Pictures and Illustrations.
Journey from New Orleans to New York, by the Mississippi, Ohio, Falls of Niagara, etc.
On my return from Mexico to England, in the spring of the present year, I was induced, by the representation of an American friend, to pass through the United States by way of New Orleans, up the Mississippi and Ohio, by lake Erie, the falls of Niagara, the Erie canal, and Hudson river, to New York, as by this route the tedious sea voyage would be much shortened, with the advantage of affording me the view of a large and interesting portion of North America, without losing time, or adding much to the expense; nearly the whole journey being now performed by commodious steam and tow boats on the rivers, lakes, and canals in the interior of the states.
We sailed from Vera Cruz on the 20th of March, in the small American schooner General Warren; our little cabin contained a motley group of eighteen persons, natives of France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and North America — myself and wife being the only natives of England. The morning after we sailed, we had the misfortune to find that one of our party, a Spanish merchant, who came on board unwell, had brought among us that terrible malady, the black vomitta, so fatal to strangers in this part of the world. We were without medical assistance, and the sufferings of the unfortunate man were dreadful; to add to our distress, the weather, which was unfavourable on our first sailing, had settled into one of those gales so well known in the Gulf of Mexico by the name of Northers, so that we were compelled to confine ourselves to the cabin with the invalid.
120On the sixth day from our leaving land he expired, and was committed to the deep.
On the following morning we made land, and in the evening entered one of the mouths of the Mississippi, about [vi] 100 miles below New Orleans. The wind being adverse, we cast anchor on those muddy banks covered with reeds, which here commence the great swamp, or wilderness, that composes this part of the United States, and which, though extremely fertile, and under a fine climate, is a most dangerous district for the residence of strangers, at the close of the summer, and during the autumn, the miasma, or insalubrity of the air at those periods, generating a disease, similar to that so prevalent, and so fatal at Vera Cruz. The next morning a fine steam tow-boat of 300 tons, that we had passed the evening before, outside the bar, whilst taking out the cargo of a stranded vessel, came up, and took us, and another schooner in tow, and proceeded up the river against wind and current to New Orleans, where we arrived the following morning.
The woody flats that confined, or rather marked, the river on both sides, as far as the eye could trace, were overgrown with reeds, and other aquatic plants, which appeared springing up amidst millions of whole trees, with their roots and branches, which had been brought down with the floods, from the sides of the rivers of the interior, 1000 miles above, and deposited here, on the shallow mud-banks. In some instances young trees were springing from these old trunks, and thus, with the alluvial deposit surrounding them, were increasing the territory of the United States in the Gulf of Mexico.
As we advanced farther up the river, we observed places where some of the choicest of these dead trees had been pulled on shore, and negroes were employed in splitting them for firewood, or sawing them into boards. The
121recollection of the sufferings of the poor in many parts of Europe, from the want of fuel, cannot but excite regret, at the sight of such abundance of timber, wasting here in decay. For many miles the ground does not admit of cultivation or settlement, but, travelling onward, about noon we observed trees which began to increase in size, and to assume the appearance of low woods, which, however, seemed to spring from the water; not a spot of dry land being visible across these vast marshes, even from the lofty and ample deck of the steam-boat.
About twelve leagues above the entrance from the sea, we came in sight of Fort Jackson, now erecting on the left side of the river, on the first solid ground we had yet observed; and on the other side Fort Philip, on which the American flag was flying.
The ground from hence began to improve; we passed several houses, and, as we came opposite the site of the battle in which [vii] the British army was defeated by General Jackson, during the late war, the banks of the river assumed the appearance of the neighbourhood of a populous city.
122the ladies in their habits were distinctly visible. A few minutes brought us in sight of the city of New Orleans, where the river was crowded with commercial vessels from all nations, the majority of which, however, were from England. We immediately landed, and found ourselves in the midst of a well built street, nearly choked up with bales of cotton. Here were handsome shops, filled with well dressed people, in the European costumes, the ladies in the fashions of London and Paris. The English language being generally spoken, produced that unexpected delight, which could only be felt by Britons, who, like ourselves, had been long absent from our native land, and residents of such a country as Mexico. We had an introduction to a respectable boarding-house, kept by an English lady, whose politeness and attention shortly made us feel ourselves at home. We remained a week in this commercial city, and saw whatever was deemed worth seeing; but, as the city has been so well described by the Rev. Timothy Flint, in his "Recollections of the Last Ten Years spent in the Valley of the Mississippi,"
"One hundred miles from the mouth of the Mississippi, and something more than a thousand from the mouth of the Ohio, just below a sharp point of the river, is situated on its east bank, the city of New Orleans, the great commercial capital of the Mississippi valley. The position for a commercial city is unrivalled, I believe, by any one in the world. At a proper distance from the Gulf of Mexico — on the banks of a stream which may be said almost to water a world — but a little distance from Lake Ponchartrain, and connected with it by a navigable canal — the immense alluvion contiguous to it — penetrated in all directions either by bayous formed by nature, or canals which cost little more
123trouble in the making than ditches — steam-boats visiting it from fifty different shores — possessing the immediate agriculture of its own state, the richest in America, and as rich as any in the world, with the continually increasing agriculture of the upper country, its position far surpasses that of New York itself. [viii] It has one dreary drawback — the insalubrity of its situation. Could the immense swamps between it and the bluffs be drained, and the improvements commenced in the city be completed; in short, could its atmosphere ever become a dry one, it would soon leave the greatest cities of the Union behind.
