Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1833,
by Caleb Atwater, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Ohio.













[pg 5]


In presenting the following pages to the public, were I assured that none would peruse them but the citizens of Ohio, no prefatory remarks would be necessary. The work itself, as its title imports, consists of such of my writings as I wish to acknowledge as such. My other essays, on a great variety of subjects, I have seen fit to leave out of the collection, for various reasons. Some articles were written in haste, to answer some temporary purpose;—to oblige a friend, to amuse myself, or, worse than all, to promote the interests of some party, or partisan, who showed me afterwards how unworthy they, or he could be, of my friendship or regard. On other subjects, further reflection or more information, has changed my views, either in part or wholly. Other essays may be retouched, added to, or retrenched from, and thus be presented again to the public, should my life be prolonged, or my friends desire it.

My remarks on the ancient works in the Western States, originally appeared in the first volume of the American Antiquarian Society, in the year 1820. To collect that information, I spent much time, money, and labor. I have, either in former or later years, examined these works, from their northeastern extremity, in New York, to the Tennessee Valley, inclusive, visiting in person, not every one, but certainly every one of any importance, from the foot of the Alleghanies to the Missouri. I have examined, for them, the banks of the Mississippi, from Memphis to Prairie du Chien. My remarks sometimes show that they were made at different times, which the reader will excuse, I hope, as it would cost me more labor to correct, than that labor would benefit him.

[pg 6] Perin Kent surveyed the Ancient Works on Main Paint creek; E. P. Kendrick, Esq. those on the North Fork of Pain creek; Joel Wright, Esq. county surveyor, those on the Little Miami; Roswell Mills, Esq. county surveyor, those in Perry county; B. P. Putnam, those at Marietta; Alexander Holmes, Esq. county surveyor, those near Newark; Guy W. Doan, Esq. and the Author, those at Circleville; Messrs. Abbot, Tracy, and Peebles, of Portsmouth, and William S. Murphy, Esq. of Chillicothe, assisted me in surveying and laying down those at Portsmouth. In addition to these names, I may add, that when the works were surveyed, it was done, almost always, in the presence, and with the aid of the most intelligent and respectable men in the several counties where the works are situated. And I was either present myself and assisted in the surveys, or carefully examined every thing described—sometimes before the survey, sometimes afterwards; but I always assured myself of the entire correctness of every thing stated as a fact. Indeed, I have recently—that is, within the year of 1833—been on the ground, and re-examined such works as yet remain in existence. I have also carefully read over my several descriptions of different articles, such as urns, beads, bracelets, the cloths found on our western mummies, idols, pipes, fish hooks and fish spears, &c. while each article lay before me, and in that way assured myself of the entire truth of my statements.

All the most important Ancient Works are either entirely or partly destroyed, and will soon be gone. No other accurate surveys were ever made of these works, but mine, and it is too late now for any to be made hereafter.

Every article mentioned in this portion of my volume as belonging to Mr. John D. Clifford, now belongs to Mr. Joseph Dorfeuille, of Cincinnati, and may be seen in his Western Museum. To him I am indebted, not only for opportunities of daily examining every article I have described, but for every book I have quoted in my work, and for the use, for several weeks, of his highly valuable library. [pg 7] It contains every work, of any note, relative to Mexico, the Pacific Islands, India, Java, and Egypt. For the use of this valuable collection, during several weeks in the year 1833, and for the kindness and hospitality of himself and interesting family, during that time, I feel truly grateful.

The remarks I have made on my Tour to Prairie du Chien and thence to Washington, have been greatly revised in this work; and it is quite possible, that in another edition I may still further revise that portion of my writings.

On a careful examination of the whole volume, I am satisfied that not one immoral idea is contained in it; and certainly I have endeavored to avoid every thing calculated to wound the feelings of any one. But my views are those prevalent in the West, honestly entertained by me; accompanied, I hope, by candor and liberality towards others differing with me in opinion.

I feel grateful for the extensive patronage this volume has received, and regret that about one hundred subscription papers are not returned to me, yet in the hands of agents, with a great many names on them. This is my reason for not publishing a list of my patrons' names, among whom would be seen the names of nearly every man of any distinction in the State. To all those gentlemen, and to the citizens of the State generally, I feel grateful for their kindness towards their friend,


Columbus, December, 1833.

[pg 8]



Antiquities of Indians of the present race, page 11. Antiquities belonging to people of European origin, 13. Antiquities of that ancient race of people who formerly inhabited the western parts of the United States, 18. In what part of the world similar antiquities are found, 19. Ancient Works near Newark, Ohio, 25. In Perry county, 30. At Marietta, 34. At Circleville, 45. On the Main Branch of Paint creek, 54. On the North Fork of Paint creek, 86. At Portsmouth, 56. On the Little Miami, 62. At Grave creek, below Wheeling, 92. Ancient Tumuli, 71. At Marietta, 75. At Circleville, 82. At Chillicothe, 85. Articles found in an ancient Mound in Cincinnati, 66. Articles discovered in an ancient Mound in Marietta, 79. Articles taken from ancient Mounds in and near Circleville, 82. Ancient Mounds of Stone, 90. Articles taken from an ancient Mound at Grave creek, 93. Ancient Mounds at St. Louis, and other places on the Mississippi, 94. Miscellaneous, remarks on the uses of the Mounds, 96. Places of Diversion, 99. Parallel Walls of Earth, 103. Conjectures respecting the Origin and History of the Authors of the Ancient Works in Ohio, &c., 105. Idol discovered near Nashville, 117. At what period did the Ancient Race of People arrive in Ohio? 120. How long did they reside here? 124. What was their number? 127. The state of the Arts among them, 128. Urns discovered at Chillicothe, 132. Dress of the Mummies, 134. Their Scientific Acquirements, 138. Religious Rites and Places of Worship, 140. What finally became of this People, 145. Description of the Teocalli of the Mexicans, from Humboldt, 153.


Maysville, Kentucky, 172. Cincinnati, 173. Louisville, 184. Scenery along the Ohio river, 194. Mouth of the Ohio, 196. Mississippi river and its tributaries, 199. Missouri river and its branches, 201. Future prospects of the people of the United States, 203. St. Louis, Missouri, 210. Expedition leaves St. Louis, 227. Keokuk village and Lower rapids, 229. Beautiful country below Rock island, 234. Galena, 238. Arrival at Prairie du Chien, 239. First Indian council, 241. Treaties made and mineral country ceded to the United States, 243. Origin of the North American Indians, 248. Indian form of government, 273. Manners and customs of the Indians, 278. Polygamy among the Indians, 285. Character and influence of Indian women, 289. Bucktail Bachelor, 293. Gambling among the Indians, 296. Indian eloquence, 298. Indian poetry, music and dancing, 303. Savage and civilized life compared, 315. Civilization of the Indians, 327. Wisconsin old maid and departure of the Indians, 333. Parting with the people of Prairie du Chien, 335. Wisconsin river, 337.


Sublime and impressive views along the Wisconsin, 340. Dodgeville, 344. Gratiot's Grove, 347. Mineral country and the Northwest, 348. Vincennes, 359. Miami country, 361. Scioto country, 363. Allegahny mountains, 365. Rocky mountains, 371. Washington city and the love of power, 376.

Franklinton and Columbus, 393.

Appendix, 398.











[pg 9]


Our antiquities have been noticed by a great number of travelers, few of whom ever saw one of them, or, who riding at full speed, had neither the industry, the opportunity, nor the ability to investigate a subject so intricate. They have frequently given to the world such crude and indigested statements, after having visited a few ancient works, or heard the idle tales of persons incompetent to describe them, so that intelligent persons residing on the very spot, would never suspect what works were intended to be described!!

It has somehow happened, that one traveler has seen an ancient work, which was once a place of amusement for those who erected it, and he concludes, that none but such were ever found in the whole country. Another in his journey sees a mound of earth, with a semicircular pavement on the east side of it; and at once he proclaims it to the world as his firm belief, that ALL our ancient works were places of devotion, dedicated to the worship of the sun. A succeeding tourist falls in with an ancient military fortress, and thence concludes that ALL our ancient works were raised for military purposes. One person finds something about these works of English origin, and, without hesitation, admits the supposition that they were erected by a colony of Welchmen. Others again, find articles in and near these ancient works, evidently belonging to the Indians, [pg 10] to people of European origin, and to that Scythian race of men who erected all our mounds of earth and stones. They find, too, articles scattered about and blended together, which belonged not only to different nations, but to different eras of time, remote from each other—they are lost in a labyrinth of doubt. Should the inhabitants of the Western States, together with every written memorial of their existence, be swept from the face of the earth, though the difficulties of future antiquaries, would be increased, yet they would be of the same KIND with those which now beset and overwhelm the superficial obverver.*

* His Excellency De Witt Clinton, Esq. Governor of New York, and some few others, are honorable exceptions to that class of writers above described; men of exalted talents both natural and acquired, who have attempted to describe only such works as they have carefully examined. The former gentleman has published "A memoir on the Antiquities of the western parts of New York." Mr. Brackenridge has examined with great care, and described with fidelity, many of the most interesting ruins of antiquity, which are found in the Western States and Territories. By the aid of this GREAT LAMP, and assisted by my own dim taper, I have ventured to enter the heretofore dark and intricate labyrinth, where so many unfortunate travelers have lost their clue, and bewildered those who have undertaken to follow them. T. M. Harris, D. D., of Massachusetts, deserves honorable mention in this place. He and Dr. S. P. Hildreth, of Marietta, Ohio, have described, with great accuracy, the antiquities at the place last mentioned. Such writers, like the great luminary of day, give a steady light, on which we can place dependence; whilst the common herd of scribblers on this subject, resemble the ignis fatuus, which, as the poet says, "leads to bewilder, and dazzles to blind."

Our antiquities belong not only to different eras, in point of time, but to several nations; and those articles belonging to the same era and the same people, were intended by their authors to be applied to many different uses.

We shall divide these antiquities into three classes. 1. Those belonging to Indians of the present race.—2. To people of European origin;—and 3. Those of that people who raised our ancient forts and tumuli.

[pg 11] Permit me here to premise, that in order to arrive at a result which shall be, to a certain extent, satisfactory to the candid inquirer after truth, it is necessary, not only to examine with care, and describe with fidelity, those antiquities which are found in Ohio, but occasionally to cast a glance at those, found in other States, especially whenever they evidently, in common with ours, belong to the same people and the same era of time.


Those antiquities, which, in the strict sense of the term, belong to the North American Indians, are neither numerous nor very interesting. They consist of rude stone axes and knives, of pestles used in preparing maize for food, of arrowheads, and a few other articles so exactly similar to those found in all the Atlantic States, that a description of them is deemed quite useless. He who wishes to find traces of Indian settlements, either numerous, or worthy of his notice, must visit the shore of the Atlantic, or the banks of the larger rivers, emptying themselves into it, on the eastern side of the Alleghanies. The sea spreads out a continual feast before men in a savage state, little versed in the arts of civilized life, who look upon all pursuits as degrading to their dignity as men, except such as belong either to war or the chase. Having once found the ocean, there they fix their abode, and never leave it, until they are compelled to do so by a dense population, or the overwhelming force of a powerful and victorious foe. There they cast their lines, drag their nets, or rake up the shell fishes. Into the sea they drive the bounding roe with their dogs, and pursue him through the waves in their canoes. When they are compelled to leave the sea, they follow up the larger streams, where their finny prey abounds in every brook, and the deer, the bear, the elk, the moose, or the buffalo, feeds on every hill. Whatever the earth or water spontaneously produces, they take, and are satisfied. [pg 12] The ocean supplied them with never failing abundance; and the wild animals, feeding in immense numbers through the fine vales and over the fertile hills of New England, two centuries since, were, it is believed, more numerous than they ever were in Ohio. That species of beach which affords the nut on which, in autumn, winter and spring, the deer and several other kinds of animals feed, thrive and fatten, was once much more abundant there than it ever was in this State. Hence the wild animals were more numerous there than here; hence too the reason why the Indian population was more dense in the east than it was in the west. It is believed, that when America was first visited by Europeans, our prairies were too wet for the habitations of men. Besides if our Indians came from Asia by the way of Behring's Strait, they would naturally follow down the great chain of our northwestern lakes and their outlets, nearly or quite to the sea. This may be one reason why the Indian population, at the time when our ancestors first found them there, was more dense in the northern than in the southern, in the eastern than in the western parts, of the present United States. That it was so, our own history incontestably proves. Hence we deduce the reason, why the cemeteries of Indians are so large and numerous in the eastern, and so small and few in the western States. Hence the numerous other traces of Indian settlements, such as the immense piles of the shells of oysters, clams. &c., all along the sea shore, the great number of arrowheads and other articles belonging to them, in the eastern States, and their paucity here. There, we see the most indubitable evidences of the Indians having resided from very remote ages. Here, a few Indian cemeteries may be found, but they are never large, and when they are opened, ten chances to one but some article is discovered, which shows that the person had been buried since America was visited by people of European origin. An Indian's grave may frequently be known by the manner in which he was interred, which was generally in a sitting or an upright posture. [pg 13] Wherever we behold a number of holes in the earth, without any regard to regularity, of about a foot and a half or two feet in diameter, there by digging a few feet, we can generally find an Indian's remains. Such graves are most common along the southern shore of lake Erie, which was formerly inhabited by the Cat and Ottoway Indians. Such graves are quite common in and near the small ancient works in that part of this state. They generally interred with the deceased, something of which he had been fond in his life time; with the warrior, his battle axe; with the hunter, his bow and arrows, and that kind of wild game of which he had been the fondest, or the most successful in taking; hence the teeth of the otter are found in the grave of one, those of the bear or the beaver in another. One had been most successful in hunting the turkey, whilst another had most signalized himself by fishing. The skeleton of the turkey is found in the grave of the former; muscle shells or fishes' bones in the grave of the latter.


Although this division of my subject may excite a smile, when it is recollected, that three centuries have not yet elapsed since this country has been visited by Europeans; yet, as articles derived from an intercourse, which has been kept up for more than one hundred and fifty years past, between the aborigines and several European nations, are sometimes found here; and as these articles, thus derived, are frequently blended with those really very ancient, I beg leave to retain this division of antiquities. The French were the first Europeans who traversed the territory included within the limits of the present State of Ohio. At exactly what time they first frequented these parts, and especially lake Erie, I have not been able to ascertain; but from authentic documents, published at Paris, in the seventeenth century, we do know that they had large establishments in the territory belonging to the [pg 14] Six Nations, as early at least as 1655.* "A quarto volume in Latin, written by Francis Creuxieus, a jesuit, was published at Paris, in 1664, and is entitled, 'Historiĉ Canadencis, seu Novĉ Franciĉ libri decem ad annum usque Christi MDCLVI.' It states that a French colony was established in the Onondaga territory about the year 1655, and it describes that highly interesting country: 'Ergo biduo post ingenti agmine deductus est ad locum gallorum sedi atque domicillio destinatum, leucas quatuor dissitum a pago, ubi primum pedum fixerat, bix quidquam a natura videre sit absolutius: ac si ans ut in Gallia, uteraque Europa, accederat, haud temere certaret cum Baiis. Pratum ingens cingit undique silva cĉdua ad ripam Lacus Gannanentĉ, quo Nationes quatuor, principes Iroquoiĉ, totius regionis tanquam ad centrum navigolis confluere perfacile queant, et unde vicissim facillimus aditus sit ad eorum singulas, per amnes lacusque circumfluentes. Ferinĉ copia certat cum copia piscium, atque ut ne desit quidquam, turtures eo indique sub veris initium convolant, tanto numero, ut reti capianter piscium quidem certe volant, ut piscatores esse feranter qui unius noctis spatium anguillas ad mille singuli, hamo capiant. Pratum intersecant fontes duo, centum prope passu salter ab altero dissiti: alterius aqua salsa salis optimi copium subministrat, alterius lympha dulcis ad potionem est; et quod mirere, uterque ex uno eademque colle scaturet.'

* Governor Clinton's "Memoir on the Antiquities of the western parts of New-York."

"It appears from Charlevoix's History of New France, that missionaries were sent to Onondaga in 1654; that they built a chapel and made a settlement; that a French colony was established there under the auspices of Le Sieur Depuys in 1656, and retired in 1658. When La Salle started from Canada and went down the Mississippi in 1679, he discovered a large plain between the lake of [pg 15] the Hurons and the Illinois, in which was a fine settlement belonging to the Jesuits."*

* See Governor Clinton's Memoir.

From this time forward the French are known to have traversed that part of this State which borders on lake Erie and the Ohio river, and the larger streams which are their tributaries. Under La Salle, father Hennepin and others, they were constantly traversing this territory in their journies to and from the valley of the Mississippi. Like other Europeans of that period, they took possession of the countries which they visited, in the name of their sovereign, and, not unfrequently, left some memorial of having done so, especially in the mouths of the large rivers and in the most remarkable ancient works. At many of the most remarkable places which they discovered, after singing "Te Deum," they affixed the arms of France to some tree, deposited a medal in some remarkable cave, tumulus, or ancient fort, or in the mouth of some large river.— Tonti, a Frenchman who accompanied La Salle in his first expedition from Canada to the Mississippi, informs us, in an account of this expedition, published at Paris in 1697, that at the mouth of the river last mentioned, the arms of France were fastened to a tree, "Te Deum" sung, formal possession of the country taken in the name of Louis XIV., and several huts built, surrounded by an entrenchment. Similar ceremonies were gone through at the mouth of the Illinois, the Wabash, and Ohio, as we learn from several French travelers of that day, who published their accounts at Paris in the seventeenth century. Is it strange, then, that we should find similar medals, &c. at the mouths of other rivers, such as the great and little Miami, the Scioto, and especially the Muskingum? That medals were deposited in many places in this country, father Hennepin, Touti, Joutel, and others, inform us: that similar medals been found at other places is also certain.

[pg 16] A medal was found several years since, in the mouth of the Muskingum river, by the late Hon. Jehiel Gregory. It was a thin, round plate of lead, several inches in diameter; on one side of which, I was informed by Judge Gregory, was the French name of the river in which it lay, "Petit-belle riviere," and on the other, "Louis XIV."

Near Portsmouth, a flourishing town at the mouth of the Scioto, a medal was found in alluvial earth, several years since, by a Mr. White, a number of feet below the surface, belonging, probably, to a recent era of time. This medal, I regret to state, is not in my possesion, but it has been described to me by Gen. Robert Lucas and the Hon. Ezra Osborn. It was masonic; the device on one side of it represented a human heart, with a sprig of cassia growing out of it; on the other side was a temple, with a cupola and spire, at the summit of which was a half moon, and there was a star in front of the temple. There were Roman letters on both sides of this medal, but what they were, Gen. Lucas and Judge Osborn have forgotten; they were probably abbreviations. That this medal had an European, and probably a French origin, there is little doubt, and belonged to a recent era of time.

In Trumbull county, several coins were found, not many years since, which, for a time, excited a considerable share of curiosity, until they were carefully examined by the present Governor of this state, who found that on one side of them was "George II." and on the other, "Caroline," and dated in the reign of that prince.

In Harrison county, I have been credibly informed, that several coins were found near an ancient work, evidently of European origin, belonging to a very recent era, compared with that of the ancient works where they reposed. These coins bore the name, and were dated in the reign of one of the English Charleses.

Near the mouth of Derby Creek, not far from Circleville, I have been credibly informed that a Spanish medal was found several years since, in a very good state of preservation, [pg 17] from which we learn that it was given by a Spanish Admiral to some person under the command of De Soto, who landed in Florida in 1538. There seems to me to be no great difficulty in accounting for such a medal being found here, near a water which runs into the Gulf of Mexico, even at such a distance from Florida, when it is recollected that a party of De Soto's men, an exploring company, which he sent out to reconnoiter the country, never returned to him nor were heard of afterwards. This medal might have been brought and lost where it was found, by the person to whom it was given, or by some Indian, who had rather have it in his own possession than in his captive's pocket.

Swords, gun barrels, knives, pickaxes, and implements of war, are often found along the banks of the Ohio, which had been left there by the French, when they had forts at Pittsburgh, Ligonier, St. Vincents, &c.

The traces of a furnace of fifty kettles, said to exist in Kentucky, a few miles in a southeastern direction from Portsmouth, appear to me to belong to the same era, and owe their origin to the same people.

Several Roman coins, said to have been found in a cave near Nashville, in Tennessee, bearing date not many centuries after the Christian era, have excited some interest among antiquaries. They were either discovered where the finder had purposely lost them, or, what is more probable, had been left there by some European since this country was traversed by the French.

That a Frenchman should be in possession of a few Roman coins, and that he should deposit them in some remarkable cave which he chanced to visit in his travels, is not surprising. That some persons have purposely lost coins, medals, &c. &c. in caves which they knew were about to be explored; or deposited them in tumuli, which they knew were about to be opened, is a well known fact, which has occurred at several place this western country.

In one word, I will venture to assert, that there never has been found a medal, coin, or monument, in all North [pg 18] America, which had on it one or more letters, belonging to any alphabet, now or ever in use among men of any age or country, that did not belong to Europeans or their descendants, and had been brought or made here since the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.


It is time to consider the third, last, and most highly interesting class of antiquities, which comprehends those belonging to that people who erected our ancient forts and tumuli; those military works, whose walls and ditches cost so much labor in their structure; those numerous and sometimes lofty mounds, which owe their origin to a people far more civilized than our Indians, but far less so than Europeans. These works are interesting, on many accounts, to the antiquarian, the philosopher, and the divine, especially when we consider the immense extent of country which they cover; the great labor which they cost their authors; the acquaintance with the useful arts, which that people had, when compared with our present race of Indians; the grandeur of many of the works themselves; the total absence of all historical records, or even traditionary accounts respecting them; the great interest which the learned have taken in them; the contradictory and erroneous accounts which have generally been given of them: to which we may add, the destruction of them which is going on in almost every place wherethey are found in this whole country, have jointly contributed to induce me to bestow no inconsiderable share of attention to this class of antiquities. They were once forts, cemeteries, temples, altars, camps, towns, villages, race grounds, and other places of amusement, habitations of chieftains, videttes, watch towers, monuments, &c. These ancient works, especially the mounds, both of earth and stone, are found in every quarter of the habitable globe.

[pg 19]


These ancient works, so much talked about, and so little understood, are spread over an immense extent of country, in Europe and the northern parts of Asia. They may be traced from Wales to Scotland on the island of Britain;— they are found in Ireland, in Normandy, in France, in Sweden, and quite across the Russian empire, our continent. In Africa we see pyramids, which derive their origin from the same source. In Judea, and throughout all Palestine, works similar to ours exist. In Tartary they abound in all the steppes. I know not whether Lewis and Clarke saw any of these works on the Columbia river; but they did not traverse that country by land, and had of course but little opportunity to discover them, if there.— But on this side of the Rocky mountains they did see them frequently; and I have little doubt of their existing all the way, from the spot where, we are informed, the ark of Noah rested, to our northwestern lakes, down them and their outlets, as far as the Black river country, on the southern shore of lake Ontario, in New-York.

On the south side of Ontario, one not far from Black river, is the farthest in a northeastern direction, on this continent. One on the Chenango river, at Oxford, is the farthest south, on the eastern side of the Alleghanies.— These works are small, very ancient, and appear to mark the utmost extent of the settlement of the people who erected them, in that direction. Coming from Asia, finding our great lakes, and following them down thus far; were they driven back by the ancestors of our Indians? and, were the small forts above alluded to, built in order to [pg 20] protect them from the aborigines who had before that time settled along the Atlantic coast? In traveling towards lake Erie, in a western direction from the works above mentioned, a few small works are occasionally found, especially in Genesee county; but they are few and small, until we arrive at the mouth of Cataraugus creek, a water of lake Erie, in Cataraugus county, in the State of New-York, where Governor Clinton, in his "Memoir, &c." says a line of forts commences, extending south upwards of fifty miles, and not more than four or five miles apart. There is said to be another line of them parallel to these, which generally contain a few acres of ground only, whose walls are only a few feet in height. For an able account of the antiquities in the western parts of New-York, we must again refer to Governor Clinton's Memoir, not wishing to repeat what he has so well said.

If the works already alluded to, are real forts, they must have been built by a people few in number, and quite rude in the arts of life. Traveling towards the southwest, these works are frequently seen, but like those already mentioned, they are comparatively small, until we arrive on the Licking, near Newark, where are some of the most extensive and intricate, as well as interesting, of any in this State, perhaps in the world. Leaving these, still proceeding in a southwestern direction, we find some very extensive ones at Circleville. At Chillicothe there were some, but the destroying hand of man has despoiled them of their contents, and entirely removed them. On Paint creek are some far exceeding all others in some respects, where, probably was once an ancient city of great extent. At the mouth of the Scioto, are some very extensive ones, as well as at the mouth of the Muskingum. In fine, these works are thickly scattered over the vast plain from the southern shore of lake Erie, to the Mexican Gulf, increasing in number, size and grandeur as we proceed towards the south. They may be traced around the Gulf, across the province of Texas into New-Mexico, and all the way into [pg 21] South America. They abound most in the vicinity of good streams, and are never, or rarely found, except in a fertile soil. They are not found in the prairies of Ohio, and rarely in the barrens, and they are small, and situated on the edge of them, and on dry ground. From the Black river country in New-York, to this State, I need say no more concerning them; but at Salem, in Ashtabula county, there is one on a hill, which merits a few words, though it is a small one compared with others farther south. The work at Salem, is on a hill near Coneaught river, if my information be correct, and is about three miles from lake Erie. It is round, having two parallel circular walls, and a ditch between them. Through these walls, leading into the inclosure, are a gateway and a road, exactly like a modern turnpike, descending down the hill to the stream by such a gradual slope, that a team with a wagon might easily either ascend or descend it, and there is no other place by which these works could be approached, without considerable difficulty. Within the bounds of this ancient enclosure, the trees which grew there were such as denote the richest soil in this country, while those growing on the outside of these ruins, were such as denote the poorest.

On the surface of the earth, within this circular work, and immediately below it, pebbles rounded, and having their angles worn off in water, such as are now seen on the present shore of the lake, are found; but they are represented as bearing visible marks of having been burned in a hot fire. Bits of earthen ware, of a coarse kind, and of a rude structure, without any glazing, are found here on the surface, and a few inches below it. This ware is represented to me as having been manufactured of sand stone and clay. My informant says, within this work are sometimes found skeletons of a people of small stature; which, if true, sufficiently identifies it to have belonged to that race of men who erected our tumuli. The vegetable mould covering the surface within the works, is at least ten inches in depth. In these same works have been found articles, [pg 22] evidently belonging to Indians, of their own manufacture, as well as others, which they had derived from their intercourse with Europeans and their descendants. I mention the fact here, thus particularly, in order to save the repetition of it, in describing nearly every work of this kind, especially along the shore of lake Erie, and the banks of the larger rivers. This circumstance I wish the reader to keep in mind. Indian antiquities are always either on, or a very small distance below, the surface, unless buried in some grave; whilst articles, evidently belonging to that people who raised our mounds, are frequently found many feet below the surface, especially in river bottoms.

Still proceeding in a southwestern direction, there are, at different places, several small ancient works, scattered over the country, some in regular forms, and others appear to have been thrown up to suit the ground where they are situated; but their walls are only a few feet in height, encompassing, generally, but a few acres, with ditches of no great depth, evidently showing the population to have been inconsiderable.

I have been informed, that in the north part of Medina county, Ohio, there are some works, near one of which, a piece of marble, well polished, was lately found. It might have been a composition of clay and sulphate of lime or plaster of Paris, such as I have often seen in and about ancient works along the Ohio river. A common observer would mistake the one for the other, which I am disposed to believe was the case here.

[pg 25]



Proceeding still to the southward, the ancient works become more and more numerous, and more intricate, and of greater size; denoting the increase of their authors, in number, strength, and a better acquaintance with the art of constructing them. At length we reach the interesting ones on two branches of the Licking, near Newark, in Licking county, Ohio, which, on many accounts, are quite as remarkable as any others in North America, or, perhaps in any part of the world.

By referring to the scale on which they are projected, it will be seen that these works are of great extent.

A, is a fort containing about forty acres within its walls, which are, generally, I should judge, about ten feet high. Leading into this fort, are eight openings or gateways, about fifteen feet in width; in front of which, is a small mound of earth, in height and thickness resembling the outer wall. (See m, m, m, m, m, m, m.) These small mounds are about four feet longer than the gateway is in width; otherwise they look as if the wall had been moved into the fort eight or ten feet. These small mounds of earth were probably intended for the defence of the gates, opposite to which they are situated. The walls of this work, consisting of earth, are taken from the surface so carefully and uniformly, that it cannot now be discovered from what spot. They are as nearly perpendicular as the earth could be made to lie.

B, is a round fort, containing twenty-two acres, connected with A, by two parallel walls of earth of about the same height, &c. as those of A. At d, is an OBSERVATORY, built [pg 26] partly of earth and partly of stone. It commanded a full view of a considerable part, if not all the plain, on which these ancient works stand; and would do so now, were the thick growth of ancient forest trees, which clothe this tract, cleared away. Under this observatory, was a passage, from appearances, and a secret one probably, to the water course which once run near this spot, but has since moved farther off.

C, is a circular fort, containing about twenty-six acres, having a wall around it, which was thrown out of a deep ditch on the inner side of the wall. This wall is now from twenty-five to thirty feet in height; and when I saw this work, the ditch was half filled with water, especially on the side towards E. There are parallel walls of earth, c, c, c, c, c, c, generally five or six rods apart, and four or five feet in height. Their extent may be measured by the reader, by referring to the scale annexed to the plates.

D, is a square fort, containing twenty acres, whose walls are similar to those of A.

E, is a pond, covering from one hundred and fifty to two hundred acres; which was a few years since entirely dry, so that a crop of Indian corn was raised where the water is now ten feet in depth, and appears still to be rising. This pond sometimes reaches to the very walls of C, and to the parallel walls towards its northern end.

F, F, F, F, is the interval, or alluvion, made by the Raccoon and south fork of Licking river, since they washed the foot of the hill at G, G, G. When these works were occupied, we have reason to believe that these streams washed the foot of this hill, and as one proof of it, passages down to the water have been made of easy ascent and descent, at b, b, b, b.

G, G, G, an ancient bank of the creeks, which have worn their channels considerably deeper than they were when they washed the foot of this hill. These works stand on a large plain, which is elevated forty or fifty feet above [pg 27] the interval F, F, F, and is almost perfectly flat, and as rich a piece of land as can be found in any country. The reader will see the passes, where the authors of these works entered into their fields at I, I, I, I, I, and which were probably cultivated. The watch towers, a, a, a, a, were placed at the ends of parallel walls, or ground as elevated as could be found on this extended plain. They were surrounded by circular walls, now only four or five feet in height. It is easy to see the utility of these works, placed at the several points where they stand.

C, D, two parallel walls, leading probably to other works, but not having been traced more than a mile or two, are not laid down even as far is they were surveyed.

The high ground, near Newark, appears to have been the place, and the only one which I saw, where the ancient occupants of these works buried their dead, and even these tumuli appeared to me to be small. Unless others are found in the vicinity, I should conclude, that the original owners, though very numerous, did not reside here during any greath length of time. I should not be surprised if the parallel walls C, D, are found to extend from one work of defence to another, for the space of thirty miles, all the way across to the Hockhocking, at some point a few miles north of Lancaster. Such walls having been discovered at different places, probably belonging to these works, for ten or twelve miles at least, leads me to suspect that the works on Licking were erected by people who were connected with those who lived on the Hockhocking river, and that their road between the two settlements was between these parallel walls.

If I might be allowed to conjecture the use to which these works were originally put, I should say, that the larger works were really military ones of defense; that their authors lived within the walls; that the parallel walls were intended for the double purposes of protecting persons in times of danger, from being assaulted while passing from one work to another, and they might also serve as fences, [pg 28] with a very few gates, to fence in and inclose their fields, at I, I, I, I, as the plate will show.

The hearths, burnt charcoal, cinders, wood, ashes, &c. which were uniformly found in all similar places, that are now cultivated, have not been discovered here; this plain being probably an uncultivated forest. I found here, several arrowheads, such as evidently belonged to the people who raised other similar works.

The care which is every where visible about these ruins, to protect every part from a foe without; the high plain on which they are situated, which is generally forty feet above the country around it; the pains taken to get at the water, as well as to protect those who wished to obtain it; the fertile soil, which appears to me to have been cultivated, are circumstances not to be overlooked; they speak volumes in favour of the sagacity of their authors.

A few miles below Newark, on the south side of the Licking, are some of the most extraordinary holes, dug in the earth, for number and depth, of any within my knowledge, which belonged to the people we are treating of. In popular language, they are called "wells," but were not dug for the purpose of procuring water, either fresh or salt.

There are at least a thousand of these "wells;" many of them are now more than twenty feet in depth. A great deal of curiosity has been excited, as to the objects sought for, by the people who dug these holes. One gentleman nearly ruined himself, by digging in and about these works, in quest of the precious metals; but he found nothing very precious. I have been at the pains to obtain specimens of all the minerals, in and near these wells. They have not all of them been put to proper tests; but I can say, that rock crystals, some of them very beautiful, and horn stone, suitable for arrow and spear heads, and a little lead, sulpher, and iron, was all that I could ascertain correctly to belong to the specimens it my possession. Rock crystals, and stone arrow and spear heads, were in great repute among them, if we are to judge from the numbers of them [pg 29] found in such of the mounds as were common cemeteries. To a rude people, nothing would stand a better chance of being esteemed, as an ornament, than such articles.

On the whole, I am of the opinion, that these holes were dug for the purpose of procuring the articles above named; and that it is highly probable a vast population, once here, procured these, in their estimation, highly ornamental and useful articles. And it is possible that they might have procured some lead here, though by no means probable, because we no where find any lead which ever belonged to them, and it will not very soon, like iron, become an oxyde, by rusting.



Southwardly from the great works on the Licking, four or five miles in a northwestern direction from Somerset, the seat of justice for Perry county, and on section twenty-one, township seven, range sixteen, is an ancient work of stone. [See the plate.]

A, is the area of this work. M, a stone mound near the center of it. This stone mound is circular, and in form of a sugar loaf, from twelve to fifteen feet in height. There is a smaller circular stone tumulus at m, standing in the wall, which encloses the work, and constituting a part of it.

R, is a large and high rock, lying in front of an opening in the outer wall. This opening is a passage between two large rocks, which lie in the wall, of from seven to ten feet in width. These rocks, on the outside, present a perpendicular front of ten feet in altitude, but after extending fifty yards into the enclosure, they enter the earth and disappear. There is a gateway at G, much as is represented in the plate.

S, is a small work, whose area is half an acre; the walls are of earth, and of a few feet only in height. This large stone work contains within its walls forty acres and upwards. The walls, as they are called in popular language, consist of rude fragments of rocks, without any marks of any iron tool upon them. These stones lie in the utmost disorder, and if laid up in a regular wall, would make one seven feet or seven feet six inches in height, and from four to six feet in thickness. I do not believe this ever to have been a military work, either of defense or offense; but if a military work, it must have been a temporary camp. From the circumstance of this work's containing two stone tumuli, [pg 33] such as were used in ancient times, as altars and as monuments, for the purpose of perpetuating the memory of some great era, or important event in the history of those who raised them, I should rather suspect this to have been a sacred enclosure, or "high place," which was resorted to on some great anniversary. It is on high ground, and destitute of water, and of course, could not have been a place of habitation for any length of time. It might have been the place where some solemn feast was annually held, by the tribe by which it was formed. The place has become a forest, and the soil is too poor to have ever been cultivated by a people who invariably chose to dwell on a fertile spot. These monuments of ancient manners, how simple, and yet how sublime! Their authors were rude, and unacquainted with the use of letters, yet they raised monuments calculated almost for endless duration, and speaking a language as expressive as the most studied inscriptions of later times upon brass and marble. These monuments, their stated anniversaries and traditionary accounts, were their means of perpetuating the recollection of important transactions. Their authors are gone; their monuments remain: But the events which they were intended to keep in the memory, are lost in oblivion.

[pg 34]



Having already described several ancient works, either on or near the waters of the Muskingum, I shall trace them down that river. But there are none of any considerable note, except those on the Licking, which falls into that stream at Zanesville, until we arrive at some situated near its banks in Morgan county, which, however, have not been surveyed. These are mounds of earth and stones, and their description is reserved until we arrive at that part of this memoir, which will be devoted to a consideration of that class of antiquities.

Proceeding down the Muskingum to its mouth, at Marietta, are some of the most extraordinary ancient works any where to be found. They have been often examined, and as often very well described; yet as some additional facts have come to my knowledge, and as other works in many parts of the western country are similar to them; and as comparisons ought to be instituted between works evidently of the same class, I have ventured to collect together a mass of facts concerning them, derived from several intelligent persons, who have published their statements, as well as some from others who have obligingly laid before me additional information.

Manassah Cutler, LL. D., many years since, published an accurate account of these works. Next followed "The Journal of a Tour" into this country, by Thaddeus M. Harris, D. D., in which may be found much useful information concerning them, accompanied by a diagram sketch of them, very accurately drawn from actual survey, by Gen. Rufus Putnam, of Marietta. I have carefully compared these well written accounts with those which I have [pg 37] received from Dr. S.P. Hildreth, of Marietta, Gen. Edward W. Tupper, of Gallipolis, and several other gentlemen residing on the Ohio. From these highly respectable sources, I have drawn my information. These works have been more fortunate than many others of this kind in North America: no despoiling hand has been laid upon them; and no blundering, hasty traveler has, to my knowledge, pretended to describe them. The mound which was used as a cemetery is entire, standing in the burying ground of the present town. Cutler, Putnam, and Harris, are intelligent men.

It will be seen that I have quoted largely from Drs. Cutler and Harris; not, however, without first ascertaining that their accounts were perfectly correct, as to all the facts which they have stated.

* "The situation of these works is on an elevated plain above the present bank of the Muskingum, on the cast side, and about half a mile from its junction with the Ohio. They consist of walls and mounds of earth, in direct lines, and in square and circular forms.

* Harris's Tour, page 149.

"The largest square fort, by some called the town, contains forty acres, encompassed by a wall of earth, from six to ten feet high, and from twenty-five to thirty-six in breadth at the base. On each side are three openings, at equal distances, resembling twelve gateways. The entrances at the middle, are the largest, particularly on the side next to the Muskingum. From this outlet is a covert way, formed of two parallel walls of earth, two hundred and thirty-one feet distant from each other, measuring from center to center. The walls at the most elevated part, on the inside, are twenty-one feet in height, and forty-two in breath at the base, but on the outside average only five feet in height. This forms a passage of about three hundred and sixty feet in length, leading by a gradual descent to the low grounds, where, at the time [pg 38] of its construction, it probably reached the river. Its walls commence at sixty feet from the ramparts of the fort, and increase in elevation as the way descends towards the river; and the bottom is crowned in the center, in the manner of a well founded turnpike road.

"Within the walls of the fort, at the northwest corner, is an oblong elevated square, one hundred and eighty-eight feet long, one hundred and thirty-two broad, and nine feet high; level on the summit, and nearly perpendicular at the sides. At the center of each of the sides, the earth is projected, forming gradual ascents to the top, equally regular, and about six feet in width. Near the south wall is another elevated square, one hundred and fifty feet by one hundred and twenty, and eight feet high, similar to the other, excepting that instead of an ascent to go up on the side next the wall, there is a hollow way ten feet wide, leading twenty feet towards the center, and then rising with a gradual slope to the top. At the southeast corner, is a third elevated square, one hundred and eight, by fifty-four feet, with ascents at the ends, but not so high nor perfect as the two others. A little to the southwest of the center of the fort is a circular mound, about thirty feet in diameter and five feet high, near which are four small excavations at equal distances, and opposite each other. At the southwest corner of the fort is a semicircular parapet, crowned with a mound, which guards the opening in the wall. Towards the southeast is a smaller fort, containing twenty acres, with a gateway in the center of each side and at each corner. These gateways are defended by circular mounds.

"On the outside of the smaller fort is a mound, in form of a sugar loaf, of a magnitude and height which strike the beholder with astonishment. Its base is a regular circle, one hundred and fifteen feet in diameter; its perpendicular altitude is thirty feet. It is surrounded by a ditch four feet deep and fifteen feet wide, and defended by a parapet [pg 39] four feet high, through which is a gateway towards the fort, twenty feet in width. There are other walls, mounds, and excavations, less conspicuous and entire, which will be best understood by referring to the annexed drawings."

Some additional particulars respecting these works, are contained in the following extracts from a letter, written by Dr. S. P. Hildreth, of Marietta, to the author, dated the 8th of June, 1819.

"Mr. Harris, in his 'Tour,' has given a tolerably good account of the present appearance of the works, as to height, shape and form. (I must refer you to this work.) The principal excavation, or well, is as much as sixty feet in diameter, at the surface; and when the settlement was first made, it was at least twenty feet deep. It is at present twelve or fourteen feet; but has been filled up a great deal from the washing of the sides by frequent rains. It was originally of the kind formed in the most early days, when the water was brought up by hand in pitchers, or other vessels, by steps formed in the sides of the well.

"The pond, or reservoir, near the northwest corner of the large fort, was about twenty-five feet in diameter, and the sides raised above the level of the adjoining surface by an embankment of earth three or four feet high. This was nearly full of water at the first settlement of the town, and remained so until the last winter, at all seasons of the year. When the ground was cleared near the well, a great many logs that laid nigh, were rolled into it, to save the trouble of piling and burning them. These, with the annual deposit of leaves, &c., for ages, had filled the well nearly full; but still the water rose to the surface, and had the appearance of a stagnant pool. In early times, poles and rails have been pushed down into the water, and deposit of rotten vegetables, to the depth of thirty feet. Last winter the person who owns the well, undertook to drain it, by cutting a ditch from the well into the small "covert way;" and he has dug to the depth of about twelve feet, and let the [pg 40] water off to that distance. He finds the sides of the reservoir not perpendicular, but projecting gradually towards the center of the well, in the form of an inverted cone. The bottom and sides, so far as he has examined, are lined with a stratum of very fine, ash colored clay, about eight or ten inches thick; below which, is the common soil of the place, and above it, this vast body of decayed vegetation. The proprietor calculates to take from it several hundred loads of excellent manure, and to continue to work at it, until he has satisfied his curiosity, as to the depth and contents of the well. If it was actually a well, it probably contains many curious articles, which belonged to the ancient inhabitants.

"On the outside of the parapet, near the oblong square, I picked up a considerable number of fragments of ancient potters' ware. This ware is ornamented with lines, some of them quite curious and ingenious, on the outside. It is composed of clay and fine gravel, and has a partial glazing on the inside. It seems to have been burnt, and capable of holding liquids. The fragments, on breaking them, look quite black, with brilliant particles, appearing as you bold them to the light. The ware which I have seen, found near the rivers, is composed of shells and clay, and not near so hard as this found on the plain. It is a little curious, that of twenty or thirty pieces which I picked up, nearly all of them were found on the outside of the parapet, as if they had been thrown over the wall purposely. This is, in my mind, strong presumptive evidence, that the parapet was crowned with a palisade. The chance of finding them on the inside of the parapet, was equally good, as the earth had been recently ploughed, and planted with corn. Several pieces of copper have been found in and near to the ancient works, at various times. One piece, from the description I had of it, was in the form of a cup with low sides, the bottom very thick and strong. The small mounds in this neighborhood have been but slightly, if at all examined.

[pg 41] "The avenues, or places of ascent on the sides of the elevated squares, are ten feet wide, instead of six, as stated by Mr. Harris. His description, as to height and dimensions, are otherwise correct.

"There was lately found at Waterford, not far from the bank of the Muskingum, a magazine of spear and arrow heads, sufficient to fill a peck measure. They lay in one body, occupying a space of about eight inches in width and eighteen in length, and at one end about a foot from the surface of the earth, and eighteen inches at the other; as though they had been buried in a box, and one end had sunk deeper in the earth than the other. They were found by Mr. B. Dana, of Waterford, as he was digging the earth to remove a large pear tree. The spot was formerly covered by a house in the early settlement of the place. They appear never to have been used, and are of various lengths, from six to two inches; they have no shanks, but are in the shape of a triangle, with two long sides, thus, triangle work"

It is worthy of remark, that the walls and mounds were not thrown up from ditches, but raised by bringing the earth from a distance, or taking it up uniformly from the plain; resembling, in that respect, most of the ancient works at Licking, already described. It has excited some surprise that the tools have not been discovered here, with which these works were constructed. Those who have examined these ruins, seem not to have been aware, that with shovels made of wood, earth enough to have constructed these works might have been taken from the surface, with as much ease, almost, as if they were made of iron. This will not be as well understood on the east as the west side of the Alleghanies; but those who are acquainted with the great depth and looseness of our vegetable mould, which lies on the surface of the earth, and of course, the ease with which it may be raised by wooden tools, will cease to be astonished at what would be an immense labor in what geologists call "primitive" countries. Besides, had the people who raised these works, been in possession of, and [pg 42] used ever so many tools, manufactured from iron, by lying either on or under the earth, during all that long period which has intervened between their authors and us, they would have long since oxydized by "rusting," and left but faint traces of their existence behind them.

[pg 45]



Having noticed the principal works of this kind on the waters of the Muskingum, we shall next consider those which might have once been military works, on the waters of the Scioto.

From near Lower Sandusky, I am not informed of any worthy of notice, that is, "FORTS," until we arrive at Circleville, twenty-six miles south of Columbus.

These are situated not far from the junction of Hargus's creek with the latter river, which is on the east side of the river, and south side of the creek. By referring to the plate, the reader will be better enabled to understand the description which follows.

There are two forts, one being an exact circle, the other an exact square. The former is surrounded by two walls, with a deep ditch between them. The latter is encompassed by one wall, without any ditch. The former was sixty-nine rods in diameter, measuring from outside to outside of the circular outer wall; the latter is exactly fifty-five rods square, measuring the same way. The walls of the circular fort were at least twenty feet in height, measuring from the bottom of the ditch, before the town of Circleville was built. The inner wall was of clay taken up probably in the northern part of the fort, where was a low place, and is still considerably lower than any other part of the work. The outside wall was taken from the ditch which is between these walls, and is alluvial, consisting of pebbles worn smooth in water, and sand, to a very considerable depth, more than fifty feet at least. The outside of the walls is about five or six feet in height now; on the inside, the ditch is, at present, generally not more than fifteen feet. [pg 46] They are disappearing before us daily, and will soon be gone. The walls of the square fort, are, at this time, where left standing, about ten feet in height. There were eight gateways, or openings, leading into the square fort, and only one into the circular fort. Before each of these openings was a mound of earth, perhaps four feet high, forty feet perhaps in diameter at the base, and twenty or upwards at the summit. These mounds, for two rods or more, are exactly in front of the gateways, and were intended for the defense of these openings.

As this work was a perfect square, so the gateways and their watch-towers were equidistant from each other.— These mounds were in a perfectly straight line, and exactly parallel with the wall. Those small mounds were at m, m, m, m, m, m, m. The black line at d, represents the ditch, and w, w, represent the two circular walls.

D, shows the seite of a once very remarkable ancient mound of earth, with a semicircular pavement on its eastern side, nearly fronting, as the plate represents, the only gateway leading into this fort. This mound is entirely removed; but the outline of the semicircular pavement, may still be seen in many places, notwithstanding the dilapidations of time, and those occasioned by the hand of man. This mound, the pavement, the walk from the east to its elevated summit, the contents of the mound, &c., will be described under the head of mounds.

The earth in these walls was as nearly perpendicular as it could be made to lie. This fort had originally but one gateway leading into it on its eastern side, and that was defended by a mound of earth, several feet in height, at m, i. Near the center of this work was a mound, with a semicircular pavement on its eastern side, some of the remains of which may still be seen by an intelligent observer. The mound at m, i, has been entirely removed, so as to make the street level, from where it once stood.

[pg 47] B, is a square fort adjoining the circular one, as represented by the plate, the area of which has been stated already. The wall which surrounds this work, is generally, now, about ten feet in height, where it has not been manufactured into brick. There are seven gateways leading into this fort, besides the one that communicates with the square fortification; that is, one at each angle, and another in the wall, just half way between the angular ones. Before each of these gateways was a mound of earth of four or five feet in height, intended for the defense of these openings.

The extreme care of the authors of these works to protect and defend every part of the circle, is no where visible about this square fort. The former is defended by two high walls; the latter, by one. The former has a deep ditch encircling it; this has none. The former could be entered at one place only; this, at eight, and those about twenty feet broad. The present town of Circleville covers all the round, and the western half, of the square fort. These fortifications, where the town stands, will entirely disappear in a few years; and I have used the only means within my power, to perpetuate their memory, by the annexed drawing and this brief description.

Where the wall of the square fort has been manufactured into brick, the workmen found some ashes, calcined stones, sticks, and a little vegetable mould; all of which must have been taken up from the surface of the surrounding plain. As the square fort is a perfect square, so the gateways or openings are at equal distances from each other, and on a right line parallel with the wall. The walls of this work vary a few degrees from north and south, east and west; but not more than the needle varies, and not a few surveyors have, from this circumstance, been impressed with the belief, that the authors of these works were acquainted with astronomy. What surprised me, on measuring these forts, was the exact manner in which they had laid down [pg 48] their circle and square; so that after every effort, by the most careful survey, to detect some error in their measurement, we found that it was impossible, and that the measurement was much more correct, than it would have been in all probability, had the present inhabitants undertaken to construct such a work. Let those consider this circumstance, Who affect to believe these antiquities were raised by the ancestors of the present race of Indians. Having learned something of astronomy, what nation, living as our indians do, in the open air, with the heavenly bodies in full view, could have forgotten such knowledge?

Some hasty travelers, who have spent an hour or two here, have concluded that the "forts" at Circleville were not raised for military, but for religious purposes, because there were two extraordinary tumuli here. A gentleman in one of our Atlantic cities, who has never crossed the Alleghanies has written to me, that he is fully convinced that they were raised for religious purposes. Men thus situated, and with no correct means of judging, will hardly be convinced by any thing I can say. Nor do I address myself to them, directly or indirectly; for it has long been my maxim, that it is worse than vain to spend one's time in endeavoring to reason men out of opinions for which they never had any reasons.

The round fort was picketed in, if we are to judge from the appearance of the ground on and about the walls. Half way up the outside of the inner wall, is a place distinctly to be seen, where a row of pickets once stood, and where it was placed when this work of defense was originally erected. Finally, this work, about its wall and ditch, eight years since, presented as much of a defensive aspect as forts which were occupied in our wars with the French, in 1755, such as Oswego, Fort Stanwix, and others. These works have been examined by the first military men now living in the United States, and they have uniformly declared their opinion to be, that they were military works of defense.

[pg 51]



The nearest of these are situated about eleven, and the farthest fifteen miles, westwardly, from the town of Chillicothe. The plate will assist us in describing them; to which we refer. Their contents, in acres and tenths, are set down on the plate. These works were very carefully surveyed by Mr. Perrin Kent, and the drawing was made by George Wolfley, Esq., of Circleville.

We shall begin with work B, situated on the farms of Capt. George Yocan and Mr. John Harness. The gateways, it will be seen, are numerous, and are from eight to twenty feet wide. The walls are generally about ten feet high at this time, and rise to that height immediately at the gateways. These walls are composed of the common soil, which seems to have been taken up from no particular spot, but uniformly from near the surface. That part of this work which is square, has eight gateways; the sides of this square are sixty-six rods in length, containing an area of twenty-seven acres and two tenths. This part of the work has three gateways, connecting it with the larger one; one of which is between two parallel walls about four feet high. A small rivulet, rising towards the southwest side of the larger part of the largest work, runs through the wall, and sinks into the earth at w, s. Some suppose this sink hole to have been a work of art, originally. It is fifteen feet deep, and thirty-nine across it, at the surface. There are two mounds, the one within, and the other just outside of this work, represented by m, m; the latter is twenty feet high at this time.

Works at A, are all connected as represented in the plate. Their several contents will be seen by referring to it. The square work, it will be seen, contains exactly the same area [pg 52] with the square one belonging to B, and is, in all other respects, so much like that work, that to describe this, would be to repeat what has been said concerning the former. Such coincidences are very common in our ancient works; so that a correct description of one applies to hundreds in different parts of the country.

There is no mound within its walls, but there is one about ten feet high, nearly one hundred rods to the west of it. The large irregular part of the larger work, contains, as will be seen, seventy-seven acres and one-tenth, in the walls of which are eight gateways, besides the two leading into the square just described. These gateways are from one to six rods in width, differing in that respect, very much, one from another. Connected by a gateway with this large work, is another in the northwest, sixty poles in diameter. In its center is another circle, whose walls are now about four feet high, and this lesser circle six rods in diameter. There are three ancient wells at w, w, w, one of which is on the inside, the others on the outside of the wall. As the drawing shows, within the large work of irregular form, are two elevations, which are elliptical. The largest one is near the center; its elevation is twenty-five feet; its longest diameter is twenty rods; its shortest, ten rods; its area is nearly one hundred and fifty-nine square rods. This work is composed mostly of stones, in their natural state. They must have been brought from the bed of the creek, or from the hill. This elevated work is full of human bones. Some have not hesitated to express a belief, that on this work human beings were once sacrificed.

The other elliptical work has two stages; one end of it is only about eight feet high, the other end is fifteen. The surfaces of both are smooth. Such works are not as common here as on the Mississippi, and they are more common still further south, in Mexico.

There is a work in form of a half moon, set round the edges with stones, such as are now found about one mile [pg 53] from the spot from whence they were probably brought. Near this semicircular work is a very singular mound, five feet high, thirty feet in diameter, and composed entirely of a red ocher, which answers very well as a paint. An abundance of this ocher is found on a hill not a great distance from this place; and from this circumstance, the name of the fine stream in the vicinity, in all probability, is derived. It is called "Paint creek."

The wells already mentioned, may be thus described. They are very broad at the top, one of them is six rods, another, four; the former is now fifteen feet in depth; the latter, ten. There is water in them, and they are like the one at Marietta, described by Dr. Hildreth. Near the limestone road, are several such ones.

The most interesting work, represented on the plate by C, remains to be noticed. It is situated on a high hill, believed to be more than three hundred feet in height, which is in many places almost perpendicular. The walls of this consist of stones in their natural state. This wall was built upon the very brow of this hill, almost all around, except at D, where the ground is level. It had originally two gateways, at the only places where roads could be made to the interval below. At the northern gateway, stones enough now lie to have built two considerable round towers. From thence to the creek is a natural, perhaps there was one an artificial, road. The stones lie scattered about in confusion, and consist mostly of what McClure would call the old red sand stone, taken from the sides of the hill on which this "walled town" once stood. Enough of these stones lie here, to have furnished materials for a wall four feet in thickness, and ten feet in height. On the inside of the wall, at line D, there appears to have been a row of furnaces or smiths' shops, where the cinders now lie many feet in depth.

I am not able to say with certainty, what manufactures were carried on here, nor can I say whether brick or iron tools were made here, or both. It was clay that was exposed [pg 54] to the action of fire; the remains are four or five feet in depth, even now, at some places. Iron ore, in this country, is sometimes found in such clay; brick and potters' ware are manufactured out of it, in some other instances. This wall encloses an area of one hundred and thirty acres. It was one of the strongest places in this state, from its situation, so high is its elevation, so nearly perpendicular are the sides of the hill on which it stood.

The courses of the wall correspond with those of the very brow of the hill; and the quantity of stones is the greatest on each side of the gateways, and at any turn in the course of the wall, as if towers and battlements had been here erected. If the works at A and B, had been "sacred enclosures," this was the strong military work which defended them. No military man could have selected a better position for a place of protection to his countrymen, their temples, their altars, and gods.

In the bed of Paint creek, which washes the foot of the hill on which the "walled town" stood, are four wells, worthy of our notice. They were dug through a pyritous slate rock, which is very rich in iron ore. When first discovered by a person passing over them in a canoe, they were covered over, each, by a stone, of about the size, and very much in the shape, of the common millstone, now in use in our grist mills. These covers had a hole through their center, through which a large pry or handspike might be put, for the purpose of removing them off and on the wells. The hole through the center was about four inches in diameter. The wells at the top were more than three feet in diameter, and stones well wrought with tools, so as to make good joints, as a stone mason would say, were laid around the several wells.

I had a good opportunity to examine these wells, the stream in which they are sunk being very low. The covers are now broken to pieces, and the wells filled with pebbles. That they are works of art, is beyond a doubt. For what purpose they were dug, has been a question among those [pg 55] who have visited them, as the wells themselves are in the stream. The bed of the creek was not here, in all probability, when these were sunk. These wells, with stones at their mouths, resemble those described to us in the patriarchial ages. Were they not dug in those days?

At E, is a circular work containing between seven and eight acres, whose walls are not now more than ten feet high, surrounded with a ditch, except at one place, perhaps four rods broad, where there is an opening much resembling a modern turnpike road, leading down into the interval land, adjoining the creek. At the end of the ditch, adjoining the wall on each side of this road is a spring of very good water. Down to the largest one is the appearance of an ancient road. These springs were dug down considerably, or rather the earth where they now rise, by the hand of man.

General William Vance's dwelling house now occupies this gateway; and his orchard and fruit yard, the area within this ancient, sacred enclosure.

[pg 56]



Descending the Scioto to its mouth, at Portsmouth, we find an ancient work, which I doubt not was a military one of defense, situated on the Kentucky shore, nearly opposite the town of Alexandria. The reader is referred to the accurate drawing of all the works near this place, taken on the spot, from actual examination and survey. The importance of this place, it seems, was duly appreciated the people who, in "olden time," resided here. To their attachment to this part of the country, as well as the great population which must have been here, are we indebted for the striking and numerous traces of a once flourishing settlement.

The annexed plate will enable the reader to form a very correct idea of these ancient remains.

On the Kentucky side of the Ohio, opposite the mouth of the Scioto river, is a large fort, with an elevated, large mound of earth near its southwestern outside angle, and parallel walls of earth, as represented by p, p, p, p. The eastern parallel walls have a gateway leading down a high steep bank of a river to the water. They are about ten rods asunder, and from four to six feet in height at this time, and connected with the fort by a gateway. Two small rivulets have worn themselves channels quite through these walls, from ten to twenty feet in depth, since they were deserted, from which their antiquity may be inferred.

The fort is represented by F, on the plate, which is nearly a square, with five gateways, whose walls of earth are now from fourteen, to twenty feet in height.

From the gateway, at the northwest corner of this fort, commenced two parallel walls of earth, extending nearly to [pg 59] the Ohio, in a bend of that river, where, in some low ground near the bank, they disappear. The river seems to have moved its bed a little since these walls were thrown up. A large elevated mound at the southwest corner of the fort, on the outside of the fortification, is represented by m. It appears not to have been used as a place of sepulture; it is too large to have belonged to that class of antiquities. It is a large work, raised perhaps twenty feet or more, very level on its surface, and I should suppose contains half an acre of ground. It seems to me to have been designed for uses similar to the elevated squares at Marietta. Between these works and the Ohio, is a body of fine interval lands, which was nearly enclosed by them; aided by the river, and a creek, which has high perpendicular banks. Buried in the walls of this fort, have been found and taken out, large quantities of iron, manufactured into pickaxes, shovels, gun barrels, &c., evidently secreted there by the French, when they fled from the victorious and combined forces of England and America, at the time fort Du Quesne, afterwards fort Pitt, was taken from them. Excavations made in quest of these hidden treasures, are to be seen on these walls, and in many other places near them.

Several of their graves have been opened and articles found, which leave no doubt on my mind as to their authors, nor any great doubt as to the time when they were deposited here.

On the north side of the river, are works still more extensive than these, more intricate, and of course, more impressive. We must again refer to the plate, in order to shorten our labor in description, and at the same time, give a clearer idea of them than could otherwise be obtained.

Commencing in the low ground, near the present bank of the Scioto river, which seems to have changed a little since these works were raised, are two parallel walls of earth, quite similar to those already described on the other side of the Ohio, as to their height, and their being composed of earth taken up uniformly from the surface, so as not to [pg 60] leave any traces by which we perceive from whence it was taken. This was probably owing to the rudeness of the tools used in constructing these walls. From the bank of the Scioto, they lead eastwardly, for a considerable distance, (as a reference to the scale on which these ruins are laid down, will show, and which is an inch to a mile,) continuing about eight or ten rods apart, when, suddenly, they widen at a short distance to the east of the dwelling house of John Brown, Esq., and continue about twenty rods apart, with a curve towards the elevated ground, which they ascend in the manner represented by the drawing. This hill is very steep, and forty or fifty feet high; after rising which, we again find level land, and a fine, rich, but ancient alluvion of the Ohio. Here, near a curve in the parallel walls, is a well on the brow of the hill, at this time twenty-five feet, perhaps, in depth; but from the immense quantity of rounded pebbles and sand, of which the earth here consists, after passing through the deep black vegetable mould on the surface, we are involuntarily led to believe, that this well was once quite deep enough to have its bottom on a level with the surface of the river, even in a time of low water in that stream.

The figures 1, 2, 3, represent three circular tumuli, elevated, about six feet above the adjacent plain, and each of them contains nearly an acre. Not far from these, at 4, is a still higher similar work, so high, indeed, that it was necessary to throw up a way similar to a modern turnpike road, in order to ascend it. This work is now more than twenty feet in perpendicular height, and contains nearly one acre of ground. This elevated circular work, with raised walks to ascend and decend to and from its elevated area, was not used as a cemetery. Not far from it, however, there is one, near m, which is a conical mound of earth, brought to a point at its apex, at least twenty-five feet high, filled with the mouldering ashes of the people who constructed these works. In a northwestern direction is a similar one, just begun. It is surrounded by a ditch about six feet deep, [pg 61] with a hole in the center of this circular work, which is represented by c. Two other wells, o, o, are now ten or twelve feet in depth, and appear to me to have been dug for water, and are similar to the one already described. Near these, at d, is a wall of earth raised so high that a spectator standing on its summit may have a full view of whatever is transacting on the works 1, 2, 3, 4. The last work is easily ascended at each end.

From these extensive work on this "high place," are two parallel walls of earth, leading to the margin of the Ohio, which are about two miles in length. They are from six to ten feet high. They are lost in the low ground near the river, which appears to have moved from them since they were constructed. Between these walls and the Ohio, is as fine a body of interval land as any along the valley of this beautiful stream; quite sufficient, if well cultivated, to support a considerable population. The surface of the earth, between all the parallel walls, is quite smooth, and appears to have been made so by art, and was used as a road, by those coming down either of the rivers, for the purpose of ascending to the "high place," situated upon the hill. The walls might have served as fences also, to enclose the interval, which was probably cultivated.

On the low land I saw but, one mound, m 2, and that is a cemetery, but is not very large, and it appears to have belonged to the common people, probably those who resided near it on the plain.

[pg 62]


Plate 7. Ancient Fortification Situate on the E bank of the Little Miami River

These works have been much noticed by those who have traveled on the road which crosses them; and several partial accounts of them have already been published. But as some farther notice of these extraordinary remains of antiquity may be here expected, the accompanying drawing and description are given.

Explanation of the plate.—The fortification stands on a plain, nearly horizontal, about two hundred and thirty-six feet above the level of the river, between two branches with very steep and deep banks. The openings in the walls are the gateways. The plain extends eastward along the state road, nearly level, about half a mile. The fortification on all sides, except on the east and west where the road runs, is surrounded with precipices nearly in the shape of the wall. The wall on the inside varies in its height, according to the shape of the ground on the outside, being generally from eight to ten feet. But on the plain it is about nineteen and a half feet high inside and out, on a base of four and a half poles. In a few places it appears to be washed away in gutters, made by water collecting on the inside.

At about twenty poles east from the gate, through which the state road runs, are two mounds, about ten feet eight inches high, the road running between them nearly equidistant from each. From these mounds are gutters running nearly north and south, that appear to be artificial, and made to communicate with the branches on each side. Northeast from the mounds, on the plain, are two roads, B, each about one pole wide, elevated about three feet, [pg 65] and which run nearly parallel, about one fourth of a mile, and then form an irregular semicircle round a small mound. Near the southwest end of the fortification are three circular roads, A, between thirty and forty poles in length, cut out of the precipice between the wall and the river. The wall is made of earth.

Many conjectures have been made as to the design of the authors in erecting a work with no less than fifty-eight gateways. Several of these openings have evidently been occasioned by the water, which had been collected on the inside until it overflowed the walls, and wore itself a passage. In several other places the walls might never have been completed.

Some have supposed the whole was intended as a work of mere sport in the authors. I have always doubted whether any people of sane minds, would have ever performed quite so much labor in mere sport. Probably those openings were neither gateways, nor produced by the action of water, but were from some cause left unfinished.

Some persons, from the shape of these works, have even believed that the authors intended to represent by them the continents of North and South America! But the walls follow exactly the brow of the hill, and the works are built to suit the position of the ground, where it is hilly and precipitous; where it is not so, the walls suddenly rise to a far greater height.

The three parallel roads, A, dug at a great expense of labor, into the rocks and rocky soil adjacent and parallel to the Little Miami river, appear to have been designed for persons to stand on, who wished to annoy those who were passing up and down the river. The Indians, as I have been informed, made this use of these roads in their wars with each other and with the whites. Whether these works all belong to the same era and the same people, I cannot say, though the general opinion is, that they do. On the whole, I have ventured to class them among "Ancient Fortifications," to which they appear to have [pg 66] higher claims than almost any other, for reasons too apparent to require a recital.

The two parallel lines, B, are two roads very similar to modern turnpikes, and are made to suit the nature of the soil and make of the ground. If the roads were for foot races, the mounds were the goals from whence the pedestrians started or around which they ran. The area which these parallel walls enclose, smoothed by art, might have been the place where games were celebrated. We cannot say that these works were designed for such purposes; but we can say, that similar works were thus used among the early inhabitants of Greece and Rome.

Speaking of the works of antiquity found in the Miami country, Dr. Daniel Drake, an officer of the American Antiquarian Society, in his "Picture of Cincinnati," says, "of excavations we have but one;" that is, belonging to the works of that place. "Its depth is about twelve feet. Its diameter, from the top of the circular bank, formed by throwing out the earth, is nearly fifty feet. It has the appearance of a half filled well; but no examination has yet been undertaken."

Dr. Drake proceeds to describe the ancient works where Cincinnati now stands. "The mounds or pyramids found on this plain were four in number. The largest stands directly west of the central enclosure, at the distance of five hundred yards. Its present height is twenty-seven feet; and about eight feet were cut off by Gen. Wayne, in 1794, to prepare it for a sentinel. It is a regular ellipsis, whose diameters are to each other, nearly as two to one. That which is greatest in length runs seventeen degrees east of north. Its circumference at the base is four hundred and forty feet. The earth, for thirty or forty yards around it, is perceptibly lower than the other parts of the plain, and the stratum of loam is thinner; from which it appears to have been formed by scooping up the surface; which opinion is confirmed by its internal structure. It has been penetrated nearly to its center, and found to consist [pg 67] of loam, gradually passing into soil, with rotten wood. The fruits of this examination were only a few scattered and decayed human bones, a branch of a deer's horn, and a piece of earthen ware containing muscle shells. At the distance of five hundred feet from this pyramid, in the direction of north, eight degrees east, there is another about nine feet high, of a circular figure, and nearly, flat on the top. This has been penetrated to the center of its base, without affording any thing but some fragments of human skeletons, and a handful of copper beads which had been strung, on a cord of lint. The mound at the intersection of Third and Main streets, has attracted most attention, and is the only one that had any connection with the lines which have been described. It was eight feet high, one hundred and twenty long, and sixty broad, of an oval figure, with its diameters lying nearly in the direction of the cardinal points. It has been almost obliterated by the graduation of Main-street, and its construction is therefore well known. Whatever it contained was deposited at a small distance beneath the stratum of loam which is common to the town. The first artificial layer was of gravel, considerably raised in the middle; the next, composed of large pebbles, was convex and of an uniform thickness; the last consisted of loam and soil. These strata were entire, and must have been formed after the deposits in the tumulus were completed. Of the articles taken from thence, many have been lost; but the following catalogue embraces the most worthy of notice.

1. Pieces of jasper, rock crystal, granite, and some other stones, cylindrical at the extremes, and swelled in the middle, with an annular groove near one end.

2. A circular piece of canal coal with a large opening in the center, as if for an axis, and a deep groove; the circumference, suitable for a hand. It has a number of small perforations disposed in four equidistant lines, which run from the circumference towards the center.

[pg 68] 3. A smaller article of the same shape, with eight lines of perforations; but composed of argillaceous earth, well polished.

4. A bone, ornamented with several carved lines, supposed to be hieroglyphical.

5. A sculptural representation of the head and beak of a rapacious bird, perhaps an eagle.

6. A mass of lead ore, (galena,) lumps of which have been found in other tumuli.

7. A quantity of isinglass, (mica membranacea,) plates of which have been discovered in, and about other mounds.

8. A small oval piece of sheet copper, with two perforations.

9. A larger oblong piece of the same metal, with longitudinal grooves and ridges.These articles are described in the fourth and fifth volumes of the American Philosophical Transactions, by Governor Sargent and Judge Turner; and were supposed, by Professor Barton, to have been designed in part for ornament, and in part for superstitious ceremonies. In addition to which, the author says, he has since discovered in the same mound,

10. A number of beads, or sections of small hollow cylinder, apparently of bone or shell.

11. The teeth of a carniverous animal, probably those of a bear.

12. Several large marine shells, belonging perhaps to the genus buccinum, cut in such a manner as to serve for domestic utensils, and nearly converted into a state of chalk.

