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longer expected. At last, when hope had nearly vanished, Monsieur Gibault, the priest of the village, and five or six elderly gentlemen, ob. tained permission to wait on Colonel Clarke. Surprised, as they had been, by the sudden capture of their town, and by such an enemy as their imagination had painted, they were still more so when admitted to his presence. Their clothes were dirty, and torn by the briers, and their whole appearance was frightful and savage. Those acquainted with the delicacy and refinement of the ancient French, can alone appreciate their embarrassed condition. It was some time after they were admitted into the room where Clarke and his officers were seated, before they could speak; and not even then till their business was demanded. They first asked which was the commander ; so effectually had the expedition con. founded all ranks and distinction. Colonel Clarke being pointed out, the priest, in a subdued tone, which indicated what he felt, said: “ That the inhabitants expected to be separated, never to meet again on earth, and they begged for permission, through him, to assemble once more in the church, to take a final leave of each other.” Clarke, aware that they suspected him of hostility to their religion, carelessly told them, that he had nothing to say against their church ; that religion was a matter, which the Americans left every one for himself to settle with his God; that the people might assemble in the church, if they wished, but they must not leave the town. Some further conversation was attempted; but Clarke, in order that the alarm might be raised its utmost height, repelled it with sternness, and told them at once that he had not leisure for further intercourse. The whole town immediately assembled at the church; the old and the young, the women and the children, and the houses were all deserted. Strict orders in the meantime were given, that no dwelling, upon any pretence whatever, should be entered by the soldiers. The people remained in church for a long time-after which the priest, accompanied by several gentlemen, waited upon Colonel Clarke, and expressed, in the name of the village, " their thanks for the indulgence they had received." The deputation then desired, at the request of the inhabitants, to address their conqueror on a subject which was dearer to them than any other. “ They were sensible,” they said, “ that their present situation was the fate of war; and they could submit to the loss of property, but solicited that they might not be separated from their wives and children, and that some clothes and provisions might be allowed for their future support.” They assured Colonel Clarke, that their conduct had been influenced by the British commandants, whom they supposed they were bound to obey—that they were not certain that they understood the nature of the contest between Great Britain and the colonies that their remote situation was unfavorable to accurate information—that some of their number had expressed themselves in favor of the Americans, and others would have done so had they durst. Clarke, having wound up their terror to the highest pitch, resolved now to try the effect of that lenity, which he had all along intended to grant.
He therefore abruptly addressed them: “Do you,” said he, “ mistake us for savages
I am almost certain you do from your language. Do you think that Americans intend to strip women and children, or take the bread out of their mouths ? My countrymen disdain to make war upon helpless innocence. It was to prevent the horrors of Indian butchery upon our own wives and children, that we have taken up arms, and pen. etrated into this stronghold of British and Indian barbarity, and not the despicable prospect of plunder. That since the King of France had united his arms with those of America, the war, in all probability, would shortly cease. That the inhabitants of Kaskaskia, however, were at liberty to take which side they pleased, without danger to themselves, their property, or their families. That all religions were regarded by the Americans with equal respect; and that insult offered to theirs, would be immediately punished. And now,” continued he, "to prove my sincerity, you will please inform your fellow-citizens, that they are at liberty to go wherever they please, without any apprehension. That he was now convinced they had been misinformed, and prejudiced against the Americans, by British officers; and that their friends in confinement should immediately be released." The joy of the village seniors, on hearing the speech of Colonel Clarke, may be imagined; we will not, however, attempt to describe it. They stammered out some apology for their suspicions, and were about to remark that the property of a captured town belonged to the conquerors. Colonel Clarke, however, dispensed with any explanations, and desired them to relieve the anxiety of their friends, and comply strictly with the terms of a proclamation he was about to issue. The contrast of feeling among the people, on learning these generous and magnanimous intentions of Colonel Clarke, verified his anticipations. The gloom which had overspread the town was imme. diately dispersed. The bells rung a merry peal; the church was at once filled, and thanks offered up to God for deliverance from the terrors they had feared. Freedom to come and go, as they pleased, was imme. diately given ; knowing that their reports would advance the success and glory of his arms.
Some uneasiness, however, was yet felt respecting Cahokia, the capture of which Colonel Clarke resolved to attempt, and gain in the same way, if possible. For that purpose, Major Bowman and his coinpany were ordered thither. Some gentlemen, however, of Kaskaskia, apprised of his intentions, offered their services to effect what Colonel Clarke had desired. They assured him that the people of Cahokia were their relations and friends, and they had no doubt of their acting in unison with them, when the circumstances in which they were placed should be explained. Major Bowman departed for this new conquest, if conquest it could be called, in high spirits, with French militia officers at the head of his new allies. They reached Cahokia on the 6th, before the surren. der of Kaskaskia was known. The cry of “the Big Knife,” at first spread alarm, but it was allayed by the French gentlemen of Kaskaskia who accompanied the expedition; and their former alarms were immediately converted into huzzas for freedom and the Americans. The British fort at Cahokia surrendered without a struggle; the inhabitants in a few days took the oath of allegiance ; and the French and Americans were politically united. The Indian force near Cahokia was dispersed; and the State of Illinois, destined to contain more than ten millions of people. (by four companies of militia, and the prudence, energy, and skill of their commander,) without bloodshed, annexed to the Republic.
INSTRUCTIONS TO GENERAL CLARKE.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL GEORGE Rogers CLARKE:
You are to proceed, without loss of time, to enlist seven companies of men, officered in the usual manner, to act as militia under your orders. They are to proceed to Kentucky, and there to obey such orders and directions as you shall give them, for three months after their arrival at that place; but to receive pay, etc., in case they remain on duty a longer time.
