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Continental army--General Pomeroy the first. General Pomeroy, not accepting the appointment, the claim of General Montgomery, according to military notions, became per fect Congress, however, conferred the vacant situation upon General Thomas, who was originally the sixth. This advancement of a junior over a senior officer, Congress thinking might prove offensive to a man of Montgomery's rigid notions of military honor, (he having been bred in the best military schools in Europe,) and being conscious of their offence, they directed James Duane, a member of their body, from New York, to write to him and explain away the matter as well as he could. He did so, and received the following in reply, which contains the elements of true greatness. DEAR SIR:
“I have been honored with your letter of the 21st instant. My acknowledgments are due for the attention shown me by Congress.
“I submit with great cheerfulness to any regulation they, in their prudence, shall judge expedient. Laying aside the principles of the soldier, I shall endeavor to discharge my duty to society-considering myself as the citizen, reduced to the melancholy neces. sity of taking up arms, for the public safety. I am, etc.
“ RICHARD MONTGOMERY. “Hon. JAMES DUANE."
Mr. Cooper, in describing the scene, graphically remarks: “At this critical moment, the Niagara came steadily down, within half pistol-shot of the enemy; standing between the Chippeway and Lady Prevost on one side, and the Detroit, Queen Charlotte, and Hanter on the other. In passing, she poured in her broadsides, starboard and larboard ; ranged ahead of the ships, luffed athwart their bows, and continued delivering a close and deadly fire. The shrieks from the Detroit proved that the tide of battle had turned. At the same moment, the gun vessels and the Caledonia were throwing in, also, discharges oí grape and canister astern. A conflict so fearfully close and so deadly, was necessarily short. In fifteen or twenty minutes after the Niagara bore up, a hail was passed among the smaller vessels that the enemy had struck; and an officer of the Queen Charlotte appeared on the taffrail of that ship, waving a white handkerchief bent to a boarding-pike.”
Mr. Cooper's work having a tendency to exalt Captain Elliot at the expense of Commodore Perry; it having also excited much interest, especially of late, and called forth a great deal of unnecessary vituperation, the battle of Lake Erie demands some further comments
Each officer was directed by Commodore Perry to bring his vessel into line at "halfcable length from the enemy. Did Captain Elliot do so ? or was he prevented from thus doing by necessity? And what was, or rather what would have been the consequence of this omission, had it not been for the extraordinary-the desperate measure resorted to by Commodore Perry ?
Had the Niagara “ followed the little Caledonia into the thickest of the fight ;" had she taken her position in line, and bore her part in the action, the battle would at once have been decided. By Captain Elliot's neglect or omission, the Lawrence was compelled to fight, single-handed, the Detroit, the Queen Charlotte, and the Hunter, at the same time, for two hours ; during which period every gun was dismounted, and almost every man killed or wounded. The Lawrence was at that time wholly unmanageablea wreck upon the water. The victory on the part of the British was then decisive. Commodore Perry, however, by leaving his disabled ship, going on board the Niagara, and bringing her into action, (the smaller vessels following in his wake,) restored the battle, won a victory, captured a whole fleet, and, in defiance of the studious want of exertion on the part of Captain Elliot, his second in command, acquired imperishable laurels.
In going from the Lawrence to the Niagara, fifteen minutes were consumed; and in bringing the latter into action, fighting, and winning the battle, fifteen more. Thus
thirty minutes were profitably spent. It was in this way “the battle of Lake Erie was won, by the personal exertions of Commodore Perry.”
It was scarcely surpassed by Paul Jones, in the revolutionary war, when he," at the head of a little privateer," fought the whole British fleet of twenty-three sail of the line."
The inquiry has often been made : Who killed Tecumseh? The answer is attended with more difficulty than is generally supposed. The proof is contradictory. The cir. cumstances stated by many are impossible, and some of them inconsistent with each other. In one respect the witnesses all agree, and in one only : “ That Tecumseh was killed at the battle of the Thames.” That Colonel Johnson, from his situation, might have done it, and probably did—but of this there is no certainty, nor is it essential to Colonel Johnson's fame to have it so.
