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115oofe0 b^ 31amc0 1^* i^osfmer* 

SAMUEL ADAMS. In the Series of American States- 
men. i6mo, gilt top, ^1.25; half morocco $2.50 

YOUNG SIR HENRY VANE. With a portrait of 
Vane engraved on Wood, Plans of the Battles of 
Marston Moor and Naseby, a fac-simile of a letter 
by Vane and a copy of the Great Seal of the Com- 
monwealth under Cromwell, i vol. 8vo 4.00 

CHUSETTS BAY. Portrait and Illustrations, i vol. 
8vo, gilt top 4-00 

LEY. Illustrated. i2mo, net. 


Boston and New York. 











($t)E lEiitiErjsiDE ^pre??, Cambridge 


Two CotiBa Received 

NOV. 9 1901 


CLASS Ct^XXc. No. 

% ^ S^ 



Published November, igoi 

To his friends 
The Directors of the Minneapolis Public Library 
This book, based on materials obtained in their col- 
lection, and intended primarily for the 
public whom we serve, 
Is Respectfully Dedicated by 
Their most obedient 


The centenary of the Louisiana purchase, now 
close at hand, about to be commemorated by the 
St. Louis Exposition, is turning the thoughts of 
men to the region in which lies the heart of 
the Union. At the present moment, too, the 
Mississippi Valley is about to become, so to 
speak, politically complete. Oklahoma possesses 
every requisite for statehood; and will, so says 
report, probably with the Indian Territory make 
application for admission as a State at the next 
session of Congress. Should the application be 
granted, the last unorganized fragment of the 
area of the Mississippi Valley will receive a 
formal constitution. Such an event marks an 
epoch. In view of these circumstances, it is 
hoped that this little book may seem timely and 
prove useful. 

The writer believes that his best qualification 
for the task he has undertaken lies in the fact 
that he has spent most of his life in the Missis- 


sippi Valley or close upon its border, and has his 
memory charged with what has happened there 
during the lapse of nearly two generations, from 
the administration of Van Buren to that of 
Roosevelt. He has traversed the basin from the 
mouth of the river to northern Minnesota, — from 
the head-springs of the Ohio on the east to the 
head-springs of the Missouri on the west. He 
has dwelt on the main stream, on its most impor- 
tant affluents, and on some of its smaller tribu- 
taries. He has had some experience of the 
aboriginal peoples, as well as of the race which 
has displaced them. He has been cognizant 
not only of the peaceful development, but has 
marched over a portion of its area rifle on shoulder, 
and had some hand in loosing the Confederate 
clutch which sought to close the river to the 
Union. He may claim to have had good opportu- 
nity to absorb all that may come to a historian 
through long and intimate acquaintance with the 
country he sets out to describe. 

The literature of the subject is, of course, of 
vast amount, and the writer has had close at 
hand during the preparation of his work a good 
proportion of that literature. To enumerate the 
authorities whom he has consulted, more or less 


thoroughly, would take long ; but a few works 
may be mentioned upon which especial depend- 
ence has been placed. For the few geological ref- 
erences, Geikie's " Great Ice Age " and Russell's 
" Rivers of North America " have been helpful; 
for the Indians, Lewis H. Morgan's " Houses and 
House Life of the American Aborigines," and 
the monumental " Relations des Jesuites," as 
edited by Mr. R. G. Thwaites ; for the early ex- 
plorations, besides Parkman's histories, the narra- 
tives of Hennepin, Carver, Lewis and Clark, and 
Zebulon M. Pike ; for the Louisiana purchase, the 
works of Barbe-Marbois, Binger Herman, and 
the Memoirs of Lucien Bonaparte ; for the time 
of the Rebellion, " The Battles and Leaders of 
the Civil War." As to the general development 
of the Valley, the story has been foUowed as told 
by Bancroft, Henry Adams, McMaster, and 
Rhodes. Of the great men of the Mississippi 
Valley, numerous biographies have been con- 
sulted, of especial value being those of the 
American Statesmen Series commemorating men 
of the West. Among all his authorities, the 
writer is under most obligation to his good 
friends and brethren in the pleasant Harvard 
bond, Justin Winsor (" Narrative and Criti- 


cal History of America," " Mississippi Basin," 
"Westward Movement"), John Fiske ("Dis- 
covery of America," the opening chapter, and the 
" Mississippi Valley during the Civil War "), and 
Theodore Koosevelt ("The Winning of the 

The writer desires to make special acknow- 
ledgment of the courtesy of the Northern Pacific 
Eailway in furnishing the plate for the interest- 
ing picture of " Lewis and Clark among the 
Mandans," one of the chief ornaments of the 


Minneapolis Public Library, 
October 31, 1901. 



The river much larger in pre-glacial time. — Physical 
character of the present Valley. — Dimensions of the 
Basin. — How far available for man's use. — Num- 
ber and influence of its population. — Antiquity of 
man in the Valley. — The Indians. — Status of the 
Indians. — Number and distribution of the tribes. — 
Variety in their condition. — Indian life that of the 
clan. — House life. — Sachems and chiefs. — Com- 
munal customs. — Totems. — Tribes and confeder- 
acies. — Great councils. — Mound-building done by 
Indians, not by a different race. — Sparseness of In- 
dian population. — Constant warfare. — Cruelty and 
cause for it. — Folk-lore. — Eloquence at councils. 

— Methods of oratory. — Wampum belts and their 
function. - — Use of pantomime. — Aptness of the 
Jesuits in Indian methods. — Physical characteris- 
tics of Indians. — In no proper sense occupants of 

the country, but only scattered wanderers . . . 1-19 



Displacement of primitive Americans by a higher type 
only a repetition of what has happened in Old World. 

— The Aryan march westward. — Indians not exter- 
minated but shifted. — Their spirit not quenched. 


— Appearance of the Spaniards at the south. — Al- 
varez de Pineda. — Panfilo de Narvaez. — Este- 
vanico the first negro. — Fray Marcos de Nizza. — 
Estevanico's death. — Coronado's march. — De Soto 
pushes from Florida westward. — His death and 
burial. — Decay of Spanish energy. — French enter 
tlie valley from the north. — Their adaptability. — 
Ancient portages and waterways. — Jean Nicolet at 
Green Bay. — Groseilliers and Radisson. — Allouez. 

— Marquette. — La Salle. — Discovers the Ohio. — 
Reaches the Illinois country. — Tonti. — La Salle's 
persistency. — Destruction of Illinois by Iroquois. — 
La Salle goes down the Mississippi. — Louisiana 
named. — Expedition to mouth of Mississippi. — 
Misfortunes and death of La Salle. — The Recollets. 
' — Hennepin at the Falls of St. Anthony. — His 
books. — His lies. — Iberville founds New Orleans. 

— Bienville. — Explorers to the west. — La Veren- 
drye and his sons. — They reach the Rocky Moun- 
tains. — French settlements in Louisiana. — Life 
and character of the habitans. — Vague boundaries 
of Louisiana. — New Orleans. — Filles k la cassette. 

— Number of population. — The fur-trade . . 20-50 



English-speaking men enter Valley from the east. — 
Walker at Cumberland Gap. — Washington on head- 
waters of the Alleghany. — Building of Fort Du- 
quesne. — Braddock's defeat. — English seize valley 
of the Ohio. — Cession by France to Spain of 
Louisiana west of the river and New Orleans. — 
Question as to Indian right to soil. — Their dispos- 
session inevitable. — Pontiac's conspiracy. — His 
burial at St. Louis. — Scotch-Irish immigration. — 


Its origin. — Leadership in the westward advance. — 
Country about the sources of the Tennessee occu- 
pied. — Character. — The rifle and the axe. — Con- 
ditions of wilderness life. — How they affected the 
pioneer. — Daniel Boon sets out for Kentucky. — 
His adventures. — Washington on the Ohio. — 
Right of whites to the country. — Settlers prefer 
Virginia to North Carolina. — James Robertson and 
John Sevier. — Watauga Association formed. — 
Colonial disputes. — Advance along the Tennessee 
easier than along the Ohio. — Lord Dunmore's War. 

— Robertson at the great bend of the Cumberland. 

— Henderson's land speculations. — Kentucky set- 
tled. — Transylvania. — Jonathan Carver in the 
Northwest. — Founding of Lexington, Ky. . . 51-74 



The Revolution in the Mississippi Valley. — Boon in 
the war. — Simon Kenton's adventures. — French 
settlements in the Valley. — George Rogers Clark 
commissioned to capture them. — Starts for Kas- 
kaskia. — Captures the town. — Vincennes surren- 
ders. — The conquest secured. — The Indians dealt 
with at Cahokia. — Clark's speech. — His ascendency 
over them. — The British counter-stroke. — Expedi- 
tion against Vincennes. — In the drowned lands of 
the Wabash. — The town seized. — Complete suc- 
cess. — Importance of Clark's achievement. — 
Watauga and Holstbn River men at King's Moun- 
tain. — Sevier's activity. — Progress of settlement. 

— Flatboats. — State of Franklin. — Separatist feel- 
ing. — Under the Confederation. — Resignation by 
States of their Western claims. — Absurd nomencla- 
ture. — Life of Abraham Lincoln's father saved 75-99 




Formation of the Ohio Company. — Provisions of the 
Ordinance. — Section 16 of townships devoted to 
school use. — Ruf us Putnam and his party. — Mari- 
etta founded. — St. Clair governor. — Cincinnati 
founded. — Unwise ways of opening public domain. 

— The Scioto Company. — French at Gallipolis. — 
Indian hostility. — Effects of adoption of Constitu- 
tion. — Expedition of St. Clair. — His defeat. — 
Wrath of Washington. — Expedition of Wayne. — 
His victory. — Kentucky and Tennessee States. — 
Bad relations with Spain as to Mississippi naviga- 
tion. — Northwest Territory. — Indiana. — Immi- 
gration thither from South. — Whitney's cotton-gin 
and its influence. — Life in the backwoods. — Camp- 
meetings. — Good influence of schools . . . 100-117 



Separatist feeling. — Irritation as to mouth of Missis- 
sippi. — Designs of Napoleon as to Louisiana. — 
Effect upon him of misfortunes in San Domingo. — 
Determines to sell Louisiana to Americans. — Sur- 
prise and embarrassment of negotiators. — The pur- 
chase effected. — Wrath of the Federalists. — Cere- 
mony of the cession. — New Orleans in 1803. — 
Discontent of people at the cession. — Jefferson 
orders Lewis and Clark to explore Louisiana. — 
Expedition organized and dispatched. — High char- 
acter and skill of the leaders. — Mandan village 
reached. — The Bird-woman. — Life on the plains. 

— The Pacific reached. — The return to St. Louis. 


— Fate of Lewis and Clark. — Pike commipsioned 
to explore. — He reaches northern Minnesota. — 
Dispatched westward. — Reaches Pike's Peak. — 
Sufferings in the mountains. — Captured by 
Spaniards. — His ultimate fate 118-137 



Complications growing out of Louisiana purchase. — 
Aaron Burr. — His character and career. — Plots 
for a great Western empire. — Vists the West in 
1805. — Meets Gen. James Wilkinson. — Returns to 
Washington. — Again goes West. — At Blennerhas- 
sett's Island. — Arrested and defended by Henry 
Clay. — Seized and brought to Richmond. — His 
trial. — Tecumseh. — Andrew Jackson. — His char- 
acter and career. — War of 1812. — Pakenham's 
expedition against New Orleans. — Jackson's pre- 
parations to meet it. — Energy of British com- 
mander. — Battle on the plain of Chalmette. — 
Movement of population westward. — Introduction 
of steamboats. — Life of the settlers. — Education. 

— Religion. — Finance. — Administration of justice. 

— Roughness of frontier life. — Missouri organ- 
ized. — Pro and anti-slavery men. — Struggle be- 
tween them in the Northwest Territory . . . 138-160 



Human bondage in the past. — Negro slavery recog- 
nized as an evil only slowly. — Decay of slavery at 
the North. — Influence of the cotton-gin at the 
South. — Negroes perhaps helped rather than hin- 


dered by slavery. — Whites the sinners and also the 
sufferers. — Missouri in 1819. — The Missouri Com- 
promise. — Henry Clay the great pacificator. — 
Foreign immigration. — Stephen A. Douglas. — 
Squatter Sovereignty. — The Nebraska bill. — The 
Free-Soilers. — Their able leaders. — Struggle in 
Congress. — Nebraska bill becomes a law. — Excite- 
ment in the North. — Immigration into Kansas. — 
Border ruffians. — Struggle between them and free- 
state men. — Topeka and Lecompton Constitutions. 

— John Brown of Ossawatomie. — His character and 
career. — His blood-shedding. — The Dred Scott 
decision. — Taney's opinion. — Curtis's opinion. — 
Admission of Kansas as a free State. — Lincoln- 
Douglas debate in Illinois 161-182 



St. Louis a centre of interest. — Nathaniel Lyon and 
Frank P. Blair seize the initiative. — First appear- 
ance of U. S. Grant and W. T. Sherman. — Death 
of Lyon at Wilson's Creek. — Pea Ridge. — Early 
career of Grant. — He seizes Paducah, Belmont. — 
Fall of Fort Henry. — Fort Donelson invested. — 
Breaking of Confederate line. — Grant at Pittsburg 
Landing. — Battle of the first day. — Of the second 
day. — Island No. 10. — David Glasgow Farragut. 

— New Orleans captured. — Farragut before Vicks- 
burg. — Bragg's march northward. — W. A. Rose- 
crans. — Battle of Stone River. — Vicksburg and 
Port Hudson fortified. — Campaign against Vicks- 
burg. — River crossed below Grand Gulf. — Grant 
penetrates between Pemberton and Johnston. — 
Surrender of Vicksburg. — Operations against Port 
Hudson. — The River clear. — Rosecrans seizes 


Chattanooga. — Bragg reinforced by Longstreet. — 
Battle of Chickamauga. — Thomas at the Horseshoe 
Ridge. — Greatness of the struggle. — Grant super- 
sedes Rosecrans. — Capture of Missionary Ridge. 

— Sherman starts for the sea. — Hood marches 
north. — Battle of Franklin. — Thomas blamed for 
slowness. — Battle of Nashville. — Character of the 
Civil War in the Mississippi Valley . . . 183-203 



How the Mississippi River baffles engineering skill. — 
James B. Eads. — The St. Louis bridge. — The 
jetties at the River's mouth. — Resources of the 
Basin. — Its great commonwealths. — Assimilation 
of foreign elements. — Difficulties from Indians. — 
Hopeful outlook as to the latter. — Railroad build- 
ing. — Rapid development. — Harm from railroads. 

— Problems of the situation. — Hopeful signs. — 
Advantages of association and movement. — Stimu- 
lating influence. — Railroads as helpers and educa- 
tors. — How harmony comes about. — Problems of 
city administration. — Favorable signs. — The black 
shadow still present. — Public schools threatened. — 
Labor problems. — Superior sensitiveness of modern 
conscience. — Promise for the future . . . 204-223 

Index 225-230 



Abraham Lincoln Frontispiece 

From an original, unretouched negative, made in 1864, 
at the time the President commissioned Ulysses Grant 
Lieutenant-General and Commander of all the armies 
of the Republic. It is said that this negative, with 
that of General Grant (see page 200), was made in com- 
memoration of that event. 

Map showing the Extent of the Mississippi Valles- 2 

Map showing portages between Great Lakes and 
Mississippi 32 

La Salle 

After a design given in Gravier, which is said to be based 

on an engraving preserved in the Biblioth^que de Rouen 40 

Daniel Boon 64 

From a picture by Chester Harding in the Massachusetts 
Historical Society's gallery. 

A French House among the Illinois 80 

From Callot's Atlas 

Ohio Flatboat 96 

From Callot's Atlas 

Thomas Jefferson in 1805 122 

From the drawing by C. B. J. F^vret de St. M^min in 
the possession of John C. Bancroft, Esq., Boston. 

Lewis and Clark meeting the Mandan Indians . . 100 
From a painting by C. M. Russell in the possession of 
Robert Vaughn. By courtesy of the Northern Pacific 

Andrew Jackson 148 

From a daguerreotype. 

Tennessee and Kentucky in the Civil War . . . 184 

Ulysses S. Grant 200 

From a photograph in 1864. 




The Mississippi River is believed to have been 
flowing as far back in geological time as what is 
known as the cretaceous era. Its volume then 
was much greater than at present. Lake Michi- 
gan discharged into it by a channel now closely 
followed by the Chicago drainage canal ; Lake 
Erie by the valley of the Maumee ; and a vast 
sheet of water long since disappeared known to 
geologists as Lake Agassiz, by channels farther 
north. The river wore its way through strata of 
limestone depositing in its bed alluvium to the 
depth of hundreds of feet, the layer thickening 
as the Gulf was approached. At length came an 
age when the surface of our continent as far south 
as the Ohio River, and a line running in continua- 
tion of it into the remote west, was covered by ice 
many feet in thickness, the action of which caused 
great changes in the area underneath. The Mis- 


sissippi after the glacial age shrank much in vol- 
ume. Lake Agassiz disappeared, while Lake 
Michigan and the others of its chain discharged 
through the St. Lawrence instead of southward. 
Within the broad channel scooped out of the lime- 
stone in pre-glacial time, the river cut an interior 
channel from the mouth of the Ohio downward, 
the soft alluvium making the work not difficult. 
This is the channel of to-day. The enclosing 
uplands to east and west are faced with bluffs of 
light-colored clay, between which the river goes 
looping along its course, in summer much attenu- 
ated, but in times of flood a wide torrent breaking 
new and ever new paths for itself through the soft 
soil which lets it wander as it will. At New Or- 
leans, where the alluvial deposit is a thousand feet 
deep, the Mississippi runs in a trench along an 
elevated ridge, having raised itself by deposits on 
its bed until it flows above the level of the coun- 
try it is traversing. Sometimes breaking through 
its banks here, banks which man has tried to 
strengthen by levees, the river pours over the land 
in crevasses, submerging broad regions. The fin- 
ger-like extensions into the Gulf are prolongations 
of the embankments, the main stream reaching the 
sea in several outlets. Before each mouth, or 
pass, lie broad shallows, built up from the bot- 
tom of the Gulf by the outpouring sediment, and 
thus the land grows on and on as the centu- 
ries go. 

.^> o -r 




Above the moutli of the Ohio, near which the 
ice terminated in the glacial age, the character of 
the river-channel is quite different from its lower 
course. It soon narrows, and precipitous bluffs 
often border it right and left. Now and then a 
limestone ledge thrown across its bed gives rise 
to a languid rapid. In its upper course the bluffs 
become often ranges of bordering hills, crested 
sometimes with outcropping rock that might al- 
most be mistaken for ruined towers and pinnacles, 
like those of the Rhine or Danube. The ice age 
everywhere wrought changes in the river and its 
valley ; but the pre and post-glacial conditions are 
contrasted nowhere more interestingly than at the 
Falls of St. Anthony, where the river, having been 
turned by the deposit of drift from its first course, 
was made to flow over a thin sheet of hard lime- 
stone supported on a bed of softer rock. Here 
first was a cataract one hundred feet high, which 
has cut its way backward forming a gorge of eight 
miles. The height of the fall has gradually dimin- 
ished, until at present it has subsided into a long- 
drawn tumbling rapid. 

The breadth to-day of the Mississippi Valley in 
its widest part, from the head-waters of the Ohio 
to the head-waters of the Missouri, is fully eigh- 
teen hundred miles ; the length of the valley from 
the lakes and rills where the river takes its origin 
to the tips of the strange fingers which its delta 
thrusts out into the Gulf of Mexico, is twenty-five 


hundred miles. The area of the basin may be 
set down as a million and a quarter square miles. 
Such a river with such a valley can be found no- 
where else in the world. While the Amazon may 
surpass the Mississippi in volume and perhaps 
also drains a basin of richer fertility, its situa- 
tion nearly under the equator renders its basin 
less habitable for the better breeds of men. Not 
in Europe, Asia, or Africa, can a rival as to ser- 
viceability be found for the Mississippi ; for the 
streams that approach it in size wander through 
long stretches of desert, or are beset by pestilen- 
tial swamps, or are lost in frozen regions within 
the Arctic Circle. Scarcely a square mile, how- 
ever, of the Mississippi Valley but welcomes hu- 
man habitation. No rugged mountains embarrass 
the main stream or the tributaries, except about 
their remote sources ; there are few sand-wastes 
or morasses which cannot be reclaimed to human 
uses. Almost every rood of the space can be made 
to furnish a home and sustenance, if not to the 
farmer, at any rate to the ranchman or the miner. 
For its friendly cherishing the river, with its afflu- 
ents, deserves to be called the great mother-stream 
of the world. Half the States of the American 
Union pour their waters into these currents. No 
other region of the earth's surface contains, per- 
haps, so many of the great English-speaking race. 
The centre of the valley is at the same time nearly 
the centre of population and of influence of the 


United States. For what it is, and what it is to 
be, the story of the Mississippi Yalley deserves to 
be told ; and the epoch when its spaces become 
occupied with commonwealths thoroughly organ- 
ized and equipped offers a fitting moment. 

For the first traces of man in the Mississippi 
Valley we must go back to what is called in geol- 
ogy the Pleistocene age. It was then that the gla- 
cial phenomena were in evidence, and coeval with 
them plainly human life went forward. Old stone 
(palaeo-lithic) implements are found which may 
be referred undoubtedly to the age of ice. Quite 
possibly, for the first man it would be necessary 
to ascend to the pliocene ; at any rate he was con- 
temporary with the 

" Dragons of the prime 
That tare each other in their slime." 

This primeval man is believed to have resembled 
the Esquimaux, a race ever fighting with cold; 
while the Indians, who were in possession of the 
continent when recorded history begins, were of a 
type quite different. As to the origin of the In- 
dians fanciful theories abound, one interesting to 
many being that they are descended from the 
" Lost Tribes of the House of Israel," dispossessed 
by Asiatic conquerors to wander as far as America 
across Bering Straits. Who shall tell us whence 
they came ? When history begins, at any rate, 
this one race is in possession from the Arctic Cir- 
cle to Cape Horn, red in hue, their physical char- 


acteristics in general pointing to a common origin, 
their languages allied. This widely-spread popu- 
lation had attained to various stages of culture. 

Following the conclusions of the most philo- 
sophical students, among whom the name of Lewis 
H. Morgan ^ holds an honorable place, it must be 
said that below civilization there are two stages — 
savagery and barbarism ; and that each of these 
stages contains three subdivisions. If the power 
of articulate speech be taken as marking the line 
between the brute and the savage, the capacity 
to catch fish and to utilize fire may be taken as 
a second step lifting the possessor into middle 
savagery. That in turn is passed with the inven- 
tion of the bow and arrow, armed with which 
evolving man stands in higher savagery. With 
the acquirement of the art of making pottery, as 
we trace him forward, he passes from savagery 
into lower barbarism ; and middle barbarism is 
reached when the power is attained to domesticate 
other animals than the dog. Predatory life, that 
of the hunter, now takes the second place, while 
pastoral life comes into the foreground. In this 
stage is attained the power of smelting copper. 
Still another rise, into higher barbarism, comes 
with the capacity to till the soil, making use of 
irrigation. To higher barbarism also belongs the 
capacity to build with stone and adobe brick, and 
to smelt iron. Finally the leap to the possession 

1 Houses and House-Life of the American Aborigines. 


of an alphabet and of written records marks the 
attainment of the lowest stage of civilization. 
The Indians of America, though of a common 
origin, varied in their condition, attaining now to 
one, now to another, of these stages of culture. 
No tribe, however, has gone beyond middle bar- 
barism. Capacity to work iron has never been 
reached among them ; much less the possession of 
an alphabet and written records. Picture-writing, 
indeed, was widely practiced ; also a curious mne- 
monic use of wampum-belts and strings of beads ; 
and these went far to take the place of the pen of 
the scribe. 

All these peoples were pottery-makers, and so 
had passed at least from upper savagery into lower 
barbarism ; their weapons and tools were new- 
stone (neo-lithic) and therefore not the rudest. 
Some tribes of the Muscogees, and perhaps the 
Mandans and Minnetarees, had attained the middle 
stage of barbarism, having domesticated animals 
other than the dog ; they reached pastoral life and 
rudimentary tillage. Of a lower and fiercer type 
were the Dacotas and the Huron-Iroquois. On 
the other hand the Aztecs and pueblo-dwellers of 
New Mexico were higher, having reached tillage 
with irrigation, and the art of building with 
adobe brick ; these, however, are scarcely within 
our ken, their outskirts barely reaching the remot- 
est sources of the Arkansas. It is quite possible, 
thinks Mr. John riske,^ that maize, the gift of 

^ Discovery of America, ch. i. 


the god Mondamin, the plant so full of use and 
beauty, to such an extent the basis of life in 
America, both ancient and modern, exercised a 
retarding influence upon the tribes of our valley. 
It grew everywhere, requiring only the rudest 
care for its production. Since an abundant and 
palatable form of sustenance was thus always right 
at hand, there being no necessity for careful agri- 
culture, the tribes were content to be slothful. 
Beans, pumpkins, tobacco, also, crops of less value 
but held in esteem, were in like manner easy to 
raise ; so that the squaw with her clumsy hoe of 
stone sufficed unassisted, from generation to gen- 
eration, to furnish the livelihood. 

How primitive the status of the Indian was is 
proved by the fact that throughout the valley, 
throughout America, in fact, kinship was reckoned 
through the female only. There was no adum- 
bration in those dim minds of any sacredness in 
the marriage tie : the " extension of infancy " 
producing family life and giving ris^ to humane 
altruism had scarcely begun to affect aboriginal 
society. Exogamy, the law that a man must 
marry out of his clan, was the rule, and the clan 
was the ultimate social unit. A group of clans 
formed, in anthropological parlance a phratry ; a 
group of phratries a tribe, — the tribes being in 
some cases farther grouped into confederacies. It 
is a momentous change, thinks Mr. Fiske, when 
kinship comes to be reckoned by the male instead 


of the female line. Only the Aryans and Semites 
have risen to this, the change probably coming 
in upper, or possibly late in middle barbarism. 
After the domestication of animals property (in 
Latin peculium, derived from pecus, a flock) 
became possible as never before, for flocks and 
herds were the first extensive forms of property. 
Exclusive possession of the wife was part of the 
system of private property. First, it was poly- 
gamy, the system of many wives, the patriarchal 
father then becoming the link in the numerous 
family. It was a great advance on what had pre- 
ceded, and to this, scholars think, is largely due 
the dominance in the world of Aryan and Semite. 
In America this state was far from being realized, 
kinship being reckoned only through the mother, 
while marriage could be terminated at will. 

A study of the Indian dwelling lets one into 
aboriginal domestic life most readily.^ The " long 
house " of the Iroquois, the type most carefully 
studied, was an enclosure of stakes and bark, the 
apertures covered with skins. Along the interior, 
from fifty to one hundred feet in length, stalls were 
contrived to right and left, an aisle running be- 
tween. These stalls contained platforms or bunks 
raised from the ground for sleeping ; from the 
ceiling hung corn, pumpkins, tobacco, the products 
on which the savage depended. Along the aisle at 

1 Morgan : Houses and House-Life of the American Aborigi- 


intervals fires were kindled, the smoke ascending 
through holes in the roof, each fire sufficing for 
four stalls as each stall sufficed for a domestic 
group. In the groups thus collected in the long 
house the mothers were all of one clan, but the 
fathers came from other clans. In each house- 
hold a large community of goods prevailed, the 
mother presiding over the distribution of food, 
and the life of the house in general. The bride 
brought her mate home with her ; if shiftless and 
worthless the women turned him out to go back to 
his own clan or to be chosen by another woman ; for 
the woman ruled the house, although at the same 
time she was the drudge. What children were 
born were counted with their mother's clan, family 
life in our sense being unknown. Each clan had 
at its head certain elective officials, the sachems 
who were chosen for peace, and chiefs who were 
chosen for war. The sachem or chief could not 
succeed his father, but might succeed any uterine 
brother (son of the same mother) or his uncle on 
his mother's side. The clans might number fifty 
or sixty ; property was transmitted in the female 
line ; upon every member of a clan lay the duty 
to defend and avenge his clansmen. 

Though the habitation was not always a " long- 
house," still the variations from that type were 
not important, the Indian dwelling universally 
being adapted, like that, to clan and communal 
life. Among the Mandans the structure was cir- 


cular; among the Southern Indians, the Musco- 
gees, the clan dwelt in small clustered cabins ; else- 
where there were tepees of irregular shape ; while 
in the far west the more elaborate pueblo, a con- 
struction of adobe brick was reared by the races 
that had reached middle barbarism. All the con- 
structions, however, were only modifications of one 
idea — an arrangement suited to a time when as 
yet the modern family was not, and a most primi- 
tive status was tabe provided for. In all this 
house-life one interesting trait was universal, — 
hospitality. Both to tribesmen and strangers who 
appeared within the rude shelter, kindness must 
be shown ; all were to be fed and cherished. 

Among the Indians of the Great Valley every- 
where the names of persons were significant ; often 
they were grotesque, often wildly picturesque. 
The clan itself always had a name, usually that of 
some animal, the wolf, the turtle, the salmon ; 
of this some rude representation was either drawn 
or carved, called the totem. Each clan had its 
council of which women might be members ; in- 
deed women might compose the council entirely ; 
for their position in aboriginal society was a more 
dignified one than has often been supposed ; squaw 
sachems were not uncommon, who sometimes be- 
came persons of note. 

The number of clans making up a tribe varied 
greatly. Among the Chippewas it might be 
twenty, though the more usual number was eight 


or ten. The phratry, intermediate between tlie 
clan and tribe, was less distinct in Indian society, 
though it plainly appears as a grouping together 
of two or three clans. The tribes were marked 
out by a common dialect ; there were sometimes 
tribal chiefs higher than clan chiefs, though these 
never developed into kings. The grouping of 
tribes into confederacies was rather rare, though 
the Iroquois and the Aztecs, to the right and left 
of the valley, showed marked organizations of this 
kind. In a group of tribes the clan organizations 
ran through all, the brothers and sisters of the 
wolf, bear, or turtle, whatever the totem might be, 
recognizing one another by subtle freemasonry, 
whether Senecas, Onondagos, or Mohawks, the 
recognition forming a bond of immense strength. 
The great council of a confederacy could not con- 
vene itself, but could be convened by any tribal 
council. At such times the voting went by tribes, 
the sachems from the clans of each tribe being 
obliged to make a unit. Among the Six Nations 
there were two prominent chieftainships, one in the 
clan of the wolf, the other in that of the turtle, 
and both in the tribe of the Senecas ; for when 
history begins, the Senecas as touching the lakes 
and reaching out toward the Mississippi Valley 
were in the fore-front, bearing the brunt in many 
a foray of rapine and extermination which might 
reach even to the far western prairies. 

There is no reason to suppose that during pre- 


historic time any race different from or more 
advanced than the Indians played any part. 
Throughout the basin, but particularly between 
the river and the Alleghanies, a feature which has 
caused wonder is the mounds, the constructions 
amounting to thousands in number, ranging from 
tumuli scarcely noticeable to extensive terraces, 
to long lines of earthworks, to outlines of the 
forms of serpents and other creatures embossed 
upon the plain in ridges that run for great dis- 
tances. The town of Marietta, in Ohio, stands on 
terraces and ramparts which must have required 
in constructing thousands of busy hands and many 
years. The rings at Circle ville and elsewhere and 
the great ramparts at Fort Ancient it would daunt 
a capable modern engineer to imitate. In the city 
of St. Louis formerly towered an artificial hill 
to rear which might have taxed the power of Che- 
ops or Kameses. The conclusion, however, seems 
at present to be, that there was no special race 
of mound builders : that the mounds came from 
the ancestors of the Indians, and from a time 
probably no further back than the thirteenth or 
fourteenth century of our era. Excavations have 
revealed no finds indicating any superior civiliza- 
tion; since Europeans have appeared, mounds 
have been constructed. It is believed that the 
Mandans, a link between the lower tribes and the 
pueblo races, may not long since have been mound 
builders. So, too, the Shawnees in Ohio and the 


Cherokees farther south, races which when his- 
tory begins had progressed far enough to have a 
somewhat stable agriculture, and to have domes- 
ticated the horse and the ox. The purpose of the 
terraces is believed to have been to furnish sites 
for council-houses, or indeed for the communal 
dwellings, such as have been described. The 
cones were probably intended for burial places ; 
the ramparts, perhaps, for defense. The work 
presupposes a vast population instead of the scat- 
tered handfuls of men which made up the Indian 
race at the European coming, even in the most 
populous areas. It implies, however, no capability 
of which the Indian was not possessed. 

Throughout the Mississippi Valley then, based 
on the social frame-work just outlined, went for- 
ward for no one can say how many ages a vigor- 
ous life. The forests hung heavy on the slopes of 
the Alleghanies to the east, rolling thence west- 
ward over the areas threaded by the Ohio and its 
tributaries. Before the great river was reached 
the prairies formed a break in the leafy world ; 
and beyond the river, after new forests, the valley 
at last ran on into great plains, with timber belts 
along the streams indeed, but for the most part 
grass-covered lands, the pastures of countless wild 
herds. The Indian races were scattered sparsely 
throughout wood and plain. War was an almost 
constant condition, the life of the men being spent 
in the most energetic fighting, with intervals of 


sloth broken only by an occasional hunt. In the 
campaigns the risks and hardships encountered 
went to the utmost power of human endurance. 
No race has ever shown more courage, both active 
and passive, than the Indians have shown in their 
way ; and, as regards skill, the deftness of the 
panther in pursuit of its prey was paralleled. 
The cruelty of the warfare was most ruthless and 
horrible. Indian life being that of the clan, with 
the family most rudimentary, the "extension of 
infancy," and family life in general, had done no- 
thing to soften it. But we are taught that in the 
human evolution it is influences from these sources 
that lead to gentleness and humanity. It was in- 
evitable then that the Indian's heart should know 
not the quality of mercy. In the thicket and on 
prairie went forward ceaseless fighting between 
combatants pitiless as tigers ; while energetic 
stocks, like the Iroquois, butchered whole nations 
remorselessly. Every camping ground was the 
scene of such tortures as no civilized man can 
bear to hear described. Vast tracts were unin- 
habited because out of them the population had 
been killed ; these were visited only now and then 
by hunters, or swept across by war-parties bent 
on some dreadful errand of extermination to tribes 
living beyond. The sparseness of the Indian pop- 
ulation at the time when history in America begins 
is often overlooked. The tribes, in fact, were only 
encamped here and there in the country ; in no 
proper sense did they occupy it. 


The Indian's mind in its dim consciousness 
worked often in interesting ways. His folk-lore 
was abundant and charged with picturesque poetry. 
At the councils, it was often the case that the ora- 
tors thrilled the white spectators present with wild 
and beautiful outbursts of eloquence. There it is, 
perhaps, that the Indian appears at his best. The 
council-fire was kindled, and close at hand to it, 
decked out with feathers of the hawk and eagle, 
with skins of the elk or the bear, the naked, pow- 
erful breasts painted in vermilion, in yellow, in 
black, or in white, sat the savage auditory. Close 
at hand on the river-margin, the canoes that had 
brought them were drawn up. These, the master- 
pieces of Indian handicraft, were broad sheets of 
birch-bark, cinnamon-brown, as if to match the 
skin of their owners, rolled up about a light 
framework, stitched with deer sinews or liga- 
ments of pliant wood, and embroidered with 
beads or quills of the porcupine. The pipe of 
peace, set off with plumes, was passed from hand 
to hand. The saturnine crowd sat in stolid rows, 
no face betraying a sign of what thought might be 
passing within. The orator advanced to the front 
where sat the old chief whose function it was, in 
the absence of writing, to preserve a record of all 
that might be said. Belts of wampum, bits of 
shell, or beads affixed to leather strips, variously 
colored, and sometimes objects of beauty, lay in a 
pile close at hand ; each had a mnemonic signifi- 


cance, the orator handing one for each point, as 
the speech proceeded, to the record-keeper, who 
strung them in turn upon a pole. He marked 
with care what each denoted, charging his memory 
that the point might be recalled upon occasion in 
the future. 

" Brothers, with this belt I open your ears that 
you may hear. I remove grief and sorrow from 
your hearts. I draw from your feet the thorns 
that have pierced them on your journey hither. 
I sweep the seats about the council-fire that you 
may sit at ease. I wash your heads and bodies 
that your spirits may be refreshed. I condole 
with you on the loss of your friends who have 
died. I wipe out any blood that may have been 
spilt between us." 

Some such exordium as this, a stated formula, 
is iSaid to have regularly preceded the address. 
This being finished, and the wampum-belt to com- 
memorate it delivered, the orator was ready to 
proceed with his special message. The language 
was sure to be intensely figurative. If the speaker 
earnestly desired peace, he might say : " Brothers, 
in my country grows a lofty pine. I seize it and 
pluck it up by the roots. Looking into the hole 
I discern a dark, swift-flowing stream. Into this 
I throw the hatchet, and it is swept away for- 

The words were helped out by an extraordinary 
use of pantomime, and in this respect the Indian 


orators are said to have possessed sometimes mar- 
velous dramatic power. It might be that a chief 
was invited to the home of a i^mote tribe. His 
journey thither would be acted out in all its de- 
tails by the orator. Now he would be presented 
sailing along a smooth stream, his arms plying the 
paddle ; anon he would be struggling in a rapid, 
the surges hurling his canoe upon the ledges ; ki*| 
again, he would be toiling through heavy snow, 
his legs clogged with the encumbering burden ; 
still again, he would be fighting off human enemies 
with war-whoop and weapons. At length, how- 
ever, would come the arrival, the welcome to the 
hospitality of the long house, the clustered cabins, 
or the tepees, after the protracted striving. While 
the description in words would be vivid, at the 
same time the story would be acted out, — each 
feature, each limb, each muscle of the lithe body 
being pressed into service to make vivid the por- 
trayal. As the delivery of the message proceeded, 
partly vehement speech, partly intervals of silence 
filled with dramatic action, the delivery of a wam- 
pum-belt to the recorder marked each important 
point. Meanwhile the auditory, in rows about 
the council-fire, squatted with knees drawn up to 
their chins, would sometimes, if the orator were 
skillful, lose their impassiveness, start to their feet 
with deep guttural exclamations, caught away 
from their stolidity by the power of the speaker 
and actor. While in this wild rhetoric the savages 


unquestionably were matchless, some among the 
Europeans who first encountered them showed 
here a marvelous skill in imitation, none more so 
than the able and intrepid Jesuits, whose minute 
records in their " Relations," are by far our best 
authorities as regards the life and character of 
the forest races.^ 

Such were the main features of primitive life in 
the Mississippi Valley, going on from immemorial 
antiquity, the aborigine never rising above the 
middle status of barbarism. The race possessed 
bodies lithe, powerful, of vast endurance ; under 
their hard conditions there could be survival only 
of the fittest ; those marked by defect or weak- 
ness fell out through the working of the inexora- 
ble law. It was a race characterized by energy 
passing into unmitigated ferocity ; that it should 
be so was inevitable ; for man still in the stage of 
barbarism has not been subjected to the influences 
which soften and humanize. It was a race most 
sparsely scattered over a vast area : it cannot be 
said to have at all occupied the continent ; much 
less was there any utilizing of its resources, which 
indeed were scarcely touched. We have now to 
tell how the new era came. 

