Billeder på siden

of La Salle's last voyage, which brought him to the mainland of America in February, 1685. Had these writers consulted even Holmes's Annals, (which were published before the works in which these errors occur,) they could not have made the mistakes in question; but (and it is a curious fact) neither Flint, Hall, Holmes, nor Butler, refers, when speaking of La Salle, to the detailed account of that leader's adventures drawn up by the Chevalier Tonti, his lieutenant, and by him presented to the King of France; which account was translated and published in London, in 1698, and the translation reprinted entire in the Collections of the New York Historical Society for 1814; and the main facts again republished, with other valuable matters relating to the West, in a note from J. Q. Adams to the Spanish minister, in the twelfth volume of "American State Papers," in 1819.

A still more glaring case of carelessness, and one that may well excite a smile, occurs in the first volume of Mr. Hall's Sketches, (page 188,) where he enters into a learned discussion with regard to the probable reasons which governed those who planned the defences of old Fort Pitt; and concludes, that they must have been either led away by their military habits, in opposition to the dictates of prudence, or wished to awe the Indians by the show of unreal power; all which argument is based upon the idea, that "in those days there was little or no artillery west of the mountains." But Washington's Journal, in 1753, speaks of eight pieces of cannon at the fort on French Creek, which he visited; and Holmes could have informed Mr. Hall, that the fort, which the English had begun at the Fork of the Ohio, f was taken by the French, on the 17th of April 1754, with


*All this passage is a reprint of part of the second of a series of "Letters from the West," written by Mr. Hall in 1820 for the Portfolio, and reprinted in a volume in London, 1828. We have no fault to find with Mr. Hall for reprinting his Magazine writings in his "Sketches," as he has, in the Preface, stated the fact, that his volumes are compiled, not written anew. we do think that one, who claims to be thought high authority, is blamable for reprinting periodical articles of an historical kind, in a permanent form, without revision and correction; particularly after having been so often ridiculed for his disquisition upon the word chute (Letters from the West, p. 185); which he was very much puzzled by, though, apparently (see those Letters, p. 197, &c.) an adept in French.

Holmes's Annals, (Vol. II. p. 53,) and Marshall's Life of Washington, (last edition, Vol. I. p. 4,) speak of this fort, as on "the southern branch of the Ohio," and as in possession of workmen employed by the Ohio Company; but Washington's letters (Sparks's Writings of Washington, Vol. II. pp. 1, 6) show it to have been at "the fork," and in possession of Virginia troops.

eighteen pieces; and that Braddock's advance, of twelve hundred men, carried to their field of defeat ten pieces; while honest Frederic Post could have told him, that, on the 3d of December, 1758, after Forbes had taken Fort Du Quesne, his party was greeted by its garrison "with twelve great guns."

[ocr errors]

We mention these errors not from the mere love of faultfinding, the pleasures of which, however, neither critic nor gossip can dispute, but because we think entire accuracy desirable, even in small matters, while it can yet be arrived at without long study. On this ground we shall notice whatever mistakes come in our way, and, where we err ourselves, trust that we may find a corrector in our turn.

From what we have said, it must be evident, that, although the completion of the first half-century, since the settlement of Ohio, makes a notice of its progress natural and proper at this time, any thing like a complete view of that progress must be out of the question. Had we the materials, they could not properly be presented in a general sketch; and a critical examination could embrace, at any one time, in a work of this kind, but a small portion of the century and a half, elapsed since the first Europeans visited the Ohio valley. We shall, therefore, speak principally of the results, giving such details only as are least accessible and most interesting.

There were a few events, connected with Ohio, previous to the Revolution, which had a bearing upon her present condition. One was, the rejection by France, in 1755, of the offer, made by England, to give up all her claim to the territory west of a line drawn from the mouth of French Creek, twenty leagues up that stream toward Lake Erie, and from the same point direct to the last mountains of Virginia which descend toward the ocean. The Indians between this line and the Mississippi were to be considered

* Proud's History of Pennsylvania, Vol. II. Appendix. Fort Du Quesne was taken November 25th.

