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A fourth new county, was made at the first session, for which Lincoln furnished the material. It was enacted, that from and after the first day of September then next ensuing, the county of Lincoln should be divided into two distinct counties—that all of said county included within lines—"beginning at the Elk lick on Little Barren river, thence a south course to the North Carolina line; thence along the said line to the Mississippi; thence up the same to the mouth of the Ohio, and up the same to the mouth of Green river; then up the same to the mouth of Little Barren river; thence up the same to the beginning:" shall be a county, called and known by the name of Logan; and the residue shall retain the name of Lincoln. "An act concerning sheriffs," passed at the June session, provides that if any county should fail to electa sheriff, or if any one elected, should die, or the office become vacant; that the governor, with the concurrence of the senate, should appoint, to fill the vacancy: and also where a new county was made, to take effect after any general election. Similar provisions applied to coroners, the provisional substitute, for sheriffs. This was according to the constitution; which, although it placed the election of both sheriff, and coroner, in the people, once in three years, gave to the governor, and senate, the filling of any intermediate vacancies in those offices. While the rest of the act, related of course to the details of official duty, gleaned principally from the existing laws. Nor did this act escape the usual fate of others. Amendment succeeded amendment; and change followed change; which are exemplified by an act of the November session in the same year—one of 1704; ^nd another in 1735—the last, reciting that great injuries might arise to the citizens of the commonwealth, from an admission of improper persons into the legislature-—enacts that no principal nor deputy sheriff, should be eligible to either house of the general assembly, until one year after he shall have completed his collections for the public, ipaid (he money into the treasury, and obtained a quietus from the auditor. This act was the result of experience, and to guard against such abuses in future. ;is had then occurred. The evil was of 4 nature to threaten bankruptcy to the treasury—-as the sheriff, by neglecting and compromitting his duties, in the pursuit of popularity, could leave the taxes unpaid; and as a legislator, pass laws to excuse himself, for his defalcations: the regular consequence of his popular eligibility. The constitution by fair construction, excluded the sheriff, as holding an office of profit under the commonwealth, from a seat in the legislature, during his continuance in office. It was however, to construe the word "profit," to mean "fixed salary only," and the prohibition was removed. Nor did it appear, by the constitution to exist a day after the individual, was out of office as sheriff.
The act as it passed, suggests, at least, the question, how far can the legislature disqualify, any one, not disqualified, by the constitution to hold, any office; should it even be a seat, in their own body? Each house, it is true, have the unlimited right to judge of the qualifications of its own members. But then they act separately—they may decide differently—and therefore could not apply an adequate remedy to the evil treated of, by any means short of a law. More may be said on this subject hereafter, when an accumulation of similar acts, shall justify its resumption*
In the year 1796, the acts of former years were, reduced into one—and in 1799, there was another act passed relative to the arrearages of taxes in the hands of sheriffs, or not then collected, by them; for which time was given, to make collections.
There were other* acts passed at the June.session;but deeming it necessary only, to notice such as introduced some principle, or laid the foundation of future legislation; an advance will be made to the session of November, 1792; and a similar course pursued in relation to the acts of that period; after inserting a narrative of the hostile occurrences of the year.
It has been seen that Kentucky made her political transition from being a district of Virginia, to the condition of a free- and independci#"statc, in the midst of an Indian war on the whole extent of her frontiers; and that the effort of the general government to obtain peace, as well by treaty, as by arms, had hitherto failed of success. So that the new state found herself involved in the heat and bustle of an irritating and vexatious contest, destructive to individuals, and expensive to the public. In the progress, and continuance of which, although the safety of the commonwealth was not to be despaired of, yet much private property might be lost; while little or nothing could be gained from an enemy, both valiant and poor.
The rumour of Indians, being in the country in July, 1792, was soon after confirmed, by "their depredations.' Within eight miles of Frankfort the trail of about twenty was seen, bearing in a direction for the settlements on Elkhorn, where they stole horses. They had, just before this occurrence, tomahawked three women near Long lick; and been seen watchingEastin's jmill, on Bear Grass.
The settlers on Russell's creek, south of Green river, felt themselves so much annoyed, that they petitioned the governor for assistance. And fancied they found some relief, even in the contemplation of obtaining the object of their petition, from one so near them.
