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A Letter of a Valetudinarian.

"And he has won golden opinions of all the new generation in the world of medicine?"


'He has, indeed."

"Then we may call him a Louis d'or."

Ha, ha! very good. Yes, we may." She was highly delighted. I saw, by a mischievous twinkle of her eyes, that she was not done with him yet.

know "But tell me one thing, doctor; you would be a Louis, if you could; then, have you ever asked yourself how many francs it takes to make a Louis ?"

He could say not a word, and confessed It was some time behimself overcome. fore he rallied. My wife was busily engaged in mending an old coat of mine, and averred that it was worn out at the elbow. "That is," said the Doctor," the bony parts have driven the nap completely away."


"You are not historic, doctor," said you should have likened it Miss Laura, to the escape from Elba." Dr. Frank seized his hat, and took his leave, fairly discomfited.

Are you not tired of all this? and must I think of you as one Sikh of the Punjaub? Well, then, if it be so, I will make the digression I spoke of; for the penmania is strong upon me, and I must


In the year 1838, just after my return from college, I was invited to make one of a surveying party that was about to visit the Far West.

There was a Commissioner.appointed by the General Government, who, with the Commissioners to be appointed by the State of Missouri and the Territory of Iowa, was to run the boundary line between the said state and territory. It was an old dispute; and, by the bye, I believe has not yet been settled.

Mr. L., who was named by the President, very kindly offered to take me as one of the attachès; and as I intended to be an engineer, I joined the party. Besides, I should have the very best opportunity of seeing the western country.

We engaged the services of several
Canadians, who had been employed by the
Fur Company, and were supposed to be
the best hands that could be procured.
Our plan was to go immediately north from
St. Louis, with all our " plunder," on pack-
horses, until we reached the disputed ter-
ritory. Mr. L. was our captain, and Mr.
S. and myself his assistants. S. and I were
both thorough Cockneys, and as much out
of place as Dickens was when he crossed
the Atlantic.

Our first mishap befel us a mile or two
We stopped to water
from the town.
our horses at a pond, when one hard-head-
ed, one-eyed rascal, calmly and quietly,
like a soldier taking his rest, laid himself

down in the water, pack and all. Such a
fierce execrations of the Canadians, had no
time as we had! Our loud shouts and the
more effect on the brute than if he had
been a drunken man. However, he was
He was a wretched
induced, at last, by fair means or foul, to
get up and walk out.
in his illustrations of Faust.
looking horse; Retzsel has drawn him

The pack that was on him contained the
groceries, and everything was spoiled that
water could spoil.

We had not travelled more than a mile
or two, when a spirited iron-grey nag took
fright at the rattling of tin things that were
in his pack, off he started, breaking loose
from the man who was holding his halter
very carelessly. As he ran at full-speed the
pack became undone before he was out of
in admirable disorder; the new tin-pans
sight, and the contents were strewn about
and cups glittering in the sunshine like
spolia optima.

These were but the beginning of trou-
bles. They seemed to multiply upon us,
but I will spare you the recital. We had
to pronounce pack-horses a humbug, and
that was somewhat better.
in their stead we bought a stout wagon

After very many delays and provoking
contre-temps, we reached the territory.
There we were joined by Dr. D., the
Commissioner on behalf of Iowa. The
Governor of Missouri either took no notice
anything to do with it, on the ground of
of the commission, or declined having
our action could not be definite. Dr. D.
want of authority: so that it was evident
had received his medical education in the
was rather uncouth but kindhearted; was
west, and was very liberal of calomel. He
anxious for notoriety, and was very much
might be, unpopular. He was careless of
afraid of doing anything that was, or
his grammar, and used expressions that
were very coarse, to say the best of them.
Mr. S. was in delicate health, and was ra-
ther fastidious; so that the Dr. was con-
tionally, I suspected. He would often
stantly offending him, not always uninten-
jump up and rush from the tent, the Dr.
laughing heartily at him. As for Mr. L.
You were never in the Far West, I be-
and your servant we were not squeamish.
lieve, and have never seen those beautiful
prairies. Those on this side of the Missis-
are level and monotonous; but those of
sippi may be pretty in the spring, but they
Iowa and Upper Missouri are truly beauti-
ful. I was never tired of them.

