Chapter XXXIX. Chicago.
FRIDAY, June 1. -- There has been much rain and storm -- which is not the kind of weather to see Chicago in. It is an immense place, covering a vast area of level ground, only a few feet raised above the level of the lake. The streets are laid with deals, which in many places are loose; and, as there is no fall to drain the water off, the streets are deep with mud, till such time as the water has sunk through the sand. In wet weather, all is mud, which the vehicles, rattling over the loose planks, splash up on the passers-by plentifully; and in dry weather, all is sand, which the gusts from the lake blow into eyes, and mouth, and ears in a provoking way.
The town has little character, so far as the laying-out of the streets and buildings is concerned. The streets are laid out rectangularly, and the city is cut up into three divisions by the branches of the Chicago river. This runs up into the city at right angles to the lake, and divides -- one branch going north-west, and the other south and south-west. The business division of the town is the south-east, and the aristocratic residences are in the north-east quarter. In this division there are some fine houses, though nearly all of wood. They stand apart, and are buried among trees. In the
364business part of the town, the houses are continuous, and. mostly of brick, without any pretensions to taste. The branching of the river is very confusing and inconvenient, in one sense, from its separating the different parts of the town, but it is very important to trade, as it gives a great deal of river frontage. The traffic across the bridges is very great. It has just been counted for one day, when it was found that 44,000 people, and 1900 teams crossed by Clerk Street bridge. It is proposed to form a tunnel under the river.
This evening we went out to see the lake, which was very rough. Once the shore had almost a straight line, but the projection of a pier at the mouth of the river, turned the current of the waves from the lake upon the shore, south of the river, and they have washed out a deep bay. In consideration of certain rights granted to them by the city of Chicago, the Illinois Central Railway Company have built an extensive breakwater, to stop this encroachment of the lake; and between this breakwater and the shore, their railway is built on piles, for a considerable distance. There is a bar at the mouth of the harbour, so that vessels require to beat up from the south to avoid it. To-night, the waves were breaking upon and beating in spray over the pier, and several timber ships were attempting to beat over the bar. They looked hard put to sometimes, but they succeeded in getting over, and came up the river.
Saturday, June 2. -- We made a trip to Milwaukie to-day, eighty-five miles. The route is over two railways, -- one, forty-five miles, being in the State of Illinois; the other, forty miles in length, in
365Wisconsin. The latter road is not nearly finished, though the track is laid, and trains running through. In some places it is not brought to the level, and it is very rough and not fit for travel; but there are a great many passengers over it, although only opened about ten days ago. This early opening is a characteristic of American railways. There is always an anxiety to get them opened, to make revenue.
For some distance out of Chicago, the country is level prairie-land. At Evanstown there is a new city laid out. The Wesleyans are erecting a college here. The site is twenty-five feet above the level of the lake; and as the spot is only a few miles from Chicago, it is expected to be a favourite residence for townspeople, and consequently a good speculation. Further out, the general level of the land is higher, and the bluff on the lake shore some hundred and twenty feet high. The line of the railway is about half a mile from the shore.
Waukegan, thirty-five miles from Chicago, is a pretty and flourishing town of 5000 people. There is a high bluff, on which many of the houses stand; and below that, there is considerable breadth of a second level, where the railway is located; and between it and the lake, there are sand-hills.
The lake was still rough, and it was brown and muddy in-shore; but out towards the horizon, it was of a pale greenish tinge, deepening into a dark blue.
The next town is Kanosha, a very pretty place of 5000 people, with two or three churches. Its general site is about sixty feet above the level of the lake, and is finely varied, sloping down towards the water.
Then comes Racine, a larger city of 8000 or thereby; and finally, Milwaukie, which now claims 40,000.
Milwaukie has by far the finest situation of any of these towns. It lies on the north bank of the Milwaukie river, and occupies a slope, which, ascending steeply from the river, terminates in a high bluff on the lake side. At present, there is no bridge across the river, and we got out of the cars on the south side. A small screw-steamer, with a great flat-boat lashed alongside, carried us up two miles, or so, to the town. We reached shore about a quarter to two, and had to leave again by the train at three; so we had just time to rush up the principal street, and back to the cars again. I had inquired unsuccessfully for an old friend of mine resident in Milwaukie; and curiously enough, as we were leaving, he sauntered up to the wharf. We were glad to meet, and he came as far as the cars. He tells me that the increase of Milwaukie in late years is very great. We got back to Chicago about eight o'clock.
Chapter XL. Illinois
ILLINOIS is perhaps one of the most remarkable States in the Union.. Its extreme length, is 378 miles, and its greatest breadth 212 miles. It measures 1160 miles round its boundaries; 855 miles of which are formed by navigable rivers. Its area is estimated at 55,405 square miles -- or, in round numbers, thirty-five and a half millions of acres. The greater part of the State is level, or undulating prairie-land. A small tract in the south is hilly, and the northern portion is also somewhat broken. There are large deposits of iron and coal in the south, and the rocks in the north contain copper and lead in great abundance. Silver has also been found in small quantities, mixed with the ores of lead.
"The soils of Illinois, though of various character, are all highly fertile and productive." In some cases, the mould formed on the banks of the rivers is twenty-five feet or more in depth. Much of this alluvial land is too wet at present for cultivation, without previous draining, but it produces valuable timber. Round some of the old French settlements, "the land has been cultivated, and produced Indian-corn year after year, without manuring, for a century and a half."
Wheat and Indian-corn are produced in great
368abundance. The grass-lands are admirably adapted for the raising of cattle. Tobacco is grown in the south, and hemp and flax can be profitably cultivated. The population in 1850 was, by the census, 851,470. The following table of its increase is interesting: --
The census of the present year, 1855, taken by the State, will shew a still larger proportional increase for the five years since 1850.
The returns of the crops for 1839-40 and 1849-50 give the following comparison: --
|Tobacco||1840||564,326 lbs.||1850||841,394 lbs.||Increase, 277,068 lbs.|
|Hay||1840||164,932 tons||1850||601,952 tons||Increase, 437,020 tons.|
The above results have been attained before railway facilities afforded access to the interior of the State. An indication of what may be expected is had in the fact that this year the farmers on the line of the Illinois Central railway have sold their wheat for one dollar twenty-five cents per bushel; while formerly, when there was no means of getting it to market, they were content to take forty or fifty cents per bushel for it.
