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shall be reserved or taken any greater sum or greater value, for the loan or forbearance of any money, goods, or other things in action, than at and after the rate of seven per centum per annum, shall be void.
Not only does the usurer lose the excess, but he forfeits the principal together with the lawful interest thereon, which, otherwise, he might acquire. And in order to place the proof of usury within the reach of the maker of a usurious contract, the statute provides that a defendant may call the plaintiff, in an action at law, as a witness to prove the facts concerning the excess of interest by him taken or reserved; and if such plaintiff swear falsely concerning the same, that he shall be subject to the pains and penalties of corrupt perjury.
Whilst the statute above cited is rigorous concerning usury, it has no application to the sale or transfer of bonds, notes, or securities which are valid in their inception. If the original transaction between the parties to an obligation for the payment of money be not tainted with usury, the holder of such paper may transfer the same at whatever discount he may choose to make, and the purchase thereof by a third person will be protected by law; but if, in making such transfer at a discount, the payee, or obligee guaranty the payment or collection of the whole amount secured by the face of the instrument, he cannot be held thereon for the excess beyond the consideration by him received of the purchaser, and simple interest thereon, from the time of the transfer.
THE STATE OF OHIO.
Native Proprietors of the Territory northwest of the river Ohio. Exploration and
Settlement thereof by the French. Grants by Governors of Posts. The Coutume De Paris. Vandreuil's Capitulation to General Amherst, and Surrender of the Territory to Great Britain. Extracts from the Charters of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New-York and Virgivia. Succession of the United States to the rights of Great Britain over the Territory. Cessions of Domain from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New-York and Virginia. Treaties extinguishing the Indian Right of Occupancy. Ordinance of Congress concerning the Territory. The Constitution of Ohio. Land Titles generally in the State. The Execution, Attestation, Proof, Acknowledgment and Recording of Conveyances. The Execution and Probate of Wills of Real Estate. Descents. Land Taxes. Tax Sales and Redemptions, Limitations and Exemptions. Interest of Money, and Usury.
NATIVE PROPRIETORS OF THE TERRITORY NORTHWEST OF THE RIVER OHIO.
When this magnificent country was visited by Raymbault, it was in the peaceable possession of the Hurons and numerous cantons of the Algonquin race—the former an offshoot from the parent stock of the Iroquois—the latter remnants of a powerful confederacy, which, on account of the secession of the Foxes, had been dissolved about a century before. The seat of Algonquin power, and the theatre of their operations, had, in the better days of their confederacy, been beyond the copper mines; but after the Alleghans and Iroquois had swept along and passed the confines of the valleys of the Mississippi and Ohio, they ranged southward to, and the
Delawares had even crossed the Ohio, and established themselves on the head waters of the Atlantic rivers.* The Iroquois claimed the Ohio country, but did not occupy it.
The Algonquins were a very warlike people; but in their numerous struggles for supremacy, had found the Iroquois to be their superiors.
Neither history nor tradition indicate the parentage of this race; yet ethnology accredits them an ancestry on the plains of Asiatic Tartary. [Vide Ante 28. Although rude and uncultivated, they had some knowledge of husbandry, which they displayed in the cultivation of orchards and patches of corn. They evinced a disposition for society, in the compactness of their villages and the proximity of their towns. And although unused to the ways of civilization, and destitute of all bibliothecal information, they were profound in the philosophy of nature. They were honest, also. Guile was a stranger to the red man, until the strategy of a paler face taught him deceit. Rude as he was, there was a nobility in his character which neither crowns nor coronets confer—the nobility of honor.
Having for a long period been in the undisputed possession of the country, the Indians had come to regard it as their own; and in that belief, and not without some semblance of justice, have they pertinaciously adhered to their claim, as the rude hand of civilization has pushed them from their hunting grounds, and driven them with sabre and firelock, from forest to forest, and from river to river, disputing their right to the land of their birth, and the soil that entombs the bones of their fathers.
* When William Penn came to America, in 1632, he found the Delawares in Pennsylvania. They claimed to have been on the Delaware river upwards of forty years; but were then under the orders of the Iroquois to remove to Shamokin, or Wyoming. [Colden's Five Nations, Vol. 1: 31, 32.] When they began to recede, they opposed the white settlements, and subsequently burnt Col. Crawford at the stake. It was the Delawares that opposed the settlement at Marietta, and drove the whites across the river. (Metcalf's Wars. ]
II. EXPLORATION AND SETTLEMENT OF THE COUNTRY
NORTHWEST OF THE OHIO, BY THE FRENCH.
Upon the discovery of this immense continent, the nations of Europe were eager to appropriate to themselves so much of it as they could respectively acquire. France colonized Canada and Acadie, and asserted her right of dominion over the wilderness world westward and southward to its “uttermost bounds," including the territory north west of the river Ohio. To consummate her title by possession, she sent forth as pioneers in the enterprize, deputations both from her church and state establishments; the former to convert the natives, and the latter to treat and to trade with them.
As the country had never been explored by civilized people, it was without any known boundaries or limits. The colonial government therefore, in the name of the King of France, preluded the enterprize by asserting the pre-emption to "all the western wilderness then occupied by heathen,” which included the territory north west of the river Ohio.
In 1641, the first company of exploration was sent out under the lead and guidance of a Jesuit missionary by the name of Raymbault, who pushed his way to the Falls of St. Marys, from whence he returned the following year with a report that the natives were disposed to friendship.
In 1654, another band joined the Ottawas and with them made an excursion to Green Bay. In 1660, another corps of fur traders ventured into the upper lake country, and returned in company with three hundred Algonquins, and sixty canoes laden with furs, which gave great eclat to the excursion; whereupon one Mesnard was detailed to make a more thorough exploration of the country, and to effect a congress of the tribes in that quarter.
Upon the accession of Tracy as Viceroy of the Canadian colonies, Father Claude was despatched with instructions to erect a chapel in the green valley of Che-goi-me-gon, which
he accomplished in 1665; after which, it is said, the doctrines of the cross, the terrors of hell, and the judgments of heaven were published therein by the pious missionary.* Attracted by the display of gorgeous symbols, the Chippewas flocked to his chapel; the Pottawatamies tendered friendly greetings; the Hurons invited him to their wigwams, and the Illinois and Miamis sent messages to this wonderful visitor. After a successful mission of two years in the wilderness, Father Claude returned to Quebec and recommended a permanent colonization of the country.
In 1668, a settlement was begun at St. Marys, under the auspices of James Marquette. But as no congress of the tribes had been effected, the Intendant General of Canada despatched one Nicholas Perrot to the Miami settlement at Chicago, to accomplish that end. Perrot was successful in the enterprize, and the congress was held in 1671.t
In 1673, Marquette undertook the exploration of the Mississippi, and proceeded far enough to ascertain that it emptied into the sea.
The next adventurer of note, who had the temerity to make a thorough exploration, was Robert De La Salle, a native of Normandy. Having conceived various plans for colonial advancement, he applied to the King of France, who invested him with a "seigneurie” at Frontenac, to which he at once repaired in the year 1678. On reaching it, he set himself about the work of exploration, by constructing a ship of ten tons burthen, upon which he sailed to Niagara, where he built another called the “Griffin," upon which he sailed to Green Bay, from which point, after loading the craft with furs and sending her back, he, with the balance of his men, proceeded as far as Peoria.
La Salle projected a line of fortifications, which were afterwards built upon the water line of the northwest, from lake Ontario to the Mississippi.
* Early travelers in the west. + Colden.