1 Jesuit Belations, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites. 



What has happened in the new world but re- 
peats what happened in the old. In the old world, 
too, there was an ice age, when an arctic tempera- 
ture prevailed as far south as the Mediterranean. 
In the Mediterranean, as in the White Sea to-day, 
sounded the crashing of wave-tossed floes ; icebergs 
scraped the isles of Greece ; the slopes devoted 
now to the vine and the olive were smoothed for 
their present function by the sliding avalanche. 
In the ice age man existed in the old world just 
as in the new, and the evidence makes it certain 
that the type of man in both hemispheres was the 
same. The weapons and utensils of the old and 
of the new stone age correspond in the two hemi- 
spheres ; to a large extent the extinct brutes with 
whom primitive man contended for his foothold 
upon the earth are the same in the old world as 
in the new. A museum of aboriginal European 
relics offers to view the same flint arrowheads 
and spears, the same rude hammers and axes, as 
are found in America. 

At some immensely distant time an aboriginal 
tribe began to grow refined. The scholarship of 


tlie present moment speaks much less confidently 
than did that o£ forty years ago with regard to 
these earliest civilized men. Still the evidence of 
language cannot be discredited, and this seems to 
show that the dominant races of India and Per- 
sia, on the one hand, and of Europe on the other, 
run back to common forefathers whose mysterious 
home, once confidently placed in the highlands of 
central Asia, no cautious student now ventures to 
assign. Westward, however, they appear to have 
swept, — westward with no retreat. These Ary- 
ans, to adopt what has been the most convenient 
designation, displaced the aborigines of Greece, 
then of Italy. They passed over central Europe, 
and in Scandinavia replaced the squalor of primi- 
tive man with the vigor of the Viking. When 
history begins they had paused, stopped by the At- 
lantic surf. Greek, Roman, Teuton, Sclave, Kelt, 
and Norseman were in possession throughout the 
length and breadth of Europe, — races which the 
scholar knows by the unerring evidence of words 
to be brethren of the great Aryan household; 
races, too, which had exterminated the cave dwell- 
ers and their congeners, to whom they were dis- 
tinctly superior. 

Did the impulse die when Europe was possessed ? 
We do not know when it was that the Aryan van- 
guard pressing westward was stopped at the ocean 
shore ; but one night in October, 1492, a sea- 
tossed son of the Aryan race, looking westward 


from the deck of his little caravel, beheld a light. 
It was a torch of grass, perhaps, swung for a mo- 
ment high in air by some Indian fisherman, busy 
with his nets. It was the first clear signal from 
the new world to the race of masters advancing 
to its dominion. Westward across they came by 
tens, then by fifties, then by thousands. Like the 
flint arrowhead makers of the old world, Massa- 
soit, Philip, Powhatan, disappeared along the 
coast. By the interior streams the Algonquin was 
displaced, and at last the fierce Iroquois. Far 
inland the highway replaced the Indian trail. 
Westward past the Lakes, across the Mississippi, 
westward still. In our own times in the far 
hunting grounds of Cheyenne and Arapahoe 
have gone up flames from burning communal 
lodges, and the cry of savages whose blood was 
being spiUed. It is seventy years since it sounded 
on the Mississippi, a century since it sounded on 
the western slope of '.the Alleghanies, two thou- 
sand years, perhaps, since western Europe heard 
it. And so backward to that mysterious primeval 
home the hills have blazed with conflagration, the 
ravines have echoed cries of anguish, the streams 
have been dyed red with massacre along the Aryan 
track. The cry will grow still, the blaze die 
down, the stream run pure from its blood-stain ; 
but to-day the Aryan pioneer steps forward, as he 
always has stepped forward, over graves. 

The course of Aryan conquest only illustrates 


the great universal law that in the struggle for 
life the fittest must survive. It is a tragic story, 
that of the displacement of the aboriginal race of 
America ; but it ought not to be lost sight of that 
what the tribes of this valley endured from their 
European foes bore no comparison to the suffer- 
ings which the tribes inflicted upon each other. 
Take the worst of the enormities committed by 
the whites and compare them with the extermina- 
tion of the Illinois by the Six Nations of which La 
Salle was a witness, or the destruction of the Hu- 
rons described in the " Jesuit Eelations," events 
which were only in the ordinary course of savage 
warfare, and the contrast is great indeed. It is 
confidently asserted that the number of Indians 
in America has not decreased, that while the 
tribes have been shifted to reservations and new 
territories they have really not become less nu- 
merous ; that in some instances they have multi- 
plied under the peaceful conditions of the later 
era. It is not beyond hope that they may rise in 
the scale and take a place among civilized men. 
As to spirit and energy their fire is not quenched. 
On Soldiers' Field at Harvard, at Yale, at Colum- 
bia, at Princeton, where the flower of American 
youth exhibit in competitive struggle the best that 
can be brought to bear of litheness and strength 
of body, of swiftness of mind as well, the Car- 
lisle Indians are formidable rivals. 

Though the general direction of the Aryan 


advance was from the east, the Mississippi Valley- 
was entered from every other quarter of the com- 
pass before it was entered from the east. The 
first approach was from the south ; almost at once 
vigorous expeditions struck in from the west ; 
somewhat later the basin was assailed from the 
north. Not until it had been often traversed and 
thoroughly mapped did a stream of European 
immigration come through the AUeghanies by the 
path which was really most direct. 

The first Europeans who sailed on the river and 
trod the valley were the Spaniards, who, having 
possessed the great outlying islands, proceeded to 
the continent. In 1519, just as Cortez was found- 
ing Vera Cruz, Alvarez de Pineda, turning back 
from there, entered the mouth of a great river to 
which he gave the name Rio de Santo Espiritu. 
He breasted the current, or lay at anchor, for six 
weeks, finding one large Indian town and some 
forty hamlets, with whose people he traded. How 
far he ascended cannot be told. Nine years later 
Panfilo de Narvaez, commissioned to explore and 
govern the north shore of the Gulf, leaving Cuba 
with four hundred men and eighty horses con- 
veyed in four ships, landed at Apalache Bay near 
the western end of what is now Florida. Being 
unable to regain his ships, he made his way west- 
ward along the coast, building five frail boats. 
He reached at last the mouths of a great river 
whose flood seemed to freshen the sea. Here fur- 


tlier disasters occurred. Part of his boats cap- 
sizing, Narvaez himself was lost. A few of the 
party reached the shore, but only four finally sur- 
vived. Of these, three were Spaniards, and the 
fourth a person upon whom it is quite worth while 
to dwell for a moment. He was a negro, the first 
of his race to reach the valley, contemporary thus 
with the earliest Europeans in the region in which 
the two races were henceforth to dwell together, 
a conjunction so fateful to both. The negro's 
name was Estevanico, " Little Steve ; " and mea- 
gre as the record of him is, it affords some grounds 
for a guess that the diminutive fell to him because 
he was a jolly character made a pet of by his fel- 
lows, rather than because he was small of stature. 
Little Steve, as things turned out, became one of 
the most remarkable of American explorers, 
though he could not set down what he saw and 
underwent. He and his companions, captured 
again and again by the Indians, roamed far and 
wide, at first through western Louisiana and 
eastern Texas. They were treated well, and held 
in awe as medicine men, the strange black skin 
perhaps proving a passport to favor. At last 
they were carried up the Rio Grande, and thence 
across to the Gulf of California. They turned up 
at last at a Spanish post in Mexico in May, 1536. 
But Little Steve's adventures were not yet 
ended. Fray Marcos de Nizza, a Franciscan 
monk who had had a South American experience 


with Pizarro, being commissioned to search north- 
ward for the " Seven Cities of Cibola," of which 
a tradition had come down, took for his compan- 
ion Little Steve, whose life of eight years among 
the tribes had no doubt made him an expert and 
interpreter worth having at hand. As the party 
of Fray Marcos proceeded northward, they were 
well received, hearing from the Indians many 
stories which confirmed their belief that the cities 
they sought were not far off. Towns were de- 
scribed containing buildings from two to five 
stories high, whose thresholds were set with tur- 
quoises ; their inhabitants were said to be a peo- 
ple well clothed, and as the friar judged from the 
reports, possessed of much refinement. They were 
in fact drawing near to the pueblos of the Zunis in 
New Mexico, at the present day to some extent 
preserved and inhabited. Little Steve had de- 
clined in favor with the priestly leader, who had 
been scandalized by freedoms and gayeties which 
cavaliers might wink at, but not a churchman. 
Fray Marcos, however, as they approached the 
first pueblo, sent the negro forward, as better fitted 
than any one, to prepare the way. Little Steve 
went boldly, displaying his gifts and his retinue. 
But his time had come. The Zunis looked askance 
upon the black man, refusing him admittance. 
Little Steve alarmed, ran off, but was pursued and 
slain by an arrow. Fray Marcos, terrified, satis- 
fied himself with a glimpse from a distant hill of 


the pueblo, then retreating, made his report to 
the viceroy. Most interestingly, the Zunis have 
preserved to this day the tradition of the visit of 
Little Steve, their legend being that the precursor 
of the first white man was a black Mexican, who 
came to their first pueblo. He was bold, cheerful 
and ready, but the people distrusted and killed 
him. Afterwards numbers came, and the Zunis 
were conquered. 

The expedition of Fray Marcos de Nizza and 
Estevanico, though not touching fairly the Missis- 
sippi Basin, deserves the mention here given, as 
being the forerunner of the more memorable march 
of Francesco de Coronado, a well born cavalier 
whose wife was reputed to be a granddaughter 
of no less mighty a personage than Ferdinand the 
Catholic. In the spring of 1540, with three hun- 
dred Spaniards and eight hundred Indians, Coro- 
nado struck north from the Pacific coast, visited 
the pueblos, described, first of white men, the Colo- 
rado Canon, and went much farther eastward. He 
penetrated the Mississippi Basin, without doubt, 
though it is quite uncertain how far he may have 
wandered. He is believed to have reached the 
south fork of the Platte, and quite possibly the 
boundary line between Kansas and Nebraska. 
Some of his parties, for he sent his men out far 
and wide, may even have attained the Missouri 
River, somewhere between Kansas City and 
Omaha. He was disgusted at finding nothing but 


barbarism ; the " Seven Cities of Cibola " were 
as unsubstantial as a mirage. He returned dis- 
appointed, after two years of most energetic ex- 
ploration, penetrating the Mississippi Valley by 
paths which to this day are unknown and difficult. 
He met only with disgrace on his return, being 
deprived of the government of New Galicia which 
he had held. It is believed at the present day 
that not one of the great path-breakers that fol- 
lowed him in laying open North America, whether 
French, English, or American, surpassed this in- 
trepid Castilian in the boldness and scope of his 

While Coronado, though most undeservedly los- 
ing reputation, yet got off with a whole skin, 
indeed suffered apparently little hardship, the 
game everywhere being abundant and the Indians 
friendly or easily subdued, Fernando de Soto, 
who at the same time was in the field in another 
part of the valley, met only with disaster and death. 
He had been a companion of Pizarro, and had won 
in Peru great wealth and reputation. Thus as 
governor of Cuba, and holding the supreme rank 
of adelantado, he obtained a patent to extensive 
lands on the continent. Crossing to Florida with 
nearly six hundred men and more than two hundred 
horses, he landed with great pomp and with the 
highest hopes. The best blood and chivalry of 
Spain were profusely represented in his ranks. 
With unshrinking courage they marched north- 


ward to the Savannah River, then turned west- 
ward. Showing the customary Spanish cruelty 
and want of tact, De Soto enraged the Indians 
and at the same time was disappointed in his 
search for gold. The expedition pushed on with 
hardihood across what is now Georgia, Alabama, 
and Mississippi. At the junction of the Alabama 
and Tombigbee rivers a great battle was fought, 
no doubt with Indians whose descendants we have 
known as Creeks. Seventy Spaniards fell, and 
many horses whose loss was mourned almost as 
if they had been cavaliers. Of the savages the 
annalist claims the destruction of twenty-five hun- 
dred. Not daunted, De Soto continued to press 
westward, until in the fall of 1541 he reached the 
Yazoo. Next spring, striking the Mississippi, he 
embarked his company close at hand probably to 
Haines' Bluff, which as will be seen, was to behold 
still other expeditions after three hundred years. 
Crossing the stream, the band marched fearlessly 
through the forest, nearly to the mouth of the 
Ohio. His search still proving vain, De Soto 
returned southward, and on May 21, 1542, worn 
out with wandering, near the mouth of the 
Arkansas, he died, and was buried in the Mis- 
sissippi. It was the most romantic, the most 
important, and also the last attempt of Spain to 
discover and possess the land, until after the lapse 
of two hundred years. A kindred race, after an 
interval, was to appear on the scene, destined to 


strive for mastery with even greater energy ; but 
destined to fail also, as Sj^ain had failed. De 
Soto's followers, under Luis de Moscoso, after 
descending the Mississippi, and making their way 
along the coast of Texas, reached, diminished by 
nearly half, the town of Tampico, September 16, 
1543. The exploring and colonizing energy of 
Spain was exhausted. Before the end of the 
century the power of the nation was broken by 
its own intolerance. Individuality was crushed 
out by the Inquisition until character and spirit 
largely disappeared. As John Fiske says, the sys- 
tem of Spain seemed especially adapted to bring 
to pass the survival of the un^ttest. Since the 
time of Philip II. the life of the nation has been 
slowly departing, and we, at the close of the nine- 
teenth century, have beheld one of the most 
marked and memorable phases of the decline. 

The chapter of Spanish enterprise having closed, 
it remained for another great Latin race to play 
its part. As the Spaniards had tried from the 
south and west, the French first entered the val- 
ley far to the north, coming up from Canada 
through the great waterways. The rise of France 
was coincident with Spanish decay. In the seven- 
teenth century the power of the kings was con- 
firmed, Richelieu contributing to the might of 
Louis XIII., and Louis XIV. acceding to a dig- 
nity in which the entire power of the state was 
concentrated. " L'etat c^est moi^ France became 


a world-power as never before, and her vigor 
affected greatly the western continent. A secure 
foothold having been early gained in Canada, she 
pushed constantly farther west, the French much 
preferring the roving life of hunters and explorers 
to the cultivation of the soil in fixed settlements. 
They adapted themselves with remarkable facility 
to Indian ways, sinking themselves sometimes al- 
most into Indians. The voyageurs and coureurs 
de hois danced the war-dance, whistled through 
the wing-bone of the eagle to keep off thunder- 
storms, learned the most elaborate modulations of 
the war-whoop, — thus in ferocity, superstition, and 
general savagery becoming scarcely distinguishable 
from the wildest men. They mated with savage 
women until every tribe with which they came in 
contact was dashed with French blood. Compan- 
ions, often precursors, of the most daring adven- 
turers were the black-robed Jesuit missionaries. 
If the traders and hunters showed little tenacity, 
giving up readily such civilization as they had 
possessed, not so the priests ; they held to the 
faith, and with fanatical persistence and courage 
pressed it, encountering cheerfully, for its spread, 
the extremest torture and even martyrdom. 

As we enter now on the splendid story of French 
achievement in the Mississippi Valley, it will be 
well to consider for a moment the paths into the 
wilderness by which they came. The obvious 
route, of course, was by the St. Lawrence to the 


Lakes ; though at an early time the difficult pas- 
sage by the rapid-broken Ottawa, thence through 
the French River to what is now Georgian Bay in 
Lake Huron, was often followed. The shores of 
Lake Superior were early traced, and probably 
the trails stretching westward toward the Lake of 
the Woods were by no means unknown. A much 
more famous and frequented approach was that 
by Green Bay. Starting here, a short passage 
up the lower Fox, broken by rapids, carried the 
adventurer into Lake Winnebago ; thence the 
upper Fox led to the narrow portage where the 
Wisconsin could be reached ; sometimes it was 
scarcely necessary to lift the canoe out of the 
water, the lowlands covered with wild rice becom- 
ing for the time a shallow lake. At the southern 
end of Lake Michigan, on the western side, the 
Chekakou afforded an entrance to the Illinois 
country; a narrow portage, sometimes flooded 
until it offered no obstacle, as in the previous case, 
alone barring the way to a broad affluent of the 
Mississippi. Again, on the eastern side of the 
lake, by going up the St. Joseph, a point could 
be reached where one could easily transfer him- 
self to the Kankakee, a stream black and wind- 
ing, traversing swamps by a current scarcely 
perceptible, but delivering its waters and all that 
floated on them in due time to the Great River. 
Farther east, near the western end of Lake Erie, 
the head-streams of the Maumee interlocked with 


those of the "Wabash. Still farther east by the 
Cuyahoga the Muskingum could be approached. 
Lastly, from Presqu' Isle the peninsula which now 
shelters the harbor of Erie, in the domain of the 
Senecas watching at the western gate of the Six 
Nations, a short carry was enough to convey bark 
and burden to the rills which form presently the Al- 
leghany, a river reaching the Mississippi through 
the Ohio, after a course of a thousand miles. 
These historic waterways still persist, flowing on 
forever, though men may come and men may 
go. In some cases the circumstances are greatly 
changed. The old Chekahou is now marked by 
a city of two millions; and the little primitive 
currents, manipulated by wonderful engineering, 
have been utilized for a " drainage canal," a work 
so colossal as almost to change the water-shed of 
a vast area, making the Lakes discharge to the 
Gulf, as in pre-glacial times. In the case of others, 
however, the wilderness still to a large extent per- 
sists ; and canoe-men of to-day who have become 
imbued and fascinated with the old stories, like 
Mr. Reuben Gold Thwaites,^ track the pathfinders 
from camping-ground to camping-ground. 

The French were within easy reach of the Mis- 
sissippi as early as 1634, in which year the trader, 
Jean Nicolet at Green Bay, dressing up in a Chi- 
nese robe of flowered silk, and firing off pistols, 
awed the Indians into friendship). He reached 

1 Historic Waterways, by R. G. Thwaites. 


the Fox River, and might easily have gone on to 
the " great water " which he heard of as being not 
far beyond, and which he supposed was the Paci- 
fic Ocean. He turned back, however, to the Que- 
bec neighborhood, being a guest not long after at 
the wedding of the wagon-maker, Joliet. The Mis- 
sissippi was to remain a mystery until Louis Joliet, 
a son of that marriage, had grown to manhood. 
Father Allouez also at his mission at the Apostle 
Islands, at Chequamagon Bay, of Lake Superior, 
heard from the Sioux of the Jlessepi, but did 
not go thither. Radisson and Groseilliers, fur- 
traders, actually reached the river in 1654. 
Jacques Marquette, companion and successor of 
Allouez, having become familiar with the Sault 
Sainte Marie, with the district of Allouez, and 
with the island of Michilimackinac, resolved to 
go farther. Leaving the mission of St. Ignace, 
which he had established opposite Mackinac, with 
Joliet for a companion, the son of the wagon- 
maker, on May 17, 1673, he set out for the 
great water of which so much had been heard, but 
which was still so uncertain. The passage to the 
"Baie des Puans," as the French called Green 
Bay, was short. The lower Fox was ascended, 
the explorers carrying their canoes on their shoul- 
ders about the rapids : the tranquil expanse of 
Lake Winnebago and the upper Fox offered little 
hindrance. Once over the portage, the Wiscon- 
sin, at flood, bore them on smoothly, until one day 


in the early summer they saw the sun set beyond 
the stream which had been a mystery since the 
burial of De Soto, a century and a quarter before. 
Marquette found the Indians friendly. Said a 
chief, shading his eyes as if from too great light : 
" How bright the sun shines when the French visit 
our country ! " They floated down to the mouth 
of the Arkansas, satisfying themselves that the 
river did not flow into the Pacific. Thence they 
returned ; the trader to persist in his wandering, 
the priest to resume his work, until dying in his 
prime by a forest-stream, his body was laid under 
the chapel at St. Ignace, where he had minis- 

A still more noteworthy figure in the line of the 
great pathfinders now stepped upon the scene. 
Kobert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, was born of a 
noble family of Rouen, and obtaining from the 
king the grant of a seigneurie^ he embarked early 
for the new world. Like so many of the early 
adventurers, he dreamed of a northwest passage 
to the Orient until the world laughed at him. 
Obtaining a grant just above Montreal, where the 
St. Lawrence in its broken course throws itself 
for the last time over the ledges, the people called 
it La Chine. It was the only China he was des- 
tined to reach, though his foot pressed far on the 
road which two centuries later, has been found to 
be the most direct way thither. In his portrait 
his face, the eye keen, the nose strongly aquiline. 


is marked by manly energy and an air of high 
breeding. He is said to have been in disposition 
cold and haughty, and during his career constantly 
stirred up violent enmities, the consequence of one 
being his death at last. But he was a man of iron 
nerve and persistency, whom no misfortune could 
daunt ; one of the foremost of the brave and bril- 
liant race who came so near to the possession of 
the new world. 

Frontenac, the most picturesque of the French 
governors, at one time a figure robed in velvet 
and lace reflected from the mirrors of the Galerie 
des Glaces, at Versailles, at another time painted 
and plumed to dance the war-dance with savages 
in the heart of the wilderness, recognized in La 
Salle a valuable instrument ; the Indians, too, 
felt his masterful character and gave way to him 
readily. Early in his career he is believed to 
have discovered the Ohio, though no definite re- 
cord of it remains. But it is well known that, in 
1679, he landed on the bank of the Niagara, just 
where the lower Whirlpool Rapids flow into calm 
water, and climbed with his men the high ridge, 
where the cataract, ages ago, began its task of cut- 
ting backward. Making his way with his packs 
past the Falls and the Gorge for six miles, he 
pitched his camp among the reeds, the line of 
surge just Visible below that marked the first 
plunge of the river toward its gulf. Here, at a 
spot now called by his name, he built the Griffin, 


the first ship to sail the Lakes, embarking in which 
he made his way to the St. Joseph's River. From 
here the party passed to the Illinois, on which he 
built Fort Crevecoeur. In March, 1680, La Salle, 
left the little stockade in command of Henri de 
Tonti, his brave and faithful lieutenant, son of the 
Italian financier from whom we derive the word 
tontine^ a personage only less interesting than La 
Salle himself. Tonti's commanding qualities were 
curiously reinforced, for the work he was set to do, 
by a certain defect ; he had lost one hand by ac- 
cident, and had in place of it an iron hook. This, 
among the Indians was a great " medicine," lend- 
ing to the maimed Tonti a prestige which, proba- 
bly more than made good his misfortune. La 
Salle himself returned to the lake to await the 
Griffin, which had gone back to Niagara for sup- 
plies. The ship, however, was never heard of 
after. Tired of waiting at last. La Salle with 
four Frenchmen and a Mohegan guide, set out 
to reach Montreal on foot. Arriving after great 
hardships at Niagara, he met only bad news. 
Besides the loss of the Griffin, a ship from 
France belonging to him, with freight valued at 
twenty thousand livres, had been wrecked in the 
lower St. Lawrence with a loss of everything. 
Taking three fresh men La Salle went on to Mont- 
real, whence after obtaining reinforcements and 
supplies, he started back nothing daunted. 

La Salle's ill-luck, however, was not broken. 


At Fort Frontenac, where the St. Lawrence flows 
from Lake Ontario, he heard of a mutiny at Fort 
Crevecceur. Having pulled the fort to pieces, the 
mutineers, abandoning Tonti, had made their way 
to Niagara, which post they also destroyed. The 
word was that the mutineers, with their plunder, 
were making their way down the lake, hoping to 
meet and murder La Salle. By prompt action, 
on the other hand, La Salle captured them, and 
sent them in chains to the viceroy, Frontenac. 
Then he pursued his journey to find the Illinois 
country a scene of devastation. The Iroquois, 
tigers of the human race, "the scourge of God 
upon the wilderness," now at the height of their 
power and activity, had been there, inflicting a 
slaughter which scarcely fell short of extermina- 
tion. Seeking Tonti, whom he had left in charge, 
La Salle followed the Illinois to the Mississippi. 
He returned unsuccessful, for the resolute Tonti, 
with the little band that had been faithful to him 
during the mutiny, forced to abandon his ruined 
fort, had made his way northward along the shore 
of Lake Michigan to Green Bay, well out of the 
danger. Nothing was left in the Illinois country 
but ash-heaps and skeletons, where had stood the 
populous villages. La Salle's heart rose to the 
situation. Rallying as he could the tribes to 
the right and left, he sought to inspirit them on 
the basis of enmity to the Iroquois. 

In May, 1681, he set out again for Canada, pur- 

1682.] LOUISIANA 39 

suing a more northerly route than before, on which, 
somewhere near Green Bay or Mackinac, he en- 
countered Tonti whom he confirmed in his attach- 
ment. He paddled a thousand miles to Fort 
Frontenac again; and ever restless and uncon- 
quered, made a new start in the fall, from which 
at last came success. Reaching the Illinois by 
routes now well known, he followed it to the Mis- 
sissippi and proceeded to surpass the achievement 
of Marquette, eight years before. He pushed be- 
yond the mouth of the Arkansas, down and still 
down, his boats at last floating out of one of the 
passes into the Gulf of Mexico. Of Alonzo de 
Pineda, and Panfilo de Narvaez, not to speak of 
the far-wandering " Little Steve," his predecessors 
by one hundred and forty years, scarcely a tradi- 
tion remained. Heedless of the Spanish preoccu- 
pation, on the 9th of April, 1682, he planted the 
banner of thQjleur de lis to establish the claim of 
France, and bestowed upon the country the me- 
morable name Louisiana. 

La Salle, on his return, which took place at 
once, built in the Illinois country Fort St. Louis, 
a more substantial post than the former one ; leav- 
ing this in Tonti's hands, traversing the wilder- 
ness still again, he set sail from Quebec for France. 
Exchanging his deerskin dress for the silk attire 
of a courtier, he bent the knees, so sturdy through 
continental journey ings, by the chair of the great 
Louis ; and modulating the voice grown stern and 


powerful through wilderness shoutings, to the 
tone of a humble petitioner, he begged for means 
to possess the great country he had found. The 
king had a liking for brave men, and the plea of 
La Salle proved persuasive. In due time a fleet 
was despatched with men and means for a set- 
tlement at the mouth of the Mississippi ; and a 
line of posts was projected to extend thence to 
the fortresses of Canada. 

But luck, which for a time had smiled, again 
grew frowning. Through the incompetency or 
misfortune of Beaujeu, commander of the fleet, 
the mouth of the river was missed, and of the fine 
expedition, some of the ships passing to the west 
were wrecked on the coast. With the rest Beaujeu 
sailed away, leaving La Salle, in one of the wrecks, 
to his fate. The ill-fated hero reaching land with 
a few other survivors, wandered lost for two years. 
In March, 1687, the end came for him. Still hop- 
ing to reach the Mississippi, on which he trusted 
to find means to make his way up to Tonti, on the 
Illinois, he started out on foot, but was shot from 
ambush by some of his followers. One feels in 
reading the story of La Salle, that there must have 
been in him some marked unamiability to account 
for the steady treachery and hatred which beset 
his path from first to last, whether he had to do 
with high or low. For all the qualities of rugged 
manhood however, courage, persistency that could 
not be broken, contempt of pain and hardship, in 



the story of America he has never been surpassed, 
and seldom paralleled. 

Although among the churchmen it was the 
Jesuits who played by far the larger part in 
attempts to explore and christianize America, 
they were not alone. The Franciscans, known 
also as KecoUets, were also active until the jeal- 
ousy of their black-robed rivals drove them out. 
Their garb was the coarse gray robe of St. Francis, 
girt about the waist with a knotted cord. One, at 
least, among them had a career as picturesque 
and full of adventure as that of any Jesuit. In 
the train of La Salle, when he built the Griffin 
on the Niagara, and made the voyage to the port- 
age from Lake Michigan to the Illinois, was the 
Belgian Father, Louis de Hennepin, who, at Fort 
Crevecoeur, received a commission from La Salle 
to undertake an independent expedition. Henne- 
pin set out at the end of February, 1680, with 
two companions, to explore the Illinois to its 
mouth. They were captured about the middle of 
April by a party of Sioux, whom, after undergo- 
ing much terror, they had the address to propi- 
tiate. A pocket compass which the Father car- 
ried seemed to the Indians great medicine, and 
under the idea that a touch of the supernatural 
characterized them, their captors treated them 
well, Hennepin being adopted by a chief and 
held in high esteem. In this company Hennepin 
ascended to the Falls of St. Anthony, wandering 


widely also in Minnesota. Thus he covered a 
part of the river which Marquette had not trav- 
ersed, and was the first European to give a clear 
account of the great Northwest. He was not the 
first white man to visit this region, for fur-traders 
had reached the upper Mississippi as early as 1655. 
Escaping at last, Hennepin made his way to Mont- 
real, and thence to France, where he published 
an interesting account of his adventures. The 
Indian life is graphically depicted; and though 
the foibles of the Father are very apparent, it is 
plain that he met the exigencies of a hard situa- 
tion with resolution and skill. His drawings are 
curious, and sometimes surprisingly accurate. His 
map, also, giving the whole territory east of the 
Mississippi to the Atlantic and the Gulf, is cor- 
rect to a remarkable degree. The coast-line, for 
a rough delineation, is fairly accurate ; the course 
of the Mississippi from source to mouth is sub- 
stantially the true one. Although the Great Lakes 
are grotesque in size and shape, besides crowding 
too much the valley of the Ohio, one feels that 
the old friar caught with wonderful quickness the 
topography of the regions into which he pene- 

In 1697, when La Salle had been dead ten 
years, Hennepin published a second lying narra- 
tive, in which he declared that before his capture 
by the Sioux he went down the Mississippi to its 
mouth and returned, romancing about his experi- 

1699] IBERVILLE 43 

ences during his fabricated excursion. Though 
La Salle was not alive to contradict him, his tale 
was not believed. His credit departed even in 
his lifetime, and his is but a tarnished name in 
our early story. 

La Salle had conceived that the fur trade, the 
most important trade of New France, might be 
carried on to better advantage from the mouth of 
the Mississippi than from Montreal and Quebec. 
This, no doubt, he had purposed to demonstrate, 
had not premature ruin befallen him ; but before 
the century ended another Frenchman came for- 
ward to take up his work. Iberville was of Cana- 
dian extraction, and in early manhood had become 
known through exploits in Hudson's Bay. Turn- 
ing from the far north, he had interest enough to 
be able to gather in France two hundred emi- 
grants, men, women, and children, who embarked 
in a small fleet, June, 1698, and, convoyed by 
the Francois of fifty guns, reached Louisiana 
in the spring of 1699. Ascending the river they 
established their settlement on the east bank, 
thus founding a new colony. The Spaniards, 
inactive since the days of De Soto, one hun- 
dred and fifty years before, were still close at 
hand both east and west, — in the West Indies, 
Florida and Mexico ; and a party of them now 
appeared at Biloxi, close by, protesting against 
the violation of their territory. But the French 
were not disconcerted. Iberville remained among 


tbem until 1702, causing the roots of his colony 
to strike deep, then went back to France never to 
return. His successor was his brother Bienville, 
scarcely beyond boyhood, but possessed of much 
prudence and tenacity, who guided the fortunes of 
the colony until far along in the century. 

As the eighteenth century progressed, the en- 
ergy of France showed no diminution ; explorers 
as bold as their predecessors continued the work. 
Before 1700 Le Sueur had ascended the Missis- 
sippi from its mouth to Minnesota. Juchereau 
and La Harpe, in the southwest, before 1720, 
had penetrated far into the country about the 
Red and Arkansas Rivers. About the same time 
du Tisne, ascending by the Missouri, struck across 
through the Osages to the Pawnees ; and soon 
after Bourgmont made his way to the Comanches. 
Somewhat later the brothers Mallet reached the 
south fork of the Platte, and crossing Coronado's 
track reached Santa Fe through Colorado, return- 
ing down the Arkansas. 

The heroic line may be said to close with the 
family of La Verendrye which nobly sustained the 
credit of the lilies. A lieutenant of the regiment 
Carignan-Salieres, a body of regular French troops 
which did fine service in the new country, marry- 
ing a girl of the colony, and being established in a 
post of danger on the Iroquois frontier, became 
parent of a numerous family, after the Canadian 
fashion. One son went to France, held a commis- 


sion in the army, and at Malplaquet, after being 
shot through the body and receiving six sabre-cuts, 
was left for dead on that terrible field. He lived 
to return to America, however, and with body and 
spirit unbroken, founded posts and traveled far 
and wide north and west of Lake Superior, in 
Minnesota, North Dakota, and modern Manitoba. 
He took with him into the woods two sons of his 
own fibre, who even went beyond their father. 
Striking westward in the hope of reaching the 
Pacific, of which they constantly heard from 
Sioux and Assiniboins, the savages with whom 
they lived, they reached the upper Missouri, at 
the country of the Mandans. Hence they pene- 
trated still farther along the path followed sixty- 
two years later by Lewis and Clark, fairly reach- 
ing, in 1742, the Rocky Mountains. Like so 
many of their predecessors, father and sons re- 
ceived neither acknowledgment nor reward, dying 
in obscurity and poverty. 

While the pioneers thus pushed westward, the 
area of the basin behind them became during the 
first half of the eighteenth century well ascertained 
and mapped. France had the field to herself ; as 
yet the English had not found the valley ; and 
though the Spaniards were not far off, in Florida 
and Mexico, and regarded the French as interlop- 
ers, Spain fallen into decadence could easily be 
reckoned with. The vast country was far enough 
from being occupied. Stockade forts held by a 


few men guarded generally tlie portages by which 
it was possible to penetrate from the Lakes. In 
the way of settlement three little groups assem- 
bled, one named Vincennes, on the Wabash, with 
a few tributary hamlets ; one at Kaskaskia, in the 
Illinois country, which also had its outlying vil- 
lages ; and most important of all, New Orleans, 
with the villages and plantations scattered among 
the bayous and swamps. To these little nuclei of 
civilization, the great river, or some affluent of it, 
close at hand, afforded a highway. Log-cabins 
with broad verandas stood irregularly along the 
village street, the interstices plastered with clay, 
the chimneys standing outside. In each little 
centre the priest and the notary took care of reli- 
gion and civil order, officials quite adequate in the 
simple society. To some extent the clearing off of 
the dark overshadowing forest went forward and 
there was a certain small amount of tillage ; but 
the men were far more prone to hunt and trade, 
than to chop and delve. The simple housekeep- 
ing taxed the women but little ; the skins of beasts, 
with blankets and fabrics brought now and then 
across the portages or up the river, sufficed for 
clothing. A crucifix, the hide of a black bear 
nailed against the logs, or a pair of antlers, gave 
decoration. Life was in a high degree social and 
genial ; christenings and weddings, the planting, 
the harvest, the husking, saints' days, — every 
possible occasion was made a festival. The fiddle 


squeaked and the dancing was long and boister- 
ous. The French knew how to fight Indians, 
none better ; but the bond between the races was 
often fraternal, and in every settlement plumed 
and painted braves lounged about, much at home. 
In the life there was a curious blending of com- 
plete despotism and wild individual freedom run- 
ning out into license. Not a soul would have 
dared to stand against the slightest nod of the 
great Louis, or his representative, the military- 
commandant, or the intendant who superintended 
the traffic. That authority once recognized how- 
ever, there was little interference with the daily 
doings of men or women, who went and came, 
played, hunted, bartered, fought as they pleased, 
or more rarely engaged in fitful labor. The sys- 
tem was a complete paternalism in which the 
authority of the head was unquestioned ; but the 
bonds in which the children were held were usu- 
ally light, though they might at any time be 
tightened into cruel restraint. The number of 
women was much smaller than of men, a fact lead- 
ing to frequent mating, more or less irregular, 
with Indians, until it often happened that the 
little half-breeds about a post far outnumbered 
the urchins of pure blood. The isolated French, 
indeed, showed always a tendency to fall away 
into the savagery which surrounded them ; even 
when there was in the veins no trace of wild 
blood, the coureur de hois or voyageur^ more 


often than not was ready to sink witliout reluc- 
tance to the forest level. 

Louisiana in those days had the vaguest possi- 
ble boundaries, being held broadly to comprise 
not only the territory west of the river, but 
also the region east, which at the same time was 
south of Canada and west of the English colonies, 
neighbors whom the proud French purposed not 
long to tolerate. A chain of posts was in contem- 
plation, and soon partially established, designed 
to block the westward advance of the English. 
Behind such a chain, too, as population increased, 
a power might gather which before long would 
be able to drive the English into the sea. But 
things went slowly. In 1713 the prominent man 
at Detroit, Cadillac, going thence by Montreal 
and France to New Orleans, found there a dis- 
couraged handful, perhaps four hundred whites 
and a few score negroes, and this was by far the 
most numerous body of French in the Mississippi 
basin. Prospects soon after brightened, the incu- 
bus of a monopoly in the interest of one Crozat 
being removed. Just here what proved a great 
calamity in Europe turned out to be a wind blow- 
ing good to the colony. In 1717 John Law 
set the world in a whirl with his Mississippi 
scheme, — a curious delusion turning the heads 
of high and low and creating a fever of specula- 
tion. The Mississippi Company sent out in five 
years seven thousand settlers and seven hundred 


slaves. While in Europe ruin fell broadcast as 
the bubble exploded, in America the outcome was 
at last good. Though disappointment was at first 
universal, and though the outcry was loud against 
the cheats who had misled them into hardship, 
the immigrants learned at last to face the situa- 
tion ; the colony finally got upon its feet. 

Naturally in the immigration men had largely 
predominated. As things took shape, and it be- 
came plain that the new world must hereafter 
be their home, the question grew pressing where 
should wives come from for the pioneers ? The 
problem was solved as it had been before in Can- 
ada. Ship-loads of "king's maids," '''' filles a la 
cassette,''^ girls with little trunks, marriageable 
young women, were sent over by the paternal 
government. An earlier experiment of this kind 
had turned out disastrously ; such a ship-load had 
stopped at San Domingo, where the girls con- 
tracted yellow fever, and brought it with them, 
giving rise to a sad epidemic, one victim of which 
was the hero Tonti, the lieutenant of La Salle. 
Better luck, however, attended the later ventures. 
The girls were mated at once on landing, after a 
fashion rough and ready, but quite adequate. A 
happy and proper union was the usual result ; and 
to this day some of the best families of Louisi- 
ana are said to have their origin in matches made 
in a few minutes on the levee at New Orleans, as 
the enterprising girls landed after their voyage. 


By tlie middle of tlie century, it is estimated, 
there were in the lower Mississippi Valley about 
six thousand French, though to make up this 
number their slaves must be counted. In the 
upper country were perhaps twenty-five hundred 
more. How many rovers of the wilderness there 
may have been besides, it is impossible to say. 
To give stability to the hold on the upper region, 
Fort Chartres, a substantial stronghold of masonry, 
had been built some distance above the mouth of 
the Ohio. 

