« EelmineJätka »
paign, the interference became more open. Simcoe, the Lieutenant-Governor of upper Canada, with the concurrence and under the direction of Dorchester, built a fort below the Maumee rapids, and Colonel McKee established his agency and storehouse there, and the Indians were openly encouraged by the promise of military help. In the battle of Fort Recovery and the subsequent decisive battles, Wayne announced his campaign to have been against both British and Indians, and in the battle at the Maumee he destroyed McKee's establishment and defeated a force which included the white forces from Detroit as well as the savages, under the guns of the British fort which the Indians testified they were assured would help them, and which Simcoe said he had ordered to do so, and the failure of which to do it was a chief reason for their subsequent adhesion to the Americans.
The ratification of Jay's treaty and the settling down of the Southwest into pleasanter relations, indicated that the posts would have to be surrendered. But this did not put an end to the intriguing. It had always been unlawful to obtain private grants. from the Indians without public authority. At the close of the Pontiac war, a number of small grants were allowed, and subsequently some others were winked at in favor of men of influence. But after the treaty of 1783, during the British occupancy, large land grants were obtained, perhaps not all genuine, in which public officers and private traders secured enormous donations, most of which turned up afterwards for confirmation by our Government, but with small success. These became more notable after Jay's treaty. Early in July, 1796, while Wayne was holding his council at Greenville, some grants were made in the presence of and witnessed by British officers at Detroit to a number of prominent traders, covering lands extending from Cuyahoga river westward to not far from the Indiana line, and thence northward in Michigan, so as to take in every one of the settlements in Northern Ohio and Eastern Michigan. This very land included what was covered by the treaty of Greenville, and some at least of the chiefs who made it took part in that treaty. Simcoe had. previously expressed his wish to prevent any settlements being made west of Detroit river, and this grant would have effectually prevented it if sustained. In 1797, this tract was sold to William Smith, of New York, for £200,000 New York currency, probably
in the hope that our Government might be induced to ratify it. But it shared the fate of Carver's mythical grant.
By Jay's treaty, one year was allowed the settlers to determine which allegiance they would choose. This would expire in 1797. In the meantimne a number of the leading British traders conceived the idea of buying up the peninsula of Michigan, for one or two millions of dollars, from Congress, agreeing to get up the Indian title themselves. To accomplish this result, they divided the enterprise into forty shares, a majority of which were to be used in persuading members of Congress, who were to be allowed to take the shares or their money value as they chose. The agents entrusted with this mission were led on by the gentlemen they approached until the whole scheme was exposed, and it was then laid before Congress, where they were arrested for contempt, but sufficiently punished by the exposure. The persons, to whom the grant was made in July, 1795, were among the projectors of this scheme, which was undoubtedly intended to shut out American settlements. All of these persons made a written election to remain British subjects, and most of them changed their residence to Canada. It turned out that the election was made too late. Jonathan Schieflin, who was a native of New York, and a trader of very great influence, had been captured with Governor Hamilton, at Vincennes, and closely confined in Virginia, until he escaped. This may have embittered him somewhat. But he finally concluded, when this election was found inoperative, to cast his lot with the United States, and was elected to the Legislature of the Northwest territory, where he obtained great credit for his conduct and bravery under very trying circumstances. He subsequently returned to New York City, where his descendants still live in prosperity and esteem,
After the American occupation in July, 1796, the British influence among the Indians continued. We occupied Mackinaw and had a nominal footing at Green Bay and Prairie du Chien. But (except to some extent at Mackinaw) the people retained their British predilections. At the Sault Ste Marie the Northwestern Fur Company ruled supreme. Drummond's and St. Joseph Islands were occupied for military purposes, and presents were distributed to the Indians of firearms and amm
munition as well as money and goods. After the evacuation of Detroit, the British proposed to fortify at the mouth of Detroit River, so as to command the approaches. They at once began work on Bois Blanc island, but upon the peremptory demand of General Wayne, who claimed the island was American, desisted and built at Malden instead. It was not until 1822 that the islands were finally apportioneil. Malden became the chief Indian agency, and Colonel McKee and Matthew Elliott were in charge. There the Indians assembled annually, and sometimes oftener, to receive supplies. and presents, and were exhorted and persuaded into keeping up friendship for the British and enmity for the Americans. Up to the war of 1812 the country was never quiet. Governor Hull was disposed to accept very readily the alarms which were sedulously created, and the territory made no progress.. Although the Indian title had been extinguished over a large space, it was not surveyed or brought into market. The opening of the war of 1812 found things no further advanced than when we first took possession. But in the interval the Malden agency was always busy in stirring up mischief. In 1807 announcement was made to the Indians that war was approaching and they must be ready to strike. An Indian, emulating Peter the Hermit, was sent among the tribes in Michigan and Wisconsin and Northern Indiana and Illinois to stir them up to drive out the Americans. The reports sent in to Washington from all parts of the country showed the great extent of the plot and its origin at. the agency. The traders in the outposts were not idle.
