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discover Abuses, that I hope to be of some Consequence without falling under the Character of an Informer [Endorsement] Extract of a Letter from the Illinois
to Genl. Gage
Edward Cole to Sir William Johnson, Fort Chartres February 12, 1769.
[Sir William Johnson Mss, vol. 17, p. 66. A. L. S.] Dear Sir
Yours of 26th of July last came to Hand the 12th of December last. I Imediately dischard all the Subordinate officers under me, and Hartily Wish these alterations may Turn out for the best I am in Hopes that I shall be able to Leave this Country, in two or three months at Farthest. I shall Loose no time to wait on you. and Flatter myself I shall be able to give you a more Satisfactory account, of the Indians in this part of the world, then has been in my power to do heretofore.
And Doubt not if any thing Should happing-wherein I might be of Service, you will be as Mindful of me as formerly, and be assured I Shall ever Retain a Grateful Sence of the many Favours I have Received from You. My best Compliment to Sir John, and your Family and believe me to be Dr. Sir with the utmost Esteem
Yours Most obt. Huml. Servt. Edwd. Cole Fort Chartres Feby. 12th 1769 [Endorsement] Fort Chartres, Feby. 12th 1769 Comsry.
Commissary Edward Cole to Sir William Johnson, New Orleans, June 13, 1769.
Sir William Johnson Mss, vol. 17, p. 189. A. Li S. Dear Sir
I am thus Far on my way to you. I left Fort Chartres the 25th of Apl. and arrived here in 13 days, there is Vessels daily Expected here, from New York, and Philadelphia. Shall Embrace the first Oppertunity.
You will Doubtless before you receive this, have heard of Pondiac's being killed by the Pariorias who live at Cabákia. what Effect it will have amongst the Indians, I cant say, no very good one I believe as they already Seem discontented enough a few Nights before I left the Illinois, there was a Soldier and his wife Scalped, a little way from the Fort in their Bed. Supposed to be Ouabach Indians, and Since my Departure Six Kaskaskias Indians was Scalped between the Fort and their Vilage by the Sacks & Reynards. Shall be better able to informe you, when I have the pleasure of Seeing You.
My Compliments to your Family I am Sir with the Utmost Respect Your Most obt. Huml. Servt. Edward Cole New Orleans June 13th 1769. Sir William Johnson [Endorsement] New Orleans June 13th 1769 Comisry. Coles Letter
A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF GEORGE
By Oscar B. Hamilton. About the year 1820, Dr. Silas Hamilton, a resident of the state of Vermont, and who, being very much opposed to the system of slavery as then existing in the southern states, formed a plan for ameliorating the condition of the slaves, by himself going into the “Black Belt” of the south, and there opening and conducting a slave plantation, in an intelligent and humane way, with the idea that his neighbor planters, observing his success, might be induced thereby, to abandon the cruel and inhuman treatment of their slaves.
In pursuance of this idea he purchased a plantation in Adams county, in the state of Mississippi, and proceeded to stock it with slaves, that he employed in raising cotton and other crops usually grown in that locality. He made occasional trips back to his old home in Vermont, and, as there were then no railroads or other convenient modes of public conveyance, he made these trips on horseback; sometimes bringing back with him those of his friends that desired to change their location to the south.
Upon one of these trips, when returning with a wagon and team, conveying a white family, having stopped in Washington City for a short time, he crossed the Potomac river into Virginia, and while passing a plantation, heard the distressing cries of a child. This continued with such vehemence that he finally turned his horse and rode up to the dwelling house, to ascertain the occasion of the trouble, and, if possible, assist in its relief.
Upon inquiry, he was informed, that a day or two before the master had sold the child's mother to a trader to be taken south, and that from the time that the mother had been taken away, the child had continued to cry and lament, and that they had been unable to do anything to assuage or quiet his grief. That he was afraid that the child would grieve himself to death.
After a consultation over the matter for some time, Dr. Hamilton purchased the boy “George” for $100.00. His master's name being Washington, from that time the boy, who was the subject of this sketch, was named “George Washington.”
Dr. Hamilton took his purchase to his wagon, telling him that he would take him south, and perhaps they might be able to find his mother. After a time the boy became reconciled, and was taken through to the Mississippi plantation, and remained there until his new master finally concluded that the object of his experiment was a failure, in so far as it was intended to influence his neighbor planters to modify and ameliorate the inhuman treatment of their slaves was concerned.
At the time mentioned, and from thence until the civil war, the border states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri were the breeding grounds that furnished the supply of slaves for the cotton, sugar and rice plantations of the “Black Belt” of the south. Slave markets were then as common as horse and cattle markets are now. Slaves, male and female, were as openly handled and examined by traders and purchasers, to ascertain as to the soundness of their bodies, muscles, limbs, teeth and eyes, as traders and purchasers now examine horses, mules and cattle. And in many instances breeders, in their anxiety to succeed financially, sold their own flesh and blood. Slave auctions were then held in all of the larger cities of the slave states.
In 1830, Dr. Hamilton having determined to give up his Mississippi experiment and remove to the north
where social life and conditions were more congenial, he went to the home of his nephew, Thomas M. Hamilton (Grandfather of the writer), who, with his parents, had removed from Vermont to the Territory of Ohio, with the “Ohio Company,” in 1792, and settled upon the Muskingum river and remained there until the winter of 1817-1818, when he built a flatboat and loaded his family and effects thereon, and went thence down the Muskingum and Ohio rivers to Cairo and up the Mississippi river to Kaskaskia, then the capital of Ilinois Territory, and settled at “New Design,” in St. Clair county, as a neighbor to the noted Rev. James Lemen, who became their intimate friend and pastor, and for whom he voted as delegate to the Constitutional Convention, which formed the Constitution under which the state was admitted into the Union. Mr. Lemen was elected as a delegate and after the state was admitted he was elected to the first and to several succeeding sessions of the Legislature, and by reason of his great ability and his wide acquaintance with the leading men in public life in the new state, he exerted a powerful influence in securing the exclusion of slavery, under the Constitution, and in the legislation, subsequent to its adoption. The contests over the question of the rights of master and slave, in the new state were long and bitter, and the parties were very evenly divided, but Mr. Lemen was always found fighting for freedom. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution there were a great many slaves held in the state, and the courts afterwards held that the Constitution and statutes were not retroactive and that masters owning slaves at the time of the adoption of the Constitution could hold them and their children during their lives.
After a short rest at New Design, Dr Hamilton and his nephew started on horseback for the purpose of seeking a location for permanent settlement. They went as far north as Springfield, west to Quincy and thence south