Chicago itself presents an example of more rapid growth than any city in the world. In 1830 it was
369a trading-post. In 1840, it had 4470 inhabitants. In 1850, it had increased to 29,963; and this year, 1855, it has reached 83,500. It has been within the last two years, 1853 and 1854, that the most rapid development of Chicago has taken place. Something of this may be gathered from the following table: --
|Beef, packed, value, dollars||(Return for 1854, incomplete)||650,621||865,949||865,773|
There are completed, and in operation, 1628Ë miles of railway, radiating north, south, and west from Chicago; and if we add the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana, the Michigan Central, and the New Albany and Salem railways, arriving from the east, the mileage open at the end of 1854 was 2436Ë miles. There are now in course of speedy formation lines which, in a very few years, will swell the above figures to 6738 miles; and as 5075 miles of these lines pour western and north and south-western produce into Chicago, and 1663 miles communicate with the east and south-east, partially bringing produce, but
370chiefly carrying it away, it is fairly evident that the business centring at Chicago must increase still more rapidly than it has hitherto done. The following table shews its present position, as a grain-exporting port with the chief ports of the world: --
|Odessa||7,040,000 Average of years.|
|Galatz and Ibrail||8,320,000 "|
|St Petersburgh||7,200,000 "|
|St Louis||5,081,468 in 1853.|
|Milesconkir||3,787,161 in 1854.|
|New York||9,431,335 in 11 months of 1854.|
|Chicago||12,902,310 in 1854.|
|Do.||16,638,813 in 1855.|
|Increase in one year||3,736,503 bushels.|
We are now on a journey through this favoured State.
Monday, June 4. -- We left Chicago this mornings; at a quarter past eight, by train on the Chicago branch of the Illinois Central railway, and reached Urbana, one hundred and twenty-eight miles, about four o'clock, The line is only opened to this point at present. By and by, it will be continued, and join the main line from Cairo to Galena. As this is such a new and interesting country, I venture to give pretty detailed notes upon it, and upon the great railway which opens it up.
On condition of building a breakwater along the shore of the lake, the city of Chicago granted to the railway company the right to the land reclaimed by it. Formerly, the line of the lake-shore was nearly straight, and ran north and south; but the building out of
371a pier into the lake, from the mouth of the river, directed the current of the waves so, upon the shore south of it, as to cause a very great recession of the line of the land. It is in the bend thus washed out that the new land is now forming. Commencing 400 feet within the east end of the south pier, the breakwater extends south 1257 feet into the lake, thence west 675 feet, then south-west 150 feet, then south along the shore 14,377 feet, making in all an extreme length of 16,459 feet. The greater part of this breakwater is 12 feet wide, the remainder is 6 feet. It is formed of cribs, the upper portion of which is built of square timber, 12 inches by 12, locked together every 10 feet, and the intermediate space filled with stones, piles being driven on the outside to keep it in place. The area enclosed and rescued from the lake is about 33 acres. On this and other space acquired on the shore, the Illinois Central Railway Company has erected a freight-house of hewn-stone, 582 feet long by 100 feet broad, and two storeys high. Three tracks run into this. On the outside of this freight-house is a basin, 582 feet by 165; and beyond it a grain-house, 200 feet by 100, capable of holding 500,000 bushels of grain. Two tracks run into it. The basin between opens into the river. West from the space occupied by these buildings, the Illinois Central Railway Company has sold to the Michigan Central Railway Company two plots of 250 feet by 657, and 165 feet by 2118 respectively, on which the latter company have erected a freight-house, 65 feet by 400; and both companies are now engaged in building a passenger-depot, to be jointly used by them, and which will be 500 feet long, by 165Ë feet broad, with three platforms, respectively 22, 22Ë, and 19 feet broad, and
372eight lines of rails. About a mile south from these buildings is the engine-house, -- a circular structure (surmounted by a dome and cupola), built of dressed stone, 182 feet in diameter, and 78 feet high, with stalls for eighteen locomotives. Corresponding machine and blacksmiths' shops are built on the south side of the engine-house. All these works are of a most substantial and permanent character.
On leaving the shore of the lake, the railway enters flat prairie land, with some young wood. Some eight-or nine miles out, it crosses the line of the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana railway. Beyond this, it lies for many a mile in open prairie. It is only when approaching the bank of some stream that wood is found. In the pools about, were white water-lilies, like our cultivated ones; and, growing profusely, a blue flower, which also finds a place in, our garden borders. The most prominent plant is the resin-weed. It has a palmated leaf, and grows to a considerable height; but is not come to maturity yet. It exudes a resin, and is aromatic to the taste. Horses select it from among hay in winter. It seems to act as a sort of tonic. It has a large, thick root, which affords food to the gophers. These are little burrowing animals, not unlike a gray squirrel in appearance, but possessed of a pouch under their throats. I was informed, that in digging on these prairies the remains of palm-trees are found. At Urbana, wells of sulphuretted hydrogen have been come to. Indigenous plants and grasses retire before those introduced, by man; just as the Indians retire before the white man.
One curious feature of these prairies is the occurence of numerous granite boulders, to which is given I the characteristic name of "lost rock." I was told, by
373one well acquainted with the prairies, that they lie in ridges from north-east to south-west; these belts of them being sometimes half a mile wide. They he mostly on the surface, but sometimes under it also; and in some places, as near Monee, they are in such quantity as to lower the value of the land for cultivation. They are of a highly crystalline reddish granite.
Until this railway was made, this part of the State was quite inaccessible; and still tracks, miles in extent, are without a house. Stations are put down every ten miles or so; and already little villages are clustering around them, and the lands are being rapidly settled. The early settlements are all on the banks of streams. Reaching the Iroquois river, we find on its banks, a mile and three-quarters from the station, the old French settlement of Bourbonnais. It contained, by the census of 1850, 1719 people; and it presents features of improvement, in new buildings, &c. At the station, a new town, called Kankakee, is springing up. Eighteen months ago, there were at this place one log-hut on an eminence, and one shanty or small house of boards at the station; now, there is a flourishing little town of 1500 to 2000 people. The situation is very favourable for a town, there being a flat meadow bottom along the Iroquois river, and a rising ground beyond, well timbered. It is on the ridge of this rising ground that the town (which is to be the county-town of Kankakee county) is springing up, and a court-house is in the course of erection now.
The eighth station is Ashkum. One of the engineers sent up a sketch of this station -- a single barrel, with a solitary crane sitting upon it, labelled, "Ashkum station and its keeper." There is not a house as yet, nor is
374there any object to be seen along this portion of the line, but the expanse of waving grass, with hazy-looking belts of wood, just visible on the extreme east and west, indicating the course of the Iroquois river and its tributary creeks.
