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resolution that Nathaniel Pope further proved his statesmanship. The petition of the Illinois legislature praying for statehood was granted, and Illinois with less than forty thousand inhabitants, through the labors of Nathaniel Pope, was admitted as a state into our Union.
NORTHERN BOUNDARY. Article V of the Ordinance of 1787 fixed the limits of the states to be carved from the Northwest Territory. It also provided that Congress had authority to form one or two states in that part of the territory "which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan."
Mr. Pope, fully alive to the interests of his constituency, secured several amendments to the bill. The house of representatives had resolved itself into a committee of the whole, and Mr. Pope first moved to strike out the description which bounded Illinois on the north by a line drawn directly west from the southerly bend of Lake Michigan, and insert the following:
“Beginning at the mouth of the Wabash river, hence up the same, and with the line of Indiana to the northwest corner of said state, thence east with the line of the same state to the middle of Lake Michigan; thence north along the middle of said lake to north latitude 42 degrees 30 minutes; thence west to the middle of the Mississippi river, and thence down along the middle of that river to its confluence with the Ohio river, and thence up the river along its northwest shore to the beginning."
This boundary was adopted. Many histories, in referring to this incident, give what purports to be a part of Mr. Pope's speech, as follows:
“If her commerce is to be confined to that great arters of communication, the Mississippi, which washes her entire western border, and to its chief tributary on the south, the Ohio, there is a possibility that her commercial relations with the south may become so closely connected
that in the event of an attempted dismemberment of the Union, Illinois will cast her lot with the southern states. On the other hand, to fix the northern boundary of Illinois upon such a parallel of latitude as would give to the state territorial jurisdiction over the southern shores of Lake Michigan, would be to unite the incipient commonwealth to the states of Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York in a bond of common interest, well nigh indissoluble. By the adoption of such a line Illinois may become at some future time the keystone to the perpetuity of the Union.”
In view of the events that followed, Pope's speech might almost be called prophetic. I have always felt that I would like to be certain that Nathaniel Pope in 1818 said what is attributed to him.
“The Annals of Congress," under date of April 4, 1818, in mentioning Mr. Pope's argument, among other things credit him with saying:
“This would afford additional security to the perpetuity of the Union.”
These Annals were published in 1854, and are but an abridgement of the proceedings. The best authority I have been able to find, which convinces me Mr. Pope realized what the future might have in store for us, is Governor Thomas Ford's account of this event, published in his history of Illinois. Ford's history was completed in April, 1847. I quote therefrom:
“But there were other and much more weighty reasons for this change of boundary, which were ably and successfully urged by Judge Pope upon the attention of Congress. It was known that in all confederated republics there was danger of dissolution. The great valley of the Mississippi was filling up with a numerous people; the original confederacy had already advanced westward a thousand miles, across the chain of mountains skirting the Atlantic; the adjoining states in the western country were watered by rivers running from every point of the compass, converging to a focus at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi at Cairo; the waters of the Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee rivers carried much of the commerce of Alabama and Tennessee, all of Kentucky, considerable portions of that of Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, and the greater portion of the commerce of Ohio and Indiana, down by the Point at Cairo (situate in the extreme south of Illinois), where it would be met by the commerce to and from the lower Mississippi, with all the states and territories to be formed in the immense country on the Missouri, and extending to the head waters of the Mississippi. Illinois had a coast of 150 miles on the Ohio river and nearly as much on the Wabash. The Mississippi was its western boundary for the whole length of the state; the commerce of all the western country was to pass by its shores, and would necessarily come to a focus at the mouth of the Ohio, at a point within this state and within the control of Illinois, if- the Union being dissolved-she should see proper to control it. It was foreseen that none of the great states in the west could venture to aid in dissolving the Union without cultivating a state situate in such a central and commanding position.
“What, then, was the duty of the national government? Illinois was certain to be a great state, with any boundaries which that government could give. Its great extent of territory, its unrivalled fertility of soil and capacity for sustaining a dense population, together with its conmanding position, would in course of time give the new state a very controlling influence with her sister states situate upon the western rivers, either in sustaining the federal union as it is, or in dissolving it, and establishing new governments. If left entirely upon the waters of these great rivers, it was plain that, in case of threatened disruption, the interest of the new state would be to join a southern and western confederacy. But if a large portion of it could be made dependent upon the commerce and navigation of the great northern lakes, connected as they are with the eastern states, a rival interest would be created, to check the wish for a western and southern confederacy.
It therefore became the duty of the national government, not only to make Illinois strong, but to raise an interest inclining and binding her to the eastern and northern portions of the Union. This could be done only through an interest in the lakes. At that time the commerce on the lakes was small, but its increase was confidently expected, and indeed it has exceeded all anticipations, and is yet only in its infancy. To accomplish this object effectually, it was not only necessary to give to Illinois the port of Chicago and a route for the canal, but a considerable coast on Lake Michigan, with a country back of it sufficiently extensive to contain a population capable of exercising a decided influence upon the councils of the state.
There would, therefore, be a large commerce of the north, western and central portions of the state afloat on the lakes, for it was then foreseen that the canal would be made; and this alone would be like turning one of the many mouths of the Mississippi into Lake Michigan at Chicago. A very large commerce of the centre and south would be found, both upon the lakes and the rivers. Associations in business, in interest and of friendship would be formed, both with the north and the south. A state thus situated, having such a decided interest in the commerce and in the preservation of the whole confederacy, can never consent to disunion; for the Union cannot be dissolved without a division and disruption of the state itself. These views, urged by Judge Pope, obtained the unqualified assent of the statesmen of 1818, and this feature of the bill, for the admission of Illinois into the Union, met the unanimous approbation of both houses of Congress.”
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The act contained no provision for securing the consent of the people living north of 41 degrees, 37 minutes, 7.9 seconds, and west of Lake Michigan, although the act enabling Indiana to form a state constitution in 1816 required the people interested to ratify the boundary change.
In pursuance of the enabling act, a convention was called to meet at Kaskaskia to prepare a constitution. Delegates were present from fifteen counties of Illinois territory. Shadrach Bond was elected governor and Pierre Menard lieutenant governor.
It may be of interest to note that in this 1818 convention none of the delegates lived north of Madison county.
A draft of the new constitution was sent to Congress, which by resolution, December 3, 1818, declared Illinois to be one of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original states in all respects.”
The northern boundary of Illinois was thus fixed and made to include a strip of land sixty-one miles, nineteen chains and thirteen links wide, extending from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi river, embracing a surface of 8,500 square miles, and which forms the counties of Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Stephenson, JoDaviess, Carroll, Ogle, DeKalb, Kane, DuPage, Cook, Lee and Whiteside; also a part of the northern portion of Rock Island, Kendall, Will and LaSalle counties.
TWO SURVEYS. By the terms of the treaty of St. Louis August 24, 1816, between the United States and the Ottawas, Chippewas and Pottawattomies, it became necessary to establish the point where a line “due west from the southern extremity of Lake Michigan” would strike the Mississippi. A line was surveyed by John Sullivan in 1818, and a monument was erected at what he believed was its western terminus