Benson John Lossing.

Harper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) online

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were moist with the trickling waters in tious method of advancing in the outset
this spring of mighty rivers. We soon had spared my strength ; and, with the ex-
had the satisfaction to find ourselves rid- ception of a slight disposition to head
ing along the huge wall which forms the ache, I felt no remains of yesterday s ill-
central summits of the chain. There at ness. In a few minutes we reached a
last it rose by our sides, a nearly perpen- point where the buttress was overhanging,
dicular wall of granite, terminating 2,000 and there was no other way of surmount-
to 3,000 feet above our heads in a ser- ing the difficulty than by passing around
rated line of broken, jagged cones. We one side of it, which was the face of a
rode on until we came almost immediately vertical precipice of several hundred
below r the main peak, which I denominated feet.

the Snow Peak, as it exhibited more snow Putting hands and feet in the crevices
to the eye than any of the neighboring between the blocks, I succeeded in getting
summits. Here were three small lakes over it, and, when I reached the top,
of a green color, each perhaps 1,000 yards found my companions in a small valley be-
in diameter, and apparently very deep. low. Descending to them, we continued
These lay in a kind of chasm ; and. ac- climbing, and in a short time reached the
cording to the barometer, we had attain- crest. I sprang upon the summit, and an-
ed but a few hundred feet above the other step would have precipitated me into
Island Lake. The barometer here stood an immense snow-field 500 feet below,
at 20.450, attached thermometer 70. To the edge of this field was a sheer
We managed to get our mules up to a icy precipice; and then, with a grad-
little bench about 100 feet above the ual fall, the field sloped off for about a
lakes, where there was a patch of good mile, until it struck the foot of another
grass, and turned them loose to graze. low r er ridge. I stood on a narrow crest,
During our rough ride to this place, they about 3 feet in width, with an in-
had exhibited a wonderful surefootedness. clination of about 20 N. 51 E. As soon
Parts of the defile were filled with an- as I had gratified the first feelings of curi-
gular, sharp fragments of rock, 3 or osity, I descended, and ea" h man ascended
4 and 8 or 10 feet cube, and among in his turn : for I would only allow one at
these they had worked their way, leap- a time to mount the unstable and pre-
ing from one narrow point to another, carious slab, which it seomed a breath
rarely making a false step, and giving us would hurl into the abyss below. We
no occasion to dismount. Having divested mounted the barometer in the snow of the
ourselves of every unnecessary encum- summit, and. fixing a ramrod in a crevice,
brance, we commenced the ascent. This unfurled the national flag to wave in the
time, like experienced travellers, we did breeze where never flag waved before,
not press ourselves, but climbed leisurely, During our morning s ascent we had met



no sign of animal life except the small,
sparrow-like bird already mentioned. A
stillness the most profound and a terrible
solitude forced themselves constantly on
the mind as the great features of the place.
Here on the summit where the stillness
was absolute, unbroken by any sound, and
the solitude complete, we thought our
selves beyond the region of animated life;
but, while we were sitting on the rock, a
solitary bee (l)romus, the humble-bee)
came winging his flight from the eastern
valley, and lit on the knee of one of the

It was a strange place the icy rock
and the highest peak of the Rocky Moun
tains for a lover of warm sunshine and
flowers; and we pleased ourselves with
the idea that he was the first of his
species to cross the mountain barrier, a
solitary pioneer to foretell the advance
of civilization. I believe that a moment s
thought would have made us let him con
tinue his way unharmed; but we carried
out the law of this country, where all
animated nature seems at war, and, seiz
ing him immediately, put him in at least
a fit place, in the leaves of a large book,
among the flowers we had collected on
our way. The barometer stood at 18.293,
the attached thermometer at 44, giving
for the elevation of this summit 13,570
feet above the Gulf of Mexico, which may
be called the highest flight of the bee. It
is certainly the highest known flight of
that insect. From the description given
by Mackenzie of the mountains where he
crossed them with that of a French officer
still farther to the north and Colonel
Long s measurements to the south, joined
to the opinion of the oldest traders of the
country, it is presumed that this is the
highest peak of the Rocky Mountains.
The day was sunny and bright, but a
slight shining mist hung over the lower
plains, which interfered with our view of
the surrounding country. On one side we
overlooked innumerable lakes and streams,
the spring of the Colorado of the Gulf of
California; and on the other was the
Wind River Valley, where were the heads
of the Yellowstone branch of the Missouri.
Far to the north we just could discover
the snowy heads of the Trois Tetons,
where were the sources of the Missouri
and Columbia rivers; and at the southern

extremity of the ridge the peaks were
plainly visible, among which were some
of the springs of the Nebraska or Platte
River. Around us the whole scene had
one main striking feature, which was that
of terrible convulsion. Parallel to its
length, the ridge was split into chasms and
fissures, between which rose the thin, lofty
walls, terminated with slender minarets
and columns, which is correctly represented
in the view from the camp on Island Lake.
According to the barometer, the little
crest of the wall on which we stood was
3,570 feet above that place and 2,780 above
the little lakes at the. bottom, immediately
at our feet. Our camp at the Two Hills
(an astronomical station) bore south 3
east, which with a bearing afterwards ob
tained from a fixed position enabled us to
locate the peak. The bearing of the Trois
Tetons was north 50 west, and the direc
tion of the central ridge of the Wind River
Mountains south 39 east. The summit
rock was gneiss, succeeded by "sienitic
gneiss. Sienite and feldspar succeeded
in our descent to the snow-line, where
we found a feldspathic granite. I had
remarked that the noise produced by the
explosion of our pistols had the usual
degree of loudness, but w r as not in the
least prolonged, expiring almost simul
taneously. Having now made what obser
vations our means afforded, we proceeded
to descend. We had accomplished an ob
ject of laudable ambition, and beyond the
strict order of our instructions. We had
climbed the loftiest peak of the Rocky
Mountains, and looked down upon the
snow 1,000 feet below, and, standing
where never human foot had stood before,
felt the exultation of first explorers. It
was about two o clock when we left the
summit; and, when we reached the bot
tom, the sun had already sunk behind
the wall, and the day was drawing to a
close. It would have been pleasant to
have lingered here and on the summit
longer; but we hurried away as rapidly
as the ground would permit, for it was
an object to regain our party as soon as
possible, not knowing what accident the
next hour might bring forth.

We reached our deposit of provisions
at nightfall. Here was not the inn which
awaits the tired traveller on his return
from Mont Blanc, or the orange groves of



South America, with their refreshing Civil War intercepted telegraphic messages
juices and soft, fragrant air; but we from the Confederate armies and forward-
found our little cache of dried meat and ed them to Washington. He died at Pear-
cofi ee undisturbed. Though the moon was sail s, L. I., March 15, 1876.
bright, the road was full of precipices, French and Indian War. A fourth
and the fatigue of the day had been intercolonial war between the English
great. We therefore abandoned the idea and French colonies in America was be-
of rejoining our friends, and lay down gun in 1754, in which the Indians, as
on the rock, and in spite of the cold slept usual, bore a conspicuous part. The
soundly. English population (white) in the colo-

French, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, his- nies was then a little more than 1,000,-

torian: born in Richmond, Va., June 8, 000, planted along the seaboard. The

1799; removed to Louisiana in 1830; re- French were 100,000 strong, and occupied

tired from business in 1853; and removed the regions of Nova Scotia, the St.

to New York City. He published Biblio- Lawrence, the Great Lakes, and a line of

(jraphia Americana; Historical Collections trading-posts in the Valley of the Missis-

of Louisiana; History of the Iron Trade sippi to the Gulf of Mexico. The latter,

of the United States; Historical Annals of as chiefly traders, had gained great in-

North America. He died in New York fluence over many of the Indian tribes.

City, May 30, 1877. There was outward peace, but inward

French, DANIEL CHESTER, sculptor; war, between the colonists, and it needed

born in Exeter, N. H., April 20, 1850; only a small matter to kindle a flame of

educated in Boston, Mass., and in Flor- hostilities. After the capture of Louis-

ence, Italy; had a studio in Washing- burg (1745), the French had taken

ton, D. C., in 1876-78, and then estab- measures to extend and strengthen their

lished himself in Florence. His best- dominion in America. Their power be-

known works are The Minute- Man of Con- came aggressive, and early in 1754 it was

cord, in Concord, N. H. ; a life-size statue evident that they intended to hold mili-

of General Cass, in the Capitol in Wash- tary possession of the Ohio and the

ington ; Dr. Gallaudet and His First Deaf- region around its head-waters. The Eng-