"Great efforts are making towards this result. Unhappily, when the dog star rises upon its sky, the yellow fever is but too sure to come in its train. Notwithstanding the annual, or at least the biennial visits of this pestilence; although its besom sweeps off multitudes of unacclimated poor, and compels the rich to fly; notwithstanding the terror, that is every where associated with the name of the city, it is rapidly advancing in population. When I visit the city, after the absence of a season, I discover an obvious change. New buildings have sprung up, and new improvements are going on. Its regular winter population, between forty and fifty thousand inhabitants, is five times the amount which it had when it came under the American government. The external form of the city on the river side is graduated in some measure to the curve of the river. The street that passes along the leveé, and conforms to the course of the river, is called Leveé-street, and is the one in which the greatest and most active business of the city is transacted. The upper part of the city is principally built and inhabited by Americans, and is called the ‘Fauxbourg St. Mary.’
124number of the houses in this fauxbourg are of brick, and built in the American style. In this quarter are the Presbyterian church and the new theatre. The ancient part of the city, as you pass down Leveé-street towards the Cathedral, has in one of the clear, bright January mornings, that are so common at that season, an imposing and brilliant aspect. There is something fantastic and unique in the appearance, I am told, far more resembling European cities, than any other in the United States. The houses are stuccoed externally, and this stucco is white or yellow, and strikes the eye more pleasantly than the dull and sombre red of brick. There can be no question, but the American mode of building is at once more commodious, and more solid and durable, than the French and Spanish; but I think the latter have the preference in the general effect upon the eye. Young as the city is, the effect of this humid climate, operating upon the mouldering materials, of which the buildings [ix] are composed, has already given it the aspect of age, and to the eye, it would seem the most ancient city in the United States. The streets are broad, and the plan of the city is perfectly rectangular and uniform. There are in the limits of the city three malls, or parade grounds, of no great extent, and not yet sufficiently shaded, though young trees are growing in them. They serve as parade grounds, and in the winter have a beautiful carpet of clover, of a most brilliant green. Royal and Charter streets are the most fashionable and splendid in the city. The parade ground, near the basin, which is a harbour, dug out to receive the lake vessels, is the most beautiful of the parades."
"In respect to the manners of the people, those of the French citizens partake of their general national character. They have here their characteristic politeness and urbanity; and it may be remarked, that ladies of the highest standing will show courtesies that would not comport with the ideas of
125dignity entertained by the ladies at the North. In their convivial meetings there is apparently a great deal of cheerful familiarity, tempered, however, with the most scrupulous observances, and title most punctilious decorum. They are the same gay, dancing, spectacle-loving race, that they are every where else. It is well known that the Catholic religion does not forbid amusements on the Sabbath. They fortify themselves in defending the custom of going to balls and the theatre on the Sabbath, by arguing that religion ought to inspire cheerfulness, and that cheerfulness is associated with religion."
"The Americans come hither from all the states. Their object is to accumulate wealth, and spend it somewhere else. But death — which they are very little disposed to take into the account — often brings them up before their scheme is accomplished. They have, as might be expected of an assemblage from different regions, mutual jealousies, and mutual dispositions to figure in each other's eyes; of course the New Orleans people are gay, gaudy in their dress, houses, furniture, and equipage, and rather fine than in the best taste.
There are sometimes fifty steam-boats lying in the harbour. A clergyman from the North made with me the best enumeration that we could, and we calculated that there were [x] from twelve to fifteen hundred flat boats lying along the river. They would average from forty to sixty tons burden. The number of vessels in the harbour from autumn to spring is very great. More cotton is shipped from this port than from any other in America, or perhaps in the world. I could never have formed a conception of the amount in any other way, than by seeing the immense piles of it that fill the streets, as the crop is coming in. It is well known that the amount of sugar raised and shipped here is great, and increasing. The produce from the upper country has no limits to the
126extent of which it is capable; and the commerce of this important city goes on steadily increasing.
This city exhibits the greatest variety of costume, and foreigners; French, Spanish, Portuguese, Irish in shoals; in short, samples of the common people of all the European nations, Creoles, all the intermixtures of Negro and Indian blood, the moody and ruminating Indians, the inhabitants of the Spanish provinces, and a goodly woof to this warp, of boatmen, ‘half horse and half alligator;’ and more languages are spoken here than in any other town in America. There is a sample, in short, of every thing. In March the town is most filled; the market shows to the greatest advantage; the citizens boast of it, and are impressed with the opinion that it far surpasses any other. In effect this is the point of union between the North and the South. The productions of all climes find their way hither, and for fruits and vegetables, it appears to me to be unrivalled. In a pleasant March forenoon, you see, perhaps, half the city here. The crowd covers half a mile in extent. The negroes, mulattoes, French, Spanish, Germans, are all crying their several articles in their several tongues. They have a wonderful faculty of twanging the sound through their noses, as shrill as the notes of a trumpet. In the midst of this Babel trumpeting, ‘un picalion, un picalion,’ is the most distinguishable tune."
"The communications from this city with the interior, are easy, pleasant, and rapid, by the steam-boats. More than a hundred are now on these waters. Some of them, for size, accommodation, and splendour, exceed any that I have seen on the Atlantic waters. The Washington, Feliciana, Providence, Natchez, and various others, are beautiful and commodious boats. The fare is sumptuous, and passages are comparatively cheap. I have also uniformly found the passengers [xi] obliging and friendly. Manners are not so distant or stately as at the North; and it is much
127easier to become acquainted with your fellow passengers. A trip up the Mississippi at the proper season of the year is delightful."
