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Title: Pilots of the Republic - The Romance of the Pioneer Promoter in the Middle West
Author: Hulbert, Archer Butler
Language: English
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     THE GLORY SEEKERS: The Romance of Would-be Founders of Empire in
     the Early Days of the Great Southwest. By WILLIAM HORACE BROWN.
     With sixteen portraits, and illustrative initials to chapters.

  12mo. $1.50 _net_







  _Author of "Historic Highways of America," "Washington
  and the West," etc._



  A. C. McCLURG & CO.


  Published October 29, 1906






The student of European history is not surprised to find that
individuals stand out prominently in every activity that occupied
man's attention; that even though there be under consideration great
popular movements, such as the Crusades or the Reformation or French
Revolution, attention centres around significant personalities. In the
day of monarchies and despotisms, individual initiative very naturally
led the way in outlining policies, selecting lieutenants, finding ways
and means.

It is singular to what a great extent this is true in the history of
democratic America, preëminently the land where the people have ruled
and where the usurper of power has had, comparatively, no opportunity
whatever. And yet it is not too much to say that the history of our
nation may be suggested in a skeleton way by a mere list of names, as,
for instance, the history of the fourteenth century in Europe might
easily be sketched. While we are proud to proclaim that America has
given all men an equal opportunity, that the most humble may rise to
the proudest position known among us, it yet remains singular that
in this land where the popular voice has ruled as nowhere else almost
every national movement or phase of development may be signified by the
name of one man.

This comes with appealing force to one who has attempted to make a
catalogue of the men who have in a personal sense _led_ the Star of
Empire across this continent; men who have, in a way, pooled issues
with their country in the mutual hope of personal advantage and
national advance. It then becomes plain to the investigator, if he
never realized it before, that, at times, the nation has waited, even
halted in its progress, for a single man, or a set of men, to plan what
may have seemed an entirely selfish adventure and which yet has proved
to be a great national advantage. In certain instances there was a
clear and fair understanding between such promoters and the reigning
administration, looking toward mutual benefit. At times the movement
was in direct defiance of law and order, with a resulting effect of
immeasurable moment for good. Again, there may have been no thought
of national welfare or extension; personal gain and success may have
been the only end; and the resultant may have been a powerful national

Perhaps the most remarkable feature that appears on an examination
of American history along these lines (compared, for instance, with
that of European powers) is that comparatively few leaders of military
campaigns are to be classed among promoters who advanced national ends
in conjunction with personal ambitions. In the Old World numberless
provinces came into the possession of military favorites after
successful campaigns. In the many expeditions to the westward of the
Alleghanies in America what commanders turned their attention later
to the regions subdued? Forbes, the conqueror of Fort Duquesne, never
saw the Ohio Valley again; Bouquet, the other hero, with Gladwin,
of Pontiac's Rebellion, never returned to the Muskingum, nor did
Gladwin come back to Detroit; Lewis, the victor at Point Pleasant,
led no colony to the Ohio again; "Mad Anthony" Wayne never had other
than military interest in the beautiful Maumee Valley, where, in the
cyclone's path, he crushed the dream of a powerful Indian confederacy
lying on the flanks of the new Republic. To a singular degree the
leaders of the military vanguard across the continent had really
little to do personally with the actual social movement that made
the wilderness blossom as the rose. True, bounty lands were given to
commanders and men in many instances, as in the case of Washington
and George Rogers Clark; but it was the occupation of such tracts by
the rank and file of the armies that actually made for advancement
and national growth, and in perhaps only one case was the movement
appreciably accelerated by the course of action pursued in a civil
way by those who had been the leaders of a former military expansion.
How are we to explain the interesting fact that none of the generals
who led into the West the armies that won it for America are to be
found at the head, for instance, of the land companies that later
attempted to open the West to the flood-tide of immigration? Did they
know too well the herculean toils that such work demanded? Why should
General Rufus Putnam, General Moses Cleaveland, General Benjamin
Tupper, General Samuel Holden Parsons, Colonel Abraham Whipple,--famous
leader of the night attack on the _Gaspee_ in the pre-Revolutionary
days,--Judge John Cleve Symmes, Colonel Richard Henderson, lead
companies of men to settle in the region which Andrew Lewis, Arthur
St. Clair, Joseph Harmar, Anthony Wayne, and William Henry Harrison
had learned so well? Of course more than one reason, or one train of
reasons, exist for these facts; but it is not to be denied that those
best acquainted with the existing facts, those having the clearest
knowledge of the trials, dangers, and risks, both as regards health
and finances, were not in any degree prominent in the later social
movements. Many, of course, were soldiers by profession, and itched
not in the least for opportunity to increase their possessions by
investment and speculation in a hazardous undertaking. But, had there
been certain assurance of success, these men, or some of them, would,
without doubt, have found ways and means of taking a part. Had one
attempt proven successful, an impetus would have been given to other
like speculations; yet one will look in vain for a really profitable
outcome to any undertaking described in these studies. The judgment of
those best posted, therefore, was fully justified.

But at the same time the American nation was greatly in the debt of
the men who made these poor investments; and, in one way or another,
it came about that no great hardship resulted. This was no secret when
these propositions were under consideration, and the men interested
were influenced not a little by the fact that their adventure would
result in benefit to the cause of national advance. There was a kind of
patriotism then shown that is to be remembered by all who care to think
of the steps taken by a weak, hopeful Republic; in some ways the same
body politic is still weak, and vastly in need of a patriotism not less
warm than that shown in those early days of wonderment and anxiety.

The reader of the succeeding pages may conceive that the author has not
taken up each study in the same method, and judged the performances of
each so-called "Pilot" by the same rule and standard. In the present
instance the writer has considered that such treatment would be highly
incongruous, there being almost nothing in common between the various
exploits here reviewed, save only those that were incidental and
adventitious. Each chapter may seem an independent study, related to
that one following only through the general title that covers them
all; this, in the author's opinion, is better far than to attempt to
emphasize a likeness, or over-color apparent resemblances, until each
event may seem a natural sequence from a former. A babe's steps are
seldom alike; one is long and inaccurate, another short and sure, with
many a misstep and tumble, and the whole a characterless procedure
bespeaking only weakness and lack both of confidence and knowledge.
Such, in a measure, was the progress of young America in the early days
of her national existence.

  A. B. H.

  MARIETTA, OHIO, May 31, 1906.


    CHAPTER I                                                PAGE

    INTRODUCTORY: THE BROTHER OF THE SWORD                     19






    RUFUS PUTNAM: THE FATHER OF OHIO                          103














    ASTOR: THE PROMOTER OF ASTORIA                            279


    MARCUS WHITMAN: THE HERO OF OREGON                        299


    THE CAPTAINS OF "THE AMERICAN SYSTEM"                     339

    INDEX                                                     363



  ZEISBERGER Preaching to the Indians at Coshocton,
        Ohio, in 1773                            _Frontispiece_

  DANIEL BOONE                                               30

  GEORGE WASHINGTON                                          68

  RUFUS PUTNAM, Leader of the Founders of Marietta, Ohio    106

  REV. MANASSEH CUTLER, Ohio Pioneer                        113

  JOHN HECKEWELDER, Missionary to the Indians               142

  REV. DAVID JONES, Companion of George Rogers Clark        165

  HENRY CLAY, Statesman and Abolitionist                    184

  ALBERT GALLATIN, Promoter of the Cumberland Road          190

  GENERAL ARTHUR ST. CLAIR, Appointed Governor of
        Ohio by Congress                                    205

  GOUVERNEUR MORRIS, Promoter of the Erie Canal             212

  DE WITT CLINTON, Friend of the Erie Canal Project         230

  MERIWETHER LEWIS, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition       262

  WILLIAM CLARK, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition          274

  JOHN JACOB ASTOR, Founder of Astoria                      288

  PRESIDENT JAMES K. POLK                                   344


     _The Part played in American History by the Pioneer's
     Axe.--Several Classes of Leaders in the Conquest of the
     Wilderness.--Patriotism even in those that were Self-seeking.--The
     Achievements of Cleaveland, Henderson, Putnam, Morris, and
     Astor, respectively.--Feebleness of the Republic in its
     Infancy.--Its need of Money.--The Pioneers were of all
     Races.--Other Leaders besides these Captains of Expansion
     accused of Self-seeking.--Washington as the Father of the
     West.--His great Acquisitions of Land.--His Influence on other
     Land-seekers.--Results of Richard Henderson's Advance into
     Kentucky.--Zeisberger's Attempt to form a Settlement of Christian
     Indians thwarted by the Revolution.--Rufus Putnam as a Soldier
     and a Pioneer.--As Leader of the Ohio Company of Associates,
     he makes a Settlement Northwest of the Ohio.--Three Avenues of
     Westward Migration: Henry Clay's Cumberland Road; the Erie Canal;
     the Baltimore and Ohio Railway.--These Avenues not laid between
     Cities, but into the Western Wilderness._



THERE is some ground for the objection that is raised against
allowing the history of America to remain a mere record of battles
and campaigns. The sword had its part to play, a glorious part and
picturesque, but the pioneer's axe chanted a truer tune than ever
musket crooned or sabre sang. And with reference to the history of our
Central West, for instance, it were a gross impartiality to remember
the multicolored fascinating story of its preliminary conquest to the
exclusion of the marvellous sequel--a great free people leaping into a
wilderness and compelling it, in one short century, to blossom as the

To any one who seriously considers the magic awakening of that
portion of the American Nation dwelling between the Alleghanies and
the Mississippi, there must sooner or later come the overpowering
realization that the humble woodsman's broadaxe--that famous "Brother
of the Sword"--has a story that is, after all, as fascinating and
romantic as any story ever told.

  Lo, 'tis myself I sing,
  Feller of oak and ash!
  Brother am I to the Sword,
  Red-edged slayer of men!
  Side by side we have hewn
  Paths for the pioneer
  From sea to sun-smitten sea.

It must be remembered that the sword made many conquests in this
West, while the broadaxe made but one. France, and then England,
possessed the West, but could not hold it, for the vital reason that
this brother of the sword did not march in unison with those armies.
In fact, both France and England attempted to keep the axe-bearing,
home-building people back in order that the furs and the treasure
yielded by the forests might not be withheld. But when the sword of a
free people came across the Alleghanies the axe of the pioneer came
with it, and a miracle was wrought in a century's time beside which the
Seven Wonders of the Old World must forever seem commonplace.

Of the men who led this army of real conquerors of the West to the
scenes of their labors there were many. Some were leaders because
of the inspiration they gave to others, some were leaders because
they in person showed the way, enduring the toil, the privation, the
pestilence, and the fate of pioneers. In whatever class these men may
be placed, they were in reality patriots and heroes, even though at the
time they were accused of seeking private gain and private fortune.
But through the perspective of the years it seems clear that whatever
may have been their private ends,--good, bad, or indifferent,--they
were extremely important factors in the progress of their age. Whether
seeking lands as a private speculation, or founding land companies or
transportation companies in conjunction with others, they turned a
waiting people's genius in a new direction and gave force and point
to a social movement that was of more than epoch-making importance.
Whether it was a Cleaveland founding a Western Reserve on the Great
Lakes, a Henderson establishing a Transylvania in Kentucky, a Putnam
building a new New England on the Ohio River, a Morris advocating an
Erie Canal, or an Astor founding an Astoria on the Pacific Sea, the
personal ambition and hope of gain, so prominent at the time, does not
now stand preëminent; in this day we see what the efforts of these men
meant to a country whose destiny they almost seemed unwittingly to hold
in their hands.

It will ever be difficult to realize what a critical moment it was
when, for a brief space of time, only Providence could tell whether
the young American Republic was equal to the tremendous task of
proving that it could live by growing. The wisest men who watched its
cradle wondered if that babe, seemingly of premature birth, would live.
But that was not the vital question; the vital question was, Could
it grow? The infant Republic possessed a mere strip of land on the
seaboard; the unanswerable argument of its enemies was that a weakling
of such insignificant proportions, surrounded by the territories of
England and Spain, could not live unless it could do more than merely
exist; after winning (by default) a war for liberty, it must now fight
and win or lose a war of extermination. And where were the millions of
money, the men, and the arms to come from that should prevent final
annihilation? The long war had prostrated the people; the land had been
overrun with armies, farms despoiled, trade ruined, cities turned into
barracks, money values utterly dissipated.

Just here it was that the mighty miracle was wrought; a strange army
began to rendezvous, and it was armed with that weapon which was to
make a conquest the sword could never have made. It was the army of
pioneers with axes on their shoulders. So spontaneously did it form and
move away, so commonplace was every humble detail of its organization
and progress, so quietly was its conquest made, so few were its
prophets and historians, that it has taken a century for us to realize
its wonder and its marvel.

America here and now gave the one proof of life--growth. Not from one
point in particular, but from every point, the ranks of this humble
army were filled; not one sect or race gave those rough and shaggy
regiments their men, but every sect and every racial stock.

That army had its leaders, though they wore only the uncouth
regimentals of the rank and file. It is of certain of these Pilots
of the Republic that these pages treat,--men who were moved by what
were very generally called selfish motives in their days. Yet against
what human motive may not the accusation of self-interest be cast?
It has been hurled against almost every earnest man since Christ was
crucified in ignominy nineteen centuries ago. Scan the list of men
herein treated, and you will not find a single promoter of the Central
West who was not accused of harboring an ulterior motive, if not of
downright perfidy. Some of the best of these leaders of the expansion
movement were most bitterly maligned; the heroic missionaries who
forgot every consideration of health, comfort, worldly prosperity,
home, and friends were sometimes decried as plotting ambassadors of
scheming knaves.

The pure and upright Washington, looking westward with clearer eye
and surer faith than any of his generation, was besmirched by the
accusations of hypocritical self-aggrandizement. Yet he must stand
first and foremost in the category of men who influenced and gave
efficiency to that vital westward movement. This man, as will be shown,
was more truly the "Father of the West" than he ever was "Father
of his Country." A decade before the Revolution was precipitated in
sturdy Massachusetts, he had become fascinated with the commercial
possibilities of the trans-Alleghany empire. He explored the Ohio and
Great Kanawha rivers, and conceived what the future would bring forth;
he took up large tracts of lands. Before he died he owned many patents
to land in what is now New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia,
Kentucky, Maryland, and Florida, as well as his home farms along the
Potomac. He had a keen business sense, and demanded his full rights; he
forcibly ousted from his lands men who knowingly usurped them; and all
through the years he was accused of using his preponderating influence
to further selfish plans; he was called a land-shark and a robber. It
is interesting to know that his own private conclusion was that his
investments had not paid; his words were that they had resulted more
"in vexation than profit." And when he spoke those words he was master
of between twenty and thirty thousand of the most fertile acres in the
Ohio River basin.

Yet Washington had marvellously influenced the nation's destiny by
these "unprofitable" investments. The very position he occupied and
which he was accused of misusing had powerfully stimulated the army
that was carrying the broadaxe westward. In countless ways this man
had given circulation to ideas that were inspiring and hopeful, and
just so far as he believed he had failed as a private speculator, he
had in reality triumphed mightily as the leading exponent of a growing
Republic which was called upon to prove that it could grow.

Richard Henderson stands out prominently as an honest leader of this
army of conquerors. We can never read without a thrill the sentence in
that letter of Daniel Boone's to Henderson in which the bold woodsman
pleads the necessity of Henderson's hastening into Kentucky in 1775.
All that Kentucky was and all that it did during the Revolution seems
to have hung suspended on the advance of Richard Henderson's party
through Cumberland Gap in that eventful April; and those words of the
guide and trail-blazer, Boone, imploring that there be no delay, and
emphasizing the stimulating effect that Henderson's advance would
have on the various parties of explorers, have a ring of destiny in
them. True, Virginia and North Carolina both repudiated Henderson's
Indian purchase, and the promoter of historic Transylvania was decried
and defamed; but his advance into the valley of the Kentucky gave
an inspiration to the scattered parties of vagrant prospectors that
resulted in making a permanent settlement in that key-stone State of
the West, which was of untold advantage to the nation at large. And
later Virginia and North Carolina made good the loss the founder of
Transylvania had suffered because of their earlier repudiation.

In Washington and Henderson we have two important factors in the
advance of the pioneer army into the old Southwest--the region between
the Alleghanies and the Mississippi south of the Ohio River.

[Illustration: DANIEL BOONE]

Turning to the rich empire lying north of that river, a chapter
belongs to that resolute herald of religious and social betterment,
David Zeisberger, who led his faithful Moravians from Pennsylvania to
found an ideal settlement in central Ohio. The marvellous story of
the indomitable Catholic missionaries in America has been receiving
something of its share of attention by the reading world, a story
so noble and inspiring that it is one of the precious heritages
of the past; that of the equally noble Protestant missionaries in
the Middle and Far West has not yet received its due. The Moravian
Brethren received the first acre of land ever legally owned by white
men in Ohio. Here, in "the Meadow of Light" on the Tuscarawas River,
Zeisberger and his noble comrade, John Heckewelder, attempted to found
a civilized colony of Christian Indians. But for the Revolution, he
would doubtless have succeeded. The story of his temporary success
is of great romantic interest and of moment especially by way of
comparison. A legal right to land was secured by this migrating colony
of Indians under the leadership of white missionaries; it was to be,
to all intents and purposes, a white man's settlement, and agriculture
was to be the colony's means of support. Laws and rules of conduct were
formulated, and for five interesting years a great degree of success
attended the effort. Then came war, despoliation, and a thrilling
period of wandering. But never was the fact of legal ownership ignored;
when the United States first enacted laws for the disposal of land in
the Northwest Territory it excepted the district "formerly" allotted to
the Moravian Brethren.

Again, the history of the Middle West contains no sturdier or sweeter
character than Rufus Putnam, the head of the Ohio Company of Associates
who made the first settlement in the Northwest Territory at Marietta.
As evidence of what he was in time of danger, his long record in the
old French War, the Revolution, and the Indian War in the West is open
to all men; what he was in days of peace--how he was the mainstay
of his fellow officers in their attempt to obtain their dues from
Congress, how he cheered westward that little company which he led in
person, how for two decades he was the unselfish friend of hundreds
of this struggling army of pioneers--is a story great and noble. As
we shall see, General Washington, in a secret document never intended
for other eyes than his own, describes Putnam as little known outside
of a definite circle of friends. If this militated against his being
appointed commander-in-chief of the American armies (for which honor
General "Mad" Anthony Wayne was named), it made the man the more
beloved and helpful. Not seeking in convivial ways the friendship of
the notables of his time, Rufus Putnam went about the commonplace
affairs of his conscientious life, doing good; yet in the most critical
hour in the history of the Northwest it was to Putnam that Washington
turned in confidence and hope. In the formation of the Ohio Company,
in the emigration from New England, in the hard experiences of hewing
out homes and clearings on the Ohio, and in the humble, wearing
vicissitudes of life on the tumultuous frontier, the resolution, tact,
and patient charity of this plain hero made him one of the great men
in the annals of our western land.

This Ohio Company of Associates made the first settlement in the
territory northwest of the River Ohio, from which were created the five
great States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. In
the actual peopling of that region no one man, perhaps, exerted the
influence of Rufus Putnam; and though, as a company, the Associates
never were able to keep their contract with the Government, the great
value of the movement led by Putnam was recognized, as Virginia and
North Carolina recognized Henderson's influence to the southward, and
Congress agreed to an easy settlement.

The empire of the Ohio Basin being thrown open to the world by the
armies of pioneers inspired by Washington and led by such men as
Henderson and Putnam, a great factor in its occupation were the men
who succeeded Washington in carrying out his plan for opening avenues
of immigration. Three great routes to the West, and their projectors,
call for notice in this phase of our study. The rise of Henry Clay's
famous National Road running from Cumberland, Maryland, almost to St.
Louis was a potent factor in the awakening of the West. It was the one
great American highway; it took millions of men and wealth into the
West, and, more than any material object, "served to cement and save
the Union." Three canals were factors in this great social movement,
especially the Erie Canal, which was conceived by the inspiration of
Morris and achieved by the patient genius of Clinton. As a promoter
of the West, Thomas, father of our first railway, must be accounted
of utmost importance. Is it not of interest that the famed Cumberland
Road was not built to connect two large Eastern cities, or a seaport
or river with a city? It was built from the East into the Western
wilderness--from a town but little known to an indefinite destination
where the towns were hardly yet named. Its promoters were men of faith
in the West, hopeful of its prosperity and anxious as to its loyalty.
Now the same was singularly true of our first three great canals, the
Erie, the Chesapeake and Ohio, and the Pennsylvania. These were not
built as avenues of commerce between great Eastern cities, but rather
from the East to the awakening West, to the infant hamlets of Buffalo
and Pittsburg. And, still more remarkable, our first railways were not
laid out between large Eastern cities, but from the East into that
same country of the setting sun where the forests were still spreading
and little villages were here and there springing up. The Baltimore
and Ohio Railroad was distinctly promoted in the hope that Baltimore
might retain the trade of the West which the canals then building
seemed to be likely to take from her. It was their faith in the West
that inspired all these men to the tasks they severally conceived and
enthusiastically completed. It would hardly be possible to emphasize
sufficiently the part played in the history of early America by this
supremely momentous intuition of the westward advance of the Republic,
the divine logic of that advance, and its immeasurable consequences.


     _Washington's Prescience of the Increased Value of Land in the
     West.--Diary of his Tour in the Basin of the Ohio.--His Plans
     for the Commercial Development of the West.--His Character as
     manifested in his Letters, Diaries, and Memoranda.--His Military
     Advancement by the Influence of Lord Fairfax.--He serves at Fort
     Necessity, "The Bloody Ford," and Fort Duquesne.--Marriage and
     Settlement at Mount Vernon.--His Device for taking up more Land
     than the Law allowed to one Man.--Washington not connected with
     any of the great Land Companies.--His Efforts to secure for his
     Soldiers the Bounty-land promised them.--His sixth Journey to
     view his own Purchases.--The Amount of his Landed Property.--His
     Leniency toward Poor Tenants.--The Intensity of his Business
     Energy.--The Present Value of his Lands.--His Dissatisfaction
     with the Results of his Land Speculations.--His Plan of American
     Internal Improvements.--The Treaty that secured to Virginia the
     Territory South of the Ohio.--Washington's Personal Inspection
     of the Basins of the Ohio and Potomac.--He becomes President of
     the Potomac Company.--A Waterway secured from the Ohio to the
     Potomac.--The National Road from Cumberland, Md., to Wheeling on
     the Ohio._



WHAT story of personal endeavor that had a part in building up a new
nation on this continent can appeal more strongly to us of the Middle
West than that of George Washington's shrewd faith which led him first
to invest heavily in Western lands and signally champion that region as
a field for exploitation? Indeed the record of that man's prescience
in realizing what the West would become, how it would be quickly
populated, and how rapidly its acres would increase in value, is one of
the most remarkable single facts in his history.

It is only because Washington became well known to a continent and a
world as the leader of a people to freedom, that it has been easy to
forget what a great man he still would have been had there been no
Revolution and no Independence Day. How well known, for instance, is
it that Washington was surveying lands on the Great Kanawha and Ohio
rivers only four years before he received that remarkable ovation on
his way to take command of the Continental Army under the Cambridge
Elm? And how much attention has been given to Washington's tour into
the Ohio Basin the very next year after the Revolutionary War to
attempt to mark out a commercial route between the Virginia tide-water
rivers and the Great Lakes by way of the Ohio and its tributaries?
Yet the diary of that trip is not only the longest single literary
production we have in our first President's handwriting, but on
examination it is found to be almost a State paper, pointing out with
wonderful sagacity the line of national expansion and hinting more
plainly than any other document, not excepting the famous Ordinance, of
the greatness of the Republic that was to be.

Washington was possibly the richest man in America, and half his wealth
lay west of the Alleghanies; it has not seemed to be easy to remember
that this statesman had a better knowledge of the West than any man of
equal position and that he spent a large portion of his ripest years in
planning minutely for the commercial development of a territory then
far less known to the common people of the country than Alaska is to us
of to-day.

To few men's private affairs has a nation had more open access than we
have had to George Washington's. His journals, diaries, letters, and
memoranda have been published broadcast, and the curious may learn, if
they choose, the number of kerchiefs the young surveyor sent to his
washerwoman long before his name was known outside his own county, or
what the butter bill was for a given month at the Executive Mansion
during the administration of our first President. Many men noted for
their strength of personality and their patriotism have suffered some
loss of character when their private affairs have been subjected to a
rigid examination. Not so with Washington. It is a current legend in
the neighborhood where he resided that he was exceedingly close-handed.
This is not borne out in a study of his land speculations. Here is
one of the interesting phases of the story of his business life, his
generosity and his thoughtfulness for the poor who crowded upon his
far-away choice lands. Beyond this the study is of importance because
it touches the most romantic phase of Western history, the mad struggle
of those who participated in that great burst of immigration across the
Alleghanies just before and just after the Revolutionary War.

The hand of Providence cannot be more clearly seen in any human life
than in Washington's when he was turned from the sea and sent into
the Alleghanies to survey on the south branch of the Potomac for
Lord Fairfax, in 1748; it seemed unimportant, perhaps, at the moment
whether the youth should follow his brother under Admiral Vernon or
plunge into the forests along the Potomac. But had his mother's wish
not been obeyed our West would have lost a champion among a thousand.
As it was, Washington, in the last two years of the first half of the
eighteenth century, began to study the forests, the mountains, and the
rivers in the rear of the colonies. The mighty silences thrilled the
young heart, the vastness of the stretching wilderness made him sober
and thoughtful. He came in touch with great problems at an early and
impressionable age, and they became at once life-problems with him.
The perils and hardships of frontier life, the perplexing questions of
lines and boundaries, of tomahawk and squatter claims, the woodland
arts that are now more than lost, the ways and means of life and travel
in the borderland, the customs of the Indians and their conceptions
of right and wrong, all these and more were the problems this tall
boy was fortunately made to face as the first step toward a life of
unparalleled activity and sacrifice.

The influence of Lord Fairfax, whom he served faithfully, now soon
brought about Washington's appointment as one of four adjutant-generals
of Virginia. In rapid order he pushed to the front. In 1753 his
governor sent him on the memorable journey to the French forts near
Lake Erie, and in the following year he led the Virginia regiment and
fought and lost the Fort Necessity campaign. The next year he marched
with Braddock to the "Bloody Ford" of the Monongahela. For three years
after this terrible defeat Washington was busy defending the Virginia
frontier, and in 1758 he went to the final conquest of Fort Duquesne
with the dying but victorious Forbes.

Having married Martha Custis, the young colonel now settled down at
Mount Vernon, and his diary of 1760 shows how closely he applied
himself to the management of his splendid estate. But the forests in
and beyond the Alleghanies, which he had visited on five occasions
before he was twenty-six years of age, were closely identified with
his plans, and it is not surprising that as early as 1767 we find the
young man writing a hasty letter concerning Western investments to
William Crawford, a comrade-in-arms in the campaign of 1758, who lived
near the spot where Braddock's old road crossed the Youghiogheny River.

From this letter, written September 21, 1767, it is clear that
Washington had determined to make heavy investments. "My plan is to
secure a good deal of land," he wrote. He desired land in Pennsylvania
as near Pittsburg as possible; if the law did not allow one man to take
up several thousand acres, Crawford was requested to make more than
one entry, the total to aggregate the desired amount. As to quality,
Washington was to the point.

     "It will be easy for you to conceive that ordinary or even
     middling lands would never answer my purpose or expectation; ... a
     tract to please me must be rich ... and, if possible, level."

As to location, he was not concerned:

     "For my own part, I should have no objection to a grant of land
     upon the Ohio, a good way below Pittsburg, but would first
     willingly secure some valuable tracts nearer at hand."

Washington correctly estimated the purpose and effectiveness of the
King's proclamation of 1763. This proclamation, at the close of
Pontiac's rebellion, declared that no land should be settled beyond the
heads of the Atlantic waters. In the same letter he said:

     "I can never look upon that proclamation in any other light (but I
     say this between ourselves) than as a temporary expedient to quiet
     the minds of the Indians.... Any person, therefore, who neglects
     the present opportunity of hunting out good lands, and in some
     measure marking and distinguishing them for his own, in order to
     keep others from settling them, will never regain it."

Washington was first and foremost in the field and intended to make the
most of his opportunities. He wrote:

     "If the scheme I am now proposing to you were known, it might
     give alarm to others, and by putting them upon a plan of the
     same nature, before we could lay a proper foundation for success
     ourselves, set the different interests clashing, and, probably, in
     the end overturn the whole. All this may be avoided by a silent
     management, and the operation carried on by you under the guise of
     hunting game."

Crawford accordingly took tracts for Washington near his own lands on
the Youghiogheny, costing "from a halfpenny to a penny an acre."

Note that at this early day (1767), almost all the land between
the Youghiogheny and Monongahela rivers--the country through
which Braddock's Road ran--was already taken up. A large tract on
Chartier's Creek was secured by Crawford for his friend. Within five
years Washington had come into the additional possession of the
historic tract of two hundred and thirty-seven acres known as Great
Meadows,--whereon he had fought his first battle and signed the first
and only capitulation of his life,--and the splendid river-lands
known to-day as "Washington's Bottoms," on the Ohio near Wheeling and
Parkersburg, West Virginia, and below.

It is a very interesting fact that Washington did not belong to any of
the great land companies which, one after another, sought to gain and
hold great tracts of land, except the Mississippi Company which did
not materialize. His brothers were members of the Ohio Company which
in 1749 secured a grant of two hundred thousand acres between the
Monongahela and Kanawha rivers. The company was never able to people
and hold its territory, and the proprietors each lost heavily. It is
a little strange that Washington had nothing to do with Walpole's
Grant, the Transylvania Company, or the later Ohio, Scioto, and Symmes

What might be considered an exception to this rule was the body of men
(among whom Washington was a generous, fearless leader) which sought
to secure for the Virginia soldiers of the Fort Necessity campaign
the bounty-land promised them by Governor Dinwiddie in 1754. Year
after year, for twenty years, Washington was continually besieged by
the soldiers he led West in 1754 or their relatives, who implored
his aid in securing the grant of land promised, and there is no more
interesting phase of his life during these years than his patient
persistence in compelling Virginia to make good her solemn pledge. To
impatient and impertinent men such as Colonel Mercer he wrote scathing
rebukes; to helpless widows and aged veterans he sent kind messages of
hope and cheer.

The trouble was that everybody was claiming the land beyond the
Alleghanies; the Ohio Company was fighting for its rights until the
London agent questionably formed a merger with the Walpole Grant
speculators. This company had claimed all the land between the
Monongahela and the Kanawha. Washington, accordingly, had attempted to
secure the two hundred thousand acres for his Fort Necessity comrades
on the western shore of the Kanawha. In 1770 he made his sixth western
journey in order to view his own purchases and make a beginning in
the business of securing the soldiers' lands. He left Mount Vernon
October 5 and reached William Crawford's, on the Youghiogheny, on the
thirteenth. On the sixteenth Washington visited his sixteen-hundred
acre tract near by and was pleased with it. On the third of November he
blazed four trees on the Ohio, near the mouth of the Great Kanawha. He

     "At the beginning of the bottom above the junction of the rivers,
     and at the mouth of a branch on the east side, I marked two
     maples, an elm, and hoop-wood tree, as a corner of the soldiers'
     land (if we can get it), intending to take all the bottom from
     hence to the rapids in the Great Bend into one survey. I also
     marked at the mouth of another run lower down on the west side,
     at the lower end of the long bottom, an ash and hoop-wood for the
     beginning of another of the soldiers' surveys, to extend up so as
     to include all the bottom in a body on the west side."

From this time on Crawford was busy surveying for Washington, either
privately or in behalf of the soldiers' lands, until the outbreak of
Dunmore's War in 1774. For these bounty-land surveys, Washington was
particularly attentive, writing Crawford frequently "in behalf of the
whole officers and soldiers, and beg of you to be attentive to it, as
I think our interest is deeply concerned in the event of your dispatch."

When Walpole's Grant was confirmed by King George, Washington greatly
feared the loss of the lands promised to himself and his comrades of
1754. His own share was five thousand acres, and he had purchased an
equal amount from others who, becoming hopeless, offered their claims
for sale. This grant was bounded on the west by the old war-path which
ran from the mouth of the Scioto River to Cumberland Gap. Accordingly,
in September, 1773, Washington wrote Crawford to go down the Ohio
below the Scioto. Washington did not know then that the purchasers of
Walpole's Grant had agreed to set apart two hundred thousand acres for
the heroes of 1754. It is significant that he was particular to avoid
all occasion for conflicting claims; he originally wanted the soldiers'
surveys to be made beyond the Ohio Company's Grant; later beyond the
Walpole Grant. And while war and other causes put a disastrous end
to the work of the promoters of all the various land companies with
which Washington had nothing to do, the soldiers' lands were saved
to them, and all received their shares. Washington also retained his
private lands surveyed by Crawford, and owned most of them in 1799,
when he died. In 1784, Washington had patents for thirty thousand acres
and surveys for ten thousand more. Briefly, his possessions may be
described as ten thousand acres on the south bank of the Ohio between
Wheeling and Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and twenty thousand acres
in the Great Kanawha Valley, beginning three miles above its mouth, "on
the right and left of the river, and bounded thereby forty-eight miles
and a half."

Washington's ethics and his enterprise with reference to his Western
speculations were both admirable, but we can only hint of them here.
He was strict with himself and with others, but he knew how to be
lenient when leniency would not harm the recipient. To his later agent,
Thomas Freeman (Crawford was captured and put to death by the Indians
in 1782), he wrote in 1785: "Where acts of Providence interfere to
disable a tenant, I would be lenient in the exaction of rent, but
when the cases are otherwise, I will not be put off; because it is
on these my own expenditures depend, and because an accumulation of
undischarged rents is a real injury to the tenant." While his agents
were ordered to use all legal precautions against allowing his lands
to be usurped by others, Washington was particular that needy people,
stopping temporarily, should not be driven off; and he was exceedingly
anxious from first to last that no lands should be taken up for him
that were anywise claimed by others. It is a fact that Washington had
few disputes in a day when disputes over lands and boundaries were as
common as sunrise and sunset. No landholder in the West had so little
trouble in proportion to the amount of land owned.

The intensity of Washington's business energy is not shown more plainly
than by his enterprise in finding and exploiting novelties. One day he
was studying the question of rotation of crops; the next found him
laboring all day with his blacksmith fashioning a newfangled plough.
The next day he spent, perhaps, in studying a plan of a new machine
invented in Europe to haul trees bodily out of the ground, an invention
which meant something to a man who owned thirty thousand acres of
primeval forest. He ordered his London agent to send on one of these
machines regardless of cost, if they were really able to do the feats
claimed. Again he was writing Tilghman at Philadelphia concerning the
possibility and advisability of importing palatines from Europe, with
which to settle his Western farms. Now he was examining veins of coal
along the Youghiogheny and experimenting with it, or studying the
location of salt-springs and the manufacture of salt, which in the
West was twice dearer than flour. A whole essay could be devoted to
Washington's interest in mineral springs at Saratoga, Rome, New York,
and in the West, and to his plan outlined to the president of the
Continental Congress to have the United States retain possession of all
lands lying immediately about them. We do not know who built the first
grist-mill west of the Alleghanies, but it is doubtful if there was
another save Washington's at Perryopolis, Fayette County, Pennsylvania,
before the Revolutionary War. "I assure you," wrote Crawford, "it is
the best mill I ever saw anywhere, although I think one of a less
value would have done as well." It is the boast of Ohioans that the
millstones for the first mill in the old Northwest were "packed" over
the mountains from Connecticut. Washington might have boasted, a
score of years earlier, that he had found his millstones right in the
Alleghanies, and they were "equal to English burr," according to his
millwright. The mill which is still in operation on Washington's Run
is on the original site of the one built by him in 1775. Portions of
the original structure remain in the present mill, and it is known far
and wide by the old name. The water-power, which is no longer relied
upon except during wet seasons, still follows the same mill-race used
in Revolutionary days, and the reconstructed dam is on the old site.
The improvements on Washington's plantation here, overseer's house,
slave quarters, etc., were situated near Plant No. 2 of the Washington
Coal and Coke Company. It is known that Washington became interested
in the coal outcropping here, but it is safe to say that he little
dreamed that the land he purchased with that lying contiguous to it
would within a century be valued at twenty million dollars. In view of
the enormous value of this territory, it is exceedingly interesting to
know that Washington was its first owner, and that he found coal there
nearly a century and a half ago.

In 1784 Washington issued a circular offering his Western lands to rent:

     "These lands may be had on three tenures: First, until January,
     1790, and no longer. Second, until January, 1795, renewable every
     ten years for ever. Third, for nine hundred and ninety-nine years."