13. Several copper articles, each consisting of two sets of circular concavo convex plates; the interior one of each set connected with the other by a hollow axis, around which had been wound some lint; the whole encompassed by the bones of a man's hand. Several other articles resembling these have been found in other parts of the [pg 69] town. They all appear to consist of pure copper, covered with the green carbonate of that metal. After removing this incrustation of rust from two pieces, their specific gravities were found to be 7.545 and 7.857. Their hardness is about that of the sheet copper of commerce. They are not engraven or embellished with characters of any kind.

14. Human bones. These were of different sizes; sometimes enclosed in rude stone coffins, but oftener lying blended with the earth; generally surrounded by a portion of ashes and charcoal."*

* Drake's Picture of Cincinnati, p. 204, &c.

In this whole tumulus, the author says, there were not discovered more than twenty or thirty skeletons.

The other ancient works mentioned by Dr. Drake, have not, to my knowledge, been actually surveyed. If they have been, I have not seen any diagram sketches of them; a few remarks, therefore, on this subject, may suffice.

Few or none of them appear to me to have been forts; indeed I have never seen one on the Great Miami, which seemed to me to deserve that appellation. Their being situated on a hill is by no means a certain indication that they were forts, or that they were ever military works, when it is recollected that most, if not all, the places of religious worship in Greece, Rome, Judea, &c., were on high hills, and are denominated "high places" among the Jews. I have seen several small mounds of earth in the Miami country and some small works, but the people who raised such works on the waters of the larger rivers of this State were not numerous; and, comparatively speaking, these works are few in number and small in size. Their authors seem to have preferred the beautiful plains and fertile hills of the slow winding Scioto, to the low marshy interval of the Miami. Those who wish for further remarks on the few works situated in the Miami country, are referred to Dr. Drake's "Picture of Cincinnati." He [pg 70] seems to think that the traces of ancient works on the interval lands in the Miami country, are where these people had towns, which appears to me highly probable. These traces of ancient settlement being few, we may conclude that their authors were also few.

[pg 71]


There is another species of ancient works in this country which deserves our notice. They are conical mounds, either of earth or stones, which were intended for many sacred and important purposes. In many parts of the world similar mounds were used as monuments, sepulchers, altars, and temples.

The accounts of these works, found in the scriptures, show that their origin must be sought for among the Antedeluvians. That they are very ancient, were used as places of sepulture, public resort and public worship, is proved by all the writers of ancient times, both sacred and profane. Homer frequently mentions them. He particularly describes the tumulus of Tytyus, and the spot where it was. In memory of the illustrious dead, a sepulchral mound of earth was raised over their remains, which from that time forward, became an altar, whereon to offer sacrifices, and around which, to exhibit games of athletic exercise. These offerings and games were intended to propitiate their manes, to honor and perpetuate their memories.

Prudentius, a Roman bard, has told us, that there were in ancient Rome just as many temples of gods as there were sepulchers of heroes; implying that they were the same.* Need I mention the tomb of Anchises, which Virgil has described, with the offerings there presented, and the games there exhibited? The sanctity of the Acropolis where Cecrops was inhumed? The tomb of the father of Adonis, at Paphos, whereon a temple dedicated to Venus was erected? The grave of Cleomachus, whereon stood a temple dedicated [pg 72] to the worship of Apollo? Finally, I would ask the classical reader if the words translated TOMB and TEMPLE, are not used as synonymous, by the poets of Greece and Rome? Virgil, who wrote in the days of Augustus, speaks of these tumuli as being as ancient as they were sacred, even in his time. Who has forgotten those lines, the reading of which gave him so much pleasure in the days of his childhood?

—Tumulum antiquĉ Cereris, sedemque sacratam, Venimus—. AEn. lib. ii. v. 742.

* "Ettot templa Deum, quot in urba sepulchra, Heroum numerare licit." Prudentius, liber i.

In the first ages of the world, reason teaches us to believe, that the government of mankind was patriarchal; and the scriptures inform us that it was so. In infancy and childhood we naturally look up to our parents for support and education. The debt of gratitude increases until the beloved object of our filial affection is no more. Then all the endearments, of which we were the objects, through all our helpless years, present themselves to our view, and we anxiously seek, by some monument, to perpetuate the memory of those to whose kind care we are so greatly indebted. By what better means, could such an object be effected by a people unacquainted with the use of letters? What more lasting monument of filial respect could have been raised by a people thus situated? How simple, and yet how sublime! and calculated to endure while the world itself shall continue, unless destroyed by the sacrilegious hand of man.

A conical tumulus was reared, games were instituted, and certain offerings presented on stated anniversaries. In later times, after warriors arose, and performed great and mighty deeds, the whole tribe or nation joined to raise on some high place, generally, a lofty tumulus. At first, sacrifices might have been, and probably were, offered on these tumuli, to the true God, as the great author and giver of life; but in later times they forgot Him, and worshiped the manes of the heroes they had buried there.

[pg 73] The conical mounds in Ohio are either of stones or of earth. The former, in other countries and in former ages, were intended as MONUMENTS, for the purpose of perpetuating the memory of some important event; or as ALTARS, whereon to offer sacrifices. The latter were used as cemeteries and as altars, whereon, in later times, temples were erected among the people of Greece and Rome. Their existence and uses may be learned, by consulting the ancient writers, both sacred and profane.

In the scriptures we are informed, that Jacob erected a pillar of stones in order to perpetuate the recollection of a remarkable dream which he had, where he reposed, when journeying to visit Laban. A pile of stones was raised on the spot, Where many years afterwards he parted with his brother Esau. This mound was to be a limit, which neither of them should in future pass, without being considered as a trespasser on the other. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan, the priests raised a pile of stones, which were brought from the bed of that river. The reasons are assigned by the several historians, which the reader can see at his leisure.

Gilgal was a heap of stones, where the Israelites encamped the first night after they crossed the Jordan. If the reader will consult a correct map of Palestine, he will see that Shiloh, Bethel, Jerusalem, &c., where the Jews assembled at various periods of their history, for public worship, were all of them situated upon high hills.

[pg 74]


They are of various altitudes and dimensions, some being only four or five feet in height, and ten or twelve feet in diameter at their base, whilst others, as we travel to the south, rise to the height of eighty and ninety feet, and cover many acres of ground.

They are generally, where completed, in the form of a cone. Those in the north part of Ohio are inferior in size, and fewer in number, than those along the river. These mounds are believed to exist from the Rocky mountains in the west, to the Alleghanies in the east; from the southern shore of lake Erie, to the Mexican Gulf; and though few and small in the north, numerous and lofty in the south, yet exhibit proofs of a common origin.

I shall begin with the tumuli on the Muskingum, which are not very numerous, nor comparatively interesting, until we descend to Morgan county, where are some on the head waters of Jonathan's creek, whose basis are formed of well burnt bricks, between four and five inches square.—There were found lying on the bricks, charcoal, cinders, and pieces of calcined human bones.—Above them, the mound was composed of earth, showing that the dead had been burned in the manner of several eastern nations, and the mound raised afterwards.

Descending the Muskingum to its mouth, we arrive at the celebrated works at Marietta, already noticed, but not fully described. It is with great pleasure, that here I avail myself of a communication from Dr. S. P. Hildreth, of Marietta. [pg 75]

"Marietta, July 19, 1819.

"In removing the earth which composed an ancient mound in one of the streets of Marietta, on the margin of the plain, near the fortifications, several curious articles were discovered the latter part of June last. They appear to have been buried with the body of the person to whose memory this mound was erected.

"Lying immediately over, or on the forehead of the body, were found three large circular bosses, or ornaments for a sword belt, or buckler; they are composed of copper, overlaid with a thick plate of silver. The fronts of them are slightly convex, with a depression, like a cup, in the center, and measure two inches and a quarter across the face of each. On the back side opposite the depressed portion, is a copper rivet or nail, around which are two separate plates, by which they were fastened to the leather. Two small pieces of the leather were found lying between the plates of one of the bosses; they resemble the skin of an old mummy, and seem to have been preserved by the salts of the copper. The plates of copper are nearly reduced to an oxyde, or rust. The silver looks quite black, but is not much corroded, and on rubbing, it becomes quite brilliant. Two of these are yet entire; the third one is so much wasted, that it dropped in pieces on removing it from the earth. Around the rivet of one of them is a small quantity of flax or hemp, in a tolerable state of preservation. Near the side of the body was found a plate of silver which appears to have been the upper part of sword scabbard; it is six inches in length and two inches in breadth, and weighs one ounce; it has no ornaments or figures, but has three longitudinal ridges, which probably correspond with edges, or ridges, of the sword; it seems to have been fastened to the scabbard by three or four rivets, the holes of which yet remain in the silver.

"Two or three broken pieces of a copper tube, were also found, filled with iron rust. These pieces, from their appearance, composed the lower end of the scabbard, near [pg 76] the point of the sword. No sign of the sword itself was discovered, except the appearance of rust above mentioned.

"Near the feet, was found a piece of copper, weighing three ounces. From its shape it appears to have been used as a plumb, or for an ornament, as near one of the ends is a circular crease, or groove, for tying a thread; it is round, two inches and a half in length, one inch in diameter at the center, and half an inch at each end. It is composed of small pieces of native copper, pounded together; and in the cracks between the pieces, are stuck several pieces of silver; one nearly the size of a four penny piece, or half a dime. This copper ornament was covered with a coat of green rust, and is considerably corroded. A piece of red ocher, or paint, and a piece of iron ore, which has the appearance of having been partially vitrified, or melted, were also found. The ore is about the specific gravity of pure iron.

"The body of the person here buried, was laid on the surface of the earth, with his face upwards, and his feet pointing to the northeast, and head to the southwest. From the appearance of several pieces of charcoal, and bits of partially burnt fossil coal, and the black color of the earth, it would seem that the funeral obsequies had been celebrated by fire; and while the ashes were yet hot and smoking, a circle of thin flat stones had been laid around and over the body. The circular covering is about eight feet in diameter, and the stones yet look black, as if stained by fire and smoke. This circle of stones seems to have been the nucleus on which the mound was formed, as immediately over them is heaped the common earth of the adjacent plain, composed of a clayey sand and coarse gravel. This mound must originally have been about ten feet high, and thirty feet in diameter at its base. At the time of opening it, the height was six feet, and diameter between thirty and forty. It has every appearance of being as old as any in the neighborhood and was, at the first settlement of Marietta, covered with large trees, the remains of whose roots were yet [pg 77] apparent in digging away the earth. It also seems to have been made for this single personage, as the remains of one skeleton only were discovered. The bones were much decayed, and many of them crumbled to dust on exposure to the air. From the length of some of them, it is supposed the person was about six feet in height.

"Nothing unusual was discovered in their form, except that those of the skull were uncommonly thick. The situation of the mound on high ground, near the margin of the plain, and the porous quality of the earth, are admirably calculated to preserve any perishable substance from the certain decay which would attend it in many other situation. To these circumstances is attributed the tolerable state of preservation in which several of the articles above described were found, after laying in the earth for several centuries. We say centuries, from the fact that trees were found growing on those ancient works, whose ages were ascertained to amount to between four and five hundred years each, by counting the concentric circles in the stumps after the trees are cut down; and on the ground, besides them, were other trees in a state of decay, that appeared to have fallen from old age. Of what language, or of what nation were this mighty race, that once inhabited the territory watered by the Ohio, remains yet a mystery.

"But from what we see of their works, they must have had some acquaintance with the arts and sciences. They have left us perfect specimens of circles, squares, octagons, and parallel lines, on a grand and noble scale. And unless it can be proved that they had intercourse with Asia or Europe, we now see that they possessed the art of working in metals."

The above described articles are in the possession of Dr. Hildreth, and can be seen by any one desirous of viewing them.

[pg 78] To this account I have only to add, that I have carefully examined the articles above described, and the spot where they were found, and that the description is a correct one. The accompanying drawings, made by Dr. Hildreth, are also correct. This mound was opened under the direction of his Excellency R. J. Meigs, Jr.*

* Since deceased.

The drawings of some of the articles found in the mound at Marietta, Ohio, June 1, 1819, described by Dr. Hildreth, are on the opposite page.



Figure 1, back view of the silver ornament for a sword scabbard. 2. Front view of the same. 3. Front view of an ornament for a belt; silver face. 4. Back view of the same; of copper. 5. A copper plumb or pendent, with bits of silver in the fissures. 6. A stone with seven holes, like a screw plate, fourteen inches long, finely polished and very hard. This last was found in a field, back of the great mound.

[pg 79]

Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4, are a little less than two-thirds as large; and 5 is two-thirds as large, in length and breadth, as the articles they represent.

[pg 80] [Since the foregoing was written, a letter, giving some further information relating to ancient relics, &c., has been received by the President of the American Antiquarian Society, from Dr. Hildreth, dated, "Marietta, 3d Nov., 1819" extracts from which are here inserted:]

"Dear Sir—

"Your favor of the 19th ultimo was received yesterday. I shall be happy to contribute all in my power towards promoting the objects of the society, and will forward, by the first opportunity, a part, or all, of the curiosities in my possession, which were taken from an ancient mound in Marietta, the latter part of June last: of which I wrote a description, and which was published in the Marietta paper, in July.*

* This deseription is the same as that just given, which was communicated to the Author.

"In addition to the articles found at Marietta, I have procured, from a mound on the Little Muskingum, about four miles from Marietta, some pieces of copper, which appear to have been the front part of a helmet. It was originally about eight inches long and four broad, and has marks of having been attached to leather; it is much decayed, and is now quite a thin plate. A copper ornament in imitation of those described, as found in Marietta, was discovered with the plate, and appears to have been attached to the center of it by a rivet, the hole for which remains both in the plate and ornament. At this place the remains of a skeleton were found. No part of it retained its form, but a portion of the forehead and skull, which lay under the plate of copper. These bones are deeply tinged with green, and appear to have been preserved by the salts of the copper.

"The mound in which these relics were found, is about the magnitude of the one in Marietta, and has every appearance of being as ancient. I have in my possession some pieces of ancient potters' ware, found within the ancient [pg 81] works at Marietta. They are, some of them, neatly wrought, and composed of pounded flint stone and clay. They are yet quite solid and firm, although they have lain for several years, exposed to rain and frost, on the surface of the ground.

"We often find pieces of broken ware near the banks of the river, and in the bottoms; but they are composed of clay and pounded clam shells; are much less compact and firm, and do not appear to have been burnt. They are evidently of the same composition with those made by the modern Indians.

"Some time in the course of this month, we propose opening several mounds in this place; and if thing is discovered, which will throw light on the subject of the "Ancients of the West," it shall be communicated to your society, with a portion or all of the articles found. It seems to be a well established fact, that the bodies of nearly all those buried in mounds, were partially, if not entirely, consumed by fire, before the mounds were built. This is made to appear, by quantities of charcoal being found at the center and base of the mounds; stones burned and blackened, and marks of fire on the metallic substances buried with them. It is a matter of much regret that on no one of the articles yet found, has been discovered any letters, characters, or hyeroglyphics, which would point to what nation or age these people belonged. I have been told by an eye witness, that a few years ago, near Blacksburgh, in Virginia, eighty miles from Marietta, there was found about half of a steel bow, which, when entire, would measure five or six feet; the other part was corroded or broken. The father of the man who found it was a blacksmith, and worked up this curious article, I suppose, with as little remorse as he would an old gun barrel. Mounds are very frequent in that neighborhood, and many curious articles of antiquity have been found there.

"I have also been told from good authority, that an ornament composed of very pure gold, something similar to [pg 82] those found here, was discovered a few years since in Ross county, near Chillicothe, lying in the palm of a skeleton's hand, in a small mound. This curiosity, I am told, is in the museum at Philadelphia."

The tumuli, in what is called the Scioto country, are both numerous and interesting. But south of lake Erie, until we arrive at Worthington, nine miles north of Columbus, they are few in number, and of small comparative magnitude. At the former place are some large ones; but I have made no survey of them, nor was it deemed important, as they so exactly resemble others which will be described.

Near Columbus, the seat of government, were several mounds, one of which stood on an eminence in the principal street. It has been entirely removed, and converted into brick. It contained many human bones, some few articles, among which was an owl carved in stone, a rude, but very exact representation. In another part of the town was a tumulus of clay, which was also manufactured into bricks. In this were many human bones; but it was not, it would seem, their original place of deposit, as they lay in piles and in confusion.

As we still descend the Scioto, through a most fertile region of country, mounds and other ancient works frequently appear, until we arrive at Circleville, twenty-six miles south of Columbus, where are to be seen some of the most interesting antiquities any where to be found.

The works have been noticed, but the mounds remain to be described. Of these there were several, which the ruthless hand of man is destroying. Near the center of the round fort, (a drawing of which is given in this work,) was a tumulus of earth, about ten feet in height, and several rods in diameter at its base. On its eastern side, and extending six rods from it, was a semicircular pavement, composed of pebbles, such as are now found in the bed of the Scioto river, from whence they appear to have been brought.

[pg 83] The summit of this tumulus was nearly thirty feet in diameter, and there was a raised way to it leading from the east, like a modern turnpike. The summit was level. The outline of the semicircular pavement and the walk is still discernible. The earth composing this mound was entirely removed several years since. The writer was present at its removal, and carefully examined the contents. It contained,

1. Two human skeletons, lying on what had been the original surface of the earth.

2. A great quantity of arrow heads, some of which were so large as to induce a belief that they had been used for spear heads.

3. The handle either of a small sword or a large knife, made of an elk's horn; around the end where the blade had been inserted, was a ferule of silver, which, though black, was not much injured by time. Though the handle showed the hole where the blade had been inserted, yet no iron was found, but an oxyde remained of similar shape and size.

4. Charcoal and wood ashes, on which these articles lay, which were surrounded by several bricks very well burnt. The skeleton appeared to have been burned in a large and very hot fire, which had almost consumed the bones of the deceased. This skeleton was deposited a little to the south of the center of the tumulus; and, about twenty feet to the north of it, was another, with which were

5. A large mirror, about three feet in length, one foot and a half in breadth, and one inch a half in thickness. This mirror was of isinglass, (mica membranacea,) and on it,

6. A plate of iron, which had become an oxyde; but before it was disturbed by the spade, resembled a plate of cast iron. The mirror answered the purpose very well for which it was intended. This skeleton had also been burned like the former, and lay on charcoal and a considerable quantity of wood ashes. A part of the mirror is in my possession, [pg 84] as well as a piece of a brick, taken from the spot at the time.

The knife, or sword handle, was sent to Mr. Peal's museum, at Philadelphia.

To the southwest of this tumulus, about forty rods from it, is another, more than sixty feet in height, which is shown on the plate representing these works. It stands on a large hill, which appears to be artificial. This must have been the common cemetery, as it contains an immense number of human skeletons, of all sizes and ages.

The skeletons are laid horizontally, with their heads generally towards the center, and the feet towards the outside of the tumulus. A considerable part of this work still stands uninjured, except by time. In it have been found, besides these skeletons, stone axes and knives, and several ornaments, with holes through them, by means of which, with a cord passing through these perforations, they could be worn by their owners.

On the south side of this tumulus, and not far from it, was a semicircular fosse, which, when I first saw it, was six feet deep. On opening it, was discovered at the bottom a great quantity of human bones, which, I am inclined to believe; were the remains of those who had been slain in some great and destructive battle. First, because they belonged to persons who had attained their full size; whereas, in the mound motind adjoining, were found the skeletons of persons of all ages; and secondly, they were here in the utmost confusion, as if buried in a hurry. May we not conjecture, that they belonged to the people who resided in the town, and who were victorious in the engagement? otherwise they would not have been thus honorably buried in the common cemetery.

The articles discovered in this mound are of little value, though very numerous; something being found near the head of almost every individual.

Descending the Scioto, mounds situated generally upon high hills, with a fair prospect towards the east, are frequently [pg 85] seen, until we arrive at Chillicothe, eighteen miles below Cireleville.—Here, and in the immediate vicinity, were once several very interesting ones; but they are mostly demolished. Why were these wantonly destoyed? "They were rude." Were they not venerable on account of their high antiquity and simplicity? Are the modern Turks and Arabs, who trample on the busts of ancient heroes, the moss grown and prostrate columns of ancient temples, baths, palaces and theatres, the only barbarians? "But those who buried in tumuli, worshiped the manes of the heroes there deposited." And were not the Greeks and Roman idolaters? And, have not all the civilized nations of Europe joined in condemning those who wantonly violate the sacred repositories of the dead, in those countries where the arts once flourished? It is true that the citizens, of the ancient republics enjoyed not the Christian religion; that commerce, and even agriculture, had made no great progress among them. To defend their country, and extend their conquests, were the great objects which they constantly kept in view. Soldiers became heroes; and these, after death, were exalted to gods. The love of military glory was constantly connected with the love of country. Having but few objects of pursuit, their passions were more intensely fixed on these. All nations but their own, were considered as barbarians, and treated as such. They put to the sword, or sold as slaves, their prisoners of war. But what makes us to differ from them, unless it be an acquaintance with Christianity?

The Reverend Robert G. Wilson, D. D., late of Chillicothe, a receiving officer of the American Antiquarian Society, has furnished me with authentic information concerning the mound, which once stood near the century of the town. He took pains to write down every thing concerning its contents, at the time of its demolition. Its perpendicular height was about fifteen feet, and the diameter of its base about sixty. It was composed of sand, and contained human bones, belonging to skeletons [pg 86] which were buried in different parts of it. It was not until this pile of earth was removed, and the original surface exposed to view, that a probable conjecture of its original design could be formed. About twenty feet square of the surface had been leveled, and covered with bark. On the center of this, lay a human skeleton, over which had been spread a mat, manufactured either from weeds or bark. On the breast lay what had been a piece of copper, in the form of a cross, which had now become verdigrise. On the breast also, lay a stone ornament with two perforations, one near each end, through which passed a string, by means of which it was suspended around the wearer's neck. On this string, which was made of sinews, and very much injured by time, were placed a great many beads, made of ivory or bone; for I cannot certainly say which. With these facts before us, we are left to conjecture at what time this individual lived; what were his heroic achievements in the field of battle; his wisdom and eloquence in the councils of his nation. But his cotemporaries have testified in a manner not to be mistaken, that among them, he was held in grateful remembrance.

There are some very interesting works of antiquity not far from Chilicothe, on the north fork of Paint creek, a drawing of which is given in this volume.

Ancient Wroks on the North Fork of Paint Creek

Five miles and a half from Chillicothe, on the above mentioned stream, these works are situated on a beautiful piece of what we call second bottom. The area of the largest enclosure contains about one hundred and ten acres. On the northeast and west side of it, is a wall, with an intrenchment or ditch on its outside. It is generally twelve feet from the bottom to the summit of the wall, which is of earth. The ditch is about twenty feet wide, and the base of the wall the same. There is no ditch on the side next the river. The small work, on the east side, contains sixteen acres, and the walls are like those of the larger work, but there is no ditch. The largest circular work, which consists of a wall and ditch like those already [pg 89] described, is a sacred enclosure, including within it six mounds, which have been used as cemeteries. By examining the drawing and measuring them by the annexed scale, a correct idea of their dimensions may be easily obtained. The same observation applies to the gateways in the outer wall.*

* See the plan of the ancient works on the north fork of Paint creek, opposite page 51.

The land on which these works are situated belongs to Mr. Ashley and Col. Evans, of Ross county.

The immense labor, and the numerous cemeteries filled with human bones, denote a vast population near this spot in ancient times.

[pg 90]


Two such mounds have been describe already in the county of Perry. Others have been found in various parts of the country. There is one, at least, in the vicinity, of Licking river, not many miles from Newark. There is another on a branch of Hargus's creek, a few miles to the northeast of Circleville. There were several not very far from the town of Chillicothe.

If these mounds were sometimes used as cemeteries of distinguished persons, they were also used as monuments, with a view perpetuating the recollection of some great transaction or event. In the former, not more, generally, than one or two skeletons are found; in the latter, none. These works are like those of earth, in form of a cone, composed of small stones, on which no marks of tools were visible. In them, some of the most interesting articles are found, such as urns, ornaments of copper, heads of spears, &c., of the same metal, as well as medals of copper, and pickaxes of hornblend; several drawings of which may be seen in this volume.

Works of this class, compared with those of earth, are few; and they are none of them as large as the mounds at Grave creek, or at the town of Circleville, which belong to the first class. I saw one of these stone tumuli which had been piled on the surface of the earth, on the spot where three skeletons had been buried in stone coffins, beneath the surface. It was situated on the western edge of the hill on which the "walled town" stood, on Paint creek. The graves appear to have been dug to about the depth of ours in the present times. After the bottoms and sides were lined with thin flat stones, the corpses were [pg 91] placed in these graves, in an eastern and western direction, and large flat stones were laid over the graves: then the earth, which had been dug out of the graves, was thrown over them. A huge pile of stones was placed over the whole. It is quite probable, however, that this was a work of our present race of Indians. Such graves are more common in Kentucky than Ohio.

No article, except the skeletons, was found in these graves; and the skeletons resembled, very much, the present race of Indians.

[pg 92]


These tumuli are very common on the river Ohio, from its utmost sources to its mouth. Few and small, comparatively, they are found on the waters of the Monongahela; but increase in number and size, as we descend towards the mouth of that stream, at Pittsburgh. Then rapidly increasing in number, they are of the largest dimensions at Grave creek, below Wheeling. For an able and interesting account of those last mentioned, I am indebted to the Rev. Dr. Doddridge, of Brooke county, Virginia. An extract from his communication follows, dated—

"Wellsburgh, Va. May 27, 1819.

"Dear Sir,

"As to your inquiry concerning the ancient works at Grave creek, below Wheeling, I will give you the best account which I can. Grave creek flat is about eleven miles below Wheeling. It is about two miles square, consisting, for the most part of second bottom, the most ancient alluvion; about the middle of it, Little Grave creek puts into the Ohio, and Great Grave creek, at the lower end of this flat. Between these creeks stand the ancient works, at the distance of about a quarter of a mile from the Ohio.

"The 'fortifications,' as they are called, are not remarkable ones, though a number of small mounds stand among them. In one of the tumuli, which was opened about twenty years since, sixty copper beads were found. Of these, I procured ten, and sent them to the museum in Philadelphia. They were made of a coarse wire, which [pg 93] appeared to have been hammered out and not drawn, and were cut off at unequal lengths. They were soldered together in an awkward manner, the center of some of them uniting with the edges of others. They were incrusted with verdigrise, but the inside of them was pure copper. This fact shows that the ancient inhabitants were not wholly unacquainted with the use of metals.

"The 'big grave,' as it is called, stands about half way between the two creeks, and about one fourth of a mile from the river. It is certainly one of the most august monuments of remote antiquity any where to be found. Its circumference at the base, is three hundred yards; its diameter, of course, one hundred. Its altitude, from measurement, is ninety feet; amd its diameter, at the summit, is forty-five feet. The center, at the summit, appears to have sunk several feet,* so as to form a small kind of amphitheater. The rim inclosing this amphitheater, is seven or eight feet in thickness. On the south side, in its edge, stands a large beach tree, whose bark is marked with the initials of a great number of visitants.

* Such a hollow place was always left in tumuli, until they were finished by bringing them to a perfect point. C.A.

"This lofty and venerable tumulus has been so far opened, as to ascertain that it contains many thousands of human skeletons, but no farther. The proprietor of the ground, Mr. Joseph Tomlinson, will not suffer its demolition in the smallest degree. I, for one, do him honor for his sacred regard for these works of antiquity. I wish that the inhabitants of Chillicothe and Circleville had acted like Mr. Tomlinson. In that case, the mounds in those towns would have been left standing. They would have been religiously protected, as sacred relics of remote and unknown antiquity."

A careful survey of the above mentioned works, at Grave creek, would probably show, that they were all connected, and formed but parts of a whole, laid out with taste.

[pg 94] Following the river Ohio downwards, the mounds appear on both sides, erected uniformly on the highest alluvions along that stream. Those at Marietta, Portsmouth, and Cincinnati, are noticed elsewhere. Their numbers increase all the way to the Mississippi, on which river they assume the largest size. Not having surveyed them, we shall use the description of Mr. Brackenridge, who has devoted great attention to them. With his discriminating powers of mind the public are acquainted.

The tumuli, as well as the fortifications, are to be found at the junction of all the rivers, along the Mississippi, in the most eligible positions for towns, and in the most extensive bodies of fertile land. Their number exceeds, perhaps, three thousand; the smallest not less than twenty feet in height, and one hundred in diameter at the base. This great number, and the astonishing size of some of them, may be regarded as furnishing, with other circumstances, evidence of their antiquity. I have been sometimes induced to think, that, at the period when these were constructed, there was a population as numerous as that which once animated the borders of the Nile, or of the Euphrates of Mexico. The most numerous, as well as the most considerable of these remains, are found precisely in those parts of the country Where the traces of a numerous population might be looked for, viz. from the mouth of and on the east side of the river, to the Illinois river, and on the west side from the St. Francis to the Missouri. I am perfectly satisfied that citie's similar to those of ancient Mexico, of several hundred thousand souls, have existed in this country."

Nearly opposite St Louis, there are traces of two such cities, in the distance of five miles. They are situated on the Cahokia, which crosses the American bottom opposite St. Louis. One of the mounds is eight hundred yards in circumference at the base, (the exact size of the pyramid of Asychis,) and one hundred feet in height. Mr. Brackenridge noticed "a mound at New Madrid of three hundred [pg 95] and fifty feet in diameter at the base." Other large ones are at the following places, viz: at St. Louis, one with two stages, another with three; at the mouth of the Missouri; at the mouth of Cahokia river, in two groups; twenty miles below, two groups also, but the mounds of a smaller size; on the bank of a lake, formerly the bed of the river, at the mouth of Marameck, St. Genevieve; one near Washington, Mississippi State, of one hundred and forty-six feet in height; at Baton Rouge, and on the bayou Manchac; one of the mounds near the lake is composed chiefly of shells. The inhabitants have taken away great quantities of them for lime.

The mound on Black river, has two stages and a group around. At each of the above places there are groups; of mounds, and there was prabably once a city. Mr. Brackenridge thinks that the largest city belonging to this people, was situated between the Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois. On the plains between the Arkansas and St. Francis, there are several very large mounds.

Thus it will be seen, that these remains, which were so few and small along the northern lakes, are more and more numerous, as we travel in a southwestern direction, until we reach the Mississippi, where they are lofty and magnificent. Those works, similar to the Teocalli of Mexico, by the Spaniards called "Adoratorios," are not found north of the mound at Circleville, on the Scioto, or at least I have seen none of them. They are very common and lofty, it seems, on the Mississippi river. An observing eye can easily marks, in these works, the progress of their authors, from the lakes to the valley of the Mississippi; thence to the Gulf of Mexico, and round it, through Texas, into New Mexico, and into South America; their increased numbers, as they proceeded, are evident; while the articles found in and near these works, show also the progressive improvement of the arts among those who erected them.

Should the patronage bestowed on this work, enable me to pursue my investigations, it is my intention to extend my [pg 96] survey quite down to the Mexican Gulf, and possibly beyond it; and if, through a want of patronage, a period should be put to my labors, yet, it is hoped, that others may be enabled to complete what, under untoward circumstances, I have begun.

Miscellaneous remarks on the uses of the Mounds.

Though they were used as places of sepulture and of worship, yet, were they not sometimes, in the last resort, used also as places of defense? Solis, who describes the destruction of the Mexicans, and the conquest of their empire by the Spaniards, informs us that the "Teocalli," which were like many of our works, in cases of extreme necessity, appeared like "living hills;" they were covered with warriors. Standing upon their altars and in their temples; upon the tombs of their fathers; defending themselves, their wives, their children, their aged parents, their country, and their gods, they fought with desperation. These mounds being elevated on high grounds, in situations easily defended, is it not highly probable, that their authors, in cases of the last resort, used them as places of defense?

Some have expressed an opinion, that those which are situated within inclosures, were used as altars, whereon human victims were sacrificed.

Some persons who have devoted great attention to our antiquities, believe that the tumuli in front of the gateways of not a few of the works described, were placed there for idols, similar to the "Janiter gods" of Rome, to stand on. This proposition, which has some plausibility in it, we can neither assent to, nor deny, for want of sufficient data.

[pg 99]


Plate 9. ANCIENT PARALLEL WALLS Supposed to have been erected for a place of Amusement

By places of diversion, we mean not those with which mounds are connected; the latter evidently were intended for the celebration of solemn games, instituted in honor of the dead.

The works we speak of under this head, are either round, like the small one, a short distance north of the square fort at Circleville, or they consist of two long parallel roads, resembling, in almost all respects, two turnpike roads. The circular ones, though frequently, nay generally, found in the vicinity of a great population in those days, consist of earth, raised but a few feet, by the aid of art, like a modern turnpike road, two rods or more in width, though sometimes less than one, being the highest in the center, and gradually descending towards the outside. This road is perfectly smoothed by art. In the center, the earth has a gentle and regular rise.

The oblong figure annexed,* is a representation of a great number of similar works, in various parts of this country. There are three such works between Circleville and Chillicothe, through which the present road passes. If these works were not places of diversion, I cannot surmise for what purpose they were raised. They were of no use as places of defense. If intended for worship, or the celebration of games, near the tombs of their ancestors or chieftains, why are they not connected with the mounds, instead of being uniformly placed at a distance from them? The number of such works, in various parts of the country, especially on the Scioto, Ohio, Kenhawa, Big Sandy [pg 100] rivers, &c., is considerable. They are so similar in structure, appearance, and situation, that the inference I draw from these circumstances is, that they were raised for similar purposes. Some persons have not failed to call them "roads;" but if so, why are they always unconnected with other works? and, why are they constructed either circular or in two long parallel lines, and these again connected at the ends?

* See the plate.

[pg 103]



Besides those before mentioned, there are parallel walls in most where other great works are found. Connected with the works on Licking creek, are very extensive ones, may be seen by referring to the plate which represents them. They were intended, I think, for purposes of defense, to protect persons who were travelling from one work to another. The two circular ones at Circleville, were walls of the round fort. There are many others in various places, intended for similar purposes. But I am by no means sure that all the walls of this description were intended as defensive, they might have been used as fences in some places, or as elevated and convenient positions where spectators might have been seated, while some grand procession passed between them.

Near Piketon, on the Scioto, nineteen miles below Chillicothe, are two such parallel walls, which I did not measure, but can say without hesitation that the are now twenty feet high. The road leading down the river to Portsmouth, passes for a considerable distance between these walls. They are so high and so wide at their bases, that the traveler would not, without particular attention, suspect them to be artificial. I followed them the whole distance, and found that they lead in a direction towards three very high mounds, situated on a hill beyond them. It is easy to discover that these walls are artificial, if careful attention is bestowed on them.

Between these parallel walls, it is reasonable to suppose processions passed to the ancient place of sepulture; and what tends to confirm this opinion is, that the earth between them appears to have been leveled by art. On both [pg 104] sides of the Scioto, near these works, large intervals of rich land exist; and, from the number and size of the mounds on both sides of this stream, we may conclude that a great population once existed here.

Such walls as these are found in many places along the Ohio, but they generally lead to some lofty mounds, situated on an eminence. Sometimes they encircle the mound or mounds, as will be seen by referring to some of the drawings in this volume; others are like those near Piketon. [See the plate.]

[pg 105]


The reader, after having become acquainted with many of our ancient works, naturally inquires, Who were their authors? Whence did they emigrate? At what time did they arrive? How long did they continue to inhabit this country? To what place did they emigrate? and, Where shall we look for their descendants?

These questions have often been asked, within the last thirty years, and as often answered, but not satisfactorily, especially to those who, on all occasions, require proofs amounting to mathematical certainty. Persons of this class, need not give themselves the useless labor of perusing the remaining part of this essay. The nature of the subject does not admit of such proof, nor will the liberal and more enlightened portion of my readers require it at my hands. But if absolute certainty be not attainable, it appears to me that a reasonable one is—by obtaining a thorough knowledge of the geology and botany of the country where these works are found; by a careful examination of the skeletons of the people themselves; their dress; their ornaments, such as beads, bracelets, badges of office; their places of amusement, burial and worship; their buildings, and the materials used in their structure; their wells; domestic utensils; weapons of offense and defense; their medals and monuments, intended to perpetuate the memory of important events in their history; their idols; their modes of burial, and of worship; their fortifications, and the form, size, situation, and materials with which they were constructed. These are fragments of history, as Bacon would say, which have been saved from the deluge [pg 106] of time. Let us examine these fragments; let us also com. pare whatever belonged to this people in common with any other, either now or heretofore inhabiting this or any other part of our globe.

Who, then were the Authors of our Ancient Works?

If we look into the Bible, the most authentic, the most ancient history of man, we shall there learn, that mankind, soon after the deluge, undertook to raise a tower high as heaven, which should serve to keep them together, as a place of worship, and stand to future ages as a monument of their industry, their religious zeal, their enterprise, and their knowledge of the arts. Unacquainted, as they undoubtedly were, with the use of letters, in what better way could their names have been handed down to their posterity with renown? But in this attempt they were disappointed, and themselves dispersed through the wide world. Did they forget to raise afterwards, similar monuments and places of worship? They did not; and, to use the words of an inspired penman, "high places," of various altitudes and dimensions, were raised "on every high hill, and under every green tree," throughout the land of Palestine, and all the east.

Some of these "high places" belonged to single families, some to a mighty chieftain, a petty tribe, a city, or a whole nation. Some were places of worship for the individual, the tribe, the village, the town, the city, or the nation, to which they respectively belonged.

At these "high places," belonging to great nations, great national affairs were transacted. Here they crowned and deposed their kings; here they concluded peace and declared war. Here the nation assembled at stated seasons, to perform the solemn worship of their deities. Here they celebrated anniversaries of great national events, and buried the illustrious dead.

[pg 107] The Jews, on many great occasions, assembled at Gilgal. The name of the place, signifies "a heap." Here was a pile of stones, which were brought from the bed of the river Jordan, and piled up on the spot where they encamped for the first night after they crossed that river, on their entrance into "the promised land." Let the reader examine similar piles of stones on the writers of the Licking, near Newark, and in the counties of Perry, Pickaway and Ross, and then ask himself, whether those who raised our monuments, were not originally from Asia? Shiloh, where the Jews frequently assembled to transact great national affairs, and perform acts of devotion, was situated upon a high hill. When this place was deserted, the loftier hill of Zion was selected in its stead. Upon Sinai's awful summit the law of God was promulgated. Moses was commanded to ascend a mountain to die. Solomon's temple was situated upon a high hill by divine appointment. Samaria, a place celebrated for the worship of idols, was built upon the high hill of Shemer, by Omri, king of Israel, who was there buried. How many hundreds of mounds in this country are situated on the highest hills, surrounded by the most fertile soils? Traverse the counties of Locking, Franklin, Pickaway and Ross; examine the loftiest mounds, and compare them with those described as being in Palestine. Through the wide world, such places seem to have been preferred by the men of ancient times who erected them. In England, Scotland, and Wales, they are thus situated. For what we are about to quote concerning the them, we are indebted to Pennant's Tour.*

* Vol. III. pages 66 and 67, fourth London edition, and refer to Plate VIII.

By examining Pennant's drawing and description of the antiquities of Delvin, otherwise called Inch-Tuthel, on the river Tay, the reader will see how much the works on the Tay resemble ours on the Licking, near Newark. Pennant, however, imagines these to be Roman works; but Boetius, [pg 108] the only authority quoted by him, says, that Delvin is a work of the ancient Picts, and was by them called "Tulina." The reader is requested to compare the works near Newark, with those of Delvin.

The camp at Comerie, is also described by Pennant.* The learned author will have this a Roman work also; yet all the authorities quoted by him ascribe it to the Picts. The camp, as Pennant calls it, is on a water of Ruchel, situated on a high alluvion, like many of ours in the west. The antiquities of Ardoch, also, the learned author will persist in ascribing to the Romans.† These works are on a water of Kneck. Without any authority whatever, Pennant ascribes them to Agricola.— Their walls, ditches, gateways, mounds of defense before them, and every thing about them, resemble our works here. The reader is invited to make the comparison. Pennant's imaginary Prĉtorium, is exactly like the circular works around our mounds, when placed within walls of earth. "Catter-thun,"‡ two miles from Angus, is ascribed by the learned tourist to the Caledonians; but such works are very common in Ohio. Such have been already described in this memoir.

*Vol. III. page 96. †Ib. page 102. ‡Ib. page 158.

The same author describes two works on the river Loder, or Lowther, and one near the river Eimet,§ exactly like ours in the west. The strong resemblance between the works in Scotland and ours, I think no man will deny. I shall not trouble myself to examine authorities, as to works of the same kind in various parts of the British isles, because I might fatigue, without instructing the reader. What has been said already, applies to many, very many others, throughout England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. They were places of worship, burial, and defense, for the Picts, so called by the Romans, because they painted themselves, like the aborigines of this continent.

§ Vol. I. page 275, and plate 10, Nos. 1, 2 and 3.

The acquaintance of the Egyptians with the useful and ornamental arts, was of an earlier date than that of the [pg 109] nations around them. Their pyramids and temples, medals and monuments, show us a comparatively civilized people, whilst their neighbors were rude barbarians—the former were shepherds, the latter hunters. In Egypt, a lofty pyramid is a place of sepulture and an altar, whilst a rude pile of stones at Gilgal, is raised for the purpose of commemorating a great national event.

The land of Ham, seems to have been the place where the arts were first nursed. A thickly crowded population, inhabiting a fertile soil, intersected by a large river, were placed in the most favorable circumstances for obtaining an acquaintance with the arts and sciences. The Nile fertilized their fields, and wafted on its waves the bark of the mariner, while beneath its unruffled surface it contained an abundance of fishes. It invited to trade, to enterprise, and wealth. The people flourished and the arts were fostered. The same remarks apply to the people of the Indus and the Ganges—the results were similar. The banks of these streams were first cultivated. When other parts of the world were first peopled, we have reason to believe, that it was done, either by fugitives from justice or from slavery. Their low origin will account for their low vices, and their ignorance. Living in countries but thinly settled, their improvement in their condition was gradual, though steady.

It is interesting to the philosopher, to observe the progressive improvements made by man in the several useful arts. Without letters, in the first rude stage of society, the tree is marked with a view to indicate what is already done, or is intended to be done. Though our Indians had lived along our Atlantic border for ages, yet they had advanced no farther in indicating projected designs, or in recording past events. The abundance of wild game, and the paucity of their numbers, will satisfactorily account for their ignorance in this, and almost every other respect. Coming here at an early age of the world, necessity had not civilized them. At that period, in almost all parts of the globe then inhabited, a small mound of earth served as a sepulcher [pg 110] and an altar, whereon the officiating priest could be seen by the surrounding worshipers.

For many ages we have reason to believe there were none but such altars. From Wales, they may be traced to Russia, quite across that empire, to our continent; across it from the mouth of the Columbia on the Pacific ocean, to Black river, on the east end of lake Ontario. Thence turning in a southwestern direction, we find them extending quite to the southern parts of Mexico and Peru.

In the Russian empire, mounds are numerous, and were every where seen by the learned Edward D. Clarke, LL.D., in his tour from St. Petersburg to the Crimea, in the year 1800. In his travels in Russia, Tartary, and Turkey,* the author, in speaking of the country between St. Petersburg and Moscow, says, "Conical mounds of earth or tumuli occur very frequently. The most remarkable may be seen between Yezolbisky and Valdai, on both sides of the road, but chiefly on the left; and they continue to appear from the latter place to Jedrova. Professor Pallas has given a representation of four of those tumuli in a vignette at the beginning of his late work. They are common all over the Russian empire." Again,† the author says, "There are few finer prospects than that of Woronetz, viewed a few versts from the town on the road to Paulovsky. Throughout the whole of this country are seen dispersed over immensplains, mounds of earth, covered with a fine turf, the sepulchers of the ancient world, common to almost every habitable country. If there exists any thing of former times, which may afford monuments of antediluvian manners, it is this mode of burial. They seem to mark the progress of population in the first ages, after the dispersion, rising wherever the posterity of Noah came. Whether under the form of a mound in Scandinavia and Russia, a barrow in England, a cairn in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, or those [pg 111] heaps, which the modern Greeks and Turks call Tepe; lastly, in the more artificial shape of a pyramid in Egypt, they had universally the same origin. They present the simplest and sublimest monuments, which any generation could raise over the bodies of their progenitors; calculated for almost endless duration, and speaking a language more impressive than the most studied epitaph upon Parian marble. When beheld in a distant evening's horizon, skirted by the rays of the setting sun, and touching, as it were, the clouds which hang over them, imagination pictures the spirits of heroes of remoter periods descending to irradiate the warrior's grave. Some of them rose in such regular forms, with so simple and yet so artifical a shape, in a plain, otherwise so perfectly level and flat, that no doubt whatever could be entertained respecting them. Others, still more ancient, have at last sunk into the earth, and left a hollow place, which still marks their pristine situation. Again, others, by the passage of the plough upon their surfaces, have been considerably diminished."

* Vol. I. page 21, second New York edition.
† The same Vol. page 133.

How exactly does this description of Clarke's apply to our mounds in the west? Who ever described with more accuracy, that species of mounds of earth in Ohio, which were used as cemeteries? Unless we knew to the contrary, who of us in Ohio, would ever suspect, that Dr. Clarke was not describing with fidelity, our western mounds? In one conjecture, however, he is mistaken; that is, in supposing those to be the most ancient, which were but just begun. I have seen them in all stages, from the time that a circular fosse, with a hole in its center, was made, until these mounds were brought to a perfect point at the summit.

In Scioto county, a few miles from Portsmouth, is a circular fosse, with a hole in the center of the area which it incloses. The owner makes use of this work as a barn yard.

There is a work of a similar form between two walls, belonging to the works at Newark; and I have seen several on the Kenhawa river, not far from Point Pleasant, and [pg 112] others, left in the same unfinished state, in a great number of places. It would seem that where a ditch was to inclose a tumulus, this ditch was first dug, then a hole made in the center, which was covered over with wood, earth, stones, or brick, then a large funeral pile constructed, and the corpse of some distinguished personage placed on it and burnt. An examination of the works already described, will amply justify these conjectures.

I have a brick, now before me, over which lay, when found, wood ashes, charcoal, and human bones, burnt in a large and hot fire. And from what was found at Circleville, in the mound already described, it would seem that females were sometimes burnt with the males. I need not say, that this custom was derived from Asia, as it is well known to all my readers, that that is the only country to look to for the origin of such a custom. The Greeks and Romans practiced burning their illustrious dead. It was practiced by several other nations, but they all derived it from Asia.

In the same volume of travels,* Dr. Clarke says, "Tumuli, so often mentioned before, abound in all steppes; and, in working the cliff for a magazine, or storehouse, where one of these tumuli had been raised, they found, in the sandy soil of which it consisted, an arched vault, shaped like an oven, constructed of large square bricks, and paved in a style of exquisite workmanship with the same materials."

* Vol. I. page 224.

We are told by the same author,† that "The Cossacks at Ekaterinedara, dug into some of these mounds for the purpose of making cellars, and found several ancient vases." Such vases are discovered in ours. Several have been found in our mounds, which resemble one found in Scotland, and described by Pennant.

† Clarke's Travels, Vol. I.p. 236.

Dr. Clark informs us, that the bones of horses, as well as human bones, were found in some mounds in Russia. The [pg 113] teeth of bears, otters and beavers, are found in ours, lying beside the bones of human beings; but no bones of horses have been found to my knowledge.

Thus we learn from the most authentic sources, that these ancient works existing in Europe, Asia, and America, are as similar in their construction, in the materials with which they were raised, and in the articles found in them, as it is possible for them to be. Let those who are constantly seeking for some argument, with which to over-throw the history of man by Moses, consider this fact. Such persons have more than once asserted, that there were different stocks or races of men; but this similarity of works almost all over the world, indicates that all men sprung from one common origin. I have always considered this fact, as strengthening the Mosaic account of man, and that the scriptures throw a strong and steady light on the path of the antiquarian.

Another quotation from the learned, ingenious, and interesting Clarke, and we have done with him. In Tartary, he found a place called "Inverness," situated in the turn of a river. He inquired the meaning of the word, and found that "Inverness," in their language, signifies "in a turn." Whoever looks into Pennant's Tour, will see a plate, representing a town, in the turn of a river in Scotland, called by the same name.

The names of not a few of the rivers in England, Scotland, and Wales, are the names also of rivers in Tartary. Will any one pretend that the inhabitants of Britain emigrated to Tartary, and carried the names of their towns and rivers along with them? The Danes, who descended from the Scythians made settlements and conquests on the British isles, even since the days of Julius Cĉsar.

The Scythians, from whom the Tartars are descended, in all probability, first peopled the British isles. The fact, that our works are in all respects like those in Britain, and that similar works may be found all the way from this part of America to Tartary, furnishes no contemptible [pg 114] proof, that the Tartars were the authors of ours also. But were the ancestors of our North American Indians the authors of our works? Had not such an opinion been advanced by some great and good men in the United States, the foundation on which it rests is so frail, that I certainly should not trouble myself or my readers to refute it. Never having particularly examined any of our ancient works, these writers contend that all of them were erected for purposes of defense—that the immense number of them proves that the ancestors of our Indians, having been engaged in continual civil wars, their numbers were so thinned and the remainder of them so scattered, that they lost the knowledge of those arts which they formerly possessed; and, from the shepherd state of society, reverted to that of the hunter.

First, then, as to the immense number of military works. They are not here. The lines of forts, if forts they were, commencing near Cataraugus creek; those at Newark, at Circleville, on Paint creek, one on the Miami, and one opposite Portsmouth, have been described. And I by no means believe that even all these were real forts. Between the Rocky mountains and the Alleghanies, the northern lakes and the Mexican gulf, it may be possible, that there were originally about twenty forts, to defend a country nearly as large as Europe; and these were probably two thousand years in building, too in a thickly settled country! By assuming facts, existing only in the writer's imagination, how easily he can prove whatever he pleases! Thus falls the main pillar on which this opinion rested. They are not military works. But by being engaged in long and destructive wars, the ancestors of our present race of Indians lost the knowledge—of what? of constructing military works. I should have drawn from such premises a conclusion exactly the reverse of this. I should have supposed, that the longer any people were engaged in war, the greaters, in the same ratio, would be their knowledge of the art of war. Placed in such a situation, in every [pg 115] other part of the world, man has rapidly improved in this art. To such circumstances, many inventions and improvements owe their origin. Was there no Archimedes in the west? or, have not the people been slandered?

As to the number of their wars, I can say nothing, because there is no history of them; but as to the number of forts here, I say they are few, and justify no such inferences as have been attempted to be drawn.

Have our present race of Indians ever buried their dead in mounds? Have they constructed such works as are described in the preceding pages? Were they acquainted with the use of silver, or iron, or copper? All these, curiously wrought, were found in one mound at Marietta. Did the ancestors of our Indians burn the bodies of distinguished chiefs on funeral piles, and then raise a lofty tumulus over the urn which contained their ashes? Did the North American Indians erect any thing like the "walled town" on Paint creek? Did they ever dig such wells as are found at Marietta, Portsmouth, and above all, such as those on Paint creek? Did they manufacture vessels from calcareous breccia, equal to any now made in Italy? Did they ever make and worship an idol, representing the three principal gods of India? If any person can answer any one of these questions in the affirmitive, let him state facts minutely; and let this be done, not by a mere traveler, whose credulity has been practiced upon by either red or white men.

By referring to the works of those American writers who have affected to believe that all our antiquities belonged to the ancestors of our North American Indians it will be seen that this opinion has been advanced to refute the representations of some Europeans, that our climate was debilitating in its effects upon the bodies and minds of the people of America, and that nature belittled every thing here. In answer to this false theory, Were our writers so hardly pressed for arguments, that they were obliged to resort to another theory equally unfounded in truth? Does not their argument prove exactly the reverse of what they contend [pg 116] for? Well might their opponents say to our writers, "It is true that all your ancient works in the west, were raised by the ancestors of your Indians in North America. When they came into your country they were half civilized, but such were the debilitating effects of your climate upon both their bodies and minds, that they degenerated into savages in the lowest state of barbarism." When proofs are brought forward that our climate or civil wars have produced such a deplorable effect, we may then believe it.

The skeletons found in our mounds never belonged to a people like our Indians. The latter are a tall, rather slender, straight limbed people; the former were short and thick. They were rarely over six feet high, and few indeed were six. Their foreheads were low, cheek bones rather high; their faces were very short and broad; their eyes were very large; and, they had broad chins. I have examined more than fifty skulls found in tumali, several of which I have before me.

The limbs of our fossils are short and very thick, and resemble the Germans more than any Europeans with whom I am acquainted.

An idol found in a tumulus near Nashville, Tennessee, and now in the museum of Mr. Clifford, of Lexington, Kentucky, will probably assist us in forming some idea as to the origin of the authors of our western antiquities. Like the "Triune vessel," hereafter mentioned, it was made of a clay peculiar for its fineness and its use, which is quite abundant in some parts of Kentucky. With this clay was mixed a small portion of gypsum, or sulphate of lime.

[pg 117] Idol

This idol* represents, in three views, a man in a state of nudity, whose arms have been cut off close to the body, and whose nose and chin have been mutilated, with a fillet and cake upon his head. In all these respects, as well as in the peculiar manner of plaiting the hair, is exactly such an idol as Professor Pallas found in his travels in the southern part of the Russian empire.†

* The original drawing of the three views of this idol was made by Miss Sarah Clifford, of Lexington, Kentucky, from which the above was taken.
† Pallas's Travels, Vol. II. Vignette No. 2.

The idol discovered near Nashville, shows from whence its worshipers derived their origin and their religious rites. The "Triune idol, or vessel," shows, in my opinion, that its authors originated in Ilindostan; and the one now under [pg 118] consideration induces a belief, that some tribes were from countries adjacent.*

* Those who wish to be acquainted with what the poets have said concerning human sacrifices among the Greeks, may consult the AEneid, lib. II. v. 116.

"Sanguine placastis ventos, et virvine cĉsa,
Cum primum Iliacas Danai venistis ad oras;
Sanguine quĉerendi reditus, animaque litandum
Argolica. Vulgi quĉ vox ut venit ad aures,
Obstupuere animi, gelidusque per ima cucurrit
Ossa tremor; cui fata parent, quem poscat Apollo,
Hic Ithacus vatem magno Calchanta tumultu
Protrahit in medios; quĉ sint ea numina Divum
Flagitat: et mihi jam multi crudele canebant
Artificis scelus, et taciti venture videbant.
Bis quinos silet ille dies, tectusque recusat
Prodere voce sua qaenquam, aut opponere morti.
Vix tandem magnis Ithaci clamoribus actus,
Composito rumpit vocem, et me destinat arĉ.
Assensere omnes; et, quĉ sibi quisque timebat,
Unius in miseri exitium converse tulere.
Jamque dies infanda aderat; mihi sacra parari,
Et salsĉ fruges, et circum tempora vittĉ."

Though Sinon, in whose mouth the above passage is put, was an impostor, yet the poet intends to refer his readers to what had often happened among the Greeks, and to cruel and bloody rites long established. When they sacrificed, the sacred fillets were bound upon the heads ofthe idol, the victim, and the priest. The salted cake was placed upon the head of the victim. It was called "mola;" hence immolare, in later times, was used to signify any kind of sacrifice. The sacred fillets and salted cake may be seen on the head of the idol above described. The Greeks borrowed many things from the Persians, with whom they had many wars and considerable intercourse. The Persians derived many of their ideas from the Hindoos.

If the ancestors of our North American Indians were from the northern parts of Tartary, those who worshiped this idol came from a country lying farther to the south, where the population was dense, and where the arts had made great progress. While the Tartar of the north was a hunter and a savage, the Hindoos and southern Tartars were well acquainted [pg 119] with most of the useful arts. The former lived in the vicinity of our continent, and probably found their way hither at an early day, while the latter came at a still earlier period, bringing along with them the arts, the idols, and religious rites of Hindostan, China, and the Crimea. The ancestors of our North American Indians were mere hunters, while the authors of our tumuli were shepherds and husbandmen. The temples, altars, and sacred places of the Hindoos, were always situated on the bank of some stream of water. The same observation applies to the temples, altars, and sacred places of those who erected our tumuli. To the consecrated streams of Hindostan, devotees assembled from all parts of the empire, to worship their gods and purify themselves by bathing in the sacred water. In this country, their sacred places were uniformly on the bank of some river; and who knows but that the Muskingum, the Scioto, the Miami, the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Mississippi, were once deemed as sacred, and their banks as thickly settled, and as well cultivated, as are now the Indus, the Ganges, and the Burrampooter?

Ablution, from the situation of all the works which appear to have been devoted to sacred uses, was a rite as religiously observed by the authors of our idols, as it was neglected by our North American Indians. If the coincidences between the worship of our people, and that of the Hindoos and southern Tartars, furnish no evidence of a common origin, then I am no judge of the nature and weight of testimony.

Some years since, a clay vessel was discovered about twenty feet below the surface, in alluvial earth, in digging a well near Nashville, Tennessee. This piece of pottery was found standing on a rock, from whence a spring of water issued. This vessel was taken to Mr. Peale's museum at Philadelphia, where it now is, as I am informed. It contains about one gallon; is circular, with a flat bottom, from which it rises in a somewhat globose form, terminating at the summit with the figure of a female head. The [pg 120] only hole in the vessel is situated towards the summit of the globular part of it. The features of the face of the female are Asiatic. The crown of the head is covered by a cap of a pyramidical figure, with a flattened, circular summit, ending at the apex with a round button. The ears are large, extending as low as the chin. The features resemble many of those engraved for Raffle's History; and the cap resembles Asiatic head dresses.

Here is farther proof of the derivation of these people from Hindostan. The features of the face; the manner of covering the head; the shape of the vessel; the religious uses to which it was probably put at this primitive, and once clear fountain, in performing ablutions, all tend to confirm us in such a belief. Could all these things have so happened, had the authors originated any where else?

At what Period did these People come into the Territory now included in Ohio?

That it was in an early age of the world, we infer from the rude state of many of the arts among them.

In Italy we behold, on every side, the vestiges of an once powerful and polished people. We see the remains of roads, on which millions have trodden; of aqueducts, which supplied populous cities with water; of amphitheaters, once filled with thousands of admiring spectators of public exhibitions. Among the ruins of some unhappy town, we find the bust of the hero, or the god, which the chisel of the artist has polished; the canvas which the painter has made to glow with almost real life. There, also, we find the parchment on which the poet, the biographer, the orator, and the historian have written; conveying down to us exalted ideas of their learning, their acquaintance with the arts, their genius, their eloquence, their wealth, their grandeur, and their glory.

[pg 121] But, where, in the extended regions of the west, do we find the remains of an "Appian" or "Emilian Way?" Where do we find the moss-grown column of the stately palace, the lofty dome, the solemn temple, the ruins of baths, the fragments of amphitheaters? Where the parchment on which the poet, the orator, the biographer or the historian has written, conveying down to us exalted ideas of the learning, the genius, the morals, the virtues, the wealth, the eloquence, the military prowess, the power, the grandeur, and glory of that people, or of their acquaintance with the arts and sciences? Where find we the bust which the statuary has polished? Where the painting of the artist?

If that people had axes like ours, why do we find so many of stone? If they had mirrors of glass like ours, why use those of isinglass? If they manufactured hemp, flax, cotton and wool, why use the bark of trees and birds' feathers in their dress? If they had the art of polishing the precious stones which they wore as ornaments, why are so many rock crystals, in their natural state, found in our mounds? Proofs of primitive times are seen, too, in their manners and customs; in their modes of burial and of worship; and, in their wells, which resemble those of the patriarchal ages. Here the reader has only to recollect, the one at Marietta; those at Portsmouth; on Paint creek; at Cincinnati; and compare them with those described in Genesis. Jacob rolled the stone from the well's mouth; Rachel descended with her pitcher, and brought up water for her future husband, and for the flocks of her father.

Before men were acquainted with letters, they raised monuments of unwrought fragments of rocks, for the purpose of perpetuating the memory of events; such are here. In the patriarchal ages, men were in the habit of burying on high places and in mounds; so did this people. They buried in caves; so did these. Caves have been found, near Gallipolis, near Greenupsburg, in Kentucky, and in many other places in the hilly region of Ohio, and the country adjacent. In some of these, skeletons have been discovered.

[pg 122] Their military works are such as any people would erect, who had just passed from the first to the second—from the hunter to the pastoral—state of society. Were they not here as early as the days of Abraham and Lot? The geology of the country throws a faint beam of light upon the dark path, in which we are groping along with cautious steps.

The line of forts already mentioned, on the authority of Governor Clinton, beginning at the mouth of Cataraugus creek, may be referred to. These forts, if forts they were, were built upon the brow of the hill, which appears to have once been the southern shore of lake Erie. Since they were built, the waters of the Erie have receded.

These works are from three to five miles from the present shore, and the surface is covered by a vegetable mould, made from the decomposition and decay of vegetable, six, eight, and ten inches in depth. Governor Clinton. in his memoir, justly observes, that it must have taken a long time for a forest to grow on the earth, after it had been laid bare by the recession of the waters of the lake. The seeds of plants must have been carried there by the wind and the birds; and, at this time, no difference is observed between this and the surrounding woods.

William Coleman, Esq., of Euclid, Ohio, a very observing and intelligent man, who was one of the first settlers on the lake shore, has never found any of these works north of the northern ridge; and recollects but two or three between the first and second ridges, and these were small. Compare these facts with the following.

In Pickaway and Ross counties, the vegetable mould covering the works of this class, is not generally more than four inches in thickness; and some of them are situated on alluvions so low, that their bases are sometimes wet by high freshets. There is such a work on the interval, near the Scioto, at Circleville; there are some thus situated in Ross county, and numbers on the Great Miami.

[pg 123] Many of these works had gateways and parallel walls, leading down to creeks which once washed the foot of hills, from whence the streams have now receded, formed extensive and newer alluvions, and worn down their channels, in some instances, ten, and even fifteen feet. We refer the reader to the works on the waters of Licking, a drawing and description of which are given.

There is a work near Colonel Dunlap's, in Ross county, where there was a way which led to a low piece of ground, that, from appearances, was once covered by the waters of a pond, which appear to have been dried away for centuries past.

The botany of the country has been consulted on this subject. It would have taken some time for the seeds of plants and trees to have been completely scattered over a whole country, extensively cultivated by a considerable population. Now, the only difference between the botany of the country where the works are found, and those tracts where there are none, is, that the trees are the largest on and about the works. Trees of the largest size, whose concentric annular rings have been counted, have, in many instances, as many as four hundred; and they appear to be at least the third growth since the works were occupied.

An examination of the works themselves may throw some light on the subject. Those along the lakes are comparatively few in number and small in size, but increase in both respects, greatly, as their authors proceeded towards the south. Their numbers must have wonderfully increased as they slowly descended the water courses, and their improvement in the useful arts is every where visible.

Their pottery at Salem, on the shore of lake Erie, was rude, and but ill calculated for the purposes for which it was intended; whilst along the Ohio, some of it is equal to any thing of the kind now manufactured. Along lake Erie, it was not glazed, nor was it polished; on the Ohio, it was well glazed or polished; and the vessels well shaped.

[pg 124] Ornaments of silver, or copper, certainly belonging to this people, have not been found north of Newark; whereas below that place, vast numbers have been discovered.

North of the last mentioned place, I know of no wells perforated through rocks, by them; near that place, a great number are seen dug through as hard rocks as any in the country.

How long did this people reside here?

That they lived here for a long time, appears evident from the very numerous cemeteries, and the vast numbers of persons of all ages who were here buried. It is highly probable that more persons were buried in these mounds than now live in this state. They lived in towns, many of which were populous, especially along the Scioto, from Columbus southward.

Their greatest settlements in Ohio, were on Paint creek, a few miles from Chillicothe; at Circleville; and along the very banks of the Ohio river, especially near Grave creek, and the mouths of the Muskingum and Scioto. Some have supposed, that they were driven away by powerful foes; but appearances by no means justify this supposition. That they contented against some people to the northeast of them is evident; but that they leisurely moved down the streams, is also evident, from their increased numbers, and their improvement in the knowledge of the arts. These required time and a settled state of society.

That they came here after the Indians had settled themselves along the Atlantic coast, is inferred from the greater knowledge of the arts diffused among the former than the latter.

It is among a dense population that these improvements are effected. It is here, that necessity, the mother of invention, prompts man to subject such animals to his dominion as he discovers most docile, best calculated to assist him in his labors, and supply him with food and raiment. From a hunter he becomes a shepherd, and drives [pg 125] before him his numerous flocks, weds the vine to the elm, raises pulse and maize, and constructs a better cabin for himself and family to protect them from the inclemencies of the weather. As the population increases, he subjects an additional number of animals to his dominion, and cultivates an additional number of indigenous plants. He improves the breeds of his animals already domesticated; renders his implements of industry more perfect, and extends the field of cultivation. At length the mechanic arts become so necessary, that some persons devote their whole time to them, whilst others exchange their own articles of trade for those belonging to the people of neighboring nations. They find this exchange mutually profitable; and the profession of the merchant becomes honorable. The ship is constructed in place of the bark canoe; numbers dwell on the mountain wave, and make the deep their home. The arts and sciences are cultivated; man puts off his rough, savage manners, and lays aside, by degrees, the ignorance and prejudices attendant on such a state of society. He has now arrived at the third, highest, and last state of society—the mercantile.

Laws and municipal regulations are multiplied to protect man against man, the weak against the strong, the artless against the artful, the poor and the oppressed against the wealthy oppressor, the person of fair fame against the slanderer's tongue; arts are improved; science flourishes. This is the natural order of things. Their not having attained to this height in the scale of civilization, is one proof that the authors of our antiquities lived in the earlier ages of the world; but they evidently improved in their condition while residing here. To have thus improved and multiplied, required many centuries of time.

How great a number of this people inhabited this country?

We cannot arrive at absolute certainty on this subject, but we can examine their works, whose ruins we every [pg 126] where behold. We can examine their graves; but no historian has been left to inform us; no ghost will rise to tell us; and no response to his questions on this head, is heard by him who knocks at their tombs. Mr. Brackenridge has conjectured, that there were once five thousand villages of this people in the valley of the Mississippi. I have never counted them, nor has any other person; but the State of Ohio was once. much thicker settled, in all probability, than it now is, when it contains about seven hundred thousand inhabitants.* Many of the mounds contain an immense number of skeletons. Those of Big Grave creek are believed to be completely filled with human bones. The large ones, all along the principal rivers in this State, are also filled with skeletons. Millions of human beings have been buried in these tumuli. To have supported such a great population, the inhabitants must have been considerably employed in agriculture.

* In 1819.—It now contains one million of people.

From the Rocky mountains in the west, to the Alleghanies in the east, the country must have been more or less settled by them; and the number of people after their settlements reached the Ohio river, must have been far greater than is generally supposed. To have erected such works, so numerous and large, must have required a great population.

The state of the Arts among them.

Some ideas on this subject may be gathered from the foregoing accounts of their works.

That they manufactured bricks, and very good ones too, we know from the discoveries made on opening their tumuli; in not a few of which, bricks have been found, besides those already mentioned.

Gold ornaments are said to have been found in several tumuli; but I have never seen any.

[pg 127] Silver, very well plated, has been found in several mounds, besides those at Circleville and Marietta.

Copper has been found in more than twenty mounds, but generally not very well wrought. It is in all cases like that described by Dr. Drake, already quoted. The copper belonging to the sword found at Marietta, is wrought with the most art of any which I have seen.

Pipe-bowls of copper, hammered out, and not welded together, but lapped over, have been found in many tumuli. General Tupper described such an one to me, found by him on the elevated square at Marietta, or rather a few feet below the surface of that work. Similar ones have been discovered in other places. A bracelet of copper was found in a stone mound near Chillicothe, and forwarded to the museum at Cincinnati, by the Hon. Jessup N. Couch, Esq., some time since. This was a rude ornament, and resembled somewhat the link of a common log chain; the ends passed by each other, but were not welded together. I have seen several arrow heads of this metal, some of which were five or six inches in length, and must have been used as heads of spears. Circular medals of this mental, several inches in diameter, very thin and much injured by time, have often been found in the tumuli. They had no inscriptions that I could discover. Some of them were large enough to have answered for breast plates. The small copper kettles; sometimes found near lake Erie, belonged to Indians, and were derived from the French and other Europeans.

Iron has been found in very few instances, having oxydized. They made use of it in some cases for knives and swords, the remains of which have been discovered in many tumuli. The balls found sometimes in alluvial earth, and in mounds, supposed by some to be cannon balls of iron, are not the work of art, but martial pyrites. I have seen very beautiful ones taken from ancient works in this country. Of cast iron, I have seen no article belonging to that people.

