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Early western travels 1748-1846 : A series of annotated reprints of some of the best and rarest contemporary… Thwaites, Reuben Gold, 1853-1913 1904

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Array       Early Western Travels
Volume X
J  Early Western Travels
A Series of Annotated Reprints of some of the best
and rarest contemporary volumes of travel, descriptive of the Aborigines and Social and
Economic Conditions in the Middle
and Far West, during the Period
of Early American Settlement
Reuben Gold Thwaites, L L.D.
Volume X
nine's Journal, 1818-19; Flower's Letters tram Lexington
18: a-: 1. and Woods's Two Years' Residence, 1820-21
Cleveland, Ohio
The Arthur H. Clark Company
J Copyright 1904, by
Preface.   The Editor	
A Journal Made During a Tour in the Western Countries or America:    September 30, 1818-August 7,
1819.    Thomas Hulme
Dedication.   William Cobbett     .        .        .        . 19
Preface.   William Cobbett .        . . 21
Author's Introduction to the Journal    ... 23
Text  35
Letters from Lexington [June 25,1819] and the Illinois
[August 16,1819], containing a Brief Account of the English Settlement in the Latter Territory, and a Refutation
of the Misrepresentations of Mr. Cobbett.    Richard
Author's Preface       ...... 89
Text 91
Letters from the Illinois, 1820, 1821. Containing an
Account of the English Settlement at Albion and its
Vicinity, and a Refutation of Various Misrepresentations, Those more particularly of Mr. Cobbett. With
a Letter from M. Birkbeck; and a Preface and Notes by
Benjamin Flower.   Richard Flower
Publisher's Advertisement
Editor's Preface.   Benjamin Flower
Extract of a Letter.   Morris Birkbeck .       149
Editor's Notes.   Benjamin Flower       .        .        .       153 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
ro Years' Residence in the Settlement on the English Pratbie, in the Illinois Country, United States
[June 5, 1820-July 3, 1821]. With an Account of its
Animal and Vegetable Productions, Agriculture, &c. &c.
A Description of the Principal Towns, Villages, &c.
&c. With the Habits and Customs of the Back-Woodsmen.   John Woods
Text 179
Facsimile of title-page to Flower's Letters from Lexington
and the Illinois (1819)  87
Facsimile of title-page to Flower's Letters from the Illinois
(1822)               113
Facsimile of title-page to Woods     .        .        .        .        . 173
Map of the Allotments, from Woods                           . 175
Map of the Illinois, from Woods                               . 177  PREFACE TO VOLUME X
During the second decade of the nineteenth century, a
colony of English emigrants was established in southeastern Illinois, at a place in Edwards County known afterwards as English Prairie. Interesting in itself as being a
typical experiment in transplantation and in assimilation
to frontier conditions, this settlement has attracted unusual attention because of the war of pamphlets it evoked,
and the political prominence of some of its detractors.
Agricultural emigration was, at that period, a subject
of much importance in Great Britain, and the English
Prairie settlement became the nucleus around which the
contention was waged. At the close of the Napoleonic
wars, England's rural interests were much depressed.
Hopes had been entertained that, with the return of peace,
conditions for the farmer would improve, but these expectations proved fallacious, prices continually lowered, rents
and wages increased, distress was widespread, and agrarian discontent alarming. Added to this, the political
situation was grave. The domination of the Tory party,
the reactionary tendency of foreign affairs, and the general
national impoverishment led to the growth of a strong
Radical party, which demanded manhood suffrage, abolition of the Corn Laws, and abrogation of the time-honored privileges of the upper classes. Mobs and disturbances were frequent, and there was developed a strong
sentiment in favor of emigration to the United States,
where political freedom, combined with the prospects of
cheap lands, offered an enticing prospect to the harassed
rural population of England. io Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
The emigrants were not merely of the laboring classes,
but frequently were men of substance and property, who
sold good estates to reinvest in uncultivated lands in
America, and to pave the way for the removal thither of
large colonies of Englishmen. Among the promoters of
such enterprises were Morris Birkbeck and George Flower,
both of them owners of considerable estates not far from
London. The former was of Quaker origin, and his
growing dissatisfaction with affairs in England made him
open to the suggestion of emigration. Meeting in London
the well-known American diplomat, Edward Coles, returning from a mission to Russia, the latter's account of
the wide stretches of virgin prairie lands in the then Territory of Illinois fired his imagination, and determined
him to transplant himself and family thither, purchase a
considerable area, and found an English colony for the
relief of the island's distressed agriculturists. His friend
Flower joined him in this resolution, and in the summer of
1816, went out in advance to the United States, where
Birkbeck and his family followed him the next spring.
Nothing daunted by the difficulties and hardships of
frontier conditions, Birkbeck and Flower bought a large
tract of unbroken prairie in southeastern Illinois, began
the building of log huts and the importation of furniture,
and established themselves and their delicately-reared
families on this border-land of civilization. Their optimistic, and even enthusiastic, reports, soon led to the accession of a considerable number of their English friends
and neighbors. Some of the newcomers were disappointed in the situation. After the long, tedious ocean
voyage, and the still longer and far more tiresome westward
journey by land, they would fain have returned to the
comparative ease and comfort of their English homes. 1818-1821] Preface 11
Detractors arose, who took advantage of the sometimes
ill-considered letters of the discontents, and utilized these
to decry all English emigration to America. Others urged
the intending English emigrant to go no farther than the
Eastern part of the United States, where civilized conditions already existed. Prominent in the ranks of the
latter was William Cobbett, the famous Radical leader
and pamphleteer. Self-exiled from England to avoid
prosecutions for libel and consequent fines, Cobbett was
employed in rutabaga culture on Long Island. It was
commonly reported by his enemies that he had been subsidized by land speculators in the vicinity of New York and
Philadelphia to attract and retain in that neighborhood the
well-to-do English emigrant who was proposing to make
investment in American lands. Be that as it may, Cobbett
began an attack upon the Birkbeck-Flower Illinois settlement, which at once brought it into notoriety. Wielding
one of the most popular and trenchant pens of his day;
the political oracle of thousands of Englishmen, he certainly was a formidable antagonist.
Birkbeck had recently (1817) published Notes on a Journey in America, and (1818) Letters from Illinois—honest,
straightforward books, if somewhat optimistic in tone.
Cobbett replied with A Year's Residence in the United
States of America (New York, 1818, and many subsequent editions), in which he made a savage attack on
English Prairie, using as a weapon the journal of his follower, Thomas Hulme, lately returned from a visit to
Illinois. Birkbeck and Richard Flower (father of
George, the first founder), answered the strictures of
Cobbett; and various other emigrants added their testimony. From this mass of controversial literature, we
have chosen for inclusion in volume x of our series those
in 12 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
publications which appear to us best to exemplify Western
life and conditions, and contain the most varied descriptions of an English immigrant's impressions and experiences.
Thomas Hulme was an honest English farmer, with
strong Radical tendencies, and in earnest sympathy with
democratic institutions as he found them in America.
The Introduction to his Journal of a Tour in the Western
Countries of America — which we herein extract and reprint from Part III of his friend Cobbett's A Year's Residence — contains some autobiographical material. In
explaining his object in coming to America, he declares:
"I saw an absence of human misery. I saw a government taking away a very small portion of men's earnings.
I saw ease and happiness and a fearless utterance of
thought everywhere prevail." The only question with
him was, in what region of America would it be best for
him to settle. His visit to the "Western Countries " was
undertaken with a view to examining agricultural and
social conditions there. Travelling over the usual Pennsylvania road to Pittsburg, he voyaged down the Ohio,
and thence went through Illinois. His notes along the
way contain shrewd but useful observations on the route,
the people he encountered, prices, and wages. Hulme
has nothing adverse to say of the West. Cobbett, who
first published this journal, uses it as a text; but in making
it serve this purpose of detraction, he obviously wrests
Hulme's words from their meaning. We have thought it
desirable to reprint Hulme's Journal apart from the mass
of diatribe with which Cobbett originally enveloped it.
Richard Flower, whose Letters from Lexington and the
Illinois (London, 1819), and Letters from the Illinois (London, 1822), herein reprinted, were first published in reply 1818-1821] Preface 13
to Cobbett, was a man of culture and refinement, owner
of a considerable estate in Hertford. In 1818, at the age
of sixty-three, he sold his property and joined his eldest
son, George, in promoting the colony to Illinois. The
first winter in America was passed at Lexington, Kentucky,
awaiting the preparation of a residence at Albion, the new
Illinois town founded by his son in Edwards County.
After his removal thither (July, 1819) he passed the rest
of his life at this settlement, holding religious services for
the infant colony, and in many ways serving as a medium
of enlightenment and refinement in this distant region.
He died in 1829. His Letters are eminently sane and
sensible. His comments upon the American character
are appreciative and kindly, his chief strictures being
upon the subject of slavery.
The major portion of our volume is devoted to a reprint
of John Woods's Two Years' Residence . . . in the
Illinois Country (London, 1822), detailing with precision
the experiences of a well-to-do English farmer seeking a home in the new world. Woods was a matter-of-
fact person, whose book has no pretensions to literary
style; but it does present faithfully the average Englishman's impressions of persons and things in the United
States of 1819-21. Landing in Baltimore, Woods bought
conveyances that transported his family and goods over
the new National Road to Wheeling, whence a flat-boat
furnished their means of carriage down the Ohio River to
Shawneetown, then the principal port of Illinois. From
this point the immigrants walked overland to English
Prairie, sending the baggage around by way of the Wabash
and its tributaries. Arrived at the settlement, Woods
bought of American pioneers lands that had already received some cultivation, and settled contentedly to build
Pfii 14 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
up a new farm in these rich regions. His experiences were
typical; and while he expressly disclaims attempting to
influence others intending to remove from England, yet his
favorable pictures could not have failed of their effect.
His comments upon American life are shrewd and
kindly. On the whole, he says, "we have received as
good treatment as we should have in a tour through England; but the manners of Americans are more rough than
those of Englishmen.'' Gifted with penetration that permitted him to discover the good qualities beneath the rude
exterior, he makes an interesting portrayal of the backwoodsman, giving us an amusing although not a sarcastic
record of an imaginary conversation imbued with some
of the peculiar Americanisms of his time. More interesting, perhaps, from the point of view of our series, is the
account he gives of the towns on the Ohio, and the progress of settlement, compared with those of the travellers
of 1803-09. He finds older towns falling into decay, new
ones springing into existence, and over it all the trail of
the speculator. The extent and cheapness of public
lands is a subject for comment, and the land laws and
methods of survey are minutely detailed.
In view of the strictures of later English writers, their
flippant comments and inappreciative criticisms, the
plain, straightforward descriptions of these farmers of
English Prairie give a just and wholesome account of the
American West at the beginning of the third decade of
the nineteenth century. One further service the English
settlers performed for Illinois, and civilization. When a
new constitution for the state was agitated — one that
should admit slavery to its borders — it was the sturdy
opposition of the English leaders that turned the scale in
favor of freedom.    In this struggle (1824-25), Morris 1818-1821] Preface 15
Birkbeck once more met his friend Edward Coles, now
become governor of Illinois. Although a Virginian, Coles
was opposed to the extension of slavery, and stood shoulder
to shoulder with Birkbeck in this great fight. Largely
to English devotion to free institutions, it was due that
the attempt to foist the "peculiar institution" upon the
new West failed, and the state which was to shelter and
train Abraham Lincoln was made a free land.
In the preparation of notes to this volume, the Editor
has had the assistance of Louise Phelps Kellogg, Ph.D.,
Edith Kathryn Lyle, Ph.D., and Mr. Archer Butler
R. G. T.
Madison, Wis., November, 1904.  I
Hulme's Journal of a Tour in the Western Countries of America — September 30, 1818-August
8, 1819. ___
Extracted and reprinted from William Cobbett's A Year's Residence in the United States of America: London, 1828  [259]   DEDICATION
of peckham lodge, surrey
North Hempstead, Long Island,
10th Dec. 1818.
The little volume here presented to the public, consists,
as you will perceive, for the greater and most valuable
part, of travelling notes made by our friend Hulme,
whom I had the honour to introduce to you in 1816, and
with whom you were so much pleased.
His activity, which nothing can benumb; his zeal against
the twin monster, tyranny and priestcraft, which nothing
can cool; and his desire to assist in providing a place of
retreat for the oppressed, which nothing but the success
in the accomplishment can satisfy; these have induced
him to employ almost the whole of his time here in various ways all tending to the same point.
The Boroughmongers have agents and spies all over
the inhabited globe. Here they cannot sell blood: they
can only collect information and calumniate the people
of both countries. These vermin our friend firks out (as
the Hampshire people call it); and they hate him as rats
hate a terrier.
Amongst his other labours, he has performed a very
laborious journey to the Western Countries, and has
been as far as the Colony [260] of our friend Birkbeck.
This journey has produced a Journal; and this Journal,
along with the rest of the volume, I dedicate to you in 20 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
testimony of my constant remembrance of the many,
many happy hours I have spent with you, and of the
numerous acts of kindness which I have received at your
hands. You were one of those, who sought acquaintance
with me, when I was shut up in a felon's jail for two years
for having expressed my indignation at seeing Englishmen flogged, in the heart of England, under a guard of
German bayonets and sabres, and when I had on my
head a thousand pounds fine and seven years' recognizances. You, at the end of the two years, took me from
the prison, in your carriage, home to your house. You
and our kind friend, Walker, are even yet, held in bonds
for my good behaviour, the seven years not being expired.
All these things are written in the very core of my heart;
and when I act as if I had forgotten any one of them, may
no name on earth be so much detested and despised as
that of
Your faithful friend,
And most obedient servant,
In giving an account of the United States of America,
it would not haye been proper to omit saying something
of the Western Countries, the Newest of the New Worlds,
to which so many thousands and hundreds of thousands
are flocking, and towards which the writings of Mr. Birkbeck have, of late, drawn the pointed attention of all those
Englishmen, who, having something left to be robbed of,
and wishing to preserve it, are looking towards America
as a place of refuge from the Boroughmongers and the
Holy Alliance, which latter, to make the compact complete,
seems to want nothing but the accession of His Satanic
I could not go to the Western Countries; and the accounts
of others were seldom to be relied on; because, scarcely
any man goes thither without some degree of partiality,
or comes back without being tainted with some little matter, at least, of self-interest. Yet, it was desirable to
make an attempt, at least, towards settling the question:
"Whether the Atlantic, or the Western, Countries were
the best for English Farmers to settle in." Therefore,
when Mr. Hulme proposed to make a Western Tour, I
was very [262] much pleased, seeing that, of all the men
I knew, he was the most likely to bring us back an impartial
account of what he should see. His great knowledge of
farming as well as of manufacturing affairs; his capacity
of estimating local advantages and disadvantages; the
natural turn of his mind for discovering the means of
applying to the use of man all that is furnished by the 22 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
earth, the air, and water; the patience and perseverance
with which he pursues all his inquiries; the urbanity of
his manners, which opens to him all the sources of information; his inflexible adherence to truth', all these marked
him out as the man on whom the public might safely rely.
I, therefore, give his Journal, made during his tour.
He offers no opinion as to the question above stated.
That / shall do; and when the reader has gone through
the Journal he will find my opinions as to that question,
which opinions I have stated in a Letter addressed to Mr.
The American reader will perceive, that this Letter is
intended principally for the perusal of Englishmen-, and,
therefore, he must not be surprised if he finds a little
bickering in a group so much of a family cast.
North Hempstead,
10th December, 1818. [263]   INTRODUCTION TO THE
Philadelphia, 50th Sept. 1818.
It seems necessary, by way of Introduction to the following Journal, to say some little matter respecting the
author of it, and also respecting his motives for wishing
it to be published.
As to the first, I am an Englishman by birth and parentage; and am of the county of Lancaster. I was bred
and brought up at farming work, and became an apprentice to the business of Bleacher, at the age of 14 years.
My own industry made me a master-bleacher, in which
state I lived many years at Great Lever, near Bolton,
where I employed about 140 men, women, and children,
and had generally about 40 apprentices. By this business, pursued with incessant application, I had acquired,
several years ago, property to an amount sufficient to
satisfy any man of moderate desires.
But, along with my money my children had come and
had gone on increasing to the number of nine. New
duties now arose, and demanded my best attention. It
was not sufficient that I was likely to have a decent fortune
for each child. I was bound to provide, if possible,
against my children being stripped of what I had earned
for them. I, therefore, looked seriously at the situation
of England; and, I saw, that the incomes of my children
were all pawned (as my friend Cobbett1 truly calls it) to
1 For a brief biography of William Cobbett, see Flint's Letters, volume, ix
of our series, note 4.— Ed.
m 4,1
24 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
pay the Debts of the Borough, or seat, owners. I saw
that, of whatever I might be able to [264] give to my children, as well as of what they might be able to earn, more
than one half would be taken away to feed pensioned
Lords and Ladies, Soldiers to shoot at us, Parsons to
persecute us, and Fundholders, who had lent their money
to be applied to purposes of enslaving us. This view .of
the matter was sufficient to induce the father of nine children to think of the means of rescuing them from the
consequences, which common sense taught him to apprehend. But, there were other considerations, which operated with me in producing my emigration to America.
In the year 1811 and 1812 the part of the country, in
which I lived, was placed under a new sort of law; or, in
other words, it was placed out of the protection of the old
law of the land.2 Men were seized, dragged to prison,
treated like convicts, many transported and put to death,
without having committed any thing, which the law of
the land deems a crime. It was then that the infamous
Spy-System was again set to work in Lancashire, in which
horrid system Fletcher of Bolton was one of the prin-
2 In 1811 the growing hostility of those employed in the manufacture of
stockings to the introduction of knitting frames, culminated in the Luddite
Riots, and in Nottingham over six hundred .stocking frames were broken. The
riot spread rapidly among the artisans in the cotton and woolen industries in
Lancashire and Yorkshire, mills were burned, machinery of all kinds destroyed,
and it became necessary to call out seven regiments before quiet was restored.
The government became alarmed, especially as the mobs had stormed the
militia depots and secured arms for themselves, and several repressive measures
were hurried through Parliament. The first, passed March 5,1812, made frame-
breaking a capital offense; the second, the Nottingham Watch and Ward Bill,
passed the same month, enabled the lord-lieutenant or sheriff to establish
watch and ward if further riots occurred; and the third, the Preservation of
Public Peace Act, passed July 27, 1812, empowered any magistrate in the disturbed district to search for secreted arms, and to call upon the people to give up
their weapons. See Parliamentary Delates, xri, pp. 859, 1166; xjriii, pp. 1099,
1251.— Ed. i8i8-i8iq! Hulme's Journal 25
cipal actors, or, rather, organizers and promoters. At
this time I endeavoured to detect the machinations of these
dealers in human blood; and, I narrowly escaped being
sacrificed myself on the testimony of two men, who had
their pardon offered them on condition of their swearing
against me. The men refused, and were transported,
leaving wives and children to starve.
Upon this occasion, my friend Doctor Taylor, most
humanely, and with his usual zeal and talent, laboured to
counteract the works of Fletcher and his associates.
The Doctor published a pamphlet on the subject, in
1812, which every Englishman should read. I, as far as
I was able, co-operated with him. We went to London,
laid the real facts before several members of the two
houses of Parliament; and, in some degree, checked the
progress of the dealers in blood. I had an interview with
Lord Holland, and told him, that, if he would pledge himself to cause the secret-service money to be kept in London,
I would pledge myself for the keeping of the peace in
Lancashire. In [265] short, it was necessary, in order to
support the tyranny of the seat-sellers, that terror should
prevail in the populous districts. Blood was wanted to
flow; and money was given to spies to tempt men into
what the new law had made crimes.
From this time I resolved not to leave my children in
such a state of things, unless I should be taken off very
suddenly. I saw no hope'of obtaining a Reform of the
Parliament, without which it was clear to me, that the
people of England must continue to work solely for the
benefit of the great insolent families, whom I hated for
their injustice and rapacity, and despised for their meanness and ignorance. I saw, in them, a mass of debauched
and worthless beings, having at their command an army
11! 26 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
to compel the people to surrender to them the fruits of
their industry; and in addition, a body existing under the
garb of religion, almost as despicable in point of character,
and still more malignant.
I could not have died in peace, leaving my children the
slaves of such a set of beings; and I could not live in peace,
knowing, that at any hour, I might die and so leave my
family. Therefore I resolved, like the Lark in the fable,
to remove my brood, which was still more numerous than
that of the Lark. While the war was going on between
England and America, I could not come to this country.
Besides, I had great affairs to arrange. In 1816, having
made my preparations, I set off, not with my family; for
that I did not think a prudent step. It was necessary for
me to see what America really was. I therefore, came for
that purpose.
I was well pleased with America, over a considerable
part of which I travelled. I saw an absence of human
misery. I saw a government taking away a very small portion of men's earnings. I saw ease and happiness and a
fearless utterance of thought every where prevail. I saw
laws like those of the old laws of England, every where
obeyed with cheerfulness and held in veneration. I heard
of no mobs, no riots, no spies, no transportings, no hangings. I saw those very Irish, to keep whom in order, such
murderous laws exist in [266] Ireland, here good, peaceable, industrious citizens. I saw no placemen and pensioners, riding the people under foot. I saw no greedy
Priesthood, fattening on the fruits of labour in which they
had never participated, and which fruits they seized in
despite of the people. I saw a Debt, indeed, but then, it
was so insignificant a thing; and, besides, it had been contracted for the people's use, and not for that of a set of
tyrants, who had used the money to the injury of the peo- 1818-1819I Hulme's Journal 27
pie. In short, I saw a state of things, precisely the reverse of that in England, and very nearly what it would
be in England, if the Parliament were reformed.
Therefore, in the Autumn of 1816, I returned to England fully intending to return the next spring with my
family and whatever I possessed of the fruits of my labours,
and to make America my country and the country of that
family. Upon my return to England, however, I found
a great stir about Reform;s and having, in their full force,
all those feelings, which make our native country dear to
us, I said, at once, "My desire is, not to change country
or countrymen, but to change slavery for freedom: give
me freedom here, and here I'll remain." These are
nearly the very words that I uttered to Mr. Cobbett, when
first introduced to him, in December 1816, by that excellent man, Major Cartwright.4 Nor was I unwilling
to labour myself in the cause of Reform.   I was one of
8 The year 1816 was a time of intense suffering among the working classes
in England. Corn reached famine prices, and at the same time the return of
peace, by reducing the foreign demand for manufactured articles, created an
over supply of labor. Riots again occurred, but the general discontent found a ■
new outlet in the demand for parliamentary reform. In this, Cobbett was the
leader, and under his direction Hampden Clubs were established all over the
country. Sir Francis Burdett, president of the London Hampden Club, was
first chosen to further the cause in the House of Commons. A graduate of
Oxford, he entered Parliament in 1796, when twenty-six years of age, and
served almost continuously until his death, in 1844. He was throughout an
earnest advocate of parliamentary reform, of freedom of speech in the House,
and of other liberal measures. Cobbett, Hulme, and the Radicals disliked him
because his methods were too moderate for them. The incident mentioned by
Hulme refers to a large meeting held at London at the end of the year (1816),
to which all the Hampden Clubs sent delegates; and to avoid which Sir Francis,
who had a horror of popular demonstrations, fled to Leicestershire, and sent a
fetter stating his inability to be present. See Cobbett, Weekly Political Register,
September 13, 1817.— Ed.
4 Next to Cobbett, the most important leader of the reform movement during
this period was Major John Cartwright. Born in Nottinghamshire (1740), he
had entered the navy and was being promoted rapidly when he refused to join
his commander, Lord Howe, against the American colonies, thus putting an
end to his professional advancement.   Turning his attention to politics, he 28 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
those very Delegates, of whom the Borough-tyrants said
so many falsehoods, and whom Sir Francis Burdett so
shamefully abandoned. In the meeting of Delegates, I
thought we went too far in reposing confidence in him: I
spoke my opinion as to this point: and, in a very few days,
I had the full proof of the correctness of my opinion. I
was present when Major Cartwright opened a letter
from Sir Francis, which had come from Leicestershire.
I thought the kind-hearted old Major would have dropped
upon the floor! I shall never forget his looks as he read
that letter. If the paultry Burdett had a hundred lives,
the taking of them all away would not atone for the pain
he that day gave to Major Cartwright, not to mention the pain [267] given to others, and the injury done to
the cause. For my part, I was not much disappointed.
I had no opinion of Sir Francis Burdett's being sound.
He seemed to me too much attached to his own importance
to do the people any real service. He is an aristocrat; and
that is enough for me. It is folly to suppose, that such a
man will ever be a real friend of the rights of the people.
I wish he were here a little while. He would soon find
his proper level; and that would not, I think, be very
high.   Mr. Hunt 5 was very much against our confiding
began (1780) the agitation which earned for him the title of Father of Reform.
He was a frequent contributor to Cobbett's Register, in the cause of parliamentary and other reforms.— Ed.
1 Henry Hunt, familiarly known as Orator Hunt (1773-1835), belonged to
a Wiltshire family. He was engaged in farming near Bristol when, during a
visit to London (1807), he became interested in the Radical cause, and immediately set to work to organize the Radical party in Bristol and the surrounding
country. An eloquent speaker, and of magnetic personality, he exerted his
influence by addressing popular meetings, undergoing two years' imprisonment
for a speech delivered at a Manchester meeting in 1819. After several unsuccessful attempts to enter Parliament, he was elected in 1831, but held his seat
only two years, when, becoming estranged from the other Radical leaders, he
retired from politics.— Ed.
1 1818-1819]
Hulme's Journal
in Burdett; and he was perfectly right. I most sincerely hope, that my countrymen will finally destroy the
tyrants who oppress them; but, I am very sure, that, before they succeed in it, they must cure themselves of the
folly of depending for assistance on the nobles or the half-
After witnessing this conduct in Burdett, I set off home,
and thought no more about effecting a Reform. The
Acts that soon followed were, by me, looked upon as matters of course." The tyranny could go on no longer under
disguise. It was compelled to shew its naked face; but,
it is now, in reality, not worse than it was before. It
now does no more than rob the people, and that it did
before. It kills more now out-right; but, men may as
well be shot, or stabbed or hanged, as starved to death.
During the Spring and the early part of the Summer,
of 1817, I made preparations for the departure of myself
and family, and when all was ready, I bid an everlasting
adieu to Boroughmongers, Sinecure placemen and place-
women, pensioned Lords and Ladies, .Standing Armies in
time of peace, and (rejoice, oh! my children!) to a hireling,
tithe-devouring Priesthood. We arrived safe and all in
good health, and which health has never been impaired
1 ' December 2, 1816, a large mob collected at Spa-fields, London, and after
addresses by certain Radicals and Spencean Philanthropists (members of a society which aimed to abolish private property), it proceeded to take possession of
the Tower, but disbanded before much damage had been done. Feeling confident that sedition was being plotted in all the newly-organized clubs throughout England, Parliament (March 3, 1817) authorized the suspension of the
writ of habeas corpus. March 25, the Seditious Meetings Act was passed,
prescribing the death penalty for refusal to discontinue any meeting when required to do so by a magistrate (see Parliamentary Debates, xxxv, pp. 795, 826,
1083, 1227). The reformers regarded these laws as subversive of all liberty;
Cobbett headed the articles in his Register, "A History of the Last Hundred
Days of English Freedom, ending with the passing of the Absolute-Power-of-
Imprisonment Act, in the Month of March, 1817."— Ed. 30 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
by the climate. We are in a state of ease, safety, plenty;
and how can we help being as happy as people can be ?
The more I see of my adopted country, the more gratitude
do I feel towards it for affording me and my numerous
offspring protection from the tyrants of my native country. There I should have been in constant anxiety about
my family. Here I am in none at all. Here I [268] am
in fear of no spies, no false witnesses, no blood-money men.
Here no fines, irons, or gallowses await me, let me
think or say what I will about the government. Here I
have to pay no people to be ready to shoot at me, or run
me through the body, or chop me down. Here no vile
Priest can rob me and mock me in the same breath.
In the year 1816 my travelling in America was confined to the Atlantic States. I there saw enough to determine the question of emigration or no emigration.
But, a spot to settle on myself was another matter; for,
though I do not know, that I shall meddle with any sort of
trade, or occupation, in the view of getting money, I ought
to look about me, and to consider soberly as to a spot to
settle on with so large a family. It was right, therefore,
for me to see the Western Countries. I have done this;
and the particulars, which I thought worthy my notice, I
noted down in a Journal. This Journal I now submit to
the public. My chief motive in the publication is to
endeavour to convey useful information, and especially to
those persons, who may be disposed to follow my example,
and to withdraw their families and fortunes from beneath the hoofs of the tyrants of England.
I have not the vanity to suppose myself eminently qualified for any thing beyond my own profession; but I have
been an attentive observer; I have raised a considerable
fortune by my own industry and economy; I have, all my 1818-1819I Hulme's Journal 31
life long, studied the matters connected with agriculture,
trade, and manufactures. I had a desire to acquire an
accurate knowledge of the Western countries, and what
I did acquire I have endeavoured to communicate to
Others. It was not my object to give flowery descriptions.
I leave that to poets and painters. Neither have I
attempted any general estimate of the means or manner
of living, or getting money, in the West. But, I have contented myself with merely noting down the facts that
struck me; and from those facts the reader must draw
his conclusions.
In one respect I am a proper person to give an account
of the Western Countries. I have no lands there: I have
no interest there: I have nothing to warp [269] my judgment in favour of those countries: and yet, I have as
little in the Atlantic States to warp my judgment in their
favour. I am perfectly impartial in my feelings, and am,
therefore, likely to be impartial in my words. My good
wishes extend to the utmost boundary of my adopted
country. Every particular part of it is as dear to me as
every other particular part.
I have recommended most strenuously the encouraging
and promoting of Domestic Manufacture; not because I
mean to be engaged in any such concern myself; for it is
by no means likely that I ever shall; but, because I think
that such encouragement and promotion would be greatly
beneficial to America, and because it would provide a
happy Asylum for my native, oppressed, and distressed
countrymen, who have been employed all the days of
their lives in manufactures in England, where the principal part of the immense profits of their labour is consumed by the Borough tyrants and their friends, and
expended for the vile purpose of perpetuating a system !
32 Early Western Travels Vol. 10
of plunder and despotism at home, and all over the
Before I conclude this Introduction, I must observe,
that I see with great pain, and with some degree of shame,
the behaviour of some persons from England, who, appear
to think that they give proof of their high breeding by repaying civility, kindness, and hospitality, with reproach
and insolence. However, these persons are despised.
They produce very little impression here; and, though the
accounts they send to England, may be believed by some,
they will have little effect on persons of sense and virtue.
Truth will make its way; and it is, thank God, now making its way with great rapidity.
I could mention numerous instances of Englishmen,
coming to this country with hardly a dollar in their
pocket, and arriving at a state of ease and plenty and even
riches in a few years; and I explicitly declare, that I have
never known or heard of, an instance of one common
labourer who, with common industry and economy, did not
greatly better his lot. Indeed, how can it otherwise be,
when the average wages of [270] agricultural labour is
double what it is in England, and when the average price
of food is not more than half what it is in that country ?
These two facts, undeniable as they are, are quite sufficient to satisfy any man of sound mind.
As to the manners of the people, they are precisely to
my taste; unostentatious and simple. Good sense I find
every where, and never affectation. Kindness, hospitality and never-failing civility. I have travelled more than
four thousand miles about this country; and I have never
met with one single insolent or rude native American.
I trouble myself very little about the party politics of
the country.   These contests are the natural offspring of 1818-1819] Hulme's Journal 33
freedom; and they tend to perpetuate that which produces
them. I look at the people as a whole; and I love them
and feel grateful to them for having given the world a
practical proof, that peace, social order, and general happiness can be secured, and best secured, without Mon-
archs, Dukes, Counts, Baronets, and Knights. I have
no unfriendly feeling towards any Religious Society. I
wish well to every member of every such society; but, I
love the Quakers, and feel grateful towards them, for
having proved to the world, that all the virtues, public as
well as private, flourish most and bring forth the fairest
fruits when unincumbered with those noxious weeds.
hireling priests.
Pittsburgh, June 3.— Arrived here with a friend as
travelling companion, by the mail stage from Philadelphia, after a journey of six days; having set out on the
28th May.7 We were much pleased with the face of
the country, the greatest part of which was new to me.
The route, as far as Lancaster, lay through a rich and
fertile country, well cultivated by good, settled proprietors; the road excellent: smooth as the smoothest in England, and hard as those made by the cruel corvees in
France. The country finer, but the road not always so
good, all the way from Lancaster, by Little York, to
Chambersburgh; after which it changes for mountains
and poverty, except in timber. Chambersburgh is situated on the North West side of that fine valley which
lies between the South and North Mountains, and which
extends from beyond the North East boundary of Pennsylvania to nearly the South West extremity of North
Carolina, and which has limestone for its bottom and '
rich and fertile soil, and beauty upon the face of it, from
one end to the other. The ridges of mountains called
the Allegany, and forming the highest land in north
America between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, begin
here and extend across our route nearly 100 miles, or
rather, three days, for it was no less than half the journey
to travel over them; they rise one above the other as we
proceed Westward,  till we reach the Allegany, the last
7 For a description of this route through western Pennsylvania at the beginning of the century, see F. A. Michaux's Travels, volume iii of our series, pp.
132-156.— Ed. 36 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
and most lofty of all, from which we have a view to the
West farther than the eye can carry. I can say nothing
in commendation of the road over these mountains, but
I must admire the drivers, and their excellent horses. The
road is every thing that is bad, but the skill of the drivers,
and the well constructed vehicles, and the capital old
English horses, overcome [272] every thing. We were
rather singularly fortunate in not breaking down or upsetting; I certainly should not have been surprized if the
whole thing, horses and all, had gone off the road and
been dashed to pieces. A new road is making, however,
and when that is completed, the journey will be shorter
in point of time, just one half.8 A fine even country we
get into immediately on descending the Allegany, with
very little appearance of unevenness or of barrenness all
the way to Pittsburgh; the evidence of good land in the
crops, and the country beautified by a various mixture of
woods and fields.
Very good accommodations for travellers the whole of
the way. The stage stops to breakfast and to dine, and
sleeps where it sups. They literally feasted us every
where, at every meal, with venison and good meat of all
sorts: every thing in profusion. In one point, however,
I must make an exception, with regard to some houses:
at night I was surprized, in taverns so well kept in other
respects, to find bugs in the beds! I am sorry to say I
observed (or, rather, felt,) this too often. Always good
eating and drinking, but not always good sleeping.
June 4th & $th.— Took a view of Pittsburgh. It is
situated between the mouths of the river Allegany and.
Monongahela, at the point where they meet and begin
8 For the Cumberland Road, see Harris's Journal, volume iii of our series,
note 45.— Ed. 1818-1819] Hulme's Journal 37
the Ohio, and is laid out in a triangular form so that two
sides of it lie contiguous to the water. Called upon Mr.
Bakewell, to whom we were introduced by letter, and
who very obligingly satisfied our curiosity to see every
thing of importance. After showing us through his extensive and well conducted glass works,9 he rowed us
across the Monongahela to see the mines from which the
fine coals we had seen burning were brought. These
coals are taken out from the side of a steep hill, very near
to the river, and brought from thence and laid down in
any part of the town for 7 cents the bushel, weighing, perhaps, 8olb. Better coals I never saw. A bridge is now
building over the river, by which they will most probably
be brought still cheaper.
This place surpasses even my expectations, both in
natural resources and in extent of manufactures. [273]
Here are the materials for every species of manufacture,
nearly, and of excellent quality and in profusion; and
these means have been taken advantage of by skilful and
industrious artizans and mechanics from all parts of the
world. There is scarcely a denomination of manufacture or manual profession that is not carried on to a great
extent, and, as far as I have been able to examine, in the
best manner. The manufacture of iron in all the different branches, and the mills of all sorts, which I examined
with the most attention, are admirable.
