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States troops, marched into the country of the Winnebagoes. To save their nation from the miseries of war, Red Bird, and six others of the most influential men of his nation, voluntarily surrendered themselves prisoners of war; part of them were executed, part of them imprisoned, and destined, like Red Bird himself, ingloriously to pipe away within the narrow confines of a jail, whereas formerly even the vast forests of their native country had proved too limited for their daring and adventurous disposition.
Resenting the defeat he had sustained at the hands of his enemies, when pressing an investigation of the affairs of the old State Bank, Gov. Ninian Edwards devised another scheme to embarrass and annoy them. Hitherto the United States had enjoyed undisturbed possession of various public lands within the 'State of Illinois. But now, for the first time, Gov. Edwards, in a message delivered to the Legislature, claimed the whole of the public lands of the United States lying within Illinois, as belonging to the latter; making good his claim by arguing, that inasmuch as Illinois had been admitted into the Union as an independent and sovereign State, all the lands within her own limits must necessarily belong to her. The measure was far from being unpopular, since the Legislature unanimously approved of it, although the people did not eventually enforce it. Gov. Edwards was mistaken, however, in imagining, that bis enemies would oppose the bill, for on seeing the bill favorably received by the Legislature, and part of the public, being fearful to sacrifice their own popularity, they prudently abstained from throwing any obstacle into the way of the bill, and having learned from experience, that Gov. Edwards was too subtle an enemy for them to grapple with, never afterwards resisted any one of his measures. Gov. Ninian Edwards died in 1833.
Of the public lands owned by the United States Government within Illinois, Congress had already granted 300,000 acres to the State, for the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, being prevailed upon to make this grant by Daniel P. Cook, the first Attorney General, and then Senator to Congress, to whose active and unceasing exertions in behalf of the measure, the credit of the donation must be mainly attributed. Although Daniel P. Cook had thus acquired some claim upon the gratitude of his fellow-citizens, which might have caused him to be re-elected Senator in the year 1826, having rendered himself unpopular, on the other hand, by giving, in the year 1824, when John Quincy Adams, Gen. Jackson, William H. Crawford, and Henry Clay, being candidates for the Presidency, and none of them receiving a majority, it became the business of the House of Representatives to elect one of them, the vote of Illinois to John Quincy Adams, instead of to Gen. Jackson, then the general favorite of the people, he was defeated, and Mr. Joseph Duncan elected in his stead.
At first Mr. Duncan manifested the greatest sympathy and attachment to Gen. Jackson, whose ardent admirer he was; but after Gen. Jackson had annulled the charter of the United States Bank, and denied the appropriation of money for the improvement of the Wabash river, Mr. Duncan began visibly to grow cold towards him, and, at last, became altogether estranged from him, ceasing to support his administration. Although Duncan was generally esteemed a man of honesty and upright principles, and could not be reproved for adhering to a particular opinion of his own in regard to a public matter, he was, nevertheless, severely blamed for his conduct by the friends and followers of Gen. Jackson, who were of opinion, that since they had put him in an office, by which he had grown rich, he should have remained faithful to the cause of Gen. Jackson, and that by abandon
same, he had acted in a manner becoming only a man of a treacherous and ungrateful character.
Since the repeal of the law introduced by Mr. Duncan, then a Senator, for supporting the schools by a public tax, the Legislature sold the school lands, and applied the money arising from the sales to the payment of the school expenses. Still, the means provided by government for education and instruction, would have been cient, had not Congress generously donated to the State one township of six miles square, and the thirty-sixth part of all the residue of the United States Government lands within the State, besides three per cent. of the net proceeds of the sales of the remainder. The Legislature ordered at first, that lands of the school section of each township should be leased out, on payment of a certain rent, but the lessees and newly-arrived immigrants, who had settled on these lands and were entitled to vote, wishing to establish themselves permanently, by their joint influence prevailed upon the Legislature, the majority of
very insuffiwhom needed their votes for the coming election, to discontinue collecting the taxes, to sell the lands, to borrow the proceeds of the sale and the three per cent. school fund from the counties, and to use them for the public service; paying an annual interest, for the benefit of the schools, to the respective counties, on the moneys so borrowed. To meet the wants of the lessees, the lands were sold at low prices, in consequence of which the State incurred another debt, amounting to nearly half a million of dollars; and the schools lost part of their revenues, all which might have been easily avoided, if the State 'had adopted a system of taxation, in order to defray all the expenses of the public instruction and education.
Here it may not be improper to state the principal facts regarding the improvements, which, from the year 1820 to 1830, had been taking place in the manners and habits of the Illinoisians, their modes of thought, and the character of their institutions.
Until the year 1820, the early preachers of Illinois enjoyed undisputed sway over the minds of the people. In that year, several educated and well-instructed ministers arrived from the Eastern States, whence they had been sent as missionaries, by several religious societies. Relying, at first, mainly upon the support afforded to them, in case of need, by these societies, they founded Bible Societies and Sunday Schools, and started a number of religious prints or tracts in the State, patiently waiting until the people should gradually become accnstomed to the new state of things. Their arrival caused no little uneasiness to the old preachers. Knowing, that from the moment their new rivals should have ingratiated themseles into the favor of the people, their own services would no longer be needed, they affected to deride the nice and fashionable dress of their young colleagues, whom they believed destitute of all religion, and whom they represented, not without some good show of reason, to be utterly unfit to travel through the wilderness, sleep in the open air, suffer hunger and thirst, in short, to suffer the same privations which they themselves had suffered, while engaged in providing for the spiritual wants of the people. They openly and boldly accused the new ministers of being less concerned about the salvation of the souls of their flocks, than about the size of their purses, and of selling their bibles and tracts with a view of securing to themselves a handsome profit thereby. The new ministers, paying no regard to their declamations, settled themselves wherever a more refined style of preaching had become acceptable, and being satisfied with the salary offered to them, commenced building churches and organizing congregations. Success attended their enterprises, and their less erudite brethren were soon exiled from the towns into districts, where the people still believed the chief merits of an orator to consist in the power of his lungs, and the theatrical display of his gesticulations. A large part of the people, however, continued to be prejudiced against the new ministers, whom they forbade to establish theological departments in any college or seminary, which had been built by them, and incorporated by an act of the Legislature.
During the years from 1820 to 1830, a great change took place in the appearance and modes of dressing of the people. The coon-skin cap, the hunting-shirt, and leather breeches, the moccasins, and the belt around the waist, to wbich the butcher-knife and tomahawk were appended, had entirely disappeared before the modern clothing apparel. The women had exchanged their cotton and woollen frocks, manufactured, and striped with blue dye, by themselves, for modern dresses of silk and calico; they had laid aside the cotton handkerchiefs, which formerly covered their heads, and adopted bonnets instead; they would not, as formerly, walk barefooted to church, but would often be seen riding on fine horses to the house of worship. They would to church flattering themselves with a secret hope, that they would make the best figure in the whole assembly, and outshine their neighbors by the brilliancy of their dress. To be able to gratify their ambition for fine dresses, they were obliged to become industrious and enterprising in business. The desire for fine dress soon also superinduced a similar desire for polite society and knowledge, so that the old folks, who would have much preferred remaining undisturbed in their sluggish tranquillity and repose, thoroughly taken by surprise, everywhere uttered loud complaints, that the prodigalities, luxuries and innovations of the young; would speedily cause the ruin of the country.
At the time, that such a rapid improvement was taking place in the manners and customs of the people, commerce comparatively made but little progress. Of steamboats, which had been introduced in the western country about the year 1816, the Illinoisians possessed but two small ones in 1830, which were running up the Illinois river as far as Peoria. A majority of the merchants of the country were retailers of dry-goods and groceries, who, with but a small amount of money and goods in their hands, sold only for cash, or notes payable on sight in cash, which they remitted to their Eastern creditors, so that they would have soon been drained of their last specie, had not the money of the newly-arrived immigrants supplied them again with the sinews of trade. Nothing was exported, save a few skins, bides, furs, with tallow and beeswax. The merchants of Illinois used to go to St. Louis to purchase Eastern exchange, but upon the suppression of the United States Bank in that city, these facilities of commerce no longer existed, and the traders of Illinois, when the high rates of premium had rendered it impossible for them to remit either money or bills of exchange to their Eastern creditors, were compelled to purchase the productions of the country, and to remit them to their creditors in place of cash. Most of the exports were shipped to New Orleans, at that time a place of inconsiderable importance. Since there were no merchants or express companies to forward the goods to market, the Illinoisian farmer would build his own boats, load then with his goods, and, with the assistance of a few men, sail down the river to New Orleans. After a long and troublesome voyage, he would arrive in New Orleans, only to fall an easy victim to the runners and sharpers, who abounded in that city, and to go home penniless. On his return home he would find his farm neglected, and yet, potwithstanding this wholesome lesson, undertake, perhaps, another expedition to New Orleans at the earliest possible period. Even after, in consequence of the great improvements in steamboat navigation, excellent opportunities bad been afforded to the people, not only to expand their commerce, but also their ideas about it, they still persevered in pursuing a narrow-minded, selfish commercial policy. They would, for instance, raise no surplus of produce, except when prices were high, and even then, perhaps, demand a higher price for their produce, than they could have sold it for in the market. They would never be in a hurry to sell, when prices were below their expectations, but rather wait, even for the space of a whole year, until they should be able to sell at the prices they bad fixed upon; or they