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traversed the Mississippi in 1682, sailed from France, in 1685, with four small vessels and 170 men, with an intention of landing at the mouth of that river. By untoward circumstances they were obliged to land in the bay of St. Bernard's, about 300 miles to the westward of their destination; where, after struggling with many hardships, some of the adventurers murdered La Salle, and all the rest perished, except seven persons, who penetrated through the country to Canada. In 1699, captain Iberville of the navy, a Canadian by birth, sailed from Rochfort with two ships and a number of men, and laid the foundation of the first French colony on the Mississippi, and named the country Louisiana. In 1712, this colony was diminished, by some unfavourable circumstances, to no more than twenty-eight families. At this time, Crozart, a merchant of great opulence, obtained the exclusive trade of Louisiana; but his plans, which were extensive and patriotic, proving abortive, he resigned his charter, in 1717, to the famous projector, John Law, author of the well-known Mississippi scheme, that proved the ruin of thousands. From this period the country become an interesting object to speculative adventurers; so that in 1718 and the following year, a numerous colony of labourers, collected from France, Germany and Switzerland, was conveyed to Louisiana, and settled in a district called Biloxi, near New Orleans, a barren and unhealthy situation, where many hundreds died through want and vexation. In 1720, the Spaniards of New Mexico, jealous of their active neighbours, formed a scheme for establishing a large colony on the Missouri, with a view to overawe the French colonists, Aeedrdingly, numerous caravans, who were to constitute this colony, proceeded from Santa Fé, and directed their march towards the country of the Osage Indians, hoping to engage this nation (the mortal enemies of the Missouris) to assist them in conquering the country of the latter, which they resolved to occupy. The Spaniards missed their way, and went directly to the nation whose ruin they meditated; and ignorant of their mistake, communicated their design without reserve. The Missouri chief, who, by this singular mistake, became acquainted with the dauger which threatened him and his people, concealed his feelings, and informed the Spaniards that he would readily assist in accomplishing their plan, and requested forty-eight hours to assemble his warriors. In the mean time, the unsuspecting Spaniards were amused with sports, till 2,000 warriors had assembled with their arms, when they fell upon the Spaniards while asleep, and slew every soul, except the chaplain, who owed his preservation to the singularity of his dress. The disastrous failure of the settlement at Biloxi, ruined . the reputation of the whole country; and, the colony having languished till the year 1731, the company at length purchased the favour of surrendering their concerns into the hands of government, for which they paid the sum of 1,450,000 livres. The French remained in quiet possession of Louisiana, frequent contests with the Indians excepted, till the year 1762. The Natchez and Chickasaws were the principal tribes engaged in this long proctracted warfare, which at length terminated in permanent peace. From this time the prospects of the colonists began to brighten, as their peltry-trade with the Indians, and their commerce with the West Indies, were increasing. Several hundred Canadians, together with many inhabitants from other countries, settled on the banks of the Mississippi, and imparted additional strength and prosperity to the original colony. Such was the state of the country when in the year 1764 the inhabitants received information, that Louisiana had been ceded to Spain by a secret treaty. This measure incensed the colonists to such a degree, that the Spaniards were vigorously opposed; nor did they obtain complete possession of the country until August 1769; after which event, many persons of rank and talents were put to death, to atone for the delay of submission, and others were conveyed away to languish out their lives in the dungeons of the Havannah. By the treaty of peace in 1763, which ceded Canada to Great Britain, the boundaries of the British provinces were extended southward to the gulf of Mexico, and westward to the river Mississippi; and Louisiana was Timited north by Canada, and east by the Mississippi, excepting that it included what is called the island of New Orleans on its east bank. This state of things remained till the American revolutionary war, during which Spain took from Great Britain the two Floridas. At the conclusion of that war, the United States became an independent government, leaving nothing to Britain of all her American provinces, but such as lie north and east of the said states. All these changes were sanctioned and confirmed by the treaty of peace concluded in 1783. In this state things continued till the treaty of Ildefonso, in October, 1800, by which Spain engaged to cede to the
French republic, on certain conditions, the colony or province of Louisiana, with the same extent which it actually had when France formerly possessed it. This treaty was confirmed and enforced by the treaty of Madrid, dated March 1801. From France it passed to the United States, by the treaty of April, 1803, as already stated.
STATE OF ALABAMA.
Situation, Boundaries, and Eartent.
This state, which now closes the column of republics from the Canadian lakes to the gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic ocean to the Sabine river, lately formed part of the Mississippi territory; but in March, 1817, was detached from the western part, by an act of congress, as exhibited on the map prefixed to this work. It is increasing rapidly in population and wealth, and the probability is, that the section of Florida, lying to the west of Chatahouchy river, will be annexed to it, as soon as that country becomes a part of the United States. Alabama is situated between 30° 10' and 35° N. lat. and 8° and 11° 30' W. long. ; and is bounded on the north by the state of Tennessee; south, by the gulf of Mexico and West Florida; east, by Georgia; and west, by the state of Mississippi. From north to south it is 317 miles in length ; and from east to west 174 miles in breadth ; forming au area of about 46,000 square miles, or 29,440,000 acres.
