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156
George Rogers Clark in Kentucky.

1776 were known to be Shawanese. They also told them that the Cherokees had killed or driven all the people from Wataga and thereabout, and that fourteen Cherokees were then on the Kentucky waiting to do mischief. If the war becomes general, of which there is the greatest appearance, our situation is truly alarming. We are about finishing a large fort, and intend to keep possession of this place as long as possible. They are, I understand, doing the same thing at Harrodsburgh, and also on Elkhorn, at the Royal Spring. The setilement on Licking Creek, known by the name of Hinkston's, has been broken up; nineteen of the sellers are now here on their way in - Hinkston among ihe rest. They all seem deaf to any thing we can say to dissuade them. Ten at least, of our own people, are going to join them, which will leave us with less than thirty men at this fort. I think more than three hundred men have left the country since I came out, and not one has arrived, except a few cabiners down the Ohio.

I want to return as much as any person can do ; but if I leave the country now, there is scarcely one single man who will not follow the example. When I think of the deplorable condition a few helpless families are likely to be in, 1 conclude to sell my life as dearly as I can in their desence, rather than make an ignominious escape.

I am afraid it is in vain to sue for any relief from Virginia ; yet the convention encouraged the settlement of this country, and why should nol the extreme parts of Fincastle be as justly entitled 10 protection as any other part of the country. If an expedition were carried on against those nations who are at open war with the people in general, we might be in a great measure relieved, by drawing them off to defend their towns, If any thing under Heaven can be done for us, I know of no person who would more willingly engage in forwarding us assistance than yourself. I do, at the request and in behalf of all the distressed women and children and other inhabitants of this place, implore the aid of every leading man who may have it in his power to give us relief.

I cannot write. You can better guess at my ideas from what I have said than I can express them.*

I am Dear Sir, yours, most affectionately, to my last moments,
To COLONEL PRESTON.

J. FLOYD.

But it was not destined that Kentucky should sink under her trials. It was during this very summer of 1776, indeed, that the corner-stone of her prosperity was laid, and the first step taken toward making her an independent commonwealth.

This was done by George Rogers Clark, truly her founder, and the most eminent of the early heroes of the West. He was born

See Morehead's Address, p. 151.

1776.
Petition sent from Kentucky.

157 in September, 1743, in Albemarle county, Virginia.* In early life, he had been, like Washington, a surveyor, and more lately had served in Dunmore's war. He first visited Kentucky in 1775,f and held apparently at that time the rank of major. Returning to Virginia, in the autumn of 1775, he prepared to move permanently to the West, in the following spring. Having done this early in 1776, Clark, whose views reached much farther than those of most of the Pioneers, set himself seriously to consider the condition and prospects of the young republic to which he had attached himself. Its advantages were too obvious to escape any eye; but the dangers of a colony so far beyond the old lines of civilization, and unconnected with any of the elder provinces, while at the same time the title to it was in dispute, had not impressed all minds as they should. Clark knew that Virginia entirely denied the purchase of Henderson; he knew also that Henderson's purchase from the Cherokees was of the same soil which Sir William Johnson had purchased for the king in 1768, from the Iroquois, at Fort Stanwix; he was sure, also, that the Virginia settlers would never be easy under a proprietary government, however founded; and saw already with his quick eye, wide-spread dissatisfaction. One of two things he deemed the frontier settlements must be, either an acknowledged portion of Virginia, f and to be by her aided in their struggles,—or an independent commonwealth. These views had been partially formed in 1775, probably, for we find that by June 6th, 1776,|| they had attained sufficient currency to cause the gathering of a general meeting at Harrodsburgh, to bring matters to an issue. Clark was not present at the commencement of the meeting. Had he been, there is reason to think he would have procured the election of envoys authorised to lay the whole business before the Assembly of Virginia, and ask the admittance of Kentucky by itself into the number of her counties. As it was, he and Gabriel Jones were chosen members of the Virginia Assembly, and the following petition was prepared to be laid before that body.

