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DISCOVERY OF AMERICA.
The province and scope of this work suggest extreme brevity, and the avoidance of detail in the part of the work before us. We will merely state in brief, in their chronological order, the events bearing on the discovery of America.
Christopher Columbus discovered land belonging to the Western Hemisphere, October 12, 1492, first landing on one of the Bahama Islands.
John and Sebastian Cabot landed on Newfoundland the following June.
Columbus on his third voyage discovered the Continent, near the mouth of the Orinoco river, in South America, in 1498.
In the following year, Americus Vespucius conducted a vessel to the coast of South America, and told the story of his voyage so well that the Continent received his name; an error which the injustice of mankind has allowed to continue.
Ponce De Leon, in 1512, discovers Florida while searching for the “Fountain of Youth.”
James Cartier, a French sailor, discovers the river St. Lawrence, in 1535. DeSoto, a Spaniard, discovers the Mississippi, discovers Indians, near where the city of Mobile now stands, residing in a walled city, of several thousand inhabitants. He explored the Mississippi and Red rivers, and died, near the mouth of the latter, May 21, 1542.
The first English settlement was contemplated in 1578, or about three centuries ago. Queen Elizabeth, of England, granted a patent to Sir Humphry Gilbert “to such remote heathen and barbarous lands as he should find in North America.” Two unsuccessful attempts are made by him to establish colonies. He finally perishes, with his vessels, Sept. 23, 1583. Sir Walter Raleigh is then sent with two vessels, and lands at Pamlico Sound; also makes an unsuccessful attempt on Roanoke Island. A third attempt, in 1587, was unsuccessful, by the interference of the Spanish Armada, and surrenders his charter to a company of merchants or Indian traders. The Plymouth company landed a colony at the mouth of Kenebec river, in 1607, are unsuccessful, and return to England; and the same year a London company establish a settlement at James river, which was the first permanent English settlement in America. English convicts are sent to Virginia, and slaves introduced in 1620. Vari.
ous colonies and settlements were now established, with variable success, encountering opposition from the Indians.
The first germ of American Union, we find in a confederation of the Plymouth, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Haven colonies, a confederation that lasted nearly forty years. Common school laws, an institution purely American, were passed in Connecticut, in 1650.
The growth of the colonies, by emigration and natural increase, continued to progress favorably, till they suffer the misfortune of the resignation of their distinguished friend, Mr. Pitt, in October 1761.
In 1763, a treaty of peace between England and France closed the war in America which was so disastrous to the colonies, by · reason of the atrocities committed by the Indians at the instigation of the French. The colonies paid $16,000,000 war expenses, and lost 30,000 men, and the French lost their Canadian possessions and all of their immense territory east of the Mississippi river. These were preparatory steps; in the hands of an overseeing Providence other results that were to follow, namely: preparing the people for war, and the organization of the new confederation whose centennial anniversary we celebrate the present year.
The Colonial Commanders learned the art of war as they fought side by side with the veterans of Great Britain, and the soldiers of the western frontier compared favorably with the flower of the British army. This was illustrated in the notable defeat of Gen. Braddock. The skill and bravery of Washington saved the British army from annihilation in Pennsylvania.
Various acts were passed by the British Parliament in 1763 and 1764, acts obnoxious and adverse to the interest of the colonies, which our intended brevity compels us to omit, and refer to the obnoxious stamp act of 1765. Also, an act authorizing the British Ministry to send any number of troops to America, for whom the colonists were to find “quarters, firewood, bedding, drink, soap and candles.”
Various colonies passed resolutions, in their House of Burgesses, claiming the rights of British subjects, and remonstrating with the mother country to the burdens thus imposed. On October 7, 1965, an assembly of committees or delegates from nine colonies met, in New York. This was the first Continental Congress. The ex
perience of one year convinced England that the Stamp Act could not be enforced in America.
While the colonies rejoiced over the repeal of the Stamp Act, the home government was framing laws for their more serious oppression, and in 1767 taxes were levied on tea, paint, paper, glass and lead, and so exorbitant were these demands, that the colonies determined to pay no more taxes or duties at all, illustrating a principle in that early day that has since became patent to the even casual observer, that the best way to get rid of an obnoxious law is to rigidly enforce it. In 1768, the Massachusetts General Court issued a circular to the other colonial assemblies, inviting co-operation for the defense of their common and mutual rights, and generally received most cordial replies.