North and South were not altogether in har- 
mony, the fur-traders from Quebec and from New 
Orleans contending sometimes sharply. In the 
little clusters of settlement the population was 
light-hearted, polite, capable of terrible deeds, 
but generally on good terms among themselves, 
and not inconsiderate of others. The habitans and 
voyageurs pursued their way with little thought 
of the future. The great people in France, and 
their servants the governor and soldiers at Quebec, 
schemed for the peopling of the vast territory, and 
for using it as a vantage ground for further con- 
quests. But new men were beginning to push in ; 
the story of the intrusion is a momentous one and 
must now engage us. 



The Spaniards had approached the Mississippi 
Valley from the south and west ; the French had 
approached from the north ; the east, where the on- 
coming European wave might have been expected 
to strike first, was, in fact, the last quarter to be 
assailed. In the middle of the eighteenth cen- 
tury the great basin had been scarcely disturbed. 
No trace remained of Spanish occupation ; the few 
thousand French scattered from the mouth of the 
river to the Lakes had made small impression. 
The forests were unf elled, the prairies un ploughed. 
The wild beasts probably had hardly begun to 
diminish, though the activity of the hunters to be 
sure had been stimulated. As to the Indians, the 
habitans seemed far more likely to melt away 
into the tribes, than to displace them in the vast 
area by a French occupancy. But the transform- 
ers were now at hand. 

While the first distinct path-breaker into the 
region beyond the Alleghanies was Walker, who 
in 1748 penetrated to a mountain gap and a west- 
ward flowing stream which he named Cumberland, 


after the hero of Culloden, then much in the 
minds of men, that was but an obscure reaching 
out. The real harbinger of the Anglo-Saxon day- 
bey ond the mountains was no other than the youth- 
ful Washington, who, twenty-one years old, in 
1753 made his memorable winter journey into 
the wilderness as the messenger of Dinwiddle, 
governor of Virginia. With Gist as a companion 
his party reached Venango, on French Creek; 
then pushed on to Le Boeuf, fifteen miles south of 
Lake Erie, just back of Presqu' Isle. There he 
interrogated the commander as to French inten- 
tions, and set forth strenuously the claim of Vir- 
ginia to the valley of the Ohio. Washington had 
been introduced to the wilderness in the Shenan- 
doah Valley by Lord Fairfax, the eccentric noble- 
man who lived there secluded, like the Banished 
Duke in the Forest of Arden ; the young sur- 
veyor was well-fitted to be the forerunner of the 
immigration which the colonies, restless now down 
to tide-water, were on the point of pouring forth. 
As the French awoke to their danger from the 
east and took measures against it, establishing 
Fort Duquesne at the very point which Washing- 
ton on his journey had noted as the place of all 
others to be held, he passed easily from civil func- 
tions to military, appearing in due time at the side 
of Braddock, where his masterful quality first 
became conspicuous. 

The first battle of the Anglo-Saxon advance 


into the Mississippi Valley was most disastrous. 
As so often before and since, from the days when 
our forefathers confronted the Danes to the days 
when our English brothers are confronting the 
Boers, at the beginning was frightful defeat, lead- 
ing to loss of prestige and loudest lamentation ; 
to be followed by success, as slow tenacity at last 
grasps the problem by its proper handle. The 
French and Indians in ambush are believed to 
have been scarcely half the number of the bat- 
talions which they so boldly attacked. Their own 
loss was trifling, although it included at the very 
first their skillful leader Beaujeu. Of Braddock's 
army three fourths of the officers and two thirds 
of the men were presently disposed of, an aver- 
age perhaps of two apiece to the party of assail- 
ants. But, as a hundred times before and since, 
the bad beginning was amply atoned for ; the 
way was learned at last. Fort Duquesne was cap- 
tured, the French on the Ohio dispossessed with- 
out long delay ; and in 1759, when Quebec was 
captured, all was over for France. In November, 
1762, all Louisiana west of the Mississippi, to- 
gether with New Orleans on the east bank, was 
ceded to Spain, to conciliate the Spanish court. 
October 10, 1765, came for France the last hu- 
miliation. One hundred Highlanders of the Black 
Watch stood drawn up at Fort Chartres, and to 
these St. Ange turned over the post ; France in 
this act relinquishing its hold entirely upon what 
had been won through such effort and heroism. 


And now once more as to dispossession of the 
Indians. Was it right that they should be dis- 
possessed ? The usual tone as regards this 
matter is that of self-reproach ; that in this dis- 
possession our race has committed a sad injustice. 
The wrongs of the Indian have been bemoaned by 
historians, poets, and novelists, until the " cen- 
tury of dishonor " has come to be regarded as a 
count against us which could not be denied or 
atoned for. Against this view the strenuous and 
unshrinking historian of the winning of the West, 
Theodore Roosevelt, makes protest. The war 
against the savage, he claims, was inevitable. 
The Indians had no valid ownership of the land. 
Every good hunting-ground was claimed by many 
tribes. Vast regions were entirely unoccupied 
both east and west ; where there was occupancy, 
the right more frequently than not rested upon 
some previous butchery through which former 
occupants had been exterminated. Each great 
confederacy had about it wide wastes, which it had 
depopulated. To the east of the Iroquois, western 
Massachusetts and Vermont were an utter soli- 
tude ; so, also, what had been the country of the 
Eries and the Hurons to the west and northwest. 
Kentucky and much of Tennessee were unten- 
anted, except as now and then crossed by war and 
hunting parties. The reader has just seen with 
what a besom of wrath the prairies of Illinois had 
been swept clean of men. Passing beyond the 
river, the Sioux were no more merciful. Lewis 


and Clark could march for months without meet- 
ing^ a livino: soul. If the whites have often 
destroyed, they have also sometimes shielded. It 
seems likely that but for them the entire Algon- 
quin race would have disappeared; in the far west, 
also, weaker peoples have been protected against 
their fiercer foes. The Commissioner of Indian 
Affairs reports at the present moment that the 
numbers of the tribes have probably diminished 
but little since the time of Columbus. They have 
undoubtedly suffered less at white hands than 
they suffered before through warfare and torture 
among themselves. Tribes have been shifted, 
sometimes harshly and unjustly. But when left 
to themselves they were ever shifting ; and the gov- 
ernment has by no means always been unmindful 
of its wards ; often they have been helped forward 
to better things. There is reason to think that 
our Indian policy, while sometimes gravely wrong, 
as in the movement of the Creeks and Cherokees 
from Georgia, and the treatment of Chief Joseph 
and the Nez Perces at a later time, has erred 
generally on the side of weakness and sentiment- 
ality rather than inhumanity; and that the In- 
dian agent is a character greatly traduced, being 
more prone to treat the white settler unjustly 
than the savage. The pioneer always receives 
blame from those who, behind him and sheltered 
by him, are in such leisure and security that 
they can cherish sentimentalism. 


Such is the tone of Theodore Roosevelt. Shall 
we say it is just ? At any rate the dispossession 
of the Indians was a thing inevitable, if the higher 
race was to have a footing. The Aryan advance 
did in America only what had been done before 
in Europe in sweeping off the primeval man 
whom it found in its path. The frontiersman is 
always rude of necessity, and his work, too, is 
rude of necessity ; high forbearance and humanity 
are likely to receive scant honor while he performs 
his task. His foe had the wild beast's energy, — 
the wild beast's craft as well, and utter pitiless- 
ness. The invariable incidents of the warfare 
were the burning of solitary homes, the scalping of 
mothers and children, the torture of captives. The 
present writer rejoices that in a " short history " 
details of such horrors may be spared. It must 
be remembered that the winning of the West from 
the savage was a most desperate enterprise, in 
which the whites, though of a stock most intrepid 
and tenacious, were often on the brink of failure. 
Never was final victory more hardly wrung out 
from deadly combat. Under such conditions the 
strivers cannot be nice as to methods. The clear- 
ing of the Mississippi Valley of its primeval in- 
habitants is a terrible story, as regards both the 
savage and the pioneer. In spite of our rawness 
and roughness, the outcome has been smiling farms, 
busy cities, a regulated land full of homes with 
a hopeful outlook toward sweetness and light, — 

1763] PONTIAC 57 

something better than the gloom of the wilder- 
ness, wandered over by men in whose hearts God's 
discipline had as yet evolved no trace of gentle- 

When, in 1759, through the fall of Quebec, the 
French ceased to be formidable and the westward 
advance of the English was opposed only by the 
Indians, the figure that stood in the foreground to 
block the path was very noteworthy. Perhaps 
no other member of his race has exhibited such 
marks of greatness as Pontiac, chief of the Otta- 
was, who, although his friends the French were 
irretrievably ruined, fought against the victors 
with a skill and vigor in which Indian heroism cul- 
minates. The story of Pontiac belongs rather to 
the region of the Lakes than to the VaUey of the 
Mississippi, though his far-reaching conspiracy 
embraced tribes roving to the south and west, 
and there was everywhere unrest. Just at the 
farthest eastern limit of the basin, Henry Bou- 
quet, on July 3 and 4, 1763, beat off the Indians 
in the hard-fought battle of Bushy Run, — a vic- 
tory which prepared the way for important things. 
By the side of the great river, too, Pontiac found 
his grave. KiUed at Cahokia in a savage brawl, 
in 1769, St. Ange, commandant at St. Louis, 
clothing the dead chief in his French uniform, the 
gift of Montcalm, gave him burial near to the fort. 
The grave has been obliterated by the great city 
reared on the spot by the children of his foes. 


Indeed it was a grave which should have been 

For several years just after 1725, averaging 
about twelve thousand a year, the Scotch-Irish im- 
migration had been pouring in. The stock had 
originated in both the Highlands and the Low- 
lands ; they had crossed into Ireland in the early 
times of the Stuarts, maintaining the sturdy Pro- 
testantism in which they had been nurtured. In 
the years of the expulsion of James II. and the 
accession of William of Orange, they gave clear 
evidence of the toughness of their fibre, the siege 
of Londonderry in especial furnishing illustra- 
tion. Very prolific, they became crowded ; they 
felt hampered, too, by old world traditions. These 
causes brought about a second overflow, this time 
into America, where they were to play a most im- 
portant part. Some of these people came to New 
England, contributing power to a stock already 
strong ; for the most part, however, they landed 
further south, at ports in a line stretching from 
Pennsylvania to the Carolinas. They did not 
remain on the seaboard, but struck out for the 
backwoods, pausing first near the mountains which 
until now had hemmed in the colonies. Stern 
and virile race that they were, they took in on the 
frontier a number of good elements, — Huguenot, 
English, German, — as here and there an enterpris- 
ing group from these stocks pushed out toward 
the forest. One generation was sufficient to as- 


similate all into a mass homogeneous enough to be 
thoroughly effective. They hated popery and pre- 
lacy to the point of fanaticism. The rigid Pres- 
byterianism of their covenanting forefathers fell 
to some extent out of mind in their remoteness, 
but the prejudices it had nurtured remained. 
Above all, they cherished the passion for freedom. 
At a synod in Philadelphia the grandfather of 
John Caldwell Calhoun, John Caldwell by name, 
had led the Scotch-Irish in offering to the gover- 
nor of Virginia protection for the province from 
dangers towards the west, provided freedom of 
conscience were guaranteed to them. The offer 
was accepted, and the Scotch-Irish, feeling that a 
suitable equivalent had been received, at once 
interposed such a wall that the people of the 
tide-water regions could ever after sleep in peace. 
The part which the Scotch-Irish henceforth played 
is a memorable one. Through the long valley 
between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies they 
spread downward, through southwest Pennsylva- 
nia, Virginia, and North Carolina, in a swarm 
little marked at the time on the seaboard, but 
whose activity was about to change the face of 
the continent. The Alleghanies, not easy to pen- 
etrate, made the southwestward path the line of 
least resistance for them. In rugged western 
North Carolina they met an immigration of similar 
people pushing westward from their landing-place 
at Charleston. As in an axe the softer metal has 


welded upon the front of it a wedge of the hardest 
steel, capable of taking on a fine cutting edge, 
hard to dull or to fracture no matter what it may 
strike, so the Anglo-Saxon advance against the 
savagery of the great basin was faced with a 
mass which nothing could bend or dint. 

As this forlorn hope of civilization pauses for a 
moment in the back country before it goes out 
into the wilderness beyond the mountains, it is 
well worth a little study. The figures were for 
the most part tall and gaunt, with reddish close 
curling hair and frames in which the bone and 
sinew appeared plainly under the scant flesh. In 
dress they took points from the Indians, favoring 
especially, besides moccasins and leggings, the 
fringed deer-skin hunting shirt, which Roosevelt 
declares to be " the most distinctive and pictur- 
esque national dress ever worn in America." For 
headgear, a broad-brimmed felt hat, or more often 
a coon-skin cap, with the tail depending, sufficed. 
The aids nearest at hand were always the axe and 
the rifle, in the use of which tools the world has 
never seen better adepts. The rifle and the axe, 
looking at the part they have played in the history 
of America, are indeed implements of note. The 
barrel of the rifle was long, with a small bore, 
admitting balls weighing thirty or forty to the 
pound, though sometimes lighter ; and was forged 
out of thick soft iron. Into the short stock, with 
butt scooped out for the shoulder, the flint-lock was 


fitted. It was clumsy and ill-balanced as a weapon, 
but in skillful hands most accurate. It was made 
commonly in the woods, the frontier forges being 
quite capable of good work here. A tall hunter, 
folding his hands across the muzzle, could conve- 
niently rest his chin there as he stood. 

In the little settlements there was thorough 
equality. The nimble axes speedily made a clear- 
ing, within which rose at once a cluster of cabins 
with a stockade fort, into which all might flee in 
case of an alarm. The settlement could be estab- 
lished in a few days ; it could be abandoned, too, 
almost as easily as the Arabs fold their tents ; for 
the frontiersman was always ready to strike out 
farther ; rifle, axe, and such other simple utensils 
as their life required being borne at the girdle or 
on the back. In the simple commerce, barter was 
the usual method. The men were tanners as well 
as hunters, providing especially good store of 
tough and supple deer-skins, which the women 
made into clothing. They ate from wooden bowls 
and trenchers ; the food, aside from game, being 
largely maize ground in handmills, or roughly 
beaten into hominy on a block. While salt was 
scarce, sugar could easily be made from maple- 
trees. When the yield of the hunt was abundant 
the meat was " jerked," — dried in the sun and 
smoked, — and so roughly preserved. The hunter 
could imitate the calls of the beasts and birds with 
which he lived in close intimacy. At certain sea- 


sons tlie heavens were fairly darkened by flocks 
of migrating wild fowl. Black and gray squirrels 
were so numerous as to be great pests ; so, too, 
mosquitoes and gnats ; while snakes, panthers, 
wolves, and bears exposed them to more formida- 
ble dangers. The Indians were a still greater 

In the midst of all, however, life went bravely 
on on the little mountain rills that flowed Missis- 
sippi-ward. They married and gave in marriage ; 
and when children came, many a baby rocked in 
a sap-trough for the time being out of use, grew 
up to be a famous man. The sports of the men 
were rough, often to brutality. The transition 
from play to gouging or fighting to the death was 
quite too easy, the frontiersman here showing a 
side most repulsive. As religion decaj^ed among 
them in their remoteness from civilization, they 
became profane and low, though never sinking 
into degeneracy beyond recovery. At the worst, 
there always remained a manful core of character 
on which, if circumstances grew favoring, a good 
structure could be built. It was a rough multi- 
tude, and it had the roughest work to do. A boy 
at twelve was given a rifle and a loophole in the 
stockade to defend ; henceforth through life the 
weapon was scarcely less a part of him than his 
own hands or feet. But for such backwoodsmen 
the West could not have been won. Peaceful 
farmers and regular soldiers could never have 

1769] DANIEL BOON 63 

coped with the difficulties. In the absence of 
law, Judge Lynch was in his element. The whip- 
ping-post and hangman's noose brought swift 
judgment to thief and murderer, and in the hasty 
scrutiny the innocent too often became the victims. 
The mass, however, was full of grit and substance 
as it took in hand a task as trying as pioneer ever 
tackled. At a later time when the task was 
accomplished, the rudeness flowered often into a 
fair civilization. 

Thus, soon after the middle of the century, the 
subduers stood upon the threshold of the land 
they were to conquer. The hour for the ad- 
vance had arrived, and with the hour came the 
man for the leadership. Daniel Boon was born 
in Pennsylvania, in 1734, of English stock, and 
went as a boy down the long valley between the 
AUeghanies and the Blue Ridge to western North 
Carolina with the stream of immigration which 
was prevailingly Scotch-Irish. There in due time 
he married and tried to settle. He is said to 
have been tall, gaunt, sinewy, with keen eyes. 
His physical force was extraordinary, carrying 
him to the age of eighty-six, through such hardships 
as few men have ever faced. His portrait pre- 
sents a quiet, thoughtful, genial countenance with 
little hint of the hankering after solitude which 
characterized him, for he was never easy except 
when far in the advance. The sound of a white 
man's footfall near at hand was to him always an 


alarm to decamp, and plunge into deeper shades. 
On Boon's Creek, a little tributary of the Wa- 
tauga, which in turn is a tributary through the 
Holston of the Tennessee, has stood until recently 
— perhaps it still stands — an old beech-tree, into 
the bark of which was cut this inscription : " D. 
Boon cilled a bar on tree in the year 1760." Per- 
haps the young hunter, about to become a famous 
man, cut here the record of an exploit. It was not, 
however, until he was a mature man of thirty-five 
that he fairly set out on his work. May 1, 1769, 
calling himself with a certain religious consecra- 
tion an instrument ordained of God to people this 
wilderness, he struck out into the best-known and 
easiest opening. With five companions he passed 
through Cumberland Gap northwestward, follow- 
ing the Warrior's or Wilderness trail, reaching 
spots ascertained and named by Walker twenty- 
one years before. Early in June he reached the 
blue-grass region of Kentucky, where in a solitude 
unbroken by any suggestion of man, civilized or 
wild, he was thoroughly happy. Yet in a certain 
way he was in the midst of life. There were wood- 
paths through which the wild game went con- 
stantly to and fro ; such paths were especially 
marked about the salt-licks, where they had existed 
for ages ; for the mammoth and many another su- 
perseded beast had sought the same licks through 
many a century before. Here he reveled through- 
out the summer ; but in December, having been 




attacked by roving Indians, lie experienced his 
first Indian captivity, which this time he speedily 
escaped from. Next year his companions left 
Boon to himself for three months, lone as a Cru- 
soe in his isolation. They returned, however, with 
others ; and we find Boon the centre of a group 
of pioneers, some of them scarcely less marked and 
picturesque than Boon himself. Neely, Mansker, 
Simon Kenton, McAfee, and the rest, — the names 
reveal their stock, — German, English, especially 
Scotch-Irish, — men of sinews of iron and invin- 
cible spirits, matching the Indians in forest prow- 
ess, becoming sometimes as cruel, but constituting 
the effective cuttino: edofe with which the wilder- 
ness was to be cleft and cleared. But about 
Boon, who above all others was the type and chief 
of the pioneers, milder associations gather. He 
was a surveyor, as well as hunter, mapping the 
land for peaceful occupancy ; and if he became a 
great Indian fighter, it was only because the inex- 
orable conditions made peaceful living with the 
tribes an impossibility. Not far off Washington, 
too, was active as a surveyor. He had easily 
become inured to wilderness hardships and Indian 
fighting, as we have seen. Now, starting from 
Fort Pitt while Boon was laying hands on the 
blue-grass country, this other measurer of the 
land sailed down the Ohio to the mouth of the 
Kanawa. But his career as a winner of the West 
was soon ended ; his energies were soon to find 
a field elsewhere. 


The scouts and surveyors having preceded, the 
regular settlers were not slow to follow. They 
had little reason to be troubled in conscience as 
to their right to go forward. There were the 
colonial charters, according to which the several 
provinces possessed each its strip of territory 
stretching indefinitely westward ; and if there was 
any question as to the king of England's right 
to make such a grant, the great Six Nations in 
1768, at the treaty of Fort Stanwix, had solemnly 
ceded to the English the vast tract lying between 
the Ohio and the Tennessee, which they claimed 
to own, receiving in return compensation that they 
valued. The title of the Six Nations to the tract, 
to be sure, was shadowy to the last degree ; but no 
Indian Nation had any better title. The intend- 
ing settlers might have reared their cabins with 
the freest conscience, had they been ever so scru- 
pulous about their right ; but few indeed were 
there among them who were scrupulous. Before 
them lay the land of promise ; they would gain 
and hold it if they could, as if it were no man's 
land. Through the labyrinth of vales and glens 
into which the immigrants had penetrated, run 
the streams, the Clinch, the French Broad, the 
Holston, with little tributaries like the Noli- 
chucky and the Watauga, streams which uniting 
at last form the Tennessee. The noble river, 
turning back upon itself at the Moccasin Bend 
below Lookout Mountain, as if loth to leave the 


highlands, flows on slowly at last through the 
lower levels on its long way to the Ohio. The 
region was claimed by North Carolina, a colony 
always turbulent and ill ordered. The mountain 
men preferred a connection with Virginia, through 
whose outskirts they had passed on their long 
south westward march. It was indeed much easier 
to get to Virginia or Pennsylvania, if a little 
longer, than to cross the rugged heights which 
shut off from them the more southern colony. 

As the settlers advanced, it was the warpath of 
the Cherokees which they followed at first, a 
branch of which was the Warrior's Trail that had 
taken Boon through Cumberland Gap. The 
Cherokees having made a small concession in 
1769 on the Watauga, a restless group presently 
went toward it. The hunters had carried their 
own burdens ; now came the era of the pack- 
horse, axes working to the right and left of the 
trail, that the burdened beasts might make their 
way unobstructed. Some of the group were of 
poor quality, " redemptioners " and outcasts from 
the coast towns ; but for the most part they were 
of the best possible quality for the work to be 
done. Two men among them stand out as the 
most typical and conspicuous, — the first to ap- 
pear James Robertson. He came to the Watauga 
in 1770, a young man lately married who learned 
to read and write from his better educated wife. 
A tall florid, blue-eyed Scotch-Irishman, he was 


in character cautious but full of daring ; a mighty 
hunter and Indian fighter, of course, for to be 
that was a condition of existence ; but as he ma- 
tured hunting and fighting became secondary. 
He was to lead in other and higher work. 
Though his education was so long postponed and 
so simple, his mind was good, and he soon stood 
out as a political and intellectual guide. In 1771 
he established a little nucleus of settlement on an 
island in the Watauga, biding his time. John 
Sevier came into the country in 1772 from the 
Shenandoah Valley. He was of Huguenot blood, 
possessed of a fair education, and a gentleman by 
birth, as Robertson was not. He was a man of 
fine presence, and of bearing that smoothed his 
way in any environment. He was a correspond- 
ent of Franklin, Madison, and other famous men, 
and yet associated through life with backwoodsmen 
of the rudest. He was quite capable of playing 
a part in refined surroundings, but through his 
conditions, it was another side of him that devel- 
oped ; he became a terror to the savage beyond 
any man in the southwest, and on one memorable 
field showed his prowess against a civilized foe. 

The pioneers, among whom Robertson and Se- 
vier were the conspicuous men, formed in 1772 
the Watauga Association, whose written consti- 
tution was the first document of that kind drawn 
up in the Mississippi Valley. All was done in 
the best Anglo-Saxon way. In properly ordered 


folk-motes delegates were elected to a legislative 
body which met at Robertson's cabins, on the 
island in the Watauga. The legislature in turn 
chose a committee or court of five men, two among 
whom were Robertson and Sevier, the functions 
of which body were both judicial and executive. 
A chairman, clerk, and sheriff were the instru- 
ments through whom the court acted. For the 
procedure of this court, and its functionaries, rules 
simple but adequate were laid down, — a code 
thoroughly practical, with nothing doctrinaire. 
It was level-headed and according to the best tra- 
ditions. It continued in force for six years, when 
North Carolina, moving more energetically to 
establish her claim to the country beyond the 
mountains, superseded the Watauga Association 
with " Washington County." The five old com- 
mitteemen remained in office, however, and there 
was little change except in name until a time long 
after. The Watauga Association, the first Anglo- 
Saxon political organization of the Mississippi 
Valley, should be kept in mind. 

As the thoughts of men began to turn toward 
the west, the vagueness of the colonial charters 
became more and more a source of embarrassment. 
Virginia in particular, which in the few years 
immediately before her change from province to 
state had as governor Lord Dunmore, an energetic 
servant of the crown and upholder of the rights 
of his colony, was in strife with North Carolina 


on one side and Pennsylvania on the other. To 
the north Virginia claimed Fort Pitt, now merging 
into Pittsburg as settlers gathered, and the valley 
of the Monongahela ; to the south she was not at 
all unresponsive to the Watauga people, who so 
much preferred a connection with the more acces- 
sible and less turbulent Virginia, causing umbrage 
to North Carolina by thus turning the back. 
What might have happened in the end had not 
the great change intervened that was now close at 
hand it is impossible to say. Lord Dunmore was 
diverted from strife with his white neighbors by 
a fierce outbreak of Indian hostility which re- 
quired to be met by all the force he could sum- 
mon. Of the Indians in the Mississippi basin, 
those toward the south, of the Muscogee race, were 
often far along toward the earliest stage of civili- 
zation. The Cherokees, in particular, with whom 
the Watauga men were immediately in contact, 
were herdsmen and even farmers, rearing cabins 
scarcely less elaborate than the frontiersmen's, 
showing a certain refinement in their sports and 
dances, and practicing arts that require patience 
and skill. With their elevation they had become 
less wolfish, and so less formidable. They were 
still sufficiently ferocious, but it was certainly the 
case that the white advance by the Tennessee had 
a warfare to meet somewhat less desperate than 
the immigration farther north. Kentucky, as we 
know, was untenanted, a land simply roamed over 


transitorily by war and hunting parties. But 
between the Ohio and the Lakes lay many tribes, 
a population numerous, and so low in their sav- 
agery that their fierceness was unmitigated. These 
tribes had become fully alive to the danger threat- 
ening them, from the new whites, who, displacing 
the French, were now thrusting in upon them from 
the east; and Cornstalk, an able chief of the 
Shawnees, organizing the Indian attack, drove 
against the intruders with all possible craft and 
fury. In what is known as Lord Dunmore's 
War, the principal incident was the bloody bat- 
tle at the mouth of the Kanawha, at Pleasant 
Point, where the backwoodsmen, though brave 
and ably led, only doubtfully held their own. It 
was a bitter fight, the details of which form an 
especially grewsome page in frontier annals. We 
need dwell upon it no farther than to note that 
here appeared first conspicuously young George 
Rogers Clark, a figure of the first rank in the 
winning of the West. 

In the battle of the great Kanawha, the Indians, 
though hardly defeated, were somewhat cowed 
by the prowess of the frontiersmen, which was 
now shown for the first time on a considerable 
scale. Their forays were for a few years less en- 
ergetic, and the work of settlement was pushed 
in the lull. Robertson, leaving his island in the 
Watauga, pressed on to the Cumberland in cen- 
tral Tennessee, where some of his comrades became 


the founders of Nashville ; Clark visited the Illi- 
nois country ; while Boon laid strong foundations 
for a commonwealth in Kentucky. Henderson, 
a land speculator, a type of a class who in these 
days were beginning to figure, for the most part 
with baleful effect, bought of the Cherokees the 
tract between the Kentucky and Cumberland 
rivers, paying £10,000 in goods which the Indians 
prized. The chief, Dragging Canoe, led an op- 
position to the sale, but he was overruled ; the 
price was coveted and the Indians no doubt well 
knew that their ownership of what they were 
transferring was very shadowy. They told the 
buyers that it was a dark and bloody ground and 
predicted much trouble for those who should try 
to hold it. Henderson, however, was energetic, 
and employed Boon as his agent, who went at 
once with thirty men to smooth and widen the 
Warrior's Trail, from the Holston toward the 
northwest. April 1, Boonsboro was founded, and 
almost at the same moment three other little clus- 
ters, Harrodsburg, Boiling Springs, and Logan's 
Station. They were in each case a little group of 
cabins under the shelter of a block-house. Rows 
of palisades sometimes connected house with house 
about a square so that all were inclosed, each 
door opening upon a central space, a little strong- 
hold which it was quite certain would need to be 
defended. Of the settlers who began to come in, 
many became discouraged, and the trail was some- 


times blocked, as advancing and retreating par- 
ties encountered each other with no space for 
passing to the right or left. But Boon and others 
were stout-hearted ; the name Transylvania was 
given to the grant ; and representatives gathered 
in orderly fashion the first year, 1775, from the 
four stations — seventeen men — under a great 
elm in a field of white clover, to pass laws. 
Transylvania lasted no longer than the Watauga 
Association, for in a few years Virginia annulled 
the organization. But in the Transylvania days 
came in a number of men who played a fine part 
and handed down their names in important 
families. Henderson, to be sure, had only mer- 
cenary motives. His settlers he abhorred, call- 
ing backwoodsmen in general " a set of scoundrels 
who scarcely believed in God or feared the devil." 
But Todd, Harrod, Logan, were men of different 
temper, cementing the foundations of the new 
state with their blood and tears, then taking care 
for a proper civil and social order. 

Glancing toward the Northwest, the solitude 
penetrated for a moment by Hennepin had re- 
mained until these years broken only by the four 
traders. The English path-breaker came in 1766, 
in the person of Jonathan Carver, a Connecticut 
Yankee, who, leaving Boston the year before, 
reached Mackinac in time to start in September 
by the Green Bay route for the Mississippi. 
Making his way in the track of Marquette, up the 


Fox, and down the Wisconsin, he reached in due 
time the Mississippi. This he ascended, passing 
the Falls of St. Anthony, to the mouth of the St. 
Francis. He was a man of far-reaching views, 
foreseeing remarkably what was afterward to 
come. After exploring the Minnesota Valley, 
and taking up a claim on the site of St. Paul, 
which caused disquiet in the real estate market, 
more than a hundred years later, he returned to 
Boston in 1767, and published soon after his 
remarkable travels, the book containing the first 
known picture of the Falls of St. Anthony 
and the first detailed account of what is now 

While the Northwest waited, before the close 
of 1775 three hundred settlers had fixed their 
homes in Kentucky. An event had just before 
occurred which showed that the newcomers, while 
pushing onward, had their eyes out for what was 
happening beyond the mountains behind them. 
A little party, reading one day in a news sheet 
which some late recruit had brought the tidings 
of the 19th of April of that year, baptized their 
bivouac " Lexington.'* And here a new chapter 
in our story begins. 



The Declaration of Independence came, and 
the great war was definitely entered upon. The 
energetic British government attacked from the 
west as well as from the east. Henry Hamilton, 
the capable officer in command at Detroit, called 
the " hair-buyer," on account of his complicity in 
many a scalping raid, — though indeed he was 
humane to captives, and only the instrument of 
his superiors in employing the savage, — pushed 
matters ruthlessly, until the whole frontier, from 
the headwaters of the Ohio far down the valley, 
was aflame. The effort was to drive back the 
advancing line of settlement, and every frontier 
champion with his following fought on one side or 
the other. The Tories in many cases betook 
themselves to Hamilton at Detroit, becoming 
fiercer foes of their old neighbors than the British 
themselves. Many of the French took up arms 
for the new masters, who had conquered them in 
1759. Beyond all, the Indians, the Delawares 
alone showing hesitation, rushed into blood-shed- 
ding with the zest of tigers. There were no bat- 


ties of moment, but parties, often of not more 
than two or three on a side, grappled in the death- 
struggle. Cabins everywhere were consumed ; 
through every wood-path were driven groups of 
disconsolate captives, guarded front and rear by 
painted demons, at whose belts hung the reeking 
scalps of neighbors, perhaps of parents or chil- 
dren, of the captives. They were fortunate souls 
who escaped torture through the door of bloody 
death. All the leaders with whom we have been 
concerned — Robertson and Sevier in the south, 
in the north Boon, Kenton, George Rogers Clark 
— thinned with their own unfailing rifles the 
number of their wild assailants, and directed and 
heartened the little groups of settlers struggling 
so desperately to keep their foothold. All mourned 
close comrades or kindred overtaken on the trail 
or in the clearing. Probably no Indian ever quite 
attained with the rifle the skill of the best 
white marksmen ; as, on the other hand, no white 
ever quite reached Indian skill in tracking a foe 
or finding cover when pursued. The onset seemed 
at first likely to succeed. In the spring of 1777, 
Boon himself, while making salt with compan- 
ions at the Blue Licks, was badly worsted and 
carried captive up the Little Miami. He won his 
captors at last by good nature and tact, taking 
care to keep concealed his real strength and skill. 
He was taken to Detroit, where Hamilton tried 
to buy him for £100, but the Indians wished to 


adopt him, and would not let him go. Watching 
his chance, he at last darted for the woods, run- 
ning in four days one hundred and sixty miles, 
during which flight he broke his fast but once. 
His speed saved his settlement, Boonsboro ; he 
reached it just at the moment of an Indian at- 
tack which he was able to foil. 

No less remarkable than the experiences of 
Boon were those of his friend Simon Kenton, like 
his comrade a calm, pleasant-natured, well-poised 
character, with a reserve of force and courage 
which in desperate circumstances could dare and 
do to the point of the miraculous. He was tall, 
in the highest degree vigorous, and without bod- 
ily defect. He saved Boon's life by shooting an 
Indian foe just as his tomahawk was descending. 
He captured, while off on a raid in Indian fash- 
ion with but two companions, two hundred and 
sixty horses ; but while trying to get them across 
the Ohio, he was himself captured. He was beaten 
with ramrods ; four posts being driven into the 
ground firm and far apart, a hand or a foot was 
tied to each, and thus he was " staked out." By 
day he was forced along on an unbroken horse, his 
hands bound behind his back, his feet tied under 
the horse's belly. Being tortured from town to 
town, he ran the gauntlet eight times, four times 
by dexterous dodging and strength escaping with 
but few blows. His face was painted black, a 
sign that he was to be burned ; and he was in fact 


tied three times to the stake. He was, however, 
ransomed at last at Detroit, and reached home 
apparently with vigor unbroken. 

Let this outline serve as a fair sample of pioneer 
experience in those dreadful years. Boon and Ken- 
ton were leaders ; of the deeds and hardships of 
lesser men and of the wives and children, there is 
no lack of record. We pass now to the career 
of the man who in brain and force was superior 
to them all, the real history-maker of the period 
and the region. 

In 1763, defeated France ceded to Spain New 
Orleans and its neighborhood, containing possibly 
ten thousand people, and gave up also the vast 
undefined territory west of the Mississippi, the 
motive being to propitiate a power whose help 
she greatly needed. In 1765, St. Ange, giving 
up Fort Chartres to the Highlanders, surrendered 
the last French post in the Mississippi Valley. 
St. Ange withdrew to St. Louis, where the year 
before Laclede had established himself. At St. 
Louis and at Ste. Genevieve to the south of it, 
a settlement near lead mines which had come 
to be worked, there soon gathered a population 
of perhaps a thousand French, many of them 
refugees who retired beyond the river to escape 
British domination. Kaskaskia and -Cahokia, 
however, on the eastern bank, in the immensely 
fertile " American Bottom," maintained their 
existence, as did also Vincennes farther east on 


the Wabash. Some trace, also, of the French 
occupancy remained on the Illinois, in the old 
haunts of La Salle and Tonti. Altogether there 
may have been scattered about east of the river 
twenty-five hundred French. At New Orleans 
and also in the upper settlements there was a 
considerable element of negro slaves ; the upper 
settlements, too, contained a large Indian admix- 
ture. At the outbreak of the Revolution these 
Creole clusters had changed little from their old 
condition. The British government had sought 
to pursue toward them a conciliatory policy. The 
Quebec Act, which was in force in the West as 
well as in Canada, left the French undisturbed 
in their religion, their local government, and their 
social life. The village priest retained all his 
former authority ; the notary was still at hand for 
all civil transactions ; and though the French com- 
mandant was replaced by a military officer who 
flew the English flag, the officer was sometimes a 
Frenchman who had taken the oath of allegiance 
to Great Britain and was therefore trusted. The 
old idyllic life went forward unchanged from 
what it was when the Bourbon lilies were float- 
ing. The verandahed cabins stood irregularly 
along the village streets, on the prairie, or in 
the clearing. Always close at hand ran the great 
river, or some full affluent of it, the highway for 
all. Barter, hunting, and trapping were the seri- 
ous pursuits more often than agriculture. On the 


saints' days came service and procession ; and later, 
to the sound of violins and flutes, the dancers 
swayed and tripped until late into the night. 

The War of the Revolution in the West was 
destined to be by no means one of defense entirely. 
George Rogers Clark, who had fixed his station at 
the rapid known as the Falls of the Ohio, where 
Louisville now stands, conceiving that something 
might be done to win the great country stretching 
north and west, then the seat of powerful Indian 
confederacies, with the Creole villages scattered 
among them, heard in 1777, from spies whom he 
had sent out, that the French were lukewarm to 
the English, and might perhaps be won by a bold 
course to the new government. Hard-pressed Ken- 
tucky could spare no men for an expedition ; so 
Clark, taking the Wilderness Trail in the com- 
pany of a crowd of disheartened settlers who were 
returning, made his way in the fall of 1777 to 
Virginia, where he submitted to Governor Patrick 
Henry a scheme for northwestern conquest. Bur- 
goyne's surrender made the world hopeful. Clark 
was commissioned colonel and authorized to raise 
seven companies of fifty men each for his enter- 
prise. His recruiting-ground, however, must be 
west of the Blue Ridge, the demands of the war in 
the East making the restriction necessary. Clark 
with difficulty mustered four small companies, 
about half of the authorized number. But with 
these he embarked on " broad-horns," the square- 


bowed scows of the period, at Red Stone Old Fort 
on the Monongahela ; and taking on stores at Pitts- 
burg, twenty miles below, and again at Wheeling, 
reached at last the Falls of the Ohio. The French 
alliance, news of which came to him just in time, 
was a most fortunate circumstance. "The habi- 
tans would certainly not be disinclined to strike 
hands with those whom King Louis had taken into 

Clark pressed forward with great energy. 
Weeding out of his command all poor and muti- 
nous material, on a June day in 1778, with two 
hundred picked men, he shot the Falls of the 
Ohio, and sailed downward to the mouth of the 
Tennessee. Fearing to ascend the Mississippi to 
Kaskaskia, the point to be first assailed, lest trad- 
ing boats might give warning of his approach, 
Clark marched northward through the woods from 
the Ohio. He had four good captains, and the 
prestige of the commander increased with each 
day. With scouts well ahead he pushed through 
the heavy woods out at last on to the prairie, 
where obstacles were fewer, and on July 4, reached 
the Kaskaskia only three miles from the French 
town. The British commandant, the Creole Roche- 
blave, who was sturdily faithful to his new alle- 
giance, had four times as many men, French and 
Indians, as had Clark. The emergency demanded 
a surprise; after which, Rocheblave being once 
disposed of, a bold face on the part of the assail- 


ants, and the lukewarmness of the French in their 
allegiance, might be reckoned on to bring about 
for the Americans a happy issue. 

Clark's management was a mixture of address 
and audacity. According to the picturesque story, 
after surrounding the town with part of his little 
army, he advanced with the rest directly upon it. A 
dance was going on, strangers having come in from 
the hamlets about. Clark went within the pali- 
sade entirely alone, and, guided by the music and 
laughter, made his way to the place of assembly. 
He took up his post in the doorway, his figure, 
though unfamiliar, not at first attracting attention. 
But before long, as the young leader's tall, gaunt 
frame stood revealed in the light, an Indian 
crouching on the floor, after a sharp scrutiny, 
sprang to his feet with a war-whoop and pointed 
out the intruder. All was panic at once ; but 
Clark, unmoved, with arms folded, in a voice of 
command, bade the crowd to go on with their 
dancing, but to take note that they now danced 
not as subjects of King George, but as Virginians. 
Clark's men now rushed up with all promptness ; 
the head-men were seized, chief of all Rocheblave, 
who was taken in bed ; the weapons were captured, 
and the town was at the mercy of the assailants. 
Father Gibault, the priest, a man of force and 
influence, having been assured that the Catholic 
faith should be respected, became an active friend 
of the Americans, inducing his flock to accept the 


change of masters without regret. Rocheblave 
alone stood firm amidst the general yielding, being 
sent as a prisoner to Virginia ; his property was 
confiscated, his slaves selling for £500, which 
went as prize money to Clark's soldiers. 

A detachment pushing north to Cahokia, that 
settlement was won with equal ease. Father Gi- 
bault himself undertook to gain over Vincennes, 
which had been committed by the British to a 
Creole garrison. Making his way across the coun- 
try to the Wabash, and gathering the people into 
the church, he announced what had been done at 
Kaskaskia and recommended a similar course. 
Why should the French adhere to the British ? 
At Saratoga, the preceding October, their Gen- 
eral Burgoyne had met with a great disaster. The 
French king had taken America into his friend- 
ship and protection. With the Americans all 
Frenchmen should cast in their lot. Father 
Gibault's eloquence carried the day at once ; the 
American flag was hoisted joyfully, and by the 
beginning of August the priest himself brought 
back to Clark news of his success. 

All had gone well with Clark, but his situa- 
tion demanded prudent management. The term 
of his men was about to expire ; at best they were 
but a handful. There was no chance of reinforce- 
ment from Kentucky or Virginia ; the govern- 
ment of the new territory was to be provided for 
where the British and Indians threatened, and the 


French were friends very new and untried. But 
Clark's astuteness was as marked as his valor. By 
gifts and promises he succeeded in retaining about 
one hundred of his Virginians. To the Creoles he 
pretended that he was about to return to the Falls 
of the Ohio, being confident that the French could 
protect themselves against the English vengeance 
sure to fall upon them for the course they had 
taken. They were panic-stricken at the thought 
of his going, and entreated him urgently to re- 
main. Clark yielded at last with pretended reluc- 
tance, exacting beforehand pledges of faithful 
support. He recruited his companies with young 
Creoles, so leavening the mass with his Virginia 
veterans, and disciplining all so rigidly, that his 
composite army became in a high degree effective. 
One of his captains, Leonard Helm, put in com- 
mand at Vincennes, managed the Wabash region 
with great address. On the other side the Span- 
ish commander at St. Louis was very cordial to 
the new order, as it was established close at hand 
to him across the river at Cahokia. As far as the 
French were concerned, the Northwest seemed to 
be thoroughly gained in those few summer weeks. 
So far Clark's campaign had been a promenade. 

The Indians were now to be dealt with, a much 
more difficult problem than Clark had yet con- 
fronted. The tribes had hated the Americans, 
the " Long Knives " as they called them, but had 
been friendly to the French and Spaniards. 


Should they now, like their friends, go over to the 
Long Knives, or persist in their hatred ? In their 
embarrassment the savages assembled in great 
numbers at Cahokia, representatives coming from 
regions far distant. From the East came warriors 
neighbors of the Iroquois ; from the West Paw- 
nees, the terrible horse Indians of the plains ; 
while from the North, Sauks, Winnebagoes, finally 
Ojibways and Sioux, convened about the council- 
fire. So it was that the confederacies holdino^ a 
vast extent of country, running far up into the 
northwest, sat down together for a solemn talk. 
Clark met them at Cahokia, having behind him 
but a handful of men. Were the savages to be 
friends or foes ? All was in indecision : a breath 
might sway them to one side or the other. Clark's 
management of the situation was a marvel, — 
a combination of bravado and of the deftest tact. 
On the third day of the council certain of the sav- 
ages set out to seize upon him. Clark, however, 
anticipated them, snatching out the offenders as 
they stood in the midst of the hesitating crowd, 
and casting them straightway into chains. A sign 
of timidity would have brought upon his little 
company a rain of tomahawks. With assumed 
indifference, he would not even seek the shelter 
of the fort, but gave directions for a dance out- 
side, to which he invited the Cahokians, good care 
being taken to have at hand a picked guard with 
rifles ready. How much mirth surpassed appre- 


hension in " the company of gentlemen and ladies " 
is nowhere stated; but the bravado prevailed. 
Next day the council proceeded with all the circum- 
stance of a savage ceremonial. Clark tossed 
among them a bloody war-belt, defying the multi- 
tude. Dragging part of his chained captives into 
the ring, he contemptuously set them free, shout- 
ing that he scorned them all. He said he came not 
as a councilor but as a warrior. To those who 
were friendly he too would be friendly ; but if 
they chose war, he would call from the Thirteen 
Council - Fires warriors so numerous that they 
would darken the land ; from that time on the red 
people would hear no sound but that of the birds 
which lived on blood. There had been a mist 
before their eyes, but he would clear away the 
cloud and show them the rights of the quarrel be- 
tween the Long Knives and the king who lived 
across the great sea. For three days longer they 
might have food ; then he should enter upon the 
war-path, and let them beware his wrath. 

The bold front carried the day. A peace-belt 
and a war-belt being now offered, the Indians 
were eager to accept the former. Clark, however, 
refused to smoke the calumet with them. He de- 
clined to surrender all his captives, declaring that 
two must die. Two young braves with stoical 
fortitude seated themselves on the ground and 
with heads muffled in their blankets awaited the 
death-stroke. At the last moment their lives were 


magnanimously spared. His purpose having been 
achieved and a deep impression made, Clark 
haughtily accepted peace and a feast cemented the 

Long as he lived, Clark preserved his authority. 
His name was one to conjure with. In future 
councils, whatever dignitaries might be on the 
ground, if Clark were present the Indians would 
address no one but him. In the history of the 
frontier, probably no other man ever attained an 
ascendency over the Indians so deep and so far- 
reaching. After Clark's time, indeed, there were 
bloody wars, — wars lasting down almost to the 
present hour ; but from the day of the Cahokia 
council the dominance of the Americans over the 
tribes became fixed and definite. From that time 
it ceased to be doubtful that the whites would 

The French and Indians had been won by 
this fine blending of astuteness and courage, but 
Clark had much more to do. Hamilton at 
Detroit had been astounded at the news from the 
Kaskaskia and the Wabash ; he was, however, 
resourceful and energetic, and delivered his coun- 
ter-stroke without delay. Mustering a force of 
several hundred Detroit Indians, with five or six 
score whites, for the most part Creoles of Detroit, 
but including thirty-six British regulars, he set 
out for Vincennes in October, 1778, by the portage 
of the Maumee. At the first news of his coming, 


Helm, Clark's captain at Vincennes, was aban- 
doned by his company of Frenchmen. He was 
utterly alone and straightway captured with the 
post, which he had no means to defend. The lia- 
hitans professed the utmost penitence, and Hamil- 
ton felt entirely secure. The Illinois French, too, 
were panic-struck ; and as winter came on, Clark's 
conquest seemed on the point of being canceled 
as easily as it had come about. Hamilton looked 
forward to driving in the American posts as soon 
as spring should come, and destroying everything 
west of the Alleghanies. War-belts were sent 
to the southern Indians inviting cooperation. In 
January, 1779, Clark himself was nearly cap- 
tured by one of Hamilton's parties on the road 
between Kaskaskia and Cahokia. How Clark 
met the crisis is an interesting story. 

Now appears on the scene a pleasant figure, 
Frangois Vigo, an Italian, who had come to New 
Orleans in a Spanish regiment, and who after- 
wards went northward to become one of the most 
enterprising traders of the time. His name, for 
a number of years, occurs in connection with vari- 
ous friendly services done to Americans, — a kind 
and cordial ally, whose important help, rendered 
often at great cost and peril to himself, did not 
receive proper recognition until 1876, when a 
long law-suit was finally decided at St. Louis in 
favor of his heirs. It was almost a century before 
that, January 27, 1779, that Vigo, escaping from 


captivity at Vincennes, brought word to Clark 
that Hamilton at the moment had but eighty men 
upon whom he could rely, though in the spring a 
large reinforcement would come for the purposed 
reconquest. Clark acted with all promptness. 
In spite of the panic of the Illinois settlements, 
he had maintained his hold on the bolder French. 
It is said also that the handsome young leader — 
he was but twenty-seven — was strongly upheld 
by the Creole girls, who wrought upon their 
sweethearts to stand by him. Each recruit re- 
ceived a little flag, which Clark afterward put to 
good use. He set out at once in February with a 
force of one hundred and seventy, mostly French, 
but with his Virginia veteranship distributed 
through the ranks to give strength, as a wire 
gives strength sometimes when run through a cord 
of cotton. Father Gibault, a constant and power- 
ful support, blessed the little army as it set out 
on its march of two hundred and forty miles across 
country. Before setting out, Clark had built and 
dispatched the Willing, a sort of flat-bottomed gal- 
ley, armed with small cannon and manned by a 
crew of forty, whose work was to be through row- 
ing to patrol the Ohio, preventing help from ascend- 
ing the Wabash to the British, and cooperating 
with the land enterprise as circumstances might 

With the middle of February, Clark's army 
reached the " drowned lands " of the Wabash, — 


a tract low and flat, which, as the snow melted in 
the breaking up of winter, had become transformed 
into shallow lakes, stretching sometimes for miles, 
with only here and there a protruding patch of 
earth. The details of the comfortless, desperate 
march are extraordinary. They waded for days 
through the ice-cold flood, the water coming to 
their waists, to their breasts, sometimes to their 
necks. Those short in stature or too weak to bear 
it were packed into the few canoes or pirogues 
which they laid hands on. If by chance they 
reached a protruding bank, the fear of exciting 
alarm at Vincennes, now close at hand, forbade 
the kindling of fire or shooting at game. Birds 
and beasts, indeed, had pretty much disappeared. 
Noah's dove returned to the ark from passage over 
a deluge less dismal than this. Clark's tact and 
resource were never more remarkably displayed 
than here. As he had managed the Indians, so 
now he knew just how to manage the Creoles. He 
laughed at the hardships ; he played the buffoon, 
blacking his face and breaking in upon the dis- 
consolate crowd with horse-play. Mounting "a 
little antic drummer," a valuable ally with his 
pranks in the strait, on the shoulders of a tall 
sergeant, the sergeant dashed ahead into depths 
where the little fellow would have found no 
bottom. Meantime the drum rattled on merrily, 
and Clark, striking up a song or a cheer, plunged 
after, making light of everything. But behind 

1779] AT VINCENNES 91 

the forced lightness there was a stern hand. 
Twenty-five picked men formed a rear-guard with 
orders to slay any one that faltered. After some 
days of such progress, when sometimes it had 
been necessary to put the weaker ones between 
strong men and hurry them back and forth on 
the shore to keep the blood in motion, and when 
starvation seemed close at hand, the prospect 
began to brighten. Certain Frenchmen taken 
captive made it known that Clark's approach was 
utterly unsuspected, and that the hahltans of 
Vincennes might easily be won if they were sure 
of protection. A canoe paddled by squaws being 
overtaken, part of the carcase of a buffalo, with 
corn, tallow, and kettles, reinforced the commis- 
sariat. They had heard for some days Hamil- 
ton's morning and evening guns, and now they 
saw the townspeople outside the palisade. Clark 
here threw off' concealment, sending in one of his 
captives among the French with a letter threat- 
ening vengeance to all who did not remain in 
their houses, but promising all favor to those 
who submitted. He now marched directly on the 
town, the depression of his soldiers having yielded 
to high spirits. " Every man now feasted his eyes 
and forgot that he had suffered anything, saying 
that all that had passed was owing to good policy, 
and nothing but what a man could bear, and that 
soldiers had no right to think, etc." As the army 
advanced among trees and over ridges, a shrewd 


ruse made the number appear much larger than 
it really was. The little flags, given the Creoles 
at Kaskaskia when they enlisted, were paraded as 
ensigns of companies ; the ranks marched and 
countermarched so as to be counted three or four 
times over ; while Clark and his captains, mounted 
on horses they had seized, galloped hither and 
thither as if ordering a vast array. 

At the last minute Hamilton had been aroused. 
He sent out a scouting party, which, however, 
embarrassed by the floods, did not get back. The 
French all went promptly over to Clark, supplying 
him with food, ammunition, and recruits. Hamil- 
ton undertook to defend the fort, but the siege was 
short and decisive. Clark's marksmen picked off 
the gunners through the port-holes until the cannon 
were silenced. An Indian scalping party having 
returned at the moment of the attack from a raid 
on the American settlements, bringing their scalps 
at their girdles, Clark seized them all. Leading 
out nine of the savages in sight of the fort, he 
caused them to be tomahawked and their bodies 
thrown into the river. Besides that, in the capture 
of Vincennes there was little shedding of blood. 
Hamilton surrendered, going as a captive to Vir- 
ginia. The Willing soon appeared, too late to 
help, but in time to take part in the rejoicing. To 
crown all, Clark's doughty captain, Leonard Helm, 
who had been a prisoner of the British, taking a 
party northward, encountered on the march the 


reinforcements that were coming down from De- 
troit. These were defeated, and supplies, £10,000 
in value, taken. All this was distributed as prize- 
money, making the success complete. Clark re- 
ceived the thanks of Virginia through Governor 
Patrick Henry ; but his best reward was an im- 
mense influence and popularity among French, 
Indians, and backwoodsmen, throughout the West. 
Before the year 1779 ended, he was once more 
settled at the Falls of the Ohio. 

The story is an extraordinary record of courage, 
address, and endurance. Clark's means were 
insignificant, but it would be hard to match his 
achievement in American history. The bloodshed 
was but trifling ; the forces of nature were over- 
come in a marvelous way ; tact and a bold front, 
rather than the rifle, carried the day when it came 
to the opposition of men. To the tale of danger 
runs parallel a curious ohligato of dance, high 
spirits, and laughter. It was that note largely 
that won the Creoles, and it seems to have come 
natural to him. His conviviality led to drunk- 
enness, which wrecked his later life. There was 
yet to be much difficulty in the Northwest. The 
French constantly yearned to put off the burden 
of self-government which the new order imposed, 
and go back to the priest, the notary, and the 
despotic commandant of their old estate. The 
British did not cease from troubling until near 
the end of the century, when the Jay treaty settled 


the boundary. The Indians have continued to 
be a source of danger even to the present moment. 
But from the time of Clark there has been no 
question as to our mastery over the Northwest 
throughout its whole extent. To the north of 
Lake Superior and the sources of the Mississippi 
the dominion of the United States had been made 
to extend, never afterward to be seriously ques- 

In Monument Square, Indianapolis, stands the 
statue of Clark, an athletic figure, scarcely past 
youth, tall and sinewy, with a drawn sword, in 
an attitude of energetic encouragement, as if get- 
ting his army through the drowned lands of the 
Wabash. He may be called our first expan- 
sionist, spreading as he did the authority of the 
Union through tracts far outside the patents of 
the Thirteen Colonies. 

During these years the Watauga men had been 
manifesting a fine prowess, though the results 
were less brilliant than in the Northwest. The 
battle of King's Mountain, in 1780, though taking 
place on the Atlantic watershed, on the frontier 
between North and South Carolina, was really 
decided by Holston River men, who, under Sevier 
and Isaac Shelby, going eastward through the 
passes, struck the blow that revived the failing 
cause in the South. Sevier shows greater activity 
than ever in these years, against both British and 
Indians ; while Robertson, a character calmer and 


steadier, in 1779, conducts westward the party 
that founds Nashville in the great bend of the 
Cumberland. As yet for the borderers there was 
little break in the gloom. The tomahawk was 
always busy about the trails and settlements. But 
a better time was coming. In 1779, Spain de- 
clared war against England, and a force from 
New Orleans, under the energetic young governor, 
Galvez, campaigned effectively against the British 
about Pensacola. Though the winter of 1779- 
1780 was so severe that the buffalo herded with 
the cattle about the hay-stacks, and along the 
trails the line of disheartened and returning set- 
tlers choked the way, the tide of settlement rose. 
At the beginning of the Revolution, there were 
but a few hundred west of the Alleghanies ; at 
the close, the number had risen to twenty-five 
thousand. After 1782, the British grip relaxed. 
Clark made reprisals in the Miami country for 
what had been suffered, and Kentucky was never 
after seriously invaded. 

The highway westward had now become the 
Ohio River, the Wilderness Trail through Cum- 
berland Gap proving a less convenient thorough- 
fare ; and the usual vehicle of conveyance was 
the flatboat. A typical flatboat of these early 
years was fifty-five feet long, sixteen feet broad, 
with a draught of three feet, the capacious hull 
accommodating under its roof horses, cattle, and 
wagons, as well as their owners. With a good 


stage of water the voyage from Pittsburg, or Red 
Stone Old Fort, twenty miles above on the Monon- 
gahela, to the Falls of the Ohio, now becoming 
a lively centre, occupied a week or ten days; 
with low water, when sandbars might obstruct, a 
month might be required. The sides required to 
be built high, to be loopholed, and made bullet 
proof either by heavy timbering or the disposition 
of the cargo, for at many points there was danger 
of Indian attack. Of course, for these "broad- 
horns " there was no return against the current ; 
they were broken up when the downstream voy- 
age was ended, the material doing service in a 
thousand ways. 

The critical period of American history, the years 
between the peace of 1783 and the adoption of the 
Constitution, was not less disorderly and threat- 
ening in the Mississippi Yalley than in the East. 
In 1784, the Watauga settlement, which had been 
merged in North Carolina, constituted itself into 
the State of Franklin, whose existence was chiefly 
signalized by violent quarrels among its leaders: 
at the head of one faction was Sevier, ever com- 
bative. At the adoption of the Constitution, 
Franklin disappeared, the State of Tennessee soon 
taking shape, with Sevier, who became an ardent 
Federalist, for its first governor. No one can be 
blamed that in those days loyalty to the feeble 
Union was languid and a strong separatist feeling 
rife. The Union being a jelly, what credit or 


i '1 

m\ < 


m ■■ 



protection could it offer to win adherents? In 
these Western communities, some favored com- 
plete independence ; some would have gone back 
with equanimity to England ; some, again, were 
ready to connect themselves with Spain, which 
held New Orleans and the world beyond the river. 
The redoubtable Clark and the well-poised Eob- 
ertson, even, showed Spanish sympathies ; while 
Daniel Boon, finding the air contaminated b}^ the 
swelling immigration, pushing across into a new 
wilderness, became a Spanish official, far up the 
Missouri. New Madrid sprang up, composed of 
American colonists submitting to live under the 
Spanish flag. 

The dawn of a better day was seen in the resig- 
nation by the States to the general government of 
their Western claims. Seven of the thirteen origi- 
nal States laid claim to tracts extending westward 
to the Mississippi Kiver, — New York, Massa- 
chusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, Georgia, North 
and South Carolina. New York's assertion was 
that she was the heir of the Iroquois, — a claim 
indeed shadowy, — while the remaining six rested 
their right upon their original charters. Mary- 
land had early demanded that the States should 
give up their separate claims, a suggestion which 
at first met with no favor. In 1780, however, 
New York resigned her tract, an example followed 
in 1784 by Virginia, in 1785 by Massachusetts, 
in 1786 by Connecticut and South Carolina. 


North Carolina held out till 1790. The United 
States thus came into possession of land amount- 
ing to 200,000,000 of acres, recognized even then 
as property of immense value. It formed a noble 
resource for the new nation, giving it means to 
pay its debts, an enormous burden after the war, 
and affording a chance for expansion. Coeval 
with the beneficent change in the tenure of the 
territory were the adoption of the federal Consti- 
tution and the passage by Congress at once of the 
Ordinance of 1787, events pregnant with good. 
As early as 1784, a division of this new public 
domain, which at that time had become only 
partly federal, was projected, chiefly interesting, 
perhaps, for the naming of the commonwealths to 
be, — a naming curiously reflecting the feebleness 
that prevailed. Michigania was to extend from 
Lake Michigan to the Mississippi ; Assenipia lay 
south of this ; Metropotamia was to extend along 
Lake Erie ; Polypotamia was to lie south of this ; 
while Pelisipia was still further down. But the 
map was to be saved from such a nomenclature. 

The men who were to shape the greatness of 
the Mississippi Valley were now at hand. A 
rough young pioneer was making himself felt in 
the Watauga and Cumberland country, Andrew 
Jackson. The son of a backwoods preacher in 
southwestern Virginia, Henry Clay, was getting 
growth and experience to go presently to Lexing- 
ton to begin a memorable life-work. In Ken- 


tucky the father of Chief Justice Marshall was 
opposing separatism. In 1784, a boy six years 
old belonging to a poor white family just arrived 
at a little palisaded hamlet was saved from the 
tomahawk of a prowling savage by a lucky shot 
from the rifle of an elder brother. The boy thus 
saved grew up tg become the father of Abraham 




The " Bunch of Grapes " tavern in Boston, 
and the little town of Kutland, in Worcester 
County, Mass., are places to be remembered as 
the scenes of the meetings which led to forming 
the Ohio Company, the earliest beginning of 
which is referred to the spring of 1786. Conti- 
nental officers, more than half of them from 
Massachusetts, desired to change the paper certifi- 
cates in which they had been paid, for wild lands. 
General Rufus Putnam, a man of good sense and 
■with a good record of service, was most prominent ; 
they memorialized Congress at once, and Manas- 
seh Cutler, — preacher, lawyer, doctor, statesman, 
scientist, land speculator, — a character of extraor- 
dinary versatility, arrived in New York in July 
of that year, to push the matter. Eight States 
only were represented in the feeble Congress. 
The grant of land was made with only one dissent- 
ing vote. Slavery was to be prohibited, although 
a majority of the committee were Southern men, 
Grayson and Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, 
pressing the matter with especial vigor. No such 


important attempt at settlement beyond the Alle- 
ghanies had ever before been attempted, and it 
became the occasion in the following year of the 
famous Ordinance of 1787, which ranks among 
the most momentous of American enactments, 
and must be carefully outlined. 

For each Territory into which the Northwest 
should be divided, an organization was laid down 
with governor, secretary, and judges. When the 
population reached five thousand free males, a 
General Assembly was to be constituted, the lower 
house elective, the upper house appointive. This 
body was to have power to elect a delegate to 
Congress. All officials must be landholders in 
the Territory ; a small property qualification was 
also to be a condition of the franchise. There 
were six articles in the compact laid down by the 
United States to be observed by the people to 
whom it granted its lands, to be held unalterable 
except by the consent of both. 

1. Complete freedom of worship and religion 
was extended to all peaceable and orderly persons. 

2. Trial by jury, habeas corpus, privilege of 
the common law, the right of proportionate legis- 
lative representation were established. 

3. Faith was to be kept with the Indians, and 
means of education were to be encourag^ed. 

4. All new States must forever form part of the 
United States. 

5. Here provision was made for the formation 

102 THE ORDINANCE OF 1787 [1787 

of not less than three or more than five new- 
States out of the Northwest territory. A condi- 
tion of admission to the Union must be a popula- 
tion of not less than 60,000 ; the government must 
be republican, and the new States were to be in all 
respects equal with the others. 

6. It was ordained that there should never be 
slavery or involuntary servitude, otherwise than 
for the punishment of convicted criminals. Slaves 
fugitive from the South, however, could be lawfully 
claimed by their owners. 

Mr. Roosevelt declares the sixth article to be 
the greatest blow ever struck in behalf of free- 
dom in our whole history, except the Emancipation 
Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln. The docu- 
ment throughout is generally esteemed as worthy 
to stand in the class with the Declaration of In- 
dependence, the Constitution itself, and Wash- 
ington's Farewell Address. The conjunction in 
the same year of two enactments so memorable 
was indeed auspicious of good ; and it was the 
Mississippi Valley that was in especial to reap 
the harvest from this fortunate sowing. A fort- 
night after its passage a million and a half acres 
were sold to the Ohio Company, which straight- 
way proceeded to establish a settlement in accord- 
dance with the six provisions. 

Two years before the passage of the Ordinance, 
a providential basis for it had been prepared in a 
happy enactment of the Congress of the Confed- 


eracy. According to this, surveys of the great 
region were to be conducted by a corps of govern- 
ment engineers, who were to divide the country 
into ranges of townships six miles square. These 
again were to be subdivided into square mile sec- 
tions, all to be carefully numbered ; and section 
sixteen in each township was set apart for schools. 
The rest of the land was open for sale at a mini- 
mum price of one dollar per acre. 

The first party of the Ohio Company, Revolu- 
tionary soldiers who had exchanged their certifi- 
cates for lands beyond the mountains, were on 
their way west before 1787 expired. It was an 
admirable company, sturdy and intelligent in the 
rank and file, and well led. By February of 
1788 they had reached the Youghiogheny, where, 
building boats forty-eight in number, they started 
downstream with the spring flood. On the 7th 
of April, they reached the mouth of the Muskin- 
gum, about which their patent lay, and Rufus 
Putnam with the advance party stepped ashore. 
Fort Harmar, an important post, close by, across 
the narrow river, afforded protection. The spot 
where the adventurers landed was occupied by 
remarkable and mysterious constructions of the 
mound-builders, — terraces, embankments, steep- 
sided cones, — all of which the forest had covered. 
Here they felled trees and built their cabins, call- 
ing the place Marietta after Queen Marie Antoi- 
nette. In July appeared the governor of the 

104 THE ORDINANCE OF 1787 [1788 

Territory, . Arthur St. Clair, a brave and high- 
minded, but never fortunate soldier, admitted to 
the friendship and confidence of Washington, — 
a man who resolutely grappled with problems for 
which his capacity was quite inadequate, — who 
was never dishonored, though undergoing great 
disaster. In the fall, the Symmes purchase was 
laid out farther down the stream, a small set- 
tlement upon which was named by a pedantic 
schoolmaster L-os-anti-ville, the town opposite the 
mouth of the Licking. This, rechristened by St. 
Clair Cincinnati, became the first capital of the 
Territory. Shortly after Putnam's arrival, Manas- 
seh Cutler, too, journeyed thither, noting in his 
diary as indicative of permanence that the women 
were coming with the men, that the fields were 
already sown, that homes were forming. One is 
glad to encounter in Cutler's record Francois 
Vigo, the old friend of George Rogers Clark. 
Vigo took Cutler into his ten-oared barge, which 
at the same time had a sail. With the rowers 
and an occasional favoring breeze, they made their 
way for three weeks upstream. Cutler's pages 
give a pleasant picture of the wealth and hospi- 
tality of the friendly Creole trader. 

Though, from the first, results were happy in 
the case of the Ohio Company, much misery and 
iniquity followed from unwise ways of opening 
the public domain. The practice of making large 
grants to individuals or private corporations in 


return for insignificant sums, or for services often 
alleged rather than real, has from the foundation 
of the country led to trouble. It has proved far 
better to part with the public land in small quan- 
tities, at reasonable prices, to actual settlers ; but 
the lesson has been learned only slowly. Now 
almost contemporary with the establishment of the 
Ohio Company, one of the worst of such schemes 
was exploited, which may stand as a type. The 
Scioto Company having obtained a vast tract 
about the river of that name, its agents appeared 
in France just after the outbreak of the French 
Revolution. The chief promoter was Joel Barlow, 
a name little honored in literature, and still less 
in the world of affairs. Loquacious and plausi- 
ble, he impressed many Frenchmen, the disposi- 
tion toward America in those days being espe- 
cially favorable. Some hundreds, won by the 
golden picture, emigrated, enriching the unscru- 
pulous managers with the purchase-money. In 
great part they were to the last degree ill adapted 
to life in the woods, — carvers, gilders, dancing- 
masters, barbers, men trained only in arts suited 
to an elaborate, indeed a finical, civilization. 
When dropped at last, after great hardships and 
losses, near the mouth of the Scioto, the story of 
their struo^o^le with the harsh conditions would be 
comical if it were not so pathetic. They melted 
away at last, for the most part, — a few reaching 
France once more, a larger number, the French 

106 THE ORDINANCE OF 1787 [1789 

settlements in the Wabash and Illinois country. 
The name Gallipolis survives as a souvenir of a 
swindling enterprise which caused much wretched- 
ness, though the government did what it could by 
way of relief. 

The frontier society was slowly becoming better 
ordered and more stable, but the terrible enemy 
still pressed. Year after year, with dreadful 
monotony, the war-whoop sounded far and wide. 
In the seven years preceding 1790, fifteen hun- 
dred are said to have been slain in Kentucky 
alone, and on the roads leading thither. Where 
the settlers escaped death, they were often stripped 
of means ; an item of the rapine is that twenty 
thousand horses went to the thieves. Trail and 
stream were equally unsafe. From any thicket 
might come a rifle-shot ; for war-parties, perhaps of 
only two or three, crept with a stealth that eluded 
every sentinel far within the line of outposts. 
The flatboats, as they floated down the Ohio, were 
sometimes lashed together three abreast ; in the 
centre one the women and children and the more 
precious freight : outside, the fighting men, pro- 
tected through high bulwarks from shots from 
either shore, aimed their own rifles through port- 
holes blocked with timbers, or bales or boxes taken 
from the cargo. Sometimes on the bank would 
stand a wretched white man or woman, tattered, 
starved, apparently a captive just escaped from 
the savages, who held out hands imploringly to be 


rescued. If, however, the boatmen yielded to 
humane feelings and turned their craft toward 
the suppliant, a sudden rain of lead from an 
ambush close by would sweep the deck, and a score 
of painted fiends board the craft for its capture. 
The miserable suppliant on the shore, it would 
appear, had been the savage's decoy, forced at the 
knife's point to lure his fellows to destruction ; 
then doomed to go back to a bondage whose hor- 
rors were in no way relieved. The persistence, 
the cunning, the boldness, the ferocity of the foe 
seemed to have no limits. 

After the adoption of the Constitution, the war- 
fare of the whites gradually became more system- 
atic and effective. The country was beginning to 
stand on its legs ; the regular army entered on the 
scene, at first with staggering, meeting much dis- 
aster, but growing without break in might and 
resolution, until, reaching full efficiency, it gained 
complete success. The names of Harmar and St. 
Clair, the earliest commanders under the Constitu- 
tion, are associated with defeat ; they were, how- 
ever, brave, if not skillful, officers ; and their ill 
success was due to the fact that they were set to do 
work for which they were not trained. 1791 was 
the year of St. Clair's defeat, a most gloomy page 
in the history of the Mississippi Valley. The 
Indians, stimulated no doubt by British agents, — 
for Great Britain claimed, long after the peace, 
that treaty conditions were not observed, and much 

108 THE ORDINANCE OF 1787 [1791 

preferred to have the West remain a fur-yielding 
wilderness rather than become the seat of Anglo- 
Saxon civilization, — abated no whit in their fury. 
After a lame attempt by Harmar, St. Clair was set 
to repel and punish. His force was of the poorest, 
two weak regiments of regulars recruited east of 
the mountains, — often men disabled by vice, 
often unused to arms, the entire mass without fron- 
tier experience ; besides these a horde of militia 
enlisted for a short term, undisciplined and some- 
times mutinous. The entire army at the start did 
not reach two thousand in number. Frontiers- 
men of the militia and regulars were on the worst 
possible terms. Though game abounded, the force 
in general were too poor marksmen to obtain 
it, and hunters had to be detailed to procure sup- 
plies. St. Clair himself was elderly and sick ; 
Butler, his second in command, was brave enough, 
but otherwise incompetent. Through the energy 
mainly of Winthrop Sargent, adjutant-general, 
the expedition, which had rendezvoused in the 
Miami country, was able in November to stumble 
northward toward the watershed drained on the 
south by the Wabash and on the north by the 
Maumee. No scouts were thrown forward. When 
far advanced in the forest, sixty militia, deserting, 
set out for home ; whereupon St. Clair, blind to 
his dangers, sent back after them one of his regi- 
ments of regulars, half of the only body of troops 
on which he could at all rely. On November 4, 

1791] ST. CLAIR'S DEFEAT 109 

having reached the east fork of the Wabash, the 
army, reduced now to fourteen hundred, paraded 
at dawn, for St. Clair meditated a stroke upon 
the Indian towns now not far off. The stroke 
fell, but the gallant incompetent did not adminis- 
ter it. The woods of a sudden were alive with 
foes, who smote as adroitly and boldly as those who 
annihilated Braddock. The army fought well, 
both officers and men. If only courage had been 
enough ! Surrounded upon all sides, the troops 
were forced back on to a hillock in the centre. 
They stood at last in two ranks, back to back, 
facing their enemy on either side. Butler paced 
back and forth in front of one rank, St. Clair in 
front of the other. The respectable old general in 
the cocked hat of the Continentals, with his gray 
hair gathered in a queue, stemmed misfortune as 
stubbornly and as impotently as he had stemmed 
misfortune before on Revolutionary fields. But- 
ler was soon mortally wounded, laughing, it is 
said, as he lay dying, at a young cadet who cried 
at a light touch from a spent ball. The clothes 
of St. Clair were shot through eight times, and a 
lock of his hair, escaped from his pigtail, was car- 
ried away ; but his body was unharmed. All be- 
ing lost, with the third of his men that remained, 
the general broke his way back to the road by 
which he had approached. Fortunately the In- 
dians, surfeited for the moment with slaughter, 
preferred to plunder the abandoned camp rather 

110 THE ORDINANCE OF 1787 [1791 

than to pursue. The survivors of the battle, 
therefore, reached the settlements, starving and 
disheartened. Probably the Indian assailants 
did not number half the force of St. Clair ; their 
loss probably was not one twentieth of what he 
suffered. The misfortune of Braddock was par- 
alleled ; an American army never underwent de- 
feat more mortifying. When word at last reached 
President Washington, it is said to have called out 
from him one of those volcanic explosions of wrath 
of which he was capable. The commanding chief 
of the foe was probably Little Turtle, a Miami ; 
besides Miamis, Delawares, Shawnees, and Wy- 
andots were present; a few Iroquois, too, may 
have given edge to the sharpness of the stroke. 

St. Clair's defeat, in which ended the first mili- 
tary enterprise of the newly constituted Union, 
was a sad shock and seemed full of ill omen. The 
Eastern communities were quite indifferent to 
what happened beyond the mountains, and ready 
to patch up peace on almost any terms. Recourse 
was had at first to negotiations and treaties, al- 
ways with savages productive of unsatisfactory 
results ; the envoys were in some instances slain. 
Meantime the irregular war of the frontier raged 
on. Relations with Great Britain became much 
strained, both sides alleging that the conditions 
of the peace of 1783 were not observed. The 
Indians, made arrogant by success, were supplied 
at British posts with weapons and powder ; while 

1794] WAYNE'S VICTORY 111 

their ruthless activity was connived at, if not di- 
rectly stimulated. A new effort to suppress them 
became imperative, and this time it was Wayne, 
" Mad Anthony " of Stony Point, who was to 
lead, — a man no braver than St. Clair, but full 
of native power, developed in the best school. 
Profiting in every step that he took by the dismal 
experience of his predecessor, he first trained his 
army of three thousand by discipline steady and 
severe. Landing from the flatboats that brought 
his army from Pittsburg, he marched in the track 
of St. Clair through the Miami country until 
he reached the spot where his predecessor had 
suffered. Here Wayne built Fort Kecovery, the 
name betokening the new heart which was being 
put into the cause. Continuing northward until 
he had passed just beyond the Mississippi water- 
shed into the valley of the Maumee, he fought, 
August 20, 1794, the battle of Fallen Timbers, 
completely annihilating the Indian strength. A 
British post was close by, from the walls of which 
the garrison were sullen spectators of a victory 
which they could hardly rejoice over. The pun- 
ishment was most thorough. A war of forty years 
came to a close. The pioneer and his wife could 
at last sleep in peace, turning from the loophole 
and the rifle to plough, loom, and anvil. Now came 
pleasanter days. The savages, to be sure, made 
new attempts, but these were easily thwarted. 
The Indian power in the eastern Mississippi Val- 
ley had been completely broken. 

112 THE ORDINANCE OF 1787 [1796 

Population now rapidly increased, and life be- 
came better ordered. Kentucky bad become a 
State in 1792 and Tennessee in 1796, seventy-six 
thousand people having now filled up tbe country. 
The first governor of Tennessee was no other than 
old John Sevier, unbroken yet after long fightings 
with Indians, with British, and with his fellow 
backwoodsmen. A raw and fiery young man, with 
hair always bristling like the comb of an irate 
game-cock above a thin, intense face, Andrew 
Jackson became the first representative in Con- 
gress. In 1796, the treaty negotiated with Eng- 
land by John Jay was promulgated, a treaty bit- 
terly denounced in its time, both East and West ; 
but it assigned to us definitely the line of the 
Lakes on the north, and brought to an end the 
uncertainty as to boundary which had caused so 
much discomfort and peril. Pinckney about 
the same time, by treaty with Spain, established 
the southern boundary, making definitely Ameri- 
can the tract along the great river on which in 
1798 was organized the Territory of Mississippi. 
Beyond the stream all was in Spanish hands ; at 
the extreme south also. New Orleans, on the east- 
ern shore, was a strongly maintained Spanish post. 
At St. Louis, the Spanish commandant, when 
George Rogers Clark was operating on the oppo- 
site shore, had been friendly. The mood had now 
changed, the Spanish governors, notably Caron- 
delet, showing a hostile spirit. A pressure, in fact. 


was beginning, out of which was to come a great 
result. It was growing plain that so long as the 
mouth of the Mississippi was in foreign hands, 
the increasing multitude in the valley which found 
through that its natural pathway to the sea and 
the world must suffer. The commerce ready to 
pour toward the Gulf was hampered by Spanish 
interference. A right to search was claimed ; cus- 
toms were exacted ; the passage might be barred 
by a magistrate's caprice. Exasperation grew, 
and again and again one finds record of enterprises, 
more or less definite, for getting rid of the hin- 
drance, with which sometimes names of note are 
connected. Blount, United States senator from 
Tennessee, a most worthy figure, was expelled from 
the Senate for intriguing against Spain. His 
State, however, received him at his home-coming 
with open arms. George Kogers Clark projected 
the conquest of Louisiana in behalf of France. 
France was to gain Louisiana before long, indeed, 
and the United States was to gain it from France. 
All was to be done, however, through other agency 
than that of Clark. But for that story we are not 
yet quite ready. 

