Primary tabs


Pictures and Illistrations.




When I commenced this work, it was to comply with the request of the Chicago Historical Society to prepare, for publication, a memoir of the late Governor NINIAN EDWARDS. To this request was added a desire of my brothers to have a copy of his speeches, messages, and his extensive correspondence with many of the most eminent men of the country. Whilst I had no doubt that it would add much to the interest of the work, as simply a memoir of Governor Edwards, to make him the corresponding center, around which all the important historical facts may he grouped, yet, as such a course would have been very difficult and embarrassing to me, I have concluded to make it more comprehensive by including, also, a history of the County, Territory and State of Illinois, from the year 1778 to the time of his death, in 1833. Satisfied that such a work would be of great interest, and of the highest importance for the historical facts it would contain, and that the character of the materials I had collected, with the numerous papers in my possession, were accurate and of great value, I submitted my manuscript to the Chicago Historical Society, for their examination and approval, and expressed the desire that some one more competent should take my materials and rewrite the work. It was referred to a committee consisting of the Hon. M. Skinner and Hon. I. N. Arnold, with the Secretary, and in their report (which explains the character and object of the work) the following resolutions were, at a regular meeting of the Society, unanimously adopted:

"WHEREAS Ninian W. Edwards, Esq., has submitted to this Society, for their examination and approval, a manuscript memoir, entitled ‘A Memoir of the Life and Times of the Hon. Ninian Edwards, first Governor of the Illinois Territory,’ and the same has been examined with attention and care by a committee duly appointed for that purpose;


"Resolved, That this Society express their cordial and high estimation of the laborious, faithful and judicious manner in which Mr. Edwards has executed the work now submitted, and that, in their opinion — in the importance of the particular subjects treated by him, the full and authentic character of the materials collected by him for their illustration, with the numerous and extended details recovered by him and now first brought to the public attention — the work, viewed as a History of Illinois, may be regarded as in several respects the most important contribution yet made to the history of this State.

"Resolved, That the collected correspondence of the late Gov. Edwards, accompanying the above named memoir — including numerous letters from William Wirt, John C. Calhoun, J. McLean, and other statesmen of eminent standing in the United States, hitherto unpublished — possess a high national interest, as connected with important events and movements in the history of our Federal Government, and are well worthy of publication, while adding in a material degree to the public estimation of Mr. Edwards' work.

"Resolved, That the Society's thanks are due and be returned to Mr. Edwards, for the patriotic zeal and filial devotion with which he has engaged in this just tribute of honorable commemoration to the late Gov. Edwards, who, from his long-continued public service of the State of Illinois — both in the councils of the State and the Nation — merits an honored place in the esteem and gratitude of the people of this State."

In communicating the above to me, the Secretary says he "has the pleasure to state, that at the meeting at which the above was adopted, the warmest interest was expressed by gentlemen in the progress and desired success of the work — for whose satisfactory completion and successful issue the most cordial wishes were indulged;" and adds, "I may be allowed to state my individual impression of the very great value of the epitome of our early legislation, which will have a high degree of interest to strangers and be a desirable acquisition to our own citizens. Even as regards the sketch of the early history of the Territory, from the time of its organization by Virginia as a county, it appears to me a natural introduction to the; main work, viewed, as you regard it, in the light of a historical sketch of the Territory and State, rather than a personal memoir."

Another motive I have in its publication is, to correct the misrepresentation of Gov. Edwards' real sentiments on the subjects of slavery, the public lands, and other important measures.




Preliminary Chapter.

Organization of Illinois as a County of Virginia — Letter of Instructions from Governor Patrick Henry to John Todd — Cession to the General Government — Action of Congress — Ordinance of 1787: its general provisions.

The territory of Illinois was organized into a county, by the Legislature of Virginia, on the 12th of December, 1778, and John Todd was appointed Lieutenant-Commandant thereof, by Patrick Henry, then Governor of the State of Virginia. The following is a literal copy of the letter of appointment and instructions to John Todd from Governor Henry:

WILLIAMSBURGH, Dec. 12, 1778


By virtue of the act of General Assembly which establishes the county of Illinois, you are appointed County Lieutenant-Commandant there, and for the general tenor of your conduct I refer you to the law.

The grand objects which are disclosed to your countrymen will prove beneficial, or otherwise, according to the nature and abilities of those who are called to direct the affairs of that remote country. The present crisis, rendered so favourable by the good disposition of the French and Indians, maybe improved to great purposes; but if, unhappily, it should be lost, a return of the same attachment to us may never happen. Considering, therefore, that costly prejudices are so hard to wear out, you will take care to cultivate and conciliate the affections of the French and Indians.

Although great reliance is placed on your prudence in managing the people you are to reside among, yet, considering you as unacquainted in some degree with their genius, usages and manners, as well as the geography of the country, I recommend it to you to advise with the most intelligent and upright persons who may fall in your way, and to give particular attention to Col. Clark and his corps, to whom the State has great obligations. You are to cooperate with him on any military undertaking, when necessary, and to give the military every aid which the circumstances of the people will admit of. The inhabitants of Illinois must not expect settled peace and safety while their and our enemies have footing at Detroit and can intercept or stop the trade of the Mississippi. If the English have not the strength or courage to come to war against us themselves, their practice has been and will be to have the savages commit murder and depredations. Illinois must expect to pay these a large price for her freedom, unless the English can be expelled from Detroit. The means for effecting this will not perhaps be in your or Col. Clark's power, but the French inhabiting the neighborhood of that place, it is presumed, may be brought to see it done with indifference, or perhaps join in the enterprise with pleasure. This is but conjecture.


When you are on the spot, you and Col. Clark may discover the fallacy or reality of the former appearances. Defense, only, is to be the object of the latter, or a good prospect of it. I hope the French and Indians at your disposal will show a zeal for the affairs equal to the benefit to be derived from establishing liberty and permanent peace.

One great good expected from holding the Illinois is to overaw the Indians from warring on the settlers on this side of the Ohio. A close attention to the disposition, character and movement of the hostile tribes is therefore necessary. The French and militia of Illinois, by being placed on the back of them, may inflict timely chastisement on those enemies whose towns are an easy prey in absence of their warriors. You perceive, by these hints, that something in the military line will be expected from you. So far as the occasion calls for the assistance of the people composing the militia, it will be necessary to coöperate with the troops sent from here, and I know of no better general directions to give than this: that you consider yourself as the head of the civil department, and as such having command of the military until ordered out by the civil authority, and to act in conjunction with them.

You are, on all occasions, to inculcate on the people the value of liberty, and the difference between the state of free citizens of this Commonwealth and that slavery to which the Illinois was destined. A free and equal representation may be expected by them in a little time, together with all the improvement in jurisprudence and police which the other parts of the State enjoy.

It is necessary, for the happiness, increase and prosperity of that country, that the grievances that obstruct those blessings be known, in order to their removal. Let it therefore be your care to obtain information on that subject, that proper plans may be formed for the general utility. Let it be your constant attention to see that the inhabitants have justice administered to them for any injury received from the troops. The omission of this may be fatal. Col. Clark has instructions on this head, and will, I doubt not, exert himself to quell all licentious practice of the soldiers, which, if unrestrained, will produce the most baneful effect. You will also discountenance and punish every attempt to violate the property of the Indians, particularly on their land. Our enemies have alarmed them much on that score, but I hope from your prudence and justice that there will be no grounds of complaint on that subject. You will embrace every opportunity to manifest the high regard and friendly sentiments of this Commonwealth towards all the subjects of his Catholic Majesty, for whose safety, prosperity and advantage you will give every possible advantage. You will make a tender of the friendship and services of your people to the Spanish Commandant near Kaskaskia, and cultivate the strictest connection with him and his people. The detail of your duty in the civil department I need not give; its best direction will be found in your innate love of justice, and zeal to be useful to your fellow-men. Act according to the best of your judgment in cases where these instructions are silent and the laws have not otherwise directed. Discretion is given to you from the necessity of the case, for your great distance from Government will not permit you to wait for orders in many cases of great importance. In your negotiations with the Indians confine the stipulation, as much as possible, to the single object of obtaining peace from them. Touch not the subject of lands or boundaries till particular orders are received. When necessity requires it presents may be made, but be as frugal in that matter as possible, and let them know that goods at present is scarce with us, but we expect soon to trade freely with all the world, and they shall not want when we can get them.


The matters given you in charge being singular in their nature and weighty in their consequences to the people immediately concerned, and to the whole State, they require the fullest exertion of your ability and unwearied diligence.

From matters of general concern you must turn, occasionally, to others of less consequence. Mr. Roseblove's wife and family must not suffer for want of that property of which they were bereft by our troops. It is to be restored to them, if possible; if this can not be done, the public must support them.

I think it proper for you to send me an express once in the month, with a general account o/ affairs with you and any particulars you wish to communicate.

It is in contemplation to appoint an agent to manage trade on public accounts, to supply Illinois and the Indians with goods. If such an appointment takes place, you will give it any possible aid. The people with you should not intermit their endeavors to procure supplies on the expectation of this, and you may act accordingly.


Illinois continued to form a part of the State of Virginia until the year 1784, when the country, being a part of the Northwestern Territory, was ceded by the State of Virginia to the United States. Immediately on the execution of the deed of cession the General Government proceeded to establish a form of government for the settlers in the territories thus ceded. The whole subject was referred to a committee, of which Mr. Jefferson was chairman. The report of the committee, after being somewhat modified, was finally adopted by the passage of resolutions and ordinances for the government of the territories that had been or might be ceded to the United States, for the establishment of both temporary and permanent governments by the settlers, and for the admission of the new states thus formed into the Union. It was provided, among other things, that the settlers, either on their own petition or by act of Congress, should receive authority to create a temporary form of government, and that when there should be twenty thousand free inhabitants within the limits of any territory, they should have authority to call a convention to establish a permanent constitution and government for themselves, without any other limitation except the following:

1st. That they should forever remain a part of the confederacy of the United States of America.

2d. That they should be subject to the articles of confederation and the acts and ordinances of Congress like the original States.

3d. That they should not interfere with the disposal of the soil by Congress.

4th. That they should be subject to pay their proportion of the Federal debt, present and prospective.

5th. That they should impose no tax upon lands the property of the United States.

6th. That their respective governments should be republican.


7th. That the lands of non-residents should not be taxed higher than those of residents.

8th. That any State, having adopted a constitution and having as many free inhabitants as the least numerous of the thirteen original States, might be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States.

The report of the committee contained the following clause: "That after the year 1800, of the Christian era, there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the said States, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted to have been personally guilty." But, on a motion by Mr. Spaight of North Carolina, which was seconded by Mr. Read of South Carolina, it was decided that the above clause should not stand as a part of the report of the committee, and it was struck out because it failed to receive the support of a majority of all the States. The following States voted for retaining the clause. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina voted to strike it out; North Carolina was divided; one State lost its vote by having only one delegate present; Delaware and Georgia were not represented. Mr. Jefferson voted in favor of the clause, and his two colleagues voted against it.

This proviso was renewed by Rufus King, in 1785, as a condition upon which the State of Massachusetts would cede her territory. It was referred to a committee by a vote of eight States, but it does not appear that the committee reported it back, and Massachusetts ceded her territory without such condition.

The government of this country, as thus established, continued until the passage of the ordinance of 1787, for the government of the Northwestern Territory, of which Illinois formed a part. After the division of the Northwest Territory, Illinois became one of the counties of the Territory of Indiana, from which it was separated by an act of Congress in the year 1809. At the time of its separation from the Territory of Indiana, it was divided into two counties — the counties of St. Clair and Randolph.

That the resolutions of 1784 were considered in force and gave authority to the people to organize a government under them, is evident from the fact that they were recognized by the ordinance of 1787 in the following words: "Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, that the resolutions of the 23d of April, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four, relative to the subject of this ordinance, be and the same is hereby repealed and declared null and void."

Under the ordinance of 1787 the Governor and Judges, or a majority of them, had power to adopt and publish in the district such laws of the original States as were necessary, and best suited to the circumstances of the


Territory, subject to be disapproved by Congress; but when the General Assembly was organized, the Legislature had authority to alter them as they should think fit. The Governor had the power to appoint and commission all the militia officers below the rank of General officers, and, previous to the organization of the General Assembly, the Governor had the appointment of such magistrates and other civil officers, in each county and township, as he might think necessary for the preservation of the peace and good order in the same. After the organization of the General Assembly, the powers and duties of the magistrates and other civil officers were to be regulated and defined by the Assembly; but all magistrates and other civil officers whose appointments were not provided for by Congress, were to be appointed by the Governor even after the organization of the General Assembly. The Governor had also the power to lay out parts of the Territory, in which the Indian title was extinguished, into townships and counties.

Another article of the ordinance provided that so soon as there should be five thousand free male inhabitants of full age, upon giving proof thereof to the Governor they should have authority to elect representatives to the General Assembly.

To be eligible as representative, the ordinance required that a person should have been a citizen of the United States for three years and a resident of the district, or a resident of the district for three years; and, in either case, that he should hold in his right, in fee simple, two hundred acres of land within his district.

To qualify a person to vote, it was necessary for him to hold fifty acres of land in the district and to have been a citizen of one of the States and a resident in the district, or the like freehold and two years residence in the district.

The General Assembly consisted of a Council, House of Representatives and the Governor, but no law could be passed without the approval of the Governor. The right to elect a delegate in Congress devolved on the Council and House of Representatives, in joint session.

The above are some of the leading provisions of the ordinance of 1787. On the 2d of May, 1812, Congress passed a law authorizing the admission of the Territory into the second grade of territorial government. This act extended the right of suffrage so as to authorize any free white male person of twenty-one years of age, and who shall have paid a territorial or county tax previous to any general election, and be at the time of the election a resident of the district, and who shall have resided one year in the Territory previous to the election, to vote for representatives and members of the Council and a delegate in Congress.


So much of the ordinance of 1787 as had required that there should be five thousand free white male inhabitants in the Territory, had also been repealed.

I find the draft of the memorial to Congress, praying for the admission of the Territory into the second grade, and the extension of the right of suffrage, among the papers of Gov. Edwards, and in his hand-writing.

By an examination of the ordinance of 1787 it appears, from the following provision, that under the second grade of government the Legislature had unlimited power of legislation, unless restrained in the exercise thereof by the articles in the ordinance: "The Governor and Judges, or a majority of them, shall adopt and publish in the district such laws of the original States, criminal and civil, as maybe necessary, and best suited to the circumstances of the district, and report them to Congress from time to time; which laws shall be in force in the district until the organization of the General Assembly therein, unless disapproved by Congress; but afterwards the Legislature shall have authority to alter them as they shall think fit." From this provision it appears that only the laws which might be adopted by the Governor and Judges were subject to the disapprobation of Congress; that such laws were required to be reported to Congress not, as has generally been supposed, for their approbation, but they were to be in force until they were "disapproved" by Congress. 2d. That after the organization of the General Assembly, the Legislature should "have authority to alter the laws as they shall think fit," without being required to report them to Congress.

On the 8th of May, 1792, Congress passed another law "respecting the government of the territories of the United States, northwest and south of the River Ohio."

The first section of this law provided that the laws of the territory northwest of the Ohio, that had been or hereafter may be enacted by the Governor and Judges, shall be printed, under the direction of the Secretary of State, and that two hundred copies thereof, together with ten sets of the laws of the United States, shall be distributed among the inhabitants for their information; and that a like number of the laws of the United States shall be delivered to the Governor and Judges of the territory southwest of the Ohio River.

Section two authorized the Governor and Judges of the territory northwest of the River Ohio to repeal the "laws by them made whenever the same may be found improper."

Section three provides that the official duties of the secretaries of the said territories shall be under the control of the laws of the territories.

Section four authorized any one of the supreme or superior judges, in the absence of the other judges, to hold court.


Section five directed the Secretary of State to provide seals for the public officers in the said territories.

On the 17th of August, 1789, a law was also passed by Congress, in order to adapt the provisions of the ordinance of 1787 to the constitution of the United States. By this act the secretary of the territories, in case of the death, removal, resignation or necessary absence of the Governor, was required to execute all the powers and perform all the duties of the Governor during the vacancy occasioned by the removal, resignation or necessary absence of the Governor.

The sixth article of the ordinance provided that there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than for the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

Having deemed it necessary to give a history of the different forms of government under which the people of the Territory lived, I now proceed to give a sketch of the life of Ninian Edwards, who filled such a prominent place in the political history of both Territorial and State governments.


Chapter I.

Genealogy of Gov. Edwards — His Birth and Early Education — His Removal to Kentucky — Dissipated Habits — Election to the Legislature — Becomes a Lawyer and enters upon a Lucrative Practice — Is advanced to the Bench — Becomes Chief Justice of Kentucky — His Political Views — His Marriage — Speech as Presidential Elector in 1804 — Speech as a Candidate for Congress, 1806 — Charge to the Grand Jury — His Relations with Mr. Clay.

Benjamin Edwards, the father of Ninian Edwards, was the son of Hayden Edwards, of Stafford county, Virginia, who married Penelope Sandford, by whom he had four sons and several daughters. They removed to Kentucky before the close of the last century, where they lived honorable, virtuous and Christian lives, and each died at about the age of ninety years. They were raised in connection with the English branch of the Episcopal Church of Virginia, but afterwards became members of the Baptist Church.

The following obituary notice of the Hon Benjamin Edwards, their son, and father of Ninian Edwards, was written and published by the late Hon. William Wirt:

Died on the 13th November, 1826, at his residence in Elkton, Todd county, Kentucky, BENJAMIN EDWARDS, in the 74th year of his age, and the 56th of his Christian life. His venerable consort, Mrs. MARTHA EDWARDS, after a union of more than fifty years, preceded him to the grave about three months before. They both resigned this world with that perfect composure and full assurance of future happiness, which religion can inspire, and left behind them a numerous and respectable family of children a/d their descendants, to imitate their virtues and to deplore their loss.

Mr. Edwards was a native of Stafford county, in Virginia; and before he came of age, he intermarried with Margaret, the daughter of Ninian Beall, of Montgomery county, Maryland, and resided, for nearly twenty-five years, on his farm of Mount Pleasant, about nine miles above the court house of that county. His pursuits were those of agriculture and merchandize, which he conducted with industry and irreproachable integrity.

He had not the advantage of a classical education, but nature had given him a mind of extraordinary force and comprehension, and a moral character of uncommon elevation and energy. He was one of nature's great men; and she had stamped this character most strikingly on his countenance and person. He was large and well formed; his countenance strongly marked with intelligence and benevolence; his step and movements uncommonly dignified and commanding; and in his whole action three


was an easy, unaffected gracefulness, which proclaimed the gentleman and the man of feeling, in a manner not to be mistaken. Though his manners were highly prepossessing, conciliatory and kind, yet such was the dignity that surrounded him, and the respect with which he impressed all who approached him, that no man dreampt of using an irreverent liberty, or indulging in a thoughtless levity in his presence. His colloquial powers were unrivalled in any company in which the writer of this article ever saw him. He had a manly and melodious voice, a natural fluency and eloquence that never hesitated, the most striking originality and vigor of thought, the aptest and happiest illustrations drawn from the objects of nature around him, and an accuracy and integrity of judgment, which have never been surpassed, on the objects that called for his decision. He had supplied the deficiencies of youthful education by careful reading, and had acquired a correct style, which was yet marked with the native strength and originality of his thoughts, and he conversed with great power, even on the subjects of literature, taste and science; and many have been the flippant scholars and collegians, who, after the interchange of a few remarks, have felt themselves rebuked by his superior mind, and learned to listen with instinctive reverence and delight.

He made himself an excellent historian, both in ancient and modern history; and to his children and their young companions, (of whom the writer was one,) with whom he always took pleasure in conversing, he was one of the most instructive companions whom the kindness of Providence could have sent them. Though always pious, there was nothing austere, obtrusive or revolting in his religion; and in his domestic circle he would often indulge himself with great playfulness, and with the most successful humor; yet no occasion was ever lost in instilling into them pure and honorable and lofty sentiments and principles, and kindling in them the flame of patriotic and virtuous emulation, holding up to them, with great eloquence, the example of ancient patriots, orators, and statesmen, with which he was so much enamored, as if he were still in his youth.

He rose to considerable distinction before he left Maryland, which was about thirty years ago. He represented the county of Montgomery for several years in the State Legislature; was a member of the State Convention which ratified the Federal Constitution; and, afterwards, a member of Congress for the district in which he lived. Though nature had made him an orator of high order, he was restrained, by his unconquerable diffidence, from hazarding himself often in public debate. He spoke but rarely, and then on local subjects, when forced forward by a high sense of duty; yet on one of these occasions, in the Assembly of Maryland, with so much force did he strike the House, that the late Samuel Chase, and several others of the most competent judges of eloquence in that body, crossed the floor of the House, to congratulate him, and to assure him that it rested with himself to become one of the most distinguished speakers of the age. But he was restrained, by diffidence, from profiting by this suggestion, and a man who may be justly pronounced to have been one of nature's happiest efforts, has now passed away, to be forgotten by the world. Never will he be forgotten by the grateful heart from which this humble tribute flows; nor that excellent woman, who was the fit and happy counterpart of so extraordinary a man. They were both an honor to their species, ornaments to the church to which they belonged, and are now amongst the spirits of the blessed, who surround the Throne on High.



He removed from Maryland to Kentucky in the year 1800. Ninian Edwards, of Illinois, was their eldest son. He was born in Montgomery county, Maryland, in March, 1775. His domestic training was well fitted to give his mind strength, firmness and honorable principles, and a good foundation was laid for the elevated character to which he afterwards attained.

His education in early youth was in company and partly under the tuition of the Hon. William Wirt, whom his father patronized. Mr. Wirt was the eldest by two years and four months, but they were not merely companions in their studies, nor was the relation exactly that of tutor and pupil. They became devotedly attached to each other, and the foundation was laid for the friendship and brotherly affection that lasted during life.

At the period this intimacy commenced Mr. Wirt was at the age of fifteen, and he survived Mr. Edwards six months, wanting two days.

Mr. Wirt had been instructed in the Latin and Greek classics by Rev. James Hunt, an Episcopal clergyman, who taught a select school in Montgomery county for a period, and when that school closed he was received into the family of Mr. Edwards, nominally as private tutor for his son, where he remained twenty months. This arrangement was an act of kindness and beneficence on the part of Mr. Edwards to aid Mr. Wirt in his education, without the restraint that charity imposes.

The studies of young Edwards were further prosecuted under the tuition of Rev. Mr. Hunt, at Montgomery court house, from whence he was sent to Dickinson College, at Carlisle, Pa., then under the presidency of the Rev. Charles Nesbit, D. D.

After leaving college he commenced, with several others, the study of law. It was required of the law class that they should read, for one-half of the time, history; but young Edwards having, under the instruction of his father, become a good historian, devoted the portion of time required for that study to the reading of medicine, and so thorough was his knowledge of that science, that he became, where he was known, almost as eminent in that department of science as he was in the law. Before finishing the study of law, he removed to Nelson county, in the State of Kentucky, where he had gone, under the direction of his father, to open a farm for him, and to purchase homes and locate lands for his brothers and sisters.

Nature here had lavished her gifts with wanton wildness. The character of society was then unformed. Frivolty and dissipation prevailed over the glowing feelings and volatile temper of youth; and the examples of age and experience were not such as were calculated to ward off the temptation. His father furnished him with ample means for his immediate support, and he had all the prospective advantages of a new and growing country.

Thus sent forth upon the theatre of a new world, surrounded by companions whose pleasures and pursuits were in sensual indulgences, it is not


surprising that this inexperienced youth, with natural talents above the ordinary level, and the foundation laid for a virtuous and solid education, should have given away to excesses and indiscretions, till the hopes of his friends and his own aspirations of rising to distinction in any honorable profession, had withered.

I should do injustice to the ingenuous principles of his nature, were I to pass over silently these two or three years of his early life. I have heard him allude to it with those feelings with which an individual narrates his sudden and unexpected deliverance from the most imminent peril.

Amidst the dissipation that surrounded him, and in the toils of which he seemed effectually caught, it is gratifying to remark, that he retained a nice sense of honor, and that the truths of revealed religion, in which he had been educated, had not lost their hold upon his mind.

During this period he was professedly engaged in legal studies. Such habits, then, did not prevent his election to the Legislature of Kentucky, as the Representative of Nelson county, before he had quite attained the age of twenty-one years; and so well did he discharge the duties in that station, that he was reelected in the subsequent year, by an almost unanimous vote. In 1798 he was licensed to practice law, and the following year was admitted to the courts of Tennessee.

About this time he left Nelson county for Russelville, in Logan county, broke away from his dissolute companions, commenced a reformation, and devoted himself to severe and laborious study. He had previously squandered his patrimonial inheritance, impaired his health, and dissipated the hopes of his friends and parents. But from this period he was able to resolve successfully. He soon rose so rapidly in his profession, that he was not only considered one of the most eminent lawyers of that or any other country, but, in the short space of only four years' practice, he amassed a large fortune. He evinced, at a very early period, no ordinary power, with habits of regular and unremitting industry.

He practiced extensively in the courts of Kentucky and West Tennessee, and soon displayed talents and legal knowledge of a high order. And let it be noticed that he was not drifting along the current of his profession without competitors. At that period some of the brightest talents of Kentucky and Tennessee were at the bar, fired with the ardor of youthful aspirants — and it was no easy task for a young lawyer, with such competitors as Clay, Grundy, Rowan, Bibb, Boyle, J. II. Davis and others, around him — yet among such competitors he was not excelled; and after the short space of four years' practice, he filled, in succession, the offices of Presiding Judge of the General Court, Circuit Judge, fourth Judge of the Court of Appeals, and Chief Justice of Kentucky, before he was 32 years of age.


As early as 1799, in a reply to a letter from his father, who wished to know something of his political creed, he says: "Suffice it to say, on this head, I am a warm friend to the Union, and have a sufficient confidence in the constituted authorities, that when they determine it necessary and expedient to adopt any particular measure, so far as my efforts in society can go I will endeavor to support them, and shall always be willing to rally to the standard of my country. I do approve most of the measures of the administration — still I cannot consent to be a blind adherent to them all. Yet, I shall always be an enemy to any other than a constitutional appeal, in any case." I have been one of the most active friends of government since the rupture with France. I was active because I thought the situation of my country rendered it my duty to be so, and I have the satisfaction of believing that my efforts were not lost. The political fervor has entirely subsided among us. I have entirely withdrawn myself from politics, and am directing my whole attention to the law, in which I have succeeded beyond my most sanguine expectations, and I find myself handsomely requited thereby. I have the reputation, at least, of being at the head of the bar, in the district in which I practice, and I know that the profits of my practice are greater than those of any other. I am relieving myself fast from a variety of embarrassments, in which dissipation had involved me and am so far satisfied with my own conduct, that I am under no apprehension that you will ever again hear, that I am ‘a young man of fine talents, but extremely dissipated.’ On account of my health, I shall decline the practice of law, provided I can obtain an appointment in the judiciary, of which I have no doubt, upon the first vacancy. The salary is too low, being only Ł180, and nothing but indisposition could induce me to accept it. In this letter, after stating the amendments which had been made to the Constitution of Kentucky, he says: "I am not astonished that the convention has made the constitution worse instead of better; for what more could be expected of a set of men, the most of whom were ignorant of the principles of human nature, ignorant of the principles of civil society, and still more so of the science of government? It is impossible that such men can entertain just conceptions of the principles of government; neither can they devise the most eligible mode of concentrating power, for the benefit of society. As well might we expect the uneducated to develop and elucidate the most abstract principles in the science of philosophy, physic or jurisprudence, as that they could compile a constitution, originating, distributing and restraining, in the most judicious manner, the power necessary to the purposes of civil government and the complete organization of a populous community. It was attempted, in the convention, to subvert the present judiciary system, by abolishing district courts and courts of quarter sessions, and establishing, in lieu of them, circuit


courts; and in the first attempt, there was a decided majority in favor of it. This, evidently, would have been flagrantly improper, for no regulation in civil society ought to be more particularly adapted to the political state of that society, than the judiciary system — and at no period ought the political state of a society to be more maturely considered than when the rules of society are forming such a system. That the present system is best adapted to the situation of our country, there is, in my opinion, no doubt. But suppose it is admitted, on all hands, that the circuit system was the best — the convention, in my opinion, had nothing to do with that or any other. The only power they ought to have exercised was, to declare that the judiciary should be forever separate, distinct, and independent of the legislative and executive departments; in what manner the judges should be elected, how long and upon what conditions they should hold their office, how removed and how vacancies should be filled; but the division of that power ought to be intrusted to the Legislature, which is the proper body to define its ramifications. That is certainly the best judicial system from which justice can be most completely dispensed at the least expense; but how a system is to be made to attain that end the combined experience of mankind has not determined. While society is in a state of progression, and has not attained its utmost perfection, it would be unwise to adopt too permanent a system, by incorporating it in our constitution, and thereby precluding ourselves from the advantages of future experience; for suppose the system the convention might adopt should prove very defective, to what a situation would we then be reduced? To the necessity of choosing one of two evils: either that of submitting to the inconveniences growing out of such a judiciary system, or the calling of a convention. This circumstance ought to have been sufficient to have convinced all thinking men that the convention had nothing to do with it, but that, (as I have before observed,) the organization of this branch of power ought to be intrusted to the Legislature, that it might be improved whenever experience and observation should point out the necessity, and might undergo different modifications, without producing any sensible inconvenience; whereas, if the convention had undertaken to modify this branch of power, no amendment could have been made, except through the medium of another convention. This would introduce too frequent changes in the constitution, for however the idea of the immutability of compacts, by which communities agree to support any system of government, may be exploded, and justly too, it is my opinion that too frequent changes in the constitution of a state is among the greatest of evils, for it unhinges government, relaxes the springs, begets incertitude in its operations, and creates a political chaos in society."


A very short time after the date of this letter, his anticipations were realized by receiving the appointment of Judge.

Having already alluded to his rapid promotion in the judicial department of government, it cannot be doubted that this promotion was the result of the able and satisfactory manner in which he had discharged the duties in that department of the government.

In 1802 he received a commission of major, from Gov. Garrard, to command a battallion of Kentucky militia, and the next year, 1803, he was appointed judge of the circuit in which he resided. The same year he made a visit to his native land and to his father's domicil. Here he formed that most interesting connection, which frequently determines a man's character and prospects in future life. The choice of his affections, the endeared companion of his future days, the mother of his children, and at the time of his death his disconsolate widow, was Miss Elvira Lane, from a respectable family in the vicinity of his father's residence, and who returned with him the same season to Kentucky.

His official duties were discharged with ability, and met the general approbation of the people. So strong a hold upon the confidence of the people had he taken, that in 1806 he was promoted to the station of fourth Judge of the Court of Appeals, and in two years after, to the responsible and dignified station of Chief Justice of the State. The Rev. J. M. Peck speaking of him, says: "I have conversed with many persons who knew him in all these judicial stations, and have not found one to complain of remissness in duty. All concur in giving him an uncommon character for the correctness of his judicial decisions, consistency of his course, and unwearied industry. Evidently he possessed, in a high degree, the confidence of the people. Hundreds of people who knew him as a judge, have visited him for legal advice, since his residence in Illinois, which was gratuitously bestowed. They had great confidence in the extent of his legal knowledge, honesty of purpose, and correctness of judgment."

In 1804, whilst he was a judge, he was chosen as one of the electors for President and Vice-President of the United States. The following is an extract from one of his speeches during that canvass:


Believing that, it is expected that I shall say something to you on the subject of the approaching election, for electors, I beg leave to solicit your attention. You will soon be called upon to exercise your right of suffrage by designating the persons upon whom you wish to confide this all important right of representing you upon one of the most important occasions that can arise under our government. The propriety and necessity of exercising the right of voting, must be obvious to every reflecting mind. By negligence and inattention to its exercise, the people lose the proper sense of its advantages and inestimable importance; and although the occasional neglect of it, abstractly considered, might produce no dangerous consequences, it begets a habit of inattention, which perfectly destroys that vigilance and strict inquiry so essential in every


republican government, and may, in process of time, produce that degree of supineness from which it will be impossible to arouse you but by the dreadful storm that destroys you. These suggestions are by no means fanciful or visionary. The faithful page of history affords too many melancholy evidences of the truth of them. You now feel yourselves secure from danger; so probably did all the republics that have hitherto existed. At some period of their government they felt as secure as you now do; yet those governments, if history is to be credited, sooner or later eventuated in despotism, and from the want of proper attention to the representative principle and a frequent recurrence to its first or fundamental principles. It is true there is no analogy between our government and the ancient republics. They lacked the representative, as applied to all its branches; but it will be the same thing if we, possessing the principle of representation in so eminent a degree in our constitutions, do not preserve it in its full vigor, which can only be done by the most zealous regard and undeviating attention to our right of voting. Our glorious revolution, which, under a beneficent providence, ended in the establishment of the rights of men, and made us a free and happy people, has recognized the people as the source of all power. To the people is assigned the right of raising and putting down our rulers, not with the violence of an infuriated mob, but with the mild and equitable decision of an enlightened judgment. Ours is, I believe, the first fair and full trial of the representative system, and it has so far, at least, triumphed over prejudice and opposition. On this foundation our government rests, and while it is preserved in its full and constitutional vigor, in vain may the tempests of a corrupt world beat against it. It is a rock against which the most violent billows, rushing with the utmost impetuosity, may dash in vain, and must fall impotent at its base. Its strength and durability will only be the more conspicious by the troubled and unstable state of all that surround it. These are considerations which I submit to you, my fellow citizens, to show you the propriety of every man's voting when the constitution and laws of our country require it. They are so far made on general principles, but our peculiar local situation may furnish reasons that ought to be no less operative with you.

After dwelling at length on the measures more immediately relating to the interests of the people of the West, he proceeded as follows:

Should I meet with your approbation, and that of my fellow citizens of the district, I pledge myself to you that I shall vote for Mr. Jefferson as President, and Mr. Clinton as Vice-President. The experience of almost four years has evidently demonstrated how much Mr. Jefferson is worthy of the confidence the people have reposed in him. Not a single friend has deserted his cause, while many of his former enemies have honorably acknowledged their mistake, and have been the most zealous supporters of his administration. In vain have his enemies scrutinized all his public measures, with a hope of finding some dangerous omission. In vain have they attempted to throw odium on his private life, finding his public character unexceptionable. All their efforts to wound his fair fame with the most malignant shafts of calumny, have ended in showing how much he is beloved by his grateful countrymen. His intelligence, virtue and patriotism have irradiated and purified the public councils, dispelled the mist of delusion, and restored liberty to her full vigor and pristine benignity. In vain then may his enemies employ every method in their power to destroy the confidence of the people in his administration.

He succeeded in this election, and had the honor of casting the vote of his district for Mr. Jefferson.


In 1806 he was a candidate for Congress, against the celebrated Matthew Lyon, but, on being promoted to the Court of Appeals, he declined before the election.

That the reader may understand and properly appreciate the character of the man who was selected by Mr. Madison to be the Governor of Illinois, I give extracts from a speech in this contest with Matthew Lyon:

Let us, by all means and at all times, endeavor to preserve, in the utmost purity, the advantages which we enjoy over other republics, and to transmit liberty unimpaired, as the best legacy to a grateful posterity, in the same manner, if not more perfect, than we have received it from our glorious ancestors. That we may enjoy the advantages and security I have mentioned as being peculiar to our form of government, will be fruitless, unless we use the means of preserving them. This advantage evidently consists in the perfection of the principle of free representation. It is from the people, then, that representation immediately flows by the mode of election. While, then, the people are in the habit of cultivating public virtue, of preserving the purity of elections, we need not fear corruption in the government. The power and virtue of the people can only be exercised in elections, as far as relates to government. Elections, therefore, must be considered as the test of public virtue; it is the vital principle of free government; it is the corner-stone of the mighty fabric we have reared. If, then, the public sentiment should not be correctly exercised — if the respective merits and demerits of the candidates who solicit your favor are not duly considered, without regard to anything but the public good — if elections become corrupted — the source is polluted; the different branches of government must partake of that pollution; the whole will become contaminated and liberty will be jeopardized.

That you should only be guided by the merits of the candidates who solicit your favor must be obvious to every thinking and dispassionate mind. It will be the duty of your representative to protect you in the enjoyment of private property and personal security, liberty and public tranquillity. Who does not consider these as momentous questions? Is there a man among you who, if he were going to law for the paltry sum of one hundred dollars, would not select an attorney to manage his business whom he considered the most capable of serving him, provided he could confide in his integrity? And if this is the case where only a little property is involved, how much more should it be the case where your absolute and relative rights as citizens, and your liberty — Heaven's best gifts — are concerned? It is not the question whether you like this or that man better; but it is upon whom it is your interest to confide your trust. The people in every district, in making their selection of a person to serve them, should be as cautious as if he was the only man upon whom their interest and welfare depended; for it surely can not be considered safe to be inattentive in this respect, upon a supposition that if your representative is not calculated to advance and secure your interest and protect your rights against all invasion, from what quarter soever they may proceed, that still there may be some one from some other quarter who can and will do it. If this disposition should be manifested by you, the same principles that have operated on you may operate on a majority of the different districts throughout the United States, and this inattention might become universal. Should this be the case, this problematical character may not then be found, but some one might probably be found of ingenuity, strategem and address sufficient to successfully assail your best and dearest rights. At all events it is best to be on the safest side.


Again, he said:

That the success of our government depends upon the purity of election, is self-evident. Our greatest patriots, our best and wisest men, have proved incontestably that such is their belief. * * * If, therefore, you do not discountenance those who are disposed to practice this corruption (treating at elections) — if you do not withhold from such men your confidence, and teach them that it is their interest to act otherwise in order to gain your approbation — instead of inspiring the minds of your fellow-citizens with a laudable and patriotic ambition to serve their country and excel in virtue, you cherish their vices by rewarding them; you establish a school of vice and depravity in our country tending to contaminate not only the present but succeeding generations; you foster in your bosoms the deadly adder which sooner or later will sting you to death. The deadly poison will insinuate itself in the heart of society, and from thence diffuse itself throughout all parts of it. Let it be conceded that you are willing to see the practice of "treating" for an election once introduced among us, and what will be the consequence? The precedent, once established, will become less and less objectionable by becoming more familiar to you; it will finally become fashionable, and ultimately necessary to success. I ask you, then, where is your boasted equality? Where is the fair and open field in which talents and merit may successfully exert themselves and receive their just reward? It will vanish forever, or only remain like a dream upon the mind. All distinctions will then be confined to the rich, for they alone will be able to meet the expenses of an election. A man in moderate circumstances, be his talents ever so great, will not be able to contend with his more wealthy competitor, and we shall find ourself completely under the dominion of an aristocracy, while we are only amused with the name of a free government. He who has paid the least attention to the current of events, or histories of other countries, may be satisfied that unless this most formidable enemy to freedom, corruption, is successfully repelled by the virtue and wisdom of the people, in his first attempt to invade us, he will rise in his strength, like a mighty torrent, and tear down everything before him. * * * For the sake of guarding against the evils that have befallen them — for the sake of public virtue — the people should discourage this practice in any shape in which it can make its appearance. * * * The candidate who practices this corruption would not do so unless he thinks that it would benefit his election. How, then, is it to promote his election, unless he supposes that more people will vote for him in consequence of his whisky than would otherwise do so. Does he not, then, attempt to buy their votes? Certainly; for he buys the whisky, and this he gives for the purpose of getting votes, and all he receives in consequence of it are as much bought as if, instead of the whisky, he has paid the value of it in money. Whether he succeeds or not, it must be evident to all thinking men that this is his object. * * Would he give it unless he thought it would gain him votes? and is there anything that ought to fill the minds of enlightened and independent freemen with more indignation than the supposition that their minds were to be influenced in this way? Can a man insult them more than to show that he conceives them so mean and mercenary; and can you suppose that a man is not influenced by other motives than the public good, when he endeavors to succeed in his election by purchasing it — in other words, by bribery and corruption?

This is the only view which I am capable of taking of the subject, and I hope my observations will be received as a sufficient apology for my not falling into this too common practice. I cannot but feel too great respect for my fellow-citizens to show that I conceived them capable of being either directly or indirectly corrupted; and if I did conceive them so, I cannot reconcile it to my conscience either to practice it upon


any one or violate the spirit of that constitution which I am sworn to support. I love national liberty; I esteem the practice of which I am speaking as the most formidable engine of attacking it; and if we ever do lose our liberties, I will venture to predict that it will only be effected by destroying the purity of election. No man is fonder of the approbation of his fellow-citizens than I am. My disposition and habits have always led me to cultivate their friendship. I esteem it a most distinguished honor and a most valuable and desirable acquisition. I am anxious to attain the honor of serving my country; I have endeavored to qualify myself for it. But I am not disposed to attain this honor by any other than the most honorable means. I can never sacrifice my integrity, my ideas of propriety or my independence to procure it. I do most sincerely wish your approbation, but I only wish it upon proper principles. The best criterion for judging the character of a man is by his acts.

Governor Edwards, from the time he was nineteen years of age until he was twenty-one or twenty-two, led a dissolute life; he indulged in dissipation and gambling to an extent which alarmed his friends. He therefore knew well the effects and consequences to individuals and society from the practice of such habits, which were so prevalent in a new country. Having, therefore, determined to reform himself, he was equally zealous, on all proper occasions, in exerting himself to promote good morals and public virtue. With a view of showing the opinion of our early legislators on the subject of gambling, profane swearing and Sabbath-breaking, as well as to show his efforts to check those habits and practices having a tendency destructive to the mind and morals of the people as well as the government, and also to show his high regard for religion and its importance in a national point of view, I give his opinions, as expressed in his charge to the grand jury in Kentucky, in 1803, as follows:

I consider vagrants and gamblers as objects particularly meriting your notice and reprehension. Such persons, in general, having no estates of their own, and who are too indolent to use means to get a support, you may rely upon it are ready to employ all manner of unjust, nefarious and unlawful means of acquiring money, and the necessity of subsisting in some way disposes them for committing all kinds of misdemeanors, from which must spring a school of vice in the bosom of your country which will not fail to spread its infection and corrupt the manners of your fellow-citizens. These are consequences of a general nature, in which the public are interested, but it would be a very easy matter for you to extend your views to the immediate pictures of distress — to those who feel the effects of the conduct of such men as I have mentioned — I mean to their wives and children, reduced to penury, and struggling, naked and comfortless, with their adverse fortunes, in a world not much disposed to ameliorate their cruel destiny, and in many instances depending upon the uncertain and precarious fortune of gratuitous subsistence from their neighbors. Experience and observation must have convinced you that such cases are not only very probable, but actually do exist. The desperate lives of vagrants and gamblers have a natural tendency, besides shedding around in the circles of their association the baneful contagion of evil example, no less destructive to the mind and morals than the most virulent and raging pestilence to the body; but they produce and bring down upon the families the most complicated misfortunes, the contemplation of which shock the mind of sensibility and make humanity shudder to


think of. Whose heart is so adamantine that can behold, without sympathy, a poor desolate woman, with a house full of helpless children, forsaken by her husband, the natural protector of herself and children. She is left to her hard fate without means of subsistence, in an open cabin not sufficient to shelter her and her helpless children from the inclemency of the weather, and in the midst of disease and bodily affliction tormented with the cruel reflection of her undeserved misfortunes; her heart swollen, ready to burst its vital springs asunder at the miseries of her family, and nature almost sinking under the weight of anxiety to relieve their wants, which nature constrains them to vindicate, but which she is unable to relieve. This, I am inclined to believe, is not a hypothetical case; my information is that such a case does exist. It is your duty to inquire into such cases, and I hope these suggestions will superinduce extraordinary efforts on your part to bring the offenders to trial. The prevention of higher crimes is effected by a strict attention to the exercise of the most important duties with which you, as a grand inquest, are invested, by suffering no individual who comes within the description of gamblers and vagrants to escape your notice. They will then not multiply from impunity. A few examples may dissipate those pests of society who infest our peace and the public repose.

Drunkenness is also another offense properly coming within your jurisdiction, and I fear the frequency of it, instead of impressing your minds with the importance of applying to those who commit it the legal correction, has almost obliterated the proper sense of the impropriety and danger of this most degrading and beastly vice, for my own observation convinces me that a number of such cases exist. The few presentments for the number of offenses of this kind that are committed cannot fail to impress my mind with the idea that jurors have not hitherto duly appreciated the power they ought to exercise on such occasions. The laws of the State expressly prohibit it, which ought to be a sufficient consideration with the jury to induce them to bestow on it the most particular attention; but I am astonished that this offense should pass with such impunity, and should by law be so inadequately punished, particularly on public occasions, when I consider the nature of it, and reflect upon the train of evil consequences it produces. The mind of man, distempered and intoxicated with liquor, renders him fit for the commission of the most savage deeds — it brutalizes him; it causes the profligate to extend the sphere of his licentious indulgence; it frequently brings into action the most turbulent passions the human mind is capable of entertaining; it demoralizes a man, and for the time being destroys every virtue he ever possessed; it frequently dissolves the tender ties that unite society. If it has such a tendency among mankind whose minds are humanized by the highest degree of civilization, what can we expect from its practice in a frontier settlement, where there has scarcely been time to tame the wild and refractory by exhibiting to them the efficiency of the law. Who does not recollect that he has witnessed an immense group of evils resulting immediately from this vice. Let any man who cannot rely upon his own observation, as a test of its dangerous consequences, examine the faithful page of history, and I promise him that he will find in consequence of it many horrid deeds committed. But, laying out of view the high and important crimes it sometimes produces, I ask what are its almost universal tendencies? It certainly incites the mind to every species of mischief; to profane swearing; it produces assaults and batteries, affrays, routs and riots, etc., and begets an entire contempt for the laws and legal authorities. It is evident, by attending to this branch of your jurisdiction, by making examples of guilty persons, you will lessen the number of offenses which require to be presented by you by removing and extirpating, as it were, the cause that produces them. I will venture to assert, that


one-half of the offenses against the penal laws, usually presented by grand jurors, would not have been committed were it not for intoxication. You will, by this means, greatly benefit the people who are guilty of this vice, as you will save them from those excesses to which it may hurry them, and the expenses, fines and forfeitures necessarily attending thereon, and thereby prevent them from injuring their constitutions, exhausting their pecuniary resources, and thereby distressing their innocent families. What constitutes drunkenness is a matter of fact, of which you are the proper judge; but for my part I have no idea that, to give you cognizance of such cases, it should appear that a man was so drunk that he could neither talk, walk or stand, for I really think that although such cases ought never to be overlooked by a grand jury, that that is the most harmless intoxication which prevents a man from insulting or injuring another or disturbing the public repose; but I am clearly of the opinion that although a man may walk and talk as well as another, yet, if his mind is distempered, his natural and common reason and discretion impaired by liquor, if it tends to render him more dangerous and less peaceable than in his sober moments, I should be inclined to think he ought to be presented. He, in fact, in such a situation, is dangerous because he has the disposition and the power of disturbing the peace, and his example is equally pernicious to society, if not more so, than he who can not move.

Profane swearing and cursing, Sabbath-breaking and blasphemy are also offenses to which I beg leave to call your attention. Though trivial, as they are thought by some, and so very leniently punished by our laws, they are very severely denounced by that law by which we must at last be judged. Since both the municipal laws of the land and the law of God prohibit these offenses, I trust that they will meet with the proper attention from a grand jury who have obligated themselves to discharge their duties by a solemn appeal to Heaven. Our laws do not assume the right of controlling men's consciences; but they very wisely restrain mankind from open abuses of sacred things, from profanity, blasphemy, etc., which are not necessary to the enjoyment of any religion that ever has or ever will exist, but which must be not only incompatible and uncongenial with any religion or any system of ethics or morality. Thus far our laws go; not to shackle the opinions of mankind, but to restrain them from the commission of acts which every reflecting mind must consider highly improper; and I hope that the detestable poison of infidelity has not so far insinuated itself into the minds of this grand jury, as to lead it away by the cant reasoning of those who are inimical to religion of every kind, from bestowing the proper attention to these objects of their jurisdiction. These observations, I hope, are a sufficient answer to the objections which have frequently been made to these laws, upon the ground of unconstitutionality. But it could be easily demonstrated, that it is to the interest of the Commonwealth to cherish a love for religion, and those cannot be very deserving citizens who make it their business to depreciate its influence: for in the first place it is the foundation upon which the fabric of our jurisprudence rests. What becomes of an obligation of an oath, if you destroy the idea of a state of future rewards and punishments? Where is the check to sordid avarice, domineering over the great host of evil passions? Gentlemen may theorize in their closets as long as time lasts upon the light of reason and its influence to govern mankind, but they will never succeed in any practical system. They should reflect before they attempt to undermine the fabric of future hopes. They ought to weigh well the consequences of success to society in general. They should pause to consider whether, if nine-tenths of the world are not restrained from the commission of high offenses neither by the fear of the penalties


of municipal laws, nor future punishments, under their present opinions, how much more likely would they be governed by the light of reason, especially when it is considered as it must be conceded, that they do not possess, independent of the fear of present and future punishment, light of reason sufficient to satisfy them that they act wrong, both as it relates to themselves and society. As, then, it is evident that all those checks, with this fantastic light of reason, are insufficient to control the passions of lawless and evil-minded men, it is paradoxical and absurd to contend that it is to the interest of society to destroy any one of those necessary checks, and it will be recollected that the laws are designed to govern men of the aforesaid description — from all which considerations I infer that as the particular tendency of blasphemy, profanity, etc., is to destroy the influence of religion and morality on the minds of our fellow citizens, that they ought for that reason to be punished. What is the proper religion I shall not pretend to say, nor is it my province to determine; but that some religion is necessary is evident from the history of past events. Any religion is better than none at all, if there is the least credit to be given to sacred or profane history. The last, I presume, is an authority that infidels are not disposed to question; and society is interested in the support of religion. We find from history that the Assyrian Empire, that of the Medes and Persians, Grecian and Roman, all flourished whilst they adhered to their religion and scrupulously practiced reverence and piety toward their gods; but as impiety and wickedness gained ground, they began gradually to decline and ultimately sunk into total destruction. Who can read the history of the proud, superb, and unequaled cities of Babylon and Jerusalem, without seeing the evidences of God's wrath and chastisements for their wickedness in their signal destruction; and if Jerusalem itself experienced those visitations of the Almighty wrath in consequence of its wickedness, how shall we hope to escape whilst we tolerate profanity and impiety, and thereby permit their influence to extend to the rising generation, accumulating as it rolls on to the greatest magnitude, and that, too, at a time when we have just experienced greater dispensations of goodness and happiness than any other nation has enjoyed ? In the dark ages of antiquity, impiety was looked upon as the greatest offense; they would not tolerate the least want of reverence for their supposed dieties, but severely punished supposed offenses against them. Shall we, possessing the light of revelation, permit an open irreverence and open opposition to the only true God? I hope not. It may be asked, why may not men be left, in such cases, to their conscience and to their future destinies? Because they would carry along with them the same fate for others whom they corrupt. We cannot consent that they shall blight and destroy our fairest hopes by contaminating, by their evil example, our children. Knowing that mankind is generally more disposed to embrace error than truth, to adopt vice than virtue, and knowing the fascinating influence of example, the law will not permit these persons to transfuse their poison into the breasts of others. These observations do not exclusively apply to profane swearing, Sabbath-breaking and blasphemy, they equally apply to other objects of your jurisdiction.

That Mr. Edwards was a very distinguished lawyer and able jurist no one can doubt, after reading his opinions whilst he was one of the judges of the highest court of the State of Kentucky; and to estimate, properly, his reputation as a lawyer and jurist, it must be borne in mind that he was selected to fill his judicial stations from the bar, composed at that time of some of the most eminent lawyers in the United States. Judge Bibb


so highly appreciated his talents us a lawyer and judge, as to say that he knew of no one who could write a more able opinion, and in so short time as Judge Edwards. The great secret of his success was owing to his powerful intellect and to his energy and untiring industry.

At a very early period he was selected by Mr. Clay to attend to important legal business for his father-in-law, Col. Hart, and in one of the letters from Mr. Clay to him, dated in July, 1800, Mr. C., after finishing what he had to say in relation to Mr. Hart's business, says:

I am happy to hear that we are anxious for the election of the same President. It is now almost certainly ascertained that Mr. Jefferson will be elected. The election of representatives in New York has been in his favor, and he will, it is affirmed, certainly get every vote in that State. You have, no doubt, heard that Pickering is dismissed and McHenry resigned; the violent friends of the administration seem to be quitting public service. Harper is no longer a candidate, and Sedgwick, the speaker, has also declined offering.

Permit me to inform you that as Mr. Thurston declines offering for the clerkship of the Senate, I shall, amongst many others, be a candidate for that office. Having lived in the clerk's office of the High Court of Chancery of Virginia, and acted sometimes as the amanuensis of the Chancellor, I have been induced to believe that I can discharge the duties of that office. Should yon have it in your power to render me any service, and think me deserving it, I will be much obliged to you for the favor.

I am, dear sir, you most obedient,



Chapter II.

Organization of the Territory of Illinois — Appointment of Mr. Edwards as Governor — His arrival at Kaskaskia — Address of the Citizens of Randolph county, and Gov. Edwards' Reply — Superintendent of the U. S. Salines — His Appointment of Territorial Officers — Mr. Crittenden's appointment as Attorney-General of the Territory.

In February, 1809, provision was made by Congress for the organization of the Territory of Illinois, to take effect by the first of March. The duties and responsibilities of a territorial Governor, at that time, were peculiarly arduous and weighty. Judge Boyle, one of the associate judges of the Court of Appeals, of which Ninian Edwards was then Chief Justice, received this appointment, but declined accepting it. To this important station the Chief Justice was appointed by President Madison. This commission bears date the 24th of April, 1809. The Territory was duly organized by the Secretary, Nathaniel Pope, on the 28th of the same month.

Gov. Edwards arrived in June, and on the 11th of that month took the oath of office and entered upon the administration of the government.

The following are among the letters of recommendation to his appointment to the office of Governor:

Kentucky (Frankfort), 10th April, 1809.

To the President:
DEAR SIR — Mr. Boyle having accepted the office of Judge of the Court of Appeals of this State. I presume it will become necessary immediately to appoint a Governor of the Illinois Territory in his stead. N. Edwards, Esq., Chief Justice of our Court of Appeals, is desirous of filling this vacancy, and it is with pleasure that I bestow my suffrage on his recommendation. The honorable appointments which this gentleman has held (first as a judge of our Superior Court, and then promoted to his present station,) evince how highly he is estimated amongst us. In them he has acquitted himself with great ability and general satisfaction, nor can a doubt exist of his entire fitness f/r the office in question.

I am, sir, your most obedient,

In a letter of the same date, to the Hon. Robt. Smith, Mr. Clay speaks of him thus: "His political principles accord with those of the Republican party. His good understanding, weight of character and conciliatory manners give him very fair pretensions to the office alluded to. Should further information be desired in relation to him, I have no doubt that the whole


representation from the State, when consulted, would concur in ascribing to him every qualification for the office in question."

The following tabular statement contains a list of the officers appointed by the Federal Government for the Territory of Illinois, from 1809 to 1818, inclusive:

John Boyle Governor (declined) March 7, 1809.
Ninian Edwards Governor " 7, "
Nathaniel Pope Secretary " 7, "
Alexander Stuart Judge " 7, "
Obadiah Jones " " 7, "
Jesse B. Thomas " " 7, "
Stanley Griswold " " 16, 1810.
John Caldwell Receiver of Public Moneys April 2, 1812.
Thomas Sloo Commissioner Public Land Claims. " 2, 1812.
Ninian Edwards Governor Novem'r 12, 1812.
Nathaniel Pope Secretary June 1, 1812.
William Sprigg Judge July 9, 1813.
William Mears Attorney August 1, 1813.
Philip Fouke Marshal " 1, 1813.
Philip Fouke Marshal " 1, 1813.
Shadrick Bond Receiver of Public Moneys October 3, 1814.
Ninian Edwards Governor January 16, 1816.
Thomas Towles Judge " 16, 1816.
William Rector Surveyor Public Lands April 29, 1816.
Benjamin Stevenson Receiver Public Moneys " 29, "
John McKee Register Land Office " 30, "
Joseph Philips Secretary Decem'r 16, 1816.
Augustus Chouteau Indian Commissioner Febr'y 19, 1818.
Richard Graham Judge April 20, 1818.

On his arrival in Kaskaskia, to enter upon the discharge of his duties, Gov. Edwards received the following address from the citizens of Randolph county:

KASKASKIA, June, 1809.

To His Excellency NINIAN EDWARDS,

Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Illinois Territory:
We, the undersigned, citizens of the county of Randolph, in the said Territory beg leave to address you, on your arrival at the seat of government to assume the important duties of the high station to which your country has called you, from the honorable one which you held in the State of Kentucky. While, on this happy occasion, we greatly acknowledge the justice of the United States in granting the prayers of our reiterated petitions for the division of the Territory, permit us, sir, to congratulate you on that event, and to assure you that we entertain the highest sense of your merits and character, and appreciate the prosperity and happiness which we flatter ourselves will result to the citizens at large from your administration. Presuming that you may be in some degree unacquainted with the feelings and sentiments of the citizens at this important crisis, we cannot forbear to express our hopes that you will take into consideration that the majority, whose incessant exertions effectuated a division of the territory, have a claim on your excellency for the calumnies, indignities and other enormities which those who opposed that measure never ceased to heap upon the friends and advocates of the present system of our government.


In announcing these truths, while we deplore that the gentleman who was elected to Congress, and ultimately succeeded in obtaining justice for us, was hung in effigy at Vincennes, by the opposers of the division, and that one of the warmest friends and ablest advocates of the measure was assassinated at Kaskaskia, in consequence of their machinations, we derive great consolation from a firm belief that your excellency will gratify the virtuous majority, to whose patriotic exertions the citizens are indebted for a government of their choice, and your excellency your high station, with that honorable indemnity which is in your gift, and which would be considered by them as a remuneration for all those indignities and a pledge of their future support to your administration.

Having been informed that your excellency is vested with authority to inquire into the conduct of the land office of the district of Kaskaskia, we conceive it necessary, as a precautionary measure for the security of our titles, that all the books and papers in the office should be sealed up until the determination of the inquiry and a new hoard shall be organized.

In tendering you assurances of our highest respect and sincere attachment, we beg leave to express a hope that you will shortly bring your respectable family to our charming country, to make a permanent residence in the Territory, where we hope your administration may be long and popular.


Your approbation of my appointment, and the friendly reception with which I am honored by you, while they cannot fail to elicit from me the expression of my gratitude and respect, they will, at the same time, inspire me with the strongest desire to merit a continuance of your friendship and support. In the administration of this government my first object is to do right, by a faithful discharge of the important duties with which I am intrusted; my next object will be to render the most general satisfaction — and I presume, with the enlightened citizens of Illinois, the latter will be most effectually secured by a strict observance of the former. On subjects of a political nature, it is not to be expected that mankind will ever perfectly agree, in all cases, and it is highly probable that on some occasions I may think differently from a portion of my fellow-citizens. Should this be the case, though I shall maintain my own opinions with firmness and moderation, I shall always take great pleasure in treating with the utmost respect the opinions of those who may disagree with me, recollecting that the fallibility of my own nature should suggest to me the best apology for the errors of others.

In the present state of society, and in the infancy of this government, I cannot expect to please everybody. On the threshold I am met by a crowd of difficulties, which I fear it will be impossible successfully to surmount. In this situation I only ask for that liberal indulgence which one honest man ought to extend to another. This I hope for; but should I be disappointed, I know that I cannot be deprived of the consolation of having endeavored honestly and independently to do my duty. To protect the equal rights of all (and not a part only) of the citizens of this Territory, is the object of the government; and it is designed not only for the benefit of those who are now residents, but also for all those who may choose to become so.

An office is a trust, deposited in the hands of the individual, who holds it not for his individual benefit and advantage, but for the public good; and in all appointments by me the public interest, and not a system of favoritism, shall be my governing principle. A partisan I can not and will not be. Had I been such heretofore, and


an actual resident of this country during those contentions with which it has been convulsed, and which I deplore as much as any man, I should think the feelings of the man ought to be lost in those of the officer, whose duty it should be to consider himself as the guardian and protector of the equal rights of his fellow citizens, that therefore, as such, he should have no friend to serve, no enemy to punish.

My powers with regard to the land commissioners are totally inadequate to the object of your request.

To promote the happiness of the people and the prosperity of this country will always engage my most earnest exertions.

With your country I am highly pleased — I agree with you that it is a charming country; and as soon as it is possible, I shall endeavor to bring my family to it.

Accept my thanks for your polite attention to me, and be assured that your expression of friendship in your address is most sincerely reciprocated by me.

Should this answer not be as full or explicit as you expected, the few moments you allowed me must be my apology.


At the time of his appointment to the office of Governor, he also received the appointment of Superintendent of the United States saline. As Superintendent it was his duty to make all the contracts for leasing the salt works, to collect the rent, and to provide for the shipment and sale of the salt which was delivered to the government in lieu of a cash rent. The following conditions were required to be inserted in the leases:

1st. The quantity of salt to be made annually, by the lessees, was not to be less than 120,000 bushels of salt, and as much more as the Superintendent might think practicable and might be proposed by the lessee; and, in order that this condition should be complied with, a penalty of one bushel for each bushel falling short of the quantity was exacted, to secure which there was to be a constant deposit of salt in the hands of the agent of the United States.

2d. The maximum price of salt to be fixed at not less than 80 cts. nor more than one dollar per bushel, leaving it between those limits, at the discretion of the Superintendent.

3d. A rent to be paid quarterly, in salt, equal to the difference between what is judged a fair price for the lessees to sell at, and the maximum; price fixed by the lease; but to be calculated only on 120,000 bushels a year, whether the quantity actually made exceeds or falls short of that number. It was also stipulated that the salt paid to the United States should not be sold at a price less than that fixed by the lease, except by common consent the price should be lowered — in which case the rent was to be diminished in the same proportion.

4th. Conditions must be introduced to effectually prevent the waste of timber and to encourage the use of coal; to encourage which the Superintendent was authorized, at his discretion, to diminish the rent.

5th. It is left discretionary with the Superintendent to let the whole saline to one or more companies.


6th. No lessee should be concerned, either directly or indirectly, with any other salt works.

The above instructions were given by Mr. Gallatin, then Secretary of the Treasury, in the year 1809.

During the first three years of his administration of the territorial government, from the year 1809 to 1812, he had the power to make new counties and the appointment of all the offices; and yet, in all cases, he adopted as a rule, which was invariably adhered to, to allow the people of each county, by an informal vote, to select their own officers, both civil and military.

The following is taken from a publication, made by him, on the subject of the appointment of the militia officers of the Territory:

GENTLEMEN: — I regret very much the necessity which has hitherto rendered my visit to this county, at an earlier period, impracticable. For a considerable length of time immediately previous to my appointment to the office with which I am now honored, I was engaged in the most arduous duties attached to the one which I lately held, in the State of Kentucky. On the notification of my present appointment I delayed repairing to my new station no longer than about ten days, which time was actually spent in deciding and disposing of such causes as had previously been argued in the Court of Appeals, and which could not have been decided, without me, but at very great inconvenience to the litigant parties, and a delay highly injurious to the public interest. Such imperious calls of public duty I could not feel myself at liberty to resist; and whilst I yielded to them exclusively, the short time of my delay, my private concerns were totally overlooked and neglected. These considerations rendered my return to Kentucky at as early a period as possible so indispensable, and the business of the Territory required my presence so much, at the seat of government, that I found no time to devote to a visit to this country.

Independent of the pleasure which I would have felt in an opportunity of cultivating the acquaintance and friendship of those whose most important interests are confided to my care and guardianship, I doubt not but it might have been useful to myself, and satisfactory to my fellow citizens, by enabling me to develop to them the principles on which I mean to administer the government, and the motives by which I have been and shall continue to be governed. The interval of my absence from the Territory has increased the difficulty, but it has not destroyed my hopes of convincing my fellow-citizens that their good — the peace, and tranquillity, and happiness, and prosperity of the Territory — are the objects of my most ardent wishes.

The human mind is oftentimes the victim of prejudice. The utmost perfection of human nature is not entirely free from its influence. The best of men are sometimes subject to its dominion. And when mankind, instead of checking its approaches and guarding against its progress, admit its entrance by opening to it every portal and avenue of the heart, and invite its residence by cherishing it, the best, the noblest affections of the mind are superceded by dislikes, hatred and jealousies almost as injurious to those by whom they are entertained as to those against whom they are directed. And while I am very ready to admit that I may have erred in some instances — as I pretend to no exemption from the fallibility of human nature, and know too well my own liability to err — yet I think it highly probable that some portion of prejudice must have intermingled itself in the judgment which some of my fellow-citizens


citizens may have passed on my official acts, and, if so, that prejudice has become the more obstinate by being more matured, and consequently will be the more difficult to remove. But this is a difficulty at which I am neither startled nor appalled. The experience of thirteen years, every day of which I have been engaged in public service, in various stations, has convinced me that on the candor, the good sense and justice of the people I can always confide. I never mean to pay my court to demagogues. I will never admit that one, two, three or more persons shall exercise the right and claim the privilege of giving life, shape, motion and effect to public opinion, where I am concerned. My appeal shall always be to the people; and at the same time that I most firmly declare that I never will yield to mere popular clamor, resulting from popular delusion artfully produced, I take a pride in declaring that I would take as much pleasure in explaining my conduct to the humblest individual in the government, with a view to satisfy him, as I would to the highest personage, the most exalted character or the most influential man in it.

Deriving the portion of public patronage with which I have been honored from no high birth or noble ancestry, but being wholly indebted for it to those principles of liberty and equality, those fundamental rights of man, that have been secured by our glorious revolution and free constitution, by which every man of merit may be rewarded, whatever may be his situation in life, I cannot but venerate and respect those principles; and while I consider myself, as a citizen, inferior to no man whom God has ever made, I feel no superiority to any other honest, well-behaved man, however humble his station in life may be.

I am not ignorant of the facility with which the best actions of a man's life may be perverted, misconstrued and distorted by malicious interpretations; nor am I ignorant of the ease with which public sentiment may be corrupted and public prejudices excited; nor am I to be deterred by them. I have often experienced the inconveniences of them; for I have, in the course of my political life, met with as much opposition as any man whatever. But hitherto I have, in no instance, ever failed to overcome it; for in nothing that I have attempted in the political way have I ever experienced a personal disappointment; and in all my elections by the people, the least majority I ever had was upwards of three hundred votes. My dependence has always been upon the people. They may be wrong sometimes, but my political creed is that they will get right; and my firm belief is that the best means of securing their lasting and permanent approbation is a firm and independent course, even if they should not entirely concur; for there is a native magnamimity in the souls of freemen, which leads them to admire a man who is nobly wrong much more than one who is meanly right.

Gentlemen, I will close these general remarks with one more observation. I never will shrink from opposition, even if I should fall under it, for I would far rather fall nobly than rise meanly; but I never will court opposition — I will avoid it as long as possible. I will spare no pains to satisfy any dispassionate man, who is willing to be convinced, that my motives at least are pure, if he will with common frankness give me the opportunity to do so.

The particular object that I had in view, at the present time, was to give some elucidations of and explain the reasons that had lead me to adopt the plan to which I had resorted for the purpose of organizing the militia of this Territory, and I had expected to confine my address exclusively to those gentlemen who have recently been elected by the people as officers, having only requested them to meet me on this occasion. I calculated that I could not only convince them that my motives


had been pure, but that my conduct had been correct, and that they, returning to the various sections of the county where they reside, would have it in their power to disseminate correct information upon the subject among their neighbors. That other citizens, however, do me the honor to attend and hear me, is to me a source of additional felicitation. I solicit all of you to lay aside your prejudices, if you have any, and yield to the dictates of your own judgment, dispassionately exercised.

That my plan is perfect I shall not contend; perfection is the lot of no man. No human institution that ever existed is free from imperfections of some kind, arising either from the incompetency of the human judgment that conceived and planned it or the frailties, weaknesses or wickedness of those on whom it is designed to operate. This renders it quite easy to find fault, but very often as difficult to furnish a better substitute; and I will venture to say that no plan that has ever been suggested to me is either more correct in principle or better calculated to give general satisfaction. It is not enough to say it has its evils, it produces some discontents, unless you could point out some plan that would have been free from these exceptions.

The peculiar situation of this Territory would have presented difficulties almost insurmountable by a man acquainted with every citizen; they must be proportionate greater to a man like myself, a total stranger to almost every one — destitute of information, and unable to act without it; embarrassed by representations diametrically opposite to each other proceeding from sources apparently equally respectable.

Unfortunately the Territory had been divided into violent parties. Political controversies had degenerated into personal animosities of the most rancorous and vindictive nature. The combination of political dissentions and private hatred had convulsed the whole society, and exhibited a scene of mutual struggle to put down, those who were opposed to each other. In this state of things, so much to be deprecated by dispassionate men, I found the Territory, when I came to it; and I determined to risk the whole combined opposition of both parties rather than yield myself up to the control or enlist under the banners of either. I regretted those dissensions as much as any man could do, and I was anxious to see them hastened into oblivion, because I did believe, and still do believe, that they are not only injurious to the happiness, but in a high degree destructive to the prosperity and the best interest of the Territory. They are also, to a great extent, inconsistent with the liberal and enlarged sentiments of true republicans; for show me the man who cannot tolerate free opinion, or who has so little charity as to believe that every man who differs with him on political subjects must be a knave, and I will show you a man who is fit only to reside in the atmosphere of tyranny. If my neighbor disagrees with me in matter of opinion, I ought not and I would not dogmatically arrogate to myself such perfect infallibility as making my own judgment the standard denounce him a fool or a knave. And if my conviction of the correctness of my own judgment was irresistible, to me, I should regret that he was incompetent to take my view of the subject, but it would be most uncharitable indeed to attribute his error to him as a crime. Much less should I suppose that any man, merely for differing with me in opinion, should be shut out from an equal participation in those republican institutions that are introduced for the common good of all. Such a principle is inconsistent with republicanism, which permits to every free man the full enjoyment of his opinions and the liberty of expressing them; but in vain would you allow him such liberty if you annex so severe a punishment to the exercise of it.


To use a homely comparison, this would indeed be presenting the wolf in sheep's clothing. It would be monarchy or aristocracy nicknamed republicanism. As to diversity of opinion we ought to expect it, and meet it with the most charitable indulgences; for who is there that has not experienced the fluctuations of his own judgement? Who, that will extend his view throughout the circle of his acquaintance, has not seen many men, in whom he has equal confidence, differing in opinion upon the plainest points in politics, in law, in religion, in science of every kind, and even in plain matter of fact? These considerations should teach us not to be either too dogmatical or uncharitable.

They were most conclusive with me in resisting one plan of administration that was warmly pressed on me. That was to appoint none to office, under any circumstances, who had ever opposed the division of the Territory. This proposition was so repugnant to the dictates of my judgment, and to my sense of propriety and justice, that, if my political salvation had depended on it, I would not have adopted it. Yet I hope that, in refusing it, I have showed as much decent respect for the opinion of others as I possibly could do without surrendering my own.

The next plan pressed on me was to reappoint all the old officers. But this itself had its objections; and it would have imposed obligations on me which no Governor ought to be required to discharge. If I had appointed gentlemen to offices merely because they had before filled them, at the same time that I gave them the benefit of their old stations, justice would most imperiously require that I should have subjected them to the inconveniences of them; as, for example, if one of those persons, while in the exercise of his former office, or during his tenure of it, had committed an offense cognizable by a court of inquiry or court martial, surely ought not to have rendered him intangible to a proper inquiry, or to secure to him impunity by issuing to him a commission of posterior date, whereby no such court of inquiry or court martial could be instituted with competent power either to investigate his conduct or to remove him from office. The difficulty, therefore, could only be obviated by substituting myself in the place of such court, and I do verily believe, if I had consented to undertake this arduous, this unpleasant and unprecedented labor, I should not have been able to have performed it by this time, if I may judge from the disposition manifested to exhibit charges.

To have adopted this plan without making such inquiries would have been unjust and impolitic; to have made the inquiries would have been oppressive to myself and I doubt not, in some instances, very unsatisfactory to my fellow-citizens.

If I had adopted the plan as my governing rule, I should have been like a mere machine, deriving my force and effect from borrowed impulse — all discrimination, all discretion, all selection, would have been perfectly prostrated.

If I had adopted the plan partially, it would have been impossible to have given general satisfaction, or to have avoided the imputation of having adopted a mere system of favoritism, which would have kept up the excitement and agitation of the public mind. Besides, my opinion is that offices are created for the benefit of the people and not the occupants, and no person can properly claim one unless he merits it, and the public interest be advanced by him. This is not the doctrine of venal courts or monarchical and aristocratical governments, where offices are given as bribes and pensions and sinecures and titles of nobility are given as the wages of corruption the more successfully to enable the government to invade the rights of the people; but just so much as said principles are beneficial to other governments, they are detrimental to and inconsistent with the genius and spirit of ours.


The government of Indiana had been dissolved, by which all the inhabitants of this Territory were reduced to a perfect equality; and it seemed to me that the dictates of justice, as well as sound policy, required that equality should not be destroyed by the recognition of any presumptive pretensions, nor by any save only those resulting from personal merit. Many persons probably, who were not in office, might be more meritorious than some who held offices, and all ought to have had a fair chance for promotion.

Revolving all these considerations and reflections in my own mind, I determined, without such a suggestion from any person on earth, to adopt my own plan, which was that the companies should elect the company officers and that those should elect the field officers. And here I pass over in silence, without animadversion and without the least resentment, insinuations that I had adopted this plan to favor this and that man. Time will convince you all that such suspicions are totally unfounded; and if I can only demonstrate my course is intrinsically correct, I am not very solicitous with regard to the motives that may be attributed to me.

Either of the other plans that have been mentioned would have been satisfactory to the party by whom it was proposed, but not so to the adverse party. Both parties claimed the majority of the people. On this they predicated their claims on me; and without admitting the propriety of such claim, in those cases, my plan gives to both parties the opportunity of succeeding upon their own ground. I could not select proper characters for officers without information, for I knew none of them. I did not choose to depend upon the information of the leaders here, or the leaders there, for this would have thrown me into the bosom of one party or the other — which I was determined to avoid. I therefore chose to make my appeal to the people, by the most practicable expedient that suggested itself to my mind.

By my plan those office's who were meritorious would be most likely to succeed; those who were not so could have no cause for complaint. Good republicans ought to submit to the majority, and no man of sensibility would wish to lead to bloody conflict, in defense of their country, men who had not confidence in him; and it is to be hoped that an empty title or the plumage and garnature of a soldier, in time of peace, could not induce any man to disregard those nice and delicate notions of propriety which he would have in time of danger. I am not afraid to consult the people; and I do believe if in any case of militia appointments it is proper to consider their wishes it is in an exposed Territory like this, where the danger of invasion renders confidence in and attachment to officers so indispensible to the service.

If I could have returned earlier to the Territory it is probable that, in some cases, I might have directed new elections. The season is now too far advanced — the weather too likely to be inclement; and I do not consider myself authorized to call out the people in those months in which, by law, they cannot de compelled to muster. A longer delay in the militia business would be injurious, and therefore I must accept the returns of elections that have been made as the best expression of public sentiment which it is in my power to acquire.

Among the first appointments of Gov. Edwards was that of John J. Crittenden, late Senator in Congress from Kentucky, to the office of Attorney General of the Territory. Mr. Crittenden accepted the office, but in a very short time resigned, and his brother, Thomas, was appointed in his place. The following is his letter of resignation:


RUSSELVILLE, Feb. 24, 1810.

I have inclosed you my resignation of the office of Attorney General, with which you were good enough to honor me. I know not how to excuse myself for such conduct. You will call me fickle and capricious, and perhaps you will think me ungrateful. The first epithets I do not think I deserve — the third I know I do not. I feel towards you all possible gratitude. I am bound to you by all that can bind the most susceptible heart to the most generous of benefactors. I trust that my destinies will, sometime or other, afford me an opportunity of convincing you of all this. Whenever I can serve you, I entreat that you will let me know it. I beg that you will command me. If you do not, I shall consider myself slighted. My heart feels no wish more ardently than that of serving you. But let me put an end to these assurances; I could fill a volume. Capt. Butler is hurrying me. I want to see you much. I want you to sign my justification. I want to lay my whole heart and soul before you, to tell you all my reasons and feelings upon this subject. I beg you will always consider me among the number of your best and most devoted friends.

His Excellency N. EDWARDS, United States Saline.


Chapter III.

Indian Depredations and Massacres — Movements of Captain Levering — Indian Council at Peoria — Speech of Gov. Edwards — Reply of Gomo, etc. — Peoria in 1812.

In 1810, a series of massacres and depredations were committed by the Indians of Illinois Territory, upon citizens living in Louisiana Territory, which led to a long correspondence between the Governor of Louisiana Territory and Gov. Edwards. The most daring of these was committed at Portage du Sioux, on July 19th, and created great excitement at the time. It appears, from the correspondence which it occasioned, that on the night in question a party of Sacs stole from William T. Cole, Cornelius Gooch and James Moredough a number of horses and other articles. They were immediately pursued by Stephen Cole, James Moredough, W. T. Cole and Sarshal Brown, who came up with the band on the next day. They were first seen across a prairie, four or five miles ahead. Finding themselves discovered the Indians kept changing their course, which prevented their pursuers from overtaking them. In their rapid march, however, the Indians left behind them a quantity of their plunder, consisting of a valuable pack-saddle, seven or eight deer-skins, two sides of leather, and some dried venison — the property of Mr. Brown — which was recovered. Night coming on, and their horses becoming very fatigued, the pursuers concluded to follow no further, and pitched their camp near a small branch, arranging that the next day they should continue on to the house of Victor Lagotiere, where they would leave the recovered property, and get him (who was known to have great influence with the Indian tribes) to intercede for the recovery of the horses. But about two o'clock in the morning, while sleeping around their watch-fire, they were fired upon by the Indians and four of the party, consisting of C. Gooch, Abraham Patten, W. T. Cole and Sarshal Brown, instantly killed. Stephen Cole was wounded in two places and also tomahawked, but he recovered from his wounds. It was not, however, till the 22d that he and James Moredough (the other survivor, who escaped by hiding in the thicket) were able to get back to the settlement and give the news of the massacre. On the next day a party started back and recovered the bodies of the murdered men, but all the horses, blankets, guns, ammunition, etc., belonging to them, were taken by the


Indians. On the 23d of July, about three leagues below Mr. Lagotiere's, two Indians of the Pottawottamie tribe were seen, by a man named Morris Blondeau, lying in the woods, hungry and without fire, having a number of horses in their possession, but upon their representing that they were just returning from a Buffalo hunt, nothing was thought of the circumstance and they escaped. The proof being ample that the massacre was committed by the Pottawottamies, a requisition was made by the Governor of Louisiana Territory, upon Gov. Edwards, to deliver them up for punishment.

On the 24th of July, 1811, Capt. Samuel Levering was honored with a commission from Gov. Edwards to proceed to the tribes on the Illinois River and demand of them the authors of the murders which had been committed, and the property that had been stolen by the Indians in the Louisiana and Illinois Territories, during the preceding two summers. Capt. Levering departed on that day, from Kaskaskia, and arrived at Mr. Jarrot's, in the village of Cahokia, on the next day, at 11 o'clock, P. M. Capt. Ebert had engaged a part of the crew for the boat, and on the 25th of July, the boat having been furnished by Gov. Clark with the necessary equipments, provisions, etc., they left in the boat for Peoria, with the crew, consisting of Capt. Levering, Capt. Hebert, Henry Swearingen, N. Rector, a Frenchman, that passed for an interpreter, but was intended for a spy, a Pottawottamie Indian, named Wish-ha, and eight oarsmen, each of whom was armed with a gun. The names of the boatmen were Pierre St. John, Pierre La Parche, Joseph Trotier, Francis Pensoneau, Louis Bevanno, Thomas Hull (alias Woods), Pierre Voedre, and Joseph Grammason — all of whom signed the articles of agreement as boatmen and soldiers for the expedition.

On the 28th July, they arrived at Portage du Sioux, where they met Capt. Whiteside with his men, who had just arrived from the blockhouse, near the mouth of the Illinois River. Capt. Whiteside informed them that he and his party had fired, a few days previously, on the Sacs, whose chief was by the name of Quas-qua-me, as they were ascending the river, with the intention of a summons "to bring them to," but that the Indians, not understanding such a salutation, and supposing it to be an act of hostility, returned the fire — whereupon his party, with a good aim, fired four shots.

On the morning of the 29th of July, they arrived at Prairie Marcot, about nineteen miles above the mouth of the Illinois River, where Lieut. John Campbell was stationed with seventeen men. Lieut. Campbell informed them that he had, a few days ago, taken a scout, and had seen pathtracks of fifteen Indians.

Nothing of special importance occurred until their arrival at Peoria, on the 3d of August, where they met Mr. Forsythe, the Indian agent, who informed Capt. Levering that he had delivered to Gomo Gov. Clark's letter


to him, in relation to the murderers, and that Gomo replied as though he was disposed to surrender the offenders; that one man could not fight and contend with fifty; that his will was ineffectual and in opposition to that which generally prevailed among the Indians.

On the 4th of August, Jacques Mettie, of Peoria, informed Capt. Levering that one of the Indians who committed the murder on Shoal creek was a Pottawottamie, by the name of Nom-bo-itt, and that he was at that time in a village on Yellow creek, whose chief is named Mat-cho-quis, about ninety leagues from Peoria; and that another, also of the same nation, by the name of Me-nac-queth, was at Latourt, or White Pigeon, on the road leading to Detroit, about twelve leagues from St. Joseph; and the third one of the party that murdered Cox is named Es-ca-puck-he-ah, or Green, who was twelve or fifteen miles beyond White Pigeon, toward Detroit — probably at the apple orchard on the Kick-kal-le-ma-seau.

Mr. Fournier, who had been sent to Gomo's village to apprise him of the arrival of Capt. Levering with a letter to him from Gov. Edwards, reported that an Indian had arrived in advance of him, and had informed Gomo that the party consisted of fifty armed men, and that, notwithstanding his representations to the contrary, Gomo would not come without fourteen armed warriors with him.

On the morning of August 5th, a United States flag was seen at Gomo's lodge, a quarter of a mile above, on the lake. On Gomo's receiving a message, he came to the quarters of Capt. Levering, who delivered to him the letter from. Gov. Edwards. Gomo replied that he would immediately return to his village, and would, on the following morning, prepare his young men, and send them to call the chiefs to the council. He gave the names of the following Pottawottamie chiefs: Neng-ke-sapt, or Fire Medals, at Elkhart, near Fort Wayne; Topenny-boy, on the River St. Joseph; Moquan-go, on the Qui-que-que River; Wi-ne-magne, or Cat Fish, on the Wabash River. He said that Marpock and his principal chiefs had gone to Detroit, and probably would not return until the fall. The chiefs of the towns on Fox River resided at Milwaukee; Little Chief, on River Au Sable, or Sand River; Masseno, or Gomo, about seven leagues above Peoria; Black Bird, chief of the Ottawas, on the River Au Sable. Gomo declared his willingness to do all in his power to render justice and to satisfy the Americans.

There was an Indian with Gomo, by the name of Me-che-ke-noph, or Bittern, a half Fulsowine and half Pottawottamie, who said that the murderers of Price were five brothers, of the Fulsowines, whose names he gave.

Capt. Levering furnished Gomo with tobacco, as a message to the chiefs, and he then left for his village.

There was, at first, a difference of opinion in relation to the policy of the measures to be adopted by the council of Indians. One party were of


opinion that it would be policy to send a mission to those chiefs who afforded shelter to the murderers, make a demand of them, and surrender them to the Americans. Another party were opposed to making any attempt to deliver up the offenders, but proposed, to collect much of the stolen property and take it in, with representations that the offenders could not be found. It was said that Gomo would advocate the first measure, but he abhorred the pusillanimous appearance of attempting that which he could not accomplish. He was heard to say that if he presented himself to the chiefs and demanded the surrender of the murderers, they would say to him that he was a chief on the Illinois River, and that he had better attend to his own tribe.

The most prevalent policy — supposed to be that recommended by the English — was to send Little Chief, who was a "talkative fellow," to make representations and assurances that would answer their present purposes; and that, as other outrages had passed with naught but a frown or two, this would likewise soon blow over.

Capt. Levering was of the opinion, in order that a mission should have its desired effect, and make a serious impression on the Indians, and induce them to deliver up the offenders and stolen property, that it should be a joint one, from the Territories of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Louisiana, to convene at Chicago, where the chiefs from the north side of the Lake, as well as those from the Territories, could attend. None of the chiefs could then say, "it is not my business; I am not called upon; it does not concern me."

