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surmountable difficulties incident to every branch of industry not based upon a reasonable amount of capital.
While we do not claim for this measure the degree of consideration due to a system of banking, or to the repeal of the usury laws, yet, it is to be regarded as an important feature in an enlightened and liberal system of public economy.
Within the period of a few years past, Missouri has entered upon a new career. She has undertaken works of great magnitude, and doubtless of great utility; the prosperity of the people at home, and the character of the State abroad, depends in no small degree upon the successful achievement of her schemes of improvement, and it behooves her legislators to discard the prejudices which have in times past retarded her progress, and adopt all such measures as are calculated to invite capital from abroad, and call into active and efficient service every useful faculty of the people, whether physical, mental or moral.
Valley of the Ohio.
BY MANN BUTLER, ESQ.
Continued from page 172, vol. XII. Vo. 3. MISSION OF FATHER GIBAULT FROM KASKASKIA TO VINCENNES IN 1778.
HIS SUCCESS IN REDUCING IT UNDER THE GOVERNMENT OF VIRGINIA. CLARK'S NOTIONS OF INDIAN NEGOTIATIONS, GREAT INDIAN COUNCIL AT CAHOKIA ; CEREMONIES, SPEECHES. RECAPTURE OF VINCENNES BY THE BRITISH. CAPT. HELM. GOV. HAMILTON. BRITISH PLAN OF CONQUEST FOR THE WESTERN COUNTRY. CLARK'S PLAN FOR RECOVERING VINCENNES FRCM THE BRITISH.
For the gallant and well executed movement against Kaskaskia and Cahokia, Clark with his brave officers and men received the thanks of the House of Delegates of Virginia, "for their extraordinary resolution and perseverance in so hazardous an enterprise, and for the important services thereby rendered their country.”* This is the first public testimonial of Clark's services to his native State, and the republic at large; and well and most justly did he, his officers and men deserve them.
* This vote was as follows:
IN THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES,
Monday, 230 November, 1778. ) Whereas authentic information has been received that Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark, with a body of Virginia militia, has reduced the British posts in the western part of this Commonwealth, on the Mississippi and its
But though Clark had met with a success -80 much beyond his means and almost beyond his expectations ; although the country was apparently subjected and even attached to the American government, yet, his uneasiness was great. He was fully aware of the critical delicacy of his situation; and the necessity of exerting all the address he was master of, to maintain his position with service to his country and honor to himself. A close understanding was cultivated with the Spanish officers on the opposite side of the Mississippi ; as every influence was required to counteract the extended influence of the British.
They had distributed the bloody belt and hatchet from Lake Superior to the Mississippi and Ohio. In this long chain of intrigue with the Indians, Post St. Vincent, now better known as Vincennes, formed an important link; owing not only to the warlike chararcter of the adjacent tribes, but also to their contiguity to Kaskaskia, and the settlements of Kentucky.
Yet its capture was utterly beyond the power of the handful of troops, "joined by every man in Kentucky;"+ Clark therefore resorted to other means. The American soldiers were instructed to speak of the Falls of Ohio, as the head quarters of the army, from which the present troops were only a detachment; that reinforcements were daily expected from that point, which was fortifying; and that when they arrived, more extensive military movements would
Some such artifice was deemed necessary to excuse the apparent rashness of invading the Illinois with so small a force.
Courts of civil jurisdiction were likewise established by Clark, which were held by French judges freely chosen by the people, leaving an appeal to Clark.
About this time, M. Gabriel Cerre, who was before mentioned, uneasy that his family and property should be alone kept under guari, at Kaskaskia, and fearful of venturing into the power of
branches, whereby great advantage may accrue to the common cause of America, as well as to this Commonwealth in particular;
Resolved, that the thanks of this House are justly due to the said Col. Clark and the brave officers and inen under his command, for their extraordinary resolution and perseverance in so hazardous an enterprise, and for their important services thereby rendered their country,
Test. E. RANDOLPH, C. H. D. † Memoirs of Clark.
an American officer without a safe conduct, procured the recommendation of the Spanish governor of St. Louis, as well as the commandant at Ste. Genevieve supported by the influence of the greater part of the citizens ; for the purpose of obtaining this security. It was all in vain; Col. Clark peremptorily refused it, and intimated that he wished to hear no more such applications ; he understood, he said, that M. Cerre was a "sensible man," and if he were innocent of the charge of inciting the Indians against the Americans, he need not be afraid of delivering himself up. Backwardness would only increase suspicion against him. Shortly after this expression of Clark's sentiments, M. Cerre, to whom they were no doubt communicated, repaired to Kaskaskia, and before visiting his family immediately waited on Col. Clark who informed him, that the crime with which he stood charged, was encouraging the Indians in their murders and devastations on our own frontiers. An enormity, continued Clark, whose perpetrators, it behooved every civilized people to punish, whenever they got such violators of the laws of honorable warfare within their power. To this accusation Mr. Cerre frankly replied, that he was a mere merchant, and had never been concerned in affairs of State beyond the interests of his business. In fine this eminent French merchant declared his willingness to meet the strictest enquiry into the only heinous charge against him. This was everything the American commander required; he then desired M. Cerre to retire into another room, while he sent for his accusers. They immediately attended followed by the greater part of the inhabitants.