Price of flour, from 4 to 5 dollars a barrel; butter 14
cents per lb.; other provisions in proportion and mechanic's and good labourer's wages 1 dollar, and shipbuilder's 1 dollar and a half, a day.
9 The glassworks of Bakewell, Pears and Company were established in 1808.
For the beginning of this industry in Pittsburg, see Cuming's Tour, volume iv
of our series, note 28.— Ed. f
38 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
June 6th.— Leave Pittsburgh, and set out in a thing
called an ark, which we buy for the purpose, down the
Ohio.10 We have, besides, a small skiff, to tow the ark
and go ashore occasionally. This ark, which would stow
away eight persons, close packed, is a thing by no means
pleasant to travel in, especially at night. It is strong at
bottom, but may be compared to an orange-box, bowed
over at top, and so badly made as to admit a boy's hand
to steal the oranges: it is proof against the river, but not
against the rain.
Just on going to push off the wharf, an English officer
stepped on board of us, with all the curiosity imaginable.
I at once took him for a spy hired to way-lay travellers.
He began a talk about the Western Countries, anxiously
assuring us that we need not hope to meet with such a
thing as a respectable person, travel where we would.
I told him I hoped in God I should see no spy or
informer, whether in plain clothes or regimentals, and
that of one thing I was certain, at any rate: that I
should find no Sinecure placeman or pensioner in the
Western country.
The Ohio, at its commencement, is about 600 yards
broad, and continues running with nearly parallel sides,
taking two or three different directions in its course, for
about 200 miles. There is a curious contrast between
the waters which form this river: that of the Allegany is
clear and transparent, that of the Monongahela [274]
thick and muddy, and it is not for a considerable distance
that they entirely mingle. The sides of the river are
beautiful; there are always rich bottom lands upon the
banks, which are steep and pretty high, varying in width
10 See Harris's Journal, volume iii of our series, p. 335, for a description of
an Ohio River "ark."—Ed. 1818-1819] Hulme's Journal 39
from a few yards to a mile, and skirted with steep hills
varying also in height, overhanging with fine timber.
June yth.— Floating down the Ohio, at the rate of four
miles an hour. Lightning, thunder, rain and hail pelting in upon us. The hail-stones as large as English hazelnuts. Stop at Steubenville all night. A nice place; has
more stores than taverns, which is a good sign.11
June 8th.— Came to Wheeling at about 12 o'clock. It
is a handsome place, and of considerable note. Stopped
about an hour. Found flour to be about 4 to 5 dollars a
barrel; fresh beef 4 to 6 cents per lb., and other things (the
produce of the country) about the same proportion.
Labourers' wages, 1 dollar a day. Fine coals here, and
at Steubenville.
June gth.— Two fine young men join us, one a carpenter and the other a saddler, from Washington, in a skiff that
they had bought at Pittsburgh, and in which they are taking a journey of about 700 miles down the river. We
allow them to tie their skiff to our ark, for which they
very cheerfully assist us. Much diverted to see the nim-
bleness with which they go on shore sometimes with their
rifles to shoot pigeons and squirrels. The whole expenses
of these two young men in floating the 700 miles, will be
but 7 dollars each, including skiff and every thing else.
This day pass Marietta, a good looking town at the
mouth of the Muskingham River. It is, however, like
many other towns on the Ohio, built on too low ground,
and is subject to inundations.   Here I observe a contri-
11 For the towns along the Ohio mentioned by Hulme, see A. Michaux's
Travels, volume iii of our series: Wheeling, note 15; Marietta, note 16.
Cuming's Tour, volume iv of our series: Steubenville, note 67; Cincinnati,
note 166; Shippingport, note 171. Bradbury's Travels, volume v of our series;
Vevay, note 164. Croghan's Journals, volume i of our series: Louisville, note
106.— Ed. 40 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
vance of great ingenuity. There is a stronge rope put
across the mouth of the river, opposite the town, fastened
to trees or large posts on each side; upon this rope runs
a pulley or block, to which is attached a rope, and to the
rope a ferry-boat, which, by moving the helm first one
way and then the other, is propelled by the force of the
water across the river backwards or forwards.
[275] June 10th.— Pass several fine coal mines, which
like those at Pittsburgh, Steubenville, Wheeling and other
places, are not above 50 yards from the river and are upwards of 10 yards above high water. The river now becomes more winding than we have hitherto found it. It
is sometimes so serpentine that it appears before and behind like a continuation of lakes, and the hills on its
banks seem to be the separations. Altogether, nothing
can be more beautiful.
June nth.— A very hot day, but I could not discover
the degree of heat. On going along we bought two
Perch, weighing about 8 lb. each, for 25 cents, of a boy
who was fishing.12 Fish of this sort will sometimes weigh
30 lbs. each.
June 12th.— Pass Portsmouth, at the mOuth of the
Scioto River. A sort of village, containing a hundred or
two of houses.   Not worthy of any particular remark.
June 13th.— Arrived at Cincinnati about midnight.
Tied our ark to a large log at the side of the river, and
went to sleep. Before morning, however, the fastening
broke, and, if it had not been for a watchful back-woodsman whom we had taken on board some distance up the
river, we might have floated ten or fifteen miles without
knowing it. Tbis][back-woodsman, besides being of
much service to us, has been a very entertaining com-
12 The common American perch is the Perca americana or flavescens.— Ed.
I 1818-1819I Hulme's Journal 41
panion. He says he has been in this country forty years,
but that he is an Englishman, and was bred in Sherwood
Forest (he could not have come from a better nursery).
All his adventures he detailed to us very minutely, but
dwelt with particular warmth upon one he had had with
a priest, lately, who, to spite him for preaching, brought
an action against him, but was cast and had to pay costs.
June 14th and 15th.— Called upon Doctor Drake 1S
and upon a Mr. Bosson, to whom we had letters. These
gentlemen shewed us the greatest civility, and treated us
with a sort of kindness which must have changed the
opinion even of the English officer whom we saw at Pittsburgh, had he been with us. I could tell that dirty hireling scout, that even in this short space of time, I have had
the pleasure to meet many gentlemen, [276] very well informed, and possessing great knowledge as to their own
country, evincing public spirit in all their actions, and
hospitality and kindness in all their demeanour; but, if
they be pensioners, male or female, or sinecure place lords
or ladies, I have yet come across, thank God, no respectable people.
Cincinnati is a very fine town, and elegantly (not only
in the American acceptation of the word) situated on the
banks of the river, nearly opposite to Licking Creek,
which runs out of Kentucky, and is a stream of considerable importance. The country round the town is beautiful, and the soil rich; the fields in its immediate vicinity
bear principally grass, and clover of different sorts, the
fragrant smell of which perfumes the air. The town itself ranks next to Pittsburgh, of the towns on the Ohio, in
point of manufactures.
a For a brief biography of Dr. Drake, consult Flint's Letters, volume ix of
our series, note 61.— Ed. 42 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
We sold our ark, and its produce formed a deduction
from our expenses, which, with that deduction, amounted
to 14 dollars each, including every thing, for the journey
from Pittsburgh to this place, which is upwards of 500
miles. I could not but remark the price of fuel here; 2
dollars a cord for Hickory; a cord is 8 feet by 4, and 4
deep, and the wood, the best in the world; it burns much
like green Ash, but gives more heat. This, which is of
course the highest price for fuel in this part of the country,
is only about a fifth of what it is at Philadelphia.
June 16th.— Left Cincinnati for Louisville with seven
other persons, in a skiff about 20 feet long and 5 feet wide.
June ijth.— Stopped at Vevay, a very neat and beautiful place, about 70 miles above the falls of the Ohio.
Our visit here was principally to see the mode used, as
well as what progress was made, in the cultivation of the
vine, and I had a double curiosity, never having as yet
seen a vineyard. These vineyards are cultivated entirely
by a small settlement of Swiss, of about a dozen families,
who have been here about ten years. They first settled
on the Kentucky river, but did not succeed there. They
plant the vines in rows, attached to stakes like espaliers,
and they plough between with a one-horse plough. The
grapes, [277] which are of the sorts of Claret and Madeira,
look very fine and luxuriant, and will be ripe in about the
middle of September. The soil and climate both appear
to be quite congenial to the growth of the vine: the former rich and the latter warm. The north west wind,
when it blows, is very cold, but the south, south east, and
south west winds, which are always warm, are prevalent.
The heat, in the middle of the summer, I understand, is
very great, being generally above 85 degrees, and sometimes above 100 degrees.   Each of these families has a i8i8-i8iq]
Hulme's Journal
farm as well as a vineyard, so that they supply themselves
with almost every necessary and have their wine all clear
profit. Their produce will this year be probably not
less than 5000 gallons; we bought 2 gallons of it at a dollar
each, as good as I would wish to drink. Thus it is that
the tyrants of Europe create vineyards in this new country!
June 18th.— Arrived at Louisville, Kentucky. The
town is situated at the commencement of the falls, or
rapids of the Ohio. The river, at this place, is little less
than a mile wide, and the falls continue from a ledge of
rocks which runs across the river in a sloping direction at
this part, to Shippingport, about 2 miles lower down.
Perceiving stagnant waters about the town, and an appearance of the house that we stopped at being infested
with bugs, we resolved not to make any stay at Louisville,
but got into our skiff and floated down the falls to Shippingport. We found it very rough floating, not to say
dangerous. The river of very unequal widths and full of
islands and rocks along this short distance, and the current very rapid, though the descent is not more than 22
feet. At certain times of the year the water rises so that
there is no fall; large boats can then pass.
At Shippingport, stopped at the house of Mr. Berthoud,"
a. very respectable French gentleman, from whom we received the greatest civility during our stay, which was two
nights and the day intervening.
Shippingport is situated at a place of very great importance, being the upper extremity of that part of the
river which is navigable for heavy steam-boats. All the
goods coming from the country are re-shipped, and every
"James Berthoud in 1803 purchased the town of Shippingport from the
original proprietor, Colonel John Campbell.— Ed. 1
44 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
thing going to it is un-shipped, here. Mr. Berthoud
[278] has the store in which the articles exporting or importing are lodged: and is, indeed, a great shipper, though
at a thousand miles from the sea.
June 20th.— Left the good and comfortable house of
Mr. Berthoud, very much pleased with him and his
amiable wife and family, though I differed with him a
little in politics. Having been taught at church, when a .,
boy, that the Pope was the whore of Babylon, that the
Bourbons were tyrants, and that the Priests and privileged orders of France were impostors and petty tyrants
under them, I could not agree with him in applauding the
Boroughmongers of England for re-subjugating the people of France, and restoring the Bourbons, the Pope, and
the Inquisition.
Stop at New Albany, 2 miles below Shippingport, till
the evening.15 A Mr. Paxton, I am told, is the proprietor
of a great part of the town, and has the grist and sawmills, which are worked by steam, and the ferry across
the river. Leave this place in company with a couple of
young men from the western part of the state of New
York, who are on their way to Tennessee in a small ferryboat. Their whole journey will, probably, be about
1,500 miles.
June 215/.— Floating down the river, without any thing
in particular occurring.
June 22nd.— Saw a Mr. Johnstone and his wife reaping wheat on the side of the river. They told us they
had come to this spot last year, direct from Manchester,
16 The site of New Albany was owned by three Scribner brothers of New
York, who in 1813 had a town surveyed and offered lots for sale. In 1819 it
contained about one hundred and fifty houses and a thousand inhabitants.
Charles Paxson removed from Philadelphia (1817) and opened a store at New
Albany.   For many years he owned the only brick house in the village.— Ed. 1818-1819] Hulme's Journal 45
Old England, and had bought their little farm of 55
acres of a back-woodsman who had cleared it, and was
glad to move further westward, for 3 dollars an acre.
They had a fine flock of little children, and pigs and
poultry, and were cheerful and happy, being confident that
their industry and economy would not be frustrated by
visits for tithes or taxes.
June 23rd.— See great quantities of turkey-buzzards
and thousands of pigeons. Came to Pigeon Creek, about
230 miles below the Falls, and stopped for the night at
Evansville, a town of nine months old, near the mouth of
it." We are now frequently met and passed by large, fine
steam-boats, plying up and down [279] the river. One
went by us as we arrived here which had left Shipping-
port only the evening before. They go down the river at
the rate of 10 miles an hour, and charge passengers 6
cents a mile, boarding and lodging included. The price
is great, but the time is short.
June 24th.— Left Evansville. This little place is
rapidly increasing, and promises to be a town of considerable trade. It is situated at a spot which seems likely to
become a port for shipping to Princeton and a pretty
large district of Indiana. I find that the land speculators
have made entry of the most eligible tracts of land, which
will impede the partial, though not the final, progress
of population and improvement in this part of the state.
w The first log cabin on the site of Evansville was built in 1812 by Hugh
McGary of Kentucky. Four years later, General Robert Evans, having purchased the land in the vicinity, surveyed and laid out a town which he named
Evansville. It did not attract settlers until 1818, when Evans succeeded in
having it made the seat of the newly-erected Vanderburgh County. In 1819
it contained one hundred inhabitants; but Hulme's expectation of its future
importance was slow in being realized, for in 1830 the population was but five
hundred. It was incorporated in 1847, and from that date its growth has been
rapid.— Ed. 46 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
On our way to Princeton, we see large flocks of fine
wild turkeys, and whole herds of pigs, apparently very
fat. The pigs are wild also, but have become so from
neglect. Some of the inhabitants, who prefer sport to
work, live by shooting these wild turkeys and pigs, and
indeed, sometimes, I understand, they shoot and carry
off those of their neighbours before they are wild.
June 25th.— Arrived at Princeton, Indiana, about
twenty miles from the river.17 I was sorry to see very
little doing in this town. They cannot all keep stores
and taverns! One of the storekeepers told me he does
not sell more than ten thousand dollars value per annum:
he ought, then, to manufacture something and not spend
nine tenths of his time in lolling with a segar in his
June 26th.— At Princeton, endeavouring to purchase
horses, as we had now gone far enough down the Ohio.
While* waiting in our tavern, two men called in armed
with rifles, and made enquiries for some horses they suspected to be stolen. They told us they had been almost
all the way from Albany, to Shawnee town18 after them,
a distance of about 150 miles. I asked them how they
would be able to secure the thieves, if they overtook them,
in these wild woods; "O," said they, "shoot them off
the horses." This is a summary mode of executing
justice, thought I, though probably the most effectual,
and, indeed, only one in this state of society.   A thief very
17 As early as 1800 settlement began in the vicinity of the present town of
Princeton. Gibson County being organized in 1813 and the county seat located
there, the following year a public square was cleared of timber, and town
lots were offered for sale. It was named in honor of William Prince, a lawyer
and Indian agent who had settled at Princeton in 1812; he later became a
circuit court judge, and a member of Congress.— Ed.
" For the founding of Shawneetown, see Croghan's Journals, volume i of
our series, note 108.— Ed. 1818-1819] Hulme's Journal 47
rarely escapes here; not nearly so [280] often as in more
populous districts. The fact was, in this case, however,
we discovered afterwards, that the horses had strayed
away, and had returned home by this time. But, if they
had been stolen, the stealers would not have escaped.
When the loser is tired, another will take up the pursuit,
and the whole country is up in arms till he is found.
June 27th.— Still at Princeton. At last we get suited
with horses. Mine cost me only 135 dollars with the
bridle and saddle, and that I am told is 18 dollars too
June 28th.— Left Princeton, and set out to see Mr.
Birkbeck's settlement, in Illinois, about 35 miles from
Princeton.19 Before we got to the Wabash we had to
cross a swamp of half a mile wide; we were obliged to
lead our horses, and walk up to the knees in mud and
water. Before we got half across we began to think of
going back; but, there is a sound bottom under it all,
and we waded through it as well as we could. It is, in
fact, nothing but a bed of very soft and rich land, and
only wants draining to be made productive. We soon
after came to the banks of the great Wabash, which is
"Morris Birkbeck (1763-1825) was a native of England, being born at
Wanborough. He received a classical education and became a successful,
practical farmer. Having become acquainted with a number of Americans,
especially with Edward Coles, later governor of Illinois, Birkbeck emigrated
(1817) to America. He purchased sixteen thousand acres in Illinois, upon
which he located the widely known "English settlement" in Edwards
County, whose chief town was Albion. Birkbeck and family settled a few miles
distant, naming their point of residence Wanborough. Having considerable
literary ability, he assisted Governor Coles in the latter's fight against admitting
slavery into Illinois. In 1824 he was appointed secretary of state by Coles, but
the senate, being pro-slavery, refused to confirm the nomination. In 1825, while
returning from a visit to the New Harmony settlement, Birkbeck was drowned
in Fox River. He was the author of Notes on a Journey Through Prance
(London, 1815), Notes on a Journey in America (London, 1818), and Letters
from Illinois (London, 1818), and some controversial pamphlets.— Ed. 48 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
here about half a mile broad, and as the ferry-boat was
crossing over with us I amused myself by washing my
dirty boots. Before we mounted again we happened to
meet with a neighbour of Mr. Birkbeck's, who was returning home; we accompanied him, and soon entered
into the prairie lands, up to our horses' bellies in fine
grass. These prairies, which are surrounded with lofty
woods, put me in mind of immense noblemen's parks in
England. Some of those we passed over are called wet
prairies, but, they are dry at this time of the year; and, as
they are none of them flat, they need but very simple
draining to carry off the water all the year round. Our
horses were very much tormented with flies, some as large
as the English horse-fly and some as large as the wasp;
these flies infest the prairies that are unimproved about
three months in the year, but go away altogether as soon
as cultivation begins.
Mr. Birkbeck's settlement is situated between [281] the
two Wabashes, and is about ten miles from the nearest
navigable water; we arrived there about sunset and met
with a welcome which amply repaid us for our day's toil.
We found that gentleman with his two sons perfectly
healthy and in high spirits: his daughters wer| at Henderson (a town in Kentucky, on the Ohio) on a visit.20
At present his habitation is a cabin, the building of which
cost only 20 dollars; this little hutch is near the spot
where he is about to build his house, which he intends
to have in the most eligible situation in the prairie for
20 Birkbeck brought four children with nim to Illinois: his second son, Bradford, aged sixteen; his third son, Charles, aged fourteen; his daughter Eliza,
who later married Gilbert Pell; and his daughter Prudence, who married
Francis Hanks. Soon after their father's death, the family left Illinois, the
two sons and Mrs. Hanks going to Mexico, and Mrs. Pell to England to educate
her children.— Ed. 1818-1819] Hulme's Journal 49
convenience to fuel and for shelter in winter, as well as
for breezes in summer, and will, when that is completed,
make one of its appurtenances. I like this plan of keeping the old loghouse; it reminds the grand children and
their children's children of what their ancestor has done
for their sake.
Few settlers had as yet joined Mr. Birkbeck; that is to
say, settlers likely to become "society;" he has labourers
enough near him, either in his own houses or on land of
their own joining his estate. He was in daily expectation
of his friends, Mr. Fowler's family,21 however, with a
large party besides; they had just landed at Shawnee
Town, about 20 miles distant. Mr. Birkbeck informs me
he has made entry of a large tract of land, lying, part of it,
all the way from his residence to the great Wabash; this
he will re-sell again in lots to any of his friends, they taking
as much of it and wherever they choose (provided it be no
more than they can cultivate), at an advance which I
think very fair and liberal.
The whole of his operations had been directed hitherto
(and wisely in my opinion) to building, fencing, and other
11 George Flower, born about 1780, was an Englishman of means who emigrated to America in 1816 in search of the famed prairies of Illinois, of which
so much was being said. Visiting the Middle West in that year, he returned
to Virginia and spent the winter, chiefly with Thomas Jefferson, to whom he
had letters of introduction from Lafayette. In 1817, Morris Birkbeck arrived,
and, as the two were old friends, Flower joined Birkbeck's movement and took
part in founding die "English settlement." In 1818, on returning from a
voyage to England, Flower was accompanied by his father (Richard, who
wrote the letters reprinted in this volume), his mother, two sisters, and two
brothers. After spending the winter in Lexington, the newcomers of the family
removed to English Prairie in the spring of 1819. George Flower championed
the movement against admitting slavery into Illinois, and lived to see Albion
become a prosperous and beautiful town. He was financially unfortunate, and
for many years lived in retirement with his children in Illinois and Indiana-
Shortly before his death (1862) he completed a History of the English Settler
ment in Edwards County, Illinois (Chicago, 1882).— Ed. f^-J-1
50 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
important preparations. He had done nothing in the
cultivating way but make a good garden, which supplies
him with the only things that he cannot purchase, and, at
present, perhaps, with more economy than he could grow
them. He is within twenty miles of Harmony;22 in Indiana, where he gets his flour and all other necessaries (the
produce of the country) and therefore employs himself
much better in making barns and houses and mills for
the reception and disposal of [282] his crops, and fences to
preserve them while growing, before he grows them, than
to get the crops first. I have heard it observed that any
American settler, even without a dollar in his pocket,
would have had something growing by this time. Very
true! I do not question that at all; for, the very first
care of a settler without a dollar in his pocket is to get
something to eat, and, he would consequently set to work
scratching up the earth, fully confident that after a long
summering upon wild flesh (without salt, perhaps) his
own belly would stand him for barn, if his jaws would not
for mill. But the case is very different with Mr. Birkbeck, and at present he has need for no other provision
for winter but about a three hundredth part of his fine
grass turned into hay, which will keep his necessary horses
and cows:  besides which he has nothing that eats but
22 Harmony (or Harmonie as it was first known) was the famous settlement
of the German Lutherans led by George Rapp. In 1813 Rapp purchased
thirty thousand acres along the Wabash, on a part of which New Harmony
was built. "Contrary to the general idea, Rapp's colony was a great success,
so far as the accumulation of property was concerned, and when Rapp sold
out, in 1825, it was said the wealth per capita was ten times greater than the
average wealth throughout the United States."—E. B. Washburne, editorial
note to Flower's English Settlement in Edwards County, Illinois, p. 61. The
town was purchased by Robert Owen, a manufacturer of New Lanark. Scotland, for the purpose of putting into practice his communistic ideas. After a
few years the communistic plan was abandoned, and Owen returned to Scotland
leaving the property in charge of his two sons.— Ed. 1818-1819] Hulme's Journal 51
such pigs as live upon the waste, and a couple of fine
young deer (which would weigh, they say, when full
grown, 200 lb. dead weight) that his youngest son is
rearing up as pets.
I very much admire Mr. Birkbeck's mode of fencing.
He makes a ditch 4 feet wide at top, sloping to 1 foot
wide at bottom, and 4 feet deep. With the earth that
comes out of the ditch he makes a bank on one side,
which is turfed towards the ditch. Then a long pole is
put up from the bottom of the ditch to 2 feet above the
bank; this is crossed by a short pole from the other side,
and then a rail is laid along between the forks. The
banks were growing beautifully, and looked altogether
very neat as well as formidable; though a live hedge
(which he intends to have) instead of dead poles and rails,
upon top, would make the fence far more effectual as
well as handsomer. I am always surprised, until I reflect
how universally and to what a degree, farming is neglected
in this country, that this mode of fencing is not adopted
in cultivated districts, especially where the land is wet, or
lies low; for, there it answers a double purpose, being as
effectual a drain as it is a fence. * 1
I was rather disappointed, or sorry, at any rate, not to
find near Mr. Birkbeck's any of the means for rnachinery or
of the materials for manufactures, such as the water-falls,
and the minerals and mines, [283] which are possessed in
such abundance by the states of Ohio and Kentucky, and
by some parts of Pennsylvania. Some of these, however,
he may yet find. Good water he has, at any rate. He
showed me a well 25 feet deep, bored partly through hard
substances near the bottom, that was nearly overflowing
with water of excellent quality.
July ist.— Left Mr. Birkbeck's for Harmony, Indiana. PHI
52 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
The distance by the direct way is about 18 miles, but,
there is no road, as yet; indeed, it was often with much
difficulty that we could discover the way at all. After
we had crossed the Wabash, which we did at a place
called Davis's Ferry,28 we hired a man to conduct us
some part of the way through the woods. In about a
mile he brought us to a track, which was marked out by
slips of bark being stripped off the trees, once in about 40
yards; he then left us and told us we could not mistake if we
followed that track. We soon lost all appearance of the
track, however, and of the "blazing" of the trees, as they
call it; but, as it was useless to go back again for another
guide, our only Way was to keep straight on in the same
direction, bring us where it would. Having no compass,
this nearly cost us our sight, for it was just mid-day, and
we had to gaze at the sun a long time before we discovered
what was our course. After this we soon, to our great
joy, found ourselves in a large corn field; rode round it,
and came to Johnson's Ferry, a place where a Bayou
(Boyau) of the Wabash is crossed. This Bayou is a run
out of the main river round a fiat portion of land, which is
sometimes overflowed: it is part of the same river, and the
land encompassed by it, an island. Crossed this ferry in
a canoe, and got a ferry-man to swim our horses after us.
Mounted again and followed a track which brought us to
Black River, which we forded without getting wet, by holding our feet up.24 After crossing the river we found a
man who was kind enough to shew us about half a mile
through the woods, by which our journey was shortened
five or six miles.   He put us into a direct track to Har-
25 Davis's ferry across the Wabash was twelve miles from Albion.— Ed.
** Black River, or Creek, rises in the southern part of Gibson County, Indiana,
and flows westward, emptying into the Wabash a few miles above New
Harmony.— Ed.
I   C
ft 1818-1819I Hulme's Journal 53
mony, through lands as rich as a dung-hill, and covered
with immense timber; we [284] thanked him, and pushed
on our horses with eager curiosity to see this far-famed
Harmonist Society.
On coming within the precincts of the Harmonites we
found ourselves at the side of the Wabash again; the
river on our right hand, and their lands on our left. Our
road now lay across a field of Indian corn, of, at the very
least, a mile in width, and bordering the town on the side
we entered; I wanted nothing more than to behold this
immense field of most beautiful com to be at once convinced of all I had heard of the industry of this society of
Germans, and I found, on proceeding a little farther, that
the progress they had made exceeded all my idea of it.
The town is methodically laid out in a situation well
chosen in all respects; the houses are good and clean, and
have, each one, a nice garden well stocked with all vegetables and tastily ornamented with flowers. I observe
that these people are very fond of flowers, by the bye; the
cultivation of them, and musick, are their chief amusements. I am sorry to see this, as it is to me a strong
symptom of simplicity and ignorance, if not a badge of
their German slavery. Perhaps the pains they take with
them is the cause of their flowers being finer than any I
have hitherto seen in America, but, most probably, the
climate here is more favourable. Having refreshed ourselves at the Tavern, where we found every thing we
wanted for ourselves and our horses, and all very clean
and nice, besides many good things we did not expect,
such as beer, porter, and even wine, all made within the
Society, and very good indeed, we then went out to see the
people at their harvest, which was just begun. There
were 150 men and women all reaping in the same field of f
54 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
wheat. A beautiful sight! The crop was very fine, and
the field, extending to about two miles in length, and from
half a mile to a mile in width, was all open to one view, the
sun shining on it from the West, and the reapers advancing
regularly over it.
At sun-set all the people came in, from the fields, workshops, mills, manufactories, and from all their labours.
This being their evening for prayer [285] during the week,
the Church bell called them out again in about 15 minutes,
to attend a lecture from their High Priest and Law-giver,
Mr. George Rapp.2S We went to hear the lecture, or,
rather, to see the performance, for, it being all performed
in German, we could understand not a word. The people
were all collected in a twinkling, the men at one end of the
Church and the women at the other; it looked something
like a Quaker Meeting, except that there was not a single
little child in the place. Here they were kept by their
Pastor a couple of hours, after which they returned home
to bed. This is the quantum of Church-service they perform during the week; but on Sundays they are in Church
nearly the whole of the time from getting up to going to
bed. When it happens that Mr. Rapp cannot attend,
either by indisposition or other accident, the Society still
meet as usual, and the elders (certain of the most trusty
and discreet, whom the Pastor selects as a sort of assistants
28 George Rapp (i757"l847) was a weaver in Iptingen, Wurtemburg, and
was noted for his biblical knowledge and piety. He proposed to reform society
on the plan of the New Testament, gathering around him a community of persons who, in imitation of the early Christians at Jerusalem, held everything in
common. This brought them into disfavor with the government, and he, with
a portion of his followers, emigrated to the United States (1803), settling first
on Conequenessing Creek, Butler County, Pennsylvania. In 1815, he established Harmony, on the Wabash, but ten years later led the colony back to
Pennsylvania, and founded the town of Economy, about seventeen miles northwest of Pittsburg.   See also, note 22, ante.— Ed. i8i8-i8iq] Hulme's Journal $$
in his divine commission) converse on religious subjects.
Return to the Tavern to sleep; a good comfortable
house, well kept by decent people, and the master himself,
who is very intelligent and obliging, is one of the very few
at Harmony who can speak English. Our beds were as
good as those stretched upon by the most highly pensioned
and placed Boroughmongers, and our sleep, I hope, much
better than the tyrants ever get, in spite of all their dungeons and gags.
July 2nd.— Early in the morning, took a look at the
manufacturing establishment, accompanied by our Tavern-
keeper. I find great attention is paid to this branch of
their affairs. Their principle is, not to be content with
the profit upon the manual labour of raising the article, but
also to have the benefit of the machine in preparing it for
use. I agree with them perfectly, and only wish the subject was as well understood all over the United States as
it is at Harmony. It is to their skill in this way that they
owe their great prosperity; if they had been nothing but
farmers, they would be now at Harmony in Pennsylvania,
poor cultivators, getting a bare subsistence, instead of
having doubled their property two or three [286] times
over, by which they have been able to move here and
select one of the choicest spots in the country.
But in noting down the state of this Society, as it now
is, its origin should not be forgotten; the curious history
of it serves as an explanation to the jumble of sense and
absurdity in the association. I will therefore trace the
Harmonist Society from its outset in Germany to this place.
The Sect had its origin at Wurtemberg in Germany,
about 40 years ago, in the person of its present Pastor and
Master, George Rapp, who, by his own account, "having
long seen and felt the decline of the Church, found himself
f-^"\ 56 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
impelled to bear testimony to the fundamental principles
of the Christian Religion; and, finding no toleration for
his inspired doctrines, or for those who adopted them, he
determined with his followers to go to that part of the
earth, where they were free to worship God according to
the dictates of their conscience." In other words (I suppose), he had long beheld and experienced the slavery and
misery of his country, and, feeling in his conscience that
he was born more for a ruler than for a slave, found himself imperiously called upon to collect together a body of
his poor countrymen and to lead them into a land of
liberty and abundance. However allowing him to have
had no other than his professed views, he, after he had
got a considerable number of proselytes, amounting to
seven or eight hundred persons, among whom were a sufficiency of good labourers and artizans in all the essential
branches of workmanship and trade, besides farmers, he
embodied them into a Society, and then came himself to
America (not trusting to Providence to lead the way) to
seek out the land destined for these chosen children.
Having done so, and laid the plan for his route to the land
of peace and Christian love, with a foresight which shows
him to have been by no means unmindful to the temporal
prosperity of the Society, he then landed his followers in
separate bodies, and prudently led them in that order to
a resting place within Pennsylvania, choosing rather to
retard their progress through the wilderness than to
hazard the discontent that might arise from want and
fatigue [287] in traversing it at once. When they were all
arrived, Rapp constituted them into one body, having
every thing in common, and called the settlement Harmony.
This constitution he found authorised by the passage in
Acts, iv. 32, "And the multitude of them that believed were
m 1818-1819] Hulme's Journal 57
of one heart, and of one soul: neither said any of them
that aught of the things he possessed was his own, but that
they had all things common." Being thus associated, the
Society went to work, early in 1805, building houses and
clearing lands, according to the order and regulations of
their leader; but the community of stock, or the regular
discipline, or the restraints which he had reduced them to,
and which were essential to his project, soon began to thin
his followers and principally, too, those of them who had
brought most substance into the society; they demanded
back their original portions and set out to seek the Lord
by themselves. This falling off of the society, though it
was but small, comparatively, in point of numbers, was a
great reduction from their means; they had calculated
what they should want to consume, and had laid the rest
out in land; so that the remaining part were subjected
to great hardships and difficulties for the first year or two
of their settling, which was during the time of their greatest
labours. However, it was not long before they began to
reap the fruits of their toil, and in the space of six or seven
years their settlement became a most flourishing colony.
During that short space of time they brought into cultivation 3,000 acres of land (a third of their whole estate),
reared a flock of nearly 2,000 sheep, and planted hopgardens, orchards, and vineyards; built barns and stables
to house their crops and their live stock, granaries to keep
one year's produce of grain always in advance, houses to
make their cyder, beer, and wine in, and good brick or
stone warehouses for their several species of goods; constructed distilleries, mills for grinding, sawing, making oil,
and, indeed, for every purpose, and machines for manufacturing their various materials for clothing and other
uses; they had, besides, a store for retailing Philadelphia 58 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
goods to the country, and nearly 100 good dwelling-houses
of wood, a large stone-built tavern, [288] and, as a proof
of superabundance, a dwelling-house and a meeting-house
(alias the parsonage and church) which they had neatly
built of brick. And, besides all these improvements within
the society, they did a great deal of business, principally
in the way of manufacturing, for the people of the country.
They worked for them with their mills and machines,
some of which did nothing else, and their blacksmiths,
tailors, shoe-makers, &c. when not employed by themselves, were constantly at work for their neighbours. Thus
this everlastingly-at-work band of emigrants increased
their stock before they quitted their first colony, to upwards of two hundred thousand dollars, from, probably
not one fifth of that sum. What will not unceasing perseverance accomplish ? But, with judgment and order to
direct it, what in the world can stand against it!26
In comparing the state of this society as it now is with
what it was in Pennsylvania, it is just the same as to plan;
the temporal and spiritual affairs are managed in the same
_way, and upon the same principles, only both are more
flourishing. Rapp has here brought his disciples into
richer land, and into a situation better in every respect,
both for carrying on their trade, and for keeping to their
faith; their vast extent of land is, they say, four feet deep
of rich mould, nearly the whole of it, and it lies along the
banks of a fine navigable river on one side, while the possibility of much interruption from other classes of Christians is effectually guarded against by an endless barricado
of woods on the other side. Bringing the means and
experience acquired at their first establishment, they have
26 A more detailed account of this society, up to the year 1811, will be found
in Mr. Mellishe's Travels, volume ii.— Hulme. 1818-1819I Hulme's Journal 59
of course gone on improving and increasing (not in population) at a much greater rate. One of their greatest
improvements, they tell me is the working of their mills
and manufacturing machines by steam; they feel the
advantage of this more and more every year. They are
now preparing to build a steam boat; this is to be employed in their traffick with New Orleans [289] carrying
their own surplus produce and returning with tea, coffee,
and other commodities for their own consumption, and to
. retail to the people of the country. I believe they advance,
too, in the way of ornaments and superfluities, for the
dwelling-house they have now built their pastor, more
resembles a Bishop's Palace than what I should figure to
myself as the humble abode of a teacher of the "fundamental principles of the Christian Religion."
