Various have been the reports respecting the Illinois Settlement, as they relate to the health of the climate, and the state of agriculture. The following Letters contain a simple narration of facts, the result of real observation, and an accurate survey; and will appear time enough to counteract the evil impression of false information by persons who have not been on the spot, or who appear to be interested in writing down the settlement.
As to the various reports about the state of health, they may be easily accounted for by comparing dates. On the arrival of emigrants in the summer of 1818, there were no cabins to shelter them from the heat of the sun by day, or from the dew, by night; neither a cow or pig for food, and scarcely a sufficiency for human subsistence to be procured: sickness to a considerable degree prevailed; but not more than three or four cases of death ensued. Since these inconveniences have [iv] been overcome, few places, I believe I may say in the world, have been healthier than the English settlement in the Illinois.
I trust my friends and acquaintance in England, who interest themselves in our concerns, retain that good opinion of me, as to believe me incapable, from any motive, of laying before them inducements to emigrate to a station, where their existence or comfort would be likely to be threatened by diseases not prevalent in the same degree, at least, as in their own country.
A difference of opinion as to eastern or western settlements may prevail, as differences of opinion in England
90respecting Essex or Hertfordshire, which may be most healthy or profitable. I have only to request the attention of the reader to the facts I have stated.
The miscellaneous matter relative to the state of Kentucky, &c. will not, I hope, be found to be entirely destitute of interest to my old acquaintance in my native country.
Lexington, June 25, 1819.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
it is natural you should have made those enquiries of me which you did in your last, and which it shall be my business to answer in their respective order.
1st. — How I like America in general, and Lexington in particular?
2nd. — Whether I have been disgusted with the American character and habits, as many have been? or whether I dare invite others to follow the course I have taken? but above all, how I, whose notions of liberty run so high, can endure to reside in a state where personal slavery exists.
 Your first enquiry I am yet incompetent to answer to the extent you make it; for, although I have travelled from New York to Pittsburgh, — down the Ohio to this place, — I have only had a sample of this extensive country; and as you, my dear Sir, are in the habit of purchasing your goods by sample, and to my knowledge are often disappointed in the bulk, so you may not, perhaps, have a fair sample of entire America by the information I send you.
As to the great cities, they have no charms for me. You know, great cities in England, as places of residence, were the objects of my aversion; and if there is any thing in those of New York and Philadelphia, which I dislike,
92it is because they approximate so much to similar cities of England, without those rare shows which please both infants and children of larger growth, in London.
Here are few public buildings worthy of notice. No kings going to open Parliament with gilded coaches and cream-coloured horses, with a train of dragoons at their heels. — No Lord Mayor's show. — No Towers filled with royal tigers and lions. — No old castles which beautify the rural scenes of the country, whose melancholy history informs the curious traveller, that their foundation was bedded in  tyranny, and their superstructure the retainers of weeping prisoners, often of rank, as well as oppressed plebeians. No cathedrals or old churches to ornament the cities as well as the counties of England, — monuments of superstition when erected, and of injustice and oppression even to this day, having for their support tithe-proctors, and surveyors, continually obstructing the progress of agriculture, and exciting contentions and law suits to an extent for which all the preaching of the clergy of England cannot present an equivalent, or balance the evil produced by a worldly and avaricious priesthood.
America has none of these costly ornaments or beautiful monuments of oppression. I thank God she has not; and hope she may be exempt from them, although strange to tell, I have found amongst both clergy and laity some few who wish for these degradations, and am even informed there are those who sigh after a religious establishment, and revenues besides those collected by the voluntary donations which flow from affectionate and religious hearers.
The episcopalian clergy in this country, have an enjoyment seldom known in England, that is, being chosen by the people, and supported  according to their respective
93merits; and it is my duty to add that episcopalians, as well as the ministers of most other sects, are in general "labourers worthy of their hire," virtuous in their conduct, exemplary in their deportment, exhibiting Christianity in their every day conduct and intercourse with mankind, and enjoying the esteem of their congregations. There are none of those divines in the busy hive of America, which you know by the name of dignified clergy, partaking of the largest revenues, and doing the least possible service, — conduct which one would think must make their hearts shudder at the thoughts of a judgment day!
As to the travelling in America, you are already informed of its conveniences and inconveniences; you dine at a fixed hour, as at our ordinaries in England; and you have abundance of provision of every kind the country affords. Poultry in every shape, with the standing dish, ham or bacon: but you must be aware, that in a country so extensive as I have already traversed, there must be as much difference in accommodations, as there is between the best inns on the great roads of England, and those in the remote villages. The beds generally cleanly; but although I have  not suffered the inconveniences so magnified in England from musquitoes, the often-brought charge of being infested with that ugly and sleep-destroying insect the bug, is indeed too true. Also, the many-bedded rooms found in most taverns, as you travel westward, is more than an inconvenience, as often being the sleeping-place of those who fall sick, as of those who are in health; and, in this respect, the Americans are criminal, and instrumental in spreading infection, which might be avoided by a little expense in the division of sleeping-rooms; but there are many happy exceptions; and, as civilization advances, this evil will be cured.
94As to the general character of the Americans, it is sober, industrious, and hospitable; although drunkenness, idleness, and gambling, are vices in existence, they are kept in the back ground, and are by no means so conspicuous as amongst what are called the lower class in England.
It is remarkable, that in the houses of the wealthy, as well as in store or shop-keepers back-rooms, it is the common practice to ask you to take a glass of water, cool fresh water, as a refreshment; at which offer no one is offended; and when wine or liquors are on the  salver, water is often preferred; but our countrymen would think it a sad insult to be invited to so simple a refreshment.
I have, my dear sir, met with no instances of a rude ruffian-like character, that will apply to Americans generally; and, I believe, much less than I should have met with in England, had I travelled her roads and rivers to the extent I have done in this country.
The American notion of liberty and equality is highly gratifying to me. The master or employer is kept within the bounds of reason and decency towards his labourer. No curses or oaths towards their servants, or helps as they choose to call themselves; (for every one who takes money or wages, is, after all, a servant;) he obeys all reasonable orders for his remuneration; and when this obedience ceases, the contract of service is at an end. I have often been surprised at the highmindedness of American labourers, who are offended at the name of servant.
With respect to this place, I have, in former letters, stated it to be a phenomenon in the history of the world; twenty-five years since it was trodden only by the foot of the savage; now it contains about three thousand inhabitants. A college, at which are already one [II] hundred and forty
95students; its professors, chosen purely for their talents, without any requirement of unanimity of religious opinions, as in the colleges with you: professors so chosen, not being confined to any particular sect, are likely to fill their stations with ability; and, as far as I am capable of judging, are eminently calculated for their respective situations to which they are chosen. This institution promises to be in the moral world, what the sun is in the natural world, and is calculated to illuminate, civilize, and bless mankind.
To the inhabitants of Lexington, wherever I may reside in future, I shall ever feel grateful: their hospitality, their kindness to me, as a stranger, and their sympathy in the hour of affliction, are never to be effaced from my memory.
Their politeness and liberality are perhaps, unequalled. Balls, at which the fair sex are never allowed to share any expence, — an Atheneum and a considerable museum, the benefits of which the stranger is invited to partake gratis, — may be mentioned as not being very customary in England. Tea-parties are a continual festival from the time you enter to the time of your departure, which however, are too much like our routs in England; and in time, I should fear would, as they have in England, become  a substitute for hospitality. I have known collected at these parties from one to two hundred persons. Thus, my dear Sir, you see, instead of being in continual broils, and exposed to the affronts and insults of rude Americans, I have received nothing but civility and hospitality. It will hardly be credited when I assure you I have not yet met with a single annoyance in the whole of my journey from New York to Pittsburgh by land; nor from thence down the Ohio to Louisville, — a distance of six hundred
96miles by water, and five hundred miles by land: thus you see, my dear friend, I am in no danger at present, of being disgusted by American rudeness, irreligion, or fanaticism.
To your last question, — How can you reside in a state where personal slavery is in existence? I, with regret, reply, this is the spot which clouds the American sun of liberty; and I confess I know not which are most excited in me, the risible or the sorrowful feelings, when I hear a Kentuckyan boasting, in lofty terms, of the liberty of his country, when that country is divided into two classes, and two classes only — the master and the slave! The term of master implies the willing servitude of free men: the term slave, includes in it the admission  of tyrants or tyranny; and a Kentuckyan has no more right to talk of freedom than the legitimates, whose determined purpose it is to blot liberty and happiness from the face of the earth. The one talks of liberty and social order, and it appears that by it is meant the increasing trappings of monarchy; the other does the same of liberty, and the rights of men.
The legitimates, who have high notions of regal authority, attempting to subjugate the minds of men, is perfectly consistent with their notions of power, their education and habits; but to hear the republicans of slave states point to the Declaration of Rights, who inform the coming traveller that they are now blazoned forth on satin and velvet; — an American republican pointing to the Rights of Men with his left hand, while his right is obliged to hold the whip, and with watchful eye to subjugate the minds and bodies of a large share of the population of his state: — this, indeed is worthy the taunts and derision of kings. It is this that keeps the wealth of Europe from pouring its treasures into the fertile region of Kentucky, and the
97industry of thousands from approaching the state. It would be painful to relate all the horrors I have beheld in slavery under  its mildest form. Whites full of whiskey, flogging their slaves for drinking even a single glass! Women, heavy with young, smarting under the angry blow, or the lash, and with babes at the breast, which one of our writers calls "Nature's passport through the world," lacking food in the midst of abundance, and cloathing insufficient to satisfy the demands even of common decency. Avarice, which our Poet Young calls "Earth's greatest blunder — Hell's loudest laugh;" — avarice, which seems to be the source of all this mischief, now comes to the relief of the ragged lingering wretch. If they are miserable, they must not die, for a mother and infant are worth from six hundred to a thousand dollars: but in a slave state, avarice has preserved life, clothed the wretched, and fed the hungry; it has fattened and made fine, the slave that he or she may fetch at the hammer, one or two hundred dollars more. "Lord, what is man!" Was it for this that your heroes fought, bled, and died? Was it for this, that the brave and virtuous Washington, to whom so many memorials in the way of oration and praise are delivered on each succeeding anniversary of his birth, spent his long and glorious course? Oh! youth of Kentucky, when you speak of his  fame with the enthusiasm of a republican, speak of his humanity, read his will; see his ardent desire to let the captive go free: imitate his virtues, and fall not into the errors of tyrants, who suppose military glory to be the glory of a Christian.
It is worthy of enquiry, whether it is likely that Americans will escape the judgments with which God has afflicted other nations, while their land is infected with personal slavery, and whether the liberties of America are not
98endangered by the increase of its black population. Perhaps some ambitious military chief may take the work from the hands of republicans, and "proclaim liberty to the captives," and make them the instruments of political slavery: let it be the work of crowned despots to subjugate the minds and bodies of men, but let not republicans assist in such a work.
Whenever you take Freedom's sacred name into your lips — whenever you unfurl the standard of partial liberty — you stand self-condemned. Despots keep men's minds in ignorance, that the voice of slavery and abject dependance may not be heard even in its defence. Do ye not the same: both your efforts will be in vain; the minds of men are in progressive march, and your united efforts will not stop their destination.
 "No, bless'd with freedom, unconfin'd,
Dungeons can ne'er contain the soul;
No one can chain th' immortal mind,
No one but Him who spans the pole."
I remain, yours, sincerely,
Illinois, near Albion, Aug. 16.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
after many interruptions I removed from Lexington to this place, at which we arrived on the 2nd of July, spending in our way a week at Harmony, that wonder of the west.
You have heard this settlement mentioned, and it is worth visiting to see, and observe the effect of united industry, regulated by sound wisdom and discretion: here
99perfect equality prevails, and there are no servants; but plenty of persons who serve. Every man has his station appointed him according to his ability, and every one has his wants supplied according to his wishes. He applies to the mill for his supply of flour; to the apothecary for medicine;  to the store for cloaths, and so on for every thing necessary for human subsistence. They do not forbid marriage, as some have represented; but it is one of their tenets that the incumbrance created by families is an hindrance to the spirituality of Christians, and it is this opinion which discourages marriage amongst them. They have also an aversion to bear arms; this would not allow them to remain in Germany, and they emigrated to live in the manner they have adopted, and have certainly the outside appearance of contentment and happiness.