The party proceeded the next day, and arrived at a village of Indians about seven leagues up the Illinois River. Being dark, the hands — saying they were not hired to work at night — refused to go further. Capt. Levering engaged two Indians to take him and Mr. Fournier in a canoe, about four miles higher up the river to a creek, from which place they were conducted, through a moist and thicketty bottom, to Gomo's village, where they arrived about eleven o'clock, and disturbed Gomo and the Indians from their sleep. They were invited into a lodge — a bark building, 25 by 50 feet inside, tenanting about thirty persons. There were scaffolds, from 6 to 7 feet long, 6 feet wide and 5 feet high, extending all around the building, on which the Indians sat and sleep — stretching themselves from the weatherboarding to the center. Capt. Levering and Mr. Fournier were invited to mount those next to the ones occupied by Gomo and his family. Although it was very late, a dish of food, made of new corn, was brought in by Gomo's wife, and, whilst they were eating, Gomo smoked his pipe. The men generally left their sleeping places, squatted around two fires in the center of the building, "in all the solemnity of profound smoking." This appears, says Capt. Levering, to be an etiquette due to strangers.


Capt. Levering states that the Indians believed that the Americans were their enemies and would constantly intrude on them. This, together with their natural ambition to have it to say, as they do in their drunken frolics, "I am a man: who can gain-say it? I have killed an Osage! I have killed a white !" leads them to outrage; and frequent escapes from punishment leads them to suppose that the whites are supine and indolent.

On the next morning, accompanied by Gomo and another chief, they returned to Peoria. On the next day, Capt. Levering introduced the conversation by saying to Gomo that he wished a private talk with him, which he hoped would be useful; that he would not then speak the words of our father who sent him; that they were more interesting, and particularly concerned all the nation, and that he was reserving them for the council of chiefs who would be convened in a few days.

Gomo replied that he was rejoiced that he had been sent on this errand, and wished that the chiefs could attend and hear for themselves our father's words; for no communication which he or any other Indian might make would be believed. They would, he said, call him sugar-mouth, and charge him with being excited by fear or moved by treachery.

For that reason, Capt. Levering wished the presence of as many chiefs and leading characters, from as many villages, as could be collected, that none should be left in a state of ignorance that might and probably would be the means of involving the whole nation in a war. He stated to Gomo that our Great Father desired that peace and friendship should exist between the red and the white man, yet one chief might and could, from want of the proper information, frustrate all these blessings; that it was important for the Indians all to know that, although the whites wished peace and friendship, some of the Indians had committed outrages, which, if not satisfactorily explained and atoned for, would end in their destruction. His father, before sending him, had advised with their fathers on the west of the Mississippi and on the east of the W abash, and he now spoke agreeably to their united deliberations. Although our fathers did not resent the first injury, it was only through a disposition of forbearance, hoping that it was an act of some unruly individual, which the chiefs would correct; for the whites can not conceive that individuals among the Indians can continue to perpetrate outrages without the countenance and encouragement of the chiefs. They believe that the chiefs can restrain their people from the commission of acts which will be injurious to their nation. The most forbearing, the greatest patience may become fatigued and worn out. Though friendship, on our part, should be abundant as the waters of a great river, yet, interrupt it till you choke it and it will be converted into a flood of destruction, and in its course it could not discriminate the innocent from the guilty — while any good man would lament the sufferings of the innocent.


Gomo wished that all the chiefs could attend and hear the words of their father, and expressed a wish that Capt. Levering should also tell them the words he had spoken. He said that he would send for them, although he thought it probable that the chiefs of the St. Joseph and Qui-que-que Rivers, and Yellow Creek were absent from their homes, for there were a number of runners from the British among them, with talks and messages, which was probably the occasion of Marpock, and many Indians from this and other towns, traveling lately towards Canada. In order to lengthen the conversation Capt. Levering continued, as follows: "At about my age past, the British and the Americans had a seven years' war. Washington, the man that handed you the papers which you showed to me before leaving your village, was our Great Father, that had conducted our warriors to the war. He is now dead, but we love him, for he was a good and brave man and fought for our rights against the unreasonable pretensions of the British. They would not allow us to he full men, able to manage our own affairs; but, under Washington, we fought them for seven years. They were worsted, and asked for peace. We love peace and happiness; and Washington became our Great Father. But, ever since, the British cannot be our generous friends; they are jealous of our growing strength, yet they know that in case of war they cannot stand before us, and they are continually striving to get the Indians into trouble with us, in order to resent their enmities. They offer the Indians protection while they are unable to protect themselves. If they could protect themselves, they would wage open war on us. If they could have beaten us my lifetime ago, they would have done it, and Washington, who gave you those papers, would have been hung. But they were conquered, and Gen. Washington, eighteen years ago, made a treaty with the Indians, declaring that we will be friends to the Indians; and they made a law that if an American should kill an Indian, that it should be the duty of every Governor of our different States and Territories to catch that man and put him to death; and that if any one should settle on any of your lands he should pay one thousand dollars and be imprisoned for twelve months. Such are the papers which that great and good man put into your hands, and which you have shown to me. All of our fathers, ever since, would treat you as children. They would also remain at peace with the British; but for our kindness they must at least treat us with justice — not insult us, not murder our people, nor steal our horses."

Gomo's elder brother spoke of a time when the British put the Indians in the front of the battle. Gomo said he saw Washington in Philadelphia, when they made the treaty of 1793. That there were two of the horses in the possession of his tribe, and a third in his own possession, which he had bought — saying, that at the time of the purchase he did not know that it had been stolen. He said that they should be delivered up.


On the 8th of August, 1811, Capt. Levering delivered, at the Governor's request, two commissions — one to Thomas Forsyth, as justice of the peace for the town of Peoria, and the other to John Baptiste Dupond, as captain in and for the same place — both of whom took the oath of office.

Mr. Dupond said the Indians would expect him, now that he was a chief, to give them some meat and tobacco, and that some unpleasantly disposed persons would instigate the Indians to worry him, and that he hoped the Governor would notice such; that he did not wish to accept the commission, but that as there were unfavorable reports of the place, he was willing to let it be known that there is a person well disposed to the government.

On the 15th of August, Miche Pah-ka-en-na, the Kickapoo chief, and eleven of his warriors, arrived, and called on Capt. Levering, who told the chief that as he was the only chief he had seen whom our father knew to be friendly with his white children, he was particularly pleased to see him. He gave them some refreshments, and the chief remarked that he had always heard that our father was kind and good, and he was happy to see an evidence of it in his sons, and more particularly as some of his young men were present to witness the friendly disposition. Capt. Levering told him that their father and his greater chiefs were all known to their white children; some knew them personally. That he knew some of them through the papers, some from the word of mouth, and they all desired to live in friendship with their red children.

On the same day Gomo, Little Chief, and others, waited on Capt. Levering. Little Chief said that he had come to hear the words of his father, and he hoped that they would be all told to them as they were written. Forsyth replied, with much warmth, that if they apprehended any deficiency, they must get another interpreter. Little Chief said if they had come to his village, he would have furnished them with a cabin and plenty to eat; and, as he had come to hear the words of his father, he wished to know where he should go. Capt. Levering replied that the white men were aggrieved and had sent him to talk with the Indians; that he was a sojourner and a stranger among them, but as he had invited them to Peoria, he would furnish them with a house, but being in a strange place and unprovided, he could not give them the kind and quality of provisions equal to his wishes. Little Chief then showed him a paper and asked him what it was. Capt. Levering informed him that it was a pass from Capt. Heald, of Chicago, dated July 11, 1811, stating that Little Chief, a Pottawottamie, was on his way to St. Louis; as a further protection he gave him a flag. The chief replied that he had given him a piece of coarse cloth; and said that he was in the habit of speaking loud, but that when they came to the council they must not mind it. Capt. Levering replied that


their white brethren used different kinds of cloth for different purposes; the kind put into the flag was the best to flow in the wind, being light; and when it was made into a flag their white brethren respected it and would hurt no one under it; he carried it to war, and before he would loose it, a good soldier would loose his life. The loudness of your voice will make no difference, if you only talk of the business of the nation. In the evening, about dusk, Capt. Levering walked up the bank of the river, intending, if a suitable occasion should offer, to deliver his address to the Indians. He observed the flag on the fence, flying, with the Union down; and Mr. Fournier standing near, he requested him to tell the Indians that they had hoisted their colors wrong, for the stars should be upward. The Indian that Fournier addressed himself to replied that he knew it, but it was not he that had put it so. Capt. Levering walked on a few steps, and seeing Little Chief coming out of the gate, he walked back a few steps, carelessly, and desired Fournier to say to Little Chief that the flag was hoisted wrong; that the stars should be above. Little Chief replied that he knew it; he was not an American — he was an Indian. Some person must have made it in the night, for it had large stitches and the sewing was very coarse.

Capt. Levering prepared the following address, to be delivered to the Indians on the next morning:

Brothers, Chiefs, and Warriors:
On yesterday I told you how much we respect the flag of the United States; that, through an act of friendship, one has been given to some one of you to guard you in safety to St. Louis. The hoisting of the flag of the United States, with the stars downward is considered as degrading the flag, and an insult to the United States, and our white enemies, whenever they take one from us, hoist it with the intention of insulting the government of the United States; nor can the circumstance be less insulting when it is done by the Indians, after they are duly acquainted with the mode and etiquette.

My father, a part of that Government, feels himself aggrieved in his children, by some persons from this quarter; yet, being unwilling to use hasty measures, that are apt to injure the innocent with the guilty, and hoping to find you disposed to be friendly, has sent me to talk with you — yet I can not nor will not while you are insulting the government. You must turn your flag and have it placed properly, or I will immediately leave here without delivering our father's talk.

At a very early hour on the next morning, the Indians had raised the flag Union up.

Being informed, on the morning of the 16th of August, that the Indians were ready and on their way to the council room, Capt. Levering invited the inhabitants of Peoria to attend, and, accompanied by Mr. Forsyth, Mr. Rector, Mr. Swearingen and Captain Hebert, met the Indians in the council room. He then proceeded to address the Indians as follows:


Brothers, Chiefs, Warriors:
The weather is cloudy. In the region south and west of this you will see none moving — all having drawn towards their cabins, in apprehension of a storm. But our father, who presides over the tribes between the Mississippi and Wabash, being a good man, has sent me to invite you under this shelter to smoke a pipe in profound meditation — having our ears open to the voice of the Great Spirit, and our hearts disposed to obey its dictates — to see whether all may not subside, be calm, fair and cheerful. But first let us smoke a pipe, and then attend to the talk of our father.

The following is Governor Edwards' address to the Pottawottamies, delivered in council at Peoria, on the 15th of August, 1811:


To the Chiefs and Warriors of the tribes of Pottawottamies, residing on the Illinois River and its waters, in the Territory of Illinois.

My Children, you are now met together, by my desire, on a very important occasion. You are now to be asked to do an act of justice. Should you refuse, it may once more involve the red and white brethren in all the horrors of bloody war. On the other hand, if you should perform what justice itself calls for, it will brighten the chain of friendship, which has for a long time united the red people with their white brethren of the United States.

My Children, ever since Wayne's treaty, our Great Father, the President of the United States, has faithfully fulfilled all his treaties with you. He has endeavored to make his red and white children live as one great family, loving and obliging one another, and he has always strictly forbidden his white children from doing any harm to their red brethren.

My Children, for a long time the bloody tomahawk and scalping-knife have been buried. The sun of peace has shone upon us, blessing us with his light and giving gladness to our hearts. The red people have enjoyed their forests and pursued their game in peace; and the white people have cultivated the earth without fear. But, my children, these bright prospects are darkened. A storm seems to be gathering which threatens destruction, unless it should be dissipated by that justice which you, as good men, ought to render.

My Children, while we trusted to treaties with you — while we believed our red brethren to be friendly — some of our people, fearing no danger, have been plundered of their property and deprived of their lives by some of your bad men. My Children, last year a perogue was cut loose on the Mississippi and a considerable quantity of goods was taken out of it, and carried off, by some of your people. A great many horses have been stolen from this Territory, both during the last and the present year, many of which have certainly been carried off by some of your people. Other horses have been stolen from the neighborhood of St. Charles, in Louisiana. I demand satisfaction for these outrages.

My Children, on the 19th day of July, last year, in the district of St. Charles, and Territory of Louisiana, a party of Pottawottamies stole several horses. On the next day they were pursued by the white people, who lost their trail and quit the pursuit. On that night those Pottawottamies fell upon those white men, in their camp, killed four of them, wounded a fifth, and carried off several horses and other property. Among those Indians were Cat Fish, O-hic-ka-ja-mis and Mis-pead-na-mis. I demand that these bad men, and all others who were of the party, together with the property


they stole, shall be delivered up to Capt. Levering and his party, or that you yourselves shall deliver them and the property to me.

My Children, on the 2d day of last June, on Shoal creek, in St. Clair county, in this Territory, three of your bad men went to the house of a Mr. Cox, plundered his property, took two guns, two mares and colts, and a stud horse, barbarously killed his son, and took his daughter a prisoner. A few days after this outrage, near the Mississippi, in the same county and Territory, others of your bad men killed a man by the name of Price, and wounded another by the name of Ellis. I demand that these bad men, together with all the property they took off, shall be delivered to Capt. Levering, or that you shall deliver them and the property to me.

My Children, the blood of those innocent men who have been wounded and murdered cries aloud to the Great Spirit for vengeance. The hearts of their relations and brethren bleed with sorrow. The fire of revenge flames in their hearts, and they thirst for blood.

My Children, I have found it almost impossible to prevent the white people from rushing to your towns, to destroy your corn, burn your property, take your women and children prisoners, and murder your warriors. But I told them that those who have done the mischief were bad men; that you would disapprove their conduct, and deliver them to me as enemies both to you and your white brethren. I commanded your white brethren not to raise the tomahawk or go to war with you, and they obeyed me.

My Children, now open your ears to hear my words, and let them sink deep into your hearts. If you wish for peace with us, you must do us justice. If you disapprove those murders and other outrages that have been committed, you must deliver up the offenders; for if you harbor among you such deadly enemies to us, you cannot be our friends, and you ought not to expect our friendship.

My Children, Gov. Harrison demanded some of those bad men, when they were within his Territory, and they fled to the Illinois River and took up shelter among you. I now demand them, and you must not say they are fled elsewhere. They murdered our people — they are our enemies — and if you have protected them, and they belong to your bands, you must find them and deliver them up, or we must consider you as approving their horrid deeds and as being our enemies.

My Children, liars and bad advisers are among you; they profess to be your friends, and they deceive you; they have their interest in view, and care not what becomes of you, if they can succeed in their designs. Avoid such people.

My Children, you can remember when such men persuaded you to make war upon your white brethren of the United States. They promised you great assistance, but they left you to fight your own battles, and you found it necessary to sue for peace. At that time you were stronger that you now are; the woods were then full of game of all kinds; large numbers of you could collect together and traverse the country without fear of wanting meat. But this cannot now be done.

My Children, when we were at war with you, we were then weak; we have now grown strong — have everything necessary for war, and are your near neighbors. Our Great Father's dominions extend over vast countries, bounded by the great waters; his great towns and cities are hardly to be counted; and his white children are thick and numerous like the stars of the sky.

My Children, your Great Father, the President of the United States, has nothing to fear from wars, but he wishes to be at peace with you, because he loves you and wishes to make you happy. You ought to try to merit his kindness and avoid his resentment.


My Children, your Great Father asks nothing but justice from you. Suffer not bad advisers to pursuade you to refuse it. In kindness, none can exceed him; but if you should be determined to treat him and his white children as enemies, storms and hurricanes, and the thunder and lightning of heaven, cannot be more terrible than will be his resentment.

My Children, Capt. Samuel Levering will deliver you this talk; he is authorized, by me, to demand of you the property that has been stolen, and those bad men who committed the murders, and all who were of the party. You will confer with Capt. Levering, and come to as speedy, a determination as possible.

My Children, let justice be done, let all cause of quarrel be removed, and let us live like brothers.

Your affectionate father,

The council again met, on the 16th of August, to receive the answer of the Pottawottamies. Gomo spoke as follows:

We have listened well to your information, and hope that you will give the same attention to our words.

I am very glad that you have come among us, and that you have delivered the words of the Governor to all the chiefs and warriors in hearing. I intended to have gone to see the Governor, but it is much better as it has occurred, that he has sent his talk here.

You see the color of our skin. The Great Spirit, when he made and disposed of man, placed the red skins in this land, and those who wear hats on the other side of the big waters. When the Great Spirit placed us on this ground, we knew of nothing but what was furnished to us by nature; we made use of our stone axes, stone knives and earthen vessels, and clothed ourselves from the skins of the beasts of the forest. Yet, we were contented! When the French first made large canoes, they crossed the wide waters to this country, and on first seeing the red people they were rejoiced. They told us that we must consider ourselves as the children of the French, and they would be our father; the country was a good one, and they would change goods for skins.

Formerly we all lived in one large village. In that village there was only one chief, and all things went on well; but since our intercourse with the whites, there are almost as many chiefs as we have young men.

At the time of the taking of the Canadas, when the British and the French were fighting for the same country, the Indians were solicited to take part in that war since which time there have been among us a number of foolish young men. The whites ought to have staid on the other side of the waters, and not to have troubled us on this side. If we are fools, the whites are the cause of it. From the commencement of their wars, they used many persuasions with the Indians; they made them presents of merchandise, in order to get them to join and assist in their battles — since which time there have always been fools among us, and the whites are blameable for it.

The British asked the Indians to assist them in their wars with the Americans, telling us that if we allowed the Americans to remain upon our lands, they would in time take the whole country, and we would then have no place to go to. Some of the Indians did join the British, but all did not; some of this nation, in particular, did not join them. The British persisted in urging upon us that if we did not assist them in driving the Americans from our lands, our wives and children would be miserable for the remainder of our days. In the course of that war, the American General Clark


came to Kaskaskia, and sent for the chiefs on this river to meet him there. We attended, and he desired us to remain still and quiet in our own villages, saying that the Americans were able, of themselves, to fight the British.

You Americans generally speak sensibly and plainly. At the treaty of Greenville, Gen. Wayne spoke to us in the same sensible and clear manner.

I have listened with attention to you both. At the treaty of Greenville, General Wayne told us that the tomahawk must be buried, and even thrown into the great lake; and should any white man murder an Indian, he should be delivered up to the Indians; and we, on our part, should deliver up the red men, who murdered a white person, to the Americans.

A Pottawottamie Indian, by the name of Turkey-foot, killed Americans, for which he was demanded of us: and although he was a great warrior, we killed him ourselves in satisfaction for his murders.

Some of the Kickapoos killed an American. They were demanded, were given up, and were tied up with ropes around their necks for the murders. This was not what the chief who made the demand promised, as they were put to death in another manner. Our custom is to tie up a dog in that way, when we make a sacrifice.

Now, listen to me well, in what I have to say to you. The red skins have delivered up their offenders.

Sometime ago one of our young men was drunk, at St. Louis, and was killed by an American. At another time some person stole a horse near Cahokia. The citizens of the village followed the trail, met an innocent Kickapoo, on his way to Kaskaskia, and killed him. Last fall, on the other side, and not far from Fort Wayne, a Wyandot Indian set fire to a prairie; a settler came out and inquired of him how he came to set fire. The Indian answered that he was hunting. The settler struck the Indian and continued to beat him, till they were parted, when another settler shot the Indian. This summer a Chippeway Indian, at Detroit, was looking at a gun; it went off, accidently, and shot an American. The Chippeway was demanded, delivered up, and executed. Is this the way that Gen. Wayne exhibits his charity to the red skins? Whenever an instance of this kind happens, it is usual for the red skins to regard it as an accident.

You Americans think that all the mischiefs that are committed are known to the chiefs, and immediately call on them for the surrender of the offenders. We know nothing of them; our business is to hunt, in order to feed our women and children.

It is generally supposed that we red skins are always in the wrong. If we kill a hog, we are called fools or bad men; the same, or worse, is said of us if we kill an horned animal; yet, you do not take into consideration the fact that while the whites are hunting along our rivers, killing our deer and bears, that we do not speak ill of them.

When the French came to Niagara, Detroit, Mackinaw and Chicago, they built no forts or garrisons, nor did the English, who came after them; but when the Americans came, all was changed. They build forts and garrisons and blockade wherever they go. From these facts we infer that they intend to make war upon us.

Whenever the United States make the Indians presents, they afterwards say that we must give them such a tract of land; and after a good many presents they then ask a larger piece. This is the way we have been served. This is the way of extending to us charity.

Formerly, when the French were here, they made us large presents; so have the English; but the Americans, in giving their presents, have always asked a piece of land in return. Such has been the treatment of the Americans.


If the whites had kept on the other side of the waters, these accidents could not have happened; we could not have crossed the wide waters to have killed them there; but they have come here and turned the Indians in confusion. If an Indian goes into their village, like a dog he is hunted, and threatened with death.

The ideas of the Pottawottamies, Ottaways and Chippeways are, that we wish to live peaceable and quiet with all mankind, and attend to our hunting and other pursuits, that we may be able to provide for the wants of our women and children. But there remains a lurking dissatisfaction in the breasts and minds of some of our young men. This has occasioned the late mischiefs, which, at the time, were unknown to the chiefs and warriors of the nation. I am surprised at such threatenings to the chiefs and warriors, (old people,) who are inclined entirely for peace.

The desire of the chiefs and warriors is to plant corn and pursue the deer. Do you think it possible for us to deliver the murderers here to-day?

Think you, my friends, what would be the consequence in case of a war between the Americans and the Indians. In times past, when some of us were engaged in it, many women were left in a distressful condition. Should war now take place the distress would be, in comparison, much more general.

This is all I have to say on the part of myself and the warriors of my village. I thank you for your patient attention to my words.

After Gomo had finished, he laughingly said that we have had long talks; will not a little whisky enable us to sleep? Capt. Levering understood him by lulling their fears.

On the next day, being the 17th of August, Little Chief spoke as follows:

Listen to me, my friends, if you wish to know the ideas and sentiments of the chiefs and warriors here present to-day. Give the same attention to my words that I did to those of yesterday.

At the conclusion of the American and Indian wars the Americans asked us to remain at peace and in quietness. I and my warriors have always observed the advice.

One of the promises of the Americans to the Indians, at that time, was that whenever murders should be committed on either side, the murderers should be delivered up to the opposite party. We have delivered up offenders; the Americans have delivered none.

The intention of the Pottawottamies, Ottaways and Chippeways has been to remain peaceable and quiet, as they always have done, and still wish to do; and when that is observed, there will be nothing to fear on either part, as you will see to-day.

At the peace of Greenville, it was agreed on both sides to deliver up all the prisoners; I myself ran from town to town gathering all; and Gen. Wayne said, "now all is completed and hereafter we will see which of us (red or white) will first take up the tomahawk. It shall now be buried." But from your talk of yesterday you threaten to make war against us; to cut off our women and children.

You astonish us with your talk. When you do us harm, nothing is done; but when we do anything, you immediately tie us up by the neck; sometime ago we brought in a number of Osages, prisoners of war; you demanded them, and we delivered them up. There is no recompense for us.

You may observe the ideas of the chiefs and warriors of the Illinois River. Listen to their talk and see whether it is not right. We wish that the Governor at Kaskaskia may hear our words.


You see how we live — our women and children. Do not, my friends, suppose that we are accomplices with murderers. Take courage and let us live in peace and quietness, as we have heretofore done. You said that we, our wives and children, should live in peace. You hear what the chiefs in council say; they cannot interfere in the demand you have made. They cannot interfere in any bad business of the kind.

You see the situation of the Pottawottamies, Chippeways and Ottaways to-day. The Shawnee Prophet, the man who talks with the Father of Light, blames us for not listening to him. You do the same. We are like a bird in a bush, beset, and not knowing which way to fly for safety — whether to the right or to the left. If our young men behave ill to-day, you may blame the Shawnee Prophet for it.

The chiefs are reproached by the young men generally. They say to us, you give your hand to the Americans to-day, and in future they will knock you in the head. This is the occasion of their late unruly behavior.

Remember what you told us on yesterday. Among other sayings, you threatened to kill our women and children. Do not think that those young men that committed the murders belong to this place. They came from the village of the Shawnee Prophet. All the mischiefs that have been done have been committed through the influence of the Shawnee Prophet, and I declare this to you for the truth.

Behold the Shawnee Prophet, that man who talks with the Great Spirit, and teaches the Indians to pray and look to God! But as for us, we do not believe him. We wish to chase our deer, and live in peace with the Americans.

Ever since the Shawnee Prophet has been on the Wabash River he has been jealous of the chiefs and warriors of this river. He suspects that we give information and a favorable ear to the Americans, and says that the Americans will act like traitors to us.

For my part I suspect no wrong. I do not listen to the bad advice of the Prophet.

Our great chiefs of the Pottawottamies, Chippeways and Ottaways command us to observe the alliance between us and the Americans, that we and our children may live in peace and comfort. These are the reasons for our not listening to the Shawnee Prophet.

My dear friends do not believe us accomplices in the mischiefs recently committed; we wish peace.

Observe the chiefs and warriors in council. We think of nothing but to live in peace and quietness. We would have been very much surprised if the Americans had come and made war on us, feeling ourselves perfectly innocent of these offenses.

We think nothing of what is past, as we are innocent. These are also the sentiments of the Kickapoos; and we, the chiefs of the several tribes now in council, join our hands together and hold them as fast as I now hold the wampum in my hand.

See, my friends, how matters stand to-day. If you wish for war with us, it lies altogether with yourselves. It is better to avoid it if possible.

If the Americans should commence war with us, we would have to fight in our own defense. The chiefs are of opinion that it is best to remain at peace.

I have finished, my friends. Perhaps you take us for little children. We whip our children, but men will defend themselves.

For myself I am indifferent. It would be the same with me to raise or bury the tomahawk. I can but die at last

Observe, my friends: since our peace with the Americans we have been and still are a poor people. We have not even a piece of ribbon to tie our speech. I have finished.


After Little Chief had concluded, Capt. Levering spoke as follows:

Brothers, Chiefs and Warriors:
I have listened with close attention to your words, and I shall be careful to convey them to our father. It is for him to say what shall be done. But, being among you, with my ears and eyes open to things that could not be known to the distance of my father's cabin, I think that he will not disapprove of my speaking to you in my own words, for I shall hold fast to his mind. I discover that you harbor a number of incorrect opinions, that render you dissatisfied with your white brethren; and I am really so far your friend, that in case I saw you and my white brethren about rushing each other into destruction through want of light, if I was able I would inform you of it. But if I thought you were acting with your eyes open, you might abide the consequences; I should not push myself in the way.

As you have spoken on many subjects, I wish to have time to look over them, and I also wish to put my words on paper, that I may show them to my father at Kaskaskia. I shall hope to meet you here again in the morning.

After the council adjourned, the chiefs, in behalf of their respective nations, offered him the hand of friendship.

On the next morning Capt. Levering continued his address, as follows:

Brothers, you have offered me your hands of friendship. If there was not something sincere within, to give your offer a cordial reception, I should not have requested this opportunity of speaking to you.

The brave and generous chief can show himself in his village at all times, and that, too, with his head loftily erect! Honesty, still prouder, can traverse the globe naked, and that through the glare of day.

Our father's minds and words to the Indians being as pure as sterling silver, they have no fear nor objection to their sons talking to them, so that their words are open and as clear as your native fountains; yet they wish you to be careful about listening to every one.

Red men never injured me or my relations, and having grown up far from their paths, I can have no prejudices or resentments against them; and as all men, both red and white, understand how to estimate honesty, I may say that I have no inducement to deceive you. The very nature of my errand must assure you that the welfare of my white brethren commands that I shall speak the truth. I shall be no false prophet. I am not endeavoring to be a chief among you. No generous man would be offended with the free, open, decent candor of another, even though it should come from an enemy. Now, brethren, listen to the facts — all the white people can tell whether I lie, for we have it down in black and white, and the most of them can read.

The first white people that came across the wide waters, and settled on this side of them, were Spaniards, and they settled on islands further distant than the mouth of the Mississippi. These people, seeing flattering hopes in the West, gave the news, and encouraged many people to come over from many nations, residing on the other side of the great waters. The English were the first to settle on any part of the land on this side of the mouth of the Mississippi, and all around the east and north to the end of walking. After them came the French, who settled on the other end of Canada. Then came the Dutch, on another part of the large shores; and many people came from numerous nations, on the other side of the waters, that perhaps you never heard of. The Americans were formerly the British; our forefathers were British; the British King owned us as his children, and we obeyed him like dutiful children.


When he made war against the French in Canada, we went with his young men to fight his battles; and we were proud to be and remain his children, until about forty years ago, when he began to ask things of us that were unreasonable. Although we had at all times regarded him as our father — believing that he had a right to ask it of us, we, as dutiful children, gave him money and warriors, and both he and his big council acknowledged that his American children had done more than their duty. But in course of time he and his council thought that we were growing too rich; that riches would give us the desire of leaving them, and that we would become a nation of full strength. To prevent this they endeavored to take our money from us without asking, and that, too, whether we were willing or not; just as though your chiefs should hamstring your young men, through fear of their leaving them. This is exactly the case, for we never refused his requests; but when he began to draw by force large quantities of honey from a small poor tree, we complained, but our complaints found a deaf ear. We preferred nakedness, cold, hunger, and all the horrors of war, to such degradation. We fought him for seven years, under poverty and hardship. The Indians did not know how much we were injured, or they would not have increased our hardships. But, under Washington — a man now dead, yet we delight in remembering him, for he was good and brave — our warriors fought our battles and led us to well earned victory. The English asked for peace, and acknowledged us to be a separate nation.

This was the beginning of the American nation, when we chose Washington, our victorious chief, to be our Great Father. Since then, the British cannot be our generous friends, although they dare not come to open war with us. As a chief once said to me, "they tell half lie, half truth — firing a gun into our canoe, and saying it was a mistake!" They set the Indians on us to resent their own enmities, and for the purpose of engrossing all the profit of the Indian trade.

Can you not see, brothers, that the British offer you protection, when, in case of open war, they cannot stand in Canada? when they cannot protect themselves? If I had sucked the same breasts with your chiefs and warriors, I would tell you this.

Now, brothers, attend, and you will begin to learn that your complaints against the Americans are founded in error.

Was it the present Americans that crossed the water to your land? We were then British, and governed by a British King, whom we had to fight as an enemy to our rights and welfare. The English settled here some two hundred and ten years ago; the present American nation is not of my age; and our Government and Great Father, in their disposition, are as different from the British King as the summer from the winter day. The present Americans were nowise instrumental in crossing the ocean; the first coming of their forefathers was owing to the British King, who rules his sons far more imperiously than you suspect. If wanted, they must go and fight, and cannot say nay. Even, then, although we were British, and under their King, we, like you, found ourselves here, and from necessity we must be near neighbors. It is, therefore, our interest to cultivate friendship, unless we intend to destroy each other.

I must have proven to you, by this time, that your prejudices to the Americans, at least in one instance, are unfounded. I could, in a little time, make it appear that nearly all of your supposed grievances are owing to a misunderstanding of our nation. If this is true, you will find it agreeable as well as our interest to nourish and water the friendship of the red and white men.

Although our father constructs forts outside the settlements of his white children, he does not, as you seem to think, act differently from the French or the British.


I have seen and have heard of forts all along the British line in Canada. I have seen other forts along the lakes, and elsewhere, that were built by the French; and let me tell you, chiefs and warriors, that the most of the forts in this country were built by the British and French, When we have the Spaniards on one side of us, and the British on the other, in forts, and they are endeavoring to make our red brethren discontented with us, is it not advisable for us to keep up and garrison those forts that came to us by the chance of war? Does the garrison at Chicago, Detroit, Defiance, Ft. Wayne, or that at the mouth of the Missouri, or any other within your knowledge, come out to war on the Indians? Those forts are intended and are kept up merely to protect our friends; and to suppose that they presage or threaten war, when they have never committed any, is rather an overstrained idea.

You say that the whites first led the Indians to acts of outrage, by inviting them to join in war against the whites; and, consequently, the white people are to blame for the bad practice among the Indians! But, I ask, have the Americans ever solicited the Indians to join them in war against the British? or, against any nation? I answer, no. Our forefathers, even while we were yet fighting to become a nation, advised the Indians to lay on their skins at home, raise corn and kill deer, but not to engage in war on either side; and such has been the advice of our fathers to the Indians ever since. It is true that some Indians, since then, have offered to join us, and certainly you would not object to our receiving and taking sides in favor of our friends.

Your ideas of the treaty of Greenville are alike inaccurate. You suppose that our fathers promised that all murderers, on either side, should be delivered up to the opposite party. That cannot be the case; for our laws would not allow our Great Father, or Gen. Wayne with him, to make such a stipulation in a treaty. All offenders against our laws must be tried by our laws and by a jury of twelve of our citizens. This is the way an Indian would be tried under our laws, and in the same manner would a white man be tried for killing an Indian. I know this to be true (although you have said that there is no recompense for an Indian) that when I left Kaskaskia there was a man in jail, fastened with irons by the wrist, for having abused an Indian; and this was done by order of the Governor, because he thought it just. The treaty of Greenville requires of each of our Governors to catch a murderer of an Indian, and to have him tried for murder, and if found guilty, to see that he was hung.

In answer to your complaint in the case of an Indian that was killed in St. Louis, I must tell you more of our laws, and you will learn that the whites equal the red men in their conceptions of justice. I cannot hinder the belief that somebody told you wrong in the case of the Indian at Detroit; but I know something of this at St. Louis. Whenever a man makes an attempt to kill another, a third party coming up may kill the first to save the life of the second; and our laws do say that the third was right in so doing — for the act of the first makes the supposition strong that he was an unruly and bad man; the second might have been a good man, and his life should be saved. All this is like the case in St. Louis. The Indian was drunk, flourishing his tomahawk, and threatening to kill. Judge Meigs (a chief), without weapons, stepped up to the Indian for the purpose of persuading him to be quiet; the Indian drew his tomahawk on the Judge, and the young man, coming up and seeing him in danger, killed the Indian to save the Judge's life. Judge Meigs told me this. He is now Governor of Ohio.

You must not think, from my words, that I am unfriendly to the Spanish, French or English. They are my brothers, and they, as well as we, are here from like circumstances.


They, as well as others, who have come from over the waters, are equally under the same care and protection of our Great Father.

Let us acquaint ourselves with times past, and with things that do not immediately concern us, with the view of improving our minds and dispositions, and not strain our brain to find out causes of discontent and quarrel. Let us consider and find out what will promote, our mutual benefit and harmony.

You have looked more to the threatenings of our father's words than to the justice of them. Let us think of them for a while; and, in turning to them, I would not, now, or at any other time, make them appear worse against you than the plain talk of truth, and neither of us, I hope, are so far worse than children as to be frightened at facts. It is true, as our father also tells you, that the head chief of all our tribes would, like the sun, bestow his genial blessings on all — the weak and the strong — on the mole-hill as well as the mountain; and even when his goodness should be obstructed, he is yet mild and forbearing for a season, hoping that a sense of right and wrong will correct and restore the evil; but when he finds that forbearance and kindness fail — like the sun, when fogs and poisons threaten, the fire of his justice will dissipate and destroy the evil. Before I left our father's cabin with his words for you, a runner of his had returned from our father and chief on the west of the Mississippi, and one from our father to the east of the Wabash, and our father knew that their minds and determinations were in unison with his, and also with that of our Great Father of all the tribes. Our father told you of the murder of five whites and of the horses that were stolen at the same time, between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers; this summer one has been murdered on one of the creeks that empties into the Kaskaskia, and an attempt was made to carry off a woman; since then, one has been wounded and another murdered near the Piasa rock, on the Mississippi; and I myself have heard of thirty-three horses having been stolen by the Indians, during this summer.

Little Chief said: "My friend, I request you, now, to take the names of the chiefs and warriors, that you may show to your father in Kaskaskia how ready we have been to attend to his words."

On the 18th of August, the Sac chief, Little Sturgeon, called on Capt. Levering, who explained to him the circumstance and cause of Capt. Whiteside having fired on some of his nation on the Mississippi.

The council assembled again; and after Capt. Levering had given his advice, Gomo said:

We have listened with patient attention, and I hope that the great Master of Light was noticing it. When the Master of Light made man, he endowed those who wore hats with every gift, art and knowledge. The red skins, as you see, live in lodges and on the wilds of nature.

The council then adjourned. Gomo delivered up two of the horses, and Little Chief agreed to deliver to Capt. Heald, at Chicago, two more; and Gomo said he would endeavor to have them all returned as soon as they could be found.

The chiefs told Capt. Levering that the murderers of the Coles party were two Indians by the name of Esh-can-ten-e-mane and O-kat-che-cummich, and that they were both at a village about twenty miles on this side


of the Prophet's village. After the departure of the chiefs, Little Chief returned and said that he wished to tell Captain Levering, in private, that the murderers of the Coles party could be taken without any trouble, by inviting them, among others, to a meeting at Fort Wayne next fall, when, their names being known, the commandant could seize them.

For the purpose of having another talk with the Indians, Gov. Edwards, in March, 1812, issued the following instructions to Capt. Hebert:

"Capt. Edward Hebert is hereby authorized by me to ascend the Illinois River as far as he can, with a view to deliver a friendly talk to the Indians of said river, and also to request the traders of every description to withdraw till our affairs with the Indians have a more settled and favorable appearance. I wish the request made in the most delicate manner; but I also desire that the traders shall know that they need not expect any indulgences, if they should not instantly comply."

Superintendent of Indian affairs in and over Illinois Territory.

To GOMO, Chief of the Pottawottamies on Illinois River:

MY SON — Captain Hebert not long ago told me that you were desirous to come to see me. If you wish to come, you shall be conducted in safety. We never deceived any Indians who came to see us upon our invitation. I do not believe you ever heard of such treachery from any of your Great Father's officers.

It is my wish to preserve peace, to save the women and children, and to prevent the earth from being stained with blood. If this is your wish, also, I want to see you, and you can come with Capt. Hebert. I will send you back safely.

If you are for peace, we are ready to give you our hands. If you are for war, we are ready for you.

I am not surprised that some of your young men are foolish and wish to go to war. But you are old enough to know the folly of it. You are too old to be deceived by the English. They pretend to be your friends, but their object is to get you to fight their battles, and they care not what becomes of you afterwards.

We wish you to attend to your own business. We do not want you to fight for us. We can whip the English ourselves.

The English tell you of the power of their King. They tell you he can conquer us. You ought not to believe them. They told you the same story in the American war; but you know they did not tell you the truth. We were then like little children, but we whipped them then; and if they thought they were now able to fight us, why should they want to get your assistance?

Call together your old men, who have bad experience in war and who have felt its bad consequences, and let them advise the foolish.

You have traveled to some of the large cities of your Great Father, and ought to have some knowledge of his strength. You cannot think to conquer him. You have everything to lose and nothing to gain by a war with us.

If the English do not behave themselves we will take Canada, and drive them out of America. You will have no one, then, to help you.

My son, now remember my words. If you and the British will go to war with us, we shall immediately take Montreal and Upper Canada. We will never suffer a


British trader to go among you again. We will call home all our own traders and carry war into your own country. Consider how you are to live without any trade, when you are at the same time harrassed with war.

Your young men may not believe these things, but you are old enough to know that they will come to pass. Why will you bring such evils upon yourselves? We do not wish to afflict you unless you raise the tomahawk. When you do this, you will not get peace as soon as you will want it. For if your Great Father, the President of the United States, is obliged, by your bad conduct, to go to war with you, depend upon it he will strike such a blow as will prevent the red people from ever wishing to go to war with us again.

Council held at Cahokia, April 16, 1812, between Ninian Edwards, Governor of the Illinois Territory, and the chiefs and warriors of the following nations, to-wit:

Of the Pottawottamies — Gromo, Pepper, White Hair, Little Sauk, Great Speaker, Yellow Son, Snake, Mankai, Bull, Ieman, Neck-kee-ness-kee-sheck, Ignace, Powtawamie Prophet, Pamousa, Ish-kee-bee, Toad, Man-wess, Pipe Bird, Cut Branch, The South Wind, and The Black Bird.

Of the Kickapoos — Little Deer, and Blue Eyes (representative of Pamawattan), Sun Fish, Blind-of-an-eye, Otter, Mak-kak, Yellow Lips, Dog Bird, and Black Seed.

Of the Ottaways — Mittitasse (representative of The Blackbird,) Keeska-gon, and Malsh-wa-she-wai.

Of the Chippeways — The White Dog.

Gov. Edwards addressed them as follows:

Chiefs and Warriors of the Pottawottamies, Kickapoos, Chippeways, and Ottaways:

My desire to preserve peace and friendship, if possible, between the red and white people, induced me to send for you; and I am glad you have come to see me, according to my request, because it shows a desire on your part, as well as mine, to keep the tomahawk buried.

My Children, your Great Father, the President of the United States, has given many proofs of his love for the red flesh, and the red skins will always find him a kind protector so long as they act with pure hearts. He loves both his red and white children, and does not wish either to do hurt to the other.

My Children, for a long time the bloody tomahawk and scalping-knife have been buried. The red people enjoyed their forests and pursued their game in peace; and the white people cultivated the earth without fear. We were all then happy, and your Great Father was glad to see it. For some time past, a storm has appeared to be gathering. Injuries have been done, anger has been produced, and war has appeared to be almost unavoidable.

My Children, that great deceiver, the Shawnee Prophet, has been hired by the British to tell you falsehoods and to cause you to raise the tomahawk against your white brother. He pretended to hold talks with the Great Spirit, to impose upon the weak and foolish. He promised many things. He promised his followers, victory at the battle of Tippecanoe; but the American chief, Gov. Harrison, proved that he was a liar.


My Children, before the Shawnee Prophet began to work with a bad heart, you were all happy; but he has distracted the red skins and their happiness is gone.

My Children, those who listened to the Shawnee Prophet have gained nothing but misery; many of them were wounded, and others lost their lives and left their friends to mourn over their folly.

My Children, the British have had other bad birds flying among you. I am not surprised that some of your young men should have been deceived by them. But there are some of you great chiefs who are old warriors, and wise enough to know them better. Some of you know the horrors and folly of war well enough to wish to avoid it.

My Children, you can remember when the British advised the red skins to make war upon their white brethren of the United States. They then promised you great assistance; but they deceived you and left you to fight your own battles, and you found it necessary to sue for peace. At that time you were stronger than you are now; the woods were then full of game of all kinds; large numbers of you could collect together and travel through the country without fear of wanting provisions. But this cannot now be done.

My Children, when the red and white people were formerly at war, we were then weak; we are now grown strong — have everything necessary for war, and are your near neighbors. Our Great Father's dominions extend over vast countries, bounded by the great waters; his towns and cities are hard to be counted, and his white children are as thick and numerous as the stars of the sky.

My Children, your Great Father has nothing to fear from war with you, for if it were possible for the red skins to conquer one army, he could soon have another ten times as strong to oppose you. But he does not wish for war. You have nothing to hope from it, and you can have peace if you will do justice and comply with your treaty.

My Children, we are about to engage in a war with the British. I wish you to see how different our conduct is from theirs. We do not wish you to take any part with us in the war; we do not wish you to fight for us, because we know we are able to whip them without your help; when we were as little children we fought, conquered them, and took the whole United States away from them; and if we fight them again, we shall whip them and take the Canadas away from them. For this purpose our Great Father now has an army of 185,000 men.

My Children, the British pretend to be your friends, but their object is to get you to fight their battles; and they care not what becomes of you afterwards. They tell you of the power of their King over the great lake. They say to you that he can conquer us, but they know this is not true. If they thought they were able to fight us, why are they so anxious to get you to assist them?

My Children, the British would now load you with presents, if you would engage in the war, but remember these presents would last you but a little while and would cost you very dear; for if you join them in the war against us, remember now my words: We shall take Montreal and all Upper Canada. British traders and English goods will never be suffered to go among you again. Our own traders will all be recalled. War will be waged against you. Your country will be taken and strong garrisons will be built in order to retain it. Consider how you are to live without any trade, when, at the same time, you will be so harassed with war, that you can hunt nowhere with safety.

My Children, your young men may not believe these things, but your old warriors and brave chiefs have sense enough to know they will come to pass. I tell you


these things because I am so much your friend, that I do not wish you to bring those evils upon yourselves, your wives and helpless children.

My Children, we do not wish to afflict you unless you raise the tomahawk. When you do this you may not get peace as soon as you may want it; for if your Great Father, the President of the United States, is obliged, by your bad conduct, to go to war with you, he will strike such a blow as will be sufficient to prevent the red people from ever going to war with us again.

My Children, remember it is easy to get into war, but hard to get out of it again with advantage,

My Children, I am satisfied that many of you have too much sense to listen to all the Prophet's lies, and hate him in your hearts, because he deceived your friends and has brought trouble on you all. But some of your people have listened to him, or other bad advisers, and they have done us injuries which cannot be overlooked.

My Children, guilty as the Prophet has been, he has not done all the mischief; others have done mischief, hoping they would escape punishment by laying the blame upon him; but this must not be suffered. While some of your tribes have been professing peace, your men have been committing depredations upon us. This cannot be suffered; unless such bad men shall be given up for punishment, the tribe must be answerable for their conduct. Your Great Father has been waiting to see if justice would be done in those cases by yourselves, and this has led you into an error; for you suppose that because he has not made war upon you to revenge himself, that he does not mean to have satisfaction, and you do not seem to think yourself bound to deliver up such bad men; but even protect them, knowing their guilt, and they are encouraged to do more mischief. If this conduct should be suffered, I our people might be murdered every day, and we never could get satisfaction — because we could not distinguish the guilty from the innocent.

My Children, while we trusted to treaties with you — while we believed our red brethren to be friendly — some of our people on this side and some on the other side of the Mississippi, fearing no danger, have been plundered of their property and deprived of their lives by some of your bad men; many horses have been stolen, for which no satisfaction has been made, although it was promised. On the 19th day of July, 1810, four men were killed and a fifth wounded, in the district of St. Charles, in Louisiana. On the 2d June, last year, three of your bad men went to the house of a Mr. Cox, in this country, plundered him of a great deal of property, barbarously killed his son, and took his daughter a prisoner. A few days afterwards another party killed a man by the name of Price, and wounded another by the name of Ellis, in this country also, and near the Mississippi.

My Children, these were great outrages, but I used my exertions to prevent the people from rising to revenge themselves; and I sent Capt. Levering to you to demand of you to give up the offenders, as you had bound yourselves, by treaty, to do, You did not deliver them up, yet you say that you wish to be governed by the treaty, and still you will not comply with it.

My Children, when I demanded those bad men, by Capt. Levering, you professed not to know where they were; and still you said you could not deliver them up. Since that time I have found out that some of them were actually with you — that they are positively of your party, and have resided near Peoria ever since.

My Children, you stated that the chiefs did not know, when mischief was done, who of their party committed it. We know enough of your customs to satisfy us that


such things are seldom concealed among you. But this, if true, was no excuse for failing to deliver those you knew to be guilty.

My Children, you complained that we never delivered up our men to you when they did mischief. We are not bound to do so by the treaty; we punish our men when we can prove them to be guilty, just as we would punish the red people for the same offenses. But you have failed to give up the late offenders for us to punish them, nor have you punished them yourselves, though you know them to be guilty.

My Children, when I sent Capt. Levering to you with my talk, I was sorry to find, in the answer I received, statements so much like those which the Prophet is in the habit of expressing. You attempted to draw a contrast between the people of the United States and French and British; you then said the French and British never built forts, but that the Americans did so. This is not true. When the British first made great canoes and crossed the great lake, they always built forts; and so did the French. There are the remains of old forts everywhere near the great lake; both the French and English built forts at Pittsburgh, on the Ohio. You see those works at St. Louis. There is also a fort, called Fort Chartres, between this place and Kaskaskia. There are forts in Canada and many other places that were built by the British and French.

My Children, you also said to Capt. Levering that when the French and British made presents to the Indians, they never asked any land; but that the Americans never made you any presents, except they asked first for a little land and then for a great deal.

My Children, there is indeed a difference between us and the French and British, in this respect. We never take your land without paying you for it. They claimed all your land and took it whenever they wanted it, without paying you anything. They did not acknowledge that you had any land, and they have transferred it all to us, without paying any regard to your claim.

My Children, when the British first crossed the great lake, the red people owned all the land to the great water. The British took it all from you, and never paid anything. The red people also owned Canada; but that has been taken from them, and you have never heard that the Indians received anything for all the lands that the British now hold there, nor did you ever hear that the French paid for the land they held on this or the other side of the Mississippi River.

My Children, we never want to buy your land, or take it from you, unless you wish to sell it, and then we will give you the price that you ask for it. You cannot show that we ever took a foot of your land, since we got clear of the King of England, without paying for it, and we are not answerable for the sins of the British King; for we all know that he is not a good man, and that he did great injustice to the red people, by taking their land without paying for it, although he now pretends to be their friend, because he wishes them to fight for him. I hope, therefore, I shall hear no more upon this subject.

My Children, you told Capt. Levering that if we did not have peace with you, it would be our fault. This is not true; we only ask justice of you. If you do justice, we wish for peace; but we cannot consent that the land shall be stained with the blood of our innocent brethren, without some satisfaction being given. Peace, upon such terms, is worse than war.

My Children, the blood of these innocent persons who have been wounded and murdered cries aloud to the Great Spirit for vengeance. The hearts of their relations and brethren bleed with sorrow, and they thirst for revenge.


My Children, now open your ears to hear my words, and let them sink deep into your hearts. If you wish for peace with us, you must do us justice. If you disapprove those murders and other outrages that have been committed, you must deliver up the offenders, or punish them yourselves; for if you harbor among you such deadly enemies to us, you cannot be our friends, and you ought not to expect our friendship.

My Children, you can choose peace or war upon proper terms. If you choose peace and will do justice, it will rejoice the heart of your Great Father and the hearts of all your white brethren.

My Children, if you or any other red people should be for war, we shall be ready for you. I have an army coming on for the defense of my people. It will soon be at this place, and if any more murders should be committed upon our people, I shall take revenge. You must not let any such bad men come from among you, and you must not harbor among you bad men of other tribes, knowing that they have injured us.

My Children, it now appears that the Winnebagoes are about to make war upon us, and it is probable that other red people will also do mischief, hoping that it will be laid upon the Winnebagoes; but I shall be upon my watch to detect and punish all such.

My Children, there has lately been much mischief done. I have strong reason to believe that others, besides the Winnebagoes, have been concerned, and that some of you have knowledge of it. If you are friends I expect you will tell us all you know.

My Children, let justice be done, let all cause of complaint be removed, and let us again live like brothers.

My Children, we do not want your land. We have more land already than we can use, and I shall neither propose to buy it, nor does your Great Father, or myself, wish to take a foot of it from you. Those who tell you to the contrary tell you lies and wish to deceive.

My Children, shut your ears against all evil counsellors and comply with your treaty, and you shall still be treated as friends and brothers.

METTETASSE rose and said: This is the one (pointing to GOMO) who is to answer your speech of yesterday, in the name of us all — Pottawottamies, Kickapoos, Chippeways and Ottaways.

THE PEPPER — My Father, my brother here, the oldest chief, will answer you. We have all heard your speech of yesterday, and we will all hear his answer to you; and, when the council is over, we all desire to go home.

THE LITTLE DEER — My Father, I am of the village of the Great Lick. I speak in the name of Blue Eyes, the representative of Pamawatam. I give you my hand, and wish to be peaceable. You might have heard talk of me, and I am well known by all these Indians here, and it is well known to them all that I never listened to the Prophet; and I am the first chief who, after the battle of Tippecanoe, went to Gov. Harrison with my flag.

My Father, my chiefs and warriors are here, who all know me to be a peaceable Indian. My village is small. This man (meaning GOMO) will speak to you, and we will all agree to what he will say.

My Father, the people of my village are now anxious for my return, to hear the result of this council.

My Father, we have reflected on your speech of yesterday, and we have consulted together, GOMO will answer in the name of us all. We wish to cross over so soon as the council is over.



My Father, you have heard what my war chiefs have said. I will speak to you as the Great Spirit inspires me.

My Father, in this manner the Great Spirit has taught me to speak by giving me a pipe and tobacco, therein to make my father smoke.

My Father, this is the pipe we have smoked together. I smoked out of it in coming down to see you.

My Father, all the chiefs that I left at home hold their pipes in their hands, to smoke with us on our return.

My Father, we always kept fast hold of the pipe of peace. That pipe will remain with you; and although it remains with you, it is still in our hands.

My Father, while you are smoking that pipe, your children smoke also with you.

My Father, when the Great Spirit created us, he gave us the pipe of peace. The wampum we wear was made by our white brothers.

My Father, the manner in which I present you the pipe is our way and was transmitted to us by our ancestors, and we now know you hold it.

My Father, all that you said yesterday was well said, and I assure you it has sunk deep into my heart, and it is from the bottom of my heart that I will speak.

My Father, if I came here, it was to hear your words, and therefore I thank you for what you did say.

My Father, I am not to make a council of myself, and when my chiefs tell me what to say, I do so. Therefore, what I now say is from them all.

My Father, I now show you I obeyed your orders. I intended to go and quarrel with the Prophet, but I have put that off because you sent for me.

My Father, what has scared all our towns and villages is that affair that happened on the Wabash.

My Father, we have reflected considerably since yesterday. It is neither you nor I that made this earth, and the Great Spirit is angry, and we do not know what he will do.

My Father, by what I see to-day, probably our Great Spirit is angry, and wants us to return to ourselves and live in peace. What I now say is from the bottom of my heart.

My Father, you see many children have sold their lands. The Great Spirit did not give them the land to sell. Perhaps that is the cause why the Great Spirit is angry.

My Father, you have often been deceived. A chief will come and sell land. Can a chief sell land? I am a chief, but I am poor and worthy of pity, and I want to live in peace on our land.

My Father, if there could be found among us one chief who had influence enough to deliver a murderer, I would be happy to see such a chief.

My Father, you probably think I am a great chief. I am not! I cannot control my young men as I please.

Mv Father, I am a red skin; I am not a great chief. I am a chief whilst my young men are growing, but when they become grown I am no more master of them.

My Father, the Great Spirit created us all. We have not the same power that you have. You have troops and laws. When a man does ill, you have him taken and punished; but this we cannot do.

My Father, I could very easily secure or kill the murderers you mention; but unless the whole of my chiefs and young men are consenting, I would be killed.


My Father, concerning the murderers, we will consult all together, and we will then know what we will do.

My Father, I have not forgotten Gen. Wayne's counsel, and I have always tried to follow it and to live in peace.

My Father, at the time the red skins were fighting, I was not among them. I was then traveling through the States, and went to Washington City to see our Great Father, and I was led to several sea-ports in America.

My Father, when Turkey-foot came here and killed your white children, you desired he should be killed. We got together and consulted among ourselves, and we killed him.

My Father, the Kickapoos were those that killed your children on the Missouri. You demanded the murderers. Here is the Blue Eyes present who brought them in.

My Father, it is impossible for us to bring in murderers. They are too much dispersed and too far off.

My Father, here is my oldest brother (Gen. Clark), that I saw two years ago, who told me to live in peace, which I have always done.

My Father, in our treaty we are bound to deliver up murderers. I am not the only chief who could not deliver up murderers.

My Father, at the Miami village a Pottawottamie was killed by an American. We never demanded the murderer, but the factor there covered our dead brother by giving us goods.

My Father, I have heard the good advice of your speech. I never listen to any evil birds. I am for living in peace, and I will return to my people and rehearse them your speech.

My Father, at the time the British and Americans fought, in the last war, we never meddled in it. We used to come down here and follow the advice of a chief who was then here.

My Father, I have already said to you we never meddled in the British battles; and, therefore, do you think we would now join them? No, never!

My Father, no one can say I ever went to the English factories, or ever got a blanket from the English. When I wanted a blanket, I would buy one from our trader.

My Father, I must tell you the truth. I went to see them two years ago, and when I got there the Indians, on seeing me, said, "here comes an American!" and it was with difficulty that I got home without starving.

My Father, a father, when he wants his children to do well, instructs them. You did so yesterday, and I was well pleased.

My Father, you asked me to tell you what was going on in our towns. I cannot now say, for I have been a long time absent, in our sugar camps. When I return home, I will be able to learn.

My Father, I will state what I learnt last fall.

My Father, when Mainpock went to war, he had one of his young men killed, who was an Ottawa, and related to another old man; and this old man sent his son to the English. He said, "my father has sent for goods." And they told him he must be very sorry for the loss of his son.

My Father, the British then told him, "why do you go to war against the Osages? Go against the Americans; they are close."

My Father, when his son returned the old man answered the British agent, telling him to fight his own battles, as he was determined to live in peace.


My Father, do you think we would join the English? We remember, when you beat them, they left us in the lurch, and we had to fly. Certainly we will not join them again.

My Father, we have friends among us who often tell us not to join the English that they will again forsake us; therefore we remain in peace.

My Father, I do not speak for all the Indian nations; I speak for those here.

My Father, you will easily know those who will assist the English; it cannot be kept hid.

My Father, sometimes it makes me reflect, when I consider on the promises you made us not to leave us in misery.

My Father, you told us, when you spoke to the Black Bird, that our fires would always be kept up clear, and that we should not suffer. This has not been kept.

My Father, my chiefs have gone among the nations and received prisoners, and returned them.

My Father, I never tried to sell land to get goods to cover us. I always got my covering from my hunt.

My Father, I am not of those men who go and see their father to sell land. I go and see my father to hear his words.

My Father, my desire is that our land remain as clear as this blue ribbon.

My Father, you see I have brought you our wives and children, to show you how ragged they are.

My Father, I thought of asking you to place a factory in our town of Peoria, but on account of the Winnebagoes, who are roving about, should any be killed, we might be blamed; therefore I will not, at present, ask for one.

My Father, if it was your wish to send us goods, we would wish the factor to be a man who has resided and does reside with us.

My Father, I have been asked to go and see our Great Father. The voyage is so long that I would wish to remain at home in peace.

My Father, you sent for us and we came down, and were fired at. We wish you had a fort at the entrance of the Illinois River, at which, in coming down, we might stop.

My Father, when a garrison will be there we will come and see you oftener, and feel better protected.

My Father, we are four nations here. Whatever the English may do, you may rest assured none of us will join them.

My Father, I am at the other end of Peoria Lake. It is there where we will reside, and remain at peace in hunting to support our families.

My Father, we intend to meet and draw near to one another, with the intention of living together in peace.

My Father, I have not much sense, but when you shall send any of your young men into our towns, they shall not be afraid for it.

My Father, when you sent us Capt. Levering, he was received and well treated by all our people.

My Father, it is all I have to say. I hope the Great Spirit will assist me in complying with what I have said.



My Children, I will speak to you in a plain and short manner, and I wish my words to sink deep into your hearts.

My Children, if any of your white brethren had gone among you and committed murders and robberies, your Great Father never would have forgiven them for it, but they would have been punished as soon as their guilt could be proved.

My Children, your Great Father cannot forgive those who have murdered his white children and taken their property. Your Great Father's children would no longer love him if he were to suffer such things to pass unpunished.

My Children, your Great Father now asks you to do nothing for him but what he would do for you, in the same circumstances.

My Children, you objected to give up those bad men to be hung, like dogs, as you call it, and I now agree to permit you to kill them yourselves; and, if you will consent to do it, I will send a man with you to see it done, and we shall then have peace.

My Children, you do not acknowledge that any of the murderers are of your party, except those who killed Cox and took his sister prisoner. What you say may be true, and I now only demand that you shall deliver to me or that you shall kill those murderers that you acknowledge are of your party.

My Children, these three murderers that I now demand are Pottawottamies, and I call upon you, great chiefs and brave warriors of the Pottawottamies, to comply with your treaty and deliver up these bad men, or kill them yourselves.

My Children, I want to see if you will do that justice which you acknowledge is in your power, and then I shall believe you tell the truth when you say you wish for peace; and you shall be treated as good and dutiful children of your Great Father.

My Children, you say our people are not, always punished when they do you injury, but we always punish them, if we can find them out; and you have no excuse for not punishing those who have lived among you and whom you know to be guilty.

My Children, you say these bad men are gone to the Prophet. This I know is not true — for one of them you left near Peoria, with a sore foot, and they have lived within three leagues of Peoria for a long time.

My Children, it is no excuse for you to say that these men are gone to the Prophet, because they were with you when I demanded them of you last year, and you have had it in your power to deliver them up for a long time.

My Children, you cannot suppose that we are people who can suffer our brethren to be murdered without having revenge. When we demand the murderers of you, you say they are gone to the Prophet. When Gov. Harrison demanded them of the Prophet, he said they were gone to you. You cannot suppose us such fools as to be put off this way.

My Children, suppose some of our bad men were to go and kill your warriors, and you could prove the fact! You find them to be the children of the American chief, Gov. Harrison. You go to him and demand that they should be punished. He tells you they are gone to Gov. Edwards. You then come to me. I tell you they are gone to Gov. Howard. You go to him. He tells you they are gone to Gov. Harrison! - by which you could get no satisfaction. You would think we were trying to make fools of you. And we now think the same thing of you! You would want revenge, and so do we want revenge; and we will have it.

My Children, think of these things. One day or other you will be sorry that you did not listen to my advice, and you will then be convinced that I was your friend.


My children, I have heard your words, and I am sure there are good men among you, and wish we could be friends. It may be a hard case for you to punish your bad men; but you must remember it is a hard case for us to have our children and brothers murdered without revenge. If you will do us justice by punishing your murderers, and be friendly with us as brothers, you shall be protected against white people and red people also. The Great Spirit made us all, and loves us. I wish to take you to take to my heart and cover you with my wing. We do not want to buy your land, but we will not give up what we have bought. You sold the lands, or your fathers did, and you have no right to keep the pay and the land too. If twenty of your men murders hundred of our people, what are we to do? We cannot find them and you will not punish them; what are we to do? You surely do not expect that we will let our people be murdered, without revenge. If you will not give up your bad men who kill us, we must kill as many of yours — and then we may kill the innocent, which we do not wish to do.


My Father, we are happy to hear what you have said, for we have come down here for that purpose.

My Father, what you have recommended me to do, I will do.

My Father, we came here to hear your words; the chiefs and warriors have all heard you. You will hear what I have done when I get home.

My Father, this is all I have to say to you. We will pay attention to your words.


Sometime in the fall of 1812, Capt. Thos. E. Craig was ordered by Gov. Edwards to go to Peoria, and take prisoners those persons who were there for the purpose of assisting the savages to murder our frontier settlers. Capt. Craig was successful in the expedition and returned to Camp Russell on the 16th of November, 1812, bringing a number of the inhabitants of Peoria as prisoners, together with a considerable quantity of different kinds of property. The prisoners were taken to St. Louis and discharged.

Gov. Coles, in his report to the Secretary of the Treasury in relation to claims to lots in the village of Peoria, Illinois, refers to that place thus:

The village of Peoria is situated on the north-west shore of Lake Peoria, about one half miles above the lower extremity or outlet of the lake. This village had inhabited by the French previous to the recollection of any of the present generation. About the year 1778, the first house was built, in what was then called La ville de Maillet — afterwards the new village of Peoria — and of late the place has been known by the name of Fort Clark. The situation being preferred in consequence of the water being better, and its being thought more healthy, the inhabitants gradually deserted the old village, and, by the year 1796 or 1797, had entirely abandoned it and removed to the new village.

The inhabitants of Peoria consisted generally of Indian traders, hunters and voyagers, and had formed a link of connection between the French residing on the waters of the great lakes and the Mississippi River. From that happy facility of adapting themselves to their situation and associates, for which the French are so remarkable, the inhabitants of Peoria lived generally in harmony with their savage neighbors. It would seem, however, that about the year 1781, they were induced to abandon their


village from the apprehension of Indian hostility; but soon after the peace of 1783 they again returned to it, and continued to reside there until the autumn of 1812, when they were forcibly removed from it and the place destroyed by a Capt. Craig, of the Illinois militia, on the ground, it was said, that he and his company were fired on in the night, while at anchor in the boats, before the village, by the Indians, with whom the inhabitants were suspected, by Craig, to be too intimate and friendly. The inhabitants of Peoria, it would appear, and from all I can learn, settled there without any grant or permission from the authority of any government; that the only title they had to the land was derived from possession.

It appears, from this report of Gov. Coles, that the following persons were driven from Peoria in 1812, by Capt. Craig: Thomas Forsyth, Jacques Mette, P. Larasier, (alias Chamberlain,) Antoine Le Claire, Michael La croix, Francis Racine, Sr., Francis Racine, Jr., Felix Fontaine, Hypolite Maillet, Francis Bauche, the heirs of Charles La Belle, Antoine La Pance, Antoine Barboune, and Louis Pencenneau. In the above list is not included the women and children. From other authentic sources I am inclined to believe that the number of inhabitants then in Peoria was between two and three hundred. It was not settled again for many years, and the following account is given of it in a letter from Gen. Joseph Street, of March 30, 1827:

The whole county, as now cut down, contains about thirty or forty men, and in its best state the whole docket does not exhibit thirty cases. There is nothing doing on land and still less on the water, if such comparison is admissible. The harbor and town site are the best, I presume, in all the western country; but not one sail enlivens the monotonous prospect or one oar dips into the "dark blue waves" of the fairy lake from one year's end to the other — if you will except the ferry boat, with now and then the canoe of a few miserable savages in quest of a dram.

After describing the country on both sides of the river, he continues:

This is the country, and a view of the resources and present prospects has been hinted at and partially detailed. Upon this view, what is your opinion, my friend! What should I do here or how could I do? It is true there is no prospect of getting bread for my numerous family, but there is great reason to believe they would not long want food at such a place. I could have gotten the county clerkship, but the recorder and judge of probate's offices, Dixon, has determined to hold. The other two are not worth $50 per annum — no, not $30. I cannot possibly go there. The clerkship of Peoria is worth nothing; the place, at present, has no attraction for me.

As Gov. Edwards' term of office expired by law, he was subsequently reappointed in 1812, and again in 1815, and continued to fill the executive chair until the organization of the State Government. For nearly four years, in the early period of his administration, no Territorial Legislature existed. The laws were made and administered by the Governor and Judges. The Governor had power to authorize the formation of a Territorial Legislature whenever he judged the interests of the country required it; but, in accordance with those principles to which he was always devoted, he chose


to be guided by a deliberate expression of the will of the people. Accordingly, March, 1812, he issued a proclamation for an election to be held in the different settlements, to ascertain whether a majority were in favor of a Legislative Government. Such being the decision of the people, as expressed at the polls, he issued another proclamation, dated September 14, 1812, ordering an election to be held on the 8th, 9th and 10th of October, and authorized the people to choose one delegate to Congress, and members for the two houses of the Territorial Legislature; and, at the same time, made provision for the organization of Madison, Gallatin and Johnson counties. Two counties — St. Clair and Randolph — had been organized under the jurisdiction of the Northwestern Territory.

Here we ought to return and contemplate the situation of the Territory of Illinois at the period of his appointment as Governor. Its population, much divided by habits, and even by language and national peculiarities — untried in the art of government — numbering less than nine thousand souls, and these residing in a few French villages or scattered through a few feeble American settlements. The Indians occupied by far the greater portion of the Territory, greatly outnumbering the whites, and meditating hostilities on the whole line of frontier settlements. After putting the machinery of the new government into operation, his penetrating mind perceived the necessity of learning the numbers, strength, position, resources and intentions of the Indian tribes in the interior. Accordingly he employed, at different times, trusty persons of the French population, acquainted with the Indian character, languages and habits, and who could safely penetrate the Indian country and gain the desired information.

Thousands of the citizens of this now flourishing State, who have known and highly appreciated his services in more conspicuous stations of public life, have little knowledge, probably, of his unremitting vigilance, quick penetration of danger and timely application of means to prevent attack, during the period immediately preceding the war, and while the artful and talented chieftain, Tecumseh, was striving to effect a combination of all the tribes, from Canada to the Floridas, preparatory to an attack upon the frontier territories. For several years the correspondence of Gov. Edwards with the War Department, and other authorities, was voluminous, and does honor to his talents as a writer, his patriotism and his sagacity.

No one can read this correspondence, now on file in the office of the Secretary of State, without being convinced of his sleepless vigilance and his ardent devotion to the welfare of the people of that trying period. No father ever felt more acutely for the preservation of his children, when exposed to danger, than did Gov. Edwards for the safety of these frontiers.

In the year 1812, having, by the utmost vigilance and industry — for he was distinguished — penetrated the designs of the Indians, and


clearly foreseeing the imminent danger which threatened the Illinois Territory — finding it entirely abandoned to its fate, by the officer to whom its defense had been intrusted, and believing its overthrow inevitable without a vigorous effort to defend it — he determined, at the risk of his private fortune, (which would have been sacrificed had not his conduct; been approved by the General Government) to undertake its defense. Without any instructions to justify it, and, during the most important crisis, without any commission — his old one having expired and no new one having been received — he marched, at the head of a considerable body of volunteers raised by him for the special occasion, with whose assistance he successfully repelled the attacks of the savages and carried the war into their own country.

Mr. Lanman, in his Biographical Sketches, says that "before Congress had adopted any measures on the subject of volunteer rangers, he organized companies, supplied them with arms, built stockade forts, and established a line of posts from the mouth of the Missouri to the Wabash River. He was thus prepared for defense; and, during the Indian wars on the frontier, was most devoted to his country's service."

I need not repeat how much the success of these measures depended upon the fidelity, confidence and patriotism of the people. I only advert to it to show that the people regarded him as wise in planning and energetic in executing these measures for the protection of their families and defense of their country, and most cheerfully yielded him their united support. Nor does it comport with the present occasion for me to name those patriotic citizens that, with him, shared the hardships and responsibilities of that day of trial in subordinate posts of honor and authority.

While embodying and forming the citizens into the ranks of military service of defense, and while it was somewhat doubtful whether the measure would so far meet with the approbation of the General Government as to procure a remuneration of their expenses, the Commander-in-chief hesitated not to assure them that if the Government failed to provide for their services, no one should suffer while his own ample fortune could supply their necessities.

In the campaign of 1812, it became necessary to remove or disperse the hostile Indians from the regions of Mackinaw and Peoria. Aid was expected from Gen. Hopkins, who had marched from Kentucky with a considerable force of volunteers, and who was instructed to form a junction with the rangers and volunteers of Illinois, under the command of Gov. Edwards. Though Gen. Hopkins penetrated a considerable distance into the prairies west of the Wabash, he never arrived at the point of the contemplated attack. A boat loaded with provisions, fortified and manned with a small company, under the command of Capt. Craig, was dispatched up the river to wait at Peoria for the relief of the army.


All the U. S. rangers and mounted volunteers who could be spared for this enterprise were only about three hundred and fifty. After organizing at Camp Russell near where Edwardsville now stands, and each man furnishing himself with provisions for twenty or thirty days, which he carried on his horse, the Governor, with this small force, took up the line of his march through the prairies into the heart of the Indian country, one hundred and sixty miles distant. I have not time to recount the hardships and sufferings of this campaign. In one particular its object was defeated — in not meeting with Gen. Hopkins and his volunteers; but the bravery, skill and success on the part of the Illinois rangers and volunteers, under the guidance of their able commander, were not less conspicuous. They broke up the Indian towns on the Kickapoo, Mackinaw, and the bluffs near the head of Peoria Lake, destroyed their crops, killed a number, took some prisoners, and returned in safety with one man mortally and three others slightly wounded.

Gov. Edwards was faithfully devoted to his country's service in laborious and watchful days and pensive and sleepless nights. Was there danger in the field, he was the first to meet it; was there toil, hardship and anxiety, he was the first to feel it. The soldiers looked to him with reverence, confidence and respect, for he was their companion and friend. The rights of his fellow-citizens were sacred to him, and they loved and admired him as their protector.

The following letter to the Secretary of War contains an official account of the expedition to Peoria:


Secretary of War, Washington City

SIR: Of the perils to which this Territory has been exposed, during this year, I need add nothing to my former communication; but I beg leave to trouble you with a sketch of my military operations.

In the early part of the season, and until the month of August, my measures were entirely of a defensive and precautionary character — having kept a few companies of mounted riflemen ranging across the Territory in such a manner as to cover our frontier, their line of march being sometimes three and never less than one day's journey in advance of our settlements.

While this plan afforded the best practicable means of obtaining timely notice of the approach of a large body of Indians, I thought that small parties, from whom I apprehended at that time the most danger, seeing our line of ranging so far beyond the settlements, would naturally be afraid to cross it, lest their trail should be discovered and they be cut off. And as there were so many points in the Territory equally accessible to them, I preferred this disposition of my small force to that of collecting together at any one place; and my success has exceeded my most sanguine calculations — not having lost a single life, on as dangerous and exposed a frontier; as any in the United States.


In the latter part of August, being convinced that a large body of Indians intended to attack us, and Col. Russell, who had arrived only a short time before with one company of rangers, being called off with them to Vincennes, I immediately determined to collect and organize the most efficient force in my power, to take the command of it myself, and defend the Territory to the last extremity. Many circmustances induced me to believe that the meditated attack would be made on that part of our frontier which lies between the Mississippi and Kaskaskia Rivers — under which conviction (which subsequent events proved to be well founded) I established and supported several forts, at convenient distances on a line from one river to the other, and as near to the centre of that line as a due regard to other circumstances, which were entitled to weight, would admit of. I built a large strong fort, at which I collected my principal force — it being a point from which I could most conveniently aid or relieve every other part that might be attacked.

Whilst the small body of infantry I had in service were relied on for the defense of these forts, between four and five hundred mounted riflemen were kept almost constantly ranging in the country between us and the enemy. But scarcely were these measures put into operation, before I ascertained the very day on which the Indians proposed to assemble at Peoria for the purpose of coming down upon us, the route they intended to take, and the objects they had in view; and I collected together, with as much dispatch as possible, all my mounted men, with the intention of setting out on an expedition against them — so planned as to fall in their rear and surprise them, from which I did anticipate the most glorious result; and I am well convinced I would not have been disappointed, for they had taken such extraordinary precautions to prevent their intentions being discovered, that they themselves entertained no doubt that they had succeeded. But with every effort in my power to accomplish my object, I was forced most reluctantly to abandon it, merely because the contractor failed to supply the necessary rations.

It then became necessary to meet the danger in some other way; and calculating rather upon desultory attacks from the enemy, than a united one, I endeavored to have them opposed at every avenue through which they would be most likely to invade us — for which purpose I detached one company up the Illinois River, in a well fortified boat, armed with muskets, blunderbusses and swivel.

The mounted riflemen I sent out in separate detachments to different parts of the same river, with orders to keep up a constant communication with each other, and to act either separately or together, as circumstances might require.

All these detachments, except one, soon fell in with Indian trails, gave chase to the Indians for several days in succession, and would certainly have overtaken them, had they not been retarded by the heavy rains that fell about that time. Finally those Indians, after having stolen seven horses and wounded two men, in an unsuccessful attack they made on one of our forts, were completely repulsed, and returned about the last of September to their own villages. Of their number various accounts have been given. All, however, agree that it was considerable, and I am pursuaded that there is not one well informed man in this county who does not now believe that if timely preparations had not been made to resist them on the frontier that I occupied the consequences would have been melancholy and distressing. As the least of them had only a few families been killed, others would have removed, and terror would have pervaded and depopulated this Territory.

When I found that the Indians had retired from our frontier I began to prepare for an expedition against them, being fully convinced that I could so regulate it as to surprise them in their villages at the head of Peoria Lake. At this time I calculated on


no assistance or forces whatever, beyond what I had raised in the Territory; but after every preparation was made, and the day of our departure fixed on, I received a letter from Col. Russell, proposing to me an expedition somewhat similar, and promising to come on before the day I had appointed for marching. He accordingly arrived, with a part of two companies of rangers, consisting of fifty privates and their officers, and tendered me his services, which I gladly accepted by appointing him second in command — well knowing and duly appreciating his great experience in Indian warfare and his merits as a military officer.

Through him I also learnt that Gen. Hopkins was to march to Peoria with at least two thousand mounted volunteers, and would arrive at that place about the time I expected to be at the head of Peoria Lake.

In consequence of this latter information, as an addition to my original plan I sent one company of volunteers, with two boats, to Peoria — one of them being well fortified and the other carrying as much provisions as I could collect, and the necessary tools to enable Gen. Hopkins to build a fort at that place, provided he chose to do so, or, otherwise, to build it myself under cover of his army, whilst it was marching, as he proposed it should do, up the Illinois River.

On the 18th of October, having made arrangements for the defense of the frontier in my absence, and leaving a force which, under existing circumstances, I deemed adequate to that object, I commenced my march with about four hundred mounted volunteers. On our way we burnt two Kickapoo villages, on the saline fork of Sangamon River — till which time I had permitted it to be understood that I intended to march to Peoria and cross the Illinois at that place. But as my plan was entirely a different one, I then thought it advisable to call a council of officers and unfold to them my real views and intentions, in which, they all concurring, we marched with uncommon rapidity to a large village at the head of Peoria Lake, inhabited by Kickapoos and Miamies. It was situated at the foot of a hill, which terminates the low grounds of the Illinois River at that place and runs many miles parallel with it. In front of this village the bottom, which is three miles wide, is so flat, wet and marshy, as to be almost utterly impassable to man or horse. Unfortunately our guides, instead of leading us down the hill at the village, as I had expected, led us into the bottom about three-quarters of a mile below it, and thereby deranged a plan of attack which I had at first contemplated. As we approached the town the Indians were seen running out of it in considerable numbers, and for some time I thought they were forming to give us battle. With the centre of my little army I was marching in a direct course towards them, the right wing being ordered to gain their flank on the right of us, whilst the left was directed to cut off their retreat to the river. But in a short time I discovered them, some on horseback, others on foot, all running as fast they could in a course at right angles from that which I was pursuing, towards a point of woods in which I expected they intended to form. I immediately changed my course, ordered and lead on a general charge upon them, and would have succeeded in cutting off their retreat had it not been for the unsoundness of the ground over which we had to run. We, however, rushed upon them with such impetuosity that they were forced to scatter and take refuge in the swamp, in which those who were on horseback left their horses so completely mired that they could not move. A part was pursued through the swamp to the river, where several were killed and the town of Chequeneboc, (a Pottawottamie chief, who headed the party that came down to attack us,) together with all the provisions and other property it contained, was burnt. Another party was pursued into the swamp in a different direction; several were killed, but finally they rallied at


that point in such numbers that those who pursued them were forced to retreat. I then sent in a reinforcement, which induced the Indians entirely to give ground. The pursuit and fight over, we returned to the village, which, with a great quantity of provisions and other valuable Indian property, we burnt and otherwise destroyed. We brought off with us about eighty head of horses and four prisoners, having killed, according to the Indian accounts, frequently given, between twenty-four and thirty Indians, without the loss of a single man, and having only one wounded; which, in my opinion, was entirely owing to the charge that was made upon the enemy, as they were run so hard that when they attempted to form they were out of breath, and could not shoot with sufficient accuracy.

Not meeting with nor hearing from Hopkins, and knowing that my force was too weak and our horses too much fatigued to attempt anything further, I detached a party the next day to Peoria to leave directions for the Captain who commanded the boats to return, as speedily as possible. This party burnt another village that had been lately built within half a mile of Peoria, by the Miamies; and we all returned to my headquarters, at Camp Russell, after a tour of thirteen days only.

The conduct of both the men and officers under my command was highly honorable to themselves and useful to our country. They were uniformly obedient to my orders, appeared sincerely desirous of giving me every assistance in their power, and in the attack upon the Indians they displayed a gallantry and intrepidity that could not be surpassed.

You will clearly perceive, from the nature of my arrangements and plans of operation that they have been actively employed in the most arduous duties, and I hope they will soon receive the reward that is due to their services.

The boats did not return till the 15th inst., which has delayed this communication to this time.

I have the honor to be,
Very respectfully, sir,
Your most obedient servant,


Chapter IV.

Termination of the War with the Indians — Gov. Edwards' Speech to the Officers and Soldiers of the Army — Reply of the Army — Address of the Governor to the Legislature — Reply to his Message by the Legislature.

GOV. Edwards' address to the late detachment of militia from St. Clair county, Illinois Territory, on discharging them from service:

Gentlemen, Officers and Soldiers:
In discharging you from the military toils in which I have participated with you for more than two months past, I should do equal injustice to my own feelings and to your just deserts were I not to express to you the gratitude I feel for the services you have rendered and the assistance you have afforded me in defending this Territory against the extraordinary perils with which it has been threatened.

Fortified by a consciousness of having discharged my own duty and served my country with effect, and honored by repeated public and private declarations of confidence in me by those who have had the best opportunity of judging my conduct, I might bid defiance to all the silly tales, dastardly insinuations or wicked misrepresentations which folly, malice, ambition or interest have invented to injure me, or I might content myself with challenging the most scrutinizing and implacable personal or political enemy to point out a solitary case in which I have not forseen every emergency that has presented itself, and been prepared with the best means within my power to meet it.

This course I should probably adopt, were it not that the injuries meditated against me have been attended with the severest privations and sacrifices, on the part of the good people whose interest and safety have been confided to my care; but this being the case, I shall at some future and no distant period exhibit such a history of the transactions of this year (illustrated by a chart and geographical notes) as will prove that I have faithfully discharged my duty both to the General Government and to the people of the Territory, who will find that if any peculiar hardships have been imposed upon them, no blame whatever can attach to me.

Ignorant, indeed, must that man be of the geography, history and situation of this country, of the residence and number of savages, and of their habits, who can suppose that any part of the frontier has been in a more dangerous situation than ours.

The greatest body of Indians in America reside on the Mississippi, and the water courses that empty into it above St. Louis and Cahokia — thus having a facility of invading us by water, which all past experience and recent facts prove they uniformly prefer, for ease, safety and expedition.

Our thin and dispersed population, with the extent of our frontier, presented many points to the attack, to which those blood-thirsty savages were invited by the fair prospect they had of doing the greatest injury to us with the least possible danger to


themselves Besides, notwithstanding all the noise and bustle that was made about Indian depredations, in the course of last year, ours was the only frontier that was actually attacked. A knowledge of these facts rendered me indefatigable in my exertions to defend my fellow-citizens, and to explore every source of information that was accessible to me, for the purpose of ascertaining the disposition of the Indians towards us.

Upon some of you devolved the execution of all my defensive operations, and I reflect with peculiar pleasure that, whenever my plans have been explained, they have met the most unqualified approbation of those who had to execute them, that they uniformly inspired with confidence those who were most exposed to danger, and, above all, that they have been crowned with such success that not a life has yet been lost on as exposed a frontier as any that belongs to the United States.

My diligence in ascertaining the disposition of the Indians and the machinations of their allies, have not been less successful — as my communications to the government together with facts which have subsequently developed themselves, incontestably prove.

Ever since the battle of Tippecanoe I have uniformly maintained the opinion (probably with more zeal than discretion) that nothing short of the most vigorous offensive operations against the Indians could procure us peace with them. Hostility, engendered by British influence, had rallied them against us, and as our difficulties with England seemed to increase, I never could see any reasonable ground to hope that that influence would be withdrawn or that it would be less efficient than it had hitherto been — more especially as the savages constantly failed or refused to surrender a single murderer or to do any other act of justice that would argue their return to a friendly disposition towards us. And I feel sincere regret at finding that all my predictions on this subject have been completely fulfilled.

Many suggestions which I had the honor to make, no doubt, at the time were thought to be very visionary; but time has proved that they were well founded.

The intrigues of Dickson with the Sioux and Chippeways — the important fact that the British had sent immense quantities of Indian goods to Fort St. Joseph, by way of the Ottawa River, for the purpose of aiding those intrigues and of counteracting any bad consequences that might otherwise result to them from the loss of Maiden — the dispatches that were sent by Innis of Ambersburg to Dickson. informing him of the intention of the British to capture Mackinac, and the contemplated attack on Chicago — were all communicated by me.

At length I obtained and transmitted to the War Department, documents which proved the existence not only of a most formidable hostile confederacy, but the very points which it proposed to attack. Copies of them were forwarded to the Governor of Kentucky, whose opinion upon them, as well as that of Governors Howard and Harrison, perfectly corresponded with my own, as their letters to me will show.

These documents completely proved the danger with which our part of the frontier was threatened; they were duly appreciated by the Hon. Secretary of War, who expressly (predicating his instructions upon the information I had communicated) directed Gov. Harrison and myself to confer with each other, empowered us to call upon the Governor of Kentucky for assistance, and instructed him to furnish it.

In pursuance of the authority given me, I lost not a moment in asking the Governor of Kentucky for a regiment of infantry. It was promptly promised me by Gov. Scott. The promise was renewed by his successor, Gov. Shelby. The newspapers of Kentucky announced that a regiment had been sent to my aid. Gov. Harrison, who happened


to be at Frankfort about that time, requested also that it should be sent, and in subsequent letters, which have been published, he renewed the same with an additional requisition. But what has been the result? Not a man has yet arrived. And at a time when we had most cause to apprehend danger, even Col. Russell, who was here with about fifty Kentucky rangers, under the authority given him by the President was called off with them to Vincennes, leaving us to shift for ourselves, without the aid of a single man who had not been raised in the Territory, whilst a force consisting of thousands was accumulating in Indiana Territory, which has double our population, and which certainly (to say the least that could be expected) was not in greater danger, whilst its proximity to Kentucky furnished a facility for obtaining aid upon any sudden emergency, which, from the remoteness of our situation, was unattainable by us.

Upon these facts I wish to make no comments — my object being more to free myself from blame than to fix it upon any other person. Any ecclairecissements that may be due to the government, to the public or to the gentlemen interested, I leave wholly to themselves.

