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[336] from royal grants was avoided. This is the first
chap. XVIII.} 1765. Oct.
great step towards independence. Dummer had pleaded for colony charters; Livingston, Gadsden, and the Congress of 1765, provided for Americans self-existence and union, by claiming rights that preceded charters, and would survive their ruin.

And how would that union extend? What nations would be included in the name of Americans? The members of that Congress believed themselves responsible for the liberties of the continent; and even while they were deliberating, the vast prairies of Illinois, the great eastern valley of the Mississippi, with all its rivers gushing from the Alleghanies, with all its boundless primeval forests, spreading from the mountain tops to the alluvial margin of the mighty stream, with all its solitudes, in which futurity would summon the eager millions of so many tongues to build happy homes, passed from the sway of France into the temporary custody of England.

The French officers had, since the peace, been ready loyally to surrender the country to the English. From Mobile, Ross had passed through the land of the Choctaws and the Chickasaws, to the Cherokee river, which he descended in a canoe of his own building, to the Ohio, and so to the Mississippi and the Illinois. But the Illinois, the Missouri, and the Osage tribes, in a council held at Fort Chartres, breathed nothing but war. In vain did St. Ange entreat them to be soothed. ‘My father,’ spoke the chief of the Kaskaskias in the name of all, ‘My father, the Illinois nation deliberates on what it will do, without the counsel of others; but in what we have now done, we follow the mind of all the red men. We have ’

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