The conditions included clearing five new acres every year for each
hundred leased and the erection of buildings within the time of
lease. The staple commodity was to be medium of exchange. The seventh
condition is interesting:

     "These conditions &c. being common to the leases of three
     different tenures, the rent of the first, will be Four Pounds
     per annum, for every hundred acres contained in the lease, and
     proportionably for a greater or lesser quantity; of the second,
     One Shilling for every acre contained in the lease until the year
     1795, One Shilling and Sixpence for the like quantity afterwards
     till the year 1815, and the like increase per acre for every ten
     years, until the rent amounts to and shall have remained at Five
     Shillings for the ten years next ensuing, after which it is to
     increase Threepence per acre every ten years for ever; of the
     Third, Two Shillings for every acre therein contained, at which it
     will stand for nine hundred and ninety-nine years, the term for
     which it is granted."

Five years before his death Washington resolved to dispose of his
Western lands. The investments had not been so profitable as he had
hoped. As early as June 16, 1794, he wrote Presley Neville:

     "From the experience of many years, I have found distant
     property in land more pregnant of perplexities than profit. I
     have therefore resolved to sell all I hold on the Western
     waters, if I can obtain the prices which I conceive their quality,
     their situation, and other advantages would authorize me to

A circular advertising his Western lands was issued in Philadelphia,
dated February 1, 1796. It described 32,317 acres in Pennsylvania,
Virginia, and Kentucky for sale; the terms were one-fourth payment
down, and the remainder to be paid in five years with interest
"annually and punctually paid."

With this story of Washington's acquaintance with the West and his
speculations there in mind, it is now possible to take up, knowingly,
the great result to which they led--the first grand plan of American
internal improvements, of which Washington was the father.

As early as 1754, Washington, then just come of age, made a detailed
study of the Potomac River, and described in a memorandum all the
difficulties and obstructions to be overcome in rendering that river
navigable from tide-water to Fort Cumberland (Cumberland, Maryland).
At the time of Washington's entrance into the House of Burgesses in
1760, the matter of a way of communication between the colonies and
the territory then conquered from France beyond the Alleghanies was
perhaps uppermost in his mind, but various circumstances compelled
a postponement of all such plans, particularly the outrageous
proclamation of 1763, which was intended to repress the Western

By 1770 conditions were changed. In 1768 the Treaty of Fort Stanwix
had nominally secured to Virginia all the territory south of the Ohio
River, the very land from which the proclamation of 1763 excluded her.

On July 20 of this year, Washington wrote to Thomas Johnson, the first
State Governor of Maryland, suggesting that the project of opening the
Potomac River be "recommended to the public notice upon a more enlarged
plan [_i. e._, including a portage to the Ohio Basin] and as a means
of becoming the channel of conveyance of the extensive and valuable
trade of a rising empire." Johnson had written Washington concerning
the navigation of the Potomac; in this reply Washington prophesied
the failure of any plan to improve the Potomac that did not include a
plan to make it an avenue of communication between the East and the
West. He also prophesied that, if this were not done, Pennsylvania
or New York would improve the opportunity of getting into commercial
touch with that "rising empire" beyond the Alleghanies, "a tract of
country which," he wrote, "is unfolding to our view, the advantages
of which are too great, and too obvious, I should think, to become
the subject of serious debate, but which, through ill-timed parsimony
and supineness, may be wrested from us and conducted through other
channels, such as the Susquehanna."

These words of Washington's had a significance contained in no others
uttered in that day, hinting of a greater America of which few besides
this man were dreaming. They sounded through the years foretelling the
wonder of our time, the making of the empire of the Mississippi Basin.
Far back in his youth, this man had sounded the same note of alarm and
enthusiasm: "A pusillanimous behavior now will ill suit the times," he
cried to Governor Dinwiddie just after Braddock's defeat, when a red
tide of pillage and murder was setting over the mountains upon Virginia
and Pennsylvania. During the fifteen years now past Washington had
visited the West, and understood its promise and its needs, and now the
binding of the East and the West became at once his dearest dream.

Believing the time had come Washington, in 1774, brought before the
Virginia House of Burgesses a grand plan of communication which called
for the improvement of the Potomac and the building of a connection
from that river to one of the southwest tributaries of the Ohio. Only
the outbreak of the Revolution could have thwarted the measure; in
those opening hours of war it was forgotten, and it was not thought of
again until peace was declared seven years later.

We know something of Washington's life in those years--his ceaseless
application to details, his total abandonment of the life he had
learned to know and love on the Mount Vernon farms, the thousand
perplexities, cares, and trials which he met so patiently and nobly.
But in those days of stress and hardship the cherished plan of youth
and manhood could not be forgotten. Even before peace was declared,
Washington left his camp at Newburg, and at great personal risk made
a tour though the Mohawk Valley, examining the portages between the
Mohawk and Wood Creek, at Rome, New York, and between Lake Otsego
and the Mohawk at Canajoharie. These routes by the Susquehanna and
Mohawk to the Lakes were the rival routes of the James and Potomac
westward, and Washington was greatly interested in them. He was no
narrow partisan. Returning from this trip, he wrote the Chevalier de
Chastellux from Princeton, October 12, 1783:

     "Prompted by these actual observations, I could not help taking a
     more extensive view of the vast inland navigation of these United
     States and could not but be struck with the immense extent and
     importance of it, and with the goodness of that Providence
     which has dealt its favors to us with so profuse a hand. Would to
     God we may have wisdom enough to improve them! I shall not rest
     contented till I have explored the western country, and traversed
     those lines, or great part of them, which have given bounds to a
     new empire."

There is something splendid suggested by these words. Though he knew,
perhaps better than any man, the pitiful condition of the country,
there is here no note of despair, but rather a cry of enthusiasm. The
leader of the armies was now to become a leader of a people, and at
the outset his eye is uplifted and his faith great. With prophetic
genius his face, at the close of his exhausting struggle, is turned
toward the West. It is certain that Washington could not have known
what a tremendous influence the new West was to have in the perplexing
after hours of that critical period of our history. Perhaps he judged
better what it would be partly for the reason that its very existence
had furnished a moral support to him in times of darkness and despair;
he always remembered those valleys and open meadows where the battles
of his boyhood had been fought, and the tradition that he would have
led the Continental army thither in case of final defeat may not be
unfounded. Whether he knew aught of the wholesome part the West was
to play in our national development or not, two things are very clear
to-day: the West, and the opportunity to occupy it, were the "main
chance" of the spent colonies at the end of that war; and if Washington
had known all that we know at this day, he certainly could not have
done much more than he did to bring about the welding and cementing
of the East and the West, which now meant to each other more than
ever before. He again utters practically the old cry of his youth: "A
pusillanimous behavior now will ill suit the times." And the emphasis
is on the "now."

It is not surprising, therefore, to find that Washington, soon after
reaching Mount Vernon, at the close of the war, determined on another
western journey. The ostensible reason for the trip was to look after
his lands, but from the journal of the traveller it is easy to see
that the important result of the trip was a personal inspection of the
means of communication between the various branches of the Ohio and
the Potomac, which so nearly interlock in southwestern Pennsylvania
and northeastern West Virginia. It must be remembered that in that
day river navigation was considered the most practical form of
transportation. All the rivers of Virginia, great and small, were the
highways of the tobacco industry; the rivers of any colony were placed
high in an inventory of the colony's wealth, not only because they
implied fertility, but because they were the great avenues of trade.
The first important sign of commercial awakening in the interior of the
colonies was the improvement of the navigable rivers and the highways.

In less than thirty-three days Washington travelled nearly seven
hundred miles on horseback in what is now Pennsylvania and West
Virginia.[1] That he did not confine his explorations to the travelled
ways is evident from his itinerary through narrow, briery paths, and
his remaining for at least one night upon a Virginian hillside, where
he slept, as in earlier years, beside a camp-fire and covered only
by his cloak. His original intention was to go to the Great Kanawha,
where much of his most valuable land lay, and after transacting his
business, to return by way of the New River into Virginia. But it will
be remembered that after the Revolutionary War closed in the East, the
bloodiest of battles were yet to be fought in the West; and even in
1784, such was the condition of affairs on the frontier, it did not
seem safe for Washington to go down the Ohio. He turned, therefore,
to the rough lands at the head of the Monongahela, in the region of
Morgantown, West Virginia, and examined carefully all evidence that
could be secured touching the practicability of opening a great trunk
line of communication between East and West by way of the Potomac
and Monongahela rivers. The navigation of the headwaters of the two
streams was the subject of special inquiry, and then, in turn, the
most practicable route for a portage or a canal between them.

From any point of view this hard, dangerous tour of exploration must be
considered most significant. Washington had led his ragged armies to
victory, England had been fought completely to a standstill, and the
victor had returned safely to the peace and quiet of his Mount Vernon
farms amid the applause of two continents. And then, in a few weeks,
we find the same man with a single attendant beating his way through
the tangled trails in hilly West Virginia, inspecting for himself and
making diligent inquiry from all he met concerning the practicability
of the navigation of the upper Monongahela and the upper Potomac.
Russia can point to Peter's laboring in the Holland shipyards with no
more pride than that with which we can point to Washington pushing his
tired horse through the wilderness about Dunkard's Bottom on the Cheat
River in 1784. If through the knowledge and determination of Peter the
Russian Empire became strong, then as truly from the clear-visioned
inspiration of Washington came the first attempts to bind our East and
West into one--a union on which depended the very life of the American
Republic. Here and now we find this man firmly believing truths and
theories which became the adopted beliefs of a whole nation but a few
years later.


Returning to Mount Vernon, Washington immediately penned one of the
most interesting and important letters written in America during his
day and generation,--"that classic, Washington's Letter to Benjamin
Harrison, 1784," as it is styled in the "Old South Leaflets." In this
letter he voices passionately his plea for binding a fragmentary
nation together by the ties of interstate communion and commerce. His
plan included the improvement of the Potomac and one of the heads of
the Monongahela, and building a solid portage highway between these
waterways. His chief argument was that Virginia ought to be the first
in the field to secure the trade of the West; with keener foresight
than any other man of his day, Washington saw that the trans-Alleghany
empire would be filled with people "faster than any other ever was,
or any one would imagine." Not one of all the prophecies uttered
during the infancy of our Republic was more marvellously fulfilled.
The various means by which this was accomplished changed more rapidly
than any one could have supposed, but every change brought to pass
more quickly that very marvel which he had foretold to a wondering
people only half awake to its greater duty. His final argument was
prophetically powerful: he had done what he could to lead his people to
freedom from proprietaries and lords of trade. How free now would they

He wrote:

     "No well informed Mind need be told, that the flanks and rear
     of the United territory are possessed by other powers, and
     formidable ones too--nor how necessary it is to apply the cement
     of interest to bind all parts of it together, by one indissoluble
     bond--particularly the middle states with the Country immediately
     back of them--for what ties let me ask, should we have upon those
     people; and how entirely unconnected sho{d} we be with them if the
     Spaniards on their right or great Britain on their left, instead
     of throwing stumbling blocks in their way as they now do, should
     invite their trade and seek alliances with them?--What, when they
     get strength, which will be sooner than is generally imagined
     (from the emigration of Foreigners who can have no predeliction
     for us, as well as from the removal of our own Citizens) may
     be the consequence of their having formed such connections and
     alliances, requires no uncommon foresight to predict.

"The Western Settlers--from my own observation--stand as it were on a
pivet--the touch of a feather would almost incline them any way--they
looked down the Mississippi until the Spaniards (very impolitically I
think for themselves) threw difficulties in the way, and for no other
reason that I can conceive than because they glided gently down the
stream, without considering perhaps the tedeousness of the voyage back,
& the time necessary to perform it in;--and because they have no other
means of coming to us but by a long land transportation & unimproved

"A combination of circumstances make the present conjuncture more
favorable than any other to fix the trade of the Western Country to our
Markets.--The jealous & untoward disposition of the Spaniards on one
side, and the private views of some individuals coinciding with the
policy of the Court of G. Britain on the other, to retain the posts of
Oswego, Niagara, Detroit &c{a} (which tho' done under the letter of
the treaty is certainly an infraction of the Spirit of it, & injurious
to the Union) may be improved to the greatest advantage by this State
if she would open her arms, & embrace the means which are necessary to
establish it--The way is plain, & the expense, comparitively speaking
deserves not a thought, so great would be the prize--The Western
Inhabitants would do their part towards accomplishing it,--weak, as
they now are, they would, I am persuaded meet us half way rather
than be _driven_ into the arms of, or be in any wise dependent upon,
foreigners; the consequences of which would be, a separation, or a

"The way to avoid both, happily for us, is easy, and dictated by our
clearest interest.--It is to open a wide door, and make a smooth way
for the Produce of that Country to pass to our Markets before the trade
may get into another channel--this, in my judgment, would dry up the
other Sources; or if any part should flow down the Mississippi, from
the Falls of the Ohio, in Vessels which may be built--fitted for Sea--&
sold with their Cargoes, the proceeds I have no manner of doubt, will
return this way; & that it is better to prevent an evil than to rectify
a mistake none can deny--commercial, connections, of all others, are
most difficult to dissolve--if we wanted proof of this, look to the
avidity with which we are renewing, after a _total_ suspension of eight
years, our correspondence with Great Britain;--So, if we are supine,
and suffer without a struggle the Settlers of the Western Country to
form commercial connections with the Spaniards, Britons, or with any of
the States in the Union we shall find it a difficult matter to dissolve
them altho' a better communication should, thereafter, be presented to
them--time only could effect it; such is the force of habit!--

"Rumseys discovery of working Boats against stream, by mechanical
powers principally, may not only be considered as a fortunate invention
for these States in general but as one of those circumstances which
have combined to render the present epoche favorable above all others
for securing (if we are disposed to avail ourselves of them) a large
portion of the produce of the Western Settlements, and of the Fur and
Peltry of the Lakes, also.--the importation of which alone, if there
were no political considerations in the way, is immense.--

"It may be said, perhaps, that as the most direct Routs from the
Lakes to the Navigation of Potomack are through the State of
Pennsylvania;--and the inter{t} of that State opposed to the extension
of the Waters of Monongahela, that a communication cannot be had either
by the Yohiogany or Cheat River;--but herein I differ.--an application
to this purpose would, in my opinion, place the Legislature of
that Commonwealth in a very delicate situation.--That it would not
be pleasing I can readily conceive, but that they would refuse their
assent, I am by no means clear in.--There is, in that State, at least
one hundred thousand Souls West of the Laurel hill, who are groaning
under the inconveniences of a long land transportation.--They are
wishing, indeed looking, for the extension of inland Navigation; and if
this can not be made easy for them to Philadelphia--at any rate it must
be lengthy--they will seek a Mart elsewhere; and none is so convenient
as that which offers itself through Yohiogany or Cheat River.--the
certain consequences therefore of an attempt to restrain the extension
of the Navigation of these Rivers, (so consonant with the interest
of these people) or to impose any extra: duties upon the exports,
or imports, to, or from another State, would be a separation of the
Western Settlers from the old & more interior government; towards which
there is not wanting a disposition at this moment in the former."

Thus the old dream of the youth is brought forward again by the
thoughtful, sober man; these words echo the spirit of Washington's
whole attitude toward the West--its wealth of buried riches, its
commercial possibilities, its swarming colonies of indomitable
pioneers. Here was the first step toward solving that second most
serious problem that faced the young nation: How can the great West be
held and made to strengthen the Union? France and England had owned
and lost it. Could the new master, this infant Republic, "one nation
to-day, thirteen to-morrow," do better? Ay, but England and France had
no seer or adviser so wise as this man. This letter from Washington to
Harrison was our nation's pioneer call to the vastly better days (poor
as they now seem) of improved river navigation, the first splendid
economic advance that heralded the day of the canal and the national
highway. For fifty years, until President Jackson vetoed the Maysville
Road Bill, the impetus of this appeal, made in 1784, was of vital force
in forming our national economic policies. This letter has frequently
been pointed to as the inspiring influence which finally gave birth to
the Erie Canal and the Cumberland National Road.

The immediate result of this agitation was the formation of the
celebrated Potomac Company under joint resolutions passed by Virginia
and Maryland. Washington was at once elected to the presidency of this
company, an office he filled until his election to the presidency of
the United States five years later (1789). The plan of the Potomac
Company was to improve the navigation of the Potomac to the most
advantageous point on its headwaters and build a twenty-mile portage
road to Dunkard's Bottom on the Cheat River. With the improvement
of the Cheat and Monongahela rivers, a waterway, with a twenty-mile
portage, was secured from the Ohio to tide-water on the Potomac.

Washington's plan, however, did not stop here. This proposed line of
communication was not to stop at the Ohio, but the northern tributaries
of that river were to be explored and rendered navigable, and portage
roads were to be built between them and the interlocking streams
which flowed into the Great Lakes. With the improvement of these
waterways, in their turn, a complete trunk line of communication was
thus established from the Lakes to the sea. Washington spent no little
time in endeavoring to secure the best possible information concerning
the nature of the northern tributaries of the Ohio, the Beaver, the
Muskingum, the Scioto, and the Miami, and of the lake streams, the
Grand, the Cuyahoga, the Sandusky, and the Maumee. It was because of
such conceptions as these that all the portage paths of the territory
northwest of the Ohio River were declared by the famous Ordinance of
1787, "common highways forever free."

The Potomac Company fared no better than the other early companies
which attempted to improve the lesser waterways of America before the
method of slackwater navigation was discovered. It made, however, the
pioneer effort in a cause which meant more to its age than we can
readily imagine to-day, and in time it built the great and successful
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, as the early attempts to render the Mohawk
River navigable were the first chapters in the history of the famed
Erie Canal. These efforts of Washington's constitute likewise the
first chapter of the building of our one great national road. This
highway, begun in 1811, and completed to the Ohio River in 1818,
was practically the portage path which was so important a link in
Washington's comprehensive plan. Its starting point was Cumberland,
Maryland, on the Potomac, and it led to Brownsville, Pennsylvania, on
the Monongahela, and Wheeling on the Ohio. All of these points were
famous ports in the days when that first burst of immigration swept
over the Alleghanies. Washington's plan for a bond of union between
East and West was also the first chapter of the story of throwing
the first railway across the Alleghanies. "I consider this among the
most important acts of my life," said Charles Carroll, of Carrollton,
when with the stroke of a pen he laid the first foundation for the
Baltimore and Ohio Railway, "second only to my signing the Declaration
of Independence, if even it be second to that."

Washington's dream of an empire of united States bound together by a
"chain of federal union" was enlarged and modified by the changing
needs of a nation, but in its vital essence it was never altered. "It
would seem," wrote the late Herbert B. Adams, "as though, in one way
or another, all lines of our public policy lead back to Washington,
as all roads lead to Rome." And yet, after all, I believe there are
other words which sound a note that should never die in the ears of his
people, and those are his own youthful words, "A pusillanimous behavior
now will ill suit the times."

It is not easy to pass this subject without referring to Washington's
remarkably wise foresight with reference to the West and national
growth which his experience with that part of the country gave him.
True, he made some miscalculations, as when he expressed the opinion
that New York would not improve her great route to the West (Mohawk
River route) until the British had given up their hold on the Great
Lakes; he however pointed to that route as one of the most important
in America and hardly expected more from it than has been realized. In
all phases of the awakening of the West--the Mississippi question,
the organization of the Northwest Territory, the formulating of
the Ordinance of 1787 ("the legal outcome of Maryland's successful
policy in advocating National Sovereignty over the Western Lands"),
the ceding of lands to the National Government, the handling of the
Indian problem--Washington's influence and knowledge were of paramount
usefulness. Take these instances of his prescience as yet unmentioned:
he suggested, in connection with the Potomac improvement, the policy
of exploration and surveys which our government has steadily adhered
to since that day; the Lewis and Clark expedition was a result of
this policy advocated first by Washington. Again, note Washington's
singularly wise opinion on the separation of Kentucky from Virginia.
Writing to Jefferson in 1785, he affirms that the general opinion
in his part of Virginia is unfavorable to the separation. "I have
uniformly given it as mine," he wrote, "to meet them upon their own
ground, draw the best line, and make the best terms we can, and part
good friends." And again, it is to the point to notice Washington's
far-seeing view of the progress and enterprise of the West in relation
to commerce. Who before him ever had the temerity to suggest that ships
would descend the Ohio River and sail for foreign ports?[2] Yet he said
this in 1784 and had the audacity to add that, if so, the return route
of the proceeds of all sales thus resulting would be over the Alleghany
routes, which prophecy was fulfilled to the very letter.


[1] Washington's diary of this journey is printed in full in Hulbert,
"Washington and the West," 27-105.

[2] Hulbert, "Washington and the West," 195-6.


     _After Examination Henderson is licensed to practise Law.--Defeat
     of the Shawnees by the Virginians who claimed the Land south of
     the Ohio.--The Attention of Settlers directed to the Land beyond
     the Alleghanies.--Henderson resolves to form a Transylvania
     Company and colonize Ken-ta-kee.--Buys from the Cherokees
     twenty million Acres for ten thousand Pounds Sterling, March,
     1775.--Bands of Earlier Kentucky Settlers, fleeing from the
     Indians, meet Henderson's Colonists.--His Advance, led by Daniel
     Boone, attacked by Indians.--Henderson appeals in vain to the
     Fugitives to return with him.--Arrival of the Colonists at the
     Site of Boonesborough.--Henderson's Anxiety regarding Virginia's
     Attitude toward his Purchase.--The Governor of Virginia sends
     a Force which overthrows the Colony.--Actual Settlers on the
     Purchase permitted to remain in Title.--Grants of Land made to
     the Company by Virginia and North Carolina in Return for their
     Outlay.--The Moral Effect of this Proof that the West could be
     successfully colonized._



IN early days in North Carolina, the young man who desired to practise
law was compelled to get a certificate from the Chief Justice of the
colony and to present this to the Governor; the latter examined the
candidate, and, becoming satisfied as to his attainments, granted him
a license. Almost a century and a half ago a youth presented himself
to the Governor of that colony with the proper credentials and asked
that he be examined for admission to the bar. His name, he affirmed,
was Richard Henderson. His father, Samuel Henderson, had moved from
Virginia in 1745, Richard's tenth year, and was now Sheriff of
Granville County. Richard had assisted his father "in the business of
the sherifftry," and, with a few books, had picked up his knowledge of

All this the Governor of North Carolina learned with indifference, we
can imagine, as he looked the broad-shouldered lad up and down. It
may be that North Carolina had now a surplus of pettifoggers; at any
rate the Governor was not granting licenses with a free hand to-day.
The youth was not voluble, though his firm square jaw denoted both
sturdiness and determination; perhaps he was somewhat abashed, as he
well may have been, in the presence of the chief executive of the

"How long have you read law?" asked the Governor.

"A twelve-month," answered the lad.

"And what books have you read?" We can fancy there was the tinge of
a sneer in these words. Henderson named his books. If the sneer was
hidden until now, it instantly appeared as the young applicant was
bluntly told that it was nonsense for him to appear for an examination
after such a short period of study of such a limited number of books.

The firm jaws were clinched and the gray eyes snapped as the rebuke was
administered. Despite his homely exterior and unpolished address the
boy was already enough of a jurist to love justice and fair play; if
silent under many circumstances, he could speak when the time demanded

"Sir," he replied,--and it can be believed there was a ring to the
words,--"I am an applicant for examination: it is your duty to examine
me; if I am found worthy, I should be granted a license, and if not, I
should be refused one, not before."

We can be sure that the Governor bristled up at hearing his duty
outlined to him from the lips of a country boy; and it is no less
probable that as he began an examination it was wholly with the
intention of demoralizing utterly the spirit of the youth who had
spoken so boldly. The answers did not come so rapidly, probably, as the
questions were asked, nor were they formulated with equal nicety; but
the substance was there, of sufficient quantity and sturdy quality,
and in short order the Governor, who was a gentleman, found himself
admiring the cool, discerning lad who had the confidence of his
convictions. The license was granted and with it a bountiful degree of
honest praise.

Young Henderson immediately began the practice of law and was
increasingly successful; before the outbreak of the Revolution he was
judge on the bench of the Superior Court of North Carolina. As early as
1774 North Carolina was convulsed in the Revolutionary contest, and in
that year the Colonial government was abolished there.

The student will search in vain to find the earliest motive which led
Judge Henderson to turn his eyes to the westward at this juncture.
Yet since he had come of age he had witnessed important events: the
French and Indian War had been fought and won; Pontiac's rebellion
had been put down; the famous treaty of Fort Stanwix, which gave
Virginia all the territory between the Ohio and Tennessee rivers,
had been signed; and now in 1774, when North Carolina was in the
throes of revolution, Governor Dunmore of Virginia and General Andrew
Lewis defeated the savage Shawnees who had attempted to challenge
Virginia's right to the land south of the Ohio. The stories of the
first explorers of the hinterland beyond the Alleghanies--Walker,
Gist, Washington, and Boone--were now attracting more attention as
people began to believe that the Indians could, after all, be made to
keep their treaty pledges. As the Revolutionary fires raged in North
Carolina, many turned their eyes to the fresh green lands beyond the
mountains of which the "Long Hunters" and Boone had told. Were those
dreams true? Was there a pleasant land beyond dark Powell's Valley and
darker Cumberland Gap where the British would cease from troubling,
and honest men, as well as criminals and debtors, would be at rest?
The hope in one man's breast became a conviction, and the conviction a
firm purpose. Judge Henderson resolved to form a Transylvania Company,
secure a large tract of land, and lead a colony into the sweet meadows
of Ken-ta-kee.

It is not known when or how Judge Henderson learned that the Cherokees
would sell a portion of their Western hunting grounds. It may have been
only a borderland rumor; perhaps it came directly from the wigwams of
the Indians at the mouth of a "Long Hunter," possibly a Boone or a
Harrod. Somehow it did come, and Henderson resolved immediately to make
a stupendous purchase and follow it up with a remarkable emigration. It
will be proper to add at once that there is as little probability that
the Cherokees had a legal right to sell as that Henderson had to buy;
but neither party stood on technicalities. Virginia's sweeping claims,
made good by daring politics at the treaty of Fort Stanwix, covered
all the territory between the Ohio and the Tennessee. A Virginian law
forbade the private purchase of land from the Indians, though Virginia
herself had acquired it by flagrantly evading the plain meaning of the
King's proclamation of 1763 in making such a purchase from the Six
Nations. And the claim of the Six Nations to possession of the Old
Southwest was less substantial than that of the Cherokees who still
hunted there.

Passing, then, these technicalities as lightly as Virginia and
Henderson did (a common failing in the rough old days when this region
was but a moaning forest), let us look quickly to the West. Henderson's
plan was admirably laid. He at once took into his service the cool and
trusty Daniel Boone. The latter was posted off to that most distant of
borderland communities, the Watauga Settlement, to arrange a meeting
between the officers of the Transylvania Company and the chiefs of
the Cherokees. And here, at the famed Sycamore Shoals on this Watauga
tributary of the Tennessee, on the 17th of March, 1775, Richard
Henderson signed the treaty of Fort Watauga. His business associates
were Judge John Williams, Leonard Henley Bullock, James Hogg, Nathaniel
Thomas, David Hart, John Luttrell, and William Johnstone. But even the
well-informed Boone could not make all things move smoothly, and there
were delays ere the vast tract of twenty million acres lying south of
the Kentucky River was satisfactorily secured. The Cherokee chieftain,
Oconostota, opposed the treaty, and the stipulation named, ten thousand
pounds sterling in goods; he made, it is said, one of the "most
eloquent orations that ever fell from red man's lips," against Boone
and Henderson. At the close the quiet promoter, who "could be silent
in English and two Indian languages," met the Indian orator apart
and alone. No one ever knew what passed between them, but the treaty
of Fort Watauga was duly signed. All was ready now for the advance
movement, and Henderson immediately employed Daniel Boone to move
forward to mark the path to the Kentucky River, where the settlement
was to be made. Felix Walker was one of the band of woodsmen assembled
by Boone to assist in this task of marking out for white men the Indian
path through Cumberland Gap. "Colonel Boone ... was to be our pilot,"
Walker records, "through the wilderness, to the promised land."

Kentucky was a promised land; it was promised by the Cherokees, and
none knew better than the savage Shawnees that Cherokee promises
were worth no more than their own. In 1773 and 1774 numbers of the
half-civilized pioneers had been pressing into Kentucky, and in the
latter year cabins had been raised in many quarters. Whether or not
there was any sign of genuine permanency in these beginnings, Dunmore's
War, which broke out in 1774, put everything at hazard; the Kentucky
movement was seemingly destroyed for the time being. For this reason it
is that the Henderson purchase at Fort Watauga in March, 1775, was of
as precious moment and providential timeliness as perhaps any other
single private enterprise in our early history. As will be seen, the
Ohio Company played a most important role in the history of the West
in 1787, by making possible the famous Ordinance; but the filling of
Kentucky in 1775 was more important at that hour than any other social
movement at any other hour in Western history.

For Henderson "meant business": this was not a get-rich-quick scheme
that he was foisting upon others. He came to Watauga in the expectation
of proceeding onward to the farlying land he would buy--a man willing
to make great personal as well as financial risk in a venture more
chimerical in its day than the incorporation of an airship freight line
would be to-day. And by the twentieth of March, Henderson was ready
to push westward, along that winding line of wounded trees, up hill
and down valley, to the Gap and beyond into the wilderness which lay
between the Cumberland Mountains and the meadow lands of Kentucky.

Leaving Fort Watauga March 20, the party, chief of which were
Henderson, Hart, and Luttrell, reached Captain Joseph Martin's station
in Powell's Valley on the thirtieth. Of the experiences of these men,
recounted so interestingly in Henderson's little yellow diary, nothing
is so significant as the parties of pioneers which they soon began to
meet retreating from Kentucky. The first of these hurrying bands of
fugitives was encountered as early as April 7, and between that date
and April 19 at least seventy-six fugitives from the "dark and bloody
ground" met and passed Henderson's little colony of forty. Lewis's
victory of the Summer before had embittered the savages beyond all
words; and now, as the Spring of 1775 dawned in the lonely mountain
valleys, these first adventurers into Kentucky were hurrying eastward.
And this dread of Indian hostility was not a chimera; even as Boone's
party was hacking its route to the Kentucky River, it was ambushed in
camp by an Indian horde, which assailed it when night was darkest, just
before dawn; one man was killed and two were wounded, one of them

Now it was that Boone sent Henderson those thrilling words which can
be understood only when we realize that the Indian marauders were
driving out of Kentucky the entire van which came there and began
settling in 1774. "My advice to you, Sir," wrote Boone from that bloody
battleground on the trail, "is to come or send as soon as possible.
Your company is desired greatly, for the people are very uneasy, but
are willing to stay and venture their lives with you, and now is the
time to frustrate the intentions of the Indians, and keep the country
whilst we are in it. If we give way to them now, it will ever be the

There is, unfortunately, no portrait of Richard Henderson in existence;
if one picture by some magic art could be secured, those who are
proudest of his memory could surely prefer no scene to this: a man a
little above average height, broad of shoulders but not fleshy, clad
in the rough garb of the typical pioneer, standing in Boone's trail
on a ragged spur of the gray-grained Cumberlands, pleading with a
pale-faced, disheartened Kentucky pioneer, to turn about, join his
company, and return to the Kentucky River. For this was the mission
of his life--to give heart to that precious movement into Kentucky at
this critical first hour of her history. A beginning had been made,
but it was on the point of being swept from its feet. The Transylvania
Company, led with courage and confidence by Boone and Henderson,
ignored the fears of fugitives and triumphed splendidly in the face of
every known and many unknown fears.

At noon of Saturday, April 8, Henderson and his followers were toiling
up the ascent into Cumberland Gap. On this day a returning party as
large as Henderson's was encountered. "Met about 40 persons returning
from the Cantuckey," wrote Henderson in his diary. "On Acct. of the
Late Murder by the Indians, could prevail one [on] one only to return.
Memo. Several Virginians who were with us returned." On the twelfth
another company of fugitives was met on Richmond Creek; William Calk,
one of Henderson's party, jotted this down in his journal: "There we
met another Company going back [to Virginia]; they tell such News Abram
and Drake is afraid to go aney further." This "Abram" was Abraham
Hanks, uncle of Nancy Hanks, the mother of Abraham Lincoln. But pushing
bravely on, Henderson and his daring associates reached the site of the
new Boonesborough (Fort Boone, Henderson called it) on the twentieth of

From this it is well to date the founding of a genuine settlement
in Kentucky, one day after the rattle of that running fire of
muskets at Lexington and Concord which rang around the world. In an
indefinite sense, there were settlements in Kentucky before this; but
no promoter-friend of Kentucky ever coaxed back over the Cumberland
Mountains any of the founders of Boonesborough! True, Boonesborough
itself did not exist permanently; but not because the land was
deserted. Boonesborough was not on the direct line from Cumberland
Gap to the "Falls of the Ohio" (Louisville), and did not play the part
in later Kentucky history that Harrodsburg and Crab Orchard did. It
was, however, the first important fortified Kentucky station, and its
builders, chief of whom was Richard Henderson, received their heroic
inspiration from no persons or parties in existence in Kentucky when
they came thither. Henderson's determination to hold the ground gained
is seen in the following letter written in July, 1775, to Captain
Martin, in Powell's Valley, who had just given the Indians a bloody
check: "... Your spirited conduct gives me great pleasure. Keep your
men in heart if possible; now is your time, the Indians must not drive
us." A touch of the loneliness of Judge Henderson's situation is sensed
in another letter to Martin: "I long much to hear from you," he writes
from the banks of the far-away Kentucky, "pray write me at large, how
the matter goes with you in the valley, as well as what passes in

Little wonder he was anxious concerning Virginia's attitude toward his
purchase and the bold advance of his party of colonizers, from which
several Virginians had deserted. There could be no doubt of Virginia's
opinion of these North Carolinians who had taught that colony what
could be done in the West by brave, determined men. Henderson's
purchase was annulled, and Henderson and his compatriots were described
as vagabond interlopers, in a governor's anathema. Before this was
known, Henderson issued a regular call for a meeting of the colonists
to take the initial steps of forming a State government. But all that
Henderson planned is not to our purpose here. A rush of Virginians
through the doorway in Cumberland Gap, which Boone and Henderson had
opened, swept the inchoate state of Transylvania from record and almost
from memory. The Transylvania Company never survived the Virginia
governor's proclamation, North Carolina joining Virginia in repudiating
the private purchase. Actual settlers on Henderson's purchase, however,
were permitted to remain in title; and, in return for the money
expended by Henderson and his associates, Virginia granted his company
two hundred thousand acres of land in the vicinity of Henderson,
Kentucky; and North Carolina granted an equal amount in Carter's Valley
near the Cumberland Mountains. In each case the actual acreage was
about double that mentioned in the grant.

But this appropriation of nearly a million acres to the Henderson
Company cannot be viewed at this day as other than a payment for
great value received. From any standpoint Richard Henderson's brave
advance into Kentucky, in April, 1775, must be considered one of the
most heroic displays of that typical American spirit of comprehensive
aggrandizement of which so much is heard to-day. Its great value may
be guessed from the moral effect of the founding of Fort Boone at
the critical hour when the Revolutionary flames, so long burning in
secret, burst forth to enlighten the world. It meant much to the East
that Henderson and Boone should prove that a settlement on the lower
Ohio Basin could be made and maintained; it meant everything to the
infant West that Kentucky should so soon begin to fill with men, women,
and children. The debt of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois to Kentucky can
never be paid and probably never will be appropriately recognized.
The lands north of the Ohio were freed from savage dominion largely
by the raiding Kentuckians. It is certain that the most spectacular
campaign in Western history, Clark's conquest of Illinois, would never
have taken place in 1778 if Henderson and Boone had not placed the
possibility of successful Kentucky immigration beyond a reasonable
doubt in 1775.

Judge Henderson returned to North Carolina upon the failure of the
Transylvania Company, no doubt depressed and disappointed. The later
allotment of land to the Transylvania Company by Virginia and North
Carolina in part annulled the severe early defamatory charges of the
Virginia governor. He lived to a peaceful old age, and lies buried near
his old colonial mansion near Williamstown, North Carolina.

Boonesborough is well remembered as Boone's Fort; but it is unjust to
forget that Boone was acting in the employ of Richard Henderson, the
founder of Transylvania.


