« ZurückWeiter »
The Population of Illinois, at the time of its cession to England in 1763, about 3,000—
Habits of the French Settlers-Common fields—Commons—The French Settlers and Puritans compared—King's proclamation, October 7th, 1763—Indian grants—Opinions of Lord Camden and others in relation to their validity -Carver's purchase The French retain possession of Illinois till 1765, at which time Captain Stirling arrived, took possession, and established his head-quarters at Fort Chartres—General Gage commander-in-chief-His head-quarters in 1764, at New-York-Proclamation-Catholic Religion tolerated in Illinois-Captain Stirling succeeded by Major Farmer, and the latter by Colonel Reid in 1766-Colonel Wilkins arrives at Fort Chartres in 1768, takes the command, and organizes Courts of Justice, by the direction of General Gage-French emigrate to Missouri_Other emigrants arrivePopulation, about stationary-Colonel Wilkins issues patents for land-Becomes interested in one.sixth of each, “the better to promote the service"-English authority established over the Indians-English debt increased by the War of 1756—Attempt to increase the revenue-Excise Duties in England - The American Stamp ActEarl of Bute Prime Minister-Grenville Ministry—Sir Robert Walpole's opinion of the Stamp Act—Roman Colonies-Greek Colonies-American colonization—Stamp Act becomes a law in 1751-Its effect on the Colonies—House of Burgesses in Virginia meet-Patrick Henry-Debate on the Stamp Act-Grenville Ministry dismissed—Succeeded by the Buckingham Ministry—Stamp Act repealed—Declaratory Act passed-Exultation in the Colonies at the repeal of the Stamp Act—War in India-Cause of the American Revolution in part-Grafton Ministry-Lord NorthThe latter in power at the commencement of hostilities--Battle of Lexington-Lex- : ington in Kentucky, founded and named—Policy of England-Dr. Johnson's pamphlet, “ Taxation no Tyranny"-Employment of Indians-Earl of Chatham-George Rogers, Clarke-Goes to Williamsburg in Virginia, and communicates his plan of an Illinois expedition to Patrick Henry, the Governor—Expedition to Kaskaskia—, Takes the place by surprise-Monsieur Cere-Cahokia surrenders-American au. thority established in Illinois–Governor Henry's private and public instructions to Colonel Clarke.
Eighty years had now elapsed since La Salle first planted the banners of France upon the Illinois. During that period, large sums of money had been expended, principally by “the Western company," or the company of the Indies, in order to promote its settlement. Kings and princes had been its patrons. Ministers of state and ministers of the gospel had lent their aid. Incorporated and other companies had expended their means, and private individuals had exhausted their resources with like views, and, apparently, to but little purpose. The whole population of
the State (exclusive of Indians) when ceded to England, in 1763, could not have exceeded three thousand souls. These were principally French, and resident upon the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Their largest towns were Kaskaskia and Cahokia. The former contained about one hundred families, and the latter between forty and fifty. There were other small villages in their vicinity, and one at Peoria, on the Illinois river. Prairie Du Rocher, near the rocky bluffs, from which it derives its name, in 1776, contained fourteen families, and Prairie Du Pont, a short distance from Cahokia, contained nearly the same. There was also a considerable settlement in and about Fort Chartres ; all, however, put together, would fall short of, rather than exceed the estimate already men. tioned.
The French population in their habits, manners, customs and charaeter, were about the same then as now, and similar to what they had been for half a century before. That simplicity of character, and those habits peculiar to early times, are yet visible among them, and at the time of its cession, were analogous to those prevalent in Normandy and Picardy, previous to the French revolution. Each of their villages had, and some of them still have, their “village lots,” their “ common fields," and their “commons,” the American settlers having never sought to disturb the repose
of these “ ancient and venerable communities.”' The French and Spanish governments, in forming settlements in this country, and especially upon the Mississippi river, had reference, not only to personal convenience, but to protection against the savages. They were laid out in the form of villages or towns, and lots of convenient size for a house, a small garden, some fruit trees, and a stable, were assigned to each family. To each village a tract of land for “common fields,” and another for “commons,” was also appended.
