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Title: The Americans as They Are - Described in a tour through the valley of the Mississippi
Author: Sealsfield, Charles
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note

Some typographical features could not be reproduced in this version.
Italics are therefore delimited with the underscore character as
_italic_. Any words or phrases appearing in mixed case using small
capital letters, are shifted to all upper case.

Please note that the longitudes used in this text, which predates the
establishment of Greenwich as the reference, used the nation's capitol,
Washington, D.C. (approx. W 77°) as its basis. Thus, Cincinnati, at
W 84° 30' on p. 1, is placed at a longitude of 7° 31'. Also, on p. 33,
the location of the state of Indiana is mistakenly given using seconds
(") of longitude, rather than minutes ('). These were corrected.

The spelling of place names was fluid at the time and all are retained

Footnotes, which appeared on the bottom of pages, have been relocated
to follow the paragraph where they are referenced. They have been
lettered consecutively from A to K for ease of reference.

Please consult the transcriber's end note at the bottom of this text
for any other details.

                         AMERICANS AS THEY ARE;
                              DESCRIBED IN
                                 A TOUR

                            BY THE AUTHOR OF
                          "AUSTRIA AS IT IS."

                         HURST, CHANCE, AND CO.
                        ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD.

                     Printed by Bradbury and Dent,
                      St. Dunstan's-ct., Fleet-st.


The publication of this tour was intended for the year 1827. Several
circumstances have prevented it.

The American is, as far as relates to his own country, justly supposed
to be prone to exaggeration. English travellers, on the contrary, are
apt to undervalue brother Jonathan and his country. The Author has twice
seen these countries, of whose present state he gives a sketch in the
following pages. He is far from claiming for his work any sort of
literary merit. Truth and practical observation are his chief points.
Whether his opinions and statements are correct, it remains for the
reader to judge, and experience to confirm.

                                             _London, March, 1828._


Upwards of half a century has now elapsed since the independence of
the United States became firmly established. During this period two
great questions have been solved, exposing the fallacies of human
calculations, which anticipated only present anarchy and ultimate
dissolution as the fate of the new Republics. The possibility of a
people governing themselves, and being prosperous and happy, time, the
sure ordeal of all projects, has at length demonstrated. Their political
infancy is over, they are approaching towards manhood, and fully
sensible of their strength, their first magistrate has ventured to
utter those important words contained in his address of 1820: that
"notwithstanding their neutrality, they would consider any attempt on
the part of the European Powers, to extend their system to any portion
of THEIR hemisphere, as dangerous to their peace and safety; and that
they could not admit of any projects of colonization on the part of
Europe." Thus, for the first time, they have asserted their right of
taking a part DE FACTO in the great transactions of European Powers, and
pronounced their declaration in a tone, which has certainly contributed
to the abandonment of those intentions which were fast ripening into

The important influence of American liberty throughout the civilised
world, has been already apparent; and more especially in France, in the
South American revolutions, and in the commotions in Spain, Portugal,
Naples, and Piedmont. These owe their origin, not to any instigation on
the part of the United States, but to the influence of their example in
raising the standard of freedom, and more than all, to the success which
crowned their efforts. Great has been on the other hand, the influence
of European politics on the North American nation. A party, existing
since the revolution, and extending its ramifications over the whole
United States, is now growing into importance, and guided by the
principles of European diplomacy, is rooting itself deeper and deeper,
drawing within its ranks the wealthy, the enlightened, the dissatisfied;
thus adding every day to its strength. We see, in short, the principle
of monarchy developing itself in the United States, and though it is not
attempted to establish it by means of a revolution, which would
infallibly fail, there is a design to bring it about by that cunning,
cautious, and I may add, American way, which must eventually succeed;
unless the spirit of freedom be sufficiently powerful to neutralize the
subtle poison in its progress, or to triumph over its revolutionary
results. There have occurred many changes in the United States within
the last ten years. The present rulers have succeeded in so amalgamating
opinions, that whatever may be said to the contrary, only two parties
are now in existence. These are the monarchists, who would become
governors, and the republicans, who would not be governed.

The object proposed in the following pages has been to exhibit to the
eyes of the European world, the real state of American affairs, divested
of all prejudice, and all party spirit. Adams on the whole is a
favourite with Great Britain. This empire however, has no reason to
admire him; should his plans succeed, the cost to Great Britain would be
the loss of her last possession in North America. But as long as the
American Republic continues united, this unwieldy mass of twenty-four
states can never become dangerous.

Of the different orders of society, there is yet little to be said, but
they are developing themselves as fast as wealth, ambition, luxury, and
the sciences on the one side, and poverty, ignorance, and indirect
oppression on the other, will permit them. There, as every where else,
this is the natural course of things. To show the state of society in
general, and the relative bearings of the different classes to each
other, and thus to afford a clear idea of what the United States really
are, is the second object attempted in this work. To represent social
intercourse and prevailing habits in such a manner as to enable the
future emigrant to follow the prescribed track, and to settle with
security and advantage to himself and to his new country; to afford him
the means of judging for himself, by giving him a complete view of
public and private life in general, as well as of each profession or
business in particular, is the third object here contemplated.

The capitalist, the merchant, the farmer, the physician, the lawyer, the
mechanic, cannot fail, I trust, to find adequate information respecting
the course which, on their settling in the Union, will be the most
eligible to pursue. Farther explanation I think unnecessary. He who
would consider the following condensed picture of Trans-atlantic society
and manners insufficient, would not be better informed, if I were to
enlarge the work to twice its size. Such an objection would shew him to
be unfit to adventure in the character of a settler in a country where
so many snares will beset his path, and call for no small degree of
natural shrewdness and penetration.



Cincinnati.--Parting glance at Ohio.--Its Government and


Tour through the state of Kentucky.--Bigbonelick.--Mammoths.--Two
Kentuckian Characters.--Kentuckian


Vevay.--Geographical Sketch of the state of Indiana--Madison.--
Charleston.--Jeffersonville.--Clarksville.--New Albany.--The Falls of


Louisville.--Canal of Louisville.--Its Commerce.--Surrounding
Country.--Sketch of the state of Kentucky, and of its Inhabitants.


A Keel-boat journey.--Description of the preparations.--Fall
of the Country.--Troy.--Lady Washington.--The River sport.--


Mr. Owen's of Lanark, formerly Rapp's settlement.--Remarks on
it.--Keel-boat Scenes.--Cave in Rock.--Cumberland and
Tennessee rivers.--Fort Massai.


The Mississippi.--General Features of the state of Illinois, and of
its Inhabitants.


Excursion to St. Louis.--Fall of the Country.--Sketch of the state of
Missouri.--Return to Trinity.


The state of Tennessee.--Steam boats on the Mississippi.--Flat Boats.


Scenery along the Mississippi.--Hopefield.--St. Helena.--Arkansas
Territory.--Spanish Moss.--Vixburgh.


The city of Natchez.--Excursion to Palmira.--Plantations.--The cotton
planter of the state of Mississippi.--Remarks.--Return to Natchez.


Arrival at New Orleans.--Cursory reflections.


Topographical sketch of the City of New Orleans.


The situation of New Orleans considered in a commercial point of view.


Characteristic features of the Inhabitants of New Orleans and of
Louisiana.--Creoles.--Anglo Americans.


Frenchmen.--Free people of colour.--Slaves.--Public spirit.--
Education.--State of religious worship.--Public entertainments.--
Theatres.--Balls, &c.


The Climate of Louisiana.--The yellow fever.


Hints for Emigrants to Louisiana.--Planters.--Farmers.--Merchants.--


Geographical features of the state of Louisiana.--Conclusion.



  Cincinnati.--Parting Glance at Ohio.--Character of its Government and
  its Inhabitants.

The city of Cincinnati is the largest in the state of Ohio: for the last
eight years it has left even Pittsburgh far behind. It is situated in
39° 5' 54" north latitude, and 7° 31' west longitude, on the second bank
of the Ohio, rising gradually and extending to the west, the north, and
the east, for a distance of several miles. The lower part of the city
below the new warehouse, is exposed, during the spring tides, to
inundations which are not, however, productive of serious consequences;
the whole mass of water turning to the Kentuckian shore. The river is
here about a mile wide, and assumes the form of a half moon. When viewed
from the high banks, the mighty sheet of water, rolling down in a deep
bed, affords a splendid sight. In 1780, the spot where now stands one of
the prettiest towns of the Union, was a native forest. In that year, the
first attempt was made at forming a settlement in the country, by
erecting a blockhouse, which was called Fort Washington, and was
enlarged at a subsequent period. In the year 1788, Judge Symmes laid out
the town, whose occupants he drew from the New England States.
Successive attacks, however, of the Indians wearied them out, and the
greater part withdrew. The battle gained by General Wayne over these
natives, tranquillised the country; and after the year 1794, Cincinnati
rapidly improved. It became the capital of the western district, which
was erected into a territorial government. When Ohio was declared an
independent state, in the year 1800, Cincinnati continued to be the seat
of the legislature till 1806.

Fort Washington has since made room for peaceful dwellings. Their number
is at present 1560, with 12,000 inhabitants. The streets are regular,
broad, and mostly well paved. The main street, which runs the length of
a mile from the court-house down to the quay, is elegant.--Among the
public buildings, the court-house is constructed in an extremely simple
but noble style; the Episcopalian, the Catholic, and the Presbyterian
churches, the academy and the United States' bank, are handsome
buildings. Besides these, are churches for Presbyterians, Lutherans,
Methodists, Baptists, Swedenborghians, Unitarians, a Lancasterian
school, the farmers', the mechanics', and the Cincinnati banks, a
reading room with a well provided library, five newspaper printing
offices;--among these papers are the Cincinnati Literary Gazette, and a
price current--and the land office for the southern part of the state.
The colonnade of the theatre is, however, a strange specimen of the
architectural genius of the backwoods. Among the manufacturing
establishments, the principal are,--the steam mill on the river, a
saw-mill, cloth and cotton manufactories, several steam engines, iron
and nail manufactories, all on the steam principle. Cincinnati carries
on an important trade with New Orleans, and it may be considered as the
staple of the state. The produce of the whole state is brought to
Cincinnati, and shipped down the Ohio and Mississippi. The only
impediments to its uninterrupted trade, are the falls of the Ohio at
Louisville, which obstruct the navigation during eight months in the
year. These obstacles are now on the point of being removed. The exports
from Cincinnati are flour, whisky, salt, hams, pork, beef, dried and
fresh fruits, corn, &c.; the imports are cotton, sugar, rice, indigo,
tobacco, coffee, and spices. The manufactured goods are generally
brought in waggons from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and discharged
there. In order to improve the commerce of Cincinnati, an insurance
company has been formed. There is a committee established for the
inspection of vessels running between New Orleans and this place. There
are a number of steam and other boats building at the present time. For
the benefit of travellers, &c., a line of steam boats is established
between Cincinnati and Louisville; and they start regularly every second
day, performing the voyage of 115 miles to Louisville in twelve, and
back again in twenty hours.

There are in Cincinnati a great number of wholesale, commission, and
retail merchants; but the want of ready money is as much felt here as
anywhere else, and causes a stagnation of business. The inhabitants are
chiefly American born, with some admixture of Germans, French, and
Irish. As the former are mostly from the New England States, the general
character of the inhabitants has taken an adventurous turn, which is
conspicuous in their buildings. Most of the houses in the city are
elegant, many are truly beautiful; but they belong to the bank of the
United States, which possesses at least 200 of the finest houses in
Cincinnati. The building mania obtained such strong hold of the
inhabitants, that most of them forgot their actual means; and
accordingly, having drawn money from the bank which they were unable to
refund, they had at last to give up lots and buildings to the United
States' bank. Though this city possesses in itself many advantages over
other towns of the Ohio, and has much the start of them in point of
commerce and manufactures, yet there is little expectation of its
increasing in the same proportion as it has hitherto done. Neither of
the canals which are intended to join the Ohio, will come up as far as
this town. The great Ohio canal is to run near the mouth of the Sciota
river; the _Dayton_ canal below Cincinnati; and these places will
attract a considerable part of the population. The third canal, which is
to connect the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and of the Ohio, will be
more advantageous to the towns of Upper Ohio, Marietta, Steubenville,
and Wheeling. Commerce will thus be more equally divided, and Cincinnati
cannot always expect to continue as it has hitherto been, the staple
of the trade to the southward of the Ohio. The merchant possessed
of a moderate capital, if he consult his interest, will not establish
himself at Cincinnati, but at one of the intermediate places of the
above-mentioned three canals. The farmer has eligible spots in the
Tuscarora valleys, about New Lancaster, Columbus, Franklintown,
Pickaway, Chilicathe, and especially in the Sandusky counties on lake
Erie. Mechanics, such as carpenters, cabinet makers, &c., will also find
these new settlements more advantageous markets for their industry than
the city of Cincinnati itself. The manufacturers, of every kind, will
choose either Cincinnati or Pittsburgh, but still give the preference
to the former, in spite of its smoke and dirt, as the place most
favoured by natural position, which must necessarily become the first
manufacturing town of the Union, notwithstanding the well-known
inactivity of the Pennsylvanians. But as the state of Ohio must look to
its manufactures, unless it chooses to continue a loser by the exchange
of its raw produce; Cincinnati, whose manufactures have attained a high
degree of perfection, favoured as it is by its coal mines, its water
communication, and the fertility and consequent cheapness of the
necessaries of life, must always possess very great advantages.
Travellers arriving from the north, proceed to the south by way of
Louisville on board a steam boat; and coming from thence, they go either
to the eastward to Philadelphia by the mail stage, or by the same
conveyance northward, through Chilicathe and Columbus, to lake Erie,
where they embark for Buffalo.

During my stay, on the twenty-fifth of October, a question of some
importance for the inhabitants of Cincinnati was to be decided. It was
concerning a stricter police and its necessary regulations. The city
council, with the wealthier class of inhabitants, had been for some time
previous to the decision, engaged in preparing and gaining over the
multitude. I went to the court-house in company with Mr. Bama, a
wholesale merchant, and several gentlemen, to hear the speeches
delivered on both sides, and the result of the motion. It was four
o'clock when we arrived, and about 600 persons were assembled in and
outside of the court-house. The noise, however, was such, that it was
impossible to hear more than detached periods. At eight o'clock, when
almost dark, they had gone through the business, and the poll was about
to commence. The party for abridging public liberty was ordered to go
out on the left:--those who insisted on the preservation of the present
order of things, were to draw off to the right. On arriving before the
court-house, they ranged themselves in two separate ranks, each of which
was counted by the presiding judge. There was a majority of 72 votes in
favour of the party which upheld the present system, and the question
was, therefore, decided in favour of popular liberty. I found here, as
well as everywhere else, that the freedom of a community is nowhere more
exposed to encroachments than in large towns, where dissipation and
occupations of every kind are likely to engross the attention of the
people, who leave the magistrates to do what they please. The city
council were on the point of obtaining the majority, had it not been for
the farmers whom the market-day had drawn to town. These, of course, did
not fail to open the eyes of the honest burghers; and the question was
accordingly negatived.

The prevailing manners of society at Cincinnati, are those peculiar to
larger cities, without the formalities and mannerism of the eastern sea
ports. Freedom of thought prevails in a high degree, and toleration is
exercised without limitation. The women are considered very handsome;
their deportment is free from pride; but simple and unassuming as
they appear, they evince a high taste for literary and mental
accomplishments. The Literary Gazette owes its origin to their united
efforts. There is no doubt that the commanding situation of this
beautiful town, its majestic river, its mild climate, which may be
compared to the south of France, and the liberal spirit of its
inhabitants, contribute to render this place, both in a physical and
moral point of view, one of the most eligible residences in the Union.

As much, indeed, may be said of the state of Ohio in general. It
combines in itself all the elements that tend to make its inhabitants
the happiest people on the face of the earth. Nature has done every
thing in favour of this country. In point of fertility, it excels
every one of the thirteen old states; and, owing to its political
institutions, and the abolition of slavery, it has taken the lead among
those newly created.

Ohio is bounded on the north by lake Erie, on the west by the state
of Indiana, on the south by the river Ohio, and on the east by
Pennsylvania, comprising an area of 4,000 square miles; it is divided
into 71 counties, and has a population of 72,000 souls. This state forms
the eastern extremity of the great valley of the Mississippi, which has
the Alleghany for its eastern, and the Rocky Mountains for its western
boundary, sinking by degrees as it approaches the Mississippi, and
extending more than a thousand miles towards the south. The climate of
this state, which presents for the most part the form of an elevated
plain, running between the mountainous Pennsylvania and the swampy
Mississippi states, is temperate, extending from 38° 28', to 72° 58'
northern latitude, and from 3° 32', to 7° 40' west longitude. Its
temperature varies less than that of other states. Its soil is
inexhaustible; its fertility, especially in the northern and southern
parts, being truly astonishing; and though some portions have been
cultivated upwards of thirty years without being manured, the land still
yields the same quantity of produce. The northern inhabitants of the
state send their produce down to New York by lake Erie, and the Buffalo
canal; the southern find a market in Louisiana and New Orleans. The
middle part suffered greatly from the want of water communication, to
which they are now on the point of applying a remedy, in order to obtain
an intercourse with New York; which, as it is well known, has effected
by means of a canal, a water communication with lake Erie. The Ohions
commenced a canal in the year 1825, beginning at Cleveland on the
shores of lake Erie, taking thence a southern course through Tuscarora
county at Zanesville, turning to the right six miles below Columbus, and
running down to the shores of the Ohio. It is intended to be completed
in the space of three years. The state of Ohio expects from this canal,
which if the pecuniary means be considered may be called a gigantic
undertaking, a ready market for its produce in the city and state of New
York; looking forward, at the same time, to become the staple for the
trade between New York and New Orleans. It cannot fail, however, to be
productive of still greater advantage to the United States in general,
and to the cities of New York and New Orleans in particular, which will
thus have the means of a land or water communication, over a space of
nearly 3,000 miles. The first idea of this canal originated with the
state of New York; the citizens of which, when they had finished their
own, encouraged those of Ohio to enter upon a similar undertaking.
Encouragement was not much wanting; the plan of joining the waters of
the Hudson and the Mississippi was taken up with enthusiasm; canal
committees were formed; most of the towns in the state sent their
deputies, and after the customary debates, the resolution was adopted.
The only difficulty was to raise the requisite funds. New York offered
to defray the necessary expenses, if allowed the revenue arising from
the new canal, for a certain period. The pride of the Ohions revolted
against the proposition; they preferred raising a loan in New York. In
this respect the government of the state committed a great error. A loan
of three millions of dollars, and the necessary evils attendant upon it,
are certainly a heavy burthen to a new state, which can scarcely reckon
an existence of forty years, especially as the new canal may be
considered a continuation of the great one of New York, and as the
advantage resulting from it to the state can bear no comparison with
that which New York derives from its own.

New York, already the most important commercial city of the Union,
will, after the completion of this canal, enjoy the trade of the
western and south-western states, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee,
Mississippi, &c.; and thus the Ohio canal will rather contribute to the
aggrandizement of New York, than to that of Ohio. Their debt, so out of
proportion with the resources of the state, made the people of Ohio
relax in their ardour for carrying this project into effect, and gave
rise to discontent against the administration of the state. But the same
case happened in New York, and the exultation of the inhabitants of
Ohio, when they see the work accomplished, will scarcely yield to that
which was manifested by the people of the former state. There is,
nevertheless, not any city in the state of Ohio to be compared with New
York, Philadelphia, or Boston, nor is it probable there will be. At
the same time this want is largely compensated by the absence of
immorality and luxury--evils necessarily attached to large and opulent
cities--which may be said to attract the heart's blood of the country,
and send forth the very dregs of it in return. In Ohio, wealth is not
accumulated in one place, or in a few hands; it is visibly diffused over
the whole community. The country towns and villages are invariably
constructed in a more elegant and tasteful manner than those of
Pennsylvania, and the Northern states. There is something grand in
their plan and execution, though the prevailing want or insufficiency of
means to carry them through, is still an obstacle in the way. The farms
and country houses are elegant; I saw hundreds of them, which no English
nobleman would be ashamed of. They are generally of brick, sometimes
of wood, and built in a tasteful style. The turnpike roads are in
excellent order. It is astonishing to see what has been done during a
few years, and under an increasing scarcity of money, by the mere dint
of industry. The traveller will seldom have reason to rail at bad roads
or bad taverns; I could only complain of one of the latter, which stands
upon a road that is seldom travelled. In every county town there are at
least two elegant inns, and the tables are loaded with such a variety of
venison and dishes of every kind, that even a _gourmand_ could not
justly complain.

The whole state bespeaks a wealthy condition, which, far removed from
riches, rests on the surest foundation--the fertility of the soil, and
the persevering industry of its cultivators. Although behind-hand,
perhaps, with the Yankees in literary accomplishments, they are far more
liberal, and intelligent, being endowed with a strong and enterprising
mind. Crimes are here less frequently committed, the inhabitants
consisting of the most respectable classes of the eastern and foreign
states. Only men of moderate property came into the state; the wealthy
were deterred by the difficulties attending a new settlement; the
indigent by the impossibility of getting vacant lands, and thus the
state remained equally free from money-born aristocrats, (certainly the
worst in the world), and from beggars. Its form of government bears
internal evidence of this, the governor of Ohio having neither the
revenue, nor the power of the eastern governors. He is elected for the
term of two years. The constitution bespeaks independence and
liberality. The number of senators cannot exceed thirty, nor the
representatives seventy-two. The general assembly has the sole power of
enacting laws, the signature of the governor being in no case necessary.
The judges are chosen by the legislature for seven years, and the
justices of the peace for the term of three years, by their respective
townships. The resolutions of their assembly are quite free from that
narrow-minded prejudice found in Pennsylvania and the southern states,
which sees in the law of Moses the only rule for direction, and loses
sight of that liberal spirit which pervades the law of Christ. The
inhabitants of Ohio are not, however, so religious as their neighbours,
the Pennsylvanians. Their ministers exercise little influence; and
numerous sects contribute greatly to lessen their authority, which is
certainly not the case in the north. The people of Ohio are equally free
from the uncultivated and rude character of the western American, and
from the innate wiliness of the Yankees. This state is not unlike a
vigorous and blooming youth, who is approaching to manhood, and whose
natural form and manner excite our just admiration.


  Tour through Kentucky.--Bigbonelick.--Mammoths.--Two Kentuckian
  Characters.--Kentuckian Scenes.

After a stay of six days in Cincinnati I departed; crossed the Ohio in
the ferryboat, and landed in the state of Kentucky, at Newport, a small
country town of Campbell county. It contains, besides the government
arsenal for the western states, a court-house, and about 100 buildings,
scattered irregularly upon the eminence. From thence to Bigbonelick, the
distance is 23 miles; the country is more hilly than on the other side
of the river; it is, however, fertile, the stratum being generally
limestone. The growth of timber is very fine; the trees are beech,
sugar-maple, and sycamore. The contrast between Ohio and Kentucky is
striking, and the baneful influence of slavery is very soon discovered.
Instead of elegant farms, orchards, meadows, corn and wheat fields
carefully enclosed, you see patches planted with tobacco, the leaves
neglected; and instead of well-looking houses, a sort of double cabins,
like those inhabited in the north of Pennsylvania by the poorest
classes. In one part lives the family, in the other is the kitchen;
behind these, are the wretched cabins of the negroes, bearing a
resemblance to pigsties, with half a dozen black children playing about
them on the ground.

About three o'clock I arrived at Bigbonelick, well known for its Mammoth
bones. The lands ten miles on this side of Bigbone are of an indifferent
character, dreary and mountainous. The valley of Bigbone is about a mile
long, and of equal breadth; it no doubt has been the scene of some great
convulsion of nature. The water is seen oozing forth from the many bogs,
and has a saltish taste, impregnated with saltpetre and sulphur. These
quagmires are covered with a thin grass, which has the same taste. Their
depth is said to be unfathomable. Whether the Mammoth bones which are
found here, were brought into the valley by a convulsion of the earth,
by an inundation, or whether the animals sunk down when in search of
food, remains to be decided. The first two suppositions seem authorised
by the circumstance, that bones were found, not on their carcases, but
scattered, which could not be the case if they were swallowed up alive.
The same revolution of nature which carried elephants and palm-trees to
Siberia and Lapland, and the lions of Africa to the coast of Gibraltar,
may, in like manner, have brought these animals to Bigbonelick. The
tradition handed down to us by the Indians respecting them, is
remarkable. "In ancient times, it is said, a herd of these tremendous
animals came to the Bigbonelicks, and commenced an universal destruction
among the buffaloes, bears, and elks, which had been created for the
Indians. The Great Spirit looking down from above, became so enraged at
the sight, that taking some of his thunderbolts he descended, seated
himself on a neighbouring rock which still bears the print of his
footsteps, and hurling down the bolts among the destroyers, killed them
all with the exception of the big bull, which, turning its front to the
bolts, shook them off; but being struck at last in the side, he turned
round, and with a tremendous leap bounded over the Ohio, the Wabash, the
Illinois, and the great lakes, beyond which he is still living at the
present day."

