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Derer wholly ceased until Governor Harrison, in 1802, at Vin. cennes, forbid prothonotaries from authenticating under the sanction of the official seal of the territory, and recorders from recording any of these fraudulent papers.*
1787–1800—ILLINOIS UNDER THE GOVERNMENT OF THE
Ordinance of 1787–Organization of St. Clair County–Bar of Illi
nois in 1790–Impoverished Condition of the French-Indian Hostilities, 1783 to 1795—Randolph County-American Immi- . gration-Sickness-Territorial Assembly at Cincinnati- Notable Women of the Olden T'ime— Witchcraft in Illinois.
The celebrated ordinance of 1787 was passed by the congress of the confederated States on the 13th of July of that year. By it, the whole of the country north-west of the river Ohio was constituted one district, for the purposes of temporary government. It provided for the descent of property in equal shares, substantially as under our present laws, (a just provision, not then generally recognized in the States, “saving, however, to the French and Canadian inhabitants and other settlers of Kaskaskia, St. Vincents, and other neighboring villages, who have heretofore professed themselves citizens of Virginia, their laws and customs now in force among them, relative to the descent and conveyance of property.” A governor was provided for, whose term of office was three years, who was to reside in the district and own a freehold of 1,000 acres of land; a secretary, whose commission was to run four years, subject to revocation: he was to reside in the district and own 500 acres of land. A court was provided for, to consist of three judges, two of them to constitute a court; they were to exercise common law jurisdiction, to reside in the district, own 500 acres of land, their commissions to last during good behavior. They, jointly with the governor, were to adopt such laws of the original States as were suitable to the conditions of the country, to remain in force until the organization of the general assembly, which might alter or re-adopt them; congress, also, might disapprove them. The governor was constituted commander-in-chief of the militia, with power to appoint all officers below the grade of general officers. Until the organization of the general assembly, the governor was to appoint all the civil officers in each county. He was to establish counties from time to time, to whose limits legal process was to run. With 5,000 free male inhabitants of full age, the territory was entitled to a general assembly, the time and place of election to be fixed by the governor; each 500 were entitled to one representative, till the number reached 25, after which the legislature was to regulate the number and proportion. The qualifications of a member were, either a residence in the territory three years, or citizenship in a State for three years and present residence in the territory, and a fee simple right to 200 acres of land within the same; qualification of an elector: freehold of 10 acres and citizenship in one of the States, or a like freehold and two years residence in the district. Representatives were elected for the term of two years. The assembly was to consist of the governor, council and house of representatives. The council was to consist of five members, three to constitute a quorum; time of service, five years. Congress was to select the council from ten men-residents of the territory, each having a freehold of 500 acres-nominated by the house of representatives. Bills, to become laws, must pass both houses by a majority and receive the signature of the governor, who possessed an absolute veto by simply withholding his approval. The two houses, by joint ballot, were to elect a delegate to congress, who was allowed to debate, but not to vote. An oath of office was to be taken by all the officers.
For extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, and to fix the basis of government of future States to be formed out of said territory, it was further provided, in six unalterable articles of perpetual compact between the people of the original states and the people of the territory :
1. No person, in peaceable demeanor, was to be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments.
II. The inhabitants were guaranteed the benefits of the writs of habeas corpus and trial by jury; a proportionate representation in the legislature and judicial proceedings according to the course of the common law. "All persons shall be bailable, unless for capital offenses, where the proof shall be evidentor the presumption great. All fines shall be moderate; and no cruel or unusual punishments shall be inflicted. No man shall be deprived of his liberty or his property, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land; and should the public exigencies make it necessary, for the common preservation, to take any person's property, or to demand his particular services, full compensation shall be made for the same." No law ought ever to be made or have force in said territory, that shall, in any manner, interfere with or affect private contracts or engagements made in good faith and without fraud.
III. Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. Good faith, justice and humanity toward the Indians, was to be observed; their lands and property not to be taken without consent, and peace and friendship to be cultivated.
IV. The territory, and States to be formed therein, were to remain forever a part of the United States, subject to her laws; the inhabitants to pay a just proportion of the public debt, contracted or to be contracted; not to tax the lands of the United States, nor those of non-residents higher than those of residents; the navigable waters of the lakes to remain forever free to all citizens of the United States.
V. The territory was not to be divided into less than three States, and, at its option, congress might "form one or two (more) States in that part which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan.” With 60,000 free inhabitants, such States were to be admitted into the union on an equal footing with the original States.
V. « There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted;" this section provides also for the reclamation of fugitives from labor.
