The Conquest: The True Story of Lewis and Clark/Book 3
THE RED HEAD CHIEF
THE SHADOW OF NAPOLEON
"Thank God for the safety of our country!" ejaculated Jefferson, in one of his long talks with Lewis regarding the upheaval across the sea.
In 1802 Napoleon had been declared Consul for life; May 18, 1804, four days after Lewis and Clark started, he had been saluted Emperor of France. Then came Jena. When Lewis and Clark reached the Mandan towns, Napoleon was entering Berlin with the Prussian monarchy at his feet.
While they camped at Clatsop in those December days of 1805, and while Baranof prayed for ships in his lonely Sitkan outpost, across seas "the sun of Austerlitz" had risen. Against Russian and Austrian, Napoleon had closed a war with a clap of thunder.
Every breeze bore news that overawed the world.
"Napoleon has taken Italy."
"Napoleon has conquered Austria."
"Napoleon has defeated Russia."
"Napoleon has ruined Prussia."
"Napoleon has taken Spain."
While Lewis and Clark were at Washington came the battles of Eylau and Dantzic. In December Napoleon annexed Portugal, and the Court of Lisbon fled to Brazil, to escape his arms and to rear anew the House of Braganza.
How much more remained to conquer? How soon might the theatre of action come over the sea? Still there was England.
For a time the Napoleonic wars had thrown the carrying trade of the ocean into American hands. American farmers could not reach the coast fast enough with their fleets of grain, the food for armies. Cotton went up to a fabulous price. Enterprise fired the young republic. Ships were building two thousand miles inland to carry her products to the ocean. She grew, she throve, and an ever-increasing inland fleet carried to and fro the red life of a growing nation.
On the other hand, the torch of liberty, lit in America and burning there still with calm and splendid lustre, carried by French soldiers to France had kindled a continent, sweeping like a firebrand through a conflagration of abuses. All tradition was overturning. America alone was quiet, the refuge of the world. Every ship that touched our shores brought fugitives fleeing from battle-scarred fields where Europe groaned in sobs and blood.
Napoleon was now master of almost the entire coast of Europe. Did he cast regretful eyes this way? America feared it. Nothing but fear of England ever made Napoleon give us Louisiana.
In May, 1806, England blockaded the French coast. Napoleon retaliated by the Berlin Decrees, shutting up all England, interdicting the commerce of the world.
And so, when Lewis and Clark returned, the giants were locked in struggle, like Titans of old, tearing up kingdoms, palatinates, and whole empires to hurl at each other.
And we had Louisiana.
When Captain Lewis went to Washington he was the bearer of a mass of papers on land claims sent by Auguste Chouteau.
"I have had some disturbing news from Louisiana," said Jefferson. "In the first place, Monsieur Auguste Chouteau writes requesting self-government, and that Louisiana remain for ever undivided. Now the day may come when we shall desire to cut Louisiana up into sovereign states,—not now, I grant, but in time, in time.
"Then the French people of New Orleans protest against American rule. Such is the dissatisfaction, it is said, that the people of Louisiana are only waiting for Bonaparte's victory in his war with the allies to return to their allegiance with France.
"St. Louis asks for a Governor 'who must reside in the territory,' hence I propose to put you there."
So it came about that Meriwether Lewis wrote back in February, "I shall probably come on to St. Louis for the purpose of residing among you."
There was trouble with Spain. In July, 1806, everybody thought there would be a war with her. But Napoleon was Spain's protector. It would never do to declare war against Napoleon. Napoleon!—the very word meant subjugation.
"Why are we safe from Bonaparte?" exclaimed Jefferson. "Only because he has not the British fleet at his command."
Even while Congress was at its busiest, devising a government for New Orleans, not at all was Jefferson sure of the loyalty of the French of Louisiana.
"If they are not making overtures to Napoleon, they are implicated in the treason of Aaron Burr."
All Washington was aflame over Aaron Burr. Only two years before Captain Lewis had left him in the seat of honour at Washington. The greatest lawyers in the country now were prosecuting his trial at Richmond, Randolph of Roanoke foreman of the jury and John Marshall presiding.
Borne with the throng, Lewis went over to Richmond. Washington Irving was there, Winfield Scott, and Andrew Jackson, "stamping up and down, damning Jefferson and extolling Burr."
Burr's friends, outcrying against Jefferson, caught sight of Meriwether Lewis; his popularity in a degree counteracted their vituperation. William Wirt of Maryland came down after making his great speech, to present a gold watch to his friend Meriwether Lewis.
With saddened heart Captain Lewis left Richmond. The beautiful Theodosia had come to stay with her father at the penitentiary. Lewis always liked Aaron Burr. What was he trying to do? The Mississippi was ours and Louisiana. But even the Ursuline nuns welcomed Burr to New Orleans, and the Creoles quite lost their heads over his winning address. All seemed to confirm the suspicions of Jefferson, who nightly tossed on his couch of worry.
It was necessary for Captain, now Governor, Lewis, to go to Philadelphia, to place his zoölogical and botanical collections in the hands of Dr. Barton. Scarce had the now famous explorer reached the city before he was beset by artists. Charles Willson Peale, who had painted the portraits of the most prominent officers of the Revolution, who had followed Washington and painted him as a Virginia colonel, as commander-in-chief, and as president, who had sat with him at Valley Forge and limned his features, cocked hat and all, on a piece of bed-ticking,—Peale now wanted to paint Lewis and Clark.
Of course such a flattering invitation was not to be resisted, and so, while Peale's assistants were mounting Lewis's antelopes, the first known to naturalists, and preparing for Jefferson the head and horns of a Rocky Mountain ram, Governor Lewis was sitting daily for his portrait.
This detained him in Philadelphia, when suddenly, on the 27th of June, the great upheaval of Europe cast breakers on our shores that made the country rock.
It seemed as if in spite of herself the United States would be drawn into the Napoleonic wars. England needed sailors, she must have sailors, she claimed and demanded them from American ships on the high seas.
"You shall not search my ship," said the Captain of the American frigate Chesapeake off the Virginian capes. Instantly and unexpectedly, the British frigate Leopard rounded to and poured broadsides into the unprepared Chesapeake.
"Never," said Jefferson, "has this country been in such a state of excitement since Lexington."
"Fired on our ship!" The land was aflame. By such white heat are nations welded.
It was a bold thing for England to disavow. But no apologies could now conceal the fact, that not Napoleon, but England, was destined to be our foe, England, who claimed the commerce of the world.
Meriwether Lewis came home to hear Virginia ringing for war; not yet had she forgotten Yorktown.
The mountains of Albemarle were clothed in all the brilliancy of summer beauty when Lewis kissed his mother good-bye, and set out to assume the governorship of Louisiana.
AMERICAN RULE IN ST. LOUIS
Immediately after his appointment in charge of Indian affairs, Clark left Washington, with Pryor and Shannon, Big White and Jussaume and their Indian families. The Ohio, swollen to the highest notch, bore them racing into the Mississippi.
"Manuel Lisa haf gone up de Meessouri," was the news at St. Louis. All winter Manuel Lisa had been flying around St. Louis with Pierre Menard and George Drouillard, preparing for an early ascent into the fur country. So also had been the Chouteaus, intending to escort Big White back to the Mandans.
At any time an Indian trader was a great man in St. Louis. He could command fabulous prices for his skill, and still more now could Drouillard, fresh from the unexploited land beyond the Mandans. All his money Drouillard put into the business, and with the earliest opening of 1807, Lisa, Menard and Drouillard set out for the upper Missouri with an outfit of sixteen thousand dollars.
"Wait for the Mandan chief," said Frederick Bates, the new Territorial S ecretary.
Manuel Lisa was not a man to wait. "While others consider whether they will start, I am on my way," he answered.
Dark, secret, unfathomable, restless, enterprising, a very Spaniard for pride, distrusted and trusted, a judge of men, Manuel Lisa had in him the spirit of De Soto and Coronado.
For twenty years Lisa had traded with Indians. Of late the Spanish government had given him exclusive rights on the Osage, a privilege once held by the Chouteaus, but alas for Lisa! a right now tumbled by the cession. For the United States gave no exclusive privileges.
He reached the ear of Drouillard; they went away together. No one better than Lisa saw the meaning of that great exploration.
Coincidently with the arrival of Clark and Big White out of the Ohio, came down a deputation of Yankton Sioux with old Dorion from the Missouri. With that encampment of Indians, around, behind, before the Government House, began the reign of the Red Head chief over the nations of the West that was to last for thirty years. St. Louis became the Red Head's town, and the Red Head's signature came to be known to the utmost border of Louisiana.
"We want arms and traders," said the Yankton Sioux.
Both were granted, and laden with presents, before the close of May they were dispatched again to their own country. And with them went Big White in charge of Ensign Pryor, Sergeant George Shannon, and Pierre Chouteau, with thirty-two men for the Mandan trade.
Even the Kansas knew that Big White had gone down the river, and were waiting to see him go by.
"The whites are as the grasses of the prairie," said Big White.
In July the new Governor, Meriwether Lewis, arrived and assumed the Government. With difficulty the officers had endeavoured to harmonise the old and the new. All was in feud, faction, disorder.
St. Louis was a foreign village before the cession. Nor was this changed in a day.
"Deed not de great Napoleon guarantee our leebertee?" said the French. "We want self-government."
But Lewis and Clark, these two had met the French ideal of chivalry in facing the Shining Mountains and the Ocean. Pretty girls sat in the verandas to see them pass. Fur magnates set out their choicest viands. The conquest of St. Louis was largely social. With less tact and less winning personalities we might have had discord.
Whatever Lewis wanted, Clark seconded as a sort of Lieutenant Governor. It seemed as if the two might go on forever as they had done in the great expedition. Ever busy, carving districts that became future States, laying out roads, dispensing justice and treating with Indians, all went well until the 16th of October, when a wave of sensation swept over St. Louis.
"Big White, the Mandan chief, is back. The American flag at the bow of his boat has been fired on and he is compelled to fall back on St. Louis."
All summer the vengeful Arikaras had been watching.
"They killed our chief, the Brave Raven."
The Teton Sioux plotted. "They will give the Mandans arms and make our enemies stronger than we are." So in great bands, Sioux and Arikaras had camped along the river to intercept the returning brave.
"These are the machinations of the British," said Americans in St. Louis.
"This is a trick of Manuel Lisa," said the fur traders. "His boats passed in safety, why not ours?"
In fact, there had been a battle. Not with impunity should trade be carried into the land of anarchy. Three men were killed and several wounded, including Shannon and René Jussaume. And they in turn had killed Black Buffalo, the Teton chief that led the onslaught.
All the way down the Missouri George Shannon had writhed with his wounded knee. Blood poisoning set in. They left him at Bellefontaine.
"Dees leg must come off," said Dr. Saugrain, the army surgeon.
He sent for Dr. Farrar, a young American physician who had lately located in St. Louis. Together , without anesthetics, they performed the first operation in thigh amputation ever known in that region.
"Woonderful! woonderful!" exclaimed the Creoles. "Dees Dogtors can cut une man all up." Great already was the reputation of Dr. Saugrain; to young Farrar it gave a prestige that made him the Father of St. Louis surgery.
Shannon lay at the point of death for eighteen months, but youth rallied, and he regained sufficient strength to journey to Lexington, where he took up the study of law. He lived to become an eminent jurist and judge, and the honoured progenitor of many distinguished bearers of his name.
FAREWELL TO FINCASTLE
General Clark had had a busy summer, travelling up and down the river, assisting the Governor at St. Louis in reducing his tumultuous domain to order, treating with Indians, conferring with Governor Harrison in his brick palace at Old Vincennes, consulting with his brothers, General Jonathan and General George Rogers Clark at the Point of Rock. Now, in mid-autumn, he was again on his way to Fincastle.
Never through the tropic summer had Julia been absent from his thoughts. A little house in St. Louis had been selected that should shelter his bride; and now, as fast as hoof and horse could speed him, he was hastening back to fix the day for his wedding.
October shed glory on the burnished forests. Here and there along the way shone primitive farmhouses, the homes of people. The explorer's heart beat high. He had come to that time in his life when he, too, should have a home. Those old Virginia farmhouses, steep of roof and sloping at the eaves, four rooms be low and two in the attic, with great chimneys smoking at either end, seemed to speak of other fond and happy hearts.
The valley of Virginia extends from the Potomac to the Carolina line. The Blue Ridge bounds it on one side, the Kittatinnys on the other, and in the trough-like valley between flows the historic Shenandoah.
From the north, by Winchester, scene of many a border fray and destined for action more heroic yet, Clark sped on his way to Fincastle. Some changes had taken place since that eventful morning when Governor Spotswood looked over the Blue Ridge. A dozen miles from Winchester stood Lord Fairfax's Greenway Court, overshadowed by ancient locusts, slowly mouldering to its fall. Here George Washington came in his boyhood, surveying for the gaunt, raw-boned, near-sighted old nobleman who led him hard chases at the fox hunt.
From the head spring of the Rappahannock to the head spring of the Potomac, twenty-one counties of old Virginia once belonged to the Fairfax manor, now broken and subdivided into a thousand homes. Hither had come tides of Quakers, and Scotch-Presbyterians, penetrating farther and farther its green recesses, cutting up the fruitful acres into colonial plantations.
"The Shenandoah, it is the very centre of the United States," said the emigrants.
The valley was said to be greener than any other, its waters were more transparent, its soil more fruitful. At any rate German-Pennsylvanians pushed up here, rearing barns as big as fortresses, flanked round with haystacks and granaries. Now and then Clark met them, in loose leather galligaskins and pointed hats, sunning in wide porches, smoking pipes three feet long, while their stout little children tumbled among the white clover.
Here and there negroes were whistling with notes as clear as a fife, and huge Conestoga waggons loaded with produce rumbled along to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Richmond. Every year thousands of waggons went to market, camping at night and making the morning ring with Robin Hood songs and jingling bells.
Yonder lived Patrick Henry in his last years, at picturesque Red Hill on the Staunton. Here in his old age he might have been seen under the trees in his lawn, buried in revery, or on the floor, with grandchildren clambering over him or dancing to his violin.
But Clark was not thinking of Patrick Henry, or Fairfax,—in fact he scarcely remembered their existence, so intent was his thought on his maid of the mountains, Julia Hancock.
The leaves were falling from elm and maple, strewing the path with gold and crimson. The pines grew taller in the twilight, until he could scarcely see the bypaths chipped and blazed by settlers' tomahawks.
Sunset was gilding the Peaks of Otter as Clark drew rein at the little tavern near Fincastle.
"I was rented to the King of England by my Prince of Hesse Cassel," the Hessian proprietor was saying. "I was rented out to cut the throats of people who had never done me any harm. Four pence three farthings a day I got, and one penny farthing went to His Royal Highness, the Prince. I fought you, then I fell in love with you, and when the war was over I stayed in America."
Clark listened. It was a voice out of the Revolution.
After a hurried luncheon the tireless traveller was again in his saddle; and late that night in the moonlight he opened the gate at Colonel Hancock's.
York had followed silently through all the journey,—York, no longer a slave, for in consideration of his services on the expedition the General had given him his freedom. But as a voluntary body-guard he would not be parted from his master.
"For sho'! who cud tek cah o' Mars Clahk so well as old Yawk?"
"What if love-lorn swains from a dozen plantations have tried to woo and win my pretty cousin! The bronzed face of Lochinvar is bleaching," said the teasing Harriet when she heard that the wedding date was really set. "One day, who knows, his skin may be white as yours."
Sudden as a flood in the Roanoke came Juli a's tears. Relenting, the lively, light-hearted Harriet covered her cousin's curls with kisses.
"The carriage and horses are at your service. Hunt, fish, lounge as you please," said Colonel Hancock, "for I must be at the courthouse to try an important case."
With thousands of acres and hundreds of negroes, it was the dream of Colonel Hancock to one day drop these official cares and retire altogether into the privacy of his plantation. Already, forty miles away, at the very head spring of the Roanoke river, he was building a country seat to be called "Fotheringay," after Fotheringay Castle.
Back and forth in the gorgeous October weather rode Clark and Julia, watching the workmen at Fotheringay.
Now and then the carriage stopped at an orchard. Passers were always at liberty to help themselves to the fruit. Peaches so abundant that they fed the hogs with them, apples rosy and mellow, grapes for the vintage, were in the first flush of abundance. What a contrast to that autumn in the Bitter Root Mountains!
Then late in November to Fincastle came Governor Lewis and his brother Reuben, on their way to the west. He, too, had been to Washington on business concerning St. Louis.
"The great success of York among the Mandans has decided Reuben to take Tom along," laughed Lewis, as Reuben's black driver dismounted from the carriage—the same family chariot in which Meriwether had brought his mother from Georgia, now on the way to become the state coach of Louisiana.
Black Tom beamed, expansively happy, on York who had been "tuh th' Injun country" where black men were "Great Medicine."
"Ha, Your Excellency," laughed the teasing Harriet, "the beauty of Fincastle dines with us to-night,—Miss Letitia Breckenridge."
"Wait and the Governor will court you," some one whispered to the charming Letitia.
"I have contemplated accompanying my father to Richmond for some time," replied Letitia. "If I stay now it will look like a challenge, therefore I determine to go."
Governor Lewis underwent not a little chafing when two days after his arrival the lovely Letitia was gone,—to become the wife of the Secretary of War in John Quincy Adams's cabinet.
"Miss Breckenridge is a very sweet-looking girl," wrote Reuben to his sister, "and I should like to have her for a sister. General Clark's intended is a charming woman. When I tell you that she is much like my sweetheart you will believe I think so."
"What are you doing?" Clark asked of Julia, as she sat industriously stitching beside the hickory fire in the great parlour at Fincastle.
"Working a little screen to keep the fire from burning my face," answered the maiden, rosy as the glow itself. Much more beautiful than the little Sacajawea, stitching moccasins beside the fire at Clatsop, she seemed to Clark; and yet the feminine intuition was the same, to sew, to stitch, to be an artist with the needle.
"The mistletoe hung in Fincastle hall, The holly branch shone on the old oak wall, And the planter's retainers were blithe and gay, A-keeping their Christmas holiday."
There was sleighing at Fincastle when the wedding day came, just after New Year's, 1808. The guests came in sleighs from as far away as Greenway Court, for all the country-side knew and loved Judy Hancock.
Weeping, soft-hearted Black Granny tied again the sunny curls and looped the satin ribbons of her beloved "Miss Judy." The slaves vied with one another, strewing the snow with winter greens that no foot might touch the chill.
The wainscoted and panelled walls glowed with greenery. Holly hung over the carved oaken chimneys, and around the fowling pieces and antlers of the chase that betokened the hunting habits of Colonel Hancock. Silver tankards marked with the family arms sparkled on the damask table cloth, and silver candlesticks and snuffers and silver plate. Myrtleberry wax candles gave out an incense that mingled with the odour of hickory snapping in the fireplace.
"Exactly as her mother looked," whispered the grandmother when Judy came down,—grandmother, a brisk little white-capped old lady in quilted satin, who remembered very well the mother of Washington.
The stars hung blazing on the rim of the Blue Ridge and the snow glistened, when out of the great house came the sound of music and dancing. There were wedding gifts after the old Virginia fashion, and when all had been inspected Clark handed his bride a small jewel case marked with her name.
The cover flew open, revealing a set of topaz and pearls, "A gift from the President."
Out into the snow went these wedding guests of a hundred years ago, to scatter and be forgotten.
THE BOAT HORN
All the romance of the old boating time was in Clark's wedding trip down the Ohio. It was on a May morning when, stepping on board a flatboat at Louisville, he contrasted the daintiness of Julia with that of any other travelling companion he had ever known.
The river, foaming over its rocky bed, the boatmen blowing their long conical bugles from shore to shore, the keelboats, flat-bottoms, and arks loaded with emigrants all intent on "picking guineas from gooseberry bushes," spoke of youth, life, action. Again the boatman blew his bugle, echoes of other trumpets answered, "Farewell, farewell, fare—we-ll." Soon they were into the full sweep of the pellucid Ohio, mirroring skies and shores dressed in the livery of Robin Hood.
Frowning precipices and green islets arose, and projecting headlands indenting the Ohio with promontories like a chain of shining lakes. Hills clothed in ancient timber, hoary whitened sycamores draped in green clusters of mistletoe, and magnificent groves of the dark green sugar tree reflected from the water below. Shut in to the water's edge, a woody wilderness still, the river glided between its umbrageous shores.
Now and then the crowing of cocks announced a clearing where the axe of the settler had made headway, or some old Indian mound blossomed with a peach orchard. Flocks of screaming paroquets alighted in the treetops, humming birds whizzed into the honeysuckle vines and flashed away with dewdrops on their jewelled throats.
On the water with them, now near, now far, were other boats,—ferry flats and Alleghany skiffs, pirogues hollowed from prodigious sycamores, dug-outs and canoes, stately barges with masts and sails and lifted decks like schooners, keel boats, slim and trim for low waters, Kentucky arks, broadhorns, roomy and comfortable, filled up with chairs, beds, stoves, tables, bound for the Sangamon, Cape Girardeau, Arkansas.
Floating caravans of men, women, children, servants, cattle, hogs, horses, sheep, and fowl were travelling down the great river. Some boats fitted up for stores dropped off at the settlements, blowing the bugle, calling the inhabitants down to trade.
Here a tinner with his tinshop, with tools and iron, a floating factory, there a blacksmith shop with bellows and anvil, dry-goods boats with shelves for cutlery and cottons, produce boats with Kentucky flour and hemp, Ohio apples, cider, maple sugar, nuts, cheese, and fruit, and farther down, Tennessee cotton, Illinois corn, and cattle, Missouri lead and furs, all bound for New Orleans, a panorama of endless interest to Julia. Here white-winged schooners were laden entirely with turkeys, tobacco, hogs, horses, potatoes, or lumber. Nature pouring forth perennial produce from a hundred tributary streams.
A bateau could descend from the mouth of the Ohio to New Orleans in three weeks; three months of t barely bring it back. How could boats be made to go against the current? Everywhere and everywhere inventive minds were puzzling over motors, paddles—duck-foot, goose-foot, and elliptical,—wings and sails, side-wheels, stern-wheels, and screws,—and steam was in the air.
As the sun went down in lengthening shadows a purple haze suffused the waters. Adown La Belle Rivière, "the loveliest stream that ever glistened to the moon," arose the evening cadence of the boatmen,—
"Some row up, but we row down,
All the way to Shawnee Town,
Pull away! Pull away!
Pull away to Shawnee Town."
The crescent moon shone brightly on crag and stream and floating forest, the air was mild and moist, the boat glided as in a dream, and the mocking bird enchanted the listening silence.
To Clark no Spring had ever seemed so beautiful. Sitting on deck with Julia he could not forget that turbulent time when as a boy he first plunged down these waters. Symbolic of his whole life it seemed, until now the storm and stress of youth had calmed into the placid current of to-day. The past,—the rough toil-hardened past of William Clark,—fell away, and as under a lifted silken curtain he floated into repose. The rough old life of camps and forts was gone forever.
And to Julia, everything was new and strange,—La Belle Rivière itself whispered of Louisiana. Like an Alpine horn the bugle echoed the dreamlife of the waters.
The fiddles scraping, boatmen dancing, the smooth stream rolling calmly through the forest, the girls who gathered on shore to see the pageant pass, the river itself, momentarily lost to view, then leaping again in Hogarth's line of beauty,—all murmured perpetual music.
Then slumber fell upon the dancers, but still Clark and Julia sat watching. From clouds of owls arose voices of the night, cries of wolves reverberated on shore, the re, the plaintive whippoorwill in the foliage lamented to the moon, meteors rose from the horizon to sweep majestically aloft and burst in a showering spray of gems below.
The very heavens were unfamiliar. Awed, impressed, by the mysteries around them, they slept.
Before sun-up the mocking-bird called from the highest treetop and continued singing until after breakfast, imitating the jay, the cardinal, and the lapwing, then sailing away into a strain of his own wild music.
At the mouth of the Wabash arks were turning in to old Vincennes. Below, broader grew the Ohio, unbroken forests still and twinkling stars. Here and there arose the graceful catalpa in full flower, and groves of cottonwoods so tall that at a distance one could fancy some planter's mansion hidden in their depths. Amid these Eden scenes appeared here and there the deserted cabin of some murdered woodman whose secret only the Shawnee knew.
Wild deer, crossing the Ohio, heard the bugle call, and throwing their long branching antlers on their shoulders sank out of sight, swimming under the water until the shore opened into the sheltering forest.
At times the heavens were darkened with the flights of pigeons; there was a song of the thrush and the echoing bellow of the big horned owl. Wild turkeys crossed their path and wild geese screamed on their journey to the lakes.
One day the boats stopped, and before her Julia beheld the Mississippi sweeping with irresistible pomp and wrath, tearing at the shores, bearing upon its tawny bosom the huge drift of mount and meadow, whole herds of drowned buffalo, trunks of forest trees and caved-in banks of silt, leaping, sweeping seaward in the sun. Without a pause the bridegroom river reached forth his brawny arm, and gathered in the starry-eyed Ohio. Over his Herculean shoulders waved her silver tresses, deep into his bosom passed her gentle transparency as the twain made one swept to the honeymoon.
All night Clark's bateau lay in a bend while York and the men kept off the drift that seemed to set toward them in their little cove as toward a magnet.
On the 26th of May Governor Lewis received a letter from Clark asking for help up the river. Without delay the Governor engaged a barge to take their things to Bellefontaine and another barge to accommodate the General, his family and baggage.
Dispatching a courier over the Bellefontaine road, Governor Lewis sent to Colonel Hunt a message, asking him to send Ensign Pryor to meet the party.
With what delight Clark and his bride saw the barges with Ensign Pryor in charge, coming down from St. Louis. Then came the struggle up the turbulent river. Clark was used to such things, but never before had he looked on them with a bride at his side. With sails and oars and cordelles all at once, skilled hands paddled and poled and stemmed the torrent, up, up to the rock of the new levee.
Thus the great explorer brought home his bride to St. Louis in that never-to-be-forgotten May-time one hundred years ago.
A BRIDE IN ST. LOUIS
"An Américaine bride, General Clark haf brought! She haf beeutiful eyes! She haf golden hair!" The Creole ladies were in a flutter.
"Merci! She haf a carriage!" they cried, peeping from their lattices. Governor Lewis himself had met the party at the shore, and now in the first state coach St. Louis had ever seen, was driving along the Rue de l'Église to Auguste Chouteau's.
"Merci! She haf maids enough!" whispered the gazers, as Rachel, Rhody, Chloe, Sarah, brought up the rear with their mistress's belongings. Then followed York, looking neither to the right nor the left. He knew St. Louis was watching, and he delighted in the stir.
The fame of the beauty of General Clark's American bride spread like wild-fire. For months wherever she rode or walked admiring crowds followed, eager to catch a glimpse of her face. Thickly swathed in veils, Julia concealed her features from the public gaze, but that only increased the interest.
"She shall haf a party, une grande réception," said Pierre Chouteau, and the demi-fortress was opened to a greater banquet than even at the return of Lewis and Clark.
Social St. Louis abandoned itself to gaiety. Dancing slippers were at a premium, and all the gay silks that ever came up from New Orleans were refurbished with lace and jewels.
"They are beautiful women," said Julia that night. "I thought you told me there were only Indians here."
Clark laughed. "Wait until you walk in the streets."
And sure enough, with the arrival of the beautiful Julia came also certain Sacs and Iowas who had been scalping settlers within their borders. With bolted handcuffs and leg shackles they were shut up in the old Spanish martello tower. From the Chouteau house Julia could see their cell windows covered with iron gratings and the guard pacing to and fro.
At the trial in the old Spanish garrison house on the hill the streets swarmed with red warriors.
"How far away St. Louis is from civilisation," remarked Julia. "We seem in the very heart of the Indian country."
"The Governor has organised the militia, and our good friend Auguste Chouteau is their colonel," answered her husband, reassuringly.
"Why these fortifications, these bastions and stone towers?" inquired Julia, as they walked along the Rue.
"They were built a long time ago for defences against the Indians. In fact my brother defended St. Louis once against an Indian raid."
"Tell me the story," cried Julia. And walking along the narrow streets under the honey-scented locusts, Clark told Julia of the fight and fright of 1780.
"And was that when the Spanish lady was here?"
"And what became of her finally?"
"She fled with the nuns to Cuba at the cession of New Orleans."
Trilliums red and white, anemones holding up their shell-pink cups, and in damp spots adder's tongues and delicate Dutchman's breeches, were thick around them as they walked down by the old Chouteau Pond. Primeval forests surrounded it, white-armed sycamores and thickets of crab-apple.
"This is the mill that makes bread for St. Louis. Everybody comes down to Chouteau's mill for flour. It is so small I am not surprised that they call St. Louis 'Pain Court'—'short of bread.' To-morrow the washerwomen will be at the pond, boiling clothes in iron pots and drying them on the hazel bushes."
As they came back in the flush of evening all St. Louis had moved out of doors. The wide galleries were filled with settees and tables and chairs, and the neighbourly Creoles were visiting one another, and greeting the passers-by.
Sometimes the walk led over the hill to the Grand Prairie west of town. The greensward waved in the breezes like a wheatfield in May. Cabanné's wind-mill could be seen in the distance across the prairie near the timber with its great wings fifty and sixty feet long flying in the air like things of life.
Cabanné the Swiss had married Gratiot's daughter.
St. Louis weddings generally took place at Easter, so other brides and grooms were walking there in those May days a hundred years ago. Night and morning, as in Acadia, the rural population still went to and from the fields with their cattle and carts and old-style wheel ploughs.
In November Clark and his bride moved into the René Kiersereau cottage on the Rue Royale. The old French House of René Kiersereau dated back to the beginning of St. Louis. Built of heavy timbers and plastered with rubble and mortar, it bade fair still to withstand the wear and tear of generations. With a long low porch in front and rear, and a fence of cedar pickets like a miniature stockade, it differed in no respect from the other modest cottages of St. Louis. Back of the house rushed the river; before it, locusts and lightning bugs flitted in the summer garden. Beside the Kiersereau house Clark had his Indian office in the small stone store of Alexis Marie.
Into this little house almost daily came Meriwether Lewis, and every moment that could be spared from pressing duties was engrossed in work on the journals of the expedition. Sometimes Julia brought her harp and sang. But into this home quiet were coming constant echoes of the Indian world.
"Settlers are encroaching on the Osage lands. We shall have trouble," said Governor Lewis. Under an escort of a troop of cavalry Clark rode out into the Indian country to make a treaty with the Osages. The Shawnees and Delawares had been invited to settle near St. Louis to act as a shield against the barbarous Osages. The Shawnees and Delawares were opening little farms and gardens near Cape Girardeau, building houses and trying to become civilised. But settlers had gone on around them into the Osage wilderness.
"I will establish a fort to regulate these difficulties," said the General, and on his return Fort Osage was built.
"Settlers are encroaching on our lands," came the cry from Sacs, Foxes, and Iowas. Governor Lewis himself held a council with the discontented tribes and established Fort Madison, the first United States post up the Mississippi.
But there were still Big White and his people not yet returned to the Mandan country, and this was the most perplexing problem of all.
THE FIRST FORT IN MONTANA
Manuel Lisa had enemies and ambition. These always go together.
Scarcely had Clark and his bride settled at St. Louis before down from the north came Manuel Lisa's boats, piled, heaped, and laden to the gunwale edge with furs out of the Yellowstone. His triumphant guns saluted Charette, St. Charles, St. Louis. He had run the gauntlet of Sioux, Arikara, and Assiniboine. He had penetrated the Yellowstone and established Fort Lisa at the mouth of the Bighorn in the very heart of the Crow-land,—the first building in what is now Montana.
"Dey say you cause de attack on Big White," buzzed a Frenchman in his ear. Angry at such an imputation, the Spaniard hastened to Governor Lewis.
"I disclaim all responsibility for that disaster. The Arikaras fired across my bow. I stopped. But I had my men-at-arms, my swivels ready. I understood presents. I smoked the pipe of peace, with a musket in my hand. Of course I passed. Even the Mandans fired on me, and the Assiniboines. Should that dismay a trader?"
Manuel Lisa, the successful, was now monarch of the fur trade. Even his enemies capitulated.
"If he is stern in discipline, the service demands it. He has gone farther, dared more, accomplished more, and brought home more, than any other. What a future for St. Louis! We must unite our forces."
And so the city on the border reached out toward her destiny. Pierre and Auguste Chouteau, William Clark and Reuben Lewis, locked fortunes with the daring, indomitable Manuel Lisa. Pierre Menard, Andrew Henry, and others, a dozen altogether, put in forty thousand dollars, incorporating the Missouri Fur Company. Into the very heart of the Rocky Mountains it was resolved to push, into those primeval beaver meadows whither Lewis and Clark had led the way.
"Abandon the timid methods of former trade,—plunge at once deep into the wilderness," said Lisa; "ascend the Missouri to its utmost navigable waters, and by establishing posts monopolise the trade of the entire region."
Already had Lisa dreamed of the Santa Fé,—now he looked toward the Pacific.
And now, too, was the time to send Big White back to the Mandans. Under the convoy of two hundred and fifty people,—enlisted soldiers and engagés, American hunters, Creoles, and Canadian voyageurs,—the fur flotilla set sail with tons of traps and merchandise.
As the flotilla pulled out, a tall gaunt frontiersman with two white men and an Indian came pulling into St. Louis. Clark turned a second time,—"Why, Daniel Boone!"
"First rate! first rate!" Furrowed as a sage and tanned as a hunter, with a firm hand-grasp, the old man stepped ashore. Two summers now had Daniel Boone and his two sons brought down to St. Louis a cargo of salt, manufactured by themselves at Boone's Lick, a discovery of the old pioneer.
"Any settlers comin'? We air prepared to tote 'em up."
Ever a welcome guest to the home of General Clark, Daniel Boone strode along to the cottage on the Rue. At sight of Julia he closed his eyes, dazzled.
"'Pears to me she looks like Rebecca."
Never, since that day when young Boone went hunting deer in the Yadkin forest and found Rebecca Bryan, a ruddy, flax-haired girl, had he ceased to be her lover. And though years had passed and Rebecca had faded, to him she was ever the gold-haired girl of the Yadkin. Poor Rebecca! Hers had been a hard life in camp and cabin, with pigs and chickens in the front yard and rain dripping through the roof.
"Daniel!" she sometimes said, severely.
"Wa-al, now Rebecca, thee knows I didn't have time to mend that air leak in the ruff last summer; I war gone too long at the beaver. But thee shall have a new house." And again the faithful Rebecca stuffed a rag in the ceiling with her mop-handle and meekly went on baking hoe-cake before the blazing forelog.
Daniel had long promised a new house, but now, at last, he was really going to build. For this he was studying St. Louis.
A day looking at houses and disposing of his salt and beaver-skins, and back he went, with a boatload of emigrants and a cargo of school-books. Mere trappers came and went,—Boone brought settlers. Pathfinder, judge, statesman, physician to the border, he now carried equipments for the first school up the Missouri.
Furs were piled everywhere, the furs that had been wont to go to Europe,—otter, beaver, deer, and bear and buffalo. American ships, that had sped like eagles on every sea, were threatened now by England if they sailed to France, by France if they sailed to England.
"If our ships, our sailors, our goods are to be seized, it is better to keep them at home," said Jefferson.
"War itself would be better than that," pled Gallatin.
The whole world was taking sides in the cataclysm over the sea. Napoleon recognised no neutrals. England recognised none. Denmark tried it, and the British fleet burned Copenhagen. Ominously the conflagration glimmered,—such might be the fate of any American seaport.
"If we must fight let us go with France," said some. "Napoleon will guarantee us the cession of Canada and Nova Scotia."
But Jefferson, carrying all before him, on Tuesday, December 22, 1807, signed an embargo act, shutting up our ships in our own harbours. In six months commercial life-blood ceased to flow. Ships rotted at the wharfs. Grass grew in the streets of Baltimore and Boston.
St. Louis traders tried to go over to Canada, but were stopped at Detroit—"by that evil embargo."
St. Louis withered. "De Meeseppi ees closed. Tees worse dan de Spaniard!"
This unpopularity of Jefferson cast Governor Lewis into deepest gloom. The benevolent President's system of peaceable coercion was bringing the country to the verge of rebellion. England cared not nor France, and America was stifling with wheat, corn, and cattle, without a market.
Fur, fur,—the currency and standard of value in St. Louis was valueless. Taxes even could no longer be paid in shaved deerskins. Peltry bonds, once worth their weight in gold, had dropped to nothing. Moths and mildew crept into the Chouteau warehouses. A few weeks more and the fruits of Lisa's adventure would perish.
Into the Clark home there had come an infant boy, "named Meriwether Lewis," said the General, when the Governor came to look at the child. Every day now he came to the cradle, for, weary with cares, the quiet domestic atmosphere rested him. He moved his books and clothes, and the modest little home on the Rue became the home of the Governor. Beside the fire Julia stitched, stitched at dainty garments while the General and the Governor worked on their journals. Now and then their eyes strayed toward the sleeping infant.
"This child is fairer than Sacajawea's at Clatsop," remarked Lewis. "But it cries the same, and is liable to the same ills."
"And did you name a river for Sacajawea, too?" laughed Julia.
"Certainly, certainly, but the Governor's favourite river was named Maria," slyly interposed Clark.
A quick flush passed over the Governor's cheek. He had lately purchased a three-and-a-half arpent piece of land north of St. Louis for a home for his mother,—or was it for Maria? However, in June Clark took Julia and the baby with him on a trip to Louisville, and the same month Maria was married to somebody else.
But on the Ohio the joyous activity had ceased. No longer the boatman's horn rang over cliff and scar. Jefferson's embargo had stagnated the waters.
When General Clark returned to St. Louis in July he found his friend still more embarrassed and depressed.
"My bills are protested," said the Governor. "Here is one for eighteen dollars rejected by the Secretary of the Treasury. This has given me infinite concern, as the fate of others drawn for similar purposes cannot be in doubt. Their rejection cannot fail to impress the public mind unfavourably with respect to me."
"And what are these bills for?" inquired Clark.
"Expenses incurred in governing the territory," answered Lewis.
General Clark did not have to look back many years to recall the wreck of his brother on this same snag of protested bills, and exactly as with George Rogers Clark the proud and sensitive heart of Meriwether Lewis was cut to the core.
"More painful than the rejection, is the displeasure which must arise in the mind of the executive from my having drawn for public moneys without authority. A third and not less embarrassing circumstance is that my private funds are entirely incompetent to meet these bills if protested."
With the generosity of his nature Clark gave Lewis one hundred dollars, and Lewis arranged as soon as possible to go to Washington with his vouchers to see the President.
With the courage of upright convictions, Governor Lewis contended with the difficulties of his office, and in due course received the rest of his protested bills. If he raged at heart he said little. If he spent sleepless nights tossing, and communing with himself, he spoke no word to those around him. Though the dagger pierced he made no sign. Borrowing money of his friend s as George Rogers Clark had done, he met his bills as best he might. But his haggard face and evident illness alarmed his friends.
"You had better take a trip to the east," they urged. "You have malarial fever."
He decided to act on this suggestion, and with the journals of the western expedition and his vouchers the Governor bade his friends farewell and dropped down the river, intending to take a coasting vessel to New Orleans and pass around to Washington by sea.
But at the Chickasaw Bluffs, now Memphis, Lewis was ill. Moreover, rumours of war were in the air.
"These precious manuscripts that I have carried now for so many miles, must not be lost," thought Lewis, "nor the vouchers of my public accounts on which my honour rests. I will go by land through the Chickasaw country."
The United States agent with the Chickasaw Indians, Major Neely, arriving there two days later, found Lewis still detained by illness. "I must accompany and watch over him," he said, when he found that the Governor was resolved to press on at all hazards. "He is very ill."
One hundred years ago the Natchez trace was a new military road that had been cut through the wilderness of Tennessee to the Spanish country. Over this road the pony express galloped day and night and pioneer caravans paused at nightfall at lonely wayside inns. Brigands infested the forest, hard on the trail of the trader returning from New Orleans with a pouch of Spanish silver in his saddlebags.
Over that road Aaron Burr had travelled on his visit to Andrew Jackson at Nashville, and on it Tecumseh was even now journeying to the tribes of the south.
"Two of the horses have strayed," was the servant's report at the end of one day's journey. But even that could not delay the Governor.
"I will wait for you at the house of the first white inhabitant on the road," said Lewis, as Neely turned back for the lost roadsters.
It was evening when the Governor arrived at Grinder's stand, the last cabin on the borders of the Chickasaw country.
"May I stay for the night?" he inquired of the woman at the door.
"Come you alone?" she asked.
"My servants are behind. Bring me some wine."
Alighting and bringing in his saddle, the Governor touched the wine and turned away. Pulling off his loose white blue-striped travelling gown, he waited for his servants.
The woman scanned her guest,—of elegant manners and courtly bearing, he was evidently a gentleman. But a troubled look on his face, an impatient walk to and fro, denoted something wrong. She listened,—he was talking to himself. His sudden wheels and turns and strides startled her.
"Where is my powder? I am sure there was some powder in my canister," he said to the servants at the door.
After a mouthful of supper, he suddenly started up, speaking in a violent manner, flushed and excited. Then, lighting his pipe, he sat down by the cabin door.
"Madame, this is a very pleasant evening."
Mrs. Grinder noted the kindly tone, the handsome, haggard face, the air of abstraction. Quietly he smoked for a time, then again he flushed, arose excitedly, and stepped into the yard. There he began pacing angrily to and fro.
But again he sat down to his pipe, and again seemed composed. He cast his eyes toward the west, that West, the scene of his toils and triumphs.
"What a sweet evening it is!" He had seen that same sun silvering the northern rivers, gilding the peaks of the Rockies, and sinking into the Pacific. It all came over him now, like a soothing dream, calming the fevered soul and stilling its tumult.
The woman was preparing the usual feather-bed for her guest.
"I beg you, Madame, do not trouble yourself. Pernia, bring my bearskins and buffalo robe."
The skins and robe were spread on the floor and the woman went away to her kitchen. The house was a double log cabin with a covered way between. Such houses abound still in the Cumberland Mountains.
"I am afraid of that man," said the woman in the kitchen, putting her children in their beds. "Something is wrong. I cannot sleep."
The servants slept in the barn. Neely had not come. Night came down with its mysterious veil upon the frontier cabin.
But still that heavy pace was heard in the other cabin. Now and then a voice spoke rapidly and incoherently.
"He must be a lawyer," said the woman in the kitchen. Suddenly she heard the report of a pistol, and something dropped heavily to the floor. There was a voice,—"O Lord!"
Excited, peering into the night, the trembling woman listened. Another pistol, and then a voice at her door,—"Oh, madame, give me some water and heal my wounds!"
Peering into the moonlight between the open unplastered logs, she saw her guest stagger and fall. Presently he crawled back into the room. Then again he came to the kitchen door, but did not speak. An empty pail stood there with a gourd,—he was searching for water. Cowering, terrified, there in the kitchen with her children the woman waited for the light.
At the first break of day she sent two of the children to the barn to arouse the servants. And there, on his bearskins on the cabin floor, they found the shattered frame of Meriwether Lewis, a bullet in his side, a shot under his chin, and a ghastly wound in his forehead.
"Take my rifle and kill me!" he begged. "I will give you all the money in my trunk. I am no coward, but I am so strong,—so hard to die! Do not be afraid of me, Pernia, I will not hurt you."
And as the sun rose over the Tennessee trees, Meriwether Lewis was dead, on the 11th of October, 1809.
A LONELY GRAVE IN TENNESSEE
A hero of his country was dead, the Governor of its largest Territory,—dead, on his way to Washington, where fresh honours awaited him,—dead, far from friends and kindred in a wild and boundless forest.
Did he commit suicide in a moment of aberration, or was he foully murdered by an unknown hand on that 11th of October, 1809? President Jefferson, who had observed signs of melancholy in him in early life, favoured the idea of suicide, but in the immediate neighbourhood the theory of murder took instant shape. Where was Joshua Grinder? Where were those servants? Where was Neely himself?
"I never for a moment entertained the thought of suicide," said his mother, when she heard the news. "His last letter was full of hope. I was to live with him in St. Louis."
Of all men in the world why should Meriwether Lewis commit suicide? The question has been argued for a hundred years and is to-day no nearer solution than ever.
"Old Grinder killed him and got his money," said the neighbours. "He saw he was well dressed and evidently a person of distinction and wealth." Grinder was arrested and tried but no proof could be secured.
"Alarmed by his groans the robbers hid his pouch of gold coins in the earth, with the intention of securing it later," said others. "They never ventured to return,—it lies there, buried, to this day." And the superstitions of the neighbourhood have invested the spot with the weird fascination of Captain Kidd's treasure, or the buried box of gold on Neacarney.
"He was killed by his French servant," said the Lewis family. Later, when Pernia visited Charlottesv ille and sent word to Locust Hill, Meriwether's mother refused to see him.
John Marks, half-brother of Meriwether Lewis, went immediately to the scene of tragedy, but nothing more could be done or learned. Proceeding to St. Louis, the estate was settled.
When at last the trunks arrived at Washington they were found to contain the journals, papers on the protested bills, and the well-known spy-glass used by Lewis on the expedition. But there were no valuables or money.
Years after, Meriwether's sister and her husband unexpectedly met Pernia on the streets of Mobile, and Mary recognised in his possession the William Wirt watch and the gun of her brother. On demand they were promptly surrendered.
In the lonely heart of Lewis county, Tennessee, stands to-day a crumbling gray stone monument with a broken shaft of limestone erected by the State on the spot where, in the thirty-fifth year of his age, Meriwether Lewis met his death. In solitude and desolation, moss overlies his tomb, but his name lives on, brightening with the years.
TRADE FOLLOWS THE FLAG
"Bon jour, Ms'ieu, you want to know where dat Captinne?" The polite Creole lifted his cap.
"'Pears now, maybe I heerd he wuz Guv'ner," said the keen-eyed trapper thoughtfully.
"Guff'ner Lewees ees det,—kilt heeself. Generale Clark leeves on de Rue Royale, next de Injun office."
In unkempt beard, hair shaggy as a horse's mane, and clothing all of leather, the stranger climbed the rocky path, using the stock of his gun for a staff.
It did not take long to find the Indian o ffice. With a dozen lounging braves outside and a council within, sat William Clark, the Red Head Chief.
General Clark noted the shadow in the door that bright May morning. Not in vain had these men faced the West together.
"Bless me, it's Coalter! Where have you been? How did you come?"
From the mountains, three thousand miles in thirty days, in a small canoe, Coalter had come flying down the melting head-snows of the Rockies. He was haggard with hunger and loss of sleep.
Leading his old companion to the cottage, Clark soon had him surrounded with the comforts of a civilised meal. Refreshed, gradually the trapper unfolded his tale.
When John Coalter left Lewis and Clark at the Mandan towns and went back with Hancock and Dickson, in that Summer of 1806, they, the first of white men, entered the Yellowstone Park of to-day. In the Spring, separating from his companions, Coalter set out for St. Louis in a solitary canoe. At the mouth of the Platte he met Manuel Lisa and Drouillard coming up. And with them, John Potts, another of the Lewis and Clark soldiers. On the spot Coalter re-enlisted and returned a third time to the wilderness.
Such a man was invaluable to that first venture in the north. After Lisa had stockaded his fort at the mouth of the Bighorn, he sent Coalter to bring the Indians. Alone he set out with gun and knapsack, travelled five hundred miles, and brought in his friends the Crows. That laid the foundation of Lisa's fortune.
When Lisa came down with his furs in the Spring, Coalter and Potts with traps on their backs set out for the beaver-meadows of the Three Forks, the Madison, the Jefferson, and the Gallatin.
"We knew those Blackfoot sarpints would spare no chance to skelp us," said Coalter, "so we sot our traps by night an' tuk 'em afore daylight. Goin' up a creek six miles from the Jefferson, examinin' our traps one mornin', on a suddent we heerd a great noise. But the banks wuz high an' we cudn't see.
"'Blackfeet, Potts. Let's retreat,' sez I.
"'Blackfut nuthin'. Ye must be a coward. Thet's buffaloes,' sez Potts. An' we kep' on.
"In a few minutes five or six hunderd Injuns appeared on both sides uv the creek, beckonin' us ashore. I saw 't warnt no use an' turned the canoe head in.
"Ez we touched, an Injun seized Potts' rifle. I jumped an' grabbed an' handed it back to Potts in the canoe. He tuk it an' pushed off.
"An' Injun let fly an arrer. Jest ez I heard it whizz, Potts cried, 'Coalter, I'm wounded.'
"'Don't try to get off, Potts, come ashore,' I urged. But no, he levelled his rifle and shot a Blackfoot dead on the spot. Instanter they riddled Potts,—dead, he floated down stream.
"Then they seized and stripped me. I seed 'em consultin'.
"'Set 'im up fer a target,' said some. I knew ther lingo, lernt it 'mongst the Crows, raound Lisa's fort, at the Bighorn. But the chief asked me, 'Can ye run fast?'
"'No, very bad runner,' I answered."
Clark smiled. Well he remembered Coalter as the winner in many a racing bout.
"The chief led me aout on the prairie, 'Save yerself ef ye can.'
"Et thet instant I heerd, 'Whoop-ahahahahah-hooh!' like ten thousand divils, an' I flew.
"It wuz six miles to the Jefferson; the graound wuz stuck like a pinquishen with prickly-pear an' sand burrs, cuttin' my bare feet, but I wuz half acrosst before I ventured to look over the shoulder. The sarpints ware pantin' an' fallin' behind an' scatterin'. But one with a spear not more'n a hunderd yeards behind was gainin'.
"I made another bound,—blood gushed from my nostrils. Nearer, nearer I heerd his breath and steps, expectin' every minute to feel thet spear in my back.
"Agin I looked. Not twenty yeards behind he ran. On a suddint I stopped, turned, and spread my arms. The Blackfoot, astonished at the blood all over my front, perhaps, tried to stop but stumbled an' fell and broke his spear. I ran back, snatched the point, and pinned him to the earth.