William Henry Harrison, aide of Wayne at 
Fallen Timbers, son of a Virginia signer of the 
Declaration of Independence, himself destined to 
become President of the United States and the 
grandfather of still another President, was the 
first governor of Indiana, — so the great expanse 

114 THE ORDINANCE OF 1787 [1796 

was named, the Assenipia and Pelisipia of the 
days of the Confederation being discarded. It 
comprehended the vast Northwest which Clark 
had conquered, running up to the sources of the 
Mississippi. Unfortunately, ways of disposing of 
the public land injured, sometimes permanently, 
considerable areas. Southeastern Ohio probably 
feels, even to the present day, an ill effect from the 
monopolies which, grasping rapaciously, forced 
many good immigrants to look elsewhere for homes. 
Sometimes there was rascality, as in the case of 
the cruel swindle at Gallipolis ; sometimes simple 
ignorance of the best methods, due to want of ex- 
perience in managing a vast domain, was a cause 
of trouble. But in spite of all, the country grew 
and throve. By 1794, a regular line of packets 
had been established between Pittsburg and Cin- 
cinnati, some of which carried as many as six 
cannon, for the Indians still lurked on the 

At first the connection of the Northwest with 
the South was much closer than with the North- 
east. We have seen how at first Virginia and 
North Carolina filled up Tennessee and Kentucky : 
thence an overflow was now beginning into In- 
diana, and across the river into Spanish ter- 
ritory. Naturally, indifference to slavery pre- 
vailed, though it is interesting to remember that 
the clause in the Ordinance of 1787 which made 
the Northwest anti-slavery came from Southern 


men. In 1793 came Eli Whitney's invention of 
the cotton-gin, that contrivance of a Yankee's 
brain of such enormous economic value, but so 
calamitous in certain other ways Now first negro 
slavery became distinctly profitable ; from a de- 
caying institution, it grew to be the corner-stone 
of the Southern social structure. 

From the reminiscences of old backwoodsmen 
may be gained vivid pictures of pioneer life at the 
time when the eighteenth century ended. The 
cabin hearth afforded a primitive scene. In the 
morning it upheld a buckeye backlog, a hickory 
fore-stick, with smaller wood between, resting on 
stones or rude andirons, while a johnny-cake on a 
clean ash-board was set before the fire to bake. 
The frying-pan, also, with its long handle, was sure 
to be too conveniently at hand, the sputtering of 
its boiling grease heard morning, noon, and night. 
The mother cooked, nursed the baby between- 
times, and ruled the younger children. She was 
an adept at the loom and the spinning-wheel. At 
meal times a conch-shell would be blown for 
father in the field, the old dog would howl, and 
presently would come the clatter of pewter spoons 
and basins, or possibly of the wooden trenchers. 
Always on convenient pegs within easy reach lay 
the rifle, often an arm that had been carried by 
the side of Boon or Kenton, and that had deliv- 
ered death to many a savage. As times grew 
more peaceful, it was still indispensable, for the 

116 THE ORDINANCE OF 1787 [1800 

bear and the wildcat gave up their haunts only 

How rude the people had become while facing, 
as they had been forced to do for so many years, 
their hard conditions, is perhaps best shown by 
the religious extravagances into which they fell. 
In the earliest day, the dominance of .the Scotch- 
Irish had brought into favor Presbyterianism, and 
sturdy expounders of the doctrines of the Cove- 
nant had tramped with their flocks through the 
Cumberland Gap or floated down the Tennessee. 
But a wilder form of faith came later to prevail. 
At the end of the eighteenth century, it some- 
times happened that the crops would be left and 
the shops abandoned, whole settlements being 
forsaken while the people swarmed to some camp- 
ground. There a temporary town would be laid 
out, with a population estimated sometimes as high 
as twenty thousand. The preachers became fran- 
tic in their exhortations ; men, women, and chil- 
dren, falling as if in catalepsy, were laid out in 
rows. Shouts, incoherent singing, sometimes bark- 
ing as of an unreasoning beast, rent the air. Con- 
vulsive leaps and dancing were common ; so, too, 
*' jerking," stakes being driven into the ground to 
jerk by, the subjects of the fit grasping them as 
they writhed and grimaced in their contortions. 
The world, indeed, seemed demented. It was, how- 
ever, an aberration that gradually passed away. 
As population grew, settled schools sprang up, the 

1800] EDUCATION 117 

provision of the enactment of 1785, setting apart 
the sixteenth section of each township for educa- 
tion, working in the Northwest especial advan- 
tage. Where education prevailed, the frenzy soon 
departed. An end was now at hand for the day 
of small things. For the settlers, so pinched 
and baffled and peril-beset, the conditions were 
about to soften and the horizon to broaden. 



It is not at all strange that separatist feeling 
should long have been rife in the Mississippi 
Valley. Everywhere in the country in those 
days the Union was less sacred than it afterwards 
became. In 1798, Jefferson, then Vice-President, 
wrote the Kentucky Resolutions, the eighth one 
of which favored nullification, fearing that the 
Federalists, by the Alien and Sedition Laws, 
would set up arbitrary power. Madison soon fol- 
lowed these with the Virginia Resolutions, which 
were not less disunionist in temper ; and the 
Federalists, on their side, before the new century 
was well begun, talked secession without conceal- 
ment. Andrew Jackson and Daniel Webster, the 
two men who before all others caused the Union 
to be regarded as an indissoluble compact, were 
as yet on the threshold. When the nineteenth 
century opened, however, an affair was in train 
which was destined to promote the bond, and to 
increase immensely the domain and the power of 
the United States. 

The chronic irritation about the mouth of the 

1802] NAPOLEON 119 

Mississippi reached, at this time, an acute stage. 
The Spaniards held New Orleans, now elabo- 
rately fortified, with a strong garrison, and in 
spite of Pinckney's treaty were slow in giving up 
Natchez. Immigration was pouring across the 
river into Spanish territory, a fact which the 
Spaniards viewed with alarm. A symptom of 
their uneasiness was a closer and more annoy- 
ing dealing with the cargoes which the Western 
States, becoming each year more populous and 
enterprising, were sending down to the outlet 
into the great world. Napoleon had now come 
into the foreground, and the consequences were 
to be not less momentous in America than in 
Europe. The campaigns of Italy, of Egypt, and 
of Marengo had set him upon a pinnacle. As 
First Consul, he was at the head of France, which 
now held Spain in her grip. In 1800, young Lu- 
cien Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, negotiated 
the treaty of San Ildefonso with Spain, a pro- 
vision of which was that Spain should restore to 
France, in return for Tuscany, the vast undefined 
territory, known as Louisiana, ceded by France to 
Spain in 1762. In these years Napoleon eagerly 
desired to restore to France all she had lost ; and 
although the treaty was for some time kept secret, 
he began at once to scheme for making the most 
of what he had gained. In 1802, the peace of 
Amiens leaving his hands for a time free, he 
planned at once a great expedition for Louisiana. 


A general of division, no other than the impetu- 
ous Victor, was to command. He was to have 
under him three brigadier-generals, five battal- 
ions of infantry, and artillery and cavalry in pro- 
portion. To be sure, there was for the moment 
peace with England ; and with America there was 
a traditionary friendship, which President Jef- 
ferson, the particular admirer of revolutionary 
France, was not likely to disturb. But Victor's 
force was to be ready in case of a change ; and 
a formidable nucleus it would have been for an 
army of Creoles and Spaniards bent on restoring 
New France. Neither Victot nor his army ever 
sailed, but a civil official, M. Laussat, was dis- 
patched to make things ready, who reached New 
Orleans early in 1803. 

But just at this moment France received a 
stroke of ill-luck. In San Domingo, the negro 
chief, Toussaint I'Ouverture, and his successors 
held their own against the French in the field. 
More baleful still, yellow fever swept off the 
French by thousands, LeClerc, the commander, 
Napoleon's brother-in-law, among the number. 
It was costing quite too much to try to con- 
quer San Domingo. Was an expedition to New 
Orleans likely to fare any better? Moreover, 
though for the moment peace might prevail in 
Europe, Napoleon's keen eye saw war in the near 
future. Could he afford to embarrass himself 
with a campaign in America when every avail- 


able man and dollar were needed at home ? 
With perfect worldly wisdom, Napoleon threw up 
his first project and entered upon a new policy. 
This action resulted momentously, not only to 
the United States : it was a very memorable 
crisis in the career of Napoleon. The French 
Chambers, the nation at large, his own family (in 
Napoleon's eyes by no means an element of small 
account), were strongly opposed to the sudden 
alienation of the vast and beautiful province 
which had just been regained. In determining of 
his own will to sell Louisiana to the Americans, 
the First Consul for the first time grasped at im- 
perialism. The full consummation was to come 
a few months later in the assuming of the sceptre 
and the purple ; but Napoleon's first declaration 
of autocracy was in connection with the sale of 
Louisiana in spite of all opposition, constitutional 
or otherwise. With the shrewdest prudence, a 
quality which he possessed no less than impetu- 
osity, he plainly saw he could not expect to keep 
Louisiana out of the hands of the English ; he 
saw, too, that by transferring it to the Americans 
he was making strong a power which was destined 
to rival England ; at the same time he obtained 
for his treasury a «um of money much needed 
for the oncoming wars which threatened near at 
hand. So it was that Louisiana was sold. It 
was a piece of French statesmanship. Napoleon 
doubling, as it were, with his first imperial nod, the 


area of the United States. Though the United 
States profited so much, her agency in the trans- 
action was secondary. 

On the American side the principal figures 
in the great transaction are of course Jefferson 
and his Secretary of State, Madison. Jefferson's 
party was strongest in the South and West, the 
regions that especially felt the need of possessing 
the mouth of the Mississippi. It was the mouth 
only, with the stronghold of New Orleans which 
guarded it, that they much cared to secure. That 
the Spaniards had been there at the mouth had 
been a source of friction which constantly became 
more exasperating, a trouble that must be got rid 
of, — nothing could be plainer than that. But as 
to the enormous wilderness lying west and north, 
who knew or cared anything about that ? What 
likelihood that the United States, already in 
possession of millions of wild acres east of the 
Mississippi, would require for its expansion 
those illimitable deserts and forests ! Robert R. 
Livingston, minister to France, intrusted by the 
administration to negotiate for the possession of 
New Orleans, for many months found nothing 
encouraging. In the spring of 1803, however, to 
his astonishment there came a sudden change in 
the tone of the French negotiators. All that he 
had asked was offered, and far more than all. 
He was overwhelmed at the demand that the 
Union must take the whole of Louisiana, — some- 


thing not provided for in his instructions, an ? 
accession not to be contemplated without shrink- ' — 
ing. Nothing was to be done, however. In 
April, James Monroe arrived in Paris commis- 
sioned especially to push the bargain. The very 
nio^ht of his cominoj all was arrano^ed. As the 
two Americans were sitting down to dinner, Barbe- 
Marbois, the French Secretary of the Treasury, 
was seen walking in the garden near. He had 
just received peremptory instructions from Na- 
poleon, and before the little party separated it 
was settled. In a week or two details were ar- 
ranged, the price to be $15,000,000. The Amer- 
ican envoys had exceeded their instructions in 
consenting to take the whole territory, an acqui- 
sition not dreamed of. They hoped it would be 
overlooked. What could be done when it was 
Napoleon who dictated ! 

The treaty of cession was signed in May, an 
act which Spain highly resented, because at San 
Ildefonso a condition had been that Louisiana 
should not be alienated to a foreign power. Na- 
poleon was quite heedless as to this protest ; and 
in America, too, the dominant party was quite 
heedless of the protests of the Federalists, who, 
foreseeing a diminution of the importance of the 
Northeast, fiercely opposed the ratification, not 
hesitating to threaten secession. In this stormy 
warfare Josiah Quincy, of Massachusetts, was 
a leader. Perhaps on both continents no one 


was more surprised than the civil agent, M. Laus- 
sat, who, at New Orleans, having no idea of 
the sale, had made energetic preparations for an 
active policy as soon as General Victor should 
arrive with his soldiers. Like a loyal subject, 
however, he obeyed orders, turning over Louisiana 
to the United States, December 20, 1803, in a 
ceremony pathetic rather than joyous. The two 
representatives of the Union were Wilkinson, 
commander-in-chief of the army, and Claiborne, 
governor of the adjoining Mississippi Territory, 
a young Marylander, who had already been a 
member of Congress. A body of American troops 
advanced to the city gates, playing the airs alter- 
nately of France and the United States. Here 
they were received by the Spanish garrison, 
which had not yet been displaced, and escorted to 
the Cabildo, the administration building on the 
Place d'Armes, in the centre of the town. Then, 
standing on a balcony, the commissioners ex- 
hibited their credentials to Laussat, documents on 
both sides were read to the crowd in the square, 
and the cession of Louisiana in return for the 
purchase-money was proclaimed. The keys of 
the city were then delivered to Claiborne, and 
the people, absolved from their old allegiance, 
received welcome and the promise of freedom 
under the new order. The tricolor of France, 
which had floated for only twenty days, was then 
slowly low^ered, while the crowd looked on rue- 

1803] OLD NEW ORLEANS 125 

fully. Though New Orleans had been in Span- 
ish hands for forty years, the people were mainly 
French, and had rejoiced on Laussat's arrival at 
the thought of returning to France. As the 
tricolor descended, the stars and stripes were 
slowly raised. Midway of the staff they paused, 
becoming entangled and waving together. Then 
while the Union signal rose to the summit, a 
French officer wrapped the French emblem about 
his body and carried it to the barracks. A ban- 
quet ended all, given by Laussat in the hall of the 

The relative importance of New Orleans was 
greater at the time of the cession than now : to 
the South and West it seemed, as it was, a great 
acquisition. The flatboat men of those days from 
the Falls of the Ohio, or indeed from Pittsburg, 
borne on the yellow torrent flowing between its 
levees well above the country to the right and 
left, beheld at last on the eastern side the high- 
sloping ramparts. The gate of France, which 
pierced them to the north, was a mile from the 
gate of Tchoupitoulas to the south; the Place 
d'Armes was equidistant from both within the 
city. The western wail was a third of a mile 
from the river, which swept in a majestic crescent 
before the city's front. The streets within were 
named after the princes and nobles of France ; 
but though so pompously entitled, they were 
narrow and ill-drained, breeding-places of pesti- 


lence. The defenses were formidable : there had 
been soldiers there, notably Galvez, who, after 
foiling the British about Pensacola, had become 
viceroy of Mexico. The commerce had been made 
remarkable, two hundred craft sometimes lying 
together along the levee, three deep. The archi- 
tecture had a certain tropical quality, — steep, red- 
tiled Spanish roofs ; walls broken picturesquely 
with balconies and verandas ; delicate wrought 
ironwork in gateways and lattices. The cathedral 
and the Cabildo were among the finest buildings 
on the continent. Into the French and Spanish 
population had come already a large Ethiopian 
admixture. While there was certainly a Latin 
element that had maintained itself pure, there 
was also a numerous hybrid class ranging from 
blackness quite Nubian, through various mulatto 
grades, to quadroons scarcely distinguishable 
from Creoles of purest blood. 

They were very different from the rough race 
into companionship with which they had now 
been so suddenly thrust, and often regretted the 
change. Claiborne, made governor of Orleans, 
as the city with its environment was named, 
though honest and able, could neither speak the 
tongue nor join in the ways of those he was set 
to rule, and was quite without tact. Dislike of 
Americans long persisted among their descend- 
ants ; and soldiers of the civil war recall how 
often in the city and in marching along the 


Teche or La Fourche, they encountered before 
homes and plantations the flag of France. For 
hope was high then in many a breast that in the 
upturning some chance might carry them back to 
the bosom that had rejected them. And, indeed, 
it might easily have come to pass ! 

The northern part of the purchase, under the 
name of Upper Louisiana, was assigned to In- 
diana. What lay within this vast unknown it 
was now high time to find out. The spaces east 
of the river were becoming filled with a popula- 
tion stable and ever improving. In 1802, Ohio 
followed Kentucky and Tennessee into statehood. 
Since the purchase the river was less than ever a 
barrier for pioneers thrusting west. Next to the 
Declaration of Independence, the Louisiana pur- 
chase is Jefferson's highest title to distinction, 
though it has been quite too much overlooked that 
the principal figure in the transaction is that of 
Napoleon. It was of a piece with Jefferson's 
good statesmanship at that crisis that he now con- 
ceived the idea of having the new possession thor- 
oughly explored. It was, indeed, an unknown 
region. The continent had been crossed by the 
Spaniards to the south, two hundred years before ; 
and Mackenzie and Hearne, in British service, 
agents of the Hudson's Bay Company, had pene- 
trated regions which have scarcely been visited 
since. But the great central mass of the continent 


from the river westward and northward was as 
yet untra versed. By a fortunate choice two young 
officers were selected to conduct the expedition, 
Captain Meriwether Lewis, a kinsman of Jeffer- 
son, and at one time his private secretary ; and 
Lieutenant, by courtesy Captain, William Clark, 
a younger brother of George Rogers Clark, and 
perhaps his equal in courage and resource. Both 
Lewis and Clark had seen service under Wayne ; 
they knew the forests and their people : they 
proved to be most brave and capable leaders. 

Lewis and Clark set out from St. Louis in 
May, 1804, as soon after the winning of Louisi- 
ana by the Union as the season allowed. In the 
party, comprising twenty-seven men, were a half- 
breed, who was expected to serve as an interpre- 
ter and hunter, two French voyageiirs^ a negro 
servant belonging to Clark, nine Kentucky volun- 
teers, and fourteen regular soldiers. Before 
starting, all were duly enlisted for the sake of 
discipline. Sixteen more men joined the party 
temporarily, intending to go no farther than the 
Mandan villages, on the upper Missouri. By 
way of equipment three large boats were provided 
by the government, well stocked with arms, am- 
munition, presents for the Indians, — all, in fact, 
that forethought could suggest. For food, it was 
believed that game would be plenty, and that 
corn might be bought of the tribes. 

The Mississippi was swelling from the snows 


melting in the mountains far away, when the 
three well-laden boats pushed off from the levee, 
and by oar and sail labored upstream. The 
torrent of the Missouri shouldered aside the 
smaller flood of the Mississippi, thrusting with 
its waters against the eastern bank, which con- 
stantly crumbled under the pressure ; then it 
flowed southward in a turbid stream distinctly 
marked for many miles. Turning into the Mis- 
souri, the adventurers were soon at St. Charles ; 
then passed the most outlying hamlets and clear- 
ings, in one of which old Daniel Boon had se- 
cluded himself, the remotest of the settlers. The 
detailed record of Lewis and Clark is a model 
of what such a record should be. While by no 
means men of scientific attainments, they were 
respectably schooled according to the standards 
of the time, possessed sharp observation and good 
judgment, and let no important thing escape 
them. They refer with old-fashioned quaintness 
to the girls they have left behind them, after 
whom they sometimes name localities. Wisdom, 
Philosophy, and Philanthropy rivers show plainly 
that the sojourn of Lewis in the household of 
Jefferson had left a mark on him. But the 
entire account commands respect. Cheerful and 
alert, they lent their hands now at the oar, now 
at bearing the burden, not shrinking from the 
labors and risks which they exacted of their 
men. A perfect understanding soon came about 


between the captains and the rank and file. 
From first to last, each man in the party seems 
to have done his best, flinching from no ex- 
posure, never dreaming of mutiny. 

As they made their slow way up the Missouri, 
game was plentiful, and also Indians. The latter 
never daunted them. Among the Sioux they 
were unquestionably in peril; but a mixture of 
tact and boldness, quite of a piece with the de- 
meanor of George Rogers Clark in similar cir- 
cumstances, always brought them through. They 
spread far and wide the news of the purchase 
of Louisiana, proclaimed the greatness of Uncle 
Sam, and distributed presents. With humane 
zeal somewhat naive and superfluous, — and here 
again perhaps we see the touch of Jefferson, — 
they labored to swear the tribes to peace among 
themselves. They toiled on through summer 
and autumn, and as the cool fall w^eather came, 
they approached the Mandan villages, far toward 
the Hudson's Bay territory, and were now on the 
track followed half a century before by the 
brothers La Verendrye, young men of a spirit 
like their own. Here they passed the winter 
near the present site of Bismarck, meeting enter- 
prising St. Louis and Hudson's Bay men, with 
whom they got on amicably. The Mandans, a 
superior tribe, well advanced in the higher stage 
of barbarism, skillful as builders, potters, and 
weavers, lacking perhaps only the ability to smelt 


iron and the use of an alphabet to emerge into 
the lower stage of civilization, showed them great 
hospitality, which the guests paid back with gifts 
and friendship. 

With the spring of 1805, Lewis and Clark 
reorganized their force. Some returned down 
the Missouri, carrying the record made up to this 
time. A few new people were taken on, of 
especial value being the squaw Sacajawea, the 
" Bird woman," wife of the half-breed Chabonneau, 
without whose help the expedition in the later 
stages might have ended in failure. She had been 
captured some years before from a mountain 
tribe, and spoke Shoshone, a dialect prevailing in 
the remote West. The Bird woman carried at her 
back her papoose, only a few weeks old. She 
was, however, equal to all the party encountered ; 
and as interpreter and friendly intercessor in 
the more distant deserts, became invaluable. 
Setting out in good time, the two captains pushed 
through the heart of the continent, which, as far 
as human beings were concerned, seemed to them 
an utter solitude. They saw no trace of man 
until they reached the continental divide. The 
country, however, swarmed with game, especially 
buffalo, the enormous herds of which hid the 
plain and choked the shallow streams to the 
hindrance of the boats. Deer and bears also 
abounded. First of white men they beheld and 
experienced the grizzly bear, whose hide would 


almost turn a rifle-ball, and who sometimes held 
the hunters treed until rescued at great risk. 

The conditions of the explorer's life were never 
more ideal than throughout this second summer. 
Their rifles gave them supplies bounteous and 
varied ; with each day's progress new tracts of 
this unknown world opened to their vision, teem- 
ing with life, while there was enough of adven- 
ture to give rest to the journey. The approach 
of the second winter found them near the divide 
of the continent. Here they encountered the 
mountain tribes, and in winning their good-will, 
the help of the Bird woman was worth much. 
She recovered after a long absence her own 
kindred, who recognized and received her joy- 
fully, and were full of kindness toward the 
strangers who had brought their sister back. 
The student of Lewis and Clark feels that this 
wild mother with her papoose on her back, so 
friendly and useful, deserves to be in some way 
commemorated. The young captains speculated, 
amused, as to what kind of a representation it 
was which finally reached the tribes whom they 
met in council, when their message, filtered from 
English into French, and from that into this, 
that, and the other savage dialect, at last came 
out into the tongue of those remote gorges and 
peaks. But some kind of a message was con- 
veyed. With medals and beads in their hands, 
and courage and frank good nature in their 


faces, they won their way. Exchanging their 
boats, which they cached., for horses bought of 
their new friends, they were led by guides, who 
served them well, through a pass of the Bitter- 
Eoot range to the Pacific slope. Here striking a 
tributary of the Snake River, they speedily floated 
to the Columbia, and on that to the Western 

As they set out to return in 1806, hardships 
multiplied. The game, so abundant on the plains, 
was now scarce, and starvation threatened. They 
had recourse to strange food, and there was a 
dearth of that. Before spring ended, however, 
they struggled across the divide, their mountain 
friends standing fast to them. Their boats and 
stores were found unharmed. Henceforth their 
journey homeward was speedy and easy. The 
party separated, Clark descending by the Yellow- 
stone, while Lewis followed the Missouri. 

On their return they encountered hostile In- 
dians whom it was necessary to meet boldly and 
promptly. With the dangerous Blackfeet at last 
nothing but war was possible. When it became 
inevitable, Lewis paralyzed the savages by a bold 
initiative. Lewis himself shot one of them, the 
only bloodshed found necessary during the entire 
term of their absence. He was, however, soon 
after badly wounded himself by an accidental shot 
from one of his own men, recovering only with 
difficulty. The two parties, uniting, floated quietly 


down to St. Louis, justly exultant over their ac- 
complishment. The end was reached in Septem- 
ber, 1806, and the journal forwarded to Jefferson. 
The conduct of all was creditable in a high degree. 
In the party but one man died, Sergeant Floyd, 
whose grave, on a bluff of the upper Missouri, has 
been of late years carefully marked. Of the 
savages encountered, but one suffered harm, the 
Blackfoot Indian shot by Lewis. Lewis and Clark 
were the first of the American pathfinders west 
of the river, the precursors of a resolute company 
who almost to the present have been sweeping 
mystery from the face of the Great West. They 
were well rewarded. Lewis soon after was made 
governor of Upper Louisiana, but died mysteri- 
ously two years later on a journey through Ten- 
nessee, whether by murder or suicide has never 
been explained. Clark succeeded him, retaining 
the position after the change of name from Upper 
Louisiana to Missouri, administering his charge 
for many years from St. Louis. 

Not less worthy than Lewis and Clark was 
their comrade in the army, Lieutenant Zebulon 
Montgomery Pike ; who, however, was less fortu- 
nate than they in receiving his commission to 
explore from the worthless Wilkinson, commander- 
in-chief of the army, instead of from the President 
himself, a fact that brought him trouble. Leaving 
St. Louis in August, 1805, with twenty regular 
soldiers, he pushed upstream like his predecessors 

1806] PIKE EXPLORES 135 

fifteen months before. Instead of turning into 
the Missouri, he steered for the great bluffs at 
Alton, then passed the mouth of the Illinois and 
still onward. His men respected him : he man- 
aged the Indians with great success : he was a 
master of the rifle, that prime requisite of a fron- 
tier leader. Late in the fall he reached Minne- 
sota, where he spent the winter exploring far and 
wide with dog-sleds, in one expedition reaching 
the remote Leech Lake, though not Lake Itasca. 
At the Falls of St. Anthony, of which there had 
been little mention since the time of Carver, thirty 
years before, he held a great council with the 
Sioux. These he contrived to placate ; and also 
the British traders, even while he hoisted the 
American flag at their posts. 

By the end of April, 1806, he had returned to 
St. Louis, whence in July Wilkinson sent him out 
again, nominally to explore the indefinite boundary 
between the American and Spanish possessions, 
though Wilkinson, at whose career we must pre- 
sently look more carefully, probably had in view 
some filibustering. Pike's party this time con- 
sisted of twenty-three soldiers and fifty Osage 
captives, mostly women and children, whom the 
government, having taken from the Pottawato- 
mies, wished to restore to their tribe. From the 
Missouri, Pike ascended the Osage, his errand 
propitiating the Indians, so that his way was at 
first made very smooth. From here he struck 


across the plains of the Pawnee country, reaching 
at last the Arkansas. He had now to deal with 
the terrible horse-Indians of the Plains, Black- 
feet at the north, Comanches at the south, peers 
of the Iroquois in the east in ferocious prowess. 
Pike and his men had chance enough to see them 
both on the hunt and war-path ; but by prudent 
conduct they escaped all harm. They ascended 
the Arkansas well toward its head, striking across 
country in November for the mountains, until 
through the wintry air rose before them the sum- 
mit which rightly bears the name Pike's Peak. 

But here misfortune began. The winter set in 
cold, and the game in the mountains, as Lewis 
and Clark had just before found, by no means 
equaled the abundance of the plains. Finding 
in January a canon containing deer. Pike built a 
fort, left behind his horses with a guard, and with 
twelve of his hardiest men struck out for the Rio 
Grande. The little troop was soon in desperate 
straits through cold and famine. Nine of the 
number had their feet frozen. In Wet Mountain 
Valley, in mid-January, 1807, the party had been 
four days without food, but a buffalo was at last 
killed. Two men lost their feet through frost, 
and had to be temporarily left behind. But 
neither discipline nor resolution failed. A second 
rush for the Rio Grande was successful. They 
encountered milder weather : game grew more 
plenty. They were now on Spanish territory, but 

1807] HIS RETURN 137 

Pike built a fort and hoisted the American flag. 
This was no doubt Wilkinson's instruction, but 
the encroachment cost him dear. Pike and his 
men were presently after captured by the com- 
mandant at Santa Fe, who had heard of the in- 
trusion. He courteously overlooked it, however, 
as a probable mistake, sending Pike home by a 
circuitous route through Chihuahua and Texas, 
during which journey he made interesting notes 
as to people and country. On reaching home he 
found his superior, Wilkinson, in disgrace for 
treasonable conduct, and himself compromised 
as having submitted to be his tool. He was able, 
however, to vindicate his good name, rose in the 
service, and fell at last as a brigadier-general, in 
the attack on York, now Toronto, in the War of 
1812, — from first to last a brave and strenuous 



Napoleon's proceeding in the sale of Louisi- 
ana to the United States had no doubt been a 
piece of rough-riding. He went against the feel- 
ings of his brothers and of the French Cham- 
bers ; the population of the alienated province 
were not at all consulted ; the promise made 
to Spain, in 1800, that the retroceded province 
should never be given up to a foreign power, was 
quite disregarded. After the purchase complica- 
tions and soreness remained, out of which, before 
many years, came embarrassment and danger for 
America. When, in 1763, France had surren- 
dered Louisiana to Spain, the boundary of Or- 
leans, the southern province, ran along the river 
Iberville to Lake Maurepas ; thence, following the 
north shore, it ran to Lake Pontchartrain, along 
the north shore of which again it reached the 
Gulf. All to the east of this line France gave, 
in 1763, to England: all to the west to Spain. 
England, now taking up the matter, had drawn a 
line from the junction of the Yazoo with the Mis- 

1805] AARON BURR 139 

sissippi due east to Appalachicola, thence south 
to the Gulf, and named the territory included 
West Florida. In 1783, England made the 31st 
parallel the northern boundary of West Florida, 
giving both Floridas, East and West, back to 
Spain. When, in 1800, Spain retroceded Louisi- 
ana to France, she held on to West Florida as 
not having been given her by France, but by 
England. But the United States, perhaps too 
cavalierly, claimed it as part of the purchase, the 
uncertainty leading to years of bickering. Spain 
held Natchez as territory she had never resigned : 
while the United States showed stormy discon- 
tent, resulting at last in the concoction of a 
scheme at the time very noteworthy. 

Contemporary with the great explorations, 
cheering at the time in their revelation of a 
magnificent domain, — so cheering a page in our 
history to whoever reviews the story, because the 
pathfinders showed such efficiency and manly 
worth, — the Mississippi Valley was the scene of 
a discreditable episode, the main part in which 
was played by that hete noire of the early nine- 
teenth century in America, Aaron Burr. This 
fascinating but unscrupulous figure was the 
grandson of Jonathan Edwards, and in brilliant 
power probably the equal of any son of the 
famous line descended from the great preacher. 
Bold and selfish, his magnetism was extraordinary. 
He subjected to his will both men and women 


until they became completely his victims. His 
dominance became so marked that at one time 
he stood among the two or three leading men of 
the land. He sank at last into a dishonored 
grave ; and the visitor who stands by its side at 
Princeton, New Jersey, with the ashes of his 
stern Puritan kindred close at hand, marvels that 
one so nobly fathered, so amply dowered with 
gifts and graces, should have left in the story of 
America only a name of infamy. Burr had been 
Vice-President of the United States, and in 
1800, when the election was thrown into the 
House, Jefferson won the Presidency from him 
by only one vote. Jefferson naturally disliked 
him, but he was a great Democratic leader, and 
as such he fought in New York, tooth and nail, 
the famous Federalist, Alexander Hamilton. The 
bitterness became so marked that one day the 
two men stood front to front, at Weehawken on 
the Hudson, with the result that the young nation 
was robbed untimely of perhaps the most valu- 
able life which it then contained. 

When it was that Aaron Burr began plotting 
for power in the Mississippi Valley is uncertain. 
Exactly what he schemed also cannot certainly 
be told ; for he presented now one face, now 
another, as he crept on his tortuous way. Prob- 
ably even when he was Vice-President his 
thoughts were treasonable. From corrupt politics 
in New York, where he was the prototype of the 

1805] BURR GOES WEST 141 

evil-minded bosses of later years, he passed to 
corrupt the politics of the nation. He is believed 
to have schemed to invade the Spanish territory 
in Texas and Mexico : to have contemplated also 
the separation of the West from the East, his 
ambitious dream being perhaps to make an em- 
pire for himself out of the general wreck. He 
planned the seizure of Washington and the Presi- 
dent, the mutiny in his interest of the navy, and 
intrigued for the support of an English fleet, 
which was to attack New Orleans. The British 
Minister at Washington was captivated by the 
idea, but the government in England would take 
no part in it. 

It was in April, 1805, that he first set out for 
the West. Committing himself to the Ohio, his 
first stop was at an island, where Blennerhassett, 
an Irish gentleman of some property, and his 
wife had established themselves in a pleasant 
seclusion. These at once melted under his arts, 
giving themselves and all they had, and Burr 
passed on to other conquests. No man so dis- 
tinguished had up to that time ever visited the 
West. As a great Democratic leader he drew 
about him the party that was most powerful be- 
yond the mountains. The fact that he had killed 
Alexander Hamilton did not discredit him. On 
the frontier the duel was recognized, and Ham- 
ilton, moreover, was a hated Federalist. As 
Aaron Burr hinted obscurely at his ideas in this 


or that little group in which he ventured to talk, 
it shocked no one that he decried the East. The 
West disliked the East, and had some good cause 
for doing so. Had not the East just opposed 
with all its power the Louisiana purchase ; and 
had it not always been quite too ready to hamper 
Western development while it cherished its own 
narrow circle of interests ? So Burr made warm 
friends in Cincinnati ; then in Kentucky, into 
which he presently crossed. In Tennessee he 
won a formidable ally in Andrew Jackson, major- 
general of the Tennessee militia, already noted 
as Indian fighter and head of the anti-Spanish 
sentiment that was fierce in those regions. The 
Spaniards, greatly dissatisfied over the Louisiana 
purchase, withdrew only slowly and sullenly from 
their old holdings, — a course which exasperated 
the frontiersmen, who brooked no delay. From 
Nashville Burr went down the Cumberland to Fort 
Massac on the Ohio, just above the present site 
of Cairo. Here Burr met no less a personage 
than James Wilkinson, commander-in-chief of 
the army, whom we have already more than 
once encountered, but at whose discreditable fig- 
ure we must now look more closely. As a young 
man, good-looking, plausible, and energetic, he 
appears first in history as the messenger sent by 
Gates to convey to Congress the news of Bur- 
goyne's defeat. Lagging somewhat, his news ar- 
rived before him, whereupon Sam Adams grimly 


moved, making his only recorded joke, that the 
young officer's service be acknowledged by the 
gift of a pair of spurs. In after years his fault 
was not that of slowness, though his alacrity was 
seldom in a good direction. In the critical period 
when the Union was weak, he sometimes intrigued 
against America in the Spanish interest, receiv- 
ing Spanish pay; then against Spain, which he 
cajoled, attaining influence by putting forth bra- 
zen claims and stooping to underhand trickery, 
till his career became mean and treacherous to 
the last degree. He had influence and address 
enough to become chief of the army, and as such 
figured in the ceremony at New Orleans when 
Louisiana was received from France. He was 
now again deep in treasonable plottings. As the 
two men encountered each other on the Ohio 
shore, it was indeed an ill-omened conjunction of 
the darkest and most dangerous spirits which 
the young republic contained. 

Wilkinson, general of the army, and yet in 
Spanish pay, listened eagerly to the plots of 
Burr. With the most involved duplicity, he was 
prepared off-hand to cast over both Spain and the 
United States, if Burr's scheme seemed more 
likely to turn out to his selfish advantage. En- 
couraged by a contact so congenial. Burr pushed 
off at last for New Orleans, where he received 
much sympathy among the people, who liked 
neither Spain nor America. Claiborne, however, 


honest and loyal, while showing him respect as 
a man of distinction, would connive at no trea- 
son. Returning to St. Louis, he found the zeal 
of Wilkinson had cooled. The latter had sounded 
his officers and the public generally, and found 
they rang true. They could not be misled, and 
Wilkinson saw his interest in another quarter. 

Burr now made his way back to Washington. 
To a conspirator so buoyant and audacious the 
situation seemed full of hope in sj^ite of the occa- 
sional rebuffs. If he could only get means ! Now 
it was that with a refinement of hypocrisy he 
tried to obtain money from Spain, the power he 
expected to ruin. In August, 1806, he was again 
on his way West. His beautiful daughter Theo- 
dosia, Mrs. Allston, about whose history and sub- 
sequent fate lies so tragic a shadow, was his com- 
panion as far as Blennerhassett's Island. The 
impulsive Irish pair, completely overcome, sur- 
rendered their entire substance, and became blind 
tools. However, they were the only persons so far 
overcome. The Irishman's effort among his Ohio 
neighbors to rouse interest was an utter failure ; 
so Burr proceeded onward with the boats and 
resources provided by his victim. In Kentucky 
United States Senator John J. Adair took up his 
cause with ardor : but Humphrey Marshall and 
Jo. Daviess, United States District Attorney, old 
Federalists, and staunch and loyal men, opposed 
him, twice causing his arrest for treason. Burr's 

1807] BURR'S FAILURE 145 

counsel at this time was young Henry Clay, who, 
however, exacted from Burr an oath of loyalty 
before he would undertake his case. In Tennes- 
see, Jackson was more alive than ever, going so 
far as to call out the militia for the invasion of 
Texas and Mexico. He, too, thorough patriot that 
he was, exacted from Burr a strict oath of loyalty 
to the United States. 

But Aaron Burr had reached his limit. Wil- 
kinson, making up his mind that the plot was too 
desperate, resolved to turn it to his own profit by 
betraying the man who had trusted and been en- 
couraged by him. He denounced Burr and his 
schemes to Jefferson in a tone of great alarm. 
The danger had never been and was not then seri- 
ous : all strong and important men who for a time 
fell under Burr's spell, like Clay and Jackson, 
stopped short at definite treason ; but it was Wil- 
kinson's wish to excite alarm. Burr was forced 
to flee with a few followers down the Mississippi 
in Blennerhassett's boats, which he abandoned at 
Natchez, hurrying himself eastward disguised as 
a boatman. This was in January, 1807. Arrested 
at last, he was brought to Richmond to undergo 
trial, one of the most remarkable processes in the 
history of the country. John Marshall, greatest 
of the chief justices, presided : the speeches of the 
lawyers, notably of William Wirt, have been since 
that day household words in America. Wilkinson 
turned state's evidence, and as the leading witness 


presented a contemptible figure, — a traitor to his 
friend, as he was ready to be a traitor to his 
country, and to every land and cause which had 
ever put faith in him. Yet by the strange fatuity 
of Jefferson he remained at the head of the army 
of the United States, his career culminating in 
a climax of inefficiency and ill-fortune, on the 
northern frontier, in the War of 1812. 

