« AnteriorContinuar »
or other ecclesiastical bodies of Illinois; political addresses; railroad reports; all such, whether published in painphlet or newspaper.
5. Catalogues and reports of colleges and other institutions of learning; annual or other reports of school boards, school superintendents and school committees; educational pamphlets, programs and papers of every kind, no matter how small or apparently unimportant.
6. Copies of the earlier laws, journals and reports of our territorial and State Legislatures; earlier Governor's messages and reports of State Officers; reports of State charitable and other State institutions.
7. Files of Illinois newspapers and magazines, especially complete volumes of past years, or single numbers even. Publishers are earnestly requested to contribute their publications regularly, all of which will be carefully preserved and bound.
8. Maps of the State, or of counties or townships, of any date; views and engravings of buildings or historic places; drawings or photographs of scenery, paintings, portraits, etc., connected with Illinois history.
9. Curiosities of all kinds; coins, medals, paintings; portraits, en. gravings; statuary; war relics; autograph letters of distinguished persons, etc.
10. Facts illustrative of our Indian tribes—their history, characteristics, religion, etc., sketches of prominent chiefs, orators and warriors, together with contributions of Indian weapons, costumes, ornaments, curiosities and implements; also stone axes, spears, arrow heads, pottery, or other relics.
It is important that the work of collecting historical material in regard to the part taken by Illinois in the great war be done immediately, before important local material be lost or destroyed.
In brief, everything that, by the most liberal construction, can illustrate the history of Illinois, its early settlement, its progress, or present condition. All will be of interest to succeeding generations. Contributions will be credited to the donors in the published reports of the Library and Society, and will be carefully preserved as the property of the State, for the use and benefit of the people for all time.
Your attention is called to the important duty of collecting and preserving everything relating to the part taken by the State of Illinois in the late great World War.
Communications or gifts may be addressed to the Librarian and Secretary.
(Mrs.) JESSIE PALMER WEBER.
THE NORTHWESTERN CAREER OF JEFFERSON DAVIS.
By M. M. QUAIFE. To the career of Jefferson Davis, leader of the Confederacy in the greatest Civil War the world has yet witnessed, much study has been given, and it might reasonably be supposed that little information concerning his life remains to be disclosed. Yet his numerous biographers have all passed lightly over one important period, covering half a dozen years of his early manhood, and the little they have set down is of questionable validity. To this lost chapter in his career my paper is devoted.
The reason for the lost chapter's existence is simple enough. Davis was born in Kentucky, his mature life was passed as a citizen of Mississippi, and he is commonly remembered as the leader of his section in the war for the destruction of the Union. In short, his career seems wholly identified with the south, and all of his biographers have been southern men. That he spent five years following his graduation from West Point in the Northwest, chiefly at the army posts of Fort Crawford and Fort Winnebago, is, of course, well known to them. But written records pertaining to this period of his life are few and scattered; while the biographers, far removed from the scene, have been ignorant alike of the local geography and the local lore which has been handed down. Thus handicapped, they have passed lightly over this period in Davis' life, contenting themselves for the most part with a more or less accurate repetition of the narrative recorded by Mrs. Davis in her two-volume llemoir of her husband.
My own study promises no novel or startling revelations. From the vantage point of familiarity with the local geography and access to the local sources of information, however, I have endeavored to assemble and correlate critically what is yet to be known of Davis' life in the Northwest—with what success, must be left to the judgment of my readers.
Over the life of Davis prior to his advent in the Northwest we may pass with but few words. He was born in Christian,
now Todd County, Kentucky in June, 1808; three years later his family removed to southwestern Mississippi, and until he was sixteen years of age young Davis lived alternately in these two states. Several of these years were spent in school in his native state, the last two or three as a student of Transylvania University at Lexington. In the summer of 1824, which may be taken as marking the close of his boyhood, Davis was appointed to a cadetship at West Point. Thereupon he left un. finished his course at Transylvania and went to the military academy, where he graduated in the spring of 1828.
After a vacation of several months, spent in Mississippi, the young soldier repaired to Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis, then the western headquarters of the United States Army, and from here he was shortly ordered to Fort Crawford, Michigan Territory, whose site is better known to the present generation as Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.
The principal reliance of Davis' biographers for the period of his northwestern career which was thus initiated has been the material set forth by Mrs. Davis in the first 160 pages of her Memoir. Since I shall have much to say about this work, it will be well to take some account of it here. For that portion of her husband's life on which she wrote from personal knowledge, the author was fitted, presumably, to speak with authority. She first became acquainted with Davis in December, 1843, over ten years after the termination of his northwestern career, at the beginning of which in 1828 she had been but an infant. For the period of his life before her marriage, therefore, Mrs. Davis drew upon various writings left by her husband, on the recollections of certain of his old-time friends, and on her own remembrance of things she had heard him relate during their years together. The numerous gaps in the story which still remained she endeavored to fill in as best she might by resort to various printed sources of information.
The work produced by these methods is of uneven value and highly inaccurate and confusing. The portions of it which
1 The author, who was the second wife of Davis, was seventeen years of age at their time of this first meeting.
2 They were married in February, 1845, when Davis was almost thirty-seven years of age, and the bride eighteen.
3 My remarks are applied only to the early portion of the Memoir covering the years prior to Mrs. Davis' personal acquaintance with her husband. Even the more scholarly of his biographers (of whom Professor Dodd is the chief ex