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according to appearances, discharge into the Gulf of Mexico, and here he hopes to find a communication with the sea."
No conjecture respecting La Salle's operations on the Ohio has yet been formed that reconciles these conflicting accounts.
In nothing direct from his pen does La Salle refer to the desertion of his men after leaving the Falls of the Ohio. According to the supposed recitalof Armand de Bourbon, he had made a long journey from thence by land, the direction of which is not known. He may have been at that time in Kentucky or Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois or Ohio. If he proceeded westerly he was constantly increasing the distance from Montreal, and whether he was north or south of the Ohio, it is scarcely credible that he should find his way back alone in the winter of 166970. In the spring of 1681 he made that sad trip from "Crèvecæeur" to Niagara, with an Indian and four men, which occupied sixty-five days. It would consume fully as much time to return from the Falls of the Ohio. He could not have examined the country near the river, below the falls, or he would not have reported that it is a vast marsh, with intricate channels, along which it flowed a great distance before uniting in a single bed. He could not have traveled far west of the meridian of the falls without hearing of the Mississippi and making an effort to reach it, for it was only through this river that he then expected to reach the Red sea on the route to China.
La Salle could not have explored the falls very minutely, and have spoken of them as very high, nor of the country below as a vast marsh with numerous and intricate channels. If, in his land journey, he had gone in a northwesterly direction, he would have struck the Wabash or its main branches in about one hundred and twenty-five miles. In a southwesterly direction, the Cumberland and the Tennessee are rivers of equal magnitude, the waters of which he must have encountered in a few days' travel.
Whatever Indians he met would be closely questioned, and if they communicated anything, the Great river must have been the first object of their thoughts. An observation of either of these three rivers by La Salle, in the lower part of their course, or even secondhand information respecting them from the savages, must have led a mind so acute as his, sharpened by his purposes and his surroundings, to the conclusion that he was near the Mississippi.
Did he reach this conclusion, and find himself baffled by the clamors or the desertion of his men? Did he find means to procure other men and supplies without returning to Montreal? It appears from the "Coionie Francaise,' Vol. III., that in the summer of 1671 he had com
munication with Montreal, where he obtained a credit of 454 livres tournois. Did this enable him to pass from the waters of the Ohio to those of Lake Erie, and undertake a long cruise through the lakes to the Illinois country?
Whatever reply should be made to these queries, it is reasonably evident that when his great work of 1679 was undertaken, he did not know that the Ohio is a tributary of the Mississippi, or whether the great unknown river would conduct them to the South sea. The discoveries of Joliet in 1673 did not remove these doubts from the minds of the governor-general or the geographers of that period.
La Salle, as late as 1682, after having been at the mouth of the Mississippi, was inclined to the opinion that the Ohio ran into a great (but imaginary) river, called Chucugoa, east of the Mississippi, discharging into the gulf or the Atlantic in Florida. The French had not followed the Ohio from the falls to its junction with the Wabash. On a map made in 1692, ten years later, the Wabash is equivalent to the lower Ohio, formed by the Miami and the upper Ohio, the Wabash of our maps being omitted.
The main facts which residents of the Ohio valley are most curious to know concerning La Salle's operations here are yet wanting. We have made diligent search for them, and are as yet unable to say, precisely, how much time he spent on the waters of the Ohio and Lake Erie prior to 1673; what trading posts he established, if any; what streams he« navigated, or with what tribes he became acquainted. The instructions to Governor-General DuQuesne in 1752, above referred to, claim that the French had occupied this country ever since it was discovered by La Salle. Governor Burnet of the colony of New York, in 1721, states that, three years before, the French had no establishments on Lake Erie.
We may infer that La Salle was busily occupied during the years 1670 and 1671, on the waters of the Ohio and Lake Erie, collecting furs, for he had no other means of support. The credit he obtained at Villemarie in 1671 was payable in furs. If his map should be discovered in some neglected garret in France, we should, no doubt, find there a solution of many historical difficulties that now perplex
It was the custom at that time to make very full memoranda on maps, amounting to a condensed report of the author's travels. If this map exists, Europe does not contain a paper of more value to
Mr. Shea, whose labors on the history of French occupation have been wonderfully persistent and minute, is of the opinion that
we may presume that unauthorized voyageurs, trappers, traders and coureurs des bois, both French and English, were among the Indians in advance of the explorers.
The Dutch on the Hudson, and after 1664 the English, were on good terms with the Iroquois, who carried their wars to Lake Superior and the Mississippi. We have no records of the movernents of those half savage traders, except in the case of Etienne Brulé, and that is of little value.
La Salle was probably on the waters of the Ohio when Governor Woods, of the colony of Virginia, sent a party to find that river in September, 1671. This party reached the Falls of the Kanawha on the seventeenth of that month, where they found rude letters cut upon standing trees. They took possession of the country in the name of Charles II. of England, and proceeded no farther.-('Botts' Journal, New York Colonial Documents,' Vol. III., p. 194.) William Penn's colony was not then organized. In 1685 or 1686 some English traders penetrated as far as Mackinaw, by way of Lake Erie. They were probably from New York, and having made their purchases of the Ottawas, returned under the protection of the Hurons or Wyandots of the west end of Lake Erie.