The spot where Franklin, Venango County, Pennsylvania, now stands. French Creek was in those times called by the French, Rivière aux Bœufs; and by the English, Beef River and Buffalo River. - The Alleghany was called sometimes by that name, sometimes Ohio; Washington, in his Journal of 1753, uses both. French Creek was used by the French as their great thoroughfare to the Ohio.

Secret Journals of Congress, Vol. IV. p. 74.

independent; but France was to retain Canada, and her settlements on the Illinois and Wabash. Had this offer been accepted, there is little doubt, from the ability always shown by the French in the management of the Indians, that their colonies would have been planted upon the Scioto, the Miami, and the Maumee; so that, even though the country had finally come under the control of the British colonists, it would have borne the marks of French manners, prejudices, and habits. Another event worthy of notice (we omit the war of 1756, as too well known to need comment,) was the proclamation of the King in 1763, after the treaty of Paris, forbidding his governors in America to grant any warrants of survey or patents "for any lands beyond the heads or sources of any of the rivers which fall into the Atlantic ocean from the west or northwest"; or upon any lands not ceded by the Indians.* The effect of this proclamation was to prevent all attempts to settle any part of what now forms the State of Ohio; which, had it been done by Virginia (within whose charter the Northwest Territory was thought to lie), would have been accompanied, probably, by the introduction of slavery; and at any rate by a tinge of monarchical feelings and ways of thought, that, in the twelve years which elapsed before the Revolution, might have obtained some foothold in that territory.

In this manner, the soil of Ohio remained wholly untouched by Europeans until the Revolution. And, during that struggle, it was preserved from settlement by the contest which arose among the States with reference to the ownership of the vacant lands; slavery being thus again prevented from entering its bounds, and the less worthy and moral kept back, until the settlers of Marietta and Cincinnati had given somewhat of a character to the population. Nor was this all; for, when Jefferson's proposal to exclude slavery from the Northwest Territory after 1800 was defeated, it was so by the favorers of slavery, all the free States voting for it; and yet it was to that defeat, that its total exclusion was owing, three years later. Thus was the State, of which we write, reserved, apparently, until all was ripe, to try within her limits the experiment of dem

Land Laws, p. 84.

+ See Old Journals, Vol. IV. p. 373. — Dane's Abridgment (Supplement), Vol. IV. Appendix, Note A.

ocratic institutions, originating under the most favorable cir-
The first men, that trod her soil as citizens,
were soldiers of the Revolution; the companions and friends.
of Washington; and they went to a land which could, when
they entered it, bear up, as it has been said, no other than

The first step, that was taken towards settling the Northwest Territory, was by the presentation of a memorial to Congress, from the officers and soldiers of the revolutionary * This mearmy, entitled to land-bounties under the Resolves of September 16th, 1776, and August 12th, 1780. morial was forwarded to General Washington by Rufus Putnam, upon the 16th of June, 1783; and by him was transmitted to the President of Congress, together with General Putnam's letter, which gave at length his views respecting the settlement of the western country, and the location of military posts there. † But at that time the final grants of Virginia, Connecticut, and Massachusetts had not been made; and the Federal legislature, upon the 29th of October, 1783, having under consideration a memorial from General Armand, resolved, that, much as they desired to fulfil their engagements to the officers of the army, they could not, at that time, assign to them any particular district. I

We cannot enter into an examination of the protests, remonstrances, and petitions, which resulted in the cession, by all the States, of their vacant lands to the Union; § but

*Land Laws, p. 337.

The letters relating to this petition were sent by Mr. Sparks to the Committee for the Celebration of the Settlement of Ohio, at Cincinnati, 1835, and were by them published, with the Oration of the day, &c.

Land Laws, p. 339.- Old Journals, Vol. IV. p. 304.