Louisiana, purchased, explored, and now for the 
moment quiet after the fiasco of Aaron Burr, in- 
vited and received heavy immigration, the river 
being less than ever a barrier. For the moment 
there was little to disturb the peace of the Missis- 
sippi basin, though just south of it, in the region 
soon to become Georgia and Alabama, the Creeks 
were undergoing an experience which the present 
writer is glad to be relieved from narrating. 
Farther north the savage discontent against white 
encroachment came to a head in 1811, high up on 
the Wabash, in the same forests where St. Clair 
and Wayne had fought a score of years before. 
Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet, added 
their names to the list of able Indians who had 
confronted the inevitable doom. But their power 
was broken at Tippecanoe, and a frontier general 
stepped easily from the field, after some years of 
waiting, into the Presidency. The tongues of 
men were becoming familiar with names among 
those best known in American story. Thomas 
Hart Benton, Tennessee-born , but early carried 


beyond the Mississippi, began now a career of 
vigorous and independent statesmanship, one of 
the longest and on the whole most creditable in 
our history. Henry Clay, the young Virginian, 
who, adopting Kentucky, had forthwith subdued 
his State by his masterful qualities, was getting 
ready to make a larger conquest in the federal 

More remarkable than any other character was 
Andrew Jackson, — in his strength and weak- 
ness, in the blending in him of dark and light, 
of wisdom, force, and folly, — a bundle of sharp- 
est contrasts, and one of the most extraordinary 
figures in American history. A Scotch-Irish- 
man of the toughest and most unmitigated kind, 
he was old enough to have borne arms against 
Tarleton and Ferguson in the Revolution. As a 
young man he had been the companion of Sevier 
and Robertson in the Holston and Cumberland 
country. As Tennessee came forward after 1796 
in statehood, he soon stood in the foremost place. 
He was thoroughly a child and a type of the fron- 
tier. He was a stranger to fear, chivalrous to 
women, — a very dynamo of energy, with a power 
of command which fairly prostrated all wills about 
him. He was, too, honest and truthful ; but 
ignorant and prejudiced to the last degree, and did 
not shrink on occasion from any bloodshed. That 
cardinal point of a backwoodsman's creed, " No 
good Indian but a dead one," he fully professed. 


For a Spaniard he had no hospitality but that of 
the bullet and the bayonet. Toward Federalists 
his thoughts were scarcely kinder. He rose till 
he became one of the most important influences 
that have ever affected America, an influence in 
which it is hard to tell whether good or evil has 
most prevailed. He was the main promoter of 
the spoils system, a mischief-maker in finance, a 
coarse bully with a chip on his shoulder toward 
foreign nations : yet he initiated the policy to 
which is due the preservation of the Union, and 
in general set an example of strenuous, virile pur- 
pose, which, though so often rough in striking out, 
helped much toward securing a sound core in the 
great unfixed, inchoate nation. Of Jackson's 
early career we need say no more. With the 
coming on of the War of 1812 he was well up in 
the eyes of men. The incident, however, which 
first lifted him upon a national pedestal belongs 
especially to the Mississippi Valley, and must 
receive our attention. 

The War of 1812, which we could not have 
avoided in the conditions then prevailing, had had 
for its theatre the high seas ; the Lakes, where 
Perry and Macdonough found their opportunity, 
with the border-land adjacent ; and Washington, 
which underwent a foray from an English fleet. 
Though the sons of the Mississippi Valley had 
played a part on the Northern fields, the soil of 
the basin was not touched by the war until at the 



very end : then happened an event which dwarfed 
by its importance almost everything which had 
gone before, the battle of New Orleans. England 
has rarely sent out such an expedition as that 
which sailed in 1814 from the south of Ireland to 
seize the mouth of the Mississippi. Fifty of the 
best ships set sail, bearing nearly twenty thousand 
fiofhtino; men, soldiers and sailors, under Sir 
Edward Pakenham, brother-in-law of Welling- 
ton. There were one thousand guns. The flag- 
ship of the admiral, Sir Alexander Cochrane, was 
the Tonnant, of eighty guns, captured from the 
French by Nelson at the Nile. There were five 
seventy-fours, one commanded by Sir Thomas 
Hardy, Nelson's bosom friend. Twenty smaller 
ships ranged from fifty to sixteen guns each, and 
there were besides sixteen transports. These 
contained four veteran regiments just set free 
from the Peninsular war, and other thousands of 
troops scarcely less formidable. There was no 
thought of failure. Civil officials had been pro- 
vided, that when the easy work of conquest was 
over, the country might at once receive a British 
administration, and become part of the empire. 

If Napoleon, then in Elba, could follow matters, 
he must have felt that his purpose in selling 
Louisiana, to keep it out of the hands of the 
English, had come to naught. During the war no 
American army or general had won great success : 
on the sea, to oppose the ruler of the waves, there 


was only here and there an isolated frigate. 
Only success could be expected for the British. 
The people of Louisiana were but half-heartedly 
American. From the valley above, what force of 
moment could be rallied among the tattered 
backwoodsmen to face the invasion ? A short 
campaign, and Louisiana might be won as Can- 
ada had been won ; and the upstart States, cut 
off north, west, and south, might feel at last the 
mistake of their rebellion. 

At the beginning of winter the fleet entered 
the Gulf, reaching the anchorage at Ship Island, 
December 10, 1814. The plan was well laid. 
New Orleans was to be attacked, not from the 
river's mouth, but on the flank by way of Lakes 
Borgne and Pontchartrain, — a scheme devised 
'by able captains well acquainted with the coast. 
Within the city all had been apathetic. The 
sprinkling of patriotic Americans among the 
Creoles, who for twelve years now, without will 
of their own and with many mortifications and 
hardships, had lived under the stars and stripes, 
could do little to diffuse a sentiment of loyalty. 
All lay on Jackson, and he met the emergency 
with peculiar and extraordinary power. He seems 
to have had at first little apprehension of danger. 
In November, marching out from Mobile, he had 
stormed the British post at Pensacola, a cam- 
paign of a week. In the middle of November he 
grew listless, fell ill, indeed ; but the news of the 


approach of the great armament roused all his 
spirit. He did not reach New Orleans until 
December 2, at which time nothing had been 
done ; but the rudest energy now transformed the 
face of things. Martial law was proclaimed: 
the strangest, most incongruous elements were 
forced and combined into a motley army. Near 
the river's mouth, at Barataria, had been a nest 
of pirates led by Jean and Pierre Lafitte, the 
latter of whom had been in the French navy. 
They had long been well known and dreaded as 
bold and lawless. The British had tried to win 
them in advance, but at the critical moment the 
unkempt but most effective miscreants rallied to 
Jackson's side. There were, besides negroes and 
Spaniards, Creoles, with here and there among 
them an old soldier of Napoleon, diffusing hate 
of the British and a flash of the fire of the great 
fields across the ocean. But the core of Jackson's 
army was a body of Tennessee and Kentucky 
riflemen under Coffee and Carroll, fighters really 
as formidable in their way as the world could 
show. These marched down from Baton Rouge, 
where they had been in camp, with orders from 
Jackson not to sleep till they had reported. 

On the side of the British there was no slack- 
ness. Pakenham, who had broken the centre of 
Marmont at Salamanca, and been schooled in 
warfare against Soult, Victor, and Massena as 
well, despised the rags and tags that were flut- 


tering about the backwoods leader ; but he 
neglected nothing. Lake Borgne was swept of 
American gunboats ; and guided by Spanish fisher- 
men a heavy force was landed at Isle aux Poix, 
the southeastern corner of Louisiana. This soon 
made its way by lake and bayou to the Mis- 
sissippi, striking the stream only six miles from 
the city. Here they destroyed with red-hot shot 
American river craft that opposed them, and by 
New Year's day were on the plain of Chalmette. 
Within the following week, reinforced to eight 
thousand men, with the city close at hand, their 
cause seemed secure. 

They were to be most sternly confronted. 
Jackson had few cotton bales in his intrench- 
ment, — but rails, earth, and whatever else the 
resourceful American, in times before and since 
then, has found adequate to bullet-stopping. 
There mustered Creoles, Spaniards, negroes, and 
pirates ; best of aU, there mustered the back- 
woodsmen, knee-deep in swamp, — a few cannon 
now and then, but with good store of unerring 
rifles. This was Jackson's line. It was a con- 
spicuous case of what one finds so often in the 
gloomy story of war, — untimely depreciation of 
the enemy, an impatient front attack instead of 
a cautious flank approach, a terrific slaughter 
and overthrow. It was Bunker Hill over again, 
except that the American ammunition did not 
give out. It was Cold Harbor and Fredericks- 


burg and Franklin. It was many a bloody field 
of South Africa. The Peninsular veterans came 
on in a column of sixty front, and withered 
to the earth under the steady, unquailing marks- 
manship ; for it was the Tennessee and Kentucky 
line which they especially faced. They tried it 
a second time, but that was enough. Pakenham 
and two generals beside were among the slain ; 
seven colonels, seventy-five officers of lesser rank, 
and rank and file by the thousand. Till the 
time of the civil war no other such slaughter 
took place on American soil. The English bur- 
ied their dead, and withdrew sullen and silent. 
Peace was soon after announced : indeed, the 
battle was fought after peace was declared. It 
made Andrew Jackson, for good and for ill, the 
foremost man of America. 

The volume of immigration into the Mississippi 
Valley, slackening if times were good, swelling 
if times were bad, — the movement always the 
product of discontent with existing conditions, 
— found as time went on new means of rolling 
forward. In the seaboard States, along every 
westward road went long trains of canvas-covered 
wagons, drawn by oxen or horses, the dog chained 
to the axle, the peripatetic domestic hearth, as 
like as not, smoking up through a funnel pro- 
jecting through the white arch, the husband 
guiding the team, while the wife and younger 


brood looked out from inside as they slowly- 
fared forward. But not all had the " prairie- 
schooner ; " many a tramper continued to trudge 
under his pack as in the primitive days ; the 
pack-horse was not entirely displaced ; wheel- 
barrows sometimes appeared ; now and then 
there was a hand-cart with wheels made of planks 
fitted and sawn into circles, after which, while the 
father pushed the load, the mother and children 
trooped in the dust. 

When the westward flowing rivers were reached, 
an important change from the earlier methods 
was seen. As early as 1809, Nicholas J. Roose- 
velt, impelled by Fulton's success on the Hudson, 
had surveyed the waters from Pittsburg to New 
Orleans, obtaining depths, studying the direct 
current and the eddies, examining as to resources 
of fuel. Returning East with a favorable report, 
he was commissioned in 1810 to build a steamer, 
and presently the New Orleans made her way 
successfully down the long path to the city after 
which she was named. Others followed at once. 
It was Ihe dawn of a new epoch, the reveille 
of which was the throbbing beat of the pad- 
dles through the forest depths. In 1815, the 
^tna led the way in stemming the stream 
from New Orleans to Louisville. The Enter- 
prise was the second to perform the feat : after 
carrying down to General Jackson a cargo of 
ammunition, she made her way back in twenty- 


five days. All doubt was now dispelled. Not 
only the great river, but the tributaries becamo 
si^eedily alive with the constant patrol, and set- 
tlement was everywhere quickened. Not that 
the old ways were speedily superseded. The 
broad-horns and the simpler rafts long persisted. 
On these the trader carried down his cargo of 
pork or flour or whiskey; to these the settler 
often committed his family, his stock, and his 
household goods. And always when the jour- 
ney's end was reached, whether it were trader or 
settler, the bark that had borne the burden, 
knocked apart at the shore into a pile of timber, 
went into houses, fences, or furniture, as the 
exigency might demand. 

When the newcomer had reached his point, 
a claim would be entered at the nearest land 
office and a clearing begun. A "half -faced 
camp," a three-sided shelter of saplings and 
boughs, with a deer-skin hung in the front for 
the fourth side, was often the first habitation : 
the log-cabin came in a few days' time, its win- 
dows of greased paper at first, its loft reached 
by a ladder, its chimney of sticks cemented by 
mud. The elaborate home, carefully framed, or 
built of stone or brick, belonged in the distant 
future. This was the time of the corn-husk 
broom, the wooden grindstone with grit and 
gravel driven into the circumference, the latch- 
string always out, the clothes of leather or of 
homespun dyed butternut at the fireside. 


As far as the territory affected by the Ordi- 
nance of 1787 was concerned, the fine provision 
for schools, the reservation of the sixteenth section 
of each township, was nobly useful ; but in practice 
the good sought sometimes fell short. The six- 
teenth section was sometimes swamp, sometimes 
under water. At first there was much indifference 
to schools throughout the whole wide area of the 
valley, except where New Englanders were be- 
ginning to make themselves felt. There was a 
disposition also to build from the top. Weak uni- 
versities and academies abounded while common 
schools were few, the funds meant for them hav- 
ing been misappropriated or deliberately stolen. 
Ohio had no good common-school law until 1826. 
Indiana followed no better course. It was sought 
to foster the higher culture, but the children suf- 
fered. While in education in this forming world 
things assumed a good shape somewhat slowly, 
as regards religion, calmness and reason did not 
appear at first. The excesses of the camp-meet- 
ings gradually abated ; but religion over large 
areas was supervised by circuit -riders, — men 
often heroically devoted, but often, also, holding 
a supposed " call from God " as quite superseding 
the necessity of education and every other quali- 
fication, and employing methods the reverse of 
sober and proper. 

In finance, " wildcat banking " worked no end 
of mischief, trouble due less to scoundrelism 

1817] LAWLESSNESS 157 

than to ignorance and inexperience. As regards 
the administration of the law, even when Judge 
Lynch with his hurried and indiscriminate pro- 
cedure did not intervene, the ways were naive 
and simple to the last degree. McMaster ^ gives 
a story which we may be sure is no caricature. 
" Mr. Green," said the judge to a criminal, " the 
jury says you are guilty of murder, and the law 
says you are to be hung. Now, I want you and 
all your friends down to Injun Creek to know 
that it ain't me, but the jury that finds you 
guilty. Mr. Green, you can have time for pre- 
paration, and the court wants to know what time 
you would like to be hung." Four weeks there- 
after was fixed upon as " agreeable " to the 
prisoner. Throughout the Southwest in these 
days, — indeed, throughout Ohio, Indiana, Illi- 
nois, and in Louisiana west of the river, so far 
as settlers had come, — legal institutions were of 
the simplest and rudest, a rough justice being 
enforced here and there by vigilance committees. 
His own good rifle and his unerring eye were 
often the isolated settler's only sure guarantee. 
The roughness and brutality in the river towns 
now coming into being — in the clusters of 
population in general about mill-privileges, salt 
springs, mining-camps, or tracts of special fer- 
tility — could be only feebly coped with by the 

1 History of the People of the United States from the Revolution 
to the Civil War. 


forces in the new society making for order and 
refinement. As yet such forces are in too many 
places inadequate : this inadequacy even at the 
present day we find quite too often. 

In 1804, Congress had made the 33d parallel 
of latitude the line between Orleans and Upper 
Louisiana, the names first given to the tracts ac- 
quired by the great purchase. Upper Louisiana 
had at first formed part of Indiana, but as early 
as 1805, it became a territory by itself under the 
name Louisiana. Seven years later had come 
another change. The present State of Louisiana 
was admitted to the Union in 1812, whereupon 
all north of it became the Territory of Missouri, in 
which as early as 1810 there was a population of 
twenty thousand whites and many slaves. In 
1816 Indiana became a State, in 1817 Mississippi, 
in 1818 Illinois. Arkansas, in 1819, was taken 
off from Missouri, and constituted a Territory. 
Up to these years immigration from the Northeast 
had been little felt beyond Ohio. Indiana and 
Illinois had been filling up from the South, a 
current pouring from Kentucky, Tennessee, and 
even as far back as North Carolina. 

And now as the first score of years of the nine- 
teenth century are ending, we encounter a crisis 
in the highest degree fateful for the Valley of 
the Mississippi, for the United States, for the 
world in general. Recalling the establishment of 
the Ordinance of 1787, it will be remembered 

1819] THE COTTON-GIN 159 

that that instrument throughout, Including the 
momentous prohibition of slavery, was especially 
the work of the Southern men. Anti-slavery 
sentiment at the time of the adoption of the Con- 
stitution was no more marked in the North than 
in the South. But Whitney's invention of the 
cotton-gin had been exercising its influence 
through a quarter of a century, and a most im- 
portant change had taken place. That small 
engine has shaped our ends almost as if it were a 
divinity, instead of a mere construction of matter. 
The population coming up from the South into 
Indiana and Illinois brought with them many 
slaves, who had now become numerous in the 
South. Since the anti-slavery provision of the 
Ordinance of 1787 shut them out, they preferred 
to pass on and cross the river into Missouri, where 
there was no hampering provision. Large num- 
bers followed this course, while their brethren 
who remained in Indiana and Illinois chafed under 
a restriction which had come to seem hateful. 
Just at this time the tide from New England and 
New York began to flow through Ohio and up the 
Lakes in heavy numbers into northern Indiana 
and Illinois. As the South had become in a 
marked way pro-slavery, lo, it appeared that these 
Northern men, in a way just as marked, had 
become anti-slavery. A fierce struggle arose 
in these States between the North and South. 
Should the anti-slavery provision of the Ordi- 


nance be disregarded and repealed ; or should it 
stand ? It was the first grapple of the combatants 
in a contest destined to be bitter and bloody to 
the last degree. 

As we come under the black shadow which in 
past years has so clouded American skies, and 
which continues so to cloud them, it is proper to 
look at the thing from the beginning. 



Throughout history, no fact is more plain 
than the persistency of human bondage down to 
a period close at hand. In antiquity all races 
may be said to have been thus subjected to a 
greater or less extent. War had been universal 
and constant in the savage state from which 
man slowly rose. The captive at first killed was 
at last preserved, becoming thus the servus ; 
and the preserved men, the servi, were forced to 
work. It is believed by many philosophic students 
that this labor to which the servile class was 
forced has played a beneficent part in the evo- 
lution of humanity, becoming the harsh school in 
which man learned to use his hands otherwise 
than in wielding weapons. In the modern era 
human bondage has relaxed slowly. Multitudes 
in Europe until a recent time were more or less 
distinctly in fetters. In the colonial period of 
America, with the " indentured servants " and 
the " redemptioners," white men who were prac- 
tically enslaved abounded.^ This being the con- 

1 For a scholarly study of this topic, see Diffenderffer, German 


dition of the world, it is not strange that no man's 
conscience was troubled at the idea of holding 
in servitude barbarous races, — Indians, negroes, 
peoples of the East, with whom at the era of dis- 
covery civilization was thrown into contact. At 
the time of the American Revolution, few con- 
sciences North or South were troubled with com- 
punctions as to slave-holding. In Boston and 
Newport the ships built so numerously were 
largely used without disguise in slave-trading : 
no man lost repute through holding slaves. The 
newspapers teem with advertisements of slaves to 
sell, and offers of reward for the recovery of fugi- 
tives. It is said to be a tradition in an honora- 
ble Massachusetts family that an ancestor, a 
respected minister, needing a servant, sent a 
hogshead of rum to the West Coast and had it 
exchanged there for a kidnapped negro, whom 
he made his chattel, while neither his parishion- 
ers nor the community at large thought the pro- 
ceeding objectionable, or even eccentric. 

At the end of the eighteenth century slavery 
seemed to be dying in America, less because the 
consciences of men were roused as to its enormity, 
than because it was economically unprofitable. 
Extinction in fact came at the North, and the 
South was in such mood that her representatives 
in the First Congress, as we have seen, brought to 

Immigration into Pennsylvania, Part II., p. 143, etc., 1900. The 
sufferings of English, Scotch, and Irish are also detailed. 

1819] SLAVERY 163 

pass the anti-slavery clause in the Ordinance of 
1787. Where slaves were retained, it was often 
less from motives of profit than motives of hu- 
manity, Washington, Jefferson, and many other 
leaders looking to gradual emancipation as a 
thing certain and desirable. But all at once, in 
1793, the cotton-gin made economically profitable 
in a high degree the labor of slaves in raising 
cotton. As the North was not affected, events 
followed the course upon which they had entered 
and slavery became extinct ; at the South it be- 
came the corner-stone of the social structure. 

In the clash in Indiana and Illinois, just ad- 
mitted to statehood, we have the first premonition 
of an oncoming tempest, one of the most tre- 
mendous that has ever descended upon humanity. 
We have glanced at the story of the negro race in 
America from the beginning. Its pioneer was 
Estevanico, little Steve, who crossed the continent 
in Cortez's time, and was the forerunner of Coro- 
nado in deserts which to this day remain pathless. 
They came with the Spaniards ; they came with 
the French ; with the Dutch and English. They 
came through no will of their own, but forced by 
sordid captors who had no thought but for their 
own selfish advantage. Did they gain or lose in 
the transfer ? The sin was not theirs ; in God's 
justice the punishment did not fall upon them. 
They have multiplied by many millions ; they 
have been subjected to a harsh discipline, which, 


however, is the school through which many an- 
other race has risen into civilization, and which 
has made of negroes something better than sav- 
ages ; they have heard, often only in some feeble 
and far-off way, to be sure, of the better reli- 
gion.^ The punishment should fall upon those 
who have sinned ; and it has so fallen. What 
has been the punishment? a nation divided 
against itself with the fiercest hatred ; a war in 
which millions of our noblest were sacrificed ; 
problems at the present moment which defy 
settlement, and yet which press for settlement, 
each hour making the pressure more urgent. 
The black shadow wraps the continent as it has 
done for eighty years, and the darkness is felt in 
the Valley of the Mississippi. 

Missouri, in 1819, comprehending the whole of 
the vast Louisiana purchase north of Arkansas, 
had a population of 56,000 whites and 10,000 
slaves, and desired to be admitted to the Union. 
It was becoming an unwritten law that the States 
should come in in pairs, one free and one slave. 
It was only by chance, perhaps, that Vermont and 
Kentucky had thus come in together ; also Ten- 

1 " We must acknowledge that notwithstanding- the cruelty and 
moral wrong of slavery, the 10,000,000 negroes inhabiting this 
country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the 
school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful 
condition materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously than 
is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion 
of the globe." B. T. Washington, Up from Slavery, p. 16. 


nessee and Ohio. But it meant much more when, 
as the rift was appearing, Indiana was soon 
made to follow Louisiana, and Mississippi was 
bracketed with Illinois. Missouri, now knocking 
for admission, her destined mate seemed to be 
Maine, which was equally anxious. At this time 
Tallmadge, a representative from New York, 
proposed that when Missouri was admitted (whose 
limits as a State were to be much restricted from 
its territorial area), any further introduction of 
slavery into the Union should be prohibited ; and 
that all slave children born in Missouri after 
its admission as a State should receive freedom 
at the age of twenty-five. Tallmadge's sugges- 
tion, which a quarter of a century before would 
hardly have been opposed, now roused a fierce 
debate, in which Henry Clay, Speaker of the 
House, was prominent in opposition, who argued 
that it was unconstitutional ; and also that such 
a determination would be cruel to the blacks 
themselves. Other speakers claimed that the 
conditions of the cession at the time of the Lou- 
isiana purchase were violated. Tallmadge's plan, 
however, went through the House by the close 
vote of 87 to 76 ; but in the Senate there was a 
small majority the other way. Congress adjourned 
leaving the matter thus hung up, whereupon the 
country took it up. North and South. Daniel 
Webster came out as a determined opponent of 
slavery. In January, 1820, the Senate resumed 


the discussion, Rufus King of New York and 
Pinckney of South Carolina leading the two sides. 
At last Thomas of Illinois, restating the sug- 
gestion of Tallmadge, moved that slavery should 
be abolished north of the line 36° 30', the south- 
ern line of Missouri, except in Missouri. This 
was carried in the Senate ; and also in the House, 
where thirty-seven Southerners opposed. Mis- 
souri was admitted August 10, 1821, Maine com- 
ing in as her mate. The arrangement preceding 
the admission is famous in history as the Mis- 
souri Compromise. 

Missouri thus came in as a slave State, and it 
was sure that Arkansas, to the south, in due time 
would come in in the same way. She did so in 
1836. The settlement of the area north of Mis- 
souri was in 1821 held to be a matter very re- 
mote. The North regarded the Missouri Com- 
promise as an act in the Southern interest, and a 
surrender. A large majority of Congress, repre- 
sentatives from the South as well as from the 
North, went on record as holding the doctrine 
that Congress had power to prohibit slavery in 
the Territories. The Cabinet of Monroe, then 
President, John Quincy Adams, Crawford of 
Georgia, Calhoun, McLean of Ohio, Thompson of 
Virginia, and Wirt of Maryland, were unani- 
mously of that view. What conflict was to come 
in the future over the point we shall before long 
see ; but for the time being the air was still. The 


Missouri Compromise was felt to have saved the 
Union. While Henry Clay cannot be regarded 
as its originator, his figure towered in the debates 
of the time ; and he more than any other was the 
great leader of the hour. He was hailed as the 
" pacificator." His eloquently proclaimed theory, 
that to spread slavery was humanity to the slave, 
was shared by Madison and the aged Jeffer- 
son, the latter of whom declared that spreading 
the slaves " over a large surface will dilute the 
evil everywhere and facilitate the means of finally 
getting rid of it." 

For a generation now, the thirty-three years 
from 1821 to 1854, the Valley of the Mississippi 
was a happy land, or at any rate had little his- 
tory. The monotonous inflow of population never 
intermitted. New England and the Middle 
States overcame the South in these years in the 
outpouring of men. With the prosaic crowd 
came now and then picturesque elements. Social 
reformers, of whom Robert Dale Owen in his 
model colony at New Harmony, Indiana, is a good 
type, established here and there communities, 
whence the ills of life were to be banished. Re- 
ligious fanatics came, above all the Mormons: 
these, aglow like the tribes of Israel, through the 
exhortations of their prophets, paused for a brief 
sojourn at Nauvoo, in Illinois ; but the Gentiles 
proving inhospitable, they passed on presently to 
establish their shrines in remoter wildernesses. 


The places of those who struck out westward 
were promptly filled, as time went on, by a for- 
eign tide, Irish and German particularly. The 
latter often made little pause on the coast, but came 
almost at once into the heart of the country, pass- 
ing up the Lakes, and down the Ohio ; passing 
up also from New Orleans, until Wisconsin, 
Iowa, and Missouri, as well as the older North- 
west, became dotted with German villages. Mean- 
time Doniphan, Emory, Stevens, Fremont, and 
other pathfinders, working out from the old tracks 
of Lewis and Clark and Pike, brought to light 
vast new habitable areas in what had once been 
believed to be a "great American desert." 
Slowly the everlasting warfare with the savage 
abated. Black Hawk and his bands succumbed : 
Sioux, Blackfeet, and Comanches slowly ceased to 
be terrible. In the States already constituted, the 
prairies were ploughed and the forests felled. 
Stockaded hamlets grew into cities, the wilderness 
blossomed, harsh conditions became mitigated. 
In 1846, the wrenching of Texas from the weak 
hands of Mexico affected strongly the future of 
the basin, as it did that of all America. 

But upon the quiet now broke, as it were, the 
sound of an alarm-bell. On January 4, 1854, 
Stephen A. Douglas, a Vermonter who had gone 
West and was now a senator from Illinois, 
chairman of the committee on Territories, made 
a report on Nebraska, the beginning of something 


most important. The Territory of Nebraska com- 
prised then, besides the present State of that 
name, Kansas, North and South Dakota, Mon- 
tana, Wyoming, and part of Colorado. Within 
its 485,000 square miles, scarcely a thousand 
whites had as yet settled. But the time had come 
for fixing its status. In spite of the fact that in 
1820 the greatly preponderant opinion had been, 
as we have stated, that Congress had power to 
prohibit slavery in the Territories, Douglas enun- 
ciated the doctrine that it was unconstitutional, 
and that the Missouri Compromise was, therefore, 
a wrong. Citing the cases of New Mexico and 
Utah, which had been admitted as Territories in 
1850, with the provision that the people living 
there should decide whether or not slavery should 
exist, Douglas declared that this procedure recog- 
nized and established the principle that the peo- 
ple of a Territory, not Congress, had power to 
decide as to its institutions. Nebraska, or any 
portion of it, ought to be admitted with or with- 
out slavery as its people might determine. For 
thirty-four years the Missouri Compromise had 
been held to be something fixed. It had been 
hallowed and commended especially by the ad- 
vocacy of Henry Clay, who had stood between 
North and South as beyond every other the 
pacificator. Now suddenly it was called in ques- 
tion ; the whole country shook : it was felt that a 
dispute of the gravest sort was opened. 


January 23, 1854, Douglas offered a second 
bill, affirming that the slavery restriction of the 
Missouri Compromise was superseded by the 
legislation of 1850 relating to New Mexico and 
Utah : the people should decide as to whether 
or not there should be slavery; and the great 
Territory was to be divided into a smaller Ne- 
braska and a division to be called Kansas, 
whose western limit was the Rocky Mountains. 
The Southerners in Congress were coming to 
favor largely the view of Douglas. But on 
January 24 appeared " The Appeal of the In- 
dependent Democrats to the People of the 
United States," adapted by Salmon P. Chase 
of Ohio from a document prepared by Joshua 
R. Giddings, of the same State, and corrected 
by Charles Sumner of Massachusetts and Gerrit 
Smith of New York. The appeal was signed by 
them and two more, all " Free-soilers," for that 
memorable name had now appeared. As might 
have been expected from such authorship, the 
appeal was a noble document, and it received the 
attention of the country. Douglas was incensed, 
lashing Chase with vehemence. At once began 
in the Senate an extraordinary debate. Of the 
Free-soilers, Chase was the leader, who, though 
somewhat lacking in alert fluency, was clear and 
strong. As he made his j)lea, he was the ideal 
of manly beauty and dignity. His able seconds 
were great historic figures, already or soon to 


be famous, — Seward, Sumner, old Ben Wade 
of Ohio, the rough-hewn block of granite, and 
Edward Everett of Massachusetts, the polished 
Grecian column. The latter in particular argued 
effectively that the measure of 1850, respecting 
Utah and New Mexico, had to do with those Ter- 
ritories alone, and was not a precedent for a 
general policy. 

On the opposing side Douglas had helpers, but 
he was far and away the leading champion. The 
present writer remembers those chief figures as 
they stood in life. How picturesque was the con- 
trast ! Men of finer presence or greater dignity 
of bearing than Chase, Sumner, and Everett never 
sat in a legislative body. Seward, though inferior 
to them in personal graces, was equally impressive 
when on fire with intellectual excitement. Over 
against this imposing group stood the sturdy figure 
of the " Little Giant," " with his coat-tails very 
near the ground," the face ruddy, the chin resolute, 
the brow ample, the voice full of virile power. He 
had a way of throwing off collar and cravat and 
unbuttoning his vest that throat and chest might 
have free play. Through February the contest 
went on, the attention of the country being at the 
sharpest both North and South. The journals on 
both sides were all alive. It was tumultuous, but 
vigorous and thoroughly American, the popular 
disputants everywhere showing knowledge and 
acuteness. The doctrine of Douglas, which really 


originated with Lewis Cass of Michigan (just as 
the Missouri Compromise originated otherwise than 
with Henry Clay, its great upholder), was at first 
looked on askance by the South, but later adopted 
widely. It received its most significant enuncia- 
tion during the night between March 3 and 4, 
1854. The vote was about to be taken, and an 
hour before midnight the Little Giant rose in the 
Senate for his last effort. He rehearsed in all its 
details the doctrine of popular, or, as Cass had 
called it, "squatter" sovereignty, claiming that it 
favored neither North nor South, but that it sim- 
ply put slavery out of politics. As the night 
wore on his able opponents constantly interposed 
questions,' which he answered or parried with 
courtesy and address. He spoke till daybreak, 
the crowd remaining for his last word. The vote 
when taken stood in his favor thirty-seven to four- 
teen. Cannon boomed from the navy-yard, and 
his victory seemed complete. 

But the House was to be heard from, in which 
the dissatisfaction of the North was plainly re- 
flected. A fierce forensic battle went on through 
the spring, words now and then being on the very 
point of giving way to blows. The House once 
remained in session thirty-six hours. The vote 
came at last at midnight of May 22, standing in 
favor of the bill one hundred twelve to one hun- 
dred. Among the nays were nine Southerners, at 
their head the stout veteran, Thomas H. Benton, 


now in the House, who refused to take part in 
the shelving of the great compromise which he 
believed had been his shelter for thirty-three 
years. Signed by President Pierce, the bill be- 
came law May 30, 1854, the most momentous 
congressional measure, according to Rhodes,^ 
between the adoption of the Constitution and the 
civil war. 

Douglas claimed the victory as a personal tri- 
umph, and was not arrogant. " I had," said he, 
" the authority of a dictator in both Houses," and 
it was hardly saying too much. Rhodes thinks 
him to have resembled in many ways Henry Clay ; 
in none more than in his power of attaching men 
to himself. From 1854 to 1858, he was the 
central figure in the politics of the country. 
However, he had won for the moment only. The 
North was profoundly stirred. Horace Greeley 
declared that Pierce and Douglas had made more 
Abolitionists than Garrison and Wendell Phillips 
could make in a century. The South was happy, 
but the omens were ill for it. Of eighty-eight 
German newspapers in the country only eight 
favored the Nebraska bill. A new party, the 
Republican, straightway began to organize. On 
his own Illinois prairies the victor beheld suddenly 
confronting him a foe still more adroit, magnetic, 
" gigantic " than himself, — Abraham Lincoln. 

The revulsion of feeling in the North appeared 

1 History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850. 


significantly in the new Congress, where the Dem- 
ocrats stood in a minority of seventy-five, though 
before they had had a majority of one hundred 
and eighty-four. Douglas's own State sent to the 
Senate Lyman Trumbull. The long-drawn-out 
Kansas trouble began. In July, 1854, Eli Thayer, 
the moving spirit of the " Emigrant Aid Society," 
sent his first party to Kansas, people not thinking 
at first of Sharpe's rifles, but obeying with most 
peaceful intent the law of westward movement. 
The South at once scented danger. The new 
law was in force : Kansas would be free or slave 
as its settlers decreed. A fact which had not been 
well realized suddenly became plain : the new law 
which the South had so generally upheld was 
going to put the South at a great disadvantage. 
With its thinner population, largely fixed upon 
plantations, it was far less easy for it to furnish 
bands of emigrants than for the North, a region 
so much better peopled, and with so many in its 
communities loosely attached to their homes. As 
the Northern inflow began, there being nothing to 
offset it from the South, the alarmed South set in 
motion a series of inroads from the border, par- 
ticularly from Missouri : parties passed over into 
Kansas, taking up land and claiming possession, 
but retained all the time their old holdings and 
citizenship, to which they proposed presently to 
return. The feeling at the North at once grew 
hot that such temporary intruders could in no 


fairness be called settlers, or allowed a voice in 
the " squatter sovereignty." 

Edwin Reeder, a Douglas Democrat from Penn- 
sylvania, who had been made Governor of Kan- 
sas by President Pierce, was a j^ro-slavery man, 
declaring that *•' he would as soon buy a slave as 
a horse." He proved himself, however, a brave 
and fair-minded official. When a mob of border 
ruffians, unkempt, armed to the teeth, soaked in 
whiskey, insisted upon voting, threatening with 
death all who should protest against the result of 
the election, Eeeder quietly faced the crowd. 
Sitting behind his desk, on which lay a cocked 
pistol, he threw out the vote as illegal in seven 
districts where protest had been made, and ordered 
new elections. President Pierce, much under the 
influence of Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, whose 
name now rises, had hoped for a different course 
on Reeder's part. He tried to transfer him to 
something more brilliant, but Reeder held stoutly 
to his Kansas work, until he was at last forced out. 
He now threw in his lot with the free-state men, 
the element largely preponderating among the 
real settlers, a body headed by a cool and prudent 
leader, Charles Robinson. 

The free-state men, assembling in convention 
at the hamlet of Topeka, adopted a constitution 
and elected officials. The border men followed a 
like course at Lecompton, receiving countenance 
sometimes from men high in place, like Atchison, 


the federal senator from Missouri. Federal troops 
came in in the slavery interest: congressional 
committees visited and reported. There was much 
warfare of words, but so far no bloodshed, though 
Sharpe's rifles were coming in with the Northern 
inflow ; and from as deep in the South as Mont- 
gomery, Alabama, a troop well furnished with 
arms, and also with Bibles by the ministers and 
pious women of the churches, came in on the 
other side. Two hostile parties stood over against 
each other in Kansas, and violence could not be 
averted. Lawrence, headquarters of the free-state 
men, was sacked. So far, however, it was but 
the muttering of something impending. 

At this point enters into our story probably 
the most picturesque and fateful figure of Ameri- 
can history, John Brown, of Ossawatomie. He 
had come to Kansas in October, 1855, a man tall 
and gaunt, with steady gray eyes beneath a high, 
rather narrow forehead, a fixed mouth and chin, 
his hair gray but unthinned, showing that he was 
well past middle life. After forty-five years, dur- 
ing which John Brown has been decried on the 
one hand as an insane and bloodthirsty fanatic, 
and on the other hand exalted as preeminently the 
saint and martyr of his time, we probably may 
read the judgment of impartial history in the calm 
pages of Rhodes. His mind, by no means strong, 
had become to some extent unbalanced. He was 
the votary of a stern theology, " a belated Puri- 

1856] JOHN BROWN 177 

tan," who could have found his counterpart only 
in some Lilburne or Wildman, of Cromwell's Iron- 
sides. " Without shedding of blood there can be 
no remission of sins," was a favorite text with 
him. Now this old man, after an obscure and 
unsuccessful life as farmer and trader, surren- 
dering himself to the uncompromising following 
out of a single idea, heralded and precipitated one 
of the sternest conflicts the earth has ever seen, 
riding on the fore-front of the storm, his soul 
marching on through weapon-gleams and battle- 
smoke long after his body had mouldered. 

Five free-state men had laid down their lives. 
According to John Brown's logic, five of the 
other side must make the balance square. In his 
own family his ascendency was complete : four 
sons, a son-in-law, and two others made up, under 
his imperious will, an unquestioning band for a 
secret expedition. To one who demurred when 
the bloody scheme was unfolded, he replied that 
he had no choice, — that it had been decreed from 
all eternity ; he was the instrument of the ven- 
geance of God. Three Southern men, a father and 
two sons named Doyle, men inoffensive, against 
whom no charge could be brought, were com- 
pelled, it was May 24, 1856, to go with them ; 
and the three next morning were found murdered. 
The weapon evidently had been a short cutlass 
which Brown had brought with him from Ohio. 
A Southern man named Wilkinson, forced from 


his home in spite of the entreaties of his sick 
wife, was next day found murdered, evidently by 
the same means. The tale of victims still lacked 
one : he was found in William Sherman, slain 
in like fashion. Like the Doyles, the other vic- 
tims were blameless except in being from the 
South. Twenty-three years after, one of the band, 
Townsley, told the story, how the old man gave 
the signal and the sons and followers did the 
deeds, though in the case of the elder Doyle the 
old man himself did not withhold his hand. At 
prayer the next morning, he lifted up hands still 
bloody from the fearful work. Of course the 
effect of the massacres was to exasperate the con- 
flict. Though the free-staters promptly disavowed 
Brown's actions, the Southerners were for re- 
prisals, and an armed band set out to destroy Os- 
sawatomie. Guerrilla warfare became rife, while 
United States troops tried to maintain order ; 
but before the year 1856 ended, fully two hun- 
dred lives had been lost, and 12,000,000 in pro- 
perty destroyed ; and it was hard to tell which 
side had been the more lawless. 

