ability, demonstrate that we have some apprecia- 
tion of the importance of our cause, and proceed at the same time to devise a 


scheme that will eventually call for a moderate amount of assistance from the 
State government, and that we hold our next annual meeting at Springfield, 
soon after the opening of the next session of the Legislature. 

One of the methods followed by the Wisconsin Society, has been through 
the aid of the State Superintendent, who is, by law designated as special 
commissioner to "collect such local historical and biographical material as 
may be considered valuable," for preversation in its library. Very good re- 
sults have followed from this action, which is of very recent origin. In the 
cities of Boston and Philadelphia a good beginning has been made by the or- 
ganization of local school histoi'y clubs, and an idea ot the scope of their work 
can be foimed from the following questions sent out to the schools of Phila- 

"Are there any historic houses or places in your section? What streets in 
your section are named for distinguished men? What distinguished men or 
women were born, have resided or are buried or now living in j^our section? 
Has your section been connected in any way with incidents of the colonial 
period, with any event of historic importance occuring between the revolu- 
tionary period and 18fil, or with the civil war period? What monuments are 
there in your section? What boys or girls who attended your school have at- 
tained to national distinction?" 

It may be rather premature for me to suggest carrying out any plans for the 
organization of local school history clubs, but it appears to me that the ap- 
pointment of a committee to bring the matter to the State Superintendent's 
notice before the next meeting of the Illinois Teachers' Association, asking for 
suggestions as to plans of procedure, and for such co-operation as may be 
possible, will be a practical method of calling public attention to the subject. 

The present local Historical Societies now in existence, should be urged to 
become in some manner yet to be determined, auxiliary to the Illinois State 
Historical Society, and all new societies to be formed hereafter, should be 
brought into the same harmonious relation. Should it then be thought wise,, 
in the future pi'ogress of our work, to institute some form of central oversight, 
or possibly some system of legislative assistance, the whole State can be 
reached in a systematic manner, after models now in existence in other states. 

It is fortunate that our State Historical Library, at the the State Capital, 
has at present facilities for assisting the State Society in carrying forward this 
great work of orgaization, and in my opinion, it will be very greatly to the so- 
ciety's interest, which is the public interest, if the books and papers which it 
may accumulate, shall be kept in the State Historical Library. There is an 
argument of great strength in this position, in the fact, that in this manner 
our society and its work can be impressed upon the members of the State 
Legislature, upon the State officials, and the general public, as being most 
emphatically a State institution, acting in harmony with all the great depart- 
ments of state as administered at the State Capitol. 

The magnificent work of the New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin State 
Historical Societies, in gathering up important history, a work which has cost 
already several millions of dollars, should teach the third most important 
State in the Union, its need for such a society, as we hope to see organized 
here. Valuable. as are the collections now in our State Historical Library, 
and in the Library of the Chicago Historical Society, much yet remain to be 
added to these, or to be gathered by some such broadly organized body as our 
own. Important documents, even of the early days of Illinois, yet remain 
where they can be utilized by such local organizations as we are discussing, 
and we shall never know how many of these exist until the whole State has 
been completely examined. These documents of great value do not all relate 
to our earliest period, but they cover important subjects, and when brought 
to light, they or copies of these will not only be objects of great value to the 
local societies, but can also be added to the collections in possession of the 
State Society. It will thus readily be seen that there are a great variety of 
ways which need not be specified, in which wide awake local societies can 
very gi*eatly aid the parent society in carrying forward its chosen work. 


As the Wisconsin Historical Society is now making arrangements through 
the oificers of the State Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, for 
local auxiliary organizations to assist in the great work of gathering up the 
records of the Civil War, which organizations, are by the law of the State, 
recognized as auxiliary to the State society, it may be well for us to follow 
this example, and appoint a committee to confer with officials of our own 
State Encampment, with a view to bring about a general cooperation between 
these semi-military societies and the Illinois State Historical Society. 

No matter what method is taken for a more thorough organization of the 
friends of local history, I feel confident that one of the greatest aids in the 
work will be an annual field meeting of this society at some important historic 
locality. Suppose we meet next year at Starved Rock in LaSalle county, another 
year at Black Hawk's Watch Tower at Rock Island, another time here at 
some point near Historic Peoria, some other time near the site of old Kaskas- 
kia, which is now the bed of the Mississippi river, and again at the great 
■Cahokia Mound. Suppose that when we are at the latter place, near the line 
between the counties of St. Clair and Madison, we can be met by a strong 
Historical society from both of these two large counties, which are so full of 
^rchaelogical remains and historical associations, and suppose that in LaSalle, 
Rock Island, Randolph and Peoria, we are also met by an enthusiastic, 
well organized society from each of these counties. 

Suppose that we can follow these meetings by great field meetings at the lead 
mine region of Galena, or the site of the Mormon Temple at Nauvoo, or per- 
haps gather at the National Cemeterj'- at Mound City where the State has 
raised a monument to its heroic dead, or again in Menard county at the new 
•Chatauqua Camp near the vanished town site of New Salem, hallowed by 
sacred memories of Abraham Lincoln, and that we are properly received at 
each locality by a well organized County Historical Society. 

Is it not safe to say that ten such meetings, and ten such local so- 
•cieties would find nearly all the rest of the State alive to the importance of 
the cause? If ten such or similar field meetings are held, is it not tolerably 
-certain that the good work will continue until 1918. And is it not just as cer- 
tain that the year 1918 will find the Illinois State Historical Society backed by 
the maturely organized historic sentiment of our citizens fully prepared to do 
justice to the Centennial Celebration of the great State of Illinois to come off 
in 1918? There are eighteen more years for preparation for this very impor- 
tant historical event. If we act vigorously and are well supported by public 
sentiment during these eighteen years, we ought long before the year 1918 to 
see our whole state fully organized, with one large parent society containing 
members from all over the State, with auxiliary local historical societies in 
«very one of our 102 counties, besides many township or city societies, to- 
gether with other affiliated organizations devoted in part to historical investi- 

We will imagine this great work of organization, under the stimulus of a 
magnificent scheme for a State Centennial Celebration, to be thoroughly com- 
pleted. The great city by Lake Michigan, and the little cities on the Ohio 
river, with all the inhabitants of the broad prairies of Illinois, will enthusias- 
tically unite in doing honor to the memory of the great men of the past. Un- 
der the shadows of the Lincoln monument, at the State Capitol, the members 
•of the Illinois State Historical Society, representing every county, every city, 
almost every neighborhood, will be met by delegations from hundreds of lo- 
cal historical societies, and then will be appropriately celebrated the anniver- 
■sary of the first century of the existence of the great central Empire State of 
the Mississippi Valley, then to be second in importance in our magnificent 
galaxy of free and independent States! 

We, who are attempting to properly awaken an enthusiastic spirit of historic 
investigation and appropriate organization, may not all live to see the consum- 
mation of these hopes, but our places will be filled by more zealous lovers of th 
history of the proud State of Illinois, and under the lead of wiser and abler 
counsellors, the Illinois State Historical Society will carry forward the good 
work in which we are engaged, and will finally see, not only the artistic and im- 
posing celebration of 1918, but many subsequent future Centennials, each in 
succession commemorating the wonderful development of the preceding 




By General James M. Ruggfles. 

The first representative in Cong:ress from the State of Illinois was Daniel 
P. Cook of Kaskaskia, who served from December, 1818, until March 4, 1827.* 

Joseph Duncan of Jacksonville was the successor of Mr. Cook and served 
rrom 1827 to 1833, as the one representative of the State. 

Under the census of 1830 the State was divided into three Congressional 
districts. tFrom the 1st district, John Reynolds of Belleville, from the 2nd, 
Zadok Casey of Mt. Vernon, and from the third, Joseph Duncan were elected, 
Duncan resigning to be elected Governor in 1834. William L. May of Spring- 
field served as his successor and was again elected in 1834 together with Rey- 
nolds and Casey. 

In 1826 Adam W. Snyder of Belleville, Casey and May were again elected. 

In 1838 Reynolds and Casey were again elected from the 1st and 2nd dis- 
tricts, and John T. Stuart of Springfield from the 3rd district. 

The same three congressmen were elected in 1840. 

Previous to the year 1843, the entire State had but three congressional dis- 
tricts, two of them occupying a small portion of the south end of the 
State. In 1883 John T. Stuart of Springfield, the Whig candidate, and 
Stephen A. Douglas of Jacksonville, the democratic champion, canvassed the 
great northern district for the Congressional prize, and after a most notable 
contest Stuart, the Whig, came out seven votes ahead and was the first Whig 
Congressman elected in Illinois. 