Such was substantially the fundamental law of this vast territory, which has ever had a controlling influence upon the destiny of the States carved out of it, and saved some of them from the permanent blight of slavery. While the convention at Philadelphia was occupied in framing the constitution of the United States, congress, sitting in New York, disposed of this subject, which was fraught with an importance second only to the constitution itself. The anti-slavery clause, it will be observed, was substantially the same as that reported by Jefferson in 1784, for the organization of all the western territory, but which was then rejected. The ordinance was reported from committee by Mr. Dane, of Massachusetts, and unanimously adopted by the eight States then only represented in congress. On October 5, 1787, Major General Arthur St. Clair was, by congress, elected governor of the Northwestern territory. St. Clair was born in Scotland and emigrated to America in 1755. He served in the French and British war, under General Amherst, at the taking of Louisburg, in 1758, and at the storming of Quebec, under Wolfe, in 1759. After the peace of 1763, he settled in western Pennsylvania. In the war of the Revolution he was first commissioned a colonel, raised a regiment of 750 men and was afterward promoted to the rank of major general. In 1788 he was tried by court-martial for evacuating Ticonderoga and Mt. Independence, but was honorably acquitted. He remained in the service until the close of the war. In 1786 he was elected to congress, and was chosen president of that body. Owing to his losses in the war of the revolution, his friends pressed him for the governorship of the Northwestern Territory, that he might retrieve his fortune. But he had neither taste nor genius for speculation in lands, nor did he think it consistent with the office.'*
The instructions from congress were, in effect, to promote peace and harmony between the Indians and the United States, to defeat all combinations or confederations between them, and conciliate good feeling between them and the white settlers; to regulate trade with them; to ascertain as far as possible the several tribes, their head men and number of warriors, and by every means attach them to the government of the United States; and to neg. lect no opportuuity to extinguish the Indian titles to lands westward as far as the Mississippi, and north to the 41st degree of north latitude.
In the summer of 1788, the governor and judges (Samuel Holden Parsons, James Mitchell Varnum, and John Cleves Symmes), met at Marietta, the seat of government, and adopted and promulgated a code of laws for the whole territory. The governor immediately established some counties, except in Illinois, appointed the civil officers for them, and thus, July 15th, the machinery of the territorial government under the U. S. was put into operation. These steps by the judges and governor were comnionly denominated the first grade of territorial government under the ordinance.
*His letter to W. B. Giles, of Virginia.
As characteristic of the period, we note that the punishments for crimes, owing to the want of prisons, were generally of a summary character: death, for murder, treason, and arson (if loss of life ensued therefrom); whipping with 39 lashes, and fine, for larceny, burglary and robbery; for perjury, whipping, fine, or standing in the pillory; for forgery, fine, disfranchisement and standing in the pillory; drunkenness, fine, for non-payment of which to stand in the stocks; for non-payment of fines generally, the sheriff was empowered to bind out the convict for a term not exceeding 7 years; obscene conversation and profane swearing were admonished against, and threatened with the loss of the gov. ernment's confidence; morality and piety were enjoyned, and the Sabbath pronounced sacred.
Under date of October 6th, 1789, president Washington wrote to Governor St. Clair: You will also proceed, as soon as you can, with safety, to execute the orders of the late congress respecting the inhabitants at Post Vincennes and at the Kaskaskias, and the other villages on the Mississippi. It is a circumstance of some importance, that the said inhabitants should, as soon as possible, possess the lands which they are entitled to, by some known and fixed principle. Accordingly in February, Gov. St. Clair and the Secretary, Winthrop Sargent, arrived at Kaskaskia. The country within the boundaries of our present State extending northward to the mouth of the Little Mackinaw creek on the Illinois was organized into a county, which was named after His Excellency, St. Clair, and may be called the mother of counties in Illinois. It was divided into three judicial districts; a court of common pleas established; 3 judges appointed, namely: John Edgar, of Kaskaskia , John Babtiste Barbeau, of Prairie du Rocher, and John D. Moulin, of Cahokia, each to hold the courts for and in the district of his residence. The terms were fixed to be held every three months, hence the name of quarter sessions, by which the courts were generally known. William St. Clair, brother of the governor, was appointed clerk and recorder of deeds, and William Biggs, sheriit. Cahokia became the county seat. While the clerk could issue process for the county, and the sheriff serve the same, suit had to be brought and entitled of the district where the defendant resided, and the writs to bear test of the judges of the respective districts, dated at the respective villages and run with the respectire districts. Grand juries were to be quarterly organized in each district. The right of appeal was rendered practically nugatory, and in no case was it resorted to. The sessions of the U.S. judges for the territory were held in banc at either Cincinnati or Chillicothe, a distance so great from Illinois, by the then facilities of travel, as to render appeal impracticable. Of the judges, John de Moulin, a native of Switzerland, possessing a good education and fair knowledge of the civil law, was a large, fine looking man, a bachelor. He was also colonel of the militia, and showed well on parade days. He was very popular. Jean Babtiste Barbeau, was of the original Canadian French stock, long settled in Illinois; energetic, fair business talent, and extensive experience. John Edgar was an Englishman. Justices of the peace were also appointed throughout the county. Their jurisdiction was limited to