The government of this society is by bands, each consisting of a distinct trade or calling. They have a foreman
to each band, who rules it under the general direction of
the society, the law-giving power of which is in the High
Priest. He cannot, however make laws without the
consent of the parties. The manufacturing establishment, and the mercantile affairs and public accounts are
all managed by one person; he, I believe, is one of the sons
of Rapp. They have a bank, where a separate account
is kept for each person; if any one puts in money, or has
put in money, he may on certain conditions as to time,
take it out again. They labour and possess in common;
that is to say, except where it is not practicable or is immaterial, as with their houses, gardens, cows and poultry,
which they have to themselves, each family. They also
retain what property each may bring on joining the concern, and he may demand it in case of leaving the society,
but without interest. I
60 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
Here is certainly a wonderful example of the effects of
skill, industry, and force combined. This congregation of
far-seeing, ingenious, crafty, and bold, and of ignorant,
simple, superstitious, and obedient, Germans, has shown
what may be done. But their example, I believe, will
generally only tend to confirm this free people in their
suspicion that labour is concomitant to slavery or ignorance. Instead of their improvements, and their success
and prosperity altogether, producing admiration, if not
envy, they have a social discipline, the thought of which
reduces these feelings to ridicule and contempt: that is to
say, with regard to the mass; with respect to their leaders
one's feelings are apt to be stronger. A fundamental of
their religious creed ("restraining [290] clause" a Chancery Lawyer would call it) requires restrictions on the
propagation of the species; it orders such regulations as
are necessary to prevent children coming but once in a
certain number of years; and this matter is so arranged
that, when they come, they come in little flocks, all within
the same month, perhaps, like a farmer's lambs. The
Law-giver here made a famously "restraining statute"
upon the law of nature! This way of expounding law
seems to be a main point of his policy; he by this means
keeps his associates from increasing to an unruly number
within, while more are sure not to come in from without;
and, I really am afraid he will go a good way towards
securing a monopoly of many great improvements in
agriculture, both as to principle and method. People see
the fine fields of the Harmonites, but, the prospect comes
damped with the idea of bondage and celibacy. It is a
curious society: was ever one heard of before that did not
wish to increase! This smells strong of policy; some distinct view in the leaders, no doubt.   Who would be sur- 1818-1819I Hulme's Journal 61
prised if we were to see a still more curious society by and
bye? A Society Sole I very far from improbable, if the
sons of Rapp (for he has children, nevertheless, as well as
Parson Malthus)27 and the Elders were to die, it not being
likely that they will renounce or forfeit their right to the
common stock. We should then have societies as well as
corporations vested in one person! That would be quite
a novel kind of benefice! but, not the less fat. I question
whether the associated person of Mr. Rapp would not be
in possession of as fine a domain and as many good things
as the incorporated person of an Archbishop: nay, he
would rival the Pope!   But, to my journal.
Arrive at Princeton in the evening; a good part of our
road lay over the fine lands of the Harmonites. I understand, by the bye, that the title deeds to these lands are
taken in the name of Rapp and of his associates. Poor
associates: if they do but rebel! Find the same storekeepers and tavern-keepers in the same attitudes that we
left them in the other day. Their legs only a Utile higher
than their heads, and [291] segars in their mouths; a fine
position for business! It puts my friend in mind of the
Roman posture in dining.
July yd.—At Princeton all day. This is a pretty considerable place; very good as to buildings; but is too
much inland to be a town of any consequence until the
inhabitants do that at home which they employ merchants
and foreign manufacturers to do for them. Pay 1 dollar for
a set of old shoes to my horse, half the price of new ones.
27 Robert Malthus (1766-1834), an English economist, who held the theory
that the increase of population is more rapid than the increase of the means of
subsistence, and consequently must be held in check, was himself a married
man and had a son and daughter. Earlier in life he had held a curacy; the
title "Parson Malthus" was sneeringly given to him by Cobbett, as his later
doctrines were considered unsuitable for a clergyman.— Ed.
tffijr 62 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
July 4th.— Leave Princeton; in the evening, reach a
place very appropriately called Mud-holes,28 after riding
46 miles over lands in general very good but very little
cultivated, and that little very badly; the latter part of
the journey in company with a Mr. Jones from Kentucky.
Nature is the agriculturist here; speculation instead of
cultivation, is the order of the day amongst men. We feel
the ill effects of this in the difficulty of getting oats for
our horses. However, the evil is unavoidable, if it can be
really called an evil. As well might I grumble that
farmers have not taken possession as complain that men
of capital have. Labour is the thing wanted, but, to
have that money must come first. This Mud-holes
was a sort of fort, not 4 years ago, for guarding against
the Indians, who then committed great depredations,
killing whole families often, men, women and children.
How changeable are the affairs of this world! I have
not met with a single Indian in the whole course of my
July $th.— Come to Judge Chambers's,29 a good tavern;
35 miles. On our way, pass French Lick, a strong spring
of water impregnated with salt and sulphur, and called
Lick from its being resorted to by cattle for the salt; close
by this spring is another still larger, of fine clear lime-
" "Mud-holes" was located near the White River, in the northwestern
part of the present Du Bois County. It was on an old trail called "Mud-hole
trace," which led from Vincennes to Jeffersonville. As early as 1802, before
the land had been ceded by the Indians, two McDonald brothers from Virginia
settled there. They were soon followed by other pioneers, and a blockhouse
was built as a refuge in case of an Indian attack.— Ed.
*• This is now Chambersburg, in Orange County, about thirty-eight miles
northwest of New Albany. It was named in honor of Samuel Chambers, who
emigrated from North Carolina (18n) and established the first store and tavern
at this place. When Orange County was organized (1816), he was appointed
a county judge.— Ed.
4  S" 1818-1819] Hulme's Journal 63
stone water, running fast enough to turn a mill.80 Some
of the trees near the Judge's exhibit a curious spectacle; a
large piece of wood appears totally dead, all the leaves
brown and the branches broken, from being roosted upon
lately by an enormous multitude of pigeons. A novel
sight for us, unaccustomed to the abundance of the backwoods! [292] No tavern but this, nor house of any
description, within many miles.
July 6th.— Leave the Judge's, still in company with Mr.
Jones.   Ride 25 miles to breakfast, not sooner finding feed
for our horses; this was at the dirty log-house of Mr.	
who has a large farm with a grist-mill on it, and keeps his
yard and stables ancle deep in mud and water. If this
were not one of the healthiest climates in the world, he and
his family must have died in all this filth. About 13 miles
further, come to New Albany, where we stop at Mr.
Jenkins's, the best tavern we have found in Indiana, that
at Harmony excepted.
July fth.— Resting at New Albany. We were amused
by hearing a Quaker-lady preach to the natives. Her first
words were " All the nations of the earth are of one blood."
"So," said I to myself, "this question, which has so long
perplexed philosophers, divines and physicians, is now
set at rest!" She proceeded to vent her rage with great
vehemence against hireling priests and the trade of preaching in general, and closed with dealing out large portions
of brimstone to the drunkard and still larger and hotter
to those who give the bottle to drink. This part of her
discourse pleased me very much and may be a saving to
80 French Lick is about fifty miles northwest of New Albany. The springs
were donated to the state by Congress on the supposition that salt could profitably be manufactured therefrom; but this did not prove practicable. In recent
years French Lick and West Baden Springs, a half-mile distant, have won
attention as health resorts.— Ed.
J 64. Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
me into the bargain; for, the dread of everlasting roasting
added to my love of economy will (I think) prevent me
making my friends tipsy.   A very efficacious sermon!
July 8th.— Jenkins's is a good tavern, but it entertains
at a high price. Our bill was 6 dollars each for a day and
two nights; a shameful charge. Leave New Albany, cross
the Ohio, and pass through Louisville in Kentucky again,
on our way to Lexington, the capital. Stop for the night
at Mr. Netherton's, a good tavern. The land hitherto is
good, and the country altogether healthy, if I may judge
from the people who appear more cheerful and happy
than in Indiana, always excepting Harmony. Our landlord is the picture of health and strength: 6 feet 4 inches
high, weighs 30010. and not fat.
July gth.— Dine at Mr. Overton's tavern, on our way
to Frankfort; pay half a dollar each for an excellent dinner,
with as much brandy and butter-milk [293] as we choose
to drink, and good feed for our horses. In the afternoon
we have the pleasure to be overtaken by two ladies on
horseback, and have their agreeable company for a mile
or two. On their turning off from our road we were very
reluctantly obliged to refuse an obliging invitation to drink
tea at their house, and myself the more so, as one of the
ladies informed me she had married a Mr. Constantine, a
gentleman from my own native town of Bolton, in Lancashire. But, we had yet 55 far to go, and it was getting
dark. This mpst healthful mode of travelling is universal
in the Western States, and it gives me great pleasure to
see it; though, perhaps, I have to thank the badness of
the roads as the cause. Arrive at Frankfort, apparently
a thriving town, on the side of the rough Kentucky river.*1
The houses are built chiefly of brick, and the streets, I
" For the early history of Frankfort, see F. A. Michaux's Travels, volume iii
of our series, note 39.— Ed.
L_ i8i8-i8iq] Hulme's Journal 65
understand, paved with limestone. Limestone abounds
in this state, and yet the roads are not good, though
better than in Indiana and Ohio, for there there are none.
I wonder the government of these states do not set about
making good roads and bridges, and even canals.*2 I
pledge myself to be able to shew them how the money
might be raised, and, moreover, to prove that the expense
would be paid over and over again in almost no time.
Such improvements would be income to the governments
instead of expense, besides being such an incalculable benefit to the states. But, at any rate, why not roads, and in
this state, too, which is so remarkable for its quality of
having good road materials and rich land together, generally all over it ?
July 10th.— Leave Frankfort, and come through a district of fine land, very well watered, to Lexington; stop at
Mr. Keen's tavern. Had the good fortune to meet Mr.
Clay, who carried us to his house, about a mile in the
country.88 It is a beautiful residence, situated near the
centre of a very fine farm, which is just cleared and is coming into excellent cultivation. I approve of Mr. Clay's
method very much, especially in laying down pasture.
He clears away all the brush or underwood, leaving timber
enough to afford a sufficiency of shade to the grass, which
does not thrive here exposed [294] to the sun as in England
32 The first macadamized road in Kentucky, and the first to receive state aid,
was the Maysville and Lexington turnpike. It was begun in 1829, the state
subscribing for $25,000 worth of stock. Congress, also, voted to subscribe for
fifteen hundred shares; but the now famous Maysville Road Bill was vetoed
by President Jackson. The state then made further contributions amounting
to half the cost of the road. A great interest in road building was now aroused;
by November, 1837, 343 miles of macadamized road had been completed with
the aid of the state, and 236 additional miles were under contract, the total
contribution of the state being about two and a half million dollars.— Ed.
a Henry Clay's country seat near Lexington was called Ashland. Some of
his descendants still reside there.— Ed. 66 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
and other such climates. By this means he has as fine
grass and clover as can possibly grow. I could not but
admire to see this gentleman, possessing so much knowledge and of so much weight in his country's affairs, so
attentively promoting her not less important though more
silent interests by improving her agriculture. What
pleased me still more, however, because I less expected it,
was, to hear Mrs. Clay, in priding herself on the state of
society, and the rising prosperity of the country, citing as
a proof the decency and affluence of the trades-people and
mechanics at Lexington, many of whom ride about in then-
own carriages. What a contrast, both in sense and in
sentiment, between this lady and the wives of Legislators
(as they are called), in the land of the Boroughmongers!
God grant that no privileged batch ever rise up in America,
for then down come the mechanics, are harnessed themselves, and half ridden to death.
July nth.— This is the hottest day we have had yet.
Thermometer at 90 degrees, in shade. Met a Mr. Whitte-
more, from Boston, loud in the praise of this climate. He
informed me he had lately lost his wife and five children
near Boston, and that he should have lost his only remaining child, too, a son now stout and healthy, had he not
resolved instantly to try the air of the west. He is confident that if he had taken this step in time he might have
saved the lives of a^l his family. This might be however,
and yet this climate not better than that of Boston. Spent
the evening with Colonel Morrison, one of the first settlers
in this state; a fine looking old gentleman, with colour in
his face equal to a London Alderman.84   The people here
34 Colonel James Morrison, born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania,
was the son of an humble Irish immigrant. After serving in the Revolutionary War, he came to Kentucky, and in 1792 settled at Lexington.   He $I9]
Hulme's Journal
are pretty generally like that portion of the people of England who get porridge enough to eat; stout, fat, and
July 12.— Hotter than yesterday; thermometer at 91
July 13.— Leave Lexington; stop at Paris, 22 miles.35
A fine country all the way; good soil, plenty of limestone
and no musquitoes. Paris is a healthy town, with a good
deal of stir; woollen and cotton manufactures are carried
on here, but upon a small scale. [295] They are not near
enough to good coal mines to do much in that way. What
they do, however, is well paid for. A spinner told me he
gets 83 cents per lb. for his twist, which is 33 cents more
than it would fetch at New York. Stop at Mr. Timber-
lake's, a good house. The bar-keeper, who comes from
England, tells me that he sailed to Canada, but he is
glad he had the means to leave Canada and come to
Kentucky; he has 300 dollars a year, and board and lodging. Made enquiry after young Watson, but find he has
left this place and is gone to Lexington.88
The following is a list of the wages and prices of the
most essential branches of workmanship and articles of
consumption, as they are here at present.
was successively state representative from Fayette
Lexington branch of the United States Bank, and <
s of Transylvania University. Having acquire
ributed liberally to educational objects, and at hi:
unity, president of the
airman of the board of
considerable wealth, he
leath (1823) left a fund
for the establishment of Morrison College, Lexington.— Ed.
36 For the early history of Paris, see A. Michaux's Travels, volume iii of our
series, note 39.— Ed.
38 James Watson and his father, James Watson, senior, were both leaders
of the Spenceans and by their inflammatory speeches stirred up the mob at the
Spa-fields meeting (see note 6, ante). The elder Watson was tried for high
treason, but he was acquitted. The son escaped to America before he could be
arrested.— Ed. 68 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
Dls. Cts.    Dls. Cts.
Journeymen saddlers' price for drawing on men's
saddles         i 25s6* to  2 50
Journeymen blacksmiths, per day     ....      1 .. —   1 25
— Per month        25 00 — 30
Journeymen hatters (casters) 1 25 —
Ditto rorum        1 .. —
Ditto for finishing, per month, and found     .    .    30 —
Journeymen shoe-makers (coarse)        75 —
Ditto, fine        1 25 —
Ditto, for boots 3 25 —
Journeymen tailors, by the coat 5 .. —
Stone-masons or bricklayers, per day      .    .    .      1 .. —   1 5°
Carpenters, per day, and found 1 .. —
Salary for a clerk; per annum 200 .. —500
Beef, per 100 lb 6 .. —
Flour, per barrel 6 .. —
July 14th.— Hot again; 90 degrees. Arrive at Blue
Licks, close by the fine Licking Creek, 22 miles from
Paris.87 Here is a sulphur and salt spring like that at
French Lick in Indiana, which makes this a place of great
resort in summer for the fashionable swallowers [296] of
mineral waters; the three or four taverns are at this time
completely crowded. Salt was made till latterly at this
spring, by an old Scotsman; he now attends the ferry
across the Creek. Not much to be said for the country
round here; it is stony and barren, what, I have not seen
before in Kentucky.
July i$th.—To Maysville, or Lime-stone, 24 miles.
This is a place on the banks of the Ohio, and is a sort of
port for shipping down the river to a great part of that
3** Or 5s. i$d. to im, 3d. sterling. At the present rate of exchange, a dollar
is equivalent to 4s. 6d. sterling, and a cent is the hundredth part of a dollar.—
37 For the early history of Blue Licks, see Cuming's Tour, volume iv of our
series, note 117.— Ed. i8i8-i8iqJ
Hulme's Journal
district of the state for which Louisville is the shipping
port to and from New Orleans.88 Still hot; 90 degrees
again. This is the fifth day; rather unusual, this continuance of heat. The hot spells, as well as the cold spells,
seldom last more than three days, pretty generally in
July 16th.—Hot still, but a fine breeze blowing up the
river. Not a bit too hot for me, but the natives say it is
the hottest weather they recollect in this country; a proof
to me that this is a mild climate, as to heat, at any rate.
Saw a cat-fish in the market, just caught out of the river
by a hook and line, 4 feet long and eighty pounds weight,
offered for 2 dollars. Price of flour, 6 dollars a barrel;
fresh beef, 6\ cents, and butter 20 cents per lb.
July ifth.—Set out again, crossing the Ohio into the
state of that name, and take the road to Chiflicothe, 74
miles from Maysville. Stop about mid-way for the night,
travelling over a country generally hilly, and not of good
soil, and passing through West Union,89 a place situated
as a town ought to be, upon high and unlevel lands; the
inhabitants have fine air to breathe, and plenty of food
to eat and drink, and, if they keep their houses and
streets and themselves clean, I will ensure them long lives.
Some pretty good farms in view of the road, but many
abandoned for the richer lands of Indiana and Illinois.
Travelling expenses much less, hitherto, than in Indiana
and some parts of Kentucky; we had plenty of good
33 See A. Michaux's Travels, volume iii of our series, note 23, for a brief
account of Maysville.— Ed.
3* West Union, the seat of Adams County, is situated on Zane's Trace, seventeen miles from Maysville and fifty-five from Chillicothe. It was established
by an act of legislature (January, 1804), which fixed the county seat at that
point, and ordered the land for a town to be purchased and paid for out of the
county treasury.— Ed.
1 70 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
buttermilk at the farm-houses all along the road, free of
expense, and the tavern-keepers do not set before us
bread made of Indian corn, which we have not yet learned
to like very cordially.
[297] July 18th.—Come to Chillicothe,40 the country
improving and more even as we proceed. See some very
rich lands on passing Paint Creek, and on approaching
the Scioto river; these, like all the bottom lands, having a
coat of sediment from their river in addition to the original
soil, are by far the richest. Chillicothe is a handsome
town, regularly laid out, but stands upon a flat. I hate
the very sight of a level street, unless there be every thing
necessary to carry off all filth and water. The air is very
fine, so far as it is not contaminated by the pools of water
which stand about the town as green as grass. Main
sewers, like those at Philadelphia, are much wanted.
July igth.—Called upon Mr. Bond, being introduced
by letter, and spent a very pleasant evening with him and
a large party of his agreeable friends.41 Left them, much
pleased with the society of Chillicothe.
July 20th.—We were introduced to Governor Worthington, who lives about 2 miles from the town.42 He took us
to his house, and showed us part of his fine estate, which
is 800 acres in extent, and all of it elevated table land,
commanding an immense view over the flat country in the
direction of Lake Erie.   The soil is very rich indeed; so
*° For the early history of Chillicothe, see F. A. Michaux's Travels, volume
iii of our series, note 35.— Ed.
41 William Key Bond was born in St. Mary's, Maryland, in 1792. Educated
in Connecticut, he came to Chillicothe (1812) and was admitted to the bar.
In 1841 he removed to Cincinnati, where he practiced law until his death in
1864. He was a member of the 24th, 25th, and 26th congresses, and was
appointed by President Fillmore surveyor of the port of Cincinnati.— Ed.
42 For a brief biography of Governor Worthington, see Cuming's Tour,
volume iv of our series, note 142.— Ed. 5-i8iq] Hulme's Journal
rich, that the governor pointed out a dung heap which was
bigger than the barn it surrounded and had grown out of,
as a nuisance. The labour of dragging the dung out of the
way, would be more than the cost of removing the barn,
so that he is actually going to pull the barn down, and build
it up again in another place. This is not a peculiarity of
this particular spot of land, for manure has no value here
at all. All the stable-dung made at Chillicothe is flung
into the river. I dare say, that the Inn we put up at does
not tumble into the water less than 300 good loads of
horse-dung every year.
I had some conversation with Governor Worthington
on the subject of domestic manufactures, and was glad to
find he is well convinced of the necessity of, or at least of
the great benefit that would result from, the general establishment of them in the United States. He has frequently
recommended it in his public capacity, he informed me,
and I hope he will [298] advocate it with effect. He is a
true lover of his country, and no man that I have met
with has a more thorough knowledge of the detestable
villainy of the odious Boroughmongering government of
England, and, of course, it has his full share of hatred.
July 21st.— Leave Chillicothe. A fine, healthy country and very rich land all the way to New Lancaster, 34
miles from Chillicothe, and 38 from Zanesville.48 Stop at
the house of a German, where we slept, but not in bed,
preferring a soft board and something clean for a pillow
to a bed of down accompanied with bugs.
Nothing remarkable, that I can see, as to the locality of
this town of New Lancaster; but, the name, alas! it
brought to my recollection the horrid deeds done at Old
a For the early history of New Lancaster, see Cuming's Tour, volume iv 72 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
Lancaster, the county town of my native country!   I
thought of Colonel F r, and his conduct towards my
poor, unfortunate townsman, Gallant! I thought of
the poor, miserable creatures, men, women, and children,
who, in the bloody year of 1812, were first instigated by
spies to commit arson, and then pursued into death by
the dealers in human blood. Amongst the sufferers upon
this particular occasion, there was a boy, who was silly,
and who would at any time, have jumped into a pit for
a halfpenny: he was not fourteen years old; and when he
was about to he hanged, actually called out for his ''mammy" to come and save him! Who, that has a heart in
his bosom, can help feeling indignation against the cruel
monsters! Who can help feeling a desire to see their
dreadful power destroyed! The day must come, when
the whole of the bloody tragedies of Lancashire will be
exposed. In the mean while, here I am in safety from the
fangs of the monsters, who oppress and grind my countrymen. The thought of these oppressions, however, I
carry about with me; and I cannot help its sometimes
bursting forth into words.
July 22nd.— Arrived at Zanesville,44 a place [299] finely
situated for manufactures, in a nook of the Muskingham,
just opposite to the mouth of Licking Creek. It has
almost every advantage for manufacturing of all sorts,
both as to local situation and as to materials; it excels
Wheeling and Steubenville, in many respects, and, in
some, even Pittsburgh. The river gives very fine falls
near the town, one of them of 12 feet, where it is 600 feet
wide; the creek, too, falls in by a fine cascade. What a
power for machinery!   I should think that as much effect
** For a more particular account of this place, as well, indeed, as of most
of the other towns I have visited, see Mr. Mellish's Travels, volume ii.— Httlme.
L_ 1818-1819] Hulme's Journal 73
might be produced by the power here afforded as by the
united manual labour of all the inhabitants of the state.
The navigation is very good all the way up to the town,
and is now continued round the falls by a canal with
locks, so that boats can go nearly close up to Lake Erie.
The bowels of the earth afford coal, iron ore, stone, free
stone, lime-stone, and clays: all of the best, I believe, and
the last, the very best yet discovered in this country, and,
perhaps, as good as is to be found in any country. All
these materials are found in inexhaustible quantities in
the hills and little ridges on the sides of the river and
creek, arranged as if placed by the hand of man for his
own use. In short, this place has the four elements in
the greatest perfection that I have any where yet seen in
America. As to manufactures, it is, like Wheeling and
Steubenville, nothing in comparison to Pittsburg.
Nature has done her part; nothing is left wanting but
machines to enable the people of Ohio to keep their flour
at home, instead of exporting it, at their own expense to
support those abroad who are industrious enough to send
them back coats, knives, and cups, and saucers.
July 23rd.— All day at Zanesville. Spent part of it
very agreeably with Mr. Adams the post-master, and old
Mr. Dillon who has a large iron foundery near this.
July 24th.— Go with Mr. Dillon about 3 miles up the
Creek, to see his mills and iron-factory establishment. He
has here a very fine water-fall, of 18 feet, giving immense
power, by which he works a [300] large iron-forge and
foundery, and mills for sawing, grinding, and other
I will here subjoin a list of the prices at Zanesville, of
provisions, stock, stores, labour, &c. just as I have it
from a resident, whom I can rely upon. o
74 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
Dls. Cts. Dls. Cts.
Flour (superfine) per barrel of 196 lb. from    . 5   o   to      5 75
Beef, per 100 lb  40   —     4 25
Pork (prime), per 100 lb.   4 50   —     50
Salt, per bushel of 50 lb  2 25
Potatoes, per bushel  o 25   —     o 31^
Turnips, ditto  o 20
Wheat, ditto of 60 lb. to 66 lb  o 75
Indian corn, ditto shelled  o 33$ —
Oats, ditto  o 25   —
Rye, ditto  o 50
Barley, ditto         o 75
Turkeys, of from 12 lb. to 20 lb. each     .    . o 37$ —
Fowls  o 12J —
Live Hogs, per 100 lb. live weight      ... 3    o   —
Cows, (the best)  18   o   —
Yoke of Oxen, ditto  50   o   —
Sheep  2 50
Hay, per ton, delivered  90   —   10   o
Straw, fetch it and have it.
Manure, ditto, ditto.
Coals, per bushel, delivered  08
Butter, per lb. avoirdupois  o 12J —     o 18
Cheese, ditto, ditto          o 12J —     o 25
Loaf Sugar  o 50
Raw ditto  o 31J
Domestic Raw ditto  o 18$
Merino Wool, per lb. avoirdupois, washed    . 1   o
Three-quarter Merino ditto  o 75
Common Wool  o 50
Bricks, per 1000, delivered  60—     70
Lime, per bushel, ditto  o i8f
[301] Sand, in abundance on the banks of the
Glass is sold in boxes, containing 100 square
feet; of the common size there are 180
panes in a box, when the price is     . 14   o
The price rises in proportion to the size
of the panes.
fit "mm
-1819] Hulme's Journal j$
Oak planks, 1 inch thick, per 100 square feet,   Dls. Cts.        Dls. Cts.
at the saw-mill               1 50
Poplar, the same.
White Lead, per 100 lb. delivered      ...      170
Red ditto 170
Litharge         15   o
Pig Lead        9 50
Swedish Iron (the best, in bars)    ....      14   o
Juniatta, ditto, ditto 14   o
Mr. Dillon's ditto, ditto 12 50
Castings at Mr. Dillon's Foundery per ton   .    120   o
Ditto, for machinery, ditto, per lb. 08
Potash, per ton         180   o
Pearl Ashes, ditto    ........    200   o
Stone masons and bricklayers, per day, and
board and lodging         1 50
Plasterers, by the square yard, they finding
themselves in board and lodging and in
lime, sand, laths and every thing they use.       o i8f
Carpenters, by the day, who find themselves
and bring their tools        1 25
Blacksmiths, by the month, found in board,
lodging and tools 30   o   to    40   o
Millwrights, per day, finding themselves       .        1 50   —     20
Tailors,  per week, finding themselves and
working 14 or 15 hours a day      ...        7   o   —     9   o
Shoemakers the same.
[302] Glazier's charge for putting in each pane
of glass 8 in. by 10 in. with their own putty
and laying on the first coat of paint . o 4 to 05
Labourers, per annum, and found . . . 100 o — 120 o
The charge of carriage for 100 lb. weight
from Baltimore to Zanisville        ...      10   o
Ditto for ditto by steam-boat from New Orleans to Shippingport, and thence, by
boats, to Zanesville, about     ....       6 50
Peaches, as fine as can grow, per bushel       -       o 12J   —   025
Apples and pears proportionably cheaper;
sometimes given away, in the country. j6 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
Prices are much about the same at Steubenville; if any
difference, rather lower. If bought in a quantity, some of
the articles enumerated might be had a good deal lower.
Labour, no doubt, if a job of some length were offered,
might be got somewhat cheaper here.
July 2$th.— Leave Zanesville for Pittsburgh, keeping
to the United States road; stop at Cambridge, 25 miles.
During the first eight miles we met 10 wagons, loaded
with emigrants.
July 26th.— Stop at Mr. Broadshaw's, a very good
house on the road, 25 miles from Cambridge.45 This general government road is by no means well laid out; it goes
strait over the tops of the numerous little hills, up and
down, up and down. It would have been a.great deal
nearer in point of time, if not in distance (though I think
it would that, too), if a view had been had to the labour
of travelling over these everlasting unevennesses.
July 27th.— To Wheeling in Virginia, 31 miles. They
have had tremendous rains in these parts, we hear as we
pass along, lately; one of the creeks we came over has
overflown so as to carry down a man's house with himself
and his whole family. A dreadful catastrophe, but, certainly, one not out of the man's [303] power to have foreseen and prevented; it surprises me that the people will
stick up their houses so near the water's edge. Cross
Wheeling Creek several times to-day; it is a rapid stream,
and I hope it will not be long before it turns many water-
45 When in 1708 Zane's Trace was laid out from Wheeling to Zanesville, a
ferry and tavern were established where the road crossed Wills Creek. Eight
years later the town of Cambridge was planted. Among the early settlers
were fifteen or twenty families from the Island of Guernsey, who happened to
be travelling through the West in search of homes when the town lots were
offered for sale.
Bradshaw's tavern was in the village of Fairview.— Ed. 1818-18193 Hulme's Journal jj
wheels.   See much good land, and some pretty good
July 28th.— Went with a Mr. Graham, a quaker of
this place, who treated us in the most friendly and hospitable manner, to see the new national road from Washington city to this town.46 It is covered with a very thick
layer of nicely broken stones, or stone rather, laid on with
great exactness both as to depth and width, and then
rolled down with an iron roller, which reduces all to one
solid mass. This is a road made for ever; not like the
flint roads in England, rough, nor soft or dirty, like the
gravel roads; but, smooth and hard. When a road is
made in America it is well made. An American always
plots against labour, and, in this instance, he takes the
most effectual course to circumvent it. Mr. Graham took
us likewise to see the fine coal mines near this place and
the beds of limestone and freestone, none of which I had
time to examine as we passed Wheeling in our ark. All
these treasures he very convenient to the river. The coals
are principally in one long ridge, about ten feet wide; much
the same as they are at Pittsburgh, in point of quality and
situation. They cost 3 cents per bushel to be got out
from the mine. This price, as nearly as I can calculate,
enables the American collier to earn upon an average,
double the number of cents for the same labour that the
collier in England can earn; so that, as the American
collier can, upon an average, buy his flour for one third
of the price that the English collier pays for his flour, he
receives six times the quantity of flour for the same labour.
Here is a country for the ingenious paupers of England to
come to!  They find food and materials, and nothing want-
48 For an account of the National Road, see Harris's Journal, volume iii
of our series, note 45.— Ed. j8 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
ing but their mouths and hands to consume and work
them. Lshould like to see the old toast of the Boroughmongers brought out again; when they were in the height
of their impudence their myrmidons used to din in our
ears, ' j Old England for ever, and those that do not [304]
like her let them leave her." Let them renew this swaggering toast, and I would very willingly for my part, give
another to the same effect for the United States of America. But, no, no! they know better now. They know
that they would be taken at their word; and, like the
tyrants of Egypt, having got their slaves fast, will (if they
can) keep them so. Let them beware, lest something
. worse than the Red Sea overwhelm them. Like Pharaoh
and his Boroughmongers they will not yield to the voice of
the people, and, surely, something like, or worse than,
their fate shall befall them!
They are building a steam-boat at Wheeling, which is
to go, they say, 1800 miles up the Missouri river. The
wheels are made to work in the stern of the boat, so as
not to come in contact with the floating trees, snaggs,
planters,47 &c, obstructions most likely very numerous in
that river. But, the placing the wheels behind only saves
them; it is no protection against the boat's sinking in case
of being pierced by a planter or sawyer.48 Observing this
I will suggest a plan which has occurred to me, and
which, I think, would provide against sinking, effectually;
but, at any rate, it is one which can be tried very easily
and with very little expense.— I would make a partition
of strong plank; put it in the broadest fore-part of the
boat, right across, and put good iron bolts under the bottom of the boat, through these planks, and screw them on
47 Trees tumbled head-long and fixed in the river.— Huj,me.
48 The same as the planter, only waving up and down.— Holme. 1818-18191
Hulme's Journal
the top of the deck. Then put an upright post in the inside of the boat against the middle of the plank partition,
and put a spur to the upright post. The partition should
be water-tight. I would then load the fore-part of the
boat, thus partitioned off with lumber or such loading as
is least liable to injury, and best calculated to stop the
progress of a sawyer after it has gone through the boat.
— By thus appropriating the fore-part of the boat to the
reception of planters and sawyers, it appears to me that
the other part would be secured against all intrusion.
[305] July 2gth.— From Wheeling, through Charls-
ton, changing sides of the river again to Steubenville.49
My eyes were delighted at Charlston to see the smoke of
the coals ascending from the glass-works they have here.
This smoke it is that must enrich America; she might
save almost all her dollars if she would but bring her invaluable black diamonds into service. Talk of inde-
pendance, indeed, without coats to wear or knives or
plates to eat with!
At Steubenville, became acquainted with Messrs. Wills,
Ross, and company, who have an excellent and well-conducted woollen manufactory here. They make very good
cloths, and at reasonable prices; I am sorry they do not
retail them at Philadelphia; I for one, should be customer
to them for all that my family wanted in the woollen-
way. Here are likewise a Cotton-mill, a Grist-mill, a
Paper-mill, an Iron-foundery and Tan-yards and Brew-
4* Charleston, on the Kanawha River, about sixty miles from its mouth, is
located on the military grant made by Lord Dunmore to Colonel Thomas
Bullitt (1772), in recognition of his services in Braddock's and Forbes's campaigns. Five years thereafter, the land was purchased by George Clendenin,
one of the commissioners for laying out a road from Lewisburg to the Kanawha.
Clendenin constructed (1788) a fort on the present site of Charleston, and soon
other pioneers built log cabins under its shelter. In 1794 the town of Charleston was established by legislative enactment.— Ed. 80 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
eries. Had the pleasure to see Mr. Wilson,50 the editor
of the Steubenville Gazette, a very public-spirited man,
and, I believe, very serviceable to this part of the country. If the policy he so powerfully advocates were
adopted, the effects would be grand for America; it
would save her dollars while it would help to draw the
nails of the vile Boroughmongers. But, he has to labour
against the inveterate effects of the thing the most difficult of all others to move — habit.
By what I have been able to observe of this part of the
country, those who expect to find what is generally understood by society, pretty much the same that they have
been accustomed to it on the Atlantic side, or in England,
will not be totally disappointed. It is here upon the basis
of the same manners and customs as in the oldest settled
districts, and it there differs from what it is in England,
and here from what it is there, only according to circumstances. Few of the social amusements that are practicable at present, are scarce; dancing, the most rational
for every reason, is the most common; and in an assemblage for this purpose, composed of the farmers' daughters and sons from 20 miles round, an Englishman (particularly if a young one) might very well think his travels
to be [306] all a dream, and that he was still in a Borough-
monger country. Almost always the same tunes and
dances, same manners, same dress. Ah, it is that same
dress which is the great evil! It may be a very pretty
sight, but, to see the dollars thus danced out of the country into the hands of the Boroughmongers, to the tune
60 James Wilson, who had been on the staff of the Philadelphia Aurora,
came to Steubenville (1815) to edit the Herald, changing the name to the Western Herald and Steubenville Gazette, and the politics from Democratic to Whig.
Wilson was elected to the state legislature in 1816 and again in 1820, and was
e justice of the court of common pleas.   He died in 1852.— Ed. 1818-1819] Hulme's Journal 81
of national airs, is a thing which, if it do not warrant
ridicule, will, if America do not, by one unanimous voice,
soon put a stop to it.
July 30th.— From Steubenville, crossing the Ohio for
the last time, and travelling through a slip of Virginia and
a handsome part of Pennsylvania, to Pittsburgh.
August ist.— Sold my horse for 75 dollars, 60 dollars
less than I gave for him. A horse changes masters no
where so often as in this Western country, and no where
so often rises and falls in value. Met a Mr. Gibbs, a
native of Scotland, and an old neighbour of mine, having
superintended some oil of vitriol works, near to my bleach-
works on Great Lever, near Bolton, in Lancashire. He
now makes oil of vitriol, aquafortis, salt, soap, &c. at
this place, and is, I believe, getting rich. Spent a pleasant evening with him.
August 2nd.— Spent most part of the day with Mr.
Gibbs, and dined with him; as the feast was his, I recommended him to observe the latter part of the good Quaker
Lady's sermon which we heard at New Albany.