The vicinity of New Orleans is not interesting, and the roads and drives but few, owing to the swamp in which it is placed. We went in a carriage to lake Ponchartrain, about three miles distant, where we procured a few interesting fresh-water shells; but, in general, the subjects of natural history, which I had lately seen, had not much novelty to recommend them.
I must not omit stating, that, in one of my rambles, in a small street, near the steam-boat landing, I saw on a sign, in large letters, "Big Bone Museum." This excited my curiosity, and I expected to see mammoth-bones, as the banks, past which the water of this river rolls, had produced a great number of those surprising remains. I therefore entered, and was indeed astonished at the sight, not of the remains of a mammoth, but what are believed to be those of a stupendous crocodile, and which, indeed, are likely to prove so, intimating the former existence of a lizard, at least 150 feet long; for I measured the right side of the under jaw, which I found to be 21 feet along the curve, and 4 feet 6 inches wide; the others consisted of numerous vertebrae, ribs, femoral bones, and toes, all corresponding in size to the jaw; there were also some teeth, these, however, were not of proportionate magnitude; but the person who found them (W. S. Schofield), assured me that he had also discovered another tooth, similar to the rest, but considerably larger, which had been clandestinely taken from his exhibition-room. These remains were discovered, a short time since, in the swamp near Fort Philip, and the other parts of the mighty skeleton, are, it is said, in the same part of the swamp.
On my hinting the probability that these bones might have belonged to a species of whale, Mr. S. gave me such
128reasons, on the authority of an intelligent zoologist, and comparative anatomist, who was preparing to give the world a description of them, as convinced me, that my conjecture was without foundation. I offered a considerable sum for these immense remains, but the proprietor refused to part with them, assuring me that it was his intention to procure the remainder of them, and then take them to Europe.
On the 3rd of April we left New Orleans, in the beautiful [xii] steam-boat George Washington, of 375 tons, built at Cincinnati, and certainly the finest fresh-water vessel I had seen. River boats, like these, possess the advantage of not having to contend with the ocean storms, as ours have, and are therefore built in a different manner, having three decks or stories above water. The accommodations are much larger, and farther removed from the noise, heat, and motion of the machinery; wood being the only fuel made use of, they are consequently not incommoded by the effects of the dense smoke, so annoying in some of our steam vessels. The accommodations are excellent, and the cabins furnished in the most superb manner. None of the sleeping rooms have more than two beds. The principal are on the upper story, and a gallery and verandah extends entirely round the vessel, affording ample space for exercise, sheltered from sun and rain, and commanding, from its height, a fine view of the surrounding scenery, without being incommoded by the noise of the crew passing overhead. The meals furnished in these vessels are excellent, and served in a superior style. The ladies have a separate cabin, with female attendants, and laundresses; there are, also, a circulating library, a smoking and drinking room for the gentlemen, with numerous offices for servants, &c. &c. They generally stop twice a day to take in wood for the engine, when fresh milk and other necessaries are procured, and the passengers may land for a short time. The voyage before
129the introduction of steam, was attended with much risk and labour, and occupied ninety days, from New Orleans to Cincinnati, for small vessels; the same voyage (1600 miles) is now performed, with the greatest ease and safety, in eleven or twelve days, against the stream, and the descent between the above places is done in seven days; each vessel taking several hundred passengers, besides her cargo of merchandise. The rate of travelling is extremely moderate in proportion to the advantages of the accommodation. We paid about 8l. each from New Orleans to Louisville (1500 miles), which includes every expense of living, servants, &c. In ascending this magnificent river, the Mississippi, of which the Ohio may be considered a continuation, is navigable for the largest vessels, at high water, from the Gulf of Mexico to Pittsburgh (2212 miles). The traveller is now enabled, without the least danger or fatigue, to traverse the otherwise almost impassable and trackless wilderness, and wilds, that bound the western states of America, and this, without leaving his comfortable [xiii] apartment, from the windows of which he can enjoy the constantly varying scenery, so new to European travellers.
On leaving New Orleans, in ascending the river, the country, still the same continuous flat, is enriched and enlivened by a succession of pretty houses and plantations, with each a small negro town near them, as well as the sugar-houses, gardens, and summer-houses, which give the idea of wealth and industry. For sixty miles the banks present the appearance of one continued village, skirted with plantations of cotton, sugar-cane, and rice, for about two miles from the river, bounded in the rear, by the uncultivated swamps and woods. The boat proceeds continually near the shore on one side or the other, and attracts the inhabitants to the front of their neat houses, placed amidst orange groves, and shaded with vines and beautiful evergreens. I was surprised
130to see the swarms of children of all colours that issued from these abodes. In infancy, the progeny of the slave, and that of his master, seem to know no distinction; they mix in their sports, and appear as fond of each other, as the brothers and sisters of one family; but in activity, life, joy, and animal spirits, the little negro, unconscious of his future situation, seems to me to enjoy more pleasure in this period of his existence, than his pale companions. The sultry climate of Louisiana, perhaps, is more congenial to the African constitution, than to that of the European.
The next morning we arrived at Baton Rouge,
Natches is a pleasantly situated town, on rather a steep
131hill, about half a mile from the landing place, where are many stores and public houses. The boat remained here an hour, and we ascended to the upper town, a considerable place, with a town-house, and several good streets and well-furnished shops, in which we purchased some books. This place exports much cotton, and the planters are said to be rich. It commands a fine prospect over the river and surrounding country. It has been tried as a summer residence by some of the inhabitants of New Orleans, but the scourges of this part of America (fever and ague) extend their ravages for more than 1000 miles higher up. A partial elevation of ground, in an unhealthy district, has been proved to be more pernicious, than even the level itself. From hence, to the junction of the Ohio, there is little to interest the stranger, excepting the diversity of wood and water. The ground rises in some places, though with little variety, till you pass the junction of the Ohio, 1253 miles from the sea.