The best state§ The only account of the steps which led to the cessions of Virginia, &c. that is at all complete, is in Blunt's Historical Sketch. · ment of the grounds upon which Virginia and the other States claimed the West, is to be found in Secret Journals of Congress, Vol. III. p. 175. We may here notice an error in Blunt's Sketch (p. 71.) which Mr. Chase has copied (p. 13.). After mentioning the Resolution passed by Congress upon the 30th of October, 1779, recommending Virginia to forbear from issuing warrants for unappropriated lands, Mr. Blunt says, "Congress did not confine itself merely to remonstrances; but ordered Colonel Broadhead to be stationed in the western country, with a competent force to prevent intrusions upon that territory. In the execution of these orders, that officer, in the month of October, 1779, being informed, that certain inhabitants of Virginia had crossed the Ohio, he ordered them to be apprehended, &c." The date of the letter from Colonel Broadhead, informing Congress, that he had

must content ourselves with the bare statement, that New York conveyed her claims to Congress on the 1st of March, 1781; that Virginia released hers upon the first of that month, three years later; while Massachusetts delayed till the 19th of April, 1785, and Connecticut till the 14th of September, 1786.


Meanwhile, upon the 22d of October, 1784, the Five Nations had relinquished to the United States all their claims to the grounds west of Pennsylvania; and, upon the 21st of the following January, the Wyandots and Delawares, by the treaty of Fort McIntosh (which post stood near the ground now occupied by Beaver, Pennsylvania), gave to the whites the whole south of what is now Ohio. † The Indian title being thus done away, and all the State claims but that of Connecticut given up, Congress, upon the 20th of May, 1785, passed their ordinance for the disposal of lands in the West. Under this ordinance, Thomas Hutch

expelled these Virginians from beyond the Ohio, is given in the Journals of Congress, and proves it to have been written four days before the passage of the Resolution, in consequence of which, Mr. Blunt's account would lead us to think he was sent to the West;-in which sense Mr. Chase understood it; as he says, "To enforce this recommendation (of October 30th) Colonel Broadhead was stationed in the Western country," &c. - The facts were these; the General Assembly of Pennsylvania sent to Congress, early in 1779, a representation of the exposed state of their frontiers, then threatened by the Indians, acting under British incitement. This, upon the 25th of February, was sent to Washington; who, early in March, sent Colonel Broadhead to Pittsburg, as director of Indian affairs there. At that time the Delawares, who lived along the Ohio from the Muskingum towards Pittsburg, were divided; some, under White-eyes, being for peace, and others, under Pipe, for war. (See Thatcher's Indian Biography, Vol. II. p. 122.) - Broadhead, called by them the Great Sun, more than once prevented a union of the whole nation against the Americans, by defending their property from the ravages of the frontier-men; and for this purpose acted as stated in his letter of October 26th; which says, expressly, that he turned the Virginians from the Indian lands, not the disputed territory. While acting to prevent the savages from being wronged by the whites, Broadhead offended many of the latter; but Congress agreed to support him, (Old Journals, Vol. III. p. 449.) and, when suits were brought against him, indemnified him, (Old Journals, Vol. IV. p. 183). For Washington's letter, sending Broadhead to the West, see Sparks's Washington, Vol. VI. p. 205. In the Appendix to Vol. VIII. of that work are some remarks, by Madison, on the opposition in Congress to the western claims of Virginia, &c. *Land Laios, p. 122. Ibid. p. 148.

Ibid. p. 349. It is worthy of remark, that the first ordinance reported to Congress, May 28th, 1784, proposed to divide the public lands into townships or "hundreds" of ten miles square, each divided again into a hundred parts; the plan next reported, April 26th, 1785, proposed townships seven miles square; and this, during the debate, was altered to six miles square, which was the size suggested by Putnam in 1783.

[blocks in formation]
« ForrigeFortsæt »