     _A Movement among the Colonies to seize the Unoccupied Land
     Northwest of the Ohio.--Putnam's Hardy Training in Boyhood.--His
     Training in the Old French War.--His Achievements in the
     Revolutionary War.--He and Many Soldiers petition Congress for
     Western Land, as promised at the Beginning of the War.--The
     Ohio Company of Associates, by its Agent, Mr. Cutler, persuades
     Congress to pass the Ordinance of 1787.--March of the Founders of
     Ohio from Ipswich, Mass., to the Site of West Newton, Pa.--Putnam
     prepares to descend the Youghiogheny, Monongahela, and Ohio to
     Fort Harmar.--Fears of the Travellers that the Indians driven
     from Kentucky would attack them.--The Party found Marietta at
     the Mouth of the Muskingum.--Inauguration of the Governor of the
     Territory.--Contrast between Conditions, North of the Ohio and
     South of it.--Other Settlements on the Ohio in the Eighteenth
     Century.--Putnam's Beautiful Character.--Washington's Opinion of



OVER the beginning of great movements, whether social or political,
there often hangs a cloud of obscurity. No event of equal importance
in our history is more clear than the founding and first settlement of
the territory northwest of the Ohio River, from which the five imperial
commonwealths of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin
sprang. It occurred at that crucial moment when Washington was calling
upon Virginia, and all the colonies, to seize the West and the hope it
offered, when the West was another name for opportunity to the spent
colonies at the close of the Revolutionary struggle.

[Illustration: RUFUS PUTNAM

_Leader of the Founders of Marietta, Ohio_]

The hero of the movement, General Rufus Putnam, was one of those
plain, sturdy, noble men whom it is a delight to honor. He was born at
Sutton, Massachusetts, April 9, 1738, and was thus six years younger
than Washington, who always honored him. With little education, save
that gained from a few books bought with pennies earned by blacking
boots and running errands for guests at his illiterate stepfather's
inn, he became a self-made man of the best type,--the man who seizes
every advantage from book and friend to reach a high plane and scan
a wider horizon. The Old French War was the training school for the
Revolutionary conflict; and here, with Gates and Mercer and Washington
and St. Clair and Wayne and Gladwin and Gibson, Rufus Putnam learned to
love his country as only those can who have been willing to risk and
wreck their all in her behalf.

Then came the Revolution. In the first act of the glorious yet
pitiful drama Rufus Putnam stands out conspicuously; for "we take
no leaf from the pure chaplet of Washington's fame," affirmed
Senator Hoar, of Massachusetts, "when we say that the success of the
first great military operation of the Revolution was due to Rufus
Putnam." The story is of intrinsic interest. On a winter's evening
in 1776, Rufus Putnam was invited to dine at the headquarters of the
Commander-in-chief in the camp before Boston. After the dinner party
had broken up, Washington detained him with questions concerning the
proper policy to be pursued with reference to the future plan of
campaign. As is well known, Washington favored an entrenchment on
Dorchester Heights which would bring on a second Bunker Hill with
a fair chance of victory, rather than the alternative of marching
upon the city across the ice-bound waters. But the frozen state of
the ground was a serious handicap in any entrenchment plan at that
moment. Putnam was asked in short how the equivalent of entrenchments
could be erected; the solving of the question meant the deliverance of
Massachusetts from the burden of British occupation. This son of the
State was equal to the moment, and his own simple account of the means
adopted is exceptionally interesting:

     "I left headquarters in company with another gentleman, and on
     our way came by General Heath's. I had no thoughts of calling
     until I came against his door, and then I said, 'Let us call on
     General Heath,' to which he agreed. I had no other motive but to
     pay my respects to the general. While there, I cast my eye on a
     book which lay on the table, lettered on the back 'Müller's Field
     Engineer.' I immediately requested the general to lend it to me.
     He denied me. I repeated my request. He again refused, and told me
     he never lent his books. I then told him that he must recollect
     that he was one who, at Roxbury, in a measure compelled me to
     undertake a business which, at the time, I confessed I never
     had read a word about, and that he must let me have the book.
     After some more excuses on his part and close pressing on mine I
     obtained the loan of it."

"In looking at the table of contents," writes Senator Hoar, "his
eye was caught by the word 'chandelier,' a new word to him. He read
carefully the description and soon had his plan ready. The chandeliers
were made of stout timbers, ten feet long, into which were framed
posts, five feet high and five feet apart, placed on the ground in
parallel lines and the open spaces filled in with bundles of fascines,
strongly picketed together, thus forming a movable parapet of wood
instead of earth, as heretofore done. The men were immediately set to
work in the adjacent apple orchard and woodlands, cutting and bundling
up the fascines and carrying them with the chandeliers on to the ground
selected for the work. They were put in their place in a single night.

"When the sun went down on Boston on the 4th of March, Washington
was at Cambridge, and Dorchester Heights were as nature or the
husbandman had left them in the autumn. When Sir William Howe rubbed
his eyes on the morning of the 5th, he saw through the heavy mists,
the entrenchments, on which, he said, the rebels had done more work
in a night than his whole army would have done in a month. He wrote
to Lord Dartmouth that it must have been the employment of at least
twelve thousand men. His own effective force, including seamen, was
but about eleven thousand. Washington had but fourteen thousand fit
for duty. 'Some of our officers,' said the 'Annual Register,'--I
suppose Edmund Burke was the writer,--'acknowledged that the
expedition with which these works were thrown up, with their sudden and
unexpected appearance, recalled to their minds the wonderful stories of
enchantment and invisible agency which are so frequent in the Eastern
Romances.' Howe was a man of spirit. He took the prompt resolution to
attempt to dislodge the Americans the next night before their works
were made impregnable. Earl Percy, who had learned something of Yankee
quality at Bunker Hill and Lexington, was to command the assault. But
the Power that dispersed the Armada, baffled all the plans of the
British general. There came 'a dreadful storm at night,' which made it
impossible to cross the bay until the American works were perfected.
The Americans, under Israel Putnam, marched into Boston, drums beating
and colors flying. The veteran British army, aided by a strong naval
force, soldier and sailor, Englishman and Tory, sick and well, bag
and baggage, got out of Boston before the strategy of Washington, the
engineering of Putnam, and the courage of the despised and untried
yeomen, from whose leaders they withheld the usual titles of military
respect. 'It resembled,' said Burke, 'more the emigration of a nation
than the breaking up of a camp.'"

His later solid achievements during the war made him, in Washington's
estimation, the best engineer in the army, whether French or American,
and "to be a great engineer with only such advantages of education as
Rufus Putnam enjoyed, is to be a man of consummate genius." A sober,
brave man of genius was required to lead to a successful issue the
great work to which Rufus Putnam was now providentially called.

The vast territory between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi
came into the possession of the United States at the close of the
Revolution. Then it was made possible for Congress to grant the
bounty-lands promised to soldiers at the beginning of the war, and
likewise to redeem its worthless script in Western lands. This a
grateful government was willing to do, but the question was vast and
difficult. If occupied, the territory must be governed. Few more
serious problems faced the young Republic.

The question was practically solved by two men, Rufus Putnam and that
noble clergyman, Manasseh Cutler, pastor of the Congregational church
at Ipswich, Massachusetts. Through Putnam, a large body of officers
and men had petitioned Congress urgently for Western land: "Ten years
ago you promised bounties in lands," was Putnam's appeal now to
Congress through General Washington; "we have faithfully performed
our duty, as history will record. We come to you now and ask that,
in redemption of your promise, you give us homes in that Western
wilderness. We will hew down the forests, and therein erect temples
to the living God, raise and educate our children to serve and love
and honor the nation for which their fathers fought, cultivate farms,
build towns and cities, and make that wilderness the pride and glory
of the nation." The Ohio Company of Associates was organized at the
Bunch of Grapes Tavern, in Boston, March 1, 1786, by the election of
Rufus Putnam, chairman, and Winthrop Sargent, secretary. As the agent
of this organization, Dr. Cutler hastened to New York, while the
famous Ordinance of 1787 was pending. This instrument had been before
Congress for three years, but was passed within twelve days after this
hero-preacher and skilled diplomat came to New York. The Ordinance
organized, from lands ceded to the general government by the several
States, the magnificent tract known as the Territory Northwest of the
River Ohio. The delay had been caused by the hazard of erecting a
great Territory, to be protected at heavy expense, without having it
occupied by a considerable number of worthy citizens. The Ohio Company
of Associates had offered to take a million and a half acres. This was
unsatisfactory to the delegates in Congress. It was a mere clearing in
all that vast tract stretching from the Alleghany to the Wisconsin. Dr.
Cutler hastened to New York to reconcile the parties interested.


_Ohio Pioneer_]

The situation was prophetically unique. The Northwest Territory could
not be organized safely without the very band of colonizers which
Cutler represented and of which Putnam was the leader. On the other
hand, the Ohio Company could not secure Western land without being
assured that it was to be an integral part of the country for which
they had fought. Putnam's appeal read: "All we ask is that it shall
be consecrated to us and our children forever, with the blessing of
that Declaration which, proclaimed to the world and sustained by our
arms, established as self-evident that all men are created equal; that
they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights;
that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,
and that to secure these ends, governments are instituted among men,
deriving their just power from the consent of the governed." Thus
the famed Ordinance and the Ohio Company's purchase went hand in
hand; each was impossible without the other. In order to realize the
hope of his clients on the one hand, and satisfy the demands of the
delegates in Congress on the other, Dr. Cutler added to the grant of
the Ohio Company an additional one of three and a half million acres
for a Scioto Company. Thus, by a stupendous speculation (so unhappy
in its result, though compromising in no way the Ohio Company or its
agents), and by shrewdly, though without dissimulation, making known
his determination to buy land privately from one of the individual
States if Congress would not now come to terms, Dr. Cutler won a signal
victory. The Ordinance of 1787 was passed, corrected to the very letter
of his own amendments, and the United States entered into the largest
private contract it had ever made.

With the passing of the Ordinance and the signing of the indented
agreement for the Ohio Company by Cutler and Sargent on the 27th
of October of that most memorable year in our documentary annals,
a new era of Western history dawned. Up to that moment, there had
been only illegal settlements between the Ohio River and the Great
Lakes--Zeisberger's Moravians on the Tuscarawas. On numerous occasions
troops had been sent from Pittsburg (Fort Pitt) to drive away from
the northern side of the Ohio settlers who had squatted on the Seven
Ranges, which Congress had caused to be surveyed westward from the
Pennsylvania line. It being difficult to reach these squatters from
Pittsburg, Fort Harmar was erected at the mouth of the Muskingum,
in 1785, where troops were kept to drive off intruders, protect the
surveyors, and keep the Indians in awe. The Ohio Company's purchase
extended from the seventh through the seventeenth range, running
northward far enough to include the necessary amount of territory. It
was natural, then, that the capital of the new colony should be located
at the mouth of the Muskingum, under the guns of the fort.

The New Englanders who formed the Ohio Company were not less determined
in their venture than were the North Carolinians who formed the
Transylvania Company thirteen years before; and, though the founders
of Marietta, Ohio, ran no such risk (it has been said) as did the
founders of Boonesborough, Kentucky, we of to-day can have no just
appreciation of the toil and the wearing years which these founders of
the Old Northwest now faced. Yet danger and fear were no novelty to
them. How fitting it was that these men, who first entered the portals
of the Northwest, bearing in their hands the precious Ordinance and
guided by the very star of empire, should have been in part the heroes
of the two wars which saved this land from its enemies. One cannot look
unmoved upon that body of travellers who met at daybreak, December 6,
1787, before Dr. Cutler's home at Ipswich, to receive his blessing
before starting. Theirs was no idle ambition. No Moravian, no Jesuit
with beads and rosary, ever faced the Western wilderness with a fairer
purpose. In Kentucky, the Virginians had gained, and were holding with
powerful grasp, the fair lands of _Ken-ta-kee_; elsewhere the Black
Forest loomed dark and foreboding. Could the New Englanders do equally

Their earnestness was a prophecy of their great success. In December
the first party of carpenters and boat-builders, under Major Hatfield
White, started on the westward journey, and in January 1788 the
remainder of the brave vanguard, under Colonel Ebenezer Sproat and
General Rufus Putnam, followed. These were the forty-eight "Founders
of Ohio." The rigors of a northern winter made the long journey over
Forbes's, or the Pennsylvania Road, a most exhaustive experience.
This road through Lancaster, Carlisle, Shippensburg, and Bedford
was from this time forward a connecting link between New England
and Ohio. It was a rough gorge of a road ploughed deep by the heavy
wheels of many an army wagon. Near Bedford, Pennsylvania, the road
forked; the northern fork ran on to Pittsburg; the southern, struck
off southwestwardly to the Youghiogheny River and the lower Ohio.
This branch the New England caravan followed to Sumrill's Ferry on
the Youghiogheny, the present West Newton, Pennsylvania. Here Putnam
planned to build a rude flotilla and descend the Youghiogheny,
Monongahela, and Ohio to Fort Harmar. The severe winter prevented
immediate building of this fleet, but by April all was in readiness.
The main boat was a covered galley, forty-five feet long, which was
most appropriately named the "Adventure Galley." The heavy baggage was
carried on a flat boat and a large canoe.

Of the men who formed Putnam's company what more can be said--or what
less--than what Senator Hoar has left in his eloquent centennial
oration at Marietta in 1888?

     "The stately figures of illustrious warriors and statesmen, the
     forms of sweet and comely matrons, living and real as if you had
     seen them yesterday, rise before you now. Varnum, than whom a
     courtlier figure never entered the presence of a queen,--soldier,
     statesman, scholar, orator,--whom Thomas Paine, no mean judge,
     who had heard the greatest English orators in the greatest days
     of English eloquence, declared the most eloquent man he had ever
     heard speak; Whipple, gallant seaman as ever trod a deck,--a man
     whom Farragut or Nelson would have loved as a brother, first
     of the glorious procession of American naval heroes, first to
     fire an American gun at the flag of England on the sea, first to
     unfurl the flag of his own country on the Thames, first pioneer of
     the river commerce of the Ohio to the Gulf; Meigs, hero of Sagg
     Harbor, of the march to Quebec, of the storming of Stony Point,
     the Christian gentleman and soldier, whom the Cherokees named
     the White Path, in token of the unfailing kindness and
     inflexible faith which had conveyed to their darkened minds some
     not inadequate conception of the spirit of Him who is the Way, the
     Truth, and the Life; Parsons, soldier, scholar, judge, one of the
     strongest arms on which Washington leaned, who first suggested the
     Continental Congress, from the story of whose life could almost
     be written the history of the Northern War; the chivalric and
     ingenious Devol, said by his biographer to be 'the most perfect
     figure of a man to be seen amongst a thousand'; the noble presence
     of a Sproat; the sons of Israel Putnam and Manasseh Cutler;
     Fearing, and Greene, and Goodale, and the Gilmans; Tupper, leader
     in Church and State, the veteran of a hundred exploits, who seems,
     in the qualities of intellect and heart, like a twin brother of
     Rufus Putnam; the brave and patriotic, but unfortunate St. Clair,
     first Governor of the Northwest, President of the Continental
     Congress;--the mighty shades of these heroes and their companions
     pass before our eyes, beneath the primeval forest, as the shades
     of the Homeric heroes before Ulysses in the Land of Asphodel."

It did not argue that the New Englanders on the Ohio could hold their
ground simply because the Kentucky movement had been for over a decade
such a marvellous success. Its very success was the chief menace of
the Kentucky problem. The eyes of five thousand Indians were fastened
there, for from Kentucky had come army after army, driving the savages
northward out of the valleys of the Muskingum, Scioto, and Miami
Rivers, until now they hovered about the western extremity of Lake
Erie. By a treaty signed at Fort McIntosh in 1786, the Indians had sold
to the United States practically all of eastern and southern Ohio.
And so the settlement at the mouth of the Muskingum at this critical
moment was in every sense a test settlement. There was a chance that
the savages would forget the Kentuckians who had driven them back
to the Lakes and made possible the Ohio Company settlement and turn
upon the New Englanders themselves who now landed at the mouth of the
Muskingum on the 7th of April, 1788, and began their home-building on
the opposite bank of the Muskingum from Fort Harmar.

Here sprang up the rude pioneer settlement which was to be, for more
than a year, the capital of the great new Territory--forever the
historic portal of the Old Northwest. These Revolutionary soldiers
under Putnam combined the two names Marie Antoinette, and named their
capital Marietta in memory of the faithfulness of Frenchmen and France
to the patriot cause. Here arose the stately forest-castle, the Campus
Martius, and near it was built the office of the Ohio Company, where
General Putnam carried on, in behalf of the Ohio Company, the important
business of the settlement. In July, 1788, Governor St. Clair arrived,
and with imposing ceremony the great Territory was formally established
and its governor inaugurated.

Putnam's brave dream had come true. The best blood and brain of New
England were now on the Ohio to shape forever the Old Northwest and
the great States to be made from it. The soldiers were receiving the
promised bounties, and an almost worthless half-a-million dollars had
been redeemed in lands worth many millions. The scheme of colonization,
which was but a moment before a thing of words and paper, became a
living, moving influence of immense power. Another New England on the
Ohio arose full-armed from the specifications of the great Ordinance
and the daring confidence of Rufus Putnam and his colony. South of the
Ohio, the miserable Virginia system of land ownership by tomahawk-claim
was in force from the Monongahela to the Tennessee; north of the Ohio,
the New England township system prevailed. South of the Ohio, slavery
was permitted and encouraged; to the northward, throughout the wide
empire included within the Ordinance, slavery was forever excluded.
Two more fundamental differences could not have existed. And to these
might be added the encouragement given by the Ordinance to religion and
education. The coming of the Ohio Company to Marietta meant many things
to many men, but the one great fundamental fact is of most importance.
The founding of Marietta by Rufus Putnam in reality made possible the
Ordinance of 1787--of which Daniel Webster said, "I doubt whether one
single law of any lawgiver, ancient or modern, has produced effects of
more distinct, marked, and lasting character."

The heroic movement which has justly given Rufus Putnam the title
"Father of Ohio" has been one of the marvellous successes of the first
century of our national expansion. Three other settlements were made
on the Ohio in 1788 near Cincinnati by sons of New Jersey. Within ten
years, Connecticut sent a brave squad of men through the wilderness
of New York to found Cleveland; Virginia sent of her brain and blood
to found one of the most important settlements in Ohio in the fair
Scioto valley. These four settlements, before 1800, in the Black Forest
of Ohio were typically cosmopolitan and had a significant mission in
forming, so far west as Lake Erie and so far south as the lower Ohio,
the cosmopolitan American State par excellence.

But of all these early prompters--Symmes, Cleaveland, Massie, and
Putnam--the last is the most lovable, and the movement he led is the
most significant and interesting. Our subject is so large in all its
leading features, that the personality of Putnam can only be touched
upon. As manager for the Ohio Company, a thousand affairs of both great
and trifling moment were a part of his tiresome routine. Yet the heart
of the colony's leader was warm to the lowliest servant. Many a poor
tired voyager descending the Ohio had cause to know that the founder of
Marietta was as good as a whole nation knew he was brave. In matters
concerning the founding of the "Old Two-Horn," the first church in the
Old Northwest,--and in the organizing of the little academy in the
block-house of the fort, to which Marietta College proudly traces her
founding, the private formative influence of Putnam is seen to clear
advantage. Noble in a great crisis, he was noble still in the lesser
wearing duties of that pioneer colony of which he was the hope and
mainstay. Now called upon by Washington to make the long journey, in
the dark days of 1792 after St. Clair's terrible defeat, to represent
the United States in a treaty with the Illinois Indians on the Wabash;
again, with sweet earnestness settling a difficulty arising between
a tippling clergyman and his church; now, with absolute fairness
and generosity, criticising his brave but high-strung governor for
actions which he regarded as too arbitrary, the character of Rufus
Putnam appeals more and more as a remarkable example of that splendid
simplicity which is the proof and crown of greatness.

A yellow manuscript in Washington's handwriting is preserved in the
New York State Library, which contains his private opinion of the
Revolutionary officers. It is such a paper as Washington would not
have left for the public to read, as it expresses an inside view.
Relatives of a number of these Revolutionary heroes would not read its
simple sentences with pleasure, but the descendants of Rufus Putnam
may remember it with pride: Putnam had not been accused of securing
certificates from his soldiers by improper means; he was not, like
Wayne, "open to flattery--vain"; the odor of a whiskey flask was not
suggested by his name; on the contrary, "he possesses a strong mind
and is a discreet man." Considering the nature and purpose of this
high encomium, it is not less than a hearty "Well done" to a good and
faithful servant.


     _The Grave of David Zeisberger, Moravian Missionary to the
     Indians.--The Great Length of his Service.--His Flight from
     Moravia to Saxony.--Arrival at Bethlehem, Pa.--He studies the
     Mohawk Language.--Visits the Land of the Iroquois and is captured
     as a French Spy.--Imprisoned by Governor Clinton and freed
     by Parliament.--The Iroquois place in his Mission-house the
     Archives of their Nation.--He converts Many Delawares in Western
     Pennsylvania.--His Work interrupted by Pontiac's Rebellion.--The
     Delawares invite him to the Black Forest of Ohio.--He takes with
     him Two Whole Villages of Christian Indians.--Their Unfortunate
     Location between Fort Pitt and Fort Detroit in the Revolutionary
     War.--They are removed by the British to Sandusky.--One Hundred
     of them, being permitted to return, are murdered by the
     Americans.--The Remnant, after Many Hardships, rest for Six Years
     in Canada, and return to Ohio.--Zeisberger's Death._



IN the centre of the old Black Forest of America, near New
Philadelphia, Ohio, a half-forgotten Indian graveyard lies beside the
dusty country road. You may count here several score of graves by the
slight mounds of earth that were raised above them a century or so ago.

At one extremity of this plot of ground an iron railing incloses
another grave, marked by a plain, marble slab, where rest the mortal
remains of a hero, the latchets of whose shoes few men of his race have
been worthy to unloose. And those of us who hold duty a sacred trust,
and likeness unto the Nazarene the first and chiefest duty, will do
well to make the acquaintance of this daring and faithful hero, whose
very memory throws over the darkest period of our history the light
that never was on sea or land.

The grave is that of David Zeisberger, the Moravian missionary to the
Indians in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Canada for fifty
active years, who was buried at this spot at his dying request, that he
might await the Resurrection among his faithful Indians. His record is
perhaps unequalled in point of length of service, by the record of any
missionary of any church or sect in any land at any time. Among stories
of promotion and daring in early America, this one is most unique and
most uplifting.

On a July night in 1726 a man and his wife fled from their home in
Austrian Moravia toward the mountains on the border of Saxony for
conscience' sake. They took with them nothing save their five-year-old
boy, who ran stumbling between them, holding to their hands. The family
of three remained in Saxony ten years. Then the parents emigrated to
America, leaving the son of fifteen years in Saxony to continue his
education. But within a year he took passage for America and joined
his parents in Georgia, just previous to their removal to Bethlehem,

The lad soon became interested in the study of the Delaware Indian
language among the natives of that tribe living along the Susquehanna,
and at once showed great proficiency. Appreciating his talent, the
fathers of the Moravian Church determined to send the young man to
Europe, that in the best universities he might secure the finest
training. He went as far as New York. There, just as his ship was to
sail, he pleaded with tears and on his knees to be allowed to return
to the woods of Pennsylvania and the school of the red men there. The
words of the wise were overcome by those of the youth, and an earnest
soul, as brave as it was earnest, was saved to a life of unparalleled
sacrifice and devotion.

On returning to Bethlehem Zeisberger joined a class that was studying
the Mohawk tongue, the language of that most powerful tribe of the
Iroquois nation which practically controlled, by tomahawk and threat,
all the territory between the colonies and the Mississippi. Soon the
looked-for opportunity of visiting the Iroquois land came, and the
young student was told off to accompany the heroic Frederick Christian
Post. This was in the dark year 1744, only a few months previous to the
outbreak of the Old French War. The lad was now in his twenty-third

In February of the next year, after these two men entered the shadow
of New York, the report was circulated in New York City that two spies
had been captured among the Iroquois, who were guilty of attempting to
win that nation over to the French. Such a charge at this time was
the most serious imaginable, for the contest for the friendship of the
Iroquois between the French on the St. Lawrence and the English on the
Atlantic was now of great importance. Upon that friendship, and the
support it guaranteed, seemed to hang the destiny of the continent. The
report created endless consternation, and the spies were hurried on to
Governor Clinton, who demanded that the younger be brought before him

"Why do you go among the Indians?" asked Clinton, savagely. It was
David Zeisberger to whom he spoke, a youth not daunted by arrogance and

"To learn their language," he replied, calmly.

"And what use will you make of their language?"

"We hope," replied the lad, "to get the liberty to preach among the
Indians the Gospel of our crucified Saviour, and to declare to them
what we have personally experienced of His grace in our hearts."

The Governor was taken aback. This was a strange answer to have come
from a spy's lips. Yet he drove on rough-shod, taking it for granted
that the lad was lying, and that there was an ulterior motive for the
dangerous journey at such a time. Remembering the fort the English had
built near the present site of Rome, New York, and by which they hoped
to command the Mohawk Valley and the portage path to Wood Creek and
Lake Oneida, he continued:

"You observed how many cannon were in Fort William, and how many
soldiers and Indians in the castle?"

"I was not so much as in the fort, nor did I count the soldiers or

Balked and angry, as well as nonplussed, Governor Clinton insisted:

"Our laws require that all travellers in this government of New York
shall swear allegiance to the King of England and have a license from
the Governor."

Governor Clinton's name would certainly not adorn a license for these
men. Whether or not the youth saw the trap, he was as frank as his

"I never before heard of such a law in any country or kingdom in the
world," replied Zeisberger.

"Will you not take the oath?" roared Governor Clinton, amazed.

"I will not," said the prisoner, and he was straightway cast into a
prison, where he and his companion lay for six weeks, until freed by
an ordinance passed by Parliament exempting the missionaries of the
Moravian Church from taking oath to the British crown.

Back into the Iroquois land journeyed the liberated prisoner, and for
ten doubtful years, until 1755, Zeisberger was engaged in learning
the languages of the various tribes of the Six Nations, and in active
missionary service. His success was very great. Perhaps in all the
history of these famous Indians there was no other man, with the
exception of Sir William Johnson, whom they trusted as much as they
trusted David Zeisberger. Cheated on the one hand by the Dutch of New
York, and robbed on the other by agents of the French and the English,
the Iroquois became suspicious of all men; and it is vastly more than
a friendly compliment to record that in his mission-house at Onondaga
they placed the entire archives of their nation, comprising the most
valuable collection of treaties and letters from colonial governors
ever made by an Indian nation on this continent. But war now drove
the missionary away, as throughout his life war was ever to dash his
fondest dreams and ever to drive him back.

At the close of the Old French War, the missionaries of the Moravian
Church were out again upon the Indian trails that led to the North and
West. The first to start was Zeisberger, now in the prime of life,
forty-two years old. But he did not turn northward. A call that he
could not ignore had come to him from the friends of his boyhood days,
the Delawares, who lived now in Western Pennsylvania. With a single
companion he pushed outward to them. Taking up his residence in what
is now Bradford County, Pennsylvania, he soon began to repeat the
successes he had achieved in the Iroquois land, many being converted,
and the whole nation learning to love and trust the earnest preacher.
Then came Pontiac's terrible rebellion. Compelled to hurry back to the
settlements again, Zeisberger awaited the end of that bloody storm,
which swept away every fort in the West save only Fort Pitt and Fort

At last the way was again open, and Zeisberger soon faced the
wilderness. The Church fathers now came to the conclusion that it was
best to extend missionary labor farther than ever before. The entire
West had been saved to England, and the future was bright. It was
Zeisberger to whom they looked, and not for a moment did the veteran

"Whither is the white man going?" asked an old Seneca chieftain of

"To the Alleghany River," was the reply.

"Why does the paleface travel such unknown roads? This is no road for
white people, and no white man has come this trail before."

"Seneca," said the pale man, "the business I am on is different from
that of other white men, and the roads I travel are different too. I am
come to bring the Indian great and good words."

The work now begun in Potter County, and later extended to Lawrence
County, on the Beaver River, in the province of Pennsylvania, was not
less successful than Zeisberger's work in New York. "You are right,"
said the bravest Indian of the nation to his Indian chieftain; "I have
joined the Moravians. Where they go I will go; where they lodge I will
lodge; their God shall be my God." His faith was soon tested, as was
that of all Zeisberger's converts.

For there was yet a farther West. Beyond the Beaver, the Delaware
nation had spread throughout the Black Forest that covered what is
now Ohio to the dots of prairie land on the edge of what is Indiana.
Somewhere here the prairie fires had ceased their devastation. Between
the Wabash and the crest of the Alleghanies lay the heaviest forest
of the old New World. Of its eastern half the Delawares were now
masters, with their capital at Goschgoschunk on the Muskingum, the
present Coshocton, Ohio. The fame of Zeisberger had come even here,
and the grand council of the Delawares sent him a call to bring his
great and good words into the Black Forest. It was an irresistible
appeal. Yet the Moravian Church could not allow Zeisberger to leave the
congregations in Pennsylvania, for no one could take his place. The
brave man gave his answer quickly: "I will take them with me."

He kept his word, and in the Spring of 1772 the heroic man could
have been seen floating down the Beaver and Ohio rivers with two
whole villages of Christian Indians, seeking a new home in the Black
Forest on the Upper Muskingum. Here they founded three settlements
in all, Schönbrunn (Beautiful Spring), Lichtenau (Meadow of Light),
Gnadenhütten (Tents of Grace), where the fabled wanderer is made by
the poet to extend his search for Evangeline. Here the Moravian
missionaries, Zeisberger and his noble assistant, Heckewelder,
spent five marvellously successful years, in what is known as the
first settlements of whites in the present State of Ohio, excepting
such French as had lived in the Lake region. The settlements were
governed by a complete set of published laws, and in many respects
the experiment was an ideality fully achieved. The good influence of
the orderly and devout colony spread throughout the Central West at a
time when every influence was bad and growing rapidly worse. For five
or six years Zeisberger here saw the richest fruit of his life; here
also he was doomed to see what was undoubtedly the most disgraceful and
dastardly crime ever committed in the name of freedom on this continent.


_Missionary to the Indians_]

The Revolutionary War now broke out, as if to despoil wantonly this
aged hero's last and happiest triumph. The Moravians determined upon
the impossible role of neutrality, with their settlements just beside
the hard, wide war-path which ran between Fort Pitt and Fort
Detroit; these were the strongholds, respectively, of the Americans
and the British, who were quarrelling bitterly for the allegiance of
the savages in the Black Forest between them. The policy was wholly
disastrous. For some time the Christian Indians, because the influence
of the past few years had been so uplifting, escaped unharmed. But as
the conflict grew, bitter suspicion arose among both the Americans in
Western Pennsylvania and the British at Sandusky and Detroit.

The British first took action. In 1781 three hundred Indians under
a British officer appeared and ordered the inhabitants of the three
villages to leave the valley they loved and go to Sandusky, where
a stricter watch might be kept over them. Like sheep they were
driven northward, the aged Zeisberger toiling at the head of the
broken-hearted company. As Winter came down from the north, there being
very little food, a company of one hundred Christian Indians obtained
permission to return to their former homes to harvest corn which had
been left standing in the fields. It was an unfortunate moment for the
return, and the borderers on the ravaged Pennsylvania frontier looked
upon the movement with suspicion. It is said that a party of British
Indians, returning from a Pennsylvania raid, left here a sign of their
bloody triumph. Be that as it may, a posse of Americans suddenly
appeared on the scene. The entire company of Moravian sufferers was
surrounded and taken captive. The question was raised, "Shall we take
our prisoners to Pittsburg, or kill them?" The answer of the majority
was, "Kill." The men were hurried into one building and the women into
another, and the murderers went to work.

"My arm fails me," said one desperado, as he knocked his fourteenth
bound victim on the head. "I think I have done pretty well. Go on in
the same way." And that night, as the moon arose above the Tuscarawas,
the wolves and panthers fought in the moonlight for the bodies of
ninety Christian Indians most foully murdered.

Had each been his own child, the great grief of the aged Zeisberger
could not have been more heartrending. After the storm had swept over
him and a shadow of the old peace came back to his stricken heart,
Zeisberger called his children about him and offered a most patient

The record of Zeisberger's resolute faithfulness to the remnant of his
church from this time onward is almost incredible. Like a Moses he led
them always, and first to a temporary home in Macomb County, Michigan.
From there they were in four years driven by the Chippewas. The forlorn
pilgrims now set sail in two sloops on Lake Erie; they took refuge from
a terrible storm in the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. For a time they
rested at a temporary home in Independence Township, Cuyahoga County.
Famine drove them in turn from here. Setting out on foot, Zeisberger
led them next along the shore of Lake Erie westward to the present
site of Milan, Erie County, Ohio. Here they resided until the outbreak
of the savage Indian War of 1791. To escape from this, Zeisberger
secured from the British government a tract of land twelve miles long
and six miles wide for the Moravian Indians along the Grand River in
Canada. Here the pilgrims remained six years. But with the close of the
Indian War, it was possible for them to return to their beloved home
in the Tuscarawas Valley. The United States had given to the Moravian
Church two tracts of land here, embracing the sites of the three towns
formerly built, containing in all twelve thousand acres.

Back to the old home the patriarch Zeisberger brought his little
company in the year 1798. His first duty in the gloomy Gnadenhütten
was not forgotten. With a bowed head and heavy heart the old man and
one assistant gathered from beneath the dense mass of bush and vine,
whither the wild beasts had carried them, the bones of the ninety and
more sacrificed Christians, and over their present resting-place one of
the proudest of monuments now rises. For full ten years more this hero
labored in the shadow of the forests where his happiest days had been
spent, and only as the Winter of 1808 came down upon the valley from
the lakes did his great heart cease beating and his spirit pass through
the heavenly gates.

The dust of this true hero lies, as he requested, surrounded by the
remains of those "brown brethren" whom he led and loved so long, when
all the world reviled them and persecuted them and said all manner of
evil against them falsely. In 1908 the memory of this man will have
blessed us for a full century. Shall not a more appropriate token of
our esteem replace the little slab that now marks that hallowed grave?
And yet no monument can be raised to the memory of David Zeisberger so
valuable or so significant as the little pile of his own manuscripts
collected by Edward Everett and deposited by him under lock and key, in
a special case in the library of Harvard University. Here are fourteen
manuscripts, including a Delaware Indian dictionary, a hymn book, a
harmony of the Gospels, a volume of litanies and liturgies, and a
volume of sermons to children.


     _Clark's Birth and Parentage.--Wholesomeness of the Family's Home
     Life.--Achievements of George and his Five Brothers.--George's
     Lack of Book-learning.--How he became a Surveyor.--Great
     Opportunities enjoyed by Surveyors in his Day.--His Introduction
     to the West.--Learns of George Washington's Great Acquisitions
     of Land.--How Clark acquired his Craving for Liquor.--His
     Acquaintance with the Rev. David Jones, Missionary to the
     Shawnees.--Their Encampment near the Site of Wheeling, W.
     Va.--A Trip to Pittsburg.--His Claim for a Piece of Land on the
     Ohio.--Takes Service in Dunmore's War.--His Work as a Surveyor
     in Kentucky.--Becomes a Leader of Pioneers into Kentucky.--The
     Conflict between Clark and the Transylvania Company.--He becomes
     the Leader of the Kentucky Movement.--His Brilliant Military
     Leadership in the Conquest of Illinois.--The Founding of
     Louisville.--Clark draws a Plan of the Future City.--His Efforts
     to induce Immigration to the Lower Ohio.--He is discarded by the
     State of Virginia._



ABOUT two miles east of Charlottesville, Virginia, and more than a mile
south of Thomas Jefferson's famous homestead, Monticello, on a sunny
knoll by the little Rivianna River, stood the humble farmer's home in
which George Rogers Clark was born, November 19, 1752.

The baby's father and mother, John Clark and Ann Rogers Clark, had
moved into Albemarle County two years before from King-and-Queen
County, Virginia, where they had been married in 1749. Their first
child was born August 1, 1750, and was given his grandfather's name,
Jonathan; this second son was given the name George Rogers, from one of
his mother's brothers--as though his parents had looked with prophetic
vision through the long years to a time when the baby should become the
idol and savior of Kentucky, and had named him from a Kentucky pioneer.

It was a busy farmer's home to which the young child came and in which
he received the first hard lessons of life. His parents were sturdy,
hard-working people, like their ancestors as far back as the records
went, even to the first John Clark, who came from England to Virginia
about the same time that the Puritans came to Plymouth Rock, or to
Giles Rogers, on his mother's side, who also came from England at very
nearly the same time. Giles Rogers's son John married Mary Byrd of the
well-known Virginian Byrd family, and George Rogers Clark's mother was
the second daughter of that union.

