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Contributed by Clarence E. Carter, University of Illinois.

In printing the following documents an attempt has been made to bring together the papers relating directly to the actual occupation of Fort de Chartres and the Illinois country. Although France definitely gave up her claims to the region west of the Alleghany Mountains in 1763, the British were unable to relieve the French garrison in the Illinois region until 1765. This was due to the breaking out of the great Indian rebellion in 1763, which effectually blocked all the roads to the west. Unsuccessful attempts were made in 1764 to reach Fort de Chartres by way of the Mississippi river. The pacification of the Indian nations, however, seemed to be the first consideration. This was accomplished by 1765 and in the summer of that year General Gage sent orders to Fort Pitt directing Captain Sterling, with a detachment of the 42d Regiment, to proceed down the Ohio river to the Illinois country. The papers here presented relate the story of the occupation and the events immediately following. Although search has been made in the Public Record Office and in the British Museum as well as in our own depositories, I have been unable to find any other documents relating directly to the event. There are, however, numerous references to the occupation scattered throughout the Gage and Johnson correspondence.


Memorial of the Illinois French to General Gage. [Translation.]

To His Excellency Thomas Gage, Governor General of North America, Colonel of the Twenty-Second Regiment of the blue flag?

SIR — Mr. Stirling has doubtless informed you that he has taken possession of this country without any difficulty, and we can boldly advance the opinion that, if those who attempted to do it before him, had gone about it in the same way, they would have succeeded without chance of failure; and thereby we should have escaped the horrors of privation, which we have experienced. This, joined to the horrors of a war which we have also felt, has brought the greatest discouragement into this country, and has prevented us from being able to make any definitive arrangement, particularly those of us who might be able to pass to the French or Spanish side. We have had the honor of making, on this account, our just representations to Mr. Stirling for a delay of nine months in order to wait until the English Merchants have arrived, and so that when confidence in commerce is reestablished, those of us who wish to leave, can get a profit from this land and houses. Since he did not believe that he could assume the responsibility of granting longer than until the month of next March, he has promised to uphold the justice of our cause to Your Excellency and point out the impossibility of selling anything at the present moment. The entire confidence we have in his word limits us to bringing to your notice only that no person has been able to make any arrangements previous to the arrival of the English troops into this country, which we were ready to abandon any day on account of the acts of violence committed by the savages who were emboldened by our small number.


Your penetration will make you understand that they are still without the Means of making any preparations, since there is neither anyone to buy nor money. This causes us to pray, sir, that Your Excellency will be pleased to accord those of us, who wish to withdraw, a delay of nine months counting from this day. We will be accountable to you for this that they will preserve an eternal gratitude, and we will also be responsible for the fidelity of those who will remain under the domination of His Britannic Majesty, and these latter pray you to send them Roman priests from Canada; and all with common accord have the honor of calling ourselves with respect for Your Excellency, sir, the very humble and very obedient servants, the Inhabitants of Illinois.

Les Habitans des Illinois. Rocheblau.

La Grange, Gavobert, Plasi. Du Lude. Chaseville. Carrŕ. H. Brazaux, Gaudoüin. J. Batiste Beauvais. Bloüin. Sessier d'et la Vigne. Mere Pilette. Batiste Myot, Jacques Billerout, Hubert Llu Ru. De Girado. Aubuchon fils. Calamanderie. J. M. Mercier. Lonné Le Janis. La Chaussée. J. La Lource. Fr. Ricard.


Memorial of the Inhabitants in the Illinois.

In Majr Genl Gage's, of the 16th Janry 1766, praying a delay of nine months for the removing their effects.

Inclosure 4 in No. 3.



1. The French name of the fort was Port de Chartres. The British officers are probably responsible for the dropping of the "de".

2. Public Record office, America and West Indies, Vol. 122. Transcript also in the Bancroft Collection, Lenox Library.

3. Names are transcribed as in the copy in the public record office. These are all in the same handwriting.