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and Baltimore, together with their warehousing and boating, produces much business here. In the year 1813, no less than 4055 waggons, engaged in this trade, were calculated to have passed the road. The number employed now must be considerably increased.
Pittsburg also derived much advantage from its being the thoroughfare of settlers for the western country. Here they sell their horses and waggons; here they often remain waiting for a rise of water. Here also they purchase boats, and lay in a stock of provisions for their passage down the river.
The waters of the Ohio are now lower than
they have been for many years past. Merchants with their goods, and families with their baggage, find it impossible to get downward. Some whose moveables are light, are making the attempt. Many emigrants are proceeding with their waggons by land. Where the distance does not exceed three or four hundred miles, this will, at present, be found the more economical and expeditious mode of travelling.
September 30. Emigrants continue to flock westward. To-day the numerous inmates and followers of three large waggons arrived in a body. It is truly interesting to see people of different countries, and of different costumes, coming forward in the mail-coach, on horseback, and on foot. At first view, this great migration leads to the conclusion, that oppression, and the fear of want, are in extensive operation somewhere to the eastward.
October 4. (Sunday.) This afternoon three fights have taken place in Bayardstown, a small appendage of Pittsburg. These originated from private quarrels in taverns. The combatants sallied from
them to the street, where the battles were fought in the presence of the passengers. There are five taverns in this place; of course only two of them have escaped being scenes of action. This is not in perfect agreement with the character of sobriety, absence of dissipation and gross vices, that a late describer of Pittsburg has given of its people *.
October 9. The people are in great ferment about the ensuing election. Newspapers teem with the most virulent abuse; and one of the candidates for Congress has fought with a lawyer in town. It would be useless to inquire after particulars, as facts are always differently represented by opposite parties.
A farmer, who lives at the distance of a few miles from this place, told me that he is a native of Ireland, and that he had not fifty dollars in the world, fifteen years ago; now, he would not take 4000 dollars for his property. He commenced alone, and has not followed any other occupation than the cultivation of his farm, and the sale of its produce. However strange this may appear in Europe, an individual farming in the new settlements of America, is an occurrence too common to excite wonder.
October 13. To-day the inhabitants of Pennsylvania elect their Representatives in Congress, Members of the State Assembly, and County Officers. I have gone repeatedly to the court-house of Pittsburg, to see the popular proceedings. The citizens wrap up the names of the candidates they recommend in a small slip of paper, which they hand through the open pane of a window to the inspector, an officer previously officer previously appointed for
* An American writer.
counting the tickets. This way of balloting, places the poor man beyond the control of his superior or creditor. I have seen no riot or confusion. Populous cities, in America, are divided into wards, where separate elections are held at the same time; a salutary precaution, that prevents the assembling of great crowds.
The shortness of my stay, and my limited acquaintance with the people, do not allow me to say much of their character. A considerable degree of industry is manifested by the bustle that pervades the town. This virtue, however, does not prevail to the extinction of dissipation. Swearing is certainly the most conspicuous vice. Some affirm that a class of people, whom they denominate low Irish, are the most immoral of the population. It gives no pleasure, to hear such a reflection on the peasantry of a country, distinguished by the hospitality, generosity, and bravery, of its people. In justice to humanity, it is necessary to bear in mind, that they have not enjoyed the means of a good education in their native country; and it is proper to mention, that there are natives of Ireland here, who have risen to opulence, and deserved eminence in society. The recollection of several of these, and other worthy citizens of Pittsburg, will always be accompanied with sentiments of my esteem.
The weather continuing clear, and without the least prospect of a flood, I have procured a skiff, and determined on proceeding down the river. The skiff is 15 feet long, 3 wide across the gunwale, and 14 inches deep. This is supposed to be sufficiently large for carrying myself and baggage, (about 800lbs.) The sides are composed of two boards of pine, three quarters of an inch thick; the bottom flat, and of the same material. It is a light,
and certainly not a strong bark. My other equip ments are, a copy of the Pittsburg Navigator, (a book recommended as useful, in pointing out the proper course for avoiding bars, and the points where rapids are to be entered ;) small quantities of bread, cheese, and dried deer; a small flask with spirits; and a tinned cup, to be used both in drinking water from the river, and in casting out bilge water. Over the after part of the skiff three hoops are fixed, in the form of an arch. A sheet: stretched over these, will form a canopy under which I may sleep, by the margin of the river,
Descend the Ohio from Pittsburg to Beaver-Occurrences and remarks there.
Atkinson's Tavern, by Beaver, 28th October, 1818.
As a great part of my notes since I last wrote, relate to rapids, bars, islands, &c. I shall omit the description of many of them, as being altogether uninteresting.
On the 14th of October, I embarked on the Monongahela, about half a mile above its junction with the Allegany. A gentleman to whom I had been introduced, very kindly assisted me in arranging my lading, and rowed me down to the lower point of the town.
The Allegany being a clear, and the Mononga
hela a turbid river, their compound, the Ohio, as might be expected, is of the intermediate character. The mud, that covers the gravel at the height of three or four feet above the present level of the water, shows, that a very slight rising of the river carries much soil along with it. One of the earliest writers who gives a detail of the beauties of this river, states, that the bottom, and even fishes, may be seen in several fathoms of water. During the present dry season, the bottom is indistinctly visible at the depth of five or six feet. The water, when taken up in a bright tinned vessel, appears to be perfectly limpid; but after standing in it for an hour, a very small sediment is deposited. From the experience of boatmen, and others who drink this water, it is understood to be healthful.
To me this was a novel method of travelling. Steep ridges of hills on both sides of the river, about 300 feet above the surface of the water, and these covered with a profusion of timber, now clothed in all the variegated hues of autumn, form an avenue of the most magnificent description. For nearly the length of six miles, the surface of the water has all the smoothness of a mill-pond, which gave an additional effect to the scenery, but which imposed on me the labour of rowing incessantly. My boat, besides being without rudder, or even that short piece of keel in the after-part which is so essential to moving forward in a straight line, went on in a zig-zag direction, occasioning much trouble, and promising no great degree of safety on my coming into quick running water.
At a rapid, six miles from Pittsburg, a boat has recently been stove. I saw the people on shore drying their goods. In this same rapid, my ill sailing bark put about broadside to the current. On reaching the lower extremity of the declivi