« AnteriorContinuar »
that every momen twe thought to come in encampment was made, and our fires lightsight of the house. The scenery reminded ed. I laid down on my bear-skin with a me of Gothic architecture, that is so very burning fever. Dr. D. came, with the rest, beautiful, from what is not visible to the at night-fall, and declared I had the fever eye, but is suggested to the imagination. and ague, and prescribed-calomel. It is
It was in the first half of October that a medicine I do not like, and I rememberwe were on those prairies. The delicate ed reading in some book of travels where flowers that first appear in the spring had one of the party was anxious to give a left no trace of themselves; and even the white substance, labelled calomel, to bis more hardy of the gaudy summer-flowers sick fellow-traveller; the patient, however, were faded and nipped by the early frosts, objected, insisting that it was arsenic and The long grass was very tough and wiry. no: calomel; and in the end it proved to be and seemed only fit to be burued. I wish- arsenic. I thought of this, and quietly deed to see the prairies on fire, and my wish termined I would not take the Doctor's was gratified at last. We were encamped calomel. Lucky enough, when he examon the side of a hill, with a stream of ined his pocket-book, all the medicines water at the base The wind was very
were found most lovingly fraternizing tohigh, and we expected a storm. I was gether. awakened in the night by a confused but The next morning, after a very wretchvery loud roaring. Springing to my feet, and ed night, I found myself no better. The calling to the others, I rushed from the tent, weather had moderated, but it was snowand beheld—the prairie on fire. It was the ing. Dr. D. made a set speech to Captain grandest sight I ever enjoyed.
L., the amount of which was, that as there The fire was yet at least a fourth of a was no use of his staying, he would leave mile from us ; leaping, roaring, running up the party, and make his way back to the the trees, licking up the tall meadow-grass baunts of civilization. L. and 8. advised with its forked-tongue, crackling, and al- me to yo with him, and under the circummost laughing in its wild joy and fierce stances, I thought it better both for them energy. The high wind brought it nearer and me that I should follow their advice. and nearer, but as the water was between We were soon prepared, and with heavy us, the excitement was purely pleasurable. hearts we parted. The grass near the water was much rank. Our course had hitherto been a directly er than the rest, more green; and when western one from the Mississippi, but by the tire took hold of it, its fury seemed re. going in a southeastwardly direction we doubled; the fames lost their pure color, thought ourselves certain of gettiug to and were dark and terrible. In less than a some of the settlements before nightfall. quarter of an hour they had passed on their You are aware that the squatters do not work of destruction, leaving the blackened invade the new country broadcast, but ground behind them. The trees that were settle on the rivers and creeks. We were scattered at intervals were still burning, between the Chariton and some creek, and and looked like fiery sentinels over the we were sure of finding shelter before field of desolation.
long. We thought that we would come A few days afterwards we reached the upon settlements by three o'clock in the Chariton river. For some time I had not afternoon. felt very well. Travelling on horseback, About noon it stopped snowing, but the from after an early breakfast, till late in the clouds were still lowering very gloomily. afternoon, in the hot sun, and then sleep. Not a living creature did we see of any ing in the chill air of an October night, kind after we left the camp. All day.we was not suited to my way of life. For se. plodded along; very seldom speaking, veral days I felt depressed, without any save that every now and then one would tangible cause; but the day after we cross ask the other if that wasn't a house in the ed the Chariton, (on whose banks, by the distance; or if this, on the other hand, by, I shot two beautiful blue-winged teal,) wasn't smoke. But we were disappointthe weather changed, and was very raw ed, time and again. All day I had the and gusty. The wind came sweeping down worst feelings I ever experienced. I do from the northwest, and for hundreds of not think I had much physical suffering, miles met no obstruction. I never felt, not but there was a sense of the most utier even in Boston, such a penetrating wind. and dreary loneliness and despondency. I It seemed to search out the very marrow thought that I was dream-like to wander of my bones.
