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must succeed in every part of it!-and yet the manufacturer of Devizes is selling his looms and little furniture to procure a passage to the United States, that he may leap into a sudden fortune by weaving!
Twenty years ago, Mr. Birkbeck says, the vast region comprizing the states of Ohio and Indiana, and the territory of Illinois and Michigan, only counted 30,000 inhabitants, the number now living in the little county of Hamilton, in which stands the town of Cincinnati. And he asks — Why do not the governments of Europe afford such an asylum, in their vast and gloomy forests, for their increasing myriads of paupers?'--Such a project he pronounces to be worthy a convention of sovereigns, if sovereigns were really the fathers of their people.'--If the sovereigns of Europe could transplant the back woods of America into their dominions, after hunting down and scalping the native possessors, (only taking care, like the subscribers of Alleghany,* to preserve both ears,') such a project, which does infinite credit to the integrity of our benevolent Quaker, might probably occur to them.'
Land being at too high a price in Hamilton county, Mr. Birkbeck determined on proceeding farther westward, sagaciously reflecting that the time was fast approaching when the grand intercourse with Europe would not lie, as at present, through Eastern America, but through the great rivers which communicate by the Mississippi with the ocean at New Orleans. In this view,' he observes, we approximate to Europe as we proceed to the west.' The tide of emigration is undoubtedly setting with extraordinary rapidity in that direction; and Old America,' to the eastward of the Alleghany mountains, is very soon likely to become, as our Cambridge friend expresses it,' the thinnest part of the wedge. The south-western states have not merely the advantage, in point of local situation relatively with the rest of the commercial world, but the soil and climate, in places where cultivation prevails, are preferable to those in the eastern states. Under such circumstances, and considering the character of the people who are flocking to the other side of the Alleghany chain, the opinion is by no means chimerical, that. New America' will be induced shortly to shake off her allegiance to the parent states and set up a congress of her
A few such settlers as Morris Birkbeck (who seems to think that every little society of men ought to govern itself) will marvellously expedite the separation.
Another circumstance may probably tend to hasten the event, as it renders the provinces, beyond the Alleghany, wholly independent of the eastern or northern states of Old America:'-the
* Quarterly Review, vol. x. p. 532. VOL. XIX. NO, XXXVII.
navigation of the Ohio, the Missouri, and the Mississippi, opens a ready communication with every part of the extensive country bebind those mountains, and establishes an intercourse with the shores of Europe within two months, and with the West Ladia islands in the course of two weeks. To every other part of the world they have a nearer as well as less dangerous navigation than from Old America.' They have already steam-vessels of four hundred tons burden plying on those rivers, and their average rate, when deeply laden and against the stream, is about sixty miles a-day.—(p. 133.)— Their products are precisely the same as those of the eastern and northern states, which can neither supply what they require, nor take off what they produce;-what possible bond of union then can long subsist between Old and New America: With no great desire to indulge a spirit of prophesy, we cannot help surmizing that the late Navigation Act, drawn up, as it would seem, more in a spirit of political hostility towards England, than with a view to any commercial advantages that could be hoped to result from it to America, is well calculated to basten the event. Can the Congress hope to throw an impassable barrier across the Mississippi, and thus prevent a supply of provisions and lumber for the West India islands whenever such supply shall be demanded? The back settlements are already too strong, and they know it, to submit to navigation laws that shall operate so detrimentally to their interests. We consider all apprehension of the West India islands being starved in time of war with America, to be now removed, and that in war, as well as in peace, the steam-boats of the Mississippi will bring down the produce of the New provinces into the Atlantic; unless indeed, which is as little to be apprehended, Old America shall be able to blockade its own river with a superior squadron
It is but common justice to say, that whatever countenance the President of the United States may find it expedient to give to measures offensive to Great Britain, neither his public nor private conduct, nor his speeches partake of those coarse and splenetic invectives which some of the members of the government seem to think it necessary to adopt. If any soreness might be expected to remain in consequence of the war, we should rather look for it on the part of the people of England than of America,—but both would do well to bear in mind the noble example of forbearance set by our venerable sovereign, at the close of the former contest, on the occasion of the first audience of Mr. Adams.- I perceive, Mr. Adams,' said the King, that you are a little agitated; I am not surprised at it; I am agitated inyself; but let me make one observation--As I was the last man in this country to accede to the
acknowledgment of the independence of my American dominions, depend upon it, I shall likewise be, now that the act is ratified, the last to infringe it.'
The settlers of the Indiana territory are not, Mr. Birkbeck says, that set of lawless, semi-barbarous vagabonds, which he had been taught to believe; but a remarkably good sort of people, kind and gentle to each other and to strangers. There are, however, among them many abandoned characters, but they retire to the depth of the woods with the wolves, and live by the rifle :—With respect to the inhabitants of towns, the Americans, from Norfolk on the eastern coast, to the town of Madison in Indiana, are all alike; and this is their portrait.
The same good-looking, well-dressed (not what we call gentlemanly) men appear every where. Nine out of ten, native Americans, are tall and long-limbed, approaching, or even exceeding six feet; in pantaloons and Wellington boots, either marching up and down with their hands in their pockets, or seated on chairs poised on the hind-feet, and the backs rested against the walls. If a hundred Americans of any class were to seat themselves, ninety-nine would shuffle their chairs to the true distance, and then throw themselves back against the nearest prop. The women exhibit a great similarity of tall relaxed forms with consistent dress and demeanour; and are not remarkable for sprightliness of manners. Intellectual culture has not yet made much progress among
generality of either sex where I have travelled; but the men have greatly the advantage in the means of acquiring information, from their habits of travelling, and intercourse with strangers:-sources of improvement from which the other sex is unhappily too much secluded? -p. 80, 81.
We have remarked,' (our traveller says, 'en passant, that people generally speak favourably of their oron country.' p. 115. He has the courage, however, to become a striking exception to this general practice. Abuse of England appears to be, with Mr. Morris Birkbeck, a kind of travelling ticket, a sort of conventional money, which he offers at every house, and which, we regret to add, seems to pass tolerably current.
On the way to Vincennes our Friend loses himself, and is obliged, in the phraseology of the country, 'to camp out,' that is, to sleep in the woods. The night, as Mrs. Wilkins savs in Tom Jones, happened to be very fine, only a little windy and rainy,' and our travellers contrived by dint of oil and brandy, and gunpowder and canbric handkerchiefs, to kindle a fire, and pass it as they could. This agreeable adventure, which would sicken an English gipsy of camping out,' leads quite naturally to a lofty panegyric on the superior advantages of travelling in that vast western wilderness' compared with those to be found in this country. Let,' says Mr. Birkbeck,
' a stranger
a stranger make his way through England-let him keep at a dis-, tance from every public road,'(made for his accommodation,)' avoid. all the inns,'(established expressly for his convenience and comfort,) and perversely scramble over hedge and ditch. in quest of such en tertainment only as the hovel of the labourer can supply, and he would have more cause to complain of the rudeness of the inhabitants' than of the weir-wolves of the wilds of Indiana! If we could conceive a traveller to be guilty of such gratuitous folly, we should then say, that as his application to the day-labourer for
entertainment could only be looked upon as a deliberate insult on his poverty, he would deserve whatever rudeness he might chance to experience. In somewhat of a similar spirit, Mr. Birkbeck adds - when we have been so unfortunate as to pitch our tent near a swamp, and have mismanaged our fire, we have been teased by musquitoes ; but so might we, perhaps, in the fens of Cambridgeshire. The traveller must have a strong predilection for the teasing of musquitoes who would sleep in the fens of Cambridgeshire, when by turning a few yards to the right or left he might obtain shelter under a roof—and this, too, without the hazard of being, like Mr. Birkbeck and his party, driven out again' by the innumerable tormentors which (says he) assail you in every dwelling, till at length you are glad to avoid the abodes of man, and spread your pallet under the trees.' p. 167. Certainly these are pleasant proofs of the inferiority of England to America.
