xt747d2q5b8b https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt747d2q5b8b/data/mets.xml Brown, John Mason, 1837-1890. 1889  books b92-58-27063616 English J.P. Morton, : Louisville : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Kentucky History To 1792. Kentucky Politics and government To 1792. Political beginnings of Kentucky  : a narrative of public events bearing on the history of that state up to the time of its admission into the American Union / by John Mason Brown. text Political beginnings of Kentucky  : a narrative of public events bearing on the history of that state up to the time of its admission into the American Union / by John Mason Brown. 1889 2002 true xt747d2q5b8b section xt747d2q5b8b 











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          REUBEN T. DURRETT,

                OF LOUISVILLE, KY.,

Leaved bzNond all otiers ip the lHistory of Kentutckv and

          tle WXest, this paper is inscribed

                  b'v lhis fiend,

                           JOHN MASON BROWN.

   NO'RM4,wR, ,88g

This page in the original text is blank.


HE HISTORY of the Commonwealth of Kentucky has
   attracted many pens. Elements of romantic adventure,
of frontier life, of peril encountered and overcome, of dar-
ing deeds, crowd the story of its earlier years. Universal
interest has attached to the names of her pioneers. Their
conflict was maintained in an unexplored and scarcely known
wilderness. Hundreds of miles of forest and mountain sep-
arated them from the settlements on the frontier of the older
States from which they went forth, ever westward, to subdue
and occupy the plains beyond the Alleghanies. The game
that furnished sport and subsistence to the hunter was
numerous beyond all former story. It was in kind differ-
ent from that which the Atlantic slope afforded. Great
bison and tall elks roamed in countless bands.
   The Indians, whose hunting ground the new country
was, were of higher type than those whom the colonists
had encountered at the seaboard. The Shawnees, Wyan-
dots, Cherokees, and allied tribes had many warriors whose
sagacity in council was not inferior to their bravery in the
field. The task before the adventurers in Kentucky was an
arduous and a noble one. It was theirs to subdue the wil-
derness to civilization, to dispossess a brave and skillful foe,


to overcome privation and danger, to create resources that
could not else be had, to discipline their own hard and dan-
gerous frontier life to the model of self-imposed law, and to
evolve from discouragement, neglect, and danger a new State.
   Their adventures, attacks, escapes, and wars have been
the theme of poem and romance and history; but their serv-
ices in the field of political construction, no less prolific of
results and equally worthy, have scarce been noticed.
   The earlier political history of Kentucky falls naturally
into two periods. The first terminates with the admission
of the State into the Federal Union, on the ist of June, 1792,
and embraces the purely formative epoch. The second period
extends to the close of the alarms that attended Burr's dem-
onstrations in the Southwest. Within that epoch (from 1792
to 1807) are included the organization of executive and leg-
islative powers, the mission of Power and other Spanish
emissaries, and their attempts upon Sebastian, Nicholas, and
Murray, the ferment that grew out of the Alien and Sedi-
tion laws and excise legislation, the excitement fomented by
Genet and other French agents, the remodeling of the con-
stitution in 1799, the acquisition of Louisiana, and the arrest
and trial of Burr.
   Neither space nor leisure is now available for the proper
treatment of this second period, for the history of which,
however, the writer has collected much material.
   It is the design of this paper to trace the political devel-
opment that marked the history of Kentucky during that


first period that closed with the establishment of state-
hood and admission to membership in the Union, that
the memory of the sagacity, patience, and forbearance of
the pioneers may be perpetuated along with their better
known virtues. Its purpose will be to examine their acts
and explore their motives in the light of documentary evi-
dence, much of which has been recently unearthed, and
which speaks the true contemporary opinion. TIhe lapse
of years has cleared the historical atmosphere of many
clouds engendered by personal rivalries and political antag-
onisms. It is possible now to cite a responsible contempo-
rary voucher for almost every important public fact in the
earlier history of the State.
   To his brethren of the FILSON CLUB the writer wishes
here to repeat acknowledgments of co-operation and sym-
pathy in his work. Their constant and interested atten-
tion, dispassionate examination into the narrated facts, and
free and well-informed criticisms upon conclusions drawn
from them, have secured for this paper an accuracy and fair-
ness that otherwise could not have been hoped for.

This page in the original text is blank.





