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1789. tion of the Wabash and Illinois Indians.* In order to do this,' speeches to them were prepared, and a messenger sent among them, of whose observations we shall have occasion to take notice under the year 1790.
Kentucky, especially, felt aggrieved this year by the withdrawal of the Virginia scouts and rangers, who had hitherto helped to protect her. This was done in July by the Governor, in consequence of a letter from the federal executive, stating that national troops would thenceforward be stationed upon the western streams. The Governor communicated this letter to the Kentucky convention held in July, and that body at once authorised a remonstrance against the measure, representing the inadequacy of the federal troops, few and scattered as they were, to protect the country, and stating the amount of injury received from the savages since the first of May.t
Nor was the old Separation sore healed yet. Upon the 29th of December, 1788, Virginia had passed her third Act to make Kentucky independent; but as this law made the District liable for a part of the state debt, and also reserved a certain control over the lands set apart as army bounties, to the Old Dominion,-it was by no means popular; and when, upon the 20th of July, the Eighth Convention came together at Danville, it was only to resolve upon a memorial requesting that the obnoxious clauses of the late law might be repealed. This, in December, was agreed to by the parent State, but new proceedings throughout were at the same time ordered, and a ninth Convention directed to meet in the following July
North of the Ohio, during this year there was less trouble from the Indians than south of it, especially in the Muskingum country. There all prospered: the Reverend Daniel Story, under a resolution of the directors of the Ohio Company, passed in March, 1788, in the spring of this year came westward as a teacher of youth and a preacher of the Gospel. || By November, nine associations, comprising two hundred and fifty persons, had been formed for the purpose of settling different points within the purchase; and by the close of 1790, eight settlements had been made; two at Belpre, (belle prairie,) one at Newbury, one at Wolf Creek,ş one at Duck
American State Papers, v. 97, 101, 102. + Marshall, 1. 352.-American State Papers, v. 84, &c. # Ibid, 342. 350.-Butler, 187. | American Pioneer, i. 86. $ Here was built the first mill in Ohio. (American Pioneer, ü. 99. and plate.)
321 Creek, one at the mouth of Meigs Creek, one at Anderson's Bottom, and one at Big Bottom.*
Between the Miamies, there was more alarm at this period, but no great amount of actual danger. Upon the 15th of June, news reached Judge Symmes that the Wabash Indians threatened his settlements, and as yet he had received no troops for their defence, except nineteen from the Falls. t Before July, however, Major Doughty arrived at the “Slaughter House,” and commenced the building of Fort Washington on the site of Losantiville. In relation to the choice of that spot, rather than the one where Symmes proposed to found his great city, Judge Burnet tells the following story:
Through the influence of the judge, (Symmes,) the detachment sent by General Harmar, to erect a fort between the Miami rivers, for the protection of the settlers, landed at North Bend. This circumstance induced many of the first emigrants to repair to that place, on account of the expected protection, which the garrison would afford. While the officer commanding the detachment was examining the neighborhood, to select the most eligible spot for a garrison, he became enamored with a beautiful black-eyed female, who happened to be a married woinan. The vigilant husband saw his danger, and immediately determined to remove, with his family, 10 Cincinnati, where he supposed they would be safe from intrusion. As soon as the gallant officer discovered, that the object of his admiration had been removed beyond his reach, he began to think that the Bend was not an advantageous situation for a military work. This opinion he communicated to Judge Symmes, who contended, very strenuously, that it was the most suitable spot in the Miami country ; and protested against the removal. The arguments of the judge, however, were not as influential as the sparkling eyes of the fair female, who was then at Cincinnati. То preserve the appearance of consistency, the officer agreed, that he would defer a decision, till he had explored the ground, at and near Cincinnati ; and that, if he found it 10 be less eligible than the Bend, he would return and erect the garrison at the latter place. The visit was quickly made, and resulted in a conviction, that the Bend was not to be compared with Cincinnati. The troops were accordingly removed to that place, and the building of Fort Washington was commenced. This movement, apparently trivial in itself, and certainly produced by a whimsical cause, was attended by results of incalculable importance. It settled the question at once, whether Symmes or Cincinnati, was to be the great commercial town
Harris' Tour, 191, 192. + Symmes' Letters in Cist's Cincinnati, 231. 229. 219.
Reason for placing the Fort at Cincinnati.
of the Miami purchase. This anecdote was communicated by Judge Symmes, and is unquestionably authentic. As soon as the troops removed to Cincinnati, and established the garrison, the settlers at the Bend, then more numerous than those at Cincinnati, began to remove; and in two or three years, the Bend was literally deserted, and the idea of establishing a town at that point, was entirely abandoned.