As we were riding along it was impossible to keep ourselves from being cheated into the belief that we were approaching a park round some rich man's mansion. We could see the trees arranged tastefully in clumps, entirely free of undergrowth, and the deer disappearing from our view, so

that every momen twe thought to come in sight of the house. The scenery reminded me of Gothic architecture, that is so very beautiful, from what is not visible to the eye, but is suggested to the imagination.

It was in the first half of October that we were on those prairies. The delicate flowers that first appear in the spring had left no trace of themselves; and even the more hardy of the gaudy summer-flowers were faded and nipped by the early frosts, The long grass was very tough and wiry. and seemed only fit to be burned. I wished to see the prairies on fire, and my wish was gratified at last. We were encamped on the side of a hill, with a stream of water at the base. The wind was very high, and we expected a storm. I was awakened in the night by a confused but very loud roaring. Springing to my feet, and calling to the others, I rushed from the tent, and beheld-the prairie on fire. It was the grandest sight I ever enjoyed.

The fire was yet at least a fourth of a mile from us; leaping, roaring, running up the trees, licking up the tall meadow-grass with its forked-tongue, crackling, and almost laughing in its wild joy and fierce energy. The high wind brought it nearer and nearer, but as the water was between us, the excitement was purely pleasurable. The grass near the water was much ranker than the rest, more green; and when the fire took hold of it, its fury seemed redoubled; the flames lost their pure color, and were dark and terrible. In less than a quarter of an hour they had passed on their work of destruction, leaving the blackened ground behind them. The trees that were scattered at intervals were still burning, and looked like fiery sentinels over the field of desolation.

A few days afterwards we reached the Chariton river. For some time I had not felt very well. Travelling on horseback, from after an early breakfast, till late in the afternoon, in the hot sun, and then sleeping in the chill air of an October night, was not suited to my way of life. For several days I felt depressed, without any tangible cause; but the day after we crossed the Chariton, (on whose banks, by the by, I shot two beautiful blue-winged teal,) the weather changed, and was very raw and gusty. The wind came sweeping down from the northwest, and for hundreds of miles met no obstruction. I never felt, not even in Boston, such a penetrating wind. It seemed to search out the very marrow of my bones. When we had made some seven or eight miles, L. said that as it was so very cold we had better seek at once a sheltered place to pitch our tents in, as the day's work could be done on horseback. He asked me what was the matter with me, for I was perfectly blue in the face.

I confessed I was not very well. The

encampment was made, and our fires lighted. I laid down on my bear-skin with a burning fever. Dr. D. came, with the rest, at night-fall, and declared I had the fever and ague, and prescribed-calomel. It is a medicine I do not like, and I remembered reading in some book of travels where one of the party was anxious to give a white substance, labelled calomel, to his sick fellow-traveller; the patient, however, objected, insisting that it was arsenic and not calomel; and in the end it proved to be arsenic. I thought of this, and quietly determined I would not take the Doctor's calomel. Lucky enough, when he examined his pocket-book, all the medicines were found most lovingly fraternizing together.

The next morning, after a very wretched night, I found myself no better. The weather had moderated, but it was snowing. Dr. D. made a set speech to Captain L., the amount of which was, that as there was no use of his staying, he would leave the party, and make his way back to the haunts of civilization. L. and S. advised me to go with him, and under the circumstances, I thought it better both for them and me that I should follow their advice. We were soon prepared, and with heavy hearts we parted.

Our course had hitherto been a directly western one from the Mississippi, but by going in a southeastwardly direction we thought ourselves certain of getting to some of the settlements before nightfall. You are aware that the squatters do not invade the new country broadcast, but settle on the rivers and creeks. We were between the Chariton and some creek, and we were sure of finding shelter before long. We thought that we would come upon settlements by three o'clock in the afternoon.