Who the boy's playmates may have been we cannot know; his brother
Jonathan was two years his elder, and the two were probably comrades
together on the nursery floor and on the green lawn before the
farmhouse. When George was three years of age his sister Ann was born;
and two years after that, in 1757, his brother John was born. It has
been said that George Clark may have had Thomas Jefferson as a playmate
by the Rivianna, but there is some doubt as to this, though the
friendship of the two in later life was undoubtedly warmer because of
the proximity of their boyhood homes. George's father's land ran down
and adjoined that of Randolph Jefferson--Thomas Jefferson's father. If
the two boys who were to become so famous met and played together it
was probably at the Jefferson Mill, where, it is said, George Clark
used to be sent with grist. As the Clark family moved away from this
neighborhood in 1757, when George was only five years old, it does not
seem likely that he was sent to mill with grist very often.

Soon after John Clark, Jr., was born, George's father and mother
determined upon removing from the Rivianna farm to land patented and
surveyed by Mrs. Clark's father in Caroline County, Virginia, on the
headwaters of York River and just south of the upper Rappahannock.
So, late in the year 1757, we find the father and mother and the
four children, with all their worldly possessions, on their eastward
journey to their new home. The Rivianna farm had been sold for fifteen
hundred dollars, and the family can probably be said to have been in
comfortable circumstances for those days. None of the four children
were of an age to share in the hardships of this removal, but for the
two eldest it must have been an epoch-making event. Jonathan and George
were old enough to enjoy the novelty of the long journey,---the scenes
along the busy roads, the taverns where all was bustle and confusion,
the villages with their shops and stores, the cities where the children
must have felt swallowed up in noise. But at last the new home was
reached, and the family was busily at work preparing for the next
year's crops.

Of the Caroline County home of the Clarks we know little save the
happy record of births of children; yet this in itself gives us a
large picture of the merry household, its great joys, and the host
of little troubles which intensified the gladness and hallowed it.
Within three years Richard Clark was born; Edmund was born September
25, 1762; Lucy, September 15, 1765; Elizabeth, February 11, 1768;
William, August 1, 1770, his brother Jonathan's twentieth birthday; and
Frances, January 20, 1773. Jonathan and George were soon old enough
to be little fathers to the younger children, and Ann must have been
able to help her mother to mend the clothes for her rollicking brothers
at a comparatively early age; and I do not doubt for a moment that
there was a good deal of mending to be done for these boys, for in
later life we know they loved adventure, and they must have had many
a boyish contest of strength and speed with little thought of how
many stitches it would take to make things whole again. This was a
fine farmer's family to look in at of a summer's morning or a winter's
night--just such a family as old Virginia was to depend upon in the
hard days of the Revolution now drawing on apace. And though you
looked the Colonies through from Northern Maine to Southern Georgia,
you could not have found by another fireside six boys in one family
who were to gain so much fame in their country's service as these six.
Jonathan was one of the first men to enter the American army, and he
became a lieutenant-colonel with a splendid record before the war was
ended. His brothers John and Edmund, and perhaps Richard, were in the
Revolutionary armies; all four were recipients of Virginia bounty lands
at the close of the war. George Rogers Clark in the meantime became the
hero of the most famous military expedition in Western history,--the
capture of Vincennes and its British fort and Governor; and William,
the next to the youngest in that merry crowd of ten children, was to
write his name high on the pillar of fame as joint leader of the
memorable Lewis and Clark Expedition through the Louisiana Territory to
the Pacific Ocean in 1804.

It was surely no accident that these lads grew into daring, able men,
for good blood will tell; and Virginia in that day was giving the world
her richest treasures lavishly on the altar of liberty. I know of no
picture of the father of these six boys; but the pictures of George
and William are remarkably similar, showing a strong mark which must
have come directly from one of the grandfathers, either on the Clark
or Rogers side of the family. We may be sure Farmer Clark and his wife
exerted, a strong, wise influence on their children, and Jonathan and
George were called upon at an early age to assist in the management
of the children, to settle disputes, to tie up injured fingers, to
reprimand, and to praise. And in the school of the home and the family
circle these boys received the best and about the only education they
ever had; and it would be well if many a boy nowadays would learn more
in the home of patient, wise parents and a little less from books.

The Clark boys, at least George Clark, would have been benefited by
a little more schooling in books, especially a speller. It is quite
sure that George did not take full advantage of even the few school
privileges that he did have; but while all his letters of later life
are poorly spelled, that may have been his principal weakness, and in
other branches he may have succeeded much better; we know he did in
one. For nine months he was under the instruction of Donald Robertson,
under whom James Madison, afterwards President of the United States,
studied at about the same time. Strangely enough this boy, who would
not learn to be careful with letters, became proficient in the matter
of figures and did well in that most difficult of studies, mathematics.

In Clark's day a boy proficient in mathematics did not have to look far
for a profession which was considered both honorable and lucrative,
and that was the surveyor's profession. It was doubly enticing to a
youth of brains and daring; the call for surveyors to go out into
the rich empire beyond the Alleghanies was loud and continuous, and
had been since Lord Fairfax sent that young Virginia surveyor into
the singing forests of the Upper Potomac before the outbreak of the
Old French War; and from George Washington down, you may count many
boys who went into the West as surveyors and became the first men of
the land. The surveyor had many, if not all, the experiences of the
soldier; and every boy in Virginia envied the soldier of the French
War. The surveyor found the good lands, and here and there surveyed
a tract for himself; this, in time, would become of great value. The
surveyor knew the Indians and their trails; he knew where the best
hunting-grounds and salt-licks were located; he knew where the swamps
lay, and the fever-fogs that clung to them; he knew the rivers, their
best fishing-pools, and how far up and down they were navigable; he was
acquainted with everything a man would wish to know, and he knew of
things which every man wished to escape,--floods, famines, skulking
redskins, fevers. For these reasons the surveyors became the men
needed by generals to guide the armies, by the great land-companies to
point out right fields for speculation, by transportation companies
and quartermasters and traders to designate the best paths to follow
through the black forests. The tried, experienced surveyor was in an
admirable position to secure a comfortable fortune for his labor. While
Washington (the largest landholder in America in Clark's day--and half
his lands in the West) selected in person much of his own land, yet, as
we have seen, the time came when he employed William Crawford to find
new lands for him.

Perhaps young Clark came but slowly to a realization that he could
enter the fine profession of a surveyor; but when the time came to
decide he seized upon the opportunity and the opening with utmost
enthusiasm and energy. Both of his grandfathers had been surveyors
to a greater or less extent; possibly their old instruments were in
his father's possession. If so, these were taken out and dusted, and
the boy was set to work surveying, probably, his father's farm. Its
dimensions were well known, and the boy could be sure of the accuracy
or inaccuracy of his experiments. In time George probably was called
upon to do odd pieces of surveying in the neighborhood in which he
lived; thus the days and the years went by, each one fitting the lad
for his splendid part on the world's stage of action. The first act in
the drama was Clark's introduction to the West--the land of which he
had so often dreamed, and which he now in his twentieth year went to

We cannot be sure just when young Clark set out from his home, but we
find him in the little town of Pittsburg early in the summer of 1772,
and we can well suppose he made the long trip over Braddock's Road from
Virginia with some friends or neighbors from Caroline County, with whom
he joined himself for the purpose of looking at the land of which he
had heard so much, and possibly picking out a little tract of land in
the Ohio Valley for himself. As a surveyor of some experience he was in
a position to offer his services to any one desiring them, and thus
turn an honest penny in the meantime.

Of the wars and bloody skirmishes fought around this town every
Virginia boy had heard; through all of George Rogers Clark's youth
great questions were being debated here in these sunny Alleghany
meadows or in the shadowy forests--and the arguments were of iron and
lead. The French had come down the rivers from the Great Lakes to seize
the Ohio Valley; the colonists had pushed slowly across the Alleghanies
to occupy the same splendid land. Nothing but war could have settled
such a bitter quarrel; and, as the Clark boy now looked for the first
time upon the relics of those small but savage battles, his heart
no doubt warmed to his Virginian patriots who had saved the West to
America. How little did the lad know that there was another savage war
to be fought for this Ohio Valley, and that he himself was to be its

All along the route to Pittsburg the boy and his comrades, whoever
they may have been, kept their eyes open for good farm sites; perhaps
they were surprised to find that all the land beside and adjacent to
Braddock's Road was already "taken up." Washington himself had acquired
that two-hundred-and-thirty-two-acre tract in Great Meadows where
Fort Necessity stood; not far from Stewart's Crossing (Connellsville,
Pa.) Washington had the other piece of land with the mill on it.
Everywhere Clark went in the West he found land which had been taken
up by the shrewd Mount Vernon farmer or his agents. I do not believe
Clark begrudged Washington a single acre, but was, on the other hand,
pleased to know that the Colonel was to receive some good return for
all his hard campaigning in the West in addition to his paltry pay as
an officer.

Clark passed as a young gentleman among the strange, rough populace of
infant Pittsburg, where fighting, drinking, and quarrelling were going
on in every public place; I can see the boy as he went about the rude
town and listened to the talk of the traders and the loungers who
filled the taverns and stores. It might have been at this time that the
boy first began to satisfy an honest thirst with dishonest liquids,
which would in time become his worst enemy and sadly dull the lustre
of as bright a name as any man could win. Of course we must remember
that at that day it was highly polite and gentlemanly to take an
"eye-opener" every morning and a "night-cap" every night, and drink the
health of friends often between times; yet no young man but was injured
by this awakening of an unknown craving, and, in the case of our hero,
it was to prove a craving that would cost him almost all the great
honors that he should win.

The lad looked with wide-open eyes, no doubt, at the remains of old
Fort Duquesne, where many brave Virginians had lost their lives; for
many had been fiendishly put to death by savages driven to bitter
hatred by French taunts and made inhuman by French brandy. He must
have been greatly interested in little Fort Pitt, which had withstood
the wild attacks of Pontiac's most desperate hell-hounds of war, the
Shawnees. Here, if anywhere on the continent, men had been brave;
here, if anywhere, men had dropped into deathless graves. He was
greatly interested in the future, though the ringing notes of the past
must have stirred his heart deeply; and I can see the lad with bended
head listening to catch every word of a speaker who would talk of the
present feeling of the dreaded Shawnees, who refused to acknowledge
that the Six Nations had any right to sell to white men their fine
hunting-grounds between the Ohio and the Tennessee.

[Illustration: REV. DAVID JONES

_Companion of George Rogers Clark_]

When we hear directly of Clark in Pittsburg he was in admirably good
company and well spoken of; he had fallen in with the Rev. David Jones,
the enterprising Baptist missionary from New Jersey, who had come
into the West on a joint mission concerning both the possibilities of
missionary service among the Shawnees on the Scioto, and Franklin's
proposed settlement on the eastern bank of the Ohio River. He was,
therefore, a prospector for land and for missionary openings--a good
man for the lad Clark to know. Mr. Jones was thirty-six years of age,
enthusiastic and brave, or he would not have been on the Ohio in 1772.
He was old enough to remember well the story of the Old French War,
as well as Pontiac's Rebellion, and the story of the West from that
day down. Of this, no doubt, the two talked freely. Mr. Jones kept a
diary, and his record for Tuesday, June 9, reads: "... Left Fort Pitt
in company with Mr. George Rogers Clark, and several others, who were
disposed to make a tour through this new world." Gliding on down the
Ohio, the canoe and its adventurous pilgrims were glad to get safely
by the Mingo town near Steubenville, Ohio, whose Indian inhabitants
(remnants of the Iroquois Indians, in the West known as Mingoes) were
desperate savages, canoe plundering being the least harm that might
be expected from them. Farther down, at the mouth of Grave Creek,
near where Wheeling, West Virginia, now stands, the party camped;
here Mr. Jones's interpreter, David Owens, joined them, having come
across country from the Monongahela River. This spot was to become
an important point on the Upper Ohio; it was to become well known to
the young adventurer, who now looked upon it for the first time; it
was soon to become his first home in the West. But for the present he
went on with Mr. Jones. The party proceeded as far down as the mouth
of the Little Kanawha River, where Parkersburg, West Virginia, now
stands. Returning up the river June 24, they reached Grave Creek within
two weeks; the party, including at least Higgins and the interpreter
Owens together with Jones and Clark, started on an overland trip to the
Monongahela. Jones records:

     "... Therefore moved up to Grave Creek, leaving there our canoes;
     crossed the desert (wilderness) to Ten Mile Creek, which empties
     into [the] Monongahela.... The season was very warm; all except
     myself had loads to carry, so that on the 2d day of July, with
     much fatigue we arrived to the inhabitants [at the settlements],
     faint, weak, weary, and hungry--especially Mr. Clark and myself."

The size of the settlement can be judged from the fact that on the
second Sunday of Mr. Jones's stay on George's Creek he preached to a
congregation of about two hundred.

On July 14 the four travellers set out again overland for Fort Pitt.
They reached the fort on Wednesday, July 22, and the Virginia boy was
probably glad to leave the forests and the river for a while and rest
quietly in the little village of Pittsburg. For one thing, he had
some letters to write, and we can imagine how anxious the friends at
home were to hear from him. Would he like the country? Would he wish
to stay in the West? Would he want the other members of the family to
emigrate there too? These were some of the questions his parents and
brothers and sisters were asking in the old home in Caroline County
as the summer days went by. We are certain that Clark was immensely
pleased with all he had seen; whether it was pushing a canoe down the
rivers, or sleeping on a river's shore with the water babbling beside
him, or carrying a pack over the "blind" trails of the old Southwest,
he loved the land, its freshness, the freedom of its forests, the air
of hope and adventure which pervaded everything and everybody. All this
appealed to him and fascinated him.

After a good rest he hurried on home in the wake of his glowing
letters, to enforce them, and if possible to induce the home people
to come quickly to obtain the good lands before they were all taken.
Before he went it is probable that he entered his claim for a piece
of land on the Ohio near the mouth of Fish Creek, some thirty miles
below the present site of Wheeling. How interesting must have been
that home-coming! What a fine picture that would be, if we could see
the young lad, who was to be the hero of the West, sitting before
his father's doorstep, describing to a silent audience of relatives
and neighbors the grandeur and greatness of the West, the crowds of
immigrants, the growing villages, the conflicts between the white and
the red men! Perhaps he drew a rough map of the Ohio in the sand at
the foot of the front doorsteps, showing where his claim was located,
and where Washington's rich tracts were located. Then he told of the
Ohio, its islands and its fierce eddies, of the Indian trails that
wound along on the "hog-backs" from settlement to settlement, of the
great mounds which the ancient giants (as people once thought the
mound-building Indians were) built beside the Ohio. And then at last he
told of his purpose to return and live in that country and grow up with

The records of the next few years were very much confused. Young
Clark visited various portions of the West, perhaps remaining longest
at a claim he took up near the mouth of Grave Creek, on the present
site of Moundsville, West Virginia, from which point he addressed
letters to his brother Jonathan, January 9, 1773. In the Spring of
the next year he formed one of Captain Cressap's party assembled at
Wheeling in readiness for service in Dunmore's War. In this war Clark
saw considerable service, following Dunmore's wing of the army, but
not participating in the battle at Point Pleasant, which was fought
by General Lewis. In the Spring of the year following, 1775, we find
Clark returning again to his original mission in the West,--that of
surveying land and securing tracts for himself. "I have engaged,"
he wrote his brother Jonathan from Stewart's Crossing, "as a deputy
surveyor under Cap'n Hancock Lee, for to lay out lands on ye Kentuck,
for ye Ohio company, at ye rate of 80£ pr. year, and ye privilege of
taking what land I want." Midsummer found him at Leestown, a mile below
Frankfort, seventy miles up the Kentucky River, where he said fifty
families would be living by Christmas time. The public, however, needed
the service of the young man, and it is plain that his experience
in the war had been serviceable, for he was made commander of the
scattered militia of Kentucky. During the next Winter, however, we find
him again in Virginia; it is probable that his constant moving about
had brought advantages, though his private affairs may have suffered
more or less from neglect. The Spring of the next year he was back
in Kentucky, and soon, in no uncertain way, the leader of the busy
swarms of pioneers. "He was brave, energetic, bold," writes William H.
English, "prepossessing in appearance, of pleasing manners, and in fact
with all the qualities calculated to win from a frontier people. The
unorganized and chaotic condition of the company needed such a man, and
the man had come."

It is interesting to notice the conflict which was precipitated between
Clark as leader of the pioneers and Richard Henderson's Transylvania
Company, and a pleasure to note that Clark never seemed to speak or
act in a vindictive way with reference to Henderson's questionable
purchase; in fact he wrote to his brother in 1775:

     "Colonel Henderson is here and claims all ye country below
     Kentucke. If his claim should be good, land may be got reasonable
     enough, and as good as any in ye world. My father talked of seeing
     this land in August. I shall not advise him whether to come or
     not; but I am convinced that if he once sees ye country he will
     never rest until he gets on it to live. I am ingrossing all ye
     land I possibly can, expecting him."

It is plain from this quotation that Richard Henderson was the friend
of the Kentucky pioneer. But there was a very important question to
be settled immediately; did Kentucky belong to Virginia or was it
independent? What was its political status? It was decided to get at
the facts of the case, and Clark was instrumental before all others in
calling a mass meeting of Kentucky pioneers at Harrodstown, June 6,
1776, where he expected that two or more "agents" would be selected
by the people with general power to consult Virginia as to the legal
status of "Transylvania." Clark arrived late at this meeting, and
on arrival found that he himself, and John Gabriel Jones, had been
selected, not as agents, but as actual "members of the Virginia
Legislature," to represent a County of Kentucky. The Transylvania
Company had performed its important mission, and Richard Henderson was
reimbursed for any losses incurred. George Rogers Clark now steps into
the position occupied by Henderson as the leader and sustainer of the
Kentucky movement.

The brilliancy of Clark's military leadership during the next few
years, while he was effecting a conquest of Illinois, has entirely
put into shade the genuine influence and merit of his service
previously rendered. No herald of empire in the Middle West who was
especially prominent in military affairs did more to accelerate and
assure the victory of the army of axe-bearing pioneers than did George
Rogers Clark in these critical years, 1775, 1776, and 1777. He fell
heir, though a mere boy, to a day's responsibility and taxing toils
relinquished by Richard Henderson; and it would not be too much to say,
perhaps, that were we to omit the humble, less spectacular services
that were performed in these three years, or the renowned service
heroically performed in 1778 and 1779, the nation could more easily
spare those of the later period. But as Clark now went eastward as a
delegate to the Virginia Legislature, he appreciated more and more that
the danger of Kentucky lay in the two British forts at Kaskaskia and
Vincennes; not because of the proximity of the troops there located,
but because of the baneful influence exerted upon all the neighboring
Indian tribes by English officers and American renegades who occupied
them. The campaign in Illinois, prosecuted with so much brilliancy
and renown, had for its vital motive not the conquest of thousands of
forest-strewn miles of wilderness, but rather the salvation of the
pioneer settlers in _Ken-ta-kee_. Any other view of the matter would be
a serious error.

The proud city of Louisville dates its founding from Clark's famous
Illinois campaign, for while descending the Ohio River he left some
twenty families on Corn Island, May 27, 1778, who were the first of
their race to make a permanent home within the sound of the chattering
waters of the historic Falls of Ohio, first visited by La Salle over
a hundred years before. In less than a year the settlement was moved
to the Kentucky shore, and a fort was built at the foot of what is now
Twelfth Street, in what was then the town of Falls of Ohio, the present
Louisville. General Clark may be justly called the founder of that
city, as it was his decision that made "The Falls" the rendezvous and
metropolis of the Lower Ohio. "This action," writes Mr. English, "and
the security given by the forts he caused to be built there, attracted
the first settlers and fixed the future destiny of Louisville,
Jeffersonville, and New Albany.... Clark undoubtedly gave the matter
much thought, and looked far into the future in making this selection.
He expected two great cities to arise some day at the Falls; first
Louisville, to be followed later, as the country became populous, by
one on the other side of the river, which he hoped would bear his name.
But, until Virginia made the grant for Clarksville, the plan of what he
expected would be a great city at Louisville absorbed his attention."
One of his first acts was to draw a map of the future city, marking the
public and private divisions of land as he would have had them located;
in this plan he left a number of vacant spaces for public parks, and it
is one of the vain regrets of the citizens of the present city that the
plan of General Clark in this respect could not have been remembered.

It is important to notice that Clark believed that the best way to
maintain the conquest of Illinois was by inducing immigration to the
Lower Ohio and the building up of a strong pioneer colony, not in
Illinois, but along the river. "Our only chance at present," he wrote
to Colonel John Todd, the Governor of Illinois County, "to save that
country is by encouraging the families; but I am sensible nothing but
land will do it. I should be exceedingly cautious in doing anything
that would displease the Government [Virginia], but their present
interest, in many respects obvious to us here, calls so loudly for
it, that I think, sir, that you might even venture to give a deed for
forty or fifty thousand acres of land at said place at the price that
Government may demand for it."

The place referred to here is not Louisville, but near the mouth of
the Ohio River. In fact it is very plain from many sources that Clark
was the prime mover in the settlement of the Lower Ohio up to the year
1783, when he was wantonly and ignominiously turned adrift by the State
of Virginia, which then owed him thirty thousand dollars, with only
four shillings in its treasury. The latter portion of Clark's life
is not one which we are proud to remember, but he never sank so low
that the nation has been able to forget his brilliant and persistent
courage. There was ground for his bitter cry: "I have given the United
States half the territory they possess, and for them to suffer me to
remain in poverty, in consequence of it, will not redound much to their
honor." It is little comfort that nearly thirteen years after his
death the sum justly owed to the man was paid to his heirs. The memory
of Clark's leadership of the army that bore the sword is a precious
inheritance; the facts respecting his equally important enthusiasm and
earnestness in leading the scattered cohorts of the army bearing the
broadaxe should likewise have a place in history.


     _Importance of the Cumberland Road.--Expected to be a Bond of
     Union between East and West.--Roads of Former Days only Indian
     Trails.--The Cumberland Road made between 1806 and 1840.--Promoted
     by Gallatin and Clay.--Undertaken by Congress, 1802.--The
     Road a Necessity for the Stream of Immigration after the
     Revolution.--Open for Traffic to the Ohio, 1818.--Other Internal
     Improvements now undertaken.--The first Macadamized Roads earlier
     than this Cumberland Road.--The Great Cost of Macadamizing this
     Road.--Disputes as to the Government's Constitutional Right to
     build it.--Ohio demands that the Road be continued, according
     to the Act admitting her to Statehood.--The Road's Progress
     to Vandalia.--Unanimity of Western Members in Favor of the
     Road.--Toll-gates are erected.--Lively Scenes on the Road in Old
     Times.--Sums appropriated for it by Congress.--Why Henry Clay
     championed the Undertaking._



IT may be said without fear of contradiction that the subject of the
Panama and Nicaragua canals has not received more popular attention
in this day and generation than our first and greatest national
highway--legally known as the Cumberland Road, from its starting
point--received in the first generation of the nineteenth century.

For it was clear to the blindest that the great empire west of the
Alleghanies, of which Washington dreamed and planned, where Zeisberger
labored and built the first home, and to which brave Henderson and
Putnam led their colonies of patriots, must soon be bound to the Union
by something stronger than Indian trails. France and England had
owned this West and lost it; could the little Republic born in the
fierce fires of 1775 hold what they--proud kingdoms--had lost? Could
it mock the European doctrine that, in time, mountains inevitably
become boundaries of empires? Those little States of which Berkeley
sang, placed by the hand of God as rebukes to lustful and universal
dominion--were they needed in the destinies of America? Such questions
were asked freely in those hard days which succeeded the Revolution.
Then the whole world looked upon the East and the West as realms as
distinct as Italy and France, and for the same geographical reason.
England and Spain had their vast "spheres of influence" marked out as
plainly in America then as Germany and France and Russia have theirs
marked in the China of to-day. Kentucky became a hotbed of foreign
emissaries, and the whirl of politics in that pivotal region a decade
after the Revolution will daunt even the student of modern Kentucky
politics. So patriotic and so faithful is that eastern West to-day that
it is difficult to believe by what a fragile thread it hung to the
trembling Republic on the Atlantic slope--"one nation to-day, thirteen
to-morrow"--in those black days when Wilkinson and Burr and even George
Rogers Clark "played fast and loose with conspiracy."

The Indian trails were the threads which first bound the East and the
West. Soon a large number of these threads were twisted, so to speak,
into a few cords--hard, rough pioneer roadways which wound in and out
among the great trees and morasses in the forest shades. Then came a
few great, well-built (for their day) roadways which meant as much
commercially and politically, in their age, as the steel hawsers which
in our time have bound and welded a great people so closely together.

The greatest of these old-time highways was that wide avenue opened
from Cumberland, Maryland, through Pennsylvania, the "Panhandle,"
and on across Ohio, between 1806 and 1840. It is popularly known as
the Old National Road; its legal name was the Cumberland Road. It
was the logical result of Washington's cherished plan of binding the
trans-Alleghany region firmly to the East. It was largely promoted
by Albert Gallatin, who in 1806 made a report, as Secretary of the
Treasury, strongly urging such works of internal improvement. But its
best friend and stanchest champion was Henry Clay; and beside it stands
to-day a monument to his memory near the little hamlet which bears his
name--Claysville, Pennsylvania.

[Illustration: HENRY CLAY

_Statesman and Abolitionist_]

This great road was born in the Act of Congress of 1802, which enabled
the State of Ohio to enter the Union. Section VII of that act decreed
that the money received from the sale of one-twentieth of the public
lands in Ohio should be applied to building roads from the navigable
waters of Atlantic streams to and within the new State "under
the authority of Congress." The matter was put in charge of the War
Department, and soon commissioners appointed by the President of the
United States were surveying a route for a national road from East to
West. The first government appropriation was dated 1806, and was thirty
thousand dollars.

Words cannot describe the intense wave of enthusiasm which swept over
the West when it was known that this mighty new power in Western life
was actually to come into existence. Our government never carried out a
more timely or popular measure, for it was as timely as it was popular.
When the Revolutionary War was over, a great stream of immigration
poured into the West, but the Indian War of 1790-95 severely checked
it. With the treaty of Greenville the great social movement again
began, and the War of 1812, in turn, again interfered to postpone the
genuine settlement of the old Northwest. This national road was begun
at Cumberland, Maryland, in 1811, and, even in the dark days of the
war, was slowly pushed along over the Alleghanies by way of Uniontown
and Washington, Pennsylvania, toward Wheeling on the Ohio River. When
the war was over it was nearing its destination, and in 1818 was open
for traffic to the Ohio.

If studied closely, the last three years of the second decade of the
nineteenth century are fascinating years to a student of our national
expansion. The beginning of successful steam navigation on the Ohio
and its tributaries, and the completion of the Cumberland National
Road to the Ohio, were largely responsible for this. Such impressive
material advances, coming at the time when both Great Britain and the
Indians had been effectually disposed of (so far as national growth
was concerned), gave enthusiasm to the eager spirit of the time.
Great deeds were proposed; great economic questions began to be faced
and fought out as never before. The many-sided question of internal
improvements, the beginning of the Erie Canal, the opening of the
Lehigh coal fields, the problem of applying the power of steam to
vehicles as well as vessels, the difficult problem solved later by
the Missouri Compromise, and the one involved in Birkbeck's English
Prairie settlement in Illinois, the problem of steam navigation on the
Great Lakes,--all these and many more like them were the topics of
the hour when this Cumberland Road, the first of all our great feats
of improvement, reached and then threw itself across the Ohio River.
Measured by the hopes it inspired and not by miles, judged by the power
it was expected to exert in national life and not by the ruins that now
mark its ancient track, this road from the Potomac to the Mississippi
must be considered a most significant monument to those wild but
splendid years when as a people we were first facing some of the most
fundamental questions of existence. There comes in every boy's life
a period when he shoots suddenly out and up to the stature of a man.
Young America sprang up like that in those momentous years.

Nearly a score of years before the Cumberland Road was built, the first
macadamized road in the United States, the Lancaster Turnpike, was
constructed by a private company between Philadelphia and Lancaster,
Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania had macadamized portions of her highway
across the mountains by way of Chambersburg and Bedford to Pittsburg.
But on no highway was the principle of macadamization carried so
far as on the Cumberland Road. The cost was found to be prodigious.
Between Cumberland, Maryland, and Uniontown, Pennsylvania, it was
$9745 per mile instead of $6000, which the commissioners estimated,
without bridging. Between Uniontown and Wheeling the cost ran up to
the startling average of about $13,000 per mile--within $800 of the
estimated cost per mile of the Erie Canal. Too liberal contracts
accounted, in part, at least, for this extravagance. The stones used
were reduced to four ounces each and spread in three layers, traffic
being permitted for a time over each layer in succession. No covering
was laid until these layers had become comparatively solid. Catch-water
drains, with a gradual curvature, were located at proper distances.

Several of the officers in charge of the work stand high in the
estimation of their countrymen. There was McKee, who fell at Buena
Vista, and Williams, who gave his life to his country at Monterey;
there were Gratiot, Delafield, Bliss, Bartlett, Hartzell, Colquit,
Cass, Vance, Pickell; and there was Mansfield, who, as major-general,
fell at Antietam. Among the names in one of the surveying corps is
recorded that of Joseph E. Johnston.

This national road rested legally upon an interpretation of the
Constitution held by those who favored internal improvement as a
means of investing the Government's surplus. A great plan had been
outlined in 1806 by Albert Gallatin, then Secretary of the Treasury.
The Constitution gives the Government the right to regulate post-roads
and the mails. This implied the right, the promoters of internal
improvement argued, to build roads, with the sanction of the States
through which such roads passed. There were those who opposed the
theory, and even from the very beginning there was strong opposition
by strict constructionists to the road appropriations. The very first
vote on the first appropriation was 66 to 50, showing that at the start
there was almost an even division on the legality of the question.
The opposition increased as greater and still greater sums were asked
of the Treasury each year. Three hundred thousand dollars was asked
in 1816, and more in 1818. In the next year the tremendous amount of
$535,000 was asked for and voted. It is little wonder that Congress
was staggered by the amount of money absorbed by this one road. What
if other national roads proposed--through the South and northward from
Washington to Buffalo--should demand equally large sums? It was easily
to be seen that the entire revenue of the Government could readily be
spent in filling up the bog-holes of American roads with limestone.

[Illustration: ALBERT GALLATIN

_Promoter of the Cumberland Road_]

Yet the policy of internal improvements was a popular one, advocated
by politicians and applauded by the people; and every year, despite
the same Constitutional arguments advanced, and though at times the
opposing forces had their way, the Cumberland Road bills came back for
reconsideration, and were at last passed.

But it finally appeared that the matter of getting the road repaired
when once it was built was a more serious question than the mere
building problem. Members of Congress who had been persuaded to give
their vote for the initial expense bolted outright on voting money
each year to extend the road farther westward and also repair the
portions already built. The matter was precipitated in 1822, when a
bill was presented to the House and Senate providing that toll-gates
be erected and that the Government should charge travellers for the
use of the road. The bill passed both branches of Congress, but it was
vetoed immediately by President Monroe on the ground that the national
Government could not collect toll unless, as sovereign, it owned the
ground that the road occupied. This was an interesting question, and
one of great importance, bringing as it did upon Congress an earnest
discussion bordering on the intricate problem of States Rights. Mr.
Clay urged that if the Government had a right to build the road it had
the right to preserve it from falling into decay. Of course there was
now, as always, a strong opposition to the road on the general ground
of Constitutionality; but those who were aware that their objections
to the road would be overruled by the majority, in any event, took the
consistent ground that if they could not prevent the enactments of laws
they could, by passing laws creating toll-gates, relieve the Government
at least from the expense of repairing the road.

As President Monroe, however, did not agree with or believe in the
original right to build the road, he was compelled to deny the
Government's right to charge toll on roads in the various States. He
outlined his conclusions and returned the bill vetoed.

A cry which shook the country went up from the West. In the act which
admitted Ohio to the Union, five per cent of money received from the
sale of lands was, as before noted, to be applied by the Government to
the building of roads to and in the West. Of this five per cent, three
was to be devoted to building roads within the State of Ohio, and two
per cent toward the expense of building a road from Atlantic tide-water
to Ohio, according to a supplementary law passed March 3, 1803. By
allowing the Cumberland Road to stop at Ohio's eastern boundary, the
Government was "breaking faith" with the West. This must not be, and
therefore in 1824 President Monroe found an excuse to sign another
Cumberland Road bill. The technicality honestly raised by Monroe was
against the spirit of the times and the genius of the age. Legal
technicalities were put aside, and the great road swept on westward;
it was ordered to be projected through the capitals of Ohio, Indiana,
and Illinois to Jefferson, Missouri. It reached Columbus in 1833, and
Indianapolis about 1840. It was graded to Vandalia, then the capital
of Illinois, and marked out to Jefferson, Missouri, but was never
completed under national auspices.

It is to be observed that the Cumberland Road went forward largely
because of the compact between the State of Ohio and the national
Government. Knowing, as we now do, that the road was one of the most
important material items in our national growth, it must seem fortunate
from any point of view that the Ohio compact was made when and as it
was. By its terms the Government was to build a road with the money
accruing from a certain source. The originators of the compact seemed
to have no real knowledge of the questions at issue, either concerning
the amount of money needed for the purpose of building the road from
tide-water to the Ohio River, or of the amount that was likely to
accrue from the source indicated. What if the fund produced from the
sales of land was not sufficient to build the road? For some time the
appropriations were made on the theory that the money would eventually
come back into the treasury from the land sales; but it soon became
plain that there was not a hope left that even fifty per cent of the
amount expended would return from the expected source.

When this fact became patent, the friends of the road were put to
their utmost to maintain its cause; some interesting points were
raised that could not but weigh heavily with men of generous good
sense, such as this: surveys had been made outlining the course of
the road far in advance of the portion that was being actually built,
and some of the States were planning all their roads with reference
to this great Appian Way that was to be the main highway across the
continent. Large preparations had been made here and there along
the proposed route by those owning property, in the way of building
taverns and road houses, not to speak of villages that sprang up in a
night at points where it seemed certain the road would meet important
branch roads. Throughout the years when the Cumberland Road bills
were under discussion it is of particular interest to note how men
were influenced by the greater, more fundamental human arguments,
rather than by mere technical or legal points. Of course the Western
members were without a dissenting voice in favor of the road. And when
Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri were successively admitted to the
Union, a similar provision concerning the sale of public lands and
road-building was inserted as in the case of Ohio; and though it is
not clear that any one believed the source of income was equal to the
object to be benefited, yet the magnanimous legislation went on without
a pause through the twenties and into the thirties. In the Senate, for
instance, the opposition to the road bills could usually depend on two
solid votes from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and New
York; and one vote, ordinarily, from Maine, Connecticut, New Jersey,
Delaware, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Alabama. On minor points other
votes could be temporarily secured, but on the main question there was
always a safe majority in favor of the enterprise. However, it is plain
the opposition to the road was sectional only in the sense that it
came from the States not to be directly benefited. Though two or more
New England votes could be depended upon in the Senate to be thrown
against a Cumberland Road bill, yet such a man as Edward Everett said
in an address at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1829: "The State of which
I am a citizen [Massachusetts] has already paid between one and two
thousand dollars toward the construction and repair of that road; and
I doubt not she is prepared to contribute her proportion toward its
extension to the place of its destination." But, it must be remembered,
Everett was one who caught as few others did the spirit of our genius
for expansion, the man who in 1835 uttered the marvellous words:
"Intercourse between the mighty interior West and the seacoast is the
great principle of our commercial prosperity."

If there is one practical lesson in all the peculiar history of the
one national road that America built (for the others proposed were
never constructed), it is with reference to the repairing of the road.
At first it seemed that the great question was merely to obtain funds
for the first cost of making the road. But it soon appeared that the
far greater question was to operate and repair the road; it was well
enough that the Government build the road, seemingly, but it was
early realized that a local power must control the road and see to
its repairs, or an enormous waste of public money would result. The
experience of those years brought home the lesson that the problem
of maintenance and operation is far more serious than the problem of
original cost.

The objection raised to the Government's erecting toll-gates and
collecting tolls, as implying sovereignty over the land occupied
by the road, was at last silenced by allowing each State through
which the road passed to accept it from the Government as fast as
it was completed, and to take charge of its operation and control.
Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio accepted completed
portions between 1831 and 1834. Toll-gates were immediately erected
by State authorities, and tolls collected. From her twelve toll-gates
Pennsylvania received over $37,000 in the twenty months following May
1, 1843. In the most prosperous year in Ohio, 1839, the treasurer of
that State received $62,496.10 from the National Road tolls. What per
cent received by toll-gate keepers was actually turned in cannot be
discussed, as those were the "good old days." Each toll-gate keeper, it
must be observed, retained two hundred dollars per annum as salary, and
five per cent of all receipts above one thousand dollars at this time.
This fast and loose system was the means of discovering some great
rascals. Between 1831 and 1877 Ohio received $1,139,795.30 from the
Cumberland Road in tolls.