"The rest set up a hidjus yell. While they stopped beside ther fallen comrade, almost faintin' I ran inter the cottonwoods on the borders uv the shore an' plunged ento the river.
"Diving under a raft of drift-timber agin the upper point of a little island, I held my head up in a little opening amongst the trunks of trees covered with limbs and brushwood.
"Screechin', yellin' like so many divils, they come onto the island. Thro' the chinks I seed 'em huntin', huntin', huntin', all day long. I only feared they might set the raft on fire.
"But at night they gave it up; the voices grew faint and fer away; I swam cautiously daown an' acrost, an' landin' travelled all night.
"But I wuz naked. The broilin' sun scorched my skin, my feet were filled with prickly-pears, an' I wuz hungry. Game, game plenty on the hills, but I hed no gun. It was seven days to Lisa's fort on the Bighorn.
"I remembered the Injun turnip that Sacajawea found in there, an' lived on it an' sheep sorrel until I reached Lisa's fort, blistered from head to heel."
As in a vision the General saw it all. Judy's eyes were filled with tears. Through the Gallatin, the Indian Valley of Flowers, where Bozeman stands to-day, the lonely trapper had toiled in the July sun and over the Bozeman Pass, whither Clark's cavalcade had ridden two summers before.
Six years now had Coalter been gone from civilisation, but he had discovered the Yellowstone Park. No one in St. Louis would believe his stories of hot water spouting in fountains, "Coalter's Hell," but William Clark traced his route on the map that he sent for publication.
John Coalter now received his delayed reward for the expedition,—double pay and three hundred acres of land,—and went up to find Boone at Charette.
"What! Pierre Menard!" Another boat had come out of the north. General Clark grasped the horny hand of the fur trader. "What luck?"
"Bad, bad," gloomily answered the trader with a shake of his flowing mane. "Drouillard is dead, and the rest are likely soon to be."
"What do you mean?"
Clark guessed all, even before he heard the full details behind locked doors of the Missouri Fur Company at the warehouse of Pierre Chouteau.
"As you knew," began Menard, "we spent last winter at Fort Lisa on the Bighorn. When Lisa started down here in March we packed our traps on horses, crossed to the Three Forks, and built a double stockade of logs at the confluence of the rivers. Every night the men came in with beaver, beaver, beaver. We confidently expected to bring down not less than three hundred packs this fall but that hope is shattered. On the 12th of April our men were ambuscaded by Blackfeet. Five were killed. All their furs, traps, horses, guns, and equipments are without doubt by this time at Fort Edmonton on the Saskatchewan."
"But you expected to visit the Snakes and Flatheads," suggested one to rouse the despondent trader from his revery.
"I did. And the object was to obtain a Blackfoot prisoner if possible in order to open communication with his tribe. They are the most unapproachable Indians we have known. They refuse all overtures.
"Just outside the fort Drouillard was killed. A high wind was blowing at the time, so he was not heard, but the scene of the conflict indicated a desperate defence.
"Despair seized our hunters. They refused to go out. Indeed, it was impossible to go except in numbers, so Henry and I concluded it was best to report. I set out by night, and here I am, with these men and thirty packs of beaver. God pity poor Henry at the Three Forks!"
Thus at one blow were shattered the high hopes of the Missouri Fur Company. All thought of Andrew Henry, tall, slender, blue-eyed, dark-haired, a man th at spoke seldom, but of great deeds. Would he survive a winter among the Blackfeet?
But there was another cause of disquiet to the Missouri Fur Company.
"Have you heard of John Jacob Astor?"
"He has gone with Wilson Price Hunt to Montreal to engage men for an expedition to the Columbia."
"What, Hunt who kept an Indian shop here on the Rue?" They all knew him. He had come to St. Louis in 1804 and become an adept in outfitting.
Two or three times Astor had offered to buy stock in the Missouri Fur Company but had been refused. Jefferson himself had recommended him to Lewis. Now he was carrying trade into the fur country over their heads. Already he had a great trade on the lakes, and to the headwaters of the Mississippi. He had profited by the surrender of Detroit and Mackinaw. Another stride took him to the Falls of St. Anthony; and now, along the trail of Lewis and Clark he planned to be first on the Pacific. With ships by sea and caravans by land, he could at last accomplish the wished-for trade to China.
"But I, too, planned the Pacific trade," said Manuel Lisa, coming down in the Autumn. There was some jealousy that a New York man should be first to follow the trail to the sea.
The winter was one of anxiety, for Astor's men had arrived in St. Louis and had gone up the Missouri to camp until Spring. Anxiety, too, for Andrew Henry, out there alone in the Blackfoot country.
Could they have been gifted with sufficient sight, the partners in St. Louis might even then have seen the brave Andrew Henry fighting for his life on that little tongue of land between the Madison and the Jefferson. No trapping could be done. It was dangerous to go any distance from the fort except in large parties. Fearing the entire destruction of his little band, Henry moved across the mountains into the Oregon country, and wintered on what is now Henry's Fork of the river Snake, the first American stronghold on the Columbia.
"We must exterminate Hunt's party," said Manuel Lisa.
"No," said Pierre Chouteau. "Next year he will send again and again, and in time will exterminate us. Your duty will be to protect his men on the water, and may God Almighty have mercy on them in the mountains, for they will never reach their destination."
From his new home at Charette John Coalter saw Astor's people going by, bound for the Columbia. To his surprise they inquired for him.
"General Clark told us you were the best informed man in the country."
Coalter told them of the hostility of the Blackfeet and the story of his escape. He longed to return with them to the mountains, but he had just married a squaw and he decided to stay. Moreover, a twinge in his limbs warned him that that plunge in the Jefferson had given him rheumatism for life.
Daniel Boone, standing on the bank at Charette when Hunt went by, came down and examined their outfit. "Jist returned from my traps on the Creek," he said, pointing to sixty beaver skins.
Tame beavers and otters, caught on an island opposite Charette Creek, were playing around his cabin. And his neighbours had elk and deer and buffalo, broken to the yoke.
Several seasons had Boone with his old friend Calloway trapped on the Kansas; now he longed for the mountains.
"Another year and I, too, will go to the Yellowstone," said Daniel Boone.
"Andrew Henry must be rescued. His situation is desperate. He may be dead," said General Clark, President of the Missouri Fur Company at St. Louis.
Three weeks behind Hunt, Lisa set out in a swift barge propelled by twenty oars, with a swivel on the bow and two blunderbusses in the cabin. Lisa had been a sea-captain,—he rigged his boat with a good mast, mainsail and topsail, and led his men with a ringing boat-song.
Then followed a keelboat race of a thousa nd miles up the Missouri. June 2 Lisa caught up with Hunt near the present Bismarck, and met Andrew Henry coming down with forty packs of beaver.
To avoid the hostile Blackfeet, Hunt bought horses and crossed through the Yellowstone-Crow country to the abandoned fort of Henry on the Snake, and on to the Columbia.
Aboard that barge with Lisa went Sacajawea. True to her word, she had brought the little Touissant down to St. Louis, where Clark placed him with the Catholic sisters to be trained for an interpreter. Sacajawea was dressed as a white woman; she had quickly adopted their manners and language; but, in the words of a chronicler who saw her there, "she had become sickly, and longed to revisit her native country. Her husband also had become wearied of civilised life."
So back they went to the Minnetarees, bearing pipes from Clark to the chiefs. Five hundred dollars a year Charboneau now received as Indian agent for the United States. For more than thirty years he held his post, and to this day his name may be traced in the land of Dakota.
We can see Sacajawea now, startled and expectant, her heart beating like a trip-hammer under her bodice, looking at Julia! No dreams of her mountains had ever shown such sunny hair, such fluffs of curls, like moonrise on the water. And that diaphanous cloud,—was it a dress? No Shoshone girl ever saw such buckskin, finer than blossom of the bitter-root.
"I am come," said Sacajawea.
A whole year she had tarried among the whites, quickly accommodating herself to their ways. But in the level St. Louis she dreamed of her northland, and now she was going home!
"It is madness to contend against the whites," said Black Hoof, chief of the Shawnees. "The more we fight the more they come."
He had led raids against Boonsboro, watched the Ohio, and sold scalps at Detroit. Three times his town was burnt behind him, twice by Clark and once by Wayne. Then he gave up, signed the treaty at Greenville, and for ever after kept the peace. Now he was living with a band of Shawnees at Cape Girardeau, and made frequent visits to his old friend, Daniel Boone.
Indian Phillips was with those who besieged Boonsboro. Phillips was a white man stolen as a child who had always lived with the Shawnees. To him Daniel Boone was the closest of friends. They hunted together and slept together. Boone took Phillips' bearskins and sold them with his own in St. Louis.
"If I should die while I am out with you, Phillips, you must mark my grave and tell the folks so they can carry me home."
Long after those Indians in the West had welcomed Boone's sons, an old squaw said, "I was an adopted sister during his captivity with the Ohio Indians."
Sometimes Boone went over to Cape Girardeau, and sat with his friends talking over old times.
"Do you remember, Dan," Phillips would say, "when we had you prisoner at Detroit? You remember the British traders gave you a horse and saddle and Black Fish adopted you, and you and he made an agreement you would lead him to Boonsboro and make them surrender and bury the tomahawk, and live like brothers and sisters?"
"Yes, I remember," said Boone, smiling at the recollection of those arts of subterfuge.
"Do you remember one warm day when Black Fish said, 'Dan, the corn is in good roasting ears. I would like to have your horse and mine in good condition before we start to Boonsboro. We need a trough to feed them in. I will show you a big log that you can dig out.' Black Fish led you to a big walnut log. You worked a while and then lay down. Black Fish came and said, 'Well, Dan, you haven't done much.'
"'No,' you answered, 'you and your squaw call me your son, but you don't love me much. When I am at home I don't work this way,—I have negroes to work for me.'
"'Well,' said Black Fish, 'come to camp and stay with your brothers.'"
Quietly the two old men chuckled together. Boone always called Black Fish, father, and when he went hunting brought the choicest bit to the chief.
But now Boone's visits to Girardeau were made with a purpose.
"What is Tecumseh doing?"
"Tecumseh? He says no tribe can sell our lands. He refuses to move out of Ohio."
Old Black Hoof had pulled away from Tecumseh. The Shooting Star refused to attend Wayne's treaty at Greenville. In 1805 he styled himself a chief, and organised the young blood of the Shawnees into a personal band.
About this time Tecumseh met Rebecca Galloway, whose father, James Galloway, had moved over from Kentucky to settle near Old Chillicothe. At the Galloway hearth Tecumseh was ever a welcome guest.
"Teach me to read the white man's book," said Tecumseh to the fair Rebecca.
With wonderful speed the young chief picked up the English alphabet. Hungry for knowledge, he read and read and Rebecca read to him. Thereafter in his wonderful war and peace orations, Tecumseh used the language of his beloved Rebecca. For, human-like, the young chief lost his heart to the white girl. Days went by, dangerous days, while Rebecca was correcting Tecumseh's s peech, enlarging his English vocabulary, and reading to him from the Bible.
"Promise me, Tecumseh, never, never will you permit the massacre of helpless women and children after capture." Tecumseh promised.
"And be kind to the poor surrendered prisoner."
"I will be kind," said Tecumseh.
But time was fleeting,—game was disappearing,—Tecumseh was an Indian. His lands were slipping from under his feet.
It was useless to speak to the fair Rebecca. Terrified at the fire she had kindled, she saw him no more. Enraged, wrathful, he returned to his band. Tecumseh never loved any Indian woman. A wife or two he tried, then bade them "Begone!"
When Lewis and Clark returned from the West, Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet, were already planning a vast confederation to wipe out the whites.
Jefferson heard of these things.
"He is visionary," said the President, and let him go on unmolested.
"The Seventeen Fires are cheating us!" exclaimed Tecumseh. "The Delawares, Miamis, and Pottawattamies have sold their lands! The Great Spirit gave the land to all the Indians. No tribe can sell without the consent of all. The whites have driven us from the sea-coast,—they will shortly push us into the Lakes."
The Governor-General of Canada encouraged him. Then came rumours of Indian activity. Like the Hermit of old, Tecumseh went out to rouse the redmen in a crusade against the whites. Still Jefferson paid no heed.
About the time that Clark and his bride came down the Ohio, the distracted Indians were swarming on Tippecanoe Creek, a hundred miles from Fort Dearborn, the future Chicago. All Summer, whisperings came into St. Louis, "Tecumseh is persuading the Sacs, Foxes, and Osages to war."
"I will meet the Sacs and Foxes," said Lewis.
Clark went out and quieted the Osages. Boone's son and Auguste Chouteau went with him.
"The Great Spirit bids you destroy Vincennes and sweep the Ohio to the mouth," was the Prophet's reported advice to the Chippewas.
"Give up our land and buy no more, and I will ally with the United States," said Tecumseh to General Harrison at Vincennes, in August of 1809.
"It cannot be," said Harrison.
"Then I will make war and ally with England," retorted the defiant chieftain.
The frontier had much to fear from an Indian war. More and more vagrant red men hovered around St. Louis,—Sacs, Foxes, Osages, who had seen Tecumseh. The Illinois country opposite swarmed with them, making raids on the farmers, killing stock, stealing horses. Massacres and depredations began.
"'Tis time to fortify," said Daniel Boone to his sons and neighbours.
In a little while nine forts had been erected in St. Charles county alone, and every cabin was stockaded. The five stockades at Boone's Lick met frequent assaults. Black Hawk was there, the trusted lieutenant of Tecumseh. The whole frontier became alarmed.
Then Manuel Lisa came down the river.
"The British are sending wampum to the Sioux. All the Missouri nations are urged to join the confederacy."
In fact, the Prophet with his mystery fire was visiting all the northwest tribes, even the Blackfeet. Ten thousand Indians promised to follow him back. Dressed in white buckskin, with eagle feathers in his hair, Tecumseh, on a spirited black pony, came to Gomo and Black Partridge on Peoria Lake in the summer of 1810.
"I cannot join you," said Black Partridge, the Pottawattamie, holding up a silver medal. "This token was given to me at Greenville by the great chief [Wayne]. On it you see the face of our father at Washington. As long as this hangs on my neck I can never raise my tomahawk against the whites."
Gomo refused. "Long ago the Big Knife [George Rogers Clark] came to Kaskaskia and sent for the chiefs of this river. We went. He desired us to remain still in our own villages, saying that the Americans were able, of themselves, to fight the British."
"Will anything short of the complete conquest of the Canadas enable us to prevent their influence on our Indians?" asked Governor Edwards of Illinois. Edwards and Clark planned together for the protection of the frontier.
In July, 1811, Tecumseh went to Vincennes and held a last stormy interview with Harrison without avail. Immediately he turned south to the Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles. They watched him with kindling eyes.
"Brothers, you do not mean to fight!" thundered Tecumseh to the hesitating Creeks. "You do not believe the Great Spirit has sent me. You shall know. From here I go straight to Detroit. When I arrive there I shall stamp on the ground, and shake down every house in this village."
As Tecumseh strode into the forest the terrified Creeks watched. They counted the days. Then came the awful quaking and shaking of the New Madrid earthquake.
"Tecumseh has reached Detroit! Tecumseh has reached Detroit!" cried the frantic Creeks, as their wigwams tumbled about them.
Tecumseh was coming leisurely up among the tribes of Missouri, haranguing Black Hoof at Cape Girardeau, Osages, and Kickapoos, and Iowas at Des Moines.
But Tippecanoe had been fought and lost.
"There is to be an attack," said George Rogers Clark Floyd, tapping at the door of Harrison's tent at three o'clock in the morning of November 7, 1811. Harrison sprang to his horse and with him George Croghan and John O'Fallon.
It was a battle for possession. Every Indian trained by Tecumseh knew his country depended upon it. Every white knew he must win or the log cabin must go. In the darkness and rain the combatants locked in the death struggle of savagery against civilisation. Tecumseh reached the Wabash to find the wreck of Tippecanoe.
"Wretch!" he cried to his brother, "you h ave ruined all!" Seizing the Prophet by the hair, Tecumseh shook him and beat him and cuffed him and almost killed him, then dashed away to Canada and offered his tomahawk to Great Britain.
"The danger is not over," said Clark after Harrison's battle.
To save as many Indians as possible from the machinations of Tecumseh, immediately after Tippecanoe Clark summoned the neighbouring tribes to a council at St. Louis. Over the winter snows the runners sped, calling them in for a trip to Washington.
It was May of 1812 when Clark got together his chiefs of the Great and Little Osages, Sacs, Foxes, Shawnees, and Delawares.
"Ahaha! Great Medicine!" whispered the Indians, when General Clark discovered their wily plans.
Nothing could be hid from the Red Head Chief. Feared and beloved, none other could better have handled the inflammable tribes at that moment. Old chiefs among them remembered his brother of the Long Knives, and looked upon this Clark as his natural successor. And the General took care not to dispel this fancy, but on every occasion strengthened and deepened it.
Never before in St. Louis had Indians been watched so strenuously. Moody, taciturn, repelling familiarity, they bore the faces of men who knew secrets. Tecumseh had whispered in their ear. "Shall we listen to Tecumseh?" They were wavering.
Cold, impassively stoic, they heeded no question when citizens impelled by curiosity or friendly feeling endeavoured to draw them into conversation. If pressed too closely, the straight forms lifted still more loftily, and wrapping their blankets closer about them the council chiefs strode contemptuously away.
But if Clark spoke, every eye was attention.
"Before we go," said Clark, "I advise you to make peace with one another and bury the hatchet."
They did, and for the most part kept it for ever.
It was May 5 when Clark started with his embassy of ninety chiefs to see their "Great God, the Presid ent," as they called Madison, following the old trail to Vincennes, Louisville, and Pittsburg. Along with them went a body-guard of soldiers, and also Mrs. Clark, her maids, and the two little boys, on the way to Fincastle. Mrs. Clark's especial escort was John O'Fallon, nineteen years of age, aide to Harrison at Tippecanoe, who had come to his uncle at St. Louis immediately after the battle.
In their best necklaces of bears' claws the chiefs arrived at Washington. War had been declared against Great Britain. There was a consultation with the President.
"We, too, have declared war," announced the redmen, as they strode with Clark from the White House. But Black Hawk of the Rock River Sacs was not there. He had followed Tecumseh.
About the same time, on the eastern bank of the Detroit river Tecumseh was met by anxious Ohio chiefs who remembered Wayne.
"Let us remain neutral," they pleaded. "This is the white man's war."
Tecumseh shook his tomahawk above the Detroit. "My bones shall bleach on this shore before I will join in any council of neutrality."
"The Great Father over the Big Water will never bury his war-club until he quiets these troublers of the earth," said General Brock to Tecumseh's redmen. Then came larger gifts than ever from "their British Father."
"War is declared! Go," said Tecumseh, "cut off Fort Dearborn before they hear the news!" Two emissaries from Tecumseh came flying into the Illinois.
That night the Indians started for Chicago on her lonely lake. Black Partridge mounted his pony and tried to dissuade them. He could not. Then spurring he reached Fort Dearborn first. With tears he threw down his medal before the astonished commander.
"My young men have gone on the warpath. Here is your medal. I will not wear an emblem of friendship when I am compelled to act as an enemy."
Before the sun went down the shores of Lake Michigan were red with the blood of men, women, and ch ildren. Like the Rhine of old France, the lakes were still the fighting border.
President Madison felt grateful to Clark for the step he had taken with the Indians.
"Will you command the army at Detroit?"
"I can do more for my country by attending to the Indians," was the General's modest reply.
The country waited to hear that Hull had taken Upper Canada. Instead the shocked nation heard, "Hull has surrendered!"
"Hull has surrendered!"
Runners flew among the Indians to the remotest border,—the Creeks heard it before their white neighbours. Little Crow and his Sioux snatched up the war hatchet. Detroit had fallen with Tecumseh and Brock at the head of the Anglo-Indian army.
"We shall drive these Americans back across the Ohio," said General Brock.
At this, the old and popular wish of the Lake Indians, large numbers threw aside their scruples and joined in the war that followed.
In December General Clark was appointed Governor of the newly organised territory of Missouri.
Meanwhile in the buff and blue stage coach, a huge box mounted on springs, Julia and her children were swinging toward Fotheringay. The air was hot and dusty, the leather curtains were rolled up to catch the slightest breeze, and the happy though weary occupants looked out on the Valley of Virginia.
Forty miles a day the coach horses travelled, leaving them each evening a little nearer their destination. The small wayside inns lacked comforts, but such as they were our travellers accepted thankfully. Now and then the post-rider blew his horn and dashed by them, or in the heat of the day rode leisurely in the shade of poplars along the road, furtively reading the letters of his pack as he paced in the dust.
And still over the mountains were pouring white-topped Conestoga waggons, careening down like boats at sea, laden with cargoes of colonial ware, pewter, and mahogany. The golden age of coaching times had come, and magnificent horses, dappled grays and bays in scarlet-fringed housings and jingling bells, seemed bearing away the world on wheels.
To the new home Julia was coming, at Fotheringay.
Before the coach stopped Julia perceived through enshrining trees Black Granny standing in the wide hallway. Throwing up her apron over her woolly head to hide the tears of joy,—
"Laws a-honey! Miss Judy done come hum!"
"Fotheringay!" sang out the dusty driver with an unusual flourish of whip-lash and echo-waking blast of the postillion's horn. In a trice the steps were down, and surrounded by babies and bandboxes, brass nail-studded hair trunks and portmanteaus of pigskin, "Miss Judy" was greeted by the entire sable population of Fotheringay. Light-footed as a girl she ran forward to greet her father, Colonel Hancock. The Colonel hastened to his daughter,—
"Hull has surrendered," he said.
CLARK GUARDS THE FRONTIER
The Indian hunt was over; they were done making their sugar; the women were planting corn. The warriors hid in the thick foliage of the river borders, preparing for war.
"Madison has declared war against England!"
The news was hailed with delight. Now would end this frightful suspense. In Illinois alone, fifteen hundred savages under foreign machinations held in terror forty thousand white people,—officers and soldiers of George Rogers Clark and others who had settled on the undefended prairies.
"Detroit has fallen!"
"Mackinac is gone!"
"The savages have massacred the garrison at Fort Dearborn!"
"They are planning to attack the settlements on the Mississippi. If the Sioux join the confederacy—" cheeks paled at the possibility.
The greatest body of Indians in America resided on the Mississippi. Who could say at what hour the waters would resound with their whoops? Thousands of them could reach St. Louis or Cahokia from their homes in five or six days. Immense quantities of British gifts were coming from the Lakes to the Indians at Peoria, Rock Island, Des Moines.
"Yes, we shall attack when the corn is ripe," said the Indians at Fort Madison.
"Unless I hear shortly of more assistance than a few rangers I shall bury my papers in the ground, send my family off, and fight as long as possible," said Edwards, the Governor of Illinois.
In Missouri, surrounded by Pottawattamies, champion horsethieves of the frontier, and warlike Foxes, Iowas, and Kickapoos, the settlers ploughed their fields with sentinels on guard. Horns hung at their belts to blow as a signal of danger. In the quiet hour by the fireside, an Indian would steal into the postern gate and shoot the father at the hearth, the mother at her evening task.
Presently the settlers withdrew into the forts, unable to raise crops. With corn in the cabin loft, the bear hunt in the fall, the turkey hunt at Christmas, and venison hams kept over from last year, still there was plenty.
Daniel Boone, the patriarch of about forty families, ever on the lookout with his long thin eagle face, ruled by advice and example. The once light flaxen hair was gray, but even yet Boone's step was springy as the Indian's, as gun in hand he watched around the forts.
Maine, Montana, each has known it all, the same running fights of Kentucky and Oregon. Woe to the little children playing outside the forted village,—woe to the lad driving home the cows,—woe to the maid at milking time.
The alarm was swelled by Quas-qua-ma, a chief of the Sacs, a very pacific Indian and friend of the whites, who came by night to bring warning and consult Clark. In his search Quas-qua-ma tip-toed from porch to porch. Frightened habitants peered through the shutters.
"What ees wanted?"
"The Red Head Chief."
But Clark had not arrived.
"We must take this matter into our own hands," said the people. "British and Indians came once from Mackinac. They may again."
"Mackinac? They are at Fort Madison now, murdering our regulars and rangers. How long since they burned our boats and cargoes at Fort Bellevue? Any day they may drop down on St. Louis."
"We must fortify."
"The old bastions may be made available for service."
"The old Spanish garrison tower must be refitted for the women and children."
Such were the universal conclusions. Men went up the river to the islands to bring down logs. Another party set to work to dig a wide, deep ditch for a regular stockade.
When Clark arrived to begin his duties as Territorial Governor he found St. Louis bordering on a state of panic. There was the cloud-shadow of the north. Below, one thousand Indians, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Catawbas on a branch of the Arkansas within three days' journey of Saint Genevieve were crossing the river at Chickasaw Bluffs. Tecumseh's belts of wampum were flying everywhere.
In their best necklaces of bears' claws Clark's ninety chiefs came home, laden with tokens of esteem. Civilised military dress had succeeded the blanket; the wild fierce air was gone.
"We have declared war against Kinchotch [King George]," said the proud chiefs, taking boat to keep their tribes quiet along the west.