Some few weeks later, I spoke with an Indian trader at Trinity.
According to his account, he found in one of his excursions, traces of a
large animal, belonging to none of the species known to him, and equal
in size to the elephant. On making inquiries of an old Indian, the
latter ascribed the traces to an immense, but very rare animal, the
race of which was almost destroyed by the Great Spirit; there remaining
but very few on the other side of the lakes. He also pretended that
he had seen one of those animals: whether the tale of the Indian, or
that of the trader, a class of people somewhat prone to exaggeration,
be true or not, I am incapable of deciding. I afterwards met this
man at New Orleans, and requested him to go along with me to one of my
acquaintances, in order to furnish further information on this subject,
and enable me to give publicity to it, but he pretended business, and
refused to accompany me. The researches which were undertaken here, were
amply rewarded. The greatest part of the early discoveries has been
transmitted to London; a fine collection is exhibiting in the Museum at
Philadelphia, and in the Levee at New Orleans.

The road from Bigbonelick is, for the distance of ten miles, dreary and
the country barren. I arrived late at a farm-house, of rather a better
appearance, where I intended to stop the night. The first night's
lodging convinced me but too plainly, that the inhabitants of this
state, justly called in New York, half horse and half alligator, had not
yet assumed a milder character. The farmer, or rather planter, was
absent with his wife; and his brother, who took care of the farm, was at
a horse race; an old man, however, with his daughter, answered my
application for a lodging, in the affirmative. I was supping upon slices
of bacon, roasted corn bread, and some milk, when the brother of the
farmer returned from the races with his neighbour. Both had led horses
besides those on which they rode. Before dismounting they discharged
their pistols. Each of the Kentuckians had a pistol in his girdle, and a
poniard in the breast pocket. Before resuming my supper I was pressed to
take a dram. With a quart bottle in one hand, and with the other drawing
the remains of tobacco from his mouth, in rather a nauseous manner, the
host drank for half a minute out of the bottle; then took from the slave
the can with water, and handed the bottle to me, the mouth of which had
assumed, from the remains of the tobacco, a brownish colour. The
Kentuckian looked displeased when I wiped the bottle. I however took no
notice of him, but presented it, after having drunk, to his friend. We
sat down.

"How far are you come to day?" asked the landlord.

"From Cincinnati."

"You don't live in Cincinnati, I guess, do you?"

"No, sir."

"And where do you live?"

"In Pennsylvania."

"A fine distance!" exclaimed my host, "I like the people of Pennsylvania
better than those G----d d----d Yankees, but still they are no
Kentuckians." I gave my full and hearty assent.

"The Kentuckians," continued my landlord, "are astonishingly mighty
people; they are the very first people on earth!"

"Yes, sir."

"They are immensely great, and wonderfully powerful people; ar'nt they?"

"Yes, sir."

"They are ten thousand times superior to any nation on earth."

"Yes, sir."

"How do you like Kentucky?"

"Very well, sir; I travelled through it four years ago."

"G--d d--n my s--l t----e----l d----n!" roared he. "The Pennsylvanians
have not a square mile of land in their state, equal to our poor lands.
Bill," turning now to his neighbour on the left, "Bill has been marked
in a mighty fine style. G--d d--n, &c., he blooded like a hog."

"Yes," replied the neighbour, "Sam has stabbed exceedingly well, I
presume. Bill has to wait four weeks before he may be on his legs again,
if he will be at all. G--d d--n! but to tell Isaac, his horse, which he
thinks so much of, is a poor beast compared with his--and so to give him
the lie. I would have knocked him down, come what might _out of it_. But
Dick and John!"--and now these two fellows broke out into roaring shouts
of horse laughter. "How his eyes twinkled, he looked quite as squire
Toms, when laying all night over the bottle; I guess he never will be
able to set his eyes a-right."

"He does not see," said the neighbour; "the one is quite out of its
socket, and Joe was obliged to carry him home."

"Why, the seconds are wonderfully lovely fellows, I warrant you; they
did not spoil the sport with interfering."

"Yes, they bore John an old grudge."

"Oh, certainly--it was a mighty fine sport; I would not for the world
have missed it. G--d d--n! Dick is a fine gouger--the second turn--John
down--and both thumbs in his eyes.--I presume you have races in
Pennsylvania?" turning to me.

"Yes, sir."

"And fightings and gougings?"

"No, sir." With an expressive look towards his neighbour, he continued:
"Yes, the Pennsylvanians are a quiet, religious sort of people; they
don't kill anything but their hogs, and prefer giving their money to
their parsons." The evening passed in these and similar conversations,
of which the above are mere specimens; and it was eleven o'clock before
the interesting pair separated.

Some miles below Mr. White's farm, the road divides into two, the one
leading to Newcastle, the other to the Ohio. I stopped at a farm fifteen
miles from my former night's lodging. The landlord was mounting his
horse for Newcastle; his wife sat in the kitchen, surrounded by eight
negro girls, all busy knitting and sewing. The girls seemed to be in
excellent spirits, and were tolerably well dressed; the house rather
indicated affluence, though it was far from possessing the order and
cleanliness of a few of only half its value in Ohio. It was a simple
brick house; but constructed without the least attention to the rules of
symmetry. The fields were in a very indifferent state. Behind the
dwelling, were seen some negro infants at play, while an old negro woman
was preparing my breakfast. The family had thirty-five slaves, both
young and old, forming a capital of at least 10,000 dollars. "Was not I
a fool?" asked the open-hearted landlady, "to marry Mr. Forth, who had
but twelve slaves, and a plantation, with seven children; but they are
provided for;--whereas I had fourteen slaves, and a plantation too,
after my first husband's decease, and no children at all."--"I don't
know," was my reply, afraid of engaging the old lady in further
discussion. While descanting upon this theme, and on the advantages
resulting to her happy husband from a match so disparaging on her part,
I was allowed to take my breakfast, when some yells and hallooing called
us to the door. A troop of horsemen were passing. Two of the party had
each a negro slave running before him, secured by a rope fastened to an
iron collar. A tremendous horsewhip reminded them at intervals to
quicken their pace. The bloody backs and necks of these wretches,
bespoke a too frequent application of the lash. The third negro had,
however, the hardest lot. The rope of his collar was fastened to the
saddle string of the third horseman, and the miserable creature had thus
no alternative left, but to keep an equal pace with the trotting horse,
or to be dragged through ditches, thorns, and copsewood. His feet and
legs, all covered with blood, exhibited a dreadful spectacle. The three
slaves had run away two days before, dreading transportation to
Mississippi or Louisiana. "Look here," said Mrs. Forth, calling her
black girls, "what is done with the bad negroes, who run away from their
good masters!" With an indifference, and a laughing countenance, which
clearly shewed how accustomed these poor children were to the like
scenes, they expressed their sentiments at this disgusting conduct.

The road from Mr. Forth's plantation runs a considerable distance along
ridges, descending finally into the bottom lands along the Ohio. These
are exceedingly fertile. The growth of timber is extremely luxuriant. I
measured a sycamore of common size, and found it seventeen feet in
diameter; their height is truly astonishing. The soil is of a deep brown
colour, and where it is turned up, proves to be blackish. The stratum
is generally limestone. I crossed the Ohio at Ghent, in Kentucky,
opposite to Vevay, in Indiana.


  Vevay.--Geographical Sketch of the State of Indiana.--Madison.--
  Charlestown--its Court.--Jeffersonville.--Clarksville.--New
  Albany.--The Falls of the Ohio.

Vevay, in Indiana, became a settlement twenty years ago, by Swiss
emigrants, who obtained a grant of land, equal to 200 acres for each
family, under the condition of cultivating the vine; they accordingly
settled here, and laid out vineyards. The original settlers may have
amounted to thirty; others joined them afterwards, and in this manner
was founded the county town of New Switzerland, in Indiana, which
consists almost exclusively of these French and Swiss settlers. They
have their vineyards below the town, on the banks of the river Ohio. The
vines, however, have degenerated, and the produce is an indifferent
beverage, resembling any thing but claret, as it had been represented.
Two of them have attempted to cultivate the river hills, and the
vineyards laid out there are rather of a better sort. The town is on the
decline; it has a court-house, and two stores very ill supplied. The
condition of these, and the absence of lawyers, are sure indications of
the poverty of the inhabitants, if broken windows, and doors falling
from their hinges, should leave any doubt on the subject; they are,
however, a merry set of people, and balls are held regularly every
month. In the evening arrived ten teams laden with fifty emigrants from
Kentucky, going to settle in Indiana; their reasons for doing this were
numerous. Although they had bought their lands in Kentucky twice over,
they had to give them up a third time, their titles having proved
invalid; but still they would have remained, had it not been for the
insolent behaviour of their more wealthy neighbours, who, in consequence
of these emigrants having no slaves, and being thus obliged to work for
themselves, not only treated them as slaves, but even encouraged their
own blacks to give them every kind of annoyance, and to rob them--for
no other reason than their dislike to have paupers for neighbours.

My landlord assured me that at least 200 waggons had passed from the
Kentucky side, through Vevay, during the present season, all full of
emigrants, discouraged from continuing among these lawless people.

The state of Indiana, which I had now entered, begins below Cincinnati,
running down the big Miami westward to the big Wabash, which separates
this country from the Illinois. To the south, it is bounded by the Ohio;
to the north, by lake Michigan; thus extending from 37° 50', to 42° 10',
north latitude; and from 7° 40', to 10° 47', west longitude. Like the
state of Ohio, it belongs to the class coming within the range of the
great valley of the Mississippi. It exhibits nearly the same features as
the state of Ohio, with the exception, that it approaches nearer to the
Mississippi than its eastern neighbour, and is the second slope of the
eastern part of the valley of the Mississippi: it declines more than
Ohio, being but 250 feet above lake Erie, and 210 feet above lake
Michigan, which is one hundred feet less in elevation than the state of
Ohio. Two ridges of mountains, or rather hills, traverse the country;
the Knobs, or Silver-hills, running ten miles below Louisville, in a
north-eastern direction, and the Illinois mountains appearing from the
west, and running to the north-east, where they fall to a level with the
high plains of lake Michigan. These hills have a perfect sameness. The
climate is rather milder than that of Ohio. Cotton and tobacco are
raised by the farmers in sufficient quantities for their home
consumption. The growth of timber is the same as in Ohio. The vallies
are interspersed with sycamores and beeches; and below the falls, with
maples, and cotton and walnut-trees. The hills are covered with beech,
sassafras, and logwood. This state, though not inferior to Ohio in
fertility, and taken in general, perhaps, superior to it, has one great
defect. It has no sufficient water communication, and thus the
inhabitants have no market for their produce. There is not in this state
any river of importance, the Ohio which washes its southern borders
excepted. A scarcity of money therefore is more severely felt here,
than in any other state of the Union. This want of inter-communication,
added to the circumstance that the state of Ohio had already engrossed
the whole surplus population from the eastern states, had a prejudicial
effect upon Indiana, its original population being in general by no
means so respectable as that of Ohio. In the north-west it was peopled
by French emigrants, from Canada; in the south, on the banks of the
Ohio, and farther up, by Kentuckians, who fled from their country for
debt, or similar causes.

The state thus became the refuge of adventurers and idlers of every
description. A proof of this may be seen in the character of its towns,
as well as in the nature of the improvements that have been carried on
in the country. The towns, though some of them had an earlier existence
than many in Ohio, are, in point of regularity, style of building, and
cleanliness, far inferior to those of the former state. The wandering
spirit of the inhabitants seems still to contend with the principle of
steadiness in the very construction of their buildings. They are mostly
a rude set of people, just emerging from previous bad habits, from whom
such friendly assistance as honest neighbours afford, or mutual
intercourse and good will, can hardly be expected. The case is rather
different in the interior of the country, and on the Wabash, the finest
part of the state, where respectable settlements have been formed by
Americans from the east. Wherever the latter constitute the majority,
every necessary assistance may be expected.

For adventurers of all descriptions, Indiana holds out allurements of
every kind. Numbers of Germans, French, and Irish, are scattered in the
towns, and over the country, carrying on the business of bakers,
grocers, store, grog shops, and tavern keepers. In time, these people
will become steady from necessity, and consequently prosperous. The
number of the inhabitants of Indiana amounts to 215,000. Its admission
into the Union as a sovereign state, dates from the year 1815 to 1816;
its constitution differs in some points from that of Ohio, and its
governor is elected for the term of three years.

Madisonville, the seat of justice for Jefferson-county, on the second
bank of the Ohio, fifty-seven miles above its falls, contains at present
180 dwelling-houses, a court-house, four stores, three inns, a printing
office--with 800 inhabitants, most of them Kentuckians. The innkeeper of
the tavern at which I alighted, does no credit to the character of this
people. He was engaged for some time in certain bank-note affairs, which
qualified him for an imprisonment of ten years; he escaped, however, by
the assistance of his legal friends, and of 1000 dollars. The
opportunity of testifying his gratitude to these gentlemen soon
presented itself. One of his neighbours, a boatman, had the misfortune
to possess a wife who attracted his attention. Her husband knowing the
temper of the man, resolved to sell all he had, and to move down to
Louisville. Some days before his intended departure, he met Sheets in
the street, and addressed him in these words: "Mr. Sheets, I ought to
chastise you for making such shameful proposals to my wife;" so saying,
he gently touched him with his cane. Sheets, without uttering a
syllable, drew his poniard, and stabbed him in the breast. The
unfortunate husband fell, exclaiming, "Oh, God! I am a dead man!"--"Not
yet," said Sheets, drawing his poniard out of the wound, and running it
a second time through his heart; "Now, my dear fellow, I guess we have
done." This monster was seized and imprisoned, and his trial took place.
_His_ countrymen took, as might be expected, a great interest in his
fate. With the assistance of 3000 dollars, he even this time escaped the
gallows. I read the issue of the trial, and the summons of the jury, in
the county paper of 1823, which was actually handed to me in the evening
by one of the guests. But a more remarkable circumstance is, that the
inhabitants continue to frequent his tavern. At first they stayed away
for some weeks; but in less than a month the affair was forgotten, and
his house is now visited as before.

The road from Madison to Charleston, leads through a fertile country, in
some parts well cultivated. The distance from Madison is twenty-eight
miles. It is the chief town of Clark county, and seems to advance more
rapidly than Madison, the country about being pretty well peopled, and
agriculture having made more progress than in any part of the state
through which I had travelled. I found it to contain 170 houses and 750
inhabitants, five well stored tradesmen's shops, a printing office, and
four inns. The town is about a mile distant from the river, on a high
plain. When I arrived, the court was going to adjourn, and I hastened to
the court-house. The presiding judge and his two associate judges were
in their tribune, and the parties seated on boards laid across the
stumps of trees. One of the lawyers having concluded his speech, the
defendant was called upon. The gentleman in question, whom I took for a
pedlar, stood close by my side in conversation with his party, holding
in his hand half an apple, his teeth having taken a firm bite of the
other half. At the moment his name was called, he walked with his mouth
full, up to the rostrum, and kept eating his apple with perfect
indifference. "Well," interrupted the judge impatient of the delay;
"what have you to say against the charge? You know it is high time to
break up the court, and I must go home." The gentleman at the bar now
pocketted his apple, and having thus augmented the store of provision
which he probably kept by him, looked as if he carried two knapsacks
behind his coat. "It strikes me mightily,"--was the exordium of this
speech, which in point of elegance and conciseness was a true sample of
back-wood eloquence. Fortunately the speaker took the judge's hint; in
less than half an hour he had done--in less than one hour the jurymen
returned a verdict, the county transactions were finished, and the court
broke up.

From Charleston to Louisville, the distance is fourteen miles. The lands
are fertile. Several very well looking farms shew a higher degree of
cultivation, especially near Jeffersonville. There the road turns into
an extensive valley formed by the alluvions of the Ohio. Jeffersonville,
the seat of justice for Floyd-county, three quarters of a mile above
the falls of the Ohio, was laid out in 1802, and has since increased to
160 houses, among which are a bank, a Presbyterian church, a warehouse,
a cotton manufactory, a court-house, and an academy, with a land office,
for the disposal of the United States' lands. The commerce of the
inhabitants, 800 in number, is of some importance, though checked by the
vicinity of Louisville, and by the circumstance, that the falls on the
Indiana side are not to be approached, except at the highest rise. Two
miles below this town, is the village of Clarksville, laid out in 1783,
and forming part of the grant made to officers and soldiers of the
Illinois regiment. It contains sixty houses and 300 inhabitants. New
Albany, a mile below Clarksville, has a thousand inhabitants, and a
great deal of activity, owing to its manufactory of steam engines, its
saw mills, and the steam boats lying at anchor and generally repairing
there. It is a place of importance, and though hitherto the resort of
sailors, boatmen, and travellers, who go down the river in their own
boats, it is annually on the increase.

The Ohio is generally crossed above the falls at Jeffersonville. The
sheet of water dammed up here by the natural ledge of rocks which forms
the falls, expands to 5,230 feet in breadth. The falls of the Ohio,
though they should not properly be called falls, cannot be seen when
crossing the river, and the waters do not pour like the falls of
Niagara over an horizontal rock down a considerable depth, but press
through a rocky bed, about a mile long, which spreads across the river,
and causes a decline of twenty-two feet in the course of two miles. When
the waters are high, the rocks and the falls disappear entirely. Seen
from Louisville at low water, they have by no means an imposing
appearance. The majestic and broad river branches off into several small
creeks, and assumes the form of mountain torrents forcing their way
through the ledge of rocks. When the river rises, and only three islands
are to be seen, the immense sheet of water rushing down the declivity at
the rate of thirteen miles an hour, must afford a magnificent spectacle.
At the time I saw it, the river was lower than it had been for a series
of years.


  Louisville.--Canal of Louisville--its Commerce.--Surrounding
  Country.--Sketch of the State of Kentucky and its Inhabitants, &c.

The road from the landing-place to Louisville, leads through one of the
finest and richest alluvial bottoms on the banks of the Ohio. They are
here about seventy feet above the level of the water, and sufficiently
high to protect the town from inundation, but there being no outlets for
stagnant waters and ponds, epidemic diseases are frequent. A lottery is
now established for the purpose of raising the necessary funds for
draining these nuisances. Louisville extends in an oblong square about a
mile down the river, and may be considered as the natural key to the
Upper and Lower Ohio, and the most important staple for trade on this
river, not excepting the city of Cincinnati. The commodities coming
during the summer and autumn from southern states are landed here.
Travellers who arrive by water, whether from the north or south, engage
steam boats at this place either for New Orleans or for Cincinnati.
These advantages made the inhabitants less desirous of having a canal,
notwithstanding the solicitations of the states watered by the Ohio. The
Congress has, at last, interposed; the canal is now contemplated.
Probably this undertaking, in which not only the Upper states of the
river Ohio, but the Union at large, are very much interested, is already
commenced. By means of this canal, steam vessels will be enabled to
avoid the falls, and to proceed to the upper Ohio at every season of the
year. It is to be two miles and a half long; to open at the mouth of
Beargrasscreek and to terminate at Shippingport. The highest ground is
twenty-seven feet; upon an average twenty feet; and it is of a clayey
substance, bottomed upon a rock. The expences are estimated at about
200,000 dollars, a trifle compared with the object to be accomplished.

Louisville, the seat of justice for Jefferson county, in Kentucky, in
38° 8' north latitude, is about half the size of Cincinnati, and lies
105 miles below that city, by the Kentucky road through Newcastle, and
125 miles by the Kentucky and Indiana road. It is 1500 miles northeast
of New Orleans. The town is laid out on a grand scale, the streets
running parallel with the river, and intersected by others at right
angles. The main street, about three quarters of a mile long, is
elegant; most of the houses are three stories high; those of the other
streets are of course inferior in size. The number of dwelling houses
amounts to 700, inhabited by 4,500 souls, exclusive of travellers
and boatmen. Louisville has no remarkable public buildings; the
court-house and the Presbyterian church are the best. Besides these,
the Episcopalians, Catholics, and Unitarians have their meeting houses.
There are now three banks, including a branch bank of the United States,
an insurance company, and four newspaper printing offices. A quay is now
constructing which will greatly contribute to the security of the middle
part of the town, opposite to the falls. The manufactories of
Louisville are important; and the distilleries and rope walks on a large
scale. Besides these there are soap, candle, cotton, glass, paper, and
engine manufactories, all on the same principle, with grist and saw
mills. The commerce of Louisville is still more important. Of the
hundred steam boats plying on the Mississippi and Ohio, fifty at least
are engaged during six months in the year in the trade with Louisville.
They descend to New Orleans in six days, returning in double the time.
Though the town is but half as large as Cincinnati, the credit of the
merchants is more substantial, and the inhabitants are in general more
wealthy. Luxury is carried to a higher pitch than in any other town on
this side of the Alleghany mountains. Here is the only billiard-table[A]
to be met with between Philadelphia and St. Louis. The owner has to pay
a tax of 563 dollars--an enormous sum.

[A] Of course this billiard table is not mentioned as a matter of
importance, but merely to give a characteristic idea of the state of
society in these parts.

Notwithstanding the circulating library, the reading-room, and several
houses where good society is to be met with, Louisville is not a
pleasant town to reside in, owing to the character of the majority of
its inhabitants, the Kentuckians. Louisville has an academy, but sends
its youth to the college of Bairdstown, thirty miles to the southwest,
where lectures are given by some French priests. Below Louisville, are
the two villages of Shippingport and Portland; the former is two miles
from the town, with 150 inhabitants, the latter at the distance of three
miles, with fifty inhabitants, mostly boatmen and keepers of grog shops,
for the lowest classes of people. The environs of Louisville are well
cultivated, Portland and Shippingport excepted, the inhabitants of which
are said to extend their notions of common property too far. Behind
Louisville the country is delightful; the houses and plantations vying
with each other in point of elegance and cultivation. The woods have
greatly disappeared, and for the distance of twenty miles, the roads are
lined in every direction with plantations. This town holds the rank of
the second order in Kentucky, a country which, in latter times, has
obtained a renown of somewhat ambiguous nature. It extends to the
south, from the river Ohio, to the state of Tennessee, having for its
eastern boundary the state of Virginia; and to the west, the river
Mississippi, which separates it from the state of Missouri. It extends
from 36° 30' to 39° 10' north latitude, and from 4° 78' to 12° 20' west
longitude. It embraces an area of 40,000 square miles. Though under a
southern degree of latitude, it enjoys a moderate temperature, which is
also less variable than in the more eastern states. The two great rivers
of the Mississippi and the Ohio, forming the boundary of this state,
secure to it no inconsiderable trade.

The productions of this beautiful country might, if properly cultivated,
become inexhaustible sources of wealth and prosperity to its inhabitants;
tobacco is a staple article, excelling in quality even that of Virginia,
if properly managed: cotton thrives well in the southern parts of the
state. Corn yields from forty to ninety bushels; wheat from thirty to
sixty; melons, sweet potatoes, peaches, apples, plumbs, &c., attain
a superior degree of perfection. One of the principal articles of
trade is hemp, the culture of which has been brought to a high state of
improvement; it constitutes one of the chief articles of export to New
Orleans. Kentucky has not such extensive plains as Ohio, but is equally
fertile, and less exposed to bilious and ague fevers. The stratum, which
is generally limestone, is a sure sign of inexhaustible fertility. Hills
alternating with valleys form landscapes, which though consisting of
native forests, are in the highest degree picturesque. There are parts
about Lexington and its environs, which nothing can exceed in beauty of
scenery. Even Louisville, with its three islands, the majestic Ohio, and
the surrounding little towns, possesses charms seldom rivalled in any
country. Kentucky is, without the least exaggeration, one of the finest
districts on the face of the earth. The climate is equal to that of the
south of France; fruits of every kind arrive at the highest perfection;
and it would be difficult to quit this country, did not the character of
the inhabitants lessen one's regret at leaving it. But notwithstanding
these natural advantages, the population has not increased either in
wealth or numbers, in proportion to the more recent state of Ohio. The
inhabitants consist chiefly of emigrants from Virginia, and North and
South Carolina, and of descendants from back-wood settlers--a proud,
fierce, and overbearing set of people. They established themselves under
a state of continual warfare with the Indians, who took their revenge by
communicating to their vanquishers their cruel and implacable spirit.
This, indeed, is their principal feature. A Kentuckian will wait three
or four weeks in the woods, for the moment of satiating his revenge; and
he seldom or never forgives. The men are of an athletic form, and there
may be found amongst them many models of truly masculine beauty. The
number of inhabitants is now 57,000, including 15,000 slaves. Planters
are among the most respectable class, and form the mass of the
population. Lawyers are next, or equal to them in rank, no less than the
merchants and manufacturers. Physicians and ministers are a degree
lower; and last of all, are those mechanics and farmers not possessed of
slaves. These are not treated better than the slaves themselves. The
constitution inclines towards federalism, landed property being
required to qualify a man for a public station. Ministers, of whatever
form of worship, are wholly excluded from public offices. Kentucky is
not a country that could be recommended to new settlers; slavery;
insecure titles to land: the division of the courts of justice into two
parts, furiously opposed to each other; an executive, whose present
chief is a disgrace to his station, and whose son would be hung in
chains, had he been in Great Britain; the worst paper-currency, &c., are
serious warnings to every lover of peace and tranquillity. We abstain
from farther particulars, as our purpose is to give a characteristic
description of the Union, which would assuredly not gain by a faithful
representation of the state of things in this country, during the last
ten years. The Desha family, the emetic scene, the proceedings of the
legislature, and of the courts of justice, Sharp's death, &c., are facts
which belong rather to the history of the tomahawk savages, than to that
of a civilised state. Passions must work with double power and effect,
where wealth, and arbitrary sway over a herd of slaves, and a warfare of
thirty years with savages, have sown the seeds of the most lawless
arrogance, and an untameable spirit of revenge.