August 3rd.— Leave Pittsburgh, not without some regret at bidding adieu to so much activity and smoke, for
I expect not to see it elsewhere. I like to contemplate
the operation by which the greatest effect is produced in a
country. Take the same route and the same stage as on
setting out from Philadelphia.
August 4th, $th, and 6th.— These three days traversing the romantic Allegany Mountains; got overturned
(a common accident here) only once, and then received
very little damage: myself none, some of my fellow travellers a few scratches. We scrambled out, and, with the
help of some wagoners, set the vehicle on its wheels again,
adjusted our 1 plunder" (as some of the Western people 82 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
call it), and drove on again [307] without being detained
more than five minutes. The fourth night slept at
Chambersburgh, the beginning of a fine country.
August yth.— Travelled over the fine lime-stone valley before mentioned, and through a very good country
all the way, by Little York to Lancaster. Here I met
with a person from Philadelphia, who told me a long
story about a Mr. Hulme, an Englishman, who had
brought a large family and considerable property to
America. His property, he told me, the said Mr. Hulme
had got from the English Government, for the invention
of some machine, and that now, having got rich under
their patronage, he was going about this country doing
the said Government all the mischief he could, and endeavouring to promote the interest of this country. After
letting him go on till I was quite satisfied that he depends
mainly for his bread and butter upon the English Treasury, I said, "Well, do you know this Mr. Hulme ?" "No,
he had only heard of him." "Then I do, and I know
that he never had any patent, nor ever asked for one,
from the English government; all he has got he has
gained by his own industry and economy, and, so far
from receiving a fortune from that vile government, he
had nothing to do with it but to pay and obey, without
being allowed to give a vote for a Member of Parliament
or for any Government office?. He is now, thank God,
in a country where he cannot be taxed but by his own
consent, and, if he should succeed in contributing in any
degree to the downfall of the English Government, and
to the improvement of this country, he will only succeed
in doing his duty." This man could be no other than a
dependant of that boroughmongering system which has
its feelers probing every quarter and corner of the earth. 1818-1819I Hulme's Journal 83
August 8th.— Return to Philadelphia, after a journey
Of 72 days. My expenses for this journey, including
every thing, not excepting the loss sustained by the purchase and sale of my horse, amount to 270 dollars and 70
As it is now about a twelvemonth since I have [308] been
settled in Philadelphia, or set foot in it, rather, with my
family, I will take a look at my books, and add to this
Journal what have been the expenses of my family for
this one year, from the time of landing to this day,
Dls. Cts.
House-rent         600   o
Fuel   137   o
Schooling (at day-schools) for my children viz.; Dolls.
for Thomas, 14 years of age 40
Peter and John, ages of 12 and 10 48
Sarah, 6 years of age         18 —   106   o
Boarding of all my family at Mrs. Anthony's Hotel
for about a week, on our arrival    .        .... 80   o
Expenses  of  house-keeping   (my  family fourteen in
number, including two servants) with every other
out-going not enumerated above, travelling  incidents, two newspapers a day, &c, &c         2076 66
Taxes, not a cent  00
Priest, not a cent  00
Total 2999 66
"What! nothing to the Parson!" some of my old
neighbours will exclaim. No: not a single stiver. The
Quakers manage their affairs without Parsons, and I believe they are as good and as happy a people as any
religious denomination who are aided and assisted by a
Priest. I do not suppose that the Quakers will admit
me into their Society; but, in this free country I can form
J ppp
84 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
a new society, if I choose, and, if I do, it certainly shall
be a Society having a Chairman in place of a Parson, and
the assemblage shall discuss the subject of their meeting
themselves. Why should there not be as much knowledge and wisdom and common sense, in the heads of a
whole congregation, as in the head of a Parson? Ah,
but then there are the profits arising from the trade!
Some of this holy Order in England receive upwards of
40,000 dollars per [309] annum for preaching probably
not more than five or six sermons during the whole year.
Well may the Cossack Priests represent Old England as
the bulwark of religion! This is the sort of religion they
so much dreaded the loss of during the French Revolution; and this is the sort of religion they so zealously expected to establish in America, when they received the
glad tidings of the restoration of the Bourbons and the
END OF THE JOURNAL Flower's Letters from Lexington (June 25, 1819)
and the Illinois (August 16, 1819)
Reprint of the original edition: London, 1819 !ltl:i
Airo a
JLofflJtut <
Printed it/ f. Tuaton, 87, High Street, tFMtechntef,
[/Vice  One Shilling.']
Various have been the reports respecting the Illinois
Settlement, as they relate to the health of the climate,
and the state of agriculture. The following Letters contain a simple narration of facts, the result of real observation, and an accurate survey; and will appear time
enough to counteract the evil impression of false information by persons who have not been on the spot, or who
appear to be interested in writing down the settlement.
As to the various reports about the state of health, they
may be easily accounted for by comparing dates. On
the arrival of emigrants in the summer of 1818, there were
no cabins to shelter them from the heat of the sun by
day, or from the dew, by night; neither a cow or pig for
food, and scarcely a sufficiency for human subsistence to
be procured: sickness to a considerable degree prevailed;
but not more than three or four cases of death ensued.
Since these inconveniences have [iv] been overcome, few
places, I believe I may say in the world, have been
healthier than the English settlement in the Illinois.
I trust my friends and acquaintance in England, who
interest themselves in our concerns, retain that good
opinion of me, as to believe me incapable, from any
motive, of laying before them inducements to emigrate
to a station, where their existence or comfort would be
likely to be threatened by diseases not prevalent in the
same degree, at least, as in their own country.
A difference of opinion as to eastern or western settlements may prevail, as differences of opinion in England
jp. p—p-
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 10
respecting Essex or Hertfordshire, which may be most
healthy or profitable. I have only to request the attention of the reader to the facts I have stated.
The miscellaneous matter relative to the state of Kentucky, &c. will not, I hope, be found to be entirely destitute of interest to my old acquaintance in my native
1 LETTERS, &c.
Lexington, June 25, 1819.
It is natural you should have made those enquiries of
me which you did in your last, and which it shall be my
business to answer in their respective order.
ist.—How I like America in general, and Lexington in
particular ?
2nd.—Whether I have been disgusted with the American character and habits, as many have been ? or whether
I dare invite others to follow the course I have taken?
but above all, how I, whose notions of liberty run so high,
can endure to reside in a state where personal slavery
[6] Your first enquiry I am yet incompetent to answer to
the extent you make it; for, although I have travelled
from New York to Pittsburgh,—down the Ohio to this
place,—I have only had a sample of this extensive country;
and as you, my dear Sir, are in the habit of purchasing
your goods by sample, and to my knowledge are often
disappointed in the bulk, so you may not, perhaps, have
a fair sample of entire America by the information I send
As to the great cities, they have no charms for me.
You know, great cities in England, as places of residence,
were the objects of my aversion; and if there is any thing
in those of New York and Philadelphia which I dislike, 92 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
it is because they approximate so much to similar cities of
England, without those rare shows which please both
infants and children of larger growth, in London.
Here are few public buildings worthy of notice. No
kings going to open Parliament with gilded coaches and
cream-coloured horses, with a train of dragoons at their
heels.—No Lord Mayor's show.—No Towers filled with
royal tigers and lions.—No old castles which beautify
the rural scenes of the country, whose melancholy history
informs the curious traveller, that their foundation was
bedded in [7] tyranny, and their superstructure the retainers
of weeping prisoners, often of rank, as well as oppressed
plebeians. No cathedrals or old churches to ornament
the cities as well as the counties of England,—monuments
of superstition when erected, and of injustice and oppression even to this day, having for their support tithe-proctors, and surveyors, continually obstructing the progress
of agriculture, and exciting contentions and law suits to
an extent for which all the preaching of the clergy of England cannot present an equivalent, or balance the evil
produced by a worldly and avaricious priesthood.
America has none of these costly ornaments or beautiful monuments of oppression. I thank God she has not;
and hope she may be exempt from them, although strange
to tell, I have found amongst both clergy and laity some
few who wish for these degradations, and am even informed there are those who sigh after a religious establishment, and revenues besides those collected by the
voluntary donations which flow from affectionate and
religious hearers.
The episcopalian clergy in this country, have an enjoyment seldom known in England, that is, being chosen by
the people, and supported [8] according to their respective 1819I Flower's Letters 93
merits; and it is my duty to add that episcopalians, as
well as the ministers of most other sects, are in general
"labourers worthy of their hire," virtuous in their conduct, exemplary in their deportment, exhibiting Christianity in their every day conduct and intercourse with
mankind, and enjoying the esteem of their congregations.
There are none of those divines in the busy hive of America,
which you know by the name of dignified clergy, partaking
of the largest revenues, and doing the least possible service,—conduct which one would think must make their
hearts shudder at the thoughts of a judgment day!
As to the travelling in America, you are already informed of its conveniences and inconveniences; you dine
at a fixed hour, as at our ordinaries in England; and you
have abundance of provision of every kind the country
affords. Poultry in every shape, with the standing dish,
ham or bacon: but you must be aware, that in a country
so extensive as I have already traversed, there must be
as much difference in accommodations, as there is between the best inns on the great roads of England, and
those in the remote villages. The beds generally cleanly;
but although I have [9] not suffered the inconveniences
so magnified in England from musquitoes, the often-
brought charge of being infested with that ugly and sleep-
destroying insect the bug, is indeed too true. Also, the
many-bedded rooms found in most taverns, as you travel
westward, is more than an inconvenience, as often being
the sleeping-place of those who fall sick, as of those who
are in health; and, in this respect, the Americans are
criminal, and instrumental in spreading infection, which
might be avoided by a little expense in the division of
sleeping-rooms; but there are many happy exceptions;
and, as civilization advances, this evil will be cured. !■■
94 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
As to the general character of the Americans, it is sober,
industrious, and hospitable; although drunkenness, idleness, and gambling, are vices in existence, they are kept
in the back ground, and are by no means so conspicuous
as amongst what are called the lower class in England.
It is remarkable, that in the houses of the wealthy, as
well as in store or shop-keepers back-rooms, it is the
common practice to ask you to take a glass of water, cool
fresh water, as a refreshment; at which offer no one is
offended; and when wine or liquors are on the [10] salver,
water is often preferred; but our countrymen would think
it a sad insult to be invited to so simple a refreshment.
I have, my dear sir, met with no instances of a rude
ruffian-like character, that will apply to Americans generally; and, I believe, much less than I should have met
with in England, had I travelled her roads and rivers to
the extent I have done in this country.
The American notion of liberty and equality is highly
gratifying to me. The master or employer is kept within
the bounds of reason and decency towards his labourer.
No curses or oaths towards their servants, or helps as
they choose to call themselves; (for every one who takes
money or wages, is, after all, a servant;) he obeys all
reasonable orders for his remuneration; and when this
obedience ceases, the contract of service is at an end. I
have often been surprised at the highmindedness of
American labourers, who are offended at the name of
With respect to this place, I have, in former letters, stated
it to be a phenomenon in the history of the world; twenty-
five years since it was trodden only by the foot of the
savage; now it contains about three thousand inhabitants.
A college, at which are already one [ii] hundred and forty 1819I Flower's Letters 95
students; its professors, chosen purely for their talents,
without any requirement of unanimity of religious opinions, as in the colleges with you: professors so chosen, not
being confined to any particular sect, are likely to fill
their stations with ability^ and, as far as I am capable of
judging, are eminently calculated for their respective situations to which they are chosen. This institution promises to be in the moral world, what the sun is in the
natural world, and is calculated to illuminate, civilize, and
bless mankind.
To the inhabitants of Lexington, wherever I may reside in future, I shall ever feel grateful: their hospitality,
their kindness to me, as a stranger, and their sympathy
in the hour of affliction, are never to be effaced from my
Their politeness and liberality are perhaps, unequalled.
Balls, at which the fair sex are never allowed to share any
expence,—an Atheneum and a considerable museum, the
benefits of which the stranger is invited to partake gratis,
—may be mentioned as not being very customary in England. Tea-parties are a continual festival from the time
you enter to the time of your departure, which however,
are too much like our routs in England; and in time, I
should fear would, as they have in England, become [12]
a substitute for hospitality. I have known collected at
these parties from one to two hundred persons. Thus,
my dear Sir, you see, instead of being in continual broils,
and exposed to the affronts and insults of rude Americans,
I have received nothing but civility and hospitality. It
will hardly be credited when I assure you I have not yet
met with a single annoyance in the whole of my journey
from New York to Pittsburgh by land; nor from thence
down the Ohio to Louisville,—a distance of six hundred 96 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
miles by water, and five hundred miles by land: thus you
see, my dear friend, I am in no danger at present, of being
disgusted by American rudeness, irreligion, or fanaticism.
To your last question,—How can you reside in a state
where personal slavery is in existence? I, with regret,
reply, this is the spot which clouds the American sun of
liberty; and I confess I know not which are most excited
in me, the risible or the sorrowful feelings, when I hear a
Kentuckyan boasting, in lofty terms, of the liberty of his
country, when that country is divided into two classes,
and two classes only—the master and the slave! The
term of master implies the willing servitude of free men: the
term slave, includes in it the admission [13] of tyrants or
tyranny; and a Kentuckyan has no more right to talk of
freedom than the legitimates, whose determined purpose
it is to blot liberty and happiness from the face of the
earth. The one talks of liberty and social order, and it
appears that by it is meant the increasing trappings of
monarchy; the other does the same of liberty, and the
rights of men.
The legitimates, who have high notions of regal authority, attempting to subjugate the minds of men, is perfectly
consistent with their notions of power, their education
and habits; but to hear the republicans of slave states
point to the Declaration of Rights, who inform the coming
traveller that they are now blazoned forth on satin and
velvet;—an American republican pointing to the Rights of
Men with his left hand, while his right is obliged to hold
the whip, and with watchful eye to subjugate the minds
and bodies of a large share of the population of his state:
—this, indeed is worthy the taunts and derision of kings.
It is this that keeps the wealth of Europe from pouring its
treasures into the fertile region of Kentucky, and the in- ■^WPP*
Flower's Letters
dustry of thousands from approaching the state. It would
be painful to relate all the horrors I have beheld in slavery
under [14] its mildest form. Whites full of whiskey, flogging their slaves for drinking even a single glass! Women, heavy with young, smarting under the angry blow,
or the lash, and with babes at the breast, which one of
our writers calls "Nature's passport through the world,"
lacking food in the midst of abundance, and cloathing insufficient to satisfy the demands even of common decency.
Avarice, which our Poet Young calls "Earth's greatest
blunder—Hell's loudest laugh;"—avarice, which seems to
be the source of all this mischief, now comes to the relief
of the ragged lingering wretch. If they are miserable,
they must not die, for a mother and infant are worth from
six hundred to a thousand dollars: but in a slave state,
avarice has preserved life, clothed the wretched, and fed
the hungry; it has fattened and made fine, the slave that
he or she may fetch at the hammer, one or two hundred
dollars more. "Lord, what is man!" Was it for this
that your heroes fought, bled, and died ? Was it for this,
that the brave and virtuous Washington, to whom so
many memorials in the way of oration and praise are delivered on each succeeding anniversary of his birth, spent
his long and glorious course ? Oh! youth of Kentucky,
when you speak of his [15] fame with the enthusiasm of a
republican, speak of his humanity, read his will; see his
ardent desire to let the captive go free: imitate his virtues,
and fall not into the errors of tyrants, who suppose military
glory to be the glory of a christian.
It is worthy of enquiry, whether it is likely that Americans will escape the judgments with which God has afflicted
other nations, while their land is infected with personal
slavery, and whether the liberties of America are not en-
■mi [
98 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
dangered by the increase of its black population. Perhaps some ambitious military chief may take the work
from the hands of republicans, and "proclaim liberty to
the captives," and make them the instruments of political
slavery: let it be the work of crowned despots to subjugate the minds and bodies of men, but let not republicans
assist in such a work.
Whenever you take Freedom's sacred name into your
lips—whenever you unfurl the standard of partial liberty
— you stand self-condemned. Despots keep men's minds
in ignorance, that the voice of slavery and abject depend-
ance may not be heard even in its defence. Do ye not
the same: both your efforts will be in vain; the minds of
men are in progressive march, and your united efforts will
not stop their destination.
[16] "No, bless'd with freedom, unconfin'd,
Dungeons can ne'er contain the soul;
No one can chain th' immortal mind,
No one but Him who spans the pole."
I remain, yours, sincerely,
Illinois, near Albion, Aug. 16.
After many interruptions I removed from Lexington
to this place, at which we arrived on the 2nd of July,
spending in our way a week at Harmony, that wonder
of the west.
You have heard this settlement mentioned, and it is
worth visiting to see, and observe the effect of united industry, regulated by sound wisdom and discretion: here ^m^
1819] Flower's Letters 99
perfect equality prevails, and there are no servants; but
plenty of persons who serve. Every man has his station
appointed him according to his ability, and every one has
his wants supplied according to his wishes. He applies
to the mill for his supply of flour; to the apothecary for
medicine; [17] to the store for cloaths, and so on for every
thing necessary for human subsistence. They do not
forbid marriage, as some have represented; but it is one
of their tenets that the incumbrance created by families
is an hindrance to the spirituality of christians, and it is
this opinion which discourages marriage amongst them.
They have also an aversion to bear arms; this would not
allow them to remain in Germany, and they emigrated
to. live in the manner they have adopted, and have certainly the outside appearance of contentment and happiness.
After travelling through the woods of Indiana, the hills
divide to the right and left, and a fine valley opens to
your view in which the town stands. The hills assume a
conical form, and are embellished with fine cultivated
vineyards; and the valleys stand thick with corn. Every
log-house is surrounded by a well cultivated garden, abundantly supplied with vegetables, and ornamented with
flowers. It was the beginning of wheat harvest when I
arrived, and the entire company of reapers retired from
the fields in a body, preceded by a band of music: their
dress is like the Norman peasants, and as all are of the
same form and colour, may properly be designated their
[18] costume. The men marched first, the women next,
and the rear rank composed of young women, with each
a neat ornament of striped cedar wood on their head,
formed one of the prettiest processions I ever witnessed.
The sound of French horns awakened them in the morn- ioo Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
ing to their daily labour, which is moderate, and performed
with cheerfulness; the return of evening appears to bring
with it no fatigue or symptoms of weariness.
Besides the gardens of individuals, there is a public
garden of five acres, the outside square planted with fruit
trees and vegetables, the inside with herbs medicinal and
botanical. In the centre is a rotunda of the rustic kind,
standing in the midst of a labyrinth, which exhibits more
taste than I supposed to be found amongst the Harmonites.
It is from this hive of industry that Albion and its vicinity
have drawn their supplies, and its contiguity to such
neighbours has been of great advantage.
Having given you this account, I arrive at the point at
which, my dear friend, I know you feel most interest,
and proceed to give you an account of the state in which
I found my friends, and the English settlement in general.
I have great satisfaction in being able to inform you that
almost every individual I [19] knew in England,was much
improved in appearance, all enjoying excellent health.
The same blessing is also our lot, and if I can form a proper
estimate from six weeks residence, I must pronounce
this to be as healthy a situation as any America affords,
and much preferable, in this respect, to the eastern states.
What travellers have recorded, that the thermometer does
not rise so high as in the east, is true, and we are never
many hours without a fine breeze. The nights are cool,
the thermometer dropping 10 degrees, and you can obtain
refreshing sleep. In the eastern states the thermometer
being at 98 in the day, remained at 96 at night, a suffocating heat. The average of our days are from 80 to 86,
but we have had a day or two at 90, which produces a
thunder gust and a cooler atmosphere.
Now, my dear sir, as to the questions which agitate the i8i9]
Flower's Letters
minds of thousands in your country. The advantages of
emigration to America, and the comparative advantages
of eastern and western climates. I am, most decidedly,
for settling in the west, on account of the prairies, and the
facility with which they are cultivated.
The cultivation of new land, incumbered with heavy
timber, presents a formidable feature; [20] labour incessant and unremitting, before a small tract of land can be
tolerably cleared; but here I can enter either as a farmer
or a grazier immediately; fine wide spreading fields of
grass, inviting the flocks and herds to come and partake
of the bounty with which they are loaded. In answer to
the enquiry as to the proper mode of farming, I sit, and
from the place I am now writing, see a beautiful herd of
cattle of nearly two hundred in number. I have one
hundred tons of fine hay collected for spring provision.
Every head of cattle, the expence of herdsmen deducted,
on a moderate calculation, promises a fair profit of at
least five dollars per head; and yet Mr. Cobbett, in his
weekly letters, very modestly asserts, "There is no farming
for profit in the west!"— I state these facts for the information of those who may wish to join us, and in direct
contradiction to the ill-founded assertions of this writer on
the subject.
It is also stated by Mr. Cobbett, that "the obstruction
by bush and briar are such as to prevent early or easy
cultivation."—In contradiction to this assertion, I affirm,
that I can put the plough into thousands of acres where
there is no such obstruction. One [21] gentleman in our
settlement has grown eighty acres of fine com, although
he only arrived last year; this alone is a sufficient contradiction to all Mr. C. has said on this subject. There is
also a sufficiency of corn and grain grown this first har-
102 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
vest to supply the wants of the settlement: next year there
will be a surplus for brewing and distilling.
If a person enters heavy timbered land, it is by great
exertion he clears ten acres the first year; but he has only
here to enclose and take his choice of farming and grazing, or enclose enough for corn and pasture, his cattle
feeding on the unoccupied range of grass which the neigh-
Ibouring cultivator cannot stock himself, and which is
much improved by the feeding of cattle.
Now, my dear Sir, as to the persons who come here or to
any other part of America, I would have them consider
for what purpose and intent they emigrate. It is certain
as regards farming, that there are only two ways in which
it can be performed: the one, labouring by his own hands;
the other, by his capital, stocking his farm, and hiring his
labourers. It is thoughtlessness and folly to tell any person, if he bring with him one hundred pounds, he can
place himself in comfort; but, it is certain, that a [22]
hundred pounds here will go as far as five hundred pounds
in England; and that the person who has that sum in possession, is certainly five times better off than in that country.
The person who has this sum may enter his quarter section
of land, build his cabin, enclose his garden, keep his cows
and pigs; but then he must be a man of that description
who has been in the habit of milking his cows and tending
his pigs: all such persons will find vast advantage in
emigrating to this place. Every farmer in England (of
which there are thousands) who holds the plough, or his
sons for him, will find an easy life, and the abundant
supply of every good thing. As to the reward of his industry, every farmer who can stock a farm in England,
may here become the proprietor of his own soil with that
capital which affords him only a tenant's station, a pre- 1
1819I Flower's Letters 103
carious subsistence in his own country; an inducement, I
should think, sufficient to make thousands follow our steps,
and taste the blessings of independence and the sweets of
liberty. Let all who are bending under the weight of
taxation, and trembling at the approach of every quarter-
day, come here and partake of ease and abundance. If
the affluent, also, are tired of the system of the British
government, [23] and feel the effect it has upon their
fluctuating property, here they will find the wide domain, the natural park, whose hills and boundaries are
beautifully capped with woods, inviting them to build
their dwellings and sit down in ease and content. These
parks are already stocked with deer, all which they may
purchase, where previous entry has not taken place, at
the land office price, two dollars per acre. These prairies
appear as if that eminent improver of parks and grounds
—Repton, had been consulted in laying them out to their
It has been reported that we can get no servants: this
is true in a degree, because the price of service is such,
as soon to elevate the servant to a state of independance:
but I have found no want of persons to work for hire,
even in domestic stations; those that are most wanted are
farming labourers; good ploughmen are in request, and
can obtain twelve dollars per month and their board.
Female servants from eight to ten dollars, according to their
respective merits; these are in great request; and what perhaps is to them still more pleasing, their industry is the certain road to marriage. Our young females are almost all
engaged in this way, and we certainly lose good servants,
[24] but have the pleasure of seeing them well settled.
'Humphrey Repton (1752-1818) was a well-known English landscape
gardener.— Ed. 1]
104 Early Western Travels [Vol.
Ifllr k*
Now, my dear Sir, as to the state of the settlement and
the progress it has already made.
On a tract of land from the little Wabash to the Bonpar*
on the Great Wabash, about seventeen miles in width,
and four to six from north to south, there were but a few
hunters' cabins, a year and a half since, and now there
are about sixty English families, containing nearly four
hundred souls; and one hundred and fifty American, containing about seven hundred souls, who like the English
for their neighbours, and many of whom are good neighbours to us. We have nothing here like loneliness. In
our circle of English acquaintance, as well as in that of
American settlers, we find companions who are often
found interesting and intelligent. In good deed and in
truth, here is, to the industrious, a source of wealth more
certain and productive than the mines of Golconda and
Peru. Industry of every kind has its ample reward: but
for the idle, the drunkard, and the vicious* there is no
chance; spirits are cheap, and a short existence is their
certain portion. All persons feeling anxieties that attend
agricultural pursuits may be released [25] from those
anxieties by emigrating to the Illinois.
Your newspapers, the Farmer's Journal in particular,
relate the particulars of the distress of the farmers, and
the ruin in which many of them are involved. It is in vain
that you petition for relief. By your own account your
ruin is inevitable, and your destruction sure. Escape
then to a land where the efforts of your industry will be
rewarded, and the produce of your labour will be your
own.  You will escape, not only from the tax-gatherer and
' A misprint for Bonpas. This stream flows almost directly south and forms
the present eastern boundary of Edwards County. It joins the Wabash about
forty-five miles below Vincennes.— Ed. ^^*
Flower's Letters
tithe-collector, but from the expence attending the frightful system of pauperism, which is constantly making demands, not only on your pecuniary resources, but calling
you to the most painful personal exertions.
In the extensive region from New York to this place, I
have had but one application for relief, and that was from
an Englishman.   In this country peace and plenty reign.
I have mentioned a scarcity of servants: this arises
much from emigrants bringing out with them a better
sort, or confidential servants: the only sort wanting are
females who can work in the kitchen, milk the cow and
attend to the dairy. All above this class can earn too
high wages by their needle. A good sempstress, [26]
earning a dollar per day, will soon quit servitude, and put
on the airs of American independance, with an addition
of some little insolence; but a cure is not unfrequently
wrought, and that by various easy methods.
A gentleman hired a female servant of this sort, who
would insist, as a condition, on sitting down at the dinner
table, with the family; her christian name was Biddy; the
condition was consented to, and a project for cure at the
same time engaged in:—A party was invited to dinner,
and Biddy took her place at the table, being above waiting, or being in any degree more than a help. When
anything was wanting, a gentleman arose from table and
offered it to Miss Biddy. Miss Biddy was asked to drink
a glass of wine, first by one gentleman and then by another.
Miss Biddy was desired not to trouble herself about any
thing, and was ceremoniously treated, till she felt the
awkwardness of her situation, and said, the next day to
her mistress,—"Madam, I had rather give up dining at
your table,"—which she did, continuing in their service
for some time.   I have had to do with people of the same .
Early Western Travels
[Vol. zo
cast, though not quite so foolish as Miss Biddy:—I have
hired persons to certain employments, and they have
been discontented [27] and spoiled by their notions of
equality: "Very good," said I; "we, then, are equal; I like
the idea much; it pleases me greatly: you, of course, mean
to take no money of me for what you please to do for me;
and, if that is the case, I shall be as perfectly satisfied with
your notion of things, as you appear to be; but, if you take
my money, you must perform the service I have pointed
out to you."—This perfect notion of equality does not
suit, although it is too reasonable to be much objected to.
It is generally supposed, that this high notion is of
republican origin; but it is the contrary, and originates in
the insolence of those who keep and domineer over slaves.
Any thing that a black is made to perform, is pronounced
unfit for whites; and, although many who have held slaves
as their property, are far inferior in understanding to the
slaves they hold, and are sometimes reduced to poverty,
they deem it degrading to perform any work that a slave
can perform; and those persons who, like myself, are far
from thinking all men equal in character, are little disposed to engage with such persons in any service. With
our superiority in our consistent love of freedom, and our
having escaped from political [28] slavery, we shall never
fail to oppose the extention, and even the continuance of
personal slavery.
The arguments for a state of slavery, urged by Americans, are just such as might be urged by Algerines for
taking the ships of America, and making slaves of her
seamen. Both consist in the right of force, and not of
reason or justice; and when a person hears members of
congress pleading the cause of slavery,—personal slavery,
—with the pretence they are my property, one cannot help 1819I Flower's Letters 107
blushing for human nature. Those who appear to love
freedom, both personal and political, making use of such
a pretence, forces the tear of sorrow from the eye of
humanity. One human being the property of another.
No! the whole race of mankind is the sole property of
their great universal parent; and he who enslaves another,
whether his skin be black, white, or intermediate, insults
the right of his God, and blasphemes the name of his
I rejoice, my dear friend, in the choice the English
have made of a free state; and am certain we shall be able
to cultivate from the services of free men, cheaper than
those who cultivate them by slaves.
But to return to our settlement and its infant [29] capital
Albion. Log houses, those cabins unpleasant to the
cleanly habits of Englishmen, the receptacles of the insect
tribe, are no longer erected. I have had the pleasure of
laying the first brick foundation in Albion; it is for an inn
where travellers I hope may find rest without disturbance
from insects. We have also nearly completed our market
house which is sixty feet by thirty. A place of worship
is began. Religion, I mean the outward form, has not
been unattended to: a selection from the Church of England service, and a sermon has been read on the sabbath
to a few persons assembled in a log room: our psalmody
is excellent, having some good musicians, and singers
amongst us. The Americans here think all who take
money for preaching, hireling ministers, and several well-
intentioned farmers preach to small assemblies in the
neighbourhood. The worship of God, and the keeping
his commands is the thing which I believe all will agree in,
as being the end to be produced by public worship. As
we have not, and I trust never shall have, that grand WW*
108 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
corruption of Christianity, an establishment formed and
supported by statesmen and politicians, I hope Christianity
in its original purity, will for ever flourish in the Illinois.
We intend also our place of worship for a library, [30] and
to open it on a Sunday afternoon; a day when all persons
have leisure to read, and are clean in their dress and
persons. The strict Sabbatarians will doubt the propriety of this proceeding; but any thing which will have a
tendency to promote moral and intellectual improvement,
and keep men from the vices of idleness and drinking, is
justified by him who put the question,—"Is it lawful to
do good on the sabbath?"
But to return from spiritual to temporal things. I
spoke of our market house being finished. The price of
provisions in this place is as follows.
A fine turkey, a quarter of a dollar.—Fowls, twelve
cents each.—Beef four to five cents per pound.— Mutton
none yet at market.—Eggs twelve and a half cents per
dozen.—Cheese thirty cents per pound.—Butter scarce,
owing to the heat of the climate, sixteen cents per pound.
—Bacon at this time fifteen cents per pound, half the
price in winter.—Flour nine dollars per barrel.—Deer, a
fine fat buck from one dollar to one dollar and a half
including skin.—Melons, such as cannot be procured in
England, twelve and a half cents each in great abundance.
—Honey of the finest flavour, one dollar per gallon.-^
Whiskey one dollar per gallon [31] retail.—Fine Hyson tea
two dollars per pound. Moist sugar thirty one cents.—
Coffee sixty-two cents per pound: wholesale from New
Orleans much cheaper.   Fine fish three cents per pound.
We leave it to the public to judge of our danger of starving, as some writers have hinted.
Here then you have the situation of our rising settlement;
progressing with rapidity in the eye of Americans, though i8i91
Flower's Letters
to Englishmen, setting and watching for fresh intelligence,
but slowly.
You ask me, dear Sir, whether there is any sale for books
here? We have no bookseller yet, and the writings of
your favourite authors, in defence of civil and religious
liberty, would not sell here: the love of civil and religious
liberty is unbounded in every Illinois heart; there are none
to dispute the truth of the principles of complete and perfect freedom; and when controversy ceases, controversial
writings must of course lose their interest.
I would not for the world invite persons, no! not a
single individual, if I did not think that his happiness
would be encreased: it may be said that I am an interested
person, and so are those who take such pains to prevent
persons from coming westward. Emigration [32] from
the eastern states, has already reduced the price of lands
When I passed New York, I heard a popular writer say,
"I'll be d d if I don't write down Birkbeck and the
• settlement:" those who are familiar with this writer's
usual phraseology in con' ersation, cannot, I think, be in
any great danger of mistake as to the person alluded to:1
how far he has succeeded, the public will be a proper
judge when they carefully peruse the facts I have stated,
and compare the evidence they receive from time to time
through the various channels from the Illinois. We have
here plenty of scribes, and the truth—the whole truth
will appear before both an American and British public.
I remain,
Your sincere friend,
Richard Flower.
* This statement was made by Cobbett; see Flower's note, post, p. 164.— Ed.
L Flower's Letters from the Illinois—January 18
1820-May 7, 1821
Reprint of the original edition: London, 1822
Price One Shilling
Letters from Lexington and the Illinois, 1819; containing a
Brief Account of the English Settlement in the latter territory, and
a Refutation of the misrepresentations of Mr. Cobbett. PREFACE1
Two of the following letters have before appeared in a
respectable periodical publication, in which the editor has
impartially inserted the communications of writers of
different opinions, on the subject of emigration;2 but as
they may be said to be a continuation of former letters,
and connected with those now for the first time published,
I have thought proper to insert them.
Readers who are desirous of forming just opinions on
this subject, are requested to bear in remembrance the
'This pamphlet was seen through the press by Benjamin Flower (1755-
1829), a brother of the author; he also contributed the Preface and the concluding Notes. Benjamin had started in life as a London tradesman; but
having failed, travelled for several years on the European continent as agent
for a Tiverton firm. Being in France during much of 1791, "the most innocent
part of the revolution," he became imbued with some of the ideas of the French
revolutionists; and although not a revolutionist in England, he entered the
lists as a Radical pamphleteer, bitterly attacking the English government for
engaging in war with France. Richard, a man of substance, and although a
Radical rather moderate in his views, was largely concerned in establishing the
Cambridge Intelligencer, a Radical organ. Benjamin was chosen editor, and
became widely known as a controversialist, Cobbett being one of his especial
bites noires. In 1799 he suffered six months' imprisonment in Newgate and the
payment of a fine of £100 for libelling the bishop of Llandaff, a political opponent. When released, he married a young aclmirer, set up as a printer, and
conducted the Political Register (1807-n). He wrote a life of Robert Robinson,
a famous Baptist minister and hymn writer, prefixed to editions of the tetter's
works (Harlow, 1807, 1812), also several pamphlets on political and family
matters. He was esteemed for his honesty and courage, but the vehemence of
his temper largely nullified his influence. Two of his daughters became well
known as musical composers — Eliza Flower (1803-46) wrote several political
hymns, and Sarah Flower Adams (1805-48) was the author of "Nearer to
Thee," often wrongly attributed to Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe.
A review of the pamphlet here reprinted will be found in die London Quarterly Review, xxvii, p. 71.— Ed.
* Monthly Repository, August and October, 1820.— B. Flower. pp
116 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
precise stations described in the following pages. However unworthy or base may have been the motives of certain writers, who have grossly calumniated the English
Settlement, there are others, [iv] to whom it would be
uncandid to impute such motives, but who are chargeable with misrepresentation, which appears to»have arisen
from their not having considered that the spots they are
describing are not those described by others; and that, of
course, it is not fair to charge others with statements they
have never made.
I have publications before me in which Mr. Birkbeck
and my brother are charged with unfairness in their statements, because they do not apply to the situations the
writers had chosen, one of which was fifty, and the other
four hundred miles from the English Settlement. There
are at the Illinois as in almost all other countries, situations
pleasant and unpleasant, healthy and unhealthy, and that
emigrant does not act a very wise part, who fixes on a
station unless he had carefully examined it himself, or at
least had the recommendation of some intelligent friend
who would scorn to mislead him.
