Page images
PDF
EPUB

pady outblished a garrison at Buria under that of Capt.

He therefore re-enlisted his men on a new footing; raised a company among the native inhabitants, commanded by their own officers; established a garrison at Kaskaskia under the command of Capt. Williams, and another at Cahokia under that of Capt. Bowman.

While Capt. William Linn (formerly commemorated, in an early descent of the Mississippi,) who had accompanied the expedition, as a volunteer, took charge of the men who wished to return; he also had orders from Col. Clark to establish a fort at the Falls of Ohio.

On their arrival in Kentucky, Capt, Linn executed his orders by building a stockade fort at the termination of the present 12th street, on the easterly side of a large ravine, which in 1832 opened into the river. Here was planted the thrifty germ of Louisville, now the emporium of Kentucky, which seems fairly destined to grow with the countless prosperity of this great republic with whose remotest commerce and union she is vitally connected. Captain John Montgomery was also dispatched to Richmond, in Virginia, in charge of M. Rocheblave, the British commandant of Kaskaskia.*

The governor of Virginia was informed of Clark's proceedings through Capt. Montgomery, and his wish that a civil commandant should be appointed to take charge of the political affairs of this secluded portion of the Commonwealth.

In consequence of this recommendation, an act was passed by the legislature of Virginia, in October 1778, enacting that all the

* The fort here mentioned at Louisville was, in 1782, succeeded by a larger one, built by the regular troops, assisted by the militia from all the settled parts of the District of Kentucky. It was situated between the present (1833) 6th and 8th streets, in the northern side of Main street, immediately on the bank of the river. In honor of the third republican governor of Virginia, it was called Fort Nelson. Seventh street passed through the first gate, opposite to the head quarters of the then General Clark.

This early and principal military defence, in this part of the valley, deserves a few more particulars. It contained about an acre of ground, and was surrounded by a ditch eight feet deep and ten feet wide, intersected in the middle by a row of shard pickets; this ditch was surmounted by a breastwork of log pens or inclosures filled with earth obtained from the ditch, together with pickets ten feet high planted on the top of the breast work. Next to the river, pickets alone were deemed sufficient aided by the long slope of the river bank. Some of the remains of these pickets were dug up, in the summer of 1832, in 'excavating the cellars for Mr. John Love's stores, on Main street, opposite to the Louisville Hotel. There was artillery in the fort, particularly a double fortified brass piece which had been captured by Clark at Vincer.nes. This piece played no inconsiderable part in the military operatious of this day of small things, insignificant as they must appear to a regular military critic. The ground of both these forts was personally inspected by the author, in company with the late Capt. Donne, a well known pilot of the Falls, from whom these particulars were learned.

citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia who are already settled or shall hereafter settle on the western side of the Ohio, shall be included in a district county, which shall be called Illinois county.+ The same statute authorised the appointment of a County Lieutenant, or commandant in chief, in that county, who was himself empowered to appoint deputy commandants and commissaries as he might think proper. In addition to this Virginia organiza. tion of Illinois, “all civil officers to which the inhabitants have been accustomed, necessary for the preservation of the peace, and the administration of justice, shall be chosen by a majority of the citizens in their respective districts, to be convened for that purpose by the County Lieutenant or commandant, or his deputy.”'I Col. John Todd, who afterwards lost his life at the disastrous battle of the Blue Licks so much to the regret of the country, received the appointment of Commandant and Lieutenant Colonel of the County of Illinois : a mark of no ordinary confidence for an appointment in a distant province of Virginia. A regiment of five hundred men was also authorized to be raised and an opening of communications with the Spanish city of New Orleans was directed, for the support of this detachment.. .

About the middle of August Capt. Leonard Helm was appointed by Col. Clark, with no little grandiloquence, commandant at St. Vincents, and "agent for Indian affairs in the department of the Wabash.This officer was particularly recommended to Clark by his knowledge of deportment and general prudence of character.* . In addition to these civil regulations, Colonel Clark entered into a series of Indian treaties, the first which our countrymen held with the Indians of this portion of the West. These were conducted with an efficiency and dignity, as well as attended with such remarkable circumstances, as to deserve particular detail. Clark had always thought that the policy of inviting Indians to treat, was founded in a mistaken estimate of their character; they always looked upon such invitations, he believed, as evidences either of fear or weakness, or both. He, therefore, studiously avoided every invitation of the sort, and waited for the Indians to request a treaty; while he fought them fiercely and en.

† Henning's Statutes at large, and Dillon, 150.

Dillon, 150, 151.

• An ancestor of a distinguished family in Kentucky, one of whom was lately Lieutenant Governor of the State.

ergetically, until they did so. Col. Clark had made himself acquainted with the French and Spanish modes of treating the Indians, and had been long devoted to the study of the Indian character. In consequence of this, he determined to guard against spoiling the Indians, as had been too much the case in negotiating the English treaties ; to use the strictest reserve, and to grant presents with a niggardly hand, as wrung from him, rather than as spontaneous and willing gratifications. These are principles of conduct founded on a profound knowledge of our indigenous barbarians; the propriety of which is confirmed by the success of Col. Clark, in the weakness of his military force, over the Indian multitude all around bim; and it is well contrasted with any subsequent negotiations with the red men.