132the degree experienced lower down. The streets are spacious and regular, the houses mostly of brick, and the shops and stores large, and well filled with merchandise. The falls of the Ohio, which are at this place, excepting at high water, prevent large vessels from passing up; we therefore left the Washington, and embarked in a smaller vessel, above the falls. On our road up from Shippingport, [xv] at the foot of the falls, we had an opportunity of examining the fine canal and locks, now constructing at great expense, to enable vessels of all dimensions to navigate the river at all seasons. It is a great work, and calculated to be of considerable advantage to this country.
On leaving Louisville, the magnificence of the American rivers and scenery seemed to commence. In no part of the world, that I have seen, are these surpassed in grandeur, or variety, every mile affording a perpetual change. The trees attain here an altitude, and size, unknown in Europe, and their diversity of form and colour, formed a contrast with the monotonous green of the wilderness below. Among the snowlike blossom of the dog-wood, and bright scarlet of the red-bud, which were conspicuous in the woods that now covered the sloping banks of the river, the openings between, at intervals, exhibited rich pasture lands, with comfortable farm-houses, surrounded with gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and convinced the traveller, that he had left the regions of swamps and marshes, fevers and agues, and arrived at those of hill and dale, pasturage and health. We now saw greater numbers of land and water fowl. The beautiful little summer duck was plentiful — we shot several; and the black vulture was occasionally seen. In our passage up the river we had [xvi] not unfrequently seen alligators, but now they entirely disappeared. We now found the cottages comfortably furnished, and surrounded by small gardens; the inhabitants possess numerous hogs and cattle. We passed several respectable dwellings, with luxuriant orchards and vineyards, that announced our approach to a more cultivated and richer population than we had before seen.
When within a mile of Cincinnati, the elegant house and extensive estate, called Elmwood, the residence of Thomas D. Carneal, Esq. was pointed out to me, by a gentleman of the country, as one of the finest residences in that part of America. Passing the powder-works, and the bridge over the Deer creek, a few minutes brought us opposite the city, where we saw the glass-houses, paper-mills, foundries, and other demonstrations of a flourishing, and rising
134commercial and manufacturing city. It was Easter Sunday, and the landing was crowded with respectable, well-dressed people. We had only a minute to view the front of this part of the city, with the steam-boat landing, and the villages of Newport and Covington on the opposite side, before we were landed, and introduced to Col. Mack, proprietor of the principal hotel; an establishment of order, regularity, and comfort, that would do credit to any city of Europe. The number and respectability of its guests, proved at once, the estimation in which it was held in the country. The dinner-bell summoned us at two o'clock, and we found an assemblage of about seventy ladies and gentlemen; the former at the head of the table, with Mrs. Mack, while the colonel was on his feet, attending to the wants of his guests, and seeing that the waiters were attending to their duty. The dinner was such, that an epicure, from whatever part of the world he might have arrived, would have had little cause to complain, as in no part of my travels have I seen a table spread with more profusion, or better served; the only occasion of complaint with an Englishman would arise from the want of warm plates, and a little more time to have enjoyed the repast, twenty minutes only being allowed by the industrious habits of this part of America, for their principal meal. Little wine is used at the dinner-table; the guests, being principally merchants, who prefer this mode of living, to housekeeping, return immediately to their stores, or counting-houses, with a better relish for business than is usually found after the enjoyment of the bottle. I should have stated, that, before dinner, we underwent the undeviating [xvii] ceremony of introduction to the principal guests, who were assembled in the drawing-room. In no part of the old Continent that I have visited, are strangers treated with more attention, politeness, and respect, than in Cincinnati; and where, indeed, can an Englishman forget that he is not at
135home, except in the United States? In most other regions, he must forego many early habits, prejudices, and propensities, and accommodate himself to others, perhaps, diametrically opposite; he must disguise or conceal his religious or political opinions; must forget his native language, and acquire fluency in another, before he can make even his wants known, or his wishes understood; but here the same language and fashion, as in his own, prevail in every state; indeed it is necessary for him to declare himself a foreigner, to be known as such; and I have always found this declaration a passport to increased attention and kindness, for every man in this land of freedom enjoys his opinions unmolested. Not having the slightest intention of stopping at any town on my way to New York, I was without any introductions; but this deficiency, by no means prevented my receiving the usual benefit of the hospitality of the inhabitants, which was such, as to induce us, at first, to remain a few days, and ultimately, probably, to end our lives with them.
My first ramble on the morning after my arrival was to the market, at an early hour, where a novel and interesting sight presented itself. Several hundred waggons, tilted with white canvas, and each drawn by three or four horses, with a pole, in a similar manner to our coaches, were backed against the pavement, or footway, of the market-place, the tailboard, or flap of the waggon, turned down, so as to form a kind of counter, and convert the body of the carriage into a portable shop, in which were seated the owners, amidst the displayed produce of their farms; the whole having something of the appearance of an extensive encampment, arranged in perfect order. It was the first time I had seen an American market, and if I was surprised at the arrangement, I was much more so, at the prices of the articles, as well as at their superior quality. For a hind quarter of mutton, thirteen-pence was demanded; a turkey, that would have
136borne a comparison with the best Christmas bird from Norfolk, the same price; fowls, three-pence to four-pence each; a fine roasting pig, ready for the spit, one shilling and three-pence; beef, three-halfpence per pound; pork, one penny per pound; butter, [xviii] cheese, Indian corn, wheaten flour, and every other article in the same proportion.
The fish market was equally good and reasonable; and the vegetables as excellent as the season would allow; the asparagus in particular, superior in goodness and size to that exposed at Covent Garden, and at less than one-fourth of its price.
It was not the season for fruits, but, from the best information I could obtain, they were on a par with the other productions of the country. Melons, grapes, peaches, and apples, are said to be equal to those of any part of the states, and are sold also at a proportionate price. Dried fruits of various sorts were plentiful, as well as apples, and chesnuts of last year: taking the market altogether, I know of none equal to it; yet, this was considered to be the dearest period of the year; game and venison were not to be had.
In the afternoon I accompanied some gentlemen to view the environs. We descended the Ohio, in a small wherry, about half a mile below the city, and landed on the Kentucky side, at the foot of one of those hills, that together form a sort of amphitheatre, in which Cincinnati stands. From the side of this hill, a complete view of the whole neighbourhood is obtained. The town, with its domes, churches, and public buildings, lay at our feet. The extended prospect reminded us strongly of the view from Richmond Hill; the same delightful variety of hill and dale, enriched by the windings of the tranquil Ohio, with its various vessels for pleasure and commerce. Its gently swelling hills, however, are covered with wood and forests, which have no equal in Europe; even the charms of art and refinement are not
137wanting to complete the scene, as the elegant white villas of many of the more opulent inhabitants, already make their appearance in the most romantic situations in the vicinity.
Every hour spent in this place, every adjacent excursion, every comparison made between its site, and all others that I was acquainted with, served more strongly to convince me, that, for the industrious peasant, artizan, manufacturer, or other person, with a small income, arising from capital, no situation I had seen, embraced so many advantages for a place of residence, as this rising and prosperous little city; which, springing from the wilderness, has attained its present state of opulence and distinction within a few years, through the commercial spirit and industry of its inhabitants, aided by the [xix] advantages of its local situation, and the introduction of steam power. To these may be added, its extremely healthy site, and salubrity of climate (not an instance of fever, or ague, being there known); the richness of its soil, the overflowing plenty, and unparalleled cheapness of the necessaries, as well as the luxuries of life; the industry, the kindness and urbanity of its inhabitants to strangers; the benefits derived from its public institutions, and the excellent society it affords, from the liberty and freedom of opinion being enjoyed under its mild government; from the employment given to industry and labour; and from the interest derived from capital, which is here increased to treble what it is in Europe, whilst the expense of living is not one-third of what it is there, and taxes are scarcely felt. All these advantages considered, I know of no place that bears comparison with Cincinnati. Impressed by so many inviting circumstances, all conspiring to the favourite object of my pursuit, I determined to collect my family together, and make this rising city my permanent abode.
A few days afterwards we were invited to spend a day at Elmwood, the house of Thomas D. Carneal, Esq., a member
138of the Kentucky legislature, whose residence I mentioned, on our arrival at Cincinnati. The estate, or farm, as it is here called, consists of about 1000 acres, part of which is as fine arable land as ever was ploughed, and part rich pasture land. It commences nearly opposite the town, on the Kentucky side, stretches about two miles and a half along the banks of the Ohio, and is about eight miles in circumference. It is scarcely possible to find a more beautiful, fertile, or healthy spot. A ride round its boundaries, embraces every variety of landscape. Its general feature is level, gently rising from the river into undulatory hill and valley, resembling the finest part of the county of Devon, excepting, that the portion farthest from the river is clothed with woods, to which, from the size of the trees, their beauty, and variety, nothing in Europe can compare. The prospect from the hill and house, over this part of the valley of Ohio, the noble river winding through it, enlivened by the passing steam-boats, with colours waving, and signal guns echoing from the surrounding hills; its floating arks, laden with stores for the settlers on the shores, besides the sailing and fishing boats; on one side of the river, the beautiful rising city, with domes, pinnacles, public buildings and manufactories, and on the other bank, the villages of Newport and Covington; together form [xx] such a view, as would require a much abler pen than mine to do justice to.
Mr. Carneal, who is a considerable landholder, selected this desirable spot for his abode, and, at considerable expense, about six years since, erected the elegant mansion he now resides in. It is considered the completest residence in the country, and built of stone and brick, after his own designs, with three handsome fronts. The lofty apartments, which it contains, in point of beauty or convenience, are surpassed by few, even in the Atlantic cities, as no expense was spared for its completion. It is surrounded by
139every requisite for a gentleman's country-house, domestics' houses, barns, stables, coach-house, ice-house, dairy, &c. &c.