Emigration to America, after all that has [v] been written
on the subject, and the various advantages it certainly
presents to different classes of society, is an affair of such
importance, that those who propose it should seriously reflect on the turn of their own mind, their disposition, habits,
circumstances, &c. Some who have emigrated to America find themselves as unhappy there as they were in their
own country. Those who are averse to labour, fond of
luxuries, and whose minds are rivetted to the artificial distinctions of society in Europe, have found to their cost,
that America is not the country for them; and unless they
can learn wisdom, and form resolution sufficient to alter 1820-1821]
Flower's Letters
some of their habits, and if not to despise, to regard with
indifference most of those distinctions, they can never be
reconciled to Republican manners and institutions. Respecting a few persons of this description at the Illinois,
one of the principal settlers exclaimed:—"What are such
people come here for ?"
For the Notes to the following letters, with "all their
imperfections on their head," I am [vi] solely responsible.—
I am not without apprehensions that there may be even
candid readers, who may think that in my Reflections on
Infidelity, Civil Establishments of Religion, b"c. I have
somewhat wandered out of my way: to such readers I beg
leave to offer a word or two by way of apology. True
religion, I consider as the most important concern of life;
and were I, when reflecting on the state of society which
too generally characterizes this globe, even its most civilized parts, and on the various follies and vices which have
so sadly deformed mankind — on the adversity of the
righteous, and the prosperity of the wicked,— were I not,
amidst such reflections, supported by divine consolations,
suggested by a firm belief in the Being and Providence of
God, and of the truth of the christian system which assures
us that "all things shall be subdued and reconciled
to HIM," I should indeed be "of all men the most miserable;" and, as I am firmly persuaded that the success of
the gospel is not more hindered by open infidelity than
by [vii] the corruptions of Christianity, I have from the circumstances which are stated in the following letters respecting the state of religion at the Illinois, thought proper
to express myself on the subject with my usual freedom.
So little has been done towards the restoration of primitive Christianity in this country for the two past centuries,
although there has been of late, an unusual bustle in the Early Western Travels
[Vol. 10
religious world,—so inveterate are the evils resulting from
STATECRAFT and PRIESTCRAFT united, that although I believe with a firm and unshaken faith, that the
kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our
Lord and of his Christ, I confess my ignorance as to the
period, and the means by which those glorious events predicted in the sacred writings will be accomplished. I
cannot however but indulge the hope that mankind will,
by observation and [experience, under the blessing of
heaven grow wiser; and that in the formation of new settlements, many of the evils referred to, may with proper care
be avoided. With this hope, I [viii] have endeavoured to
give a helping hand, however feeble, to those who have at
heart the best interests of their fellow creatures.
For the language I have made use of in exposing bad
men, and more particularly a notorious political impostor, who when indulging his deep-rooted prejudices and
violent passions, cares not how he throws off the common
feelings of humanity, or sets truth and decency, or the
principles of honour and honesty at defiance, scarce any
apology is necessary. Should any one think my language
too strong, I might plead the example of some of the
greatest and best men in different ages; but I shall confine myself to that of the sacred writers. The prophets
and apostles, yea, our Saviour himself, when describing
the COBBETTS of their day, have used much stronger
language than I have done; and if it be a duty at any
time to rebuke sharply, or as critics inform us the words
should be rendered, with a cutting severity, or cutting to
the quick, it is when we have to do with men of such a
[ix] In conclusion, I ask I hope no great favour in claiming on behalf of Mr. Birkbeck, my brother, and myself, that Flower's Letters
credit for our statements, until they are refuted by evidence, to which persons who have little character to lose,
cannot lay claim; and that we may on the present occasion
obtain belief when we have nothing to contradict us but
the confident language of a man "known to be wholly
indifferent to truth;" and who has, in the compass of
three months only, for his scandalous libels on private
characters,— on one of those occasions for having invented the atrocious charge of FORGERY against a
former associate — most deservedly smarted in a court of
justice. Should I, however unintentionally, have committed any mistake, I shall deem myself bound to acknowledge it. B. F.
Dalston, Jan.'i6th, 1822.
P. S. Mr Cobbett somewhere remarks — "That he
would sooner join the fraternity of gypsies in this country
than the settlement at the Dlinois." This is not so extravagant as some of his assertions, as he has proved himself pretty [x] well qualified, in one respect at least, for a
member of that fraternity; namely, by bis numerous
gipsy prophecies. To select one class only: — How frequently has he in terms the most unqualified and confident, predicted that the Bank of England would never
return to cash payments; how frequently has he fixed the
period beyond which it was impossible for bank-notes to
preserve their value! Perhaps he had in his eye the accomplishment of his favourite plan,— a general forgery
of those notes, as the grand means of bringing about his
predictions. Notwithstanding the complete failure of
those predictions, (and I could produce numerous instances of similar failure) he, although apparently sadly
mortified, goes on with his prophecies, and renews the fpp ^
120 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
senseless and injurious advice to the farmers, which he
has been giving them for many years past, but which he
knows, alas! they cannot follow — to hoard up the gold
"because in two years it will buy twice as much land as
it will buy now!" It was not many months since he gave
them the same advice respecting silver, assuring them
"that a bundle of silver would shortly prove a mine of
wealth."—Address to the Farmers. (Register Dec. 15).
In which publication Mr. C. has, in his language applied
to Mr. Webb Hall, so justly drawn his own picture, that
I hope the farmers will keep it constantly in view.—'' The
truth is, Mr. [Cobbett] is a conceited man with a great
deal of loose and indistinct stuff in his head; and, having
great power of front, he puts the stuff forth without hesitation. A modest man may be a weak man and yet not
deserve our contempt; but impudence and folly joined
claim as much of contempt as man can bestow."— If the
farmers can swallow such "stuff," they have indeed,
what Dr. South [xi] calls an "iron digesting faith," and
should the Jesuits visit this, as they are now visiting other
countries, they will doubtless consider Mr. Cobbett's
boasted "disciples" as well prepared to swallow down
the doctrine of Transubstantiation! LETTERS, &c.
Albion, Illinois, Jan. 18,1820.
Dear Sir,
My whole family, I think enjoy, since we have been here,
much better health than in England, and we have enjoyed
the fine Indian summer, which has lasted full two months,
of most charming temperature, the thermometer varying
from 70 to 75. We had only two wet days in November,
and one sudden change to 35 degrees; the weather in December was equally fine till Christmas-day, when we had
frost and snow much as in England, and since that time
some very cold days, the thermometer being below freezing, 22 degrees. We have now milder weather, but frost
and snow on the ground, and the thermometer again at
freezing, but gently thawing.
Our settlement has been remarkably healthy, and every
thing is going on tolerably well. You [10] will say tolerably
well has a suspicious sound; I will therefore allude to that
term in future, and state the inconveniences as well as the
pleasures of the autumn. We have experienced considerable inconvenience from drought, and been obliged
to draw water by carriage to the town, as the wells did not
supply the inhabitants with a sufficiency, and the people,
like the Israelites, murmured at us, the town proprietors,
as much as ever that stiffnecked people did at Moses. I
had no rock to strike, or power to raise water by miracle
of any kind, and therefore applied industry "and perse- 122 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
verance to make up this deficiency, and offered to supply
them with fine spring water at a quarter-dollar per barrel,
from a most delightful spring, found on my son George's
estate, only eight feet deep, and inexhaustible. I had
nearly two miles to draw it, but I lost nothing by my contract, and murmuring was allayed. This want of water
would have been a serious objection to our settlement if
it had been local, but it has been an unusual drought
throughout the whole of the Western country, such as has
been rarely experienced, and we have been much better
off than the people of Kentucky: it has also awakened our
energies, and within half a mile of the town an excellent
well has been opened, besides two [u] others at a mile and
a half, so that no lasting want has been known, only a
temporary inconvenience suffered.
I am rather particular on this subject, as report had
spread that our town had broke up, our people scattered,
and disease prevailed for want of water, all which was
notoriously false; and through mercy, I think there have
been fewer deaths in the number of inhabitants than in
any part of England.
Another inconvenience from this drought was, the burning of the prairies much earlier than usual. There is a
grandeur in this scene almost indescribable and somewhat
alarming. We see whole prairies, containing thousands
of acres, like a sea or lake of fire ascending; columns of
smoke so affect the air, that it is a complete fog, and painful to the eyes; but after a few days all is over; the sky
clear, and the air serene, but our herbage is gone. At
this season the cattle go into the barn: we pay a herdsman
to look after them, and if the weather is not immoderately
wet, they come out as fat as sheep from coleseed, and
afford profit to the grazier.   Our bullocks, which were 1820-1821] Flower's Letters 123
bought at sixteen or seventeen dollars last year, are now
selling at Albion Market, from twenty-eight to thirty-one
dollars each, paying nearly cent per [12] cent, for nine
month's keeping; thus we are this year principally graziers, having two hundred acres enclosed, and more enclosing. George will have a fine farm opened, an excellent
garden and young trees, and vegetables of the most luxuriant growth.
It ought not, however, to be concealed that we are much
in want of farming labourers; we with difficulty get a regular ploughman, and a ploughboy is still a scarcer commodity; and till we can get our prairies once broken, and
go with two horses without a driver, ploughing will be
difficult to be performed. Our people put on the independent airs of Americans, without either their natural
or noble independence, which disdains any thing like servitude; but, as if delighting to teaze us gave them great
pleasure, they quit their work suddenly and without
reason; but we greatly counteract this by keeping them
out of employ, and our money in our pockets, and pay the
Americans who come out and are always migrating for
a job of work, and then return to their farms. We are
also, in many instances, destitute of female servants, but
then we have plenty of helps, or charwomen, who will come
and work by the day or half-day, and then return to their
families. My wife has managed this business [13] admirably well: observing, their disposition, she hires them by
the hour, sees well to them for the time being, and generally
gets a usual day's work done in a few hours. This occasional assistance, in addition to the services of Mrs. C.
who we brought with us, and a woman servant, makes us
comfortably served.
On the return of Christmas day, we invited our party as I
■P..M Jw.
124 E<zr/y Western Travels [Vol. 1
at Marden, my late residence in Hertfordshire: we
assembled thirty-two in number. A more intelligent,
sensible collection I never had under my roof in my own
country. A plentiful supply of plumb pudding, roast beef
and mince pies were at table, and turkeys in plenty, having purchased four for a dollar the preceding week. We
found among the party good musicians, good singers; the
young people danced nine couple, and the whole party
were innocently cheerful and happy during the evening.
The company were pleased to say I had transferred
Old England and its comforts to the Illinois. Thus, my
dear Sir, we are not in want of society; and I would not
change my situation for any in America, nor for disturbed
or tumultuous England.
My efforts to assemble the people to public worship
have been successful!; our place is well attended, from
forty to fifty people, [14] and amongst our congregation
we often number a part of Mr. Birkbeck's children and
servants. Our singing is excellent; our prayers the
reformed Unitarian service. The sermons which have
been read are from an author I never met with in England, Mr. Butcher; they are, without exception, the best
practical sermons I have ever seen. Our Library-Room
is well attended in the afternoon; the people improving
in cleanliness and sobriety, recover the use of their intellectual faculties, and interest themselves in moral and
christian converse.
When I arrived at Albion, a more disorganized, demoralized state of society never existed: the experiment
has been made, the abandonment of Christian institutes
and Christian sabbaths, and living without God in the
world has been fairly tried. If those theologians in England who despise the Sabbath and laugh at congregational 1820-1821]
Flower's Letters
worship, had been sent to the English settlement in the
Illinois at the time I arrived, they would, or they ought to
have hid their faces for shame. Some of the English
played at cricket, the backwoodsmen shot at marks, their
favourite sport, and the Sunday revels ended in riot and
savage fighting: this was too much even for infidel nerves.
All this also took place at Albion; but when a few, a very
few, [15] better men met and read the Scriptures, and
offered prayer at a poor contemptible log-house, these
revellers were awed into silence, and the Sabbath at Albion
became decently quiet. One of its inhabitants, of an
infidel cast, said to me, "Sir! this is very extraordinary,
that what the law could not effect, so little an assembly
meeting for worship should have effected." "Sir," said
I, "I am surprised that you do not perceive that you are
offering a stronger argument in favour of this Christian
institute than any I can present to you. If the reading of
the Scriptures in congregation has had such efficacious and
such wonderful effects, you ought no longer to reject, or
neglect giving your attention to its contents, and its excellent religious institutions."
Thus, my dear Sir, my efforts for the benefit of others
have been greatly blessed. I appear at present more satisfied with my lot, because I appear to be more useful
than ever: in England all my attempts at usefulness were
puny compared to what they are here. Many people here
openly express their gratitude to me as the saviour of this
place, which, they say must have dispersed if I had not
arrived. This is encouraging to a heart wounded with
affliction as mine has been, and is urging me [16] on to plans
of usefulness. A place for education, a Sunday-school,
and above all, a Bible-society, if we increase, shall be my
aim and endeavour.   I have already abundant testimony II
126 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
that God will bless his word, and if the rest of my life
should be spent in such useful employment, my deathbed will be more calm than if I had been taken from life
before I had arrived at this period of utility. You will,
I trust, be able to appreciate the station Providence has
placed me in, and feel pleasure at this communication.
My house, which is nearly finished, is a comfortable one,
and can boast a roof that neither Hertford nor Marden
could. It stands the most drenching rains and drifting
snows without letting in any wet. I described it in my
former letters; and while I am satisfied with the comfort
it affords, the Americans behold it with surprise.
You would have been much amused if you had been
with us a few weeks since, when I had a visit from Captain
Burke,8 a sensible and intelligent backwoodsman. He
paid me a short visit, put off his business that he might
fetch his wife, which he did; we thought we saw through
the plan; he returned with her the next day,""and we felt
disposed to gratify their [17] curiosity. '' There wife," said
he, "did you ever see such fixings ?" He felt the paper,
looked in a mirror over our chimney-piece which reflected
the cattle grazing in the field before the house, and gazed
with amazement. But turning from these sights to the
library,—' 'Now," said he to my wife, "does your old gentleman" (for that is my title here) "read those books ?"
"Yes," said she, "he has read most of them."—"Why
if I was to read half of them, I should drive all the little
* Captain Jeremiah Birk shared with Daniel Boone and many other pioneers,
in the Western wilderness, the feeling that life in a settlement was too crowded.
Emigrating from Tennessee, he lived with his family alone on the prairies until
the arrival of the English settlers. He obtained his title of captain by commanding a company of scouts along the Canadian frontier during the War
of 1812-15. Illinois becoming too thickly settled to please him, he soon moved
across the Mississippi River.— Ed. 1820-1821] Flower's Letters 127
sense in my head out of it." I replied'that we read to increase our sense and our knowledge; but this untutored
son of nature could not conceive of this till I took down a
volume of Shaw's Zoology.4 "You, Mr. Burke, are an
old hunter, and have met with many snakes in your time.
I never saw above one in my life; now if I can tell you
about your snakes and deer, and bears and wolves, as
much or more than you know, you will see the use of
books." I read to him a description of the rattle-snake,
and then shewed him the plate, and so on. His attention
was arrested, and his thirst for knowledge fast increasing.
"I never saw an Indian in my life, and yet," said I, "I
can tell you all about them." I read again and shewed
him a coloured plate. "There," said he, "wife, is it not
[18] wonderful, that this gentleman, coming so'many miles,
should know these things from books only? See ye,"
said he, pointing to the Indian, "got him to a turn."
In short, I never felt more interested for an hour or two, to
see how this, man's mind thirsted after knowledge; and
though he dreaded the appearance of so many books, he
seemed, before he left us, as if he could spend his life
amongst them.
Our library is now consolidated; and that the kind intentions of yourself and others may not be lost, and that your
names may live in our memories and be perpetuated to
future generations, I have conveyed all the books presented
to us, in trust to the proprietors of the town, for the use of
the Albion Library; writing the names of the donors in
them; and in my next letter I shall, pro forma, be able to
convey to you our united thanks for the books presented.
4 George Shaw (1751-1813), the well-known English naturalist. His great
work was General Zoology, or Systematic Natural History (London, 1800-26),
which after his death was extended to a total of fourteen volumes.— Ed. 128
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 10
Our little library is the admiration of travellers, and Americans say we have accomplished more in one year, than
many new settlements have effected in fifty— a well supplied market, a neat place of worship, and a good library.
Park House, Albion, June 20, 1820.
I have not written many letters to my friends in England, because I was determined not to state any thing on
presumption, or of mere opinion, but only matters of fact,
which must stand uncontradicted, and bear the test of
I proceed to state to you the circumstances which we are
now in; and you will my dear Sir, feel satisfaction at my
being able to give you the pleasing account, that, after
nearly a twelvemonth's residence, there is no foundation for
reasonable complaint. Every workman or artificer has
abundance of employment at a price that will procure him
a plentiful subsistence; and at this time our little town is
amply supplied, with not only the necessaries of life, but
even its luxuries. I have a comfortable habitation, containing four rooms and a hall on the ground floor, and five
chambers above: two wings are added which contain
kitchen, china closet, dairy, and an excellent cellar. My
farm produces, as it did at Marden, good beef and mutton,
with abundance of [20] poultry, eggs, milk, cream, butter,
and cheese. I am quite at home again, and am writing
to you surrounded by the same library standing in the
same relative situation, in my large easy chair, and enjoying every earthly comfort. I have the happy absence of
tax-gatherers, and am never galled with tithe or poor-
rate collectors. 1820-1821]
Flower's Letters
Our settlement, thank God, is remarkably healthy, and
my family and self have never enjoyed better health than
in the situation which some of your reviewers and critics
call "the swamps of the Wabash." There is no situation
in the habitable globe in which less sickness and fever have
taken place in the given period of twelve months, and the
evil reports that have been spread about, applied only, in
a small degree, to the large party of settlers who, on their
arrival, took shelter in the woods, finding none of the conveniences prepared for them which they had reason to
expect. All is going on here to the full as well as can be
expected or hoped; and if the British settlement does
not prosper, it will be the fault of the settlers only.
As to religion, the form of it is now regularly attended
to by many, and all have the [21] means of assembling on
the Sunday at our small but neat place of worship. We
read the Reformed or Unitarian Liturgy, the Scriptures,
and Sermons from our best English authors. Our place
of worship is likewise our library-room. Religion in the
outward form is by no means ostentatious, notwithstanding which, we have a large portion of good, sober and
industrious people amongst us, who, I trust, by a virtuous
example and keeping alive religious feelings, will be ultimately successful in preserving true religion amongst the
people of the Illinois.
But to return from spiritual to temporal concerns: I
imagine you asking,— Are there then no inconveniences ?
There are. We have not a sufficiency of female servants,
on account of the frequency of marriage, which is constantly depriving us of those we have; and although I have
hitherto been well off, yet I am fearful we may be as others
are, inconvenienced for want of them. Boys for either
plough or house work are scarce, but the entire absence of pp»
130 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
pauperism more than amply compensates for these privations. How much I regret that more of the overflowing
population of England cannot find [22] their way here,
exchanging their poverty for plenty of employment and
good fare.
We have East and West India produce in abundance;
silks, crapes, &c. such as you in England only can procure by a breach of the laws. On the first day that I
dined at the tavern which I had just finished building in
Albion, I drank bottled porter as cheap as in London,
. and had fine English salt at half the price I paid for it in
England. Thus I find I have escaped the ruinous system
of taxation which has reduced so many thousands to
beggary or the workhouse, and so many of the middling
classes to a state of pinching want, whom I have seen shivering through the winter over a few coals called a fire,
because their limited means would not afford a cheerful
A great advantage in settling in the Illinois, rather than
many other parts of America, is the state of society
amongst us. Most of the persons who emigrate here,
are those who have diminished their former fortunes;
persons who have received good education, but are unable to sustain their stations in England. There is no arrogance in saying our circle of society is far superior to that
in most of the villages in our native country. Except the
parson, the [23] squire, and the principal farmers, what is
the society of many of the English hamlets but rude and
uncultivated? Here it is different; for within the circle
of a few miles, there is more good company (I mean well-
educated persons) than in the same circle in most parts of
We frequently find superior   education and intefli- 1820-1821] Flower's Letters 131
gence among the sons of the plough and the axe, to those
in like situations in England. A person lately offered me
bis services to split boards for me: we agreed for price. I
observed a correctness in his pronunciation and manner
of speaking, apparently far above his situation. I attended
him to the woods; he had with him two younger men than
himself. The first singularity that appeared was, after
taking off their clothes, (having first ground their axes)
a nail or two were driven into a tree, on which were hung
handsome gold watches. These men were well educated,
understood geography, history, European politics, and the
interesting events that now so much excite the attention
of mankind. I went into my field the other day, and
began a conversation with my ploughman: his address and
manner of speech, as well as his conversation [24] surprised me. I found he was a colonel of militia, and a
member of the legislature; he was indeed a fit companion
for men of sense; and where will you find persons of this
class in England with equal intelligence ?
Of the particular news of this place, there is one piece
•of intelligence that will surprise you; the author of "Letters
from the Illinois," (Mr. Birkbeck) has opened a place of
worship at Wanborough; he officiates himself, and reads
the Church of England Service, so that Wanborough is the
seat of orthodoxy, and our place stands, as a matter of
course, in the ranks of heresy ?
There is an opinion prevailing amongst many in England, that the marriage ceremony in America is considered
lighdy of, and but loosely performed; but there never was
a greater mistake. A minor cannot marry without the
consent of his or her guardian or parent. A license must
be applied for at the county court, and a declaration accompanying it from the parent, that it is with his consent. 132 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
This license is taken to a magistrate who performs the ceremony, that is, the legal part of it, at either his own house
or that of the parties; which is simply asking if they are
willing to become man and wife, and their answer of consent. This is registered at the magistrates, and recorded
by him at the county court: if [25] either neglect to make
this register, a heavy fine is the punishment of their negligence, and the marriage is considered illegal. This is
legal marriage in the Illinois; but both the magistrates
inquire of the parties, and the law allows of any addition
of a religious kind, that they may choose, and we adopt
the vows of the marriage service of the Church of England,
which are as solemnly put and answered, as if performed
by a person in canonical habits before the altar.
Marriages here take place so frequently, that we are
certainly in want of female servants; even our Mrs. C,
who lived with us upwards of twenty-five years, and is
turned of fifty, has not escaped; she is married to a Mr.
W., having first refused Monsieur R., an Italian gardener,
of very polite manners, and who may be said to have seen
a little of the world, as he marched from Italy to Moscow
with Bonaparte, back to France, and proceeded from
thence to this place: he was tall and majestic in person,
made very elegant bows to Madame C, and spoke English
enough to assure her he had the highest esteem for her,
and would marry her to-morrow if she would consent;
but all in vain, plain John Bull [26] carried the day. We
have had ten or twelve marriages within three or four
months. This, I think, is settling the Illinois pretty fast,
and a good proof that Cobbett has not, as he threatened,
'written us down;' nor is there any sign of abandonment,
but a good prospect, of increase of population, even if emigration should dimmish. 1820-1821] Flower's Letters 133
We hear news from England sufficient to appreciate the
wretched situation of our native country, and the disturbed
state of Europe in general. We see, or think we see
most plainly, the phial of God's wrath pouring forth on
guilty nations; and England, notwithstanding its pulpit
flatterers, in the church and out of the church, is tasting
of that wrath. It appears to me that we have great cause
for gratitude in escaping divine judgments, and finding an
asylum where we may, I hope, rest in peace.
I see, on looking from my window, the golden harvest
waving before me; a beautiful field of wheat, the admiration of the country, the first fruit of my son's industry in
this kind of grain.
My wife and family enjoy excellent health, and spirits,
and had not the Almighty hand [27] smote me in my ten-
derest part, by sending his awful messenger to call my
dear son William away,5 the days of my emigration would
have been the happiest of my life.
March 26,1821.
As to the settlement in general, I consider it most prosperous, making, comparing it with many new ones, the
most rapid strides to comfort and prosperity: our little
town, now the capital of the English Settlement • has a
store which supplies us with luxuries. A market with
abundance of meat, poultry, and vegetables, so that persons with very limited incomes might live here in comfort.
•William Flower, second son of Richard, died at Lexington, Kentucky,
apparently of heart disease, in the winter of 1818-19. See George Flower's
"English Settlement in Edwards County, Illinois," in Chicago Historical Society Collections, i, p. 131.— Ed.
•Albion was made the county seat of Edwards County in 1821.— Ed. 134 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
A person with ioo per Annum would be in affluence, which
you will say is owing to the cheapness of provisions;7
and freedom from tythes, taxes, poor's rates, &c. The
labourer or mechanic who is steady, can work himself into
plenty. [28] We are relieved entirely from the dreadful
state of pauperism witnessed before I left England. My
wife, with others of our acquaintance, have not had
such good health for twenty years past. Mrs. Flower
rides twenty miles a day, on horse back, with ease. I wish
you could visit my old servant T. S. on one of the pleas-
antest situations in the world, with his nice garden, his
cows, pigs, and poultry about him; his wife and children
contented and happy. Perhaps were you to come suddenly upon him, eggs and bacon with a hastily got up
chicken might be your fare; but if you gave him a day's
notice, you would see a haunch of venison, or a fine cock
turkey on the table. How long would Tom have fagged
in England, although he had double his wages, before he
could have possessed himself of two hundred acres of
good land, and been placed in such affluence. Here, indeed, it may be truly said that the hand of the diligent
maketh rich. We have here and there an idle person, but
Providence has given them an industrious help-mate; and
I know two instances of females earning from six to eight
dollars a week by their needles; enough for them to keep
comfortable tables.
I have felt great satisfaction in never having [29] invited any one to emigrate, and still greater in finding those
who came here out of regard to my opinions, in such situations of ease and comfort, as not only to contribute to
their own happiness, but to add greatly to mine. I may
say that those who have asked and taken my advice have
7 Flower's Letters from [Lexington and] the Illinois, 1819.— B. Flower. 1820-1821]
Flower's Letters
succeeded to their wishes; and in all cases which have
come to my knowledge, where affairs have been conducted
with industry and tolerable discretion, they have occasion
to be thankful for the change they have made from the
old world to the new. Our population increases. We
want in particular more tailors and shoemakers: any one
understanding the coarse earthen-ware manufactory
would meet with great success.— I have just finished a
flour mill on an inclined plane, which has given fresh
spirit to agriculture. Distilleries are also building. It is
a happy circumstance that while industry is attended with
certain success, vice, drunkenness, and idleness are no
better off than in Europe; the effect of this will be to give
the virtuous that natural ascendancy over the vicious
which they ought always to have. We read in the newspapers of all the bustle you have had about your queen;8
but if it ends without the people regaining their long lost
liberties, between the [30] collision of the different factions, you will only be worse off; and if the regaining of
those liberties will not rouse the people to the same exertions for themselves as they have made for their queen, we
must smile at their oppressions and say they deserve
Park House, Albion, Aug. 20, 1821.
Dear Sir,
Some of my letters, written in 1819, appeared through
the medium of the press; and some of the English Reviewers, after a candid criticism, observed, that they should be
* Flower here refers to the excitement in England in favor of the Queen,
upon George IVs attempt to divorce her. See Walpole, History of England, i
pp. 573-606.— Ed.
zm wqm
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 10
glad to hear from me at some future period. Several
other persons also have expressed a strong desire to have
an account of our present situation and future prospects.
In compliance therefore, with their wishes, I most cheerfully resume my pen, with the assurance that what I have
written may be relied upon as an impartial and candid
statement of facts.
Various are the reports which have been circulated in
the private circle, and by means of the press, concerning
the state of this settlement; [31] and great has been the
anxiety which many friends have expressed on our account. It is my purpose therefore, to examine the principal reports which travellers have given of us.
When any one returns to England, though he may have
visited us but a few days, he obtains a credence far above
those who have only hear-say reports to communicate;
whether his visits were made during the winter, amidst
rains or snows, or in the summer, when an unparalleled
drought pervaded the whole western country. Is so transitory a view to be considered as a just description of the
soil, the climate, the advantages or disadvantages of the
British Settlement in the Blinois? Surely not. I am
informed even of some accounts which have been written
from settlements above fifty miles distant from us, where
circumstances are so very different, that they bear no
resemblance to the situation in which we have located.
These statements have been brought forward in opposition to the indisputable facts which have been given by
us, and they no more apply to this place, than a description of the lowlands of Essex and Lincolnshire can apply
to the high and dry situations of Shooter's-hill or Black-
heath. I therefore request the reader's [32] attention to
a few observations on the various reports which travellers Flower's Letters 137
have circulated of the English settlements at the Illinois.
I must first be allowed to remark on the want of competency of some very confident writers to form any judgment of our real situation; they appear to be wholly unacquainted with the history of the new settlements, and
from this defect are unfitted to form a right judgement
of our comparative and relative advantages. Hence the
incongruous and contradictory accounts which have been
given of our soil, climate, and agricultural concerns. Of
the many who have visited us there are two individuals
whose reports I hear gain some credence amongst my
country men; I shall therefore confine my attention chiefly
to the accounts they have given of us, and then examine
those reports which have been raised from deep-rooted
enmity and determined self-interest. These, with a brief
account of our present situation and future prospects
shall be the remaining subject of this letter.
One of these travellers visited us when the snows were
melting, and the rains descending: he reports us to be
dwelling upon the swamps of the Wabash; and our lands
to be so wet that they are unfit for either cattle or sheep
to [33] thrive on; and on that account unsuitable for the
purposes of an English farmer.
Another passed through our country in an unparalleled
drought, and reported us to be in a sad situation for want
of water. There was some degree of truth in this, but a
very partial degree, owing to his not stating the circumstances of the case. Our town is situated very high, and
till we had experienced some drought we knew not that
we should want to dig deep for water, and of course could
not provide for an exigency that was not known to exist.
t(Dig deep" I have said; but one hundred feet is thought,
by a western American to be a vast and dangerous enter-
y p»   '-
Early Western Travels
prise; we have however with us Englishmen who have
been far into the bowels of the earth in England, and have
no sort of fear of there not being abundance of water in
Albion; already have we experienced the benefit of these
exertions; but while our dry-weather traveller was reporting our inconveniences, he should have stated it was
an unusual season which pervaded the whole of the western country: that Kentucky and Ohio were worse than the
Illinois; and that in Indiana, in the best watered districts,
springs, rivulets, and wells were exhausted. Such an
instance has never before occurred [34] during the memory of the oldest inhabitants. The same person (who I
know would not willingly give a false account) has stated
that so short was the water that we were obliged to send
our cattle into Indiana.— That our herds were in Indiana
is very true, but that they were sent there on account of
want of water, is equally untrue. We have in Indiana
about twelve miles distant, some high ground in the midst
of low land, subject to be overflowed; on this low ground
grows the most luxuriant cane, springing to an extraordinary height; the tender shoots of which, affording excellent food for cattle, we send them in the winter season,
with the exception of milch cows and working oxen, to
fatten. Our custom is somewhat similar to that of -the
farmers of the upland districts in England, who send their
stock into the fens of Lincolnshire to fatten on coleseed
and superabundant grass. So we dispose of our herds
when the winter draws to a close. To this may be added,
that the cane in the low river bottoms, growing naturally
is the most luxuriant pasturage for summer feeding: and
as we only pay the expense of the herdsman, the food either
there or in the cane costing nothing: and the herdsman
living there we leave our herds; so it was true that they 1820-1821] Flower's Letters 139
[35] were in the cane, but were not sent there on account
of the want of water. When this person reported that
there was shortness of water amongst us, he should have
added, that fine wells were no rarity in the vicinity of
Albion; that he drank as fine water from our well as he
ever tasted in his life; and that from the grounds of Richard and George Flower, Albion, and even a part of Wanborough were supplied.
It will therefore appear that this person, as well as many
others, told the truth, but very partially, and not the whole
truth, and on that account are not to be depended on. At
the very time he was visiting us a person from Kentucky,
assured us that we were better off than they were at Kentucky and Ohio.9
Another person who visited us on purpose to examine
and spy out the land of evil report, went back to Baltimore
and brought his family, stating in his travels that he had
not met with such good water as at this place. This same
traveller has reported our soil to be poor, and our inability
to raise a sufficient quantity of provisions for ourselves,
and that we are still dependant on the Harmonites: in
this he only shews his [36] want of knowledge of the history
of new settlements and their progress. Every person
knows that the second year is the most unprofitable: the
first year being spent in building and fencing, little produce is raised: but then all settlers of property bring a
supply with them to make up for this certain deficiency;
but capital being somewhat exhausted, and an increase of
population still continuing, must of necessity keep a new
settlement short of self-supplies; but when to this was
added an extraordinary drought, is it a matter of surprise
that the crops should in some degree have been scanty;
• See Note A.— B. Flower.
zm «p-
140 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
but at the time I am writing, almost every thing these
travellers have said of the Illinois, is happily reversed:
they are the remarks of very superficial observers; though
they may be in some degree true at the moment they were
written, they are no fit representations [of] the Illinois;
either as to its soil, climate, or general character; could I
but set these very travellers down here at this moment, how
would their astonished senses give contradiction to their
own accounts!
We have now what the Americans tell us is a usual
specimen of the seasons of the Illinois. Frequent rains,
with the heat more moderate than the last year. Agriculture is beaming forth [37] in its glory. If some of our
travellers to whom I have alluded were now here, they
would see some of the finest wheat crops their eyes ever
beheld: they would witness the most luxuriant crops of
natural grasses, now gathering for the supply of winter
food; also fine plants of artificial grasses well set in our
inclosures; they would acknowledge that the corn crops
were as abundant, or more so than any they had before
witnessed in the United States; but as they are not here I
must inform you that our corn crops upon good tillage
have the appearance of from sixty to eighty bushels; and
in some instances the Americans, who are the best judges,
say one hundred bushels per acre. If this is the usual
season of the Illinois, which can scarcely be doubted, as
it answers the character given by those longest resident,
then is the Illinois one of the finest countries under heaven
for human beings to dwell in; one of the most delightful
given to man for his residence.
Another traveller has stated that the Illinois is in general
low and swampy, but that Mr. Flower's family,
or two others, had placed their houses upon rising ground. 1820-1821] Flower's Letters 141
This gentleman must either be naturally or willfully [38]
blind. He might have found, within a circuit of five miles
round Albion, numerous pleasing elevations, all so inviting
that the beauty which they presented to the admiring eye
of the settler, would be the only difficulty in the way of
instant decision.
Then comes another objector, armed with an un answerable question?—"But what will you do with your
produce ?" This objection only needs to be examined to
be refuted. The answer is, that for the present our home
market will take all we raise, and if our population increases in future as it has done during the present year,
and the probability is that, it will increase much faster,
no foreign market will be wanted for ten or a dozen years
to come. Our infant town has taken root, and is growing
luxuriantly. It has increased one hundred in the number
of inhabitants since last September, and its vicinity has
added seventy to their number. Our mill is at work, and
can grind the produce now raised; and a distillery and
brewery will shortly be at work, so that the su[r]plus of
several years will not raise more than a sufficiency for the
population. We have also in the settlement some small
plantations of tobacco, hemp, and cotton, articles which
we [39] at present import; it will therefore be a work of
some time to raise a sufficiency for our own consumption.
Another article of produce is wool. Since I have been
here I have turned my attention to an important object
which engaged much of my attention in my native country
—the breeding of sheep, and have succeeded to the utmost of my wishes and expectations. My flock consists
of about four hundred sheep and lambs; and although the
first winter there were unexpected difficulties to encounter,
I can assure my countrymen that it has been more healthy
' 1 I _*
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 10
this last year than any I ever had, or ever heard of in England ; but as I intend giving an account of my success in
this branch of agriculture in some future letter, it will be
sufficient to say, that although I can grow in the Illinois
a profitable export, at present its produce is wanted, and
all that can be raised for years to come, will be wanted at
home. We have therefore not only a market for our extra
produce around us, but we have also a foreign market at
New Orleans, and through it to the market of the world.
