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Chapter 15:

The governor of Virginia Nullifies the Quebec act.

October—November, 1774.

The attempt to extend the jurisdiction of Quebec to
Chap. XV.} 1774.
the Ohio river had no sanction in English history, and was resisted by the older colonies, especially by Virginia. The interest of the crown offices in the adjacent provinces was also at variance with the policy of parliament.

No royal governor showed more rapacity in the use of official power than Lord Dunmore. He had reluctantly left New York, where, during his short career, he had acquired fifty thousand acres of land, and himself acting as chancellor, was preparing to decide in his own court in his own favor, a large and unfounded claim which he had preferred against the lieutenant governor. Upon entering on the government of Virginia, his passion for land and fees, outweighing the proclamation of the king and reiterated and most positive instructions from the secretary of state, he advocated the claims of the colony to the West; and was himself a partner in two immense purchases of [162] land from the Indians in southern Illinois. In 1773,

Chap. XV.} 1774.
his agents, the Bullets, made surveys at the falls of the Ohio; and a part of Louisville, and of the towns opsite Cincinnati, are now held under his warrant. The area of the Ancient Dominion expanded with his cupidity.

Pittsburg, and the country as far up the Monongahela as Redstone Old Fort, formed the rallying point for western emigration and Indian trade. It was a part of the county of Westmoreland, in Pennsylvania. Suddenly and without proper notice to the council of that province, Dunmore extended his own jurisdiction over the tempting and well-peopled region. He found a willing instrument in one John Conolly, a native of Pennsylvania, a physician, landjobber, and subservient political intriguer, who had travelled much in the Ohio valley, both by water and land. Commissioned by Dunmore as captaincommandant for Pittsburg and its dependencies, that is to say of all the western country, Conolly opened the year 1774 with a proclamation of his authority; and he directed a muster of the militia. The western people, especially the emigrants from Maryland and Virginia, spurned the meek tenets of the Quakers, and inclined to the usurpation. The governor and council of Pennsylvania took measures to support their indisputable right. This Dunmore passionately resented as a personal insult, and would neither listen to irrefragable arguments, nor to candid offers of settlement by joint commissioners, nor to the personal application of two of the council of Pennsylvania. Jurisdiction was opposed to jurisdiction; arrests were followed by counter arrests; the country on the Monongahela, then [163] the great avenue to the West, became a scene of con-

Chap. XV.} 1774.

The territory north and west of the Ohio, belonged by act of parliament to the province of Quebec; yet Dunmore professed to conduct the government and grant the lands on the Scioto, the Wabash and the Illinois. South of the Ohio river Franklin's inchoate province of Vandalia stretched from the Alleghanies to Kentucky river; the treaty at Fort Stanwix bounded Virginia by the Tennessee; the treaty at Lochaber carried its limit only to the mouth of the Great Kanawha. The king's instructions confined settlements to the east of the mountains. There was no one, therefore, having authority to give an undisputed title to any land west of the Alleghanies, or to restrain the restlessness of the American emigrants. With the love of wandering that formed a part of their nature, the hardy backwoodsman, clad in a hunting shirt and deerskin leggins, armed with a rifle, a powder horn, and a pouch for shot and bullets, a hatchet and a hunter's knife, descended the mountains in quest of more distant lands which he forever imagined to be richer and lovelier than those which he knew. Wherever he fixed his halt, the hatchet hewed logs for his cabin, and blazed trees of the forest kept the record of his title deeds; nor did he conceive that a British government had any right to forbid the occupation of lands, which were either uninhabited or only broken by a few scattered villages of savages, whom he looked upon as but little removed above the brute creation.

The Indians themselves were regardless of treaties. Notwithstanding the agreement with Bouquet [164] they still held young men and women of Virginia in

Chap. XV.} 1774.
captivity; and the annals of the wilderness never ceased to record their barbarous murders. The wanderer in search of a new home on the banks of the Mississippi, risked his life at every step; so that a system of independent defence and private war became the custom of the backwoods. The settler had every motive to preserve peace; yet he could not be turned from his purpose by fear, and trusted for security in the forest to his perpetual readiness for self-defence. Not a year passed away without a massacre of pioneers. Near the end of 1773, Daniel Boone would have taken his wife and children to Kentucky. At Powell's valley, he was joined by five families and forty men. On or near the tenth of October, as they approached Cumberland Gap, the young men who had charge of the pack-horses and cattle in the rear, were suddenly attacked by Indians; one only escaped; the remaining six, among whom was Boone's eldest son, were killed on the spot; so that the survivors of the party were forced to turn back to the settlements on Clinch river. When the Cherokees were summoned from Virginia to give up the offenders, they shifted the accusation from one tribe to another, and the application for redress had no effect; but one of those who had escaped, murdered an Indian at a horse race on the frontier, notwithstanding the interposition of all around. This was the first Indian blood shed by a white man from the time of the treaty of Bouquet.

