xt7bzk55f77z https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7bzk55f77z/data/mets.xml Breckinridge, W. C. P. (William Campbell Preston), 1837-1904. 1882  books b92-155-29772453 English Printed at the Kentucky yeoman office, Major, Johnston & Barrett, : Frankfort, Ky. : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Breckinridge County (Ky.) History. Kentucky History. Address delivered at the centennial celebration of the settlement of Breckinridge County  : on the site of Hardin's old fort, near Hardinsburg, November 2d, 1882 / by Wm. C.P. Breckinridge. text Address delivered at the centennial celebration of the settlement of Breckinridge County  : on the site of Hardin's old fort, near Hardinsburg, November 2d, 1882 / by Wm. C.P. Breckinridge. 1882 2002 true xt7bzk55f77z section xt7bzk55f77z 





              OF THE SETTLEMENT OF


                ON TII.v StrE 01


          NOVEMBER 2D, I1882.

        By WM. C. P. BRECKINRIDGE.

Published at the request of the Breckinridge Centennial Society.

             FRANKFORT, KY.:

 This page in the original text is blank.


   I beseech you, sir, to reflect on the delicate situation of our Constitu-
 tion. It is but the child of yesterday. Let us not expose it to attacks
 which its immatured powers may not be able to repel. But young as the
 Constitution is, it hath wrought miracles. It hath made happy, men from
 all quarters of the world. Its youth and its merits jointly urge it upon
 us to touch it with a delicate hand. To preserve it with sacred solicitude
 is unquestionably the duty of every man who values liberty and property.
 -                    in ,,                                   e
   For my own part, sir, I never cast my eyes over my country; I never
 contemplate our beautiful political fabric, but I become animated by the
 prospect, and triumph in the advantages I possess in common with all my
 fellow-citizens, and a degree of transport is mingled with my emotions
 when I consider that my lot is cast in one of the happiest spots, and under
 one of the best Constitutions in the whole world.
                                           JOHN BRECKINRIDGE.
   JANUARY 31, 1798.

   I had no thought, my countrymen, of being called before you again
after so long an interval; and it is, if possible, still less likely that I shall
ever again take part in one of your popular assemblies. If God had so
willed, it had been my happiness to have lived and labored amongst you,
to have mingled my dust with yours, and to have cast the lot of my
children in the same heritage with yours. Wherever I live or wherever
I die, I shall live and die a true Kentuckian. With me the first of all
appellations is Christian, after that Gentleman, and then Kentuckian
                                     ROBERT J. BRECKINRIDGE.

  The whole earth may rejoice that one of her continents abides in free-
dom mightier than ever ; and the inhabitants of the earth wvho sigh for
deliverance may exult as they turn their longing eyes towards the invincible
land where the free dwell and are safe. We, as our delivered country
starts in her new career, wiser, freer. more powerful than before; we,
fearing God and fearing nothing else, must consecrate ourselves afresh to
our higher destiny. Peace, and not force, is the true instrument of our
mission in the world; instruction, not oppression; example, not violence
and conquest, our way to bless the human race. But force and violence
and conquest are words which the nations must not utter to us any more;
are things which they must learn to use at all with great moderation; and
wrongfully no more at all in the track where our duties make us respon-
sible for conniving at their crimes. We must accept our destiny in all
its fullness; and run our great career with perfect rectitude and majestic



  It is God who calls us to be great, in all that distinguishes the race
which He has made in His own image. It is God who requires us to do
great things for a world which He so loved that He gave His only begotten
Son that it might not perish.
                                   ROBERT J. BRECKINRIDGE.

  And now, Senators, we leave this memorable chamber bearing with us,
unimpaired the Constitution we received from our forefathers. Let us
cherish it with grateful acknowledgment to the Divine Power who con-
trols the destinies of empires, and whose goodness we adore.  The
structures reared by men yield to the corroding tooth of time. These
marble walls must moulder into dust; but the principles of constitutional
liberty, guarded by wisdom and virtue, unlike material elements, do not
decay. Let us devoutly trust that another Senate, in another age, shall
bear to a new and larger chamber this Constitution vigorous and inviolate,
and that the last generation of posterity shall witness the deliberations of
the Representatives of American States still united, prosperous, and free.
                                     JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE.