When we had made some on for ever over those snow-covered praiseven or eight miles, L. said that as it was ries, with my companion, who could not 80 very cold we had better seek at once a help me in any wise. The live-long day, sheltered place to pitch our tents in, as the and each hour, increased my misery. At day's work could be done on horseback. last it was growing dark and still no signs He asked me what was the matter with of any settlement. Then it was quite me, for I was perfectly blue in the face. dark, but as the ground was covered with
I confessed I was not very well. The snow, we could distinguish the open prai..
rie from the woods. The Doctor proposed no time in making idle reflections, for it that we should make “ land," and pass the was now after nine o'clock. We tethered night as we could. To this I had energy our horses, giving them pumpkins and enough to object, and I persisted in going corn, which we found in the field in front on, that at last we must come upon a settle of the cabin. ment; and finally, that I would not get off By the aid of our matches we soon had my horse voluntarily, until I was secure of a fire, and roasted some potatoes. I felt shelter. As I was very resolute, the Doc- like Tam O'Shanter: “O'er a' the ills of ter thought it better to give up his plan. life victorious." We plodded on; the dull footsteps of our This was the pioneer settlement, and we horses on the snow were the only sounds found, the next day, that the whole family to be heard. After a while we found our had gone out bee-hunting, or honey-collecthorses were making their way towards ing rather, for the bee-trees had all been "land," (you know, I presume, that where "hunted” and marked, in the summer. there are no trees, there is no “land,") In four or five days we reached the very much to our delight. We had confi- Mississippi, and met a steam-boat that was dence in the sagacity of our beasts, and going down to St. Louis ; so that we had no felt sure that they knew what they were more trouble. about. As we drew near to the timber, we I should like to make an ending here; saw an opening between the trees, which but I must tell you of my night at Braproved to be a road, plainly and palpably a shaw's. road. There was no mistake about it, and It was the day after the one, of which doubtless we “grinned for joy." We had I have just been telling you, we had made at last found a vestige of humanity. We a long day's journey, and at nightfall we felt no longer as if condemned, for ever, to stopped at a small cabin, the first we had those pathless wastes of snow. We cheer seen for some miles, to know if they could ed one another, and spoke kindly to our“ keep” us. The man assured us he was horses, and jogged on quite merrily. Pre- very full
, but as the next clearing was nine sently we came to a fence round a small miles further on, he would do what he enclosure, and we knew a house must be could for us. We felt no disposition to go at hand. The road ran nearly halfway on, though the cabin was not more than round the fence, and then led off to a log. half as large as our dwelling the night becabin.
fore-but nine miles! We knew too well Very much to our surprise we heard no what miles were in the prairie country, 80 doga; nor, indeed, was there any sign of we dismounted. life. The Doctor gave a whoop. The Mr. Brashaw had a large family, and wild sound startled the slumbering echoes. there were several strangers with him. I We paused in breathless expectancy, but own I felt much curiosity as to the way in there was no answer save from an owl, a which we were to pass the night. My dismal owl, that cried and wailed like an curiosity was much greater than my anxieinfant. Our hearts died away within us, ty, for Mrs. B., and two daughters almost and I began to fear it was all a dream; or women, were to be disposed of, and there worse, a delusion of the wicked one. was but this one room.
Well, here's a house anyhow, whether We were treated with much kindness, there's any one in it or not," said the Doc- and, I may say, distinction, for the Doctor tor. ** Come, let's ride up to it.”
soon told them that we were on business We knocked at the door, but there was of state. As we sat before the fire the no answer. We lifted the rude latch and Doctor watched with much interest the the door opened. There was one culinary preparations, while the talking within, but the cabin was a large and well was transferred to me. In a large iron furnished one; I mean, of course, for a skillet there was bacon frying, but this did squatter. There were two large beds with not give my companivu as much pleasure the bed clothes on them, a Yankee clock, as I thought it would. He touched my that was not going; (where, on the face elbow and whispered, " What a pity, it of the habitable globe, will you not find a isn't fried cabbage !" The very mention Yankee clock. I dare say the Great Mo- of it made me feel sick. Fried cabbage ! gul, and Abdel Kader, and Victoria Regina, When supper was ready the Doctor all pride themselves on their wooden time- made fierce ouslaught upon the bacon ; pieces ;) a few bo yks, among which were but I found that I could not touch anya Bible, a hymn-book, and a speech of thing that was before me. It was all too Senator Benton's; and all kind of garden coarse; and, as I needed something to tempt ** truck."
