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is said, two millions of dollars, died recently in obscurity. Both, how. ever, will be “talked about,” when saints and martyrs, and patriots and heroes, whose whole lives have been devoted to the service of their coun. try and their God, shall be neglected or forgotten.
The laws of Illinois make no provision for the support of public wor. ship. Religion is here regarded as a matter between the creature and the Creator. The ordinance of 1787, and the constitution of the State, forbid any legislative interference in matters of conscience. Acting in accordance with the views and opinions expressed by Jesus of Nazareth, while on earth, the humble and devout Christians of Illinois—and it is hoped there are many such-neither seek nor desire legislative aid. Many different sects of course abound ; that circumstance, however, we have no doubt, tends to preserve religion in its purity. Persecution has too often marked the progress of great majorities. Diversity, therefore, of opinion in matters of religion, like counter currents in the ocean, keep it for ever pure—for ever rolling--and although a little wherry may sometimes be lost, and whole navies occasionally be swallowed up,
't is far better, than that stagnant or putrid waters should bear the pestilence for ever on their bosom.
The prophet has the sole and exclusive charge of the Nauvoo House-a large boardinghouse in Nauvoo, as is said, “ for the kings and nobles of the earth, and all weary travellers to lodge in, while they contemplate the word of the Lord, and the corner-stone which he has appointed for Zion;" and does not appear to burden himself, or his position, “ with any very troublesome sense of dignity, or responsibility ;" and off his guard exhibits a humor approaching to naivette. A respectable citizen of Chicago, passing through Nauvoo a few weeks since, happened, accidentally, to be present when “ the prophet" challenged one of his guests “ to pull at a stick.” This is performed by the persons sitting opposite to each other on the floor, having a small stick between them, of which each takes hold with one or both hands, as the case may be, and he who pulls up his adversary wins. Those ac. quainted with “the prophet” will credit, without an effort, the above relation.
The Book of Mormon contains five hundred and seventy-one close printed pages. The copy of which we speak, is the third edition, carefully revised by the translator. Printed by Robinson & Smith, Nauvoo, Illinois, 1840. It purports to be “ an account written by the hand of Mormon, upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi." Its style is in imitation of the Scriptures. It contains no information of any importance, and as a moral work is entirely valueless.
The battle of Cumorah here spoken of, was fought in Palmyra, Wayne county, New. York, in which hundreds of thousands were slain on both sides. In order to do ample justice to “ the prophet,” we insert from his narrative his own words. “ The war commenced at the Isthmus of Darien, and was very destructive to both nations,” (the Nephites and Lamanites,) “ for many years; at length the Nephites were driven before their ene
mies a great distance to the north and northeast ; and having gathered their whole nation together, both men, women and children, they encamped in and around about the hill of Cumorah," (Palmyra, New-York,) “ where the records were found. Here they were met by the Lamanites, and were slain, and hewn down, and slaughtered, both male and female, the aged, middle-aged, and children. Hundreds of thousands were slain on both sides, and the nation of the Nephites was destroyed, excepting a few who had deserted over to the Lamanites, and a few who escaped into the south country, and a few who fell wounded, and were left by the Lamanites on the field of battle for dead, among whom were Mormon, and his son Moroni, who were righteous men.”
This provision has since been abrogated, not by an act of the Legislature, but by an ordinance of the city council, which is paramount thereto. In the ordinances of Nauvoo, we find the following.
“An ordinance for the health and convenience of travellers and other persons.
* Sec. 1. Be it ordained by the city council of Nauvoo, that the mayor of the city be, and is hereby authorized to sell or give spirits of any quantity, as he, in his wisdom, shall judge to be for the health, comfort, or convenience of such travellers, or other persons, as shall visit his house from time to time. “ Passed December 12, 1843.
“ JOSEPH Smith, Mayor. “ WILLARD RICHARDS, Recorder.”
