Personal Memoirs Of A Residence Of Thirty Years With The Indian Tribes On The American Frontiers
Henry Rowe Schoolcraft

Part 2 out of 15

in their immensely long pine canoes. There was perpetual novelty and
freshness in this mode of wayfaring. The scenery was most enchanting.
The river ran high, with a strong spring current, and the hills
frequently rose in most picturesque cliffs.

1818. I do not recollect the time consumed in this descent. We had gone
about three hundred miles, when we reached Pittsburgh. It was the 28th
of March when we landed at this place, which I remember because it was
my birthday. And I here bid adieu to the kind and excellent proprietor
of the ark, L. Pettiborne, Esq., who refused to receive any compensation
for my passage, saying, prettily, that he did not know how they could
have got along without me.

I stopped at one of the best hotels, kept by a Mrs. McCullough, and,
after visiting the manufactories and coal mines, hired a horse, and went
up the Monongahela Valley, to explore its geology as high as
Williamsport. The rich coal and iron beds of this part of the country
interested me greatly; I was impressed with their extent, and value, and
the importance which they must eventually give to Pittsburgh. After
returning from this trip, I completed my visits to the various
workshops and foundries, and to the large glassworks of Bakewell and
of O'Hara.

I was now at the head of the Ohio River, which is formed by the junction
of the Alleghany and Monongahela. My next step was to descend this
stream; and, while in search of an ark on the borders of the
Monongahela, I fell in with a Mr. Brigham, a worthy person from
Massachusetts, who had sallied out with the same view. We took passage
together on one of these floating houses, with the arrangements of which
I had now become familiar. I was charmed with the Ohio; with its
scenery, which was every moment shifting to the eye; and with the
incidents of such a novel voyage. Off Wheeling we made fast to another
ark, from the Monongahela, in charge of Capt. Hutchinson, an intelligent
man. There were a number of passengers, who, together with this
commander, added to our social circle, and made it more agreeable: among
these, the chief person was Dr. Selman, of Cincinnati, who had been a
surgeon in Wayne's army, and who had a fund of information of this era.
My acquaintance with subjects of chemistry and mineralogy enabled me to
make my conversation agreeable, which was afterwards of some
advantage to me.

We came to at Grave Creek Fleets, and all went up to see the Great
Mound, the apex of which had a depression, with a large tree growing in
it having the names and dates of visit of several persons carved on its
trunk. One of the dates was, I think, as early as 1730. We also stopped
at Gallipolis--the site of a French colony of some notoriety. The river
was constantly enlarging; the spring was rapidly advancing, and making
its borders more beautiful; and the scenery could scarcely have been
more interesting. There was often, it is true, a state of newness and
rudeness in the towns, and villages, and farms, but it was ever
accompanied with the most pleasing anticipations of improvement and
progress. We had seldom to look at old things, save the Indian
antiquities. The most striking works of this kind were at Marietta, at
the junction of the Muskingum. This was, I believe, the earliest point
of settlement of the State of Ohio. But to us, it had a far more
interesting point of attraction in the very striking antique works
named, for which it is known. We visited the elevated square and the
mound. We gazed and wondered as others have done, and without fancying
that we were wiser than our predecessors had been.

At Marietta, a third ark from the waters of the Muskingum was added to
our number, and making quite a flotilla. This turned out to be the
property of Hon. J.B. Thomas, of Illinois, a Senator in Congress, a
gentleman of great urbanity of manners and intelligence. By this
addition of deck, our promenade was now ample. And it would be difficult
to imagine a journey embracing a greater number of pleasing incidents
and prospects.

When a little below Parkersburgh, we passed Blennerhasset's Island,
which recalled for a moment the name of Aaron Burr, and the eloquent
language of Mr. Wirt on the treasonable schemes of that bold, talented,
but unchastened politician. All was now ruin and devastation on the site
of forsaken gardens, into the shaded recesses of which a basilisk had
once entered. Some stacks of chimneys were all that was left to tell the
tale. It seemed remarkable that twelve short years should have worked so
complete a desolation. It would appear as if half a century had
intervened, so thorough had been the physical revolution of the island.

One night we had lain with our flotilla on the Virginia coast. It was
perceived, at early daylight, that the inner ark, which was Mr.
Thomas's, and which was loaded with valuable machinery, was partly sunk,
being pressed against the bank by the other arks, and the water was
found to be flowing in above the caulked seams. A short time must have
carried the whole down. After a good deal of exertion to save the boat,
it was cut loose and abandoned. It occurred to me that two men, rapidly
bailing, would be able to throw out a larger quantity of water than
flowed through the seams. Willing to make myself useful, I told my
friend Brigham that I thought we could save the boat, if he would join
in the attempt. My theory proved correct. We succeeded, by a relief of
hands, in the effort, and saved the whole machinery unwetted. This
little affair proved gratifying to me from the share I had in it. Mr.
Thomas was so pleased that he ordered a sumptuous breakfast at a
neighboring house for all. We had an abundance of hot coffee, chickens,
and toast, which to voyagers in an ark was quite a treat; but it was
still less gratifying than the opportunity we had felt of doing a good
act. This little incident had a pleasing effect on the rest of the
voyage, and made Thomas my friend.

But the voyage itself was now drawing to a close. When we reached
Cincinnati, the flotilla broke up. We were now five hundred miles below
Pittsburgh, and the Valley of the Ohio was, if possible, every day
becoming an object of more striking physical interest. By the advice of
Dr. Sellman, who invited me to dine with a large company of gentlemen, I
got a good boarding-house, and I spent several weeks very pleasantly in
this city and its immediate environs. Among the boarders were Dr.
Moorhead (Dr. S.'s partner), and John C.S. Harrison (the eldest son of
Gen. Harrison), with several other young gentlemen, whose names are
pleasingly associated in my memory. It was customary, after dinner, to
sit on a wooden settle, or long bench, in front of the house, facing the
open esplanade on the high banks of the river, at the foot of which
boats and arks were momentarily arriving. One afternoon, while engaged
in earnest conversation with Harrison, I observed a tall, gawky youth,
with white hair, and a few stray patches just appearing on his chin, as
precursors of a beard, approach furtively, and assume a listening
attitude. He had evidently just landed, and had put on his best clothes,
to go up and see the town. The moment he stopped to listen, I assumed a
tone of earnest badinage. Harrison, instantly seeing our intrusive and
raw guest, and humoring the joke, responded in a like style. In effect
we had a high controversy, which could only be settled by a duel, in
which our raw friend must act as second. He was strongly appealed to,
and told that his position as a gentleman required it. So far all was
well. We adjourned to an upper room; the pistols were charged with
powder, and shots were exchanged between Harrison and myself, while the
eyeballs of young Jonathan seemed ready to start from their sockets. But
no sooner were the shots fired than an undue advantage was instantly
alleged, which involved the responsibility of my antagonist's friend;
and thus the poor fellow, who had himself been inveigled in a scrape,
was peppered with powder, in a second exchange of shots, while all but
himself were ready to die with smothered laughter; and he was at last
glad to escape from the house with his life, and made the best of his
way back to his ark.

This settle, in front of the door, was a capital point to perpetrate
tricks on the constantly arriving throngs from the East, who, with
characteristic enterprise, often stopped to inquire for employment. A
few days after the sham duel, Harrison determined to play a trick on
another emigrant, a shrewd, tolerably well-informed young man, who had
evinced a great deal of self-complacency and immodest pertinacity. He
told the pertinacious emigrant, who inquired for a place, that he had
not, himself, anything that could engage his attention, but that he had
a friend (alluding to me) who was now in town, who was extensively
engaged in milling and merchandizing on the Little Miami, and was in
want of a competent, responsible clerk. He added that, if he would call
in the evening, his friend would be in, and he would introduce him.
Meantime, I was informed of the character I was to play in rebuking
assumption. The man came, punctual to his appointment, in the evening,
and was formally introduced. I stated the duties and the peculiar
requisites and responsibilities of the trust. These he found but little
difficulty in meeting. Other difficulties were stated. These, with a
little thought, he also met. He had evidently scarcely any other quality
than presumption. I told him at last that, from the inhabitants in the
vicinity, it was necessary that he should speak _Dutch_. This seemed a
poser, but, after some hesitancy and hemming, and the re-mustering of
his cardinal presumption, he thought he could shortly render himself
qualified to speak. I admired the very presumption of the theory, and
finally told him to call the next day on my agent, Mr. Schenck, at such
a number (Martin Baum's) in Maine Street, to whom, in the mean time, I
transferred the hoax, and duly informing Schenck of the affair; and I do
not recollect, at this time, how he shuffled him off.


Descent of the Ohio River from Cincinnati to its mouth--Ascent of the
Mississippi, from the junction to Herculaneum--Its rapid and turbid
character, and the difficulties of stemming its current by barges--Some
incidents by the way.

1818. At Cincinnati, I visited a sort of gigantic chimney or trunk,
constructed of wood, which had been continued from the plain, and
carried up against the side of one of the Walnut Hills, in order to
demonstrate the practicability of obtaining a mechanical power from
rarefied atmospheric air. I was certain that this would prove a failure,
although Captain Bliss, who had conducted the work under the auspices of
General Lytle, felt confident of success.

When I was ready to proceed down the Ohio, I went to the shore, where I
met a Mr. Willers, who had come there on the same errand as myself. Our
object was to go to Louisville, at the falls of the Ohio. We were
pleased with a well-constructed skiff, which would conveniently hold our
baggage, and, after examination, purchased it, for the purpose of making
this part of the descent. I was expert with a light oar, and we agreed
in thinking that this would be a very picturesque, healthful, and
economical mode of travel. It was warm weather, the beginning of May, I
think, and the plan was to sleep ashore every night. We found this plan
to answer expectation. The trip was, in every respect, delightful. Mr.
Willers lent a ready hand at the oars and tiller by turns. He possessed
a good share of urbanity, had seen much of the world, and was of an age
and temper to vent no violent opinions. He gave me information on some
topics. We got along pleasantly. One day, a sleeping sawyer, as it is
called, rose up in the river behind us in a part of the course we had
just passed, which, if it had risen two minutes earlier, would have
pitched us in the air, and knocked our skiff in shivers. We stopped at
Vevay, to taste the wine of the vintage of that place, which was then
much talked of, and did not think it excellent. We were several days--I
do not recollect how many--in reaching Louisville, in Kentucky. I found
my fellow-voyager was a teacher of military science, late from
Baltimore, Maryland; he soon had a class of militia officers, to whom he
gave instructions, and exhibited diagrams of military evolutions.