After travelling through the woods of Indiana, the hills divide to the right and left, and a fine valley opens to your view in which the town stands. The hills assume a conical form, and are embellished with fine cultivated vineyards; and the valleys stand thick with corn. Every log-house is surrounded by a well cultivated garden, abundantly supplied with vegetables, and ornamented with flowers. It was the beginning of wheat harvest when I arrived, and the entire company of reapers retired from the fields in a body, preceded by a band of music: their dress is like the Norman peasants, and as all are of the same form and colour, may properly be designated their  costume. The men marched first, the women next, and the rear rank composed of young women, with each a neat ornament of striped cedar wood on their head, formed one of the prettiest processions I ever witnessed. The sound of French horns awakened them in the
100morning to their daily labour, which is moderate, and performed with cheerfulness; the return of evening appears to bring with it no fatigue or symptoms of weariness.
Besides the gardens of individuals, there is a public garden of five acres, the outside square planted with fruit trees and vegetables, the inside with herbs medicinal and botanical. In the centre is a rotunda of the rustic kind, standing in the midst of a labyrinth, which exhibits more taste than I supposed to be found amongst the Harmonites. It is from this hive of industry that Albion and its vicinity have drawn their supplies, and its contiguity to such neighbours has been of great advantage.
Having given you this account, I arrive at the point at which, my dear friend, I know you feel most interest, and proceed to give you an account of the state in which I found my friends, and the English settlement in general. I have great satisfaction in being able to inform you that almost every individual I  knew in England, was much improved in appearance, all enjoying excellent health. The same blessing is also our lot, and if I can form a proper estimate from six weeks residence, I must pronounce this to be as healthy a situation as any America affords, and much preferable, in this respect, to the eastern states. What travellers have recorded, that the thermometer does not rise so high as in the east, is true, and we are never many hours without a fine breeze. The nights are cool, the thermometer dropping 10 degrees, and you can obtain refreshing sleep. In the eastern states the thermometer being at 98 in the day, remained at 96 at night, a suffocating heat. The average of our days are from 80 to 86, but we have had a day or two at 90, which produces a thunder gust and a cooler atmosphere.
Now, my dear sir, as to the questions which agitate the
101minds of thousands in your country. The advantages of emigration to America, and the comparative advantages of eastern and western climates. I am, most decidedly, for settling in the west, on account of the prairies, and the facility with which they are cultivated.
The cultivation of new land, incumbered with heavy timber, presents a formidable feature;  labour incessant and unremitting, before a small tract of land can be tolerably cleared; but here I can enter either as a farmer or a grazier immediately; fine wide spreading fields of grass, inviting the flocks and herds to come and partake of the bounty with which they are loaded. In answer to the enquiry as to the proper mode of farming, I sit, and from the place I am now writing, see a beautiful herd of cattle of nearly two hundred in number. I have one hundred tons of fine hay collected for spring provision. Every head of cattle, the expence of herdsmen deducted, on a moderate calculation, promises a fair profit of at least five dollars per head; and yet Mr. Cobbett, in his weekly letters, very modestly asserts "There is no farming for profit in the west" — I state these facts for the information of those who may wish to join us, and in direct contradiction to the ill-founded assertions of this writer on the subject.
It is also stated by Mr. Cobbett, that "the obstruction by bush and briar are such as to prevent early or easy cultivation." — In contradiction to this assertion, I affirm, that I can put the plough into thousands of acres where there is no such obstruction. One  gentleman in our settlement has grown eighty acres of fine corn, although he only arrived last year; this alone is a sufficient contradiction to all Mr. C. has said on this subject. There is also a sufficiency of corn and grain grown this first
102harvest to supply the wants of the settlement: next year there will be a surplus for brewing and distilling.
If a person enters heavy timbered land, it is by great exertion he clears ten acres the first year; but he has only here to enclose and take his choice of farming and grazing, or enclose enough for corn and pasture, his cattle feeding on the unoccupied range of grass which the neighbouring cultivator cannot stock himself, and which is much improved by the feeding of cattle.
Now, my dear Sir, as to the persons who come here or to any other part of America, I would have them consider for what purpose and intent they emigrate. It is certain as regards farming, that there are only two ways in which it can be performed: the one, labouring by his own hands; the other, by his capital, stocking his farm, and hiring his labourers. It is thoughtlessness and folly to tell any person, if he bring with him one hundred pounds, he can place himself in comfort; but, it is certain, that a  hundred pounds here will go as far as five hundred pounds in England; and that the person who has that sum in possession, is certainly five times better off than in that country. The person who has this sum may enter his quarter section of land, build his cabin, enclose his garden, keep his cows and pigs; but then he must be a man of that description who has been in the habit of milking his cows and tending his pigs: all such persons will find vast advantage in emigrating to this place. Every farmer in England (of which there are thousands) who holds the plough, or his sons for him, will find an easy life, and the abundant supply of every good thing. As to the reward of his industry, every farmer who can stock a farm in England, may here become the proprietor of his own soil with that capital which affords him only a tenant's station, a
103precarious subsistence in his own country; an inducement, I should think, sufficient to make thousands follow our steps, and taste the blessings of independence and the sweets of liberty. Let all who are bending under the weight of taxation, and trembling at the approach of every quarter-day, come here and partake of ease and abundance. If the affluent, also, are tired of the system of the British government,  and feel the effect it has upon their fluctuating property, here they will find the wide domain, the natural park, whose hills and boundaries are beautifully capped with woods, inviting them to build their dwellings and sit down in ease and content. These parks are already stocked with deer, all which they may purchase, where previous entry has not taken place, at the land office price, two dollars per acre. These prairies appear as if that eminent improver of parks and grounds — Repton, had been consulted in laying them out to their taste.
It has been reported that we can get no servants: this is true in a degree, because the price of service is such, as soon to elevate the servant to a state of independance: but I have found no want of persons to work for hire, even in domestic stations; those that are most wanted are farming labourers; good ploughmen are in request, and can obtain twelve dollars per month and their board. Female servants from eight to ten dollars, according to their respective merits; these are in great request; and what perhaps is to them still more pleasing, their industry is the certain road to marriage. Our young females are almost all engaged in this way, and we certainly lose good servants,  but have the pleasure of seeing them well settled.
Now, my dear Sir, as to the state of the settlement and the progress it has already made.
On a tract of land from the little Wabash to the Bonpar
Your newspapers, the Farmer's Journal in particular, relate the particulars of the distress of the farmers, and the ruin in which many of them are involved. It is in vain that you petition for relief. By your own account your ruin is inevitable, and your destruction sure. Escape then to a land where the efforts of your industry will be rewarded, and the produce of your labour will be your own. You will escape, not only from the tax-gatherer and
105tithe-collector, but from the expence attending the frightful system of pauperism, which is constantly making demands, not only on your pecuniary resources, but calling you to the most painful personal exertions.
In the extensive region from New York to this place, I have had but one application for relief, and that was from an Englishman. In this country peace and plenty reign.
I have mentioned a scarcity of servants: this arises much from emigrants bringing out with them a better sort, or confidential servants: the only sort wanting are females who can work in the kitchen, milk the cow and attend to the dairy. All above this class can earn too high wages by their needle. A good sempstress,  earning a dollar per day, will soon quit servitude, and put on the airs of American independance, with an addition of some little insolence; but a cure is not unfrequently wrought, and that by various easy methods.
A gentleman hired a female servant of this sort, who would insist, as a condition, on sitting down at the dinner table, with the family; her Christian name was Biddy; the condition was consented to, and a project for cure at the same time engaged in: — A party was invited to dinner, and Biddy took her place at the table, being above waiting, or being in any degree more than a help. When anything was wanting, a gentleman arose from table and offered it to Miss Biddy. Miss Biddy was asked to drink a glass of wine, first by one gentleman and then by another. Miss Biddy was desired not to trouble herself about any thing, and was ceremoniously treated, till she felt the awkwardness of her situation, and said, the next day to her mistress, — "Madam, I had rather give up dining at your table," — which she did, continuing in their service for some time. I have had to do with people of the same
106cast, though not quite so foolish as Miss Biddy: — I have hired persons to certain employments, and they have been discontented  and spoiled by their notions of equality: "Very good," said I; "we, then, are equal; I like the idea much; it pleases me greatly: you, of course, mean to take no money of me for what you please to do for me; and, if that is the case, I shall be as perfectly satisfied with your notion of things, as you appear to be; but, if you take my money, you must perform the service I have pointed out to you." — This perfect notion of equality does not suit, although it is too reasonable to be much objected to.
It is generally supposed, that this high notion is of republican origin; but it is the contrary, and originates in the insolence of those who keep and domineer over slaves. Any thing that a black is made to perform, is pronounced unfit for whites; and, although many who have held slaves as their property, are far inferior in understanding to the slaves they hold, and are sometimes reduced to poverty, they deem it degrading to perform any work that a slave can perform; and those persons who, like myself, are far from thinking all men equal in character, are little disposed to engage with such persons in any service. With our superiority in our consistent love of freedom, and our having escaped from political  slavery, we shall never fail to oppose the extention, and even the continuance of personal slavery.
The arguments for a state of slavery, urged by Americans, are just such as might be urged by Algerines for taking the ships of America, and making slaves of her seamen. Both consist in the right of force, and not of reason or justice; and when a person hears members of congress pleading the cause of slavery, — personal slavery, — with the pretence they are my property, one cannot help
107blushing for human nature. Those who appear to love freedom, both personal and political, making use of such a pretence, forces the tear of sorrow from the eye of humanity. One human being the property of another. No! the whole race of mankind is the sole property of their great universal parent; and he who enslaves another, whether his skin be black, white, or intermediate, insults the right of his God, and blasphemes the name of his Creator.
I rejoice, my dear friend, in the choice the English have made of a free state; and am certain we shall be able to cultivate from the services of free men, cheaper than those who cultivate them by slaves.
But to return to our settlement and its infant  capital Albion. Log houses, those cabins unpleasant to the cleanly habits of Englishmen, the receptacles of the insect tribe, are no longer erected. I have had the pleasure of laying the first brick foundation in Albion; it is for an inn where travellers I hope may find rest without disturbance from insects. We have also nearly completed our market house which is sixty feet by thirty. A place of worship is began. Religion, I mean the outward form, has not been unattended to: a selection from the Church of England service, and a sermon has been read on the sabbath to a few persons assembled in a log room: our psalmody is excellent, having some good musicians, and singers amongst us. The Americans here think all who take money for preaching, hireling ministers, and several well-intentioned farmers preach to small assemblies in the neighbourhood. The worship of God, and the keeping his commands is the thing which I believe all will agree in, as being the end to be produced by public worship. As we have not, and I trust never shall have, that grand
108corruption of Christianity, an establishment formed and supported by statesmen and politicians, I hope Christianity in its original purity, will for ever flourish in the Illinois. We intend also our place of worship for a library,  and to open it on a Sunday afternoon; a day when all persons have leisure to read, and are clean in their dress and persons. The strict sabbatarians will doubt the propriety of this proceeding; but any thing which will have a tendency to promote moral and intellectual improvement, and keep men from the vices of idleness and drinking, is justified by him who put the question, — "Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath?"
But to return from spiritual to temporal things. I spoke of our market house being finished. The price of provisions in this place is as follows.
A fine turkey, a quarter of a dollar. — Fowls, twelve cents each. — Beef four to five cents per pound. — Mutton none yet at market. — Eggs twelve and a half cents per dozen. — Cheese thirty cents per pound. — Butter scarce, owing to the heat of the climate, sixteen cents per pound. — Bacon at this time fifteen cents per pound, half the price in winter. — Flour nine dollars per barrel. — Deer, a fine fat buck from one dollar to one dollar and a half including skin. — Melons, such as cannot be procured in England, twelve and a half cents each in great abundance. — Honey of the finest flavour, one dollar per gallon. — Whiskey one dollar per gallon  retail. — Fine Hyson tea two dollars per pound. Moist sugar thirty one cents. — Coffee sixty-two cents per pound: wholesale from New Orleans much cheaper. Fine fish three cents per pound.
We leave it to the public to judge of our danger of starving, as some writers have hinted.
