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The New-Englanders, they say, may be known by the cheerful air of the women advancing in front of the vehicle; the Jersey people by their being fixed steadily within it; whilst the Pennsylvanians creep lingering behind, as though regretting the homes they have left. A cart and single horse frequently afford the means of transfer, sometimes a horse and pack-saddle. Often the back of the poor pilgrim bears all his effects; and his wife follows, naked-footed, bending under the hopes of the family.
This is a land of plenty; and we are proceeding to a land of abundance, as is proved by the noble droves of oxen we meet, on their way from the western country to the city of Philadelphia. They are kindly, well-formed, and well-fed animals, averaging about six cwt.'
"A flock of sheep, properly speaking, has not met my eyes in America, nor a tract of good sheep pasture. Twenty or thirty halfstarved creatures are seen now and then straggling about in much wretchedness. These supply a little wool for domestic use. are good and plentiful, and horses excellent. p. 31-34. The following general remarks may still further tend to present a picture of this wonderful emigration to the reader.
The condition of the people of America is so different from aught that we in Europe have an opportunity of observing, that it would be difficult to convey an adequate notion of their character.
They are great travellers; and in general, better acquainted with the vast expanse of country spreading over their eighteen states, (of which Virginia alone nearly equals Great Britain in extent), than the English with their little island.
They are also a migrating people; and, even when in prosperous circumstances, can contemplate a change of situation, which under our old establishments and fixed habits, none, but the most enterprising, would venture upon, when urged by adversity.
To give an idea of the internal movements of this vast hive, about 12,000 waggons passed between Baltimore and Philadelphia, in the last year, with from four to six horses, carrying from thirtyfive to forty cwt. The cost of carriage is about seven dollars per cwt., from Philadelphia to Pittsburg; and the money paid for the conveyance of goods on this road, exceeds 300,000l. sterling. Add to these the numerous stages loaded to the utmost, and the innumerable travellers, on horseback, on foot, and in light waggons, and you have before you a scene of bustle and business extending over a space of three hundred miles which is truly wonderful.
'When, on our voyage, we approached within twenty leagues of the American coast, we were cheered by the sight of ships in every direction. Up James River, vessels of all sorts and sizes, from five hundred tons downwards, continually passing; and steam-boats crowded with passengers. The same on the Potowmack: and in the winter, when the navigation is interrupted by frost, stages, twelve or fourteen in file, are seen posting along, to supply the want of that luxurious accommodation.
'But what is most at variance with English notions of the American people, is the urbanity and civilization that prevail in situations remote from large cities. In our journey from Norfolk, on the coast of Virginia, to this place, in the heart of the Alleghany mountains, we have not for a moment lost sight of the manners of polished life. Refinement is unquestionably far more rare, than in our mature and highly cultivated state of society; but so is extreme vulgarity. In every department of common life, we here see employed, persons superior in habits and education to the same class in England.
The taverns in the great towns east of the mountains which lay in our route, afford nothing in the least corresponding with our habits and notions of convenient accommodation: the only similarity is in the expense.
At these places all is performed on the gregarious plan: every thing is public by day and by night;-for even night in an American inn affords no privacy. Whatever may be the number of guests, they must receive their entertainment en masse, and they must sleep en masse. Three times a day the great bell rings, and a hundred persons collect from all quarters to eat a hurried meal, composed of almost as many dishes. At breakfast you have fish, flesh, and fowl, bread of every shape and kind, butter, eggs, coffee, tea-every thing, and more than you can think of. Dinner is much like the breakfast, omitting the tea and coffee; and supper is the breakfast repeated. Soon after this meal, you assemble once more, in rooms crowded with beds, something like the wards of an hospital; where, after undressing in public, you are fortunate if you escape a partner in your bed, in addition to the myriads of bugs, which you need not hope to escape.
'But the horrors of the kitchen, from whence issue these shoals of dishes, how shall I describe, though I have witnessed them!—It is a dark and sooty hole, where the idea of cleanliness never entered, swarming with negroes of all sexes and ages, who seem as though they were bred there; without floor, except the rude stones that support a raging fire of pine logs, extending across the entire place; which forbids your approach, and which no being but a negro could face. p. 35-39.
Pittsburg, termed the Birmingham of America, was naturally expected to present a scene of filth, noise and smoke, somewhat resembling its archetype in the old world. The travellers, however, were agreeably disappointed to find themselves in a beautiful and cleanly though busy town, at the junction of the two rivers which here form the Ohio, and surrounded by the most delightful woodland and hilly scenery. Though a manufacturing district, wages are so high that a poor Irish emigrant who came as a journeyman shoemaker, three years before, had already saved money enough to pay 300 dollars for the good
will of his master's shop, and had, when Mr Birkbeck saw him, a well stocked shop and very lucrative business.
this town,' says Mr Birkbeck, I heard delightful musick from a pianoforte made here!-a few years ago it was a fort, from which a white man durst not stir without a military guard, for the Indians.' A small remnant of this race still resides, it seems, at no great distance, having adopted the habits of their civilized neighbours. But the rise of a man's fortune, and the general progress of the country, is better illustrated by the history of a few individuals whom Mr Birkbeck judiciously selects as examples. One whom he conversed with
-' 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 enterprise, by taking a cargo of flour to New Orleans, about two thousand miles, gaining a little more than his expenses, 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. 51.