The census of 1840 gave to Illinois four additional Congressmen and the 
election was postponed a year to get the benefit of the new apportionment 
made by the Legislature that adjourned on the 6th of March, 1843. The Whig 
convention for the 7th district was called to meet at Pekin in May, 1843, and 
the two popular champions of the party, Edward D. Baker of Springfield and 
John J. Hardin of Jacksonville, were the aspirants for Congressional nom- 

I had been chosen as the delegate from Scott county and on my arrival at 
Pekin was met by Gen. Baker, who at once sought an intei'view in which he 
said — "Well, how is iti There are fifteen delegates for Hardin and fifteen 
for me, and it all depends on you." My answer was that he well knew my 
partiality for him, but I was sent there by people who favored Hardin. He 
then said, "That settles it— you will have to go for him." We then entered 
the room where the convention was held. Abraham Lincoln was there as the 
champion delegate for Baker and Wm. Browa of Jacksonville for Hardin. 
The convention was called to order and I was called to act as secretary. Gen- 
eral Baker arose and made a most thrilling speech and ended with declining 

*Mr. Cook was the representative elected for the first full congressional term. 1819-1821. 
He had, however, been preceded by .John McLean who qualified as a representative from' 
Illinois at the second session of the fifteenth Congress. Ed. 

tMr. Reynolds was elected after the close of the first session of the twenty-third con" 
gress to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Charles Slade. Ed. 


his candidacy, leaving a unanimous vote for Gen. Hardin, who was not pres- 
ent. Then Mr. Lincoln came across the room to the secretary's table and 
asked me in a low confidential tone, if I would favor a resolution recommend- 
ing: Baker for the next term. On receiving a favorable answer he said, 
"You prepare the resolution, I will support it, and I think we can carry it." 
The resolution brought ou a lively battle between the friends of the rival can- 
didates — but when the vote was taken it had passed by a majority of one! 
In the canvass that followed James A. M'Dougal, who was Attorney General 
for the State at one time and afterwards a United States Senator, from Cali- 
fornia, was Gen. Hardin's Democratic opponent. 

In 1844 the Whig convention was held at Tremont. There was no opposi- 
tion to Baker, I was again a delegate and secretary of the convention. In 
the canvass that followed John Calhoun of Springfield was the democratic 
candidate. On the 30th of December, 1846, Col. Baker returned from the 
Mexican War, went to his seat at the capital in full military dress, made a 
flaming war speech, resigned his seat in Congress, and returned to the battle 
field. Capt. John Henry of Jacksonville was elected to fill the balance of the 

In 1846 the Whig convention was held at Mt. Pulaski. Mr. Lincoln was the 
only Whig candidate, and had for his democratic opponent the famous ]\Ietho- 
dist preacher, Peter Cartwright. I was again made a delegate but could not 
attend the convention. 

In 1848 Stephen T. Logan was the only Whig candidate and was beaten in 
the canvas bj' Maj. Thos. L. Harris of Petersburg, who had just returned 
from Mexico well stocked with honors of war. 

In 1850 Richard Yates of Jacksonville defeated Major Harris, the democratic 

In 1852 Gov. Yates again defeated Major Harris. In this canvass an amus- 
ing incident occurred. I was in Springfield during the canvass, having ac- 
cepted an invitation from Mr. Lincoln, John T. Stuart, Simeon Francis, and 
others to be a candidate for the State senate from the capital district without 
a convention. Gov. Yates invited me to go with him to Mechanicsburg, 
where he and Major Harris were to have a joint discussion. He said Major 
Harris had been making false assertions about him and if he repeated them, 
he (Yates) intended to give him the lie, and in that event he wanted a friend 
to stand by him. The offensive remarks were repeated by the Major and 
Yates gave him the lie, and soon after the meeting adjourned. Harris went 
out first and when Yates and myself went out we found the Major standing 
near the door with an open knife in one hand and a large plug of tobacco in 
the other. He immediately stepped forward and remarked, "Knowing that 
you two gentlemen are good judges of fine chewing tobacco. I present this to 
you," at the same time cutting the plug and handing to us. We accepted with 
thanks, glad to see that there was no fighting to be done. 

Major Harris was again elected to congress in 1854 and 1856 and died in 
November, 1858, whilst yet a member. 

The incident in the Pekiu convention, followed up by the actions of the suc- 
ceeding conventions in 1844, 1846, 1848 and 1850, naturally suggests the in- 
quiry, was there a rotation scheme adopted to land certain men in Congress? 
ft looks a little that way, but I have no knowledge of such a purpose and am 
inclined to the opinion that in those better days men were less selfish and 
more willing to divide political honors with worthy men in the pai'ty. 

Hardin, slain in the the battle of Beuna Vista; Baker, at Ball's Bluff; Lin- 
coln, at the Nation's Capital; Yates, Harris, Stuart, Douglas and M'Dougal — 
all from the old seventh district — and such noble, patriotic men; three of them, 
in the order named, willing martyrs, who died that their country might live. 
What other like portion of the earth has given to the world such a splendid 
lot of jewels? 

It was my blessed privilege to know more or less intimately all the parties 
named in this paper, except Daniel P. Cook — he was before my time. The 
brightest pages in my memory refer to them. All have long ago passed on to 
the invisible world but the memory of their noble lives still lives in the hearts 
of their countrymen. 



By Major George Murray McConnell. 

Before trying t® put into words some of the things I recall about Mr, Doug- 
las, 1 wish to express my appreciation of the honor of being asked to do so. 
I am often disposed to think that 'the unpardonable sin' is not a fixed and de- 
finitely 'known quantity,' an act that is always the same in essence, though 
different sinners may adopt different methods of committing it, but that it 
varies from age to age and in different localities. In our age and country the 
'unpardonable sin' of all, is to be more than forty years old. This is pre- 
eminently the age of 'the young man.' There is nothing that he thinks he 
can not do better than the old man, and he insists that he himself must be 
permitted to determine just who is an old man, except to indulge in reminis- 
cences. He has not yet, at least, developed an ambition to 'reminisce', but 
no prophet can foretell how soon he may develop it, since, like that other 
product of the age, 'the New Woman,' who seems to cast covetous eyes upon 
the only thing she has not yet captured, the dignity of being a father, the 
'young man' has taken in everything except the reminiscent power. And 
when he has taken up that; the old man may cry with Othello, that his 
'occupation is gone.' 

It may be equivalent to classification as 'ancient history,' yet it is a distinc- 
tion very grateful to me to be identified with this first annual meeting of a 
state society which was far too late in being born, and has before it a vast field 
for research reaching back for more than two centuries. What I may say 
about Mr. Douglas may be of but small importance in history, but it will, 
at least place my own name on the record of a society 'with a future,' because 
of the happy circumstances that even the man who as before remarked, dom- 
inates this age can not possibly remember what happened before he was born, 
and must 'give the old man a chance.' 

Mr. Douglas came to Jacksonville, where my father, Murray McConnel, 
was then a practicing lawyer, in the year in which I was born, as I have been 
informed. His coming, therefore, is hardly a reminiscence, but the informa- 
tion is. It is probably true that the money with which he started from New 
York was nearly exhausted, but I do not belieye it was reduced to 37^2 cents 
as some of his biographical sketches have stated. 

Nor do I believe that when he left Jacksonville to go to Winchester, in Scott 
county, he walked the sixteen miles between the two places. I have always 
understood that my father was one of the first men he met in Jacksonville; 
that he remained in that town for some time, probably some months, during 
which time he was made welcome to the use of my father's law books, and 
welcome in his home, and was helped along with good counsel and friendly 
light on the people among whom he had come, with a view of making his 
'tenderfoot' period as short and easy as possible; and further, that when he 
did go to Scott county, whereof, Winchester is the county town, he took with 
him letters of introduction from my father, who had formerly lived there, 
through which he secured the school where he taught for a short time. I do 
not believe that he walked, because in those helpful and hearty days, when 
Illinois had hardly ceased to be a frontier state, it was as easy to find some way 
for him to ride as to give him a letter of introduction, and I know that for 
many years thereafter my father himself drove over the road between Jack- 


sonville and Winchester once or twice a month all the year round. I remem- 
ber hearing him say that almost the first thing he heard of Douglas after he 
began teaching in Scott county, was that he was an 'independent candidate 
for the legislature.' He was not successful in 'breaking into' office at that 
•time, but that he so promptly made the attempt was characteristic of the 
man. He was filled with the commanding, irrepressible instinct of leader- 
ship, and the direction in which that leadership should be exercised was de- 
termined by another spontaneous quality, the civic instinct. He was born 
with the potentiality of strong convictions and the desire to impress those 
convictions upon others. But his way of doing so was never the arbitrary 
nor even the dogmatic way. He had no sort of disposition to go, like the 
Mohammedan, with a creed in one hand and a sword in the other, and a fa- 
natic resolution that every man he met must swallow one or the other. The 
very first impulse of the man, when he found anyone dissenting from him in 
•opinion, may be embodied in the familiar phrase, 'Come let us reason to- 
gether.' It was as natural and spontaneous with him to reason, to argue, to 
seek to convince, as it is to all men to eat. 