[pg 128] Glass has not been found, belonging certainly to that people, within my knowledge. Those pieces which have been discovered, owe their origin to the people who now live here.

Their mirrors were of isinglass, (mica membranacea,) and have been met with in fifty places, at least, within my own knowledge. Besides the large and very elegant one at Circleville, and the fragments at Cincinnati, I have found more or less of these mirrors in almost all the mounds which have been opened in the country. They were common among that people, and answered very well the purpose for which they were intended. These mirrors were very thick, otherwise they would not have reflected the light.

I am disposed to believe, although their houses in some instances might have been built of stone and brick, as in the walled town on Paint creek, and some few other places, yet that their habitations were of wood, or that they dwelt in tents; otherwise their ruins would be more frequently met with in every part of this great country. Along the Ohio, where the river is in many places wearing and washing away its banks, hearths and fire-places are brought to light, two, four, and even six feet, below the surface. A long time must have elapsed, since the earth was deposited over them. Those who wish to see these fire-places and remains of chimneys, by examining the bank of the Muskingum at its mouth, at Point Harmar, opposite Marietta, may gratify their curiosity. These fire-places resemble very much those belonging to the rude cabins of the first settlers, in this or any other part of the United States. Around them are deposited immense quantities of muscle shells, bones of animals, &c. From the depth of many of these remains of chimneys, below the present surface of the earth, on which, at the settlement of this country by its present inhabitants, grew as large trees as any in the surrounding forest, the conclusion is, that a long period, perhaps of a thousand years, has elapsed since these hearths were deserted.

[pg 129] Sites which had been occupied by mills moved by water; buildings for manufactories of any kind of stone, I have not seen.

Some have thought that they had discovered cellars on the sites of ancient towns. Wells have been found in many places, and they are such as we read of in the patriarchal ages. Those at Marietta, and near Portsmouth, and four on Paint creek, are particularly referred to.

The potter's ware is by far the most interesting of any of their manufactures. On the surface of the earth, or very near it, a rude kind of ware, made of sand-stone and clay in composition, near lake Erie; of clay, on the northern waters of the Scioto; and of clay and shells in composition, on the Ohio and Mississippi, is frequently found, belonging to a recent era, and manufactured even by the present race of Indians. None of this ware is glazed, and its workmanship is rude. But at the bottom of mounds, or near the head of some distinguished personage, vessels are found in some instances equal to any now manufactured in any part of the world. These are not always made of the same materials. Two covers of vessels were found in a stone mound in Ross county, in this State, very ingeniously wrought by the artist, and highly polished. These were made of a calcareous breccia, fragments of which were examined by Professor Silliman, of Yale College, Connecticut. These covers resemble, almost exactly, and were quite equal to vessels of that material, manufactured in Italy at the present time.

[pg 130] Urn An urn was found in a mound a few miles from Chillicothe, a drawing of which follows. It is three-sevenths of the size of the article each way.

This urn very much resembles one found in a similar work in Scotland, and mentioned by Pennant in his Tour.*

* Vol. I. page 154. London, fourth edition, 1790.

The urn there described was thirteen inches high, and of a blackish appearance, as if it had been filled with oil. It was found in a tumulus near Bamff, and contained arrow heads, ashes and calcined bones.

These urns generally contain human bones which have been burnt in a hot fire; and, from the appearance of the vessels, oil of some kind has been put into them with the bones.

Some of these urns appear to have been made of a composition resembling that of which mortars for physicians and apothecaries are now manufactured by Europeans. There is such a one now in existence, and in the possession of a gentleman residing on the little Scioto, in Scioto county, Ohio. It contains about three quarts, and is brought to [pg 131] a perfect point at the bottom. About half way from the top to the bottom, is a groove around its outside, and two ears, through which a chain may be inserted, by which to suspend it. It was found twelve feet below the surface of the earth, in the alluvion on the Ohio river. It had on it marks of fire, and is not injured by exposure to considerable heat.

Small vessel A small vessel is now in the possession of S. Williams, Esq., of Chillicothe, which it is supposed, might have been used as a crucible. A drawing of it, of about half the size, each way, is here annexed.

It was found in a tumulus, eight miles from the last mentioned place. It has on it the marks of fire; and bears as great a degree of heat, as the pots now used in glass manufactories, and is made of the same kind of clay.

Dr. Hildreth has described several articles which he has seen; one of which, was a vessel which contained about two quarts. It was handsomely proportioned, and nearly in the form of a cocoa nut shell. It had four neat handles placed near the brim, and opposite each other. It was found in the bank of an island near Belpre. On the beach, near the mouth of Muskingum, was discovered a curious ornament. It is made of white marble, in form a circle, about [pg 132] three inches in diameter. The outer edge is about one inch in thickness, with a narrow rim. The sides are deeply concave, and in the center is a hole about half an inch in diameter. It is beautifully finished, and so smooth, that Dr. Hildreth is of the opinion that it was once highly polished. It is now in the possession of David Putnam, Esq., of Marietta, Ohio.

Other articles, similar to this, have been found in several mounds in many places. The use to which the one described was put, cannot certainly be known. Was it a rude wind instrument of music? or, was it a badge of office and distinction?

Some of their arrow and spear heads are brought to such fine and long points, so perfectly regular, that it is difficult to ascertain how they were made, even with steel instruments. Mr. Clifford has heard of a fish spear, with six or seven long prongs, perfectly separated, barbed and carved out of calcedonic flint.

I have an axe in my little cabinet, found near Jackson, in this State, and presented to me by Daniel Hoffman, Esq., made of a species of green stone, equal to Egyptian granite. It is polished in the neatest manner.

Mr. Clifford.has a pipe in his collection, which was found in digging a trench on Sandusky river, in alluvial earth, six feet below the surface, which displays great taste in its execution. The rim of the bowl is in high relief, and the front represents a handsome female face. The stone from which it is made, is the real talc graphique, exactly resembling the stone of which the Chinese make their IDOLS. No talc of this species is known to exist on this side of the Alleghanies; and this article, of course, must have been brought here from a distance, probably from Asia.

Fragments of fishing nets and moccasons, made of a species of rattle weed, have been found in the nitrous caves of Kentucky.

The mummies have generally been found enveloped in three coverings; first, in a coarse species of linen cloth, of [pg 133] about the consistency and texture of cotton bagging. It was evidently woven by the same kind of process, which is still practiced in the interior parts of Africa. The warp being extended by some slight kind of machinery, the woof was passed across it, and then twisted every two threads of the warp together, before the second passage of the filling. This seems to have been the first rude method of weaving in Asia, Africa and America. The second envelope of the mummies, is a kind of net work, of coarse threads, formed of very small, loose meshes, in which were fixed the feathers of various kinds of birds, so as to make a perfectly smooth surface, lying all in one direction. The art of this tedious, but beautiful manufacture was well understood in Mexico, and still exists on the northwest coast of America, and in the islands of the Pacific ocean. In those isles, it is the state, or court dress. The third and outer envelope of these mummies is either like the one first described, or it consists of leather, sewed together.

In exploring the Mammoth cave, in Kentucky, several years since, for salt peter, several human bodies were found, enwrapped with cloths and skins. They were lodged in recesses of the cave, and buried under the earth. These recesses were dry enough to retain the nitric acid. It is combined with lime and potash. The earthy matter, probably contained a good proportion of calcarious carbonate. Amidst these drying, antiseptic ingredients, putrefaction would be stayed, and the solid parts of the bodies be dried and preserved from decay. The outer envelope of these bodies, was deer skin, dressed in the usual way. The next wrapper of cloth, made of twine, doubled and twisted twisted, and filled with the same material. This cloth resembled the cloths of the Sandwich islands, and were made in the same manner. The inner envelope, was of cloth, filled with brown feathers.

This cloth was filled with so much art, that it protected, extremely well, the body from the cold; and was almost as capable of turning off the rain, as the back of a bird. The [pg 134] plumage was distinct and beautiful, resembling, exactly, the feathery mantles of the South Sea islanders. The bodies were found in a squatting posture, the right arm inclining forward, and the hand encircling the right leg. The left arm hung down, the hand partly under the seat. The head was covered with reddish hair, the teeth were white and sound. The hands and feet were shriveled, small, and delicate. The bodies were not embalmed, had no bandages about them—had not been opened. They were preserved by drying. These are all the facts.

This account of manufactured articles, of similar vessels, made of our best clays, might be extended to many pages, but it is hoped that what has been said, may suffice. I beg leave, however, to add, that the ancient inhabitants of the west, were better acquainted with the manufacture of vessels of this kind, than with almost any other articles.— Though they had some few very well manufactured swords and knives of iron, possibly of steel yet they certainly used many stone axes, stone knives, arrow heads, &c., which are found in many of the tumuli. Stones curiously wrought and well polished, of granite, of hornblend, of marble, of calcareous breccia, and sometimes of sand stone, are discovered in tumuli; a collection of which I have before me. Rock crystals of the most beautiful species, were probably worn as ornaments, one of which I have in my possession.

With great pleasure, I introduce here, the following extract from "Conjectures respecting the ancient inhabitants of North America, by Moses Fiske, Esq., of Hilham, Tennessee."

"The world has been repeatedly entertained with accounts of structures in this Western Country, raised by some ancient people, of whom nothing is known, either from the tomes of history or the tongue of tradition; but the subject is not yet exhausted. Gleanings remain which may be worthy of attention.

"The labored mounds and fortifications so well described, though the most prominent, are not the only relics to be [pg 135] inspected. In Tennessee, my principal range of observation, they abound; of different sizes and forms; some regular, others not so; and all impaired by the ravages of time.

"Of the two species of mounds, the minor, shaped somewhat like a cone, or rather like a hemisphere, are pertinently called barrows or bone heaps. But the more magnificent sort, which are mostly square or oblong, with a flat top, seem contrived for a different purpose. They may have been castles. Possibly their use was, to give eminence to temples or to town houses.

"If some of them contain bones, so do some cathedrals. We may even find it a common circumstance, without being obliged to suppose them originally designed, either solely or chiefly as places of interment. It was probably a special honor to be buried there, conferred only on certain favorites; or a practice in peculiar exigences.

"Their houses generally stood in rows, nearly contiguous to each other, with an interval between the rows for a narrow street, though sometimes they stood irregularly.

"They are indicated by ring of earth, from three to five fathoms in diameter, ten or twenty inches in height, and a yard or more broad; not always circular, some which I have noticed being square or oblong. The flooring of some is elevated above the surface that of others is depressed. The tokens are indubitable. Such rings overspread the country, some scattered and solitary, but oftener in groups. Villages were numerous with and without fortifications. But their domicils appear only on fertile grounds, at least, as far as I have been able to examine. And this seems to intimate, that agriculture was considered as an indispen indispensable pursuit; but that they did not practice manuring.

"Potters' ware they had in profusion, of various shapes and sizes, from that of a thumb bottle to that of a salt boiler. Whole vessels are sometimes found; but more frequently fragments.

"The clay of which they were formed, was generally mixed with shells, burnt and pounded, muscle shells and [pg 136] others from the rivers, doubtless to increase, their firmness and durability.

"From thick pieces lying about licks, it is apprehended that they knew how to supply themselves with salt.

"Stone utensils too are discovered; axes, spikes, mortars, pounders, plates; some rudely wrought, some of better workmanship. Not a chimney is seen, nor an oven; nor the ruins of any bridge or dam, or well, or cellar, or wall of rocks; no masonry, however lude, either of stone or of brick, in Tennessee.

"By way of exception, I have to state, that I have seen one mound, the sides of which present a very loose laid wall of flat stones, chiefly tumbled down; and I am informed of another, done in a better style. There may be many others. Flat rocks were used in sepulture. They did not always raise tumuli over their dead. There are many burying grounds in West Tennessee, with regular graves. They dug them twelve or eighteen inches deep; placed slabs at the bottoms, ends, and sides, forming a kind of stone coffin, and after laying in the body, covered it over with earth. Many caves, with which this country abounds, were used as repositories of the dead. In some of these vaults the parts of the skeletons were left promiscuously. In one I found bones enveloped with incrustations of stone.

"In 1810, two bodies, one of a man and the other of a child six or eight years of age, were dug up in Warren county, in this State, wrapped in deer skins, and clothes of a singular texture; some of linen, and some of tree bark twine and feathers, with other articles, chiefly about the child, in a state of preservation, like mummies, retaining their nails and hair, with their skins entire, though decayed, discolored and tender. I speak of the man from information, he having been reburied before I visited the place.

"I am inclined to the opinion that these bodies belonged to the ancient people of whom I have spoken.

"1. It seems as difficult to explain how bodies recently buried should assume such an appearance, as it would be [pg 137] if they were deposited ten centuries ago. Certainly they had escaped the common process of putrefaction. Their flesh seems to have dried and wasted away by a kind of evaporation.

"2. After a view of the condition in which they were found, no reason occurs, why they may not have remained unaltered, or nearly so, a thousand years past. They lay in a chamber, half way up a steep hill, under a large projected roof of rocks, buried a yard deep in a bed of dry earth, which contains a strong mixture of copperas, alum, and niter, and I believe of sulphur; where perhaps no water has intruded since the general deluge.

"3. I am not apprized that the modern Indians, or indeed moderns of any description, manufacture similar cloths.

"4. There were ancient habitations in the neighborhood, and no modern dwellings belonging to the natives, within several day's journey. Most of the caverns, so numerous in this calcareous country, were used by that primitive nation for sepulchers, in which various relics are found, such as bows and arrows, poles cut off with flint stones, clay ware, fishing nets, cloths, mats, fragments of baskets differently preserved, according to the state and qualities of the circumambient air and earth.

"5. The basket used as a coffin for the child, made of split cane, and now in my possession, appears to have been wrought without the help of an edge tool, though of good workmanship. But modern Indians have knives.

"And, finally, as the variety of articles buried with the bodies, in particular that of the child, announces superior rank, we should, from this circumstance, naturally expect, had they been members of any tribe now in the country, to have found, if any thing, a few silver, or other metallic ornaments upon them, as broaches, bracelets, nose-rings, earrings, or other fantastical trinkets, instead of ingenious feather cloths, fans and belts. Or, if there had been a belt, it would have been of wampum.

[pg 138] "Like many people, those aboriginals, in their various methods of inhumation, deposited something of real or supposed value with the deceased. Perhaps they always did. The contrary cannot be asserted; as many of the articles might have been perishable. This practice assures us of their belief in a future existence.

"They must have been ignorant of letters. Otherwise, in a country of slate, they who fabricated utensils of the hardest flint, of which I have seen specimens, shaped and smoothed, as if wrought in a turner's lathe, would have left some inscriptions, some hieroglyphics, or scratches, or scrawls, to be deciphered by posterity. Possibly such may yet be discovered."

Whether our ancient people used clothing made of flax, hemp, or cotton, I do not know; but mats made of something resembling hemp, or possibly the bark of some kind of vegetable, have been found, besides the one mentioned in the account of the mound once standing in Chillicothe. These articles are so much injured by time, that it is quite difficult to say, with certainty, of what materials they were made.

No article has been found, within my knowledge, which contained on it either letters or hieroglyphics. Several stories to the contrary have been propagated, but on inquiry, they had no foundation in truth.

No BRASS has been discovered here, it is believed.

Smoking pipes, made of stone, of clay, &c., have often been found; and the teeth of many of the fossil skulls, show that their owners were in the constant habit of using them.

Scientific Acquirements.

The manner in which their works are almost always planned, when thoroughly examined, has furnished matter of admiration to all intelligent persons who have attended to the subject.

[pg 139] Nearly all the lines of ancient works found in the whole country, where the form of the ground admits of it, are right ones, pointing to the four cardinal points. Where there are mounds inclosed, the gateways are most frequently on the east side of the works, towards the rising sun. Where the situation admits of it, in military works, the openings are generally towards one or more of the cardinal points. Had their authors no knowledge of astronomy? These things never could have so happened, with such invariable exactness in almost all cases, without some design.

On the whole, I am convinced, from an attention to many hundreds of these works, in every part of the west which I have visited, that their authors had some knowledge of astronomy. The pastoral life, which men followed in the early ages, was certainly very favorable to the attainment of such a knowledge. Dwelling in tents, or in the open air, with the heavenly bodies in full view, and much more liable to suffer from any change in the weather than we are who dwell in comfortable habitations, they would of course, direct their attention to the prognostics of approaching heat and cold, stormy or pleasant weather. Our own sailors are an example in point. Let a person, even wholly unaccustomed to the seas, be wafted for a few weeks by the winds and waves, and he is all ear to every breeze, all eye to every part of the heavens. Thus, in the earliest ages of mankind, astronomy was attended to, partly from necessity; hence a knowledge of this science was early diffused among men, the proofs of which are beheld in their works, not only here, but in every part of the globe where they then dwelt. It was reserved for the immortal geniuses of modern times, to make the most astonishing discoveries in this science, aided by a knowledge of figures, and an acquaintance with the telescope; but men in ancient times were by no means inattentive to this noble science.

[pg 140]

Their Religious Rites and Places of Worship.

Knowledge on these subjects must be sought for in and about the mounds, which appear to have been used for many important purposes.

In addition to what is already said, under the descriptions of mounds, we will here add, that on the Cany fork of Cumberland river, a vessel was found in an ancient work, about four feet below the surface, a drawing of which is here given.* It is believed to be an exact likeness.

* The original drawing was by Miss Sarah Clifford, of Lexington, Kentucky. It is by some, called a "Triune Idol."

Ancient Work

The object itself may be thus described. It consists of three heads, joined together at the back part of them, near the top, by a stem or handle, which rises above the heads about three inches. This stem is hollow, six inches in circumference at the top, increasing in size as it descends. These heads are all of the same dimensions, being about four inches from the top to the chin. The face at the eyes [pg 141] is three inches broad, decreasing in breadth all the way to the chin. All the strong marks of the Tartar countenance are distinctly preserved, and expressed with so much skill, that even a modern artist might be proud of the performance The countenances are all different each from the other, and denote an old person and two younger ones.

The face of the eldest is painted around the eyes with yellow, shaded with a streak of the same color, beginning from the top of the ear, running in a semicircular form to the ear on the other side of the head. Another painted line begins at the lower part of the eye, and runs down before each ear about one inch. [See figure 1.]

Ancient Work

The second represents a person of a grave countenance, much younger than the preceding one, painted very differently, and of a different color.—A streak of reddish brown surrounds each eye.—Another line of the same color, beginning at the top of one ear, passes under the chin, and [pg 142] ends at the top of the other ear. The ears also are slightly tinged with the same color. [See figure 2.]

The third, [figure 3,] in its characteristical features, resembles the others, representing one of the Tartar family. The whole of the face is slightly tinged with vermilion, or some paint resembling it. Each cheek has a spot on it, of the size of a quarter of a dollar, brightly tinged with the same paint. On the chin is a similar spot. One circumstance worthy of remark is, that though these colors must have been exposed to the damp earth for many centuries, they have, nothwithstanding, preserved every shade in all its brilliancy.

This "Triune vessel" stands upon three necks, which are about an inch and a half in length. The whole is composed of a fine clay, of a light umber colour, which has been rendered hard by the action of fire. The heads are hollow, and the vessel contains about one quart.

Does it not represent the three chief gods of India, Brahma, Vishmoo and Siva? Let the reader look at the plate representing this vessel, and consult the "Asiatic Researches," by Sir William Jones; let him also read Buchanan's "Star in the East," and the accounts there found of the idolatry of the Hindoos; and, unless his mind is formed differently from mine, he will see in this idol, one proof at least, that the people who raised our ancient works, were idolaters; and, that some of them worshiped gods resembling the three principal deities of India. What tends to strengthen this inference, is, that nine murex shells, the same as described by Sir William Jones, in "Asiatic Researches," and by Symmes in his "Embassy to Ava," have been found within twenty miles of Lexington, Kentucky, in an ancient work. Their component parts remained unchanged, and they were every way in an excellent state of preservation. These shells, so rare in India, are highly esteemed, and consecrated to their god Mahadeva, whose character is the same with the Neptune of Greece and Rome. This shell, among the Hindoos, is the musical instrument [pg 143] of their Tritons. These shells, found near Lexington, are in the museum of Mr. John D. Clifford, of that place, a very worthy gentleman.* The foot of the Siamese god, Gaudma or Boodh, is represented by a sculpture, in Ava, of six feet in length, and the toes are carved, each to represent a shell of the murex. These shells have been found in many mounds which have been opened in every part of this country, and this is a proof that a considerable value was set upon them by their owners.

* Since dead.

That the people who erected our ancient works were idolaters, is inferred also from the age of the world in which they lived; from the certainty which history, sacred and profane, affords, that all other nations were idolaters at the same time; that all people, except the Jews, who buried their dead in tumuli, were idolaters.

Many of the most intelligent persons, who have examined our antiquities with care, have expressed a belief that the sun was worshiped by this people. Without pretending to decide on a subject so intricate, and where there is no positive proof of the fact; and without even expressing an opinion myself, the circumstances on which others have founded such an opinion shall be briefly stated.

Wherever there is a walk like a road up to any large mound, elevated, circular or square work, where the situation of the ground will admit of it, such works are uniformly on the east side, as at Circleville. Mounds are generally so situated, as to afford a good view of the rising sun. Hundreds might be mentioned as examples. Where mounds are encircled with walls and ditches, if there is a gateway, it is almost uniformly towards the east. Where persons belonging to this people were buried in caves, as they sometimes were, the mouth of the cave is towards the east; wherever we find a pavement in a semicircular form, partly enclosing a mound, it is always on the east side. [pg 144] When persons were buried in graves, as they often were,* these graves were east and west. I suspect that our custom of burying the dead in the same way, was derived from the same origin; and our practice of having our burying grounds always near churches, and sometimes under them, is derived from the primitive custom of interring the dead either near or in the ancient tumuli, which were used as altars, on which temples were, in later ages, erected.

* Many wonderful tales have been related of a race of pigmies, whose burying grounds have been discovered in the west. A little more attention would have cleared up the mystery. The legs below the knee joint were turned under the body, which made the graves very short, though the skeletons are as large as those found in our mounds. They were a short but very thickset people. However, such small people might have dwelt in towns, by themselves, and belonged either so modern or ancient Indians. There is such a town on Rock river, in the upper part of Illinois State now. Among rude nations, in a state of nature, or in a state of society nearly approaching it, unless a person is of a good size and of a handsome form, he is excluded from society—he can hold no office, civil or military;—he cannot be even a common soldier! Such persons, thus excluded from an honorable standing in the community, naturally, in time, form a society of their own, generally under some arch impostor of a prophet. The existence of burial grounds, where such a small race of people lived and died, by no means proves that the people there buried, were any other, than all the dwarfs belonging to some nation of modern Indians. The hardships and the too early marriages of the poorer people among modern Indians, produce many dwarfs, and the customs of the Indians very naturally throw them into towns by themselves. There they live and there they die. The only wonder is, not why such burying grounds are sometimes found, but why we find no more of them, in those parts of our country, where Indians formerly resided in considerable numbers.

Medals, representing the sun with its rays of light, have been found in the mounds. One of these was discovered by Judge Crull, of Scioto county, Ohio, a fragment of which was forwarded, to be deposited in the cabinet of the American Antiquarian Society. It is made of a very fine clay, and colored in the composition before it was hardened [pg 145] by heat. It was originally more than three inches in diameter.

But it appears to me, judging from the same, or rather similar, data, there is quite as much evidence of their worshiping the moon; for the semicircles represent the new moon; and copper medals, perfectly round, thin, flat and smooth, without any thing to represent rays of light, have been much oftener found than any others; and semicircular works, sometimes three or more joined together, always however facing the east, are to be seen entirely unconnected with any other works. There are several such, not far from Col. James Dunlap's, in Ross county. They are of earth, and only a few feet high, as described to me by the above named gentleman. Such works are quite common where this people once dwelt. I have sometimes suspected them to be unfinished works, where mounds were about to be erected on the west side of the semicircles.

All I pretend to do, is to lay an unvarnished statement of facts before the reader, who can form what opinion he chooses on the subject.

What finally became of this people? and where are their descendants now?

On opening a mound near the "big grave" below Wheeling, a few years since, a stone was found, having on it a brand exactly similar to the one most commonly used by the Mexicans in marking their Cattle and horses. The above fact is noticed by Harris in his "Tour," to which the reader is referred.

The head of the sus-tajassu, or Mexican hog, cut off square, was found in a saltpeter cave in Kentucky, a few years since, by Dr. Brown. This circumstance is mentioned by Dr. Drake, in his "Picture of Cincinnati." The niter had preserved it. It had been deposited there by the ancient inhabitants, where it must have laid for many centuries. I am not aware of this animal's being found north [pg 146] of Mexico. The presumption is, that the ancient inhabitants took these animals along with them, in their migrations, until they finally settled themselves in Mexico. Other animals were, in all probability, domesticated by them, and taken with them also.

Our ancient works continue all the way into Mexico, increasing indeed in size, number and grandeur, but preserving the same forms, and appear to have been put to the same uses. The form of our works is round, square, semicircular, octagonal, &c., agreeing in all these respects with the works in Mexico. The first works built by the Mexicans were mostly of earth, and not much superior to the common ones on the Mississippi.

Temples were afterwards erected on the elevated squares, circles, &c., but were still, like ours, surrounded by walls of earth.

These sacred places in Mexico were called "Teoccalli," which, in the vernacular tongue of the most ancient tribe of Mexicans, signifies "Mansions of the gods." They included within their sacred walls, gardens, fountains, habitations of priests, temples, altars, and magazines of arms. This circumstance may account for many things which have excited some-surprise among those who have hastily visited the works on Paint creek, those at Portsmouth, Marietta, Circleville, Newark, &c.

It is doubted by many to what uses these works were put; whether they were used as forts, as cemeteries, as altars, as temples, &c.; whereas, they contained all these either within their walls, or were intimately connected with them. Many persons cannot imagine why the works, at the places above mentioned, were so extensive, complicated, differing so much in form, size, and elevation among themselves. They contained within them altars, temples, cemeteries, habitations of priests, gardens, wells, fountains, places devoted. to sacred purposes of various kinds, and the whole of their arms, except such as were in immediate use. They were calculated for defense, and were resorted to in cases [pg 147] of the last necessity. When driven to these, their authors fought with the greatest desperation. We are warranted in this conclusion, by knowing that these works are exactly similar to the most ancient ones now to be seen in Mexico; connected with the fact, that the Mexican works did contain within them ALL that we have above stated.

The "Teocalli" are attributed, by the Mexicans, to the Aztecks, who settled in Mexico in the year 648. Teocalli, Humboldt says, is derived from the name of one of the gods, to which they were dedicated, Tezcatlipoca, the Brahma of the Mexicans.

The pyramid of Cholula was seated on a tumulus, with four stages, and was dedicated to the god of the air, Quetzalcoatl. Our Teocalli, in Ohio, have generally but one stage, as at Circleville, Marietta, and Portsmouth. Others have two, as the one described already, on Paint creek; and there is one, according to H. M. Brackenridge, Esq., near St. Louis, with three stages. That in process of time, when their numbers had wonderfully increased, they should raise a tumulus with four stages, is not remarkable. If temples of wood had been erected upon the summits of our elevated squares, no traces of them now would be seen. Time would long since have effaced them.

Their religious rites were, it is believed, the same as those of Mexico and Peru. We wish not to repeat what we have said already, but cannot help referring to the fact of the numerous mirrors of mica membranacea, (isinglass,) which have been found in the mounds situated within round and square circumvallations. The one at Circleville was quite entire, and pieces of others have been found in nearly all other tumuli similarly situated, wherever they have been opened. That they were used as mirrors, appears highly probable from their shape and size. One of the three principal gods of the South Americans was called by a name which signifies, "The god of the shining mirror." He was supposed to be a god who reflected his own supreme perfections, and was represented by a mirror, which was [pg 148] made in that country of polished obsidian, or of mica like ours. The scarcity of obsidian, which is a volcanic production, may well account for its absence in this country; the numerous volcanoes in South America equally account for the abundance of mirrors of obsidian there. This deity was represented as enjoying perpetual youth and beauty. Other gods had images placed on pedestals in the Mexican temples; this one had a mirror on his. This divinity was held in awful veneration, as the great unknown God of the universe. Who does not here discover a strong trace of a knowledge of the true God, derived by tradition from the first patriarchs?

Clavigero, who was well acquainted with the histories of the Mexicans and Peruvians, professes to point out the places from whence they emigrated; the several places they stopped at; and the times which they continued to sojourn there. According to him, they finally arrived in Mexico in 648, and came across the Pacific not far from Behring's straits, and did not come as far to the eastward as Ohio. Some tribes might have arrived there by the route pointed out by him; numbers might have come this way, and have tarried here for thousand of years. Others might have found their way into South America, by crossing the Pacific at different places and at various times. Greenlanders have been driven upon the coast of Ireland. Thus transported by winds and waves, by stress of weather, man has found the islands of the Pacific.

In the same way might have arrived persons, from Africa and Europe. Australasians, Chinese, Hindoos, Japanese, Birmans, Kamschatdales and Tartars, might have all found their way into South America at different times, and by different routes; but, that the great body of them came here, and finally emigrated into South America, is highly probable from the circumstances already mentioned. Others might be noticed, but what more is necessary? We see a line of ancient works, reach from the south side of lake Ontario across this State, on to the banks of the Mississippi; [pg 149] along the banks of that river; through the upper part of the province of Texas, around the Mexican gulf, quite into Mexico. And the evidence is as strong, when thoroughly examined, that they were erected by the same people, as there would be, that a house found standing alone, on some wild and uninhabited heath, was erected by the hand of man.

It is true, that no historian has told us the names of the mighty chieftains whose ashes are inurned in our tumuli; no poet's song has been handed down to us, in which their exploits are noticed. History has not informed us who were their priests, their orators, their ablest statesmen, or their greatest warriors. But we find idols which show that the same gods were worshiped here as in Mexico. The works left behind them are exactly similar to those in Mexico and Peru; and our works are continued quite into that country.

The line of ancient works extending from the northeastern end of lake Ontario, into Mexico and Peru, or vice versa, as we please to consider it, furnishes the same evidence, in kind and degree, that these works were erected by one and the same people, that the Cumberland road would, a thousand years after our country was deserted by us, that this road had been originally constructed by one and the same people. In my view of the subject, it is quite immaterial whether the authors of our ancient works began their settlements in northwestern New York, or in Peru and Mexico; just as it would be, one thousand years after the people of the United States had ceased to dwell in our territory, when some future antiquary should discover and, trace the road from Baltimore to St. Louis, or to Jefferson city, on the Missouri. He would at once conclude that the same people occupied the whole country where the road existed—that they made it, but whether those who made it began to make it at Baltimore or at Jefferson city, he might not certainly know, nor would it be very material with him to know. So it is with us, as to our ancient works. [pg 150] Some persons suppose that Mexico and Peru sent out their colonies, in a northeastern direction, until they gradually reached the northeastern shore of lake Ontario; while others, like the author of this essay, believe the authors of our antiquities began their settlements in New York, and extended them in a southwestern direction, until they reached South America. But one fact is, I suppose, quite certain, which is, that all our antiquities belonged to the same people whose posterity was found in Mexico and Peru, by Cortez. That this people were not the ancestors of our present Indian race in the United States, seems to me a well established fact. Our common Indian has not a single idea necessarily derived from Asia; whereas, the men who raised the tumuli in the valley of the Mississippi, in all their emigrations, showed their Asiatic origin every step they took, and in all they did. Having discussed this subject, so far as the origin of the northern Indian is involved in it, in another work, I refer the reader to that article to avoid repetition.* The latter man is the true aboriginal of America, and the former is as clearly an immigrant from Asia; but at precisely what period of time, we cannot say. It is quite possible that, like our present immigrations from Europe, immigrations from Asia to this continent were effected annually, or at unequal periods of time, during many ages.

* Tour to Prairie du Chien.

One fact I will here mention, which I have never learned was observed by any person but the writer, is, that wherever there is a group of tumuli, &c., three are uniformly larger than the rest, and stand in the most prominent places. Three such are to be seen standing in a line on the north side of Detroit river, opposite the town of Detroit. —Three such are to be seen near Athens, and at a great many places along the Ohio river. There are three such near the town of Piketon, and already described. Were they not altars dedicated to their three principal gods? Where they are all inclosed within walls, mirrors are only-found [pg 151] in one of such tumuli. But one of the three gods of the people of Anahuac, was represented by "The Shining Mirror," which was the name of that deity.

With the remains of such of that people as were buried in any other places except in elevated squares, circles, &c., some article, which had been dear or useful to the owner while living, is always found; but, although human bones are quite abundant, though lying without order, in such elevated places, yet no articles are found with them, except such, or rather the fragments of such, as were used about their sacrifices. These circumstances have induced Mr. John D. Clifford, and others, who have devoted great attention to our antiquities, to believe that the fossil bones, found in such places, belonged to persons who were offered as victims upon altars devoted to the worship of cruel gods.— Such writers say, that if the bones had been honorably buried, articles of some kind would have been deposited with them.

Although I have always doubted the truth of some of the relations of the Spanish writers, respecting the persecuted people of Montezuma, there is too much reason to believe that the practice of sacrificing human beings existed among them. The Spaniards have probably exaggerated, yet I fear that they did not entirely fabricate the horrid accounts of such sacrifices. And, upon the whole, we have almost as much evidence of the existence of human sacrifices among those who built our elevated squares and works of that class, in North, as we have in South America.

Thus we have traced the authors of our ancient works, from India to North, and thence to South, America. Their works being few and small, rude and irregular at first, but increasing in number, improving in every respect as we have followed them; show the increased numbers and improved condition of their authors, as they migrated towards the country where they finally settled.

The place from whence they came, their religious rites, the attributes of their gods, the number of their principal [pg 152] ones, their sacred places, their situation near some considerable stream of water, their ideas of purification by the use of water, and of atonement by sacrifice, the manner of burying their dead, and many other strong circumstances in the history of this people, as well as in that of other nations existing at the same period of time, lead us to the conclusion, that the more carefully we examine the antiquities of this or any other country, the more evidence will be found, tending to establish the truth of the Mosaic history. The discoveries of the antiquarian throw a strong and steady light upon the scriptures, while the scriptures afford to the antiquarian the means of elucidating many subjects otherwise difficult to be explained, and serve as an important guide in the prosecution of his investigations.

[pg 153]


The following extracts from Humboldt's Views of the Cordilleras, &c., are subjoined, to show the correspondence which exists between the Teocalli of the Mexicans, and the tumuli of the North Americans. The resemblance will be perceived, and is supposed to furnish evidence that they are the work of the same race of people, indicating their improvement in the arts, and their increased population as they progressed from the north to the south, and supporting the opinions respecting their origin and final destination, which have been advanced by the author of this memoir.

"Among those swarms of nations, which, from the seventh to the twelfth century of the Christian era, successively inhabited the country of Mexico, five are enumerated—the Toltecks, the Cicimecks, the Acolhuans, the Tlascaltecks, and the Aztecks—who, notwithstanding their political divisions, spoke the same language, followed the same worship; and built pyramidal edifices, which they regarded as teocallis, that is to say, the house of their gods.—These edifices were all of the same form, though of very different dimensions; they were pyramids, with several terraces, and the sides of which stood exactly in the direction of the meridian, and the parallel of the place. The Teocalli was raised in the midst of a square and walled inclosure, which, somewhat like the peribolos of the Greeks, contained gardens, fountains, the dwellings of the priests, and sometimes arsenals; since each house of a Mexican divinity, like the ancient temple of Baal Berith, burnt by Abimelech, was a strong place. A great staircase led to the top of the truncated pyramid, and on the summit of the platform were one [pg 154] or two chapels, built like towers, which contained the colossal idols of the divinity, to Whom the Teocalli was dedicated. This part of the edifice must be considered as the most consecrated place; like the naos, or rather the sekos, of the Grecian temples. It was there also, that the priests kept up the sacred fire. From the peculiar construction of the edifice we have just described, the priest who offered the sacrifice was seen by a great mass of the people at the same time; the procession of the teopixqui, ascending or descending the staircase of the pyramid, was beheld at a considerable distance. The inside of the edifice was the burial place of the kings and principal personages of Mexico. It is impossible to read the descriptions, which Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus have left us of the temple of Jupiter Belus, without being struck with the resemblance of that Babylonian monument to the Teocallis of Anahuac.

At the period when the Mexicans, or Aztecks, one of the seven tribes of the Anahuatlacks, (inhabitants of the banks of rivers,) took possession, in the year 1190, of the equinoctial region of New Spain, they already found the pyramidal monuments of Teotihuacan, of Cholula, or Cholollan, and of Papantla. They attributed these great edifices to the Toltecks, a powerful and civilized nation, who inhabited Mexico five hundred years earlier, who made use of hieroglyphical characters, who computed the year more precisely, and had a more exact chronology than the greater part of the people of the old continent. The Aztecks knew not with certainty what tribe had inhabited the country of Anahuac before the Toltecks; and consequently the belief, that the houses of the deity of Teotihuacan and of Cholollan was the work of the Toltecks, assigned them the highest antiquity they could conceive. It is, however, possible, that they might have been constructed before the invasion of the Toltecks; that is, before the year 648 of the vulgar era. We ought not to be astonished, that no history of any American nation should precede the seventh century; and that the annals of the Toltecks should be as uncertain as those [pg 155] of the Pelasgi and the Ausonians. The learned Mr. Schloezer has clearly proved, that the history of the north of Europe reaches no higher than the tenth century, an epocha when Mexico was in a more advanced state of civilization than Denmark, Sweden and Russia.

"The Teocalli of Mexico was dedicated to Tezcatlipolica, the first of the Azteck divinities after Teotl, who is the supreme and invisible Being; and to Huitzilopochtli, the god of war. It was built by the Aztecks, on the model of the pyramids of Teotihuacan, six years only before the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. This truncated pyramid, called by Cortez the principal temple, was ninety-seven meters in breadth at its basis, and nearly fifty-four meters in height. It is not astonishing, that a building of these dimensions should have been destroyed a few years after the siege of Mexico. In Eygpt, there scarcely remain any vestiges of the enormous pyramids, which towered amidst the waters of the lake Moeris, and which Herodotus says were ornamented with colossal statues. The pyramids of Porsenna, of which the description seems somewhat fabulous, and four of which, according to Varro, were more than eighty meters in height, have equally disappeared in Etruria.*

* Plin. XXXVI. 19.

"But if the European conquerors overthrew the Teocallis of the Aztecks, they did not alike succeed in destroying more ancient monuments, that are attributed to the Tolteck nation. We shall give a succinct description of these monuments, remarkable for their form and magnitude.

"The group of the pyramids of Teotihuacan is in the valley of Mexico, eight leagues northeast from the capital, in a plain that bears the name of Micoatl, or the Path of the Dead. There are two large pyramids dedicated to the sun, (Tonatiuh,) and to the moon, (Meztli); and these are surrounded by several hundreds of small pyramids, which form streets in exact lines from north to south, and from east to west. Of these two great Teocallis, one is fifty-five [pg 156] the other forty-four meters in perpendicular height. The basis of the first is two hundred and eight meters in length; whence it results, that the Tonatiuh Yztaqual, according to Mr. Oteyza's measurement, made in 1803, is higher than the Mycerinus, or third of the three great pyramids of Geeza in Egypt, and the length of its base nearly equal to that of the Cephren. The small pyramids, which surround the great houses of the sun and the moon, are scarcely nine or ten meters high, and served, according to the tradition of the natives, as burial places for the chiefs of the tribes. Around the Cheops and the Mycerinus in Egypt, there are eight small pyramids, placed with symmetry, and parallel to the fronts of the greater. The two Teocallis of Teotihuacan had four principal stories, each of which was subdivided into steps, the edges of which are still to be distinguished. The nucleus is composed of clay mixed with small stones, and it is incased by a thick wall of tezontli, or porous amygdaloid.* This construction recalls to mind that of one of the Egyptian pyramids of Sakharah, which has six stories; and which, according to Pocock, is a mass of pebbles and yellow mortar, covered on the outside with rough stones. On the top of the great Mexican Teocallis were two colossal statues of the sun, and the moon; they were of stone, and covered with plates of gold, of which they were stripped by the soldiers of Cortez.—When bishop Zumaraga, a Franciscan monk, undertook the destruction of whatever related to the worship, the history, and the antiquities of the natives of America, he ordered also the demolition of the idols of the plain of Micoatl. We still discover the remains of a staircase built with large hewn stone, which formerly led to the platform of the Teocalli.

* Mandelstein of the German mineralogists.

"On the east of the group of the pyramids of Teotihuacan, on descending the Cordillera towards the gulf of Mexico, in a thick forest, called Tajin, rises the pyramid of Papantla. The monument was by chance discovered scarcely thirty [pg 157] years ago, by some Spanish hunters; for the Indians carefully conceal from the whites whatever was an object of ancient veneration. The form of this Teocalli, which had six, perhaps seven stories, is more tapering than that of any other monument of this kind; it is nearly eighteen meters in height, while the breadth of its basis is only twenty-five. This small edifice is built entirely with hewn stones, of an extraordinary size, and very beautifully and regularly shaped. Three staircases lead to the top. The covering of its steps is decorated with hieroglyphical sculpture, and small niches, which are arranged with great symmetry. The number of these niches seems to allude to the three hundred and eighteen simple and compound signs of the days of the Cempohuahlhuitl, or civil calendar of the Toltecks.

"The greatest, most ancient, and most celebrated of the whole of the pyramidal monuments of Anahuac is the Teocalli of Chotula. It is called in the present day the Mountain made by the hand of Man, (monte herho amanos.)* At a distance it has the aspect of a natural hill covered with vegetation.

* The pyramid of Cholula bore also the names of Toltecatl, Ecaticpac, and Tlachihuatepetl. I presume, that this last denomination is derived from the Mexican verb tlachiani, to see around oneself, and tepetl, a mountain; because the Teocalli served as a watch tower, to reconnoiter the approach of an enemy in the wars, which were perpetually occurring between the Cholulains and the inhabitants of Tlascala.

"A vast plain, the Puebla, is separated from the valley of Mexico by the chain of volcanic mountains, which extend from Popocatepetl, towards Rio Frio, and the peak of Telapon. This plain, fertile though destitute of trees, is rich in memorials, interesting to Mexican history. In it flourished the capitals of the three republics of Tlascalla, Huexocingo and Cholula, which, notwithstanding their continual dissensions, resisted with no less firmness the despotism and usurping spirit of the Azteck kings.

"The small city of Cholula, which Cortez, in his letters to Charles V., compares with the most populous cities of [pg 158] Spain, contains at present scarcely sixteen thousand inhabitants. The pyramid is to the east of the city, on the road which leads from Cholula to Puebla. The plain of Cholula presents that aspect of barrenness, which is peculiar to plains elevated two thousand two hundred meters above the level of the ocean. A few plants of the agave and dracĉna rise on the foreground, and at a distance the summit of the volcano of Orizaba is beheld covered with snow; a colossal mountain, five thousand two hundred and ninety-five meters of absolute height, and of which I have published a sketch in my Mexican Atlas, plate 17.

"The Teocalli of Cholula has four stories, all of equal height. It appears to have been constructed exactly in the direction of the four cardinal points; but as the edges of the stories are not very distinct, it is difficult to ascertain their primitive direction. This pyramidical monument has a broader basis than that of any other edifice of the same kind in the old continent. I measured it carefully, and ascertained, that its perpendicular height is only fifty meters, but that each side of its basis is four hundred and thirty-nine meters in length. Torquemada computes its height at seventy-seven meters; Betancourt, at sixty-five; and Clavigero, sixty-one. Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a common soldier in the army of Cortez, amused himself by cointing the steps of the staircases, which led to the platform of the Teocallis; he found one hundred and fourteen in the great temple of Tenochtitlan, one hundred and seventeen in that of Tezcuco, and one hundred and hundred and twenty in that of Cholula. The basis of the pyramid of Cholula is twice as broad as that of Cheops; but its height is very little more than that of the pyramid of Mycerinus. On comparing the dimensions of the house of the sun at Teotihuacan, with those of the pyramid of Cholula, we see, that the people who constructed these remarkable monuments, intended to give them the same height, but with bases, the lenght which should be in the proportion of one to two. We find also a considerable difference in the proportions [pg 159] between the base and the height in these various monuments; in the three great pyramids of Geeza, the heights are to the bases as 1 to 1.7; in the pyramid of Papantla covered with hieroglyphics, this ratio is as 1 to 1.4; in the great pyramid of Teotihuacan, as 1 to 3.7; and in that of Cholula as 1 to 7.8. This last monument is built with unbaked bricks (xamilli,) alternating with layers of clay. I have been assured by some Indians of Cholula, that the inside is hollow; and that, during the abode of Cortez in this city, their ancestors had concealed, in the body of the pyramid, a considerable number of warriors, who were to fall suddenly on the Spaniards; but the materials with which the Teocalli is built, and the silence of the historians of those times,* give but little probability to this assertion.

* Cartas de Hernan Cortez; Mexico 1770, p. 69.

"It is certain, however, that in the interior of this pyramid, as in other Teocallis, there are considerable cavities, which were used as sepulchers for the natives. A particular circumstance led to this discovery. Seven or eight; years ago, the road from Puebla to Mexico, which before passed to the north of the pyramid, was changed. In tracing the road, the first story was cut through, so that an eighth part remained isolated like a heap of bricks. In making this opening a square house was discovered in the interior of the pyramid, built of stone, and supported by beams made of the wood of the deciduous cypress (cupressus disticha.) The house contained two skeletons, idols in basalt, and a great number of vases, curiously varnished and painted. No pains were taken to preserve these objects, but it is said to have been carefully ascertained, that this house, covered with bricks and strata of clay, had no outlet. Supposing that the pyramid was built, not by the Toltecks, the first inhabitants of Cholula, but by prisoners made by the Cholulans from the neighboring nations, it is possible, that they were the carcasses of some unfortunate [pg 160] slaves, who had been shut up to perish in the interior of the Teocalli. We examined the remains of this subterraneous house, and observed a particular arrangement of the bricks, tending to diminish the pressure made on the roof. The natives being ignorant of the manner of making arches, placed very large bricks horizontally, so that the upper course should pass beyond the lower. The continuation of this kind of stepwork served in some measure as a substitute for the Gothic vault, and similar vestiges have been found in several Egyptian edifices. An adit dug through the Teocalli of Cholula, to examine its internal structure, would be an interesting operation; and it is singular, that the desire of discovering hidden treasure has not prompted the undertaking. During my travels in Peru, in visiting the vast ruins of the city of Chimu, near Mansiche, I went into the interior of the famous Huaca de Toledo, the tomb of a Peruvian prince, in which Garci Gutierez de Toledo discovered, on digging a gallery, in 1576, massive gold amounting in value to more than five millions of francs, as is proved by the book of accounts, preserved in the mayor's office at Truxillo.

"The great Teocalli of Cholula, called also the Mountain of unbaked bricks, (tlalchihualtepec,) had an altar on its top, dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, the god of the air. This Quetzalcoatl, whose name signifies, serpent clothed with green feathers, from coatl, serpent, and quetzalli, green feathers, is the most mysterious being of the whole Mexican mythology. He was a white and bearded man, like the Bochica of the Muyscas, of whom we spoke in our descriptions of the Cataract of Tequendama. He was a high priest of Tula, (Tollan.) legislator, chief of a religious sect, which, like the Sonyasis and the Bouddhists of Indostan, inflicted on themselves the most cruel penaces. He introduced the custom of piercing the lips and the ears, and lacerating the rest of the body with the prickles of the agave leaves, or the thorns of the cactus; and of putting reeds into the wounds, in order that the blood might be seen to [pg 161] trickle more copiously. In a Mexican drawing in the Vatican library,* I have seen a figure representing Quetzalcoatl appeasing by his penance the wrath of the gods, when, thirteen thousand and sixty years after the creation of the world, (I follow the very vague chronology computed by Rios,) a great famine prevailed in the province of Culan. The saint had chosen his place of retirement near Tlaxapuchicalco, on the volcano Catcitepetl, (Speaking Mountain,) where he walked barefooted on agave leaves, armed with prickles. We seem to behold one of those rishi, hermits of the Ganges, whose pious austerity† is celebrated in the Pouranas.

* Codex anonymous, No. 3738, fol. 8.
† Schlegeluber Sprache und Weisheit der Indier, p. 132.

"The reign of Quetzalcoatl was the golden age of the people of Anahuac. At that period, all animals, and even men, lived in peace; the earth brought forth, without culture, the most fruitful harvests; and the air was filled with a multitude of birds, which were admired for their song, and the beauty of their plumage. But this reign, like that of Saturn, and the happiness of the world, were not of long duration; the great spirit Tezcatlipoca, the Brahma of the nations of Anahuac, offered Quetzalcoatl a beverage, which, in rendering him immortal, inspired him with a taste for traveling, and particularly with an irresistible desire of visiting a distant country, called by tradition Tlapallan.‡ The resemblance of this name to that of Huehuetlapallan, the country of the Toltecks, appears not to be accidental. But how can we conceive, that this white man, priest of Tula, should have taken his direction, as we shall presently find, to the southeast, towards the plains of Cholula, and thence to the eastern coast of Mexico, in order to visit this northern country, whence his ancestors had issued in the five hundred and sixty-ninth year of our era?

‡ Clavigero Storia di Messico, tom. 2, p. 12.

"Quetzalcoatl, in crossing the territory of Cholula, yielded to the entreaties of the inhabitants, who offered to him the [pg 162] reins of government. He dwelt twenty years among them, taught them to cast metals, ordered fasts of eight days, and regulated the intercalations of the Tolteck year. He preached peace to men, and would permit no other offering to the Divinity, than the first fruits of the harvest. From Cholula, Quetzalcoatl passed on to the mouth of the river Goasacoalco, where he disappeared, after having declared to the Cholulans, (Chololtecatles,) that he would return in a short time to govern them again, and renew their happiness.

"It was the posterity of this saint, whom the unhappy Montezuma thought he recognized in the soldiers of Cortez. 'We know by our books,' said he, in his first interview with the Spanish General, 'that myself, and those who inhabit this country, are not natives, but strangers, who came from a great distance. We know also, that the chief, who led our ancestors hither, returned for a certain time to his primitive country, and thence came back to seek those who were here established. He found them married to the women of this land, having a numerous posterity, and living in cities which they had built. Our ancestors hearkened not to their ancient master, and he returned alone. We have always believed, that his descendants would one day come to take possession of this country. Since you arrive from that region, where the sun rises, and, as you assure me, you have long known us, I cannot doubt but that the king who sends you, is our natural master.'*

* First Letter of Cortes, § 21 and 29.

"The size of the platform of the pyramid of Cholula, on which I made a great number of astronomical observations, is four thousand two hundred square meters. From it the eye ranges over a magnificent prospect; Popocatepetl, Iztaccihuatl, the peak of Orizaba, and the Sierra de Tlascalla, famous for the tempests which gather around its summit. We view at the same time three mountains higher than Mount Blanc, two of which are still burning volcanoes. [pg 163] A small chapel, surrounded with cypress, and dedicated to the Virgin de los Remedios, has succeeded to the temple of the god of the air, or the Mexican Indra. An ecclesiastic of the Indian race celebrates mass every day on the top of this antique monument.

"In the time of Cortez, Cholula was considered as a holy city. No where existed a greater number of Teocallis, of priests, and religious orders, [tlamacazque;] no spot displayed greater magnificence in the celebration of public worship, or more austerity in its penances and fasts. Since the introduction of Christianity among the Indians, the symbols, of a new worship have not entirely effaced the remembrance of the old. The people assemble in crowds, from distant quarters, at the summit of the pyramid, to celebrate the festival of the Virgin. A mysterious dread, a religious awe, fills the soul of the Indian at the sight of this immense pile of bricks, covered with shrubs and perpetual verdure.

"When we consider in the same point of view the pyramidical monuments of Egypt, of Asia, and of the New Continent, we see, that, though their form is alike, their destination was altogether different. The group of pyramids at Geeza and at Sakhara in Egypt; the triangular pyramid of the queen of the Scythians, Zarina, which was a stadium high, and three in circumference, and which was decorated with a colossal figure;* the fourteen Etruscan pyramids, which are said to have been inclosed in the labyrinth of the king Porsenaa, at Clusium; were reared to serve as the sepulchers of the illustrious dead. Nothing is more natural to men, than to commemorate the spot where rest the ashes of those whose memory they cherish; whether it be, as in the infancy of the race, by simple mounds of earth, or in later periods by the towering height of the tumulus. Those of the Chinese and of Thibet have only a few meters of elevation.†

* Diodorus, Siculus, lib. 2, c. 34.
† Duhalde, Description of China, tom. 2, p. 126. Asiatic Researches, vol. ii. p. 314.

Farther to the west, the [pg 164] dimensions increase; the tumulus of the king Alyattes, father of Crooesus, in Lydia, was six stadia, and that of Ninus was more than ten stadia in diameter.* In the north of Europe the sepulchers of the Scandinavian king Gormus, and the queen Daneboda, covered with mounds of earth, are three hundred meters broad, and more than thirty high. We meet with these tumuli in both hemispheres; in Virginia, and in Canada, as well as in Peru, where numerous galleries, built with stone, and communicating with each other by shafts, fill up the interior of the huacas, or artificial hills. In Asia these rustic monuments have been decorated with the refinement of eastern luxury, while their primitive forms have been preserved. The tombs of Pergamus are cones of earth, raised on a circular wall, which seems to have been incased with marble.†

* Herodotus, lib. 1, c. 93. Ctesias, apud Diod. Sicul. lib. 2, c. 7.
† Choiseul Gouffier, Voyage Pittoresque de la Grece, tom. 2, p. 27 to 31.

"The Teocallis, or Mexican pyramids, were at once temples and tombs. We have already observed, that the plain on which were built the houses of the sun and of the moon at Teotihuaca, is called the Path of the Dead; but the essential and principal part of a Teocalli was the chapel, the naos, at the top of the edifice. In the infancy of civilization, high places were chosen by the people to offer sacrifices to the gods. The first altars, the first temples, were erected on mountains; and when these mountains were isolated, the worshipers delighted in the toil of shaping them into regular forms, cutting them by stories, and making stairs to reach the summit more easily. Both continents afford numerous examples of these hills divided into terraces, and supported by walls of brick or stone. The Teocallis appear to me to be merely artificial hills, raised in the midst of a plain, and intended to serve as a basis to the altars. What more sublime and awful than a sacrifice, that is offered in the sight of an assembled nation! The pagods of Indostan have nothing in common with the [pg 165] Mexican temples. That of Tanjore, of which Mr. Daniell has given beautiful drawings,* is a tower with several stories, but the altar is not at the top of the monument.

* Oriental Scenery, plate 17.

"The pyramid of Bel was at once the temple and tomb of this god. Strabo does not speak of this monument as a temple; he simply calls it the tomb of Belus. In Arcadia, the tumulus, (choma,) which contained the ashes of Calisto, bore on its top a temple of Diana. Pausanias† describes it as a cone, made by the hands of man, and long covered with vegetation. This is a very remarkable monument, in which the temple is only an incidental decoration; it serves, if we may use the expression, as an intermediary step between the pyramids of Sakhara and the Mexican Teocallis." 19

† Pausanias, lib. 8, c. 35.

[pg 168]








[pg 169]


A Few years since, having ascertained the mineral riches of the country near the Mississippi river, and south of the Wisconsin, General Henry Dodge, of Missouri, and many others, settled themselves on the mineral lands, and began to work the mines for lead. The lands, where the mines existed, were claimed by the Winnebago nation of Indians, in part; and partly by the Chippeway, Ottawa, and Pottawatimy Indians. The owners of the soil having destroyed nearly all the wild game, in the mineral country, had abandoned it as a place of residence, though they resided near it; and the only use they made of it, was an occasional visit to it, to procure lead, or to catch fish in its pelucid streams. The occupation of this country by the whites, soon roused up the minds of the Indians, and the United States were compelled, I think, in the summer of 1826, to send a considerable military force into the country, to protect the "miners;" to arrest and punish the murderers of white man, who had been killed by Red Bird, and his associates in guilt; in fine, to quell "the Winnebago disturbance," as it was called, in the familiar language of that day. Red Bird, and other Indians concerned in the bloody work of death, were given up to the whites, who imprisoned them in Fort Crawford, at Prairie du Chien. They were tried by a court of law; some of them acquitted, perhaps, and one or more found guilty of murder, and subsequently pardoned by Mr. Adams, the then President of the United States.

[pg 170]

No more murders were committed, the military force was withdrawn, and the whites continued on the lands, and to work the mines, though in fear of the Indians, who were dissatisfied with the trespassers.

In the winter of 1828, I believe, the President appointed Governor Cass and Col. Pierre Menard, commissioners, to treat with the Indians, for a cession of the country in question. Owing to the lateness of the season, before the commissioners received their instructions, and perhaps other causes, not necessary to be stated, the commissioners arrived at Green Bay, where they had been ordered to meet the Indians, so late in the summer of 1828, that they closed their mission on the 25th of August, of that year, by an agreement with the Indians to the following effect:—That, for the present, the whites should occupy the country where the mines were then worked; that a treaty should be attempted to be made in the next year, (1829,) with a view to the purchase of the mineral country of the Indians; that no white person should cross a certain line, described in the aforesaid agreement, to dig for lead ore—but if any one should so trespass, the Indians should not injure the trespasser, but the United States would remunerate the owners of the land for the trespass done on it; that certain ferries were to be established on rivers in the Indian country, and they be paid twenty thousand dollars in goods, at the time and place, when and where the treaty was to be made, for the trespasses already committed on their lands by the miners.

This agreement was ratified and confirmed by the President and the Senate of the United States, on the 7th day of January, 1829. Congress, by an act of theirs, passed about the same time, appropriated the sum of twenty thousand dollars to purchase goods for the Indians, in pursuance of a stipulation to that effect, in the aforesaid agreement; but did not appropriate even one cent, in order to defray the expenses of holding the treaty mentioned in the same agreement! That item of expenditure fell, on a disagreement [pg 171] between the two houses of Congress. One house was willing to give forty thousand dollars, while the other insisted on forty-five thousand dollars, as necessary to defray those expenses. They amounted, however, in the end, when all, and even much more was accomplished than they anticipated, to not quite nine thousand dollars.

Nothing further was done in this business by the government, until General Jackson came into office, on the 4th of March, 1829. Almost immediately after he entered on the duties of his office, he appointed Gen. M'Niell, of the United States' army, and Col. Pierre Menard, commissioners to fulfill Governor Cass's agreement, already so often mentioned. Very full instructions were given to these commissioners. They met at St. Louis, whither they had been ordered, and from whence the expedition was to embark for Prairie da Chien, where the treaty was finally ordered to be made. These gentlemen were so unfortunate as to agree in nothing but to disagree; and forty-nine days after their appointment, and as soon as their disagreement had become known to the President, he was pleased, of his own free will, and without my knowledge, or any application for that or any other appointment, to add. to the Commission above referred to, the person who write these lines.

Receiving my commission, and a copy of the instructions already given to the commissioners above named, one day at 4 o'clock, P. M., in the last days of May, 1829, I left my home at Circleville, Ohio, on the next day at noon, for St. Louis, whither I was directed to repair.

Getting into the stage and passing through Chillicothe, Bainbridge, and West Union, I arrived at Maysville, Kentucky, about 7 o'clock, P. M., the next day. The whole distance is about ninety miles.

When I arrived on the landing, a steamboat from Pittsburgh being on the point of starting for Louisville, I went on board, and in five minutes was on my way descending the Ohio river.

[pg 172]


Is one of the most important towns on the river, between Wheeling and Cincinnati. It presents, from the river, an unbroken front of elegant brick buildings; the streets are well paved; has a good landing, and appears better from the water, than almost any town on the banks of the Ohio. It contains twenty-eight stores of dry goods, three of them large wholesale ones; one large queensware and china store; four groceries; an iron foundry; an extensive paper mill; a manufactory of stone ware, whose make is superior to almost any thing of the kind any where; three large churches, belonging to the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists. As a place of business, it ranks second in this State, Louisville being the first.

It has derived some notoriety from the President's rejecting the bill appropriating money towards making a road from this point to Lexington; the only effect of which veto, we hope, will be, to rouse up the energies of the people of Kentucky to make the rejected road, and all others necessary for the public convenience, in this State.

If we know the people of Kentucky, and we think we do, they will rise up under the pressure of the veto, in every part of the State, and commence and carry into effect, a system of internal improvement, which will do honor to the present population, and be useful to generations yet unborn.

The people of Maysville, for intelligence, industry, enterprise, and sterling patriotism, are surpassed by none in the Union.

The rejected turnpike is in progress, and will be made in a reasonable time. The people along the whole line of this road, are as hospitable, as intelligent, and as worthy citizens, as any in the State. The town of Maysville was formerly called Limestone; and was either the starting point, or the place where many an Indian expedition ended, in early times.

[pg 173] The completion of the Ohio canal will be of vast advantage to this place, where all the hemp and tobacco of the State will be brought from the interior, intended for a northern market. Here, too, the foreign goods for the central parts of Kentucky, will be landed. The country back of Maysville is rich and fertile, and the farmers among the best and most wealthy in the west.

It contains about three thousand inhabitants, and is increasing in numbers, wealth, business, and importance, every hour. A steamboat runs daily between Maysville and Cincinnati.

The situation of the town is high, dry, and healthy. Stone for building is abundant on the spot, and every article used by the builder is plenty, cheap, and good.

It must increase rapidly in all respects, and forever be a town of importance.

Why the authors of maps of the United States have neglected, as many of them have, to notice so important a place as this, seems strange indeed.


We arrived early on the next morning at the city of Cincinnati, which now contains thirty-five thousand inhabitants. Cincinnati is situated on the north side of the Ohio river, opposite the mouth of Licking river, in Kentucky, and extends from Deer creek to Mill creek, along the bank of that beautiful stream. On a medium, the low ground, called the "bottom," 800 feet in width from north to south, lies so low, that in its natural state, it was sometimes overflowed by the Ohio in a freshet. Towards the north, from the river, which here runs from east to west, the ground rapidly ascends, on an average, perhaps fifty feet, and thence for one mile northwardly, it is nearly level. The earth, after you leave the alluvial "bottom," and ascend the "hill," is made up of sand, pebbles, and clay, lying in horizontal [pg 174] strata, to a great depth, one hundred feet, or more. In this diluvial deposite, there is little water, and that, mostly obtained from the Ohio river, by water works, operated by steam power. Hills, several hundred feet in height, bound the city on its north side, and confine it along the Ohio, to a mile, or at most, a mile and a half in breadth. I speak from impressions made upon me, by a mere glance of the eye upon it, without troubling myself or the reader with more exact information. The city, I believe, occupies about three thousand acres of surface, and is improving in all respects most rapidly. The following rough estimate of its increase in population, is nearly correct.

In 1795,500 inhabitants,

In the estimates for the four last years, the Northern Liberties are included.

In this city are one hundred, at least, mercantile stores, and about twenty churches. Some of the stores do business in the wholesale way, though quite too many of them are occupied by retailers on a small scale. There are a great many taverns and boarding houses. Among the churches, the First and Second Presbyterian, one belonging to the Unitarians, one to the Roman Catholics, and perhaps two or three belonging either to the Episcopalians or the Methodists, are the best. There are two museums, in either of which, more knowledge of the natural history of the western [pg 175] ern States can be attained in a day, than can be obtained in any other place in a year. These collections are very well arranged, and kept by persons of taste, science, and politeness. No traveler of learning should ever pass through the city without calling to see them both and having once seen them, he will never neglect to see them as often as he visits the place.

There are nine bookstores, and a greater number still of printing establishments, that issue newspapers. The three principal publishers of papers, issue each, a daily paper.

The mechanics of this city are numerous and very excellent, in their several trades. Manufactures of iron, of wood, of stone, of all the metals indeed, are carried on with zeal, industry and talent. The builders of houses are unrivaled in the rapidity with which they do their work, and they exhibit genius, skill and taste.

There are nearly sixty lawyers, who for learning, zeal, fidelity, industry, morality, honor, honesty, and every other good qualification of the heart and head, are equal to a like number of the same honorable and highly useful profession, in any city in the United States.

The number of physicians and surgeons in the city must be, I presume, nearly eighty, who are skillful, learned, and highly respectable in their profession.

There are probably about forty clergymen in the city, and from the morality of the place, I give them credit for a considerable degree of usefulness.

Cincinnati stands on dry ground, where every drop of rain that falls upon its surface, runs off and leaves it dry; and though its winter is as cold as the north part of France, and its summer as warm as southern Italy—yet it is as healthy a place as can be found any where.

Except the healthiness of its site, and its beauty, Cincinnati is wholly indebted for its unparalleled growth and prosperity, to the industry, enterprise, and energy of its worthy citizens. They have entered extensively into the building of steam vessels, eighty having been built here; their trade [pg 176] on the Ohio and Mississipi rivers is great, and increasing every day.

It will, with great ease, increase in population to about 250,000 inhabitants. Its increase beyond that number depends on so many causes, not yet fully developed, that human foresight cannot now scan them. It will, however, continue to be the largest town in the State, unless Zanesville or Cleaveland should exceed it.

I cannot better conclude my brief remarks on this beautiful and flourishing city, than by saying it is now governed by such men as Samuel W. Davies, Charles Hammond, and David Griffin, and others like them; and by giving a place to the following communication, drawn up with great care by the worthy individual whose respected name is attached to it.

"Cincinnati, June 25th, 1833.

"Dear Sir:

In compliance with your request I, herewith send you 'a condensed statement of the literary and scientific institutions of Cincinnati.' The information has been derived from individuals conducting them, and from their records.

Yours, &c.

"Caleb Atwater, Esq.


"The government of this institution is committed to a board of eleven trustees, appointed by the legislature.

"The medical school is conducted by a faculty consisting of six professors.

"The building, which is now completed, is ninety-one feet front, by fifty-four feet deep. This beautiful edifice contains above twenty rooms; three of which are convenient lecture rooms, of sufficient capacity to accommodate, each, about three hundred persons; the others are the private rooms of the professors, library rooms, laboratory, &c. &c.

[pg 177] "The library consists of fifteen hundred volumes, chiefly standard works.

"The cabinet of preparations is extensive, and it is a highly useful one, containing also many valuable paintings and drawings, illustrative of the subjects.

"The laboratory is connected with the lecture room, so that all the operations in chimistry may be conveniently seen by the students from their seats.

"The number of students for the several sessions past, has been as follows, viz:—

"For the session of 1827—28113

* The smallness of the number this session has been ascribed to the approach of the cholera a few days prior to the commencement of the lectures.


"This school will be opened in October, 1833, under the management of J. C. Wright, judge of the supreme court; J. M. Goodenow, president judge of the 9th circuit of the court of common pleas; Edward King and Timothy Walker, attorneys at law. Some students have entered under the private tuition of the several professors.


"This institution is designed for the general diffusion of scientific knowledge among the mechanics and citizen's, by means of popular lectures and mutual instruction. Classes formed for the purpose of mutual instruction, are constantly in operation. The number of pupils, which is increasing, is at present one hundred, chiefly young men whose avocations [pg 178] require their daily services, leaving them at liberty to prosecute their studies at night only.

"The institute has an extensive philosophical apparatus; a library of nine hundred volumes, and a reading room. The latter is a place of general resort for young men, in the evenings, to read the news, and peruse the periodicals on science and literature.


"The lyceum was formed for the purpose of giving useful instruction and fashionable entertainment, by means of popular lectures. This institution also has a library and a reading room.


"This society was formed at the convention of teachers held in Cincinnati, October, 1832. Its objects are to unite the teachers of the western country in the cause in which they are engaged, and to elevate the character of professional teachers. Their meetings are held annually, in Cincinnati, on the second Monday in September.


"This association is composed of the teachers of Cincinnati and the adjacent country. It was formed to aid in promoting the cause of education, and in elevating the profession of teaching. The meetings of the institute are held monthly for the purpose of discussing the various systems of education, and the best methods of instructing in the different sciences, &c.

They have the nucleus of a library, and they receive several periodical journals.

[pg 179]


"This valuable college is under the patronage of the Roman Catholic church of Cincinnati.

"In this institution, are competent professors in the classics, who speak fluently the French, Italian, Spanish and German languages. There are also professors in the several departments of mathematics, natural and moral philosophy, and chemistry.

"Their course of study is extensive, and embraces the term of six years, for those who wish to take a complete course. The number of pupils is at present seventy.

"The college edifice is a splendid and permanent building, of great capacity. In connection with the college, is a boarding house, for the accommodation of students and the professors.

"The following 'Circular,' published by this institution, in August, 1832, will show, more in detail, its arrangements, and the general plain upon which it is conducted:

"The public are respectfully informed that the scholastic exercises will be resumed, in this new and splendid edifice, on the 16th of August. Its location is in a healthy and pleasant part of the city, affording at all seasons, but especially the winter, an easy access to young gentlemen who may prefer to board in town. The vacant grounds attached to the institution are considered sufficiently extensive to afford exercise to the students during the short intervals that occur on days of study. One day in the week, Thursday, is set apart as a day of recreation, on which the boarders in the Athenĉum can enjoy the range of a beautiful country seat, about one mile distant, and overlooking the city. In the winter season, or during inclement weather, they may have the advantage of large play-rooms, in the basement story, calculated for all the purposes of in-door recreation.