Onarga, another station, has the nucleus of a village, -- some dozen houses, two of them stores. Already, though quite new, it is a growing place. Near this, over a wide stretch of prairie, we saw a party of emigrants moving westward, with their covered carts and cattle, in a long line. At this station, I got upon the roof of one of the cars. Nothing was to be seen all around but prairie, with faint lines of wood in the distance, marking the course of streams. Between these and the nearer prairie, there was the appearance of water, a kind of mirage. It would be difficult to fancy anything exceeding the richness of these rolling-lands. At Loda, we saw a farmer breaking up a large tract of prairie, himself meanwhile abiding in two white tents, pitched on a slight eminence; not having had time, as yet, to build even the quickly-erected house of boards. At Pera was perhaps the finest expanse of prairie we saw all day. The whole field of vision was one unbroken meadow of fine undulating grass-land. At Minkgrove, there is a patch of timber, or grove, in the midst of a perfect sea of prairie, just like an island ; we saw it for miles after we had passed it, between us and the sky.
The thirteenth station is Urbana -- 128Ë miles from Chicago. Here we stopped -- there remaining 122 miles to be finished, before this branch joins the main line at Centralia. There is a patch of wood close to Urbana, of 15,000 acres, and an old and new town;the latter at the railway station, and about two miles
375from the former. In 1853, the old town contained about 400 inhabitants, and the new town did not exist. It is calculated that the old town now contains 1200 or 1500 inhabitants, and the new town about 800 -- so rapidly does the building up of towns go on in these new countries.
We observed another interesting instance of the mirage. We were passing over a long reach of level railway, where, without any cutting or embankment, the track was simply laid on the prairie; nevertheless, it assumed the appearance of having disappeared through a deep cutting outlined against the sky, while an engine, following us at some distance, looked as if suspended in the air, some little way above the road.
We reached about four. There is a hotel close to the station, where we got a tolerable tea (our kind cicerone, Mr Johnson, had brought a basket of sandwiches, and we dined on them in the train), and then we got into a waggon with a pair of horses, and drove through the old town of Urbana, and out upon the great prairie. I do not fancy there exists in the old world such a sight as we beheld. From an eminence, as far as the eye could comprehend the scene, it traversed the richest undulating fields of grass, almost unbroken by fence, plough, or house. We walked some distance up to the knees in the luxuriant herbage. It is said that this is the character of the country nearly all the distance from this to the junction with the main line, 122 miles; except that as you get further south there are more streams, and consequently more timber. The agricultural resources of this country are incredible. We made a detour from this edge of the grand prairie, by cultivated fields,
376till we reached the timber; and. skirting it, returned to Urbana.
Tuesday, June 5. -- Mine host would have devoted two of us to one bed -- the household one, if I mistake not, for there was women's gear about; but at last a bed was "raised" for me in the hall above. It was a good bed, though rather public; for, being at the head of the stair, it had to be passed and repassed by those who slept on that floor. However, I slept very comfortably, till knocked up at half-past five this morning. This is a superior specimen of an Illinois country inn: -- a frame-house, with a good deal of accommodation of that rough sort; and good enough food, badly cooked. Withal -- what is rarer -- a most civil landlord.
We got breakfast, and by half-past six were again seated in the waggon, with a day's provisions, to cross the prairie, sixty miles, to Decatur. There is a shorter route, but we took the one we did to see a herd of fine cattle, belonging to Mr Frank Harris. They were out on an extensive prairie, and we discovered them by means of a glass. We went as straight as we could, through the prairie, some mile or two, to where they were -- losing sight of them most of the while, from the rolling of the ground. At last we got near them, and the sight was indeed worth going a long way to see. There were one hundred and twenty-six of them; one weighed as much as 2600 lb.; many of the others weighed from 1900 lb. to 2100 lb. They were standing and lying about among the deep grass, in attitudes and groups, such as would have delighted Cooper to paint. A finer lot of fat cattle, I suppose, is not to be seen anywhere. They were tended by a little lad, mounted on a fine high-bred pony. A most
377intelligent little fellow he was, and right glad to see us, to break the monotony of his occupation. He keeps the cattle penned all night, he told us; brings them out to the prairie about seven in the morning, and, as I understood, tends them there for the most part of the day. He pointed out his favourites with great delight.
As we were walking about among them, one of our party called out, "There's a snake;" and sure enough there lay a rattle-snake, three or four feet long, coiled up, and with elevated head, hissing and shaking his rattling tail. Our herd-boy friend soon made an end of him, planting one heel upon him, he stamped him to death with the other. The rattle, which was carried off in triumph, had eight rings, betokening a serpent of ten years. The boy said, he had killed probably fifty of them. They sometimes bite the cattle, when whisky and tobacco is applied, and this allays the inflammation. It is affirmed, there is no authenticated instance of any one in Illinois having ever died from the bite of one of these prairie rattle-snakes.
"We called for Mr Harris at his house, about two miles from where the cattle were, but did not find him. His farm contains 4200 acres, distributed thus -- 700 acres Indian-corn; 100 acres oats and wheat; 200 acres meadow; 2500 acres pasturage; and 700 acres wood.
The rest of our route was nearly all the way through the timber which skirts the Sangamon river. About halfway, we stopped in the woods to dine and rest the horses. Drawn up beneath the shade of a spreading live-oak, a napkin was spread out on the front seat of the waggon; and from a miscellaneous collection of sandwiches, cheese, crackers, hard-boiled eggs, and pickled
378cucumbers (salt was not forgotten), we made an al fresco mid-day meal, pretty near the heart of Illinois.
Water is rather scarce on some parts of these prairies. At one cottage, where was a well, the people refused to permit us to take any; but about four in the afternoon, we came to a farm-house, where the people not only permitted us to have water, but helped to draw it. While our horses were drinking, we had some interesting conversation with the farmer and his brother. He owns a farm of 1960 acres. A single field in front of his house contained in one unbroken expanse forty acres of wheat, and seven hundred acres of Indian-corn. He keeps fifteen teems or pairs of horses. We saw eleven of them engaged at one time hoeing the corn. He can make a profit by selling Indian corn at fifteen cents, or sevenpence halfpenny per bushel. He has made, he says, as much money as he wants; and wishes to sell his farm as it stands, with its improvements, at fifteen dollars or three pounds per acre, all round. It is five miles from the Great Western railway of Illinois, and about mid-way between the Chicago branch and the main line of the Illinois Central railway -- about sixteen miles from each.