Thus, we see, what great results are sometimes produced, by trivial circumstances. The beauty of a female, transferred the commercial emporium of Ohio, from the place where it was commenced, to the place where it now is. Had the black-eyed beauty remained at the Bend, the garrison would have been erected there, population, capital, and business would have centered there, and our city must have been now of comparatively small importance.*
We suspect the influence of this bright-eyed beauty upon the fate of Cincinnati, is over estimated, however. Upon the 14th of June, before Fort Washington was commenced, and when the only soldiers in the purchase were at North Bend, Symmes writes to Dayton:
It is expected, that on the arrival of governor St. Clair, this purchase will be organized into a county : it is therefore of some moment which town shall be made the county town. Josantiville, at present, bids the fairest; it is a most excellent site for a large town, and is at present the most central of any of the inhabited towns; but if Southbend might be finished and occupied, that would be exactly in the centre, and probably would take the lead of the present villages until the city can be made somewhat considerable. This is really a matter of importance to the proprietors, but can only be achieved by their exertions and encouragements, The lands back of Southbend are not very much broken, after you ascend the first hill, and will afford rich supplies for a county town A few troops stationed at Southbend will eflect the settlement of this new village in a very short time.t
The truth is, that neither the proposed city on the Miami, North Bend or South Bend, could compete, in point of natural advantages, with the plain on which Cincinnati has since arisen; and had Fort Washington been built elsewhere, after the close of the Indian war, nature would have ensured the rapid growth of that point where even the ancient and mysterious dwellers along the Ohio had reared the earthen walls of one of their vastest temples. I
* Transactions Historical Society, Ohio, p. 17. + Cist's Cincinnati, p. 230.
| See Transactions of Ohio Historical Society, part ii. vol. i. 35.--Drake's Picture of Cincinnati, 202.
We have referred to Wilkinson's voyage to New Orleans, in 1787; in January of this year, (1789) he fitted out twenty-five large boats, some of them carrying three pounders and all of them swivels, manned by 150 men, and loaded with tobacco, flour, and provisions, with which he set sail for the south ;- and his lead was soon followed by others.* Among the adventurers was Colonel Armstrong of the Cumberland settlements, who sent down six boats, manned by thirty men; these were stopped at Natchez, and the goods being there sold without permission, an officer and fifty soldiers were sent by the Spanish commander to arrest the transgressors. They, meanwhile, had returned within the lines of the United States and refused to be arrested; this led to a contest, in which, as a cotemporary letter states, five Spaniards were killed and twelve wounded.
1790 to 1795,
The most important and interesting events connected with the West, from the commencement of 1790 to the close of 1795, were those growing out of the Indian wars. In order to present them in one unbroken and intelligible story, we shall abandon for a time our division by single years, and relate the events of the six referred to as composing one period. But to render the events of that period distinct, we must recal to our readers some matters that happened long before.
And in the first place, we would remind them that the French made no large purchases from the western Indians; so that the treaty of Paris, in 1763, transferred to England only small grants about the various forts, Detroit, Vincennes, Kaskaskia, &c. Then followed Pontiac's war and defeat; and then the grant by the Iroquois at Fort Stanwix, in 1768, of the land south of the Ohio ;
Letter in Carey's Museum for February, 1789, p. 209. 313.-Wilkinson's Memoirs, ü. 113.
+ Carey's Museum, April, 1789, p. 417.
Mode of acquiring Indian lands. 1790–95. and even this grant, it will be remembered, was not respected by those who actually hunted on the grounds transferred.* Next came the war of 1774, Dunmore's war, which terminated without any transfer of the Indian possessions to the whites; and when, at the close of the Revolution, in 1783, Britain made over her western claims to the United States, she made over nothing more than she had received from France, save the title of the Six Nations and the southern savages to a portion of the territory south of the Ohio : as against the Miamis, western Delawares, Shawaanese, Wyandots or Hurons, and the tribes still farther north and west, she transferred nothing. But this, apparently, was not the view taken by the Congress of the time; and they, conceiving that they had, under the treaty with England, a full right to all the lands thereby ceded, and regarding the Indian title as forfeited by the hostilities of the Revolution, proceeded, not to buy the lands of the savages, but to grant them peace, and dictate their own terms as to boundaries. In October, 1784, the United States acquired in this way whatever title the Iroquois possessed to the western country, both north and south of the Ohio, by the second treaty of Fort Stanwix; a treaty openly and fairly made, but one the validity of which many of the Iroquois always disputed. The ground of their objection appears to have been, that the treaty was with a part only of the Indian nations, whereas the wish of the natives was, that every act of the States with them, should be as with a confederacy, embracing all the tribes bordering upon the great lakes. Our readers may remember that the instructions given the Indiary commissioners in October, 1783, provided for one convention with all the tribes;f and that this provision was changed in the following March for one, by which as many separate conventions were to be had, if possible, as there were separate tribes. || In pursuance of this last plan, the commissioners, in October, 1784, refused to listen to the proposal which is said then to have been made for one general congress of the northern tribes, and in opposition to Brant, Red Jacket and other influential chiefs of the Iroquois, concluded the treaty of Fort
* Ante, pp. 110, 121.
+ See in proof, the Report to Congress of October 15, 1783, (Old Journals, iv. 294;) the instructions to the Indian commissioners, October 15th, 1783, (Secret Journals, i. 257 ;) the various treaties of 1784, '85, and '86 (ante); General Knox's Report of June 15, 1789, (American State Papers, v. 13); and the distinct acknowledgment of the commissioners in 1793, (American State Papers, v. 353.) # Ante p. 259. | Ante p. 260.
$ See post.