Western Lands and the American Revolution

By Thomas Perkins Abernethy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIV
A YEAR OF CONFUSION, 1787

WHEN news of Clark's and Logan's expeditions first reached Richmond there was no expression of disapproval. The House of Delegates asked Governor Randolph for information on the subject, and the governor asked Congress to meet the expense of the expeditions. But when the Danville memorial arrived the matter took on another hue. On February 28, 1787, the governor consulted his council, which denied that it had authorized Clark to pursue the course followed by him. It forthwith adopted resolutions of censure, and notified the Virginia delegates in Congress of its action. During April Congress also condemned Clark's activities in the Wabash country. Spain was placated and Clark's reputation suffered. He, Butler, and Parsons were now replaced by Wilkinson, Anderson, and Innes as Indian commissioners. Not being themselves qualified for the work, they tried to induce Logan to act for them, with Innes as his secretary. Logan resented their conduct, and, though it seems that he did conduct some informal discussions, no treaty was even attempted by the new commissioners.

Since the capture of Kaskaskia and Vincennes, Clark had been the first citizen of Kentucky. It could hardly be denied that Wilkinson now supplanted him in that rôle. The merchant-adventurer from Philadelphia had done his work well, but only the first of his objects had been accomplished.1

After Clark's troops returned from the Wabash there was no reason why the fourth Kentucky convention might not have proceeded with its work and provided for the creation of the new State. But, as already related, the Virginia assembly had received a petition asking for delay and had accordingly provided for the election of a new convention. This

____________________
1
Gov. Randolph to Speaker of the House of Delegates, Dec. 19, 1786, Clark MSS., Va. Arch.; proclamation by Gov. Randolph, Feb. 28, 1787, ibid.; Gov. Randolph to the General Assembly, Oct. 15, 1787, ibid.; same to G. R. Clark, Jan. 9, 1786, Draper MSS., 53J62; Clark to Gov. Randolph, May 11, 1787, ibid., 11J174; A. S. Bullitt to Gov. Randolph, May 16, 1787, ibid., 33J106; Logan to Randolph, Apr. 17, 1787, ibid., 33J104; Gov. Randolph to the President of Congress, Jan. 24, 1787, Cont. Cong. MSS., 71, II, 467; Va. Council minutes, Feb. 28, 1787, ibid., f. 491; Secret Journals of the Continental Congress, IV, 301 ff.; C.V.S.P., IV, 203, 267; James, Clark, pp. 378-379; Bodley, Clark, p. 300.

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