Shortly after leaving this farm, we encountered immense swarms of locusts. They appear periodically in the west. They were on the trees, are about two to three inches long, and were in myriads. The sound they emited was deafening. They were not eating.
We got into Decatur about half-past eight, by which time it was just dark enough to be out on the prairie; four miles of which we had to cross before entering the town. The whole ride to-day, both in its prairie, and forest, and river features, has been one of very great interest. Such a body of rich land is
379inconceivable. It must be seen to be appreciated-; and even then, its extent and value are beyond what can be duly recognised.
It was too dark to see anything of Decatur when we arrived. As we drove through streets, which were no more than untouched field, we could discover it was a new place. We got an excellent supper, and excellent beds; and enjoyed repose after so long a ride as we had.
Wednesday, June 6. -- Breakfasting at the early hour of half-past six, we had more than an hour to wait at the station. We left at nine; but the morning being very wet, we could not to-day, any more than last night, see much of Decatur. It is a large place, and is increasing rapidly. In 1850, its name does not occur in the census report. In 1853, it had about six hundred inhabitants; and the present year, it is estimated to have three thousand. There are several hotels in the town, and one building at the railwaystation. A farm was pointed out to us, a little way from the station, which had been offered last autumn, with all its improvements, for $45, or Å9 per acre; and the one between it and the town was stated to be likely to fetch $90, or Å18 per acre; while land in the town itself would be worth$150, or Å30 per acre.
The distance from Decatur to Cairo is 204Å¾ miles; and the train was due there at 8.35, -- a journey of eleven hours and a half; and giving a speed of about eighteen miles an hour, including stoppages once in ten miles, or so. Till we pass Duquoin, which is only 76Ë miles from Cairo, the country is chiefly prairie. Here and there it is a little broken, and near the streams it is timbered. Ere we are many hours out of
380Decatur, the climate becomes perceptibly warmer. The flowers are further out, and different. The prairie-rose is in bloom, also several pink and scarlet flowers, and a showy chrysanthemum, and various others common in our gardens.
Vandalia, 142Ë miles from Cairo, is the old capital of the State, and contains about a thousand people. It is a very prettily-situated little town. The country around is finely varied and well-timbered, that is, the trees are large and well-grown. The neighbourhood is fairly settled, and being fast cleared. Fine woods and fields of wheat, together with the general fencing and cultivation, give somewhat the appearance of English scenery. The town itself is not increasing. A little south of the town, the Kaskaskia river is crossed; and there is near it a good deal of broken ground and low-lying bottoms, subject to be overflowed. They were so this morning. The railway is carried through them on trestle-work, which will be ultimately converted into embankments, when experience has taught how much water-way it will be needful to leave.
A little to the north of Duquoin is the first place where it has been attempted to work coal on the line of the road in the south of the State. The train was stopped to allow us to examine the coal-pits. There has been one shaft sunk perpendicularly 74 feet, -- in reaching which depth it has passed through a bed of limestone, 4 feet thick, then shales, and lastly, the coal-bed, which is 6 feet 8 inches thick. The limestone is very compact, crystalline, and not fossiliferous, as far as I could judge on a hasty glance. They are now sinking an incline to reach the coal on a slope. They have got down 150 feet, but have not reached the coal yet. As I stood at its mouth looking down, a
381blast exploded at the bottom, and made me start. A small quantity of coal has as yet been taken out, as the mine is only in course of being opened. It is supposed they have got to about the centre of the basin, for the coal rises on each side from this shaft. It crops out about half a mile to the east, and again on the banks of the Bigmuddy river to the west. It is stated that the coal can be sold at the pit-mouth at $1, or 4s. per ton. The head miner is a Lanarkshire man. There was a large lump of solid coal lying at the pit-mouth, about 4 by 4 by 2, or 32 feet cubic. It was taken out from the bottom of the perpendicular shaft.
We now enter the hilly country of the south, and there is no more prairie. Some sixty miles north from Cairo we crossed Bigmuddy river, which well deserves its characteristic name. It looks small, but it is deep. Coal is found along its banks, and is floated to the Mississippi in barges to supply St Louis, and other towns. In making the railway, the rails were brought by water to this point. Six miles beyond, we reach Carbondale, through a timber country, with clearings here and there. Dead trunks of trees, standing up among the wheat, remind one of Pennsylvania and Ohio. There is fine wheat-land all around. We saw some fields already beginning to change colour. The road is now ascending, at the rate of about thirty-six feet in a mile. Carbondale is a station for some towns near, the country back from the line of railway being well settled. Tobacco is grown in this neighbourhood, and forwarded from Carbondale. As we passed, we saw five hogsheads on the platform, waiting to be taken away.
Passing on, we come to the first stone-cutting, a
382little to the north of Drewery-creek, apparently in limestone and shale. The country hence becomes very broken and hilly, and the line of the railway very winding, following the lie of the country. In some fourteen miles, the summit is reached. It is about 600 feet above ordinary water-level at Cairo. The railway, for a considerable distance here, lies in a deep gorge, occupied by Drewery-creek, the course of which it follows; indeed, it occupies its channel for miles, a new one having been cut for the stream alongside. It is a very picturesque gorge, bluffs on both sides, 200 feet high, with water-worn faces. It is crossed by ravines leading into the country. All is finely wooded. On the table-lands above, and back into the country, are good farms. The district is pretty well settled. As a proof of the fineness of climate and fertility, we were told that one farmer, whose place is on the rocks above the station at Makanda, makes from his own orchard annually forty hogsheads of peach brandy.
The descent to Cairo is made in forty-four miles. It is through a wild, wooded, beautiful country, till we reach Villa-ridge, ten miles from the terminus. Here we began to see fire-flies in great abundance, and they increased as we got into the low grounds. There were myriads of them. Few at first, they seemed like stars here and there; but they increased in number, till every tree seemed alive with wandering stars. Flitting in brilliant sparkles from leaf to leaf, they made the whole dark wood alive with light. As I called my companion's attention to them, some men at the station informed us, "Them's the lightning bugs!"
Passing this station -- the last -- we enter Cottonwood-slough,
383part of the Cache flats, which cover the whole of this delta of the two rivers. A few cypresses grow here, but not many. There are also some cane-brakes. Through this swamp, the railway is carried on a trestle-work, about a mile and a quarter long, and varying in height from eighteen to twenty feet. It creaked as we went slowly over it. By and by, it will be substituted by an embankment. The railway, at a little distance from Cairo, turns abruptly off to the bank of the Ohio, and runs down alongside the river on the levee. When finished, it will encircle the town.