In the beginning of February, 1774, the Indians killed six white men and two negroes; and near the end of the same month, they seized a trading canoe [165] on the Ohio, killed the men on board, and carried

Chap. XV.} 1774.
their goods to the Shawanese towns. In March, Michael Cresap, after a skirmish, and the loss of one man on each side, took from a party of Indians five loaded canoes. It became known that messages were passing between the tribes of the Ohio, the western Indians, and the Cherokees. In this state of affairs, Conolly, from Pittsburg, on the twenty-first of April, wrote to the inhabitants of Wheeling to be on the alert.

Incensed by the succession of murders, the backwoodsmen, who were hunters like the Indians and equally ungovernable, were forming war parties along the frontier from the Cherokee country to Pennsylvania. When the letter of Conolly fell into Cresap's hands, he and his party esteemed themselves authorized to engage in private war, and on the twenty-sixth of April, they fired upon two Indians who were with a white man in a canoe on the Ohio, and killed them both. Just before the end of April, five Delawares and Shawanese, with their women, among whom was one at least of the same blood with Logan, happening to encamp near Yellow Creek, on the site of the present town of Wellsville, were enticed across the river by a trader; and when they had become intoxicated, were murdered in cold blood. Two others, crossing the Ohio to look after their friends, were shot down as soon as they came ashore. At this, five more, who were following, turned their course; but being immediately fired at, two were killed and two wounded. The day following, a Shawanese was killed, and another man wounded. The whole number of Indians killed between the [166] twenty-first of April and the end of the month, was

Chap. XV.} 1774.
about thirteen.

At the tidings of this bloodshed, fleet messengers of the Red Men ran with the wail of war to the Muskingum, and to the Shawanese villages in Ohio. The alarm of the emigrants increased along the frontier from the Watauga to the lower Monongahela; and frequent expresses reached Williamsburg, entreating assistance. The governor, following an intimation from the assembly in May, ordered the militia of the frontier counties to be embodied for defence. Meantime Logan's soul called within him for revenge. In his early life he had dwelt near the beautiful plain of Shamokin, which overhangs the Susquehanna and the vale of Sunbury. There Zinzendorf introduced the Cayuga chief, his father, to the Moravians; and there, three years later, Brainerd wore away life as a missionary among the fifty cabins of the village. Logan had grown up as the friend of white men; but the spirits of his kindred clamored for blood. With chosen companions, he went out upon the war path, and added scalp to-scalp, till the number was also thirteen. ‘Now,’ said the chief, ‘I am satisfied for the loss of my relations, and will sit still.’

But the Shawanese, the most warlike of the tribes, prowled from the Alleghany river to what is now Sullivan county in Tennessee. One of them returned with the scalps of forty men, women, and children. On the other hand, a party of white men, with Dunmore's permission, destroyed an Indian village on the Muskingum. To restrain the backwoodsmen and end the miseries [167] which distracted the frontier, and to look after

Chap. XV.} 1774. Sept.
his own interests and his agents, Dunmore, with the hearty approbation of the colony, called out the militia of the southwest, and himself repaired to Pittsburg. In September he renewed peace with the Delawares and the Six Nations. Then, with about twelve hundred men from the counties around him, he descended the Ohio; and without waiting, as he had promised, at the mouth of the little Kanawha, for the men from the southwestern counties of Virginia, he crossed the river and proceeded to the Shawanese towns, which he found deserted.

The summons from Dunmore, borne beyond the Blue Ridge, roused the settlers on the Green Briar, the New River, and the Holston. The Watauga republicans also, who never owned English rule, and never required English protection, heard the cry of their brethren in distress; and a company of nearly fifty of them, under the command of Evan Shelby, with James Robertson and Valentine Sevier as sergeants, marched as volunteers. The name of every one of them is preserved and cherished. Leaving home in August, they crossed the New river, and joined the army of western Virginia at Camp Union, on the Great Levels of Green Briar. From that place, now called Lewisburg, to the mouth of the Great Kanawha, the distance is about one hundred and sixty miles. At that time there was not even a trace over the rugged mountains; but the gallant young woodsmen who formed the advance party, moved expeditiously with their packhorses and droves of cattle through the old home of the wolf, the deer, and the panther. After a fortnight's struggle, [168] they left behind them the last rocky masses of

Chap. XV.} 1774. Sept.
the hill-tops; and passing between the gigantic growth of primeval forests where, in that autumnal season, the golden hue of the linden, the sugar tree, and the hickory, contrasted with the glistening green of the laurel, the crimson of the sumach, and the shadows of the sombre hemlock, they descended to where the valley of Elk river widens into a plain. There they paused only to build canoes; having been
joined by a second party, so that they made a force of nearly eleven hundred men, they descended the Kanawha, and on the sixth of October encamped on Point Pleasant, near its junction with the Ohio. But no message reached them from Dunmore.

Of all the Western Indians, the Shawanese were the fiercest. They despised other warriors, red or white; and made a boast of having killed ten times as many of the English as any other tribe. They stole through the forest with Mingoes and Delawares, to attack the army of southwestern Virginia.

