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in clouds of smoke issuing from a thousand furnaces, and stunned with the din of ten thousand hammers; but he soon found that he had been deceived by an American figure of rhetoric of extensive use in description; he calls it anticipation, by way of softening down the vulgar and proper term, and explains it by informing the reader that it simply consists in the use of the present indicative, instead of the future subjunctive.' The past tense, by his own account, would have been most appropriate, as the manufacturers were under great difficulties, and many on the eve of suspending their operations, owing to the influx of depreciated fabrics from Europe;' that is to say, if Friend Morris would put aside the American figure of rhetoric' and speak out plainly, the manufactures of America cannot possibly flourish so long as Europe shall be able to supply them with good articles at a cheaper rate than they can afford to make bad or indifferent ones; so long as a new lock from Europe can be purchased in America for less money than an old lock can be repaired, the locksmith of Pittsburgh must 'suspend his operations.'
At Pittsburgh our travellers purchased horses for fifty dollars. a piece, to enable them to proceed by land through the state of Ohio to Cincinnati, though the usual mode of travelling is down the Ohio, on long floating rooms built on a flat bottom, with rough boards, and arranged within for sleeping and other accommodations.' Such machines are here called arks,' of which hundreds of various sizes are at all times to be purchased; the boatmen are hired, and the ark is sold for what it will fetch at the end of the journey. On the 5th of June they set out for Washington in Pennsylvania.
Washington is said to be a thriving town, with 2500 inhabitants; it has a college with about a hundred students. But, says our author, from the dirty condition of the schools, and the appearance of loitering habits among the young men, I should suspect it to be a coarsely conducted institution;' all this, however, he ascribes to the fatal influence of the concourse of free negroes.
Mr. Birkbeck finds the western territory at once healthy, fertile, and romantic. The little history of his host may serve as an example of the natural growth of property, in this young country, as he calls it.
'He is about thirty; has a wife and three fine healthy children : his father is a farmer; that is to say, a proprietor, living five miles distant. From him he received five hundred dollars, and "began the world," in true style of American enterprize, by taking a cargo of flour to New Orleans, about two thousand miles, gaining a little more than his expences, and a stock of knowledge. Two years ago he had increased his property to nine hundred dollars; purchased this place; a
house, stable, &c. and two hundred and fifty acres of land, (sixty-five of which are cleared and laid down to grass,) for three thousand five hundred dollars, of which he has already paid three thousand, and will pay the remaining five hundred next year. He is now building a good stable, and going to improve his house. His property is at present worth seven thousand dollars: having gained, or rather grown, five thousand five hundred dollars in two years, with prospects of future accumulation to his utmost wishes. Thus it is that people here grow wealthy without extraordinary exertion, and without any anxiety." ~p. 42.
The subject of emigration from Great Britain to the United States, Mr. Birkbeck says, has been a primary object of his attention; and he is anxious that his information on this important subject should produce no false impressions on the minds of his countrymen. The following extracts will shew what his views are.
'From what I have seen, and heard from others, of America, east of the Alleghany mountains, I judge that artisans in general will succeed in any part of it; and that labourers of every description will greatly improve their condition: in so much, that they will, if saving and industrious, oon lay by enough to tempt them to migrate still farther in quest of land, on which they may establish themselves as proprietors. That mercantile adventurers would be likely to succeed as well, but not better than in England; that clerks, lawyers, and doctors, would gain nothing by the exchange of countries. The same of master manufacturers in general.'-p. 48.
Here again we must correct our Friend.
All kinds of artizans,' he says, will succeed in any part of America.' He had just assured us, that many of the manufacturers of iron were on the eve of suspending their operations; and he soon after adds, that a hatter, who was in quest of employ, said to him, 'There are in this western country more artizans than materials; shoe-makers are standing still for want of leather, and tanners for want of hides.' Mr. Birkbeck is an apt scholar; he is already familiar with the American figure of anticipation,' and, like his adopted countrymen, contemplates what may be, as though it were in actual existence.' We have now some little account of the difficulties to which the new settlers are exposed.
The land, when intended for sale, is laid out in the government surveys in quarter sections of 160 acres, being one fourth of a square mile. The whole is then offered to the public by auction, and that which remains unsold, which is generally a very large proportion, may be purchased at the land office of the district, at two dollars per acre, one fourth to be paid down, and the remaining three fourths at several instalments, to be completed in five years.
'The poor emigrant, having collected the eighty dollars, repairs to the land office, and enters his quarter section, then works his way without another "cent" in his pocket, to the solitary spot, which is to
be his future abode, in a two-horse waggon, containing his family, and his little all, consisting of a few blankets, a skillet, his rifle, and his axe. Suppose him arrived in the spring: after putting up a little log cabin, he proceeds to clear, with intense labour, a plot of ground for Indian corn, which is to be their next year's support; but, for the present, being without means of obtaining a supply of flour, he depends on his gun for subsistence. In pursuit of the game, he is compelled after his day's work, to wade through the evening dews, up to the waist, in long grass, or bushes, and returning, finds nothing to lie on but a bear's skin on the cold ground, exposed to every blast through the sides, and every shower through the open roof of his wretched dwelling, which he does not even attempt to close, till the approach of winter, and often not then. Under these distresses of extreme toil and exposure, debarred from every comfort, many valuable lives have sunk, which have been charged to the climate.
‘The individual, whose case is included in this seeming digression, escaped the ague, but he lay three weeks delirious in a nervous fever, of which he yet feels the remains; owing, no doubt, to excessive fatigue. Casualties, doubly calamitous in their forlorn estate, would sometimes assail them. He, for instance, had the misfortune to break his leg at a time when his wife was confined by sickness, and for three days they were only supplied with water, by a child of two years old, having no means of communicating with their neighbours (neighbours ten miles off perhaps) until the fourth day. He had to carry the little grain he could procure twelve miles to be ground, and remembers once seeing at the mill, a man who had brought his sixty miles, and was compelled to wait three days for his turn.
Such are the difficulties which these pioneers have to encounter; but they diminish as settlements approach each other, and are only heard of by their successors. The number of emigrants who passed this way, was greater last year than in any preceding; and the present spring they are still more numerous than the last. Fourteen waggons yesterday, and thirteen to-day, have gone through this town. Myriads take their course down the Ohio. The waggons swarm with children. I heard to-day of three together, which contain forty-two of these young citizens. The wildest solitudes are to the taste of some people. General Boon, who was chiefly instrumental in the first settlement of Kentucky, is of this turn. It is said, that he is now, at the age of seventy, pursuing the daily chase, two hundred miles to the westward of the last abode of civilized man. He had retired to a chosen spot, beyond the Missouri, which, after him is named Boon's Lick, out of the reach, as he flattered himself, of intrusion; but white men, even there, incroached upon him, and two years ago, he went back two hundredmiles farther.'-p. 50-53.
The country in the neighbourhood of Chillicotlie and on the banks of the Sciota was poor, and not sufficiently tempting for settlement. Our travellers therefore bent their course towards Cincinnati; they halted at Lebanon, a small town which, in four
teen years, from two or three cabins of half-savage hunters, has grown into the residence of a thousand civilized inhabitants. The supper-bell was just ringing at the taverns, and our travellers seated themselves at the table among a set of travellers like themselves, with a number of store-keepers, lawyers, and doctors,―men who board at the taverns, and make up a standing company for the daily public table.'
Cincinnati,' like most American towns, Mr. Birkbeck says, stands too low; it is built on the banks of the Ohio, and not out of the reach of spring-floods; consequently it is not healthy.