Here then you have the situation of our rising settlement; progressing with rapidity in the eye of Americans, though
109to Englishmen, setting and watching for fresh intelligence, but slowly.
You ask me, dear Sir, whether there is any sale for books here? We have no bookseller yet, and the writings of your favourite authors, in defence of civil and religious liberty, would not sell here: the love of civil and religious liberty is unbounded in every Illinois heart; there are none to dispute the truth of the principles of complete and perfect freedom; and when controversy ceases, controversial writings must of course lose their interest.
I would not for the world invite persons, no! not a single individual, if I did not think that his happiness would be encreased: it may be said that I am an interested person, and so are those who take such pains to prevent persons from coming westward. Emigration  from the eastern states, has already reduced the price of lands there.
When I passed New York, I heard a popular writer say, "I'll be d----d if I don't write down Birkbeck and the settlement:" those who are familiar with this writer's usual phraseology in conversation, cannot, I think, be in any great danger of mistake as to the person alluded to:
Your sincere friend,
Flower's Letters from the Illinois — January 19, 1820 — May 7, 1821
Two of the following letters have before appeared in a respectable periodical publication, in which the editor has impartially inserted the communications of writers of different opinions, on the subject of emigration;
Readers who are desirous of forming just opinions on this subject, are requested to bear in remembrance the
116precise stations described in the following pages. However unworthy or base may have been the motives of certain writers, who have grossly calumniated the English Settlement, there are others, [iv] to whom it would be uncandid to impute such motives, but who are chargeable with misrepresentation, which appears to have arisen from their not having considered that the spots they are describing are not those described by others; and that, of course, it is not fair to charge others with statements they have never made.
I have publications before me in which Mr. Birkbeck and my brother are charged with unfairness in their statements, because they do not apply to the situations the writers had chosen, one of which was fifty, and the other four hundred miles from the English Settlement. There are at the Illinois as in almost all other countries, situations pleasant and unpleasant, healthy and unhealthy, and that emigrant does not act a very wise part, who fixes on a station unless he had carefully examined it himself, or at least had the recommendation of some intelligent friend who would scorn to mislead him.
Emigration to America, after all that has [v] been written on the subject, and the various advantages it certainly presents to different classes of society, is an affair of such importance, that those who propose it should seriously reflect on the turn of their own mind, their disposition, habits, circumstances, &c. Some who have emigrated to America find themselves as unhappy there as they were in their own country. Those who are averse to labour, fond of luxuries, and whose minds are rivetted to the artificial distinctions of society in Europe, have found to their cost, that America is not the country for them; and unless they can learn wisdom, and form resolution sufficient to alter
117some of their habits, and if not to despise, to regard with indifference most of those distinctions, they can never be reconciled to Republican manners and institutions. Respecting a few persons of this description at the Illinois, one of the principal settlers exclaimed: — "What are such people come here for?"
For the Notes to the following letters, with "all their imperfections on their head," I am [vi] solely responsible. — I am not without apprehensions that there may be even candid readers, who may think that in my Reflections on Infidelity, Civil Establishments of Religion, &c. I have somewhat wandered out of my way: to such readers I beg leave to offer a word or two by way of apology. True religion, I consider as the most important concern of life; and were I, when reflecting on the state of society which too generally characterizes this globe, even its most civilized parts, and on the various follies and vices which have so sadly deformed mankind — on the adversity of the righteous, and the prosperity of the wicked, — were I not, amidst such reflections, supported by divine consolations, suggested by a firm belief in the Being and Providence of God, and of the truth of the Christian system which assures us that "all things shall be subdued and reconciled to HIM," I should indeed be "of all men the most miserable;" and, as I am firmly persuaded that the success of the gospel is not more hindered by open infidelity than by [vii] the corruptions of Christianity, I have from the circumstances which are stated in the following letters respecting the state of religion at the Illinois, thought proper to express myself on the subject with my usual freedom. So little has been done towards the restoration of primitive Christianity in this country for the two past centuries, although there has been of late, an unusual bustle in the
118religious world, — so inveterate are the evils resulting from STATECRAFT and PRIESTCRAFT united, that although I believe with a firm and unshaken faith, that the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, I confess my ignorance as to the period, and the means by which those glorious events predicted in the sacred writings will be accomplished. I cannot however but indulge the hope that mankind will, by observation and experience, under the blessing of heaven grow wiser; and that in the formation of new settlements, many of the evils referred to, may with proper care be avoided. With this hope, I [viii] have endeavoured to give a helping hand, however feeble, to those who have at heart the best interests of their fellow creatures.
For the language I have made use of in exposing bad men, and more particularly a notorious political impostor, who when indulging his deep-rooted prejudices and violent passions, cares not how he throws off the common feelings of humanity, or sets truth and decency, or the principles of honour and honesty at defiance, scarce any apology is necessary. Should any one think my language too strong, I might plead the example of some of the greatest and best men in different ages; but I shall confine myself to that of the sacred writers. The prophets and apostles, yea, our Saviour himself, when describing the COBBETTS of their day, have used much stronger language than I have done; and if it be a duty at any time to rebuke sharply, or as critics inform us the words should be rendered, with a cutting severity, or cutting to the quick, it is when we have to do with men of such a description.
[ix] In conclusion, I ask I hope no great favour in claiming on behalf of Mr. Birkbeck, my brother, and myself, that
119credit for our statements, until they are refuted by evidence, to which persons who have little character to lose, cannot lay claim; and that we may on the present occasion obtain belief when we have nothing to contradict us but the confident language of a man "known to be wholly indifferent to truth;" and who has, in the compass of three months only, for his scandalous libels on private characters, — on one of those occasions for having invented the atrocious charge of FORGERY against a former associate — most deservedly smarted in a court of justice. Should I, however unintentionally, have committed any mistake, I shall deem myself bound to acknowledge it.
Dalston, Jan.16th, 1822.
P. S. Mr Cobbett somewhere remarks — "That he would sooner join the fraternity of gypsies in this country than the settlement at the Illinois." This is not so extravagant as some of his assertions, as he has proved himself pretty [x] well qualified, in one respect at least, for a member of that fraternity; namely, by his numerous gipsy prophecies. To select one class only: — How frequently has he in terms the most unqualified and confident, predicted that the Bank of England would never return to cash payments; how frequently has he fixed the period beyond which it was impossible for bank-notes to preserve their value! Perhaps he had in his eye the accomplishment of his favourite plan, — a general forgery of those notes, as the grand means of bringing about his predictions. Notwithstanding the complete failure of those predictions, (and I could produce numerous instances of similar failure) he, although apparently sadly mortified, goes on with his prophecies, and renews the
120senseless and injurious advice to the farmers, which he has been giving them for many years past, but which he knows, alas! they cannot follow — to hoard up the gold "because in two years it will buy twice as much land as it will buy now!" It was not many months since he gave them the same advice respecting silver, assuring them "that a bundle of silver would shortly prove a mine of wealth." — Address to the Farmers. (Register Dec. 15). In which publication Mr. C. has, in his language applied to Mr. Webb Hall, so justly drawn his own picture, that I hope the farmers will keep it constantly in view. — "The truth is, Mr. [Cobbett] is a conceited man with a great deal of loose and indistinct stuff in his head; and, having great power of front, he puts the stuff forth without hesitation. A modest man may be a weak man and yet not deserve our contempt; but impudence and folly joined claim as much of contempt as man can bestow." — If the farmers can swallow such "stuff," they have indeed, what Dr. South [xi] calls an "iron digesting faith," and should the Jesuits visit this, as they are now visiting other countries, they will doubtless consider Mr. Cobbett's boasted "disciples" as well prepared to swallow down the doctrine of Transubstantiation!
Albion, Illinois, Jan. 18, 1820.
MY whole family, I think enjoy, since we have been here, much better health than in England, and we have enjoyed the fine Indian summer, which has lasted full two months, of most charming temperature, the thermometer varying from 70 to 75. We had only two wet days in November, and one sudden change to 35 degrees; the weather in December was equally fine till Christmas-day, when we had frost and snow much as in England, and since that time some very cold days, the thermometer being below freezing, 22 degrees. We have now milder weather, but frost and snow on the ground, and the thermometer again at freezing, but gently thawing.
Our settlement has been remarkably healthy, and every thing is going on tolerably well. You  will say tolerably well has a suspicious sound; I will therefore allude to that term in future, and state the inconveniences as well as the pleasures of the autumn. We have experienced considerable inconvenience from drought, and been obliged to draw water by carriage to the town, as the wells did not supply the inhabitants with a sufficiency, and the people, like the Israelites, murmured at us, the town proprietors, as much as ever that stiffnecked people did at Moses. I had no rock to strike, or power to raise water by miracle of any kind, and therefore applied industry and
122perseverance to make up this deficiency, and offered to supply them with fine spring water at a quarter-dollar per barrel, from a most delightful spring, found on my son George's estate, only eight feet deep, and inexhaustible. I had nearly two miles to draw it, but I lost nothing by my contract, and murmuring was allayed. This want of water would have been a serious objection to our settlement if it had been local, but it has been an unusual drought throughout the whole of the Western country, such as has been rarely experienced, and we have been much better off than the people of Kentucky: it has also awakened our energies, and within half a mile of the town an excellent well has been opened, besides two [II] others at a mile and a half, so that no lasting want has been known, only a temporary inconvenience suffered.
I am rather particular on this subject, as report had spread that our town had broke up, our people scattered, and disease prevailed for want of water, all which was notoriously false; and through mercy, I think there have been fewer deaths in the number of inhabitants than in any part of England.
Another inconvenience from this drought was, the burning of the prairies much earlier than usual. There is a grandeur in this scene almost indescribable and somewhat alarming. We see whole prairies, containing thousands of acres, like a sea or lake of fire ascending; columns of smoke so affect the air, that it is a complete fog, and painful to the eyes; but after a few days all is over; the sky clear, and the air serene, but our herbage is gone. At this season the cattle go into the barn: we pay a herdsman to look after them, and if the weather is not immoderately wet, they come out as fat as sheep from coleseed, and afford profit to the grazier. Our bullocks, which were
123bought at sixteen or seventeen dollars last year, are now selling at Albion Market, from twenty-eight to thirty-one dollars each, paying nearly cent per  cent, for nine month's keeping; thus we are this year principally graziers, having two hundred acres enclosed, and more enclosing. George will have a fine farm opened, an excellent garden and young trees, and vegetables of the most luxuriant growth.
It ought not, however, to be concealed that we are much in want of farming labourers; we with difficulty get a regular ploughman, and a ploughboy is still a scarcer commodity; and till we can get our prairies once broken, and go with two horses without a driver, ploughing will be difficult to be performed. Our people put on the independent airs of Americans, without either their natural or noble independence, which disdains any thing like servitude; but, as if delighting to teaze us gave them great pleasure, they quit their work suddenly and without reason; but we greatly counteract this by keeping them out of employ, and our money in our pockets, and pay the Americans who come out and are always migrating for a job of work, and then return to their farms. We are also, in many instances, destitute of female servants, but then we have plenty of helps, or charwomen, who will come and work by the day or half-day, and then return to their families. My wife has managed this business  admirably well: observing their disposition, she hires them by the hour, sees well to them for the time being, and generally gets a usual day's work done in a few hours. This occasional assistance, in addition to the services of Mrs. C. who we brought with us, and a woman servant, makes us comfortably served.
On the return of Christmas day, we invited our party as
124at Marden, my late residence in Hertfordshire: we assembled thirty-two in number. A more intelligent, sensible collection I never had under my roof in my own country. A plentiful supply of plumb pudding, roast beef and mince pies were at table, and turkeys in plenty, having purchased four for a dollar the preceding week. We found among the party good musicians, good singers; the young people danced nine couple, and the whole party were innocently cheerful and happy during the evening. The company were pleased to say I had transferred Old England and its comforts to the Illinois. Thus, my dear Sir, we are not in want of society; and I would not change my situation for any in America, nor for disturbed or tumultuous England.
My efforts to assemble the people to public worship have been successfull; our place is well attended, from forty to fifty people,  and amongst our congregation we often number a part of Mr. Birkbeck's children and servants. Our singing is excellent; our prayers the reformed Unitarian service. The sermons which have been read are from an author I never met with in England, Mr. Butcher; they are, without exception, the best practical sermons I have ever seen. Our Library-Room is well attended in the afternoon; the people improving in cleanliness and sobriety, recover the use of their intellectual faculties, and interest themselves in moral and Christian converse.