"No pains have been spared to promote the comfort and to insure the advancement of the pupils who may be placed [pg 180] at the Athenĉum. The dormitories are spacious, cleanly, and well ventilated; the refectory comfortable, extensive, and abundantly supplied; the study and class rooms have been constructed with a particular regard to the convenience of the pupils.

"The professors attached to the institution are, generally, gentlemen who have spent many years in conducting youth through the various departments of a collegiate education. Among them there are several who speak with facility and elegance, the French, Italian, Spanish, and German languages; a circumstance that offers a great advantage to pupils desirous of acquiring proficiency in either.

"Every exertion will be made to advance the interests of the pupils, while the strictest economy shall be observed to spare parents or guardians unnecessary expense.

"To obviate difficulties and to remove doubts respecting religious interference, the public are assured that nothing of the kind shall ever be permitted within the precincts of the Athenĉum. The utmost that will be expected of pupils residing in the institution, is, that on Sundays, they accompany their fellow boarders to the place of public service, during which they will conduct themselves respectfully. The propriety of this measure will be easily perceived, by the difficulties which must arise from leaving a number of boys unattended by the prefects, during the time of divine service.

"It is desirable that the pupils, as far as practicable, commence with the opening of studies.

"For the patronage of an enlightened and liberal public, our dependence is placed in the consciousness of possessing the means, and in the assurance which is hereby given, to make every exertion to merit it.

"The following course of study may be pursued in the Athenĉum. Parents are at full liberty, however, to select any part of it, to be pursued by their children. The study of the Latin language is recommended to such as intend remaining [pg 181] for some time, as well calculated to promote and facilitate their education in other respects.

"First Year. Latin—Gould's Grammar and Epitome. French—Levizac's Grammar and Directeur des enfans. English—Murray's Grammar and Introduction; Writing under dictation, and Arithmetic.

"Second Year. Latin—Viri Romaĉ, Cĉsar's Commentaries, Exercises, and Mythology. French—Grammar continued, Receuil Choisi, La Fontaine. Spanish—Jose's Grammar and Exercises, and Colmena Espanola. English—Grammar continued, Exercises, Scott's Lessons, Writing under dictation, Geography, Rational Arithmetic.

"Third Year. Latin—Sallust, Phoedrus, Ovid, Exercises continued, Prosody, and Roman Antiquities. Greek—Valpy's Grammar and Testament. French—Telemachus, Odes of J. B. Rosseau. Spanish—Extractos, Exercises continued. English—Composition, Writing Essays and Letters, Geography continued, Algebra.

"Fourth Year. Latin—Cicero de Senectute, de Afmicitia, de Officiis, Livy, Virgil's Pastorals, Ĉneid and Georgics, Exercises continued. Greek—Grĉca Minora, Prose and Poetry Exercises. French—L'Abeille Francaise and Boileau. Spanish—Extractos, Exercises and Dialogues. English—Composition, Elocution, First Class Book. Mathematics—Geometry, Plain Trigonometry, Mensuration of heights and distances, Geography continued, History.

"Fifth Year. Latin—Livy, Cicero's Orations, Horace, with selections from Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius and Lucan, Exercises. Greek—Lucian, Xenophon and Homer. Mathematics—Application of Algebra to Geometry, and Trigonometry, Surveying and Solids, History continued.

"In the sixth year, there will be a course of Rhetoric, Moral and Natural Philosophy, and Chimistry.

"All communications relative to the admission of students, must be made to the Rev. J. J. MULLON, President of the Athenĉum.

[pg 182]


"Tuition, including boarding, washing, mending, &c. per annum,$150 00
"Music Will form an extra charge of40 00
"Drawing and Painting,25 00
"The Italian and German Languages,25 00
"No extra charge will be made for French.


"1. Board and tuition are to be paid semi-annually in advance.

"2. Each pupil will furnish a single bed and bedding, or pay $9 annually for their use.

"3. Stationary will be furnished annually at 6$.

"4. Except in cases of exclusion by the Board, no deductions will be made on account of removal.

"5. A schedule will be sent to parents semi-annually, exhibiting the progress and standing of pupils."


"This institution was founded by the late William Woodward, of Cincinnati. The Woodward fund yields an income of two thousand dollars per annum. The college lot contains upwards of an acre. The building is sixty feet front, by forty feet deep.

"The management of this institution is committed to five trustees; two of whom were appointed by the founder, who appoint their successors, and three by the city council.

"The school is conducted at present by four professors, including the President. It has one hundred and twenty pupils, of whom sixty are educated on the funds of the institution.


"For Males,9 schools,14 teachers,510 pupils.
Females,9 "15 "500 "
Infants,6 "9 "220 "
  "Total, 1,230

[pg 183]


"For males and females 20 schools, 31 teachers, 2;000 pupils.


"Athenĉum,10 professors,70 pupils.
"Woodward High School,4 "120 "
"Private Schools,38 teachers,1,230 "
"Public Schools,31 "2,000 "
"Total,83 teachers,3,420 pupils,"

Having tarried in this city about two hours, I went on board, and the "Home" started for Louisville. Descending rapidly, until we overtook a boat that had met with some mishap which prevented the use of steam, our captain hove to, went on board of the other vessel, and so delayed our passage, by towing it along down the river with us, that we were about two days on the way between Cincinnati and Louisville. The distance is not more than one hundred and fifty miles, and a current of four or five miles an hour, was in our favor! It generally occupies, in a good stage of water, from twelve to fifteen hours going down, and a few hours more in ascending the river between the two places.

The Pittsburgh boats, generally, and this unfortunate one in particular, when descending the river, stop at almost every little town, in order to peddle off their wares of all sorts: and if they only had a few horn flints, starch colored blue for indigo, wooden clocks, a prospectus or two for publishing some catchpenny work, at Hatford, (Con.) they might fairly pass themselves off as "yankee peddlers," without exciting suspicion of a counterfeit. Wo to the unfortunate traveler, who is in haste to get on with speed, if he gets on board one of these descending boats. He may calculate when an eclipse will certainly happen, but cannot ascertain the period when he will be one hundred miles on his journey.

However, at the end of two days and nights I landed at Louisville, and learned, to my regret, that by the delay on [pg 184] the river, above referred to, I had lost an opportunity of leaving this place for St. Louis, this morning, and would be detained here four days. Deeply mortified at the disappointment, I determined to employ my time as usefully as I could, while detained here.

I ascertained that it would be better to purchase gunpowder and tobacco, though produced in Kentucky, at St. Louis, where large quantities had already been shipped; and that every article used in the Indian trade might be procured, of the best quality and on very cheap terms there, and I concluded to go there, and there purchase them.


Is situated at the Falls of the Ohio river, in the State of Kentucky, in latitude thirty-eight degrees ten minutes north, upon elevated plain, on the south side of the beautiful river Ohio, opposite to its Falls. The plain on which the town stands, extends southwardly twenty miles along the eastern bank of the river, to the mouth of Salt river, a tributary of the Ohio. At Louisville, this plain from east to west, is about six miles in width, gradually growing narrower, until it is only one mile in width, at its southern end.

The first white man who visited Kentucky, from the present United States, so far as we are informed, was James M'Bride, who traveled through it in 1754. About thirteen years afterwards, John Finley, an Indian trader, on his return home to North Carolina, gave so flattering an account of the country to Daniel Boon, that the latter, in the year 1769, was induced to visit it, in company with Finley and others. All the company, except Boon, were killed by the Indians. This happened in 1771. He then returned to North-Carolina.

In the year 1779, Boon, accompanied by his family, and forty men from Powell's valley, traversed the wilderness, an settled on the banks of Kentucky river, at a place which they named Boonsborough.

[pg 185] In the spring of the year 1778, General George Rogers Clark, acting under the authority of the State of Virginia, descended the Ohio river with three hundred men, for the purpose of reducing the then British posts, Kaskaskia, Cahokia and St. Vincennes. The General landed his troops on Corn island, opposite the present town of Louisville, and cleared off land enough to raise corn sufficient for the supply of six families, which he left there. The names of the heads of these families were, James Patton, Richard Chenoweth, John Tuel, William Faith, and . General Clark, after thus settling these families, proceeded on his expedition. In the autumn of 1778, these families removed on to the main land, where the town of Louisville now stands. In 1779, a few more families arrived and settled there, from Virginia. In the autumn of 1779, and spring of 1780, seven stations were formed on Beargrass creek, in the vicinity of what is now Louisville. From such small beginnings, and so recently, has the present flourishing town of Louisville arisen. In the autumn of 1779, the State of Virginia opened a land office at this place, and appointed the late Richard Anderson, Esq., to keep it. Having thus briefly disposed of its early history, I proceed to mention its plan.

The town was laid off by William Pope, in the year 1780. A new survey was afterwards made by William Peyton and Daniel Sullivan. All these original surveys are said to be lost, and the plat now adopted is one made in 1812, by Jared Brooks.

The principal streets, running nearly east and west, are Water, Main, Market, Jefferson, Green, Walnut and South. Main, Market and Jefferson streets, are each one hundred feet wide—the others sixty feet wide, except Water street, which is only thirty feet in width. These streets are intersected by twelve others, sixty feet wide, named First, Second, Third, &c. commencing at the eastern end of the town, running westwardly to Twelfth street. The different squares formed by the intersection of these streets, are divided into [pg 186] half acre lots, as far as Green street, but those south of that are laid-off into five, ten, and twenty acre lots.

The principal streets are well paved with secondary lime stone. The paving stones, I should suppose, from appearance, (for I did not measure them,) are about three or four inches thick, and a foot or more in width, so laid on the earth as to present the edges of them uppermost. This forms the best pavement in the world, and as durable as time. The streets of Cincinnati, Maysville and other towns along the Ohio, in the limestone region, are all thus paved. The materials are found in abundance near the places where they are needed, and nature has formed them of the size necessary for the use to which they are applied. Main street, for the distance of about one mile, presents a proud display of wealth and grandeur. Houses of two and three lofty stories in height, standing upon solid stone foundations, exceed any thing of the kind in the western States. The stores filled with the commodities and manufactures of every clime, and every art, dazzle the eye—the ringing of the bells and the roaring of the guns, belonging to the numerous steam boats in the harbor—the cracking of the coachman's whip, and the sound of the stage driver's horn, salute the ear. The motley crowd of citizens, all well dressed, hurrying to and fro—the numerous strangers from all parts of the world almost, visiting the place, to sell or to buy goods—the deeply loaded dray cart, and the numerous pleasure carriages rolling to and fro, arrest and rivet the attention of a mere traveler like myself.


There are at this time about twelve hundred dwelling houses, in the town, mostly built of brick. Many of them are equal to any in the Atlantic cities. The bed of the river opposite the town, supplies the stone used in building, and the crow bar is all the instrument needed to obtain them. Kentucky river and its vicinity furnish beautiful [pg 187] marble, and the brick yards in the suburbs of the town supply the best of brick.

Boards, shingles and scantling, manufactured from white pine, are brought down the Ohio river in rafts, from the sources of the Alleghany river; black locust posts are brought from the State of Ohio, in the same manner, and red cedar, from the cliffs along Kentucky river. The vast quantities brought here render these articles very cheap in this market. Stone and lime being in the immediate vicinity, bricks being made on the spot, and every article used in building, always in abundance, on hand, renders building cheap. It is said though that lots are dear—the more to be regretted, as it will prevent the immediate growth of the town, at the rate it otherwise would.


The court house is a very handsome structure, and was built in 1811, on a plan drawn by John Gwathmey, Esq. It consists of a body and two wings, with a portico of the Ionic order of architecture. Four columns support it, and the cupola is terminated by a spire. In the second story of the south wing, is deposited a public library of more than 500 volumes. In the wings, and in the second story of the body of the building, are kept the several public offices of the county, except that of the clerk, which is kept in a very convenient building near, by that distinguished and worthy gentleman, Worden Pope, Esq.

A large jail is erected near the court house, and when I was there, twenty-eight persons were confined in it for various crimes, from murder down to petit larceny.

The following reasons may be offered for the frequency of the commission of crimes in and near this town. First, the penitentiary of Indiana is in sight of Louisville, on the northern shore of the Ohio river, at Jeffersonville. As soon as any convict is discharged from this "school of vice," his first act is to cross the river, and begin his criminal life [pg 188] anew, in this wealthy town. Secondly, once started from any place above on the Ohio river, in his stolen canoe, the hardened villain is floated down its gentle current, until stopped by the falls. Commerce holds out her wealth to his view, and he here begins his old trade again.

In winter, and in the lowest stages of water in the summer, the boats of all sorts and sizes are laid up here, and the hands employed on board of them are here discharged. Being out of employ, and none too honest, they betake themselves to dishonest practices for a livelihood. Of those confined in jail for crimes, not one in ten is an inhabitant of the town.

The police of the place is remarkably strict and prompt to detect and punish offenders. The principal magistrate before whom offenders are examined, is unrivaled in a prompt and correct discharge of his official duty.


Of these there are six in number, built of brick, belonging to Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Methodists, an African church.


Was established partly by the State and partly by individual contributions. Its exterior is finished in a style which reflects honor on its founders, and especially on the board of managers under whose superintendence it was erected. I did not see its inside, but understood that it was not entirely finished for the want of funds. It is, however, so far completed, I was told, as to be very useful to that class of improvident, and of course afflicted persons, for whom it was intended. It will doubtless receive such aid from the State, from time to time, as shall serve to render it a lasting monument of the benevolence of its patrons. The United States contribute something towards its support also. To [pg 189] the sick seamen, who navigate the waters of the Ohio and Mississippi, this institution offers an asylum in distress.


Is a handsome brick building, and the institution is under the charge of a learned and worthy gentleman, by the name of Butler.

There are twelve common schools in the town. Besides these, many families employ private instructors; and in many of the first families for wealth, learning and reputation, the parents disdain not the task of "rearing the tender thought, and of teaching the young idea how to shoot."

At one gentleman's, I saw a set of globes, and soon learned that this sons and daughters understood their use.


There is a handsome one of brick.

Three printing offices, on a large scale; six taverns, three of them on an extensive scale; the one where I stopped, (N. P. Porter's,) had in it, while I lodged there, from seventy-five to one hundred and fifty guests, daily.

Two carriage makers, six saddlers and harness makers; six bake houses; twenty-eight groceries, and two confectioner's shops; three book stores; fourteen wholesale commission stores; eight tailors; a silversmith; a gunsmith; ten cabinet makers; three watch makers and jewelers; three fancy and plain chair-makers; one stone cutter, on a large scale; one potter; four turners of wood, iron and ivòry; two hundred carpenters and house joiners; one hundred and fifty bricklayers; thirty plasteres; six boot and shoemakers; twelve lawyers; and twenty-two physicians; several steam sawmills and gristmills; a steam engine factory; several breweries and distilleries; five tobacco manufactories, on a large scale; and an extensive sugar refinery. Tobacco is [pg 190] the principal article of export, of which more than ten thousand hogsheads are exported annually.

Eighty thousand dollars worth of tobacco is manufactured here annually, into chewing and smoking tobacco, and snuff.


This is the largest establishment of the kind, so far as I know, in the western States. It is capable of producing 12,000 pounds of soap weekly, and 1000 pounds of candles a day.


Is a neat building and well supplied twice a week, with beef, pork, ducks, chickens, eggs, venison, wild fowls, fish from the river; turkeys, wild and tame ones; and indeed with all the necessaries, and not a few of the luxuries, of good living, in abundance and very cheap. For apples, peaches, and strawberries, in their season, this market is unrivaled. European grapes, melons, and cherries, are not wanting in their seasons. The town is well supplied with milk, and in summer, ice is always at hand, to give it a proper temperature. Like those of every other western town, the tables at the inns are loaded with a vast abundance of well prepared food. Abundance may be sometimes found in the east, but her permanent HOME is in the western States, where the very poorest man has always enough, and to spare.


These are unrivaled, in some respects. In the distance of two miles, commencing opposite the town, the Ohio river, at this point about a mile in width, descends about twenty-two feet; and when the canal is completed, which will be this autumn,* that stupendous work will forever afford enough water power for every useful purpose, for the distance [pg 191] of twenty miles still further down the river. In a dry time our western streams fail, even the largest of them, this noble river excepted; and falls in them are few, which renders this favored spot the more valuable: and the day is not far distant, when the eastern capitalist and manufacturer will here fix his home. Consider the cheapness of labor, of food, of raiment—the abundance of iron ore, near the Ohio river, in a thousand places—the inexhaustible beds of marble near the Kentucky river, and easily conveyed hither—the abundance of sand stone near the Ohio river, in the counties of Scioto, Lawrence, Gallia, and Meigs, in the State of Ohio, and in the States of Kentucky and Virginia, on the southern shore of the Ohio river, opposite the counties above named—the lime stone of Indiana and Kentucky, near the town—the beautiful sand stone in the silver hills, in sight of Louisville—the lead of Missouri —the hemp and the tobacco of Kentucky—the cherry, the walnut and curled maple of the adjacent forests—are, and always will be, within the reach of the enterprising manufacturer. The cotton and the sugar of the south are almost as cheap here as where they are produced. Fossil coal, sufficient for all the western States, is found over a vast region in Ohio, western Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The abundance of the article, and the ease with which it is quarried, and the cheapness with which it may be floated down the river to this point, are worthy of notice likewise. To all which considerations, may be here added, the vast extent of country, over which articles manufactured here, can be easily distributed, by the one hundred and fifty steam boats which here find their home.

* This was written in 1829.—It has since been finished.

Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, and Upper Alabama, can easily be supplied from this place, with manufactured articles. A vast field to be furnished with manufactured goods, is here presented to view, and yet the laborers in it are comparatively few. The hardy, ingenious, industrious and enterprising manufacturers of the north and east, may here [pg 192] find friends, a fortune and a home, for themselves and their posterity. Such are the manufacturing advantages of Louisville, far preferable, in my mind, to any thing presented by the silvery heights of Potosi, or the far famed mines of Golconda and Peru; yet comparatively neglected!

The whole number of stores, probably, for I did not count them, is at least sixty.

In the summer months, when the waters are low, merchants from Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Upper Alabama, resort to Louisville for supplies of goods, in order to keep up their assortments. I counted at one time thirty large four-horse wagons, in "the barrens of Kentucky," loaded with goods from Louisville, to Nashville, Florence, Huntsville, &c.

During high waters, this place resembles a seaport, vessels continually arriving and departing. All is life, activity and motion. The drayman is constantly employed, and all the hackney coaches, fifty or upwards, are filled with passengers.


The people themselves, as will be remembered, who originally settled here, emigrated from Virginia. The present inhabitants are the most hospitable in the western States. A worthy man will never want friends here, and it is the last place in the world for one of an opposite character to visit. The constant influx of strangers, has rendered the people here shrewd observers of men. If a bad man, an active police instantly detects and punishes him for the very first offence. If the stranger be a good man, he is instantly taken by the hand, all his wishes are consulted, and his interests advanced.

When I was there, a contested election was just coming on, yet I daily, hourly, saw gentlemen of both parties associating together in the utmost friendship.

The professional gentlemen arc highly gifted, and their talents: are duly appreciated and rewarded. At present, I [pg 193] should suppose, however, no addition to their number is needed.

In this town, I can say with great truth, that order and good family government every where prevail—that the youth are trained up by their parents to virtuous habits— and the soundest moral principles are instilled into the youthful minds of both sexes. Better parental government never existed on earth, than I found in this town.

On entering the drawing room, the mother and daughters I found employed in sewing, or some other labor, all except one, who was reading aloud to the others; or they were discussing some topic growing out of the remarks of the author. I saw scarcely one novel, among the books thus read—but history often, scientific works frequently.

While those who are born to give a tone to the manners, customs, habits and morals of the community, are thus educated, our republic is safe, and heaven will continue to prosper and bless the American people.

It is only necessary for the people of this Union to become personally well acquainted; to make them the best of friends. No State has been more slandered of late years, than Kentucky, and no one perhaps deserves it less.

There are, probably, more case and affluence in this place, than in any western town; their houses are splendid, substantial, and richly furnished; and I saw more large mirrors in their best rooms, than I ever saw any where else. Paintings and mirrors adorn the walls, and all the furniture is splendid and costly. More attention is bestowed on dress, among the young gentlemen and ladies of Louisville, than with those of Cincinnati.

There is one trait of character among the Louisville people, common indeed, throughout the western country, which must strike the eastern man with surprise; and that is, the ease with which any decent stranger becomes acquainted with them. Instantly, almost, he may be said to become acquainted, without any sort of formality. The wealthy man assumes nothing to himself on account of his wealth, [pg 194] and the poor man feels no debasement on account of his poverty, and every man stands on his own individual merits. The picture is true to the life. The recollection of my reception at Louisville will always remain with me, while memory lasts, among the most agreeable ones of my life.

The hospitality of this people consists not solely in furnishing the guest with the best of every thing the house affords, but all his inclinations are consulted, (I mean virtuous ones,) and every art, though exhausted to do so, carefully concealed from him. He may set his day and hour to, leave them, but before they arrive, some new inducement is held out to him to tarry longer; and finally he will find it almost impossible to leave them. Their perceptions are instantaneous; their manners are highly fascinating; and he must be a bad man, or a very dull one, who is not highly pleased with them.

To the man of fortune, to the scholar and man of science, to the manufacturer and the industrious mechanic, Louisville may be recommended, as a place where as much happiness is to be attained, as would fall to his lot any where in the world. Industry and enterprise here find a certain reward. This is Louisville.

Taking a passage for St. Louis, on board the steamer Cleopatra, Captain Swager, just before sunset, on the 7th of June, the vessel anchored for the night immediately below an island, at the foot of the falls of the Ohio. At early dawn we weighed anchor, started on our voyage, and in four days we were in St. Louis, where we arrived on the morning of the 12th Of June.

Nothing remarkable happened on our passage. We stopped at most of the towns on both rivers, but no where long.

The river Ohio is bounded, (except near its mouth, and especially below the Wabash,) generally, by a bottom of considerable width, sometimes on one side, and sometimes on the other, though rarely on both sides.

[pg 195] These bottoms are as fertile as any lands can be. The French, whose taste is as correct as that of the Greeks, called this "the beautiful river." The scenery along it is indeed beautiful in the highest degree. It is bordered by beautiful farms, to which industry is adding houses and barns, orchards and vineyards. Pleasant towns, villas and villages, appear very frequently as you glide along this enchanting river. You see cities, with their tall and glittering spires; steam vessels, with their dashing oars, leaving a stream of dense smoke behind them, floating horizontally along in the air, attended by a convulsive swell in the water, and hear them snore or snort, as they appear and disappear on the silvery surface of the river.

Ascending the river in the steamer, the hills bounding your sight, some approaching, others departing from you, like all earthly joys, while you are exactly side by side with others, are clothed with trees, whose great variety, in size, color, and appearance, add vivacity to the ever changing, ever new, ever beautiful prospect, in all directions. The eye of the beholder is delighted, and his heart filled with joy. Sometimes the woods approach the river so closely as to shade it, and to paint every tree, and almost every leaf, on its placid and unruffled surface. Sometimes the hills recede to a distance from you, and show you the awful and and sublime cliff, standing erect, frowning defiance, and threatening destruction to all below. Ascending from the "falls" to Pittsburgh, I have described its aspect; below the "falls," it possesses less beauty to my eye. In one section of it, the northern shore presents, for several miles, perpendicular rocks, and below Shawneetown it becomes very crooked, is sluggish, lazy, dull, insipid, and comes to a bad end, at the last, considering how fairly it promised in its infancy, youth, manhood, and prime. From Maysville to Louisville, you see the Ohio basin in all its glory. You pass twenty beautiful towns, or more, in that distance, which, being newly built, shine brightly, as they should do, to keep up the harmony, the newness, and freshness of the [pg 196] picture, painted by nature and by man. The Author of nature never created a more beautiful river, and for the time our people have had to cultivate its banks, and dwell upon its borders, man never did more nor better, to beautify and adorn any portion of the earth.

The Wabash river is a geological boundary, from its utmost spring to its mouth, below which, along the Ohio river, few hills, and not one pleasant prospect, to my eye, appears. The Cumberland and Tennessee rivers enter the Ohio within a few miles of each other, and the country between them is low, presenting a dull and uninviting prospect.

At the mouth of the Tennessee, there is some elevated ground, where a tavern is kept, and a storehouse or two erected, in which goods are stored, belonging to the trade of the towns situated in Upper Alabama, in Tennessee valley.

Below this point, the country on both sides of the Ohio, becomes level and flat, and is overflowed by the river. As we passed along downwards, surrounded as we were by musquetoes, gnats, and bugs, we heard only the dull music of the frogs, of all sorts and sizes; some of them seemed to he hoarse from a cold; others, from their feeble and shaking voices, must have had the ague; some had voices so shrill, others yelled so loud, and vociferated so boisterously, that every one of us on board the vessel would have cheerfully dispensed with their music for a very small consideration. However, determined to neglect no part of their duty, their labors to please us continued, and, if possible, increased as we passed through their rightful eminent domain, into the Mississippi.

On beholding this largest and longest river in the world, for the first time, a person who has heard of it all his life time, as being the greatest and mightiest river on the globe, Would probably experience a feeling of disappointment. And to us, who had just passed down the Ohio, over a space of many hundred miles, in a river, short in its course [pg 197] indeed, compared with the one we now entered, but which was no where less in width than half a mile, and sometimes a mile; the first appearance of the Mississippi disappointed the raised expectations of all the persons who first saw it here. It is muddy too; boiling like a pot, and rising in places, in whirls, presenting an aspect far from agreeable to my unfortunate eye; so that our escape from the hateful and hated objects along the Ohio, from the mouth of Tennessee downwards, on entering the "great river"* was not as grateful to our feelings as might have been expected. However, to see the junction of these rivers, the deck was crowded by all the passengers, old and young, of both sexes. Several of the ladies on board scolded both rivers severely, for not making a better appearance at their junction. They seemed to think, that, for two such rivers, that drained a surface two thousand miles in length, from east to west, and nearly the same in breadth, from north to south, irrigating and fertilizing a valley extending from the Alleghanies to the Rocky mountains, from latitude fifty north, to twenty-nine, where their mighty united volume of waters entered the gulf of Mexico—for such rivers to unite where a sound was scarcely ever heard but the whizzing of gnats and the croaking of frogs—here all was dreary in prospect as low drowned lands could make it! and those rivers rising in pellucid lakes or clear springs, and running along a great distance, in the purest streams—for such rivers to unite in a miserable swamp, and show waters no purer than the dirtiest mud puddle contains, they thought it a shame, and a disgrace to their riverships, and I half assented to their opinion.

* Mississippi, the Indian name, is derived from "meesy," great, and "seepee," water. The Indians apply the same terms to the ocean, or any other large body of water.

The distances from the mouth of the Ohio to St. Louis, are as follows:—

[pg 198] From the mouth of the Ohio to

Tiwapety bottom27 miles,
Great bluff of rocks1
Cape Giradeau11
Apple Creek18
Kaskaskia river40
St. Genevieve24
Fort Chartres12
Mouth of Merimac18
St. Louis19—Total 192

The Ohio, as all know, begins to be so called at Pittsburg, and the mouth of the Ohio, is nine hundred and forty-five miles below Pittsburg, and one hundred and ninety-two below St. Louis. Its mouth is in latitude about thirty-seven degrees north.

The country, as we ascended the Mississippi, presented not a single prospect that pleased me, until we arrived in sight of Jefferson barracks, twelve miles perhaps below St. Louis. Sometimes the banks were low, and like the islands in many parts of this river, were tumbling into it, while the river was adding to its banks and islands in other places. Sometimes, and indeed often, on the western shore, lofty, rocky, abrupt and unsightly precipices presented themselves to us as we passed them.

As the objects we passed on the Mississippi, from the mouth of the Ohio, until Jefferson barracks came into view, on the western bank of the Mississippi, below St. Louis, have left not one agreeable emotion on my memory, so I pass them by in my narrative; and as the discovery I made on my first landing at St. Louis, of the disagreeable situation I had been, (unknown to myself,) thrown into, by my appointment, in order to carry into effect a great measure of the government, which had utterly failed of success, filled with emotions which I will not either now, nor never perhaps, attempt to portray, I will now make some [pg 199] remarks upon the Mississippi river, and its branches. This course will relieve the reader from the tedium produced by reading the account of the little incidents which happened to myself. We should always remember, and be sure never to forget, that but few persons in the world, feel attachment enough for us, to relish a very particular account of either our pleasure or our pains; and that we may be placed in circumstances so nice, so critical, so difficult and disagreeable—or on the other hand, im those which are so pleasant, so agreeable and so happy, that a profound silence about the whole subject is best. The former case was mine, inasmuch as the Secretary of War, in addition to my public instruction, had written to me a private letter, intimating that the expedition was in readiness to depart for the upper Mississippi, that it would be a pleasant summer trip for me, and that I must hasten to join it, or be left behind! Thus baited, I had bitten at the hook, and was caught! In order to save the reader the task of reading, for some time longer, and myself too, the trouble of narrating, what gave me nothing but anxiety, I go to


And there begin, by remarking, that this river, above the mouth of the Missouri, in latitude thirty-eight degrees, thirty-eight minutes, assumes the name of the Upper Mississippi. This river rises in a great number of ponds and lakes, in latitude forty-eight degrees north, about twenty degrees of longitude, west of Washington city. It originates in a poor, miserable country, and descending through three degrees of latitude, in nearly a south course, it falls twenty feet or more, at St. Anthony's falls, presenting a beautiful cascade to the eye. About twenty or thirty miles below these falls, the St. Peters enters it, on its western side. The latter river is said, at times, to contain in it more water than the Mississippi itself. And if the Indians are to be credited with whom I conversed, who lived on its banks, and were [pg 200] well acquainted with both rivers, and the country through which they pass; the district of country along the St. Peters is far preferable to any lands bordering on the Mississippi, above the falls of St. Anthony. The St. Peters rises in latitude forty-six degrees north, and within a mile or two of a lake which is the head of Red river, of Hudson's bay! The Indians told me that they passed with ease from lake to lake, both rivers rising in lakes or ponds within sight of each other. From the same source of information I learned, that, ascending the St. Peters to latitude forty-six degrees north, to the mouth of Goose river, which there enters the St. Peters from the northwest; and then ascending Goose river to a certain point; then crossing over a ridge, not very difficult to be passed, in a southwestern direction from Goose river, to the head waters of Shepherd's river, a water of Missouri—my informant said he had passed, frequently, in four days time, by this route, from the St. Peters to the Missouri. Higher up still, he had passed from river to river, by land, in four days. Yellow Medicine river, a tributary of the St. Peters, is connected with Sioux river, a water of the Missouri, in latitude about forty-three degrees north, by a portage of only about six miles. So the Upper Mississippi is connected with lake Superior, by very short portages, in five or six places.

If any one wished to cross the Rocky mountains, at the head waters of Missouri, in latitude about forty-nine or fifty north, the Upper Mississippi, not the Missouri, ought to be ascended, by any one going from east to west. By going to the head of the St. Peters, and then descending the Red river, of Hudson's bay, to nearly latitude forty-nine degrees, then turning westward, the Rocky mountains might be passed with ease. By that route, a thousand miles of distance might be gained, and the swift and strong current of Missouri avoided, and one month's time saved also. It is a curious fact, in the geological features of this country, that starting at its mouth, and after ascending the "great river," through the Upper Mississippi, until you are three [pg 201] thousand miles from the ocean, on the north side of the gulf of Mexico, you are only one mile from a lake that discharges its waters into Hudson's bay. The length of Red river, of the Frozen ocean, I do not exactly know; but I saw, on my tour, several persons who had traveled the whole route along this river, from Hudson's bay to Prairie Du Chien, and they had no great difficulties to encounter on the route. The Upper Mississippi rises so near the waters of Red river, that one easily passes from river to river. A person then might start from the mouth of the Mississippi, at the gulf of Mexico, and by ascending the river through the St. Peters' branch of it, crossing only one portage, of only a mile in length, and by passing down the Red river, reach Hudson's bay; and sailing out of that, and passing down the Atlantic ocean, along the coast, arrive, through the Mexican gulf, at the point where he took his departure. Or he might leave New Orleans, ascending the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to Portsmouth—then, stepping into a canal boat, he might reach Cleveland, where a steam boat would carry him to Buffalo, and when arrived there, he would find a canal boat waiting to transport him to Albany, and thence a steam boat would take him on to New York; and he could sail in another vessel to the place from whence he started, without even placing his foot on the land, during the time of his absence from home. Or if he wished to visit Quebec, and pass through the gulf of St. Lawrence, instead of sailing from Cleveland to Buffalo, New York, he might pass through the Welland canal, down lake Ontario, through the St. Lawrence, to the ocean, and then over its surface, to his place of residence.

The Missouri river is the real Mississippi, as all know; and is, perhaps, three times, (perhaps even more than three times,) as large as the Upper Mississippi itself. It rises in latitude about fifty degrees north, four thousand miles, and upwards, from the ocean. Eighteen hundred miles above the mouth of the Missouri, it receives, as a tributary, the Yellow Stone, a river larger than the Ohio. One is almost [pg 202] bewildered, when contemplating the vastness of such a stream as this. From St. Louis to the Pacific ocean, the route now followed is up the Missouri to the river Platte; thence up that river, which passes through the Rocky mountains, to a lake near the navigable waters of the Columbia, and down those waters to the sea. If we can credit General Ashley, and others, whose veracity no one who knows them ever doubted, a wagon might now pass, without difficulty, from Baltimore to the Pacific ocean. Loaded wagons, every summer, go from St. Louis, by way of the river Platte, to the Rocky mountains, and return again to St. Louis the same season. Along the national road, when completed from Wheeling to Jefferson city, in Missouri, a rail road might be made, and from thence up the Platte, all the way to the Pacific, without a hill in the way worth naming. I know, from personal observation, that not a single hill or valley prevents the construction of a rail road from Wheeling to St. Louis; and that, I doubt not, is the worst part of the route. When locomotive engines are brought to the perfection experience and ingenuity will soon bring them, goods and passengers could pass between the two seas in less than ten days. That this will be the route to China within fifty years from this time, scarcely admits of a doubt. From sea to sea, a dense population would dwell along the whole route, enliven the prospect by their industry, and animate the scene.

The mind of the patriot is lost in wonder and admiration when he looks through the vista of futurity, at the wealth, the grandeur, and glory, that certainly await our posterity, unless it be their own fault—unless some miserable nullifier destroy us, by dividing these United States. But we hardly need fear such an event—the good sense of the people will prevent it.

Running eastwardly from the Rocky mountains, beginning in the north, we see the main Missouri, the Yellow Stone, the Platte, the Konzaw, the Osage, the White river, [pg 203] the Arkansaw, the Red river (of the Mississippi,) and they are all large and long rivers, which go to contribute their portion of the waters in the Mississippi. As the Mississippi itself passes from north to south, nearer the Alleghanies than the Rocky mountains, so the streams issuing from the base of the Alleghanies are shorter, and carry along in their currents a less quantity of water, than the streams issuing from the foot of the Rocky mountains. Though a greater number of acres of land, covering the surface of, and constituting this great republic, lie west of the Mississippi, than belong to its eastern shore; yet from many circumstances not now necessary to mention, we may consider "the great water" as the true center of our empire. Comparatively poor, sterile, narrow, and pitiful, in point of extent, as the States are bordering on the Atlantic coast, yet they have gotten the start in point of time, over the west—the far west;—they are already settled—their foreign commerce and manufactures will employ a great many people; and indeed the growth of the west will afford great additional employment to the people east of the Alleghanies. All the while our two thousand miles square of territory is filling up with people, Baltimore and Philadelphia—New York and Boston—indeed all the States east of the mountains, whose people are employed in carrying on commerce of all sorts—those which go largely into manufactures, will grow up, in a considerable degree, with us in the west. We shall, forever, so far as I can now foresee, be the best customers the eastern people will have for their fish, their cotton, linen and woolen cloths.

One glance of the eye over the map of North America, shows us a country laid off by its Author, for one people, and to form one great nation, free in its form of government. The country is so divided by mountains, so intersected by long, large, and navigable rivers, branching out, too, towards their sources, into smaller water courses, with rapids and falls in them, and these interlocked with each [pg 204] other, and connected so as to enable the people inhabiting the whole country, to keep up a constant intercourse with each other. Covering, as this country does, such a great extent of surface, passing through sixty degrees of latitude, and nearly four thousand miles of longitude, whose soils are as various as the whole earth affords: such a country can produce in abundance and sustain with ease, all the plants and animals found any where upon the globe. This dissimilarity among the productions of different portions of the same country, produced in different soils, and higher or lower latitudes, leads to commercial intercourse among their own countrymen, to enterprise, to wealth, comfort and happiness. Where commerce leads the way, liberty always follows her footsteps; and much civilization cannot exist any where without both of them. He who raises the olive, the lemon, the orange, the sugar cane, the coffee and cotton plants, in the south, wants the wheat, the rye, the apple, the pork, the beef, the flour, the lard, and even the hay, of the north. And if the southern planter employs slave labor, he will forever be compelled to purchase his glass, his iron tools, even his cabinet furniture, his cutlery, his clocks, watches, jewelry, pins, needles, hats, shoes, and all his cloths, from the northern manufacturer. The mutual wants of the productions of each other, furnish strong inducements to trade with each other; and the navigable waters passing through the whole country, afford the highways, on and by means of which, a constant, rapid, and easy interchange of productions can be effected. Here, then, are the rivers, which are to the body politic exactly what the arteries and veins are to the human body; in them, and through them, circulates the commerce, which is the life blood of this vast country.

This commerce, this interchange of productions, produ ces a healthy action in the body politic: it leads to industry, to enterprise, and they again lead to competency, comfort, and happiness. Mutual wants produce mutual dependence; and thus an union of interest forms a cement, a bond of [pg 205] union which no one but a nullifier would ever wish to withdraw from our political fabric.

These waters all have their sources in latitudes, and in places so elevated, that the people who will dwell near and among them, will be healthy and vigorous, both in body and mind. These people too, will be, must be, in New England, manufacturers, mechanics, fishermen, seafaring, or commercial men, because their soil is too thin, too sterile, naturally or exhausted—as in parts of Maryland and Virginia, by raising tobacco on them—to enable their owners to produce even their own meat and bread much longer. It is not so in the Mississippi valley, where the soil, rich, deep, fertile, new, unexhausted and almost inexhaustible, will produce in vast abundance all the grains and grasses, and of course all the animal food, and all the wool, which their own people—numerous, indeed, as I foresee they will be at no distant day, or all the people dwelling in the southern parts of our country will need, to the end of time. The people in the east will be the greatest manufacturers in the world; whereas, in the higher latitudes, and in the more elevated portions of our own valley, the people will be agriculturists, mechanics, manufacturers, and merchants; building up cities, towns, villages; rearing sheep, hogs, horses, and cattle. Every water fall will be occupied by mills, and used for manufactories; every iron mine will produce its forges and furnaces, and the neighboring hills supply the fuel needed to keep them in operation.

Our vast natural meadows produce grass enough now, to feed and fatten all the domesticated animals, whose food is grass, now existing in Europe or America; and they will one day furnish grass, grain, and meat, enough for all mankind.

To these, now unoccupied mines, waterfalls, fine, fertile lands for tillage; and to these vast natural meadows, covered with fall grasses and beautiful flowers, the genius, the activity and enterprise of the eastern people—the New Englanders, [pg 206] the New Yorkers, the New Jersey people, Pennsylvanians, Marylanders and Virginians will find their way. The wealthy men of those States may wish to retain their people where they are, to labor for a mere trifle for them; but the poor man naturally wants to go to a country where he can own a large farm—have his own houses and barns, cribs and mills—own large droves of cattle, horses, and hogs, see his own fields of wheat, corn, flax, hemp, potatoes, beans, peas, and grass waving in luxuriance, before every gentle breeze of air, far as his eye can extend.

He wishes also, to rear his family where his sons can be physicians, lawyers, divines, members of the legislature, sheriffs, judges or members of congress.* Here, he can place them on a stage where they will be the first players and actors who appear on it, and they thus have an opportunity to get possession of the audience and to keep it. To get possession of this theatre and these boards, the young, the athletic, the enterprising, the ambitious, the high minded, honest and honorable; the learned, the wise, the grave, and the gay—the man of small fortune and large family, may come, from all parts of the world, and here find a fortune and a home for themselves and their posterity forever. At this moment, fifty thousand old maids could find good industrious husbands in the western States. For my testimony, I refer to the late census.

* See appendix A.

In the southern portion of this valley, the soil, the climate, the want of seats for mills and machinery moved by water power—the absence of all the minerals, all point clearly to this, as the dwelling place of the planter and his laborers; and here will be produced all that the northern people cannot produce, and they again will produce all he cannot, to render both people happy, united, one and the same community.

Between the Alleghanies In the Rocky mountains, which are about two thousand miles apart, navigable rivers pass navigable rivers pass [pg 207] through the country at suitable distances from each other, except that portion of it where the Indians are to be sent. There the soil is so poor, too, that it produces nothing but the prickly pear, (cactus opuntia,) and is the only portion of this valley, that is not of some use either to man, beast, fish, or bird. With this exception, all and every portion of this country will, at some future day, support a dense population. Where the prairie country now is, trees of all kinds suitable to the climate, will grow rapidly, and to a great size, wherever man plants or sows the seeds of them in the earth, and bestows a very little culture upon them.

Who will say, that one square inch of all this valley shall not belong to this nation? Who will say, that one drop of rain or flake of snow should ever fall between thse mountains, and not fall on our country, politically, as it is naturally? From ocean to ocean, east and west-from the Frozen sea to Darien, the Creator has laid off its boundaries, and so irrigated it with rivers, throughout its whole vast extent in its interior—so indented it with bays, and sharpened its exterior with capes along its oceans—do located its mountains, filled them with minerals of all sorts, that we ar compelled to look upon North America, as one grand and sublime whole. Under this confederated form of government, where just as many States may exist, as the local interests, feelings and peculiar views of the people who inhabit each section of the country, shall demand, one grand, simple, general government, may, and I doubt not, finally will; govern the whole of North America. The several States, like the planets in our solar system, may resolve around such a general government; as their political center of gravity.

To these materials, so well calculated to form a natural cement and a bond of union, there are considerations which tend to produce a moral cement as valuable, and I would fain hope, as enduring, as the world itself. Who can compensate for the breaking up of this Union, the last hope of liberty? The example of this nation, governed by laws [pg 208] emanating from the people who obey them, easts a steady and enduring light on the path of nations. It has done wonders already in the old world—it will continue to do wonders towards breaking down despotic governments all over the world, until MAN is every where free and happy.

To establish more firmly the bonds of our Union, not by physical power, but by the moral cements of mutual interest and mutual affection, is a work the most exalted, most patriotic, and morally sublime, of any which call employ the thoughts, the time, the labor, and the genius of man. The countinance of this Union, forever, not only transmits to our posterity forever the richest inheritance that any people ever did or ever can possess, but our examplel holds out the only prospect of freedom and happiness for all mankind.

While this nation remains one and undivided, free, prosperous and happy, no despotic government can long exist in Europe. Every throne in that quarter of the world, not founded on the will of the people, is now shaking and ready to tumble down in the dust.

The fear of change perplexes monarchs, and the time is not far distant when the divine rights of kings, and of constables, corporals and bum-bailiffs, will be considered as standing upon the same foundation.

Who will say, that our Revolution and the lights shining out of it on the world, have not opened the eyes of mankind, to the true sources of all earthly power? and that our prosperous condition as a people, and unexampled growth in knowledge, numbers, wealth and power, have not produced the happiest effects on the nations of Europe?

Who then wishes to put out these lights, and to leave the world in darkness once more?

Who is mad enough among us, to harbor the thought of dissolving this Union?

Who can calculate its value, even to our posterity? Who can calculate its value to mankind in every clime, and in all succeeding ages of the world?

[pg 209] As he looks upon the map of this country, where is the man whose mind is not expanded, with the extent of this vast national domain? How is the heart of the patriot, the statesman, the philanthropist, the lover of liberty, filled with joy unutterable, when he looks with prophetic eye over this vast field of future happiness, graudeur and glory, yet in reserve for the human race? Here science, learning, art, free government, human happiness, amd human glory, shall be consummated under the guidance of those benevolent principles and precepts, which christianity has introduced into the world. Here, one language will prevail over a great extent of country, and be used by three hundred millions of people. Here, nearly the same ideas as to government, laws, religion, and every thing else, almost, will also prevail. What a vast field of fame for our authors, our statesmen, jurists, men of science, of literature, is here spread out to their view? Those, whose actions merit glory and renown, will be known to a vast number of people, and their names handed down from age to age, forever. This field is ready for the harvest, and the reapers may now put in their sickles. If the reapers now be few, their several rewards will be the richer.

The scholar may trim his lamp and begin his labors—the poet raise his song, in a language that will be used by one half of the whole human race, while time endures.—Let the statesman lay his wise plans on a scale as large and as grand, as the country his policy is to govern; and his fame shall go down to all succeeding ages, as the benefactor of future generations. Let us then lay aside all low aims, and elevate our views and act upon principles as broad, as free, as liberal, and as enlightened, as our future destiny, grand and sublime, seems to demand.

It is possible that there may be, for some few centuries to come, two or three governments in North America, beside ours—one in Canada, in the north—and one in Mexico, in the southern part of this America—there may be, also, a free and separate government in the West Indies, Cuba [pg 210] being the seat of its general government; but eventually the whole will form but one confederacy.


Is situated on the west bank of the Mississippi river, twenty miles by water, below the mouth of Missiouri, in latitude thirty-eight degrees twenty minutes north.

By a treaty of peace made and concluded in 1763, Canada, with the whole territory belonging to France, eastward of the middle of the Mississippi river, to the lakes Maurepas and Ponchartrain, to the gulf of Mexico, was ceded by France to great Britain. By this treaty, the boundaries of the British provinces were extended southward to the gulf of Mexico, and westward to the Mississippi; the navigation of which, to its mouth, was to be free to both nations. When this treaty was concluded, Mr. Dabbadie was director general, commander, civil and military, of the province of Louisiana; he was ordered to deliver to Great Britain the said ceded territory. He had, about that time, granted a company of merchants of New Orleans, the exclusive commerce of furs and peltries with the Indian nations of the Missouri, and those west of the Mississippi, above the Missouri river, to the river St. Peters. This company, under the style of "Pierre Laclede, Ligueste, Maxant and Company," by virtue of their privilege, sent from New Orleans a considerable expedition, to convey up the Mississippi the necessary goods and merchandise for their trade with the Indians, under the command and direction of Mr. Laclede, principal shareholder, who was chosen by the company, as being the most capable to conduct the expedition and to transact the business of the company.

There was then on the west side of the Mississippi, but the small and weak settlement of St. Genevieve, in which there was not a house sufficiently large to contain the merchandise of the company; and its situation being otherwise [pg 211] inconvenient, and not proper for the transaction of the business of the company, and being moreover too far from the mouth of Missouri, Mr. Laclede resolved, for the time being, to land his merchandise at Fort Chartres, although on the English side. Being there, after Mr. Laclede had sent his merchandise for the Indian trade up the Missouri, as well as up the Mississippi, he resolved to look for a proper situation on the west side of the Mississippi river, where he could make a proper settlement for the purposes of his commerce, which would be more convenient than St. Genevieve; whereupon, after traveling over the country, the site where the city of St. Louis now stands, was chosen, (which was then covered with splendid forest trees, free of undergrowth,) as well on account of its beautiful situation, as its proximity to the Missouri, and the excellence of its soil. Having returned to Fort Chartres, he employed all proper means in his power, to procure the necessary things for the commencement of his new settlement; and having hired workmen of different trades, on the 10th of February, 1764, he sent an armament under the command of the late Colonel Auguste Choteau, who had accompanied him in all his travels, and who was then very young, to build a house at the place they had chosen. Mr. De Laclede being obliged to remain at Fort Chartres, to finish his business before the arrival of the English, Col. Auguste Choteau commenced the settlement on the 15th day of February, 1764, and built the first house, near where the market house now stands; and soon thereafter, several inhabitants of Fort Chartres and Cahokia, came thither and settled. These first settlers were favored and encouraged by Mr. De Laclede, who gratuitously gave them provisions and tools of all kinds, conveyances to transport their effects and families to this new settlement, and even ordered them to be helped by his men, in the building of their houses. Col. Choteau and these new inhabitants, full of gratitude for the liberality of Mr. De Laclede, desired to give his name to this settlement, but he would not consent to it, saying that [pg 212] he desired it to bear the name of St. Louis, which was that of the King, of whom they were all subjects. Mr. De Laclede died at the post of Arkansaw on the 20th of June, 1778; when many of the inhabitants were about to abandon the settlement, but were prevented from doing so by Col. Choteau, who prevailed with them to remain, and furnished them with the means of support. He continued to reside at St. Louis until his death, which took place on the 24th of February, 1829—sixty-four years after the founding of the city—having seen St. Louis, merged in a wilderness, surrounded with different nations of Indians, rise to its present promising and populous condition.

St. Louis is a town containing, now, I presume, about seven thousand inhabitants, about forty stores, a considerable number of lawyers, who are very respectable in their profession, several physicians well bred and well educated; and several clergymen.

Mechanics are much needed, of all sorts. Cabinet makers, house joiners, brick layers, stone masons, might here get full employment, and good prices for their work; and every article of living is cheap, and in abundance. All sorts of foreign goods are very cheap, having arrived here by sea, via New Orleans, and thence, shipped in large steam boats to this place. The freight from Baltimore or Philadelphia, costs about a cent a pound, and goods are brought on here, all summer, as the Mississippi is navigable then, for the largest steamboats, even when they cannot reach Louisville, on account of low waters in the Ohio river.

Several mechanics, with families, from Pittsburgh and Baltimore, were passengers in the same vessel with me, and in two days after our arrival in St. Louis, they were all settled down comfortably, and fully employed in their several trades. I saw them daily afterwards, and they all appeared to be very happy. I understood them to say that their living cost them about half what it did, whither they had come from; and their wages were now fully double [pg 213] what they had heretofore received for similar services. They were stone masons, cabinet makers, tailors, and brick layers.

There was but one tinner in the city, and he was noticed, taken into the best society in the place and was making a fortune by his business.

I am of the opinion that any number of good mechanics, almost, would do well to emigrate to this place, or its neighborhood.

The town occupies the western side of the river, from its very edge, a distance, from north to south, of about two miles, and it may be about half a mile in width from east to west. The streets are laid out parallel with the river, intersecting each other at right angles, like all out western towns. Main street, running parallel with the river, and nearest to it, is well paved with limestone. In this street are located nearly all the stores, and the buildings in it are, many of them, large and elegant. The ground on which the city is built, descends, perhaps, in the distance of half a mile from the west, down to the water's edge, in low water, one hundred feet. Towards the west, from the highest ground, which is the edge of the town, in that direction, the surface rather declines than otherwise. From the mouth of the Missouri, along the western bank of the Mississippi, for a distance of twenty-five miles southwardly, and from the river, westwardly, twenty miles or more, the surface of the earth is sufficiently elevated and level, but none too much so for a city to stand on.

Limestone underlays the whole surface of this no great depth, of exactly the right thickness and texture for building stone.

This rock lies in strata, about four inches in thickness, and is easily quarried, and cut into fragments of the size of a common brick.

Springs of pure and wholesome water are found in abundance in and near the town, which would supply it with water for every necessary purpose, except for water power.

[pg 214] Many persons, however, prefer the dirty water of the Mississippi, use it for drink and culinary purposes. When that is used, it is settled in tanks; at least, several families thus settle it. The old settlers are almost superstitious about this water, believing that while they use it, they will enjoy their health. This turbid water comes from the Missouri river, the Upper Mississippi being as transparent and as pure as the Ohio.

The river here is scarcely a mile in width, running with a pretty strong current, which is crossed every few minutes all day, by a steam ferry boat, carrying passengers, wagons, carriages of all sorts, horses, cattle, and everything else, which it is necessary to transport from bank to bank of the river.

An island lies in the river, rather in the way in crossing, and the ferry boat is compelled to go partly round its lower extremity. Should this island increase in length, as it threatens to do, landings on each side of the river, higher up the stream, must be made, or a channel be made sufficiently deep and wide, through the island, for the passage of the steamboat.

The fuel used in town I should suppose was fossil coal, to a considerable extent, as I saw grates for using it, in nearly every house I entered. This coal comes from Illinois, opposite the center of the town, and about four miles east of it. It is found in the highest ridge of rocks bounding the American bottom, on the east, near the bottom, and exists in such quantities that it will supply the town with it forever, at twelve and a half cents a bushel. My constant employment by night and by day, while at St. Louis, prevented my visiting this coal bed while I was there. This coal is found almost any where in the ridge I have mentioned, and along the Missouri and its tributaries, in such quantities, and is so easily obtained, that the article itself will, at no future day, ever become scarce or dear, and will supply fuel, either for culinary or manufacturing [pg 215] purposes, to any extent which the people, numerous as they must be, will need.

Land, in and about the town, is cheap; so much so, that good land, on the Missouri side of the river, can be purchased now, within sight of the town, for three and four dollars and acre; and on the other side, in Illinois, for one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre.

Farmers and horticulturists may here locate themselves as soon as they please, and make fortunes. General Bissel, who resides in Missouri, about twelve miles from town, and cultivates, I understood him to say, about two hundred acres of land, showed me a book in which he kept an account of the sums he received for articles sent to market here during the then last year; and it amounted to the sum of two thousand dollars. I understood him to say that he employed but seven laborers on his farm, and one of them attended the market to sell the articles produced on the farm.

All the boards and scantling used in building here, that I inquired where they were brought from, came from Pittsburgh, and were brought down the Alleghahy river from the pine groves at the heads of that river and its branches. Though these boards were dearer, of course, than the same articles were at Cincinnati and Louisville, they were much cheaper than I should have supposed, considering the great distance they had been transported from their native forests, and the mills where they had been manufactured.

Pine trees of every species grow on the head waters of the Wisconsin, and on the Mississippi, above St. Anthony's falls. Very little doubt exists in my own mind as to the existence of this tree on the Upper Missouri, in a high latitude. These forests, thus located in a country where water falls exist, will supply for ages, the country below them with pine timber and boards.

Every other species of timber, except the pine, used by the house builder, the joiner and cabinet maker, may be found near St. Louis, on the east side of the river, and floated to it in rafts.

[pg 216] The whole family of walnut trees, paccan and all, are found in Illinois, and may be easily transported by water to this place. They exist on the west side of the Mississippi also, and near it, in many places, on the hill sides, and on their summits, from a short distance above the mouth of the Missouri to the lower rapids, two hundred and forty miles above St. Louis. I was informed too, that pine forests exist on the head waters of the Gasconade river, from which they could be transported without difficulty to St. Louis. As this river rises among the Ozark mountains, the elevation where they grow, on Alpine heights, affords the same temperature for this tree to vegetate in, that a higher latitude would, and its growth here creates no surprise in the mind of the botanist. It is true that some species of pine grow in low latitudes where the soil is sandy and sterile, as along our sea coast, in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and especially in Louisiana; but the white pine prefers Alpine heights, or a higher latitude. The Ozark mountains, in thirty-seven or thirty-eight degrees north, from their elevation, may produce the white, as well as the yellow pine. Growing near a navigable stream, and much nearer St. Louis than any other forests of this tree, they may supplant all others of this family in the market here. The restless, sleepless activity, enterprise and energy of our western people, will soon find these forests, if they are on the waters of the Gasconade, and sawing them into scantling, planks and boards, land them safely at St. Louis, where the saw, the plane, and the hammer will assail them, and thus fit them for the use of man.

The pine growing on the Ozark, I presume, from the latitude of the region, to be the yellow species, as I do not remember ever to have seen the white pine growing below the fortieth degree of latitude in any part of the United States, even on mountains, except in very elevated situations, among the Alleghanies. Those elevated positions, I presume, were higher than any summit among the Ozark chain of mountains, so that if the white pine is there, these [pg 217] summits must be very lofty, more so than I should suppose them to be, from the information I possess.

I regret deeply my total want of information, as to the number of schools and churches in St. Louis, though I do know, that the children and youth of both sexes, belonging to the best families, are well bred and well educated, and those I saw in the streets, behaved, at all times and in all places, where my eye saw them, with the greatest propriety. I should hardly suppose though, that schools existed in this city, in which the young ladies of this town had obtained all the education they most certainly had received. I have seen no where, young ladies better educated, and, the young gentlemen were very little behind them, in this respect.

The presbyterian church was well attended on Sunday, and so was a Sunday school also. The state of society is doubtless improving here, as it is every where, west of the mountains.

The situation of the place, and the whole surface of the country, west of it, indicate health, and there is as much of it here, as can be found any where.

The westwardly wind, that generally prevails here, does not pass over one drop of stagnant water near the town. The bright sparkling eye, the ruddy cheek, firm, quick and elastic step, indicate health among the people of the place.

The market is good, and not very dear, though I saw chickens brought to it from the state of Illinois, a distance of one hundred miles. To me it appeared strange and unaccountable, that the whole plain west of the town, wide spread, and not wanting in fertility, nor dear in price, should be suffered to grow up with bushes, instead of being cultivated by the farmer and the gardener. Why gentlemen of fortune should all prefer, in summer, the sight of a heated pavement, to the green grass, the orchard loaded with delicious fruit, the corn field and garden; and why they should all prefer at the same season, the sound of the guns of the steamers arriving or departing, to the lowing of herds, and flocks of their own raising, I cannot divine. It is one [pg 218] of those freaks of taste, for which there is no accounting, and I almost regret the absence of a law which would punish this, and some other of its strange vagaries.

The Philadelphians would manage these matters much better, if they lived here, I am sure, and so would the Bostonians. Let us hope that a people so worthy, deserving every pleasure this earth has to bestow on human beings, will soon build villas and country seats near the town, where they can assemble and enjoy, not only all the pleasure they now do, under their delightful groves, but even an additional one, the company of their beautiful and accomplished wives, daughters, sisters, and sweethearts, (a homely expression.)

At Nashville it is not so, where, in addition to all that a city can afford, beautiful country seats are seen in all directions, where both sexes meet, and enliven the scene; are happy themselves, and make all happy about them.

The general reader will pardon this digression, I hope, and the people of St. Louis, to whom I feel grateful for their hospitality, forgive this suggestion, which forced itself upon my mind at the time, and was then noticed by me, and not condemned by the company, then and there assembled.

With the French people of the better class, it is different; the old and the young, the rich and the poor, all appear at their parties. The great-grandfather and his lady, if living, are there; and all their descendants of a suitable age to appear in company, who are brought forward at a very early age, are not absent. In that case, a large number of families, appear to be only one family. The gaiety of youth adds vivacity to age, while the wisdom and gravity of age, temper the waywardness of youth. The presence of the females, of all ages, puts a perfect extinguisher upon all conversation of an immodest cast of character. Such an assembly is a perfect school of virtue, politeness, good sense and good breeding. This state of things smoothes the rugged path of life, softens the temper, improves the manners and meliorates the heart. Such a people will always be [pg 219] virtuous, innocent and happy. Gallipolis, on the Ohio, was formerly, when I visited it often, for many years, a perfect example of these parties.

The English people, and the Americans, who have borrowed so much from them, manage things very differently—the men congregate together in little squads, even at assemblies of both sexes, while the other sex are collected by themselves, in similar little groups. Conversations in each group, are held, that are improper to be listened to by the other sex!

Now to my mind, all this is unsociable, tends to moroseness, and the female character does not, as it should do, check any impropriety of conduct in the men; nor does the presence of the latter tend to exalt the female mind to a certain degree of manliness of character, which, in some particular instances, it does not possess. The Creator who formed them both, intended them for the society of each other, that thus, what was deficient in each sex, should be supplied by the other, and a perfect human character be produced. These remarks are intended for all, and not for any one place in particular, certainly not for St. Louis, where the state of the intercourse between the sexes is as pure, as agreeable, as good and as exalted, so far as my opportunities enabled me to judge of it, as can be found any where.


Considering the size of the place, these must amount to a large sum indeed. The American Fur Company have here a large establishment, and the furs, skins and peltry cannot amount to less than one million of dollars annually, which are brought down the-Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

The company trade over a vast region, occupying all the country north and west of this place, quite to the Rocky mountains, and to as low a latitude as the Arkansaw river. I went through their establishment and examined every [pg 220] part of it, and it was well worth seeing. The Indian goods sold by his company, all come from England, and are of the best quality.

This town has the trade of nearly all the State of Illinois, along and near the Mississippi; it supplies the retail merchants of the State of Missouri, with goods of all sorts, and nearly all the produce of the upper country passes through the hands of the merchants of St. Louis.

The government expends large sums of money in St. Louis, and no small portion of all that is expended for the support of the army, is laid out here. The navy department too, purchases provisions in this place; and the Indian department has expended millions of dollars here. Six military posts come here for every thing almost they need; and the officers of the army are here in greater numbers, than they are at any other one point. It was no uncommon occurrence, for forty officers to sit down at the table to dinner, at Town's, where I lodged; and I saw them in other parts of the city daily, and in considerable numbers.

The trade to New Orleans is a heavy business, as to the amount of its value, and steam vessels of the largest class arrive and depart, not only every day, but several of them in each day.

They were always well freighted, both ways. Steamers ply regularly between this place and Franklin, on Missouri river, and they often ascend the Upper Mississippi. From New Orleans, they bring European goods, molasses, sugar, cotton, alum, salt, coffee, and every article produced in the States of Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana, as well as the productions of the West Indies. From Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Louisville, they bring whisky, beer, porter, ale, pork, flour, beef, iron in castings, bars, bolts, and nails—indeed, all the articles manufactured of either iron or steel—cabinet furniture, hats, tobacco, gun powder, salt-peter hemp and cordage. These articles are bought to sell again to the upper-country people. [pg 221] The trade in lead, manufactured, either in Missouri, or in the mineral region of the Upper Mississippi, has been a great business. The manufacture of lead, into the form of shot, has been carried on to a considerable extent, at Herculaneum, below this town. From my imperfect knowledge, having no estimate of any kind before me, of any branch of this trade and commerce, nor the means of obtaining one, from any very authentic source, it may look like presumption in me to make one; but were I to do so, I should estimate the commerce and trade of St. Louis, at this time, at ten millions of dollars annually. It cannot be less, I think, and may be more, much more.

This trade is increasing and must increase for ages yet to come, as the country fills up with people, over a surface larger than that of all France—a country, for fertility of soil, and healthy and invigorating climate, equals any other country in the world. At some day, not very distant, either, four or five millions of people, will transact nearly all their mercantile, business at St. Louis. When the country is fully settled, and properly improved, on all the Mississippi and Missouri waters, thirty millions of people will trade here.

Their trade to the UpperMexican Provinces, now amounts to several hundred thousand dollars annually, and that trade will increase in amount and activity, every year.—This place too, will be on the direct route from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean, and when our, settlements reach the latter, as they soon will, the trade between this valley and that ocean, will all, or nearly all, pass through this town. If not the first city in the nation, it must be the second in point of magnitude and importance, New Orleans being the first city, on this continent. A surface of territory equal to one thousand miles square, must send its trade here forever, and the next census will place the seat of the National Government at this place.

We are often told by eastern scientific empiries, who have seen them, of the sterility of the soil where the prairies [pg 222] are; but the very reverse is the fact. All the country lying between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, is the healthiest, most fertile and best watered country in the world, and will one day support as dense a population, as any part of China now does. From thirty-seven to forty-eight degrees north; from the Wabash river or near to it, to the Rocky mountains in the west, in all future time, the people of that whole region, will go to St. Louis to trade; because located as it is, no town can ever grow up, nearer to it than Louisville, and that will add to the business of St. Louis, but never will, and never can injure it, in the smallest degree. The same may be said of Cincinnati, the trade of each, adds to each, and not the reverse.

As a manufacturing State, Missouri will rank very high, having iron ore and fossil coal in its hills, enough to supply the world with those articles, and whatever they can produce. Its lead ore, and its salt water, both abundant, in many places, are not without their value.

Little minds are apt to envy the prosperity of their neighbors, or, in other words, many people are too selfish for their own self interest. The growth of St. Louis will not, cannot prevent the growth of Cincinnati or Louisville, more than it will the growth and prosperity of Boston, New York, Philadelphia or Baltimore. Indeed, the growth and success of our whole western country will add vastly to the prosperity of the eastern section of our union. The political power of the east, it is true, is departing to the west; but that need not, ought not, to be a cause of heart burning in the east. When they erected this government, they gave it its boundaries, and provided for a representation of the people, wherever they dwelt, within certain limits; those who erected this government, certainly never intended that nine-tenths of the whole country—almost all of it, that was intended to be the most useful to man, was to remain under the dominion of a few wandering savages, and wild beasts. No, the framers of our constitution intended the whole country to be filled up with civilized people, and then see [pg 223] what this vast country would be. This process is going on as rapidly as the heart of the patriot can wish, and that process will make St. Louis, situated as it is, the future capital of a great nation.


Although this town was originally settled by the French, and although Spain governed this country awhile, yet the people now are of as mixed a character as almost any town in the Union presents. The character of the people may be safely set down, though, as being nearly the same with the best people of Kentucky, Tennessee, and old Virginia, with one additional trait of character—they have all the hospitality of the old Virginians, Kentuckians and Tennesseans, and at the same time they are, without doubt, the most enterprising people in the world. Should a whole town in Missouri unite, as they often do, to treat some stranger with attention, and even amidst their festivity, should any intelligence be received from Santa Fee, the foot of the Rocky mountains, or St. Peters, that would make it for the interest of any one present, to be off to any one of those places, or to all of them in succession, he would be on his way to the place of his destination, in an hour after he got the news. They think no more of a trip to the Rocky mountains, than they do of any daily occurrence, and not a few of them, have been there often, and every where else, almost, in the world.

I suspect, that for their numbers, the population of St. Louis, in particular, and of Missouri in general, is as intelligent, enterprising, active and industrious as any in the world. I confess, that I have seen no people quite equal to them in these respects, any where else.

It has been, perhaps, justly remarked, that in old French settlements, made in America, the people had very little energy or enterprise, compared with descendants of English-men. That might have been true formerly, but certainly is [pg 224] not true now. The Chouteaus, the Menards, Vallis, &c., &c., of Missouri, are as active, as restless, as stirring and as enterprising, as any people can be. They scale every mountain, swim every river, navigate every stream of water, they traverse every prarie, and explore every section of country, east of the Rocky mountains, in quest of furs, peltries and skins. They build large houses, and dwell in them—erect large store houses, and occupy them—build vessels, and sail in them to any part of the world. Their spirits are as stirring, their views are as extended, their aims as elevated, their flights as lofty as any one could even desire.


Landing on the morning of the 12th day of June, 1829, at St. Louis, I was introduced to Mr. TOWN, who keeps the principal tavern in the city. He had every thing in readiness to convey me and my baggage to his house, where I found myself comfortably lodged in a few minutes; and found there not a few officers of the army. Calling on Colonel Benton, with whom I was personally well acquainted, I found him surrounded by his large and most interesting and amiable family, at home. As a member of the United States Senate, he knew every thing about my mission, its origin, its objects, and its difficulties. The two former he fully detailed to me, and gave me a glimpse of the last. General M'Neil was out of town, somewhere, among the officers of the army, as he almost always was afterwards, when near any military post; and Colonel Menard, the other commissioner, was at Kaskaskia, where he lived, sixty miles, or upwards, from St. Louis. These gentlemen had met, differed in opinion, and parted without appointing a secretary, or purchasing any goods, or in fact, doing any thing to forward the objects of the mission, scarcely.

On visiting General Clarke, the superintendent of Indian affairs, I was more fully informed of the difficulties so unexpectedly [pg 225] thrown in my way—there was no appropriation of one cent, to carry the mission into effect; whereas, large sums of money must be raised by the commissioners on their own individual credit—the day had passed by when the council was to have been held at Rock island, and the time had been extended to a day too near at hand, to hold it, and the place had been changed to Prairie du Chien. Treachery existed among the officers of the Indian department, located in the Indian country; and their letters, detailing all their plots and manoeuvres, were put in my possession! The politicians opposed to the administration, were loudly proclaiming the total failure of the mission, and condemning the President and Secretary of War on that account. Discouraging as all these circumstances were, I determined to fully inform myself of every thing, before I gave up the mission. General Clark had with him several Sauk and Fox Indians, who had brought in to be redeemed, a Sioux woman, their prisoner. To them I was introduced by General Clark, with whom I sat in council, and held with them several long talks. They lived in the country where I was going, and were well acquainted in it. They knew all the Indians I was going to treat with. Some of them lived near Rock island, and others near Du Buque's mine, not far from Galena, five hundred miles north of St. Louis. The acquaintance I made with these people, proved very useful to us afterwards, and the information I derived from them now, enabled me to, take several steps immediately, to counteract an opposition to us, originating in the upper part of Indiana. From them I learned, that the Black Hawk, and his band of Sauks, had gone to Drummond's island, to receive their annuity from the British government; and that a principal Sauk had gone to the mouth of Eel river, of the Wabash, whither he had been invited by an officer of the Indian department.