Mute Pupil; the Millmore Memorial; the lish attempted to build a fort at the

colossal Statue of the Republic, at the forks of the Ohio. The French seized

World s Columbian Exposition; and the the post, and completed the fortification

Garfield Memorial, in Philadelphia, Pa. (see DLTQUESNE, FORT). Washington led

In April, 1901, he was chosen by the provincial troops to recapture it, but was

Lawton Monument Association, of Ind- unsuccessful. The colonists appealed to

ianapolis, Ind., to make a memorial to the British government, and received

GEN. HENRY W. LAWTON (q. v.), who promises of its aid in the impending

was killed in the battle of San Mateo, war; and in 1755 GEN. EDWARD BRAD-

Philippine Islands, Dec. 19, 1899. DOCK (q. v.) was sent, with regular

French, MANSFIELD, clergyman; born troops, to command any forces that

in Manchester, Vt., Feb. 21, 1810; settled might be raised in America to resist the

in New York City in 1858, where he became French and their Indian allies. Three

an earnest abolitionist. In 1862 he ex- separate expeditions were planned, one

amined the conditions of the negroes at against Fort Duquesne, another against

Port Royal, and on his return to New forts on, or near, Lake Ontario, and a

York held a great meeting at Cooper In- third against French forts on Lake Cham-

stitute, Feb. 10, 1862, which resulted in plain. An expedition against ACADIA

the establishment of the National Freed- (q. v.) was also undertaken. The three

man s Relief Association with himself as expeditions failed to accomplish their full

general agent. In March, 1863, with a purposes.

corps of teachers, he returned to Port In May, 1756, England declared war

Royal and taught the negroes methods of against France, and sent Lord Loudoun

farming. He rendered important service as chief commander in the colonies, with

to the government by organizing an ex- General Abercrombie as his lieutenant,

pedition which during one period of the Expeditions similar to those of 1755 were




tacked. Louisburg
was captured, but
Abercrombie, who
led the troops tow
ards Lake Cham-
plain, failed in his
attack on Ticonder-
oga. Fort Fronte-
nac, at the foot of
Lake Ontario, was
captured; so, also,
was Fort Duquesne,
and its name was
changed to Fort
Pitt, in compliment
to the great prime
minister. These suc
cesses so alarmed
the Indians that,
having assembled in
council, they agreed
not to fight the
English any more.

Pitt now resolved
to conquer Canada.
General Amherst
was placed in chief
command in Amer
ica, in the spring
of 1759, and a land

planned, but failed in the execution. The and naval force was sent over from
skilled soldier, the Marquis de Montcalm, England. Again three expeditions were
commanding the French and Indians, capt- put in motion, one to go up the St.
ured Oswego, on the southern shore of
Lake Ontario. Loudoun proposed to con
fine the campaign of 1757 to the capture
of Louisburg, on Cape Breton. Going
there with a large land and naval arma
ment, he was told that the French were
too strong for him. He believed it, with
drew, and returned to New York. Mean
while, Montcalm had strengthened Fort
Ticonderogn, on Lake Champlain, and
captured and destroyed the English fort,
William Henry, at the head of Lake
George (August, 1757) ; and so ended the
campaign and the leadership of the in
efficient Lord Loudoun. William Pitt at
this time took the chief control of public
affairs in England, and prepared to prose-
CTite the Avar in America with vigor.
Gen. James Abercrombie was placed in
chief command in America in 1758, and

Admiral Boscawen was sent with a fleet Lawrence, to capture Quebec, another to
to co-operate. Louisburg, Fort Ticon- drive the French from Lake Champlain,
deroga, and Fort Duquesne were to be at- and force them back to Canada; and





a third to attack Fort Niagara, at the with his squadron, to co-operate with
mouth of the Niagara River. General General Sullivan against the British in
Wolfe commanded the expedition against Rhode Island.