The literary institutions, the Transylvanian university of Lexington,
and the college of Bairdstown, have hitherto exercised very little
influence over these fierce people. But a still worse feature observable
in them, is an utter disregard of religious principles. Ohio has its
sects, thereby evincing an interest in the performance of the highest of
human duties. The Kentuckian rails at these, and at every form of
worship; certainly a trait doubly afflicting and deplorable in a rising


  A Keel-boat Voyage--Description of the Preparations.--Face of the
  Country.--Troy.--Lady Washington.--The River

The Ohio still continuing low, and there being no prospect of proceeding
to New Orleans by a steam boat, I resolved to embark on board a keel
boat, in company with several ladies and gentlemen, who were returning
to their plantations and their homes. The preparations in such a case,
are to dispose of horse and gig, where one does not choose going by land
through Nashville, and Natchez. There is not much pleasure to be derived
from a passage on board a keel boat--a machine, fifty feet long and ten
feet broad, shut up on every side; with two doors, two and a half feet
high. It forms a species of wooden prison, containing commonly four
rooms; the first for the steward, the second a dining room, the third a
cabin for gentlemen, and the fourth a ladies' cabin. Each of these
cabins was provided with an iron stove, one of which some days
afterwards was very near sending us all to heaven, in the manner which
the most Catholic king has been pleased to adopt in regard to us
heretics. On the sides were our births, in double rows, six feet in
length and two broad. In former times this manner of travelling was
generally resorted to on the Ohio and Mississippi; the application of
steam, however, has superseded these primitive conveyances, and I hope
to the regret of no one. Our passage to Trinity, 515 miles by water,
including provisions, &c., was twenty-five dollars. We were sure of
meeting there with steam boats. The company consisted of two ladies with
their families, returning to Louisiana; two others were going to
Yellow-banks, with several governesses, nieces, &c.; in all ten ladies,
with eleven gentlemen, considered a happy omen. Amongst the men were
three planters from Louisiana and Mississippi; three merchants, one a
Yankee, the other a Kentuckian, the third a Frenchman; a lawyer, from
Tennessee; two physicians, one from the same state, the other from
Kentucky, with a Kentuckian six and a half feet high. Of these persons
the Kentuckian doctor was the most to be pitied. He was in the last
stage of a pulmonary affection, and expected relief from the mild
climate of Louisiana; but much as we did to alleviate the fate of this
man, whose perpetual cough was as insufferable to us, as the constant
fire he kept up in the stove, and which at last communicated to our
boat, the poor fellow died three days after his arrival at New Orleans.
Four individuals of less note joined the company, consisting of three
slave-drivers, and a Yankee who travelled to make his fortune. We
resigned ourselves to our lot, with as good a grace as we could, the
Frenchman excepted, who found fault with every thing but the dinner,
when he handled his knife and fork with uncommon activity. A captain, a
mate, and a steward, composed the officers, twelve oarmen formed the
crew, and forty slaves, who were to be transported to the states of
Mississippi and Louisiana, were a sort of deck passengers, so that the
whole cargo, inside and out, amounted to ninety persons. As long as the
weather continued fine, the poor negroes had a tolerable lot, but when
afterwards it began to rain, and they continued on a deck seven and a
half feet broad, and forty-two long, without any covering over their
heads, or being able to move, our kitchen being likewise upon deck,
their situation became truly distressing, and one of the infants died
shortly afterwards; another, as I was informed, fell into the
Mississippi above Palmyra settlements.

We took our meals in three divisions; the first consisting of the ladies
and five gentlemen, who were helped by the other six gentlemen;
afterwards the six remaining sat down with the three drivers, and the
Yankee; the latter personages were, however, excused from helping the
ladies. After them came the captain, with his boatmen. Our dinner was
very good, because we took the precaution of making it part of our
agreement that we should purchase such provisions as we thought proper.
Our breakfast at the hour of eight, consisted of pigeons, ducks,
sometimes opossum, roast beef, chickens, pork cakes, coffee and tea.
Our dinner at three o'clock, in the same manner, with the addition of a
haunch of venison or a turkey. Our supper at six, was the same as our
breakfast. To fill up the intervals, we took at eleven a lunch,
consisting of a _doddy_; at nine at night we had a tea party given by
the ladies, and the said ten gentlemen alternately. We started the 7th
of November, at four o'clock in the afternoon, instead of nine in the
morning. The cause of this delay was the alteration which had to be made
in the births; for it appeared that two of the Kentuckians were
considerably longer than the space allotted to them. They were therefore
to be made more _lengthy_ at the expense of the dining rooms. When every
thing was ready we started, heartily tired of this delay. We had taken
the precaution to provide ourselves with powder and shot, in order to
make shooting excursions, having a skiff along side the boat. The
landscape on both banks of the Ohio was still hilly, the shores varying
from bottom lands to moderate hills, thus forming a boundary line
between the interior of Kentucky which lay to our left, and Indiana and
the river lands on our right. The cotton tree is almost the only one
here, with the exception of beeches and sycamores. The first do not
quite attain the height of the sycamore, but still they are seldom less
than 140 feet high. The forests assume a more southern character; the
shrub-grass, thistles and thorns, are stronger, and the vines of an
astonishing size. At several places we were unable to land from the
thickness of the natural hedges which lined the banks, presenting an
impenetrable barrier. Pigeons now appeared in flocks of thousands and
tens of thousands. On the morning of the following day we shot
seventy-five, and in the afternoon seventy, without any difficulty.

Troy, the seat of justice for Crawford county, in Indiana, was the first
place we visited. It has a court-house, a printing-office, and about
sixty houses. The inhabitants seem rather indolent. On our asking for
apples, they demanded ten dollars for half a barrel; the price for a
whole one in Louisville being no more than three dollars. We advised
them to keep their apples, and to plant trees, which would enable them
to raise some for themselves; and to put panes of glass in their
windows, instead of old newspapers. The surrounding country is beautiful
and fertile. Farms, however, become more scarce, and are in a state of
more primitive simplicity. A block cabin not unlike a stable, with as
many holes as there are logs in it, patches of ground planted with
tobacco, sweet potatoes, and some corn, are the sole ornaments of these
back-wood mansions. We purchased, below Troy, half a young bear, at the
rate of five cents per pound. Two others which were skinned, indicated
an abundance of these animals, and more application to the sport than
seems compatible with the proper cultivation of these regions. The
settlers have something of a savage appearance: their features are hard,
and the tone of their voice denotes a violent disposition. Our Frenchman
was bargaining for a turkey, with the farmer's son, an athletic youth.
On being asked three dollars for it, the Frenchman turned round to Mr.
B., saying: "I suppose the Kentuckians take us for fools." "What do you
say, stranger," replied the youth, at the same time laying his heavy
hand across the shoulders of the poor Frenchman, in rather a rough
manner. The latter looked as if thunderstruck, and retired in the true
style of the Great Nation, when they get a sound drubbing. We remarked
on his return, the pains he took to repress his feelings at the
coarseness of the Kentuckians. He was, however, discreet enough to keep
his peace, and he did very well; but his spirit was gone, and he never
afterwards undertook to make a bargain, except with old women, for a pot
of milk, or a dozen of eggs, &c.

Below Lady Washington, or Hanging Rock, as it is called,--a bare
perpendicular rock a hundred feet above the water on the right side of
the river, the mountains, or rather hills, cease by degrees, and are
succeeded by a vast plain on both sides the high banks of the Ohio. We
had here the enjoyment of some sport on the water: a deer was crossing
the river, contracted in this place to about a thousand feet, when it
was discovered by three Kentuckians, who were going to do the same. Our
boat was about half a mile above the spot when we discovered the game.
Four of us leaped into the skiff in order to intercept it. The deer
continued its course towards the Indiana side, and it was easy for us
to intercept its path. As soon as we were near enough, we aimed a blow
at it with our oars, having in the hurry forgotten our guns. The deer
then took the direction of the boat--we followed--the Kentuckians
approached from the other side: full thirty minutes elapsed before these
could come up with the animal and give it a blow. Though its strength
was on the decline, it did not relax its efforts, but advanced again
towards us without our being able to reach it. A second blow on the part
of the Kentuckians, who were more expert in handling their oars, seemed
to stun the noble animal; yet, summoning up its remaining strength, it
went up the stream on the Kentucky side, and reached the shore, but so
exhausted by long swimming and the two blows from the powerful
Kentuckians, that on landing it staggered and fell, without being able
to ascend the high bank. Instantly one of the Kentuckians rushed upon
it, cutting asunder its knee joints. The deer, taking a sudden turn,
made a plunge at the Kentuckian, tearing away part of his trowsers, and
lacerating his leg. So sudden was the last effort of this animal, that
but for the speedy arrival of his companion, who had been assisting the
third Kentuckian in drawing the skiff closer to the shore, it would
infallibly have ripped up its aggressor's bowels. The dirk of the second
Kentuckian ended _the sport_, which had terminated in a rather serious
way. By this time we had also reached the field of battle. "What do you
want, gentlemen?" said the wounded Kentuckian, accosting us with his
poniard in his hand. "Part of the deer, which you know you could not
have got without our assistance?" They first looked at our party of
four, then at our boat, which was already at the distance of a mile and
a half from us. The wounded man seating himself, asked again, "What part
do you choose?" "Half the deer, with the bowels, and tongue for our
ladies." "Have you ladies on board your vessel?" "Yes, sir." Without
uttering a word more, they skinned the venison, cleaned, and divided it.
We stepped aside meanwhile, collected a couple of dollars, and offered
them to the wounded man. He took the money, thanked us, and the other
two carried the venison to our boat. We parted after cordially shaking
hands. There was now an abundance of pigeons, venison, and bear's flesh
on board our boat; the latter, when young, is delicious, having a very
fine flavour, with rather a sweet and luscious taste. We were all
partial to it except the Frenchman, who most likely took us for a
species of these animals. But as thoughts are free, even in the most
despotic countries, he had the privilege of thinking, without daring to
utter a syllable--assuredly the severest punishment upon one of the
Great Nation. On the third day we lost part of our company, as two of
the ladies landed on the Yellow-banks, so called from the yellow colour
of the shores, which formerly gave the name to the county town of Davies
county, now Owensborough. It contains eighty buildings, including a
court-house, a newspaper printing office, and three stores. The
distance hence to Louisville, is 170 miles. From this village, down to
the mouth of the Green river, wild vines grow very luxuriantly, forming
a continued series of hedges. The grapes are used for wine, which is of
a hard taste, but not a bad flavour; if properly attended to they would
certainly yield an excellent produce. We gathered in a few minutes
abundance of grapes, and found them juicy and very good. Near the mouth
of the Green river, and up its banks, are several ponds of bitumen, a
material which is used by the inhabitants for lamp oil. The country
abounds in saltpetre, and saltlicks. On the same side, sixty miles below
Owensborough, is laid out Henderson, the seat of justice for the county
of the same name. It contains 500 inhabitants, 90 dwellings, and a
courthouse. Some of the houses are in tolerable order, but the greatest
part in a shattered condition, and the town has a dirty appearance. The
Ohio forms a bend between Owensborough and Henderson, thus making the
distance by water sixty miles, which by land-travelling would not exceed
twenty. A species of the mistletoe here makes its appearance for the
first time. The trees are covered with bunches of this plant, its
foliage is yellow, the berries milk white, and so viscous as to serve
for bird lime; when falling they adhere to the branches, and strike root
in the bark of the trees.

In the morning of the sixth day we arrived at Miller's Ferry, twenty
miles above the mouth of the Wabash. As the Ohio makes a great bend in
this place, and our navigation was very slow, Messrs. B----, R----, and
myself, determined on taking a tour to Harmony, now Owen's settlement,
fifteen miles distant from the ferry. The guide we took led us through a
rich plain, with settlements scattered over it; the road was excellent,
though a mere path, and we arrived at half-past ten.


  Mr. Owen's of Lanark, formerly Rapp's Settlement.--Remarks on
  it.--Keel-boat Scenes.--Cave in Rock.--Cumberland and Tennessee
  Rivers.--Fort Massai.

About a hundred and fifty houses, built on the Swabian plan, with the
exception of Mr. Rapp's[B] former residence--a handsome brick
house--presented themselves to our view. We were introduced to one of
the managers, a Mr. Shnee, formerly a Lutheran minister, who entered
very soon into particulars respecting Mr. Owen's ulterior views, in
rather a pompous manner. This settlement, which is about thirty miles
above the mouth of the big Wabash, in Indiana, was first established by
Rapp, in the year 1817, and was now (in the year 1823), purchased by Mr.
Owen, of Lanark, for the sum of 150,000 dollars. The society is to be
established on a plan rather different from the one he has pursued in
Scotland, and on a larger scale. Mr. Owen has, it is said, the pecuniary
means as well as the ability to effect something of importance. A plan
was shown and sold to us, according to which a new building of colossal
dimensions is projected; and if Mr. Owen's means should not fall short
of his good will, this edifice would certainly exhibit the most
magnificent piece of architecture in the Union, the capitol at
Washington excepted. This palace, when finished, is to receive his
community. According to his views, as laid down in his publications, in
the lectures held by him at Washington and at New York, and as stated in
the verbal communications of the persons who represent him, he is about
to form a society, unshackled by all those fetters which religion,
education, prejudices, and manners have imposed upon the human species;
and his followers will exhibit to the world the novel and interesting
example of a community, which, laying aside every form of worship and
all religious belief in a supreme being, shall be capable of enjoying
the highest social happiness by no other means than the impulse of
innate egotism. It has been the object of Mr. Owen's study to improve
this egotism in the most rational manner, and to bring it to the highest
degree of perfection; and in this sense he has published the
Constitution, which is to be adopted by the community. It is
distributed, if I recollect rightly, into three subdivisions, with
seventy or more articles.--Mechanics of every description--people who
have learned any useful art,--are admitted into this community. Those
who pay 500 dollars, are free from any obligation to work. The time of
the members is divided between working, reading, and dancing. A ball is
given every day, and is regularly attended by the community. Divine
service, or worship of any kind, is entirely excluded; in lieu of it,
moreover, a ball is given on Sunday. The children are summoned to school
by beat of drum. A newspaper is published, chiefly treating of their own
affairs, and of the entertainments and the social regulations of the
community, amounting to about 500 members, of both sexes, composed
almost exclusively of adventurers of every nation, who expect joyful
days. The settlement has not improved since the purchase, and there
appeared to exist the greatest disorder and uncleanliness. This
community has since been dissolved as was to have been expected. The
Scotchman seems to have a very high notion of the power of egotism. He
is certainly not wrong in this point; but if he intends to give still
greater strength to a spirit which already works with too much effect in
the Union, it may be feared that he will soon snap the cords of society
asunder. According to his notions, and those of his people, all the
legislators of ancient and modern times, religious as well as political,
were either fools or impostors, who went in quest of prosperity on a
mistaken principle, which he is now about to correct. Scotchmen, it is
known, are sometimes liable to adopt strange notions, in which they
always deem themselves infallible. I am acquainted with an honorable
president of the quarter-sessions, who, as a true Swedenborghian, is
fully convinced that he will preside again as judge in the other world,
and that the German farmers will be there the same fools they are here,
whom he may continue to cheat out of their property. Great Britain has
no cause to envy the United States this acquisition. We stayed at this
place about two hours, crossed the Wabash, and took the road to
Shawneetown, through part of Mr. Birkbeck's settlement. The country is
highly cultivated, and the difference between the steady Englishman of
the Illinois side, and the rabble of Owen's settlement, is clearly seen
in the style and character of the improvements carried on.

[B] Eighteen miles from Pittsburgh on the road to Beaver, the new and
third settlement of the Swabian separatists, called Economy, was
established two years ago by Rapp, a man celebrated in the Union for his
rustic sagacity. This man affords an instance of what persevering
industry, united with sound sense, may effect.--When he arrived with his
400 followers from Germany, twenty years ago, their capital amounted
to 35,000 dollars; and so poor were they at first, that their leader
could not find credit for a barrel of salt. They are now worth at
least a million of dollars. Their new settlement promises to thrive,
and to become superior to those which they sold in Buttler County,
Pennsylvania, and in Indiana on the Wabash. Nothing can exceed the
authority exercised by this man over his flock. He unites both the
spiritual and temporal power in his own person. He has with him a kind
of Vice-Dictator in the person of his adopted son, (who is married to
his daughter), and a council of twelve elders, who manage the domestic
affairs of the community, now amounting to 1000 souls. When he was yet
residing in Old Harmony, twenty-eight miles north of Pittsburgh, the
bridge constructed over a creek which passes by the village, wanted
repair. It was winter time; the ice seemed thick enough to allow of
walking across. The creek, however, was deep, and 100 feet wide: Master
Rapp, notwithstanding, ventured upon it, intending to come up to the
pier. He was scarcely in the middle of the river, when the ice gave way.
A number of his followers being assembled on the shores, were eager to
assist him.--"Do you think," hallooed Rapp, "that the Lord will withdraw
his hands from his elect, and that I need your help?" The poor fellows
immediately dropped the boards, but at the same time Master Rapp sunk
deeper into the creek. The danger at last conquered his shame and his
confidence in supernatural aid, and he called lustily for assistance.
Notwithstanding the cries of the American by-standers, "You d--d fools,
let the tyrant go down, you will have his money, you will be free," they
immediately threw boards on the ice, went up to him, and took him out of
the water, amidst shouts of laughter from the unbelieving Americans. On
the following Sunday he preached them a sermon, purporting that the Lord
had visited their sins upon him, and that their disobedience to his
commands was the cause of his sinking. The poor dupes literally believed
all this, promised obedience, and both parties were satisfied. Several
of his followers left him, being shocked at his law of celibacy, but
such was his ascendancy over the female part of the community, that
they chose rather to leave their husbands than their father Rapp, as
they call him. Last year, however (1826), he abolished this kind of
celibacy, hitherto so strictly observed, and on the 4th of July,
eighteen couples were permitted to marry. This settlement is one of the
finest villages in the west of Pennsylvania. A manufactory of steam
engines, extensive parks of deer, two elks, and a magnificent palace
for himself, splendidly furnished, show that he knows how to avail
himself of his increasing wealth. The inhabitants of Pittsburgh make
frequent excursions to this settlement, and though his manners savour
of the Swabian peasant, yet his wealth and his hospitality have
considerably diminished the contempt in which he was formerly held by
the Anglo-Americans. We arrived at Shawneetown, where our boat was
waiting for us, having travelled since seven o'clock in the morning a
distance of forty miles. We found our boat's company in the utmost
confusion. Our ladies had hitherto given a regular tea party at nine
o'clock, out of their own stock of provisions. With the exception of
guns, powder, shot, some hundred cigars, a few bottles of wine, the
gentlemen were furnished with nothing. They went therefore to
Shawneetown, a village twelve miles below the mouth of the Wabash, with
sixty houses, and 300 inhabitants, of a very indifferent character,
mostly labourers at the salt works of the Saline river. The party
however were not so fortunate as to procure anything except a dried
haunch of venison. On their return, the invalid doctor missed the
negro girl he had brought to wait upon him, intending to sell her
along with a male slave. She was gone. A search was commenced,
but the honest inhabitants declared, with many G--d d--ns, that
they did not know anything about her. The company discovered what
was wanting, and persuaded the physician to offer a reward for her
recovery. In less than half an hour, one of the worthy inhabitants came
up with the run-away girl, leading her by a rope. He had shortly before
assured some of the inquirers, under the pledge of a round oath, of his
utter ignorance of the matter, whilst at the same time the slave was
concealed in his kitchen. The second physician from Tennessee had the
benevolent precaution of suggesting to the patient to keep himself cool.
But every advice was thrown away. The Kentuckian could not resist
striking the girl. With the utmost pain he raised himself up in his bed,
to give her blows, which did himself infinitely more harm. When called
upon to pay the reward of twenty dollars, his wrath rose to the highest
pitch, and if he had had strength we should have witnessed a strange
scene. He paid, however, and contented himself with binding her arms,
and fastening her to the door-post, from which she was released by the
following accident, which took place about eight o'clock, just as we
returned from our excursion. One of the planters, a Kentuckian by birth,
made a regular excursion, twice a day, to fetch milk and eggs for the
company. The captain refused to dispatch the skiff for him, but the rest
of the company sent it without asking the captain's leave. Some hours
after the Kentuckian's return he heard of the captain's refusal, and
immediately accused him of negligence, &c. The captain gave him the lie,
and hardly was the word spoken, when the Kentuckian rushed upon the
young man with a dirk in his hand. He was, however, prevented, when
turning round, he ran to the other side to fetch an axe, declaring at
the same time, with a G----d d----n, he would knock down any body who
dared to oppose him. I stood with Mr. B. at the door. A quarrel ensued,
and he was going to force it open, when several gentlemen came to our
assistance. During this riot the stove became heated to such a degree,
as unobserved by any one, to set fire to the wood beneath it, so that
the birth of our patient was in flames in a moment. Quarrelling, and
murderous thoughts gave way to the danger of being roasted alive. All
hands, even the Kentuckian, were assiduous in their endeavours to
extinguish the fire; but this could not be so easily accomplished, the
boat being extremely crowded. At last we succeeded; the poor doctor had
almost been forgotten, and was very near being burnt alive, had it not
been for his second servant, who immediately laid hold of a bucket full
of water, and poured it over his master. The behaviour of this invalid
was strange beyond description, and shewed a degree of passion, at once
ludicrous and pitiable. "For heaven's sake," exclaimed he, "I am
roasting! no, I am drowning! the wretch has poured a whole bucket of
water over me. Come hither, rascal!" The servant was obliged to
approach, and tender his face to receive a box on the ear, certainly the
most harmless he ever got; the master at the same time reproaching him
with his villainy, and lamenting the consequences which this bath would
bring upon him, such as rheumatism, fever, &c. We stood astonished and
confounded at this man, the living image of a burnt-out volcano. "But
for heaven's sake," said Mr. B., "Doctor, you would have been roasted
alive but for your slave, and you have been the only cause of the fire,
by the unsupportable heat you kept up in the stove; you must not do that
again." "He is my slave," was the answer, "and should have stayed with
me, instead of listening to your ungentlemanly disputes; then the fire
would not have broken out." We assented to this, and peace was fully

The next day we proceeded on our journey, having the state of Illinois
on our right, and Kentucky on our left. Thirteen miles below Saline
river we visited the cave of Rock Island. The limestone wall, 120 feet
high, runs for about half a mile along the right bank of the Ohio;
nearly at its end is the entrance to the cave. A few steps bring you at
once into the grotto, which is about sixty-five feet wide at the base,
narrowing as you ascend, and forming an arch, the span of which is from
twenty-five to thirty feet, extending to a length of 120 feet. Marine
shells, feathers, and bones of bears, turkies, and wild geese, afford
ample testimony that this place has not been visited by the curious
alone, but has been the resort of numerous families, which had taken
temporary refuge here.

Our sporting excursions had generally pigeons, turkies, or opossums, for
their object; below the cave, in the rocks, wild geese and ducks become
very plentiful. Flocks of from forty to one hundred were flying over our
heads in every direction, and augmenting in numbers as we approached the
Mississippi. We shot this day seven geese and ducks, and passed the
small villages of Cumberland, at the mouth of the river of that name,
and Smithland, three miles below. Both villages are now springing up.
The Cumberland is 720 feet wide at its mouth. The river Tennessee,
thirteen miles below, is 700 feet. Eleven miles lower down, on the
Illinois side, is fort Spassai, erected on a high bank and in a
commanding position, which overlooks the Ohio, here a mile wide. The
prospect for a distance of forty miles, is charming. The extraordinary
beauty of the river, which the French very properly called _la belle
rivière_, on both sides the majestic native forests, clad in their
autumnal foliage, here and there an island in the midst of the stream,
with its luxuriant growth of trees, not unlike enchanted gardens. The
charm which is diffused over the whole scene can scarcely be described.
The fort is garrisoned by a captain, with a company of regulars, who,
however, suffer much from swamps in the rear of the fort.