If it be said that owing to our situation, we labour under
peculiar disadvan[ta]ges, all is reduced to the price of land
carriage, of about nine miles to the Wabash, [40] at sixteen
cents per hundred pounds. If therefore it is said that our
surplus produce cannot be disposed of, it is not applicable
to local circumstances alone; but to all America. Whenever the United States in general can dispose of their produce advantageously, the Illinois can do the same; and
we are more contiguous to navigation than the great proportion of the interior of America.
The report which has injured us most is the want of
that blessing, without which all that this world can give
is but of little avail —Health. Reports of sickness which
never existed, and of deaths which happily never took
place, have been most industriously circulated; the fact is,
that there has seldom been a new settlement which has
suffered so little loss by death; or which has been so free
from sickness. The number of deaths has been in the
ratio of four in ninety-five each year, and this is a smaller
number than in most places in the habitable globe, where
the records of such events have been preserved. Many
of its inhabitants have with myself, enjoyed far better
health, than in their native country; so that I may safely
conclude, after two years residence, with the information 1820-1821] Flower's Letters 143
of those who were here a year and a half before me, that
[41] there scarcely existed in the habitable globe, a place
where the inhabitants have enjoyed so large a share of
this invaluable blessing.
As to our future prospects they are truly flattering, in
the probability of increasing population, now the clouds
and mists which malignity has spread abroad are disappearing, before the light of truth, as the mists of morning disappear before the light and the heat of the sun: the
well-grounded hopes of future harvests, arising from the
rich abundance of the present; the perseverance and industry of a large portion of our settlers; the excellent materials for building, and the increasing number of fine wells
of water, all present a most encouraging and delightful
Another testimony in favour of our situation is, that
some of our countrymen who have settled in other places,
have visited us, expressing their surprise and regret that
they had been the dupes of false reports, and had stopped
short of the Illinois. While others more prudently came
down from Cincinnati, and even Baltimore to visit this
land of evil report, minutely examined for themselves,
returned to bring their families, and are contented with
their lot.
Another remark was made by certain writers, [42] that
although we had improved our situation as to animal enjoyments, we had sacrificed intellectual pleasures, because
I stated, in one of my letters, that there were no booksellers here, and that the necessary business which could
not be avoided in a new settlement, left us but little time
for reading. Hasty conclusion! Many of us brought out
ample libraries of our own, and we have also a standing
library in our little town; which is supplied with news- wm
144 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
papers and periodical publications. Those who emigrated to the Illinois were not altogether illiterate; a majority of them were quite of a contrary description; and
as to agricultural knowledge, there are very few spots on
the face of the earth, where it is so much concentrated, as
at the Illinois, having farmers from almost all the different
counties in England. There are likewise, several American, Dutch, and French farmers, gardeners, and vine
dressers in our neighbourhood.
The reports of the wickedness and irreligion of our
settlement, with a view to prevent individuals from joining us, have been industriously spread far and near. That
there is a diversity of character in every part of the globe,
will not be denied; that this diversity exists here is equally
true; and that a portion of its inhabitants [43] is of an
immoral cast, will be as readily admitted; that we have
not left human nature with its infirmities and propensities
behind us is equally a fact; and even if it should be admitted, that unhappily, a larger portion of the dissipated,
the idle, and the dissolute are to be met with in new
countries than is usually to be found in old ones, yet we
have the same antidote for these mischiefs:—the light
shining in a dark place. We have public worship and
ample supplies of sermons from pious practical preachers,
from the Catholic to the Socinian Creed,10 which are read
on the Sabbath. But above all we have the incorruptible
seed of the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever;
and it is with pleasure I can assure my readers, that there
is an increasing congregation, and I trust, increasing religion amongst us.   But if it was otherwise, surely this
10 Socinianism was belief in the tenets or doctrines of Faustus Socinus, an
Italian theologian of the sixteenth century, who denied the trinity and divinity
of Christ, affirming that Christ was a man divinely commissioned.— Ed. 1820-1821] Flower's Letters 145
should be rather an argument for persons of religious zeal
to join us, who have emigration in view; to come over to
Macedonia and help us, rather than shrink from such a
task. At least it is not apostolic or evangelic feeling that
would draw a different conclusion.
When I was at Philadelphia a lady of the Society of
Friends addressed me most emphatically on the subject:—
"Wilt thou, friend [44] Flower, take thy family to that
infidel and wicked settlement in the Hlinois? Thou
appearest to be a christian; how wilt thou answer to thy
God for endangering the precious souls of thy dear children?" Madam, answered I, my destiny appears to be
in the Illinois settlement; and rather than turn from
thence on the account you have mentioned, you have furnished me with a forcible argument to proceed. I trust I
am as you have supposed a sincere christian, and as it is
my special duty to go where reformation is so necessary,
I will endeavour to perform it, and hope for the blessing of
the Most High. It is for us to use the means. We know
who it is to command success in our present state and
future prospects."
It may be worth while to make a few remarks on the
characters, situations, and apparent motives of some of
those persons by whom we have been misrepresented and
The first class that opened their batteries of illiberal
abuse, were the ministerial and hireling writers in England." The emigration of Englishmen, in the Illinois it
appears did not please the masters whom these writers
serve; and this is sufficient to account for their [45] con-
a See Note B.— B. Flower.
u Regarding the attitude of the English government, at the time, towards
emigration to America, see Preface to the present volume.— Ed. !  ,    :
146 Early Western Travels [Vol. 1
duct: as usual, they were not very nice, in the means they
made use of. Private characters were assailed indiscriminately, and motives imputed to the emigrants which
never entered their minds. The grand reason for emigration was to escape that overwhelming system of taxation which had diminished the property of the emigrants,
and threatened if they staid much longer, to swallow up
the whole. Their conduct has proved their discernment,
and justified their proceedings.
How many of my brother farmers have lost their all!
How many have been added to the list of paupers since we
left our beloved country, newspapers and private letters,
agricultural meetings and parliamentary proceedings and
reports, sufficiently declare. Happy had it been for many
others, if they had accompanied us: some who have followed us have lamented their indecision, and have felt the
fatal consequences of their lingering in their own country.
The motives and views of this first class of revilers, is too
obvious to need fa[r]ther notice.
Another writer, who is, or rather who was once popular,
whom I met at New York, passionately expressed his determination to write us down: amongst much false reasoning
which [46] he made use of for this purpose, it is greatly
to be feared he also cared but little for truth; and I have
often wondered what could be his motive ? Whether he
had some other settlement at heart; or whether he wished
to keep all emigrants near him to persuade them to enter
into his grand plan of inundating England with forged
Bank of England notes!!—One thing however is decidedly
clear; that he knew nothing about what he was writing;
and our present success, surrounded by so many comforts,
is a sufficient proof he did not do us all the harm he intended.   Were he to ride over our fine prairies, viewing I*pf^
Flower's Letters
our flocks, herds, and corn fields, such ocular demonstration of the falsehood of his statements would be to him a
sufficient mortification."
But there is another class of men of a very different sort;
those who were raising rival settlements, in various parts
of America, and who had lands for sale: who longed to
stop the cash which seemed to be pouring into the lap of
the Illinois. It was natural for them, as human nature
is constituted, to attempt to arrest its progress; they therefore joined the hue and cry against the Illinois, and spread
reports [47] of sickness, starvation, famishing for thirst,
frequent deaths, and the consequent abandonment of our
settlement. In this they in some instances succeeded, and
as I have before hinted, some have visited us who speak
of their having been entrapped, and express the deep regret
that they did not join us. Facts however soon began to
dispel the illusion: one gentleman brought his family to
Cincinnati, several families visited Baltimore, who notwithstanding the evil tidings that they had heard ventured,
although with fearful apprehensions, to the English settlement: but singular as it may appear to our calumniators,
after a most minute investigation into our situation and
circumstances, in the autumn of the year they could not
find a sick person throughout the settlement: nor was the
drought which certainly inconvenienced us, peculiar or
local; it raged throughout the western country. They
were satisfied, and went to fetch their families, who are
now residents amongst us to their entire satisfaction. It
is no wonder then, that the falsehoods and calumnies
which have been so industriously spread, are at length
found to be such; and that the character and motives of
the persons who have assailed us are duly appreciated:
u See Note C.— B. Flower.
II 148 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
and, as a consequence of these and [48] other circumstances
one hundred individuals have joined the town of Albion,
and about twenty have settled in its environs since last
Notwithstanding all I have stated, I would not have my
countrymen consider me as inducing them to emigrate,
without serious and due consideration of their own circumstances; but rather consider me as advising them if
they do emigrate to America, to come and unite with us
in the Illinois; resting assured that what I have stated is
truth —■ impartial truth.
It is a trial of no mean sort to quit one's native country,
and separate ourselves from those for whom we have the
sincerest friendship and regard. The privations however
of a first settlement are at an end: we may now indeed
say "the way is smoothed for them;" and it rests with us
who are now settled to be prosperous, contented, and
happy. It is equally our duty and our interest, to consider well the blessings we enjoy at this place of abounding
plenty. Many of you my countrymen, can look back on
the frightful abyss of pauperism and starvation which you
have escaped, and should lift up your hearts in gratitude
to God for his mercies vouchsafed to you. Forget not
who it is that has preserved your lives and prolonged [49]
your days; blessed you with so much health; preserved
you from the arrow that flieth at noon day; and the pestilence that walketh in darkness. Remember that it depends
upon your virtuous endeavours, how great, how good, and
how happy the settlement in the Illinois shall be. Eradicate the stain which report has cast on your moral and
religious characters; and may your example be such as to
influence the formation of character of this place; that
your ways may be ways of pleasantness, and all your paths 1820-1821]
Flower's Letters
be peace. Remember that without virtue happiness cannot exist. Let future generations rise up and call you
blessed; so that you may, on your departure from this
life, rest satisfied that your emigration to the Illinois proved
the means of your increasing welfare and happiness in
time and eternity.
Wanborough, 1
: 1821.
Regarding the abuse which people have indulged in
about my undertakings, and my accounts of them, I find
little difficulty in taking it quietly. I have spent four
years in this country, and now every day furnishes fresh
proofs of the correctness of my early impressions, so complete as to excite a degree of astonishment at my good
fortune in conjecturing rightly, and occasionally something
of self-congratulation, under the hope that partial friends
may give me a little credit for sagacity.
A statistical account of this country, by the time I had
finished it, and long before it could reach you, would need
correction. Satisfied as I am, to a degree of occasional
exultation, with the condition of my own farm, and my
prospects as an American cultivator, so rapid and certain
is the progress of improvement, that I should not be flattered by your reading, six months hence, an account of
its present state. Besides, enough has been already
written to shew the candid public that all our [51] reasonable expectations are satisfied: for the rest, who enjoy our
imaginery reverses, and rely more on the superficial
accounts of such people as C. F. &c. who have never seen
'!' '!
150 Early Western Travels [Vol.10
the country, or if they have seen it, are incapable of judging, it really is a waste of labour to write for them. Those
wretched people who indulge their malevolence in personal abuse are unworthy of my notice. It would indeed
be to our advantage, and is the only harm I wish them,
that their ignorance and their prejudices should continue,
lest they should follow us.
We are on the eastern limits of a country differing essentially from all that has hitherto been cultivated in the
United States. The people to the east of us are incapable
of imagining a dry and rich wholesome country, where
they may enter at once on fine lands prepared for cultivation, without the enormous expence of time and labour
in clearing, which has been bestowed on every acre between this and the Atlantic. The inhabitants of the old
States are profoundly and resolutely ignorant of the advantages of our prairie country. Books are written in the
east to prove the wretchedness of the prairies, by persons
who have never approached them within five hundred
miles; and English writers of the same [52] description,
some with names and some without, can obtain more credence than is granted to me, from that description of
readers. On the whole, I do not think it worth while to undertake the conviction of these people. The settlers here
who prosper, that is to say, those who possess good morals
and common discretion, will, in course, tell their experience
to their friends and connections in England, and invite
them to follow their example; these again will invite
others. This is now going on in all directions. Some
write for their former neighbours or the residue of their
families, others push back to the old country, to conduct
them out. Numbers who come to try their hands at a
new settlement are wholly unfit for any place in this world, 1820-1821] Flower's Letters 151
new or old, unless it be to supply the requisite quota of
evil, which in this imperfect state, adheres to all places.
These are the people sometimes most likely to be heard,
whilst those who go on well and wisely are little noticed.
Their adventures are at an end: they "keep a pig" and
live happily. A volcano is a fine subject when in action,
but the interest ceases with the eruption. At some future
day,—some "still time, when there is no room for chiding," should my life be spared, I may lay before my
countrymen a statement [53] of our condition: but the
suitable time, I think, is not yet. It is, however, a pleasing
office to transmit to an intelligent friend an occasional
sketch of the settlement; and to receive, as I have from
you, and I hope you will repeat the obligation, a return of
liberal communication.
The various attacks upon my reputation will be repelled,
surely, though perhaps slowly, by time. Among my
neighbours, who are now numerous, their effect has ceased
already. The accuracy of my statements become daily
more evident, and my errors are found to be on the opposite side to exaggeration; a style which I dislike: it is offensive to my taste, as well as my moral feelings: is not a
written lie to the full as abominable as one that is spoken ?
The telescope which you have had the goodness to procure for me is an object of pleasant anticipation. This
climate is favourable for astronomical observations, and it
will add to our rational amusements. I shall therefore
be obliged by your forwarding it as before directed, as soon
as convenient.
M. B.
irf -
If [55]   NOTES"
[Note A, page 139.]
The following Remarks respecting the want of water, and the
account of the English settlement at the Illinois, are taken from a
most entertaining, interesting, and elegant work, lately published,
and of which a second edition is in the press. I here insert them, as
they tend to confirm the correctness of the accounts published by
Mr. Birkbeck and my brother, and contain some excellent advice
to emigrants.
"You have expressed in your late letters, some curiosity regarding the condition of the English settlement, in the Illinois, adding,
that the report has prevailed that those spirited emigrants had been
at first too sanguine, and had too litde foreseen the difficulties which
the most fortunate settler must encounter. This report, I believe,
to have originated with Mr. Cobbett, who thought proper to pronounce upon the condition of the farmer in the Illinois, in his own
dwelling upon Long Island. Feeling an interest in the success of
our countrymen in the West, I have been at some pains to inform
myself as to their actual condition. The following statement is
chiefly taken from the letters of two American gentlemen, of our
acquaintance who have just visited the settlement; they inform me
that its situation possesses all those positive advantages stated by
Mr. Birkbeck; that the worst difficulties have been surmounted;
and that these have [56] always been fewer than what are frequently
encountered in a new country.
I The village of Albion, the centre of the settlement, contains at
present thirty habitations, in which are found a bricklayer, a carpenter, a wheelwright, a cooper, and a blacksmith; a well supplied
shop, a little library, an inn, a chapel, and a post office, where the
mail regularly arrives twice a week. Being situated on a ridge,
between the greater and little Wabash, it is from its elevated position,
14 As already explained in note 1, ante, the writer of these Notes was Benjamin Flower, brother of the author of the Letters.— Ed.
ii f*ww
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 10
and from its being some miles removed from the rivers, peculiarly
dry and healthy. The prairie on which it stands, is as exquisitely
beautiful; lawns of unchanging verdure, spreading over hills and
dales, scattered with islands of luxuriant trees, dropped by the hand
of nature, with a taste that art could not rival — all this spread
beneath a sky of glowing and unspotted sapphires. The most
beautiful parks of England, would afford a most imperfect comparison. The soil is abundantly fruitful, and of course has an
advantage over the heavy timbered lands, which can scarcely be
cleared for less than from twelve to fifteen dollars per acre, while the
Illinois farmer, may in general clear his for less than five, and then
enter upon a more convenient mode of tillage. The objection that
is too frequently found to the beautiful prairies of the Illinois, is the
deficiency of springs and streams for mill seats. This is attended
with inconvenience to the settler, though his health will find in it
advantage. The nearest navigable river to Albion is the Wabash,
eight miles distant: the nearest running stream, that is not liable to
fail at Midsummer, the Bonpaw, four miles distant. The stock of
water in ponds for cattle, was liable to run dry in a few weeks, and
the settlement apprehended some temporary inconvenience from
[57] the circumstance. The finest water is every where to be raised
from twenty to twenty-five, or thirty feet from the surface, these
wells never fail, but are of course troublesome to work in a new
"The settiement at Albion, must undoubtedly possess some
peculiar attractions for an English emigrant, promising him, as it
does, the society of his own countrymen, an actual or ideal advantage, to which he is seldom insensible. Generally speaking, however, it may ultimately be as well for him, as for the community to
which he attached himself, that he should become speedily incorporated with the people of the soil: many emigrants bring with them
prejudices and predilections which can only be rubbed away by a
free intercourse with the natives of the country. By sitting down
at once among them, they will more readily acquire an accurate
knowledge of their political institutions, and learn to estimate the
high privileges which these impart to them, and thus attaching themselves to their adopted country, not for mere sordid motives of
interest, but also from feeling and principle, become not only natu- 1820-1821] Flower's Letters 155
ralized, but also nationalized. I [have met with but too many in
this country, who have not advanced beyond the former. I must
observe, also, that the European farmer and mechanic, are usually
far behind the American in general and practical knowledge, as well
as enterprise. You find in the working fanner of these states, a
store of information, a dexterity in all the manual arts, and often a
high tone of national feeling, to which you will hardly find a parallel
amongst the same class elsewhere. His advice and assistance always
freely given to those who seek it, will be found of infinite service to
a stranger; it will often save him from many rash speculations, at
the same time that it will dispose [58] him to see things in their true
light, and to open his eyes and heart to all the substantial advantages that surround him."
Views of Society and Manners in America, in a series of Letters
from that Country to a Friend in England during the years 1818,
1819, 1820.   By an Englishman, 8vo.u
The above as the reader will notice, was written two years ago,
since which the settiement, as appears by the letters now published,
has considerably increased, and for the time it has been established,
is in a very flourishing state.
[Note B, page 145.]
The address of the worthy female, one of the Society of Friends
to my brother, respecting the "infidel wicked settiement at the
Hlinois," proceeded from that principle of fear for the interests of
Christianity, which an enlightened christian, by which I mean one
who understands the principles, imbibes the spirit, and follows the
example of the primitive christians, need not indulge. To all sincere christians who may have indulged similar fears, may be applied
15 The last word of the title should be Englishwoman. The author, Miss
Frances Wright, was born in Dundee, Scotland (1795) and at an early age
became interested in sociological questions. She came to America in 1812 and
made one of the earliest attempts to solve the slavery problem; but her practical
experiment in employing negro labor on a Tennessee plantation ended in failure.
Removing to New Harmony, she conducted, with the assistance of Robert
Dale Owen, a socialistic journal. From 1829 to 1836 she lectured throughout
the United States, being one of the earliest women lecturers on the American
platform. Returning to Europe, she married M. Darusmont (1838), and did not
again appear in public life.— Ed.
Il r
156 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
what the Psalmist remarks of certain pious persons of his day, who
appear to have been placed in a very "infidel, wicked settlement;"—
" There were they in great fear where no fear was." (Ps. liv. 5.)
Infidelity, or unbelief in the divine mission of Christ; a rejection of
those grand truths, essential to the salvation of a lost world, where
the gospel can be read and examined, as it may easily be in the
present enlightened age — enlightened, with respect to the means
of instruction for the attainment of knowledge the most important,—
is so inexcuseable, that I know not how any man, even if his capacity
be below mediocrity, and more especially any man whose capacity
[59] is above mediocrity, can, remaining an unbeliever, rationally hope
to escape the awful sentence pronounced by our Saviour: — "He
that believeth not the Son, shall not see life: — he that beiieveth not is
condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the
only begotten Son of God." (John iii.) Passages as equally applicable to unbelievers of the present day, as to those of old, as the
evidences of Christianity are equally bright and convincing as in our
Saviour's time, if not more so. We have no such gross prejudices to
combat as the Jews had, as no persons are so stupid as to expect a
temporal Messiah, to imitate those grand pests of society, who, in all
ages, have ravaged the world — despotic kings, and wholesale murderers commonly called conquerors 1 And if we have not the evidence
of sense, the personal presence of Christ, we have a more sure word
of prophecy, not of a temporary nature, but more suitable to succeeding ages, even to the end of time,— the fulfillment of Divine predictions. Men who after reading the various relations of travellers of
the first reputation, concerning the fall and present state of ancient
states and cities, Babylon, Tyre, Egypt, &c. can reject the evidence
of the truth of revelation arising from such a source, may be pronounced without breach of charity, wilfully blind. If it be said,
there is no general rule without exceptions,— I allow it, but only so
far as there may be exceptions to other important general rules: for
instance, that justly called the golden rule, delivered by our Saviour
in his sermon on the mount. But let it be seriously recollected, that
the very word exceptions implies the generality of the rule, and that
the man cannot be very wise, who endeavours to persuade himself,
that he shall, in the great day of final account, be included in these
exceptions.   For myself, I [60] must profess, that after some acquaint- 1820-1821] Flower's Letters 1 $j
ance with several of our principal infidel writers, English and foreign,
I have never met with any who dared meet the distinguishing evidences of Christianity fairly; and that in general, the description of
writers alluded to, have been men whose moral conduct has been so
defective, as to afford just reason to apprehend they were not sincere
inquirers after truth. The infidel public may safely be challenged
to answer, not only the writings of Locke, Newton, Lardner, Paley,
&c. but even some of our shilling or sixpenny pamphlets. Let any
unbeliever exert his energies in refuting that admirable tract entitled
— An Answer to the Question, WHY ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN ?
by the late Dr. Clarke of Boston, in America, of which there have
been published numerous editions, but to which, if an answer has
been written, I will thank any person to inform me, and where it can
be procured. But so long as the enemies of revelation consider misrepresentation, arising from wilful ignorance, sneering, jesting, and
ribaldry, lawful weapons to effect the purpose they have at heart —
the destruction of Christianity — I shall certainly suspect they do
not possess that indispensable qualification in all inquiries concerning revelation,— an honest and good heart, and that of course they
are not sincere in their inquiries; but let all such men take warning
from the numerous declarations in scripture concerning the rejectors
of the gospel, as they will most assuredly find, that with respect to
threatnings, as well as promises, it is impossible for God to lie!
Should it be asked,—|How is it that so many men of talents, and
who may possess qualities, which may render them in different ways,
and to a certain degree useful to the world and ornamental to the
social circle reject Christianity; various [61] causes may be assigned.
I must confine myself to a few. The principal reason is assigned
by the divine author of Christianity: — This is the condemnation;
light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light,
because their deeds are evil.-— The love of applause in favourite circles is assigned by the same authority as another reason. Our
Saviour demanded of the Pharisees,—how can ye believe who receive
honour one of one another, and not the honour which cometh from
God only. They rejected our Saviour's doctrines because they
loved the praise of men, more than the praise of God.— How often has
pride determined men to reject truths the most important? The
doctrine of the cross, although the brightest display of the wisdom 158 Early Western Travels [Vol.10
and power of God to the world, is to the carnal man, that is the man
whose belief and practice are determined by worldly motives, foolishness. The remark of Dr. Priestley on this subject, deserves the
most serious attention of men, who are by their talents and learning,
elevated above the rest of the world. "Learned men have prejudices peculiar to themselves, and the very affectation of being free
from vulgar notions, and of being wiser than the rest of mankind,
must indispose them to the admission of truth, if it should happen
to be with the common people!"
Although if the opinions I have expressed be true, they want
not the sanction of the learned, yet knowing the influence of names,
I will in their support add two, who although men of very different
opinions, are by their respective admirers, considered masters in
Israel. The first is Dr. Johnson who, as his biographer Mr. Bos-
well informs us, remarked on this subject,— "No honest man could
be a deist; for no man could be so after a fair examination of the
proofs of Christianity. Hume owned [62] to a clergyman, in the
bishopric of Durham, that he had never read the New Testament
with attentionl" Another example of the truth of Johnson's remark
is the famous Thomas Paine, who in a work misnamed " the Age of
Reason," but which is a disgrace to any man possessing his reason,
at the very moment of pretending to criticise the bible, and of glorying in having destroyed its credit, acknowledged " that he had not
read it for several years!" This may, in part at least, account for
the numerous misstatements and falsehoods which deform his pages.
This work has been the more injurious to society, as thereby the
author lost much of that fame he had justly acquired by his admirable, and popular political writings, but to which the world has since
shewn a comparative indifference.
To Dr. Johnson's opinion I only add that of Mr. Belsham, who
in his Calm Inquiry, &c. observes: — "The Unitarians acknowledge
that the scriptures were written for the instruction of the illiterate
as well as of the learned, and they believe — that ALL which is
essential to doctrine or practice is SUFFICIENTLY INTELLIGIBLE even to the meanest capacity."
From these premises I conclude, that there is little danger of the
spread of that absurdity of absurdities — INFIDELITY, where it is
not supported by more plausible reasons than are contained in the 1820-1821]
Flower's Letters
writings of its votaries; but it is with pain, that I am obliged in justice to the subject to add, that its principal support has Deen the
corrupt systems and lives of its professors.— Those ANTICHRIS-
TIAN CHURCHES under whatever denomination, and in every
country under heaven, which have been established by the civil
STATE, which has displayed its brazen front in the temple of God,
exalting itself above all that is called God; robbed [63] the great head
of the church of his peculiar prerogative, the sovereignty over
conscience; and plundered countless millions of their rights and
properties, thus turning the church into a den of thieves,— These
ecclesiastical corruptions constitute a more formidable argument
against Christianity, although by no means an honest reason for
rejecting it, than the writings of the whole infidel world united.16
11A modern divine gives us the following curious description of the Church
of England.— "The governors of this society form a kind of aristocracy respecting the community at large, but each particular governor in his proper district
is a sort of monarch, exercising his function both towards the inferior ministers
and laity, according to the will of the supreme head of the church."— The
English Liturgy a Form of Sound Words; a Sermon delivered in the Parish
Churches 0} St. Benet, Gracechurch Street, 6*c. by George Gastrin, D.D.
How any man, with the New Testament before him, could possibly call
such an aristocratical and monarchical church, one "formed according to the
will of the Supreme Head," when he well knew that it was diametrically opposite to the letter and spirit of the most solemn, particular, and repeated directions of the Great Head of the Church on this subject:— "Call no man your
master on earth; one is your master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren, Src."
— I shall not stay to inquire; but it may amuse the reader just to observe how
this clerical pluralist exercises "his function towards the laity," and more
especially as it relates to tythes:—;that species of property which was first
voluntarily given by the people for various benevolent purposes, but of which
they were afterwards robbed by the clergy, who appropriated them to their own
sole use. How they are sometimes raised, even in the present enlightened age,
I lately discovered in a catalogue, at a sale of pawnbroker's unredeemed pledges,
where, amongst other names and descriptions of property, I read as follows:
"Lots sold under a distress for tythes due to the Rev. Dr. Gaskin, Rector of
the United Parishes of St. Benet, Gracechurch Street, of St. Leonard, Easlcheap,
[and of St. Mary, Newington."]
Then follow eight lots of writing paper, silver table and tea spoons, &c.
"The following sold under a distress for tythes due to the Rev. Mr. Parker,
(son in law of Dr Gaskin) Rector of St. Ethelburga"
Then follow five lots of yellow and mottled soap!
Whether the body of the clergy, who have for so many ages been supported I
160 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
[64] But as America is not disgraced with an established church,
supported by penal laws, the work of statecraft and priestcraft
united, infidelity has, in that country, lost [65] its chief support, and
cannot, to any extensive degree, flourish. Let that favoured quarter
of the globe carefully preserve her only establishment — LIBERTY
AND EQUALITY, and her religious interests are safe. Christianity left to itself will, by its own internal excellence, and by the
lives of its sincere professors, have free course, and be glorified.
The English settiement in the Illinois already affords an illustration of the truth of these sentiments.    In the first stage of its
by these and by other means scarcely less obnoxious, come nearer to the
description of the primitive apostles'and pastors for independence, disinterestedness and benevolence, or to that description predicted by one of them of those
who should come after him, — grievous wolves not sparing the flock, I leave to
the reader to determine.
Dr. Gaskin, I was informed, ranks amongst the clergy who have arrogated
to themselves the epithet evangelical; but I have since been informed otherwise;
and I am inclined to believe, as those do who best know him, that he is not an
evangelical clergyman!
I cannot help expressing my surprise that my countrymen will not, on this
subject, take a hint from that great and liberal minded statesman, the late Lord
Chatham, at the commencement of the American war, when our debt and
taxes were not one fifth of what they are at present. His lordship in a speech
in the House of Lords, turning to the right reverend bench, exclaimed, — "Let
the bishops beware of war; for should the people be pressed for money, they
know where to look for it\" It is a pity that amidst so much nonsense, with
which the nation is pestered at our agricultural meetings, and in agricultural
reports, and so much injustice as is proposed for relieving the public, by Mr.
Webb Hall on the one side, Mr. Cobbett and others on the other, such as new
com laws, and breaking public faith, &c. mining thousands by the reduction
of interest of the national debt, our real resources should not be even hinted at.
Is there no patriot to be found in either House of the Legislature, following the
excellent example of Mr. Hume respecting state abuses, who will recommend,
"An inquiry into the nature and amount of our church revenues?" Would
Christianity suffer if a Bishop of Winchester, or a Bishop of Durham, had not
30 to £40,000 a year! or if our overgrown church revenues in England, and
more especially in that still more oppressed country, Ireland, where the bishoprics are in general richer, and many thousands axe wrung from a long oppressed
and impoverished people, not unfrequently in places where little or no duty is
performed, were inquired into ? Let Britain look at the church reformation
which has taken place in France, and is now going forward in Spain and Portugal, the abolition of tythes, and the resumption of the useless and hurtful r<
of the church, and blush at her bat and mole-like stupidity! — B. Fowler. 1820-1821] Flower s Letters 161
infancy, reports, as it appears by the remonstrance and admonitions
of the female friend at Philadelphia to my brother, have been industriously and widely circulated, of its being a "wicked infidel settlement;" where "a christian parent" could not "answer it to his God
for endangering the precious souls of his dear children!" Three
years have scarcely passed since this solemn warning was given; and
what is the present state of this "Infidel settiement?" The friends
to Christianity have exerted themselves, and although without the
assistance of Priests, or even Reverends of any denomination, two
places within the distance of as many miles, have been erected for
' public worship; one on the moderate candid Unitarian plan,— I
mean that which according to the only accurate import of the word
includes in its communion, all christians who dissent from that contradiction in terms — "THREE divine PERSONS in ONE GOD:"
— The other for the members of the Episcopal Church of England,
which in America, by losing its antichristian sting, has lost its principal deformities; and what deserves peculiar notice — the service
in the latter is read by the very person who was supposed to have
been the chief promoter of infidelity! — A third chapel is now erecting for the use of the Calvinistic baptists. These different denominations, with any others [66] which may hereafter appear, have only
to follow the example of their brethren throughout America; to meet
in civil society, as friends, perfectly equal as to political, civil, and
religious rights, no one allowed to have any ascendancy over the
other, Christianity will then triumph, and infidelity will be ashamed
to shew its face.
To the excellent admonitions on the subject of religious and
moral conduct with which my brother concludes his letters, I cannot help adding my ardent hopes, that as the English settiement
appears to be increasing in prosperity, and to present an happy
asylum for those, who from various circumstances, are induced or
compelled to emigrate from their native country, the inhabitants will
prove an example of that true religion and virtue, which constitute
the only sure foundation and preserver of states and communities: —
my wishes are equally ardent, that as christians, they would not only
avoid the errors of antichristian established churches, but of those
which although professedly dissenting from them still retain a strong
attachment to many of their follies.   Primitive Christianity, how f^**
162 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
seldom is it aspired after! The unnecessary division of christians
into clergy and laity; the distinctions of dress, habits, and titles, so
calculated to please the fancy of our grown babies in the christian
church; the objectionable manner in which christian pastors are too
frequently ordained and supported: — these with other follies which
might be mentioned, all innovations on the simplicity and purity of
the primitive churches will at the Blinois, it is hoped, be avoided.
Let the English seriously recollect, that in their native country priestcraft prevails, not only in the established church, but in different
degrees amongst those who dissent from it, where I fear it is increasing; and that those who are distinguished for their [67] attachment
to weak and beggarly elements, are in general equally distinguished
for their indifference to the grand principles of LIBERTY, for
their servility to the ruling powers, and for their support of that
ruinous system of war and corruption, which has so peculiarly disgraced the British nation for the past sixty years.—May the office
of pastor of a christian church be no longer deemed a trade, but let
every christian teacher aspire to the honour of being equally independent with the apostles and pastors of the primitive churches, who are
chiefly if not wholly dependant on their own exertions in the pursuit
of some honest calling. May all denominations, uniting with each
other in the bonds of christian friendship, no longer consider their
peculiar explanation of doctrines as necessary to christian communion. May their only grand essentials be, sincerity in the search of
truth, and honesty in practising it. Thus may they, in the full enjoyment of political, civil, and religious liberty go on unto perfection."
17 That I may not be misunderstood, I beg leave to remark, that I intend
no reflection on those who may have been educated solely with- a view to the
ministry, and of whose habits we cannot expect an alteration. It is an evil
attending the present system, that while men of very moderate talents, and
judging by their conduct, who have made no great advancement in the christian life, who possess a few superficial qualifications which captivate the ignorant
and unthinking, are living in luxury, there are men of fine talents, and transcendent virtues, who are living in comparative poverty. The grand error is
the mechanical transformation of youths into ministers at seminaries, instead
of their being brought up to some trade or profession in which their independence might rest on themselves.
I have, on this subject, expressed myself more at large in the MEMOIRS
OF ROBERT ROBINSON, prefixed to his Works. See also an excellent
Sermon in his incomparable VILLAGE DISCOURSES, entitled, "Any one
who understands Christianity may teach it." And another in the Posthumous
volume of his works, entitled, "The Corruptions of Christianity."—B. Flower. WP
Flower s Letters
[68]   [Note C, page 147.]
Mr. Cobbett's former calumnies respecting the English settlements in the Illinois were amply refuted by Mr. Birkbeck and my
brother, in two pamphlets, published in 1819, and to neither of
which, although he has alluded to a private letter, since written by
the former, and inserted in a provincial paper, has he dared to reply.
He has however, had the effrontery in a late Register, {July, 7th,
1821,) not only to repeat those calumnies, but to invent others still
more atrocious; and as the parties concerned are five thousand miles
distant, I deem it my duty on the present occasion, to add a few
observations to those of my brother, that the character of the calumniator may appear in its true colours, and that my countrymen may
no longer be the dupes of a man who has so frequently deceived them.
This writer has in his rage against the settlements at the Illinois,
not only shewn his usual disregard of truth and decency, but thrown
off the common feelings of humanity. Yes! — This marble-hearted
reprobate has impiously dared to reproach an affectionate,— a
peculiarly warm-hearted father with the death of a favourite son.
Addressing himself to Mr. Birkbeck, he states as follows: — "As to
English farmers, yours, or any like yours, is the very worst spot they
can go to." Of the falsehood of this assertion, the reader has before
him demonstrative evidence. Then, alluding to Mr. William Hunt
and his qualifications for farming, the writer adds:—"With great
sorrow I heard of his untimely end, from one of those terrible fevers
that never fail to haunt new settlements for years. One of Mr.