During the very early years of my life, Mr. Douglas was often in my 
father's house. 1 remember a few salient and striking things about him 
rather than any definite recollection of the man as a whole, for several years. 
If I had not known him later as a man, I could never have told to what per- 
sonality these salient points were to be attributed. I remember most distinct- 
ly, perhaps, his eyes and his voice. The eyes were large, steady, and with a 
peculiar quality that impressed one as depth. I can not tell what it is. It 
can not be merely some arrangement of surfaces that reflect life in a certain 
way, because, I have noticed the same quality in the eyes of some portraits. 
There is a portrait of Napoleon the eyes in which always produced the same 
effect on me, gave me the same creepy kind of thrill along the spinal column 
that seemed to be strangely made up of contradictory qualities, a kind of 
fearful delight. He often gave much attention to me in the years in which 
my first vague recollections come back to me. At least it seemed to me that 
it was much, yet I can see now, saw, indeed, only a few years later, that for 
all his attention to me he never lost touch with other things going on about 
him. He would take a book, any book, or one of the rare newspapers in 
those days, and would be pointing out to me the letters of the alphabet and 
-showing me how to distinguish between them, so that, as I have often said, I 
learned my a, b, c's from him, and before I had any just conception of what 
letters were; and yet never lose the thread of a lively or a serious 
conversation with one or two, or more, other persons present. At such times 
I would see, or seem to see, depths unfathomable in the eyes, and for years I 
rarely saw those letters of the alphabet without feeling the image, I can not 
express it in any other way, of those unblenching eyes in my conscious mem- 
ory. As 1 grew older I began, while still drawn by the same spell, to be con- 
scious that he showed always a certain curious gift of alertness, of being viv- 
idly alive to all that was going on about him, to be, as it seems to me now, 
carrying on several independent mental processes at the same time. 

Another thing I remember distinctly is his voice. In ordinary inter-course 
he was not what could be fairly called a "loud talker." The vocal strength 
used was always adapted to the circumstances. But there was a certain qual- 
ity of broad, deep, vibrant energy in the tone that was strangly enthralling 
alike to one or two, or to a throng of many thousands. 

Years afterwards when I was probably fourteen or fifteen, he spoke, on one 
of many occassions, at an out door meeting in Jacksonville, from an impro- 
vised platform of a long and wide table standing on the shady side of the old 
court house, one mellow, golden September afternoon. With the privilege 
of a boy friend I sat for nearly three hours on the table in front of him, as 
he spoke over my head to several thousand people. 

There was a fitful wind rustling and murmuring through the young trees 
Tinder which the crowd sat and stood, and his voice rose and fell with the 
•wanton swell and subsidence of the wind, round, deep, sonorous, with the 
•effortless volume of a great organ tone, never failing to reach his remotest 
;auditor, yet never shattering into mere sound on the ears of those nearest. 

It filled every capacity I had for hearing, as it rolled out close over my head^ 
yet it never gave me any sense of being deafened, and for long hours after- 
ward I could hear, on the imaginative side of my memory, the measured 
cadences of his senteneeb, as one feels the swell of the ocean for days after 
ending a long voyage. 

It did not seem strange to me then, that when he came to Jacksonville he 
knew everybody. It was a small semi-frontier town, and I knew everybody 
too. But it dawned on me, after a time, that I saw all those people, '"Cap," 
and Dick and John and Patrick, every day, while he was there only at long 
intervals of time, long, that is to say, for personal acquaintance, and that 
meantime he was deep in the whirl of a great, tumultuous life movement, 
only faint echoes of which ever came to me. Then I began to appreciate the 
truth that it was a wonderful power he had of recognizing at a glance each 
one of those unimportant units in our little corner of the world. The power 
of calling "Cap," and Dick and John and Patrick each by his proper name 
on the instant, that he knew even the names of their boys and girls, never 
misplacing one of them, I could scarcely do that myself though I saw them 
every day, and saw few others. It is impossible for me to say how much 
effort this cost him, but I do know that it did not seem to cost him any at all. 
It seemed as spontaneous as breathing. There is no more subtle 
or more powerful flattery possible to man. He gave to everyone of 
those humble and practically nameless followers the impression, the feeling, 
that he was the frank, personal friend of each one of them. And yet I do not 
think he was ever with one of them for a minute without also leaving in his 
mind an ineffaceable impression of having been in contact with something 
immeasurably higher and deeper and broader than himself, of a great impos- 
ing personality, in a word. 

It has always seemed to me a misfortune for him that he was so short in 
stature. His walk in life forced him to 't^how himself to his fellow men. In 
most circumstances he rose, by sheer force of brain and will, above the dis- 
advantage. Yet it was a disadvantage, and I have always felt and feel yet, 
that if, without any other change, he had been given the imposing stature 
and presence, aside from the head, of Webster, for example, he would have 
loomed larger in the history of his country. 

One of my vivid recollections of the man is that he was often accused of a 
kind of ingratitude, the ingratitude of the politician. That is to say that he 
was always keenly alive to the importance of gaining new followers; that in 
the distribution of such prizes as he could command he alwavs had this in 
view; that he 'threw his influence,' as the phrase is, for "Cap" to be post- 
master instead of Dick, because he was absolutely sure of Dick's loyalty, in 
any event, while 'Cap' was more or less an uncertain quantity. There may 
have been some truth in the imputation. The man who can steer clear of 
such a feeling altogether must be something more, or less, than man. It is 
a continuing temptation for almost any man in our system of party govern- 
ment. The power to have any prizes to distribute at all, depends wholly upon 
being able to command more followers than the other man. The party leader 
may well feel justified in applying half of the prizes to the securing of enough 
of the doubtful element to make his majority, because without the majority 
he will not have anything to bestow on anybody. It seems to me significant 
that of all I can remember to have heard said on the point in those days it 
was nearly all among those who were his avowed adversaries. I never heard 
but one man, of those who professed to be his friends, who hinted at any 
complaint of this type, and he was a man to whom Mr. Douglas had promised 
his 'influence' for an office of importance, and had later found it wise to rec- 
ommend another man, frankly telling the first man his reason. When 
I asked of the latter if he considered the reason a good one, in poli- 
tics, he replied: 'Well, yes, I suppose so, but Douglas should have conferred 
with me, first, 'Would you have assented?' I asked. 'Why, of course,' he 
said, 'though I would have felt unwilling to give up.' Then, after a pause, 
he continued, 'I suppose I ought to feel gratified that he had, as he said, 
sufficient confidence in my generosity to feel sure of my assent, while he had 

not time to consult me'. This incident and Mr. Dougflas' way of treating it 
seemed to me to throw a strong light on the evils of the system itself, as well 
as on the course that Mr. Douglas, like every other politician sometimes 
found himself forced to pursue. When he is in a large majority, it is safe for 
him to place all his prizes among his friends, but the trouble then is that he 
has more friends than places. Hence, somebody has to be denied, and, con- 
sequently, the next time he will have fewer friends and far less influence. 
I heard, unwittingly, part of a conversation between Mr. Douglas and an- 
other man to whom he had promised something in the heated Douglas Lin- 
coln campaign of 1858. 'I do not see,' he said, 'that I could do otherwise. If 
I were defeated, you, my friend, would not get the place now or ever. If 
I could hold my rank there was every reason to hope that in a not far distant 
future I could compensate you for waiting. If I should lose my hold, your 
waiting would be forever.' In this case the man replied, 'AH right, Doug. 
It's hard luck; but it's politics. I'll not knife you.' 