my appetite, I could not help it. I blamed But where was the family? That was myself for not eating, for I saw that my the mystery. “The folks" had been there kind host was distressed. lately, for everything was in good order, The Doctor, as soon as he had taken off but not within four-and-twenty hours, for the edge of his appetite, began to discuss there was no fire on the hearth. We lost the dishes that were on the table, and a
last praised fried cabbage as the very best all on a straw-bed. A little quarrel they thing man could eat. Mr. Brashaw prom- indulged in gave me an idea of the materiel ised him some for his breakfast the next of their bed furniture. One declared that morning.
his brother had stolen his pillow to prop After the meal was over, and the things himself up with, to keep him from rolling all put away, I thought I would like to go off on the floor. I was much amused to to bed. There were two large beds; the find the pillow was half a pumpkin that head of one being placed against the foot had been divided longitudinally. of the other. I took it for granted that The dying embers still cast a dim light; one would be given to us, but where and I could see Mr. Brashaw, who had not would the rest go?
yet gone to bed, walking up and down a I heard Mrs. B. say that the children's little unencumbered space between the feet were so dirty that they must be wash- door and the fireplace. Presently I heard ed before they went to bed. In my civi- the old woman" ask him if he were not lized simplicity I supposed that, of course, coming to bed, assuring him that there warm water would be used, and I ventur was room for him. I thought that perhaps ed to say that I thought it would be of well-grounded doubts of this fact might great service to me to bathe my feet in have been the cause of his watchfulness; warm water ; but I found that cold water but no-he said his feet were too dirty. was to be used by the children. I imme “Well," was her considerate reply, "can't diately said I would not give them the you scrape it off?" How it was settled I trouble; but they would not hear of its do not know, for I fell asleep. There being “ trouble." In a few minutes the were seventeen of us in that one room. Bkillet that had fried the bacon was put on When breakfast was preparing the next the fire full of water. When the water morning the Doctor chuckled at the cabbage was warmed Mr. Brashaw took the skillet that was frying in the skillet. I had enjoyoff, and put it down at my feet. Looking ed a delightful rest, and felt much refreshrather amazed, I asked for some other ves- ed, and to tell the truth, a little mischievsel, but there was none other to be. had. ous; so I thought I would not let the DocThere was no help for it; for my host tor know as to the skillet, with what skill would have been hurt if I had not used it. it had been used for such widely different I bathed my feet, thinking all the while of purposes. Besides, I doubt much whether the frying of the bacon that had been, and he would have cared a straw about it after the cabbage that was to be. The Doctor all. I have seen many men enjoying their was so very earnestly engaged in a dispute meals, but none ever ate with more gout with one of the “strangers," a Missourian, than did Dr. D. the fried cabbage. about the boundary line, proving, most As we were going down the Mississippi conclusively, as he thought, the right and we saw its junction with the Missouri. title of Iowa to all she claimed, that he This last is a mighty stream-turbid and paid no attention to my doings. I now terrible—and comes upon the peaceful and thought it was time to go to bed. I look- clear waters of the Mississippi in the haughed round the room, and saw, that in the tiest and most insulting style, and soon bed whose foot abutted against the head of takes possession of the whole channel. the other, there were several individuals Thence forwards, the Mississippi's waters whose sex was proclaimed by the gar- are defiled, nor do all the pure streams that ments which hung on a hook overhead. flow into the river make any perceptible These then were the daughters; but Mrs. difference. Those who are accustomed to B. and the “old man," and the strangers, this river, maintain that, after filtration, it and the boys, and ourselves !
is the best drinking water in the world. “ The “old man” asked me if I did not Credat Indeus. I can't agree with them. want to go to bed, and when I said " Yes," It looks like weak lemonade ; end in conhe told me he hoped the Doctor and my- sequence, no one used to pure spring water self could sleep in one bed, as they were can think it perfect. 80 much crowded.