A sense of security returned to St. Louis. Would they not act as a barrier to tribes more remote? Th e plan for local fortification was abandoned, but a cordon of family blockhouses was built from Bellefontaine to Kaskaskia, a line seventy-five miles in length, along which the rangers rode daily, watching the red marauders of Illinois. The Mississippi was picketed with gunboats.
"Whoever holds Prairie du Chien holds the Upper Mississippi," said Governor Clark. "I will go there and break up that rendezvous of British and Indians."
Who better than Clark knew the border and the Indian? He could ply the oar, or level the rifle, or sleep at night on gravel stones.
"It requires time and a little smoking with Indians if you wish to have peace with them."
As soon as possible a gunboat, the Governor Clark, and several smaller boats, manned with one hundred and fifty volunteers and sixty regular troops, went up into the hostile country. Fierce Sacs glared from Rock Island, Foxes paused in their lead digging at Dubuque's mines,—lead for British cannon.
Although on Missouri territory, Prairie du Chien was still occupied by Indians and traders to the exclusion of Americans. Six hundred, seven hundred miles above St. Louis, a little red bird whispered up the Mississippi, "Long Knives coming!" The traders retired.
"Whoever enjoys the trade of the Indians will have control of their affections and power," said Clark. "Too long have we left this point unfortified."
A great impression had been made on the savages by the liberality of the British traders. Their brilliant red coats—"Eenah! eenah! eenamah!" exclaimed the Sioux.
But now the Long Knives! Wabasha, son of Wabasha of the Revolution, remembered the Long Knives. When Clark arrived at Prairie du Chien Wabasha refused to fight him. Red Wing came down to the council. Upon his bosom Rising Moose proudly exhibited a medal given him by Captain Pike in 1805. The Indians nicknamed him "Tammaha, the Pike."
Twenty-five leagues above Tammaha's village lived Wabasha, and twenty-five above Wabasha, the Re d Wing, all great chiefs of the Sioux, all very friendly now to the Long Knife who had come up in his gunboat.
Since time immemorial Wabasha had been a friend of the British, twice had he, the son of Wabasha I., been to Quebec and received flags and medals. But now he remembered Captain Pike who visited their northern waters while Lewis and Clark were away at the west. Grasping the hand of Clark,—
"We have the greatest friendship for the United States," said the chiefs,—all except Little Crow. He was leading a war party to the Lakes.
Leaving troops to erect a fort and maintain a garrison at the old French Prairie du Chien, Governor Clark returned to his necessary duties at St. Louis. Behind on the river remained the gunboat to guard the builders.
"A fort at the Prairie?" cried the British traders at Mackinac. "That cuts off our Dakota trade." And forthwith an expedition was raised to capture the garrison.
Barely was the rude fortification completed before a force of British and Chippewas were marching upon it.
"I will not fight the Big Knives any more," said Red Wing.
"Why?" asked the traders.
"The lion and the eagle fight. Then the lion will go home and leave us to the eagle." Red Wing was famed for foretelling events at Prairie du Chien.
In June Manuel Lisa came down the Missouri.
"De Arrapahoe, Arikara, Gros Ventre, and Crow are at war wit' de American. De British Nort'west traders embroil our people wit' de sauvages to cut dem off!"
"We must extend the posts of St. Louis to the British border," cautioned Clark to Lisa. "And if necessary arm the Yanktons and Omahas against the Sacs and Iowas. I herewith commission you, Lisa, my especial sub-agent among the nations of the Missouri to keep them at peace."
Very well Clark knew whom he was trusting. Now that war had crippled the Missouri Fur Company, Lisa alone represented them in the field. Familiar with the fashions of Indians, the size and colour of the fav ourite blanket, the shape and length of tomahawks, no trader was more a favourite than Manuel Lisa. Besides, he still maintained the company's posts,—Council Bluffs with the Omahas, six hundred miles up the Missouri, and another at the Sioux, six hundred miles further still, with two hundred hunters in his employ. Here was a force not to be despised.
Ten months in the year Lisa was buried in the wilderness, hid in the forest and the prairie, far from his wife in St. Louis. Wily, winning, and strategic, no trader knew Indians better.
"And," continued the Governor, "I offer you five hundred dollars for sub-agent's salary."
"A poor five hundred tollar!" laughed Lisa. "Eet will not buy te tobacco which I give annually to dose who call me Fader. But Lisa will go. His interests and dose of de Government are one."
Then after a moment's frowning reflection,—"I haf suffered enough," almost wailed Lisa, "I haf suffered enough in person and in property under a different government, to know how to appreciate de one under w'ich I now live."
Even while they were consulting, "Here is your friend, de Rising Moose!" announced old Antoine Le Claire.
"Rising Moose?" Governor Clark started to his feet as one of the Prairie du Chien chiefs came striding through the door.
"The fort is taken, but I will not fight the Long Knife. Tammaha is an American."
All the way down on the gunboat riddled with bullets, Tammaha had come with the fleeing soldiers to offer his tomahawk to Governor Clark. The guns were not yet in when the enemy swept down on the fort at Prairie du Chien.
"Prairie du Chien lost? It shall be recovered. Wait until Spring."
And the British, too, said, "Wait until Spring and we will take St. Louis." But they feared the gunboats.
Governor Clark accepted Tammaha's service, commissioning him a chief of the Red Wing band of Sioux. " Wait and go up with Lisa. Tell your people the Long Knife counsels them to remain quiet."
When Lisa set out for the north as agent of both the fur business and that of the Government, he carried with him mementoes and friendly reminders to all the principal chiefs of the northern tribes.
Big Elk of the Omahas, Black Cat and Big White of the Mandans, Le Borgne of the Minnetarees, even the chiefs of the dreaded Teton Sioux were not forgotten. The Red Head had been there, had visited their country. He was the son of their Great Father,—they would listen to the Red Head Chief.
At this particular juncture of our national history, Clark the Red Head and Manuel Lisa the trader formed a fortunate combination for the interests of the United States. Their words to the northern chiefs were weighty. Their gifts were continued pledges of sacred friendship. While the eyes of the nation were rivetted on the conflict in the East and on the ocean, Clark held the trans-Mississippi with even a stronger grip than his illustrious brother had held the trans-Alleghany thirty years before.
Along with Lisa up the Missouri to the Dakotas went Tammaha, the Rising Moose, and crossed to Prairie du Chien.
"Where do you come from and what business have you here?" cried the British commander, rudely jerking Tammaha's bundle from his back and examining it for letters.
"I come from St. Louis," answered the Moose. "I promised the Long Knife I would come to Prairie du Chien and here I am."
"Lock him in the guard house. He ought to be shot!" roared the officer.
"I am ready for death if you choose to kill me," answered Rising Moose.
At last in the depth of winter they sent him away.
Determined now, the old chief set out in the snows to turn all his energy against the British.
"The Old Priest," said some of the Indians, "Tammaha talks t oo much!"
All along the Missouri, from St. Louis to the Mandans, Lisa held councils with the Indians with wonderful success. But the Mississippi tribes, nearer to Canada, were for the most part won over to Great Britain.
In other directions Governor Clark sent out for reports from the tribes. The answer was appalling. As if all were at war, a cordon of foes stretched from the St. Lawrence to the Arkansas and Alabama.
Even Black Partridge,—at the Fort Dearborn massacre he had snatched Mrs. Helm from the tomahawk and held her in the lake to save her life. Late that night at an Indian camp a friendly squaw-mother dressed her wounds. Black Partridge loved that girl.
"Lieutenant Helm is a prisoner among the Indians," said agent Forsythe at Peoria. "Here are presents, Black Partridge. Go ransom him. Here is a written order on General Clark for one hundred dollars when you bring him to the Red Head Chief."
Black Partridge rode to the Kankakee village and spread out his presents. "And you shall have one huntret tollars when you bring him to te Red Head Chief."
"Not enough! Not enough!" cried the Indians.
"Here, then, take my pony, my rifle, my ring," said the Partridge, unhooking the hoop of gold from his nose. The bargain was made. The man was ransomed, and mounted on ponies all started for St. Louis. Lieutenant Helm was saved.
Late at night, tired and hungry, the rain falling in torrents, without pony or gun, Black Partridge arrived at his village on Peoria Lake. His village? It was gone. Black embers smouldered there.
Wrapped in his blanket, Black Partridge sat on the ground to await the revelation of dawn. Wolves howled a mournful wail in his superstitious ear. Day dawned. There lay the carnage of slaughter,—his daughter, his grandchild, his neighbours, dead. The rangers had burnt his town.
Breathing vengeance, "I will go on the war path," said Black Partridge, the Pottawattamie.
Two hundred warriors went from the wigwams of Illinois under Black Partridge, Shequenebec sent a hundred from his stronghold at the head of Peoria Lake, Mittitass led a hundred from his village at the portage on the Rivière des Plaines. Painted black they came, inveterate since Tippecanoe.
"Look out for squalls," wrote John O'Fallon from St. Louis to his mother at Louisville. "An express arrived from Fort Madison yesterday informing that the sentinels had been obliged to fire upon the Indians almost every night to keep them at their distance. Indians are discovered some nights within several feet of the pickets."
Black Hawk was there. Very angry was Black Hawk at the building of Fort Madison at the foot of Des Moines rapids.
While Lewis and Clark were gone in 1804, William Henry Harrison, directed by Jefferson, made a treaty with the Sacs and Foxes by which they gave up fifty millions of acres. Gratiot, Vigo, the Chouteaus, and officers of the state and army, Quasquama and four other chiefs, attached their names to that treaty in the presence of Major Stoddard.
"I deny its validity!" cried Black Hawk. "I never gave up my land."
Now Black Hawk was plotting and planning and attacking Fort Madison, until early in September a panting express arrived at St. Louis.
"Fort Madison is burned, Your Excellency."
"How did it happen?" inquired the Governor.
"Besieged until the garrison was reduced to potatoes alone, we decided to evacuate. Digging a tunnel from the southeast blockhouse to the river, boats were made ready. Slipping out at night, crowding through the tunnel on hands and knees, our last man set fire to Fort Madison. Like tinder the stockade blazed, kissing the heavens. Indians leaped and yelled with tomahawks, expecting our exit. At their backs, under cover of darkness, we escaped down the Mississippi."
THE STORY OF A SWORD
"Show me what kind of country we have to march through," said the British General to Tecumseh, after Detroit had fallen.
Taking a roll of elm-bark Tecumseh drew his scalping knife and etched upon it the rivers, hills, and woods he knew so well. And the march began,—to be checked at Fort Stephenson by a boy of twenty-one.
It was the dream and hope of the British Fur Companies to extend their territory as far within the American border as possible. The whole War of 1812 was a traders' war. Commerce, commerce, for which the world is battling still, was the motive power on land and sea.
At the Lakes now, the British fur traders waved their flags again above the ramparts of Detroit. "We must hold this post,—its loss too seriously deranges our plans."
Smouldering, the old Revolutionary fires had burst anew. Did George III. still hope to conquer America?
"Hull surrendered?" America groaned at the stain, the stigma, the national disgrace! In a day regiments leaped to fill the breach. "Detroit must be re-taken!"
Along the Lakes battle succeeded battle in swift succession.
At Louisville two mothers, Lucy and Fanny, were anxious for their boys. Both George Croghan and John O'Fallon had been with Harrison at Tippecanoe. Both had been promoted. Then came the call for swords.
"Get me a sword in Philadelphia," wrote O'Fallon to his mother.
"Send me a sword to Cincinnati," begged Croghan.
Sitting under the trees at Locust Grove the sisters were discussing the fall of Detroit. Fanny had John O'Fallon's letter announcing the burning of Fort Madison. Lucy was devouring the last impatient scrawl from her fiery, ambitious son, George Croghan, now caged in an obscure fort on Sandusky River near Lake Erie.
"The General little knows me," wrote Croghan. "To assist his cause, to promote in any way his welfare, I would bravely sacrifice my best and fondest hopes. I am resolved on quitting the army as soon as I am relieved of the command of this post."
Scarcely had the two mothers finished reading when a shout rang through the streets of Louisville.
"Hurrah for Croghan! Croghan! Croghan!"
"Why, what is the matter?"
Pale with anxiety Lucy ran to the gate. The whole street was filled with people coming that way. In a few hurried words she heard the story from several lips at once.
"Why, you see, Madam, General Harrison was afraid Tecumseh would make a flank attack on Fort Stephenson, in charge of George Croghan, and so ordered him to abandon and burn it. But no,—he sent the General word, 'We are determined to hold this place, and by heaven we will!'
"That night George hastily cut a ditch and raised a stockade. Then along came Proctor and Tecumseh with a thousand British and Indians, and summoned him to surrender.
"The boy had only one hundred and sixty inexperienced men and a single six-pounder, but he sent back answer: 'The fort will be defended to the last extremity. No force, however great, can induce us to surrender. We are resolved to hold this post or bury ourselves in its ruins.'"
Tears ran down Lucy's cheeks as she listened,—she caught at the gate to keep from falling. Before her arose the picture of that son with red hair flying, and fine thin face like a blooded warhorse,—she knew that look.
"Again Proctor sent his flag demanding surrender to avoid a terrible massacre.
"'When this fort is taken there will be none to mass acre,' answered the boy, 'for it will not be given up while a man is left to resist!'
"The enemy advanced, and when close at hand, Croghan unmasked his solitary cannon and swept them down. Again Proctor advanced, and again the rifle of every man and the masked cannon met them. Falling back, Proctor and Tecumseh retreated, abandoning a boatload of military stores on the bank."
"Hurrah for Croghan! Croghan! Croghan!" again rang down the streets of Louisville. The bells rang out a peal as the Stars and Stripes ran up the flag-staff.
"The little game cock, he shall have my sword," said George Rogers Clark, living again his own great days.
And with that sword there was a story.
When Tippecanoe was won and the world was ringing with "Harrison!" men recalled another hero who "with no provisions, no munitions, no cannon, no shoes, almost without an army," had held these same redmen at bay.
"And does he yet live?"
"He lives, an exile and a hermit on a Point of Rock on the Indiana shore above the Falls of the Ohio."
"Has he no recognition?"
Men whispered the story of the sword.
When John Rogers went back from victorious Vincennes with Hamilton a prisoner-of-war, the grateful Virginian Assembly voted George Rogers Clark a sword.
"And you, Captain Rogers, may present it."
The sword was ready, time passed, difficulties multiplied. Clark presented his bill to the Virginia Legislature. To his amazement and mortification the House of Delegates refused to allow his claim.
Clark went home, sold his bounty lands, and ruined himself to pay for the bread and meat of his army.
And then it was rumoured, "To-day a sword will be presented to George Rogers Clark."
All the countryside gathered, pioneers and veterans, with the civic and military display of that rude age to see their hero honoured. The commissioner for Virginia appeared, and in formal and complimentary address delivered the sword. The General received it; then drawing the long blade from its scabbard, plunged it into the earth and broke it off at the hilt. Turning to the commissioner, he said, "Captain Rogers, return to your State and tell her for me first to be just before she is generous."
For years those old veterans had related to their children and grandchildren the story of that tragic day when Clark, the hero, broke the sword Virginia gave him.
But a new time had come and new appreciation. While the smoke of Tippecanoe was rolling away a member of the Virginia Legislature related anew the story of that earlier Vincennes and of the sword that Clark, "with haughty sense of wounded pride and feeling had broken and cast away." With unanimous voice Virginia voted a new sword and the half-pay of a colonel for the remainder of his life.
The commissioners found the old hero partially paralysed. Lucy had gone to him at the Point of Rock. "Brother, you are failing, you need care, I will look after you," and tenderly she bore him to her home at Locust Grove, where now, all day long, in his invalid chair, George Rogers Clark studied the long reach of the blue Ohio or followed Napoleon and the boys of 1812.
Nothing had touched him like this deed of his nephew,—"Yes, yes, he shall have my sword!"
The next morning after the battle General Harrison wrote to the Secretary of War: "I am sorry I cannot submit to you Major Croghan's official report. He was to have sent it to me this morning, but I have just heard that he was so much exhausted by thirty-six hours of constant exertion as to be unable to make it. It will not be among the least of General Proctor's mortifications to find that he has been baffled by a youth who has just passed his twenty-first year. He is, however, a hero worthy of his gallant uncle, General George Rogers Clark."
The cannon, "Old Betsy," stands yet in Fort Stephenson at Fremont, Ohio, where every passing y ear they celebrate the victory of that second day of August, 1813,—the first check to the British advance in the War of 1812.
A few days later, Perry's victory on Lake Erie opened the road to Canada and Detroit was re-taken.
"Britannia, Columbia, both had set their heels upon Detroit, and young Columbia threw Britannia back across the Lakes," says the chronicler.
Then followed the battle of the Thames and the death of Tecumseh. A Canadian historian says, "But for Tecumseh, it is probable we should not now have a Canada."
What if he had won Rebecca? Would Canada now be a peaceful sister of the States?
Tecumseh fought with the fur traders,—their interests were his,—to keep the land a wild, a game preserve for wild beasts and wilder men. Civilisation had no part or place in Tecumseh's plan.
With the medal of George III. upon his breast, Tecumseh fell, on Canadian soil, battle-axe in hand, hero and patriot of his race, the last of the great Shawnees. Tecumseh's belt and shot pouch were sent to Jefferson and hung on the walls of Monticello. Tecumseh's son passed with his people beyond the Mississippi.
From his invalid chair at Locust Grove George Rogers Clark was writing to his brother:
"Your embarkation from St. Louis on your late hazardous expedition [to Prairie du Chien] was a considerable source of anxiety to your friends and relatives. They were pleased to hear of your safe return....
"As to Napoleon ... the news of his having abdicated the throne—"
"Napoleon abdicated?" Governor Clark scarce finished the letter. Having crushed him, what armies might not England hurl hitherward! New danger menaced America.
"Napoleon abdicated!" New Orleans wept.
Then followed the word, "England is sailing into the Gulf,—Sir Edward Pakenham, brother-in-l aw of the Duke of Wellington, with a part of Wellington's victorious army, fifty ships, a thousand guns and twenty thousand men!"
Never had Great Britain lost sight of the Mississippi. This was a part of the fleet that burned Washington and had driven Dolly Madison and the President into ignominious flight.
Terrified, New Orleans, the beautiful Creole maiden, beset in her orange bower, flung out her arms appealing to the West! And that West answered, "Never, while the Mississippi rolls to the Gulf, will we leave you unprotected." And out of that West came Andrew Jackson and tall Tennesseeans, Kentuckians, Mississippians, in coonskin caps and leathern hunting shirts, to seal for ever our right to Louisiana.
The hottest part of the battle was fought at Chalmette, above the grave of the Fighting Parson. Immortal Eighth of January, 1815! Discontented Creoles of 1806 proved loyal Americans, vindicating their right to honour.
Napoleon laughed when he heard it at Elba,—"I told them I had given England a rival that one day would humble her pride."
Even the Ursuline nuns greeted their deliverers with joy, and the dim old cloistered halls were thrown open for a hospital.
"I expect at this moment," said Lord Castlereagh in Europe, "that most of the large seaport towns of America are laid in ashes, that we are in possession of New Orleans, and have command of all the rivers of the Mississippi Valley and the Lakes."
But he counted without our ships at sea. The War of 1812 was fought upon the ocean, "the golden age of naval fighting." Bone of her bone, flesh of her flesh, under the "Gridiron Flag," tars of the American Revolution, sailor boys who under impressment had fought at Trafalgar, led in a splendid spectacular drama, the like of which England or the world had never seen. She had trained up her own child. A thousand sail had Britain—America a dozen sloops and frigates alto gether,—but the little tubs had learned from their mother.
"The territory between the Lakes and the Ohio shall be for ever set apart as an Indian territory," said England at the opening of the peace negotiations. "The United States shall remove her armed vessels from the lakes and give England the right of navigating the Mississippi."
Clay, Gallatin, Adams packed up their grips preparatory to starting home, when England bethought herself and came to better terms.
The next year America passed a law excluding foreigners from our trade, and the British fur traders reluctantly crossed the border. But they held Oregon by "Joint Occupation."
"All posts captured by either power shall be restored," said the treaty. "There shall be joint occupancy of the Oregon Country for ten years."
"A great mistake! a great mistake!" cried out Thomas Hart Benton, a young lawyer who had settled in St. Louis. "In ten years that little nest egg of 'Joint Occupation' will hatch out a lively fighting chicken."
Benton was a Western man to the core,—he felt a responsibility for all that sunset country. And why should he not? Missouri and Oregon touched borders on the summit of the Rockies. Were they not next-door neighbours, hobnobbing over the fence as it were? Every day at Governor Clark's at St. Louis, he and Benton discussed that Oregon "Joint Occupancy" clause.
"As if two nations ever peacefully occupied the same territory! I tell you it is a physical impossibility," exclaimed Benton, jamming down his wine-glass with a crash.
The War of 1812,—how Astor hated it! "But for that war," he used to say, "I should have been the richest man that ever lived." As it was, the British fur companies came in and gained a foothold from which they were not ousted until American ox-teams crossed the plains and American frontiersmen took the country. A million a year England trapped from Oregon waters.
PORTAGE DES SIOUX
"Come and make treaties of friendship."
As his brother had done at the close of the Revolution, so now William Clark sent to the tribes to make peace after the War of 1812.
"No person ought to be lazy to be de bearer of such good news," said old Antoine Le Claire, the interpreter.
Up the rivers and toward the Lakes, runners carried the word of the Red Head Chief, "Come, come to St. Louis!"
To the clay huts of the sable Pawnees of the Platte, to the reed wigwams of the giant Osages, to the painted lodges of the Omahas, and to the bark tents of the Chippewas, went "peace talks" and gifts and invitations.
"De Iowas are haughty an' insolent!" St. Vrain, first back, laid their answer on the table.
"De Kickapoo are glad of de peace, but de Sauk an' Winnebago insist on war! De Sauk haf murdered deir messenger!"
That was Black Hawk. With a war party from Prairie du Chien he was met by the news of peace.
"Peace?" Black Hawk wept when he heard it. He had been at the battle of the Thames.
"De messenger to de Sioux are held at Rock River!"
One by one came runners into the Council Hall, and, cap in hand, stood waiting. Outside, their horses pawed on the Rue, their boats were tied at the river.
"Some one must pass Rock River, to the Sioux, Chippewas, and Menomonees," said Clark. Not an interpreter stirred.
"We dare not go into dose hostile countrie," said Antoine Le Claire, spokesman for the rest.
"What? With an armed boat?"
The silence was painful as the Governor looked over the council room.
"I will go."
Every eye was turned toward the speaker, James Kennerly, the Governor's private secretary, the cousin of Julia and brother of Harriet of Fincastle. The same spirit was there that led a whole generation of his people to perish in the Revolution. His father had been dragged from the field of Cowpens wrapped in the flag he had rescued.
At the risk of his life, when no one else would venture, the faithful secretary went up the Mississippi to bring in the absent tribes. Black-eyed Elise, the daughter of Dr. Saugrain, wept all night to think of it. Governor Clark himself had introduced Elise to his secretary. How she counted the days!
"The Chippewas would have murdered me but for the timely arrival of the Sioux," said Kennerly, on his safe return with the band of Rising Moose.
"The Red Coats are gone!" said Rising Moose. "I rush in. I put out the fire. I save the fort."
Without waiting for troops from St. Louis, forty-eight hours after the news of peace the British had evacuated Prairie du Chien. A day or two later they returned, took the cannon, and set fire to the fort with the American flag flying.
Into the burning fort went Rising Moose, secured the flag and an American medal, and brought them down to St. Louis.
While interpreters were speeding by horse and boat over half a hundred trails, Manuel Lisa, sleepless warden of the plains, arrived with forty-three chiefs and head men of the Missouri Sioux. Wild Indians who never before had tasted bread, brought down in barges camped on the margin of the Mississippi, the great council chiefs of their tribes, moody, unjoyous, from the Stony Mountains. For weeks other deputations followed, to the number of two thousand, to make treaties and settle troubles arising out of the War of 1812.
Whether even yet a council could be held was a query in Governor Clark's mind. Across the neighbouring Mississippi, Sacs, Foxes, Iowas were raiding still, c apturing horses and attacking people. That was Black Hawk.
The eyes of the Missouri Sioux flashed. "Let us go and fight those Sacs and Iowas. They shall trouble us no more." With difficulty were they held to the council.
There was a steady and unalterable gloom of countenance, a melancholy, sullen musing among the gathered tribes, as they camped on the council ground at Portage des Sioux on the neck of land between the two rivers at St. Charles. Over this neck crossed Sioux war parties in times past, avoiding a long detour, bringing home their scalps.
Resplendent with oriental colour were the bluffs and the prairies. Chiefs and warriors had brought their squaws and children,—Sioux from the Lakes and the high points of the Mississippi in canoes of white birch, light and bounding as cork upon the water; Sioux of the Missouri in clumsy pirogues; Mandans in skin coracles, barges, dug-outs, and cinnamon-brown fleets of last year's bark.
The panorama of forest and prairie was there,—Sioux of the Leaf, Sioux of the Broad Leaf, and Sioux Who Shoot in the Pine Tops, in hoods of feathers, Chinese featured Sioux, of smooth skins and Roman noses, the ideal Indian stalking to and fro with forehead banded in green and scarlet and eagle plumes.