An incident of the campaign of 1860 will serve to show how he bore him- 
self in trying circumstances, and, at the same time, will illustrate the condi- 
tions of the times. Pardon the personal note in it. I can scarcely tell it with- 
out. In that year Mr. Douglas spoke to a large meeting in Jacksonville in 
the afternoon, remained there through the night, and went to Springfield the 
following forenoon. An older brother of mine had been for years a warm 
supporter of Mr. Douglas, but in this campaign adhered to the 'administra- 
tion' or 'Buchanan' wing of the party. In a manner unnecessary to detail 
here, this brother was accused of unfairly 'capturing,' and speaking to, a 
meeting which had come together on the preceding evening to hear a distin- 
guished gentlemen, who was later high in the military service of the coun- 
try, who was traveling with Mr. Douglas. The charge was unjust, as to mo- 
tive and facts, but the distinguished gentleman was very indignant. I will 
not name him, because he is still living. Lei: me call him the colonel, and add 
that I have never had any doubt that bethought he was in the right, and fur- 
ther that I knew he was wrong as to the facts of the captured meeting, 
though I agreed with him and not with my brother in the party schism. 

My brother was on the train going to Springfield, and at the first stop was 
called from his seat into the postoffice division of the baggage car by Mr. 
Douglas, who was much surprised and grieved at this defection of one 
of his oldest friends. There was no way of reaching this postoffice room ex- 
cept along a narrow iron rod on the outside of the car, holding to another 
rod running along the car-side, near the roof. A hair-raising transit for a 
novice, when the train was in motion. I knew of this meeting and of Mr. 
Douglas' wishes. Both my father and brother had always been among Mr. 
Douglas' warmest partisans, and he was genuinely startled to find this 
defection in such a place, and was anxious to reclaim his friend. Be- 
fore the tram had run three miles, a local politician came into the coach 
where I sat and stooping his white, scared face to me, whispered that my 
brother was 'in danger in the postoffice room.' I rose quietly and passed in- 
to that room. There I found Mr. Douglas sitting on the wide shelf used for 
distributing mail, talking earnestly to my brother who leaned against the 
edge of this shelf close against Mr. Douglas' knee. 

The colonel and one or two others stood across the little compartment with 
scowling brows. Almost as I entered, the colonel strode forward and angrily 
confronting my brother, spoke of the captured meeting, charging him with it 
as if from some information. 'It is false, sir,' was the prompt reply, my 
brother's purpose being not to 'give the lie' to the colonel, for he knew the 
colonel spoke only on information, but to give the lie to his informant whom- 
soever he might be. But the colonel took it as being applied to himself. The 
air was sultry before, but at these words one could fairly smell the sulphur in 
it. I instantly stepped in front of my brother, knowing I was safe from him, 
and confronted the colonel, whose eyes glared fiercely while his right hand 
was thrust quickly under the skirt of his coat, to draw a revolver as I was 
sure, while I could plainly see the pistol of at least one of his friends. Be- 
fore any reply could be made, there was a diversion caused by the sudden en- 


trance at one of the open side doors of one of my brother's partisans, who 
silently showed me a long, gleaming steel blade thrust up his sleeve, and took 
his place by my side. As my brother's hand came over my shoulder in a 
quiet attempt to push me aside, I saw the barrel of a short, heavy Derringer 
lying under two extended Angers. I myself leaned lightly on an old fash- 
ioned sword cane, tense, alert, scared, I'm free to say now, resolved to keep 
peace if I could, but to defend my brother if I must, even against my politi- 
cal friends. The situation was characteristic of that tempestous time in cen- 
tral and southern Illinois. Large number's of men carried arms, yet hesitated 
to use them, because they knew so many were likewise ready, and because all 
felt that if the convulsion began, no man could guess in what amazing zig- 
zags the line of cleavage would open. For fifteen minutes or more we stood 
thus, while one of the colonel's friends seeing the misconception after a few 
minutes, strove to compose the difficulty, and at last succeeded. 

The position of Mr. Douglas in this situation may be imagined. He was a 
•candidate for the presidency. His friend, the colonel, was a conspicuous man, 
another man present was a State officer, and every man present except Mr. 
Douglas himself, and perhaps the mail agent, was armed. A presidential 
candidate might, of course, be entangled in a riot in some public meeting and 
escape damaging censure. But here was a small circle of gentlemen, using 
the mail car of an administration hostile to him, into which it could be made 
to appear that an offending man had been decoyed alone, two of his friends 
coming by accident a little later. A brawl in such circumstances would be 
blown over the house tops by antagonists, and must be absolutely fatal to 
Mr. Douglas' hope of even respectful hearing, and a fierce brawl of armed 
men, shut, with him, into a place probably six by eight feet in area, seemed 
inevitable. It was a situation to try his nerve. 

What was his bearing? It was that of the most unblenching coolness, self- 
command and dignity. When the cloud suddenly lowered, he lifted his head, 
and his glance swept over the whole situation. I was sure he saw the arms 
and knew the danger. He lifted his hand, and his heavy voice rose firm and 
steady over the rattle and clang of the train, 'Gentlemen," he said, 'this must 
not be! I sought only to reclaim the support of a valued friend, as you all 
know. You are all personal friends, and you know the injustice to me of in- 
volving me in any personal difficulty — the fatal injustice. There must be 
some mistake between you. I, my fortunes, have bred your quarrel, in a 
sense. Let my enforced withdrawal recall you to your better selves,' He 
sprang down from his high seat and passed out with an lair of reproachful 
dignity, which I, at least, can never forget. It was a hazardous passage for 
anyone while the train was in rapid motion, and his then protuberant pro- 
portions and short stature made such an Al Sirat-like transit doubly hazard- 
ous. But he made it with perfect coolness and dignity, and even in the 
midst of the roused passions toppling on the edge of conflict, there was ab- 
solute silence in the little compartment until it was felt that he had regained 
his place in the following coach. And when my brother and I passed a few 
moments later, he looked up with a calm, grave smile, and said in low, 
deep tones, 'I'm glad to see vou — well — John!' 

The incident illustrated the temper of a time which this generation knows 
nothing about, and still more vividly, Mr. Douglas' personal weight with men 
who knew him, even though politically antagonizing him, and his cool and 
ready self command in emergencies. Had he kept his seat five minutes 
longer, somebody would have been hurt, he perhaps, most of all. The 
tense silence while he faced danger in another form to move away, 
gave time in which "the way out" was opened for all of us. 

During the years of my boyhood and youth I saw Mr. Douglas at irregular 
intervals, and though I was growing and changing he never failed to know and 
recognize me with the frank, cordial, hearty manner of a personal friend 
though I was wholly without weight in political life. He never came into his 


xirst stopping place, (Jacksonville was hardly his home at any time), in Illi- 
nois, without asking about all the men he knew in the old days, and going 
out of his way to hunt them up when they did not come to him though truth 
to say this was not often necessary. Week after week he would travel through 
the central parts of the State, speaking often, sometimes more than once a 
day, nearly always in the open air, rarely showing fatigue from that exhaust- 
ing labor. Dignity, the sense of his high position as leader and statesman, 
grew on him with advancing years and more responsible position, but the 
frank, cordial personal charm among his friends never chilled nor faded to 
the last. 

I trust it may be pardoned to other exacting duties if I venture to read here 
some further glimpses of my recollections of him which were printed a few 
years ago, but probably have not been seen by any here present. 

An old-fashioned parlor in what was then nearly fifty years ago, amid Illi- 
nois frontier village, from the air of which the smoky smell of the wigwam 
had not been long absent, and now less than 100 miles from the center of 
population of the whole union. A sofa with scroll ends, with black" hair- 
cloth, from whose glare surface an incautious sitter might slide as from a 
tilted glacier. Half a dozen chairs, small brothers in the same haircloth fam- 
ily. A square piano that seemed huge then, but was hardly larger than the 
large "melodeon" of twenty-five years later, with legs like an inverted lyre, 
made in Leipsic and carried across the ocean, over the Mexican gulf, up the 
Mississippi and the Illinois, and thence by wagon twenty or more miles to the 
town where it was the pioneer and wonder of music for years. In front of 
this, a little round stool, covered with a bright scarlet fabric of worsted, 
studded thick around the crown with brass-headed nails, and wonderfully 
moved up and down by a huge screw that would have lifted a locomotive. 

The girls varying from 16 to 20 years, and, half hiding behind the oldest, 
a small boy, of 4 years, perhaps, to whom everything was wonderful, and 
most of all, how it was possible for these three older sisters of his to chaff and 
laugh so unmercifully at a young man who sat merrily swinging from le^t to 
right and back again on the little red piano stool, changmg direction by 
touching with his hands the piano behind him, because his legs were to short 
to reach the floor, and merrily flinging back gibe for gibe, laughing even more 
merrily than the girls, meeting wit and joke with joke and wit, never losing 
the ring of merriment in his voice, never "rattled," though the girls laughed 
at his dusty boots, (and they were, indeed, dusty; fairly greasy with the rich 
gray dust of central Illinois,) and merry jokes about his inability to reach the 
floor with his toes, never losing his temper nor his nonchalance nor even once 
suffering the glancing shafts of wit and "chaff" to ruffle him nor to fall to 
the ground. He was a slender little fellow, about 5 feet 5 in height, and did not 
weigh more than 120. But he had a huge head, and once or twice the wonder 
ing boy had a chance to look full into the wide open eye when the owner was 
not concious of the look. He could not then tell his own feelings, but along that 
look, as on a magnetic wire, came a thrill, even then, as one looks down into 
limpid, fathomless depths of water, or, rather, when from the top of a tall 
tower, one lies flat and looks straight away from the earth into the infinite. 

