« AnteriorContinuar »
floods of the river, and immediately on its border. The buildings, about 900 in number, are scattered along three parallel streets, extending upwards of two miles upon the bank of the river, and each rising above the other, which gives the town a meat and romantic appearance. Most of the houses are built of stone, and white-washed on the outside; and almost every house has an extensive garden or park, round which high stone-walls are built. Some of the buildings are very large and costly, and surrounded with galleries: the population exceeds 4,000 souls. House rent is high; the better houses from 500 to 1,000 dollars a year. The town is increasing rapidly, and must continue to do so; it already enjoys a considerable trade, and has a well-established bank, a respectable printing-office, from which a newspaper is published, a post-office, and a Roman catholic chapel. Its situation taken altogether is not only advantageous, but interesting: occupying a point where so many rivers mingle their waters, an increasing, rapid, and lasting property is promised to this place.—Including the whole country of Louisiana, St. Louis is the most cen. tral town yet built in the American Union; and when this important circumstance, with the great confluence of navigable streams, the amazing extent of the prairies, the mildness and salubrity of the climate, and the advantages that will result from the mines in its neighbourhood, are all taken into consideration, the mind instinctively looks forward to this town as one of the first consequence in the United States; probably as the future capital of the greatest country that ever the world saw. Distant 981 miles from Washington; 758 from Pittsburgh; 440 from Lexington, Kentucky; 470 from Knoxville, Tennessee; 948 (by land) from New Orleans; 1,418 from the source of the Mississippi; and 3,557 from the Pacific ocean.* St. Louis district has the Mississippi river east, Missouri north-west, and the Merrimack on the south. The country around and west of the town is for fifteen miles one extended prairie, of a very luxuriant soil, and in a high state of cultivation. There is a ferry from St. Louis to the Illinois side of the Mississippi; from hence passes the main road to Kaskaskia. Lead and salt are the principal staples, and those articles are sent wherever a market offers; but principally at New Orleans. The lands in the entire district of St. Louis are more fertile, and less broken, than those of St. Genevieve. Between the Merrimack and the town of St. Louis, the banks
* The distance from St. Louis to the Pacific ocean, in a direct line, is only 1,861 miles.
of the Mississippi are high and rocky; a short distance above St. Louis an alluvial bottom commences, which extends above the mouth of the Missouri. Upon both rivers the bottoms are extensive, with a level and fertile soil, covered with large timber. Prairies are very large near both St. Louis and St. Ferdinand ; that near the latter is twelve miles long and two wide: extensive settlements are made upon its border. It lies nearly parallel to the Missouri, and from one to two miles from that stream ; the settlements made upon this prairie are similar to those formed in like places in other parts of the territory: the plantations are extended into both the prairie and woodland, embracing a due proportion of each. The farms are many of them large and well cultivated, and their proprietors wealthy. The settlements are every where extending ; the fertility of the lands, and the health enjoyed by the inhabitants, contribute to give unusual prosperity to the country near St. Louis. The richness and variety of its mineral and vegetable productions; its lead, salt, flour, beef, pork, flax, and hemp, afford inexhaustible sources of wealth, and secures to this country a rank among the most eligible spots in the United States. The population of this district, in 1804, amounted to about 2,800 persons; by the census of 1810, the inhabitants were 5,667. The population at the commencement of 1819, exceeded 13,000 souls. Attached to St. Louis, is the flourishing settlement of St. Andrew's, twenty-five miles south-west of that town. Like all other parts of the district, the lands of St. Andrew's exhibit a mixture of prairie and woodland; hill, dale, and soil, every where fertile : the farms are large, and skilfully conducted. Carondelet is situated on the bank of the Mississippi, six miles west of St. Louis, in the direction of the mines: it is an ineonsiderable place, but like every other village in this country, is upon the increase. St. Ferdinand stands upon a rising ground near a fine brook of clear water, fourteen miles north-west of St. Louis. The lands adjacent, particularly the prairies, are extremely fertile. Villepuche, a French village of sixty or seventy houses, is situated on the margin of the Mississippi, nineteen miles below St. Louis, and just below the mouth of Bigolua. creek. Herculaneum stands near the Mississippi, thirty miles below St. Louis. It is settled by Americans, and has a fine manufactory of shot, with a fall of 200 feet perpendicular. The lead mines are about forty-five miles due wes from , this place. St. Genevieve is situated on the second bank of the Mississippi, about one mile from the river, and twentyone miles below Herculaneum, in lat. 37° 5'1'. N. It was commenced about the year 1774, and is at present the principal depot for most of the mines on the waters of the Merrimack, and the store-house from whence are drawn the supplies of the miners. Its site is a handsome plain of 100 acres; the little river Gouberie, the two branches of which form a junction between the town and the river, water it on its upper and lower margins. In front of the town there is a fine bottom, extending from the mouth of the Gouberie, eight or nine miles along the Mississippi, and the greater part of the distance three miles wide. The common field, enclosed and cultivated by the citizens, contains about 7,000 acres. The surrounding country is broken, but yields good crops. The town contains about 350 houses, an academy, and eight or ten stores. A road runs from this town to the lead mines, and the greater part of the inhabitants have an interest in, or are employed in some way, in the lead trade. The district of St. Genevieve is bounded south-east