Louisville had all the elements of city life. I was much interested in
the place and its environs, and passed several weeks at that place. I
found organic remains of several species in the limestone rocks of the
falls, and published, anonymously, in the paper some notices of its

When prepared to continue my descent of the river, I went to the
beautiful natural mall, which exists between the mouth of the Beargrass
Creek and the Ohio, where boats usually land, and took passage in a fine
ark, which had just come down from the waters of the Monongahela. It was
owned and freighted by two adventurers from Maryland, of the names of
Kemp and Keen. A fine road existed to the foot of the falls at
Shippensport, a distance of two miles, which my new acquaintances
pursued; but, when I understood that there was a pilot present, I
preferred remaining on board, that I might witness the descent of the
falls: we descended on the Indiana side. The danger was imminent at one
part, where the entire current had a violent side action, but we went
safely and triumphantly down; and, after taking our owners on board, who
were unwilling to risk their lives with their property, we pursued our
voyage. It was about this point, or a little above, that we first
noticed the gay and noisy parroquet, flocks of which inhabited the
forests. The mode of attaching vessels of this kind into flotillas was
practiced on that part of the route, which brought us into acquaintance
with many persons.

At Shawneetown, where we lay a short time, I went out hunting about the
mouth of the Wabash with one Hanlon, a native of Kentucky, who was so
expert in the use of the rifle that he brought down single pigeons and
squirrels, aiming only at their heads or necks.

After passing below the Wabash, the Ohio assumed a truly majestic flow.
Its ample volume, great expanse, and noble shores, could not fail to be
admired. As we neared the picturesque Cavein-Rock shore, I took the
small boat, and, with some others, landed to view this traveler's
wonder. It recalled to me the dark robber era of the Ohio River, and the
tales of blood and strife which I had read of.

The cave itself is a striking object for its large and yawning mouth,
but, to the geologist, presents nothing novel. Its ample area appears to
have been frequently encamped in by the buccaneers of the Mississippi.
We were told of narrow and secret passages leading above into the rock,
but did not find anything of much interest. The mouth of the cave was
formerly concealed by trees, which favored the boat robbers; but these
had been mostly felled. As the scene of a tale of imaginative
robber-life, it appeared to me to possess great attractions.

Our conductor steered for Smithfield, I think it was called, at the
mouth of the Cumberland River, Tennessee, which was thought a favorable
place for transferring the cargo from an ark to a keel-boat, to prepare
it for the ascent of the Mississippi River; for we were now drawing
closely towards the mouth of the Ohio. Here ensued a delay of many days.
During this time, I made several excursions in this part of Tennessee,
and always with the rifle in hand, in the use of which I had now become
expert enough to kill small game without destroying it. While here, some
of General Jackson's volunteers from his wars against the Creeks and
Seminoles returned, and related some of the incidents of their perilous
campaign. At length a keel-boat, or barge, arrived, under the command of
Captain Ensminger, of Saline, which discharged its cargo at this point,
and took on board the freight of Kemp and Keen, bound to St. Louis,
in Missouri.

We pursued our way, under the force of oars, which soon brought us to
the mouth of the Ohio, where the captain paused to prepare for stemming
the Mississippi. It was now the first day of July, warm and balmy during
the mornings and evenings, but of a torrid heat at noon. We were now one
thousand miles below Pittsburgh--a distance which it is impossible for
any man to realize from the mere reading of books. This splendid valley
is one of the prominent creations of the universe. Its fertility and
beauty are unequaled; and its capacities of sustaining a dense
population cannot be overrated. Seven States border on its waters, and
they are seven States which are destined to contribute no little part
to the commerce, wealth, and power of the Union. It is idle to talk of
the well-cultivated and garden-like little rivers of Europe, of some two
or three hundred miles in length, compared to the Ohio. There is nothing
like it in all Europe for its great length, uninterrupted fertility, and
varied resources, and consequent power to support an immense population.
Yet its banks consist not of a dead level, like the lower Nile and
Volga, but of undulating plains and hills, which afford a lively flow to
its waters, and supply an amount of hydraulic power which is amazing.
The river itself is composed of some of the prime streams of the
country. The Alleghany, the Monongahela, the Muskingum, the Miami, the
Wabash, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee, are rivers of the most noble
proportions, and the congregated mass of water rolls forward, increasing
in volume and magnificence, until the scene delights the eye by its
displays of quiet, lovely, rural magnitude and physical grandeur.

Yet all this is but an element in the vast system of western waters. It
reaches the Mississippi, but to be swallowed up and engulfed by that
turbid and rapid stream, which, like some gaping, gigantic monster,
running wild from the Rocky Mountains and the Itasca summit, stands
ready to gulp it down. The scene is truly magnificent, and the struggle
not slight. For more than twenty miles, the transparent blue waters of
the Ohio are crowded along the Tennessee coast; but the Mississippi,
swollen by its summer flood, as if disdainful of its rural and
peace-like properties, gains the mastery before reaching Memphis, and
carries its characteristic of turbid geologic power for a thousand miles
more, until its final exit into the Mexican Gulf.

I had never seen such a sight. I had lost all my standards of
comparison. Compared to it, my little home streams would not fill a pint
cup; and, like a man suddenly ushered into a new world, I was amazed at
the scene before me. Mere _amplitude_ of the most ordinary elements of
water and alluvial land has done this. The onward rush of eternal waters
was an idea vaguely floating in my mind. The Indians appeared to have
embodied this idea in the word Mississippi.

Ensminger was a stout manly fellow, of the characteristic traits of
Anglo-Saxon daring; but he thought it prudent not to plunge too hastily
into this mad current, and we slept at the precise point of embouchure,
where, I think, Cairo is now located. Early the next morning the oarsmen
were paraded, like so many militia, on the slatted gunwales of the
barge, each armed with a long and stout setting pole, shod with iron.
Ensminger himself took the helm, and the toil and struggle of pushing
the barge up stream began. We were obliged to keep close to the shore,
in order to find bottom for the poles, and whenever that gave out, the
men instantly resorted to oars to gain some point on the opposite side,
where bottom could be reached. It was a struggle requiring the utmost
activity. The water was so turbid that we could not perceive objects an
inch below the surface. The current rushed with a velocity that
threatened to carry everything before it. The worst effect was its
perpetual tendency to undermine its banks. Often heavy portions of the
banks plunged into the river, endangering boats and men. The banks
consisted of dark alluvion ten to fifteen feet above the water, bearing
a dense growth of trees and shrubbery. The plunging of these banks into
the stream often sounded like thunder. With every exertion, we advanced
but five miles the first day, and it was a long July day. As evening
came on, the mosquitos were in hordes. It was impossible to perform the
offices of eating or drinking, without suffering the keenest torture
from their stings.

The second day we ascended six miles, the third day seven miles, the
fourth day six miles, and the fifth eight miles, which brought us to the
first settlement on the Missouri shore, called Tyawapaty Bottom. The
banks in this distance became more elevated, and we appeared to be
quitting the more nascent region. We noticed the wild turkey and gray
squirrel ashore. The following day we went but three miles, when the
severe labor caused some of the hands to give out. Ensminger was a man
not easily discouraged. He lay by during the day, and the next morning
found means to move ahead. At an early hour we reached the head of the
settlement, and came to at a spot called the Little Chain of Rocks. The
fast lands of the Missouri shore here jut into the river, and I
examined, at this point, a remarkable bed of white clay, which is
extensively employed by the local mechanics for chalk, but which is
wholly destitute of carbonic acid. We ascended, this day, ten miles; and
the next day five miles, which carried us to Cape Girardeau--a town
estimated to be fifty miles above the mouth of the Ohio. Here were about
fifty houses, situated on a commanding eminence. We had been landed but
a short time, when one of the principal merchants of the place sent me
word that he had just received some drugs and medicines which he wished
me to examine. I went up directly to his store, when it turned out that
he was no druggist at all, nor wished my skill in this way, but, having
heard there was a doctor aboard, he had taken this facetious mode of
inviting me to partake of some refreshments. I regret that I have
forgotten his name.

The next day we ascended seven miles, and next the same distance, and
stopped at the Moccason Spring, a basin of limpid water occupying a
crevice in the limestone rock. The day following we ascended but five
miles, and the next day seven miles, in which distance we passed the
Grand Tower, a geological monument rising from the bed of the river,
which stands to tell of some great revolution in the ancient face of the
country. The Mississippi River probably broke through one of its ancient
barriers at this place. We made three unsuccessful attempts to pass
Garlic Point, where we encountered a very strong current, and finally
dropped down and came to, for the night, below it, the men being much
exhausted with these attempts. We renewed the effort with a _cordelle_
the next morning, with success, but not without exhausting the men so
much that two of them refused to proceed, who were immediately paid off,
and furnished provisions to return. We succeeded in going to the mouth
of the Obrazo, about half a mile higher, when we lay by all day. This
delay enabled Ensminger to recruit his crew, and during the three
following days we ascended respectively six, seven, and ten miles, which
brought us to the commencement of Bois-brule bottom. This is a fertile,
and was then a comparatively populous, settlement. We ascended along it
about seven miles, the next day seven more, and the next eleven, which
completed the ascent to the antique town of St. Genevieve. About three
hundred houses were here clustered together, which, with their
inhabitants, had the looks which we may fancy to belong to the times of
Louis XIV. of France. It was the chief mart of the lead mines, situated
in the interior. I observed heavy stacks of pig lead piled up about the
warehouses. We remained here the next day, which was the 20th of July,
and then went forward twelve miles, the next day thirteen, and the next
five, which brought us, at noon, to the town of Herculaneum, containing
some thirty or forty buildings, excluding three picturesque-looking shot
towers on the top of the rocky cliffs of the river. This was another
mart of the lead mines.

I determined to land definitively at this point, purposing to visit the
mines, after completing my ascent by land to St. Louis. It was now the
23d of July, the whole of which, from the 1st, we had spent in a
diligent ascent of the river, by setting pole and cordelle, from the
junction of the Ohio--a distance of one hundred and seventy miles. We
were still thirty miles above St. Louis.

I have detailed some of the incidents of the journey, in order to denote
the difficulties of the ascent with barges prior to the introduction of
steam, and also the means which this slowness of motion gave me of
becoming acquainted with the physical character of this river and its
shores. A large part of the west banks I had traveled on foot, and
gleaned several facts in its mineralogy and geology which made it an
initial point in my future observations. The metalliferous formation is
first noticed at the little chain of rocks. From the Grand Tower, the
western shores become precipitous, showing sections and piled-up
pinnacles of the series of horizontal sandstones and limestones which
characterize the imposing coast. Had I passed it in a steamer, downward
bound, as at this day, in forty-eight hours, I should have had none but
the vaguest and most general conceptions of its character. But I went to
glean facts in its natural history, and I knew these required careful
personal inspection of minute as well as general features. There may be
a sort of horseback theory of geology; but mineralogy, and the natural
sciences generally, must be investigated on foot, hammer or
goniometer in hand.


Reception at Herculaneum, and introduction to the founder of the first
American colony in Texas, Mr. Austin--His character--Continuation of the
journey on foot to St. Louis--Incidents by the way--Trip to the
mines--Survey of the mine country--Expedition from Potosi into the Ozark
Mountains, and return, after a winter's absence, to Potosi.