On the two following days we passed the county towns of Golconda, the
seat of justice for Pope county; Vienna, for Johnson; and America, for
Alexander county; villages which have nothing in common with the cities
of which they remind you but the name. They are inhabited by some
Kentuckians and loiterers, who spend part of their time in bringing down
the Mississippi the produce of the country, for the transport of which
they demand double wages, and are thus enabled to spend the rest of
their time sitting cross-legged over their whiskey. The ninth day,
about noon, we arrived at Trinity. I was heartily tired of this manner
of travelling, and resolved to wait here with Mr. B., and Mrs. Th----
and family, for a steam-boat from St. Louis. The rest of the company
went on in the boat, after an hour's stopping. Trinity, or as it was
formerly called, Cairo, is situated four and a half miles above the
junction of the Ohio and Mississippi, consisting only of a tavern and a
store, kept by a Mr. Bershoud. The inundations occurring regularly every
year, have hitherto prevented the formation of settlements at this
place. Though these inundations rise every year from four to ten feet
above the banks, as may be seen from the weeds remaining in clusters on
the trees, the inhabitants of these two houses have, if we except the
trouble of transporting their effects and goods to the upper story, but
little to apprehend, the rise of the river being gradually slow, and its
power being lessened by its circuitous course, and by the trees on its

From Trinity down to Baton Rouge, a distance of 900 miles, the houses
are constructed in such a manner as to be secured against accidents; the
foundations are stumps of trees, or low brick pillars, four feet high.
The houses are so built, or rather laid upon these pillars, as to allow
the water to pass beneath. Notwithstanding this precaution, the flood
generally reaches to the lower apartments, and passengers coming from
Trinity to New Orleans last February, had to get into the skiff sent for
them, through the window of the second story.

From Trinity to the mouth of the Ohio, are reckoned four and a half
miles. We visited on the following morning, this remarkable spot, where
two of the most important rivers unite.


The Mississippi.--General Features of the State of Illinois and its

The nearer we approached the Mississippi, the lower the country became,
and the more imposing the scenery. By degrees the river Ohio loses its
blue tinge, taking from the mightier stream a milky colour, which
changes into a muddy white when very near the junction--this junction
itself is one of the most magnificent sights. On the left hand the Ohio,
half a mile wide, overpowered, as it were, by its mightier rival--in
front the more gigantic Mississippi, one mile and a half broad, rolling
down its vast volumes of water with incredible rapidity. Farther on, the
high banks of the state of Missouri, with some farm buildings of a
diminutive appearance, owing to the great distance; in the back ground,
the colossal native forests of Missouri; and lastly, to the south, these
two rivers united and turning majestically to the south-west. The deep
silence which reigns in these regions, and which is interrupted only by
the rushing sound of the waves, and the immense mass of water, produce
the illusion that you are no longer standing upon firm ground; you are
fearful less the earth should give way to the powerful element, which,
pressed into so narrow a space, rolls on with irresistible force. I had
formerly seen the falls of Niagara; but this scene, taken in the proper
point of view, is in no respect inferior to that which they present. The
immense number of streams which empty into the Mississippi, and caused
it to be named, very appropriately, the _Father of Rivers_, render it
powerful throughout the year; it generally rises in February, and falls
in July. In September and October the autumnal rains begin; and they
continue to swell it through the winter. When it overflows its banks,
the Mississippi inundates the country on both sides, for an extent of
from forty-five to fifty miles, thus forming an immense lake. From the
mouth of the Ohio to Walnut hills, in the state of Mississippi, the
difference between the lowest water and the highest inundation, is
generally sixteen feet. The nearer it approaches the gulph of Mexico,
the less is the flood. The water leaving its bed on the west side never
returns, but forms into lakes and marshes. On the east side they find
resistance from the high lands, that follow the meanderings of the
river. Above Natchez, the river inundates the lands for a space of
thirty miles. At Baton Rouge, the high lands take on a sudden a
south-eastern direction, while the river turns to the south-west, thus
leaving the waters to form the eastern swamps of Louisiana. It rises to
thirty feet at that place; whilst at New Orleans it scarcely attains the
height of twelve feet, and at the mouth no difference between a rise and
fall is perceptible. Whoever comes to the Mississippi with the
expectation of beholding a sea-like river flowing quietly along, will
find himself disappointed. The magnitude of this river does not consist
in its width but in its depth, and the immense quantity of water it
pours out into the sea. At the mouth of the Ohio it is a mile and a half
wide. This moderate breadth rather diminishes as it proceeds in its
course. At New Orleans, after receiving the waters of some great
tributary streams, it is not more than a mile in width, and in some
places three quarters of a mile. Its depth, however, continues to
increase; below the Ohio it is reckoned to be from thirty-five to fifty
feet deep. Below the Arkansas to Natchez, from 100 to 150. From Natchez
to New Orleans, from 150 to 250 feet. At its mouth, owing to the sand
bar at the Paliseter, the depth greatly diminishes, and it is well known
that vessels drawing eighteen feet of water can hardly enter the mouth
of the stream. The waters of the Mississippi are not clear at any period
of the year. This was the second time I saw it, when it was said to be
very low; still its waters were of a muddy turbid appearance. When
rising it changes to a muddy yellow. A glass filled with water from the
Mississippi, deposits in a quarter of an hour a mass of mud equal to one
tenth of the whole contents. But when clear, it is excellent for
drinking, and superior to any I have tasted. It is generally used by
those who inhabit its banks.

The accommodations in Trinity are comfortable, and the tables are well
furnished, but the prices exorbitant. It cannot, however, be expected to
be otherwise, owing to the new settlers, whose anxiety never permits
them to neglect an opportunity of improving their means on their first
outset. We found this to be the case on all occasions. Whenever some of
our passengers made purchases of trifles, such as cigars, &c., they had
to pay five times as much as in Louisville. It is therefore advisable to
provide oneself with every thing, when travelling in these backwoods;
the generality of the settlers on these banks being needy adventurers,
partly foreigners, partly Kentuckians, who, with a capital of not quite
100 dollars, with which they purchase some goods in New Orleans, begin
their commercial career, and may be seen with both hands in their
pockets, their legs on the table or chimney-piece, and cigars in their
mouths, selling their goods for five hundred per cent above prime cost.
Towards the north on the banks of the Mississippi, the settlers are
generally Frenchmen, who now assume by degrees the American manners and
language. Many of them are wealthy store-keepers, merchants, and
farmers; but for the most part, however, a lightfooted kind of people,
who, from their fathers, have inherited frivolity, and from their
mothers, Indian women, uncleanliness. The towns of Kaskakia, Cahokia,
&c., as well as several villages up the Mississippi to the Prairie des
Chiens, owe their origin to them. The solid class of inhabitants live on
the big and little Wabash, and between these two rivers and the
Illinois. This is, no doubt, the finest part of the state, and one of
the most delightful countries on the face of the earth. It is mostly
inhabited by Americans and Englishmen. Agriculture, the breeding of
cattle, and improvements of every kind, are making rapid progress. The
settlements in Bond, Crawford, Edward's, Franklin, and White Counties,
are to be considered as forming the main substance of the state. A
number of elegant towns have arisen in the space of a few years: among
others, Vandalia, the capital, and for these three years past the seat
of government, with a state house and a projected university, for which
36,000 acres of land have been assigned. An excellent spirit is
acknowledged to prevail among the inhabitants of this district. Still,
however, the style of architecture--if the laying of logs or of bricks
upon each other deserves this name--the manners, the attempted
improvements, every thing announces a new land, which has only a few
years since started into political existence, and the settlers of which
do not yet evince any anxiety for the comforts of life. Illinois has now
80,000 inhabitants, 1500 of whom are people of colour; the rest are
Americans, English, French, and a German settlement about Vandalia. The
state was received into the Union in the year 1818. The constitution,
with a governor and a secretary at its head, resembles that of the state
of Ohio. In the year 1824, the question was again brought forward
concerning the possession of slaves: it was, however, negatived, and we
hope it will never be pressed upon the people. The state is much
indebted in every point to the late Mr. Birkbeck, who died too soon for
the welfare of his adopted country. He was considered as the father of
the state, and whenever he could gain over a useful citizen, he spared
no expense, and sacrificed a considerable part of his property in this
manner. The people of Illinois, in acknowledgment of his services, had
chosen him for secretary of the state, in which character he died in
1825. He was generally known under the name of Emperor of the Prairies,
from the vast extent of natural meadows belonging to his lands. It is to
be regretted, however, that Mr. Birkbeck was not acquainted with the
country about Trinity. His large capital and the number of hands who
joined him, would no doubt succeed in establishing a settlement here.
This will sooner or later take place, and will eventually render it one
of the finest towns in the United States, as the advantages of its
situation are incalculable. Illinois is, in point of commerce, more
advantageously situated than any of the Ohio states; being bounded on
the west by the river Mississippi, which forms the line between this
state and that of Missouri, to the east by the big Wabash, and to the
south by the Ohio, the river Illinois running through it with some
smaller rivers; thus affording it an open navigation to the north-west,
the west, the south, and the east. Towards the north the banks of the
Upper Mississippi form a range of hills which join the Illinois
mountains to the east, and lowering by degrees lose themselves in the
plains of lakes Huron and Michigan. The country is, on the whole, less
elevated than Indiana, and forms the last slope of the northern valley
of the Mississippi, the hills being intersected by a number of valleys,
plains, prairies, and marshes. The fertility of this state is
extraordinary, surpassing that of Indiana and Ohio. In beauty, variety
of scenery, and fertility, it may vie with the most celebrated
countries. Wheat thrives only on high land, the soil of the valleys
being too rich. Corn gives for every bushel a hundred. Tobacco planted
in Illinois, if well managed, is found to be superior to that of
Kentucky and Virginia. Rice and indigo grow wild, their cultivation
being neglected for want of hands. Pecans, a product of the West Indies,
grow in abundance in the native forests. This state having a temperate
climate, possesses many of the southern products. The timber is of
colossal magnitude. Sycamores and cotton trees of an immense height,
walnut, pecan trees, honey-locusts and maples, cover the surface of this
country, and are the surest indications of an exceedingly rich soil. The
most fertile parts of the state are the bottom lands along the
Mississippi, Illinois, and the big and little Wabash. The country is
complained of as being sickly. There is no doubt that a state which
abounds in rivers, marshes, and ponds, must be subject to epidemic
diseases, but the climate being temperate the fault lies very much with
the settlers and the inhabitants themselves. The settler who chooses for
his dwelling-house a spot on an eminence, and far from the marshes,
taking at the same time the necessary precautions in point of dress,
cleanliness, and the choice of victuals and beverage, may live without
fear in these countries. All agree in this opinion, and I have myself
experienced the correctness of it. The greatest part, however, of the
new comers and inhabitants live upon milk or stagnant water taken from
the first pond they meet with on their way, with a few slices of bacon.
Their wardrobe consists of a single shirt, which is worn till it falls
to pieces. It cannot, therefore, be matter of astonishment if agues and
bilious fevers spread over the country, and even in this case a quart of
corn brandy is their prescription. This being the general mode of
living, and we may add of dying, among the lower classes, disease must
necessarily spread its ravages with more rapidity.


Excursion to St. Louis.--Face of the Country.--Sketch of the State of
Missouri.--Return to Trinity.

The steam-boat, the Pioneer, having come up to Trinity the following
day, on its way to St. Louis, Mr. B. and I resolved to take a trip to
the latter place, as the best chance that offered to get away as soon as
possible. We started at ten o'clock in the morning, turned round the
fork, and ascended the muddy Mississippi. The first town we saw was
Hamburgh, on the Illinois side, consisting of nineteen frame dwellings
and cabins, and four stores. On the left, in the state of Missouri, is
Cape Girardeau. The settlement mostly consists of Frenchmen, and German
Redemptioners. The town has not a very inviting appearance. One hundred
and six miles above the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi, we landed
at St. Genevieve to take in wood. This town is the principal mart for
the Burton mines; it has a Catholic chapel, twenty stores, a printing
office, 250 houses, and 1600 inhabitants. Twenty-four miles farther up
the same side, is Herculaneum, with 300 inhabitants, a court-house,
and a printing office. The town had been laid out and peopled by
Kentuckians. There are several villages on the right and left bank, and
some good-looking farms. On the third day, at twelve o'clock, we reached
the town of St. Louis, 170 miles above the mouth of the Ohio, and
thirteen miles below the junction of the Mississippi, and the Missouri.
This town extends, in a truly picturesque situation, in 38° 33' north
latitude, and 12° 58' west longitude, for the length of two miles along
the river, in three parallel streets, rising one above the other in the
form of terraces, on a stratum of limestone. The houses are for the most
part built of this material, and surrounded with gardens. The number of
buildings amounts to 620, that of the inhabitants to 5000. Its principal
buildings are, a Catholic, and two Protestant churches, a branch bank
of the United States, and the bank of St. Louis, the courthouse, the
government-house, an academy, and a theatre; besides these, there are a
number of wholesale and retail stores, two printing offices, and an
abundance of coffee-shops, billiard-tables, and dancing-rooms. The trade
of St. Louis is not so extensive as that of Louisville, and less liable
to interruption, as the navigation is not impeded at any season of the
year, the Mississippi, being at all times navigable for the largest
vessels. An exception, indeed, occurred in 1802, when the Ohio and other
rivers were almost dried up. The inhabitants of St. Louis and of
Missouri, have therefore a never-failing channel for carrying their
produce to market. This they generally do, when the rivers which empty
themselves into the Mississippi, are so low that they have no
apprehension of finding any competition in New Orleans. Last year, the
market of New Orleans was almost exclusively supplied with produce from
St. Louis and Missouri. Eighty dollars was the general price for a
bullock, which at a later period would not have obtained twenty-five
dollars; flour was at eight dollars, whereas, two months afterwards,
abundance could be had for two and a half dollars. In the same
proportion they sold every other article. It is this circumstance which
contributes to the wealth of St. Louis, and of Missouri in general, to
the detriment, on the other hand, of the Ohio States, Kentucky, Indiana,
and Ohio. At the time of our arrival at St. Louis, there were in its
port, five steam vessels, and thirty-five other boats. St. Louis is a
sort of New Orleans on a smaller scale; in both places are to be found a
number of coffee-houses and dancing rooms. The French are seen engaged
in the same amusements and passions that formerly characterised the
creoles of Louisiana, with the exception, that the trade with the
Indians has given to the French backwoods-men of St. Louis, a rather
malicious and dishonest turn--a fault from which the creoles of
Louisiana are free, owing to the greater respectability of their
visitors and settlers, from Europe, and from the north of the Union. The
majority of the inhabitants of this town, as well as of the state,
consists of people descended from the French, of Kentuckians, and
foreigners of every description--Germans, Spaniards, Italians, Irish,
&c. Kentucky manners are fashionable. Not long before my arrival, there
occurred a specimen of this, in an open assault and duel between two
individuals in the public street. For the last five years, men of
property and respectability, attracted by the superior advantages of the
situation, have settled at St. Louis, and their example and influence
have been conducive of some good to public morals. The enterprising
spirit of the Americans is remarkable, even in this place and state.
Within the twenty-three years that have elapsed since the cession of
this country (part of the former Louisiana) to the Union, much more has
been achieved in every point of view, than during the sixty years
preceding, when it was in possession of France and Spain. Streets,
villages, settlements, towns, and farms, have sprung up in every
direction; the population has augmented from 20,000 to 84,000
inhabitants; and if they are not superior in wealth to their neighbours,
it is certainly to be attributed to their want of industry, and to
their passing the greater part of their time in grog-shops, or in
dancing-companies, according to the prevailing custom. Slavery, which is
introduced here, though so ill adapted to a northern state, contributes
not a little to the aristocratic notions of the people, the least of
whom, if he can call himself the master of one slave, would be ashamed
to put his hand to any work. Still there is more ready money among the
inhabitants, than in any of the western states, and prices are demanded
accordingly. Cattle that fetch in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, ten
dollars per head, are sold in Missouri for twenty-five dollars, and so
in proportion. The country about St. Louis to the north, south, and
west, consists of prairies, extending fifteen miles in every direction,
with some very handsome farm houses, and numerous herds of cattle.
Though in the same degree of northern latitude as the city of
Washington, the climate is more severe, owing to the two rivers Missouri
and Mississippi, whose waters coming from northern countries greatly
contribute to cool the air. The cultivation of tobacco has not
succeeded, and the produce chiefly consists of wheat, corn and
cattle;--equally important is the profit from the lead mines, and
the fur trade. The most improved settlements are those along the
Mississippi, and on the Missouri they are beginning to be formed.

Missouri was received into the Union in 1821, and is, with the exception
of Virginia, the largest state of the Union, its area exceeding 60,000
square miles. To the north and west it borders on the Missouri
territory; towards the east the Mississippi is the boundary between this
state, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee; the Arkansas territory lies to
the south. It extends from 36° to 40° 25' north latitude, and from 12°
50' to 18° 10' west longitude. The country forms an elevated plain,
sloping considerably to the south, where it is crossed by the Ozark
mountains. Marshes and mountains prevail more in the southern parts,
high plains in the northern. Along the Mississippi and Missouri, the
bottom lands are generally extremely fertile. The soils, however, cannot
be altogether compared with that of Illinois. The possession of slaves
is allowed by the constitution of this state, and their number amounts
to 10,000; that of the rest of the inhabitants to 70,000. The form of
government approaches very nearly that of Kentucky. We remained one day
at St. Louis, and returned in the steam-boat, General Brown, to Trinity,
where we took on board the ladies and some new passengers, returning
from thence to the Mississippi. We passed several small islands, and a
large one (Wolf's Island), and landed at New Madrid at midnight, for the
purpose of taking in wood. This place is the seat of justice for the
county of the same name; it has, however, no court-house, and is a
rather wretched looking place, containing about thirty log and shattered
farm houses, with 180 inhabitants, Spaniards, French, and Italians. The
two stores being open, we visited them. They were but poorly provided,
having about a dozen cotton handkerchiefs, one barrel of whiskey, and a
heap of furs. Two Indians were stretched on the ground before the door,
and in a sound sleep, with their guns by their side. The Mississippi is
continually encroaching upon the town, and has already swept away many
intended streets, as the inhabitants say, obliging them to move back to
their no small disappointment. The surrounding country is highly
fertile, and in the rear of the town there are several well cultivated
cotton and rice plantations. A rich plain stretches along to the west,
behind New Madrid, as far as the waters of Sherrimack.


The State of Tennessee.--Steam-boats on the Mississippi.--Flat-boats.

We had now passed the western extremity of Kentucky, and had the state
of Tennessee on our left. The eastern banks of the Mississippi, viz. on
the Tennessee side, are throughout lower than the western or Missouri
shores; presenting a series of marshes from which cypress trees and
canebrack seem just emerging, lining them for hundreds of miles to the
southward. Farther eastward, towards the rivers Tennessee and
Cumberland, the soil is overgrown with sugar-maples, sycamore trees,
walnuts, and honey-locusts; the mountains with white and live oak and
hickory. The eastern part of the state resembles North Carolina. The
middle part is by far the best. Cotton and tobacco are staple articles.
Rice is cultivated with success. Hemp is not considered of the same
quality as the Kentuckian, the climate being too warm. The tropical
fruits, such as figs, thrive well; chesnuts are superior to those of the
other states. Melons, peaches, and apples, are abundant. Tennessee is
considered altogether a rich and fertile land. The inhabitants are
liberal, noble hearted, and noted for their good conduct towards
strangers. Several foreigners settled in the state, have attained a high
degree of wealth and prosperity. There is no state in the Union where
slavery has had less pernicious effects upon the character of the
people. The inhabitants are mostly descendants of emigrants from North
Carolina, and their hospitality is without bounds. This state extends,
in an oblong square, from the shores of the Mississippi towards Virginia
and North Carolina, in 35° to 36° 30' north latitude, and 4° 26' to 13°
5' west longitude. It is bounded on the east by Virginia and North
Carolina; on the south by Georgia, Albania, and Mississippi; on the west
by the river Mississippi, and on the north by Kentucky, comprising
altogether 40,000 square miles. East Tennessee partakes more of the
sandy character of North Carolina. West Tennessee of the marshes of the
Mississippi valley. Its principal rivers are the Cumberland and
Tennessee, with the Mississippi on the west, where however, with the
exception of some very small settlements, there are no improvements of
any kind. The canal proposed by Governor Troup, of Georgia, to Governor
Carrott, of Tennessee, which is to bring this state into immediate
connection with the Atlantic, will have a very beneficial effect, these
two rivers being navigable for steam-boats only during three months in
the year, and New Orleans being the only market for Tennessee.
Notwithstanding its straitened commerce, the state is rapidly improving,
and several of its towns, though not large are yet very elegant. The
chief wealth of the state, however, consists in the plantations, and the
farmer and planter live in a style, which at least in point of eating,
cannot be exceeded by the wealthiest nobleman in any country. Among the
towns of the state, Nashville holds the first rank. This town occupies a
commanding situation, on a solid cliff of rocks on the south side of
the Cumberland, 200 feet above the level of the banks. The river is
navigable here during three months in the year for steam-boats of 300
tons burthen. Besides the court-house, three churches, two banks,
including a branch bank of the United States, three printing offices,
and a great number of wholesale and retail merchants, there is the seat
of the district court for the western part of Tennessee. Several
literary institutions, such as Cumberland college, a ladies' school, and
reading-room with a public library, are evident proofs of a liberal
spirit. This spirit is combined with unbounded hospitality. There is a
number of houses, such as those of Governor Carrott, Major General
Jackson, &c., where every respectable stranger is welcome, and may be
sure of meeting with a select company. The surrounding country is
beautiful, cotton plantations lining the banks of the river, and
extending in every direction hither. The wealthier inhabitants generally
retire during the summer months, from the stifling heats prevailing
on the barren rocks upon which Nashville stands. Knoxville in
east Tennessee, with 400 houses and 2,500 inhabitants, is of less
importance; it is the seat of the supreme district court for east
Tennessee, and has a bank, a college, and two churches. The country
about Knoxville is far inferior to that round Nashville. The capital of
Tennessee, Murfreesborough, has 1500 inhabitants, with a state-house, a
bank, two printing-offices, &c. It communicates by water with Nashville,
through Stonecreek. The situation seems not to be very judiciously
chosen for a chief town. This was the state of things four years
ago, when I passed through the place; but doubtless it has since
proportionably increased. Our company being on this occasion of a less
mixed, and a less troublesome character, we sailed down the majestic
father of rivers, with minds well disposed to acknowledge our
obligations to Mr. Fulton, for his happy idea of applying the power of
steam to navigation. The settlers of the Mississippi valley, are in duty
bound to raise a monument to the memory of a man, who has effected in
their mode of conveyance so adventurous, and so successful a change. Not
ten years have elapsed since the inhabitants of the west were used to
toil like beasts of burden, in order to ascend the stream for a
distance of ten or fifteen miles a day; and when in 1802, some boats
belonging to Mr. R., of Nashville, arrived from New Orleans in
eighty-seven days, this passage was considered the _ne plus ultra_ of
quick travelling by water, and was instantly made known throughout the
Union. A passenger now performs the same voyage in five days, sitting
all the while in a comfortable state-room, which in point of fitting-up
vies with the most elegant parlours, writing letters, or reading the
newspapers, and if tired of these occupations, paying visits to the
ladies, if he be permitted to do so; or otherwise pacing the deck, where
his less fortunate fellow passengers are hanging in hammocks--an
indication to many of what may be their future state. There is certainly
not any nation that can boast of a greater disposition for travelling,
than Brother Jonathan; and there is again nobody more at home than he,
whether in a tavern, or on board a vessel; as he is in the habit of
considering a tavern, a vessel, or a steam-boat, as a kind of public
property. Yet on board a vessel, or a steam-boat, he is very tractable.
The great difference of fare between a cabin and a deck passage, from
Louisville to New Orleans, being for the former forty dollars, and for
the latter eight dollars, contributes to establish a distinction in this
assemblage of people, placing those who are found too light in the upper
house, and the more weighty in the lower. The first have to find
themselves, the others are provided with every thing in a manner which
shows that private institutions for the benefit of the public, are
certainly more patronised here than in most other countries. If the
pecuniary resources of the citizen of the United States do not reach a
very low ebb, he will certainly choose the cabin, his pride forbidding
him to mix with the rabble, though the expence may fall too heavy upon
him. That economical refinement which the French evince on these
occasions, is not to be seen in America. When I proceeded four months
ago from Havre to Rouen, in the Duchess of Angouleme steam-boat, among
the 100 passengers who were on board, more than fifty well-looking
people were seen unpacking their bundles, and regaling themselves with
their contents--bread, chicken, cutlets, wine, &c., &c., a frugality
which will hardly be found to contribute to the improvement of a spirit
of enterprise. The Americans would be ashamed of this kind of parsimony,
which must ever impede all public undertakings. Owing to this cause, the
American steam-boats are in point of elegance superior to those of other
nations; and none but the English are able to compete with them. The
furniture, carpets, beds, &c., are throughout elegant, and in good
condition. Some of the new steam-boats are provided with small rooms,
each containing two births, which passengers may use for their
accommodation in shaving, dressing, &c. The general regulations are
suspended above the side board in a gilt frame, and are as binding as a
law. They prohibit speaking to the pilot during the passage--visiting
the ladies' state-room, without their consent--lying down upon the bed
with shoes or boots on--smoking cigars in the state-room--and playing at
cards after ten o'clock. The first transgression is punished with a
fine; if repeated, the transgressor is sent ashore. The fare is
excellent, and the breakfasts, dinners, and suppers, are provided with
such a multiplicity of dishes, and even dainties, as would satisfy the
most refined appetite. The beverage consists of rum, gin, brandy,
claret, to be taken at pleasure during meals; but out of that time they
are to be paid for. Distressing accidents will of course occasionally
occur; the last of this kind was of a truly heart-rending nature: it
happened four years ago, above Walnut-hills, in the steam-boat
Tennessee. The night was tempestuous, the rain fell in torrents, and the
captain, instead of landing and waiting until the weather cleared up,
lost his senses, and ran on a sawyer[C]. The steam-boat was not sixty
feet distant from the bank, which could not be distinguished, and she
went down in a few seconds, together with 110 passengers, save a few who
by accident reached the shore. Since that time, although steam-boats
have sunk, no such loss of lives has occurred. This, however, is not to
be compared with the hardships, the toils, the loss of health and life,
to which the navigators of flat and keel-boats were formerly, and are
still exposed, when going down the Mississippi. Nothing more uncouth
than these flat-boats was ever sent forth from the hands of a carpenter.
They are built of rude timber and planks, sixty feet in length, and
twenty-five feet in breadth, and so unmanageable, that only the strong
arm of a backwoodsman can keep them from running upon planters[D],
sawyers, wooden-islands, and all the Scyllas and Charybdes, that are to
be met with on the voyage. We found numbers of them along the Ohio,
detained by low water; and from St. Louis down to New Orleans, sometimes
fifteen, twenty, and thirty together. Their uncouth appearance, the
boisterous and fierce manners of their crews, the immense distance they
have already proceeded, make them truly objects of interest. One of
these flat-boats is from the Upper Ohio, laden with pine-boards, planks,
rye, whisky, flour; close to it, another from the falls of the Ohio,
with corn in the ear and bulk, apples, peaches; a third, with hemp,
tobacco, and cotton. In the fourth you may find horses regularly stabled
together; in the next, cattle from the mouth of the Missouri; a sixth
will have hogs, poultry, turkeys; and in a seventh you see peeping out
of the holes, the woolly heads of slaves transported from Virginia and
Kentucky, to the human flesh mart at New Orleans. They have come
thousands of miles, and still have to proceed a thousand more, before
they arrive at their place of destination.

