Imágenes de páginas

tions of public lands, and at subsequent sales, lots of this extent are frequently entered. The sixteenth section of each township is reserved for the support of a school.

Lands entered at the public sales, or at the Register's office, are payable, one fourth part of the price at the time of purchase; one fourth at the expiry of two years; one fourth at three years, and the remaining fourth at four years. By law, lands not fully paid at the end of five years, are forfeited to the government, but examples are not wanting of States petitioning Congress for indulgence on this point, and obtaining it. For money paid in advance at the land office a discount of eight per cent. per annum is allowed, till instalments to the amount of the payment become due. For failures in the payment of instalments, interest at six per cent is taken till paid. The most skiful speculators usually pay only a fourth part of the price at entry, conceiving that they can derive a much greater profit than eight per cent. per annum from the increasing value of property, and occasionally from renting it out to others. Where judicious selections are made, they calculate rightly.

The land system now adopted in the United States is admirable in regard of ingenuity, simplicity, and liberality. A slight attention to the map of a district, will enable any one to know at once the relative situation of any section that he may afterwards hear mentioned, and its direct distance in measured miles. There can be no necessity for giving names to farms or estates, as the designation of the particular township, and the number of the section is sufficient, and has, besides, the singular convenience of conveying accurate information as to where it is situated. By the new arrangement the boundaries of possessions are most securely fixed,

and freed alike from the inconvenience of rivers changing their course, and complexity of curved lines. Litigation amongst neighbours as to their landmarks, is in a great measure excluded. The title deed is printed on a piece of parchment of the quarto size. The date, the locality of the purchase, and the purchaser's name, are inserted in writing, and the instrument is subscribed by the President of the United States, and the agent of the general land office*. It is delivered to the buyer free of all expense, and may be transferred by him to another person without using stamped paper, and without the intervention of a law practitioner. The business of the land office proceeds on the most moderate principles, and with the strictest regard to justice. The proceeds are applied in defraying the expense of government, and form a resource against taxation. The public lands are in reality the property of the people.

The stranger who would go into the woods to make a selection of lands, ought to take with him an extract from the land office map applying to the part of the country he intends to visit. Without this, he cannot well distinguish entered from unentered grounds. He should also procure the names of the resident people, with the numbers and quarters of the sections they live on, not neglecting to carry with him a pocket-compass, to enable him to follow the blazed lines marked out by the surveyor. Blaze is a word signifying a mark cut by a hatchet on the bark of a tree. It is the more necessary for the explorer to be furnished thus, as he may

* At every land office, a register of the weather is kept. Three daily observations of the thermometer, the direction of the wind, the aspect of the sky, whether clear or clouded, fair or rainy days; and some other occasional phenomena, are noted down.

expect to meet with settlers who will not be willing to direct him, but, on the contrary, tell him with the greatest effroutery, that every neighbouring quarter section is already taken up. Squatters, a class of men who take possession without purchasing, are afraid of being turned out, or of having their pastures abridged by new comers. Others, perhaps meditating an enlargement of their property, so soon as funds will permit, wish to hold the adjoining lands in reserve for themselves, and not a few are jealous of the land-dealer, who is not an actual settler, whose grounds lie waste, waiting for that advance on the value of property, which arises from an increasing population. The non-resident proprietor is injurious to a neighbourhood, in respect of his not bearing any part of the expense of making roads, while other people are frequently under the necessity of making them through his lands for their own convenience. On excursions of this kind, the prudent will always be cautious of explaining their views, particularly as to the spot chosen for purchase, and without loss of time they should return to the land-office and make entry.

The new abode being fixed, the settler may be surrounded by strangers. Polite and obliging behaviour, with circumspection in every transaction, become him in this new situation.



Comparative Advantages of several Parts of the United States-Temperature of the Climate at Philadelphia and at Cincinnati-Pennsylvania—Ohio- Kentucky, and the Western Part of Virginia-Indiana-Illinois-Missouri-Reflections on Slave-Keeping.

Jeffersonville, (Indiana,)
October 16, 1819.

To determine the most proper parts of America for new settlers, is a proposition interesting in its nature, but one that cannot be solved with precision. This general fact is to be kept in view, that, in the old populous settlements, land is already too dear to admit of that spontaneous increase in value so profitable in back-wood districts. The sea-board then is to be rejected by those who would go in search of the most profitable investment of their capital, and some part of the interior country is to be selected. The vast migration from the eastern States to the western, is satisfactory evidence of this state of the land market; and, besides, countenances the opinion, that the country first peopled by Europeans is not destined to such population and wealth as that rationally anticipated in the more fertile western States.

In the most inland parts of the old States, there are still abundance of good wood-lands reserved for future cultivation, embracing an extensive range of climate, and a great diversity of vegetable products; but the natives of the temperate climes

of Europe will, for the most part, be averse to live under the scorching sun of Georgia, or the intense frosts of the province of Maine. Somewhere between the extremes, probably between Hudson River and Chesapeake Bay, affords the best approximation. At Philadelphia, for example, the mean temperature of the year may be stated at 53.66°, that quantity being a mean of the results obtained by the observations of Dr. Rush, Dr. Cox, and Mr. Legoux ;-a determination nearly coinciding with that of Mr. Playfair, (53.58°) for the mean temperature of the vegetative season, from the 20th of March to the 20th of October, at Edinburgh, and only 5.86° higher than the mean temperature of the latter place for the whole year. It is true that the extreme variations are much greater at Philadelphia than at Edinburgh, but it will be in vain to search for a situation in the United States, possessing that equability of heat, that characterizes the British islands.

From the tract of country under consideration, Maryland and Delaware will be deducted, as ineligible to the man who does not wish to live amongst slaves. He may, indeed, live in either of these parts without employing the involuntary labourer, but the man of acute sensibility will usually be unwilling to injure the feelings of his neighbours, who may conceive that his abstaining from the detested practice implies a practical censure on their conduct. Slaves, being addicted to theft and other immoralities, form a strong objection against settling amongst them. The whole stretch of country on the coast, including Maryland, Delaware, part of Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, may be rejected, on account of the high price of land. The inland parts of Pennsylvania and New York States remain free from the objections just mentioned, and

« AnteriorContinuar »