Fifteen years later, the boy, now a raw youth, stood in the old senate cham- 
ber, now the supreme court room, in W ashington, which was packed to suffoca- 
tion. Every senator was present. Old Sam Houston, with his panther skin 
vest, paced restlessly to and fro behind the presiding officer's seat. Butler of 
South Carolina, his long white hair flowing to his shoulders, looked out over 
the 'field of fight' alert as a boy. Sumner pretended to read, but obviously 
did not. Notwithstanding the discomfort of the crowded galleries and the 
packed floor space behind the senators, there was a quiet that was even omi- 
nous, in impression, broken only by the deep, heavy, sonorous tones rolling 
from the lips of the erstwhile slender young man with the dusty boots, as he 
stood in the center of the chamber and opened the debate over the measure he 
had found himself forced to champion, the once famous Kansas-Nebraska 
bill. The measured utterance flowed on yet unwarmed for ten minutes. 


From where he stood in the gallery the boy saw a tall, cold looking man, 
with a very bald head and an uncertain eye. rise in his place, and, as the 
speaker drew his breath, interrupted: "Mr. President, I rise—" The speaker 
started slightly, his cheek paled a little, and the lines about the mouth 
deepened. "Sir, 1 do not yield the floor." The tone was even and steady, 
but it was plain there was intense feeling behind it. "Mr. President," re- 
peated the tall, cold man, imprudently. Instantly the irate speaker turned 
squarely toward him, with flaming eyes and tones that rang like the blast of a 
trumpet across a stricken field. "I say I do not yield the floor! A senator 
who comes to me with a smile on his face while malice is in his heart and a 
lie on his lips, and asks for time for consideration and then uses it to falsely 
malign my character and villify my motives before my countrymen, does not 
deserve any courtesy at my hands, nor shall he receive it!" The tall man 
dropped into his seat as if the words had been bullets. Then, for three hours 
that onetime slender young man was the center of a tumultuous ring of sav- 
age foemen, his friends leaving him to fight alone, breathless witnesses of the 
supreme readiness and daring with which he grappled with them as they came 
and shook them off, always to their hurt, unhesitating and undaunted, an in- 
tellectual gladiator whose superior, inunpi-emeditated debate, has never stood 
in the national senate. In the midst of this collision of titantic intellectual 
forces he was as superbly master of himself as when the merry girls laughed 
at his dusty boots and short legs. 

Four years later the boy, now a young man, stood again in the gallery of 
the senate, saw the same familiar sturdy figure, crowned with theleonine head 
lighted with the deep, fearless eyes, again the undaunted center of a pack of 
savage foes, beating off their assaults with a swift promptness and crushing 
energy that amazed both friend and foe. The same deep, sonorous tones, the 
same measured, unmistakable, unfaltering utterance, and pitched to the same 
keynote, the right of each community to govern itself, and confidence that 
sooner or later the people, the plain people, would do it well. But what a 
change in persons! The foes who had swarmed about him before sat dumb 
to see the foeman before whose couched lance each one of them had gone 
down time and time again, now tilting as gallantly and as victoriously against 
those who all along bad shouted in his following and had gathered the fruits 
from the fields he won! With that fatal madness wherewith the gods a.ways 
inspire those whom they mean to destroy, the men for whom he had deman- 
ded and won in 1850, and again vindicated in 1854 and 1856, simply equality 
of legal and political privilege, now demanded superior privilege, and he 
fouo-ht against that demand as strenuously and as gallantly as he fought 
for the other. They for whose political right he fought and won, now sought 
to force slavery on an unwilling community. He met them at the thresh- 
old andv auquished them as completely as he had vanquished their foes. 
Signally did he redeem a pledge voluntarily spoken four years before to 
his boyish friend. 

Three years, and the men whom he defied in 1858 had revenged themselves 
by "knifing him" two years later, and then threw down the intellectual and 
caught up the steel sword, because of the situation which their own party 
treachery produced. Thev stood over the nation, which had been too gener- 
ous to think such a thing possible, with that bloody sword, and they even 
looked to him and his friends to stand apart from the strife. 

Once more, this time in the capital in his own State, the young man listened 
and thrilled to those measured, emphatic tones which urged no patriotism 
bound within any narrow lines, which waived all else aside but that love of 
the whole fatherland which demanded and insisted upon its life, first of all. 
It was the turning point in the tide. From the hour when his solemn exhor- 
tations to his couuntrymen rolled across the laud, there was no locality am9ng 
all the free states where serious division was possible. That solemn voice, 
speaking, as it soon proved, from the brink of the grave, drowned, as one 
may say, the thunder of the southern guns. Could the men who heard those 


speeches in the spring of 1861 live for a thousand years they could never 
forget them nor their effect. 

Without his insistent devotion to the right of every community to govern 
itself, freedom in 1850 and again in 1854 would have been forced into premature 
and disastrous war or put off with two-penny compromises by acres. Without 
his long heroic resistance to arrogance from 1857 to 1861 the crisis of the lat- 
ter year would have found more than half of the people of the north unin- 
structed and unready to follow even his own superb exortation when the 
sword was lifted. His unselfish, patriotic call to his countrymen united the 
whole north; without its commanding force and influence the event of the 
Civil War could not have been just what it was, might have been disastrously 

I feel that I may be pardoned if I advert in some detail to an interview with 
Mr. Douglas alluded to in the mention of a pledge a moment ago, which 
throws light upon that which many regard, to this day, as the disastrous 
crisis in his political career. The substance of it was briefly embodied in a 
letter of mine to the late John Moses, which appears in a foot note in his his- 
tory of the State of Illinois. But nearly all the writers on that part of our 
national history have, as I prefer to believe unwittingly, misrepresented his 
attitude toward the "peculiar institution" of slavery. To set what I have al- 
ways felt that I knew to be his attitude at that time in a clearer light, I will, 
with your permission give a fuller account of that interview with some 
accompanying general reflections. 

The rebellion that succeeds becomes respectable, r.nd is re-christened Rev- 
olution, with a capital initial letter. The rebellion that fails, well, it remains 
rebellion at the best, and its promoters and partisans are fortunate indeed if 
they escape the consequences of crime. And this remains true, though the 
conscience of the race has never, since the fall of Rome, taken kindly to 
classing political offenses as crimes. There is nothing new about all this. It has 
been said many times over, yet there are some facts that go with it which are not 
quite so generally recognized. One of these is that although the opinions and 
principles of a defeated side are rarely, or never, all wrong, nor all its promoters 
and apologists equally blameworthy, they are mostly so looked upon after defeat 
is assured. This is not, indeed, always lasting, and there are sometimes cur- 
iously swift reversals of judgment. Dutch William was given the crown of 
England in 1688 because of the very same principles for which unlucky Mon- 
mouth lost his head only three years earlier. 

Among the perversions common in what has been written, is the imputation 
of pro- slavery opinions to all who, for whatsoever reason, sought to heal the 
differences between the North and South before the physical struggle became 
inevitable. Mr. Webster, Mr. Choate, Mr. Cass, and other men of the North 
who saw the political difficulties in the way of any national action looking to 
the extinction of slavery, were stigmatized as pro-slavery men in their day, 
and have been largely written down so in history since they passed away. 
Among them all probably no one was more bitterly and unfaii'ly assailed in 
this record than Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois. Without going into further 
proofs of this attitude toward him it is enough for the present purpose to re- 
call the practical unanimity of anti-slavery writers and speakers, before and 
since his death, in ascribing to him the sole responsibility for the repeal of 
the so-called Missouri compromise law in 1854, and the imputation to him of 
pro-slavery opinions and wishes as the reason for so doing. It mattered not 
to those who indulged in those imputations that the repealing act was reported 
to the senate by the Committee on Territories, Mr. Douglas speaking merely 
as its chairman, nor that as first prepared the formal repealing clause was 
not in the bill, nor that it was incorporated therein by the committee at the 
instance of Senator Dixon of Kentucky, and as was understood, as much as 
the transactions in committee could be known, against the wish of Mr. Doug- 
las, nor that his support of the bill was based wholly on political considera- 
tions, nothing he said being susceptible of construction as favoring slavery 
as such, the broad imputation was, and still is in many minds, that he was 
the author of the repeal because he was pro slavery in sentiment and opinion. 


Without entering into any arsfument of the matter let me recount an inci- 
dent of personal history which throws ligfht on individual opinion and motive 
at that time. In the winter of 1853-4 I was]a youth, passing a school vacation, 
and something more, in visiting, and acting as a temporary private secretary 
for a brother-in-law, then a member of Congress from a far western state. 
Stephen A. Douglas had studied law with and had been befriended by the 
writer's father, when the young Vermonter first went west, and had known 
the youth almost from infancy. These facts are mentioned only to show why 
the statesman felt at ease with and spoke more freely to the boy than h.& 
probably did with any of his associates. 

When the so-called Kansas-Nebraska bill was reported, a day was set when 
it should be taken up. Before that day Mr. Sumner and others privately 
asked of Mr. Douglas a postponement of the taking up for debate, in order 
that they might have more time to examine it. Mr. Douglas complied and a 
later day was set. Before that day came, a vehement protest against the 
measure appeared in the New York Times, and in the National Era, signed 
by Mr. Sumner, Mr. Chase and others, a most unusual proceeding, in which 
protest Mr. Douglas was bitterly assailed. On the evening of the day when 
this protest was read |in Washington, the youth aforesaid was alone, 
writing, in the business room of his brother-in-law in what was then known 
as Brown's Hotel, and Mr. Douglas called, for some conference with his per- 
sonal and party friend. Invited to await his return, whi»jh was expected at 
any moment, Mr. Douglas sat down and entered into familiar chat about 
"home affairs" in Illinois. Pew men have surpassed Mr. Douglas in the 
magnetism of cordiality, and it was a "red-letter day" for the boy. 

From home matters his talk drifted to his then recent tour in Europe, and 
among other things he gave a grotesquely humorous description of his feeling 
and his appearance, (he was very short in the leg and wholly unused to riding,) 
when, mounted on a huge horse, in company with the Emperor of Russia and 
other superb horsemen of the Imperial staff, he had assisted at a review of a 
part of the Kussian army. He was of the opinion that the most conspicuous 
feature of the occasion, for ,him, was the ominous evolutions of his horse's 

He had risen to go, the member of the House not having returned, when 
he saw a copy of the Times on the table. At once the whole aspect of the 
man changed. His face flushed, his heavy brows lowered, and a dull fire 
glowed in his eyes. "Have you read this?" he asked, abruptly. The youth 
said yes, and expressed indignation at its tone. "Yes, it is an unpardonable 
thing," he said, "in many ways, and in nothing more than the duplicity of 
the way in which opportunity was secured to forstall public opinion, to say 
nothing of the vilification of me and my motives." 

He absently took a cigar from the mantel, lit it and began to walk back 
and forth before the fire, at first slowly and then more and more rapidly and 
impetuously as he talked. He seemed to feel it a relief to talk where he was 
not forced to be perpetually on his guard. The cigar soon ceased to burn, 
and he chewed it savagely into shreds, flung them into the fire, and then an- 
other and another went in the same way. Much that he said can not be recalled, 
but much more was burned indelibly into the memory of his one startled 
hearer. "Stick to the law,lmy boy," he began, "stick to the law! Never go 
into politics. If you do, no matter how sincere and earnest you may be, no 
matter how ardently you may devote yourself to the welfare of your country, 
and your whole country, no matter how clearly you see, or think you see, 
that the whole is necessarily greater than any one part, no matter how clear 
it may be to you that the present is an inheritance from the past, no matter 
how conscientiously you may feel that your hands are tied, and that you are 
bound to do only what you can do with loyality to institutions fixsd for you by 
that past, rather than what you might prefer to do if free to choose, no mat- 
ter for all this, or more, you will be misinterpreted misrepresented, vilified, 
traduced^nd finally sacrificed to some local interest or unreasoning passion. 
Adams, Webster, Clay, Wright, others, were victims, and I suppose 1 must 
be another. 


"1 am not pro slavery, I think it is a curse beyond couiputatioii, to li >tll 
white and black. But we exist as a nation, by virtue only of the Constitution, 
and under that there is no way to abolish it. I believe that the only power 
that can destroy slavery is the sword, and if the sword is once drawn no one 
can see the end. I am not willing to violate the Constitution to put an end to 
slavery because to violate it for one purpose will lead to violating it for other 
purposes. To *do evil that good may come' is false morality, and worse 
policy, and 1 regard the integritj' of this political Union as woith more to hu- 
manity than the whole black I'ace. Some time, without a do\ibt, slaverj' will 
be destroyed, but I confess I shrink from the cost. Offenses must come, 'but 
woe to them by whom they come.' 1 am not willing to set fire to the ship in 
order to smoke out the rats. 

"I firmly believe this Missouri compi-omise is a step toward freedom. 
Slavery can no longer crouch behind a line which Freedom is cut off from 
crossing. I was surprised that the proposal to repeal came from the South. 
I dread the effect, and said so. But what can I do? All my public life I 
have been a party man. For neai-ly twenty years I have been iigliting for a 
place among the leaders of the partj' which seems to me most likelj' to pro- 
mote the peace and prosperity of my country, and 1 have won it. 

"That party has decided to take a step which seems to me impolitic, if not 
unwise, and I have said so in the party councils. But I have been overruled, 
and 1 must either champion the policy the party has adopted or forfeit for- 
ever all that 1 have fought for — must throw away my whole life and nut only 
cease to be a leader, but sink into a nobody. Ifl retain my leadership 1 may 
help to guide the party aright in some grav^er crisis. If 1 throw it away, I 
not only destroy myself, but 1 become powerless for good forever after." 

"But, Mr. Douglass," said the boy, as he paused, "if you think it right — " 
"Ah! my boy," he broke in impetuously, "1 felt that way once. Felt that 
if 1 only thought anything right! But why should 1 or any one oppose an 
individual judgment to that of a great party? Am not I at least as likely to 
be mistaken as the others? That is not politics, nor policy, nor wisdom. 
Besides, though 1 am surprised at its source, I believe this repeal will work 
to the advancement of freedom rather than otherwise, as these villifiers 
charge. I know 1 am politically right in keeping within the pale of the Consti- 
tution, I believe 1 am right as to the moral effect, and I know 1 am right as a 
party leader anxious to help in keeping his party true to the whole country. 

"And here is the bitterness of being so maligned by the men who have 
played the hypocrite in order to place me in a false position before my 
countrymen. I know that my motives are as true to honest freedom as theirs 
can be, and yet they have taken the base advantage of my indulgence to pub- 
lish me as a traitor to liberty, whose purpose it is to open free territory to 
slavery. Fools! So far as this action affects it at all, it opens the South to 
freedom. 1 can not see how it will come, but that such will be the final re- 
sult, 1 have no shadow of (Hubt. And yet 1 can not say this openly, lest 
both sides distrust, and the end itself fail. 

"It is the vilification of my motives that most wounds, and yet that I can 
not resent, as it should be resented. No man loves his countfy better than I. 
I know she is not faultless. I see as clearlj' as they tliat she is afflicted with 
a dangerous tumor. But 1 believe she will slough it oft' in time, and 1 am not 
willing to risk the life of the patient by the illegal and unscientific surgery 
they demand. D- — them," he added, with furious energy, "they are the 
traitors to freedom, not I, if there be any treason at all. We may all be 
overwhelmed together in the storm they are brewing, but I, .at least, shall 
stick to the old ship while there's a plank of her afloat. 

"Now, then, my boy," he added in a kindlier way, laying a trembling 
hand on the boy's shoulder, "you may partly see what it is to be misunder- 
stood and traduced, and why 1 say stick to the law and keep out of politics. 
I've 'freed my mind,' as the old ladies say, and so, good night." 

-4 H. 


It is forty years since then, but the indiprnation, the fire, the impetuous en- 
ergy, the (ieep conviction, the undertone of a sense of peril which the speaker 
could not define nor see how to avert the all pervading love of country, 
that glowed and vibrated in every terse sentence, are all as vivid in memory 
as things of yesterday. All the world knows how he did "guide his party 
aright in graver crises" seven years later, but historians have not yet appre- 
ciated how much the restored Union is indebted to that one man for the un- 
shaken loyalty of the great Central West. 1 regret that preoccupation in 
perplexing work, and consequent haste of preparation, have precluded mak- 
ing these recollections of one of the most distinguished citizens of our state, 
one of the most peculiarly and strenuously and uncompromisingly Americans, 
and 1 would say American in most emphatic capitals, of all our statesmen, 
more full and varied, and giving them a higher finish of phrasing. But they 
will at least serve to throw some light upon what I think 1 have personal 
knowledge of, touching his attitude in a grave crisis in our history, and also, 
while saying nothing of his ambition, which was not greater than that of 
others, to show how the man, as well as the statesman, impressed a not un- 
observant boy toward whom he was always charmingly friendly and open, 
together with some hints of an estimate, from that comparatively close point 
of view, of his commanding intellectual force and his strenuously manly and 
broadly patriotic character. 




