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dition and character of the native proprietors afforded an apology for claiming to exercise over them, the ascendancy of superior genius.
Although the natives had maintained a continued possession of the country from a remote period, under the firm belief that the Great Spirit designed it for their especial and exclusive use, the potentates of the old world readily convinced themselves that the civilization and christianity which they sent to them by their missionaries, were adequate and ample recompense for the Indian's hunting grounds, and his unlimiter independence; and as all were in pursuit of territorial wealth and aggrandizement, it became necessary to establish a principle by which the rights of each might be regulated. That principle was, " that discovery gave title to the government by whose subjects or by whose authority it was made, against all other European governments, which title might be consummated by possession.”
France claimed the north western territory, as she did the Canadas, on the ground of discovery, and claiming thus, she claimed the exclusive right of acquiring the soil of the natives, and of making settlements upon it, as a concomitant. Whilst the Indians were denied the capacity to be, or to become, vested with a title to the soil, they were admitted to be rightful occupants thereof, and to use it at discretion, during their own pleasure.
France claimed that the discovery and partial settlement of Wisconsin made for her a valid title thereto, subject only to the Indian right of occupancy. Her monarch claimed it as an appendage to Canada and Acadia, over which he held undisputed regal sway, as well as Louisiana, and the immense territories watered by the Mississippi and the rivers emptying therein.
Although Wisconsin was nominally occupied by the French, their earliest settlements in the territory were made at points without the borders of the State. The first settle
ment in Wisconsin was made at La Point, in 1666, and the second at Green Bay, in 1670, being the same year that Nicholas Perrot visited the Miami settlement at Chicago. [Ante 238.]
At that time the territory was occupied chiefly by the Winnebagoes, Foxes, Pottawatamies, Miamis, Mascoutins, and Kickapoos.
Wisconsin remained in the possession of the French, until 1763, when it was surrendered to Great Britain, and became a part of the colonial possessions of that government. Under the letters patent theretofore granted to the colony of Virginia, by Great Britain, (Ante 140,) the English settlers in 1750, became jealous of the movements of the French, in the region of the Lakes, the Wabash and the Mississippi, and remonstrated against any further encroachments by the latter upon the territory embraced within their chartered limits. Whereupon the Algonquins and Hurons became the allies of France, and the Iroquois of the English, and at once engaged in a war that ultimated in determining the jurisdiction of France over the territory north west of the Ohio. [Ante 132.]
In 1774 the Quebec Act was passed, by which the Ohio river was established as the southern boundary of Canada. It also extended peace and the protection of the government to all Catholic inhabitants residing in the territory. After exercising jurisdiction over the country for twenty years, Great Britain relinquished it to the United States in 1783, under the treaty cited ante 59.
It has been intimated that the early settlers of Virginia, claimed that Wisconsin was embraced within the charter of that colony. Whether it were so or not is unimportant, since that colony upon becoming a State ceded all right, title and interest over it to the General Government. [Ante 140.]
Virginia, however, claims the full credit of having owned and relinquished the entire domain, as well as that of Indiana and Illinois in her deed of cession.
Until the year 1800, Wisconsin remained under the territorial government of Ohio. In that year she was attached to the Indiana territory, and so remained until 1809, when she was set off with Illinois into a territory called the Illinois Territory. Upon the admission of that State into the Union, Wisconsin was attached to Michigan and so remained until the passage of the following act of Congress*:
II. ERECTION OF THE TERRITORY OF WISCONSIN BY AN
ACT ENTITLED AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE TERRITORY OF WISCONSIN." APPROVED APRIL 20, 1846.