[C] Sawyers are bodies of trees fixed in the river, which yield to the
pressure of the current, disappearing and appearing by turns above
water, like the rotatory motion of the saw-mill, from which they have
derived their name. They sometimes point up the stream, sometimes in the
contrary direction. A steam-boat running on a sawyer, cannot escape

[D] Planters are large bodies of trees, firmly fixed by their roots to
the bottom of the river, in a perpendicular manner, and rising no more
than a foot above the surface at low water. They are so firmly rooted,
as to be unmoved by the shock of steam-boats running upon them.


  Scenery along the Mississippi.--Hopefield.--St. Helena.--Arkansas
  Territory.--Spanish Moss.--Vixburgh.

We pursued our course at the rate of ten miles an hour, passing the
Chickasaw Bluffs, Memphis, a small settlement on the Tennessee side, and
a number of smaller and larger islands, from two to six miles in length,
but seldom more than one in breadth. The sediment of the Mississippi is
continually forming new sand banks, at the same time that its
irresistible power carries away old ones. That river was, as I have
already mentioned, very low, and the numerous sand banks on both sides
contracted its channel into a bed scarcely more than half a mile broad.
On these banks numberless flocks of wild ducks, geese, cranes, swans,
and pelicans, stationed themselves in rows, extending sometimes a mile
in length. As soon as the steam boat approaches, dashing through the
water with the noise of thunder, and vomiting forth columns of smoke,
they fly up in masses resembling clouds, and retire to their covers in
the marshes and ponds contiguous to the banks of the Mississippi. They
abound most 150 miles above Natchez, and hundreds of thousands are seen
crossing the river in every direction. The scenery in view is an immense
valley, with banks sixty feet above the water, forests of colossal trees
on both sides, and the vast expanse of waters rolling with a velocity
the more surprising, as the country stretches in a continued plain, with
scarcely any perceptible decline. The rural scenery of the regions
consists of detached cabins raised on huge stumps of trees; instead of
windows there are the natural apertures of the logs joined together; in
front of them woodstacks, for the use of the steam boats; ten or twelve
deer, bear, or fox skins drying in the open air; some turkies and hogs,
scattered over a corn patch, &c. Farms, or plantations, properly so
called, are seldom to be met with here; the chief object of these
settlers being the breed of cattle and poultry, for the use of
steam-boats. The only trace of agriculture is a small tract of cotton
field, which the settlers endeavour to improve.

We stayed an hour and a half in Hopefield, opposite to the Chickasaw
Bluffs, the chief village of Hempstead county, with ten houses. There
are two taverns, such as may be expected in these parts, a store and a
post office. Two hours later we saw the mouth of the Wolf river; the
beautiful President's island, ten miles long, which with its colossal
forests presents an imposing sight, with several small islands in its
train. Among these is the Battle island, taking its name from a battle
fought here between two Kentuckians, who compelled their captain to land
them, and returned after half an hour, the one with his nose bitten off,
the other with his eyes scooped out of their sockets! This night we
arrived in the county town of St. Helena, ninety-five miles above the
mouth of the Arkansas. The place was laid out a few years ago, and bids
fair to become of some importance, from the extreme scarcity of spots
adapted for towns on the banks of the Mississippi. The village is
situated a quarter of a mile from the west bank. The cabin houses are
built upon dwarfish round hills, resembling sugar loaves. Viewed from a
distance they have a handsome appearance, which, however, considerably
diminishes on approaching nearer to them. The spot is quite broken land.
Two hundred yards further up, a ridge eighty feet above the level of the
water, extends about a quarter of a mile, and six other houses are built
upon it, amongst which is a tavern and store, with few articles besides
a barrel of whisky for their Indian guests. A heap of furs, of every
description, indicates that this trade is a very lucrative one. About
thirty miles to the westward are the military lands, granted as a reward
to the soldiers who served in the last war; only a few of them have come
to settle on these grants. The distance from the eastern cities being so
immense, the expenses of the journey, compared with the object they were
about to attain, were so great, that most of them remained in the east.

On the following morning we passed the mouth of the White river, and
thirteen miles lower down the river Arkansas, a beautiful, wide, and
very important stream, next in size to the Ohio, which after a course of
2,500 miles, 900 of which are navigable for steam-boats, empties itself
into the Mississippi at this place. From this river the territory of
Arkansas has taken its name. It was formerly part of Louisiana, then of
Missouri, and has since 1819, been separated from the latter, and now
forms a distinct territory extending from 33° to 36° north latitude, and
from 11° 45' to 23° west longitude. Its area is computed to be above
100,000 square miles. With the exception of a few towns, such as
Arkopolis, Post Arkansas, Little-rock, &c., and some other settlements
of less note, it is not otherwise known than from the reports of the
expeditions sent into the interior at various times. According to their
accounts it differs in some essential points from the eastern states.
The eastern part of this vast territory bears the character of the
Mississippi valley, and abounds in well wooded plains, prairies, and
marshes, in alternate succession, the latter occupying almost
exclusively the tract of land situated between the rivers Arkansas and
St. Francis towards the Ozark mountains. There the country rises; rocks
and mountains become visible, announcing the approach to the Rocky
mountains. Between these and the Ozark mountains are vast plains covered
with salt crusts, imparting to the rivers flowing through the country a
brackish taste. There have also been discovered valleys competing in
point of fertility with the valley of the Mississippi; eminences covered
for a distance of many miles with vines, whose grapes are said to be
equal to the best produce of the Cape. In other places are vast plains,
which owing to their stratum being gravel, produce but a short and dry
grape, without any trees. The territory in the interior contains
important mineral and vegetable treasures. The Volcanos, the Hotsprings,
the Ouachitta lake, and other natural wonders, will soon attract general
attention. From what was related to me by an eye witness who bestowed
all his attention on them, they are undoubtedly of the first importance.
The springs are six in number, and they are situated about ten miles
from the Ouachitta, near a volcano. Their temperature being 150°, the
use which visitors make of them consists in exposing themselves to the
vapour. They are impregnated with carbonic acid, muriate of soda, and a
small quantity of iron and calcareous matter. Hitherto, besides Indians
and hunters, but few persons resorted to them until the last two years,
when several gentlemen went thither for the recovery of their health.
But the present total want of ready money in these deserted parts has
prevented a more rapid improvement. The population amounts to 18,000
souls, 2,000 of whom are slaves. Mental improvement is here sought for
in vain. The American reads his Bible, and if opportunity offers, he
visits once a year a Methodist Missionary. The French care as little for
one as for the other. Colleges, academies, or literary institutions
there are none, but in Post Arkansas, Arkopolis, and Little-rock,
schools are established. Those cannot be expected from a country without
any political importance, and with a population scattered over such an
immense extent. An extract from a newspaper published in Arkopolis,
which I found in St. Helena, may give some idea of the honourables of
these parts: "Mr. White respectfully begs leave to announce himself as
candidate for their Representative, &c.--N.B. Tailoring business done
in the best manner, and at the shortest notice!!"

Arkansas has hitherto been the refuge for poor adventurers, foreigners,
French soldiers, German redemptioners, with a few respectable American
families; men of fortune preferring the state of Mississippi or
Louisiana, where society and the comforts of life can be found with less
difficulty. It is certain, however, that the western part of this
territory is healthier than the western states of Alabama, Georgia, and
Mississippi, and that the Rocky and Ozark chain, running from east to
west, obviates one great evil--the sudden change of temperature, caused
by the want of high mountains to resist the power of the north and south

A traveller who first visits the valley of the Mississippi, is led to
believe that the waters of this immense river rise above the trees along
its banks, leaving the branches covered with weeds and mud when they
retire to their bed. It is Spanish moss or Tellandsea which presents
that appearance to the traveller. It is firmly rooted in the apertures
of the bark, and hangs down from the trees, not unlike long rough
beards. This plant has a yellow blossom, and a pod containing the seed.
It is found along the coast of the Mississippi, from St. Helena to below
New Orleans, and is universally applied to all those purposes for which
curled hair is used in the north. It is gathered from the trees with
long hooks, afterwards put into water for a few days in order to rot the
outer part, and then dried. The substance obtained by this simple
process is a fine black fibre resembling horse hair. A mattrass stuffed
in this manner may serve for a year, if not wetted; it then becomes
dusty and requires that the moss should be taken out, beaten, and the
mattress filled again, by which means it becomes more elastic than it
was before.

We passed several settlements and islands, the mouth of the Yazoo
rivers, and on the third day we arrived at Vixburgh, or Walnut-hills. We
were now 600 miles from the mouth of the Ohio, and in that whole
distance had not seen either a hill or mountain, with the exception of a
few mole-hills at St. Helena, which rose, perhaps, to the height of
twenty or twenty-five feet above the endless plain. The first objects
which interrupt the sameness of this grand but rather uniform scenery,
are the Walnut-hills, on the east bank of the river, in the state of
Mississippi. They rise singly and perfectly detached. There may be
eight or nine in number, with a small house on the top of each. Close
to the landing-place is the warehouse of Mr. Brown; and farther back,
some merchant's stores, and two taverns. Half a mile from the bank
rises a ridge about four miles long, and 300 feet high. This hill,
notwithstanding its inconvenient situation, will probably be selected
for the site of part of Vixburgh town, which was laid out two years ago,
and is now the seat of justice for Warren county. It has already fifty
houses and three stores. Several steam-boats are regularly employed in
the cotton trade. As there is not a single place on the banks of the
Mississippi, where a town of some extent could be built without being
exposed to the floods, Vixburgh must very soon become a place of great
importance for the upper part of the state of Mississippi. The
surrounding country begins to be rapidly settled; and civilization,
which is almost extinct for more than a 1000 miles up the Mississippi
and the Ohio, here resumes its power, and increases the farther you
descend towards New Orleans.

On the following day we passed Warrington, Palmyra, Davies', Judge
Smith's settlements, the Grand and Petit Golfe, and Gruinsburgh, and
arrived at five o'clock in the evening at Natchez.


  The Town of Natchez.--Excursion to Palmyra Plantations.--The Cotton
  Planters of the State of Mississippi.--Sketch of the State of
  Mississippi.--Return to Natchez.

Rain, and a subsequent frost, had a week before our arrival dispelled
that scourge of the south--the yellow fever. The inhabitants had
returned from the places of safety, to which they had fled in every
direction, and intercourse was again re-established, the town having
resumed all the activity I had found in it three years before. The road
to the town, properly so called, leads through a suburb, known by the
name of Low Natchez, consisting of some warehouses and shops of every
description. This place deserves, in every respect, the epithet of Low
Natchez, being a true Gomorrha, and containing an assemblage of the
lowest characters. Although fifteen years ago, a great part of the bluff
buried in its fall, several of these wretches, and every rainy season
exposes the survivors to the same fate, yet they seem unconscious of
their danger. The road ascends to the town on both sides of these liquor
shops, built as it were on the brink of a precipice. Natchez is situated
on a hill, 250 feet above the level of the water. The prospect from this
hill, or bluff, as it is called, is beautiful. At your feet you behold
this nest of sinners, close to it four or five steam-boats, and thirty
or forty keel and flat-boats anchoring in the port, with the bustle and
noise attendant on these wandering arks. On the opposite bank of the
Mississippi, which is here one mile and a quarter wide, you see the
county town of Concordia, and on both sides of this little town,
numerous plantations, with the stately mansion of the wealthy cotton
planter, and the numerous cabins of his black dependents; and in the
background, the whole scenery is girded by an immense ring of cypress
forests, which seem, as it were, to bury themselves in the flats below
the Mississippi. To the right and left a charming elevated plain
extends, with numerous gardens, which, though it was then the end of
November, still preserved their verdure, faded, indeed, into an autumnal
hue. In the rear is the town of Natchez, of moderate dimensions; but
elegant and regular as far as the broken ground would admit. The
dwelling-houses, several of them with colonnades, exhibit throughout a
high degree of wealth. The court-house, an academy, the United States'
branch bank, and the bank of Natchez, three churches, three newspaper
printing offices, one of which publishes a literary journal (the Ariel),
a library and reading-room, are the public institutions, and they are
very liberally patronised. Neither during my former journey, nor in the
present visit, could I discover any foundation for the charge of
narrowness of mind, which is made against the inhabitants. Their number
amounts to 3,540, and their houses to 600. They are mostly planters,
merchants, lawyers, and physicians, of Anglo-American extraction, with
the exception of ten or twelve German families.

Natchez is considered as a port, and on this ground the representative
of the state obtained the most useless grant of money ever made--1500
dollars--for the purpose of erecting a light-house, at a place 410 miles
distant from the sea. This town had been considered a healthier spot
than New Orleans, until the two last years, when it was repeatedly
visited by the yellow-fever, from which New Orleans remained free. It is
yet doubtful whether this evil is to be ascribed to the dissolute life
prevailing in lower Natchez, or to the oppressive heat which prevails on
these high plains. The distance, however, from the cooling current of
the Mississippi, short as it is, and the unwholesome rain-water, which
is used for drinking, must contribute to create bilious fevers. The
great pecuniary resources which the inhabitants of Natchez have at
command, would make it an easy matter for them to obtain their water for
drinking from the Mississippi, in the same manner as the inhabitants of
Philadelphia have raised the waters of Schuylkill. The country about
Natchez is an extensive and elevated plain, 200 feet above the level of
the Mississippi, stretching 130 miles from north to south, and about
forty miles to the eastward. Although a fertile tract of land, it is
far inferior to the Mississippi bottom-lands. The upland cotton grown
upon it, is inferior in quantity and quality to that of Mississippi
growth. The soil, however, produces corn, vegetables, plumbs, peaches,
and figs in abundance. I stayed two days in Natchez, and rode with a
friend to the distance of fifty-five miles above Natchez, on the
Mississippi, passing through Gibsonport, twenty-five miles from Natchez,
and six miles from the Mississippi, a town having a court-house,
a newspaper printing office, and about sixty houses, with 1100
inhabitants. The following day we arrived at Messrs. D.'s plantation.
These two brothers having purchased, three years ago, 6500 acres of
land, at the rate of two dollars an acre, landed with their slaves at
their new purchase, from their former residence in Kentucky. The lands
being a complete wilderness, their first occupation was to raise cabins
for themselves and their slaves. This was accomplished in four weeks.
They succeeded during the first year in clearing fifty acres of land,
twenty-five of which were sown in the month of February with cotton
seed, the rest with corn. This was was sufficient to defray the expense
of the first year. The clearing of woods, however, in this country, if
not canebrack bottom, is not so easy a matter as in the northern states.
Numerous shrubs, thistles, and thorns, of an immense size, form hedges,
which it is almost impossible to penetrate. To these obstructions may be
added, snakes, muskitoes, and in the marshes, alligators, which, though
not so dangerous as the Egyptian crocodile, are still a great annoyance.
The trees are here destroyed in the same manner as in the north, by
killing them. Shrubs, underwood, canebrack, are burnt, and the corn or
cotton is planted instead. This is the work of the negroes, who labour
under the superintendence of their masters, or, if he be a wealthy man,
of his overseer. In the months of June or July, the ground is ploughed
or turned up; the weeds and shrubs are cleared away, as is done in the
case of Indian corn; the cultivation of cotton, though more troublesome,
being conducted much in the same manner. In the month of October, the
cotton begins to ripen, the buds open, and the white flower appears. The
present is the season for gathering cotton. Three kinds of cotton seeds
are now sown in the southern states; the green, the black, and the
Mexican seed, which latter is considered to be the best. Of the green
seed cotton, a slave may gather 150 pounds a day, of the other two
kinds, the utmost that can be collected is 100 pounds. The buds are
broken from the plants, and the cotton, with the seed, taken out and put
into round baskets, which when filled are brought into the cotton yard,
and spread along planks, for the purpose of drying. The cotton is from
thence carried to the cotton gin, the machinery of which is put into
motion by three or four horses. The cotton is thrown between a cylinder
moving round a projecting saw; by this process the seed is separated
from the cotton, which is then thrown back into a large receptacle, and
afterwards pressed into bales. These are laid in stores and kept ready
for shipping, in steam or flat boats to Natchez or New Orleans. The two
brothers in this, the third, year from the date of their establishment,
raised 200 bales of cotton from 200 acres of cleared land. According to
their own estimation, and from what I know, they might have raised 350
bales, had it not been for a disaster which befel them in the spring of
the year 1825. They were visited with a hurricane, which lifted their
dwelling-house from the ground, carried it to a considerable distance
and completely destroyed it, with the entire furniture. Mr. D----, who
was at the plantation at the time, had great difficulty in escaping with
his wife and child, though not without a fractured leg, from the effects
of which he was still suffering. Not even a chair had been spared. The
immense trees torn up by the roots and still lying in every direction
upon the ground, the shattered cabins of his negroes, every thing
presented indications of the havoc made in this disastrous night.
Happily no human life was lost. This misfortune had, of course,
considerably retarded the improvements in progress, and thrown them back
for at least a twelvemonth. Still the planters calculated this year upon
a profit of 10,000 dollars from their plantation; 4000 dollars may be
deducted from this for household and other necessary expenses, leaving a
clear profit of 6000 dollars. The original capital of the two brothers
consisted, (including the value of their slaves), of 20,000 dollars.
They paid half the purchase money when they took possession, and the
rest in the present year. Their plantation is now worth 60,000 dollars.
In the state of Mississippi, the principal article of cultivation is
cotton, as it is the staple article of its commerce; corn and the
breeding of cattle are considered as secondary objects, though many
plantations reckon from 100 to 300 head of cattle, which have a free
range in the vast forests in quest of food. Only those intended for
fattening are kept at home and fed with cotton seed, which in a few
weeks will make them exceedingly fat. Turkeys and poultry in general are
found in abundance, and constitute with firewood the articles which are
sold to steam-boats passing on their way. Indian corn supplies in these
parts the place of rye or wheat. The slaves live exclusively on corn
bread; their masters vary it with wheat cakes. Wheat, flour, whiskey,
articles of dress, sacking, and blankets, come from the north, or from
New Orleans. The dress of the planter during the summer months consists
of a linen jacket, pantaloons of the same, Monroe boots, and a straw
hat. During the winter he wears a cotton shirt and a cloth dress. That
of his slaves during summer is a coarse cotton shirt and trowsers, with
shoes called mocasins. In winter they are furnished with cotton
trowsers, and a coat made of a woollen blanket. The females have dresses
of the same materials. The manner of living of the southern planter
differs little from that of the northern; he likes his doddy, which the
northern planter or farmer is also known to be fond of; he lives on
wheat cakes or Indian corn bread, and superintends his slaves at their
work, as the northern does his hands. Of the effeminate and luxurious
style in which the southern planters are said to indulge--of their
pretended fondness for female slaves, without whose assistance they
cannot find their beds, I have never had any proofs, though in both my
journeys I have not passed less than a year in Mississippi and
Louisiana, and know one half of the plantations. The American planter
lives in a higher style than his northern fellow citizen: this is quite
natural, considering that his income is very large, and his taxes
trifling. His chief expense, however, consists in his travels or summer
excursions to the north, where he is pleased to shew his southern
magnificence in a display of pompous dissipation. This fault, with few
exceptions, is general with southern planters. They save at home, and
renounce the very comforts of life in order to have the means of
spending more money during the summer at Saratoga, Boston, or New York.
The slave always rises at five o'clock, and works till seven, then
breakfasts--generally upon soup with corn bread, baked on a pan, and
eaten warm with a piece of bacon or salt-meat. Their tasks are assigned
to them by the master of the plantation, or if he has been settled for
some years, by an overseer. Part of the negroes are engaged in the
cotton gin, others in carpenters' or in cabinet work, each plantation
having two or three mechanics among the slaves. A third part works in
the cotton or corn fields. The females have likewise their tasks. One or
two of the girls are housemaids; two more are cooks, one for the white,
the other for the black family. The old negro women have the washing
assigned to them. The dinner of the slaves consists of corn bread, a
pudding of the same stuff, and salt or fresh meat. It is usual to give
them a piece of meat, in order to keep them in good condition. The
supper is of corn bread again, and a soup without meat. They seldom get
any whiskey, and tavern keepers are prohibited by law from selling it to
them. The first transgression is punished with a fine, the second with
the loss of the tavern licence. On Sundays the slaves are exempt from
working for their master, and permitted to attend to their family or
their own concerns. Many of them are seen gleaning the cotton fields,
collecting this way from eighty to a hundred pounds of cotton in one
day. They are not, however, so well treated as in the northern slave
states, where they are rather considered as domestics, who in many cases
would not exchange their condition for that liberty which is enjoyed by
the German peasantry. The northern slave is, for this reason, extremely
afraid of transportation, which is a sort of punishment. The southern
blacks frequently run away, and there is not a newspaper published, in
which some escapes are not announced. The Anglo-Americans, however,
treat their slaves throughout better than the French and their
descendants, with whom the wretched blacks, (their general allowance
being ten ears of Indian corn a day), experience a treatment in few
respects better than that of a beast. The principle upon which the
French descendant acts, is, that the slave ought to repay him in three
years the expense of his purchase. But, strange to say, the worst of all
are the free people of colour, who are equally permitted to possess
slaves. To be transferred into the hands of their own race, is the most
dreadful thing which can happen to a slave. Formal marriages rarely take
place between slaves: if the negro youth feels himself attracted by the
charms of a black beauty, their master allows them to cohabit. If the
female slave is on a distant plantation, the youth is permitted to see
her, provided he be trustworthy, and not suspected of an intention to
effect his escape. The children belong to the mother, or rather to her
master, who is not permitted to dispose of them before they are ten
years of age. The punishment which masters are allowed to inflict on
their slaves at home, is a flogging of thirty-nine lashes. The huts of
these people are of rough logs; lower down the river they are of regular
carpenter's work. The mansions of the American planters are in the easy
American style--sometimes frame, mostly, however, brick-houses,
constructed on four piles in the manner already described. Below
Natchez, the dwelling houses of the planters are in the old-fashioned
Spanish style, with immense roofs, but comfortable and adapted to the
climate. The windows are high and provided with shutters. They have a
summer dining room to the north, open on all sides so as to admit of a
free current of air. In the southern parts, the planter is the most
respectable and wealthy inhabitant. He lives contented, though his
domestic peace is sometimes troubled by the accidents inseparable from
the state of bondage in which his black family is kept. If he manages
his affairs well, for which very little is wanting beyond common sense
and activity, he cannot fail to become wealthy in a few years. I am
acquainted with several gentlemen, who settled in these states ten years
ago, with a capital of from 10 to 20,000 dollars. They are worth now at
least 100,000 dollars. The great difference between these plantations
and the northern farms, is the ready mart they are sure to find, and the
high price they obtain for their produce. Though the prices of cotton
are considerably reduced, yet the profit which is derived from a capital
employed in a plantation is superior to any other. The price of a
well-conditioned plantation is enormous. I can instance Mr. B., who
having inherited one half of a plantation, bought the other half for
32,000 dollars. The failures in crops are of very rare occurrence in
these parts, and generally in the fourth year after a plantation has
been begun, the produce is equal to the capital employed in the
establishment. The management of these plantations requires by no means
a very enterprising turn of mind. I know some ladies who have
established cotton plantations, and raise from four to five hundred
bales a year, being assisted only by their overseer. Mrs. Barrow, Mrs.
Hook, &c., &c., are instances in proof of what I advance. Those who are
unable to bear the summer heats, or are not inured to the climate,
reside in the north, leaving a trusty overseer in charge of the
plantation. The distance from Natchez to Louisville or Cincinnati,
between 11 and 1200 miles, may be performed in nine or ten days. The
journey is a pleasant one, and is amply rewarded by the purchases which
planters generally make in the north for themselves, their families, and
their slaves. Indolence, luxury, and effeminacy, are vices that are but
seldom to be met with in the American planter. He does not yield to the
northern farmer in activity or industry. He cannot work in person
without exposing himself to a bilious fever; but this is not necessary;
the superintendence of his affairs is a sufficient occupation for
him. In this state I found matters: after a serious and practical
investigation, and much experience, I can pronounce it to be a safer way
of employing a moderate capital in an advantageous manner, than any
other which offers itself in the United States.