A “common-field" contained several hundred, and sometimes several thousand acres, inclosed by the joint labor of all, each contributing his share, and each family possessing an individual interest in certain por. tions, set off by definite bounds. Their interest in this separate portion was held in fee simple, and subject to sale and conveyance as other real estate. Their fences were repaired in common.
The time of excluding cattle in the spring, and of gathering the crops and opening the field to cattle in the autumn, was regulated by special ordinances, equally obli. gatory with statute laws, and better enforced, because every individual had an interest in their observance.
A " common” contained frequently several thousand acres, and was granted to the town for wood and pasturage. In this, each villager had a joint or common, but not a separate interest.
A community thus organized, dependent for its prosperity on the Indian trade, and having but few aspirations beyond it, unless their propensity for mining (wholly ungratified) be taken into view, it could hardly be expected would advance rapidly either in wealth or improvement. Hence a few thousand acres only were reclaimed in the whole State by eighty
years of toil ; less than the same number of “ Yankees"
19* would have reclaimed in as many months.
The “ Pilgrims,” six years only after the settlement of Boston, founded a college at Cambridge, and the General Court of Massachusetts voted a sum of money equal to a year's rate of the whole colony, for the erection of buildings. In 1638, John Harvard (who came thither but to die) gave the institution, which afterward acquired his name, one-half of his estate and all his library. Connecticut and Plymouth sent in their little offer. ings, and every family in each of the above colonies once gave to this parent institution“ twelve pence in cash, or a peck of corn, or its value in unadulterated wampum peag."
In King Philip's war, which took place in 1675, the losses and disbursements of Massachusetts alone, were estimated at half a million of dollars. More than six hundred men, chiefly young men, the flower of the country, of whom “any mother might have been proud," perished in the field, and more than six hundred houses were burnt. Of the able bodied men, one in twenty was slain in battle, and one family in twenty was burnt out. The loss of lives in proportion to their number, and of property in proportion to its value, in one year, was greater than in the whole revolutionary war. There was scarcely a family in the province from which death had not selected a victim.
The Puritans, however, were a different people from the first settlers of Ilinois. As early as 1689, the former rose in arms 16 with the most unanimous resolution” that ever inspired a people, and defended insurrection “ as a duty to God and their country.” 6 We commit our enterprise,” said the people of Boston, “ to Him who hears the cry of the oppressed, and advise all our neighbors for whom we have ventured ourselves to join with us in prayer, and all just action for the defence of the land.” They also arrested their governor in the street, “ when he first displayed his scarlet coat and arbitrary commission, and marched him and his fellows to the town-house, and afterward to prison.” This was done by Puritans, the advocates of religion and order~" a class of men,' says Bancroft, who, disdaining ceremony, would not bow at the name of Jesus, nor bend the knee to the King of kings.” Although “new fashions” afterward prevailed among the younger sort of women,
and " fluous ribbons” were sometimes worn on their apparel, they consoled themselves with the reflection that “musicians by trade," and dancingschools, were not licensed by statute. And to justify the establishment of “ the congregational church” in its “purest” and most athletic constitution by law, they said, that “the people were led into the wilderness by Aaron not less than by Moses."
While each family of the Puritans has multiplied on an average to one thousand souls, and their system of free schools, their habits of in,
* When the English first arrived in New-England, they were called by the Indiang, Yanguese.” Hence, the word Yankees being a corruption of the word Yanguese ; derived, perhaps, from the French word “ Anglois.”
dustry and economy, their ingenuity, enterprise and perseverance have pervaded every sea, and extended their improvements from the Atlantic almost to the Pacific Ocean, the French population of Illinois slept al. most for a century; and were they, like the talent in Scripture, which had been buried, to be now awoke and all enumerated, it is questionable, per. haps, whether they would exceed their original number.
A new era, however, was at hand. The Anglo-Saxon race was approaching, and the banners of England were about to wave on the banks of the Mississippi. The principles of English liberty, however, did not accompany their march-the doctrines of self-government and the capacity of man for the possession or enjoyment of either, were unfortunately overlooked or foolishly discarded. English supremacy, therefore, instead of a blessing, was converted into a curse.
The talented men, under whose administration the British arms had triumphed on every sea and in every land; who had controlled for several years the destiny of England, by the folly of a youthful and inexperienced prince, or the wickedness of a profligate junta, were driven from power, and another king “who knew not Joseph,” had arisen, and England bled “at every pore.'