I have not, since I left England, seen a house so completely furnished with all the elegancies and refinements of society, nor a more hospitable and abundant board, which is wholly supplied from his own grounds. Better beef and mutton could not be desired. Game is so plentiful, that it is easily and abundantly procured within half a mile of the house. Fish of the finest kinds, in great variety, are taken in the Ohio, within a still shorter distance, and kept alive in pens on the banks, and a well-stored kitchen-garden, orchard, and vineyard, of twenty-five acres, planted with all the best vegetables, and fruit of the United States, contribute to the general stock; in short, every necessary and luxury of life, excepting tea and coffee, is produced on the estate. The house is situated on a gentle acclivity, about 150 yards from the river, with beautiful pleasure grounds in front, laid out with taste, and decorated with varieties of magnificent plants, and flowers, to which we are yet strangers; it commands a full view of the river, and all that passes on it. A more desirable spot for a family residence, perhaps, is scarcely to be found. The great variety of beautiful birds that are found here, much enliven the scene. The first night I passed in this elegant retreat, the mocking-bird, with its lucid, ever-varying notes, continuing until dawn, kept me awake for some time with its melody; and in the morning, ere sunrise, the redbird, or Virginian nightingale, was chanting his morning hymn, close to my bed-room window. It continued so long, that I suspected, what proved to be the case, its nest and young were concealed in the honeysuckle on which he was singing. Another variety of honeysuckle in front of the house, within ten feet of the door, was the constant resort of the ruby-throated [xxi] humming birds, one of the smallest of that diminutive family, whose various
140evolutions, performed with the quickness of light, the eye finds it difficult to follow. The beautiful blue jay is so common, as to be troublesome. The orange and black oriole, that makes the remarkable pendant nest, is here by no means scarce; its note is charming. Several varieties of woodpecker are seen close to the house, and wild ducks were hourly on the horse-pond, whilst the farm-yard abounds with wild pigeon, as tame as our domestic ones; and the quail, nearly as large as our partridge, swarmed in the gardens, orchards, and pleasure grounds. The children of the family had their pet tame deer; and a pair of the gigantic elk, or wappetti (nearly the size of horses), ranged through the meadows, and returned to the house, at milking-hours, with the cows. A few weeks before, Mr. Carneal had parted with a pair of American buffaloes, or Bonassus,
Shortly after my return from Elmwood, I was informed that Mr. Carneal was on the point of changing his residence, and that the whole would be sold. I could not resist the temptation of knowing the price, and, after a few days' consideration, I became the purchaser.
I now went to reside as a visitor with Mr. C., and remained a fortnight in examining the property, and every day became more satisfied with my acquisition. I found on it, every requisite for building; the finest timber, abundance of stone and lime, with gravel, sand, clay, &c. It appeared to me, that a finer site for building a small town of retirement, in the vicinity of a populous manufacturing city, could scarcely exist. I made a little model of the land, and determined to have it laid out to the best possible advantage, with professional assistance, on my arrival in England, and prepared to
141return home to collect my family, and those of my friends, whose limited incomes made such a removal as I contemplated convenient, and, on June 2, took my departure in a stage, that had just commenced running on a new road to Sandusky, on Lake Erie. The distance is 200 miles; but in consequence of the rain, which had been considerable, the road naturally bad and new, was worse than usual, and it took us four days to perform it. This was the only part of the journey through America (2400 miles) that we travelled by land. We passed, in many places, through fine cultivated [xxii] lands, with neat little towns and villages; but the greater part lay through a new country of dense forest, where the axe had scarcely cleared a sufficient passage for the coach. At one place, where we were to spend the night, the establishment was only three weeks old; in that time, the family, who had come some distance, had erected three log-houses, and placed their furniture and effects therein; yet, our entertainment was by no means bad. The poor hostess, who never had so much company under her roof, did all in her power to make us comfortable; and our party, which consisted of eight persons, three of whom were ladies, were in perfect good humour, notwithstanding their new situation. When we arrived at the latter end of our journey, we saw some fine lands destitute of woods, but interspersed with small clumps, resembling those in some of the parks of our nobility; they were the reserved possessions of the Indians, when they sold the adjoining country to the commissioners of the United States. We wished to have entered some of their houses, which were well built, with sash windows and shingle roofs, but were told, that in general they avoided receiving the visits of white strangers. Many of them were wealthy, as appeared from their fine cultivated fields, and large herds of cattle and horses. Near one village, we met a young Indian driving a handsome waggon, drawn
142by four remarkably fine oxen, which would have done credit to any English gentleman; the youth was well dressed, and passed our carriage with a look that sufficiently marked his consequence. In the course of the day we saw near the road several wild turkeys, whose splendid plumage, glittering in the sun, far excelled in appearance those of the domestic ones. We also conversed with several Indians, some of whom were on horseback, armed with rifles; they were civil, and seemed pleased at the notice we took of them. A squaw, with her son behind her, accompanied us some miles. Her dress was a loose blue cloth coat, with scarlet pantaloons, black beaver hat and feathers, and her face was painted bright red. We arrived at Sandusky in the evening, and found a steam-boat just starting for Buffalo;
Buffalo, with its canals, as we entered, reminded us strongly of certain Dutch towns. It is a place of considerable size, and, like all we now passed, has risen to its present opulence in a few years, principally from its commercial
143situation at the junction of the Erie canal and lake.
We were early on foot the next morning, to see the town. This being the day, on which the surviving Indians of the Six Nations receive their annuity from the United States' Government, for the lands which they ceded to them, numbers of them were early in town, and made a very respectable appearance. Most of the men wore fashionable frocks of broad cloth, and black beaver hats; their Indian boots only distinguishing them from the "new people." The women also were, in general, decently clad, each having a black hat and feathers; the upper part of the hat, decorated with a kind of fringe, composed of several hundred small pieces of silver, formed a contrast with the blanket, which some of them wore. We noticed one woman, with her infant tightly swathed to a board, which was fastened to her back, and were sorry to observe, the too visible effects of whiskey on her, and her companions, even at so early an hour. After breakfast we were provided with a coach to Rockport,
144whose rising clouds of misty spray had been visible for some [xxiv] time. These wondrous objects of nature are seen to advantage from the balcony and roof of the inn; they are considered the finest in the world, and exceed in magnitude any thing I had ever seen; nevertheless, having heard, and read so much of them, my expectation was so raised, that a slight degree of disappointment was mixed with my admiration of the extraordinary scene. After dinner we walked out to examine these far-famed "leaping waters," and every view, served to heighten our admiration. Their extent and size are amazing; but the falls on some of the Swedish lakes, and on the river Dorgo, in Norway, created more surprise in me, from my beholding them unexpectedly.