                 The Indian Title.
  An occupation of one hundred and fifty years had not
sufficed to fully people the Atlantic slope of North America.
The inhabitants who had pitched their first settlements along
the tide-water and the greater rivers were slow to venture
back westward to the Appalachian Mountains. They ac-
cepted the boundary that. nature had raised and curbed their
enterprise within its limits. Beyond the great divide that
turned the waters another way lay a country unexplored and
as yet uncoveted. The right af discovery under which the
seaboard was held extended, as was claimed, westward to the
further ocean; but how far this was, or what the claim em-
braced, few cared and none knew.
  Within the bounds of Virginia's royal charter, directly to
the west, and yet separated from the extremest frontier by
many miles of impassable mountains, lay the territory now
known as Kentucky.


10         The Political Beginnings of Kentucky.

   It pushed forward into the wilderness like a huge wedge,
resting upon Virginia's western line as its base. Its apex
reached the Mississippi; its axis was the mid line of the
coming nation. Even in savage times it divided the perma-
nent possessions of northern and southern Indians. It was
the key of all the country between the Alleghanies and the
   The ownership of this land, fertile and abounding in game
beyond all others, was disputed by powerful tribes and alli-
ances. The Cherokees claimed it in great part; the Six
Nations asserted that it was entirely theirs.            The title was
one of arms.     The   better claim, at least by conquest and
use as their hunting       ground, seems to have been with the
Six Nations. It is from the language of the Iroquois that
the name of Kentucky is derived, and from the language of
their allied tribes, the Delawares and the Shawnees, comes
that other name,"Kuttaawnaj' "tze.greeat wilderness," used by
early explorers interchangeably with the Iroquois "Kentake,"
"I/e place of the meadows,' vthe hunting grounds." '

   'John Johnston, long years resident among the Shawnees as their agent, asserts
that the word "Kentucky" is Shawnee, sign-fying "At the head of the river" (ArcAzo-
login Ameri-ana, Vol. I, p. 299), and Dr. D. G. Brinton seems half inclined to attach
weight to this explanation. In a letter of 12th August, '885, commenting upon Jchn-
iton's explanation, he writes: "The terminal is no doubt Ioki,' meaning 'land,' pe,'
but I am not able to analyze the root word. There is an Algonkin root, 'kan' or 'Annam,'
meaning clear,' 'pun,' and hence in Johnston's sense the word Hould be 'the place of
clear, pure, or spring water,' as contradistinguished from the muddy character of the
rivers near their outlets." The derivation does not seem sound or admissible. In the
Iroquois tougue " kenta " (abbreviation of kAchenta ") signifies "i meadow," "prairie," and


The Pozitical Begznnings of Kentucky.


    The title of the Six Nations was asserted and vindicated

by them   with all the confidence of a dominant people. Their

war parties went westward to the Wabash, meeting                  no  ade-

quate resistance. Their hunters crossed the Ohio and roamed

beyond    the  Cumberland, and         westward     to  the  Tennessee.

