Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the buds of underwood on which they browse.→→→→ Trees are sometimes cut down that the cattle may eat the buds. Want of shelter in the winter completes the sum of misery. Hogs suffer famine during the droughts of summer, and the frosts and snows of winter; but they become fat by feeding on the acorns and beech nuts which strow the ground in autumn. Horses are not exempted from their share in these common sufferings, with the addition of labour, which most of them are not very able to undergo. This second rate class of farmers are to be seen in the markets of towns, retailing vegetables, fruits, poultry, and dairy produce. One of them came lately into this place on horseback, with ten pounds of butter to sell; but as he could not obtain a price to his mind, he crossed the river to Louisville market. In going and returning he must have paid twenty-five cents to the ferryman-a considerable expense, when it is considered that he had tra velled twelve miles with his little cargo. Another, who lives at the distance of eight miles from this place, brought a barrel of whisky, containing about thirty-three gallons. He employed neither horse nor vehicle in the transportation, but rolled the cask along the road, which, by the by, is none of the smoothest. Incidents of this kind may, perhaps, cause you to suppose that the condition of the second rate settler is similar to that of subtenants in the north of Scotland, or in Ireland; but the high price of labour in America explains the apparent parity. Men perform offices for themselves that, in Britain, would be done by hiring others. The American farmer, it must be observed, is commonly the proprietor of the land he occupies; and, in the hauteur of independence, is not surpassed by the proudesteeholders of Britain. The settler of the grade under consideration, is only able to bring a

small portion of his land into cultivation, his success, therefore, does not so much depend on the quantity of produce which he raises, as on the gradual increase in the value of his property. When the neighbourhood becomes more populous, he in general has it in his power to sell his property at a high price, and to remove to a new settlement, where he can purchase a more extensive tract of land, or commence farming on a larger scale than formerly. The next occupier is a capitalist, who immediately builds a larger barn than the former, and then a brick or a frame house. He either pulls down the dwelling of his predecessor, or converts it into a stable. He erects better fences, and enlarges the quantity of cultivated land; sows down pasture fields, introduces an improved stock of horses, cattle, sheep, and these probably of the Merino breed. He fattens cattle for the, market, and perhaps erects a flour-mill, or a saw-mill, or a distillery, Farmers of this description are fre quently partners in the banks; members of the State assembly, or of Congress, or Justices of the Peace. The condition of the people has necessarily some relation to the age and prosperity of the settlements in which they live. In Pennsylvania, for instance the most extensive farmers are prevalent. In the earliest settled parts of Ohio and Kentucthe first and second rate farmers are most numerous, and are mixed together. In Indiana, backwoodsmen and second rate settlers predomi nate. The three conditions of settlers described, are not to be understood as uniformly distinct; for there are intermediate stages, from which individuals of one class pass, as it were, into another. The first invaders of the forest frequently become farmers of the second order; and there are examples of individuals acting their parts in all the three grada tions.

ky,

In the district of Jeffersonville, there has been an apparent interruption of the prosperity of the settlers. Upwards of two hundred quarter sections of land are by law forfeited to the government, for non-payment of part of the purchase money due more than a year ago. A year's indulgence was granted by Congress, but unless farther accommodation is immediately allowed, the lands will soon be offered a second time for sale. Settlers seeing the danger of losing their possessions, are now offering to transfer their rights for less sums than have already been paid; it being still in the power of purchasers to retain the lands on paying up the arrears due in the land office. This marks the difficulty that individuals at present have, in procuring small sums of money, in this particular district.

LETTER XVIII.

Passage to Cincinnati-Depression of Trade-Population-Manufactures-Institutions-Banks-Climate

Temperature-Springs-Quantity of Rain-Thunder Lightning-Aurora-Borealis - Tornadoes-Earthquakes-The Ohio unusually low in 1819-Meeting of the Citizens of Cincinnati-Notice of three Indian Chiefs on their way for Washington City-Remarks on the Pacific Disposition of Indians, and their motives for wars.

Cincinnati, (Ohio,) June 26, 1820.

I have come from the Falls of the Ohio to this place, by a steam-boat in twenty-nine hours, the average rate of sailing being about 6 miles per

hour. The downward passage is performed by the same vessel in about fifteen hours, (nearly at the rate of twelve miles an hour.) From this it ap. pears that the current moves at the rate of about 27 miles each hour. The late M. Volney estimated the hourly velocity of this river in very low stages of water, at two miles. His result is probably a little more than the mean rate along the whole length of the river. The steam-boat is one built exclusively for the accommodation of passengers. She measures one hundred feet on the keel, twenty-five feet on the beam, and draws only three feet and three inches of water. The cabin is an elegant apartment, forty feet long, and eighteen feet wide. Adjoining to it are eight very neat state rooms. The water wheel is situated in an aperture astern, where it is protected from coming in contact with logs, which are numerous in the river.

Cincinnati suffers much from the decline in business. The town does not now present any thing like the stir that animated it about a year and a half ago. Building is in a great measure suspended, and the city which was lately over crowded with people, has now a considerable number of empty houses. Rents are lowered, and the price of provisions considerably reduced. Many mechanics and labourers find it impossible to procure employment. The same changes have taken place in the other towns of the western country. Numbers of people have deserted them, and commenced farming in the woods. They will there have it in their power to raise produce enough for their families, but, with the present low markets, and the probability of a still greater reduction, they can have no inducement but necessity for cultivating a surplus produce.

In 1819, the Cincinnati Directory, a small book containing a list of the citizens, and many historical particulars, was published. Some extracts from that work will give a condensed view of the present magnitude and business of the place.

The enumeration of houses, made in March, 1819, was as follows:

Of brick and stone, two stories and upwards,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »