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deplore a single member lost in this manner. What other influences may hereafter operate to change the character of our remaining warm months, it would require the spirit of prophecy to point out, yet we are sure of having this in our favour, that we enter upon them with all the callousness which the repetition of impressions can bestow.
We believe further, that it would not be difficult to make good the assertion, that irregularities of temperature have been particularly remarkable within a few years, not only in the southern section of our Union, but over the whole Atlantic coast, and, perhaps, over all the civilized world. For proof of this, we would refer to the steady summer warmth of the winter of 1827–28, both with us and in the northern and middle states, vegetation being scarcely more than checked or retarded, and that, we believe, rather by the habits of plants, to follow the revolutions of the year, than by the absolute influence of cold; to the extreme cold of the preceding winter (1826–27) in these southern regions; to the unheard of rise of the thermometer in the summer of 1826, to 90° of Farenheit, in London and Paris; to a similar extraordinary degree of beat in 1825, in the northern parts of our continent, we, ourselves, having noticed it at 97° in June of that year, at the foot of the Green Mountains of Vermont; and to the heat of 1824, along our sea-coast, and in some interior districts where the thermometer reached 103 and 104°. We need surely adduce no other evidence than this, to prove that some very extensive agencies have been at work to influence of late the regular increments and decrements of the temperature of seasons; and such causes would, according to the opinions we have been advocating, be sufficient to account, in a great part, for the alleged anticipation of the season of Malaria fevers with us. Setting aside all this, however, we should still be able to explain the apparently increased insalubrity of portions of our own country. Partial clearing, by exposing virgin soil; by taking away the shade of trees, and thus admitting the heat of the sun; by the mere removal of the trees themselves; by laying bare the edges and banks of our numerous bays, ponds and swamps, whose margins are naturally sheltered by a thick vegetable fringe-this very line of margin being, on account of the fluctuating quantity of water present, the portion of it most productive of Malaria-partial ditching, by collecting water to stagnate, without conveying it off readily, rapidly and entirely ; partial draining, by uncovering in greater or less degree, the foul, fermenting beds of the bays, pools and swamps above-mentioned ; partial cultivation, by continually turning up new lands, and leaving the old to produce rank grass
and foul weeds, a process that makes two sources of Malaria for one which nature, not sparing in such matters with us, has spread out-these are the obvious causes of such increased contamination of air as is affirmed to exist.
We will confess ourselves to be among those who look hopefully upon this subject, dark as is the aspect which it presents to us now. Many changes are in progress, whose tendency is ultimately to do away, or at least to diminish indefinitely, the evil of which we complain.
As our population increases, and our cultivation of the soil becomes more perfect, draining will, of course, be more complete; the forests will be cut down; ponds and swamps will be emptied of their water and planted; the whole face of the country will be drier and better ventilated; the loose vegetable surface will gradually decay and disappear, except in certain spots where it is inexhaustible; and manures will be substituted, which are not calculated to give out these noxious exhalations. these happy results exhibited in the fens of Lincolnshire in England, in some parts of Lombardy, and, indeed, examples of a similar nature are not wanting in our own country, new as it is. We see the effect of even the partial cultivation already instituted, in the diminution annually to be observed in the amount of water carried down by our branches, creeks and rivers to the ocean, and this diminution must go on in proportion with the exposure to evaporation allowed by the successive fellings of our eternal forests, and the thinning away of the exuberant undergrowth-the curse of our lower country.
A more indirect effect of thus opening the universal face of nature, will be, as it ever has been, an increasing mildness of climate. Something of this kind has long since been observed to be taking place in every part of our continent. Every where the winters are, speaking generally, less severe than in the olden time. Here snow is now seldom seen, not once, perhaps, in many winters; and the merry sleigh bells are not heard for half so long a period, nor with half the constancy with which they sounded along the streets, and roads, and rivers of our northern brethren “sixty years since."
Similar causes will, probably, give rise ultimately also to an equability of climate hitherto unknown; and we have shewn fully our reasons for believing in the highly advantageous influence of regularity of temperature in leaving the constitution the benefit of undiminished assimilation from one season of Malaria to another.
We feel humbly, yet earnestly confident in the truth and soundness of these prospective views, and we are certain that even
the most sceptical of our readers, will join in our ardent wishes and fond anticipations.
It is now time we should return to our author for the civil purpose of bidding him, for the present, farewell. We had, indeed, well nigh forgotten him in our anxious speculations concerning the future prospects of our own fertile plains and happy hill-sitles. We cannot part with him without offering him our acknowledgements for his very excellent Essay. We might suggest some alterations in his arrangement, and in the connection and succession of the several branches of his subject, which he seems to us, to have occasionally transposed. But it is beneath the true spirit of useful criticism, to look too narrowly into the slight defects of the manner of a writer who is earnestly, and zealously, and ably engaged in the discussion of a topic of such weighty import. If he shall display, in the two remaining volumes promised us in his preface, the same industry, learning and candour, which are shewn in every part of the treatise already published, we shall not hesitate to pronounce the whole work one of the most valuable additions which, in modern times, has been made to medical literature.