An episode of this seething time was the 
Dred Scott decision, through which the Supreme 
Court, for the first time, rendered an opinion on 
the great matter which had been in dispute. 
Dred Scott had been the slave of an army sur- 
geon, who took him and his family from Mis- 
souri, where he had for the most part lived, to 


Fort Snelling, in Minnesota, where he remained 
two years. By the Missouri Compromise slavery 
was interdicted in Minnesota, and Dred Scott 
sued at the Supreme Court for the freedom of 
himself and family, on the ground that his resi- 
dence in Minnesota gave them that right. At 
the head of the Supreme Court was Chief Justice 
Roger B. Taney, a Marylander appointed by 
Jackson, a judge of ability, whose great age had 
not impaired his powers. The majority of the 
court were Southern men : but two were from the 
North, one Benjamin R. Curtis, a judge among 
the ablest. The question as argued was twofold : 
1st. Could a slave, whose ancestors were slaves, 
be a citizen of the United States, and so be com- 
petent to sue at the Supreme Court ? 2d. Was 
the Missouri Compromise constitutional, or was 
the doctrine of the Nebraska biU the true one, 
that not Congress but the settlers must decide 
as to slavery ? If the latter doctrine were true, 
since the Minnesota squatters were few and far 
between, and had never passed on the matter, 
Dred Scott had nothing to stand on. The memo- 
rable decision was rendered, after long expecta- 
tion, March 6, 1857, two days after the inaugura- 
tion of President Buchanan. It was ably stated 
by Taney, all the court concurring but two. As 
to the first question, the right of one who had 
been a slave to sue was denied. As to the second 
question, the doctrine of the Nebraska bill was 


fully sustained. Justice Curtis, however, for the 
minority maintained, 1st, that negroes were citi- 
zens of States at the adoption of the Constitution : 
if citizens of States, they became citizens of the 
United States ; 2d, as to the power of Congress 
to prohibit slavery in the Territories, he cited 
eight instances where it had been done, the bills 
being signed by all the Presidents from Washing- 
ton to John Quincy Adams. Besides, slavery 
" being contrary to natural right is created by 
municipal law, which an enactment of Congress 
might contravene." 

Meantime the Kansas conflict went forward. 
Buchanan, who, no less than Pierce, was greatly 
under the influence of Jefferson Davis, threw the 
weight of the government, so far as he could and 
dared, against the free-staters. These increased 
continually in numbers and importance, until it 
became plain even to the blindest zealots that if 
popular sovereignty was to rule, they must carry 
the day. In 1858, John Brown appeared once 
more in Kansas, a long white beard, which he had 
not worn before, imparting a new touch of weird- 
ness to his grim, set countenance. He presently 
led a raid into Missouri for the liberation of 
slaves, during which a man was slain, conducting 
his party of law-breakers afterward by the ferry 
at Detroit into Canada. So he passed on to the 
tragic days at Harper's Ferry ; and thence to his 
lonely, mountain-guarded, northern grave. The 


Southern men in desperation sought at Lecomp- 
ton to force upon Kansas, now seeking admission 
to the Union, a constitution in their interest. 
When it came to a vote, out of 13,088, 11,300 were 
opposed, and the matter was decided. Now it 
was that Douglas acted bravely and consistently, 
declaring that the case was plain, that the people 
had decided for freedom. At last, in 1861, Kan- 
sas was admitted as a free State. 

Before the cyclone of civil war burst out of 
the black shadow, ever broadening and deepening, 
one last episode, of highest significance and in- 
terest, found its scene in the Valley of the Mis- 
sissippi. When Douglas, flushed with his triumph 
in Congress, holding in the hollow of his hand 
the decision in both Houses, came home to Illi- 
nois to find the North frowning ominously and 
his own State estranged, one voice it was beyond 
all others that bore him down with disapproval. 
Now it was, during 1858, that the prolonged de- 
bate, adjourned and again adjourned from place 
to place until the area of a great State became its 
theatre, went forward in the sight and hearing of 
many thousands of men. Of the contestants 
Douglas possessed ability, if we may trust Horace 
Greeley, to which it would be hard to assign 
limits : his opponent, second only to Washington 
in civic virtues, has come to be held for wisdom 
and capacity perhaps the chief of Americans. 
As the intellectual wrestle went forward, now on 


the prairie, now in the grove, now on the hillside, 
the open heavens alone furnishing a canopy wide 
enough to cover the crowds that gathered, the 
world first began to know the power and worth 
of Abraham Lincoln. That debate made him 
President ; and that he became President was the 
signal to the cannon. 



The centre and focus of the civil war was un- 
mistakably on the soil of Virginia, where the 
North and the South fought back and forth for 
four years, on the one hand trying to seize Wash- 
ington, on the other hand, Richmond. There the 
armies were largest ; there the leaders, on the 
Southern side at least, were the ablest. The civil 
war in the Mississippi Valley was subsidiary to 
this : but it must be understood that it was not 
for that reason of small account. Rarely in 
history has there been a more impressive display 
of military energy ; rarely have armies been 
larger ; and only such battles as Borodino and 
Leipsic surpass in gloomy grandeur the more im- 
portant engagements. 

Following the remark of John Fiske (whose 
" Mississippi Valley in the Civil War " has 
helped much the old veteran of that time who 
writes these pages), it is to be noted that although 
the war began in the East, with the firing on 
Sumter, the commencement of victory was in 
the West, in holding Missouri to the Union in 

184 THE CIVIL WAR [1861 

1861. That State, largely peopled from the 
South, and established as a slave State by the 
Missouri Compromise, had latterly received a 
strong Northern infusion ; numerous Germans had 
also come in, who to a man were anti-slavery : 
the population was therefore much divided. That 
Missouri was saved to the Union was due to the 
courage and ability of two men, Frank P. 
Blair, a St. Louis lawyer, afterwards a major- 
general, but in this early day chairman of the 
Union committee of safety, and Nathaniel Lyon, 
captain of the 2d Infantry, and afterwards a 
general, in command at first of a few troops at 
the St. Louis arsenal. When the governor of 
Missouri had schemed to use the state troops at 
Camp Jackson, in St. Louis, to swing the State 
over to the South, Blair and Lyon, May 9, 1861, 
promptly captured them. Lyon followed up the 
blow by an energetic campaign in which the Con- 
federate force was worsted and in a fair way to be 
utterly driven out of Missouri. He was displaced, 
however, by the incapable Fremont. Left with- 
out reinforcements or resources, he threw him- 
self, August 10, upon a hostile army of twice 
his number at Wilson's Creek, and died gloriously 
at the head of his men, — the extinction of a life 
of the brightest promise. A Union victory soon 
after at Pea Ridge, in Arkansas, practically ended 
all serious warfare west of the Mississippi. There 
were battles, indeed, but in comparison with the 


fierce campaigning to the east of the river, all 
were of small account, and need no mention here. 

On the 9th of May, 1861, in the Camp Jack- 
son time, in St. Louis, while a voluble young 
Southerner, in a street-car, excited over an order 
to take down a rebel flag which had been dis- 
played in Pine Street, was declaiming over the 
intolerance which forbade people to fly whatso- 
ever flag they chose, a small, shabbily dressed, 
middle-aged man in a corner of the car inter- 
rupted him with the remark, that " perhaps the 
intolerance was not so great after all. Although 
there had been much flying of rebel flags of late, 
he had noticed that so far no one had been hanged 
for it, though many deserved to be." It was the 
first shot fired during the war by Ulysses Simp- 
son Grant. William Tecumseh Sherman, then 
president of the Fifth Street Eailroad Company, 
also had the war for the first time brought home 
to him in those days : the present writer once got 
the story, long after, from Sherman himself, driv- 
ing past the site of Camp Jackson. Within a 
few days both men had crossed the river, one to 
take command of the 21st Illinois, the other of 
the 13th regulars, at Washington. 

The career of Grant is one of the most sino^ular 
in history. Up to middle life he was a failure. 
Though doing his duty well in Mexico as a sub- 
altern of infantry, he could afterwards make his 
living neither as a farmer nor a business man ; 

186 THE CIVIL WAR [1862 

and at thirty-nine, with a taste for drink, and an 
anxious wife and family to be supported, he had 
been taken by his perplexed father into the little 
leather store at Galena, Illinois, where he sank 
into obscurity so deep that few knew of his ex- 
istence. But with the outbreak of war the fish 
found at last its water. As colonel of the 21st 
Illinois, he soon showed that he could discipline 
and organize. Stationed at Cairo, at the junction 
of the Ohio and Mississippi, as a brigadier he 
showed presently his strategic eye by the seizure 
of Paducah, a town commanding the mouths of 
the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, pathways 
into the heart of the Confederacy. The action at 
Belmont, which, though not brilliantly successful, 
owing to the rawness of the troops, yet showed 
Grant to be cool, energetic, and resourceful, 
made his name generally known. In February 
of 1862, the capture of Fort Henry and Fort 
Donelson made the world sure that a leader had 
come at last. His audacity here was powerfully 
helped by the cowardice and incompetency of 
the rebel leaders, who when Fort Henry, the 
less important post, on the Tennessee, had sur- 
rendered after a combined attack by army and 
gunboats, remained inactive in Fort Donelson, 
twelve miles distant on the Cumberland, while 
Grant in the wintry weather drew his lines about 
their works. The chief, Floyd, lately Buchanan's 
Secretary of War, and the second in command, 

1862] SHILOH 187 

Pillow, seemed to have no thought but for their 
personal safety, and fled up the stream in a 
small steamer. Simon B. Buckner, third in com- 
mand, was a soldier of different stamp, but it was 
now too late. His left was assaulted by C. F. 
Smith, a most capable soldier, and his centre was 
broken by Lew Wallace. The place presently 
fell, with a loss to the Confederacy of 15,000 men 
and 65 cannon. The Confederate line of defense, 
running from eastern Kentucky to the Missis- 
sippi, fell in as an arch falls when the keystone 
is knocked out. 

The rising fame of Grant gained little from the 
great battle of Shiloh, which followed in April. 
Success had, perhaps, made him over-confident : 
the great general must learn his trade like a 
common man ; and he stationed his army unin- 
trenched at Pittsburg Landing, intent upon the 
assault of Corinth, twenty miles distant, where 
Albert Sidney Johnston, the Confederate com- 
mander, lay with his host. Grant's cardinal and 
most excellent principle was, "not to be over- 
anxious yourself about what your enemy is going 
to do, but to make him anxious about what you 
are going to do." He believed thoroughly in 
holding the initiative, and was from first to last 
always the assailant. Intent on his projected 
attack, he left his front open, quite forgetting that 
where his army could get out it was quite pos- 
sible for his enemy to get in. On the 7th of 

188 THE CIVIL WAR [1862 

April, 1862, Grant being at Savannah some miles 
away, the blow fell. Hardee, Bragg, Brecken- 
ridge, and Polk, soldiers of different temper from 
Floyd and Pillow, led the rush of 40,000 men 
upon their unexpectant adversaries, and for many 
hours things looked dark for the cause of the 

" General Sherman, was there not great de- 
moralization the first day at Shiloh, and was there 
not much confusion at the rear ? " 

We were a party of a dozen met at a quiet 
dinner many years after, to hear Sherman tell 
John Fiske the story of his campaigns. 

" I saw no demoralization," was the reply. 
" At the front, where I was, every man was do- 
ing his best. The rear of a fighting army, with 
the wounded coming back, and the cowards skulk- 
ing, who are always in some proportion, is always 
a bad place from which to judge of results." 

Unquestionably, however, the outlook for the 
Union was bad throughout the forenoon. The 
positions held by Grant's front were all captured, 
the divisions driven back and dislocated, and a 
fearful loss inflicted. Prentiss, after a brave 
resistance at a place which came to be known as 
the Hornet's Nest, was captured at last with the 
2200 survivors of his division, and the fate of 
Sherman and the other commanders seemed very 
doubtful. But at half-past two, Johnston re- 
ceived a mortal wound, and fortune changed. 

1862] SHILOH 189 

In the afternoon the gunboats began to find their 
opportunity, and the army of Don Carlos Buell, 
27,000 strong, marching in hot haste, began to 
cross the river to Grant's help. Beauregard, a 
soldier tried and skillful, who had succeeded 
Johnston, failed in no point of conduct. The 
second day the fierceness of the battle did not 
abate ; but it became plain that the chance was 
gone, and Beauregard slowly withdrew. Out of 
90,000 engaged, 20,000 had fallen dead and 
wounded. There is no report that Grant failed 
in any way in courage. He was at many points 
of danger: neither, on the other hand, does it 
appear that he directed any important movement, 
or could manage to stem in any considerable way 
the imminent danger. His subordinates acted 
apparently for the most part by and for them- 
selves. Moreover, there was no pursuit, though 
some of Buell's divisions had scarcely been en- 
gaged, and an officer like George H. Thomas, 
already famous, was right at hand for the work. 
Grant's fame after Shiloh underwent some 
eclipse : fortunately it was only temporary ; and 
when his opportunity came again, he showed that 
in his harsh schooling he had been an apt and 
attentive pupil. 

In this spring of 1862, there was enterprise 
elsewhere than in Tennessee. Island No. 10, on 
the Mississippi, was captured, with 7000 men, with 
accompaniments of cannonading and midnight 

190 THE CIVIL WAR [1862 

running of batteries more melodramatic than 
really terrible. In the far South, too, Farragut, 
one of the few men of Spanish blood who in the 
history of the United States have attained great 
fame, captured New Orleans by a series of opera- 
tions full of daring and skill ; after which feat he 
dashed up the river to a point above Vicksburg. 
In the early summer of 1862, he might easily 
have seized Vicksburg with the help of a small 
land force ; but Halleck, in command of 100,000 
men lying practially idle within easy reach, could 
not spare a detachment. Soon Van Dorn, sent 
by Braxton Bragg, Beauregard's successor, turned 
Vicksburg into a veritable Gibraltar, against 
which Grant, at last restored to his command and 
in a measure rid of Halleck, now in Washington, 
began in the late fall of 1862 an ever memorable 

Other good soldiers were now thrusting to the 
front. Bragg, marching rapidly northward, hop- 
ing to seize Louisville and Cincinnati, was fol- 
lowed hard by Buell, and forced to turn back 
after a fruitless effort. Buell was now unjustly 
displaced, the Union losing thereby the service of 
a good sword and a loyal spirit. One would like 
to think that W. S. Rosecrans, who was put in his 
place, was a soldier as skillful as he was brave and 
chivalrous. But he was not a favorite of fortune, 
and in his first trial came but lamely off. At the 
end of 1862, Federals and Confederates, each 

1862] STONE RIVER 191 

army some 40,000 strong, confronted each other 
on Stone River, in central Tennessee, both armies 
eager for battle after their wearisome marching of 
the fall, and urged on to activity by impatience 
both North and South. On the last day of the 
year the commanders were ready. The armies 
faced each other in opposing lines running about 
three miles north and south, and both command- 
ers hit upon the same plan of attack, — to strike 
by the left wing. Perhaps it was the fault of 
McCook, whose corps held the Union right, that 
the position was negligently guarded. Rosecrans 
was at the left preparing his blow, but Bragg was 
the prompter. When morning dawned, the bri- 
gade commander at the extreme Federal right 
was absent from his post; so, too, the division 
commander ; the battery horses had been ridden 
off to water. A sad remissness, for with the first 
light Patrick Cleburne, a meteoric soldier, with 
two divisions, dashed impetuously against the slum- 
bering line. McCook's corps, for the most part, 
all unready, was put to flight at once, and the 
assailants sped on like prairie-fire in the hope to 
seize the Nashville road, to keep which was for 
Rosecrans most imperative. But in the path of 
the foe stood a young Irish officer, whose quality 
on that day, for the first time, became clearly re- 
vealed, Philip H. Sheridan. With bayonet and 
volley he breasted the charge, while Thomas, just 
behind in command of the Federal centre, always 

192 THE CIVIL WAR [1862 

immovable however headlong the hostile assault, 
stood thoroughly ready. Rosecrans, giving up re- 
luctantly his own attack, which he felt sure had 
promise of the best, formed a new line of battle, 
while Van Cleve and Palmer in the "Round 
Forest " rivaled the spirit of Sheridan. There 
was to be no further retreat. Next day the com- 
bat was but listless, an intermission of serious 
strife, though the Federal commander seized the 
heights he had coveted at first : these he held the 
next day against Bragg's most impetuous efforts. 
Rosecrans maintained his ground, Bragg retiring 
unmolested. The battle was indecisive, the Con- 
federates being no nearer to Nashville than before, 
the Federals no nearer to Chattanooga. In the 
history of warfare strife has seldom been more 
stubborn than at Stone River. 

Meantime Grant, intent on Vicksburg, had 
turned southward, and was knitting his brow 
over a knotty problem. History does not record 
that he ever received a lesson from any persistent 
spider; but it is certain that not until the sev- 
enth trial did he find success, and Robert Bruce 
himself was not more pertinacious. He tried 
from the east ; but a cowardly subordinate sur- 
rendered to raiders his main depot at Holly 
Springs with f 1,500,000 worth of stores, and his 
approach there was baffled. He sent Sherman 
down with 32,000 men from the north, but they 
feU back beaten December 29, at Chickasaw 

1863] VICKSBURG 193 

Bayou. Grant tried twice more from the north, 
pushing with gunboats and infantry through 
forest, swamp, and bayou in the water-logged 
country to find a practicable point of attack. 
He tried from the west with pick and spade, 
attempting a canal across the bend opposite the 
town ; and again working at a remoter channel 
through Lake Providence. But the enemy, more 
numerous than he, remained unassailable on the 
forbidding bluff ; and the great river, as if in 
league with the foe, bursting by its spring floods 
new paths not to be reckoned on, swept off his 
constructions and drowned his beasts and men. 
Meantime the nation muttered impatiently be- 
cause " nothing was done." 

Why not try from the south ? thought Grant ; 
and an attempt was made, audacious to the last 
detrree. Are the batteries after all so dan- 
gerous? We will see. So the batteries were 
run, not only by armored gunboats, but by un- 
armed transports. Keally, the bark of Vicksburg 
was worse than its bite. Straightway 45,000 
men, sustaining and sustained by the fleet, now 
below the town, pushed across the river, and 
dashed into the interior, quite careless of a base. 
Sherman followed presently with another corps, 
and every man was needed. Pemberton poured 
out his superior numbers upon Grant from Vicks- 
burg, and the capable Joseph E. Johnston was 
collecting rapidly at Jackson, fifty miles back, a 

194 THE CIVIL WAR [1863 

new and powerful force. It was like the leap 
of a trapeze performer tlirough air alive with 
swords and flame from bar to distant bar. For- 
saking his hold at Grand Gulf, with four days' 
rations in his soldiers' haversacks, Grant plunged 
between the two hostile armies, fighting five 
pitched battles in a fortnight, living off the coun- 
try, clutching at last the hold upon his new base 
at Haines's Bluff with complete success. On the 
20th of May, Grant, with Sherman, whose corps 
was in the advance, rode to the brink of the bluff, 
at the base of which, close to the scene of Sher- 
man's defeat the preceding winter, the Federal 
transports lay ready to discharge supplies. The 
generous subordinate was loud in his confession 
and tribute : till that moment he had had no faith 
that his leader's scheme would succeed. Success, 
however, was triumphant; few achievements in 
warfare could parallel it ; to Grant alone belonged 
the glory. The imperturbable little man, says the 
story, the " Mr. Grant," whom Abraham Lincoln 
" rather liked," and had stubbornly retained, 
though the cry for his dismissal had been loud, 
smiled and said nothing. The fall of Vicksburg 
was now but a question of a few weeks. It came 
July 4, 1863, with the rendering up of 37,000 men, 
172 cannon, and the strongest fortress in the land. 
The rebel grip at Port Hudson, 250 miles 
below, was soon after loosed, and the Mississippi 
was opened. The present writer remembers how, 

1863] PORT HUDSON 195 

after a month's work in the rifle-pits, close under 
the enemy's rampart, we, a company tattered, 
wasted by heat and malaria, inured to the sight 
of wounds and death, were withdrawn to the 
woods in the rear for a short rest out of rifle 
range. An orderly with a document hurried 
through the camp ; it was the 8th of July, 
and the cry presently broke forth, " Vicksburg 
surrendered on the 4th ! " The preceding De- 
cember we had sailed into the harbor at Ship 
Island, the anchors catching where those of the 
great fleet caught which brought Pakenham to 
his doom in 1815. Next morning we entered the 
southwest pass of the Mississippi, following in 
the track of Farragut the preceding spring, past 
the forts to the city he captured. There his 
fleet still lay, the decks alive with blue jackets, 
the heavy cannon trained upon the town which 
only their open muzzles could hold in submission. 
They saluted our coming and we heard the stern 
voices. The following March, while the column 
was sleeping in the road within range of the Port 
Hudson guns, we were startled at midnight by 
those same warlike voices. Farragut was forcing 
his way past the batteries, a terrible battle in the 
darkness, to which we hearkened from the river's 
brink, — intermittent flashes and thunders, then 
at last a steadier gleam as a great ship on fire 
floated slowly downstream. But the Hartford 
got past, and Farragut extended a hand to Grant 

196 THE CIVIL WAR [1863 

struggling with his problems. Since that night 
we had marched and fought. Port Hudson had 
beaten back two assaults, with a loss to us of 
many hundreds. We had burrowed into the 
hard clay of the bluff, driving the sap against the 
obstinate rampart, and were ready for another 
spring ; but Vicksburg had surrendered and our 
work was done. 

We went up the river on the first unarmed 
boat that made the journey. Vicksburg frowned 
as we passed from the long line of batteries on 
the height. The gunboats lay anchored in front 
with curving, turtle-like backs, the muzzles visi- 
ble through the ports that had so often broken 
a way for the Union advance. They were silent 
now and friendly ; nor was there hostile scene or 
sound as we went northward between banks green 
with the summer. Memphis, Island No. 10, Co- 
lumbus, — these now offered no bar, and we 
landed at last at Cairo, whence only eighteen 
months before the unknown brigadier had started 
out against Forts Henry and Donelson. Scarcely 
even in Napoleon's career had there been such a 
year and a half. 

The spirit of neither army — Federal nor Con- 
federate — in Tennessee had been broken by the 
sharp experience of Stone River. The spring 
and summer of 1863 were spent in wide manoeu- 
vring, the consequence being that early in Septem- 
ber, Kosecrans was in possession of Chattanooga, 

1863] CHICKAMAUGA 197 

quite too confident that he had worsted Bragg, 
who had for the moment retired southward. The 
Federal corps were widely scattered in a difficult 
mountain country ; and on the other side the Rich- 
mond authorities, determined upon holding East 
Tennessee, dispatched thither James Longstreet 
with a force of the best soldiers of Lee's Army 
of Northern Virginia. These began to arrive on 
the 20th of September, just at the moment when 
Rosecrans, after concentration, was forming his 
line of battle in the Chickamauga valley, opposite 
Bragg, who on his part was quite ready once more 
to try conclusions. 

September 19, Bragg tried, as at Stone River, 
to roll up a Federal wing, — this time the left. 
He met with no success, and it was not until noon 
of the 20th that the disaster befell that was the 
beginning of the end. Perhaps it was all due to 
the blunder of an aide-de-camp. One would like 
to think so, rather than to believe there was in- 
competency in the general or want of conduct in 
the troops. The story is that as Rosecrans stood 
arrayed, three good generals. Wood, Brannan, and 
Reynolds, held with their divisions the right cen- 
tre of his line. Brannan lay between the others, 
his line being " refused," thrown back nearly at 
right angles to the general direction, and for the 
most part concealed by bushes. An aide of 
Thomas galloping along the front just before the 
moment of attack, not seeing Brannan's men, re- 

198 THE CIVIL WAR [1863 

ported to his chief a gap in the line of battle at 
that point. Thomas reported at once to his supe- 
rior ; and post haste went the order from Rosecrans 
to Wood " to clos§ up on Reynolds." Wood could 
not close up on Reynolds without marching around 
behind Brannan ; this he promptly and faithfully 
did ; it is not for a subordinate in the moment of 
danger to ask the why and wherefore. Now, in- 
deed, there was a gap in the line, into which the 
quick-eyed Longstreet threw immediately eight 
brigades under Hood and McLaws, soldiers as 
fierce as fire. The confusion on the Federal right 
became utter and maddening. Leaders and men 
were of the best. Phil Sheridan was in the midst 
of it, and others scarcely less able and courageous 
than he ; but all order was soon completely bro- 
ken, and two thirds of the Union army, with Rose- 
crans among them, in hot flight for Chattanooga, 
ten miles distant. But all did not flee. Thomas, 
retiring with his corps of 25,000, cool, precise, 
well-ordered, took up his position at Horseshoe 
Ridge, and throughout the dismal afternoon 
stemmed the victorious rebel rush with a stub- 
bornness that has caused him to pass into history 
as the " Rock of Chickamauga." The levels at the 
base of the limestone ledges on which he stood 
planted were heaped before nightfall with such 
piles of the dead as even the gloomiest battlefields 
have rarely shown. When all was over, Thomas 
retiring unmolested into the town which his stand 

1863] CHATTANOOGA 199 

had made tenable, 37,000 lay fallen in the valley 
behind him. It was indeed Chickamauga, the 
valley of death ! 

Was it due to the blunder of an aide ? In a 
similar way, according to Mr. John C. Eopes, the 
mistaken order of an irresponsible aide, on the 
16th of June, 1815, paralyzed between Ligny and 
Quatre Bras the splendid corps of D'Erlon, a 
consequence of which was that Napoleon, two 
days later, lost Waterloo. At any rate, when 
Wood closed up on Reynolds, it was the closing 
up of Rosecrans. He sank forthwith out of 
sight ; and only Grant, it was felt, could cope with 
the situation. 

Two months later, the assemblage of leaders 
and forces about Chattanooga was a memorable 
one. Hooker had brought in a strong body from 
the Army of the Potomac. Grant, Sherman, 
Sheridan, and Thomas, the four great soldiers 
of the war (though at that time their titles to 
supreme fame were not yet fully indicated), were 
there, — at the head of corps schooled in the 
most difficult campaigns. The achievement at 
last was worthy of such a conjunction. On 
November 26, the Army of the Cumberland, the 
Chickamauga men, charged up the almost bee- 
tling Missionary Ridge, four hundred feet, " with- 
out orders." The Army of the Potomac, Gettys- 
burg men, having won Lookout Mountain, rolled 
up the Confederate left ; meantime the Conf ed- 

200 THE CIVIL WAR [1864 

erate right was beaten in by the Army of the 
Tennessee, Vicksburg men. So the year closed 
in triumph. 

Grant's success at Chattanooga raised him to 
the pinnacle. His career henceforth, it does not 
belong to us now to consider. Matched in Vir- 
ginia against Lee, he had such generalship to cope 
with as he had not before encountered, and his 
final success was due more perhaps to tenacity 
and boundless resources in men and means than 
to superior skill. Sherman, too, who succeeded 
Grant at Chattanooga, as he had done before at 
Vicksburg, passes now beyond our horizon, march- 
ing south out of the Valley, in 1864, to the strug- 
gle about Atlanta, and thence on to the sea. The 
fortunes of Thomas, however, belong to our story, 
who, left on guard behind, closed most worthily 
and memorably the mighty drama of the civil 
war in the Mississippi Valley. 

Bragg had disappeared from sight, and also 
Joseph E. Johnston, who had baffled the advance 
of Sherman with an energy which his superiors 
did not appreciate. In their place now stood J. 
B. Hood, the bravest of the brave, whom the shot 
of Gaines's Mill, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga 
had reduced to a mere fragment of a man, with 
scarcely body enough to retain his impetuous 
spirit. From Alabama, in November, 1864, Hood 
marched rapidly into Tennessee, driving before 
him J. M. Schofield, who, with the 4th and 23d 

1864] FRANKLIN 201 

corps, formed the advance guard of Thomas, 
lying at Nashville. Schofield, cool and wary, 
retreated in good order before his greatly supe- 
rior foe. If Hood's skill had equaled his valor, 
Schofield might have been caught and ruined. 
But the latter escaped all perils, and on the 
morning of November 30, daringly intrenched 
himself at Franklin on the Harpeth River, resolved 
to delay, if he could, the onward rush of the 
enemy, that Thomas might have time to complete 
his plans. A notable battle was fought in the 
afternoon, in a high degree creditable to the 
Union army, which repulsed with terrible effect 
the charge of the Confederates. In the dusk of 
that short autumn day fell nearly 9000 men, 
more than two thirds Confederate ; among them 
eleven general officers. When darkness fell, 
Schofield quietly withdrew with men and baggage, 
marching into Nashville with thirty-three captured 
flags and a considerable body of prisoners. 

Hood was not delayed, but followed close upon 
the track of Schofield, reaching Nashville Decem- 
ber 2, and intrenching himself on irregular hills 
south of the city. Washington was in a panic 
over the possibility of a defeat ; and Grant per- 
haps never as a soldier appeared to less advan- 
tage than in his distrust at this time of Thomas, 
whose quality he should have known. Most for- 
tunately he was not superseded. It is plain now 
that his means were quite inadequate to the task 

202 THE CIVIL WAR [1864 

set for him. Besides tlie 27,000 of Schofield, his 
army during November had been little better than 
in the air. A good reinforcement, however, 
came in at last from Missouri ; and the odds and 
ends, white and colored, whom he could pick up 
in outlying camps, and on the road as they re- 
turned from furlough and hospital, were rapidly 
compacted and drilled. Horses were pressed 
throughout Tennessee and Kentucky, and at last 
in the three arms, infantry, artillery, and cavalry, 
he stood fairly ready, — really outnumbering 
Hood; though in quality the Southern force, 
schooled in battle and long - concerted action, 
might well have been thought superior. 

When the impatient North was at the utmost 
point of tension, Thomas, now standing ready, 
was still further delayed by a wintry storm which 
left the ground covered with a glare of ice on 
which neither horse nor man could find secure 
footing. But on the morning of December 15, 
the ice being gone, leaving a surface of mud which 
fortunately was not deep, the battle began. 
While one of the Union wings occupied the Con- 
federates with a strong demonstration, the other 
wheeled resistlessly southward, then eastward, dis- 
lodging from their hills the sternly resisting foe. 
On the 16th, the battle continued further back, 
and at closer quarters, until by evening Hood 
was in full flight, with the Union cavalry in close 
pursuit. No victory of the war was more vigor- 

1865] APPOMATTOX 203 

ously followed up : the retreating masses were 
broken into fragments and the fragments fairly- 
pulverized. The army of Hood practically van- 
ished, and with its disappearance, so far as the 
Mississippi Yalley was concerned, the stubborn 
Confedera^cy succumbed. 

In the spring of 1865, the Confederate army in 
Virginia had become an isolated nucleus of war- 
like energy, from which at last every supporting 
connection and attachment had been knocked 
away. On the east was the sea swept by the ships 
of their foes ; on the west lowered Thomas, pre- 
pared to descend upon them through the passes 
of the Alleghanies. Sherman rolled up from the 
south, a tempest that gathered fury as it sped. On 
the north Grant smote implacably. Not until then 
was the mighty Lee fairly beaten to his knees. 
Appomattox became inevitable : the Union was 



Has human skill been able to tame in any de- 
gree the Western streams and make them more 
serviceable to man? Probably they vary not 
greatly from what they were when the country 
was wild. Probably in an earlier day the floods 
were not much higher than now ; nor is the sum- 
mer diminution at the present time much greater 
than formerly. From Pittsburg the " broad- 
horns " used to come down to Louisville in high 
water within a week; in low water the course 
would be three times as long, their draught of 
three feet requiring careful avoidance of sand- 
bars. It would take as long now. Standing to-day 
on the shore of the main river or any one of its 
important affluents, at a time of flood, one sees 
the broad, turbid, swirling stream bearing upon 
its surface uprooted trees, possibly cabins or barns, 
borne off from the overflowed bottoms. Let the 
spectator take heed as to his footing. The bank, 
apparently firm, may have been sapped by the 
mighty shouldering current ; and at any time a 


square rod, or indeed an acre or two, may cave 
in without warning, sliding in a moment with all 
it holds, tree, house, beast, or man, under the wa- 
ters. While the river thus devours one shore, it 
builds up another shore farther down, one farmer 
thus undergoing robbery from the lordly free- 
booter, while his neighbor on the opposite bank 
receives largess. 

There is no better engineering skill than that 
which has tried to cope with the Western rivers, 
but in some respects they have proved so far 
quite beyond human control. The complexity of 
the problem is baffling. How to arrange a sys- 
tem of works which shall hold the country pro- 
tected from overflow when the river is at flood ; 
and at the same time secure a practicable channel 
for boats through the ever-shifting shallows when 
the river is low ? The axe, the shovel, the dredge, 
the crowbar, the crane, with all they can bring 
to pass, — mattresses of willow loaded with stone, 
great timber-cribs, the most elaborate masonry, 
— all that hands numerous, patient, skillful, 
backed by the best brains and a lavish govern- 
ment, — all that they can do has been done again 
and again ; but the giant, rising in its power, has 
swept everything away without trace. The cur- 
rent to-day a quarter of a mile wide may be next 
week ten miles wide : as it subsides, the river 
may choose a channel entirely new ; such con- 
structions as are attempted must rest upon a 


base, not of rock, but of shifting alluvium, on 
which no dependence can be placed. 

Though the problem is so difficult, and in great 
part not yet solved, the engineers have done some 
remarkable things. It has been possible to bridge 
the Mississippi even in its lower course as far 
down as Memphis, and the achievement in this 
kind of James B. Eads at St. Louis has ranked as a 
noteworthy triumph. Eads, a self-taught man, at 
work on the river from boyhood until at last he be- 
came a " wrecker," saving craft that got into diffi- 
culty, and removing the snags and sawyers which 
from the first have been sources of peril, became a 
well-known man in the days of the war through 
the construction of the gunboats which seconded 
so well the work of the Western armies. Turning 
his versatile genius to the task of spanning the 
river, he sank his vast piers that were to support the 
structure not only through the water, but through 
the soil below the water, until the bed-rock was at 
last reached. In one case the foundation layer of 
the pier was one hundred and ten feet below the 
water surface and ninety feet below the river- 
bottom, the masonry being laid upon a caisson, a 
turtle-like metal contrivance which, as the layers 
were imposed, sank and sank, first through water, 
then through mud. The soil underneath was 
scooped out and carried up by ingenious " sand- 
pumps," until at last the contrivance rested 
squarely upon the immovable stone. The four 


piers having been reared, miglity constructions 
like cliffs, three arches of steel, with a span each 
of five hundred or more feet, were thrown across. 
In the case of each, the metal framework shot out 
into the air above the stream, entirely unsupported 
from below, until, the two parts meeting, the curve 
was made perfect. The final result was a sup- 
port for broad, smooth highways over which pass 
day and night the heaviest trains and laden 
wagons in a multitude ; a support so secure that 
even the cyclone of 1896 could not disturb it. 

More remarkable even than the St. Louis 
bridge are the jetties constructed afterward by 
Eads at the South Pass of the Mississippi. As 
the river pours out through its passes into the 
Gulf of Mexico, the current growing sluggish 
deposits the sediment with which it is heavily 
laden on the bottom, so that at each mouth and 
for some distance beyond the water is shoal, 
making it impossible for ships of heavy draught to 
enter. Driving lines of piles from the mouth of 
the South Pass out over the shallows, Eads found 
a means of holding fast mattresses of willow 
loaded with stone. The two long, slender lines 
of work not far apart have narrowed much the 
channel, with the effect that the current is quick- 
ened and the silt scoured out and carried away 
into deep water. The expedient has proved en- 
tirely successful, the jetties bringing to pass and 
making permanent a channel through which 


almost the heaviest of sea-going ships may move. 
The benefit to the city of New Orleans and to the 
commerce of the Mississippi Valley in general is 
almost incalculable. 

Turninof from the river to the area which it 
drains, the material resources which have been 
brought to light in the Mississippi Valley, as the 
twentieth century begins, are of surpassing rich- 
ness. It would be an endless task to describe in 
detail the fertility of the soil of one region, the 
great forests of another, the coal and metals of a 
third. It is quite certain that scarcely a square 
mile of the basin is unavailable for human uses. 
If the farmer in some parts fails of rain, irrigation 
will go a long way toward making good the lack ; 
and where this is impracticable, the ranchman 
can ply his vocation on plains and hills covered 
by the hardy grasses that require little moisture. 
The timber of the river valleys and the hill-slopes 
attracts the lumberman too powerfully. In the 
arid and rocky districts, where all else fails, there 
is scarcely a metal which the miner may not hope 
to find. 

This teeming region has been possessed by 
civilized men with unexamj^led rapidity. In the 
portion east of the river the advance was not 
slow ; but west of the river it has been far swifter. 
What our grandfathers believed to be a country 
not needing to be thought of or reckoned with, 
a wilderness not likely to be invaded until the 


remote future, is at the present moment about to be 
entirely occupied by properly constituted States 
of the American Union, throbbing and vigorous 
throughout with life. Arkansas was admitted in 
1835 ; Iowa in 1845 ; Wisconsin in 1847 ; Min- 
nesota in 1857 ; West Virginia in 1862. Since 
the civil war the procession of commonwealths 
has entered in the following order, — Nebraska, 
1867 ; Colorado, 1875 ; North and South Dakota, 
1889; Montana, 1889 ; Wyoming, 1890. As the 
new century begins, Oklahoma stands at the door 
with every requisite ; and in company with Ari- 
zona and New Mexico, Territories lying just out- 
side of our Valley, will without doubt soon be a 
member of the sisterhood. 