M. Cerre was summoned to confront them: the parties were told by Col. Clark that he had no disposition to condemn any man unheard; that the accused was now present, and he [Clark] was ready to do justice to the civilized world by punishing him, if guilty of inciting Indians to commit their enormities on helpless women and children. The accusers began to whisper to one another and retire until but one was left of six or seven at first. This person was asked for his proof of the charges against M. Cerre ; but he had none to produce, and the French merchant was honorably acquitted, not more to his own satisfaction than to that of his neighbors and friends. M. Cerre delighted at the fair and generous treatment he had met with from Col. Clark, immediately took the oath of allegiance and became a "most valuable” friend to the American cause.
So successful was the management of Clark, that whether he
bribed or whether he punished, both methods were made conducive to the public interest. In this case, as in that of the inhabitants of Kaskaskia in general, he kept up an appearance of rigor for the purpose of enhancing the indulgence he wished and determined to employ ; reserve in favors was a common feature in his policy.
Post St. Vincents still continued to occupy the thoughts of Clark as a point of great importance to the safety of his present position, and to the extension of the Virginia dominion. “It was never,” he says, “out of my mind.” It had indeed occupied his thoughts, on his first descent of the Ohio river; and was only relinquished at that time, from his weakness. These early inclinations were renewed by his success at Kaskaskia ; and he sent for M. Gibault, the Roman catholic priest of this village, as well as of St. Vincents.
This gentleman, who subsequently received the public thanks of Virginia for his distinguished services, had been steadily attached to the American cause. He readily gave Col. Clark every information he desired; told him that Gov. Abbot, the commandant, had lately gone from St. Vincents on business to Detroit; that a military expedition from the Falls of Ohio against St. Vincents, (which Clark pretended to meditate,) was scarcely necessary. This patriotic priest offered, if it met the approbation of Colonel Clark, "to take the business on himself, and he had no doubt of his being able to bring that place over to the American interest, without,” he said, “my being at the trouble of marching against it."
Nor is it unfair to believe that this patriotic clergyman may have taken into consideration the interests of his parishioners of St. Vincents, by trying to save them from the chances of military violence, as well as to promote the extension of the new country of his adoption. The generous and equal spirit justly exbibited by Col. Clark to the Roman Catholics of the Illinois, and which Protestant bigotry had too rarely imitated, together with his paternal administration, all united to propagate American influence, and extend its arms over these Roman Catholic villages.
To the offers of M. Gibault Clark readily aşsented; for it was the fondest wish of his heart; yet he scarcely ventured to indulge it. At the request of M. Gibault, Doctor La Forge was associated with him as a temporal member of the embassy. The prin
cipal charge of the business was placed in the hands of the good priest.
On the 14th of July, the French gentlemen accompanied by a spy of Clark, (an auxiliary which he seems hardly even to have omitted in the missions he employed,) set off for St. Vincents, or 0. Post. * In two or three days, after the arrival of this rather extraordinary embassy, and the enjoyment of full explanation between the priest and his flock, the inhabitants threw off the yoke of the British government, and assembling in a body at the church, took the oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia. A commandant was elected, and the American flag immediately displayed over the fort, to the astonishment of the Indians.
Thus again feil another of the French settlements, founded in all probability about 1735.This event is to be attributed to the friendly influence of M. Gibault, added to the good will of the inhabitants towards the Americans, as the friends and allies of France, and now enemies to their old antagonists, the English. The savages were told by their French friends, bthat their old Father, the King of France, had come to life again, and was mad with them for fighting for the English; that if they did not wish the land to be bloody with war, they must make peace with the Americans.”
About the 1st of August, 1778, M. Gibault and party returned with the joyful intelligence of having peaceably adjusted everything at St. Vincents, in favor of the American interest; no less to the astonishment of Clark, than to his gratification and that of the inhabitants of Kaskaskia.
A new source of perplexity now opened in the mind of Colonel Clark; the three months for which his men had enlisted now expired.. But the discretionary authority so wisely lodged with an officer acting on so remote a stage, and under such embarrassing difficulties, determined him to strain his authority to preserve the public interest, for which it was conferred upon him. He could not divert himself of the only American power on which he could rely, in any emergency, without hazarding the whole fruit of his bold and successful expedition.
* A corruption of the French. Au Post, as it was often called.
See an elaborate discussion of the foundation of Vincennes, by the esteemed, truthful and inquisitive Perkins, 66, 67, 20 Edit. Annals of the West. Bancroft, III,