Art. VI.-Recollections of the last ten years passed in occasional
residences and journeyings in the Valley of the Mississippi from Pittsburg and the Missouri to the Gulf of Mexico ; and from Florida to the Spanish frontier : in a series of Letters to the Rev. James Flint, of Salem, Massachusetts. By TIMOTHY Flint, Principal of the Seminary of Rapide, Louisiana. Boston. 1826.
FROM the Gulf of Mexico towards the north, through twenty degrees of latitude, lies one of the most interesting sections of the globe. It was discovered or rather visited for the first time by Ferdinand de Soto, about the middle of the sixteenth century. In 1685, a French colony under M. de Salle, attempted to make a settlement on its southern border, but after quarrelling among themselves and putting to death their leader, the whole colony perished, except a miserable remnant that passed up the country and succeeded in reaching Canada. About fifteen years afterwards, another French colony under M. Iber
ville, took possession of the country under the name of Louisiana, and kept it, though with wretched prospects of success, for eighteen or twenty years, when a charter of exclusive privileges was obtained by the Mississippi Company projected by the celebrated John Law, and numerous recruits were sent out from France, Switzerland and Germany. They first formed a settlement in the island of Orleans, in the district of Biloxi, (so named after an Indian tribe) where they dragged out a comfortless existence. In the year 1731, the company sold their interest in the colony to the King of France. From this period the colony gradually improved, and they found the cultivation of commerce with the Indians profitable, in spite of their numerous and sanguinary contests with them. The population was increased by adventurers from Canada and elsewhere, and settlements were extended up the river. The country was afterwards ceded to Spain, who obtained possession in 1769, and held it till the treaty of St. Ildefonso, in 1800, by which it was again restored to France. Its boundaries extended west of the river Mississippi, to the Sabine or Red River and the Arkansas; and northwardly, to the river Des Moines, including the present states of Louisiana and Missouri, with their territories; to the north-east, its boundary was unsettled, and to the west, it stretched in some places to the Pacific. It was purchased from France by the United States for fifteen millions of dollars in 1803. During its possession by Spain, it gradually increased in population, but it was not till it became incorporated with this free government of the United States, that it became the land of promise to the poor and the discontented, not only of the Union, but in a great measure of Europe. A country like this, containing climates of almost every kind ; land of exhaustless fertility, now teeming, though far from being filled with inhabitants of every description and character; abounding, though still in the infancy of its settlement, with a population already outnumbering most of the old States; and destined to rule the Union by the power of a majority, or to form by itself one or more great empires, is not in the history of mankind, a subject of ordinary contemplation. Every day adds to its thousands by births and emigration, and brings into cultivation as many additional acres. The sound of the axe is never still, and new farms are hourly marked out on the praires. In this perpetual change, in which the present is obliterating the past, we are indebted to him who records the fleeting, yet important passing events, which will form a subject of deep curiosity to those who shall come hereafter. This has been, in some measure, underVOL. II.NO. 3.
taken by the work to which our attention is directed. It is from the pen of a Presbyterian Minister of New-England, who was induced about the year 1815, to visit the western country as a missionary, and who resided, during ten years, at various points on the Mississippi and its tributary streams. He is, evidently, a man of sound observation, of liberal principles, of engaging simplicity, pure benevolence, and unaffected piety. A sweet and plaintive strain of melancholy, tempered with resignation to the decrees of Providence, breathes through the volume, exciting our sympathy whilst it commands our respect, and improves our hearts. He gives us no regular journal of his travels, but, as his title page announces, merely recollections of events, written long after they occurred, from a memory upon which they had become indelibly impressed. This unavoidably produces some confusion of dates and place, and although it detracts a little from the clearness of the narrative, it by no means lessens its interest. Though a man of education, he does not appear to be one of science; or if so, he has carefully avoided displaying it. His views were confined to those objects which first open on the eye and impress themselves on the mind of all mankind, namely, the soil and its productions, the facilities of living, the condition of the people as it respects health, manners, literature, religion and society; the peculiarities of western scenery, &c. He is silent on statistics and philosophy; supports no theories in geology, and impărts no discoveries in botany, chemistry or mineralogy. His views of nature, are those of the man of sensibility and taste, and his book, though written “under the pressure of disease with a trembling hand and a sinking heart,” is remarkable for the ease of its style; being equally devoid of affectation and guiltless of pretension. His qualifications for the task will be seen in his work.
It may not be unamusing to follow him through part of his route: for his personal adventures in a country, which at that period was not to be explored by any one, without great privations, difficulties and perils, will, probably, have the charm of novelty to most of our readers; particularly when it is known that he was unaccustomed to hardships, and was accompanied with a helpless family. With them, and many “campagnons de voyage,” he left the sweet fields of Massachusetts about the end of autumn, in the year 1815, and took the road to Philadelphia and thence to Pittsburg. Upon looking back on the level country to the east, from the summit of the Alleghany mountains, and bidding, perhaps, an eternal adieu to the land of their forefathers, they dropped some natural tears, and felt that heaviness of heart which the exiled feel, when they exclaim, “happy are