You are empowered to raise these men in any county in the Commonwealth ; and the county lieutenants, respectively, are requested to give you all possible assistance in that business. Given under my hand at Williamsburg, January 2nd., 1778.
VIRGINIA IN COUNCIL, WILLIAMSBURG, JAN. 2Nd., 1778. LIEUTENANT COLONEL GEORGE ROGERS CLARKE :
You are to proceed with all convenient speed to raise seven companies of soldiers, to consist of fifty men each, officered in the usual manner, and armed most properly for the enterprise ; and with this force attack the British fort at Kaskaskia.
It is conjectured that there are many pieces of cannon and military stores, to considerable amount, at that place, the taking and preservation of which, would be a valuable acquisition to the State. If you are so fortunate, therefore, as to succeed in your expedition, you will take every possible measure to secure the artillery and stores, and whatever may advantage the State.
For the transportation of the troops, provisions, etc., down the Ohio ; you are to apply to the commanding officer at Fort Pitt for boats; and during the whole transaction, you are to take especial care to keep the true destination of your force secret-its success depends upon this. Orders are therefore given to secure the two men from Kaskaskia. Similar conduct will be proper in similar cases.
It is earnestly desired that you show humanity to such British subjects and other persons, as fall in your hands. If the white inhabitants at that post and the neighborhood, will give undoubted evidence of their attachment to this State, (for it is certain they live within its limits,) by taking the test prescribed by law, and by every other way and means in their power, let them be treated as fellow-citizens, and their persons and property duly secured. Assistance and protection against all enemies whatever shall be afforded them, and the Commonwealth of Virginia is pledged to accomplish it. But if these people will not accede to these reasonable demands, they must feel the miseries of war, under the direction of that humanity that has hitherto distinguished Americans, and which it is expected you will ever consider the rule of your conduct, and from which you are in no instance to depart.
The corps you are to command, are to receive the pay and allowance of militia, and to act under the laws and regulations of this State now in force, as militia. The inhabitants at this post will be informed by you, that in case they accede to the offers of becoming citizens of this Commonwealth, a proper garrison will be maintained among them, and every attention bestowed to render their commerce beneficial, tne fairest prospects being opened to the dominions of France and Spain.
It is in contemplation to establish a post near the mouth of Ohio. Cannon will be wanted to fortify it. Part of those at Kaskaskia will be easily brought thither, or other wise secured, as circumstances will make necessary.
You are to apply to General Hand for powder and lead necessary for this expedition. If he can't supply it, the person who has that which Captain Lynn brought from Orleans, can. Lead was sent to Hampshire, by my orders, and that may be delivered you.
Wishing you success, I am, sir,
Colonel Clarke contemplates the taking of Vincennes—The difficulties attending it--Es
tablishes courts in Kaskaskia and Cahokia-Becomes popular in both places-Monsieur Cere visits Kaskaskia—Takes the oath of Allegiance-Colonel Clarke receives a vote of thanks from the House of Burgesses, in Virginia—M. Gibault, the Catholic priest, goes to Vincennes—The latter surrenders—The inhabitants take the oath of allegiance to Virginia–Captain Helm appointed commandant, and “Agent for Indian Affairs in the Wabash”--County of Illinois organized-Colonel Todd appointed civil commandant—Justice administered in the name and by the authority of Virginia-M. Rocheblave, late Governor of Kaskaskia, sent a prisoner to Virginia — His conduct prevents Colonel Clarke's intentions from being carried into effectCaptain Helm's reception in Kaskaskia— Tobacco, an Indian chief-Colonel Clarke reënlists his men-Establishes forts at Kaskaskia and Cahokia-Founds Louisville at the Falls of the Ohio-His mode of treating with the Indians-His first council with the Natives His negotiations with the Meadow Indians--Extraordinary incidentBlackbird, a celebrated chief, visits Colonel Clarke at Kaskaskia-Big Gate, another warrior, also—Extraordinary interview-Colonel Hamilton, Governor of Detroit, reaches Vincennes with a large force-Recaptures the latter place—The whole Garrison, consisting of one officer, and one private, marched out with the honors of war Intelligence of its surrender received at Kaskaskia, on the 29th of January, 1777– An expedition for Vincennes sets out for the latter place, on the 7th of February, eight days thereafter-An army raised, officered and equipped, in that time-A naval" armament also sails for the same place—Incidents on their march—Case of the little drummer- They arrive at Vincennes-Vincennes is taken, February 24th, 1779— Captain Helm appointed again to its command-Peace between England and the United States Indian hostilities suspended-Governor Harrison's letter to Colonel Clarke-The latter is discharged from service with thanks.
COLONEL CLARKE, notwithstanding his brilliant and almost unexpected success at Kaskaskia and Cahokia, and notwithstanding the French population were apparently attached to the American government, and republican principles, was not entirely at his ease. Aware of his del. icate situation, and the necessity of all his address to sustain the position he occupied, with honor to himself, and satisfaction to his country; he fortified himself, by cultivating the most intimate relations with the Spanish authorities, on the west bank of the Mississippi; and regarding Fort St. Vincents (now Vincennes,) as an important link in the chain of British influence, he sought to reduce it, if possible, into his possession The force, however, at his command, though “ joined by every man in Kentucky," he supposed inadequate to the object, and was therefore com. pelled, against his wishes, to resort to other means for its accomplishment than to military force.