'It is, however, a most thriving place, and backed as it is already by a great population and a most fruitful country, bids fair to be one of the first cities of the west. We are told, and we cannot doubt the fact, that the chief of what we see is the work of four years. The hundreds of commodious, well-finished brick houses, the spacious and busy markets, the substantial public buildings, the thousands of prosperous well-dressed, industrious inhabitants; the numerous waggons and drays, the gay carriages and elegant females ;--the shoals of craft on the river, the busy stir prevailing every where: house building, boat building, paving and levelling of streets; the numbers of country people, constantly coming and going; with the spacious taverns, crowded with travellers from a distance.'-p. 70.
While at this place, Mr. Birkbeck takes occasion to observe, that the merino mania seems to have prevailed in America to a degree exceeding its highest pitch in England.'
"In Kentucky, (he says,) where even the negroes would no more eat mutton than they would horse-flesh, there were great merino breeders. There is, I believe, a Sheep Society here, to encourage the growth of fine wool on land as rich as the deepest vallies of our island-that there should ever have been a rage for sheep of any kind in any part that I have seen of this country, must be owing to general ignorance of the constitution and habits of this animal. There is scarcely a spot where a flock of fine-woolled sheep could be kept with any prospect of advantage, even if there were a market for the carcass; yet, by the ragged remains of the merino family, which may be recognized in many. places, I perceive that the attempt has been very general. Mutton is almost as abhorrent to an American palate, as the flesh of a swine to an Israelite; and the state of the manufactures does not give great encouragement to the growth of wool of any kind, of merino wool less, perhaps, than any other. Mutton is sold in the markets of Philadelphia at about half the price of beef; and a Kentuckian, who would have given a thousand dollars for a merino ram, would dine upon dry bread rather than eat his own mutton. A few sheep on a farm, to supply coarse wool for domestic manufacture, seems to be all that ought at present to be attempted in any part of America that I have seen.'P. 100.
And yet Mr. Birkbeck has the confidence to assert, that artizans
must succeed in every part of it!-and yet the manufacturer of Devizes is selling his looms and little furniture to procure a passage to the United States, that he may leap into a sudden fortune by weaving!
Twenty years ago, Mr. Birkbeck says, the vast region comprizing the states of Ohio and Indiana, and the territory of Illinois and Michigan, only counted 30,000 inhabitants, the number now living in the little county of Hamilton, in which stands the town of Cincinnati. And he asks,- Why do not the governments of Europe afford such an asylum, in their vast and gloomy forests, for their increasing myriads of paupers?'-Such a project he pronounces to be worthy a convention of sovereigns, if sovereigns were really the fathers of their people.'-If the sovereigns of Europe could transplant the back woods of America into their dominions, after hunting down and scalping the native possessors, (only taking care, like the 'subscribers of Alleghany,* to preserve both ears,') such a project, which does infinite credit to the integrity of our benevolent Quaker, might probably occur to them.'
Land being at too high a price in Hamilton county, Mr. Birkbeck determined on proceeding farther westward, sagaciously reflecting that the time was fast approaching when the grand intercourse with Europe would not lie, as at present, through Eastern America, but through the great rivers which communicate by the Mississippi with the ocean at New Orleans. In this view,' he observes,' we approximate to Europe as we proceed to the west.' The tide of emigration is undoubtedly setting with extraordinary rapidity in that direction; and Old America,' to the eastward of the Alleghany mountains, is very soon likely to become, as our Cambridge friend expresses it,' the thinnest part of the wedge.' The south-western states have not merely the advantage, in point of local situation relatively with the rest of the commercial world,—but the soil and climate, in places where cultivation prevails, are preferable to those in the eastern states. Under such circumstances, and considering the character of the people who are flocking to the other side of the Alleghany chain, the opinion is by no means chimerical, that' New America' will be induced shortly to shake off her allegiance to the parent states and set up a congress of her own. A few such settlers as Morris Birkbeck (who seems to think that every little society of men ought to govern itself) will marvellously expedite the separation.
Another circumstance may probably tend to hasten the event, as it renders the provinces, beyond the Alleghany, wholly independent of the eastern or northern states of Old America:'—the Quarterly Review, vol. x. p. 532. VOL. XIX. NO. XXXVII.