1818. The familiar conversation on shore of my friendly associates,
speaking of a doctor on board who was inquiring into the natural history
and value of the country at every point, procured me quite unexpectedly
a favorable reception at Herculaneum, as it had done at Cape Girardeau.
I was introduced to Mr. Austin, the elder, who, on learning my intention
of visiting the mines, offered every facility in his power to favor my
views. Mr. Austin was a gentleman of general information, easy and
polite manners, and enthusiastic character. He had, with his
connections, the Bates, I believe, been the founder of Herculaneum, and
was solicitous to secure it a share of the lead trade, which had been so
long and exclusively enjoyed by St. Genevieve. He was a man of very
decided enterprise, inclined to the manners of the old school gentlemen,
which had, I believe, narrowed his popularity, and exposed him to some
strong feuds in the interior, where his estates lay. He was a diligent
reader of the current things of the day, and watched closely the signs
of the times. He had lived in the capital of Virginia, where he married.
He had been engaged extensively as a merchant and miner in Wyeth county,
in the western part of that State. He had crossed the wilderness west of
the Ohio River, at an early day, to St. Louis, then a Spanish interior
capital. He had been received by the Spanish authorities with
attentions, and awarded a large grant of the mining lands. He had
remained under the French period of supremacy, and had been for about
sixteen years a resident of the region when it was transferred by
purchase to the United States. The family had been from an early day,
the first in point of civilization in the country. And as his position
seemed to wane, and clouds to hover over his estates, he seemed
restless, and desirous to transfer his influence to another theatre of
action. From my earliest conversations with him, he had fixed his mind
on Texas, and spoke with enthusiasm about it.

I left my baggage, consisting of two well-filled trunks, in charge of
Mr. Ellis, a worthy innkeeper of the town, and when I was ready to
continue my way on foot for St. Louis, I was joined in this journey by
Messrs. Kemp and Keen, my fellow-voyagers on the water from Louisville.
We set out on the 26th of the month. The weather was hot and the
atmosphere seemed to be lifeless and heavy. Our road lay over gentle
hills, in a state of nature. The grass had but in few places been
disturbed by the plough, or the trees by the axe. The red clay soil
seemed fitter for the miner than the farmer.

At the distance of seven miles, we came to a remarkable locality of
springs strongly impregnated with sulphur, which bubbled up from the
ground. They were remarkably clear and cold, and deposited a light
sediment of sulphur, along the little rills by which they found an
outlet into a rapid stream, which was tributary to the Mississippi.

Five miles beyond these springs, we reached the valley of the Merrimack,
just at nightfall; and notwithstanding the threatening atmosphere, and
the commencement of rain, before we descended to the stream, we
prevailed with the ferryman to go down and set us over, which we urged
with the view of reaching a house within less than a mile of the other
bank. He landed us at the right spot; but the darkness had now become so
intense that we could not keep the road, and groped our way along an old
wheel-track into the forest. It also came on to rain hard. We at last
stood still. We were lost in utter darkness, and exposed to a pelting
storm. After a while we heard a faint stroke of a cow bell. We listened
attentively; it was repeated at long intervals, but faintly, as if the
animal was housed. It gave us the direction, which was quite different
from the course we had followed. No obstacle, though there were many,
prevented us from reaching the house, where we arrived wet and hungry,
and half dead with fatigue.

The Merrimack, in whose valley we were thus entangled, is the prime
outlet of the various streams of the mine country, where Renault, and
Arnault, and other French explorers, expended their researches during
the exciting era of the celebrated illusory Mississippi scheme.

The next day we crossed an elevated arid tract for twelve miles to the
village of Carondalet, without encountering a house, or an acre of land
in cultivation. On this tract, which formed a sort of oak orchard, with
high grass, and was a range for wild deer, Jefferson Barracks have since
been located. Six miles further brought us to the town of St. Louis,
over an elevated brushy plain, in which the soil assumed a decidedly
fertile aspect. We arrived about four o'clock in the afternoon, and had
a pleasant evening to view its fine site, based as it is on solid
limestone rock, where no encroachment of the headlong Mississippi can
ever endanger its safety. I was delighted with the site, and its
capacity for expansion, and cannot conceive of one in America, situated
in the interior, which appears destined to rival it in population,
wealth, power, and resources. It is idle to talk of any city of Europe
or Asia, situated as this is, twelve hundred miles from the sea, which
can be named as its future equal.

It was now the 27th of July, and the river, which had been swollen by
the Missouri flood, was rapidly falling, and almost diminished to its
summer minimum. It left a heavy deposit of mud on its immediate shores,
which, as it dried in the sun, cracked into fragments, which were often
a foot thick. These cakes of dried sediment consisted chiefly of sand
and sufficient aluminous matter to render the whole body of the
deposit adhesive.

I was kindly received by R. Pettibone, Esq., a townsman from New York,
from whom I had parted at Pittsburgh. This gentleman had established
himself in business with Col. Eastman, and as soon as he heard of my
arrival, invited me to his house, where I remained until I was ready to
proceed to the mines. I examined whatever seemed worth notice in the
town and its environs. I then descended the Mississippi in a skiff about
thirty miles to Herculaneum, and the next day set out, on foot, at an
early hour, for the mines. I had an idea that every effective labor
should be commenced right, and, as I purposed examining the mineralogy
and geology of the mine tract, I did not think that could be more
thoroughly accomplished than on foot. I ordered my baggage to follow me
by the earliest returning lead teams. True it was sultry, and much of
the first part of the way, I was informed, was very thinly settled. I
went the first day, sixteen miles, and reached the head of Joachim
Creek. In this distance, I did not, after quitting the environs of the
town, pass a house. The country lay in its primitive state. For the
purpose of obtaining a good road, an elevated arid ridge had been
pursued much of the way. In crossing this, I suffered severely from heat
and thirst, and the only place where I saw water was in a rut, which I
frightened a wild turkey from partaking of, in order to stoop down to it
myself. As soon as I reached the farm house, where I stopped at an early
hour, I went down to the creek, and bathed in its refreshing current.
This, with a night's repose, perfectly restored me. The next day I
crossed Grand River, and went to the vicinity of Old mines, when a
sudden storm compelled me to take shelter at the first house, where I
passed my second night. In this distance I visited the mining station of
John Smith T. at his place of Shibboleth. Smith was a bold and
indomitable man, originally from Tennessee, who possessed a marked
individuality of character, and being a great shot with pistol and
rifle, had put the country in dread of him.

After crossing Big or Grand River, I was fairly within the mine country,
and new objects began to attract my attention on every hand. The third
day, at an early hour, I reached Potosi, and took up my residence at Mr.
W. Ficklin's, a most worthy and estimable Kentuckian, who had a fund of
adventurous lore of forest life to tell, having, in early life, been a
spy and a hunter "on the dark and bloody ground." With him I was soon at
home, and to him I owe much of my early knowledge of wood-craft. The day
after my arrival was the general election of the (then) Territory of
Missouri, and the district elected Mr. Stephen F. Austin to the local
legislature. I was introduced to him, and also to the leading gentlemen
of the county, on the day of the election, which brought them together.
Mr. Austin, the elder, also arrived. This gathering was a propitious
circumstance for my explorations; no mineralogist had ever visited the
country. Coming from the quarter I did, and with the object I had, there
was a general interest excited on the subject, and each one appeared to
feel a desire to show me attentions.

Mr. Stephen F. Austin invited me to take rooms at the old Austin
mansion; he requested me to make one of them a depot for my
mineralogical collections, and he rode out with me to examine
several mines.

He was a gentleman of an acute and cultivated mind, and great suavity of
manners. He appreciated the object of my visit, and saw at once the
advantages that might result from the publication of a work on the
subject. For Missouri, like the other portions of the Mississippi
Valley, had come out of the Late War with exhaustion. The effects of a
peace were to lower her staples, lead, and furs, and she also severely
felt the reaction of the paper money system, which had created extensive
derangement and depression. He possessed a cautious, penetrating mind,
and was a man of elevated views. He had looked deeply into the problem
of western settlement, and the progress of American arts, education, and
modes of thinking and action over the whole western world, and was then
meditating a movement on the Red River of Arkansas, and eventually
Texas. He foresaw the extension in the Mississippi Valley of the
American system of civilization, to the modification and exclusion of
the old Spanish and French elements.

Mr. Austin accompanied me in several of my explorations. On one of these
excursions, while stopping at a planter's who owned a mill, I saw
several large masses of sienite, lying on the ground; and on inquiry
where this material could come from, in the midst of a limestone
country, was informed that it was brought from the waters of the St.
Francis, to serve the purpose of millstones. This furnished the hint for
a visit to that stream, which resulted in the discovery of the primitive
tract, embracing the sources of the St. Francis and Big Rivers.

I found rising of forty principal mines scattered over a district of
some twenty miles, running parallel to, and about thirty miles west of,
the banks of the Mississippi. I spent about three months in these
examinations, and as auxiliary means thereto, built a chemical furnace,
for assays, in Mr. Austin's old smelting-house, and collected specimens
of the various minerals of the country. Some of my excursions were made
on foot, some on horseback, and some in a single wagon. I unwittingly
killed a horse in these trips, in swimming a river, when the animal was
over-heated; at least he was found dead next morning in the stable.

In the month of October I resolved to push my examinations west beyond
the line of settlement, and to extend them into the Ozark Mountains. By
this term is meant a wide range of hill country running from the head of
the Merrimack southerly through Missouri and Arkansas. In this
enterprise several persons agreed to unite. I went to St. Louis, and
interested a brother of my friend Pettibone in the plan. I found my old
fellow-voyager, Brigham, on the American bottom in Illinois, where he
had cultivated some large fields of corn, and where he had contracted
fever and ague. He agreed, however, to go, and reached the point of
rendezvous, at Potosi; but he had been so enfeebled as to be obliged to
return from that point. The brother of Pettibone arrived. He had no
tastes for natural history, but it was a season of leisure, and he was
prone for the adventure. But the experienced woodsmen who had agreed to
go, and who had talked largely of encountering bears and Osage Indians,
and slaughtering buffalo, one by one gave out. I was resolved myself to
proceed, whoever might flinch. I had purchased a horse, constructed a
pack saddle with my own hands, and made every preparation that was
deemed necessary. On the 6th of November I set out. Mr. Ficklin, my good
host, accompanied me to the outskirts of the settlement. He was an old
woodsman, and gave me proper directions about hobbling my horse at
night, and imparted other precautions necessary to secure a man's life
against wild animals and savages. My St. Louis auxiliary stood stoutly
by me. If he had not much poetry in his composition, he was a reliable
man in all weathers, and might be counted upon to do his part willingly.

This journey had, on reflection, much daring and adventure. It
constitutes my initial point of travels; but, as I have described it
from my journal, in a separate form, it will not be necessary here to do
more than say that it was successfully accomplished. After spending the
fall of 1818, and the winter of 1819, in a series of adventures in
barren, wild, and mountainous scenes, we came out on the tributary
waters of the Arkansas, down which we descended in a log canoe. On the
Strawberry River, my ankle, which I had injured by leaping from a wall
of rock while hunting in the Green Mountains four years before,
inflamed, and caused me to lie by a few days; which was the only injury
I received in the route.