But of all rivers I ever saw, commend Well, I assure you it was a great comfort me to the Des Moines, as the most beautito find we were to have a whole bed to ful of streams. The French would not ourselves, without any children stuck in, have called the Ohio La belle rivière, had just to fill up. Really how we got to bed they seen the Des Moines. Nothing can I do not know, though I presume it was surpass the transparency of the water. The by a judicious combination of the doctor's river is so winding, that you seldom see independence, with my native modesty. more than a quarter of a mile at one view. After we were comfortably fixed, I turned Its gently-rising banks, bluffs as they are my eyes to see how the rest were disposed called, are very graceful, and are wellof. The strangers, rough and hardy back. wooded down to the waters-edge. woodsmen as they were, were stretched on There is no difficulty in accounting for the ground, with their heads against the the prevalence of intermittent fever in a backs of up-turned chairs. The boys were newly-settled country—but why should
the children have white heads ? Its a phi- cially when offered gratuitously. Speak siological question to which I should like not of the water.cure, it would be a sinecure to hear a satisfactory answer.
for me ; and so do not tell me to go to the My digression is at an end; it is longer monntains: a valetudinarian is not fit for than any of Mr. De Quincey's, if that gives the mountains. Vale. you any comfort.
Iota DELTA. When you answer this do not give me Baltimore. any advice. I do not take it kindly, espe
FINANCIAL AND COMMERCIAL RECORD.
During the last two years the This additional tax failed to afford any amount of surplus money in the federal increase of means.
The new governo treasury has remained nearly the same. ment that came into office in 1842, adopAt the close of August, 1844, it was ted a plan which was peculiarly bold near thirteen millions; and at the close in the then state of public opinion, viz., of May last, the returns of the Treasur. to enhance the revenues by reducing er presented a similar sum on hand. indirect taxes—thus striking a fatal This indicates the general fact that, in blow at the protective policy. Since the last two years of peace and con then the government has removed insiderable prosperity, the revenues and direct taxes to the amount of £8,200,expenditures of the government have 000, or $41,000,000, a sum equal to been nearly equal to each other. The double the whole customs revenues of tariff of 1842 has, in the third year of its the United States. The result of this operation, under most favorable circum- wise policy has been that the income stances, barely sufficed to meet a very of 1845 was £52,250,000, being a moderate expenditure on the part of the surplus over expenditure of $2,350,government, including the discharge of a 000, — most successfully establishing small portion of a loan which matured the soundness of the views which The sudden out-break of hostilities on the looked upon high taxes as restrictive to part of Mexico involves a large increase trade and oppressive to industry. The of expenditure, without in any materi- external trade of the United States, al degree affecting the external com- which is the only alternative for direct merce, which is the chief source of taxes in supplying the federal treasury, revenue. An increase of taxation un- has been, to an extraordinary extent, der such circumstances will clearly not restricted by the high tariff of 1842, meet the exigency, because the rate of and as we have seen, in the last two duties now levied upon imported goods years, it has sufficed only for a moderis as high as they will bear without ate peace expenditure. A contingency stopping their importation altogether. has now arisen when, to maintain the Unless direct taxation be resorted to, honor of the country, a large increase there is no means of enhancing the rev in expenditure is necessary. The enues but to encourage trade by reduc- Secretary of the Treasury, in a special ing the duties on imports. The po- report, has stated the increased expensition of the government revenue, as diture for the year ending June 30th, derived from indirect taxes, is very 1347, at $23,952,984 ; and that the sum nearly the same as were those of the estimated in the annual report, made in English government in 1840. There December last, to be on hand in July, was at that time an annual deficit, 1847, was $4,332,441. The increased which the then Chancellor, Mr. Bar- expenditure, it is now estimated, will ing, endeavored to make up by adding absorb this balance, and leave $19,620,five per cent. to all the existing customs. 463 to be provided for. A proposed
