History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 4

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI.
THE COLONIAL SYSTEM OF THE UNITED STATES.
FROM JANUARY 1786 TO JULY 1787.

BEFORE the federal convention had referred its resolutions to a committee of detail, an interlude in congrese was shaping the character and destiny of the United States of America. Sublime and humane and eventful in the history of mankind as was the result, it will take not many words to tell how it was brought about. For a time wisdom and peace and justice dwelt among men, and the great ordinance, which could alone give continuance to the union, came in serenity and stillness. Every man that had a share in it seemed to be led by an invisible hand to do just what was wanted of him; all that was wrongfully undertaken fell to the ground to wither by the wayside; whatever was needed for the happy completion of the mighty work arrived opportunely, and just at the right moment moved into its place.

By the order of congrese a treaty was to be held, in January 1786, with the Shawnees, at the mouth of the Great Miami. Monroe, who had been present as a spectator at the meeting of the United States commissioners with the representatives of the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix, in 1784, desired to attend this meeting with a remoter tribe. He reached Fort Pitt, and with some of the American party began the descent of the Ohio; but, from the low state of the water, he abandoned the expedition at Limestone, and made his way to Eichmond through Kentucky and the wilderness. As the result of his inquiries on the journey, he took with him to congress the opinion that a great part of the western territory,

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