About noon it stopped snowing, but the clouds were still lowering very gloomily. Not a living creature did we see of any kind after we left the camp. All day we plodded along; very seldom speaking, save that every now and then one would ask the other if that wasn't a house in the distance; or if this, on the other hand, wasn't smoke. But we were disappointed, time and again. All day I had the worst feelings I ever experienced. I do not think I had much physical suffering, but there was a sense of the most utter and dreary loneliness and despondency. I thought that I was dream-like to wander on for ever over those snow-covered prairies, with my companion, who could not help me in any wise. The live-long day, and each hour, increased my misery. At last it was growing dark and still no signs of any settlement. Then it was quite dark, but as the ground was covered with snow, we could distinguish the open prai


rie from the woods. The Doctor proposed that we should make "land," and pass the night as we could. To this I had energy enough to object, and I persisted in going that at last we must come upon a settlement; and finally, that I would not get off my horse voluntarily, until I was secure of shelter. As I was very resolute, the Docter thought it better to give up his plan. We plodded on; the dull footsteps of our horses on the snow were the only sounds to be heard. After a while we found our horses were making their way towards • land,” (you know, I presume, that where there are no trees, there is no "land,") very much to our delight. We had confidence in the sagacity of our beasts, and felt sure that they knew what they were about. As we drew near to the timber, we saw an opening between the trees, which proved to be a road, plainly and palpably a road. There was no mistake about it, and doubtless we "grinned for joy." We had at last found a vestige of humanity. We felt no longer as if condemned, for ever, to those pathless wastes of snow. We cheered one another, and spoke kindly to our horses, and jogged on quite merrily. Presently we came to a fence round a small enclosure, and we knew a house must be at hand. The road ran nearly halfway round the fence, and then led off to a logcabin.

Very much to our surprise we heard no dogs; nor, indeed, was there any sign of life. The Doctor gave a whoop. The wild sound startled the slumbering echoes. We paused in breathless expectancy, but there was no answer save from an owl, a dismal owl, that cried and wailed like an infant. Our hearts died away within us, and I began to fear it was all a dream; or worse, a delusion of the wicked one.

Well, here's a house anyhow, whether there's any one in it or not," said the Doctor. "Come, let's ride up to it."

We knocked at the door, but there was no answer. We lifted the rude latch and the door opened. There was no one within, but the cabin was a large and wellfurnished one; I mean, of course, for a squatter. There were two large beds with the bed clothes on them, a Yankee clock, that was not going; (where, on the face of the habitable globe, will you not find a Yankee clock. I dare say the Great Mogul, and Abdel Kader, and Victoria Regina, all pride themselves on their wooden timepieces ;) a few books, among which were a Bible, a hymn-book, and a speech of Senator Benton's; and all kind of garden "truck."

But where was the family? That was the mystery. "The folks" had been there lately, for everything was in good order, but not within four-and-twenty hours, for there was no fire on the hearth. We lost

no time in making idle reflections, for it was now after nine o'clock. We tethered our horses, giving them pumpkins and corn, which we found in the field in front of the cabin.

By the aid of our matches we soon had a fire, and roasted some potatoes. I felt like Tam O'Shanter: "O'er a' the ills of life victorious."

This was the pioneer settlement, and we found, the next day, that the whole family had gone out bee-hunting, or honey-collecting rather, for the bee-trees had all been "hunted" and marked, in the summer.

In four or five days we reached the Mississippi, and met a steam-boat that was going down to St. Louis; so that we had no more trouble.

I should like to make an ending here; but I must tell you of my night at Brashaw's.

It was the day after the one, of which I have just been telling you, we had made a long day's journey, and at nightfall we stopped at a small cabin, the first we had seen for some miles, to know if they could "keep" us. The man assured us he was very full, but as the next clearing was nine miles further on, he would do what he could for us. We felt no disposition to go on, though the cabin was not more than half as large as our dwelling the night before-but nine miles! We knew too well what miles were in the prairie country, so we dismounted.