  These letters, my countrymen, just read in your hearing,
furnish evidence of the love felt in many hearts for this
dear old county. In the library of the eloquent Holt; in
the office where Green conducts with consummate skill the
affairs of the great company, whose chief capital is the har-
nessed lightning of the clouds; in the Executive Mansion of
the lusty giant of the West the powerful young Missouri,
where Crittenden adds d gr.i.,y Wc. id 1oonored Kentucky
name; in the more remote Salt Lake Citay where MaIrtay,
whose spurs were won in boyhood, strides with gallant zeal
to perform troublesome duties; in offire andl shop, in field
and highway, by the side of glcwing hearthstories and in
every clime, these exquisite scenes on which our eyes feast
are rising before the loving eyes of the scattered children
of Breckinridge county; sweet memories of childhood are
surging through their hearts. The precious graves of the
unforgotten dead, covered in the beautiful brown of a lovely
autumn, rise unbidden between their work and them, and
prayers for you and yours ascend this November day to
Him from whom all mercies flow.
  And we respond with proud and loving hearts and eyes
bedimmed with tears, whose mingled sources are our pride
for all they have accomplished, and grief at the absence of
their beloved faces; " God this day bless every son and
daughter of this common mother; in the home of every
such child may peace and happiness abide; may the day of
honest toil be followed by the night of sweet repose until
night is swallowed up in eternal day."
 Immediately before the Address letters from absent sons of Breckin-
ridge county were read.



   As we unroll the map of our country and gain some con-
 ception of our heritage; as we ponder over the lengthened
 columns of our last census, and the figures become instinct
 with life and turn into freemen, cities, States, and all that
 give power and comfort thereto; our pride is sanctified by
 gratitude to the Fathers, who secured this heritage and made
 possible this result.
   As we view the consummation of a century, and looking
around us on this fruitful and free land, with its millions of
people, its aggregate wealth, its happy homes, its peaceful
and free States, its powerful and successful general gov-
ernment, yet in its youth honored abroad, the hope of
the generations and the bulwark of freedom, we gain
some twonception .both. of .the hopes of those fathers and
their wisdom.' 'This iSs-not aeideht. There are no acci-
dents in the' economy ')f God; there is no luck in the divine
providence which inspires the itevitable progression of
cause and effect. Al'-the Present is held in the bosom of
the Past: the Future is-the-fruit of that Present and Past.
We cannot foresee all that may be produced by our act;
we cannot estimate the entire force of the influences we put
in motion; the modifying power of other agencies cannot
be ascertained; yet the outcome is, in its'nature, the harvest
due to the seed sown. He who sows good seed in good
ground, with honest and intelligent toil, may confidently
expect to reap a fruitful harvest; nay more: even '"they
that sow in tears shall reap in joy; he that goeth forth and
weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again
with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves."
  To-day the Alleghany Mountains mark no line of division:
from the Lakes to the Gulf there are only prosperous and
united communities; the Mississippi flows in majestic power,
twining together in indissoluble bonds the imperial States
nestled in its surpassing Valley; the mountain ranges of the
West have opened their bosoms to our advancing power,
and the Pacific ocean guards with glad and placid vigilance




the industrious toilers who are building new empires on its
shores. Within these wide boundaries thirty-eight States
have been solving the intricate problem of American Lib-
erty: the problem of duplex government-of two races-
and, with God's blessing, have become powerful, rich, and
contented. The benign influences of religion, the pervasive
power of education, the sweet leadership of liberty, have
united with all the kindly agencies of a beneficent nature,
fertile soil, salubrious climate, exhaustless mineral re-
sources, numerous rivers, to give to the favored land every
blessing. Well might the fathers say, "Si mfonlumenhlim1
requiris, citcnrnspice."
  For this was not always so. When Boone on June 7,
1769, feasted his eyes with "the unrivaled valley of the
Kentucky," what a contrast the picture of to-day would have
been by the side of the picture of that day. If painter,
poet, or orator could in fitting color or apt word produce
these two portraits-paint America as she was in 1769 and
as she is to-day-it would stagger human credulity to real-
ize that they represent the same country, with an interval
of only one hundred and twelve years. And if some great
thinker would with equal power set before us the political
(I use the word in its noble signification) surroundings of
those people with those of our country to-day, the trans-
formation would be as astounding as is the physical and
material transformation. The germs of each existed; the
possibilities of each were in existence; the " precious seed"
for all these harvests were in our fathers' possession, and,
even if sown in tears, they, were sown with true intelligence,
and with brave confidence in the result.
  In the thin fringe of settlements on the Atlantic coast
were held in its very nature the capability and necessity of
future growth, and these settlements were themselves the
growth of this peculiar characteristic. There is something
in that great race, or that family of races which speak the
English language, which necessitates expansion, growth,



development, in lines peculiar to itself. This race seems to
have instinctively the quality to found empires, form organ-
ized societies, construct States. Social order, governmental
forms, administrative justice according to orderly methods,
accompany all emigrants of this race, all adventurers of
this blood. Wherever there be a camp, where the sun is
greeted in this tongue, there is order, and the capacity of
immediate self-government, and the prompt administration
of justice according to some fair and impartial procedure.
But this peculiarity had been of slow growth through the
long centuries, and it struggled upward to strength and
domination amid much darkness. Blood and pain and
broken hearts had been the price paid for the exercise of
the power in free and untrammeled will.
  Along the Atlantic the colonists found homes, and under
,charters from kings began the development of a new power
in this virgin continent.
  Not like Aphrodite did this glorious mistress rise from
the wave into the full radiance of unearthly beauty; not like
Minerva did she spring into being, the perfect form of
adorned and ravishing wisdom. Through many years of
colonial labor, by the power of many diverse, and, on the
surface, conflicting agencies, grew into some tangible shape
this idol of the West.
  There is an exquisite figure in the Apostolic epistle of
the Temple of God, the stones of which. builded and com-
pacted together, are the blood bought souls for whom
Christ died.
  It is not irreverent to adopt and apply the allegory. The
stones for our temple, like those of Solomon, were being
hewn out of the quarry, being also "lively stones." In this
new world, guarded as it had been by the fogs of the sentry
oceans and the denser fogs of human ignorance, the slow
and bitter fight against the forests of nature, the Indian,
the traditions of tyranny and the legal claims of English
domination, had reached that critical moment when all the




Colonies must unite all their forces, or the battle was lost.
Thirteen Colonies had taken root. The colonists had be-
come acclimated in the highest and broadest sense of that
word. They had become countrymen of each other in the
holy sense of that ennobling thought: sons of a common
land, brothers sprung from a common womb, joint heirs of
a common heritage. That heritage was not only of hill and
dale, of mountain fastness and outreaching prairie, of the
rushing river and the shore on which crawled the creeping
ocean tide, but was of the chartered rights and the tradi-
tional liberties of English colonists and the inalienable free-
dom of men. All that belonged to men as men, all that
was the birthright of Englishmen, and all the added rights
of American colonists, formed part of this common weal.
The fierce foes of the forests-nay, the forests themselves-
were enough to appal any but the stoutest heart. The con-
tests with the French had added to the dangers of the long
probationary struggle.
  And it was indeed a sad fate which brought these weak
thirteen Colonies face to face with that dread alternative'-
submission to civil and political serfdom, or the unknown
contingencies of such a struggle. Our fathers were clear-
sighted and wise, as well as brave and free. They saw the
immense dangers of success, as well as the great evils of a
most possible defeat. They realized the immense difficulties
that success would bring, and the sad consequences which
defeat would entail. It was in no blind, haphazard passion,
no thoughtless, dare-devil recklessness, that our Revolution-
ary sires met these appalling duties.
  They knew that if the Colonies secured independence from
English domination, the dangers and difficulties to be met
and surmounted were of the very gravest and most alarming
nature, and were of every possible kind-physical, political,
financial. The entire population of thet thirteen Colonies
was less than three million, scattered from the frozen edge
of Canada to where the magnolia fins the night with fra-




grance and the nightingale the air with song. These set-
tlements were scattered thinly along this long coast by the
banks of the rivers-a mere skein of population.
  The boundless continent behind held the implacable In-
dian, who had been driven slowly back by the combined
power of colonist and British. The Spaniard and French
had foothold on the Gulf and on the Pacific, holding the
mouth of the Mississippi, and a ready ally to the Indian.
So that the narrow strip between the Appalachian range
and the sea was all that would, in fact, constitute the United
States of America when success made them free. Impov-
erished by such a war as would follow; with no accumulated
wealth; with so sparse a population; with the British in
Canada, the Indian behind them, the Spaniard and French
holding Florida, the Gulf, and the Mississippi, national ex-
istence, much less national expansion, seemed indeed almost
hopeless; and the political difficulties added to the dark
forecastings. It was not one Colony, homogeneous and
unique. The political factors were thirteen, with different
charters, with diverse traditions, with diverse interests, and
every possible jealousy that can be generated in human
breasts; and all history told how fierce and cruel and un-
reasoning these jealousies could be.  Grecian Leagues,
Italian Confederacies, German Federations, had been con-
stant causes of fraternal strife and savage massacre. Why
should not Virginia hate as Sparta hated, or Massachusetts
make terms with a foreign foe against her sisters, as heroic
but misguided patriots had often done  Some of the
wisest saw another cloud, then no larger than a man's hand,
on the horizon-the cloud of African slavery-and foretold
the storm which would thence fall.
  It was clear to our far-sighted sires that in the end suc-
cess required the conquest of the continent; that the subtle
force which would give us life would not be confined within
these narrow limits. Nay! that our existence would depend
on that expansion. War with Great Britain meant far more




than that mere war. It was the beginning of a policy which
had for its object national independence, founded on the
union of sovereign States, into which was to be brought the
  It was a sublime conception in its magnificent outline as
in its great details, and we this day are witnesses that these
seers of old were not mere dreamers of dreams.
  One of the most eloquent of modern divines has drawn
a graphic picture of St. Paul passing over from Asia to the
conquest of Europe; of the insignificance of the apparent
force for the accomplishment of the proposed end; of the
cultured Greek, the mighty Roman, the nomadic tribes of
the Black Forest, the fierce Celt and mystic Druid, to be
transformed as well as conquered by this Jewish servant
of a crucified Master; and then, as companion picture, the
great preacher drew Christian Europe in her glory, her
might, and her triumphs Such are the triumphs of truth-
such the victories-of moral forces. And the heroic lovers
of truth, who can look beyond the day of their labors to the-
morrow of their triumph are the true leaders of the world's
progress, even though they seem to die defeated or live the
objects of derision. To some it is given to live to enjoy
the first fruits of their toils, and to see the certainty of the
end of their labors. Time gives to these favored ones the
indorsement of its approval, while immortality waits to
bestow its crown. It is in honor of such men that we hold
these memorial exercises; to recount once more their ser-
vices; tell over their romantic and stirring deeds; reproduce
the dense wilderness and tangled underbrush, and repeople
them with savage beast and more savage red-man; clothe
again this fair land with virgin verdure, and have our hearts
stirred with tale of ambush, woe, and danger; listen with
new and breathless eagerness to story of sacrifice, pain, and
endurance; to the never old story of daring men and heroic
women, building loving, even if rude, log-cabin homes, and
laying the foundations of a new State.




   It is, indeed, an enchanting story of human skill and
 fortitude, of brave endeavor and crafty maneuver, of re-
 lentless attack and fierce retort, of ceaseless vigilance and
 endless danger-all mellowed by the golden sheen of wifely
 love and womanly devotion, and glorified by the noble
 destinies involved.
   It has been told over and over to unwearied ears. It has
 never lost its fresh attraction and never will.
   I have chosen a theme less attractive than the deeds of
 war and scout. I have come to draw other pictures than
 the fierce contests in brake and forest between Boone and
 Kenton and Logan and Hardin and Todd and their com-
 rades, and the brave and skillful though cruel Indian. To
 other and more eloquent tongues I resign this delightful
   The task allotted to me is to re-state somewhat of the
debt that good order and free government owe to these
brave fighters of the forest, who were builders more than
warriors, and that which they builded were STATES. Like
those who re-builded Jerusalem after the captivity, they
were warriors only because they could not otherwise build.
Wall and city and temple must be builded, even if they
which builded on the wall, and they that bore burdens with
those that laded, every one had with one of his hands to
labor, and with the other hold a weapon. It is as builders
that I desire this day to honor these fathers, and as we
renew our love for that edifice, whose foundations they laid,
we give new utterance to our grateful admiration of them.
  The American Revolution did not open suddenly nor
unexpectedly. The beginnings of that revolt were years
before, and the mutterings of the storm were heard by
thoughtful observers long before the cloud appeared on the
horizon. As early as 1763 the King desired to limit the
-growth of the Colonies west of the Alleghanies, and to con-
fine the increase to the narrow scope between the moun-
rtain range and the sea-coast, most of which was accessible



by navigable rivers, and all of which could be controlled
from the sea-coast and those rivers.
   In that year, a royal proclamation expressly forbade the
granting warrants of survey or passing patents for any
land beyond the heads or sources of any of the rivers
which fall into the Atlantic Ocean from the west or south-
   It was in defiance of this royal edict that Kentucky was
settled. She is the only State whose very existence was in
express disobedience to all governmental authority; and as
the mother island and the refractory Colonies become more
in earnest in the long preliminary dispute that preceded the
actual clash of arms, adventurous hunters and daring sur-
veyors made Kentucky known as the most abundant of
hunting fields and the most fertile of lands-a country alike
inviting to the hunter and farmer-a land flowing with milk
and honey, charming to the eye, and rich to the earnest. In
1774, while the Old Bay Colony Nvas preparing for Bunker
Hill, and Henry wvas thundering in Williamsburg, and
Franklin was urging a hesitating Colony, and the conflict
was at hand, a house was built in this beautiful land-only
a log-cabin it was-yet it consecrated all the State to that
Anglo-Saxon civilization which founds the State on the
family, and it was evidence that the adventurers were settlers.
True, as yet no woman had come to occupy this home; but
it was built for women to inhabit. And after the Continental
Congress had convened, and Bunker Hill given bloody proof
that American militiamen could die for liberty, and Wash-
ington was at the head of the Continental army, the families
of Boone and other pioneers immigrated here, and the
corner-stone of the new State was placed in its proper
position. In defiance of royal proclamation, and amid the
first days of the new era of national independence, in the
exquisite valley of the Kentucky, began the infant life of'
the first born of American liberty and American institu-
tions. Her birth was coeval with that of the New Repub-
lic, and her history covers the life-time of that Republic.




   While the territory was part of Virginia, and these few
stations and forts were the frontier settlements of that State,
-and in that sense were under the protection of her laws,
and subject to her authorities, yet practically they were
wholly beyond any protection or obedience. The distance
and the dangers alike made every station a community to
itself, and united all the stations in mutual support and
defense. These pioneers belonged to a race who knew
and instinctively obeyed the laws of order, and organized
society and military subordination, and the habit of sub-
mission to law, made law and order reign in this new
community. The liberty of our ancestors was never law-
lessness. However illiterate, according to the learning of
-the schools, these hunters may have been, they were learned
in the important lesson that order is the first great law,
.and submission to authority the first necessity for freemen;
and during those long years of revolution and war, when
civil courts might well be powerless, and every man might
have temptation to be a law unto himself, there was entire
obedience to law and constituted authority.
  In the very midst of the Revolutionary War, when every
nerve was being strained, and every resource was drained,
the expansive power, residing in all great eras, and in all
-great influences, found itself able to increase the strength
of these frontier settlements; and in October of 1776, the
State of Virginia, Patrick Henry being Governor, found
time to create a county, and give it the name of Kentucky,
whose territorial limits were those which now'include this
  This was probably the result of the influence of George
Rogers Clark, than whom few Americans deserve better of
their country, and to whose sagacity, military genius, and
statesmanlike foresight we owe, in large part, the successful
preservation of that superb territory out of which Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin were carved;
-and to him is ascribed the first intimation that the situation




of Kentucky was such that she was needed by Virginia as
much as she needed Virginia, and that as an independent
State she had a future worth taking many risks for. He,
more clearly. perhaps, than any of his compeers, saw the
necessity of destroying the Indian power north of the Ohio
river, and of acquiring the right of the free navigation of the
Mississippi; and that a State so fertile, free from any other
burdens than its own exigencies, would attract hardy and
enterprising adventurers by promise of tracts of virgin soil,
and the fascinating power of dangerous enterprises.  He
foresaw the greatness of that wvide West which stretched
from the western foot-hills of the Virginia mountains across
the great river, and that at the head of such a country Ken-
tucky might have a grand future. He, too, with his broad
forecast, must have foreseen that it would be destructive to
Virginia to hem her in between mountain and sea.
  How far he opened these views to the assembled pioneers
at Harrodsburg that sent him and Gabriel Jones to Rich-
mond as delegates to the State authorities, is a matter of
doubt. That he unfolded them to the Governor of Virginia,
the prophetic Henry, to whom, as yet, history has not given
his true place. and who was as sagacious as a statesman as
he was eloquent as an orator, is beyond doubt; and that
wise magistrate immediately entered into the plans of Clark
to afford Kentucky all the fostering and protecting aid pos-
sible in the midst of those revolutionary dangers. The first
aid were military stores and proper commissions; the next,
the protection of civil government and the presence of
legally authorized magistrates ; so that civil government
and military organization followed Clark's visit to Virginia.
The views of Clark and Henry were communicated to, and
shared by, Jefferson, who, when Governor, exerted himself
to the utmost to prepare the way for the ultimate exten-
sion of our western boundary to the Pacific slope. As
early as T778 Jefferson ordered possession to be taken of
the bank of the Mississippi river, and a fort built thereon
and in 1780 Clark obeyed this order.