These sober statistics give only a hint of those gay, picturesque
days when this highway was a teeming thoroughfare, lined with towns
of national importance that are now forgotten, and with thousands of
taverns and road-houses, even the foundation-stones of which have
vanished from the old-time sites. Great stagecoach lines operated here,
known as widely in their day as the railways are now, their proprietors
boasting over rival lines in points of speed, safety, and appointments.
The largest company on the Cumberland Road was the National Road
Stage Company, with headquarters at Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The Ohio
National Stage Company was the most important west of the Ohio River.
There were the "Good Intent" line, and the "Landlords," "Pioneer,"
"June Bug," and "Pilot" lines. Fine coaches bore names as aristocratic
as our Pullman cars do to-day. There were "trusts" and "combinations,"
quarrels and lawsuits, worthy of the pen of any sensational
magazine-writer or novelist.

The advertisement of an "opposition" stagecoach line of 1837 is of
interest on several accounts:


                    DEFIANCE FAST LINE COACHES


     FROM WHEELING, VA., to Cincinnati, O., via Zanesville, Columbus,
     Springfield, and intermediate points.

           Through in less time than any other line.

           "_By opposition the people are well served._"

     The Defiance Fast Line connects at Wheeling, Va., with Reside &
     Co.'s Two Superior daily lines to Baltimore, McNair and Co.'s
     Mail Coach line, via Bedford, Chambersburg, and the Columbia
     and Harrisburg Rail Roads to Philadelphia being the only direct
     line from Wheeling--: also with the only coach line from Wheeling
     to Pittsburg, via Washington, Pa., and with numerous cross lines
     in Ohio.

The proprietors having been released on the 1st inst. from burthen of
carrying the great mail (which will retard any line), are now enabled
to run through in a shorter time than any other line on the road. They
will use every exertion to accommodate the travelling public. With
stock infinitely superior to any on the road, they flatter themselves
they will be able to give general satisfaction; and believe the public
are aware, from past experience, that a liberal patronage to the above
line will prevent impositions in high rates of fare by any stage

The proprietors of the Defiance Fast Line are making the necessary
arrangements to stock the Sandusky and Cleveland Routes also from
Springfield to Dayton--which will be done during the month of July.

All baggage and parcels only received at the risk of the owners thereof.

    JNO. W. WEAVER & CO.,
  _From Wheeling to Columbus, Ohio_.
    F. M. WRIGHT,
  _From Columbus to Cincinnati_.

The Cumberland Road became instantly a great mail-route to Cincinnati
and St. Louis; from these points mails were forwarded by packets
to Louisville, Huntsville, Alabama, Nashville, Tennessee, and all
Mississippi points. Mails from Washington reached the West in 1837 as

  Washington to Wheeling          30 hours
  Washington to Columbus          45-1/2 hours
  Washington to Indianapolis      65-1/2 hours
  Washington to Vandalia          85-1/2 hours
  Washington to St. Louis         94 hours

Nashville was reached from Louisville by packet in twenty-one hours,
Mobile in eighty hours, and New Orleans in one hundred and sixty-five

Some of the larger appropriations for the Cumberland Road were:

  1813      $140,000
  1816       300,000
  1819       535,000
  1830       215,000
  1833       459,000
  1834       750,000
  1835       646,186
  1836       600,000
  1838       459,000

The total of thirty-four appropriations from March 29, 1806, to June
17, 1844, was $6,824,919.33.

The old road was well built; nothing proves this so well as the
following advertisement for bids for repairing it in Ohio in 1838:

     "Sealed proposals will be received at Toll-gate No. 4, until the
     6th day of March next, for repairing that part of the road lying
     between the beginning of the 23rd and end of the 42nd mile, and if
     suitable bids are obtained, and not otherwise, contracts will be
     made at Bradshaw's hotel in Fairview, on the 8th. Those who desire
     contracts are expected to attend in person, in order to sign their

     "On this part of the Road three hundred rods or upwards (82-1/2
     cubic feet each) will be required on each mile, of the best
     quality of limestone, broken evenly into blocks not exceeding four
     ounces in weight each; and specimens of the material proposed must
     be furnished, in quantity not less than six cubic inches, broken
     and neatly put up in a box, and accompanying each bid; which will
     be returned and taken as the standard, both as it regards the
     quality of the material and the preparation of it at the time of
     measurement and inspection.

     "The following conditions will be mutually understood as entering
     into, and forming a part of the contract, namely: The 23, 24, and
     25 miles to be ready for measurement and inspection on the 25th
     of July; the 26, 27, and 28 miles on the 1st of August; the 29,
     30, and 31 miles on the 15th of August; the 32, 33, and 34 miles
     on the 1st of September; the 35, 36, 37 miles on the 15th of
     September; the 38, 39, and 40 miles on the 1st of October; and the
     41 and 42 miles, if let, will be examined at the same time.

     "Any failure to be ready for inspection at the time above
     specified, will incur a penalty of five per cent for every two
     days' delay, until the whole penalty shall amount to 25 per cent
     on the contract paid. All the piles must be neatly put up for
     measurement and no pile will be measured on this part of the work
     containing less than five rods. Whenever a pile is placed upon
     deceptive ground, whether discovered at the time of measurement or
     afterward, half its contents shall in every case be forfeited for
     the use of the road.

     "Proposals will also be received at the American Hotel in
     Columbus, on the 15th of March, for hauling broken materials from
     the penitentiary east of Columbus. Bids are solicited on the 1,
     2, and 3 miles counting from a point near the Toll-gate towards
     the city. Bids will also be received at the same time and place,
     for collecting and breaking all the old stone that lies along
     the roadside, between Columbus and Kirkersville, neatly put in
     piles of not less than two rods, and placed on the outside of the


_Appointed Governor of Ohio by Congress_]

The dawning of the era of slackwater navigation and of the locomotive
brought the public to the realization, however, that a macadamized road
was not in 1838 all the wonder that it was thought to be in 1806. But
in its day the Cumberland Road was a tremendous power in opening a new
country, in giving hope to a brave but secluded people who had won and
held the West for the Union. This was why Henry Clay championed the
movement, and why he should be remembered therefor. As a Kentuckian he
knew the Western problem, and with the swiftness of genius he caught
the true intent and deeper meaning of a great national work such as the
building of such a material bond of union. Nothing has done so much for
civilization, after the alphabet and the printing press, Macaulay has
said, as the inventions which have abridged distance. In those years,
quick with hopes and vast with possibility at the opening of the
nineteenth century, the Cumberland Road, stretching its yellow coils
out across the Alleghanies and into the prairies, advanced civilization
as no other material object did or could have done. "If there is any
kind of advancement going on," wrote Bushnell, "if new ideas are abroad
and new hopes rising, then you will see it by the roads that are
building." This old road, worn out and almost forgotten, its milestones
tottering, its thousand taverns silent where once all was life and
merriment, is a great monument of days when advancement was a new word,
when great hopes were rising and great ideas were abroad. As such it
shall be remembered and honored as one of the greatest and most timely
acts of promotion our young Government executed.


     _Gouverneur Morris's Day-dream of the Coming Blessings of
     Liberty.--He predicts Artificial Channels from the Lakes to
     the Hudson.--The Sight of the Caledonian Canal enables him to
     foresee Wealth for the Interior of America.--Seeing Ships on
     Lake Erie, he predicts that Ocean Vessels will soon sail on
     the Lakes.--Inland Navigation a Great Factor in this Country's
     Development.--Many Rivers not made Navigable for Lack of
     Engineering Skill.--President Jefferson recommends that the
     Surplus in the Treasury be used for Internal Improvements.--Jesse
     Hawley writes Articles in Behalf of an Erie Canal.--A Bill in
     the New York Legislature for the Same Object.--Hindrances to the
     Execution of the Project.--Names of Some Notable Friends of the
     Undertaking.--Erie Canal Bill passed by the New York Legislature,
     1817.--Lack of Good Roads necessitates Transportation of Materials
     for the Canal in Winter only.--Other Difficulties.--Clearing
     away the Timber and laying out the Track from Albany to
     Buffalo.--Imported Machinery used for uprooting Trees and
     Stumps.--Neighboring States urged to Contribute.--Cost and Profits
     both Greater than Estimated.--Rejoicings at the Opening of the
     Canal.--The Success of this Canal leads to other Enterprises._



AS we survey the early period of the nation's history, there appear a
number of famous conventions of notables which will ever live in the
memory of thoughtful Americans. There are, however, a number of such
gatherings that are not familiar to many, and it is at one of these
that any story of the far-famed Erie Canal must begin.

In the year 1777 General Schuyler's army was at Fort Edward, New
York, during its slow and sullen retreat before Burgoyne's advancing
redcoats. Gouverneur Morris was sent to the army at Fort Edward, and on
a certain evening, amid a company of army officers, that brilliant man
told a day-dream before the flickering camp-fire. The dream concerned
the future of America when once the foreign yoke should be thrown
off. In language consonant with the fascinating nature of his theme
the speaker described in some detail what would be the result on the
minds and hearts of men when liberty for all had been secured, and the
inspiring advance in arts and letters, in agriculture and commerce,
that would come. He was a dreamer, but his dream became a realization
and the wonder of young America. A comrade that night heard his words.

"He announced," wrote that person, Governor Morgan Lewis, then
Quartermaster-General, "in language highly poetic, and to which I
cannot do justice, that at no very distant day the waters of the great
Western inland seas would, by the aid of man, break through their
barriers and mingle with those of the Hudson. I recollect asking him
how they were to break through these barriers. To which he replied,
that numerous streams passed them through natural channels, and that
artificial ones might be conducted by the same routes."

A number of eminent authorities, such as James Geddes, Simeon de Witt,
and Elkanah Watson, all leave evidence that the idea of a canal from
Lake Erie to the Hudson was first brought to men's attention by the
man who told his vision to those sleepy Revolutionary officers at Fort

In his diary of a journey in Scotland in 1795 Morris thus exclaims at
the sight of the Caledonian Canal, "When I see this, my mind opens to
a view of wealth for the interior of America, which hitherto I had
rather conjectured than seen." Six years later he wrote to a friend,
after seeing ships on Lake Erie: "Hundreds of large ships will, at no
distant period, bound on the billows of these inland seas.... Shall I
lead your astonishment up to the verge of incredulity? I will. Know
then that one-tenth of the expense borne by Great Britain in the last
campaign would enable ships to sail from London through Hudson's River
into Lake Erie." Simeon de Witt said in 1822: "The merit of first
starting the idea of a direct communication by water between Lake Erie
and Hudson's River unquestionably belongs to Mr. Gouverneur Morris. The
first suggestion I had of it was from him. In 1803 I accidentally met
with him at Schenectady. We put up for the night at the same inn and
passed the evening together. He then mentioned the project of 'tapping
Lake Erie,' as he expressed it himself, and leading its water in an
artificial river, directly across the country to Hudson's River." James
Geddes first heard of the early canal idea from Mr. Morris in 1804.
"The idea," he said, "of saving so much lockage by not descending to
Lake Ontario made a very lively impression on my mind."


_Promoter of the Erie Canal_]

Looking back over the colonial history of America it is very
interesting to note the part that was played in our country's
development by inland navigation. Practically all the commerce of the
colonies was moved in canoes, sloops, and schooners; the large number
of Atlantic seaboard rivers were the roads of the colonies, and there
were no other roads. In Pennsylvania and Georgia a few highways were
in existence; in the province of New York there were only twelve miles
of land carriage. Villages, churches, and courthouses in Maryland and
Virginia were almost always placed on the shore of the rivers, for
it was only by boat that the people could easily go to meeting or to
court. Indeed the capital of the country, Washington, was located upon
the Potomac River, partly for the reason that its founders believed
that the Potomac was to be the great commercial highway of the eastern
half of the continent.

As roads were the arteries of trade and travel it was natural for
our forefathers to hold the opinion that to increase the commerce
of the country it was necessary only to increase the number of
navigable miles of the rivers. The story of the struggle to improve
the navigation of the two rivers, Mohawk and Hudson, upon which the
attention of our earliest engineers centred, occupies other pages of
this volume; and it is for us to note here the fact merely in passing
that, beginning with 1786, strenuous efforts were made to render these
waterways, and a large number of less important rivers, navigable. The
efforts failed of success, the reason being that engineering skill was
not of a grade high enough to master the problem. And consequently,
when the nineteenth century dawned, we may say with fair regard to
truth that the campaigns that had been waging in a number of the States
for the betterment of America's navigation by means of improved rivers
had failed and were discarded.

Then it was that public attention was turned to the subject of making
artificial water channels, or canals. Generations before this, the
great Forth and Clyde Canal in Scotland had been completed by Smeaton;
the Royal Canal in Ireland was finished in 1792; the Schuylkill and
Susquehanna Canal in Pennsylvania had been surveyed in 1762, and a few
miles of it had been dug in 1794; the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal,
though surveyed as early as 1764, was not begun until 1804.

It was natural, therefore, that the idea of a canal between the Hudson
and Lake Erie should have presented itself forcibly to New Yorkers at
this time, and all the latent possibilities were aroused to activity in
1807 by the recommendation made by President Jefferson in his message
to Congress in October, that the surplus money in the Treasury of
the United States be used for undertaking a large number of internal
improvements. Whether or not Jefferson's recommendation or some other
preliminary proposal of this kind may have inspired it, a New Yorker
named Jesse Hawley was now preparing a series of articles advocating a
canal between the Hudson and the Lakes. Before these articles, to which
the name of "Hercules" was signed, were ready to appear in print,
Mr. Hawley changed his place of residence to Pittsburg, and, oddly
enough, it was in "The Commonwealth," a Pittsburg paper, that the first
published broadside in behalf of an Erie canal appeared; this was on
the fourteenth day of January, 1807. This series of articles, as a
whole, appeared in "The Genesee Messenger," of Canandaigua, weekly from
October, 1807, to March, 1808. The author had studied the problem with
great earnestness, though the Mohawk River was to be used as a part of
the system. In February of the following year the idea gained added
impetus and circulation by a bill offered in the New York Legislature;
its author was Joshua Forman, a member from Onondaga County, and it
read as follows:

     "Whereas the President of the United States by his message
     to Congress, delivered at their meeting in October last, did
     recommend that the surplus money in the treasury, over and above
     such sums as could be applied to the extinguishment of the
     national debt, be appropriated to the great national objects of
     opening canals and making turnpike roads; And whereas the State of
     New York, holding the first commercial rank in the United
     States, possesses within herself the best route of communication
     between the Atlantic and Western waters, by means of a canal
     between the tide-waters of the Hudson River and Lake Erie, through
     which the wealth and trade of that large portion of the United
     States bordering on the upper lakes would for ever flow to our
     great commercial emporium; And whereas the Legislatures of several
     of our sister States have made great exertions to secure to their
     own States the trade of that wide-extended country west of the
     Alleghanies to those of this State; And whereas it is highly
     important that these advantages should as speedily as possible
     be improved, both to preserve and increase the commerce and
     national importance of this State: Resolved (if the honourable
     the Senate concur herein), that a joint committee be appointed to
     take into consideration the propriety of exploring, and causing
     an accurate survey to be made of, the most eligible and direct
     route for a canal to open a communication between the tide-waters
     of the Hudson River and Lake Erie; to the end that Congress may
     be enabled to appropriate such sums as may be necessary to the
     accomplishment of that great national object."

For a number of years the great project was held in abeyance by a
series of unforeseen events. First among these was the War of 1812,
during which the State of New York was the frontier and saw a number
of the most important campaigns. Then, too, the inherent difficulties
of the project--the vast amount of ground necessarily to be covered,
the low plane of engineering science at that day, the immeasurable
difficulties of gaining access to the interior of a heavily wooded
country, the low ebb of the financial condition of the State--all
combined to strengthen the opposition to the canal. But its friends
grew in number and steadily grew in power. First among them was
Governor Clinton, who was so closely allied with the great undertaking
that its enemies frequently called it "Clinton's Ditch"; Gouverneur
Morris, Fulton, and Livingston (who were just now succeeding in their
steamboat enterprise), Simeon de Witt, Thomas Eddy, General Philip
Schuyler, Chancellor Kent, and Judges Yates and Platt are remembered
as the most influential promoters of America's first great work of
internal improvement.

Strangely enough, one of the most serious hindrances to the beginning
of the work proved in the end to be the great argument in its favor,
and that was the War of 1812. The act which gave birth to the canal
was passed by the New York Legislature April 15, 1817, and then went
before the Council of Revision. "The ordeal this bill met with in the
Council of Revision," writes M. S. Hawley in his valuable pamphlet,[3]
"came near being fatal to it; it could not have received a two-thirds
vote after a veto. The Council was composed of Lieutenant-Governor
John Taylor,--acting Governor, as President of the Council,--Chief
Justice Thompson, Chancellor Kent, and Judges Yates and Platt. Acting
Governor Taylor was openly opposed to the whole scheme. The Chief
Justice was also opposed to this bill. Chancellor Kent was in favor of
the canal, but feared it was too early for the State to undertake this
gigantic work. Judges Yates and Platt were in favor of the bill; but
it was likely to be lost by the casting vote of the acting Governor.
Vice-President Tompkins (recently the Governor) entered the room at
this stage of the proceedings, and, in an informal way, joined in
conversation upon the subject before the Council, and in opposition
to this bill. He said: 'The late peace with Great Britain was a mere
truce, and we will undoubtedly soon have a renewed war with that
country; and instead of wasting the credit and resources of the State
in this chimerical project, we ought to employ all our revenue and
credit in preparing for war.'

"'Do you think so, sir?' said Chancellor Kent.

"'Yes, sir,' replied the Vice-President; 'England will never forgive us
for our victories, and, my word for it, we shall have another war with
her within two years.'

"The Chancellor, then rising from his seat, with great animation

"'If we must have war ... I am in favor of the canal, and I vote for
the bill.'

"With that vote the bill became a law."

It is difficult for us to-day to realize what a tremendous undertaking
it was to try to throw this great "Ditch" of Clinton's across those
hundreds of miles of forest and swamp which, for so many generations,
had been known as the "Long House of the Iroquois." As you fly through
that beautiful territory watered by the Mohawk, Seneca, and Onondaga
rivers to-day, it is hardly possible to re-create, with any measure
of truth, the old-time appearance of the land. It was well into the
nineteenth century before a good road was ever built in Central New
York; indeed, during the years while the Erie Canal was being built,
the necessary materials for the building, and provisions for the
builders, were transported thither in the winter season because at that
time only was it accessible by any known means of transportation. Think
what it meant, then, to dig a great trench through the heavily wooded
region where even the road-builders had not had the temerity to go.
It was the forest growth that held back the road-maker; the tangled
forest, the heavily wooded overgrowth that bound the heavy trees
inextricably together. The canal-builder had all that the road-maker
found to combat with above the ground,--the tangled mesh of bush, vine,
and tree,--but he had also what was far more difficult to attack and
conquer, namely, the tremendous labyrinth of roots that lay beneath
the ground. Thus, his task was double that of the road-maker; and
look as far as you will through our early history, you will not find
an enterprise launched on this continent by any man or any set of men
that will compare in daring with the promotion of this great work of
interior improvement to which New York now set herself.

For there was no hesitating. Within a very few days of the passing
of the act creating the Erie Canal you could have seen surveyors and
chainmen pushing out into the shadowy forest-land, driving five lines
of stakes across New York toward the setting sun. These men, like those
who sent them, were ridiculed everywhere they went by some of the
people; but still the ringing blows grew fainter and fainter as those
five lines of stakes crept on up the Mohawk, along the Seneca, through
poisonous swamps, on the banks of running rivers, around the shores
of the still-lying lakes. Those who ridiculed prophesied that next we
would be building a bridge across the Atlantic, and then a tunnel to
China beneath the Pacific; but the sneers and ridicule of that portion
of the people that will be fools all the time could not stop those
earnest stake-drivers or the small army of men, mostly Americans, who
came in and worked with pick, shovel, and wheelbarrow.

The two outer lines of stakes were sixty feet apart; this indicated
the space from which the forest was to be cleared. Two lines of stakes
within these, measuring forty feet apart, represented the exact width
of the proposed canal; and the remaining single line of stakes located
its mathematical centre. The whole distance of the canal from Albany
to Buffalo was divided into three sections, and these sections were
subdivided into very small portions, which were let to contractors. The
first contract was signed June 27, 1817, and work was begun at historic
Rome, New York, on the following Fourth of July, with appropriate
ceremony. After a short address by one of the commissioners, Samuel
Young, and amid a burst of artillery, Judge Richardson, the first
contractor, threw out the first spadeful of earth.

To present-day readers acquainted with so many wonderful feats of
engineering of modern days, the history of the building of this canal
must seem commonplace; the marvellous thing about it, after all, was
its conception and the campaign of education which brought about its
realization. One of the romantic phases of the story, that will forever
be of interest to those of us who can never know a primeval forest,
was the experience of the engineering corps crashing their way through
the New York forests, where the surveyors' stakes could hardly be
seen in the dense gloom. Machinery unknown in America at the time was
called upon to perform this arduous labor of grubbing and clearing this
sixty-foot aisle. One machine, working on the principle of an endless
screw connected with a cable, a wheel, and a crank, enabled a single
man to haul down a tree of the largest size without any cutting.
The machine being located at a distance of one hundred feet from the
foot of the tree, the cable was attached to the trunk fifty or sixty
feet from the ground, a crank was turned, the screw revolved, and the
tree was soon prostrated, as the force which could be exerted by this
principle was irresistible.

A machine for hauling out stumps was constructed and operated as

     "Two strong wheels, sixteen feet in diameter, are made and
     connected together by a round axle-tree, twenty inches thick
     and thirty feet long; between these wheels, and with its spokes
     inseparably framed into their axle-tree, another wheel is placed,
     fourteen feet in diameter, round the rim of which a rope is
     several times passed, with one end fastened through the rim, and
     with the other end loose, but in such a condition as to produce
     a revolution of the wheel whenever it is pulled. This apparatus
     is so moved as to have the stump, on which it is intended to
     operate, midway between the largest wheels, and nearly under the
     axle-tree; and these wheels are so braced as to remain steady. A
     very strong chain is hooked, one end to the body of the stump, or
     its principal root, and the other to the axle-tree. The power
     of horses or oxen is then applied to the loose end of the rope
     above mentioned, and as they draw, rotary motion is communicated,
     through the smallest wheel, to the axle-tree, on which, as
     the chain hooked to the stump winds up, the stump itself is
     gradually disengaged from the earth in which it grew. After this
     disengagement is complete, the braces are taken from the large
     wheels, which then afford the means of removing that stump out of
     the way, as well as of transporting the apparatus where it may be
     made to bear on another."

An implement devised for the underground work demanded on the Erie
Canal was a peculiar plough having a very heavy blade by which the
roots of the trees were cut; two yoke of oxen could draw this plough
through any mesh of roots none of which exceeded two inches in diameter.

The middle section of the canal, from Rome to Lockport, was completed
in 1819, twenty-seven miles being navigable in that year. By 1823 the
canal was opened from Rochester to Schenectady. Water was admitted into
the canal between Schenectady and Albany in October of that year; and
by September, 1824, the line was completed from Lockport to Black Rock
Harbor on Lake Erie.

In evidence of what the promoters of the Erie Canal expected that
highway would be to the Central West we find this interesting fact:
Ohio, and even Kentucky, were called upon officially to aid in raising
the funds for its building. Indeed, the commissioners in 1817 went
so far as to utter a threat against the States lying on each side
of New York in case they should not be willing to contribute to the
building of this commercial route, which was to be for their common
benefit; this consisted in a threat to charge high duties on articles
transported to and from those States and the Territories of the United
States. It would seem as though New York never expected to be compelled
to finance, unassisted, the great work of improvement which she began
in 1817. Agents went canvassing for her both in Vermont on the east
and in Ohio on the west for the purpose of raising contributions to
the canal fund. Agents also were sent to the national Government at
Washington, and it was believed that national aid could perhaps be
secured from the sale of the public lands in Michigan, very much in
the same way as the old National Road was paid for in part by the
sale of lands in Ohio a decade before. Though assurances of interest
and sympathy were forthcoming from the Government and from all the
interested States, there is no evidence at hand to show that New York
was aided to the extent of a single penny from any extraneous source.
To this fact, we shall see in another chapter, may be charged the
opposition of New York delegates in Congress to many government-aid
propositions that came up in the era of internal improvements.

As is usually the case, the expense of this great work exceeded all
the scheduled estimates; but, as has seldom if ever been the case
with works of this character, the receipts from the tolls on the Erie
Canal also exceeded all estimates. In only eight years following the
completion of the canal the receipts from it exceeded all estimates by
nearly two and one-quarter millions of dollars, whereas the total cost
of the canal, including the amount required for completion and payment
of all claims at the close of the year 1824, was only $7,700,000.
Indeed, the success of the canal was so great that it was hardly
completed before plans for an enlargement were necessary.

Yet on its completion a great celebration was held, which probably
was the most picturesque pageant ever seen on this continent to that
time. For many days previous to the completion of the work, committees
in all the cities and villages throughout the route of the canal were
preparing to do honor to Governor Clinton as he should make a triumphal
tour from end to end in the first boat that made the journey. Looking
back through the years, the scene presented of the Governor of that
State sailing in a little flotilla of canal boats from Buffalo to
Albany, the violent rejoicing of political friends along the route,
the demonstrations and orations by the score, the transparencies,
illuminations, and jollifications, stand without a parallel in the
early history of our country. At the moment when Clinton's boats
weighed anchor at Buffalo, a burst of artillery sent the message
eastward; cannon located along the route took up the message, and
in comparatively few moments it was passed across the State to the
metropolis. When Clinton reached New York, the canal boats having
been towed down the Hudson, a spectacular ceremony was performed
off Sandy Hook, where a keg of Lake Erie water was poured into the
sea in commemoration of the wedding of the ocean and the lakes. The
procession in New York City was the greatest, it is said, that had
ever formed in America up to that time. The illuminations were in
harmony with the whole scale of the celebration, as was true of the
grand ball in Lafayette Amphitheatre in Laurens Street; here, in order
to secure necessary floor space, a circus building on one side and a
riding-school on the other were temporarily united to make the largest
ballroom in America.

[Illustration: DE WITT CLINTON

_Friend of the Erie Canal Project_]

The Erie Canal was of tremendous national importance in more ways
than it is possible to trace. The hopes and dreams of its promoters
were based on such sound principles, and the work they planned was so
well executed, that the success of their adventure gave inspiration
to hundreds of other enterprises throughout the length and breadth of
the country. That was the Erie Canal's great mission. It is hardly
necessary to say that the State of New York reaped a great benefit from
the successful prosecution of the work. But it was not New York alone
that benefited; for the Erie Canal was the one great early school of
civil engineers in the United States, and in all parts of the country,
from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Baltimore to the Portland Canal
at far-away Louisville, Kentucky, the men who engineered New York's
great canal found valuable work to do.

It is most remarkable that now, at the beginning of another century,
the people of New York should be planning a new Erie Canal; and perhaps
the most significant fact in connection with the one-thousand-ton
barge canal now projected is the fact that wherever rivers are
available, as for instance the Mohawk, these are to be taken advantage
of, showing that modern engineering science approves the early theory
entertained by Washington and Morris of the canalization of rivers.
The old Erie Canal cost upwards of eight millions, which was deemed
an immense sum at that day. It is difficult always to measure by
any monetary standard the great changes that the passing years have
brought; but the new canal now to be built is to cost one hundred
and one millions, which is in our time a comparatively moderate sum.
The influence of the building of the old canal spread throughout the
nation, and scores of canals were projected in the different States;
it seems now that the influence of the promotion of the new Erie Canal
will likewise be felt throughout the country. New York again leads the


[3] "The Origin of the Erie Canal."


     _The Demand for Canals and Navigable Rivers.--Washington's
     Search for a Route for a Canal or Road to bind the East and
     West.--Much Money spent in the Attempt to make Certain Rivers
     Navigable.--Failure of the Potomac Company to improve Navigation
     on the Potomac.--The Need for a Potomac and Ohio Canal to withhold
     the Western Trade from the Erie.--The Potomac Canal Company,
     re-named the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company.--Apparent
     Impossibility of building a Canal from the Potomac to
     Baltimore.--Philip E. Thomas conceives the Idea of a Railroad from
     Baltimore to the West.--The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company's
     Jealousy of this Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company.--Both the
     Canal and the Railroad started.--Difficulties in the Way of
     Both.--The Canal's Exclusive Right of Way up the Potomac to be now
     shared with the Railroad.--The Railroad completed to the Ohio,
     1853.--A Canal from Philadelphia to Pittsburg built rapidly.--The
     Alleghany Portage Railway opened for Traffic in Three
     Years.--Washington's Efforts to accomplish the Same End.--The
     Railways to a Large Extent supersede the Canals._



ALTHOUGH the Cumberland National Road proved a tremendous boon to the
young West and meant to the East commercially all that its promoters
hoped, other means of transportation were being hailed loudly as the
nineteenth century dawned. Improved river-navigation was one of these,
and canals were another. When it was fully realized how difficult was
the transportation of freight across the Alleghanies on even the best
of roads, the cry was raised, "Cannot waterways be improved or cut from
Atlantic tide-water to the Ohio River?"

In our story of Washington as promoter and prophet it was seen that
at the close of the Revolution the late commander gave himself up
at once to the commercial problem of how the Potomac River might be
made to hold the Middle West in fee. Passing westward in the Fall of
1784, he spent a month in the wilds of Northern Virginia seeking for a
pathway for canal or road from the South Branch of the Potomac to the
Cheat River. The result of his explorations was the classic letter to
Harrison in 1784, calling Virginia to her duty in the matter of binding
the East and West with those strongest of all bonds--commercial routes
bringing mutual benefit.

The immediate result was the formation of the Potomac Company, which
proposed to improve the navigation of the Potomac from tide-water, at
Washington, D. C., to the highest practicable point, to build a road
from that point to the nearest tributary of the Ohio River, and, in
turn, to improve the navigation of that tributary.

One stands aghast at the amount of money spent by our forefathers
in the sorry attempt to improve hundreds of unnavigable American
rivers. You can count numbers of them, even between the Mohawk and
Potomac, which were probably the poorest investments made by early
promoters in the infant days of our Republic. When, in the Middle Ages,
river improvement was common in Europe, it was proposed to make an
unnavigable Spanish river navigable. The plan was stopped by a stately
decree of an august Spanish council on the following grounds: "If it
had pleased God that these rivers should have been navigable, He would
not have wanted human assistance to have made them such; but that, as
He has not done it, it is plain that He did not think it proper that
it should be done. To attempt it, therefore, would be to violate the
decree of His providence, and to mend these imperfections which He
designedly left in His works." It is certain that stockholders in
companies formed to improve the Potomac, Mohawk, Lehigh, Susquehanna,
and scores of other American streams would have heartily agreed that it
was, in truth, a sacrilege thus to violate the decrees of Providence.

With Washington as its president, however, the Potomac Company set to
work in 1785 to build a canal around the Great Falls of the Potomac,
fifteen miles above Washington, D. C., and blast out a channel in
the rocky rapids at Seneca Falls and Shenandoah Falls. Even during
Washington's presidency, which lasted until his election as President
of the United States in 1788, there was great difficulty in getting
the stockholders to remit their assessments. Other troubles, such as
imperfect surveys, mismanagement, jealousy of managers, and floods,
tended to delay and discourage. The act of incorporation demanded that
the navigation from tide-water to Cumberland, Maryland, be completed
in three years. Nearly a dozen times the Legislatures of Maryland and
Virginia, under whose auspices the work was jointly done, postponed
the day of reckoning. By 1820 nearly a million dollars had been emptied
into the Potomac River, and a commission then appointed to examine the
Company's affairs reported that the capital stock and all tolls had
been expended, a large debt incurred, and that "the floods and freshets
nevertheless gave the only navigation that was enjoyed."

By this time the Erie Canal had been partly formed, and it was clear
that it would prove a tremendous success; its operation was no longer
a theory, and freight rates on merchandise across New York had dropped
from one hundred dollars to ten dollars a ton. Of the many canals
(which were now proposed by the score) the Potomac Canal, which should
connect tide-water with the Ohio River by way of Cumberland and the
Monongahela River, was considered of prime importance. Virginia and
Maryland (in other words, Alexandria and Baltimore) had held, by means
of the roads they had built and promoted, the trade of the West for
half a century. The Erie Canal seemed about to deprive them of it
all; the Potomac Canal must restore it! So the Virginians believed,
and on this belief they quickly acted. The Potomac Canal Company--soon
re-named the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company--was formed, and
chartered by Virginia. Maryland hesitated; could Baltimore be connected
by canal with the Potomac Valley? Before this doubt was banished a
national commission had investigated the country through which the
proposed canal was to run, and reported that its cost (the Company was
capitalized at six millions) would exceed twenty millions! The seventy
miles between the Potomac and the head of the Youghiogheny alone would
cost nearly twice as much as the entire capital of the Company! And
soon it became clear that it was impossible to build a connecting canal
between the Potomac and Baltimore.

The situation now became intensely exciting. A resurvey of the canal
route lowered the previous high estimate, and the Virginians and
Marylanders (outside of Baltimore) believed fully that the Ohio and
the Potomac could be connected, and that the Erie Canal would not,
after all, monopolize the trade of the West. Alexandria and Georgetown
would then become the great trade centres of the continental waterway
from tide-water to the Mississippi basin,--in fact, secure the
position Baltimore had held for nearly a century. Baltimore had been a
famous market for Western produce during the days of the turnpike and
"freighter"; the rise of the easy-gliding canal-boat, it seemed, was to
put an end to those prosperous days. Trade already had become light;
Philadelphia was forging ahead, and even New York seemed likely to
become a rival of Baltimore's.

A Baltimore bank president--whose name must be enrolled high among
those of the great promoters of early America--sat in his office
considering the gloomy situation. That he saw it clearly there is no
doubt; very likely his books showed with irresistible logic that things
were not going well in the Maryland metropolis. This man was Philip
Evan Thomas, president of the Mechanics' Bank. Before many days he
conceived the idea of building a railroad from Baltimore to the West,
which would bring back the trade that had been slipping away since the
turnpike roads had been eclipsed by the canal. Baltimore's position
necessitated her relying on roads; so far as the West was concerned
there were no waterways of which she could avail herself. Railroads
had been proving successful; one in Massachusetts three miles long
served the purposes of a common road to a quarry advantageously. At
Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, a railroad nine miles long connected a coal
mine and the Lehigh River. Heavy loads could be deposited on the cars
used on these roads, and on a level or on an upgrade horses could draw
them with ease. If a short road was practicable, why not a long one? A
three-hundred-mile railroad was as possible as a nine-mile road. Mr.
Thomas admitted to his counsels Mr. George Brown; each had brothers in
England who forwarded much information concerning the railway agitation
abroad. On the night of February 12, 1826, an invited company of
Baltimore merchants met at Mr. Thomas's home, and the plan was
outlined. A committee was appointed to review the situation critically
and report in one week. On February 19 the report was made, unanimously
urging the formation of a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company.

The intense rivalry of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company and the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company forms of itself a historical novel.
The name "Ohio" in their legal titles signifies the root of jealousy.
The trade of the "Ohio country," which included all the trans-Alleghany
empire, was the prize both companies would win. The story is the more
interesting because in the long, bitter struggle which to its day
was greater than any commercial warfare of our time, the seemingly
weaker company, handicapped at every point by its stronger rival, and
also held back because of the slow advance of the discoveries and
improvements necessary to its success, at last triumphed splendidly in
the face of every difficulty.

The first act in the drama was to hold rival inaugural celebrations.
Accordingly, on July 4, 1828, two wonderful pageants were enacted, one
at Baltimore and the other at Washington. At Baltimore the aged Charles
Carroll of Carrollton, the only surviving signer of the Declaration
of Independence, laid the "cornerstone" of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad. At Washington, President John Quincy Adams, amid the cheering
of thousands, lifted the first spadeful of earth in the great work of
digging a canal from Washington to Cumberland. The fact that the spade
struck a root was in no wise considered an ill omen. Redoubling his
efforts, President Adams again drove the implement into the ground. The
root held stoutly. Whereupon the President threw off his coat, amid
the wildest cheering, and, with a powerful effort, sent the spade full
length downward and turned out its hallowed contents upon the ground.
Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria were represented by dignified
officials. Baltimore, so long mistress of the commerce of the West,
was now to be distanced by the Potomac Valley cities.