Of another, an Irishman, he tells us, that, fourteen years ago, he came to his present estate, before an axe had ever been lifted on it, and with only his axe in his hand; and that he now discusses the interests of the country like one concerned in its prosperity-being possessed of 118 acres of excellent land, well cultivated; the father of twenty descendants; and paying eight dollars a year in taxes, five to the federal treasury, and three to his own country, in all about fourpence an acre. About the same time, there came also another poor emigrant, who unloaded his family under a tree,' on the land where he now possesses two hundred acres of fine land, in excellent culture, producing from 80 to 100 bushels of Indian corn an acre. Incited by such prospects, the emigrants pour along this tract in countless swarms. Fourteen waggons of them passed in one day; thirteen the next. Three of these contained forty-two young children. The inhabitants of the wilderness are driven back: And Mr Birkbeck relates the singular case of a General Boon, one of the first settlers of Kentucky, who, smit with the love of so
litude, plunged into the western territory, beyond the Missouri, at what was then thought an inapproachable distance from civilized footsteps. There he lived alone; and, while solely occupied with the chase, about two years ago, he was overtaken, in his turn, by the restless foot of civilization,' and compelled to go back two hundred miles further; where, having attained the age of seventy, he may hope that his fellow creatures will not reach him before he terminates his days.
Our party having purchased horses at Pittsburg, proceeded on their journey westward; and, crossing the Ohio, began to search for a spot where they might fix their abode. Every step of the way afforded evidence of the rapid progress of this wonderful country. They had travelled seventy miles, in company with a gentleman who, twelve years before, had gone the same journey, and recollected it as an Indian footpath through the wilderness. It was now a string of plantations, scarcely interrupted by an uncleared tract. The price of land in this district, has, during that period, risen to twenty or thirty dollars an acre; and, at first, it cost only 320 dollars for 160 acres, the sum to be paid in five years;-so that the settler, who at the beginning had little more than a hundred dollars, now finds himself worth 3000 or 4000, besides supporting his family during the whole time.. The whole taxes do not exceed forty shillings upon a square mile of territory, however highly culti vated. An observation occurs almost as soon as Mr Birkbeck enters upon his journey, and is constantly repeated in all parts of the country, that the unhealthy character of most of the settlements is entirely owing to their having been founded in low grounds, on the banks of rivers, and in marshy land. The love of gain-the desire of saving a little trouble, or a little moneydictated this selection; and, wherever it has been adopted, the consequence has been fatal to health-wherever a more elevated position has been chosen, the climate has been found salubrious.
One of the most striking features in the great western wilderness, is the magnificent growth of the vegetable kingdom. In one place our travellers measured a fine walnut tree, about seven feet in diameter, or twenty-one in girth. Two sycamores of equal dimensions were decaying in its neighbourhood. But the white oak, he says, is the glory of the upland forest. As they generally grow in thick groups, their stems are by no means as large as they would be if they stood single; but they are lofty and straight in an extraordinary degree-sometimes eighty or feet without a branch. Mr Birkbeck measured one which
was six feet in diameter at four feet from the ground; and three feet in diameter at seventy from the ground. This is a gigan tick growth, altogether unknown in our hemisphere. In one spot he found some hills covered with the same grand trees. For miles together, within view of the road, were thousands of them, whose stems were fourteen or fifteen feet round, and rising straight, and without a branch, for seventy or eighty feet, where they were crowned with luxuriant tops. An accident had befallen this woody tract, which is well described.
6 For the space of a mile in breadth, a hurricane, which tra• versed the entire western country in a north-east direction, • about seven years ago, had opened itself a passage through this region of giants, and has left a scene of extraordinary desolation. We pass immediately on, after viewing those massive • trunks, the emblems of strength and durability, to where they • lie tumbled over each other like scattered stubble, some torn 6 up by the roots, others broken off at different heights, or splintered only, and their tops bent over, and touching the ground: -such is the irresistible force of these impetuous airy torrents. • These hurricane tracts afford strong holds for game, and all animals of savage kind. There is a panther, the only one remaining, it is said, in this country, which makes this spot its • haunt, and eludes the hunters.' pp. 77, 78.
While traversing these vast forests, our travellers sometimes met with adventures little known to those who journey in more frequented paths. The following passage gives a simple, but a lively account of one of these.
Our rear party, consisting of one of the ladies, a servant boy, and myself, were benighted, in consequence of accidental detention, at the foot of one of these rugged hills; and, without being well provided, were compelled to make our first experiment of "camping out. A traveller in the woods should always carry flint, steel, tinder, and matches,-a few biscuits, a half-pint phial of spirits, and a tin cup-a large knife or tomahawk; then with his two blankets, and his great coat and umbrella, he need not be uneasy, should any unforeseen delay require his sleeping under a tree. Our party having separated, the important articles of tinder and matches were in the baggage of the division which had proceeded; and as the night was rainy and excessively dark, we were for some time under some anxiety lest we should have been deprived of the comfort and security of a fire. Fortunately, my powder-flask was in my saddle-bags, and we succeeded in supplying the place of tinder, by moistening a piece of paper, and rubbing it with gunpowder. We placed our touchpaper on an old cambric handkerchief, as the most readily combus tible article in our stores. On this we scattered gunpowder pretty copiously, and our flint and steel soon enabled us to raise a flame,