Gloomy as all these circumstances were, I determined to go forward in the business in which I was engaged, and [pg 226] General Clark, Colonel Benton, and others, promised all. their aid to carry it into effect—and they faithfully performed all their promises to me. The former set his clerks to work, to make all the maps necessary for me, and he furnished me every book, paper and document I needed, and which he possessed or could obtain. General Clark's collection of Indian clothing, manufactures, and every thing else relating to the Indians of North America, is probably the best in the world.

Occupying myself, by night and by day, with my business, at the end of several days General M'Niel appeared, and after appointing as secretary, Charles Hempstead, we took all the pains we could to select our goods, and finally purchased them, and made ready, as rapidly as possible, to fit out our expedition. The goods were selected with a view to be useful to the Indians, rather than showy ones; and they were the cheapest goods ever purchased in this market. Calicoes cost the Indians but fifteen cents a yard, when delivered to them at Prairie du Chien, and tobacco but four cents a pound; and every other article was equally cheap and of the best quality. When placed on board the vessel, they weighed forty tons, at least.

A few days before our departure for the Upper Mississippi, Colonel Menard appeared, and approving of all that we had done, as I supposed, we departed from St. Louis on the 30th day of June, 1829.

The nineteen days which I spent here, were occupied almost every moment, in the public service, and I had no leisure at my command. Sometimes I had company at my room, attending to business there, and at other times I was compelled to traverse the town and make calls at many places. While there, I found the people civil, polite, and as hospitable as I could have wished. My business wholly prevented my accepting numerous invitations to dine, at places where, under other circumstances, I should by no means have declined the invitation. Necessity, stern and [pg 227] unrelenting, prevented me from pursuing a course, which, had I had the command of my time, would have been very agreeable to me.

At noon, on the 30th day of June, on board the barge of the Missouri steamer, we took leave of Colonel Benton, General Clark, and a large number of friends, who had accompanied us to the vessel. We had a great number of passengers, male and female, bound mostly either to Galena or to Prairie du Chien. Leaving the shore, we stemmed the strong current of the Mississippi, passed the mouths of the Missouri, and landed before sunset at Alton, on the Illinois side of the river, where we tarried until morning. This town is twenty miles or more above St. Louis, and not far above the mouth of the Missouri. It is located at the point where the ridge of rocks bounding the American Bottom on the east, strikes the Mississippi, and there ends. Alton is owned by Major Hunter, formerly of the army, and the State is building, or rather, perhaps, has built before this time, a State penitentiary here. Several steam mills, &c., are here, and the place is rapidly rising up to some importance.

Being near the mouth of the Missouri, and the point from whence a road could most easily be made, leading eastwardly, in the direction of Edwardsville, from which it is only about nine miles distant—the abundance of fossil coal on the spot, and many other advantages, give this place a decided preference, in my opinion, over any other between it and any one on the east side of the river, above the mouth of the Ohio.

Early in the morning of the first day of July, we started again, and passing the mouth of Illinois river, we stopped a moment to land passengers at a nominal village, called, if my memory serves me, Passage des Sioux. Mr. Hempstead, brother of our secretary, and some others who were going to St. Charles, took this route in preference to the direct one, as they had but a few miles to travel across from the Mississippi to the Missouri, on the opposite side from St. Louis, where St. Charles stands.

[pg 228] We again moved forward, stopping at Clarksville, Louisiana, and Hannibal, small towns on the Missouri side of the river, and tarried longer in the day time, at a little town called Quincy, two hundred miles perhaps above St. Louis, than any where else, until on the morning of the 4th of July, we landed under a discharge of cannon at Keokuck, two hundred and forty miles north of St. Louis, at the foot of the rapids of Des Moines.

The towns we had passed were all small ones, and newly built, in which we procured ice, butter, eggs, chickens, and steamboat wood. Generally speaking, the Missouri side of the river was by far the best, and perpendicular rocks not unfrequently formed the eastern shore. Lying in horizontal strata, for miles together, every stratum could be seen to a considerable distance.

Quincy stands mostly on a high bluff, and contains some forty families of very decent looking people, but paleness of countenance told us the same sad tale, that the low marshes along the river near them, and the wet prairie just east of the town, covered with grasses and weeds ten feet high, might have told them, if properly interrogated. The hill where the town stands is high enough for all the fogs from the marshes along the river to rest on, and they take the liberty to do so. A land office is established here, but the location is a bad one, and never can be healthy. To me the people appeared better than any I saw in Illinois, as a whole; and my only regret is that such a people should have settled on a spot so insalubrious.

At the water's edge I saw jasper, in place, though of a poor quality, just below where we landed at Quincy.

All the rocks I saw along the Mississippi, from the mouth of the Ohio upwards, were of secondary formation, and limestone predominated, though deposites of sandstone were occasionally seen lying in strata for miles together.

Above the Missouri, on the western side of the Mississippi, the streams putting into the "great water," were quite [pg 229] small ones, and only valuable for mill streams, until we arrived at fort Edwards, on the eastern shore, and opposite the Des Moines river. This river is a large one, compared with any we had passed above the Missouri. It may not be longer than the Illinois river, but I should think it carries in its current more water, though perhaps it is not more than three hundred miles in length.

Fort Edwards is three miles below the foot of the rapids, on the east side of the river, and the buildings being painted white, located on a high bluff that juts out into the river, looks beautifully from Keokuck village. The rapids are twelve miles long, and in a common stage of the water, present no impediment to steamboat navigation; but low as the river was when we arrived there, it was impossible for any loaded steamboat to ascend them. The river is from half a mile to a mile in width here, without any island in the river, in the distance of twelve miles, an uncommon feature in the Upper Mississippi, which is full of islands and sandbars, in a low stage of water. Keokuck is in latitude about forty degrees twenty north, and belongs to the half breeds, whose capital it is, on the western side of the Mississippi. The northern line of the State of Missouri, in running from its northwest corner eastwardly, is a straight line, until it strikes the Des Moines river; thence following that river to its mouth. A triangle containing one hundred and thirty-six thousand acres of land, north of and adjoining the lower end of the Des Moines river, by treaty, has been given to the half breeds, and is owned by about forty-two persons. Congress have passed an act to divide it into shares for them, and at their own request they are to belong to the State of Missouri. From the mouth of the Des Moines, along the Mississippi, following the sinuosities of the river, their front on the river may be thirty miles. It is a very fine tract of land, generally well timbered, except on the bottoms of the Des Moines, which is valuable prairie land.

[pg 230] The village is a small one, containing twenty families perhaps. The American Fur Company have a store here, and there is a tavern. Many Indians were fishing, and their lights on the rapids in a dark night, were darting about, appearing and disappearing like so many fire flies. The constant roaring of the waters on the rapids, the occasional Indian yell, the lights of their fires on the shore, and the boisterous mirth of the people at the doggery, attracted my attention occasionally while we were lying here. Fish were caught here in abundance.

On the eastern side of the river the lands are all occupied by white people, from fort Edwards upwards, for many miles above the rapids. Farms are opening, and log houses appear almost every half mile on that shore.

On the west side only a few places are opened by half breeds.

The beach on the western shore is narrow, and the hills of moderate elevation, come quite down to the high water mark.

Large blocks of coarse sandstone have been floated down on the ice at different times, from the St. Peters river, and lodged on the beach. The rocks in place are limestone, though great numbers of geodes of quartz cover the beach.

After making every arrangement for conveying the public property over these rapids, and seeing every thing done here that could be done by the commissioners, I started on foot to walk over the rough hills skirting the western shore. Our provisions, though started nearly one month before from St. Louis, were scattered along these rapids, and I found a considerable part of them as I ascended the river's edge, lying on the beach and exposed to the hot sun.

After a tiresome walk of several miles, I reached Philip Blondeau's farm. Him I found sick, lying under a shade, out of doors. He was a sub-agent formerly, and his family are owners to a considerable extent of this fine tract of land. His wife is an Indian woman, and his daughters [pg 231] are well educated, well read, and accomplished young ladies.

His farm is a fine fertile one, and his dwelling house is on the bank of the river, within a few rods of the water's edge. His corn on the side hill covered a great space, and looked finely. Here I ate as good a dinner as any one ever did, of venison just killed, and of fish just caught as I arrived there.

Highly gratified with the treatment I received from this interesting family, I moved forward again on foot, and reached, an island in the river just above the head of the rapids, and opposite an Indian town, where I found a steamboat lying, and went on board it.

This vessel was occupied by its owner, who had his wife and children with him. The boat was as poor an one as ever was navigated; it had been up the river and was detained here by the rapids. During the night it rained hard, and in addition to getting as wet in my birth as water could make me, a drunken set of fellows, who, in addition to boisterous mirth, gambling, and blasphemous oaths, finally added quarreling to the turbulent scene. Knowing that one man, by his example, had produced the whole, wicked and disgraceful conduct that so much annoyed us, on the arrival of Colonel Menard, next day, I arranged every thing to stop any thing of the kind in future. On learning our determination, the author of all this disturbance, just about dark, inquired of me as to the intended opposition, and I frankly told him that no more such conduct would be permitted either now or hereafter, while I was with him. He told me I might leave the expedition and go home; but I informed him that I would neither go home, nor would I permit him to. act as he had done constantly for some time past. Ascertaining my determination, and that every other person on board united with me, he was compelled to acquiesce, and behave himself better in future. He never ventured again so to conduct himself in my presence, though the effects of [pg 232] similar conduct afterwards were but too visible on many occasions.

I suffered in Washington through his misrepresentations, slanders, and falsehoods, without my ever hinting the cause of his disappointed malignity. No other course was left to me—I took it, and it saved all, though it destroyed me at court. I had done my duty, and felt regardless of any injury to myself, and still rejoice that I met the occasion as I did, promptly and efficiently.

In company with Mr. Johnson, formerly an Indian trader, under the old factory system, I visited Quasquawma's village of Fox Indians. This town was exactly opposite our island, on the west bank of the river, and consists of perhaps forty or fifty persons. Landing from our canoe, we went to Quasquawma's wigwam, and found him and several of his wives and children at home. These Indians had joined the United States during the last war. The wigwam we visited was a fair sample of all that we saw afterwards in the Indian country, and was covered with white elm bark, fastened on the outside of upright posts fixed in the ground, by ropes made of barks, passed through the covering and tied on the inside around the posts.

I should suppose that this dwelling was forty feet long a twenty wide—that six feet on each of the sides, within doors, was occupied by the place where the family slept. Their beds consisted of a platform raised four feet from the earth, resting on poles, tied at that height to posts standing upright in the ground, opposite each other, and touching the roof. On these poles, so fastened to the posts, were laid barks of trees, and upon these barks were laid blankets and the skins of deer, bears, bisons, &c. These were the beds. Between these beds was an open space, perhaps six or eight feet in width, running the whole length of the wigwam. In this space fires were kindled in cold and wet weather, and here, at such times, the cooking was carried on, and the family warmed themselves, eat their food, &c.

[pg 233] There was no chimney, and the smoke either passed through the roof, or out at the doors, at the ends of the wigwam. On all the waters of the upper Mississippi, no better dwelling is to be found among the Indians. Quasquawma was reposing himself on his bed of state when we went into his palace, and the only person at work was one of his wives, at the door, dressing a deer skin. He appeared to be about sixty-five years of age, perhaps he was even older.

He appeared very friendly to Mr. Johnson, whom he well knew; and we held a long and interesting talk with him. We told him all our business, asked his advice and aid, which he cheerfully promised; and he was of great use to us, from that time forward, until the treaties were conceluded. His son-in-law, one of the principal civil chiefs of the Foxes, was not at home then, and we did not see him until we arrived at Rock island.

Quasquawma showed us where he had cut out on a bark, a representation of a steamboat, with every thing belonging to it. This bark formed a part of his dwelling, and was cut on the inner side. It appears, that he had made three attempts before he succeeded to his wishes. He finally succeeded so perfectly, that the cannon was going off, a dog was represented as sitting down near an officer of our army, with his chapeau de bras on, his epauletts were on his shoulders, and several privates were seen standing on the boat. Nothing could be more natural than this representation, of which he evidently felt quite proud. We praised it greatly, which did not displease him. A few small patches of corn were growing near by, but poorly fenced and badly tilled, among which the weeds were standing between the hills of corn.

The chief went around his village and showed us whatever we wished to see, until we requested him to take us back to our island in his canoe, ours having returned, which he politely did. Not long afterwards, the chief at the head of all his band, old and young, waited on us, at our steamboat, beside this island. They were dressed in their [pg 234] best manner, and Quasquawma introduced them one and all to Mr. Johnson and myself. One woman gaily painted, the one whom we had seen at work, remained by herself some ten rods off, and would come no nearer to us. On my inquiring the cause of her not approaching us any nearer, after having solemnly assured him and all of them, of none but the most kind and friendly treatment from our whole company; I was informed by Quasquawma that her appearance indicated that the woman so painted and dressed, "was for sale." Not understanding him at first, he explained himself so fully by words and by signs, that there was no mistaking his meaning. Any one determined to believe our Indians to be "the lost tribes of Israel," would have found proof positive, in favor of such an idea, in this custom of sitting by the wayside, painted and dressed as this woman was on this occasion. Parallel instances in the old testament times and manners, are not wanting.

The visit was continued for some hours, until we had made our guests many presents of flour, meat, and goods; when they returned to their village, highly gratified with the treatment they received from us on this island.

We were employed seven days in getting the public property over this rapid, when just before sundown, on the seventh day, we went on board another steamer, the Red Rover, and passed up the river a few miles where we lay by for the night. Next morning we raised the steam and moved forward slowly, being often detained by low water, and sand bars, so that we did not arrive at Rock island until the third day about noon.

About thirty-five miles below Rock island, the beautiful country on the west side of the river opened to view, and from the first moment we saw it, all eyes were turned towards it. At every turn of the river, as we moved along, new bursts of wonder and admiration were poured out by all the passengers. The ladies were enraptured at the numerous and beautiful situations for dwelling houses, where they wished one day to live in rural bliss.

[pg 235] Sometimes the east side of the river offered as beautiful situations as the west, though, as a whole, the west was preferable.

Nature had done all—man nothing—and not a human being was seen upon either shore, nor a human habitation. That such a beautiful country was intended by its Author to be forever in the possession and occupancy of serpents wild fowls, wild beasts, and savages, who derive little benefit from it, no reasonable man can for one moment believe, who sees it. The river here, may well compare with the Connecticut, at Northampton in Massachusetts; and take away the buildings and fences from the lovely country about the place just named, and you have the country below Rock island, with this exception—the bottom lands on the Mississippi are wider, they rise more regularly from the river, and the hills are not so high, nor so irregular as those at Northampton. They are as fertile as the bottoms, and as well covered with grasses as those on the Connecticut, without one weed intermixed, until you reach the very summits, when the woods, thick, lofty, green and delightful, begin and extend back, west of the hills, to a considerable distance from the river. Adjoining the river is grass, on the western slope of the hills are thick woods.

The bottoms covered with tall grasses begin on the very brink of the river, above high water mark, and they gradually ascend from one to three miles back, intersected every mile or two, by never failing rivulets, originating in the hills; and the ground between the springs is rounded, as if by art, and fitted for a mansion house and its attendant buildings. Princes might dwell here, once within a mile or two of each other, fronting the Mississippi and along it, and possess handsomer seats than any one of them can boast of in the old world. We could hardly persuade ourselves, many times, when we first saw any one of these beautiful spots, that all the art that man possessed, and wealth could employ, had not been used to fit the place for some gentleman's country seat; and every moment, as we passed [pg 236] along, we expected to see some princely mansion, erected on the rising ground. Vain illusion! nature had done all to adorn and beautify the scenery before our eyes.

Setting down a pair of compasses large enough to extend thirty-five miles around the lower end of Rock island, and taking a sweep around it, you would have within the circle the handsomest and most delightful spot on the whole globe, so far as nature can produce any thing called beautiful. The island is in latitude forty-one degrees thirty minutes, is two miles in length, containing about two thousand acres of land. The extreme lower end, is occupied by fort Armstrong and the village of Rock island. After passing through several feet of rich alluvial soil in perforating the earth, you come to lime stone rock, which forms the foundation of this island. Passing around this island, which is long and narrow, you every where see the rock on which the fort and village stand. The lower end of the island is high and dry above the river, whereas the upper end is overflowed in high waters, and all the upper end of the island is covered with a forest of excellent timber trees. The main channel of the river is on the western side of the island, and that part of the Mississippi is half a mile in width; whereas, in a low stage of the water, as when we saw it, the eastern branch of the river is not more than twenty rods wide perhaps, though so deep that it is ferried constantly from the island to the main land.

When we were there, the ground where the fort stood was twenty feet or more above the surface of the river, ten or more feet of it were limestone rock, from the water upwards.

The officers have adjoining the fort a most beautiful garden, regularly laid out with graveled walks, in which are cultivated beets, carrots, onions, potatoes, corn, and every vegetable growing in this climate. Nothing could exceed this garden, in fruitfulness, and every leaf appeared to shine in luxuriance. The gourd-seed corn was fit to roast, the beets had attained a good size, and so had the potatoes, beans and carrots.

[pg 237] The village adjoins the fort on the north, and a few families live here, Mr. Davenport, who keeps a store for the American Fur Company, being a principal man among them. The sutler has a store here in addition to the company's store, Mr. Davenport is an Englishman, and formerly lived at Cincinnati, where I became acquainted with him. His son-in-law, and a few others, live on the island. With such persons I was happy to meet in the "Far West," and they were of use to us.

General M'Niel went to the fort as soon as we landed, and Colonel Menard and myself went to the Indian agent's, Mr. Forsyth, where we were met by the Winnebago prophet and about two hundred Indians of that nation. Seating ourselves in the porch of the agency house, we were addressed by five orators in succession, who complained bitterly of neglect, as they had been here sometime awaiting our arrival, without having been fed as they expected by us. "They wanted flour, hog meat, and whisky."

We explained to them the cause of our not appearing there sooner. They then complained of the change of place to Prairie du Chien, from this place, where they had come, but would not go to the latter place. We explained the reason why the place was changed; because Nawkaw had requested the change, and he was the principal chief, whose wishes governed the Secretary of War, in this matter. We immediately purchased eleven barrels of flour, and gave them, with a suitable number of barrels ofpork and we gave them also two hundred pipes; and a plenty of tobacco, which we procured of Mr. Davenport, our stores not having yet reached us here.

Giving orders to Mr. Forsyth, the agent, to follow us in four or five days, with the prophet, and certain chiefs and warriors, whom we named, we went to rest, not very late in the night. As soon as General M'Niel made his appearance in the morning, we moved up the rapids, which begin at the lower end of this island, and extend upwards eighteen miles. We had lightened our frail vessel, so that by [pg 238] traveling on foot ourselves, along the shore, in the sand and over the pebbles, slipping back at every step, we made our way up the river very slowly. Colonel Menard, myself, and every man who could walk, and not needed to navigate the vessel, went on foot—General M'Niel and the ladies continuing on board. Sometimes we turned out into the prairie, but the high grass, weeds, marsh and mud, soon compelled us to return to the sandy beach. Sometimes the woods approached quite to the river, on the east side, where we traveled, especially towards the upper end of the rapids.

Before sunset the vessel had passed the rapids, and we encamped for the night. The next day we moved on again, without any unusual accident, encamped again at night, and next day reached Fever river, ascended it seven miles, and landed at Galena, five hundred miles above St. Louis. This river is as crooked as any serpent's path need be, and it rises and falls with the Mississippi. Though seven miles by the Fever to the town, yet the village is but about three miles, on a direct line east of the Mississippi.


Stands on the land we afterwards purchased of the Indians, and is the largest town in Illinois. When we arrived there, it had been settled about three years. It contained several taverns, a considerable number of stores, about a dozen lawyers, four or five physicians, with little to do, as the country is healthy. There were three religious congregations in the place—Methodists, Roman Catholics and Presbyterians. The town is built on the side hill, in the form of a crescent, on the north side of Fever river, and contains, perhaps, one thousand inhabitants. It is a seat of justice of Joe Davis county, Illinois, and is situate in latitude about forty-two degrees thirty minutes north. It contains, at all times, very large quantities of lead, brought here, either as rent to the government, or for sale to the merchants. The superintendent of the mines, and his assistant, [pg 239] Major Campbell, live here. The latter gentleman and his amiable and interesting lady, had been with, us on our passage from St. Louis, and they were happy to find themselves at the end of as disagreeable a journey as was ever made on these waters.

Numerous groceries appeared in the town, to us, and two billiard tables were occupied by persons who wished to amuse themselves at billiards.

Mr. James Barnes, formerly of Chillicothe, Ohio, kept an excellent boarding house, and I found many old acquaintances in the town, enjoying the best of health, and they appeared cheerful and happy.

Here we learned, that a large body of Indians had already been assembled at Prairie du Chien, for some time, and were in readiness to meet us. Knowing the necessity of supplying them with food, that ours would not reach us for some time yet, and knowing this to be the last opportunity we should find, to purchase any food, we purchased five hundred bushels of corn, and loading all we could convey, we left this beautiful town on the next day, and departed for our final destination, where we arrived about the middle of July, 1829.

As soon as we were discovered by our red friends, a few miles below the fort, opposite to their encampment, they fired into the air, about fifteen hundred rifles to honor us. Our powder had become wet, and, to our extreme mortification and regret, we could not answer them by our cannon. Having fired their arms, some run on foot, some rode on their small horses furiously along over the prairie to meet us where we landed. Amidst the motley group of thousands, of all ages, sexes, classes of society, colors and conditions, of men, women and children, who met us on the wharf, Nawkaw and Hoochopekah, with their families, eagerly seized my hand, and I was happy indeed, to meet them here. During twenty years, I had seen them several times, and they recognized me in a moment, among the crowd, and assured me of their friendship and good wishes. [pg 240] These chiefs of the Winnebagoes, and their families, pressed around me, and continued close by me until we reached the tavern where we went. There we entered into a long conversation, and they introduced me to their red friends. I assured them of my ardent friendship, and "that they and their people should be dealt with, not only justly but liberally. That the President, their great father, was their friend, a warrior like them, and never would do them any injury: That I wished them all to remember what I now told them, and when we finally parted, if my solemn promise, thus voluntarily made to them, had not been kept to the very letter, I wished them to publicly tell me so." Shaking me heartily by the hand, and assuring me of their friendship, they then appealed to Colonel Menard, who heartly agreed with me, in assuring them of our good intentions towards them.

Doctor Wolcott, the agent for the Chippeways, Ottowas, and Pottawatimies, here met us, and he had been at incredible pains to get his Indians here, where they had been for nearly a month perhaps. Mr. Kinzy, the sub-agent of the Winnebagoes, whose sub-agency is located at fort Winnebago, had also come, and with him all the principal persons of that nation, residing in that direction.

All the Indians with whom we were sent to treat, were represented on the ground, and all that was wanting to begin our councils, we urged forward with all the energy that the officers of the government and their numerous friends could muster. The next day, in company with General Street, the agent of the Winnebagoes, resident here, several sub-agents and interpreters, I met the principal men of the Winnebagoes, and we impressed upon them the necessity of keeping their young men under subjection, and arranged with them the outlines of the manner in which our should be conducted. The talk was a long one, and occupied the afternoon. General Street was very zealous in the service of the government.

[pg 241] The officers at the fort erected a council shade near the fort, and in about three days we were. ready to hold a public council, when Doctor Wolcott's Indians informed me that they could not meet in public council until an Indian was buried, and inquired of me if I objected to the burial; to which I replied, that I could not object to the burial, certainly. On the next day, to my regret, I learned they would not assemble in council until the Indian was buried, and again inquired whether I was willing to have the person buried? To which question I replied in the affirmative, when I was informed that the relatives of the deceased would not consent to the burial of the murdered person until they had received a horse, as the compensation for his death. Understanding the difficulty at last, the commissioners gave the horse, the deceased was buried, and the Indians agreed to meet in council next day.

I took some pains to get the murderer and the relatives of the deceased together, in order to have a perfect reconciliation between them. They shook hands very cordially in appearance, but the relatives of the deceased person informed me privately afterwards, that as soon as the murderer got home with his horse and goods, they would kill him, and take his property, which he could better keep than they could, until then. If I am correctly informed, they did as they assured me they would, after their arrival in their own country. So that compounding for the murder only procrastinated, for a time, the punishment of the crime?

When every thing was in readiness for the opening of the council, the Indians of all the tribes and nations on the treaty ground, attended, and requested to have translated to them, severally, what we said to each tribe; which being assented to on our part, the Winnebagoes, the Chippeways, Ottowas, Pottawatimies, Sioux, Sauks, Foxes and Munominees, half breeds, the officers from the fort, the Indian agents, sub-agents, interpreters, and a great concourse of strangers from every city in the Union, and even from Liverpool, London, and Paris, were in attendance.

[pg 242] The commissioners sat on a raised bench, facing the Indian chiefs; on each side of them stood the officers of the army in full dresses, while the soldiers, in their best attire, appeared in bright array, on the sides of the council shade. The ladies belonging to the officers' families, and the best families in the Prairie, were seated directly behind the commissioners, where they could see all that passed, and hear all that was said. Behind the principal Indian chiefs sat the common people—first the men, then the women and children, to the number of thousands, who listened in breathless and death-like silence to every word that was uttered. The spectacle was grand and morally sublime, in the highest degree, to the nations of red men who were present; and when our proposition to sell all their country to their great father had been delivered to them, they requested an exact copy of it in writing: the request was instantly complied with, and the council broke up. Next day we addressed the Winnebagoes, as we had the Chippeways, &c., the day before, and at their request gave them a copy of our speech.

After counciling among themselves, the Chippeways, &c., answered favorably as to a sale, though they would do nothing yet, until they had fixed on their terms.

The Winnebagoes appeared in council, and delivered many speeches to us. They demanded the twenty thousand dollars worth of goods. "Wipe out your debt," was their reply, "before you run in debt again to us."

Our goods, owing to the low stage of the water, had not arrived yet, and the Indians feared we did not intend to fulfill Governor Cass's agreement of the year before. When our goods did arrive, and they saw them, they then changed their tone a little; but in the mean time, great uneasiness existed, and I was often seriously advised by Nawkaw, and other friends, to go into the fort, as General M'Niel had done. Colonel Menard's ill health had compelled him to leave the ground, and go to General Street's, five miles, (the General calls it three,) from the council house. Unless we [pg 243] left the ground, we were told by the Winnebagoes, that they "would use a little switch upon us." In plain English, they would assassinate the whole of us out of the fort. Two hundred, warriors under Keeokuk and Morgan, of Sauks and Foxes, arrived and began their war dance for the United States, and they brought word that thirty steamboats, with cannon and United States' troops, and four hundred warriors of their own, were near at hand! The Winnebagoes were silenced by this intelligence, and by demonstrations, not misunderstood by them.

When Keeokuk arrived he brought two deserters from the garrison here, whom he had made prisoners on his way up the river. Quasquawma and his son-in-law, Tiama came with Keeokuk. It was a season of great joy with me, who placed more reliance on these friendly warriors, than on all our other forces. Good as our officers were, our soldiers of the army were too dissipated and worthless to be relied on one moment. Taking Keeokuk aside, and alone, I told him in plain English all I wanted of him, what I would do for him, and what I expected from him and his good offices. He replied in good English, "I understand you, sir, perfectly, and it shall all be done." It was all done faithfully, and he turned the tide in our favor.

The goods arrived, and also our provisions; Colonel Menard's and General M'Niel's health were restored, and they appeared again at the council house, and every thing wore a new aspect. They approved of all I had done in their temporary absence.

On the 29th day of July, 1829, we concluded our treaty with the Chippeways, Ottowas, and Pottawatimies.

On the 1st day of August, a treaty was concluded with the Winnebagoes.

So the treaties were executed at last, and about eight millions of acres of land added to our domain, purchased from the Indians. Taking the three tracts ceded, and forming one whole, it extends from the upper end of Rock island to the mouth of the Wisconsin—from latitude forty-one [pg 244] degrees thirty minutes, to latitude forty-three degrees fifteen minutes, on the Mississippi. Following the meanderings of the river, it is called two hundred and forty miles from south to north. It extends along the Wisconsin and Fox rivers, from west to east, so as to give us a passage across the country, from the Mississippi to lake Michigan. The south part of the purchase extends from Rock island to lake Michigan. South of the Wisconsin, the Indians now own only reservations, where they live, which, as soon as the white people settle on all the ceded lands, will be sold to us, and the Indians will retire above the Wisconsin, or cross the Mississippi, where the bear, the beaver, the deer, and the bison invite them. The United States now own all the country, on the east side of the Mississippi, from the gulf of Mexico to the mouth of the Wisconsin. When I have crossed Rock river, after having passed over the interior of the ceded country, I will describe it more particularly.

It remains for me to make a few remarks upon the country along the Mississippi, from fort Edwards, upward, and briefly describe Prairie da Chien.

Ascending the Mississippi, the country appeared to rise up Out of the river at fort Edwards, and the hills assume a greater elevation, still, at Du Buque's mine and tomb, not far from Galena. From thence upwards, the bottom lands are narrow, the river turns towards the northwest, and becomes very crooked, bounded by high hills. Cassville, thirty miles below Prairie du Chien, stands on a narrow bottom, where an opening into the mineral country, in the direction of Mineral Point, presents itself. This easy passage down to the river, has located a town here, of a few houses, consisting of a tavern, a store-house for the lead belonging to the United States; and here a government sub-agent, to collect and receive the government's share of lead, resides, Captain Bell.

Captain Richard H. Bell was born near Richmond, Virginia, entered the United States army in 1808, served in [pg 245] Pike's regiment, at Baton Rouge, in 1808, 9, 10, and 11; served on the Canadian frontier, during the war of 1812, was wounded severely at the battle of Chippeway, was retained at the conclusion of the war, was in the Seminole war, and finally, sub-agent in the mineral country, in 1829, and now in private life, under General Jackson's administration!!

Opposite to the mouth of the Wisconsin, stands Pike's hill, lofty and abrupt; and just above this place,on the eastern bank of the river, begins the low prairie ground on which fort Crawford, and the village of Prairie du Chien stand. The town begins to show itself three miles above the Wisconsin, and extends upwards, about nine miles, where it ends. The river is full of islands, and when at its highest altitude in a freshet, is three miles in width, from hill to hill. Originally settled by the French, it was once a place of some importance, as the remains of old cellars and chimneys show. That importance is no more, and, probably never will be again. Overflowed by high waters, and but little good land near it, without water power, I see little inducement to build up a town here. On the north side of the Wisconsin, there is no land on which a town can be located near the Wisconsin, and the south side is preferable for it, where one will, one day, rise up. The town, though, is a seat of justice for a county, of Michigan, and perhaps thirty families, besides those belonging to the garison, reside here. No Indians reside near here, and there is no sort of need of, nor propriety in having an agency &c., here, for the Winnebagoes, because fort Winnebago is the proper place for the agency.

General Street, the agent, and near relative of Mr. Barry, the Postmaster General is the present agent, and his residence I consider to be about five miles above the fort, though I am aware that General Street's estimated distance is only three miles.

The water found by digging in this prairie, is not always good, and that in our well was the worst I ever tasted, operating [pg 246] upon the bowels like glauber salts, and I suffered excessively from using it. Even the food cooked in it affected me seriously. The well in the fort is better, and some persons obtain water from springs in the river, when it is low. The river covers all the town, and where the the fort is, in high water. The Mississippi rising late in the season, and subsiding in the summer solstice, this place must be sickly in summer, every year, when a freshet takes such a time to appear. In 1829, there was no rise in the river, of any amount, and the place was healthy.

The only Indians living on this river, below this place, and near it, are the Sauks and Foxes. The principal town of the former, on the east side of the Mississippi, is situated on the north side of Rock river, near its mouth, and in sight of the Mississippi. Not many years ago, this town contained, it is said, four or five thousand inhabitants. They have sold all the country east of the river Mississippi, and are withdrawing from it, to a new town, some ten miles west of their old town, and about the same distance from Rock island.

The principal town of the Foxes is on the brink of the river near Du Buque's mine, and in sight of his tomb, which is erected on, a high hill, where the cross on his grave can be seen from the river, to a considerable distance from it. Du Buque was an Indian trader, and lived and died here.

The Fox town contains twenty wigwams, or upwards, and I presume some two hundred Indians. I saw but a few acres of poorly cultivated corn near the town, and the wigwams looked shabby enough. Morgan is the principal warrior of this village, as Keeokuk is of the Rock river town.

The Sauks and Foxes were so useful to us as auxiliaries, that I feel grateful to them, and make a few remarks on their principal men, who were with us.

Keeokuk,* the principal warrior of the Sauks, is a shrewd politic man, as well as a brave one, and he possesses great [pg 247] weight of character in their national councils. He is a high minded, honorable man, and never begs of the whites.

* River Fox, Anglicĉ.

While ascending the Mississippi to join us, at the head of his bravo troops, he met, arrested, and brought along with him to fort Crawford, two United States' soldiers, who were deserting from the garrison, when he met them. I informed him that for this act, he was entitled to a bounty in money; to which he proudly replied, that he acted from motives of friendship towards the United States, and would accept no money for it.

Morgan, is the principal warrior of the Foxes, and resides at Du Buque's mine, on the western bank of the Mississippi. Though less versatility of talent belongs to him than Keeokuk possesses, yet he is a brave man and fond of war. More than a year before we were in that country, this Indian general had gone to the Sioux country and killed a woman and three children of that nation, which act produced the war then raging between the two nations. This act has since been dreadfully avenged by a large party, on some twenty individuals of the Foxes.

Tiama, a principal civil chief of the same tribe, is an excellent man, and the son-in-law of Quasquawma. Their village is already noticed as being located on the west side of the river, opposite where we lay on an island, at the head of the lower rapids.

Quasquawma was the chief of this tribe once, but being cheated out of the mineral country, as the Indians allege, he was degraded from his rank, and his son-in-law Tiama elected in his stead. The improvisatori, whose name has escaped my recollection, is a shrewd wit, and a very good man, certainly a very amiable and agreeable one. He is highly esteemed by all his people.

Tom, a half blood, is a great pet among the whites. He speaks prairie-wolf-French, and a little English, in addition to his knowledge of Indian languages.

Of the above named individuals, and several others belonging to these brave and generous allies, I brought away [pg 248] with me as correct likenesses as I ever saw drawn. Gratitude towards them was my motive for being at the expense these beautiful paintings, which have gone to London a year since.

Before I give an account of our parting scene with our red friends, at Prairie du Chien, I proceed to give my views of the Indian nations of the upper Mississippi, in particular, and of the man of America, in general. And I begin with the


In order to trace the red man of America to his origin, writers have generally had recourse to the languages of these people, compared with those of other nations, ancient and modern. Some writers have found customs among them resembling those of the Greeks, the Romans, the Turks, the Phoenicians, the Gauls, the ancient Britons, and even the Jews! Some savage tribes, who are cleanly in their habits, and dwell in a cold climate, have fair skins, blue eyes, and light colored hair, and are fancifully supposed to be the remains of a Welsh colony, which in truth never sailed from Wales, nor any where else, as Winterbottom has proved.

I propose, as briefly as possible, to remark upon their languages, in the first place, and afterwards examine such of their manners and customs, as some persons have supposed go to prove their origin. I shall be very cautious in the use of vocabularies, so often paraded before us with great ostentation, because I know how extremely incorrect they are.

Unwritten languages are very imperfect, at best; and unless great pains are taken, by a good ear, the sounds of the words are not caught correctly. Illiterate interpreters, too make man blunders, and the same sounds are written down very differently by Spaniards, Frenchmen, and the English. Hence a difference of spelling the same words, [pg 249] and even when spelt correctly, we Americans have widely deviated in our pronunciation of words, (which were, and still are written correctly,) from the true pronunciation. As an illustration, take the words "Che seepee ake," which signifies, in the Ojibeway tongue, "a town at the mouth of a river."* It was an Indian town, at the mouth of the Susquehannah river. We have made one word of it, and with it covered a large bay, which we call Chesapeake! Similar mistakes exist in almost all our names of Indian nations, towns, lakes, and rivers. Not a few of our supposed Indian names, are not Indian names, and never were used by any Indians on earth. Ohio, itself, is not an Indian word at all. "Oyo," a sort of interjection among the Indians, was applied to this river by the earliest French travelers, through sheer mistake, and has acquired a local habitation without Indian aid. The Indians called it "Kiskepeela sepee," or Eagle river. Ojibeway we have changed into Chippeway; Hoatchungara into Winnebago; Ozauke into Sauks; Musquawkee into Foxes; (it means "red earth," and not red fox, as some ignorant interpreter supposed;) Dacota, by some strange fatality, we call Sioux, or as we pronounce it, Soos!

* Che, mouth—seepee, water—ake place; a place, or town, at the mouth of a river. Che uk toh—Che, mouth—uk, river—toh, something great. These three Indian words we have changed into Chebucto; made one word of three, and then applied this compound to a whole river! So of Ro an uk, Po tom uc, &c., &c.; we have applied these terms, originally belonging to some spot on a river, to a whole river! Manitoo uk, (Spirit river,) is one of the few, very few, Indian names of rivers which we have retained. Moose kinggoom, (Moose eye,) we have changed into Muskingum! Mee aw mee, we have made into one word, Miami! Sawn dustee, is now Sandusky!

These mistakes have crept into all our books of travels, of laws, and our common conversation until they are so sanctioned by use and time, that no one need think himself capable of rectifying and correcting them at this late day.

Fine spun theories have been erected upon these strange mistakes, and vast learning and ability have been displayed [pg 250] upon a subject, which would have been far better employed on something which had some real existence. In this way the poorest languages and least expressive of any ever spoken by man, have been represented as being by far more expressive, than the polished ones of Greece and Rome! It would lead me too far from my path, were I to follow to their sources, all the errors which have been propagated about the Indian languages. I will content myself by one or two illustrations. The poverty of all the Indian languages, they being unwritten, and being understood by one or two tribes, (except the Ojibeway,) only, combined, possibly, with other causes, have produced a habit among the aborigines, of speaking by signs, more than by words. Hence, even in labored speeches, that interpreter who interprets merely the words used, gives not the full sense of the speaker.

Another source of error on this subject, is our taking a considerable number of words for one word, which I have noticed already. Let us suppose for a moment that the English language was an unwritten one, and that a person should say "I love you." And suppose further, that some one, unacquainted with the language, should imagine that "I love you" was only one word. How expressive, he would say, is this language! Should the speaker say, "thou lovest him," "he loves him, her, it, or them," the ignorant hearer would be in raptures at the expressiveness of a language, which, by a mere change of a few syllables, at the beginning and ending of a word, would convey in it the nominative, the verb, and the object on which it acted. I hope the illustration is sufficient to expose this error.

But, it is with our Indians, as it is among all savage nations, a common custom, in speaking, not to use either the nominative or objective cases.

Suppose a savage should approach you, and ask for food, lying on your table—let us suppose the savage to use our own language—pointing to the food, he would make signs to you to go to the table and take the food and then give it [pg 251] to him, and he would say, "give." How enraptured would the ignorant believer in the expressiveness of savage languages, be, on hearing one word pronounced, which would convey, as he foolishly believed, all the meaning of one whole sentence in a written language.

If a Winnebago wished me to walk aside, and converse with him by ourselves, as Nawkaw often did, his only way of communicating his wish to me, was to point to his own breast first, then to me next; and finally to the part of the prairie (in which we happened to be standing,) where he wished me to go; he uniformly said, "MAUNEE," [walk,] and that was the only word which was uttered, until we had retired to the place pointed out and thus designated. When arrived at the spot, the conversation was carried on between us with as few words as possible, using signs for objects, by pointing to them. With his pipe stem or a stick, he would draw in the sand the lines of demarkation when the limits of the lands to be purchased of his people, were in discussion between us, and a stick was struck in the ground to indicate a corner in the plat. If he approved of my proposition, "oah," [yes,] was all he said in reply; and I answered him in the same way. If the proposition pleased either of us very much, the reply was uttered with great vehemence, otherwise faintly.

Should any savage, who used our language, and if he knew no other, call upon you when he was very hungry, and see no food in your house, he would simply say "hungry," pointing to himself.

Though verbs are more used than any parts of speech, except interjections, yet, where signs can easily convey their meaning, verbs are not used in common conversation. Interjections are the first, and only language then used by man. We weep, we smile, and we laugh, and the sounds we convey to express the emotions of pleasure and great joy, of pain and great grief, are the same, in all languages, in all times, and in every place on the globe. Nature, without the dull and insipid aids of art, pours forth the feelings [pg 252] of the heart, spontaneously, in language perfectly intelligible to every human being. Art may imitate this language but any shrewd observer easily detects the counterfeit coin and nails it to the counter.

Nearly all the verbs among the Winnebagoes are not conjugated, and when they are, they are very imperfect verbs. "Maunee" is used in all cases without conjugation, for the verb "to walk." in all the moods and tenses, and for the participles, likewise. Not a few of their verbs are equally imperfect, having neither mood, tense, nor participles. In other Indian languages, I am almost tempted to the belief that either white men, or educated Indians, have supplied many imperfections originally belonging to their verbs. So fas as uninstructed nature can go, is all that can be expected, almost, in any language used by men roaming about in small numbers, in quest of food and raiment, and the merest necessaries of nature. It is difficult, nay, hardly possible, for us in Ohio, who seldom see an Indian, to form correct ideas about them on any subject; and yet men who have never seen one, or seen only such as have more of our ideas than they ever had of their own original ones, venture to pronounce opinions about languages not even one word of which they ever heard correctly pronounced. Such writers have manufactured nearly whole languages, upon philosophical principles, and have then praised them in the highest strains of cloquence. So far as I am able to judge, from my imperfect knowledge of the subject, who feel myself competent to hold a conversation with Indians of almost any tribe in North America, which I know is perfectly understood by both parties, I should say, without doubting the assertion, that those very learned authors, were they present at the "talk" could not comprehend one word that was uttered by us. Such bare-faced imposition, palmed off upon the world, deserves the severest censure. Hypocrisy in religion and politics is bad enough, but in literature, ignorant pretension, so nearly allied to hypocrisy, becomes insufferable, and I cannot bear [pg 253] it. Thus far, I see nothing, except what Governor Cass and his coadjutors have brought forward, of these languages, worth preseérving. Our Indian names, of all sorts, are so wide of their pronunciation, that no Indian who heard them pronounced, would even dream what word of his language was intended to be spoken. Indeed our alphabet does not, and cannot convey the sounds in any Indian language. It is very amusing to see what attempts our missionaries have made, to spell Indian words. One word sometimes occupies a whole line of the page, that an Indian utters in a moment, by breathing out and in his breath while he is uttering it, with his mouth wide open, so that you can see quite down his throat. We need not therefore mourn the loss of their languages, more than the lose of their savage manners and customs. The interjections in their languages, never can be lost in the world, and whether the sounds infant first utters, ought to be incorporated into the European languages, it will be time enough to consider, when such a proposition is gravely brought forward, by some manufacturer of Indian languages. Unless a fair discussion is had on this subject, and a final decision is made in favor of the Indian and other natural languages, I shall continue to speak and write my own artificial language derived from England, France, Germany, and other modern European nations and the ancient ones of Greece and Rome. I wish also to take a part in the discussion, when it is seriously brought forward, and pray to be heard in in court on the question, before any decision be had. I shall insist on producing my witnesses in open court, to give evidence viva voce, and will most seriously object to the introduction of hearsay evidence, when testimony of a higher grade is in the power of the parties, to produce before the court. When I appear as counsel for the defense, I will bring into court, with me, all the distinguished orators of the Northwest. These men shall address the court, but no book shall be read, nor any vucabulary of any Indian language, unless it be for the expess [pg 254] purpose of showing it to be a most perfect failure, to convey the true pronunciation of the words intended to be conveyed, by the letters used by the authors of the afore said vocabularies.

Writers on language, have all run in the same channel— they have traced artificial languages up to their source, natural language, but that fountain has never been sufficiently analyzed by any author, ancient or modern. Any one who is a mere scholar, never going out of his closet, is incompetent to handle the subject of natural language. Such writers have erred, and all the world has run into these errors. I wish to induce men of genius, learning and science, to go to the fountain head of all human language, and to analyze the waters where they first appear. No one natural language is derived from any other language, but from nature. What is derived from nature, and what comes from art, should be carefully separated. Natural language is one thing—artificial language another—between which, the chain that connects them should be thoroughly examined by persons well acquainted with both languages and with the whole subject. Books may aid us in the examination of artificial languages, but do not, cannot aid us much in natural languages; because man has not yet done much towards conveying the natural sounds of the human voice; at least, there is not in the world a very perfect alphabet of syllables. I am not unacquainted with all the alphabets in the world, ever used by man. I have examined them all carefully.

When the time arrives, that we have perfect alphabets, such as convey every sound correctly of every language, then we can pronounce a correct opinion on the whole subject, but not until then. The British nation could procure such alphabets; but if that nation does not, this nation may do it some day.

The Germans have done a great deal, in examining artificial language, but they have made great mistakes, I know, and some of them I feel surprised at, they are so obvious. [pg 255] Their own language is more, much more artificial, than they are aware of, I feel assured.

On a subject so complicated, So vast, so deep, I can only glance an eye, as I proceed in my rapid march over a corner of the field. As I pass along, I point the finger to the fountain heads, and pray others, who have more leisure, to visit them and thoroughly analyze their waters, and inform us what the ingredients are, held in solution by them.

Although a savage has but a few words, by which to convey his ideas, yet he does not often use one half of these in his conversation. Generally grave and sedate, and too indolent to use many words, he converses by signs. Besides, he believes that a great talker is a man of no great consideration. I noticed, frequently, that when I received their whole council, with a very few expressions of friendship, seated them, gave them pipes and tobacco, and smoked a long time with them, in profound silence, they went away from me highly gratified with the treatment they received.

Having briefly, I hope sufficiently, exposed the fountains from whence numerous and copious streams of error have flowed, until they have spread over all the plains below them, I proceed to state, that the Ojibeway tongue is the most universal of any, and must have been the language in former times, of most of the Indians inhabiting the country now belonging to our eastern and middle States. It is, in fact, the court language among the Indians. True, there are individuals among the Sauks, Foxes, Munominees and Soos, who do not understand it, among any twenty of them assembled together, were they addressed by any person in it, and an inquiry made for one to interpret the speech, some one would immediately come forward, and act as an interpreter. As this is confessed by the Indians, to be the oldest language, and the people who speak it to be their "eldest brother," it deserves considerable attention. It has been called by different names, and several tribes tribes' have derived their origin from the Ojibeways, such as the Ottowas, Pottowatimies, &c. Governor Cass, and those [pg 256] whom he engaged to furnish him information as to this, and other Indian languages, deserve great credit for their labors, and it is to be hoped those labors may be continued, and amply rewarded. I place great reliance on their labors, because, so far as I have had opportunities of judging, they are perfectly correct. Whether other American writers on Indian languages, have, on the whole, been of any service to the cause of letters, is, with me, to say the very least, very doubtful. It would require more knowledge of the subject than I pretend to have, to enable me to separate truth, (if there be any,) from falsehood, in their ostentations displays of pretended learning, since the monstrous errors I have indicated lie at the bottom of it.

Guttural sounds are almost the only ones which a savage utters, and all the time while he is speaking, his mouth is kept wide open—he speaks from his throat. It must be an extremely laborious operation, for him to deliver a public harangue on any important subject. From the situation I always occupied in the public councils, I had a fine opportunity to observe every public speaker who addressed the commissioners. Doubtless there are sounds which occur quite too frequently to please a nice ear, in every human language. Foreigners complain of the constant "hissing" in the English language; and the "ong," of the French, is not very agreeable to my ear. In all the Indian languages, the sounds which accur too often to please the ear, are—ah, gah, tah, rah, hah, dah, mah, nah, neeh, weeh, seeh, goh, yoh, cawn, sawn, tso, tsi, en, tsen, chen, hai, whang, hoo, woan, eeh, kai, quang, kon, tung, keen, &c.— These sounds are found in the Winnebago language, and they belong to all primitive languages. The Chinese employ the selfsame sounds.

Let us examine the names of districts of country in China, and we shall find Quangsi, Hooquang, Shantang, Nantchang, Kiangsee, Shensee, Tungkeen, Tonkeen, Nankeen. So of district of ocean around China —Whanghai, or Yellow sea; Tunghai, or Eastern sea. Nan, is a place in [pg 257] Winnebago, so it is in Chinese; and Hai nan, (literally sea land,) is the name of an island in our maps, lying south of China, and near the continent. The same alphabet of syllables, with a very few additions, would express every sound in both languages.

So of the languages of Hindustan, Lahore, Gurwal, Agrah, Bahar, Mysore, Oudah, and other names of large districts, in India, beyond the Indus, and in and near the Ganges, are words among the Winnebagoes.

"Khane ke waste kooch chees do" Hindostanĉ—

"Give me something to eat," Anglicĉ—

Sounds exactly like Winnebago, so much so, that the nicest ear cannot detect the difference between them. Ali Kawn, is the name of a man among the Winnebagoes, as it was among the Hindoos. Kawrawkaw, (crow killer,) is an Indian chief, so are, Maunkawkaw, Wawnkawshaw, (whirling thunder,) Nawkaw, (wood) Hoochopekah, (four legs,) Kayray mawnee, (walking turtle,) Wawtche a kaw, (big canoe,) Wawrootshekaw, (yellow thunder,) Chahwaw saipkah, (black eagle.) But although these sounds are common to the languages of India and North America, and, indeed, although individuals of both countries bear precisely the same names, and are pronounced exactly alike, yet the meaning of these names is not the same, nor at all alike in the different languages. The Winnebago utters the sounds, only, which nature gives him, from the moment he first sees the light of day, and the first sounds he utters, are words, in his langnage, full of meaning. Augoo, is the name applied to the mother's breast, among some nations of the north west. Gah, is a sound uttered by every infant as soon as it begins to creep about the floor. In the language of the Sioux, gah, means there. Shah, is a sound uttered by the infant before it can speak an English word, and in the Sioux tongue, it means red. Toh in the same language, means green, (a color;) shah, (white;) pah, (the head;) eah, (no;) tokehjah, (what for?) chaah, (penis.) An English child, before it can speak even one word of its own language, [pg 258] would, make precisely the same sound, on handling the same part of the human body. Ahzah, (the nipple,) is a word among the earliest the infant utters.

Mamma, in both Greek and Latin, means breast, and the same word is used for mother, in English; and there is not, perhaps, a language in North America, in which mahmah, is not a legitimate word, but it never means the same thing it does in the languages of Greece and Rome. So pappa, is used in most of the European languages, for father, and the same word is probable used by nearly every Indian nation but means in no two languages the same thing.

Some persons draw a very learned argument from the pronouns, (personal ones,) being nearly the same, in many languages.

In Sioux—Mea, vel, mish—I;
Nea, or nish —thou;
Eah, or ish—he.
Okeah, or okish—we;
Neahpe—ye; Eahpe—they.
Oo-mau—the other.

Instead of deriving these words from any other source whatever, I go no further than the sounds uttered by man in his earliest infancy, as THE TRUE FOUNTAIN from whence all human languages are originally derived. The most ancient languages of the Chinese, of the Hindoos, the Celts, &c. will be found to contain nearly the same sounds, and the same words, with our Winnebagoes, Sioux, Sauks, Ojibe ways, &c., the northwest; but the same sounds, and the [pg 259] same words, will in no case mean the same things, in any two different languages. The present languages of Europe have become, like their state of society, quite artificial, or in other words, unnatural; so that interjections seem almost all of our modern languages, that art has not either banished or, as we moderns deem it, improved.

On the whole, I am free to confess, that I find no proof in the languages of North America, of any origin of the red man, other than that he possesses the same colloquial powers as the man of the eastern continent, and that man in every part of the world is the same being, in every essential power of body and faculty of mind.

Not a few learned and ingenious men, have found the man of America agreeing with the man of the eastern continent, in his manners, habits, customs, form of government, &c., &c., and have drawn such conclusions from their premises, as best suited their preconceived theories. The author of this essay has no theory to support, and no wish on the subject, but to arrive at a correct conclusion. Th Indian of North America, so far as I am able to judge, draws his manners, customs, habits, form of government, and laws, from the nature of man, his situation and its attendant circumstances, and the traditions and usages of his ancestors.

Polygamy is common to the North American and the Asiatic; but, so far as I can judge of this custom, for its true origin, we need only look into the nature of man, and having been at first adopted, in a state of nature, by a law of the strongest, and having been established and found useful in a state of nature, in order to form a community strong enough to protect itself, it is now too firmly established to be easily got rid of, in such a state of society as the one where it exists. Mahommed did not originate this custom among his followers, but merely sanctioned, and indeed, restrained, what he found already established among them. The Arabs then, and now, led a wandering life, in a country not very dissimilar to our prairie country, in the northwest. The law of the strongest prevails among both people, and an [pg 260] erratic course of life produces and continues in existence nearly the same results. A more condensed state of society, the possession of more property, more equally divided, too, among the great mass of the population, more wants and more difficulty in supplying them, more art, and less nature, and above all a fixed habitation for every family, and every individual, would do considerable, at least something, towards the abolition of this and other customs. But after all, I doubt whether polygamy will cease to exist in the world, until the influence of christianity eradicates it. So long as the nature of man is what it is—in countries, too, where custom sanctions it, and the state of society seems to call for it, so long it will exist in every part of the world, where we now find it. I derive this custom then from no particular climate, from no one nation, but from man as he is by nature, by habit, and almost by necessity, when placed in a state of nature, or in one nearly approaching it.

The law of retaliation for injuries received from an enemy, as it exists among our Indians, has been brought forward as a proof that our red man of America sprung from the Jews. Moses has taught us that we have a right to exact "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;" but that doctrine, so far as Self-defense is concerned in it, was first written in an older book than the five of which Moses was the author—it was written, too, by the finger of HIM whose hand made the Universe, on the heart, not only of man, but of every fowl of the air, beast of the field, and fish of the sea. Moses found this law of self-preservation, and self-defense, inscribed on the human heart, by the finger of GOD, and did not, (because he could not,) blot it out. Our Savior himself, so intimates to us, of this custom, as he does of polygamy likewise, and until the sublime and Godlike precepts of christianity, abrogate or modify these customs, they will exist among men forever. Self-defense and self-preservation will exist forever, all over the world. Their origin is divine. The avenger of blood, as he was called among the Jews, that is, some near relative of the murdered [pg 261] person, (whose duty it is to avenge his death, unless the murder be compounded for by the murderer, or his relatives or friends,) has been seized on by writers who are determined to find among our Indians, "the lost tribes of Israel."

This custom among men, is also older than Moses, and all he did was to lay down rules by which to regulate it. He wished to mitigate what he felt himself unable to entirely abrogate, and with that view established certain towns, called "cities of refuge," where, (not the willful and deliberate murderer,) the person who had committed what we term "manslaughter," could fly to, and be safe from the hand of the avenger. Though our Indians have their avenger of blood, yet they have no cities of refuge—no sacred places to which the unfortunate man can fly and be safe from the avenger of blood. Where a city of refuge is found among Indians, it is easily traced to Catholic missionaries. Had our red man been once in the possession of the idea of a city of refuge, in cases of this kind, would he have lost it? I suspect that he would not. Moses probably found the Israelites in the use of exactly such customs as existed every where in the world, at that day. Some of them he strictly prohibited, such as the practice of idolatry; others he regulated by sumptuary laws, and his object was, as he has informed us, to render his nation "a peculiar people, zealous of good works." What he intended to do, he actually accomplished, though had his people been better informed, he doubtless would have attempted more than he did. I entertain very serious doubts whether even one custom, which is no older than the time of Moses, can be found among our Indians. Circumcision is older than Moses, by four hundred years, and yet it is not practiced on this continent. Had our red man derived his origin from the lost tribes, would not this practice have been handed down from age to age to the present time?

But the green corn dance, and other feasts, are by some persons traced back to the time of Moses. When the corn is just fit to eat, and they possess, for the time being, an abundance [pg 262] of food, after almost a famine, the Indians feast, and sleep, and dance, and give a loose to joy and gladness of heart; and so they do when they kill a fat bear, or a good fat deer, or take an abundance of fish. I see nothing in this custom either unnatural or traditional.

The practice of having a standard bearer for every tribe, when going to war, or while met in national council, and, indeed, while our natives are traveling as a nation, has been violently dragged into the argument, in favor of a Jewish origin. Carrymaunee, (walking turtle,) a Winnebago chief, carries a large tortoise, fully extended and beautifully painted, perfect in all its limbs, on his back, as he marches on ward at the head of the Turtle tribe. In the same manner, Snakeskin marches at the head of the Snake tribe, with the skin of a large snake tied around his neck. In fine, every tribe has its standard bearer, with appropriate emblems. Is this custom derived from the Jewish one of bearing the ark? In what part of the whole world, and in what age of it, did not this custom exist? This argument proves too much, then, because it proves, if it proves any thing, that all nations, ancient and modern, now are, and always were Jews. Every tribe of savages on the globe has its standard, and every civilized nation its national colors, in the defence of which oceans of human blood have flowed, and will flow again, until man ceases to be man. This custom goes for nothing, except to prove that man is man.

So the division of our aborigines into tribes, has been brought forward to prove them Jews! The same argument would prove the original inhabitants of Scotland, of France, of Rome, too, and indeed of all the countries on earth, originally Jews. No one pretends to believe that the "Scots wha ha wi' Wallace bled, the Scots whom Bruce has often led," were of Jewish origin. It is as natural a division of mankind into tribes, as it is to divide them into families; and a tribe necessarily results from the increase of a family. So far as I know, almost every Indian tribe [pg 263] originally sprung from some one family. Additions to it, by intermarriages with persons not originally belonging to it, by captives taken in war, and by persons born in it, very naturally, in time, produce too great a number to belong to one family, and to be controlled by one head; and another family is set up, and so on, until a tribe is formed. In the northwest, there is a most striking family likeness among the individuals belonging to any one tribe; so much so that the individual is easily recognized, as to what tribe he belongs.

The traditions of our Indians have furnished proofs, to many persons, of an Asiatic origin. Any tradition among them, almost, of what took place more than a century since, must be dark and doubtful.

I have often listened to their traditions with pleasure, because they appeared very anxious to obtain from me a satisfactory explanation of them.

The furthest back I was able to trace their traditions, was up to the time when our European ancestors first settled on this continent. That story every Indian can tell, and the Sauks have some traditions as to their living, as I supposed, in Rhode Island, and of king Philip's wars. Musquawkee, (red earth,) is the name of the Foxes, who, according to their account of themselves, must have resided in Rhode Island, originally, and have been driven away from thence on the death and overthrow of king Philip. I arrived at this conclusion very unexpectedly to myself, from the very correct description of the physician features of that district of country, and the clear and interesting account they gave me of those wars. Beyond that period of time they know nothing.

A belief in the existence of a God, and of a future state of existence for man, not a few persons suppose, are derived exclusively from tradition. I confess myself to be of a different opinion. The existence of a GREAT FIRST CAUSE, and his superintending providence, are too clearly written [pg 264] on all the works of creation, not to be read and understood by every human being.

The Indian is exposed to every change of season, and feels, more than we do, the immediate effects of every change of weather.

He trusts more than we do, to the bounty of Providence, for his daily support. His modes of living in the open air, oblige him to notice every prognostic of any change of weather. The sun, the moon, the stars, or in their absence, the clouds are carefully observed by him at all times. His leisure enables him to contemplate on the works of creation, more than we do.

The evident marks of intelligence, design, wisdom, and power of the Creator, are every where so evident, and are written in characters so legible, that even the savage reads them. Not a savage roams over the prairies and forests of the northwest, but very naturally inquires of himself, and reasons thus:

"Why did the fiat of a God give birth
To yon fair sun, and his attendant earth!
And when, descending, he resigns the skies,
Why takes the gentler moon, her turn to rise!
Why do the Seasons still enrich the year,
Fruitful and young, as in their first career?
Spring hangs her infant blossoms on the trees,
Rock'd in the cradle of the Western breeze;
Summer in haste, the thriving charge receives,
Beneath the shade of hot expanded leaves;
Till Autumn's fiercer heats and plenteous dews,
Dye them at last, in all their glowing hues.
Look where he will, the wonders God has wrought,
The wildest scorner of his Maker's laws,
Finds in a sober moment, time to pause;
To press th' important question on his heart,
Why form'd at all, or Wherefore as thou art?
Truths, that the learn'd pursue with eager thought,
Are not important always, as dear bought,
Proving at last, though told in pompous strains,
A childish waste of philosophic pains;
[pg 265] But truths, on which depends our main concern,
That 'tis our shame and mis'ry not to learn,
Shine by the side of every path we tread
With such a lustre, he that runs may read."


Abstruce writers, little acquainted with man, as he is by nature, have run into extremes; one party decrying human reason below, and the other exalting it above, is true value. I run into neither extreme, and feel assured that I am perfectly correct.

Revealed religion is merely an addition to natural religion. The former also corrects the mistakes men run into, in construing natural religion; it modifies sometimes, and often explains, but never contradicts natural religion. The light of nature is good, as far as it goes; but does not shine bright enough, nor throw its beams far enough into the gloom covering futurity, and indeed this life also, to enable us happily and usefully to pass through the wilderness of this world.

Which of these religions has been most corrupted by bad men, I cannot say, and I regret that I am acquainted with no book, impartially written, on the subject, nor one wherein justice is done to it. The church of England ought to produce such a work, and the learned divines at the head of it, are fully competent to do so.

For learning and talent, they stand foremost in the world, at this moment.

For pure gospel simplicity of doctrine and practice, I give them a decided preference over all other christian sects.

I do not believe a nation can be found on the earth, who are atheists, nor one who deny the immortality of the soul. Human societies could not be held together without such a belief, and it is as natural for us to believe in these truths, as it is for us to breathe the vital air.

It is true, that the Indians of the northwest have no ideas of a trinity—none, as I could learn, of sacrifices, and of [pg 266] many other notions, which the Six Nations of New York have, and so have our Indians in Ohio; but the latter most evidently derived those notions from Catholic priests sent to them from Canada.

The religion of the Winnebagoes is the simple unsophisticated religion of nature, unadulterated by any foreign mixtures whatever. The prophet on Rock river is endeavoring to raise himself into consequence, by his craft, but how he will succeed, time must tell us. This reverend and learned doctor is trying to join church and state together.

The religion of the people of the Upper Mississippi, consists of a belief in the existence of a God, in the immortality of the soul, and in a state of rewards and punishments after death. I see no necessity for traveling any great distance, either into times past, or into any other country, for the origin of theme simple, and nearly self evident truths. The Indian has no traditions as to when or where his ancestors first received these truths, nor does he even suspect that any human being ever disbelieved them.

Had our red man sprung from ancestors who had imbibed any of the religious ideas peculiar to the Jews, the people of China, Persia, Egypt, or of India beyond the Ganges, traces of such ideas would be found among the people of this day: They are no such traces in existence. I am speaking of the wild man of the northwest, be it understood.

I see nothing among the traditions of these people, which would lead us to Asia for their origin.

Had our red man descended from Jewish ancestors, that is the lost tribes, he would have retained idolatry, the rite of circumcision, and the sabbath; but he has none of these.

The sound of the church-going bell,
His rocks and his vallies never heard,
Never sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
Nor smil'd, when a sabbath appear'd

In fine, being an Israelite, he would not have abandoned these customs if he could, and could not if he would. No [pg 267] Indian of North America, unacquainted with the whites, ever heard of a single rite derived from the Jews.

It is true, because I know it to be a fact, that individuals, Conkapot and others who were educated at Dartmouth college, taught a few of their brethern to assist them to impose on Dr. Boudinot, by singing parts of David's psalms, in the Hebrew language, but no uneducated Indian ever did so. For myself, I disapprove of such a trick, to impose on such unsuspecting credulity. It produced a book— "The Star in the West."

It is time to bring the present inquiry to a close, as to the origin of the red man, which I cannot better do than by repeating several of the ideas already brought forward, with such additional ones as naturally present themselves to us.

The Indians whom our ancestors found when they landed on the shores of the Atlantic ocean, within the limits of the United States, were evidently a race of men differing in no important particular from the tribes then, and now, residing in high latitudes, on the western side of the Pacific ocean. Their dogs were the same, among both people; all the habits of the people were the same; their languages contained in them the same sounds, and there was, and still is, a constant intercourse between the tribes living on each continent, a Behring's straits, and at the Fox islands. In color and appearance, they are one people; and it is quite immaterial, in my view of the subject, whether the red man of America originally inhabited Asia or America. It is enough for us to know, that they are one and the same people.

If Asia was the original birth place and home of man, and there is nothing which proves very decisively to the contrary, then the ancestors of our Indians emigrated from Asia in the very earliest ages of the world, before they had learned any one art, which has since added to the comforts and conveniencies of human life. It must have been, too, before men had domesticated the ox, the horse, the hog, [pg 268] the sheep, the goat, or any beast of the field, or fowl of the earth, or of the air; before any of the grasses, by culture, had been changed into grains, such as our wheat, rye, oats, millet, or barley. Wheat and rye, in their wild state, grew within the limits of our territory—so they do still. Rye, in its wild state, is a biennial plant in Ohio, Virginia and New York. Cultivation has made it an annual, and rendered it less hardy than it was in its wild state. The wheat grows in wet places, and the rye in dry ones.

The maize, or as we call it, Indian corn, had been reclaimed by our Indians, and originally belonged to this continent, and not to Asia. Our Indians had learned to cultivate the maize and the tobacco plant only. I speak of Indians originally inhabiting our Atlantic States, and not of those living within the tropics, where many other plants were cultivated, and many animals were domesticated, not even known to our Indians.

I have said that if our red man came here originally from Asia, it must have been before the ox, horse, &c., were domesticated, because, had he once been in possession of these animals, in their domesticated state, he would have continued to make use of them—would have brought them along with him. These animals were in use among men, at a very early age of the world. In the days of Abraham and of Lot, the ass, the ox, the sheep, and the goat, were domesticated in Asia, and they formed no inconsiderable portion of men's wealth. Large droves of these animals were in the possession of the men of that day. Once in common use, no people would forego the privilege of owning and of using them; so that if our red man came here from Asia, his emigration must have been in the very earliest ages of the world.

The same reasoning holds good as to the use of iron, of copper, and of all the metals of which our Indians knew nothing. They used neither candle or lamp in their dwelings; they cultivated neither beans, peas, squashes, or pumpkins, of which they are now so fond that they cultivate [pg 269] them. Their clothing was made of the skins of beasts, or of cloth made of the wild nettle. They slept upon mats manufactured from the bark of the elm tree, or of rushes. Their wigwams were covered with the barks of trees; their canoes were made mostly of similar materials; their dishes were wooden bowls; their axes were made of stone; their arms used in hunting and war, were cross-bows, whose strings were the sinews of wild animals; their arrow heads were sharp stones of the flint, and so were the heads of their spears. The Sioux are but one step in advance of man, as we have found him first in America.

If we suppose America to be the birth place of our red man, I know nothing that contradicts the supposition: and perhaps circumstances rather favor that idea. If our red man came from Asia, (I mean our northern Indian, he brought nothing with him from that continent—not even one animal*—not a single plant no one art—nor any thing indeed, but himself, naked and destitute.

* I have said, in the text, that the North American brought not even one animal from Asia; I mean though, in a domesticated state. Many of the wild animals are precisely the same in both continents, to wit: the mountain ram, of the Rocky mountains, and the same animal in Tartary—the prairie wolf and the chacal—the antelope of both continents—the bears, the beavers, and indeed the whole deer family are the same; so are the ermines, the seals, and several other animals. It is a striking fact, that the men and animals, on both continents, where they approached each other the nearest, are so exactly similar to each other, that the difference between them is almost impreceptible.

For what he was when we: found him, here, he owed only to himself, to the climate in which he lived—to the soil which he partially cultivated, and to the forests, the rivers, the lakes, and the ocean, which supplied him with food. For all these he thanked the Great Spirit, and Him only, and was glad.

Any people who emigrate from one country to another, may forego the use of luxuries which they have left behind them, especially for a reason, until they can, with ease, [pg 270] procure them. The settlers in our new countries furnish an example in point.But when or where did men forget the use of iron tools, who had learned to manufacture them? What people, who had used lamps or candles in their dwellings, ever forgot their use? This continent certainly furnished oil and tallow as well as Asia. What people on earth, who had domesticated any animals that were very useful to them, forgot their use, or left them behind, when emigrating to another country? Plants or animals might be left behind by emigrants who where removing from a climate which was congenial to them, to one that was not so. This consideration weights nothing in this case, because our climate is as favorable to the plants and animals as that of Asia.