The first act of George the Third in relation to the ceded territory, emanated in great wisdom, and being about the only one of that character apparent of record, deserves to be particularly mentioned.
On the 7th of October, 1763, a proclamation was issued by the king, with the advice of his privy council, declaring it to be his royal will and pleasure, that no governor or commander-in-chief “grant warrants of survey, or pass patents, for any lands beyond the heads or sources of any of the rivers which fall into the Atlantic Ocean from the west or northwest, or upon any lands whatever, which, not having been ceded to or purchased by us, are reserved to the Indians.”
It also strictly forbids, “ on pain of our displeasure, all our loving subjects from making any purchases or settlements whatever, or taking possession of Indian lands without our special leave or license, for that purpose first obtained.”
Its concluding paragraph we insert at length, as attempts have recently been made to establish titles derived from Indian deeds, executed in vio. lation of its provisions ; and as those titles have within the last few years been the subjects of speculation here :
“And whereas, great frauds and abuses have been committed in purchasing lands of the Indians, to the great prejudice of our interests and to the great dissatisfaction of the said Indians; in order, therefore, to prevent such irregularities for the future, and to the end that the Indians may be convinced of our justice and determined resolution to remove all reasonable cause of discontent; we do, with the advice of our privy council, strictly enjoin and require, that no private person do presume to make any purchase from the said Indians, of any lands reserved to the said Indians within those parts of our colonies where we have thought proper to allow settlements. But that, if at any time any of the Indians should be inclined to dispose of the said lands, the same shall be purchased only for us in our name, at some public meeting or assembly of the said Indians, to be held for that purpose by the governor or commander-in-chief of our colony respectively, within the limits of any proprietors, conformably to such directions and instructions as we or they shall think proper to give for that purpose.”
Notwithstanding, however, the above proclamation, several deeds were made and executed by chiefs and warriors residing in Illinois and its vicinity, to individual subjects of the British crown. Among the most important are those made at Kaskaskia, on the 5th of July, 1773, to Wil. liam Murray, of the Illinois country, and others, signed by the Kaskaskia and Cahokia chiefs in council, representing all the tribes of the Illinois Indians, of two separate tracts. The first beginning at the mouth of Huron creek, about a league below the mouth of the Kaskaskia riverthence a northeast course to “ the hilly plains," eight leagues or thereabouts—thence to the Crab-tree plains, seventeen leagues or thereabouts, be the same more or less—thence in a direct line to a remarkable place, known by the name of the “ Big Buffalo hoofs," seven leagues or thereabouts—thence to Salt-lick creek, about seven leagues—thence easterly in a direct line, to the Ohio river—thence down the Ohio to the Missis. sippi river, about thirty-five · leagues—thence up the Mississippi thirtythree leagues or thereabouts, to the place of beginning. The second piece or parcel of land, is situated on the east side of the Mississippi river, beginning at a point opposite the mouth of the Missouri—thence up the Mississippi to the mouth of the Illinois—thence up the Ilinois river, by the several courses thereof to Chicagoue, or Garlick creek, about ninety leagues or thereabouts, be the same more or less—thence nearly a northerly course, in a direct line to a certain place remarkable, being the ground on which an engagement or battle was fought, about forty or fifty years ago, between the Peoria and Renard Indians, about fifty leagues, be the same more or less--thence a north-of.east course, in a direct line to a remarkable spring, known to the Indians by the name of Foggy Spring, about fourteen leagues, be the same more or less--thence the same course in a direct line, to a great mountain to the northwest of the White Buffalo plain, about fifteen leagues, be the same more or lessthence nearly a southwest course in a direct line to the place of beginning, be the same more or less—and also all minerals, ores, etc. there. unto belonging. The above deeds were pronounced by three of the most celebrated lawyers in England, Pratt, Yorke, and Dunning--two of whom, Yorke and Pratt, (afterward the famous Lord Camden,) became chancel. lors of England—to be valid, in an opinion officially given by them to the king as crown-lawyers.
“ In respect (said they) to such places as have been, or shall be acquired by treaty or grant from any of the Indian princes or governments, your majesty's letters-patent are not necessary. The property of the