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The capot was a kind of cap, attached at the cape, and raised in cold weather over the head. Coarse blue stuff was used by the working. men for pantaloons 'in summer, and buckskin or cloth in the winter. Moccasins made from the skins of cattle were used instead of boots. The females generally wore the deer skin moccasins. Both sexes kept always on hand something tasty and neat for the church and ball-room. · The French in those days turned their attention to the Indian trade and to hunting, in a great measure, for support. Game was then plenty; buffalo, and other wild animals, were found in the prairies between Kaskaşkia and Vincennes, sufficient to supply the inhabitants with animal food. The Indians called the Kaskaskia, Raccoon River, from the number of those animals living about it. A great many of the inhabitants were expert voyagers and hunters, and a hardy and energetic race of men, who could not be terrified by hardships or perils, and who often performed their laborious service without anything to eat, for days together. The women spun, wove, and made the garments, and carefully attended to their household affairs. Both sexes spent their leisure time in lively conversation, in dancing, or other amusements, according to the customs of their nation; which, as true Frenchmen, even at so great a distance from their native country, they had not been able to renounce..
The State of Illinois, although ceded in 1763, continued in the possession of France until 1765, when Captain Stirling, sent by Gen. Gage, then commander-in-chief of the British forces in America, to take possession of the territory, arrived, and assumed its government
in the name of His Britannic Majesty. He established his head: quarters at Fort Chartres, and issued a royal proclamation, granting
to the Roman Catholic subjects of His Majesty the free and undisturbed exercise of their religion, according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, as it had already been granted to the Canadians.
Captain Stirling was succeeded by. Major Farmer, and the latter superseded by Col. Reed, in 1766. Col. Reed remained also but a short time, and was succeeded by Lieutenant-Colonel Wilkins, who arrived at Kaskaskia, on the 5th of September, 1768. Ever since the occupation of the territory by the British, the administration of justice had been in the hands of the military commandant, which
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parement of its interese, and various.ce public debt.
caused no little annoyance to the public, and occasioned frequent complaints. A Civil Court, consisting of seven judges, was afterwards established, but trial by jury being refused, it did not become popular. Many of the French inhabitants, finding the British rule insupportable, emigrated to Louisiana.
The war of 1756 had increased the public debt of Great Britain to an alarming magnitude, and various expedients were proposed for the payment of its interest and the liquidation of its principal. To raise part of the money necessary for this purpose, the British Parliament claimed the right and power of taxing the American Colonies, although they were entirely without representation in the Parliament, and Great Britain had not even the slightest claim upon their gratitude, since nothing whatever had been demanded by the proud and independent American Colonists, or granted and provided by the niggardly hand of the British Government, to promote the settlement and welfare of the Colonies. The American people, too intelligent not to understand their rights, denied, repeatedly, the existence of any legal power on the part of Parliament to tax the Colonies; but Parliament not only established it as a fundamental principle, “that Great Britain had a right to tax America,” authorizing the imposition of duties upon tea, glass, paper, &c., but also passed a bill for quartering troops upon the Colonists, another for depriving them of trial by jury, and another for transporting persons charged with offences, beyond the high seas, for trial, and various others of a similar despotic nature. Such acts of tyranny and oppression would not be endured by a generous people, and met, therefore, with the most decided resistance on the part of the American people, which led to the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, inaugurating the glorious American Revolution, and causing the last ligaments that bound the descendants of England to the land of their fathers, to be severed for ever.
About the time of the commencement of the Revolutionary War, or rather, before, the American Colonists bad extended their settlements west of the Alleghanies, and occupied Kentucky. Of the first settlers, who repaired thither to seek a new home, the most conspicuous were Daniel Boone, who arrived there in 1769, and George Rogers Clarke, who came thither from Virginia, in 1775. The population of Illinois was then about the same as at the time of its cession
to England, a majority of it consisting of French and Catholics. Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Saint Vincennes, in Indiana, Detroit and Mackinaw, were garrisoned by English troops.
Preparing themselves for the approaching struggle, in which they were to be so ignominiously defeated, the British, by promises and gifts, had pacified the savages, and made them their allies, by representing to them the Americans as bent upon their extermination, supplied them with arms and ammunition, and paid them liberally in advance for the scalps they were to bring in. Immediately upon the commencement of hostilities, the savages attacked the frontier settlements and burnt them to the ground, causing the forests to resound with the heart-rending shrieks of helpless women and children, who fell beneath the murderous tomahawk and scalping-knife of an enemy that knew no quarter.
Clarke, tracing the incitement of the Indian ravages to the British settlements at Kaskaskia, Detroit, and Vincennes, his heart dilating with joy at the idea of annexing to his country a territory, the splendid resources of which he had found, on examination, to be unrivalled any where, conceived the plan of carrying the war into Illinois. He hastened to Williamsburgh, then the capital of Virginia, sought and obtained an interview with the Governor, was promised a bounty of 300 acres for every person who should enlist, furnished with £1200 by the Governor, and authorized to raise seven companies of militia ; and, in order that the enterprise might be kept secret, was. publicly instructed to proceed to Kentucky for its defence; being thus 6 clothed with all the authority he could wish,” he set off on the 4th of February, 1778, to make haughty Britain feel the power of the American arms. After reviewing his little band of four companies, equipped in the simplest manner, he commenced his march across the country, passed over the Ohio some distance above Fort Massacre, and continued to advance by the nearest route against the ancient French village of Kaskaskia. Whilst on his march, he fell in with a party of hunters, who communicated to him, that the town had no regular garrison ; that the inhabitants, who entertained most horrid apprehensions of the Virginians, had not even the slightest suspicion of an attack being contemplated; so that, if they could reach the town without being discovered, they could not få il to render themselves
an aracted. arrived with his wistance from the vine day before, they
masters of it. Resolved to profit by. this intelligence, Clarke, after an arduous march of several days, when his provisions were now quite exhausted, arrived with his party near Kaskaskia. They entered a farm-house about a mile's distance from the village, where they learned, that though the militia had been called out the day before, they had been since dismissed, as no cause of alarm existed, and everything was apparently tranquil and quiet. Clarke immediately divided his detachment into several small parties, assigning to each a place of attack, and causing notice to be given to the inhabitants that whosoever of them should dare to appear in the streets, would be instantly shot down. Everything turned out as well as could be wished; both the town and the fort were taken, and the British Governor, together with his British troops, were made prisoners of war. Resolving to make good use of the dread, in which the Virginians were regarded, Col. Clarke at once posted guards at every avenue of the town, so as to prevent all transmission of intelligence from without, disarmed the inhabitants in the short space of two hours, and ordered his troops to patrol the town in every direction during the night, making the most horrible uproar, and whooping after the most approved Indian fashion. On the next day the troops were withdrawn and placed in different positions about the town, and the inhabitants were strictly forbidden to have any intercourse, either between themselves, or with the soldiers. Several Kaskaskians, who had congregated and conversed with each other, were arrested and put in irons, without being allowed to utter a single word in their defence. The whole town was at once overspread with terror, and neither mercy nor compassion any longer expected. At last, the priest, and several of the most influential citizens of the village, were granted an audience by Col. Clarke. Addressing Col. Clarke in a low and submissive voice, the priest, in the name of the inhabitants, begged permission for them all “ to assemble once more in the church to take final leave of each other, as they expected to be separated never to meet again on earth.” This being granted, the priest, feeling his drooping spirits revive, made an attempt at some further conversation, but was rudely interrupted by Col. Clarke, who told him that he had no time to listen any further to him. The whole town then went to church, remaining there for a long time, after which the same deputation waited again upon Col. Clarke to express their thanks for the indulgence they had received ; also to solicit him not to separate their families, and to allow them some clothes and provisions for their further support; and also to assure him that they would have long ago declared themselves in favor of the Americans, had they dared so to do in the presence of their British rulers. Regarding it as useless to terrify the people any more, Clarke, throwing aside all disguise, told the people, who stood in utter amazement, not knowing whether to trust their ears, that he had none, save the most friendly intentions towards them, that the king of France, having united his arms with those of America, he, Clarke, expected the war shortly to cease, and that he was glad to be convinced of their being friendly to the American cause, notwithstanding the prejudices excited against the latter by British officers “And now,” continued he, “to prove my sincerity, you will please inforın your fellow-citizens that they are at liberty to go wherever they please, and that their friends in confinement shall immediately be released.” The joy of the village seniors on hearing, and of the inhabitants, at the communication of the speech of Col. Clarke, was immense, so as to bafile all attempts at description, Suffice it to say, that the church was instantly filled, and devout thanks were offered to the Most High for the miraculous manner, in which he had subdued the minds of their savage conquerors. Nor did the gratitude of the people to Col. Clarke display itself in mere words; for, when Col. Clarke resolved to capture, if possible, in the same way, Cahokia, which yet remained in the hands of the enemy, several Kaskaskians offered to aid him in the enterprise, assuring him that the Cahokians were their relations and friends, and would, at their request, be ready to join his cause. Accepting their services, Col. Clarke despatched them in company with a party of his own troops, to Cahokia, which they reached before the surrender of Kaskaskia was even known there. The garrison of the British Fort at Cahokia was at once compelled to surrender at discretion; the Indian force near Cabokia was dispersed, and the inhabitants, easily persuaded by their Kaskaskian friends, a few days afterwards took the oath of allegiance to the American Republic. Thus, the State of Illinois, in territory larger than the whole of Great Britain, was annexed to the Republic by the energy of a single man, at the head of but four companies of militia, who, for