And it was soon seen that the Canal Company did hold the key to the
situation. Having inherited the debts and assets of the old Potomac
Company, it also inherited something of more value,--that priceless
right of way up the Potomac Valley, the only possible Western route
through Maryland for either a canal or a railroad. The railroad struck
straight from Baltimore toward Harper's Ferry and the Point of Rocks,
on the Potomac; the Canal Company immediately stopped its work by an
injunction. The only terms on which it agreed to permit its rival
to build to Harper's Ferry was that a promise should be given that
the Railroad Company would not build any part of the road onward to
Cumberland, Maryland, until the canal should have been completed to
that point.

Could it have been realized at the time, this blow was not wholly
unfortunate. There were problems before this first railroad company
in America more difficult than the gaining of a right of way to
Cumberland. Every feature of its undertaking was in most primitive
condition,--road-bed, tracks, rails, sleepers, ties, cars, all, were
most simple. The road was an ordinary macadamized pathway; the cars
were common stagecoaches, on smaller, heavier wheels. More than all
else, the motor force was an intrinsically vital problem. Horses and
mules were now being used; a car with a sail was invented, but was, of
course, useless in calm weather, or when the wind was not blowing in
the right direction. In the meantime the steam locomotive was being
perfected, and Peter Cooper's "Tom Thumb" settled the question in
1830, on these tracks of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. For a number
of years the ultimate practicability of the machine was in question,
but when the railroad was in a position to expand westward, in 1836,
the locomotive as a motor force was acknowledged on every hand to be
a success. In all other departments, likewise, the railroad had been
improving. The six years had seen a vast change.

With the canal, on the other hand, these had been discouraging years.
Though master of the legal situation, money came to it slowly, labor
became more costly, unexpected physical difficulties were encountered,
floods delayed operations. Again and again aid from Maryland had been
invoked successfully; and now, in 1836, it was reported that three
millions more was necessary to complete the canal to Cumberland.
Maryland now passed her famous "Eight-million-dollar Bill," giving the
railroad and canal each three million dollars, with a condition imposed
on the Canal Company that the two companies should have an equal right
of way up the Potomac to Cumberland. Though the directors of the Canal
Company objected bitterly at thus being compelled to resign control of
the situation, the needs of the Company were such that acquiescence was
imperatively necessary. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was completed to
Cumberland in 1851, at a cost of over eleven million dollars, the root
of Maryland's great State debt.

The passage of this epoch-making law was the turning-point in this
long and fierce conflict. It marked the day when the city of Baltimore
at last conquered the State of Maryland,--when the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad mastered the situation, of which in 1832 the canal was master.
The panic of 1837 delayed temporarily the sweep of the railway up the
Potomac to Cumberland, but it reached that strategic point in 1842.
Work on the route across the mountains was begun at various points, and
the whole line was opened almost simultaneously. The first division,
from Cumberland to Piedmont, was opened in June, 1851; by the next
June the road was completed to Fairmount on the Monongahela River;
and on the night of January 12, 1853, a banquet-board was spread in
the city of Wheeling to celebrate the completion of the Baltimore and
Ohio Railroad to the Ohio River. Of the five regular toasts of the
evening none was so typical or so welcome as that to the president
under whose auspices this first railway had been thrown across the
Alleghanies,--"Thomas Swann: standing upon the banks of the Ohio, and
looking back upon the mighty peaks of the Alleghanies, surmounted by
his efforts, he can proudly exclaim, 'Veni, vidi, vici.'"

The story of the building of the Pennsylvania Canal, and later the
Pennsylvania Railway, a little to the north of the two Maryland works,
is not a story of bitter rivalry, but is remarkable in point of
enterprise and swift success; it also shows another of the results of
the successful operation of the Erie Canal.

In 1824 the Pennsylvania Legislature authorized the appointment of
a commission to select a route for a canal from Philadelphia to
Pittsburg. The success of New York's canal (now practically completed)
impressed the Pennsylvanians as forcefully as it did Marylanders and
Virginians; Philadelphia desired to control the trade of the West as
much as New York or Baltimore. The earnestness of the Pennsylvanians
could not be more clearly shown than by the rapid building of their
canal. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal up the Potomac Valley was over
twenty-five years in building; within ten years of the time the above
commission was appointed, canal-boats could pass from Philadelphia to
Pittsburg. The route, at first, was by the Schuylkill to the Union
Canal, which entered the Susquehanna at Middletown; this was nominally
the eastern division of the Pennsylvania Canal, it having been
completed in 1827. The central division extended from Middletown (later
from Columbia) up the Susquehanna and Juniata rivers to Hollidaysburg.
This division was completed in 1834, at a cost of nearly five and
one-half millions. The western division ran from Johnstown down the
Conemaugh, Kiskiminetas, and Alleghany valleys; it was completed to
Pittsburg in 1830, at a cost of a little over three millions.

As stated, canal-boats could traverse this course as early as 1834, and
the uninformed must wonder how a canal-boat could vault the towering
crest lying between Hollidaysburg and Johnstown, which the Pennsylvania
Railway crosses with difficulty at Gallitzin, more than two thousand
feet above sea-level. The answer to this introduces us to the Alleghany
Portage Railway, a splendid piece of early engineering, which deserves
mention in any sketch of early deeds of expansion and promotion in

The feat was accomplished by means of inclined planes; the idea was not
at all new, but, under the circumstances, it was wholly an experiment.
The plan was to build a railway which could contain eleven sections
with heavy grades, and between them ten inclined planes. A canal-boat
having been run into a submerged car in the basin on either side of the
mountain, it could be drawn over the level by horses or locomotives,
and sent over the summit, 1,441 feet above Hollidaysburg, on the
inclines by means of stationary engines. The scheme was first advanced
early in the history of the canal, but it was not finally adopted until
1831, and in three years the portage railway was opened for traffic.
The ten planes averaged about 2,000 feet in length and about 200 feet
in elevation. They were numbered from west to east. Certain of the
levels were quite long, that between Planes No. 1 and No. 2 being
thirteen miles in length; the total length of the road was thirty-six
miles. It was built through the primeval forests, and an aisle of one
hundred and twenty feet in width (twice as wide as that made for the
Erie Canal) was cleared, so that the structure would not be in danger
of the falling trees which were continually blocking early highways
and demolishing pioneer bridges. Two names should be remembered in
connection with this momentous work,--Sylvester Welch and Moncure
Robinson, the chief and the consulting engineer who erected it.

It was in October, 1834, that the first boat, the "Hit or Miss" from
the Lackawanna, was sent over the Alleghany Portage Railway intact.
According to a local newspaper, it "rested at night on the top of the
mountain [Blair's Gap], like Noah's Ark on Ararat, and descended the
next morning into the valley of the Mississippi and sailed for St.
Louis." Fifty years before, to the month, the pioneer expansionist,
Washington, was floundering along in Dunkard Bottom seeking a way for
a boat to do what the "Hit or Miss" did in those October days of 1834.
It is a far cry, measured by hopes and dreams, back to Washington,
but one feature of the picture is of great interest: in Washington's
famous appeal to Governor Harrison in 1784 he said of the young West:
"The Western inhabitants would do their part [in forming a route of
communication].... Weak as they are, they would meet us halfway." What
a splendid comment on Washington's wisdom and foresight it is to record
that the ten stationary engines on the Alleghany Portage Railway,
which hauled the first load of freight that ever crossed the crest of
the Alleghanies by artificial means, were made in the young West, in
Pittsburg! The West was certainly ready to meet the East halfway when
their union was to be perfected.

But no sooner was the Pennsylvania Canal in working order than the
success of railways was conceded on every hand. At first the eastern
section of the canal was superseded by the Philadelphia and Columbia
Railway, a portage railway from the Schuylkill to the Susquehanna.
Then, in 1846 the Pennsylvania Railroad Company was organized. The old
route was found to be the best. The advance was rapid. In two years
the road was open to Lewisburg in the Juniata Valley; the western
division from Pittsburg to Johnstown was also built rapidly, and in
1852 communication was possible between Pittsburg and Philadelphia, the
Alleghany Portage Railway still serving to connect Hollidaysburg and
Johnstown. In 1854 this cumbersome method was superseded by the railway
over the mountain by way of Gallitzin.

The Pennsylvania Canal, instead of delaying the Pennsylvania Road,
assisted it, for the latter was encouraged by the State, and the State
owned the canal. In 1857 the railway bought both the canal and its
portage railway. The latter was closed almost immediately; the canal
has been operated by a separate company under the direction of the
Pennsylvania Railroad. But the whole western division from Pittsburg to
Johnstown was closed in 1864, and the portion in the Juniata Valley
was abandoned in 1899, and that in the Susquehanna Valley in 1900.

Two magnificent railways, standing prominent among the great railways
of the world, have succeeded the old canals and that old-time
Alleghany Portage Railway. But these great successes are not their
richest possessions; they still own, we may well believe, that
spirit which wrought success out of difficulty,--the persistent,
irresistible ambition to better present conditions and overcome
present difficulties, which is the very essence of American genius
and the great secret of America's progress. If you wish a painting
that will portray the secret of America's marvellous growth, ask that
the artist's brush draw Philip Evan Thomas in his bank office at
Baltimore, struggling with the problem how his city could retain the
trade of the West; or draw Sylvester Welch struggling with his plans
for the inclined planes of the Alleghany Portage Railway. There, in
those eager, unsatisfied, and hopeful men, you will find the typical


     _Ignorance of the American People regarding the Territory called
     New France and that called Louisiana.--Civilization's Cruel March
     into Louisiana.--Lewis and Clark, Leaders of the Expedition to the
     Far West, already Trained Soldiers.--Its Aim not Conquest, but the
     Advancement of Knowledge and Trade.--Some Previous Explorers.--The
     Make-up of Lewis and Clark's Party.--Fitness of the Leaders for
     the Work.--The Winter of 1804-1805 spent at Fort Mandan.--First
     Encounter with the Grizzly Bear.--Portage from the Missouri to
     the Columbia, 340 Miles.--Down the Columbia to the Coast near
     Point Adams.--The Return Journey begun, March, 1806.--British
     Traders blamed for the Indians' Hatred of Americans.--The
     Americans thus driven to Deeds which made them despised by the
     British.--Arrival of the Explorers at St. Louis.--News of this
     Exploration starts the Rush of Emigrants to the West.--Zebulon M.
     Pike's Ascent of the Mississippi, 1805.--He explores the Leech
     Lake Region.--Ordered to the Far West, he reaches the Republican
     and Arkansas Rivers.--Sufferings of his Party travelling toward
     the Rio Grande.--He sets up the American Flag on Spanish Territory
     and is sent away.--The West regarded as the Home of Patriotism._



WHEN the vast region known as Louisiana was purchased by President
Jefferson, a century ago, the American people knew as little about it
as the American colonies knew about the great territory called New
France which came under English sovereignty at the end of the French
War, fifty years earlier. But however great Louisiana was, and whatever
its splendid stretch of gleaming waterway or rugged mountain range,
it was sure that the race which now became its master would not shirk
from solving the tremendous problems of its destiny. In 1763 the same
race had taken quiet possession of New France, including the whole
empire of the Great Lakes and all the eastern tributaries of the
Mississippi River; in the half-century since that day this race had
proved its vital powers of successful exploitation of new countries. In
those fifty years a Tennessee, a Kentucky, an Ohio, and an Indiana and
Illinois had sprung up out of an unknown wilderness as if a magician's
wand had touched, one by one, the falling petals of its buckeye
blossoms. Thus, New France had been acquired by a great kingdom, but
the power of assimilation lay in the genius of the common people of
England's seaboard colonies for home-building and land-clearing. Soon
the era of brutal individualism passed from the Middle West and the old
Northwest; weak as it was, the young American Republic, in the person
of such men as Richard Henderson and Rufus Putnam, threw an arm about
the wilderness, while George Rogers Clark, "Mad Anthony" Wayne, and
William Henry Harrison settled the question of sovereignty with the
red-skinned inhabitants of the land.

Civilization often marched rough-shod into the American Middle West,
bringing, however, better days and ideals than those which it harshly
crushed. After Anthony Wayne's conquest of Northwestern Indiana at
Fallen Timber (near Toledo, Ohio) in 1794 the burst of population
westward from Pittsburg and Kentucky to the valley of the Mississippi
was marvellous; by the time of the purchase of Louisiana in 1803
the rough vanguard of the race which had so swiftly opened Kentucky
and Ohio and Tennessee to the world was crowding the banks of the
Mississippi, ready to leap forward to even greater conquests. What
these irrepressible pioneers had done they could do again. Those who
affirmed that the purchase of Louisiana must prove a failure had
counted without their host.

Nothing is of more interest in the great Government expedition of
exploration which President Jefferson now sent into the unknown
territory beyond the Mississippi than this very fact of vital
connection between the leaders of the former movement into the eastern
half of the Mississippi Basin and this present movement into its
tremendous western half. In a previous story we have shown that the
founders of the old Northwest were largely heroes of the French and
Indian and the Revolutionary wars; it is now interesting indeed to
note that these leaders in Far Western exploration--Meriwether Lewis
and William Clark--were in turn heroes of the British and Indian wars,
both of them survivors of bloody Fallen Timber, where, on the cyclone's
path, Anthony Wayne's hard-trained soldiers made sure that Indian
hostility was never again to be a national menace on the American


_Of the Lewis and Clark Expedition_]

The proposed exploration of Louisiana by Lewis and Clark is interesting
also as the first scientific expedition ever promoted by the
American Government. For it was a tour of exploration only; the party
did not carry leaden plates such as Céloron de Bienville brought fifty
years back in those days of gold interwoven with purple, to bury
along the tributaries of the Ohio as a claim to land for his royal
master and the mistresses of France. There was here no question of
possession; Lewis and Clark were, on the contrary, to report on the
geography, physiography, and zoölogy of the land, designate proper
sites for trading stations, and give an account of the Indian nations.
It is remarkable that little was known of Louisiana on these heads.
Of course the continent had been crossed, though not by way of the
Missouri River route, which had become the great highway for the fur
trade. Mackenzie had crossed the continent in the Far North, and Hearne
had passed over the Barren Grounds just under the Arctic Circle. To
the southward from the Missouri the Spaniards had run to and from the
Pacific for two centuries. The commanding position of St. Louis showed
that the Missouri route was of utmost importance; the portage to the
half-known Columbia was of strategic value, and a knowledge of that
river indispensable to sane plans, commercial and political, in the

In May, 1804, the explorers were ready to start from St. Louis. They
numbered twenty-seven men and the two leading spirits, Lewis and
Clark; fourteen of the number were regular soldiers from the United
States army; there were nine adventurous volunteers from Kentucky; a
half-breed interpreter; two French voyageurs and Clark's negro servant
completed the roster. The party was increased by the addition of
sixteen men, soldiers and traders, whose destination was the Mandan
villages on the Missouri, where the explorers proposed to spend the
first Winter.

There is something of the simplicity of real grandeur in the
commonplace records of the leaders of this expedition. "They were
men with no pretensions to scientific learning," writes Roosevelt,
"but they were singularly close and accurate observers and truthful
narrators. Very rarely have any similar explorers described so
faithfully not only the physical features, but the animals and plants
of a newly discovered land. ... Few explorers who did and saw so much
that was absolutely new have written of their deeds with such quiet
absence of boastfulness, and have drawn their descriptions with such
complete freedom from exaggeration."

The very absence of incident in the story is significant to one who
remembers the countless dangers that beset Lewis and Clark as they
fared slowly on up the long, tiresome stretches of the Missouri;
surprises, accidents, misunderstandings, miscalculations, and mutinies
might have been the order of the day; a dozen instances could be cited
of parties making journeys far less in extent than that now under
consideration where the infelicities of a single week surpassed those
known throughout those three years. These splendid qualities, which can
hardly be emphasized save in a negative way, make this expedition as
singular as it was auspicious in our national annals. Good discipline
was kept without engendering hatred; the leaders worked faithfully with
their men at the hardest and most menial tasks; in suffering, risking,
laboring, they set examples to all of their party. In dealing with the
Indians good judgment was used; even in the land of the fierce Dakotas
they escaped harm because of great diplomacy, presenting a more bold
and haughty front than could perhaps have been maintained if once it
had been challenged. With all Indian nations conferences were held, at
which the purchase of Louisiana from France was officially announced,
and proper presents were distributed in sign of the friendship of the
United States.

The Winter of 1804-1805 was spent at Fort Mandan, on the Missouri
River, sixteen hundred miles from its junction with the Mississippi.
In the Spring the party, now thirty-two strong, pressed on up the
Missouri, which now turned in a decidedly westward direction. Between
the Little Missouri and the upper waters of the Missouri proper, game
was found in very great quantities, this region having been famous in
that respect until the present generation. One game animal with which
white men had not been acquainted was now encountered,--the grizzly
bear. Bears in the Middle West were, under ordinary circumstances, of
no danger; these grizzlies of the upper Missouri were very bold and
dangerous. Few Indians were encountered on the upper Missouri. Fall had
come ere the party had reached the difficult portage from the Missouri
to the Columbia; the distance from the Mississippi to the Falls of the
Missouri, at the mouth of the Portage River, the point near which the
land journey began, was 2,575 miles. The Portage to the Columbia was
340 miles in length. Having obtained horses from the Shoshones, the
Indians on the portage, the explorers accomplished the hard journey
through the Bitter Root Mountains.

The strange white men were received not unkindly by the not less
strange Indians of the great Columbia Valley, though it needed a bold
demeanor, in some instances, to maintain the ground gained. Yet on the
men went down the river and encamped for the Winter on the coast near
Point Adams,--the end of a journey of over four thousand miles. Here
the brave Captain Gray of Boston, thirteen years before, had discovered
the mouth of the Columbia and given the river the name of his good
ship. The Winter was spent hereabouts, the explorers suffering somewhat
for lack of food until they learned to relish dog-flesh, the taste for
which had to be acquired. By March, 1806, they were ready to pull up
stakes and begin the long homeward journey.

This was almost as barren of adventure as the outward passage, though
a savage attack by a handful of Blackfeet,--henceforward to be the
bitter foes of Rocky Mountain traders and pioneers,--and the accidental
wounding of Lewis by one of his party, were unpleasant interruptions
in the monotony of the steady marching, paddling, and hunting. It is
remarkable that, throughout the western expansion of the United States
after the Revolution, our northern pioneers from Pennsylvania to Oregon
should have felt--in many cases bitterly--the tricky, insulting
hatred of British traders and their Indian allies. As Washington in
1790 laid at the door of British instigators the cause of the long war
ended by Wayne at Fallen Timber, so, all the way across the continent
our pioneers had to contend with the same despicable influence, and
were driven by it to deeds which made them, in turn, equally despised
by their northern rivals. "I was in hopes," wrote an early pioneer,
"that the British Indian traders had some bounds to their rapacity ...
that they were completely saturated with our blood. But it appears
not to have been the case. Like a greedy wolf, not satisfied with the
flesh, they quarrelled over the bones.... Alarmed at the individual
enterprise of our people ... they furnished [the Indians] with ... the
instruments of death and a passport [horses] to our bosom." Even at the
very beginning these first Americans on the Columbia and the Bitter
Root range had a taste of Indian hatred from both the Blackfeet and the

On the way back to the Mandan villages the explorers had an experience
which was by no means insignificant. As they were dropping down the
upper Missouri, one day two men came into view; they proved to be
American hunters, Dickson and Hancock by name, from Illinois. They had
been plundered by the fierce Sioux, and one of them had been wounded;
it can be imagined how glad they were to fall in with a party large
enough to ward off the insults of the Sioux. The hunters did remain
with Lewis and Clark until the Mandan villages were reached, but
no longer. Obtaining a fresh start, the two turned back toward the
Rockies, and one of Lewis and Clark's own soldiers, Colter (later the
Yellowstone pioneer), went back with them. These three led the van of
all the pioneer host under whose feet the western half of the continent
was soon to tremble.

Holding the Sioux safely at bay during the passage down the Missouri,
Lewis and Clark in September were once again on the straggling streets
of the little village of St. Louis, then numbering perhaps a thousand

From any standpoint this expedition must rank high among the tours
of the world's greatest explorers; a way to the Pacific through
Louisiana, which had just been purchased, was now assured. Knowing as
we do so well to-day of Russia's determined effort to secure an outlet
for her Asiatic pioneers and commerce on the Pacific Ocean, we can
realize better the national import of Lewis's message to President
Jefferson giving assurance that there was a practicable route from
the Mississippi Basin to the Pacific by way of the tumbling Columbia.
Without guides, save what could be picked up on the way, these men had
crossed the continent; and as the story told by returning Kentucky
hunters to wondering pioneers in their Alleghany cabins set on foot the
first great burst of immigration across the Alleghanies into the Ohio
Basin, so in turn the story of Lewis and Clark and Gass and the others
set on foot the movement which resulted in the entire conquest of the
Rockies and the Great West.

But as the stories of others besides Kentuckians played a part in
the vaulting of the first great America "divide," so, too, others
besides Lewis and Clark influenced the early movement into the Farthest
West. One of these, who stands closest to the heroes of the Missouri
and Columbia, was Zebulon M. Pike, a son of a Revolutionary officer
from New Jersey, the State from which the pioneers of Cincinnati and
southwestern Ohio had come. During Lewis and Clark's adventure this
hardy explorer ascended the Mississippi, August, 1805, in a keel-boat,
with twenty regular soldiers. The Indians of the Minnesota country were
not openly hostile, but their conduct was anything but friendly. The
Winter was spent at the beautiful Falls of St. Anthony, at Minneapolis.
Pike explored the Leech Lake region but did not reach Lake Itasca.
He found the British flag floating over certain small forts built by
British traders, which he in every case ordered down. An American flag
was raised in each instance, and the news of the Louisiana purchase was
noised abroad. The British traders treated Pike's band with all the
kindness and respect that their well-armed condition demanded. The
expedition came down the Mississippi in April, 1806, to St. Louis.

There were other regions, however, in Louisiana where the United States
flag ought to go now, and General Wilkinson, who had sent Pike to the
North, now ordered him into the Far West. Pike's route was up the Osage
and overland to the Pawnee Republic on Republican River. His party
numbered twenty-three, and with him went fifty Osages, mostly women and
children, who had been captured in savage war by the Pottawattomies.
The diplomatic return of these forlorn captives of course determined
the attitude of the Osage nation toward Pike's company and his claims
of American sovereignty over the land. And it was time for America
to extend her claim and make it good. Already a Spanish expedition
had passed along the frontier distributing bright Spanish flags and
warning the Indians that the Spanish boast of possession was still good
and would be made better. Pike travelled in the wake of this band of
interlopers, neutralizing the effect of its influence and raising the
American flag everywhere in place of the Spanish.

[Illustration: WILLIAM CLARK

_Of the Lewis and Clark Expedition_]

Reaching the Arkansas, Pike ascended that river late in the Fall, and
when Winter set in the brave band was half lost in the mountains near
the towering peak which was forever to stand a dazzling monument to the
hardihood and resolution of its leader. At the opening of the new year,
near Canyon City, where deer were found wintering, a log fort was built
in which a portion of the party remained with the pack animals, while
Pike with twelve soldiers essayed the desperate journey to the Rio

     "Their sufferings were terrible. They were almost starved, and so
     cold was the weather that at one time no less than nine of the
     men froze their feet.... In the Wet Mountain Valley, which they
     reached in mid-January, ... starvation stared them in the face.
     There had been a heavy snow-storm; no game was to be seen; and
     they had been two days without food. The men with frozen feet,
     exhausted by hunger, could no longer travel. Two of the soldiers
     went out to hunt but got nothing. At the same time Pike [and a
     comrade] ... started, determined not to return at all unless they
     could bring back meat. Pike wrote that they had resolved to stay
     out and die by themselves, rather than to go back to camp 'and
     behold the misery of our poor lads.' All day they tramped wearily
     through the heavy snow. Towards evening they came on a buffalo,
     and wounded it; but faint and weak from hunger, they shot badly,
     and the buffalo escaped; a disappointment literally as bitter as
     death. That night they sat up among some rocks, all night long,
     unable to sleep because of the intense cold, shivering in their
     thin rags; they had not eaten for three days. But ... they at
     last succeeded, after another heartbreaking failure, in killing a
     buffalo. At midnight they staggered into camp with the meat, and
     all the party broke their four days' fast."[4]

Pike at length succeeded in his design of reaching the Rio Grande, and
here he built a fort and threw out to the breeze an American flag,
though knowing well that he was on Spanish territory now. The Louisiana
boundary was ill defined, but in a general way it ran up the Red
River, passed a hundred miles northeast of Santa Fé and just north
of Salt Lake, thence it struck straight west to the Pacific. By any
interpretation the Rio Grande was south of the line. The Spaniards, who
came suddenly upon the scene, diplomatically assumed that the daring
explorer had lost his way; he suffered nothing from their hands, and
was sent home through Chihuahua and Texas.

All the hopes of the purchasers of Old Louisiana and of its
flag-planters have come true, and, with them, dreams the most feverish
brain of that day could not fashion. History has repeated itself
significantly as our standard-bearers have gone westward. When the
old Northwest was carved out of a wilderness, there was no fear in
the hearts of our forefathers that was not felt when Louisiana was
purchased. The great fear in each case was the same--the British at the
north and the Spaniard at the south. And in each case the leaven of
the East was potent to leaven the whole lump. Great responsibilities
steady nations as well as men; the very fact of a spreading frontier
and a widening sphere of influence--bringing alarm to some and fear to
many--was of appealing force throughout a century to the conscience and
honor of American statesmen. As, in the dark days of the Revolution,
the wary Washington determined, in case of defeat, to lead the fragment
of his armies across the Alleghanies and fight the battles over again
in the Ohio Basin, where he knew the pioneers would forever keep
pure the spirit of independence, so men in later years have looked
confidently to the Greater West, to the Mississippi Basin and old
Louisiana, for as pure a patriotism (though it might appear at times in
a rough guise) as ever was breathed at Plymouth Rock.


[4] Theodore Roosevelt, "The Winning of the West," IV, 337, 338.


     _Fur Trade the Leading Business in the Northwest.--Rise of the
     Astor Family.--The U. S. Government fails as a Rival of the
     Northwest Company of Montreal, in the Fur Trade.--John Jacob Astor
     sees the Possibilities of the American Fur Trade.--He ships Furs
     from Montreal to London.--Irving's Opinion of Astor.--Astor plans
     to establish a Line of Trading-posts up the Missouri and down the
     Columbia.--The Scheme a Failure, but indirectly Valuable.--Astor's
     Enterprise helpful toward the Americanization of Louisiana.--He
     establishes the Pacific Fur Company, 1810.--This Company and
     the Northwest Company both seeking to occupy the Mouth of the
     Columbia; the Former arrives First.--In the War of 1812 the
     British take Possession of the Place.--Benefits to America from
     Astor's Example.--Like him, some Other Promoters failed to achieve
     the Particular Ends in View._



THE brave explorations of Lewis and Clark and Pike opened up the vast
Territory of Louisiana for occupation and commerce. The one great
business in the Northwest had been the fur trade, and for a long period
it was yet to be the absorbing theme of promoters and capitalists, the
source of great rivalries, great disappointments, and great fortunes.

No story of American promotion is more unique than that of the rise of
the Astor family from obscurity to a position of power and usefulness,
and this story has its early setting in the fur-trading camps of the
Far Northwest, where Astoria arose beside the Pacific Sea. The tale is
most typically American: Its hero, John Jacob Astor, was of foreign
parentage; he came to America poor; he seized upon an opening which
others had passed over; he had the support of a self-confidence that
was not blind; he fought undauntedly all obstacles and scorned all
rivalry; and at last he secured America's first princely fortune.

Until the beginning of the nineteenth century the fur trade of the
Northwest was in the hands of the powerful Northwest Company of
Montreal, a race of merchant princes about whose exploits such a
true and brilliant sheen of romance has been thrown. But the United
States Government was not content that Canadian princes alone should
get possession of the wealth of the Northern forests, and as early
as 1796 it sent agents westward to meet the Indians and to erect
trading-houses. The plan was a failure, as any plan must have been
"where the dull patronage of Government is counted upon to outvie
the keen activity of private enterprise." In almost every one of our
preceding stories of America's captains of expansion, save that of the
Lewis and Clark expedition only, a private enterprise has been our
study, and each story has been woven around a personality. Even in the
case of the exception noted, it was the personal interest and daring of
Lewis and Clark that made their splendid tour a success, though it was
promoted by the Government.

The quiet little village of Waldorf near Heidelberg, Germany, was the
birthplace of John Jacob Astor, and the name is preserved to-day in
the princely splendor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The young man, who
never believed that he would become a merchant prince, spent his first
years in the most rural simplicity. It is marvellous how America has
imperiously called upon so many distant heaths for men with a genius
for hard work and for daring dreams; it called St. Clair from Scotland,
Zeisberger from Moravia, and Gallatin and Bouquet from Switzerland; and
now a German peasant boy, inheriting blood and fibre, felt early in
his veins this same mystic call, and saw visions of a future possible
only in a great and free land. At an early age he went to London,
where he remained in an elder brother's employ until the close of
the Revolutionary War; now, in 1783, at twenty years of age, he left
London for America with a small stock of musical instruments with
which his brother had supplied him. At this time one of those strange
providential miracles in human lives occurred in the life of this lad,
who himself had had a large faith since childhood days; by mere chance,
on the ocean voyage, or in the ice-jam at Hampton Roads, his mind was
directed to the great West and its fur trade. From just what point
the leading came strongest is not of great importance, but the fact
remains that upon his arrival at New York young Astor disposed of his
musical instruments and hastened back to London with a consignment
of furs. The transaction proved profitable, and the youth turned all
his energies to the problem of the fur trade. He studied the British
market, and went to the continent of Europe and surveyed conditions
there. He returned to New York and began in the humblest way to found
his great house. All imaginable difficulties were encountered; the
fur trade had been confined almost wholly to the Canadian companies,
who brooked no competition; in the Atlantic States it had been
comparatively unimportant and insignificant. At the close of the war
of separation England had refused to give up many of her important
posts on the American side of the Great Lakes,--a galling hindrance
to all who sought to interest themselves in the fur trade. Again, the
importation of furs from Canada to the United States was prohibited.
The young merchant soon began making trips to Montreal, at which point
he purchased furs and shipped them direct to London.

In this fight for position and power young Astor showed plainly the
great characteristics of the successful merchant,--earnestness and
faith. He showed, too, some of the rashness of genius, which at
times is called insanity; but search in the biographies of our great
Americans, and how many will you find who did not early in their
careers have some inkling of their great successes,--some whisper of
fortune which rang in the young heart? The successes of John Jacob
Astor were not greater than some of his day-dreams. "I'll build one day
or other," he once said to himself on Broadway, "a greater house than
any of these, in this very street." Irving writes of Astor:

     "He began his career, of course, on the narrowest scale; but he
     brought to the task a persevering industry, rigid economy, and
     strict integrity. To these were added an inspiring spirit that
     always looked upward; a genius, bold, fertile, and expansive; a
     sagacity quick to grasp and convert every circumstance to its
     advantage; and a singular and never-wavering confidence of signal

It was the reports of Lewis and Clark that inspired Astor in his daring
dream of securing a commercial control of the great Northwest which,
by the help and protection of the American Government, would give
impetus to the expansion of the American people into a great empire.
The key to Astor's plan was to open an avenue of intercourse between
the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and form regular establishments or
settlements across the continent from one headquarters on the Atlantic
to another on the Pacific. Sir Alexander Mackenzie had conceived
this idea in 1793, but it involved such herculean labors that it was
not attempted; the business sinews of the Hudson Bay Company and the
Northwest Company were so strong, and their long-cherished jealousies
were so deep-rooted, that Mackenzie's plan of coalescence was
impossible. In the meantime Lewis and Clark had found a route through
Louisiana to the Pacific, and Captain Gray of Boston had anchored in
the mouth of the Columbia. By land and water the objective point had
been reached, and Astor entered upon the great task of his life with
ardor and enthusiasm. The very obstacles in his way seemed to augment
his courage, and every repulse fired him to increased exertion.

[Illustration: JOHN JACOB ASTOR

_Founder of Astoria_]

It is a remarkable fact that at this time the principal market for
American furs was in China. The British Government had awarded the
monopoly of the China trade to the powerful East India Company, and
neither the Hudson Bay Company nor the Northwest Company was allowed to
ship furs westward across the Pacific to China. Astor planned to take
full advantage of this ridiculous handicap under which the Canadian
fur companies labored. He planned to erect a line of trading posts up
the Missouri and down the Columbia, at whose mouth a great emporium
was to be established; and to this the lesser posts which were to be
located in the interior would all be tributary. A coastwise trade
would be established, with the Columbia post as headquarters. Each
year a ship was to be sent from New York to the Columbia, loaded with
reënforcements and supplies. Upon unloading, this ship was to take the
year's receipt of furs and sail to Canton, trading off its rich cargo
there for merchandise; the voyage was to be continued to New York,
where the Chinese cargo was to be turned into money.

It is not because of the success of this intrepid promoter that the
founding of Astoria occupies such a unique position among the great
exploits in the history of American expansion. His attempt to secure
the fur trade was not a success; but, considering the day in which it
was conceived, the tremendous difficulties to be overcome, the rivalry
of British and Russian promoters in the North and Northwest, and the
inability of others to achieve it, the founding of Astoria on the
Columbia must be considered typically American in the optimism of its
conception and the daring of its accomplishment. If there is a good
sense in which the words can be used, America has been made by a race
of gamblers the like of which the world has never seen before. We have
risked our money as no race risked money before our day. Astor was
perhaps the first great "plunger" of America; his enthusiasm carried
everything before it and influenced the spread of American rights and
interests. The failure of the Astoria scheme did not check certain
more fundamental movements toward the Pacific; the questions of
boundaries and territorial and international rights were brought to the
fore because of Astor's attempt. This promoter's lifelong enterprise
was a highly important step, after the Lewis and Clark expedition,
toward the Americanization of the newly purchased Louisiana; it
hastened the settlement of questions which had to be faced and solved
before Louisiana was ours in fact as well as on paper. Lewis and Clark
found a way thither and announced to the Indian nations American
possession; Astor, by means of a private enterprise, precipitated the
questions of boundaries and rights which America and England must have
settled sooner or later.

One of the first interesting developments of an international nature
followed close upon a diplomatic manoeuvre by which Astor attempted
to thwart rivalry by seeking to have the Northwest Company become
interested to the extent of a one-third share in his American company.
The wily Canadians delayed their decision, and at last answered by
attempting to secure the mouth of the Columbia before Astor's party
could reach the spot. Astor pushed straight ahead, however, and on June
23, 1810, the Pacific Fur Company was organized, with Mr. Astor, Duncan
McDougal, Donald McKenzie, and Wilson Price Hunt as chief operators.

The stock in this newly formed company was to be divided into one
hundred equal shares, fifty of which were to be at the disposal of
Mr. Astor, the remaining fifty to be divided among the partners and
associates. Mr. Astor was immediately placed at the head of the
Company, to manage its business in New York. He was to furnish all
vessels, provisions, ammunition, goods, arms, and all requisites for
the enterprise, provided they did not involve a greater advance than
four hundred thousand dollars. To Mr. Astor was given the privilege
of introducing other persons into the Company as partners. None of
them should be entitled to more than two shares, and two, at least,
must be conversant with the Indian trade. Annually a general meeting
of the Company was to be held at the Columbia River, at which absent
members might be represented and, under certain specified conditions,
might vote by proxy. The association was to continue twenty years if
successful; should it be found unprofitable, however, the parties
concerned had full power to dissolve it at the end of the first five
years. For this trial period of five years Mr. Astor volunteered to
bear all losses incurred, after which they were to be borne by the
partners proportionally to the number of shares they held. Wilson Price
Hunt was chosen to act as agent for the Company for a term of five
years. He was to reside at the principal establishment on the West
coast; should the interests of the association at any time require his
absence from this post, a person was to be appointed in general meeting
to take his place.

The two campaigns now inaugurated, one by land and one by sea, aimed at
the coveted point on the Pacific Coast. The "Tonquin" was fitted out
in September, 1810, and sent under Captain Thorn around Cape Horn, and
Hunt was sent from Montreal with the land expedition. The "Tonquin"
arrived at the mouth of the Columbia March 22, 1811, and on April 12
the little settlement, appropriately named Astoria, was founded on
Point George. In the race for the Columbia the Americans had beaten the

Hunt had gone to Montreal in July, 1810, and, setting out from that
point by way of the Ottawa, reached Mackinaw July 22. Having remained
at this point nearly three weeks, he reached St. Louis by way of the
Green Bay route on September 3. The party was not on its way again
until October 21, and it wintered at the mouth of the Nodowa on the
Missouri, four hundred and fifty miles from its mouth. Proceeding
westward in April, the party gained the Columbia on the 21st of
January, 1812, after a terrible journey, and on the fifteenth of
February Astoria was reached.