The ceremonies of the first and ancient council of our countrymen with these remote sons of the forest are worth recording, as they are found in the memoir of the negotiator himself.

These treaties began about the 1st of September, 1778, in the neighborhood of Cahokia. The parties both white and red had assembled, when the chief who was to open the council, as the Indians were the solicitors, advanced to the table at which Col. Clark was sitting, with the belt of peace in his hand, another with the sacred pipe, and a third with fire to kindle it. After the pipe was lighted, it was presented to the heavens, then to the earth, and completing a circle, was presented to all the spirits invoking them to witness what was about to be done.

The pipe was now presented to Col. Clark, and afterwards to every person present. *

After these formalities the speaker addressed himself to the Indians as follows: “Warriors, you ought to be thankful that the Great Spirit has taken pity on you, has cleared the sky and opened your ears and hearts so that you may hear the truth. We have been deceived by bad birds flying through the land, [meaning the British emissaries]; but we will take up the bloody hatchet no more against the Big Knife, [meaning our countrymen]; and we hope that as the Great Spirit has brought us together for good, as he is good, 80 we may be received as friends; and peace may take the place of the bloody belt.” The speaker then threw into the middle of the room the bloody belt of wampumi, and flags which had been

• Clark's memoir.

received from the British and stamped upon them, in token of their rejection.

To this address, Clark very guardedly and coldly replied: “I have paid attention to what has been said, and will tomorrəw give you an answer, when I hope the hearts of all people will be ready to receive the truth. But I recommend them to keep prepared for the result of this council, upon which their very existence as nations depends. I desire them not to let any of our people shake hands with them, as peace was not yet made; and it was time enough to give the hand, when the heart could be given also.” An Indian chief rejoined to this address that “such sentiments are like men who had but one heart, and did not speak with a forked tongue.” The council then rose, until the next day, when Clark delivered to the Indians again assembled the following address, which is taken literally from his memoir: “Men and Warriors. Pay attention to my words. You informed me yesterday, that the Great Spirit had brought us together, and that you hoped that as he was good, it would be for good. I have also the same hope, and expect that each party will strictly adhere to whatever may be agreed on, whether it shall be peace or war; and hence forward, prove ourselves worthy of the protection of the Great Spirit. I am a man and a warrior, not a counsellor; I carry war in my right hand, and in my left, peace. I am sent by the Great Council of the Big Knife and their friends, to take possession of all the towns pussessed by the English in this country, and to watch the motions of the Red people ; to bloody the paths of those who attempt to stop the course of the river; but to clear the roads from us to those that desire to be at peace; that the women and children may walk in them, without meeting anything to strike their feet against. I am ordered to call upon the Great Fire for warriors enough to darken the land, that the Red people may hear no sound but of birds that live on blood."

"I know there is a mist before your eyes; I will dispel the clouds, that you may clearly see the causes of the war between the Big Knife and the English ; then you may judge for yourselves, which party is in the right; and if you are warriors, as you profess yourselves to be, prove it by adhering faithfully to the one which you shall believe to be entitled to your friendship; and not show yourselves squaws.”

“The Big Knife is very much like the Red people, they don't know how to make blankets and powder and cloth; they buy these things from the English,from whom they are sprung. They live by making corn, hunting and trade, as you and your neighbors the French do. But the Big Knife daily getting more numerous, like the trees in the woods, the land became poor and hunting scarce; and having but little to trade with, the women began to cry at seeing their children naked, and they tried to make clothes for themselves.

They soon made blankets for their husbands and children, and the men learned to make guns and powder. In this way, we did not want to buy so much from the English ; they then got mad with us, and sent strong garrisons through our country, (as you see they have done among you on the lakes, and among the French); they would not let our women spin, nor our men make powder ; nor le: us trade with any body else. The English said we should buy everything from them, and since we had got saucy, we should give two bucks for a blanket, which we used to get for one; we should do as they pleased; and they killed some of our people, to make the rest fear them.”

“This is the truth and the real cause of the war between the English and us, which did not take place for some time after this treatment. But our women became cold and hungry, and continued to cry; our young men became lost for want of counsel to put them in the right path. The whole land was dark, the old men held down their heads for shame, because they could not see the sun, and thus there was mourning for many years over the land.”

“At last the Great Spirit took pity on us, and kindled a great council fire, that man goes out at a place called Philadelphia ; he then stuck down a post, and put a war tomahawk by it, and went away. The sun immediately broke out; the sky was blue again ; the old men held up their heads and assembled at the fire; they took up the hatchet, sharpened it and put it into the hands of our young men, ordered them to strike the English as long as they could find one, on this side of the great waters. The young men immediately struck the war post and blood was shed. In this way the war began; and the English were driven from one place to another, until they got weak, and then they hired you Red people to fight for them. The Great Spirit got angry at this, and caused your old Father, the French king, and other great nations to join the Big Knife and fight with them against all their enemies. So

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »