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and an artillery store room. The lines of the barracks, two in number, were never completely finished. They consisted of two rooms in each line for officers, and three for soldiers; they were good, spacious rooms, of twenty-two feet square, with passages between them. All these buildings were of solid masonry, and well finished. There were extensive lofts over each building, reaching from end to end, which were made use of to contain regimental stores, working and entrenching tools, &c. It was generally allowed that this was the most commodious and best built fort in North America. The bank of the Mississippi next the fort, was continually falling in, being worn away by the current, which was turned from its course by a sand-bar that soon increased to an island, and became covered with willows. Many experiments were tried to stop this growing evil, but to no purpose. When the fort was begun in 1756, it was half a mile from the water side; in 1766, it was eighty paces; and the western angle has since been undermined by the water. In 1762, the river was fordable to the sand-bar; in 1770, the latter was separated from the shore by a channel forty feet deep. Such are the changes of the Mississippi. In the year 1764, there were about forty families in the village of Fort Chartres, and a parish church, served by a Franciscan friar, dedicated to St. Anne. In the following year, when the English took possession of the country, they abandoned their houses, except three or four poor families, and settled at the villages on the west side of the Mississippi, choosing to continue un-. der the French government.


The writer visited the ruins of Fort Chartres recently. It was situated, as well as the villages abovenamed, on the American Bottom, an extensive and remarkably fertile plain, bounded on one side by the river, and on the other by a range of bluffs, whose summits are level with the general surface of the country. The bluffs are steep, and have the appearance of having once formed the eastern bank of the Mississippi. It would seem that they composed a continuous, even, and nearly perpendicular parapet, , separating the plain which margins the river, from the higher plain of the main land. But the ravines washed by rains, have indented it in such a manner, as to divide the summit into a series of rounded elevations, which often present the appearance of a range

of Indian mounds. These bluffs are so called when bare of timber, which is their usual character; and when their beautifully graceful undulations are exposed to the eye, they form one of the most remarkable aad attractive features of the scenery of this country. When timbered, they do not differ from ordinary hills. We approached Fort Chartres in the summer, when the native fruit trees were loaded with their rich products. Never did we behold the fruits of the forest growing in such abundance, or such amazing luxuriance. Immense thickets of the wild plum, might be seen as we rode over the prairie, extending for miles along its edges, so loaded with crimson fruit, as to exhibit to the eye a long streak of glowing red. Sometimes we rode through thickets of crab-apple, equally prolific, and sometimes the road wound through copses matted with grape vines, bear

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ing a profusion of rich clusters. Although the spot was familiar to my companion, it was with some difficulty that we found the ruins, which are now covered and surrounded with a young but vigorous and gigantic growth of forest trees, and with a dense undergrowth of bushes and vines, through which we forced our way with considerable labor. Even the crumbling pile itself is thus overgrown, the tall trees rearing their stems from piles of stone, and the vines creeping over the tottering walls. The buildings were all razed to the ground, but the lines of the foundations could be easily traced. A large vaulted powder magazine remained in good preservation. The exterior wall, the most interesting vestige, as it gave the general outline of the whole, was thrown down in some places; but in many, retained something like its original height and form; and it was curious to see in the gloom of a wild forest, these remnants of the architecture of a past age. One angle of the fort and an entire bastion, had been undermined and swept entirely away by the river, which, having expended its force in this direction, was again retiring, and a narrow belt of young timber had grown up between the water's edge and the ruins.

Many curious anecdotes might still be picked up in relation to these early settlers; especially in Illinois and Missouri, where the Spanish, French, English, and American authorities have had sway in rapid succession. At one time the French had possession of one side of the Mississippi, and the Spaniards of the other, and a story is told of a Spaniard living on one shore, who, being the creditor of a Frenchman resid



ing on the other, seized a child, the daughter of the latter, and having borne her across the river, which formed a national boundary, held her as a hostage for the payment of the debt. The civil authorities, respectively, declined interfering; the military did not think the matter sufficiently important to create a national war, and the Frenchman had to redeem his offspring by discharging the creditor's demand. The lady, who was thus abduced, is still living, or was living a few years ago, near Cahokia, the mother of a numerous progeny of American French people.

Having spoken of the pacific disposition evinced by the French, in their early intercourse with the Indian tribes, it is proper to remark, that we allude particularly to those who settled on the Wabash and upper Mississippi. They have every where treated the savages with more kindness and greater justice than the people of other nations; but there have been exceptions, which we are not disposed to conceal or palliate. In Lower Louisiana, they emulated the cruelty of the Spaniards and the rapacity of the English; but in Illinois, their conduct towards their uncivilized neighbors seems to have been uniformly friendly and amiable; and the descendants of the first settlers of that state, still enjoy the confidence of the Indian tribes.

We have heard of an occasion on which this reciprocał kindness was very strongly shown. Many years ago, a murder having been committed in some broil, three Indian young men were given up by the Kaskaskia tribe, to the civil authorities of the newly established American government. The population of Kaskaskia was still entirely French, who felt much sympathy for their Indian friends, and saw these hard proceedings of the law with great dissatisfaction. The ladies, particularly, took a warm interest in the fate of the young aboriginals, and determined, if they must die, they should at least be converted to christianity, in the mean while, and baptized into the true church. Accordingly, after due preparation, arrangements were made for a public baptism of the neophytes in the old cathedral of the village. Each of the youths was adopted by a lady, who gave him a name, and was to stand godmother in the ceremony; and these lady patronesses, with their respective friends, were busily engaged for some days in preparing dresses and decorations for their favorites. There was quite a sensation in the village. Never were three young gentlemen brought into fashion more suddenly or more decidedly; the ladies talked of nothing else, and all the needles in the village were plying, in the preparation of finery for the occasion. Previous to the ceremony – that is, the ceremony of hangingthe aboriginals gave their jailor the slip, and escaped, aided most probably by the ladies, who had planned the whole affair with a view to this result. The law is not vindictive in new countries; the danger soon blew over; the young men again appeared in public, and evinced their gratitude to their benefactresses.

It is with regret that we record the dispersion of this kind-hearted people from the dwellings of their fathers. Several generations flourished happily in Illinois, under the mild sway of the French government. The military commandants, and the priests,


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