Flower's sons is dead also, in the bloom of life. Now, had Mr. F.
followed my advice given him at New York; if he had purchased a
farm or two on the Atlantic side, this son would in all probability
have been alivel" [69] To this atrocious paragraph I reply: —77 is
false that " terrible fevers haunt the English settlements" more than
is common in either England or America. I am well acquainted
with some who were born, and had previous to their emigration,
lived in one of the finest counties in England, Devonshire, who were
not unfrequently subject to fevers in general, but to such "terrible
fevers," as had nearly terminated their earthly existence. These
very persons have lately written me, that during a twelvemonth's
residence near Albion, succeeding a long and fatiguing voyage and
journey, they had been less subject to fevers, and have enjoyed better
health than when breathing their native air.   As to the climate in
fl if-lV'
164 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
general, its healthy state has, after four years experience, been
proved, by the evidence of persons, whose characters for veracity
more particularly, are as superior to that of their calumniator, as
light is to darkness.— It is false that Mr. W. Hunt was brought to
an untimely end by " a terrible fever." At the moment I am writing
I have a gentleman at my elbow, who during his late residence at
the Illinois was well acquainted with Mr. H. and with the circumstances attending his death; and he has authorized me to state: —
That Mr. Hunt's disorder was a common pleurisy, attended with
but a slight degree of fever; that he was fast recovering; but as is
hot uncommon in other countries, not taking proper care of himself,
and negligent in following medical advice, he had a relapse which
terminated fatally.
It is false, that my amiable and excellent nephew died also in
consequence of one of those "terrible fevers." Being intimately
acquainted with the circumstances of his case, from the very best
authority I assure the reader, that his death was occasioned by a
common complaint [70] in all countries, and to which young people
are more peculiarly subject: a cold, caught on a journey, (it is not
necessary to detail the particulars) which, without any alarming
symptoms of fever, terminated in a decline, and as is frequently the
case in such disorders, suddenly, when his parents and family were
flattering themselves he had nearly recovered. Thus has Mr. Cobbett impiously represented an affecting visitation of Providence; —
a visitation common to every spot on the habitable globe,— as a
judgment inflicted on my brother for not following his advice,
although he forgot to add, that this advice was enforced with a
denunciation, clothed in his favourite phraseology, "I'll be d d
if I do not write down Birkbeck and his settlement."18— Thus has
he strove to transpierce the heart of a father, and to tear open a
wound, which time, a flourishing situation, with those ample means
of enjoyment with which the favour of providence has surrounded
him, together with those "strong consolations," which a true christian only can feel the force of, was healing; and I trust, that the
same supports will enable him to .triumph over the fiend whose
deadly aim has been to send him a mourner to the grave.
Mr. C. warns my brother and his family "to retreat in time,"
18 Flower's Letters from the Illinois, 1819, p. 32.— B. Flower. 1820-1821]
Flower's Letters
which if they do not, he dooms them for their lives "to pass their
days principally amongst the fellers of trees, and the swallowers of
whiskey." After the reader has attended to the evidence respecting
the state of society at the English settlements, in the pamphlet
before him, (I might refer him to additional respectable evidence)
it is only necessary to warn Mr. C. in return, should he again cross
the Atlantic, and take it into his head to reside at the Illinois, to be
careful to leave bis vicious habits of [71] swearing and lying behind
him, as he will otherwise find not only English society, but even the
society of "fellers of trees, and swallowers of whiskey" too humane,
too civilized, too virtuous to be very fond of his company.
The hypocrisy of Mr. Cobbett, in his professions of respect for
Mr. B. and my brother can only be equalled by his falsehood. His
inhuman attack on the latter I have already noticed; and his eagerness in the same Register, to expose and misrepresent private matters
with which the public have no concern, for the sole purpose of making mischief, must be too obvious to its readers to require farther
notice. I might quote from a subsequent Register, the manner in
which he has endeavoured to ridicule both my brother and Mr. B.
but it is too contemptible for a reply.
Mr. Birkbeck, in the letter quoted by Cobbett observes, "I suppose you have seen Cobbett's attack on me, and laughed at the
ridiculous posture in which he has contrived to place me." On this
Mr. C. indignantly demands — "Pray Sir, by what rule known
amongst men, are you justified in imputing to me an attack on you.
I addressed to you two letters while I was in Long Island, dated in
the latter part of the year 1818: — now throughout the whole of
those letters there is not to be found one single expression to warrant
this charge of having made an attack on you; from one end to the
other I speak of you with the greatest respect." Of the sincerity
of these professions the reader will judge, by a short extract or two
from the letters referred to. " It is of little consequence," observes
Mr. C. "what wild schemes are formed by men who have property
enough to carry them back; but to invite men to go to the Illinois,
with a few score of pounds in their pockets, and to tell them that
they can become farmers with those pounds, appears to me to admit
of no other apology [72] than an unequivocal acknowledgment that
the author is MAD!   Yet your fifteenth letter from the Illinois mm "
166 Early Western Travels [Vol.10
really contains such an invitation. This letter is manifestly addressed
to an imaginary person, it is clear that the correspondent is a feigned
or supposed being. It is, I am sorry to say, a mere trap to catch poor
creatures with a few pounds in their pockets." Mr. Birkbeck in
reply, after stating that his letter was not addressed to an "imaginary person," but to one with whose circumstances he was intimately acquainted, a relation by marriage, adds:—"You have
posted me over England and America as mad, as a simpleton, and a
boaster, and in one or two instances as something worse. So great a
liberty with truth, you say, never was taken by any mortal being; and
having made the discovery, you are in great haste to conclude your
letter to me, that your son William might take it to England with him,
and publish it there six months before I could hear of itl"— So much
for Mr. Cobbett's sincerity in his high professions of respect for
Mr. B. his veracity in declaring he made "no attack on him," and
that his letter, "was not written to be circulated in EuropeV It is
a pity that he did not adduce his ever-memorable denunciation
against Mr. B. and his settiement uttered a short time before he
wrote his letters, as an additional proof of his sincerity and
The conceit of this writer is as intolerable as his other vicious
qualities. Speaking of the House of Commons, he thus expresses
himself: — "I am well aware of all the feelings that are at work in
that assembly with regard to me and my writings. I have not mock
modesty enough, to pretend not to perceive the power that I have in
the [73] country; and it is out of the power of that assembly to disguise from me that they are well aware of the extent of that power.
Neither am I ignorant of the power that I have with regard to their
actions, and of the great reluctance that they have to suffer the public
to perceive that they feel the effects of any such power. I manage my
matters adroitly: but the power I have, and the power I will have;
and this I repeat it, the public know full as well as I do; and I only
state the facts here in order to let those who grudge me the power
know, that the possession of it gives me great satisfaction." How
adroitly this bankrupt in fortunes and character has " managed his
matters," the London Gazette and our courts of justice have recently
"Cobbett's Register, July 7, 1821. Birkbeck's Letters, printed for Ridg-
way, 1819, second edition.— B. Flower. IP!
1820-1821] Flower's Letters 167
afforded ample evidence; and should he profess modesty, that it will
be "mock modesty," no man will dispute: as to the rest of the paragraph, surely the ravings of the poor bedlamite, with his crown of
straw, brandishing his straw scepter, and fancying himself a king,
appears rationality itself compared with this display of bloated pride
and intoxicated vanity! What particular power this writer possesses
over the country, or over parliament, I know not: that he may impose
upon some people by his acknowledged talents as a writer, whose
style is so well calculated for the lower classes more particularly,
and by his confident assertions, I do not deny; but in justice to
Mr. C. I must observe, that I do not believe bis powers for wickedness are so gigantic as he has laboured to persuade us they are.
How often has he boasted of his power at any time totally to ruin
the Bank of England by bis favourite project of a general forgery
of bank notes; and which he could easily put in execution at any
time; but notwithstanding he proves his good wishes on the subject,
he has not had that [74] confidence in his own marvellous powers, as
to risk his neck in the acquisition of that exaltation, which the
attempt to put such a project in execution would most assuredly be
bis reward!
Mr. Birkbeck has drawn a most correct miniature likeness of his
grand enemy, in describing him as a man,— I copy the sentence as
printed by Mr. C.—"KNOWN to be wholly indifferent to truth."
This description is so terribly galling as to provoke him to give
additional proof of its justice. How numerous are the proofs,— how
vast the evidence which might be collected from his writings! How
many of the most useful and ornamental characters, and of the
greatest and best men in the political, social, and literary world has
he not libelled 1 It is not only Birkbeck, and Flower, but Waithman,
Burdett,20 [75] and Fox, Priestley, Franklin, Locke, and Addison,
20 In my Mr. C.'s treatment of Sir Francis Burdett, INGRATITUDE seems
the crowning vice. The benevolent and patriotic baronet, deceived by him as
many others have been, lent him a large sum of money, which just as he was
setting out for America he declined paying, under the pretext that as government had by their oppressive measures injured him, he did not consider himself
bound to discharge his debts till it suited his convenience! Sir Francis, alluding to this letter, remarked, that he did not know whether such a principle had
ever before been acted upon, but he believed it was the first time it had ever
been openly professed!   As those letters are I find, very imperfectly recollected Hi'
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 10
with many others whom this general libeller has calumniated.
But to wade through his innumerable pages, and to collect the numberless proofs of the truth of this statement would be a more Herculean task than that of cleansing the Augean stable. To the number
of bis Register already quoted I must confine myself: and indeed
that may be produced as a fair specimen of many others. Many
years since, and early in his political career, he poured forth his
abuse on Dr. Franklin; the fit has lately revisited him; and it has
happened to him, to use the language of St. Peter, when describing
similar characters of his time, according to the true proverb, the dog
is turned to his own vomit again. Speaking of this friend of his
country, and of the world, Mr. C. observes: — "Dr. Franklin's
maxims are childish, if not trivial; a still greater number of them are
false, the whole tenor of them tends to evil, for it constantly aims at
strengthening selfishness, and at enfeebling generosity."—Yes
reader! such is the description of the luminous pages of this illustrious American philosopher, statesman, and patriot, and which
abound equally with lessons of philanthropy and prudence, enforced
by his own example, and which have instructed, improved, and
adorned, not only his own country, but almost every civilized spot
on the habitable globe.
But although there is much more offensive matter in the Register
I have quoted, I must draw to a close. Mr. C. on some subjects
shews considerable talents and industry, and he might have been
useful to society, had he confined himself to his peculiar forte,—
by many of Mr. C.'s readers, if he will reprint them in his Weekly Register,
they will consider it as a favour.
Mr. C. commenced his notice of the worthy baronet by reviling him, and all
men of his principles; in his usual style he afterwards veered about to the opposite point of the compass, and panegyrised him in the highest terms; but although he had partly gained his ends, finding that he could not completely
transform Sir Francis into one of his tools, and by his means, accomplish his
darling, but uniformly defeated project, of procuring a seat in the House of
Commons, he in his rage, and under that prophetic impulse with which "The
angel he so long has served," not unfrequently inspires him, pledged himself
that in the course of a few months he would so expose the baronet, as to hurry
him to his fate:— That of committing suicide, and of being buried in a
cross road, with a stake driven through his body! If Dr. Young's sentiment —
"He thafs ungrateful has no crimes but ONE" be correct, Mr. C.'s character
appears to have reached its climax.— B. Flower. 1820-1821] Flower's Letters 169
ferretting out [76] public abuses, and making every class understand
their nature. It is indeed to be lamented how little he feels himself,
what he has made others feel. But, as there is no system, men nor
measures, but he has equally panegyrised and reviled, as it has
suited his caprice, or weathercock opinions; his own conduct has, in
a great degree, destroyed the effects of the best parts of his writings.
— But as he has lately turned his attention to that best of books,—
the bible,— which he has frequently sneered at, and reviled the
successful exertions of those who have extended its circulation; —
as his prolific pen has lately produced SERMONS, in which he has
displayed his usual energies, I will not despair of him; and I hope
he will take in good part my friendly and concluding hints. I will
help him to one or two subjects for his succeeding sermons. The
SWEARING, from Exodus xx. 7. Thou shall not take the name of
the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that
taketh his name in vain. The other,— GOD'S ABHORRENCE
OF FALSEHOOD, from Prov. xii. 22. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. No man is capable of doing these subjects more
ample justice; and I will promise him that, as I have distributed some
of bis writings, I will so exert myself respecting these proposed sermons, as that he may add to his recent boastings of their extensive
sale. It is impossible that in reading and studying the Bible, he can
prevent it from flying in his face, and I most sincerely hope his
reflections will terminate in his repentance and reformation: that he
may no longer remain in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of
iniquity; but that it may be his fervent prayer to God,— That the
thoughts of his heart may be forgiven him.
FINIS  Woods's Two Years' Residence in the Settlement
on the English Pralrte—June 25, 1820-
July 3, 1821
Reprint of the original edition: London, 1822
j ibxi
r4 L
Wambro, English Prairie, Illinois State,
North America.
June $th, 1820.
As I was much pressed to write to many of my friends
in England, to give them my opinion of emigrating to
America, and as I promised to write to several, to give
them my sentiments of America, and of my situation here;
I will now endeavour to give them the best description in
my power of our voyage and journey to this place, and
how I am now situated, and of my future prospects.
As to the propriety of any person's leaving England, I
must decline giving any advice on the subject.
[2] As I was conscious but little information could be
conveyed in the short space of a letter to any particular
friend, I shall, therefore, present them, (that is, all those
who requested me to write to them,) with some extracts
from my Journal.
Extracts of a Journal, kept from April 2gth
to September 25th, 1819
We left Killinghurst about noon, on April 29, and
arrived at Portsmouth in the evening.   Our party consisted of nine persons, including Mr. C. and a female
30th. Our luggage, in a waggon, arrived at Portsmouth
at noon, and we got a permit from the Custom-House, and
embarked it on board a vessel for East Cowes, in the Isle m
Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
of Wight, where it arrived in the evening, but too late to
enter it at the Custom-House.   We slept at East Cowes.
May ist. Entered our luggage at the Custom-House,
and were ourselves examined, [3] and afterwards put our
luggage on board the brig Resolution, of Newcastle,
Captain Clarke. From that time till the 9th, we were
employed in procuring provisions and conveniencies for
our voyage, and in stowing our luggage, &c. When about
noon, the wind and tide being favourable, we sailed from
East Cowes; but before we reached the Needles' rocks, the
wind and tide both failed, and we cast anchor for a short
time; but the wind again rising, we passed them, and before dark got a few miles to the westward. The pilot left
us as soon as we had passed the Needles, and so did some
friends of the passengers. They gave us three cheers at
parting, which was returned by firing a salute with- some
small arms on board. The same was done at West Cowes,
when we heaved our anchor.
The brig Resolution was of five hundred tons, and had
seventy-one passengers on board, a small cargo of salt,
the luggage of the passengers, to a considerable amount,
[4] with the following live stock: a bull, two cows, a calf,
three horses, with pigs, dogs, fowls, and ferrets. Mr.
Pittis, who chartered the Resolution, with Mr. Edney, his
son-in-law, and their families, occupied the cabin, but
their young man slept in the fore part of the steerage, with
the young men of the other parties. The females of my
family, with myself, and some other passengers, occupied
the hind part of the steerage, divided into ten separate
births, with two bed-places in each birth; they were six
feet square, and about five feet nine inches high.
10th. In the afternoon, part of the coast of Dorsetshire
in sight. 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 181
nth. A great swell of the tide, and much sea-sickness
on board;.Berry-Head in Devonshire in sight in the morning, and land near Plymouth seen in the evening.
12th. Land seen in the morning, the last we saw of
England; as the wind was north and north-west we stood
to the southward, and it prevented our touching [5] at the
Land's End, as our captain intended.
13th. We supposed ourselves opposite to the Land's
End about noon.
15th. A good wind from the south-east, but the ship
rolling much during the night; most of the passengers got
but little rest.   Weather fine, but cold.
16th. Being Sunday, two of the passengers read some
chapters from the Testament, and a sermon.
2 2d. A good shower of rain, just as we had got our
bedding on deck to air it. In the evening, I observed, for
the first time, the water at the bows of the vessel to look
like sparks of fire.
23d. Being nearly in the latitude of the Western Isles,
many on board were on the look-out for them, in the
hopes of getting some fish and fruit, and sending letters
to England; but we were disappointed, as we saw nothing
of them.
24th. The ship's carpenter tried a girdle [6] made of
tin, and water tight, called a life-preserver; he found he
could not sink, but at the same time he could not make
any way in the sea with it on.
25th. Early in the morning we got sight of the island
of St. Mary's; it was seen at a great distance. We had
seen no land since the 12th, when we last saw the coast
of Cornwall. In the afternoon, we passed the island 15
or 18 miles to the north of us, so we did not get any fruit,
to the great disappointment of many on board. 182 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
27th. The sea ran high, and once cleared the fore-part
of the vessel of every thing that was moveable. When the
waves broke over the deck, some of the passengers generally got a wetting, which caused a hearty laugh from
those who escaped.
29th. At noon, by observation, we were in latitude 33
deg. 58 min. north, which is three degrees south of Cape
Henry, at the entrance of Cheasepeake Bay, to which we
were bound. The weather warm, though not more so
than a fine May-day in [7] England, although we were
upwards of a thousand miles south of it.
30th. Some of the passengers bathed, till one of them
got stung in the leg by a sea-nettle, or what the sailors
called a Portuguese man of war; he was in great agony,
but by rubbing it with vinegar, the pain abated.
June 6th. There were four ships in sight in the morning, and in the afternoon another was seen, and, at four
o'clock, she sent a boat, with an officer and five men.
They proved to be Russians, from a frigate of thirty-six
guns, the Kamtschatka, from Kamtschatka, and the
north-west coast of America; they had been round Cape
Horn in their way out, and returned by Manilla, the Cape
of Good Hope, and St. Helena, where only the captain
was suffered to land. The inhabitants know but little of
Bonaparte, as the governor was extremely jealous of all
intercourse with his prisoner; most that they knew of him
was from the English newspapers. [8] The officer
eagerly enquired for news from Europe, they having been
out two years. We gave him some English newspapers,
and he in return took some letters for our English friends,
as they intended to touch at some port in England, before
they proceeded to Russia. The officer was regaled in the
captain's cabin, and the men were treated with plum- 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 183
pudding and strong beer, but they refused to taste it, till
one of the passengers had first partaken of it; they then
seemed to relish it extremely well. Some large fish and
porpoises were seen round the ship, and two rifles were
fired at them, without effect. A sea-snake was also seen
in the evening, it appeared to be six or seven feet long.
7th. We saw some sea-weed that had much the appearance of the tops of dead juniper bushes, with many small
berries on them; we took some pieces out of the sea, and
found many little crabs in them, and a few small shrimps;
the crabs from a quarter to two inches long. Most of
the [9] passengers were now in good health. A pleasant
evening, and the young people had a dance on the
8th. Some dolphins taken by the sailors, with hooks
and lines; they were from 18 to 30 inches long, and very
beautiful fish. I bought one of the small ones, it weighed
six or seven pounds, and proved very good eating.
9th. A small Swedish brig, the Dryade, sent a boat to
enquire for a surgeon, their captain being ill; our surgeon
went on board, and afterwards sent some medicines, for
which, through a speaking trumpet, their captain thanked
ours. They took some letters from us for England, as
they proposed going thither, before they proceeded to
Copenhagen. Our water being got very bad, it caused a
little commotion on board, as there was but little water
belonging to the captain. The passengers were found
water by the person who chartered the Resolution; and
the badness of [10] the water appeared to be occasioned
by its being put into foul casks.
13th. Many flying fish seen; they flew from twenty to
thirty yards at a time, some of them about the size of a
herring, and others not larger than a chafer; when they
ill II
184 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
rose near the vessel, the water that ran from them, had
the appearance of a white string behind them; and when
it ceased, they dropt into the sea again.
14th. We made 186 miles in 24 hours, being a great
deal more than we had sailed, in the same space of time,
since we left Cowes.
23d. We had a strong gale that blew down one of our
26th. In the evening the main-sail boom broke, and
spoiled a dance just began on deck. The accident was
owing to the sailor at the helm being intoxicated, and
letting the vessel get out of her course.
27th. All eagerly looking out for the gulf stream. In
the evening we saw a sea-gull; [n] these birds are said
never to fly far from land.
30th. We had a rough windy night, and it continued
stormy through the day, and about six o'clock we had a
tempest that split one of our sails. About noon we saw a
ship that proved to be the Commodore Rogers, a pilot
vessel of Baltimore, and from her we received a pilot,
who informed us that Cape Henry, at the entrance of
Cheasepeake Bay, was distant 25 miles. But a storm
coming on, the wind changed just as we had sight of land,
supposed to be Smith's Island, just at the entrance of the
bay; this was the first land we saw after we lost sight of
the island of St. Mary's.
July ist. A wet night: we got upwards of 20 miles from
Cape Henry. In the evening we again stood out to sea,
the wind against us.
2d. In the evening, it being calm, we anchored two
miles from Cape Henry light-house, and one mile and a
half from the shore; which was very low land and covered
[12] with trees to the water's edge, mostly pines of a barren 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 185
appearance, resembling a furze hedge in the poor heaths
of England. We had a good view of the shores for several
miles. The weather being pleasant, there was a dance
on deck; and as the night was calm and the moon shone
brightly, it was kept up till a late hour.
3d. The captain and some passengers went on shore
in a boat; when they returned, they brought on board a
branch of wild vine, with some small grapes on it, a bough
of myrtle, and some honeysuckles like the trumpet one
in leaf and flower. They likewise brought some crab
fish, of different sorts, unlike any I had ever seen before;
one of them had a long tail, and was much larger than
the rest; this the pilot called a sea-crab. They also
brought a few sea-shells. The land, near the light-house,
very sandy and barren, mostly covered with woods, composed chiefly of pines and a few oaks. The very little
that was cultivated, was Indian corn.
[13] Cape Henry light-house is built of wood, and stands
on the west side of the bay of Cheasepeake, and is in latitude 37 degrees north, longitude 85 degrees west. The
bay, at its entrance, is upwards of 20 miles wide. On
the opposite side is Cape Charles. At one o'clock we
entered the bay opposite the mouth of James River.
4th. In the night there was a riot with the sailors; they
quarrelled amongst themselves and with the captain; it
was owing to the former having drank too freely; it was
happily made up without any effusion of blood: I was in
bed at the time, and heard nothing of it. We were much
disappointed in not reaching Baltimore by this day, as it
was the anniversary of American independence, and, as
such, is always kept as a high holiday. We much wished
to see their manner of celebrating it, but, for this year, we
were disappointed in so doing.
m§ Early Western Travels
[Vol. 10
5th. A little before day-break the mate discovered a
comet. The bay much narrower, and both banks full
in view, the land [14] much higher than before, and
covered with trees. Early in the morning, the captain
and some passengers went on shore, on the west side of
the bay. They went four miles through the woods; but
little cultivated land; wheat mostly harvested; Indian corn
just come into ear; tobacco in a green state. The land
poor, the woods mostly pines with a few oaks, &c. The
country round was thinly peopled, no towns, villages,
churches, or mills, for many miles. It is in Maryland,
and the land is mostly cultivated by negro slaves, of
whom they saw several, and their habitations. They
shot a sea-eagle, as large as a goose, with very long wings,
the quills of which were too hard for pens. They also
shot a bird something like an English blackbird, except
that the wings were crimson. They likewise killed a small
dove, and were informed many wild ducks frequented the
creeks in winter; and heard of two men killing a hundred
and ten in one day. They brought on board some ripe
cherries, and some apples nearly so; they saw great quantities [15] of the latter; also peaches and nectarines in a
green state. They saw a few sheep, oxen, and cows, but
no horses, oxen being worked instead of horses.
6th. We anchored near Kent Island, said to be good
land, but we could see but little of it. At eight o'clock
we again proceeded, and at ten got sight of Baltimore,
eight or ten miles distant. As we approached Baltimore
the bay became narrower, and the land, on both sides, so
very low, the trees seemed to grow out of the water. The
country more cultivated, and the people employed in getting in their harvest. We met a large steam vessel, and
passed her at about twenty yards distance.   There were 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 187
two chimnies, from which issued a large quantity of
smoke, a wheel on each side forced her forward; the forecastle was much like a common ship; the stern was covered with a canvas awning, to shelter the passengers from
sun or rain; it was open on the sides: she moved along very
[16] Shortly after, a surgeon came on board, to examine
the health of the passengers and crew; he expressed much
satisfaction at their appearance. He was a venerable
looking old man, of about 70 years of age, and a native of
At three o'clock we anchored near Fell's Point, Baltimore, and in the evening went on shore; but returned on
board to sleep.   The weather fine and very hot.
7th. At noon we went to the Custom-House to enter our
luggage; in the afternoon some of our fellow-passengers,
with ourselves, engaged, a house at Fell's Point, at 10 dollars per month.
8th. We removed to our house, and hired a cart to take
our luggage from the vessel, at 25 cents a load. Paid at
the Custom-House, 37 dollars, 75 cents; expences, one
dollar, 40 cents.
Trade at Baltimore extremely dull, and paper credit
very bad, except some few banks.
Accounts are kept in dollars and cents; [17] a dollar is of
the value of 45. 6d. English; but in Maryland and Pennsylvania, it is called 75. 6d.; in New York, 8s.; and in
all the western country, 6s.; but it is of equal value in all
the states; it is the shilling that differs; 100 cents make a
dollar; a cent is a trifle more than an English half-penny.
Dollars are divided into halves, quarters, eighths, and sixteenths, thus 100 cents make a dollar, 50 cents half a
dollar, 25 cents a quarter of a dollar, 12^ cents the eighth
II 188 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
of a dollar, and t\ cents the sixteenth of a dollar.   The
shillings are different, as follows:—
i*. is The dollar
Illinois, Virginia, Kentucky, &c.      .    i6§ cents      6s. od.
Pennsylvania, Maryland, &c.     .    .    13J cents      fs. 6d.
New York, &c 12^ cents      85. od.
These different denominations of the parts of a dollar
are troublesome to strangers, and might be avoided, by
counting in dollars and cents only; as there are no shillings
in America, but only dollars, halves, quarters, eighths, and
sixteenths, mostly Spanish coin, and some 10 and 20 cent
[18] pieces of American and Spanish coin. Cents and half
cents of copper are used in the eastern, but not in the
western states; few cents being to be found west of the
The morning after we were settled at Baltimore, we
opened some of our packages, and found them in good
order. In the afternoon, I took a walk with a person I
had known in England; he went to purchase some milch
cows; we went three or four miles through the woods, to a
Mr. Slater's, who had a 100 oxen and cows, of good size
and shape, but of different sorts; his stock ran mostly in
the woods, as he had but little cleared land. When we
arrived, we found Mr. Slater with his men cutting wheat
in a field of 25 or 30 acres; the wheat was of good quality,
but not a large crop, not more than 14 or 16 bushels per
acre. They cut it with scythes, some follow to tie it up
and set it up in heaps, rather than shocks; the cutting,
binding, and setting up, all done in a very slovenly manner.
The wheat, [19] after Indian corn, was ploughed in ridges
of about four feet wide, and sown before the Indian corn
was got in, a practice very common in America; and the
stalks of Indian corn cut down in the winter or spring, and 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 189
left in the wheat. The land, a poor clay, very wet in
winter. As Mr. Slater purposed bringing his cows to
Baltimore market, the next day we returned, and passed
his house, a very good brick building, pleasantly situated,
having a fine view of the bay of Baltimore, a quarter of
a mile distant. The out-houses and negroes' houses
much out of repair. The manure was but little attended
to, being scattered in all directions, although the soil stood
so much in need of it. We saw one field of very poor oats
and some weak Indian corn. The orchard contained
much fruit, apples, peaches, and late cherries, the early
ones were over. We had a fine view of the bay and part
of the city; and the mouth of the Patapses River and a
fort near it;1 and the [20] numerous vessels sailing up
and down the bay.
We passed a fishing party of ten or twelve; they were
taking some refreshment on the shore; one of the gentlemen was a native of England; but his parents left Cornwall when he was an infant: we took some whiskey and
water with them. The woods we passed resembled English pleasure grounds, except there was a greater variety
in the trees and shrubs. In this walk a greyhound dog
that accompanied us, attracted much notice from all we
met; few of whom had ever seen one before. One of the
passengers in the Resolution brought over some ferrets;
they also excited much attention, and a person wished to
purchase one, to go into a collection of animals, and offered
1 Woods probably here refers to Fort McHenry, at the mouth of the northwest branch of the Patapco. This star-shaped brick fort was begun in 1794.
when war with England seemed imminent. It was named in honor of James
McHenry, secretary of war under Washington. During the War of 1812-15
(September 13, 1814) it was bombarded by the British; and his joy at seeing
the flag wave from the ramparts throughout the attack, inspired Francis Scott
Key to write the "Star-Spangled Banner." — Ed. m
Early Western Travels
[Vol. 10
a great price for it; but no bargain was made when we left
Baltimore. I have never seen or heard of any other ferrets
in America.
There are many new buildings in Baltimore, and some
now going on. Baltimore [21] street is a noble one, wide,
straight, and of great length, crossed at right angles by
many other good streets; Baltimore-street running east and
west, the cross streets north and south. As the city was
planned before the buildings had made much progress, it is
very regular, and should the plan ever be completed, it
will be a large and noble city. There are some good shops,
(in America called stores), but not equal to those of London.
As no burial grounds, butcher's shops, or slaughter
houses, are allowed in the city or at Fell's Point, many of
them are on a hill, north east of Fell's Point. There are
three burial grounds, all badly kept, one belonging to the
catholics; I did not learn to what sects the other two belonged. The butcher's shops are on the top of the hill,
in an airy situation; here they kill their meat, and carry
it to the daily markets. At some distance from the burial
grounds, there is a noble looking hospital, some rope walks,
and brick yards.
[22] Across the top of the hill, some intrenchments were
thrown up during the late war, to stop the progress of the
British troops when they landed near Baltimore, but they
did not advance so far as these intrenchments.
A man on the hill with porter for sale recommended it
as of good age, it having been brewed three whole days.
Malt liquor not much drank, except by the English.
Towards the north-west, the land better than to the
north-east, but still poor and rocky. Yet there is a great
variety of soils in and near Baltimore.   I was informed 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 191
by a person who belonged to the society of Friends, that
he had lived here a great many years, and had been concerned in most of the buildings; he said he believed there
was not so convenient a place for building a city in the
universe, as far as regards the finding the materials on the
spot. Trees of many sorts grew where the city now
stands, fit for building; [23] free-stone in great plenty;
also shells and lime-stone for mortar; abundance of sand
and clay, that made excellent bricks. The land being uneven, it required some labour to form the streets, but as
most of the little hills were composed of sand or free-stone,
a great part of them came into use, and the remainder
served to raise the streets against the bay.
I was informed, there were thirty thousand inhabitants
or upwards, but the number did not increase as during
the war.
Trade being bad, most of the new buildings at a stand,
to the great disappointment of many of the emigrants
from Europe. But to those who came in the Resolution,
it was of no great moment, as we most of us intended
going westward before we left England, and not to stop
in the sea-ports; and there were but few mechanics on
board. Several vessels with emigrants arrived a short
time before us, and there were three a few days after us;
amongst them, one small American vessel from Havre
with a [24] hundred and sixty-nine English, chiefly from
Portsmouth and its neighbourhood; fifty-four days from
Havre to New York, where some of them landed; the remainder came on to Baltimore, which place then contained
many emigrants in want of work; some without money to
take them up the country; and some with no inclination
to go up; and some without either. A person who comes
to America is most likely to succeed by moving from the ^^*~~
Early Western Travels
sea-ports, they being very full of people. Labourers in
agriculture, and many trades, are sure of work in the
western country; but some from Europe have very erroneous opinions of America, in thinking that, when they
arrive, they shall find every thing without any trouble;
others think they cannot ask too much for their labour. I
have known men dissatisfied with 6s. per day, who in
England must have worked much harder for 25.
Many hackney-coaches and one-horse carts for hire,
with very fine horses in [25] them, much better than the
horses for the same purposes in England. The horses
have much blood in them, and would not disgrace a nobleman's carriage; those that bring provisions to market
are of the same description, light and active, and would
make good hunters. The hackney-coaches are open on
the sides, on account of the heat of the climate, with
leather curtains, to let down in wet weather; the drivers
principally negroes. But the carmen mostly English,
Scotch, or Irish, but most of the latter.
The person with whom I went to Mr. Slater's, purchased of him at the market two cows and calves for 71
dollars, (15/. 195. 6d.), the cows young and very kind, and
when fat, might weigh about 560 lbs. each; the calves
eight or ten days old.
There is a market for horses and beasts, &c. twice a-
week at Baltimore, and one every day, except Sunday,
there and at Fell's Point, but there are two on Saturday,
one in the morning, the other in the [26] evening, at each
place, for the sale of flour, meal, meat, fish, butter, cheese,
vegetables, and fruit, consisting of pine-apples and cocoa-
nuts from the West Indies. Sweet and water-melons,
apricots, peaches, prunes, plums, limes, lemons, oranges,
cherries, currants, whortleberries, blackberries, fox-grapes,
L_ I820-I82Il
Woods's English Prairie
apples, pears, earth-nuts, and walnuts. The fruit in general good and reasonable; and vegetables the same, with
the exception of cabbages, and they were very dear, owing
to the dry season.   Pine-apples 3 \d.
Fell's Point has many pumps, but few of them possess
good water; there was one near us a very good one, called
Jackson's pump. The badness of the water, its low situation, and the quantity of stagnant water, were, I think,
the chief, if not the only causes of the fatal fever that broke
out soon after we left it; nay, I rather suppose it had
commenced before we quitted it, as many people were
ill, and some died most days during our stay. But the
city [27] standing higher, with good springs, it is much
The first Sunday after our arrival, we went to the
episcopal church, the building was lofty, light, and airy,
with five stoves to warm it in winter; the pews were painted
a light colour, with mahogany coloured rails. The service
much as in England. The psalms for the day, or a selection at the choice of the minister. Prayers for the president and general government, instead of the king, &c.
There was a fine organ. The congregation was a very
genteel one, and as the heat was great, all the ladies used
fans, mostly made of feathers. In the afternoon there
was a thunder-storm and some rain, preceded by a very
high wind, for about ten minutes; and as the weather had
been extremely dry, the dust was driven in such clouds, as
almost to make it totally dark. Much colder in the evening; and some of us went to the Methodist meeting; it
was numerously attended, the manner much the same as in
[28] England; the preacher, who had a strong voice, made
the most of it. Towards the close of the service, two
men, each with a bag at the end of a long stick, made a 11
194 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
collection for the minister, &c; and while they were so
employed, a man with a long beard, and a leather girdle
about his loins, (as the prophet Elijah), stood up, and
begged to say a few words. First, he reproved the minister for taking money, and then declared himself a preacher
sent from God to warn the world of its wickedness, and
to inform the people, that before the crop of the year 1818
was consumed, "Time should be no more." I sat very
near him, and he stood on one of the seats, that he might
be heard the better, but he spoke so rapidly, I could not
hear all he said, but I heard him reprove the minister, and
all present; at length he was persuaded to sit down, and
the preacher again went on. It being late we went home,
as did some others. This man was deranged, constantly
attending the markets, preaching and [29] prophesying the
end of the world. He was often surrounded by a large
concourse of people, to hear him; but few, if any, gave
any credit to his testimony. He often got insulted by the
crowd, but the magistrates did not interfere, but left him
to do or say what he pleased. Some of our party went to
the African meeting. There are many different religions
in Baltimore, and all appear to live together in great harmony. As there is no religion established by law, all are
equal in this respect, except the poor negroes, who are not
allowed to attend divine worship with the white inhabitants. And although I disapprove of slavery in every
point of view, in none so much as in their not being allowed
to worship the Almighty with the other inhabitants, I
think the treatment of the slaves at Baltimore was mild,
but still they were slaves, and at the mercy of their owners,
if fellow-creatures and Christians can be called the property of others. But thank God, I never yet considered
any person had that right; [30] and as that was my opin-
^ 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 195
ion, I could not settle in a slave state, to disgrace myself
and family by the horrid practice of slave keeping.