I must, however, acknowledge that the reliance I placed in the promises of assistance that were made me, was very near proving destructive to the Territory, by throwing me off of my guard and preventing me from calling into service and organizing such a force as was found indispensably necessary to repel the hostile invasion, which shortly thereafter actually took place.

On the receipt of Col. Russell's letter, announcing to me his orders to repair to Vincennes, I instantly determined to call out one-half of the militia and put myself at their head. I had every difficulty to encounter. Without a cent of money to pay the militia for their services last year or for months of past services in the present year, or for any future services, and without a sufficiency of arms, ammunition or other munitions of war, your patriotism, however, seconded my exertions, freed me from the necessity of an extensive draft, and enabled me, in a very short period, to organize the force to which this country is indebted for its salvation.

It was about the first of September that I took the field with you. You will remember that I then informed you that in the light of that moon a furious attempt would be made to invade our northern frontier — that I endeavored to stimulate you to exert yourselves to make the necessary preparations to resist it; and everything happened precisely as I had predicted. Nothing, I believe, was omitted, on my part, which it was possible for me to do.

For some time previous to the invasion, the Indians had made use of every precaution to prevent their intentions being discovered. Notwithstanding which, I knew the very day they assembled at Peoria for the purpose of coming down upon us, and you know that I planned an expedition to fall in their rear, which would have been successfully executed had I not been (much to my mortification) greatly disappointed by the contractor, who failed to furnish the necessary rations.

We have, however, great cause to acknowledge the goodness of Heaven and to felicitate ourselves upon the events that have taken place.

Your bravery has enabled me to repel hostile invasion and to wage war upon the enemy in their own country, with as much success and effect as has ever been accomplished by the same numbers since the first settlements of the Western country.

Your intrepidity and patriotism have been equally honorable to yourselves and useful to your country, and should events render it necessary for me again to take command, I sincerely pray that I may again have your aid.


Gentlemen, for the partiality and personal attachment which the whole of you, (without an exception to my knowledge,) have manifested towards me — for your public as well as private professions of confidence in me — for the unexampled harmony and good order that has been observed — I beg you to accept the sincerest thanks of a grateful heart, and in returning to the bosom of your families, to recollect that you carry with you my most unfeigned wishes for your happiness and prosperity.

November 10, 1812.

The following is the reply of the officers of the militia to Gov. Edwards' address:


To His Excellency, GOVERNOR EDWARDS:
SIR — Our opinion as to the danger our Territory has been exposed to is exactly like yours, and we are free to declare that in our estimation you have greatly increased your claims upon the gratitude of the country for the wise measures which you adopted for our relief. We have witnessed your having anticipated and disappointed the views of our enemies. We have always found you well informed concerning them, and, as the danger increased, we were happy to see you disregarding the hardships of camp life and forsaking a comfortable home, ready at the post of greatest danger to place yourself at our head. We have seen you undergo the fatigues of a successful expedition into the Indian country. We have witnessed your coolness, deliberation and promptitude in the hour of peril, and should we again be called into service, we shall be as happy to be commanded by you as yon will be to command us. We sincerely believe that it is owing to the measures which you put into operation that this country has not been deserted and desolated. These are facts recorded in the hearts of your fellow-citizens, which speak for themselves, and which must render harmless all misrepresentations of your enemies — if you have any. The sacrifices of the brave men whom you have commanded have been great. Some of them have been in service since last spring; none of them have received any pay, and many of them, we well know, are in great want of it. We hope no exertion in your power will be wanting to procure them just compensation, and we think that you might, with propriety, urge the distinguished services which they have lately performed as an inducement to pay them as soon as possible. We take the liberty of soliciting your approbation to the publication of your address this day, to us, together with this answer, and we offer you our best wishes for your success and prosperity through life.

Signed in behalf of the officers, at their request, by
LT. C. C. I. M.,

It appears from a letter which Gov. Edwards received from Gov. Shelby, dated March 2, 1812, that the latter expressed his conviction that the troops ordered from Kentucky "had been prevented from reaching the Territory by dishonorable steps." But the dangers, difficulties and embarrassments resulting from this disappointment were averted by the infatigable exertion of Gov. Edwards. Gov. Shelby says, in this letter, that Gov. Edwards is entitled to the honor of having planned and the glory of executing so successfully this expedition to Peoria.


Gov. Edwards, in alluding to this expedition in a letter to Gov. Shelby, dated December 20, 1812, says that "some attempts have been made to deprive me of the honor which you say my exertions entitle me to, by giving to Gen. Hopkins the credit of planning it, and to Col. Russell the glory of executing it. Although I cannot feel indifferent to the injustice done me, nothing can provoke me to withhold from Col. Russell the just tribute of applause to which his conduct, under my own view, has entitled him. I acknowledge myself indebted to him for many and great obligations. To me his assistance was important. Distinguished as he is for his bravery and wood conduct, nothing that I can say can add new lustre to his reputation, and one of the first wishes of my heart is that his country may appreciate his merits as highly as I do, because I am sure it would, at the same time, eventuate in advantage to the public and do justice to an individual.

"It is, however, a duty which I owe to myself, to declare most explicitly, that my expedition was planned by myself; that it originally depended, in no respect, upon Gen. Hopkins or Col. Russell; that I had prepared for it and had appointed a day for marching, previous to my hearing from either of them.

"Disappointed in all the assistance that had been promised me, menaced by formidable combinations of Indians, and seeing no measures adopted which were calculated to afford security to the frontier, I felt the necessity of turning out as Commander-in-Chief of my own militia, nearly one-third of whom became volunteers under me; and after having encountered the greatest difficulties, and having successfully defended the Territory under such circumstances, it was hardly to be presumed that I would have relinquished the command of my own volunteers to any one.

"I knew my legitimate powers as Governor of the Territory, and I determined to maintain them, so far as related to my own militia, at all hazards, as the means of affording that protection to my fellow-citizens which they had a right to expect from me, and for which they looked in vain elsewhere. I have not disappointed their expectations; and I feel amply rewarded by the testimonies of approbation with which I have been honored by the people and the Legislature of this Territory, and by the brave officers and soldiers whom I lately commanded, which, added to a consciousness of having discharged my duty and a conviction that facts cannot always be perverted, renders me fearless of all attempts to do me injustice."

This correspondence was published in the St. Louis Gazette, and other papers, immediately after the expedition had returned; and had there been any truth in the reports that it had been either planned by Gen. Hopkins or executed by Col. Russell, the published correspondence, in which Gov. Edwards claims to himself the exclusive credit, would have been answered.


Again, it appears, from Gov. Edwards' official report of this expedition, to the Secretary of War, that on Col. Russell's arriving at the camp, a few days previous to their march, with about fifty men under his command, Gov. Edwards accepted their services and appointed the Colonel second in command.


Fellow-Citizens of the Legislative Council, and of the House of Representatives:
The communications of the plenipotentiaries of the United States, charged with negotiating peace with Great Britain, which have been recently communicated by the President to Congress, by declaring the conditions upon which alone our enemy is disposed to put an end to the existing hostilities, evince the insincerity of those declarations which accompanied his invitation to treat at Gottenburg, account for the motives which, on his part, so long delayed a meeting of the negotiators, and leave us no other ground to hope for a speedy return to the blessings of peace but by the employment of the utmost resources of the nation in a vigorous prosecution of the war. Infatuated by his success in Europe, forgetful of the mutability of all human things, and yielding to his jealousy of our growing commercial prosperity, to his thirst of universal monopoly and to his unprincipled ambition, which have equally distinguished him in peace and in war, the enemy has not only openly and officially avowed but has particularly demonstrated his disregard of the laws and usages of civilized warfare; and whilst he stands disgraced, and must eventually be execrated by the civilized world for this gothic and vandalic destruction of the public edifices at the city of Washington, and his wanton robberies and devastation of private property on the Atlantic waters, he has unblushingly acknowledged his alliance and identified himself with those ruthless savages whose maraudings and indiscriminate slaughters of men, women and children, both before and since the declaration of war, have been so often repeated and so severely felt and deeply deplored on the frontiers of our unfortunate territories.

Mortified that the charm of his invincibility on the ocean has been dissolved, by the superior skill and bravery of our valiant naval heroes, and calculating highly upon the immense disposable force which the late unparalleled events in Europe have placed at his command, he seeks a base, unmanly revenge; hopes to regain his lost fame, and by his barbarous warfare to spread universal dismay and terror throughout our land; dreams of naught but victories, and, assuming the tone of a conquerer arrogantly demands a surrender to himself of part of the State of Massachusetts, a considerable portion of our Northwestern frontier, a stipulation on the part of the American Government not to maintain or construct any fortification within a limited distance of the shores of any of the lakes, from Ontario to Superior, both inclusive, nor to maintain or control any armed vessels upon those lakes, nor in the rivers which empty themselves into the same; and for his Indian allies in consideration of their meritorious services in plundering our property, conflagrating our habitations, massacring our prisoners, and with inexorable ferocity murdering and mangling the bodies of peaceable citizens, innocent infants and helpless females, as a sine qua non of any treaty, that they shall be included in the pacification, and that, as incident thereto, the boundaries of their territories should be permanently established and its integrity guaranteed — proposing, as the basis of such boundary, the lines of the Greenville treaty, which would include in the proposed cession the whole of this Territory, a few spots only excepted, a great portion of other lands for which we have paid the Indians a valuable consideration, and a large extent of territory


besides, which, in the treaty of 1803, he himself solemnly acknowledged to be a part of the United States, thus evidently manifesting his intention to monopolize the fur trade, to increase his influence with the savages, to perpetuate his disgraceful alliances, and to secure to himself additional facilities of annoying and desolating our frontier at his pleasure, whilst he seeks to protect himself against the consequences of his ambitious views and nefarious conduct, by interposing an extensive barrier between our Western settlements and his American provinces, and by obtaining the right to erect and maintain naval and military establishments on and near to the lines which he proposes shall separate them.

Conduct like this, to which history scarcely furnishes a parallel since the eruption of the northern hive of barbarians into the Roman empire — presumptuous and arrogant, overlooking the old and introducing new subjects of controversy — demanding the most important and unprecedented concessions, instead of tendering reparation for the wrongs and injustice which forced our Government into the declaration of war against him — prove the fallacy of all calculations upon his justice, moderation and magnanimity; portray in the strongest colors the most implacable hostility towards us, and unfold his ambitious views against the prosperity and independence of our country.

Such circumstances appeal loudly to the pride and patriotism of every true American. They admonish us to abstain from all party disputes among ourselves, and will doubtless unite and animate the whole American people (who proudly identify themselves with the Government of their choice) in courageous and patriotic efforts to resist the relentless tyrant who seeks to overwhelm us; for it cannot be imagined that the sons of America are yet so degenerate as not only to be willing to submit to the wrongs and oppressions which were practised upon us by Great Britain, previous to the war, but also to reward both her and her savage allies for their subsequent shocking and disgraceful barbarities by yielding to the humiliating concessions that are demanded of us, and thereby offering inducements to the future repetition of similar enormities.

Great and powerful as the enemy is, he will find obstacles and difficulties in carrying on the war at such a distance from Europe, against a people determined to be free and to maintain the honor and independence of their country, which, notwithstanding the lessons of experience that he might have derived from our glorious Revolution, his inflated vanity has not permitted him to anticipate. No doubt, from the nature of his demands and the tone he has assumed, he flattered himself that, with the immense armaments which he has detached to our coast, and the armies he organized on our frontier, he would be able in a single campaign to reduce us to unconditional submission; but, so far, he has been most mortifyingly disappointed, without anything to console him or to remunerate him for his vast expenditure, but success in the honorable employment of stealing negroes, plundering and devastating private property, ruining individuals, robbing Alexandria, and destroying, at the city of Washington, models of taste and monuments of art which are held sacred and are protected by all civilized nations. On the other hand, while our success in the South and at Baltimore have been equally glorious to us and disgraceful to him, the brilliant achievements of our arms on the Niagara frontier, at Plattsburg, and on Lake Champlain, begin to develop our resources for war, demonstrate the superiority of freemen, fighting for their just rights, over the boasted mercenary legions of Lord Wellington, and, with the increasing unanimity of our fellow-citizens, afford us a happy presage of our future victories, which, with the blessing of the Divine Being, who has hitherto so signally protected us, will produce the total discomfiture


of the enemy and his final expulsion from the American continent, or reduce him to the necessity of tendering peace upon just and honorable terms.

With regard to our relations with the Indians, and the consequences that were expected to flow from them, much diversity of opinion has heretofore unfortunately prevailed. Mine has, however, on former occasions, been freely and unreservedly communicated to you and the public, and the bloody scenes which some of you have lately witnessed, and the rest have heard of, afford lasting and mournful evidences of its general correctness, and have, I believe, resulted in a universal conviction that nothing less than the most energetic and efficient exertions on our part can maintain the tranquillity and safety of our frontier.

Incapable of properly appreciating the liberal and philanthrophic views of our Government in regard to them, and influenced by the traditionary accounts among themselves of our having expelled their forefathers from their favorite abodes, the savages possess an hereditary hatred of us, which, with the intrigues and machinations of British agents, and their own jealousies and inquietude, arising from our increasing population and the constant approximation of our settlements to their villages and hunting grounds, so predisposes them to war with us, as to render it easier at all times, when they can be flattered with the least prospect of success, to engage them in alliances and open hostilities against us, from which nothing hitherto has or hereafter can restrain them, as every man who possesses any practical knowledge of them well knows, but the powerful influence of fear alone. Instead, therefore, of confiding in professions on their part, which have so uniformly been insincere and perfidious, or relying upon temporizing expedients that have hitherto proved to be fallacious and inefficient, we ought to indulge in no calculations of peace with them, except such as are predicated upon the degree of fear with which our measures may be calculated to inspire them, and these, to succeed, ought to be such as to be produce an immediate and direct and not merely consequential and future pressure upon them. As to the future and remote consequences, they either do not think of them at all, or always hope to elude them. It is indeed greatly to be feared that we shall not shortly realize the sanguine hopes that have been entertained of reducing them to submission by cutting off their intercourse with the British.

This plan has been pursued ever since the commencement of the war. Partial, but important, interruptions of that intercourse have certainly been produced, and yet we have found the hostile confederacy constantly increasing, and no one now doubts that it is greater and more formidable than it has been at any former period.

Although custom and habit have rendered the British trade a convenience to some of the savages, many of them who are now arrayed against us have but partially enjoyed it, and none of them are so absolutely dependent upon it as we are apt to imagine — of which we have full proof in the wretched independence of some of the more Western tribes; and, in the recent instances of our present Miami prisoners, who, though long accustomed to such trade, have, nevertheless, existed for the last two years without it, living in the meantime upon the beasts of the forest and clothing themselves and their families with their skins.

Like other nations in a state of barbarism their real wants are few and simple; and to supply these and at the same time to wage war, nothing is indispensably necessary to them but ammunition and arms. Of the former they want powder only, having themselves inexhaustable stores of lead, and in the last three years the enemy has supplied them with a very considerable number of the latter. Admitting, however, the ultimate practicability of succeeding in destroying the intercourse


that has been mentioned, still we could not hope for any immediate advantages from it, for the enemy must have been destitute of foresight or regardless of precaution, and the most positive information supported by much concurrent testimony cannot have the shadow of truth to support it, if, to provide against such an event, he has not accumulated, at points convenient for distribution, supplies abundantly sufficient to last his allies for a considerable time yet to come. His means of doing so have been ample, for, independent of other channels that have been accessible to him, the communication by way of Grand River has constantly remained uninterrupted; and, although you have seen the impracticability of the navigation of that river announced, in a late official communication, yet we know, and the history of the fur trade will prove, that, for mere commercial purposes only, it has long been annually frequented, and that immense quantities of goods have been and continue to be transported through that very channel.

But, supposing the British actually deprived of the means of furnishing future supplies, and their present stock exhausted — we are not now and cannot shortly be prepared to substitute with any of our own, and consequently have neither the means of conciliating nor any inducements to offer the Indians, sufficient to prevail over the double motives of hatred to us and partiality to our enemy: whilst the emissaries of the latter, by their exclusive associations with them, would be able to alleviate any particular pressure upon them by inspiring them with the hopes that its duration would be of short continuance, and at all events could easily satisfy them that they would have nothing better to hope for by shifting sides and uniting with us.

It is, however, very doubtful whether anything, short of the complete conquest of the Canadas, can enable us to prevent the intercourse between those Provinces and the Indians. We may, indeed, subject it to inconvenience by closing up some of their ordinary commercial avenues; but on a frontier of such vast extent, and through the uninhabited regions contiguous thereto, there are a variety of other channels of communication, which, though it might be unprofitable to pursue them in a time of peace, do nevertheless furnish sufficient facilities of transportation for the purposes of war, and that, too, without subjecting it to greater increase of difficulties and expense than we ourselves, on some occasions, had to encounter. And knowing, as we do, the obstacles which the British surmount, in time of peace, in sending their goods between three and four thousand miles into the northwestern parts of America, through numerous lakes and rivers, intercepted by more than two hundred rapids and one hundred and thirty additional portages, along which both the goods and canoes have to be carried on men's backs, and knowing, also, that ever since the commencement of the war goods have been packed on horses from Montreal to the southern parts of Lake Michigan, we ought to begin to profit by the errors of our past calculations, and should not rely too certainly upon the inability of the enemy to furnish the few articles which of themselves are sufficient to enable him to retain his influence with and command the services of the savages. For even if we could succeed in totally obstructing his communication with them from Canada, it is an incontrovertible fact that goods can be furnished them on the Mississippi, from Hudson's Bay, by way of the Red River of Lake Winnepeg, with less expense and greater facility than they have hitherto been carried from Montreal to many parts of the Northwest. And if there be any reality in the supposed alliance, or any intended concert of operation between the enemy and the Spanish North American provinces, it will doubtless greatly enlarge the sphere of his influence and increase his means of preserving it. Seeing how tenacious of the interests of his allies he has appeared to be, in the sine qua non


which he tendered to our Commissioners at Ghent, we cannot reasonably doubt that he will avail himself of all possible means of commanding their further assistance; and the recent disasters on our own particular frontier are most unhappily but too well calculated to give success to his efforts.

The frequent and unpunished incursions of the Indians, which have been too successful in spreading death and desolation in their train; the defeat of our forces and the surrender of the fort at Prairie du Chien; two subsequent successive repulses at Rock River; the late extraordinary evacuation and destruction, by our own troops, of Fort Johnson, and the total abandonment of the respectable settlements of Shoal and Sugar Creeks, leaving property to a great amount in the power of the savages are events which betray our weakness and can hardly fail to invigorate their hopes and invite their future enterprises; while the accounts they will receive of the causes of the rupture of our negotiations for peace will tend equally to increase their hostilities to us and to strengthen their confidence in their ally. Many of them have lately taken off the mask, which has been too successful in paralyzing the energies of our government and in postponing the punishment due to their perfidy and atrocities; and I hazard nothing in saying, that, from their proximity to us, thousands of them could reach St. Louis or Cahokia from their own homes in five or six days.

Under these inauspicious circumstances, and having lost the services of a very valuable officer, by his untimely death, it is very fortunate for the territories that their future defense is confided to the gallant Col. Russell, who, schooled in our Revolution, being one of the distinguished heroes of King's Mountain, and having probably seen more Indian fighting than any officer now in America, possesses all the ardor and enterprise, corrected by the experience of age, and, with his knowledge of the geography of the Indian country, needs only the aid of a competent force to act with energy and efficiency; and indeed, disastrous as I think must be the final issue of relying on the protracted measures of mere defense — producing an annual expenditure to a great amount, without gaining an inch of ground or a single advantage of the enemy — I nevertheless have no doubt that with a well appointed force of 2,000 infantry, a proper proportion of artillery, and 1,000 mounted riflemen, the war upon our frontier, and with it the necessity of any further disbursements on our account, could be terminated in three months. And as there fortunately happens to be no contrariety of opinion to prevent or retard the adoption of such a measure (all those with the best means of information concurring, now, in the absolute necessity for it), it is to be hoped a change so advisable with a view to public economy, and which would at the same time so happily conduce to the safety and prosperity of these exposed territories, will not long be delayed.

In the meantime, every dictate of prudence recommends the amendment of our militia system, so as to render it better adapted to the present conjuncture, to free it from unnecessary delays in its operation, and to secure, by more certain and adequate punishments, prompt obedience to such requisitions as emergencies may from time to time require. Although this Territory has exhibited examples of patriotism that have rarely been equaled and never surpassed — having, in the last five years, brought into service a body of volunteers nearly equal in number to one-half of the aggregate amount of its militia, and this year having tendered a number considerably exceeding that proportion — yet, there are individuals who, regardless of their obligation to participate with their fellow-citizens in the necessary defense of their country, have constantly failed and refused to perform any duty whatever, and whose obedience the existing laws have been found inadequate to command. And as all men under similar


circumstances, who receive equal protection from Government, owe to it the same obligations, and upon the vital principles of equality are bound to the performance of similar duties, the laws which with us are designed to govern all should be as competent to enforce the obedience of the perverse and refractory as that of dutiful and virtuous citizens. And to add to their efficiency in the cases alluded to, by insuring their speedy and prompt execution, it would be advisable to provide that whenever a draft shall be ordered in any regiment, a court martial shall be convened therein, with power to hear and determine upon all excuses for exemption from service and to inflict, in cases of delinquency, the fines prescribed by law — which it seems just and reasonable should be sufficient at least to obtain the services of a substitute for him who, without reasonable excuse, shall have failed or refused to perform his term of duty.

It may, however, be expedient (making proper exceptions in favor of those conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms) to subject any person whose services shall be required, and who shall have legal notice thereof, to the same coercion and penalties, in every respect whatever, as if he had been actually mustered into service, unless he shall in due time furnish a substitute, or be able to procure a certificate from such a court martial as I have mentioned that he has exhibited an excuse deemed sufficient for his exemption.

Instructed, from their infancy, in the most artful means of inflicting the greatest injury upon their enemy with the least possible danger to themselves, and regardless of the shame of a retreat, the savages usually make their incursions so suddenly, and conduct them with such secrecy and caution, as to be able to surprise and ravage our settlements or murder our fellow-citizens before we are notified of their approach — after which they retreat with such celerity as generally to escape with impunity. I, therefore, feel it my duty to recommend the temporary organization, in each regiment, of a corps of mounted riflemen, as the only species of force calculated to afford protection against those desultory attacks of which the savages are so fond, and from which our extensive frontier, detached settlements and numerous vulnerable points are greatly exposed.

In consequence of the effects resulting from opening the Land Office of the United States in this Territory, a revision of our revenue laws has become necessary, and it is to be hoped that you will be able to devise a more just and equal system of taxation and to lessen the public burden upon our fellow-citizens, to which the pressure of the war upon and the peculiar difficulties to which it has subjected them offer the most powerful inducements.

I cannot, however, refrain from expressing my decided opinion that the salary of $100, allowed the Attorney General, at the last session of the Legislature, for attending to important duties required of him throughout the whole Territory and in the courts of every county therein, is not only insufficient but is not proportionate to allowances for other purposes. Experience evinces that much of the good effects to be expected from our penal laws depends upon the talents and integrity of our Prosecuting Attorney. The compensation, therefore, ought to be such as, under all circumstances, would be deemed reasonably sufficient to command the services of one who is not only willing but able to perform, with advantage to the public, the duties of that station. The gentleman who has for some time past discharged these duties, with equal zeal and ability, in the early part of the year resigned his commission, in consequence of the inadequacy of the compensation, but was prevailed upon to reaccept it, under the expectation that the Legislature might bestow on the subject that reconsideration which I have felt it my duty to invite.


Other subjects, on which, owing to my long continued and existing ill-health, I have not heretofore been able to bestow the necessary attention, must be reserved for future special recommendation. In the meantime I beg leave to assure you of my readiness to afford you every facility to the discharge of your duties, and of my sincere desire to cooperate cordially with you in all measures calculated to promote the public good.



KASKASKIA, Dec. 2, 1812.

To His Excellency NINIAN EDWARDS:
SIR — The House of Representatives, being much gratified with the communication which you have made, would disguise their feelings and do injustice to those of their constituents, were they not to express their approbation of the measures you have pursued to protect our frontiers and secure to us the advantages which nature evidently designed for us.

This protection, secured by your means, announces to us the interest which the General Government takes in our welfare. It commands our attachment to the present administration, while we are fully penetrated with the conviction that the most beneficial results have been produced by the instrumentality of a public servant who, we believe, has been influenced by a desire to promote the public welfare and happiness. The objects that he has recommended shall engage our earliest attention. We wish you may long continue to enjoy the confidence of your country, and with it health and happiness.

The above address, being engrossed, was read a second time, and unanimously concurred in and signed by the Speaker; and it was therefore ordered that Messrs. Jones and Short be appointed to carry said address and present it to the Governor.


Chapter V.

Message of Gov. Edwards in reference to the Territorial Judiciary System.

The Legislature, at its session of 1814, passed "An act to establish a Supreme Court for Illinois Territory," which, in many material points, changed the judiciary system adopted upon the organization of the Territory. Much discussion arose as to the power of the Legislature, under the ordinance, to pass the act, and strong doubts were expressed, in high quarters, as to its validity. The Judges of the Territory were requested by the Legislature to state their opinion, in writing, on the merits of the new law, and they took emphatic ground against it. They argued, that, as the United States Government, in pursuance of the terms of the ordinance, had established a general court, and had reserved the right of appointing judges to conduct it, that the Territorial Legislature, which is an inferior authority, had no power to change or modify it. They said, "it would have been futile in Congress to establish a court, leaving the power in other hands to establish a tribunal superior to it, which would be to annul it;" that "the court established by the ordinance cannot be subject to the revision or control of any tribunal established by the Territorial Legislature; and an appeal from the same court to the same is a solecism which we do not suppose to be the intention of this bill." "Neither," said the judges, "are we prepared to admit that the general court can be so localized as to be reduced entirely to a county, though supreme within the county." That "it was a question, whether a court can exercise a part of its jurisdiction and forbear the rest, according to circumstances, and as a regard to public convenience and the due administration of the law might require." The Judges went on to argue the invalidity of the law at considerable length. Their argument was signed by Judges J. B. Thomas and William Sprigg. Judge Griswold was absent, and did not attach his name to their opinion.

In reply to their objections, Gov. Edwards, by request of the Legislature, prepared an answer, which was also submitted and spread at large upon the journals. It notices, fully, the arguments adduced by the Judges, and is as follows:



Fellow- Citizens of the Legislative Council and House of Representatives:
On Wednesday last, I received, for my approbation and signature, a bill, entitled "An act establishing a Supreme Court for Illinois Territory." On the succeeding Saturday evening, a joint committee from your honorable body presented a letter from the honorable Judges Thomas and Sprigg, addressed to the Legislature of Illinois, and at the same time a joint resolution of your two houses, among other things requesting my opinion, in writing, upon the objections to the passage of the aforesaid bill contained in said letter.

Although I had long known, from the presentments of grand juries, composed of some of the most respectable persons in our country, and from a variety of other sources, that a change in the judiciary system, by abolishing the Court of Common Pleas and transferring their duties to the Supreme Judges, had been determined upon by the people, and although I had, immediately after the commencement of your session, ascertained your determination to carry some such plan into execution, yet I can most truly declare that on no occasion have I attempted to influence a solitary individual to such a determination; and never, until I have been informed by the members of your honorable body that Judges Thomas and Sprigg were willing to execute such a law as the present bill contemplates, had I the least agency in it whatever.

I am not, however, insensible of the weight of responsibility which this case, under all its circumstances, seems to be likely to devolve upon me, as a component part of the Legislature and Executive. As the case really appears to be, I shall not hesitate to comply with your request, in which, while I must use the freedom necessary to investigation, I hope to observe all the decorum and respect which is so justly due to the occasion, and sincerely do I regret that my indisposition renders me so illy qualified to do justice to the subject.

The language of the Judges in the conclusion of their address, their acknowledgment of the independence of the three coordinate departments of this government, and the inference thence deduced that each ought to confine itself within the proper sphere of its legitimate authority, would warrant me in concluding, if, indeed, their words were not otherwise sufficiently explicit, that their objections to the passage of the bill in question are predicated on the want of power only in the Legislature; and in that point of view I shall proceed to consider them.

In their first objection, they state that "if this were merely a bill to change the style of the general court, we should deem it objectionable in principle and inconvenient in practice." But to me it is inconceivable how a change merely nominal, and in no wise substantive, could be supposed to violate principle. The appellation of a court may sometimes be very absurd, but it can never add to nor diminish the powers with which it is invested. In some of the States, courts, organized like some of your courts of common pleas, and possessing similar jurisdiction, are called quarter sessions, county courts, or circuit courts; and if you, believing one of the latter appellations to be more appropriate, were to adopt it, instead of the present style of the court of common pleas, without further alteration, it would certainly be no more objectionable on principle, according to my comprehension of the terms, than if you were to call a son "John" in preference to "Thomas."

Declaring, however, as the Judges do, "that the ordinance, the laws of Congress and their commissions point out the court that is to be constituted by them," their


objection to the style given by the present bill seems to be the more extraordinary and unsubstantial, since it is evidently more conformable to those authorities than any others, and is in no respect inconsistent with any exposition that has ever been given to either — inasmuch as the ordinance and their commissions are silent as to any epithet of distinction, while the law of Congress explicitly terms them "Supreme Judges," and the laws of the Northwestern Territory of Indiana and of this Territory all concur in defining the court of which their honors speak to be a "Supreme Court," thereby rendering any additional style superfluous, or at least unnecessary.

Speaking of their court as established by a higher authority than that of our Legislature, they say that it has always borne the style of the "General Court." A correction of this error, or explanation of this statement, would not be deemed necessary, but for the purpose of showing the real origin of the style of which they appear so tenacious, and the authority by which it was created. It certainly derived its existence only from a law of the Northwestern Territory; and I believe the doctrine that one Legislature can assume such omnipotent power as to endow a subsequent one with equal authority, in such cases as the present, if it ever existed, has long since exploded. No such question can, however, arise in this case, because a law of Congress, amendatory to the ordinance, vested the Governor and Judges with a power of repealing any of the laws which they had adopted; and the ordinance expressly declares that after the organization of the General Assembly within the Territory, "the Legislature shall have authority to alter the laws adopted by the Governor and Judges, as they shall think fit." There cannot, therefore, be any doubt but the Governor and the Judges had the right to repeal the law alluded to, or that the Legislature that succeeded them had authority to alter or modify it; and if the law itself had been repealed, I presume it will not be conceived that the style of the court, which was wholly dependent upon it, would not have ceased to exist.

If then, the powers of this Legislature are not inferior to those of that which existed in the Northwestern Territory, can there be a doubt of your power to repeal any of your laws? And if you were to repeal all the laws in relation to the general court, what, then, would be the style of that court which their honors say has been established by a higher authority than this Legislature?

Their next objections are, that the bill contemplates two grades of courts, and that the supreme court cannot be localized to counties, though supreme therein. In support of these objections, great reliance seems to be placed on the ordinance, which they say has established the court of which they are members; and although they allow it is defective and not sufficiently minute in its details, yet they say it has received, on certain points, a "practical construction, which we are not disposed to innovate ourselves nor to sanction those innovations which cannot be reconciled with either the received or true construction of that instrument." And as they also declare they consider the bill in question eminently calculated to introduce into the Territory a state of confusion and anarchy, it seems to be important to show (if it can be done) that those fatal consequences, so much to be deprecated, will result more from an innovation on the practical exposition that has, on certain points, been given to the ordinance, and a departure from it hitherto received a worse construction, on the part of the Judges, than from any such act or disposition on the part of the Legislature.

This I shall attempt to show by a brief review of some of the leading features of the bill in question, and by a reference to the ordinance and to the practice under it.


The present bill was certainly planned in a spirit of conciliation, and with a view to render the duties assigned to the Judges as light and as little oppressive as possible — contemplating that each of them should have a circuit of two counties only, in each of which he should hold two courts in the year; and that, for the purpose of revising or correcting any erroneous decision that might take place, that they or a majority of them should attend at the seat of government, as they are now required by law to do. But, being aware that some objections might be made to the different grades of courts, and believing that the same court might be required to hold its sessions at different times and places, they have put it in the power of the Judges to act as though it were one court, only, by all acting together, or to divide the duties among themselves and to act separately — either of which, it appears from the words of the bill, would meet the wishes and fulfill the intentions of the Legislature. But, considered in either point of view, it seems to be thought by them a violation of the ordinance — the words of which, as far as they are applicable to the case, are that "there shall be appointed a court, to consist of three judges, who shall have a common law jurisdiction," but how, when or where that jurisdiction is to be exercised is not pointed out, and therefore it is subject to the modification and direction of the Territorial Legislature. If this were not the ease, and the clause above recited were to be construed according to the nice technical rules of law, it would, from there being no limitation prescribed, oblige the Judges to take cognizance of all cases at common law, however inconsiderable the amount, and it would follow that no other tribunal could be constituted by you with concurrent jurisdiction in any of those cases, for it is a well established maxim in law that "selectio unius est exclusio alterius."

It is, however, evident to me that Congress intended merely to appoint and pay the Judges, leaving it to the Territorial tribunal to adopt or form such a judiciary system as they might conceive to be most conducive to the public good. For if Congress had intended to perfect the establishment and organization of the court, it I is fairly to be presumed they would have been more explicit on that subject. And this construction is the more rational, because the next succeeding clause seems to be well calculated to supply the manifest deficiency by making it "the duty of the Governor and Judges, or a majority of them, to adopt such laws from the original States as might be necessary, and best suited to the circumstances of the Territory."

Many of the States had judiciary systems equally as liable to the objection of the Judges as the one under consideration, and several of them had such as were analagous to it. Could not the Governor and Judges have adopted any of them? Suppose they could have obtained the system of Pennsylvania, the General Court system of Kentucky, or that of the Superior Court of Tennessee or Georgia, all of which possess features very much resembling the present bill: could they not have adopted one of these? And if they had thought it the best suited to the circumstances of the Territory, would it not have been their duty to have adopted it in preference to any other? Of this there can be no doubt, and most certainly it would not have been improper in the Judges, or a violation of the ordinance, for them to have executed any law which it was or might have been their duty to adopt; and the authority of the Legislature to alter, as they "think fit," any adopted law, demonstrates that your power is not less than theirs was.

This is also the "practical exposition" and the received construction of the ordinance, on this very point. For we find that the Governor and Judges of the Northwestern Territory actually adopted the law of Pennsylvania, by which the Judges


were bound to hold the general court in two different counties, circuit courts in counties, and courts of oyer and terminer or jail delivery. The laws thus adopted were required to be submitted to Congress for their approbation, and though the same system, with different but not very material modifications, has existed for many years, it does not appear to have been ever disapproved by that body; but we find them expressly recognizing the circuit courts, by providing specifically for the expenses of the Judges in attending them.

The laws of Indiana, in force when this Territory was erected into a separate government, and when our first Judges were commissioned, required them to attend the general court and circuit courts in counties, and courts of oyer and terminer. The construction given to the ordinance, in both the territories of which we have formed an integral part, was certainly acquiesced in by the Governor and Judges of this Territory, as is evident from their official acts; for in the year 1809 they organized a general court, to sit in Kaskaskia, and courts of common pleas, to be holden by the Judges, with a separate clerk to each court. In the same year it was deemed advisable to change the system. The common pleas was abolished, and the general court was required to be held twice a year in the counties of Randolph and St. Clair, which were all that then existed, and the jurisdiction of the court in each county was limited to the bounds thereof. In these measures Judge Thomas concurred, and indeed, at the respective times of their adoption, I knew of no dissenting voice.

Under a law of Congress organizing the government of the Missouri Territory, recognizing three Superior Judges, appointed by the President and Senate of the United States, as explicitly as our ordinance does, the Legislature of that Territory, without any greater powers in that respect than you possess, have required the superior court to be held in every county within each of which its jurisdiction is localized, and the Judges, or a majority of them, have decided that the law is valid and have determined to execute it.

Without referring to analagous cases in some of the States, I trust I have said enough to convince you that, on the points which I have so far endeavored to investigate, you are not "justly chargeable with innovating the practical exposition or received construction" of the ordinance; and it will doubtless be to you a source of felicitation that the Judges have declared that they themselves have no disposition to make such innovations.

They also say, that "an appeal from the same court to the same, is a solecism." But if this measure can justly be considered beneficial (without which it is to be presumed you would not have adopted it), I believe it will be very difficult for them to establish that it is an infraction of the ordinance. Any system which gives to any court original and final jurisdiction, is neither perfect nor very usual; but, owing to the peculiar circumstances of the Territory, it may be found impracticable to establish any other. It, therefore, becomes prudent to guard, as far as possible, against the defects that are inherent in such a system. These in part consist of hasty decisions, sometimes given from necessity, after a jury is sworn, and at other times without due deliberation or a sufficient opportunity of consulting authorities upon the subject; and, to obviate any ill consequences that might otherwise result therefrom, it has been deemed advisable to declare that the Judges, upon the application of a party who supposes himself aggrieved, shall, according to the forms prescribed by law, revise their own judgments ; and I believe there are few judges who will not admit that these decisions would be much more likely to be correct, upon a review of them at a fixed place favorable to the production of the greatest number of books and to the


ablest investigation, and where they would be free from all the embarrassments attendant upon jury trials. These are considerations that strongly recommend the measure. No appeal can be allowed but in those cases in which it at present exists. By compelling the party complaining to preserve the ordinary forms, you subject him to the costs and damages prescribed by laws, sufficient to correct a mere litigious disposition; and in no instance can a plaintiff be longer delayed than under existing regulations. As, then, the measure promises some substantial good, at least, and is productive of no injury, its being denominated a "solecism" ought not to be sufficient to prevent its adoption. And, indeed, it is as reconcilable to common sense as systems that have been sanctioned by legislatures of the greatest intelligence; for there are some at least that require the same judges to constitute circuit and supreme courts, in the latter of which they can sit in judgment and give the casting voice in decisions they have made in the former. Nor is the provision in this bill as novel as it seems to be supposed, for we find, by the laws of Georgia, a power is specially given to the supreme court to correct its own errors; and a party dissatisfied with a verdict of a jury may, as a matter of right, enter his appeal in the clerk's office at any time within the four days after the adjournment of the court.

The objection appears to be more to form than substance, for there has probably never been a court that has not, in one way or another, revised its own decisions. This power the Judges at present possess. Its exercise, however, depends on their own discretion, and if the Legislature think it best to regulate it by fixed rules, or that it is more consistent with justice to give to their fellow-citizens, as a matter of right, that which the Judges may equally grant or refuse them, as a mere matter of discretion, it cannot, in any manner that I can conceive of, possibly violate any clause in the ordinance — which is all that I attempt to prove. If, however, the two grades of courts exist, as their honors suppose, and they are not disposed to innovate the "practical exposition" of the ordinance, or its "received construction," the objection will not be found to exist.

Their last objection is to the appointment of a plurality of clerks, or of one for each county in which the court is directed to be held; and, in support of this objection, they say, "if the ordinance established more than one clerk to the same court, why have not several been appointed heretofore? If no such office was established by that instrument, whence the authority to fill it?"

If their honors mean to prove, by these interrogatories, that the Legislature cannot create more than one clerkship, because the ordinance has established but one, I would ask if the same reason will not prove that you cannot establish any court whatever with common law jurisdiction. In the one case they say the ordinance, though silent, has, by necessary implication, established a clerkship. In the other it has explicitly declared that there shall be a court, with common law jurisdiction. Whence, then, is the authority, according to their reasoning, to establish another one? There are no express restrictions upon you in either case. If, then, you have the power to constitute a court of common pleas, to lessen and divide the duties of the court established by the ordinance, have you not equal authority to create an additional clerkship, to lessen and divide the duties of the one also established by the same instrument? Provided you should consider the measure necessary and best suited to the circumstances of the Territory, upon principle it is perfectly immaterial how you divide the duties of the latter — whether you make them equal or unequal — for the argument of their honors is, that you cannot establish an additional clerkship under any modification whatever, because the office is ministerial; and if the clerk cannot do all


the business himself, he may employ as many deputies as he chooses. They allege that "not only the very nature of the court and the constitution of every other Territorial tribunal and of the Federal judiciary in general, but all courts in the United States, unless very particularly constituted, demonstrates their construction to be the true one." It is, I think, very probable, that, in many of the cases alluded to, there may be but one clerk to each court; but this is rather an evidence that one has been considered sufficient, than proof of the want of legislative power to create more. Those cases, however, carry with them no authority, unless they can be shown to be analagous in their circumstances to the present bill. I think I have already proved that the true as well as received construction of the ordinance would have authorized the adoption of the judiciary system of North Carolina, which requires the superior court to be held twice a year in every county in the State, and that you have the right to require the Judges to hold the court at more places than one. Instances, therefore, where a court is held at one place only, can never be considered as applicable to the present case; because, in the former, there is neither the same reason nor necessity for having two more clerks. But in Georgia and Ohio, there is a clerk to the supreme court in every county. In Tennessee, the superior court was and I believe still is held at three different places, and has separate clerks at each. Similar regulations exist, as I am informed, in other States; and in Missouri Territory, where the superior court is established by a law of Congress, and where the objection now under consideration would apply with equal or greater force, there has been established a separate clerkship to that in each county, under regulations precisely similar to those contained in the present bill. The hitherto received construction of the ordinance in this Territory was, that a plurality of clerkships could be created; for in this opinion the three Judges who constituted the court, previous to the appointment of Judge Sprigg, all concurred, upon several repeated arguments at different times and places, as a journal now in my possession will show. And, indeed, it was with some surprise that I found Judge Thomas referring to the case of the court at Cahokia, as in that very case he not only wished to establish a separate clerkship, but often maintained the opinion that it could be legally done, and that the Governor and Judges, though vested with power to legislate sub modo only, and limited to the adoption of laws, were competent to do it, even without being able to find such a law in any State. Thus it appears that the power to adopt laws from any of the States, and not from particular ones only, presupposes the authority of the Legislature to alter them as they shall think fit; and thus other powers enumerated in the ordinance, at its received construction, as far as it can be ascertained, all combine to prove that yours is the correct construction of that instrument, and that you have power to create a plurality of clerkships, if they are necessary and best suited to the circumstances of the Territory. That they are so, seems as capable of demonstration as any proposition in Euclid. Suppose the inferior courts had not been established, as is now contemplated, whilst this was a part of the Northwestern Territory — what monstrous oppressions must have been produced, by obliging the people to have gone to the office of a single clerk for a writ to redress the most outrageous grievance! How inconvenient and expensive would it even now be to compel all our fellow-citizens to come to the seat of government, for every species of process; and how much more so might it have been, if the war had not prevented the settlements of Prairie du Chien, Green Bay and other places from extending themselves.

The convenience of the people and cheap and speedy administration of justice are the principle objects, in requiring the court to hold its sessions in the different counties. The same considerations, or a part of them, at least, render it


as obviously proper and necessary that it should be separate clerk's offices. But though these are no more contemplated by the ordinance than separate clerks, yet their honors say the duties of them might be performed by deputies, as was done when the general court was held at Cahokia and Kaskaskia, and had a separate office at each place. But is this either just in itself or expedient in regard to the public? It is evident that no one clerk could execute the duties of the office in all the counties, and surely he ought not to be paid for labor wholly performed by another; nor is it to be presumed that he could make a more judicious selection than the constituted authorities, or that he could, for a part of the profits only, employ persons as well qualified and as deserving of trust as those who could be engaged for the undivided emoluments of the office.

In concluding my remarks, I beg leave to remind you that, as you witnessed the severe indisposition that now afflicts me, and which has preyed upon me for several months, I flatter myself that your liberality will make the proper allowances for the many imperfections that are but too obvious in this attempted investigation.


December 12, 1814.

In view of the whole matter, the Legislature adopted resolutions for transmitting the contemplated act, together with the letter of the Judges and the answer thereto of Gov. Edwards, to Congress, accompanied by an address "requesting the passage of a law declaring the aforesaid enactment valid, or to pass some law more explanatory of the relative duties and powers of the Judges aforesaid and of this Legislature, in order to remove any future or existing difficulties that may arise between the Judges and the Legislature." Congress accordingly, on the 3d of March, 1815, passed "An act regulating and defining the duties of the United States Judges for the Territory of Illinois."


Chapter VI.

The Indian Tribes and Villages of the Western Territory — Treaties with the Indians — Gov. Edwards' views on the Indian Trade and U. S. Saline adopted by the General Government.

With a view of being acquainted with the country, the Indian villages and the respective forces of different Indian tribes, Gov. Edwards employed agents to ascertain the different routes of travel to and from the lakes, the location of the villages and the number of warriors belonging to each tribe, and such other information as might be useful during the year.

Prom notes furnished to him, and the maps on which are designated the rivers, villages and routes from Mackinaw to St. Louis, in the year 1812, I find the following:

Michilimakanac is an island, situated between Lakes Huron and Michigan. From Mackanac to the main land on the north side of Lake Michigan it is six miles to a place called Point St. Ignace; from Point St. Ignace to Point de Chčne, or Oak Point, the distance is six miles; from Point de Chčne to the Poussette Island it is fifteen miles. These islands are situated about one mile from the shore, in very shallow water. From the Poussette Islands it is fifteen miles to a small river, called by the Indians Min-a-coquin; from Min-a-coquin River it is fifteen miles to a point called Patterson's Point, at which place it is very rocky, the water is very shallow, and the navigation is very dangerous when the wind is high. Mr. John Hays, a very intelligent person, with whom I am well acquainted, says that it was called Patterson's Point from the fact that a Mr. Charles Patterson, one of the principal members of the Northwest Fur Company, with all his crew, perished there in a bark canoe, about the year 1788. Mr. Hays says he passed through there soon afterwards, and that he was well acquainted with Mr. Patterson.

From Patterson's Point to Soucheware (an Indian name) it is fifteen miles. At this place there is a most excellent harbor, situated behind a rock; it is very difficult to enter in high winds, and it is an excellent place to catch white-fish. From Soucheware it is fifteen miles to a very handsome river called Manesty; a few miles up this river there was a small Indian village of Chippeways. From the River Manesty it is nine miles to Point de Ecoise, or Bark Point. From thence to Detour it is twenty-one miles, from which place cross over to the south side of the lake, leaving a large bay or bend, called the Bay de Knocke, on the north, about one hundred miles from Green Bay; a number of Indians — Ottaways, Chippeways and Wild-oats — resided in this bay. From Isle Detour it is three miles to Isle Broulčs, or Burnt Island; from thence it is six miles to Isle Vert, or Green Island; from thence to Isle de Pou, or Pottawottamie Island, it is six miles; from Pottawottamie Island to Petite Etraite, or Little Strait, it is nine miles; at this place there is a village of


two lodges of Chippeways. From thence to Port des Mort, or Death's Door, (the mainland on the south side of the lake), it is six miles; this place was called Death's Door on account of a number of Indians, in their canoes, having been drowned there; it is a very high, rocky and dangerous place in high winds, and is about one hundred and sixty miles from Chicago. From Death's Door to Isle de Raccio, an island in form of a circle, it is twenty-one miles, at which place there is an entrance for boats in which no winds whatever can molest them, as there is a very large basin for a harbor; this island is about one and a half miles from the shore. From thence it is three miles to two small islands, near the shore, called by the Indians Nicola-Kechis, on which there is a village of two lodges of Chippeways. From Nichola-Kechis it is twenty-one miles to Bay de Tourgeon, or Sturgeon Bay, where there is a village of three lodges of Chippeways; this bay is very deep. From this bay to Red River it is twenty-one miles. From Red River to Cape de Pouant, or Winnebago Cape, (a very high and handsome place, and where there was formerly a Winnebago village,) the distance is fifteen miles. From Winnebago Cape to Point au Sable, or Sandy Point, a bay where a few Wild-oats live, it is three miles — from which point cross over to the entrance of Green Bay, a distance of six miles. From Green Bay to Minne-Wakey, on the route to Chicago, it is one hundred and fifty miles. From Minne-Wakey (at and near which there are a number of Pottawottamies, Ottaways and Chippeways) it is ninety miles to Chicago; the country around Green Bay is very beautiful, the land is excellent, and it is settled on each side of the river (which empties into the bay) by Canadians and some Americans; there are here about forty houses, and the inhabitants are mostly all farmers; the north side is the most settled; there is an excellent grist mill and distillery, and there is also, near this place, a large village of the Wild-oats, situated on the north side, who have always been very friendly. Three miles from Green Bay is Rapide de Pere, where there is a grist mill. Six miles from Rapide de Pere is Petite Kakalin Rapids, where there is a village of six lodges of Wild-oats. Nine miles from this place is the Grand Kakalin Rapids and portage, where there is a small village of Wild-oats. Six miles from the Grand Kakalin Rapids is the small falls of the Petite Calumi. Six miles from Petite Calumi is the Grand Calumi and the portage, where the falls are much more considerable. Nine miles from Grand Calumi is the Rapids de Pouant, at the head of the entrance of Lake de Pouant, where there is a village of about seven lodges of Ponants; this village, though now reduced to seven lodges, formerly contained as many as thirty. Lake Pouant is about twenty-one miles long and about four or five miles wide; at the end of this lake is the entrance to Fox River of the Wisconsin, at which place Mr. Hays says he haa seen a very large village of Pouants, but at that time (1812) there was not one lodge. From the mouth of Fox River it is nine miles to Bute de Morte, or Death's Hill — so called in consequence of a number of Indians having been killed there, a number of years ago, by the French; on the north side of the river at this place the Wild-oats have a village. From Death's Hill it is three miles to the Rivier des Loup, or Wolf River. From this river it is fifteen miles to Wakan, formerly a village of Winnebagoes, but now abandoned. From Wakan it is fifteen miles to Tounere Jannof, or Yellow Thunder. From Yellow Thunder it is fifteen miles to Le Plane, a remarkable place for encampment. From Le Plane to Mak-kan, a small river, on which there was formerly a Winnebago village, it is fifteen miles. From Mak-kan to Lake A-pock-way, where there is a village of two or three lodges, but where once there was a very large village, it is fifteen miles; this lake is nine miles long. From thence to Buffalo Lake it is fifteen miles; this lake is nine miles across. From Buffalo Lake to Little Rock it is fifteen miles. From Little Rock to


the Forks it is fifteen miles. From the Forks it is fifteen miles to the Wisconsin portage; the length of the portage is two and a-half miles; at the portage there is a village of Winnebagoes, of three lodges, at which place a Frenchman lives who carries over the goods, boats, etc., with wagons; it is about three hundred and sixty miles from Lake Michigan to the Wisconsin River. From the portage of Wisconsin it is about one hundred and twenty miles to a village of Winnebagoes, of ten lodges, about sixty miles from its mouth, where it empties into the Mississippi River; there is nothing remarkable in the Wisconsin River except the big turn on the north side, about ninety miles from the mouth and the same distance from the portage. From the mouth of the Wisconsin it is six miles to Prairie du Chien, and twenty-one to Village La Porte, a village of ten lodges of Foxes. From Village La Porte to Turkey River it is nine miles; on this river there are about fifteen lodges of Foxes. From Turkey River to Village Batard, consisting of about eight lodges of Foxes, it is fifteen miles. From Village Batard to Little Prairie, a village of three lodges of Foxes, it is nine miles. From Little Prairie to Petite Makoketč, where there are six lodges of Foxes, it is nine miles. From Petite Makoketč to Old Mines it is nine miles. From Old Mines to New or Spanish Mines it is six miles; near this place there is a village of Foxes, up a small river. From Spanish Mines to Death's Head it is fifteen miles; this is the place where Hunt's men were killed. From Spanish Mines to the River Sussenneway, opposite Death's Head, it is also fifteen miles. From the River Sussenneway to Fever River, on both of which rivers there are excellent lead mines, it is three miles. From Fever River to Village Chaniere, containing ten lodges of Foxes, it is nine miles. From Chaniere to Grand Makoketé it is six miles. From thence to Apple River it is six miles. From thence to La Prairie de Frappeau it is fifteen miles. From thence to Potato Prairie it is fifteen miles. From thence to Che-che-qui-me-nanque, formerly an Indian village, it is about nine miles. From thence to Marais de Angč it is nine miles. From thence to Pecesuisenany, formerly an Indian village, it is nine miles. From thence to the Rapids of Rock River it is nine miles; these rapids are about eighteen miles in length; at the foot of them there are about thirty lodges, having formerly for their chief Peau Blanc, or White Skins, but at present his brother, Mohawk, is their chief. From this village to Rock River it is three miles, and about one and half miles up Rock River, on the south side, there is a very extensive village of Sacs, of nearly two hundred lodges; up this river, also, about twenty or thirty miles from the mouth, there is a considerable Winnebago village. From Rock River to Grand Muscatine it is thirty miles. From thence to Iowa River it is thirty miles. From Iowa River to Skunk River it is sixty miles. From thence to Horse-shoe it is twelve miles. From Horse shoe to to Fort Madison it is nine miles. From thence to the head of Rapids des Moine it is nine miles; these Rapids are eighteen miles long. From the foot of the Rapids to the River des Moine it is about three miles. From thence to Fox River it is six miles. From Fox River to River Wacanda it is twenty-one miles. From thence to Prairie Wacanda it is three miles. From thence to Bay Boston it is nine miles. From thence to L'eau Froide, or Fabian River, it is eighteen miles. From Fabian River to Two Rivers it is three miles, to Prairie Joffreon. From thence to Bay Charl it is fifteen miles. From thence to Petite Glaze it is twelve miles. From Petite Glaze to Fort Mason it is two miles. From thence to Salt River it is twenty-seven miles. From Salt River to River Denoyer it is three miles. From River Denoyer to Buffalo River it is three miles. From Buffalo River to River Callumč it is four and half miles; it was near this river that O'Neal's family were killed. From Callumč to Fort Boucher it is six miles. From Fort Boucher to Dog Island it


is six miles. From thence to Bell's Point it is twenty-four miles. From Bell's Point to Cape au Grey it is fifteen miles. From Cape au Grey to Cuiver River it is three miles. From thence to La Peruque, a small French village, it is six miles. From La Peruque to the River Dedain it is six miles. From thence to the Illinois River it is six miles. From thence to Portage de Sioux it is nine miles. From Portage de Sioux to the Missouri River it is six miles. From thence to St. Louis it is eighteen miles. From St. Louis to Cahokia it is four miles.

The Pottawottamies, on the Illinois River, are divided into three bands, to-wit: that of Gomo, consisting of about 150 men; they reside at the end of Peoria Lake about seven leagues from Peoria. The Pepper's band at Sand River, about two leagues below the Quinqueque, consisting of about 200 men of different nations — as Pottawottamies, Chippeways and Ottaways; Letourneau and Mettetasse are of this band. Sand River is fifty leagues above Peoria and twenty leagues below Lake Michigan. Mainpoc's band resides seven leagues up the Quinqueque (now called the Kankakee), and consists of about fifty men. The remaining Pottawottamies live on the River St. Joseph, on which there are three or four villages. On the Fox River, which empties into the Illinois River at the Charboniere, or Coal-pit, about thirty-five leagues above Peoria, is another band of Pottawottamies, Chippeways and Ottaways, having for their leader Wa-bee-saux. This river takes its source from Mil-waa-kee. In this band there are only about 30 men.

The Kee kaa-poos are divided into three bands: Pamawatans, consisting of about 100 men, exclusive of those at the Prophet's, are now making their village on Peoria Lake, three leagues from Peoria. The Little Deer has also abandoned their great village, and is now forming his village opposite to Gomo's. His band consists of about 70 men. Of this band there are also about 50 men, and the same number of Pottawottamies with the Prophet. At the Little Makina, a river on the south side of the Illinois River, is a band, headed by no particular chief, but generally by warriors. Le Bourse Sulky is generally regarded as the main chief. This tribe consists of Kees, Chippeways, Ottaways and Pous, and number about 60.

At the camping place of Chicago, three leagues from the lake, is a village of about 30 men, of Pottawottamies, Chippeways and Ottaways, having for their chief Co-wa-bee-may.

The distance from Peoria to the Rock River on the Mississippi, is about twenty leagues by land, and can be traveled in two days on foot and in one on horseback. The country is mostly prairie and very fine open woodland. Opposite to the River Vermilion, which is nearly thirty leagues above Peoria, by cutting across the land, one would reach Rock River near Milwaakee. The whole country between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers is a fine open country, easy to travel through, chiefly prairie, but high land. The Winnebago village on Rock River is about thirty or forty leagues from the mouth and within one day's march of their old village on the Lake Ap Quay, in the Fox River, that comes from Green Bay. The distance from the Winnebago River to Milwaakee can be traveled in one and half days.

Leaving Chicago to go to Makina, on the south side of Lake Michigan, the first river you reach is the Little Calumick, about five leagues from Chicago. There is on this river a village consisting of about one hundred men, of Pous, Chippeways and Ottaways. Old Camp pignan is their chief. He has a burnt hand and broken nose. It was reported this spring that he was killed, on his way from Niagara to Detroit. Man-mon-qai, who was his second, will probably be their next chief.

About ten leagues up the St. Joseph, a river about thirty leagues from Chicago, there is a village of about 10 men, of Pottawottamies, with no particular chief to


head them. On the Terre-coupee, a small river that empties into the St. Joseph, there is a village of 100 men, of Pous, headed by Mock-kua gon, about ten leagues on a straight line from the lake and about thirty leagues by land, to Chicago. The roads from this place to the lake and to Chicago are very fine, and pass through an open country.

There is another village on the St. Joseph, about forty leagues above the mouth, of Pottawottamies, the number of whom is not known. This village is situated at the entrance of a small river called La Reviere Pirette, or Speckled River. The chief of this band is named Mon-neck-quai-bee.

On the Stagheart, a small river, which also empties into the St. Joseph, there is a village of Pous, the number of whom is not known. Their chief is Nan-quee-sai.

At the entrance of the Keck-kaa-ne ma-zo River into the lake, about fifteen leagues north of the St. Joseph, there is a small village of 7 or 8 men, without any chief and about twenty five leagues up the river there is a village of Pous and Ottaways, of about 60 or 70 men. Their chief is unknown.

On the Grand River, ten leagues beyond the Keck-kaa-ne-ma-zo, there are four villages of Ottaways, containing in all about 200 men. The first village is about three leagues, the second about fifteen, the third about twenty-five, and the fourth about forty leagues from the entrance, on a small river called Riviere de Plaines. This grand river extends very nearly to Detroit.

Four leagues beyond the Grand River is the Mash-kee-gon, on which there are two villages of Ottaways — the first about fifteen and the second about thirty leagues from the mouth. The chief of the first is Peck-kwa-nai, or Smoke; of the second, Wampum.

Four leagues beyond the Wash-kee-gon is White River, one league beyond which, on the bluffs, is a village called the Bluffs of Ottawa, of about 70 or 80 men, whose chief is not known. Twelve leagues beyond the White River is the River Pere Marquette, on which there is a small village of Ottaways, chief unknown.


The first river, in going up the Illinois River, is the Fouchai River, on the south side and about six miles from the mouth of the Illinois River. The River Ma-ka-pinn is two miles above the Fouchai and on the same side of the Illinois. On the south side and three leagues above is the Lionoise. On the same side and two leagues above is La Pomme, or Apple River. On the north side and two leagues above Apple River is River Chabot. Mouse River, on the south side, is three leagues higher, and from this river it is one day's march to the Mississippi. Two and a half leagues higher, on the north side, is Blue River. Two leagues above Blue River, on the north side, is Pierre a la Fleche, or Arrowstone River. On the south side, two leagues above Pierre a la Fleche, is Negro River. Mauvaise-terre River is one and half leagues higher. Labellansine, on the south side, is four leagues above. Mine River, on the north side, is two leagues above, and from this river it is one and half day's march to the Mississippi. Four leagues above, on the north side, is La Riviere a Bordelle, or Brothel River. On the south side, one and half leagues above, is Sain-quee-mon River. This river extends to Wecas, near Vincennes, and on its branches were formerly Kee-ka-poo villages. On the south side, about ten leagues above the Sain-quee-mon, is the River Meequen, which keeps a direct line with the Illinois River for a long distance. Little Shwaa-yan, on the north side, is three leagues higher. Shee-shee-quen on the north side is four leagues higher. Little Makina is five leagues higher, on the south side; the Kickapoos


have a village here. The river is four leagues higher on the north side and one league below Peoria. Lake Peoria is seven leagues long, at the end of which is Gomo's village and a river called Moran's River. Little Deer's village is opposite to Gomo's. Eight leagues higher is Corbeau River, or Blackbird River, on the south side. Bureau River is six leagues higher, on the north side. Vermillion River, on the south side, is nine leagues higher. Fox River, on the north side, is four leagues higher. River Massan is about nine leagues higher, on the south side. From here we can get to the Wabash, through a fine open country. Sand River, on the north side, is three leagues higher. One and a half leagues higher is the forks of the Quin-que-que. On the south side at this place the Illinois loses its name, and is called from here Chicago River, to the lake, a distance of about twenty leagues. On the north side of Lake Michigan, about thirty leagues from Chicago, is River Mill-waa-kee, where may be found villages of Pottawottamies and Nollesawanes. At the Sauk River, on the same side, is a village of Ottaways and Chippeways, and from this river it is but twelve miles to Green Bay.

The description of the several routes, villages, tribes and country is taken from notes and maps furnished to Gov. Edwards, in 1812, by Mr. John Hays and Mr. John Hay, both of whom filled important offices and were intelligent Frenchmen. The latter was, for many years, clerk of all the courts, and judge of probate of the county of St. Clair, in the State of Illinois. I extract the following from a letter of John Hays to Gov. Edwards, of August 20, 1812:

The route from Montreal to Michilimakanac, by the Grand River, is called 900 miles, the most difficult route perhaps in the world. There are 36 carrying places, where all the goods are carried on men's backs over these portages, and in most of those places the bark canoes are likewise carried on men's shoulders. There are also 36 places where half canoe loads are carried, owing to the great rapids. The canoe starts half loaded and deposits the half load at a certain place, and then returns for the other half load. No boats of any kind can ascend this river — only bark canoes which carry seventy pieces, weighing one hundred pounds each; every man carries two of those pieces over each carrying place. The canoes are navigated by ten or eleven men, with paddles. By this route all the merchandise from Montreal is carried to the Grand Portage, Nippegand Arthateaska, and all the other wintering places on Lake Superior, and the peltries return by the same route. A few years past all the merchandise from Montreal to Mackanac was taken by the same route. The fort St. Joseph is about seventeen leagues from Mackanac. Goods may be brought from St. Joseph along the main land and by the Island of Mackanac. Those brought the last fall into the Mississippi, by Mr. Dickson and others, were brought by this route.

The following description of Prairie du Chien is taken from a letter of N. Boilvine to the Secretary of War, of the 2d of February, 1811:

Prairie du Chien is an old Indian town, which was sold by the Indians to the Canadian traders about thirty years ago, where they have ever since taken their merchandise, from which place it was sent in various directions. The Indians also sold to them, at the same time, a tract of land measuring six leagues up and down the river and six leagues back of it — the village between thirty and forty houses, and the tract just mentioned about thirty-two families — so that the whole settlement


contains about 100 families. These men are generally French Canadians, most of whom have married Indian wives; very few white females are to be found in the settlement. These people attend to the cultivation of their land, which is extremely fertile; they raise considerable quantity of surplus produce, particularly wheat and corn; they annually dispose of eighty thousand pounds of flour to the traders and Indians, besides a great quantity of meal, and the quantity of produce would be greatly increased if a suitable demand existed for it. Such is the beauty of the climate, that the country begins to attract the attention of settlers. A variety of fruit trees have lately been planted and promise to grow well. Prairie du Chien is surrounded by numerous Indiana, who wholly depend on it for their supplies. Great danger, both to individuals and the Government, is to be apprehended from the Canadian traders, who endeavor to incite the Indians against us, partly to monopolize their trade, and partly to secure their friendship in case a war should break out between us and England. They are continually making large presents to the Indians.

The United States, by the adoption of one simple measure, can secure this trade and put an end to the intercourse between the Canadian traders and the Indians. Prairie du Chien, from its central position, is well calculated for a garrison and factory. It affords health, plenty of fine timber and good water. The Indians have turned their attention to the manufacture of lead, from a mine about 60 miles below Prairie du Chien. During the last season they exchanged four hundred thousand pounds of that article for goods. They might be prevailed upon to open more mines, as the profits from the manufacture of lead are much greater than from the laborious pursuit of peltries. A few tools will be necessary for them, and perhaps a blacksmith to repair them. As soon as the Indians turn their attention to lead, the Canadian traders, who have no use for that article, in the way of commerce, would abandon the country. The factory ought to be well supplied with goods to be exchanged for lead. This trade would be more valuable to the United States than peltries, as lead is not a perishable article and is easily transported, whereas peltries are bulky and large quantities are annually spoiled before they reach market.

After the war, and in connection with Gov. Clark and Gol. A. Choteau of St. Louis, Gov. Edwards was appointed by the General Government to hold a treaty with the Indian tribes that had been concerned in the war. This treaty was of vital importance to the future interests of Illinois and Missouri, and no small portion of its advantages may be attributed to the forecast of Gov. Edwards. In one of his communications to the Legislature, he thus refers to one of the objects he had in making this treaty:

In 1816 a tract of land bounded by Lake Michigan, including Chicago, and extending to the Illinois River, was obtained from the Indians, for the purpose of opening a canal communication between the lake and river. Having been one of the Commissioners who treated for this land, I personally know that the Indians were induced to believe that the opening of the canal would be very advantageous to them, and that, under authorized expectations that this would be done, they ceded the land for a trifle. Good faith, therefore, towards these Indians, as well as the concurring interest of the State and of the Union, seems to require that the execution of this truly national object should not be unnecessarily delayed; and nothing is more reasonable than that the expenses should be defrayed out of the proceeds of the very property which was so ceded for the express purpose of having it done.


The replies to his communications, both from the Territorial Legislature and the Chiefs of the Departments at Washington, show in what high estimation his opinions in relation to the Indians, the salines, and his public services, were held. His intimate knowledge of the character of the Indian tribes enabled him, when requested by the General Government, to give important advice in the adoption of measures relative to our intercourse and trade with them; and in every instance, without an exception, his views were adopted by the Government. Wm. H. Crawford, who was Secretary of War in 1816, refers to Gov. Edwards' views on the subject of the Indian trade in a highly complimentary manner. He says, "his view of the subject, as well as several other important ideas, are more fully developed in the communication of Gov. Edwards;" and in a letter to Gov. Edwards, he says, "the Department has the fullest confidence in the rectitude with which your superintendence has been exercised." The same may be said of the views entertained and the opinions communicated by him in relation to the U. S. saline and lead mines, as will appear from his extensive correspondence on those subjects.

"Owing to his knowledge and experience with the Indian character and affairs," he was called upon by Mr. Calhoun, Secretary of War in 1818, for his views in relation to the Indian trade, and for his ideas, also, on the "relative merits of the system as it then was or with the improvements of which it was susceptible, and the one proposed to be substituted by Congress."

In the year 1817, he received a letter from a very distinguished gentleman, stating that his friends in Washington City were urging his appointment as Secretary of the War Department. The editor of the "National Register," in Washington, and one of the most influential papers of the city of Baltimore, also presented his claims for that office.


Chapter VII.

Organization of the State Government mid Gov. Edwards' election to United States Senate — Speech on the Public Land Question — United States Mineral Land — The Illinois Question — Letter of Mr. Wirt in reference to his Retiring from Public Life — Mr. Calhoun's Letters in reference to his Advancement — Graduation of the Price of the Government Lands.

The State Government was organized in 1818, by the election of Shadrack Bond, Governor, and Pierre Menard, Lieut. Governor. Elias K. Kane, who was afterwards elected Senator in Congress, was appointed Secretary of State, and Daniel P. Cook was elected the first Attorney General of the State. Gov. Bond had been a delegate in Congress from the Territory from 1811 to 1815, at which time he was appointed Receiver of the Land Office, which office he held at the time of his election as Governor of the State. He had made himself deservedly very popular by his efforts in Congress to secure the payment of the troops during war, and for his support of the measures having for their object the protection of our frontier settlements.

Gov. Edwards and Jesse B. Thomas were chosen by the Legislature to represent them in the Senate of the United States. In this conspicious station, and one of the highest to which an American citizen can aspire, while the great and complicated interests of the whole country came under his eye, Gov. Edwards relaxed not his accustomed vigilance for the rights and interests of his more immediate constituents.

During the time he was Senator in Congress, no one had a higher standing as a debater or statesman. His policy in relation to the Indian trade, the management of the lead mines and the U. S. salt works, had been previously adopted by the General Government. Among the first of his speeches delivered in the U. S. Senate was one on the subject of the admission of the State of Missouri into the Union. Though from a free State, and opposed to slavery, and especially to its introduction into his own State, he ably contended for the right of the people of each State to have such a constitution and institutions as they might adopt for themselves provided their form of government was republican and not in violation of the constitution of the United States. His speech, on a resolution of Senator


Lloyd of Maryland, proposing to give to each of the old States, for the purpose of education, a portion of the public lands equal to the amount granted for the same purpose to the new States, contains, among other things, an able exposition of the powers of the General Government on the subject of appropriating the lands or funds of the Government for mere local purposes. It places the right of the new States to the land, for those purposes, on the ground which was afterwards adopted: that the land appropriated for such objects would tend to enhance the value of the remainder, and bring into market a vast quantity so much earlier, that the Government would actually gain by the appropriation to the new States. On the publication of this speech, Mr. Edwards received the following letter from Mr. Blair, who was a member of Congress:

April 12, 1822.
Mr. Blair's most kind respects to Gov. Edwards of Illinois, and begs leave to present his best thanks for the speech (in pamphlet form) on the resolution proposing to give the old States lands for the purposes of education, &c.

At the same time he cannot refrain from assuring Mr. E. that this very able speech has probably saved him from giving an erroneous vote. Mr. B. had thought it reasonable that the old States should participate in the benefit of the public lands equally with the new States, without considering that the school donations of land were made to the new States as a bonus for settling in a wilderness, &c. Mr. B. also begs leave to assure Mr. E. that, in his opinion, this speech is equally creditable to the head and to the heart. While it breathes the purest spirit of philanthrophy and benevolence, it, in point of reasoning, "leaves no stone unturned."

I have, also before me a letter from Hon. John Crowell, a member of Congress from North Carolina, dated April 27, 1822, in which he says that "Gov. Branch, of that State, has read your speech on the Maryland proposition, and says you have changed his opinion, and that your arguments are unanswerable." The following extract from that speech shows how well he understood, at this early day, the questions in relation to the powers which respectively belonged to the General and State Governments:

The appropriation which we are asked to make is avowed to be for a mere State purpose. The question then is, can the resources of this nation be thus applied? In discussing this subject, I may, I presume, safely premise that the powers, duties and objects of the Federal and State Governments are separate and distinct, and the prosperity and happiness of this nation depend upon the fidelity and wisdom with which those governments, respectively, discharge their appropriate functions. Each government has, for those important purposes, and as necessary thereto, its own particular resources, which cannot be yielded up or misapplied, without impairing its capacity to fulfil the objects of its institution; for nothing could be more nugatory than a grant of powers without the means of executing them. But, sir, whether the national domain has been acquired by conquest, cessions from particular states, purchases from foreign powers, one thing is undeniable — it has, doubtless, been acquired by and exclusively belongs to the Confederation or Union. It must, therefore, be considered as National and not State property, and, by fair inference, is applicable only to National


and not State objects. It is true that it is a common fund in which all the States are interested. So, sir, is the revenue and every other species of property belonging to the United States; in relation to all of which the interest of the States is precisely the same. Being a common fund, applicable to the use and support of the General Government, the States can enjoy the benefits of it only in its just and ligitimate application to National purposes. I hold, therefore, that no State can rightfully claim, and, of course, to none can be granted the separate and distinct use and enjoyment of the property or funds of the nation, in consequence of a right to a common participation therein.

In this speech he further argues that Congress, having bound themselves, by solemn compact, to dispose of those lands for the use and benefit of the Union, "and for no other use or purpose whatsoever," cannot withdraw any part from the use of the Union; that it was an acquisition in their Federal character, in which character only could the States participate in the benefits of it; that, with the same propriety, the common funds of the nation may be appropriated to objects to which the powers of Federal legislation are not pretended to extend, and that if the States have no right to the separate and distinct use and enjoyment of the common property and funds of the nation, the Congress has no power to confer such a right over them; that Congress could have no pretence of power to enforce the application; and that Congress has no more right to grant away the funds of the nation than the powers of the Government. This argument is conclusive against the power to appropriate the funds of the nation to internal improvements, except for works of national character, or to divide the proceeds of the public lands among the States. But the grants to the State lose all their character as donations, because the increased value of the reserved alternate sections will increase the national fund.

The "National Intelligencer" thus alludes to this speech: "We omit several articles to-day for the purpose of presenting entire, in one paper, the speech of Mr. Edwards of Illinois, in the Senate of the United States, delivered at the last session of Congress, on the proposition to grant to the old States portions of the public lands for the purposes of education. Circumstances, which it is unnecessary to mention, have interfered to prevent an earlier publication of this speech, which, though it is in opposition to the policy we ourselves deem wise and have uniformly advocated, we must confess is an argument of great ability, and so strong as to be calculated to weaken in some degree the confidence of those who have been most zealous and conscientious in maintaining the opposite doctrine."

Not only the people of Illinois, but those of all the United States, are indebted to him for having defeated a policy which, had it prevailed, would have resulted in a division of the public lands, or the proceeds arising from their sale, among all the States of the Union, which would have prevented those grants of land within their limits to the new States, for the purpose of internal improvements. It would have also prevented the reduction of


the price, and consequently retarded their settlement. It was conceded by all parties, at Washington, that the efforts of Gov. Edwards on this occasion defeated the passage of those resolutions. His policy in relation to the public lands was, to facilitate every one in acquiring a home. In a speech which he delivered as early as 1806, in Kentucky, he said: "My wish was that every man might have an opportunity of procuring a freehold of his own; that there might be as few tenants as possible. I have always considered tenants too subject to the influence of their landlords, and landlords in general so much disposed to abuse that influence as to render it dangerous and highly inimical to republicanism. With these views I have zealously persevered in exerting the small portion of influence I possessed to ameliorate the situation of the citizens of the district, and to promote the general prosperity of the State."

In his message to the Legislature, in 1826, he says the course of policy adopted by the General Government "is so restrictive of natural rights, and at the same time so unexampled, that it is only to be justified by urgent necessity, and should no longer be pursued after that necessity has ceased to operate. Acknowledged authorities on the law of nature recognize to all men a natural right, according to the beneficent intentions of the Creator of the world, to a portion of the land which He has made for their benefit; and although this right, like all others, may be modified by the institutions of civil society, yet, these should conform, as far as possible, to natural rights. It would seem that no government, holding immense tracts of waste and unappropriated lands, can, without acting contrary to Divine intention and will, refuse to permit its own citizens to occupy a reasonable portion of these lands, but for a price which many thousands of them are unable to pay. Why, then, should this policy be continued? Justice, sound policy, the beneficent intentions of the Creator of the world — who made the land for the common benefit of all mankind, and conferred upon every human being a right to a portion of it — will forbid it. The system, therefore, sooner or later, must and will be abandoned."

These were not, however, the only grievances which he pointed out and used his efforts to have remedied. There were other measures assumed, by the General Government, in relation to the public lands, which threatened to undermine the foundations of the sovereignty and independence of the States, and to subvert both our civil and political liberties. Declining to sell, the United States claimed and exercised the power of leasing out the whole of the mineral lands of the State, thereby establishing the relation of landlord and tenant between the United States and the citizens of the State, and introducing a population among us dependent upon themselves, and at that time numerous enough to decide all our general elections and to control our most important municipal affairs. At the session of


Congress in 1829 a bill was pending, in the House of Representatives, "to authorize the President of the United States to appoint a Superintendent and Receiver at the Fever River Lead Mines, and for other purposes," which, among other things, required those officers to report to the President "such alterations in the manner of governing and leasing said mines as may to them appear necessary for the better security of the interest of the Government," and empowered the President to prescribe such rules and regulations for the government of said officers and mines, leasing and surveying the mineral grounds, licensing smelters, and for preserving the property of the United States, as to him may appear necessary and proper. Gov. Edwards, in calling the attention of the Legislature to this subject, said, "this project, by the concentration of so much power in the hands of any one man, violates all the acknowledged principles of well regulated liberty, and had not its parallel in the United States, nor even in Great Britain since their emancipation from the misrule of the Stuarts; that, divided as we had been upon the great question of slavery, its exercise might have given the population of the mineral country a decided preponderance to the one side or the other; and that, with such means at the command of the General Government, there was nothing to prevent its deciding for us any other great question of national or state policy, upon which an ordinary division of public opinion prevailed. A further exercise of this power (he said) might subject our property, liberties and lives to the uncontrolled domination of the mere dependents and tenants at will of a government that never was intended to have any agency in our local affairs." He called upon the Legislature to prevent its exercise by their timely interposition; for, said he, "there is the same authority to lease the whole as a part of the public domain within the limits of the State."

I give further extracts from his messages to the State Legislature on the subject of the public lands, as follows:

Adverse to our interest and welfare as has been the policy which the General Government has long pursued in relation to the public lauds, there has been nothing so well calculated to awaken our apprehension as certain principles which it has recently avowed and acted upon. Seriously injured by a system which prohibits settlement and cultivation without previous purchase — refusing to sell, but upon terms far more exorbitant than have ever been demanded by any State in the Union, or any of the powers of Europe that have held land on this continent, and which exacts the same price for lands, good, bad and indifferent — we have, year after year, implored Congress to discontinue the grievances thus produced, by granting small donations out of the vast public domain, to poor but meritorious and useful citizens who are unable to buy; and by reducing the price, and apportioning it to the quality of the land. Reasonable as were these petitions, they have, however, not only been utterly fruitless, but an aggravation of the evils, already so severely felt, is seriously threatened. A high functionary of the Government, sensible of the magnitude of the interests at


stake, but unappalled by it, in an elaborate and eloquent official report to Congress, at the last session, in glowing colors, depicts even the present poor encouragement afforded to the settlement and cultivation of the public lands as an evil to the nation, and, with uncalculating intrepidity, powerfully urges the means of lessening "its absorbing force."

In this report, the Secretary of the Treasury says: "It cannot be overlooked that the prices at which fertile bodies of land may be bought of the Government, under this system, operate as a perpetual allurement to their purchase. It has served, and still serves to draw, in an annual stream, the inhabitants of a majority of the States, including amongst them, at this day, a portion, not small, of the Western States, into the settlement of fresh lands lying still farther and farther off. If the population of these States, not yet redundant in fact, though appearing to be so under this legislative excitement to emigrate, remained fixed in more instances, as it probably would by extending the motives to manufacturing labor, it is believed the nation at large would gain in two ways: First, by the more rapid accumulation of capital; and next, by the gradual reduction of the excess of agricultural population over that engaged in other vocations." Referring to the public domain itself, he remarks, that "its very possession is conceived to furnish paramount inducements, under all views, for quickening, by fresh legislative countenance, manufacturing labor throughout other parts of the Union. It is a power to be turned to the account of manifold and transcendant blessings, rather than reposed upon for aggrandizing too exclusively the interest of agriculture, fundamental as that must ever be in the State. Agriculture itself would be essentially benefited; the price of lands, in all the existing States, would soon become enhanced, as well as the produce from them, by a policy that would, in anywise, tend to render portions of the present population more stationary, by supplying new and adequate motives to their becoming so. And, as it is, the laws that have legally, in effect, throughout a long course of time, superinduced disinclinations to manufacturing labor, by their overpowering calls to rural labor in the mode of selling off the public domain, the claim of further legal protection to the former kind of labor, at this day, seems to wear an aspect of justice, no less than of expediency."

Without stopping to contest the wisdom and necessity of legislative enactments to check a great and acknowledged excess of agricultural labor, in a free and enlightened country, where every one is left to pursue his own interests, consult his own inclination, and choose his own vocation, or to inquire how agriculture could be "essentially benefited" by increasing the price of lands, or manufactures advanced by enhancing the value of the products of agriculture — and without denying the advantages of a wise and judicious division of labor, properly and fairly effected — I may be permitted to say, that it seems to me a new discovery that, in a nation abounding with vast regions of waste lands of unparalleled fertility, any vocation is better calculated to increase its capital or promote its welfare than agriculture, or that, under such circumstances, legislative discountenance should ever be interposed to bind or check it, for the sake of promoting any other interest. This is believed to be an assumption, which is contradicted by all the records of experience and observation, and the policy which the Secretary predicates upon it, and which Congress seems to have adopted is as clearly inconsistent with the universally acknowledged and most solemn obligations of a nation. Vattel declares the cultivation of the earth to be the natural employment of man. In pages 91, 92 and 129, he says: "Of all the arts, tillage or agriculture is doubtless the most useful and necessary. It is the nursing father of the State. The cultivation of the earth causes it to produce an infinite increase; it


forms the surest resource and the most solid funds of rich commerce for the people who enjoy a happy climate."

"This affair, then, deserves the utmost attention of the Government. The sovereign ought to neglect no means of rendering the land under his obedience as well cultivated as possible."

"The government ought carefully to avoid everything capable of discouraging the husbandman, or of diverting him from the labors of agriculture."

"The cultivation of the soil is not only to be recommended by government on account of the advantages that flow from it, but from its being an obligation imposed by nature on mankind. The whole earth is appointed for the nourishment of its inhabitants; but it would be incapable of doing it, was it uncultivated."

Referring to desert places not necessary as such to the safety of a nation, and which it is unable to cultivate, he says: "It is equally agreeable to the dictates of humanity and to the particular advantages of the State, to give these desert places to strangers who are able to clear the land and render it valuable. The beneficence of the State thus turns to its own advantage; it acquires new subjects, and augments its riches and powers. This is the practice in America. The English have carried their settlements in the new world to a degree of power which has considerably increased that of the nation. Thus the King of Prussia also endeavors to repeople his States, laid waste by the calamities of ancient wars."

The title of this nation to the public domain is primarily derived from these principles, and must forever remain subject to the obligations they impose. America, when first discovered by the European nations, was inhabited by a people thinly scattered over its surface, who neither would nor could cultivate it, and who consequently could not lawfully claim the whole of it; and hence those under whom the nation claims, as against the aborigines, lawfully took possession and acquired title. Admitting, then, the public lands belong to the United States, is not the government thereof bound, by the eternal principles of justice, and by a just regard to the laws of nature, which is the Divine will, not only to permit, but to encourage the settlement and cultivation of those lands, wherever it can do so without endangering the general welfare? And, if the dictates of humanity imposes on any nation an obligation, as is said by the author above quoted, to give desert places "to strangers who are able to clear the land and to render it valuable," how can a government like ours, so emphatically relying for its support upon the virtue and affections of the people, and professing to be actuated by sentiments of justice and philanthropy, refuse a similar boon to a poor and dependent, but faithful and useful citizen? All civilized nations acknowledge the justice of the principles I have quoted. Virtuous and enlightened ones recognize, and, as far as circumstances admit, respect the obligations they impose. The monarchies of Europe which have held territory on this continent, have conformed to them with a beneficence and liberality which does them honor, and is particularly worthy of the imitation of this nation, since no little of its present wealth, and power, and prosperity is justly attributable to that source. Why, it may be asked, should not the Government of the United States be as liberal in this respect as those of Great Britain, France or Spain, which it has succeeded? Is it that the public lands, having been obtained by the common efforts of all the States, should be disposed of for their common benefit, and therefore cannot be rightfully transferred for the encouragement of agriculture? Were not those very lands originally obtained by the common efforts of those nations? How then did their governments acquire the right to give them away for the encouragement of agriculture? And why were they not equally bound to exact for them the highest price in cash that could be obtained for the benefit


of their respective nations? A monarch has no more right to disregard the interest and welfare of his nation, than the constituted authorities of a republic. It was not without incurring vast expenses and sacrifice of much property and many valuable things, that those nations discovered and possessed themselves of their respective domains on this continent. Nor did any of them escape the necessity of bloody and expensive wars to maintain them. And if the acquisition of our public domain from Great Britain, by the common blood and treasure of the nation, marks such a right of property in it as prohibits the Government of the United States from disposing of it, but for pecuniary considerations, it would seem that nothing could have more imperiously imposed a similar restriction upon the government of that nation, than the immense expenditure of her blood and treasure, not only in numerous conflicts with the natives, but in her ever memorable war of '56, with France, to maintain and preserve it.