Mr. Birkbeck now visited the banks of the Ohio, to see if any thing offered to satisfy his views.
* We lodged last night in a cabin at a very new town, called Mount Vernon, on the banks of the Ohio. Here we found the people of a cast confirming my aversion to a settlement in the immediate vicinity of a large navigable river. Every hamlet is demoralized, and every plantation is liable to outrage, within a short distance of such a thoroughfare.
• Yet, the view of that noble expanse was like the opening of bright day upon the gloom of night, to us who had been so long buried in deep forests. It is a feeling of confinement, which begins to damp the spirits, from this complete exclusion of distant objects. To travel day after day, among trees of a hundred feet high, without a glimpse of the surrounding country, is oppressive to a degree which those cannot conceive who have not experienced it; and it must depress the spirits of the solitary settler to pass years in this state. His visible horizon extends no farther than the tops of the trees which bound his plantation, perhaps, five hundred yards. Upwards he sees the sun, and sky, and stars, but around him an eternal forest, from which he can never hope to emerge: --not so in a thickly settled district; he cannot there enjoy any freedom of prospect, yet there is variety, and some scope for the imprisoned vision. In a hilly country a little more range of view may occasionally be obtained; and a river is a stream of light as well as of
water, which feasts the eye with a delight inconceivable to the inhabitants of open countries.'-pp. 102, 103.
He next tried the Big-Prairie beyond the Wabash, but it was marshy and feverish; thirty miles farther, prairies of a higher site were more promising ; the people were healthy, but they were in a wretched state of civilization, about half Indian in their mode of life. Besides, they shew little cordiality towards a ‘land-hunter,' as they contemptuously call the stranger in search of a home; they consider such a person as an invader of their privileges, which give them the whole range of the forests for themselves and their cattle. Beyond the little Wabash, every mark of civilization was lost; and it was vecessary to engage a hunter as their guide. Having wandered some time without any beaten track, they came at length to the cabin of a brother-hunter, where they took up their lodging.
. This man and his family are remarkable instances of the effect on the complexion, produced by the perpetual incarceration of a thorough woodland lite. Incarceration may seem to be a term less applicable to the condition of a roving back-woudsman than to any other, and especially unsuitable to the habits of this individual and his family; for ihe cabin in which he entertained us is the third dwelling he has built within the last twelve months; and a very slender motive would place him in a fourth before the ensuing winter. In his general habits the hunter ranges as freely as the beasts he pursues; labouring under no restraint, his activity is only bounded by his own physical powers: still he is incarcerated—“ Shut from the common air." Buried in the depth of a boundless forest, the breeze of health never reaches these poor wanderers; the bright prospect of distant hills fading away into the semblance of clouds, never cheered their sight. They are tall and pale, like vegetables that grow in a vault, pining for light.
• The man, his pregnant wife, his eldest son, a tall half-naked youth, just initiated in the hunters' arts, his three daughters, growing up into great rude girls, and a squalling tribe of dirty brats of both sexes, are of one pale yellow, without the slightest tint of healthful bloom.'—p. 107.
• The cabin, which may serve as a specimen of these rudiments of houses, was formed of round logs, with apertures of three or four inches between. No chimney, but large intervals between the clap-boards,” for the escape of the smoke. The roof was, however, a more effectual covering than we have generally experienced, as it protected us very tolerably from a drenching night. Two bedsteads of unhewn logs, and cleft boards laid across; -two chairs, one of them without a bottom, and a low stool, were all the furniture required by this numerous family. A string of buffalo hide, stretched across the hovel, was a wardrobe for their rags; and their utensils, consisting of a large iron pot, some baskets, the effective rifle and two that were superannuated, stood about in corners, and the fiddle, which was only silent when we were asleep, hung by them.'-p. 109. I 3