For Wabasha, Little Crow, and Red Wing had come, great sachems of the Sioux nation. The British officers at Drummond's Island in Lake Huron had sent for Little Crow and Wabasha.
"I would thank you in the name of George III. for your services in the war."
"My father," said Wabasha, "what is this I see on the floor before me? A few knives and blankets! Is this all you promised at the beginning of the war? Where are those promises you made? You told us you would never let fall the hatchet until the Americans were driven beyond the mountains. Will these presents pay for the men we lost? I have always been able to make a living and can do so still."
"After we have fought for you," cried Little Crow, "endured many hardships, lost some of our people, and awakened the vengeance of our powerful neighbours, you make a peace and leave us to obtain such terms as we can! You no longer need us and offer these goods for having deserted us. We will not take them."
Kicking the presents contemptuously with his foot, Little Crow turned away.
"Arise, let us go down to the Red Head Parshasha!" In handsome bark canoes propelled by sails alone, the Sioux came down to St. Louis.
Walking among their elliptical tents, lounging on panther skins at their wigwam doors, waited the redmen, watching, lynx-eyed, losing nothing of the scene before them. Beaded buckskin glittered in the sun, tiny bells tinkled from elbow to ankle, and sashes outrivalled Louisiana sunsets.
Half-naked Osages with helmet-crests and eagle-quills, full-dressed in breech-clouts and leggings fringed with scalp-locks, the tallest men in North America, from their warm south hills, mingled with Pottawattamies of the Illinois, makers of fire, Shawnees with vermilion around their eyes, Sacs, of the red badge, and Foxes, adroitest of thieves, all drumming on their tambourines. Winnebagoes, fish eaters, had left their nets on the northern lakes, Omahas their gardens on the Platte, and Ojibway arrow makers sat chipping, chipping as the curious crowds walked by. For all the neighbouring country had gathered to view the Indian camp of 1815.
Oblivious, contemptuous perhaps, of staring crowds, the industrious women skinned and roasted dogs on sticks, the warriors gambled with one another, staking their tents, skins, rifles, dogs, and squaws. Here and there sachems were mending rifles, princesses carrying water, children playing ball.
About the first of July, Governor Clark of Missouri, Governor Ninian Edwards of Illinois, and Auguste Chouteau of St. Louis, opened the council,—one of the greatest ever held in the Mississippi Valley.
Auguste Chouteau, prime vizier of all the old Spanish commandants, now naturally slipped into the same office with Clark, and Governor Edwards of Illinois, who as a father had guarded the frontier against the wiles of Tecumseh, and had risked his entire fortune to arm the militia,—all in queues, high collared coats, and ruffled shirts, faced each other and the chiefs.
In front of their neatly arranged tents sat the tawny warriors in imposing array, with dignified attention to the interpretation of each sentence.
"The long and bloody war is over. The British have gone back over the Big Water," said Governor Clark, "and now we have sent for you, my brothers, to conclude a treaty of peace."
"Heigh!" cried all the Indians in deep-toned resonance that rolled like a Greek chorus to the bluffs beyond. The sky smiled down as on the old Areopagus, the leaves of the forest rustled, the river swept laughing by.
"Every injury or act of hostility by one or either of us against the other, shall be mutually forgiven and forgot."
"Heigh! heigh! heig-h!"
"There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between us."
"You will acknowledge yourselves under the protection of the United States, and of no other nation, power, or sovereign whatsoever."
A Teton Sioux who had come down with Lisa struggled to his feet, approached, shook hands with the commissioners, then retreated and fixed his keen eye on the Governor. His voice rang clear over the assembled thousands,—
"We have come down expressly to notify you, our father, that we will assist in chastising those nations hostile to our government."
The two factions faced each other. Scowls of lightning hate flashed over the council. But the wisdom and tact of Clark were equal to regiments. "The fighting has ended," he said. "The peace has come."
"Heigh!" shouted all the Indians. "Heig-h!"
Partisan was there, the Teton chief, who with Black Buffalo had made an attempt to capture Clark on the way to the Pacific. And now Partisan was bristling to fight for Clark.
Wabasha arose, like a figure out of one of Catlin's pictures, in a chief's costume, with bullock horns and eagle feathers. There was a stir. With a profile like the great Condé, followed by his pipe bearers with much ceremony, the hereditary chief from the Falls of St. Anthony walked up to Governor Clark.
"I shake hands," he said.
Every neck was craned. When before had Wabasha stood? In their northern councils he spoke sitting. "I am called upon to stand only in the presence of my Great Father at Washington or Governor Clark at St. Louis. But I am not a warrior," said Wabasha. "My people can prosper only at peace with one another and the whites. Against my advice some of my young men went into the war."
The fiery eyes of Little Crow flashed, the aquiline curve of his nose lifted, like the beak of an eagle. He had come down from his bark-covered cabin near St. Paul.
"I am a war chief!" said Little Crow. "But I am willing to conclude a peace."
"I alone was an American," said Rising Moose, "when all my people fought with the British." All the rest of his life Tammaha, Rising Moose, wore a tall silk hat and carried Governor Clark's commission in his bosom.
Big Elk, the Omaha, successor of Blackbird, spoke with action energetic and graceful.
"Last Winter when you sent your word by Captain Manuel Lisa, in the night one of the whites wanted my young men to rise. He told them if they wanted good presents, to cross to the British. This man was Baptiste Dorion. When I was at the Pawnees I wanted to bring some of them down, but the whites who live among them told them not to go, that no good came from the Americans, that good only came from the British. I have told Captain Manuel to keep those men away from us . Take care of the Sioux. Take care. They will fly from under your wing."
Sacs who had been hostile engaged in the debate. Noble looking chiefs, with blanket thrown around the body in graceful folds, the right arm, muscular and brawny, bare to the shoulder, spoke as Cato might have spoken to the Roman Senate.
"My father, it is the request of my people to keep the British traders among us." As he went on eloquently enumerating their advantages in pleading tone and voice and glance and gesture,—hah! the wild rhetoric of the savage! how it thrilled the assembled concourse of Indians and Americans!
Clark shook his head. "It cannot be. We can administer law, order, and justice ourselves. Come to us for goods,—the British traders belong beyond the border."
The Indians gave a grunt of anger.
"It has been promised already," cried another chief. "The Americans have double tongues!"
"Heigh!" ran among the Indians. Many a one touched his tongue and held up two fingers, "You lie!"
With stern and awful look Clark immediately dismissed the council. The astonished chiefs covered their mouths with their hands as they saw the commissioners turn their backs to go out.
That afternoon a detachment of United States artillery arrived and camped in full view of the Indians. They had been ordered to the Sac country. Colonel Dodge's regiment of dragoons, each company of a solid colour, blacks and bays, whites, sorrels, grays and creams, went through the manœuvres of battle, charge and repulse, in splendid precision. It was enough. The Sac chiefs, cowed, requested the renewal of the council.
"My father," observed the offending chief of the day before, "you misunderstood me. I only meant to say we have always understood from our fathers that the Americans used two languages, the French and the English!"
Clark smiled and the council proceeded.
But by night, July 11, the Sacs, Foxes, and Kickapoos secretly left the council. At the same time came reports of great commotion at Prairie du Chien where the northern tribes were divided by the British traders.
Head bent, linked arm in arm with Paul Louise, his little interpreter, the giant Osage chief, White Hair, gave strict attention. White Hair had been in St. Clair's defeat, and in seeking to scalp a victim had grasped—his wig! This he ever after wore upon his own head, a crown of white hair. He said, "I felt a fire within me,—it drove me to the fight of St. Clair. His army scattered. I returned to my own people. But the fire still burned, and I went over the mountains toward the western sea."
Every morning the Osages set up their matutinal wail, dolefully lamenting, weeping as if their hearts would break.
"What is the matter?" inquired Governor Clark, riding out in concern.
"We are mourning for our ancestors," answered the chief, shedding copious tears and sobbing anew, for ages the custom of his people.
"They are dead long ago,—let them rest!" said the Governor.
Brightening up, White Hair slipped on his wig and followed him to the council.
Houseless now and impoverished Black Partridge and his people clung to Colonel George Davenport as to a father. Poor helpless Pottawattamies!
"Come with me," said Davenport, "I will take you to St. Louis."
So down in a flotilla of canoes had come Davenport with thirteen chiefs, all wreathed in turkey feathers, emblems of the Pottawattamies. No more they narrated their heroic exploits in fighting with Tecumseh.
Grave, morose, brooding over his wrongs, Black Partridge was seventy now, his long coarse unkempt hair in matted clusters on his shoulders, but figure still erect and firm. "I would be a friend to the whites," he said. "I was compelled to go with my tribe." The silver medallion of George Washington was gone from h is breast. Many and sad had been the vicissitudes since that day, when, in a flood of tears, he had thrown it down at the feet of the commander at Fort Dearborn. Tall, slim, with a high forehead, large nose and piercing black eyes, with hoops of gold in his ears, Black Partridge was a typical savage,—asking for civilisation. But it rolled over him. Here and there a missionary tarried to talk, but commerce, commerce, the great civiliser, arose like a flood, drowning the redmen.
"The settlements are crowding our border," Black Partridge spoke for his people on their fairy lake, Peoria. "And whom shall we call Father, the British at Malden or the Americans at St. Louis? Who shall relieve our distresses?"
"Put it in your mind," said Auguste Chouteau, the shrewd old French founder of St. Louis, "put it in your mind, that when de British made peace with us, dey left you in de middle of de prairie without a shade against sun or rain. Left you in de middle of de prairie, a sight to pity. We Americans have a large umbrella; keeps off de sun and rain. You come under our umbrella."
And they did.
The Indian has a fine sense of justice. The situation was evident. Abandoned by the British who had led him into the war, he stood ready at last to return to the friends on whom he was most dependent.
One by one the chiefs came forward and put their mark to the treaty of peace and friendship. Clark brought the peace pipes,—every neck was craned to scan them.
Sioux pipes sometimes cost as much as forty horses,—finely wrought pipes of variegated red and white from the Minnesota quarries, Shoshone pipes of green, and pipes of purple from Queen Charlottes, were sold for skins and slaves,—but these, Clark's pipes of silver bowls and decorated stems, these were worth a hundred horses!
Puffing its fragrant aroma, the fierce wild eye of the savage softened. Twenty thousand dollars' worth of goods was distributed in presents, flags, blankets, and rifles, ornaments and clothing.
"Ah, ha! Great Medicine!" whispered the Indians as the beautiful gifts came one by one into their hands.
"We need traders," said Red Wing, sliding his hand along the soft nap of the blankets. "That made us go into the war. Without traders we have to clothe ourselves in grass and eat the earth."
"You shall have traders," answered Clark. "I shall not let you travel five or six hundred miles to a British post."
Every September thereafter he sent them up a few presents to begin their fall hunting, and counselled his agents to listen to their complaints and render them justice.
"We must depend on policy rather than arms," said the Governor. "For they are our children, the wards of the nation."
The Indians were dined in St. Louis and entertained with music and dancing. By their dignity, moderation, and untiring forbearance, the Commissioners of Portage des Sioux exemplified the paternal benevolence of the Government.
At the end of the council Lisa started back with his chiefs, on a three months' voyage to their northern home, and on the last day of September Clark dismissed the rest.
Thus making history, the summer had stolen away. All next summer and the next were spent in making treaties, until at last there was peace along the border.
"Did you sign?" finally asked some one of Black Hawk of the British band.
"I touched the goose quill," answered the haughty chief.
So ended the War of 1812.
"FOR OUR CHILDREN, OUR CHILDREN!"
As soon as the Indian scare was silenced, all the world seemed rushing to Missouri. Ferries ran by day and night. Patriarchal planters of Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia passed ever west in long, unending caravans of flocks, servants, herds, into the new land of the Louisianas. New Englanders and Pennsylvanians, six, eight, and ten horses to a waggon, and cattle with their hundred bells, tinkled through the streets of St. Louis.
"Where are you going, now?" inquired the citizens.
"To Boone's Lick, to be sure."
"Go no further," said Clark, ever enthusiastic about St. Louis. "Buy here. This will be the city."
"But ah!" exclaimed the emigrant. "If land is so good here what must Boone's Lick be!"
Perennial childhood of the human heart, ever looking for Canaan just beyond!
The Frenchmen shrugged their shoulders at the strange energy of these progressive "Bostonnais." It annoyed them to have their land titles looked into. "A process! a lawsuit!" they clasped their hands in despair. But ever the people of St. Louis put up their lands to a better figure, and watched out of their little square lattices for the coming of les Américains.
All the talk was of land, land, land! The very wealth of ancient estates lay unclaimed for the first heir to enter, the gift of God.
In waggons, on foot and horseback, with packhorses, handcarts, and wheelbarrows, with blankets on their backs and children by the hand, the oppressed of the old world fled across the new.
"Why do you go into the wilderness?"
"For my children, my children," answered the pioneer.
More and more came people in a mighty flood, peasants, artisans, sons of the old crusaders, children of feudal knights of chivalry and romance, descendants of the hardy Norsemen who captured Europe five hundred years before, scions of Europe's most titled names, thronging to our West.
Frosts and crop failures in the Atlantic States and a financial panic uprooted old Revolutionary centres. "A better country, a better country!" was the watchword of the mobile nation.
"Let's go over to the Territory," said the soldiers of 1812. "Let us go to Arkansas, where corn can be had for sixpence a bushel and pork for a penny a pound. Two days' work in Texas is equal to the labour of a week in the North." And on they pressed into No Man's Land, a land of undeveloped orchards, maple syrup and honey, fields of cotton and wool and corn.
Conestoga waggons crowded on the Alleghanies, teams fell down precipices and perished, but the tide pushed madly on. Colonies of hundreds were pouring into Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois. New towns were named for their founders, new counties, lakes, rivers, streams, and hills,—the settlers wrote their names upon the geography of the nation.
In the midst of the war Daniel Boone had come down to Clark at St. Louis.
"I have spoken to Henry Clay about your claim," said the Governor. "He says Congress will do something for you."
"Now Rebecca, thee shall hev a house!"
That house, the joint product of Nathan, the Colonel, and his slaves, was a work of years. Not far from the old cabin by the spring it stood, convenient to the Judgment Tree. For Boone still held his court beneath the spreading elm.
The stones were quarried and chiselled, two feet thick, and laid so solidly that to-day the walls of the old Boone mansion are as good as new. The plaster was mixed and buried in the ground over winter to ripen. Roomy and comfortable, two stories and an attic it was built, with double verandas and chimneys at either end, the finest mansion on the border.
But in March Rebecca died. Boone buried her where he could watch the mound.
The house was finished. The Colonel bought a coffin and put it under the bed to be ready. Sometimes he tried his coffin, to see how it would seem when he slept beside Rebecca.
In December came the land, a thousand arpents in his Spanish grant. "If I only cud hev told Rebecca," sobbed Daniel, kneeling at her grave. "She war a good woman, and the faithful companion of all my wanderings."
In the Spring Boone sold his land, and set out for Kentucky.
"Daniel Boone has come! Daniel Boone has come!" Old hunters, Revolutionary heroes, came for miles to see their leader who had opened Kentucky. There was a reception at Maysville. Parties were given in his honour wherever he went. Once more he embraced his old friend, Simon Kenton.
"How much do I owe ye?" he said to one and another.
Whatever amount they named, that he paid, and departed. One day the dusty old hunter re-entered his son's house on the Femme Osage with fifty cents in his pocket.
"Now I am ready and willing to die. I have paid all my debts and nobody can say, 'Boone was a dishonest man.'"
Then came the climax of his life.
"Nate, I am goin' to the Yellowstone."
While Clark was holding his peace treaties, Daniel Boone, eighty-two years old, with a dozen others set out in boats for the Upper Missouri.
Autumn came. Somewhere in the present Montana, they threw up a winter camp and were besieged by Indians. A heavy snow-storm drove the Indians off. In early Spring, coming down the Missouri on the return, again they were attacked by Indians and landed in a thicket of the opposite shore. Under cover of a storm in the night Boone ordered them into the boat, and silently in the pelting rain they e scaped.
Boone himself brought the furs to St. Louis, and went back with a bag full of money and a boat full of emigrants.
Farther and farther into his district emigrants began setting up their four-post sassafras bedsteads and scouring their pewter platters. Women walked thirty miles to hear the first piano that came into the Boone settlement.
In the last year of the war Boone's favourite grandson was killed at Charette.
"The history of the settlement of the western country is my history," said the old Colonel in his grief. "Two darling sons, a grandson, and a brother have I lost by savage hands, besides valuable horses and abundance of cattle. Many sleepless nights have I spent, separated from the society of men, an instrument ordained of God to settle the wilderness."
"You must paint Daniel Boone," said Governor Clark to Chester Harding, a young American artist fresh from Paris in the summer of 1819. The Governor was Harding's first sitter. He invited the Indians into his studio.
"Ugh! ugh! ugh!" grunted the Osage chiefs, putting their noses close and rubbing their fingers across the Governor's portrait.
In June Harding set out up the Missouri to paint Boone. In an old blockhouse of the War of 1812, he found him lying on a bunk, roasting a strip of venison wound around his ramrod, turning it before the fire.
"What? Paint my pictur'?"
"Yes, on canvas. Make a portrait, you know."
The old man consented. With amazement the frontiersman saw the picture grow,—still more amazed, his grandchildren watched the likeness of "granddad" growing on the canvas.
Ruddy and fair, with silvered locks, always humming a tune, he sat in his buckskin hunting-shirt trimmed with otter's fur, and the knife in his belt he had carried on his first expedition to Kentucky.
Every day now, in his leisure hours, the old pioneer was busily scraping with a piece of glass. " Making a powder-horn," he said. "Goin' to hunt on the Fork in the Fall."
A hundred miles up the Kansas he had often set his traps, but Boone's legs were getting shaky, his eyes were growing dim. Every day now he tried his coffin,—it was shining and polished and fair, of the wood he loved best, the cherry. People came for miles to look at Boone's coffin.
TOO GOOD TO THE INDIANS
Manuel Lisa had out-distanced all his competitors in the fur trade. But the voice of envy whispered, "Manuel must cheat the Government, and Manuel must cheat the Indians, otherwise Manuel could not bring down every summer so many boats loaded with rich furs."
"Good!" exclaimed Lisa to Governor Clark, when the fleets were tying up at St. Louis in 1817. "My accounts with the Government will show whether I receive anything out of which to cheat it."
"I have not blamed you, Manuel," explained the Governor. "On the contrary I have conveyed to the Government my high appreciation of your very great services in quieting the Indians of the Missouri. It is not necessary to worry yourself with the talk of babblers who do not understand."
"Cheat the Indians!" The Spaniard stamped the floor. "The respect and friendship which they have for me, the security of my possessions in the heart of their country, respond to this charge, and declare with voices louder than the tongues of men that it cannot be true.
"'But Manuel gets so much rich fur.'" Lisa ground out the words with scorn.
"Well, I will explain how I get it. First I put into my operations great activity,—I go a gr eat distance, while some are considering whether they will start to-day or to-morrow. I impose upon myself great privations,—ten months in a year I am buried in the forest, at a vast distance from my own house. I appear as the benefactor, and not as the pillager, of the Indians. I carried among them the seed of the large pumpkin, from which I have seen in their possession the fruit weighing one hundred and sixty pounds. Also the large bean, the potato, the turnip, and these vegetables now make a great part of their subsistence. This year I have promised to carry the plough. Besides, my blacksmiths work incessantly for them, charging nothing. I lend them traps, only demanding preference in their trade. My establishments are the refuge of the weak and of the old men no longer able to follow their lodges; and by these means I have acquired the confidence and friendship of these nations, and the consequent choice of their trade. These things I have done, and I propose to do more."
In short, Manuel Lisa laid down his commission as sub-agent to embark yet more deeply in the fur trade.
"What is that noise at the river?"
Ten thousand shrieking eagles and puffs of smoke arose from the yellow-brown Mississippi below. The entire population of St. Louis was flocking to the river brink to greet the General Pike, the first steamboat that ever came up to St. Louis. People rushed to the landing but the Indians drew back in terror lest the monster should climb the bank and pursue them inland. Pell-mell into Clark's Council House they tumbled imploring protection.
Never had St. Louis appeared so beautiful as when Julia and the children came into their new home in 1819. Clark, the Governor, had built a mansion, one of the finest in St. Louis. Wide verandas gave a view of the river, gardens of fruit and flowers bloomed.
But Julia was ill.
"Take her back to the Virginia mountains," said Dr. Farrar, the family physician. "St. Louis heats are too much for her."
In dress suit, silk hat, and sword cane, Farrar was a notable figure in old St. Louis, riding night and day as far out as Boone's Lick, establishing a reputation that remains proverbial yet. He had married Anne Thruston, the daughter of Fanny.
"Let her try a trip on the new steamboat," said the Doctor.
So after her picture was painted by Chester Harding in that Spring of 1819, Clark and Julia and the little boys, Meriwether Lewis, William Preston, and George Rogers Hancock, set out for New Orleans in the "new-fangled steamboat."
It was a long and dangerous trip; the river was encumbered with snags; every night they tied up to a tree.
"Travel by night? Couldn't think of it! We'd be aground before morning!" said the Captain.
Around by sea the Governor and his wife sailed by ship to Washington.
"I will join you at the Sweet Springs," said President Monroe to the Governor and his wife in Washington.
"The Sweet Springs cure all my ills," said Dolly Madison at Montpelier.
"She will recover at the Sweet Springs," said Jefferson at Monticello.
But at the Sweet Springs Julia grew so ill they had to carry her on a bed to Fotheringay.
"Miss Judy done come home sick!" The servants wept.
Something of a physician himself, Clark began the use of fumes of tar through a tube, and to the surprise of all "Miss Judy" rallied again.
"As soon as I can leave her in safety I shall return to St. Louis," wrote the Governor to friends at the Missouri capital.
"If I should die," said Julia sweetly one day, "and you ever think of marrying again, consider my cousin Harriet."
"Ah, but you will be well, my darling, when Spring comes."
And she was better in the Spring, thinking of the new house at St. Louis. Julia was a very neat and careful housekeeper. Everything was kept under lock and key, she directed the servants herself, and was the light of a houseful of company. For the Governor's house was the centre of hospitality,—never a noted man came that way, but, "I must pay my respects to the Governor." Savants from over the sea came to look at his Indian museum. General Clark had made the greatest collection in the world, and had become an authority on Indian archæology.
Governor Clark, too, was worried about affairs in St. Louis. Missouri was just coming in as a State, and a new executive must be elected under the Constitution.
"Go," said Julia, "I shall be recovered soon now." Indeed, deceptive roses were blooming in her cheeks.
With many regrets and promises of a speedy return, Clark hastened back to his official duties. He found Missouri in the midst of a heated campaign, coming in as a State and electing a Governor. For seven years he had held the territorial office with honour.
But a new candidate was before the people.
"Governor Clark is too good to the Indians!" That was the chief argument of the opposing faction. "He looks after their interests to the disadvantage of the whites."
"To the disadvantage of the whites? How can that be?" inquired his friends. "Did he not in the late war deal severely with the hostile tribes? And what do you say of the Osage lands? When hostilities began President Madison ordered the settlers out of the Boone's Lick country as invaders of Indian lands. What did the Governor do? He remonstrated, he delayed the execution of those orders until they were rescinded, and the settlers were allowed to remain."
"How could he do that?"
"How? Why, he simply told the Indians those lands were included in the Osage treaty of 1808. He made that treaty, and he knew. No Indian objected. They trusted Clark; his explanation was sufficient. And his maps proved it."
"Too good to the Indians! Too good to the Indians!" What Governor before ever lost his head on such a charge?
At that moment, flying down the Ohio, came a swift messenger,—"Mrs. Clark is dead at Fotheringay."
With the shock upon him, General Clark sent a card to the papers, notifying his fellow citizens of his loss, and of his necessary absence until the election was over. And with mingled dignity and sorrow he went back to Fotheringay to bury the beloved dead.
Granny Molly, "Black Granny," who had laced "Miss Judy's" shoes and tied up her curls with a ribbon in the old Philadelphia days, never left her beloved mistress.
A few days before "Miss Judy" went away, little Meriwether Lewis, then eleven years of age, came to her bedside with his curly hair dishevelled and his broad shirt collar tumbled.
"Aunt Molly," said the mother, "watch my boy and keep him neat. He is so beautiful, Granny!"
After her body was placed on two of the parlour chairs, Granny Molly noticed a little dust on the waxed floor. "Miss Judy would be 'stressed if she could see it." Away she ran, brought a mop, and had it all right by the time the coffin came.
Down on her knees scrubbing, scrubbing for the last time the floor for "Miss Judy," tears trickled down the ebony cheeks.
"Po', po' Miss Judy. You's done gwine wid de angels."
They laid her in the family tomb, overlooking the green valley of the Roanoke. Two weeks after her death, Colonel Hancock himself also succumbed.
To a double funeral the Governor came back. High on the hillside they laid them, in a mausoleum excavated out of the solid rock.
"De Cunnel, he done watch us out ob dat iron window up dah," said the darkies. "He sits up dah in a stone chair so he can look down de valley and see his slaves at deir work."