* Butler, 2nd edition, 36.

+ He was west of the mountains in 1772, as far as the Kenhawa at least ; see journal of Rev. David Jones in Cist's Cincinnati Miscellany, i. 245. In 1774, he was on his way to Kentucky, when Dunmore's war broke out. See ante.

So far Fincastle county had been held to include Kentucky, but the inhabitants had no rights or protection as citizens of Virginia, Marshall, i. 47.

| Butler, introduction, lxx. says June 5, 1776. ; History, 38, June 6, 1775; Chronology, p. 27, June 5, 1775; Morehead, June 6, 1776 ; Clark, in Dillon's Indiana, i. 128, says June 6, 1776.

158 Kentucky Petition.

1776. To the honorable the Convention of Virginia—The petition of the

inhabitants, and some of the intended seulers, of that part of North America now denominated Transylvania, humbly sheweth.

Whereas some of your petitioners became adventurers in that country from the advantageous reports of their friends who first explored it, and others since allured by the specious show of the easy terms on which the land was to be purchased from those who style themselves to be proprietors, have, at a great expense and many hardships, settled there, under the faith of holding the lands by an indefeasible title, which those gentlemen assured them they were capable of making. But your petitioners have been greatly alarmed at the late conduct of those gentlemen, in advancing the price of the purchase money from twenty shillings to fifty shillings sterling per hundred acres, and at the same time have increased the fees of entry and surveying to a most exorbitant rate; and, by the short period prefixed for taking up the lands, even on those extravagant terms, they plainly evince their intentions of rising in their demands as the settlers increase, or their insatiable ara. rice shall dictate. And your petitioners have been more justly alarmed at such unaccountable and arbitrary proceedings, as they have lately learned, from a copy of the deed made by the Six Nations with Sir William Johnson, and the commissioners from this Colony, at Fort Stanwix, in the year 1769, that the said lands were included in the cession or grant of all that tract which lies on the south side of the river Ohio, beginning at the mouth of Cherokee or Hogohege River, and er. tending up the said river to Kettaning. And, as in the preamble of said deed, the said confederate Indians declare the Cherokee River to be their true boundary with the southern Indians, your petitioners may, with great reason, doubt the validity of the purchase that those proprietors have made of the Cherokees — the only title they set up to the lands for which they demand such extravagant sums from your petition. ers, without any other assurance for holding them than their own deed and warrantee ; a poor security, as your petitioners humbly apprehend, for the money that, among other new and unreasonable regulations, these proprietors insist should be paid down on the delivery of the deed. And, as we have the greatest reason to presume that his majesty, to whom the lands were deeded by the Six Nations, for a valuable consideration, will vindicate his title, and think himself at liberty to grant them to such persons, and on such terms as he pleases, your petitioners would in consequence thereof, be turned out of possession, or be obliged to purchase their lands and improvements on such terms as the new grantee or proprietor might think fit to impose ; so that we cannot help regarding the demand of Mr. Henderson and his company as highly enjust and impolitic, in the infant state of the settlement, as well as greatly injurious to your petitioners, who would cheerfully have paid the considera

1776. Kentucky Petition.

159 tion at first stipulated by the company, whenever their grant had been confirmed by the crown, or otherwise authenticated by the supreme legislature.

And, as we are anxious to concur in every respect with our brethren of the united Colonies, for our just rights and privileges, as far as our infant settlement and remote situation will admit of, we humbly expect and inplore to be taken under the protection of the honorable Convention of the Colony of Virginia, of which we cannot help thinking ourselves still a part, and request your kind interposition in our behalf, that we may not suffer under the rigorous demands and impositions of the gentlemen styling themselves proprietors, who, the better to effect their oppressive designs, have given them the color of a law, enacted by a score of men, artfully picked from the few adventurers who went to see the country last summer, overawed by the presence of Mr. Henderson.

