Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 3.djvu/27

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1805.
15
INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT.

neighboring militia for its support in the first moments of war, I have thought it would be important to obtain from the Indians such a cession in the neighborhood of these posts as might maintain a militia proportioned to this object."

This "principle of our government" that the settlers should protect the army, not the army the settlers, was so rigorously carried out that every new purchase of Indian lands was equivalent to providing a new army. The possession of Sandusky brought Detroit nearer its supports; possession of the banks of the Ohio strengthened Indiana. A bridle-path to New Orleans was the first step toward bringing that foreign dependence within reach; and although this path must necessarily pass through Spanish territory, it would enable the government in an emergency to hear from Louisiana within six weeks from the despatch of an order.

In spite of these immense gains, the military situation was still extremely weak. The Indians held in strong force the country west of Sandusky. The boundary between them and the whites was a mere line running from Lake Erie south and west across Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois to the neighborhood of St. Louis. Directly on this boundary line, near Greenville, lived the Shawanese, among whom a warrior named Tecumthe, and his brother called the Prophet were acquiring an influence hostile to the white men. These Indians, jealous of the rapid American encroachments, maintained relations with the British