Astor's great plan was now well under way toward successful operation;
the promoter could not know for many days the fate of either the
"Tonquin" or the overland expedition. But his resolute persistence
never wavered; he fitted out a second ship, the "Beaver," which
sailed October 10, 1811, for the Sandwich Islands and the Columbia.
The months dragged on; there came no word from the "Tonquin"; no word
from Hunt or Astoria; no word from the "Beaver"; thousands of dollars
had been invested, and no hint was received concerning its safety,
to say nothing of profit. Rumors of the hostility of the Northwest
Company were circulated, and of their appeal to the British Government,
protesting against the operation of this American fur company.

Then came the War of 1812, and the darkest days for the promoter of
Astoria. In 1813, despite the lack of all good news, Astor fitted out
a third ship, and the "Lark" sailed from New York March 6, 1813. The
ship had been gone only two weeks when news came justifying Astor's
fears for the safety of his Pacific colony. A second appeal of the
Northwest Company to the British Government had gained the ear of the
ministry, and a frigate was ordered to the mouth of the Columbia to
destroy any American settlement there and raise the British flag over
the ruins. Astor appealed to the American Government for assistance;
the frigate "Adams" was detailed to protect American interests on
the Pacific. Astor fitted out a fourth ship, the "Enterprise," which
was to accompany the "Adams." Now by way of St. Louis came the news
of the safe arrival of both Hunt and the "Beaver" at Astoria, and of
the successful formation of that settlement. Hope was high, and Astor
said, "I felt ready to fall upon my knees in a transport of gratitude."
Dark news came quickly upon the heels of the good. The crew of the
"Adams" was needed on the Great Lakes, and the ship could not go to the
Pacific. Astor's hopes fell, but he determined to send the "Enterprise"
alone. Then the British blockaded New York, and the last hope of giving
help to Astoria was lost. By the "Lark" Astor sent directions to Hunt
to guard against British surprise. "Were I on the spot," he wrote with
fire, "and had the management of affairs, I would defy them all; but,
as it is, everything depends upon you and your friends about you. Our
enterprise is grand, and deserves success, and I hope in God it will
meet it. If my object was merely gain of money, I should say, 'Think
whether it is best to save what we can, and abandon the place; but the
very idea is like a dagger to my heart.'"

The fate of Astoria is well known; McDougal, Astor's agent, fearing
the arrival of a British man-of-war, capitulated, on poor financial
terms, to agents of the Northwest Company, which was in occupation when
the British sloop-of-war "Raccoon" arrived, November 30. On December
12 Captain Block with his officers entered the fort, and, breaking a
bottle of wine, took possession in the name of his Britannic Majesty.

The failure of Astoria did not by any means ruin its sturdy promoter,
though it meant a great monetary loss. Astor's fortune kept swelling
with the years until it reached twenty millions; portions of it are of
daily benefit to many thousands of his countrymen in such public gifts
as the Astor Library.

But these material benefits never did a greater good than the influence
Astor exerted in turning the minds and hearts of men to the Northwest.
In many of our stories of early American promotion the particular end
in view was never achieved. No hope of Washington's (after his desire
for independence) was more vital than his hope of a canal between the
Potomac and the Ohio. The plan was not realized, yet through his hoping
for it and advocating it both the East and the West received lasting
benefits. But of the stories of broken dreams, that of Astoria stands
alone and in many ways unsurpassed. The indomitable spirit which Astor
showed has been the making of America. The risks he ran fired him to
heartier endeavor, as similar risks have incited hundreds of American
promoters since his day; he stands, in failure and in success, as the
early type of the American promoter and successful merchant prince.


     _Seeds of Christianity sown among the Indians by the Lewis
     and Clark Band.--A Deputation of Nez Percés to General Clark,
     requesting that the Bible be taught in their Nation.--The
     Methodists establish a Mission on the Willamette, but pass by
     the Nez Percés.--Interest in the New Field for Explorers and
     Missionaries is now awakened.--Marcus Whitman suited by Early
     Training to become an Explorer and a Missionary.--Becomes a
     Medical Practitioner and afterwards makes a Business Venture in a
     Sawmill.--His Character and Physique.--His First Trip to the West,
     in Company with Mr. Parker.--The Nez Percés and the Flatheads
     receive them gladly.--His Marriage at Prattsburg, N. Y., and
     Return to the West.--A Demand for Missionaries and Immigrants that
     Oregon may be occupied and held by the United States.--Whitman
     goes East to stimulate the Mission Board and to direct Immigration
     into Oregon.--Whitman publishes a Pamphlet on the Desirableness of
     Oregon for American Colonists.--Numerous Influences that brought
     about the Emigration of 1843.--Whitman's Outlook for the Future
     Prosperity of the Immigrants.--His Death and that of his Wife in
     the Massacre of 1847._



THERE is probably not another example of the springing to life of the
seeds of Christianity more interesting than in the case of the Lewis
and Clark expedition into that far country where rolls the Oregon. To
what extent the scattering of this seed was performed with any serious
expectation of success is not to be discovered; but it seems that
wherever that strange-looking band of explorers and scientists fared
and was remembered by the aborigines that came under its influence,
so widely had there gone the legend of the white man's Saviour. The
Indians heard that the white man had a "Book from Heaven" which told
them the way to walk in order to know happiness and reach the happy
hunting-grounds; with this race, which lived forever on the verge of
starvation, the expression "happy hunting grounds"--land where there
was always game to be obtained--meant far more than the hackneyed
expression does to us to-day. A book giving explicit directions
for reaching a place where there was always something to eat was a
thing to be sought for desperately and long; they did not appreciate
the argument, once advanced with no little acumen by a Wyandot
Indian, that, since the Indian knew neither the art of writing nor
that of book-making, the Great Spirit could never have meant them
to find the way of life in a book. On the contrary, these western
Indians--Flatheads and Nez Percés--held a great meeting, probably in
the early Spring of 1832, and appointed two old men and two young men
to go back and visit their "Father," General Clark, at St. Louis.

"I came to you," one of them is reported to have said to Clark when
at last they reached St. Louis, "over a trail of many moons from the
setting sun. You were the friend of my fathers, who have all gone the
long way. I came with one eye partly open, for more light for my people
who sit in darkness.... I am going back the long, sad trail to my
people of the dark land. You make my feet heavy with burdens of gifts,
and my moccasins will grow old in carrying them, but the Book is not
among them. When I tell my poor blind people, after one more snow, in
the Big Council, that I did not bring the Book, no word will be spoken
by our old men or by our young braves. One by one they will rise up and
go out in silence. My people will die in darkness, and they will go on
the long path to the other hunting ground. No white men will go with
them and no white man's Book to make the way plain." Two of the four
Indians died in St. Louis, and the surviving two went West in the same
caravan with George Catlin, the famous portrait painter, who included
their portraits, it is said, in his collection,--Numbers 207 and 209 in
the Catlin Collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

The first missionary effort in the Far West was put forth by the
Methodist General Conference, which sent the Rev. Jason Lee westward,
starting overland from Fort Independence in April, 1834. The mission
was located seventy miles up the Willamette River, and, singularly
enough, the Nez Percés, who had sent emissaries to the "men near to
God," who had the "Book from Heaven," were passed by.

In the Spring of the same year the American Board of Commissioners
for Foreign Missions, including then both Congregationalists and
Presbyterians, became interested in the new field for explorers and in
this strange call that had come ringing across the vast prairies and
rugged mountains of the unknown West, as, in a previous study, we have
noticed that the Moravian Brethren became interested in the call that
came half a century before across the Alleghanies from the Delawares
on the Muskingum. Nor was the David Zeisberger, fearless, patient, and
devoted, found to be wanting in the present instance, for the call came
through a channel now difficult to trace to a young man who was able to
endure and dare.

Two years after the beginning of the nineteenth century Marcus Whitman
was born at Rushville, New York, of New England parentage, strong both
morally and intellectually. His early life was spent in a typical
pioneer home, where he knew the toil, the weariness, and the hearty
humble joys of that era,--a home in which independence and general
strength of character were formed and confirmed. The loss of his father
when he was at the age of eight laid upon the shoulders of the growing
lad responsibilities which made him old beyond his years. All this
certainly had its part in preparing him for the sublimely humble work,
as it seemed, that he was to be called upon to do; and little could he
have known that there were to come those days of agony and exhaustion
which demanded all his latent accumulation of iron strength and courage
of steel,--days that would demand all his stores of resourceful
foresight. Whitman's education was probably indifferent,--at least
it was not above the average of the day. Converted at the age of
seventeen, he did not join a church until he was twenty-two, which may
be taken as showing the reticent or, rather, unobtrusive character of
the man. An early purpose to prepare for the ministry was thwarted by
physical weakness, and the young man proceeded to study medicine in
the Berkshire Medical College at Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The first
years of practice were spent in Canada; returning then to New York,
his attention was unexpectedly absorbed in a business venture with his
brother in a sawmill. How difficult it must have been for any one to
read this leading aright, so seemingly adverse was it to the prescribed
course that was customary among practitioners. Yet the same knowledge
of business, perhaps, would not have come to Whitman in any other way,
and it was providentially to stand him in good stead.

     "Dr. Whitman was a strong man, earnest, decided, aggressive. He
     was sincere and kind, generous to a fault.... He was fearless
     of danger, strong in purpose, resolute and unflinching in the
     face of difficulties. At times he became animated and earnest in
     argument or conversation, but in general he would be called a
     man of reticence. He was above medium height, rather spare than
     otherwise, had deep blue eyes, a large mouth, and, in middle life,
     hair that would be called iron-gray."

Of Miss Prentiss of Prattsburg, New York, who soon became Mrs. Whitman,
Mrs. Martha J. Lamb has said:

     "She was a graceful blonde, stately and dignified in her bearing,
     without a particle of affectation. When he was preparing to leave
     for Oregon, the church held a farewell service and the minister
     gave out the well-known hymn:

  Yes, my native land, I love thee,

         *       *       *       *       *

  Can I bid you all farewell?

     The whole congregation joined heartily in the singing, but
     before the hymn was half through, one by one they ceased singing,
     and audible sobs were heard in every part of the great audience.
     The last stanza was sung by the sweet voice of Mrs. Whitman alone,
     clear, musical, and unwavering."

Whitman's first Western trip was a hurried tour of observation made in
company with the Rev. Samuel Parker, a graduate of Williams. Leaving
St. Louis in the Spring of 1835, they reached the country of the Nez
Percés and Flatheads in August. It is interesting to note that these
men crossed the Great Divide by way of the South Pass, concerning which
Mr. Parker made an astounding prophecy, as follows:

     "Though there are some elevations and depressions in this valley,
     yet, comparatively speaking, it is level, and the summit, where
     the waters divide which flow into the Atlantic and into the
     Pacific, is about six thousand feet above the level of the ocean.
     There would be no difficulty in the way of constructing a railroad
     from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. There is no greater
     difficulty in the whole distance than has already been overcome
     in passing the Green Mountains between Boston and Albany; and
     probably the time may not be far distant when trips will be made
     across the continent, as they have been made to the Niagara Falls,
     to see Nature's wonders."

The interviews with the Indians were uniform in character, and showed
that the missionaries would receive hospitality at the hands of the Nez
Percés and Flatheads. Wrote Mr. Parker:

     "We laid before them the object of our appointment, and explained
     to them the benevolent desires of Christians concerning them. We
     then inquired whether they wished to have teachers come among
     them, and instruct them in the knowledge of God, His worship, and
     the way to be saved; and what they would do to aid them in their
     labors. The oldest chief arose, and said he was old, and did not
     expect to know much more; he was deaf and could not hear, but his
     heart was made glad, very glad, to see what he had never seen
     before, a man near to God,--meaning a minister of the Gospel."

It took only ten days in the country of the Indians to assure the men
of the rich promise offered by the field; whereupon Dr. Whitman turned
his face eastward, to make his report and be ready in the following
Spring to return with reënforcements with a caravan of the American Fur
Company. A great enthusiasm had seized him. He wrote to Miss Prentiss,

     "I have a strong desire for that field of labor.... I feel greatly
     encouraged to go on in every sense, only, I feel my unfitness for
     the work; but I know in whom I have trusted, and with whom are the
     fountains of wisdom.... You need not be anxious especially for
     your health or safety, but for your usefulness to the cause of
     Missions and the souls of our benighted fellow-men."

Dr. Whitman was married early in 1836, and the couple were driven by
sleigh from Elmira, New York, to Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, where
they took a canal-boat over the Alleghany Portage Railway on their
way westward. Their principal companions were the Rev. Henry H.
Spaulding, a graduate of Western Reserve College,--two or three years
Whitman's junior,--and wife, and Mr. William H. Gray; there were also
two teamsters and two Indian boys, whom Dr. Whitman had brought East
with him. Joining the caravan of the American Fur Company at Council
Bluffs, they reached Fort Laramie early in June, and the South Pass on
the following Fourth of July, where six years later Fremont raised an
American flag and gained the immortal name of "Pathfinder."

It is difficult to emphasize sufficiently the historic importance and
significance of the advent of these women into the country beyond the
Great Divide in Whitman's light wagon and cart; true, Ashley, Bridger,
and Bonneville had taken wagons into the Rockies and left them there,
but it was for this sturdy and determined physician to take a woman
across the mountains in 1836, showing at once the practicability of
a wagon road from the Atlantic to the Pacific. But the wagon seemed
hardly less wonderful than the patient women in it. Rough mountaineers
who had come to the rendezvous of the American Fur Company just
westward of the "divide" were dumbfounded at the sight of the first
white women on whom they had laid eyes since they had reached the
States; tears came to the eyes of some of them as they shook hands
with the first white women that ever crossed the Rocky Mountains;
Mrs. Spaulding had been very ill, and the rough devotion of these men
and their Indian wives gave her new hope and courage for the work.
On the other hand, "From that day," one of these men said, "I was a
better man." But it was for an old trapper to see the real national
significance of the advent of these women into that far-flung country.
"There," he said, pointing to the women, "is something which the
honorable Hudson Bay Company cannot get rid of. They cannot send these
women out of the country. They had come to stay."

Dr. Whitman chose his station at Waiilatpu, near Walla Walla,
Washington, while Spaulding went a hundred miles and more eastward
among the Nez Percés of the Clearwater Valley. A quart of wheat brought
with them, cherished as were the twelve potatoes brought around Cape
Horn by the pioneers of Astoria a quarter of a century before, was
planted amid hopes and fears, and yielded, in less than a dozen years,
nearly thirty thousand bushels in a season. Their few cows multiplied
to a herd; gardens and orchards were laid out; a printing press and
sheep were secured from the Hawaiian Islands, and upon the press was
printed a code of laws, differing in no great degree from those issued
in Zeisberger's sweet "Meadow of Light" on the Muskingum half a century
before. Mrs. Spaulding's school numbered five hundred pupils, and a
church had grown to a membership of one hundred.

It is not possible here to trace with faithfulness the brave successes
now achieved, for we are seeking but one of the many lessons to be
found in the Whitman story. There was labor and success for all, and
trial for all as well; there were some differences of opinion among
the workers, to be settled as the field grew large, for these men were
independent thinkers, each one a man among his fellows. And then there
was the rivalry with the missionaries to the northward, the Catholic
priests located at Vancouver and extending their influence wherever
the Hudson Bay Company, in turn, extended its interests. The priests,
it should be observed, had been called in by the Company to take the
place of the missionary of the Church of England, whom the Company had
sent home. We cannot discuss here the tangled Oregon question and the
tactics of America's rivals for that beautiful stretch of country. Two
things stand fairly plain in it all: to be held, Oregon must have a
strong American quota of settlers, and these missionaries were on the
ground when the matter was precipitated.

The conquest of Oregon was to be made, if made at all, at the hands
of an army of men with broadaxes on their shoulders; not elsewhere in
our national annals does this appear more clearly than in the case of
Oregon. In the military sense there was no conquest to be effected; an
enterprising fur company, controlled by men of principle but served
by perfectly unprincipled agents, sought the land for its wealth of
skins, and would not have wished it "opened," in any sense, to the
world. The case is quite parallel to the attitude of England at the
close of the Old French War, described on a previous page[5]; the
proclamation of 1763, permitting no pioneer to erect a cabin beyond
the head-springs of the Atlantic rivers, because, if populated, the
land would not pour its treasures into the coffers of a spendthrift
king, was as idle a selfish dream as was ever conceived with reference
to Oregon by a Hudson Bay Company's _engagé_. In the case of no other
distinct region in our entire domain, perhaps, was it equally plain
that the first people to really occupy would be, in all likelihood,
the people that would control and at last possess it. It was like so
many early military campaigns in America, as, for instance, Forbes's
march on Fort Duquesne and Clark's advance to Vincennes,--to reach the
destination was of itself the chief hardship; for if in the case of
Forbes that great army could be once thrown across the Alleghanies
where lay Braddock's mouldering bones, the capitulation of Fort
Duquesne would be but a commonplace consequent.

What might have been the result had not this fragile missionary
movement into the empire of Oregon (including, of course, Oregon,
Washington, Idaho, and parts of Montana and Wyoming) taken place cannot
now be determined, but the rival interests were hurrying emigrants from
Red River and from Canada in the full belief that to hold would mean to
have. A counter action was that put forth by the American missionaries
of all denominations in Oregon, chief of whom was Marcus Whitman. It
seems as though some writers have believed that there can be a line
drawn between what these first Americans did to promote missionary
success and that done to advance what may be called American political
interests in Oregon; to the present writer this seems impossible.
What helped the one helped the other, whether the motive comprehended
the larger interests at stake or not. That the missionaries desired
that the Americans coming into Oregon should be men of sobriety and
character should not in the least argue that they did not desire
them at the same time to be good patriotic citizens, eager for their
country's welfare. It is hardly fair to imply that these men were poor
patriots in proportion as they were good missionaries; nor can the
proposition be more reasonably entertained that these brave men desired
to promote emigration thither in order to secure more assistance or
success in the missionary work in which they were engaged. In all
these considerations the hope of missionary success was inextricably
bound up with national extension and national growth. Were the mission
stations to be increased, it was of national moment; were they to be
decreased, it was an ominous sign so far as possible American dominion
was concerned.

Unfortunate internal trouble among the missionaries, due to differences
of opinion on policies and ways and means, caused the American Board
to decide to eliminate a portion of the mission stations. Just what
steps were to be taken is not important to us here; the important
thing is the influence of this curtailing of the work of the American
missionary. Was it to strengthen or weaken America's claim to the
empire of Oregon? Was it to hinder or help the occupation of the land
on the part of rival spirits? Those who might hold that the question
was one of missionary policy totally apart from national politics
take a view of the matter in which the present writer cannot share.
These men were Americans; it is difficult to believe that with the
Oregon question to the front these missionaries (who were on the spot)
confined their attention solely to the missionary problem heedless of
the national problem, which must have embraced and included all others
in any analysis.

The missionaries met to consider the order of the American Board late
in the Fall of 1842. Marcus Whitman was granted leave of absence to
visit the East and persuade the officers of the Board to rescind their
action. Wrote one of the missionaries of the Board immediately after
Whitman's departure concerning his plan:

     "I have no doubt that if his plan succeeds it will be one of
     great good to the mission and country. It is to be expected that
     a Romish influence will come in.... To meet this influence a few
     religious settlers around a station would be invaluable."[6]

This contemporary document, written just as Whitman was leaving,
ought to be good evidence, first, that he had a definite errand, and,
secondly, that it concerned new emigrants.

The friends of Whitman have gone very far in an attempt to maintain
that he left Oregon hurriedly on the brave ride he now undertook in
order to reach Washington in time to accomplish a specific political
errand; if nothing more, such a sweeping assertion was sure to be
called into question, and when this was done the querists were likely
to be unable to keep from going to the other extreme of denying that
Whitman ever went to Washington or had any political motive in coming

A brief but careful view of the documents in the case has inclined us
to the view that Whitman came East as he did in order to be in time
to have a part in arousing interest in and directing the course of
the large emigration that it was felt would turn toward Oregon in the
Spring of 1843. We are the more inclined to this opinion for the reason
that this was the most important thing by far that could have occupied
the man's mind, however one views the question; what could more have
benefited the mission cause than a flood-tide of American pioneers into
Oregon with axes to sing that old home-loving song sung long ago in the
Alleghanies, in Ohio, in Kentucky, and beyond? And what more, pray,
could be done than this to advance the interests of the United States
hereabouts? In point of fact the nation had depended on the conquest of
Oregon by pioneers, if it was to be conquered at all; treaties could
be made and broken, but a conquest by the axe-bearing army would be

"The policy," writes Justin Winsor, "which the United States soon after
developed was one in which Great Britain could hardly compete, and
this was to possess the [Oregon] country by settlers as against the
nominal occupancy of the fur-trading company directed from Montreal.
By 1832 this movement of occupation was fully in progress. By 1838 the
interest was renewed in Congress, and a leading and ardent advocate of
the American rights, Congressman Linn of Missouri, presented a report
to the Senate and a bill for the occupation of Oregon, June 6, 1838. A
report by Caleb Cushing coming from the Committee on Foreign Affairs
respecting the Territory of Oregon, accompanied by a map, was presented
in January and February in 1839:

     "'It was not till 1842 that the movements of aggression began to
     become prominent in politics, and immigration was soon assisted by
     Fremont's discovery of the pass over the Rocky Mountains at the
     head of the La Platte.[8] Calhoun in 1845 took the position that
     the tide of immigration was solving the difficulty and it was best
     to wait that issue and not force a conflict.'"

It seems perfectly certain that Whitman was concerned especially with
this "tide of immigration." He left home October 3; in eleven days
Fort Hall was reached, four hundred miles away. Finding it best, he
struck southward on the old Santa Fé Trail, by way of Fort Wintah, Fort
Uncompahgre, and Fort Taos. From Santa Fé the course was in part by the
old Santa Fé Trail to Bent's Fort and Independence. Bent's Fort was
left January 7, 1843, but the date of reaching Westport (Kansas City),
Missouri, is not definitely known; it was probably the last of January,
and here he was busy for some little time helping to shape things up
for the much talked of emigration of 1843. Indeed, there is evidence
that he did not leave Westport until at least the 15th of February.
Possibly it was here that he prepared and published a pamphlet
describing Oregon, the soil, climate, and its desirableness for
American colonists, and said that "he had crossed the Rocky Mountains
that winter principally to take back that season a train of wagons to
Oregon." The Doctor assured his countrymen that wagons could be taken
to the Columbia River. "It was this assurance of the missionary," wrote
one emigrant, "that induced my father and several of his neighbors to
sell out and start at once for this country."[9]

If this line of investigation is followed steadily with reference to
Dr. Whitman's Eastern visit, the result is eminently satisfactory from
any point of view. It is well and good to believe that he attempted
to right the minds of some eminent men on the Oregon question, but
he probably accomplished more by some plain talks with a score of
frontiersmen at Westport and by his pamphlet on the subject than
by visiting ten thousand men in high authority. What was to save
Oregon was the emigration movement,--the rank and file of the army
with the broadaxe,--not Whitman or Webster or a President or a
congressman or a hundred congressmen. This Oregon missionary was a
plain, straightforward, brave, modest man, not seeking notoriety, come
eastward to have a part in inducing emigration that must start, if at
all, _in the Spring months_. There you have an explanation for the
Winter's ride.

Pressing on eastward, Whitman went to Washington; this has been
questioned because none of the public prints of the city noised abroad
his coming or his presence. This proves he was not there as much as the
absence of his foot-prints on those streets to-day proves it; so far as
it indicates anything, it only shows the man was not seeking notoriety
and cheap advertisement. A year afterwards, in June, 1844, the Hon.
James M. Porter, Secretary of War, received a letter from Marcus
Whitman which began, "In compliance with the request you did me the
honor to make last winter, while in Washington, I herewith transmit to
you the synopsis of a bill." Another sentence runs, "I have, since our
interview, been," etc.,[10] making, in all, two definite statements in
his own hand to the effect that Whitman visited the Secretary of War
in Washington, and that while there he talked with the Secretary of
War concerning the national character of the Oregon movement. Any who
might incline to the view that Whitman came East solely on a mission
errand must pay small attention to this letter, which proves that
the Secretary of War and Whitman must have talked of a bill relative
to Oregon emigration. Whitman certainly conversed with Porter along
the lines of their subsequent correspondence, which resulted in the
missionary's sending in a bill authorizing the President of the United
States to establish a line of

     "agricultural posts or farming stations, extending at intervals
     from the present and most usual crossing of the Kansas River, west
     of the western boundary of the State of Missouri, thence ascending
     the Platte River on the southern border, thence through the
     valley of the Sweetwater to Fort Hall, and thence to settlements
     of the Willamette in the Territory of Oregon. Which said posts
     will have for their object to set examples of civilized industry
     to the several Indian tribes, to keep them in proper subjection
     to the laws of the United States, to suppress violent and
     lawless acts along the said line of the frontier, to facilitate
     the passage of troops and munitions of war into and out of the
     said Territory of Oregon, and the transportation of the mail as
     hereinafter provided."

Whitman reached Boston probably March 30. There seems to be no question
that his chief errand here with the officers of the American Board
was to interest them in a plan to induce emigration for the sake of
preserving the missions. On his return to Oregon he wrote Secretary
Greene of the Board:

     "A [Catholic] bishop is set over this part of the work, whose
     seat, as the name indicates, will be at Walla Walla. He, I
     understand, is styled Bishop of Walla Walla. It will be well for
     you to know that from what we can learn, their object will be to
     colonize around them. I cannot blame myself that the plan I laid
     down when I was in Boston was not carried out. If we could have
     had good families, say two and three together, to have placed
     in select spots among the Indians, the present crisis, which I
     feared, would not have come. Two things, and it is true those
     which were the most important, were accomplished by my return
     to the States. By means of the establishment of the wagon road,
     which is due to that effort alone, the immigration was secured and
     saved from disaster in the Fall of forty-three. Upon that event
     the present acquired rights of the U. States by her citizens hung.
     And not less certain is it that upon the result of immigration
     to this country the present existence of this mission and of
     Protestantism in general hung also. It is a matter of surprise
     to me that so few pious men are ready to associate together and
     come to this country, when they could be so useful in setting
     up and maintaining religious society and establishing the means
     of education. It is indeed so that some of the good people of
     the East can come to Oregon for the double purpose of availing
     themselves of the Government bounty of land and of doing good to
     the country."

This quotation undoubtedly contains in outline the fundamental purpose
of Dr. Whitman's journey eastward through the Winter's snows; the
American missions in Oregon were evidently on the point of being
actually crowded out by the threatened emigrants from the North;
to hold the ground gained, a rival emigration from the States was
an imperative necessity, and that was the thing for which Whitman
was working. So closely bound were the real interests, then, of the
missions and the territorial interests of the United States, that for
one to attempt a technical separation is to do an injustice to both.
Read as widely as you will the few manuscripts left us in Dr. Whitman's
hand, and the impression grows stronger with each word that the man
was exceptionally clear-sighted and sane; and while a great deal of
nonsense is and has been put into circulation about him, so far as
Whitman himself is concerned we find his attention given to roads and
trails, forage and provisions, axle grease and water; in all he wrote
(and there is sufficient for a very fair guess at his purpose and
plans) we find almost no reference whatever to the greater national
work which he was actually doing,--a fact that cannot but be forever
enjoyed by those to whom his splendid life work will appeal.

On May 12 Whitman was again in St. Louis writing Secretary Greene, "I
hope no time will be lost in seizing every favorable means of inducing
good men to favor the interest of the Oregon." We should say here that,
while in Boston, Whitman induced the officers of the American Board
to rescind their action abolishing certain of the mission stations in
Oregon. Now once more on the frontier, Whitman found that his hope
of a large American emigration to Oregon was in a fair way of being
realized; as George Rogers Clark came back to Virginia from Kentucky at
an opportune moment to urge Patrick Henry to authorize the far-famed
Illinois campaign, so now Marcus Whitman had come East at an opportune
moment to add what weight he could in the interests of an Oregon
campaign. But as in the case of Clark's visit to Virginia, so now, far
more important causes had been at work to bring the desired result
than the mere coming of a messenger. It would indeed be impossible
to estimate the large number of forces that had been at work to
bring about the famous emigration of 1843, but among them should be
remembered the long debates in Congress on the Ashburton Treaty, the
Linn Bill concerning Oregon lands, Greenhow's "Memoir," and Lieutenant
Wilkes's report, as well as the missionary efforts of the various
denominations, and the Whitman pamphlet, before referred to.

As a result, as singular and interesting an army as ever bore the
broadaxe westward now began to rendezvous in May near Independence,
Kansas, just beyond the Missouri line. It would probably have gathered
there to go forth to its brave conquest though there had been no Marcus
Whitman or Daniel Webster, or any other man or set of men that ever
lived; the saying that Whitman "saved Oregon" is just as false as
the saying that Washington was the "Father of his Country," or that
Thomas was the "Rock of Chickamauga," or Webster the "Defender of
the Constitution"--and just as true; it is a boast, a toast, an idle
fable to those who disbelieve it, a precious legend of heroism and
magnetism to those who glory in it. On the 18th of May a committee
of the emigrants was appointed to go to Independence and inquire of
Whitman concerning the "practicability of the road," as one of the
party (George Wilkes) wrote; another pioneer (Peter H. Burnett) said
that on the twentieth he attended a meeting with Colonels Thornton and
Bartleson, Mr. Rickman and Dr. Whitman, at which meeting rules and
regulations for the "Oregon Emigrating Society" were adopted. There
is no doubt that Whitman's advice was of considerable importance.
Any man who had taken a wagon over the Rockies would have been of
prime importance to these emigrants, irrespective of any other
considerations. On the 22d of May the vanguard of the army started,
with John Gant as guide, and the Kansas River was reached on the 26th,
and wholly crossed on the last day of May. On the 30th of May we find
him writing to Secretary Greene in the following strain:

     "You will be surprised to see that we are not yet started.
     Lieutenant Fremont left this morning. The emigrants have some of
     them just gone, and others have been gone a week, and some are
     yet coming on. I shall start to-morrow. I regret I could not have
     spent some of the time spent here in suspense with my friends at
     the East.

     "I have only a lad of thirteen, my nephew, with me. I take him to
     have some one to stay with Mrs. Whitman. I cannot give you much of
     an account of the emigrants until we get on the road. It is said
     that there are over two hundred men besides women and children.
     They look like a fair representative of a country population.
     Few, I conclude, are pious. Fremont intends to return by land, so
     as to be back early in winter. Should he succeed in doing so we
     may be able to send you an account of the Mission and country at
     that time. We do not ask you to become the patrons of emigration
     to Oregon, but we desire you to use your influence that, in
     connection with all the influx into the country, there may be a
     fair proportion of good men of our own denomination who shall
     avail themselves of the advantages of the country in common with
     others. Also that ministers should come out as citizens or under
     the Home Missionary Society. We think agents of the Board and of
     the Home Missionary Society, as also ministers and good men in
     general, may do much to send a share of good, pious people to that
     country. We cannot feel it to be at all just that we do nothing,
     while worldly men and Papists are doing so much.... I wish to
     say a few words about manufactures in Oregon, that I may remove
     an impression that they cannot compete with the English. First,
     let us take the operatives and the raw material from the Pacific
     Islands. It matters not at how much labor the Islander cleans the
     cotton, for it gives him employment, and for that he gets goods,
     and then for his coffee and sugar and salt and cotton, etc.,
     etc., he gets goods also. This is all an exchange trade that only
     a population and manufacturers in Oregon can take advantage of,
     because they alone will want the articles of exchange which the
     Islander can give. The same will hold good in relation to Indians
     whenever they shall have sheep, and I intend to try and have the
     Government give them sheep instead of money, a result not likely
     to be delayed long. A good man or company can now select the best
     mill sites and spots, and likely would find a sawmill profitable
     at once. I think our greatest hope for having Oregon at least part
     Protestant now lies in encouraging a proper intention of good
     men to go there while the country is open. I want to call your
     attention to the operation of Farnham of Salem and the Bensons of
     New York in Oregon. I am told credibly that secretly Government
     aids them with the secret service fund. Captain Howard of Maine is
     also in expectation of being employed by Government to take out
     emigrants by ship should the Oregon Bill pass."

Those who love the memory of this brave missionary must hold this
letter exceedingly precious; it has, in addition to its enthusiasm and
patriotism, that sane and practical outlook on the future that pervades
so much of Washington's writings, especially the letters to William
Crawford. Here is another man looking, on the Pacific slope, for such
important commonplace things as mill sites in 1843, just as Washington
was looking for mill sites in the Ohio Valley in 1770, and between
the two it would be difficult to say which was the more seriously
optimistic, though the influence of both must have been strong, in
their respective days, on the advancing pioneer.

For all the daring of the hardy Winter's journey that Whitman made[11]
we look upon this other journey, with this splendid army of nearly a
thousand Oregon pioneers and home-builders, as the one of supremest
importance. Ay, here was Whitman's Ride,--not sung, perhaps, so widely
as the one in the Winter's snows, and yet the one ride which Oregon
could not have missed, and the one she can never forget! Let the
fruitless debate go on as to the exact measure of this unpretentious
missionary's influence in shaping Government policies and moulding
public opinion; it is enough for me to know that he viewed the whole
question as keenly as his few letters prove he unquestionably did,
and then to know that when the great emigration started he was there
to direct and inspire; that he could do the humblest duty and say the
least about it, and at the same time show Fremont where to go if he
would gain the immortal title of "Pathfinder."

Whitman has suffered at the hands of his friends, who have been
over-jealous touching matters concerning which his own lovable modesty
and reticence would not allow him to speak; they have made claims and
inferences unwarranted by the known facts of the case. His Winter's
ride has been compared with Sheridan's from Winchester, and tasted no
better in some mouths than does the ballad of Sheridan's Ride in the
mouths of Crook's men, who knew their leader had, an hour back, given
and carried out the order Sheridan is said (in the poem) to have given
when he dashed upon the scene, when, in fact, he merely came to Crook
and asked him what he had done.[12] And yet Reid's poem is as true to
the spirit of the indomitable Sheridan as Butterfield's is true of

We have compared Whitman on the Walla Walla to Zeisberger on the
Muskingum; and the terrible massacre of November 29, 1847, in which
the brave hero of Oregon, with his wife and twelve others, gave their
lives, belongs in history with the awful Gnadenhütten tragedy. The
murder of these brave pioneers by Indians, to whom they had given
the best of their lives and all their strength and prayers, is quite
as fiendishly incongruous as the destruction of the Moravian band of
corn-huskers by frenzied Monongahela frontiersmen; in each case the
murderers knew not what they did.

But Whitman's work was done, for we have it in his own hand that
he would be contented if posterity would remember, not that he had
influenced a President or a Congress or saved an Empire, but merely, as
he wrote, that he was

     "one of the first to take white women across the mountains and
     prevent the disaster and reaction which would have occurred by the
     breaking up of the present emigration, and establishing the first
     wagon road across to the border of the Columbia."[13]

And yet when you study this boast you will find that it contains in its
essence all that any boast for Whitman could hold; for it was an army
of axe-bearers that was to save Oregon; and if Meade won Gettysburg or
Wolfe captured Quebec, then Whitman and the Americans who went in his
track won for America the northern Pacific slope.


[5] See p. 46.

[6] Dr. Cushing Eells's letter in archives of A. B. C. F. M., Boston.

[7] "The Legend of Whitman's Ride," by Prof. E. G. Bourne, _American
Historical Review_, January, 1901.

[8] Dr. Whitman's route, as we have seen, in 1836.

[9] "Letter of John Zachrey," _Senate Ex. Doc. No. 37_, Forty-first
Congress, Third Session.

[10] Letter file, office of Secretary of War, received June 22, 1844.

[11] Friends of Whitman have unfortunately exaggerated this Winter's
ride; though a daring feat, it has many parallels in the annals of the
old Salt Lake Trail, on which Jim Bridger built the fort that bore his
name as early as 1837.

[12] The report of a worthy eyewitness of the Thirty-sixth Ohio.

[13] Whitman to Secretary Greene, Nov. 1, 1843; Mowry, _Marcus
Whitman_, 267.


