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and he granted it to the colonists in a very generous way. Many of the charters were given with the Pacific as the western boundary, on the supposition that the Pacific was but a short distance to the west of the sources of the rivers flowing into the Atlantic. The French claimed this territory because they had been the early explorers, and their trading posts, scattered here and there through the vast wilderness hundreds of miles apart, seemed to give them a right to the country. They did not claim the exclusive right, because they wished to keep it a wilderness and use it as a wide hunting ground in which the Frenchman and Indian would live together like brothers. Their little settlements were, at best, trading posts, and their attention to agriculture was so slight that there seemed to the Indians no danger that they would ever drive out the old owners or interfere with them seriously. While there were these different claims, many of them very shadowy, it became evident that the nation strong enough to hold the land would be the one whose claim would finally be made good; and this is true in spite of Indian treaties or purchases from the natives. Much of the land first settled by the whites was land to which no Indian tribe had a claim, but was the common hunting and fighting ground for several tribes. This is notably true of the "Dark and Bloody Ground" where the British settled in the valleys of Kentucky and Tennessee Rivers.

In a condition of this kind the real ownership and right of settlement had to be determined by other principles than those of primitive ownership. There was no justice in allowing a few Indians to use Kentucky and Tennessee as a fighting ground when the surplus population of the world needed it for its cornfields. There was no abstract justice in closing some millions of acres of the best farming lands in the world to all settlers in order that a few French fur traders might be undisturbed in the use of it. It was theirs if they could properly use it, but they could not and showed no disposition to attempt to do so. So it came into the hands of the British, because as a people they could

make good use of it. The Frenchman had no inherent right to the valley because he had discovered it. Neither had the Briton a right to it by his sea to sea charter. Legally, the British gained it by conquest and treaty. Morally it was theirs, because they, of all people of the world, could make the best use of it. But the French were the only settlers in the Mississippi valley at the beginning of the movement from the Atlantic seaboard toward the West. There were, however, very few French settlements; some were among the Illinois Indians and others on the lower courses of Mississippi River, but over the rest of the great valley there were only here and there the huts or camps of the fur trader and adventurer, and probably no more of these than of those of the British who were trading with the Indians. Roosevelt estimates the number of French in the settlements in 1775 as only four thousand. This estimate does not include the scattered traders who were with the various Indian tribes. The settlements in the Illinois country were due to the work of the Jesuits, who established mission stations designed to form centres for their work with the Indians. Many of these stations were only transitory; others, because of their favorable locations, became permanent settlements. Kaskaskia was one of these because of its location near the Mississippi. It was within reach of the traffic up and down the river and so became a fur trading centre. It was a prosperous village in 1705, and by 1721 contained a Jesuit college and monastery. Under French control it became a little city of two or three thousand population, but at the beginning of the Revolution it had not more than five hundred inhabitants. Another important early settlement was Cahokia, situated a short distance below the present city of St. Louis. It was built in 1699 upon the bank of the Mississippi, but changes in the current of the river left it a mile and a half inland in the course of three years.

In the Illinois country in 1750 there were some half dozen settlements on or near Mississippi River. Farther to

the east, on the Wabash, there was another centre for settlement in the trading post St. Vincent, though this did not become a permanent town till 1734. These small, widely scattered settlements could hardly be considered strong enough to hold the Mississippi valley by right of possession. Vast stretches of country which now form populous States were entirely unoccupied except by the Indians. There was not a French settlement between the Great Lakes and the Illinois country. These French settlements were self-reliant communities, made so by their isolation. The settlers came hundreds of miles from their old home in Canada and were compelled to depend upon their own resources. They received news of the outside world only through the trappers and traders who made infrequent visits to them. Unlike the later pioneers who came over the mountains, the French liked to settle in compact villages, with the houses so near together that the people could talk with each other from their doors. When the emigrant from the Atlantic coast crossed the mountains, he settled as far as he could in safety from his nearest neighbor and only lived near his fellow pioneer when danger from the Indians made it necessary. He wished to be a great landholder and settle in the midst of his untamed acres which were to be for him and his children a prosperous farm. But the Frenchman did not care to hold much land, because he was, first of all, a trader or hunter, and agriculture had only a secondary interest for him. He was interested in retaining the forests as they were, the undisturbed home of the fur-bearing animals. Farthest from the centre of the village was the expanse of forest and prairie of hundreds or perhaps thousands of acres which could not be held in private ownership. This was the common pasture land of the village and the source from which each man might gather the fuel he needed and the timber for making or repairing his dwelling. Nearer the village was the common field enclosed by a fence, in which sections for cultivation. were assigned to the different heads of families according to the needs of each or his taste and ability as a farmer. The

community of goods did not extend beyond this, each man taking care of his own field or garden, though the time for agricultural operations was fixed by village regulation. In some places there was private land holding without communal regulation. The village itself was located with reference both as to use as a trading station and as the seat of an agricultural community. It was usually near a river for convenience of access by the traders and in some fertile prairie region. It was generally surrounded by a stockade and guarded by a fort. The houses were simple, plain, and uniform. Each homestead was surrounded by its own separate enclosure of a rude picket fence adjoining others on the right and left. The houses, generally one story high, were surrounded by sheds and outbuildings. The walls were constructed of rude framework, having upright corners and studding connected horizontally by means of numerous cross-ties, not unlike the rounds in a ladder. These served to hold the "cat and clay" with which the interstices were filled and out of which the walls were made and rudely plastered with the hand. “Cat and clay" is formed of mud or clay made into a soft mortar which is then mixed with cut straws or Spanish moss cut fine, instead of hair. The chimneys were made of similar materials and were formed upon four long corner posts converging toward the top to about one-half or less of the space below.

In these primitive villages there was abundant social life, with festivities of various kinds, especially when the men returned from their long journeys into the wilderness. There were village schools, and the priest had charge of the educational as well as the religious life of the people. But the educational ambition of the French settler, as well as the possibility of his satisfying it, was very small. In religion these people were devoted Catholics. On Sundays they all flocked to the rude little church where they listened unquestioningly to what the priest had to tell them. After mass they gave themselves up to social amusements.

In these primitive communities there was little division of labor. Each man did for himself the little mechanical work necessary. The missionary priests had encouraged agriculture, which could be carried on by those who, by reason of youth or old age, were incapacitated from engaging in the more dangerous and arduous labor involved in the fur trade. Orchards of apple trees grew near some of the villages. Fields of corn and wheat furnished the villagers with their supply of meal and flour. Hides, tallow, and flour were exported to New Orleans. An attempt was made at mining, especially in the neighborhood of Kaskaskia, but this was quickly given up and the miners became farmers and trappers. The occupation which appealed to the young men more than anything else was that of the trader and trapper. The youths heard wonderful stories from the men who had trapped and traded in the distant north and west toward the headwaters of Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and they desired to emulate them. It was a wild, rough life, full of stirring incidents and many dangers. By it the French and the Indians were brought into close contact for many months at a time. Because of their lack of contact with outside civilization, these French pioneers developed customs and habits of their own. The hunter, living like the Indian, became like him in many ways: resourceful in times of danger, impatient of the restraints of civilization, and often cruel. The customs and regulations of organized society concerned him very little, because most of his life he had to be a law unto himself. After the hardships of the wilderness, he followed the example of his dusky fellow hunter in making the visit to the settlement a time of ease and revelry.

The settlement government was a very simple one. There were the village laws and customs, with the commandant, representing French law and authority, to enforce them in an autocratic, patriarchal way. The French in the Mississippi settlements had no comprehension of the desires that led to the struggle for independence which took place

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