Imágenes de páginas


1. Divisions. This State is divided into 2 districts, the Eastern and Western.

These are subdivided into 33 parishes.*

2. Canal. The Canal Carondelet connects the Mississippi at New Orleans, with Lake Pontchartrain, through the bayou of St. John. It is 2 miles in length, and perfectly straight. It enters the city at an artificial basin, large enough to contain a great number of vessels. This canal affords a direct communication with the sea, for small vessels. There are similar works extending from the city to Lakes Borgne and Washita.

3. Railroads. A railroad from New Orleans to Lake Pontchartrain, was completed in April, 1831. It is 4 miles long, perfectly straight, and its variation of level is only 16 inches. An artificial harbor and breakwater are formed upon the lake, at the end of the railroad. The Carrolton Railroad, to Carrolton, above the city, is 6 miles long. The New Orleans and Nashville Railroad, designed to extend through Mississippi to Nashville, in Tennessee, is in progress toward the Mississippi State line, a distance of 88 miles. The Atchafalaya Railroad extends from Opelousas across the inundated lands to Point Coupée, 30 miles. The St. Francisville and Woodville Railroad, 28 miles, is chiefly in this State. The Clinton and Port Hudson Railroad, 28 miles, connects Clinton and Jackson with the Mississippi at Port Hudson. The Alexandria and Cheneyville Railroad extends from Alexandria to the Bayou Bæuf, 30 miles.

4. Towns. New Orleans, the seat of government of the State, and the commercial mart of all the western country, stands on the northern bank of the Mississippi, at a spot where the river makes a great bend to the northeast. It is 105 miles above the mouth of the stream, by its windings, and 60 in a direct line. The ground is level, and the neighborhood a swamp. It consists of 3 municipal divisions ; the city proper, the faux bourgs or suburbs above, and those below it. The streets are straight and regular, generally crossing each other at right angles. In the city, the houses are built in the French and Spanish style, and are stuccoed of a white or yellow color. The fauxbourg of St. Marie and those adjoining it, are built in the American fashion, and resemble one of our Atlantic cities. Some of the public buildings are remarkable for size and architecture. The cathedral is an imposing structure of brick, with 4 towers It fronts upon a large square near the river. The other principal buildings are the State-house, City Hall, Custom-house, Exchange, the branch mint of the United States, several theatres, some of which are handsome edifices on a very large scale, the hotels, &c. The granite of the New England States has of late been much used here. Here are also a college, a convent of Ursuline nuns, an orphan asylum and many benevolent institutions. The spot on which the city is built, although the most eligible which the banks of the river afford in this quarter, has great disadvantages. The ground is soft and marshy, and there are no cellars to any of the buildings. As a place of trade, New Orleans has immense advantages. It is the outport for all the commerce of the Mississippi and its tributaries. It is accessible for ships of the largest size, and its levee is constantly crowded with all kinds of maritime and river craft. In the cotton season, its streets are barricadoed with bales. There are often 2,000 flat boats in the harbor at a time. Steamboats arrive and depart every hour, and 50 may be often seen together, while forests of masts of the sea vessels stretch along the levee. The yearly value of its exports to foreign countries exceeds 30,000,000 dollars ; of imports, 10,000,000, and its coastwise imports and exports probably exceed these amounts. The shipping belonging to the port is 80,000 tons, and that entered exceeds 350,000 tons yearly.

This city was in the possession of the Spanish and French before it came into the possession of the United States, and it now exhibits a striking mixture and contrast of manners, language, and complexion. Half the population is black or mulatto, and there are more French

, than Americans. It is the most dissolute city in the United States ; and swarms of profligate persons are collected here from every quarter. It is but just to add, that the stationary part of the population are not liable to these imputations. The police is judicious and energetic, * Eastern District. Jefferson


St. John Baptist
St. Tammany

Baton Rouge, (E.)


Point Coupée

St. Landry
Feliciana, (E.)

Western District.

St. Martins (W.)


St. Mary s

[ocr errors]

St. James

Lafourche Interior


New Orleans

Terre Bonne


[ocr errors]

St. Bernard
St. Charles
St. Helena




[ocr errors]

and justice is promptly administered. The insalubrity of the city has always been well known. The endemics of the summer, sweep off strangers by hundreds, and the chance of surviving a season is sometimes considered as only 1 in 3. Notwithstanding this, it has rapidly increased in population, commerce, wealth, and general prosperity. Population, 80,000.

There is no other large town in Louisiana. Donaldsonville, on the west bank of the Mississippi, 90 miles above New Orleans, was at one time the seat of government. Baton Rouge, on the east side, 50 miles further up, stands on the last of the blufis that are seen in descending the river. It is a pretty village, with houses in the French and Spanish style, and a handsome range of barracks for the United States troops. Population, 1,500.

Population, 1,500. St. Francisville, on the same side, 20 miles above, stands also upon a bluff

. It is about the size of Baton Rouge, and has a considerable trade in cotton. On the opposite shore, is Pointe Coupée, a village inhabited mostly by French. Here is the upper commencement of the great levee. Port Hudson is a thriving village below the Pointe.

Alexandria, on Red River, 100 miles from the Mississippi, by the windings of the stream, is a pleasant village in the centre of a rich cotton district, and ships large quantities of that article by steamboats and river craft. Population, 1,500. Natchitoches, 80 miles above, is the frontier town of the United States toward the Texian territories, and is usually termed the “jumping off place” by the traders, adventurers, and fugitives in that quarter. It was settled before New Orleans, and is more than a century old. The population is, like its history, an odd mixture of Indian, Spanish, French, and American. It has been under the rule of all these powers, and has had its war dances, fandangoes, French balls, and backwoodsmen's frolics. It is still a place of much gayety. The trade with Texas centres here ; and it transmits to that country manufactured goods, spirits, and tobacco; and receives silver bullion, horses, and mules. Many fugitives from justice and lawless characters resort hither ; yet the town has much respectable society, and newspapers in French and English are published in the place. Population, 3,000.

A few miles west of Natchitoches, are the remains of the ancient town of Adayes, founded by the Spaniards, and exhibiting the most complete specimen of an old Spanish town, that is to be found in the country. It consists of houses 100 years old, and a little old church, decorated with coarse paintings. The inhabitants are Spanish. It is about 25 miles from the Texian frontier. Madisonville, near the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, stands on a healthy spot, and is a summer residence for the people of New Orleans. Opelousas and St. Martinsville, west of the Mississippi, are thriving settlements, surrounded by a fertile and well cultivated district.

5. Agriculture. Sugar and cotton are the staples of the country. The sugar-cane is raised chiefly on that tract of the river alluvion called the coast, and upon the shores of the gulf and some of the bayous. It is planted in cuttings, or slips, and is cultivated nearly in the same way as maize. The rows are 6 feet apart. The soil should be of the richest quality, and a foot in depth. There are 4 varieties of cane; the African, Otaheitan, West Indian, and Riband cane. The last is a new variety, and its stalk is marked with parallel stripes. It ripens some weeks earlier than the other kinds, and will fourish further north. After the cane is cut, it lies a few days to ferment, and is then passed through iron rollers, which press out the juice; this is evaporated by boiling, and the sugar crystalizes. An acre well cultivated, will yield 1,200 pounds of sugar. This State produces annually 90,000 hogsheads, of 1,000 pounds each. The capital invested in sugar estates, exceeds 50,000,000 dollars. *

* The following particulars respecting the cultivation of and 5 in woodland. The annual consumption of wood, on sugar, are extracted from a report of the Agricultural So- an estate of 80 negroes, is 800 cords. Two crops of cane ciety of Baton Rouge, September, 1829 :