As we neared the town of Cairo, we had the swamp forest, with its multitudes of fire-flies, on the west; and on the east, the broad Ohio placidly reflecting the failing light; beyond, the wood-covered hills of Kentucky; and here and there, on the bosom of the river, the star-like light of some boat.
Presently, we emerged from the thicket, and its place was taken by an open space, flickered here and there by the light from an open window. The train stands still. We are on the high bank of the levee. Down on the one side, the shining waters of the Ohio;down on the other, the shining lights of the few scattered wooden houses which constitute Cairo. It has begun to rain. We descend twenty steps, cross on a gangway of planks some fifty yards of an incipient lake (!), and reach a new hotel -- the Taylor-house.
The Taylor-house is large and roomy, but it is new; and many of the rooms are but partially furnished, others not at all. Some of us get rooms supplied with beds on a bedstead; others are not so fortunate, for their beds are spread on the floor. A few months ago, we would have fared worse. Travers, who drove us today,
384has often slept at Cairo, stretched, for warmth and shelter, on a board below his engine.
There were lots of people just arrived from New Orleans, all looking wretched in the rain. We are in a different climate altogether from Chicago. I have on the clothes to which the cold winds of the lakes had driven me, and now they are thoroughly wet with perspiration. The air is hot, close, and oppressive. I escape to my room. A solitary chair does duty for itself, washstand, and toilet-table. I have placed my lamp upon it, and sit on the bed-side, to read for a little. I open the Olney Hymns, and read --
Chapter XLI. Cairo.
THURSDAY, June 7. -- The breakfast-hour this morning was six; and we were in hopes that we would have had an opportunity to look round Cairo before starting. It rained, however, in torrents; and we were fain to content ourselves with a very cursory inspection. Breakfast over, we carried our traps -- in default of help that could be hired -- across the space between the hotel and the railway, which, by this time, was a sheet of water. Raining as it was, we walked down the line of rail upon the levee, in hopes we might be able to reach the point, and see the union of the Ohio and Mississippi. We got on pretty well as long as we could step on the sleepers, or better -- for even they were covered with mud -- balance ourselves upon the rails; but when we came to the end of these, our first step took us up to the ancles in mud. We pushed on through this as far as the levee goes, which is not quite to the point. It turns abruptly north, leaving a low swampy plot between it and a branch of the Mississippi. Beyond this slough there is an island, and the main channel is beyond it.
Cairo is the southern terminus of the railway, situated on the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi. From this point southward, the river is always
386navigable, and nearly always free from ice. It is about 180 miles below St Louis, and 509 miles below Cincinnati. To each of these cities, and, consequently, to all places beyond them, the navigation is liable to frequent stoppage, -- in summer, from want of depth of water; and in winter, from ice. This point is, therefore, likely to become a great shipping-place for produce going south, and for merchandise, &c., coming from New Orleans; while the saving to passengers going to Cincinnati and St Louis is such, that they are already preferring to land at Cairo and go by railway, although, in the present state of the connecting lines, this route is a long one.
A company was formed in 1841 to build a city at Cairo, but after getting two or three houses erected, it broke up. The place got the name of being "stuck" and people became prejudiced against it. It was said to be a swamp, unhealthy, &c. A new companyrecently been formed, called "The Cairo City Property Company," which is possessed of all the land for nearly seven miles north from the point; and through their exertions, and the opening of the railway, attention is again turned to Cairo. It is confidently stated, that the spot is less unhealthy than many other points on the river, where large towns have sprung up. The trustees have cut down the timber on the flats from river to river, for a considerable space; and this permits of the free circulation of air, and has driven away the miasma, which produced chills and fever. Last summer, when there was so much cholera in the other towns on the Ohio and Mississippi, there was not one case of it among the inhabitants of Cairo.
A levee or embankment of most substantial character, one hundred and seventy feet in breadth on the top,
387surrounds the town, and the tracks of the Illinois Central railway are laid upon it. The greatest range of level in the rivers occurred last year, 1854, when between the lowest and highest water the rise and fall was forty-two feet. The natural level of the ground is about thirty-eight feet above ordinary water. The levee is seven or eight feet higher than the highest water-mark, and the town level is only three and a half feet below highest water. It is thus subject to partial overflows for short periods at a time, in extraordinarily wet seasons. During the heavy rains, too, which occur frequently, the town, from being embanked all round, looks somewhat like a lake; but this overabundance of water speedily flows off by natural drainage, through culverts in the levee, at least in ordinary seasons. During high water in the river, this drainage is stopped; and the city, though protected from inundation, is subject to partial overflow. This could be easily remedied by the formation of a large reservoir, at the lowest level, into which the surface-water might flow, and whence it could be forced by steam-power into the river.
It is computed there are from 1000 to 1200 people in Cairo, two-thirds of whom have come here within a year from this time. There are about sixty houses, including the hotel, which is quite full of people. The city is laid out in lots of twenty-five feet front, and one hundred and twenty-five feet in depth. Three of these, on the front level, had been sold at $l500 each, to make a beginning. The price for good lots range as high as $2500. On the back streets they may be had for $350, and upwards.
The high prices for which the trustees are holding out, has helped to delay the rapid development of
388Cairo; but within a month or two they have adopted a different policy, and several "substantial buildings are now erecting; and in the autumn, others, already contracted for, will fairly start the place."
The levee round the town is the work of the Illinois Central railway. It has been completed sufficiently to protect the town, and for a mile is finished for the accommodation of business. The railway buildings are only partly erected, and but temporary; but both levee and buildings will be finished as fast as the business of the road and the growth of Cairo demand. For this service, the railway receives from the trustees ample land for depot purposes on both rivers; and when all the arrangements are perfected, the railway will surround the town, leaving it, on the north side, at a point about equi-distant from each river.
There is one point which is very important. "There is excellent reason for supposing that it will become the great depot for coal for Mississippi steamers. Steamers are now supplied with this article from mines up the Ohio. The nearest mine is at Muford, 115 miles above Cairo; the furthest, Pittsburg, 1004 miles above it. It is brought down by flat-boats towed by steam-tugs, and delivered during the navigating season directly from the river. But the winter and dry-weather supplies are also obliged to be brought down during the season, and hauled upon the levee above high-water mark. The Desoto and Duquoin coal lies directly on the line of the Illinois road, from sixty-one to seventy-four miles from Cairo. It is of a quality quite equal to any of the Ohio coals. The amount of coal now required annually at Cairo is estimated at 450,000 tons." -- Davis. The deduction from this statement is, that a very large traffic in coal must
389centre here, derived from the mines opened by the railway in the interior of the State.
