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XVIII. - On the 1st day of March, 1784, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Hardy, Arthur Lee, and James Monroe, delegates in Congress on the part of Virginia, executed a deed of cession, by which they transferred to the United States, on certain conditions, all right, title, and claim of Virginia to the country northwest of the river Ohio. The deed of cession contained the following conditions, viz: “ That the territory so ceded shall be laid out and formed into states, containing a suitable extent of territory, not less than one hundred, nor more than one hundred and fifty miles square; or as near thereto as circumstances will admit: 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. That the necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by Virginia, in subduing any British posts, or in maintaining forts and garrisons within, and for the defence, or in acquiring any part of, the territory so ceded or relinquished, shall be fully reimbursed by the United States. That the French and Canadian inhabitants, and other settlers of the Kaskaskias, Post Vincennes, 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. That a quantity not exceeding one hundred and fifty thousand acres of land, promised by Virginia, shall be allowed and granted to the then Colonel, now General George Rogers Clark, and to the officers and soldiers of his regiment, who marched with him when the posts of Kaskaskia and Vincennes were reduced, and to the officers and soldiers that have been since incorporated into the said regiment, to be laid off in one tract, the length of which not to exceed double the breadth, in such place on the northwest side of the Ohio, as a majority of the officers shall choose,* and to be afterwards divided among the officers and soldiers in due proportion, according to the laws of Virginia. That in case the quantity of good lands on the southeast side of the Ohio, upon the waters of Cumberland river, and between the Green river and Tennessee river, which have been reserved by law for the Virginia troops upon continental establishment, should, from the North Carolina line bearing in further upon the Cumberland lands than was expected, prove insufficient for their legal bounties, the deficiency shall be made up to the said troops, in good lands to be laid off between the rivers Scioto and Little Miami, on the northwest side of the river Ohio, in such proportions as have been engaged to them by the laws of Virginia.* That all the lands within the territory so ceded to the United States, and not reserved for, or appropriated to any of the before-mentioned purposes, or disposed of in bounties to the officers and soldiers of the American army, 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 whatsoever.”
*This reservation was laid off on the borders of the Ohio river, adjacent to the falls; and the tract was called the Illinois Grant."
XIX.- In the spring of 1784, after the Virginia deed of cession had been accepted by Congress, the subject was referred, in that body, to a committee consisting of Messrs. Jefferson, of Virginia, Chase, of Maryland, and Howell, of Rhode Island. This committee reported an ordinance for the government of the territory northwest of the river Ohio. The ordinance declared that, after the year 1800, there should be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, otherwise than in punishment of
* By the provisions of the acts of the General Assembly of Virginia, of the 3d of October, 1779, and 5th of October, 1780, the following Land Bounties were promised to the officers and soldiers of Virginia who should serve to the end of the Revolutionary war, viz: Toa Major General,
15,000 acres. Brigadier General,
10,000 acres. Colonel,
6,6663 acres. Lieutenant Colonel,
6,000 acres. Major,
5,6663 acres. Captain,
4,000 acres. Subaltern,
2,666; acres. Non-commissioned officer,
400 acres. Soldier, (private,)
crime, in any of the states to be formed out of the said territory. This ordinance was rejected; but, on the 23d of April, 1784, Congress, by a series of resolutions, provided for the maintenance of temporary government in the country which the United States had acquired northwest of the Ohio.
XX.- On the 21st of January, 1785, George Rogers Clark, Richard Butler, and Arthur Lee, commissioners on the part of the United States, negotiated, at Fort McIntosh,* a treaty of peace with a number of sachems and warriors of the Wyandot, Delaware, Chippewa, and Ottawa nations of Indians.t
XXI. - On the 20th of May, 1785, the Congress of the United States passed “An ordinance for ascertaining the mode of disposing of lands in the western territory." I
XXII.— By an order of Congress, of the 15th of June, 1785, the following proclamation was circulated in the country northwest of the river Ohio: “Whereas it has been represented to the United States in Congress assembled, that several disorderly persons have crossed the river Ohio and settled upon their unappropriated lands; and whereas it is their intention, as soon as it shall be surveyed, to open offices for the sale of a considerable part thereof, in such proportions and under such other regulations as may suit the convenience of all the citizens of the said states and others who may wish to become purchasers of the same: and as such conduct tends to defeat the object which they have in view; is in direct opposition to the ordinances and resolutions of Congress, and highly disrespectful to the federal authority; they have, therefore, thought fit, and do hereby issue this their proclamation, strictly forbidding all such unwarrantable intrusions, and enjoining all those who have settled thereon to depart with their families and effects, without loss of time, as they shall answer the same at their peril."