I returned to Potosi in February. The first man I met (Major Hawking),
on reaching the outer settlements, expressed surprise at seeing me, as
he had heard from the hunters, who had been on my trail about eighty
miles to the Saltpetre caves on the Currents River, that I had been
killed by the Indians. Every one was pleased to see me, and no one more
so than my kind Kentucky host, who had been the last to bid me adieu on
the verge of the wilderness.


Sit down to write an account of the mines--Medical properties of the
Mississippi water--Expedition to the Yellow Stone--Resolve to visit
Washington with a plan of managing the mines--Descend the river from St.
Genevieve to New Orleans--Incidents of the trip--Take passage in a ship
for New York--Reception with my collection there--Publish my memoir on
the mines, and proceed with it to Washington--Result of my plan--
Appointed geologist and mineralogist on an expedition to the sources of
the Mississippi.

1819. I now sat down to draw up a description of the mine country and
its various mineral resources. Having finished my expedition to the
south, I felt a strong desire to extend my observations up the
Mississippi to St. Anthony's Falls, and into the copper-bearing regions
of that latitude. Immediately I wrote to the Hon. J.B. Thomas, of
Illinois, the only gentleman I knew at Washington, on the subject,
giving him a brief description of my expedition into the Ozarks. I did
not know that another movement, in a far distant region, was then on
foot for exploring the same latitudes, with which it was my fortune
eventually to be connected. I allude to the expedition from Detroit in
1820, under General Cass.

I had, at this time, personally visited every mine or digging of
consequence in the Missouri country, and had traced its geological
relations into Arkansas. I was engaged on this paper assiduously. When
it was finished, I read it to persons well acquainted with the region,
and sought opportunities of personal criticism upon it.

The months of February and March had now glided away. Too close a
confinement to my room, however, affected my health. The great change of
life from camping out, and the rough scenes of the forest, could not
fail to disturb the functional secretions. An obstruction of the liver
developed itself in a decided case of jaundice. After the usual
remedies, I made a journey from Potosi to the Mississippi River, for
the purpose of ascending that stream on a barge, in order that I might
be compelled to drink its turbid, but healthy waters, and partake again
of something like field fare. The experiment succeeded.

The trip had the desired effect, and I returned in a short time from St.
Louis to Mine au Breton in completely restored health.

At Herculaneum, I was introduced to Major Stephen H. Long, of the United
States Topographical Engineers, who was now on his way, in the small
steamer Western Pioneer, up the Missouri to the Yellow Stone. I went on
board the boat and was also introduced to Mr. Say, the entomologist and
conchologist, Mr. Jessup the geologist, and other gentlemen composing
the scientific corps.

This expedition was the first evidence to my mind of the United States
Government turning attention, in connection with practical objects, to
matters of science, and the effort was due, I understand, to the
enlightened mind of Mr. Calhoun, then Secretary of War.

It occurred tome, after my return to Potosi, that the subject of the
mines which I had been inquiring about, so far as relates to their
management as a part of the public domain, was one that belonged
properly to the United States Government; Missouri was but a territory
having only inchoate rights. The whole mineral domain was held, in fee,
by the General Government, and whatever irregularity had been seen about
the collections of rents, &c., constituted a question which Congress
could only solve. I determined to visit Washington, and lay the subject
before the President. As soon as I had made this determination,
everything bowed to this idea. I made a rapid visit, on horseback, to
St. Louis, with my manuscript, to consult a friend, who entirely
concurred in this view. If the mines were ever to be put on a proper
basis, and the public to derive a benefit from them, the government
must do it.

As soon as I returned to Potosi, I packed my collection of mineralogy,
&c. I ordered the boxes by the lead teams to St. Genevieve. I went to
the same point myself, and, taking passage in the new steamer "St.
Louis," descended the Mississippi to New Orleans. The trip occupied some
days. I repassed the junction of the Ohio with deep interest. It is not
only the importance of geographical events that impresses us. The nature
of the phenomena is often of the highest moral moment.

An interesting incident occurred as soon as I got on board the steamer.
The captain handed me a letter. I opened it, and found it to contain
money from the secretary of a secret society. I was surprised at such an
occurrence, but I confess not displeased. I had kept my pecuniary
affairs to myself. My wardrobe and baggage were such as everywhere to
make a respectable appearance. If I economized in travel and outlay, I
possessed the dignity of keeping my own secret. One night, as I lay
sleepless in a dark but double-bedded room, an old gentleman--a
disbanded officer, I think, whose health disturbed his repose--began a
conversation of a peculiar kind, and asked me whether I was not a
Freemason. Darkness, and the distance I was from him, induced a
studiedly cautious reply. But a denouement the next day followed. This
incident was the only explanation the unwonted and wholly unexpected
remittance admitted. A stranger, traveling to a southern and sickly city
to embark for a distant State, perhaps never to return--the act appeared
to me one of pure benevolence, and it reveals a trait which should wipe
away many an error of judgment or feeling.

The voyage down this stream was an exciting one, and replete with novel
scenes and incidents. The portion of the river above the mouth of the
Ohio, which it had taken me twenty days to ascend in a barge, we were
not forty-eight hours in descending. Trees, points of land, islands,
every physical object on shore, we rushed by with a velocity that left
but vague and indistinct impressions. We seemed floating, as it were, on
the waters of chaos, where mud, trees, boats, were carried along swiftly
by the current, without any additional impulse of a steam-engine,
puffing itself off at every stroke of the piston. The whole voyage to
New Orleans had some analogy to the recollection of a gay dream, in
which objects were recollected as a long line of loosely-connected
panoramic fragments.

At New Orleans, where I remained several days, I took passage in the
brig Arethusa, Captain H. Leslie, for New York.

While at anchor at the Balize, we were one night under apprehensions
from pirates, but the night passed away without any attack. The mud and
alluvial drift of the Mississippi extend many leagues into the gulf. It
was evident that the whole delta had been formed by the deposits made in
the course of ages. Buried trees, and other forms of organic life, which
have been disinterred from the banks of the river, as high, not only as
New Orleans and Natchez, but to the mouth of the Ohio, show this. It
must be evident to every one who takes the trouble to examine the
phenomena, that an arm of the gulf anciently extended to this point; and
that the Ohio, the Arkansas, Red River, and other tributaries of the
present day, as well as the main Mississippi, had at that epoch entered
this ancient arm of the gulf. I landed at the light-house at the Balize.
We had to walk on planks supported by stakes in the water. A sea of
waving grass rose above the liquid plain, and extended as far as the eye
could reach. About twelve or fourteen inches depth of water spread over
the land. A light-house of brick or stone, formerly built on this mud
plain, east of the main pass, had partially sunk, and hung in a diagonal
line to the horizon, reminding the spectator of the insecurity of all
solid structures on such a nascent basis. The present light-house was of
wood. It was evident, however, that here were deposited millions of
acres of the richest alluvion on the globe, and in future times another
Holland may be expected to be rescued from the dominions of the ocean.
As we passed out into the gulf, another evidence of the danger of the
channel met our view, in the wreck of a stranded vessel. The vast stain
of mud and alluvial filth extended for leagues into the gulf. As the
vessel began to take the rise and swell of the sea, I traversed the deck
diligently, and, by dint of perseverance in keeping the deck, escaped
sea-sickness. I had never been at sea before. When the land had vanished
at all points, and there was nothing in sight but deep blue water around
us and a sky above, the scene was truly sublime; there was a mental
reaction, impressing a lesson of the insignificance of man, which I had
never before felt.

We passed the Gulf of Florida, heaving in sight on one side, as we
passed, of the Tortugas, and, on the other, of the Mora Castle of
Havana, after which there was little to be noticed, but changes in the
Gulf Stream, fishes, sea-birds, ships, and the constant mutations from
tempests to the deep blue waters of a calm, till we hove in sight of the
Neversinks, and entered the noble bay of New York.

It was the third of August when I reached the city, having stayed out my
quarantine faithfully on Staten Island, the mineralogy and geological
structure of which I completely explored during that period of municipal
regimen--for it was the season of yellow fever, and there was a rigid
quarantine. Dr. Dewitt, the health officer, who had known my father,
received me very kindly, and my time wore off imperceptibly, while I
footed its serpentine vales and magnesian plains.

On reaching the city, I fixed my lodgings at a point on the banks of the
Hudson, or rather at its point of confluence with the noble bay (71
Courtland), where I could overlook its islands and busy water craft,
ever in motion.

I had now completed, by land and water, a circuit of the Union, having
traveled some 6000 miles. My arrival was opportune. No traveler of
modern times had thrown himself upon the success of his scientific
observations, and I was hailed, by the scientific public, as the first
one who had ever brought a collection of the mineral productions of the
Mississippi Valley. My collection, which was large and splendid, was the
means of introducing me to men of science at New York and elsewhere. Dr.
Samuel L. Mitchell and Dr. D. Hosack, who were then in the zenith of
their fame, cordially received me. The natural sciences were then
chiefly in the hands of physicians, and there was scarcely a man of note
in these departments of inquiry who was not soon numbered among my
acquaintances. Dr. John Torrey was then a young man, who had just
published his first botanical work. Dr. A.W. Ives warmly interested
himself in my behalf, and I had literary friends on every side. Among
these Gov. De Witt Clinton was prominent.

I had fixed my lodgings where the Hudson River, and the noble bay of New
York and its islands, were in full view from my window. Here I opened my
collection, and invited men of science to view it, I put to press my
observations on the mines and physical geography of the West. I also
wrote a letter on its resources, which was published by the
Corresponding Association of Internal Improvements, The Lyceum of
Natural History, and the Historical Society, each admitted me to
membership. My work was published about the 25th of November. As soon as
it was announced, I took copies of it, and proceeded to Washington,
where I was favorably received. I lost no time in calling on Mr. Monroe,
and the Secretaries of War and of the Treasury. Mr. Monroe took up his
commonplace-book, and made memorandums of my statements respecting the
mines. Mr. Calhoun received me cordially, and said that the
jurisdiction of the mines was not in his department. But he had
received a memoir from General Cass, Governor of Michigan, proposing to
explore the sources of the Mississippi, through the Lakes, and
suggesting that a naturalist, conversant with mineralogy, should
accompany him, to inquire into the supposed value of the Lake Superior
copper mines. He tendered me the place, and stated the compensation. The
latter was small, but the situation appeared to me to be one which was
not to be overlooked. I accepted it. It seemed to be the bottom step in
a ladder which I ought to climb. Small events, it has been said, lead a
man, and decide his course in life; and whether this step was important
in mine, may be better judged of, perhaps, when these notes shall have
been read.