Within the " Blue Grass" of Kentucky their allies, the Shaw-

nees, built their towns, and from the Scioto to Chickamauga

extended the great Warriors' Path, their military road against

the Cherokees. The validity of the title claimed by the Six

Ilk," is the locative particle meaning 1place," " land."  The combination "kenta-ke"
would indicate "tire onmadow land," and in a secondary sense the -hntigf land" or
"hunting grouids," as it svas ill this luxuriant country of blue grass and tender cane
that the best a-id most abundant game was fouisd. The learned Father Cuoq concurs
in this derivation of the word Ke-tucky, though he does not proceed to the secondary
meaning. (L-eiqe, Iroquise, su.b vote KENTA.) The siord "s kenta," moodiled by the Mlo-
hawk tribal dialect into '"Geni," is found in the list of the townsof the Wolf clan,
where "Centiyo' is rendered "Beautiful Pinin.' (Hale, iroIuois Book of Aites, i18. sec.
5.) The Algonkin name of Kentucky w,,as doubtless "kamo'a," very accurately trans-
lated as "1thegreat wiltteo-ness." Its derivation seems to be from "kithi," otherwise "kil,"
meaning "reat," and "f(170a," "space," "interval," "vacancy," or, secondarily. wilder-
ss"    (Consult Coq, LexiCqe A4'ouquine.) The Sliawnees, who greatly aflected the
broad sound of a, used the word "1kut-t.ad-aaa," which the Delawares, also of Algon-kin
stock, pronounced less broadly "1kuta.a." Dr. Brinton notes the name "kat/u.a," other-
wise 1kuttotoreauw," as that given by the Delasvares to the Cherokees, adding the remark,
"This word I suppose to be derived from the prefix 'kit,' great,' and the root 'tawa'
(Cree, yette, ta--s), 'to open,,' vlhence 'tawatawik,' 'an open,' i. e., Ian nniuhlabtei llae,'
'a wilderness' (Zeisberger)." (Brint'n  The Lenape, r6.) The suffix sk. meaniig people,
added to kilt,/,a  made the word kittawawi the name given by the Delassar  to the
Cherokees as '-thipeople livin, in the great wilderess."  This accords with the fact that
the territory of Kentucky svas so destitute of fised tosens of Indians that the locality
of only two Shasvnee settlements can certainly be identified. One svas situated at schat
is now called the Indian Old Fields, on L.ulbegrud Creek, in Clark County, svience
Chattahecassa (IBlackhoof) went to fight at Braddock's defeat, anid ss hich place he re-
visited in t8i6. (etter of 7oseph Ficklin to Sch-oleruft, Sh-otcrqtJ1's Indian Ir bes.VoL I,
p. 30o.) The ither svas opposite the mouth of the Scioto River in 1756. (ir. Yho0nias
Waiker, Calen.ar Virginia State Papers, Vol 1, p. 298.) A tradition survives that the
Cherokees had a town on the lower waters of the Cumberlanl, but it had disappeared


1 2

The Political BeginningUs of Kentucky.

Nations    and   the   counter-right of       the  Cherokees      became

questions of serious public importance at several junctures.

    The first foundation of Virginia's claim to western terri-

tory lay, of course, in the charter of 1609, without regard to

any Indian rights that might interfere with its magnificent

grants. But as the thoughts of enterprising men were di-

rected westward, the conflict of personal interest made them

keenly alive to all that could confirm their pretensions. The

validity of the title by conquest, claimed by the Six Nations,

enlisted one of Dr. Franklin's ablest efforts in its support.

before that region was explored by the whites.  Ion. Charles Anderson, of Eddyville,
Ky., has conjecturally located it at or near his plantation of "Tutaozoa." 'the Chero-
kees, In 1755, had an 'out towos," which they called  Hi t'utohaz  " (Fqilt Report [Atnn
log-i I Br....  it,h-dm1zsoo 'uzrI itu, p. 1431, but there is no clue to its exact location.
T he ot tribal -a-iie of the Cherokees appeared again at the beginning of the late civil
sear. Their predon-inanat sntimeit ,seas in favor of the Southeri Confederacy. but an
opposing party, secretly organized, adhered to the United States. Its niembership "was
co-posed principally of full blood Cherokees, and they termed themselves 'ki-tu-zoha,'
a name liy which thi Cherokees w     iere sal to have been known in their ancient confed-
erations with other Indian tribe,." (Ro-e, quoting Butler, Fi[th Etlnoloicul Report,
Smurt4lsoutal institut1e, 325.i Muchi unfounded sentiment and turgid rhetoric has arisen
from the niistaken notion that the word Kentucky should le interpreted "The Dark
and Bloody Ground." No such translation is warranted. The term "s Dark and Bloody
Ground" had its origin in the warning given by Dr. ggin g Canoe to Henderson at
Wata-ga, in 1775. that the new country wa, 'the blooly ground, and ssould be dark
and difficult Lo settle."  (Deposition of Saml hf'ilsou,, Virginia Calendar State W apers,
Vol. 1, p. 283.) It seems clear that two Indian names seere thus affixed to the great
hiinniig grounds south of the Ohio-one being  'Sn-ta-ke," signifying in the Iroquois
language "'The Hunting Grounds ;" the other, '-Kt-tan-a," meaning, in Algonkin,
i- The Great Widerness." It seems probable that the latter term and its signification-
thIe gorat aUJi  pore- "-had s me connection sthl the existence of the so-called " Bar-
res" or treeless area, that lay to the sieit of Salt River, and upon which countless
buffalo aId other game grazed. ]'rof. Shaler thinks that these ii Barrens" remained
dtletitui of tiiier because of the fires kindled by hunting palties, and by which the
yi)ulig shouts sere destroyed. A glance at the " unexplored regions " on Barker's
map (of 1793) lends force to Prof. Shaler's suggestion.


