Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

are believed to possess comparative advantages, in respect of climate and soil.

The winter of New York State is the more severe of the two, and seems to point out Pennsylvania as preferable. With the single defect of distance from market, Western Pennsylvania possesses great advantages. The most prominent are, a healthy climate, a good soil, abundance of coal, iron-ores, limestone, sandstone, and salt springs, circumstances that render this country susceptible of a dense population, and a very high state of improvement,

It being assumed that Pennsylvania lies between parallels of latitude, the most temperate of any on the eastern coast, the inference is natural, that the States Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and part of Kentucky, must have a climate of similar warmth, slightly modified, no doubt, by the elevation and prevalent winds of particular parts. Accordingly, observations made at Cincinnati, (which lies fifty minutes south of Philadelphia) show, that its annual mean temperature is only six-tenths of a degree higher than that of the latter place*.

The lands of the State of Ohio are understood to be more fertile than those of Pennsylvania. With good culture, from sixty to a hundred bushels of maize per acre, are produced. On an acre of land, near the mouth of the Little Miami, one of the first settlers raised the extraordinary quantity of one hundred and fourteen bushels. The advanced state of population, in the southern part of the State, has withdrawn the most choice tracts of ground from the land-office; good lots, however, may still be bought from private individuals at a moderate price. The higher country, lying nearly

* Dr. Drake's Picture of Cincinnati, page 116.

equidistant from the river Ohio and lake Erie, is understood to be healthy, fertile, abounding in springs of water, and possessing a good navigation downward, in wet seasons of the year, by means of the rivers Muskingum, Sciota, and Miamis. The northern part of the State is described as having many large prairies, of a rich quality, but unhealthy.

Kentucky, and the western part of Virginia, have much land of the first rate quality; but the influx of new settlers is greatly prevented by the insecurity of titles. Surveyed at an early period, when the country was in the possession of the hostile aborigines, and before the new method of laying out public lands was adopted, much confusion as to boundaries prevails. Many conflicting claims are frequently made on the same tract, and a degree of litigation has ensued that appears to be almost interminable. There is another cause tending to retard the ingress of new comers which it would be invidious to repeat.

Indiana is a State more recently settled than any of the foregoing. The part where the Indian title was extinguished, was, till lately, comparatively small. Non-resident purchasers have shut up a large proportion of it from immediate cultivation; some judicious entries may still be made in the land-office, particularly by White River, and in some other parts at a considerable distance from the Ohio. The land office map for Jeffersonville district has many more vacancies in it than that at Cincinnati, showing that it contains much more land not yet appropriated by individuals. Here, as in Ohio State, the high lands are considered the most healthy. A recent purchase from the Indian tribes will make a valuable addition to the State of Indiana. The tract is supposed to contain about six

millions of acres, and is to be soon abandoned by the natives. Already upwards of a hundred families have entered it, for the purpose of rearing cattle and hogs. These will have excellent opportunities for selling their stock when purchasers take possession of the newly acquired territory, and will have the advantage of becoming acquainted with the most valuable lands previous to the sales. The surveyors, and other persons, who have visited the new purchase, represent it to be rich, diversified in surface, with the advantage of navigable waters in spring and autumn; and that it is much better adapted to pasturage than the country adjoining to the Ohio.

In the State of Illinois there are vast quantities of land to be disposed of by the Government, besides the residuary of former sales, standing open in the land-office maps at Shawneetown and Edwardsville. The recent surveys bring about 3,730,000 acres into the market. A great portion of this land lies on the Sangamon, a southern branch of Illinois river; and I am informed by a gentleman who has lately been there, that the country is the best that he is acquainted with. At a period not far distant, a communication between Lake Erie and Illinois river may be opened through the river Pleiro, which empties itself into the lake. Craft are said to have already passed out of the one river into the other. A large portion of Illinois, lying between Illinois river and the Mississippi, is a military grant given to the troops who fought in the late war, and divided amongst them at the rate of a hundred and sixty acres to each man. Shares of this land have been sold since its partition at a dollar, and even so low as half a dol lar per acre. The military grant is chiefly low and flat. The soil is rich, and interspersed with

[ocr errors]

prairies* but subject to agues: this, with a great proportion of non-resident owners, must greatly retard the improvement of the district. The northern parts of Illinois are understood to possess a healthy climate.

In the Missouri Territory, large surveys are just completed, these consist of about a million of acres near Osage river, and about two millions toward the Mississippi, including the old settlements. The reports of the Missouri country which I have heard, convince me, that it contains a large quantity of good lands, and that it is favoured with a fine climate. A gentleman who wintered at St. Louis, near the mouth of the river Missouri, assured me that the cold is more severe there than in the Ohio country. Although his opinion was formed from his sense of feeling, without reference to the thermometer, it is probably just, as the situation of St. Louis is relatively high, and as much of the neighbouring country is without wood, admitting a free circulation of winds, from higher and more northerly parts.

In the countries adjoining to Arkansau and Red rivers, about two millions of acres are laid out for sale. The former of these rivers is understood to be larger than the Ohio, and passes through a fertile country. The post of Arkansau is situated a little northward of latitude 34°. A parallel that must be felt uncomfortably hot by most Europeans. Cotton is the most profitable product; a vegetable that has hitherto been almost exclusively cultivated by involuntary labourers.

Michigan and north-west territories are understood to be fertile, and well adapted to rearing cattle. Detroit is the capital of Michigan. In

* Van Zandt's description of the military grant.

M

ens.

the north-west territory there are two settlements; one at Fort Howard, and the other Prairie du ChiA military post is to be formed at the mouth of St. Peter's river, below the Falls of St. Anthony. These extensive regions lie in a lati tude corresponding with that of the New England States; and will probably be peopled by a hardy race of freemen, when the lands of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, can be no longer procured at a low

rate.

Those who would go in search of healthy situations may keep in view, that their object can only be attained, at a distance from swamps, and rivers which overflow their banks; it being well known, when the former are dried up, and when the latter recede within their low-water boundaries, vast quantities of mud and vegetable matters are exposed to the heat of the sun, and a rapid decomposition immediately commences. The gaseous constituents evolved give a perceptible taint to the air, and are understood to form the miasmata that occasion agues, bilious fevers, and liver complaints. The best navigable waters, and the most healthy parts of the country, are, in some measure, incompatible, and seldom admitting of immediate proximity to one another. Happily, a moderate height of land is usually sufficient to prevent the accumulation of stagnant waters, and to promote a motion in rivers, that lessens the scope of their inundations, or retains them altogether within their banks. A degree of elevation conducive to a comparatively healthy climate, may be usually found within two or three miles of the river; but as the contaminated air is liable to be transported by winds, and probably not sufficiently diluted with the atmosphere in passing over such small spaces; a greater distance from the source of con

« AnteriorContinuar »