In the mean time, while I accepted this place, the subject of the
management and superintendence of the western mines appeared to be fully
appreciated by Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Crawford, the latter of whom
requested a written statement on the subject; and it was held for
further consideration.[6] I found during this, my first visit to the
capital, that the intelligence of my favorable reception at New York,
and of my tour in the West, had preceded me. Friends appeared, of whom,
at this distance of time, I may name the Vice-President, D.D. Tompkins,
Judge Smith Thompson, of the Supreme Court, Colonel Benton, Senator
elect from Missouri, Hon. John Scott, the delegate, Hon. Jesse B.
Thomas, Senator from Illinois, John D. Dickinson, Esq., Representative
from Troy, N.Y., Hon. Josiah Meigs, Commissioner of the General Land
Office, Gen. Sol. Van Rensselaer, and Dr. Darlington, Rep. from
Pennsylvania. To each of these, I have ever supposed myself to be under
obligations for aiding me in my object of exploration, and I certainly
was for civilities and attentions.

[Footnote 6: This effort became the cause of the government finally
taking definite action on the subject. Mr. Monroe presented it to the
consideration of Congress in the fall, and a superintendent was
subsequently appointed.]

Mr. Calhoun addressed a letter to Governor Cass, of Michigan, and I
proceeded immediately to the North, to be ready to avail myself of the
first opportunity of ascending the lakes to the place of departure.


Set out on the expedition to the north-west--Remain a few weeks
at New York--Visit Niagara Falls, and reach Detroit in the first
steamer--Preparations for a new style of traveling--Correspondents--General
sketch of the route pursued by the expedition, and its results--Return
to Albany, and publish my narrative--Journal of it--Preparation for a
scientific account of the observations.

1820. I left Washington on the 5th of February, exactly one year from my
return to Potosi from the Ozarks; proceeded to New York, where I
remained till early in March; traveled by sleigh over the Highlands, was
at Niagara Falls on the 1st of May, and reached Detroit in the steamer
"Walk-in-the-water" on the 8th of May. Captain D.B. Douglass, of West
Point Academy, was appointed topographer, and joined me at Buffalo. We
proceeded up Lake Erie in company, and were received in a most cordial
manner by General Cass and the citizens generally of that yet remote and
gay military post.

Arrangements were not completed for immediate embarkation. We were to
travel in the novel Indian bark canoe. Many little adaptations were
necessary, and while these things were being done we spent a couple of
weeks very agreeably, in partaking of the hospitalities of the place. My
correspondence now began to accumulate, and I took this occasion of a
little pause to attend to it. The publication of my work on the mines
had had the effect to awaken attention to the varied resources of the
Mississippi Valley, and the subject of geographical and geological
explorations. It also brought me a class of correspondents who are
simply anxious for practical information, and always set about getting
it in the most direct way, whether they are personal or introduced
acquaintances or not. I determined at once to reply to these, wherever
they appeared to be honest inquiries for geographical facts, which I
only, and not books, could communicate.

Mr. Robert Bright, of Charleston, S.C., an English emigrant, having got
a copy of my work, wrote (Jan. 11) as to the business prospects of St.
Louis, intending apparently to go thither. Not knowing my correspondent,
but, on a moment's reflection, believing the communication of such
information would not make me poorer and might be important to him, by
helping him on in his fortunes in the world, I wrote to him, giving the
desired information, assigning to that spot, in my estimation, a highly
important central influence on the business and affairs of the
Mississippi Valley.

The Hon. John Scott, delegate in Congress, from Missouri, speaking of
the work on the mineralogy, &c., of that territory, says, "Those sources
of individual and national wealth, which I have no doubt you have well
developed, have been too long neglected, and I trust that your
well-directed efforts to bring them to notice will be amply rewarded,
not only in the emoluments derived from the work, but what is still more
gratifying to the author, and the enlightened and patriotic statesman,
in seeing this portion of our resources brought into full operation."

Mr. Robert C. Bruffey, of Missouri, writes (March 14th), giving a sketch
of a recent tour into the southern part of Arkansas:--

"_Health of Southern Climates_.--When I returned from the Arkansas,
which was not till the 6th of October, with some few others, I brought a
particular 'specimen' of the country, namely, the ague and fever, which
I endured for two months, and until the commencement of cold weather.

"I continued but three weeks at the Springs (Hot Springs of Wachita);
could I have spent the whole summer in the use of the water, no doubt I
should have been much benefited, if not entirely relieved from my
irksome complaint. I saw your friend Stephen P. Austin, at the Springs,
just recovered from a dangerous sickness, namely, fever and vomiting
blood. He inquired after you particularly.

"_A New Field for Exploration_.--When I was in the lower country, I was
sorry you had not time to visit that interesting section of country
previous to the publication of your work (which, I understand, has been
received and appreciated with avidity); for I assure you, as relates to
scientific researches, you would have collected materials that would
have come within its purview, and repaid you liberally for your labor,
and the specimens added richly to your collection.

"I will now give you a description, so far as my feeble abilities will
admit, of the things which I think worthy the attention of a devotee of
science. In the first place, the springs are worthy of notice, in a
natural as well as medical point of view. They contain in their
different issues all the different temperatures, from boiling, down to a
pleasure bath. They contain a combining principle, or the quality of
petrifying and uniting various substances that may come in contact with
them, such as flint, earth, stone, iron, &c. The bluff from which they
flow out is principally of an apparent calcareous substance, formed by
the water. In some of the springs a red, in others a green and yellow,
sediment is produced. The waters will remove rheumatism, purge out
mercury, and produce salivation, in those who have it in their system
previously; cure old sores and _consumptions_, in their early stages;
cure dropsies, palsies, &c., if taken in time.

"The next curiosity is the loadstone, a specimen of which I have with
me; you can examine it when you visit this country. The next rock
crystal, of which I have two specimens.[7] The fourth is alum, of which
I procured a small quantity, as I did not visit the cave where it is to
be obtained. The fifth is oil and whetstone, of which there is a great
abundance in that quarter. The sixth is asbestus. In a word, the
subjects are worthy the attention of those who wish to be instrumental
in enlarging or developing that branch of science."

[Footnote 7: Now in my cabinet.]

Mr. William Ficklin, one of the pioneers of Kentucky, but now a resident
of Missouri, writes: "I am pleased to hear of your appointment, and wish
I could be with you on the route, as you will visit a section of the
country but little known to our government. I must advise you to be on
your guard against the Indians, the best of whom will murder a man for a
trifle, if they can meet him alone, or off his guard.

"A Mr. Nabb, a few months ago, brought me some white metal, which, he
says, he smelted in a common forge--it was as bright as silver, but too
hard to bear the hammer. I think it must be zinc."

_March 18th_.--Mr. Amos Eaton writes from Troy: "A second edition of my
_Index to Geology_ is in the press--about thirty-six pages struck off. I
have written the whole over anew, and extended it to about two hundred
and fifty pages 12mo. I have taken great pains to collect facts, in this
district, during the two years since my first edition was published. But
I am rather deficient in my knowledge of secondary and alluvial
formations; I wish to trouble you with a few inquiries upon
that subject.

"From what knowledge I have been able to obtain in that department, I am
inclined to arrange the secondary class thus:--

"Breccia: compact, or shell limestone; gypsum, secondary sandstone.

"I leave much, also, for peculiar local formations.

"A gentleman presented specimens to the Troy Lyceum, from Illinois, of
gypsum and secondary sandstone, and informed me that the latter overlaid
the former in regular structure. Myron Holly, and others, have given me
similar specimens, which they represent as being similarly situated,
from several localities in the western part of this State. This
secondary sandstone is sometimes more or less calcareous. I believe it
is used for a cement by the Canal Company, which hardens under water.
Will you do me the favor to settle this question?

"On your way to Detroit, you may perhaps, without material
inconvenience, collect facts of importance to me, in relation to
secondary and alluvial formations. Anything transmitted to me by the
middle of April on these subjects will be in season, because I shall not
have printed all the transition part before that time.

"Have you any knowledge of the strata constituting Rocky Mountains? Is
it primitive, or is it graywacke like Catskill Mountains? I have said,
in a note, that, after you and Dr. E. James set foot upon it, we shall
no longer be ignorant of it.

"I intend to kindle a blaze of geological zeal before you return. I have
adapted the style of my index to the capacities of ladies,
plough-joggers, and mechanics."

_March 28th_.--While here, I received a notice of my election as a
member of the Academy of Natural Sciences at Philadelphia.

_April 28th_.--James T. Johnston, Esq., of N.Y., writes on the
interesting character of the mineralogy of the interior of Georgia.

The spirit of inquiry denoted by these letters gives but a faint idea
of the interest which was now awakened in the public mind, on the
exploration of the west, and it would require a reference to the public
prints of the day to denote this. If the delay had served no other
purpose, it had brought us into a familiar acquaintance with our
commander, who was frank and straightforward in his manners, and fully
disposed, not only to say, but to do everything to facilitate the
object. He put no veto on any request of this kind, holding the smiths
and mechanics of the government amenable to comply with any order. He
was not a man, indeed, who dealt in hems and haws--did not require to
sleep upon a simple question--and is not a person whose course is to be
stopped, as many little big men are, by two straws crossed.

At length the canoes, which were our principal cause of delay, arrived
from Lake Huron, where they were constructed, and all things were ready
for our embarkation. It was the 24th of May when we set out. A small
detachment of infantry had been ordered to form a part of the
expedition, under Lieutenant Aeneas Mackay. Eight or ten Chippewa and
Ottowa Indians were taken in a separate canoe, as hunters, and gave
picturesqueness to the brigade by their costume. There were ten Canadian
voyagers of the north-west stamp. Professor Douglass and myself were the
only persons to whom separate classes of scientific duties were
assigned. A secretary and some assistants made the governor's mess
consist of nine persons. Altogether, we numbered, including guides and
interpreters, about forty persons; a truly formidable number of mouths
to feed in the "waste howling wilderness."

Having kept and published a journal of the daily incidents of the
expedition, I refer to it for details.[8] To plunge into the wilderness
is truly to take one's life in his hand. But nobody thought of this. The
enterprise was of a kind to produce exhilaration. The route lay up the
Detroit and St. Clair Rivers, and around the southern shores of Lakes
Huron and Superior to Fond du Lac. Thence up the St. Louis River in its
rugged passage through the Cabotian Mountains to the Savannah summit
which divides the great lakes from the Mississippi Valley. The latter
was entered through the _Comtaguma_ or Sandy Lake River. From this
point the source of the Mississippi was sought up rapids and falls, and
through lakes and savannahs, in which the channel winds. We passed the
inlet of the Leech Lake, which was fixed upon by Lieutenant Pike as its
probable source, and traced it through Little Lake Winnipeg to the inlet
of Turtle Lake in upper Red Cedar, or Cass Lake, in north lat. 47 deg.. On
reaching this point, the waters were found unfavorable to proceeding
higher. The river was then descended to the falls of St. Anthony, St.
Peters, and Prairie du Chien. From the latter point we ascended the
Wisconsin to the portage into Fox River, and descended the latter to
Green Bay. At this point, the expedition was divided, a part going
north, in order to trace the shores to Michilimackinack, and part
steering south, by the shores of Lake Michigan to Chicago. At the latter
place, another division was made, Governor Cass and suite proceeding on
horseback, across the peninsula of Michigan, and Captain Douglass and
myself completing the survey of the eastern coast of Michigan, and
rejoining the party detached to strike Michilimackinack. The Huron
shores were coasted to the head of the River St. Clair and Detroit.

