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jected and put in execution, to the ruin of many thousands. The sums proposed to be raised by these expectants, amounted to three hundred millions sterling, which exceeded, at that time, the value of all the lands in England. The nation was so intoxicated with the spirit of adventure, that people became a prey to the grossest delusion. An obscure projector, pretending to have found a very advantageous scheme—which, how. ever, he did not explain-published proposals for a subscription, in which he promised that, in one month, the particulars of his project should be disclosed. In the meantime he declared, that every person paying two guineas should be entitled to a subscription for one hundred pounds, which would produce that sum yearly. In one forenoon this adventurer received a thousand of these subscriptions; and in the evening set out, with his two thousand guineas in his pocket, for another kingdom. During the infatuation produced by this and other infamous schemes, luxury, vice, and profligacy increased to a shocking degree of extravagance. The adventurers, intoxicated by their imaginary wealth, pampered themselves with the rarest dainties, and the most expensive wines, that could be imported. They purchased the most sumptuous furniture, equipage and apparel, though without taste or discernment; they in. dulged their criminal passions to the most scandalous excess; their discourse was the language of pride, insolence, and the most ridiculous ostentation; they affected to scoff at religion and morality, and even to set Heaven at defiance. It was afterward discovered that large portions of the South Sea stock had been given to several persons in the administration, as well as in the House of Commons, for promoting the passage of the South Sea Act. The ebb,” continues Smollet, “ of this portentous tide was so violent, that it bore down everything in its way, and an infinite number of families were overwhelmed with ruin. Public credit sustained a terrible shock; the nation was thrown into a dangerous ferment, and nothing was heard but the ravings of grief, disappointment, and despair. Petitions from counties, cities, and boroughs, were presented to the House of Commons, demanding justice against the villainy of the di. rectors; and the whole nation was exasperated to the highest pitch of excitement. At length, in 1721, by the wise and vigorous resolutions of Parliament, the ferment of the people subsided, and the credit of the na. tion was restored.” Our readers may be desirous, perhaps, of knowing what these “ wise and vigorous resolutions of Parliament” were, thus spoken of with approbation by the historian. All the estates of the directors and officers of the company, were confiscated by an act of Parliament, and applied toward the relief of the unhappy sufferers. Such“ wise and vigorous resolutions,” if resorted to by a legislative body in any of our States, at the present time, would unquestionably be considered arbitrary and unconstitutional. The times, however, of which we speak, were not those in which law was uniformly heard, or its dictates universally obeyed. The Mississippi valley, on the dissolution of the India company, in
1730, being retroceded to the crown, its interests were again fostered by Government, and Louis XV. and his minister, Cardinal Fleury, evinced much anxiety in its behalf. Although Louis XIV. had been liberal in his expenditures, and Crozat, whose whole life had been one of successful enterprise, had assumed its direction; and the Mississippi company, aided by boundless but transient credit, had there laid the foundations of all its hopes; and priests and friars, and Jesuit missionaries, had used all their efforts to propitiate the savages; the valley of the Mississippi, fifty years after the expedition of La Salle, was little else than a wilderness.
Louisiana at this time, in French geography, included the entire valley of the Mississippi, and its tributary streams. Of course, all west of the Alleghany mountains was regarded by France as a part of her domain. The head-springs of the Alleghany, the Monongahela, the Kanawa, the Tennessee, the Cumberland and the Ohio, were claimed to be hers.
The ambitious designs of France at an early day, it was said by the English colonists, interfered with grants made by the British crown; and in 1731, soon after the French had erected a fort at Crown-Point, in the State of New York, James Logan, secretary of Pennsylvania, prepared a memorial in relation to the state of the British plantations. This was communicated by a member of Parliament to Sir Robert Walpole, prime minister of England; who, at that time, was “too much concerned for his own standing, to lay anything to heart that was at so great a distance.”'
France was, therefore, permitted to establish her influence throughout the whole valley of the Ohio, and to build strong houses for the Indians, without molestation. The Shawnees were met by Canadian traders, and their chiefs invited to visit the French governor at Montreal. Having done so, Joseph Soncaire, a wily emissary from New-France, descended the Ohio with them, and the whole tribe put themselves under the protection of Louis XV. Fort Massac, or Massacre, was thereupon erected on the north bank of the Ohio, in the State of Illinois, near the dividing-line be. tween Johnson and Pope counties in this State, nine miles below the mouth of the Tennessee river, and about forty miles above its junction with the Mississippi.