Rivers.--The main rivers of this state run south, and fall into the gulf of Mexico : the Alabama is the most considerable. Several of the navigable streams enter the gulf through Florida; which circumstance shows of how much importance it is to the safety and prosperity of the United States to have possession of the Floridas, West Florida, as far east as Perdido river, was ceded to the American government along with Louisiana, and, judging from recent transactions, we may conclude that they will soon be in possession of the whole, which will be productive of a lasting benefit, both tu the inhabitants of Florida and the United States.
The river Alabama rises in the Cherokee country, near the boundary line between the states of Georgia and Tennessee, and proceeding in a south-west direction, unites with the Tombigbee nine miles above the 31st degree of N. lat., and forms with it the river Mobile. The junction of the two rivers is about forty-five miles from the head of Mobile bay, and the river is navigable thus far, and indeed several miles further, for any vessel which can come up the bay. From this place to fort Claiborne, about sixty miles, vessels can be navigated that do not draw more than six feet water; from thence to the mouth of the Cahaba, is estimated at 150 miles, and for this distance the river affords four or five feet depth of water. From the Cahaba to the forks of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, the two main branches of the Alabama, is said to be 160 miles, and the navigation is still good, except at two ripples, in which, however, there is water sufficient for the passage of boats.
The Tallapoosa rises in the high lands near the Cherokee possessions, and runs in a westwardly direction through the territory belonging to the Creeks. It is full of rocks, falls, and shoals, until it reaches near to Tookabache, about thirty-five miles above fort Jackson; which is situated in a point of land between the Coosa and Tallapoosa, eight miles above their junction: from thence to its mouth it is navigable, except in very dry seasons.
Coosa river has its source in the Cherokee country, and runs southerly through the district occupied by the Upper Creeks. It is rapid, and in general full of rocks; but has a fine deep channel from its mouth to the great shoals, five miles above fort Jackson: here, in the present state of things, may be reckoned the head of navigation on this river. There is a continuation of rocky shoals to fort Williams, a distance of fifty miles; which is much to be regretted, as the navigation is not materially obstructed above, and can be pursued up the Coosa to one of its head streams, called the Connesangah, which is about fifteen yards wide, from the boatable part of which to the boatable part of the Amoy is but eight or ten miles over a firm level country. The Amoy is about sixty feet broad, and is a branch of the Hiwassee, which discharges itself into the Tennessee river, about eight miles below Knoxville. The distance from fort Williams to fort Strother is nearly sixty miles by land, but considerably more by water. From thence to the portage, or highest point of navigation on the Connesangah, it is probably 120 or 130 miles by laud.
As to the time it takes to navigate the Alabama, it may be stated, that to go from Mobile to fort Jackson, distant about 220 miles, it will take from a month to six weeks, according to the state of the river. A barge with five hands, and carrying 125 barrels, has gone from Mobile to fort. Jackson in thirty days: but it was reckoned a remarkable good trip : the business, however, is new, and experience will probably lead to expedition. Tombigbee river is a continuation of the Mobile, above its junction with the Alabama, and has its name from fort Tombigbee, which stands about ninety-six miles above the town of Mobile. The source of this stream is reckoned to be 120 miles higher up, in the country of the Chickasaws: it is navigable for sloops and schooners about 105 miles above Mobile town. The Black Warrior, a fine stream from the east, enters the Tombigbee |60 miles above Mobile, and is the largest of its tributary rivers, except the Alabama. It holds out to adventurers very superior advantages; because it is destined to become the channel of communication between the immense fertile country on both sides of the Tennessee river, and the several seaports which will, at no remote period, embellish the bays of Mobile and Perdido. The fact appears clearly established, that goods can be brought from Europe, New York, or even New Orleans, to Huntsville, by way of Mobile, Tombigbee, and Black Warrior rivers, in about half the time, and for less risk and expense, than by any other route hitherto used or known. From Mobile to the falls of the Black Warrior, is about 500 miles by the winding of the rivers; boats that do not draw more than three feet of water can ascend it thus far at all seasons: the portage from the falls to the Tennessee river is about forty miles, and to Huntsville eighty miles further. European goods can reach the Tennessee, from Mobile, in thirty days, when it would require 100 days by ascending the Mississippi. The Chatahouchy, (noticed in page 499) is a noble river, affording a navigation of 400 miles. From its source in Georgia it pursues a south-west course, until it strikes the boundary line between Georgia and Alabama; when itself becomes the division line to the limits of West Florida, a distance of 120 miles. The country between the Chatahouchy and Mobile rivers is about 180 miles wide; it is watered be the Perdido, which forms the boundary between the state of Alabama and the remnant of West Florida, and falls into Perdido bay. The other streams are the Conecuh and NO. XXVIII. 4 o