By Hon. George N. Black. Trustee of the Society. 

I have been asked to tell you this afternoon somethingr about the historical 
materials now possessed by the State Historical Library of Illinois and the 
uses that may hereafter be made of them. 

It is rather a dry subject and I fear that I shall not be able to make it very 
interesting, but I hope, by being brief, not to weary you beyond your endur- 
ance. I shall try to sliow you, firstly, the need of our collectiou; secondly, 
what materials have already been collected; and lastly, the uses that may 
hereafter be made of them, and of all others yet to be accumulated. 

With these points before us, I shall now proceed with the subject assigned 
me. The Illinois State Historical Library was organized on November 25, 
1880, being placed in the hands of three trustees, who were empowered to 
"collect, preserve and communicate the materials relating to the political, 
physical, religious and social conditions for a complete history of the State." 

The objects before the Illinois State Historical Library include all historic 
matter from prehistoric times to our own days. 

This wide aim includes whatever illustrates the history of the land we live 
in and those who live in it. Books, documents and ancient relics, all lie 
within its province. And the trustees of the library believe that the safety 
and care of manuscripts and historical documents will be appreciated by our 
people generally, and that they will be glad to deposit in the archives of the 
library any historical treasures which they may possess, and thus save them 
from inevitable destruction if left in the unsafe keeping of private collectors. 
Modern methods of historical study require many books; original authorities 
as well as subsidiary materials. And, for this reason, the State itself must 
gatber together and be ready to supply all the materials needed for its local 
and State history. Few individuals can afford, like George Bancroft or 
Francis Parkman, to purchase all the books required to enable them to write 
even a brief monograph on the historical development of their own state, and 
fewer still can lind the necessary materials, though they possess the means 
of purchase. 

But the State can easily do what an individual can not hope to accomplish. 
For example — the historical library of Wisconsin has, in fifty years, been able 
to accumulate nearly two hundred thousand volumes of the most indispensalde 
books in history and its cognate sciences. It is, indeed, only l>y the abundant 
aid furnished by such great state libraries that historians have been able to 
write the many monographs on the historic towns of New England and of 
the middle states. Without the aid thus furnished all these really valuable 
books would have remained unwritten, while by their aid many of such books 
have become storehouses of invaluable information. 

In some of them we find the work of graphic pens, while the more graphic 
pencil has pictured the historic shrines and land marks of our common 
country. Many of the drawings engraved in those books are unique and of 
great value, l)ecause the hist')ric buildings presented in them have pi\«sed 
away, through changes wrought by time or municipal progress. 


Thucydides, one of the wisest of the old Greeks, who has left so much of 
his wisdom for our use and beneQt, says: "History is philosophy teaching 
by examples." If this be so, and we have no reason to doubt it, we need a 
full know]ed}2:e of history to enable us to judge the future by the past. If we 
would understand the condition of our own days we must go back and dili- 
gently study the olden times, with the causes and effects they produced— oa 
the same great principle indicated by Oliver Wendell Hohnes, when he says: 
"If you wish to know about a boy, turn back to his great grandfather." It 
may be asked, why? Because heredity plays the same great part in indi- 
viduals that it does in races. To study our history in this way we require all 
the materials that will enable us to understand the west as it was, to get the 
data that will enable us to foretell the west as it will be. To do this satis- 
factorily, we must have history that gives us, not only the causes that lead 
directly up to the events described, but also the most remote conditions from 
which they sprung, in order to judge of the events which are yet to spring 
from them. 

"When we have developed writers with critical acumen which will fit them 
to do this, we may look for valuable results. Then we certainly may expect 
great historical studies, strictly impartial in their arrangement of facts, with 
true perspective and philosophic grasp of the situations and of all the truths 
depicted; such as we find in the pages of Motley or Macaulay. It is only 
when the real facts have been discovered, their evidence weighed, their mean- 
ing thought out in all its bearings most fully and critically, tliat a true ver- 
dict can be rendered. For this reason the demand of our critical age comes 
now most sharply. In Dr. Samuel Johnson's dictum, 'State the facts as they 
are, sir. You have no business with the consequences. Your work is to tell 
the truth.' It all historians complied with this demand, the personal bias of 
the writers would less often disport the truth. It is this personal bias thjit 
impairs the value of Fronde's history, as of many other historians. It is this 
personal bias that causes the facts of history to be so largely governed by 
its fictions. It is this distortion of truth that caused old Bishop South to 
write. 'What are most of the histories of the world but lies? Lies immor- 
talized and consigned over as a perpetual abuse and flaw upon posterity.' It 
is only when the strictest scientific methods are applied, that history becomes 
reliable. When the facts and theories are fully tested, and all fiction is elimi- 
nated we have real history. The supreme virtue of the historian is absolute 
truthfulness. A historian should be like the witness on the stand in court, 
sworn 'to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.' It is to 
enable our future historians to do this, that the Trustees of the Illinois State 
Historical Library are building up their collection, having placed it on a sure 
foundation by commencing as nearly as possible at the beginning of the 
State's history. Pre-historic Illinois has not been neglected. Early man and 
his remains have been described in many volumes. But the real beginning 
of tangible records was the advent of the French; whether monks, anxious to 
propagate the faith, or traders, after the furs of the forests and great lakes 
and rivers, or soldiers seeking to win new lands for 'La Belle France.' " 

Before their coming all is dim and mythical, enveloped in the mists of an- 
tiquity. Of these early explorations, the library contains a very good collec- 
tion, arranged at the suggestion of Judge Beckwith, in chronological order 
so that the student of our early history may begin with the first of our ex- 
plorers, of whom any record has been left, and follow the romantic story 
through all its strange vicissitudes, from the voyage of Jacques Cartier, on 
until the French lost the Illinois Country in 17(io. The library contains the 
old narratives of Champlain, Nicclet, Marquette, Allouez, Membre, Henne- 
pin, Douay, LaSalle, Tonti, Joutel, LaHontan, Du Pratz, LeClercq, Charle- 
voix, LeBat, Bossu, andj many others, the mere mention of whose 
names would be a trespass upon your time and patience. However, a 
mention of the reprint of the 'Jesuit Relations' must be added. This valuable 
work, when completed will comprise some seventy-five volumes, and contains 
the original narratives, with the addition of the English translations, for the 
use of any readers whose knowledge of French is defective, or to whom the 
Innguage is unknown. Many of the books I have thus enumerated are ot;igi- 
li.U editions, aod some of them are very rare and valuable. For descriptions 


of Ithe Illinois country after French domination had ceased, the library con- 
tains many travelers' tales, araon^ the most useful beinjj those of Carver, 
Henry, and Pittnian. It has George Rogers Clark's 'Conquest of the Illinois 
(Country;' Cutler's 'Life. Journals and Correspondence; the St. Clair Papers; 
Burnet's 'Notes on the Northwest;' Wilson's 'Treaty of Greenville,' and Hon. 
William H. English's 'Conquest of the Northwest," all of which are of tbe 
greatest historical value. 

On the history of Illinois as an organized part of the United States, the 
library is also very full and complele. It has the laws of the northwest terri- 
tory, 17'J'J. and the edition of 1800, and a reprint of 1833; laws of Indiana Ter- 
ritory of 1802, and of 1807; the territorial laws of Illinois of 1813, 1814, 1816 
and 1817; the laws of the State of Illinois, 1811(-I8'J'J, an almost complete set 
of the journals of the General Assembly of Illinois, 1818-18'J!), as well as the 
reports to the General Assembly from 1838 to the present. (Previous to 18)58 
these reports were printed in the house and senate journals.) Among the 
newspapers in the library, there is a complete tile of the "Illinois State Regis- 
ter" from 1836 (in Vandalia) to the present date. These papers are frequent- 
ly consulted by those in search of out-ofthe-way matter and incidents of the 
olden time. 