Some accident happened to the engine, the repair of which detained us an hour. It allowed time for the Niagara from the south to come up, and land two passengers for the cars. We were somewhat curious to see how they would get up the steep slimy hank of the levee. However, they managed pretty well, by mounting on the top of their boxes, in the baggage-cart, which went down for them. At Ullin, we climbed from the baggage-car, over the tender, and got upon the engine beside our friend Travers; and rode to Jonesborough, sixteen miles. For two or three miles, I stood on the engine itself; but the wind made it not very easy to hold on, so I went behind beside the engineers. As there was an hour of lost time to make up, we went very fast -- thirty to thirty-five miles an hour. It is very pleasant riding on the engine. You see all before and about you, and are not troubled with dust. There is a feeling of excitement, too, in bounding over the country, which there is not in simply riding in the cars.
We said good-bye to Travers, with regret, at Jones-borough, where we got down to go and see a curious and interesting deposit of iron. Jonesborough is the county-town of Union county, and contains a population of about 1200. It lies a mile from the railway; but already a little village is springing up at the station. We secured rooms at a large new hotel built at the station, but not finished yet, -- being in process of plastering, painting, and furnishing; and after an early dinner, at half-past ten, we set out for the iron, accompanied by two gentlemen connected with the railway here.
The deposit of iron is in the midst of the forest,
390some miles from the railway; and in going to and from it, we had an opportunity of seeing the character of the country. It is a series of sandstone and limestone ridges and hills, covered with fine forests, and dotted with capital farms. The soil formed by the disintegration of the sands and limestone rocks is most excellently adapted for wheat, which is already nearly ripe.
In a direct line, the point we wished to reach was about four miles; but by the circuitous way we were obliged to take, the distance was at least doubled. After traversing country-roads for five or six miles, we turned off into an unbroken forest, along the bank of a small stream. "We followed this stream for about three miles, through a beautifully-wooded ravine. The day had cleared up, and was very fine; the air fresh and balmy. The trees were luxuriant and various -- hickories, oaks, elms, mulberries -- and festooned with creepers. The mulberries were ripe; and we amused ourselves for a while by knocking them down.
The ravine grew wider, and we came to some clearings. Beyond these was a blacksmith's shop, where we "hitched" the horses. The blacksmith himself, Marion Underwood, was very busy grubbing up the bushes on an "improvement." He "guessed he'd quit, and go 'long;" so he got a hammer and chisel, and led the way. He plunged through a thicket, and we followed; and then began to ascend a gulley which led up the hill, and which was strewed with blocks of rich iron-ore on every side. As we toiled up a deep slope in the bottom of the ravine, we came to a conical mound, torn off, as it were, from the side of the main ridge, and then to a second. The main range of hills is probably 500 or 600 feet high; and the mounds
391separated from it by the deep gullies, have the strongest appearance of having been torn off from the main ridge.
When we got to the top of the main ridge, we found it slope to the north; and on the very back-bone of it, two deep cavities, which Dr Condon considers "craters."
The whole appearance of the place is most interesting, and the quantity of iron very great. The ridge seems composed of it, as it appears in equal quantities on all sides. The mass of the mounds, too, is composed of it. It is stated by parties in St Louis, who have experimented upon this ore, that it is rich, and the iron it produces of a valuable character.
It was past three before we got back to the forge. I exchanged my place in the "hack," with Dr Condon, for that on the "outside" of his horse. "We returned by a different, but equally beautiful, route to Jonesborough. Up ravines, through clearings, rich with fields of fast-ripening wheat; down into hollows, and up again; now hemmed in with forest, so that we could not see a few yards around; anon up on heights whence the eye could range over miles of wooded hills and cleared hollows, -- the character of the scenery altogether being indescribably beautiful. The way led us through Jones-borough, where we parted with the conveyances, and sat a while with our new acquaintance. From the top of the court-house (a clay-floored hall of justice, with placards offering rewards for runaway slaves fastened to the doors), we had an extensive view. We then walked over to our hotel, which we reached between six and seven; in fit condition to enjoy, first, a good tea-supper, and then a lovely evening, calm and balmy. How the tree-frogs sang!
Friday, June 8. -- Stirring by six, and at half-past
392nine left with the train for Decatur, which we reached about seven evening.
As we were passing Duquoin, Colonel Ashley, to whom the coal-pits there belong, came into the train, and he gave me some further information about them.
At Murphysborough, twenty-five miles to the south-west, where the coal crops out on the banks of the Bigmuddy river, the coal dips towards Duquoin, but seems to be a different vein. At the out-crop on the Big-muddy river, there are two veins of coal, separated from each other by about four inches of shale, and dipping north-east about twenty feet to the mile. These veins are worked at a distance of about one-third of a mile from this point, on the bank of a small creek, back from Bigmuddy river. Where the coal crops out at the latter point, the veins are only four inches apart; but where they are worked in the creek, they are nine feet apart.
The coal at Duquoin is more bituminous than that at Murphysborough, and it cokes, which the other does not. The following is the section at the Duquoin shaft:
|5||0||Soil running into clay.|
|10||0||Yellow clay, sandy, and running into sand at bottom.|
|5||0||Sand and water in veins and pockets in the clay.|
|6||0||Heavy blue clay, like lead. Tough.|
|14||0||Shale, with some sulphuret of iron nodules or boulders.|
|5||0||Hard solid limestone. Compact, heavy, green colour.|
|6||0||Softstone, disintegrating into fire-clay, mixed with pebbles.|
|2||6||Very hard limestone.|
|16||0||Bituminous shale, with nodules of sulphuret of iron.|
|6||0||Sandy shale, with impressions of leaves of plants.|
We had a concert this evening at the "Hassell-house," by the Blakely family. They travel about in a waggon, singing at the towns and villages. This one was well attended. It was advertised for half-past seven, and began at ten minutes to nine, finishing at ten. We were glad of the opportunity to see a local gathering; and were struck with the number of fine-looking men who came to it, accompanied by their pretty wives, sisters, or sweethearts. The music and singing were above mediocrity, and one of the party played admirably on the violin.
Saturday, June 9. -- Amboy, where we are tonight, is a new town of wooden houses, in the midst of the prairie, ninety-eight miles south from Galena. The railway company have a capital hotel here, which led us to select it to remain at over tomorrow. We reached it about three o'clock, from Decatur; which place we left at eight, having, in order to be in time, been knocked up at five o'clock. The distance is 134 miles. Most of this has been through unbroken prairie, with here and there patches of settled country. The feeling of relief with which one escapes from the interminable forests of the middle States, into these boundless "earth-oceans," becomes changed almost to oppression, as you gaze upon the unintermitted expanse of grass, with only here and there a solitary cabin in the wide waste -- a mark to help us in estimating the immense extent of the vast solitude. In one of the most solitary parts of the plain, near Wenona, we saw some prairie-hens. They fly heavily and low, keeping near the ground.