The savages becoming afterward dissatisfied with the French, by a curious stratagem effected its capture. A number of Indians appeared in the daytime, on the opposite side of the river, each of whom was covered with a bear-skin, and walked on all fours ; the French, supposing them to be bears, crossed the river with a considerable force, in pursuit of the supposed bears, and the remainder of the troops left their quarters, and resorted to the bank of the river in front of the garrison, to observe the sport. In the meantime, a large body of warriors, who were concealed in the woods near by, came silently up behind the fort, and entered it without opposition; and a few only of the French garrison escaped the carnage. The French afterward built another fort on the same ground, and, in
* See Stoddart's Sketches of Louisiana.
commemoration of this disastrous event, called it Fort Massac, or Massa. cre, which name it still retains.*
It was occupied by the French until about 1750, when it was aban. doned. After the revolutionary war, it was repaired by the Americans, and garrisoned for several years; but is now, like most of the ancient forts in this country, a heap of ruins.
During the war between England and France, which terminated in 1748 by the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, the petty conflicts in America were lost in the conflagration of Europe ; and nothing in particular och curred which affected the interests or prosperity of Illinois. It was not, however, so in the war of 1756, which terminated by the treaty of Paris, in 1763. This State, including all of the Mississippi valley east of the river, was then ceded to England; and the lilies of France waved no longer upon its prairies.
Inasmuch, then, as the English title to Illinois was settled on the plains of Abraham, where the gallant Wolf fell, and expired in the arms of victory, a brief history of the campaign, so far as it affects the West, cannot be unwelcome.
In 1756, at which time it was rebuilt by the government of France, it was half-a-mile from the water's edge ; in 1776, eighty paces; in 1770, an English officer, in speaking of Fort Chartres, observed, “ The bank of the Mississippi is continually falling in, being worn away by the current, which has been turned from its course by a sand-bank, now increased to a considerable island, covered with willows.”
In 1772, the river (Mississippi) inundated its banks, and formed a channel so near the fort, that one side of it, and two of its bastions, were thrown down. This circumstance induced the British, by whom it was occupied as a garrison, to abandon it. It is now a heap of ruins. Trees of considerable magnitude are growing within its walls, and its only use is, to furnish building materials for the neighborhood.
Captain Pittman, a British officer, whose “ History of the European settlements on the Mississippi,” was published in 1770, speaking of this fort, says:
"Fort Chartres, when it belonged to France, was the seat of government of Illinois. The head-quarters of the English commanding officer is now here. It is an irregular quadrangle; the sides of the exterior polygon, are four hundred and ninety feet. It is built of stone, and plastered over, and is only designed as a defence against the Indians. The walls are two feet and two inches thick, and are pierced with loop-holes, at regular distances, for cannon in the faces, and two in the flanks of each bastion. The ditch has never been finished. The entrance to the fort is through a very handsome rustic gate. Within the walls is a banquette raised three feet, for the men to stand on, when they fire through the loop-holes. The buildings within the fort, are a commandant's and commisgary's house, the magazine of stores, corps de guarde, and two barracks; these occupy the square."
After describing the other buildings minutely, Captain Pittman concludes as follovis : “ It is generally believed, that this is the most convenient, and best built fort in North Amer. ica."
When the Western or royal India company was in possession of Illinois, claiming title thereto from the crown of France, several extensive grants of land were made to individuals, which have since been confirmed by the government of the United States. Some thousands of acres are thus held, at the present day.
We find on record at Kaskaskia, in Randolph county, in this State, a paper executed more than a hundred years ago, which, translated, is in the words and figures following:
“Pierre Duque Boisbriant, knight of the military order of St. Louis, and first king's lieutenant of the province of Louisiana, commanding at the Illinois, and Marc Antoine de la loire des Ursins, principal secretary for the royal India company.