That wisdom has always been shown in the 
admission of these communities may certainly be 
questioned. In one or two cases the population 
to start with was scant, and has increased but little. 
It is manifestly unfair that a State which is merely 
a "cluster of mining camps" should weigh as 
powerfully in the Senate of the United States as 
New York or Illinois. But our system has had 
that inequality from the beginning. In the main, 
however, the course of things has been as it should 
be. The new States for the most part are seats 
of communities numerous and energetic in a high 
degfree : if in some instances the infusion of In- 
dian, Mexican, and old Spanish blood has been 
considerable, the older States of the Union are in 


no position to find fault. To receive new and 
ever new foreign strains has long been the rule : 
the alien elements in the far West are no more 
likely to dominate or affect disastrously the 
Anglo-Saxon core, than are the alien elements in 
the far East. It is probable that in both regions 
Anglo-Saxondom will have the force happily to 
assimilate the stranger masses that are poured 
in upon it so abundantly, gaining perhaps new 
energy from the infusion, as the heat and light of 
the sun are believed to be quickened by the con- 
stant absorption of streams of matter from outer 

The coming into being of the great New West 
has been a process tumultuous, but in the main 
peaceful. Frontier life, always to a certain extent 
brutal and repulsive, is not different here. It 
has been necessary for the frontiersman to cope 
with the Indians of the plains and mountains ; 
and the savage foes have been not less formidable 
than were the Indians whom his forerunner was 
forced to meet on the " dark and bloody ground " 
a century ago. Of all Indian triumphs, not one 
has ever been more signal than the utter blot- 
ting out of Custer, in the Yellowstone country, 
in 1876. The inevitable has happened in the 
West as in the East. The tribes have been 
borne down ; it is only here and there that, at the 
present day, they can be said to be dangerous. 
Nor can the policy of the whites in general, as 


regards the wild tribes, be severely censured. 
The outlook is hopeful for all such as possess the 
capacity to rise above the barbarism into which 
they were born.^ 

It is almost right to say that the Great West, 
the America beyond the Mississippi, is the crea- 
tion of the locomotive ; and as regards the Valley 
east of the river, its condition has been profoundly 
modified, if not absolutely shaped, by the same 
mighty agency. In the eastern Valley the era of 
railroad building had come in not long before the 
civil war ; in the western Valley it scarcely began 
until the war closed. Except on the mountainous 
rims east and west, the basin is not a difficult coun- 
try for the railroad builders. A flat region offers 
little obstruction ; while forests, and latterly iron 
mines, close at hand, supply readily all necessary 
material. The conditions have encouraged such 
building ; it has been pushed with characteristic 
American energy, the lines stretching forward 
sometimes at the rate of a mile or even two miles 
a day. The Union Pacific became a continuous 
road to San Francisco from the river in 1869. 
Southern Pacific, Northern Pacific, and Great 
Northern have broken their paths since, with no 
long intermission, through the old feeding-grounds 
of the buffalo and the gorges of the Rocky Moun- 
tains. Wherever a mountain valley has possessed 
especial fertility, or a range has proved to be rich 

1 See pages 54-56. 


in ore beds, or timber has grown heavily, or a 
waterfall has offered power, to all such spots the 
railroads have gone, until the face of the land, 
West as well as East, is becoming spun across, as 
it were, with an immense steel net. 

The Great West has come into being with a 
rapidity hitherto unexampled in the history of 
new lands. In 1805, Lewis and Clark, first of 
white men, saw the Great Falls of the Missouri, 
in Montana. Captain Lewis, seated on a rock near 
a leap of the river, describes a large cottonwood- 
tree on an island close by, from among the 
branches of which, out of its nest, a great eagle 
soars upward. In a year quite recent, another 
traveler sat in the same place : the cotton wood- 
tree still stood on the island ; and as the trav- 
eler looked, lo, again from his nest among the 
branches a great eagle soared aloft! It was 
a bird evidently old, with pinions bruised and 
worn. The visitor conjectured that it might be 
the veritable eagle of Lewis and Clark. The 
lifetime of a bird almost spans the period during 
which all this vast development has gone forward ! 
Perhaps we have gone too fast in the exploita- 
tion of our national domain. Our grandchildren 
may wish we had gone slower. The locomotive 
is the agent which has made it possible. Shall 
we look at it askance on that account, — or with 
approval ? 

In other ways the locomotive seems to many a 


doubtful blessing. The air East as well as West 
is full of outcry against the subjection of whole 
States to the domination of great lines that have 
pooled their powers into vast trusts. By unfair 
discrimination in rates, one set of communities 
will see their prosperity crushed, perhaps their 
very existence destroyed; while favored points 
become gorged with wealth and life. In count- 
less cases it is believed that the individual is 
enslaved or ruined, while the corporation thrives. 
Again, the influence of railroads is unmistakably 
toward the building up of great centres, gathering 
into cities population taken from the villages and 
the farms. Each census shows, as the decades 
pass, that the urban population of the United 
States is increasing, while the proportion re- 
maining under rural conditions ever grows smaller. 
Since in America the government of cities is the 
despair of good people generally, it is naturally 
questioned whether the instrumentality mainly 
responsible for building up cities can rightly be 
regarded as a boon. 

If one by chance penetrates into intimacy with 
some great railroad official whom he has heard 
cursed as a hard-hearted unscrupulous oppressor, 
very likely he will find a man thoroughly well- 
meaning, perhaps of the most humane instincts, 
most anxious to do his duty by his fellows. Very 
likely the directors of the road in general will 
prove to be men of similar temper ; and perhaps 


both president and directors, who seem to the 
world to pursue a selfish and unprincipled policy, 
are perplexed at finding in their hands power of 
which they never dreamed, harassed with the fear 
of seeing the interests committed to their manage- 
ment ruined, and following what seems to them 
the only feasible course to prevent catastrophe. 
The fact really is that our age is grappling with 
problems which man has not yet learned to solve. 
Of such problems this great new agency has been 
a most prolific source. Who shall say what is 
best to be done ? Can able and high-minded in- 
dividuals be found upon whom such a weight of 
responsibility may be imposed ? Can it any more 
safely be imposed upon great corporations ? or in 
the end will it be necessary for society to assume 
the burden itself, — the government administer- 
ing the railroads, as it does the post-office, thor- 
oughly in the interest of the great public, which it 
represents ? 

The function of the historian is not to discuss 
present problems, but to record ; and it is plea- 
sant to be able to record in connection with rail- 
roads in the Mississippi Valley some facts which 
in men properly eupeptic and resolute inspire 
hope. While possibly a certain restlessness of 
spirit may be begotten of the frequent moving to 
and fro which now is a condition of almost every 
man's life, it is undoubtedly the case that the 
mind thereby becomes quickened and broadened, 


that prejudices diminish, that knowledge grows, 
and that general harmony is promoted through 
acquaintance with many men and many places. 
Philosophic students have believed that the rea- 
son why Greece came forward so rapidly and 
brilliantly, while kindred lands remained in dark- 
ness, was because her territory, deeply indented 
by bays, gave access in every nook and corner to 
the sea, in antiquity the only path by which man 
could go forth to meet man. What ships did for 
ancient Greece, railroads do for the modern State, 
— all that, and more. For they make it possible 
even for the dwellers in the hearts of continents 
to go forth into the world, to receive the world in 
their own homes, thereby partaking in the benefi- 
cent attrition which so brightens and humanizes. 
Again, in the management of these complex 
machines and intricate affairs, a higher type of 
man seems to be demanded ; and such a man wiU 
surely be evolved. The man fitted to cope with 
modern life must be more patient, temperate, 
punctual, watchful, judicious than were his fathers, 
who under their simpler conditions might with 
safety be slow, careless, and dull. From the 
switchman who, in his tower, applying with a 
heave on his levers compressed air to the maze of 
shifting rails below him, thereby shunting from 
track to track trains bearing millions of property 
or hundreds of human beings, — work that must 
be done with all swiftness and accuracy or 


dreadful calamities would result, — from such 
a switchman, or from an engine-driver, with his 
burden of responsibility, up to the chief of some 
great combination who has a controlling hand 
upon the mines, the factories, the shops, the entire 
activities of a whole group of States, — in such 
positions, and they are coming to abound, what a 
call there is for a type of man such as the world 
has not heretofore seen ! 

And again, though, as railroads have developed, 
there has often been uncomfortable jarring between 
them and the communities through which they 
pass, the great corporation on the one hand being 
accused of selfish heartlessness, and the communi- 
ties on the other hand being accused of folly and 
ingratitude, it is pleasant to be able to record cer- 
tain signs of harmony as appearing here and there. 
Such a token of coming harmony may be found, 
perhaps, in enterprises undertaken by railroads 
of the Mississippi Valley, for the sake of educat- 
ing and stimulating the populations through which 
they go.^ Certain counties in the Southwest had 
been raising wheat, a crop in that region scarcely 
profitable. The general freight agent of the rail- 
road, anxious to build up the road's business, and 
knowing that business will not come unless the 
country tributary to it is prosperous, informs him- 
self as to what better thing can be done than 

1 " Railroads and the People," Dreiser, Harper's Magazine, 
vol. 100, pp. 479, etc. 


wheat raising. Taking the results of analyses of 
soil made by the agricultural department in Wash- 
ington, he finds the backward counties are adapted 
to raising tomatoes. He sends out agents to 
towns, hamlets, and cross-roads, who gather to- 
gether the farmers and make plain to them the 
advantages of tomato raising, and the best means 
for doing it. The general freight agent offers to 
find a market for the crop when it has been pro- 
duced, and to convey the product to the market at 
a rate easy to the shipper. As a result, the coun- 
ties undertake the raising of tomatoes, instructed 
and helped by the railroad ; become well-to-do ; 
and enjoy in due time the fruits of prosperity, 
— a finer, happier, more abundant life in every 
way. Soon the railroad meets its reward in hav- 
ing to answer, instead of the needs of a population 
feeble and poverty-stricken, the full and constant 
requirements of a population buoyant and rich 
of resources. 

Instead of tomatoes, it may be that cabbages, 
or onions, or potatoes are the desirable crop. 
Whatever it be, according to this new plan the 
railroad management, with its superior facilities 
for finding out what is best, arouses and guides 
the activities of the farmers, helping them to 
knowledge of the best ways of exploiting their 
farms, ways which they could not find out them- 
selves, and then helping them to markets. One 
road of the Mississippi Valley has promoted the 


wholesale production of eggs and poultry to the 
enrichment of multitudes along its line, reaping 
meanwhile for itself a fine revenue out of the pros- 
perity it has created. Still other roads have de- 
veloped marvelously in their territory the matter 
of dairying, — instructing their communities as to 
the best breeds of cows, the erection and running 
of creameries, the neat and profitable ways of 
handling milk, butter, and cheese, — then making 
sure a fine market for it all. All the time the 
road's own traffic reports have told a happy tale, 
and the value of the stock has risen high. In 
activity of this kind sentimental philanthropy is 
by no means the spring. The railroad professes 
to have an eye merely to its own interest. It has 
discovered that in working for the general good 
it is working for its own welfare. On both sides 
the lesson is being learned that conflict does not 
pay : that harmony is the expedient thing. Peace- 
ful and pleasant cooperation spreads, and the out- 
look for the future grows fair. 

Unmistakably, the influence of the railroad is 
to build up great centres, gathering population 
into cities, while the village and the farm are 
depleted. The government of the city is a matter 
not as yet successfully grasped in America, and 
many are not hopeful about it. Is the agency 
which perhaps is mainly responsible for swelling 
the size of cities to be looked on as a blessing ? 

Somewhere Carlyle speaks of a seventy-four 


of the old time. It will be built, he says, by a 
swindling contractor : it will be manned by a crew 
taken drunk from the slums of seaport towns by 
press-gangs : it will be officered, not by trained 
sailors, who get their places through merit, but 
by men who get their places through purchase, 
or because they are favorites of nobles, or be- 
cause they are ready to render some degrading 
service. What more hopeless, says Carlyle, than 
such a conjunction ! And yet, somehow or other, 
that ship will go into Nelson's line of battle at 
Trafalgar and be a marvel of effective power. 
Somewhere there is saving grace. So of the typi- 
cal American city ; it will be controlled, accord- 
ing to common report, by a corrupt machine, 
headed by a disreputable boss ; charges of fraud 
follow every election, and a suspicion of pecula- 
tion floats about every branch of administration ; 
its good citizens are accused of folding their hands 
supinely, while the ignorant and vicious are 
always out and at work. What more hopeless 
than the state of an American city ! And yet 
there will not be found upon the face of the earth 
a spot into which is gathered more of sweetness 
and light ; for it will possess a noble system of 
public schools scattering knowledge broadcast, a 
public library offering good books to all, perhaps 
a university of renown, wide parks full of the 
utmost beauty, churches, hospitals, galleries of 
art, institutes for music, — these set in the midst 


of thousands o£ liappy and virtuous homes, sus- 
taining them and sustained by them. Most, or 
all, of these noble things may be found in each 
one of the great cities of the Mississippi Valley, 
— in New Orleans, St. Louis, St. Paul, and Min- 
neapolis ; in Pittsburg and Cincinnati to the east ; 
in Kansas City and Denver to the west. Some- 
where there is saving grace ; somehow we may hope 
to pull through. 

For the Mississippi Valley the skies are indeed 
clouded in the ways that have been suggested, 
and in other ways ; but in the case of everything 
that threatens, a resolute heart will see some hope 
of meeting the danger. In some half-dozen 
States of the far South the black shadow still 
lowers very ominously. Slavery is destroyed, but 
a way has by no means yet been found through 
which black and white, two races in different 
stages of culture, may live in peace side by side. 
But Booker T. Washington is at work. 

The public schools are inestimably important, 
the main assimilating machinery to which for the 
most part we must trust to make homogeneous 
and intelligent and nobly Americanize the rude, 
incongruous masses of our population. The pub- 
lic schools have enemies, who, if they should pre- 
vail, would truly set back the hands on the dial- 
plate of time. But these enemies are a minority, 
and American common sense is not likely ever to 
suffer them to come into control. 


Labor and capital are often at war ; and some- 
times the very foundations of social order seem 
imperiled. The railroads, as has just been de- 
scribed, are working out a way of living in har- 
mony with the communities with which they have 
to do. May it not be hoped that labor and 
capital will work out schemes of adjustment? 
One may to-day go into great factories and find 
a scene of beauty.^ The great buildings and the 
homes of the working-people are embowered in 
flowers and surrounded by lovely lawns. A kin- 
dergarten for the children, a public library for the 
employes, a fine auditorium for dramas and music ; 
baths, retiring-Booms, spotless dining-halls, meals 
well cooked and served for a few cents. All these 
things are provided by the company ; and living 
among and using these pleasant things is the 
small army of working men and women, bright- 
faced, neatly dressed, apparently self-respecting 
and contented. The visitor will be told that 
philanthropy has nothing to do with this fine 
provision : it is made by the capitalist simply be- 
cause it pays to treat the work-people well. If 
their minds and their finer natures can be brought 
out, their efficiency will be greater. 

In the suburbs of certain cities may be found 
industrial villages, where the shops stand in gar- 
dens and the workmen's cottages dot the green of a 

1 Factory People and • Their Employers : How Their Belations 
are made Pleasant and Profitable. L. Shuey. 1901. 


charming landscape. Each employe is a partner 
in the concern, receiving, according to a carefully- 
studied plan of profit-sharing, his due percentage 
of all the money made. It is sought to do justice, 
to promote brotherhood ; and the visitor will be 
told that it all pays. With harmony and justice 
as the basis, prosperity comes. Again, what a 
theme will that biographer have who sets out some 
day to write the life of that citizen of the Missis- 
sippi Valley, Andrew Carnegie ! 

We are appalled at our shortcomings, and, of 
course, have reason to be. Still it is worth while 
to remember how much of the wrong-doing of 
our day in any other age would not have been 
recognized as wrong-doing. Gambling, for in- 
stance, is now under the severest ban ; but our 
grandfathers, if money were wanted for a college 
or even a church, saw no harm in raising the 
funds by a lottery. Strong drink excites horror, 
and Kansas grows frantic because her towns con- 
tain grog-shops. In such a town as Boston, how- 
ever, in the last century, a leading business seems 
to have been the distilling of rum ; and at the ordi- 
nation of pastors, even, if it became necessary 
when services were over to put the ministerial 
council to bed overcome by the ordination punch, 
no one thought the worse of them. To hold men 
in slavery is at the present moment the very sin 
of sins, to rid the land of which untold sacrifices 
have been made of treasure and life: but in a 


former time the moral sense of even the more 
scrupulous was quite unvexed though men were 
kidnapped and bought and sold before their very 

The Mississippi Valley organized, — thirty-five 
million of English-speaking men, into whose mass 
elements from all the better human breeds are 
assimilated, occupying a region of unexampled 
resources, enjoying the blessing of the ancient, 
well-ordered Anglo-Saxon freedom! More than 
twenty commonwealths which are politically com- 
plete ! The constitutional frames are all in place. 
As a vine expands and becomes luxuriant upon its 
trellis, so the life of these millions clings to and is 
upheld by these constructions, whose pillars, old 
even in Alfred's day, have been confirmed and 
perfected and enlarged during the centuries by 
liberty-loving peoples. Here is, indeed, a page 
of history which should possess interest; here, 
indeed, are communities which may face the future 
with hope. 


Allouez, Father, on Lake Superior, 

Alvarez de Pineda, 24, 
Appomattox, Lee at, 203. 
Arkansas admitted to statehood, 209. 
Aryans, origin and migrations of, 

21 ; they sweep over America, 

22 ; displace Indians, 23. 

Backwoods life, features of, 115. 

Barbarism, stages in, 6. 

Barbe-Marbois negotiates sale of 
Louisiana, 123. 

Barlow, Joel, his connection with the 
Scioto Company, 105. 

Beaujeu commands against Brad- 
dock, 53. 

Beauregard at Shiloh, 189. 

Benton, Thos. H., his career, 146; 
votes against Nebraska bUl, 172. 

Bienville in Louisiana, 44. 

Black Hawk War, 168. 

Blair, Frank P., at St. Louis in 1861, 

Blennerhassett, Hannan, visited by 
Burr, 142 ; overcome by him, 144. 

Blount, of Tennessee, intrigues 
against Spain, 113. 

Bonaparte, Lucien, makes treaty of 
San Ildefouso, 119. 

Bonaparte, Napoleon. See Napoleon. 

Boon, Daniel, his birth, in western 
North Carolina, 63 ; goes to Ken- 
tucky, 64 ; his companions, sur- 
veyor, 65 ; captive in 1777, 76 ; 
goes beyond Mississippi, 97, 129. 

Border ruffians in Kansas, 174. 

Bouquet, Henry, his victory of Bushy 
Run, 57. 

Bourgmont explort., in Southwest, 

Braddock defeated, 52. 

Bragg, Braxton, succeeds Beaure- 
gard, marches north in 1862, 
190 ; at Stone River, 191, 192 ; at 
Chickamauga, 197, etc. 

Bro\vn, John, of Ossawatomie, ap- 
pears in Kansas, his character, 
176, 177 ; at Harper's Ferry, 180. 

Bnell, Don Carlos, arrives at Shiloh, 
189 ; succeeded by Rosecrans, 190. 

Burr, Aaron, his descent, 139; his 
career, 140 ; his intrigues, goes 
West, 141 ; meets Jackson and Wil- 
kinson, 142 ; reaches New Orleans, 
143; wins Blennerhassett, 144; 
defended by Henry Clay, failure 
and trial, 145. 

Bushy Run, victory of, 57. 

Butler, second in command to St. 
Clair, 108, 109. 

Cabildo, in New Orleans, scene of 
cession of Louisiana to the United 
States, 124. 

Cadillac goes to Louisiana in 1713, 

Caldwell, John, Scotch Irishman, 59. 

Camp-meetings, 116. 

Carver, Jonathan, in Minnesota, 73, 

Cass, Lewis, originates doctrine of 
"squatter sovereignty," 172. 

Chase, Salmon P., Free-Soil leader, 
170, 171. 

Chattanooga, seized by Rosecrans, 
196 ; battle of, 199. 

Chekakou, old portage at, 32. 

Cherokees of a high type among 
savages, 70. 

Chickamauga, battle of, 197, etc. 

Cincinnati founded, 104. 

City, the American, 219. 

Claiborne, commissioner to receive 
Louisiana, 124; governor of Or- 
leans, 126. 

Clark, George Rogers, sets out to 
conquer Northwest, 80 ; attacks 
Kaskaskia, 81, 82 ; at Cahokia and 
Vincennes, 85; wins the Indians, 
84-86 ; expedition against Vin- 
cennes, 88, etc. 

Clark, William. See Lewis and 

Clay, Henry, his beginnings, 98 ; de- 
fends Aaron Burr, 145 ; advocates 
Missouri Compromise, 167. 

Cleburne, Patrick, at Stone River, 

Colorado becomes a State, 209. 

Connecticut resigns her Western 
claims, 97. 



Constitution adopted, 98. 

Cornstalk, Shawnee chief, in Lord 
Dunmore's war, 71. 

Coronado, Francesco de, his march 
from the West, 27 ; his boldness 
and misfortunes, 28. 

Cortez in Mexico, 24. 

Cotton-gin, its effect on slavery, 159. 

Crozat, his monopoly in Louisiana, 
1717, 48. 

Curtis, B. R., and the Dred Scott 
decision, 179. 

Custer defeated and slain by In- 
dians, 210. 

Cutler, Manasseh, and Ohio Com- 
pany, 100 ; encomiters Frangois 
Vigo, 104. 

Cuyahoga, old portage from, to Mus- 
Mngum, 33. 

Davis, Jefferson, his influence in 
Washington, 180. 

Douglas, Stephen A., reports on Ne- 
braska, 168 ; enunciates " squatter 
sovereignty," 169 ; introduces Ne- 
braska bill, 170 ; struggles vi^ith 
opposition, 171 ; his victory, 172 ; 
confronted by Abraham Lincoln, 
173 ; the great debate, 181. 

Dred Scott decision, 178, etc. 

Dunmore, Lord, governor of Vir- 
ginia, 69; his war with the In- 
dians, 70, 71. 

Du Tisn6 explores in Southwest, 44. 

Eads, James B., builds the St. Louis 
bridge, 206 ; constructs the jetties 
at the Passes, 207. 

Education, early condition of, 156. 

English, advance of Thirteen Colo- 
nies into Mississippi Valley, 51, 
etc. ; Clark attacked from Detroit, 
87 ; attack Nev/ Orleans, 149, etc. 

Estevanico, first negro, 25 ; his ad- 
ventures in New Mexico, 26 ; in 
Zuni traditions, 27. 

Farragut, DaAdd Glasgow, at New 
Orleans and Vicksburg, 190 ; at 
Port Hudson, 195. 

Federalists, talk disunion, 118, 123. 

Filles a la cassette, wives of pio- 
neers, 49. 

Flatboats, 95, 155. 

Florida, De Soto lands in, 28. 

Fort Chartres, established, 50 ; sur- 
rendered, 53, 78. 

Fort Donelson captured by Grant, 

Fort Duquesne established, captured, 

Fort Henry captured by Grant, 186. 

Franklin, State of, 96, 

Franklin, battle of, 201. 

Fr«5mont in Missouri, 1861, 184. 

French, enter America, character of 
their colonization, 31 ; in Missis- 
sippi Valley middle of 18th cen- 
tury, 45 ; characteristics of their 
life, 46 ; their polity, tendency to 
roam and fall into savagery, 47 ; 
power in Mississippi Valley extin- 
guished, 53 ; numbers in Illinois 
Country, condition, 79 ; Louisiana 
recovered and sold by, to United 
States, 119, etc. 

Frontenac, governor of Canada, 36. 

Frontiersman, his character, desper- 
ate nature of his task, 56 ; his ap- 
pearance and life, 60, 61, 62 ; title 
to lands in the Valley, 66 ; his 
home, 115. 

Gallipolis swindle, 105, 106. 

Galvez, campaigns against British, 

German immigration, 168. 

Gibault, Father, priest at Kaskaskia, 
82 ; helps Clark at Vinceunes, 83. 

Grant, Ulysses S., his beginning, 185 ; 
his early career, at Paducah and 
Belmont, 186 ; captures Fort Henry 
and Fort Donelson, 187 ; at Shiloh, 
188, 189 ; captures Vicksburg, 192, 
etc. ; at Missionary Ridge, 199 ; in 
Virginia, 203. 

Green Bay, old portage, 32. 

Groseilliers on the Mississippi, 1654, 

Hamilton, Alexander, slain by Aaron 
Burr, 140. 

Hamilton, Henry, British commander 
at Detroit, 75 ; campaigns against 
Clark, 87, 88 ; captured at Vin- 
cennes, 92. 

Harmar as Indian fighter, 107, 108. 

Harrison, W. H., first governor of 
Indiana, 113. 

Helm, Leonard, commands at Vin- 
cennes, 1778, 84 ; captured by Brit- 
ish, 88 ; captures a reinforcement, 

Henderson, land speculator, 72. 

Hennepin, Father, companion of La 
Salle, captured by Sioux, 41 ; wan- 
ders in Minnesota, his books, his 
lying, 42. 

Hood, J. B., at Chickamauga, 198; 
succeeds J. E. Johnston, 200; re- 
pulsed at Franklin, 201 ; routed at 
Nashville, 202. 

Iberville in Louisiana, 43. 
Illinois admitted as a State, 158. 
Immigration, picturesque features, 



153; not necessarily hurtful even 
when large, 210. 

Indiana, Territory of, W. H. Harri- 
son, governor, 113 ; admitted as a 
State, 158. 

Indians, their probable origin and 
general condition at the coming of 
the whites, 5, etc. ; sparseness of 
occupation, 19 ; displaced by Ar- 
yans, 23 ; Roosevelt on their dis- 
possession, 51 ; numbers not dimin- 
ished, sentimentalism about them, 
55 ; in Lord Dimmore's war, 71 ; 
in Revolutionary War, 76 ; dealt 
with by George Rogers Clark, 84, 
etc. ; barbarities of, about 1787, 
106, 107 ; they defeat Custer, 210. 

Iowa admitted as a State, 209. 

Iroquois, "long house" of,^9; de- 
stroy the Illinois, 38 ; their ferocity 
east and west, 54. 

Island No. 10 captured, 189. 

Jackson, Andrew, his beginnings, 
98 ; in Congress, 112 ; fascinated 
by Aaron Burr, 142 ; his character, 
147 ; his strength and weakness, 
148 ; at New Orleans, 150 ; his 
army, 151 ; his victory, 152. 

Jay's treaty fixes northern bovmdary, 

Jefferson, Thomas, author of Ken- 
tucky Resolutions, 1798, 118 ; in 
the Louisiana purchase, 122 ; sends 
out Lewis and Clark, 127. 

Jesuits, their work and records, 

Jetties built by Eads at river mouth, 

Johnston, Albert Sidney, commands 
Confederates at Shiloh, 187 ; his 
death, 188. 

Johnston, Joseph E., at Jackson, 
193 ; succeeded by Hood, 200. 

Joliet, Louis, companion of Mar- 
quette, 34. 

Juchereau explores in Southwest, 

Kansas, set off from Nebraska, 170 ; 
troubles begin, 174 ; Reeder's gov- 
ernorship, 175; John Brown ap- 
pears in, 176 ; admitted as a State, 

Kaskaskia, founded on Wabash, 46 ; 
captured by Clark, 81, etc. 

Kenton, Simon, companion of Boon, 
65 ; adventures of, 77. 

Kentucky, visited by Boon, 64 ; settle- 
ment of, 72 ; admitted to state- 
hood, 112. 

King's Mountain, battle of, 1780, 
won by frontiersmen, 94. 

Labor and Capital, their strife amel- 
iorated, 221, 222. 

Lafitte, Jean and Pierre, Barataria 
pirates, 151. 

La Harpe explores in Southwest, 

La SaUe, Sieur de, comes to America, 
35 ; discovers the Ohio, builds the 
Griffin on Lake Erie, 36 ; reaches 
IlUnois, misfortunes, 37 ; witnesses 
Iroquois ravages, 38 ; goes down 
Mississippi, founds Louisiana, sails 
for France, 39 ; wrecked and mur- 
dered, 40. 

Laussat, prefect in Louisiana, 1803, 

La Verendrye, father and sons, in 
Northwest, discover Rocky Moun- 
tains, 44, 45. 

Law rudely administered at first, 

Law, John, and the Mississippi 
Bubble, 48. 

Le Clerc, death of, in San Domingo, 

Lecompton Constitution in Kansas 
struggle, 181. 

Lee, Robert E., overwhelmed in 1865, 

Le Sueur ascends Mississippi, 44. 

Lewis and Clark sent out by Jeffer- 
son to explore Louisiana, 128, etc. 

Lexington, Kentucky, foimded, 74. 

Lincoln, Abraham, his father rescued 
from death, 99 ; debates with 
Douglas, 181 ; President of the 
United States, 182. 

Little Turtle, Miami chief, defeats St. 
Clair, 110. 

Livingston, Robert R., and the Lou- 
isiana purchase, 122. 

Locomotive, creator of the Great 
West, 211 ; its work, 212, etc. 

Longstreet, James, at Chickamauga, 
197, 198. 

Louisiana, named by La Salle, 39 ; 
indefinite boundaries, condition in 
18th century, 48 ; helped by 
Mississippi Bubble, 49 ; population 
in 1750, 50 ; ceded to Spain, 53, 78 ; 
retroceded to France and sold to 
United States, 119, etc. ; ill at 
ease under new regime, 126 ; ad- 
mitted to the Union, 158. 

Lynclx,law, 63. 

Lyon, Nathaniel, at St. Louis, 1861, 
his death at Wilson's Creek, 184. 

Madison, author of Virginia Resolu- 
tions, 118 ; in the Louisiana pur- 
chase, 122. 

Maize perhaps exercises a retarding 
infiuence, 8. 



Mallet brothers explore in South- 
west, 44. 
Maiidaus, Lewis and Clark among, 

Marcos de Nizza, Fray, 25. 

Marietta founded, 103. 

Marquette, Jacques, on Mississippi, 
1673, 34. 

Maryland, her action as regards 
Western claims, 97. 

Massachusetts resigns her Western 
claims, 97. 

Maumee, old portage to the Wabash, 

Mexican war, 168. 

Minnesota, Hennepin in, 42 ; visit of 
Jonathan Carver, 73, 74 ; visit of 
Pike, 135 ; admitted as a State, 

Missionary Ridge, battle of, 199, 

Mississippi River, in geologic times, 
1 ; its present physical character, 
its lower course, 2 ; its upper 
course, 3 ; blocked by Spain, 113, 
119 ; steam-navigation on, 154 ; 
operations in civil war, 190, etc. ; 
a difficult problem for engineers, 

Mississippi. Territory becomes a 
State, 158. 

Mississippi Valley, its area, 3 ; re- 
sources, comparison with other 
river basins, 4 ; primitive popula- 
tion, 5, etc. ; scarcely disturbed 
middle of 18th century, 51 ; An- 
glo-Saxon advance into, 52, etc. ; 
becomes part of the United States, 
75, etc. ; western half acquired 
by Louisiana purchase, explored 
by Lewis and Clark, 128, etc. ; 
by Pike, 134, etc. ; endangered by 
Aaron Burr, 140, etc. ; attacked by 
the Enghsh, 149, etc. ; struggle 
over slavery in, 165, etc. ; civil 
war in, 183, etc. ; its vast re- 
sources, 208 ; its rapid develop- 
ment, 209 ; as affected by the lo- 
comotive, 211 ; present condition 
and prospects under organization, 

Missouri, its extent as Territory, 164 ; 
admitted as a State. 166 ; how held 
to the Union in 1861, 184. 

Missouri Compromise, 165, 166. 

Monroe, James, ambassador to 
France, 1803, 123. 

Montana becomes a State, 209. 

Moral standard, elevation of, 222. 

Mormons at Nauvoo, IlMnois, 167. 

Moscoso, Don Luis de, successor of 
de Soto, 30. 

Mound-building, 13. 

Napoleon Bonaparte, recovers Lou- 
isiana from Spain, 119 ; plans to 
restore colonial empire, reasons 
why he could not do so, 120 ; de- 
termines to sell Louisiana to the 
Americans, 121 ; sale completed, 

Nashville, founded, 95 ; battle of, 

Nebraska, extent as Territory, 169; 
becomes a State, 209. 

Nebraska bill, struggle over, 170, etc. 

New Orleans, founded, 46 ; its ap- 
pearance in 1803, 125, 126; at- 
tacked by British m 1815, 150; 
Jackson's defense, 151 ; his victory, 
152, 153. 

New West, its rapid development, 

New York resigns her Western 
claims, 97. 

Nicolet, Jean, at Green Bay in 1634, 

North Carolina, settlers go out from, 
59 ; resigns her Western claims, 98. 

North Dakota becomes a State, 209. 

Northwest, conquered by Clark, 80, 
etc. ; injured by bad management 
of public lands, first settled from 
the South, 114. 

Northwest Ordinance, 98 ; provisions 
of, 101, 102. 

Ohio, Territory, St. Clair governor 
of, 104 ; becomes a State, 1802, 127. 

Ohio Company, formation of, 100. 

Oklahoma ready for statehood, 209. 

Owen, Robert Dale, founds commu- 
nity at New Harmony, Indiana, 167. 

Pakenham, Sir Edward, leads force 
against New Orleans, 149 ; his ar- 
rival, 150 ; his overthrow, 152, 

Panfilo de Narvaez, 24. 

Pea Ridge, battle of, 184. 

Pemberton, defeated at Vicksburg, 

Pierce, Franklin, signs Nebraska 
bill, 173 ; his pro-slavery tenden- 
cies, 175. 

Pike, Lieut. Z. M., his expedition 
North in 180, 5134 ; expedition West 
in 1806, 135 ; discovers Pike's Peak, 
hardships, 136; his return and 
death, 137. 

Pinckney's treaty establishes south- 
ern boundary, 112. 

Pittsburg Landing, battle of, 187, etc. 

Pleasant Point, battle of, 71. 

Pontiac, his career and death, 57. 

Portages, old waterways into wilder- 
ness, 32. 



Port Hudson, naval battle at, 195 ; 
siege and capture of, 196. 

Presqu' Isle, old portage to Alle- 
ghany, 33. 

Putnam, Rufus, and Ohio Company, 

Quebec, captured, 53. 

Radisson on the Mississippi in 1654, 

Railroads, their powerful influence, 
213 ; problems of management, 
214 ; beneficent action of, 215, etc. 

Reeder, Edwin, governor of Kansas, 

Religion, early condition of, 116, 156. 

Rifle, the frontiersman's, 60. 

Robertson, James, on the Watauga, 
68 ; settles Tennessee, 71, 95 ; has 
Spanish sympathies, 97. 

Rocheblave commands for British at 
Kaskaskia, 81. 

Roosevelt, N. J., pioneer of steam- 
navigation on Mississippi, 154. 

Roosevelt, Theodore, on disposses- 
sion of the Indians, 54. 

Rosecrans, W. S., succeeds BueU, 
190 ; at Stone River, 191, etc. ; 
captures Chattanooga, 196; at 
Cliickamauga, 197, etc. 

Sacajawea, Shoshone squaw with 
Lewis and Clark, 131. 

St. Clair, General Arthur, governor 
of Ohio, 104 ; his expedition and 
defeat, 108, etc. 

Ste. Genevieve, settlement of, 78. 

St. Ignace, home of Marquette, 34, 

St. Joseph, old portage, 32. 

St. Louis, founded by Laclede, 1764, 
78 ; starting-point of Lewis and 
Clark, 128 ; of Pike, 134 ; in 1861, 
184 ; Eads bridge at, 206. 

San Domingo, failure of French in, 

Savagery, stages in, 6. 

Schofield defeats Hood at Franklin, 

Schools, public, 16th section in each 
township set off for, 103 ; their 
existence threatened, 220. 

Scotch Irish, their origin, immigra- 
tion to America, 58 ; their char- 
acter, love of freedom, in western 
North Carolina, 59. 

Separatist feeling, 97, 118. 

Sevier, John, his origin and char- 
acter, 68 ; at King's Mountain, 94 ; 
governor of Tennessee, 112. 

Sheridan, Philip H., at Stone River, 
191 ; at Chickamauga, 198. 

Sherman, W. T., his beginning, 185 ; 
at Shiloh, 188 ; defeated at Chick- 
asaw Bayou, 192 ; at Vicksburg, 
194; at Missionary Ridge, 199; 
marches to the sea, 200. 

Shiloh, battle of, 187, etc. 

Sioux, capture Hennepin, 41 ; their 
ferocity, 55. 

Slavery, prohibited in Northwest 
through Southern men, 100 ; its 
antiquity and persistency, 161 ; 
tends to die out at end of 18th 
century, 162 ; revived by cotton- 
gin, 103 ; its legacy of trouble, 220. 

Soto, Fernando de, lands in Florida, 
28 ; fights Indians, reaches Missis- 
sippi, dies, 29. 

South Carolina resigns her Western 
claims, 97. 

South Dakota becomes a State, 209. 

Spaniards, come to Mississippi Valley, 
24; Spanish system promotes sur- 
vival of unfittest, 30 ; protest 
against French settlement of Lou- 
isiana in 1699, 43 ; Louisiana ceded 
to, by French, 78 ; retroceded, 119. 

Steam-navigation introduced on Mis- 
sissippi, i54. 

Stone River, battle of, 191, 192. 

Taney, R. B., and the Dred Scott 

decision, 179. 
Tecumseh at Tippecanoe, 146. 
Tennessee, settled, 67 ; admitted to 

statehood, 112. 
Tennessee River, its source and 

course, 66. 
Thayer, Eli, founds Emigrant Aid 

Society, 174. 
Thomas, George H., at Stone River, 

191 ; at Chickamauga, 198 ; at 

Missionary Ridge, 199 ; at Nash- 

viUe, 202. 
Tonti, lieutenant of La Salle, 37; 

commands in the Illinois, 39 ; dies 

of yellow fever, 49. 
Topeka Constitution, 175. 
Toussaint I'Ouverture thwarts Na- 
poleon in San Domingo, 120. 
Transylvania, organized, 73. 

United States, foundation of, career 
of, 75. 

Van Dorn fortifies Vicksburg, 190. 

Vicksburg, fortified, 190 ; attacked, 
192, etc. ; captured, 194. 

Victor named to command in Louisi- 
ana by Napoleon, 120. 

Vigo, FranQois, helps Clark against 
Vincennes, 88 ; encounters Ma- 
nasseh Cutler, 104. 

Vincennes, founded on Wabash, 46 ; 



won by Gibault, 83; captured by 
Clark, 89, etc. 
Virginia resigns her Western claims, 

Wabash, Clark in the drowned lands 
of, 89, etc. 

Walker penetrates Mississippi Val- 
ley, 1748, 51. 

Wallace, Lew, at Donelson, 187. 

Washington, on headwaters of Alle- 
ghany, as a pioneer, becomes a sol- 
dier, 52 ; as surveyor, 65. 

Watauga Association, 68; constitu- 
tion, 69. 

Wayne, his expedition and victory 
over the Indians, 111. 

West Virginia admitted as a State, 

Whitney, Eli, invents cotton-gin, 115. 

Wilkinson, James, commissioner to 
receive Louisiana in 1803, 124 ; dis- 
patches Pike northward, 134 ; 
westward, 135 ; becomes involved 
with Aaron Burr, 142; his career 
and character, 143 ; betrays Burr, 
145 ; his disgrace, 146. 

Wilson's Creek, battle of, 184. 

Wisconsin, admitted as State, 209. 

Wyoming becomes a State, 209. 

Electrotyped aiid pri7ited by H. O. Houghton &• C<k 
Cambridge t Mass., U.S. A. 

NOV 9 1901 

Deacidified using the Bookkeeper procs 
Neutralizing Agent: Magnesium Oxide 
Treatment Dale: 

JUL 19 


^ 111 Thon-.son Park Drive 

\ Cranberry Township. PA 1 6066 
^^ {724)779-2111