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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, the faireøt 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 bronght thither, or otherwise 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-Monsiear 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 Vir· ginia—M. Rocheblave, late Governor of Kaskaskia, sent a prisoner to VirginiaHis conduct prevents Colonel Clarke's intentions from being carried into effectCaptain Helm's reception in Kaskaskia—Tobacco, an Indian chief-Colonel Clarke reěnlists 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 incident Blackbird, 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 warIntelligence 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 compelled, against his wishes, to resort to other means for its accomplishment than to military force.
As a preliminary step, he taught his soldiers to speak of the Falls of the Ohio, as the head-quarters of his army, and of the troops which had accompanied him to Kaskaskia, as a detachment only from the main body. He also gave notice, that reinforcements were daily expected, and that on their arrival, military movements upon an extended scale would immediately take place; this he considered necessary, to justify himself for having invaded Illinois with so small a force. He also established courts, (held by French judges elected by the people,) with a right of appeal to himself; these became popular, and aided essentially to confirm his power.
In the meantime, M. Cere, the French merchant, (of whom we have already spoken,) unwilling to be longer separated from his family, and unwilling also that they alone should be kept in duress, became desirous of visiting Kaskaskia, the place of his former residence : deeming it, how. ever, unsafe to go thither without a protection, he procured a letter from the Spanish governor at St. Louis, and another from the Spanish commandant, at St. Genevieve, together with numerous recommendations from the most respectable citizens of each, to obtain the security he desired. Clarke, however, was inexorable; the application was refused, and an intimation thrown out, that the application need not be repeated. He, at the same time, told the messenger, that he understood M. Cere was “a sensible man,” and if he was innocent of the charge of inciting the sav. ages against the Americans, he had nothing to apprehend. Soon afterward, M. Cere, to whom these sentiments of Colonel Clarke had been communicated, repaired to Kaskaskia, and without visiting his family, waited immediately on Colonel Clarke. He was told by the latter, that he stood charged with inciting the savages to murder and devastations on the American frontiers ; that it was an affair which behoved every civ. ilized people to punish with the utmost severity, when such violators of honorable warfare were in their power; and that if he was guilty of the offence charged, he must expect nothing from his lenity.
M. Cere repelled the accusation with considerable warmth ; said he was a mere merchant, and had never interfered with matters of state, beyond what his business required; that his remote situation had prevented him from understanding the merits of the controversy between Great Britain and her colonies; that he defied any man to prove that he had encouraged Indian depredations; and that he could produce many, who had known him condemn such cruelties in the most decisive terms. He at the same time remarked, that there were many in Kaskaskia in. debted to him, who might, perhaps, by his ruin, seek to discharge their pecuniary obligations. He courted, however, inquiry, and wished to see his accusers face to face. This was the very thing which the American commander desired. M. Cere, therefore, withdrew to another apartment, and Colonel Clarke sent for his accusers; they attended immediately, followed by a large portion of the inhabitants of Kaskaskia. M. Cere was summoned to confront them. His accusers were apparently con.
founded. Colonel Clarke, thereupon, told them that he had no disposition to condemn any person unheard. That M. Cere was now present, and that he (Clarke) was now ready to repair the injury which the civilized world had received at his hands, if guilty of the alleged crime. His ac. cusers began to whisper with each other, and retire, one by one, until a single individual only was left. Colonel Clarke called on him for his proof: he said he had none to produce; and M. Cere was thereupon honorably acquitted—not more, however, to his satisfaction, than to the satisfaction of Colonel Clarke, (who esteemed him highly,) and the nume. rous and respectable friends of the accused in Kaskaskia. He was then congratulated on his acquittal, and informed, that although it was desi. rable that he should become an American citizen ; unless he sincerely wished to do so, he was at liberty to dispose of his property and remove elsewhere. M. Cere, delighted with the frank and generous treatment of Colonel Clarke, at once took the oath of allegiance, and became there. after a valuable friend to America and her cause.
Colonel Clarke, by policy, rather than by force, had now reduced all the British posts in Illinois; and on the 23rd of November, 1778, received, together with his brave officers and men, from the House of Delegates of Virginia, a unanimous vote of thanks, “ for their extraordinary resolution and perseverance in so hazardous an enterprise, and for the important. service thereby rendered their country.”
The British post at Vincennes now occupied the thoughts of Clarke ; indeed it never was," as he says, “out of his mind.” He therefore sent for M. Gibault, the Roman Catholic priest of Kaskaskia, (who was also priest of Vincennes,) and obtained all the intelligence he desired. M. Gibault informed him, that Governor Abbot had gone to Detroit, upon business; and that the military expedition from the Falls to St. Vincents, of which Colonel Clarke had so frequently spoken, was wholly unnecessary; and offered, if it met with Colonel Clarke's approbation, to take the business on himself;" he said, “ he had no doubt of being able to bring that place over to the American interest without the trouble of sending a military force against it.” The offer was accepted, and Doctor La Font was appointed as a temporal member of the embassy. On the 14th of July, the gentlemen above named, accompanied by a spy of Clarke's, set off for St. Vincents. An explanation took place between the priest and his flock, and in two or three days, the inhabitants threw off their allegiance to the British authorities, and assembled in the church, and took an oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia. A commandant was elected, and the American flag displayed, to the astonishment of the Indians. The savages were told, “that their old father, the King of the French, had come to life again, and was mad with them for fighting for the English ; and if they did not want the land to be bloody with war, they must make peace with the Americans." On the 1st of August, M. Gibault and party returned to Kaskaskia, with the intelligence, that everything was peaceably adjusted at St. Vincents, in favor of the Amer.