     _Captains of American Expansion always to be found in the
     National Legislature.--Great National Advance in the Second and
     Third Decades of the Nineteenth Century.--Definition of "The
     American System."--The Doctrine that Public Surplus should be
     used for Internal Improvements held for only a Short Time.--Party
     Struggles regarding Cumberland Road Legislation.--Inconsistent
     Resolutions of Congress on this Matter.--The Drift of Public
     Sentiment toward putting Works of Improvement under the Care of
     the Government.--Numerous Competitors for National Aid toward
     Local Improvements.--Mutual Jealousy of Various Localities with
     Regard to the Distribution of Government Aid.--Disputes as to
     the Comparative Usefulness of Canals and Railroads.--Polk's
     Sarcasm on the Abuse of the Word "National" as applied to the
     Route of a Proposed Road from the Lakes to the Gulf.--Several
     Beneficial Measures passed by Congress in Spite of Strong
     Opposition.--Sums granted for Education, Road-building, and
     Canal-building.--Beneficial Influence of the Government's Liberal
     Gifts as Encouragement to States and to Private Investors._



AS we have reviewed from a more or less personal standpoint some of
the exploits which definitely made for the growth and expansion of the
young American Republic, it may have occurred to the reader that here
was another great power at work helping, encouraging, and guiding the
movement,--Pilots of the Republic in the halls of national legislation
at Washington.

Not that we refer specifically to any one man; some men, like Henry
Clay and Daniel Webster, can be pointed to at certain periods as
men who occupied this position, who in a sense fathered, against
all opposition, great measures that we see now were of tremendous
advantage; if the position was abdicated by one man it was filled by
another; and so down through the century and a quarter of our national
existence there has been a power at work in our councils that has
been optimistic, and at the same time true to the genius of America's
geographical position and her high calling among the nations of the
earth. It is not because this has been marvellously illustrated since
the outbreak of the Spanish-American War that reference is made to it
here, though the illustration is apposite and fair; but if we look back
down the decades from the day that Congress signed that contract with
Rufus Putnam and his Revolutionary patriots, or the day when Jefferson
dared to effect the Louisiana Purchase, we shall continually find men
sitting in the Congressional seats at the capital who had the courage
to try new paths, to assume common-sense views of the Constitution,
and who believed in their country and wished to see it shirk no great
responsibility. Such men as these were as truly captains of our
expansion as was Putnam or Henderson or Astor.

The age in our history to which our attention is turned on this subject
is more particularly that lying between the beginning of the second and
the ending of the third decade of last century. Much that was proposed
before the opening of the nineteenth century, in the way of material
national advance, was forgotten in the taxing days of 1811-1815. Chief
among these was the Erie Canal proposition, and it is perhaps not too
much to say that had the war with England not come as it did, possibly
the Government would, by means of the money accruing from the sale of
Michigan lands, have invested in the Erie Canal project; the Cumberland
Road was one of the great works that went on despite the war. The moral
effect of the victories of Perry and Jackson, one to the north and the
other to the south, was very great; with the triumphant ending of the
war the little victorious nation sprang into a strength and a passion
for power that well-nigh frightened those acquainted with the policy
and conservatism of the ante-bellum days.

We have touched slightly on one of the great questions of this most
wonderful period of American history, that of the constitutionality
of the appropriations for the Cumberland Road, and Henry Clay's
championship of the measure. But this was only one of a score of
propositions in a campaign of internal improvements, and Clay was but
one of a hundred champions who assisted a weak nation to take on the
elements of strength by encouraging agriculture and manufactures, and
binding a far-flung land by means of communication and intercourse.


At the beginning of the second generation in the century the problem
of internal improvements came to the fore as on no previous occasion,
backed by the strongest men then in the public eye,--Clay, Calhoun,
Adams, and Webster. The Cumberland Road had been making its way
westward, but had not yet thrown its tawny length over the Ohio River
and into the States beyond. But the argument for this great national
work was not to be gainsaid, for the original compact with Ohio had
been reiterated on the admission of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri,
respectively, and a part of the sales of the public lands in those
States was already pledged to this object. As one of the fruits of
the much discussed "American System," championed by Henry Clay, the
Cumberland Road was a popular success, though there was never a time
when any measure concerning it could not secure a strong following in
the House and the Senate.

The American System stood for a use of the public surplus for works
of internal improvement; it was not a popular policy for a long time,
but while in vogue it was of immeasurable benefit to the expanding
country, its champions being veritable captains of the country's
advance. The most interesting features of the history of this doctrine
are the vehemence with which it was advocated for a few critical years
when nothing else would have equally aided the national advance, the
questionable basis on which the doctrine rested, and the readiness with
which it was abandoned when its providential mission was effected. Even
before the real internal improvement era came it was foreshadowed by
the historic position of the two parties toward the object, as shown
in Cumberland Road legislation. The bitterness of the struggle could
not be shown better than by the repudiations of Congress in 1817 in
its votes on this subject. In that year Congress passed the following
inconsistent resolutions: (1) Congress has the power to build public
roads and military roads, and to improve waterways; (2) Congress has
_not_ power to construct post roads or military roads; (3) Congress has
_not_ power to construct roads or canals to carry commerce between the
States; (4) Congress has _not_ power to construct military roads. "Thus
we see," said a triumphant enemy of the so-called American System, "by
the solemn decision of this House in 1817, all power over this subject
was repudiated in every form and shape." Despite these inconsistencies
the movement was ever a forward movement, until at last, in 1824, it
assumed gigantic proportions, alarming to some degree the very men who
had urged it forward.

The revenue of the Government at this time was about twenty-five
millions, and the running expenses--including interest on the slight
remaining debt--about half that sum. To what better use could the ten
or twelve surplus million dollars be devoted than to the internal
improvement of the land, as Gallatin and Jefferson had advocated twenty
years before? Here the contest shifted to the tariff, a reduction of
which would do away with the necessity of finding a way to employ
a surplus. The drift of public sentiment, however, was largely in
favor of turning the fostering care of the Government to works of
improvement, either by direct appropriation, or by taking stock in
local companies, or by devoting to their use the proceeds of the sale
of public lands; in any way the result would be the same, and the
nation as a whole would feel the benefit.

The policy swept a large part of the country like wildfire, and
ten thousand dreams, many of them chimerical to the last degree,
were conceived. As a rule the result was, without question, bitter
disappointment; but amid all the dangers that were in the way, and all
the possibilities of untold harm, an influence was put to work that did
more for the awakening of the young land than anything that had ever
preceded it. Over a hundred and twenty-five claimants for national aid
were considered by squads of engineers sent out by the Government. In
the sarcastic words of one of the opposers of the system (and on this
subject there was a chance for sarcasm that seldom came to Congressmen)
every creek and mill-race in the United States was being surveyed by
engineers sent out by the chief executive. It was asserted, and not
without some plausibility, that such surveying expeditions were used
very craftily to influence votes, being sent to view rivers and roads
in disputed regions where the information was circulated that, unless
the champions of internal improvement were put in power, great local
blessings would be lost to these districts.

But this was not by any means the chief danger in the campaign. As
was most forcefully argued by the opposition, the influence of this
paternal policy on the part of the Government would be to awaken
hostility and set one part of the nation against the other, for in
no way could the division of the surplus be made equal. It could not
be made on the basis of population even if this were admitted to be
constitutional, for some parts of the country needed help far more
than others; a naturally impregnable harbor did not need a fourth
of the money expended on it that a comparatively defenceless harbor
did. Again, the division could not, for the same reason, be made on
the basis of receipts; the States of the seaboard, in which the great
part of the Government's revenue was raised, would then be almost the
only beneficiaries; the West would receive nothing. The accusation
of favoritism came with piercing force. Suppose, for instance, New
York and Mississippi should come at the same time to Congress, the
one asking for the improvement of the Erie Canal, and the other for
the improvement of the Mississippi River. Which party would Congress
listen to if the public treasury was not in a position to satisfy
both applicants? It was urged that this procedure destroyed the whole
principle of representative responsibility. Take the case of New York
and her great canal,--the most important material improvement in the
fifty years of the nation's life; New York came to the Government when
the project was first broached, asking for aid. The cause was a good
one; in peace it would be a benefit to at least six States, and in
war it would be a national advantage of untold moment; in fact, as we
have seen, the possibility of another war with England along the Lakes
was the very argument that turned the scale and caused the canal to
be built. The project was discouraged at Washington, and not a cent
of Government treasure went into the undertaking. Why now, a score
of years later, should New York representatives vote money from the
national treasury for objects no less national or needful than the Erie
Canal? Several neighboring States (Ohio, for instance) had declined
to invest funds in the Erie Canal venture when it was first promoted;
why now should New York representatives vote national funds (such a
large part of which came from New York ports) for improvements in these
States, whose delegates in Congress refused aid to the Erie Canal in
its dark hours? On the other hand it was urged that even the Erie
Canal, the most famous work of internal improvement promoted by any of
the States, had done "nothing toward the extinguishment of its debt,"
up to 1830; if this great work did not reimburse the treasury which
built it, though operated by a purely local authority well acquainted
with all conditions and able to take advantage of all circumstances,
how would it be with works promoted by the national Government, in
distant parts of the country, with little or no knowledge of local
circumstances or conditions? Another argument, more powerful than was
realized at the time, was that which prophesied the swift advance of
the locomotive and the railroad, and the consequent decay and disuse
of the common road and the canal. Said a member of Congress in debate
on the floor of the House, "The honorable gentleman from Virginia [Mr.
Mercer, the father of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal], Sir, must hear
the appalling, the heartrending fact, that this mighty monument [the
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal] which, for years, he has been laboring with
zeal and exertion to erect to his memory, and which, no doubt, he had
fondly hoped would transmit his name down to the latest posterity, must
fall, and must give place to the superior improvement of railroads."

On the proposed national road from Buffalo to New Orleans by way
of Washington the opposition poured out its vials of sarcasm and
ridicule. To the arguments of the friends of the measure, that the
road was needed as a commercial and military avenue and for the use
of the Post-office department, the reply was a denial so sweeping,
from such reliable and informed parties, that there was no hope for
the measure. Perhaps the strongest argument for the negative was
advanced by James K. Polk, who was little less than withering in his
fire, piling up ridicule on top of sarcasm to a degree seldom seen in
Congress. Polk found that twenty-one routes between Washington and
Buffalo had been outlined by engineers for this road "in the rage for
engineering, surveying, reconnoitring, and electioneering." He alleged
that the entire population in a space of territory one hundred miles
in width between the two cities had been made to expect the road, and
the surveys had been conducted in the heat of a political campaign.
"The certain effect of this system, as exemplified by this road, is,
first, to excite hopes; second, to produce conflicts of section arrayed
against section; and lastly, dissatisfaction and heart-burnings amongst
all who are not accommodated." The speaker exhausted his keen-edged
sarcasm on the word "national" and the uses to which the word was put
by the defenders of the improvement bills. He affirmed that he was sure
a number of men who proposed to support the Buffalo-New Orleans Road
Bill would not consider it sufficiently "national" if it were known
that it was not to pass through their districts; he affirmed that every
catfish in the Ohio River was a "national" catfish as truly as the
Cumberland Road was a national road; he challenged the friends of the
bill to decide definitely upon a route for the proposed road from the
Lakes to the Gulf, and then hold true to the measure representatives
from districts through which the road was not to pass. Polk affirmed
that the many various surveys were made merely to ally with the
friends of the measure the representatives of all districts touched by
these alternative courses. "This same national road was mounted as a
political hobby in my district," said the Tennessean; "for a time the
people seemed to be carried away with the prospect of having millions
of public money expended among them. We were to have a main route and
cross routes intersecting the district in every direction. It was to
run down every creek, and pass through almost every neighborhood in the
district. As soon as there was time for reason to assume her seat the
delusion passed off."

These points of opposition to the improvement campaign have been
outlined at some length to show the strength of the opposition and
the ground it took. No measure went through Congress for any kind of
Government aid without the strongest kind of opposition; in fact, the
Virginia delegates worked and voted against the Dismal Swamp Canal in
their own State in order to be consistent with their oft-expressed
views on such questions. Yet, one by one, a considerable number of
important measures of internal improvement went through Congress and
received the signatures of the different Presidents; the effect of
these measures was inestimably beneficial, giving a marked impetus to
national development, and awakening in men's minds a dim conception of
the growth that was to be the one great wonder of the century.

From the adoption of the Constitution to the year 1828 the following
sums were granted by the general Government for purposes either of
education or road-building or canal-building: Maine, $9,500; New York,
$4,156; Tennessee, $254,000; Arkansas, $45,000; Michigan, $45,000;
Florida, $83,417; Ohio, $2,527,404; Illinois, $1,725,959; Indiana,
$1,513,161; Missouri, $1,462,471; Mississippi, $600,667; Alabama,
$1,534,727; Louisiana, $1,166,361. In addition to this the Government
built, or assisted in building, five great works of improvement from
among the scores that were proposed. For the Delaware and Chesapeake
Canal $300,000 was advanced; for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal,
$10,000; for the Dismal Swamp Canal, $150,000; for the Louisville
and Portland Canal, $90,000; for the Cumberland Road, $2,230,903;
for western and southwestern State roads, $76,595, making a total
appropriation of $13,838,886.

The danger of the system was in making the national purse an object of
plunder for Congressmen, and the consequent danger of unholy alliances
and combinations for looting the public treasury. It is interesting
that for so long a period as it was in vogue there were so slight
symptoms of this sort of thing; and men little knew that, by acting on
liberal lines at the time, despite the dangers and risks, they were
exerting a power to shape the new nation, to incite private investment,
to encourage State and private works of promotion, and to aid the
commercial awakening of a people to an activity and an enterprise whose
possibilities cannot at the present day be estimated. Take the Portland
Canal around the historic "falls of the Ohio" at Louisville; this was
a work for no one State in particular to perform, not even Kentucky;
it was a detriment to Louisville itself, for it destroyed the old
portage business, as the Erie Canal ruined the overland carrying trade
between Schenectady and Albany. All the States bordering on the Ohio
were benefited by this improvement, as was equally true respecting the
Government's improvement of the Ohio River itself, which began in 1825.
The Portland Canal was one of the important investments which tended to
prove the financial benefit of such investments. The Government's total
subscription of stock was $233,500; when the affairs of the Company
were closed in 1874 by the purchase of the canal by the Government,
it was found that the national profit (in mere interest) had been
$257,778. This was due to exorbitant tolls charged by the Company,
which resulted, finally, in the purchase of the canal and throwing it
open toll-free.

The men who labored for this era of improvement are practically
unknown, with the exception of two or three who became prominent
because of special ability or renown gained in other lines of activity,
like Clay and Calhoun. It is not important here to attempt to catalogue
them; the work they did by voting for the so-called American System
was of critical importance; but, still greater, in so doing they were
showing a braver, more optimistic, more American spirit and a high
faith in the fundamental good judgment of the people. It was, without
doubt, a dangerous extreme to approach, possible of wanton violation in
unprincipled hands, and a precedent of very questionable tendencies.
But it was of immeasurable importance that such moral support as just
such acts as these afforded should have come at just this time; and,
could we read the result aright, it would be seen, possibly, that much
of our commercial success found its origin at this very moment, and
came into being because a number of men at this crucial time gave an
impetus to private adventure and private investment that was almost
providential in its ultimate effect on our national life. Losing their
individual identity in the common promotion of temporary measures of
infinite national advantage, they will be remembered only in a vague,
impersonal way as men who honored their country by trusting in its
destiny and believing in the genius of its growth.


  "ADAMS," 295

  Adams, Herbert B., 78

  Adams, John Quincy, 244, 344

  "Adventure Galley," 119

  Alleghany Portage Railway, 251-255

  American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 304, 317,
        318, 329

  American Fur Company, 310, 311

  _American Historical Review_, 320

  "American System," 345-358

  Ashburton Treaty, 330

  Ashley, --, 311

  Astor, John Jacob, 282-297, 343

  Astoria, 282, 289-296

  BACON, James H., 201

  Baltimore, 36, 241-244, 248, 255

  Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 36, 77, 243-245, 248

  Bartleson, Colonel, 331

  Bartlett, --, 189

  "Beautiful Spring" (Schönbrunn), 141

  "Beaver," 294, 295

  Bensons, The, in Oregon, 333

  Bethlehem, Pa., 133, 134

  Bliss, --, 189

  Block, Captain, 296

  Bonneville, --, 311

  Boone, Daniel, 29, 30, 89-101

  Boonesborough, Ky., 96, 101, 116

  Bouquet, --, 284

  Bourne, Prof. E. G., 320

  Bradford County, Pa., 138

  Bridger, James, 311, 335

  Brown, George, 242

  Buffalo-New Orleans Road, 352-354

  Bullock, Leonard Henley, 90

  Bunch of Grapes Tavern, Boston, 112

  Burnett, Peter H., 331

  Bushnell, --, 206

  Butterfield, --, 336

  CALHOUN, John C., 322, 344, 358

  Calk, William, 96

  Canals, 35, 36, 209-232, 239-245, 247, 249-254

  Carroll, Charles, 77, 244

  Carter's Valley, 99

  Cass, --, 189

  Catholic missionaries in Oregon, 314, 319, 326, 333

  Catlin, George, 304

  Chastellux, Chevalier de, 62

  Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, 76, 215, 240, 243-245, 247-249, 352, 356

  Clark, George Rogers, 100, 151-178, 261, 329

  Clark, Jonathan, 153-157

  Clark, William, 156, 157, 262-272, 281, 283, 287, 290, 303

  Clarksville, 176

  Clay, Henry, 184, 192, 205, 342, 344-346, 358

  Claysville, Pa., 184

  Cleaveland, Moses, 124

  Cleveland, Ohio, 124

  Clinton, Gov. De Witt, 35, 135-137, 218, 229, 230

  "Clinton's Ditch," 218, 221

  Coal, 54, 56

  Colquit, --, 189

  Colter, --, 270

  _Commonwealth, The_ (Pittsburg), 216

  Congregational missions to Indians, 304

  Congress, Powers of, 346

  Connellsville, Pa., 163

  Coshocton, Ohio, 141

  Crab Orchard, Ky., 97

  Crawford, William, 45-47, 49-52, 55, 334

  Cressap, Captain, 170

  Cumberland Gap, 98

  Cumberland Road, 35, 74, 77, 181-206, 228, 235, 343-345, 356

  Cushing, Caleb, 321

  Cutler, Rev. Manasseh, 111-115, 117;
    his son, 120

  "DEFIANCE" stage line, 200, 201

  Delafield, --, 189

  Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, 356

  Devol, --, 120

  DeWitt, Simeon, 211, 212, 218

  Dickson, --, 270

  Dismal Swamp Canal, 355, 356

  Dunmore, Governor, 87

  Dunmore's War, 91, 170

  EAST India Company, 288

  Eddy, Thomas, 218

  Eells, Dr. Cushing, quoted, 319

  English, William H., quoted, 171, 176

  "Enterprise," 295

  Erie Canal, 35, 74, 76, 209-232, 239, 249, 343, 350, 351, 357

  Everett, Edward, 147, 196, 197

  "FALLS of the Ohio" (Louisville), 97, 175, 176

  Farnham, --, 333

  "Father of Ohio," 124

  Fearing, --, 120

  Fife, William H., 201

  Forbes's Road, 118

  Forman, Joshua, 216

  Fort Boone, 96, 99, 101

  Fort Detroit, 139, 143

  Fort Duquesne, 164, 315, 316

  Fort Edward, N. Y., 210, 211

  Fort Harmar, 116, 121

  Fort Necessity, 163

  Fort Pitt, 115, 139, 143, 164

  Fort William, N. Y., 136

  "Founders of Ohio," 118

  Freeman, Thomas, 52

  Fremont, John C., 311, 321, 332, 335

  Fulton, Robert, 218

  Fur trade, 281, 282, 284-296, 314, 315

  GALLATIN, Albert, 184, 189, 284, 347

  Gant, John, 331

  Geddes, James, 211, 212

  _Genesee Messenger, The_, 216

  Gilmans, The, 120

  Gnadenhütten, Ohio, 141, 146, 336

  "Good Intent" stage line, 200

  Goodale, --, 120

  Government ownership, 191, 198

  Gratiot, --, 189

  Gray, Captain, 268, 287

  Gray, William H., 310

  Great Meadows, 47, 163

  Greene, --, 120

  Greene, --, of American Board of Foreign Missions, 326, 329, 331, 337

  Greenhow's "Memoir," 330

  Grist-mill, First west of Alleghanies, 55

  HANCOCK, --, 270

  Hanks, Abraham, 96

  Harrison, William Henry, 261

  Harrodsburg, Ky., 97

  Harrodstown, Ky., 173

  Hart, David, 90, 93

  Hartzell, --, 189

  Hawley, Jesse, 215, 216

  Hawley, M. S., 219

  Heath, General, 108

  Heckewelder, John, 31, 142

  Henderson, Ky., 99

  Henderson, Richard, 29, 30, 83-101, 172-174, 182, 260, 343

  "Hercules" (Jesse Hawley), 215

  Higgins, --, 167, 168

  "Hit or Miss," 252, 253

  Hoar, Senator, quoted, 107-110, 119, 120

  Hogg, James, 90

  Howard, Captain, 334

  Hudson Bay Company, 287, 288, 312, 314

  Hunt, Wilson Price, 291-295

  ILLINOIS, 100, 105, 174, 175, 177

  Independence Township, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 145

  Indiana, 100, 105

  Indians, 31, 87, 121, 131-146, 164-166, 302, 303, 309

  Irving, Washington, quoted, 286

  JEFFERSON, Thomas, 79, 153, 215, 259, 262, 342, 347

  Jeffersonville, Ky., 176

  Johnson, Thomas, 59

  Johnson, Sir William, 137

  Johnston, Joseph E., 189

  Johnstone, William, 90

  Jones, Rev. David, 165-168

  Jones, John Gabriel, 173

  "June Bug" stage line, 200

  KANSAS City (Westport), 322

  Kent, Chancellor, 218-220

  Ken-ta-kee, Kentucky, 117-175

  Kentucky, 29, 30, 79, 91-100, 171-176, 183

  LAMB, Mrs. Martha J., quoted, 307

  Lancaster Turnpike, 187, 188

  "Landlords" stage line, 200

  Lands, Western, 28, 39-58, 66, 163

  "Lark," 294

  Lawrence County, Pa., 140

  Lawyer's examination, 83-86

  Lee, Capt. Hancock, 171

  Lee, Rev. Jason, 304

  Leestown, on Kentucky River, 171

  "Legend of Whitman's Ride, The," 320

  "Letter of John Zachrey," 323

  Lewis and Clark Expedition, 79, 157, 262-272, 281, 283, 287, 290, 301

  Lewis, Gen. Andrew, 87

  Lewis, Meriwether, 262-272, 281, 283, 287, 290

  Lewis, Gov. Morgan, 210, 211

  Lichtenau, Ohio, 141

  Linn, Lewis F., 321, 330

  Livingston, Robert R., 218

  Locomotives, 246

  "Long Hunters," 87, 88

  Louisiana Territory, 259-277, 281, 290

  Louisville, Ky., 97, 175, 176

  Louisville and Portland Canal, 356-358

  Luttrell, John, 90, 93

  MACKENZIE, Sir Alexander, 287

  Macomb County, Mich., 145

  Madison, James, 158

  Mansfield, --, 189

  Manufactures in Oregon, 333

  Manypenny, Geo. W., 201

  "Marcus Whitman," 337

  Marietta, O., 116, 121-125

  Marietta College, 125

  Martin, Captain Joseph, 93, 97

  Maryland, 239-248

  Massie, --, 124

  Mauch Chunk, Pa., 242

  Maysville Road Bill, 74

  McDougal, Duncan, 291, 296

  McKee, --, 189

  McKenzie, Donald, 291

  "Meadow of Light" (Lichtenau), 31, 141, 313

  Meigs, --, 119

  "Memoir" (Greenhow), 330

  Mercer, Colonel, 49

  Mercer, --, of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, 352

  Methodist missions to Indians, 304

  Michigan, 105

  Milan, Erie Co., Ohio, 145

  Millstones from Alleghanies, 55

  Missionaries to Indians, 304, 309-319, 326-328, 332, 333

  Mohawk Valley route, 62, 76, 78, 214

  Monroe, President, 191-193

  Moravian Brethren, 31, 115, 131-146, 304, 305

  Morris, Gouverneur, 35, 210-212, 218

  Mounds in Ohio Valley, 170

  Moundsville, W. Va., 170

  Mowry, William A., 337

  NATIONAL Road Stage Company, 199

  Neville, Presley, 57

  New Albany, Ky., 176

  New Philadelphia, Ohio, 131

  New York City, 241

  North Carolina, 30, 87, 98-100

  Northwest Company of Montreal, 282, 287, 288, 290, 294, 296

  OCONOSTOTA, Cherokee chief, 90

  Ohio, 30, 31, 76, 100, 105, 113-147, 243

  Ohio Company, 48, 49, 92, 113-125

  Ohio National Stage Company, 199

  "Old Two-Horn," 125

  Ordinance of 1787, 41, 79, 92, 112-115, 117, 123

  "Oregon Emigrating Society," 331

  Oregon Territory, 301-338

  "Origin of the Erie Canal, The," 219

  Owens, David, 166-168

  PACIFIC Fur Company, 291, 292

  Parker, Rev. Samuel, 308, 309

  Parkersburg, W. Va., 167

  Parsons, --, 120

  Pennsylvania Canal, 249-254

  Pennsylvania Railway, 249, 250, 254

  Pennsylvania Road, 118

  Perryopolis, Fayette Co., Pa., 55

  Philadelphia, 241

  Philadelphia and Columbia Railway, 253

  Pickell, --, 189

  Pike, Zebulon M., 272-277, 281

  "Pilot" stage line, 200

  "Pioneer" stage line, 200

  Pittsburg, 115, 163, 168

  Platt, Judge, 218, 219

  Polk, James K., 353, 354

  Porter, Hon. James M., 324, 325

  Post, Frederick Christian, 134-137

  Potomac Company, 74-76, 236-240, 245

  Potomac River Improvements, 58-61, 65-68, 72, 75, 79, 213, 236-240, 297

  Potter County, Pa., 140

  Prentiss, Miss (Mrs. Whitman), 307, 310

  Presbyterian missions to Indians, 304

  Putnam, Gen. Rufus, 106-114, 118-127, 182, 260, 342, 343

  "RACCOON," 296

  Railroads, 242-246, 248-255

  Read, Thomas B., author "Sheridan's Ride," 336

  Rianhard, William, 201

  Richardson, Judge, 224

  Rickman, --, 331

  River improvement, 237

  Road-building, 35, 77, 181-206, 352-356

  Robertson, Donald, 158

  Robinson, Moncure, 252

  Rome, N. Y., 136, 223

  Roosevelt, Theodore, quoted, 264, 275

  SANDUSKY, Ohio, 143

  Sargent, Winthrop, 112, 115

  Schönbrunn, Ohio, 141

  Schuyler, Gen. Philip, 218

  Schuylkill and Susquehanna Canal, 215

  Scioto Company, 114

  Sheridan, Philip, 336

  "Sheridan's Ride," 336

  Slavery, 123

  Soldiers' lands, 48-52, 111, 112, 122

  South Pass, 308, 322

  Spaulding, Rev. Henry H., and wife, 310-313

  Sproat, Col. Ebenezer, 118, 120

  Stagecoach lines, 199-202

  St. Clair, Gov. Arthur, 120, 122, 125, 126, 284

  Steamboats, 72, 218

  Steubenville, Ohio, 166

  Stewart's Crossing (Connellsville, Pa.), 163, 171

  St. Louis, 263, 270

  Surplus for internal improvements, 347

  Surveyors, 158-160

  Swann, Thomas, 248

  TAYLOR, Lieut.-Gov. John, 219

  "Tents of Grace" (Gnadenhütten), 141

  Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, 113

  Thomas, Nathaniel, 90

  Thomas, Philip Evan, 35, 241-243, 255

  Thompson, Chief Justice, 219

  Thorn, Captain, 292

  Thornton, Col., 331

  Todd, Col. John, 177

  Toledo, Ohio, 261

  "Tom Thumb," Peter Cooper's locomotive, 246

  Tompkins, Governor, 219, 220

  "Tonquin," 292-294

  Transylvania Company, 88-91, 98-100, 116, 172, 173

  Treaty of Fort Mclntosh, 121

  Treaty of Fort Stanwix, 59, 87-89

  Treaty of Fort Watauga, 90

  Tupper, --, 120

  UNIONTOWN, Pa., 199

  VANCE, --, 189

  Varnum, --, 119

  Virginia, 30, 59, 79, 87-89, 98-100, 173, 176, 177, 239, 240

  WALKER, Felix, 91

  Walpole Grant, 49, 51

  "Washington and the West" (Hulbert), 65, 80

  Washington Coal and Coke Company, 56

  Washington, George, 27-30, 39-80, 106-108, 126, 159, 160, 163, 182,
        236, 238, 252, 253, 297, 334

  Washington State, Settlement of, 312, 316

  Washington's Bottoms, 47

  Washington's Letter to Benjamin Harrison, 1784, 68-74, 236, 253

  Washington's Run mill, 55

  Watauga Settlement, 89-92

  Watson, Elkanah, 211

  Wayne, Anthony, 126, 261

  Weaver, Jno. W. & Co., 201

  Webster, Daniel, 123, 330, 342, 344

  Welch, Sylvester, 252, 255

  West Newton, Pa., 118

  Westport (Kansas City), 322

  Wheeling, W. Va., 166

  Whipple, --, 119

  White, Major Hatfield, 117

  Whitman, Marcus, 305-338

  Whitman, Mrs., 307, 310-312

  Wilkes, Lieutenant, 330, 331

  Wilkinson, General, 273

  Williams, --, 189

  Williams, Judge John, 90

  "Winning of the West, The," 275

  Winsor, Justin, quoted, 321

  Wisconsin, 105

  Women in the Northwest, 311, 312

  Wright, F. M., 201

  YATES, Judge, 218, 219

  Yontz, Jno., 201

  Young, Samuel, 224

  ZEISBERGER, David, 31, 115, 131-147, 182, 284, 305, 336

_Uniform with "Pilots of the Republic"_





_Illustrated with portraits, and with original drawings by W. J.
Enright. Price $1.50 net._

"Here is a history that reads like sheer romance. Mr. Brown tells in a
delightful way the story of those who dreamed dreams of empire in the
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"It is a pleasure to assure the reader that one may have as much fun
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Few historical books are written in such sprightly vein, and few
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all familiar, but in which we are much interested, a book is produced
that will be irresistible to many.... Thrilling adventure is plentiful
in these pages, and it has the added interest of its political
significance. Written in a pleasant, familiar style, not without sharp
and illuminating comment, 'The Glory Seekers' is a book to be read with
keen delight by the student of history and the lover of romance."--_Des
Moines Mail and Times._

"A volume which will find an honorable place among Americana.... Mr.
Brown's style is detailed and explicit. He indulges in keen character
delineation. He makes these hardy adventurers offer their specious
apologies. They cease to be the dim and menacing figures of our
national history and become comprehensible, if fatal, figures. The book
is one which fills a vacancy in history."--_Chicago Tribune._

"His effort has been rather to scrape off the successive coats of
whitewash which local historians have liberally applied to the darker
side of their deeds, and, while giving the would-be empire builders
full credit for their personal bravery and physical prowess, to show
forth their ambitions and exploits in their true colors."--_New York

"A book that reads like a novel.... It is not a story to make 'every
American's cheek flush with pride,' but, 'The Glory Seekers' is a
strong and vivid depiction of the true history of the Southwest,
colored with incident and anecdote, and suffused with the enthusiastic
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that makes them most delightful reading."--_Pittsburg Dispatch._

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in Texas, independent of Mexico, at an early day.... He is to be
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"The work is well done. The narratives are lively and well told, and
while not highly important episodes, they are all worth preserving as
correctives to the too partial story of the colonial patriots as served
up in the usual United States histories, if for nothing else."--_New
York American._

"The romantic story of conquest is brilliantly told."--_Portland

A. C. McCLURG & CO., _Publishers_

Volumes of Pioneer History




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The majority of the eight essays contained in the volume were first
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     Redstone to Cairo. With new Preface and full-page illustrations
     from photographs._

This trip was undertaken by Mr. Thwaites some years ago, with the idea
of gathering local color for his studies of Western history. The Ohio
River was an important factor in the development of the West. The
voyage is described with much charm and humor, and with a constant
realization of the historical traditions on every side. For the better
understanding of these references, the author has added a brief sketch
of the settlement of the Ohio Valley. A selected list of journals of
previous travellers has also been included.


     _Six Hundred Miles of Canoeing upon Illinois and Wisconsin Rivers.
     Second Edition, revised, with new Preface, and eight full-page
     illustrations from photographs._

Mr. Thwaites' book is not only a charming account of a summer canoe
trip, but an excellent guide for any one who is contemplating a similar
"inland voyage." The course followed by the canoeist is described
with a practical accuracy that makes it of great assistance, but in
an engaging style that will appeal strongly to every lover of outdoor
life. "It is a book to be read to get the spirit of the woods and
rivers and streams and lakes."--_Worcester Spy._

_Uniform Binding. Each 12mo, $1.20 net._

A. C. McCLURG & CO., _Publishers_



By EVA EMERY DYE. A Tale of Two Shores. Illustrations by Walter J.
Enright. 12mo, $1.50.

     The chance casting away of a party of Japanese on the Oregon coast
     many years ago inspired McDonald, a fully historical personage, to
     enact a similar drama in his own proper self with the characters
     and continents reversed. Landing on the shores of Japan he was
     passed from governor to governor until he reached the capital.
     There he was permitted to establish a school, and it was actually
     his pupils who acted as interpreters during the negotiations with
     Commodore Perry, generally supposed to be the first of Americans
     to enter Japan. Mrs. Dye has long been aware of the facts in
     McDonald's unusual career, having obtained them largely from his
     own lips; but she deferred publication until his papers finally
     reposed in her hands. It will be remembered that the hero of this
     new book entered largely into her story of "McLoughlin and Old
     Oregon," to which this later volume is in a sense a sequel.


By EVA EMERY DYE. Being the True Story of Lewis and Clark. _Third
Edition_, with frontispiece in full color by Charlotte Weber. 12mo,

     No book published in recent years has more of tremendous import
     between its covers, and certainly no recent novel has in it more
     of the elements of a permanent success. A historical romance which
     tells with accuracy and inspiring style of the bravery of the
     pioneers in winning the western continent should have a lasting
     place in the esteem of every American.

     "No one who wishes to know the true story of the conquest of the
     greater part of this great nation can afford to pass by this
     book."--_Cleveland Leader._

     "A vivid picture of the Indian wars preceding the Louisiana
     purchase, of the expedition of Lewis and Clark, and of events
     following the occupation of Oregon."--_The Congregationalist._

     "It may not be the great American novel we have been waiting for
     so long, but it certainly looks as though it would be very near
     it."--_Rochester Times._

     "The characters that are assembled in 'The Conquest' belong to
     the history of the United States; their story is a national
     epic."--_Detroit Free Press._


By EVA EMERY DYE. A Chronicle. _Fifth Edition._ 12mo, $1.50.

     This is a most graphic and interesting chronicle of the movement
     which added to the United States that vast territory, previously
     a British possession, of which Oregon formed a part, and how Dr.
     John McLoughlin, then chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company
     for the Northwest, by his fatherly interest in the settlers,
     displeased the Hudson's Bay Company and aided in bringing this
     about. The author has gathered her facts at first hand, and as a
     result the work is vivid and picturesque and reads like a romance.

     "A spirited narrative of what life in the wilderness meant
     in the early days, a record of heroism, self-sacrifice, and
     dogged persistence; a graphic page of the story of the American
     pioneer."--_New York Mail and Express._

A. C. McCLURG & CO., _Publishers_

  +----------------------------------------------------------------- +
  | Transcriber's Note:                                              |
  |                                                                  |
  | Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.     |
  |                                                                  |
  | Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant |
  | form was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.    |
  |                                                                  |
  | Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.            |
  |                                                                  |
  | Mid-paragraph illustrations have been moved between paragraphs   |
  | and some illustrations have been moved closer to the text that   |
  | references them. The List of Illustrations paginations were      |
  | changed accordingly.                                             |
  |                                                                  |
  | Italicized words are surrounded by underline characters,         |
  | _like this_.                                                     |
  |                                                                  |
  | Superscripts are enclosed in brackets like this 2{nd}.           |
  |                                                                  |
  | Duplicated section headings have been omitted.                   |
  |                                                                  |
  |Footnotes were moved to the end of chapters and numbered in one   |
  |continuous sequence.                                              |

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