In 1770 the indignation of the people of Boston at the British soldiers breaks out into an affray of so serious a nature that the troops fire on the citizens, killing three and wounding several others. Importations are nearly discontinued, and home manufactured goods superceded the foreign article, and so popular did this become that the graduating class at Harvard College took their degrees in homespun this year.
Through 1770 the feeling becomes more intense, and the year following, a British Revenue Schooner was burned by a party of colonists, at Providence, Rhode Island.
Parliament offered $3,000 and a pardon to any one of that party who would betray his accomplices, that they might be arrested. Though they were known by all the colonies, no legal evidence was ever brought against them.
In 1773, the celebrated Boston tea party comes off, and the cargoes of three ships are emptied into the sea.
The year following the Tea Party, the feeling acquires intensity, and a Continental Congress was ordered by all the colonies but Georgia. They assemble in Philadelphia, and Peyton Randolph, of Virginia, is chosen President, and a “Declaration of Colonial Rights” is the result of their labors, and agree on fourteen articles as a basis of an “American Association.” This body was henceforth the real government, and their requirements were the laws of the country, to which the people gave strict allegience.
We have been more minute in the details of these transactions because they prove the loyalty of the people to their former gov
ernment, and the gradually tightening system of tyrany and oppression that drove them from that loyalty to a state of revolt.
The inauguration of the war of the Revolution, the variable successes of the contending armies, the progress of public opinion gradually growing stronger on the side of patriotism, ripened into the
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, JULY 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence was followed by the Articles of Confederation, and they being, after a few years experience, found insufficient and unsatisfactory, were superceded by the Constitution of the United States, in the year 1787.
SKETCH OF THE EARLY HISTORY OF ILLINOIS.
By a treaty between the general government and the Kaskaskia Indians, made January 13, 1803, a large part of Illinois was opened to settlement, though it was first visited by Europeans in the persons of French Jesuit missionaries in the year 1672, who explored the north part of the State. The oldest permanent settlement was made in 1720, at Kaskaskia, by the French. The name of the State is derived from the Indians, and the term “Illini," signifying in the Indian tongue, a perfect man. It was modified by the French into its present form.
This State was formed out of what was known as Northwestern Territory, and was the twenty-first of the great American Union, whose Centennial we celebrate the present year.
A territorial government was formed February 3, 1809, and April 3, 1818, it was authorized to adopt a state constitution, and became an independent State on the 3d day of December, the same year.
It has an area of 55,405 square miles, equal to 35,459,200 acres. Population in 1870, 2,539,638. This State extends over a range of latitude of five and a half degrees, giving a greater diversity of climate than any other State in the Union, and for fertility is unequaled by any other territory of equal extent in the world. The great agricultural staples do not constitute her entire wealth, but she is rich in iron, lead, copper, zinc, lime, marble, gypsum, etc., etc. Some single counties contain as many square miles of coal-fields as all of England combined. Brevity compels important omissions, of which our State may boast, viz: her beautiful cities and her grand prairies, her thousands of miles of railroads and her majestic rivers, her schools and her churches, her law-abiding, intelligent population, her beneficent laws, and her noble constitution, second to none in the Union.
GOVERNORS OF ILLINOIS.
Perhaps it will afford some of our readers a little pleasure to see , a list of all the early governors of Illinois, commencing with its organization as a territory in 1809. If so, they can read the following:
Ninian Edwards was appointed Governor of the Territory in 1809, and held the office until it was admitted as a State in 1818. His term of office expired in 1822, when he was succeeded by Edward Coles, second Governor. His term expired in 1826, at which time Ninian Edwards succeeded as third Governor. He was succeeded, in 1830, by John Reynolds, commonly called the “Old Ranger," who was the fourth Governor. The fifth, Joseph Duncan, was inaugurated in 1834. Thomas Carlin, the sixth, in 1838. Thomas Ford, the seventh, in 1842. Augustus C. French, eighth Governor, was inaugurated first in 1846, and again in 1849, under the new Constitution. He was succeeded by Joel A. Matteson, ninth Governor, in 1853; and he by Wm. H. Bissell, the tenth Governor, in 1857.
PHYSICAL PECULIARITIES, BOUNDARIES, EXTENT, ETC. The rich and highly favored region forming the State of Illinois is bounded on the north by Wisconsin, east by Lake Michigan and the States of Indiana and Kentucky, south by Kentucky, and west by the States of Missouri and Iowa. Its extent from north to south is from thirty-seven degrees to forty-two degrees thirty minutes north latitude, and east and west from ten degrees thirty-two minutes to fourteen degrees thirty-three minutes longitude, west