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‘ [412] They don't deserve so much attention.’ ‘I
Chap. XLVII.} 1772. March
agree with you,’ rejoined Hillsborough; ‘a regular Government for that District would be highly improper.’ The people of Illinois, weary of the shameless despotism which aimed only at forestalling tracts of land, the monopoly of the Indian trade, or the ruin of the French villages, took their cause into their own hands; they demanded institutions like those of Connecticut, and set themselves inflexibly against any proposal for a Government, which should be irresponsible to themselves. In 1771, they had assembled in a General Meeting, and had fixed upon their scheme; they never departed from it; ‘expecting to appoint their own Governor and all civil Magistrates.’1 The rights of freemen were demanded as boldly on the Prairies of Illinois as in Carolina or New England. Towards the people at Vincennes, Hillsborough was less relenting; for there was no Spanish shore to which they could fly. They were, by formal proclamation, peremptorily commanded to retire within the jurisdiction of some one of the Colonies.2 But the men3 of Indiana were as unwilling to abandon their homes in a settlement already seventy years old,4 as those of Illinois to give up the hope of freedom. The spirit of discontent pervaded every village in the wilderness; and what allegiance would men of French origin bear to a British King who proposed to take away their estates and to deny them liberty? The log cabins having been planted,

1 Hamilton to Gage, 8 Aug. 1772.

2 Proclamation of 8 April, 1772. Compare Gage to Hillsborough, 4 March, 1772.

3 Compare Inhabitants of Vincennes to Gage, 18 Sept. 1772, and Memorial of the same date.

4 ‘Notre établissement est de soixante et dix annees,’ Memorial, 18 Sept. 1772.

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