One of the most interesting points on the route today was Lasalle. It is 307Å¾ miles from Cairo, and
394only a little south of the parallel of Chicago. Before approaching it, the country becomes very rough. The railway, for nearly three miles, runs along the side of Big Vermilion river, which here occupies a deep valley, the sides of which are covered with fine wood. The railway keeps the summit of the west bank of this ravine, and there are both cuttings and embankments of some magnitude. The Big Vermilion runs into the Illinois river about two miles above Lasalle; and the bed and bottoms of the Illinois are very broad, and are flanked by the usual high table-lands. The railway crosses these bottoms by a high and long embankment, and the river itself by a superb bridge 2990 feet long, supported on seventeen separate piers, and two land-piers. These piers are of stone, and are well built and substantial. The bridge itself is of wood. It is intended to carry the county road over the river by this bridge, below, and the railway passes above. This and other large American bridges are, in effect, open tubular bridges. In the case of the Lasalle one, the county road is inside the tube, and the railway on the roof of it.
Lasalle and Peru constitute one town of some size, well situated on sloping ground overlooking the Illinois river. Their names do not occur in the census of 1850. They are most important shipping-places, being the western terminus of the Illinois and Michigan canal, and the river hence to St Louis being navigable for large steamers. The Chicago and Rock Island railway crosses here, and connects it with Chicago on the east, and the Upper Mississippi on the west. In 1853, the joint-population of the two towns was given at 6000. This point is the centre of a valuable coal district.
395Immediately north, for about three miles and a half, we pass through a hilly country, full of ravines, in the sides of which, and in the cuttings of the railway, coal crops out. Some of the cuttings are very heavy, and the scenery is very picturesque. The Little Vermilion river flows alongside the railway; and at one point, where it made a narrow bend, the line has been embanked across both its channels, and a new bed made for it. This channel is narrow and deep, but at the water-level it goes through shale, which, being soft, the stream has worn for itself a larger passage in it.
Inlet-creek, a small stream, passes near Amboy; and there is a fine patch of timber on its banks, called Palestine-grove. The town has started, like many other villages along the line of this railway, very suddenly into existence. In November last, there were but two houses, besides farm-buildings, on the spot. To-day, there are one hundred and twenty-five dwelling-houses, independent of stores; and there are a hundred more under contract to be built in the course of the season. The railway company have workshops here, and some 1200 people are already collected on the spot.
They are strange-looking places, these new towns. Streets not being filled up, the houses look as if their arrangement was very much a chance one. The first sign-board which met our gaze was, "Amboy Oyster-saloon," -- reminding one of Broadway. I found out the post-office, wishing to despatch a rather bulky package; but the postmaster had neither letter-scales, nor did he know the rates of postage. However, we found out, by means of a great grocery weighing-machine, that the packet was under six ounces; and
396having a vague notion that the inland-postage was three cents an ounce, I paid eighteen cents, and sent it off to take its chance. It arrived safely in London.
We went straying through the village, and prairie round, and got into conversation with one of the inhabitants. We had been examining a heap of peculiar-looking stone, by the way-side, near a house, at the door of which was this man and his team. He commenced by asking if we liked the look of the stones, or what we thought of them. To which I replied, by asking him if he was going to mend the road with them, as it was not out of need of it. "No! he calculated he'd mix cement with them to floor his cellar." Then he became very communicative, and told us he had a farm three miles off; but he had bought a little lot here, and fetched over a shanty, and meant to stay there, "to look at the Yankees building a town." He told us, all the land out there had been speculated in by the "agent," who was making a good thing of it, -- good prairie-land out here being worth $15, or Å3 per acre.
Out on the prairie, we saw a snake among the grass; but it bolted very quickly into a hole. There were several dead ones all about. One had been crossing the line when a train crossed it, and of course killed it. The cast-off carapaces of a migrating crab were also abundant. We watched a couple of prairie-squirrels, with great interest, for a long time. One was out on the prairie, the other in the wood. They are pretty little creatures, striped with yellow on a dark-brown ground. The first one sat still till we came quite close up to it; then moved leisurely on, and stopped again. We gave it chase, and found it was very swift; still we might have caught it, but it took
397refuge in a hole. I don't know why we chased it. I suppose in pursuance of a natural propensity to do so. If we had caught it, I suppose we should only have petted it a little, probably to its intense terror, and let it go again. But we never thought of that.
The other one, in the wood, ran off a few paces into the bush; then, as we stood still watching it, it came out again, stood up straight on its hind-legs, so as to elevate its head above the grass, and reconnoitred. Then it took two or three steps more, and looked out again. It was very pretty, and exceedingly graceful in its motions. It had large, brilliant, yellow-irised eyes, and a most gracefully-shaped head. One of us made a slight movement, and it scampered off.
We came in about six, just in time to escape a thunder-storm. We went out afterwards to make a purchase, and found the streets converted, like those of Cairo, into temporary lakes. There is no getting about comfortably in these new towns in wet weather. The only place where it is possible to walk with any degree of comfort is the railway-platform; and we have been taking a "constitutional" up and down it, watching the sheet-lightning, which all evening has been, and is still (10 P.M.), playing behind the clouds.
Chapter XLII. Galena -- Dubuque.
MONDAY, June 11. -- We rested at Amboy all yesterday, and came on here to-day. We were joined by esteemed friends from New York, and had a special train to Galena. We passed through some beautiful country to-day, especially in the neighbourhood of Dixon, a prettily-situated town on Rock river. As we approach Galena, the road winds through a very rough and difficult country. It is the commencement of the great mineral region. The railway follows, for a considerable part of the way, the ravine of Fever river (a corruption of La Feve or Bean river, or, as some say, of Le Fevre, an early settler, after whom it was called). Along the whole course of the main ravine, subsidiary ravines open and run into the interior. The face of the bluffs between are rounded off and covered with turf, but broken with numerous rugged masses of rock protruding from amongst the grass-covered surface. These masses of rock are worn by the weather into fantastic shapes, and having usually some bushes or underwood growing in their crevices, they present a very picturesque appearance, and sometimes deceive, with their resemblance to castellated ruins. They are of a very hard fossiliferous limestone of Silurian age. The lead, which forms the staple of this locality,
399is found in veins and masses in the limestone. The interspersed valleys seem capable of rich cultivation. The soil formed by the debris of these limestone rocks is very productive, as is shewn by the exports from Galena.
