Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER XIII.

Indian Tribes not included in the Peace of 1783-Indian hostilities continued-Peace of

1783 a mere truce-Western and Northwestern posts withheld-Indian hostilities instigated by the English traders and emissaries-English encroachments in Ohio Washington's opinion upon this subject-Boundaries of the United States fixed by Treaty-Violated by the English-Cause of such violation-Northwestern Territory, claimed by different States-Deeds of cession-Ordinance for its government, July 13, 1787-Relief Laws; and Laws to prevent the collection of debts by British merchants—Washington's opinion thereon-Constitution of the United States adopted-Congress resolve to chastise the Indians—General Harmer appointed Commander-in-chief-American Army consisted of 320 Regular troops and some Militia--General Harmer defeated by Little Turtle, the Miami Chief-General St. Clair appointed Governor of the Northwestern Territory-Is defeated by Little Turtle -A new Army raised-General Wayne appointed to its command-Colonel Harding, and Major Freeman of Kentucky, sent as Agents to the Miamis-Murdered General Wayne advances to Greenville-Builds Fort Recovery-British erect a fort on the Miami-Letter from General Knox to General Wayne-The latter builds Fort Defiance-General Wayne writes to Little Turtle-Little Turtle advises the savages to listen to his terms-General Wayne builds Fort Deposite_Is attacked by the Indians Defeats the latter with great loss—Treaty of Greenville, January 7, 1794 Observed faithfully till the War of 1812–Correspondence between General Wayne and Major Campbell-Effect of Wayne's victory-Treaty of amity and commerce between England and the United States, November 19, 1794Ratified afterward by the President and Senate-Western Posts given up, and peace restored to the Frontiers-American Settlements made in Illinois Its Population in 1810, 12,228.

The peace of 1783, between England and the United States, did not include the Indian allies of the former. Several tribes, therefore, continued their hostilities as before; and between 1783 and 1790, no less than one thousand five hundred and twenty men, women, and children, in Kentucky alone, were killed or carried into captivity.

We have already remarked that the peace of '83 was merely a truce, not a pacification. It was, in fact, nothing more than a temporary and reluctant sacrifice of national pride to national interest. It was not a frank and honest adjustment of differences without a wish to renew the controversy. The first American minister accredited at the English court, had scarcely passed the threshold of St. James's ere the unextin. guished animosity of the English nation toward the United States became apparent. The elder Adams, our first minister at London, in a letter to the secretary of foreign affairs, dated July 19th, 1785, says: “If Eng. land had another hundred millions to spend, they would soon force the ministry into a war with the United States.” The withholding of the western and northwestern military posts, (Mackinaw, Detroit, Niagara,

and others,) confessedly within the limits of the United States, in vio. lation of the treaty of 1783; the instigating of the Indian tribes, in alliance with Great Britain, to a renewal of hostilities; and the extending of territorial encroachments on the Miami of the lake, from whence she supplied the wants, and prompted the attacks of the numerous savage tribes, which then occupied the whole of this vast country, constitute a part only of the evidence on which this opinion is founded. “ There does not,” says President Washington, in a letter to Mr. Jay, as late as the 30th of August, 1794, “ remain a doubt in the mind of any well-informed person in this country, that all the difficulties we eneounter with the Indians, their hostilities, the murder of helpless women and children along our frontiers, result from the conduct of the agents of Great Britain in this country.” Again : “It is an undeniable fact, that they are furnishing the whole with arms, ammunition, clothing, and even provisions, to carry on the war. I might go farther, and if they are not much belied, add men also, in disguise."

5 Were nations,” says an elegant writer, “ to review in person their motives for having made war, with the means they employed, and the method by which they conducted it, they would in general find much to blame in a moral, as well as a military point of view. The conviction of the wrongs they did, and the blunders they committed, might, on another and similar occasion, improve both their skill and their tactics, and make them at once better men and abler soldiers. But as nations cannot be brought together, it rests with Government to perform this duty of selfexamination, when, if they omit it, the task devolves on the historian.”

We will endeavor, then, inasmuch as the English government and people have been exceedingly remiss, in performing this duty of selfexamination, to do it for them.