“Section I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the third day of July next, the country included within the following boundaries shall constitute a separate territory, for the purposes of temporary government, by the name of Wisconsin ; that is to say: bounded on the east, by a line drawn from the northeast corner of the State of Illinois, through the middle of Lake Michigan, to a point in the middle of said lake, and opposite the main channel of Green Bay, and through said channel and Green Bay, to the mouth of the Menomonie river; thence through the middle of the main channel of the said river, to that head of said river nearest to the Lake of the Desert; thence in a direct line to the middle of said lake; thence through the middle of the main channel of the Montreal river, to its mouth; thence with a direct line
*Lapham in his geography and topography of Wisconsin, remarks “that within the space of one hundred and sixty-six years, Wisconsin has been successively ruled by two kings, one State and four Territories, and we have finally set up for our selves, without any great and exciting events to produce these revolutions. The people have submitted to each change without a struggle or a murmur. They have been under the government of France from 1670, to 1763, or 93 years ; of Great Britain from 1763 to 1794, or 31 years; of Virginia and Ohio from 1794 to 1800, or 6 years ; of Indiana from 1800 to 1309, or 9 years; of Illinois from 1809 to 1813, or 9 years; and of Michigan from 1818 to 1836, or 13 years." To that may be added that it remained a Territory 10 years, and then took a place in the Union as one of the United and Confederated States.
across Lake Superior, to where the territorial line of the United States last touches said lake northwest ; thence on the north, with the said territorial line, to the White-earth river; on the west, by a line from the said boundary line following down the middle of the main channel of White-earth river, to the Missouri river, and down the middle of the main channel of the Missouri river, to a point due west from the northwest corner of the State of Missouri; and on the south, from said point, due east to the northwest corner of the State of Missouri; and thence with the boundaries of the States of Missouri and Illinois, as already fixed by acts of Congress. And after the said third day of July next, all power and authority of the government of Michigan in and over the Territory hereby constituted, shall cease: provided, that nothing in this act contained shall be construed to impair the rights of person or property now appertaining to any Indians within the said territory, so long as such rights shall remain unextinguished by treaty between the United States and such Indians, or to impair the obligations of any treaty now existing between the United States and such Indians, or to impair or anywise to affect the authority of the
government of the United States to make any regulations respecting such Indians, their lands, property, or other rights, by treaty, or law, or otherwise, which it would have been competent to the Government to make if this act had never been passed : Provided, that nothing in this act contained shall be construed to inhibit the Government of the United States from dividing the Territory hereby established into one or more other Territories, in such manner, and at such times, as Congress shall, in its discretion, deem convenient and proper, or from attaching any portion of said Territory to any other State or Territory of the United States.
"Sec. II. And be it further enacted, that the Executive power and authority in and over the said Territory shall be vested in a Governor, who shall hold his office for three
years, unless sooner removed by the President of the United States. The Governor shall reside within the said Territory, shall be commander-in-chief of the militia thereof, shall perform the duties and receive the emoluments of superintendent of Indian affairs, and shall approve of all laws passed by the Legislative Assembly before they shall take effect; he may grant pardons for offences against the laws of the said Territory, and reprieves for offences against the laws of the United States, until the decision of the President can be made known thereon; he shall commission all officers who shall be appointed to office under the laws of the said Territory, and shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
“Sec. III. And be it further enacted, That there shall be a Secretary of the said Territory, who shall reside therein, and hold his office for four years, unless sooner removed by the President of the United States; he shall record and preserve all the laws and proceedings of the Legislative Assembly hereinafter constituted, and all the acts and proceedings of the Governor in his executive department; he shall transmit one copy of the laws and one copy of the Executive proceedings on or before the first Monday in December in each year, to the President of the United States; and at the same time, two copies of the laws to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, for the use of Congress. And in case of the death, removal, resignation, or necessary absence, of the Governor from the Territory, the Secretary shall have, and he is hereby authorized and required to execute and perform, all the powers and duties of the Governor during such vacancy or necessary absence.
“Sec. IV. And be it further enacted, That the Legislative power
shall be vested in a Governor and a Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Assembly shall consist of a Council and House of Representatives. The Council shall consist of thirteen menibers, having the qualifications of voters as hereinafter prescribed, whose term of service shall continue four