Mr. Brashaw had a large family, and there were several strangers with him. I own I felt much curiosity as to the way in which we were to pass the night. My curiosity was much greater than my anxiety, for Mrs. B., and two daughters almost women, were to be disposed of, and there was but this one room.

We were treated with much kindness, and, I may say, distinction, for the Doctor soon told them that we were on business of state. As we sat before the fire the Doctor watched with much interest the culinary preparations, while the talking was transferred to me. In a large iron skillet there was bacon frying, but this did not give my companion as much pleasure as I thought it would. He touched my elbow and whispered, "What a pity it isn't fried cabbage!" The very mention of it made me feel sick. Fried cabbage!

When supper was ready the Doctor made fierce ouslaught upon the bacon; but I found that I could not touch anything that was before me. It was all too coarse; and, as I needed something to tempt my appetite, I could not help it. I blamed myself for not eating, for I saw that my kind host was distressed.

The Doctor, as soon as he had taken off the edge of his appetite, began to discuss the dishes that were on the table, and a

last praised fried cabbage as the very best thing man could eat. Mr. Brashaw promised him some for his breakfast the next morning.

After the meal was over, and the things all put away, I thought I would like to go to bed. There were two large beds; the head of one being placed against the foot of the other. I took it for granted that one would be given to us, but where would the rest go?

I heard Mrs. B. say that the children's feet were so dirty that they must be washed before they went to bed. In my civilized simplicity I supposed that, of course, warm water would be used, and I ventured to say that I thought it would be of great service to me to bathe my feet in warm water; but I found that cold water was to be used by the children. I immediately said I would not give them the trouble; but they would not hear of its being "trouble." In a few minutes the skillet that had fried the bacon was put on the fire full of water. When the water was warmed Mr. Brashaw took the skillet off, and put it down at my feet. Looking rather amazed, I asked for some other vessel, but there was none other to be had. There was no help for it; for my host would have been hurt if I had not used it. I bathed my feet, thinking all the while of the frying of the bacon that had been, and the cabbage that was to be. The Doctor was so very earnestly engaged in a dispute with one of the "strangers," a Missourian, about the boundary line, proving, most conclusively, as he thought, the right and title of Iowa to all she claimed, that he paid no attention to my doings. I now thought it was time to go to bed. I look ed round the room, and saw, that in the bed whose foot abutted against the head of the other, there were several individuals whose sex was proclaimed by the gar ments which hung on a hook overhead. These then were the daughters; but Mrs. B. and the "old man," and the strangers, and the boys, and ourselves!

"The "old man" asked me if I did not want to go to bed, and when I said "Yes," he told me he hoped the Doctor and myself could sleep in one bed, as they were so much crowded.

Well, I assure you it was a great comfort to find we were to have a whole bed to ourselves, without any children stuck in, just to fill up. Really how we got to bed I do not know, though I presume it was by a judicious combination of the doctor's independence, with my native modesty. After we were comfortably fixed, I turned my eyes to see how the rest were disposed of. The strangers, rough and hardy backwoodsmen as they were, were stretched on the ground, with their heads against the backs of up-turned chairs. The boys were

all on a straw-bed. A little quarrel they indulged in gave me an idea of the materiel of their bed furniture. One declared that his brother had stolen his pillow to prop himself up with, to keep him from rolling off on the floor. I was much amused to find the pillow was half a pumpkin that had been divided longitudinally.

The dying embers still cast a dim light; and I could see Mr. Brashaw, who had not yet gone to bed, walking up and down a little unencumbered space between the door and the fireplace. Presently I heard the "old woman" ask him if he were not coming to bed, assuring him that there was room for him. I thought that perhaps well-grounded doubts of this fact might have been the cause of his watchfulness; but no-he said his feet were too dirty. "Well," was her considerate reply, "can't you scrape it off?" How it was settled I

do not know, for I fell asleep. There were seventeen of us in that one room.

When breakfast was preparing the next morning the Doctor chuckled at the cabbage that was frying in the skillet. I had enjoyed a delightful rest, and felt much refreshed, and to tell the truth, a little mischievous; so I thought I would not let the Doctor know as to the skillet, with what skill it had been used for such widely different purposes. Besides, I doubt much whether he would have cared a straw about it after all. I have seen many men enjoying their meals, but none ever ate with more gout than did Dr. D. the fried cabbage.

As we were going down the Mississippi we saw its junction with the Missouri. This last is a mighty stream-turbid and terrible and comes upon the peaceful and clear waters of the Mississippi in the haughtiest and most insulting style, and soon takes possession of the whole channel. Thence forwards, the Mississippi's waters are defiled, nor do all the pure streams that flow into the river make any perceptible difference. Those who are accustomed to this river, maintain that, after filtration, it is the best drinking water in the world. Credat Indeus. I can't agree with them. It looks like weak lemonade; end in consequence, no one used to pure spring water can think it perfect.

But of all rivers I ever saw, commend me to the Des Moines, as the most beautiful of streams. The French would not have called the Ohio La belle rivière, had they seen the Des Moines. Nothing can surpass the transparency of the water. The river is so winding, that you seldom see more than a quarter of a mile at one view. Its gently-rising banks, bluffs as they are called, are very graceful, and are wellwooded down to the waters-edge.

There is no difficulty in accounting for the prevalence of intermittent fever in a newly-settled country-but why should all

the children have white heads? Its a phisiological question to which I should like to hear a satisfactory answer.

My digression is at an end; it is longer than any of Mr. De Quincey's, if that gives you any comfort.

When you answer this do not give me any advice. I do not take it kindly, espe

cially when offered gratuitously. Speak not of the water-cure, it would be a sinecure for me; and so do not tell me to go to the monntains: a valetudinarian is not fit for the mountains. Vale. IOTA DELTA.



DURING the last two years the amount of surplus money in the federal treasury has remained nearly the same. At the close of August, 1844, it was near thirteen millions; and at the close of May last, the returns of the Treasurer presented a similar sum on hand. This indicates the general fact that, in the last two years of peace and considerable prosperity, the revenues and expenditures of the government have been nearly equal to each other. The tariff of 1842 has, in the third year of its operation, under most favorable circumstances, barely sufficed to meet a very moderate expenditure on the part of the government, including the discharge of a small portion of a loan which matured. The sudden out-break of hostilities on the part of Mexico involves a large increase of expenditure, without in any material degree affecting the external commerce, which is the chief source of revenue. An increase of taxation under such circumstances will clearly not meet the exigency, because the rate of duties now levied upon imported goods is as high as they will bear without stopping their importation altogether. Unless direct taxation be resorted to, there is no means of enhancing the revenues but to encourage trade by reducing the duties on imports. The position of the government revenue, as derived from indirect taxes, is very nearly the same as were those of the English government in 1840. There was at that time an annual deficit, which the then Chancellor, Mr. Baring, endeavored to make up by adding five per cent. to all the existing customs.

This additional tax failed to afford any increase of means. The new government that came into office in 1842, adopted a plan which was peculiarly bold in the then state of public opinion, viz., to enhance the revenues by reducing indirect taxes-thus striking a fatal blow at the protective policy. Since then the government has removed indirect taxes to the amount of £8,200,000, or $41,000,000, a sum equal to double the whole customs revenues of the United States. The result of this wise policy has been that the income of 1845 was £52,250,000, being a surplus over expenditure of $2,350,000,- most successfully establishing the soundness of the views which looked upon high taxes as restrictive to trade and oppressive to industry. The external trade of the United States, which is the only alternative for direct taxes in supplying the federal treasury, has been, to an extraordinary extent, restricted by the high tariff of 1842, and as we have seen, in the last two years, it has sufficed only for a moderate peace expenditure. A contingency has now arisen when, to maintain the honor of the country, a large increase in expenditure is necessary. The Secretary of the Treasury, in a special report, has stated the increased expenditure for the year ending June 30th, 1847, at $23,952,984; and that the sum estimated in the annual report, made in December last, to be on hand in July, 1847, was $4,332.441. The increased expenditure, it is now estimated, will absorb this balance, and leave $19,620,463 to be provided for. A proposed

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