[Footnote 8: A Narrative Journal of Travels through the American Lakes
to the Sources of the Mississippi River. 1 vol. 8vo. pp. 419:
Albany, 1821.]

About four thousand miles were traversed. Of this distance the
topography was accurately traced by Captain Douglass and his assistant,
Mr. Trowbridge. This officer also took observations for the latitude at
every practical point, and collected with much labor the materials for a
new and enlarged map. Its geology and mineralogy were the subjects of a
detailed report made by me to the War Department in 1822. Of the copper
deposits on Lake Superior, a detailed report was made to the same
department in November 1820. The Indian tribes were the subject of
observation made by General Cass. Its botany, its fresh water
conchology, and its zoology and ichthyology, received the attention that
a rapid transit permitted. Its soil, productions, and climate were the
topics of daily observation. In short, no exploration had before been
made which so completely revealed the features and physical geography of
so large a portion of the public domain. And the literary and scientific
public waited with an intense desire for the result of these
observations in every department.

The first letter I received on my return route from that eventful tour,
was at the post of Green Bay, where a letter from J.T. Johnston, Esq.,
of New York, awaited me: "Since you departed," he observes, "nothing of
importance has occurred, either in the moral or political world. The
disturbances which disgrace the kingdom of Great Britain are, and still
continue to be, favored by a few factionists. Thistlewood, and the
members of the Cato Street conspiracy, have been tried for high treason,
and condemned, and I presume the next arrivals must bring us an account
of their execution. The Cortes has been established in Spain, and there
floats a rumor that the _Saint_, the adored Ferdinand, has fled to
France. The public debates in France seem to me to thunder forth, as the
precursor of some event which will yet violently agitate the country.
(Napoleon was now in St. Helena.) The stormy wave of discord has not
subsided. The temple of ambition is not overthrown, and party spirit
will rush to inhabit it. The convulsive struggle for independence in the
South (America) still continues, but civil war appears about to
interrupt its progress. At home all is quiet. A virtuous chief
magistrate and a wise administration must benefit a people so PRONE TO

This gave me the first glimpse of home and its actualities, and the
letter was refreshing for the sympathies it expresses, after long months
of tugging over portages, and looking about to arrange in the mind
stratifications, to gather specimens of minerals, and fresh water
shells, and watch the strange antics which have been cut over the whole
face of the north-west by the Boulder Group of Rocks.

_Sept_. 6. Mr. C.C. Trowbridge writes from Michilimackinack: "I forward
the specimens collected by Mr. Doty and myself, on the tour (from Green
Bay, on the north shore, to Michilimackinack). The most interesting will
probably be the organic remains. They were collected in Little Noquet
Bay, on the N.E. side, where ridges of limestone show themselves
frequently. Near the top of the package you find a piece of limestone
weighing about two pounds, of which the upper stratum was composed;
there are two pieces of the lower stratum, resembling blue pipestone.
The middle stratum was composed of these remains. About ten miles N.E.
of Great Bay de Noquet, we found flint, or hornstone, in small
quantities in the limestone rocks. There is also a specimen of the
marble, which we saw little of; but since our arrival I am informed
that a large bluff, composed of the same, is seen 30 to 40 miles from
this. The gypsum I picked up on St. Martin's Islands."

On reaching Detroit, Gov. Cass invited Capt. Douglass and myself to
recruit ourselves a few days at his "old mansion of the ancient era." I
examined and put in order my collection of specimens, selecting such as
were designed for various institutions. A local association of persons
inclined to foster literary efforts, under the name of "Detroit Lyceum,"
elected me a member. The intrepid and energetic officer who had planned
and executed this scheme of western exploration gave me a copy of his
official letter to the Secretary of War, warmly approbating the conduct
of Capt. Douglass and myself, as members of the expedition. All its
results were attended with circumstances of high personal gratification.

I left Detroit on the 13th of October at 4 o'clock P.M., in the steamer
"Walk-in-the-Water," the first boat built on the Lake waters, and
reached Black Rock at 7 o'clock in the morning of the 17th, being a
stormy passage, in a weak but elegant boat, of eighty-seven hours. Glad
to set my foot on dry land once more, I hurried on by stage and canal,
and reached Oneida Creek Depot on the 21st at 4 o'clock in the morning,
stopped for breakfast there, and then proceeded on foot, through the
forest, by a very muddy path, to Oneida Castle, a distance of three
miles--my trunk being carried by a man on horseback. Thence I took a
conveyance for Mr. W.H. Shearman's, at Vernon, where I arrived at ten
o'clock A.M.

Capt. Douglass, who had preceded me, wrote from West Point Military
Academy, on the 27th, that in the sudden change of habits he had been
affected with a dreadful influenza. My own health continued to be
unimpaired, and my spirits were buoyant. After a few days' rest, I wrote
a report (Nov. 6th) to the Secretary of War on the metalliferous
character of the Lake Superior country, particularly in relation to its
reported wealth in copper. I proceeded to Albany on the 7th of December,
and arrived the day following, and was cordially greeted by all my
friends and acquaintances. It was my intention to have gone immediately
to New York, but the urgent entreaties of Mr. Carter and others induced
me to defer it. Very little had been said by the members of the party
about a publication. We looked to Capt. Douglass, who was the
topographer and a professor at West Point, to take the lead in the
matter. The death of Mr. Ellicott, Professor of Mathematics at that
institution, who was his father-in-law, and his appointment to the
vacant chair, from that of engineering, placed him in a very delicate
and arduous situation. He has never received credit for the noble manner
in which he met this crisis. He was not only almost immediately required
to teach his class the differential calculus, but the French copy--a
language with which he was not familiar--was the only one employed. He
was therefore not only obliged to study a comparatively new science, but
to do it in a new language; and when the course began, he had to
instruct his class daily in tasks which he committed nightly. Most men
would have sunk under the task, but he went triumphantly through it, and
I have never heard that the students or others ever had cause to suspect
his information or question his abilities. He wrote to me, and perhaps
to me only, on this subject.

There was something like a public clamor for the results of the
expedition, and the narrative was hurried into press. A new zeal was
awakened upon the subject of mineralogy and geology. A friend wrote to
me on the mineral affluence of upper Georgia. Several letters from the
western district of the State, transmitting specimens, were received.
"The unexampled success of your expedition," observes one of these
correspondents, "in all respects is a subject of high congratulation,
not only for those of whom it was composed, but also to a great portion
of the people of the United States, and to this State in particular, as
we are the grand link that unites that vast region to our Atlantic
border." [9] These feelings appear in letters from near and far. Captain
Douglass was aware of this interest, and anxious, amidst his arduous
duties, to get the necessary time to arrange his notes and materials. He
wrote to me (December 25) to furnish Professor Silliman some sketches
for the _American Journal of Science_. On the topic of topography
he says:--

[Footnote 9: W.S.D.Z., 9th Dec. 1820.]

"With regard to our daily occurrences, ought not something to be done? I
intended to have had a conversation with Governor Cass and yourself on
the subject before I parted from you, but it escaped me, and I have
since written about it.

"I should be glad to receive your delineation of the Mississippi below
Prairie du Chien, and your levels through the Fox and Wisconsin (I
believe in these we agree pretty nearly) would enable me to
consolidate mine.

"While I think of it, let me tell you I have made some calculations
about the height of the Porcupine Mountains. My data are the distance at
which they were seen from Kewewena portage, under the influence of great
refraction, and the distance on the following day without unusual
refraction, and I am convinced they cannot be less than 2000 feet high;
if, however, this staggers you, say 1800, and I am confident you are
_within_ the real elevation.

"Estimates of heights, breadths of rivers, &c., and, in looking over
your journal, any other topographical facts which you may have to
dispose of, will be very acceptable to me. Will you be able to spare me
(that is, to let me copy) any of your drawings? You know, I believe, my
views in asking are to embellish my map and memoir with landscape views
in a light style."


Reception by the country on my return--Reasons for publishing my
narrative without my reports for a digested scientific account of the
expedition--Delays interposed to this--Correspondents--Locality of
strontian--Letter from Dr. Mitchell--Report on the copper mines of Lake
Superior--Theoretical geology--Indian symbols--Scientific
subjects--Complete the publication of my work--Its reception by the
press and the public--Effects on my mind--Receive the appointment of
Secretary to the Indian Commission at Chicago--Result of the expedition,
as shown by a letter of Dr. Mitchell to General Cass.

1821. Governor Clinton offered me the use of his library while preparing
my journal for the press. Mr. Henry Inman, who was then beginning to
paint, re-drew some of the views. One of the leading booksellers made me
favorable proposals, which I agreed early in January to accept. I began
to transcribe my journal on the 8th of the month, and very assiduously
devoted myself to that object, sending off the sheets hurriedly as they
were written. The engravings were immediately put in hands. In this way,
the work went rapidly on; and I kept up, at the same time, an
industrious correspondence with scientific men in various places.

It was at this time an object of moment, doubtless, that the results of
this expedition should have been combined in an elaborate and joint work
by the scientific gentlemen of the party. The topography and astronomy
had been most carefully attended to by Captain Douglass, and the
materials collected for an improved map. Its geology and mineralogy had
formed the topic of my daily notes. Its aboriginal population had been
seen under circumstances rarely enjoyed. Its fresh water conchology had
been carefully observed by Douglass and myself, and fine collections
made. Something had been done respecting its botany, and the whole chain
of events was ready to be linked together in a striking manner.

But there was no one to take the initiative. Governor Cass, who had led
the expedition, did not think of writing. Professor Douglass, who was my
senior, and who occupied the post of topographer, by no means underrated
the subject, but deferred it, and, by accepting the Professorship of
Mathematics at West Point, assumed a duty which made it literally
impossible, though he did not see it immediately, that he should do
justice to his own notes. I simply went forward because no one of the
members of the expedition offered to. I had kept a journal from the
first to the last day, which I believe no one else had. I had been
diligent in the morning and evening in observing every line of coast and
river. I never allowed the sun to catch me asleep in my canoe or boat. I
had kept the domestic, as well as the more grave and important events. I
was importuned to give them to the public. I had written to Douglass
about it, but he was dilatory in answering me, and when at last he did,
and approved my suggestion for a joint work in which our observations
should be digested, it was too late, so far as my narrative went, to
withdraw it from my publishers. But I pledged to him at once my
geological and mineralogical reports, and I promptly sent him my
portfolio of sketches to embellish his map. This is simply the history
of the publication of my narrative journal.