The short account of this natural curiosity, in the American Northern Traveller, seems to me to be the most concise and correct;
"Following a footpath through the pasture behind Forsyth's, the stranger soon finds himself on the steep brow of the second bank, and the mighty cataract of Niagara suddenly opens beneath him. A path leads away to the left, down the bank, to the verge of the cataract; and another to the right, which offers a drier walk, and presents a more agreeable and varied scene.
The surface of the rocks is so perfectly flat near the falls, and the water descends so considerably over the rapids just before it reaches the precipice, that it seems a wonder the place where you stand is not overflown. Probably the water is restrained only by the direction of the current, as a little lateral pressure would be sufficient to flood the elevated level beside it, where, there can be no question, the course of the river once lay.
TABLE ROCK is a projection a few yards from the
145cataract, which commands a fine view of this magnificent scenery. Indeed it is usually considered the finest point of view.
It may be recommended to the traveller to visit this place as often as he can, and to view it from every neighbouring point; as every change of light exhibits it under a different and interesting aspect. The rainbows are to be seen, from this side, only in the afternoon; but at that time the clouds of mist, which are continually rising from the gulf below, often present them in the utmost beauty.
Dr. Dwight gives the following estimates, in his Travels, of the quantity of water which passes the cataract of Niagara.
The most sublime scene is presented to the observer when he views the cataract from below; and there he may have an opportunity of going under the cataract. This scene is represented in one of the plates. To render the descent
147practicable, a spiral staircase has been formed a little way from Table Rock, supported by a tall mast; and the stranger descends without fear, because his view is confined. On reaching the bottom, a rough path among the rocks winds along at the foot of the precipice, although the heaps of loose stones which have fallen down, keep it at a considerable height above the water. A large rock lies on the very brink of the river, about 15 feet long, and 8 feet thick, which you may climb up by means of a ladder, and enjoy the best central view of the falls any where to be found. This rock was formerly a part of the projection above, and fell about seven years ago, with a tremendous roar. It had been observed by Mr. Forsyth to be in a very precarious situation the day before, and he had warned the strangers at his house not to venture near it. A lady and gentleman, however, had been so bold as to take their stand upon it near evening, to view the cataract; and in the night they heard the noise of its fall, which shook the house like an earthquake.
In proceeding nearer to the sheet of falling water, the path leads far under the excavated bank, which in one place forms a roof that overhangs about 40 feet. The vast column of water continually pouring over the precipice, produces violent whirls in the air; and the spray is driven out with such force, that no one can approach to the edge of the cataract, or even stand a few moments near it, without being drenched to the skin. It is also very difficult to breathe there, so that persons with weak lungs, would act prudently to content themselves with a distant view, and by no means to attempt to go under the cataract. Those who are desirous of exploring this tremendous cavern, should attend very carefully to their steps, [xxvii] and not allow themselves to be agitated by the sight or the sound of the cataract, or to be blinded by the strong driving showers in which they will be continually involved; as a few steps would plunge them into the terrible abyss which receives the falling river.
About half a mile above the falls, and within a few feet of the rapids in Niagara River, is a remarkable Burning Spring. A house has been erected over it, into which admission is obtained for a shilling. The water which is warm, turbid, and surcharged with sulphurated hydrogen gas, rises in a barrel which has been placed in the ground, and is constantly in a state of ebullition. The barrel is covered, and the gas escapes only through a copper tube. On bringing a candle within a little distance of it, the gas takes fire, and continues to burn with a bright flame until blown out. By leaving the house closed, and the fire extinguished, the whole atmosphere within explodes on entering with a candle."
The next morning a carriage took us to Queenstown, on the Niagara river, seven miles below the falls, passing on the way the lofty column lately erected to the memory of the English General Brock, who fell in an attack made by the United States' army in 1812, under General Van Renselaer. Its height is 115 feet, and its base 350 feet above the river. From the top, an extensive view is obtained over the vast tract of country, including part of Lake Ontario. Queenstown is situated at the bottom of the hill, upon which the monument stands, on the Canadian side of the river, which we crossed in a small boat.
149recovered from its agitation, since its tremendous leap at the falls, but a few minutes passed amongst its currents and eddies, landed us again on the territory of the United States. A coach was in readiness, and conveyed us to Lewistown, only one mile, where, at an hotel, opened the day before, we found a breakfast that would have done credit to any part of Scotland. We departed in the stage, after breakfast, for Lockport, to meet the canal boat for Albany.
150requested me to do the same, adding, "you will be as welcome and safe here, as in your own house." His room was decorated with coloured drawings of his own execution, representing several subjects of the Indian history of his tribe; among the rest, was a drawing of the mammoth, which he informed me was so represented by his fathers, in whose traditions, it was stated more to resemble a hog, than any other beast. He presented me with it, and some others, and made me promise to call on my return. Near the entrance of the village
151the navigation here.