The author, having had a little acquaintance with“ the prophet,” differs in some respects from Mr. Caswell, in relation to his appearance and manners. Mr. Smith was born, and for many years lived, in great obscurity. He was, in early life, uneducated. Since he has attracted the gaze and wonder of the world, he has improved considerably in his mind and manners. In his person he is still coarse. His manners are not refined ; he is, however, far from being clownish. The massive gold ring of which Mr. Caswell speaks, he still wears; whether to gratify a foolish vanity, or to effect some other and higher object, we are at a loss to determine. In his conversation he is uncommonly shrewd, and exhibits more knowledge of books, sacred and profane, than his personal appearance at first seems to promise. There is, however, a kind of levity in his manners, unbecoming the prophet or apostle. He is, upon the whole, an ordinary man; and considering his pretensions, a very ordinary man, in his person, his manners, his conversation and character ; and were it not for the aid which persecution always confers, and the notoriely which pretensions like his, absurd and ridiculous, uniformly give, he would before this have sunk into obscurity.
Public Lands Title thereto-Proclamation of George III.-Ejectment to recover—Case
of Johnson and others—Chief-Justice Marshall's opinion-Lands not a source of profit to the nation—Real Estate the worst property a nation can own-Distribution, etc.-- The question considered—Its corrupting tendency.
The title of the inhabitants of Illinois to its soil, is the same as in the other States of the American Republic, except in one particular, which we shall mention hereafter.
We have already spoken of a proclamation issued by George III., soon after the cession of this country to England, in 1763; and of an Indian grant of two tracts of land, made to William Murray and others, in violation of its provisions, (chapter xi. page 211,) the consideration of which, is said to have been twenty-four thousand dollars and upward. On the 18th of October, 1775, Tabac, and certain other chiefs of the Piankeshaw tribe, at Vincennes, executed another deed, in contravention also of said proclamation, to Louis Viviat, for himself and the Honorable John Earl of Dunmore, at that time Governor of Virginia under the crown, his son John Murray, Thomas_Johnson, William Murray, one of the grantees in the former deed, and others, of an extensive tract of land upon the Wabash, in consideration of thirty-one thousand dollars, and upward, paid to said chiefs. The above deeds embrace a large portion of the State of Illinois, (the city of Chicago, among the rest,) and were pronounced by some of the ablest lawyers in England (Lord Camden, among others,) to be good and valid deeds. The question having, within a few years, been decided by the supreme court of the United States against the claimants under the above grants; and that decision being the basis upon which our titles to the houses and lands we occupy altogether depends, an abstract of the case cannot fail to interest some portion of our readers.*
Johnson, the son and devisee of Thomas Johnson, one of the grantees in the deed executed on the 18th of October, 1775, by the Piankeshaw tribe of Indians, before referred to, brought an action of ejectment against McIntosh in the district court of this State, to recover a tract of land in the State and district of Illinois.
The defendant, McIntosh, claimed under a patent from the United
Those wishing for more information upon the subject, will find it reported in riž. Wheaton's Reports, 543.
States, and the question to be determined was, whether a prior deed, executed by the Piankeshaw Indians in 1775, in contravention of the proclamation of the King of England, was paramount to a subsequent deed from the same tribe to the United States, and a patent from the latter to the defendant.
It will be seen at once that the question was one of magnitude, not so much on account of the property at stake in this suit, as on account of the principle involved in its decision. It was argued by Messrs. Harper and Webster for the plaintiff, and Messrs. Winder and Murray for the defendant; and the judgment of the court below (which had been rendered for the defendant,) was affirmed.
The opinion of the supreme court, given by Chief Justice Marshall, on that occasion, having “defined our position” in relation to Indian titles with great accuracy, those titles being traced therein back to their source, and the reason for their validity given, we shall attempt nothing more than a brief abstract of the opinion of that eminent jurist.