When I arrived at Albion, a more disorganized, demoralized state of society never existed: the experiment has been made, the abandonment of Christian institutes and Christian sabbaths, and living without God in the world has been fairly tried. If those theologians in England who despise the Sabbath and laugh at congregational
125worship, had been sent to the English settlement in the Illinois at the time I arrived, they would, or they ought to have hid their faces for shame. Some of the English played at cricket, the backwoodsmen shot at marks, their favourite sport, and the Sunday revels ended in riot and savage fighting: this was too much even for infidel nerves. All this also took place at Albion; but when a few, a very few,  better men met and read the Scriptures, and offered prayer at a poor contemptible log-house, these revellers were awed into silence, and the Sabbath at Albion became decently quiet. One of its inhabitants, of an infidel cast, said to me, "Sir! this is very extraordinary, that what the law could not effect, so little an assembly meeting for worship should have effected." "Sir," said I, "I am surprised that you do not perceive that you are offering a stronger argument in favour of this Christian institute than any I can present to you. If the reading of the Scriptures in congregation has had such efficacious and such wonderful effects, you ought no longer to reject, or neglect giving your attention to its contents, and its excellent religious institutions."
Thus, my dear Sir, my efforts for the benefit of others have been greatly blessed. I appear at present more satisfied with my lot, because I appear to be more useful than ever: in England all my attempts at usefulness were puny compared to what they are here. Many people here openly express their gratitude to me as the saviour of this place, which, they say must have dispersed if I had not arrived. This is encouraging to a heart wounded with affliction as mine has been, and is urging me  on to plans of usefulness. A place for education, a Sunday-school, and above all, a Bible-society, if we increase, shall be my aim and endeavour. I have already abundant testimony
126that God will bless his word, and if the rest of my life should be spent in such useful employment, my death-bed will be more calm than if I had been taken from life before I had arrived at this period of utility. You will, I trust, be able to appreciate the station Providence has placed me in, and feel pleasure at this communication.
My house, which is nearly finished, is a comfortable one, and can boast a roof that neither Hertford nor Marden could. It stands the most drenching rains and drifting snows without letting in any wet. I described it in my former letters; and while I am satisfied with the comfort it affords, the Americans behold it with surprise.
You would have been much amused if you had been with us a few weeks since, when I had a visit from Captain Burke,
127sense in my head out of it." I replied that we read to increase our sense and our knowledge; but this untutored son of nature could not conceive of this till I took down a volume of Shaw's Zoology.
Our library is now consolidated; and that the kind intentions of yourself and others may not be lost, and that your names may live in our memories and be perpetuated to future generations, I have conveyed all the books presented to us, in trust to the proprietors of the town, for the use of the Albion Library; writing the names of the donors in them; and in my next letter I shall, pro forma, be able to convey to you our united thanks for the books presented.
128Our little library is the admiration of travellers, and Americans say we have accomplished more in one year, than many new settlements have effected in fifty — a well supplied market, a neat place of worship, and a good library.
Park House, Albion, June 20, 1820.
I have not written many letters to my friends in England, because I was determined not to state any thing on presumption, or of mere opinion, but only matters of fact, which must stand uncontradicted, and bear the test of examination.
I proceed to state to you the circumstances which we are now in; and you will my dear Sir, feel satisfaction at my being able to give you the pleasing account, that, after nearly a twelvemonth's residence, there is no foundation for reasonable complaint. Every workman or artificer has abundance of employment at a price that will procure him a plentiful subsistence; and at this time our little town is amply supplied, with not only the necessaries of life, but even its luxuries. I have a comfortable habitation, containing four rooms and a hall on the ground floor, and five chambers above; two wings are added which contain kitchen, china closet, dairy, and an excellent cellar. My farm produces, as it did at Marden, good beef and mutton, with abundance of  poultry, eggs, milk, cream, butter, and cheese. I am quite at home again, and am writing to you surrounded by the same library standing in the same relative situation, in my large easy chair, and enjoying every earthly comfort. I have the happy absence of tax-gatherers, and am never galled with tithe or poor-rate collectors.
Our settlement, thank God, is remarkably healthy, and my family and self have never enjoyed better health than in the situation which some of your reviewers and critics call "the swamps of the Wabash." There is no situation in the habitable globe in which less sickness and fever have taken place in the given period of twelve months, and the evil reports that have been spread about, applied only, in a small degree, to the large party of settlers who, on their arrival, took shelter in the woods, finding none of the conveniences prepared for them which they had reason to expect. All is going on here to the full as well as can be expected or hoped; and if the British settlement does not prosper, it will be the fault of the settlers only.
As to religion, the form of it is now regularly attended to by many, and all have the  means of assembling on the Sunday at our small but neat place of worship. We read the Reformed or Unitarian Liturgy, the Scriptures, and Sermons from our best English authors. Our place of worship is likewise our library-room. Religion in the outward form is by no means ostentatious, notwithstanding which, we have a large portion of good, sober and industrious people amongst us, who, I trust, by a virtuous example and keeping alive religious feelings, will be ultimately successful in preserving true religion amongst the people of the Illinois.
But to return from spiritual to temporal concerns: I imagine you asking, — Are there then no inconveniences? There are. We have not a sufficiency of female servants, on account of the frequency of marriage, which is constantly depriving us of those we have; and although I have hitherto been well off, yet I am fearful we may be as others are, inconvenienced for want of them. Boys for either plough or house work are scarce, but the entire absence of
130pauperism more than amply compensates for these privations. How much I regret that more of the overflowing population of England cannot find  their way here, exchanging their poverty for plenty of employment and good fare.
We have East and West India produce in abundance; silks, crapes, &c. such as you in England only can procure by a breach of the laws. On the first day that I dined at the tavern which I had just finished building in Albion, I drank bottled porter as cheap as in London, and had fine English salt at half the price I paid for it in England. Thus I find I have escaped the ruinous system of taxation which has reduced so many thousands to beggary or the workhouse, and so many of the middling classes to a state of pinching want, whom I have seen shivering through the winter over a few coals called a fire, because their limited means would not afford a cheerful blaze.
A great advantage in settling in the Illinois, rather than many other parts of America, is the state of society amongst us. Most of the persons who emigrate here, are those who have diminished their former fortunes; persons who have received good education, but are unable to sustain their stations in England. There is no arrogance in saying our circle of society is far superior to that in most of the villages in our native country. Except the parson, the  squire, and the principal farmers, what is the society of many of the English hamlets but rude and uncultivated? Here it is different; for within the circle of a few miles, there is more good company (I mean well-educated persons) than in the same circle in most parts of England.
We frequently find superior education and intelligence
131among the sons of the plough and the axe, to those in like situations in England. A person lately offered me his services to split boards for me: we agreed for price. I observed a correctness in his pronunciation and manner of speaking, apparently far above his situation. I attended him to the woods; he had with him two younger men than himself. The first singularity that appeared was, after taking off their clothes, (having first ground their axes) a nail or two were driven into a tree, on which were hung handsome gold watches. These men were well educated, understood geography, history, European politics, and the interesting events that now so much excite the attention of mankind. I went into my field the other day, and began a conversation with my ploughman: his address and manner of speech, as well as his conversation  surprised me. I found he was a colonel of militia, and a member of the legislature; he was indeed a fit companion for men of sense; and where will you find persons of this class in England with equal intelligence?
Of the particular news of this place, there is one piece of intelligence that will surprise you; the author of "Letters from the Illinois," (Mr. Birkbeck) has opened a place of worship at Wanborough; he officiates himself, and reads the Church of England Service, so that Wanborough is the seat of orthodoxy, and our place stands, as a matter of course, in the ranks of heresy?
There is an opinion prevailing amongst many in England, that the marriage ceremony in America is considered lightly of, and but loosely performed; but there never was a greater mistake. A minor cannot marry without the consent of his or her guardian or parent. A license must be applied for at the county court, and a declaration accompanying it from the parent, that it is with his consent.
132This license is taken to a magistrate who performs the ceremony, that is, the legal part of it, at either his own house or that of the parties; which is simply asking if they are willing to become man and wife, and their answer of consent. This is registered at the magistrates, and recorded by him at the county court: if  either neglect to make this register, a heavy fine is the punishment of their negligence, and the marriage is considered illegal. This is legal marriage in the Illinois; but both the magistrates inquire of the parties, and the law allows of any addition of a religious kind, that they may choose, and we adopt the vows of the marriage service of the Church of England, which are as solemnly put and answered, as if performed by a person in canonical habits before the altar.
Marriages here take lace so frequently, that we are certainly in want of female servants; even our Mrs. C., who lived with us upwards of twenty-five years, and is turned of fifty, has not escaped; she is married to a Mr. W., having first refused Monsieur R., an Italian gardener, of very polite manners, and who may be said to have seen a little of the world, as he marched from Italy to Moscow with Bonaparte, back to France, and proceeded from thence to this place: he was tall and majestic in person, made very elegant bows to Madame C., and spoke English enough to assure her he had the highest esteem for her, and would marry her to-morrow if she would consent; but all in vain, plain John Bull  carried the day. We have had ten or twelve marriages within three or four months. This, I think, is settling the Illinois pretty fast, and a good proof that Cobbett has not, as he threatened, ‘written us down;’ nor is there any sign of abandonment, but a good prospect, of increase of population, even if emigration should diminish.
We hear news from England sufficient to appreciate the wretched situation of our native country, and the disturbed state of Europe in general. We see, or think we see most plainly, the phial of God's wrath pouring forth on guilty nations; and England, notwithstanding its pulpit flatterers, in the church and out of the church, is tasting of that wrath. It appears to me that we have great cause for gratitude in escaping divine judgments, and finding an asylum where we may, I hope, rest in peace.
I see, on looking from my window, the golden harvest waving before me; a beautiful field of wheat, the admiration of the country, the first fruit of my son's industry in this kind of grain.
My wife and family enjoy excellent health, and spirits, and had not the Almighty hand  smote me in my tenderest part, by sending his awful messenger to call my dear son William away,
March 26, 1821.
As to the settlement in general, I consider it most prosperous, making, comparing it with many new ones, the most rapid strides to comfort and prosperity: our little town, now the capital of the English Settlement
134A person with 100 per Annum would be in affluence, which you will say is owing to the cheapness of provisions;
I have felt great satisfaction in never having  invited any one to emigrate, and still greater in finding those who came here out of regard to my opinions, in such situations of ease and comfort, as not only to contribute to their own happiness, but to add greatly to mine. I may say that those who have asked and taken my advice have
135succeeded to their wishes; and in all cases which have come to my knowledge, where affairs have been conducted with industry and tolerable discretion, they have occasion to be thankful for the change they have made from the old world to the new. Our population increases. We want in particular more tailors and shoemakers: any one understanding the coarse earthen-ware manufactury would meet with great success. — I have just finished a flour mill on an inclined plane, which has given fresh spirit to agriculture. Distilleries are also building. It is a happy circumstance that while industry is attended with certain success, vice, drunkenness, and idleness are no better off than in Europe; the effect of this will be to give the virtuous that natural ascendancy over the vicious which they ought always to have. We read in the newspapers of all the bustle you have had about your queen;
Park House, Albion, Aug. 20, 1821.
some of my letters, written in 1819, appeared through the medium of the press; and some of the English Reviewers, after a candid criticism, observed, that they should be
136glad to hear from me at some future period. Several other persons also have expressed a strong desire to have an account of our present situation and future prospects. In compliance therefore, with their wishes, I most cheerfully resume my pen, with the assurance that what I have written may be relied upon as an impartial and candid statement of facts.
Various are the reports which have been circulated in the private circle, and by means of the press, concerning the state of this settlement;  and great has been the anxiety which many friends have expressed on our account. It is my purpose therefore, to examine the principal reports which travellers have given of us.