Quebec, General Amherst led the troops On July 10, 1780, another powerful
against the French on Lake Champlain, French fleet, commanded by the Chevalier
and General Prideaux commanded the de Ternay, arrived at Newport, R. I. It
expedition against Fort Niagara. Pri- was composed of seven ships of the line, be-
deaux was killed in besieging Fort Ni- sides frigates and transports. The latter
agara, but it was captured under the bore a French army, 6,000 strong, corn-
lead of Sir William Johnson, in July, manded by Lieutenant-General the Count
Amherst drove the French from Lake de Rochambeau. This was the first divi-
Champlain into Canada, and they never sion intended for the American service,
came back; and he built the strong and was the first fruit of Lafayette s per-
fortress on Crown Point whose pictu- sistent personal efforts at the French
resque ruins still attract the
attention of the tourist.
Wolfe attacked Quebec, and
at the moment of victory he
was killed. Montcalm, the
commander of the French,
also perished on the field.
In 17GO the French tried to
recapture Quebec, but were
unsuccessful. Early in Sep
tember Amherst went down
the St. Lawrence and capt
ured Montreal. The con
quest of Canada was now
completed, and the French
and Indian War was essen
tially ended. The last act in it was a Court. With wise forethought the offi-
treaty of peace, concluded in Paris in cial relations between Washington and
1763. Rochambeau had been settled by the

French Assistance. In accordance French government. In order to prevent
with the spirit of the treaty of alliance any difficulties in relation to command be-
between the United States and France tween the French and American officers,
(Feb. 6, 1778), a French fleet was speedily the French government commissioned
fitted out at Toulon. It consisted of Washington a lieutenant-general of the
twelve ships of the line and four frigates, empire. This allowed him to take pre-
commanded by the COUNT D ESTAIXG cedence of Rochambeau and made him
(q. v.) . This fleet arrived in the Dela- commander of the allied armies. On all
ware on July 8, 1778, bearing 4,000 points of precedence and etiquette the
French troops. With it came M. Gerard, French officers were instructed to give
the first French minister accredited to place to the American officers,
the United States. Silas Deane also re- At the solicitation of Washington, the
turned from his mission to France in the French fleet at Newport sailed for the
same vessel (the Langucdoc) , the flag- Virginia waters to assist in capturing
ship. Having sent his passengers up to Arnold, then marauding in Virginia. The
Philadelphia in a frigate, D Estaing sailed fleet was to eo - operate with Lafayette,
for Sandy Hook, and anchored off the hur- whom Washington had sent to Virginia
bor of New York. Lord Howe, who had for the same purpose. The British block-
fortunately for himself left the Delaware a ding squadron, which had made its win-
a few days before D Estaing s arrival, tor-quarters in Gardiner s Bay, at the
was now with his fleet in Haritan Bay. eastern end of Long Island, pursued the
whither the heavy French vessels could French vessels, and ofV the Capes of Vir-
not safely follow. On July 22 he sailed, ginia a sharp naval engagement occurred,




in which the latter were beaten and re- archs hated republicanism, and feared the

turned to Newport. This failure on the revolution as menacing thrones; and the

part of the French fleet caused Lafayette chief motive in favoring the Americans,

to halt in his march at Annapolis, Md. especially of France, was to injure Eng-

Two of the French vessels, taking advan- land, humble her pride, and weaken her

tage of a storm that disabled the block- power.

a cling squadron, entered Chesapeake Bay The headquarters of the American army
(February, 1781). Thus threatened b\ were at Verplanck s Point at the begin-
land and water, Arnold withdrew to Ports- ning of autumn, 1782, where (about 10.-
mouth, so far up the Elizabeth River as 000 strong) it was joined by the French
to be out of the reach of the French ships, army on its return from Virginia, in
There he was reinforced by troops un- September. The latter encamped on the
der General Phillips, of the Convention left of the Americans, at Crompond, about
troops, who had been exchanged for Gen- 10 miles from Verplanck s Point. They
eral Lincoln. The French ships soon had received orders to proceed to Boston
returned to Newport, after making some and there embark for the West Indies,
prizes. They left their encampment near Peeks-
When, on June 2, 1779, the legislature kill Oct. 22, and marched by way of
of Virginia unanimously ratified the Hartford and Providence. Rochambeau
treaties of alliance and commerce between there left the army in charge of Baron
France and the United States, and the de Viomenil and returned to Washing-
governor had informed the French minis- ton s headquarters on his way to Phila-
ter at Philadelphia of the fact, that delphia. The French troops reached Bos-
functionary at once notified his govern- ton the first week in December. On the
ment. Vergennes, on Sept. 27, instruct- 24th they sailed from Boston, having been
ed the minister at Philadelphia (Lu- in the United States two and a half years,
zerne) in these words: "During the Rochambeau sailed from Annapolis for
war it is essential, both for the United France Jan. 11, 1783.