   This act and the military successes of Clark, in all proba-
 bility, prevented the success of the intrigue of the Spanish
 and French courts in 1780 to take advantage of the condi
 tion of the United States, and obtain a pledge to limit the
 States to the territory east of the Alleghanies, and give to
 Spain the territory south of the Ohio. This would have
 resulted, necessarily, in securing to Great Britain the terri-
 tory north of the Ohio. If this plan had been successful,
 the destiny of America would indeed have been altered
 beyond our ability to conjecture. If Spain had held all
 west of the Mississippi, and on the east thereof, all south
 of Ohio, including Kentucky, part of Tennessee, Florida,
 Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and Great Britain had
 retained the Canadas, and that fertile empire bounded on
 the south by the Ohio, and on the west by the Mississippi,
 what would the century have produced Some knowledge
 of these intrigues was possessed by the leading men in Ken-
 tucky. but they were not generally known, and ignorant of
 this danger, year by year new families join those who had
 found their way across the blue mountains and through the
 wilderness until Virginia, staggering under the dreadful bur-
 den of the lengthened war, yet mindful somewhat of these
 far off sons, divided the county of Kentucky into three
 counties, and blotted this Indian name from the map and
 from political association. Other counties of Virginia had
 thus been divided, and their names never restored, and, so far
 as I know, this is the only instance of the obliteration and
 restoration of a political name to the same territorial divis-
 ion; and from 1780 to 1783 there was no Kentucky; yet
 the name constantly appears in all the contemporaneous
 writings; and in popular speech and general talk it is called
 Kentucky, and in 1783 the name was restored, and the
 counties of Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln united into the
 District of Kentucky, and this district is given a district.
court, with all common law, chancery, and criminal jurisdic--



  Peace was declared, independence had been recognized,
;and the armies of the Revolution were disbanded, and
many of its tried veterans sought a new home in this
new land-soldiers of liberty, who had won a country by
their valor, sought now to win a home where that liberty
could be enjoyed. The league formed by the Indian tribes
to crush the infant settlements had been frustrated; but the
danger of invasion was not yet ended. So long as the
power of the Northwestern tribes was not broken, Kentucky
was in constant danger, and rapid increase improbable.
  To the dangers of invasion from the Northern Indians
was added the startling rumor of a threatened attack from
the Indians of the South. The organization of the District
was purely judicial; the military power was in the hands
of the militia officers of the three counties, and there was
no common head, and no executive power nearer than
Richmond. There wvas immediate need of mutual protec-
tion, and some common authority near at hand. Out of
this necessity action sprang. As is the case with our Eng-
lish-speaking race, the action was prompt, but orderly.
Col. Logan, second in military reputation only, to Gen.
Clark, and not second to him in weight of character and in
the affections and confidence of the people of the District,
summoned the leading citizens, all of whom had been sol-
diers, to meet in Danville, " to consult as to what measures
should be taken for the common defense."
   It was a notable meeting-called not in violation of law,
not for revolution, but to supply by voluntary effort and
organization the absence of that needed executive power
which every community must exercise, and which must be
so placed as to render it available at a moment's notice.
Every one in that council had been a soldier of freedom,
and was thoroughly learned in all the principles involved in
the late struggle. Most of them were by blood and rear-
ing Virginians. The gravity of their condition forced them
to the conclusion that they must have a government inde-




pendent of Virginia. It will be remembered that this was;
before theadoption of the Federal Constitution-before the
gift by Virginia of the Northwest to the General Govern-
ment. Up to this period, no State had organized itself.
All the States had been Colonies, formed under and by
virtue of charters which created executive, legislative, and
judicial offices, and these Colonies had passed from Colonial
to State existence by the declaration of the Legislatures
created by these charters. No State had been carved out
of a State.
  Tfhe experiment of the organization of an independent
State to remain a part of the confederation had -never been
made. This problem met this assembly-an assembly with-
out legal authority. These men were absolu