By the treaty of peace in 1783, Great Britain “ acknowledged the freedom, sovereignty, and independence of the United States.”

The boundaries of the latter were also fixed. The Mississippi on the west, and lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, Superior, and the Lake of the Woods, and their connecting rivers on the north. Mackinaw, Detroit, and Niagara, were then confessedly within the United States; and the withholding of them by the British government was, of course, a violation of the treaty. The emanation of Indian hostilities from thence was for many years too apparent to require elucidation. That the English then were in the wrong, and therefore without apology, other than that hereinafter suggested, cannot be denied. That she was prompted to this course by the supposition, “ that man is incapable of self-government;" and also by the secret and delusive hope that the union of these States would be temporary; and that a part, or perhaps the whole, would seek a reconnection with the British empire, we can readily believe.

That she has, thus far, been deceived in her anticipations, is a matter of history; and that she will, hereafter, be deceived in like manner, if such be her anticipations, is perhaps equally certain.

At the close of the American war, the confederate States were without any special bond of union, deeply involved in debt, their credit entirely ruined, and anarchy in prospect before them: to bind them together by a common tie, to raise their exhausted credit, and to meet their obligations, were considerations of the highest moment. The boundaries of several of the States were undefined; and several conflicting claims were interposed to the immense region, known and distinguished as the “ Western (now public) lands."

The Confederation asked, therefore, of the several States asserting these claims especially to lands west of the great range of mountains, which divide the waters of the Atlantic from those of the Mississippi deeds of cession of their soil and sovereignty, in order to secure harmony among the States ; to unite them more firmly by ties of interest, having property held in common, for the benefit of all; and by the gradual sale of such lands, to provide the means of paying off the revolutionary debt,

The request was met with a spirit of patriotism, and cessions were made by individual States, to nearly all of the property lying west of the Appalachian mountains, and east of the Mississippi river, embracing the the richest and best watered valley in the world.

That portion of the public lands which constituted what was then called ' the “ Northwestern Territory,” and includes now the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, and the Territory of Wisconsin; was claimed wholly by the State of Virginia, and in part by the States of New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, under their respective charters, or grants from the English crown. Their boundaries, however, were vague and uncertain, and gave rise, therefore, to claims (no matter whether real or pretended,) difficult to be adjusted.

The title of Virginia to the extensive territory-containing about one hundred and sixty-five millions of acres--was, unquestionably, better founded than that of any, or all of the other States together. In the first place, a large portion of it was included in the original patent. In the second place, its conquest was achieved by a military force, raised, equipped, and paid by the State of Virginia. And in the last place, Virginia was in the actual possession of all of this domain. A county (Illi. nois) had been organized under its jurisdiction. Justice, both civil and criminal, was administered in the name, and by the authority of the peo. ple of Virginia ; and the French inhabitants of Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Vincennes, and elsewhere, had taken the oath of allegiance to the “Commonwealth of Virginia.” On the other hand, neither Massachusetts, New. York, nor Connecticut, had enforced, or sought to enforce, actual author. ity, it is believed, over the disputed territory, or any part of it. Be that, however, as it may, the question is no longer material. The State of New York, on the 1st of March, 1780, the State of Virginia on the 23rd of April, 1784, the State of Massachusetts on the 19th of April, 1785, and the State of Connecticut on the 13th of September, 1786, ceded all their right, title, and claim, as well as soil and jurisdiction, to the United States,

to be, in the language of the grant of Virginia, held, and “considered, as a common fund, for the use and benefit of such of the United States as have become, or shall become, members of the Confederation, or federal alliance of the said States, Virginia inclusive, according to their usual respective proportions, in the general charge and expenditure ; and shall be faithfully and bona fide disposed of for that purpose, and for no other use or purpose whatever.”

In justice to the other States, we ought, perhaps, here to mention that North-Carolina, after the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, in 1790, ceded in like manner all her western lands, now the State of Tennessee ; and Georgia, in 1802, the present States of Mississippi and Alabama ; these last grants, however, were coupled with conditions (needless here to be mentioned,) which rendered them less productive than they otherwise would have been. Connecticut also, excepted in her grant of cession, what is called the Western Reserve, the jurisdiction of which, however, on the 30th of May, 1800, she released to the United States. These different cessions, together with Louisiana and Florida, afterward purchased—the former of France, on the 30th of April, 1803, and the latter of Spain, on the 22nd of February, 1819; the former con. taining 850,000,000 of acres, including Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, and Iowa, for $15,000,000 ; and the latter, about 40,000,000 of acres, for $5,000,000, and the payment of certain claims of American citizens upon the Spanish crown-constitute what is known and distinguished as the “ American Public Lands,” of which more hereafter.

Soon after the above cessions, Congress, on the 13th of July, 1787,' passed an ordinance “ for the government of the territory of the United States, northwest of the river Ohio.” The present State of Illinois being a part of the Northwestern Territory, and subject to the ordinance above mentioned until 1800, when Indiana, including Illinois, was erected into a separate territory, (Ohio at that time having been admitted into the Union as a State,) the ordinance above referred to, demands a few pass. ing remarks.

According to its provisions, a governor was to be appointed by Congress, for three years; and a secretary, in like manner, for four years. A court, consisting of three judges, was organized ; and the governor and judges were authorized to adopt and publish such laws of the original States, civil and criminal, as were necessary, and best adapted to the circumstances of the territory. As soon as there should be five thousand free male inhabitants of full age, in the district, they were authorized to elect representatives in a General Assembly; these were to hold their offices for two years. The governor, legislative council, (consisting of five members, to be appointed by Congress,) and a House of Representa. tives, were authorized to make any laws, not repugnant to the principles and articles of the ordinance of Congress, thus established and declared. The Legislature were also authorized, by joint ballot, to appoint a dele. gate to Congress, who was to have a seat therein, and the privilege of debating, but not of voting.

Certain other articles of compact between the original States, and the people and States, in the Northwestern Territory, were also incorporated into said ordinance, and were "to remain for ever unalterable, unless by common consent.” Among them are the following:

“No person shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments.

"No law shall be passed, that shall in any manner whatever interfere with, or affect private interests or engagements, bona fide, and without fraud, previously formed.

" The utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians. Their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent, unless in just and lawful wars, authorized by Congress.

“No tax shall be imposed on lands, the property of the United States; and in no case shall non-resident proprietors be taxed higher than resident.

“There shall be formed in the said territory, not less than three, nor more than five States. And the boundaries of the States, as soon as Virginia shall alter her act of cession, and consent to the same, shall become fixed and established as follows, to wit:

“ The western State in the said territory, shall be bounded by the Mississippi, Ohio, and Wabash rivers, a direct line drawn from the Wabash, and Fort Vincents, due north to the territorial line between the United States and Canada, and by the said territorial line to the Lake of the Woods and the Mississippi. The middle State shall be bounded by the said direct line, the Wabash from Post Vincents to the Ohio; by the Ohio by a direct line, drawn due north from the mouth of the Great Miami, to the said territorial line, and by the said territorial line. The eastern State shall be bounded by the last mentioned direct line, the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the said territorial line ; provided, however, and it is farther understood, and declared, that the boundaries of these three States shall be subject so far to be altered, that if Congress shall hereafter find it expedient, they shall have authority to form one or two States, in that part of the said territory which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend, or extreme of Lake Michigan.*

“ There shall be neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, other. wise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted ; provided always, that any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully re. claimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor in service, as aforesaid.”+

The government of the Northwestern Territory having been duly or. ganized by Congress, Arthur St. Clair, an officer of high rank in the rev. olutionary army, who had served with some little, though not with very, brilliant reputation, during the war, was appointed the first governor, and commander-in-chief.

His duties were exceedingly arduous; the population of the territory was small—that of Illinois proper not exceeding at the time three thousand, and scattered over a wide expanded surface. The Indians were numerous, powerful, and hostile.

* This ordinance having recently produced some angry discussion in Northern Illinois and Wisconsin, and attempts having been made, and meetings, and conventions held, in order to annex a portion of the former to the latter, the attention of the reader will again be called to that subject when we come to speak of the boundaries of Illinois.

+ The attention of the reader will again be called to the wise and benificent provisions of this ordinance, when we come to speak of slaves and slavery in Illinois.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »