University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

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. [210]-230 PDF (10.1 MB)

Page 211

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
      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

Go up to Top of Page