Tlze Political Beg-innings of Kentucky.

He argued successfully before the Privy Council that the
pretensions of a Cherokee claim were baseless; that the
treaty which Stuart had concluded with that tribe in 1768
was a nullity; that the early writers, like Pownall, had long
before asserted "the right of the Five Nation Confederacy
to the hunting lands of Ohio, Tecucksuchrondite, and Scan-
iaderiada by the conquest they made in subduing the Shao-
anoes, Delawares (as we call them), Twvightees, and Oilinois;"
and that Evans, the cartographer, stated that "the Shawnees,
who were formerly one of the most considerable nations of
those parts of America, whose seat extended from Kentucky
southwestward to the Mississippi, have been subdued by the
confederates (or Six Nations), and the country since become
their property. No nation held out with greater resolution
and bravery; and although they have been scattered in all
parts for a while, they are again collected on the Ohio under
the dominion of the confederates."
   The argument of Dr. Franklin, made in 1772, was chiefly
directed to the title of the Six Nations, because, by the treaty
of Fort Stanwix, of 1768, the lands which he and his associ-
ates asked in grant had been relinquished by the Indians to
the Crown.' The Walpole grant, which Franklin carried
triumphantly through the Privy Council over Lord Hills-
borough's opposition, was abandoned as the Revolutionary
            'Fraxhlin's Works, Vol. IV, p. 302, and following.

1 3


4 The Political Beginnings of Kentucky.

troubles thickened. Its story must, however, always be one
of interest. It was the first attempt at distinctively proprie-
tary grant west of the Alleghany Mountains. It substituted
defined boundaries for the mere vagaries of the old charter
grants. Its 2,400,000 acres were to be included within bound-
aries that alarmed Washington, and called forth his warning
and remonstrance.' It embraced that part of Kentucky east
of a line connecting the mouth of the Scioto and Ouasioto
(Cumberland) Gap, and all of Virginia west of the Allegha-
nies. The Ohio was its northern line, and it extended south-
ward to the latitude of North Carolina.
   The Cherokee claim assumed importance when Stuart, in
1768, concluded his treaty with the chiefs of that people.
By this treaty it was agreed between Stuart, as His Majesty's
Superintendent of Southern Indian affairs, and the Chero-
kees, claiming to own the country south of the Ohio, that the
western boundary of Virginia should be defined as "extend-
ing from the point where the northern line of North Carolina
intersects the Cherokee hunting grounds, about thirty-six
miles east of Long Island in the Holston River, and thence
extending in a direct course north by east to Chiswell's mine
on the east bank of the Kanawha River, and thence down
that stream to its junction with the Ohio."'
   ' Washington to Lord Botetourt, 15th April, 1770.  Washin- 's IVidings, Vol.
II, p- 355-
   2 Ramsoys Hiatory of Tennesse, 77.



The Political Beginnings of Kentucky.


    The effect of this, if title in the Cherokees were admitted,

was to limit Virginia by the Kan awha as a western boundary

and destroy the vast claim that rested on the charter of 1609.

The Cherokee treaty wvas concluded by Stuart' on the 14th

October, 1768, at Hard Labor, in South Carolina; but already

another conference was gathering at Fort Stanwix (now Utica,

N. Y.), where, on the 5th November, was concluded that fam-

ous cession made by the Six Nations to the British Crown.'