XXIII.— In Congress, on the 18th of March, 1785, it was resolved, “That, in order to give greater security to the frontier settlement, and establish a boundary line between the United States and the Pottawattamie, Twightwee, Piankeshaw and other western nations, a treaty be held with the said Indians at Post Vincennes, on the Wabash river, on the 20th day of June, 1785, or at such other time or place as the commissioners may find more convenient.” By a resolution of Congress, of the 6th of June, 1785, the commissioners on the part of the United States were authorized and directed to obtain from the western tribes of Indians a cession of lands “as extensive and liberal as possible.” The resolution of the 18th of March, the ordinance of the 20th of May, and the proclamation of the 15th of June, aroused the jealousy of the western Indians, and produced no small degree of excitement among the American adventurers and the French settlers at Post Vincennes. The French settlers, by virtue of Indian grants and court concessions, claimed, on the northwestern side of the Ohio, a territory of about fifteen thousand square miles. The claims of the Illinois and Wabash Land Companies covered a region of far greater extent. Neither these Land Companies, nor the Miami Indians, nor the French inhabitants of Post Vincennes, were disposed to give up to the United States their respective claims to lands lying northwest of the river Ohio. The Indians who resided on the Wabash were restless and jealous of the advancing settlements of the whites; the British still held possession of the posts of Michilimackinac, Detroit, and some of their dependencies; the Spaniards claimed the right and left banks of the Mississippi, and maintained that the dominion of the United States did not extend as far westward as that river: and the inhabitants of Kaskaskia and Post Vincennes were distressed by commotion among themselves. By a resolution of Congress of the 29th of June, 1785, the commissioners for negotiating a treaty with the western Indians, were directed to hold the said treaty on the western banks of the Ohio, at the rapids, or at the mouth of the Great Miami river. At the latter place on the 31st of January, 1786,
*On the northern side of the river Ohio, at the mouth of Beaver creek, about twenty. nine miles below Pittsburgh.
See Appendix A.
a treaty was concluded between the United States and the Shawanee Indians.*
XXIV.- A large Indian council, composed of deputies from different tribes, was held at Ouiatenon on the river Wabash, in the month of August, 1785. About the same time an Indian killed one of the French inhabitants of Post Vincennes. A party "of the friends of this man then fell on the Indians, killed four and wounded some more. Soon afterwards an Indian chief waited on the French inhabitants, and told them that they must remove at a fixed time— that the Indians were determined to make war on the American settlers — and that if the French remained at Post Vincennes, they would share the fate of the Americans.”+ Notwithstanding the hostile temper of the Indians, during the years 1785 and 1786, the court of Post Vincennes continued to grant tracts of land to various French and American adventurers. The fees of the court for each deed of concession amounted to four dollars. Of the Americans, who attempted to make improvements on such grants, some were killed by the Indians, others became alarmed and retired to Kentucky, and a few remained at Post Vincennes, where they were protected by the French inhabitants.
XXV.- In the year 1786, some traders arrived in boats at Post Vincennes, and reported that they had been fired on by a party of Indians who were encamped near the mouth of the river Embarrass, a few miles below the town. A settler, whose name was Small, immediately raised a company of thirty or forty men, and proceeded to the Indian encampment. In a skirmish which then took place several Indians and some white men were killed.
At this period the hostile temper of the Indians harassed the inhabitants of Kentucky - interfered materially with the projects of a numerous class of land-jobbers — prevented the settlement of Clark's grant- and frustrated the unremitting‘attempts of Congress to extinguish the Indian right to lands on
*See Appendix, C. Correspondence of Captain John Armstrong, September, 1785.