« PředchozíPokračovat »
vephew of La Salle. The latter sought to investigate as to the death of his relative, but only shared his fate, as one of them fired upon him from ambush, and the heroic La Salle fell, the victim of quarrels and dissensions among his own followers. This event happened after he had passed the basin of the Colorado and reached a branch of Trinity river, in Texas.
We have thus briefly outlined the part taken by this energetic and adventurous explorer, in giving to civilization a knowledge of a region that was destined to constitute the richest and most productive portion of the American continent, if not indeed, of the world:
EARLY SETTLEMENTS IN THE NORTHWEST.
Early French Settlements—Indian Tribes-Mission at Kaskaskia–Kahokia–Vincennes-Fort
Ponchartrain-Fort Chartres-La Belle Riviere-La Salle—The English Claim From Sea to Sea"-Treaty with Indians in 1684–English Grants-French and Indians Attack Pickawillany-Treaty with the Six Nations- French and English Claims-George Washington
- French and Indian War-Fall of Montreal-Treaty of Paris-Pontiac's ConspiracyDetroit-Pontiac's Promissory Notes-Pontiac's Death-France Cedes Louisiana to Spain
-Washington Explores the Ohio Valley-Emigration-Land Companies—The Revolution -Colonel Clark-Surrender of French Posts in Illinois-Surrender of Vincennes-Gov. Hamilton Taken Prisoner-Daniel Boone_Simon Girty–Virginia's “Land Laws.'
As The French were the first to explore the region known as the Northwest, so they were the first to improve the opening thus made. The earliest settlements were in that part of the country east of the Mississippi and south of the Great Lakes, occupied chiefly by the Illinois tribes of the Great Algonquin family of Indians. The Illinois were divided into the Tamaroas, Michigamies, Kakokias, Kaskaskias, and Peorias, and were sometimes designated as the Five Nations. The three last-named tribes occupied the country between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers; the Michigamies the region bordering on Lake Michigan, and the Tamaroas, a small tribe, in the same region occupied by the Kahokias, and now embraced in the counties of Jersey, Madison, and St. Clair, in the state of Illinois. The French opened the way for colonization by the establishment of niissions among these tribes, their efforts in this direction having been attended with great success in Canada. A mission was founded at Kaskaskia by Father Gravier about the year 1698. This at the time of the visit of Marquette and Joliet, in 1673, was the largest and most important of the Illinois villages, and contained seventyfour lodges, or about fifteen hundred inhabitants. By the early explorers it was called by the several names of "Kaskaskia," “La Vantum, and “Great Illinois Town.” Here, in 1675, Father Marquette had attempted to christianize the Indians by establishing the mission of the Immaculate Conception. For years it was nothing more than a missionary station, occupied only by the Nations and the missionary. About the year 1700 missions were also established at Kahokia and Peoria, the latter being near the site of old Fort Crevecanr. Another of the carly French settlements was at Vincennes on the Oubache (Waba, now Wabash) river. Authorities disagree as to the date of this settlernent, but it was probably about 1702. For many years this was an isolated colony of French emigrants from Canada, and several generations of their descendants lived and passed away in these vast solitudes, before either they or their savage neighbors were disturbed by the encroachments of an expanding civilization. During all this time they had maintained friendly relations with the natives. In July, 1701, a station was established
by De la Motte on the Detroit river, called Fort Ponchartrain. While these attempts to colonize the Northwest were in progress, similar efforts were being made by France in the Southwest, but without maintaining like friendly relations with the natives, for in a conflict with the Chickasaws, an entire colony at Natchez was cut off. As these settlements in the Northwest were isolated but little is known of their history prior to 1750. In this year Vivier, a missionary among the Illinois, near Fort Chartres, writes of five French villages, with a population of eleven hundred whites, three hundred blacks, and sixty red blaves or savages. He says there were whites, negroes and Indians, to say nothing of half-breeds. They then raised wheat, cattie, swine and horses, and sent pork, grain and flour to New Orleans. On the 7th of November, 1750, the same priest writes:
"For fifteen leagues above the mouth of the Mississippi one sees no dwell. ings the ground being too low to be habitable. Thence to New Orleans the lands are only partially occupied. New Orleans contains black, white and red, pot more, I think, than twelve hundred persons. To this point come all lumber, bricks, salt-beef, tallow, tar, skins and bear's grease; and above all, pork and flour from the Illinois. These things create some commerce, as forty vessels and more liave come hither this year. Above New Orleans plantations are again met with; the most considerable is a colony of Germans some ten leagues up the river. At Point Coupee, thirty-five leagues above the German settleinent, is a fort. Along here, within five or six leagues, are not less than sixty habitations. Fifty leagues further up is the Natchez post, where we have a garrison, who are kept prisoners through fear of the Chickasaws. Ilere and at Point Coupee they raise excellent tobacco. Another hundred leagues brings us to the Arkansas, where we have also a fort and a garrison for the benefit of the river traders. From the Arkansas to the Illinois, nearly five hundred leagues, there is not a settlement. There should be, however, a fort at the Oubache (Ohio), the only path by which the English can reach the Mississippi. In the Illinois country are numberless mines, but no one to work them as they deserve.”