    ' his Stewart or Stuart has sometimes been confounded with Boone's companion
in the wilderness-the first white man killed in Kentucky. lie was the grandfather of
the well-known John Ross, Head Chief of the Cherokees. (Royce, F.fth Ethnological
Rstrt. Smithonin institute, 348, note.)
    'The Treaty of Fort Stanwix has svell been denominated ' the corner-stone of the
political relations between the citizens of the United States immediately south of the
Ohio and the Indians." It svea perhaps suggested by Croghan, the deputy agent of
Sir William Johnson, after his expedition Of 1765 from Fort 'itt by way of the Ohio
and the Wabash to Detroit and Niagara. Or, on the other hand, the journey of Ceoghan
may have been one of observation, preparatory to the treaty negotiations contemplated
by Sir William. The list of tribes and their military strength, given by Croghan, indi-
cates no occupation of Kentucky. (St/t1er, Hiittoy 0/ Aetucky, 470, ed. 1836.) This
was an all-important fact for the treaty. The assem.blage at Fort Stanwix was one of
unusual dignity for the times, and especially for so remote a station. There swere present,
as the report of the c-uncil shotss, Sir William Johnson, His Majesty's Superintendent of
Indian Affairs; His Excellency William Franklin, Governor of New Jersey; Dr. Thomas
Walker, representing the colony of Virgitia as Conimissioner; Hon. Frederick Smith,
Chief Justice of Nese Jersey; Richard Peters and James Tilghman, members of the
Council of Pennsylvania, and George Croghan and Daniel Claus, Deputy Agents of
Indian Affairs. Three thousaid two huutdrrd warriors of the various tribes of the Six
Nations attended, as did all the principal chiefs of the confederation. The narrative
of the conference end text of the treaty will he foulrd in the appendix to Butler (Butrb
History of Kentcky, p. 472, and following). fromn which will be seen (what is of interest
from the present point of siesv) that the movement for the cession and treaty was de-
liberate on all sides. The Speaker of Assembly and Committee of Correspondence of
Pennsylvania instructed Dr. Franklin, the colonial agent at London, the Assembly of
Virginia considered the subject, the Indians notifiedl the King's agents that a purchase
ought to be made to avoid trouble With unauthorized settlers, and the royal command
to call the council was received by Sir William Johnsou early in 1768.


The Political Beginnings of Kentucky.

   The treaty negotiated by Stuart was not attended with the
ceremonies, the concourse of numbers, or the dignity of par-
ticipants distinguishing that which Sir William Johnson con-
cluded with the Six Nations. Nor did it bind so many and so
formidable warriors. It alarmed the frontiersmen by including
many settlements within territory that it assumed to recognize
as belonging to the Cherokees, and guaranteed to them in
peaceable possession. It imposed an abrupt boundary upon the
colony of Virginia and forbade her westward growth. It was
natural that the Cherokee treaty should excite displeasure and
arouse opposition. And with the opposition to treaty bound-
ary came in easy company a denial of the Cherokee title. That
denial came with vigorous utterance from Virginia and her peo-
ple. It was indirectly supported by the colonial governments
that had joined with Virginia in negotiating the treaty at Fort
Stanwix; for the title ceded by the Six Nations was incompat-
ible with the Cherokee claim. The Indian signatories at Fort
Stanwix were the great chiefs of the Six Confederated Nations,
the Mohawks, the Tuscaroras, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the
Cayugas, and the Senecas. The head znen of the Delawares and
Shawnees assented, but were not permitted to sign the treaty
because, though recognized as friends and allies, they had been
conquered, and owed all to the grace of the Iroquois league.'
   'The chiefs of the Shawnees and Delawares are named in the preliminaries of the
treaty, but are not signatories. Their relation to the dominant tribes was very plainly
put by the Onondaga Chief, Canassateego, in the council of 1742. The Delawares had


The Poitizcal Beginnings of.Kentucky.


    It was over this sense of tribal humiliation that Tecumseh

brooded forty years later. One of the chief hopes of his

scheme of confederation         was to place the Shawnees at the

head of a great alliance in the West that should eclipse the

power and the fame of the arrogant Six Nations.'