So far as history informs us, man's knowledge of every thing useful to him, has always been progressive. Like the Hugunots of France, men have been driven away from their native country, but when they went, they carried all their arts along with them. The Spitalfield weavers introduced the manufacture of silk into England. The arms of Rome conquered Greece, but the arts of Greece captivated Rome. The Turks took Constantinople, but the learned men, driven away from the conquered city, spread their learning over Europe, and produced a revival of letters wherever they went. Learning, commerce, science, and the arts, and even liberty, may be expelled by force from one country, and be compelled to take refuge in another: but, like seed sown in good ground, they will produce an abundant harvest in the field where they are sown. All history proves that we have advanced on tis matter, and exhibits in a clear light, the wisdom and goodness of Providence, as they are manifested in the government of human affairs. Human knowledge, and consequently human happiness and power, have, on the whole, almost always been progressive. It argues nothing against this proposition, that the red man of our country had learned so little, when we first found him on this continent. He knew all that he absolutely needed [pg 271] to know—all his wants were easily supplied, as he was satisfied. He inhabited a vast country, but thinly settled; constant war among the different tribes left him little leisure either to improve his mind or his condition, and he continued stationary in knowledge, until all his habits were fixed and fastened upon him. Under the existing customs of out Indians, certain persons have acquired rights, just as we have under our laws and our constitution, and who dare incur the dangerous consequences of disturbing them? The punishment of the crime of treason, is death, in each state of society, and he who would change the customs of the Indians, would overturn their very form of government, and thus commit treason. To teach the arts of civilized life, stands on a different footing, in both states of society.

When the red man first came into America, no one knows, nor ever will know; indeed, I see no use to be derived from such a knowledge, if attainable. At all events, its use would be small. The united evidence of all the circumstances with which our red man is surrounded, proves, at least to me, that this continent is either his original birth place, or that he emigrated from the other continent at so early an age of the world, that he knew at the time little, indeed, of the arts, the sciences, the comforts, and conveniences of life, which are now so widely diffused, so generally known and appreciated, every other country almost on the globe. The eagerness and celerity with which he learns to use the hoe, the axe, the gun, the steel trap, and the brass kettle of the European, show conclusively his capacity to understand their use, and his anxiety to obtain them. At any preceding period of time, had he ever manufactured and used any of these things, he never would have been found here without them.

It would lead me too far from the narrow path in which I am traveling, to examine into the geological facts which THE GREAT VALLEY OF THE MISSISSIPPI presents, and which go to prove that man dwelt here before the flood. Time, and a greater accumulation of such facts, will either confirm [pg 272] or overthrow such an opinion. The task of examining this vast CEMETERY OF AGES PAST, I leave to some future Cuvier. A fame as enduring as the world itself, will be his, while every leaf on which I write will be swept away by the hand of time, and buried, with the name of the author, in everlasting OBLIVION.

Some persons have supposed that man, a genus, was divided into several species. I will not repeat, no, not repeat, what such persons have brought forward as arguments in favor of such an hypothesis. The color of the skin is certainly nothing, because among the tribes of North America, who are unmixed with European blood, I can find thousands with as blue eyes, light colored hair, and as fair skin, were it kept clean, as Europe can boast. Indeed, I have seen red hair, and a freckled skin among them. And as to the form of the body, and the shape of the face, I have seen among them as perfect Romans, and as good Greeks, as all antiquity could boast of, either in Rome or Athens.

No matter in what country we find man, he has the same sounds in his language, if it be a natural one; he possesses the self-same corporeal powers; is moved by similar hopes and fears; he loves, and he hates; he weeps and he laughs, sings and dances. And he has every where the same powers of body, and the same faculties of mind.

All the varieties of shape, form, and the size of his body, found any where in the world, are seen among the pure, unadulterated natives of the northwest, except the bandied leg, thick lip, and deep colored skin of the African; and they actually existed in perfection, in the tropical regions of America, when first discovered by Columbus.

Theories, without one single particle of proof, are brought forward as the besom with which to sweep away these indubitable facts! It will not do. Prove to us an African origin of the black Indians of the West Indies; and prove to us the foolish and unfounded reverie about Welch Indians. When we throw a whole continent and all its people into one scale, do not think to weigh it down by throwing into [pg 273] the other scale, two or three small feathers, plucked from a humming bird's wing.

We offer proofs equal to mathematical certainty, and are met and rebutted by dreams, reveries, suppositories, and unfounded theories! I beg pardon of the reader for occupying a moment of his time on this subject, so plain, so easily understood, and perfectly certain, sure, and incontrovertible, that no tongue nor pen can render it plainer, or more certain than it now is, and so forever will remain. The subject is of too grave a character for ridicule, otherwise I might be tempted to to use that weapon upon the puerilities of learned fools, and skeptical babes of fifty years old.


Their form of government is aristocratical, and the whole structure of their society is equally so. The Winnebagoes are divided into seven tribes, or bands; some of these are named after animals, such as the Turtle tribe, the Snake tribe, Wolf tribe, &c., and others are named after inanimate things, as the Thunder tribe.

These tribes dwell in different places, in towns or villages; in each one of which, there are two civil chiefs, who govern that town—for instance, Du Corri and Winnesheek are at the head of the government, of the Le Croix village, situated near the Mississippi river, on its eastern bank, eighty miles north of Prairie du Chien. So of all the other tribes, each of which has its town or seat of government, and is governed by its two civil chiefs. The civil government of the Winnebagoes is in the hands of fourteen civil chiefs, and when they are all assembled in one council, it is the grand national council.

In each village, the two civil chiefs appoint all the officers deemed necessary, civil and military, who obey them implicitly. There are two ways of arriving at these high stations, by birth and by election. When the father dies, if he has a son who has arrived at the age of manhood, and [pg 274] who bids fair to make a good chief—that is, if he possesses a good form, has good bodily powers and mental faculties—is brave, sedate, wise and prudent, he generally succeeds his father in the government, on his father's demise. If the chief, at his death leave no son who is qualified for the high office of chief, but wills it to some other person, he succeeds to the government. If the chief has no son at his death, it is commonly the case that his brother's son succeeds him. The line of succession may run out for want of a lawful heir, which is always supplied by an election. It may be changed too, where the heir is unqualified for the station. Great deference is always paid to the will of the dying chief, but every such case is always laid before a full national council, whose decision is final.

A chief may be degraded from his rank for bad conduct; as Quasquawma was for signing a treaty with General ******, relinquishing the mineral country for no good consideration, and which the General gave away again, for as little as he gave for it, to the very Indians, of whom the United States were compelled to purchase it at a vast expense, in July and August, 1829. When Quasquawma was degraded from his rank, of chief of the Musquawkee tribe, his son-in-law, Tiama, was elected in his stead.

There is, in every tribe, what answers to a standing army among us. The profession of arms holds out, to the great mass of the common people, the only road to the temple of fame, and no one can find a place in the army, unless he is well formed in body, of a good size, and possesses a good mind. He must he brave, artful, cautious, patient of fatigue and of hunger, and he must know no such thing as fear, where duty calls him to press forward. Death has no terrors for him, and cowardice is more despised than any one acquainted with them can imagine. The young man who aspires to the honorable distinction of a "brave," or warrior, must exhibit such traits of character as are deemed necessary for a soldier to possess, before he can be admitted into the army. When admitted, he wears on his head just as [pg 275] many feathers of the bald eagle, as he has slain human beings, and the size of the feathers indicate the size of his victims. If he has slain a whole family, the father, the mother, and five children, for instance, we wears two large feathers and five smaller ones. The feather denoting the father, in that case would be the largest, the one worn for the mother a size less, and the five for the children would vary in size to correspond with the size of each child. I do not remember one warrior of any nation, who did not wear at least, one feather, and some displayed a great number of them. If the warrior has taken a captive, he has a human hand as large as life, painted either on his face, or on some part of his body, or on his blanket. Some individuals have several such hands painted on them.

At the head of the army, belonging to each tribe, there is a person who occupies the same station as a general does with us, and he appoints all the inferior officers. The chiefs, when met in council, call into it their warriors, with whom they consult, but frequently they are called to receive the orders which are obeyed to the letter. This council call before them persons who are interested in the trial, if it be one, to hear his allegations and his proofs, in his defense. They call in persons who can afford information on the subject under consideration; but in all such cases, when these persons are heard, they retire from the council, who debate on all matters by themselves.

Seated on mats, in the eastern manner, like the Turks, around the wigwam or the lodge, no one rises to address his fellow chiefs, nor does he speak in a high tone of voice generally, but what he delivers, is in a low tone of voice, and all the utters is listened to in the profoundest silence. No speaker is ever interrupted in the midst of his discourse, and no calls to order, as in our public councils, are ever heard or needed.

If the senate of the United States is the mildest, the most patriotic, and wisest legislative assembly in the civilized world, as it truly is, the Winnebago council is decidedly [pg 276] at the head of the savage world. Wisdom personified, either as a civilized man or as a savage, is seen in the department and conduct of each legislative body. Like the court of Mar's Hill, at Athens, the Indian council generally sits at night, when the mass of the nation is asleep. They sometimes sit in council nearly all night, deliberating on some important matter, without coming to any result, which is again and again resumed, in the night, until a final vote is taken and the cause decided. In many instances further information is needed, and in cases of difficulty, more time for reflection is wanted, or the council may be equally divided in opinion. Where the majority is small, and some members seem to be at a loss how to decide, the minority get a final decision of a question postponed, in order to gain more strength, so as finally to succeed. I always ascertained, at early dawn, the result of each night's council, through my friends, who belonged to it, and how each man had voted. The great body of the people have little influence, almost none, with this council, and they never appear before it unless they are summoned to attend it. They have no voice in electing the chiefs and in fact no political influence. The civil chiefs and the chief warriors, have in their hands the whole government of the community, and they govern as they please. Disobedience to the orders of the rulers is punished with death, though, like the British nation, the Indians are not savages enough to cut the traitor into quarters after hanging him until he is dead.

Though I have been describing the form of government among the Winnebagoes, ye the Sauks and Foxes have the self-same aristocracy among them. How much of this form of government has been borrowed from the English and French, I cannot say, but the Indians have no tradition of any other, ever in existence among them. If they had a house of commons, elected by the people, I should suspect they had borrowed it from the English traders who have visited them. Considering them as savages, and if they are to continue such, these are some of the advantages attending [pg 277] their form of government. It is an efficient one, acts promptly, and many times wisely. The person who is born to be a ruler, from his earliest years, knows it, and studies to prepare himself for it. He is more grave, sedate and dignified in his manners, if a young man, than others of his age. He exhibits a noble and dignified deportment in his intercourse with the world, he appears more thoughful and less frivolous than other persons of his years. He acts up to his destination in society. In his whole conduct he is an example of obedience to "the powers that be," and towards his equals, he is polite and conciliating, but always shows that he feels above the common mass of the people. The same remarks apply to the whole family of the chiefs, who always act as if they know their full value. The female part of it exercised the same influence among the women that the chiefs did among the men, and the presents they expected from us had to be better than those given to the common people. The daughter of a chief never marries into a family below hers in dignity. The pride originating in birth, is as deeply seated in the hearts of those who are nobly descended, among the natives of the northwest, as it is among the petty princes of Germany.

It is customary for the chiefs to appoint two soldiers in each village, to keep order in it; and they faithfully do so.

In each tribe, some one man acts as a divider, by order of the civil chiefs, and by general consent. Whenever we made the men any presents, of pipes, paints, tobacco, or any thing else, the selfsame seven men, if the Winnebagoes were the Indians receiving the presents, appeared, took charge of the property, and divided it in the most equitable manner, among all present at the time. They reserved nothing for themselves, generally, but held up their empty hands, at the conclusion of their labors, to show their disinterestedness.

If the Sauks and Foxes received presents, two men, one for each tribe, acted as dividers, and the same individuals always performed the same duty.

[pg 278]


In their manners, the aborigines of the northwest resemble the people of the earliest ages of the world. The females pay the greatest respect to their husbands, children to their parents, and both sexes to the aged and infirm.

After preparing his food, the wife and her daughters never sit down to eat with the head of the family, but stand around him while seated on his mat, in order to supply his wants, and anticipate them, if possible. If he appears to be pleased with his food, every female face wears a smile of satisfaction, but if otherwise, visible signs of regret cloud every female's brow. The women are modest, silent and submissive, in the presence of the men, who in return, never act harshly towards their wives and daughters.—The generally received opinion, that the men tyrannize over the women, I am satisfied, has no foundation in fact. According to their ideas of correct conduct, I am persuaded, the men treat their wives and children with kindness and attention. All the children belong to the women, (their mothers,) and they assist in raising the corn, cutting and carrying the wood for fuel, either for cooking their food, or for warming their wigwams in cold or wet weather.

The wood being generally at some distance from their dwellings, as the women cut it, the children carry it home, except such sticks as are too large for them, when the women themselves, or the younger men carry it for them. The fire once made, in winter, in the center of the wigwam, or in summer, just at the end of the lodge, the kettles in which the food to be prepared for eating is placed, are hung in a row over the fire.

When they have it, a great quantity of food is cooked, five times as much as the same number of persons would eat among us. They eat most voraciously, and they continue to eat all they can swallow, as long as it lasts.

The women contrive to hide some of the food, when they have an abundance, so as not to be at any time entirely destitute. [pg 279] While at Prairie du Chien, I inquired for some wild rice, and to my surprise, a squaw produced several quarts of it, which had been gathered the autumn before, near lake Puckaway, kept until then, and brought one hundred and fifty miles, for fear of needing it while away from home, attending on the council.

They parch their rice and corn, in order the better to preserve them, and sometimes bury them in the ground to keep them from being stolen. The thief who wishes to find it, goes about with a sharp stick, piercing the earth, until he strikes upon the hidden treasure. Their parched grains would not be spoiled by lying in the ground for a considerable length of time.

Their food consists of fish, either fresh or dried in the smoke, of the meat of wild animals, and wild rice or Indian corn. They are fond of soup, to make which they use meat and corn meal. They boil a kettle full of corn in water and wood ashes, until the hull will come off, when they wash off the ashes in pure water, and lay the corn on mats in the sun to dry. That operation being performed thoroughly, they pound it quite fine in a mortar and put it in a kettle with the flesh, and boil it a long time, until the meat is boiled into rags, when the soup is placed in large wooden bowls for eating.

Though they have their likes and dislikes as to food, yet they eat almost any animal they kill. Not over nice about any part of the animal, they eat entrails and all. Of the entrails of the oxen we killed for them, they made soup, of which they appeared excessively fond. They change their diet as often as they conveniently can, and every season produces a change of food. Their dog feasts are greatly admired by them, and no epicure among us can find any food more to his liking, than the flesh of a fat dog is to an Indian. They generally live on flesh of some kind, yet they prefer that which is fresh, to salted meats, but they often mix the two sorts in cooking. The meats they eat being wild and tender, easily digested, and so thoroughly boiled, [pg 280] broiled, roasted or fried, that they can eat large quantities of them without injury.

Their tenderness towards aged persons of both sexes, is very common, and places them in an agreeable point of view. When we delivered them their goods, we required every person among the Winnebagoes to be present at the delivery of them, so that each one should receive his or her fair proportion of them. Until that day, the most aged and infirm persons had never appeared out of their camp. It was quite satisfactory to see the kindness with which these persons were treated by their young relatives and friends. Over these infirm persons, temporary lodges were erected to screen them from the heat of the sun. Food and water were tendered to them frequently, and every comfort administered to them, in the power of their friends to furnish. This conduct evidently sprung from benevolent hearts; yet those Indians are the wildest and most savage of any in North America. Respect and sympathy for the aged and infirm are found among all savage nations.

The custom of giving presents as tokens of friendship, is universal among all savage nations, as well as among our Indians. It is a custom springing from the best impulses of the human heart, common in every nation, ancient and modern, and will last as long as the world is inhabited by man. Such mementoes of friendship are as highly prized by an Indian as by a civilized man; and no earthly consideration will induce him to part with him. Whenever I wished to purchase a war club, a sword, or medal, which had been presented to the owner as a token of friendship, the reply always was, that it was "a great medicine." He would make me an article that by far excelled it, but would on no terms part with the present.

Like all savages, our red men of America are extremely fickle, and ready to change their minds in a moment. This trait of character renders it extremely difficult to treat with them. Some idle report of danger to be apprehended from some quarters, an earthquake, an eclipse, a violent thunder [pg 281] storm, or any thing unusual in the course of events, unless instantly explained to them, would break off a council, and they would be off to their coverts and their hiding places. So it was with the Greeks and Romans, and would be with us, were it not for the lights of science, which have dispelled the darkness that once rested on the phenomena of nature all over the world. Wherever man is unenlightened by science, he is as fickle and as superstitious as our own Winnebagoes! Ignorance is the parent of superstition, and this again begets fears, which among the crowd create sudden panics. The early histories of all unenlightened nations, record accounts of such panics, often produced, especially in war, by any occurrence almost, not strictly belonging to every day's events. The early histories of Greece and Rome are full of these sudden panics, produced by some uncommon events happening at the moment, which produced the most disastrous results among the crowds that followed the army.

Our red man of America is excessively fond of smoking tobacco, the leaves of the sumach, (kinne kennick,) and of some other plants. Every Indian, arrived at the age of manhood, has his tobacco pouch, his pipe and tobacco, and when he has the leisure, he smokes so much that he is perfectly saturated with the scent of tobacco and kinne kennick. So strong is this disagreeable scent, that the rooms much frequented by Indians, partake of it enough to render them unpleasant to one not habitated to such noxious effluvia. The pipes used by the Indians of the northwest, are generally made of stone, on which great labor is bestowed. The Soos (Sioux) use a pipe made of jasper, red as blood, found any where on the margin of the Mississippi, from Rock island to its native beds, high on the St. Peter's river. The Winnebagoes use a black stone which they color a deep black, and both the Soos and Winnebagoes polisli their pipes so as to make them look very well. The pipe stem is generally long, from two to six feet in length. Some pipes are beautifully carved, so as to represent some [pg 282] living object. The principal civil chief of the Winnebagoes, had a very good likeness of himself cut upon the front of a war pipe, which he forwarded by me to the President, with the request that it might be suspended under the President's looking glass. The request, I believe, was complied with.

They are the most ingenious beggars in the world.* One or two illustrations will be offered to the reader.

* Office seekers at Washington city only excepted.

While I was at Rock island, I inquired of the Sauks and Foxes, the name of Rock river, in their language, what it meant, and also the name of their village, near the mouth of that river, and its meaning in our language? To these inquires, at the time they were made, no answer was given.

After our arrival at Prairie du Chien, one morning at early dawn, the principal chiefs and warriors of both tribes entered my room, seated themselves for some minutes, and their speaker arose, and repeating my former inquiries, as to the names of their river and principal town, he wished to know "whether I still wanted the same information?" On my replying in the affirmative, he informed me what they called Rock river in their language, and that it meant "Beard river;" and what they called their town, and that it meant in English, "Beard's town." I naturally inquired why they so called their river and town? Instantly, all present arose, and adjusting their blankets, the speaker told me, "they so called the town and river because the people who lived there had beards, and expected me to give them razors!" which I was obliged instantly to purchase for them, as I had not supposed they ever used them. These men had ascertained that we had no razors among our goods, and they had recourse to this expedient to procure them from us. They knew too, how much depended on their aid, at that moment, and that I dare not refuse to grant them any request, almost, they might make of us. The men received their razors with smiles, which, by the [pg 283] time they had departed about ten rods from me, became a loud laugh, at their own ingenuity and success.

In a few minutes afterwards, as I expected, their wives and daughters made their appearance, and complaining that the men had received razors, while they had none, I was compelled to purchase some for them. Departing from me with their presents, as soon as they thought themselves out of my hearing, they laughed most immoderately at their success.

Another instance will suffice. I had procured a Winnebago war song, with the words of it accompanied with the musical notes belonging to it, which I had exhibited to the Sauks and Foxes. At the setting of the sun I had attended on these Indians, at their request, to see acted a particular dance, which pleased both actors and spectators, and I had expressed a wish to see another dance, hear another song of theirs, and take down the words of it in writing, accompanied by its musical notes. No answer was rendered over night to my request, but at early dawn they called upon me with it.

After being seated some fifteen minutes, in silence, Morgan, their speaker, stood up and repeated every word I had said on leaving them the night before, and he wished to ascertain from me, whether I still was of the same mind. "Do you still wish, (said he,) to hear us sing another song?" Answer; "yes." "Do you wish to see another and a different dance?" "Yes." "Do you wish to take down the words of it, and its musical notes in writing?" "Yes." "Do you wish a table to write on?" "Yes." "Do you want a sit to sit on by the table?" "Yes." "Do you wish for pen, inkstand and paper on the table?" Answer; "yes." At that moment, every Indian present rose up and adjusted his blanket, in readiness to leave me; Morgan concluded the interview by remarkings—"at the setting of the sun, this evening, at our camp, you shall have a seat to sit on, a table to write on, pen, inkstand and paper, and you shall hear two new songs, and see two dances, but we shall expect to see, placed on [pg 284] the table by you, something to make us merry, so that we can sing and dance to please you." His proposition was acceded to promptly, and they all instantly left the room, filled with joy at their success, which, as soon as they had left me, showed itself in loud and repeated bursts of laughter.

As soon as they reached their camp, the female dancers hastened to appear before me, and presenting themselves in rags, and the very worst garments they owned, or could procure, they urged the great impropriety of dancing before me, dressed as they were! They affected great distress of minds, at the sorry appearance they should present to me on an occasion when they should dance merely to do me honor.

They wanted "the best of paints for their faces, ostrich feathers to adorn their heads, the best of beads for their neck, large silk shawls on their shoulders, beautiful leggins, and calico Shirts to adorn their persons." All these, requests were instantly granted, and they departed highly gratified at their success.

At the appointed time I went to their camp, where I found assembled, all the Indians belonging to every nation on the treaty ground. The actors in the comedy, for so I considered it, were dressed in the most splendid manner, and acted their several parts to admiration. Universal joy diffused itself among the multitude; but exhaustion from continual fatigue, for weeks past, prevented my taking down either the notes of their music, or the words of their songs. Professing to be carried away with their acting, I abruptly left the seat by the table where I Was seated, and took my station between the two principal civil chiefs, near the performers. They were highly delighted with the supposed effect which their acting had produced on me, and my leaving the table as I did produced a burst of applause from all present. No people could have been happier than they were, for several successive hours.

[pg 285] The improvisatori had prepared himself in his best manner, for the occasion; the tamborin and several good natural singers, made very good music, and all was animation, life and glee. Enough wine and small beer were drank to make them all very merry, but no one drank to excess. At an early hour each retired to his lodge, well pleased at what had passed, and the meeting produced the best effects.


This practice prevails among all the Indian nations of the Upper Mississippi. I do not recollect to have become acquainted with any one family, where the man was fifty years old, who had not at least two wives, and the principal chiefs and warriors have from two to five. The eldest woman, generally, was nearly of the same age with the husband; the others appeared to have been married at different times, and were of different ages. The eldest, as in Asia, has the control of the household affairs, and the others obey her. The consequence of the man is rated, in some respect, by the number of wives belonging to him.

The number of wives, guns, medals, dogs, traps, horses, children, and slaves, show the wealth and consequence of the possessor. This state of things naturally reminds one of the patriarchal ages. In a rude state of society, where the laws of nature govern, polygamy always has, and always will exist. This custom has often been supposed to be derived from Asia, whereas, I derive it from the nature of man, who is always the same by nature. Christianity, in Europe, and among the descendants of Europeans, every where, has counteracted a natural propensity. Lawgivers have acted as moral philosophers have taught them, in prohibiting polygamy. Nature produces among the human family, thirteen males to twelve females. The excess of the males over the females, philosophers have told us, was intended to supply the losses by casualties, in war, navigation, &c., to which the males were more exposed than the [pg 286] other sex. Deducting those losses in war, and by various casualties, the number of the two sexes being equal, our laws prohibit polygamy for reasons of state. This leveling and truly republican principle, ill accords with the aristocratic practice of the chiefs and warriors of the Upper Mississippi. I discovered no evils growing out of this custom, and on the whole, I suspect, that in their state of society it is productive of good effects. It tends to create a little community, which is capable of supporting, protecting and defending itself. I have seen forty persons belonging to one family. It is easy to see, that in a savage state of society, polygamy tends to produce a little community having one interest; directed by one head, strong enough to support itself in times of sickness, famine and war. The father of it appears, like the patriarchs of old, to be beloved by all the members of the family. When the stranger approaches his wigwam or his lodge, the patriarch goes out to meet and welcome him to his humble mansion. More hospitable than we civilized men are, he offers to his guest all he has—food for himself, his horse and dog; a mat for him to sleep on, skins for his covering, and a bed fellow. When the stranger leaves him, he is accompanied a short distance on his way, his course is correctly pointed out to him, and even protection on his journey is offered him, provided any danger is apprehended from enemies on his route. All this is done without arrogance, or any airs of self-complacency in the host, no pay is expected from the guest.

No parents on earth are fonder of their offspring, than the Indians of the northwest. I might mention numerous instances, in my intercourse with these people, Where deep paternal fondness for their children appeared to great advantage. Kindness to their wives and children always conciliated the chiefs whom I wished to please.

It became my duty, in order to effect the views of the United States' government, to gain over to our interest, Winnesheek, the principal chief of the Prairie le Cross, lying eighty miles north of Prairie du Chien. As the readiest [pg 287] way to effect my object, I sent for his son, gave him many presents, of clothes, fish hooks, paints and jewelry. I showed him some cornelians, and employed him to find them on the shore of the Mississippi. He attended on me daily every morning, with the products of his labor the day preceding, and received his daily presents. His father always accompanied him to my window, on such occasions, and though he never told me it was his son, he showed in his countenance strong marks of pleasure, at the kindness extended to his boy. The day was set for the departure of the band to which the boy belonged, and the morning had arrived when Isaac Winnesheek was to visit me for the last time. At early dawn, dressed in the clothes he had received from me, painted in the best manner, and his hair filled with white clay, he made his appearance at my door, and was admitted. He took his seat, after the Indian manner, in silence, for fifteen minutes. He was filled with grief, in which, I confess, I largely participated. At length he rose, and presented to me as a parting memento, the largest and handsomest cornelian I ever saw. The tears ran freely down his cheeks, and I could not prevent mine from mingling with his. Having kept until then, for him, the choicest articles I had, while handing them to him, glancing my eye towards the window, I saw his father, (who had secreted himself there until this moment,) covered with tears, and convulsed with grief. His likeness, taken in the most correct manner, preserves the recollection of him.

When Du Corri, of the same band, presented his son to me, he shed tears; on inquiring the cause of his grief, he replied that, that son's mother was dead. On further inquiry, I learned that she had been dead ten years. Conjugal affection is not wanting, even in savage life, and paternal tenderness is as common among Indians as it is among us.

In appreciating the happiness and virtue of a community, says Dr. Currie, there is perhaps no single criterion on which we can place so much dependence, as on the state of the intercourse between the sexes. Where this displays [pg 288] ardor of affection and attachment, accompanied by purity of conduct, the character and influence of women rise in society; our imperfect nature mounts high in the scale of moral excellence; and from the source of this single affection, a stream of felicity descends, branching into a thousand rills, as it rolls onward, fertilizing and adorning the whole field of life. Where the attachment between the sexes sinks into an appetite, the heritage of our species is comparatively poor, and man approaches to the condition of the beast. In any country where polygamy exists, it is doubtful whether love, in a refined sense, is very common. The operation of physical causes on this attachment, is small, because it is modified chiefly by moral ones.

An Indian family, of a distinguished chief, consists generally of the man, who is called the father of it; his wives; his sons, who may or may not have wives; his daughters, and their husbands; and the children, belonging to all the family. The captives taken in war, if any may form a part of it, and the whole constitutes a little community within itself.

Cĉsar, when he was in Britain, found, doubtless, exactly such a state of things existing on that island, as now exists among our Indians of the northwest, and like too many others since his time, who decided before they comprehended the case fully, in all its relations and bearings, concluded, that all the males and females in the wigwam, had a promiscuous sexual intercourse, and that the children considered all the men as common fathers to them! I do not believe this statement of Cĉsar. It is contrary to human nature, so much so, that no such community of men, women and children, ever did, or even could exist, even one day. To say the contrary, is to slander human nature and its Author, who has, for the wisest and the best of purposes, so stamped the human heart with affections, connubial, paternal and material, that they never were, and never can be blotted out. Human society, without the full operation of these affections upon their desired objects, would, [pg 289] in a moment, dissolve like the baseless fabric of a dream, and disappear from the earth.

That it is so, we ought constantly to thank the Author of all things; because, had it not been so, the cup of human misery would have been full and running over, without even one poor, small drop of pleasure or of happiness in it.

Caesar, traveling in Britain, and British travelers in the United States, have outdone all others in slandering mankind, against which all nature cries aloud, in a voice that reaches the heavens, and is approved there.


The character and influence of women, among our red men, have been, and still are greatly misconceived. The females have been often represented as mere slaves of the men; whereas, they are not. Each sex has appropriate duties to perform, and according to their ideas of things, the hardships, the labors, and pleasures of life, are equitably divided between them. Among civilized people, the females share with their male connections in the same manner. A soldier's or a sailor's wife, expects to fare harder, and to suffer more than the wife of a man of wealth, who lives at ease, and is always with his family. Whatever be the condition of the husband, his wife participates with him in its pleasures and pains. So it is in savage life, and in every condition in which man is placed. Her animating voice rouses up all the energies of his soul, when desponding—soothes him in affliction, and she affords him all the real happiness which this world contains. For her and her children, he undergoes all sorts of hardships with cheerfulness. For his wife and children, the savage traverses every hill and every dale in quest of game. For them he is willing to encounter every difficulty and every danger, which the earth, the waters, or the elements present. In their defense he goes to war, conquers or is conquered—lives or dies [pg 290] in honor. They share with him all his renown or glory, or sink in ignominy, as he merits either.

A consciousness of his situation in society, and the consequences, not only to himself, but to those whom his heart holds most dear, which must follow his conduct, influences his mind in a powerful manner, in every situation in life. The influence of women is as great among the savages of the northwest, as it is among us. While the national council is deliberating about the fate of a prisoner of war, it is not an uncommon event for the prisoner to be killed by the young men, if the women do not wish to preserve his life. The women may be said to govern the young men as they please, and while the council is deliberating in a grave debate, if the women wish it, any act which the old men hesitate to do, is done promptly by the young men.

Some women rise into great consequence in their nation, by their wisdom, courage, fortitude and energy. Musquawbenoque, among the Pottawatimies, exercises all the authority, and possesses all the influence of a chief. She signed a treaty with us, as such, and the nation paid the greatest deference and respect to her.

Some of them, I regret to state, are great scolds, taking their husbands to task for every trifling incident, and scolding their children almost incessantly. I suspect, however, that circumstance is generally owing to the delicate state of their health, at the time. While scolding, their voices are as disagreeable, as harsh, and as grating on the ear, as can be imagined; whereas, when good nature prevails, as it generally does, no earthly sounds can be more harmonious, more soft, more soothing, more melodious. As there is more elasticity in the mind of a female, than in the mind of the male, so there is in their voice, which can either grate harsh thunder, or produce sounds as agreeable as the music of the spheres.

So far as I could learn, from all I saw and heard, I should suppose that the Indian women are faithful wives and kind mothers. [pg 291]

I suspect there is no marriage ceremony among them; an agreement between the parties, (if sanctioned by the parents of the woman,) to live together in a state of matrimony, is all that is necessary to constitute a marriage.

One of the Winnebago chiefs pressed me very urgently to give him a hoe, which request I could not comprehend, as every one of his females who used one, had been already presented with a hoe. I therefore refused to give him the wished-for present, until he would inform me for whom he intended it. He repeated his request every day, and every day received the same answer. At length, when lie ascertained that he could obtain the hoe on no other terms, he informed me that there was a young woman about thirty miles off, whom he had purchased for her mother for a hoe! On the receipt of this intelligence, I cheerfully gave him the present, and suitable clothes for her to wear. Three days afterwards the chief returned to me with his new bride dressed very elegantly, according to all his ideas of things. After introducing her to me, and to his whole family, with each one of whom she shook hands very cordially, her new clothes were laid aside for old ones, and I saw her at work pounding corn in a mortar, and preparing food for the family. She took the place of the youngest wife, waited on those who were her seniors in matrimony, and the whole family appeared to rejoice in the addition which she made to their number. I saw no other ceremony than I have mentioned. After the marriage of the daughter, I frequently saw her aged mother visiting the family of the chief, to whom she was now honorably and happily allied. All parties were well pleased with the match; the elder wives were relieved, in part, of their daily labors, the young woman was honorably allied to a distinguished family, her mother now had a good home in her declining age, (she was a widow,) and the old chief, as he believed, a handsome young wife.

The females belonging to poor families, marry quite too young, which is very injurious to them. It is not uncommon among them to marry at the early age of twelve years. [pg 292] The consequence is, that they never attain to the size they otherwise would, but are dwarfish, which in many instances belittles their offspring. The daughters of chiefs rarely marry until they arrive at the age of maturity. This may be one reason why those belonging to the families of chiefs, are larger in their persons, better formed, well proportioned in their limbs, and are more perfect in body and mind than the common people. If it be an evil, and it certainly is one, to be compelled to marry off their daughters at too tender an age, it is one which cannot be avoided by persons in their condition. Whereas, the chiefs can and do wait, until some man, equal to them in dignity, wishes to marry their daughters, before they permit them to marry.

If the father-in-law be a chief, his son-in-law generally after marriage belongs to his family, and the husband becomes one of the tribe to which the wife belongs. I know of some exceptions to this rule, though it is a general one. I am persuaded that no chief expatriates himself by marrying, but that a common man may do so, and when he marries out of his own tribe he does so.

It is not uncommon for a chief, on the marriage of his daughter to any distinguished man, to give with her a very liberal dower. The bride is dressed in the best manner; she has a horse to ride, and blankets and skins, clothing and food. Painted in the best and most fashionable manner, gaily dressed, meek, modest, unassuming, and submissive to her husband, she is all that nature, assisted by all that her parents could instruct her in, can do for a female, to prepare her to become a wife and a mother. If her husband have older wives, she cheerfully obeys them, and learns every art which they can teach her. The half-breed women generally marry either half-breeds or white men. In either case, they make excellent wives, and many of their children are beautiful. While in the Indian country, I always rejoiced when I came in sight of one of their houses, as I Left assured of experiencing under their roofs, hospitable and kind treatment. The half-breeds are excellent cooks, [pg 293] and many of them have been well educated in some catholic seminary, either in Canada or Missouri.

After traversing a wild waste, and seeing no human being, or such only as are the wildest barbarians, to be suddenly introduced to persons of a refined education, whose only wish is to do all they can to promote our comfort, operates with great, almost magical force upon the mind, and leaves an impression, which no length of tome can obliterate. The Catholics deserve great number of half-breeds. The women thus educated, in every instance, have done extremely well, and so have such of the men as to have not become dissipated. The females thus educated, are as well instructed in every thing, as any young women in the United States—they make as good wives too, and as good mothers.


Where a plurality of wives is allowed, there will always be many old bachelors. While Colonel Menard and myself, were sitting in the porch of the Indian agent, at Rock island, listening to several Indian speeches, my attention was frequently drawn towards a man belonging to the Sauk tribe, who, by his parade, singular and most disagreeable conduct, disturbed the repose of the Indian women and children, so much that I was compelled, finally, to interfere and order him off the ground. Neat to the very extreme for an Indian, in his person and dress—every hair of his head, was placed exactly where he wanted it to lie, filled with white clay and red ochre, in order to set off his person to the best advantage. His moccasons were the nicest I saw in all my tour, and beautifully ornamented with porcupine quills. His beard was every hair of it carefully pulled out by the roots, his face painted in the most fanciful and fantastic manner imaginable, his blanket was of a deep red, ornamcnted with broaches and with many strange and [pg 294] most unnatural objects, painted on it, in a green color. As he walked so nice and prim, he occasionally threw his head back, and strutted backwards and forwards, north and south, or east and west, near us, jingling a great number of small bells which were fastened around his ankles. A large BUCK'S TAIL descended down his back, from the crown of his head where it was fastened very nicely. Of his appearance and dress I do not complain, but, what gave me great uneasiness at the time, by disturbing the peace so as to almost break off our council, was his kicking at every innocent child, among our red friends, as it came any where near him; and he either looked excessively angry at every Indian girl about him, or looked askance, (oh, how lovingly!) by stealth, at every handsome one he saw any where near by. I felt vexed at the continual interruption occasioned by his most singular and highly exceptionable conduct, towards the women and children; but on inquiring who he was, and what could be his inducement for so treating the women and children of his own tribe, I was informed by those around me, that he was A BACHELOR, SIXTY YEARS OLD, who had been so proud in his youthful days, that he would not, marry any young woman who did not belong to some distinguished, family, and that the daughters of chiefs refused to marry him, who was but a mere plebian himself; and that now, he spent his time, as I saw he did, to our great annoyance. It appeared also, that he was excessively avaricious, almost starving himself at times, in order to save his furs, until he could get the highest price for them—and that when he received the money for them, he would hide it in some cave in the rocks, or some hole in the ground; and in that way had lost it, either by having it found, and stolen by some thief, or else he forgot, (as he often did,) where he had hidden or buried it.

Determined not to be disturbed any longer, by this Bucktail Bachelor, I drove him from among us, and even off the island; and we had peace and quietness during the continuance of our council, and indeed, all the remainder of [pg 295] our stay at Rock island. His name I never learned, as I strictly forbid its mention, by those who offered, for a drink of whisky, to tell it to me. For this course, I felt justified by my determination to suppress intemperance; and had his name been mentioned, I was rather fearful that I should remember it. In remarking upon this miserable bachelor, it may not be improper to state, that the Indians will rarely tell you the name of any person against whom they speak. I once inquired in their encampment, for the name of the person who had introduced whisky among them on the preceding night, and which had made thirty of them drunk, and perfectly crazy. Every one of my friends among the Indians, utterly refused to disclose the name of the guilty individual, but they cheerfully volunteered to go a mile or more with me, until we came upon the person, when they, one and all, pointed their fingers towards him. In all similar cases they never would implicate any one, by naming him to me. The offer therefore, at Rock island, for a drink of whisky, to disclose to me the name of the Bucktail Bachelor, is the more to be wondered at, because it was entirely aside from their common habit. I presume though, that his conduct towards the women and children above described, is an ample apology for this extraordinary departure, from a common custom among them. I fully agree with them in the opinion their offer to disclose a name so powerfully conveys, that any being, (he cannot be a man) who treats women and children unkindly, by such conduct, puts himself outside of the circle of common civility, and deserves no sort of forbearance. I have, on the whole, after much reflection on this matter, finally concluded, (though I have no positive proof of the fact,) that this cross, neat, foppish old bachelor, with all his avarice, must have been a party politician, of some sort, otherwise he never would have slandered several women, as I was credibly informed, he did! If such a being, any where in the world, among any people, has any name, I hope never [pg 296] to be informed of it, for fear I should remember it, and place it on record. I say, let his name sink into oblivion.


Gambling is very common among the Indians. On visiting the camp of the Winnebagoes, for the first time, I found nearly every individual of mature age engaged in some sort of game. The young men were playing, the game of "old sledge," with exactly such cards as our gambling gentry use. They bet largely, and lost nearly all they had to lose, in some instances. Whether the winner always keeps what he gets in that way, I cannot say, though on rising from play, I have sometimes seen all that was won redelivered to the losers. The women play a game among themselves, using pieces of bone, about the size, and which have the appearance of a common button mould. They are so cut out, that one side is blackish, and the other white. A considerable number of these button moulds are placed in a small wooden bowl, and thrown up in it a certain number of times, when the white sides up, are counted.

Athletic games are not uncommon among them, and foot races afford great diversion to the spectators. The women and children are present at these races and occupy prominent situations, from which they can behold every thing that passes, without rising from the ground where they are seated. Considerable bets are frequent made on the success of those who run.

They also play ball, in which sport great numbers engage on each side, and the spectators bet largely on each side. The articles played for, are placed in view of those who play the game. These consist of beads, paints, jewelry, &c. This game is a very animated one, and excites the greatest interest.

The game of cards must have been introduced among them by the white men who have visited them, from time [pg 297] to time. It is the only game they practice, thus derived, so far as I could learn.

On a day when there was to be no council held, the young men of the Winnebagoes and of the Chippeways, Ottowas and Pottawatimies, requested the commissioners, that instead of delivering to them the beef of two oxen, that morning, as had been the case every day previously, that two living steers might be delivered to them, to be hunted as bisons are. The request was granted, and early in the morning, the young Indians, on horse back, to the number of sixty or seventy, each equipped with a bow and a bundle of arrows, started the oxen, about three miles below the fort, and pursued them over the prairie on which the town of Prairie du Chien stands, in the direction of the town. The spectacle afforded us a fine opportunity, of seeing the manner of the buffalo hunt, which it resembled exactly. The running of the oxen, sometimes piteously bawling, pursued by the Indians on their small horses, painted in the best manner, riding at full speed, bending forward, occasionally shooting at the oxen and wounding them on the side,just back of the fore shoulder, exhibited a scene more easily conceived than described. Sometimes the pursuers would cluster together as they pressed forward, and then again they would spread out over the undulating surface of the prairie, covered with grass and a profusion of wild flowers. The spectators were numerous, and occupied places which commanded a good view of the sport. The oxen were not killed until they had run about three miles. Our red friends were highly gratified by the indulgence which had been given them, and the white people were not less pleased at the exhibition.

The chiefs and warriors have a great thirst for fame and for glory, and I doubt whether any man, in any age or in any country, exceed these people in that particular. To acquire "the bubble reputation," they will undergo any privations or sufferings, whatever, even death itself.

[pg 298] Nothing pleased them so much as to tell them, that their likenesses were in the war department, and that their fame was spread through the world. Carrymauny, the elder, three times repeated to me his history, and requested me to write it in a book. He complained to me that in all our accounts of Tecumseh, we had only said of him, "that Winnebago who always accompanies Tecumseh," without calling the Winnebago by his name—Nawkaw Carrymauny.


The poverty of their languages tends strongly to excite exertions to express ideas by figures, which their language is not copious enough to enable them, by words, to convey. Hence, their violent gestures, and their repetitions, in their public speeches. Their ideas are all drawn from sensible objects; and being comparatively few in number, gives a character to their eloquence, differing materially from ours. Like the rays of light, brought to a focus by a lens, their ideas being few, and with only a few words to express them, Byron would call them "ideas of fire." Unaccompanied by enthusiasm, genius produces only uninteresting works of art. Enthusiasm is the secret spirit, which hovers over the eloquence of the Indian. Can there exist any where, and among any people, high wrought eloquence, without this enthusiasm? All the senses of the Indian, from his modes of living, from necessity indeed, exist in the greatest possible perfection. Their persons are the finest forms in the world. Standing erect, with eyes flaming with enthusiastic ardor, with a mind laboring under an agony of thought, the Indian is a most impressive orator. He speaks, too, before his assembled nation, on some great national subject, and shows most manifestly, that he feels an awful responsibility. At Prairie du Chien, in the summer of 1829, while listening to several Indian speeches, I was forcibly struck with the evident marks the chiefs exhibited of the deep sense impressed [pg 299] upon their minds, of the awful responsibility they felt. I have seen a chief, when he approached the subject of a sale of his country, in his speech, turn pale, tremble with fear, and sit down perfectly exhausted in body, from the operations of his mind. His audience is never less dignified, than his whole nation—frequently several other nations, and when the object of the council is the sale of his country; the officers of the United States, and an army drawn up in military array, with all its pomp and splendor. The Indian orator, according to all his ideas of things, is placed in a situation the most favorable I can conceive of, to be in the highest degree eloquent. Before him sit the United States' commissioners, attended by a great number of military officers, in full dresses, the Indian agents, sub-agents agents, interpreters, and an army of soldiers under arms. The cannons with lighted matches, and indeed all the proud array of military life, so fascinating to men in all ages of the world, are presented to his near and full view.

On each side of him sit all the chiefs and warriors of his nation, while behind him, sit in the full hearing of his voice, all the women and children of his people. His subject is one, then, of the highest conceivable importance to himself, and his whole nation. His country which he is called on to sell and quit for forever, countains the bones of his ancestors, the remains of numbers who were endeared to him by a thousand tender recollections. The heart, perhaps, that loved him most dearly, lies buried in that soil. His wives and his children listen in breathless silence to every word he utters, every eye among the assemblage, vast and imposing, to his mind, watches every gesture he makes.

Placed in such a situation, the character of his eloquence is easily conceived. It abounds with figures drawn from every object which nature presents to his eye. He thanks the Great Spirit, that he has granted them a day for holding their council, without or with a few clouds, as the case may be—that their several paths between their homes and the council fire, have been open and unattended with danger [pg 300] —that the storm is passed away and gone—and he hopes, that during the time he may be detained from home, the beasts may not destroy his corn, nor any bad birds be surfered to fly about the council with false stories. All this is uttered without much gesticulation, and without enthusiasm; but should he touch upon the subject of a sale of his country, his whole soul is in every word, in every look, in every gesture. His eye flashes fire, he raises himself upon his feet, his body is thrown in every variety of attitude—every muscle is strained—every nerve is exerted to its utmost power, and his voice is loud, clear, distinct and commanding. He becomes, to use his own expressive phrase—a MAN.

He recalls to the minds of his audience the situation and circumstances of his ancestors, when they inhabited the whole continent; when they, and they only, climbed every hill and every mountain, cultivated in peace the most fertile spots of earth, angled in every stream, and hunted over every plain in quest of game, and glided along in their canoes, on every river and every lake. He tells his auditors that his ancestors had their lodges in the coolest shades in summer, beside the purest fountains, where an abundance of food was always at hand and easily obtained; that all the labor they had to perform, was only what the white man call sport and pastime. That in winter they dwelt in the thickest forests, where they were protected from every piercing wind.

The white man came across the great water—he was feeble and of small stature—the begged for a few acres of land, so that he could, by digging in the earth like a squaw, raise some corn, some squashes, and some beans, for the support of himself and family. Indian pity was excited by the simple tale of the white man's wants, and his request was granted. He who was so small in stature soon became so great in size, that his head reached the clouds, and with a large tree for his staff, step by step he drove the red man before him, from river to river, from mountain to mountain, until the red man seated himself on a small territory as a [pg 301] final resting place, and now, the white man wants even that small spot.

To continue to use the language of the "Little Elk," at Prairie du Chien, in July, 1829—"The first white man we knew, was a Frenchman—he lived among us, as we did; he painted himself, he smoked his pipe with us, sung and danced with us, and married one of our squaws, but he wanted to buy no land of us! The "red coat" came next; he gave us fine coats, knives and guns, traps, blankets, and jewels; he seated our chiefs and warriors at his table, with himself; fixed epaulets on their shoulders, put commissions in their pockets, and suspended medals on their breasts, but never asked us to sell our country to him? Next came the "blue coat," and no sooner had he seen a small portion our country, than he wished to see a map of THE WHOLE Of it; and, having seen it, he wished us to sell it ALL to him. Governor Cass, last year, at Green bay, urged us to sell ALL our country to him, and now you, fathers, repeat the request. Why do you wish to add our small country to yours, already so large? When I went to Washington to see our great father, I saw great houses all along the road, and Washington and Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, are great and splendid cities. So large and beautiful was the President's house, the carpets, the tables, the mirrors, the chairs, and every article in it, were so beautiful, that when I entered it, I thought I was in heaven, and the old man there, I thought was the Great Spirit; until he'had shaken us by the hand, and kissed our squaws, I found him to be like yourselves, nothing but a man! You ask us to sell our country, and wander off into the boundless regions of the west. We do not own that country, and the deer, the elk, the beaver, the buffalo, and the otter, now there, belong not to us, and we have no right to kill them. Our wives and our children now seated behind us, are dear to us, and so is our country, where rest in peace the bones of our ancestors. Fathers! pity a people, few in number, who are poor and helpless. Do you want our country? yours is larger than [pg 302] ours. Do you want our wigwams? you live in palaces. Do you want our horses? yours are larger and better than ours. Do you want our women, yours, now sitting behind you, (pointing to Mrs. Rolette and her beautiful daughters, and the ladies belonging to the officers of the garrison,) are handsomer and dressed better than ours. Look at them, yonder! Why, Fathers, what can be your motive?"

Such is the substance, and almost the very words, of Hoowaneka, in council. His gestures were very graceful, but in those parts of his speech where he felt deeply what he said, his gesticulation was violent, and his whole soul appeared to be agitated in the highest degree.

Among the Sauks and Foxes, Keeokuk and Morgan, the head warriors of the two tribes, were their orators, who addressed us. They always consulted the civil chiefs, as to the matters to be touched on in their speeches. A solemn national council was called upon the subject, and the result of their deliberation was communicated to the orators.

Among the Winnebagoes, they generally put forward as orators, half-breeds, such as Snakeskin and the Little Elk, but on great occasions the principal chiefs appear as orators. Among them, orators do not, as such, stand as high as they do among civilized nations. Under an aristocracy, birth is esteemed of great consequence, and in a savage state, bodily powers and prowess are considered of greater value than among us, who are more intellectual than man in his natural condition. The Indian word for an orator, is "babbler." Thus, we see, that our red men are not sufficiently advanced in the arts, either of life or of government, to give an orator all the consequence which our condition, as a people, affords. Could the man of America throw off his aristocracy, his love of war, his indolence, which has its origin partly in these sources, and adopt all the new wants of civilized life, which are the true fountain heads of all our industry, he might excel as an orator at the bar, on the stage, in the desk, in the mixed assembly, and in the senate hall. Until then, he will rise no higher than he now is; [pg 303] his speeches will be vehement, his gesticulation violent, and repetitions, and darkness, and obscurity, mixed with some beautiful allusions to nature, and vague traditions, handed down from ages gone by, will be found in all his harangues. Logan's speech was simplicity itself and was and is admired all over the world; but Logan had spent the most of his days among the whites, whom he more resembled in all his ideas, than his own people. Such a speech as Logan's never was delivered by an Indian, who never saw a white man. There are in it a clearness, a directness, a point, a simplicity, which belong to the speech of a civilized man, who at the same time, is a full blooded savage in his heart.


Having examined their eloquence, it is natural to inquire whether they have any poetry? Among the people of the eastern continent, poetry existed before prose composition was invented. Among all savage nations, so long as the human mind remains unenlightened by literature aud science, the darkness which rests upon it is favorable to the workings of the imagination. The lofty mountains, the cataract rushing with its mighty volume of waters, the flood, the lake convulsed by the tremendous storm, the tornado's fury, the whirlwind's force, the thunder's awful voice, and the zigzag vivid lightning's flash, agitate the savage mind with the most awful and sublime emotions. These are contrasted in his mind, with the peaceful, wide spread prairie, the gentle river, moving noiselessly along within its banks, the placid lake unruffled by a breath of air, and the clear sky without a cloud in view. Ignorant of all secondary causes, the savage looks only to the GRAT FIRST CAUSE, as the only and immediate Author of all things, and all events, and his soul is filled with dread, awe and wonder. The very names of individuals, nay, of whole tribes, fortify this position. The "Rolling Thunder," the "Yellow Thunder," [pg 304] the "Distant Thunder," &c. are individuals among the Winnebagoes, who possess great weight of character; and that tribe to which belong men who stand high on their roll of fame, for their distinguished valor in war, for their consummate prudence, experience and wisdom in the national councils, is emphatically called, "the Thunder tribe."

In all former ages, and in all other countries, placed as our natives are, man has been a poet; and why should he not be one, who roams over the vast regions of the west? The friendly Creeks are as far advanced in many of the arts, as the Greeks were in the age in which the Homeric poems were produced. It is immaterial, in my view of the subject, whether such a person as Homer ever had an existence, in reality, because I doubt on that subject; but certain poems were produced in a certain age, by certain Greeks, though collected, polished, connected and corrected, by other persons in a succeeding age, and we ascribe them to Homer. The ancient Greeks and Romans have long since gone down to the tomb—their languages are no longer living ones— their poets, orators, warriors, statesmen, artists and historians, together with their laws, their institutions, civil, moral and religious—even their very gods, have perished from off the face of the earth. But let any one at this day make himself acquainted with these ancient nations, through their writings which have escaped the ravages of time, and which go to show us what they were; ambitious of glory and renown, in all the pursuits of life, which lead to the temple of fame; avaricious of wealth, luxurious, indolent, bold, daring, industrious, enterprising, cunning, artful or artless, and possessing indeed not only every power of body, but every faculty of mind, now belonging to man— and I might add, that the satires of Horace, and the beautiful passage of Virgil, beginning with "Oh, fortunatos nimium," &c., and the Greek comedies, should we go no further, prove that even the pursuits of men were formerly, and always, the same as now; so that looking on all the people around us, at this moment, we find Greeks and Romans [pg 305] every where. It follows conclusively, does it not? that in all ages and in all countries, when surrounded by circumstances precisely similar, man was and is exactly the same being.

That he is a poet in America, his songs of war and of love attest. But if the American in his wildest state, in the northwest, is not as good a poet as the Greeks were of the heroic age, neither is he as far advanced in the arts of life; he has no buildings, either of wood, of brick, or of stone; his wigwam is a shelter made of barks; and his movable lodge consists of mats, which are moved about as he moves, from spring to spring and from grove to grove, or transported in his canoes, with his wives, his children, his aged parents and servants, accompanied by his dogs; or they are carried on his horses along with his traps and other movables. The country is too large, the population too sparse, and the mere wants of nature too few, too easily supplied also, and his habits of too fixed a character, to render any change in his modes of living, acting and thinking, absolutely necessary, and therefore desirable to him, in his views of human life, and of his own condition. The Greeks were more pent up for want of room to move about and act in; so were the Romans. We must not forget either, that we hear first of the ancients, through the aid of letters; and before the period of their introduction, we have too much reason to doubt the truth of their histories. For myself, I confess that I place little, almost no faith, in them. Certainly all Roman history, before the destruction of Rome, and all the public records by the Gauls, under Brennus, are fabulous, made up in after times, so as to flatter the vanity of certain families, then possessing power and influence in the state; just as the artful office seekers of the present day, flatter the vanity, deny the vices, hide the follies, and varnish over the miscalculations, negligences and blunders of the men now in power, all over the world. So that in fact, history shows us no people in ancient times, placed in circumstances quite so unfavorable to mental development, [pg 306] as those in which the Indians of the Wisconsin are now placed. The Indians further south, the Creeks, the Cherokees, &c., compare better with the heroic ages of the ancients, and GUESS is among them, what CADMUS was among the Greeks—he hs invented an alphabet of syllables, superior, in every point of view, to any ever used by Cadmus.

This alphabet, with a few corrections of some errors and the addition of a few more well defined characters, would suit and fully convey all the sounds of every Indian language in America. It possesses some advantages over the English and French alphabets, in as much as it is more comprehensive, occupies less space in a book, and conveys with more certainty the sounds of the language. It is learned with ease, and one acquires the arts of spelling and reading through the use of it, sooner than he could if he used ours. It approaches our short-hand writing.

The Indian languages, though abounding rather too much in guttural sounds for rhyme, yet all their public harangues abound with tropes and figures of speech, and the ideas conveyed are glowing, and originate in a fervid imagination. Nothing can be more poetical than many of their speeches, whenever the speaker alludes to the wonders either of nature or of art. The very ignorance of the phenomena of nature, the causes of which, to him lie buried in darkness, keeps his imagination in a continual glow of wonder and admiration. Some ignorant writer, long since, first propagated the idea, that the red man expressed no surprise at any thing he saw, and all the servile herd followed after him, in the same track. More error was never conveyed in so few words. The Indian wonders at almost every thing he sees. I saw crowds of them examining every part of the machinery about our steam boat; and nothing could more attract their admiration than the sight of a clock or of a watch.

In saying what I have of the savage, in order to prove that he possesses within himself the sources of poetry, no thing is further from my intention than to undertake to [pg 307] prove that the civilized man may not be a poet also. As a people, savages are more poetical than civilized men. Enthusiasm will throw any mind into a poetical state of exoistence. It throws the man of genius into those reveries, where amidst nature, he sees nothing but nature, even among the greatest perils, and he remains unterrified by them!

Franklin, without a particle of fear, could go out into the most terrible thunder storm, in order to try an experiment with his electric kite. Enthusiasm in the pursuit of the wonderful discovery be made, took away all fear from his mind.

Pliny, that he might be able, correctly to describe a volcano, fearlessly approached one so near that he lost his life in it.

Vernet, the painter, went to sea, with the hope of being in a tempest, so that he could paint one! When the much desired tempest came, while others were distracted with fear, and gave up all hopes of being saved from immediate death, the captain of the vessel found Vernet, calmly sketching the terrible world of waters, and studying the waves that were threatening him with destruction. But though the civilized man is many times highly enthusiastic, yet his mind is not always so excited, nor as often, as the mind of the savage is.

I was unable to discover any love songs among the Winnebagoes, the wildest savages of the northwest, yet I obtained, through Mr. Kinzey, the sub-agent, at fort Winnebago, a war song, the words of which are subjoined.

[pg 308]


Hyeeheenartsheezhee, Hyeeheenartsheezhee, Hyeeheenartsheezhee, I am not to be trifled with—I am not to be, &c.
Hyeeheenartsheezhee, Hyeeheenartsheezhee;
Koa'rar woankeezhum mau'nee tshee'reerar,
Friends man a walks village.
Hyeeheenartsheezhee, Hyeeheenartsheezhee, Hyeeheenartsheezhee,
I am not to be, &c.

I am not to be trifled with, &c.
Friends! a man walks thro' this village.
Who shall dare to sport with me?
Friends! 'tis a warrior chief you see.
Who shall dare contend with me?
Friends! 'tis the chief of chiefs you see!

The notes for the drum are struck short and abruptly, and the first and every alternate note in a bar, is sounded loud and strong; the intermediate ones lightly.

When this tragedy was acted, the actors were so painted as to show with great effect every wound which they had ever received in battle. Broken Arm, who had been severely wounded in the attack on fort Meigs, in the late war, was particularly conspicuous. The wound was so painted, and the blood which run from it was so well represented by the painter, as to look like the reality itself. At a short distance from him, on a first view, I thought he had recently been badly wounded.

Like all the tragedians whom I ever saw play, the actors went beyond nature, or, as was once well said of Garrick, he over-acted Garrick. They worked themselves into every attitude of gesture, and looked more like devils than like men. Though considering their advantages of education, they no more over-acted their parts than the very best players on our theatrical boards do. On the whole, I give the Indians the preference, as over-stepping simple nature [pg 309] less than the most celebrated players, in our Atlantic cities. Fashion, sole arbitress, saves them from deserved ridicule and scorn, as actors, musicians, and singers.

The Sauks and Foxes, who have resided near Rock island, where the French located themselves seventy years since, have tunes evidently of French origin, and love songs of considerable length. These Indians have among them, what answers to the Italian improvisatori, who make songs for particular occasions, and one of them makes it his business to take off with great effect, the warriors, when they boast of their exploits in the intervals, in the music and dancing at the war dances. He is a great wag, and dresses himself in a manner as grotesque as possible. On his head, on such occasions, he fixes two horns of the antelope, and nearly covers his face with the bison's hair, dyed red.

The tune lie usually sings his song in, contains only three, or at most, five notes; but is as good a song probably, and the music quite equal to the poetry and music, used by Thespis, in the infancy of tragedy, among the Greeks. Whether these improvisatori are of Indian or European origin, I cannot certainly say; though from the circumstance of their existence among most of the Indian tribes, nearly or quite all the way to the Rocky mountains, and high on the Misrouri river, I am induced to believe those improvisatori derived their profession, as they have their origin, from the natives of the country.

That the Sauks and Foxes have a considerable number of songs, suited to a great many occasions, in their own language, I know, and have heard them sung frequently, and regret that my avocations prevented my taking them down in writing, at the time they were sung. When no farther advanced in the arts of civilized life, than these tribes are, I doubt much whether the Greeks or Romans had more poetry, or better, than the aboriginals have at this moment. And as to music, the Romans were inferior, in the days of Augustus, to the Sauks and Foxes of the Upper Mississippi.

[pg 310] Our Indians have no such thing as rhyme among them, though that can be matter of no surprise to us, when we consider that no nation of antiquity had it. Neither the Greeks nor Romans had any such thing as rhyme among them, nor was the art of punctuation known to these nations, who made such great progress in the arts of painting, statuary and architecture. That the modern art of rhyming should be unknown to the most polished nations of antiquity, is no more surprising than it is that they knew nothing of the mariner's compass, the art of printing, the telescope, the power and the uses of steam, as now applied to navigation, and in the manufactories of Europe and America. Rhyme, then, is a modern invention, which has not yet reached the natives of America, but their poetry is sung and accompanied by musical instruments and the dance. So it was in the best days of Greece and Rome, among them. They set all their comedies and tragedies to music, and accompanied the acting of them, with the human voice, and with musical instruments! One actor frequently spoke the words, while another acted them! and we are told, that it often happened, that the one who gesticulated gained more applause than the speaker.

As among our Indians, the Roman actors sung their plays, and both actors and chorus danced as they sung. Though our Indians, when they act their comedies and tragedies, (because I consider their dances as such,) have not gone as far, in some respects, as their prototypes, the Greeks and Romans, yet they so change their common appearance when they appear as players, by painting and dressing, that on several occasions I hardly knew them, as individuals. But our native actors never appear in buskins. The Romans wore masks, lined with brass, to give an echoing sound to their voices, and these masks were marked with one passion on one side, and with a contrary passion on the other; and the actor turned that side towards the spectators, which corresponded with the passion he was acting. This account of the acting on the stages of Greece and Rome, is drawn [pg 311] from the united voice of all antiquity, which no one will dispute, who is at all conversant with classical literature.

Among the Indians of the Upper Mississippi, the Sauks and Foxes are decidedly the best actors, and have the greatest variety of plays among them. Their war dances may be viewed as tragedies in the rudest state, and those dances wherein both sexes appear, are truly comedies of no mean cast, considering their origin and their authors. Each person who acts, is painted and dressed in a manner entirely proper, for the part to be personated by the actor or actress. To see a play acted, of a ludicrous cast of character, I have seen a thousand Indians present, who were highly delighted with the acting. Thunders of applause followed some antic prank, while a visible displeasure would sometimes punish a failure to act well. To raise up a company of good players among them, they only need a settled state of society, fixed habitations, and an acquaintance with the use of letters. To accomplished this for them, individuals or societies must do it, not the United States' government, whose vast advances of money, goods, &c., never reach their object, in a way to be of much service to them.

As to the tunes of most of the Indians, it is scarcely necessary to add, that they are dull and monotonous, because with only from three to five musical notes, they must necessarily be so, yet, even such tunes sung by some clear, soft and melodious voices, both of males, and especially of females, the music in them is quite agreeable, and even enchanting. Though the human voice is nearly the same in all ages and in all countries, in its unimproved condition, and nature herself has given voices almost angelic, to a favored few, yet it is not to be dissembled that art has done a vast deal to improve it among Europeans and their descendants of the present time. What nature has done for man, in giving him musical powers, the Winnebagoes showed us at Prairie du Chien, in July and August of 1829; and what art could add to nature, in that line, was exhibited to us, [pg 312] while listening to the singing of the accomplished Miss Roletta, that place.

In 1782, there were published at the English University of Oxford, three ancient Greek hymns, composed by one Dionysius, accompanied by the notes of music, in which they were once sung in the best days of Greece. The music, read it as you will, either backwards or forwards, is not one whit better then the Winnebagoes possess now. It may be said, that the Greek and Roman languages, were so musical in themselves that they needed not the aid of music. Be that as it may, I think it quite clear, that in those times, when Greece and Rome flourished most, their music was extremely poor. We, in the United States, are running into the opposite extreme; so singing every thing in public and private, that not a sentence can be heard; while our Indians, like the ancients, rely almost wholly on the sense of the words for effect. Doubtless, it would be a vast improvement, if the auditor could distinctly hear and understand both the words and the music. If but one of these advantages can be attained, I am decidedly in favor of the Indian mode of singing. Even if the tune be monotonous, let the human voice be in a fine tone, and this tone impassioned, it will, as the great Milton expresses it,

"—take the prisoned soul,
And lap it in Elysium—."

As to musical instruments, the Winnebagoes use a great number of gourd shells, with pebbles enough in them, to make them very good rattles. These are shaken so as to keep time with the everlasting daw, daw, daw, of their singing. They have a flute of their own invention, which produces the most melancholy music in the world.

When the musician is playing his mournful tune, of three notes, only four rods from you, you would conclude, unless you actually saw him, that he was forty rods from you.

[pg 313] It is played at war dances, and at those executions of human beings who are burned at the stake. It is, I believe, always used by disconsolate lovers, to soften the hard hearts of their cruel fair ones.

Among the Sauks and Foxes, they have the tambourin, as a musical instrument. This instrument is derived from the early French settlers on the Mississippi, I doubt not.

As the musical instruments are few in number, so they are very imperfect, and rude in their construction.


The following was sung in the Osage tongue, at Dr. Mitchill's, in Washington; translated into French by Mr. Choteau, the interpreter; and rendered into English immediately, January 7, 1806.

1. Subject of the first, friendship; their journey to Washington, to have an interview with the President of the United States, and their satisfaction on meeting their Great Father.

My comrades brave, and friends of note,
You hither came from lands remote,
To see your grand exalted Sire,
And his sagacious words admire.
"The Master of your Life and Breath"*
Averted accidents and death;
That you might such a sight behold,
In spite of hunger, foes and cold.
Ye Red Men! since ye here have been,
Your Great White Father ye have seen,
Who cheer'd his children with his voice,
And made their beating hearts rejoice.
[pg 314]
Thou Chief Osage! fear not to come,
And leave awhile thy sylvan home;
The path we pass'd is clear and free,
And wide and smoother grows for thee.
Whene'er to march thou feel'st inclin'd,
We'll form a lengthening file behind;
And dauntless from our forests walk,
To hear our Great White Father's Talk.

* The Great Spirit, or Supreme Being, is called by several savage tribes, "The Master of Breath, or the Master of Life."

II. Subject of the second, War. Wanapasha, the chief of the expedition, encourages his associates to despise death, and be daring and valiant in arms.

Say warriors, why, when arms are sung.
And dwell on every native tongue,
     Do thoughts of Death intrude?
Why weep the common lot of all?
Why think that you yourselves may fall,
     Pursuing or pursued?
Doubt not your Wanapasha's* care,
To lead you forth, and shew you where
     The enemy's conceal'd;
His single arm shall make th' attack,
And drive the sly invaders back,
     Or stretch them on the field.
Proceeding with embodied force,
No nations can withstand our course,
     Or check our bold career;
Tho' if they knew my warlike Fame,
The terrors of my form and name,
     They'd quake, and die with fear.

* This man died suddenly at Washington, a few nights after having sung this song to the translator.

To these specimens of Osage poetry, I subjoin two Cherokee songs of friendship. These consist of but one sentence each, with a chorus. Nothing of greater length seems to [pg 315] exist among them. They repeat the song and chorus until they are tired.—The words of both of them were written by Mr. Hicks, a Cherokee of the half blood, with his own hand, both original and version, on the twenty-first of December, 1805, in the presence of Colonel Benjamin Hawkins, Colonel R. J. Meigs, General Daniel Smith, of Tennessee, General Stephen R. Bradley, of Vermont, and Double Head, the famous warrior.

Neither among the Osages nor the Cherokees, could there he found a single poetical or musical sentiment, founded on the tender passion between the sexes. Though often asked, they produced no songs of love.

Song the first.
Can, nal, li, eh, ne-was-tu.
A friend you resemble.
Chorus.Yai, ne, noo, way. E,noo,way,ha.
Song the second.
Ti, nai, tau, na, cla, ne-was-tu.
Brothers I think we are.
Chorus.Yai, ne, noo, way. E,noo,way,ha.


Who enjoys the greatest sum of happiness, the savage or the civilized man?

By happiness, I mean mental and corporeal enjoyment. And in order to arrive at a conclusion in any wise satisfactory to the inquirer, it is not only necessary to examine the situation of whole tribes, but individual cases must be placed in our scales, and carefully and correctly weighed.

It would be too tedious, though, to compare the situation in each nation, of every officer, civil and military. In both states of society, the military is subordinate to the civil power. Fame—the love of glory, in all states, and in all ages, has made heroes; and the Indian warrior Keeokuk, who commands the Sauks, adorned with his hundred feathers [pg 316] of the bald eagle, to denote the number of his victims, is as happy as any officer in our army or navy.

Let us descend into private life, the common lot of nearly all persons in the world; and begin with the lover—"sighing like a furnace, and making ballads to his mistress's eye-brow," among us—and in a no less pitiable condition among the Winnebagoes!!! The pitiful dandy, meager, gaunt and pale faced—with a waist like a wasp—with a watch in the pocket of his scanty vest, accompanied by chain enough to hang him up by the neck, cuts not as good a figure as the young Winnebago, painted in his best manner, his hair filled with white clay, and a flute in his hand. Our fop has as few ideas in his head as the savage. He is pale, emaciated, fanciful and foolish, while the Winnebago looks brave and manly, on all around him. The dandy crawls along to the church, the theatre, or the ball room, to see his adorable, fanciful, fickle, silly fair one; whereas, the young Indian, if his fair idol move from one place to another, lightly wends his way along, not far from her, until she stops, when he seats himself on a stump, a log, or a rock, and begins his mournful and heart rending tune of three notes! He plays for hours together, without cessation, while the cruel fair one seems not to know that her afflicted lover is near her! Thus, from morn till night, the lover continues his suit, and from day to day, until the young lady's parents—I ought to say mother—consents to the marriage, or rejects him and his music. Once rejected by the mother, he seats himself near some other beautiful belle, and begins anew his mournful ditty. Thus he labors on in his vocation, until he succeeds in making some blooming beauty his bride.