The fame of Robert Cavelier de La Salle was not achieved alone by his explorations of the Valley of the Mississippi, 'for, in 1669, four years before the discovery of the Mississippi by Marquette and Joliet, La Salle discovered the Ohio river, or La Belle Riviere (Beautiful River), as the French called it Being conversant with several Indian dialects, he had learned from soine Senecas of a river called Ohio which rose in their country and flowed a long distance to the sea. La Salle then held the belief that the river flowing to the west emptied into the Sea of California, and longed to engage in the enterprise of discovering a route across the continent. He obtained the approval of the government at Quebec, but no allowance to defray the expense. Ile sold his property in Canada for two thousand eight hundred dollars, and with the proceeds purchased canoes and the necessary supplies. With a party of twenty-four persons he embarked in seven canoes on the St. Lawrence, July 6th, 1669. Crossing over Lake Ontario, they were conducted by Indian guides to the Genesee, about where the city of Rochester, New York, is now located. The enterprise did not receive the
approbation of the Indians at the Seneca village then situated on the bank of the Genesee at this point, and they refused to furnish him guides to conduct him further. After a month's delay he met an Indian belonging to the Iroquois tribe on Lake Ontario, who conducted them to their village, where they received a more friendly welcome. From the chief of the Iroquois at Onondaga he obtained
guides who conducted the party to a river south of Lake Erie. This proved to be a tributary of the Ohio. They descended it, and thence down the Ohio to the great falls where Louisville now stands. By virtue of this discovery the French claimed the country along the Ohio, and many years after established military and trading posts at different points. One of these was Fort Du Quesne, erected in 1654, which was taken from them by the English a few years later and called Pittsburg, in honor of William Pitt, then prime minister of England.
Notwithstanding the discovery of the Ohio by the French under La Salle as early as 1669, the English claimed from the Atlantic to the Pacific on the ground that her sea-coast discoveries entitled her to the sovereignty of all the country from “sea to sea.” In 1684, Lord Howard, Governor of Vir. ginia, held a treaty with Indian tribes known as the Northern Confederacy, to-wit: the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas. The Tus- . caroras being subsequently taken in, tliese tribes became known as the Six Nations, and the English assumed their protection. They purchased froin them large tracts of land and aimed to obtain a monopoly of the Indian trade. The English government made grants of land west of the Alleghanies, and companies were formed for their settlement. France, seeing the English obtaining a foothold by planting trading posts in the Northwest, in 1749 sent Louis Celeron with a small force of soldiers to plant in mounds at the mouths of the principal tributaries of the Ohio, plates of lead with the claims of France inscribed thereon. The English, however, still continued to make explorations and establish trading posts. One of these grants of England was to a company known as the "Ohio Company,” and embraced a tract of land on the Great Miami, described as being one hundred and fifty miles above its mouth. Christopher Gist was sent by this company in 1750 to inspect thier lands and to establish a trading post. In 1752 a small party of French soldiers, assisted by Ottawas and Chippewas, attacked this post and captured the traders after a severe battle. The English called this post Pickawillany — the name being subsequently contracted to Pickaway or Piqua. The location of this post was doubtless near that of the present town of Piqua, on the Great Miami, about seventy-eight miles north of Cincinnati. Thus on the soil of what became a part of the state of Ohio was shed the first blood between the French and English for the possession of the Northwest.
In 1744 the English had entered into a treaty with the Six Nations at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, by which they acquired certain lands described as being within the “Colony of Virginia.", The Indians subsequently coin. plained of bad faith on the part of the English in failing to comply with some of the stipulations of the treaty. The Governor of Virginia appointed commissioners to hear the grievances of the Indians. They inet at Loggtown, on the north bank of the Ohio, about seventeen miles below the present city of Pittsburg, in the spring of 1752. Notwithstanding the complaint of the Indians that the English had failed to supply them with arms and ammunition as they had agreed, they succeeded in obtaining a confirmation of the treaty of Lancaster.
In the meantime the French were quietly preparing to maintain their claims to the country in dispute. They provided cannon and military stores in anticipation of the coming conflict. The French were notified to give up their posts, but they failed to comply. Governor Dinwiddie finally deter. inined to learn detinitely their intentions, and for this purpose selected Major
George Washington, then twenty-two years of age, ás a messenger. With Christopher Gist as guide, and four attendants or servants, Washington set out through the wilderness on his perilous journey. He held conference with the chiefs of the Six Nations at Logstown in November, 1753. He learned something of the condition of the French, but the Indians desired to remain neutral and were disposed to be non-committal. Washington proceeded to Venango, where there was a French post called Fort Machault. Here he delivered to the French governor Dinwiddie's letter, and received the answer of St. Pierre, the cominander of the fort, declining to give up without a struggle. Preparations for war were made in all the English col. onies while the French continued to strengthen their lines of fortifications.
It will thus be seen that what is known as the French and Indian war had its origin in this dispute about the possession of what is now one of the fairest and richest portions of our Republic. It resulted, not only in Eng. land maintaining her right to the territory in dispute, but in wresting Canada from France. It was a war of eight years duration, commencing with the attack of the French and Indians on the English post at Piqua in 1752, and virtually ending with the fall of the city of Montreal in April, 1760. Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Niagara, and Quebec had all previously surrendered to the English, the first two without resistance. After the fall of Montreal the Governor of Canada signed a capitulation surrendering the whole of Canada to the English. One post, however, that of Detroit, still remained in possession of the French. Major Rogers was sent from Montreal to demand its surrender. Beletre, the commander of the post, at first refused, but on the 29th of November, having heard of the defeat of the French arms in Canada, he also surrendered. September 29th, 1760, the treaty of peace between France and England, known as the treaty of Paris, was made, but not ratified until February 10th, 1763. Meantime the Northwest territory was entirely under English rule and settlements began to extend. The Indians who had been the friends and allies of the French during the war were not reconciled to the English, claiming that they had not carried out their promises.
Under the famous Ottawa chief, Pontiac, they united in a general conspiracy to cut off all the English posts on the frontier. The Chippewas, Ottawas, Wyandots, Miamis, Shawnese, Delawares and Mingoes, buried the hatchet in their local quarrels, and united to exterminate the English.
Owing to treachery on the part of some of Pontiac's followers, he failed in the complete execution of his plans, but in May, 1763, several British posts fell, and many whites were victims of the merciless tomahawk. In the arrangement among the Indians it was agreed that Pontiac's own imme. diate field of action was to be the garrison at Detroit. He laid siege to the post May 12th, and continued it until October 12th. To obtain food for his warriors during this time, he issued promissory notes, drawn upon birch bark and signed with the figure of an otter. All these notes were faithfully redeemed. Being unsuccessful in reducing the garrison, the tribes generally sued for peace, but Pontiac remained as yet unsubdued. To Alexander Henry, an Englishman who visited Missillimacinac the next spring, he said:
Englishman, although you have conquered the French, you have not yet conquered us. We are not your slaves! These lakes, these woods, these mountains, were left us by our ancestors. They are our inheritance, and we will part with them to none. Your nation supposes that we, like the white people, cannot live without bread, and pork and beef; but you ought to