    There was no political or personal interest to support the

pretensions of Stuart's treaty; its only purpose seems to have

been to check violations of the royal proclamation of 1763,

sold certain lands to colonists and attempted to repudiate the bargain. After censuring
their bad faith, Canassaleego thus reproved the Delasares for their presumption: "But
how came you to take up.n you to sell land at all  We conquered you; we made
women of you. You know you are isomen, and can no more sell land than women.
Nor is it fit you should have the posrer of selling lands, since you ssould abuse it. This
land that you claim is gone thro' your guts ; you have been furnished with cliathes,
meat, and drink by the goods patd you ror it, and now you want it again, like children,
as you are. But what makes you sell land in the dark Did you ever tell us that you
had sold this land  Did we ever receive any part, even the value of a pipe-shank,
from you for it You have told us a blind story, that you sent a messenger to us to
inform us of the sale; but he never came amongst us, nor we never heard any thing
about it .... And for all these reasons we charge you to remove instantly. We
don't give you the liberty to think about it .  W.....e therefore assign you to two
places to gol, either to Wyomen or Shamokin. You may go to either of these places,
and then we shall have you tlore under our eye. and shall see how you behave. Do n't
deliber-ste, but remove away. and take this helt of wampum." (Co/den, Hs.tory of the
Five Notions, Vol. 11, p. 36.) Mr Hale justly remarks that this imperious allocution,
which he somewhat softens in his quotation, shosvs plainly enoug h the relation in
which the two communities stood to one another. (HMe, IO-o-is Book of A",s, 93. 94.)
    'The reflective and original cast of Tecum-eh's miad has often been commented
upon. He went through a (real or simulated) profi)u-d religious experience, and im-
pressed his views very earnestly upon bis tribe. 01 23d Maich, 1807. three Shakers
from Turtle Creek (Ohio), visiting a Shasv-,ee village to inquire into a rep.rted religious
movenent, fou-d "a large franie house, about t50 ly 34 feet In size, surroun-led
with 5o or 6o smoki g cottages." The " tig house " svas used to " w--rships the Great
Spirit." Ind the leading men were "- Ialur-eeka ant Tevk-mtht" flecuinseh). The
Shakers were amazed to find that the Indi-ns hail a well ietfin II cred r)isei, as they
claimed, on d-irect revelatin, al-d qutte siiiilar to the religi-ous siess of their o)ss1i
society. McNemar, the Shaker elder at Turtle Creek, formerly a Presbytermaim miutiLer,



i 8       The Political Beginnings of Kentucky.

forbidding acquisitions of lands from Indians by private treaty
or purchase. The policy of extinguishing the Indian claim
by vesting title in the sovereign, and thus compelling the cit-
izen to acquire ownership through allegiance, was sufficiently
protected by the treaty of Fort Stanwix, and all governmental
influence was thrown into the scale for its validity.
    Thus it was determined in 1768 that the Indian title to
the territory of Kentucky, as far westward as the Tennessee
River at least, was in the Six Nations, and that it devolved
by treaty upon the King of Great Britain. And the treaty
of Fort Stanwix, taken together with the proclamation of
1763,' made it impossible to acquire lands within the great
western area save by grant derived directly or mediately from
the Crown.
    While the disregard into which Stuart's treaty thus fell
 was fortunate for Virginia, in that the threatened western

 gives a very full account of the origin of this religious movement among the Indians,
 and of their theological notions  He illustrates their points of belief by quotations
 from dialogues with them. (JcAemanar's Kentucky Revivat, til., iii, and following.)
 Tecumseh had no celebrity at the time of McNemar's writing, and the account can not
 be suspected of being overdrawn for the purpose of introducing a famous character.
 McNemar spells Tecumseh's name according to the true Shawnee pronunciation, which
 always converted the sibilant s into th by lisping. The religious ferment of the Shaw.
 nees has generally been considered as part of the plan of Tecumseh and his brother,
 The Prophet, to establish their influence. The controversy between Col. James Smith
 and McNemar on that point is curious, and the publications'very rare.
    ' This proclamation may be found printed as an appendix to Dr. Franklin's argu-
 ment on the Walpole grant. (Fransnin's Works, Vol. IV, p. 374.) The Kentucky land
 titles, earlier than such Virginia grants as postdate 1776, are nearly if not quite all
 based upon warrants authorized by the royal proclamation of 1763, to be issued to sol-
 dien in the North American wars.


