« AnteriorContinuar »
nati. I agreed to go with them, and moved off in the afternoon. Sailing amongst moving ice is not attended with much danger, except at the commencement of the flood, when the accumulation is sometimes very great. In other cases the boat acquires nearly the same velocity with the ice.
The two boats contained upwards of forty New Englanders. Their activity in this (to them) new way of travelling, shewed a considerable degree of enterprise and ingenuity.
In the evening we moored by the margin of the river. In this situation the craft were exposed to collision with the moving ice. The men were sagacious enough to know, that lying ashore was more unsafe than keeping in motion, but generously yielded to the mistaken timidity of the females, who were much averse to sailing in the night.
"December 27. The ice continued to float downward, and surrounded us so much, that we could derive but little facility from rowing. Passed Augusta, a neat village on the Kentucky side of the river. Its court house denotes that it is a county
December 29. This morning the frost was intense. A wild duck, frozen to a large mass of ice floated past our mooring. A young man, who accompanied me in a canoe in pursuit of it, had one of his hands wet; the part was slightly frostbit.
New Richmond is a thriving town, on the north bank of the river. It consists of about a hundred houses. Four years ago there was not a house.
We have seen some farming on the sides of the hills, near the river, that is performed in a most slovenly manner. Indian corn is the only crop, and is repeated continually. No part of the manure
is returned to the fields. The houses are rude log cabins, built as near the river as is consistent with security from the floods. Their children are dirty and ragged in the extreme. The comforts of these people must consist chiefly in having enough to eat and drink, and in having no fear of the exactions of the landholder, the tytheholder, or the collector of taxes.
Cincinnati-Situation-Manufactures-Settlement and Progress-Weather-Credulity and Want of Education -Descend the Ohio-Islands-Jeffersonville-Louisville -Falls of the Ohio-Taverns and Accommodation-Expedition for Exploring the Missouri Country and Forming a Military Post there-Miscellaneous Observations interspersed.
I CONCLUDED my last letter, dated Cincinnati, 30th December last, without taking any notice of the town; I shall therefore begin the present one with some particulars respecting that place.
Cincinnati is no sooner seen than the importance of the town is perceived. A large steam grist mill, three large steam boats on the stocks, and two more on the Kentucky side of the river, and a large ferry boat, wrought by horses, were the first objects which attracted my attention. The
beach is lined with keel boats, large arks for carrying produce, family boats, and rafts of timber. On shore the utmost bustle prevails, with drays carrying imported goods, salt, iron, and timber, up to the town, and in bringing down pork, flour, &c. to be put aboard of boats for New Orleans,
The town is situated in north latitude 39° 5′ 54′′, and in west longitude 85° 44', according to the determination of Mr. Ellicott. The distance from Pittsburg is 305 miles by land, and 5131 miles by the windings of the river. The streets are laid out in a rectangular form, and are enlivened by drays, waggons, and an active people. The houses are nearly all of brick and timber: about two hundred new ones have been built in the course of the year. Merchants' shops are numerous, and well frequented. The noise of wheel carriages in the streets, and of the carpenter, the blacksmith, and the cooper, make a busy din. Such an active scene I never expected to see amongst the back woods of America,
The manufactories of this new place are more diversified than extensive. An iron foundery, two breweries, several distilleries, a woollen manufactory, a cotton-mill, an oil-mill, a grist-mill, a nailcutting machine, a tan-work, a glass-house, and a white-lead factory, seem to be the principal ones. But the more numerous part of the artizans are joiners, bricklayers, blacksmiths, plasterers, shoemakers, tailors, hatters, bakers, tobacconists, cabinet-makers, saddlers, &c. &c. Journeymen mechanics earn from one and three-fourths to two dollars per day. Their board costs about three dollars per week. Most of them dress well on the days they are not at work, and some of them keep horses.
In the end of December, 1788, or beginning of January, 1789, Cincinnati was first founded by about
twenty persons. For some time the place was occupied more in the manner of a fort than of a town, the neighbouring country being in the possession of hostile Indians, who, on different occasions, killed several of the settlers. In 1790, a governor, and the judges of a supreme court, for the territory, arrived. In 1792, the first school and the first church were built. In 1799 the legislative autho-> rity of the governor was succeeded by that of an assembly. In 1803, the State government of Ohio was instituted. In 1806, the government was removed from Cincinnati to Chillicothe. In 1800, the town contained seven hundred and fifty people, and in 1805, only nine hundred and sixty. It was subsequently to the last date that Cincinnati showed indications of outgrowing a village and becoming a town. Within three-and-a-half years past, the population is supposed to have been doubled, and the amount is now believed to be nearly i ten thousand.
January 1, 1819. To-day the boys of the town made a great noise by firing guns and pistols. They commenced last night about dusk. During the night I heard much noise of fighting and swearing amongst adult persons.
January 3. (Sunday.) Works of necessity form a numerous class here. To-day boats were loading pork, and drays carrying it down to the river.
January 8. To-day the river was almost covered with ice floating downward. Many large pieces adhering together form boards of one or two acres in extent. The pieces of hemlock tree intermixed make it plain that these masses of ice are from the Allegany river.
January 10. (Sunday.) Dealers in pork were (in one instance) busy cutting up and salting. I
saw some young men in a small boat examining the driftwood on the river; when pine logs came within their reach they dragged them ashore. Others were intercepting timber of every description, for fuel.
January 11. The weather frequently changes from frosty to humid. Yesterday, at two P.M. the thermometer stood at 76° in sunshine. The hottest day since the ninth of December. To-day the temperature was 54° in the shade.
Jan. 13. At seven o'clock in the morning, the thermometer indicated 21°. By mid-day, the sun's rays softened the mud in the streets. The people say that the winter has hitherto been milder than usual, and some infer that we will have no severe cold during the season. Last winter the ther
mometer was once observed to stand so low as 10° below zero. The greatest cold from 1787 to 1806 was minus 18°. The most intense frosts of this country have the effect of congealing the moisture in forest trees, and splitting them with a loud noise. Notwithstanding the moderation of the present season, the grasses and weeds on the ground are withered to whiteness. In the woods no evergreen plants are to be seen, except the tufts of misletoe, which are perched on the branches of the tallest trees.
Examples of credulity are not rare. Yesterday a woman was deriving liberal emolument in town from fortune-telling, and from her supposed sagacity in knowing every thing respecting stolen goods. She also pretended to have the faculty of discovering springs of water and metallic ores, by means of the divining rod. Her speaking in the German language led me to suppose that she is descended from that part of Europe, where Rhab.