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ness; yet near by was the proof that ages ago the wilderness had been tenanted, for close at hand were huge embankments, marking the site of a town of the long-vanished mound-builders. Giant trees grew on the mounds; all vestiges of the builders had vanished, and the solemn forest had closed above every remembrance of their fate.
The day of the landing of these new pilgrims was a day big with fate not only for the Northwest but for the Nation. It marked the beginning of the orderly and national conquest of the lands that now form the heart of the Republic. It marked the advent among the pioneers of a new element, which was to leave the impress of its strong personality deeply graven on the institutions and the people of the great States north of the Ohio; an element which in the end turned their development in the direction toward which the parent stock inclined in its home on the North Atlantic seaboard. The new settlers were almost all soldiers of the Revolutionary armies; they were hard-working, orderly men of trained courage and of keen intellect. An outside observer speaks of them as being the best informed, the most courteous and industrious, and the most law-abiding of all the settlers who had come to the frontier, while their leaders were men of a higher type than was elsewhere to be found in the West.16
and these honest soldiers and yeomen, with much self-complacency, gave to portions of their little raw town such ludicrously inappropriate names as the Campus Martius and Via Sacra.
18 “Denny's Military Journal,” May 28 and June 15, 1789. VOL. VII.-16
No better material for founding a new State existed anywhere. With such a foundation the State was little likely to plunge into the perilous abysses of anarchic license or of separatism and disunion. Moreover, to plant a settlement of this kind on the edge of the Indian-haunted wilderness showed that the founders possessed both hardihood and resolution.
Yet it must not be forgotten that the daring needed for the performance of this particular deed can in no way be compared with that shown by the real pioneers, the early explorers and Indian fighters. The very fact that the settlement around Marietta was national in its character, that it was the outcome of national legislation, and was undertaken under national protection, made the work of the individual settler count for less in the scale. The founders and managers of the Ohio Company and the statesman of the Federal Congress deserve much of the praise that in the Southwest would have fallen to the individual settlers only. The credit to be given to the nation in its collective capacity was greatly increased, and that due to the individual was correspondingly diminished.
Rufus Putnam and his fellow New Englanders built their new town under the guns of a Federal fort, only just beyond the existing boundary of settlement, and on land guaranteed them by the Federal Government. The dangers they ran and the hardships they suffered in no wise approached those undergone and overcome by the iron-willed, iron
limbed hunters who first built their lonely cabins on the Cumberland and Kentucky. The founders of Marietta trusted largely to the Federal troops for protection, and were within easy reach of the settled country; but the wild wood-wanderers who first roamed through the fair lands south of the Ohio built their little towns in the heart of the wilderness, many scores of leagues from all assistance, and trusted solely to their own long rifles in time of trouble. The settler of 1788 journeyed at ease over paths worn smooth by the feet of many thousands of predecessors; but the early pioneers cut their own trails in the untrodden wilderness, and warred single-handed against wild nature and wild man.
In the summer of 1788 Dr. Manasseh Cutler visited the colony he had helped to found, and kept a diary of his journey. His trip through Pennsylvania was marked merely by such incidents as were common at that time on every journey in the United States away from the larger towns. He traveled with various companions, stopping at taverns and private houses; and both guests and hosts were fond of trying their skill with the rifle, either at a mark or at squirrels. In mid-August he reached Coxe's fort, on the Ohio, and came for the first time to the frontier proper. Here he embarked on a big flatboat, with on board forty-eight souls all told, besides cattle. They drifted and paddled down stream, and on the evening of the second day reached the Muskingum. Here and there along the Virginian shore the boat passed settlements, with grain fields
and orchards; the houses were sometimes squalid cabins, and sometimes roomy, comfortable buildings. When he reached the newly built town he was greeted by General Putnam, who invited Cutler to share the marquee in which he lived; and that afternoon he drank tea with another New England general, one of the original founders.
The next three weeks he passed very comfortably with his friends, taking part in the various social entertainments, walking through the woods, and visiting one or two camps of friendly Indians with all the curiosity of a pleasure-tourist. He greatly admired the large cornfields, proof of the industry of the settlers. Some of the cabins were already comfortable; and many families of women and children had come out to join their husbands and fathers.
The newly appointed Governor of the territory, Arthur St. Clair, had reached the place in July, and formally assumed his task of government. Both Governor St. Clair and General Harmar were men of the old Federalist school, utterly unlike the ordinary borderers; and even in the wilderness they strove to keep a certain stateliness and formality in their surroundings. They speedily grew to feel at home with the New England leaders, who were gentlemen of much the same type as themselves, and had but little more in common with the ordinary frontier folk. Dr. Cutler frequently dined with one or other of them. After dining with the Governor at Fort Harmar, he pronounced it in his diary a "genteel dinner"; and he dwelt on the grapes, the
beautiful garden, and the good looks of Mrs. Harmar. Sometimes the leading citizens gave a dinner to "His Excellency," as Dr. Cutler was careful to style the Governor, and to "General Harmar and his Lady.” On such occasions the visitors were rowed from the fort to the town in a twelve-oared barge with an awning; the drilled crew rowed well, while a sergeant stood in the stern to steer. On each oar blade was painted the word “Congress"; all the regular army men were devout believers in the Union. The dinners were handsomely served, with punch and wine; and at one Dr. Cutler records that fiftyfive gentlemen sat down, together with three ladies. The fort itself was a square, with block-houses, curtains, barracks, and artillery.
After three weeks' stay the Doctor started back, up stream, in the boat of a well-to-do creole trader from the Illinois. This trader was no less a person than Francis Vigo, who had welcomed Clark when he took Kaskaskia, and who at that time rendered signal service to the Americans, advancing them peltries and goods. To the discredit of the nation be it said, he was never repaid what he had advanced. When Cutler joined him he was making his way up the Ohio in a big keel-boat, propelled by ten oars and a square sail. The Doctor found his quarters pleasant; for there was an awning and a cabin, and Vigo was well equipped with comforts and even luxuries. In his traveling-chest he carried his silver-handled knives and forks, and flasks of spirits. The beds were luxurious for the fron