My position was, at this time, personally agreeable. My room was daily
visited by literary and scientific men. I was invited to the mansions of
distinguished men, who spoke of my recent journey as one implying
enterprise. Nothing, surely, when I threw myself into the current of
western emigration, in 1817, was farther from my thoughts than my being
an instrumental cause, to much extent, in stirring up and awakening a
zeal for scientific explorations and researches. The diurnal press,
however, gave this tone to the thing. The following is an extract:--[10]

[Footnote 10: A New York Statesman, Jan. 1821.]

"During the last year, an expedition was authorized by the National
Government, which left Detroit some time in the month of May, under the
personal orders of Governor Cass, of the Michigan Territory, provided
with the necessary means of making observations upon the topography,
natural history, and aborigines of the country. We have had an
opportunity of conversing with one of the gentlemen who accompanied
Governor Cass in the expedition, Mr. H.R. Schoolcraft, who has recently
returned to this city, bringing a large collection of mineral and other
substances, calculated to illustrate the natural history of the regions
visited. We learn that the party passed through Lake Superior, and
penetrated to the sources of the Mississippi, which have been, for the
first time, satisfactorily ascertained. In returning, they passed down
the Mississippi to Prairie du Chien, and thence came across to Green
Bay, by means of the Ouisconsin and Fox Rivers. Indian tribes were found
in every part of the country visited, by whom they were generally well
received, except at the Sault St. Marie, where a hostile disposition was
manifested. The country was found to present a great variety in its
soil, climate, productions, and the character of the savages, and the
information collected must prove highly interesting both to men of
business and men of science.

"It will be seen, by referring to an advertisement in our paper of
to-day, that Mr. Schoolcraft contemplates publishing an account of the
expedition, under the form of a personal narrative, embracing notices of
interesting scenery, the Indian tribes, topographical discoveries, the
quadrupeds, mineral productions, and geology of the country, accompanied
by an elegant map and a number of picturesque views. From an inspection
of the manuscript map and views, we are persuaded that no analogous
performances, of equal merit, have ever been submitted to the hands of
the engraver in this country. We have always been surprised that, while
we have had so many travelers through the Valley of the Ohio and Lower
Mississippi, no one should have thought of filling up the chasm in our
north-western geography. The field is certainly a very ample one--we
cannot but felicitate the public in having a person of the acknowledged
talents, industry, and original views of Mr. S. to supply the

At length Professor Douglass (Feb. 9th) responded to my proposition to
club our wits in a general work. "Your propositions relative to a joint
publication, meet my views precisely, and of course I am inclined to
believe we may make an interesting 'work.' In addition to the usual
heads of topographical and geographical knowledge, which I propose to
treat of, in my memoir on that subject, I am promised by Dr. Torrey some
of the valuable aid which it will be in his power to render for the
article 'Botany,' and our collections should furnish the materials of a
description of the fresh water conchology." His proposition was based on
giving a complete account of the animal and mineral constituents of the
country, its hydrography and resources; the paper on the aboriginal
tribes to be contributed by General Cass.

A difficulty is, however, denoted. "My duties here," he writes, "as they
engross everything at present, will force me to delay a little, and I am
in hopes, by so doing, to obtain some further data. I enter, in a few
days, on the discharge of my professional duties, under considerable
disadvantages, owing to the late introduction into our courses of some
French works on the highest branches of mathematics, which it falls to
my lot first to teach. Between French, therefore, and fluxions, and
moreover, the _French method of fluxions_, which is somewhat peculiar, I
have had my hands pretty full. I look forward to a respite in April."

The professor had, in fact, to teach his class as he taught himself, and
just kept ahead of them--a very hard task.

In the mean time, while this plan of an enlarged publication was kept in
view, I pushed my narrative forward. While it was going through the
press, almost every mail brought me something of interest respecting the
progress of scientific discovery. A few items may be noticed.

_Discovery of Strontian on Lake Erie_.--Mr. William A. Bird, of Troy, of
the Boundary Survey, writes (Jan. 22d):--

"On our return down the lake, last fall, we were becalmed near the
islands in Lake Erie. I took a boat, and, accompanied by Major
Delafield, Mr. A. Stevenson, and Mr. De Russey (who was to be our
guide), went in search of the strontian to the _main_ shore, where Mr.
De Russey says it was found in the summer of 1819. After an unsuccessful
search of an hour, we gave it up, and determined to return to our
vessel. On our way we stopped at Moss Island, when, immediately on
landing, we found the mineral in question. I wandered a little from the
others, and found the large bed of which I spoke to you. We there
procured large quantities, and some large crystals.

"This strontian was on the south side of Moss Island, in a horizontal
vein of three feet in thickness, and from forty to fifty feet in
length. I had no means of judging its depth into the rock. The base of
the island is wholly composed of limestone, in which shells scarcely, if
ever, appear."

_Conchology--Mineralized Fungus, &c._--Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell, of New
York, writes (Jan. 30th): "I was glad to receive your letter and the
accompanying articles, by the hand of Colonel Gardiner; but I am sorry
your business is such as to prevent your meditated visit to the city
until spring.

"I had a solemn conference with Mr. Barnes, our distinguished
conchologist, on the subject of your shells. We had Say's publication on
the land and fresh water molluscas before us. We believed the univalves
had been chiefly described by him; one, or probably two of the species
were not contained in his memoir. It would gratify me very much to
possess a complete collection of those molluscas. I gave Mr. Barnes, who
is an indefatigable collector, such duplicates as I could spare.

"I showed your sandy fungus to my class at the college yesterday. Our
medical school was never so flourishing, there being nearly two hundred
students. In the evening, I showed it to the lyceum. All the members
regretted your determination to stay the residue of the winter
in Albany.

"The little tortoise is referred, with a new and singular bird, to a
zoological committee for examination. The sulphate of strontian
is elegant.

"I am forming a parcel for Professor Schreibers, curator of the Austrian
emperor's cabinet at Vienna; the opportunity will be excellent to send
a few."

_Report on the Copper of Lake Superior_.--Professor Silliman, in
announcing a notice of my work on the mines, for the next number of the
_Journal of Science_, Feb. 5th, says: "I have written to the Secretary
of War, and he has given his consent to have your report appear in the
_Journal of Science_."

Governor Cass, of Michigan (Feb. 20th), expresses his thanks for a
manuscript copy of the MS. report. "I trust," he adds, "the report will
be published by the government. It would be no less useful and
satisfactory to the public than honorable to yourself." _Geology of
Western New York_.--Mr. Andrew McNabb, of Geneva (Feb. 26th), sends me
two separate memoirs on the mineralogy and geology of the country, to be
employed as materials in my contemplated memoir. The zeal and
intelligence of this gentleman have led him to outstrip every observer
who has entered into this field of local knowledge. Its importance to
the value of the lands, their mines, ores, resources, water power, and
general character, has led him to take the most enlarged views of
the subject.

"Pursue," he says, "my dear sir, your career, for it is an honorable
one. The world, bad as it is, has been much worse than now for authors;
and through the great reading public, there are many generous souls,
whose views are not confined to sordidness and self. May all your
laudable exertions be crowned with ample success--with pleasure and
profit to yourself and fellow-citizens!"

_Boulder of Copper_.--A large specimen of native copper from Lake
Superior, procured by me, forwarded to Mr. Calhoun, by General Stephen
Van Rensselaer, representative in Congress, was cut up by his
directions, and presented to the foreign ministers and gentlemen from
abroad; and thus the resources of the country made known. In a letter of
Feb. 27th, Mr. Calhoun acknowledges the receipt of it.

_Theoretical Geology_.--Mr. McNabb, in forwarding additional papers
relative to western geology, observes: "Have you seen Greenough's
_Essays on Geology?_ The reviewers speak of it as well as critics
usually do on such occasions. President Greenough has given a shock to
the 'Wernerian system;' his battery is pretty powerful, but he seems
more intent on _leveling_ than on building. The Wernerian system is very
beautiful, ingenious, and plausible, and I would almost regret its
demolition, unless it should be found to stand in the way of _truth_.

"Without some system or order in the investigation of nature's works and
nature's laws, the mind is puzzled and confounded, wandering, like
Noah's dove, over the face of the deep, without finding a resting-place.
What a pity that human knowledge and human powers are so limited!"

_Indian Symbolic Figures_.--Professor Douglass (March 17th) writes,
making some inquiries about certain symbolic figures on the Sioux bark
letter, found above Sank River.

_Expedition to the Yellow Stone_.--I fancy those western expeditions
intend to beat us all hollow, in _tough yarn_, as the sailors have it;
for it seems the Indian affair has got into the form of a newspaper
controversy already: vide _Aurora_ and _National Gazette._

_Mineralogy of Georgia_.--J. T. Johnston, Esq., of New York, writes
(March 23d) that he has made an arrangement for procuring minerals for
me from this part of the Union.

_Scientific Subjects_.--Mr. McNabb writes (March 27th): "I deeply regret
that so little attention is bestowed by our legislatures (State and
National) on objects of such importance as those which engage your
thoughts, while so much time, breath, and treasure are wasted on
frivolous subjects and party objects. How long must the patriot and
philanthropist sigh for the termination of such driveling and delusion!"

After a labor at my table of about fourteen weeks, the manuscript was
all delivered to my printers; and I returned to New York, and took up my
abode in my old quarters at 71 Courtland. The work was brought out on
the 20th of May, making an octavo volume of 419 pages, with six plates,
a map, and engraved title-page. Marks of the haste with which it was run
through the press were manifest, and not a few typographical errors.
Nobody was more sensible of this than myself, and of the value that more
time and attention would have imparted. But the public received it with
avidity, and the whole edition was disposed of in a short time.
Approbatory notices appeared in the principal papers and journals. The
_New York Columbian_ says:--

"The author has before given the public a valuable work upon the Lead
Mines of Missouri, and, if we mistake not, a book of instructions upon
the manufacture of glass. He is advantageously known as a man of science
and literary research, and well qualified to turn to beneficial account
the mass of information he must have collected in his tour through that
interesting part of the country, which has attracted universal
attention, though our knowledge of it has hitherto been extremely
limited. We think there is no fear that the just expectations of the
public will be disappointed; but that the book will be found to furnish
all the valuable and interesting information that the subject and
acquirements of the writer promised, conveyed in a chaste and easy style
appropriate for the journalist--occasionally enlivened by animating
descriptions of scenery. The author has not suffered his imagination to
run wild from a foolish vanity to win applause as a fine writer, when
the great object should be to give the reader a view of what he
describes, as far as language will permit, in the same light in which he
beheld it himself. He aims to give you a just and true account of what
he has seen and heard, and his book will be referred to as a record of
facts by the learned and scientific at home and abroad. It is a
production honorable to the country, and, if we mistake not, will
advance her reputation in the opinion of the fastidious reviewers of
Scotland and England, in spite of their deep-rooted prejudices."

Mr. Walsh, of the _National Gazette_, deems it a valuable addition to
this class of literature.