On the demand of Charles Danie, to grant him a piece of land, of five arpents in front, on the side of the Michigamia river, running north and south, joining to Michael Philip, on one side, and on the other, to Melique, and in depth, east and west, to the Mississippi.
In consequence, they do grant to the said Charles Danie (in soccage) the said land, whereon he may, from this date, commence working, clearing, and sowing, in expectation of a formal concession, which shall be sent from France by messieurs, the directors of the royal India company.
And the said land shall revert to the domain of the said company, if the said Charles Danie do not work thereon within a year and a day.
DES URSINS. May 10th, 1722.
We find also a grant, or concession, bearing date on the 14th of June, 1723, to Philip Rinault, including the village and establishment at St. Philips, of one lea gue on the Mississippi, and two leagues back from thence, “ to enable him to support his establishment at the mines of Upper Louisiana,” in Illinois. Between 1722 and 1731, at which time the company was dissolved, and Louisiana retroceded to the crown, other grants of the same kind, were made to a considerable extent.
These grants, or concessions, however, executed as they were, without pecuniary consideration, added nothing to the income or profits of the company. The settlements, or rather the colonization of Louisiana, so far from increasing the wealth (other than imagi. nary,) of the company of the Indies, served to embarrass it exceedingly. The amount expended by the company in 1720, when Fort Chartres was erected, is, we believe, unknown. Evidence, however, of great prodigality almost everywhere exists; and in 1722, we find the sum of 1,163,256 livres (See Stoddart's Louisiana, 45,) disbursed in Louisiana alone, to effect objects of comparative insignificance.
French EncroachmentsWar of 1756~Said untruly by Smollet, the English Historian,
to be “a native of America”-Occasioned a transfer of the State of Illinois from the French to the English-The title to Illinois settled on the Plains of AbrahamOhio Company-English Traders arrested—Discharged at the solicitation of the Earl of Albemarle, English embassador at Paris-- The Ohio Company cause sur. veys to be made-Jealousy of the Indians excited—Indians take sides with the French-Major Washington sent by Governor Dinwiddie, with a message to the French head-quarters on the Ohio, 1753—Leads a Military Expedition thither in 1754–Colonel Washington attacks and defeats a party of French and IndiansBuilds Fort Necessity-Is attacked, and capitulates-Receives the thanks of his countrymen-Resigns his commission on account of orders being sent from Eng. land, denying Provincial officers rank when serving in the Line-Retires to Mount Vemon-General Braddock's Expedition-Colonel Washington invited to enter his family as Aid-General Braddock defeated and killed-Expedition against Crown. Point and Niagara-Abortive-War declared by England against France, and by France against England, in 1756—Attack on Niagara, Crown-Point, and Ticonderoga contemplated Postponed—Oswego taken by the French-Its garrison inhumanly massacred in part—Fort William Henry taken by the French-Attack of Louisburgh by the English postponed" to a more convenient opportunity'-William Pitt-Elected to Parliament-Made a member of the Privy Council - Dismissed Appointed Secretary of State - Attack on the French coast-Louisburgh takenSt. John surrenders-Fort Frontenac taken-Fort Du Quesne abandoned-English attack Ticonderoga, and are repulsed-Ticonderoga and Crown-Point abandonedGeneral Wolf lays siege to Quebec-Battle of Montmorenci-English defeated Extraordinary Adventure-Battle of Quebec-The latter surrenders--General Wolf killed-Honors paid to General Wolf-also to Marquis de Montcalm-The whole of Canada surrenders-Pontiac Pontiac War-Mackinaw surprised and taken by the Indians Other places also taken-Attack on Detroit-Indians repulsed-Major Campbell massacred— Pontiac assassinated-Peace of 1763— Illinois ceded to England.
THE peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1748, was only a truce. Eight years, however, of successful and unsuccessful war, had rendered peace desirable. During the progress of hostilities, nothing had been gained by either party but an accumulation of debt. Humanity had suffered without an object, and without a result. Everything taken during the war was restored, and the boundaries between the English and French colonies in North America as unsettled as before. The important questions which had provoked hostilities were still unadjusted. The contin. uance of public tranquillity was intrusted to standing armies; and the balance of power, which had puzzled so many statesmen, remained as unfixed and uncertain as ever.