As the Indian girls, in matters of love, implicitly obey their mothers, they generally marry well, though they are sometimes sold to the highest bidder. A goodly person, to be a good hunter, to be possessed of good dogs, a good gun, good traps, and above all, to be allied to one of the principal families in the nation, are the best passports to an honorable [pg 317] matrimonial connection. The mother who is poor, expects a present for her daughter, while the chiefs present very handsome gifts to their sons-in-law. I leave the question to the reader to decide, between the savage and the civilized man as a lover.

The common people, such as are neither chiefs nor warriors, have no political influence, and more resemble, in their condition, the poorer people of England, than our citizens. They are generally poor, even for savages, and are more unhappy than any other portion of people in the United States, slaves not excepted. A prophet had collected into one body on Rock river, about two hundred persons, who appeared to be a wretched people. They consisted of men and women who were either deformed in their persons, or were mere dwarfs in size. These were governed by this priest, through their hopes and fears, and this little band of Winnebagoes were kept together by a common interest. Cut off from all opportunity of ever rising into any important station in their nation, by circumstances beyond their control, they naturally associated together under such a teacher. According to their ideas of happiness, this world offered very little to them, and they naturally followed the man, who promised them all they could desire in a future state of existence. This prophet carried with him a wand about three feet in length, divided into parts somewhat like a common yard stick, and from this he professed to deliver to his people the most awful denunciations, provided they disobeyed him. His dreams he professed were sent directly from heaven, and he denounced the most awful judgments against every sinner who doubted his divine mission, or disobeyed his injunctions Whether he went so far as to represent the Great Spirit malignant enough to inflict eternal punishment for every little fault; or whether he was weak enough to inculcate the doctrine of everlasting happiness, as a reward for the little, the very little good, which even the best man can cap effect in his life time, I cannot say.

[pg 318] I draw no conclusion from a comparison between these religious people and ours, which is the most happy. That the savage mingles fewer wordly motives with his religion, than many who join our churches, I sincerely believe, and as yet the savage has made no open attempts to join church and state, in order to rise into wordly power and influence.

The condition of females among the savages, is certainly less favorable to happiness, than our state of society affords. The want of comfortable habitations among the aborigines, is felt more by women and children, aged and infirm persons than with us. Their hardy habits, however, enable them to bear this evil better than one would suppose; and between their condition and ours, there is very little more disparity, than between our earliest white men in our frontier settlements, and the wealthier inhabitants of our Atlantic cities. The first settlers of Kentucky and Ohio, probably suffered more from the want of roads, mills, bridges, schools, and all the institutions and comforts of civilized life, to which they had been accustomed from their infancy, than the Winnebagoes do now. Habit it almost every thing that a person needs in such a case.

When I crossed Rock river at Ogee's ferry, September 1st, 1829, there was a lodge of Indians there, consisting of an old man, his son-in-law, daughter and several children. They waited on me, as soon as I stopped for the night, at the house of Ogee, who had married a half-breed, and owned the ferry. They addressed to me a speech which I answered in the same friendly spirit with theirs, gave them presents of pipes and tobacco, and visited their lodge. After receiving some sugar, as a present from the lady of the family at the lodge, and after obtaining a promise from her to make a small bag, out of some nettles which had been prepared by rotting and dressing, so that they resembled dressed hemp—I retired to rest at an early hour, and saw my friends no more, until day light, at which time, on walking out at the door, I saw the two Indian men at the lodge, painting and dressing themselves in their best manner. In [pg 319] this way they were preparing to wait on me, before my departure, to deliver a speech and some presents to me. Not seeing the woman at the lodge, my attention was directed towards an adjoining grove, from whence the sound of an axe proceeded. The woman was cutting wood there, and soon she raised a log from the ground, a load for almost any man, and carried it to the lodge. A regard to delicacy forbade my visiting them, until the family were in a situation to receive me. As soon as the men were completely dressed, I took an opportunity, to upbraid them for not cutting and carrying the wood, instead of laying that labor on the woman.

The men showed in their countenances, strong marks of grief at what they evidently considered a most imputation on their character. It was true, they said, that the squaw had set up nearly all night to make the bag for me, but the money she was to receive for it would be her own, of which they would receive no part. The old man said that while he and his son-in-law many times would rise early in the morning fasting, and hunt all day and return home at night faint, weary and almost famished for food, and so continue on from day to day, perhaps suffering all that they could endure until success crowned their efforts at last; all this time the squaw and her children remained at the lodge, where they could be comparatively comfortable, by a good fire, when the weather was bad, and suffered much less than the men who bore all the fatigues, without a murmur of complaint. In war, the men fight all the battles, suffer from wounds, from hunger and privations of every kind. "Father," said the old man, "we do not like some of your customs; at your forts we see young men, almost boys, acting as officers, and beating, and abusing older men than they, compelling them to carry on their shoulders large poles all day, marching backwards and forwards, to answer no purpose, but to gratify their young officers. All this is imposed upon them, merely because these old men have drank too much whisky, which their officers first give them [pg 320] to drink, and then punish them for drinking it! We endeavor to keep the whisky from our soldiers, and if they get it by any means, we do not punish them for drinking it. We have only old men like you, for our officers, and we teach our young men to obey them. Our women own all the children—the lodge and the wigwam are theirs, and all the household furniture. The men own the guns, the traps, the powder and lead, the horses and the canoes. The women and children own the fishing lines and hooks, the axes and the hoes. We kill the deer, the bear, the otter, the mink and the muskrat; the women and children sometimes catch the fish, kill the birds and raise the corn."

According to their ideas of things, they are, doubtless, kind and indulgent husbands, and the mother has the whole education of the children on her hands. The son she teaches to reverence and obey his father—to be brave and intrepid in danger—to be a man patient of fatigue; and when old enough, he learns the arts of a hunter, from his father, who takes him out into the forest for that purpose. From his earliest years he uses the bow, in killing birds and other small game. The daughter is taught by her mother, the culinary art, in all its branches—to be modest and submissive—to make mats of rushes and various kinds of bark—to dress skins and make them into moccasons. One squaw will, in one day, dress a deer skin, and work it up into moccasons, unless they are ornamented with porcupine quills, when I have known a squaw occupy herself during four or five days, on one pair of moccasons, or a shot pouch.

The savage who inhabits a country blessed with a fertile soil and temperate climate, whose rivers, ponds and lakes contain an abundance of fishes—whose forests and natural meadows contain a plenty of wild game of many kinds, is placed in circumstances the most favorable which savage life presents to man. His labors are such, and such only as we call "sport." Free from anxiety of mind, as the fowls of the air, or the beasts of the forest and the field, when he has brought home his game, he feasts on it, and sleeps and [pg 321] enjoys every pleasure he knows or needs, until it is all gone. Then he starts again in quest of game. Sometimes, it is true, he toils all day without success, returns home at night, faint, weary and hungry, but he trusts in his success on the coming day, and sleeps soundly until morning. Free from imaginary wants, and a thousand artificial ills which are the great bane of civilized life, he passes through time without much care; but, it must be confessed, that his improvidence for the future frequently, (especially in winter,) exposes him to sufferings for food and raiment, and from the inclemency of the seasons, and unforeseen accidents, for which the civilized man provides, and thereby escapes. The poorest white man in Ohio, who enjoys his health, unless it be his own fault, enjoys more happiness than almost any Indian of the northwest. For the aged, sick, and infirm, there is provided no minister of religion to console them in their distresses, and there is no regular physician to heal them. Though they have physicians who use some remedies, yet they are scarcely better than our "quack doctors," and the "water doctors," of our German population.

The enlarged views of the universe, and the works of nature, derived from books, never reach the savage mind, and of course, his pleasures and pains are corporeal, rather than mental. More exposed than we are to bodily suffering, he is taught from his infancy, to bear it with stoical indifference. Compared with ours, his wants are few and easily supplied, unless, as in many places, the population is too great for the country around them to supply enough game. In that case, war is made on the tribes where the greatest abundance of game is found. Hence, the origin of the wars almost always carried on between savage nations. War produces the same evils among them which it does among civilized nations—it does more, because the prisoners of war, among savages, as in the earlier ages of the world, every where, are liable to be put death in the most cruel manner, or sold into perpetual bondage. Civilized man, in war, enjoys a vast advantage over the savage, [pg 322] on many accounts. In modern warfare, among Europeans, non-combatants, women and children, are not warred upon, nor is private property liable, in most cases, to be taken by an enemy. In modern times, since the use of gun-powder and the invention of guns, the combatants, generally, do not, as formerly, fight hand to hand, so that less passion is infused into the contest, and less carnage and death ensue. Modern wars, among Europeans, produce not the same hostile feelings towards each other, that ancient ones did, and civilization has achieved, in this way, a great deal of real good for mankind, or what is the same thing, a vast amount of human misery is prevented. Prisoners are exchanged, not sold into slavery—protected from injury, and not burned at the stake, surrounded by demons of cruelty. So that, if we may safely conclude that savage man, in most cases, is less happy than the civilized one, in times of peace, the contrast is still greater in times of war. And what adds to this view of the subject, is the fact, that among barbarous nations, there is more war than peace.

As an argument in favor of the savage state, we hear it urged, that men have left all the blessings of civilized life, and have taken up their abode among the savages. They have so, moved by various considerations. Some such men were outcasts from civilized society; others, again, wished to live in a state of society where poligamy exists.

Thomas Jefferson, and a distinguished French writer, once had a dispute about the man of America, in which it seemed to be admitted, that the Indian was less amorous than the European! Now, from what I have seen, myself, I should say, not doubting the fact, that, excepting the nobility and gentry, perhaps, of Europe, our Indians are more amorous than any other people in the world. I shall give no instances, of course; but 1 suspect, that not a few white men, who adopt savage life, do it because, in that state of society, they can indulge all their passions with impunity, to any extent they can even desire. Fondness for the chase, may attract others; while the honors and distinctions [pg 323] other men think they can acquire among the savages, draw THEM into savage life. Other men are naturally mere savages in disposition, and unfit for civilized life, in any of its forms or modifications. Such persons ought, by all means, to join the savages.

I am fearful that another class of men unite themselves to Indian tribes, from mercenary motives, without intending always to remain with them. They wish to get the management of the property of the Indians, to handle the money and goods annually delivered to them by the United States. They may wish, perhaps, (as many of them do,) to get possession of valuable tracts of land, and keep them in their families. Some traders, who settle among the Indians, marry among them, and by that means get rich.

These are the principal inducements, doubtless, with those who take up their abode among our Indians; and, in my humble opinion, they prove nothing more, than that SOME FEW PERSONS, for a time, prefer to be savage just as the owl prefers the darkness of the night, to the bright light of the sun, by day.

Those European writers who seem to have preferred savage to civilized life, show clearly that they have not one correct idea of savage life; and the reality would soon make them recant their opinion. If any one ever represented only the fair side of the picture of savage life, I have done it in this volume, carefully avoiding all that was unsightly, in drawing my picture.


Some few persons in the United States, are actuated by a hatred of the Indians, bordering on madness, who would destroy them at once, if they possessed the power. Such men have lost relatives, slain in combat, or otherwise, by the Indians; or they have warred with them, and have seen their cruelty to their prisoners. If such persons should [pg 324] ever be permitted by Congress to do so, they mights, by their honest prejudices, be led to treat our red men in such a manner, as to bring down upon us, as a nation, the execrations of the whole civilized world. As a nation, we have intended to treat these people with the greatest kindness. Congress have yearly appropriated large sums of money, to defray the expenses of the Indian Department; they have established, as they suppose, blacksmith's shops among the Indians, in order to mend their traps and their guns, and to make axes and hoes for them. Farms have been improved, in order to teach them the arts of agriculture. These shops, with a blacksmith and his assistant blacksmith; a farm, a farmer, and assistant farmer, to each agency; an agent, assistants or sub-agents; and several interpreters—each with a handsome salary, paid by the National government; besides annual appropriations for iron and steel, for farming utensils, and no small sums for beef, pork, flour, powder, lead, medicines, goods, wares, and merchandise, suitable for the Indians:—all these things bespeak a nation's benevolence. The nation annually pays large sums of money for all these things, which Congress presume the Indians receive, or are benefited by them. If, however, the farm should be situated where no Indian ever sees it—if the blacksmith's shop is on the farm—if no Indian ever obtains even one article of the goods intended to be given to him for nothing, without paying four times its value—if the iron and steel are worked up, and sold out to the white people of the neighborhood—if the productions of the farm, and the shop, and the store, all go to enrich ONE MAN; then the benevolent intentions of government are frustrated.

That about one hundred men disburse about a million of dollars every year, which are charged to the Indian department, we know; but how much of that large sum is so disbursed as to answer all the benevolent intentions of Congress, I do not know. From all that I saw, and from all I heard from men of truth and good character, who reside [pg 325] in the Indian country, I am thoroughly convinced, that great abuses exist in the Indian department, which need legislative interference. Annuities, due the Indians by treaties, ought to be regularly paid; but the agencies, sub-agencies, the farmers, assistant farmers, blacksmiths and their assistants, might be forthwith dispensed with, without doing any injury to the Indian. By such a REFORM, a large amount of money might be saved to the nation.

The causes which produced the abuses above referred to, will continue them, I fear, under the pretext of benevolence to the Indians!

A feeling exists among the nation at large, towards our red brethren, which is highly honorable to our people; and my only,regret is, that such a feeling is so greatly abused, by the very persons whose duty it is to act very differently from what some of them do.

If the time should ever arrive, that our Indian agents and all their sub-officers should so manage matters entrusted to them, as to contrive every year to add largely to the expenses of the Indian Department—to use all their influence to keep the Indians where they are, in ignorance, poverty and dependence, they will become a curse and a scourge to their own country, and to the people committed to their charge. Let us hope for better things.

That the Indians will recede farther, and farther west, until they reach the Pacific ocean, and finally become extinct, as a people, no one acquainted with their present condition and prospects, can doubt. That many efforts will be made through Congress, to procrastinate their final doom, I clearly foresee. Such large sums of money, to be disbursed among the Indians on the frontiers, where all is left to the honesty of those who handle the money, present a temptation to commit frauds. The poor Indian's voice is too feeble to be heard by the government, and all the white people who could complain loud enough to be heard, are interested in keeping their own secrets.

[pg 326] The old Factory system, as it was called, was too good a one to last long, and it was swept off by Congress some years since. Under that system, goods were sold to the Indians by the United States, through agents duly appointed by the executive department. Something was received by the United States for the goods delivered to the Indians.—Taking advantage of frauds committed on the Indians, by persons connected with the Indian bureau, the Factory system gave place to the present system, of giving away the goods without any pay being exacted for them—as the law supposes! All appears fair on the face of the law, but how many goods are thus delivered, not knowing, I cannot say. The American Fur Company, so far as I am imformed and believe, deal fairly and honorably with the Indians, and are of great service to them, and to the United States. They sell, on a credit, in the autumn, to the hunters, before they start out on their annual hunting excursions, and receive their pay when the hunters return home. The families of the hunters procure many necessaries from the company's stores, during the autumn and winter, and so far as I could learn from the Indians themselves, the American Fur Company deserve well the fair reputation they now enjoy.

This company do more to keep peace among the Indians, than all our army in that region:—it is their interest to do so. The agents of this company have no interest in keeping the Indians where they are, and throw no obstacles in the way of the government, to prevent a sale of the Indian land where the game is all destroyed. Wherever I found an agent of this company, I found a friend ready, willing, and even anxious, to aid me in carrying into effect the views of the United States' government. Without such aid, at almost every step, as we proceeded on our mission, it must have wholly failed.

[pg 327]


How can we prevent the final extinction of the red man of America? By making him in all respects a civilized man. In the first place, the Indian must be taught to build him a house, and to dwell in it, with his family—to give up the chase as a means of subsistence, and to cultivate the earth. To bring about this great revolution in his habits, we must begin with the children and youth; the habits of the full grown man are of too fixed a character to be changed. A school in which the art of farming lands, and the mechanic arts, should be taught, might be extremely useful to the males. The younger females ought to be placed in families where they would learn all their appropriate business for life. A small village, settled by persons thus educated, would form a nucleus around which others would collect. Other similar towns would grow up, if placed in the heart of the Indian country, and civilization would extend, if properly fostered by the government, until the whole mass of aborigines became civilized, prosperous and happy. Such schools and such villages, must not be located on the verge of the Indian country, but far in the interior, otherwise they would prove a curse. The reason is found in the fact, that outcasts from us, who have lost their character by their vices, and by the commission of high crimes against our laws, locate themselves in the edge of the country, among the Indians, where they continue their vices and their crimes, and so render themselves a curse to the human race, They are the most embittered enemies we have, and stir up all the strife they can between us and the Indians. They contrive too, many times, by intermarriages with females belonging to distinguished Indian families, to acquire great influence over the natives, which is always turned against the country which gave them birth, but which has repudiated them, on account of their bad conduct. Such, men are frequently persons of the finest natural abilities, who have been educated in the best manner. They must [pg 328] not be permitted to settle among the educated Indians. It is with all the virtues, as it is with grain and our garden vegetables, (to use a homely figure,) it requires great labor, care and diligence, to rear them into maturity; whereas, all the vices, like noxious weeds, grow spontaneously, without care or cultivation, and almost in despite of all our exertions to prevent their growth. Following the course I have hinted at, I see no great difficulty in the way of civilizing our Indians. They are now savages, but so were all men originally. They are as white as we should have been, reared as they have been, and as their ancestors have been, during unknown ages past. Many of them have light hair, blue eyes, and a skin as white as ours. Nature has done as much for them, as she has for us. Civilization, with its arts, its wants, and its views—christianity, with her benevolence, and the hopes she holds out to man, if he follows her precepts and obeys them, with her threats of punishment if he disobeys the laws of God—the lights of science too, and the force of habits, long since acquired by our ancestors, and handed down to us through a hundred generations, make us to differ from the red men of America.

A republican form of government might be gradually introduced among them, and so might also the lights of religion and of the arts and sciences. I see nothing in the nature of the savage, which belonged not once to the whole human race. His indolence, and his fondness for war and the chase, are seeds sown, broad cast, in human nature itself. So is his love of fame and of glory. His love of enterprise is great also, and in a state of civilization, it would run in new channels, and produce results that would add to the usefulness, the honor, and the dignity of man.

Placed as we are by Providence, in the immediate vicinity of these people, and occupying the very country on which, during unknown ages, they dwelt, until we dispossessed them of it, justice and the precepts of our holy religion seem to call on us to use our best endeavors to reclaim them from their savage state. Every moment is valuable, [pg 329] uable, quite too much so to be lost, if we mean to save, from final extinction, our red brethren.

Thus far, all plans have failed of success, and unless others are substituted for them, the Indians will soon disappear from the earth, or exist only like the Gypsies in Europe, as strolling beggars. Such is now their condition in New York, where they are seen upon the roads, as mendicants, from Buffalo to Utica. Such was their condition three years since, when I traveled in that region of country.

The object of some persons now appears to be, to collect all the Indians on this side of the Rocky mountains, into one territory, as soon as possible. But, without more knowledge of the arts of civilized life than they now possess, I suspect that no good, either to them or to us, will result from such a scheme. It will be productive of vast expense to us, and will make court favorites wealthy, but the effects on the condition of the Indians, I fear, will be bad, if not ruinous. The game in the Indian country will be destroyed in a very few years, should the whole Indian population be thrown together, when the Indians must either perish with hunger, or be fed and clothed by us at a vast expense.

But, what I more dread, is such an Indian war on our frontiers, as never was waged since this continent was discovered, and which would cost millions of dollars, and rivers of blood. Our whole western frontier would probably present one vast field of conflagration and hunan butchery. Thousands of our western people would perish under the tomahawk and the scalping knife of the savage. The war whoop would wake the sleep of the cradle—the mother and her babe would be slain together, while the father would burn at the stake. A large standing army would be raised—millions of dollars would be poured out of the national treasury—renown and glory would be won by our military officers—the Indians would be conquered, and swept from off the face of the earth. But would all these events add any thing to our true glory, as a nation, to our reputation as christians, or to our character as men? [pg 330] Something like such a scheme was first devised by Tecumseh; and if he wished, as he did, to carry on a war upon us, with effect, his plan was the best that could have been devised by man.

Congress will, no doubt, seriously consider this subject, and deeply, too; and remember the character which Spain acquired by her conduct towards the people of the countries she conquered in America—a character that will attach to her name forever. Character is as dear to a nation as it is to an individual, without which, who wishes to live a day, or even one hour?

In order to civilize our Indians, some of their customs must be changed—their love of war must be eradicated, and to effect that object, polygamy must cease to exist among them. Introduce this custom among us, or among any European nation, and we or they would soon become as savage in our manners as any Indians in the northwest. Take away from us, or from a large majority of us, the relations of husband and wife, brother and sister, lover and friend, and we should become at once the veriest savages on the globe. We are indebted for our humanity, kindness, friendship and benevolence, (now such prominent traits in our national character), to the influence of our females upon us. The female sex are the true tamers of our natural ferocity, otherwise the Europeans and their descendants would be as fierce, as savage, as wild and ferocious, as the inhabitants of the other quarters of the world. Christianity has raised up woman to the level where God intended she should stand in society, and she has civilized the world, as far around her as she has had her due share of influence. Until polygamy is abolished among our Indians, they will remain savages.

So long as no man is considered any thing among our Indians until he has murdered at least one human being, so long civilization will achieve little indeed among them: and, until polygamy is abolished, savage ferocity will inevitably prevail among them.

[pg 331] My own opinion is not in favor of crowding all the Indians within our limits, into one territory. The people who were born in latitude forty-eight north, ought by no means to be located in latitude thirty-five north—nor vice versa. The southern Indians ought to be moved along westward, in nearly the same latitude in which they were born—so of the northern ones. A change of latitude of more than four degrees, would, for a number of years, seriously affect their health.

To point out the precise spots where the Indians should be located, is impossible, without a thorough examination of the country, made by disinterested and competent men. So long as the nation manages this matter, so long we shall fail to accomplish any lasting good for the Indians.

I repeat my melancholy foreboding, and say—as the tide of emigration rolls westward, our red brethren will be driven from river to river, from mountain to mountain, until they finally perish on the shore of the Pacific ocean.

But my heart is sick of this idea. My poor veto against the wasteful and villainous expenditure of millions of dollars under the hypocritical pretensions of benevolence and piety, and even of charity towards the Indians, when we all know that not one cent of this money benefits the Indians; is of no avail against the united efforts of a corrupt set of men, who contrive to plunder the treasury every winter, under the solemn sanctions of law.

Reflecting on this subject in all its bearings, my head aches, and my heart is pained; I feel ashamed of my country, and I conclude by reminding our rulers and our people, that the RED MAN is on our borders—that he is wholly in our power, either to save or destroy him—that the whole civilized world of this day—that all posterity, will judge us impartially. Be it our study, then, so to conduct ourselves towards our ELDER B. RROTHER, as to deserve and receive a favorable verdict, when on our trial at the bar of reason, of humanity, and of God.

[pg 332]


The Dacota, or as we call them, the Sioux Indians, inhabit a large territory on the west side of the Mississippi, from the upper Ioway river, to the Frozen ocean in the north, and to the Rocky mountains in the west. The Upper Ioway empties into the Mississippi on its western side, thirty miles above Prairie du Chien. The extent of this region of country, must be equal to all our States bordering on the Atlantic ocean. This country is filled with wild animals, the bison, the bear of different species, the deer of several species, such as are common in Ohio, and also the antelope, the elk, &c. The wolf of several species too, and the mountain ram are there. From the great extent of country occupied by these Indians, their numbers and warlike character, the abundance of wild game of all sorts, and their remote situation from our settlements, as well as the coldness of the climate in which they live, render it probable that these will be the last Indians, to leave the country where they now are. Those men belonging to the Sioux, who were with us, were proud samples of men in a savage state. In the form and size of their bodies, they were perfect, and as to mental faculties, they were not less so. One of them acted as a confidential runner, during our last war with England, carrying intelligence for us between the Upper Mississippi country and St. Louis. He was greatly attached to our contractor, who formerly belonged to the United States' army, and commanded at Prairie du Chien. His attachment to Major Kennerly, induced the whites to call him George H. Kennerly, by which name he was always called by us.

He was a true friend to us, and as shrewd and politic an one as need be. From this worthy man, I drew a great deal of useful information, relating to his country, his people and every thing else, about which he had informed himself.

[pg 333]


On the day we delivered the goods to the Winnebagoes, after the Indians were all seated on the ground in rows, the chiefs on the highest spot in the center, on benches, clothed in the most sumptuous manner, where they could see and be seen to the best advantage, every tribe by itself, the half-breeds in one place, the full whites in another; as I passed through the open spaces between the ranks, my attention was forcibly drawn to a particular spot, by a constant snarling, hissing noise of some miserable human being, whom, on approaching her, I ascertained to be an Indian woman, shriveled, haggard, and old, though remarkably neat in her person and dress.

She appeared to be about sixty years of age, and scolded incessantly. Some of the goods placed before her, as her share, she complained of as being too fine; others, as being too coarse; some cost too much, while others were quite too cheap; and none of them seemed to please her.

Wishing, if possible, to please all of them, and especially the ladies, actuated by the best of motives, I endeavored by every argument in my power, to satisfy her, that so far as I could do any thing towards it, great care had been taken in the distribution, to do justice to every individual. I told her, that her Great Father, the President, had specially ordered me, so far as in me lay, to please all, and to see that no one went home dissatisfied. At the moment, she returned upon me a volley of epithets, too degrading to be repeated, even though applied to myself, as I felt conscious of not deserving them. Turning around to some females who were politely sitting on the ground behind me, I learned the fault-finder was an old maid, (unmarried men at sixty years of age, I will call bachelors, but ladies never) and that the only distinguishing mark of attention she had ever received from any man, was a smart blow, with a flat hand, on her right ear!

[pg 334] As there is no law regulating taste, and sometimes no rational way of accounting for some of its freaks, and as some sights are the aversion of some persons, while the appearance of other objects is equally disagreeable to others; and as I never could endure the ideas conveyed to my mind, by a rattlesnake, a heartless politician, an iceberg, and a cold hearted woman; I turned away from her in disgust, and never saw her more, nor inquired her name, for fear I should remember it. She was the only person who left the treaty ground, dissatisfied with the commissioners. To please her, was utterly impossible.

Seated, as I said, upon rising ground, on benches; clad in blankets, either green or red; covered with handsome fur hats, with three beautiful ostrich plumes, in each hat; dressed in ruffled calico shirts, leggins and moccasons—all new, and faces painted to suit the fancy of each individual, who held in his hand a new rifle—adorned too, with silver broaches, silver claps on every arm, and a large medal suspended on each breast—the chiefs, principal warriors and head men, to the number of forty-two, sat during two hours, after all the goods had been delivered to the nation.

Every individual, of both sexes, in the nation, had, lying directly before the person, on the ground, the share of the goods belonging to the individual. Great pains had been taken to give each, such, and just so many, cloths as would be suitable for the owner to wear, during the year to come. The cloths were cut so as to correspond exactly with the size of the owner. The pile of cloths, for each person, was nearly, two feet in thickness, the sight of which entirely overcame with joy, our red friends, and they sat during two hours, in the most profound silence; not taking off their eyes one moment, from the goods, now their own. For the first time, during my constant intercourse of several weeks, with these interesting sons and daughters of the forest, as I passed repeatedly through their ranks, not an eye appeared to see me;—not an ear, to hear my heavy tread;—not a tongue, as always heretofore, repeated the endearing name [pg 335] of—"Oconee kairakee," (the good chief,) which their kind partiality had given me, on my first landing at Prairie du Chien. Their minds were entirely overcome with joy.

The day being far spent, and as the loading of the canoes, in which they were about to depart, would necessarily occupy some little time, I informed the chiefs and principal men, that the time had arrived, when we should part to meet no more—that the great gun at the fort would soon be fired, to do them honor. With one accord they all arose, and shaking me heartily by the hand, many of them shedding tears on the occasion, they one and all invited me to visit them, at their respective places of abode. In a shrill tone of voice, Nawkaw issued his orders for every individual to arise, take up his or her goods, and repair to the beach of the river near at hand, and there await the signal from the fort, for their embarkation.

In fifteen minutes they were all seated on the sands, by the river's edge, where they all sat in breathless silence, awaiting the signal, which was soon given. As soon as that was given, each chief came forward, shook me again cordially by the hand, accompanied by the warmest protestations of friendship. In a few moments more, they were off, covering a considerable surface with their canoes, each one of which carried its flag, of some sort, floating in the gentle breeze which ruffled the surface of the Mississippi.

The Chippeways, Ottowas, and Pottawatimies, had received their goods in the same manner as the Winnebagoes; had been treated precisely in the same way, and three guns, one for each nation, had given them a signal to depart, and they had parted with me in the same kind and affectionate manner.

Having completed all our business of a public nature, so far as we could at this place, about the middle of August, as near as I now remember, we concluded to give our friends here, a ball on the evening preceding our leaving them. It was attended, by all the respectable part of the people in the garrison and in the village.

[pg 336] It was a most interesting scene. Within the council house, where the civilized people were assembled, might be seen persons of both sexes, as polished and as refined in their manners, as well bred, and educated as well too, as any persons in the United States; and at the same moment, might be seen on the outside of the house, at the doors and windows, looking on, and occasionally dancing by themselves, by way of experiment, or to show what they could do as dancers, in the open air, as motley a group of creatures, (I can scarcely call them human beings,) as the world ever beheld. They are a race peculiar to those parts of the Upper Mississippi, where settlements were originally made by the French, soon after the conquest of Canada by the English, under General Wolf. They are a mixed breed, and probably more mixed than any other human beings in the world; each one consisting of Negro, Indian, French, English, American, Scotch, Irish, and Spanish blood! And I should rather suspect some of them to be a little touched with the Prairie wolf. They may fairly claim the vices and faults of each and all the above named nations and animals, without even one redeeming virtue.

The reader will see that we were on the very confines of civilized and savage life.

The officers and their families, from fort Crawford, and the best families in the Prairie, were all very happy, and we parted with them all in friendship, and retired to rest at about midnight.


[pg 337] Next morning, I busied myself in making preparations for my departure, by land, to Dodgeville, Gratiot's Grove, and Galena. Many little obstacles were thrown in my way, as always is the case, when endeavoding to do any business with this motley group of creatures; but towards night, in company with Mr. Henry Gratiot, in a dandy wagon, in which were placed our mats, blankets, cooking vessels, provisions and arms, I bid adieu to Prairie du Chien. Making our way over the prairie, in a southeast direction, over a surface, in some parts very rough and uneven, we struck the Wisconsin about three miles, I should suppose, above its mouths; and having crossed the river in a ferry boat, we encamped just before sunset, on the south bank of the stream, near the water's edge.


The Wisconsin, where we crossed it, was very shallow, full of sand bars and small islands, and at that low stage of the water, not more than forty rods in width. Its average depth was not more than three feet, perhaps even less. The numerous little islands and sand bars, in height only a foot or two above the surface of the water, far as I could see the stream, above and below where we crossed it, presented to view wild rice in bloom. That plant grows on the islands and sand bars, and in the water near them, to the height of three or four feet; and when in full bloom, reminds one of our cultivated fields at home. The grain itself looks more like oats than rice, and has a sweet taste, like our oats. In this region it affords food for large flocks of wild fowls, as [pg 338] well as for man. Lake Puckaway, and the ponds and small lakes about Fox river, produce a great deal of this grain.

The Wisconsin has worn itself a deep basin, from one to three miles in width, though in some places it is twelve miles wide, probably; but the river itself, from appearances, rarely occupies more than half a mile in width, even in high water. It rises in an unknown region, not far to the south of lake Superior, about half way between the extreme ends of that inland sea. I saw one man, who supposed he had ascended this river about three hundred miles above fort Winnebago, and from his statement, my account of that part of the river is derived. It rises among mountains of considerable elevation, and runs in deep basins, in several branches, until finally it becomes a considerable river, with considerable descent in its current. Thence onward, it runs almost south, until it reaches fort Winnebago, where a portage of only a mile or two over, intervenes between it and the Fox river of Green Bay.—These rivers rise near each other, run side by side, and not far apart, until they reach for Winnebago, where each breaks off from the other: the Fox descending nearly northeast into Green Bay, and the Wisconsin almost due west, until it falls through several mouths, into the Mississippi, five miles below fort Crawford, at Prairie du Chien.

Like all the rivers of this region, there had been no freshet in it during the year I saw it, and it was unusually low, but keel boats carrying fifteen tons freight, ascended it from its mouth to fort Winnebago, and the whole fleet of Indian canoes, after the treaties were made, went up it without impediment.

As to size, it compares with Connecticut river, nearer than any one I am acquainted with in the east, and with the Tennessee in the west, though not so long as the latter; the Wisconsin being only about six hundred miles in length. It rises in perhaps about latitude forty-six degrees thirty minutes, and enters the Mississippi in latitude forty-three degree fifteen minutes.

[pg 339] Along its banks, many impressive views present themselves; sometimes, and indeed often, lofty and huge piles of rocks standing erect, in a perpendicular position, are seen from the river, on one side, and a thick forest of timber trees, growing on the bottom lands, on the other side. The trees I saw, were sugar maple, beech, white ash, linn or bass wood, and oaks of different species. On the tall cliffs, I saw the red cedar and the arbor vit&340aelig;. Some of the bottom lands were natural meadows, in which the grass grew to the height of seven feet. Vast forests of pine trees grow on all the head waters of this river.

After kindling our fire, cooking our breakfast and eating it, we started in the morning, just after sunrise, and making our way as well as we could, sometimes through thick-set and tall grass— sometimes through as impervious a growth of bushes, as I ever saw.

By the aid of our knives, having no axe with us, we traveled up the river, diverging gradually from it, towards the southern point of the compass, until about mid day, and with the greatest difficulty we succeeded in ascending the high hills, and lofty precipices which bounded the Wisconsin basin, on its south side. We supposed that we had traveled twelve miles that forenoon, and that we were four or five miles south from the river, when we entered the high plain where we stood. I should think we had ascended twelve hundred feet from the place where we tarried during the night.

In traveling this distance, where it was prairie, one of us went before and led the horse, while the other followed the wagon, to lend a hand, when we met with any obstacle in our way, as we often did.

Where we had to pass a thicket, and we had many of them in our way, we were compelled to cut a road with our knives, and bend down, and one of us keep down, the largest bushes, while the other led the horse and wagon over them.

[pg 340] At last, however, as I said, with difficulty, we ascended the high hills, and escaped from the prairies and the thickets, and clambered up among the piles of rocks skirting the southern side of the Wisconsin, and stood six feet within the open wide spread prairie, whose surface was more than one thousand feet above the bed of the river, and nearly two thousand feet above the ocean. Not an animated being beside ourselves was to be seen, nor a sound heard. An awful silence reigned, as to us, throughout creation. Before us lay spread out in all directions, except towards the deep and gloomy basin of the Wisconsin behind us, a boundless prairie, or bounded only by the horizon. Above us was a flaming sun at noon day, and the pale blue heavens; the sky looked as pure as the Spirit who made it, and not even one breath of air was in motion, not a spear of grass, nor a dry leaf rustled in the plain or among the trees, nor did even one grasshopper, by his heart cheering song, break the awful silence which reigned over this vast plain. Before us we saw sun-flowers, standing here and there, of the same species and appearance, and of as large a size, as those in our gardens. We saw too, the mineral plant, with its blue leaves and most beautiful flowers, growing in clusters, in bunches and rows, indicating where beds or veins of lead ore existed, beneath the surface. Here, too, for the first time, I saw that species of helianthus, (sun-flower,) called the rozin plant, whose leaves, springing from the root, are so disposed as to indicate with mathematical certainty the northern and southern points of the compass.

We stood in breathless silence several minutes, looking on this diluvial plain, absorbed in deep contemplation, until instinctively turning right about and facing the Wisconsin basin, north of us, we could distinctly see that wizzard stream, glistening like the brightest silver, here and there, where the absence of the trees permitted us to behold it, in width to the eye, only a few inches. Ruggedness, was a striking feature of this aspect, from the vast piles of rocks [pg 341] which had fallen down from their original position into the basin, in every age, since the sun shone, or had stood unmoved, during unknown ages, defying all the fury of the elements, and all the ravages of time. Some of them threatened to tumble down on the very first man who dared to approach their bases, while others, in appearance, seemed resolved to remain unmoved, where they were forever.— The contrast between the views which the plain and the basin presented to us, was perfect; the former was as peaceful as the letter was warlike, and both of them appealed in a powerful manner to the feelings of the inward man. A flood of absorbing sensations rushed into the soul. Adoration of the great Author of nature, deeply impressed on the heart, spontaneously ascended to heaven.

Having recovered ourselves from the reverie of deep and impressive contemplation, which such contrasted views naturally produced, we once more, and for the first time to day, ascended our little wagon, out of which had been thrown out and lost, several articles of prime necessity in our toilsome march. Directing our course, over the prairie, in an eastern direction, along a dividing ridge between the waters falling into the Mississippi, and those descending into the Wisconsin, we moved forward at a brisk rate, until we came into the trace which Dr. Wolcott and his Pottawatimies had made, on their journey home, after the treaties were concluded. The horse traveled along in the trace, or trail, as it is called in this country, and the wheels of our wagon easily moved forward in the grass, which grew only a few inches in height, on this high and dry ground. After traveling an hour or two, we turned off to the right, to look for water, and soon found a beautiful rivulet and several pure springs. They were in a ravine, where we easily found them, by that never failing sign of water, trees and bushes. Here we tarried an hour or more, fed and rested our horse and ourselves, until we moved forward again, at the rate of four or five miles an hour; and so continued to press forward until thick darkness covered the heavens. [pg 342] We had not until then been able to find a place to encamp upon, under trees and near water. Kindling a fire, we fastened our horse to a tree, with a rope long enough to allow him to eat what grass he wanted, in addition to the corn we gave him, from the store in our wagon. Spreading our blankets upon the earth, under an oak tree, having lost our mats, which Nawkaw and his ladies gave me; we had but gotten into a good slumber, when a cold rain descended in considerable quantities, and wet me through and through. I awoke in the utmost agony of pain, and so severely affected by a paralysis in my right side and limbs, as to render me unable to move myself, and but just able to speak. From sunrise until noon, I had been wetted to the skin, by the plentiful dews on the grass and the shrubbery, through which I had forced my way; from noon until sunset, we had traveled over an open prairie, upon which the sun shined intensely, in the hottest day of August; and now a rain from the northwest, cold as a November shower in Ohio, drenched me to the very skin. These sudden and great changes of temperature, were too much for my system to bear with impunity, and a palsy was the result.

As soon as the dawn of day appeared, Mr. Gratiot placed me in the wagon and drove with all the speed he could, to Dodgeville, where we arrived nearly about the middle of the day. The distance between Prairie du Chien and this place is variously estimated, from sixty-five to ninety miles. There is no settlement between them.

Had we started early in the morning, on the first day, and had we been successful in crossing the Wisconsin, and in getting out of its basin, we might have reached Dodgeville without lying out more than one night. As it was, we had lain out two nights on the route. The country we had passed over, after we reached the prairie, south of the Wisconsin, is easily described, its physical features being few. Being at that time new, to me, their impression on my memory, was the deeper at the time, and they remain vivid on it now.

[pg 343] Traveling up the Wisconsin, and near enough to it, so as just to avoid the deep ravines made by every little stream that runs into it, from the south towards the north; and we avoided also the ravines along the streams descending into the Mississippi, in a southern direction. When we wanted water, we had only to turn either to the right or left hand, until we came to a ravine or a point of woods, which, at unequal distances from each other, stand out into the prairie.

These points of woods and these ravines were our guide boards; and told more truth than some of their namesakes do, on our roads. Keeping clear of these, or turning up to them, as we wished either to move forward or to stop, we found our way along, as well almost, as if on a good road. Besides, we generally followed a trail where the Indians had recently passed along this route.

The surface of the prairie consisted of hill and dale, short grass covering the hills, and tall grasses and flowers the vales. The Wisconsin, all the way, hid itself from our view, in its gloomy and secluded basin, on our left, and the prairie always showed us its vastness, on our right hand. At a great distance, in the prairie, we saw several mounds, some nearer, others further off, rearing their tall summits, in appearance, to the sky, near the horizon. Occasionally, we saw the dense smoke of some lead furnace, near these mounds, slowly ascending upwards, of a leaden color, or moving as slowly, horizontally, at a low elevation, along in the air.

The Wisconsin snow-birds, in great numbers, rose up before us, as we moved along over the prairie; and not unfrequently, the prairie hen slowly ascended from the ground, just high enough to be above the grass, and sailed along, a short distance in the air, and alighted on the earth.

In order to relieve the reader from these small matters, though so interesting to my eye at the time I saw them, yet, possibly from my imperfect painting, not so to the minds [pg 344] of my readers, I briefly notice Dodgeville, where I now am in my narrative.


Is located, as nearly every other town is, in the mineral country, near a grove, a dense forest, of no great extent. Its latitude is forty-two degrees fifty-five minutes north; twelve miles south of Helena, on the Wisconsin, and six miles northeastwardly of Mineral Point, where the copper mine is. It is about forty-five miles northeastwardly from Galena, and thirty miles, perhaps, northwardly from Gratiot's Grove. The number of families in Dodgeville, I did not inquire—there may be twenty, or more, but the village is small. The principal citizens of this place, General Henry Dodge, and George Madeira, Esq. late of Chillicothe, Ohio, are best known to me, and in their amiable and kind families, I was nursed while sick. For all their kindness and attention to me, they neither did, nor would, receive any remuneration. It is true, money could not have paid for it; so it stands credited on a leaf of a book, called the HEART, and there it will remain forever.

As soon as I was able to walk, I went out to examine the lead mines here, situated in the very town. There are two veins of lead ore, a sulphuret, one running north and south, the other east and west.

The surface of the earth is prairie, and fertile, but after passing through it a few feet, a rock is found, lying in horizontal strata, and in this rock the mineral exists in veins. This rock is composed of lime, in which are embedded pebbles of cornelian, topaz, the common flint, and sand of quartz. Wherever this rock is exposed to the action of the atmosphere for a long time, as along the Wisconsin, and in ravines, and on hills, there is so little lime in it acting as a cement, that the pebbles and sand in it, such as I have described, fall out of the rock, and the remaining ruin [pg 345] is as full of holes as a honey-comb, and as rough as a chestnut bur. This rock, unequally varied in the proportions which the components bear to each other, is the prevailing rock of a region of country, equal to one hundred miles square. From Rock river to the Wisconsin, and from the Four lakes, to a considerable distance west of the Mississippi, this is the prevailing rock; sometimes it approaches to a good limestone; sometimes, nearer to a sandstone, and I saw, at Galena, water limestone, beautifully variegated with reddish streaks. The abundance of pebbles and sand in it, with little cement of lime, causes holes in the rock, and these cavities are filled, where the rock remains under the earth, with a sulphuret of lead. What occasioned rents in the rock, running either north and south, or east and west, I pretend not to say, but cracks do exist, and these cavities are filled with ore. These rents, under ground, might have been produced by earthquakes; or, if we suppose this rock formation to have been deposited from a superincumbent ocean, when the lime, pebbles, and sand were moist, and, in process of time, when the ocean subsided, the rents and cracks in them would be produced by heat and drying. How deep these rents descend into the rock, I do not know, as the miners leave a mine, when they have descended ten feet or more. One vein of lead is said to be fifty feet in width, twenty rods long, and has been dug out forty or fifty feet in depth. It is not at Dodgeville, though. All the veins I saw, any where in the country, were left by the miner as soon as the water was found in them. The water mineral, as they term it here, is much the richest, and looks as if it was still growing rapidly.

The two veins at Dodgeville, are twenty rods long, each; and although millions of pounds of ore have been taken from them, yet they are unnexhausted.

Two ideas force themselves upon the mind in an instant, on viewing the habitations outside and within, at this place. General Dodge has surrounded his houses by a picket twenty feet high, perhaps, and this has been done by planting [pg 346] firmly in the earth close together, long logs, with port-holes for muskets, a large number of which are in the dwelling house, loaded with balls and ready for use, at any moment, when necessary. This picket serves also to protect the family from the piercing cold of winter.

Mr. Madeira, in addition to chinking and daubing with mortar, his log dwelling house, has raised a wall of turfs and sods from the prairi, a foot or two in thickness, around his dwelling house and wall, with room enough between the house and wall to lay his firewood. The very roofs of houses and stables are covered with turfs and sods.

The vicinity of large numbers of the wildest and most barbarous savages, renders the arms and pickets necessary; and the severity of the winter renders it necessary to protect men, and even domestic animals, by every precaution in the power of the people here to use.

The same ideas force themselves upon us every where in this country.

Leaving Dodgeville, in company with Mr. Gratiot, we traveled over the undulating surface of the prairie country, between this place and Gratiot's Grove. After traveling about three miles, we ascended the highest ground between the two places. From this eminence, we could distinctly see the village of Gratiot's Grove, and the smoke of a lead furnace there. The distance must be more than thirty miles, as the road runs. As we moved along rapidly in our little wagon, we could see over a country thirty miles in extent. Here and there we saw lofty mounds, surrounded by thick woods from their bases to their very summits. In these woods, the lead furnaces are located, which sent forth, each, slowly rising, of a leaden hue, a stream of dense smoke. The country consisted of hill and dale, covered with grasses and flowers. Passing through this region, at unequal distances, we beheld different branches of the Pickatolica, a large tributary of Rock river, glittering like the brightest silver, running in deep basins, and stored [pg 347] with the finest fishes. We passed the main river, not many miles from


We arrived at the Grove towards night, and I was set down at Mr. Gratiot's door. Here I was received into this interesting family as a welcome guest.

Affected still, to a great degree, by a paralysis, the attentions, kindness and nursing I received here, changed my disease into an intermittent fever.

About twenty families reside in this secluded Grove. Among the interesting, innocent and virtuous people here, the lady of Mr. Henry Gratiot, was born and educated in New London, Connecticut; Mr. Gratiot's brother's lady, was born and educated in Paris; and a daughter of John Bradbury, the botanist, was born and educated in London; and they all lived within a few rods of each other. They are fair and proud samples of the best educated portion of the virtuous females in the cities where they were born. Unable to move my right arm, and scarcely able to walk; a stranger, far, far from home, and the objects most dear to my heart, I felt as if nature must sink, and soul and body dissolve like water, when I was assisted to enter Mr. Gratiot's house. I was instantly surrounded, welcomed, and received, by the persons I have named, and their innocent, beautiful and interesting children. No words can do justice to them for their kindness to me, on this occasion.

My health improving every day, I examined the country and every thing about this Grove, as I was able to do, a part of each day.

There is a post-office here, and a weekly mail passes through the place, to and from Galena.

Mr. Gratiot has a large lead furnace here; and there is a store of dry goods, but no doggery* in the village.

* I do not call them groceries, wherein nothing but new whisky is sold in small quantities, corrupting the morals of the community. A new term for them seems necessary—they are doggeries.

[pg 348] As soon as my strength enabled me to ride, I went to Galena, where I tarried a few days, visiting my friends there. Gaining health and strength, I fell into the company of a Mr. Gill, a merchant of St. Louis, and with him arranged every thing, to travel with him in a two-horse wagon, across the country, to his place of residence. This gentleman was the brother of Mrs. Campbell, the lady of Major William Campbell, whom I have already mentioned. Mr. Gill and his sister were born and educated in Philadelphia, where their respected relatives reside.

Considering the newness of the country, at Galena, and about it, I found the state of society excellent. I attended the Presbyterian church here on Sunday, and was highly gratified with the preacher, Mr. Kent, and his people of all ages and both sexes.

The professional men, the merchants, and, indeed, the people generally, appeared to be moral in their habits, kind to each other, and to strangers particularly so.

Major Campbell and his accomplished lady, accompanied Mr. Gill and myself about fifteen miles on our way, when we left them, on our journey.

Traveling about fifty miles a day, after crossing Rock river, we reached Edwardsville, twenty miles north of St. Louis, where we parted.

Before I proceed further in my personal narrative, I take the liberty to remark briefly upon every thing I can, worthy of the reader's notice, especially in the mineral country.

The climate of this region is equal to that of any part of Italy, such is the purity of the air. When traveling, along from Dodgeville to Gratiot's Grove, I saw, with the naked eye, a wagon and team five miles from me. This purity of the atmosphere may be attributed to the total absence of marshy ground, and to the elevation of the country, which is, in many parts of it, two thousand feet above the sea. We may fairly take into consideration, also, the absence of dense forests, all the way from the western shore of lake Michigan, to the Rocky mountains, in the west, and to the [pg 349] Frozen ocean, in the north. The prevalence too, of westwardly winds, or northern ones, passing over no large bodies of water, during all the year, except a short time in the summer, and even then, the distance between this region and the gulf of Mexico, from whence the winds ascend the Mississippi, is so great, that even southerly winds, are not loaded with moisture, may fairly come into our estimate, of the causes of this singular purity of the air, in the mineral country.

Its latitude too, is favorable to purity of air, as well as of healthful climate. In all the country, every person I saw, was a picture of health, except one person who had emigrated from Missouri, and had brought the ague along with her—she was an amiable daughter of General Dodge. And I saw one or two persons, whose health had been injured by working at a lead furnace, the smoke of which is highly injurious to the lungs.

The streams of this region, run over pebbles of quartz, topaz, cornelian, agate and opal; they are copious, glide along briskly, and are cool enough for drinking in August, They all originate, either in pure springs, or cool, pellucid lakes. The fishes in them, are the finest fresh water ones in the world.

Rock river, and its numerous tributaries, irrigate and fertilize, I should suppose, about six millions of acres of territory. Its main branch, rises in Four lakes, with only short outlets between them. The Pickatolica branch, rises entirely in springs, the head one being only a few miles south of the Wisconsin river. The Four lakes, are nearly east of Dodgeville, and parallel with the heads of the Pickatolica branch. These streams descend, in a southern direction, until they are sixty miles or more in length, when they turn around, towards Rock island, just below which, they enter the Mississippi. There are other branches of this river, (Rock river,) which originate in lakes, a degree and a half of latitude, perhaps, south of Four lakes. The heads of several of these branches, being in lakes, that are [pg 350] surrounded by high hills, they never rise very high nor sink very low, during the year. Like reservoirs on our canal summits, these lakes keep the water in them, until it is needed in a dry time.

Rock river, when I crossed it, on the first day of September, 1829, at Ogee's ferry, ninety miles, by water, from its mouth, was twenty rods wide, four feet deep, and run at the rate of five or six miles an hour. The Mississippi and Wisconsin, I have noticed already, and the other streams are all short ones, originating in springs, and running in deep ravines, with falls in them, in places, and they all run with great velocity, until they descend to the level of the Mississippi, which receives them into its bosom.

Within the United States, I suspect, that for pure, wholesome water—for the number and durability of the springs, no part of the Union is superior to the mineral country.

The fall in all the smaller streams, is so great, that sites for mills and manufactories, exist every where, almost, throughout the whole region of the mines. Nearly every stream originates in a large spring of pure water, copious enough, and with fall enough within a few feet of the spot where it first appears, to carry a mill of any sort. The water, so near its source, does not freeze so as to prevent its being used for mills and manufactories, all the winter months.

The soil, except on the highest hills, at their very summits, and on the sharp edges of them, near some deep ravine, where some stream dashes rapidly along among the rocks in its bed, is a deep black loam, like the intervales along our large rivers. No lands can be more fertile than those in the mineral country, producing potatoes, oats, Indian corn, and all the vegetables common in gardens, in the same latitude, in vast abundance.

That wheat will succeed here, equal in quality and quantity to that of any other part of the United States, I cannot doubt.

[pg 351] There is grass enough now growing in the country, to supply all the domestic animals the people may wish to raise. Finer meadows, of good grass, I never saw any where, than I saw along all the larger water courses.

Of fishes, of the finest flavor, the rivers, ponds, lakes and rivulets are literally full. The Pickatolica river, takes its name from a fish, about the size of, and equal in its flavor, to the rock fish, caught in the Delaware, at Philadelphia.

The only difference between the Philadelphia rock fish, and the pickatolica of the Upper Mississippi, that I could perceive, was in the former having scales, while the latter has none.

The different species of cat fish, of pike, and of perch, are excellent. They are abundant in quantity, too, and easily taken, in all the different modes of taking them.

The salmon trout of lake Michigan, has acquired a wide spread celebrity.

The surface of the country is undulating, sometimes gently, sometimes greatly; and in most places, is covered with a succession of flowers, from early spring, to late autumn. One week, nay, even one day, you see, far as your delighted eye can reach, flowers of a reddish hue—the blue—the white—the yellow, and of every intervening shade, indeed, follow in succession, day after day, and week after week, ever varying, ever new, and always delightful. Ascending any little eminence, my eye was always riveted for many minutes, on the vast, the charming, and the beautiful prospect before me—spread out immense, intersected by glittering streams, with here and there a grove of woods, and at all times, several mounds, some nearer, others further off;— some of them, from their nearness, showed their dark green forests, while others, from their distance, showed their pale blue summits, in the very edge of the horizon, resting on the earth, and touching the heavens above them. Generally, too, I saw a cloudless sky, a flaming sun by day, and brilliant heavens a night.

[pg 352] Sometimes I traveled, during four or five hours, either by day or by night, across some prairie, without seeing even a bush, or a tree. Above me, were the wide spread and lofty heavens, while the prairie, with its grasses and flowers, extended in all directions around me, far beyond the reach of my vision.

In such a situation, man feels his own littleness in the immensity of space; he feels alone too, in this loneliness, universal silence, and repose.

I was delighted at the sight even of a prairie wolf, and the chirping of a grasshopper was music to my ear.

The trees of thir region are confined, mostly, to the streams, and to rough places; and oaks, black, white and red, are the forest trees; in high grounds, at least, they are the principal ones, while, in wet places and low grounds, the botany is richer. Along Sugar creek, a large branch of the Pickatolica river, extensive groves of the sugar maple exist near its mouth, and for many miles upwards. On naked cliffs, I sometimes saw the red cedar tree.

Of flowering plants, among the millions of them, the helianthus offers the greatest variety, in all seasons of the year. As I traveled south, after crossing Rock river, I fell in with new plants daily—some disappearing, and others appearing, as we moved rapidly onward.

The rozin plant has a tall, slender stalk, and grows in vast abundance in the prairie south of, and adjoining Springfield, in the Sangamon country. Its juice resembles, in appearance and smell, tar water, from which circumstance it derives its name. I have already described it.

The moccason flower is a most beautiful plant, and I recommend it to the Philadelphia horticulturists, as worthy of their attention. Judge Sawyer, of Edwardsville, Illinois, or Colonel O'Fallon, of St. Louis, would, I doubt not, with pleasure, transmit some of its seeds to them.

I recommend to my friend, Mr. Prince, of Long Island, a beautiful red flower, growing on a creeping vine, six feet [pg 353] in length, on the eastern bank of the Mississippi, just above Rock island. Mr. Davenport, the postmaster, would cheerfully forward some of its seeds.

From a careful examination of all the works on botany, for this flower, I found it correctly described in a volume formerly belonging to Mr. Jefferson, now in Congress library. The one described in that volume, was found growing just on the brink of the Nile, at its falls.

The artichoke, a helianthus, grows in almost every prairie in the west, but in Illinois I have seen ten thousand acres thickly set with this plant, at one view. Four acres of them will feed and fatten one hundred hogs every year.

Of wild plums there is a vast variety, though the large striped ones are the best. This tree grows in moist places, in bunches and groves.

There is a wild apple, of the size of a hen's egg, not very sour, which, on being buried in the earth, turns a pale yellow, and is by no means a bad substitute for the common apple. The tree has no thorns on it, and it never grows more than six or seven feet in height. Patches of hazle bushes grow near the plum bushes.

The pacawn-bearing walnut, though growing as high north as latitude forty-one degrees thirty minutes, I did not recognize above that latitude. I saw groves of it on the waters of the Illinois river, and in the vicinity of Rock island. In appearance, at a distance of forty rods from you, it would be taken for the common black walnut, but on approaching it, its willow-shaped leaves undeceive you. The tree grows to a great height, and its size is large. Its habitat, as a botanist would say, is near a stream of water. and in the very richest soil. It might be raised in the vicinity of Philadelphia, and I beg leave to introduce it to the attention of horticulturists of that city.

The mounds in the mineral country, are lofty piles of rocks, lying in horizontal strata, except such of them as have fallen down from their original position, and lie in ruins, from the surface of earth, extending upwards to near [pg 354] the summits. Some of these mounds are three miles in circumference, at their bases, and three hundred feet in height. They serve as land marks, and may be seen thirty miles off.

These lofty elevations serve as land marks, which, being perfectly well known to the people of this region, not only by name, but in appearance, on a first view; and one or more of them always being in sight, no one ever loses his way, when traveling in the country of the lead mines.

These mounds are surrounded, except such parts of them as stand in perpendicular masses of rocks, by thick groves of timber trees; here, in these groves, the lead is smelted, and the prairie country, near them, supplies the ore for the furnaces.

The beasts of this region are few in number, having been destroyed by the Indians, except the black wolf, the prairie wolf, and the muskrat. The black wolf is confined to the groves and the ravines, along the streams—the muskrat lives about the rivers, but more still about the Four lakes and the ponds, southeast of Rock river.

The prairie wolf, in size, color, and disposition, is half way between the black wolf and the gray fox. His food consists of almost every thing within his reach—grasses, birds, and their eggs—pigs and poultry. He is the greatest thief, on a small scale, in the world. He can live on grasshoppers, crickets, and bugs—he can steal from a hen coop, or a barn yard, and when pinched with hunger, he will even venture into a kitchen, and steal a crust of bread. He is the Indian dog of the northwest, and the jackal of Asia. He often approached within a few feet of me, at night, when I lay out in the prairie, and barked at me with great earnestness. He is, for his size, the most mischievous animal in the world. He is easily domesticated, and mixes with the common dog family; and the mixed breed propagates this new species of dog, which is easily recognized by its white eyes, pointed and erect ears.

[pg 355] Besides this mixed breed, the Winnebagoes have a species of lap dog, which they fatten, and feed upon at their dog feasts. These dogs have been derived from Canada, I should suppose, with which all the Indians of the Upper Mississippi keep up an intercourse still, and from which they receive large presents annually.

Having briefly described what appears on the surface of the earth, in the mineral country, it remains for me, as briefly, to describe what is found beneath the surface.

This region contains the richest lead mines in the known world. When I was there, these mines had been worked but about three years, by, comparatively, but a few persons, who were ignorant of the business they followed; and they labored under every disadvantage almost; yet, they had manufactured, in that time, more than thirty millions of pounds of lead. This had been carried to the Atlantic cities, and had reduced the price of lead in all its forms, one half! In the mineral country, it was selling at the mines for one cent a pound—at Philadelphia, for three and a half cents a pound.

Though I brought away from the mines, specimens of every sort of lead ore, accompanied by statements showing where and how procured, the quantity made at each smelting establishment, and other information relating to it, and all thrown, too, into a tabular form; yet, in a popular book, like this, it might not be interesting to the general reader, such as read what I am now writing, and I pass it by.

The lead region, in the United States, lies nearly parallel with the Atlantic ocean, from northeast, towards the southwest. Or in other words, this region occupies the same space that the Alleghanies do. It begins in the same latitude. From the Wisconsin in the north, to Red river, of Arkansaw, in the south, and in breadth, from east to west, the lead region occupies about one hundred and fifty miles of longitude. In some places, it lies very deep in the earth; and it lies the deepest about half way between its extreme ends. At its northern and southern terminations, it ascends [pg 356] to the very surface of the earth, and is there found, even on the surface, either on the highest grounds, (except the mounds,) or in ravines. On the little eminences, I could have filled our little wagon often, as we passed over them, with beautiful specimens of the phosphate of lead.

The Mississippi passes through this region, from latitude forty-three degrees thirty minutes north, to latitude thirty-eight degrees north.

On the western shore of the Mississippi, opposite Rock island, and extending north, one hundred miles, from indubitable appearances, every where, as I passed along, all that country must contain exhaustless lead mines.

From the vast region where this mineral exists, extending through ten degrees of latitude, in width too, in places, three degrees of longitude—from its richness, (it being in many places, nearly pure lead,) considering, also, the ease with which it is obtained, and its vast abundance, we may safely conclude, that we have lead ore enough for all mankind, forever, within our own territory.


Is found in the mineral region, and one hundred and seventy tons of it, (a sulphuret,) had been dug at Mineral Point, before I left the country. Its richness had not been sufficiently tested at that time.

Fossil coal exists near the head of Rock island, on the western side of the hill, where I saw it, in place, and my information enables me to say, without doubt, that great bodies of this coal exist on a branch of Rock river, rising southwest of the main river, more than one hundred miles from its mouth. This coal may be reached by boats, and easily floated down the river, to Rock island.

The water limestone, near Galena, indicates salt water, in the earth, where it comes in contact with this rock.

This limestone, if thrown into water, becomes incrusted with common salt, and I know of no salt water, in the interior [pg 357] of our country, which does not lie below this rock. It depends entirely on the quantity of this rock, near Galena, whether salt water, in considerable quantities, exists there. By perforating the earth a few hundred feet, with an augur, the citizens can ascertain whether common salt can be made in this neighborhood.

A few general remarks on the country west of lake Michigan, and north of Missouri and Illinois, seem necessary here.

Were all the country, south of Fox and Wisconsin rivers, having for its eastern boundary, lake Michigan and the Illinois river, to its mouth, and the Mississippi, for its western boundary, thrown into a territorial government, it would, in a few years, become a respectable State. Nature seems to have intended this country should form a State by itself; but man has determined otherwise.

North of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers, another State might be formed, on the east side of the Mississippi, which would be about as large as Virginia.

On the west side of the Mississippi, above the State of Missouri, there is territory sufficient for two States, each larger than Virginia. If the upper country should be formed into four States, they would eventually be the most populous and powerful, in the whole confederacy. Nature has intended that vast region for thirty millions of human beings, at some not very remote period of time. For purity of air and of water, for mineral wealth, fertility of soil, healthiness of climate, and almost every other thing valuable to man, the whole country is equal to any other portion of the earth's surface.

The future population of this vast region, dwelling, as they will, on the highest table land in the United States, can easily descend the water courses, either northwardly, down Red river, to Hudson's bay; or southwardly, down the Mississippi, to New Orleans—eastwardly, down our northern lakes, to New York; or down the St. Lawrence, to Quebec. Nature has opened these roads, to and from [pg 358] this region, and man is now using them. During the next hundred years, Ohio, as a State, will take the lead, in wealth and business, and in the number of her people, compared with any State west of the Alleghanies; but eventually, Missouri and any one of the States, yet to be formed, on the Upper Mississippi, may surpass us in numbers, wealth and political power. Should not one of the States I have referred to, eventually become the most powerful, then Ohio must be at the very head of our confederacy, forever.

Should our people never settle the country west of the Rocky mountains, (though I feel assured of a row of States on the Pacific, equaling our Atlantic ones, within a century to come,) yet there will be, at no distant day, a tier of States, north, northwest, and west, of Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansaw, which will eventually become populous, wealthy and powerful States.

To all human appearance, the census of 1840 will place the national government in the hands of the people in the valley of the Mississippi. To resist this event, would involve the necessity of preventing the revolution of the earth around the sun and upon its axis, and the whole course of nature. To mourn over it, involves the extreme folly, of repining at the happy lot of a majority of the nation, and of our posterity, forever. From the growth of this nation, the lover of liberty has nothing to fear, because our people, from their cradles, are taught to be republicans. They are such, as if by instinct; and all those principles which tend to make them MEN, are taught them from the first moment they see the light, breathe American air, and taste their mother's milk.

Our people are not—they never can be—any thing but republicans. Sweep away at one swoop, could it be done, every constitution of government and every republican institution among us, and we should instantly rear upon their ruins, other constitutions exactly like our present ones— every republican institution would immediately follow, because [pg 359] they flow from republican hearts. Originating in such fountains, these republican streams will flow until the end of time.

In resuming my personal narrative, I have little to say about Edwardsville, where the reader left me. Its location is nine miles east of Alton, on the Mississippi, and twenty miles north of St. Louis.

The people of the town were healthful when I was there, and they appeared to be an agreeable, well informed and moral community. It is a seat of justice, has a number of stores and taverns, and a suitable number of mechanics. Lands are cheap in the vicinity, and fortunes might be made by farmers here.

Leaving this town after tarrying here two or three days, I passed rapidly across the State, to Vincennes, in Indiana, where I arrived the third day from Edwardsville. The country between Edwardsville and Vincennes is mostly prairie, and thinly settled. I passed through several seats of justice, and the capital of the State of Illinois, but saw nothing worthy of remark, on my route. The whole State, except in places where the water courses are, or the surface is very rough, abrupt, broken or greatly undulating, is one vast prairie. Its soil, on the surface, is nearly the same as the richest alluvial lands along the larger rivers, any where in the Union east of the Wabash river.


Stands on the east bank of the Wabash, surrounded by fertile lands. It is an old town, for the western country, having been settled about the same time with St. Louis, Rock island, Prairie du Chien, and Kaskaskia. Vincennes contains more than fifteen hundred people, who certainly appear very well to a stranger. The houses were mostly new ones, and every thing I saw here made a very favorable impression. I tarried at Clark's hotel, and take a pleasure in recommending the house to other travelers.

[pg 360] Leaving this beautiful town, in the stage for Louisville, I reached that town in two days. The first twenty miles from Vincennes, was over a good road, and through a delightful country—the remainder of the route was over as undulating a surface as I ever saw.

Indiana is rapidly settling with an excellent population. The face of the country is undergoing a change in its external appearance—the forest is disappearing before the industrious husbandman—the state of society, considering the newness of the country, is good; and in numbers, wealth, and improvements of all kinds, Indiana is only ten, or at most, only about twelve years behind Ohio. Next to the latter, Indiana is more rapidly improving than any other western State, at this moment. To any one emigrating from the Atlantic States westwardly, though Ohio would best suit him, in all respects, yet Indiana is decidedly next, in advantages of all sorts. The soil and climate are about the same in both States—the people nearly the same, and their interests, feelings and views, precisely the same. These States may be considered as Pennsylvania and Maryland, extended from the Atlantic ocean to the Wabash river. They are one and the same people, and so may they ever act and feel towards each other, in Congress, at home and abroad.

Leaving Louisville the next day after my arrival, in a steam boat, I arrived at Cincinnati the same day, and gladly set my feet on the soil of Ohio once more. This was on the 24th day of September, 1829.

Between Louisville and Cincinnati, fifty miles above the former and a hundred below the latter, stands the beautiful town of Madison, on the north side of the river. It contains more than a hundred beautiful brick houses, a suitable number of stores and taverns, and is a very thriving town.

Vevay, with its beautiful vineyards, is higher up the river, on the same side with Madison. The Indiana side of the river is fast improving. [pg 361] Forty miles below Cincinnati, and on the Kentucky shore, resides Colonel Robert Piatt. His farm is one of the best on the whole river—his orchard is stored with the best fruit, and he and his family are the best people in the country. His house is within a few rods of the river, and only about six miles from Big-bone-lick, in Kentucky. At that lick, large quantities of bones have been dug up, at different times, belonging to the great mastodon, of Cuvier —the Asiatic elephant—the megalonix, and, latterly, of the common horse. No naturalist should ever pass by, without calling to see this celebrated place. Colonel Piatt's is the proper place of debarkation, for such as wish to visit it.

On my arrival from the steamer, at Cincinnati, I met numerous friends, on the landing, and in Main street, who informed me of passing events, of which I had remained as ignorant, as if I had been in China, ever since I left the State. Anxious to see my family, I took a passage in a private carriage next morning, and went as far as Lebanon, the seat of justice for Warren county, Ohio, thirty miles from Cincinnati.

Lebanon is situated four miles west of the little Miami, and a few miles east of the Miami canal. It contains perhaps a thousand inhabitants, who are a moral, industrious, well informed people. Its latitude is thirty-nine degrees twenty-five minutes, and is about seven degrees west from Washington.

The country about it is as fertile as need be, and well cultivated, and well settled by a good people, who are as happy as any farmers can be, any where. The country is well watered, too, and the land rather undulating. The people are wealthy and at their ease upon their own lands. Like all the Miami country, fruit trees flourish here, and great attention is bestowed on their culture.

The people bestow great attention on the education of their children.

[pg 362] What is generally termed the Miami country, having the great Miami river for its center, is one hundred miles in length, from north to south, and about eighty miles in breadth, from east to west. It comprehends, within it, a strip of Indiana, and the whole of it, for so large a tract of land, lying in one body, is the most fertile region for its size, to be found any where in the Union. Within it, are located the towns of Bellefontaine, Urbana, Springfield, Xenia, Dayton, Hamilton and Cincinnati, east of the Great Miami river. On the west side of this river, lie Troy, Greenville and Eaton, in the State of Ohio, and several towns in Indiana; and all of them are flourishing and beautiful towns. Dayton contains more that three thousand inhabitants, located at the head of the Miami canal. It is rapidly rising up into importance, and will soon contain ten thousand inhabitants.