The labour, expense, and skill, manifested in the construction of this fine canal, is highly creditable to the talents of the directors; it unites the Atlantic with Erie, and the other northern lakes, and will also in a short time, when the canal from Erie, to Cincinnati is opened,
152have female attendants, and a good table, at very moderate expense, a small library, and daily papers. The rate of travelling, is about 100 miles per day.
The towns, through which the canal passes, exhibit the most flourishing state of activity and trade, and are crowded with mechanics and labourers of every description. Handsome buildings of brick and stone, with neat gardens and orchards, are already covering the ground, where a dozen years since, nothing existed, but gloomy forests. To mention the number of towns and villages through which the canal passes, would dilate this little account, into the history of a whole rising country; I shall, therefore, merely mention a few of the most remarkable.
Rochester, which was only founded in 1812, contains many substantial, handsome buildings, in regular streets, with fine shops, several of the fronts of which, like those of other cities, are of cast iron; it already contains near 6000 inhabitants. The water-fall close to the town, and another at Carthage, about two miles below, are well worth examination, as well as the remains of one of the boldest single fabrics, that art has ever attempted in this country, which now shows a few of its remains in this place. The two great piles of timber, which stand opposite each other on the narrow level, where once the river flowed, are the abutments of a bridge, of a single arch, thrown over a few years ago. It was 400 feet in length, and 250 above the water; but stood only a short time, and then fell with a tremendous crash, by its own weight. Fortunately no person was crossing at the time — a lady and gentleman had just before passed, and safely reached the other side. The Salina, or grand salt works, through which the canal passes, is also deserving a visit from all [xxx] travellers; 606,463 bushels of salt were manufactured here in 1800, and the quantity is greatly increasing. Utica, is another busy, thriving place, containing
153some fine churches and other public buildings, and above 5000 inhabitants. We left the boat at Schenectady, and proceeded to Albany in the stage, on account of the circuitous route of the canal between those places.
Albany is a place of considerable importance, containing 16,000, inhabitants; it is on the river Hudson, 145 miles above New York, to which city it is navigable for large sloops and schooners, and presents to the stranger, a scene of commercial bustle and trade, not often seen at this distance from the sea. Its canal basin, is an extensive work, and was filled entirely with craft; its public buildings are on a grand scale, some of them built of white marble, of a very curious texture, with shining particles of talc-like appearance on its surface. We dined here, and proceeded in the evening in a fine steam-boat for New York.
The passage down the Hudson, is, to a person who can enjoy the romantic scenery it presents, enough to repay the trouble of a voyage across the Atlantic. I know of nothing like it in Europe. The Ohio, from Louisville to Cincinnati, is, perhaps, equal in beauty, but of a different kind; its banks, and the opening views on each side, are more varied, and admit of the mountainous and grand features of sublimity of some of the Norwegian lakes, mixed with the softer scenery of Switzerland; while the numerous vessels of every description on its waters, and the flourishing towns, villages, forts, villas, &c. on its banks, recall to the mind of Europeans, returning from Spanish Colonies, scenes, which absence endear to their recollection; there is a charm in the very name of places which we have been accustomed to from our infancy. The voyage is generally performed by steam-boats, in thirteen hours, but owing to our being encumbered, by towing down a disabled one, much larger than itself, we did not reach New York till the following evening; a circumstance I did not regret, as it procured me a lengthened enjoyment
154of a scene, I can never forget. We landed, and procured apartments in a respectable boarding house at the bottom of Broadway, in which we were more comfortably accommodated, than in an English first rate inn, and at considerably less expense. In the evening, we rambled into the city, and were so fortunate, as to meet some old friends, after a separation of several years; their attention, and the [xxxi] civility we received from some of the inhabitants, to whom we had letters, rendered our short stay extremely pleasant.
New York is so well known, and has been so ably and often described, that I forbear saying further of it, than, that it is such a place as a stranger would expect to find, in one of the principal cities of a young, energetic, flourishing country, like the United States; its spacious streets of handsome houses, and public buildings, many of which are of white marble, are equalled by few in Europe; the same observation may be applied to its numerous institutions, markets, and public walks. In its situation, noble harbour, and adjacent views, it scarcely admits of a competition. We remained here a week, highly pleased with our reception, and left it for England on the 24th of June, in the packet ship, John Wells, and landed safe in Liverpool, after a pleasant passage of twenty-four days, without any thing remarkable occurring, except, the passing of several icebergs, of considerable size, off the banks of Newfoundland. The New York packets are considered in themselves, and by the manner in which they are fitted out, as complete ships, as any that sail; they generally make the passage in eighteen or nineteen days, so that the journey, from Cincinnati to England, may be performed in a month.
Fort St. Philip (Placquemines) was built in 1791-92 by the Spanish Governor Carondelet. Upon the American accession (1803), it was garrisoned by United States troops, and frequently recommended for repairs and enlargement. After the battle of New Orleans, a reinforcement advancing to the aid of the British was repulsed by the batteries of Fort St. Philip. It was severely damaged in 1862 during the passage of Farragut's fleet, but is still in use, the central building being part of that originally erected by the Spaniards. — ED.
David Cusick had long waited, he tells us in his preface, for some one of his people with an English education to write up their legends. Finally he undertook the work himself. The first edition, entitled Ancient History of the Six Nations, published for sale to chance travellers, and dated Tuscarora Village, June, 1825, is exceedingly rare. A second edition was issued at Lewiston, 1826; a third at Lockport, 1848. See also, William M. Beauchamp, The Iroquois Trail (Fayetteville, New York, 1892). — ED.