If the Virginians were engaged in the Indian trade at this early period, their route would be up the Potomac to the heads of the Youghiogheny, and from the forks of the Ohio at Pittsburgh to Lake Erie, by the Allegheny river and French creek, or by way of the Beaver, Mahoning and the Cuyahoga rivers. These Arabs of the forest would carry axes and hatchets having a steel bit, whether Dutch, French or English, and thus may have done the hacking upon our trees which I have described. None of these people would be likely to leave other records of their presence in a country claimed by their different governments, on which one party or the other were trespassers.
I am aware that this presentation of the most interesting period in the history of Ohio is desultory and incomplete. If there had been a reasonable prospect of more facts, it would have been delayed; but it is doubtful if we may expect much more light on the subject of the discovery of the Ohio valley.
THE NATIONAL CAPITAL.
THE President of the United States directed a city to be lai ]
out." These words are found in the act of the Mary. land legislature bounding that part of the original District of Columbia which lay on the American side of the Potomac rivei. They are historical words in a general as well as a sjecial sense. They are also prophetic words, as we shall see.
The Albany congress of 1754, which was an event of considerable importance in our constitutional history, sat in the town from which it takes its name. The congress of 1765, called to protest against the Stamp act and other British aggressions, met in New York. But Philadelphia was the continental city of the revolutionary period. Situated on the Delaware river, it was easily approached from the sea
acircumstance of more significance one hundred years ago than now. It was accessible by land from both the north and the south, and was about equi-distant from New Hampshire and from Georgia. It was also one of the populous and wealthy cities of the time. Boston, New York and Philadelphia had about the same population each one having from twenty thousand to twenty-five thousand inhabitants. Dr. Franklin, in commenting on that provision of the plan of union of 1754, which required the grand council of the colonies to meet for the first time in Philadelphia, thus set forth the advantages which that city offered:
"Philadelphia was named as being nearer the centre of the colonies, where the commissioners would be well and cheaply accounmodated. The high-roads, through the whole extent, are for the most part very good, in which forty or fifty miles a day may very well be, and frequently are, traveled. Great part of the way may likewise be gone by water. In summer time the passages are frequently performed in a week from Charleston to Philadelphia and New York and from Rhode Island to New York, through the sound, in two or three days, and from New York to Philadelphia, by water and land. in two days, by stage, boats and street carriages that set out every other day. The journey from Charleston to Philadelphia may likewise be facilitated by boats running up Chesapeake bay three hundred miles. But if the whole journey be performed on horseback, the most distant members, viz., the two from New Hampshire and from South Carolina, may probably render themselves at Philadelphia in fifteen or twenty days; the majority may be there in much less time.' ** Documents Illustrative of American History,' 1886, pp. 175-176.
These advantages made the Pennsylvania metropolis the natural meeting place of the states in our heroic age. Naturally, therefore, the Continental congress was called to meet in the continental city by common consent. The first session lasted from September 5 to October 26, 1774. The congress reconvened in Philadelphia, May 10, 1775, and continued to hold its sessions there until December 12, 1776. At that time the British, having driven Washington out of New York and penetrated the Jerseys, were making a bold push for Philadelphia. Generals Putnam and Miffin, called into conference by the congress, strongly advised that it retire from the scene of so much danger. Convinced that warlike movements would prevent that quiet and uninterrupted attention to the public business which should ever prevail in the great continental council, congress adjourned to Baltimore. The danger having passed when the British drew back to New York after Trenton and Princeton, it returned in March of the next year. The near approach of the British in September, 1777, this time from the head of Chesapeake bay, again threatened danger, and an adjournment was made on the advice of Colonel Hamilton of Washington's staff. This was to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Here congress sat one day, when, apparently thinking Lancaster insecure, it retired beyond the Susquehanna to York (“Yorktown,” as it is called in the journal). Sir Henry Clinton having abandoned Philadelphia early in June, 1778, congress returned to that city the second of July. Here it held its successive sessions until June, 1783, when an unfortunate occurrence sent the Continental congress from Philadelphia, never to return. The war was over, but owing to the emptiness of the treasury the army was unpaid. A body of Pennsylvania troops, rendered desperate by their grievances, grossly insulted congress, first by sending it insolent letters, and then surrounding, in a threatening manner, the state house in which it was sitting Congress, unable to protect itself, appealed to the Pennsylvania authorities for protection, and not receiving a reassuring reply, promptly adjourned to Princeton, New Jersey, in order (so the resolution runs) that "further and more effectual measures may be taken for suppressing the present revolt and maintaining the dignity and authority of the United States." From June 30 to November 4, 1783, Princeton was the seat of government. Then came a removal to Annapolis, Maryland, where Washington, who had disbanded the army, surrendered his commission and took leave of congress. November 1, 1784, a removal was made to Trenton, New Jersey. The two last removals were both made in consequence of steps that were being taken