The grave of Tecumseh, it is said, was visible a few years since, near the borders of a willow-marsh, on the north line of the battle-ground, with a large fallen oak tree lying beside it. He was “there left alone in bis glory." The British government, having previously appointed him a brigadier-general, afterward granted a pension to his widow and family.
“ Higgins was insensible for several days, and his life was preserved by continual care. His friends extracted two of the balls from his thigh ; two, however, yet remained-one of which gave him a good deal of pain. Hearing, afterward, that a physician had settled within a day's ride of him, he determined to go and see him. The physician (whose name is spared,) asked him fifty dollars for the operation. This Higgins flatly refused, saying it was more than a half year's pension. On reaching home, he found the exercise of riding had made the ball discernible ; he requested his wife, therefore, to hand him his razor. With her assistance, he laid open his thigh, until the edge of the razor touched the bullet ; then inserting his two thumbs into the gash,' he flirted it out,' as he used to say, 'without costing him a cent. The other ball yet remained; it gave him, however, but little pain, and he carried it with him to his grave.
“ Higgins died in Fayette county, Illinois, a few years since. He was the most perfect specimen of a frontier man in his day, and was once assistant door-keeper of the House of Representatives, in Illinois."
The above account is taken principally from a newspaper. Its writer is unknown. The facts, however, therein stated, are familiar to many, and were first communicated to the author by one of the justices of the Supreme Court of this State. They have since been confirmed by others, to whom Higgins was personally known, and there is no doubt of their correctness.
Illinois admitted into the Union December 3rd, 1818—Its territorial Government before
Ninian Edwards Governor-Property of the State on its admission-Conditions,
ILLINOIS, we have already remarked, was admitted into the Union, and became an independent State, on the 3rd of December, 1818. Previous to that time, and after the peace of 1783, it had been a part of Virginia ; afterward a part of the Northwestern Territory ; then a part of the Indiana Territory; and lastly, a territory of itself, including Wisconsin. It had passed also through two grades (the first and second,) of territorial government. That each may be understood, some further remarks are requisite.
In addition to the claim set up by Virginia, as patentee of the immense region bounded by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and by Canada, known and distinguished for many years as the Northwestern Territory—which claim she successfully asserted by force of arms, and held afterward by right of conquest-Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, respectively advanced similar ones each to a portion. Vague, however, as they were—too much so to deserve serious consideration—they embarrassed, for some time, the councils of the nation, not on account of their merits, but the pertinacity with which they were urged.
It was by many contended that a vacant territory, wrested from the common enemy by the united arms and common treasure of all the States, belonged of right to the Union. However plausible the argument and just the conclusion, with some it was anything else than satisfactory. In the first place it was not, said the Virginians, a vacant territory, being a part of the old original patent of Virginia; in the second place, it was conquered, not by the arms of the whole, but by the arms of Virginia only; and in the third place, it was, for many years, held and occupied exclusively by Virginia ; her jurisdiction having been, during that time, extended over it, and justice having been administered in her name. Hence the difficulty, serious we admit; and hence, too, the necessity of cession by a part, for the joint benefit of the whole.
New York first released her interest therein to the confederated States, for a certain purpose specified in the deed of cession, as we have already
seen ; Virginia, in 1784, did the like ; and Massachusetts, also, in 1785; Connecticut, in 1786, made her tardy sacrifice for the general good, and received in lieu thereof a donation of lands, which afterward laid the foundation of her school fund. Virginia, in her deed of cession, merely required, that the territory northwest of the Ohio, should be divided into not less than three nor more than five States, according to the ordinance afterward made by Congress, in 1787, before referred to; that the French settlers should be confirmed in their possessions; and that certain lands should be reserved for the use of George Rogers Clarke, and the officers and soldiers who served under him in the memorable expedition which, in 1778, terminated in its conquest.
The United States having become its sole proprietor, Congress, shortly thereafter, passed the celebrated ordinance of July 13th, 1787; which originated in great wisdom, and has since been regarded as an act of the highest importance. In it we find the noblest sentiments of benevolence, and the soundest maxims of civil polity
On the 7th of August, 1789, soon after the Constitution of the United States was adopted, a government over the Northwestern Territory was established by Congress, and Arthur St. Clair appointed its first governor.
On the 7th of May, 1800, the Northwestern Territory was divided, and two separate territorial governments were formed ; the western division, including Illinois, was called Indiana, and William H. Harrison, late President of the United States, was appointed its first governor.
On the 3rd of February, 1809, all that part of tae Indiana territory, which lies west of the Wabash river, and a direct line from the river at Vincennes, due north to the territorial line between the United States and Canada, was constituted a separate territory by the name of Minois ; and Ninian Edwards was appointed its first governor. The Territory of Illinois, in 1809, it will therefore be seen, included the present State of Illinois, and the whole of the Wisconsin Territory.
On the 20th of May, 1812, Illinois passed from the first to the second grade of territorial government; and, for the first time, sent a delegate to Congress. The right of suffrage was, at the same time, extended to all its inhabitants, and the property qualifications required by the ordi. nance of 1787, in the voter, was abolished.
By the above ordinance, the territorial governments of the first grade were organized by the appointment of a governor, who held his office for three years; to reside in the district, and have a freehold estate therein of one thousand acres of land; a secretary, who held his office for four years, to reside also in the district, and have a freehold estate of five hundred acres of land; and a court, to consist of three judges, to reside in the district, and have a freehold estate therein each of five hundred acres of land. These several officers were appointed by the President and Senate of the United States; and the latter held their commissions during good behavior.
The governor and judges, or a majority of them, were required to adopt and publish in the district, such laws of the original States, criminal and civil, as should be necessary and best suited to the circumstances of the district, and report them to Congress from time to time, which laws should be in force in the district until the organization of a General Assembly therein, unless disapproved of by Congress.
All magistrates and civil officers, and all military officers under the rank of brigadier-general, were appointed by the governor; and the sole power of dividing the district into counties and townships was vested in the latter. Under a government thus constituted, Mlinois continued from 1809 till 1812, when she entered upon the second grade of territorial gov. ernment.
The governor, appointed and commissioned, as before ; a Legislative Council, consisting of five members, and a House of Representatives elected by the people, were now authorized to make laws “ for the government of the district, not repugnant to the principles and articles established and declared in the ordinance above alluded to.” The Legislative Council were appointed by the president and Senate, and commissioned by the former; and to be selected from a list of ten persons to be furnished by the House of Representatives in the district. A delegate to Congress was also elected by the people, with a right to speak, but not to vote in that body.
Under this form of government Illinois continued from 1812 till 1818, at which time she was admitted into the Union a free and sovereign State.
On her admission in the manner above mentioned, one section, of six hundred and forty acres of land, in each township, was granted to its inhabitants for the use of common schools; all salt springs within the State, and lands reserved for the same, were granted to the State, with a proviso, that the latter should never sell them or lease them, for a longer period than ten years at any one time. Five per cent. out of the net proceeds of all land sales within its limits, were also given to the State, two-fifths of which were to be disbursed by Congress, in making roads thither; and the residue to be appropriated by its Legislature, for the encouragement of learning ; of which last, one-sixth part was to be exclusively bestowed on a college or seminary. Two entire townships were also granted to the State for the use of a seminary of learning.
The people of Illinois became thus invested with one thirty-sixth part of the whole area of the State, for the use of common schools ; and with two entire townships for the use of a seminary of learning. She became entitled, also, to two-and-a-half per cent. on all moneys received for lands sold within the State, to be appropriated by ics Legislature for the encour. agement of learning ; and one-half of one per cent., to be exclusively bestowed upon a college or seminary. The saline lands belonged also to the State in fee; and two per cent. on all moneys received for lands sold within it, were to be appropriated by Congress in the construction of a road, or roads leading thither. A more ample provision surely, for edu. cation and internal improvements, can nowhere else be found.