To this day the superstitious darkies will not pass his tomb.
On his way to Washington, Governor Clark stopped again at Monticello.
"Ah, the joyous activity of my grandfather!" exclaimed Thomas Jefferson Randolph. "He mounts his horse early in the morning, canters down the mountain and across country to the site of the university. All day long he assists at the work. He has planned it, engaged workmen, selected timber, bought bricks. He has sent to Italy for carvers of stone."
Out of those students flocking to consult Jefferson had grown the University of Virginia. Books and professors were brought from England, and the institution opened in 1825.
Martha Jefferson's husband, Thomas Mann Randolph, was Governor of Virginia now, but the sage of Monticello paid little attention. All his talk was of schools,—schools and colleges for Virginia.
"Slavery in Missouri?" Clark broached the discussion that was raging at the West.
Instantly the sage of Monticello was attentive.
"This momentous question, like a firebell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. It is the knell of the Union. Since Bunker Hill we have never had so ominous a question." He who had said, "Pensacola and Florida will come in good time," and, "I have ever looked on Cuba as the most interesting addition which could be made to our system of States," had corresponded with the Spanish minister concerning a canal through the isthmus, and sent Lewis and Clark to open up a road to Asia,—Jefferson, more than any other, had the vision of to-day.
Governor Clark went on to Washington.
Ramsay Crooks and Russell Farnham of the Astor expedition were quartered at the same hotel with Floyd of Virginia and Benton of Missouri.
Beside their whale-oil lamps they talked of Oregon. Benton was writing for Oregon,—he made a noise in all the papers. John Floyd framed a bill, the first for Oregon occupancy.
Missouri was just coming in as a State. The moment Benton, her first Senator, was seated, he flew to Floyd's support.
"We must occupy the Columbia," said Benton. "Mere adventurers may enter upon it as Æneas entered upon the Tiber, and as our forefathers came upon the Potomac, the Delaware, and the Hudson, and renew the phenomenon of individuals laying the foundation of future empire. Upon the people of eastern Asia the establishment of a civilised power upon the opposite coast of America cannot fail to produce great and wonderful results. Science, liberal principles, government, and the true religion, may cast their lights across the intervening sea. The valley of the Columbia may become the granary of China and Japan, and an outlet for their imprisoned and exuberant population."
Staid Senators smiled and called Benton a dreamer, but he and Floyd were the prophets of to-day.
For thirty years after Astor had been driven out, England and her fur companies enriched themselves in Oregon waters. For thirty years Benton stood in his place and fought to save us Oregon. From the bedside of the dying Jefferson, and from the lips of the living Clark, he took up the great enterprise of an overland highway to India.
When Governor Clark came sorrowing back to St. Louis with the little boys, Missouri was a State and a new Governor sat in the chair, but though governors came and governors went, the officer that had held the position through all the territorial days was always called "Governor" Clark. As United States superintendent of Indian affairs for the West, Governor Clark now became practically autocrat of the redmen for life.
"If you ever think of marrying again, consider my cousin Harriet."
More than a year Governor Clark "considered," and then the most noted citizen of St. Louis married the handsome widow Radford.
"From Philadelphia she haf a wedding trousseau," said the vivacious Creole girls, drinking tea in their wide verandas. "She haf de majesty look, like on e queen."
From the home of her brother, James Kennerly, the fun-loving Harriet of other years went to become the grave and dignified hostess in the home of the ex-governor.
THE RED HEAD CHIEF
"Hasten, Ruskosky, rebraid my queue. Kings and half kings are in there as plenty as blackberries in the woods, and I must see what is the matter."
Hurriedly the Polish valet, who dressed Clark in his later years, knelt to button the knees of his small clothes and fasten on a big silk bow in place of a buckle. Directly the tall figure wrapped in a cloak entered the council chamber connected with his study.
The walls of the council chamber were covered with portraits of distinguished chiefs, and with Indian arms and dresses, the handsomest the West afforded. Nothing pleased the redmen better than to be honoured by the acceptance of some treasure for this museum.
Against this wall the Indians sat, and the little gray-haired interpreter, Antony Le Claire, lit the tomahawk pipe. As the fumes rolled upward the Red Head Chief took his seat at the table before him. The Indians lifted their heads. Justice would now be done.
It was a sultry day and the council doors were open. But sultrier still was the debate within.
"Our Father," said the Great and Little Osages, "we have come to meet our enemies, the Delawares and Shawnees and Kickapoos and Peorias, in your Council Hall. We ourselves can effect a peace."
And so the Red Head listened. "Make your peace."
Six days they argued, Paul Louise interpreter. Hot and hotter grew the debate, and mutual recriminations.
"White Hair's warriors shot at one of my young men."
"But you, Delawares, robbed our relations," cried the Osage chiefs.
"You stole our otter-skins," retorted the Delawares.
"And you hunted on our lands."
"Last Summer when we were absent, you bad-hearted Osages destroyed our fields of corn and cut up our gardens," cried the angry Shawnees, who always sided with the Delawares.
"You speak with double tongues—"
Clark stepped in and hushed the controversy.
"Who gave you leave to hunt on Osage lands?"
"White Hair and his principal braves," answered the Delawares.
"When did they shoot at your man?"
"At the Big Bend of the Arkansas."
"Who owned the peltries the Osages took?"
"All of us."
"Very well then, restitution must be made."
Soothing as a summer breeze was his gentle voice, "My children, I cannot have you injured. The Delawares are my children, and the Osages, the Shawnees, the Kickapoos, and the Peorias. I cannot permit any one to injure my children. Whoever does that is no longer child of mine. You must bury the sharp hatchet underground."
He calmed the heated tribes and effected peace. Like little children they gave each other strings of beads, pipes, and tobacco, and departed reconciled.
"Bring all your difficulties to me or to Paul Louise and we will judge for you," said the Red Head Chief, as one by one they filed in plumed array down the steps of the Council House.
Scarce had the reconciled tribes departed before officers of the law brought in seven chiefs, hostages of the Iowas,—"Accused by the Sacs, Your Honour, of killing cattle; accused by the whites of killing settlers."
"My father." The mournful appealing tone of the Indian speaker always affected Clark. He was singularly fitted to be their judge and friend. "My son." There was an air of sympathy and paternal kindness as the Red Head Chief listened. His heart was stirred by their wrongs, and his face would redden with indignation as he listened to the pitiful tales of his children.
With bodies uncovered to the waist, with blanket on the left arm and the right arm and breast bare, a chief stepped forth to be examined concerning a border fray with the backwoodsmen.
Drawing himself to his full height, and extending his arm toward Clark, the Iowa began:
"Red Head, if I had done that of which my white brother accuses me, I would not stand here now. The words of my red head father have passed through both my ears and I have remembered them. I am accused. I am not guilty.
"I thought I would come down to see my red head father to hold a talk with him.
"I come across the line. I see the cattle of my white brother dead. I see the Sauk kill them in great numbers. I said there would be trouble. I thought to go to my village. I find I have no provisions. I say, 'Let us go down to our white brother and trade for a little.' I do not turn on my track to my village."
Then turning to the Sacs and pointing,—
"The Sauk who tells lies of me goes to my white brother and says, 'The Ioway has killed your cattle.'
"When the lie has talked thus to my white brother, he comes up to my village. We hear our white brother coming. We are glad and leave our cabins to tell him he is welcome. While I shake hands with my white brother, my white brother shoots my best chief through the head,—shoots three my young men, a squaw, and her children.
"My young men hear, they rush out, they fire,—four of my white brothers fall. My people fly to the woods, and die of cold and hunger."
Dropping his head and his arm, in tragic attitude he stands, the picture of despair. The lip of the savage quivers. He lifts his eyes,—
"While I shake hands my white brother shoots my chief, my son, my only son."
Only by consummate tact can Clark handle these distressing conflicts of the border. Who is right and who is wrong? The settlers hate the Indians, the Indians dread and fear the settlers.
"Governor Clark," said the Shawnees and Delawares, "since three or four years we are crowded by the whites who steal our horses. We moved. You recommended us to raise stock and cultivate our ground. That advice we have followed, but again white men have come."
The Cherokees complained, "White people settle without our consent. They destroy our game and produce discord and confusion."
Clark could see the heaving of their naked breasts and their lithe bodies, the tigers of their kind, shaken by irrepressible emotion.
And again in the Autumn,—
"What is it?" inquired the stranger as pennons came glittering down the Missouri.
"Oh, nothing, only another lot of Indians coming down to see their red-headed daddy," was the irreverent response, as the solemn, calm-featured braves glided into view, gazing as only savages can gaze at the wonders of civilisation.
"What! going to war?" cried Clark, in a tone of thunder, as they made known their errand at the Council House. "Your Great Father, the President, forbids it. He counsels his children to live in peace. If you insist on listening to bad men I shall come out there and make you desist."
The stormy excitement subsided. They shrank from his reproofs, and felt and feared his power.
"Go home. Take these gifts to my children, and tell them they were sent by the Red Head Chief."
Viewed with admiration, the presents were carefully wrapped in skins to be laid away and treasured on many a weary march and through many a sad vicissitude. A few days in St. Louis, then away go the willowy copper-skin paddlers to dissuade their braves from incu rring the awful displeasure of the Red Head Chief. The West of that day was sown with his medals that disappeared only with the tribes.
In time they came to know Clark's signature, and preserved it as a sacred talisman. Could the influence of one man have availed against armies of westward pressing trappers, traders, and pioneers, the tribes would have been civilised.
"Shall we accept the missionaries? Shall we hearken to their teaching?"
"Yes," he said to the Osages. "Yes," to the Pawnees, to the Shawnees, and "Yes," to a delegation that came from the far-off Nez Percés beyond the Rocky Mountains.
In days of friction and excitement Clark did more than regiments to preserve peace on the frontier. He was a buffer, a perpetual break-water between the conflicting races.
As United States superintendent of Indian affairs the Red Head Chief grew venerable. The stately old officer lived in style in St. Louis, and as in the colonial time Sir William Johnson ruled from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, so now Clark's word was Indian law from the Mississippi to the Pacific. His voice was raised in continual advantage to the Indian. While civilisation was pushing west and west, and crowding them out of their old domains, he was softening as much as possible the rigour of their contact with whites.
"Our position with regard to the Indians has entirely changed," he used to say. "Before Wayne's campaigns in 1794 and events of 1818, the tribes nearest our settlements were a formidable and terrible enemy. Since then their power has been broken, their warlike spirit subdued, and themselves sunk into objects of pity and commiseration. While strong and hostile, it has been our obvious duty to weaken them; now that they are weak and harmless, and most of their lands fallen into our hands, justice and humanity require us to cherish and befriend them. To teach them to live in houses, to raise grain and stock, to plant orchards, to set up landmarks, to divide their possessions, to establish laws for their government, to get the rudiments of common learning, such as reading, writing, and ciphering, are the first steps toward improving their condition."
This was the policy of Jefferson, reaffirmed by Clark. It was the key to all Clark's endeavours.
At Washington City he discussed the question with President Monroe.
"But to take these steps with effect the Indians should be removed west of the Mississippi and north of the Missouri."
"Let them move singly or in families as they please," said Clark. "Place agents where the Indians cross the Mississippi, to supply them with provisions and ammunition. A constant tide is now going on from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois. They cross at St. Louis and St. Genevieve, and my accounts show the aid which is given them. Many leading chiefs are zealous in this work, and are labouring hard to collect their dispersed and broken tribes at their new and permanent homes."
"And the land?" inquired the President.
"It is well watered with numerous streams and some large rivers, abounds with grass, contains prairies, land for farms, and affords a temporary supply of game.
"It is in vain for us to talk about learning and religion; these Indians want food. The Sioux, the Osages, are powerful tribes,—they are near our border, and my official station enables me to know the exact truth. They are distressed by famine; many die for want of food; the living child is buried with the dead mother because no one can spare it food through its helpless infancy.
"Grain, stock, fences are the first things. Property alone can keep up the pride of the Indian and make him ashamed of drunkenness, lying, and stealing.
"The period of danger with an Indian is when he ceases to be a hunter and before he gets the means of living from flocks and agriculture. In the transit from a hunter to a farmer, he degenerates from a proud and independent savage to a beggar, drunkard, thief. To counteract the danger, property in horses, hogs, and cattle is indispensable. They should be assiste d in making fences and planting orchards, and be instructed in raising cotton and making cloth. Small mills should be erected to save the women the labour of pounding corn, and mechanics should be employed to teach the young Indians how to make ploughs, carts, wheels, hoes, and axes."
Benton and other great men argued in the Senate. "In contact with the white race the Indians degenerate. They are a dangerous neighbour within our borders. They prevent the expansion of the white race, and the States will not be satisfied until all their soil is open to settlement."
And so, to remove the Indians to a home of their own became the great work of Clark's life.
"A home where the whites shall never come!" the Indians were delighted. "We will look at these lands."
"I recommend that the government send special agents to collect the scattered bands and families and pay their expenses to the lands assigned them," said Clark, estimating the cost at one hundred thousand dollars. But not all of the tribes would listen.
In November, 1826, Clark drove from St. Louis in his carriage to the Choctaw nation in Alabama, to persuade them to move west of the Mississippi.
"After many years spent in reflection," said the Commissioners, "your Great Father, the President, has determined upon a plan for your happiness. The United States has a large unsettled country on the west side of the great river Mississippi into which they do not intend their white settlements shall enter. This is the country in which our Great Father intends to settle his red children.
"Many of the tribes are now preparing to remove and are making application for land. The Cherokees and Muscogees have procured lands, and your people can have five times as much land in that fine country as they are now living on in this."
Never before in the conquest of nations had the weaker race been offered such advantageous terms. Two days passed while the Indians considered and argued among themselves.
"What shall we give to you?" asked the Commissioners. "These lands and titles to them, provisions and clothing, a cow and corn and farming implements to each family, and blacksmiths and ploughmakers and annuities."
"Friends and brothers of the Choctaw nation," said Clark in the council, "I have spent half the period of an accustomed life among you. Thirty-six years ago I passed through your country and saw your distressed condition. Now I see part of your nation much improved in prosperity and civilisation. This affords me much happiness. But I am informed that a very large majority of the Choctaw nation are seeking food among the swamps by picking cotton for white planters.
"Cannot provision be made to better their condition?
"Let me recommend that the poorer and less enlightened be moved without delay to their lands west of the Mississippi. There will I take pleasure in advancing their interests. In my declining years it would be a great consolation to me to see them prosper in agriculture.
"Come to my country where I can have it in my power to act as your father and your friend. You shall be protected and peaceful and happy."
The Choctaws were touched, but they answered,—
"We cannot part with our country. It is the land of our birth,—the hills and streams of our youth."
THE GREAT COUNCIL AT PRAIRIE DU CHIEN
St. Louis was a cold place in those prairie years; a great deal of snow fell, and sleighbells rang beside the Great River. No Indians came during the cold weather, but with the springing grass and blossoming trees, each year the Indians camped around the twin lakes at Maracasta, Clark's farm west o f St. Louis.
There were wigwams all over Maracasta. James Kennerly, Clark's Indian deputy, busy ever with the ruddy aborigines, dealing out annuities, arranging for treaties and instructing the tribes, kept open house for the chiefs at Côte Plaquemine, the Persimmon Hill. Clark's boys shot bows and arrows with the little Indians, Kennerly's little girls made them presents of "kinnikinick," dried leaves of the sumac and red osier dogwood, to smoke in their long pipes.
Every delegation came down laden with gifts for the Red Head,—costly furs, buffalo robes, bows, arrows, pipes, moccasins.
Tragedies of the plains came daily to the ears of General Clark, far, far beyond the reach of government in the wild battle-ground of the West.
In 1822 the Sioux and Cheyennes combined against the Crows and fell upon their villages. In the slaughter of that day five thousand defenceless men, women, and children were butchered on the prairie. All their lodges and herds of horses and hundreds of captive girls were carried away. As a people the Crows never recovered.
Drunk with victory the triumphant Sioux rolled back on the Chippewas, Sacs, Foxes, and Iowas.
"If continued, these wars will embroil all the tribes of the West," said Clark. "We must do something more to promote peace. They must become civilised."
President Monroe was working up a new Indian policy, with Clark as a chief adviser.
"Go, Paul Louise, take this talk to my Osages. I am coming up to their country. Tell them to meet me on the first of June."
In his canoe, with his squaw and his babies, the wizened little Frenchman set out. He could not read, he could not write, he could only make his mark, but the Indians loved and trusted Paul Louise.
"And you, Baronet Vasquez, take this to the Kansas nation."
Vasquez belonged to the old Spanish régime. As a youth he had gone out with the Spanish garrison at the cession of St. Louis, to return a fu r trader.
Then came Lafayette from the memories of Monticello. Escorted by a troop of horse, he had ascended that historic mountain. The alert lithe figure of the little Marquis leaped from the carriage; at the same moment the door opened, revealing the tall, bent, wasted figure of Jefferson in the pillared portico. The music ceased, and every head uncovered. Slowly the aged Jefferson descended the steps, slowly the little Marquis approached his friend, then crying, with outstretched arms, "Ah, Jefferson!" "Ah, Lafayette!" each fell upon the other's bosom. The gentlemen of the cavalcade turned away with tears, and the two were left to solitude and recollection.
Long and often had Jefferson and Lafayette laboured together in anxious and critical periods of the past. It was in chasing "the boy" Lafayette that the British came to Charlottesville. When Jefferson was minister in Paris, the young and popular nobleman assisted the unaccustomed American at the Court of France. Together they had seen the opening of the French Revolution. What memories came back as they sat in the parlour at Monticello, discussing the momentous events of two continents in which they had been actors!
"What would I have done with the Queen?" asked the aged Jefferson. "I should have shut her up in a convent, putting harm out of her power. I have ever believed if there had been no Queen there would have been no French Revolution."
Lafayette went to Montpelier to see Madison, and then to Yorktown, over the same road which he himself had opened in 1781 in the retreat before Cornwallis. One long ovation followed his route. Even old ladies who had seen him in their youth pressed forward with the plea, "Let me see the young Marquis again!" forgetful of the flight of years. Echoes of his triumphal tour had reached the border. St. Louis, a city and a State not dreamed of in Revolutionary days, begged the honour of entertaining Lafayette.
Far down the river they saw the smoke of his steamer, coming up from New Orleans.
"Welcome!" the hills echoed. "Vive Lafayette!"
The Marquis lifted his eyes,—white stone houses gay with gardens and clusters of verdure arose before him in a town of five thousand inhabitants. Below stood the massive stone forts of the Spanish time, and on the brow of the bluff frowned the old round tower, the last fading relic of feudalism in North America.
Every eye was fixed upon the honoured guest. A few were there who could recall the pride of Lafayette in his American troops, with their helmets and flowing crests and the sabres he himself had brought from France. The banquet, the toasts, the ball, all these have passed into tradition.
The Marquis visited Clark's cabinet of Indian curios.
"I present you this historic cloak of an Indian chief," said the General, offering a robe like a Russian great coat.
In turn, Lafayette presented his mess chest, carried through the Revolution, and placed on the Governor's finger a ring of his hair. Later Clark sent him the live cub of a grizzly bear, that grew to be a wonder in the Jardin des Plantes of Paris.
"And your great brother, George Rogers Clark?" inquired the Marquis.
"He died seven years ago at Louisville," answered the Governor.
"In securing the liberties of this country I esteem him second only to Washington," said Lafayette.
"Those thieving Osages have taken six more of my horses," complained Chouteau the next morning at the office of Governor Clark.
"And four blankets and three axes of me," added Baptiste Dardenne.
"Worse yet, they have stolen my great-coat and razor case," said Manuel Roderique.
Two thousand dollars' worth of claims were paid in that summer of 1825.
"We must get them out of the way," persisted the exasperated whites.
"Acts and acts of Congress regulating trade and int ercourse with the tribes are of no avail. They must be removed, and as far as possible. They are banditti, robbers!" said Benton.
In spite of all proclamations clothes disappeared from the line, silk stockings and bed-quilts and ladies' hats mysteriously went into the wigwams of the vagrants.
"This state of affairs is intolerable!" exclaimed Benton. "Governor Clark, if you will conclude a treaty removing those tribes to the West I will stake my honour on putting a ratification through Congress. I'll present the case!"
Again the great senator ground out the words between his teeth, "I'll present the case. It will be a kindness to both parties. The poor Indians have lost all,—we must reimburse them, we must take care of them, they must have a home,—but far away, far away!" shaking his fingers and closing his eyes with the significant shrug so well known to the friends of Colonel Benton.
"Not so bad as eet once was," urged the kind-hearted Creoles. "Not so bad by far. In de old Spanish days dey once left St. Genevieve wit'out a horse to turn a mill. Dey came in to de village in de night and carried away everyt'ing dey could find. Nobody ever pursue dem. But les Américains, dey chase dem. But den," commented the tolerant Creoles, "de Osage do not kill, like de Kickapoo and de Cherokee. Dey take de goods, steal de furs, beat with ramrods, drive him off,—but dey don't kill!"
So in May, after the departure of Lafayette, Governor Clark steamed up the Missouri, met the Kansas and Osage Indians, and made treaties for the cession of all their lands within the present boundary of Missouri.
"You shall have lands, hogs, fowls, cattle, carts, and farming tools to settle farther west."
This was wealth to the poor Osages, whose hunting fields had become exhausted.
"Go to the earth and till it, it will give you bread and meat and clothes and comfort and happiness. You may talk about your poverty always, and it will never make you better off. You must be industrious," said Clark. "And your old friend, Boone, shall be your farmer."
For almost forty years now they had known Daniel M. Boone, the son of the great pioneer,—since, indeed, those days when as a boy of eighteen he trapped on the Kansas. Two springs later the removal was made, and Boone, as "farmer for the Kansas Indians," took up his residence in the Kaw Valley where his chimney stacks may yet be seen near the present Lecompton. The next year was born Napoleon Boone, the first white child in Kansas.
All this time the northern clans were gathering at Prairie du Chien, a work of months. June 30 Governor Clark's barge started north from St. Louis, laden with presents, provisions, interpreters.
"We are afraid to come," said the Omahas. "We are afraid to cross the hostile territory."
William Preston Clark, in looks and dress the blonde double of the poet Byron, said, "Let me bring them, father."
So young Clark, intimate with Indians, went after the Omahas and brought them safely in. But Big Elk left his medal with his son, "I never expect to reach home alive," he said. "We cross the country of the Sacs!"
The Yanktons refused. "Shall we be butchered by the Sacs?" But later they came to St. Louis, smoked with the Sacs and shook hands. Even the Sioux feared the Sacs, the warriors of the central valley.
Mahaska, head chief of the Iowas, with his braves went up with Clark, and Rant-che-wai-me, the Flying Pigeon. Rant-che-wai-me had been to Washington. A year ago, when her husband left her alone at the wigwam on the Des Moines, she set out for St. Louis. The steamer was at the shore, the chief was about to embark, when he felt a blow upon his back. Shaking his plumes in wrath, Mahaska turned,—to behold the Flying Pigeon, with uplifted tomahawk in her hand.
"Am I your wife?" she cried.
"You are my wife," answered the surprised chief.
"Are you my husband?"
"I am your husband."
"Then will I, too, go with you to shake the Great Father by the hand."
Mahaska smiled,—"You are my pretty wife, Flying Pigeon; you shall go to Washington." Clark, too, smiled,—"Yes, she can go."
The pretty Rant-che-wai-me was feted at the White House, and had her picture painted by a great artist as a typical Iowa Princess. And now she was going to Prairie du Chien.
Not for ten years had Clark visited his northern territory. Few changes had come on the Mississippi. Twice a year Colonel George Davenport brought a hundred thousand dollars' worth of goods to his trading post at Rock Island.
Beyond, Julien Dubuque lay in perpetual state on his hills, wrapped only in a winding sheet in his tomb, exposed to the view of every traveller that cared to climb the grassy height to gaze through the grated windows of his lonely mausoleum.
"The Great Chief, the Red Head is coming," whispered all the Indians, as Clark's barges hove in sight.
Prairie du Chien was alive with excitement. Governor Cass of Michigan was already there. Not only the village, but the entire banks of the river for miles above and below were covered with high-pointed buffalo tents. Horses browsed upon the bluffs in Arabian abandon. Below, tall and warlike, Chippewas and Winnebagoes from Superior and the valley of St. Croix jostled Menomonees, Pottawattamies, and Ottawas from Lake Michigan and Green Bay.
Major Taliferro from the Falls of St. Anthony made the grand entry with his Sioux and Chippewas, four hundred strong, drums beating, flags flying. Taliferro was very popular with the Sioux,—even the squaws said he was "Weechashtah Washtay,"—a handsome man.
Over from Sault Ste. Marie the learned agent School craft had brought one hundred and fifty Chippewas, brothers of Hiawatha.
Keokuk, the Watchful Fox, with his Sacs and Iowas, was the last to arrive. Leagued against the Sioux, they had camped on an island below to paint and dress, and came up the Mississippi attired in full war costume singing their battle-song. It was a thrilling sight when they came upon the scene with spears, battle-lances, and crested locks like Roman helmets, casting bitter glances at their ancient foe, the Sioux. Nearly nude, with feather war-flags flying, and beating tambourines, the Sacs landed in compact ranks, breathing defiance. From his earliest youth Keokuk had fought the Sioux.