When any one returns to England, though he may have visited us but a few days, he obtains a credence far above those who have only hear-say reports to communicate; whether his visits were made during the winter, amidst rains or snows, or in the summer, when an unparalleled drought pervaded the whole western country. Is so transitory a view to be considered as a just description of the soil, the climate, the advantages or disadvantages of the British Settlement in the Illinois? Surely not. I am informed even of some accounts which have been written from settlements above fifty miles distant from us, where circumstances are so very different, that they bear no resemblance to the situation in which we have located. These statements have been brought forward in opposition to the indisputable facts which have been given by us, and they no more apply to this place, than a description of the lowlands of Essex and Lincolnshire can apply to the high and dry situations of Shooter's-hill or Black-heath. I therefore request the reader's  attention to a few observations on the various reports which travellers
137have circulated of the English settlements at the Illinois.
I must first be allowed to remark on the want of competency of some very confident writers to form any judgment of our real situation; they appear to be wholly unacquainted with the history of the new settlements, and from this defect are unfitted to form a right judgement of our comparative and relative advantages. Hence the incongruous and contradictory accounts which have been given of our soil, climate, and agricultural concerns. Of the many who have visited us there are two individuals whose reports I hear gain some credence amongst my country men; I shall therefore confine my attention chiefly to the accounts they have given of us, and then examine those reports which have been raised from deep-rooted enmity and determined self-interest. These, with a brief account of our present situation and future prospects shall be the remaining subject of this letter.
One of these travellers visited us when the snows were melting, and the rains descending: he reports us to be dwelling upon the swamps of the Wabash; and our lands to be so wet that they are unfit for either cattle or sheep to  thrive on; and on that account unsuitable for the purposes of an English farmer.
Another passed through our country in an unparalleled drought, and reported us to be in a sad situation for want of water. There was some degree of truth in this, but a very partial degree, owing to his not stating the circumstances of the case. Our town is situated very high, and till we had experienced some drought we knew not that we should want to dig deep for water, and of course could not provide for an exigency that was not known to exist. "Dig deep" I have said; but one hundred feet is thought, by a western American to be a vast and dangerous enterprise
138enterprise; we have however with us Englishmen who have been far into the bowels of the earth in England, and have no sort of fear of there not being abundance of water in Albion; already have we experienced the benefit of these exertions; but while our dry-weather traveller was reporting our inconveniences, he should have stated it was an unusual season which pervaded the whole of the western country: that Kentucky and Ohio were worse than the Illinois; and that in Indiana, in the best watered districts, springs, rivulets, and wells were exhausted. Such an instance has never before occurred  during the memory of the oldest inhabitants. The same person (who I know would not willingly give a false account) has stated that so short was the water that we were obliged to send our cattle into Indiana. — That our herds were in Indiana is very true, but that they were sent there on account of want of water, is equally untrue. We have in Indiana about twelve miles distant, some high ground in the midst of low land, subject to be overflowed; on this low ground grows the most luxuriant cane, springing to an extraordinary height; the tender shoots of which, affording excellent food for cattle, we send them in the winter season, with the exception of milch cows and working oxen, to fatten. Our custom is somewhat similar to that of the farmers of the upland districts in England, who send their stock into the fens of Lincolnshire to fatten on coleseed and superabundant grass. So we dispose of our herds when the winter draws to a close. To this may be added, that the cane in the low river bottoms, growing naturally is the most luxuriant pasturage for summer feeding: and as we only pay the expense of the herdsman, the food either there or in the cane costing nothing: and the herdsman living there we leave our herds; so it was true that they
139 were in the cane, but were not sent there on account of the want of water. When this person reported that there was shortness of water amongst us, he should have added, that fine wells were no rarity in the vicinity of Albion; that he drank as fine water from our well as he ever tasted in his life; and that from the grounds of Richard and George Flower, Albion, and even a part of Wan-borough were supplied.
It will therefore appear that this person, as well as many others, told the truth, but very partially, and not the whole truth, and on that account are not to be depended on. At the very time he was visiting us a person from Kentucky, assured us that we were better off than they were at Kentucky and Ohio.
Another person who visited us on purpose to examine and spy out the land of evil report, went back to Baltimore and brought his family, stating in his travels that he had not met with such good water as at this place. This same traveller has reported our soil to be poor, and our inability to raise a sufficient quantity of provisions for ourselves, and that we are still dependant on the Harmonites: in this he only shews his  want of knowledge of the history of new settlements and their progress. Every person knows that the second year is the most unprofitable: the first year being spent in building and fencing, little produce is raised: but then all settlers of property bring a supply with them to make up for this certain deficiency; but capital being somewhat exhausted, and an increase of population still continuing, must of necessity keep a new settlement short of self-supplies; but when to this was added an extraordinary drought, is it a matter of surprise that the crops should in some degree have been scanty;
140but at the time I am writing, almost every thing these travellers have said of the Illinois, is happily reversed: they are the remarks of very superficial observers; though they may be in some degree true at the moment they were written, they are no fit representations [of] the Illinois; either as to its soil, climate, or general character; could I but set these very travellers down here at this moment, how would their astonished senses give contradiction to their own accounts!
We have now what the Americans tell us is a usual specimen of the seasons of the Illinois. Frequent rains, with the heat more moderate than the last year. Agriculture is beaming forth  in its glory. If some of our travellers to whom I have alluded were now here, they would see some of the finest wheat crops their eyes ever beheld: they would witness the most luxuriant crops of natural grasses, now gathering for the supply of winter food; also fine plants of artificial grasses well set in our inclosures; they would acknowledge that the corn crops were as abundant, or more so than any they had before witnessed in the United States; but as they are not here I must inform you that our corn crops upon good tillage have the appearance of from sixty to eighty bushels; and in some instances the Americans, who are the best judges, say one hundred bushels per acre. If this is the usual season of the Illinois, which can scarcely be doubted, as it answers the character given by those longest resident, then is the Illinois one of the finest countries under heaven for human beings to dwell in; one of the most delightful given to man for his residence.
Another traveller has stated that the Illinois is in general low and swampy, but that Mr. Flowers family, with one or two others, had placed their houses upon rising ground.
141This gentleman must either be naturally or willfully  blind. He might have found, within a circuit of five miles round Albion, numerous pleasing elevations, all so inviting that the beauty which they presented to the admiring eye of the settler, would be the only difficulty in the way of instant decision.
Then comes another objector, armed with an un answerable question? — "But what will you do with your produce?" This objection only needs to be examined to be refuted. The answer is, that for the present our home market will take all we raise, and if our population increases in future as it has done during the present year, and the probability is that, it will increase much faster, no foreign market will be wanted for ten or a dozen years to come. Our infant town has taken root, and is growing luxuriantly. It has increased one hundred in the number of inhabitants since last September, and its vicinity has added seventy to their number. Our mill is at work, and can grind the produce now raised; and a distillery and brewery will shortly be at work, so that the su[r]plus of several years will not raise more than a sufficiency for the population. We have also in the settlement some small plantations of tobacco, hemp, and cotton, articles which we  at present import; it will therefore be a work of some time to raise a sufficiency for our own consumption.
Another article of produce is wool. Since I have been here I have turned my attention to an important object which engaged much of my attention in my native country — the breeding of sheep, and have succeeded to the utmost of my wishes and expectations. My flock consists of about four hundred sheep and lambs; and although the first winter there were unexpected difficulties to encounter, I can assure my countrymen that it has been more healthy
142this last year than any I ever had, or ever heard of in England; but as I intend giving an account of my success in this branch of agriculture in some future letter, it will be sufficient to say, that although I can grow in the Illinois a profitable export, at present its produce is wanted, and all that can be raised for years to come, will be wanted at home. We have therefore not only a market for our extra produce around us, but we have also a foreign market at New Orleans, and through it to the market of the world. If it be said that owing to our situation, we labour under peculiar disadvan[ta]ges, all is reduced to the price of land carriage, of about nine miles to the Wabash,  at sixteen cents per hundred pounds. If therefore it is said that our surplus produce cannot be disposed of, it is not applicable to local circumstances alone; but to all America. Whenever the United States in general can dispose of their produce advantageously, the Illinois can do the same; and we are more contiguous to navigation than the great proportion of the interior of America.
The report which has injured us most is the want of that blessing, without which all that this world can give is but of little avail — Health. Reports of sickness which never existed, and of deaths which happily never took place, have been most industriously circulated; the fact is, that there has seldom been a new settlement which has suffered so little loss by death; or which has been so free from sickness. The number of deaths has been in the ratio of four in ninety-five each year, and this is a smaller number than in most places in the habitable globe, where the records of such events have been preserved. Many of its inhabitants have with myself, enjoyed far better health, than in their native country; so that I may safely conclude, after two years residence, with the information
143of those who were here a year and a half before me, that  there scarcely existed in the habitable globe, a place where the inhabitants have enjoyed so large a share of this invaluable blessing.
As to our future prospects they are truly flattering, in the probability of increasing population, now the clouds and mists which malignity has spread abroad are disappearing, before the light of truth, as the mists of morning disappear before the light and the heat of the sun: the well-grounded hopes of future harvests, arising from the rich abundance of the present; the perseverance and industry of a large portion of our settlers; the excellent materials for building, and the increasing number of fine wells of water, all present a most encouraging and delightful prospect.
Another testimony in favour of our situation is, that some of our countrymen who have settled in other places, have visited us, expressing their surprise and regret that they had been the dupes of false reports, and had stopped short of the Illinois. While others more prudently came down from Cincinnati, and even Baltimore to visit this land of evil report, minutely examined for themselves, returned to bring their families, and are contented with their lot.
Another remark was made by certain writers,  that although we had improved our situation as to animal enjoyments, we had sacrificed intellectual pleasures, because I stated, in one of my letters, that there were no booksellers here, and that the necessary business which could not be avoided in a new settlement, left us but little time for reading. Hasty conclusion! Many of us brought out ample libraries of our own, and we have also a standing library in our little town; which is supplied with
144newspapers and periodical publications. Those who emigrated to the Illinois were not altogether illiterate; a majority of them were quite of a contrary description; and as to agricultural knowledge, there are very few spots on the face of the earth, where it is so much concentrated, as at the Illinois, having farmers from almost all the different counties in England. There are likewise, several American, Dutch, and French farmers, gardeners, and vine dressers in our neighbourhood.
The reports of the wickedness and irreligion of our settlement, with a view to prevent individuals from joining us, have been industriously spread far and near. That there is a diversity of character in every part of the globe, will not be denied; that this diversity exists here is equally true; and that a portion of its inhabitants  is of an immoral cast, will be as readily admitted; that we have not left human nature with its infirmities and propensities behind us is equally a fact; and even if it should be admitted, that unhappily, a larger portion of the dissipated, the idle, and the dissolute are to be met with in new countries than is usually to be found in old ones, yet we have the same antidote for these mischiefs: — the light shining in a dark place. We have public worship and ample supplies of sermons from pious practical preachers, from the Catholic to the Socinian Creed,
145should be rather an argument for persons of religious zeal to join us, who have emigration in view; to come over to Macedonia and help us, rather than shrink from such a task. At least it is not apostolic or evangelic feeling that would draw a different conclusion.
When I was at Philadelphia a lady of the Society of Friends addressed me most emphatically on the subject: — "Wilt thou, friend  Flower, take thy family to that infidel and wicked settlement in the Illinois? Thou appearest to be a Christian; how wilt thou answer to thy God for endangering the precious souls of thy dear children?" Madam, answered I, my destiny appears to be in the Illinois settlement; and rather than turn from thence on the account you have mentioned, you have furnished me with a forcible argument to proceed. I trust I am as you have supposed a sincere Christian, and as it is my special duty to go where reformation is so necessary, I will endeavour to perform it, and hope for the blessing of the Most High. It is for us to use the means. We know who it is to command success in our present state and future prospects.
It may be worth while to make a few remarks on the characters, situations, and apparent motives of some of those persons by whom we have been misrepresented and reviled.
The first class that opened their batteries of illiberal abuse, were the ministerial and hireling writers in England
146conduct: as usual, they were not very nice, in the means they made use of Private characters were assailed indiscriminately, and motives imputed to the emigrants which never entered their minds. The grand reason for emigration was to escape that overwhelming system of taxation which had diminished the property of the emigrants, and threatened if they staid much longer, to swallow up the whole. Their conduct has proved their discernment, and justified their proceedings.