On the discovery of this country by Columbus, the maritime states of Europe, stimulated by the love of glory, and still more by the hope of gain and the prospect of dominion, embarked in several adventurous enterprises, the objects of which were to found colonies to search for the precious metals—and to exchange the products and manufactures of the old world, for what was valuable and attractive in the new. England, (with the exception of Spain,) was in advance of her continental neighbors. During that period, “the right of discovery" received a universal acquiescence—became the basis of European policy, and regulated the exercise of sovereignty on this side of the Atlantic. Of this fact there is no doubt; the history of that period furnishes, not only uniform, but conclusive evidence of its truth.
In respect to inhabited lands, no important objection can be raised against it; but in respect to countries occupied by the natives, (even sav. ages,) its correctness and humanity are not equally apparent.
The Indian tribes inhabiting this vast Continent, claimed an exclusive possession, as sovereign and absolute proprietors of the soil. They acknowledged no obedience, allegiance or subordination, to any foreign power whatever; and so far as they had the means, they have since asserted their right of dominion, and yielded it up only when lost by conquest, or transferred by treaty.
It is needless here to discuss the question, whether civilized man may demand of the savage, for use and occupation, lands overrun only by the latter-not cultivated-because the Saxon race have, in no instance, we believe, claimed jurisdiction, or attempted to expel the latter, except in cases of war, of purchase, and of voluntary cessions.
Although Alexander VI., as we have already stated, by a papal bull, granted the whole Continent to the crown of Castile in 1493, Spain erected her empire in America, upon other and different bases. Portugal sus. tained her claim to Brazil by the right of discovery.” France predi
cated her title to the vast countries she claimed in America, on the same right. The States of Holland made some acquisitions here, and sustained their right to them on the common principle, at that time adopted in Eu. rope ; and no one of the European powers gave its assent to this principle more unequivocally than England.
As early as 1496, the English monarch granted a commission to the Cabots, to discover countries unknown to Christian people ; and take possession of them in the name of the King of England. In 1578, a right was given to Sir Humphrey Gilbert to discover, and take possession, of heathen and barbarous lands. This was afterward renewed to Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1606, a charter was granted to Sir Thomas Gates and others, under which the first permanent settlement was made in Virginia ; others were issued soon afterward, which purport to convey the soil, as well as the right of dominion, to the grantees; at the time of the execution of these several grants or patents, the whole country was held and occupied by the savages.
The right acquired by discovery, “merely excluded other European nations from the right to acquire a title from the natives ;” and vested in the discoverers “a capacity to extinguish the Indian title, and to perfect their own dominion over the soil, and to dispose of it according to their will and pleasure.” This principle of discovery created, of course, a peculiar relation between the original inhabitants and the Europeans; the former were admitted to possess “a present right of occupancy,” subordinale, however, to “the ultimate dominion of the discoverer.” In a certain sense they were permitted to exercise rights of sovereignty over it; they were permitted to sell or transfer it to the discoverers, and no others; and until such sale, they were generally permitted to occupy it as sovereigns de facto. Europeans claimed, therefore, and exercised, the right to grant the soil while yet in possession of the natives, “subject to their right of occupancy.”
The history of America, from its first discovery to the present day, says Chief Justice Marshall, proves, we think, the universal recognition of these principles.
France made grants similar to those of England ; and claimed the whole valley of the Mississippi by the right of discovery. According to the European principles, her title was perfect until 1763, at which time Illinois and other states and territories, were ceded to England. By the treaty of peace, at the close of the revolutionary war, in 1783, Great Britain relinquished to the United States all claim, not only to the gov. ernment, but to the soil, within the limits whose boundaries were fixed in the second article of the treaty. By this treaty, the power of government, and the right to the soil which had previously been in Great Britain, passed definitively to the United States. According to every principle, then, which had obtained in Europe and elsewhere, a clear title to all the lands within the boundary lines described in the treaty, was vested in the United States “subject only to the Indian right of occupancy,” and the