At daybreak on Monday, the tenth of October, two young men, rambling up the Ohio in search of deer, fell on the camp of the Indians, who had crossed the river the evening before, and were just preparing for battle. One of the two was instantly shot down; the other fled with the intelligence to the camp. In two or three minutes after, Robertson and Sevier of Shelby's company came in and confirmed the account. Colonel Andrew Lewis, who had the command, instantly ordered out two divisions, each of one hundred and fifty men; the Augusta troops, under his brother Charles Lewis, the Botetourt troops under Fleming. Just as the sun [169] was rising, the Indians opened a heavy fire on both

Chap. XV.} 1774. Oct.
parties; wounding Charles Lewis mortally. Fleming was wounded thrice; and the Virginians must have given way, but for successive reinforcements from the camp. ‘Be strong,’ cried Cornstalk, the chief of the Red Men; and he animated them by his example. Till the hour of noon, the combatants fought from behind trees, never above twenty yards apart, often within six, and sometimes near enough to strike with the tomahawk. At length the Indians, under the protection of the close underwood and fallen trees, retreated, till they gained an advantageous line extending from the Ohio to the Kanawha. A desultory fire was kept up on both sides till after sunset, when under the favor of night, the savages fled across the river. The victory cost the Virginians three colonels of militia, forty-six men killed and about eighty wounded.

This battle was the most bloody and best contested in the annals of forest warfare. The number of the Red Men who were engaged, was probably not less than eight hundred; how many of them fell was never ascertained.

The heroes of that day proved themselves worthy to found states. Among them were Isaac Shelby, the first governor of Kentucky; William Campbell; the brave George Matthews; Fleming; Andrew Moore, afterwards a senator of the United States; Evan Shelby, James Robertson, and Valentine Sevier. Their praise resounded not in the backwoods only, but through all Virginia.

Soon after the battle a reinforcement of three hundred troops arrived from Fincastle. Following [170] orders tardily received from Dunmore, the little army,

Chap. XV.} 1774 Oct.
leaving a garrison at Point Pleasant, dashed across the Ohio to defy new battles. After a march of eighty miles through an untrodden wilderness, on the twentyfourth of October they encamped on the banks of Congo Creek in Pickaway, near old Chillicothe. The Indians, disheartened at the junction, threw themselves on the mercy of the English; and at Camp Charlotte, which stood on the left bank of Sippo Creek, about seven miles southeast of Circleville, Dunmore admitted them to a conference. Logan did not appear; but through an Indian interpreter he sent this message:

‘I appeal to any white man to say if he ever entered Logan's cabin, and I gave him not meat; if he ever came naked, and I clothed him not. In the course of the last war Logan remained in his cabin, an advocate for peace. Such was my love for the whites that the rest of my nation pointed at me, and said, “Logan is the friend of white men.” I should have ever lived with them, had it not been for one man, who, last spring, cut off, unprovoked, all the relations of Logan, not sparing women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any living creature. This called upon me for revenge. I have sought it; I have killed many, and fully glutted my revenge. For my nation, I rejoice in the beams of peace; but nothing I have said proceeds from fear! Logan disdains the thought! He will not turn on his heel to save his life! Who is there to mourn for Logan? Not one.’

Before the council was brought to a close, all differences were adjusted. The Shawanese agreed to [171] deliver up their prisoners without reserve; to restore

Chap. XV.} 1774. Oct.
all horses and other property which they had carried off; to hunt no more on the Kentucky side of the Ohio; to molest no boats passing on the river; to regulate their trade by the king's instructions, and to deliver up hostages. Virginia has left on record her judgment, that Dunmore's conduct in this campaign was ‘truly noble, wise, and spirited.’ The results inured exclusively to the benefit of America. The Indians desired peace; the rancor of the white people changed to confidence, and the Virginian army, appearing as umpire in the valley of the Scioto, nullified the statute which extended the jurisdiction of Quebec to the Ohio.

The western Virginians, moreover, halting at Fort

Nov. 5.
Gower on the north of the Ohio, on the fifth of November, took their part in considering the grievances of their country. They were ‘blessed with the talents’ to bear all hardships of the woods; to pass weeks comfortably without bread or salt; for dress, to be satisfied with a blanket, or a hunting shirt and skins; to sleep with no covering but heaven; to march further in a day than any men in the world, and to use the rifle with a precision that to all but themselves was a miracle. For three months they had heard nothing from the east, where some jealousy might arise of so large a body of armed men under a leader like Dunmore. They, therefore, held themselves bound to publish their sentiments. Professing zeal for the honor of America and especially Virginia, they promised continued allegiance to the king, if he would but reign over them as ‘a brave and free people.’ ‘But,’ said they, ‘as attachment to the [172] real interests and just rights of America outweigh
Chap. XV.} 1774.
every other consideration, we resolve that we will exert every power within us for the defence of American liberty, when regularly called forth by the unanimous voice of our countrymen.’

America contrasted the regiments of regulars at Boston, ingloriously idle and having no purpose but to enslave a self-protected province, with the noble Virginians braving danger at the call of a royal governor, and pouring out their blood to win the victory for western civilization.

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