The people of Virginia sufficiently participated in the cost of the very lands in question, to impose an obligation on the Government of the State, not less than that of the Union, to dispose of them for the common benefit of all her citizens: yet Great Britain and Virginia never thought themselves restricted from the right of giving desert places even to strangers who were able to clear the land, and render it valuable; nor absolved from the duty of employing all means of rendering the land under their obedience as well cultivated as possible, and of avoiding everything capable of discouraging the husbandman, or of diverting him from the labors of agriculture. No nation but our own, however it may have acquired its public domain, whether by discovery, concessions, purchases, or conquests, has ever avowed or acted upon such principles in regard to it. None could do so without neglecting its duties to itself, violating its obligations to others, and disregarding the intention and will of the Divine Creator and Governor of the Universe. The whole world, physical and moral, is governed by laws. Nations as well as individuals are subject to established rules of conduct. The former owe the same respect and obedience to the law of nature, that the latter do to any lawfully prescribed rule of civil action. In its application to nations, it is emphatically termed the necessary law of nations, because they are all obliged to conform to the precepts it prescribes. And, indeed, so deep and solid, so sacred and eternal, are its foundations, that they have neither the right to change it, nor dispense with the duties it enjoins. So far from countenancing the restricted obligations that have been supposed, it expressly declares that the sovereign ought not even "to allow either communities or private persons to acquire large tracts of land in order to leave it uncultivated;" that "every nation is obliged, by the law of nature, to cultivate the ground that has fallen to its share;" that nations who, by retaining an idle life, "usurp more extensive territories than they would have occasion for, were they to use honest labor, have no reason to complain if other nations, more laborious and too closely confined, come to possess a part;" and that "no nation can lawfully appropriate to itself a too disproportioned extensive country, and reduce other nations to want subsistence and a place of abode."

Great Britain acquired and held the lands in question subject to those obligations, and not only apportioned the price of them to their qualities and descriptions, and granted them on terms calculated to invite population, but actually made settlement, cultivation and other improvements, conditions of her grants. France and Spain did the same with their Territories, so long as they remained in their possession. This practice still prevails in the Canadas, Mexico, and all the South American Governments. Virginia, under whom the United States claim, followed the


example of Great Britain, and consulting both her power and her duty, made sales at a very moderate price, and liberally granted pure donations to actual settlers.

Had, then, the right of property of the United States in that part of the public domain which is included within this State, been derived from its acquisition, at their joint expense, not only in treasure but in blood, it is evident from the law of nature, and the immutable laws and universal practices of nations, that it should have been held subject to all those rights, obligations and duties, in the same manner as if it had been in the hands of any other nation in the world. But this assumption of the derivation of title is not less contradicted by reiterated admissions and acknowledgments, and various solemn official acts of the Union, than repugnant to the deliberate and well defined agreement under which all the States united their common efforts for independence; for the Articles of Confederation not only affirmed the right of every State to all the lands within its limits, but expressly declared that "no State shall be deprived of Territory for the benefit of the United States." Virginia, therefore, acquired as much right, and the United States as little, by the issue of that glorious contest, to those lands, as to the capital of the State itself. The title of the United States was, therefore, exclusively derived from the cession so liberally and magnanimously made by Virginia. In making it, she could not exempt those lands from any conditions to which they were subjected by the law of nature in her own hands, nor absolve the United States from any obligations or duties which their tenure so imposed upon herself. Nations have no more right than individuals to violate the law of nature; and all treaties, conventions, customs, and practices, contrary to the precepts it prescribes, or that are such as it forbids, are unlawful and invalid. Virginia, therefore, could neither have required, authorized, nor justified, any policy contrary to the law of nature, which has for its object the advancement of the welfare of the original States, at the expense of that of the new ones, by encouraging manufactures to raise the price of public lands in the former, and prevent settlement and cultivation in the latter. Nor does her cession afford the least countenance to doctrines so extraordinary, or objects so inconsistent with the equal rights of the new States. On the contrary, it clearly prohibits them; for while it absolutely requires that the lands shall be disposed of this policy is calculated to prevent and defeat that very disposition of them which was contemplated by both parties. Admit, as has been too long contemplated, that this stipulation means that they should be sold for the highest price that can possibly be got for them in cash; still it is doubtless a stipulation that binds the United States to sell them. Would not, then, any plan, deliberately adopted with a view to lessen the inducements to agricultural labor, and to prevent purchases, involve such a palpable violation of good faith as no nation ought to be guilty of?

The stipulation for the division of the territory into distinct States, and for their admission into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, would seem to forbid everything on the part of either of the contracting parties calculated to retard or defeat these objects, and evidently contemplated, if it did not absolutely require, all usual and ordinary inducements to settlement and cultivation as means of their accomplishment within a reasonable period.

The stipulation that the lands should be disposed of for the common benefit of all the States, imposed no other obligation, except in so far as it prohibited their being retained in a waste and uncultivated state, than would have existed without it; for had they been acquired by conquest, or in any other way, they could not rightfully have been disposed of, but for the common benefit of the whole nation.


As the citizens of Virginia had the same right to participate in all the advantages of these lands, while they remained in her hands, that the State had, after their transfer to the Union, it is not to be presumed that she either wished or intended, by this stipulation, to restrict the United States in the right to dispose of them in the same manner, and upon the same terms, which she herself had done, since she could not have done so, without an acknowledgment of having committed injustice to her own citizens. Nor is there anything in the whole history of her conduct, from that day to this, to warrant the belief that she ever would have consented that their settlement and cultivation should be discountenanced by legislative enactments, for the sake of promoting domestic manufactures. However allowable or expedient such a policy may be in regard to the Territories of the United States, nothing could be more unreasonable and unjust than its application to that part of the public domain which lies within the new States, The admission of the State into the Union ought to conclude all question as to the expediency of duty of permitting, if not encouraging, settlements co-extensive with its limits. Yet even these, it appears, are to be discountenanced and checked, upon theoretical calculations of increasing the capital of the nation by some more prolific means than agriculture, which are known to have utterly failed in the most distinguished, if not the only, experiment that has been made upon them by any enlightened nation. Nothing could be supposed capable of producing "a more rapid accumulation of capital" than the rich and inexhaustable mines of Spain and her colonies, yet though the most fertile, she has become, by encouraging the manufacture of bullion and coin, and by neglecting agriculture, the poorest country in Europe.

It is not intended by these remarks to make any complaint, individually, against the distinguished gentleman who has been named, and for whose talents, integrity, and patriotism, the highest respect is entertained; nor will it be denied that the present administration of the General Government have fully equalled, if not exceeded, any of their predecessors in the manifestation of a friendly disposition towards our interests. The views disclosed by the remarks that have been quoted from the Secretary's Report, are only alarming from an abundance of concurring proof, afforded by other acts of the Government, that they are not individual, but common to a majority of the nation, and from a just apprehension, thence arising, that they will continue to influence the Government. And even in this point of view, though the experience of their deleterious effects warns us of our duty to use all reasonable means of averting them, or at least of mitigating their severity, it should not betray us into a hasty and uncharitable conclusion that our brethren of other States have been influenced by a deliberate wish or intention to oppress us, or withhold from us any just right. Bound by our honor, duty, and interest, to cherish the utmost cordiality, in all our social and political relations and intercourse with them, the imputation of dishonorable motives would be discreditable to ourselves, and equally betray a want of confidence in the intrinsic merits of our cause. Great allowances are due to a habit of thinking in regard to those lands, which has been so naturally produced by the peculiar circumstances under which they were obtained, and the correctness of which, in its present application to them, has probably never been sufficiently inquired into, investigated, and tested by principle.

When these lands were originally acquired by the United States, they were without the limits of all of them, and all having then precisely the same interest, they were at liberty to dispose of them in any manner whatever that might be thought most to their advantage — since there was no other State to object whose welfare could be checked, or whose sovereignty, freedom, independence or jurisdiction


could be violated or impaired by any disposition of which they were susceptible. The old States appear still to think that the admission of the new ones into the Union, which contain within their limits considerable portions of the public domain, confers no rights that create any restriction or impose any new duties or obligations in reference to the original power and objects of disposing of those parts of the domain. We think differently. The Government appears to think itself under no obligation to encourage their settlement and cultivation; that, it is only bound to sell them for the payment of the public debt; that, in reference to every other object, it may or may not dispose of them, as the particular interest of a majority of the States may seem to require. On the contrary, we contend that our admission into the Union involved an obligation on the part of the Government to permit, if not encourage, the settlement and cultivation, upon reasonable terms, of all lands within our limits. And while we should treat the opinions of our brethren throughout every part of the Union with the utmost deference, we should be wanting in duty to ourselves by forbearing, temperately, firmly, and perseveringly, to insist that these, and all other questions, growing out of our federal relation to the Government, should be decided, not arbitrarily, but upon principle. It is not to be supposed that the Government will not, ultimately, yield to the combined authority of the laws of nature, and of nations, and of the Federal constitution; and if the rights for which we contend cannot be sustained upon principles which they all recognize, we ought to submit, and doubtless will do so cheerfully.

It is contended, on our part, that the Government of the Union is bound, from its nature and objects, as far as its authority legitimately extends, to act upon national principles; to look to the general welfare of the whole Union as a unit; to explore and cultivate every resource of general wealth, power and happiness; to extend the blessings of freedom and independence to all its citizens in whatever part of its territory they may reside; to fulfil all the obligations imposed upon it by the laws of nature and of nations; to provide for its own interests, and leave the States to manage theirs; to respect the just claims of every State without regard to any consequences that are not of Federal cognizance; and to do injustice to none, with a view to promote the interest of others.

If these principles be correct, and they are believed to be undeniable, it follows that the duties they enjoin cannot be neglected or disregarded, to the injury of any State, without violating the essential principles of the Union, and furnishing just cause of complaint. As they necessarily exclude all jurisdiction of the particular interests of all the States, the Government has no authority to provide for or act upon them — no right to be influenced by them. And hence it is no legitimate consideration, that any warranted encouragement to the settlement and cultivation of lands in the new States, might "draw, in an annual stream," inhabitants from the old ones Suppose it should do so, no right is violated; such emigrants generally better their condition, increase their property, render the public lands more valuable, augment the resources and power of the Union, and still continue as much its citizens as before their emigration. Is, then, the Government to withhold from its own free citizens means of pursuing their interest and happiness, to which they are justly entitled, and to forego such benefits to the nation, merely to afford to certain States a protection which they have no right to claim, and which it has as little right to grant. This would indeed be to descend from the elevated objects of its institution, and to degrade itself into a mere guardian of the particular interests of States, and this, too, in direct opposition to those most sacredly committed to its charge.


It would be still less justifiable, and more impolitic and cruel, to withhold such rights from its citizens, and forego such benefits to itself, with a view "to enhance the price of lands" in the old States, since this would be to favor a particular class of citizens only, and would tend to render the multitudes who are without lands, less able to acquire them, and thus make the rich richer, and the poor poorer.

As, however, the measures recommended by the Secretary, with a view to these results, have been adopted by Congress, "our gravest attention may, on this account, be but the more wisely summoned to the consideration of correlative duties, which the existence of such a system, in the heart of the State, imposes." And with this view, let us, with a due consideration "of the magnitude of the interests at stake," and with an "earnest desire to arrive at correct opinions," endeavor to ascertain what right the United States have to the public lands within the limits of this State.

In considering this question, the nature of the Federal and State governments, and their relation to each other and to the people of the United States, should be constantly kept in view. Sovereignty, with all its attributes, being an essential and inherent right of the people, which they may either retain in their own hands or confide to agents, and governments deriving their existence from the will of the people only, it follows that no government can rightfully claim or exercise any powers whatever but such as have been granted it. The Federal and State governments, as essential parts of a great system, and with distinct power which marks the limits of their respective duties, having therefore been instituted by the people, for their common security and welfare, they both derive all their authority to act from the same source, and consequently must, from the nature of things, be, within the respective limits assigned them, as independent of the control of each other, as though they were distinct independent nations — as power which is not inherent, but depends on delegation, can no more exceed the authority given in political than civil affairs. Both are agents, and but agents, of the people, with separate functions equally important and essential to the common safety and happiness. Each possesses the sovereign authority within its own sphere, and none whatever out of it. Neither, therefore, can transcend the limits prescribed for it, nor invade the province of the other, without being guilty of an usurpation, which it would not be less criminal to acquiesce in than to perpetrate. And it should not be forgotten that a State has an equal right with the United States to judge of all such matters — right which, though it should be exercised with great moderation and discretion, can never be surrendered without endangering our liberties. The Constitution of the United States is, at the same time, the evidence of the terms on which they agreed to form their present union, and the instrument by which it was effected; and as it contains the only grants of power to the Federal Government, so it must decide all questions of Federal rights. It might be sufficient to rely upon general principles, and its specific and limited objects, as declared in the Constitution, to show that the Federal Government has no powers but those that have been granted to it. This, however happily, is not left to construction, for the jealous caution of the States, not content with an enumeration of the powers actually granted, but with a determination to prevent, by securing all others of every description in other hands, the possibility of its acquiring any more, insisted on and carried the following amendment to the Constitution, viz: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people,"

As, then, every State in the Union, however it may have got there, may, within its own limits, exercise all the powers of sovereignty that have not been delegated


to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to itself, so the United States can neither possess nor exercise the powers of sovereignty over nineteen twentieths of the territory within the limits of a sovereign and independent State, (as is attempted in this) without being able to show the delegation of such powers to themselves and their prohibition to the State. These must be shown by the Constitution alone — for that being the fundamental law, all the powers of the State and Federal Governments combined are incompetent to change it. All bargains, agreements, compacts or treaties, to abridge the powers thus secured by the Constitution to every State, or to lessen the restriction imposed by it upon those of the United States, are therefore perfect nullities. Nor are they less opposed to the spirit than to the letter of the Constitution. It evidently contemplates a union of co-ordinate, sovereign and independent States, in which each yields and retains precisely the same powers, and in authorizing the admission into the Union of new States, could not have intended that they should be admitted upon any other than terms of perfect equality — since nothing could have been more averse to the principles of the Union, or dangerous to the liberties of the States, than to have permitted the Government of the United States to acquire an undue influence, by peopling at pleasure its immense domain, dividing it into nominal States, introducing into the Union a host of dependent communities, and overruling the original States by those who were not their equals. Nor could the equilibrium of powers, thus established between the State and Federal governments, be altered or destroyed in any other way, without changing the nature of the Union and violating the Constitution. If, then, it does not permit the admission of new States into the Union but upon terms of equality, as to every natural, political and fundamental right, with the old ones, it follows that no bargain, whatever its consideration, or by whomsoever made, can so far change this great fundamental law as to reduce them to a condition of inferiority. The admission of a State into the Union imposes duties as well as confers rights. At the same time that it secures to the new States an equality of powers with the original States, it imposes upon them the same restrictions, obligations and duties, and therefore the Federal Government can no more increase the powers to which the Constitution has restricted it, by a bargain with a new than with an old State; for, as no old State could confer upon that Government any part of the powers "reserved to the States respectively" by the Constitution, so a new State is equally bound to withhold, retain and exercise all its powers. And if the Government of the United States can make no bargain with a State in the Union for a part of its sovereign rights, it can make no such bargain with a State out of the Union, to be executed after its admission into it; for the moment of admission terminates the power of the Government to enforce and the ability of the State to fulfil it, as no State, all of whose officers are sworn to support the Constitution, could permit the Federal Government to usurp and exercise, within its limits, any of the powers of sovereignty not only not delegated but prohibited by that sacred instrument. All bargains, therefore, with the people of a Territory, or other communities, not authorized by the Constitution, or restrictive of the equal rights of a sovereign and independent member of the Union, are, after admission, not only voidable, like civil contracts made during infancy, but absolutely null and void as being incompatible with and repugnant to the fundamental law. Had this State, then, been simply admitted into the Union without any declaration of its equality, the United States could have had no more power to hold lands within its limits than within those of any other State in the Union, and could only then hold them for the same purposes.


Its equality, however, has not been left to encounter the dangers of construction, for on the 3d December, 1818, Congress adopted a resolution, declaratory of its admission into the Union, in the following words:

"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the State of Illinois shall be one and is hereby declared to be one of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever."

Human language does not admit of terms more comprehensive or better adapted to include and secure to the State every right, privilege, power and exemption that could be claimed, in any respect whatever, by an original State, since "equal footing in all respects whatever" necessarily excludes inequality in any respect whatever. And this being an act for the release of the people from the thraldom of a Territorial Government, and investing them with all the rights of free citizens, in pursuance of both the letter and spirit of the Constitution, it is entitled, like all statutes made for the public good, to the most liberal and enlarged interpretation. And hence the preamble to this resolution has no controlling or restraining influence upon it, and ought to be discarded from all consideration in the investigation of this subject.

It is a general rule of construction, that where any doubt arises on the words of an enacting part of a statute, the preamble may be resorted to explain it; but if it be expressed in clear and unambiguous terms, the preamble cannot control it. Referring to the rule of construing statutes by their preamble, it is declared by the highest legal authority "that this rule must not be carried so far as to restrain the general words of an enacting clause, by the particular words of the preamble — and that the general enacting words of a statute are not to be restrained by any words introductory to the enacting words." (6 Wilson's Ba. Abr. 380 — 1.) If such be the rules in regard to a common act of legislation, which may affect only the civil rights of an individual, they are much more essential and important, and cannot be less applicable to a great national act, affecting the entire natural, and political, and fundamental rights of a whole community.

If, however, the preamble to this resolution were not inefficient on this account, there are other considerations that should render it utterly so. The constitution having determined the powers that accrue to a State on admission into the Union, they can neither be increased nor diminished by any subordinate instrument or authority, and, therefore, as no declaration of the terms of admission could increase the powers of a State, so no preamble to an act of admission can restrict or diminish them. As, then, this preamble could not invalidate or repeal the Constitution of the United States, its reference to that of the State, as having been formed in pursuance of the law of Congress and in conformity with the ordinance of '87, should not be considered as a recognition of them, any further than they are consistent with the Constitution of the United States, and, at all events, can give no validity to such parts of them as are repugnant to that paramount authority.

It seems pretty evident, therefore, that this State should be considered as having, in fact, been admitted into the Union on "an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever," and this having been done by Congress, must, thenceforward, operate as a release of the State from all obligations to the United States, inconsistent with its new political condition. It would not, however, be on an equal footing with the original States in a very important respect, if the United States could hold more lands, or hold them for different purposes, within its limits, than theirs, since this would be to subject it to a danger from which they have very prudently exempted themselves. But vastly different and unequal, indeed, would be the


which it would be placed, if, while the United States cannot, without the consent of those States, exercise any jurisdiction over or hold one foot of land, for purpose whatever, within their limits, and even, with their consent, can hold no more than may be necessary "for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings," they may hold and exercise sovereignty over nineteen-twentieths of all the lands within this State, not only without its consent, but in direct opposition to its wishes. But let us see what power has been delegated to Congress in this respect.

By the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution of the United States, it is declared that Congress shall have power "to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased, by the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings."

Now this being the only delegation of power to the United States, in respect to the acquisition of lands within a State, or in respect to the exercise of sovereignty over lands so situated, it could only authorize the acquisition of the one or the exercise of the other, in the cases specified and for the objects declared — even if the amendment of the Constitution, before noticed, had not expressly reserved all powers not granted; for as no such rights could exist without delegated authority to acquire them they can exist only to the extent of the authority conferred.

And hence it seems clear, that as the United States cannot acquire or hold any lands in an original State, even with its consent, except such as may be necessary "for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings," they can hold no more in this State. For, besides its declared equality, it is not less evident from the spirit than the letter of the Constitution, that it is entitled to be on an equal footing, in this particular respect, with each and all of the original States; since, whatever may have been the pecuniary considerations which imposed this restriction upon the power of the United States, they can scarcely be considered less necessary or applicable to a new than to an old State — to a young and feeble, than to an old and powerful member of the Union.

But even for those purposes, the United States never having obtained "the consent of the Legislature of the State," are not, at present, authorized to hold lands within its limits; for as the right to do so has been made to depend upon such consent, it cannot exist without it. And here I do not deem it important to insist upon the distinction between a Territorial Legislature or Convention, and the Legislature of a State, further than as it obviously shows that the Constitution requiring the consent of the Legislature of the State, must have contemplated the consent of a State after its admission into the Union as a member thereof. Indeed, it would seem impossible to doubt that this was the intention, whatever phraseology had been used. For, till admission into the Union, this State was but a Territory of the United States, without any right to object to their acquiring or holding lands wherever they pleased, and whose consent or refusal was equally indifferent. It was only by first becoming a member of the Union and thereby acquiring the right of refusing, that its consent, as a State, in any case, could be obligatory upon itself or of the slightest advantage to others. Till its admission into the Union it had no right as a State, under the Constitution, and consequently no competency to act in that character. It was then, for the first time, that it became a party to the compact or contract of union, and from thenceforward, being bound by its provisions, became entitled to all its benefits without


out any offset in consequence of or reference to anything which it might have previously done in a different character or during its political minority. It cannot, therefore, be said that this State, whatever the dependent people of the late Territory may have done, has ever consented, in the meaning of the Constitution, that the United States should hold lands within its limits, for any purpose whatever. It will hardly be contended that they may, notwithstanding the section of the Constitution above quoted, purchase, without the consent of the Legislature of this State, lands lying within it, "for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;" and if they cannot, without such consent, acquire and hold a small quantity of land for purposes so legitimate and so essential to the common preservation and general welfare, it would, indeed, be a singular anomaly, if they could, against its will, hold millions and millions of acres within the State, for almost every other conceivable purpose. It is therefore contended that, in both these respects, they being necessarily included in "all respects whatever," this State has been admitted into the Union "on an equal footing with the original States."

We will now endeavor, briefly, to consider this subject in reference to the cession made by Virginia — and the terms on which it was accepted by Congress.

On the 10th of October, 1780, the old Congress adopted the following resolution, viz: "Resolved, That the unappropriated lands that may be ceded or relinquished to the United States by any particular State, pursuant to the recommendation of Congress, on the sixth day of September last, shall be disposed of for the common benefit of the United States, and be settled and formed into distinct republican States, which shall become members of the Union, and have the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and independence, as the original States, &c."

Thus invited by Congress and influenced by elevated sentiments of patriotism and magnanimity, Virginia, on the 1st of March, 1784, ceded to the United States the lands in question, on the following, among other terms and conditions, not necessary here to be noticed:

1st. "That the Territory so ceded shall be laid out and formed into States, containing, &c., and that the States so formed shall be distinct republican States, and admitted members of the Federal Union, having the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and independence as the other States."

2d. "That the French and Canadian inhabitants, and other settlers of the Kaskaskias, St. Vincents and the neighboring villages, who have professed themselves citizens of Virginia, shall have their possessions and titles confirmed to them, and be protected in the enjoyment of their rights and liberties."

3d. And "that the lands so ceded shall be considered as a common fund for the use and benefit of such of the United States as have become or shall become members of the Confederation or Federal alliance of the said States, Virginia inclusive, according to their usual respective proportions in the general charge and expenditure, and shall be faithfully and bona fide disposed of for that purpose and for no other use or purpose whatever."

Upon these terms the cession was accepted by Congress; and thus was a compact formed, in relation to the rights of Virginia, the United States, and the then inhabitants of the ceded Territory, obligatory upon the two former by express agreement, and upon the latter by tacit consent. For, as a people transferred by the sovereign authority of a country are not obliged to submit to the new sovereign, but are entitled to the privileges of selling their lands, and removing with their other property elsewhere, so their declining to exercise that privilege implies their consent to the


transfer, makes them parties to the compact, and entitles them to the benefit of all its provisions in their favor. There were, then, three parties to this compact. The moment it became obligatory upon them, each acquired vested rights by it, and no alteration, enlargement or diminution of its terms or conditions could, afterwards, be made but by common consent. The inhabitants of the Territory were, at that time, not less numerous, and, it is believed, were much more so than at the period of the establishment of the temporary government for the "Territory of Illinois." It was those inhabitants that were entitled to the benefits of this compact; and, being so entitled, they cannot, in reason or justice, be considered as losing a particle of their rights, or as coming under any new obligations, in consequence of a constructive agreement with future emigrants, resulting from a supposed acquiescence in any law or ordinance of Congress, not warranted by the terms of the original compact.

Admitting, for argument's sake, the power of Congress to impose conditions upon the settlement of the public lands, still, none could be bound by them, but those who, by settling after they were prescribed, might be presumed to have consented to them; and consequently, they could not impair the vested rights of those who had previously settled under an entirely different state of things.

The inhabitants of the territory, on the 1st of March, 1784, and their descendants, having, therefore, acquired rights by the compact then made, cannot have lost or forfeited them by any implied or even expressed consent of others. Nor could Congress make any agreement with future emigrants or settlers, inconsistent with the rights thus secured or provided for. And hence subsequent settlers, as well as the inhabitants of 1784, are entitled to every political right which that compact authorizes, and are equally free from all restrictions repugnant thereto, since these could not be insisted on, or enforced, without a violation of the political rights of those who had never consented, and were not bound to submit to them. And therefore, all restrictions or limitations prescribed by the ordinance of 1787, not authorized by the compact, ought to be wholly disregarded.

Although none but the civil rights of the inhabitants of 1784 are specially named and provided for, they are not the less entitled, on that account, to every political right and privilege contemplated by the compact; for, had those rights been wholly omitted, and nothing affecting these people included but the single political right of admission into the Union, at a future day, on the terms proposed, it might, indeed, have lessened their motives for submitting to the new sovereign, but not their right of free acceptance or rejection, nor the obligations imposed upon the government by their consent to remain and submit to its authority, on the terms submitted to their decision. They, therefore, had an unqualified right, which the consent of no other persons in the world could impair, to admission into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, and unrestricted by any conditions or limitations to which they themselves had not given their free assent.

If it be said that the stipulation in favor of the new States, as above contended for, it is repugnant to that for disposing of the lands for the common benefit of the United States, let it be conceded — and what does it prove? Why, nothing more than that the latter is repugnant to the former also. And which should a great and magnanimous nation prefer? The one involves the most important natural and political rights of millions of freemen, and the peace and harmony of the whole Union. The other presents a mere question of dollars and cents. The former offers no violation to the spirit or letter of the Constitution, and is calculated to maintain and strengthen the vital principles of the Union, which, like gravitation in the material world, are intended to confine the State and Federal Governments


in their respective spheres. The latter is calculated to sap the foundations of the present system of government, destroying the equilibrium of powers, established by the Constitution, between the State and Federal authorities; and by bringing into the Union dependent States, liable to undue influence, and fit instruments in the hands of the latter for increasing its powers, and usurping the rights of the States. The surrender of the public lands to the States in which they lie, for the purpose of promoting their settlement and cultivation, though possibly not the most profitable mode of disposing of them, would, nevertheless, be a disposition of them for the common benefit of the nation; since, as has been already shown, this would be a means of multiplying its commercial resources and augmenting its power, and, therefore, would not, in fact, amount to a violation of the compact. On the other hand, to deny the new States a perfect equality with the old ones, would equally violate the letter of the compact, and the fundamental principles of the Government. It cannot, then, be doubtful which ought to be preferred.

But whatever difficulties ingenuity, or the love of property, may suggest, the case itself presents none. Neither party has a right to insist upon one of these stipulations, to the exclusion of the other. Both were clearly within the intentions of the contracting parties, and equally derive all obligatory force from their will. They should, therefore, according to an established rule of construction, which has never been questioned by any enlightened individual, receive such an interpretation as to render them consistent with each other. And this can only be done by limiting the dominion of the United States over those lands, or the power of disposing of them, to all that period of time preceding the admission of the State into the Union; in other words, to its political minority. And this would, from the very nature of things, seem to be the case, had simple admission been provided for, without any express agreement as to its terms, or the rights to be conferred by it. But seeing that it is expressly declared, that the new States shall be "admitted members of the Federal Union, having the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence, as the other States," it is difficult to conceive any plausible ground to contend that an undefined discretionary power of disposing of the lands, and which has been exercised with great latitude, authorizes a restriction of these States to inferior or fewer rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence, than those of the original States.

As, then, this State is clearly entitled, by the compact, to this equality of rights, with the original States, it can only be necessary to show that their complete and exclusive dominion over all public lands within their limits, is a right of their sovereignty, freedom and independence, to entitle this State to the same right to all the public lands within its limits. For this purpose, then, let us inquire a little into the nature and objects of those rights. And here it may not be altogether useless to notice a strange misconception, which has regarded the stipulation embracing them as securing the civil rights of the people of the late Territory and present State, when, in fact, they are only political rights, which, instead of affording the supposed protection, include as well the power of destroying as protecting civil rights. Being applicable only to communities, and not to individuals, they will be considered in that point of view exclusively.

The sovereignty of a State includes the right to exercise supreme and exclusive control over all lands within it. The freedom of a State is the right to do whatever may be done by any nation, and particularly, includes the right to dispose of all public lands within its limits, according to its own will and pleasure. The independence


of a State includes an exemption from all control by any other State or over its will, or action, within its own territory. Now, just so much and so many of these rights as any of the States of the Union possess, this State is entitled to, by express agreement. How, then, did Virginia acquire her right to the very lands in question? She never bought, or paid a cent for them; cannot be said to have obtained them by conquest; and had no other title to them than such as resulted from her sovereignty, freedom and independence. The right of any State or Nation to the public lands that lie within it, is not only a right of independence, but is inseparable from it; for complete independence cannot exist without it. And this right is always the same, by whatsoever means independence may have been effected.

But let us hear Vattel on the subject. He says, "the whole space over which a nation extends its government, is the seat of its jurisdiction, and called its territory." (p. 157)

"Everything susceptible of property is considered as belonging to the nation that possesses the country, and as forming the entire mass of its wealth." (p. 168.)

"The right which belongs to the society, or to the sovereign, of disposing, in case of necessity, and for the public safety, of all the wealth contained in the State, is called the eminent domain" (p. 171.) "which is nothing but the domain of the body of the nation, or of the sovereign who represents it; (and) is everywhere considered inseparable from the sovereignty." (p. 226.)

"The general domain of the nation over the lands it inhabits is naturally connected with the empire. Thus we have already observed that in possessing a country, the nation is presumed to possess at the same time its government. We shall here proceed farther, and show the natural connection of these two rights in an independent nation. How should it govern itself, at its pleasure, in the country it inhabits, if it cannot truly and absolutely dispose of it? And how shall it have full and absolute dominion of the place, in which it has no command? Another's sovereignty, and the right it comprehends, must take away its freedom of disposal." (p. 226.)

"Sovereignty is that public authority which commands in civil society, and directs what each is to perform to obtain the ends of its institution. It is solely established for the safety and advantage of society, (p. 69.) Every sovereignty, properly so called, is in its nature one and indivisible." (p. 83.)

"The empire united to the domain establishes the jurisdiction of the nation in its territories, or the country that belongs to it. It is that, or its sovereign, who is to exercise justice in all the places under his obedience, to take cognizance of the crimes committed, and the differences that arise in the country." (p. 226.)

"Every nation that governs itself, without any dependence on foreign power, is a sovereign State. To give a nation a right to make an immediate figure in this grand society (of nations) it is sufficient if it be really sovereign and independent, that is, it must govern itself by its own authority and laws." (p. 58.)

It would be a waste of time to attempt to enlarge upon these clear and well defined rights of a sovereign and independent State. The several States of the Union would possess them absolutely and unconditionally, but for the grant of a part of them to the United States. They should, therefore, be considered as retaining all that they have not so parted with. They have, however, an additional security for their enjoyment, in an expressed exclusion of the United states from all interference with them. Besides the right of this State to the equality contended for, upon those general principles, the express agreement that it should have


the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence, with other States, will not admit of a doubt that it is entitled to hold the same relation to the United States; to be equally independent of their control; to have the same exclusive jurisdiction, the same right to govern itself, and the same freedom of disposing of the public lands within its limits. For, if it have not these, what rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence has it? And how are they to be ascertained?

Having thus endeavored to show, from the Constitution of the United States, the resolution of admission into the Union, the compact with Virginia, and the laws of nations, that this State is entitled to all the public lands within its limits, I proceed to notice the only section of the Constitution of the United States that is supposed to afford the least countenance to their claim to or authority over these lands. This is the third section of the fourth article, and is in the following words:

"Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory, or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States or of any particular State."

It might be a sufficient answer to every argument that has been or can be predicated upon this section, to show, that one of the most enlightened tribunals in this or any other country has, on mature consideration, decided that it has no application to the case in question, but that it "is clearly adapted to the territorial rights of the United States, beyond the limits or boundaries of any of the States, and to their chattel interests." (17 Johnson's Reports, 223.)

But, if I have been fortunate enough to establish my positions, it follows, that Congress, by admitting the State into the Union, have released the claim of the United States to all lands that lie within it, as effectually as could have been done by any deed of release or conveyance whatever; and, consequently, that nothing is left for this section to operate upon.

It has been shown, that the whole space over which the Government of the State is extended, is technically called and legally considered its territory and the seat of its jurisdiction; consequently no part of this space can be the territory of the United States — since, as the right of the one necessarily excludes that of the other, it cannot belong to both at the same time. And therefore, as everything else in this section relates to mere chattels, it has no relevancy to the present question — the right of the United States to hold lands, with jurisdiction over them, within the limits of a sovereign and independent State.

Involving no question as to the means of acquiring, or the right to hold, territory anywhere, but assuming the right, the power thus granted simply authorizes Congress to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations concerning territory to which the United States are entitled. Although it neither decides nor affords any means of ascertaining what shall be so considered, it may, nevertheless, assist to demonstrate, that the United States have no right to claim, as their own, any part of the Territory of this State, for as this power applies to all territory of the United States, without exception, none can be claimed as such that is not as subject to its operation as any other. Whatever, therefore, terminates the power of Congress over any territory of the United States, must, at the same time, divest them of all right to it. This section has been long and uniformly considered as authorizing, and even rendering necessary, the establishment of Territorial Governments. If, then, the United States have the right to the territory they claim in this


State, Congress have a correspondent power to exercise the rights of sovereignty, and to establish a Territorial Government, co-extensive with it. And thus, instead of that equality with our sister States, with which we had flattered ourselves, we should be reduced to the twentieth part of a State, with little detatched spots of sovereignty to be ascertained only by going to the Land Offices, and hunting for the quarter and half quarter sections of lands represented on the plats, with the letter "P" marked on them. As domain and empire are inseparable, so if the territory in question belongs to the United States, they have the exclusive right to govern it, and if they have not this right, the territory cannot belong to them. Both rights must concur or neither can exist. If this be not the case, what powers of sovereignty may not the United States exercise over this domain? Where is the limit? And to what principle is it referable? "The full domain is necessarily a proper and exclusive right." (Vattel 225) "Sovereignty gives the empire, or right of commanding in all places of the country belonging to the nation." (Vattel 172.) As this is, in its nature, an exclusive right, it cannot belong to the United States and to this State, at one and the same time. If it belong to them, they cannot confer it upon us. If we are entitled to it, we cannot surrender it to them; for, it is not less true in political than civil laws, that delegated powers cannot be transferred. "Every true sovereignty is unalienable in its own nature." (Vattel 87.) Georgia did not, as has been said, alienate any part of her sovereignty to the United States; she did what it belongs to a sovereign and independent nation to do: she disposed of a part of her territory, and lessened her boundaries, but, as a State, remained as sovereign and independent as ever. And this is the only way by which Congress can acquire a right to exercise any of the powers of sovereignty over the domain which lies within this State. We must exclude it from our boundaries, and limit them to the spots designated by the letter "P."

If these positions be correct, and they are supported by the highest authorities, they cannot be deliberately and duly considered, without presenting, in fearful array, consequences of vast importance in relation to the past, to every well informed, intelligent and reflecting mind. Every future advance upon the principles that have hitherto prevailed, will increase and aggravate them; and however much present power may be disposed to overlook or disregard them, the sagacious politician will perceive that the time is rapidly advancing which will give a new tone to public sentiment in regard to such matters; and that right, whatever it may be, will ultimately be too vigorously and powerfully insisted on, to be safely resisted. But without looking to the past, for I shall not be the first to bring the subjects alluded to into view, let us inquire a little more particularly into the powers which Congress may exercise, if the United States still hold "all right, title and claim, as well of soil as jurisdiction," to the public lands within this State. In this case, Congress has the power to deprive us of the poor privileges of feeding our flocks hunting upon their lands, and of fishing and fowling upon their waters; to erect highways, bridges, and causeways, exact heavy tolls for passing over them, and restrain us from passing any other way; to build mills, and demand what toll they please, or to prevent their erection altogether; to establish and regulate manufactories; to erect public granaries, regulate the price of provisions, monopolize the market, and manage everything with a mercantile spirit; to prevent the settlement and cultivation of their lands, or rent them at pleasure; to exempt their tenants from taxation, militia duty, serving on juries, working on the roads, and all other responsibility to our laws; and, in short, to extend their exclusive authority over


all persons and things within their limits, and in certain cases, by virtue of incidental powers, even into our little spots of sovereignty.

If they have not all these powers they have none, in virtue of the right of jurisdiction. The exercise of one is, therefore, a claim to all, and a claim to that demands a dispassionate and respectful, but fearless and scrutinizing investigation. Such a monstrous anomaly could not have been intended by the enlightened statesmen and venerated patriots to whom we are indebted for our present system of government; nor is it to be readily believed that they have subjected us to it. And such would seem to be the opinion of the Supreme Court of New York, who, in a very celebrated case, uses the following impressive language: "We regard it as a fundamental principle, that the rights of sovereignty are never to be taken away by implication. We are of opinion that the right of exclusive legislation within the territorial limits of any State can be acquired by the United States only in the mode pointed out in the Constitution: by purchase, by consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings."

It is not denied that one state or nation may hold lands within the territories of another, and this is presumed to be the case with some of the States of this Union; but lands so held are subject to the jurisdiction and all the rights of eminent domain that belong to the State in which they lie, and, therefore, may be appropriated to public use or taxed as the lands of an individual. Nor can they be even exempted from taxation, but in virtue of such stipulations as Congress has no power to enter into. According to Vattel, "the useful domain, or the domain reduced to the rights that may belong to a particular person in the State, may be separated from the Empire — and nothing prevents the possibility of its belonging to a nation, in the places that are not under its obedience. Thus many sovereigns have fiefs and other properties in the lands of another prince — they therefore possess them in the manner of individuals." If, then, the United States could possess lands within the limits of any State, they would be subject to its sovereignty, not theirs. But as the Constitution does not permit them to hold land so situated, for any other purpose than the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings, they cannot hold the lands in question, even in the manner of individuals. And if they could, they would be subject to taxation. Nor is there anything in our compact with them to prevent it, particularly if, as the law books say, the expression of one thing is the exclusion of another. The only stipulation in this compact that has any reference to that matter, is in the following words: "That every and each tract of land sold by the United States, from and after the first day of January, 1819, shall remain exempt from any tax laid by order or under any authority of the State, whether for State, county or township, or any other purpose whatever, for the term of five years, from and after the day of sale; and further, that the bounty lands granted or hereafter to be granted for military services during the late war shall, while they continue to held by the patentees or their heirs, remain exempt, as aforesaid, from all taxes for the term of three years, from and after the date of the patents respectively, and that all lands belonging to citizens of the United States, residing without the said State, shall never be taxed higher than lands belonging to persons residing therein."

The exemptions thus provided for, apply, not to lands of the United States, but to such only as shall have ceased to be their property; and if the domain actually belong to them, there would be nothing inconsistent in taxing it while in their hands, and exempting it from taxation for a limited period afterwards — for, while the latter might afford encouragement to purchase, the former would not be less efficient in producing


a willingness to sell, and thus, coöperating, they might be amongst the most effectual means of promoting the settlement and cultivation of vast bodies of fertile lands, that now lie waste and useless. But though the power of taxation is one of the unquestionable rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence which belong to the State, and which Congress has no power to control, it is not to be believed that the State would ever exercise unjustly, even for the purpose of producing results so desirable. But I forbear to press this subject, from a perfect conviction that the United States have neither the right of soil nor of jurisdiction to the lands in question, nor to any part of them, but that they all belong to the State.

* * The surrender of the lands to the States in which they lie is the only means of effectually quieting the public mind. In this event the States would doubtless grant liberal donations to actual settlers, dispose of the balance on moderate terms, and appropriate the proceeds thereof to the making of internal improvements; and thus the beneficence of the nation would be turned to its own advantage by providing for and rendering most useful to itself its own poor citizens, facilitating intercourse between its various parts, strengthening the cords, of union, and increasing its resources and power. * * Upon the whole subject of the public lands, it seems desirable that the General Assembly should transmit to Congress a respectful memorial, representing their views of the right of the State to those lands, and asking their surrender upon equitable terms. Whatever strict legal right might give us, yet I do not think we ought to wish to obtain those lands but upon the principle of assuming the obligations of the United States to the Indians and paying all the lands have cost. * * I honestly believe the State is entitled to all the public lands within its limits. My former message and this address, taken together, show my reasons for entertaining that opinion. I may be wrong; and shall always treat the opinion of others, who differ with me, with all the respect that becomes a gentleman.

The Legislature almost unanimously sustained him in their memorial to Congress on the subject. Gov. Edwards was not, however, the first to assert this right. Gen. Smyth, an eminent statesman of Virginia, in a speech delivered in Congress, in 1823, asks, "is it certain that admitting a new State into the Union, on an equal footing, in all respects, with the original States, would not vest in the State the domain? Would it not operate like an acknowledgment of a colony?"

In May, 1826, Mr. Tazewell, Senator of Virginia, offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That it is expedient for the United States to cede and surrender to the several States within whose limits the same may be situated, all the right, title and interest of the United States to any lands lying and being within the boundaries of such States, respectively, upon such terms and conditions as may be consistent with the due observance of the public faith and with the general interest of the United States.

And in 1828, he (Mr. T.) proposed that the lands "remaining unsold after having been offered at twenty-five cents per acre, shall be ceded to the State in which the same may lie, to be applied by the Legislature thereof in support of education and the internal improvement of the State."


General Jackson, in his message in 1833, recommended the reduction of the price of the public lands, and that the lands remaining unsold after having been offered for sale for a certain number of years, "shall be abandoned to the States, and the machinery of our land system entirely withdrawn." The State of Indiana, through her Legislature, also instructed her Senators in Congress to assert her right to the lands within her limits. A Senator from Michigan, and also a Senator from Arkansas, as late as in 1841, asserted the same right to the lands within the limits of their respective States; and Mr. Clay, in his speech (in 1842) on the preemption bill, says that Mr. Calhoun's bill to cede away, "without any just or certain equivalent, more than a billion of acres of public land" to the States in which the lands were situated, received the vote of seventeen Senators.

It will be seen that the discussion of this question by Gov. Edwards notwithstanding the statement of Gov. Ford that the claim was asserted without any confidence in its validity, has resulted in securing to the new States large grants of lands for internal improvements, and a surrender of the refuse — the swamp lands — to the States in which they were situated.

Whilst making a speech on the Missouri question, in consequence of a very sore throat he was unable to proceed with his remarks — on which occasion he received a complimentary note from Mr. Randolph, in which he expressed great regret at his inability to finish his speech, which, from the commencement, promised to do him so much credit. He had a very important agency in bringing about the compromise which resulted in terminating the controversy in regard to the admission of Missouri into the Union. Although the proviso which passed was proposed by Jesse B. Thomas, his colleague in the Senate, it was the result of a conference of public men, before whom it was introduced by Senator Edwards in the form in which it finally passed.

The following is a sketch of the remarks made by him on the bill for the admission of Missouri into the Union:

MR. PRESIDENT: Having long been out of the habit of public speaking, and finding myself unable to command that composure of mind and self-possession which are so essential to the investigation of a subject as important as the one now under consideration, I should leave the discussion of it to gentlemen who are infinitely more competent to do justice to it, were it not that my silence might seem to sanction the imputation of an honorable gentleman who has thought proper to express the opinion, that, by my vote of Friday last, which I thought it my duty to give, I had abandoned the interest of the non slave-holding States of the West.

If such a suggestion be well founded, nothing can be more certain than that I have not been misled by personal considerations; for, my permanent residence and the most of my property being in one of those States, and holding a seat in this house by the kind partiality of the citizens thereof, which I have also often experienced on other occasions, and for which no one could be more thankful, I should


be unjust to myself, ungrateful to them, and equally regardless of the dictates of interest and duty, were I not anxiously disposed to promote the best interest of the State which I have the honor in part to represent.

Were I to consult my popularity only, I well know that it would be much easier to swim with than to resist, the present popular current, which threatens to overall opposition, and to deluge the non slave-holding States of the West, with what I consider, with all due deference to the opinions of other gentlemen, political heresies, replete with mischiefs calculated to impair their present as well as future prosperity and happiness.

Sir, I love popularity so well, that I would gladly retain it by the utmost devotion to the interests of my constituents; but I would far rather surrender all pretensions to it, than preserve it at the expense of my conscience. I respect public sentiment as much as any man, and should at all times derive the sincerest gratification from being able to discharge the trust confided to me, in strict conformity with the wishes of those whom I have the honor to represent — but never can I consent to shelter myself even from the tempest and hurricane of popular excitement, by a violation of that Constitution which I, as well as the gentlemen from New Hampshire, (Mr. Morrill,) have solemnly sworn to support. But more of this by and by.

Were an attempt made to introduce slavery into the non slave-holding States of the West, then, indeed, might there be just cause of alarm; and I can assure gentlemen that there is no man who would oppose such a proposition with more determined zeal than myself. But, taking for granted what I shall presently endeavor to prove, that neither the slave-holding States nor any of us who oppose the proposed restriction upon Missouri, are influenced by a desire to increase slavery in the United States, and that the proposed restriction is not necessary to prevent, nor its omission calculated to augment the importation of fresh slaves, it is inconceivable to me how the interest of the non slave-holding States of the West can be compromised by the admission of domestic slaves into Missouri, more than to permit them to remain in the States where they now are; for, if that portion of political power which, under the Constitution, arises from the slavery that now exists, is to be deprecated and dreaded at all, surely it cannot be worse for us, in the hands of those whose identity of interest with ourselves affords additional security against its influence being exerted to our disadvantage. As yet, we have had no cause to regret that a portion of such power has been transferred from some of the Southern States to Kentucky and Tennessee, whose sympathies, friendship and assistance have never been withheld from us in the hour of need. Our experience, therefore, furnishes nothing to cause us to dread the influence of a similar transfer of power to Missouri.

For my part, considering every part of the Western country identified in interest, that its domestic improvements, commercial prosperity, and political influence, cannot fail to be promoted by every increase of population, it does appear to me to be in the interest of every State in the West, that fair and equal inducements to emigration thither should be afforded to the citizens of every section of the Union, whether slave-holding or non slave-holding. But, in opposition to this very obvious policy, with an extent of territory greatly beyond the demands of every description emigrants, and affording infinitely more than sufficient accommodation for all, without any necessity for collisions of interest, feelings, or prejudices, between them we are called upon to check the emigration of our Southern brethren, by those who dread our growth, and would gladly put an entire stop to emigration from every other quarter. And thus are we invited to let lay waste and uninhabited


an immense frontier of our country, rather than permit it to be occupied by our Southern brethren, who certainly would not be less our friends by becoming our neighbors.

There are other considerations of vital importance to the Union in general, and to the Western country in particular, which I purposely forbear to press, because I do not wish to excite any unpleasant feelings, am anxious to cherish harmony, and most ardently hope that some compromise may take place which will satisfy the reasonable wishes of all parties.

Mr. President, in attempting to discuss the present proposition, it is not my purpose to advocate slavery in any shape, or to deny that, in its mildest form, it is equally inconsistent with the inherent rights of man, and repugnant to every principle of humanity and philanthropy. On the contrary, I rejoice most sincerely, that an increasing sense of its moral injustice and turpitude, and the happy prevalence of more enlightened and magnanimous views throughout every part of our common country, as well as in various other parts of the civilized world, are eliciting the most zealous efforts not only to prevent its extension, but to ameliorate its present condition, which, with the blessing of Divine Providence, I trust will, in due season, eventuate in its final extermination.

The present subject of discussion surely is not the expediency of increasing slavery in the United States by importations from Africa or elsewhere — nor is it a question of slavery or freedom — and it does not appear to me to be consistent with candor, to attempt to give to it the imposing and delusive aspect of either. And how much soever such an artifice may be resorted to in other places, for the purpose of rendering popular feelings and prejudices subservient to political views, I felicitate myself in the firm conviction that such unworthy motives can receive no countenance from this honorable body, and that every member of the Senate would disdain to impute to others sentiments which he does not believe them to entertain.

Were it, in fact, a question whether the further introduction of slavery into the United States, by importation from abroad, should be permitted, the universal abhorrence in which a practice so disgraceful to humanity is held by all classes of our fellow-citizens, and the cordial cooperation of gentlemen from every section of the Union, particularly at the last session of Congress, in measures to prohibit it, forbid the belief that such a measure could find one advocate or friend in this house; nor can there be a doubt that we would all cheerfully unite in such further legitimate means as experience may demonstrate to be necessary to render such prohibition complete and effectual, which I have no doubt is perfectly praticable.

All of us, therefore, entertaining the same abhorrence and repugnance to the further introduction and increase of slavery, the only point of difference between us relates to the slaves that are now amongst us; and as it is conceded, on air sides, that Congress possesses no power to abolish the slavery that now exists, it follows that the question of slavery or freedom is not involved in the present proposition, and that an opposition to the restriction that is attempted to be imposed upon the sovereignty and independence of a State, may well exist without any predilection for slavery — should our opposition prevail, the new State, notwithstanding, like all others in this Union, would be left perfectly free to abolish slavery, and I am very ready to admit that she would consult her best interest by doing so.

I have, Mr. President, viewed, with feelings of the deepest regret, attempts that have been made to excite local and sectional jealousies, particularly against the slave-holding States, upon this subject, in their nature but too well calculated to sap the


foundation of that spirit of conciliation which produced this great confederacy, and to interrupt that social harmony and mutual friendship and confidence, which are so essential to maintain and strengthen the bonds of our union.

Experience teaches us that it is much more easy to produce popular discontent, than to limit its operation and influence to the, first exciting causes; and if the proposed restriction upon Missouri is to be carried by arraying popular prejudices in hostility to one principle of compromise, that contributed, in no small degree, to produce our present happy Union, is it not to be feared that it may be difficult to limit that hostility by anything short of the power to assail that principle with success? And if an inequality in the apportionment of representatives in the other branch of the National Legislature, with a correspondent obligation to pay direct taxes in proportion thereto, is to be rendered obnoxious to our fellow-citizens, what security is there that the representation in this house, which, without any such correspondent obligation and without regard to numbers, reduces the largest States in this Union to a level with the smallest, will share a better fate?

I confess, sir, that, while I cannot perceive that the present subject of deliberation furnishes any adequate motives for those attempts at popular excitement, I cannot contemplate them without being penetrated with the most awful apprehensions for the fate of that fair fabric of our freedom which has hitherto been not more our boast than the admiration of the civilized world. Upon what ground, sir, are those jealousies of our brethren of the slave-holding States predicated? Take, for example, if you please, the case of Virginia, the largest of those States. Does she wish the extension of slavery? Let her known conduct decide.

While yet a colony of Great Britain she distinguished herself preeminently by a noble, magnanimous and persevering stand against it, and enumerated its toleration in the list of grievances, of which she so forcibly and eloquently complained against the mother country. True to the principles she professed, she was the first State in the Union to set the example of efficient opposition to a traffic in human flesh, so disgraceful to our country and so abhorrent to the principles for which we ourselves contended, by passing a law to prohibit it, by severe penalties, as early as the year 1778, in which she has steadfastly persevered from that time to the present day; nor has she ever, on any occasion, been less prompt in assisting to interpose the shield of Federal authority to protect the devoted sons of Africa from such ruthless oppression.

Having thus, by the most unequivocal acts, so demonstrated the sincerity of her professions upon this subject, as to extort the highest commendation from the most distinguished advocates of the proposed restriction, and deploring, as she must do, the evils of slavery, what reason have we to suppose that she is now disposed to relinquish those principles and abandon a policy, which, to her honor, she has, for such a series of years, pursued with inflexible perseverence, and the wisdom of which is daily more and more developed? No, sir, depend upon it, Virginia knows too well what she owes to her own character, ever to descend from the proud preeminence which she has acquired upon this subject.

The rest of the slave-holding States have also given such proofs of their decided hostility to the further introduction of slavery among us, as to leave no ground for even the affectation of incredulity upon the subject.

As then those States, equally with ourselves, are opposed to the further increase of slavery in the United States, so, with them as with us, the only subject of controversy which the proposed restriction presents, relates exclusively to the slaves that are now among them. And can they have any motives for opposing that restriction


which are not truly national and strictly compatible with the principles of our confederation? If they had heretofore desired to increase their political power, and aggrandize themselves upon the basis of a slave population, would they themselves have voluntarily inhibited the importation of slaves, and united in every means which the wisdom of the national councils has yet been able to devise, for its prevention? Were they now even tenacious of that portion of political power which they derive from the slavery that exists among them, would they be the advocates of a measure calculated to diminish that power, by its tendency to abstract from them and transfer to a different and distant section of the Union a large portion of their slaves? And let it be remembered that to impute to them a desire merely to diminish the number of their slaves, is to admit the most conclusive evidence of their opposition to the increase of slavery, which is the point I have endeavored to maintain.

So far, therefore, from those States being actuated by the motives which, for particular purposes, have been attributed to them, it must be evident that the principles for which they contend are calculated not only to diminish the power of their respective States, but to promote the abolition of slavery itself — for in proportion as you permit the slaves now among us be disbursed, so do you diminish their relative numbers to the white population in any one State, and to that extent, at least, increase their chances of emancipation, as is evinced by the experience of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, &c., and which is also conceded by the supposition that the prohibition of the further admission of slaves into Missouri would be favorable to the emancipation of those who are now there, which seems to be a favorite sentiment with a gentleman (Mr. King of New York) of preeminent talents, who has distinguished himself by his zealous and able support of the proposed restriction, and who admits that a disposition more favorable to emancipation is gaining ground in the States where slavery exists, that the disproportionate increase of free people of color can be accounted for upon no other supposition, and that whatever would tend to provide more satisfactorily for the comfort and morals of emancipated slaves, would increase the practice of emancipation — to all which I yield the most hearty concurrence.

It cannot, however, be denied that the difficulties and dangers attendant upon emancipation, in any State, must be in proportion to the number of slaves therein; and it is well known that several of the States have considered emancipation so incompatible with their domestic safety and tranquillity, as to feel the necessity of absolutely prohibiting it, which is a policy that it is not presumable they will abandon. While, therefore, confining the slaves to those States is calculated to render their bondage perpetual, it must be acknowledged that their dispersion into different sections of the Union would remove many of the most important objections to emancipation, at the same time that it would increase the means of providing more satisfactorily for the comfort and morals of those unhappy beings, and would cherish (by rendering more availing) that increasing disposition to emancipation which imparts so much consolation to every true philanthropist.

The honorable gentleman from New Hampshire (Mr. Morrill), whose eloquent denunciations of slavery we heard on yesterday, and who portrayed its evils and injustice in the most appalling colors, supports the proposed restriction on the ground that, if those unhappy victims of oppression were permitted to be carried to Missouri, their natural increase would be greater — in consequence, I suppose, of the amelioration of their condition and the multiplication of their comforts. But, without pretending to analyze that species of philanthropy which would seek to terminate


oppression by the destruction of the oppressed — or that bleeds for suffering humanity, and yet recoils at any alleviation of such sufferings — I beg leave to express my doubts whether there are any known facts that will justify the gentleman's hypothesis itself.

It is readily admitted that the condition of the slaves in the West would be improved; but at a time when, as all sides admit, the influence of our free institutions and the progress of public sentiment, have contributed, in an eminent degree, to mitigate the rigors of slavery in all parts of our country where it exists, it is hardly to be presumed that the difference of the treatment of slaves in the Western and Atlantic States would be such as to produce any material difference in their natural increase. Not only would the obvious interest of the Atlantic slave-holders forbid the practice of that severe and cruel treatment that would be necessary to produce such a result, but the abundance of subsistence which every part of our country affords, and the well established fact that slaves increase faster than the white population in slave-holding States, or free people of color anywhere, altogether negative such a supposition. Nor is it better supported by any calculation upon the relative increase of slave population in the Atlantic or Western States, which makes due allowances for the effects of emigration upon the latter. But were it otherwise, as it is fully demonstrated, by undeniable documents, that free people of color do not increase by pro-creation as fast as slaves, and as the dispersion of the latter over a greater surface would, under existing circumstances, multiply their chances of freedom, it is but reasonable to suppose that, upon the whole, it would not only tend eventually to diminish slavery, but to check the increase of our black population generally.

But, sir, the honorable gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Mellen), who has just resumed his seat, assuming the ground that wherever a market for domestic slaves exists, the introduction of foreign slaves cannot be prevented, has contended that, if the proposed restriction should not prevail, African slaves will be introduced into Missouri. In support of which, great reliance has been placed upon a few cases, much magnified however, of their unlawful introduction into certain parts of our country, which were principally, if not exclusively, attributable to causes merely temporary.

In opposition to the conclusions he has drawn from a special case, we may with propriety recur to facts and experience better calculated to test the correctness of his general proposition. It will not, I presume, be denied, that as good a market for domestic slaves as is ever likely to recur has existed in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, etc., where the facilities of introducing foreign slaves are as great as could be desired; and yet, it is believed that the experience of those States furnishes nothing to justify the inferences that have been so confidently insisted upon, or, at most, nothing more than a mere apology for such inferences.

Cases, however, more analogous in all their circumstances to that of Missouri, as far as experience can be relied upon, are ample refutation of the argument I am endeavoring to combat. Slavery has never been prohibited in Kentucky or Tennessee, where slaves have been in constant demand; and yet, although I have lived many years in the former, and have long been intimately acquainted with both, I have never heard of the introduction of a single African into either, contrary to law, and hence I think it fair to infer that either the practice has never prevailed in those States, or that the instances of it have been so rare as rather to demonstrate the efficiency of the law to prohibit it, than to justify the apprehensions which the honorable gentleman seems to entertain.


There are Western States, in the proximity of Missouri, nearer, however, to the ocean, and possessing equal facilities, at least, for the introduction of foreign slaves. And if, with a constant market for slaves, offering the most seducing temptations to avarice and cupidity, either very few or no violations of the law, upon that subject, have heretofore occurred in those States, is it reasonable to suppose or does any gentlemen really believe that the proposed restriction would materially affect the number of Africans that, by possibility, may be smuggled into the United States?

It cannot be denied that public sentiment has been progressive upon this subject. It is admitted by the friends of the restriction upon Missouri that the evils of slavery have been so constantly unfolding themselves, as to cause it to be more and more deplored, even in the States where it exists, and that an abhorrence of the practice is gaining ground in every part of our own country; and hence I should infer that we have more reason to hope for a diminution of the evil than cause to dread its increase, even if the prohibition of the importation of slaves were left to depend upon the law that existed previous to the last session of Congress. But seeing that nearly all Europe, animated by more just and enlightened views and generous feelings, is endeavoring to extirpate that nefarious traffic, and, having imparted additional energies to our own laws for the same purpose, I flatter myself that, with the additional aid of public sentiment in favor of those measures, the danger of introducing Africans into Missouri is not less than it has been in relation to Kentucky and Tennessee, but that it is wholly chimerical and visionary.

Upon this view of the subject it does appear to me that we, who on the present occasion are the advocates of State rights, cannot, with any kind of fairness, be charged with either a desire to increase slavery or with any predilection for that which exists. And if the proposed restriction is not necessary to prevent the importation of foreign slaves, it follows that the admission of slavery into Missouri is neither calculated to abridge the power of the non slave-holding States, nor to increase that inequality in the apportionment of representation which depends upon our slave population; for whether those slaves be in Georgia or Missouri they must be included in the apportionment of representation, and whatever power they might confer upon Missouri would be just so much abstracted from the States whence they came. And as an inequality of representation thus produced must necessarily prevail so long as the Constitution remains unaltered, I am constrained to believe that the transfer of a portion of that advantage to Missouri would be as harmless, at least to the non slave-holding States of the West, as to let it remain consolidated, with all its influence, on this side of the Alleghany. And, indeed, although I should greatly regret to see the State which I have the honor in part to represent participate in it, yet it does appear to me that the more it is divided (without increasing it) among those States that wish to receive it, the less will be its evils and the greater the facility and certainty of controlling any sinister influence which it might produce.

Mr. Edwards remarked, that, having endeavored so far to strip the subject of the artifices with which it had most dexterously been clothed, he would next proceed to submit to the Senate the reasons which induced him to believe that the proposed restriction could not be imposed upon Missouri without a violation of the Constitution. He had, however, made but a few remarks upon this branch of the subject, when he observed that he found speaking so painful, in consequence of a very sore throat, with


which he had for some time past been afflicted, that it was impossible for him, at that time, to proceed; and expressing a wish to have the indulgence of the Senate to be heard on a future day, he resumed his seat.

In the year 1821 he spoke of retiring from public life, but was dissuaded from doing so by the advice of Mr. Wirt and others of his friends. Mr. Wirt wrote to him as follows, on this subject: "With regard to your determination to retire from public life, I should consider myself a traitor in friendship, if I do not say, in spite of your injunction to the contrary, that I consider you as standing in your own light, in coming to that resolution, and as committing suicide. No man, who has been for so short a time in Congress, has more hopeful or brilliant prospects than you have. This is only a shadow that flits across your path — why should you mistake it for eternal night? If you are right in your view of things, the rectitude of that view will ere long appear, and your political sun will break out with redoubled lustre. Were I constituted for public life as I believe you to be (with the exception, I fear, of a little too much sensibility), neither the machinations of enemies nor the mistakes of friends should lead me to devote myself to voluntary obscurity. Consult your wise and excellent father and let him decide — by whom I would rather be directed, after he knows the whole ground, than by a whole battalion of congressmen."

Mr. Calhoun, in a letter dated in 1823, speaks of Gov. Edwards as follows: "Believing that you possess qualities which are well calculated to advance the interest and honor of the country, on a foreign mission, I would be highly gratified if the most important of all the appointments of that kind connected with this continent should be conferred on you. I must, at the same time, express my belief, that few men are more important, at this moment, as connected with our domestic politics."

In a letter of the same year, Mr. Calhoun says: "You see there is a new Post Master General. I hope the appointment will give satisfaction. I did not fail to bring up your name for consideration, and I thought, as between you and Judge McLean, I could take no active part — believing you both to be highly qualified; I would certainly have been not less gratified with your appointment than his. I believe that the scale was principally turned by the apprehension that the precarious state of your health night prevent you from bestowing that incessant labor and attention which the extensive duties and the greatly disordered state of the Department render indispensable. You may be assured that there is no one whose advancement would give me more sincere pleasure than yourself. I believe there is no one whose zeal and abilities give a stronger claim on the administration."


Throughout the whole period of his public life, and wherever he resided, he was in favor of facilitating to every man the means of acquiring a freehold, and of extending the right of suffrage and citizenship to every free white inhabitant. His correspondence with the Hon. J. J. Crittenden and others, from Kentucky, shows that no one was more active and used greater exertions to reduce the price of public lands to the early settlers of Kentucky. No one spoke more in Congress in favor of the reduction of the price of lands belonging to the General Government; and the journals of Congress show that he proposed the lowest price that had ever been previously suggested in either branch of that body. But when it was proposed to accompany the reduction of the price by requiring the entire payment to be made in cash, and abolishing the credit system, which had previously allowed the poor man to pay for the land in annual installments, he was opposed to this measure, because it would have retarded instead of facilitating to the actual settler the means of acquiring a home.

As early as Feb. 18, 1819, he offered a number of amendments to the bill making further provisions for the sale of public land — the first of which proposed to graduate the price, according to the supposed ability of the different descriptions of purchasers, by reducing it to fifty cents an acre to the purchasers of not more than eighty acres, seventy-five cents an acre for any quantity not exceeding a quarter section, and one dollar an acre for any quantity not exceeding one section. The second proposed particular indulgencies to actual settlers. The third proposed to reduce the price in all cases to one dollar; and that failing, to reduce the price to one dollar and twenty-five cents.

As early as 1820, in a communication to his constituents, he says: "At the last session of Congress it was my ardent wish that the minimum price should not exceed one dollar per acre, and my best talents were zealously exerted, on different occasions, to procure such indulgencies for actual settlers, as would have accommodated the poorest of them, and thereby have invited emigration to the State and promoted the settlement and improvement thereof. These objects failing, I wished the credit system to remain, and to reduce the price to one dollar an acre, in cash — believing, that while speculators would have no inducement to purchase on credit, that system might have afforded some accommodation to a portion of our fellow-citizens who, owing to the present unparalleled scarcity of money, might be unable to purchase upon any other terms."

In relation to appointments to offices, he believed that the Senators and Representatives of the State were the proper persons to recommend to office within the State, and proposed in a letter to Mr. Crawford, then Secretary of the Treasury (in 1821), that two of the persons to be nominated for the land offices created by the act of the last session of Congress should


selected by him and two by Judge Thomas, the other Senator. Mr. Crawford replied to him, that the proposition was deemed by the President inadmissible, as it would in fact be a transfer of the right of nomination, vested by the Constitution in the President, to the Senators of the State. Mr. Edwards, in his answer said: "It cannot be supposed that I wished to transfer the right of nomination to the Senators, If I recollect rightly, I called upon you and suggested the proposition as one that I thought calculated to give satisfaction, and I did believe from our conversation that you thought favorably of it — limited, however, by a just regard to the right of nomination vested in the President, which no one was more disposed to respect than myself, as was clearly to be inferred from my remarks; for upon your suggesting such limitation, so far from intimating a wish that the right of nomination should be surrendered to the Senators, I expressly declared that I did not wish any one, in relation to any recommendation of mine, to relinquish the right of making objections to any nomination, and that I would not myself relinquish any such right in relation to nominations made upon the recommendation of others. It was well understood, however, that two parties existed in Illinois. I presume the administration did not wish to identify itself with either; and knowing that suitable persons could be selected from both sides for the offices in question, I did not doubt that the distribution which I proposed could be made without any violation or surrender of power on the part of the President, while it was the best calculated to give that general satisfaction which, next to a conscientious discharge of his duties, the history of his life proves has been and still is the first object of his wishes. * * So far from intending that the President should transfer the right of nomination to the Senators of the State, I never intended to propose that he should confine his nominations exclusively to their separate or united recommendations."

Mr. Wirt, in a letter to Mr. Edwards, dated January 11, 1821, says: "I am very sure that the President has the most sincere regard for you. I do not understand, however, that he feels himself bound by the recommendation of the Senators of the State in which the office is to be filled, even where the Senators concur. In such a case he has great respect to their opinion, but he considers himself at perfect liberty to put a different character in nomination, without giving just cause of offense to them. The constitutional act of nominating is his; he ought to be free, therefore, to nominate whom he pleases. Were he bound even by the joint recommendation of the Senators, the nomination would cease to be the act of the President: it would in fact be that of the Senators — while, by the Constitution, the responsibility would still rest on the President. You cannot but admit the correctness of this view of the subject; and I am told that the practice of the Senators is in strict conformity with it: they


wait till the President calls on them to express their opinion, and retire, respectfully, from any further interference with the nomination, but with full liberty to exercise their rights, in their turn, as Senators, when the nomination is sent in and they have to vote on its confirmation. The President asks no sacrifice of the rights of Senators in opposing and rejecting his nominations; and why should they seek to narrow his freedom in making his nominations? * * There is, indeed, another course which he may take, and which I think he ought to take: which is, to nominate no person whom either Senator declares unworthy of the office, if he can find a deserving man in the State free from such objection — unless, indeed, the objection itself is destroyed by being discovered to proceed from a personal feeling, or weakened by flowing from the animosity of local factions."


Chapter VIII.

Gov. Edwards' appointment as Minister to Mexico — His Controversy with Mr. Crawford — Letters from Judge McLean, Mr. Adams, Mr. Ingham, Mr. Calhoun, Mr. Wirt, and others, in reference to it — False Charges of Col. Benton — Gov. Edwards' Resignation — Etc.

In alluding to his controversy with Mr. Crawford, it is not the object nor desire of the writer to say anything that would have the tendency to affect the reputation of either Mr. Crawford or Gen. Noble, whose testimony he proposes to investigate. Mr. Edwards stated, in his argument before the Committee, that he did not put in issue, by anything he had said in his vindication, the Secretary's "intentions" in regard to those several acts — (meaning the charges and specifications referred to in his memorial.) He said, in a public communication, that he disclaimed any other construction of them than the most innocent of which they were susceptible.

In 1824, he received the appointment of Minister to Mexico, from Mr. Monroe, which appointment was nearly unanimously confirmed by the Senate. On its confirmation, Gen. Jackson, then a member of the Senate, wrote him a note congratulating him on that event.

Soon after this, and on the eve of his departure on his mission, the Secretary of the Treasury, William H. Crawford, sent a communication to Congress, in which he alluded to Mr. Edwards in the following language:

The Hon. Mr. Edwards, late a Senator of Illinois, having stated on his examination before a Committee of the House, on the 13th February, 1823, that the late Receiver of Public Moneys at Edwardsville had, on his advice and in his presence, written a letter to the Secretary, inclosing a copy of the publication which Mr. Edwards represents himself to have made sometime in the year 1819, announcing his intention of retiring from the Directorship of the Bank at Edwardsville, and that he had advised the Receiver to withhold his deposits from the Bank until he could receive a letter from the Secretary directing him to continue his deposits, the Secretary deems it proper to state that no such letter from the Receiver is to be found on the files of the Department; that the officers employed in it have no recollection of the receipt of such a letter; and that, on an examination of the records of the Department, it appears that no answer to any such letter, directing the Receiver to continue the deposits, was ever written to him by the Secretary of the Treasury.


The Secretary of the Treasury, in his reply to the address of Mr. Edwards, says, as "he had no recollection of the communication to which (Mr. Edwards') testimony referred, he considered himself bound to state the fact;" and adds, the terms in which the communication was made "will show that no disrespect towards him was intended." Any one, however, who will read carefully the communication of the Secretary, cannot fail to perceive that it had the tendency to create the impression that it was intended as an attack on the evidence of Mr. Edwards. It thus appears, from his own statement, that the Secretary did not intend to show any disrespect to Mr. Edwards, and, also, that Mr. Edwards did not put in issue, by any thing he had said, "the Secretary's intentions" in regard to the charges and specifications in his memorial.

Mr. Edwards' veracity having, as he supposed, been thus questioned, he sent a memorial to Congress, in which he preferred certain charges against Mr. Crawford — among which was one in relation to this letter; and for the proof of the charges he referred entirely to documentary evidence; but the Committee to whom these charges were referred thought it important to examine Mr. Edwards as a witness. In the course of the investigation, with a view to impeaching the credit of Mr. Edwards, Gen. Noble was introduced as a witness to prove that he had denied the authorship of certain publications over the signature of "A. B." which Mr. Edwards had avowed himself the author of in his memorial to Congress.

Taken entirely by surprise, by this testimony, Mr. Edwards introduced a number of witnesses to prove that Gen. Noble was mistaken. For the purpose of vindicating himself from those charges and insinuations, by the advice of his friends he voluntarily tendered his resignation of the office of Minister to Mexico, so as to afford him an opportunity of collecting further testimony, and also for the purpose, after making his defense, to appeal to the people of his own State to sustain him.

Besides his reply to Gen. Noble's testimony, which he published in 1825, it may not be improper for me to give the additional evidence; but before doing so, it may be proper to state that the only charge against the Secretary, and on which he gave any testimony in which his veracity was questioned, was the one in relation to the letter of Benjamin Stephenson, the Receiver at Edwardsville. That there was no cause to question his statement in reference to this letter, is evident, from the report of the Committee, in which they say: "In regard to the contested letter of Benjamin Stephenson, of the 12th October, 1819, the Committee see no cause to change the opinion which was entertained and which they intended to express in their former report: that although the letter was written, as stated by Mr. Edwards in his testimony, there was no evidence that Mr. Stephenson communicated or transmitted it to the Secretary of the Treasury."


The following is taken from Mr. Edwards' address, in the year 1825:

As charges against the Secretary of the Treasury were too well founded to admit of a fair and full investigation, it was deemed prudent by those who dreaded their application to divert the course of scrutiny from his conduct to my character, and for this purpose the testimony of the Hon. Mr. Noble was introduced. This operation, it was hoped, would not only weaken the force of my allegations, which, resting on public documents, had the united support of reason and record, but would serve to screen the vulnerable reputation of Mr. Crawford, by drawing off the fire of public curiosity and censure. The stratagem was not only old, but successful; for the proceeding of the Committee was both loose and summary, and as the testimony of the witness, in its application to myself, referred to matters of which I was totally unconscious it was not in my power to foresee or to withstand its force.

That the proceeding of the Committee was loose is sufficiently evident from their having forced me to testify to facts not embraced in the charges submitted to them, and which, as they themselves declared, were not material to the investigation — thus, without reason, extending the surface of my testimony, thereby impairing its force and augmenting its liability to question, without the countervailing result of presenting more points of weakness in the conduct of Mr. Crawford. In so far, therefore, as the testimony transcended the limits of the charges, the investigation was a trial of me and not of Mr. Crawford. And this injurious irregularity was increased; for while my general reputation was not impeached, the latitude allowed in the examination of Mr. Noble admitted attacks on special points of my character which I could not have apprehended, was of course unprepared for, and which, as they derived all their energy from the surprise they effected, were the more formidable in consequence of their being false.

That their proceeding was also summary arose, probably, from the impatience of members, natural after a long and laborious session, and is proved by their failure to summon several witnesses whose attendance I had formally required, while their most distinguished member was personally active in procuring the appearance of Mr. Noble.

The scheme for diverting the public attention and the weight of the scrutiny from Mr. Crawford to myself, and thus frustrating the object of Congress in raising the Committee, having been determined on, a position was speedily taken in the remote and debatable ground of the "A. B." publications. The first movement was an attempt to prove that I had denied the authorship of these papers in order to secure the appointment of Minister to Mexico — a proceeding which would have been disgraceful to me, but which, even if proved, it is difficult to imagine could have altered the meaning of the public documents, affected in the smallest degree the official responsibility of the Treasurer, lightened the fiscal losses of the Republic, imparted fairness and precision to her financial operations, or appeased the offended dignity of her laws.

It was urged, accordingly, that I had actually secured the appointment by making the denial, although it was known that of the twenty-seven Senators who voted for it, all except Mr. Noble (my avowed friend) were political adversaries of Mr. Crawford, and of course would have been not the less friendly to me on account of my opposition to him. This effort, originating in injustice, terminated in abortion; and the marvelous memory of Mr. Noble was relied on to prove that although I did not secure the appointment by disavowing the publication, yet that I endeavored to do so — a charge which, had it been sustained, would have been equally injurious to my moral


character, more discreditable to my understanding, but as little illustrative of Mr. Crawford's conduct.

Upon the testimony of Mr. Noble, therefore, it becomes my duty to exercise the right of self-defense, a right in which all the stronger virtues take root, and to demonstrate that it is neither consistent with facts, nor even consistent with itself; and that the disastrous effect it had upon my reputation resulted, not from its truth or veri-similitude, but from the super-sensibility of the public mind, prepared and heated by party contention, "to trifles light as air," when sanctioned, as Mr. Noble's testimony was, by the authority of forms and office, and adapted to particular modes of popular feeling.

As a preliminary to its refutation, it may be fitly observed that if Mr. Noble's testimony be not good against himself, it cannot be operative against another person, and if it be good against himself it proves that he has violated all those principles of honor which forbid the breach of private confidence, and that voluntarily.

It is not my province to designate his motives. He, himself, has declared that his active support of my nomination was blamed by his political friends. That when my address was afterwards presented to the house, it was urged upon him as practical demonstration of his impolicy, with so much force as to require an expiatory sacrifice of friendship and honor, it is more easy to believe than proper to assert. Even if this be the case, he has made ample atonement; for I am free to confess that the peculiar circumstances in which his testimony placed me compelled me, from respect to myself, my friends and my country, to resign an appointment which the combined strength of his friends, in fair opposition, could not, as they well knew, have- prevented my receiving.

In regard to that view of his testimony which proposes to consider it extrinsically, a difference presents itself, between the conduct imputed to me by Mr. Noble and that which it is known I pursued, that weighs strongly against its accuracy.

Had I so recently and emphatically denied my authorship of the "A. B." publications, is it reasonable to suppose that I would have been so inconsiderate as to avow it in my address — especially as I was under no strong inducement thus to ruin my reputation? Such a naked and unnecessary adsurdity can hardly be credited of any man, unless we disregard the admitted influence of self-love, and violate those habits of judgment by which we trace the operations of moral causes and form conceptions of individual character. To believe it of any man would lie difficult, but to believe it of one who, in an uninterrupted course of public service of twenty-seven or eight years, had constantly been honored with the distinguished approbation of every people whose public servant he had been — who, in the patriotic and enlightened State of Kentucky, had served several sessions in its Legislature, and successively filled the unsolicited stations of a Circuit Judge, a Judge of the General Court, fourth Judge of the Court of Appeals, and Chief Justice of the State, before he had attained his thirty-second year — who had administered the government of a Territory between nine and ten years, with entire satisfaction to two administrations, and at the termination of this service had been elected, almost unanimously, a Senator of Congress by the State which sprung out of the Territory of which he had so long been the Governor, and who was considered by the President, by the Senate and by the Hon. Mr. Noble, himself, qualified both as to principle and capacity for the highest appointment — is impossible!

Again — had I designed, as he insinuates, to carry this denial through him to the members of the Senate, is it credible that, I should neither have requested him to


mention it, nor ever after inquired of him if he had done so? If the first incident happened, second succeeded by necessary connection, and yet Mr. Noble confesses [see his testimony] that the latter did not take place. Or, is it possible that after I had thus imposed upon him, by making him consider me "as speaking as an honest man," while I was uttering a falsehood, he should not of his own accord have communicated my earnest and voluntary denial to a single individual on whom it was calculated operate to either in advancement of me or in justification of himself. Moreover, be insisted that I made the denial in question, it must be admitted that I made it for some object, and the object imputed is the only one possible; yet it is incredible that I should never have expressed my denial to any Senator but Mr. Noble, himself who had previously taken a zealous part in my support, and was known to have discharged the very act of favor which it must have been the only possible object of denial to induce him to undertake.

Another circumstance, which would be sufficient to discredit a story of much greater plausibility than Mr. Noble's, is my sickness and extreme debility at the time in which he lays its foundation. He swears that, in the conversation in which I disavowed to him the authorship of the "A. B." publications, that it took place "in his own room and on the evening of the day on which he called up my nomination in the Senate." But his memory is evidently false both as to time and place — for the fact is (as the testimony before the Committee shows) I was too sick on the evening of that day to leave my bed, much less to be in his room, which was separated from mine by considerable distance and by the intervention of several flights of stairs; and I was too feeble, in any situation, to make the ample and lively gesticulations which he describes in his testimony, or to toss my feet, in the athletic restlessness of ease, "high upon the jambs," as he has frequently asserted, perhaps to corroborate his oath, in familiar conversation.

It is known to a multitude of gentlemen that I had been confined to my bed, without being able to dress or be dressed, for several successive weeks previous to that, toward the end of which Mr. Noble came to reside at Mrs. Queen's. In the course of it, though feeble and exhausted, I had, contrary to the caution of my friends, ventured to ride as far as the capitol in a carriage, and to take some gentle exercise on foot — to which it is most probable my severe relapse was attributable. The insinuation that my illness, tedious and severe as it was, was simulated, is too illiberal for notice, and, as it was witnessed by a number of respectable individuals, too contemptible for refutation. It can only be important to show that, on the day of the alleged conversation (Tuesday, the 24th, or Thursday, 26th February), and for a number of tedious and painful days thereafter, I was in no condition to visit Mr. Noble in his room, or to hold the conversation, or to exhibit the gestures he represents.

Mrs. Queen, the lady with whom Mr. Noble and myself boarded, and a witness before the Committee, being asked by me what she knows concerning my sickness at her house, after my removal into the back building — that is after the 21st February, when I gave up the front room to Mr. Noble — how long I continued sick, and how long it was after Mr. Noble's coming that I became so ill as to be confined to my room, says, upon oath, "I know that you were very sick while you lodged in that room — so ill that the servant was obliged to sit up with you every night;" and, also, that "it was Tuesday or Wednesday you became so sick as to be confined to your room;" and further, that she "does not recollect having seen Gov. Edwards at the table after Monday, the 23d."

Mr. H. W. Queen (another witness), a young gentleman who is the son of the aforesaid Eliza, and who had the best opportunity of knowing the occurrences of the family,


upon being interrogated by me, testified as follows: "I am under the impression that you became confined to your room on a Tuesday. I remember your being at breakfast Monday morning, previous. I do not recollect your being out of your room after Tuesday, until you recovered." Upon being asked by Mr. Forsyth, in behalf of Mr. Crawford, "what enables you to fix with so much certainty on Monday and Tuesday?" answers, "Gen. Noble came on Saturday; was not at breakfast on Sunday, and came to breakfast, for the first time, on Monday, in company with Gov. Edwards."

Mr. Asa Hough (another witness), after testifying that he recollected having seen me at Mrs. Queen's after I "occupied the back room," that is after the 21st of February, declares, "you was sick in bed; I cannot remember the precise day; it was sometime towards the latter end of February; I recollect that you was so much indisposed, that I did not communicate the business for which I had come; I called again, sometime afterwards, but, learning that you were still confined to your room, I did not go in."

Mr. J. Mason, Jr., a witness on the part of Mr. Crawford, says he "visited me shortly after my nomination, and shortly after I occupied the back room, and that he then thought me quite ill."

Mrs. A. Lindsay, another boarder at Mrs. Queen's, "thinks I continued confined to my room about a fortnight, and does not recollect seeing me at table after Monday, the 23d of February."

The Hon. Jeremiah Nelson, another boarder, says he "lodged at Mrs. Queen's when Mr. Noble came there, and I removed to a room in the back building; that he understood, from several members of the family, that Gov. Edwards was very sick; and that he visited me in my room more than a week afterwards, and found me still so."

All this testimony was given before the Committee, and represents my condition as certainly very unfit to square with the oath of Mr. Noble. I have since, however, received statements which, though not sanctioned by the solemnity of an oath, have all the force of truth, and render it indisputable that his testimony is not to be relied on, and that he has done me the greatest possible injustice.

The high character and reputation of George M. Bibb, Esq., one of the most eminent lawyers of Kentucky, formerly a Judge of the Court of Appeals of that State, a Senator in Congress, etc., is known throughout the Union. This gentleman was well informed in relation to certain subjects, which rendered me solicitous for an interview with the Hon. Rufus King of New York, on Saturday evening, the 21st of February. Not being able to go out and see Mr. King, (as appears by my letter to him of that date, which he has returned to me with his own indorsement thereon,) and being desirous to have the benefit of what Mr. Bibb knew on the same subject, I wrote to him on the following Monday morning, requesting him to make the explanations relating to it to Mr. King. The following is an extract of a letter to me, from Mr. Bibb, in reply to mine calling his recollection to the above transactions:

"FRANKFORT, August 2, 1824.

"My Good Friend: "When I arrived in Washington City, in February last, you were at Mrs. Queen's, occupying the front room on the first floor. I visited you there several times whilst you were sick and confined to your room. You afterwards removed to the back part of the building, where I visited you frequently; you were sick most generally in bed, but sometimes sat up. The time when you removed to the back room of Mrs. Queen's I cannot state; I recollect, while your nomination was pending in the Senate, unacted upon, you were confined to your room in the back apartment. I had a conversation


with Mr. King, of the Senate, on the subject of an anonymous publication against you some twenty years ago, in Kentucky, which publication I understood was dug out of the grave and used, or attempted to be used, to your prejudice. I waited on you at your own room, the same day or the next, and informed you of the conversation; found you sick and confined to your chamber. This was whilst your nomination was pending. Your note to me on the subject of the anonymous publication is not preserved; by that I could have ascertained the date; my memory cannot retain dates. I arrived in Washington early in February. You were sick and confined to your room when I arrived. I left the city in the latter part of March. I have no recollection to have seen you out of your own apartment during my stay in the city. I visited you frequently, because of your sickness, and because the presence and conversation of your acquaintances seemed to cheer your spirits."

It will be seen, by reference to Mr. Noble's testimony, he asserts that previous to my alleged conversation with him in his own room, I had been informed of his having called up my nomination in the Senate. This information was communicated to me by Hon. G. Moore of Alabama, one of my mess at Mrs. Queen's. The following extract of a letter will show that my confinement to my bed had commenced before I received this information, and, taken in connection with the foregoing testimony, must satisfy every unprejudiced mind that I could neither have been in Mr. Noble's room, as he swears, on that evening, nor "for six or eight days thereafter":

"As to your indisposition — having made it my business to call to see you every night and morning, I know I cannot be mistaken. It is also in my recollection, on, that or the day in the evening of which I informed you Gen. Noble had moved to take up your nomination, I was informed you had experienced a very severe shake of the ague, and when I gave you this information, you were confined to your bed, and appeared much exhausted, and continued confined and very much weakened and debilitated, I think, for six or eight days, and perhaps more."

In addition to this, I submit the following affidavit of a young gentleman, of perfect truth and respectability, which is positive as to my being sick in bed on Tuesday, the 24th February, and for several successive days afterwards:

"Frederick Hewitt, of Madison county, and State of Illinois, and lately a cadet in the military academy at West Point, deposes and says, that he arrived in the city of Washington from West Point, and put up at Brown's Hotel, on the 24th February last; that being particularly desirous to see and converse with Gov. Edwards, he called, for that purpose, at Mrs. Queen's boarding house, on the same day and within a very short time after his arrival, and found him to all appearances very sick, in bed, in a room in the back building of the said boarding house; that Gov. Edwards complained considerably — said be was too sick for conversation at that time, and requested deponent to call again in the evening: upon which deponent took his leave, and returned again after candle-light, and found the Governor still in bed, and a gentleman in the room with him, whom Gov. Edwards called ‘Judge,’ but deponent does not recollect that he heard the gentleman's name, or, if he did, he has forgotten it.