by Apple creek, sixty-four miles, north by Merrimack river, fifty-seven miles, north-east by the Mississippi; upon the latter it extends upwards of 100 miles: to the west its boundaries are unlimited. The land is various, and more hilly than that of Cape Girardeau, perhaps it is also less fertile; but certainly richer in mineral wealth, particularly in lead and salt: the settlements extend to the river St. Francis, whose lead streams rise in this district. Between St. Genevieve and the Merrimack, the banks of the Mississippi are in many places of great elevation, and composed of rock. Some of the bluffs rise at least 360 feet, and have at a distance the appearance of artificial towers: they are solid masses of limestone disposed in horizontal layers. The population of Genevieve district, in 1804, amounted to 2,870; in 1810, to 4,820; it is now more than double the latter number, and increasing with great rapidity. New Bourbon is situated on a bluff, two miles lower down the river, and contains about seventy buildings. The inhabitants are mostly French, and are a lively and hospitable people. Cape Girardeau stands on an eminence thirty-eight miles above the mouth of the Ohio, and seventy-six below St. Genevieve; it is settled by Germans and a few French. The country to the west of the village is uneven,
but of a good soil for several miles: the bottoms are deep, and capable of producing the greatest crops of corn, cottom, and tobacco. This is one of the most flourishing settlements on the western waters of the United States. The lands are various and good ; the principal staples are cotton, flour, tobacco, hemp, and maple sugar: Indian corn is raised for home consumption, but is frequently exported to Natchez and New Orleans, Beef, pork, lard, and tallow, are also produced for consumption and exportation. The settlements in this district are so far from being confined to the banks of the Mississippi, that the greatest number are scattered west of Cape Girardeau, and even extend to the waters of St. Francis, sixty miles in the rear of the cape, where the lands are of the first quality. The district of Cape Girardeau extends from Apple creek to Tawapaty bottom, about thirty miles. The first establishment of the settlement was in 1794; in 1803, the population amounted to 1,206; by the census of 1810 it had increased to 3,888, and in 1818, the number of inhabitants was upwards of 8,000. New Madrid is situated on the west bank of the Mississippi, eighty-one miles below the mouth of the Ohio. This town was founded in 1787, and was intended to become a great commercial city, and the emporium of the vast tract of fertile country watered by the Mississippi, the Missouri, and their branches. It was indeed happily situated for the purpose; but the river has swept away the ground on which it was originally placed, and the earthquakes of 1812 have sunk the remainder of the bluff below high-water mark. It is impossible to visit this spot, knowing any thing of its history, and not be struck with the air of desolation it now breathes. There was a fine lake in the rear of the town, on the banks of which public walks and plantations of trees were planned for the accommodation of its inhabitants: this is now a heap of sand!—There are about half a dozen houses on the ground, and the earthquakes are still frequent: on the 17th of August, 1818, several severe shocks occurred; and the river is constantly making encroachments upon the banks in front of the place. The town of Little Prairie, thirty miles below New Madrid, also suffered by the earthquakes of 1812; previous to that time there were about 200 souls in the village: it is now fast approaching to decay. The last settlement of note in the Missouri territory, advancing towards the state of Louisiana, is at and near the Hot Springs on Ouachitta. This place was uninhabited until about 1805, when a few settlers established themselves upon the Ouachitta and the waters of Little Mis: souri. The emigration to this remote spot has continued annually since the forementioned period; some families have advanced to the Red river; the whole number must now exceed one thousand.
Between the new settlements on Ouachitta and the ancient French post on Arkansaw, a mountainous and barren wilderness intervenes. The post or town of Arkansaw is above forty-five miles above the entrance of that stream into the Mississippi. This is one of the most ancient establishments in Louisiana, being formed before the beginning of the last century; but its advance has not been in proportion to its duration. It has remained poor and inconsiderable, like all other places where the inhabitants depend upon hunting, and trade with savages for their subsistence and commerce: the settlers are mostly French, many of them of mixed blood with the Indians. Much of the land adjacent to the settlement is fertile, but too flat, and consequently liable to inundation. Proceeding westward of the Arkansaw, the wood and fertile soil gradually decline, and are succeeded by the boundless barren prairies upon the Arkansaw, Kanzas, and Platte rivers. It has been already observed, that the country included between the White, St. Francis, and Mississippi rivers is generally low and annually inundated: the banks of the streams are the most elevated parts, but are themselves liable to inundation. The rivers interlock in a thousand mazes, and in every respect present a similar picture with the overflowed country west of the Mississippi, in the state of Louisiana. Wherever the land is above, or can be defended from high water, it possesses the character common to alluvion; is a deep fertile loam, clothed with trees of the largest growth. The settlements yet made on St. Francis river, are very inconsiderable: npon the Mississippi the land is higher, and commercial facility greater than in the interior; of course it is there that the most extensive establishments have been formed.
The Missouri territory, taken as a whole, as yet contains but very few white settlers; although, for the most part, the soil is excellent, and the climate charming. There is no part of the western world that holds out greater advantages to the industrious emigrant than this fine and healthy country. In an agricultural point of view, the vast tract of prairies, extending throughout all these