« ForrigeFortsett »
he paused for a moment, then departed from the council, followed by his braves. The next day, Tecumseh apologized for his violence, and solicited another interview, which terminated in Tecumseh's declaration, that he still adhered to his opinion of the preceding day. The danger of war with England every day becoming more imminent, the Indians became more daring. A large body of them had collected at Prophet's Town; and now General Harrison prepared to repress their hostilities, either by negotiating a peace or by chastising them. The Indians desired a conference for the purpose of assassinating him in council, as it was afterwards ascertained; but he knew too well the Indian character to be thrown off his guard, and immediately requested two of his officers to choose a place for a camp. They selected an elevated spot, surrounded with low, moist ground, acknowledged by all to be well adapted to their purpose. On this ground the army encamped in order of battle, ready to engage at a moment's warning. The next morning, General Harrison arose before the dawn, and sat with his aids by the fire, when the alarm was given by a musket-shot from one of the sentinels, succeeded by the war-whoop, and a fierce attack by the Indians. The general mounted his horse, and hastened to the point of attack; where finding his men hard pressed, he ordered up two companies to their support. Major Davis and Colonel White fell in attempting to dislodge some Indians from a clump of trees near at hand. In the act of leading a company to reënforce the right flank, the general's aid, Colonel Owen, of Kentucky, fell at his side. The battle continued for some hours, when the Indians were completely routed, though the solemn chant of the prophet was heard in the intervals of the battle, mingling with the rattling of deer's hoofs, invoking the aid of the Great Spirit.
A short time previous to the declaration of war with Great Britain, Governor Harrison was constituted a majorgeneral in the militia of Kentucky. But the government of the United States, ignorant of the circumstances connected with his appointment, ordered General Winchester, of the regular army, to take the command. General Harrison consequently retired to resume his duties as governor of
Indiana. But as soon as the president learned the actual situation of affairs, and that Harrison was the favorite of the west, the chief command in the north-west was given him. He received orders to retake Detroit, to penetrate Canada as far as events would justify, and, in fine, to act in all cases according to his own judgment. The order of government was obeyed to the letter. Detroit was recaptured. Canada was penetrated far enough to allow the British to feel the pressure of the iron hand of war.
The campaign opened under the most discouraging auspices. General Winchester, with a considerable force, had encamped at the Rapids, where messengers arrived informing him that the camp of Frenchtown was hourly threatened with an attack from the Indians. He sent six hundred men to support its soldiers, who, arriving unexpectedly, gained a complete victory over the British and Indians. They resolved to maintain their position, and General Winchester, with his whole force, advanced to their support; but, omitting to fortify his position, it was attacked by a large force under Colonel Proctor, and carried, with great loss to the Americans. All the wounded Americans, with the consent of Proctor, were inhumanly butchered. But even under these deep provocations the noble Harrison never retaliated. « Let an account of murdered innocence be opened in heaven against our enemies alone,” says he, in an order issued after learning the tragical result of Winchester's expedition. The army now fortified Fort Meigs in expectation of an attack. General Harrison himself was in the fort. On the 26th of April, Colonel Proctor, with a large force of British and Indians, approached it, and commenced a severe cannonade, which continued with intervals for several days. On the 4th of May, General Harrison received intelligence of the approach of the Kentucky militia, under General Clay. He determined to raise the siege. He ordered General Clay to detach eight hundred men to seize the batteries on the opposite side of the river, spike the guns, and return at once to their boats, and with his main body to fight his way to the camp. The whole was successful; but the division of eight hundred men remained in the batteries, instead of retiring according to orders, and were almost
totally annihilated, about two thirds being killed and taken prisoners. The prisoners, according to Proctor's usual policy, were given over to the Indians for their amusement, and numbers massacred in cold blood under the eye of Proctor, till Tecumseh came up from the batteries, and exclaiming, “For shame! it is a disgrace to kill defenceless prisoners !” put an end to the slaughter.
