« ForrigeFortsett »
In January, 1754, Washington returned to Virginia, and made his report to the Governor and Council. Forces were at once raised, and Washington, as Lieutenant Colonel, was dispatched at the head of a hundred and fifty men, to the forks of the Ohio, with orders to "finish the fort already begun there by the Ohio Company, and to make prisoners, kill or destroy all who interrupted the English settlements.
On his march through the forests of Western Pennsylvania, Washington, through the aid of friendly Indians, discovered the French concealed among the rocks, and as they ran to seize their arms, ordered his men to fire upon them, at the same time, with his own musket, setting the example. An action lasting about a quarter of an hour ensued; ten of the Frenchmen were killed, among them Jumonville, the commander of the party, and twentyone were made prisoners. The dead were scalped by the Indians, and the chief, bearing a tomahawk and a scalp, visited all the tribes of the Miamis, urging them to join the Six Nations and the English against the French. The French, however, were soon re-enforced and Col. Washington was compelled to return to Fort Necessity. Here, on the 3d day of July, De Villiers invested the fort with 600 French troops and 100 Indians. On the 4th, Washington accepted terms of capitulation and the English garrison withdrew from the valley of the Ohio.
This attack of Washington upon Jumonville aroused the indignation of France, and war was formally declared in May, 1756, and the "French and Indian War" devastated the colonies for several years. Montreal, Detroit, and all Canada were surrendered to the English, and on the 10th of February, 1763, by the treaty of Paris-which had been signed, though not formally ratified by the respective governments, on the 3d of November, 1762-France relinquished to great Great Britain all that portion of the province of Louisiana lying on the east side of the Mississippi, except the island and town of New Orleans. On the same day that the treaty of Paris was signed, France, by a secret treaty, ceded to Spain all her possessions on the west side of the Mississippi, including the whole country to the head waters of the Great River, and west to the Rocky Mountains, and the jurisdiction of France in America, which had lasted nearly a century, was ended.
At the close of the Revolutionary war, by the treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States, the English Government ceded to the latter all the territory on the east side of the Mississippi River, and north of the thirty-first parallel of north latitude. At the same time, Great Britain ceded to Spain all the Floridas, comprising all the territory east of the Mississipi and south of the southern limits of the United States.
At this time, therefore, the present State of Iowa was a part of the Spanish possessions in North America, as all the territory west of the Mississippi River was under the dominion of Spain. That government also possessed all the territory of the Floridas east of the great river and south of the thirty-first parallel of north latitude. The Mississippi, therefore, so essential to the prosperity of the western portion of the United States, for the last three hundred miles of its course flowed wholly within the Spanish dominions, and that government claimed the exclusive right to use and control it below the southern boundary of the United States.
The free navigation of the Mississippi was a very important question during all the time that Louisiana remained a dependency of the Spanish Crown, and as the final settlement intimately affected the status of the then future State of Iowa, it will be interesting to trace its progress.
The people of the United States occupied and exercised jurisdiction over the entire eastern valley of the Mississippi, embracing all the country drained by its eastern tributaries; they had a natural right, according to the accepted international law, to follow these rivers to the sea, and to the use of the Mississippi River accordingly, as the great natural channel of commerce. The river was not only necessary but absolutely indispensable to the prosperity and growth of the western settlements then rapidly rising into commercial and political importance. They were situated in the heart of the great valley, and with wonderful expansive energies and accumulating resources, it was very evident that no power on earth could deprive them of the free use of the river below them, only while their numbers were insufficient to enable them to maintain their right by force. Inevitably, therefore, immediately after the ratification of the treaty of 1785, the Western people began to demand the free navigation of the Mississippinot as a favor, but as a right. In 1786, both banks of the river, below the mouth of the Ohio, were occupied by Spain, and military posts on the east bank enforced her power to exact heavy duties on all imports by way of the river for the Ohio region. Every boat descending he river was forced to land and submit to the arbitrary revenue exactions of the Spanish authorities. Under the administration of Governor Miro, these rigorous exactions were somewhat relaxed from 1787 to 1790; but Spain held it as her right to make them. Taking advantage of the claim of the American people, that the Mississippi should be opened to them, in 1791, the Spanish Government concocted a scheme for the dismembership of the Union. The plan was to induce the Western people to separate from the Eastern States by liberal land grants and extraordinary commercial privileges.
Spanish emissaries, among the people of Ohio and Kentucky, informed them that the Spanish Government would grant them favorable commercial privileges, provided they would secede from the Federal Government east of the mountains. The Span
ish Minister to the United States plainly declared to his confidential correspondent that, unless the Western people would declare their independence and refuse to remain in the Union, Spain was determined never to grant the free navigation of the Mississippi.
By the treaty of Madrid, October 20, 1795, however, Spain formally stipulated that the Mississippi River, from its source to the Gulf, for its entire width, should be free to American trade and commerce, and that the people of the United States should be permitted for three years to use the port of New Orleans as a port of deposit for their merchandise and produce, duty free.
In November, 1801, the United States Government received, through Rufus King, its Minister at the Court of St. James, a copy of the treaty between Spain and France, signed at Madrid, March 21, 1801, by which the cession of Louisiana to France, made the previous autumn, was confirmed.
The change offered a favorable opportunity to secure the just rights of the United States, in relation to the free navigation of the Mississippi, and ended the attempt to dismember the Union by an effort to secure an independent goverment west of the Alleghany Mountains. On the 7th day of January, 1803, the American House of Representatives adopted a resolution declaring their “unalterable determination to maintain the boundaries and the rights of navigation and commerce through the River Mississippi as established by existing treaties."
