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tagion is no doubt preferable. I have, on various occasions, seen persons from the higher country, about forty miles north of this place, whose complexions are apparently more healthy than those of the people who live on the banks of the Ohio; and several of late who profess to have a reluctance to come down to the river on business, at the present season of the year.
In the preceding part of this letter I mentioned the high country lying near the heads of the northern tributaries of the Ohio, as having a good climate. That part of it watered by the Muskingum, the two Sciotas, and the two Miamis, possesses a downward navigation in spring, and in the latter end of autumn, but as these rivers enter the Ohio above the falls at Louisville, the upward navigation is interrupted there during the summer months. This single circumstance amounts to a weighty objection against the eastern part of the country under consideration.
The western part has two great navigable streams, the Wabash, and the Illinois. The Wabash is navigable for boats drawing three feet of water, to the distance of about 400 miles from its mouth, and in floods about 200 miles farther. Its largest tributary is White River, which is navigable to a great distance upward. It waters a fertile and delightful country, and joins the Wabash below all its rapids except one run, which forms no great obstruction to the navigation. The new seat of government is to be erected on the bank of one of the streams of White River. The Illinois is esteemed one of the best navigations in western America. So early as 1773, a Mr. Kennedy sailed upward to the distance of 268 miles from its confluence with the Mississippi. Sanganom river, one
of its principal streams, is said to be navigable for 180 miles by small craft.
From the best information that I can procure, this western division of the country, north of the Ohio, appears to be highly eligible to new settlers. It unites the advantages of having high lands and navigable waters in immediate contact, and a shorter and a better communication with the ocean than any part of western America, that is to be exclusively cultivated by freemen.
The country on Missouri river, has been already noticed as possessing advantages in soil and climate, but the difficulty of the navigation upward, amounts to a considerable objection against adopting that territory. A convention of the people formed a constitution, and laid before Congress their claim for being admitted as a State in the Federal Union. The new constitution asserts the right of the people to hold slaves, and of admitting more negroes from other parts of the United States. Towards the conclusion of last Session of the legislature, this question of right was warmly discussed, most of the members from the Southern States maintained, that Congress have no right to dictate to the people of any new State on this subject, viewing it as a matter of internal policy, and one that does not come under the jurisdiction of the general government, and the treaty of Session stipulated, that the Spanish colonists remaining in the country, should retain their former rights and privileges. In opposition to these doctrines, the members from Northern States argued, that Congress has a constitutional right to interfere, and urged as a precedent, the act prohibiting the introduction of slavery into the country north-west of Ohio river, with other arguments too numerous to be recapitulated here. It is painful
to learn that the representatives of the nation are so much divided on this interesting question, and, in the present instance, to reflect, that in most cases their proceedings are expressions of the will of their constituents. The affair waits the decision of next Session, and, in the meantime, much solicitude prevails with regard to it. The most intelligent citizens are at a loss to anticipate the result, and the members of the Legislature are probably equally uncertain, whether the new State shall become a receptacle of slaves, and its representatives the future advocates of a Slave keeping interest. The slave keeping States, and those which have prescribed the practice, commonly called free States, seem to be struggling for predominance. There are now eleven Slave keeping, and eleven free States, so that Missouri must give a sort of numerical preponderance to one of the parties. The number of representatives for free States, are apportioned according to the number of free persons in each, and in Slave keeping States, they are regulated by the number of free persons added to threefifths of the slaves, a method that has the effect of strengthening the influence of the Southern par
When the Missouri question is set at rest, the people of the United States will no doubt reflect on the singular line of demarkation which they have drawn. Supposing that the internal frontier was produced to the Stony Mountains, or to the Pacific Ocean, every speculative mind must contemplate it, not merely as a topographical division, but also as a sort of moral boundary, separating a great nation into two parts, very dissimilar in the habits and jurisprudence of their people, and will seriously meditate on the possible consequences of the unhappy difference. I do not
wish to make any disagreeable reflection on the patriots who have already done so much in circumscribing the boundaries of human misery; but regret, that such a wide field still remains for their benevolent labours, and that their opponents are pursuing a course imminently dangerous to themselves, and ill calculated to promote the future tranquillity of the republic. Many disagreeable incidents have already been occasioned by the collision of principle and interest. Negroes frequently desert from their masters, and fly into neighbouring free States. It may be, that the people amongst whom they seek refuge, do not always show much anxiety that the owners shall recover their property; and it is perhaps partly on account of this indifference, that the pursuers of slaves adopt forcible means instead of the legal redress prescribed by free States. Peaceful communities are thus invaded by small parties of armed men, who carry off blacks without certifying their right to them. In two late instances, two free blacks in Indiana were kidnapped by people from Kentucky, and the remonstrances made on the part of the former State, were not followed by any satisfactory concession on the part of the latter. The laws of free States, on this subject, are in disagreement with the usages of slave-holders; a source of contention that may not be easily removed. Hitherto no popular rupture has been occasioned by affairs of this kind; but, it may be asked, where is there any guarantee that similar discordances may not become more frequent when a more numerous population of both colours shall be crowded along the neighbourhood of the slave-line? And may not the heart-burnings and provincial pride, now manifest, be wrought up to a higher pitch at a period, perhaps not far distant, when the United States will become confident of a degree of strength that cannot require such a
complete co-operation as heretofore in repelling the attacks of foreign force?
If the slave-holding party persist in the extension of the abuse, it would well become them to give up their constitutional claims for calling forth the militia of northern states "to suppress insurrections,". and for protecting them "against domestic violence," so far as slaves may be the future disturbers of the peace. Whether they make such a fair concession or not, it is for them to reflect whether their northern neighbours, who have so uniformly and so wisely opposed the evil, and who have so humanely laboured to eradicate it from amongst themselves, will be willing to imbrue their hands in the blood of the injured people who have never excited any of their feelings except pity.
So long as the Missouri question remains unsettled, a hope may be entertained that liberal sentiments may prevail. The northern people seem to be almost universally in favour of the restriction, and a part of the finest feelings, and the brightest talents in the Southern States, are ranged on the side of humanity.
Lawyers-Doctors-Clergy-Mechanics-Justices of the Peace-Anecdotes-Punishments-Reflections.
THE greater part of my letters from America have hitherto been addressed to our late brother John. Since we have now to deplore that he is removed