How many of my brother farmers have lost their all! How many have been added to the list of paupers since we left our beloved country, newspapers and private letters, agricultural meetings and parliamentary proceedings and reports, sufficiently declare. Happy had it been for many others, if they had accompanied us: some who have followed us have lamented their indecision, and have felt the fatal consequences of their lingering in their own country. The motives and views of this first class of revilers, is too obvious to need fa[r]ther notice.
Another writer, who is, or rather who was once popular, whom I met at New York, passionately expressed his determination to write us down: amongst much false reasoning which  he made use of for this purpose, it is greatly to be feared he also cared but little for truth; and I have often wondered what could be his motive? Whether he had some other settlement at heart; or whether he wished to keep all emigrants near him to persuade them to enter into his grand plan of inundating England with forged Bank of England notes!! — One thing however is decidedly clear; that he knew nothing about what he was writing; and our present success, surrounded by so many comforts, is a sufficient proof he did not do us all the harm he intended. Were he to ride over our fine prairies, viewing
147our flocks, herds, and corn fields, such ocular demonstration of the falsehood of his statements would be to him a sufficient mortification.
But there is another class of men of a very different sort; those who were raising rival settlements, in various parts of America, and who had lands for sale: who longed to stop the cash which seemed to be pouring into the lap of the Illinois. It was natural for them, as human nature is constituted, to attempt to arrest its progress; they therefore joined the hue and cry against the Illinois, and spread reports  of sickness, starvation, famishing for thirst, frequent deaths, and the consequent abandonment of our settlement. In this they in some instances succeeded, and as I have before hinted, some have visited us who speak of their having been entrapped, and express the deep regret that they did not join us. Facts however soon began to dispel the illusion: one gentleman brought his family to Cincinnati, several families visited Baltimore, who notwithstanding the evil tidings that they had heard ventured, although with fearful apprehensions, to the English settlement: but singular as it may appear to our calumniators, after a most minute investigation into our situation and circumstances, in the autumn of the year they could not find a sick person throughout the settlement: nor was the drought which certainly inconvenienced us, peculiar or local; it raged throughout the western country. They were satisfied, and went to fetch their families, who are now residents amongst us to their entire satisfaction. It is no wonder then, that the falsehoods and calumnies which have been so industriously spread, are at length found to be such; and that the character and motives of the persons who have assailed us are duly appreciated:
148and, as a consequence of these and  other circumstances one hundred individuals have joined the town of Albion, and about twenty have settled in its environs since last August.
Notwithstanding all I have stated, I would not have my countrymen consider me as inducing them to emigrate, without serious and due consideration of their own circumstances; but rather consider me as advising them if they do emigrate to America, to come and unite with us in the Illinois; resting assured that what I have stated is truth — impartial truth.
It is a trial of no mean sort to quit one's native country, and separate ourselves from those for whom we have the sheerest friendship and regard. The privations however of a first settlement are at an end: we may now indeed say "the way is smoothed for them;" and it rests with us who are now settled to be prosperous, contented, and happy. It is equally our duty and our interest, to consider well the blessings we enjoy at this place of abounding plenty. Many of you my countrymen, can look back on the frightful abyss of pauperism and starvation which you have escaped, and should lift up your hearts in gratitude to God for his mercies vouchsafed to you. Forget not who it is that has preserved your lives and prolonged  your days; blessed you with so much health; preserved you from the arrow that flieth at noon day; and the pestilence that walketh in darkness. Remember that it depends upon your virtuous endeavours, how great, how good, and how happy the settlement in the Illinois shall be. Eradicate the stain which report has cast on your moral and religious characters; and may your example be such as to influence the formation of character of this place; that your "ways may be ways of pleasantness, and all your paths
149be peace. Remember that without virtue happiness cannot exist. Let future generations rise up and call you blessed; so that you may, on your departure from this life, rest satisfied that your emigration to the Illinois proved the means of your increasing welfare and happiness in time and eternity.
Wanborough, May 7, 1821.
regarding the abuse which people have indulged in about my undertakings, and my accounts of them, I find little difficulty in taking it quietly. I have spent four years in this country, and now every day furnishes fresh proofs of the correctness of my early impressions, so complete as to excite a degree of astonishment at my good fortune in conjecturing rightly, and occasionally something of self-congratulation, under the hope that partial friends may give me a little credit for sagacity.
A statistical account of this country, by the time I had finished it, and long before it could reach you, would need correction. Satisfied as I am, to a degree of occasional exultation, with the condition of my own farm, and my prospects as an American cultivator, so rapid and certain is the progress of improvement, that I should not be flattered by your reading, six months hence, an account of its present state. Besides, enough has been already written to shew the candid public that all our  reasonable expectations are satisfied: for the rest, who enjoy our imaginery reverses, and rely more on the superficial accounts of such people as C. F. &c. who have never seen
150the country, or if they have seen it, are incapable of judging, it really is a waste of labour to write for them. Those wretched people who indulge their malevolence in personal abuse are unworthy of my notice. It would indeed be to our advantage, and is the only harm I wish them, that their ignorance and their prejudices should continue, lest they should follow us.
We are on the eastern limits of a country differing essentially from all that has hitherto been cultivated in the United States. The people to the east of us are incapable of imagining a dry and rich wholesome country, where they may enter at once on fine lands prepared for cultivation, without the enormous expence of time and labour in clearing, which has been bestowed on every acre between this and the Atlantic. The inhabitants of the old States are profoundly and resolutely ignorant of the advantages of our prairie country. Books are written in the east to prove the wretchedness of the prairies, by persons who have never approached them within five hundred miles; and English writers of the same  description, some with names and some without, can obtain more credence than is granted to me, from that description of readers. On the whole, I do not think it worth while to undertake the conviction of these people. The settlers here who prosper, that is to say, those who possess good morals and common discretion, will, in course, tell their experience to their friends and connections in England, and invite them to follow their example; these again will invite others. This is now going on in all directions. Some write for their former neighbours or the residue of their families, others push back to the old country, to conduct them out. Numbers who come to try their hands at a new settlement are wholly unfit for any place in this world,
151new or old, unless it be to supply the requisite quota of evil, which in this imperfect state, adheres to all places. These are the people sometimes most likely to be heard, whilst those who go on well and wisely are little noticed. Their adventures are at an end: they "keep a pig" and live happily. A volcano is a fine subject when in action, but the interest ceases with the eruption. At some future day, — some "still time, when there is no room for chiding" should my life be spared, I may lay before my countrymen a statement  of our condition: but the suitable time, I think, is not yet. It is, however, a pleasing office to transmit to an intelligent friend an occasional sketch of the settlement; and to receive, as I have from you, and I hope you will repeat the obligation, a return of liberal communication.
The various attacks upon my reputation will be repelled, surely, though perhaps slowly, by time. Among my neighbours, who are now numerous, their effect has ceased already. The accuracy of my statements become daily more evident, and my errors are found to be on the opposite side to exaggeration; a style which I dislike: it is offensive to my taste, as well as my moral feelings: is not a written lie to the full as abominable as one that is spoken?
The telescope which you have had the goodness to procure for me is an object of pleasant anticipation. This climate is favourable for astronomical observations, and it will add to our rational amusements. I shall therefore be obliged by your forwarding it as before directed, as soon as convenient.
The following Remarks respecting the want of water, and the account of the English settlement at the Illinois, are taken from a most entertaining, interesting, and elegant work, lately published, and of which a second edition is in the press. I here insert them, as they tend to confirm the correctness of the accounts published by Mr. Birkbeck and my brother, and contain some excellent advice to emigrants.
"You have expressed in your late letters, some curiosity regarding the condition of the English settlement, in the Illinois, adding, that the report has prevailed that those spirited emigrants had been at first too sanguine, and had too little foreseen the difficulties which the most fortunate settler must encounter. This report, I believe, to have originated with Mr. Cobbett, who thought proper to pronounce upon the condition of the farmer in the Illinois, in his own dwelling upon Long Island. Feeling an interest in the success of our countrymen in the West, I have been at some pains to inform myself as to their actual condition. The following statement is chiefly taken from the letters of two American gentlemen, of our acquaintance who have just visited the settlement; they inform me that its situation possesses all those positive advantages stated by Mr. Birkbeck; that the worst difficulties have been surmounted; and that these have  always been fewer than what are frequently encountered in a new country.
"The village of Albion, the centre of the settlement, contains at present thirty habitations, in which are found a bricklayer, a carpenter, a wheelwright, a cooper, and a blacksmith; a well supplied shop, a little library, an inn, a chapel, and a post office, where the mail regularly arrives twice a week. Being situated on a ridge, between the greater and little Wabash, it is from its elevated position,
154and from its being some miles removed from the rivers, peculiarly dry and healthy. The prairie on which it stands, is as exquisitely beautiful; lawns of unchanging verdure, spreading over hills and dales, scattered with islands of luxuriant trees, dropped by the hand of nature, with a taste that art could not rival — all this spread beneath a sky of glowing and unspotted sapphires. The most beautiful parks of England, would afford a most imperfect comparison. The soil is abundantly fruitful, and of course has an advantage over the heavy timbered lands, which can scarcely be cleared for less than from twelve to fifteen dollars per acre, while the Illinois farmer, may in general clear his for less than five, and then enter upon a more convenient mode of tillage. The objection that is too frequently found to the beautiful prairies of the Illinois, is the deficiency of springs and streams for mill seats. This is attended with inconvenience to the settler, though his health will find in it advantage. The nearest navigable river to Albion is the Wabash, eight miles distant: the nearest running stream, that is not liable to fail at Midsummer, the Bonpaw, four miles distant. The stock of water in ponds for cattle, was liable to run dry in a few weeks, and the settlement apprehended some temporary inconvenience from  the circumstance. The finest water is every where to be raised from twenty to twenty-five, or thirty feet from the surface, these wells never fail, but are of course troublesome to work in a new settlement.
"The settlement at Albion, must undoubtedly possess some peculiar attractions for an English emigrant, promising him, as it does, the society of his own countrymen, an actual or ideal advantage, to which he is seldom insensible. Generally speaking, however, it may ultimately be as well for him, as for the community to which he attached himself, that he should become speedily incorporated with the people of the soil: many emigrants bring with them prejudices and predilections which can only be rubbed away by a free intercourse with the natives of the country. By sitting down at once among them, they will more readily acquire an accurate knowledge of their political institutions, and learn to estimate the high privileges which these impart to them, and thus attaching themselves to their adopted country, not for mere sordid motives of interest, but also from feeling and principle, become not only
155naturalized but also nationalized. I have met with but too many in this country, who have not advanced beyond the former. I must observe, also, that the European farmer and mechanic, are usually far behind the American in general and practical knowledge, as well as enterprise. You find in the working farmer of these states, a store of information, a dexterity in all the manual arts, and often a high tone of national feeling, to which you will hardly find a parallel amongst the same class elsewhere. His advice and assistance always freely given to those who seek it, will be found of infinite service to a stranger; it will often save him from many rash speculations, at the same time that it will dispose  him to see things in their true light, and to open his eyes and heart to all the substantial advantages that surround him."
Views of Society and Manners in America, in a series of Letters from that Country to a Friend in England during the years 1818, 1819, 1820. By an Englishman, 8vo.
The above as the reader will notice, was written two years ago, since which the settlement, as appears by the letters now published, has considerably increased, and for the time it has been established, is in a very flourishing state.