"This deponent remained in the city till the evening of the 28th of February, and called everyday, and sometimes twice a day or more, to sec the Governor, who continued sick during the whole of that time, and on the last mentioned day took physic in deponent's presence.

"On deponent's taking leave of Gov. Edwards, on the 28th of February, aforesaid, he expressed a great unwillingness that his situation should be known to his family,


and earnestly requested deponent (who had to pass through Edwardsville, where they resided,) not to mention his sickness in the neighborhood, lest it should get to their ears.



"District of Columbia, Washington county, etc."

[On the 23d day of September, 1824, Frederick Hewitt personally appeared before the subscriber, a Justice of the Peace for the county aforesaid, and made oath, in due form of law, that the facts stated and set forth in the aforesaid affidavit are true.

WM. HEWITT, Justice Peace.]

Independently of the incoherences of his testimony, Mr. Noble himself furnishes the means of establishing the fact and time of my confinement, and the impossibility of his statements being true. He admitted, on the day that the witnesses who testified on this subject before the Committee were examined, and has since reiterated, that I was "very sick," and that he, himself, brought a letter from Mr. King to me, "in my room." Fortunately this letter has been preserved. It is dated "Senate Chamber, Tuesday, 24th February, 1824," the earliest possible period at which the alleged conversation could have taken place — inasmuch as Mr. Noble states it to have occurred after he moved to take up my nomination, and the journals of the Senate show that he could not have made the motion at any time before that day. This letter is as follows:

"SENATE CHAMBER, February 24, 1824.

"Dear Sir:
"The nomination was read this morning, and upon the suggestion of a member that an absent Senator was understood to be prepared to submit to the consideration of the Senate, objections to the confirmation of the appointment to Mexico, and to afford an opportunity of this being done, I moved to postpone the nomination till to-morrow, when the absent Senator expects to be able to attend. It was intimated that it was desirable that some intimation of the nature of the objection should be given, in order that inquiries could be seasonably made by the friends of the candidate. Nothing particular was intimated, though it was understood that Col. Benton is the Senator who is to offer objections.

Yours, truly,


"HON. NINIAN EDWARDS, of the U. S. Senate. "

Not having been present, I cannot say with absolute certainty whether Mr. Noble moved to take up my nomination on the 24th or the 26th of February, (for it appears, from the journals of the Senate, it was taken up on both of those days,) or, consequently, whether the imputed conversation, which he brings within the same day of the motion, is alleged to have occurred on one or the other of those days. All the indications, and his own expressions, however, point to the first, and, by linking his charge with that day, force it into direct conflict with all the testimony, formal and informal, above referred to. Give him, however, the utmost possible advantage, and extend the time of the imputed conversation to the 26th, the force of evidence against his oath is still but too formidable.

Mrs. Queen swears that "two or three days after Mr. Noble came to her house, (Feb. 21) I became so ill as to make it necessary for a servant to sit up with me every night, and continued confined to my room about two weeks." Mrs. Lindsay, that "I continued confined to my room about a fortnight." The Hon. Mr. Moore declares that I was confined to my bed the evening of the day on which the motion for taking up my nomination was made in the Senate, and continued confined "six or eight days and perhaps more."


Mr. Hewitt swears I was sick in bed on the 24th, and continued so until the 28th, whereon he took leave of me; and if it were necessary to superadd evidence to the same fact, the following letter from Mr. King of New York, to a friend of mine, dated 22d June, 1824, would supply it: "Enclosed I send you two letters from Mr. Edwards to me, dated the 21st and 27th February — the former being subsequent to a note from him to him, from the Senate, respecting his nomination; the latter, as I conjecture, the day after my visit, when I found him in bed in the back part of the house where he lodged." The accuracy of Mr. King's recollection is established by the tenor of my letter alluded to the 27th, the genuineness of which he can vouch for. It contains these words: "I gave you, yesterday, a brief sketch of my impressions in regard to, etc. It is, however, a long time since I have seen or even thought of that letter, and sick as I am with a severe attack of fever, that confines me to my bed," etc.

Plain fair and strict as I intend this examination of the testimony of Mr. Noble to be, I will not affect to conceal my conviction that the arguments and exposition already bestowed on it, have completed its discredit. Charity may forgive, but credulity itself can never believe it; yet the chain of proof against it is still longer, and acquires strength as it extends. Among the memorabilia of that imputed conversation he swears I mentioned "that I was about to be attacked in the Senate of the United States, for the purpose of defeating my nomination; that party and political spirit was now high; that I understood that charges would be exhibited against me, and that it had been so declared in the Senate Chamber; that he remarked to me that I well knew, according to the rules of that body, while on executive business, secrecy was required; that he was not at liberty to mention any occurrences or the remarks of a single member, excepting so far as related to himself; that I then replied that I was informed almost every day of the transactions and remarks of individuals when my nomination was called up." Almost every day when my nomination was called up! Astonishing! One would suppose from this statement, and indeed (being given without any comment or surprise) it is equivalent to a direct affirmation on his part, that my nomination had, at that time, been repeatedly called up in the Senate, and that different members had as frequently made remarks in relation to it, of which the rules of that body interdicted the disclosure; yet let any one consult the journals of the Senate, and compare the facts with the tenure of this affirmation. I was nominated on Wednesday, the 18th February; my nomination was read on that and the succeeding day, as a matter of course, and subsilentio; it was called up for the first time on the 24th, the very day on the evening of which Mr. Noble brought me Mr. King's letter, and when he found me, as he himself declares, very sick in my own room; the second time on the 26th, the day on which Mr. King visited and found me, as he himself states, sick in bed — and was confirmed on the 4th March, following. Every member of the Senate who was present, except Mr. Noble, will bear me out in the assertion, that no transactions or remarks of which the rules of that body forbid the disclosure, which could be likely to excite my curiosity or to require his forbearance, could have taken place prior to the 24th February; nor was anything ever afterwards alleged in that against the nomination, if Mr. Noble himself is to be believed, for he, himself, says, "the fact turned out that there was no opposition."

It was confirmed without opposition, twenty-seven members rising in its favor, and none against it. It is, therefore, not only improbable, but hideously incredible, that the very first day, or even the second, on which a motion was made to take up my nomination, when it is certain an intimation of future opposition was all that had occurred and of course the most that could have transpired, I should have assured Mr.


Noble "that I was informed almost every day (thereby implying several if not many days) of the transactions and remarks of Individuals, when my nomination was called up." Believe who can — it is a rule of evidence, founded in reason and justified by philosophy, that when a number of witnesses, testifying to the same fact, contradict each other, the whole amount of their testimony is diminished in proportion to the degree of mutual destruction which their opposite assertions effect; but the destruction of testimony goes much further when a single witness either contradicts himself or encumbers his oath with strong improbabilities and inconsistencies that cannot be reconciled. Both these infirmities are so marked in Mr. Noble's testimony, by the exanimation already made, that it is hardly worth while to notice the dire contrast between the state of mind ascribed to me by him, and that which, about the same time, Mr. Seaton swears I manifested.

According to Mr. Noble I deprecated opposition, and aimed at conciliating Mr. Crawford's friends. According to Mr. Seaton, one of his warmest friends, I was regardless of opposition and confident of success. Both accounts can hardly be true, and that Mr. Seaton's is most probable, the following extract of my letter to Mr. King of New York, of the 21st February, affords convincing proof: "That I shall meet all the opposition you allude to, I know just as well as that it will be utterly unavailing. I speak advisedly when I say it cannot succeed unless my friends are absent when the vote is taken." Another pertinent fact stated in my address to Mr. Noble, in the summer of 1824, which he has tacitly admitted by his answer and cannot deny, is, that the reason I alleged for being willing to give up to him the front room at Mrs. Queen's, which, for several successive sessions, I had occupied, and which, it is well known, I preferred, was, that I expected, in consequence of my nomination, to remain so short a time in the city, that it was no object with me to retain it, and it was upon that ground, on the 21st February, he himself predicated his application to me for it. This circumstance, though trivial in itself, is not unimportant in connection with others already referred to, which afford not only probability but proof, that at the time of the alleged conversation, I could not have apprehended serious opposition or been in such a state of mind as to make the declarations imputed to me by Mr. Noble, so obviously inconsistent, as they certainly were, with the uniform and undisguised tenor of my conduct towards Mr. Crawford for years before — the more especially, as not a single step had been taken in the Senate on my nomination, after I came to board at Mrs. Queen's, until the day in the evening of which he brought me Mr. King's letter in my own room, when, as he admits, I was very sick, and from which time the foregoing testimony incontestably proves, I was confined with severe indisposition until after my nomination was confirmed. I need hardly here repeat my notice of another defect in the testimony of Mr. Noble. It was generally understood, I believe, after my address to the House of Representatives was presented, that Mr. Noble and Mr. Elkins were to swear to the same facts and to corroborate each others testimony. Accordingly Mr. Elkins declared, on his oath, that he had seen an article in the "Richmond Enquirer," in which it was stated that Ninian Edwards, of "A. B. plot" memory, had been nominated by the President as Minister to Mexico, an incident which, he says, led to the conversation with me, out of which his evidence grew, and which, he asserts, happened during the pendency of my nomination before the Senate.

And Mr. Noble says, upon his oath, "I saw an article in the ‘Richmond Enquirer,’ stating that Ninian Edwards, the author of ‘A. B.,’ or of ‘A. B. plot’ memory, (I do not recollect which) had been so nominated. The paper I saw at the boarding house of Mrs. Queen, and, I think, in the hands of Mr. Elkins."


It is perhaps, not to be wondered at, and, in truth, it ought to have been expected, that as Mr. Noble's testimony differed from that of all the witnesses whose testimony appeared consistent and accurate, it should exactly agree with that of a witness who certainly swore to the existence of that which was not. I have procured a file of the "Enquirer," and find, after a careful examination, no such article as Mr. Elkins swears he saw, or as Mr. Noble swears he saw, and saw, he thinks, in the hands of Mr. Elkins. Such an article, or one in the least like it, I defy either of these witnesses to show in that paper, during the time my nomination was pending before the Senate, or at any time after Mr. Noble came to Mrs. Queen's. It is surely possible that I may have uttered, and that Mr. Noble may have listened to, many absurd, and, indeed, many politic remarks; for the friends of Mr. Crawford (who, with an invention superior to Shakspeare's, attribute to him the utmost wisdom and integrity, while they admit that he repeatedly violated the laws and disregarded the resolutions of Congress, and make me both Roderigo and Iago) assign to me the capacity of a sage and at the same time impute to me the conduct of a fool. Mr. Noble goes so far as to make me a prophet; lie says, upon oath, that I told him I never had any fear of not being nominated, except for a short time when Pennsylvania seemed disposed to support Calhoun for the Presidency: then I had some apprehension of Dallas' success; but the moment that State gave up Calhoun I had no longer any doubts, as Dallas, I knew, would soon be out of the question. Let us compare the dates of the events here alluded to, and it will be found that Mr. Noble has rendered it morally impossible for any rational being to believe him. Pennsylvania "gave up Mr. Calhoun" on the 4th March, 1824, when the delegates met in convention, at Harrisburg — the very day on which my nomination was confirmed, and fifteen days after it had been made to the Senate. To have told Mr. Noble what he swears I did tell him on the 24th February, it was necessary for me to foresee and assume the fact that Pennsylvania had then done what she did not do for eight or ten days afterwards, and to conceive Mr. Noble himself capable of an equal degree of prescience. Until the mind can be brought to believe that the effect is previous to the cause, no one can credit Mr. Noble. His cruel anachronism is not mended by the referring to the giving up of Mr. Calhoun, by Pennsylvania, to Mr. Dallas' movement in Philadelphia, for that happened on the 18th February — the day my nomination was made. It could not, of course, have been known to me (unless by second sight) and was not known at Washington, as the editor of the "National Intelligencer" can testify, until several days after the nomination had been made, and could not possibly have any influence in removing my apprehensions of "Mr. Dallas' success" — which the nomination itself must have already quieted.

His testimony in regard to the indecent observations, imputed to me, respecting the President of the United States, is equally false and equally incredible. The slanders against that distinguished patriot to which it presupposes an allusion, had not been agitated when I left Washington, nor had any attempt then been made to implicate Mr. Calhoun in my contest, nor had Mr. Hay replied to Mr. Lowne. This mass of incongruity I might heap still higher. I might show, from the absurdity of the remarks alleged, respecting the currency of Illinois and Indiana, in the testimony of Mr. Noble, that no person so well informed on that subject as I necessarily was could have made them, and that they likewise imply a foreknowledge on my part of facts — but I feel for the taste and patience of the reader. In justice to Mr. Noble, however, one observation must be added. It is that, from the peculiar nature of his testimony, it is less disgraceful to him to prove it to be false, than to admit it to be true. Such wide and shocking departures from truth, as he appears to have made, do not necessarily,


suppose the grossest moral turpitude; they may be imputed to a frail imagination, to a feeble judgment, a confused perception, a faithless memory, a flexible character. Politically operated on, as Mr. Noble was, it is possible that he may have been, in some degree, innocent of the great injustice his testimony has done me. But the utmost degree of charitable latitude cannot save his character from abhorrence, if it be conceded that he has sworn the truth. Unfortunate man! The conviction that he swore falsely is all that can rescue him from infamy. Not to mention the breach of private confidence it implies, nor the readiness to turn against an absent friend which it manifests (for he even professed his friendship for me after my return to Washington), the detestable disclosures relating to the President and the late Col. Lane, which he declares he received from me, amount to damning proof that, as a Senator of the United States, he supported with zeal and activity my nomination, when he knew it had been extorted from the President by corrupt influence. If I told Mr. Noble, as he substantially declares I did tell him, that I knew from Col. Lane (my relation and a member of the President's family) that he, the President, had induced or permitted Col. Lane to mis-spend the public money, and that I calculated, confidently, on receiving an important appointment in consequence of the hold which my knowledge of this fraud gave me on Mr. Monroe's prudence, would it not have been equivalent to information from one Senator to another, that the President of the United States, in nominating a Minister to Mexico, had been operated upon by corrupt influence, that the Commissioner of the Public Buildings had been his instrument or accomplice in defrauding the public, that I, myself, the person so flagitiously promoted, and privy to the profligacy by which my nomination had been effected, was profiting by corruption, which, as a man, it became me to abhor, and, as a Senator, it was my duty to denounce? And does not it fix on Mr. Noble the crime of having concealed this information, of having failed to expose the infamy of the parties concerned, to defend the dignity of the Senate, or to vindicate the rights and property of his constituents? Was it not his duty, as soon as I gave him the information, to lay it before the House of Representatives, to have the President impeached and me summoned as a witness? Instead of this he declares that he considered me "as speaking as an honest man," vehemently disavowed, on the part of Mr. Crawford's friends, anything so illiberal as opposition to my appointment, and warmly supported it himself. How can he justify such conduct to the distinguished gentleman whose pretensions were confided to him, or to the flourishing State whose sovereignty he represented, and whose trust he himself swears he betrayed?

The principal object we have, in the publication of many of the letters to him, is for the purpose of showing that after his resignation as Minister to Mexico, and the investigation of the charges against Mr. Crawford, he was held in high estimation by the most distinguished and purest patriots of the country. Amongst his most devoted friends were Judge McLean, Mr. Adams, Samuel D. Ingham, (Secretary of the Treasury under General Jackson's administration,) Mr. Calhoun, Hon. Gabriel Moore of Alabama, William Wirt, and John J. Crittenden, and they continued so up to the time of his death. In the year 1825, which was a year after the termination of the controversy with Mr. Crawford, and before Governor Edwards' election as Governor of the State, Judge McLean, in a very long letter, commences by saying: "Having a few minutes leisure, I do not know how


I can employ it more pleasantly to myself than by communicating to you the aspect of our political affairs; for I am persuaded it will not be wholly uninteresting to you," etc. In another letter, referring to the election for Governor of Illinois, he says: "From the certainty of your success in the approaching election I derive sincere pleasure; it will be a triumph to yourself and your friends. I believe almost all of that virulence of feeling which was so generally evinced by the caucus party against you, has disappeared, and to a considerable extent has been succeeded by feelings of a very different nature." In another letter, dated in November, 1826, Judge McLean says: "I do not believe that you and I will differ widely in this matter; it would be strange indeed, after looking to past scenes, if we should. * * Had your letter been received before I reappointed — , I should, as I have always done, have appointed the person you name. I felt sincere regret that I had made the appointment before the reception of your letter. For your success in the late election (although your competitor was an old and, I believe, a sincere friend of mine) I felt a deep interest. It has been often referred to, by me, as a triumphant refutation of the scandles which had been so extensively circulated against you."

In a conversation between Mr. Clay and Mr. Wirt, it will be seen, from a letter of Mr. Wirt as late as 1831, that Mr. Clay says that "the sentiments expressed by Gov. Edwards do honor to his own heart, and I cannot but hope that he may lend his powerful aid and support, at this crisis, to the cause which the most enlightened men throughout the community consider as the cause of our country." Mr. Wirt adds that his motive for mentioning it is "the pleasure I derived from the light in which he views you." In a letter from Mr. Wirt, dated in November, 1826, he says: "Your friends (and I among the foremost) have rejoiced at the recent proof of respect which you have received from your State; it must have been balm to your feelings, as it was to ours;" and in a still later letter he says, "I am much rejoiced, in common with your other friends, at the honorable demonstration you have received of the confidence of your State, so bravely and nobly won."

In a letter from President Adams to Gov. Edwards, dated Aug. 22, 1827, Mr. Adams says: "Your recommendation for the appointment of a sub-agent at Peoria will, in the event of a vacancy in that office, receive the deliberate consideration to which it is entitled, and a disposition altogether friendly to him as recommended by you. And your opinion in regard to any appointment of the General Government, in the State of Illinois, will be always acceptable to me, whenever you may incline to communicate to me. Accept my friendly and respectful salutations."

Mr. Wirt, in a letter dated after the report of the Committee, says: "Very many, whose good opinions are most desirable, think you are right,


notwithstanding the report of the Committee: nay, many think you supported by that report to the full extent of all your charges. * * You say that your resignation has exposed you to imputations, etc. The opinion I expressed to Mr. Cook, as to your resignation, was that of every friend of yours with whom I conversed. I learned, from Mr. Cook, himself, that it was also the opinion of Mr. Adams (and, I think, Mr. Calhoun), expressed to him; and I know it was the opinion of Mr. Southard. Indeed, I did not hear one dissenting voice — Mr. Cook, himself, concurred in it; — the opinion being that, with reference to yourself alone, resignation was the only dignified, the only proper course: so that, if the opinion was wrong, it was one in which I erred in company with some of the ablest men in the country, and with all your best friends. It is only because you place your resignation on my single opinion, that I have referred to the concurrent and unanimous opinions of all who wished you well — some of whom were much better qualified by experience, than myself, to estimate the effect of political movements."

The Hon. S. D. Ingham, Secretary of the Treasury under Gen. Jackson's administration, in his letter dated the 20th of July, 1824, says: "I duly received your favor of the 16th, and the same mail brought the report of the Committee, which is the first view I have had of your whole defense. Upon all the charges and specifications you have made out your case completely. I would not dwell on Noble's testimony; you have already given it the proper answer. Those who believe him will consider it no unusual finesse among politicians, and it will have much less effect than you suppose. I think Mr. Webster must have winced under your exposition of his expert on the uncurrent funds."

The Hon. Gabriel Moore, in his letter of Aug. 8th, 1824, in reference to Gen. Noble's testimony, says: "Nothing of a similar nature ever astonished me more than the general character of the testimony given before the Committee by Gen. Noble, and particularly that part which has relation to the authorship of the ‘A. B.’ publications; not only because I know that, among the members, it was generally if not universally understood and believed that you were the author, but because I had some conversation with Gen. Noble, pending your nomination, in relation to this subject, in which, a reference having been made to the authorship as forming some objection to the confirmation of your nomination, by some of the friends of Mr. Crawford, I am clearly and decidedly of opinion that on this occasion I was authorized, from the general tenor of Mr. Noble's remarks, to infer that whether you were the author or not would have, or had, produced no influence on his mind."

Mr. Moore was at that time a member of the House of Representatives, but was afterwards a Senator in Congress and Governor of Alabama.


Judge William Kelly, another Senator of Congress, in a letter dated Aug. 23d, 1825, says: " I called several times while he [Gov. Edwards] occupied the latter room [the back room], and recollect to have seen a gentleman there who was from West Point, as I understood, and bound to Illinois — but cannot fix the precise date of the transaction; but I well recollect that the Governor was so unwell, at the time, as to be confined to his room as he alleged, and his appearance seemed to require it. This was his condition for several days previous to the confirmation of his nomination. On account of his indisposition, I called frequently — perhaps every time I was in the neighborhood of his residence. I recollect conversing with him on the subject of the postponement of the nomination on account of its being stated that an absent Senator had, perhaps, objections that he would like to make, and inquired if it could be the ‘A. B.’ affair that formed the objection; to which he replied that he could not say or conjecture the ground or nature of the objection, unless it should be the ‘A. B.’ affair or a newspaper controversy that had occurred in the West some years before, neither of which he considered ought to form any ground of objection. I recollect conversing with him on the subject of his being the author of the ‘A. B.’ letters, and he did not pretend to deny the fact to me. So far from it, he told me, upon one occasion, that he had prepared another document of considerable length, of the same tenor."

The above statement of Judge Kelly corroborates the statement of Mr. Hewitt, whose affidavit we have given; and the correspondence in another portion of this work shows that the fact that Gov. Edwards was the author of the ‘A. B.’ publications was known, not only to his friends, but to the members of Congress generally. Is it probable, then, that he would have denied it to Gen. Noble, who had previously taken a zealous part in his support, without asking him to communicate this denial to others on whom it was expected to have some influence? nor that he should not have inquired of him if he had done so? Is it probable that he would have made this denial for the purpose of securing the confirmation of his nomination, and thus run the risk of exposure and the loss of the support among those who so generally had understood, from him, that he was the author — and especially as the majority of the Senators were political opponents of Mr. Crawford? Or is it reasonable that he should have made those articles a part of the address, if he had so recently denied their authorship?

The following letter, from President Monroe, shows that no such denial had ever been made for any such purpose:

OAK HILL, April 30, 1826.

SIR: In reply to your letter of the 23d, requesting to be informed whether Gov. Edwards declared to me, before his nomination as Minister to Mexico, that he was not the author of the publications signed "A. B." — on which declaration, it is said, that his nomination was founded — I feel it due to candor to assure you that he never


made to me any such declaration, and that his nomination was not influenced in the slightest degree by any considerations but that the quarter of the Union in which he resided had claims to an appointment, and that he was believed to be as well qualified for the office as any other person in that quarter who had been brought to the view of the Executive.

With great respect and esteem,

I am your obedient servant,


In another letter, to Mr. Cook, on the same subject, dated April 27, 1826, President Monroe requests Mr. Cook to assure Mr. Edwards "of his good wishes for his welfare and happiness."

From the letter of his resignation, a copy of which is among the papers in the possession of the writer, and from the allusions and opinions referred to in Mr. Wirt's letter, respecting the propriety of his resignation, there can be no doubt that it was voluntary on his part, and not required by the President. That such is the fact is also evident from a letter of Mr. Ingham, in which he says, "I am not sure that you have done right by resigning."

Notwithstanding Mr. Clay was of opinion that he "was not liable to pay the out-fit and salary he had received," in which opinion he also believed the administration concurred with him, yet he accounted to the Government for all he had received, except for the time he had held the office and the losses he had sustained in making his preparations to leave on his mission. Mr. Clay said, "if it were my case, I would not return one cent of the amount."

The following is an extract from a letter to Gov. Edwards, dated Oct. 8, 1828, from the Hon. Hugh Nelson, who was a member of Congress from Virginia for fourteen years, and afterwards Minister to Spain:

I wrote to you just before I sailed for Spain, and hope you received my letter, because, having received from you a most kind and affectionate letter, just before my departure, I should regret that an appearance should have been afforded to the presumption that I was regardless of your friendship. I have never participated in the persecution against you, which was started about that time, and have always believed you an upright, honest statesman and politician, and have thought you perfectly right in that affair in which the C ----- faction bottomed their efforts to hunt you down. I always said, too, that your talents would enable you to rise against the whole host.

Before Mr. Cook presented Mr. Edwards' memorial to Congress, he says that he submitted it to some of his friends, and states, in his letter in reference to it, that Mr. Adams' friends, Mr. Houston, and all the Tennessee delegation except Mr. Cocke, would stand by Gov. Edwards.

The object in referring to the causes which led to his resignation, and to the settlement of his account with the Government, is for the purpose of proving the falsity of the charges made by Col. Benton and published


in his "Debates," and also in his "Thirty Years in the Senate," that, in consequence of the report of the Committee, Mr. Edwards was required by the President to resign and to return his out-fit and quarter's salary. Col. Benton is not satisfied with giving a garbled extract from the testimony, but takes it upon himself to assert as a fact what the accounts in the Treasury Department prove to be untrue; for the records of the Treasury Department show that in the settlement, which he voluntarily proposed, and which was accepted by the Department, he was allowed not only his salary, for the time he had held the office, but also the loss he had sustained in consequence of his resignation. After the Committee had published their report, and of course after the testimony of Gen. Noble had been given, in consequence of its being stated in one of the public journals, in Washington City, that directions were given, by a member of a committee appointed to make arrangements for the celebration of the Fourth of July, not to receive the subscription of Ninian Edwards to the dinner, all the members of the Cabinet, with the exception of Mr. Crawford, who were in Washington, refused to participate in the celebration — as will appear from the following correspondence:

[From the Washington Republican, of Saturday afternoon.]

WASHINGTON, 3d July, 1824.

To Messrs. T. Carbery and Jos. Gales, Jr.:
GENTLEMEN: Upon a printed invitation signed by you, wo have subscribed our names, for attendance at a dinner at Mr. Williamson's hotel, on the 5th inst., in celebration of the anniversary of our national independence. We find it stated, in one of the public journals of this morning, that one of the members of the committee of arrangements has called at the places where the subscription papers for the dinner has been deposited, and, in the name of the committee, has directed, that if Mr. Ninian Edwards should apply there to join in this celebration of the festival, his subscription should not be admitted.

Our attendance at the dinner, after this notice, would justly be considered as equivalent to an assent, on our part, to this exclusion.

The character and conduct of Mr. Edwards being before the nation, upon the report of the committee of the House of Representatives, yet to be acted upon by the House, we should consider it incompatible with our duties as public servants, as well as with the principles of common justice, to participate in an act which we think would, in no event, be justifiable before a final decision upon the investigation. We request you, therefore, to consider this as notice that we have withdrawn our subscriptions for attendance at the dinner.

We are, very respectfully, gentlemen,

Your obedient servants,




The Secretary of the Navy and the Attorney General, not having expected to be in the city, have not subscribed to the dinner. We are authorized to say, that if the Attorney General had received a similar invitation, and had subscribed, he would now have joined in the above letter.


[From the Washington Gazette, of Saturday evening.]

We are authorized and requested, by the committee of arrangements for the celebration of the anniversary of independence, to say, that the publication in the "National Journal" of this morning was unauthorized by them, or any one of them, and that nothing will be wanting, on their part, to make the public dinner on the occasion a national festival, divested of all reference to party politics.

Messrs. Van Ness, Carbery and Gales constituted the committee of arrangement.

[From the National Journal.]

WASHINGTON CITY, 3d July, 1824.

To Hon. John Quincy Adams, J. C. Calhoun and John McLean:
GENTLEMEN: The committee of arrangements for celebrating the approaching anniversary of American independence have instructed us to say, that they regret the withdrawal of your subscriptions to the anniversary dinner, and the more so as that withdrawal seems to have been induced by a misconception of the motives which governed the committee in the course they deemed advisable to pursue in the case of Mr. Edwards.

We have the honor to be, with great respect,

Your obedient servants,


JOSEPH GALES, Jr., Secretary.

WASHINGTON, 5th July, 1824.

To Thomas Carbery, Chairman, and Joseph Gales, Jr., Secretary of the Committee of Arrangements, for Celebrating the Anniversary of American Independence:
GENTLEMEN: We have had the honor of receiving your letter of the 3d instant, and request you to present to the committee the assurance that we cordially regret the incident which has deprived us of the pleasure we had promised ourselves in uniting with them and the rest of our fellow-citizens, subscribers to the anniversary dinner, at the social board, on the day peculiarly devoted to generous and patriotic feelings. We wish you to add, with the tender of our respect, that the determination to withdraw our names from the subscription was taken from the conviction of our own duty, without inquiring into the motives of the committee, or reference to them.

We are, with great respect, gentlemen,

Your very humble and obedient servants,




The report of the Committee was never acted upon by the House of Representatives. Acquitting Mr. Edwards of the charge against which he had defended himself, and containing no allegation against him, he could not complain, and especially as the Committee had been unable to detect a single inaccuracy in any of the facts he had alleged against Mr. Crawford. Mr. Crawford had no motive to demand any further investigation, as he could not hope to obtain a report more favorable to himself. The charges against him were:

First — That he has mismanaged the national fund.

Second — That he has received a large amount of uncurrent notes from certain banks, in part discharge of their debts due to the United States, contrary to the resolution of Congress in 1816.


Third — That, being called on by a resolution of the House of Representatives to state the amount of uncurrent notes which he received from these banks, he has misstated it — making it less than it really was.

Fourth — That he has, in his report to the House, misrepresented the obligations of those banks, or some one of them, at least, and predicated thereon an indefensible excuse for his conduct in receiving those uncurrent notes.

Fifth — That he has acted illegally, in a variety of instances, by making and continuing deposits of public money in certain local banks, without making report thereof to Congress, according to law.

Sixth — That he has, in several instances, withheld information and letters called for by the House, and which it was his duty to have communicated.

In regard to the second charge, the report of the Committee shows, "That although the Banks of Tombeckbee and Edwardsville were liable to account for such deposits as cash, if the construction which the Committee gives to their contracts be correct, yet, that both the Secretary and the Banks express a different opinion as to the meaning of those contracts, and that the Secretary, in receiving fifteen thousand dollars from the one and twenty thousand dollars from the other of those Banks, appears to have acted according to what he supposed to be the rights of the parties, and with a proper regard to the interest of the United States, under the circumstances which then existed."

In regard to the third charge. "That no intentional misstatement has been made to the House of uncurrent bills received from the Banks, although a sum of two hundred and eight dollars of such bills were omitted through mistake."

In regard to the fourth, "That although the Secretary may have misconstrued the effects of some of the contracts with the Banks to the extent before mentioned, the Committee finds no ground for the charge that he has misrepresented them, inasmuch as the contracts themselves were submitted, with his report, to the House."

In regard to the fifth, "That the Secretary did omit to communicate to Congress the reasons which led him to direct the deposit of public moneys in the three local Banks of Chilicothe, Cincinnati, and Louisville, where the Bank of the United States had branches; but there is no reason for supposing that any concealment was intended or that the omission was occasioned by design."

In regard to the sixth, "That in some instances papers called for, by resolution of the House, have not been communicated with other papers sent in answer to such calls, but that these omissions have happened either from accident, or from a belief that the papers so omitted were immaterial or not called for; and that there is no evidence that any document or information had been withheld from improper motives."


That in regard to the contested letter of Benjamin Stephenson, "Although the letter was written, as stated by Mr. Edwards in his testimony, there was no evidence that Mr. Stephenson communicated or transmitted it to the Secretary of the Treasury."

With regard to the first charge, the Committee content themselves with saying, that, in their opinion, "nothing has been proved to impeach the integrity of the Secretary, or to bring into doubt the general correctness and ability of his administration of the public finances."

If the reader will bear in mind that in making the charges Mr. Edwards stated, in his memorial, that he "disclaimed any other construction of them than the most innocent of which they were susceptible," and that, in pointing out palpable omissions or neglect to lay before the House letters which ought to have been communicated, and that various misstatements had been officially made, he "attributed them to nothing more than forgetfulness, inattention, inadvertence, or some erroneous but innocent views of the subject," it will be seen that the report of the Committee fully sustains him in all his statements, but excuses the Secretary because he acted according to what he supposed to be his duty, had made no intentional mis-statements, had misconstrued the effect of some of the contracts, and, in his omissions to make important communications and papers that were called for by Congress, no concealment was intended or occasioned by design, or any information withheld from improper motives.

Mr. Edwards, in writing the articles over the signature of "A. B." against Mr. Crawford, claimed that he had the right, wisely guaranteed to every freeman of the Union, of investigating the official conduct of a public officer. Mr. Crawford had been a prominent candidate for the Presidency, for some time previous to the commencement of their publication, and was subsequently nominated for that office, to succeed President Monroe, by the Republican members of Congress, in caucus. In one of Mr. Wirt's letters to Gov. Edwards, dated January 4, 1820, he says: "You may remember that four years ago, when Mr. Monroe was presented to the public for the Presidency, Mr. Crawford was extremely pressed to oppose him. I was in Washington, by chance, at the time mentioned, and I remember that it was extremely dubious whether Mr. Crawford would not have a majority in the caucus of Congress; but he withdrew from the opposition, and I remember he gave great disgust to many of his friends by doing so. He withdrew, too, with the declaration that Mr. M. had the best title to the office." The caucus system had become very unpopular, and the friends of General Jackson, Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay were rallied against Mr. Crawford, and the result was that, for the first time, the candidate thus nominated was defeated.


Chapter IX.

Laws of the Territory and State, from 1809 to 1830.


On the organization of the Territorial Government, the Governor and Judges adopted the laws which were in force in 1809 in the Indiana Territory. Among these acts was one entitled "An act organizing courts of common pleas." This act established a court of record in each county, to be styled the court of common pleas, consisting of three judges (any two of whom shall form a quorum), to be appointed by the Governor. The jurisdiction of said court extended to all crimes and misdemeanors, committed within their respective counties, the punishment whereof did not extend to life, limb, imprisonment for more than one year, a forfeiture of goods and chattels, or lands and tenements, and to all pleas of assize, scire facias, replevins, and to all manner of pleas, suits, actions and causes, real, personal and mixed.

The said judges, and each of them, had power, in and out of court, to take all manner of recognizances; and all recognizances for the peace, behavior, or for appearance, were to be certified to the proper court. All fines and amercements taxed by the court of common pleas were required to be yearly estreated by the clerks of said courts into the general court, to the intent that process may be awarded to the sheriff of the proper county for levying such of their fines and amercements as shall be unpaid to the uses for which they were appropriated.

The fines that were levied by the court of common pleas went to the county, and those that were assessed by the general court went to the territory.

Appeals and writs of error were allowed from the judgment in said court under the restrictions and regulations of the law regulating the practice of the general court.

When the defendant had no property in the county, or could not be found in it, the plaintiff, by making an affidavit that the defendant lies hid or skulks, or hath property in another county in the territory, can require the court to issue execution to the sheriff of the county where the defendant was or where his property could be found.


The clerk of said court held his appointment from the Governor, during good behavior.

The judges, or any of them, had power to send writs to other counties to take persons who were indicted in any courts, and also to issue subpoenas for witnesses to other counties.

This law remained in force until Dec. 19, 1814, when the Legislature passed an act abolishing the court of common pleas, and created courts to be called county courts, to consist of three judges, (who shall be conservators of the peace, any two of whom shall form a quorum,) to be appointed by the Governor. This act conferred on the judges and court the same jurisdiction that the judges and court of common pleas had a right to exercise, except that the jurisdiction for the trial of causes, both civil and criminal, was taken away from the county courts.

The judges were required to hold three terms annually, in each county, and were entitled to receive two dollars for every day they shall sit — to be paid out of the county levy. They were authorized to take every species of recognizance, and, on proper affidavit, to order bail in civil cases.

By a supplemental act, passed Dec. 24, 1814, the county courts and the judges thereof had a right to exercise, and were invested with all the jurisdiction, and were required to perform all the duties, heretofore vested in or required of the courts of common pleas or the judges thereof, except such as had been transferred to the supreme court or the judges thereof. Another act passed, on Sept. 17, 1807, which made it the duty of the presiding judge of the several courts of common pleas in the territory, and of the first judge of the general court, to examine the respective clerks' books and see what fines were due thereon to the territory or county, and to report those due to the territory to the Auditor, who was required to report the same to the Legislature. For failure to pay the fines, the act directed the Attorney-General to obtain judgment by motion against the defaulting clerks.


By an act, passed Dec. 10, 1813, regulating the general court, it was required that there should be holden and kept, at the seat of government, a supreme court of record, to be styled the "General Court." This court had jurisdiction of all causes, matters and things, and also to hear and determine all manner of pleas, plaints and causes which might be removed from any of the inferior courts by appeal or writ of error, as well all pleas in the United States as in all pleas real, personal and mixed, and thereupon to reverse or affirm the judgments; and, also, to examine, correct and punish the contempts, omissions, etc., of any justice of the peace, sheriff, coroner, clerk or other officers, within their respective counties. It had


exclusive original jurisdiction of the higher criminal offenses, and of all cases in equity where the value of the matter in controversy exceeded the sum of one hundred dollars. It had power to award process for the collection of such fines as were estreated into the general court, and the judges thereof had the power to issue writs of certiorari, writs of habeas corpus, injunction, and writs of error, and remedial and other writs and process, returnable to their court and grantable by said judges.

The grand jurors sworn before the county courts were required to inquire into offenses cognizable by either the county court or general court, and, in special cases, the judges of the general court bad power to direct the sheriff to summon a grand jury for offenses exclusively cognizable in the general court. In cases of a criminal kind, except for offenses in violation of the laws of the United States, the trials were to be had in the counties in which the offenses were committed.

By this act it was provided that, in cases taken to the general court by appeal or writ, the court should take cognizance only of errors in law.

By a subsequent act, passed Dec. 13, 1814, the general court was superseded by the establishment of a supreme court, consisting of the same judges, who were required, in addition to the jurisdiction conferred upon them, to hold circuit courts. As circuit courts they had jurisdiction, in each county, over all persons therein, and in all causes, matters or things at common law or in chancery, arising in each of said counties, except in cases where the debt or amount shall be under twenty dollars; and, also, in all cases of treasons, felonies, misdemeanors, and other crimes; and, also, in all cases against public debtors, sheriffs, clerks, and collectors of public money. This court was also invested with all the powers and the common law jurisdiction, whether of a civil or criminal nature, previously vested in the several courts of common pleas or county courts.

It was also required, by this act, that all suits should be tried in the counties in which they originated, unless in cases specially provided for; and in all cases, except where, in cases of conviction, the offender was punishable with death or burning in the hand, one of the judges might constitute the court. This act was amended, but not materially, in 1817, except the reorganization of the territory into circuits.


By an act, which passed Sept. 17, 1807, it was provided that a sufficient number of justices of the peace should be appointed for each county, by the Governor. Besides the usual power to cause to be arrested all persons charged with violating the criminal laws of the territory, and to take all manner of recognizances, they had power to hear and determine, according to the course of the common law, petit crimes and misdemeanors, wherein


the punishment shall be by fine, only, and not exceeding three dollars, and to assess and tax the costs; and, also, to require sureties for the good behavior of idle, vagrant and disorderly characters, swindlers and gamblers, as well as of dangerous and disorderly persons. They had, also, jurisdiction in cases of debt or other demand, except in actions of debt on bonds for the performance of covenants, actions of replevin, or upon any real contract, actions of trespass upon the case, for trover and conversion, or slander, or actions of trespass in et amis, or actions wherein the title of lands shall in anywise come in question; and suit might be commenced in the township either where the debt or cause of action was contracted or arose, where the plaintiff resided, or where the defendant might be found. This latter provision was repealed by an act which passed in 1808, after which no suit could be commenced except in the township where the debt was contracted or cause of action arose, or where the defendant resided or might be found.

In 1814, it was further provided that they should have jurisdiction in all cases wherein the demand should not exceed twenty dollars — which amount was afterwards increased, by an act passed in 1817, to forty dollars. This latter act also required that, where the demand should exceed twenty dollars, either party should have the right to a trial by jury; and that, for the trial of such causes, the justice should hold his court monthly — to which court he should issue his venire to the constable, directing him to summon twelve good and lawful men to try all such suits before him.


By an act of the Indiana Territory, in force in the Territory of Illinois in 1809, murder and treason were punished with death by hanging; and persons guilty of manslaughter, as the common law had previously punished.

It was declared that persons convicted of burglary should be whipped with not exceeding thirty-nine stripes, and should find sureties for good behavior for a term not exceeding three years; and upon default of sureties should be committed to jail for a term not exceeding three years, or until sentence be performed, and should also be fined in triple value of the articles stolen — one-third of such fine for the use of the territory and the other two-thirds to be paid to the party injured. If the defendant committed or attempted to commit any personal abuse, force or violence, or was armed with any dangerous weapon or weapons, so as to clearly indicate a violent intention, he forfeited all his estate and was subject to be committed to jail for a term not exceeding forty years; and if the death of any innocent person should ensue from any burglarious act, it was declared to be murder. Robbery was punished in the same manner as burglary.


Persons guilty of plots and unlawful assemblies were punished by being fined in the sum of sixteen dollars, and were required to find surety for their good behavior for the space of six months; and persons found guilty of obstructing any authorized persons in attempting to cause rioters or unlawful assemblies to disperse, were liable to be fined in a sum not exceeding three hundred dollars, or to be whipped with not exceeding thirty-nine lashes, and were also required to give surety for their good behavior.

Perjury and subornation of perjury were punished by a fine not exceeding sixty dollars, or by whipping with not exceeding thirty-nine stripes; and persons found guilty of those offenses were required to be set in the pillory for a space not exceeding two hours, and were ever after incapable of holding any office, or giving testimony, or being a juror.

Larceny was punished, for the first offense, by requiring the offender to restore to the owner the thing stolen and to pay to him the value thereof, or two-fold the value thereof if the thing stolen was not returned, and also by a fine not exceeding two-fold the value of the thing stolen or be whipped with not exceeding thirty-one stripes, at the discretion of the court. Upon a second conviction it was provided that restitution and payment shall be made to the owner as aforesaid, and the offender shall be whipped with not exceeding thirty-nine stripes, and in like manner upon every succeeding conviction; and in case such convict shall not have property wherewith to satisfy the sentence of the court, it shall be lawful for the sheriff, by direction of the court, to bind such person to labor, for any term not exceeding seven years, to any suitable person who will discharge such sentence.

For the offense of forgery it was enacted that every person, found guilty thereof, shall be fined in double the sum he shall thereby have defrauded or attempted to defraud another — one-half of which should be paid to the party injured or intended to be injured; and shall, moreover, forever after be rendered incapable of giving testimony, being a juror or holding any office, and shall be set in the pillory not exceeding the space of three hours.

Usurpation of office was punished by a fine of not exceeding one hundred dollars.

Assault and battery was punished by a fine of not exceeding one hundred dollars, and the court might also require the offender to enter into recognizance with surety for the peace and good behavior, for a term not exceeding one year.

All bonds, bills, deeds of sale, gifts, grants, or other conveyances, made with intent to deceive or defraud creditors, were declared to be null and void, and the person so offending was required to be fined in a sum not exceeding three hundred dollars and to pay double damages to the injured party.


For disobedience of children or servants to their parents or masters, upon complaint made, it was lawful for a justice of the peace to send the offender to jail or the house of correction, there to remain until he or she should humble himself to the parents' or master's satisfaction; and if any child or servant assaulted or struck his parent or master, two or more justices of the peace, upon conviction thereof, might cause the offender to be whipped with not exceeding ten stripes.

Persons obtaining goods by fraudulent pretences were subject to the same punishment as in cases of larceny.

Arson was punished with death by hanging.

Horsestealing was punished, for the first offense, by requiring the offender to pay the owner the value of the animal, and to receive not less than fifty nor more than two hundred stripes, and to stand committed to jail until such value, with the costs of prosecution, were paid. Upon the second conviction the offender had to suffer the pains of death.

For stealing a hog, shoat or pig, or marking the same with the intent of stealing, the offender was subject to pay a fine of not less than fifty nor more than one hundred dollars, and also receive on his bare back any number of lashes not exceeding thirty-nine nor less than twenty-five.

For altering and defacing marks and brands the offender was required to pay the sum of five dollars, over and above the value of the animal whose mark or brand was altered, and was also punished by whipping with forty lashes, well laid on, on his bare back; and for the second offense to pay the fine aforesaid, to stand in the pillory for two hours, and be branded in the left hand, with a red-hot iron, with the letter T.

To prevent killing cattle or hogs in the woods, the offender was required to show within three days the head and ears of such hog, and the hide with the ears on of such cattle as he may have killed, to a magistrate or two freeholders, under the penalty of ten dollars. Every person was required to mark or brand his hogs, cattle, etc., and to record the same with the clerk of the county court.

Maiming or disfiguring was punished by fine and imprisonment.

Rape was punished with death.

Sodomy was punished by fine, imprisonment, and by whipping with not less than one hundred nor more than five hundred stripes on the bare back.

Bigamy was punished by whipping on the bare back with not less than one hundred nor more than three hundred stripes, and by a fine of not less than one hundred nor more than five hundred dollars, to and for the use of the party injured, and imprisonment of not less than six nor more than twelve months, and disqualification for giving testimony or holding office.


For forcibly taking away any female, for the purpose of marrying her against her consent, the offender was declared guilty of felony. Stealing and marrying females under 14 years of age, was punished by fine and imprisonment.

Persons who were unable to pay their fines were required to be hired or sold, to any person who would pay the fine and costs, for such term as the court might think reasonable; and if the delinquent should abscond from the service of his master, he was liable, on conviction before a justice of the peace, to be whipped with thirty-nine lashes, and required to serve two days for every one so lost.

By an act for the prevention of vice and immorality, it was provided --

1. That any person found reveling, fighting or quarreling, doing or performing any worldly employment or business whatever (with some exception in favor of ferrymen) on the first day of the week, or who shall use or practice any unlawful game, sport or diversion, or shall be found hunting or shooting on said day, shall forfeit for every such offense a sum not exceeding two dollars nor less than fifty cents, to be levied by distress; and in case the fine could not be collected in that way, he was required to work on the highways for two days.

2. Any person, of the age of sixteen years and upwards, found guilty of profanely cursing, damning or swearing by the name of God, Christ Jesus or the Holy Ghost, was punished in like manner with Sabbath breakers.

3. Swearing and disorderly behavior before a court of justice was punished with a fine of not less than five nor more than fifty dollars; before a judge, justice of the peace, or congregation assembled for Divine worship, with a fine of not less than three nor more than ten dollars.

4. Any person, of the age of sixteen years and upwards, found in the public highways, or in any public house of entertainment, intoxicated by drinking spirituous, vinous or other strong liquors, and making or exciting any noise, contention or disturbance, was imprisoned in the county jail for a term not exceeding forty-eight hours.

For a violation of the preceding sections, any judge or justice of the peace might proceed to try the offender in a summary way, and on failure to pay the fine and costs the judge or justice sentenced the offender to work on the public highways.

Cock-fighting, gambling or running horses in the public highways were punished by fine, and justices of the peace had jurisdiction over such offenses.

Keeping E. O. tables or other devices, in any place whatever, except in private houses for amusement in their families, was punished by a fine of fine dollars.


Securities and contracts entered into for gaming were declared void and money lost at gaming might be recovered back within thirty days.

If a person sent a challenge to fight or box at fisticuffs, or if, with intent to bring on a match at boxing, by words or gesture any person should provoke others to commit an affray, whether an affray ensues or not, the offender was fined in a sum not exceeding five dollars nor less than one dollar.

Duelling was punished. For sending, accepting or delivering a challenge to fight a duel, or consenting to be a second in any intended duel, the offender was subject to a fine or imprisonment.

Tearing down or defacing publications set up by authority, the offender was subject to be fined, and for failure to pay the fine was set in the pillory for three hours.

Lotteries were prohibited by requiring a forfeiture of the whole sum proposed to be raised or gained thereby.

Vagrants, and persons suspected of getting their support by gaming, were required to be hired out for a term not exceeding nine months; and if no person would hire the offender, or take him only by furnishing such diet and clothes as were necessary during his servitude, the vagrant was punished by whipping with not exceeding thirty-nine lashes.

In 1810, a law passed to suppress duelling, by enacting that if any person should be killed in a duel, the offender, his aiders, abetters and counselors, being connected thereof, should be guilty of murder; and for challenging or accepting a challenge to fight a duel, the offender was declared incapable of holding or being elected to any post of profit, trust or emolument under the government of the territory; and every person receiving any appointment to any office, either civil or military, in the territory, was required to take such an oath as is prescribed in our present State Constitution on the same subject. It was also declared, in this law, that persons leaving the territory for the purpose of eluding this law, should be punished in the same manner as if the offense had been committed in the territory.

The laws of the territory were very rigid in relation to the collection or debts. All the debtor's property, both personal and real, could he sold under execution; and if the land did not sell for want of bidders, the plaintiff had the right, at his option, to take it at its appraised value by twelve men. If there was not sufficient property, the body of the debtor could be taken and committed to the county jail, or to the prison bounds by giving security that he would not depart therefrom. Prison bounds were required to be laid off by the county courts, by metes and bounds, so as not to extend in any direction more than two hundred yards from the jail.


The laws for the collection of rents, and for the recovery of the possession of land, have not been materially changed by our present laws from what they were under the territorial government. Under the laws of the territory, property taken on the premises, let by execution, was liable to be applied, first, to the payment of the rent due; and no property except such as might be found on the premises, unless the tenant had clandestinely removed the same, could be taken by distress.

The law regulating elections provided that if any candidate, or other person for him, should attempt to obtain votes by bribery, or treating with meat or drink, the person so offending should be incapable of holding a seat in either branch of the Legislature for the space of two years next thereafter.

The road laws require that the supervisors should hire and employ a sufficient number of laborers to work upon, open and amend, clear and repair the roads in their township, and to take care that the same should be effectually opened, cleared and amended or repaired.

All male persons, of the age of twenty-one years and not exceeding fifty, who had resided for thirty days in any township, were liable to work for any number of days not exceeding twelve in each year.

The entire jurisdiction over ferries and roads was given to the county courts; and if the court thought a bridge to be of public utility, but too expensive to be borne by the district, they might make an allowance, for the purpose of building such bridge, out of the county treasury. Specific directions were given in the law for the opening and altering of private and public highways, and the mode pointed out for the assessment and payment of damages caused by roads passing through improvements.

Laws were passed at a very early period, similar to those now in force, in relation to the support of the poor; for the payment for improvements on lands claimed by persons who were evicted from land which they claimed by a title deduced from the record of some public office, without notice of any adverse claim; for the partition of land and assignment of dower; concerning the militia; and the regulation of grist mills and millers.

In 1814, an act passed to promote retaliation upon hostile Indians. It provided that if any Indians should make an incursion to our settlements, with hostile intentions, and shall commit any murder or depredation, and any citizen or ranger shall pursue and take prisoner or kill any Indian that may have so offended, such person shall be entitled to a reward of fifty dollars for each Indian so taken or killed; and rangers or other persons, engaged at the time in the defense of the frontier, shall be entitled to receive twenty-five dollars for every Indian so taken or killed. If any party of citizens, having first obtained permission of the commanding officer, should go into the territory of any hostile Indians, they shall be entitled


to one hundred dollars for every warrior, squaw or child that may be taken prisoner or killed.

A law was also passed at this session prohibiting, under very severe penalties, any person from selling liquor or giving liquor to the Kaskaskia Indians, or trading without license with said Indians, and providing that if the offender was a negro slave or servant, should be punished with whipping on his bare back, unless the owner of such slave or servant or some other person for him, should pay for each offense the sum of twenty dollars. A law had previously passed on the same subject, prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors to other Indians.


For the purpose of raising a county revenue by the county court the following rate of taxation was prescribed by law:

On each horse, mare, mule or ass, of three years old and upwards, a sum not exceeding fifty cents.

On neat cattle, of three years old and upwards, a sum not exceeding ten cents per head.

On every stud horse of the above age, a sum not exceeding the rate for which he stands at the season.

On every bond-servant or slave, between the ages of sixteen and forty years, except such as the county court may exempt for infirmities, a sum not exceeding one dollar.

On every able-bodied single man, of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, who shall not have taxable property to the amount of two hundred dollars, a sum not exceeding one dollar nor less than fifty cents.

Town lots, out lots, houses in town, and mansion houses in the country, which shall be valued at two hundred dollars and upwards, wind and water mills, a sum not exceeding thirty cents on each hundred dollars of their appraised value.

On ferries, a sum not exceeding ten dollars for each year.

For the sale of any merchandize, other than the produce or manufacture of the territory, the owner had to procure a license from the sheriff, for which he was taxed at the rate of fifteen dollars per annum for each store. Two persons were appointed in each township to value the property required to be appraised.

To defray the expenses of the territorial government, a tax was levied and collected on land — which was divided into three classes:

On lands of the first class, which included all lands situated in the Wabash, Ohio and Mississippi river bottoms, the rate of taxation was one dollar on every hundred acres.


Lands of the second class included all the uplands, and were taxed at the rate of seventy-five cents on each one hundred acres; and all unlocated confirmed claims were taxed at the rate of thirty-seven and a half cents per hundred acres.

The sheriff was also required to collect from each owner of a billiard table an annual tax of forty dollars.

A list showing the amount of tax due by each person, and also one showing the amount of tax collected by the collector of each tax-payer in his county, were required to be posted up at the door of the clerk's office, in order that each individual might know the amount of his tax, and also whether the same had been paid by the collector.

The entire jurisdiction in relation to the settlement of the estate of deceased persons, the appointment of guardians, etc., was conferred on the county court; but the clerks might take proof of bills and testaments and grant letters testamentary and administration, subject to be repealed by the court.

In 1816 an act passed, amendatory of the "act to encourage the killing of wolves," under which act, as amended, any person was entitled to two dollars for every wolf he killed.

At this session an act passed to prevent attorneys-at-law, residing in the State of Indiana, from practicing in any of the courts of the territory. The reason for the passage is given in the preamble, as follows: "Whereas, by a law now in force in the State of Indiana, persons who do not reside therein are not permitted to practice in the courts of the said State; and whereas that restriction is illiberal, unjust, and contrary to those principles of liberality and reciprocity by which each and every state or territory should be governed; therefore," etc. The law was to continue in force until the laws of the State of Indiana, referred to, should be repealed, and no longer.

At this session no laws of a general nature passed, with the exception heretofore alluded to in relation to the division of the territory into circuits; a law for the incorporation of the Bank of Illinois; and a law making it the duty of the county court to appoint a Commissioner in each township to assess the property therein, abolishing the office of county treasurer, and requiring the sheriff to collect the revenue and to pay out the same on the order of the county court.

The Bank of Illinois was a private institution, was located at Shawneetown, and was so well managed that neither the Government nor any one else lost by it.

In consequence of the scarcity of gold and silver coin, the Legislature also passed, at this session, laws postponing the collection of debts unless the debtor would receive the bank-notes of any of the chartered Banks of


Cincinnati and Chilicothe, in the State of Ohio, and of any of the Banks of the States of Tennessee and Kentucky, and of the Banks of Vincennes, of Missouri, of St. Louis, and of Illinois.

At the next session of the Legislature, commencing in December, 1817, acts were passed incorporating companies for improving the navigation of the Little Wabash River; an act to incorporate medical societies, for the purpose of regulating the practice of physic and surgery in the territory, (under which act no person was permitted to practice medicine or surgery, without obtaining a diploma or license from this society); acts authorizing the erection of mill-dams and a fishery on the Kaskaskia River; an act directing the mode of perpetuating testimony; an act declaring the Big Muddy a navigable stream; acts incorporating the Banks of Edwardsville and Kaskaskia, and the town of Kaskaskia; an act incorporating the stockholders of the Illinois Navigation Company; and an act incorporating the City and Bank of Cairo.

The following is the preamble to the act incorporating the Illinois Navigation Company: "Whereas Henry Bechtle and his associates, citizens of the United States of America, and proprietors of the town of America, in the county of Johnson, and territory of Illinois, purpose to improve the navigation of the waters near the mouth of the Ohio River, in said territory, by cutting canals, erecting locks, and other works, as to them shall seem necessary. And whereas it is proper and advisable to encourage so laudable an undertaking. Therefore — Be it enacted," etc.

This act conferred upon said company authority to cut any canal from the Mississippi to or near the said town of America, on the Ohio River, and erect such locks and otherwise improve as to them shall seem advisable and necessary to complete the objects of said corporation, to build wharves and to collect tolls under certain restrictions, etc.

The following is taken from the preamble of the act to incorporate the City and Bank of Cairo: "And whereas the said proprietors represent that there is, in their opinion, no position in the whole of the extent of these Western States better calculated, as it respects commercial advantages and local supply, for a great and important city, than that afforded by the junction of these two great highways — the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers; but that nature, having denied to the extreme point formed by their union a sufficient degree of elevation to protect the improvements made thereon from the ordinary inundations of the adjacent waters, such elevation is to be found only upon the tract above mentioned (the present site of Cairo), so that improvements made and located thereon may be deemed perfectly and absolutely secure from all such ordinary inundations, and liable to injury only from the concurrence of unusually high and simultaneous inundations in both of said rivers — an event which is alleged but rarely happens,


and the injurious consequences of which it is considered practicable, by proper embankments, wholly and effectually and permanently to obviate. And whereas there is no doubt but a city, erected at or as near as is practicable to the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers — provided it be secured by sufficient embankments, or in such other way as experience prove most efficacious for that purpose, from every such extraordinary inundation — must necessarily became a place of vast consequence to the prosperity of this growing Territory, and in fact to that of the greater part of the inhabitants of these Western States. And whereas the above-named persons are desirous of erecting such city, under the sanction and patronage of the Legislature of this Territory, and also of providing for the security and prosperity of the same, and to that end propose to appropriate the one-third of all the moneys arising from the sale and disposition of the lots into which the same may be surveyed, as a fund for the construction and preservation of such dykes, levees and other embankments as may be necessary to render the same perfectly secure — and also, if such fund shall be deemed sufficient thereto, for the erection of public edifices and such other improvements in the said city as may be from time to time considered expedient and practicable, and to appropriate the other two-thirds parts of the said purchase moneys to the operation of banking. And whereas, etc. — Be it enacted," etc.

The proprietors of said city were John G. Comyges, Thomas H. Harris, Charles Slade (who was afterwards a member of Congress from the State), Governor Bond, Michael Jones, Warren Brown, Edward Humphries, and Charles W. Hunter. It was provided that there should be not less than two thousand lots, each lot being not less than sixty-six by one hundred and twenty feet, and the streets to be not less than eighty feet wide, and to run as nearly as may be at right angles to each other; and that the price of the lots should be fixed and limited at one hundred and fifty dollars each, and that the moneys arising from the sale thereof should be appropriated as follows: Two-thirds parts thereof — that is to say, the sum of one hundred dollars on each and every lot — shall constitute the capital stock of the Bank, which capital stock should be divided into twice as many shares as there were lots, one of which shares should belong to the purchasers of the lots in proportion of one share to each lot, and the remaining shares to the proprietors; and that the remaining one-third part of the purchase money should constitute a fund, to be exclusively appropriated to the security and improvement of said city.

By the practice act any one could, by himself or agent, sue out a writ, by filing with the clerk a declaration, or petition, or other statement, in writing, containing the true nature of his, her or their demand or complaint, accompanied with a copy of such writing or account.


It was also provided, in 1812, that an action on the case might be brought for any fraud whatsoever, and that the plaintiff in any such suit might file written interrogatories, which the defendant was bound to answer, in writing, at the time of filing his plea; and the defendant, in all cases wherein he suggested fraud in the demand of the plaintiff, had also the right to file in like manner written interrogatories, which the plaintiff was required to answer and file with his replication.

No appeal could be taken from an inferior court to the supreme court unless the judgment or decree was final, and amounted, exclusive of costs to fifty dollars, or relate to a franchise or freehold.

In 1818, a law passed for the establishment of circuit courts, dividing the State into two circuits, and conferring upon the courts all the jurisdiction which had previously been conferred on the supreme or general court, with the exception of its appellate jurisdiction.

The county court system was also changed, by conferring all its jurisdiction on a court consisting of all the magistrates of the county, any three of whom could constitute a quorum to do business.

A very important act, in relation to the sale of real estate, also passed at this session, and the adoption of its principles are well worthy of the consideration of our legislators of the present time; and so thoroughly convinced am I of the justice and importance of its provisions, that I can not pass it by without further notice. I am convinced that if such a law had been in force, it would have saved much litigation. It provided that whenever the sheriff shall levy upon lands of the defendant, and any other person should claim the same, it should be the duty of the sheriff to return the execution to the next circuit court, in order that there might be a fair trial of the right of property. This act also provided for the sale of the equitable interest of the defendant in lands purchased from the United States, and on which part of the purchase money was still due.

The principle might be extended so as to allow an injunction against the sale of property in cases where it is now denied, because a party may have his remedy at law after a void sale. At the first session of the Legislature after the admission of the State into the Union, the Legislature re-adopted, with but few exceptions, the acts at that time in force, adapting them to the provisions of the State Constitution; and, as a system, the laws thus modified continued, with but few alterations, until the time which I propose to close the result of my investigations. The judiciary system in all its ramifications was not changed in its organization or details. The supreme judges were elected in the manner pointed out in the Constitution, and the judges were required to discharge the duty of holding circuit courts in their respective circuits. The revenue laws were changed so as to provide that the lands of non-residents and two-thirds of the tax on lands of residents,


together with the tax on bank-stock, should be paid into the state treasury, and that the one-third of the tax on lands of residents should be paid into the county treasury.

Lands, without regard to their locality, were divided into three classes. Those of the first class were valued at $4 per acre; of the second class, at $3 per acre; and those of the third class, at $2 per acre. Before the expiration of Gov. Edwards' term as Governor of the State, all the taxes of the residents' lands were paid into the county treasury, and the State government was supported from the revenue derived from the property of non-residents.

In the years 1819 and 1821, a number of acts passed for the incorporation of academies and towns, and lotteries were authorized for the purpose of raising funds to drain the bottom lands, and the improvement of the navigation of the rivers. Besides a general law for the incorporation of towns, a law passed in 1821 including in one charter such as desired special provisions not contained in the general act.

Soon after the adoption of the Constitution, Commissioners were appointed to select a site for the State government. They selected the site on which Vandalia was located, and the seat of government was removed in 1819. The land belonged to the State, and lots were sold, the proceeds of which were applied to the erection of the public buildings.

At the session of 1822, a law was passed authorizing the Governor to appoint Commissioners, to act in conjunction with Commissioners on the part of the State of Indiana, to report on the practicability and expediency of improving the navigation of the Wabash River, from the point where the eastern boundary of the State leaves the river to its junction with the Ohio River. An act also passed, at this session, entitled "An act to provide for the improvement of the Internal Navigation of this State," appointing Emanuel J. West, Erastus Brown, Theophilus W. Smith, Thomas Sloo, Jr., and Samuel Alexander, Commissioners, to consider, devise and adopt such measures as may be requisite to effect the communication, by canal and locks, between the navigable waters of the Illinois River and Lake Michigan, to determine the most eligible route for the canal, to cause all necessary surveys and levels to be taken, and accurate maps, field books and drafts thereof to be made, and to adopt and recommend plans for the construction of the canal, to make estimates of the expense, and to make a full report of all their proceedings to the next General Assembly. This act, which passed February 14th, 1823, also appropriated six thousand dollars to defray the expenses of the Commission. It was also made the duty of the Commissioners to recommend to the Governors of Ohio and Indiana and the Legislatures of those States, the importance of adopting measures to connect the waters of the Wabash and Maumee Rivers. The


importance of these great works bad, at a very early period, engaged the attention of all our prominent men. Gov. Bond and Gov. Coles had both urged their importance in their several messages to the Legislature. Congress had, about this time, passed an act granting the right of way over the public lands for its construction, but no measures were taken by the State for its commencement, until after the report of the Commissioner was laid before the Legislature.

At the subsequent session of the Legislature a law was passed, on January 17, 1825, incorporating the "Illinois and Michigan Canal Association" with full powers for the construction of the Canal. It was also provided, in the 7th section of the charter, that "all cessions, grants and transfers made or that may hereafter be made, by the Government of the United States, for the purpose of promoting the completion of the canal, shall pass and vest in said corporation." Owing to the passage of this law, the State came very near losing the benefit of a grant of lands from Congress; and Mr. Cook, who was then our only member of Congress, not only found it necessary to address a long communication on the subject to his constituents, but he deemed it of importance to return to the State and use his influence with the members of the Legislature to have the law, making this grant to a company, repealed. He contended that as nothing had been done under the act of incorporation, there was no vested right which would prevent its repeal. The corporators afterwards voluntarily surrendered their charter and the act was repealed.

It is remarkable that our members of Congress found it necessary to have a law repealed making a similar grant of whatever public lands Congress might grant to the State, for the purpose of making the Illinois Central Railroad, to a company consisting of D. B. Holbrook & Co., who had obtained a charter for the construction of the Central railroad. This obstacle to the passage of an act of Congress, making a grant of lands to the State, having been removed, and the Commissioners having reported the practicability and expediency of the work, the Legislature, at its special session in 1826, adopted the following memorial to Congress:

The memorial of the General Assembly of the State of Illinois respectfully represents: That the construction of a canal, uniting the waters of Lake Michigan with the Illinois River, will form an important addition to the great connecting links in the chain of internal navigation, which will effectually secure the indissoluble union of the confederate members of this great and powerful Republic. By the completion of this great and valuable work, the connection between the North and South, the East and the West, would be strengthened by the ties of commercial intercourse and social neighborhood, and the union of the States bid defiance to internal commotion, sectional jealousy, and foreign invasion. All the States of the Union would then feel the most powerful motives to resist every attempt at dissolution. To effect so great and desirable an object your memorialists believe to be of sufficient importance to engage the attention and awaken the munificent patronage of a Government


whose principle of action is the promotion of the general welfare. Your memorialists are sensibly alive to the spirit of improvement, that manifests itself in almost every section of our extensive country, and would fain lend a helping hand in so great and a good a cause; their situation, however, forbids their doing much, without the aid of the Federal Government — into whose treasury almost all the funds, whether brought hither by immigrants, or earned by the industry of their citizens, are paid, for the purchase of the public lands. While this state of things shall continue, and the money thus paid into the treasury of the Union is taken out of our State, our people will not be able to engage in the glorious work of improving our common country. Ought the people of this State stand by, with folded arms, and behold the great work of internal improvement progress in other States, without making an effort to improve their own condition, and at the same time advance the interest of our beloved country? A condition thus paralyzed is at war, not only with our interests, but with the best feelings of our hearts. Did this State possess the public domain lying within its bounds, as is the case with the older members of this confederacy, your memorialists would not appear before your honorable body to solicit aid in this important work. If, as your memorialists believe, the construction of the canal would be highly beneficial to the Union at large — if the receipts into the treasury of the United States would be augmented by the increased sales of the public lands, and if the interests of the State would be also advanced thereby, is it unreasonable to apply to a paternal government for assistance in the promotion of such beneficial ends? It is unnecessary for your memorialists to enlarge on the great advantages of this canal to the Union, in the facilities to be afforded in the event of a war either with the Indian tribes inhabiting our frontier, or the British nation. Your honorable body is aware that this State is situated on the borders of an Indian country, filled with numerous and powerful tribes of the sons of the forest. If our country should be again engaged in war, the saving of expense in the transportation of the munitions of war would alone defray the expense of the contemplated canal, and justify the United States in making a liberal appropriation for its construction. Your memorialists do not, however, ask your honorable body to appropriate money out of the treasury to aid them in this work. They only ask for a tract of land, through which the contemplated canal may pass, and which for a series of years will be wholly unproductive to the Government, unless the canal shall be commenced under auspices favorable to its construction — in which event all the land in its vicinity would immediately become available to the United States. Your memorialists sincerely believe that a liberal appropriation of land for this object would, even in a pecuniary point of view, be of immense importance to the treasury of the Union. The public lands in the vicinity would not only sell, but at a considerable advance of the minimum price. Should this opinion be correct, (and does not experience justify it?) the United States would be gainer by the proposed donation to the State. Your memorialists further state, that, at their last session, they passed an act of incorporation, upon very liberal terms, authorizing a company to construct the projected canal; but the remoteness of the country from the residence of capitalists has prevented them from engaging in the fork. At their present session your memorialists have repealed the charter, and their only hope of soon beginning the work depends upon the liberality of your honorable body. Your memorialists have caused the route to be explored, and estimates to be made of the probable expense of the work, from which it appears that the cost of constructing the canal will not be less than $600,000, and may possibly amount to $700,000. To the end, therefore, that your memorialists may be enabled to commence and complete this great work, we pray your honorable body to grant to this State the


respective townships of land through which the contemplated canal may pass — the avails of which to be appropriated exclusively to the construction of said canal, upon such terms and conditions as to your honorable body may seem proper.

Gov. Edwards, in one of his communications to the Legislature of Illinois, says: "In 1816, a tract of land bounded on Lake Michigan, including Chicago, and extending to the Illinois River, was obtained from the Indians, for the purpose of opening a canal communication between the lake and the river. Having been one of the Commissioners who treated for this land, I personally know that the Indians were induced to believe that the opening of the canal would be very advantageous to them, and that, under authorized expectations that this would be done, they ceded the land for a trifle. Good faith, therefore, towards these Indians, as well as the concurring interest of the State and of the Union, seems to require that the execution of this truly national object should not be unnecessarily delayed, and nothing is more reasonable than that the expense should be defrayed out of the proceeds of the very property which was so ceded for the express purpose of having it done."

In 1817, Major Long made a report on the subject of a canal to connect the waters of Lake Michigan with the Illinois River, which was printed by order of Congress. [See Vol. 2, No 17, of the Reports of the session of ------ Congress.] He says: "A canal, uniting the waters of the Illinois River with those of Lake Michigan, may be considered the first in importance of any in this quarter of the country, and at the same time the construction would be attended with very little expense compared with the magnitude of the object."

It will be seen from the same document that another favorable report was made by Richard Graham and Chief Justice Phillips, of the State of Illinois. Mr. Calhoun, the Secretary of War, recommended, in 1819, in a report to Congress, the attention of the Government to this point as being important in a military point of view. [See Vol. 4, Pub. Doc., 2d session, 15th Congress.]

In 1820, a law was passed by Congress, authorizing the State to open a canal through the public lands. The State appointed Commissioners to explore the route and prepare the necessary surveys and estimates, preparatory to its execution, but being unable, out of its own resources, to defray the expense of the undertaking, it was abandoned until some time after Congress made the grant of land for the purpose of its construction.

In 1825 a committee of Congress reported in its favor, and among reasons urged "that, in a political point of view, its importance will be found not less imposing than in either of those in which it has already been viewed. In uniting and drawing together the interests of the remote extremities of the Eastern, the Southern, and the Western sections of our


Union, no work of the same magnitude, it is believed, can be more effectual. The geographical position of Illinois and Missouri — the two States particularly interested in it — is such, that they will, under the advantages of this communication, have a common and almost equal interest in preserving their connection with the North and the South. Their trade will ultimately flow through the lakes and the Mississippi, and the advantages of a choice of market will be so important to them, that they must ever be unwilling to surrender it. By a reference to the map of our country, it will be seen that these States will have it in their power at all times, in the event, should it unfortunately ever occur, of any internal commotion, to command the waters of the Ohio and Mississippi. From their commanding position, therefore, as well as from their capacity to sustain a dense, and it must mainly be a free population, they will always hold the balance of power in deciding every effort that may be made to separate the West from either or both of the great geographical divisions of the Union; and, if from no other cause, their interests will direct their exertion of that power in favor of the Union. Nor is the interest of these States in preserving a free outlet for their commerce, both through the lake and the Mississippi — the latter of which opens to them the New Orleans, the West India and South American markets — stronger than must be that of the North and South in being united with them."
Daniel P. Cook was the author of this report.

Gov. Edwards, in a letter in 1825, to Mr. Clay, thus alludes to the canal: "A favorite object, and indeed, a political hobby, that supercedes all others, in this State and Missouri, is a canal to connect Lake Michigan and the Illinois River. Nothing could sustain the administration or its friends in these two States so effectually as its countenancing this measure. Connecting the waters of Lake Erie and the Wabash, is also a desirable object in a part of the State of Indiana. Ohio is executing a similar project. Now, do I venture too far that it might be very judicious in the President, without descending to any particular case, to introduce in his message to Congress some sentiment favorable to the connection of our great lakes with the Atlantic and Western waters? This might probably satisfy the friends of these different projects. I know it would contribute greatly to the support of the administration."

In an address of Mr. Cook to the people of the State of Illinois, dated October 28th, 1825, he says: "But this is a work in which the nation is interested and which the General Government should, therefore, aid in executing. As a ligament to bind the Union together, no work of the same magnitude can be more useful. Occupying, as Illinois and Missouri do, a central position in the great semi-circle of States on the North and West, and commanding, as they do, the commerce of the three great rivers of


the West, the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri, they may well be called the keystone of the widely projected arch. From New York to Louisiana, following the frontier curve of that portion of the Union, in the event of any political commotion or attempt at separation, the influence of these States would, ere long, be sensibly felt, and would even decide the contest. And their interest will be so happily balanced, by their desire for a free outlet through both the Mississippi and the lakes, that so long as commercial advantage continues to influence the policy of the States, they must and will decide against disunion. The friends of the Union, therefore, have a strong interest in this communication."

Among other inducements to assist in this work, Mr. Cook urged that there was no position combining greater advantages for an extensive National Armory than at the rapids, either on the Illinois or Fox Rivers — both points being within a few miles of the place where the canal must have its southern termination. "In the midst of exhaustless beds of stone coal, and surrounded by a country of almost unparalleled fertility as well as great salubrity, with a water-power adequate to all necessary purposes in the manufacture of arms, as well as fabrics for domestic purposes, I believe those points are destined to become the seat of as extensive manufacturing establishments as any in the whole Western country. And from their local position, with a view to convenience in distributing arms and clothing to a large portion of our frontier posts, no place can be more desirable for such establishments."

Congress, on the 2d of March, 1827, made the grant of lands to the State "for the purpose of aiding her in opening a canal to connect the waters of the Illinois River with those of Lake Michigan," and the Legislature passed a law, on the 22d of January, 1829, for the appointment of three Commissioners, whose duty it was "to consider, devise and adopt such measures as may be required to facilitate and effect" the construction of the canal. It was made their duty to fix the route of the canal; to select the alternate sections of land granted to the State by Congress; to cause the surveys and levels to be taken, and accurate drafts, field-books and maps thereof to be made; and as soon as they could command sufficient funds, and should deem it expedient, to commence the work. They had power to lay out towns, and to dispose of the lands and lots upon the same terms and conditions as the lands of the United States were sold, and it was provided that the Commissioners might sue and be sued in the name of "The Board of Commissioners of the Illinois and Michigan Canal," with full power "to enter, take and use any lands, waters and streams necessary the prosecution of the work." The canal was required to be forty feet in width at the summit water-line, twenty-eight feet wide at the bottom, and of sufficient depth to contain at least four feet of water, and so constructed


as to insure a safe and convenient navigation for boats of at least seventy-five feet long, thirteen feet six inches wide, and drawing three feet of water. Although this act was subsequently amended, and that too before any sales of any consequence had been made, as in express terms to reserve the right of the State, in all sales of lands, to take, "free from any cost, charge or liability whatever," any stone, timber, ground, water, or other material, necessary for the construction of the canal, and although Congress has expressly granted to the State the right of way, thousands of dollars were claimed and paid as damages for what was so expressly reserved.

Dr. Gershom Jayne of Springfield, Edmund Roberts, then of Kaskaskia, and Charles Dunn of Pope county, but who was afterwards one of the United States Judges in Wisconsin, were the first Commissioners. They selected the lands, surveyed the route of the canal, laid out the principal towns, and performed every other act that was necessary for the commencement of this great and important work — the history of which I profess to be familiar with from its commencement up to the present time; but, having only intended to bring down the history of the legislation of the State to the close of Gov. Edwards' administration, I must reserve many important facts for some future occasion.

On the 27th March, 1819, an act passed for the incorporation of the subscribers to the State Bank of Illinois. The law was repealed, and another act passed in 1821 establishing the State Bank of Illinois — the capital stock of which was not to exceed the sum of five hundred thousand dollars, to be owned exclusively by the State. The notes or bills of the bank provided, on their face, for interest at the rate of two per centum per annum, and loans were made chiefly on real estate security, at the rate of six per cent, interest. The only fund for the redemption of the bank notes was the land, town, lots, and other property belonging to the State, and the funds and the resources which then or thereafter might become payable to the State. The directors were to be appointed by the Legislature. For a more particular history of this bank — which in a very short time exploded, involving in its winding up a great loss to the State — the reader is referred to Gov. Edwards' speeches and messages to the Legislature. The law was declared to be in violation of the Constitution of the United States, which prohibited a State from the emission of bills of credit, and many of the debtors took advantage of this decision to avoid the payment of their just debts. For further information in relation to the finances of the State from that time until the year 1830, the reader is also referred to the communications from Gov. Edwards.

Resolutions were passed at this session requesting our Senators and Representatives in Congress to use their exertions to have the national road extended from Wheeling through the seats of government of Ohio, Indiana


and Illinois; thence to St. Charles on the nearest and best route. And, also, to use their exertions to secure a grant of land, for the opening and improving the same, to the extent of the unappropriated sections through which the road would pass.

At the subsequent session resolutions passed approving of the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States, by the State of Pennsylvania, "that Congress should pass no law to incorporate any bank or moneyed institution, except within the District of Columbia;" of the proposed amendment by Vermont in favor of single districts for the election of members of Congress and electors of President; and, also, a resolution asking the State of Kentucky to grant to the State concurrent jurisdiction on the River Ohio.

By the seventh section of an act supplemental to the act establishing the State Bank, Auditor's warrants were made receivable in payment of bank debts. These warrants having been issued for three times the amount for which they were paid out, bank debtors could get off by the payment of one-third of their debts, and the other two thirds were of course taken from the pockets of the people, who had nothing to do with the bank. For the purpose of relieving bank debtors, an act was also passed declaring that no other real or personal estate should, in a proceeding to foreclose the mortgage, be liable to satisfy a debt secured by mortgage, but the mortgaged premises. Previous to the passage of this law, in such cases a general judgment was rendered, and if the mortgaged premises were not sufficient to satisfy the debt, execution could he issued and any other property sold for the payment of the balance; and it does seem to me that there cannot be any good reason, especially in cases where there has been personal service, in requiring the expense of an additional suit in such cases.

In consequence of the depreciation of the paper of the State Bank, in which the State officers received their salaries, an act was passed, at session of 1822, authorizing the Auditor to issue his warrant in their favor for a sum, to each, not exceeding fifty per centum upon their established salaries; and the appropriation bill appropriated, to be paid to the Speakers of the House and Senate, the sum of nine dollars per day, and to each member such sum as he should designate, by writing the same on a piece of paper, he was willing to receive per day for his services, not exceeding seven dollars per day. No other measures of importance were passed at this session, except resolutions declaring: 1. That the appropriate made by Congress to certain States, in the South and West, of lands lying within said States, for the purposes of education, were made for National and not for State purposes. 2. That the public lands do not form a fund out of which appropriations may be made, for the use of schools, to any State other


than such wherein said lands lie and are offered for sale, except upon a good and valuable consideration given therefor. 3. That it would be derogatory to State sovereignty, and tend to disturb the harmony and peace of the Union, to give one State jurisdiction over or a right of property to lands lying within another State, without the consent of the State in which the same might lie.

In February, 1823, an act passed for the election, by the Legislature, of a judge of probate in each county, and conferring upon the judges the same jurisdiction, in their respective counties, as the judges had who were elected under the act which had previously passed for the establishment of courts of probate.

At the regular session in December, 1822, the circuit court system was established, but it was repealed at the next session, and the supreme judges continued to discharge the duties of holding circuit courts, except in one circuit in the military district, of which the Hon. R. M. Young was elected judge.

In January, 1825, the revenue law was so amended as to authorize the lands of residents to be sold by the Auditor for taxes. Residents were required to pay their taxes annually, while for some reason non-residents were not compelled to pay their's oftener than once in two years. The lands in the military district were to be sold in January, 1826, and every two years thereafter; and those belonging to non-residents, in other portions of the State, were to be sold in January, 1827, and every two years thereafter.

The salt springs within the State, and the lands which had been reserved for the same, were granted to the State on its admission into the Union, on the condition, however, that the State should never sell nor lease the same for a longer period than ten years.

The U. S. Government had realized a considerable sum, annually, from leasing the salt works in Gallatin county, and it also appears, from the reports of the State Treasurer, that the State had also derived a considerable amount of revenue from the same source.

An act was passed, in 1827, appointing Commissioners to dispose of thirty thousand acres of the least valuable of the salt lands, provided that Congress would consent to their sale; and also, to designate, at each situation suitable for water-works, within the reserve, twelve acres of land, and so much of the ripple and water-course and the banks thereof as may be necessary for the erection of dams and water-works — to be constructed so as to promote, but not obstruct, the navigation of the Saline creek. The proceeds arising from the sale of the site for the water-works were to be applied to the improvement of the navigation of the Saline creek, the improvement of the road across the Maple swamp between Equality and Carlyle, and to the erection of a bridge across Eagle creek on the road from


Equality to Ford's ferry, on the Ohio River. One-half the proceeds arising from the sale of the thirty thousand acres were appropriated for the erection of a penitentiary at Alton, one-fourth to improve the navigation of the Saline creek, the improvement of the road across the Maple swamp and the erection of the bridge across Eagle creek, and one-fourth to improve the navigation of the Little Wabash River by canaling around Robinson's mill-dam, in White county, and to remove other obstructions in said river — provided, that neither of the two last appropriations should exceed five thousand dollars.

By the same act Shadrach Bond. William P. McKee and Gershom Jayne were appointed Commissioners to select a site for a penitentiary, on the Mississippi, at or near Alton.

Provision was also made for selling ten thousand acres of the Vermilion saline reserve, and to apply the proceeds to the improvement of the navigation of the Great Wabash River. Appropriations were also made, out of the proceeds from the sale of these lands, to the improvement of the Big Muddy River, and the building of a bridge in Pope county.

At the subsequent session additional appropriations were made, out of the same proceeds, for local purposes in a number of other counties in the State, among which one thousand dollars was for the improvement of the Sangamon River, and two thousand dollars for the improvement of the Kaskaskia River.

Congress, in the meantime, had assented to the sale by the State.


Chapter X.

Slavery — Gov. Edwards' Views on the Slavery Question — The Attempt to Introduce Slavery into the State — Education — Proprietors of Upper Alton the first to establish Free Schools — State Laws on the subject of Schools — Gov. Edwards' Speeches during his Canvass for Governor of the State.

Notwithstanding the sixth article of the ordinance of 1787 provided, that "there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than for the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted," an act was passed by the Legislature of the Indiana territory, on September 17, 1807, which was continued in force in the Illinois territory, authorizing the owner of any negroes above the age of fifteen years to bring them into the State, and to have them bound to service for such number of years as might be agreed upon between the negro and his master. The master was required to take his negro before the clerk of the court of common pleas, and to have him indentured and registered within thirty days after bringing him into the State; and if the negro would not consent, sixty days more was allowed the master to take him back into any State where slavery was allowed.

By another section of this law any person could bring negroes under the age of fifteen years, and hold them to service or labor — the males until they arrived at the age of thirty-five, and females until they arrived at the age of thirty-two years.

It was also provided, by this law, that the children, born in this territory, of a parent of color owing service by indenture, shall serve the master or mistress — the male until the age of thirty years, and the female until the age of twenty-eight years.

Another act was passed, in 1814, providing that slaves might, with the consent of their masters, voluntarily hire themselves within the territory, for any term not exceeding twelve months; and that his continuance in the territory according to such hiring should not operate in any way whatever to injure the right of property in the master in and to the services of such slave.

This last act was accompanied by the following preamble: "Whereas the erection of mills and other valuable improvements in this territory cannot


not be made from the want of laborers; and whereas, also, experience has proved that the manufacture of salt, in particular, at the United States saline, cannot be successfully carried on by white laborers; and it being the interests of every description of inhabitants to afford every facility to the most extensive manufacture of that article, so necessary to them all — as the most natural means of obtaining a certainty of the necessary supplies thereof, at the lowest prices," etc.

On the 20th December, 1813, an act also passed to prevent the migration of free negroes into the territory. This act provided that if any such negro should not leave the territory after fifteen days' notice, he should be whipped on his bare back not exceeding thirty-nine nor less than twenty-five stripes.

It was also provided that free negroes, then in the territory, should register themselves and their children with the clerk of the county court, on the failure of which they were subjected to severe penalties.