Springfield is situated on a side hill, and is one of the most romantic and beautiful towns in the State. The national road passes through it, from east to west.

Hamilton and Rossville, lying on opposite sides of the great Miami, are connected by an excellent bridge. These are beautiful and thriving places. They are about twenty-five miles northwest of Cincinnati. Hamilton is the seat of justice for Butler county. The town is connected with the canal, by the largest and the best canal basin in the Union.

The Yellow Springs, situated nine miles north of Xenia, and the same distance south of Springfield, on the great mail route from Columbus to Cincinnati, are quite celebrated as a watering place in summer. The proprietor of these springs, has been at great expense to furnish accommodations for his guests. It is a delightful place, at all seasons of the year.

Leaving Lebanon, early in the morning, we passed through Clinton and Fayette counties, and the western part of Pickaway county, and arrived at Circleville, the [pg 363] third day from Cincinnati, about mid-day—the distance is one hundred miles, over a beautiful country.

Wilmington is the seat of justice for Clinton county, and contains more than six hundred inhabitants. It was laid out in 1810. It is a thriving town, and settled by excellent people.

Washington is the seat of justice for Fayette county, and is nearly of the size of Wilmington.

Circleville is the seat of justice for Pickaway county, and contains, at this time, about fourteen hundred people. The Ohio grand canal passes through the western edge of the town, to its lower end, when turning west, it crosses the Scioto river, on an aqueduct about thirty rods in length. This canal is navigated by boats, constantly, from lake Erie to Portsmouth, on the Ohio river, a distance of about two hundred miles.

The town is rapidly growing up, and will soon contain five thousand inhabitants.

Circleville will soon be, to our canal, what Rochester is to the New York canal.

The Scioto country, from Chillicothe to Delaware, inclusive, a distance of seventy miles from south to north, is equal, in fertility, to any portion of the earth's surface. In summer, when covered with grass and grain, of all sorts, which this delightful climate produces, the Scioto country is, in appearance, a perfect paradise.

After tarrying at home a few days, I left it, in the stage, and arrived at Zanesville the same evening; the distance is fifty-eight miles. To arrive here, I passed through Lancaster and Somerset, seats of justice for Fairfield and Perry counties.

Leaving Zanesville, in the stage, at two o'clock in the morning, I was rapidly carried forward to Wheeling, on the Virginia side of the Ohio river—distance seventy-four miles.

[pg 364] The road had been recently completed by the United States, and was, and still is, one of the finest roads in the Union.

Landing at Wheeling, and stopping at the stage house, I fell into the company of several excellent persons, Dr. Caldwell, and others, whom I was happy to meet here. Wheeling contains eight thousand inhabitants, who are exactly like the people of Ohio.

Leaving this town in the night, in the stage, I arrived at Washington, (Pennsylvania,) in the morning, where we took breakfast.

Here the eastern prices, at taverns, begin to be charged. Those who travel eastward, from the State of Ohio, go away from the stage house here, in a pet; not so, with those who come on from Washington city.

Leaving Washington, we rapidly passed onward to Cumberland, in Maryland. Here I tarried a few hours, at the stage house owned by Mr. SHRIVER, who was THE SUPERINTENDANT OF THE CUMBERLAND ROAD. He does not keep the house, but he lives in a part of it, with his aged lady, and interesting son, a fine, agreeable and good hearted young man. While at their house, I am always happy. I was introduced to many worthy citizens of this delightful town, and parted with them, as I always do, with regret, because I can tarry no longer with them.

Moving onward, we stopped a few hours at Hagerstown, at the stage house, where we were treated as kindly as heart could even desire.

Moving forward again, we stopped at Talbot's, in Fredericktown, forty odd miles west of Baltimore.

This place is equi-distant from Washington city and Baltimore. The stage to Washington will not leave this place for many hours, yet to come; I take a room, in this well conducted inn, which is furnished in the best manner. With an excellent pen, made ready for me by the barkeeper, and on fine paper, without even a tinge of any [pg 365] color, but a pure white, I will endeavour to lay before my readers, my views of the Alleghany mountains;—aye, and while I think of it, the Rocky mountains too.

During twenty years of my life, I have been acquainted with the Allegnanies, and have crossed them—have traveled among them and upon them, from their northern end, in western New York, to North Carolina, inclusive. I have seen them, mostly in summer, but have crossed them in all seasons of the year, in all the modes of traveling used by any one who has ever crossed them.

The view that I present of them, will be, from choice, one that is merely popular, not scientific—so I proceed to my task.

THE ALLEGHANY MOUNTAINS, lie from the northeast, to the southwest, parallel with the shore of the Atlantic ocean, like almost every other geological boundary, on this part of North America. They rise in the southern part of western New York,* and extend quite across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and into South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. They present some of the grandest and most sublime features of this globe. This chain of mountains has been raised to its present elevated position, by a force of vast and almost inconceivable power, operating upon and beneath them; which force has ceased to exert itself, in this part of our earth. These mountains consist of thousands of hills, (if the reader will pardon that poor term, thus applied to loftly eminences, some of them four thousand feet high, and whose diameter, at their base, is frequently twenty miles, or more.) They are composed of rocks, which, when created, lay in horizontal strata, but, by the operation of a [pg 366] force beneath them, have been elevated and thrown about, in the same utter confusion in which they now lie. Some of these elevations present us with rocks, lying in one position, and some in another; and I never saw but one hill, now lying in the exact position where it was originally formed. That unmoved hill lies near the turnpike, on the way from Baltimore to Cumberland, about one hundred miles west of the former place.

* Eastward of the Susquehanna basin, I do not consider those mountains as the Alleghanies. The valleys of the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers, separate the western and eastern mountains so widely, that I call them different and distinct chains, though formed in the same period of time, and produced by similar causes.

Had Milton resided near these mountains, or even seen them, some shrewd, wise and learned critic would, long since, have accused that great poet of borrowing his description, in part, of the battle between the angels, from the aspect which the whole chain of the Alleghanies offers to the spectator. The world would have agreed in opinion with the critic, and would have torn a sprig of laurel from the poet's brow.

These mountains, consisting of the fragments of a former world, answer a thousand useful purposes to man. This lofty ridge, or rather, succession of ridges, about one hundred and fifty miles in width, from east to west—in some places wider, and in others narrower, is elevated so high, and their base is so broad, that they arrest the further progress, westward, of those chilling, blighting, furious, and sometimes tremendous eastwardly storms, which, after having crossed the wide Atlantic, spread destruction among our shipping, on the sea coast, and produce disasters on the land. These mountains receive upon their brow, without injury to themselves, "the pitiless fury of these pelting storms." It often happens, that while the Atlantic border is assailed by all the horrors which an eastwardly storm can produce, the whole valley of the Mississippi smiles in peace, without feeling even one gentle puff of air from the east. There, then, let the Alleghanies stand, to defend us from the rude eastern blast.

In the same manner, the Alleghanies put their veto upon the further progress, in that direction, of our southwestern storms, coming from the Mexican gulf.

[pg 367] The great cavities in the earth, necessarily existing among such vast fragments, thrown out of their original position, are so many reservoirs, into which the waters, in every form of rain, snow, sleet and hail, descend. There they are preserved for future use, and poured out, eastwardly and westwardly, as they should be, to water the Atlantic States, and to irrigate and fertilize the western ones. The mean height of these mountains as a whole, I should suppose to be about three thousand feet above the surface of the ocean. I am satisfied that I have been on one elevation, in a beautiful moonlight night, which was four thousand feet in height. Every object in the whole heavens, assumed an aspect of brilliancy and splendor, that I shall not attempt to describe. The purity of the air, its rarity, and the clearness with which every object in view, is painted on the retina of the eye, cannot be so described to any one, who never was placed so high above the common surface of the earth, that he would perfectly comprehend or believe me. The moon and every star, appeared to throw out flames of yellow fire, in waves, that exceeded any thing of the kind I ever saw before or since. To behold such a sight, it is well worth all the labor of attaining to such an elevated height.

These mountains collect the water that descends from the clouds, furnish reservoirs in which it is kept, and from which it is poured out, east and west, as it is needed, to irrigate, fertilize, and adorn the earth with trees and plants, and to give drink and to afford food for man, bird, beast, fish, and every animated being whose home is either in the water, on the land, or in the air, near the streams as they descend towards the sea.

These mountains are sufficiently elevated, to contain fountains and heads of rivers, with descent enough in them, not only to carry off the waters to the sea, but to afford thousands of scites for mills, and every sort of machinery used in manufactures. And these streams are as durable as the world itself.

[pg 368] These eminences, called the Alleghanies, thrown about in such utter confusion, with every possible inclination towards the horizon, some descending towards the east, others towards the west, are so disposed of, as a whole, that the streams flowing from them, interlock each other. The head waters of the Alleghany river, for instance, rise in Pennsylvania, not a very great distance from the center of that State, and running into New York, quite around the north end of the Alleghany mountains, turn in a southwestern direction, disliking New York, they pass through Pennsylvania, and visiting Pittsburg, descend into the Mexican gulf, at the mouth of the Mississippi.

The great western branch of the Susquehanna rises fifty miles, perhaps, west of the head waters of the Alleghany, and running nearly parallel with the latter, finally enters the Chesapeake, near Baltimore. Another branch of the Alleghany interlocks, and runs parallel with the Juniata branch of the Susquehanna. The head waters of the Monongahela interlock, in the same manner, with the waters of the Potomac; and so of all other rivers, arising in these mountains, and descending from them,, either east or west, into the sea. Their heads are near each other, they run side by side, for a considerable distance, offering to man, scites, where their constant force can be used by him, and applied to a thousand useful purposes, until the end of time.

These mountains are shaded by groves of timber trees, equal in size, grandeur and usefulness, to any in the world. The pine, the oak, and indeed, almost every species of ship timber, except the live oak, here grow for the use of posterity, long after all our other forest trees in our whole country, are swept away and destroyed.

These forests now shade, nourish, and sustain—but not always conceal from our view—great numbers of deer, bears, wolves, and other wild animals. As I walked over the very summit of Laurel hill, in October 1829, in a bright moon-light night, to enjoy the resplendent scene which the heavens then showed me, a large deer, with lofty [pg 369] and wide branching horns, stood in the road before me, until I came close upon him; when, stamping with his foot, he showed me as little ceremony, and no more respect, than an independent western farmer, would the courtiers and courtezans who assemble in Washington every winter! Snorting and stamping at me, he took his latitude and departure, and in a few moments more, was off, out of my sight and hearing!

The Alleghanies contain inexhaustible stores of iron ore, of the best quality, and wood and coal enough to manufacture this ore. On the eastern side of these mountains, we sometimes find the anthracite interspersed, indeed, with the bituminous coal, while on the wertern side, the latter predominates. Of both species, there is enough, and more than enough, to supply this nation with fuel, as long as the sun shines upon the globe. Here, then, in these mountains, are sources of natural wealth, of national prosperity, private and individual happiness, that will endure forever. The Alleghanies contain, not only reservoirs of water, for the use of a great number of people, but they are a vast store house, containing within it, all the elements, for the same people, of industry, in every modification of it, of wealth in all its shapes, of health, happiness and prosperity, in all their forms and modes of existence, either corporeal, mental, or mixed. Who, then, can sufficiently admire and adore the great Author of them, who has thus created them, stored them with wealth, and cast our happy lots near them?

Should the despots of Europe, combined in arms, transport all their armies across the Atlantic, to put down free government in this country, these mountains are the CITADEL, where liberty would take refuge, and rushing thence, drive the invaders into the sea.

The Alleghanies stand as proud and lofty MONUMENTS of creative wisdom, goodness and power; they are stamped, too, with characters so legible, that no human being can fail to read and understand them—and there they will stand [pg 370] forever. They offer the grandest, the most simple, and sublime objects in the world, for the investigation of the geologist, mineralogist, botanist, and natural historian.— Inhaling the purest mountain air, drinking the coolest, purest water, viewing, too, the greatest variety of scenery, from the mildest, the most peaceful and still, to the wildest, most rugged, abrupt, lofty or depressed, awful and sublime, among these mountains@, the lover of nature would here, during the summer months, acquire health, knowledge and happiness. To the scholar, the man of business of any sort, whether an industrious one, or an idler, these mountains hold out inducements to visit them, in summer, and ramble about among them, and use the gun, the fish-hook, the telescope, the thermometer, the compass and the barometer. Here, the corporeal powers and mental faculties, worn down by severe toil, might be improved and renovated. If the tourist be an invalid, or feels anxious to enjoy the pleasures of good living, of polished society, consisting of both sexes, of all ages, the old and the young, the grave and the gay, intelligent, polite, civil, friendly, kind, learned, manly, pious, active, vigorous, liberal, free from prejudices, except such as a republican cherishes in his heart, and exhibits in all his intercourse with the world, CUMBERLAND, on the national turnpike, or rather where it begins, HAGERSTOWN, and FREDERICKTOWN, in Maryland, all of them, or any one of them, may be his home during the summer months. He will here find all he wants, and from these places, he may see nature either in her wildest or most cultivated forms. Beauty and sublimity in nature—all that art can do, in agriculture, to improve the soil, the breed of domestic animals, and the growth of plants; all she can do to prepare the mind of men and women, for the business of human life, as correct, appropriate, and necessary, for moral agents to pursue, the tourist will find in, near, and about these towns. The morals and habits of the people, are as pure as their own mountain air and streams of cool water, and while the former will refresh his soul, the latter will renovate his [pg 371] body. To these places, and the country around them, to these people, and their habits, morals, customs, modes of thinking and acting, I commend all my readers.

On the western side of this continent, and from three to six hundred miles from the eastern shore of the Pacific, and parallel with the Alleghanies, rise into view,


Though, as yet, but impeefectly known to us, but we do know, that they extend from latitude fifty degrees north, to latitude thirty degrees north—that in width, from east to west, they occupy about one hundred and fifty miles of longitude—contain many valleys, one of which passes quite through them—send out many streams of pure water, which on the west side of the mountains, and at unequal distances from their sources, like our Atlantic rivers, have many falls and rapids in them—that the streams running westwardly are shorter, more durable, and better adapted to manufacturing purposes, than those are that issue from the eastern base of these mountains. And we know also, that these mountains are shaded with forests, in many parts of their lofty summits and low valleys, and we doubt not, though we do not positively know the fact to be such, that these mountains contain ores and minerals which are valuable, and the necessary fuel, to aid in the manufacture of them.

These mountains, too, present a barrier which protects and defends our Mississippi valley, from the storms and winds which sometimes sweep, with destructive fury, across the wide, the vast, but not always Pacific ocean.—They collect the water that descends from the heavens, in all its forms and modifications, keep it in reservoirs, and pour it out as it is needed, on both sides of them, to water the earth, fertilize and adorn its surface, and to afford drink and food for man, and all the inferior animals, that swim in the water, walk upon the earth, or fly in the air.

[pg 372] We also know, that somewhere on the head waters of the Missouri, there has been, and now is a volcano, in active and actual operation, because, every considerable rise of that river, brings down, floating on its surface, pumice stone, newly produced, in one of Nature's laboratories.

Such mountains, located as the Alleghanies and the Rocky mountains are, in the interior of a continent, produce a coolness in the atmosphere, and send off currents of cool air, into the adjacent regions.

As the Rocky mountains are longer, so they are higher, by a great deal, than the Allegbanies, presenting their snowy-white summits to the spectator's view, at a great distance from their bases, near to which, on each side, the wide spread prairies are covered with grasses and flowering plants. Here the bisons and wild horses, in herds, and flocks, and droves, roam, and feed, grow, and fatten, all the year round.1

But few men are seen here, because, who can dwell in a prairie, without a single shade tree to protect him from the intense heat of the burning sun, in summer, or, from the intense cold and piercing winds, in the winter? Why are there no trees here, in a soil so rich, fertile, consisting of black vegetable earth, to a great depth? If we suppose that the prairie country is diluvial—that grasses took possession of it, and completely covered it, before the seeds which produce trees, fell on its surface, it is easy to conceive, that if any seeds of large forest trees should afterwards be scattered about upon the earth, the grasses and plants already in full and complete possession of the surface, would effectually prevent the taking root of any tree, except in rough places, where the earth was accessible to the seeds—or along water courses, large enough to overflow their banks and cover with earth, any seeds there scattered, either by the fowls of the air, beasts of the forest and the field, or floated along, either by the winds, or on the surface, or in the current of the river, the brook or the rivulet.

[pg 373] From the Wabash river to the Pacific ocean, in the west, and to the Frozen ocean in the northwest, that vast region presents an argument in favor of such an opinion, as to the original formation of these natural meadows, and their continuance to be praries—an argument so conclusive with me, that I cannot get over it. East of the Wabash, the country between that river and the Alleghanies, is generally rolling, intersected every where, almost, with runs, rivulets and rivers, and in any and every considerable spot of earth, as to size, where these waters do not often occur, and the surface is a dead level, there is a prairie, in nearly every instance. West of the Wabash, where the surface, under this idea of the origin of a prairie country, would indicate a timbered country, fires, annually, in some dry season, during cold weather, burn the dry grasses, plants and shrubs.

The Rocky mountains, not only defend us from the storms which cross the Pacific, but they occupy a military position, and are a CITADEL, in which liberty may one day take up her residence, for a season, should all Asia assail our favored country, dressed in the habiliments of warfare.

These mountains are precisely, so far as we can judge, from our present limited knowledge of them, to the future Pacific States, what the Alleghanies now are, and forever will be, to our Atlantic states. We doubt not, that the greater comparative length and height of the Rocky mountains, over the Alleghanies, answer the wisest and most benevolent purposes towards his creatures, which the great Author of them had in his mind when tie He created them. Many of these lofty piles rise above the ocean, ten thousand feet, and present to view, imposing, grand and sublime objects for the contemplation of man, and exhibit a proof of the tremendous and awful power employed by their Author, to raise them to the elevated position where they stand. The more we become acquainted with them, and the better, the more we shall, doubtless, find in and [pg 374] about them, to make the wisdom and benevolence of the Creator more and more apparent to us.

Placed as the Alleghanies and the Rocky mountains are, on each side of this continent, leaving such a wide valley— the widest one in the world—between them, they govern the winds, and affect, in a great degree, the climate of the whole vast space between these mountains. North of this valley, lie the Frozen ocean, Baffin's bay, Hudson's bay, and those large bodies of fresh water, called the northern lakes. South of this valley, lie the Mexican gulf and the West Indian seas. Descending from the north, currents of cold air sweep over this valley, in autumn, winter and spring, while the trade winds of the West Indies ascend the Mississippi and all its branches, in summer.—Hence, the extreme cold of winter, and the warm weather of summer, in the valley of the Mississippi. The same spot experiences the cold of Nova Zembla in winter, and the heat of Algiers in summer.

The stage, which is to carry me to Washington, is at the door; so I throw down my pen, call for my bill, pay it, and am off, to the place where I am bound.

After crossing the Monocasy, we traveled over a poor miserable country, until we came to Rockville, twelve miles from Washington, where we took supper. Taking my seat again in the stage, I reached the city, at two o'clock in the morning. Stopping at Brown's, the head quarters of the general post-office, in Washington, I left the tavern, as soon as the day dawned, for the white house. General Jackson was in his room, at that early hour, doing business, and lie received me, as he always would have done at the Hermitage, with smiles and with kindness. Tarrying with him and his amiable family, to breakfast, I spent my time very laboriously, during two weeks, in explaining every thing connected with the treaties we had negotiated. These explanations, made to the President and secretary of war, being ended, I felt myself at liberty to devote a few weeks to the improvement of my health, [pg 375] now, still, greatly impaired by the fatigues, exposure and sufferings of all sorts, which had fallen to my lot during the four preceding months. Not knowing whether I should ever have such an opportunity again to see our eastern cities, I concluded, to travel eastward as far as Boston, making a stop in Philadelphia; and having tarried in this city five weeks, I abandoned the idea of visiting Boston, and returned to Washington city, where I arrived, on the twentieth day of November, 1829. I traveled this distance in twenty-four hours, leaving Philadelphia at noon, one day, and arriving at Washington, at the same hour next day. I traveled in company with many members of Congress, and others, who were going to spend their time and money, in the coming, gay and giddy season, in this District.

On the Saturday before the session of Congress commenced, it was ascertained that a quorum of both houses, was in attendance, and I saw all the preparatory steps taken, to organize both of them.

The evening before the session commenced, the doorkeeper of the Senate waited on me, and delivered to me the cards of thirteen Senators, accompanied by the request, that I would attend on that body, at nine o'clock next morning, at their chamber, to be introduced to every Senator not already known to me. This, I was assured, was the wish of every Senator whose card was not sent. It was their wish to hear any explanations I might feel a wish to make, in relation to the treaties. At the appointed hour, I attended at the Senate chamber, and was introduced by Messrs. Ruggles and Burnet, Senators from Ohio, to such members as I was a stranger to. I was present at the opening of the session, and saw the Senate organized, by electing their officers, and by swearing in the newly elected members, Messrs. Troup, of Georgia, and Grundy, of Tennessee.

I had heard of this body, all my life time, as being the wisest legislative assembly in the world, and I found it all that I expected, and even much more. Circumstanced as [pg 376] I was, alone, before the Senate, to explain to them every thing relating to our treaties, I felt a kind of awe, an uneasiness, and a dread, when I thought of approaching such a venerable and august body, but their cards of invitation cheered me, and on being presented to them, the manner in which they received me, their kindness, politeness and attention, swept away, instantly, from my mind, every disagreeable emotion, and they seemed more like old friends than strangers.

They treat all in the same manner, who come before them. No person ever appears before the Senate, without going away from them, their warm friend.

The committee being elected, to whom our treaties were to be referred, I was invited by their chairman, and, indeed, by every member of the committee, to attend their meetings, twice a week, at their room—at their lodgings, and every morning, at nine o'clock in the Senate chamber.

All these facilities were afforded me, in order to expedite my business, as much as possible, and dismiss me as soon as they could.

I availed myself, daily, of these opportunities, and on the — day of December, 1829, both these treaties were ratified by the unanimous vote of the Senate. The President approved of them, instantly.

Living for months together, amidst a great number of office seekers and office holders; and reading more than once, during that period, Dr. Channing's remarks on "the love of power," induced me to throw together a few remarks on the same subject. The universality of this passion, shows it to be innate in the soul of man, and when directed to proper objects, and pursued by correct means, this passion is highly laudable. There is a power over ourselves—over our passions—over our inward man, highly desirable, without which, we cease to be useful to others, or happy in ourselves. Let us all obtain and always exert such a power as this.

[pg 377] But, the power over our fellow men, is now, and always has been, quite a predominant object of pursuit, among the ambitions spirits of all nations. Pursued as this object generally has been, by means the most selfish and corrupt; and when obtained, abused as it has been, by the possessor, makes it our duty to protect ourselves, as far as may be, against it.

In countries governed by despots, the offices belong to the few, who monopolize them; but in a republic, where the doors of office are all thrown open, crowds rush in, at the conclusion of every election, for what they consider the spoils of victory. Under our system of government, ALL can be candidates for office, and hosts of office seekers flock to the city of Washington. As I mean to give no offense to a single human being, so I descend to no particulars in the remarks I am about to make. I do not believe, that, all things being well considered, the very highest offices in the nation are at all desirable. The office of chief magistrate, is certainly the most laborious, profitless and thankless in the nation. While in power, there is a glare around it, which soon vanishes into thin air. While in office, the President may be well compared to one of his own large chandeliers, on a levee night, shining on the diamonds of his guests; but no sooner is he out of office, than he resembles the same chandelier, broken into ten thousand fragments, and trodden under foot, in the streets. And what must convince all well balanced minds, that no fame is to be gained by holding this office, is the striking fact, that no American President, now out of office, has added even one to the number of his friends, a cent to his property, or a leaf of laurel to his brow. General Washington is gratefully remembered, as General Washington; Mr. Jefferson, as the author of the Declaration of Independence; the elder Adams, for his revolutionary services, at home and abroad. Mr. Monroe, by far the most popular President while in office, we ever had, and deservedly so, in my opinion, is remembered as Colonel Monroe, of the revolution, [pg 378] and our minister to England! Mr. Madison, learned, wise and good, is remembered as one of the authors of the Federalist—as a member of the first congress, and as secretary of state.

I say nothing of the present and last chief magistrates, to avoid every thing calculated to wound the feelings of any one.

This office, then, is not to be coveted.

To be a secretary is still less desirable, unless the object be to get one's near relatives into office. That object is always attained.

To be a member of congress, if lie be a man having a family—any business, much property, or fond of peace of mind, is bad indeed.

To be a foreign minister, takes a man from his home, his country and friends, and restores him to them, very often, out of business, out of health, poor and persecuted, the rest of his days.

To be an officer of the army, carries him to the Indian frontier, where he lives a dog's life, lays up nothing, and he either lives without a wife, or lie dies, leaving a family, poor, pennyless and unprovided for.

To be an officer in the navy, carries him over the world, and he dies on some foreign shore.

To govern men is not as high a sphere of action as is generally imagined. Any one can do it, who can write, print, and circulate his opinions. An obscure individual, dwelling in a garret, or in a cave, if you please, can send forth opinions, which shall shake down thrones and even empires in the dust. The mightiest revolutions, in religion, politics, science and literature, (since the discovery of the art of printing, the mariner's compass, and the late improvements affecting the social intercourse of mankind,) have been effected by humble individuals, and by the humble means I have referred to above. Such a man, by his writings, may change the face of the whole world, in any one of many ways:—by introducing new modes of agriculture, [pg 379] new modes of navigation—by introducing new tactics, or new weapons of warfare into our navies and armies. Any new idea, on any subject, useful to man, once laid before the world, through the press, no matter how humble its author, or where he lives, almost instantly spreads far and wide—crosses every sea and every ocean—ascends every mountain's height—dives down into the bowels of the earth, and finally pervades every portion of the habitable globe. Who would not covet such a power as this! The art of printing has given an author these vast means of doing either good or harm in the world.

There is another aspect of this subject, well worthy of consideration, if we wish to compare the power, the fame, as well as the usefulness of ancient and modern authors. Ancient authors made no small use in their writings, of the fabulous gods of their times; but those gods, and their worship, have long since gone down to the tomb and perished forever. Archimedes wanted nothing, as he thought, but another world to stand on, to enable him, with his lever, to move this! What he wanted, the modern author has, if he wishes to use it—a world—an eternal world to stand on.

If the author wishes so to write, that ALL he writes shall live forever, he must be guided by the unerring Cynosure of christianity—his aim must be to be useful to his fellow men, and that being the case, no portion of what he writes need be cast aside as puerile, foolish or false, in any succeeding age of the world. Our authors, unless they have a moral aim, will not long be read. The time cannot be far distant, if I can foresee correctly, when all books not containing useful information, will find no readers.

Christianity proposes to us, as a model for our imitation, its Author, whom, let us look at, moment, instead of viewing the hosts at Presidential levee. He went about doing good to mankind. He exacted no personal service from his friends—no, he even washed their feet! He fared as they did; traversed the country on foot; fed upon the fish which he and they caught, and slept in a [pg 380] fishing boat. He sought no office—no wealth—no pomp, show or parade.

His example teaches us, that in order to build up a reputation, which shall last forever, we must strive to be useful to mankind. We may stare for a moment, at the exploits of the warrior, or at some new turn in the zigzag course of the politician; but we are warmed, cheered and invigorated, when we contemplate the character of some benefactor of the human race—some Washington, some Franklin, Locke, Milton, Bacon, Fenelon, Penn, Wilberforce, Howard, Newton, Boyle, Clinton, Fulton, Whitney, and other useful men. Unstained with blood, vice or crime, their fame will endure forever, increasing in brightness, and expanding, until every eye in the world shall see it, and every tongue in the world, sound their loud praises.

The plaudits of fame, now every where heard, all over the world, bestowed upon such men, are an earnest, a precursor, of a brighter day, a clearer sky, and a purer atmosphere, in the moral world, in future times. We cannot mistake these sure prognostics of approaching future goodness, greatness and purity, yet in reserve for the human family.

The longings of good men in all ages, for greater happiness, more peace, less war, less strife, more liberality and more benevolence among mankind, are about to be realized; and the admiration and applause, so generally bestowed on those only, who have been useful to mankind, are the signs, the infallible forerunners, of this more perfect day. I am aware that it needs not the spirit of prophecy, to foresee all this; because these indications are too palpable not to be foreseen by all eyes, and felt by all hearts. A SUN, more glorious, than yonder orb of day, is ascending to his meridian height, and by his vivifying rays, warming all hearts, enlightening all eyes, and dispelling all darkness, in the moral world. That Sun will never go down. The men I have mentioned, are the planets, that continually revolve around this great and glorious luminary, dispensing light [pg 381] and heat on the moral world. Let the politician resemble the ignis fatuus, flash and expire in an instant; let the warrior, for a time, in his excentric orbit, moving either slowly of swiftly, by his glare, spread consternation and alarm over half the nations, since we feel assured, that the time is hastening on, and now not far distant, when all such comets will leave our system, never to return to it.

We see the operation of the same benign spirit, creating asylums for the deaf and dumb—for the blind—hospitals for the sick, the aged, and the infirm, for those bereft of their reason, and other kindred institutions. Societies for propagating the gospel, and for increasing and diffusing every species of useful knowledge, all belong to these times.

The author who publishes only what will be forever useful to mankind, will be read, eventually, all over the world; and he enjoys what no other one can—inasmuch as to his readers, he is always present with them. Whether he wrote one year, or one thousand years before, it makes no difference. His spirit hovers around us, and takes possession of our souls. The pursuits of private life, are far preferable in my mind, to the holding of any office, civil or military.

If fame be the object, better be a historian, and narrate the rise and fall of states, and assign the causes. There is ample room in such a field, to display the greatest talents, either natural or acquired. He may condemn vice, expose the folly, or praise the wisdom of rulers. He may, as a judge, arraign before his bar, try, condemn or acquit, not only the mightiest warriors, kings and statesmen, but whole nations, either near or remote, as to time or place; and if his reasons for passing judgment, are good, sound and correct, all mankind will honor the judge, and carry his judgment into execution. Heretofore, historians, poets and orators have done little indeed, for the good of the great mass of the people. They have employed themselves in placing on the very front of the stage, the warriors, the kings, the nobles, the rich, the proud, the haughty, standing [pg 382] on stilts or in buskins, while the common people were seated, out of our sight, behind them.

Better be a poet—and describe either the external face of nature, or dive into the inmost recesses of the human heart, and expose them to our view. By giving a moral aim to his poetic effusions, he may by far outshine Homer, Virgil, Horace, and all the poets of Greece and Rome.

Our own poets have advantages over all others in the world. Within our own territory, we have the longest and the largest rivers; we have the loftiest mountains and the lowest vales; we have the largest lakes; the boundless prairie and the boundless ocean; the largest bays; the savages of the Rocky mountains and the most polished people in our eastern cities; we have people of every shade of color, from the four quarters of the globe. Among us is to be found, in use, not a few languages; and certainly, every opinion in religion, morals, politics, science and literature. We have wild animals, not yet described; we have a scenery, and vast tracts of country, which no painter ever beheld, and which no pen and no tongue have described. Our state of society—our very form of government, are almost unknown to the rest of the world. Our past history, our present condition and our future prospects, have had very little justice done to them, by any author. Here are materials sufficient for the greatest geniuses in the world— for the poet, the painter, the engraver, the natural historian and the novelist. Our common English language, too, is one, which will be spoken and written forever, over one half the globe. What a vista is this, for our authors and our artists to look through? Away with the pitiful business of office seeking, the bane of our republic.

In addition to this vast mass of materials, always at hand, and ready to be used by our authors, we have all the ideas, in our possession, of former times.

Those who have gone before us, have erected, for us to stand on, a broad durable and lofty tower. Standing on this lofty monument, more durable than adamant, the materials [pg 383] lie near, and all around its base, with which we, and all who come after us, can, if we will, raise this structure, finally, high as heaven; from whose summit, men, in every succeeding age, as this tower is raised higher and higher, can see further and further, clearer and better all around them.

If we look around us, all over the world, at this time—if we look into the writings of the Mackintoshes, the Cuviers, the Chateaubriands, the Humbolts, the Malte Bruns, the Goethes, the Channings, the Everetts, the Websters, the Clintons, and a long list of modern authors, we shall not only be struck with surprise, but even with astonishment, at the vast strides they have made in every branch of literature and science, compared with their immediate predecessors. But compared with the ancient Greeks and Romans, how vast the difference between them! The authors of antiquity appear really puerile, as well as narrow minded, in their ideas, when compared with the pure, liberal, noble, philanthropic, sublime, exalted and lofty conceptions of our best modern authors.

If Addison, Johnson, Pope, Dryden, Swift, &c., produced our present authors, what may we not expect, from the authors of the next age? Onward—onward—is the imperious order of this day. The march of mind, is the grandest, the most morally sublime object, in the world. The human mind has become a great and mighty giant, whose head reaches up to heaven, under whose tread the earth trembles to its center, at every step he takes; before whom the mountains of error are bowing, shaking, and crumbling into dust. Thrones are falling down before him, as he approaches them. With his staff, he smites the scepter and the miter, and they vanish from our sight. This giant is irresistible in his progress, and will one day prostrate in the dust, never to rise again, every obstacle to human-happiness and true glory.

Until very recently, kings and priests have quite too often, in their exercise of power, been the very worst foes [pg 384] of mankind. The priest has always represented himself as the vicegerent of some cruel god—has represented man, very little better than a brute, made to bear all the burdens which he wished this beast to carry. Kings pretended to rule by divine right, and the priests taught the people to acknowledge the right, and obey the kings. The one enslaved the soul; the other the body; and hence the perfect union between church and state. This game is nearly out, in which the people were always losers. The kings and priests of England and France, govern their people, at present, very well, because the people will not permit misgovernment.

The increase of knowledge, is improving government every where, except, perhaps, in our own beloved country. As knowledge increases in the world, offices, either in church or state, will become less and less coveted, as less and less honorable and lucrative. And as the people, all become enlightened, more and more, the ruler will have less and less to do, until his occupation will be nearly gone. The government of mankind, like the government of God, should resemble the fence about our farm; inclose it, with a high, well laid, strong wall, so as perfectly to protect all things in the field, and then leave it entirely to the occupant, whether it should become a paradise or remain a waste. The best government is this mere fence—nothing more.

Which is preferable, to be a stone in a wall, or a rail in a fence, or be a man, the owner, the occupant of the paradise inclosed by the wall or the fence?

According to the very spirit of our constitution, our rulers are our servants, not our masters. The PEOPLE are the only sovereign in this country.

Besides, unless speedily checked, office seeking may overthrow our form of government. I consider it one of the most dangerous enemies to our liberty. Suppose, for instance, that all the officers of the general government, unite together, get up a caucus, nominate some tool of theirs, as [pg 385] a candidate for President, who will perpetuate them in power. Suppose that he nominates his successor, to his officers, and they give in, to his dictation, and so on, from age to age, still calling this a republic! Where is the difference between such a government, and the worst aristocracy in the world, except in the mere name of it? Our President exercises, in reality, more power than a king of England. But I forbear to press this idea upon the reader, who can make his own comments on a subject of so great political and moral importance, and I leave it to the people to act on.

Better be a physician, than hold any office, heal the sick, comfort the afflicted, and bind up the broken hearted. In his occupation, our modern, well informed, well bred and well educated physician, more nearly resembles the Saviour of the world, than any other man, of modern times. He often, as I well know, not only gives his services, his time, his attention and his heart, but pays out considerable sums of money, where he well knows, he can never receive a single cent in return. It is but doing the men of this profession, mere justice, to say all this; I have often seen it, and I know it.

Our physicians who are regularly bred to their profession, are our most worthy, well informed, well bred, kind, benevolent and most useful citizens. They see, feel for, and relieve more distress and suffering, than any other class of men. In return, they receive, as their reward, in addition to their self approbation, the heart-felt applause, all the good, the great and the wise men of our day. Better, then, I say, be a physician, than hold any office.

Better too, be a lawyer, defend the cause of the poor, the persecuted, the oppressed, the widow and the orphan. This profession, in all civilized countries, has always been highly honorable in the estimation of society. It has always led to honors, sometimes to the very highest offices. All our Presidents, except Washington, were originally lawyers; [pg 386] —so almost all the members of congress, especially in the senate.

They have, every where, generally, been the strenuous advocates of liberal principles and of free government.

Men of this profession have shone, in every station, civil and military. Their eloquence, energy and exertions, have moved, not merely courts, juries, mixed and legislative assemblies, but whole nations. They have commanded armies, presided in cabinets, conducted the periodical press, and every where enlightened the public mind on almost every subject of great importance. Their studies and pursuits, sharpen the intellect, and prepare them for every thing great, daring and noble, and liberty and free government owe them much.

By their labors, they are now moving human society forward, with an irresistible force, all over the world. There is a voice heard throughout the whole world, sounding louder and louder, calling on men to be free, virtuous and happy. The lawyer's voice forms a portion of this public voice, which is rousing mankind from the sleep of ages, to be up and doing all they can, to shake off the leeches that have so long been sucking their blood. The warrior who desolates whole countries and lays them waste, and fills the world with grief and misery, is welcome to his bloody fame; but give me a fame as pure as his, who lately traversed Ohio, in 1833, at whose coming, a whole people, of all parties, rose up to receive him, as their guest, their friend and benefactor. An enlightened, moral and patriotic people know how to treat, either a Clinton or a Webster. Such hospitality, extended to such strangers, like charity, blesses the giver and receiver. Such treatment, of such men, makes me proud of Ohio. Better be such a lawyer as Webster, who stands upon his own feet, acting upon broad, liberal and national principles, and receive in return, the well earned applause of all good men; than hold any office, in the gift, even of our principal public servant. [pg 387] The greatest, gift of God to mankind, is great original thinkers—they are the lights of the world, shining on our path, and cheering us as we move forward, on our way. Such a light is Daniel Webster.

But, better be an instructor of youth, than an office holder. It is from the mother and the early instructor, that we draw our earliest, most durable and permanent ideas; hence, the necessity of giving these future mothers and instructors, a good, sound, liberal education. If we wish to make mankind better, wiser and happier, we must begin with the future wife, mother and matron—the future philosopher, scholar, statesman, general, admiral, bishop, lawyer, doctor, farmer, mechanic, merchant, and man, in the cradle. Fame, as lasting as the world, has been acquired by the mothers and early instructors of the most distinguished men. Who thinks of Alexander, without remembering his instructor? And so of all other distinguished men; we naturally inquire, who were their mothers? and what methods were used to instill goodness and greatness into their minds, in early life? A lofty monument perpetuates the memory of the mother of Washington, a lonely widow, to whose kind care and admonitions, impressed by maternal affection, on the tender mind of her darling son, this country—no, the world—is indebted for George Washington, as he was, great and good.

To this class of persons, we must look for the advancement of knowledge in the world. Unless the seed is sown in the spring of the year, we can reap no harvest in summer, fill with sheaves no barn in autumn, and have no store to go to, in winter. Just so it is, with the education of our children unless their minds are early imbued with good, great, and useful principles, we cannot expect to reap any thing valuable, where nothing is sown. This age will soon pass away, and another succeed it. Let us then, prepare our instructors of every kind, for the performance of their high trust. Let us raise up a race of teachers, who will elevate higher and higher, the human mind; purify and exalt [pg 388] it, by instilling into it, higher, nobler, and better conceptions of God, man, and things. In this. way, men may finally be enabled, to trace, not only every river, every brook, but every rivulet of human knowledge, to the clear fountains where they first appear. It is the business of the instructor to so purify and strengthen the intellectual eye, that it will be able to clearly see every pebble at the bottom of these waters. It is his business and his province to purify the waters themselves, when necessary to be done.

The efforts now making to raise up better teachers, are highly commendable—may success crown them. Common schools, especially in our republic, deserve the most attention, and our higher literary institutions cannot perform a better service to their country, than by preparing teachers for the great mass of the people. Heretofore the business of an instructor of youth, has been estimated quite too low; their pay has been worse still; and the result has been highly injurious to the country. When our youth are all taught by men who never have been engaged in any other profession, and never expect to be so engaged, much good may be anticipated from their labors. The following any profession, cramps the human mind, too much, for a general instructor. The foundation of knowledge should always be laid on a broad basis. Its superstructure may be narrowed, without endangering the safety of the pile.

Better be painter or engraver—and delineate nature, as it appears, in its scenery; or he may so depict historical events, as to promote virtue, and, by his art, aid the cause of morals. Who does not covet such a fame as that of West?

Better be a farmer, and follow the earliest and purest occupation of man. It leads to health, competence, independence and peace.

Better be a merchant; open new channels of trade, and push his enterprising and daring keel, up newly discovered rivers, like Lander; become acquainted with hitherto unknown people, and bring home new articles, which will add to our wealth, our stock of knowledge, and our means [pg 389] of enjoyment. With his canvass, he can aid in whitening every river, every lake, sea and ocean; carrying the arts of civilized life, to every people under heaven. The commercial intercourse of nations has done a vast deal of good, in a great variety of ways; it has promoted peace, friendship, enterprise, industry, good morals, and good government, all over the world, where it has appeared. It is one of the great mass of means, a locomotive engine of great power, which is now moving mankind onward in the road towards perfection, in morals, literature, science, grandeur, and glory.

Commerce has made Great Britain what she is, in a great degree; it has extended her language, her moral, literary, and political ideas, to every quarter of the globe; settled her people on both continents, and upon every island in the ocean; and, indeed, spread her empire so widely, that the sun never ceases to shine on it!

Two thousand years ago, Great Britain, now one of the most powerful nations in the world, was a mere little island, lying in a cold, dreary climate—occupied by barbarous, painted savages, who were engaged in petty warfare among themselves. By her arts and her arms, her trade and her commerce, she has become an object, grand and sublime, for the contemplation of man.

Better be a minister of religion, and go about doing good —setting an example of meekness, kindness, and benevolence, before the world. I will not decide the question, so much doubted by the very best men in Christendom, whether it ever was intended by Jesus, to have a hired priesthood, living in palaces, on large salaries, without earning them in any wise whatever; but, where a minister of religion devotes up all his time and his talents to his people, doing them service, there certainly ought to be liberality enough among the same people, to place their minister above perplexity and want. If there be a vast difference, in the moral condition of the citizens of Ohio, and the people of some other States, our clergymen must have a [pg 390] credit for it. Their labors are great, constant and severe; but no one will accuse any one of them, in this State, of being wealthy. And, throughout the whole nation, however useful they may be, their salaries are no where large. From the charges every where made against their Bible Society, I had honestly entertained the idea, that this society had accumulated millions of dollars, which might be used, at no distant day, to carry into effect some wicked design upon the liberties of this country. I am fully satisfied, that this society have no such funds; and we all ought to know, that our ministers of religion have not the power to do any great evil.

That our most talented men, every where, entertain very strong prejudices against our clergy, is certainly true. This may be owing to many circumstances. Some of them are so poorly educated, in all respects, as to bring the whole profession into disrepute. Such men misunderstand the main design and whole scope of the christian system; and we need not wonder at the awful havock they certainly make of the scriptures. They misrepresent the whole gospel. Lingering on our frontiers, they never should venture into our settlements. The true, well informed, well bred minister, who represents our Creator, as he represents himself, as our Father, and all men as his children, and that they are brethren; follows a profession far preferable, in my mind, to that of our office holder. Such a man sets an example, if followed, that will safely carry us through this world, and finally present us before that Being, around whose throne, trees of life wave their ambrosial tops, and from under which, rivers of life, of love, and of glory, issue.

Means are using to give this class of our citizens a better education, in our country. Let us hope, that these means may succeed—that none but wise and good men may ever officiate at the altar, or undertake to teach, who have never learned.

Any teacher of christianity, who is well educated, knows, that although man has fallen—that his orb is partially [pg 391] eclipsed, yet it is not wholly obscured. There are faculties of the soul, if appealed to by a master of eloquence, which can be raised, purified and exalted:—such as our natural love of justice; our sympathy with the afflicted; our admiration of the beauties and sublimities of nature, and of great and noble actions. These are all faculties of the soul of man, and he is but a poor preacher, who never addresses himself to them. Varying his subject of discourse, he can draw from the wells of Greece and Rome, or the fountains of Zion. He can lead out his flock, sometimes into flowery meads, refreshed, rendered green and delightful by pure streams, and not always among thistles, briars and thorns. At all events, we have no animal, a native of this continent, which makes such brambles its food. The mountain ram would not thrive on them, and if compelled to eat them, I suspect, that the mellifluous tones of his American voice, would soon be changed into the braying of an ass. Such brambles are unfit for food, and even for litter to lie down on. On the whole, we are cheered with the prospect that is now opened to our view, when our clergymen, every where, will become more and more learned and wise; be better supported, and better paid—be more and more useful, and greatly assist, in rendering society more moral, more enlightened, happier, and better. So may it be, until every soul is elevated to that lofty eminence in virtue, morals and religion, for which it was originally designed by its Author.

In saying what I have, on this subject, nothing has been further from my mind, than the wish to say ought against any one man now in office. Not a few of them are my friends and my patrons, for which I feel grateful. I am aware, though, that their stations are neither very lucrative, nor very desirable. The uncertain tenure by which they hold their offices; the laborious duties attatched to them; the envious feeling towards the holders of them, in the breasts of many persons; the great responsibility belonging to all high trusts, especially under this government; are [pg 392] considerations not to be overlooked, in estimating the value of such places of power. Very few lay up wealth, who hold offices which is not the case with men who follow almost any of the occupations I have been recommending. And, who is there among all our highest officers, who sighs not for the quiet, the ease, and the solid enjoyment, he has left? How does his eye glisten, when he recollects the pure pleasures of his childhood and youth? The knees on which he was dandled, and the arms that encircled him when a child?

It was in private life he was born, educated and brought forward in the world; and he fondly looks forward to the shades of private life, as a shelter—as a retreat, in his old age. That all our officers, civil, military and naval, may serve their country faithfully and efficiently, and be constantly rewarded for their services by the community, is the fervent wish of him who writes these lines.


[pg 393] The beautifully situated town of Franklinton, lies on the west side of the Scioto river, one mile from, and west of, the State capitol. It was, originally, a dry prairie, covered with tall grasses, and wild flowering plants, excepting when and where the Indians raised corn. About the year 1798, Lucas Sullivant, originally from Mecklenburgh county, Virginia, located a town here, and named it in honor of Dr. Franklin. Mr. Sullivant came into Kentucky in 1791, and being an excellent surveyor, he spent several years in surveying the Virginia military lands, and locating land warrants. He settled in his then new town, in 1800, where he resided until his death, which happened in 1823. He has left behind him, three sons, who reside in the town, inherit their father's estate, his fame, and his virtues.

Franklin county was organized in 1803, and Franklinton became its seat of justice, and so continued to be, until about 1827, when the seat of justice was removed to Columbus.


The seat of government for the State of Ohio, is situated on a high bank on the east side of the Scioto river, in latitude about thirty-nine degrees fifty minutes north. In the winter of 1812, the General Assembly passed an act, fixing the seat of the State government here permanently, after December, 1816; until which period, it was to be in Chillicothe. The scite where the town of Columbus now is, was known by the appellation of "the high bank" of the Scioto, east of Franklinton. In June, 1812, it was owned by Colonel James Johnson, John Kerr, Alexander M'Laughlin, [pg 394] and Lyne Starling, Esquires, who severally owned portions of the land. They joined in laying out the town, and proceeded to sell out a part of the lots, and their first sale was on the day congress declared war against Great Britain, in June 1812. At that time, the ground now occupied by the town, was covered with as dense a forest, as any in the State—of beach, oak, walnut, and sugar-maple. The trees were of great size, and very lofty in height.

In 1813, the town began to improve, a few buildings were erected, and preparations were made to erect more. The State penitentiary, the capitol, and the public offices, were built, in the order here mentioned, but they were scarcely completed, until, in December, 1816, the State legislature commenced its first session here. In 1818, the town was incorporated, and Jarvis Pike, Esq. was its first mayor. Its increase, in business, population, and improvement, has been steady, if not rapid; and, from its location, and natural as well as artificial advantages, it certainly will always be a place of considerable magnitude and importance.

It now contains about four thousand people, its immediate vicinity being included in this estimate. Among its advantages, are, its being the seat of government for the State; the national road passes through it, from east to west; the canal ends here, as to the northwestern counties; the soil, far and wide about it, is of the best quality; and, finally, its inhabitants are among the best informed, most intelligent, industrious, enterprising and moral, in the western States. Great attention is bestowed on the education of their children, and the teachers of youth, of both sexes, are among the very best in the State.


Is located in this town. Here, the Deaf and Dumb are received, and that mental and moral cultivation is bestowed on them, which raises them to the occupations of society, [pg 395] and the enjoyments of social life, of which they were naturally deprived. It is one of those benevolent institutions, to which this age has given birth, and which does honor to human nature.

This Asylum has been in operation nearly four years. It owes its origin to the philanthropy of the State legislature. The present number of pupils is thirty-five; twenty-seven of whom, are supported by the bounty of the State. It is an additional misfortune to many of this class of persons, not only to be deaf and dumb, but poor.

The Asylum is managed by a board of Trustees, appointed by the Legislature. It is at present under the immediate superintendence of a Principal, and two Assistants. The expense attending a year's residence at the Asylum is seventy-five dollars. This sum covers all expenses at the institution, except those for clothing. Pupils remain at school four or five years, during which time they study Arithmetic, Geography, History, &c., and become able to do business for themselves. The system of instruction is that of the Abbe L'Epee, and perfected by his celebrated successor, Abbe Sicard. The eye is the avenue through which the instructor communicates with the minds of his pupils. Signs are substituted for sounds; and they are found sufficiently copious and expressive, to teach written language, or any branch of education.

There is now erecting in the vicinity of Columbus, a building for the accommodation of the pupils. Its dimensions on the ground are eighty feet by fifty. There is some land belonging to the Asylum, on which it is expected the male pupils will labor.

In this Institution, the unfortunate Deaf and Dumb children of our State will for a time find an "asylum," and will, through its means, have light shed on their darkened minds. H. N. Hubbell, A. M., is the Principal.

[pg 396]


Was founded in September 1831, by the German Lutheran Synod of Ohio. Its object is to teach, not only the German, but the English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages; to prepare young men for the ministry; to become instructors of youth, and for the several learned professions.

The principal building is a handsome structure of brick, situated in the south part of the town. It is under the government of a board of directors, consisting of eight members, appointed, one half of them, every three years. It has no funds, as yet, except such as have been contributed, by its friends.

At present, the Rev. William Smith is the Principal, and there are two professors. It has had about twenty students, and their number will, doubtless, rapidly increase. Having been present, frequently, when the students were examined, I can say, that they have made great progress in their several studies; and that the principal is a learned, industrious, pious, and worthy man.

The library is but small at present, but is constantly increasing, and it consists of useful and well chosen books.

The directors are about to apply to the General Assembly for a charter, and it is to be hoped, that the Legislature will bestow funds on it, likewise.

Considering the tide of emigration from Germany, into this State, of late years, this institution is greatly needed, and, if conducted as it has been, thus far, and is properly fostered by the legislature and the public, it must be of vast utility to the State. Its protestant character, it is hoped, will not be overlooked by our citizens or by Germans who imigrate into this country. It forms a nucleus, around which, protestant Germans will naturally settle down. But, by its constitution, this institution is equally open to all denominations of christians. This school opens to our citizens, the rich stores of German literature. Germany [pg 397] is the country, from whence originated, clocks, watches, the art of printing, the reformation of Luther, and all the civil and religious liberty in the world. The Germans have excelled in every branch of science and literature. They and the French, have always, treated us, in all their writings, not merely with justice, but with a noble and generous liberality. Their kindness to myself, on all occasions, will never be forgotten, until the heart that now feels it all, and the trembling hand, that traces these lines, shall lie cold and lifeless, in the grave.


There are about fifteen common schools in Columbus, all of which are well conducted; and receive liberal encouragement; besides a high school, for young ladies, in which they may acquire the various branches of a polite and refined education.

[pg 398]



General Duncan Mcarthur, late Governor of the State of Ohio, was born on the fourteenth of January, 1772, in the county of Dutchess, and State of New York. He was of Scottish parentage, and his mother's maiden name was Campbell; several of her cousins were actively engaged in the war of the Revolution, and some of their descendents, in the late war with Great Britain. The General's father removed from the State of New York, in 1779, to Northumberland county Pennsylvania, and there settled on the frontier, where his family and neighbors were harrassed by Indian depredations, and "forted" during the summer months, until the year 1784, when he lie again journied further west, and settled in Washington county, Pennsylvania, first on a creek called Ten mile, and afterwards on Wheeling. In the spring of 1793, he descended the Ohio river, and settled in Flemming county, Kentucky, spending the most of the summer months, until the treaty of Greenville, in 1795, in forts and block-houses. Thus was General McArthur, in early life, deprived of the means of acquiring a liberal education. He possessed strength and activity of both body and mind, and was reputed, when a mere lad, an active woodsman, an excellent marksman, and a bold and daring Indian hunter. In 1790, he volunteered his services to his country, and served as a private on General Harmer's campaign, in the Pennsylvania line, in a battalion commanded by Major James Paul, of Uniontown. General Harmer's army rendezvoused and organized on [pg 399] the south bank of the Ohio river, below the mouth of Licking, opposite Cincinnati; crossed the Ohio at that place, and marched on the old Indian war path, by the Chillicothe on the Little Miami, Piqua, on the Great Miami, Loramie's, and St. Mary's, and burned and destroyed five Indian towns, near the confluence of the St. Mary's and St. Joseph's rivers, and returned to Cincinnati with the loss of about one hundred and eighty men. It is believed that the Indians were not apprized that General Harmer's army was in their country, until it arrived at Loramie's, where, in the morning, three Indians were discovered viewing his encampment. They were pursued by some mounted men, one of them taken prisoner, and the other two made their escape and alarmed the towns. The next morning, at the crossing of the St. Mary's, Colonel John Hardin, of the Kentucky volunteers, and Major Paul, of the Pennsylvania volunteers, by permission of the General, beat up for men to volunteer and go forward, in advance of the main army, to the Indian towns, which were estimated to be about forty miles from the crossing of St. Mary's. About six hundred tendered their services, of whom McArthur was one. This detachment arrived at the Indian towns on the evening of the second day, and found that the Indians had fled on that days, having set fire to some of their houses, or wigwams. A few warriors remained, however, and a few shots were exchanged. Colonel Hardin and Major Paul, with their detachment, remained in possession of the Indian towns, for four days, before the arrival of General Harmer, with the main army. He afterwards remained a week, during which time, the Indian warriors were collecting from all quarters, and frequent skirmishing ensued; almost every detachment sent out from the main army, were waylayed and defeated. A detachment under the command of Colonel Hardin fell into an ambuscade, and many of his men were killed by the Indians. After General Harmer had returned on his way to Cincinnati, he encamped the first night, about eight miles from the Indian towns. It was [pg 400] understood that the Indians had taken possession of their towns immediately after our army had left them. Colonel Hardin again beat up for volunteers, to go back and attack them, and a considerable number of men again turned out, and returned in the night, and attacked the Indians, by the break of day, in their encampments. Colonel Hardin crossed the St. Marys, with his command, and attacked the Indian camp, in the forks between that river and the St. Joseph's. McArthur was under a Captain William Crawford, of the Pennsylvania volunteers from Muddy creek, who crossed the Maumee river, below the junction of the St. Mary's and St. Joseph's, and attacked the Indians, who were encamped on the east bank of the St. Joseph's; defeated them, and pursued them for miles up that river, whilst Colonel Hardin and his command were cut up and defeated, with great loss. It was the success of the party with whom young McArthur fought on that day, which gained him the first reputation of a soldier. Upon returning to his father's, on the head of Wheeling, he was the next spring elected an ensign of a militia company, at the age of nineteen years—immediately after which, he obtained a place in a company of rangers, who were stationed on the Ohio river, below Wheeling, to guard the frontier inhabitants from Indian depredations.

On the third day of May, 1791, he, with fourteen others, under the command of Captain William Enoch, now a citizen of Clark county, Ohio, whilst scouting on the northwest side of the Ohio, about twenty miles below Wheeling, fell in with the trail of a few Indians, which they followed, with a view to give them battle, and were led into ambuscade, fired on by a party of thirty-three Indians, from a high, steep bank; six of their party were killed, and one wounded and taken prisoner—the other eight escaping, by out-running the Indians. He was afterwards in Baker's station, on the Ohio, below Wheeling, when it was attacked by the Indians about the latter end of the same month. In 1793, he removed with his father to Kentucky; and in [pg 401] October, accompanied General Nathaniel Massie, as a chainman, on his first surveying tour, up the Scioto river, and Paint creek. General Massie's surveying party were driven out of the country by the Indians, and returned to Manchestcr, where they remained about ten days, until the Indians resumed their hunting, when General Massie and his party returned to Paint creek; and resumed. their surveying business, as may be seen by the records of the Virginia military surveys.

In the spring of the year 1794, McArthur, by the influence of General Massie, Captain Peter Lee, and those who became acquainted with him on his surveying tours, was appointed a spy, for the State of Kentucky, in which business he conducted himself with credit, until the Indian war was ended, by the treaty of Greenville, in 1795.

During the time which he accompanied the surveyors, and guarded the frontier inhabitants, as a ranger, he had many rencounters with the Indians, and hairbreadth escapes, and was often indebted to his heels and to mere accident, for the preservation of his life. At Captina, in 1791, he had several rifle balls shot through his clothes; and when a platoon was fired at him, his life was saved by accidentally falling down. In 1795, whilst watching a deer lick opposite the mouth of the Scioto, a party of several Indians came to the lick, and he only saved himself by shooting one of them, and taking to flight at the moment of the confusion of the others, but not without having several guns fired at him, and the ball of one passing through his powder horn and clothes.

At the close of the Indian war, he abandoned the use of the rifle, purchased a surveyor's compass and chain, and commenced the surveying business, first as an assistant to General Massie; and shortly afterwards he received a deputation from Colonel Anderson, principal surveyor of the Virginia army lands. In this business he has been successful, and indeed more than fortunate. Although his education was but limited, his entries and surveys were made so [pg 402] special, and correct, that they always bore the strictest investigation, and he often succeeded in recovering and holding lands which he located on prior vague claims. He also located lands, which had been surveyed and sold by the officers of the United States, as government land, and after several tedious and expensive law suits, proved, to the satisfaction of several juries, to the State and United States' courts, and to congress, that his titles were better than those of the United States, and received a large sum from the general government, for the relinquishment of his titles. His land suits, and general success, have brought down on him the hatred, ill will, and resentment, of some, and the envy of others. He is considered honorable, fair and punctual in his dealings; and as a land jobber, his land titles are believed to be good and valid.

In the spring of the year 1796, he assisted General Massie in surveying and laying out the town of Chillicothe, and it is said that he assisted in erecting the first bark tent, or camp, built by white men, in that town. The next year, he married, and settled on Fruit Hill, where he now resides, two miles west of Chillicothe. Since that time, his career, both civil and military, is well known to his contemporaries.

In 1798 he was elected captain of a company of militia, in 1801 a major, and shortly afterwards a colonel. In January, 1808, he was appointed lieutenant colonel of a regiment of volunteers, tendering their services to the President of the United States, agreeably to the act of congress of the twenty-fourth of February, 1807, for the purpose, if it should be found necessary, of taking possession of New Orleans. In February, 1808, he was, by the legislature, elected major general of the second division of the militia of the State of Ohio. In the spring of 1812, he raised from his own division, the first regiment of Ohio volunteers which entered into the service of the United States, in the late war; and was, at the town of Dayton, unanimously elected to its command; and accompanied General Hull to Detroit, and into Canada. Two days before Hull's surrender, [pg 403] and when the enemy was erecting his batteries, in plain view, on the Canada side of the river, opposite Detroit, he and Colonel Cass, now secretary of the department of war, were sent off by General Hull, with three hundred men, some thirty miles from the fort, and recalled in time to return a few hours after the surrender. In October, 1812, he was elected to congress by the unanimous vote of the electors of the district; but, in the spring of 1813, resigned his seat in congress, in consequence of his having been appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, a colonel in the regular army of the United States. In the same year he was appointed by the President, brigadier general, and continued to serve in that office, until the end of the late war, in 1815.

At the time fort Meigs was besieged by the British and Indians, in 1813, he was at Urbana, on the recruiting service, and within thirty hours after receiving the news of the siege, he, with his friends in that neighborhood, raised a volunteer corps, of between three and four hundred men, who immediately marched on Hull's road, as far as fort Findlay, where they were met by an express from General Harrison, informing them the siege had been raised, and requesting the volunteers to return. So soon as he received notice of his exhange he joined General Harrison, at Seneca, on the Sandusky river, and actively assisted in building the block-houses and breastworks, at that place. When it was ascertained that the combined British and Indian forces, under General Proctor, were about to attack the small fort at Lower Sandusky, then commanded by Major George Crogan, McArthur requested permission to reinforce Croghan with a part of his brigade, but the request was refused by General Harrison. Shortly afterwards, he was sent to fort Meigs, to take the command of the garrison, at that place, General Green Clay being sick. He contributed much to the success of Captain Perry, as he afterwards acknowledged, by sending from the garrison, at [pg 404] fort Meigs, about twenty active seamen, who had, in consequence of the embargo and non-intercourse, found their way to the western army. Those brave men, with about an equal number, sent from Seneca, formed a considerable part of Captain Perry's force, when he captured Captain Barkley's fleet, on lake Erie. McArthur, with his brigade, accompanied General Harrison and Governor Shelby into Canada, in the autumn of 1813—was left in the command of Detroit, when Shelby and Harrison pursued General Proctor up the Thames, and at Moravian town captured his army. After which, McArthur with his brigade, embarked on board Captain Perry's fleet, and sailed to Buffalo; from thence, they marched to fort George, and from thence sailed to Sackett's Harbour. The General was, at that time, ordered to attend the court martial, for the trial of General Hull, at Albany; and from thence, in the spring of 1814, he was ordered back to the west, to the command of the new recruits, volunteers, and militia. In the summer, the recruits made in Ohio, were, under the command of Major William Trimble, ordered to the Niagara. In the autumn of 1814, General McArthur, with about six hundred and twenty-five mounted volunteers, from Kentucky and Ohio, and seventy-five friendly Indian, principally Shawnees and Senecas, made an expedition of about two hundred, from Detroit, into Canada, with a view to join General Brown's army, on the Niagara. When at Grand river, twenty-five miles from Burlington heights, at the head of Lake Ontario, he there, on the sixth of November, learned that General Izard had with his command, recrossed the Niagara, and that his small command consisting of about seven hundred, militia and Indians, were the only American troops then in Upper Canada. He also learned, that the British quartermaster had taken possession of all the best mills between Grand river and Long point, and was supplying the army with flour from those mills—that he was also preparing and storing up flour for an expedition against Detroit, so soon as the ground and streams [pg 405] should become frozen, and the roads fit for sleighing. He therefore destroyed those mills, and at one of them, called Malcolm's mill, captured and paroled about five hundred of the Canadian militia, who had broken up the bridge across the stream, below the mill, and formed a breastwork across the road, with a view to prevent his return. The waters were high, the country flat and swampy, and the roads and forests over which they passed—for they sometimes traveled days without a road, or even an Indian path—were, in many places, almost impassable, and would have been entirely so, to any men other than those who were real woodsmen, and accustomed, from their youth, to penetrate the deepest recesses of the forest. But McArthur, with his Spartan band, returned to Detroit, just in time to recross the river before it was closed with the winter's ice. He there found that the contractor had failed to procure provisions for the support of the army during the winter, or indeed for a single week, and as no supplies could at that season be had, by water, the river and lake being blocked with ice; he therefore was compelled to hasten to the Scioto valley, and make himself personally responsible for fat cattle and hogs to the amount of ten thousand dollars, and have them driven out to Detroit, to save the garrison and the inhabitants from starvation.

After the close of the war, he, with General Harrison and Mr. John Graham, were appointed commissioners to treat with the Indians, under the provisions of the treaty of Ghent; and in the latter part of the summer of 1815, they met the Indians, and held their treaty at the Spring wells, about three miles below Detroit, where they went through all the Indian ceremonies of burying the tomahawk; and of restoring the Indians, who in the late war had taken sides with the British, to their former possessions within the United States.

In 1817, he and Governor Cass, were appointed commissioners to treat with the Indians, for their lands within the limits of the State of Ohio. This treaty was held at the [pg 406] foot of the Maumee Rapids. Although this treaty was concluded precisely agreeably to the instructions of the President, in allowing each Indian family to hold a section of their own lands in fee, yet the senate made objections to that part of the treaty, and Messrs. McArthur and Cass were sent back, in 1818, to treat with the Indians for an alteration in that article of their treaty of the previous year. This treaty was held at St. Mary's, and the alteration desired by the senate, procured, by enlarging their Indian reserves, and adding to their annuities.

He was first elected to the State legislature in 1804, and has served in the house of representatives and senate, in all, about twenty sessions. In 1822, he was a second time elected to congress, and served in the eighteenth congress. In 1830, he was elected governor of the State, served two years, and in 1832 declined a re-election. His politics have been uniformly republican, and liberal; he was a supporter of Thomas Jefferson, in opposition to John Adams; a supporter of his country, and the equal rights of man; in favor of internal improvements, both by the State and the United States; in favor of the protection of home manufactures and honest industry of every kind—is himself a farmer, and extensively engaged in raising fine horses; indulgent to those indebted to him, especially to those who have purchased lands, true to his friends, kind and liberal to his relations and neighbors, and charitable to the poor.


General Robert Lucas, the present Governor of Ohio, was born on the first day of April, 1781, in Jefferson county, and State of Virginia. He received a common school education, and was instructed in the mathematics by a Mr. M'Murrin, of Shepherdstown. In 1802, he moved with his father, and family, and settled near the mouth of the Scioto river. The next year, shortly after the organization of the State government, he was commissioned a lieutenant of [pg 407] volunteers, directed by the President of the United States, to be raised in Ohio, and held in readiness, to march and take possession of Louisiana, in case the officers of the Spanish government should refuse to give possession of that country, in accordance with our treaty with France. For several years following he held numerous offices, both civil and military; and in 1808, while a lieutenant colonel of the militia of the State, he raised a company of volunteers, from his regiment, under the act of congress of the 18th of April, 1806; and was elected and commissioned captain of the same.

In 1812, having previously been commissioned a brigadier general of a brigade composed of the counties of Scioto, Pickaway and Ross, he raised a battalion of volunteers, therein, marched to Dayton, and organized there, under the command of Major General James Denney, and while at Dayton, was employed by Governor Meigs, as a special messenger to Detroit, and performed the duties required of him to the satisfaction of the governor. He met General Hull's army in the wilderness, attached himself to the spies, marched into Canada with the first detachment of troops, and was one of the "forlorn hope." General Lucas was the first man that crossed the river Aux Canards, when Colonel Cass dispossessed the British of the bridge over that river. He was with the spies during the whole of Hull's campaign, and with Major Vanhorn's detachment at Brownstown, at the battle of which, he had a horse shot under him.

In the year 1813, he marched with his brigade to the relief of fort Meigs and Lower Sandusky, under the immediate command of Governor Meigs.

After the close of the war, he was elected, by joint ballot of both houses of the general assembly, a major general of the militia of the State; which office he held at the time he was elected governor.

General Lucas's public services, in a civil capacity, have been as valuable to his country, as those rendered during [pg 408] his military career. As early as the year 1808, he served in the house of representatives; and was, subsequently, repeatedly elected to the senate, in which body he presided, as speaker, several sessions. In 1820, he served as an elector of President and Vice President of the United States, and voted for Mr. Monroe and Mr. Tompkins; and in 1828, acted in the same capacity, voting for General Jackson and Mr. Calhoun. He was elevated to the distinguished station he now holds, in the autumn of 1832.

Governor Lucas is now and always has been, a warm friend to internal improvements by roads and canals—he is friendly to common schools, and to the cause of education generally; and has voted for every appropriation which has ever been made by the legislature, (while he had a seat in that body,) for the benefit of education. In his manners, he is a plain, modest, gentlemanly man, moral in his habits, and benevolent in his disposition. He has been a surveyor of lands, and a farmer all his days. It is scarcely necessary to add, that his immediate neighbors have always testified strongly in favor of his merits, as a man, and as a public officer. Though in very comfortable circumstances, as to property, he has been too much in office to be very wealthy. He has been twice happily and respectably connected in marriage, and is now surrounded by a large and interesting family of children.

The above brief sketch is all that my leisure now enables me to give of the life of my friend ROBERT LUCAS but, as soon as I find the leisure, I will endeavor to fill it up, with such incidents as my long personal acquaintance with him, enables me to furnish hereafter. And, I have long been collecting materials for biographical sketches of a large number of our first settlers; such as Governors Meigs, Morrow, Trimble, and Worthington; of our members of congress; of the general assembly; judges of the supreme court; our most distinguished lawyers, physicians, and divines. A future edition of this work, will offer me a place for all such sketches.


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