The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States
Durrie, D. S.
The public domain, pp. -230 PDF (10.1 MB)
THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. the usual water courses. There was no settlement of agriculturists; there were no missionary establishments; no fortified posts at other points, except at Depere and Green bay on Fox -iver, and perhaps at Prairie-du Chien, near the junction of the Wisconsin and the Mississippi. The French government made no grant of lands; gave no attention to settlers or agrica- turists, and the occupation of the country was strictly military. There were, indeed, a few grants of lands made by the French governors and commanders, previous to 1750, to favored indi- viduals, six of which were afterward confirmed by the king of France. There were also others which did not require confirmation, being made by Cardillac, commanding at Detroit, under special authority of the king; of this latter kind, one for a small piece of thirty acres bears with it, says a writer, "so many conditions, reservations, prohibitions of sale, and a whole cavalcade of feudal duties to be performed by the grantee, that in itself, it would be a host in opposition to the agricultural settlement of any country." The grants just referred to, relate to that part of the French possessions-outside the limits of the present state of Wisconsin. Within its limits there was a grant of an extensive territory including the fort at the head of Green bay, with the exclusive right to trade, and other valuable privileges, from the Marquis de Vaudreuil, in October, 1759, to M. Rigaud. It was sold by the latter to William Gould and Madame Vaudreuil, to whom it was confirmed by the king of France in January, 176o, at a very critical period, when Quebec had been taken by the British, and Montreal was only wanting to complete the conquest of Canada. This grant was evidently intended as a perquisite to entrap some unwary persons to give a valuable consideration for it, as it would be highly impolitic for the government to make such a grant, if they continued mas- ters of the country, since it would surely alienate the affections of the Indians. The whole country had already been virtually conquered by Great Britain, and the grant of course was not confirmed by the English government. Of the war between the French and English governments in America, known as the French and Indian war, it is not necessary to speak, except in general terms. The English made a determined effort to obtain the possessions claimed by the French. The capture of Quebec in 1759, and the subsequent capitulation of Montreal in 176o, extinguished the domination of France in the basin of the St. Lawrence; and by the terms of the treaty of Paris, concluded February io, 1763, all the possessions in, and all the claims of the French nation to, the vast country watered by the Ohio and the Mississippi were ceded to Great Britain. Among the first acts of the new masters of the country was the protection of the eminent domain of the government, and the restriction of all attempts on the part of individuals to acquire Indian titles to lands. By the King of England's proclamation of 1763, no more grants of land within certain prescribed limits could be issued, and all private persons were interdicted the liberty of purchasing lands from the Indians, or of making settlements within those prescribed limits. The indulgence of such a privilege as that of making private purchases of the natives, conduced to the most serious difficulties, and made way for the practice of the most reprehensible frauds. The policy pursued by the English government has been adopted and acted upon by the government of the United States in the extinguishment of the Indian title to lands in every part of the country. In face of the proclamation of 1763, and within three years after its promulgation, under a pretended purchase from, or voluntary grant of the natives, a tract of country nearly one hundred miles square, including large portions of what is now northern Wisconsin and Minnesota, was claimed by Jonathan Carver, and a ratification of his title solicited from the king and council. This was not conceded; and the representatives of Carver, after the change of government had 211
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