The address of the worthy female, one of the Society of Friends to my brother, respecting the "infidel wicked settlement at the Illinois," proceeded from that principle of fear for the interests of Christianity, which an enlightened Christian, by which I mean one who understands the principles, imbibes the spirit, and follows the example of the primitive Christians, need not indulge. To all sincere Christians who may have indulged similar fears, may be applied
156what the Psalmist remarks of certain pious persons of his day, who appear to have been placed in a very "infidel, wicked settlement;" — "There were they in great fear where no fear was." (Ps. liv. 5.) Infidelity, or unbelief in the divine mission of Christ; a rejection of those grand truths, essential to the salvation of a lost world, where the gospel can be read and examined, as it may easily be in the present enlightened age — enlightened, with respect to the means of instruction for the attainment of knowledge the most important, — is so inexcuseable, that I know not how any man, even if his capacity be below mediocrity, and more especially any man whose capacity  is above mediocrity, can, remaining an unbeliever, rationally hope to escape the awful sentence pronounced by our Saviour: — "He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life: — he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John iii.) Passages as equally applicable to unbelievers of the present day, as to those of old, as the evidences of Christianity are equally bright and convincing as in our Saviour's time, if not more so. We have no such gross prejudices to combat as the Jews had, as no persons are so stupid as to expect a temporal Messiah, to imitate those grand pests of society, who, in all ages, have ravaged the world — despotic kings, and wholesale murderers commonly called conquerors! And if we have not the evidence of sense, the personal presence of Christ, we have a more sure word of prophecy, not of a temporary nature, but more suitable to succeeding ages, even to the end of time, — the fulfillment of Divine predictions. Men who after reading the various relations of travellers of the first reputation, concerning the fall and present state of ancient states and cities, Babylon, Tyre, Egypt, &c. can reject the evidence of the truth of revelation arising from such a source, may be pronounced without breach of charity, wilfully blind. If it be said, there is no general rule without exceptions, — I allow it, but only so far as there may be exceptions to other important general rules: for instance, that justly called the golden rule, delivered by our Saviour in his sermon on the mount. But let it be seriously recollected, that the very word exceptions implies the generality of the rule, and that the man cannot be very wise, who endeavours to persuade himself, that he shall, in the great day of final account, be included in these exceptions. For myself, I  must profess, that after some acquaintance
157with several of our principal infidel writers, English and foreign, I have never met with any who dared meet the distinguishing evidences of Christianity fairly; and that in general, the description of writers alluded to, have been men whose moral conduct has been so defective, as to afford just reason to apprehend they were not sincere inquirers after truth. The infidel public may safely be challenged to answer, not only the writings of Locke, Newton, Lardner, Paley, &c. but even some of our shilling or sixpenny pamphlets. Let any unbeliever exert his energies in refuting that admirable tract entitled — An Answer to the Question, WHY ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN? by the late Dr. Clarke of Boston, in America, of which there have been published numerous editions, but to which, if an answer has been written, I will thank any person to inform me, and where it can be procured. But so long as the enemies of revelation consider misrepresentation, arising from wilful ignorance, sneering, jesting, and ribaldry, lawful weapons to effect the purpose they have at heart — the destruction of Christianity — I shall certainly suspect they do not possess that indispensable qualification in all inquiries concerning revelation, — an honest and good heart, and that of course they are not sincere in their inquiries; but let all such men take warning from the numerous declarations in scripture concerning the rejectors of the gospel, as they will most assuredly find, that with respect to threatnings, as well as promises, it is impossible for God to lie!
Should it be asked, — How is it that so many men of talents, and who may possess qualities, which may render them in different ways, and to a certain degree useful to the world and ornamental to the social circle reject Christianity; various  causes may be assigned. I must confine myself to a few. The principal reason is assigned by the divine author of Christianity: — This is the condemnation; light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. — The love of applause in favourite circles is assigned by the same authority as another reason. Our Saviour demanded of the Pharisees, — how can ye believe who receive honour one of one another, and not the honour which cometh from God only. They rejected our Saviour's doctrines because they loved the praise of men, more than the praise of God. — How often has pride determined men to reject truths the most important? The doctrine of the cross, although the brightest display of the wisdom
158and power of God to the world, is to the carnal man, that is the man whose belief and practice are determined by worldly motives, foolishness. The remark of Dr. Priestley on this subject, deserves the most serious attention of men, who are by their talents and learning, elevated above the rest of the world. "Learned men have prejudices peculiar to themselves, and the very affectation of being free from vulgar notions, and of being wiser than the rest of mankind, must indispose them to the admission of truth, if it should happen to be with the common people!"
Although if the opinions I have expressed be true, they want not the sanction of the learned, yet knowing the influence of names, I will in their support add two, who although men of very different opinions, are by their respective admirers, considered masters in Israel. The first is Dr. Johnson who, as his biographer Mr. Boswell informs us, remarked on this subject, — "No honest man could be a deist; for no man could be so after a fair examination of the proofs of Christianity. Hume owned  to a clergyman, in the bishopric of Durham, that he had never read the New Testament with attention!" Another example of the truth of Johnson's remark is the famous Thomas Paine, who in a work misnamed "the Age of Reason" but which is a disgrace to any man possessing his reason, at the very moment of pretending to criticise the bible, and of glorying in having destroyed its credit, acknowledged "that he had not read it for several years!" This may, in part at least, account for the numerous misstatements and falsehoods which deform his pages. This work has been the more injurious to society, as thereby the author lost much of that fame he had justly acquired by his admirable, and popular political writings, but to which the world has since shewn a comparative indifference.
To Dr. Johnson's opinion I only add that of Mr. Belsham, who in his Calm Inquiry, &c. observes: — "The Unitarians acknowledge that the scriptures were written for the instruction of the illiterate as well as of the learned, and they believe — that ALL which is essential to doctrine or practice is SUFFICIENTLY INTELLIGIBLE even to the meanest capacity."
From these premises I conclude, that there is little danger of the spread of that absurdity of absurdities — INFIDELITY, where it is not supported by more plausible reasons than are contained in the
159writings of its votaries; but it is with pain, that I am obliged in justice to the subject to add, that its principal support has been the corrupt systems and lives of its professors. — Those ANTICHRISTIAN CHURCHES under whatever denomination, and in every country under heaven, which have been established by the civil magistrate: — THE ALLIANCE BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE, which has displayed its brazen front in the temple of God, exalting itself above all that is called God; robbed  the great head of the church of his peculiar prerogative, the sovereignty over conscience; and plundered countless millions of their rights and properties, thus turning the church into a den of thieves, — These ecclesiastical corruptions constitute a more formidable argument against Christianity, although by no means an honest reason for rejecting it, than the writings of the whole infidel world united.
160 But as America is not disgraced with an established church, supported by penal laws, the work of statecraft and priestcraft united, infidelity has, in that country, lost  its chief support, and cannot, to any extensive degree, flourish. Let that favoured quarter of the globe carefully preserve her only establishment — LIBERTY AND EQUALITY, and her religious interests are safe. Christianity left to itself will, by its own internal excellence, and by the lives of its sincere professors, have free course, and be glorified.
The English settlement in the Illinois already affords an illustration of the truth of these sentiments. In the first stage of its
161infancy, reports, as it appears by the remonstrance and admonitions of the female friend at Philadelphia to my brother, have been industriously and widely circulated, of its being a "wicked infidel settlement;" where "a Christian parent" could not "answer it to his God for endangering the precious souls of his dear children!" Three years have scarcely passed since this solemn warning was given; and what is the present state of this "Infidel settlement?" The friends to Christianity have exerted themselves, and although without the assistance of Priests, or even Reverends of any denomination, two places within the distance of as many miles, have been erected for public worship; one on the moderate candid Unitarian plan, — I mean that which according to the only accurate import of the word includes in its communion, all Christians who dissent from that contradiction in terms — "THREE divine PERSONS in ONE GOD:" — The other for the members of the Episcopal Church of England, which in America, by losing its antichristian sting, has lost its principal deformities; and what deserves peculiar notice — the service in the latter is read by the very person who was supposed to have been the chief promoter of infidelity! — A third chapel is now erecting for the use of the Calvinistic baptists. These different denominations, with any others  which may hereafter appear, have only to follow the example of their brethren throughout America; to meet in civil society, as friends, perfectly equal as to political, civil, and religious rights, no one allowed to have any ascendancy over the other, Christianity will then triumph, and infidelity will be ashamed to shew its face.
To the excellent admonitions on the subject of religious and moral conduct with which my brother concludes his letters, I cannot help adding my ardent hopes, that as the English settlement appears to be increasing in prosperity, and to present an happy asylum for those, who from various circumstances, are induced or compelled to emigrate from their native country, the inhabitants will prove an example of that true religion and virtue, which constitute the only sure foundation and preserver of states and communities: — my wishes are equally ardent, that as Christians, they would not only avoid the errors of antichristian established churches, but of those which although professedly dissenting from them still retain a strong attachment to many of their follies. Primitive Christianity, how
162seldom is it aspired after! The unnecessary division of Christians into clergy and laity; the distinctions of dress, habits, and titles, so calculated to please the fancy of our grown babies in the Christian church; the objectionable manner in which Christian pastors are too frequently ordained and supported: — these with other follies which might be mentioned, all innovations on the simplicity and purity of the primitive churches will at the Illinois, it is hoped, be avoided. Let the English seriously recollect, that in their native country priestcraft prevails, not only in the established church, but in different degrees amongst those who dissent from it, where I fear it is increasing; and that those who are distinguished for their  attachment to weak and beggarly elements, are in general equally distinguished for their indifference to the grand principles of LIBERTY, for their servility to the ruling powers, and for their support of that ruinous system of war and corruption, which has so peculiarly disgraced the British nation for the past sixty years. — May the office of pastor of a Christian church be no longer deemed a trade, but let every Christian teacher aspire to the honour of being equally independent with the apostles and pastors of the primitive churches, who are chiefly if not wholly dependant on their own exertions in the pursuit of some honest calling. May all denominations, uniting with each other in the bonds of Christian friendship, no longer consider their peculiar explanation of doctrines as necessary to Christian communion. May their only grand essentials be, sincerity in the search of truth, and honesty in practising it. Thus may they, in the full enjoyment of political, civil, and religious liberty go on unto perfection.
 [Note C, Page 147.]
Mr. Cobbett's former calumnies respecting the English settlements in the Blinois were amply refuted by Mr. Birkbeck and my brother, in two pamphlets, published in 1819, and to neither of which, although he has alluded to a private letter, since written by the former, and inserted in a provincial paper, has he dared to reply. He has however, had the effrontery in a late Register, (July, 7th, 1821,) not only to repeat those calumnies, but to invent others still more atrocious; and as the parties concerned are five thousand miles distant, I deem it my duty on the present occasion, to add a few observations to those of my brother, that the character of the calumniator may appear in its true colours, and that my countrymen may no longer be the dupes of a man who has so frequently deceived them.
This writer has in his rage against the settlements at the Illinois, not only shewn his usual disregard of truth and decency, but thrown off the common feelings of humanity. Yes — This marble-hearted reprobate has impiously dared to reproach an affectionate, — a peculiarly warm-hearted father with the death of a favourite son. Addressing himself to Mr. Birkbeck, he states as follows: — "As to English farmers, yours, or any like yours, is the very worst spot they can go to." Of the falsehood of this assertion, the reader has before him demonstrative evidence. Then, alluding to Mr. William Hunt and his qualifications for farming, the writer adds: — "With great sorrow I heard of his untimely end, from one of those terrible fevers that never fail to haunt new settlements for years. One of Mr. Flowers sons is dead also, in the bloom of life. Now, had Mr. F. followed my advice given him at New York; if he had purchased a farm or two on the Atlantic side, this son would in all probability have been alive!"  To this atrocious paragraph I reply: — It is false that "terrible fevers haunt the English settlements" more than is common in either England or America. I am well acquainted with some who were born, and had previous to their emigration, lived in one of the finest counties in England, Devonshire, who were not unfrequently subject to fevers in general, but to such "terrible fevers," as had nearly terminated their earthly existence. These very persons have lately written me, that during a twelvemonth's residence near Albion, succeeding a long and fatiguing voyage and journey, they had been less subject to fevers, and have enjoyed better health than when breathing their native air. As to the climate in
164general, its healthy state has, after four years experience, been proved, by the evidence of persons, whose characters for veracity more particularly, are as superior to that of their calumniator, as light is to darkness. — It is false that Mr. W. Hunt was brought to an untimely end by "a terrible fever." At the moment I am writing I have a gentleman at my elbow, who during his late residence at the Illinois was well acquainted with Mr. H. and with the circumstances attending his death; and he has authorized me to state: — That Mr. Hunt's disorder was a common pleurisy, attended with but a slight degree of fever; that he was fast recovering; but as is not uncommon in other countries, not taking proper care of himself, and negligent in following medical advice, he had a relapse which terminated fatally.
It is false, that my amiable and excellent nephew died also in consequence of one of those "terrible fevers." Being intimately acquainted with the circumstances of his case, from the very best authority I assure the reader, that his death was occasioned by a common complaint  in all countries, and to which young people are more peculiarly subject: a cold, caught on a journey, (it is not necessary to detail the particulars) which, without any alarming symptoms of fever, terminated in a decline, and as is frequently the case in such disorders, suddenly, when his parents and family were flattering themselves he had nearly recovered. Thus has Mr. Cobbett impiously represented an affecting visitation of Providence; — a visitation common to every spot on the habitable globe, — as a judgment inflicted on my brother for not following his advice, although he forgot to add, that this advice was enforced with a denunciation, clothed in his favourite phraseology, "I'll be d----d if I do not write down Birkbeck and his settlement."