There was another class of colored persons who were held and recognized as slaves, both under the Territorial and State governments, until 1847. These were held by the French and others, previous to the adoption of the ordinance of 1787, and the following are the reasons for contending that such persons and their posterity were bound to perpetual servitude:

1. It was contended that, under the Governments of France, England and Virginia, slavery was permitted; that the then inhabitants of the country lawfully acquired and held slaves; and that each of the governments, in surrendering the rights of the soil and jurisdiction of the country, respectively, made ample provision for the protection of the inhabitants in the enjoyment of all their property, of which slaves constituted a large and valued portion.

2. After the conquest of the country by Gen. George R. Clark, the jurisdiction of Virginia was, by act of their Assembly, extended over it, and afforded as much protection to this description of property as any other, until the first of March, 1784, at which time Virginia ceded its right to the soil and jurisdiction of the country to the United States, upon the following, among other conditions, viz: that the French and Canadian inhabitants and other settlers, etc., "should have their possessions and titles confirmed to them, and be protected in the enjoyment of their rights, and of which rights that to hold their slaves was as perfect, according to all existing laws, as to hold any other species of property."

3. By the ordinance of Congress, passed the 23d of December, 1784, the existence of slavery within the ceded territory is impliedly acknowledged by the repeated mention of free males of full age being entitled to certain privileges therein mentioned; and this ordinance, so far from imposing


any restriction as to slavery, actually gave to the free male settlers the right "to adopt the laws of any one of the original States," and of course to sanction slavery (if it had not previously existed) as far as it was then sanctioned by the laws of any State in the Union. In this situation things continued under the Government of the United States until the 13th day of July, 1787, a period of about three years, when the last ordinance was passed.

4. As slavery existed under the Governments of France, England and Virginia, if not expressly authorized by Congress, until the last mentioned period, the right to this species of property was as perfect within the ceded territory as in "any one of the original States," and for any violation of this right, the settlers, up to that period, were as much entitled to an action of detinue, or for damages, as if they had resided in "any one of the original States."

5. Congress, in 1784, and 1785, had refused to prohibit slavery in the territories.

6. Slaves, therefore, were property, and to hold them as such was a legal right, secured by the existing laws, with adequate remedy for its privation at the date and for three years after the compact between Virginia and the United States, and of course was among those rights which, according to one of the express conditions of the deed of cession, the United States became bound to protect the French and Canadian inhabitants and other settlers "in the free enjoyment of" — a condition which Congress, even, with far less limited powers, could not violate.

7. But Congress has not violated this condition by the ordinance of 1787, and if not, all the rights, of whatever character they may be, which previously existed, are unaffected by that instrument. Independently of the phrases "free males of full age," so frequently used in it, and so clearly implying a knowledge of the existence of other males of full age, who were not free, it cannot be supposed and no lawyer will assume that Congress was ignorant of the fact that slaves were lawfully held by the settlers of the ceded territory at the date of the ordinance, and that, being so held, they were emphatically property.

Taking it, then, for granted that Congress understood the state of the facts on which they were legislating, and the evident meaning of their own language, it will be seen that, instead of violating any of the conditions in relation to the inhabitants of the ceded territory, to which the United States had bound themselves, that body intended faithfully to fulfil them. The very first section of the ordinance embraces all the property, both real and personal, (not excepting and of course including slaves which those inhabitants possessed) and prescribes the manner in which both descriptions might be disposed of — thereby recognizing not only the right to hold, but to dispose of the very property in question.


Besides other recognitions of the rights of those inhabitants, and with a view to protect them in the enjoyment thereof, according both to the obligations of the compact and the principles of justice, it is expressly declared in the first of the articles — made unalterable except by common consent — that no man shall be deprived of his property, but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land; and that it shall not be taken away from him, even for the common preservation, without full compensation being made for the same. Slaves were, at that time, property, to which the ordinance referred, and on which it must be considered as intended to operate as much as upon any other property whatever, since no discrimination was made. As, then, this property has neither been taken away, nor paid for, in the manner prescribed by the article last referred to, all right to it that ever existed must still remain.

What, then, is the meaning of the article which declares that "there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude" in the said territory? Presuming that it is an acknowledged rule of construing all laws, that effect shall, if possible, be given to every part thereof — a rule which more emphatically applies to constitutions, or other written instruments, intended to prescribe the general principles on which government is to be administered — it would seem that the article should receive a construction consistent with those previously noticed, and, particularly, since it cannot be supposed that the United States in Congress assembled intended to violate the compact, or to do themselves or to permit others to do that which they declared should not be done. Adopting this rule of construction the conclusion is irresistible, that while Congress intended to protect the inhabitants of the territory in the enjoyment of their rights to their slaves, they equally intended to prevent the increase of slavery without violating the vested rights of any individual whatever. And this would be the case even if the last article referred to were to be taken without its context. It is, however, by considering it in this point of view, as an isolated sentence, that so much misapprehension has prevailed in regard to it. It should be taken in connection with the preamble, which equally applies to all and each of the six articles, and shows conclusively that its operation was intended to be prospective and not retrospective — to prevent a failure, and not to destroy a previous sanction — to guard against the further introduction of slavery, and not to object to that which then existed — to prevent future authorized requisitions of slave property, and not without a moment's notice or any equivalent whatever, to take away from the inhabitants of the country that which they had lawfully acquired.

Taking this article with so much of the preamble as applies to the question, it would be substantially as follows: To fix and establish those principles as the basis of all laws which, forever hereafter shall be formed in


the said Territory, it is hereby ordained and declared that the following article shall be considered as an article of compact between the original States and the people in the said Territory, and forever remain unalterable unless by common consent, to-wit: "There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said Territory."

Here it is plainly declared that the object of the article in question was to establish the basis of laws thereafter to be formed in the said Territory. Taking into consideration that this ordinance was designed to enable the people thereof to legislate for themselves, under prescribed limitations, this article can only be considered as a restriction upon the legislative power of the people, and not as an act of legislation by Congress, operating upon and destroying vested rights for the protection of which they had pledged the faith of the nation. Believing that Congress has never freed a slave, and never even intended to legislate on the subject further than to prescribe limits to the power of the local Legislature, and the latter having done nothing to change the common law principle of partus sequitur ventrem, it is in full force, and the posterity of those born since the ordinance were subject to its operation.

It is evident that the people of the Territory and the Territorial Legislature considered that there were slaves legally held under the ordinance and deed of cession from Virginia, from the fact that by the revenue laws of the Territory provision was made for the taxation of slaves and servants; and although the laws adopted by the Governor and Council, recognizing the right to hold these slaves, were passed subject to be disapproved by Congress, the very fact that they were not disapproved implies that Congress also recognized this right. That they were so regarded by the framers of the first State Constitution must be conceded, from the language which they used in the following provision; "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall hereafter be introduced into this State."

If this article had not been intended to operate prospectively, the words "hereafter introduced" would have been omitted, but being inserted in the article, they imply that slavery existed at that time in the Territory; and that such was the case, the first Legislature which met after the adoption of the Constitution proved, by passing laws for the taxation and punishment of slaves, as well as indentured servants.

The above were some of the arguments which were urged by those who believed that the French, and settlers previous to the date of the ordinance of 1787, were entitled to hold their slaves. The Constitution of the State recognized the right to hold indentured servants, and also provided that the children of such, who might be born after the adoption of the Constitution, should serve — the males until they arrive to thirty-five years of age, and the females until they arrive at thirty-two years of age. The supreme


court of the State, however, in the year 1846, decided against the right to hold those persons as slaves; and since that time the State of Illinois has been freed from the evils of slavery.

I cannot imagine how Gov. Ford could have committed so great a mistake in ranking Gov. Edwards among those who were in favor of making this a slave State. His sentiments on that subject were well known, for no one individual in the State had been so active in his opposition to the introduction of slavery. In a message to the Territorial Legislature, in the year 1817, returning a bill entitled "An act to repeal so much of an act entitled ‘an act concerning the introduction of negroes and mulattoes into this Territory,’" he says: "I am no advocate for slavery; and if it depended upon my vote alone, it should never be admitted into any State or Territory not already cursed with so great an evil. I have no objection to the repeal which I suppose was intended, but there being no such law as that which is described in the preamble and referred to in the enacting clause of the bill which has been referred to me for my approval, the proposed repeal would be a mere nullity, and with every possible aid of legal construction and intendment would leave in full force the act of 1812." The above bill was intended to repeal so much of an act as authorized negroes to be brought into the Territory for the purpose of being indentured, to the passage of which Gov. Edwards says he would "have no objection."

During the winter of 1819-20, a plan was formed at Washington City for the establishment of a press at Edwardsville, for the purpose of advocating slavery. General Joseph Sheet, who was to have been the editor, spent the winter at Washington City, for the purpose of making the necessary arrangements; and it was believed, from the fact that he at that time held one of the most lucrative offices in the State, which he would have been compelled to relinquish on his removal to Edwardsville, that nothing less than "a very formidable combination could have afforded him sufficient inducements to make the sacrifice." The following communication from Gov. Edwards will more fully develop their plans:


Editors of the Illinois Intelligencer.

GENTLEMEN: Mr. Kane having publicly insinuated, if not explicitly declared, that I had some agency in the editorial remarks which appeared in the "Edwardsville Spectator" of the 11th inst., upon the subject of a real or supposed plan to introduce slavery into this State — and having also declared himself "well convinced" that no such measure was ever "thought of" — I beg leave to assure the public that all and every suggestion that I advised or even wished the publication of those remarks, or that I ever saw a line or letter of them till they were published, or that any of the statements contained therein originated with me, are utterly destitute of even the shadow of truth to support them. And in repelling such foul and malicious imputations, I am happy to have it in my power to afford Mr. Kane himself ample proof of their injustice, and to place him in a situation to feel compelled, if he is disposed


to preserve even the semblance of regard for truth or honor, to acquit me — or otherwise, by failing to retract his own gross slander, when deprived of every pretext for persevering in it, to give a public manifestation of that disingenuousness which for years past has characterized his conduct towards me. And for that purpose, besides other gentlemen of this place and St. Louis, to whose testimony I might appeal, I refer him to Dr. Todd, Edward Coles, Esq., Major Theophilus W. Smith, Joseph Conway, Esq., Mr. McKenney, Major Winchester, Mr. May and Mr. Watkins, of this place, and to Mr. Hart and Col. Riddick, of St. Louis, for proof that statements had been made and were believed, weeks before my return from Congress, that a new press was to be established at this place, with the avowed object and design of advocating the introduction of slavery into this State, and that it was to be edited by the gentleman who is mentioned in the editorial article above referred to as having been selected for that purpose.

Various as are the sources of these reports, it can be most satisfactorily proven, and no one will deny, that they did not originate with any person friendly to Mr. Cook, or disposed to support his election.

Some of the gentlemen referred to can testify that a change of our Constitution in regard to slavery has at least been "thought of" pretty seriously; and knowing as much as I do upon the subject, in relation to certain individuals who are intimate with and support Mr. Kane, I am truly surprised that he should know so little as to believe that the change spoken of had "never been thought of."

I have, however, written testimony in my possession, which at present I do not feel at liberty to publish, but which I will cheerfully show to Mr. Kane, that will prove to his satisfaction that "a change or modification of our Constitution, in relation to slavery," has recently been contemplated, and that there are some men of intelligence, and well acquainted with our situation, who "think the period not remote when the slave side of the question will be the most popular in this State." But for further exculpation of myself I refer to the annexed extract of a letter to myself, from a gentleman of first respectability, in St. Louis, who was at the city of Washington during the discussion of the Missouri question, but left there before its determination, and who was and I believe still is decidedly hostile to Mr. Cook. This letter, however, was procured for a very different purpose, and I regret that Mr. Kane's ungenerous attack upon me has rendered it necessary for me to use it on the present occasion, or to make any remarks whatever upon the subject.


EDWARDSVILLE, July 24, 1820.


ST. LOUIS, June 27, 1820.

I recollect of frequently hearing it said, and perhaps while in Washington may have made the remark myself, that it "would be doing nothing more than justice to Illinois (as its citizens were so violently opposed to Missouri, as a State, without restriction) to create a reaction by engaging your side of the river in a contest at home, which would prevent them from so particularly interesting themselves in our concerns; and that, to effect this, it would only be necessary to establish a press at Edwardsville that would admit and favor a free discussion of the advantages that would result to the State by admitting slavery," believing that a large proportion of the State was inhabited by emigrants from the Southern States, who would he favorable to such a state of things.

I also understood that a gentleman, highly distinguished on former occasions for his editorial talents, might be prevailed on to establish a press in Edwardsville, and if so, from his sentiments on the subject of slavery (which was then debating at large in Congress) he would most certainly advocate such a course. I afterwards understood that the gentleman alluded to did intend to visit Edwardsville, preparatory to such a step, but I never understood that you had any knowledge of it, or in any way countenanced it.


In his special message to the Legislature, at the session of 1826-7, may be found the following paragraph:

As there is some reason to believe that the loans, referred to in my last message as having been made to Thomas J. McGuire, Emanuel J. West and Theophilus W. Smith, were somewhat connected with the establishment of a press at Edwardsville, which was intended to promote the introduction of slavery into this State, they probably merit particular notice. I have been informed, by authority which is presumed to be unquestionable, that Mr. Kinney, the president of the bank, obtained his loan to reimburse Mr. Kinney; that Mr. West gave his bond of indemnity to Mr. McGuire, and Mr. Smith is known to have been the editor of the paper.

Besides the documentary evidence of Gov. Edwards' sentiments on this subject, it is well known to Judge Lockwood, Wm. H. Brown of Chicago, George Churchill, Hooper Warren, and many others, that he was never associated in politics with the gentleman alluded to by Gov. Ford. At this very time Mr. Cook, his son-in-law, was the candidate of the anti-Convention party, against Gov. Bond.

In his speech in the Senate of the United States, on the bill for the admission of Missouri into the Union, he said: "Were an attempt made to introduce slavery into the non-slaveholding States of the West, then, indeed, might there be just cause of alarm, and I can assure gentlemen that there is no man who would oppose such a proposition with more determined zeal than myself. In attempting to discuss the present proposition, it is not my purpose to advocate slavery in any shape, or to deny that, in its mildest form, it is equally inconsistent with the inherent rights of man, and repugnant to every principle of humanity and philanthropy. On the contrary, I rejoice most sincerely that an increasing sense of its moral injustice and turpitude, and the happy prevalence of more enlightened and magnanimous views throughout every part of our common country, as well as in various other parts of the civilized world, are eliciting the most zealous efforts not only to prevent its extension, but to ameliorate its present condition, which, with the blessing of Divine Providence, I trust will, in due season, eventuate in its final extermination."

At a still later period, in a letter to the Postmaster General, dated Aug. 20, 1829, in which he complains that superior mail facilities have been granted in the State of Missouri to those afforded to the people of Illinois, he says: "Collisions on such subjects are as unpleasant to me as to any other man, but I have never seen the day that I would not risk any personal consequences rather than submit to have the affairs of my own State controlled by members of Congress from other States, or to see it degraded and overlooked as though it were an inferior. Though older in every respect, and superior in the number of its free population and the extent of agricultural improvements and productions, to Missouri, the interest, convenience and accommodation of the latter have of late years


been so much more favorably regarded by the Government, that certain magnates of St. Louis, who are in the habit of speaking of us, reproachfully, as ‘the free State,’ seem to consider us unworthy, on that account, of the equal regard of the Government, and hope, by their influence with the present administration, to impress upon us the stamp of degradation."

After alluding to other conspicuous instances of the preference to Missouri over this State, he says: "It would be easy to demonstrate that better and more eligible locations for the troops at Jefferson Barracks, and for the arsenal near St. Louis, than the sites of either, might have been had in the vicinities of Alton and Kaskaskia, and had we not been the ‘free State,’ they would doubtless have been preferred. We claim an equality of rights with the citizens of Missouri, and this nothing shall induce me to relinquish — for great is the debt of gratitude which I owe to the people of this State; and they have never been seen to shrink when their rights and interests have been called into question, and, with the permission of Divine Providence, they never shall."

Again, he says: "I can conceive of no reason for this preference, unless it be supposed that because the people of Missouri have negroes, to work for them, they are to be considered as gentle-folks, entitled to higher consideration and superior privileges to us plain ‘free State’ folks, who have to work for ourselves."

Although this letter was written while he was Governor of the State, yet it was not in his official character. It nevertheless portrayed, in such striking colors, the partial and injurious nature of the contemplated changes in the mail routes, for the purpose of accommodating the State of Missouri at our expense, as to secure to the State its just rights.

Although opposed to the introduction of slavery in Illinois, he believed that Congress had no authority to pass the ordinance of 1787, and that it was unconstitutional and void. His opinions on this subject were as follows:

At the time Virginia made her cession, there was a numerous and wealthy population within our limits, all citizens of Virginia, owing to her allegiance and entitled to her protection, and whom, therefore, she had no more right to dismember from the State, and transfer to another Government, than she would have to transfer the citizens of her counties of Loudon and Fairfax. Vattell, a distinguished writer on the "Laws of Nations," says: "A nation ought to preserve itself. It ought to preserve all its members. It cannot abandon them; and it is under an obligation to them of maintaining them in the rank of members of the nation. It has not, then, a right to traffic with their rank and liberty, on account of any advantages it may promise itself from such a negotiation. They are united to the society to be its members. They acknowledge the authority of the state to promote, in concert, their common welfare and safety, and not to be at its disposal, like a farm or an herd of cattle. But the nation may lawfully abandon them, in a case of extreme necessity; and it has a right to cut them off from the body, if the public safety requires it. But this province or


city, thus abandoned and dismembered from the state, is not obliged to receive the new master attempted to be given to them. The people, being separated from the society of which they were members, resume all their rights; and if it is possible for them to defend their liberty against him who would subject them to his authority, they may lawfully resist him." (Pages 177-8.)

It was doubtless from the obligations which these universally acknowledged principles imposed, as well as from other benevolent and political considerations, that Virginia so particularly stipulated that we should be admitted into the Union, not shorn of a single attribute of sovereignty, not humiliated by dependence, not degraded by inferiority, nor deprived of any right which we should have enjoyed, in common with herself, had no dismemberment taken place — but with the very same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence as the original States.

Though the people so dismembered and transferred were not bound to submit to the new sovereign, yet they might do so; and the moment they yielded an express or tacit consent to the compact of cession, they became parties to it, and acquired vested rights to all and everything stipulated in their favor, of which they can no more be deprived than the people of Louisiana of the rights secured to them by the treaty with France, which ceded that country to the United States. Their consent, also, subjected them to all authority which, as a consequence of the terms of cession, could be lawfully exercised over them, and no more. It warranted no usurpation. In giving it, they must be presumed to have taken into view the powers both of the government that transferred, and that which received them; and in submitting to a government of specified and limited powers, they subjected themselves to no undelegated authority. When, then, had the United States a right to govern them? Never, till their admission into the confederation; and then only as a member thereof. Why so? Because no such power was delegated to them by the articles of confederation; and these restricted their authority to the powers expressly granted. How, then, were they governed? Cut off from Virginia, and owing no other allegiance to the United States than they had previously owed as citizens of Virginia, they had a right to govern themselves, and were in the meantime entitled, by the terms of the cession, to the same protection from the United States as Virginia herself. As citizens of Virginia, which the cession acknowledges they were, they had vested rights and privileges. By what authority, then, could the Legislature of Virginia disfranchise them? By that of their State Constitution? But this was intended to secure those rights and privileges; and all who had submitted to its authority were entitled to its protection. How, then, could the United States do it? Under the articles of confederation? But these gave no such authority, and were intended to protect the rights of all and every citizen of each State in the confederation, so far as they had cognizance of them. If this monstrous power of degrading any portion of the citizens of a free, sovereign and independent State to colonial thraldom, without their consent, or any other act of theirs to justify it, may be exercised over a population of fifteen or twenty thousand, why may it not be extended to one-half or any other number of the citizens of any State in the Union? The principle is the same, however few or many its victims.

The powers of the United States are far greater and more national under the present Constitution than they were under the confederation; yet, it will not be pretended that they could govern the District of Columbia, though ceded to them by the States of Maryland and Virginia, but for that clause in the Constitution that specially authorized them to do so. The Legislature of Virginia could not, with the consent of


every State in the Union, without an amendment of the Constitution, transfer the county of Fairfax, which adjoins the district, to the United States, and subject the citizens of that county to their authority; nor could the United States, with all their enlarged powers, receive such a transfer. What, then, gave the Legislature of Virginia greater power over her citizens in the organized county of Illinois than it now has over those of the county of Fairfax? And how, then, did the transfer of the former give to the United States more power to govern them than a transfer of the latter would now give? A delegation of power for such purposes was as necessary then as now, and none having been granted, the ordinance of 1787 was, therefore, as to us, unauthorized, unconstitutional and void.

Whatever the people of Virginia might have done in their sovereign capacity, it is contended that their Legislature had no right to dismember the State, and curtail its jurisdiction. And why? Because no such power had been delegated to them by the Constitution of the State, and it could be derived from no other source. Their's was the power of legislating for the whole State, as it then stood, and was intended to be exercised by them and their successors forever. For what end? For the preservation and security of the whole territory, and all its inhabitants. To suppose, then, that they could transfer any part of the State, or its jurisdiction, is to admit their power to annihilate rights as effectually secured to their successors as to themselves, and to destroy the whole ends and objects of their own institution — for if they could dismember a part, they might have transferred the whole; and as to the question of power, might as well have surrendered it to the King of Spain, who, about that time, was very anxious to obtain a part of the United States. As well, it might be contended, that the Legislature of a State, the Constitution of which establishes the boundaries thereof, could change the territorial limits, as to maintain that the Legislature of Virginia could have made this transfer of a portion of her territory. What right, then, it may be asked, had the Legislature of Virginia to cede that portion of the territory which is now included within the District of Columbia? The question is easily answered. It was derived from the Constitution of the United States, and its ratification by the Convention of the State; and the admitted necessity of a clear delegation of power to authorize that cession is, of itself, a good argument to show that nothing less than such authority could authorize any other. As it is agreed, on all sides, that Virginia cannot now transfer to the United States an acre of her territory, except for certain purposes specified in the Constitution, it is for those who contend that the cession under consideration was not a perfect nullity, to show that her Legislature had greater power to dismember the State than at present.

As to the right of the United States to hold, dispose of and govern the territory, and to enact the ordinance of 1787, they all depend upon the powers delegated by the articles of confederation, and involve the question whether that feeble Confederation, which was limited to powers expressly granted, among which these were not included, could do more than the present powerful National Union, with all its train of incidental powers. It is admitted that the United States cannot now, even with the consent of every State in the Union, purchase or hold a foot of land within any State, except in the few cases permitted by the Constitution, and this merely because no such power has been delegated to them; and that they could neither dispose of any part of the public domain, nor make any rules or regulations concerning it, but powers, the powers that have been specially delegated to them for these purposes. How, then, could they do all these things under the confederation which granted no such powers, and the second article of which prohibited them from exercising any sovereignty,


power, jurisdiction or right
which was not therein expressly delegated to them? It would seem that every candid mind must admit that the exercise of these powers by the Confederation was not only unauthorized, but expressly forbidden. It follows, then, that the United States acquired neither the territory, nor the jurisdiction over it, by the cession of Virginia. To whom, then, it may be asked, did the right of jurisdiction belong? Like all countries abandoned by their owners, it was subject only to the laws of nature and of nations, and belonged to the people that possessed it. They owed allegiance to no other state or nation than Virginia, and were entitled to her protection; and as they could not transfer the right of protection, so, neither, could she transfer the right of allegiance. When, therefore, they were formally abandoned by the only government that had any claim to their obedience, they were of course independent. It was upon this very principle that the Swiss declared their independence, and maintained it, with all the rights of domain and empire, against the Emperor of Germany. "The country of Zug, attacked by the Swiss in 1352, sent for succor to the Duke of Austria, its sovereign; but that Prince, being employed in talking of his birds, when the deputies appeared before him, would scarcely condescend to hear them; upon which this people, thus abandoned, entered into the Helvetic confederacy," (Vattell, 155) and were rightfully lost to their former sovereign forever, by his failure to afford them that support which, from the reciprocal obligation of allegiance and protection, they were entitled to.

Well, then, if neither Virginia nor the United States had any right to govern these people, and the ordinance of 1787 was void as an act of the Congress of Confederation, have they gone all this time without any government at all? Certainly not. They have been constantly governed, and under the ordinance, too; but then it derived its force not from the authority of the United States, but the consent of the people themselves. Being free to choose what government they pleased, they had as much right to submit to this as to any other. Their own consent was all that was wanting, and this was equally valid whether given tacitly or expressly. But, however given, it could impart no power, right or jurisdiction to the United States which had not been delegated by the articles of confederation. Consent cannot give jurisdiction to a court, and still less to a government prohibited from exercising any power, jurisdiction or right which had not been expressly delegated to it.

Although the State Government had only been in operation for four years, under the Constitution, the whole State was again thrown in commotion in consequence of efforts being made to elect members in favor of calling a Convention to amend the Constitution. Those in favor of the Convention not being able, at that time, to point out any particular defect in the form of government, were strongly suspected to have for their object the amendment of the Constitution so as to allow the introduction of slavery. This party was afraid to openly avow such a change to be their object, but failing to point out others sufficiently important to incur the expense and inconvenience from too frequent a change of the fundamental law of land, the anti-slavery party was aroused; and never was a people more agitated than were the voters of the State, for the period commencing the latter end of 1821 and terminating after the election of 1824; which resulted in a triumphant majority against slavery. The anti-Convention


party, through their newspapers, hand-bills, public addresses of candidates, politicians, and from the pulpit, proclaimed the object of the Convention, and opened their batteries against the evils of slavery. Those in favor of its introduction, although more secretly engaged, were more active in whispering into the ears of the settlers from the Southern States the advantage the State would derive from an immediate and rapid immigration from the Southern States. They referred to Missouri, into which, at that time, the emigration from the Southern States was very large; they appealed to their sympathies in favor of a population whose habits, manners and customs were more assimilated to their own; they endeavored to excite their prejudices against the ‘Yankees,’ by representing them to be a close, mean and niggardly set of people. Strange as it may seem, the most talented advocates of the proposed change were from the free States, whilst Gov. Edwards, Judge Pope and Daniel P. Cook, the avowed leaders of the anti-Convention party, were from slave States, and two of whom were slaveholders. There were, however, able co-operators with them from the free States, among whom were Judge Lockwood, Hon. David J. Baker, William H. Brown, Alfred Coules, and others. The prejudices among the Southern and Western people were, at that time, very great against the ‘Yankees;’ and to such an extent did this sentiment prevail, that it was generally believed that nearly all those seeking public favor, from that portion of the Union, denied that they were ‘Yankees,’ but claimed to be New-Yorkers! I have heard Mr. Cook say, that, on one occasion, he stayed all night with a farmer, in the southern portion of the State, and, during a conversation, he inquired of him the news; to which question the farmer replied that "there was none, except they were afraid that d ----- little yankee, Cook, would be elected to Congress!" The conversation continued, on various subjects, during the evening; and on Mr. Cook's taking leave of him, in the morning, the farmer was so much pleased with him that he inquired of him his name. Mr. C. replied that he was "that d ---- yankee, Cook," he alluded to the previous evening! From that time the farmer became his devoted friend.

From the fact that nearly all of the Northern and Eastern inhabitants were the friends of Gov. Edwards and Mr. Cook, they lost many supporters from the Western and Southern States.

In the year 1818, Gov. Coles came to Illinois, bringing a letter of introduction from President Monroe to Governor Edwards. The following is a copy of the letter:

WASHINGTON, April 13, 1818.

Dear Sir:
Mr. Edward Coles, intending to pass through Illinois, probably to remain some time there, I take much pleasure in introducing him to your acquaintance and kind attention. I have long known and highly respected him for his excellent qualities


and good understanding. He was, several years, Private Secretary to the late President, and employed by him in a confidential message to Russia — in which trusts he discovered sound judgment, great industry and fidelity, and is generally beloved by those who know him best. Should he settle with you, you will find him a very useful acquisition — and I understand that is not an improbable event.

I hope that the arrangement made this winter will avail our country of your services, in the proposed treaty with the Indians, in a manner satisfactory to yourself; for success, on just principles, is the object of my most ardent wishes.

With great respect and esteem,

I am, dear sir, very sincerely yours,


In a very short time afterwards, Gov. Coles received the appointment of Register of the Land Office at Edwardsville. In this way he had a good opportunity of making the acquaintance of the people, and, being very polite and gentlemanly in his manners, he had a great many warm friends. On his arrival in the State, he also brought with him a very large family of negroes from Virginia, to whom he not only gave their freedom, but also aided in furnishing their houses. These circumstances, and his opposition to slavery, contributed in a great degree to his success in the election for Governor of the State, in 1822. He was afterwards sued, and judgment obtained against him, for the penalty imposed for a violation of the statute which prohibited the introduction of negroes into the State. The Legislature remitted the amount of the penalty for which a judgment had been obtained against him in favor of the county of Madison. The circuit court, over which Judge McRoberts (afterwards Senator in Congress) presided, denied the constitutional power of the Legislature to remit the fine, but the supreme court reversed this opinion.

At the session of 1822, a resolution passed recommending the electors, at the next election for members of the General Assembly, to vote "For" or "Against" a Convention for the purpose of amending the Constitution. I have already alluded to the object of calling the Convention, and to the arguments that were advanced in favor of making this a slave State. As the friends of slavery had succeeded in electing a very large majority of the members of the Legislature, they were confident, if they could succeed in securing a sufficient number of votes in favor of the Convention, they could also elect a majority of delegates in favor of amending the Constitution so as to allow the introduction of slavery. It, then, became a matter of great importance to point out the evils of the Constitution, and the necessary amendments to remedy them. Gov. Coles having called the attention of the Legislature, in his message, to the fact that slavery still existed in the State, notwithstanding the ordinance of 1787, the Convention party had so much of his message as related to that subject referred to a select committee. The committee, composed of those in favor of the Convention, made an elaborate report, sustaining the right of the settlers at the time


of the cession of the territory, by Virginia, to the United States, to hold their slaves. They also contended that the descendants of such slaves could be held in perpetual bondage, and that there was no way by which slavery could be even gradually abolished, without an amendment to the Constitution. Their report, with resolutions sustaining this view of the subject, was adopted by a large majority of the House of Representatives. Thus we see that the right of the French to hold their slaves was conceded by the Legislature, not only by resolutions declaring this right, but by laws on various subjects referring to this class of our population as slaves. These resolutions and reports were intended to entrap the friends of freedom to vote for the Convention, by inducing them to believe that the Constitution could be amended so as to abolish instead of establishing slavery. The people were not so easily imposed upon, and the result was, as I have already stated, that the call for the Convention was defeated by a very large majority.

William H. Brown, Esq., of Chicago, at that time one of the editors of the "Illinois Intelligencer," in an editorial article of the 15th Feb., 1823, thus refers to the extraordinary proceedings of the Legislature that were adopted for the purpose of calling the Convention:

Since the commencement of the present General Assembly, the subject of calling a Convention to amend the Constitution has been a topic of conversation in and out of the State House; and although I knew that the sole aim and avowed object of this measure was to introduce into this State, by a legislative provision, that worst of all evils, the evil of slavery — for reasons best known to myself, during the pendency of this question, I have never penned one single sentence either for or against this contemplated change of policy. And even at this time, had not extraordinary means been resorted to, to effect the object, I am not prepared to say that, in my editorial capacity, I should have called in question the expediency or propriety of the measure.

It may be remembered by the reader that some days since, a resolution, recommending the people to vote for or against a Convention, was introduced into the House of Representatives, and found twenty-two votes in its favor and fourteen against it. At that time, there not being a constitutional majority, it was reconsidered laid upon the table. From this period down to Tuesday last (by means which it does not become me to state) a change of two votes was effected, and on that day the House took up and proceeded to consider the resolution upon this subject from the Senate, which had passed that body by a bare constitutional majority. When the question was put in the House of Representatives, Mr. Hanson, the member from Pike county, who had on a former occasion voted for, now voted against it, and the question was lost. Mr. Darnwood of Gallatin, who had voted for the resolution, and was, of course, one of the constitutional minority, moved to reconsider the vote; which the Speaker correctly and promptly decided to be out of order. An appeal was taken from his decision, which was sustained by a decided vote.

It will be recollected that, during the first days of the session, John Shaw, a citizen of Pike county, contested the election of Mr. Hanson, and, after a full and fair investigation, the committee of elections recommended the right of Mr. Hanson, in which recommendation the House concurred. Mr. Hanson continued to occupy


his seat, thus solemnly confirmed to him, until Wednesday last, when Mr. Ford, one of the committee on elections, moved to reconsider the vote taken on concurring in the report, and resolutions accompanying it, of the committee on elections, on this contested election. The question was put and decided in the affirmative, by a vote of 22 to 13. Upon Mr. Field's motion, John Shaw was permitted to a seat in the House, and the documents were again read. An additional document was introduced, purporting to be the affidavit of Levi Roberts, Esq., and sworn to the 28th of January last, (no notice of the taking of which was even pretended to be given,) which affidavit gave it as the opinion of the affiant that John Shaw received a larger number of votes than Mr. Hanson. Mr. Field then moved to strike out the name of "Nicholas Hanson," and insert in lieu thereof the name of "John Shaw." Mr. Hanson was turned out and John Shaw admitted to his seat. The question was soon taken upon concurring in the resolution, from the Senate, recommending a Convention, and carried by a constitutional majority — John Shaw supplying the place of Mr. Hanson.

At the next session, the General Assembly adopted the following resolutions, on the subject of slavery, to-wit:

WHEREAS the General Assembly of the State of Ohio did, on the 17th day of January, 1824, pass the following resolutions, by way of propositions to the States and Congress, viz:

"Resolved, That the consideration of a system providing for the gradual emancipation of the people of color, held in servitude in the United States, be recommended to the Legislatures of the several States of the American Union and to the Congress of the United States.

"Resolved, That, in the opinion of this General Assembly, a system of foreign colonization, with correspondent measures, might be adopted, that would, in due time, effect the entire emancipation of the slaves in our country, without any violation of the national compact or infringement of the rights of individuals, by the passage of a law by the General Government, (with the consent of the slaveholding States,) which would provide that all children of persons now held in slavery, born after the passage of such law, should be free at the age of twenty-one years, (being supported during their minority by the person claiming the service of the parent,) provided, they then consent to be transported to the place of colonization.

"Resolved, That it is expedient that such a system should be predicated on the principle that the evil of slavery is a national one, and that the people and States of this Union ought mutually to participate in the duties and burthens of removing it." Therefore,

Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Illinois, That it is expedient to concur in the plan proposed in the aforesaid resolutions.

By an act which passed in January, 1829, negroes and mulattoes, not being citizens of the United States, could gain a residence in the State by producing to the county commissioners' court a certificate of his or her freedom, and also by giving bond, with security, in the sum of $1,000, that would not become a charge upon the county, and would demean themselves in strict conformity with the laws of the State. If such persons were found in the State without a certificate of their freedom, they were liable to be taken up and sold for one year — on the expiration of which time, if no person claimed them, they were entitled to a certificate which would allow them to remain in the State, as free persons, until their owner claimed them.



The proprietors of Upper Alton having donated one hundred town lots, one-half for the support of the gospel and the other half for the support of public schools in said town, an act passed, in 1821, incorporating trustees, and authorizing them, in addition to the powers usually granted to towns, to lay a tax not exceeding seventy-five cents on each lot, (not including the one hundred lots donated by the proprietors,) to be applied to the support of teachers and the erection or repairing of buildings. This school was declared to be open and free to all, of a suitable age, within the limits of the town. Up to this period no school system had been adopted, and no provision had been made for the support of schools — with the exception of the small amount that might be realized from leasing the school lands — until the session of 1825, at which time an act passed for the establishment of free schools throughout the State.

As it will doubtless be interesting to the friends of education and free schools, I will give the outlines of that act. The preamble to the act, which was entitled "An act providing for the establishment of free schools," is as follows, viz: "To enjoy our rights and liberties, we must understand them: their security and protection ought to be the first object of a free people; and it is a well established fact, that no nation has ever continued long in the enjoyment of civil and political freedom, which was not both virtuous and enlightened. And believing that the advancement of literature always has been and ever will be the means of more fully developing the rights of man — that the mind of every citizen in a republic is the common property of society, and constitutes the basis of its strength and happiness — it is therefore considered the peculiar duty of a free government, like ours, to encourage and extend the improvement and cultivation of the intellectual energies of the whole. Therefore —

"SEC. 1. Be it enacted, etc., That there shall be established a common school or schools in each of the counties of this State, which shall be open and free to every class of white citizens between the ages of five and twenty-one years: Provided, that persons over the age of twenty-one years may be admitted into such schools, on such terms as the trustees of the school districts may prescribe."

Section 2d provided that the county courts should form school districts, upon a petition for that purpose, by a majority of the qualified voters within the proposed district: Provided, that such districts shall contain not less than fifteen families.

Section 3d provided for the election, by the voters of the district, of three trustees, a clerk, treasurer, and assessor and collector, who were required to take an oath of office faithfully to discharge their respective duties.


The trustees were required to superintend the schools; to examine and employ the teachers; to lease the land; to call meetings of the voters whenever they deemed it expedient, or at any time when requested by five legal voters, by giving to each one at least five days' notice of the time and place of holding the same; to make an annual report, to the county court, of the number of children in their respective districts between the ages of five and twenty-one years, and the number of them actually attending school, with a certificate of the time a school has been kept in the district, and the probable expense of the same; to purchase or receive any property, real or personal, for the use of the district; to give orders on the treasurer for all sums expended in paying teachers, and all other expense incurred in establishing and supporting schools in the district; and at the regular meeting of the inhabitants, the trustees, as well as all other officers, were required to settle their accounts which accrued during the year for which they were elected. The duties of the respective officers were clearly defined, and the assessors were required to assess all such property, lying within and belonging to the inhabitants of the district, as he was directed to assess, by a vote of the majority of the voters of such district.

The legal voters of each district had power to appoint a time and place of holding annual meetings; to select school house sites; to levy a tax — either in cash or good merchantable produce, at cash price — upon the inhabitants of the district, not exceeding one-half per centum, nor amounting to more than ten dollars per annum on any one person; and to do all and everything necessary to the establishment and support of schools within the same.

The State appropriated, for the support of schools, two dollars out of every hundred received into the treasury, and five sixths of the interest arising from the school funds — which was divided annually between the different counties, in proportion to the number of white inhabitants in each county under twenty-one years of age. The treasurer of the county, to whom was paid the amount belonging to the county, was required to make a like distribution among such districts of the county as had kept a school in actual operation at least three months in the year, for which the appropriation was made.

The rents arising from the school lands were directed to be divided among such of the inhabitants of the township as had contributed, by tax, subscription or otherwise, to the support of a common school in or near the township, for at least three months within the last twelve months preceding the time of making such, dividend; and such division was made in proportion to the sum contributed by each person to the support of such common school.


The commissioners of the school fund were directed to invest the same in the purchase of the indebtedness of the State, at its market value.

The county clerks were required to make an extract of the reports of the trustees, stating the number of children within each district, the number actually sent to school, the time a school had been kept in operation in each district, with an account of the expenditures of the same — and forward it to the Secretary of State on the 1st day of December, annually.

The inhabitants of the district were required to make regulations for building and repairing school houses, and for furnishing the same with furniture and fuel. They had power to class themselves, and agree upon the number of days each person or class should work in making improvements, and to make such other regulations as they might deem necessary for that purpose: Provided, that no person should be required to work, unless he had the care of a child who attended the school for the purpose of receiving instruction.

The collectors and treasurers were required to give a bond, with security, for the faithful application of the money received by them.

The free school system which had been adopted in 1825 was modified by an act which passed on the 17th February, 1827, in several important respects:

1. On the application of the inhabitants of any settlement which was partly situated in two counties, the commissioners' court of both counties could lay off a district to be formed out of territory taken from each of their counties.

2. The legal voters had power to cause either the whole or one-half of the sum required to keep a school, in such district, to be raised by taxation; and if only one-half shall be raised by taxation, the remainder might be required to be paid by those who sent pupils to the school: Provided, that no person could be taxed, for the support of any free school in the State, without his consent first had and obtained, in writing. No person was, however, permitted to send any scholar to such school as was supported either wholly or partly by taxation, unless such person had either consented to be taxed, or had obtained the permission of the trustees.

3. By an act, which passed on the same day, it was made the duty of the county court to appoint trustees for each township, whose duty was in most respects similar to that now conferred upon the trustees of schools.

At the session of 1829, an act passed — on the condition that Congress should assent to the sale of the sixteenth section — for the appointment, by the county court, of a school commissioner, who, on the petition of nine-tenths of the freeholders of any township, was authorized to sell the sixteenth section, in tracts of not greater than eighty acres, at public sale,


and for any price not less than $1.25 per acre. After the lands had been offered at public sale, they could be entered at private sale by the payment of $1.25 per acre, in cash. It was the duty of the school commissioner to loan the money at as high an interest as he could get, by taking good security, for the use of the schools of the proper township — the interest of which was to be distributed, under such restrictions and regulations as the county court should deem right, by the trustees of schools, among the schools of the township. This was the origin of the present township fund. An act also passed, at this session, for the sale of the seminary lands.

The free school system was also virtually destroyed by the repeal of the appropriation, out of the State treasury, of two dollars out of every one hundred paid in, annually, by taxation, and by the law which prohibited the levy of a tax without the consent of the inhabitants.

Having given a general outline of the legislation of the Territorial and State Governments, the reader will be better prepared to understand and properly appreciate the following speech of Gov. Edwards, during his canvass for Governor, at the election held on the 1st Monday of August, 1826:

By the eighteenth section of the eighth article of our Constitution, it is declared that "a frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of civil government is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty." The experience of the whole world bears testimony to this great political truth. Unfortunately, such is the nature of man, that, in the fruition of the greatest blessings, he is most apt to become insensible to their intrinsic value, forgetful of the source from whence they emanate, and careless of the means of preserving them. As the individual who has always enjoyed uninterrupted health is, of all others, the most likely to forget its natural tendency to deterioration and decay, so communities, long blessed with the highest perfection of civil and religious liberty, are too prone to indulge in a false security against those dangers to which all human institutions are liable. The warning voice of experience admonishes us to guard against this disposition of our nature. However prosperous our condition, such are the wise dispensations of an overruling Providence, that our own exertions are necessary to preserve it; nor can the most vigilant precautions for that purpose be pretermitted with impunity. And hence arises the necessity of reviewing those great events which have contributed to the establishment of our liberty, and of frequently recurring to the fundamental principles of civil government, on which it is founded, to enable us to maintain it in its greatest purity, and to hand it down unimpaired as the most precious legacy to a grateful posterity.

No time seems to me more suitable for those purposes than an occasion which has a direct reference to the great and inestimable right of election — the vital principle of all free representative governments and the solid foundation of the mighty political fabric which we have erected. I therefore trust that a few general remarks, on those subjects, will not be unacceptable to you on the present occasion.

In the contemplation of our present prosperous and happy condition, compared with that of all other nations of the world, it seems to be impossible for any human heart not to dilate with gratitude to that Almighty Being, who has so signally smiled upon our efforts, and irradiated with the light of His countenance the path that has conducted us to our present glorious pre-eminence. Equally difficult is it for a rational


and reflecting mind to resist the belief that we have been thus peculiarly favored, protected and supported for some great and wise purpose of His inscrutable providence. In the long period, of more than fifty-eight hundred years, which have elapsed since the creation of the world, neither tradition nor history furnishes any example of a nation that has been so blessed with every rational means of comfort and happiness, as we have been; and did our gratitude bear anything like a just proportion to these transcendent blessings, we should undoubtedly be the most moral and religious people on earth.

About two hundred and twenty years ago, these United States were one immense forest — the haunt of savage beasts and still more savage men. Deprived of their civil and religious liberties in their native land, our hardy ancestors sought, in these wilds, an asylum from persecution; and notwithstanding the awful dangers and appalling difficulties of settling in a savage and uncultivated country, at the distance of three thousand miles from the abodes of civilization, such was their invincible love of liberty, that, relying upon Divine Providence, they freely encountered overy peril, and, by surprising efforts of constancy and valor, overcame every obstacle. This noble and undaunted spirit, inculcated by precept and animated by example, was transmitted through all the succeeding generations to the period of our Revolution, when it produced that determined resistance of British aggression which secured to the American name imperishable renown, and made us a free and independent nation. It is consolatory to every patriotic bosom, in looking back through the vista of a few past ages only, to observe that, from a band of persecuted exiles, this mighty nation has arisen, of limits larger than those of any other, with a population now sufficient to defend us against the whole world, and still increasing with amazing rapidity; and whose progress in all the arts of civilized life, in science, in refinement, in physical and moral power, and in every species of national prosperity, transcends that of any that now is or that ever existed.

Having learned practical wisdom in the school of adversity, and moderating their views by the sober dictates of experience, our forefathers, equally avoiding the Charybdis of monarchy and the Sylla of anarchy, laid the foundations of civil liberty which have hitherto secured our happiness, and by which we have been enabled to exhibit to the world the sublime example of the entire practicability of a government founded upon the just and equal rights of man.

True, genuine, rational, well-regulated liberty may, therefore, be almost said to have had its birth in America. Matured and cherished by the affection and sustained by the blood of the first adventurers of this happy land — guarded by the patriotic vigilance and protected by the valor of their descendants — it has, by the care, integrity and wisdom of our Washingtons, Franklins, Jeffersons, Madisons, and their compatriots, been brought to that unparalleled perfection in which it is now our felicitous lot to enjoy it.

Our own direct interest, therefore, a proper respect for the memory of our virtuous and valiant ancestors, duty to our posterity, and our obligations to that Divine Providence by whose behests we seem to have been destined to become a shining light unto the world, all conspire to demand our most sedulous and devoted exertions to merit, to preserve and to perpetuate to all future generations the blessings of that precious boon which has thus descended to us; and, by the moral force of our example, to dispel the mists of error, to vindicate the rights of man, and to burst asunder those chains of bondage that enslave the rest of the world.

Think you, my countrymen, because there is no enemy now thundering at our gates and demanding the surrender of the citadel of our liberties, that there is no danger?


If so, discard the dangerous, fatal delusion. Remember, that although all mankind were created with equal rights and with the love of liberty implanted in every human bosom, yet all, with the exception of ourselves, have, sooner or later, by the supineness and folly of themselves or their ancestors, fallen from this high estate and been compelled to bend their necks to the galling yoke of thraldom. Recollect, also, that although, for a nation to be free, it is only necessary that she herself wills it, yet ours is the only really free nation on the earth. Let us, therefore, look to the experience of others, as warning beacons, to guide from the dangerous vortices that have engulfed them in ruin. Just, as is the cause of free principles and equal rights, we should not forget that there is, at this day, an alliance (nicknamed holy) of some of the greatest potentates of the earth, to prevent its progress, and that, of all the nations of the old world, there is not one that is not arrayed against it.

Mankind has long been divided in opinion as to what form of government is best calculated to secure the welfare and promote the happiness of a nation; and, strange as it may appear, there is too much reason to believe that, great as has been the triumph of our system over prejudice and opposition, it has not been sufficient to convince even all of our own fellow-citizens of its superiority. Men of sinister motives and inordinate ambition, disposed to aim at uncontrolled power, there ever have been and ever will be, whose talents will be united to compass the destruction of equal rights and to establish exclusive privileges and arbitrary power. Availing themselves of the unsuccessful experiments of all the ancient republics and of the disastrous issue of the late French revolution, the enemies of our system have labored and are incessantly laboring to demonstrate that it is Utopian, visionary and impracticable, and that we shall ultimately have to exchange our sentiments of liberty for the chains that hold other nations captive.

But while I admit that there is enough of similitude between the ancient republics and our own to induce us to take warning from their experience, and to awaken our vigilance to guard against their errors, I contend that we are not in the same imminent danger that they were — not only because we have all the advantage of their experience, but because our government is free from those inherent defects and imperfections which mainly contributed to the unfortunate catastrophies of theirs. These were not self-balanced, like ours, and of course were more liable to yield to violence and power — to the strategems of popular demagogues and to the momentary infatuation and sudden commotions of the people themselves; but, above all, they lacked that pure and genuine representative principle which constitutes the perfection of our system.

Ours is a compound republic, composed of two descriptions of government: the one federal, the other local and municipal — both being necessary to and instituted for the safety and happiness of the people, and equally dependent upon their will. The principal objects of the former are the common defense against internal convulsions and foreign aggression, the maintenance of a just and friendly intercourse between the different members of the Union, and the management of all our affairs, political and commercial, with foreign nations. The objects of the latter are all those domestic affairs that relate to the personal interests of the people and to the internal tranquillity, improvement and prosperity of the respective States.

This division of powers between the two governments renders them much less capable of being perverted to purposes of usurpation and oppression than if all those powers were concentrated in any one government, and, moving within their respective orbits, the barriers of our liberty are strengthened by their mutual tendency to prevent any dangerous aberrations by either. The powers surrendered to them,


respectively, by the people, have been happily separated and distributed into different departments, which, mutually checking each other, insures cautious inquiry and deliberate investigation — while the people, who are the acknowledged source of all legitimate power, have a right to sit in judgment upon the conduct of all their public servants, and, by the power which they have retained by changing them at certain stated periods, can effect any other change they please — either in the Federal or State Government — in a tranquil, pacific and constitutional mode. This system, which is adapted to almost any extent of territory, already embraces such a widespread population, and such a multiplicity and variety of interests, as to render any dangerous internal combinations against our peace, safety and happiness extremely difficult. In all these respects, as well as in many others arising from the physical situation of our country, we possess decided advantages over all the ancient republics. Nor can our situation be justly assimilated to that of the late French republic. It is true that, when that nation commenced its republican career, the recollection of their past services to us in our struggle for freedom, sympathy for their situation, and a virtuous desire for the progress of our own principles, caused every American bosom to swell with anxiety for their success, and inspired us all with the animating hope of their emancipation of millions of our fellow creatures, and of seeing another bright and impressive example of the justice and practicability of free government. But if our disappointment has been mortifying, there is something consolatory and encouraging in the contrast between their conduct and ours, for while theirs affords an admonishing lesson of the danger of a nation's trusting to its own self-sufficiency to accomplish its happiness, it equally evinces the superior wisdom of ours, in looking to an overruling Providence, who holds the destinies of nations in the palm of His hand, to guide us in our duties and to crown our efforts with His blessing.

If any one doubt that wickedness and impiety have an inevitable tendency to the destruction of any nation, he need take very little trouble to find enough, both in profane and sacred history, to remove all his scepticism on this subject. He may find, in the histories of Babylon and Ninevah, and even in that of the highly favored Jews, themselves, such signal instances of Divine chastisements, as will leave him at no loss to account for the unfortunate issue of the French revolution. Suddenly emerging, as they did, from the lowest depths of despotism into uncontrolled liberty, and indulging all its licentiousness, their system itself had its origin in popular frenzy; and, relying upon their own self-sufficiency, instead of looking to Divine Providence for assistance, they endeavored to establish a new era, to be denominated "the age of reason" — and with an inconsiderate eagerness to explode all old systems and to free themselves from all those restraints which ever will be found necessary for the government of mankind, they impiously though vainly attempted to undermine the very foundations of religion itself. By which means, after shedding oceans human blood, and passing through all the horrors of anarchy, they have been compelled to surrender that liberty which they had so grossly abused, and to sink again into the degrading condition of abject slavery.

On the other hand, throughout our whole revolutionary contest, our old Congress, our illustrious Washington, and all the distinguished actors upon the theater of our revolution, were in the constant habit, as may be seen by the records of that period, of imploring the aid of the Almighty, and of attributing their success to His divine beneficence. And our system of government, which was the result of steady habits, sedate reflection and progressive developments, is not only predicated on the reality of religion, but relies upon its sanctions for the faithful administration of our affairs. Comment surely cannot be necessary, either to demonstrate or to enforce the great


moral lesson which this striking contrast teaches. But, my countrymen, although there is nothing in the cases referred to produce despair in regard to the eventual success of the great cause in which we are engaged, there is yet enough to premonish us against supineness and inattention to its interests. Secure as it may be, at this time, in this favored land, against open assaults, it is not exempt, even here, from the danger of the insidious arts of the designing and ambitious, and we should at all times bear in mind that, as all our institutions depend for their support upon public virtue, whatever tends to lay the foundations of the latter, proportionably endangers the former. Our liberty should not be regarded as a mere exemption from bondage, but as a means of usefulness placed within our power, and imposing upon us the highest obligations to endeavor to improve our own condition and to advance the interests of mankind. Many talents have been committed to our charge; the opportunities of improving them are highly propitious. Let us, then, not act the part of the wicked and slothful servant, lest our unfaithfulness should provoke a similar condemnation. We have, indeed, a high destiny to fulfill. Liberty, though driven from all her abodes in the Old World, is, happily, extending her empire over this hemisphere. Twenty millions of the inhabitants of the southern part of this continent are beginning to enjoy her benign and happy influence. The most of them have adopted our system as their model. Our continued example is necessary to their permanent success; and if they and we act well our respective parts, we may reasonably indulge the pleasing, cheering hope that it is reserved to the New World, by the moral force of her example, to regenerate and reform the Old. Great, therefore, is our encouragement to persevere in that prudent and virtuous course by which we have attained our present happiness and glory. Having "tried it," and, by long experience, proved it to be "good," let us "hold fast to it."

Our local, not less than the general government, demands our care and attention; and with such abundant causes of felicitation in regard to the latter, I wish it were in my power to congratulate you upon an equally auspicious aspect of our domestic concerns — but this neither truth nor duty will permit. On the contrary, it is not to be disguised, we have, for some time past, and now are laboring under the paralyzing influence of a system of measures, equally oppressive to the people, ruinous to the resources of the State, and disgraceful to its character — results which must appear the more extraordinary and difficult to be justified, by contrasting our situation immediately after we became a State, with what it has subsequently been. At that time, owing to the paucity of our population and the limited objects of taxation, arising partly therefrom and partly from the exemption from taxation of the military bounty lands for three years after the date of the patents, and of the public lauds for five years after the sale of them, there was a necessity for subjecting us to higher taxes than had ever been imposed upon any other part of the Western country, to enable the State to discharge certain Territorial arrearages, to defray the expenses of our Convention, and to meet the current demands of the Government. The taxes then imposed, however, were found sufficient for all these purposes; and nothing was more confidently anticipated than their speedy reduction.

At that time the expenses necessarily required, by the organization, are objects of the Government — with the exception of a trifling amount arising from the addition of a few members to the Legislature — were precisely the same that they in the early part of last year, or at any intermediate period. Yet, notwithstanding the vast increase of our population, the great augmentation of our personal property, and the accession of the whole of the county and a considerable portion of other


lands to the objects of taxation, our taxes have not yet been reduced; but our revenue, as if diminishing in an inverse ratio to the multiplication of our financial resources, was, at the close of the session of the Legislature in 1825, and before a expense had been incurred in consequence of the new organization of the judiciary, found deficient in the means of meeting the demands on it to a very large amount, which had to be supplied by an emission of Auditor's warrants. Even now the current expenses of the Government do not exceed $25,000, which must be much less than the revenue arising from the military bounty land, alone, every acre of which has, for several years past, been subject to taxation. Of these lands there are 3,500,000, which, at one cent per acre, or one dollar per hundred acres, the lowest rate of taxation, amount to $35,000. Rated in the second class the amount would be $52,500, and in the first $70,000. What proportion has been entered in the first class, or whether any, I know not. It is certain, however, that a very large quantity has been listed in the second; so that it may be fairly inferred that the revenue which they ought to have yielded cannot be short of $40,000, which is $15, 000 more than the whole amount of the current expenses of the Government.

It is evident, therefore, that with judicious management this source of revenue alone would have been sufficient to have defrayed all our necessary expenses, and left in the treasury a large amount surplus, available for the purposes of internal improvement, or any other object of domestic prosperity. But when, with this source of revenue, we take into view all others that have accrued, in addition to the original objects of our taxation, which, of themselves, had been found sufficient to pay off all our Territorial arrearages and to defray the expenses of the Government, they not only increase the difficulty of accounting for so large a deficit in the treasury, but greatly highten the very reprehensible character of that wretched system of policy, which had its origin in the legislation of last year, of paying out our State paper at the enormous discount of three dollars for one.

By this wonderful expedient, our financial resources have been subjected to the same exhausting operation as if the Legislature had actually borrowed money, at two hundred per cent, interest, to pay the debts of the State and to defray every item of public expenditure — as will appear by the following consideration. According to the charter of the State Bank, the State has bound itself to redeem all the notes of the bank that may be presented to it, in gold and silver coins, in the year 1831, and in the meantime, to receive them in discharge of any debts to the State; and for the fulfilment of this contract the public faith, and all the lands, town lots, funds, revenue and other property of the State, have been solemnly and effectually pledged. This, then, is the contract between the State and the holders of the notes of the bank, and as the Constitution has expressly declared that "no law impairing the validity of contracts shall ever be made," it follows that all these notes must be redeemed with gold and silver within five years from this time, if not sooner done. When, therefore, they are thus received at par and paid out at three dollars for one, the public loss must necessarily be equivalent to the payment of 200 per cent, interest. To illustrate this subject to the entire conviction of any rational mind, a few examples of the practical operation of the system are all that can be necessary. The salary of a circuit judge is $600, for which he receives $1800 in State paper. In like manner a judge of the supreme court, whose salary is $800, receives $2400 in State paper, and the Governor, whose salary is $1000, receives $3000 in State paper — so that the people will have to pay $1800 for every circuit judge, $2400 for every supreme judge, and $3000 for the Governor. Upon the same principle, supposing the expenses of the


Government, including those for rebuilding the State House, for the twelve months ending with June last, to have amounted to $15,000 (and I am informed they were more), a debt of $150,000 for the payment of those expenses has been imposed the people which will eventually have to be wrung out of them by taxation, thereby producing a clear loss to them of $100,000 in one year, and this with no other consolation for it than that of a little indulgence as to the time of payment — at the expiration of which they may find it just as inconvenient to pay as it would now be.

Now, my countrymen, what is the effect of this system upon you individually? Stripped of its disguise, nothing is clearer than that it must render the taxes of each one of you three times as much as they would, otherwise have been — for as a community is but an aggregate of individuals, so the debts of the former are due and payable in just and fair proportion by the latter; and as the State reserves a lien upon every man's property for its proportion of taxes, this unwisely accumulated debt attaches to the property of each of you, operating as a mortgage upon it, to secure the payment of your respective proportions thereof.

Are you, then, willing to have your property thus subjected, unnecessarily, to a triple tax? No State, whatever its energies and resources, could long withstand the destructive power of such a system. Nothing could more effectually check the population and prosperity of our own — for emigrants to a new country are generally of that description of people who are neither the most able nor the most willing to pay high taxes; and a public debt, increasing in this ratio, would soon swell to such magnitude as would not only be outrageously oppressive to our present inhabitants, but would effectually deter others from coming to reside among us.

Our situation at this time, though better than it was last year, is yet too bad to be patiently endured. Our Government is now receiving State paper at par, and paying it out at two dollars for one, which is equivalent to borrowing money at 100 per cent. interest; yet there are not panting those, and of pretty high authority too, who profess to entertain and endeavor to inculcate the opinion that the State is not interested in the appreciation of its own paper — the absurdity of which is sufficiently manifest from this consideration, alone: that for every dollar paid out by the Government at fifty cents, we become liable to pay one hundred. And, who does not perceive that, as our government is now carried on with State paper, worth only fifty cents on the dollar, its appreciation to par value would render only half as much necessary, and of course would admit of the reduction of our taxes to one-half of the present amount, without producing the slightest diminution of our financial capacity.

A simple fact is sufficient to present a striking and impressive view of the wasteful, injudicious and humiliating character of those measures. It is this: that our revenue derivable from non-residents, alone, has, for years past, amounted to between $40,000 and $50,000 — double, or very nearly double the whole amount of the current expenses of the Government; and yet, with this resource, and all the contributions that have been exacted from the inhabitants of the State, those deplorable defalcations as sacrifices, before mentioned, have taken place — and surely nothing can be more humiliating to our pride or disreputable to our character abroad, than that, with an income from non-residents, alone, sufficient to take up all our paper in about four years, it should have depreciated to one-half of its nominal value — since this can only be accounted for on the assumption of our want of good faith and moral honesty.

There has been, fellow-citizens, another feature in our anomalous revenue system, so abhorrent to my feelings that I find it difficult to speak of it, either with the moderation which becomes my years, or is due to the present occasion. This is odious, injurious


and indefensible discrimination between the citizens of the State, and non-residents — whereby, while the last article of personal property, not exempt from execution for debt, which the poorest man among us owns, has constantly been liable to be taken and sold for his taxes every year, non-residents have not been compelled to pay theirs oftener than once in two years, and even then always leaving those due for one year uncollected. Now, although I should be one of the last men who would disturb that fair equality, as to taxation, which they are entitled to, under our impact with the General Government, I must be permitted to observe that if any difference had been proper, reason and justice would have required that it should have been in favor of and not against the actual settlers of the State, on whom its defuse, safety and prosperity depend.

Whether this measure was the result of design or proceeded from oversight, the t of foresight, or no sight at all, I will not pretend to decide. It is demonstrable, however that its tendency has been to create, cherish and support speculation to the manifest detriment of your interests.

As the principal part of our revenue arises from the taxes of non-residents, human ingenuity could not have devised a more effectual scheme for producing an annual deficit in the treasury than by permitting these taxes always to remain one year in arrear; and this, by creating the necessity for new issues of Auditor's warrants, has constantly afforded opportunities of speculating on them, by which the public have lost precisely what the speculators have gained — whilst the two years indulgence has afforded to the purchasers of lands sold for taxes an opportunity of disposing of them at a profit, for that length of time, without being subject to the inconvenience of paying taxes upon their property, as you are bound to pay on yours. How, then, is this discrimination to be justified? Are speculators more meritorious and useful than the honest cultivators of the soil? If not, why should they have been so much more highly favored?

But these are not the only objections to this measure. It was calculated to withdraw State paper from circulation among us, to accumulate it in the hands of non-residents and speculators, and, ultimately, to insure to them the benefit of discharging their taxes in that medium, while the great body of our people would have been compelled, for the want of it, to pay theirs in cash. Depreciated, as our paper had been, by our legislation, to less than one-third of its nominal value, and thereby increasing the inducements to buy it up, so much of it had, in the early part of last year, passed into the hands of non-residents, that its scarcity was greatly felt throughout every part of the State. Judging of the future by the past, it is reasonable to infer, from the competition which has taken place at every public sale for taxes, and the evidently increasing disposition to engage in that speculation, that our paper would have been hoarded up for the purpose of being laid out in the purchase of lands, or in the payment of taxes on them, at the next sales. These were to have taken place in January, 1828, when there would have been three years taxes due, which would not have amounted to less than between $120,000 and $150,000. Taking into consideration, then, that the whole amount of our State paper is less than $200,000, and that, of this, $60,000 are required by law to be burnt before that time, you may well judge how much of it would have remained in circulation, available to our own people in the payment of their taxes.

Regarding the subject in this point of view, and happening to be at Vandalia, at the last session of the Legislature, I spared no pains to get this unwise and unjust distinction between our own citizens and non-residents abolished; and I am happy to have in my power to say, that the sales for the taxes of the latter are hereafter to


be annual, which (better late than never) will compel them to disburse, and enable the Government to get into circulation a large amount of paper, which, in the course of next year, cannot fail to afford great relief to the people, but which would wise have remained hoarded up for at least one year longer.

The taxes of those non-residents and speculators, for the last year, as well as our own, became due on the first day of last October; but while you have been compelled to pay yours, not a cent was exacted from them. Had they, like you, been required to pay them, there would have been no necessity for a new emission of Auditor's warrants; the State would have saved all the loss consequent upon the increase of its paper and paying it out at $2 for $1, and $40,000 more, at least, would have been paid into the treasury, which, by the operations and disbursements of the Government, would have been diffused throughout the State, thereby increasing our circulating medium and facilitating to you the means of paying your present year's taxes. But then this would have withered if not annihilated that speculation which has so long been luxuriating upon the spoliations that have been committed upon the resources of the State and the honest earnings of the sweat of your brows. Such impositions as these, upon a free, high-minded and independent people, I boldly assert have no parallel in the annals of free government, and they are only to be borne by that charity which hopeth all things, believeth all things, and endureth all things.

Nor are the innovations that have been introduced into our new-fangled revenue system, in regard to the listing of our lands and the payment of our taxes, among the least of our grievances. Visionary and impracticable, as their injurious effects upon the revenue and the confusion they have created have proved those new regulations to be, it is much to be feared that, by their preventing us from listing our own lands and at the same time subjecting them to be sold in the names of other persons, many an honest man may lose his land before he is apprised of his danger; but to say nothing of those other novelties and eccentricities which have given many of us much trouble, and puzzled the best informed among us to know how to act to save our property according to legal requirements, what reason, justice or propriety is there in requiring the lands of residents to be sold for taxes at Vandalia? If necessary to sell them at all, why not, as heretofore, permit them to be sold in the counties in which they lie? The taxes could be collected with equal certainty. An advertisement at the court house door would notify more of the inhabitants of a county than its publication for a whole year, much less three weeks only, in a paper printed at Vandalia; the lands would be less likely to be sold without the knowledge of the owners, and, being sold where they were known, less of them would probably be sacrificed. Is it not, then, outrageously and insufferably oppressive that a citizen residing at the mouth of the Ohio, or in the extreme northern parts of our settlement, should be subjected to the expense and trouble of going all the way to Vandalia, either to prevent the sale of his lands, to pay the taxes on them, or to redeem them? For my part, I can conceive of no one reason, in favor of this measure, except that it might multiply the chances of buying our lands for a trifle. And are we to be converted into "hewers of wood and drawers of water" to pamper a set of merciless speculators?

I had intended to have brought into review some of the topics of our domestic policy, but I fear I have already trespassed too long upon your patience. I will, therefore, in conclusion, only add, that with a sincere desire to preserve the blessings of liberty, and to assist in relieving our State from its present difficulties and embarrassments, I offer myself to your consideration as a candidate for the office of Governor, assuring you that if I shall be fortunate enough to be honored with the approbation of


my fellow-citizens, now peculiarly desirable to mo as well from personal as public considerations, my poor abilities shall be faithfully excited to protect your interests and to advance your happiness and prosperity — which is all I can promise.

It is, fellow-citizens, only in the sunshine of his prosperity that any man can boast of his trumpeters. In general all such auxiliaries are dead to him who has been overwhelmed by the rough storms of adversity; no time is more unpropitious for finding "a friend, indeed," than when "a friend's in need." With those, therefore, who consider me a prostrate man, I might be excused from saying a little in my own favor; but as I have never been put down by the people, and will not believe that I shall be until I am compelled to realize it, I shall not attempt to avail myself of that privilege. My public conduct is before you. It is not to be doubted that, in a long, uninterrupted course of public service of nearly twenty-eight years, in various highly important and responsible stations, I must have committed many errors which are liable to serious objections. Hoping, however, that your generosity will regard them with all those charitable interpretations and indulgencies which are due to human frailty, I shall rely exclusively upon your own recollection of such parts of my conduct as may have appeared to you meritorious and acceptable.

I must beg leave, however, to notice one objection urged against me, which relates entirely to the future, and, if true, involves no culpability on my part for its existence. This is that I am too old. Now, although I freely acknowledge that I am old enough to be much better and wiser than I am, and were it not for a very contented spirit with which I have been blessed, might even wish to be younger, yet if small things may be compared to great ones, I may be permitted to say that I am not as old, by between two and three years, as Gen. Washington was when he was appointed to the command of our revolutionary army; and, with all due deference for the more disinterested judgment of others, I cannot think that I am so entirely frail, leaky and unseaworthy as not to be trusted on one more voyage at least. I am indeed too old to be captivated or misled by the ruinous prospects and dangerous novelties which I have animadverted upon; and I am much mistaken if I shall not be found quite young enough to convince my fellow-citizens generally of the expediency, if not absolute necessity, of a thorough reform in all these particulars. There are many things, both in the moral and physical world, that grow better as time waneth. Even wisdom herself is often improved by the experience which age brings to her aid. Old whisky, old wine, old bacon, old servants, old acquaintances and old friends are quite agreeable to us all, and I should not be surprised if you should even like some of the good old ways by which we contrived to get along somehow or other while I had the honor of being your Governor. Everything, therefore, is not to be rejected merely because it is old; and among those good old things which you may not consider the less worthy of your regard on account of their age, I hope you will not forget to include the Old Ranger.

On another occasion, during the canvass for Governor in 1826, Governor Edwards, in a speech to his constituents, after making a few introductory remarks, proceeded as follows:

It is evident, however, that in connection with other measures adopted by our Legislature, it was calculated to render our miserable banking system almost exclusively subservient to the interest of non-residents and speculators, by its tendency to withdraw State paper from circulation among us, to accumulate it in their hands, and ultimately to insure to them the benefits of paying their taxes in that medium,


while our own citizens would have been compelled, for the want of it, to pay theirs in cash.

As there could be no inducements to purchase our paper if it were at par, so it is only as it depreciates that it admits of any speculation whatever. The greater, therefore, its depreciation, the greater the speculation, and consequently the stronger must be the inducements of those who have money at command to purchase it, because, while they risk less, they have a fair prospect of gaining more than they could make under different circumstances. Upon whom then are these inducements calculated to operate the most powerfully? Most certainly upon those non-residents who hold such immense tracts ef land within our State, and whose taxes alone would be sufficient to take up all of our paper within about four or five years most. The great amount due by them is sufficient to awaken their vigilance to provide themselves at the earliest possible period with the means of discharging it; and thus while our own citizens, owing but comparatively small sums, and being generally scarce of money, think only of providing for the payment of their taxes about the time the sheriff is expected to demand them, these non-residents and speculators have had the opportunity of engrossing nearly all the State paper which in the meantime had been in market. Having once got it in their possession, either for the payment of their taxes or for the purchase of lands to be sold for taxes — the only uses that have heretofore rendered it valuable — they could have but little inducements to part with it, even for a much higher price than they gave for it, since they could have no certainty of obtaining adequate future supplies, and of course would be subjected to the danger of having themselves to replace it with specie. It has, therefore, constantly been their interest to hoard it up till they could apply it to the objects for which they obtained it, and you might just as well talk of catching birds by putting fresh salt upon their tails, as to expect to force men who have engrossed our paper for these purposes to part with it by reducing its value. This would, in fact, only throw so much more into their power. Were there any doubts as to these results, the woful experience we have already had is sufficient to remove them. The experiment of making our State paper more plenty and more accessible to those of our fellow-citizens who stand in need of it by depreciating it, has been fully tried, and the result of the experiment has been that it has almost entirely disappeared from among us. Depreciated, as it was by our legislation, to less than one-third of its nominal value in the early part of last year, non-residents having a large amount of taxes to pay, and well knowing that the State was and always will be bound to receive it at par with specie, employed so many agents and used such exertions to purchase it up, that its scarcity was soon perceived, and has been ever since severely felt throughout every part of the State. Judging of the future by the past, it is reasonable to conclude, from the great competition that has existed at every sale of lands for taxes at Vandalia, and from the evidently increasing disposition to engage in that speculation, as evinced at the last sales, that our paper would, as it has heretofore been, be hoarded up for the purpose of being laid out in the purchase of lands or in the payment of taxes on them at the next sales. These were to have taken place, according to the law under consideration, in January, 1828, when there would have been three years taxes due, which, according to the estimate in the report of the last Legislature, could not have amounted to less than $120,000. Taking into consideration, then, that the whole amount of our State paper is less than $200,000, and that of this amount more than $60,000 are required by law to be burnt before that time, you may well judge how much of it the policy of our legislation would have left in circulation available to our fellow-citizens in


the payment of their taxes, or to the unfortunate bank debtors in the payment of their bank debts, whom the Legislature determined rigorously to coerce at the very time that its injudicious measures were so well calculated to lessen their means of payment, if not to render it utterly impracticable.

Experience has ever proved that a paper currency tends to prevent the circulation of the precious metals. A proof of this is found in the fact that not a cent of specie is now or has been for years past paid into our treasury. And thus, while we are deprived by this means of a sound circulating medium, the benefits of our miserable State currency are almost exclusively enjoyed by non-residents. The greatest evil we now labor under is the want of an adequate circulating medium of any kind.

How unwise, then, must have been the policy of this extraordinary indulgence to non-residents which has so clearly tended to aggravate that evil? Seeing that our paper must have been hoarded up in their hands, the most natural and obvious policy would have been to have compelled them to disburse it in the payment of taxes as often as we could, consistently with our stipulations to place them upon a fair equality with ourselves. They might, indeed, have purchased it again, but not upon the same terms they did last year. They bought it then at an average of not more than 30 cents to the dollar: they would now have to give at least 50 cents; and as when once received into the treasury it could only get into market again through the medium of our citizens, its re-purchase would have been a clear gain to them of 20 per cent, upon the whole amount.

This extraordinary indulgence to non-residents has been practically extended to the purchasers of lands sold for taxes wherever they may have resided. The taxes of these non-residents and speculators, as well as our own, for the last year, became due on the first day of October last, but, while you have been compelled to pay yours, not a cent has been exacted from them, nor did the law to which I am objecting require them to pay a cent till January, 1828 — an indulgence of two years and three months longer than has been allowed to you.

Unnatural as this partiality for non-residents and speculators seems to be, and unjustifiable upon principle as it surely would be, even if productive of no public loss, it is infinitely more reprehensible in consequence of its having been extended to them, as I shall presently show, at the sacrifice of your pecuniary interest.

It must indeed be humiliating to your pride to find that the sympathies of your own Legislature have been so much more strongly enlisted in favor of non-residents and speculators than yourselves. Such a predilection cannot fail to surprise all who are unable to penetrate the mysterious motives which have produced it. Congress, judging from the general disposition which the members of a Legislature would naturally be expected to cherish towards their immediate constituents, and aware of the ordinary springs and motives of human action, deemed it necessary to guard against what they supposed a much more probable bias — a partiality in favor of our own citizens — and hence insisted upon a stipulation, which we agreed to, for placing non-residents upon a bare equality, as to taxation, with ourselves. How much, then, must that enlightened body be surprised to find, not only that their precaution was wholly unnecessary, but that our Legislature, not content with placing non-residents upon a fair equality, and disdaining the maxim that "charity begins at home," have distinguished them by extraordinary indulgencies denied to our own citizens.

Such conduct certainly appears somewhat inexplicable. It is, however, susceptible of the clearest demonstration that a further tendency of this indulgence has been to create, to cherish and to support an abominable system of speculation to the manifest detriment of the public interest.


Let it be remembered that the principal part of our revenue is derived from the taxes of non-residents. This being the case, human ingenuity could not have devised a more effectual scheme for producing an annual deficit in the treasury than by permitting these taxes always to remain one year in arrear; and this, by creating the necessity for new issues of Auditor's warrants, has constantly afforded opportunities of speculating on them, by which the public have lost precisely what the speculators have gained, while the two years' indulgence, allowed to the purchasers of lands sold for taxes, has afforded them the opportunity of disposing of their lands so purchased at a profit, for that length of time, without being subjected to the inconvenience of paying taxes on their property as you are bound to pay on yours. How, then, is this discrimination to be justified? Are speculators more useful, more meritorious, more worthy of the forbearance, lenity and encouragement of the Government than the honest farmers and mechanics of the country, who make their livings by the sweat of their brows? If not, why should they have been so much more highly favored?

Had those non-residents and speculators been required to pay their taxes last October, as you were compelled to pay yours, there would then have been no necessity for new issues of Auditor's warrants, the State would have saved all the loss consequent upon the increase of its paper, and paying it out at two dollars for one, and forty thousand dollars more at least would have been received into the treasury, which by the disbursement and operations of the Government, would have been diffused throughout the State, thereby increasing our circulating medium and facilitating to you the means of paying your present year's taxes; but then, this would have withered if not annihilated that speculation which has been too long luxuriating upon the spoilations that have been committed upon the resources of the State and the honest earnings of the sweat of your brows.

Were I to assert that you are taxed to support this indulgence to non-residents and speculators, would you not consider it too monstrous and incredible for belief? Or, believing it, would it not betray a mean, servile and abject spirit, which every independent freeman must abhor, to regard such oppression with anything short of the most indignant reprobation? It was not the trifling amount of the tax on tea, imposed by the British Parliament, but an opposition to the principle imposed by the elevated sentiments of freedom, that roused the spirit of resistance and animated the exertions of our noble sires in our glorious contest for independence. We should indeed disgrace our lineage, and deserve to be considered their degenerate sons, if we could feel reconciled to be placed, in our own State, and by our own Legislature, too, on inferior grounds to that of non-residents and speculators. But to be willing to be taxed to support a humiliating discrimination between them and us, which violates our just claims to a fair equality, would prove us worthy only to become their "hewers of wood and drawers of water."

Incredible, however, as it may appear, it is nevertheless true that you are, in fact, taxed to support this unjust inequality. The amount of the tax due last October, by non-residents, as assumed in the report of the Legislature, before alluded to, is $40,000. They had, then, this amount of our State paper in their hands, or like our own citizens they should have had it, which is the same thing to us. It bears an interest of two per cent., which, on $40,000, is $800 per year. The interest, therefore, for the two years' indulgence extended to non-residents, over and above what has been allowed to our own citizens, amounts to $1600, not a cent of which is chargeable to them, according to the practical operation of the system, provided their taxes be paid at any time within that period. Now, had those taxes been paid last October, as they


ought to have been, the State would have saved that amount of interest, as our paper, when once received into the treasury, ceases thereafter to bear interest; but, instead of this, this sum of $1600 has been virtually offered as a premium to non-residents and speculators not to pay their taxes as you have been compelled to pay yours — for they will be allowed precisely that much more, as interest upon our paper, at the expiration of the two years' indulgence, than they would have received if they had paid it last October. Could it, then, be expected that they would be guilty of the egregious folly of overlooking and disregarding this singular advantage? And who, let me ask, has to pay for it? The interest thus allowed them, every man of common sense will see, must be made up by the State. I have already shown that the debts of the State are due and payable, in just and fair proportion, by the people of the State; and as the State has no means of raising revenue, paying debts or making up any losses whatever, but by taxation, which must necessarily fall equally upon all, it is evident that each one of you will be compelled to pay your respective proportion of the interest thus gratuitously allowed to non-residents and speculators. And if you are willing thus to be taxed to maintain a distinction which degrades you below their level, and from which no public benefit can possibly arise, it is hardly to be expected that you will, hereafter, feel or manifest any repugnance to the unnecessary multiplication of offices, or the addition of a few hundred dollars more or less to the salaries of our officers.

But this, my fellow-citizens, is but a bagatelle — a mere atom in the great mass of losses that have been sustained by this unfortunate measure, and for which you have been and still are, and for years to come must be taxed. I do not intend to be understood as assailing the motives of any particular individual for the projection of this measure, for I neither know nor have I sought to find out who was its original author; but believing it to be not less my duty than my right, as a free-born citizen, to point out its consequences, I will say that the powers of the human mind are utterly incapable of devising a more, adroit and artful scheme for perpetrating and increasing the evils of our present paper system, and involving the State in hopeless bankruptcy and disgrace, than this indulgence to non-residents and speculators, with the auxiliary measures that have accompanied it. Nor can a stronger proof of the dextrous nature of this destructive policy be desired than is to be found in the fact that, although it has been in operation for years past, its ruinous consequences have hitherto escaped the general notice of the people.

Soon after the establishment of our State Bank, its deleterious influence on the prosperity of the State and its injurious effects upon our revenue became so manifest, that no one who had any reputation to hazard could have been found bold enough to have encountered the strong public sentiment against it, by even proposing to issue the additional $200,000 which the charter admitted; but our Legislature have stolen a march upon you, and have done infinitely worse in issuing Auditor's warrants, both because they never can answer the purposes of a circulating medium as well as the bank notes, and because the loss upon them to the State must necessarily be greater. According to the charter of the bank, it never was intended that the State should have sustained any loss. If the law had been executed in good faith, by taking security to double the value of the sums borrowed, it might have sustained none. In many cases it will sustain none. But in issuing Auditor's warrants, and paying them out at $3 for $1, a loss of two-thirds of their whole amount is realized on their issue, without any hope of receiving or any right to claim any indemnification whatever. Besides, all those warrants have tended to keep down the value of the notes of the


bank, and of course to subject the State, which is bound to make them good, to all the eventual loss of their depreciation.

Every real friend of the State must deplore these accumulating evils; and while every patriotic bosom has been cherishing the fond hope of their gradual diminution and final termination, what has been the result? In five years about $100,000 of these bank notes have been withdrawn from circulation, but in a single year a larger amount of Auditor's warrants have been substituted in their place; for during the last year, only, warrants to the amount of $107,000 were issued. When, then, are our embarrassments to end, if as fast, only, as our bank notes are withdrawn from circulation, Auditor's warrants, at a much greater loss, are to be made to supply their place?

It has been supposed that this wretched policy was intended to favor bank debt If so, it would have been far better to have given up those debts altogether, for it can be demonstrated with mathematical certainty that an annual loss, equal to that which was produced last year by this policy, would, in less than five years, amount to one-third more than the whole sum due by bank debtors, and it would surely be wiser to give this up than to sacrifice one-third more on their account in so short a time, and this, too, without any additional assurance of making ultimate collections from them. It would, indeed, have been less grievous if this loss to the State had been the gain of the bank debtors, for then it would have been among our own citizens; but we have unfortunately, no grounds to solace ourselves with this consolation, for the most of these warrants, like our State paper, were soon caught up by the agents of non-residents and speculators, who, like the eagle ready to pounce upon its prey, stood waiting and prepared for that purpose.

Let us, then, inquire whence arose the necessity or what furnished the pretext for issuing those warrants. Certainly, nothing else created the one or furnished the other than those deficits in the treasury which arose from the indulgence, granted to non-residents and speculators, in regard to the payment of their taxes. This pretext, thus obtained, may be made to operate with equal force forever, and keep us constantly issuing warrants and receiving nothing else from non-residents in the payment of their taxes — while they may hold our State paper, bearing an interest of two per cent., until the State is bound to redeem it with gold and silver.

In consequence of those non-residents and speculators not having been compelled to pay their taxes last October, it became necessary, as before observed, to issue warrants to the amount of those taxes. These warrants, bearing no interest, and the payment of them not being quite as well secured as that of our State paper, could of course be bought cheaper. What, then, was to prevent those non-residents and speculators from buying them up to pay those very taxes in January, 1828, which ought to have been paid last October? The warrants being thus paid into the treasury, the State would only have redeemed them, the treasury would still be as destitute of funds as ever, and the Government under the same necessity to issue new warrants as when these were issued. And again, new warrants might be paid and substituted in like manner, and thus, instead of gradually diminishing our responsibility for the notes of the bank, and saving at the rate of $800 a year in interest, the warrants so issued in advance might be made to pay the taxes of those non-residents and speculators, till the expiration of the charter of the bank, when our whole bank debt will fall due.

Let us now inquire how much has been realized to the State, by this system of policy, out of the taxes of non-residents, for the last three years. At the close of the


Legislature of 1825, neither their taxes for the year 1823 or 1824 had been required to be paid. Supposing them to have amounted, for these two years, to $80,000.

This may be assumed as the amount of the warrants that were issued to supply the place of those taxes. These warrants being paid at $3 for $1, of course the State could only realize one-third of the amount of those taxes, which is but $2,666 66 out of the $80,000. The taxes due last October being $40,000, this may be assumed as the amount of the warrants to supply their place. These warrants being paid at $2 for $1, 20,000 only of these taxes can be saved to the State — thereby, without making any deduction for the loss of interest, as already explained, realizing only $46,666 66 out of $120,000, being at the average rate of a little upwards of $15,000 per year, which is not half the amount of last year's expenses. But nothing is more easy than, with a few strokes of the pen, to supply every deficiency, however produced, by Auditor's warrants at $3 for $1, which, however sportful to others, I am afraid you will find death to you, unless it can be speedily and effectually checked.

But let us further inquire how these warrants affect our interest in other respects. They were made receivable in payment of bank debts, at par, though issued at three times as much as they were paid out at. The amount of the bank debts collected annually is $30,000. Supposing this sum paid in warrants of the same nominal value, but issued at $3 for $1, the State would receive only $10,000 instead of $30,000, and from these $10,000 at least $5,000 must be deducted for the salaries of five cashiers, and other incidental expenses of the bank, so that the State would, in fact, receive only $5,000 out of the $30,000 for which it is accountable, and of course would still be liable on this account for the remaining $25,000, which, let it be remembered, could only be raised by taxation.

Supposing the whole debt settled in the same way, and what would be the loss which the State would sustain? The original amount was $300,000, which the State agreed to redeem, at the expiration of ten years, with gold and silver coins, and, to indemnify it for this responsibility, the borrowers were required to pay one-tenth of it, to-wit: $30,000, annually. But if, instead of receiving this sum, the State should only secure $5,000 per annum, these for ten years would amount to but $50,000, which would leave the State in debt, at the expiration of that period, for the remaining $250,000, which, if paid as our Legislature have paid our other debts of every description, in Auditor's warrants at $3 for $1, would involve us in a debt of precisely $750, 000. If paid in Auditor's warrants, at the rate at which they are at present issued, to-wit: at $2 for $1, (and there would be the same apology and justification for paying this as any other debt in this way,) it would leave us involved in a debt of $500,000, which, let it not be forget, could only be raised by taxation.