Among writers whose works illustrate the history of the State of Illinois 
may be named: Anthony, Birkbeck, Blanchard, Bonhain, Breese. Brown, 
Darby, Davidson ifc Stuve, Carpenter & Arthur. Dana, Dresbach, Edwards, 
The Fergus Historical Series, Gillespie, Flint, Flower, Ford, Gerhard, Ilall, 
Handford, Kinzie, Kip, Koerner, Linder, Lusk, Mason, Matson, Moses, Oli- 
ver, Palmer, Perkins, Reynolds, Scott, Trowbridge, Van Zandt, Wallace, 
Washburne, Woodruff, Welby, and Woods. Among the early guide 
and gazetteers of the State may be mentioned Scott's — (1705,) those 
compiled by Beck and Peck, respectively, and many others. These 
lists of books, I hope, will give you a slight idea of the value of this branch of 
the collection. As the Mormons caused some stir in the early days of the 
State, the library has a good collection of seventy books bearing upon them 
and their peculiar tenets, as well as I heir migrations. It contains live early 
editions of the Book of Mormon. The original or tirst edition, published by 
E. B. Grandin, at Palmyra, N. Y., in 1830; the scarcely less rare Kirtland, 
Ohio, edition of 1837, and the Nauvoo edition of 1812; the Liverpool edition of 
1868, and a scarce Salt Lake City edition of 1883. 

One of the greatest features of the State Historical Library is its Lincoln- 
iana. The present board of trustees are following in the footsteps of their 
predecessors in their most earnest efforts to secure everything possible re- 
garding our martyr president. The library has secured from the Sangamon 
county court records many original Lincoln papers. For instance, it has poll 
lists showing the record of Mr. Lincoln's hrst vote; the record showing him 
as clerk of election; and others in which he is a petitioner for public roads. 

Besides these, it has the marriage license, and clergyman's return of the 
marriage of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd, dated Nov. 4, 1842. These 
and many other Lincoln documents form a collection such as can not be 
shown by any other state library in the United States- On the life and labors 
of Lincoln, the library contains about eighty bound volumes, and more than 
fifty pamphlets, with countless magazine and newspaper articles, and sketches 
from other books, upon his kindred, and contemporaneous persons and events. 
It also possesses several tine portraits of Mr. Lincoln, among them being a 
beautiful platinum print from the celebrated original 'Hesslcr' photograph; 
Marshall's engraved portrait, and others of great interest. Just here I wish 
to say that the trustees earnestly desire to obtain from friends of the library, 
any books, pamphlets or documents bearing in any way upon the history of 
Mr. Lincoln, because they are most anxious to make this collection of 'Lin- 
colniana' the greatest and most complete in the land. It is surely fitting 
that Illinois, who gave him to the nation, and within whose domain his sacred 
ashes are entombed, should lead all other states in collecting memorials to 
his honor, his honesty and his fame. 


While the library has been accumulating these historical materials in re- 
grard to Mr. Lincoln, it has not neglected other eminent sons of Illinois. 
There are many volumes to carry down to future generations the name and 
fame of U. S. Grant, and of the regiments of the men of Illinois who helped 
him to fight his battles and win a name and place among the great captains 
of the earth, as well as of others of Illinois' great sons. 

The library also contains a great mass of historical materials in the various 
county histories, of which it has a very full collection. Many of these his- 
tories are not critically exact, but all of them contain much data which will 
be of great use to future historians of the State. 

I have endeavored to give you some faint idea of the historical material 
which is owned by the State of Illinois, and is now in the State Historical 
Library at Springfield, but I feel that my imperfect sketch only indicates the 
general nature of the collection, and that very inadequately. But, to have 
gone more fully into the matter would have wearied you with the mere men- 
tion of the names of books. The Historical Library has at present over ten 
thousand volumes, consisting of books, pamphlets and magazines, at least 
six thousand of which are bouud volumes. Nearly all of these ten thousand 
volumes are strictly historical, and many of them invaluable as what the 
French call 'materiaux pour servir.' 

Our collection forms a very fair nucleus for a grand storehouse of historical 
knowledge, and we hope it may become a garner into which may be gathered 
things old and new for future use. 

When we remember that the Wisconsin State Hiiitorical Society Library, 
one of the largest and most complete in the country, began in 1859, with only 
fifty volumes, kept in one small bookcase standing in a corner of the Secre- 
tary of State's office, we feel encouraged in our labor of love and look forward 
with hope and expectation to the time when we, too, shall have a historical 
library worthy of our great State. As it is, we have collected much of all 
that has been printed regarding Illinois, and we hope at no distant day to 
publish the best of its hitherto uupublished history. Our State department 
has many rare manuscripts, letters and papers in its archives, from which the 
trustees of this library expect to select and publish, with annotations, the 
choicest specimens after the manner of the Camden Society of London, or of 
the Maitland Club of Edinburgh, or Spalding Club of Aberdeen. 

The publication of these papers will enable our future historians to draw 
their data from contemporary documents and show forth long past events as 
they appeared at the time of their occurrence, to those who witnessed them, 
and thus these records of the buried past will enable historians to test the 
truth of our commonly received histories, because the untampered documents 
are like real, living witnesses. 

It is the appreciation of this fact which has led to the formation of all the 
noble historical libraries of Europe and America. Without the vast collection 
of materials in the archives of the Marine and Colonial Libraries at Paris the 
late Pierre Margry could never have written his great work on "The Discov- 
eries and Establishments of the French iu America." The vjirious accumu- 
lations of data by the growing number of historical libraries of the west 
promises to enrich the literature of the country, because, as has already been 
said, such accumulations make possible the composition of books which would 
have been entirely impossible without these gathered materials. Such works 
attempted without the aid of these historical collections cost in labor and 
money so great an amount as to cause their writers, as Franklin quaintly 
puts it, "to pay too dear for their whistle." 

Take, as a case in point, the history of Pittsfield, in Massachusetts, of 
which I happen, personally, to know. The people determined that the his- 
tory of the town should be written, and for that purpose appointed a commit 
tee of five of their ablest citizens, with Mr. J. E. A. Smith as editor-in-chief. 
Their first work was, naturally, to gather materials. This they found to be an 
exceedingly difficult task, and only after many years of efifort and a, large ex- 
penditure of money and patient labor, was the history finally finished and 
published. The citizens of Pittsfield were well pleased with the work. They 


felt that in this case the old maxim was true which says, "finis covouat opus." 
But if the immense mass of material which tlie committee was obliged to col- 
lect with such great expenditure of time and labor, had been previously col- 
lected and been waiting for its use, when the time came to prepare and edit 
it for the written book, its task would have been greatlj' siraplitied, its labors 
lessened, and the time required for its preparation much shorter. Time, 
money and patience would have been saved, and the work, perhaps, better 
done. This fact is now so fullj' understood, that in some of the eastern states 
there are legal provisions made for the "accumulation of material and for the 
publication of town histories." 

The Illinois State Historical Library is now engaged in the first stage of its 
library work. That is, the accumulating stage, and as year follows year the 
accumulations will become more and more complete, so that the historian's 
work in the next century will be an easy task, because he will find the ma- 
terial stored up and ready for his use. There will be printed, also, volumes 
of remmiscences of the early settlers, men of retentive memories, though 
scant of book lore, which will be at the command of our future historians and 
from which they may describe "the good old times, " in graphic terms, put- 
ting life into the dry bones of our past, even as Macaulay took the old facts 
and figures which he found in almanacs, ballads, liand-bills, stage-plays, and 
other "disjecta membra" of the seventeenth century, and breathed into them 
the fire of his genius and they became living things. By the judicious use of 
these seemingly useless facts he placed before his readers his history of Eng- 
land, in "thoughts that breathe and words that burn." And this is what we 
hope may yet be done with the material gathered and stored on the shelves 
of our Illinois State Historical Library, (iatheriug up the necessary books is 
an arduous task, but it is a work from which the State of Illinois may yet 
gather the usufruct in the works of her sons and daughters. 

As for the future of our library, a few words may be appropriate. The 
object before the trustees of the historical library is broad enough to occupy 
them permanently, and judging by the past career of the library, they have 
strong faith tbat the growth of the collection will be onward and upward. 
Their guiding motto thus far has been "Festiua leute," fully realizing that if 
they gathered too quickly their impetuosity might betray them into impru- 
dent purchases, and much worthless material might thus be accumulated. 
But I think I have said enough, perhaps more than enough, upon the subject 
in laand. Yet 1 must say in conclusion, that though most of the states were 
in the field so long before us, and had gathered up some of the most desirable 
rarities years ago, we are not in the least discomaged. We realize that we 
have a great work before us, and also that the people of Illinois intend that 
their State Historical Library shall, in the end, be "second to none."