There can scarcely be a country where there is greater facility for
hunting than in these parts. Mr. D. being still lame from his late
accident, was obliged to remain at home, but he provided us with a
guide, in the person of the overseer of the Palmyra plantation, five
miles above Mr. D.'s settlement. We mounted our horses, and arrived in a
few minutes on the outside of the cotton-fields, a tract of canebrack
bottom, extending about ten miles, where we expected to start a deer or
a bear. We had not ridden above half an hour when we discovered a bear,
which was killed. We proceeded afterwards to a marsh two miles behind
the plantation, the resort of flocks of ducks and wild geese. We found
about 300 of them, and having shot nine returned home. The bear was
found to be a young one, weighing 150 pounds:--its flesh was excellent.
These animals, as well as every description of game, are found in such
prodigious numbers, that our landlord thought it not worth while sending
his slaves such a distance for the ducks and geese we had shot in the
pond; and they were, therefore, left for birds of prey to feast upon.
The following day we made a shooting excursion with the overseer of
Palmyra plantation. After partaking of some refreshments at his
dwelling, we proceeded in his company. He superintends the plantation of
Mrs. Turner, for an annual salary of 1500 dollars, with board, lodging,
&c.; a sum which would be considered in the north as a first rate
salary, suitable to any gentleman. Seven wild turkeys were the spoils of
this day; we divided them equally amongst us, reserving the seventh to
be roasted at Warrington for our dinner. Warrington, formerly the seat
of justice for Warren county, which is now transferred to Vixburgh,
though situated sixty feet above the water level of the Mississippi, is
regularly inundated by the spring floods. This town is on the decline,
owing to the removal of the seat of justice. It contains 200
inhabitants, with forty houses, five of which are built of brick, the
rest of wood. Two lawyers, who are now on the move, two taverns, and two
stores, are to be found here. The two store-keepers, who were extremely
poor when they first settled here, eight years ago, are now worth above
20,000 dollars; one of them is going to establish a plantation. We
returned in good time, being here at a distance of twenty miles from the
plantation. Although the tract of country we came through is extremely
fertile, yet there is a great difference in the soil. The plantation of
Mr. D----, has undoubtedly the advantage over the six which came under
our notice; his cotton is of a superior quality. The richness of the
soil depends on the stratum. The best is considered to be that which is
found to have three or four feet of river sediment on a red brownish
earth; where sand or gravel forms the stratum, the land, though fertile,
is not of so durable a quality. The growth of timber is generally the
surest mode of ascertaining the nature of the soil; we measured on the
plantation of Major Davis, some sycamores torn up by the hurricane,
which were not less than 200 feet in length; and cotton trees of 170
feet. Where such a gigantic vegetation is seen, one may rely on the
fertility and inexhaustible quality of the soil. Our guide gave me a
proof of this: in one of his fields, he raised tobacco for ten
successive years, without doing more than ploughing the earth; the
produce, instead of diminishing, has rather increased both in quantity
and quality. One can hardly conceive how a soil, apparently sandy, can
be of a nature so inexhaustibly productive; the overflowing of the
Mississippi, and the sediment left on the banks, account, however,
sufficiently for it.

The following day we took leave of our hospitable landlord, and
returned. The country we passed through is one continued range of the
most beautiful forests, opening some times to give place to a rising
plantation. I counted between Palmyra and Natchez, twenty-five.

The State of Mississippi was received into the Union in the year
1817. It extends from 30° 10' to 35° north latitude, and from 11° 30'
to 14° 32' west longitude; and is bounded on the north by Tennessee,
on the west by Arkansas and Louisiana, on the south by Louisiana
and the gulf of Mexico, and on the east by Alabama. It comprises an
area of 15,000 square miles. Though this state has acquired, this
ten years past, a political existence, and in point of fertility is
far superior to Missouri and Indiana, yet its population has not
increased in the same proportion;--it does not exceed 80,000 souls,
including 34,000 slaves. The emigrants to Mississippi, are either men
of fortune, or needy adventurers. The middle classes, having from 2
to 3,000 dollars property, seldom chose to settle there, having no
prospect of succeeding by dint of personal industry. The fatigue and
labour in these hot and sultry climates, can only be borne by slaves;
a white man who should attempt the same labour which kept him stout
and hearty in the north, would soon be overcome by the heat of the
climate. Most of the respectable settlers are therefore from Virginia,
Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Kentucky; having sold their
property there, and emigrated with their slaves into this country. The
North American, properly so called, from New England, New York, &c.,
seldom ventures so far. Owing to this cause, the towns in Mississippi
and Louisiana, are neither so elegant nor so wealthy as those of the
north. With the exception of places of commerce, such as New Orleans
and Natchez, the towns of the state of Mississippi cannot be compared
to those of other states of more recent date. These smaller towns
of Mississippi and Louisiana, are generally inhabited by mechanics,
tradesmen, tavern-keepers, and the poorer classes of the people. Those
who have any fortune, prefer laying it out on plantations,--a sure and
infallible source of wealth, and the most respectable occupation in
the country. Merchants who have succeeded in making a fortune in these
small towns, remove to more convenient places. The traveller who judges
of the wealth of the country from the mean appearance of these villages
and towns, would be greatly mistaken. In order to form a correct
opinion he must visit the plantations, and he will be surprised at the
high degree of prosperity and comfort enjoyed by the possessors.

After a stay of three days in Natchez, I took a passage on board the
steam-boat Helen MacGregor, which had lately returned from New Orleans
to Walnut hills, and was on its way to the capital of Louisiana. The
intercourse between Natchez and New Orleans is by water, travellers
naturally preferring this easy and comfortable mode of conveyance by
steam-boats to land journeys, rendered disagreeable by the wretchedness
of the roads, and the still worse condition of the generality of
inns. This evil has been occasioned by the former hospitality of the
French creoles. Any one calling at a plantation was sure of a welcome
reception. This hospitality has ceased, and the most respectable
traveller is now likely to have the door shut in his face, owing to the
misconduct of the Kentuckians. It was the practice of these gentlemen
to call on their rambles at these plantations, where plenty of rum
and brandy, with other accommodations, could be had for nothing. They
behaved with an arrogance and presumption almost incredible, not
unfrequently calling the creoles in their own houses French dogs, and
knocking them down if they presumed to shew the least displeasure.
These people are the horror of all creoles, who when they wish to
describe the highest degree of barbarity, designate it by the name of
Kentuckian. The worst of it is that the creoles, who are far from being
eminent scholars, comprehend the whole north under the appellation
of Kentucky. We started from Natchez at nine o'clock in the evening,
took in 300 bales of cotton at Bayon Sarah[E], and some firewood a
few miles below, and then passed Baton Rouge, the Bayons Plaquimines,
Manchac, Tourche, both sides of the river being lined with beautiful
plantations, and arrived on Sunday, at four o'clock, above New Orleans.

[E] Bayons, outlets of the Mississippi, formed by nature. They are in
great numbers, and carry its waters to the gulph of Mexico. Without
these outlets, New Orleans would be destroyed by the spring floods in a
few hours.


Arrival at New Orleans.--Cursory Reflections.

It is certainly mournful for a traveller to dwell among the monuments of
Pompeii, of Herculaneum, and of Rome. There, if he feels at all, he
feels among these wrecks of past grandeur, that he is nothing. A totally
different sensation possesses the mind on entering an American city. In
these man beholds what he can contend with, and what he can accomplish,
when his strength is not checked by the arbitrary will of a despot. New
Orleans, the wet grave[F], where the hopes of thousands are buried; for
eighty years the wretched asylum for the outcasts of France and Spain,
who could not venture 100 paces beyond its gates without utterly sinking
to the breast in mud, or being attacked by alligators; has become in the
space of twenty-three years one of the most beautiful cities of the
Union, inhabited by 40,000 persons, who trade with half the world. The
view is splendid beyond description, when you pass down the stream,
which is here a mile broad, rolls its immense volume of waters in a bed
above 200 feet deep, and as if conscious of its strength, appears to
look quietly on the bustle of the habitations of man. Both its banks are
lined with charming sugar plantations, from the midst of which rises the
airy mansion of the wealthy planter, surrounded with orange, banana,
lime, and fig trees, the growth of a climate approaching to the torrid
zone. In the rear you discover the cabins of the negroes and the
sugar-houses, and just at the entrance of the port, groups of smaller
houses, as if erected for the purpose of concealing the prospect of the
town. As soon as the steam-boats pass these out posts, New Orleans, in
the form of a half moon, appears in all its splendour. The river runs
for a distance of four or five miles in a southern direction; here it
suddenly takes an eastern course, which it pursues for the space of two
miles, thus forming a semicircular bend. A single glance exhibits to
view the harbour, the vessels at anchor, together with the city,
situated as it were at the feet of the passenger. The first object that
presents itself is the dirty and uncouth backwoods flat boat. Hams, ears
of corn, apples, whiskey barrels, are strewed upon it, or are fixed to
poles to direct the attention of the buyers. Close by are the rather
more decent keel-boats, with cotton, furs, whiskey, flour; next the
elegant steam-boat, which by its hissing and repeated sounds, announces
either its arrival or departure, and sends forth immense columns of
black smoke, that form into long clouds above the city. Farther on are
the smaller merchant vessels, the sloops and schooners from the
Havannah, Vera Cruz, Tampico; then the brigs; and lastly, the elegant
ships appearing like a forest of masts[G].

[F] In New Orleans, water is found two feet below the surface. Those who
cannot afford to procure a vault for their dead, are literally compelled
to deposit them in the water.

[G] The whole number of vessels then in port was 100 schooners, brigs,
and ships.

What in Philadelphia and even in New York is dispersed in several
points, is here offered at once to the eye--a truly enchanting prospect.
Most of the steam-boats were kept back by the lowness of the Ohio, at
Cincinnati, Louisville, and Nashville; we landed, therefore, close to
the shore without encountering any impediment. In a moment our state
room was filled with five or six clerks, from the newspaper printing
offices, and a dozen negroes; the former to inspect the log-book of the
steam-boat, and to lay before their subscribers the names of the goods,
and of the passengers arrived; the latter to offer their services in
carrying our trunks. After labouring to climb over the mountains of
cotton bales which obstructed our passage, we went on shore. The city
had increased beyond expectation, within the last four years. More than
700 brick houses had been erected; a new street (the Levee), was already
half finished; the houses throughout were solid, and more or less in an
elegant style. It was on a Sunday that we arrived; the shops, the stores
of the French and creoles, were open as usual, and if there were fewer
buyers than on other days, the coffeehouses, grog-shops, and the
_estaminets_, as they are called, of the French and German inhabitants,
exhibited a more noisy scene. A kind of music, accompanied with human,
or rather inhuman voices, resounded in almost every direction. This
little respect paid to the Sabbath is a relic of the French revolution
and of Buonaparte, for whom the French and the creoles of Louisiana have
an unlimited respect, imitating him as poor minds generally do, as far
as they are able, in his bad qualities, his contempt of venerable
customs, and his egotism, and leaving his great deeds and the noble
traits in his character to the imitation of others better qualified to
appreciate them.

To a new comer, accustomed in the north to the dignified and quiet
keeping of the Sabbath, this appears very shocking. The Anglo-Americans,
with few exceptions, remain even here faithful to their ancient custom
of keeping the Sabbath holy. I had many opportunities of appreciating
the importance of the keeping of the Sabbath, particularly in new
states. A well regulated observance of this day is productive of
incalculable benefits, and though it is sometimes carried too far in the
northern states, as is certainly the case in Pennsylvania and New
England, still the public ought firmly to maintain this institution in
full force. The man who provides in six days for his personal wants, may
dedicate the seventh to the improvement of his mind; and this he can
only accomplish by abstaining from all trifling amusements. In a
despotic monarchy the case is different; there the government has no
doubt every reason for allowing its slaves, after six toilsome days of
labour, the indulgence of twenty-four hours of amusement, that they may
forget themselves and their fate in the dissipation of dancing, smoking,
and drinking. The case ought to be otherwise in a republic, where even
the poor constitute, or are about to constitute, part of the sovereign
body. These ought to remember to what purposes they are destined, and
not to allow themselves, under any circumstances, to be the dupes of
others. The keeping of the Sabbath is their surest safeguard. If there
were no opportunities offered for dancing, their sons and their
daughters would stay at home, either reading their Bible, or attending
to other appropriate intellectual occupations, and learning in this
manner their rights and duties, and those of other people. The American
has not deviated in this respect from his English kinsman. If you enter
his dwelling on the Sabbath, you will find the family, old and young,
quietly sitting down, the Bible in hand, thus preparing themselves for
the toils and hardships to come, and acquiring the firmness and
confidence so necessary in human life; a confidence, which we so justly
admire in the British nation; as far distant from the bravado of the
French, as the unfeeling and base stupidity of the Russians; and which
never displays itself in brighter colours than in the hour of danger. We
are in this manner enabled to account for those high traits of character
in moments full of peril--traits not surpassed in the most brilliant and
the most virtuous epochs of Greece or of Rome. A single fact will speak
volumes--the Kent East Indiaman, burning and going down in the bay of
Biscay, in 1825. Ladies, gentlemen, officers, and soldiers, all on board
exhibited a magnanimity of heart, and a truly Christian heroism, which
must fill even the most rancorous enemies of the British people with
admiration and regard. What a different picture would have been
presented to us, if half a regiment of Bonaparte's soldiers had been on
board the ship!


Topographical Sketch of the City of New Orleans.

The city of New Orleans occupies an oblong area, extending 3960 feet
along the eastern bank of Mississippi, embracing six squares, 319 feet
in length, and of equal breadth. Above and below this parallelogram are
the suburbs. Higher up is the suburb of St. Mary, still belonging to
the city corporation; farther up, the suburbs Duplantier, Soulel, La
Course, L'Annunciation, and Religieuses; below, the suburbs of Marigny,
Daunois, and Clouet; in the rear, St. Claude and Johnsburgh. The seven
streets, named Levee, Chartres-street, Royal-street, Bourbon, Burgundy,
Toulouse, and Rampart, run parallel with the river, and are intersected
at right angles by twelve others, running from the banks of the
Mississippi, called the Levee, in the direction of the swamps, the
Custom-house-street, Brenville, Conti, St. Louis, and Toulouse. The
city, with the exception of Levee and Rampart-streets, is paved, an
improvement which occasions great expense to the corporation, as the
stones are imported; flags, however, are not wanting even in the most
distant suburbs. The ground on which New Orleans is built, is a plain,
descending about seven feet from the banks of the river, towards the
swamps; and it is lower than the level of the Mississippi. It is secured
by a levee, which would afford very little resistance 400 miles higher
up; but here, where numerous bayons and natural channels have carried
off part of the waters to the gulf of Mexico, it answers every purpose.
About the city, the breadth of this plain is half a mile, and above it
three-quarters of a mile, terminating in the back-ground in impenetrable
swamps. The city and suburbs are lighted with reflecting lamps,
suspended in the middle of the streets. Between the pavement and the
road, gutters are made for the purpose of carrying off the filth into
the swamps, of refreshing the air with the water of the Mississippi,
with which these gutters communicate, and of allaying the dust during
the hot season. There are now about 6000 buildings, large and small, in
New Orleans. In the first mentioned three streets, and the greater part
of the upper suburb, the houses are throughout of brick; some are
plastered over to preserve them from the influence of the sultry
climate. Though building materials of every kind are imported, and
consequently very dear, yet the houses are rapidly changing from the
uncouth Spanish style, to more elegant forms. The new houses are mostly
three stories high, with balconies, and a summer-room with blinds. In
the lower suburbs, frame houses, with Spanish roofs, are still
prevalent. Two-thirds of the private buildings may at present be said
to rival those of northern cities, of an equal population. The public
edifices, however, are far inferior to those of the former, both in
style and execution. The most prominent is the cathedral, in the
middle of the town, separated from the bank of the Mississippi,
by the parade ground. It is of Spanish architecture, with a façade of
seventy feet, and a depth of 120, having on each side a steeple, and a
small cupola in the centre, which gives an air of dignity to a heavy and
ill-proportioned structure. All illusion, however, is dispelled on
entering the church. The Catholics had the strange notion of painting
the interior, taking for this purpose the most glaring colours that can
be found--green and purple. The church is painted over in fresco, with
these colours, and presents at one view a curious taste of the creoles.
The interior is not overloaded with decorations, as Catholic churches
generally are. The high altar, and two side ones, are, with an organ,
its only ornaments. Two tombs contain the remains of Baron Carondolet
and Mr. Marigny. On one side of the cathedral is the city-hall, and on
the other, the Presbytire. The former, erected in 1795, presents a
façade of 108 feet, in which the meetings of the city council are held.
The Presbytire, 114 in front, was built in 1813, and is the seat of
the supreme District Court, and of the Criminal Court of New Orleans.
These two edifices, and the cathedral between them, form together a
dignified whole. The government-house, at the corner of Toulouse and
Levee-streets, is an old and decaying edifice, where the legislature of
the state holds its meetings. In point of situation, (among grog shops),
and of style, it may be considered the poorest state-house in the Union.

The Protestants have three churches. The Episcopalian, at the corner of
Bourbon and Canal-streets, is an octagon edifice, with a cupola, in bad
taste. Out of gratitude to the late governor Clayborne, the inhabitants
have erected in the church-yard, a monument to his memory, with the
following inscription:

                        CITIZENS OF NEW ORLEANS,
                           W. C. C. CLAYBORNE,
                         ERECTED THIS MONUMENT.

The Presbyterian church, in the suburb of St. Mary, is a simple, but
chaste building, the expense of which amounted to 55,000 dollars. The
congregation being unwilling to defray the cost of its erection, it was
sold by the sheriff, and is now the property of Mr. Levy, an Israelite,
who leases it out to the congregation for 1500 dollars. The Methodist
church is a frame building, erected in 1826.

The public hospital, in Canal-street, consists of two square buildings,
with wards for fever maladies; for dysentery; one for chronic diseases;
another for females; a third for convalescents; a bathing-room, an
apothecary's-room, and a room for the physicians and assistants. Out of
1842 patients who were received into this hospital in the year 1824, 500
died, and the rest were discharged; out of 1700 received in 1825, 271
died, the others recovered. The accommodations in this house seem to be
respectable; it has one thing, however, in common with all hospitals,
that no one is tempted to return to it a second time.

There are now four banks in New Orleans; the United States Bank, with a
capital of one million of dollars; the Bank of the State, the Louisiana
Bank, and the Bank of New Orleans, each having likewise a capital of one
million of dollars. The insurance offices are five in number: the
Louisiana State Insurance Company, with a capital of 400,000 dollars;
the Fire Insurance Company, with 300,000; the Mississippi and Marine
Insurance Company, with 200,000; and the London Phoenix Insurance
Company. New Orleans has no less than six masonic lodges, including the
grand lodge of Louisiana; a French and an American theatre. The latter
was built by a Mr. Caldwell, from Nashville, in Tennessee, who has also
the management of it. It has the advantage in point of architecture, and
the French theatre in the selectness of its audience. Close to the
latter are the ball-rooms, where are given the only masked balls in the
United States. Among the public buildings may be reckoned the three
market halls, for the sale of provisions of every kind; one of them is
in the city, the two others on the upper and lower suburbs, on the

The nuns have removed two miles below the town, and this convent is now
the residence of the Roman Catholic bishop. In the chapel divine
service is performed; this chapel, and the cathedral, are the places of
worship belonging to the Catholics.

The cotton-pressing establishments deserve to be mentioned. These are
now nine in number; the most important is that of Mr. Rilieux, at the
corner of Poydras-street. It has three presses; one worked by steam,
another by an hydraulic machine, and the third by horsepower. For the
security of cotton bales, eight wells, a fire-engine, &c., are within
the range of buildings; the expenses of which amounted to 150,000
dollars. The cotton press formerly belonged to a German commission
merchant, who failed in consequence of his extravagant cotton
speculations; it is simple, but of solid construction. It can receive
10,000 bales. The expenses of the building amounted to 90,000 dollars.
Besides these are the presses of Shiff, a Jew from Germany, Debays,
Lorger, &c. A steam saw-mill on the bank of the Mississippi, in the
upper suburb, with a few iron foundries, are the only manufacturies in
New Orleans; every thing being imported from the north.

Carondolots canal is in the rear of the town, towards the marshes. The
entrance is a basin, containing from thirty to fifty small vessels, and
opening into a canal, or rather a ditch, which has been cut through the
swamps, in order to join the Bayon St. John with New Orleans.

Small vessels drawing no more than six feet of water, arrive from Mobile
and Pensacola[H], through lake Pont Chartrain, Bayon St. John, and the
above-mentioned canal at New Orleans, performing only a third of the way
they would otherwise have to make by going up the Mississippi. They are
in general freighted with wood, planks, bricks, cotton, &c.; and take in
goods in return. This canal, which is of great importance for the part
of the city lying contiguous to the swamps, was commenced by Baron
Carondolet, but given up at a subsequent time, and resumed in the year
1815. Its cost was trifling compared with the advantages resulting to
this city, and the salutary effects it must have in draining off part of
the swamps.

[H] Pensacola has been established as a port for the United States navy:

The president of the city council is a mayor, or Maire, a creole. His
police regulations deserve every praise, and New Orleans, which less
than fifteen years ago was the lurking hole of every assassin, is now in
point of security not inferior to any other city. The revenues of the
city corporation amount to 150,000 dollars, which are, however, found to
be insufficient, and loans are resorted to in order to cover the

When the United States took possession of New Orleans, this town
consisted of 1000 houses, and 8000 inhabitants, black and white. In the
year 1820, it amounted to near 27,000; namely, 8000 white males, 5314
white females, 1500 foreigners, 2500 men, and 400 women of colour, 3000
male, and 4,500 female slaves; the population of the parish being then
14,000. In the year 1821, the population was 29,000; in 1822 it had
risen to 32,000; in the present year 1826, it amounts to upwards of
40,000; to be distinguished as follows: 14,500 white males, and 7500
white females, 1300 foreigners, 3690 free men, and 800 free women of
colour, 5500 male, and 6300 female slaves. The population of the parish
is 15,000.

As New Orleans, notwithstanding its being 109 miles distant from the
sea, is considered as a seaport, all the officers necessarily connected
with a place of that description reside there, as well as consuls from
every nation, having commercial intercourse with it;--from England,
Russia, Prussia, Denmark, Sweden, Hamburgh, the Netherlands, France,
Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, with others from the Southern Republics.


The situation of New Orleans considered in a commercial point of view.

