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[224] were threatening to wear away.1 To Hillsbo-
Chap. XXXVIII} 1768. Oct.
rough's great alarm,2 the adult men had been formed into military companies.3 Vincennes, the only settlement in Indiana, claimed to be within a year as old as Detroit,4 and had rapidly and surprisingly increased.5 Its own population, consisting of two hundred and thirty-two white persons, ten negro and seventeen Indian slaves, was recruited by one hundred and sixty-eight ‘strangers.’6 Detroit had now about six hundred souls.7 All the western villages abounded in wheat, Indian corn, and swine; of beeves there was more than one to each human being; and more than one horse to every two, counting slaves and children.

The course of the rivers inclined the French inhabitants of the West, in disregard of the British Navigation Acts, to send their furs to New Orleans;8 or across the river by night to St. Louis where they could be exchanged for French goods. All English merchandise came burdened with the cost of land carriage from Philadelphia to Fort Pitt.9 The British Navigation Acts spread their baleful influence over the western Prairies. In November, Wilkins, the new Commandant in Illinois, following suggestions from Gage, appointed seven civil Judges to decide local controversies;10

1 Gage to Hillsborough, 16 June, 1768.

2 Hillsborough to Gage, 12 Oct. 1768, and Gage to Hillsborough, 5 March, 1769.

3 Gage to Hillsborough, 17 August, 1768.

4 Remonstrances to General Gage from the old French Inhabitants.

5 Gage to Hillsborough, 6 January, 1769.

6 State of the Settlement at St. Vincent on the Ouabache; sent to England by Gage, 6 Jan. 1769; the account, like that of Illinois, was taken in 1768.

7 See Papers in Gage to Hillsborough, 15 May, 1768.

8 Captain Forbes to Gen. Gage, Fort Chartres, 15 April, 1768.

9 Information of the State of Commerce in the Illinois Country, given by Captain Forbes.

10 Peck's

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