About the last of the month, one man was killed, and two others wounded, on Brashear's creek—and a party of savages seen near the Big lick, on Eagle Creek.
. In August, seven Indians attacked the dwelling house of Mr. Stephenson, in Madison county. They forced open the door, in the morning before the family had riscu, and fired into the beds, where the members of it lay. The arm and thigh of Mrs. Stephenson were broken, thereby; while the rest escaped the shot. Mr. Stephenson springing out of bed, made battle, with the enemy; and being immediately assisted by two young men, who lived with him—they killed one of the Indians, and expelled the others: but one of the young men, was killed, and Stephenson himself, badly wounded.
A few days after this rencounter, Major Brown of Nelson county, hearing of a party of the enemy on the rolling fork of Salt river, raised a company of volunteers, and went in search of them. Falling on their trail, he pursued, and came up with them; a skirmish immediately ensued, with the rear, consisting tef twelve warriors; four of whom were killed, and the rest dispersed. The major lost one man, killed; and had two others wounded.
In September, a small company going through the wilderness, to Holston, were fired on by Indians, lying in ambush, who killed one, and crippled another.
About the 6th of November, Major John Adair, (the present governor) commanding a company of Kentucky militia, posted half a mile from fort St. Clair, was attacked in his camp, by ajsuperior Indian force; and after a gallant resistance, compelled to retreat to the fort: with the loss of six men killed, the camp equipage, and one hundred and forty packhorses taken—five men were wounded, but escaped. The enemy had two men killed; their wounded, if any, not known.
General Wilkinson, who then commanded the United States' troops, bestowed encomiums on the major, for his good conduct; and on his men, for their bravery.
Towards the close of the year, what had been apprehended, with great anxiety, the death of Colonel John Hardin, who had been sent, with overtures of peace to the Indians, was reduced to a certainty. He had been solicited by General Wilkinson, commanding at fort Washington, early in the spring to leave his home, and private affairs, to become the bearer of a white flag, as the messenger of peace, to the hoetile tribes of savages, northwest of the Ohio: as the general's letter expressed, "from the Delawares, to the Potawatomies/5 Says he: "I wish you to undertake the business; because you are better qualified for it, than any man of my acquaintance; and because I think it will lead to something of advantage to you." The service was believed by both, to be extremely dangerous; and might be fatal to the undertaker. It could, in fact, have been performed by many persons in the public service, just as well, as by Colonel Hardin. For, whoever the bearer of the flag, might have been, he would have a written speech, instructions, &c. with an interpreter, and was but vot. ii. F
to invite the Indians to a peace, without being authorized to conclude a treaty.
Whether the general, was really the friend of Hardin, and candid in his expressions of a desire to serve him—and thought such employment conducive to that end: or viewing him as a rival in fame, who might afterwards be in his way, if not seasonably put out of it—and hence induced to embrace the opportunity, so conveniently covered by the proposed mission, for effecting his purpose of removal, as by some was strongly suspected; there is no means possessed, of knowing. Certain it is, that Wilkinson, persuaded, and pressed Hardin, to the undertaking—as he did Major Trueman, an officer of great merit, under his command; and with whom he was known to be at variance, to undertake a like commission, in the same season, to another section of hostile Indians; and who shared a fate, similar, to that of Colonel Hardin. They were both known to be men, of great firmness of character, and a ready self devotion to dangerous enterprise, when their country called. They were both called—and both cut off.
Nor will the general's moral character, suffer any diminution of value, in the estimation of those who know him, and duly appreciate it, by the insinuation, as to his motive for employing Colonel Hardin. For, notwithstanding he was in the regular army, and had ostensibly withdrawn from Kentucky; yet was he still, connected with men here, in the Spanish intrigue— between whom, and himself, there was a reciprocity of expectation, that in the event of things taking the turn, which they desired to give them, that Hardin and himself, might be something more than rivals for fame —they might be antagonists in the field. Since Wilkinson, could not have formed the hope of seducing his fidelity. It is, therefore, possible, that a death which gave great pain to the people in general, might have had a very-different effect, on the sensibility of Wilkinson.
The particular manner of that death, has not been ascertained, with any certainty of detail. Even the account which