"Bold, martial, flushed with success, Keokuk landed, majestic and frowning," said Schoolcraft, "and as another Coriolanus spoke in the council and shook his war lance at the Sioux."
At the signal of a gun, every day at ten o'clock, the chiefs assembled.
"Children," said Governor Clark to the assembled savages, "your Great Father has not sent us here to ask anything from you—we want nothing—not the smallest piece of your land. We have come a great way to meet for your own good. Your Great Father the President has been informed that war is carried on among his red children,—the Sacs, Foxes, and Chippewas on one side and the Sioux on the other,—and that the wars of some of you began before any of you were born."
"Heigh! heigh!" broke forth the silent smokers. "Heigh! heigh!" exclaimed the warriors. "Heigh! heigh!" echoed the vast and impatient concourse around the council.
"Your father thinks there is no cause for continuation of war between you. There is land enough for you to live and hunt on and animals enough. Why, instead of peaceably following the game and providing for your families, do you send out war parties to destroy each other? The Great Spirit made you all of one colour and placed you upon the land. You ought to live in peace as brothers of one great family. Your Great Father has heard of your war songs and war parties,—they do not please him. He desires that his red children should bury the tomahawk."
"Children! look around you. See the result of wars between nations who were once powerful and are now reduced to a few wandering families. You have examples enough before you.
"Children, your wars have resulted from your having no definite boundaries. You do not know what belongs to you, and your people follow the game into lands claimed by other tribes."
"Children, you have all assembled under your Father's flag. You are under his protection. Blood must not be spilt here. Whoever injures one of you injures us, and we will punish him as we would punish one of our own people."
"Heigh! heigh! heigh!" cried all the Indians.
"Children," said General Cass, "your Great Father does not want your land. He wants to establish boundaries and peace among you. Your Great Father has strong limbs and a piercing eye, and an arm that extends from the sea to Red River.
"Children, you are hungry. We will adjourn for two hours."
"Heigh! heigh! heigh-h!" rolled the chorus across the Prairie.
As to an army, rations were distributed, beef, bread, corn, salt, sugar, tobacco. Each ate, ate, ate,—till not a scrap was left to feed a humming-bird.
Revered of his people, Wabasha and his pipe-bearers were the observed of all.
"I never yet was present at so great a council as this," said Wabasha. Three thousand were at Prairie du Chien.
The Sioux? Far from the northwest they said their fathers came,—the Tartar cheek was theirs. Wabasha and his chiefs alone had the Caucasian countenance.
Three mighty brothers ruled the Sioux in the days of Pontiac,—Wabasha, Red Wing, and Little Crow. Their sons, Wabasha, Red Wing, and Little Crow ruled still.
"Boundaries?" they knew not the meaning of the word. Restless, anxious, sharp-featured Little Crow fixed his piercing hazel eye upon the Red Head,—
"Taku-wakan!—that is incomprehensible!"
"Heigh! What does this mean?" exclaimed the Chippewas.
"We are all one people," sagely observed Mahaska, the Iowa. "My father, I claim no lands in particular."
"I never yet heard that any one had any exclusive right to the soil," said Chambler, the Ottawa.
"I have a tract of country. It is where I was born and now live," said Red Bird, the Winnebago. "But the Foxes claim it and the Sacs, the Menomonees, and Omahas. We use it in common."
Red Bird was a handsome Indian, dressed Yankton fashion in white unsoiled deerskin and scarlet, and glove-fitting moccasins,—the dandy of his tribe.
The debate grew animated. "Our tract is so small," cried the Menomonees, "that we cannot turn around without touching our neighbours." Then every Indian began to describe his boundaries, crossing and recrossing each other.
"These are the causes of all your troubles," said Clark. "It is better for each of you to give up some disputed claim than to be fighting for ever about it."
That night the parties two by two discussed their lines, the first step towards civilisation. They drew maps on the ground,—"my hunting ground," and "mine," and "mine." After days of study the boundary rivers were acknowledged, the belt of wampum was passed, and the pipe of peace.
Wabasha, acknowledged by every chief to be first of the Seven Fires of the Sioux, was treated by all with marked distinction and deference. And yet Wabasha, dignified and of superior understanding, when asked, "Wabasha? What arrangement did you make with the Foxes about boundaries?" replied, "I nev er made any arrangement about the line. The only arrangement I made was about peace!"
"When I heard the voice of my Great Father," said Mongazid, the Loon's Foot, from Fond du Lac, "when I heard the voice of my Father coming up the Mississippi, calling to this treaty, it seemed as a murmuring wind. I got up from my mat where I sat musing, and hastened to obey. My pathway has been clear and bright. Truly it is a pleasant sky above our heads this day. There is not a cloud to darken it. I hear nothing but pleasant words. The raven is not waiting for his prey. I hear no eagle cry, 'Come, let us go,—the feast is ready,—the Indian has killed his brother.'"
Shingaba Wassin of Sault Ste. Marie, head chief of the Chippewas, had fought with Britain in the War of 1812 and lost a brother at the battle of the Thames. He and a hundred other chiefs with their pipe bearers signed the treaty. Everybody signed. And all sang, even the girls, the Witcheannas of the Sioux.
"We have buried our bad thoughts in the ashes of the pipe," said Little Crow.
"I always had good counsel from Governor Clark," observed Red Wing.
"You put this medal on my neck in 1812," said Decorah, the Winnebago, "and when I returned I gave good advice to the young men of our village."
After a fierce controversy and the rankling of a hundred wrongs, the warring tribes laid down their lances and buried the tomahawk. Sacs and Sioux shook hands; the dividing lines were fixed; all the chiefs signed, and the tribes were at peace for the first time in a thousand years.
"Pray God it may last," said Clark, as his boat went away homeward along with the Sacs down the Mississippi.
The great Council at Prairie du Chien was over.
THE LORDS OF THE RIVERS
For thirty years after the cession, St. Louis was a great military centre. Sixty thousand dollars a year went into the village from Bellefontaine, and still more after the opening of Jefferson Barracks in 1826. Nor can it be denied that the expenditure of large sums of money in Indian annuities through the office of Governor Clark did much for the prosperity of the frontier city.
And ever the centre of hospitality was the home of Governor Clark. Both the Governor and his wife enjoyed life, took things leisurely, both had the magnetic faculty of winning people, and they set a splendid table.
"I like to see my house full," said the Governor. There were no modern hotels in those days, and his house became a stopping place for all noted visitors to St. Louis.
Their old-fashioned coach, with the footman up behind in a tall silk hat, met at the levee many a distinguished stranger,—travellers, generals, dukes, and lords from Europe who came with letters to the Indian autocrat of the West. All had to get a pass from Clark, and all agents and sub-agents were under and answerable to him.
But unspoiled in the midst of it passed the plain, unaristocratic Red Head Chief and friend of the oppressed. For years he corresponded with Lafayette, and yet Clark was not a scholar. He was a man of affairs, of which this country has abounded in rich examples.
Prince Paul of Wurtemberg came, the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, and Maximilian, Prince of Wied, all seeking passports for the Indian country, all coming back with curios for their palaces and castles.
Very politely Mrs. Clark listened to their broken English and patiently conversed with them when the Governor was away.
One of the first pianos came to the Clark parlours, and on special occasions the Indian council room was cleared and decorated for grand balls. Many a young "milletoer," as the Creoles called them, dashed up from Jefferson Barracks to win a bride among the girls of St. Louis.
For the preservation of peace and the facilitation of Indian removals, Fort Des Moines was built among the Iowas, Fort Atkinson near the present Omaha, Fort Snelling at the Falls of St. Anthony, and Fort Leavenworth on the borders of Kansas.
Half the area of the United States lay out there, with no law, no courts, but those of battle. As quietly as possible, step by step, the savage land was taken into custody. And the pretty girls of St. Louis did their share to reconcile the "milletoers" to life at the frontier posts.
"Ho for Santa Fé!" One May morning in 1824 a caravan of waggons passed through the streets of St. Louis.
Penned in the far-off Mexican mountains a little colony of white people were shut from the world. Twice before a few adventurous pack-trains had penetrated their mountain solitudes, as Phœnicians of old went over to Egypt, India, Arabia.
"Los Americanos! Los Americanos!" shouted the eager mountain dwellers, rushing out to embrace the traders and welcome them to their lonely settlement. Silks, cottons, velvets, hardware, were bought up in a trice, and the fortunate traders returned to St. Louis with horseload after horseload of gold and silver bullion.
"Those people want us. But the Spanish authorities are angry and tax us as they used to tax the traders at New Orleans. The people beg us to disregard their tyrannous rulers,—they must have goods."
In 1817 young Auguste Chouteau tried it, and was cast into prison and his goods confiscated.
"What wish you?" demanded the Spanish Governor, in answer to repeated solicitations from the captive.
"Mi libertad Gobernador."
Wrathfully they locked him closer than ever in the old donjon of Santa Fé.
"My neighbour's son imprisoned there without cause!" exclaimed Governor Clark. All the old Spanish animosity roiled in his veins. He appealed to Congress. There was a rattling among the dry bones, and Chouteau and his friends were released.
And now, on the 15th of May, 1824, eighty men set out in the first waggon train, with twenty thousand dollars' worth of merchandise for the isolated Mexican capital. In September the caravan returned with their capital increased a hundred-fold in sacks of gold and silver and ten thousand dollars' worth of furs.
The Santa Fé trade was established never to be shaken, though Indian battles, like conflicts with Arab sheiks of the desert, grew wilder than any Crusader's tale. Young men of the Mississippi dreamed of that "farther west" of Santa Fé and Los Angeles.
"We must have a safe road," said the traders. "We may wander off into the desert and perish."
In the same year Senator Benton secured an appropriation of ten thousand dollars for staking the plains to Santa Fé.
"We must have protection," said the traders to Governor Clark at the Council House. At Council Grove, a buffalo haunt in a thickly wooded bottom at the headwaters of the Neosho in the present Kansas, Clark's agents met the Osage Indians and secured permission for the caravans to pass through their country. But the dreaded Pawnees and Comanches were as yet unapproachable.
In spite of the inhumanity of Spaniards, in spite of murderous Pawnees, in spite of desert dust and red-brown grass and cacti, year by year the caravans grew, the people became more friendly and solicitous of each other's trade, until one day New Mexico was ready to step over into the ranks of the States.
And one day Kit Carson, whose mother was a Boone, only sixteen and small of his age, ran away from a hard task-master to join the Santa Fé caravan and grow up on the plains.
Daniel Boone was dead, at eighty-six, just as Missouri came in as a State. Jesse, the youngest of the Boone boys to come out from Kentucky, was in the Constitutional Convention that adjourned in his honour, and Jesse's son, Albert Gallatin Boone, in 1825, joined as private secretary that wonderful Ashley expedition that keel-boated up the Platte, crossed from its head-waters over to Green River, kept on west, discovered the Great South Pass of the Rockies, the overland route of future emigration, and set up its tents on the borders of Utah Lake.
Overwhelmed with debt Ashley set out,—he came back a millionaire with the greatest collection of furs ever known up to that time. Everything was Ashley then, "Ashley boats" and "Ashley beaver,"—he was the greatest man in St. Louis, and was sent to Congress.
Sixty years ago the Lords of the Rivers ruled St. Louis.
The Rocky Mountain Fur Company went out and camped on the site of a dozen future capitals. From the Green River Valley under the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, from the Tetons of Colorado, the Uintahs of Utah, and the Bitter Roots of Idaho, from the shining Absarokas and the Bighorn Alps, they came home with mink and otter, beaver, bear, and buffalo.
The American Fur Company came to St. Louis, and the Chouteaus, at first the rivals, became the partners of John Jacob Astor. Born in the atmosphere of furs, for forty years Pierre Chouteau the younger had no rival in the Valley except Clark. The two stood side by side, one representing commerce, the other the Government.
Pierre Chouteau, the largest fur trader west of the Alleghanies, sent his boats to Itasca, the headwaters of the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Yellowstone, the Osage, the Kansas, and the Platte, employing a thousand men and paying skilled pilots five thousand dollars for a single expedition. With Chouteau's convoys came down Clark's chiefs, going back in the same vessels. To their untutored minds the trader's capital and the Red Head Town were synonymous.
If there was a necessary conflict between the policy of the government and that of the fur trade, no one could have softened it more than the Red Head diplomat . With infinite tact and unfailing good sense, he harmonised, reconciled, and pushed for the best interest of the Indian.
"Give up the chase and settle into agricultural life," said Clark's agents to the Indians.
"Go to the chase," said the trader.
Clark sent up hoes to supersede the shoulder-blade of the buffalo. The trader sent up fusils and ammunition. The two combined in the evolution of the savage. The squaw took the hoe, the brave the gun.
Winter expresses came down to St. Louis from the far-off Powder and the Wind River Mountains. "Send us merchandise." With the first breaking ice of Spring the boats were launched, the caravans ready.
Deck-piled, swan-like upon the water the Missouri steamboat started. Pierre Chouteau was there to see her off, Governor Clark was there to bid farewell to his chiefs. Engagés of the Company, fiercely picturesque, with leg knives in their garters, jumped to store away the cargo.
Up as far as St. Charles Clark and the Chouteaus sometimes went with the ladies of their families to escort the up-bound steamer, and with a last departing, "Bon voyage! bon voyage, mes voyageurs!" disembarked to return to St. Louis.
On, on steamed the messenger of commerce and civilisation, touching later at Fort Pierre Chouteau in the centre of the great Sioux country, the capital of South Dakota to-day, at Fort Union at the Yellowstone, where McKenzie lived in state like the Hudson's Bay magnates at the north, at Fort Benton at the foot of the Great Falls of the Missouri. Traders from St. Louis laid the foundations of Kansas City and Topeka, built the first forts at Council Bluffs and Omaha, pre-empted the future sites of Yankton and Bismarck.
"A boat! a boat!"
For a hundred miles Indian runners brought word.
Barely had the steamer touched the wharf before the solitude became populous with colour and with sound. Night and day went on the loading and unloading of furs and merchandise. A touch of the hand, a farewell,—before the June rise falls, back a hundred miles a day she snorts to St. Louis with tens of thousands of buffalo robes, buffalo tongues, and buffalo hides, and carefully wrapped bales of the choicest furs. The cargoes opened, weighed, recounted, repacked, down the river the smokestacks go in endless procession on the way to New York.
Overland on horseback rode Pierre Chouteau to Philadelphia or New York, to arrange shipments to France and England, and to confer with John Jacob Astor. Back up from New Orleans came boatloads of furniture to beautify the homes of St. Louis, bales on bales of copper and sheet-iron kettles, axes and beaver traps, finger rings, beads, blankets, bracelets, steel wire and ribbons, the indispensables of the frontier fur trade.
Sometimes fierce battles were fought up the river, and troops were dispatched,—for commerce, the civiliser, stops not. The sight of troops paraded in uniforms, the glare of skyrockets at night, the explosion of shells and the colours of bunting and banners, the blare of brass bands and the thunder of artillery, won many a bloodless victory along the prairies of the West.
But blood flowed, fast and faster, when trapping gave way to Days of Gold and the pressure of advancing settlement.
The trapper saw no gold. Otter, beaver, mink, and fox filled his horizon. Into every lonely glen where the beaver built his house, the trapper came. A million dollars a year was the annual St. Louis trade.
Rival fur companies kept bubbling a tempest in a teapot. They fought each other, fought the Hudson's Bay Company. West and west passed the fighting border,—St. Lawrence, Detroit, Mackinaw, Mandan, Montana, Oregon.
Astor, driven out by the War of 1812, had been superseded on the Columbia by Dr. John McLoughlin, a Hudson's Bay magnate who combined in himself the functions of a Chouteau and a Clark. But the story of McLoughlin is a story by itself.
FOUR INDIAN AMBASSADORS
As the years went by Clark's plant of the Indian Department extended. In his back row were found the office and Council House, rooms for visiting Indians, an armory for repairs of Indian guns and blacksmiths' shops for Indian work, extending from Main Street to the river.
Daily he sat in his office reading reports from his agents of Indian occurrences.
Four muskrats or two raccoon skins the Indians paid for a quart of whiskey.
"Whiskey!" Clark stamped his foot. "A drunken Indian is more to be dreaded than a tiger in the jungle! An Indian cannot be found among a thousand who would not, after a first drink, sell his horse, his gun, or his last blanket for another drink, or even commit a murder to gratify his passion for spirits. There should be total prohibition." And the Government made that the law.
"I hear that you have sent liquor into the Indian country," he said to the officers of the American Fur Company. "Can you refute the charge?"
And the great Company, with Chouteau and Astor at its head, hastened to explain and extenuate.
There was trouble with Indian agents who insisted on leaving their posts and coming to St. Louis, troubles with Indians who wanted to see the President, enough of them to have kept the President for ever busy with Indian affairs.
The Sacs and the Sioux were fighting again.
"Why not let us fight?" said Black Hawk. "White men fight,—they are fighting now."
Twice in the month of May, 1830, Sacs and Foxes came down to tell of their war with the Sioux. "We might sell our Illinois lands and move west," hinted the Sacs and Foxes. Instantly Clark approved and wrote to Washington.
"I shall have to go up there and quiet those tribes," said Clark. In July, 1830, again he set out for Prairie du Chien. Indian runners went ahead announcing, "The Red Head Chief! the Red Head Chief!"
Seventy-eight Sacs and Foxes crowded into his boats and went up. This time in earnest, Clark began buying lands, giving thousands of dollars in annuities, provisions, clothing, lands, stock, agricultural implements. Many of these Indians came on with him down to St. Louis to get their presents and pay.
There came a wailing from the Indians of Illinois. "The game is gone. Naked and hungry, we need help."
"Poor, misguided, and unreflecting savages!" exclaimed the Governor. "The selfish policy of the traders would keep them in the hunter's state. The Government would have them settled and self-supporting."
Funds ran out, but Clark on his own credit again and again went ahead with his work of humanity, moving families, tribes, nations. Assistance in provisions and stock was constantly called for. The great western migration of tribes from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, was sweeping on, the movement of a race. The Peorias were crossing, the Weas, Piankeshaws, and others forgotten to-day.
"Those miserable bands of Illinois rovers, those wretched nations in want of clothes and blankets!" Clark wrote to Washington, begging the Department for help. Their annuities, a thousand dollars a year for twelve years, had expired.
"Exchange your lands for those in the West," he urged the Indians. To the Government he recommended an additional annuity to be used in breaking up, fencing, and preparing those lands for cultivation.
Horses were stolen from the settlers by tens and twenties and fifties, and cattle killed. The farmers were exasperated.
"Banditti, robbers, thieves, they must get out! The Indians hunt on our lands, and kill our tame stock. They are a great annoyance."
For two years Governor Edwards had been asking for help.
"The General Government has been applied to long enough to have freed us from so serious a grievance. If it declines acting with effect, it will soon learn that these Indians will be removed, and that very promptly."
Clark himself was personally using every exertion to prevail on the Indians to move as the best means of preserving tranquillity, and did all he could without actual coercion. The Indians continued to promise to go, but they still remained.
"More time," said the Indians. "Another year."
The combustible train was laid,—only a spark was needed, only a move of hostility, to fire the country. Will Black Hawk apply that spark?
"We cannot go," said the Pottawattamies. "The sale of our lands was made by a few young men without our consent."
Five hundred Indians determined to hold all the northern part of Illinois for ever.
Sacs, Foxes, Pottawattamies, sent daily letters and complaints. "Our Father! our Father! our Father!"—it was a plea and a prayer, and trouble, trouble, trouble. Black Partridge's letters make one weep. "Some of my people will be dead before Spring."
Meanwhile agents were ahead surveying lands in that magic West. The Indians were becoming as interested in migration as the whites had been; the same causes were pushing them on.
Clark was busily making contracts for saw-mills and corn-mills on the Platte and Kansas, arranging for means of transportation, for provisions for use on the way and after they settled, for oxen and carts and stock,—when one day four strange Indians, worn and bewildered, arrived at St. Louis, out of that West. Some kind hand guided them to the Indian office.
That tunic, that bandeau of fox skins,—Clark recalled it as the tribal dress of a nation beyond the Rocky Mountains. With an expression of exquisite joy, old Tunnachemootoolt, for it was he, the Black Eagle, recognised the Red Head of a quarter of a century before. Clark could scarcely believe that those Indians had travelled on foot nearly two thousand miles to see him at St. Louis.
As but yesterday came back the memory of Camp Chopunnish among the Nez Percés of Oregon. Over Tunnachemootoolt's camp the American flag was flying when they arrived from the Walla Walla.
It did not take long to discover their story. Some winters before an American trapper (in Oregon tradition reputed to have been Jedediah Smith), watched the Nez Percés dance around the sun-pole on the present site of Walla Walla.
"It is not good," said the trapper, "such worship is not acceptable to the Great Spirit. You should get the white man's Book of Heaven."
Voyageurs and Iroquois trappers from the Jesuit schools of Canada said the same. Then Ellice, a chief's son, came back from the Red River country whither the Hudson's Bay Company had sent him to be educated. From several sources at once they learned that the white men had a Book that taught of God.
"If this be true it is certainly high time that we had the Book." The chiefs called a national council. "If our mode of worship is wrong we must lay it aside. We must know about this. It cannot be put off."
"If we could only find the trail of Lewis and Clark they would tell us the truth."
"Yes, Lewis and Clark always pointed upward. They must have been trying to tell us."
So, benighted, bewildered, the Nez Percés talked around their council fires. Over in the buffalo country Black Eagle's band met the white traders.
"They come from the land of Lewis and Clark," said the Eagle. "Let us follow them."
And so, four chiefs were deputed for that wonderful journey, two old men who had known Lewis and Clark,—Black Eagle and the Man-of-the-M orning, whose mother was a Flathead,—and two young men,—Rabbit-Skin-Leggings of the White Bird band on Salmon River, Black Eagle's brother's son, and No-Horns-On-His-Head, a young brave of twenty, who was a doubter of the old beliefs.
"They went out by the Lolo trail into the buffalo country of Montana," say their descendants still living in Idaho.
One day they reached St. Louis and inquired for the Red Head Chief.
Very well Governor Clark remembered his Nez Percé-Flathead friends. His silver locks were shaken by roars of laughter at their reminders of his youth, the bear hunts, the sale of buttons for camas and for kouse. The hospitality of those chiefs who said, "The horses on these hills are ours, take what you need," should now be rewarded.
With gratitude and with the winsomeness for which he was noted, he invited them into his own house and to his own table. Mrs. Clark devoted herself to their entertainment.
Black Eagle insisted on an early council. "We have heard of the Book. We have come for the Book."
"What you have heard is true," answered Clark, puzzled and sensible of his responsibility. Then in simple language, that they might understand, he related the Bible stories of the Creation, of the commandments, of the advent of Christ and his crucifixion.
"Yes," answered Clark to their interrogatories, "a teacher shall be sent with the Book."
Just as change of diet and climate had prostrated Lewis and Clark with sickness among the Nez Percés twenty-five years before, so now the Nez Percés fell sick in St. Louis. The Summer was hotter than any they had known in their cool northland. Dr. Farrar was called. Mrs. Clark herself brought them water and medicine as they lay burning with fever in the Council House. They were very grateful for her attentions,—"the beautiful squaw of the Red Head Chief."
But neither medicine nor nursing could save the aged Black Eagle.
"The most mournful procession I ever saw," said a young woman of that day, "was when those three Indians followed their dead companion to the grave."
His name is recorded at the St. Louis cathedral as "Keepeelele, buried October 31, 1831," a "ne Percé de la tribu des Choponeek, nation appellée Tête Plate." "Keepeelele," the Nez Percés of to-day say "was the old man, the Black Eagle." Sometimes they called him the "Speaking Eagle," as the orator on occasions.
Still the other Indians remained ill.
"I have been sent by my nation to examine lands for removal to the West," said William Walker, chief of the Wyandots.
William Walker was the son of a white man, stolen as a child from Kentucky and brought up by the Indians. His mother was also the descendant of a stolen white girl. Young William, educated at the Upper Sandusky mission, became a chief.
The semi-Christian Wyandots desired to follow their friends to the West. Sitting there in the office, transacting business, Governor Clark spoke of the Flathead Nez Percés.
"I have never seen a Flathead, but have often heard of them," answered William Walker. Curiosity prompted him to step into the next room. Small in size, delicately formed, and of exact symmetry except the flattened head, they lay there parched with fever.
"Their diet at home consists chiefly of vegetables and fish," said the Governor. "As a nation they have the fewest vices of any tribe on the continent of America."
November 10, ten days after the burial of Black Eagle, Colonel Audrain of St. Charles, a member of the Legislature, died also at Governor Clark's house. His body was conveyed to St. Charles in the first hearse ever seen there. On December 25, Christmas Day, 1831, Mrs. Clark herself died after a brief illness.
There was sickness all over St. Louis. Was it a beginning of that strange new malady that by the next Spring had grown into a devouring plague,—the dreaded Asiati c cholera?
At the bedside of his dead wife, Governor Clark sat, holding her waxen hand, with their little six-year-old son, Jefferson, in his lap. "My child, you have no mother now," said the father with streaming tears. After the funeral, nothing was recorded in Clark's letter-books for some days, and when he began again, the handwriting was that of an aged man.
None mourned this sad event more than the tender-hearted Nez Percés, who remained until Spring.
When the new steamer Yellowstone of the American Fur Company, set out for its first great trip up the Missouri, Governor Clark made arrangements to send the chiefs home to their country. A day later, the other old Indian, The-Man-of-the-Morning, died and was buried near St. Charles.
Among other passengers on that steamer were Pierre Chouteau the younger and George Catlin, the Indian artist, who was setting out to visit the Mandans.
"You will find the Mandans a strange people and half white," said Governor Clark to his friend the artist, as he gave him his passport into the Indian country.
On the way up the river Catlin noticed the two young Nez Percés, and painted their pictures.
As if pursued by a strange fatality, at the mouth of the Yellowstone No-Horns-On-His-Head died,—Rabbit-Skin-Leggings alone was left to carry the word from St. Louis.
Earlier than ever that year the Nez Percés had crossed the snowy trails of the Bitter Root to the buffalo country in the Yellowstone and Judith Basin.
"For are not our messengers coming?"
And there, camped with their horses and their lodges, watching, Rabbit-Skin-Leggings met them and shouted afar off,—"A man shall be sent with the Book."
Back over the hills and the mountains the message flew,—"A man shall be sent with the Book."
Every year after that the Nez Percés went over to the east, looking for the man with the Book.
Nearly a year elapsed before William Walker got back from his explorations and wrote a public letter giving an account of the Nez Percés in their search for the Book. His account of meeting them in General Clark's office, and of the object of their errand, created a tremendous sensation.
Religious committees called upon General Clark, letters were written, and to one and all he said, "That was the sole object of their journey,—to obtain the white man's Book of Heaven."
The call rang like a trumpet summons through the churches. The next year, 1834, the Methodists sent Jason Lee and three others to Oregon. Two years later followed Whitman and Spalding and their brides, the first white women to cross the Rocky Mountains.
"A famine threatens the Upper Missouri," was the news brought back by that steamer Yellowstone in 1832. "The buffaloes have disappeared!"
The herds, chased so relentlessly on the Missouri, were struggling through the Bitter Root Mountains, to appear in vast throngs on the plains of Idaho.
Even Europe read and commented on that wonderful first journey of a steamer up the Missouri, as later the world hailed the ascent of the Nile and the Yukon.
It was a great journey. Amazed Indians everywhere had watched the monster, puffing and snorting, with steam and whistles, and a continued roar of cannon for half an hour at every fur fort and every Indian village.
"The thunder canoe!" Redmen fell on the ground and cried to the Great Spirit. Some shot their dogs and horses as sacrifices.
At last, even the Blackfeet were reached. The British tried to woo them back to the Saskatchewan at Fort Edmonton, but eventually they tumbled over one another to trade with the Fire Boat that annually climbed the Missouri staircase.
The Roman faces of Black Hawk and Keokuk were often seen in St. Louis, where the chiefs came to consult Clark in regard to their country.
"Keokuk signed away my lands," said Black Hawk. He had never been satisfied with that earliest treaty made while Lewis and Clark were absent beyond the mountains.
For thirty years Black Hawk had paid friendly visits to Chouteau and sold him furs. More often he was at Malden consulting his "British Father." Schooled by Tecumseh, the disloyal Black Hawk was wholly British.
Fort Armstrong had been built at Rock Island for the protection of the border. Those whitewashed walls and that tower perched on a high cliff over the Mississippi reminded the traveller up the Father of Waters seventy years ago of some romantic castle on the Rhine. And it was erected for the same reason that were the castles of the Rhine. Not safe were the traders who went up and down the great river, not safe were the emigrants seeking entrance to Rock River,—for Black Hawk watched the land.
The white settlements had already come up to the edge of Black Hawk's field.
"No power is vested in me to stop the progress of settlements on ceded lands, and I have no means of inducing the Indians to move but persuasion, which has little weight with those chiefs who have always been under British influence," said Clark in 1829.
Again and again Clark wrote to the Secretary of War on this subject. The policy of moving the tribes westward stirred the wrath of Black Hawk.
"The Sacs never sold their country!"
But the leader of the "British band" had lost his voice in the council.
"Who is Black Hawk?" asked General Gaines at Rock Island. "Is he a chief? By what right does he speak?"
"My father, you ask who is Black Hawk. I will tell you who I am. I am a Sac. My father was a Sac. I am a warrior. So was my father. Ask those young men who have followed me to battle and they will tell you who Black Hawk is. Provoke our people to war and you will learn who Black Hawk is."
Haughtily gathering up his robes, the chief and his followers stalked over to Canada for advice. In his absence Keokuk made the final cession to the United States and prepared to move beyond the Mississippi. Back like a whirlwind came the Hawk,—
"Sold the Sac village, sold your country!"
"Keokuk," he whispered fiercely in his ear, "give mines, give everything, but keep our cornfields and our dead."
"Cross the Mississippi," begged Keokuk.
"I will stay by the graves of my fathers," reiterated the stubborn and romantic Black Hawk.
The Indians left the silver rivers of Illinois, their sugar groves, and bee trees with regret. No wonder the chief's heart clung to his native village, among dim old woods of oak and walnut, and orchards of plum and crab. For generations there had they tilled their Indian gardens.
From his watchtower on Rock River the old chief scanned the country. Early in the Spring of 1832 he discovered a scattering train of whites moving into the beloved retreat.
"Quick, let us plant once more our cornfields."
In a body Black Hawk and his British band with their women and children came pulling up Rock River in their canoes. The whites were terrified.
"Black Hawk has invaded Illinois," was the word sent by Governor Reynolds to Clark at St. Louis. Troops moved out from Jefferson Barracks.
"Go," said Governor Clark to Felix St. Vrain, his Sac interpreter. "Warn Black Hawk to withdraw across the Mississippi."
St. Vrain sped away,—to be shot delivering his m essage. Then followed the war, the flight and chase and battle of Bad Axe, and the capture of Black Hawk. Wabasha's Sioux fell upon the last fleeing remnant, so that few of Black Hawk's band were left to tell the tale.
"Farewell, my nation!" the old chief cried. "Black Hawk tried to save you and avenge your wrongs. He drank the blood of some of the whites. He has been taken prisoner and his plans are stopped. He can do no more. He is near his end. His sun is setting and he will rise no more. Farewell to Black Hawk."
In chains Black Hawk and his prophet, Wabokeskiek, were brought by Jefferson Davis to St. Louis. As his steamboat passed Rock Island, his old home, Black Hawk wept like a child.
"It was our garden," he said, "such as the white people have near their villages. I spent many happy days on this island. A good spirit dwelt in a cave of rocks where your fort now stands. The noise of the guns has driven him away."
It hurt Clark to see his old friend dragging a ball and chain at Jefferson Barracks. He seldom went there. But the little Kennerly children carried him presents and kinnikinick for his pipe.
There were guests at the house of Clark,—Maximilian, Prince of Wied, and his artist,—when early in April of 1833 a deputation of Sacs and Foxes headed by Keokuk came down in long double canoes to intercede for Black Hawk, and with them, haggard and worn from long wanderings, came Singing Bird, the wife of Black Hawk.
With scientific interest Maximilian looked at them, dressed in red, white, and green blankets, with shaven heads except a tuft behind, long and straight and black with a braided deer's tail at the end. They were typical savages with prominent noses and eagle plumes, wampum shells like tassels in their ears, and lances of sword-blades fastened to poles in their hands.
"This is a great Chief from over the Big Water, come to see you," said Clark introducing the Prince.
"Hah!" said the Indians, giving the Prince the right hand of friendship and scanning him steadily.
Bodmer, the artist, brought out his palette. Keokuk in green blanket, with a medal on his heart and a long calumet ornamented with eagle feathers in his hand, was ready to pose.
"Hah!" laughed the Indians as stroke by stroke they saw their chief stand forth on canvas, even to the brass necklace and bracelets on throat and wrists. "Great Medicine!"
"I have chartered the Warrior to go down to Jefferson Barracks," said Clark.
Striking their hands to their mouths, the Indians gave the war whoop, and stepped on board the "big fire canoe." Intent, each animated, fiery, dark-brown eye watched the engine hissing and roaring down to the Barracks.
"If you will keep a watchful eye on Black Hawk I will intercede for him," said Clark.
"I will watch him," promised Keokuk.
Clark left them for a moment, and then led in a little old man of seventy years, with gray hair, light yellow face, and a curved Roman nose.
It was an affecting sight when Keokuk stepped forward to embrace Black Hawk. Keokuk, subtle, dignified, in splendid array of deer-skin and bear-claws, grasped the hand of his fallen rival. Poor dethroned old Black Hawk! In a plain suit of buckskin and a string of wampum in his ears, he stood alone, fanning himself with the tail of a black hawk.
Keokuk tried to get him released. Often had he visited Clark on that errand, but no,—Black Hawk was summoned to Washington and went. Antoine Le Claire, son of old Antoine, was his interpreter.
Released, presently, he made a triumphal tour home, applauded by thousands along the route, even as Lafayette had been a few years before. Not so the Roman conquerors treated their captives! But Black Hawk came home to Keokuk to die.
The defeat of Black Hawk opened Iowa to settlement, and a day later prairie schooners overran the Black Hawk Purchase.
On the staff of General Atkinson when he m arched out of Jefferson Barracks for the Black Hawk War, was Meriwether Lewis Clark, now a graduate of West Point, and his cousin Robert Anderson, grandson of Clark's sister Eliza.
In the hurry and the heat of the march one day, Lieutenant Clark, riding from the rear back to the General, became enclosed by the troops of cavalry and had to ride slowly. By his side on a small horse he noticed a long-legged, dark-skinned soldier, with black hair hanging in clusters around his neck, a volunteer private. Admiringly the private gazed at Clark's fine new uniform and splendidly accoutred horse, a noble animal provided by his father at St. Louis.
Young Clark spoke to the soldier of awkward and unprepossessing appearance, whose witticisms and gift for stories kept his comrades in a state of merriment. He proved very inquisitive.
"The son of Governor Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition, did you say?"
"And related to all those great people?"
"Yes," with a laugh.
They chatted until the ranks began to thin.
"I must ride on," but feeling an interest in the lank, long-haired soldier, Lieutenant Clark turned again,—
"Where are you from and to what troop do you belong?"
"I am an Illinois volunteer."
"Well, now, tell me your name, and I will bid you good bye."
"My name is Abraham Lincoln, and I have not a relation in the world."
The next time they met, Meriwether Lewis Clark was marching through the streets of Washington City with other prisoners in Lee's surrendered army. And the President on the White House steps was Abraham Lincoln. The cousin of Meriwether Lewis Clark, Robert Anderson, hero of Fort Sumter, stood by Lincoln's side, with tears in his eyes.
Weeks before, when the land was ringing with his valour, the President had congratulated him and asked, "Do you remember me?"
"No, I never met you before."
"Yes," answered the President, "you are the officer that swore me in as a volunteer private in the Black Hawk War."
The next day the assassin's bullet laid low the martyred Lincoln; none mourned him more than Meriwether Lewis Clark, for in that President he had known a friend.
A GREAT LIFE ENDS
"Ruskosky, man, you tie my queue so tight I cannot shut my eyes!"
With both hands up to his head Governor Clark rallied his Polish attendant, who of all things was particular about his friend's appearance. For Ruskosky never considered himself a servant, nor did Clark. Ruskosky was an old soldier of Pulaski, a great swordsman, a gentleman, of courtly address and well educated, the constant companion of Governor Clark after the death of York.
"Come, let us walk, Ruskosky."
A narrow black ribbon was tied to the queue, the long black cloth cloak was brushed and the high broad-brim hat adjusted, the sword cane with buckhorn handle and rapier blade was grasped, and out they started.
Children stared at the ancient queue and small clothes. The oldest American in St. Louis, Governor Clark had come to be regarded as a "gentleman of the old school." A sort of halo hung around his adventures. Beloved, honoured, trusted, revered, his prominent nose and firm-set lips, his thin complexion in which the colour came and went, seemed somehow to belong to the Revoluti on. He was locally regarded as a great literary man, for had not the journals of his expedition been given to the world?
And now, too, delvers in historic lore began to realise what George Rogers Clark had done. Eighteen different authors desired to write his life, among them Madison, Chief Justice Marshall, and Washington Irving. But the facts could not be found. Irving sent his nephew to inquire of Governor Clark at St. Louis. But the papers were scattered, to be collected only by the industry of historical students later.
"Governor Clark is a fine soldier-like looking man, tall and thin," Irving's nephew reported to his uncle. "His hair is white, but he seems to be as hardy and vigorous as ever, and speaks of his exposures and hardships with a zest that shows that the spirit of the old explorer is not quenched."
Children danced on an old carriage in the orchard.
"Uncle Clark, when did you first have this carriage? When was it new?"
The chivalrous and romantic friendship of his youth came back to the Governor, and his eyes filled with tears.
"Children, that carriage belonged to Meriwether Lewis. In the settlement of his estate, I bought it. Many a time have we ridden in it together. That is the carriage that met Judy Hancock when she landed at St. Louis, the first American bride, a quarter of a century ago. Many a vicissitude has it encountered since, in journeyings through woods and prairies. It is old now, but it has a history."
In his later years Governor Clark travelled, made a tour of the Lakes, and visited New York, Boston, Buffalo, Cleveland, Sandusky, and Detroit.
"Hull?" said Clark at Detroit. "He was not a coward, but afraid for the people's sake of the cruelty of the Indians."
One day Governor Clark came ashore from a steamer on the Ohio and stood at the mouth of the Hockhocking where Dunmore had his camp in 1774. The battle of Point Pleasant? that was ancient history. Most of the residents in that region had never heard of it, and looked upon the old gentleman in a queue as a relic of the mound-builders.
With wide-eyed wonder they listened again to the story of that day when civilisation set its first milestone beyond the Alleghanies.
When the thundering cannon in 1837 announced the return of a fur convoy from the Yellowstone, Governor Clark expected a messenger.
"They haf put the sand over him," explained a Frenchman. "Yes, he is dead and buried."
"And my Mandan?"
"There are no more Mandans."
Clark looked at the trader in surprise.
The cheek of the Red Head paled.
Small-pox! In 1800 it swept from Omaha to Clatsop leaving a trail of bones. Thirty years later ten thousand Pawnees, Otoes, and Missouris perished. And now, despite all precautions, it had broken out on the upper Missouri.
In six weeks the wigwams of the Mandans were desolate. Out of sixteen hundred souls but thirty-one remained. Arikara, Minnetaree, Ponca, Assiniboine, sank before the contagion. The Sioux survived only because they lived not in fixed villages and were roaming uncontaminated.
Blackfeet along the Marias left their lodges standing with the dead in them, and never returned. The Crows abandoned their stricken ones, and fled to the mountains. Across the border beseeching Indians carried the havoc to Hudson's Bay, to Athabasca, and the Yukon. Over half a continent terrified tribes burnt their towns, slaughtered their families, pierced their own hearts or flung themselves from precipices.
Redmen yet unstricken poured into St. Louis imploring the white man's magic. Clark engaged physicians. Day after day vaccinating, vaccinating, they sat in their offices, saving the life of hundreds. He sent out agents with vaccine to visit the tribes, but the superstitious savages gathered up their baggage and scattered,——
"White men have come with small-pox in a bottle."
With this last great shock, the decimation of the tribes, upon him, Clark visibly declined.
"My children," he said to his sons, "I want to sleep in sight and sound of the Mississippi."
When the summons came, September 1, 1838, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, Meriwether Lewis Clark and his wife were with him, the deputy, James Kennerly and his wife, Elise, and old Ruskosky, inconsolable.
With great pomp and solemnity his funeral was celebrated, as had been that of his brother at Louisville twenty years before. Both were buried as soldiers, with minute guns and honours of war. In sight of the Ohio, George Rogers Clark sleeps, and below the grave of William Clark sweeps the Mississippi, roaring, swirling, bearing the life-blood of the land they were the first to explore.
The Sacs, with Keokuk at their head, marched in the long funeral train of their Red Head Father and wept genuine tears of desolation. No more, dressed in their best, did the Indians sing and dance through the streets of St. Louis, receiving gifts from door to door. The friend of the redmen was dead. St. Louis ceased to be the Mecca of their pilgrimages; no more their gala costumes enlivened the market; they disappeared.
For more than forty years William Clark had been identified with St. Louis,—had become a part of its history and of the West.
October 3, 1838, a few days after Clark, Black Hawk, too, breathed his last in his lodge, and was buried like the Sac chieftains of old, sitting upright, in the uniform given him by President Jackson, with his hand resting on the cane presented by Henry Clay.
He, too, said, "I like to look upon the Mississippi. I have looked upon it from a child. I love that beautiful river. My home has always been upon its banks." And there they buried him. Every day at sunset travellers along that road heard the weird heart-broken wail of Singing Bird, the widow of Black Hawk.
THE NEW WEST
Four years after the death of Governor Clark began the rush to Oregon. Dr. Lewis F. Linn, Senator from Missouri, and grandson of William Linn, the trusted lieutenant of George Rogers Clark, introduced a bill in Congress offering six hundred and forty acres of land to every family that would emigrate to Oregon. The Linns came to Missouri with Daniel Boone, and with the Boones they looked ever west! west!
"Six hundred and forty acres of land! A solid square mile of God's earth, clear down to the centre!" men exclaimed in amaze. While Ohio was still new, and the Mississippi Valley billowed her carpets of untrodden bloom, an eagle's flight beyond, civilisation leaped to Oregon.
From ferries where Kansas City and Omaha now stand they started, crossing the Platte by fords, by waggon-beds lashed together, and on rafts, darkening the stream for days. Before their buffalo hunters, innumerable herds made the earth tremble where Kansas-Nebraska cities are to-day. In 1843 Marcus Whitman piloted the first waggon train through to the Columbia.
"A thousand people? Starving did you say? Lord! Lord! They must have help to-night," exclaimed Dr. McLoughlin, the old white-haired Hudson's Bay trader at Fort Vancouver.
"Man the boats! People are starving at the Dalles!" and the noble-hearted representative of a rival government sent out his provision-laden bateaux to rescue the perishing Americans, who in spite of storms and tempests were gliding down the great Columbia as sixty years before their fathers floated down the Indian-hau nted Ohio.
And Indians were here, with tomahawks ready.
"Let us kill these Bostons!"
McLoughlin heard the word, and shook the speaker as a terrier shakes a rat.
"Dogs, you shall be punished!"
In his anxiety lest harm should come to the approaching Americans, all night long, his white hair wet in the rain, Dr. McLoughlin stood watching the boats coming down the Columbia, and building great bonfires where Lewis and Clark had camped in 1806. Women and little children and new-born babes slept in the British fur-trader's fort. Anglo-Saxon greeted Anglo-Saxon in the conquest of the world, to march henceforward hand in hand for ever.
Among the emigrants on the plains in 1846, was Alphonso Boone, the son of Jesse, the son of Daniel. Several grown-up Boone boys were there, and the beautiful Chloe and her younger sisters.
Chloe Boone rode a thorough-bred mare, a descendant of the choicest Boone stock, from the old Kentucky blue-grass region. Mounted upon her high-stepping mare, Chloe and her sisters and other young people of the train rode on ahead of the slow-going line of waggons and oxen. Gay was the laughter, and merry the songs, that rang out on the bright morning air.
Francis Parkman, the great historian, then a young man just out of college, was on the plains that year, collecting material for his books. Now and then they met parties of soldiers going to the Mexican War, and many a boy in blue turned to catch a glimpse of the sweet girl faces in Chloe's train.
Happily they rode in the Spring on the plains; more slowly when the heats of Summer came and the sides of the Rocky Mountains grew steep and rough; and slower still in the parched lands beyond, when the woodwork of the waggons began to shrink, and the worn-out animals to faint and fall.
"So long a journey!" said Chloe. Six months it took. Clothes wore out, babes were born, and people died.
They came into Oregon by the southern route, guided by Daniel Boone's old compass, the one given him by Dunmore to bring in the surveyors from the Falls of the Ohio seventy-two years before.
The Fall rains had set in. The Umpqua River was swollen,—eighteen times from bank to bank Chloe forded, in getting down Umpqua canyon.
"We shall have to leave the waggons and heavy baggage with a guard," said Colonel Boone, "and hurry on to the settlements."
They reached the Willamette Valley, pitched their tents where Corvallis now stands, and that Winter, in a little log cabin, Chloe Boone taught the first school ever conducted by a woman outside of the missions in Oregon.
Leaving the girls, Colonel Boone went back after the waggons. Alas! the guard was killed, the camp was looted, and Daniel Boone's old compass was gone for ever. Its work was done.
Alphonso Boone built a mansion near the present capital city of Salem and here Chloe married the Governor, George L. Curry, and for years beside the old Boone fireside the Governor's wife extended the hospitalities of the rising State. Albert Gallatin Boone camped on the site of Denver twenty years before Denver was, and negotiated the sale of Colorado from the Indians to the United States. John C. Boone, son of Nathan Boone, explored a new cut-off and became a pioneer of California. James Madison Boone drove stakes in Texas.
What years had passed since the expedition of Lewis and Clark! It seemed like a bygone event, but one who had shared its fortunes still lived on and on,—our old friend, Patrick Gass. In the War of 1812, above the roaring Falls of Niagara, Sergeant Gass spiked the enemy's cannon at the battle of Lundy's Lane. Years went on. A plain unpretentious citizen, Patrick worked at his trade in Wellsburg and raised his family.
In 1856 Patrick Gass headed a delegation of gray-haired veterans of the War of 1812 to Washington, and was everywhere lionised as the last of the men of Lewis and Clark.
On July 4, 1861, the land was aflame over the firing on Fort Sumter. All Wellsburg with her newly enlisted regiments for the war was gathered at Apple Pie Ridge to celebrate the day.
"Where is Patrick Gass?"
A grand carriage was sent for him, and on the shoulders of the boys in blue he was brought in triumph to the platform.
And the speech of his life Patrick Gass made that day, for his country and the Union. The simple, honest old hero brought tears to every eye, with a glimpse of the splendid drama of Lewis and Clark. Again they saw those early soldier-boys bearing the flag across the Rockies, suffering starvation and danger and almost death, to carry their country to the sea.
"But me byes, it's not a picnic ye're goin' to,—oh, far from it! No! no! 'T will be hard fur ye when ye come marchin' back lavin' yer comrades lyin' far from home and friends, but there is One to look to, who has made and kept our country."
It seemed the applause would never cease, with cheering and firing of cannon.
"Stay! stay!" cried the people. "Sit up on the table and let us have our banquet around you with the big flag floating over your head." In an instant Pat was down.
"Far enough is far enough!" he cried, "and be the divil, will yez try to make sport of mesilf?" Excitedly the modest old soldier slipped away.
The war ended. A railroad crossed the plains. Oregon and California were States. Alaska was bought. Still Pat lived on, until 1870, when he fell asleep, at the age of ninety-nine, the last of the heroic band of Lewis and Clark.
William Walker, who gave to the world the story of the Nez Percés, led his Wyandots into Kansas, and , with the first white settlers, organising a Provisional Government after the plan of Oregon, became himself the first Governor of Kansas-Nebraska.
Oh, Little Crow! Little Crow! what crimes were committed in thy name! In the midst of the war, 1862, Little Crow the third arose against the white settlers of Minnesota in one of the most frightful massacres recorded in history. Then came Sibley's expedition sweeping on west, opening the Dakotas and Montana.
The Indian? He fought and was vanquished. How we are beginning to love our Indians, now that we fear them no longer! No wild man ever so captured the imagination of the world. With inherent nobility, courage to the border of destruction, patriotism to the death, absolutely refusing to be enslaved, he stands out the most perfect picture of primeval man. We might have tamed him but we had not time. The movement was too swift, the pressure behind made the white men drivers as the Indians had driven before. Civilisation demands repose, safety. And until repose and safety came we could do no effective work for the Indian. We of to-day have lived the longest lives, for we have seen a continent transformed.
We have forgotten that a hundred years ago Briton and Spaniard and Frenchman were hammering at our gates; forgotten that the Indian beleaguered our wooden castles; forgotten that wolves drummed with their paws on our cabin doors, snapping their teeth like steel traps, while the mother hushed the wheel within and children crouched beneath the floor.
O mothers of a mighty past, thy sons are with us yet, fighting new battles, planning new conquests, for law, order, and justice.
Where rolls the Columbia and where the snow-peaks of Hood, Adams, Jefferson, Rainier, and St. Helens look down, a metropolis has arisen in the very Multnomah where Clark took his last soundings. Northward, Seattle sits on her Puget sea, southward San Francisco smiles from her golden gate, Spanish no more. Over the route where Lewis and Clark toiled slowly a hundred years ago, lo! in three days the traveller sits beside the sunset. Five transcontinental lines bear the rushing armies westward, ever westward into the sea. Bewildered a moment they pause, then turn—to the Conquest of the Poles and the Tropics. The frontiersman? He is building Nome City under the Arctic: he is hewing the forests of the