are generally made in succession on the same land, one of The gross product of one hand, on a well-regulated su- plant-cane, the other of ratoon; it then lies fallow 2 gar estate, is put down at the cultivation of 5 acres, produc- years, or is planted in corn or peas. One hand will tend ing 5,000 pounds of sugar, and 125 gallons of molasses; the 5 acres, besides cutting his proportion of wood, and ploughformer valued on the spot at 5$ cents per pound, and the lat- ing 2 acres of fallow ground. ter, at 18 cents per gallon, together, $ 297.50. The annual * The capital vested in 1,200 acres of land, with its stock expense of each hand, including wages paid, horses, mules, of slaves, horses, mules, and working oxen, is estimated and oxen, physicians bills, &c., is $ 105. An estáte with at 147,200 dollars. One third, or 400 acres, being culti80 negroes, annually costs $ 8,330." The items are as fol- vated in cane, yields 400,000 pounds, at 54 cents; and lows: salt, meat, and spirits, $ 830; clothing of all sorts, 10,000 gallons of molasses, at 18 cents; together, 23,800 $1,200; medical attendance, and medicines, $400; Indi- dollars. Deduct annual expenses as before, 8,330 dollars, an corn, $1,000; overseer's and sugar-maker's salary, leaving an apparent profit of 15,470 dollars, or 10 3-7 per $1,000 ; taxes, $ 300; annual loss on a capital of $50,000 cent interest on the investment." In a report made the in negroes, at 24 per cent, $1,250; horses and oxen, following year, however, it appears the Society were mis$ 1,500 ; repairs of boilers, $ 550 ; do. of ploughs, carts, led by the abundant and extraordinary crop of 1827, and &c $300. Total, $8,330. Fifteen acres are required they give it as their opinion, that the rate of income is not for each hand, 5 for cultivation in cane, 5 in fallow or rest, more than 6 per cent.


The cotton plant grows 6 feet high, with stalks as large as a man's arm. It bears large, yellowish blossoms; and a cotton-field in flower, has a very brilliant appearance. The cotton is formed upon the cup of the flower, and is the down which envelopes the seed. The planting is perforined in drill-rows, 6 feet apart ; the growth is thinned to a proper quantity, and is kept perfectly clear of weeds. The cotton is picked from time to time, as the pods open. It is passed through a gin, which detaches it from the seeds, and is then packed in bales. The cotton crop of Louisiana, is about 210,000 bales. Maize is cultivated to a considerable extent, and the sweet potato grows in the sandy soil to the utmost perfection. Rice yields abundantly, but the cultivation of indigo is nearly abandoned. Oranges of the finest quality are produced here, but the trees are often killed by the frost. Agriculture as a science is in its infancy, and the labor is performed by slaves.

6. Commerce. All the commerce of the State centres at New Orleans. It is chiefly transacted by vessels belonging to northern and foreign ports. The shipping of the State amounts to 92,000 tons, of which about 56,000 are in steamers. The annual value of imports, is about 12,000,000 dollars; the exports of domestic produce, 26,000,000 dollars ; total exports, 30,000,000 dollars ; these consist of all the agricultural and manufactured products of the valley of the Mississippi, but the chief articles are sugar, cotton, tobacco, pork, and flour.

7. Government. The legislature is called the General Assembly, and consists of a Senate and House of Representatives. The senators are chosen for 4 years, and half the number are


year. The representatives are chosen for 2 years. The governor is chosen by a joint vote of the two Houses, and must be taken from the two highest previously ba!loted for by the people. His term of office is 4 years, and he is ineligible for the succeeding term. The clergy are excluded from office. The right of suffrage depends upon the payment of taxes. Louisiana sends 3 representatives to Congress.

8. Religion. The Catholics are the prevailing sect, and their ecclesiastical divisions, extending over the State, comprise above 20 parishes, most of which have priests. But the Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Episcopalians, are numerous.

9. Education. There are three colleges in the State ; Louisiana College, at Jackson ; Jefferson College, in St. James ; and Franklin College, at Opelousas. There is also a medical college in New Orleans; and 40,000 dollars are annually appropriated by the legislature for the education of the poor. 10. Population.

Total Pop.

renewed every




Free Colored.

