Imágenes de página




[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]








[blocks in formation]

22 21 20 19

18 17 16






THREE years since, while editing a literary periodical in Detroit, I commenced the publication of such facts as I could obtain concerning the early history of Michigan. Hon. Lewis Cass becoming interested in them, generously presented me with a large collection of manuscripts, containing official and narrative letters relating to the early French settlement, which he procured from the Colonial Archives at Paris, during his residence there as Minister Plenipotentiary. On examination of these papers, I found them interesting and valuable, furnishing many links in the broken chain of the early history of the Northwest.

Encouraged by the commendation and proffered assistance of Rev. H. D. Kitchel, Capt. E. B. Ward, Rev. O. C. Thompson, and Messrs. U. Tracy Howe, George F. Porter, Henry Hurlbut, and Robert E. Roberts, of Detroit, I undertook the task of translating and compiling the manuscripts, hoping thereby to be of some service to the American reader, and especially to the inhabitants of Michigan and other portions of the great Northwest.

In this translation I was assisted by a native Parisian, and by an accomplished French scholar from Boston, Mass. The translation was made with the greatest possible care, every sentence being revised and compared with the original. Whatever the work may lack in beauty of diction, and gracefulness of expression, unwearied pains have been taken to make it historically correct.

I have chosen to embody in the work the manuscripts themselves, rather than to give the facts in a more modern style, partly because the unique mode of expression often used has attractions to my own mind, and partly because most historical readers love that which has the savor of antiquity, and prefer the original of an old book to the most polished modern version. The names of all persons and places, and of some few words having a local signification, have been spelled as in the original manuscripts, except Michilimackinac, which in some instances was spelled Missilimakina ; but, this being an Indian word, I have preferred Schoolcraft's orthography.

Though a large portion of this volume is composed of the manuscripts, much research has been necessary to obtain corroborating testimony and connecting facts. The principal authorities which have been consulted for that purpose, are “ Hennepin's Travels,” Wynne's “ History of the British Empire,” Parkman's

Conspiracy of Pontiac,” Schoolcraft's “Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes," Lanman's “History of Michigan," Ingersoll's “ Second War," and Bancroft's “ History of the United States.”

The facts concerning Detroit, after its occupation by the Americans, were obtained from Hon. S. Conant, Major Joshua Howard, Major Abraham Edwards, and Hon. B. F. H. Witherell; and from Mrs. M. McCarty, and Mrs. Robert Abbott, daughters of Peter Audrain, first Secretary of the Territory, all of whom were then residents of Detroit: By the politeness of Mr. Amos T.

[ocr errors]



Hall, Register of the city of Detroit, I have also had access to the old records, and have brought thence a bundle of gleanings.

I am under many obligations to the “Mechanics' Library Association" of Detroit, and to the “New York IIistorical Library,"

Mercantile Library Association,” and “ Astor Library" of the city of New York, for the use of books contained in their several valuable collections. Mr. Joseph G. Cogswell, librarian of the Astor Library, has also kindly rendered essential service, by a patient examination of many of the manuscripts, and by reliable advice concerning the plan of the work.

And by no means of the least account in the sum of obligation, is the gratitude due to Rev. Joseph P. Thompson for an introduction to my publishers; to whom I am indebted for the handsome appearance of this volume, and by whose liberality the public are presented with the life-like portraits of some of those distinguished men, whose names are well known in connection with the early American history of Michigan.

Hon. Lewis Cass, second Governor of Michigan—whose portrait, engraved from a daguerreotype taken during the present session of Congress, will be immediately recognized, -retained his office as governor, from the time of his appointment in 1813 till he was appointed Secretary of War in 1831. In 1836 he was appointed Minister to France, and returned in 1842. In January, 1845, he was first elected to the United States Senate.

Hon. James Witherell, one of the “Board of Governor and Judges," was a native of Massachusetts, and was appointed a Judge of the Territory of Michigan, April 23d, 1808. His term of office expired July 1st, 1824, after which he was reappointed



for four years. On the 1st of February, 1828, he was appointed Secretary of the Territory. He died January 9th, 1838.

Hon. James May was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, about the year 1800. He held that office for seven years; and his name often

appears in the subsequent public records of the Territory. He died in January, 1829.

Rev. Gabriel Richard, Vicar-general, Sulpitian, was born at Saintes, in France, October 15th, 1764. He was cducated at Issy, near Paris, and became a priest of the Society of St. Sulpitius in 1791. With a number of priests of the same, order, he arrived at Baltimore, in the United States, June 24th, 1792. After laboring some time as missionary among the Catholic missions of Illinois, he came to Detroit in June, 1798. He closed a long and laborious life at Detroit, on the 13th of September, 1832.

All efforts to obtain a portrait of Hon. Augustus B. Woodward, one of the first judges, and author of the “Woodward Code of Laws,” have been unsuccessful, and it is believed that none exists. He was a native of Virginia, and was appointed a Judge of the Territory of Michigan in 1805. His term of office expired in 1824, and he was soon after appointed one of the Judges of the Territory of Florida, and died there three years later. .

Far from considering this volume above criticism, yet believing that it contains historical facts which will be appreciated by the reading public, and especially by the inhabitants of the great Northwest, this portion of the Early History of Michigan is respectfully submitted:

NEW YORK, March, 1856.

« AnteriorContinuar »