The town of Galena lies on the north bank of Fever river, while the course of the railway keeps the south side. This awkward arrangement was owing to the townspeople of Galena opposing the railway, thinking it would harm their trade. They are now anxious to have it carried over to their side. Galena is the great centre of the mining district of north Illinois and south-west Wisconsin. Although about six miles from the Mississippi, the Fever river is navigable, so that the trade of Galena extends both north and south. Some notion of this trade may be gathered from the following table of its exports for 1851: --
|Lead (1,417,151 dollars)||lbs. 33,082,190|
|Hides and skins||number-9,326|
The same year, it imported 5,085,684 feet of lumber, and 2,470,500 shingles, besides timber and wood of other descriptions.
The first beginning of Galena was in 1826, and it was then a post 300 miles from the nearest settlement. In 1840, it numbered 1843 inhabitants; and by the census of 1850 it had 6004 in the town,
400besides the settlers at the mines all around. The population of the county is 18,604. The land laid out in farms amounts to 198,150 acres, of which 60,311 are improved.
We arrived at Galena at two, and, as we were not to leave till six, we had time to see the town. We crossed the river by a floating bridge, so lightly made that the passage of two or three persons at a time put it partly under water. We found a large and pretty comfortable hotel, called the Desoto-house, where we dined.
After dinner, the ladies went to rest; and the remainder of our party went out to see a traversing bridge, by which the railway crosses the Fever river. There is a pier on each side, and one in the centre. On the centre pier is balanced a bridge, which, when not in use, is kept up and down stream, so as to enable the steamers to pass and repass. When required for the passage of railway trains, two men can move it into its place by means of a rack and wheel.
The Galena people offered great opposition to the carrying of the railway on to Dunleith. One man owns a piece of ground, a corner of which projects about a foot within the line of rail, just coming off the bridge; he drove a post into it, to obstruct the track, and asked an exorbitant price for the bit of land. The commissioners appointed to value it, fixed the price at $13,500! This the railway company refused to pay, and they curved their track a little way to avoid it. The owner was so enraged at this, that he threatened to shoot the first man who should attempt to lay the rails. However, they were too many for him; and while he went to get help, the rails were laid, and he did not venture to take them up. Then he declared he would shoot the engineer who should venture to
401take a train over. This, too, turned out to be mere braggadocio; as the mail passed last night, and our train to-night -- which was the first regular train -- met with no obstruction.
We then went to see a mine near the railway station. It is on the face of the hill. A shanty is built in a little recess hollowed in the hill. Behind the house, between it and the rocks, is a small well about ten feet deep, from the bottom of which the lode is driven into the hill. It is said to be a good lode, but unfortunately for us the miner had gone up to St. Paul's, and the inhabitant of the shanty, who keeps the key of the mine, had gone out to see a friend; so we could not get in.
Recrossing the river, we got up on the hill behind the town, ascending so far by a steep street, and then by a rough wooden stair of 105 steps. We sat down on a grassy bank, and had a superb view of the city and surrounding country. The city is built in a small crescent-shaped hollow, amidst the hills, and is very picturesque. Manufactories and business-houses occupy the flat portion of the site; while dwelling-houses, with often little gardens attached to them, are perched on the sides of the hills, which surround it on every side. These first rise in bluffs from the river, then recede, leaving a table-land, beyond which they rise in the distance into hills. All the steep faces of these bluffs, and they are very steep, are roughened with protruding masses of limestone, full of fossils. The lead is said to be found in a reddish matrix, which occurs sometimes near the surface, and sometimes in veins in the limestone.
At six we re-assembled at the railway station, and on the arrival of the train from Chicago, were joined once
402more by our companion who left us at Cincinnati. Mr. J. G. Kohl was with him, and Mr. Johnson; and with our party thus swollen to eight, we started for Dubuque. My attention was sadly distracted between the beautiful country, and hearing and telling what had happened to us since we parted on the 18th May. After passing through one deep rock-cutting, the railway keeps south-west for about three miles, along the winding banks of the Fever river. These are finely varied with woods and smooth grassy meadows. A lagoon of the Mississippi is then reached, and the remainder of the course of the railway lies north-west along its banks, thirteen miles to Dunleith. The railway occupies a ledge near the bottom of the bluffs, or, steep sides that slope from the table-land, which is the general level of the country, to the alluvial meadows through which the rivers run. These meadows or "bottoms" are smooth, covered with rich grass, and interspersed with clumps of wood. In this region we begin to find the "oak-openings" which give their peculiar beauty to the Iowa, and more western prairies. These "oak-openings" are forest-glades, undulating plains covered with close, rich turf, and dotted all over with fine groups of well-grown oak-trees; the general appearance resembling a well-kept English park, though in extent seemingly boundless.
Dunleith, the terminal station, is laid out partly on the meadow land by the bank of the river, and partly on the bluffs above. There is ample space for warehouses and a business town on the river level, while the finely varied banks above afford most eligible sites for dwelling-houses. A large hotel has been erected, and a few houses are collecting around it. The freighthouse of the railway company is a substantial stone
403building, built with several floors, to suit the varying state of the river. Sanguine hopes are entertained of a large town springing up at Dunleith. At present the business is concentrated at Dubuque, on the opposite shore of the Mississippi.
Dubuque is the capital of Dubuque county, Iowa. It is 424 miles above St. Louis. It was settled as a hunting-post by the French Canadians in 1686. Its population in 1850 was 4701, and is now over 8000. It is the centre of a most productive district of lead mines, and it has a large trade with the north and the interior. Already St. Paul's, 300 miles up the Mississippi, has a population of nigh 3000, and other towns to the west and north-west are rising up rapidly.
We arrived about seven, and the scene was enchanting. The bold eastern bluff overlooked a broad reach of the "father of waters," stretching both upwards and downwards, smooth and clear; opposite, lay the town of Dubuque, nestled in a receding hollow, embraced by hills, and almost lost in their shade. To crown all, the sun was going down behind the distant hills of Iowa, lighting up as he departed the few fleecy clouds that were floating in the sky, and imparting a sort of fairy light to the whole scene. Such was the picture we gazed on from the deck of the small steamer which carried us across the mighty Mississippi. Our New York friends went to stay with a nephew resident here, and we found very good quarters at the Jullien-house. It was late before we separated, and more than