— Thus has he strove to transpierce the heart of a father, and to tear open a wound, which time, a flourishing situation, with those ample means of enjoyment with which the favour of providence has surrounded him, together with those "strong consolations," which a true Christian only can feel the force of, was healing; and I trust, that the same supports will enable him to triumph over the fiend whose deadly aim has been to send him a mourner to the grave.
Mr. C. warns my brother and his family "to retreat in time,"
165which if they do not, he dooms them for their lives "to pass their days principally amongst the fellers of trees, and the swallowers of whiskey." After the reader has attended to the evidence respecting the state of society at the English settlements, in the pamphlet before him, (I might refer him to additional respectable evidence) it is only necessary to warn Mr. C. in return, should he again cross the Atlantic, and take it into his head to reside at the Illinois, to be careful to leave his vicious habits of  swearing and lying behind him, as he will otherwise find not only English society, but even the society of "fellers of trees, and swallowers of whiskey" too humane, too civilized, too virtuous to be very fond of his company.
The hypocrisy of Mr. Cobbett, in his professions of respect for Mr. B. and my brother can only be equalled by his falsehood. His inhuman attack on the latter I have already noticed; and his eagerness in the same Register, to expose and misrepresent private matters with which the public have no concern, for the sole purpose of making mischief, must be too obvious to its readers to require farther notice. I might quote from a subsequent Register, the manner in which he has endeavoured to ridicule both my brother and Mr. B. but it is too contemptible for a reply.
Mr. Birkbeck, in the letter quoted by Cobbett observes, "I suppose you have seen Cobbett's attack on me, and laughed at the ridiculous posture in which he has contrived to place me." On this Mr. C. indignantly demands — "Pray Sir, by what rule known amongst men, are you justified in imputing to me an attack on you. I addressed to you two letters while I was in Long Island, dated in the latter part of the year 1818: — now throughout the whole of those letters there is not to be found one single expression to warrant this charge of having made an attack on you; from one end to the other I speak of you with the greatest respect." Of the sincerity of these professions the reader will judge, by a short extract or two from the letters referred to. "It is of little consequence," observes Mr. C. "what wild schemes are formed by men who have property enough to carry them back; but to invite men to go to the Illinois, with a few score of pounds in their pockets, and to tell them that they can become farmers with those pounds, appears to me to admit of no other apology  than an unequivocal acknowledgment that the author is MAD! Yet your fifteenth letter from the Illinois
166really contains such an invitation. This letter is manifestly addressed to an imaginary person, it is clear that the correspondent is a feigned or supposed being. It is, I am sorry to say, a mere trap to catch poor creatures with a few pounds in their pockets." Mr. Birkbeck in reply, after stating that his letter was not addressed to an "imaginary person," but to one with whose circumstances he was intimately acquainted, a relation by marriage, adds: — "You have posted me over England and America as mad, as a simpleton, and a boaster, and in one or two instances as something worse. So great a liberty with truth, you say, never was taken by any mortal being; and having made the discovery, you are in great haste to conclude your letter to me, that your son William might take it to England with him, and publish it there six months before I could hear of it!" — So much for Mr. Cobbett's sincerity in his high professions of respect for Mr. B. his veracity in declaring he made "no attack on him," and that his letter, "was not written to be circulated in Europe!" It is a pity that he did not adduce his ever-memorable denunciation against Mr. B. and his settlement uttered a short time before he wrote his letters, as an additional proof of his sincerityand veracity!
The conceit of this writer is as intolerable as his other vicious qualities. Speaking of the House of Commons, he thus expresses himself: — "I am well aware of all the feelings that are at work in that assembly with regard to me and my writings. I have not mock modesty enough, to pretend not to perceive the power that I have in the  country; and it is out of the power of that assembly to disguise from me that they are well aware of the extent of that power. Neither am I ignorant of the power that I have with regard to their actions, and of the great reluctance that they have to suffer the public to perceive that they feel the effects of any such power. I manage my matters adroitly: but the power I have, and the power I will have; and this I repeat it, the public know full as well as I do; and I only state the facts here in order to let those who grudge me the power know, that the possession of it gives me great satisfaction." How adroitly this bankrupt in fortunes and character has "managed his matters," the London Gazette and our courts of justice have recently
167afforded ample evidence; and should he profess modesty, that it will be "mock modesty," no man will dispute: as to the rest of the paragraph, surely the ravings of the poor bedlamite, with his crown of straw, brandishing his straw scepter, and fancying himself a king, appears rationality itself compared with this display of bloated pride and intoxicated vanity! What particular power this writer possesses over the country, or over parliament, I know not: that he may impose upon some people by his acknowledged talents as a writer, whose style is so well calculated for the lower classes more particularly, and by his confident assertions, I do not deny; but in justice to Mr. C. I must observe, that I do not believe his powers for wickedness are so gigantic as he has laboured to persuade us they are. How often has he boasted of his power at any time totally to ruin the Bank of England by his favourite project of a general forgery of bank notes; and which he could easily put in execution at any time; but notwithstanding he proves his good wishes on the subject, he has not had that  confidence in his own marvellous powers, as to risk his neck in the acquisition of that exaltation, which the attempt to put such a project in execution would most assuredly be his reward!
Mr. Birkbeck has drawn a most correct miniature likeness of his grand enemy, in describing him as a man, — I copy the sentence as printed by Mr. C. — "KNOWN to be wholly indifferent to truth." This description is so terribly galling as to provoke him to give additional proof of its justice. How numerous are the proofs, — how vast the evidence which might be collected from his writings! How many of the most useful and ornamental characters, and of the greatest and best men in the political, social, and literary world has he not libelled! It is not only Birkbeck, and Flower, but Waithman, Burdett,
 and Fox, Priestley, Franklin, Locke, and Addison,
168with many others whom this general libeller has calumniated. But to wade through his innumerable pages, and to collect the numberless proofs of the truth of this statement would be a more Herculean task than that of cleansing the Augean stable. To the number of his Register already quoted I must confine myself: and indeed that may be produced as a fair specimen of many others. Many years since, and early in his political career, he poured forth his abuse on Dr. Franklin; the fit has lately revisited him; and it has happened to him, to use the language of St. Peter, when describing similar characters of his time, according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own vomit again. Speaking of this friend of his country, and of the world, Mr. C. observes: — "Dr. Franklin's maxims are childish, if not trivial; a still greater number of them are false, the whole tenor of them tends to evil, for it constantly aims at strengthening selfishness, and at enfeebling generosity." — Yes reader! such is the description of the luminous pages of this illustrious American philosopher, statesman, and patriot, and which abound equally with lessons of philanthropy and prudence, enforced by his own example, and which have instructed, improved, and adorned, not only his own country, but almost every civilized spot on the habitable globe.
But although there is much more offensive matter in the Register I have quoted, I must draw to a close. Mr. C. on some subjects shews considerable talents and industry, and he might have been useful to society, had he confined himself to his peculiar forte, —
169ferretting out  public abuses, and making every class understand their nature. It is indeed to be lamented how little he feels himself, what he has made others feel. But, as there is no system, men nor measures, but he has equally panegyrised and reviled, as it has suited his caprice, or weathercock opinions; his own conduct has, in a great degree, destroyed the effects of the best parts of his writings. — But as he has lately turned his attention to that best of books, — the bible, — which he has frequently sneered at, and reviled the successful exertions of those who have extended its circulation; — as his prolific pen has lately produced SERMONS, in which he has displayed his usual energies, I will not despair of him; and I hope he will take in good part my friendly and concluding hints. I will help him to one or two subjects for his succeeding sermons. The first shall be — THE SIN AND DANGER OF PROFANE SWEARING, from Exodus xx. 7. Thou shall not fake the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. The other, — GOD'S ABHORRENCE OF FALSEHOOD, from Prov. xii. 22. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. No man is capable of doing these subjects more ample justice; and I will promise him that, as I have distributed some of his writings, I will so exert myself respecting these proposed sermons, as that he may add to his recent boastings of their extensive sale. It is impossible that in reading and studying the Bible, he can prevent it from flying in his face, and I most sincerely hope his reflections will terminate in his repentance and reformation: that he may no longer remain in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity; but that it may be his fervent prayer to God, — That the thoughts of his heart may be forgiven him.
A review of the pamphlet here reprinted will be found in the London Quarterly Review, xxvii, p. 71. — ED.
How any man, with the New Testament before him, could possibly call such an aristocratical and monarchical church, one "formed according to the will of the Supreme Head," when he well knew that it was diametrically opposite to the letter and spirit of the most solemn, particular, and repeated directions of the Great Head of the Church on this subject: — "Call no man your master on earth; one is your master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren, &c." — I shall not stay to inquire; but it may amuse the reader just to observe how this clerical pluralist exercises "his function towards the laity," and more especially as it relates to tythes: — that species of property which was first voluntarily given by the people for various benevolent purposes, but of which they were afterwards robbed by the clergy, who appropriated them to their own sole use. How they are sometimes raised, even in the present enlightened age, I lately discovered in a catalogue, at a sale of pawnbroker's unredeemed pledges, where, amongst other names and descriptions of property, I read as follows:
"Lots sold under a distress for tythes due to the Rev. Dr. Gaskin, Rector of the United Parishes of St. Benet, Gracechurch Street, of St. Leonard, Eastcheap, [and of St. Mary, Newington."]
Then follow eight lots of writing paper, silver table and tea spoons, &c.
"The following sold under a distress for tythes due to the Rev. Mr. Parker, (son in law of Dr Gaskin) Rector of St. Ethelburga."
Then follow five lots of yellow and mottled soap!
Whether the body of the clergy, who have for so many ages been supported by these and by other means scarcely less obnoxious, come nearer to the description of the primitive apostles and pastors for independence, disinterestedness and benevolence, or to that description predicted by one of them of those who should come after him, — grievous wolves not sparing the flock, I leave to the reader to determine.
Dr. Gaskin, I was informed, ranks amongst the clergy who have arrogated to themselves the epithet evangelical; but I have since been informed otherwise; and I am inclined to believe, as those do who best know him, that he is not an evangelical clergyman!
I cannot help expressing my surprise that my countrymen will not, on this subject, take a hint from that great and liberal minded statesman, the late Lord Chatham, at the commencement of the American war, when our debt and taxes were not one fifth of what they are at present. His lordship in a speech in the House of Lords, turning to the right reverend bench, exclaimed, — "Let the bishops beware of war; for should the people be pressed for money, they know where to look for it!" It is a pity that amidst so much nonsense, with which the nation is pestered at our agricultural meetings, and in agricultural reports, and so much injustice as is proposed for relieving the public, by Mr. Webb Hall on the one side, Mr. Cobbett and others on the other, such as new corn laws, and breaking public faith, &c. ruining thousands by the reduction of interest of the national debt, our real resources should not be even hinted at Is there no patriot to be found in either House of the Legislature following the excellent example of Mr. Hume respecting state abuses, who will recommend, "An inquiry into the nature and amount of our church revenues?" Would Christianity suffer if a Bishop of Winchester, or a Bishop of Durham, had not 30 to 40,000 pounds a year! or if our overgrown church revenues in England, and more especially in that still more oppressed country, Ireland, where the bishoprics are in general richer, and many thousands are wrung from a long oppressed and impoverished people, not unfrequently in places where little or no duty is performed, were inquired into? Let Britain look at the church reformation which has taken place in France, and is now going forward in Spain and Portugal, the abolition of tythes, and the resumption of the useless and hurtful revenues of the church, and blush at her bat and mole-like stupidity! — B. fowler.
I have, on this subject, expressed myself more at large in the MEMOIRS OF ROBERT ROBINSON, prefixed to his Works. See also an excellent Sermon in his incomparable VILLAGE DISCOURSES, entitled, "Any one who understands Christianity may teach it." And another in the Posthumous volume of his works, entitled, "The Corruptions of Christianity." — B. Flower.