In the same month, President Jefferson nominated and the Senate confirmed Robert R. Livingston and James Monroe as Envoys Plenipotentiary to the Court of France, and Charles Pinckney and James Monroe to the Court of Spain, with plenary power to negotiate treaties to effect the object enunciated by the popular branch of the National Legislature. These envoys were instructed to secure, if possible, the cession of Florida and New Orleans, but it does not appear that Mr. Jefferson and his cabinet had any idea of purchasing that part of Louisiana lying on the west side of the Mississippi. In fact, on the 2d of March following, the instructions were sent to our Ministers, containing a plan which expressly left to France all her territory on the west side of the Mississippi.' Had these instructions been followed, it might have been that there would not have been any State of Iowa or any other member of the glorious Union of States west of the "Father of Waters."
In obedience to his instructions, however, Mr. Livingston broached this plan to M. Talleyrand, Napoleon's Prime Minister, when that courtly diplomatist quietly suggested to the American Minister that France might be willing to cede the whole French domain in North America to the United States, and asked how much the Federal Government would be willing to give for it. Livingston intimated that twenty millions of francs might be a
fair price. Talleyrand thought that not enough, but asked the Americans to "think of it." A few days later, Napoleon, in an interview with Mr. Livingston, in effect informed the American Envoy that he had secured Louisiana in a contract with Spain for the purpose of turning it over to the United States for a mere nominal sum. He had been compelled to provide for the safety of that province by the treaty, and he was “anxious to give the United States a magnificent bargain for a mere trifle.” The price proposed was one hundred and twenty-five million francs. This was subsequently modified to fifteen million dollars, and on this basis a treaty was negotiated, and was signed on the 30th day of April, 1803.
This treaty was ratified by the Federal Government, and by act of Congress, approved October 31, 1803, the President of the United States was authorized to take possession of the territory and provide for a temporary government. Accordingly, on the 20th day of September following, on behalf of the President, Gov. Clairborne and Gen. Wilkinson took possession of the Louisiana purchase, and raised the American flag over the newly acquired domain, at New Orleans. Spain, although it had by treaty ceded the province to France in 1801, still held quasi possession and at first objected to the transfer, but withdrew her opposition early in 1804.
By this treaty, thus successfully consummated, and the peaceable withdrawal of Spain, the then infant nation of the New World extended its dominion west of the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean, and north from the Gulf of Mexico to British America.
If the original design of Jefferson's administration had been accomplished, the United States would have acquired only that portion of the French territory lying east of the Mississippi River, and while the American people would thus have acquired the free navigation of that great river, all of the vast and fertile empire on the west, so rich in its agricultural and inexhaustible mineral resources, would have remained under the domion of a foreign power. To Napoleon's desire to sell the whole of his North American possessions, and Livingston's act transcending his instructions, which was acquiesced in after it was done, does Iowa owe her position as a part of the United States by the Louisiana purchase.
By authority of an act of Congress, approved March 26, 1804, the newly acquired territory was, on the 1st day of October following, divided: that part lying south of the 33d parallel of north latitude was called the Territory of Orleans, and all north of that parallel the District of Louisiana, which was placed under the authority of the officers of Indiana Territory, until July 4, 1805, when it was organized with territorial government of its own, and so remained until 1812, when the Territory of Orleans became the State of Louisiana, and the name of the Territory of Louisiana was changed to Missouri. On the 4th of July, 1814, that part of the Missouri Territory comprising the present State of Arkansas, and the country to the westward was organized into the Arkansas Territory.
On the 2d of March, 1821, the State of Misssouri, being a part. of the territory of that name, was admitted to the Union. June 28, 1834, the territory west of the Mississippi River and north of Missouri, was made a part of the territory of Michigan; but two years later, on the 4th of July, 1836, Wisconsin Territory was erected, embracing within its limits the present States of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
By act of Congress, approved June 12, 1838, the
TERRITORY OF IOWA
was erected, comprising, in addition to the present State, much the larger part of Minnesota, and extending north to the boundary of the British possessions.
THE ORIGINAL OWNERS.
Having traced the early history of the great empire lying west of the Mississippi, of which the State of Iowa constitutes a part, from the earliest discovery to the organization of the Territory of Iowa, it becomes necessary to give some history of the Indians of Iowa.
According to the policy of the European nations, possession perfected title to any territory. We have seen that the country west of the Mississippi was first discovered by the Spaniards, but afterward, was visited and occupied by the French. It was ceded by France to Spain, and by Spain back to France again, and then was purchased and occupied by the United States. During all that time, it does not appear to have entered into the heads or hearts of the high contracting parties that the country they bought, sold and gave away was in the possession of a race of men who, although savage, owned the vast domain before Columbus first crossed the Atlantic. Having purchased the territory, the United States found it still in possession of its original owners, who had never been dispossessed; and it became necessary to purchase again what had already been bought before, or forcibly eject the occupants; therefore, the history of the Indian nations who occupied Iowa prior to and during its early settlement by the whites, becomes an important chapter in the history of the State, that cannot be omitted.
For more than one hundred years after Marquette and Joliet trod the virgin soil of Iowa, not a single settlement had been made or attempted; not even a trading post had been established. The whole country remained in the undisputed possession of the native tribes, who roamed at will over her beautiful and fertile prairies, hunted in her woods, fished in her streams, and often