States and for us, that their union should French Creek, ACTION AT. The troops
be as perfect as possible. When they collected by Wilkinson on Grenadier Isl-
shall be left to themselves the general and in 1813 suffered much, for storm after
confederation will have much difficulty storm swept over Lake Ontario, and snow
in maintaining itself, and will, perhaps, fell to the depth of 10 inches. A Cana-
be replaced by separate confederations, dian winter was too near to allow delays
Should this revolution take place, it will on account of the weather, and on Oct. 29
weaken the United States, which have not General Brown, with his division, moved
now, and never will have, real and re- forward in boats, in the face of great
spectable strength except by their union, peril, in a tempest. He landed at French
But it is for themselves alone to make Creek (now Claj ton) and took post in a
these reflections. We have no right to pre- wood. The marine scouts from Kingston
sent them for their consideration, and we discovered Brown on the afternoon of Nov.
have no interest whatever to see Amer- 1, and two brigs, two schooners, and eight
ica play the part of a power. The possi- gunboats, filled with infantry, bore down
bility of a dissolution of the Union, and upon him at sunset. Brown had planted
the consequent suppression of Congress, a battery of three 18-pounders on a high
leads us to think that nothing can be wooded bluff on the western shore of
more conformable to our political interest French Creek, at its mouth, and with it
than separate acts by which each State the assailants were driven away. The
shall ratify the treaties concluded with conflict was resumed at dawn the next
France; because in this way every State morning, with the same result. The Brit-
will be found separately connected with isli lost many men; the Americans only
us, whatever may be the fortune of the two killed and four wounded. Meanwhile,
general confederation." The policy of the troops were coming down the river from
French, as well as the Spaniards, towards Grenadier Island, and there landed on the
the United States was purely selfish from site of Clayton. Wilkinson arrived there
beginning to end. The two Bourbon mon- on Nov. 3, and on the morning of the 5th




the army, in 300 ba
teaux and other
boats, moved down the

French Decrees.
The presence of John
Jay in England to
make a treaty with
Great Britain
aroused the French to
a sense of the impor
tance of observing its
own treaty stipula
tions with the United
States, which had
been utterly disre
garded since the war
with England began.
On Jan. 4, 1795, a
new decree was is
sued, giving full force
and effect to those
clauses of the treaty

of commerce (1778) with the United 17D7, the Secretary of State laid before
States respecting contraband and the Congress a full exhibit of the wrongs
carriage of enemies goods. When news inflicted by the French on American
of the failure of the Americans to commerce. Skipwith, American consul-
elect Jefferson President reached France, general in France, had presented to the
the Directory issued a decree (March 2, Directory 170 claims, many of them for
1797) purporting to define the authority provisions furnished, examined, and al-
granted to French cruisers by a former de- lowed; for 103 vessels embargoed at Bor-
cree. It was intended to annihilate deaux, for which promised indemnity had
American commerce in European waters, never been paid; and to these wrongs were
The treaty with America was declared to added enormous depredations then going
be so modified as to make American ves- on in the West Indies, seizing and confis-
sels and their cargoes liable to capture eating the property of Americans without
for any cause recognized as lawful ground restraint. American vessels were capt-
of capture by Jay s treaty. They also de- ured and their crews treated with indig-
creed that any American found serving on nity and cruelty. Encouraged by the ac-
board hostile armed vessels should be cession of Spain to their alliance and the
treated as pirates, even though they might victories of Bonaparte in Italy, the French
plead imprisonment and compulsion as an Directory grew every day more insolent,
excuse; in other words, American seamen, They were countenanced by a great party
impressed by the British, were made liable in the United States, which had failed
to be hanged by the French. On Jan. 18, by only two votes to give a President to
1798, a sweeping decree against American
commerce was promulgated by the French
Directory. It declared to be good prizes
all vessels having merchandise on board
the production of England or her colonies, III.), by proclamation, erected out of the
whoever the owner of the merchantman territory acquired from the French by the
might be; and forbade, also, the entrance treaty of Paris three provinces on the
into any French port of any vessel which, continent namely, east Florida, west
at any previous part of her voyage, had Florida, and Quebec; and an insular prov-

Online LibraryBenson John LossingHarper's encyclopdia of United States history from 458 A.D. to 1905 (Volume 3) → online text (page 73 of 76)