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the old school way of going out unexpectedly to a retired spot, where the injured party fired a half loaded pistol at a distance of sixteen good paces, and with chances of its missing, a thousand to one—while the challenged party, as a matter of course, threw away his fire and both shook hands,-the practice was, we do not say justifiable, heaven forbid, but a kind of grown folks' play, a species of sham fight, that might, in a corrupt state of society, be productive of good. But this ghastly intentness of design, this practice for weeks and months, this long training in the art of shedding human blood, and this protracted, renewed, cherished purpose of murder, are truly savage; while this close negotiation of rules and postures, times and places, and this interchange of ribaldry in the prints are matter of humiliation to every one, who is obliged to bear a part of the disgrace of it, as an American. The public example is beyond measure deplorable. Are there no laws, no magistrates in Carolina and Georgia? Do the grand juries there really think, as they seem to, that it is of no consequence, that men shall for months openly and publicly pursue the purpose to kill, and nothing be done to lay the strong arm of the law upon them?-Have they well weighed the effect on society of taking off the salutary restraints, which public sentiment had hitherto every where imposed on duelling, and which forced it to be perpetrated with secresy, despatch, or in foreign jurisdiction? If so, let others pity the slaves, we commiserate the masters. And it is some comfort to those, who believe that virtue and vice are their own reward, to think that, in the nature of things, the event, to which we are alluding, must, since its first agitation, through all its miserable vicissitudes, have been beyond description harassing and tormenting to all immediately concerned ;thus, in some degree, visiting on them the outrage done the community.
ART. IV.-A Journal of Travels into the Arkansa territory during the year 1819, with occasional observations on the manners of the aborigines. Illustrated with a map and other engravings. By Thomas Nuttall, F. L. S. Honorary Member of the American Philosophical Society, &c. Philadelphia, Palmer, 1821.
ANY one who surveys the map of North America at the present day, and compares its features with those which it wore scarcely more than twenty years ago; cannot fail to be struck with the great changes it has undergone. Those of us who, before this period, derived our initiation in geography from Morse or Guthrie, recollect impressions which were very foreign from the state of things, that has since been ascertained to exist. The river Missouri, which has of late years been a fertile source of interest and wonder, was then only known as a tributary branch of the Mississippi of doubtful magnitude and extent. The Arkansa and other western streams were known little more than in name, and the importance assigned to them was far beneath their real magnitude. On the other hand, the waters of the west, almost from the sources of the Mississippi and St Lawrence, were supposed to be gathered up by a fabulous Oregan or river of the west, a stream of great extent, which no European had seen, the existence of which depended on Indian rumors, and which, after crossing about half the continent, was supposed to discharge itself into the Pacific somewhere about latitude 43°.
The expedition of Lewis and Clarke first removed the veil from these western solitudes. The journey of Pike, and the subsequent adventures of trading parties and military explorers, have given a new geographical aspect to this extensive country. We now see the Missouri stretching far to the north and west, not a tributary, but itself a principal and mighty river; not of secondary or doubtful magnitude, but beyond doubt the largest river of the known world. The Platte, the Arkansa, and other tributaries of this prodigious stream, would in the old continent be rivers of the first rate magnitude. These, with the Ohio and other eastern branches, draw off the waters of a tract of country now familiarly designated as the valley of the Mississippi. To ears accustomed
to associate with the term valley the idea of a low ground between hills,' in which a few shepherds might feed their flocks, or a few tenements find shelter from the wind and storm, this name, first applied to the country of the Mississippi, we believe, by Volney, sounds singularly large. Here is a valley, in whose fertile shades there repose more inhabitants than the United States contained at the beginning of the revolution. A valley, over which two thirds of the continent of Europe might be spread out, and hardly suffice to cover it.