And that you would take such measures as your honors in your wisdom shall judge most expedient for restoring peace and harmony to our divided selllement; or, if your honors apprehend that our case comes more properly before the honorable the General Congress, that you would in your goodness recommend the same to your worthy detegates, to espouse it as the cause of the Colony. And your petitioners, &c.

James Harrod, Abm. Hite, Jun., Patrick Dorane, Ralph Nailor, Robert Atkinson, Robert Nailor, John Maxfeld, Samuel Portinger, Barnerd Walter, Hugh McMillion, John Kilpatrick, Robert Dook, Edward Brownfield, John Beesor, Conrad Woolter, John Moore, John Corbie, Abraham Vanmetre, Samuel Moore, Isaac Pritcherd, Joseph Gwyne, Charles Creeraft, James Willie, John Camron, Thomas Kenady, Jesse Pigman, Simon Moore, John Mooret Thomas Moore, Herman Consoley, Silas Harland, Wm. Harrod, Levi Harrod, John Mills, Elijah Mills, Jehu Harland, Leonard Cooper, William Rice, Arthur Ingram, Thomas Wilson, William Wood, Joseph Lyons, George Uland, Michael Thomas, Adam Smith, Samuel Thomas, Henry Thomas, William Myars, Peter Paul, Henry Symons, William Gaffata, James Hugh, Thos. Bathugh, John Connway, William Crow, William Feals, Benjamin Davis, Beniah Dun, Adam Neelson, William Shephard, Wm. House, John Dun, John Sim, Sen., John House, Simeon House, Andrew House, William Hartly, Thomas Dean, Richard Owan, Barnet Neal, John Severn, James Hugh, James Calley, Joseph Parkison, Jediah Ashraft, John Hardin, Archibald Reves, Moses Thomas, J. Zebulon Collins, Thomas Parkison, Wm. Muckleroy, Meredith Helm, Jun., Andrew House, David Brooks, John Helm, Benjamin Parkison, William Parkison, William Crow.

See Hall, ii. 236.

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160
Clark gets powder from Virginia.

1776.
Clark knew perfectly well that the Legislature of his native
State would not acknowledge the validity of the election of Dele-
gates from the frontiers, but hoping nevertheless to effect his
object, he and his companion took the southern route by the Cum-
berland Gap, and after suffering agonies from “scald feet,” at
length reached their destination only to learn that the Assembly
had adjourned. This of course caused a delay in part of their
proceedings, but the keen-witted soldier saw that, before the
Legislature met again, he might, by proper steps, effect much that
he wished to; he lost no time, therefore, in waiting upon Patrick
Henry, then Governor, and explaining to him the capabilities, the
dangers, the wishes, and the necessities of the settlers in the far
west,-- asked for a supply of the first necessary of life, gun pow-
der. The Governor listened favorably and gave Clark a favorable
letter to the Executive Council, being himself sick and unable to
go with him to Williamsburg, the seat of government at that time.
But the Council were very cautious, and while they would lend
the powder if Clark would be answerable for it, and pay for its
transportation, they dared not until the Assembly had recognized
the Kentucky stations as within Virginia, do more.
sented, and again presented the impossibility of his conveying the
powder to so great a distance, through a country swarming with
foes. The Council listened patiently but dared not run any risk.
An order was issued for the powder on the terms proposed, but
the inflexible pioneer would have none of it, and inclosing the
order again to the Council told them that, since Virginia would
not aid her children they must look elsewhere, - that a land not
worth defending was not worth claiming, of course, - and so he
bade them good-bye. These intimations were not to be over-
looked, the whole matter was again weighed in the Council, and
probably the Governor's advice taken, after which, upon the 230
of August, an order was issued for placing the ammunition
required at Pittsburgh, subject to Major Clark's order, for the use
of the inhabitants of “ Kentucki” *

One of his objects being thus in the main accomplished, Clark prepared himself to urge the suit of the Transylvania colonists before the Legislature when it should meet in the fall, having first written to his friends at the west that powder was waiting them at Pittsburgh, which they must manage to get down the river.

Clark pre

* Butler, second edition, 488, gives the order,

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