New Orleans groaned for a long time under the yoke of the most wretched
tyranny; its crowned possessors so far from doing any thing towards the
improvement of a plan which, considered in a commercial light, has not
its equal on the face of the earth, contributed as much as was in their
power to circumscribe it. After two hours rain, every kind of
communication in the city itself was quite impracticable; paving or
lighting the streets was of course out of the question; assassinations
were of almost daily occurrence: but this was not all--the place was to
be a fortress in spite of common sense. It was thought proper to
surround it with a wall eighteen feet wide and pallisadoes, five
bastions, and redoubts, upon which some old cannon were mounted, perhaps
for the purpose of keeping the Indians at a proper distance. The
Americans pulled down those pitiful circumvallations which could have no
other effect than to impede commerce, and erected others in a situation
where they are likely to be of more advantage--along the passes of the
Mississippi and of lake Pontchartrain. The city has improved in an
astonishing degree during the twenty-three years that it has been
incorporated with the United States; indeed much more in proportion than
any other town of the Union, in spite of the yellow fever, the deadly
miasmata, and the myriads of musquitoes; and it has now become one of
the most elegant and wealthy cities of the republic. If, however, we
consider its situation, it is susceptible of still greater improvements,
and it must eventually become, what nature destined it to be, the first
commercial city, and the emporium of America, notwithstanding the
concurrence of many unfavourable circumstances, and the gross
selfishness of its inhabitants. The incredible fertility of Louisiana,
the Egypt of the west, and the fertility of the states of the valley of
the Mississippi in general, which can be duly appreciated only by
personal observation, must render New Orleans one of the most
flourishing cities in the world. There is not a spot on the globe that
presents a more favourable situation for trade. Standing on the extreme
point of the longest river in the world, New Orleans commands all the
commerce of the immense territory of the Mississippi, being the staple
pointed out by nature for the countries watered by this stream, or by
its tributaries--a territory exceeding a million of square miles. You
may travel on board a steam-boat of 300 tons and upwards for an extent
of 1000 miles from New Orleans up the Red river; 1500 miles up the
Arkansas river; 3000 miles up the Missouri and its branches; 1700 miles
on the Mississippi to the falls of St. Anthony; the same distance from
New Orleans up the Illinois; 1200 miles to the north-east from New
Orleans on the big Wabash; 1300 on the Tennessee; 1300 on the
Cumberland, and 2300 miles on the Ohio up to Pittsburgh. Thus New
Orleans has in its rear this immense territory, with a river 4200 miles
long, (including the Missouri)[I]; besides the water communication which
is about to be completed between New York and the river Ohio. The coast
of Mexico, the West India islands, and the half of America to the south,
the rest of America on its left, and the continent of Europe beyond the
Atlantic. New Orleans is beyond a doubt the most important commercial
point on the face of the earth[J]. Although the states along the
Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, the
territories of Missouri, and Arkansas, undoubtedly the finest part of
the Union, have not yet a population of 3,000,000 inhabitants, their
trade with New Orleans may be estimated by the fact, that not less than
1500 keel and flat boats, with nearly a hundred steam vessels, are
engaged every year in the trade with this city. The capital laid out on
these steam-boats amounts alone to above two million of dollars. The
number of vessels that clear out is upward of 1000, which export more
than 200,000 bales of cotton, 25,000 hogsheads of sugar, 17,000
hogsheads of tobacco, about 1250 tons of lead, with a considerable
quantity of rice, furs, &c. Besides these staple articles, the produce
of the northern states is exported to Mexico, the West Indies, the
Havannah, and South America. The commerce of New Orleans increases
regularly every year in proportion with the improvements in its own
state, and in those of the Mississippi. The wealth accruing to the
country and to the city from this commerce, is out of proportion with
the number of inhabitants. There are many families who, in the course of
a few years, have accumulated a property yielding an income of 50,000
dollars, and 25,000 is the usual income of respectable planters. No
other place offers such chances for making a fortune in so easy a way.
Plantations and commerce, if properly attended to, are the surest means
of succeeding in the favourite object of man's great pursuit,--"money
making." This accounts for the avidity with which thousands seek New
Orleans, in spite of the yellow fever again making room for thousands in
rapid succession.

[I] The whole course of the Mississippi exceeds, the Missouri included,
4200 miles. This latter is its principal tributary stream, and superior
in magnitude even to the Mississippi.

[J] Below New Orleans there is no place well adapted for the site of a
large city.


  Characteristic features of the Inhabitants of New Orleans and
  Louisiana.--Creoles.--Anglo-Americans.--French.--Free People of

At the time of the cession of Louisiana to the United States (1803),
this country with its capital was inhabited by Creoles--descendants of
French settlers. Many reasons as they may have to congratulate
themselves upon their admission into the great political Union, whether
considered in a religious or political point of view, there were,
however, several causes which contributed to render them disaffected to
the measure. This repugnance is far from being removed. The advantages
on both sides were equal, or perhaps greater on the part of the United
States. The central government and the generality of Americans behaved
towards Louisiana in a becoming manner. But there is in the character
of American freedom, especially in the deportment of an American
towards foreigners and strangers in his own country, something
repulsive. It is not the pride of a nobleman accustomed to be obeyed,
nor the natural pride of an Englishman, who carries his sulky temper
along with him, and finds fault with every thing: it is rather the pride
of an adventurer--of an upstart, who exults at his not being a runaway
himself, although the descendant of one. Louisiana immediately after its
cession, was admitted to the full enjoyment of all the advantages
connected with its prerogative, as one of the states of the Union, and
its white natives, the Creoles, were considered as citizens born of the
United States. But the moment the cession was made, crowds of needy
Yankees, and what is worse, Kentuckians, spread all over the country,
attracted by the hope of gain; the latter treating the inhabitants as
little better than a purchased property. Full of prejudice towards the
descendants of a nation, of which they knew little more than the
proverb, "French dog," they, without knowing or condescending to learn
their language, behaved towards these people as if the lands, as well as
the inhabitants, could be seized without ceremony. This was certainly
not the way of thinking, or the conduct of all the northern new comers,
there being amongst them many a useful mechanic, merchant, planter, or
lawyer; but the greater number came with a degree of presumption, which
was in an inverse ratio with their unbounded and absolute ignorance. The
creoles, with a proper sense of their own independence, naturally
retreated from the intercourse of these intruders. On the other hand,
the consequences of an oppressive colonial government, the natural
effects of an enervating and sultry climate, could not fail giving to
the character of the creoles, a certain tone of passiveness, which makes
them an object of interest. They are not capable either of violent
passions, or of strong exertions. Gentle and frugal, they abhor
drunkenness and gluttony. Their eyes are generally black; but without
fire or expression. Their countenances evince neither spirit nor
animation; they can boast of very few men of superior talents. Their
gait and figure are easy, and their colour generally pale. Though unable
to endure great hardships, they are far from being cowards, as the
events of the year 1815, and the numerous duels, sufficiently attest.
The drawbacks from their character are, an overruling passion for
frivolous amusements, an impatience of habit, a tendency for the
luxurious enjoyment of the other sex, without being very scrupulous in
their choice of either the black or the white race. Their greatest
defect, however, is their indifference towards the poor, and towards
their own slaves. They treat the former with cold contempt, and cannot
easily be induced to assist their fellow-creatures. In this respect they
are far inferior to their fellow-citizens of the north, whose example
they may follow with much advantage in many things. The Union has
already changed much, and the restless and active spirit of their
northern fellow-citizens has altered their character, which now partakes
much less of the Sybarite, than it formerly did; still, they can never
be brought to exercise a mechanical trade, which they consider as below
their dignity. The female sex of Louisiana, (the creoles), have in
general an interesting appearance. A black languishing eye, colour
rather too pale, figure of middle size, which partakes of _en bon
point_, and does not exhibit any waist, are the characteristics of the
fair sex. With a great deal of vivacity, they show, however, a proper
sense of decorum. Adultery is seldom known among the better classes,
notwithstanding the many grounds afforded to them by the infidelity of
their husbands. As wives and mothers, they are entitled to every praise;
they are more moderate in their expenses than the northern ladies, and
though always neat and elegantly dressed, they seldom go beyond
reasonable bounds. Several instances are known of their having displayed
a high degree of fortitude. In sickness and danger, they are the
inseparable assistants and companions of their husbands. In literary
education, however, they are extremely deficient; and nothing can be
more tiresome than a literary _tête a tête_ with a Creole lady. They
receive their education in the convent of the Ursalines, where they
learn reading, writing, some female works, and the piano-forte. It is
superfluous to observe, being descendants from the French, that they
are the best dancers in the United States. Americans from other parts of
the Union, may be considered as constituting about three-eighths of the
present population of the state, and of New Orleans. Brother Jonathan is
to be found in all parts of the Union, and properly speaking, nowhere at
home. After having settled in one place, at the distance of 1000 miles
from his late residence, cleared lands, reared houses, farms, &c., he
leaves his spot as soon as a better chance seems to offer itself. He is
an adventurer, who would as soon remove to Mexico, or New South Wales,
provided he could "make money" by the change. Most of those who settled
in Louisiana grew wealthy either as planters or merchants, and really
the wealthiest families of Louisiana are at present Americans from other
parts of the Union, who likewise hold the most important public
stations. The governors, as well as the members of congress, and
senators, have hitherto been Americans, from the very natural reason,
that the creoles could not speak the English language, although some
important offices are filled by the latter. Nothing can exceed or
surpass the suppleness of the Yankey; and the refined Frenchmen, with
all their dexterity, may still profit from them and their kindred.

The emigrant French are numerous in New Orleans. Among them are many
very respectable merchants, some lawyers, physicians, &c., the greater
part, however, consists of adventurers, hair-dressers, dancing-masters,
performers, musicians, and the like. The French are of all men the least
valuable acquisition for a new state. Of a lavish and wanton temper,
they spend their time in trifles, which are of no importance to any but
themselves. Dancing, fighting, riding, and love-making, are the daily
occupation of these people. Their influence on a new and unsettled
state, whose inhabitants have no correct opinion of true politeness and
manners, is far from being advantageous. Without either religion,
morality, or even education, they pretend to be the leaders of the _bon
ton_, because they came from Paris, and they in general succeed. As for
religion and principles, except a sort of _point d'honneur_, they are
certainly a most contemptible set, and greatly contribute to promote
immorality. There are a great number of Germans in New Orleans. These
people, without being possessed of the smallest resources, embarked
eight or ten years ago, and after having lost one-half, or three-parts
of their comrades during the passage, they were sold as white slaves, or
as they are called, Redemptioners, the moment of their arrival. Thus
mixed with the negroes in the same kind of labour, they experience no
more consideration than the latter; and their conduct certainly deserves
no better treatment. Those who did not escape, were driven away by their
masters for their immoderate drinking; and all, with few exceptions,
were glad to get rid of such dregs. The watchmen and lamp-lighters are
Germans, and hundreds of these people fell victims to the fever, between
the years 1814 and 1822. The rest of the white population consists of
English, Irish, Spaniards, and some Italians, amongst whom are several
respectable houses.

The free people of colour consist of emancipated slaves; but chiefly of
the offspring of an intercourse between the whites and blacks, the
cause of which is to be sought in the nature of the climate, where
sensual passions are so easily excited. Of these descendants, the
females in particular are very handsome, and generally destined for the
gratification of the wealthier class of the French and the creoles, as
their mothers had been before them. The American seldom or never
indulges in such unrestrained pleasures. He usually marries early, and
remains faithful to his wife. Of a more steady and religious turn, he
pays strict attention to decorum and appearances, with certain isolated
exceptions of course; but in general he is more solicitous and careful
of his public character than the Frenchman, or foreigner, who has seldom
any reputation to lose.

The negroes form the lowest class. There are certainly found some
amongst them who are entitled to praise for their honesty and fidelity
towards their masters; but thousands, on the other hand, will exhibit
the vicious nature of a debased and slavish character. There is no
doubt, that a malignant and cruel disposition characterises, more or
less, this black race. Whether it be inborn, or the result of slavery, I
leave to others to decide.

All that can be said in favour of emancipation, may be reduced in the
compass of these few words: In the present state of things, if the
general cultivation of Louisiana, and the southern states, is to proceed
successfully, emancipation is impossible. In this climate, no white
person could stand the labour; the act of emancipation itself,
treacherous and barbarous as the slaves are, would subject their former
masters to certain destruction and death. We are, indeed, very far
behind hand in the study of the human character, and of the different
gradations of the human species. Unjust, as it assuredly was, to traffic
in fellow-creatures, as though they were so many heads of cattle, it is
equally unjust now to infringe upon a property which has been
transmitted from generation to generation, and which time has
sanctioned, without adopting some method of public compensation. All
that should be required is, that the slaves be treated with humanity--a
law might be enacted to that effect. The slaves will then be improved,
and become ripe for a state of emancipation, which may be granted at a
future period, without danger or inconvenience to their masters.

It is, however, to be regretted, that the slave population of Louisiana
are not so well treated as in the north. The cupidity of their masters,
and their solicitude to make a rapid fortune, subject those poor
wretches to an oppressive labour, which they are hardly able to endure.
They revolted in Louisiana on three occasions, and several white persons
fell victims to their vengeance; they were, however, easily subdued, and
the example set by the executions, contributed to restore tranquillity.
It is impossible to form an idea of the degree of jealousy with which
the southern population watch and defend their rights, touching this
point. A question upon the right of a slave, as a human being, is almost
one of life and death; and lawyers, whenever they presume to defend
slaves, and to hint at their rights, are in imminent danger of being
stoned like Jews. Not long ago, a gentleman of the bar, Mr. D--e, was
very near meeting this fate.


  Public Spirit.--Education.--State of Religious Worship.--Public
  Entertainments, Theatres, Balls, &c.

Heterogeneous as this population may seem, and as it really is, in
manners, language, and principles, they all agree in one point--the
pursuit after--"money." Americans, English, French, Germans, Spaniards,
all come hither--to make money, and to stay here as long as money is to
be made. Half the inhabitants may be said to be regularly settled; the
rest are half-settlers. Merchants, store-keepers, remain only until
they have amassed a fortune answering their expectations, and then
remove to their former houses. Others reside here during the winter, to
carry on business, and retire to the north in the month of May. That is
the case with all the Yankee commission merchants. This has, of course,
a sensible and an extensive influence upon the public, and may explain
why New Orleans, though one of the wealthiest cities of the Union, is so
backward in mental improvement. Even the better Anglo-American families
disdain to spend their money in the country where they have earned it,
and prefer removing to the north. The institutions for education are
consequently inferior to those of any city of equal extent and less
wealth, such as Richmond, and even Albany. The only literary institution
in the state of Louisiana, the college of New Orleans, is now
established, and is intended to be revived at some distance from the
capital. Free schools are now (1826) formed in the city, after the
manner of the northern states, with a president and professors; and by
and bye they will be extended to the rest of the state. Another college,
still inferior to the above-mentioned, is superintended by the Catholic
clergy. Excepting the elements of reading, writing, mathematics, and
latin, it affords no intellectual information. The best of these
schools is kept by Mr. Shute, rector of the Episcopalian church, an
enlightened and clever man, who fully deserves the popularity he has
acquired. Reading, writing, geography, particular and universal history,
are taught under his tuition, and in his own rectory. This school, and
other private ones where the rudiments are taught, comprehend all the
establishments for education in the state.

With respect to the female sex, the creoles are educated by the nuns;
the Protestant young ladies by some boarding-school mistresses, partly
French, partly Americans, who come from the north. The better classes of
the Anglo-Americans, however, prefer sending their daughters to a
northern establishment, where they remain for two years, and then return
to their homes. Among the charitable institutions must be mentioned the
Poydras Asylum for young orphan girls, founded in 1804, by Mr. Poydras.
The legislature voted 4000 dollars towards it. Sixty girls are now
educating in this asylum. Upon the same plan, is a second asylum for
boys, where, in 1825, forty were admitted. These, besides the hospital,
are the only public institutions for the benefit of the poor. New
Orleans has eight newspapers; among these the State, and two other
papers, are published in English and French, a fourth in the Spanish,
and the rest in the English. The best of them is the Louisiana

There is not a place in the Union where religion is so little attended
to as in New Orleans. For a population of 40,000 inhabitants, it has
only four churches; Philadelphia, with 120,000 inhabitants, reckons
upwards of eighty; New York upwards of sixty. The city of Pittsburgh,
with a population of 10,000 souls, has ten churches, far superior to
those in New Orleans. Among the Protestant churches, the high church is
best provided for, and the members of this congregation are said to be
liberal, which they are generally found to be. They have recently
finished a rectory for their minister, and show that liberality which so
eminently distinguishes them. Of the Presbyterians we have spoken
before. Though they would run ten times on a Sunday to church, and hear
even as many sermons, yet they neither pay their minister, who by the
bye is far from being an amiable character, nor redeem their church out
of the hands of Israel, but prefer keeping their money to contributing
towards such objects.

The creoles, who are Catholics, seldom visit their church, and when they
do, it is only at Easter. They have a very learned bishop, named
Dubourgh, a Frenchman, who is not however very popular, and is spoken of
for his gallantries, though a man of sixty. It is whispered about that
there is a living proof of this. A more religious character is Pere
Antoine, a highly distinguished old Capuchin friar, enjoying universal
love and popularity. The manner in which I saw the Governor and the city
authorities, with the most respectable persons of the county, behave
towards him, does as much credit to them as to the object of their

Of the two theatres, the American is open during five, and the French
during eight months in the year. The American theatre has the advantage
of becoming more and more national and popular, although at present it
is only resorted to by the lower class of the American population;
boatmen, Kentuckians, Mississippi traders, and backwoods-men of every
description. The pieces are execrably performed. The late Charles Von
Weber would not have been much delighted at witnessing the performance
of his Der Freyshutz, here metamorphosed into the wild huntsmen of
Bohemia. Six violins, which played any thing but music, and some voices
far from being human, performed the opera, which was applauded; the
Kentuckians expressed their satisfaction in a hurrah, which made the
very walls tremble. The interior of the theatre has still a mean
appearance. The curtain consists of two sail cloths, and the horrible
smell of whiskey and tobacco is a sufficient drawback for any person who
would attempt to frequent this place of amusement. The French theatre
performs the old classic productions of Corneille, Racine, Voltaire,
with the addition of some new ones, such as Regulus, Marie Stuart, and
William Tell. The best performer of this theatre, is Madame Clauzel.

Towards the close of December, the carnival commences; society balls,
masquerades, or routs, besides a number of private balls, are then the
order of the day. The first, the third, and the last masquerade, and the
society balls, are the most splendid. They are regularly attended by the
daughters of the merchants and planters, who at this time come to the
city. There is, however, nothing more tiresome than a masked ball in New
Orleans. Some young merchants, and sons of planters, took it into their
heads to assume the character of poor paddies, and they dressed
themselves accordingly. This would have been for the most unaccomplished
American or English Miss, a fair opportunity for displaying at least
some wit. But the creole Demoiselles, when addressed by their lovers,
had not a word to say, except, "Oh, we know that you are no Paddies--You
are very respectable--You are the wealthy C." Another would say, "Oh, I
know that you are not an Irishman--You are the rich Y." This was the
conversation all round. Still more tedious are the public balls given
in commemoration of the eighth of January, on the anniversary of the
birth-day of Washington, &c. Until last year, and owing to the shyness
of the creoles towards their new brothers, the Americans and creoles
stood with their ladies apart, neither speaking nor dancing with one
another. Last year both parties seemed willing to draw nearer to each
other. Even these entertainments, as well as more important affairs, are
very subordinate to the all-powerful desire of "making money." This is
the final object of every one, and on every occasion. Any pursuit of a
different tendency than that of gaining money, is neglected, and deemed
unworthy of consideration. That which every town of 2000 inhabitants is
now provided with, a reading-room and circulating library, you would
seek in vain at New Orleans. Though the Anglo-Americans attempted to
establish such an institution, which is indispensable in a great
commercial city, it failed through the unwillingness of the creoles to
trouble their heads with reading. Churches or theatres are not more
patronised. To improve the moral condition is far from their thoughts,
every one being bent upon--making money, as quickly as possible, in
order the sooner to leave the place. New Orleans, considering its
situation, should again be what it was lately, were it not for the
detestable selfishness which pervades all classes, and has established a
dominion over the mind, as painful as it is disgusting. The complaints
about luxury are unfounded. The wealthy inhabitants live by no means in
such high style as they do at New York, Boston, and even Richmond, upon
a less income. There is no cause for finding fault with their
extravagance, or their dissolute manners, not because they have better
moral principles, but because they are too selfish to indulge in
pleasures that would cost "money," and would mar their principal object,
which is to amass it. The American from the north, whilst he inhabits
New Orleans, lives in a style far inferior to that in which he indulges
at home; and even if he be a permanent settler, he chooses rather to go
to the north in order to spend his money there. Only three American
houses can be said to receive good company, the rest are creoles. The
living in New Orleans, however, is good, though expensive. Board and
lodging in a respectable house, will cost sixty dollars a month; in an
inferior one, forty. The proper season of business for strangers, and
those not accustomed to the climate, is the winter. In the summer, every
one retires to the north, or across the lake, only such persons
remaining as are compelled from circumstances to do so.


  The Climate of Louisiana.--The Yellow Fever.

That a country, the fourth part of which consists of marshes, stagnant
waters, rivers, and lakes, and which is so near the torrid zone, cannot
be altogether healthy, is not to be denied. Although Louisiana is not so
salubrious a country as the creoles or settlers inured to the climate,
would persuade us that it is; on the other hand it is not the seat of
the plague, or of continued disease, as the North Americans or Europeans
imagine. Louisiana is no doubt a most agreeable country during the
winter and spring. The former commences in December, and continues
through January. Rains and showers will sometimes fall, during several
successive weeks, snow very seldom. North and north-east winds prevail;
a south wind will occasionally change the temperature, on a sudden, from
a northern April day to the heat of summer. The coldest winter
experienced for twenty years past, was that of the year 1821; the
gutters were choked up with ice, and water exposed in buckets, froze to
the thickness of an inch and a half. Fahrenheit's thermometer fell to
20° below zero. In this year, the orange, lime, and even fig-trees were
destroyed by the frost.

Towards the close of January the Mississippi rises, and the ice of the
Ohio breaks up. This river, seldom, however, causes an inundation. This
is generally reserved for the Missouri, the principal river that empties
itself into the Mississippi. With the month of February the spring
breaks forth in Louisiana. Frequent rains fall in this month, the
vegetation advances astonishingly, and the trees receive their new
foliage. On the 1st of March we had potatoes grown in the open fields,
pease, beans, and artichokes. South winds prevail alternately with
north-west winds. The month of March is undoubtedly the finest season in
Louisiana; there are sometimes night frosts, though scarcely felt by any
one except the creoles, and the equally tender orange flowers. The
thermometer is in this month at 68°-70°. At this time prevails a
disease, the influenza, which arises from the sudden alternations of
cold and warm weather; it has carried off several persons. It is always
necessary to wear cotton shirts, whether in cold or warm weather.
Towards the close of March, the fruit-trees have done blooming, the
forests are clad in their new verdure, and all nature bursts out in the
most exuberant vegetation; every thing develops itself in the country
with gigantic strides. Already the musquitoes are beginning to make
their troublesome appearance, and musquito bars become necessary. Still
the heat is moderate, being cooled by the north winds and the refreshing
waters of the Mississippi. May brings with it the heat of a northern
summer, moderated however, by cooling north and north-east breezes. The
thermometer is at 78° to 80°. At this season, frequent showers and
hurricanes coming from the south, rage with the utmost fury in those
extensive plains. With the month of June the heats become oppressive;
there is not a breath of air to be felt; the musquitos come in millions;
one is incessantly pursued by those troublesome insects. The worst,
however, is, that they will sometimes force their way through the
musquito bars. Nothing is more disagreeable than this buzzing sound, and
the pain occasioned by their sting; they keep you from sleeping the
whole night. Still they are not so troublesome as the millepedes, an
insect whose sting causes a most painful sensation. In the month of July
the heat increases. August, September, and October, are dangerous months
in New Orleans. A deep silence reigns during this time in the city, most
of the stores and magazines are shut up. No one is to be seen in the
streets in the day time except negroes and people of colour. No carriage
except the funeral hearse. At the approach of evening the doors open,
and the inhabitants pour forth, to enjoy the air, and to walk on the
Levee above and below the city. The yellow fever has not made its
appearance since 1822. It is not the extraordinary heat which causes
this baneful disease, the temperature seldom exceeding 100°. In the year
1825, when the thermometer rose in New York and Boston above 108°, it
was in New Orleans, no more than 97°. It is the pestilential miasmata
which rise from the swamps and marshes, and infect the air to a degree
which it is difficult to describe. These oppressive exhalations load the
air, and it is almost impossible to draw breath. If a breeze comes at
all, it is a south wind, which, from its baneful influence, exhausts the
last remaining force after throwing you into a dreadful state of
perspiration. The years 1811, 1814, and 1823, were the most terrible of
any for New Orleans. From sixty to eighty persons were buried every day,
and nothing was to be seen but coffins carried about on all sides. Whole
streets in the upper suburb, (inhabited chiefly by Americans and
Germans) were cleared of their inhabitants, and New Orleans was
literally one vast cemetery. Among the inhabitants, the poorer classes
were mostly exposed to the attacks of the unsparing and deadly disease,
as their situation did not permit them to stay at home; thus women were
for this reason, less exposed to its effects; and least of all the
wealthiest inhabitants, who were not compelled to quit their dwellings.
The creoles and others who were seasoned to the climate, were little
affected. The creole, mulatto, and negro women, are said to be the most
skilful in the cure of the disease. In 1822, hundreds of patients died
under the hands of the most experienced physicians, when these old women
commonly succeeded in restoring their own patients. Their preservatives
and medicines are as simple as they are efficacious, and every stranger
who intends to stay the summer in New Orleans, should make himself
acquainted with one of these women, in case a necessity should arise for
requiring their attendance. They give such ample proofs of their
superior skill, as to claim in this point a preference over the ablest

The inhabitants are in general forewarned of the approaching disease, by
the swarms of musquitoes; although they come in sufficient quantity
every summer, they make their appearance in infinitely greater numbers
previously to a yellow fever.