Our losses necessarily arising from the policy that has been pursued by our Legislature are precisely in this proportion. And upon whom do they fall? You, who have had no agency in this indulgence to non-residents and speculators, nor anything to do with the bank — old residents, new settlers and future emigrants — will all have to be taxed to pay your respective proportions of these losses. Are you, then, willing to be taxed to support a partial and unjust system, or to pay other people's debts? If not, you must speak with the voice of authority, and at least forbid the issuing of any more warrants upon the ruinous terms upon which they are even now daily issued — for, independent of other losses, they must, on these terms, reader your taxes twice as high as they would otherwise be. Such impositions as these upon a free, high-minded and independent people, I boldly assert have no parallels in the annals of free government, and they are only to be borne by that Christian


charity which hopeth all things, believeth all things, and endureth all things; but with whatever fortitude they may be borne, truth and reason must forever consign them to the indignant reprobation of a people who have the judgment to discern, the sense to feel and the spirit to resist injustice and oppression.

Regarding this indulgence to non-residents and speculators with the objections which I have pointed out to you, and happening to be at Vandalia during the last session of the Legislature, I spared no pains and provoked no little hostility to myself in trying to get this unwise and unjust distinction, between them and our own citizens, abolished; and, although I could not accomplish all I wished in this respect, I am happy to say that the sales for their taxes are hereafter to be annual, which (better late than never) will compel them to disburse, and enable the Government to put into circulation a large amount of our paper — which cannot fail, in the course of next year, to afford great relief to the people, but which would otherwise have remained hoarded up for at least one year longer.

There is no danger, fellow-citizens, that I shall ever be deprived of the credit of having been the means of effecting this change, for this injurious measure had been in operation for years, and no member of the Legislature can acknowledge that he foresaw the consequences I have pointed out, without pronouncing his own condemnation for not having at least attempted its repeal at an earlier period. I ought to receive this credit at your hands, for my interposition on this subject has been denounced as an undue interference with the Legislature, and has elicited against me the angry, persecuting and relentless opposition of all those who, by such means, have promoted their own ambitious views or satiated their craving avarice. This is no wonder, since I have deprived them of the means of feasting sumptuously upon the spoils that have been committed upon your interest. But, whatever may be the consequences to myself, I glory in what I have done, and only long for an opportunity to complete the work of reformation, thus begun, by patting an entire stop to the issue of Auditor's warrants upon terms which now daily subject you to be taxed twice as high as you ought to be, or as there is any necessity for. I denounce the whole system of warrants, and never will give my consent, in any situation, either private or public, to the issue of one dollar's worth at any sacrifice whatever of your interest. I have ever been a fearless politician — probably too much so, on some occasions, for my interest — but I thank my God that I am not to be deterred by the log-rolling caucuses of big men assembled at Vandalia, who, arrogating to themselves the right of deciding for you, and undertaking to determine whom you shall be permitted to raise up and put down, issue their orders accordingly to their instruments throughout every part of the State. It is true that painful experience has taught me not to undervalue the power of such combinations, but I would infinitely rather be put down by them, in a manly struggle, than meanly succumb to them. And you may be assured the time has arrived when, if you do not set your faces against such bargaining systems, you will find your most essential rights bargained away from you.

My appeal from the self-constituted tribunals is directly to the people, in whose virtue, intelligence and ultimate justice I have the most implicit confidence, and on which I have ever found the safest dependence. It is, happily, your right to decide for yourselves, and whatever may be your decision, I shall be one of the last men in this world to complain of it. These powerful combinations hope to influence you to oppose me. They may succeed; but why should they? Few of those individuals, if any, have any just cause of hostility to me. Some of them may even owe much of their present power to injure me to my unrequited kindness to them. It would


not be the first time that I have raised up a stick to break my own head with. It may be my misfortune to be considered as standing in the way of the gratification of their own views of personal ambition; but it would be asking too much of independent freemen, whom I have never injured or even intentionally offended, to become my enemies merely because this and that big man happen to be so from their own selfish motives. I have always taken the greatest pleasure in rendering any assistance in my power to my fellow-citizens. I am not conscious of ever having turned my back upon any man who has endeavored to seek justice, or the redress of any grievance, through my instrumentality. I may have offended some of you, but inexorable, indeed, must be the vengeance I have provoked, if the power of combinations not already prostrated me sufficiently to satisfy it.

Have the people any interest to advance by assisting those who have brought them the very brink of ruin, to keep down a man who boldly and fearlessly advocates their own cause, which each one of us knows to be just? What have I ever done to deserve your hostility? Let the time, place, and circumstances — the when, and where, and how — be distinctly stated, and I am ready to answer for myself. I disdain to notice the petty, contemptible, gossiping tales which falsehood and malignity are constanting inventing and circulating against me; but I challenge my enemies to show a single act of my whole public life that is as reprehensible as this indulgence to non-residents. I go further: I defy them to show that all my official misdeeds, throughout my long public service, put together, have been as injurious to the public interest as this single measure, with its auxiliary of Auditor's warrants at three dollars for one, or even at two for one. Could they do this, they would not spare me, for it has been my misfortune to owe as little as any man in the world to the courtesy and forbearance of my enemies. You do not hear them complaining against and denouncing the authors of those measures. Why, then, am I so much more obnoxious to their opposition than those whom they are obliged to admit have done worse than I have? I leave you to decide upon the motive.

Some of them pay me the compliment (probably an undeserved one) of admitting that no man in the State is more capable of devising the ways and means of freeing it from its present calamitous situation than myself; but then, with sinister premonition, they inquire, "Is he to be trusted?" I am willing for you to decide this question — am I to be trusted. I have been tried for many years — and when, or where, or how have I ever deceived the people? Was it during those Territorial nines, that tried men's souls? was it when our frontiers were smoking with the blood and strewed with the mangled bodies of our men, women and children, indiscriminately slaughtered by ruthless savages? Did I then consult my own ease and comfort and interest, or shrink from the highest responsibility? Did I wait for authority to act? Did I not unhesitatingly act without it? and freely risk my commission, my reputation, my property and my life to defend my fellow-citizens and punish barbarian aggression? I have letters in possession from some of my present persecutors that contain satisfactory answers to all these questions. Did I, then, betray or deceive you on any of those great questions, so vitally affecting your interest, which were agitated in Congress during the period of my service in that body? Let my published speeches and the journals of the Senate answer.

No, my fellow-citizens, my enemies do not fear that I shall deceive you. They well know that if I were to try my best I could not possibly effect any measures more injurious to your interest than those which are now in daily operation before your own eyes, but they believe I possess the capacity to produce reform and they fear that I shall obtain the credit of effecting it — and this is a credit which, if my


life and health is spared, they shall not deprive me of, for, so long as oppression continues to stalk through our land with such gigantic strides, you shall find one man, at least, in the State, whether you reject me or not, bold enough to cry aloud and spare not. You may abandon me, but I will not desert your cause; for an ambition to deserve to be considered as the people's friend is engrafted in my very nature, and no man can more strongly confide in their ultimate justice.

I am charged with attacking the members of the Legislature; but it is not my object to assail any individual whatever. I have explored no journals to see who voted this way or that way. It is measures, and not men, that I wish to be understood as opposing. I firmly believe the great majority of our Legislature to have been honest, virtuous and patriotic. Many of them, I know, have anxiously desired to get rid of all the evils of our paper system; but I have no doubt that, tired and discouraged by unavailing efforts for that purpose, and yielding to a listless despair they have been deceived, and that few of them, if any, ever foresaw the consequences I have pointed out; nor is it to be wondered at that they should not. It falls to the lot of but few men to be good financiers; and did they possess the highest financial capacities, the opportunities of ascertaining the true state of our treasury, and the effects of particular measures upon it, during the session of the Legislature, when they have so much other business to attend to, are too limited, and hence it has been made by our constitution the duty of the executive, who has the requisite time for attention to these subjects, to communicate to the Legislature, from time to time, the true state of the government — besides all which, those measures have generally been adopted near the close of a session, in all the hurry and bustle usual about that period. If the evil consequences which I have portrayed escaped their notice, I cannot hesitate to believe, as true patriots and real friends to the State, they will rejoice, for the sake of the public good, that I have discovered and disclosed them. But, whether or not, if the measures are wrong, as I contend they are, I disclaim the authority of any gag-law, legal or moral, to restrain my animadversions upon them.

The combined powers of his political opponents, of the bank party, of the advocates of the circuit court system, aided by the co-operation of some of the most powerful men and purest patriots of the State, who then took an erroneous view of his course, but who were afterwards numbered among his warmest friends, were all brought to operate against his election. In attacking the policy of previous Legislatures, he also dissatisfied many of his warmest friends who had supported and voted for many of those measures. Against this powerful host he contended almost single-handed. But deploring the ruinous measures that had formerly prevailed, and the enormous taxes with which the people were at that time oppressed in consequence thereof, he determined, regardless of personal consequences, to produce reform; and neither consulting nor soliciting the aid of any individual, he took such bold grounds in all his addresses, that the politicians and many of his friends thought it too hazardous to be identified with him — yet he succeeded, though the candidate for Lieutenant-Governor and for Congress, on the same ticket, and many of his political friends, were defeated at the same election, and a majority opposed to them and himself were returned to the Legislature. This election, when it is considered


that Mr. Cook, his son-in-law, was the candidate to represent the only Congressional district in the State; that both of them had represented the State, the one in the Senate and the other in the House of Representatives of the United States, for nearly the whole period since the admission of the State into the Union; that Judges Pope, Alexander, and Abner Field, relatives of Gov. Edwards, had also filled important offices — was, indeed, in the language of the Hon. William Wirt, "a noble victory." It proved to the nation at large that he was sustained by the people of his own State. Among his warmest supporters in this election may be numbered such men as Judges Lockwood, Wilson, Breese, Brown, Gov. Ford, George Forquer, William H. Brown and Hon. David J. Baker. For a history of the financial condition of the State, and other measures of policy which he advocated, the reader is referred to his messages and speeches; and, indeed, his correspondence and publications furnish such a complete history of his times, as to make it unnecessary to write much on the subject.

In his messages to the legislatures, he recommended the measures which he had advocated in his public addresses — most of which were adopted without much opposition.

In the year previous to his being elected Governor, Auditor's warrants, which the State was bound to redeem with gold and silver, to the amount of $107,000, were issued and paid out at three dollars for one, whereby the State sustained a loss in one single year of more than $70,000 — a sum, at that time, sufficient to have carried on all the necessary operations of the government for three years. The result of the measures which he proposed, and which were adopted by the Legislature on his recommendation, were as follows: The taxes on lands of residents of the counties in which they were situated, which had previously been paid into the State treasury, were given up to those counties; the State was not losing one cent by its financial operations; and the taxes could be reduced to at least one-third of the amount previously levied. All of these measures were effected without the aid of any resources which were not in the power of the State previous to the commencement of his administration. Governor Ford, in his history of the State, says that lie broke down all opposition to his administration, carried all his measures, and succeeded in having all his candidates elected.

Judging from the friendly and cordial feelings manifested towards him by the Legislature, at the close of his term of office; from letters he received from every portion of the State; from the kind and affectionate treatment he met with from his fellow-citizens, wherever he went among them, and from the undoubted fact that many who had opposed him were then his friends and supporters — he never stood better with the people of the State than he did at the close of his administration.


Chapter XI.

The Winnebago and Black Hawk Wars.

During Gov. Edwards' administration, as Executive of the State, the Indians upon the North-Western frontier began to be very troublesome. The different tribes not only commenced a warfare among themselves, in regard to their respective boundaries, but they extended their hostilities to the white settlements. A treaty of peace, in which the whites acted more as mediators than as a party, had been signed at Prairie du Chien, on the 19th day of August, 1825, by the terms of which the boundaries between the Winnebagoes and the Sioux, Chippeways, Sauks, Foxes, and other tribes, were defined, but it failed to keep them quiet. Their depredations and murders continued frequent, and in the summer of 1827 their conduct, particularly of the Winnebagoes, became very alarming. There is no doubt, however, that the whites, who at this period were immigrating in large numbers to the North-West, and earnestly desired their removal further westward, purposely exasperated the Indians, at the same time that they greatly exaggerated the actual hostilities committed.

According to a letter written at this time, by Gen. Street, from Prairie du Chien, to Gov. Edwards, the Winnebagoes had been soured by the conduct of the adventurers flocking to and working the lead mines of Fever River and vicinity. Of those who went there by land, by far the greatest number passed through the country occupied by the Winnebagoes, and no doubt behaved very badly towards them. As to the right of that tribe to the lands in question, there seems to have been a misunderstanding. It appears, by a treaty made by Gen. Harrison, in 1804, that all the lands between the mouths of the Wisconsin and Illinois Rivers were purchased by the United States from the Sacs and Foxes. In 1816, Gen. Clark, Col. Chouteau and Gov. Edwards, as Commissioners of the United States, ceded, with certain reservations, all those lands which lie north of a due west line from the southern extremity of Lake Michigan to the Mississippi, to the Ottaways, Chippeways and Pottawottamies, (denominated the Indians of the Illinois River,) and who therefore appeared to be the real owners of the lands. But, according to the treaty of August 19th, 1825, the Commissioners seemed to have recognized the right of the Winnebagoes


to this same land. Certainly, whether rightfully or not, the latter tribe were, and had been for years, in possession of the territory, and fully believed it belonged to them. But without regard to this claim, Mr. Thomas, the agent at the mines, freely granted permits to the miners collected there, and numerous diggings were industriously pushed far east of the line between the Winnebagoes and the Indians of the Illinois River. These trespassers procured and took away great quantities of mineral to the smelters. The Winnebagoes complained of this as an open violation of the treaty; no notice was, however, taken of their complaints. The permits continued to be given and the diggings progressed. At last the Indians attempted force, which was repelled; and very angry feelings, by consequence, were produced on both sides.

In this state of excitement some of the Indians left the neighborhood of the mines and made a journey above Prairie du Chien, for the purpose, as was supposed, of consulting some of their chiefs and influential men there, and also to invite the co-operation of the Sioux. They were there met by a Sioux Indian, called Waw-zee-kootee (he that shoots in the pine-tops), who told the Winnebagoes that the U. S. commander at Fort Snelling had delivered up several Sioux Indians to the Chippeways, by whom they had been cruelly murdered, and that at the same time two Winnebagoes, in confinement, charged with murder, had been butchered by the whites. It appears that just before this time a party of twenty-four Chippeways, while on their way to Fort Snelling, had been surprised by a band of Sioux and eight of them killed. The murderers had been captured by the U. S. commandant and turned over to the Chippeways, by whom they had been properly punished; but that there was no foundation whatever for the rest of the exaggerated story detailed to the Winnebago Indians. However, they were prevailed upon to seek revenge for the alleged murder of their two men — Waw-zee-kootee promising them that the Sioux would assist them, so soon as the first blow was struck. It is further evident that Red Bird, the chief of the Sioux, (who wished to retaliate on the whites for having, in the Fort Snelling murders, sided with the Chippeways,) was at the bottom of this contemplated alliance. The plan was to kill or drive off all the whites above Rock River.

With this understanding the Winnebagoes, on the 24th of July, killed two whites, in the vicinity of Prairie du Chien, and on the 30th of the same month they attacked two keel boats, which were conveying military stores to Fort Snelling — in which attack two of the crew were killed and four severely wounded. These murders greatly alarmed the frontier settlements at Galena and the mining country around that post.

As soon as intelligence of the hostile attitude which the northern Indians were manifesting, towards the whites, reached Gov. Edwards, and even


before any blow was struck, as early as the 14th of July he issued an order to the commandants in Gen. Hanson's brigade, located on the east side of the Illinois River, (except the Twentieth Regiment,) commanding them to take immediate steps for detaching into service one-fourth of their respective regiments. Should any part of the frontier south of Rock River be found to be invested by the savages, the officer in command of the detachment was directed, with the least possible delay, to march to the support of any point attacked, without further orders.

On the same day he wrote to Col. Thomas M. Neale, of the Twentieth Regiment, mostly from the Sangamon country, in the course of which he said:

You will accept the services of any number of mounted volunteers, not exceeding 600, who will equip themselves, find their own subsistence, and continue in service thirty days unless sooner discharged. They will rendezvous, as soon as possible, at Fort Clark, where you will organize and take the command of them, and march, with all possible expedition, to the assistance of our fellow-citizens at Galena, where, if you find an officer of the United States army entitled to superior command to yourself, you will report to him and receive his orders. In your progress you will avoid rashly exposing your men to unequal contests, but it is expected that you will not overlook any proper opportunity of repelling any hostile incursions of the savages.

You will order the officer next you in command to take immediate steps for drafting from your regiment, according to law, and with the least possible delay, six companies of infantry, which are to be held in readiness to march, at a moment's warning, to any frontier that may be invaded; in which event, he is immediately to march them to the support of the point attacked, without further orders. None of the citizens, however, in the vicinity of the immediate frontier, are to be drafted.

On the 9th of August, Gov. Edwards wrote to Gen. Clark as follows:

There being the strongest reason for believing that the Pottawottamies of the Illinois River have been depredating upon the property of some of the citizens of this State, and the official communication of Dr. Wolcott, Indian agent at Chicago, leaving no doubt of their hostile dispositions, it is my duty to inform you that, if any future depredations should be committed by them, and immediate reparation refused, I will not hesitate to drive them from their present residence, which you know they have no right to occupy.

On the 20th of August, Gov. Edwards wrote to the Secretary of War as follows:

Gen. Cass, and other officers of the United States of great respectability, and with the best of opportunities of forming correct opinions on the subject, all concurring in the belief that the neighboring Indians intended making war upon us, and these Indians having committed several daring robberies and other depredations between Peoria and Galena, and commenced actual war in other parts, I have felt it my duty to call out about five hundred mounted volunteers to defend our frontiers.

I suppose not less than 1,500 men have been driven by these acts from the vicinity of Galena; and, but for the measures I adopted, several other parts of our frontier, from their defenceless situations, would have been depopulated. I, therefore, beg


leave to ask how far it may be the pleasure of the President to recognize the defensive measures which I have been thus compelled to adopt, and what provisions will be made for paying the militia which have been called into service.

My power to act in such cases is limited to sudden emergencies. The defense of every State belongs to the General Government. I now beg leave to ask, in behalf of this State, of the President of the United States such measures of protection to our extensive frontier as its peculiar weakness demands. The measures adopted by Gen. Atkinson are, I presume, sufficient to insure safety to our western boundary; but they are not the least calculated, nor has he the kind of troops necessary to protect these settlements, which extend from the mouth of the Illinois River to Chicago.

I need scarcely remark to you what all experience has proved, that whenever the Indians have once made up their minds to commit hostilities, or have actually committed such as deserve chastisement, their pacific dispositions never can be safely relied upon until they have begged for peace — and begged it so earnestly as to leave no doubt of their sincerity. Nothing of this kind has yet occurred. The latter part of next month is, of all others, the most favorable time for concentrating their forces and striking the most formidable blow. I will add that I should be very happy to render, on the present occasion, any services that would be acceptable to the President.

The services of the men I have called out will expire in a few days, and until I hear from you I shall not adopt any other measures, but leave it to the General Government to provide for such protection and safety as the people have a right to expect from it.

In this crisis, Col. Abner Field, a gentleman of much intelligence and high respectability, was deputed by the population of Fever River Mines to apply to Gov. Edwards for further assistance to repel the hostilities of the Indians, with which they considered themselves daily threatened. He arrived at Belleville on the 2d of September, bringing very unfavorable news from the exposed frontier, which was fully confirmed by another express which arrived the next day from Peoria.

It appeared that the Winnebagoes had ultimately refused to come to any arrangements with Gov. Cass and Col. McKenney; that information had been received, which was believed, that a part at least of the Pottawottamies had determined to unite with the Winnebagoes in the war; and it was apprehended that the people of Fever River would be attacked before it would be possible to send them any aid; that Gen. Atkinson had sent an express to that place asking for all the mounted riflemen that could be spared from it, and had marched towards Green Bay with about 600 infantry and 130 mounted riflemen, to attack those Indians. Upon this information, Gov. Edwards wrote to the Secretary of War, on the 5th of September, as follows:

No doubt Gen. Atkinson will accomplish all that can be effected with the force under his command; but it is much to be regretted that he has not more mounted men; for if the hostile Indians are as numerous as Gov. Cass supposes, it is not possible that he can march such a distance through their own country, without having


a hard fight at least. Should he be defeated or driven back, it may well be imagined that the consequences must be truly disastrous to our very extensive and exposed settlements all along the Illinois River and its waters. Whatever may be their fate, however, if you will only cast your eye upon the map and consider that all the hostile Indians, with the exception of one small band, reside between the line of march and those settlements, it must, I think, be obvious to you that there is either no danger at all, or that they are in very great danger. Regarding them in the latter point of view, I feel it my duty to reiterate my former application to the President for that protection which their situation demands — a protection, the necessity of which is just as apparent as that of any movement which has been made under the authority of the government, and which cannot be doubted without an utter disbelief of any hostile disposition on the part of those savages, nor without questioning the propriety of all those measures of the government which have been adopted upon that suggestion. For if the Indians are hostilely disposed, as they can attack no where else with the same prospect of success and so little risk to themselves, so none can be in more danger than these settlements. Besides their lives and property, the people, I humbly conceive, have a fair claim upon the Government for protection against those interruptions of their tranquillity by the savages, which are reasonably calculated to prevent them from resting under the shade of their own vines and fig trees without any one to make them afraid.

I learn from Col. Field that about 3,000 men have been driven from the mines, and but for the measures I adopted upon the first alarm, it is scarcely to be doubted that other parts of our frontier would have been entirely depopulated. I need not, I am sure, attempt to point out to a gentleman of your practical knowledge and experience the immense losses and sacrifices that must have resulted, both to individuals and the State, from this state of things.

My authority to act being limited to a sudden emergency, my measures were adopted with a view to such duration only as would be sufficient to enable the Government to get its own into operation; and I have now only between sixty and seventy men in service. Nor had I intended, under any circumstances, to have done more on my own responsibility, in consequence of there being no money in our State treasury; the impossibility of doing without it and the risk of pecuniary embarrassment, of which I had some experience during the late war, being greater than I have felt under any obligations to encounter. These views, however, have never been communicated to a single individual; and looking to consequences to the administration from adhering to them, which can scarcely escape your sagacity, I have concluded, should actual hostilities be committed on our frontier, immediately to repair to it, make it my headquarters, and endeavor, with my own funds and at my own risk, to provide subsistence for such volunteers as I may be able to call to my aid until I can receive your answer to my letter of the 20th ult. Whatever that may be, if it only shall afford reasonable ground to expect I shall be sustained, I will continue to do the best in my power until I receive your answer to this letter; otherwise, unless all danger shall entirely have disappeared, I shall be compelled to convene the Legislature and lay the case just as it is before them.

I beg leave to observe that the experience of three years' hard service on our frontiers, during the last war, has convinced me that no other force of any reasonable amount is available for such protection as they require than that of mounted riflemen. Tour infantry on the Wisconsin is too remote to afford the least assistance. It would be scarcely less available to us if it were at Washington City.


On the strength of the information communicated by Col. Field, on the same day (5th of September), Gov. Edwards issued a further order to Brig. Gen. Hanson, commanding him immediately to take all legal measures necessary for enrolling in the militia all persons subject thereto, on Fever River or in the vicinity of the mines, and for organizing them according to law.

Before, however, this order was fully executed, intelligence was received that Gen. Atkinson, who had marched into the Winnebago country, in pursuit of the offending Indians, had returned to Prairie du Chien with Red Bird, a chief of much prominence, and six other Indians, among whom was Black Hawk, who became famous afterwards. They were all committed to jail, under the criminal charge of having committed the murderous attack upon the boats. They were kept in jail many months, awaiting their trial, and many threats were made by the Indians that if Red Bird should be executed, it would be the signal for a general uprising among the different tribes. In regard to Red Bird's capture and imprisonment, a letter from Gen. Street to Gov. Edwards, dated at Prairie du Chien, December 28th, gives the following account:

Red Bird is a favorite with his people and had obtained a high reputation among the whites previous to the late unprovoked murders. You, I doubt not, have had a particular account of his voluntary surrender of himself. This manly, chivalric act, his open, free and high bearing at the time, has something more than ordinary in it. Dressed in his Yanctonuni form of white, uusoiled skins, with a fine, white, dressed-skin robe cast loosely across his shoulder, and mounted on a fine mettlesome horse, with a white flag in his hand, and marching into the camp of Whistler, unconfined, with a pleasant, unclouded brow, to deliver himself up us a murderer, is a little out of the ordinary course of such things amongst us. You perhaps have seen him. He is a tall, well-made, straight Indian, about thirty or forty years old, and has a very pleasant countenance. There is nothing remarkable about the six other prisoners, if you except Red Bird's son, a lad of twelve or fifteen. He is a pleasant, smiling boy. Confinement goes hard with Red Bird, and he does not have good health, but if a white man calls to see him, all the nobility of a great savage appears to light up his fine and intelligent features, and a stranger would point to him as no every-day character.

I wish the trial and execution of the murderers was over. If a strong force is not present when Red Bird is to be hanged, if convicted, (of which I see no reason to doubt,) I shall not feel free of apprehensions of danger. There is an opinion prevalent at St. Louis, and amongst some here, that the Winnebagoes are greatly alarmed at the late events. They were much alarmed at the time Gen. Atkinson and the Illinois volunteers were in their country. The movement was sudden, beyond what the Indians had been accustomed to, and the expected reinforcements from Illinois, under your order for one-fourth the militia, was calculated to take them by surprise, and at the time it had its effect. Since then the Indians seem to be gradually awakening, as it were, from a deep sleep, until their fears are given to the winds and there is dead stillness — a portentious calm that all my secret endeavors cannot interpret. They cannot be induced to talk on the subject, and they come and go, ask no questions


about the prisoners, and if told of their health, answer, to any mention of them, "Ugh." Say they are well, or sick, is immaterial — "Ugh!" is the answer, and it is evident they wish to avoid the mention of them. At the same time, the wives and relatives of the prisoners are properly attended to. The wife of Red Bird, however, does not come near. I learn she is rich, as Red Bird was the best hunter in the nation, and great attention is paid to her by the nation.

But before his trial took place, the chief, Red Bird, whose lofty spirit could not brook confinement, died in prison. Of the other prisoners, a part were acquitted and a part convicted and hung. Their execution took place on the 26th of December, of the following year. Black Hawk, who was one of those acquitted, afterwards acknowledged his guilt and openly boasted of it.

With the death of Red Bird ended the Winnebago war. The tribe seemed to be thoroughly humbled by the result of the campaign; and although fears of further hostilities from them were for sometime after entertained, they continued peaceable. In regard to the lands, about which the difficulty with them originated, until the question of ownership could be adjusted amicably, they promised to keep away from the mines entirely. In regard to their disposition at this time, a letter from Gen. Street to Gov. Edwards says:

The chiefs who have visited me proffer their friendship, but anxiously inquire when they may expect their Great Father will settle the line, and mark it, between their country and the whites at the mines. They say they have left their country to keep their young men from having anything to do with the people at the mines, until they hear from their Great Father. "This," say they, "is our promise to Gen. Atkinson, and we will keep it." They add, "Gen. Atkinson promised us that next summer persons should come from our Great Father to consult with us about this matter, and we will wait and see them."

A talk was subsequently held with them, in which they abandoned all the country south of the Wisconsin River. After this there was a general peace with the Indians throughout the Western frontier.

Meanwhile, however, Gov. Edwards, who placed no confidence in Indian promises or Indian friendship, was not idle in his endeavors to rid the State of the different Indian tribes still within its borders. Having got rid of the Winnebagoes, he continued with much persistency to urge upon the War Department the pressing necessity for removing all the Indians beyond the State. He saw very clearly, from the events of the last few years, that the red and white men could not live together, in the same vicinity, without committing reprisals upon each other and provoking hostile feelings. His first communication to the Department, on the subject of the removal of the Indians, was written as early as the 4th of September, 1827, in the course of which he said that "the occupancy, by the different tribes, of the ceded lands, and their constantly traversing every part


of it at their pleasure, without any right to do so, could no longer be submitted to." He particularly mentioned the Pottawottamies who resided near Peoria, on lands which had not only been coded but actually granted by the Government to individuals. He regarded it as "a grievance inconsistent with the rights of the State," and the respect of the President for those rights ought not to permit him to hesitate to do his duty in the premises.

The Indians who resided at this time on the ceded lands, within the State, were the Kickapoos, Pottawottamies, Ottaways and Chippeways, of the Illinois River, and the Sacs and Foxes. These Indians, and occasionly large parties of Shawnees and Delawares, were in the habit of hunting extensively through the settled parts of the State, to the great annoyance of the citizens. They not only in a great measure exterminated all the wild game, or drove it from the State, but in their marauding expeditions they did not hesitate to kill the tame animals belonging to the settlers.

The Kickapoos were within the agency of Major R. Graham of Missouri. The Pottawottamies, Ottaways and Chippeways of the Illinois River were within the sub-agency of Mr. Peter Menard, Jr. The Sacs and Foxes were within the agency of Thomas Forsyth of St. Louis. The Shawnees and Delawares were within the sub-agency of Major Peter Menard of Kaskaskia; and the whole were within the superintendency of Gen. William Clark.

On the 13th of September, 1827, Gov. Edwards addressed a confidential letter to President Adams, on this subject, and proceeded to show that the Indians had no right, either by treaty or otherwise, to any of the lands in the State, and proceeded to assure the President that "their removal could not fail to give the greatest satisfaction to the people of the State, as being both popular and right."

On the 29th of October, following, Gov. Edwards received a letter from the Secretary of War, Gen. Barbour, informing him that "Gov. Cass had been instructed to take such measures as would fulfill the wishes of the State in reference to the removal of the Indians occupying the ceded lands." The order, he said, was that "the Indians should be removed with the least possible delay, consistent with humanity," and in case of insuperable difficulties he was to report forthwith to the Department.

Gov. Edwards replied, acknowledging the prompt attention on the part of the General Government to the interests and tranquillity of the State; but, at the same time, on account of the remoteness of Gov. Cass' residence and the Indians not being within his superintendency, he doubted if the proposed measure promised as speedy a redress of the grievance complained of as seemed to be anticipated or was desirable. He wrote that the people of Illinois would hope much more from the interposition of the Indian


agents on the spot, or from General Clark (the Indian Superintendent for Illinois), than from that of any one at so great a distance from the State as Gov. Cass.

The measures adopted by the Government resulted almost as Gov. Edwards had predicted. The Indians still remained in the State, and kept up their marauding incursions through the settlements. On the 25th of May, of the following year, he wrote to Gen. Clark, Indian Superintendent, inquiring whether any and what arrangements had been made for removing the Indians in pursuance of the directions of the War Department — the letter of the Secretary having given the people of Illinois reason to believe that that measure would have been accomplished long before. The continued delay caused much indignation, and Gov. Edwards wrote, "the General Government has been applied to long enough for its own action to have freed us from so serious a grievance. If it declines acting with effect, it will soon learn that those Indians will be removed, and that very promptly."

Gen. Clark, (as would appear, also wearied with the want of energy displayed by Gov. Cass, or rather the General Government) had begun to use his personal exertions to prevail upon the Indians to remove, as the best means, in the excitement which prevailed, of preserving tranquillity between them and the citizens, and he did all he could to that end without using actual coercion. They continued to promise to go, but still remained. Gov. Edwards argued that as pursuasion would not accomplish it, force should be substituted. He wrote again to Gen. Clark, on the 29th, that "however justifiable might be a temporizing course on the part of the Government, were Illinois one of its territories, it has no right to authorize or permit, even temporarily, an invasion of the rights of a sovereign and independent State."

On the 17th of June he again addressed the Secretary of War, in which he stated that the former promises of that Department had justified a reasonable expectation, on the part of the people, that the energies of the Government would long before that time have been exerted to protect the State from further annoyance. He concluded by saying: "This grievance still continuing, and aggravated as it has become by recent occurrences, of which I am bound to presume you are informed, I feel it my duty to ask you what further measures, in regard to this matter, may be expected from the General Government."

It appears that, upon the urgent request of the Indians — who made all manner of fair promises — twelve months further time, within which to remove from the State, was accorded to them by the General Government. This extension was greatly deprecated by Gov. Edwards, who did not believe the Indians would, even at the end of that time, remove, without the


employment of force; and he wrote to Gen. Clark that, at any rate, if any act of hostility should be committed on the frontiers, he [Edwards] would not hesitate to remove them on his own responsibility, as Governor of the State.

About this time the President issued his proclamation, according to law, and, in pursuance thereof, all the country above the mouth of Rock River (the ancient seat of the Sauk nation) was sold to American families, and in the year following it was taken possession of by them. To avoid difficulty with the tribes another treaty, confirming previous ones, was made with the Sacs and Foxes, on the 15th of July, 1830, by the provisions of which they were to remove peacefully from the Illinois country. A portion of the Sacs, with their principal chief, Keokuk, at their head, quietly retired across the Mississippi. With those who remained in the village at the mouth of Rock River, an arrangement was made by the Americans who had purchased the land, by which they were to live together as neighbors, the Indians still cultivating their old fields as formerly. Black Hawk, however, a restless and uneasy spirit, who had ceased to recognize Keokuk as chief, and who was known to be still under the pay of the British, emphatically refused either to remove from the lands or to respect the right of the Americans to them. He insisted that Keokuk had no authority for making such a treaty, and he proceeded to gather around him a large number of the warriors and young men of the tribe, who were anxious to distinguish themselves as "braves," and placing himself at their head, he determined to dispute with the whites the possession of the ancient seat of his nation. He had conceived the gigantic scheme, as appears by his own admissions, of uniting all the Indians, from the Bock Kiver to the Gulf of Mexico, in a war against the United States, and he made use of every pretext for gaining accessions to his party.

In the spring of 1831, he recrossed the river, at the head of five hundred warriors of his own tribe, besides some allies from the Pottawottamies and Kickapoos, and, bringing with him his women and children, he declared his intention of re-establishing himself on the ancient hunting-grounds and in the principal village of his nation. He ordered the whites to leave, and, destroying their fields, tearing down their fences, and killing or driving off their cattle, he threatened the settlers with instant death if they remained.

The whites complained to the Governor, who thereupon declared the acts of the Indians to be a hostile invasion of the State, and he immediately called upon Gen. Gaines for troops to protect the Illinois frontier. At the same time, he ordered out seven hundred of the militia of the State, to be mounted, and report themselves immediately for service. They were placed under the command of Gen. Joseph Duncan, who marched them directly


to Rock River, where they arrived on the 25th of June. Six companies of regular troops were also dispatched, by Gen. Gaines, from Jefferson Barracks, to the Sauk village, early in the same month.

Black Hawk and his party, alarmed at this formidable array of troops, fled across the river, and on the 26th the army took possession of the village without firing a gun. On the next day the Indians sent over a flag of truce. A parley ensued, and a treaty of peace was made on the spot — by the terms of which the Indians promised to remain forever on the west bank of the river, and the Americans guaranteed to them the payment of a large supply of corn in lieu of that which they were compelled to abandon in their fields.

But the trouble did not end here. Notwithstanding the treaty, early in the spring of 1832 Black Hawk recrossed the Mississippi, and commenced his march up Rock River Valley. Gen. Atkinson, who was stationed at Fort Armstrong, warned him against this aggression. His aim was to reach the countries of the Pottawottamies and Winnebagoes and make them his allies.

Upon being informed of the movements of Black Hawk, Gov. Reynolds issued an order for a thousand mounted volunteers, from the Central and Southern parts of the State, to rendezvous at Beardstown, on the Illinois River. In a short time (April 15th, 1832) a brigade, armed and equipped for service, under the command of Gen. Samuel Whiteside, accompanied, also, by Gov. Reynolds, commenced their march directly for Rock Island, where they joined Gen. Atkinson, with about four hundred regular troops under his command. From that point the mounted volunteers proceeded at once up Rock River, on the south side, by way of the Prophet's town, which, although deserted, they burned on their march. At the same time Gen. Atkinson ascended the river with the regulars, in boats, taking with him supplies for the entire army; but not reaching Dixon's Ferry as soon as the command under Gen. Whiteside, the latter were for several days entirely destitute of provisions, which rendered their position most embarrassing.

At Dixon's Gen. Whiteside was reinforced by a body of volunteers from the counties of Peoria, Tazewell, etc., under the command of Major Stillman. Immediately upon being mustered into service, at their own request, they were permitted to start on a tour of observation several miles up the river, but instead of returning to the encampment, as they were directed to do, they continued their "hunt for Indians" some twelve miles still further up. On the evening of the 14th of May, while making preparations to encamp, they discovered a body of a party of Indians, five in number. Black Hawk says they were the bearers of a white flag, but this is denied.


However this may be, Stillman's men immediately charged upon them in grand style; but just as they came up with them, a band of warriors, numbering several hundred, who were lying in ambush, with a terrible war-whoop suddenly sprang up, with Black Hawk at their head, and gave fight with so much energy and determination, that the whites faced directly about and fled in utter consternation and confusion, not stopping till they reached Gen. Whiteside's encampment, thirty miles distant — leaving their tents, camp equipage, baggage wagons, ammunition, and some of them even their saddles and bridles, to whomsoever chose to appropriate them. In this hasty and shameful retreat eleven whites were killed and several wounded. The Indians lost four or five killed.

Gen. Whiteside, convinced, from the exaggerated stories of the panic-stricken men, that an Indian force a thousand or two strong must be in the vicinity, immediately called a council of war, and determined to march forthwith to the fatal field of the previous evening's disaster. But although scouting parties were dispatched in all directions, no track or trace of the Indians could be found. The whole command then returned to Dixon, being almost famished from want of provisions. Here, after another day, Gen. Atkinson arrived with the boats, bringing reinforcements and supplies.

The affair at "Stillman's run" exaggerated as it was, alarmed the whole State, and Gov. Reynolds forthwith issued orders for three thousand volunteers, to rendezvous at Hennepin, "to subdue the Indians and drive them out of the State."

Peace was now hopeless, and both sides prepared for retaliation and reprisals. On the 21st of May, a party of Indians attacked the Indian Creek settlement, in LaSalle county, killed fifteen men, and took two young women prisoners. The latter were, however, afterwards, through the interposition of the Winnebagoes, given up. On the following day a party of spies were attacked and four of them slain. A number of other murders and outrages followed, in rapid succession; and several engagements between the Indians and armed bodies of whites took place at different points.

Gen. Whiteside marched immediately towards Ottawa, but the term of service of his brigade having expired, they were discharged, and Gen. Atkinson was compelled to await the arrival of the three thousand militia ordered by Gov. Reynolds.

On the 20th of June, the new army rendezvoused near Peru, and were organized into three brigades, of about a thousand men each, under the charge, respectively, of Gen. Henry, Gen. Alexander, and Gen. Posey. They marched forward directly to Rock River, where they were joined by the United States troops — the whole being under the command of Gen. Atkinson. Congress, also, in June, ordered out six hundred mounted men, to be raised for the defense of the frontier; while Gen. Scott, with nine


companies of artillery, hastened from the seaboard, by way of the lakes, to Chicago.

A spy battalion of one hundred and fifty men, sent forward from Dixon's, under the command of Major Dement, in advancing towards Galena, was, on the 25th of June, attacked near Buffalo Grove by a party of two hundred warriors, under Black Hawk. The fight was hotly contested, and at one time the Americans were driven back, but, getting possession of the block-house, they finally made a stand against the Indians and after a fierce struggle, in which great bravery was displayed, they compelled them to retreat; but not being sufficiently strong they did not pursue them. In the fight several were killed on both sides.

The army continued its march up Rock River, near the sources of which it was represented that the main body of the Indians were collected. As provisions and army stores were scarce and difficult to convey in such a country, a detachment of a hundred and sixty men was sent, under the charge of Gen. Henry, to Fort Winnebago, at the portage between the Wisconsin and Fox Rivers, to procure supplies. This detachment, learning that Black Hawk's army was encamped up on the Whitewater, thirty miles distant, resolved to start in immediate pursuit, and overtook them on the evening of the 21st of July, near "Blue Mounds." Gen. Henry formed his troops into a hollow square, the opening being in the rear, and in this manner received the attack of the Indians. The latter first charged upon the right (Col. Fry's battalion), where, being repulsed, they attempted to break through the left (Col. Collins'), where they were again repulsed. The whole line was then ordered to charge the Indians, which order was promptly executed, both sides rushing to the rencounter with terrible yells and war whoops. The Indians were immediately driven from the field, leaving fifty-two of their number dead upon the spot, while only one American was killed and eight wounded. It being now quite dark, the Americans encamped upon the field without pursuing the enemy. The next day they marched to Blue Mounds, twenty-five miles distant, and two days after they were joined by Gen. Atkinson and the main body of the troops — Gen. Henry having, before the action, sent them word of his movements. On the 28th of July, the entire army crossed the Wisconsin River in pursuit of Black Hawk, who, with his forces, was hastily retiring towards the Mississippi. Upon the banks of that river, nearly opposite the Upper Iowa, the Indians were, on the 2d of August, again overtaken.

Here a decisive action, called the battle of "Bad Axe," took place, which resulted again in the defeat of the Indians. Gen. Atkinson, in his official account of the battle, says the loss of the Indians was about one hundred and fifty killed and thirty-nine women and children taken prisoners. The whites lost eighteen men. The remnant of the enemy, cut up


and disheartened, crossed to the opposite side of the river and fled into the interior. This battle entirely broke the power of Black Hawk. He attempted to make his escape, but was seized by the Winnebagoes, (who, during the war, were allies of the Americans,) and, on the 27th, delivered up to the officers of the United States at Prairie du Chien. He and his family were afterwards sent as hostages to Fort Monroe, in the Chesapeake, where they were retained till June, 1833.

In September, the Indian troubles were closed by a treaty, which relinquished to the whites thirty millions of acres of land, constituting what is the eastern portion of the State of Iowa. For this, stipulated annuities were to be paid, though it was well understood at the time that the Sacs and Foxes had no rightful claim to the land. Thus ended the Black Hawk war and the Indian troubles in the State of Illinois. The various tribes yet remaining found homes beyond the west bank of the Mississippi River.

The "Sangamon Journal," at Springfield, Illinois, published a letter of Gov. Edwards to our Senators in Congress, of June 5th, 1832, in reference to the distressed situation of the frontier settlements during this war with the Indians, accompanied with the following notice: "We give the communication of Gov. Edwards, above referred to. It shows that he is alive to the welfare of the State. Would to God that she could boast of more of such men, who are willing and able to sustain her rights. The citizens of this State, and more especially of those of the northern counties, will feel themselves deeply indebted to Gov. Edwards for the able and independent manner in which he has stated to our Senators in Congress the distressed situation of our frontier settlements, and the causes of those distresses."


Chapter XII.

Gov. Edwards' Correspondence with the Secretary of the Treasury on the Subject of the Three Per Cent. Fund — His Private Character — His Pursuits — Management of his Personal Affairs — His Usefulness as a Citizen and Neighbor — Funeral Discourse of the Rev. J. M. Peck.


On the 9th of March, 1829, Gov. Edwards addressed a letter to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, advising him of his having drawn bills on account of the three per cent. fund due to the State, and requiring payment at the treasury. The letter was referred to Samuel D. Ingham, the Secretary of the Treasury, who replied to the Governor that the act of Congress directs "that an annual account of the application of the money shall be transmitted to the Secretary of the Treasury, and in default of such return being made, the Secretary of the Treasury is required to withhold the payment of any sums that may be due until a return shall be made as herein required. This provision of the act not having been complied with on the past of the State of Illinois, and the act seeming to leave no discretion, I have been constrained to decline the payment of one of the bills mentioned in your letter, which has this day been presented; but the holder has at the same time been informed that the bill is for part of a sum now due to the State of Illinois, and that immediately upon the receipt of the return required by law, payment would be made." On the receipt of this letter from Mr. Ingham, Gov. Edwards, on the 2d of July — and subsequently the Governor and Commissioners of the School Fund — wrote to the Secretary, inclosing an account of the disposition of the sums which had been paid to them for the encouragement of learning within the State of Illinois, under the act of the 12th of December, 1820. Mr. Asbury Dickens, the Acting Secretary, replied "that it would have afforded great satisfaction to the Department to have found in that account, and in the explanation presented, a justification for the payment of the drafts of the Commissioners, but the law must be the rule of action; and as the Department cannot consider the investment which the account shows to have been made of the moneys hitherto paid in purchasing the State


debt, as an application of those moneys according to law, it deems itself prohibited by law from making any further payment until an account is presented showing the application of the sums already paid to the purposes for which the law declares they shall be applied. I have submitted the whole subject to the notice of the President, who has been pleased to approve the course which has been adopted."

Gov. Edwards, considering the doctrines and assumptions in the letter of the Acting Secretary, although sanctioned by the President and Secretary of the Treasury, as subversive of the just rights and derogatory to the dignity and honor of the State, contended that Congress had no more right to confer such a power on the Secretary than the State would have a right to authorize the Auditor to require of the Government of the United States an annual account of the application of the money stipulated to be disbursed under the direction of Congress in making roads leading to the State. The following reply to the letter of the Secretary is an able exposition of the rights of the State, and satisfactorily demonstrated that no such power could be delegated to the Department as to authorize the withholding of this money:


SIR — I had the honor, a day or two ago, to receive your letter of the 13th ult., acknowledging and informing me that it would afford great satisfaction to the Department to have found in that account, and the explanation presented in my communications, a justification for the payment of the drafts of the Commissioners for the amount which has subsequently accrued; but that the law must be the rule of action, and as the Department cannot consider the investment which the account shows to have been made of the moneys hitherto paid, in the purchasing the State debt, as an application of those moneys according to law, it deems itself prohibited by law from making any further payment until an account is presented showing the application of the sums already paid to the purposes to which alone the law declares they shall be applied; that it is a cause of sincere regret to the Department; that with the strongest desire to regard as correct such a disposition of the funds in question as the authorities of the State of Illinois might have deemed proper, it has not found grounds to concur in the views which they have taken of the subject; and that, anxious on an occasion of so much delicacy and interest, that the State should not suffer by any error of judgment on your part, you had submitted the whole subject to the notice of the President, who has been pleased to approve of the course which has been adopted.

Not doubting in the least that it would have afforded you great satisfaction to have found in the account of the Commissioners a justification for a different decision, in a case of so much delicacy and interest to the State, and how great soever may have been your regret at finding yourself compelled, by your construction of the law referred to, to refuse the payment of the drafts in question, I can truly say it cannot have exceeded that which I sincerely feel at finding myself compelled, by a due regard to the high responsibilities which your decision devolves upon me, to endeavor to justify the part I have had in this business, and to protest in behalf of


the State against the doctrines and assumptions of your letter, as equally subversive of its just rights and derogatory to its dignity and honor. In doing this, I must be understood as combatting your opinions only — for as the duty enjoined upon the Secretary of the Treasury in this case is purely ministerial, his responsibilities are so exclusive that even the President himself has no right to control, no power to justify him; and so long has this principle been established by the highest judicial decisions, so universally acquiesced in, and so uniformly acted upon by the Treasury Department itself, that I can but regard it as an extraordinary inadvertence that you, who have so long and often witnessed and participated in its practical operation, should have introduced the President's opinion with an official communication on a subject so clearly without the sphere of his authority.

The injuries which the State has already sustained by the decisions of the Department, and losses, greater than the whole amount drawn for, which must inevitable result to it, from an adherence to the determination expressed in your letter, will T trust, fully justify the frankest examination, on my part, of the grounds you have assumed, and invite to a review by the Department of a decision too disastrous, in his present and ultimate consequences, to be insisted upon under every doubtful authority, or without the clearest, most perfect and irresistible conviction of its justice and propriety. In pursuance of a practical exposition which had been given to the compact between the United States and this State, and to the law you refer to, both by Mr. Crawford and by Mr. Rush, as Secretaries of the Treasury, and in conformity to the advice and every previous requisition of the Department, the drafts in question were drawn — none of the Commissioners anticipating that the Government or any department thereof would disown its own acts, and, by a sudden change of its conduct, without any previous notice thereof to the State, subject it to the severest losses consequent upon the protest of those drafts. These losses, however, it has sustained, by the decision of Mr. Ingham. Those which must result from yours, are far greater. He determined that the drafts could not be paid till "the return required by law" should be made; but by informing the holders of them that, immediately upon the receipt of such return, (knowing at the same time that annual ones were then impossible) payment would be made, he gave assurance that a strict compliance with the law would not be insisted upon. You say, "the law must be the rule of action." He only decided that a return should be made. You claim the right to decide upon its consistency with the obligations of the State, and thereby to control its action and cause its submission to your own views of its duty. His decision amounted to no more than that payment should be postponed. Yours is equivalent to a determination that it shall never be made. For knowing, as you did, that the State had authorized and that the Commissioners had invested the moneys, hitherto paid, in purchases of the State debt — determining this to be illegal, insisting that "the law must be the rule of action," and requiring returns which those purchases have rendered utterly impossible, can amount to nothing less than an absolute refusal to pay at all. Nothing was less anticipated than this result. Mr. Ingham's letter, with a perfect knowledge that no returns had been made for years past, and with the law of the State, authorizing those investments in the Department, containing an assurance that immediately upon the receipt of an account of the application of the moneys heretofore received, "payment would be made," and such amount having been transmitted, no danger was perceived in renewing the drafts; and they were renewed under a confident expectation that no further difficulty would occur. Your decision, however, has not only, a second time in the same year, subjected the State


to an additional loss of ten per cent, upon the whole amount drawn for, but must, if persevered in, force it to incur the expenses of a call of the Legislature, far more considerable than the whole amount which you have thought fit to withhold. For as no doubt was entertained that the Legislature of the State might authorize this fund to be loaned upon interest, for the purpose of rendering it a productive source "for the encouragement of learning," or that it might authorize the Governor to borrow it from the Commissioners, for the use of the State, upon like terms, and for the same purpose, its appropriation in that way was so confidently relied on, as a provision for defraying the current expenses of the Government, that its operations must necessarily be suspended, without other resources — which the Legislature alone is competent to supply.

Is then, the State to be subjected to such inconveniences, its interest to be thus sacrificed and its dignity prostrated at the feet of an acting Secretary of the Treasury -- however distinguished for his intelligence, integrity and patriotism — merely because, "with the strongest desire to regard as correct such a disposition of the funds in question as the authorities of the State of Illinois might have deemed proper," he has not found grounds to concur in the views they have taken of the subject? Such results could hardly have been expected at any time; much less at a time and under circumstances so generally regarded as peculiarly auspicious to State rights. It must be admitted that there can be no more legitimate object of State authority and jurisdiction than the "encouragement of learning." What, then, could be more humiliating to the just pride of a free and independent State, than that its legislative action upon a subject, so unquestionably within the sphere of its sovereign powers, should be subjected to the supervision, control and negative of a subordinate officer of a different government? The degradation cannot but be most painfully felt in the present case. As none could have a deeper interest in or higher motives to the "encouragement of learning" than the State itself, the compact, with no more than reasonable confidence, has, without exacting security or providing any means of coercion whatever, submitted this business to the sound discretion and good faith of the Legislature of the State. The Legislature, with a disposition that has never been complained of but as too favorable to this object, has, in the exercise of its best judgment, endeavored to render this fund as available as possible to the purposes for which it was granted. The measures adopted with this view have been and still are approved by the people of the State, and their success is sufficiently evinced by the extraordinary augmentation of the fund itself. Yet, your decision, assuming that the Legislature was either too ignorant to perceive its duty or too faithless to perform it, requires that the State shall retrace its steps, and in default thereof denounces against it consequences only due to a faithless violation of the most solemn promises and engagements. And all this because it so happens that you cannot concur in the views that nave been taken of this subject by those whose peculiar province it was to decide upon it.

If such a decision is to be persevered in, it will not, I trust, be without a favorable reception and a deliberate consideration of the objections which painful but imperious duty calls upon me to make against it. I will not urge the force of precedents. I will not rely upon the practical exposition of Mr. Crawford and Mr. Rush, and the acquiescence of the Government for eight successive years; but I may be permitted to say, that, if you are right, they must have been guilty of flagrant violations of their duty, and it is left to the Department to decide how far this serious inculpation of


such distinguished and enlightened public officers should furnish an additional motive to that deliberate reconsideration which I have the honor most respectfully to solicit. I am perfectly willing to consider the case as res integra, and to test your decision upon principle.

And here let me be distinctly understood as not intending to include any objections to the decisions of Mr. Ingham. On that branch of the subject, I have nothing to add to the views contained in my letter to him of the 2d of April, last. But I contend that the Government of the United States is incompetent to confer upon the Secretary of the Treasury the right, which you have assumed, of deciding upon the validity of the account of the application of the fund in question, which the State is required to return; that no such power was intended to be or has been delegated to him, by the law referred to, and that, if it had been, your decision is erroneous.

The propositions offered by the United States were accepted and agreed to by the State on certain conditions. Now, sir, I need not, I am sure, quote authorities to show a gentleman of your intelligence that all treaties, conventions and agreements, however denominated, made between sovereigns, are public engagements, which, in regard to their validity, their execution, the dissolving of them, the rights they confer, the obligations they impose, are all subject to precisely the same rules. This compact, therefore, cannot be considered in an inferior light to that of a treaty, and a treaty, too, between equals: because, however different in splendor, pomp and power, equal in point of independence — which is all that is essential to sovereign equality. This equality, then, at once explodes your doctrine that the "law must be the rule of action," as applied to the rights and obligations of the State; for as law is nothing less than a rule of action prescribed by a superior to an inferior, whence can either party derive authority to give law to the other. The power of the United States to disengage themselves from their promises and nullify a compact, is not intended to be questioned; but the right, on their part, to interpolate into it conditions for which it has not provided, and to prescribe the duties of the State by law, cannot be conceded without dishonor. Sovereigns acknowledge no competent authority to decide between them, and have nothing to rely upon for the fulfillment of their mutual engagements but the faith of promises. Neither party has a right to construe the compact at its own pleasure, and any difference between them, growing out of it, necessarily becomes the subject of negotiation or must eventuate in its nullification. How, then, could Congress delegate to you the power to supervise, control and negative the legislative action of the State upon this subject? How authorize you to require the State to retrace its steps, and enforce its conformity to your own views of its duty, by a violation of the promises of the United States and the exaction of conditions which it had never bound itself to perform, and yet recognize the existence of the compact? The refusal of one party to fulfill its stipulation places them in a new attitude towards each other, from the very nature of things puts an end to the compact, and is only to be justified on the ground of a faithless violation of the promises of the other. The obligations of the compact are perfectly reciprocal; the rights of the parties under it equal. If, then, the United States can authorize their Secretary of the Treasury to require of the State an annual account of the application of the money, stipulated to be appropriated by the Legislature thereof, for the "encouragement of learning," and to withhold payment if he should think the money misapplied, permit me earnestly to ask of you (or of Mr. Ingham, if this letter shall be referred to him,) why may not the State authorize its Auditor of Accounts, or any other officer, to require of the United States an annual account of the application of the money stipulated to be disbursed,


under the direction of Congress, in making roads leading to the State, and to suspend the execution of all the promises of the State if he should think this money misapplied?

To me, it appears that the rights of the State, and the propriety of such a requisition on its part, are far the most obvious and reasonable, because both these stipulations appear to have been offered as inducements to the State, were obviously intended for its benefit, and were granted only upon the condition of an ample equivalent which it has faithfully rendered. Should this right be conceded to the State, there is every reason to believe the compact would be of short duration, since it is not probable that there is a single individual within its limits who really believes that the disbursements of this fund which have been made under the direction of Congress have been in conformity to the compact. At all events, they are not less questionable than those appropriations under the authority of the Legislature of the State, which you have denounced. It cannot be pretended that the State has not strictly complied with every condition on which the engagements of the United States were made to depend. Is it, then, reasonable to expect that the State should continue to perform those conditions, whilst the stipulated equivalents for them are thus arbitrarily withheld? I think not. Every article of a treaty or compact has the force of a condition, which, by a default of the party promising, is nullified — for neither party is bound by its promises but upon the honest and faithful fulfillment of the engagements of the other. The State may, therefore, rightfully and legally absolve itself from its obligations whenever the promises in its favor are violated, or the benefits intended to be secured to it are withheld; and as the bargain was a very disadvantageous one on its part, it is scarcely to be doubted that it will avail itself of this right, if this extraordinary refusal of payment shall be persisted in.

It cannot, therefore, be presumed that Congress could ever have intended to delegate to the Secretary of the Treasury power whoso exercise involves such awful consequences; and the nature and importance of the case forbids any derivation of the power you have assumed from implication. Let us, then, see whether the power you claim has been conferred upon you. The law declares that the Secretary of the Treasury shall pay the money in question for the purposes mentioned in the compact; that an account of its application by the State shall be transmitted to him; and that in default of such returns being made to him, he shall withhold the payment of any sums that may then be due, or which may thereafter become due, until the return shall be made. All, then, that the Secretary is authorized to demand of the State is that it shall exhibit to him an account of its application of the money. This being done, whether he may think the application right or wrong, wise or unwise, he is bound to pay, since he has no right to withhold payment but in default of such return being made to him. The State is not required to account to him for its conduct, to satisfy him that the money has been properly applied; to submit to his control or dictation in a case confided to its own judgment by the compact itself, and undeniably included within its legitimate power. Nor has the law given him the power to decide upon the validity of the application of the money, to arraign the State for its ignorance, or to denounce it for its treachery, and subject it to punishment or force it to abandon measures which it knows to have been adopted in good faith and believes to be in conformity with the compact, and better calculated than any other to advance the very interest for which it was intended to provide. Had such an awful power been intended to be granted to the Secretary, its great importance and the obvious consequences to which it might lead,


forbid the belief that it should have been left to any kind of implication or that it would not have been distinctly expressed and guarded by every prudent precaution. It is far more reasonable to suppose that Congress intended to provide the means of ascertaining how the money should be disposed of, and to reserve to themselves, and not transfer from them to the head of a Department of the Government, the right of deciding upon such measures as should thereupon appear to be expedient proper.

But if this extraordinary power has been granted to the Secretary, it is, with all due deference, confidently believed that you have decided erroneously.

Previously, however, to entering upon this branch of the subject, that I may not be personally involved in the censure implied by your decision, I may be permitted, in justice to myself, to remark that, as I never participated in the investment of the money in question in the purchase of the State debt, I am not entitled to any share of the merit or demerit of that measure. It is due, however, to candor to say that I have never seen, nor can I now see, any objection to the whole policy that has been pursued by the State in regard to this fund, than an over-anxiety to augment it for the purposes for which it was granted, and premature efforts to aid the interests of learning at the expense of other interests having equal claims.

In a new State, with a very sparse and greatly dispersed population, it may well be imagined that there may have been a time when a regular system for the encouragement of learning had not been adopted, and that with the utmost anxiety to effect so desirable an object, it may have been unavoidably retarded by circumstances which could not be controlled. This was, in fact, the situation of this State at the time the money in question was received. There were no existing institutions of learning to which it could properly be applied. Should it, then, on this account, have been withheld by the Secretary? If not, was it absolutely necessary that it should lie idle and unemployed, when it could be made to yield an increase that would greatly facilitate and accelerate the object for which it was intended? Or how should it have been used so as to have enabled the State to render an account of its application that would have satisfied your construction of the law? If I understand rightly the remarks in your letter, with the reference you make to mine of the 2d April, it is just as necessary to exhibit an account to satisfy you that the money had actually been literally applied to "the encouragement of learning," as that it had not been misapplied to any other object. And, indeed, if you have the right to decide upon the consistency of the return with the obligations of the State, there seems no reasonable distinction between those eases, since the cause of learning could not be less injured by withholding this fund from its aid than by otherwise applying it.

What then is the consequence of thig construction? Being unable, and likely to continue so a long time, with its own funds exclusively to establish those institutions of learning which should be the objects of the stipulated appropriation, the State in the meantime, though held to a strict and continued performance of the equivalent conditions on its part, is to be altogether deprived of the use of this money. And this notwithstanding the law itself has declared that it shall be paid to it quarterly. Is it to be supposed that such a state of things could be acquiesced in by a free, highminded and independent people?

I had the honor to state to Mr. Ingham, in my letter of 2d April, to which you refer, as follows: "The several sums heretofore received, however, on this account, being as yet inadequate to the objects for which they were granted, have not been appropriated otherwise than in the purchase of the notes of the State Bank of Illinois


and warrants upon its treasury at a great discount, which has considerably augmented this fund, all of which is deposited in the treasury of the State, to be apppropriated in due time exclusively to the objects for which it was granted." Instead of a justification for making further payments, you find enough in this state ment, and in the account of the Commissioners, to prohibit them. Why? Because cannot regard as correct such a disposition as has been made of the fund in question, which as well includes the deposit of the whole amount of it, augmented as it has been, "in the treasury of the State, to be appropriated in due time exclusively to the objects for which it was granted," as the means by which its augmentation was effected. Speaking of the latter, as you do, in such close connection with the obligations of the State to appropriate the money to "the encouragement of learning," you seem to contend that it should, at all events and under all possible circumstances, be confined to a specific appropriation, that should directly and immediately and exclusively operate upon learning only; and hence it would appear that no deposit in the treasury of the State of any sum, under any circumstances, till the sums received should be adequate to the intended objects, would meet your approbation, since the deposit of the actual sum received could scarcely be more satisfactory than that of a much larger amount for the same purposes; and especially as the acknowledgment, by the State, of the receipt of the former from the Commissioners could afford no greater security than its acknowledgment of the receipt of the latter, with the most solemn pledges of its faith to appropriate it exclusively "to the encouragement of learning," and to no other object.

By the Legislature of the State, it has been supposed that this fund was intended to aid it in the establishment of institutions of learning, as well as to support them after their establishment. that it was under no imperative obligation, whether prepared or not, expedient or otherwise, to exhaust every cent received by immediate, direct and exclusive appropriations to "the encouragement of learning;" that it was under no absolute necessity to "rip open the goose to get the golden egg;" but that it might invest the money in any safe and productive funds, or loan it upon interest, and apply the proceeds to those objects. You would have the whole amount received annually exhausted, at all events. You would not permit it to be invested even in the stock of the Bank of the United States, since you object to its more profitable investment in the debt of the State, unless upon the degrading assumption that the former is worthy of all credit and the latter of none. It would seem that it could not be more safely loaned than to the State, whose honor and interest equally conspire to insure its fidelity to such an engagement; but you would not permit it to be loaned at all, since you refuse to allow the State to use it upon far more profitable terms, unless your objection arises from a particular want of confidence in the ability or good faith of the State. What, then, would you have the Commissioners of this fund to do? Would you wish them to release the State from its solemn and explicit obligation to pay the whole amount for which it has receipted in the lawful currency of the United States, and to diminish the fund go greatly increased, by accepting, in discharge of its obligation, the amount only which has been received from the United States? And can you believe that this would advance the interest which you are so careful to protect? How would you have that part of the fund which is required to be appropriated to a college or university disposed of? I confess, I cannot ever conjecture what, with your construction of the law, would satisfy you; and I would take it as a favor to be enlightened on the subject by the department.


By the compact, it is declared that one-sixth part of the money contracted to be paid by the United States "shall be exclusively bestowed on a college or university." Now, suppose the amount received within the past year, after the passage of the law, to be one thousand dollars, one hundred and sixty-six dollars and sixty-six and two-thirds cents of this amount would be applicable to a college or university; but no such institutions were then in being, nor was the existence of either, at that early period, contemplated by either of the contracting parties. The money, therefore, could not be directly bestowed on a college or university. It would be insufficient for the erection of a suitable building for either; the annual application of such a sum to such a building could scarcely be expected to eventuate otherwise than in its entire loss; and you will not permit it to be idle or suffer it to be employed in any other manner than the strict letter of the compact; for the State is under precisely the same obligations to apply and account for the application of this part of the fund as the balance of it. What, then, should be done with it? The State will be greatly interested in being informed on the subject, should it find itself compelled to abandon its own, and adopt your views of its rights and obligations.

The Legislature of the State, composed, as it has been, of men who claim no exemption from the fallibility and imperfections common to all mankind, may, doubtless, have erred, but the most rigid scrutiny is defied to detect a single ground to justify the imputation, or even the faintest suspicion that it has in any manner whatever acted upon the subject without the most scrupulous regard to good faith. Influenced by its own construction of its rights and duties, and animated by an ardent, if not a rather too exclusive disposition to advance the interests of education, it seized with avidity the opportunity to make the investments to which you object, as the best possible expedient for rendering this fund the most available for those purposes. It authorized all the notes of the State Bank purchased by the Commissioners, to be canceled, and required the Auditor of Public Accounts to give them a certificate for their whole amount, payable in the legal currency of the United States — which certificate was delivered to and kept by the Commissioners "as an evidence of their claim upon the treasury of the State." It has sufficiently evinced its determination to appropriate this fund exclusively to the encouragement of learning, and to prevent its diminution in any other way, by having caused a sum of which it had been robbed, while it was in deposit for sale keeping in the Bank of the State, to be reimbursed to it; by providing by law that "no part of the said three per cent. fund shall ever be applied to any other purpose than the encouragement of learning in this State, and the expenses attending the receipt of any portion thereof shall be paid out of any moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated;" by establishing a system of free schools, and providing by law "that for the encouragement and support of schools respectively established in this State, according to this act, there shall be appropriated, for those purposes, two dollars out of every hundred hereafter to be received in the treasury of this State; also, five-sixths of the interest arising from the school fund (meaning the one in question), which shall be divided, annually, between the different counties of this State, in proportion to the number of white inhabitants in every county under the age," etc.

But I will press the subject no further. The whole case resolves itself into this simple question: Whether the State is to be compelled to abandon its own opinions, in which there is, probably, not a single dessentient within its limits, and to adopt yours? If this must be so, it cannot be less than a mortal blow to State rights; and whatever the consequences, I, for one, can never yield my assent to it.


I have only to add that, whatever may have been the freedom of the remarks which I have felt myself called upon to make, I beg leave candidly to assure you that they have proceeded, not from any unfriendly disposition, but from a sincere and anxious desire to avoid a collision but too well calculated to interrupt the peace and harmony of the Union itself.

I need not urge that the peculiar circumstances of the case render it extremely important to the State that I shall receive as early an answer to this communication as may suit the convenience of the Department.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, sir,

Your most obedient servant,


To asbury dickens, Esq., Acting Secretary of the Treasury.

Having given a history of Gov. Edwards' character as a public man, and of his public services, I propose to say something of his private life — of his pursuits in the management of his personal affairs — and his usefulness as a neighbor and citizen.

At a very early age, as has been previously stated, he was sent by his father to Kentucky to take charge of his landed estate. Although only nineteen years of age, he took charge of the farm hands, opened and improved a farm upon which his father afterwards removed, with his numerous family, from the State of Maryland, built distilleries and tan-yards, and gave all the necessary instruction in relation to their construction. It was at this time that he indulged in habits of dissipation, from which, by a determined resolution, he was snatched like a fire-brand from the fire. He broke loose from his associates, removed to Logan county, Kentucky, where he devoted himself to the study and practice of his profession. Very soon after his appointment to the office of judge, he resided on a farm, and successfully carried it on until his appointment to the office of Governor of the Territory.

After the reformation of his habits, he was intrusted by his father with funds to locate lands in Kentucky, and his success was such that he laid the foundation for the fine estate which was afterwards realized by his brothers and sisters. Though his father was anxious to divide his property by giving him an equal share with his brothers and sisters, he insisted upon receiving nothing under the will. It appears, from a letter to Mr. Wirt, that he declined receiving anything from his father, as early as 1808. Mr. Wirt, in a letter of that year, thus alludes to it: "Your delicacy in relation to your father's will does you honor; but you are amply requited for it — for a testamentary compliment from such a man and such a father is the richest of legacies."

Although, in the year 1799, he was left without a dollar he could call his own, by his practice for the short space of only four years, and his prudent investment of the money realized from his profession, he amassed what was considered in that day a large fortune, consisting of lands, notes,


farms and stock, previous to his leaving Kentucky for Illinois, in the year 1809. Many of his friends expressed surprise that he should leave Kentucky for the office of Governor of the Territory of Illinois. Speaking of his success in Kentucky, Mr. Wirt, in a letter written about that time, says, "I had supposed the Presidency of the Court of Appeals, connected with the society of your relatives and friends, and its dignity, upheld by your own splendid fortune, was an office much more desirable than that for which you have exchanged; and although it gave me great pleasure to state to Mr. Madison, at large, my impression of you, yet, I must confess, in secret, I half wished the application might fail, principally on your father's account, whose old age, I believed, reposed in a great degree on you. But of all these considerations, you, who was on the ground, are certainly best judge, and I will not doubt that you have decided correctly."

For a considerable portion of his time, after his removal to Illinois, he resided on his farm near Kaskaskia, to which he brought with him, from Kentucky, an improved stock of horses, cattle and sheep, from which the agricultural interests of the Territory were much benefited. He also had a choice collection of fruit trees, grape vines and shrubbery. He established saw and grist mills, and engaged extensively in the mercantile business — having no less than eight or ten stores in as many places in Missouri and Illinois; and, notwithstanding the arduous duties of his office, he almost always purchased his goods himself. He established stores in Kaskaskia, Belleville, Carlisle, Alton and Springfield, in this State; and in St. Louis, Franklin and Chariton, in Missouri.

He was equally useful to his fellow-citizens and neighbors as a physician; for, although he did not practice medicine as a profession, yet he was devoted to the study of it, and the writer knows of hundreds of instances of his visiting and prescribing for the sick without any charge; and it was not unusual for persons to come several hundred miles to consult him with regard to cases that were considered of a dangerous character by other physicians.

As in his public life righteousness and faithfulness were the rules of Ms conduct, so in his private affairs was he influenced by a love of justice, benevolence and truth. He was sued but once in his life, and in that he was successful. He was kind and compassionate to the unfortunate, never turned away the needy from his door, and was the friend of the widow, the fatherless and the poor. I know of widows and ministers of the gospel who were indebted to his liberality for their homes. A more affectionate and devoted husband, father, brother, or a kinder neighbor, never lived. His children so respected and loved him, that it was unusual for either of


them ever to incur his displeasure by doing any act which they believed would not meet his approbation.

He resided at and in the vicinity of Kaskaskia from 1809 to 1818; in Edwardsville from the time of his removal from Kaskaskia until 1824; from which time, his place of residence was Belleville, St. Clair county, where he died on the 20th July, 1833.

In closing this memoir of Gov. Edwards, I may be permitted to say, what indeed can be said of few men who have been engaged so long in the public service, that his political opponents were never able to point to a single measure which he had supported which did not meet with almost the unanimous approbation of his fellow-citizens; nor to any measure, calculated to advance the interests of his constituents, which he did not propose or favor. At the time of his death, he had scarcely an enemy in the State. Gov. Bond, John McLean, (Senator in Congress from this State,) and nearly all his former political opponents, were his warmest personal friends. In the year 1828, he received a letter from the Hon. John McLean, of Illinois, in which he says, "But that you have always been true to your friends and faithful to your engagements, I am and have for a long time been fully satisfied; and it has always been to me a source of regret that we were, either with or without cause, in a state of collision. But that is over, and, on my part, I assure you that I only recollect it to regret that it ever existed."

The following sketch of Gov. Edwards' life, extracted from a discourse delivered by the Rev. Dr. J. M. Peck, on the 22d of December, 1833, is inserted here as embodying, not only some of the leading traits of his character, but facts of his history:


"Her strong rods were broken and withered." — EZEKIAL — xix: 12.

Figures of speech were common in ancient times; the scriptures abound with them. Hence, to a right understanding of such expressions of scripture as my text, it is necessary to notice the application of the phraseology, and its connection with the subject over which the prophet was lamenting. He was here bewailing the ruin of the royal family of Judah, and the great calamities that had fallen upon the nation of Israel.

In the connection, the Jewish commonwealth is represented by the figure of a lioness — her whelps ensnared and taken. — (Verses 3-9.) Allusion appears to be had to Jehoahaz, whom the people had made king after Josiah was slain, and whom Pharaoh Necho carried, in chains, into Egypt. The people, seeing no hopes in his return, submitted to Jehoiakim, whom Pharaoh had made king. Like a young lion he used his power with great cruelty, till he fell under the provoked hostilities of the king of Babylon.

The next figure, to represent the condition of the Jewish nation and their rulers, is that of a vine, planted in a fruitful soil. — (Verses 10-14.) Their magistrates and


chief men are compared to "strong rods."--(2-11.) The judgments of heaven had passed over the land. "The east wind had dried up her fruit." What the prophet alludes to here is not so readily determined. Was it the pestilence from the east that swept off the people and withered the strong rods? Or, was it the allusion to the invasion of Judea, by the king of Babylon?

"Strong rods" metaphorically denote leading men — rulers of the nation. This is manifest from the eleventh verse: "And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bore rule." Such a metaphor would describe those who had superior talents, and in other respects were well qualified to rule.

It is deserving of remark that such a rod should grow out of a weak vine; but God raised up from the Jews, even when the nation was in a low condition, many distinguished and mighty men. For there were periods, in the history of this nation, when the people had excellent and wise magistrates for their governors.

It is affirmed in the text that these strong rods were broken and withered. Death had removed them. Imbecility and corruption, or tyranny and cruelty, then characterized her rulers.

The loss of such public men, as were fitly described by the figure "strong rods," was deplored by the prophet as a public calamity. Hence, I regard the text as expressing this sentiment: that the death of an able statesman is a public calamity.

First — I shall contemplate the use and application of the metaphor.

A parent is a strong rod to his family. The companion of his bosom leans on him for support and happiness, and his children look up to him for counsel and example.

A minister of the gospel is a strong rod to the church over which he has been placed as overseer.

A man eminently qualified for public business and usefulness in a political community, is a strong rod to a nation or a state.

We will proceed to notice some of these properties in public men, which entitle them to the application of the figure "strong rods."

1. Great natural talents. These are to be found in strong reasoning powers and a vigorous understanding; a peculiar aptitude and genius for public business; a keen penetration into the tendencies of measures towards the welfare or injury of the community, and the speediest means to advance the one and counteract the other — with clear perceptions of right and justice, and the false colors in which unjust measures are often disguised. Though these abilities are susceptible of great improvement, by education, self-discipline and experience, yet their foundation seems to be laid in a naturally vigorous intellect.

2. In an educated or well cultivated mind. When great natural talents are well cultivated by close, systematic study, observation and experience, and by these means the mind has become enriched with a large fund of useful knowledge, the foundation is laid for a great man.

Public men should possess considerable knowledge of the history of men, nations and governments — knowledge of the whole circle of human affairs, (particularly of the condition, resources, policy and designs of neighboring nations) — that they may know how to direct the affairs of their own with advantage; and more particularly of the constitution, principles, history, laws, and peculiarities of their own Government.

The peculiar organization of our National Government, with the coordinate subordinate relations of each State — the different circumstances in which each are placed in relation to others, and to the Confederate Republic — make it indispensable for a well qualified statesman to bring to this subject a mind habituated to severe and patient investigation, and well stored with previous reading.


Considerable knowledge of the nature, sources and obligations of law, and especially of the fundamental laws of our country, is a most important acquisition; so is the knowledge of human nature, in general — of our own hearts — of the human passions, and especially the power of influencing others to the adoption of important measures. A statesman must not only be capable of forming wise plans, but he must be able to carry them into effect by bringing the people to cooperate with him. He must also possess competent knowledge of the condition and resources of the country he serves, and skill to direct those resources to the best advantage.

It will now be perceived that, without an educated and well cultivated mind, a man can never become an eminent statesman, however great may be his native powers. Like that potent agent that propels our commerce and drives our machinery, a vigorous mind, without cultivation and discipline, may do great injury.

I am not here depreciating the properties of those minds who have not been classically or scientifically educated, or whose names have not been recorded on a college diploma. Shall I be told that eminent men, profound statesmen and able commanders have done honor to our own country and that of other nations, and yet have never entered the walls of a literary or scientific institution? Will the names of Washington, Franklin, Sherman, Rittenhouse, Patrick Henry, and a hundred more in the last or present generations, be arrayed before me to confute the position that an educated and well cultivated mind is necessary to eminence in public life? Let it be remarked that I have not made a collegiate education and the attendance of able instructors, in all cases, indispensable to these attainments. But it is denied that Washington, Franklin, and other sages and patriots of like character, were uneducated men, and that they attained to eminence and usefulness by mere natural genius, with uncultivated minds. They possessed, most unquestionably, great intellectual powers, but these were highly cultivated. They had not the advantages that many others possessed, in the means of acquiring their education. By pressure of circumstances they were forced, in a considerable degree, to educate themselves. Did such men ever arise by the mere flight of unaided genius? No; it was only by patient and long continued study — aided by much practical observation — that their mental powers became developed and exhibited such vigor.

We admonish young men to beware of the delusion that they can ever become "strong rods" in a political community, or eminent in any pursuit, without close study. Your partial friends may flatter your vanity by indiscreetly praising your genius and natural talents; but never expect to arise above the common level, without study and observation. "Give attendance to reading" is no less applicable to the young patriot than to the young preacher.

3. Self government is an important requisite in the character we are contemplating. This implies the subjugation of our appetites and propensities — equanimity of temper — and such power over the passions as will enable the judgment and reason to retain the ascendency on every emergency. He who cannot rule himself, will rarely succeed in governing others and retaining their confidence.

4. A noble, high-minded and generous disposition. Nothing servile, base and cringing. Men of small talents, uncultivated minds and bad tempers are apt to be jealous, envious, malignant and revengeful, and are often guilty of low and mean conduct, especially towards their rivals.

In the collisions of party and the heat of political excitement, men of character and talents often say and do that which, in their sober and reflecting moments, they deeply regret; but the real statesman never will suffer such feelings to become habitual. A noble mind, conscious of its own tendency to undue excitement, makes allowances


for the same infirmity in others. Such a character will possess self-respect; and the tendency of a due regard to one's own character will manifest itself in a proper respect to that of others. A man of real greatness of mind abhors those things that are mean and sordid. Artifice and clandestine management, to promote his own selfish designs, cannot be the governing principles of his soul. A just regard to future character is the duty of every one. This is far removed from the vices of pride, vainglory or ambition. It arises from self-respect. A man is as much bound to respect and preserve his own character, as he is to preserve the members of his body or his life; and he is equally bound to transmit the odor of a good name to posterity as to provide for the future happiness of his children. This duty devolves preëminently upon public men; and not only are their personal friends and families immediately concerned, but their services and their characters are alike the property of the nation.

5. Firmness and decision of character are also important qualities. In all governments there are broad, fundamental principles, which must be regarded and maintained, whatever may be the risk. On these principles the coarse of a statesman should never vacillate. The right of the people to instruct their representatives is unquestionable — for they in the aggregate, and not a privileged few, possess the governing power; but there may be occasional emergencies when a public man has to take the responsibility, and risk his popularity, for the benefit of his country. Such instances occurred in the gloomy period of the Revolutionary war. In some districts of the country a majority of the people fainted in the day of adversity, and would have submitted to British domination; but there were men of uncommon nerve who threw themselves into the breach and saved the country.

It is admitted that this call is not upon the topics of ordinary and common legislation, much less for the promotion of party designs. It is only when constitutional principles are at stake, the national compact to be preserved, or great and paramount interests are in jeopardy, that the firmness and integrity of the patriot should be brought in collision with the will of his constituents. Yet he should never be obstinate or self-willed, but proceed with due deliberation and make up his mind to fall a sacrifice to popular resentment, rather than betray his country or violate his conscience. There is a moral sublimity in the conduct of a public man who will risk this much for the public good.

He should also be firm and immovable in the administration of law and justice. Hence, unbending integrity and an inflexible regard to righteousness should mark his course under all circumstances. He should not be "a terror to good works, but to the evil." (Rom. xiii, 8 )

6. Patriotism is the last quality I will notice as belonging to a statesman. A patriot is one who is actuated by love of his country, and who will sacrifice his own interests rather than the interests of the people. Private interests are merged in public good.

True patriotism does not annul or counteract the duty of universal benevolence, for it does not call us to regard our country's interest exclusively, at the expense of the general happiness of mankind. It does not abrogate the Divine injunction to love all mankind — to love our enemies. The laws of universal justice and equity require no one to promote the interests of the country, state, town or neighborhood where he resides, at the expense of justice, humanity and the happiness of mankind. A nation is exalted only by righteousness, and not by rapine, injustice and artifice. "Equal justice to all" has been recognized as the sentiment of this nation.


True patriotism in a citizen displays itself in zealously supporting the honor, interests and prosperity of our country and government on principles of equal justice. It never agrees in plots or conspiracies to overturn or pervert constitutional principles — though individuals, equally patriotic, may honestly differ in opinion about the extent and application of those principles. It never seeks to bring the government or its constituted authorities into contempt; and though it may approve of one set of measures and disapprove of another — it may seek to elevate this man as more fitted to rule than that — yet it never takes pleasure in exposing the errors of or in defaming their characters. A dutiful son may see faults in his father, and affectionately remonstrate, but until all affection is extinguished, and self-respect is lost, he will not take pleasure in exposing him.

So with the real patriot. He delights not in exposing his country's faults.

But the man in office, above all others, is expected to be a true patriot. He must exhibit that unquenchable love of country that will prompt him to a cheerful sacrifice of his own interest when placed in competition with the public good. This will appear the more necessary when it is noticed that men of wealth as well as influence are frequently selected for the higher and more important offices. If such persons are not influenced by the spirit of the real patriot, the temptation to sacrifice the people's interest to their own will too easily prevail.

It is unnecessary here to particularize instances where the most elevated patriotism existed. Their names are found scattered over the records of antiquity. One of the most brilliant examples is that of Moses. For in renouncing the pleasures of Egypt, and his title, as the adopted son of the king's daughter, to the throne, and in preferring the interests of the Hebrew nation in their vassalage, his patriotism was not less conspicuous than his piety was elevated. The page of our revolutionary history furnishes evidence of entire devotion to the welfare of the nation. He, then, only deserves the name of a patriot who enters into public office with the fixed principle of promoting the good of his country and his fellow-men, and who continues to be governed by that principle. And, however important are natural talents, a well cultivated mind, self-control, magnanimity and high-souled feelings, and decision of character, if patriotism is wanting, he may be a great man, but we dare not pronounce him a great statesman.

Secondly — The death of such a man is a public calamity.

1. Because such men are great benefits to society and government. The prosperity of a nation depends much more on the character of its public men than is commonly imagined. They not only give direction to public sentiment, but, from the constitution of our natures, and the unavoidable habit of suffering ourselves to be influenced by those in whom we repose confidence, they often originate that sentiment. All the great, and many of the minor interests of society, are under their care and subject to their influence; and their opportunities to promote the public interest are great in every respect.

The direction they give to public affairs has a tendency to promote the wealth and prosperity of the nation, or to impoverish and cover it with the thick cloud of adversity.

The interest and happiness of the whole community, not excepting the humblest and most obscure, are materially affected by the character and conduct of those who are chosen to rule over the people. And as it is the intention and tendency of all good and upright governments to be a terror to all evil-doers and a protection to


those who do well, public and private morals and virtue are promoted or retarded by the character of public men.

And while, in accordance with the principles of our national and state constitutions, we protest against all interference, on the part of the civil government, with the high and holy attributes of religion, as a subject entirely beyond its province, yet it is obvious to every reflecting mind that the character of public men cannot but affect materially the influence and prevalence of religious principles. Public virtue and sound morality are always affected by the course of human legislation. A most striking illustration of this truth is to be found in the history of France, when the national convention, controlled by a band of unprincipled atheists, denounced all religion, set up the Goddess of Reason, severed every bond of moral obligation, placed over the gates of the public cemetery the inscription, "Death is an eternal sleep," and thus broke over all the restraints that accountability to the Divine Being, and the influence of religious principles, have erected as a barrier to the depraved passions.

The butcheries and enormities which followed have furnished the world with a dreadful comment of a government without religious principles and moral ties.

Without belief in the general and leading principles of religion — such as the existence of a God, our accountability to him, and a future retribution — no laws, penalties or oaths will have efficient influence on mankind. Not to enlarge upon the importance of religion in exciting fear in the human heart of temporal judgments, passing by its high authority in communicating sanctity to oaths, and in restraining that class of offenses which human laws can neither detect or punish, we maintain it is of the utmost importance in softening the turbulent passions of men and collecting them together in friendly society.

Thus, the prosperity and safety of the people, under God, depend very much on such public men as we have described as "strong rods." Hence, when these are broken and withered, it is to be regarded as a mark of Divine displeasure, and submitted to as a public calamity.

2. Wise, upright and talented men are, in a great degree, the defense of a nation. Innumerable and great are the evils to which nations, states and communities are exposed in this sinful world. A people without government are like a city without walls or the means of defense, and yet encompassed on every side by enemies. They become unavoidably subject to confusion, misery and destruction.