modification of the tariff it is supposed years. The department has, indeed, will make an addition of $5,534,057 to power to buy it in the market at the the revenue, and reduce the deficit to market price, which is of course al$14,086,406. This deficit, the Secre- ways the value of principal as well as tary remarks, must be provided for the interest, which the government ineither by stock loans, treasury notes, judiciously contracted to pay for twenty direct taxation, or excises; and he asks years. Had the debt as it existed in 1843 for power to contract a debt, payable remained unchanged in its character, in a term of years, or to issue treasury the accumulation of surplus occasioned notes at par, and the interest not to in 1843–4 by the reaction of the almost exceed six per cent. The grant of the embargo on imports created by the tariff authority to issue either stock or trea- in the first year of its action, would sury notes at the discretion of the de- gradually have retired the outstanding partment may not, under the circum- notes, and neither surplus nor debt stances, be amiss; but it is not so clear would now have existed. A similar that any contingency can arise that will juncture now presents itself. The Secmake stock payable in a term of years retary wants for the coming year an more advantageous to the public in- addition of 19 millions to his revenue, terest than treasury notes. The report to meet what is assumed to be a temremarks: “ The same power that is now porary outlay; at the same time he given by law to redeem the loan, even proposes a permanent modification of before its maturity, whenever the funds the tariff, which, in connexion with the of the government will permit, so as to modification of the English corn-laws, liquidate any public debt as speedily as cannot in the present state of commerpossible, should be continued.” The cial affairs but have a very salutary fact of the existence of a surplus of 13 effect upon business, and greatly immillions of dollars to the credit of the prove the regular revenues of the govtreasury for more than two years, and ernment. The proposed tariff, aided loaded to banks and brokers without in- by the warehousing system, cannot but terest, contemporaneously with the ex- add largely to the permanent revenues; istence of an outstanding debt of some and when, as it is hoped will speedily $17,000,000 on which the government be the case, the expenditure returns to is paying six per cent., is pretty con- the peace establishment, a surplus must clusive evidence that the "power" al- rapidly accumulate. In such a case, luded to by the Secretary is not very why should the government be comavailable. The government has in fact pelled for a series of years to continue paid $600,000 per annum during the paying interest on a stock debt, that the last two years for money to loan to money may be loaned to banks without banks; and this instance of a most pro- interest?-a repetition of the profligacy fligate want of economy in the treasury of the enactment of 1843! It is true, department was occasioned by the sup- that it has occurred that the treasury posed utility of funding $7,000,000 of notes of the government bearing six treasury notes that were doubtless of per cent. have been at a discount in the considerable service to the commercial market, and it is clearly unjust at such public, into a five per cent. stock for a time to require the public creditor to 20 years. The government took from take them at par: but 'when treasury the mercantile public a useful species notes were unsaleable at par, United of paper, redeemable within the year, States six per cent. stock was not to be and gave in exchange to brokers and negotiated at any price. Mr. Tyler's bankers a stock not redeemable in 20 agent failing to get a loan here, hawked years. The great error of this opera- them all over Europe, and still without tion was that it was done by the same
Were such a contingency to Congress that imposed the present ta- arise, it were far better to allow to the riff
. They alleged that the high duties creditor of the government the market levied by that tariff were necessary to rate of discount on the notes paid him, increase the revenue, in order to dis- than to engage to pay interest for 20 charge the public debt; and at the same years to third parties. It is not at all time they took from that debt its fea- probable, scarcely within the range of ture of redemption within the year, possibility, that treasury notes can fall and made it irredeemable within 20 to a discount under a modified tariff,