This is said to have been the case on the three occasions already
mentioned. At such a time all business is of course suspended. The port
is empty, the stores are shut up. Those officers alone whose presence is
indispensable, or who have overcome the yellow fever, will remain with a
set of wretches, who, like beasts of prey feed upon the relics of the
dead, speculating upon the misery of their fellow creatures so far, as
not unfrequently to buy at auctions the very beds upon which they have
been known to expire in a few days afterwards. The first rain, succeeded
by a little frost, banishes the deadly guest, and every one returns to
his former business.

It is to be hoped, that this scourge of the land, if it should not be
wholly extirpated, will at least become less prevalent for the future.
The police regulations adopted during the last four years, have proved
very effectual. Among these are a strict attention to cleanliness,
watering the streets by means of the gutters, shutting up the grog-shops
after nine o'clock; and removing from the city all the poor and
houseless people, at the expense of the corporation, as soon as the
least indication of approaching infection is perceived. These, and
several other wise regulations will, it is hoped, contribute greatly to
increase the population, and to give the new comers a firmer guarantee
for their lives, than they have hitherto found. When the plans in
contemplation shall have been carried into effect, and the swamps behind
the city drained, a measure the more beneficial, as the soil of these
swamps is beyond all imagination fertile; then the surrounding country,
and the city itself, will become as healthy as any other part of the
Union. With the increasing population, we have no doubt, that Louisiana
will present the same features, as Egypt in former days, bearing, as
it does, the most exact resemblance to that country. During six
months, and already at the present time, it is a delightful place,
successfully resorted to from the north, by persons in a weak state of
health. The mildness of the climate, which even during the two winter
months, is seldom interrupted by frost, the most luxuriant tropical
fruits--bananas, pine-apples, oranges, lemons, figs, cocoa-nuts, &c.,
partly reared in the country, partly imported in ship loads from the
Havannah, a distance of only a few hundred miles; excellent oysters,
turtle of the best kind, arriving every hour; fish from the lake
Pontchartrain; game, venison of all sorts; vegetables of the finest
growth,--all these advantages give New Orleans a superiority over almost
every other place. Sobriety, temperance, and moderation in the use of
sensual enjoyments, and especially in the intercourse with the sex, with
a strict attention to the state of health, and an instant resort to the
necessary preservatives in case of derangement in the digestive
system,--such are the precautions that will best enable a stranger to
guard against the attacks of the disorders incident to this place.


  Hints for Emigrants to Louisiana.--Planters, Farmers, Merchants, and

Whoever emigrates from a northern to a southern climate, experiences
more or less a change in his constitution; his blood is thinned, and in
a state of greater effervescence, and his frame weakened in consequence.
The least derangement in the digestive system in this case, produces a
bilious fever.

The new comers emigrating to Louisiana, are either planters, farmers,
merchants, or mechanics. The former, being more or less wealthy, come
for the purpose of establishing themselves, and usually buy sugar or
cotton lands, on the banks of the Mississippi, or Red-river, which,
though in general healthy, are, on the other hand, a sure grave to those
who neglect taking the necessary precautions. Planters descend to
Louisiana in the winter months; but as the heat increases every moment,
and has a debilitating effect upon their bodies, accustomed to a cold
climate, they attempt to counterbalance this weakness by an excessive
use of spirituous liquors, to promote digestion. Notwithstanding bad
omens, and in spite of the advice of their more experienced neighbours,
their mania for making money keeps them there during the summer, and
they fall victims to their avidity for gain.

Whoever intends to establish a plantation in Louisiana, has the free
choice between the low lands on the Mississippi, or the Red-river. There
are upwards of 200,000 acres of sugar lands still unoccupied. He may
settle himself on the banks of the above-mentioned rivers, without the
least fear, the yellow fever seldom or never penetrating to the
plantations. Thousands of planters live and continue there without
experiencing any attack of sickness. After having bought his lands, and
obtained possession, he may stay till the month of May, taking the
necessary measures for the improvement of the plantation, leave his
directions with his overseer, and remove to the north. His house, if
along the banks of the Mississippi, should be built not far from the
river, in order that he may enjoy the cooling freshness of its waters.
In the rear of his plantation, and about his house, he sows the seed of
sun-flowers, to preserve his slaves from the morning and night
exhalations of the swamps; a measure which, trifling as it may seem,
will have an incredible effect in improving the air.

With a capital of 25,000 dollars, 5,500_l._ sterling, he may purchase at
the present time, 2,000 acres of land, for a sum of from 3 to 4,000
dollars, and thirty stout slaves for 15,000 dollars; there will remain
7,000 for his first year's expenses. The establishment of a sugar
plantation amounts to not more than the above stated sum of 25,000
dollars. The produce of the third year, if the plantation be properly
managed, amounts to 150,000 pounds of sugar, valued at 12,000 dollars,
besides the molasses, the sale of which will cover the household
expenses; each negro, therefore, yielding a clear annual income of 400

Failures in sugar crops in plantations along the banks of the
Mississippi, never occur, except beyond 30° 30' of north latitude. The
planter, however, cannot expect any thing in the first year from his
sugar fields; the canes yielding produce only eighteen months after
having been planted. The planting takes place from August until
December, by means of eye-slips. The process at the sugar-houses is
sufficiently known. These plantations, if well managed and well attended
to, are, owing to the great and constant demand for sugar, the surest
way of realising a capital, though the management requires considerable
care and attention.

Cotton plantations are not to be judged according to the same estimate.
A cotton plantation may now be established by means of a capital of
10,000 dollars. 3000 dollars for the purchase of 1500 or 2000 acres of
land, on the banks of the Mississippi, from Baton Rouge up to the
Walnut-hills, on both sides of the river; or what is still preferable,
on the banks of the Red-river. Ten slaves at 5000 dollars, leaves 2000
for the first year's current expenses. The beginner will not find it
difficult to clear fifty acres in the first twelve months; and to raise
from twenty-five acres, thirty bales of cotton, the produce of which
will, with the crop of corn from the remaining twenty-five acres, keep
him for the first year, the cotton alone being worth 1500 dollars,
independently of the corn. The following year he may raise sixty bales,
giving an income of 3000 dollars, every slave thereby yielding about 300
dollars; proceeding thus in a manner which in a few years more will
render his income equal to his original capital.

There are still unappropriated above two millions of acres of cotton
lands, of the very first quality, in the state of Louisiana; and though
it sometimes happens that the plants are killed by the frosts, as was
the case in the spring of 1826, these accidents seldom affect the
profits. The management of a cotton plantation is by no means
difficult, as it differs but little from that bestowed upon Indian corn,
and requires only a strict superintendence over the negroes.

The cultivation of indigo has latterly been neglected, though 200,000
acres of land in the state of Louisiana are well adapted for it. This
neglect was occasioned by the injurious effects produced upon the
labourer by the watering of the plants, and the exhalations from them.

The cultivation of rice is more extensive. There are 200,000 acres
unoccupied. Planters generally combine the cultivation of this plant
with that of cotton or sugar. Tobacco of a superior quality is reared
about Natchitoches and Alexandria; the produce is little inferior to
that of Cuba. The price of a stout male negro is 500 dollars; if a
mechanic, from 6 to 900 dollars; females from 350 to 400 dollars; so
that 5000 dollars will purchase five men, two of them mechanics, and
five stout women, and enable their master at once to set about a
plantation, which will, in the course of three years, double the capital
of the owner, without his exposing himself to any risk.

The easy way in which the planters of Louisiana are found to accumulate
wealth, excites in every one the desire of pursuing the same road,
without having the necessary means at command. Hundreds of respectable
farmers have paid with their lives for a neglect of this truth.
Instigated by the anxiety to become rich, and unable withal to purchase
slaves, they were under the necessity of labouring for themselves. The
consequence was, they shortly fell victims to their mistaken notions.
One can only be seasoned by degrees to the climate of Louisiana. To
force the march of time and habit, is impossible. The more stout and
healthy the person, the greater the risk. People who, allured by the
prospect of wealth, would attempt to work in this climate as they were
used to do in the north, would fall sick and die, without having
provided for their children, who are then forced upon the charity of
strangers. There are many tracts of second-rate land, equal to land of
the best quality in the northern states, in the west and east of
Louisiana, which are perfectly healthy, and where farmers of less
property may buy lands, and establish labour and corn farms, or raise
cattle in abundance. Those who have proceeded in this way, which is more
proportioned to their means, have never failed to acquire in the course
of time, a large fortune, as by the open water communication the produce
can easily be conveyed to New Orleans, where, in the summer, they find a
ready and advantageous market. These parts have hitherto been too much
neglected, to which circumstance it is greatly owing that New Orleans,
at certain seasons, is almost destitute of provisions, when the waters
of the tributary rivers of the Mississippi, Ohio, &c., are low.

A third class of settlers in Louisiana are merchants. New Orleans has
unfortunately the credit of being a place to which wealth flows in
streams, and it is consequently the resort of all adventurers from
Europe and America, who come hither in the expectation, that they have
only to be on the spot to make money. Thousands of these ill-fated
adventurers have lost their lives in consequence. It is true, that most
of the wealthy merchants were needy adventurers, who began with scarcely
a dollar in their pockets, as pedlars, who sold pins and glass beads to
the Indians. But the surest way for the merchant who wishes to begin
with a small capital, will always be to settle in one of the smaller
towns, Francisville, Alexandria, Natchitoches, Baton Rouge, &c. Those
who have followed this course grew wealthy in a short time. I admit
there is an exception with respect to such as have a sufficient capital
to begin business with in the city itself, or to embark in commercial
relation with Great Britain, the north of the Union, or the continent of

The commission trade is advantageous in the extreme; and the clear
income realised in commercial business by several merchants, amounts to
50,000 dollars a year. All the French, English, and Spaniards, who have
established themselves in this place, have become rich, especially if
the individuals of the latter nations were conversant with the French

For manufacturers, there is in New Orleans little prospect. In a slave
state, where of course hard labour is performed only by slaves, whose
food consists of Indian corn, and at the most, of salt meat, and their
dress of cotton trowsers, or a blanket rudely adapted to their shapes,
the mechanic cannot find sufficient customers. Half of the inhabitants
have no need of his assistance; and as he cannot renounce his habits of
living on wheat flour, fresh meat, &c., provisions which at certain
seasons are very dear in New Orleans, his existence there must be very
precarious. The charges are proportionably enormous. The price for the
making of a great coat, is from fourteen to sixteen dollars; of a coat,
from ten to twelve dollars. The greatest part of the inhabitants,
therefore, buy their own dresses ready made in the north. The wealthy
alone employ these mechanics.

There are yet several trades which would answer well in New Orleans,
such as clever tailors, confectioners, &c. But as almost every article
is brought into this country, the mechanics have rather a poor chance of
succeeding, and if not provided with a sufficient capital, they are
exposed to great penury until they can find customers. This class of
people are very little respected, and hardly more so than the people of
colour in Louisiana.


  Geographical Features of the State of Louisiana.--Conclusion.

Louisiana lies under the same degree of north latitude as Egypt, and
bears a striking resemblance to that country. Their soil, their climate,
and their very rivers, exhibit the same features, with the exception,
that the Mississippi runs from north to south, whereas the Nile takes an
opposite course. Close to the eastern bank of the former, we find a
continued series of Cyprus, swamps, and lakes, sometimes intersected by
a tributary stream of the Mississippi, with elevated banks or hills.
Farther towards the east are large tracts of lands, with pinewoods
stretching towards the river Mobile, which resembles the Mississippi in
every thing, except in size. Further southward, between the Mississippi
and Mobile, we find the rivers Amite, Tickfah, Tangipao, Pearl,
Pascagola, emptying themselves into a chain of lakes and swamps, running
in a south-east direction from the Mississippi to the mouth of the
Mobile. Further to the westward is the Mississippi in its meandering
course, its banks lined with plantations from Natchez to New Orleans,
each plantation extending half a mile back to the swamps. South of New
Orleans, is another chain of swamps, lakes, and bayons, terminating in
the gulf of Mexico. West of the Mississippi, a multitude of rivers flow
in a thousand windings, lined with impenetrable forests of cyprus,
cotton trees, and cedars, intermixed with canebrack and the palmetta. In
this labyrinth of rivers, the Red-river, the Arkansas, the White-river,
and Tensaw rivers are seen meandering. Farther east are the immense
prairies of Opelausas, and Attacapas, interspersed here and there with
rising farms, forests along the banks of the Red-river, and more to the
westward the great prairies, the resort of innumerable buffaloes and of
every kind of game. The Red-river, like the Mississippi, forms an
impenetrable series of swamps and lakes. Beyond this river are seen
pinewoods, from which issues the Ouachitta, losing itself afterwards in
the Delta of the Mississippi. Beyond these pine woods, in a north
western direction, rise the Mazernes mountains, extending from the east
to west 200 miles, and forming the boundary line between east and west
Louisiana. To the north and west of the Red-river, the country is dry
and healthy, but of inferior quality; to the east we find a chain of
lakes; to the south another chain. In summer they dry up, thus affording
fine pasturage to buffaloes. In autumn, with the rising of the rivers,
they again fill with water. Southward is a continued lake, intermixed
with swamps, which terminate at last in the gulph of Mexico.

Louisiana, though the smallest of the states and territories formed out
of the ancient Louisiana, is by far the most important, and the central
point of the western commonwealth. Its boundaries are, on the south, the
Gulph of Mexico; on the west, the Mexican province of Tecas; on the
north, the Arkansas territory, and the state of Mississippi; and on the
east, the state of Mississippi, and Mexico. The number of inhabitants
amounts to 190,000, 106,000 of whom are people of colour. The
constitution of the state inclines to Federal. The governor, the
senators, and the representatives, in order to be eligible, must be
possessed of landed property--the former to the amount of at least 5000
dollars, the next 1000, and the latter 500. Every citizen of the state
is qualified to vote. The government in this, as well as in every other
state, is divided into three separate branches. The chief magistrate of
the state is elected for the term of four years. Under him he has a
secretary of state. The present governor is an Anglo-American; Mr.
Johnson, the secretary, is a Creole.

The legislative branch is composed of the senators, and of the house of
representatives. The former consists of sixteen members, elected for the
term of four years. They choose from among themselves a president, who
takes the place of the governor, in case of the demise of the
latter.[K] The house of representatives consists of forty-four members,
headed by a speaker; the court of justice of three judges of the
district court, a supreme judge of the criminal court of New Orleans,
and eight district judges, with an equal number of district attorneys.
The sessions are held every Monday. The parish and county courts have
twenty-eight county or parish judges, twenty-six sheriffs, and 159
lawyers, to assist them in their labours. In a political view, the
acquisition of Louisiana is no doubt the most important occurrence in
the United States since the revolution; and, considered altogether, it
may be called a second revolution. Independently of the pacific
acquisition of a country containing nearly a million and a half of
square miles, with the longest river in the world flowing through a
valley several thousand miles in length and breadth, their geographical
position is now secured, and they form, since the further acquisition
of Florida, a whole and compact body, with a coast extending upwards of
1000 miles along the gulph of Mexico, and 500 miles on the Pacific
ocean. Whether the vast increase of wealth amassed by most of those who
settled on the banks of the Mississippi will prove strong enough to
retain this political link unbroken, is very much to be doubted. It is
very clear that the inhabitants of the valley of the Mississippi, and
especially of Louisiana, entertain a feeling of estrangement from their
northern fellow citizens.

[K] The governor of Louisiana has 5000 dollars a year: the governors of
other states either 2 or 3000 dollars. According to the American money,
four dollars forty-four cents make a pound: a dollar has 100 cents.

With the exception of a number of respectable Americans, Louisiana and
the valley of the Mississippi have hitherto been the refuge of all
classes of foreigners, good and bad, who sought here an asylum from
oppression and poverty, or from the avenging arm of justice in their
native countries. Many have not succeeded in their expectations--many
have died--others returned, exasperated against a country which had
disappointed their hopes, because they expected to find superior beings,
and discovered that they were men neither worse nor better than their
habits, propensities, country, climate, and a thousand other
circumstances had made them. The fault was theirs. Though there exists
not, perhaps, a country in the world where a fortune can be made in an
easier way, yet it cannot be made without industry, steadiness, and a
small capital to begin with--things in which these people were mostly
deficient. And there is another circumstance not to be lost sight of.
Whoever changes his country should have before him a complete view and a
clear idea of the state in which he intends to settle, as well as of the
rest of the Union: he ought to depend upon his own means, on himself in
short, and not upon others. Upon no other terms will prosperity and
happiness attend the emigrant's exertions in the United States. The
foreign mechanic who, emigrating into the United States, selects the
states of New York, Pennsylvania, or Ohio, will find sufficient
occupation, his trade respected, and his industry rewarded by wealth and
political consequence. The manufacturer with a moderate capital, will
choose Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and the like places. The merchant who is
possessed of 2 or 3000 dollars, and settles in Ohio, in the north
western part of Pennsylvania, or over in Illinois, will, if he be
prudent and steady, have no reason to complain of the Yankees. The
farmer, with a capital of from 3 to 4000 dollars, will fix upon the
state of Ohio, in preference to any other, especially if he comes
accompanied only by his own family, and is therefore obliged to rely on
the friendly assistance of his neighbours. He will there prefer the
lands adjacent to navigable rivers, or to the rise of the new canal. If
he goes beyond Ohio, he will find eligible situations in Illinois, and
in Missouri. Any one who can command a capital exceeding 10,000 dollars,
who is not incumbered with a large family, and whose mind does not
revolt at the idea of being the owner of slaves, will choose the state
of Mississippi, or of Louisiana, and realize there in a short time a
fortune beyond his most sanguine expectations. He has his choice there
of the unsold lands along the Mississippi, and Red-river, in the
parishes of Plaquemines or Bayon Bastier; in the interior, of La
Fourche, Iberville, Attacapas, Opelousas, Rapides, Nachitoches,
Concordia, New Feliciana, and all the way up the Mississippi, to
Walnut-hills, four hundred miles above New Orleans. All that has been
urged against the unhealthiness of the country may be answered in these
few words. Louisiana, though not at every season of the year equally
salubrious, is far healthier than Cuba, Jamaica, and the West Indies in
general. Thousands of people live free from the attacks of any kind of
fever. On the plantations there is not the least danger.--In New Orleans
the yellow fever has not appeared these four years past, and the place
is so far from being unhealthy now, that the mortality for the last
three years was less in this place than in Boston, New York and
Philadelphia. Cleanliness, sobriety, a strict attention to the digestive
system, and the avoiding of strong liquors, and exposure to heat, or to
the rising miasmata, will keep every one as healthy in Louisiana as any
where else. The neglect of proper precautions will cause as serious
inconvenience in Louisiana as in any other country. This is the real
condition of the state, and those acquainted with it will readily bear
testimony to the correctness of my opinion, that it holds out not only
to British emigrants, but also to capitalists of that country,
advantages far surpassing those of their own vast dominions in any
quarter of the globe.

In Louisiana they should embark a part of their capital, not in land
speculations, or in buying extensive tracts, which they have to sell in
the course of time in small parcels, but in plantations. These are
sources of wealth far superior to the gold mines of Mexico, and are
guaranteed by a firm constitution, and by the character and the habits
of a liberal people, taken in the whole, whatever John Bull may have to
say against it. In this manner may the said John Bull still reap the
reward of his having formed and maintained the first settlements in the
United States, at a vast expense of blood and treasure.

This would be the means of drawing closer the now rather relaxed ties
which formerly united him with his kinsman, for Brother Jonathan is
neither so bad as John Bull supposes him to be, nor so faultless as he
fancies himself.--_Medium tenuere beati._



                     OF THE


  _Pittsburgh_, county town of _Alleghany_ county.

  _Alleghany_ (river), _Monongehela_ (river).

  _Oeconomy_, Rapp's Settlement in Beaver county.

  _Zanesville_, capital of _Muskiagum_ county.

  _New Lancaster_, capital of _Fairfield_ county.

  _Columbus_, capital of the State of _Ohio_.

  _Chilicothe_, capital of the _Sciota_ county.

  _Franklintown_, capital of _Franklin_ county.

  _Cincinnati_, capital of _Hamilton_ county.

  _Newport_, capital of _Campbell_ county, in _Kentucky_.

  _Vevay_, capital of _New Switzerland_ county, in the State of

  _Madisonville_, capital of _Jefferson_ county.

  _Charlestown_, capital of _Clark_ county.

  _Jeffersonville_, capital of _Floyd_ county.

  _Clarkesville_ and _New Albany_, villages of _Floyd_ county.

  _Louisville_, capital of _Jefferson_ county, in _Kentucky_.

  _Shippingport_ and _Portland_, villages.

  _Troy_, capital of _Crawford_ county.

  _Owensborough_, capital of _Henderson_ county.

  _Harmony_, in _Indiana_, second settlement of _Rapp_, purchased
       1823, by _Owen_, of _Lanark_.

  _Shawneetown_, in the State of _Illinois_.

  _Fort Massai_, in the State of _Illinois_.

  _Golconda_, capital of _Pope_ county.

  _Vienna_, capital of _Johnson_ county.

  _America_, capital of _Alexander_ county.

  _Trinity_, village of _Alexander_.

  _Kaskakia_, _Cahokia_, towns of _Illinois_.

  _Vandalia_, capital of the State of _Illinois_.

  _Hamburgh_, village in _Illinois_.

  _Cape Girardeau_, capital of the county of the same name.

  _St. Genevieve_ and _Herculaneum_, towns of the State of _Missouri_.

  _City of St. Louis_, capital of _Missouri_ (the state).

  _New Madrid_, capital of _New Madrid_ county.

  _Tennessee_, State of

  _Nashville_, _Knoxville_, towns of _Tennessee_, and _New
       Ereesborough_, capital of the State.

  _Hopefield_, capital of _Hempstead_ county.

  _St. Helena_, village of _Arkansas_ territory.

  _Vixburgh_, capital of _Warren_ county.

  _Warrington_, village of _Warren_ county.

  _Palmyra Plantations_, _Bruinsburgh_, _Natchez_ (city of), in the
       State of _Mississippi_.

  _Gibsonport_, capital of _Gibson_ county.

  _Baton Rouge_, _Plaquemines_, _Manchac_, _Bayon_, _Tourche_, the
  former the capital of the county, and the latter bayons.

  _New Orleans_ (city of), the capital of _Louisiana_.


  _Mobile_--the rivers _Amite_, _Tickfah_, _Tangipao_, _Pearl_,
  _Pascaguala_, _Arkansas_, _White_ and _Red-River_, _Tensaw_.

  _Plaquemines_, _Interior of la Tourche_, _Iberville_, _Attacapas_,
  _Opelousas_, _Rapides_, _Natchitoches_, _Concordia_, _Avoyelles_,
  _New Feliciana_, _Parishes of Louisiana_.

N.B. The Counties in the State of Louisiana, are called Parishes.

  _Printed by Bradbury & Dent, Bolt-court, Fleet-street._

Transcriber's Note

Minor errors in punctuation are corrected silently.

In the final table of place names, 'New Ereesborough' is referred to
as the state capital of Tennessee. This seems a corruption of
'Murfreesborough', which was the capital until 1826.

The following issues, which were deemed printer's errors, and their
resolutions are described here:

p.  ii  [t]hroughout]                             Added.

p.  80  approach[e]d                              Added.

p.  82  Baton [D/R]ouge                           Corrected.

p.  99  hickor[i]y                                Removed.

p. 108  backswood-man / backwoods-man             Corrected.

p. 206  Fran[s]cisville                           Removed.

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