On the 15th there was a very heavy thunder-storm, the
thunder was extremely loud, attended by heavy rain,
the streets near us looked like rivers; indeed, when the
rain ceased, the boys waded in the one before our house
for some time. I was informed by several of the inhabitants, that they had seldom heard such thunder, or seen
such rain before. This evening, and two other evenings,
we had a very disagreeable scene in an alley near us. It
was that of an Irish howl or wake, in which the mourners
made a dreadful noise, crying and howling; we could hear
them enquire, "Why their dear sister died;" "whether
she wanted any thing;" "whether her friends were unkind
to her," &c. &c. As the mourners made pretty free with
whiskey, the noise increased as the night advanced. The
watch several times [31] ordered them to be quiet, and
they always obeyed for a short time, but soon began again.
Many of the principal people in Baltimore are Catholics, as well as numbers of the lower order of Irish, many
of whom were recently arrived from Ireland. Irishmen
are numerous every where in the States, but I am informed
generally of a higher description than those in Baltimore
and in the sea-ports.
One of our company, going out one morning before it
was light, to call some of his fellow-passengers to go for a
day's shooting, was taken into custody by the city-watch,
and taken to the watch-house, but finding he was a stranger, he was liberated; he staid till day-light, and then called
his companions and went out, but found no game.
The Americans are not reserved in their manners, they
do not scruple asking a stranger any question, nor do they
appear to mind answering any that may be asked [32] 196
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[Vol. 10
them. Many of them seemed to like the English amongst
them very well, others are more jealous of strangers. On
the 14th, I put some letters in the post for England, for
which I paid i8f cents., about iod. each. I saw a beggar
in Baltimore street, the first I saw in America. We did
not purchase any fruit, although it was very cheap, on
account of its being unwholesome for people just arrived
from Europe.
As I could not settle all my business, several who came
over with us, and had been residing in the same house,
left us on the 17th for Pittsburg; they hired a waggon to
take them and their luggage, for four dollars and a quarter
per hundred pounds weight. As they purposed going to
the English settlement in the state of Illinois, we expected
to see them when we got there; but they stopped at Evansville in Indiana, and hearing of an English settlement ten
miles distant,2 they went there; and I have seen nothing
pf them since, except one, who has arrived at Wanborough.
[^] In one of my walks, I saw upwards of twenty very
fine red and white oxen, belonging to a butcher on the
hill above Fell's Point, fine and clear in their horns,
though most of the beasts I have seen in America are
rather thick in their horns; they were very fat, and might
weigh from 600 lbs. to 700 lbs. each, of the value of from
30 to 35 dollars each.
As we understood it was difficult for large boats to go
from Pittsburg to Wheeling, the water being low, we
agreed with a Mr. Merchant, for the carriage of ourselves
'This English settlement centered about the present town of Inglefield.
Its name is a tribute to the memory of the first Englishman to settle in the
region, John Ingle, who in 1818 emigrated from Huntingdonshire. English-;
men came in increasing numbers during the years 1818-20, but soon thereafter
hard times put an end to immigration to this part of Indiana.— Ed. 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 197
and luggage to the latter place, a distance of 280 miles,
for the sum of 350 dollars, (78/. 15s.); this was for nine
people, and upwards of 6000 lbs. of luggage. We had
two waggons, with six horses and one driver to each waggon; the manner of travelling in them is very different
from that of England. Here they are hired to take passengers, luggage, goods, &c. to any part of the United
States, by the 100 lbs. weight. The drivers look after
their own horses,— [34] buying hay, Indian corn, chopped
straw, ground rye, &c. at the taverns. Looking after
their own horses prevents their setting out early in the
morning, so they take their breakfasts before they commence their journey. They then travel till noon, when
they stop for a short time, and then go on till sun-set or
after; therefore they have no time in an evening to clean
their horses. The waggons are lighter than English
waggons, with a pole instead of shafts. The drivers ride
the left-wheel horse, with reins to the other two pair;
they seldom walk, and when they do, they always mount
should a bad piece of road, or a difficult log-bridge come
in their way, as they can see to guide their horses much
better than when on foot. A trough is screwed behind
the waggon, containing a small mattress, a blanket or
two rolled up, and a water-pail. When stopping to bait,
or for the night, the trough is placed on the pole of the
waggon, and the horses are tied up to it, where they stand
in all weathers. They mostly water [35] their horses out
of their pails, seldom letting them go into the water to
drink, if ever so convenient.
Having settled all my money transactions, and got our
luggage ready, we took leave of our fellow-passengers, not
expecting ever to see them again; and in the afternoon
of the 2 2d of July we left Baltimore.   The country but II
198 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
little cultivated, but many fruit trees; for some distance
from Baltimore, the land poor and stony; we first took a
turnpike road, but soon quitted it. We saw many waggons to and from Baltimore to the westward. We had
our own bedding with us, which we generally made use
of at the taverns, never hiring more than one or two beds.
The weather very hot.
23d. Breakfasted at the tavern, charge for nine breakfasts, a gallon of tea the evening before, beds, &c. 4 dollars 31 \ cents., nearly (195. 6d.) We passed this day a
poor, rocky, hilly country, many huckleberries in the
woods, 23 miles to a [36] tavern, where we slept. Wheat
and rye mostly harvested. Hay, some housed, and some
cutting; it was timothy grass, and extremely ripe; it was
put up in very small ricks, and not thatched. The fences
were of rails, laid on each other in a zig-zag form,
thus, V^S^S^S^W^i having laid one row, they begin
again on the first, and rise up from six to nine rails high;
which make a strong fence against all sorts of cattle. The
expense of a rail fence is not great where timber is plentiful. The price of cutting and splitting rails is from 3$.
to 45. 6d. a hundred. Generally a hundred, laid eight
rails high, will make about six rods of fence, so that including cutting, casting, and putting up, the expense may
average at 14^. a rod.
24th. We were charged for breakfasts, beds, &c. 3 dollars 31 i cents. We passed through a country similar to
that on the preceding day, till near the town of Liberty,
40 miles from Baltimore, a small neat place, of fiftv or
sixty houses. This was [37] the first town or village we
had passed, by the road we came. From Liberty to
Frederic town, a much better country; Frederic town is a 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 199
large place, with many good brick buildings in it.3 It is
said to be the largest town in the States, that does not lie
on a navigable river. From thence to Elders town, soil
pretty good. This day we travelled 22 or 23 miles. We
now mostly provided our own dinners and suppers, and
took our breakfasts at the taverns. These breakfasts consisted of several of the following articles: chickens, hams,
veal-cutlets, beef-steaks, roast pork, and several sorts of
fish; various kinds of hot bread, viz. wheat and corn
bread, buck wheat cakes, and waffles, a sort of soft cake,
said to be of German origin; butter, honey, jelly, pickles,
apple-butter, and the following dried fruits: peaches,
cherries, apples, &c. And for one of these breakfasts
they generally charged us 25 cents. (15. \%d.) In the
above, I should have included tea or coffee.
[38] 25th. We travelled, a hilly country, to Trap town,
a very small place, mostly of log-houses. From near Trap
town, to the Potomac river, it still continued rocky. We
passed 2 or 3 miles, up the side of the river, along a very
sandy road, the river to our left, and some very high rocks
on our right; many of which had, at different times, rolled
down into the river. On the south side of the river, was
a high ridge of rOcky hills, and the sun shining on them;
and, as we were passing through a deep sandy road, the
heat was more intense than I had ever felt it before. The
Potomac river is upwards of 250 yards wide, but shallow
at the time we passed it, and full of large rocks. We saw
some people fishing, in canoes, but what kind of fish they
were fishing for, we did not learn. Many papaw trees
on the banks of the river: as we approached near to Harper's Ferry, the rocks on our right rose to an immense
* For the early history of Frederick, see A. Michaux's Travels, volume iii
of our series, note 70.— Ed. Early Western Travels
[Vol. 10
height; we passed close under one, much larger and higher
than St. Paul's church, London. [39] We were told it was
a quarter of a mile high; but this, I think, was an exaggeration. Some small pines and cedars grew on these
rocks; the cedars, on the highest points of them. We
crossed the Potomac at Harper's Ferry,4 in a ferry-boat;
one waggon and its horses passed over at a time, the river
was so full of rocks, it was difficult for the ferryman to
find a passage for their boat. The river, at the ferry, was
about 200 yards wide; we passed it just above its junction
with the Shadanoak.6 We had now entered the State of
Virginia; hitherto we had been travelling in Maryland.
We saw many large birds on the river, but of what sort
we did not learn, but supposed them to be fish-eagles.
At Harper's Ferry, there is a manufactory of fire-arms, at
which many of our countrymen were employed. . I saw
eight or ten of them, and they informed me there were
about sixty men, women, and children; but as it was Sunday, they were most of them walking out. Four miles
from this place, we stopped [40] for the night, at Brick
Mill tavern; here was a mill of five stories high, but short
of water in a dry season, and this was the case when we
were there. We passed a mill two days before, seven
stories high, with more than fifty sash windows, the water-
wheels more than twenty feet high, said to be well supplied
with water at all seasons of the year. This day we travelled 19 miles.
26th. We proceeded 4 miles, through a hilly country,
to Charles town,6 Virginia, a long place of eighty or a
* For a brief account of Harper's Ferry, consult A. Michaux's Travels,
note 69.— Ed.
5 The Shenandoah River.— Ed.
6 See A. Michaux's Travels, note 68, for the early history of Charlestown.— Ed. 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 201
hundred houses, mostly of wood, but some good brick
ones. A small creek, at the end of the town, then nearly
dry; the land tolerably good. Here I saw a small
piece of flax; it was the first I saw; but we had passed
three or four small pieces of tobacco, very well cultivated,
being planted in squares, at eighteen or twenty inches
apart. At noon, we stopped at Cook's tavern, during a
storm of thunder and rain, and afterwards proceeded up
a rocky hill, of good limestone land, [41] on which there
were the best farmhouses and out-buildings, and the most
manure we had hitherto seen. Dung, in this country, is
but little attended to in general; indeed, they seem to try
who shall get rid of it with the least trouble. At Brick
Mill, the stable was placed over the mill stream, the horses
standing on a plank floor; indeed, where there are stables,
the horses stand on plank floors, without litter; but generally, through the country we passed, they tied them up
in the open air in a road, or any other place. As this hill
lies high, the corn on it was rather backward; the wheat
and rye were cut, but not harvested; the former, as fine as
any I ever saw. The road from Harper's Ferry is situated high, and we were now on what is called the South,
or Blue Mountains.7 Leaving the hill, we passed some
woods down a road more rocky, if possible, than ever, to
a small clear river, about twenty yards wide, and eighteen
inches deep. There were some fine springs where we
passed the river; [42] then, for two miles, through a country uncommonly sterile, covered with scrubby pines, to a
new tavern, where we intended to sleep. But some words
arising between one of our drivers and the mistress of the
tavern, we went forward half a mile to another; this tavern
miserably dirty, and the accommodations uncommonly
7 The Blue Ridge Mountains.— Ed. Early Western Travels
[Vol. 10
vi a
bad. On some of our party complaining, the landlord
told us, he was sorry we came to his house, as he liked
people to be satisfied or stay away. This was, by far, the
most filthy tavern we ever met with; in fact, it was but
little preferable to an English pig-sty. This day we only
travelled 15 or 16 miles.
27th. We provided the greater part of our breakfast,
not much wishing to partake of the landlord's accommodations. We then went forward, through a poor country,
till we passed some woods, and then into some good limestone land, but much encumbered with large rocks; some
of them upwards of 100 yards long, many yards wide, and
[43] some feet above the surface of the earth. What with
these rocks, and the stumps of trees, full one-fourth part
of the land could not be cultivated. A great deal of very
stout wheat and rye cut, but remaining on the ground; it
was cut very high from the ground, in a very slovenly manner, and set up in large heaps, almost without form. We
had seen but few oats, and no barley, since we left Baltimore; the oats not good. Indian corn in general slight,
owing to the drought. The after-crop of clover short,
but well set, the first cut had been mostly stout and very
ripe; the meadow grass now cutting, and also very ripe.
The hay ricks, we had passed, extremely small, with little
or no covering. Small ricks are most convenient to the
Americans, as they do not cut their hay, but begin at the
top, and so continue taking off till the rick is gone, a little
waste not being much regarded. We passed a little fallow
land, but it is not common to make fallows for wheat, as
by keeping the Indian corn [44] ploughed between, it is
left in a good state for wheat or rye. A negro was ploughing for turnips, on some land, where a slight crop of flax
had grown this summer;   the land very kind for once 1820-1821] Woods1 s English Prairie
ploughing. This negro said, some very elegant potatoes
grew on this land last year. They plough with a light
swing-plough, and use two horses, except when ploughing
between their Indian corn, and then they only use one.
They do not generally use harrows, but when they do, they
are made with wooden teeth; nor have I any where in
America seen iron tined ones, except in the English Prairie.
They use a large hoe to cover in their corn: I have not seen
a roller in this country.
Near this, we saw some mulberry and plum-trees. We
then passed a creek, and afterwards some hilly pine woods;
soil very barren till near Pew's town, a small place, mostly
log houses. Here we saw some buck wheat just come up;
we had seen some before equally backward, and [45] we
were told, it was common to sow it after a crop of wheat or
rye was taken off the ground. The gardens here better
kept than most we had seen, but these were far from
neat. In the afternoon, we met two droves of fat beasts,
from the south branch of the Potomac river, going to
Baltimore. The first, a drove of handsome fat oxen and
heifers; the other, a larger one, all oxen, young and handsome, but not so fat as the first, some of which were too
fat for the hot weather. These beasts only travel mornings and evenings, often stopping to graze, and going but
a short distance in a day; they do not lose so much flesh
as might be expected in so long a journey. Just as we had
passed the last drove, we had a heavy storm of thunder
and rain, so that we got wet through, but our clothes were
nearly dry by the evening, when we stopped at Mr. Dent's
tavern, at a place called, "the Pine Hills." Here our
accommodations were excellent; our progress [46] this
day was 16 miles; the weather warm in the morning, but
colder after the rain. 204
Early Western Travels
[Vol. I
28. Early in the morning I looked over Mr. Dent's
garden. It was pretty good land, though most that lay
round it was very barren. This garden was kept in tolerable good order, and had a little manure bestowed on it.
There was some fine water-melons, nearly ripe, a few small
horse-beans; I had not seen any before, and these were
very weak; but there were some turnips, just come up,
that looked well.
The evening before, a poor old man begged for a lodging. Mr. Dent ordered him into the house, and gave him
a hot supper, and provided a bed for him; and on his going
off early in the morning, Mr. Dent seemed to blame himself for not giving him a dram before he started. This
was the second beggar we saw in America. After breakfast, we paid 3 dollars 31 \ cents, and left the tavern well
pleased with our accommodations and our landlord; [47]
and then proceeded through a steril mountainous country.
There were pines and cedars on the hills, and large oaks
and chesnuts in the valleys. We afterwards went down
a long rocky valley, with a small stream of water running
in it, which we crossed ten or twelve times in our progress
down. We then came to a more open country, and the
stream was lost in a larger one, thirty or forty yards wide;
very shallow at that time, and the bed of it full of rocks.
In the afternoon, we met a drove of 120 oxen, from the
State of Kentucky, for the Baltimore and Philadelphia
markets. They were large kind beasts, mostly young, not
over fat, except two or three, which were very fat indeed;
one was equal to any beast I ever saw, and might weigh
upwards of i20olbs. weight. But most of them would
weigh from 600 to 8oolbs.; they were chiefly red and
white, but not all of one breed.
We saw a partridge fly from a tree, the first game we saw, 1820-1821I Woods's English Prairie 205
though we had now advanced [48] 120 miles into the country. We were told pheasants, turkeys, and deer, were
plentiful in many places, but we had not seen any. We
saw many huckleberries, and some fern; this was the first
fern we saw, but we afterwards saw much of it on the
mountains: some of this fern had stalks of a bright mahogany colour. The fern on the east of the mountains,
grew like the English, on poor land; but in the State of
Illinois, at least, where I have been, it generally denotes
a good soil; and the same may be said of beech trees, on
the banks of the Ohio, the richer spots are often covered
with a heavy growth of them; and in the western country,
beech land is called excellent. In the evening, we reached
Mr. Vannosdeln's tavern, in a poor high country; his
garden was in a much better state than any we had seen
before. He gave us a fine water-melon, but none of us
relished it much, as it was the first we had ever tasted, nor
was it quite ripe.
29th. We paid at Mr. Vannosdeln's [49] excellent tavern, 3 dollars 33 cents.; and went on to Springfield town,8
through a barren country, called the South Branch Mountain. We passed the south branch of the Potomac river,
forty yards wide, shallow when we crossed it, but sometimes it rises to a great height. After passing the river,
we went up its bank close under a ridge of hills, and many
fragments of the rocks had rolled down into the river, and
large masses hung over our heads that threatened to bury
us as we passed. Some large sycamore-trees lined the
banks of the river; these trees always grow on land liable
to be overflowed, and are the same that are called plane-
8 Springfield, in Hampshire County, West Virginia, about sixty miles west
of Harper's Ferry, was established by law (1790), and named after Springfield,
Massachusetts.— Ed. 206 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
trees in England. The red or water-maple most resembles
the sycamore of England, but scarcely any tree or plant is
exactly the same. Cedars and pines grow mostly on the
tops of rocky hills; the latter are of several sorts, pitch,
spruce, and white; the first a little like the Scotch fir;
the last, much resembles the Weymouth pine; but the
spruce bore but little [50] similarity to any I had ever seen.
There was a large sort of berry that our drivers called
gooseberries, but totally unlike the fruit of that name I
had been accustomed to; but as they were not ripe, we
did not taste them. Leaving the banks of the river, we
passed a small mill, and followed the course of its stream
up a valley till we reached Springfield town, a place of
forty log-houses, and stopped at Mr. Piper's tavern. The
weather being extremely hot, the country hilly, and the
roads bad, we only travelled 16 or 17 miles.
30th. Early in the morning I walked round the town,
and went into a tan-yard; the owner was an old man, 48
years since from Ireland. He told me he was not troubled
with excisemen. He bought his bark mostly by the cord,
but sometimes by the hundred pounds weight, price half
a dollar. Only the body and the large limbs are barked.
The bark is shaved, but not chopped, before it is sold to
the tanners; it is ground in a kind of coffee-mill.
[51] At this place, I saw a few sheep of the Leicestershire breed, very poor. Mr. Piper's tavern was a neat
log-house, lined with pine boards, and ceiled with the
same. We left this place for Frankfort, a small place
of near forty log-houses. We then passed Patterson's
Creek,9 thirty yards wide, but not deep.   The land near
'Patterson's Creek rises in Grant County, West Virginia, and flowing
parallel to the south branch of the Potomac, empties into the north branch a
few miles west of Cresapburg.— Ed.
^ 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 207
it much overrun with pennyroyal, of which we had seen
much during our journey, and also a great deal of mint;
in many of the small streams which we passed, it grew in
z. very luxuriant manner; we frequently gathered some of
the latter, and put it into the water we drank, to take off
its rawness, and found it far more palatable for so doing.
Most of the briers we had passed were of the scented kind,
and they continued from Baltimore to the Allegany Mountains, a distance of more than 150 miles; but on the mountains, and on the west side of them to Wheeling, and from
thence to the Prairies, a distance of 1100 miles, I did not see
one scented one, but [52] many that were not. From
Patterson's Creek, a short distance, to Crisepsburg's town,
.a very small place of log-houses;10 and soon afterwards
reached the north branch of the Potomac river, 200 yards
wide, rocky, and not deep. The land, on the banks of
the river, much better than any we had seen of late.
Having crossed the river, we were again in the State of
Maryland. The country between this place and Harper's
Ferry, which we passed on the 25th, all in the State of
Virginia. From the north branch of the Potomac river,
we passed a very hilly country, to a new road, called the
National Turnpike." This road is to extend from Cumberland on the Potomac, to Wheeling on the Ohio, a distance
•of more than 120 miles; the first 62 miles, from Cumberland to Union town, on the west side of the Allegany
Mountains, was just finished, and is a good road, though
10 Cresapburg is the oldest town in Allegany County, Maryland, a frontier
post having been established there by Colonel Thomas Cresap in 1741, and
named Skipton, after his native town in Yorkshire. For further details con-
<erning the life of Cresap, see Croghan's Journals, volume i of our series, note
56— Ed.
11 For the early history of the National Road, see Harris's Journal, volume
iii of our series, note 45.— Ed. 208 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
hilly. The road west from Union town to Wheeling, was
begun in many places, and many men were employed on
[53] it when we passed along it. This grand national road
is intended to connect all the western country with the seat
of government, as there is water communication from
Cumberland to the city of Washington, on the east by the
Potomac, and from Wheeling on the Ohio, with the States
of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi,
Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and all the western country, by the means of the Ohio, Mississippi,-Missouri,
Cumberland, Tennessee, and other rivers. This national
road is free, as there are no gates on it; for as it was made
by the nation, so it is to be kept in repair by it. We
entered this road, five miles west of Cumberland, and soon
after stopped at Mr. Carter's tavern, called "the Travellers' Rest," at the foot of the Allegany Mountains.
We had lately seen fewer fruit-trees, and much less fruit
on them, except on the apple-trees, these being generally
well hung. Blackberries had been very plentiful all the
way, and so they continued over the mountains. [54] I
ate large quantities of them, liking them much better
than I did the cherries, of which we often had plenty
given us: these blackberries were much better than any I
had before tasted.
We saw but few birds on our journey; woodpeckers of
several sorts, a handsome yellow bird, something like a
goldfinch, a few crows, and some small birds, much like
tom-tits. As my youngest daughter was carrying some
flowers in her hand, a humming bird settled on them, it
made her start, thinking it was a large insect; it was not
larger than a chafer, but a beautiful bird.
The country, from Harper's Ferry, mostly rocky to the
mountains, generally of slate, but  some limestone, free 1820-1821I Woods's English Prairie 209
stone, and coarse marble. Most of the valleys had
streams of water and good springs. The soil, chiefly
poor, but well watered. But little cultivated land, and
much of that only partly cleared of trees. They grub up
the underwood, and most of the small [55] trees; they then
either cut down the large ones, within three feet of the
ground, and leave the stumps standing, or else chop them
round the stems, and take off a small strip of bark, which
kills them, leaving them to decay, and fall down of themselves. It is common to see eight or ten acres of land, in
cultivation, with some hundreds of dead trees standing in
it. They collect the small trees, underwood, and roots,
into heaps, and then burn them; and thus the fire often
communicates itself to the standing trees, running up to
the top of the highest of them, leaving them half burnt.
These trees have a very dismal appearance at first, but
people get reconciled to it in time. It is much the quickest method of clearing land for corn, as it enables a man
to begin with very little strength of money, men, and
horses. The hogs, on the mountains, were not so handsome as those nearer Baltimore, being in general badly
In our journey thus far, we had seen but [56] few gardens, and those indifferently kept; they contained a few
peas, parsnips, carrots, onions, shalots, sweet, and other
potatoes, lettuce, and a large flat sort of cabbage, with a
few sorts of herbs. Our landlord, Mr. Carter, had a farm
of 700 acres; 100 cleared, the rest in a state of nature.
31st. We proceeded, by the turnpike road, up a valley
of the mountains; the road good. As we ascended, we
found vegetation much later; the blackberries not ripe, a
little rye not cut, oats quite green, no wheat or Indian
corn to be seen.   A few gooseberry-bushes, no fruit on nfl
Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
them; some strawberry-plants; I had noticed a few raspberry-bushes, the fruit small and hard, of a dark red colour.
A great variety of wild flowers, almost all new to me.
Much timber in the hollows of the mountains, oak, chesnut, and pine; the pines of an immense height. I measured one that was cut in making the turnpike; it was
102 feet to the broken top, and there it was seven inches
in diameter. [57] Some that were standing appeared
much longer; I thought the highest, at least, 140 feet high.
The oaks and chesnuts were also very high, but they
grew too close together to be very large, but many of them
might contain from 50 to 150 feet of solid timber. Many
thousands of trees, that were cut for making the turnpike,
lay rotting by the sides of it, besides the vast quantities of
dead trees in the woods. This day only, we passed some
thousand loads of timber, thus decaying. I believe I
have seen more timber in this wasting state, than all the
growing timber I ever saw in my life in England. We
saw no heath on the mountains, nor have I ever seen or
heard of any in America.
In the forenoon, we passed a village of good houses,
most part of them lately built: a flour and saw mill, and
a noble tavern, the Globe; it equalled many English inns
in outward appearance. We stopped to dinner at a poor
log-tavern, but the landlord was building a new log one,
on a large scale. Here we saw a poor little negro [58] boy,
he was a cripple; the landlord had bought him some
months before, out of a drove of negroes going westward
for sale. The landlord treated him with great humanity,
and the child seemed as much attached to him, as he could
have been to his own relations. I was much pleased to
see a poor negro child so well treated, but as to buying or selling human beings, I utterly abhor it. In the evening, we arrived at Mr. Kimberley's tavern; here we took
our supper, our provisions being now exhausted. In the
forenoon, it was extremely hot; in the afternoon, a little
thunder and rain, and afterwards much colder: we travelled seventeen miles, mostly up hill, the road good, but
rough, the stones being laid on rather large.
August ist. Having breakfasted, and paid five dollars,
we set out and crossed the little Yougany or Cressing
river,12 by a new stone bridge of one arch of 76 feet span,
and very high. We passed many ridges and small valleys;
but little cultivated land, a small quantity of rye cut;
only one piece [59] of wheat, nearly ripe. Oats here form
the chief crop, some nearly ripe, others just coming out in
haw. A little Indian corn, but we were told the summers
on the mountains were too short for it to ripen; and,
therefore, they only planted a little to cut green. Some
healthy-looking apple trees in the valleys, but with little
fruit on them, owing to the spring frosts being later than
usual. Some new land bringing into cultivation, potatoes
or fallows first. The oats and potatoes, much better on
the mountains, than those seen between them and Baltimore; indeed, the land in the hollows of the mountains
was much better than a great deal of that we had passed
before we arrived at the foot of them, but backward, the
winters being severe, and the springs late.
We called at a cabin, to get some bread, where we found
a woman with six small children; she said her husband
worked 40 miles off, and only came home once in two or
B Little Crossing was the name given to the place where the road crossed
Castleman's Creek, a small branch of the Youghiogheny, and at this point
about fifteen miles distant from the crossing of the latter, or Big Crossing.— Ed.
1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 211
1 212 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
three weeks; they lived in this place [60] before the turnpike was begun, four years since; no stores nearer than
six or seven miles. They procured most of their tea,
coffee, whiskey, and other necessaries from the waggons,
that traded to, and from Baltimore, to the westward. She
said, she had never been molested in this lonely situation.
She was born in the state of Jersey, but near Philadelphia.
Her great grandfather of the name of Wood, emigrated
from England, being oppressed with tithes, he being a
Quaker; he founded a small town in the state of Jersey,
and called it Woodbury, after his own name, and the place
he left in England, which was Bury. But whether it was
a town, village, or farm, she did not know, only, that it
was in Gloucestershire.
Sixteen miles from the Little Cressing or Yougany,
we came to the Big Cressing, and the small town of
Smithfield, placed in a very romantic situation.13 It had
three taverns, viz. a stone house, the Globe; a frame one,
the Rising Sun; and a good [61] log one, the Yougany;
and about twenty other houses, mostly of logs. A noble
stone bridge over the river, the centre arch ninety feet
span, said to be the largest in the United States. The
Yougany is one of the head streams of the Monongahela.
Leaving the river, we followed the course of a small
stream, to the Elephant tavern, kept by Major Paul, (late
in the American service), where we slept. This town is
noted as a waggon house; there were eight stopped there
at the time we were there, mostly drawn by six horses
each, and none less than five.
At noon this day, we passed the line between the states
13 This crossing-place of the Youghiogheny River is the present Smithfield,
Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The old name was "Big Crossings," and
from this account, might have been contracted to Cressing. Applying the
name to the river was probably a tourist's error.— Ed. 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 213
of Pennsylvania and Maryland," and found ourselves in
a state where slavery is not admitted; but still negroes
were treated with much contempt, as we witnessed at
Major Paul's. A negro drove one of the waggons, that
stopped for the night; he was not allowed to sit at table
with any one, but had a table to himself: I believe he was
a free negro, but of this I am not certain. We had come
seventeen [62] miles, weather very hot, with much thunder
at a distance, but no rain. Mr. Paul's house was surrounded by some of the best meadows we had then seen
in America;15 the hills inclosed them on both sides, and
the valleys were narrow.
2d. We advanced up a valley for a great distance, and
passed a mine of coal; it lay twelve or fifteen feet below
the surface of the earth; the veins about three feet thick;
several hundred bushels lay dug; it had a strong sulphureous smell. We afterwards passed oyer a large flat, of
thin, weak, black, wettish soil, covered with dwarf alders
and large weeds; a little of this land cleared and planted
with potatoes, they looked well. What little timber there
was, was short and scrubby.
We now again ascended, and at length reached the top
of Laurel Hill, the last ridge of the mountains. Much
laurel on this eminence, resembling the Portugal laurel.
Here we had the first, and a most extensive view of the
west side of the mountains. [63] As the air was clear,
we could see objects distinctly; much cleared land in sight,
and many fine springs; indeed, they were numerous all
14 On the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania, consult A. Michaux's Travels, note 73.— Ed.
15 Great Meadows was near Farmington, Fayette County, Pennsylvania,
and was the site of Washington's Fort Necessity, raised in the campaign of 1754
against Fort Duquesne. These rich meadows became one
first land possessions in the West.— Ed.
1 w
214 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
over the mountains, but there were but few houses. This
day we descended gently down the hill; the road was steep
and winding. As we advanced, the timber increased in
size, mostly oak, and towards the bottom it was immensely
large. From the summit to the town of Monroe,16 at the
foot of the hill, is full three miles, most of the way very
steep. Monroe was two years old, named in honour of
the president of the United States. It contains two large
stone taverns, and about twenty log houses, and a saw
mill on a small stream near it. Much land cleared of
timber and laid down to grass, of a better sward than any
I saw east of the mountains. From Monroe to Union
town, two miles; here we stopped for the night." I
passed a meadow between these towns, it was of timothy
grass, and higher than any I ever saw before; it was not
so thick on the ground as [64] I have seen English meadow
grass, but a most productive crop. This day our waggons
were separated a considerable distance, the first reached
Union at sunset, the other not till two hours after. We
came twenty-one miles.
3d. We had now entered the western country, but we
were still in the old settled part of it, Union town having
been built more than thirty years. It is a large place,
mostly of brick buildings; it has a bank, twelve or fourteen
M John Hopwood, having purchased a patent of land from Richard Penn,
laid out a town which he called Woodstock, at the foot of Laurel Hill on the
old Braddock Road. A son, Moses Hopwood, was planning to enlarge it
(1816), when James Monroe passed along the road on a campaign tour and
was entertained as his guest. In accordance with Monroe's suggestion, when
the addition was platted the name was changed to Monroe. It was a bustling
place during the prosperous days of the National Road, its taverns being crowded
with travellers who remained over night to get an early start over the mountains the following morning.— Ed.
17 For the early history of Uniontown, see Harris's Journal, volume iii of our
series, note 47.— Ed. 1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 215
taverns, a flour, a saw, and a carding mill, on a small
stream near the town. On this stream there were some
good meadows, but in a bad state, there being many docks
and other weeds in them. The Indian corn luxuriant; a
great many orchards, with a good show of apples in them.
Paid charges for supper, beds, and breakfast, 4 dollars 75
cents, (if. is. $d. sterling.)
From Union town, the turnpike was only begun at
different places, but many men were employed on it.
Near the town, the [65] land was of good quality. We
afterwards passed a rocky ridge of hills, perhaps a spur
of the mountains. Here the land was rather poor, a clay
on a slate-rock; but many fine orchards well stored with
good apples, and some morello-cherries still on the trees.
A woman, at a small cabin, offered us some, if we would
take the trouble to gather them; we took two or three
pounds; they were small but palatable, being very ripe.
But cherries, in general, are not so good as in England,
as the Americans seldom bud or graft any fruit-trees, only
planting the stone. Land better as we approached
Brownsville, on the Monongahela.18 Brownsville is a
thriving place, with some iron-works: at high water many
people embark here for Pittsburg. As the national road
crosses the Monongahela at this place, there is a bridge
to be built over the river; it was about 300 yards when we
forded it, but it is much wider when the water is high.
From the river we went six miles, mostly through woods,
to the Golden Lion Tavern. [66] A woman milking her
cow, on the side of the road, gave us some milk, and
offered us some apples, of which there were large quantities
in their orchard.   She said they purchased their farm for
18 Consult F. A. Michaux's Travels, in volume iii of our series, note 23, for
the founding of Brownsville.— Ed. 216 Early Western Travels [Vol. 10
2700 dollars, 900 of which they paid down at the time,
and the remainder by instalments, most of which were
now paid; and when the whole were paid, she would not
give a cent to call King George her uncle. A large wooden
building, by the side of the road, in ruins, and a new
stone-chapel, belonging to the Methodists, built to supply
the place of the old one. Here the Methodists are numerous: we passed a wood on the east side of the mountains,
where a camp-meeting had recently been held; these
meetings often continue four or five days, during which
they have prayers four times a day.
4th. I proceeded on foot to Pittsburg, having some
business to transact there, the rest went on towards
Wheeling; I should have left the national road at Brownsville, as I was there at an equal distance from [67] Pittsburg. I went five or six miles through a poor country, to
BentleyviUe;19 a place with several taverns, a large public
school, a grist and a saw mill on a very large creek, then
low, but much subject to floods in wet weather. I then
went two miles up a valley, full of sugar-maple trees,
most of them had been tapped for procuring the sweet
liquor to make sugar. February, in general, is the month
for making it; they catch the sap in wooden troughs, and
most of them are left under the trees from one season to
another. After leaving this valley, at a little distance, I
entered the road from Brownsville to Pittsburg; here I
first saw some water-meadows, although I had passed
many pieces of land that might easily have been irrigated.
The water was taken along the side of the hill for some
distance; it was not done in a good manner, yet still it was
19 BentleyviUe, on Pigeon Creek, was laid out (March, 1816) by Shesbazzer
Bentley.   It was of little importance, not being incorporated until 1868.— Ed. 1
1820-1821] Woods's English Prairie 217
a great improvement: I have seen but few water-meadows
since. I slept at a tavern, five or six miles from Pittsburg.
This day I travelled twenty-five miles.
[68] 5th. I reached Pittsburg at nine o'clock in the
morning, after having crossed the Monongahela in a ferryboat, for which I paid three cents. Having concluded my
business at the bank, I took a walk round the town: it is
a large place with upwards 7000 inhabitants. It is well
situated for trade on the Ohio, at the junction of the
Monongahela and Allegany rivers. A large bridge is
nearly finished over the Monongahela, and another partly
built over the Allegany; both these bridges have stone-
piers above high water-mark, but the remainder of them
is of wood. The bridge, that was nearly finished, was
divided into four passages; two for carriages and horses,
the other two for foot passengers. Contrary to the English practice, each takes the right-hand side; so there is no
meeting on the bridge, as there are two passages for coming out, and two for going into Pittsburg. These passages
are covered over, with holes in the sides to admit air and
light. As the whole is covered, the bridge is kept dry in
[69] all weathers, and the timber is