Government is necessary to defend communities from intestine discord, injustice and violence. Its necessity springs from the ignorance, depravity and selfishness of human nature. It is equally indispensable to protection from the injustice or violence of other nations, and from those individuals who have thrown off the restraints of national government, and, as pirates or robbers, depredate upon the property of individuals and communities.

Qualified statesmen and rulers are equally indispensable to the administration of good government. They are the bulwarks of a people in time of war, and the chief instruments of their prosperity in time of peace. They see the evil approaching and throw themselves into the breach. They survey the resources of the country and aid the people in their development.

Strong rods are necessary to good government. Such was the virtuous Josiah to the nation of Israel, who probably was one of the "strong rods" alluded to by the prophet. When he fell in an unequal contest with the king of Egypt, "they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers,


and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah." With him fell the glory and strength of the nation.


It will be readily perceived by this audience that, in many particulars, our late distinguished fellow-citizen, Gov. Edwards, was a strong rod to this community and State. He was justly entitled to the appellation of Father of Illinois.

After giving a very brief sketch of his life, not materially different from that I have given in another part of this work, Dr. Peck proceeds as follows:

From the time of his first election to the Legislature of Kentucky, before he had attained his majority, up to this period, he had not been out of public office, and in every station he had acquitted himself with honor, and to the satisfaction of the people.

It was not to be expected that he would be permitted to remain long in retirement. The people of Illinois, who, in various ways, had expressed their acknowledgments of the value of his public services, still had claims upon him. He was elected Governor of the State in 1826, and whatever might have been the feelings of political opponents upon his entrance into this office, we believe few persons could be found who did not approve the general course of his administration. A candid and dispassionate review of his correspondence as Governor of the Territory, his speeches in Congress, and his messages to the Legislature, would convince even his opponents of the entire devotedness on his part to the interests of the State. History and posterity will pronounce him a true patriot, and point out many official acts in which private interest was sacrificed on the altar of the public welfare.

Upon the expiration of his constitutional term as Governor, it was his intention not to appear before the people again in any public capacity. Enjoying some share of his confluence and friendship, I feel authorized in this declaration. But he consented to suffer his name to be used as a candidate for Congress, at the election in 1832, by the repeated and urgent solicitations of many friends whose wishes he felt bound to respect. This was the first and only election he ever lost before the people, and at this time there were four other respectable candidates for the same office — two of whom were considered by the people as belonging to the same political party with himself, to whom many had committed themselves previous to the annunciation that Gov. Edwards was a candidate.

Much of the latter period of his life was devoted to the adjustment of his private affairs, and to acts of humanity and benevolence. And he possessed such method and system that, notwithstanding his estate was large and his business complicated, his affairs were left in such order as to admit of easy adjustment.

His neighbors and fellow-citizens can give ample testimony to his humane, liberal and benevolent character. Possessing considerable medical knowledge, with a sound discriminating judgment, he frequently administered and prescribed for the sick, visited the couch of the dying, and gave consolation to the afflicted. To the poor and distressed he was liberal in his personal services and benefactions. The poorest man in the State was as fully welcome to the hospitalities of his house and table as the most opulent and distinguished.

In his benefactions to purposes of benevolence and charity, Gov. Edwards was liberal without ostentation. It is known to the speaker that in many instances he gave liberal sums of which the public knew nothing.


He never made a public profession of religion, yet he was a believer in its doctrines, and there were times in the latter period of his life, known to the speaker, when he became unusually interested in its weighty truths, and was anxious about his personal salvation. On these occasions, his conversation was free and evinced deep feeling.

When that dreadful disease, the cholera, to which he fell a victim, first appaered amongst us, Gov. Edwards was indefatigable in obtaining the most valuable and accurate information of the nature of the disease, and the most successful mode of treatment, and in diffusing it among the people. When it approached the village where he resided, his anxiety for the preservation of others was great. Though of feeble health and of impaired constitution, and forewarned by his friends that an attack of the cholera in his system would prove fatal, yet, night and day, he was with the sick and dying, till he fell a victim to his humane and charitable exertions for the relief of others. The first attack on himself was in the form of dysentery, which greatly weakened his system, but produced no alarming symptoms. From this attack he recovered so far as to leave his room, prepare some papers on business, and converse with his family and friends, which he did for two days, with cheerfulness and with the prospect of a speedy recovery.

On Friday evening, July 19, he was attacked with the cholera in its regular form, under which he sunk rapidly till about seven o'clock on Saturday morning, July 20, when he expired. He left three sons and one daughter, to feel and mourn the irreparable loss of a kind father.

Were I to attempt a portraiture of his character, in its various colorings, I could say nothing new nor do it ample justice. Yet, it may be necessary to call into remembrance some of its prominent features, to excite your minds to profitable reflection:

First. Contemplate him again as a youth, a minor — ardent, impetuous, aspiring, and sent forth upon the world; journeying several hundreds of miles from his paternal guardian and home; entering upon a new and unformed state of society on the frontier of Kentucky, and exposed to all the temptations incident to youth in all places, with those peculiar to a new country. See him, falling before the tempter — the structure of a noble mind about to be thrown down in ruins — yielding to the seductive influences of youthful follies — lured on to the precipice by giddy and thoughtless companions — the hydra monster about to encircle him in his scaly and voluminous folds. Pause a moment! Here are brilliant prospects — promising talents — a fine imagination — a cultivated mind — a father's hope, a mother's joy — about to be crushed and withered in this deadly embrace, and, as worthless things, thrown down the precipice into the gulf of oblivion. And is escape from such toils common? Ah, no! Where one has escaped, thousands have perished. Gaze here, ye young men, accustomed to your nightly orgies! Look at that immolation about to be offered! And yet, from this horrid embrace, and these fascinating toils, he did escape — marvellously escape!

We pause again. A silent, secret resolution begins to heave his youthful breast; it wavers — it struggles — it falters, and struggles again. The hopes of father, mother, brother, sisters, and a long line of friends, are flickering — sending forth the last feeble rays. The voice of filial love is not quite silent. The voice of conscience is upraised. The cheering gleams of hope appear above the distant horizon. The struggle is renewed, and victory crowns the conqueror!

Let our young men here be admonished. Your success depends, not in imitating his youthful follies, but in escaping from the snare and devoting your minds to the acquisition of useful knowledge and forming habits of virtuous industry.


We know that which to admire the most — the merciful providence of God to this young man, or the uncommon decision and energy of character put forth. Now view him as a close laborious and successful student, determined to qualify himself for the profession he bad chosen. Breaking away from the fascinations of his youthful companions, he puts forth the vigor of manhood and enters upon a life of honor and usefulness.

Second.View him as a public man — ardently devoted to the interests of the people; receiving their confidence; chosen by them to important trusts, and, from the midst of a constellation of legal talent, placed on the bench of the circuit court at the age of twenty-seven — rising, both in the confidence and respect of the people and in the judicial station, till he reaches the elevated position of Chief Justice of the State of Kentucky before he is thirty-two years of age. Is here imbecility of mind, fickleness of purpose, neglect of study, time wasted in gossiping and listless folly? Is here anything like indecision? indolence? waywardness? Far otherwise. Here are talents of no common order — moral energies that press through every obstruction — steadiness of purpose that never fails of success — mental discipline that will cause the mind to grow brighter and brighter — time husbanded as an invaluable treasure. Here is decision of character sufficient for the noblest purposes, industry that never tires, and a soul subjected to the government of reason.

Contemplate him through his future public life. The same traits of character increase in vividness — the same intellect accumulates strength. All the virtues we have contemplated are called into active exercise in forming the character, modeling and administering the government of this Territory.

View him as a Senator. His weight of character and influence command the respect of the nation. His suggestions are listened to as the voice of wisdom and experience, while, through all his public services, the people cling to him, as a strong rod, for support.

Third. But it is not in the ardor and buoyancy of youth, nor in the halls of legislation, nor on the bench of justice, nor yet in the executive chair, that a man's whole character is exhibited to the best advantage. Go to the domestic circle, see him by the fire-side, around the family altar, and in the every-day dress of his character, if you wish to gain a full and distinct view of the picture of a man. Let us contemplate our friend in this interesting aspect. As the head of a family and a father, few persons have manifested stronger affections in the family circle — few fathers were more beloved by their children. Ask that desolate widow, whose affections have been scathed as with the lightning's blast, to count up the sum of her loss. Ask those disconsolate children how much they loved him. Let the circle of relatives, with the long line of personal friends, draw near, estimate his worth, and the loss they have sustained.

Fourth. Contemplate him as a neighbor and citizen. Though elevated to high offices and rank, he was truly your equal. Few men of his station in life ever possessed less of the pride of ostentation and greatness. While all trifling and mimicry were despicable in his eyes, it was his nature to be sociable, conversant and friendly with every class of citizens. As a neighbor, he was kind and obliging.

Were I to mark the prominent traits of his character, I would place in high relief great decision — determined, resistless perseverence — quickness in dispatch of business — sagacity to the public interest — a liberal and philanthropic disposition — and a sense of his accountability to God.


We have thus, fellow-citizens, attempted to give you a brief but imperfect sketch of the life and character of our distinguished friend; and while we are taught, from Divine revelation, to submit with humility to that calamity which a wise and mysterious Providence has brought upon this State, in the death of a fellow-citizen of such eminent abilities and usefulness, we shall close this discourse with a single reflection. "For none of us liveth to himself," is the declaration of an inspired apostle. We are not insulated beings. Our example, influence, wealth, talents and prayers are all to be employed for useful purposes, and should be directed in that way that will lessen the most misery and promote the most happiness in the world in which we dwell. Whatever be our rank — whether as legislators, jurists, magistrates, ministers of the gospel, or private citizens — we are capable of doing immense harm or immense good, and the influence of this good or evil is not expended upon the present generation, merely: ages to come will feel the effects. It will follow in the continuous line of succeeding generations; and future millions will arise to call us blessed, or invoke anathemas upon our memories. The laws that are now framed — the moral influence exerted — the national or state improvements attempted — the schools established — the churches gathered — the preachers ordained — the appointments to office — the public and private example of all — the humblest walk of the humblest citizen of this State — will prove the means of happiness to individuals and the community for years to come.

Filled and overwhelmed with a sense of this weighty responsibility, let each one act well his part in life, that blessings may water his memory when his ashes have commingled with their kindred dust.


Chapter XIII.

Memoir of the late Hon. Daniel P. Cook.

The following memoir of the late Hon. Daniel P. Cook, who had been a member of Congress from the State from 1819 to 1827, which, by the permission of William H. Brown, Esq , I give a place in this work, gives a brief sketch of the able and distinguished men who had been the prominent political opponents of both Mr. Cook and Gov. Edwards. Two of them, the Hon. Elias K. Kane, and John McLean, were the successors in the Senate of the United States of Gov. Edwards and Judge Thomas, and were both distinguished for their talents and usefulness to the State and the Nation. They both died while holding their seats in the Senate.


To the Members of the Chicago Historical Society:

At your request, I have prepared a brief memoir of the late Hon. Daniel P. Cook, our second representative in Congress from this State, and in honor of whom the county of Cook was appropriately named. I have undertaken the task the more readily because I deem it desirable and important to preserve our early statistics, and some facts of history in connection with this gentleman, and because I take pleasure in perpetuating the memory of one of my first and constant friends, and vindicating his character from some of the aspersions cast upon it in times of high political excitement. Though confessedly a labor of friendship, it is believed that no partial coloring has impaired the truthfulness of the picture; and certainly no attempt is made to underrate the character or talents of Mr. Cook's competitors to enhance his merits or exalt his virtues.

An interval of thirty years is a potent anodyne. It gives time for many "second sober thoughts," and clears the vision of prejudice and passion. It obliterates the rough and angular points of character, and brings out the milder virtues of your adversary. Gradually and imperceptibly his failings and foibles are forgotten, and memory dwells only on what was lovely and of "good report."

Mr. Cook was born of very respectable parentage, in the county of Scott, in the State of Kentucky, about the year 1794. In his early youth, he enjoyed only such means of education as were afforded by the common schools of his native State. If he studied the classics at all, it must have been in the later years of his life, and after he had entered upon its arduous duties. It is, however, certain he pursued no collegiate course.


When quite young, he was placed by his parents in a mercantile establishment, but continued therein but a short time. This sphere was too limited for his high aspirations, and leaving trade and commerce to minds less ardent than his own, he commenced the study of the law with the late Hon. John Pope, of Kentucky, then in the zenith of his fame, and engaged in a large and lucrative practice.

Mr. Cook came to the Territory of Illinois in the latter part of the year 1815, and established himself in business at Kaskaskia, the seat of the Territorial Government, and the only considerable town in the country, embracing a population of from seven hundred to one thousand inhabitants, two-thirds of whom were native French. He entered successfully into the practice of the law, attending the courts in all the then organized counties (except those upon the Wabash), and in the lower counties in the Territory of Missouri. The business of the courts at this period was comparatively small, owing to the few inhabitants in the Territory, and the limited business transacted by them. It is probable that few, if any, of the profession at that day, supported themselves exclusively by their practice. Many were engaged in agricultural pursuits, and others occupied a portion of their time in land speculations.

In the early part of the year 1816, Mr. Cook became a joint owner in the office of the "Illinois Intelligencer," the only newspaper and printing office in the Territory, and assumed the duties of an editor. Unfortunately, the files of the paper of that period were not preserved, and no opportunity is now afforded to form an opinion of the manner in which those duties were discharged; but, from the known talents and industry of Mr. C., it may be safely assumed that, while under his management, the paper took a high rank amongst its contemporaries, and exerted a healthy influence in the community. With the printing of the laws and journals of the Territorial Legislatures, and blanks for the public offices, at prices which would now astonish a practical printer, it is certain the business was lucrative and yielded a competent support to its conductors.

It appears, by the record of appointments, that Gov. Edwards conferred upon Mr. C. the office of Auditor of Public Accounts, in the month of January of that year. If the office was accepted by him, he could have continued in it but for a short time.

Late in this year, or early in 1817, President Monroe selected Mr. C. as bearer of dispatches to the late John Quincy Adams, then Minister at the English Court, to recall that gentleman, preparatory to his assuming the office of Secretary of State, to which office he had been appointed upon the formation of Mr. Monroe's cabinet. Mr. C. performed that duty, and in due time returned and resumed his practice and other duties.

Shortly after his return, Mr. Cook was appointed a Circuit Judge. His district embraced the counties of Bond, Madison, St. Clair, Randolph and Monroe, containing a large territory of nearly one-third of the present limits of the State. He retained this office but a short time, and could have held but one or two terms of his courts. He acquired, however, an enviable reputation as a Judge, evincing talent, energy and promptness, and was as popular as a judicial officer as when pursuing his profession at the bar.

Upon the organization of the State Government, in December, 1818, Mr. C. was elected, by the Legislature, Attorney General for the new State, which office he held until October in the following year.


The State of Illinois was virtually admitted into the Union in October, 1818; but, by a provision in the Constitution, an election for State officers, and for a representative Congress, was to be held on the third Thursday of September of that year, for the short session, expiring March 3, 1819. Mr. Cook became a candidate, and was opposed by the late Hon. John McLean, then a resident of Shawneetown. It is hardly necessary to say that, during the administration of Mr. Monroe, there was a remarkable political calm throughout the entire country. The great questions, which before had been eagerly and acrimoniously discussed by the people, and had divided the nation into the two great political parties of Democrats and Federalists, had either been decided, or by general consent, postponed to an indefinite future. The course pursued by Mr. Monroe gave universal satisfaction, and the people enjoyed, for six or eight years, a political millennium. That quietude and peace, in common with others, was enjoyed by our early settlers. It is not, however, to be forgotten, that early in the territorial history, as well as in the first six years after Illinois became a State, the disturbing question of slavery formed an important element in the politics of that period. There was a strong party in favor of introducing slavery at the election of delegates to the Convention which formed the Constitution; but it is well known that the principles of liberty prevailed, and the whole question was set at rest by the decisive vote of 1824, when this subject was brought directly before the people.

Another element of division in our politics was personal preferences, or the existence of parties for the advancement of particular individuals or their friends. Thus there were the Edwards party and the Bond party, the respective adherents of either warmly contending and struggling for office and supremacy. The leaders of these parties were Gov. Edwards, Judge Nathaniel Pope and Mr. Cook, professed anti-slavery men (though the two first were slave-holders) on the one side, and Gov. Bond, Elias Kent Kane, his Secretary of State, and John McLean on the other. The former, of course, supported Mr. Cook, while the latter naturally fell into Mr. McLean's ranks. This gentleman was a Kentuckian by birth, and a leading member of the bar, in the south-eastern part of the State. Possessed of fine talents and an unblemished character, he was at that time, and continued to be until the day of his death, one of the most popular men in the State. He was subsequently speaker of our House of Representatives, and, in 1826, was elected a Senator in Congress. He died at an early age, possessing, in a rare degree, the confidence and esteem of all who enjoyed his personal acquaintance.

The election thus held in September, seems not to have excited general interest. The State ticket was a compromise one — composed of Col. Bond, for Governor, from the one side, and Col. Pierre Menard, an excellent and worthy French citizen, from the other. The contest was mainly for Congress, and Mr. McLean succeeded by only fourteen majority.

At the special election, in the summer of 1819, the same gentlemen were candidates for Congress, and great exertions were made by the candidates, themselves, and their respective friends. No election, before or since, caused more feeling and effort. The exciting Missouri question had, at the previous session, been brought into the Congress, and, upon preliminary votes, Mr. McLean had favored the pro-slaver party, and indicated his desire that the State should be admitted without the proposed restriction. In addition to this, he had been so unfortunate, in some of his addresses before the people, as to offend some of the more recent immigrants from the Eastern States, and, as a general thing, lost their votes. Mr. Cook was elected by a


fair majority. As in former contests, the old question of slavery was prominent. The anti-slavery party rallied around Mr. Cook's standard and insured his success.

In 1820 the contest was renewed. Mr. McLean, satisfied with the efforts of the previous year, and unwilling to risk another defeat, declined to be a candidate. The Hon. E. K. Kane was brought out as Mr. Cook's competitor.

The question of the admission of the State of Missouri as a slave State was still more directly before the people. The old pro-slavery party, represented by Mr. Kane, were against imposing any restriction upon the proposed new State — while the other party were, to some extent, divided. Many, who theretofore had acted in our local struggles as anti-slavery men, were disposed to leave the question to the decision of those most immediately interested; others, and perhaps the larger portion, looked upon the admission of another slave State as a great evil, to be resisted at all hazards. Both candidates, however, were understood to be in favor of the admission of this State with a constitution admitting slavery — Mr. Kane from choice, and Mr. Cook from policy. The contest, therefore, in 1820, was mostly a personal one, depending mainly upon the popularity of the candidates. Mr. Kane was badly defeated, obtaining a majority in only one county in the State. Mr. Cook's majority was two thousand four hundred and eighty-two, in a vote of less than eight thousand, or nearly two to one in his favor.

On his first entrance into Congress, Mr. C. was placed upon the committee on Public Lands — the most important to the people he represented. At this period, and before, the government lands were in market at two dollars per acre, one fourta in cash and the residue upon a credit of five years. The comparatively prosperous years, immediately before the formation of the State Government, had induced the wildest speculations in public lands. Every man who could command the sum of $80 (the cash payment upon 160 acres, then the smallest subdivision), became a quasi land holder, and a debtor to the government. The financial revulsion throughout the country, soon after the close of the war of 1812, reached the West in 1819. Men who had supposed themselves possessed of large wealth, suddenly discovered their error. They had, it is true, an equitable claim to many quarter sections of land, but the claim was valueless, and the land unsalable; and in addition to this embarrassment, they were largely indebted to the government for the sums remaining unpaid upon their purchases. It may be safely stated that, from this cause, at least one-half of those who had been considered the men of capital in the country, were reduced from supposed wealth to positive bankruptcy.

To relieve the country from this load of debt, Mr. Cook warmly advocated plans of relief, which resulted in a general law, abolishing the credit system and reducing the price of land to $1.25 per acre. Former purchasers were permitted to consolidate their entries and relinquish the surplus quarter sections to the government. By the operation of this law individuals secured, in fee simple, the number of acres of land they had actually paid for, at the rate of $2 per acre, and were released from their liabilities for further payments. Mr. Cook introduced and advocated, at the session of 1820-21, a resolution giving preemption rights to settlers on the public land. It was the first effort made in this direction, and failed of success. It was, however, the germ of the policy thereafter adopted, and from which our citizens have derived great and incalculable advantages.


Mr. Cook voted in Congress against the admission of Missouri. As he had given the people to understand, during the canvass, that he would favor that measure, his vote excited surprise, and called forth from his opponents unmerited abuse and bitter denunciations. Bribery and corruption, the violation of pledges, deception and double dealing, were rung upon all their various changes, and, for the time being, Mr. C. apparently lost his hold upon the confidence and affections of the people.

His reasons for his change of mind were given in his speech in Congress when the bill was before that body; and, inasmuch as this is one of Mr. Cook's acts which has been loudly denounced, it is proper he should be heard in his defense and in his own words. The following extracts, it is thought, will place this subject in a proper light, and enable the reader to form an opinion as to the propriety of the course he saw fit to adopt:

* * * "When," said Mr. C., "he first arrived at Washington, he, for the first time, met the objection which was now urged against the Constitution of Missouri; and perhaps, under the influence of a strong anxiety for her admission, had examined the question, as he thought, thoroughly, and for a considerable time saw no reason to change his determination. Under the conviction produced by that examination he had, as he hoped he always should do, fearlessly expressed his opinion in favor of her admission. He even now, notwithstanding his opinion was changed, freely declared that all his predilections were in favor of such a vote. Missouri, he said, was the near adjoining neighbor of Illinois; and, notwithstanding an unhappy difference of opinion upon political subjects, had created, between their respective citizens, a rancor and animosity which he well knew the vote he was about to give would not in the least allay — a vote at which he also knew many of his constituents would be greatly disturbed when they heard of it — yet he should be glad to see her admitted and placed upon an equal footing with the State he had the honor to represent.

* * * "In order to be a State in the Union, or to be entitled to become such, he considered it an indispensable pre-requisite, on her part, to form a constitution in conformity to the principles of the Federal Constitution, and in conformity to the conditions presented by the act in virtue of which her constitution, upon its face, professed to have been formed. That she had not formed such a constitution, he thought, was fairly deducible from the argument he was about to make.

"The constitution of the United States, said he, gives to ‘Congress the power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory and other property of the United States.’ This, said Mr. C., is a general power; and in its exercise, he apprehended that Congress had a right to dispose of that territory to whomsoever they pleased. He said it had been admitted, by gentlemen on both sides of the question, that free negroes and mulattoes were competent to hold real estate; and that they did hold it in almost, if not quite, every State in the Union. They are, therefore, competent, he observed, upon the admission of all parties, to purchase such estate from the United States. But the constitution of Missouri declares, ‘that it shall be the duty of the Legislature, as soon as may be, to pass such laws as may be necessary to prevent free negroes and mulattoes from coming to and settling in that State, under any pretense whatsoever;’ a provision, said he, which, notwithstanding their competency to purchase, and the indisputable power of Congress to sell to them, clearly asserts a controlling power over the rights of these individuals, and the paramount authority of Congress. * * * * Mr. C. said there was another view of that clause of the Missouri Constitution, under which it seemed still more obviously in violation of the Federal Constitution. Congress, he


said, by virtue of the general power which it possessed to dispose of the territory of the United States, for the purpose of obtaining the military services of persons, as well of this as every other description, had offered them a land bounty — to many of whom, and embracing free negroes and mulattoes, patents had already been issued for lands in Missouri. He said persons of this description, to his own knowledge, had purchased land in Illinois, and he had no doubt such was the case in Missouri. Whether they had, or not, however, did not vary the case — the principle was the same. In the soldier, as well as the purchaser, therefore, he begged leave to say, the Government of the United States vested a fee simple estate in those lands. This title he considered to consist of the possession, the right of possession and the right of property; and he thought, when he asserted that the Government had guaranteed all these features of the right which it vested both in the soldier and purchaser, that no honorable member would hazard a denial of that assertion. Under this guaranty, he contended the United States incompetent, unless for public purposes — and then only by paying a fair equivalent therefor — to deprive them of this property. And yet Missouri, through a subordinate Legislature, if her constitution be allowed to operate, does virtually take it away without paying any equivalent whatever; for if a person be not allowed to enjoy the possession of his property, he is virtually deprived of it.

But the United States are bound, both to the soldier and purchaser, to protect him in the enjoyment of his property. It constitutes, by every principle of law and reason, a part of the original contract. The Government, for this obligation, has received a full consideration; and yet Missouri, in direct violation of that provision of the Federal Constitution which forbids any State to pass any ‘ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts,’ has virtually provided that those contracts, which have been completed by the issuing of patents, shall, by the ex post facto operation of her constitution, be annulled, and the force of the contract wholly impaired; and, by its prospective operation, as virtually impairs the obligation of those contracts which are as yet executory for the want of patents.

* * * "Mr. C. repeated that his feelings were in favor of the admission of Missouri — that both personal and political reasons combined to render it a desirable event — and were it consistent with his sense of the duty which he owed to the country and the Constitution, to give such a vote upon the resolution under consideration, he was sure no member on that floor would do it with more pleasure. But, while he considered the Constitution the rock upon which our temple of liberty must stand, and having sworn to support it, he felt himself called upon to forego all such considerations, and defend it against infringement. Should we suffer, said Mr. C., our individual feelings and wishes to enter into our deliberations and discussions, so far as to govern our public conduct, those feelings and wishes, like the imperceptible rising of the tide, will finally run over every principle of the Constitution, and we shall ultimately find ourselves floating at large upon the open sea of uncertainty, without a single landmark to guide us."

In the summer of 1821, Mr. Cook was united in marriage with Miss Julia Edwards (the eldest daughter of the late Gov. Edwards), a young lady of great personal charms and finished education — and in all respects fitted to be the companion of a statesman who bid so fair to attain high and commanding positions in the councils of the nation. Mrs. Cook survived her husband about three years, and died at Belleville, in the year 1830.


At the general election of 1822, Mr. McLean again run as a candidate for Congress against Mr. Cook. His hopes of success were, doubtless, predicated upon the "noise and confusion" consequent upon Mr. C.'s vote upon the Missouri question. So great was the clamor of interested partisans, that, at the commencement of the canvass, the chances of the respective candidates appeared to be nearly equal. In its progress, Mr. C. satisfied the people of at least the honesty of his intention in giving this vote, if not the propriety of the vote itself. His constituents triumphantly sustained him, giving him forty-seven hundred and sixty-four votes, and Mr. McLean thirty-eight hundred and eleven — a majority of nine hundred and fifty-three.

The project of a canal, to unite the Illinois River with Lake Michigan, was started after the organization of the State Government. The Legislature of 1820-21 took initiatory steps in this matter, and it was brought before Congress by a report from the topographical corps, giving the results of a partial survey, and demonstrating its practicability. The canal project was a popular one in the eastern and western part of the State (there was no north at that period), and was opposed by representatives from the southern counties. Indeed, it found some opposition in the then great counties of Madison and St. Clair, growing out of sectional prejudices; for a Senator from one of those counties, in the Legislature of 1822-8, opposed it upon the ground that it would be an inlet for hordes of "blue-bellied Yankees," as he termed our eastern people. The fears of that Senator have been realized, and the results are the extensive commerce of our lakes, our rich and populous north, and our young and enterprising cities, teeming with life, activity and business.

In 1822, this subject was brought directly before Congress. Mr. Cook labored to secure such aid from the General Government as would enable the State to prosecute this important work. He asked for bread and received a stone. The utmost extension of Congressional liberality was a grant of a strip of land, ninety feet wide, through the public domain, from the Illinois River to the Lake; and lest, by any means, the Congress of the United States, after such a munificent grant, should be further committed, a saving proviso was added, that the United States should in no wise become liable for any expense incurred by the State in "surveying or opening said canal."

In the intervening years, from 1822 to 1827, Mr. Cook urged this measure in Congress, as a national work, in which other States were as directly interested as his own, and affording to the Government, in time of war, great facilities in the movement of troops and transportation of stores. The result of his labors was the passage of the act of 1827 (the last session of his Congressional career), granting, in fee simple, to the State, and without any reservation, the alternate five sections upon each side of the canal, amounting to more than three hundred thousand acres of land, and embracing the site of the city of Chicago. This act was worthy of a Congress representing a great nation, and is wonderfully in contrast with that of


1822. But its greater and more enduring value was the precedent for future grants, embracing that for railroad purposes, the effect of which we now feel in the enhancement of the value of property, the increase of business, and the general prosperity of the State.

Upon the passage of the canal bill, that great and long desired improvement was considered as "a fixed fact," and the northern part of the State soon began to be settled by an enterprising class of people. It was not commenced until 1836, and, under many difficulties and adverse circumstances, was not completed until 1848.

The proposed national road, intended to have been built by Congress, from Washington through the several seats of governments of the Western States, excited great interest in the middle and eastern parts of the State. At this time, the road (a perfectly macadamized one) had been completed nearly to Wheeling, Va., upon its way to Columbus, O. It was a splendid undertaking on the part of the National Government, and, in the absence of railroads, would have been a very important and desirable improvement.

Mr. Cook urged appropriations to continue the surveys westward of Columbus, through Indiana and Illinois, to St. Louis. He succeeded to such an extent that the line of the road was located to Vandalia, in this State, the streams bridged, and the road partially graded. Before this great thoroughfare was fully completed, even as far west as the seat of government of Ohio, its use was suspended by the construction of railway lines, so much in advance of the best constructed carriage roads, that, by universal consent, the work was abandoned, and the portions finished and unfinished conveyed to the several States through which it run. Though never completed, enough work was done on that part of the road passing through this State, to render it useful to those residing in its vicinity, and to the public generally. Extensive and durable structures were thrown over all the streams it crossed, the low bottom lands raised to the proper grade, and the wet ground thrown up, so that a line of stages was put upon the road in 1837, and continued thereon to this day.

At the general election in 1824, Mr. C. was again a candidate for re-election to Congress. His uniform success and his great popularity rendered him a formidable competitor. None of his political adversaries were very desirous to enter the lists against him. He had twice beaten Mr. McLean, one of the strongest men in the opposition, and almost distanced the real leader of the Bond party, Mr. Kane. It was thought necessary, however, to preserve the integrity of the party, to bring out a candidate against him in the person of Gov. Bond — the ostensible head — who, two years before, had vacated the gubernatorial chair. This latter gentleman had spent the most of his life in the Territory and State, residing, until elected Governor, in tne present county of Monroe. He was a man possessed of strong natural abilities but little improved by education. He stood deservedly high in the community, and, in his administration of the State Government, there was nothing particularly worthy of condemnation, unless that, in his appointments to office, his political friends, sometimes not the most capable, were the general recipients of gubernatotorial favors.

Gov. Bond, though far behind Mr. McLean in talents and oratorical powers, had this advantage over him, in that, by a judicious bestowment of his patronage, he had created many political friends, who were bound to do battle in his behalf, and expend their energies, influence and time in securing his election. It was apparently


the last card that could be played against Mr. C., and like desperate gamesters, a disposition was evinced to risk all upon the stake. A presidential election was also in progress, which might pass into the House of Representatives, and vest the vote of the State in its single representative. The Governor and his friends took great interest in the success of Mr. Crawford — then a candidate for the Presidency — who, though a member of Mr. Monroe's cabinet, had given evident tokens of opposition to the administration, and had created an active party of politicians, more intent it was then believed, upon a division of the "loaves and fishes," than the promotion of the great interests of the country. Whoever Mr. C. might be for, in the contingency the vote came into the House, it was certain he would vote against Mr. Crawford. Thus impelled by personal and political motives, the Governor and his friends entered warmly into the canvass, and labored zealously, but without success. The vote for Mr. Cook was 7,460, while Gov. Bond received only 4,374.

It is well known that the presidential contest of 1824: resulted in the failure of the people to unite a majority of the votes on either of the four presidential candidates before them. The question was therefore determined in the House of Representatives, and the vote of Illinois was given by Mr. Cook to Mr. Adams.

It is natural for those disappointed in their political aspirations, either by their own defeat or that of their favorite candidate, and the consequent loss of power and office in expectancy, to give vent to their wounded feelings and crushed hopes. Mr. C. had reason to expect that so important a vote as he gave upon this occasion would not escape notice or animadversion. Nor was he disappointed in this regard, for he was charged with betraying his constituents, of violating his pledges given at a previous election, and having basely sold his vote for office. It is, therefore, due to his memory, that this matter should be placed in a proper light, and facts substituted for reckless assertions — the more especially as, at a subsequent election, he was beaten for Congress, thus giving some color to the charges preferred against him.

The electoral college of this State, in December, 1824, gave two votes to Gen. Jackson and one to Mr. Adams; and as Mr. C., when before the people in the summer of that year, had promised to be governed by the expressed will of his constituents at the November election for electors, it was claimed that, as Gen. Jackson had obtained two electoral votes, he was therefore entitled to the vote of the State in Congress. The fallacy of this assumption is a misunderstanding or a misrepresentation of Mr. C.'s pledge. He was too wise a man to make such a promise as would trammel his action in any given state of the electoral vote; for he well know that, though a large majority of the people might favor the pretensions of one candidate, yet, by the division of the electoral districts, a comparatively small minority might secure the election of two electors, who would give their votes in opposition to the will of that majority.

What was the promise made by Mr. C. in relation to his vote in Congress? is the first question to be determined. It is contained in an address to his constituents, dated May 30th, 1824, and is in these words:

"On the subject of the approaching election of a Chief Magistrate of this country, inasmuch as it has become fashionable for members of Congress to endeavor to dictate


to their constituents for whom they shall vote, you probably may expect me to say something. Influenced by the principles which govern me as your representative, I do not consider it my duty to attempt such dictation. You are as much interested as I can be in making a judicious choice. It is over your interests, as well as mine, that he is to preside. To each of you, therefore, as well as to me, it belongs to make a free and voluntary choice for yourselves. In voting, in my individual capacity as a citizen, for an elector in the district in which I reside, I shall surely vote for him who will, in the electoral college, support the individual that I believe to be the best calculated properly and faithfully to administer the executive government; but, should the electors chosen by the people fail to unite a majority of their suffrages on any individual, and thereby devolve the duty on the House of Representatives of choosing one for them, I shall feel it my duty to vote, as a representative, in accordance with the clearly expressed sense of a majority of those whose will I shall be called upon to express. This is all I have to say on that subject."

Mr. Cook, then, was to be governed by the "clearly expressed sense of a majority of those whose will" he was called upon to declare. Not, certainly, the will of the electors, who were but three of the many thousands of his constituents.

The next inquiry is, was the "sense of a majority" of his constituents clearly expressed, or was it expressed at all?

At the election in August, 1824, the aggregate vote for Congressmen was 11,834, and the aggregate vote upon the Convention question (for this was settled at this election) was 11,612. The aggregate vote at the election in November, for all the candidates for electors, was 4,707 — making a difference of 7,127 from the highest vote given in August, and showing that that number of voters had no will to express, or were so indifferent as to the success of the presidental candidates as to fail to express it at all. But if we take the number of votes given in November, 4,707, as an expression of the will of the people, "a clearly expressed sense of a majority" would have required 2,354 votes to have been given to one of the candidates, to have brought him within the rule laid down by Mr. C. for his future action. Did any one of the candidates receive that number of votes?

Of the clear and undisputed votes given upon that occasion, Mr. Adams, through his electors, received 1,541; Gen. Jackson 1,273; Mr. Clay 1,046; and Mr. Crawford 218. There were also given, at that election, for James Turney, Esq., who run in the first district professedly for Clay and Jackson, 629 votes. If Mr. Turney, and those who voted for him, were sincere in their preference for either Clay or Jackson, in such a calculation as the present one it would be but fair to divide these votes between those gentlemen, increasing Gen Jackson's vote (giving him the the odd one) to 1,588, and Mr. Clay's to 1,360; but giving Gen. Jackson all of Turney's vote, it would amount to but 1,901 — leaving him in a minority of 453 votes.

But it was contended, at the time, that Mr. Turney's candidacy, though ostensibly for Jackson and Clay, was really for Mr. Crawford. It was well understood that Mr. Adams' strength was mainly in the first district, embracing Fayette county on the south, and Sangamon on the north, and that no honest voting could prevent him from obtaining the electoral vote of that district. The friends of Mr. Clay and of Gen. Jackson


had brought out candidates for electors in the first district for each of these gentlemen — Dr. Todd of Springfield representing Mr. Clay, and Messrs. J. W. Scott and Jon. Berry, candidates for Gen. Jackson. Mr. Turney was nominated by a convention of politicians, convened at Edwardsville in October of that year, in which the principal Crawford men of the first district figured. The following is a part of one of the resolutions adopted at that meeting, disclosing, to some extent, the object desired to be obtained: "And this meeting, reposing their full confidence in the well-known republican principles and character of James Turney, Esq., the Attorney General of this State, do earnestly recommend him to the democratic-republican citizens of this district as a suitable person, to be supported at the ensuing election as an elector, whom the friends of Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson ought to support, with the fullest confidence that he will, in the electoral college, ‘vote [not for either Clay or Jackson, but] for the one who, at the time of voting, will seem most likely to succeed against Mr. Adams.’"

That part of the resolution italicised was evidently intended to pave the way for a vote for Mr. Crawford, if he was the one "most likely to succeed against Mr. Adams."

It was a notorious fact that, in the first district, Mr. Crawford had many strong and influential supporters, especially among the politicians of that day; for, in addition to his supposed strong bias to recreate a new political party proper, it was deemed certain, from his appointments as Secretary of the Treasury, that the patronage of his administration would flow through the Gov. Bond party channel, and that those who gathered under the Bond banner would be the recipients of the many offices in the gift of the President. Notwithstanding, it was not considered politic by the leaders of that party to run a candidate in the first district for their chief, or make any open demonstration in his favor. The true friends of Mr. Clay and Gen. Jackson would have been slow to complicate the chances of either, by bringing out a candidate to run for both, while each had separate candidates in the field. The inference is considered a fair one that Mr. Turney was brought before the people, by the Crawford party, either to secure a vote for Mr. Crawford or lay the foundation for future attacks upon Mr. Cook, should he be called upon to vote, in Congress, for any of the presidential aspirants, and especially for Mr. Adams, whom he was known to favor.

It is conceded that, after the election, in January, 1825, Mr. Turney made a publication in one of the newspapers of the day, that, if elected, he should have given the electoral vote to Gen. Jackson. And, no doubt, he then would; for at the date of his publications, and, indeed, for some time before, the votes of the States had been ascertained, and though Mr. Crawford was, with Mr. Adams and Gen. Jackson, returned to the House of Representatives, they having the highest electoral vote, yet public sentiment had narrowed the contest to these latter gentlemen, and Mr. Crawford was virtually out of the question. Had Mr. Turney been as free to declare his preferences in October as he was in the following January, after the attempted election by the people was over, all doubts, in relation to the views of those who voted for him, would have been removed, and the question would have been one of figures only.


It may, therefore, be safely said that Mr. Cook, in giving his vote for Mr. Adams, violated no pledge previously given, nor did he act in opposition to the will of his constituents, as declared at the November election. The whole subject was referred to the people. They determined nothing. He was, therefore, left free to exercise his own judgement, and to vote for the man who, in his opinion, would best execute the functions of the Presidential office. If the doctrine of pluralities was to guide him, he was bound to vote as he did — Mr. Adams stood highest His vote was clear and undisputed; that given to Gen. Jackson was complicated and doubtful. And was not the comparatively high vote given to Mr. Clay worthy of consideration in forming an opinion of the "sense of a majority" of the voters? If one vote might be transferred to another, was not the "elective affinity" of Clay and Adams stronger than that of Clay and Jackson?

It must also be remembered that, in 1825, Gen. Jackson was a new man for the Presidency. Though he had developed extraordinary military talents, his capacity for the civil administration of the Government was as yet untried and uncertain, and by many doubted. He certainly was not then the Gen. Jackson of 1832. Mr. Adams, on the other hand, had been educated as a statesman. The great powers of his mind were understood and acknowledged; and, from former precedent from the days of Jefferson, as Secretary of State, "he was the presumptive heir to the succession." Under all these circumstances, the error of Mr. Cook, if error at all, must be accounted as only venial — an error of the judgment, and not of the heart.


The last of the charges intimated, viz: that Mr. Cook sold his vote for office — is sufficiently answered by the fact, that Mr. C. neither sought nor received any post of honor or profit from the new administration. Had his valuable life been spared, it is hardly possible that a man of his industry and commanding talents could have remained long in private life. His views for the future were disclosed in the following extract of a letter to the writer of this article, dated April, 1827: "Of the proceedings of Congress, it is not necessary to say anything. You are already informed of all that has been done. Whatever of censure or credit I may be entitled, I leave to the calm decision of the people; and when they shall make that decision, with the knowledge of all the facts connected with each act, I shall not quarrel with them for it. But I am now on a tour to recover my health, if possible — and it may be that the voice of praise or censure will be alike unheard by me before any opinion shall be formed. The probability of such a result, however, does not repress the hope that I may yet pass, with the people of the State, through many changes of increasing prosperity; and, finally, before the curtain be drawn, see Illinois what even in one man's life she may be, and what my feeble exertions have always aimed to aid in making her.


"Should I recover my health, so as to feel able to embark in the business of my profession, or any other business for which I am qualified, within a few months, I shall return to the State. But should it continue feeble, and yet improve, as I hope it will, in the mild and genial climate of Cuba, the place of my destination. I shall probably remain there a year or two, or till, at least, I have fairly tested its virtues."

Mr. Cook was a candidate for re-election to Congress in 1826. His old opponents would, doubtless, have suffered this election to go by default. No candidate was brought forward to oppose him. In the course of the summer, the people of the State were astonished at the temerity of a young gentleman, then but little known, in announcing himself as a competitor with Mr. Cook for this office.

Gen. Joseph Duncan was then a resident of Jackson county, and engaged in mercantile business. He had served in the regular army as a Lieutenant, in the war of 1812, and had acquired some distinction in the humble post he occupied. He had also been a member of the Senate of this State, from the county of his residence, and probably held that office at the time he announced himself for Congress. He was, however, but little known beyond the few counties adjacent to Jackson; and no one at the time, supposed he was fitted, either by education or experience, to exercise the duties of the office to which he aspired. His chances of success were apparently hopeless; and it is supposed that a betting man, at that period, would not have risked one to one hundred dollars upon his election. He canvassed the State, however, with diligence and assiduity, and presented as bold a front as if assured of success. He was unaccustomed to public speaking, and in this respect compared very disadvantageously with Mr. Cook. Yet he had the faculty of presenting his ideas in a plain and simple way, easily understood by the masses, and, to a great extent, effective in such a population as then constituted the State.

The old opponents of Mr. Cook, of course, united upon him. As a candidate, he was a perfect God-send to them. If he failed in his election, it would be attributed not to the weakness of the party, but to the absence of all claims on the part of Gen. Duncan to such a position. To these were added the real friends of Gen. Jackson, who were dissatisfied with Mr. C. for his vote in Congress. Gen. Duncan received 6,821 votes, and Mr. Cook but 5,680.

No event excited greater surprise and amazement than the result of this election — it was totally unexpected to friends and foes. It may be safely said that if an election could have been held immediately after the result was known, the vote would have been materially changed. "We did not intend," was a very common remark, "to beat little Cook, but so to lessen his majority as to make him feel his dependence upon us." It is but just to Gen. Duncan to say, that his constituents were happily disappointed in his subsequent development of talents and tact, rendering him a worthy successor to our second representative.

It may be confidently asserted, that Mr. Cook's defeat was not attributable to his vote upon the Presidential question. The small majority of 641 obtained by Gen. Duncan would indicate this fact. For if, as contended by many at that day, the choice of two electors for Gen. Jackson determined the political character of the State, a much larger majority would have attended Gen, Duncan's election. Taking, however, the votes cast for electors in 1824, as atest of the sentiments of the people,


had the election of 1826 turned upon the Presidential question, it will be seen, that by adding the vote given to Mr. Clay, 1046 (nearly equal to that given to Gen. Jackson), to Mr. Adam's vote, 1541, Mr. Cook ought, upon this issue, to have received a majority as 2587 to 4707, or over four-sevenths of the vote cast, giving to his opponent the excess of votes, 167, over the votes given for congressmen in 1824.

Matters of interest in Congress, connected with this State, have been briefly intimated in the foregoing pages. At the commencement of the session of 1825-6, Mr. C. was transferred from the Committee on the Public Lands, to that of the Committee of Ways and Means. The late Mr. McLane, of Delaware, was chairman of that commitee, and the name of Mr. C. was the second on the list of members. During the whole of the session of 1826-7, Mr. McLane was absent, and the duties of chairman devolved upon Mr. Cook. It was one of his cardinal principles to do well and thoroughly whatever he attempted; and naturally inclined to overtask his physical powers, and a desire to acquit himself with honor, led him to devote the hours of rest and recreation to examination and study. Occupied during the day in explanation of the varied and important measures presented to the House through this committee, every interval of time was spent in preparation for the public conflict. His feeble frame could not long endure the vast amount of labor he performed, and the last days of his Congressional life found him confined to a sick room. At the close of the session, he embarked, as before intimated, for Cuba, trusting to recover health and strength in the mild climate of that island. The journey was a vain one — and early in the month of June Mr. Cook returned, with his family, to his home at Edwardsville. During the summer, his health gradually declined; and he determined to return to the home of his nativity, and die upon the spot that gave him birth. He breathed his last on the 16th day of October, 1827, at the early age of thirty-four, and his remains repose in the soil of his native State.

From this brief statement of some of the incidents in the life of Mr. Cook, it will be seen that he was a self-made man. Without the aid of the schools, and by the mere force of the native powers of his mind, the few brief years of his public life developed intelligence and talent of no ordinary character. His powers seemed to expand with the occasion that called them forth. His mind was active and clear, and his command of language ready and copious, so as equally to interest the scholar, and enlighten the illiterate hearer. But few men, then constituting the Congress of the United States, notwithstanding his youth, stood higher in public estimation, or were listened to with more attention and interest. His voice, though soft and melodious, was of great compass and tone, equal to addresses in the open air or in the halls of legislation.

It has been said that Mr. Cook was a popular man. His popularity was not based upon the artifices of the demagogue, or upon assumed traits of character. His urbanity of manner and gentlemanly deportment were natural and constant. No one doubted his truthfulness or sincerity, and his benevolence and kindness of heart was universally conceded. Mr. Cook's conversational powers were remarkable, and he made himself an agreeable companion with all classes of society, preserving at the same time the dignity and attributes of a well bred gentleman. In all the exciting contests through which he passed, his manner toward his opponents was such as never to disturb social relations or friendly feelings. However strong the opposite time being, it ceased when the conflict ended; and if defeated, they preferred Mr. Cook's success to any other political opponent. Mr. Cook was generous to a fault. He was often imposed upon by the unworthy and deceived by the


recital of imaginary sufferings. His kind heart forbid the withholding of pecuniary assistance whenever demanded; and he thought it safer to err, in his charities, on the wrong side, than fail to bestow them upon worthy objects.

In his personal appearance, Mr. Cook was a small spare man, considerably under the ordinary hight. His usual weight did not, probably, exceed one hundred and twenty pounds. He was straight and erect in his person, and quick and active in his movements. His features were plain but marked — and so indicative of intelligence and kind feeling as to render them agreeable and pleasing. He left behind him but one child, a son, now a resident of the city of Springfield in this State, and late Mayor of that city.

In estimating the labors of Mr. Cook, it must be remembered that he was virtually the first Representative in Congress after the admission of the State: and that the settlement and arrangement of the various matters contained in the act of Congress changing our territorial to a State government, devolved mainly upon him. It is believed that all questions arising out of the change, through his tact, talent and perseverance, were decided more favorably to our interests than they probably would have been, if entrusted to other hands. Neither must it be forgotten, that in obtaining valuable concessions from the General Government, he had no precedent to urge, or landmark to guide him. It was subjecting the powers vested in Congress by the Constitution, to new tests, and applying them to new objects. It was an untried field of effort, in which every obstacle was to be overcome. The prejudice of opinion was to be combatted, and perhaps honest, but mistaken constitutional objections to be removed. To devote the public lands to any other purpose than that of replenishing the public treasury, was then deemed by many a political heresy. It is now a settled principle, mainly through Mr. Cook's efforts, that the public domain is to be used for public purposes, and devoted for the promotion of the general interests of the whole people — a principle which, as we have seen, in 1827, invigorated our waning energies, and in 1851 placed us in the front ranks of the States composing our Union, and promises us a future, unless marred by our own folly or effeminacy, prolific in all the sources of material wealth, and the highest moral and Christian civilization.

Mr. Cook supported other measures, of great importance to his State, besides those alluded to in Mr. Brown's memoir.

On seeing, in the year 1820, an advertisement, in the public prints of Baltimore and Washington, over the signature of a Mr. Bond, announcing that he was not only authorized by the Treasurer of the State to receive the non-residents' land tax, due to the State, but to give receipts therefor, he addressed a letter to Mr. McLaughlin, the then Treasurer, admonishing him of the danger and impropriety of giving such authority. He said: "If Mr. Bond receives a considerable sum (the land tax from non-residents being then upwards of $20,000, annually,) and then refuses to pay it over,


I cannot see by what means the State is to reach it, otherwise than by a suit against the Treasurer, which, in these times, might be a very precarious remedy. From the deep interest which I feel for the safety of the public money, and being in a situation to warn the Treasurer of the danger he is encountering, I conceive it both my right and duty to address a letter to him on the subject."

Congress had, in 1819, pledged the fund reserved to Indiana and Illinois, for the laying out and making roads to those States, for the repayment of the money advanced by the United States for constructing the Cumberland road to the Ohio River. On a resolution offered by Mr. Cook for the repeal of this provision, and asking its appropriation for the construction of roads to this State, he addressed the House as follows: "In offering this resolution to the consideration of the House, I beg leave to ask its attention to the act referred to. By that act, the fund reserved for the improvement of roads leading to the States of Indiana and Illinois has been pledged for the repayment of the money appropriated by Congress for the completion of the Cumberland road. This road was commenced, I believe, ten or twelve years ago. By the acts of 1816 and 1818, authorizing the admission of Indiana and Illinois, respectively, two per cent. of the net proceeds arising from the sale of the public lands in those States was reserved, by Congress, to the laying out and making roads leading to those States, respectively; and for the consideration of this appropriation, made by Congress, with others, which were understood, on all hands, to be for the benefit of those States, they respectively surrendered a part of their sovereignty: they agreed that the lands of the United States, then remaining to be sold, should be free from taxation for five years after the day of sale — and in Illinois, the bounty lands, given to the soldiers of the late army, were also to be exempted from taxation for three years from the date of their patents. This surrender of the sovereign right of Illinois to tax the lands thus exempted, was the consideration given for the fund now under consideration, as well as some other advantages which were granted to her, and for which she is grateful to the Government. This, with the other propositions made by Congress, are now matters of compact between Illinois and the United States, and to divert this fund from the channel in which I can but think it was intended to flow, Illinois will consider a violation of that compact. To appropriate that fund to the making a road terminating at Wheeling, a point several hundred miles from the borders of the State, never can be an appropriation in unison with the intention of Congress or of the State of Illinois. As well might you appropriate it to the making of a road leading from Missouri to Santa Fe, uniting those two sovereignties, as to the object for which it stands pledged — for that would be a road leading towards Illinois. From an examination of the subject,


I find that the revenue which Illinois would derive from a tax on the lands which may be sold within the State, and on the bounty land — which she cannot now derive in consequence of this compact — would, at a reasonable rate, amount to about $280,000, a large proportion of which would now be subject to be called into her coffers, and of which she really stands in great need. Can it be contended that this fund, which is reserved to Indiana and Illinois, respectively, to make roads leading to them — in the one case about ten and in the other twelve years after the Cumberland road was commenced — was at that time intended or understood, either by these States or by the United States, to be subject to defray the expenses of that road? It cannot be possible. It seems much more likely to have been reserved for the purposes contemplated by the resolution which I offered: to extend that road to the borders of those States; and unless it is so appropriated, or at least in making roads leading to and not towards them, I think they will have just cause of complaint against the Government. Since the admission of those States, I believe, a fund of about $50,000 has already accrued from the sale of lands, which should now be lying in the National treasury. This sum, although it would not complete the road, would defray the expense of marking and laying it out, and go far towards opening it so as to render it passable; and, as the fund continues to increase, it might be employed to complete it. Indeed, it seems to me to be so obvious that the intention of Congress was, that this money should be appropriated to the improvement of roads, to facilitate the entrance into those States, that reasoning cannot make it plainer; and any diversion of it to any other object, therefore, is a violation of the compact between those States and the United States. I trust the resolution will be considered and adopted." The resolution was then considered and unanimously adopted.

On the same day he offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That the Committee on Public Lands be instructed to inquire into the expediency of providing, by law, for the payment of so much of the money arising from the sale of the public lands in the State of Illinois, since the 1st day of January, 1819, as has been reserved by law for the encouragement of learning, to said State.

Mr. Cook observed that "the object of this resolution is, simply, to enable the State of Illinois to obtain the three per cent. fund arising from the sale of the public lands, which has been reserved by Congress, to be appropriated by the State to the encouragement of learning. This course has been considered necessary, since the Secretary of the Treasury might not, otherwise, feel authorized to pay it over."

This resolution was also adopted, and a law passed in accordance with its provisions.

After Mr. Cook's return to the United States, in 1817, with Mr. Adams; he remained for some time in Washington City, undetermined what business


he would engage in. His health was not good. Mr. Adams had applied to the President to give him the appointment of Secretary of Alabama. Mr. Cook, in a letter to Gov. Edwards, dated October 2, 1817, says: "Had not my application for that office been too late, the President said, it would have received that attention which it merited, but that he had previously promised it to another. I could get into the State Department as clerk; but experience tells me it will not do for me to engage in close, laborious writing, and it would not satisfy my ambition to be buried in an office, merely as a servant, where the world, perhaps, would never hear of me. Mr. Adams assures me he will, at any time, take pleasure in bringing me before the Government, when an opportunity offers. I am advised by my own judgment, as well as his, to return to the West, and remain there until an opportunity presents itself for my advancement."

Mr. Cook was, indeed, a very ambitious man. As early as 1824, he had a very high standing in Congress. In one of his letters to Gov. Edwards, during that session of Congress, he says: "There are none of the opposition but Forsyth, and McLane of Delaware, that I will meet, as deserving my special notice. This will be taking high ground, to be sure, but I will take it. Forsyth and I have had some sparring on the tariff. I think, although he has ‘been in Spain,’ I need not — I certainly do not — dread him."

Hon. John C. Calhoun, as early as 1821, spoke of him thus: "For Mr. Cook I have a most genuine respect, both for his character and talent. I have read his circular with pleasure; its independence and sound sense do him much honor. He has adopted the proper mode to build up a lasting popularity."

And again, in a letter dated August, 1822, he says: "I take much interest in Mr. Cook's election, and shall wait with great impatience to hear the result. He is honest, capable and bold — just such a man as the times require. His absence from Congress would be a serious loss."

Judge McLean spoke of him as follows: "He stands well with all parties, and is not excelled, in weight of character, talents and influence, by any member from the West. For his success in the late election (that of 1826) I felt a stronger interest than for the success of any other individual, not excepting my own brother. Mr. Cook's name is before the President for Minister to Columbia. It was placed there by me before the commencement of the session. If the President does not appoint him, he will forfeit all the claims of friendship and gratitude. So far as I have been informed no appointment could be made, in the same quarter, more acceptable to the friends of Gen. Jackson. I have heard many of them express great kindness for him, and some of them have expressed a strong wish for his success. The duties which devolved upon him, as Chairman of the Committee of


Ways and Means, were very arduous. The labor was more than his health could bear, independently of the long confinement every day to the unwholesome atmosphere of the hall. He, however, continued to exert himself until his physical powers gave way, and he was consequently confined for some weeks — the greater part of the time to his room. We were favored with his company, as one of the family, shortly after he became unwell, and I hope contributed, in some degree, to his comfort and restoration."

On hearing of his death, Judge McLean wrote to Gov. Edwards "that all my family were distressed at his loss, and deeply sympathise with his disconsolate partner. I fear your State cannot supply his place by a man equally useful and respected in public life. His race was short, but it has been honorable to himself and useful to his country. No man in Congress, from the West, had a higher standing or could exercise a more extensive influence."

The Hon. Tristram Burgess, in a speech delivered by him in Congress, on the 15th of January, 1831, speaks of Mr. Cook as follows: "Our relations with Cuba have long since been interesting and important. Gentlemen will call to mind that we have frequently heard, from Europe, that Cuba might be transferred from Spain to some other sovereignty. Such a report was rife in this country in the winter of 1826-7. It was believed, by the friends of the last administration, that a confidential agent was, by Mr. Adams, sent to Cuba, to ascertain, if possible, the truth of this report, and that Daniel P. Cook was that agent. * * Permit me to speak a word concerning Daniel P. Cook, because every man who hears me did not know him as many of us who sat in this House with him. He was a man whom the gentleman from New York would probably not call a genius; but his mind was of that cast and capacity, in the transaction of human affairs, to which every man would wish to commit the management of his own. His sense was that of the every-day intercourse of men, and would pass, like the most precious or useful metal, wherever such a commodity could be in request. A man, in whatever may be required of manhood; a child, in all that singleness of heart and purity of purpose which renders childhood so amiable — with those who knew him well, he had so fixed himself in their hearts, that, though they might wish to forget the pain of their loss, they can never cease to remember his useful public labors and many endearing social qualities.

"Mr. Cook, it was known, was in delicate health, and was about to visit Cuba for the benefit of the climate. In the examination of witnesses, the whole labor of the gentleman from New York was directed to prove that the state of his health would not permit his doing any public service. The gentleman was discontented by the result; for it came out in evidence that, feeble as was his health, he had performed all that was required of


him. * * Mr. Cook was in delicate health, but that served to place him above suspicion of any sinister motive in visiting Cuba. His acquaintance with Gen. Vires (the Intendant-General of Cuba), while in this country, the known integrity and obvious simplicity of his character, the amenity of his manner, and even his delicate health, all combined, must have placed him at once in relations of entire confidence and frank intercourse with the Intendant, and enabled him to obtain speedily, from that Governor, all which it was proper for him to communicate or for our Executive to know. The man at whom the gentleman from New York magnanimously aimed his arrow, sleeps quietly in the green bosom of his own beloved Illinois."

Gov. Edwards, in a letter to Mr. Clay, says that Mr. Cook's defeat was not attributable to his vote for Mr. Adams, but that "he lost his election because both he and his friends felt too sure. None, of them, with the exception of myself, could be induced to believe there was the least danger. His opponent did nothing else, for many months previously, but ride through the State and visit the people at their own houses. Mr. Cook was confined by sickness and could only visit a few counties. The greatest possible efforts were used to turn to both his and my disadvantage the circumstance of the father-in-law and the son-in-law being before the people at the same time for the two highest offices in their gift; but the circulation of thousands of hand-bills, ingeniously contrived, to produce the impression that both he and I voted against the reduction of the price of public land, at a period too late to be answered or contradicted, had far more influence than all other considerations united. A strong proof that his defeat was not produced by his vote on the Presidential election, is to be found in the fact that, in the strong Jackson counties (as they are called) which he visited, he obtained majorities. Gallatin, Pope, Greene and Morgan are the counties most highly distinguished by their partiality to Gen. Jackson, and there are no four counties in the State that would give him so large a majority — yet, Mr. Cook obtained decided majorities in all of them; while in some of the strongest Administration counties he got scarcely any support. Neither Mr. Cook's friends nor his foes believed that he would be defeated. The result has surprised everybody. The people are already disabused as to the land vote. A powerful reaction has already taken place, and very many that opposed him are anxious that he should become a candidate for the Senate. Should he do so, I think his election beyond doubt.

"As to myself, it is utterly false that I owed my election in the slightest degree to my forbearance, or any kind of temporizing in regard to the candidate for the Presidency. On the other hand, I openly declared that I would reserve to myself the right to vote for or oppose whom I pleased, and bid defiance to all kind of opposition."


Chapter XV.

Letters and Speeches of Ninian Edwards.

Letter to his constituents during his canvass for Congress against Matthew Lyon, in 1806.

I have been as busy as you ever saw any man about an election. My prospects in this quarter seem to brighten every day. I have just returned from Muhlenburg county, and I cannot tell what changes may take place hereafter, but at present I am well satisfied that Lyon cannot get thirty votes in that county. The circumstance of his neglecting his duty, the session before last, in going to Frankfort and spending a month there, merely for the purpose of getting the Legislature to remove the court house of his county from the centre of his own town in one corner, and thereby showing that he would let his private interest not only cause him to wish to do an injury to his own county, but to neglect his public duty by losing nearly two months during the session of Congress, is operating most powerfully against him; and at the last session he lost, about his gun-boats, near another month — having only arrived at the city about the last of December. Now, suppose every other Western member had done the same thing, our country might have suffered greatly, for he himself declares that there is a strong party against us; and as we had a difference with Spain, which affects the Western country more than any other part of the Union, surely every member ought to have been at his post, and the people through these counties are of opinion that there need not be any greater objection against him than neglect of public duty. There has also been much said about his being a contractor under the Postmaster-General and the Secretary of the Navy, and still holding a seat in Congress. Even in the corrupt government of England this thing is not allowed, as you will see by the first volume of "Blackstone's Commentaries," page 178. Whether our Constitution will admit of it, has been tried by Congress. The subject was most lengthily discussed. A majority, however, were of opinion that they could not expel such members, but every man who spoke on the subject, both those in favor and those against the expulsion, unanimously agreed that such conduct was highly improper, unjustifiable and dangerous to liberty, and that it ought to be prohibited by some means, and the thing has ended in a proposition to amend the Constitution. At first the people seemed to think that those were objections merely raised by Lyon's enemies; but now they find all the best Republicans in Congress disapprove of such conduct in any member, and think it necessary to amend the Constitution.


They begin to think seriously about it. Do the people agree that such amendment should be made? If they think it ought, surely it would not be safe to send Col. Lyon back, because, if he thinks so, his conduct is in direct opposition to his opinion, and, for the sake of his interest, he has sinned against light and knowledge. It is wrong for contractors to be members of Congress, for many reasons. In the first place the great officers of State, those who are the President's council, have the making of those contracts; they have the power of favoring the members of Congress, and they have a chance of buying up the whole of them — for there are contracts enough for all of them. Suppose that these officers should greatly sacrifice the public interest and their duty, by granting such favors — where is the check upon them? By whom are they to be called to account? By Congress — by those very persons on whose account the malpractice took place — by those they have befriended by the very act of their friendship to them. If this were the case, there would be very little chance of impeaching a public officer. But further, if these officers are allowed to contract with members of Congress, the members of Congress may be disposed to favor them in various ways. It is well known that Col. Lyon voted to give the Postmaster-General $500 more than Congress would allow him, for he admits it in one of his circulars.

Further, if members of Congress are allowed to take contracts, they themselves have to vote for the compensation — for all money bills must originate in the House of Representatives — consequently they are voting for their own interest; and if a surveyor among us could not be allowed to hold a seat in the Legislature, because it would be blending the Executive and Legislative Departments, and would allow a vote for his own compensation for services, surely a member of Congress should not place himself in such a situation as to vote upon his own interests or disqualify himself from voting at all. But this is not all. Suppose a member of Congress should fail to comply with a contract, or apply for more money — alleging some unforseen occurrence. Congress must legislate upon the subject; they may grant more money, or free the person delinquent from suit for his failure. Will not everybody see that they would be voting directly upon their own interest? And where is the candid mind that will not admit it is wrong? But, you may depend on it, Lyon is more deeply engaged in contracts than is generally supposed — for it is pretty certain that he has some not in his own name, and to a great amount. This is improper in another point of view: it is taking an undue advantage of his constituents — for these contracts are generally made by them. He ought to give them notice that such contracts were to be made, that they might have an opportunity of getting them in the first instance — for if they are able to perform when contracting with him, they might as well do it with the Government at once, and let them derive the advantage of it, not himself, because he gets well paid for all his services, and it is his constituents who befriend him, and surely he ought to befriend them so far as serve them in this way; but it is certainly taking an undue advantage, when he gets a contract for a certain sum, and lets it out to one of them for $500 or $1,000 less than he gets it at — for, if he gets more than it is worth,


he actually wrongs the Government, and there is very little hope of his trying to right it, whilst he is himself the instrument of doing the wrong and derives the advantage of it; he would scarcely move to have a committee appointed to consider a proper remedy. If, on the other hand, he gets the contract at its actual value, he does a wrong and injury to the individual to whom he lets it, by letting it to him at so much less. This is a kind of speculation which, however pardonable in an individual, is clearly unjustifiable in a member of Congress. He is presumed to have enough to attend to the duties of his station; he cannot perform such contracts himself, and ought not to meddle with them on his own account.

But there is a charge of still greater magnitude than all those against him. The vast importance of the Floridas to us is universally admitted; without them we cannot enjoy the long navigation of the Mobile Bay and Tombigbee River. It is through that channel that we must expect all our imports to this country; and so soon as the country between the Tombigbee and Tennessee Rivers is settled, so that wagonage can be procured, there is no doubt but that all our goods will be imported that way. We are all equally sensible of the necessity of settling the country between Natchez and Orleans, for the purpose of defending our trade — for the whole proceeds of the sale of all the Western produce must return through that country; and, white it remains unsettled, we shall ever be subject to great inconveniencies and be infested by bands of robbers. A great part of this very country, and a part of that if not the whole that lies between the Bigbee and Tennessee, belongs to the Indians. By getting the Floridas, we remove entirely from our country any foreign nation which can have it in its power to set the Indians on us, or cause them to refuse to treat with us for such a part of their country as is absolutely necessary to us for the purpose of trade. When we shall be their only neighbors, it will be no difficult task to manage them. We shall, by the acquisition of this country, connect our disjointed territory, avoid the calamities of war, remove all danger of collision with Spain in future, and be able to command the whole West India trade — among which islands is the best market the United States enjoys for flour and all kinds of provisions. The secret proceedings of Congress are now published. It was this very business they engaged in with closed doors. They determined to try to purchase the Floridas of Spain, and thereby put an end to all disputes with that power; for which purpose they passed a law, appropriating two millions of dollars. To the astonishment of everybody, Col. Lyon is joined with every Federally in Congress, without exception, opposed to the laws. Uniting with all those who were opposed to the purchase of Louisiana, at a former session, he is the only solitary Western member who opposed it. Findley and Smiley, two distinguished, well-tried Republicans from the western part of Pennsylvania, with others from the same quarter; Jackson, a leading member from the western part of Virginia; the representation from the State of Ohio; all from the State of Tennessee, and every one from this State except Col. Lyon, were in favor of the law, and surely no Western man of sound discernment, if he meant to do right, ought to have opposed this purchase. Each of the


United States will have to contribute its just proportion towards the payment.

The Western country will exclusively enjoy the benefit of the purchase. By a war (the other alternative) our citizens would have been drafted, put to much difficulty and great inconveniencies, and stationed in a most unhealthy climate, where disease alone might have vanquished them; and probably we might have been greatly delayed, at least, in obtaining possession of the country, if not defeated altogether, and had the mouth of the Mississippi blocked up by a ship or two of war. Particularly are we likely to be embroiled with England. But a war would have afforded many persons an opportunity of making contracts for gun-boats, victualing the army, etc. It would have been an advantage to persons engaged in such pursuits, but surely not to the people at large; they always have to bear the burthen, and get the least benefit from it. Is it possible the people will prefer Col. Lyon's, opinions to all the other Western members? That they will suppose him entirely right, and the Republican members who voted against him wrong? Is it possible that, after they have lavished plaudits upon the present administration, who certainly were warmly in favor of this measure, that they will still think Col. Lyon's opinion superior to the whole of those I have mentioned? Is it possible that they will suppose that he has the prosperity of the Western country more at heart than the rest of the members from every part of it — particularly as they are not engaged in contracts under the government, are not supplying any garrison with provisions, or building any gun-boats and wishing to build more, etc. The people have now to judge for themselves. If they elect Col. Lyon, they say we are opposed to the purchase. Strange as this conduct may be thought, by those who have always considered the Colonel an intelligent, disinterested representative, yet it is no less true, that he did actually give this vote on the 14th day of last January, as may be seen by the journals.

But were these all the acts of inconsistency in the Colonel, he might still be thought, by his corresponding society, an unchangeable Republican, as they in their nocturnal essays describe him. In his circular of the 20th Dec, 1804, he says: "There is an old proverb which says, ‘he that does evil hates the light.’" This, as it respects the Government, is perfectly correct. Everything that concerns the government of a nation, may be with safety as plain and simple as that of a family; and a nation should always be considered as a large family. Such is the true science of politics; and it is in governments, only, where the benefit of the few is aimed at, that the people are prohibited from knowing its minutest movements.

What will those say who have applauded the Colonel for this statement — who have professed to believe it correct — provided they should find that he has departed (most inconsistently, too,) from it — has actually violated the very principle that he contended for? Will they stick to him through thick and thin — right or wrong? Surely, if they will not, they must say, if he deserved credit for the above statement, he deserves condemnation if he has acted counter to it. And those who have been attached to him from principle, seeing his contradictions, will not feel bound to adhere to him any longer.


No! Honest, independent men will think and act for themselves, and will not steel their minds against conviction. Let such persons, then, know, that, notwithstanding the sentiment contained in his circular, Col. Lyon did, on the 31st March, 1806, vote against taking off the injunction of secrecy from the proceedings of Congress; did then vote against letting the people know what Congress had been doing, as appears by the journal itself.

Will the people not let his own words apply to him, "that he who does evil hates the light?" And that it is only those who aim at the benefit of these few very contractors, etc., that wish to prohibit the people from knowing the minutest movements of Government? For my own part, I am very strongly of the opinion contained in his circular: if the members of Congress conceal from the people what they have done, how are the people to know whether they have done right, or whether it would be proper to change them for others; and if they conceal one of their acts, what is to prevent them from concealing one-half of them, and finally all? It is a bad precedent, and I should like to see a representative, if he errs, err in favor of the people, not against them. For this vote of the Colonel there is no apology, and strong suspicions that he was afraid to let the people know what he had been doing — for on the 15th day of January he voted for taking off the injunction of secrecy; on the 16th, the law passed by a large majority. Finding, then, that he stood opposed to all the Western representatives, and united with those whom he has hitherto represented as the most hostile to our interests, he afterwards refused to take off the injunction of secrecy. Those on the Republican side who voted, with him, against letting the people know what had been done, except himself, urged, as their reason, that they were afraid that if they gave publicity to the proceedings, it might defeat the very object of the law. And this is the very reason, if he meant to be consistent and candid, that he should have voted for the measure — for as he voted against the law, if he did it upon proper principles he must have thought it wrong, and therefore should have tried to defeat it. From these considerations I infer that he was really afraid to let the people know how he had voted; that he really feared the light.

But since Col. Lyon has commenced to build gun-boats, his sentiments about a navy and commerce are entirely changed. In his magazine (commonly called his blue-book), where his sentiments are fully stated (pages 16, 17, 18,19, 118), he represents commerce as merely the interest of merchants — of the few — and that we had better give up the carrying of goods than go to war for it, which must affect the people at large; that back-country people are not so much affected by a loss of commerce, and that it is folly to build a navy, and states the experience we had in this navy business at Lake Champlain and Penobscot, for which, he says, we are in debt many millions, although millions had been paid for the interest. And in the same book (pages 104-5) you will find that Mr. Jefferson, our beloved President, is of the same opinion; and, also, that we ought never to think of war unless invaded by land.

You will find in a newspaper (the "Expositor," No. 212, circulated by the Colonel himself) a speech of his, made in Congress, the 25th of March, in


which he defends commerce as the interest of the farmers; and that, instead of giving up this same carrying trade, we had better fight for it; and that back-country people are deeply interested in commerce; and that we ought to have a navy, and to look forward to the day when we shall be the greatest naval power on earth.

Formerly, as observed above, he determined not to go to war with England or France, although they were then practicing worse treatment on us, or to a greater amount, than we have lately received; and yet, in another speech which he made in Congress, (appearing in the same paper, No.------, circulated by himself through his district) he declares himself in favor of war, in the most pointed terms, in direct opposition to all his former declarations. And what is there to have changed his sentiments? The debt of the last war is not paid off, we have incurred a debt of thirteen millions for Louisiana, and are about to purchase the Floridas.

Let the people examine for themselves — they have the books and the papers; and let them candidly ask themselves if the Colonel has not completely turned about! Surely an inquiry of this kind is worth the trouble, and the people have the means of knowledge. Now, I ask, if the Colonel deserved credit for his former conduct, what must be said as to his present motives? If he was right before — and the people have all contended he was — must he not be wrong now? A war would now be an advantage to him individually. Let the midnight corresponding society look to these things, and say how unchangeable their friend is.

Letter to William Wirt, on the subject of the Expedition of Col. Burr.

Collina, Logan County, Ky.,
January 5, 1807.

Dear Sir:
When I wrote you last I promised you another letter shortly, not doubting but that you would be anxious to hear further particulars relative to Col. Burr's enterprise, and expecting, before this time, to be able to communicate to you something interesting upon that subject; but in the latter I have been considerably disappointed, owing, as I suppose, to three successive failures in the Orleans mail, which the public voice attributes to Burr's machinations. He has excited so much suspicion and such feelings in this country, that everything improper in any of our civil or political relations, that cannot be otherwise readily accounted for, is attributed to him; and, however unjust such suspicions as exist against him may be, the promulgation of them is infinitely more injurious to the interest of our country than to him, individually — for, by magnifying his power, it fortifies him in the confidence of his adherents and well-wishers, strengthens their hopes, and gives more energy to his assertions; and I believe it is with this view, and for this purpose, that Gen. Wilkinson made such a pompous display of patriotism before the Chamber of Commerce in Orleans, about the 10th ult. He well knew that a great proportion of the population of Orleans Territory was disaffected to our Government,


anxious for insurrection, impatiently waiting for a favorable conjunction, and devoted to Col. Burr; that, by giving to the conspiracy such uncommon extension and vast resources, and altogether such dangerous magnitude, he was most effectually cherishing the fondest hopes of the disaffected and preparing the minds of others for the moment of a successful attack upon them, and causing them to believe that, should he withdraw his support from them, their case would be hopeless — in order that when he determined upon this step, their efforts might become completely paralyzed. What greater encouragement could Burr's ignorant partisans require, than a knowledge that the brave and patriotic Gen. Wilkinson, being well-informed upon the subject, thought there was great danger of his succeeding — the forces of the United States, the non-erected fortifications, the little navy, the union of merchants, and the embargo, notwithstanding.

But there was something in the General's propositions extremely insidious, if he is not actually a patriot. He wishes to leave Orleans, march up the river, and meet Burr. He knew exactly the number of men Burr was to have had with him, which nothing but the vigilance of our Government deprived him of, and that could not have been foreseen by the General. He also expected forces up the river to attack Orleans, and still was for drawing out all the forces from Orleans to attack the malcontents descending the river. Suppose his scheme had been adopted. He had no ground to march his men on for 150 miles up the river, except the levee, about wide enough for twenty men to walk abreast. He could not have expected to have fought to advantage on such ground. He had no naval force adequate to the purpose of stopping or destroying Burr's fleet of boats. If he had, it was only necessary to have sent forward the gun-boats, without risking his land forces in such disadvantageous ground. If he had actually thought that fighting was necessary, he would have acted most injudiciously. A decisive battle in Burr's favor would have rendered him truly formidable, and if he thought there would be no fighting, it was a deceitful affectation of patriotism. Knowing, as he declared he did, that Burr had many friends in Orleans, he must have known that his design of marching up the river would have been communicated to Burr before his army and fleet could have reached their destination, and he could not have expected that Burr would have been so weak as to have rushed headlong upon his own ruin, or have been taken by any strategem that he could have devised in that situation. Such a project promised no solid advantage; the objections to it and the danger of it are self-evident. Wilkinson had to ascend the river; Burr was descending. The former could not travel in the night; the latter as expeditious as in the day time. In a dark night the latter, knowing the position of the former, could have descended silently and unobserved; or, if he chose to have landed in the night, what havoc might he not have made upon the General's encampment on the levee. A victory or a rout, which might have been effected had Burr been allowed to take down his recruits, would soon have made him master of Orleans. In fact, had Wilkinson's plan succeeded, there could not have been one so admirably devised to have insured success to Burr. The object was to take the Orleans volunteers and the well affected on the expedition — none others would


have gone. The disaffected remained in the city, ready to receive him with open arms; and there was nothing to prevent the forces which were expected from New York, and some of the Southern States and the Floridas, frommaking a successful approach to the city from the Gulf of Mexico, even if the forces descending the river had been checked in their progress; and it ought to be remembered that the General declared he expected an attack in both directions. With Consul O'Brian, I think such a plan looked "squally."

No doubt any longer exists in this and the adjacent States that Burr and his partisans have meditated a deadly thrust at the prosperity of our happy country; and, however flattering his prospects appeared at first view, his scheme is now almost universally execrated, and both he and his satellites hare sunk into merited contempt, though some of his supporters, his advocates and real friends have been among the most choice characters in our State. What his success has been in the lower territories, we have not heard a word, since his departure from the mouth of the Cumberland. Much speculation exists as to the part Gen. W. will now take. Some fear he will, at all hazards, join Burr, notwithstanding all his declarations to the contrary.

Others, and probably the majority of those acquainted with his character, think his conduct will be entirely regulated by Burr's prospects of success; that if he should conceive that the enterprise can succeed, all his talents and energies will be devoted to it; if he sees that it will fail, he will be the most prompt to suppress it. But let him act as he may, he never can acquire the confidence of this Western country. He is, too, well known to have commenced an intrigue with the agents of Spain for a separation of this country from the Atlantic States, some years ago. No one that I have ever conversed with, on the subject, doubts his being a Spanish pensioner, and his conduct of the last two years has not lessened the suspicion of the present existence of his former intrigue. That he was known to have been upon the most intimate and friendly terms, and to have had many closetings with Col. Burr, when he made his first tour through this and the adjacent country; that he was one of Burr's partners in his Ohio Canal Company, an ostensible scheme to divert the attention of the public from the real object; that his greatest favorites, those whom he distinguished most by his patronage in the Territory over which he presided as Governor, have proved themselves Burr's warmest adherents — are circumstances very unfavorable to his excellency's character. The appointment and continuance of this man in so important an office — a man whose private character is as exceptionable as his public character is suspicious — a bankrupt, devoted to every species of pomp and pageantry, without an income adequate to his style of life — and as ambitious as Napoleon the first — is the only trait in the present Administration which does not meet with the approbation of the Western country. But this I think is the cause of universal regret. It is extremely unfortunate that this man should now be at the head of our army, even if he is as pure a patriot as I believe the President to be — for should any force be necessary from this country, for the purpose of either acting against the malcontents, insurgents or the Spanish troops below, the ardor of the true friends to their country would be considerably


abated by the consideration that they would be subject to the command of a General in whom they have no confidence; and this circumstance would be a stimulus to those we should have to oppose — for they would derive encouragement from our suspicions and jealousies, even if they had no other assurances from the General or his friends. But these misfortunes they would actually hope for and expect from his defection as much as we would dread it. Were it not for this cause, should events render it necessary, the people of Kentucky would, by one universal impulse of patriotism, tender their support to the present Administration, and hosts of volunteers would be ready to suppress any insurrection or frustrate any traitorous scheme that may make its appearance in any part of the Western country; but I should really fear, if Wilkinson retains the command, that there would be but few volunteers who could be depended on. One description only could be procured with facility, and they would be those who are mere adventurers, whose circumstances cannot be worsted in any event, and whose principles would not restrain, them from taking any side. And this is an opinion I entertain, not merely from what very probably would happen, but from what I know has actually happened. I know many who have already volunteered themselves, and I know them so well, that I should be extremely unwilling to be associated with them in defense of my country in opposition to Aaron Burr. They have been too sanguine for his success against Mexico, too ready to assist him in all his propositions, and too clamorous about arresting him after they knew that it was in vain to attempt it — after he was perfectly out of their reach. He, however, very narrowly escaped at the mouth of Cumberland; had he waited one day longer, I am well convinced we should have had no further trouble with him or about him. When the militia of Livingston county were ordered out, a certain Col. Benj. Hardin, of that county — a South Carolinian, who had been accustomed to killing, tories in the American Revolution, and who, about five years ago, killed two men in this country for horse-stealing — ignorant enough to think it best, on such occasions, not to trouble the civil authority, hardy and bold enough to attempt anything that an uninformed mind or a misguided zeal should point out as beneficial to his country — had prepared himself and did actually go to the mouth of Cumberland for the express purpose of shooting Burr, having communicated his design to only a single individual; and I am confident he experienced a considerable chagrin and mortification at his disappointment, when he found the little apostate had left that place the day before his arrival.

The public mind is all impatient to hear from Orleans. Almost everybody expects to hear of some great action — some mighty revelation. This is not my case. My opinion is a singular one, such as it is. I hazard it with all the rest of my conjectures. I expect to hear nothing more important from Burr or Wilkinson than such a show of patriotism by the latter, with the consent of the former, as they conceive necessary to quiet suspicion and give more time for maturing and perfecting their plan. It is probable that Wilkinson will attempt to take Burr, or that Burr will surrender himself for trial at Orleans, where no testimony will be procured against him sufficient to convict


him, unless the courts should put off his trial till Gen. Baton could be procured — in which case every attempt will be made to excite the sympathy of the people in his favor, or by ingeniously portraying him as an innocent and persecuted man — thereby rendering them more favorable to his views, and furnishing an apology for any steps he may take. I cannot think he has explained himself to any man who can be procured (except Gen. Eaton) in such a manner as to render proof against him practicable; for I entertain an opinion similar to what he expressed at Nashville viz: that Mr. Daviess, the attorney for the United States in this district, must think him a much greater fool than he really was, if he thought he had any unlawful enterprise in view, and had conducted it in such a manner as to give an opportunity of proving it upon him. Whether he may be acquitted, or any uncommon appearance of rigor be exercised against him in Orleans, the effects, I am confident, will be astonishing; for I think I am well acquainted with his standing in Orleans. All my information from that quarter — except such as is through the public agents — leaves no doubt upon my mind that his popularity is immensely great and dangerous to the Government; and I depend much more for correct information, as to the state of public sentiment in any particular place, upon men in the common walks of life, and who are disinterested, than I do upon those who move in superior circles, who are interested or who are placed in such a situation as to render concealment towards them indispensably necessary to the success of any intrigue. No man can conceive what an effect Burr's second acquittal in this State had upon the public mind in his favor for some time. To have any correct idea of it, a man must have witnessed it, and it will be proportionably greater at Orleans, as his popularity there is greater and his adherents more numerous than here.

Should either of the events I have suggested take place, and should Gen. W. not apprehend any danger of removal, nothing decisive, I think, will be attempted for some time. Burr's men, owing to the vigilance of our Government, will not be able to join him shortly. They must have time and opportunity to collect. The prospect of a Spanish war will delay their operations.

Should it take place, it will furnish all his adherents an opportunity of joining him unmolested and without much reproach. Should it not take place, they will await the event of another scheme — which is the proposed population by Congress of a tract of land on the west side of the Mississippi. Certain I am that unless Congress does encourage the settlement of that country, to a certain extent, with the natives of the United States, with men attached to the principles of our Government, those lower Territories will produce one continued scene of insurrection. I am sensible it is necessary at this time. But I know it is at this time dangerous, and any law for that purpose ought to be extremely well guarded; for, unless it is made so, the moment such a law passes is the moment at which Burr's adherents will set out for that country under the authority of that law, and will be collected at a proper point for action before the least hostility towards the United States will be indicated.


Upon this subject, I feel an uncommon solicitude, and extremely regret my want of personal acquaintance with any of the departments of the administration that would justify communication of such circumstances as have or may pass under my observation, with my sentiments upon them. I acknowledge that one of Burr's greatest and best informed friends calculated highly both upon such a law and the want of such a law, paradoxical as it may appear. If no permission to extend the settlements was allowed, he thought the old subjects of Spain would always be instruments to produce revolution. If such permission was given, it would afford the means of collecting individuals that would be favorable to the views of Col. Burr. Any law, therefore, for this purpose at this conjuncture, ought to be most cautiously enacted, for even if the present conspiracy should be crushed, the scheme will not be laid aside.

Truly your friend,

To WM. WIRT, Esq.

ELVIRADE, June 18, 1811.

I acknowledge the receipt of your letter by your son, Major Whiteside, and entirely approve the whole of your conduct.

Continue the party you have ordered out until further orders. I presume they will be sufficient for the purpose for which they were intended, being numerous enough to make discoveries and to resist mere stragglers.

Have the militia under your charge immediately classed out and prepared to march at a moment's warning.

Order every Captain — at least those on the frontiers — to be ready, should any depredation be committed within the bounds of his company, to repel the attack, or to follow and take those Indians who may commit those outrages. Should circumstances clearly justify a reasonable belief of an invasion by any tribe of Indians, you will designate such officers and such force as you may think adequate to repel it, and transmit an account thereof to me.

Should immediate pursuit be made after any Indians who may have stolen horses or committed murders, etc., and they be overtak