1810 1820 1830 1840

34,311 73,383 89,441

34,660 69,064 109,588

7,585 10,960 16,710

76,556 153,407 215,739

11. History. The Mississippi was discovered in 1673, by two French missionaries, named Marquette and Joliette, who proceeded from Quebec by the way of the lakes to the Mississippi, and down the stream to the mouth of the Arkansas. A few years afterwards, the country was further explored by La Salle, and named Louisiana, from Louis the Fourteenth. A settlement was attempted by him in 1684, at the bay of St. Bernard, on the Gulf of Mexico, about 100 leagues west of the Balize or mouth of the Mississippi. The first permanent settlement was at the bay of Biloxi, in 1698, within the present limits of the State of Mississippi. The next year, a fort was built on the Mississippi, about 50 miles above its mouth. In 1722, New Orleans was founded by Bienville, the commandant of the colony. Two years afterward, 500 negro slaves were imported from Guinea. About this time, the patent of the colony passed nto the hands of the Mississippi Company, in France, and was made instrumental in promoting the celebrated stock-jobbing bubble of John Law. At the treaty of peace, in 1763, Louisiana was ceded to Spain, and it was taken possession of by that power in 1769. In 1800, it was ceded to France. In 1803, it was purchased by the United States, from the French republic, for 15,000,000 dollars. The territory thus acquired, included all the possessions of the United States west of the Mississippi, of which the present State of Louisiana forms but a small portion. The remainder constitutes the States of Arkansas and Missouri, the Territory of Iowa, and the vast regions west of these divisions. In 1812, Louisiana, as defined by its present limits, was admitted into the Union as a State. The constitution was formed the same year.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][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][ocr errors]

was 10 feet deep. Captain Pike and his company in attempting to explore the southern parts were completely bewildered among snows, torrents, and precipices, and many of the party were lost. *

Little is known of the geo logical structure of these moun tains, but they seem

to be chiefly granitic. Whether they contain any volcanoes is uncertain; when Lewis and Clarke's party were above the falls of the Missouri, they heard remarkable sounds among the mountains, which are described in the following language. “Since our arrival at the falls, we have repeatedly heard a strange noise coming from the mountains, a little to the north of west. It is heard at different periods of the day and night, sometimes when the air is perfectly still and unclouded, and consists of one stroke only, or of five or six discharges in quick succession. It is loud and resembles precisely the sound of a six pounder at the distance of 3 miles. The Indians had before mentioned this poise like thunder, but we paid no attention to it. The

nsas R.

[ocr errors]










[ocr errors]



[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


* We are indebted to the Missouri Advocate for the fol three ranges of mountains, and watered by the sources of lowing account of General Ashley's discoveries in this the supposed Buenaventura, is less sterile ; yet the proquarter. He considers it quite possible to form a route portion of arable land even within those limits is comparacross this formidable barrier to the Pacific Ocean. The atively small, and no district of the country visited by route proposed after leaving St. Louis, and passing gene- General Ashley, or of which he obtained satisfactory inrally on the north side of Missouri river, strikes the river formation, offers inducements to civilized people sufficient Plaite, a short distance above its junction with the Mis- to justify an expectation of permanent settlement. The souri , then passes the waters of the Platte to their sour. river visited by General Ashley, and which he believes to ces, and in continuation, crosses the head waters of what be the Rio Colorado of the West, is at about 50 miles General Ashley believes to be the Colorado of the West, from its most northern source 80 yards wide. At this and strikes for the first time, a ridge or single connecting point General Ashley embarked, and descended the river chain of mountains running from north to south. This, which gradually increased in width to 180 yards. In however, presents no difficulty, as a wide gap is found, passing through the mountains the channel is contracted apparently prepared for the purpose of a passage; aster to 50 or 60 yards, and so much obstructed by rocks as to passing this gap, the route proposed falls-directly on a make its descent extremely dangerous, and its ascent imriver, called by George Ashley the Buenaventurn, and practicable. After descending this river about 400 miles, runs from that river to the Pacific Ocean. The face of General Ashley shaped his course northward, and fell the country in general is a continuance of high, rugged, upon what he supposed to be the sources of the Buena. and barren mountains, the summits of which are either ventura, and represents those branches as bold streams, timbered with pine, quaking ash, or cedar ; or, in part from 20 to 50 yards wide, forming a junction a few miles almost entirely destitute of vegetation. Other parts are below where he crossed them, and then emptying into a hilly and undulating; and the valleys and table lands lake called Grand Lake, represented by the Indians as (except on the borders of water-courses, which are more being 60 or 70 miles long, and 40 or 50 wide. This inor less timbered with cotton-wood and willows) are desti- formation is strengthened by that of the white hunters, tute of wood; but this indispensable article is substituted who have explored parts of the lake. The Indians repreby an herb called by the hunters wild sage, which grows sent that at the extreme west end of this lake a large rivfrom 1 to 5 feet high, and is found in great abundance in er flows out and runs westward. General Ashley, when most parts of the country. The sterility of the country on those waters, at first thought it probable they were the is almost incredible. That part of it bounded by the sources of the Multnomah, but the account given by the

« AnteriorContinuar »