The Political Beginnings of Kentucky.

boundary of the Kanawha was abandoned, the adoption of
the treaty of Fort Stanwix brought embarrassments. It was
soon asserted that Virginia had no title westward of the
Alleghany range, because the cession by the Six Nations
was (as contended) a new and original title in the King,
incompatible with the pretensions of Virginia to the terri-
tory which her charter boundary would include It was thus
that Franklin, in his argument before the Privy Council in
1772,' ingeniously established the royal title from the Iro-
quois and checked Virginia with a mountain boundary, find-
ing a location as well as a title for the Walpole grant.
   The original boundaries granted to Virginia were cer-
tainly declared in ignorance of what would be their gigantic
extent, but it can hardly be contended that they were impos-
sible of ascertainment or application. There were well-
defined beginning points on the Atlantic coast; the courses
of the lines to the north and south were unmistakably indi-
cated, and the limit of the grant to the west was the sea.
The royal grantor declared:

   "And we do also of our special Grace, certain knowledge and mere
Motion, give, grant, and confirm unto the said Treasurer and Company,
and their successors, under the Reservations,. Limitations, and Declarations
hereinafter expressed, all those Lands, Countries, and Territories situate,
lying, and being in that part of America called Virginia, from the Point of

             'Fmnxhix's Wrts, Vol. IV, p. 324, and following.



20           The Political Beg-innins of Kentucky.

Lind called Cape or Point Comfort all along tile Sea Coast to the North-
ward two hunidretd  iles; anid from sld Point ol Cal)e Comfort all along
the sea coast to the southward two hundred miles; and all that spice and
Circuit of Land lying from the Sea Coast of the Precinct aforesaid. tip into
the Land throlighmit from Sea to Sea, West and Northwest; and also all
the IsI mnds lying, within one hundred miles aling the Coast of both Seas,
of the Precinct aforesaid: Together with all the Soils, Grounds, Havens,
and Ports, Mlines, as well Royal Mines of Gold and Silver, as other
Minerals, Pearls, and precious Stones, Quarries, Woods, Rivers, Waters,
Fishings, Commodities, JurisdicLions, Royalties, Privileges, Franchises, and
Preheininences within the said Territories, and the Precincts thereof what-
soever; and thereto and thereabouts, both by Sea and Land, being in any
rort belonging or appertaining, and which We by our Letters Patents may
or can grant, in as ample Manner and Sort as our noble Progenitors have
heretofore granted to any Company, Body Politic or Corporate, or to any
Adventurer or Adventurers, Undertaker or Undertakers, of any Discover-
ies, Plantation or Traffic of, in, or into any Foreign Parts wh tsoever, and
in as large and ample Manner as if the same were herein particularly men-
tioned and expressed: To have and to hold," etc.'

   Of this grant it has well been observed' that all the con-
ditions can be satisfied only by extending from a point two

hundred miles south of Point Comfort a line due west to
the Pacific, and, from a point equally distant and to the

north of Point Comfort, another line stretching northwest
to the Pacific. Between these lines on the north and south
and the ocean limits on the east and west was the chartered

   ' For the charter of the London Company see Pooret- Contitins and CAanern,
Government Press, 1878, Vol. It, p. 1897.
   ' Hissdae, rhe Old No wts!, p. 75.


The Political Beginnings of Kentucky.

area of Virginia. The divergence of the inclosing bound-
aries spreading at an angle of forty-five degrees would have
included a Pacific coast line from the vicinity of Monterey
to the snows of Alaska.
   Spanish occupation, and the treaty of 1763, made it im-
possible for Virginia to assert (as she came to the status of
a revolutionary State) territorial claims west of the Missis-
sippi. But never was her claim abated short of the great
river.'   Jefferson, more    than  any, appreciated     the paper
title which the charter of 1609 gave, and his far-sighted
comprehension urged George Rogers Clark from the Falls
of the Ohio into the northwest, that actual occupation at
the close of the Revolution might secure to the new nation
territory for new commonwealths. His broad intelligence
kept steadily in mibid that divergent line toward the north-
west for nearly thirty years longer, until, by the purchase
from France of the Louisiana territory, the old Spanish title
to the trans-Mississippi was extinguished, and Great Britain
and the United States were left sole owners of all above the
Gulf of Mexico. Then once more he started exploration on
the northwest line, dispatching Lewis and Clark up the Mis-

   'The 7th article or the treaty of 1763, between France, Great Britain, and Spain,
fixed the boundary line between Spain and Great Britain as to their North American
possessions, by the current of the Mississippi, o ne ligne tire au milieu d, fleuve
Mississippi, depuis sa naissance jusqu.' la rivie d'Iberville, et, de la, par une ligne
tirte au milieu du cette riviere et des lacs Mlaurepas et Ponchartrain. jusqu'k la mer."
(Martens, Reemei de.