In 1806, or thereabouts, Lieutenant (afterwards General) Pike went into Northern Louisiana and the other regions on both sides. of the Mississippi to find out their condition. He found that the Northwestern Fur Company, which was a Canadian company, had established fortified agencies in several places within our territory, and claimed the right to do this and to introduce British goods. Upon his remonstrance, it was owned that a display of the British flag inight, perhaps, be a little irregular, and that there might be some propriety in paying duties. But the agencies do. not appear to have been discontinued, and $10 or 1811, if not. earlier, Robert Dickson, Mr. Rolette, Mr. Anderson and several others combined to run their goods past the Fort at Mackinaw, and did so clandestinely, although, from Anderson's Narrative, it looks very much as if they were ready to fight their way, as he: speaks of putting away their guns after they had safely passed St. Ignace. In isu the alliance of the Prophet and his followers, Tecumseh being their ablest war chief, made it necessary to resort to effective measures, and the battle of Tippecanoe broke up their projects for the time. At this period there was a general expectation of war with Great Britain, and the British agents and traders acted accordingly. Largely increased quantities of articles for the Indians were taken to Malden, and the distribution of arms and munitions was very liberal. The leading citizens of Detroit created a Committee of Safety, and earnest appeals were made to provide for emergencies. The British preparations seem to have been larger among the Indians than at the Fort at Malden, which had not a very large garrison. But the moment war was known to have been declared, and this information was expressed through to Canada, the expeditions were ready to move. "The troops at the mouth of St. Mary's river started at once, with a large force of Fur Company men, for Mackinaw, which was taken by surprise-with some suspicions of treachery among traders there. Volunteer forces were organized immediately at
. Mackinaw, Green Bay and Prairie du Chien. At both of the latter places most of the people were British in their sympathies. Dickson, the chief trader, was, during the whole war, one of the most active and influential leaders of the Indians, and was prominent in the events in Northern Ohio with Elliott. The fact became apparent that thus far the British had retained their hold on our territory by trade combinations and Indian alliances, and commanded all the northern passages and business. They had failed in their plans for getting hold of the lower Mississippi country, but they practically held all the upper lakes and the region tributary to them. Had they retained this, the whole northwest and Canada would have been consolidated.
It will not do, in considering the condition of things previous to the war, to leave out of sight the mission of Mr. Henry, in 1809, to spy out New England and seek to prepare it for separation from the Union in case of war. The documents communicated by the President to Congress in March, 1812, leave no possible doubt of the action of the Canadian governor, and it requires some credulity to believe this was not in the same line with the intrigues in the Northwest, and to accomplish the same purposes.
Unfortunately for us, Judge Campbell here ends his paper. It forms the prelude to the following matter, entirely compiled from public history.
The aggressive intrigues by approved British agents in Canada, intended to incite the Indians of the Northwest to an exterminating war against the Americans northward of the Ohio river, had. for their object to secure a monopoly of the Indian trade in the country of the Great Lakes. They bore legitimate fruit in almost constant raids upon the sparse settlements; gave rise to the illfated St. Clair campaign; to the successful ones under Wayne and Harrison; and finally contributed in great degree to the declaration of war against Great Britain in June, 1812.
Prior to the actual declaration of war, preparations were made for an invasion of Canada by way of Detroit. In May, 1812, three regiments rendezvoused at Dayton, Ohio, under the command respectively of Colonels McArthur, Findlay and Cass, the whole being commanded by Brigadier-General William Hull. On formally assuming command, Hull made the following stirring speech to the troops:
“In marching through a wilderness, memorable for savage bar. barity, you will remember the causes by which that barbarity has. been heretofore excited. In viewing the ground stained with the blood of your fellow-citizens, it will be impossible to repress the feelings of indignation. Passing by the ruins of a fortress (Fort Miami) erected in our territory by a foreign nation, in time of profound peace, and for the express purpose of exciting the savages to hostility, and supplying them with the means of conducting a barbarous war, must remind you of that system of oppression and injustice which that nation has continually practiced, and which the spirit of an indignant people can no longer endure." -Lossing:
The march was begun on the ist of June. The column was joined at Urbana by the 4th U. S. Infantry, Colonel Miller, fresh from the victory at Tippecanoe, and destined to greater fame at Lundy's Lane. As progress was made, posts provided with block houses and stockades were established, the most important being named respectively Fort McArthur, Fort Findlay and Fort Necessity.
The march was an exceedingly laborious one, and it was not until the last of June that the army reached the Maumee at the rapids, a few miles above the present town of Perrysburgh. The horses and mules were so exhausted that on the ist of July, Hull. started a schooner from the foot of the rapids (the present site of