On the 10th of September, Perry gained his brilliant victory over the British squadron on Lake Erie, and on the 27th, General Harrison entered and encamped on the ruins of Malden, which the British had dismantled and forsaken.
The necessary preparations completed, General Harrison started in pursuit of Proctor. On the 5th of October, encamped on a narrow strip of land between the River Thames on the left, and a swamp on the right, where lay Tecumseh and his warriors, Colonel Johnson, with his mounted men, was ordered to break the British line, and to form in their rear. This movement was executed with perfect success, and, after an obstinate resistance from the Indians, he retained possession of the ground. The capture of nearly the whole British army was the result. Proctor, however, haunted by fears of punishment should he fall into the hands of the Americans, left the field before the battle was ended.
Afterwards, Harrison was appointed Indian commissioner, was elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives, of the Senate of Ohio, and of that of the United States, and finally minister to Colombia. In every capacity in which he was called to act, he was never false to his noble character; he evinced the same stern, uncompromising integrity, the same republican simplicity, the same regard for the rights of those with whom he was associated in command. These were the characteristics which drew upon him the eyes of his country, when seeking among her sons for an honest man to fill the presidential chair. It was this, his almost perfect character, that, on his nomination for the presidency, drew from the sagacious Adams the exclamation, “He will go in like a whirlwind.” Men have doubted, and justly too, whether to call him Great. He was not “ The Great." This name has been too long associated with Alexander, and men of his class, to allow it
to sully the fair fame of our Harrison. None, but a few misguided men, have attempted to affix it to the name of Washington himself. Harrison loved his species too much to become Great. He knew that, to become so, the souls of one hundred thousand men must be his, to control, direct, and sacrifice, as he chose; the rights of millions must be sacrificed to his ambition and vanity; the tears and groans of the oppressed, the widow, and the fatherless, must rise, and would rise, to Heaven, and yet be unheard by him. The man, who, like Harrison, reads his order for the day from the “ Book of Life,” can never become Great. He finds there too much 'true democracy, too much value attached to a human soul, to allow him to launch his barque for greatness on the tide of human blood.
It is true, the structure was not finished; the last touchstone of virtue was not applied to his well-tried soul; he died as the mantle of power descended on him, ere the strong temptations it presents had time to assault the wellbuilt fabric of his glory, cemented by goodness.
He died on the 4th of April, 1841, just one month after he had been inaugurated as president of the United States.
Date of the Formation of the State Constitutions, &c. MAINE. The constitution of this state was formed in 1819, but did not go into operation until 1820.
New HAMPSHIRE. Constitution established in 1784; altered and amended in 1792.
VERMONT. The first constitution of Vermont was framed in. 1777. The present constitution was adopted in 1793, and amended in 1836.
MASSACHUSETTS. The constitution of this state was formed in 1780, and altered and amended in 1821.
CONNECTICUT. The colonial charter granted by Charles II., in 1662, was the basis of the government till the year 1818, when the present constitution was adopted.
RHODE ISLAND. This state, in 1842, was without a written constitution, and in this respect forms an exception to the other states of the Union. The government of this state is administered according to the charter granted to the colony by Charles II., in 1663.
New York. This state adopted a constitution in 1777, which was amended in 1801. A new constitution was framed in 1821.
NEW JERSEY. The constitution of New Jersey was formed in the year 1776, since which it has continued without alteration to the present time, except that the word colony has been changed to state ; but the legislature has, at various times, explained its provisions in relation to particular parts.
PENNSYLVANIA. The first constitution of Pennsylvania was adopted in 1776; the present was adopted in 1790, and amended in 1838.
DELAWARE. The first constitution of this state was adopted in 1776. A new one was adopted in 179 and amended in 1831.
MARYLAND. The constitution of this state was adopted in 1776. It has undergone various amendments. It grants the singular power of amending the constitution to the legislature, independently of the express vote of the people. VIRGINIA. The first constitution of this state was formed in