We have spoken of the Missouri as the largest river known upon the face of the globe. We shall be understood of course as including the part of the Mississippi which is below its confluence, and of which the Missouri is undoubtedly the true continuation. According to the best authorities, the Missouri brings into the common channel four times as much water as the Mississippi; it is at least twice as long, and some of its principal branches are even longer than the last named stream. The length of this majestic river from its remote sources in the Rocky mountains, to its outlet in the Gulf of Mexico, is between four and five thousand miles. During three thousand miles of this course its apparent size is hardly diminished, and even at the Mandan villages Mr Breckenridge informs us, that its full channel appeared to him not less broad or majestic than that of the Mississippi at New Orleans. Still higher up, it receives tributary branches, which might compare with the Danube or the Indus in magnitude. We know of no other river which draws from such an extent of country or connects together climates so remote and dissimilar. The Amazon, formerly accounted the chief of streams, hardly exceeds three quarters of the length of the Missouri. The Macquerrie of New Holland, which from its size and distance from the sea in the direction of its course, was a few years since imagined to exceed all other rivers in extent, has since been 'ridden down into bogs and morasses.' There remains but one stream which, for the palm of superiority, may hereafter come into competition with the Missouri, and this is the Niger. But when shall we know the course, the destination, or the outlet of the Niger? No modern geographical problem has excited so much enthusiasm for its solution, and none has more completely set at defiance the
efforts of enterprise and perseverance. Like a mysterious divinity, the Niger holds its course in a wilderness impenetrable to civilized man, and slaves and savages are the only attendants on its way. A hundred Europeans have laid
down their lives in African deserts with their faces towards this goal of expectation, but hitherto only one of them all has tasted the waters of the Niger, and returned to tell it.
We owe much to those individuals, who from love of science or love of fame, become our guides and pioneers in new regions, and bring knowledge to our doors from distant quarters, at the expense of personal hazard, sacrifice, and privation. The journal of a traveller, in an unexplored country, sets forth adventures and scenes far different from the itinerary, which portrays the abodes and characters of civilized society. The one is often a record of pastime and gratification, the other is the diary of toil, exposure, and suffering. The voyageur of the forest has not the choice of inns, of packets, or of mail coaches to expedite his course and remove inconveniences from his path. We are not called to sympathize with him for imaginary grievances, and for the disappointment of artificial wants, encountered from jolting vehicles, poor beds, and ill furnished tables. Our interest in his career is kept alive by real evils and endurings, of which the secure and luxurious part of the community can have little conception. We behold him foregoing for months and years the indispensable comforts of civilized society. We see him with incredible toil and difficulty threading his way through a trackless wilderness, or pushing forward his solitary canoe upon unknown waters; now temporizing with thirst and hunger in the uncertain hope that chance may throw an animal or a rivulet in his way, now terminating his day of toil by a night's slumber on the wet ground without food or fire; now staking his life on the precarious faith of savages; now straining his powers of flight and stratagem to escape from plunder or destruction. These adventures are not rare concomitants to journeys of discovery. So common are they, that journals are sometimes monotonous from the very frequency of their recurrence. We need not look to foreign countries for examples of the difficulties to be overcome in wild or unsettled regions. The adventurous journey of Lewis and Clarke, and the romantic expeditions of Pike, are replete with details of
hardship and danger, which the highest intrepidity, perseverance, and good conduct, could alone have overcome.
We may place the author of the volume before us in the list of those travellers, who have pursued a favorite science with singular devotion, through embarrassing difficulties, and at no inconsiderable hazard. Mr Nuttall, from an early attachment to natural history, and from the attractions offered by the unexplored wilds of North America, has followed our plants and minerals with indefatigable perseverance, not only to the confines of civilization and cultivation, but into the remote and desert recesses of the continent. We have few individuals, at least men of education, whose survey of our territory has been equally extensive. The present volume offers us but a small part of the author's scientific peregrinations. From his other publications we learn that he has visited the maritime parts of the United States, from New England to Georgia, and to New Orleans. The tour of the lakes he has also made, passing round lake Erie on foot, through lakes Huron and Michigan by canoe navigation, thence afterwards by the Fox and Ouisconsin rivers into the Mississippi, and down that river to St Louis. He was one of the party which in 1810 ascended the Missouri as far as the Mandan villages, of which expedition an account has been furnished us by Mr Breckenridge. Mr Nuttall is spoken of, in the work of Mr B., as a young man of genius and acquirements, singularly devoted to his favorite pursuits, which seem,' says he, to engross every thought, to the total disregard of his personal safety, and sometimes to the inconvenience of the party he accompanies. When the boat touches the shore, he leaps out, and no sooner is his attention arrested by a plant or a flower, than every thing else is forgotten.' An inquiry is made for him by the Canadian boatmen, when impatient to proceed, not without reproachful epithets; and the uniform reply is, Il est après ramasser des racines.
The volume before us contains the narrative of a journey made chiefly in the year 1819 from Philadelphia to Pittsburg, thence down the Ohio and Mississippi to the mouth of the Arkansa, thence up that river as far as the Grand Saline. A digression to the banks of the Red river by the Pottoe and Kiamesha, and the descent of the Arkansa and Mississippi to New Orleans, constitute the remainder of the journal.