"Public attention," he remarks, "was much excited last year by the
prospectus of the expedition, of which Mr. Schoolcraft formed a part as
mineralogist, and whose journey he has now described. He remarks, in his
introduction, with truth, that but little detailed information was
before possessed of the extreme north-western region of the Union--of the
great chain of lakes--and of the sources of the Mississippi River, which
continued to be a subject of dispute between geographical writers. In
the autumn of 1819 Governor Cass, of Michigan Territory, projected an
expedition for exploring what was so imperfectly known, and yet so
worthy of being industriously surveyed.

"The Secretary of War--to whom Mr. Schoolcraft's book is appropriately
dedicated, with a just testimony to the liberal and enlightened
character of his official administration--not only admitted the plan of
Governor Cass, but furnished him with the means of carrying it into full
effect by providing an escort of soldiers and directing the commandants
of the frontier garrisons to furnish every aid, of whatever
description, which the party might require. To the Governor, as chief of
the expedition, he associated several gentlemen qualified to accomplish
its objects; which were--a more correct knowledge of the names, numbers,
customs, history, mode of subsistence, and dispositions of the Indian
tribes--the collection of materials for an accurate map of the
country--the investigation of the subject of the north-western copper and
lead mines, and gypsum quarries; and the acquisition, from the Indians,
of such tracts as might be necessary to secure the benefit of them to
the United States.

"In the course of last March, we published a letter of Governor Cass to
the Secretary of War, describing in a happy manner some of the scenes
and occurrences which fell within the observation or inquiry of the
expedition. Mr. Schoolcraft states, at the end of his introductory
remarks, that he does not profess to communicate _all_ the topographical
information collected, and that a special topographical report and map
may be expected, together with other reports and the scientific
observations of the expedition in general. We anticipate, therefore, an
ample and valuable accession to our stock of knowledge respecting so
important a portion of the American territory; and such evidence of the
utility of enterprises of the kind, as will inspire every branch of the
government with a desire to see them repeated with equipments and
facilities adapted to the most comprehensive research, and fitted to
render them creditable in their fruits to the national character abroad.

"The present narrative does not exhibit the author in his capacity of
mineralogist alone. In this he appears indeed more distinctively, and to
particular advantage; but he writes also as a general describer and
relater, and has furnished lively and ample accounts of the natural
objects, and novel, magnificent scenery which he witnessed; and of the
history, character, condition, and habits of the various Indian bands
whom he encountered in his route, or who belong especially to our
north-western territories."

I was deeply sensible of the exalted feelings and enlarged sentiments
with which these and other notices were written. The effect on my mind
was a sense of literary humility, and a desire to prove myself in any
future attempts of the kind in some measure worthy of them. Literary
candidates are not ever, perhaps, so much pleased or gratified by those
who render them exact justice, of which there is always some notion, as
by warm, liberal, or high-minded thoughts and commendations, which are
incentives to future labors.

_May 22d_.--General Cass had, before leaving Detroit, offered me the
situation of Secretary to the Commissioners appointed to confer with the
Indians at Chicago in the summer of 1821, with a view, primarily, to the
interesting and circuitous journey which it was his intention to make,
in order to reach the place of meeting. This offer, as the time drew on,
he now put in the shape of a letter, which I determined at once to
accept, and made my arrangements to leave the city without loss of time.

It was proposed to be at Detroit the 1st of July. The tour would lie
through the valleys of the Miami of the lakes, and the Wabash, which
interlock at the Fort Wayne summit; then across the Grand Prairie of the
Illinois to St. Louis, and up the Illinois River from its mouth to its
source. This would give me a personal knowledge of three great valleys,
which I had not before explored, and connect my former southern
explorations in Arkansas and Missouri with those of the great lake
basins and the upper Mississippi. I had been at the sources and the
mouth of that great river, and I had now the opportunity to complete the
knowledge of its central portions. It was with the utmost avidity,
therefore, that I turned my face again towards the West.

Mr. Calhoun, who was written to on the subject, concurred in this plan,
and extended the time for the completion of my geological report.

_Joint Work on the Scientific Results of the Expedition of 1820_.--
General Cass, who had been written to, thus expresses himself on this

"Captain Douglass has informed me that you and he meditate a joint work,
which shall comprise those objects, literary and scientific, which could
not properly find a place in a diurnal narrative. At what time is this
work to appear, and what are its plan and objects? My observations and
inquiries respecting the Indians will lead me much further than I
intended or expected. If I can prepare anything upon that subject prior
to the appearance of the work, I shall be happy to do it."

_Geological Survey of Dutchess County_.--Dr. Benjamin Allen, of Hyde
Park, writes to me (June 4th) on this subject, urging me to undertake
the survey; but the necessity of closing my engagements in the West
rendered it impossible.

_Expedition of_ 1820.--Dr. Mitchell furnishes me opinions upon some of
the scientific objects collected by me and my associates in the
north-west in 1820:--

"The Squirrel sent by General Cass is a species not heretofore
described, and has been named by Dr. Mitchell the _federation squirrel_,
or _sciurus tredecem striatus_.

"The Pouched Rat, or _mus bursarius_, has been seen but once in Europe.
This was a specimen sent to the British Museum from Canada, and
described by Dr. Shaw. But its existence is rather questioned by
Charles Cuvier.

"Both animals have been described and the descriptions published in the
21st Vol. of the _Medical Repository_ of New York, p. 248 _et seq_. The
specimens are both preserved in my museum. Drawings have been executed
by the distinguished artist Milbert, and forwarded by him at my request
to the administrators of the King's Museum, at Paris, of which he is a
corresponding member. My descriptions accompany them. The originals are
retained as too valuable to be sent out of the country.

"The Paddle Fish is the _spatularia_ of Shaw and _polyodon_ of Lacepede.
It lives in the Mississippi only, and the skeleton, though incomplete,
is better than any other person here possesses. It is carefully
preserved in my collection.

"The Serpent is a species of the Linnaean genus Anguis, the _orveto_ of
the French, and the _blind worm_ of the English. The loss of the tail of
this fragile creature may render an opinion a little dubious, but it is
supposed to be an _ophias aureus_ of Dandin, corresponding to the Anguis
ventralis of Linn, figured by Catesby.

"The shells afford a rich amount of undescribed species. The whole of
the univalves and bivalves received from Messrs. Schoolcraft and
Douglass, have been assembled, and examined with all I possessed before,
and with Mr. Stacy Collins's molluscas brought from Ohio. Mr. Barnes is
charged with describing and delineating all the species not contained
in Mr. Say's memoir on these productions of the land and fresh waters of
North America. The finished work will be laid before the Lyceum, and
finally be printed in Silliman's New Haven _Journal_. The species with
which zoology will be enriched will amount probably to nine or ten. We
shall endeavor to be just to our friends and benefactors.

"The pipe adorns my mantelpiece, and is much admired by connoisseurs."


Trip through the Miami of the lakes, and the Wabash Valley--Cross the
grand prairie of Illinois--Revisit the mines--Ascend the
Illinois--Fever--Return through the great lakes--Notice of the
"Trio"--Letter from Professor Silliman--Prospect of an appointment under
government--Loss of the "Walk-in-the-Water"--Geology of Detroit--Murder
of Dr. Madison by a Winnebago Indian.

1821. I left New York for Chicago on the 16th June--hurried rapidly
through the western part of that State--passed up Lake Erie from
Buffalo, and reached Detroit just in season to embark, on the 4th of
July. General Cass was ready to proceed, with his canoe-elege in the
water. We passed, the same day, down the Detroit River, and through the
head of Lake Erie into the Maumee Bay to Port Lawrence, the present
site, I believe, of the city of Toledo. This was a distance of seventy
miles, a prodigious day's journey for a canoe. But we were shot along by
a strong wind, which was fair when we started, but had insensibly
increased to a gale in Lake Erie, when we found it impossible to turn to
land without the danger of filling. The wind, though a gale, was still
directly aft. On one occasion I thought we should have gone to the
bottom, the waves breaking in a long series, above our heads, and
rolling down our breasts into the canoe. I looked quietly at General
Cass, who sat close on my right, but saw no alarm in his countenance.
"That was a fatherly one," was his calm expression, and whatever was
thought, little was said. We weathered and entered the bay silently, but
with feelings such as a man may be supposed to have when there is but a
step between him and death.

We ascended the Miami Valley, through scenes renowned by the events of
two or three wars. I walked over the scene of Dudley's defeat in 1812;
of Wayne's victory in 1793; and of the sites of forts Deposit and
Defiance, and other events celebrated in history. From Fort Defiance,
which is at the junction of the River _Auglaize_, we rode to Fort Wayne,
sleeping in a deserted hut half way. We passed the summit to the source
of the Wabash, horseback, sleeping at an Indian house, where all the men
were drunk, and kept up a howling that would have done credit to a pack
of hungry wolves. The Canadians, who managed our canoe, in the mean time
brought it from water to water on their shoulders, and we again
embarked, leaving our horses at the forks of the Wabash. The whole of
this long and splendid valley, then wild and in the state of nature,
till below the Tippecanoe, we traversed, day by day, stopping at
Vincennes, Terrehaute, and a hundred other points, and entered the Ohio
and landed safely at Shawneetown. Here it was determined to send the
Canadians with our canoe, round by water to St. Louis, while we hired a
sort of stage-wagon to cross the prairies. I visited the noted locality
of fluor spar in Pope County, Illinois, and crossing the mountainous
tract called the Knobs, rejoined the party at the Saline. Here I found
my old friend Enmenger, of Kemp and Keen memory, to be the innkeeper. On
reaching St. Louis, General Cass rode over the country to see the
Missouri, while I, in a sulky, revisited the mines in Washington, and
brought back a supply of its rich minerals. We proceeded in our canoe up
the River Illinois to the rapids, at what is called Fort Rock, or
Starved Rock, and from thence, finding the water low, rode on horseback
to Chicago, horses having been sent, for this purpose, from Chicago to
meet us. There was not a house from Peoria to John Craft's, four miles
from Chicago. I searched for, and found, the fossil tree, reported to
lie in the rocks in the bed of the river _Des Plaines_. The sight of
Lake Michigan, on nearing Chicago, was like the ocean. We found an
immense number of Indians assembled. The Potawattomies, in their gay
dresses and on horseback, gave the scene an air of Eastern magnificence.
Here we were joined by Judge Solomon Sibley, the other commissioner from
Detroit, whence he had crossed the peninsula on horseback, and we
remained in negotiation with the Indians during fifteen consecutive
days. A treaty was finally signed by them on the 24th of August, by
which, for a valuable consideration in annuities and goods, they ceded
to the United States about five millions of acres of choice lands.

Before this negotiation was finished, I was seized with bilious fever,
and consequently did not sign the treaty. It was of the worst bilious
type, and acute in its character. I did not, indeed, ever expect to make
another entry in a human journal. But a vigorous constitution at length
prevailed, and weeks after all the party had left the ground, I was
permitted to embark in a vessel called the Decatur on the 23d of
September for Detroit. We reached Michilimackinack the seventh day of
our voyage, and returned to Detroit on the 6th of October. The incidents
and observations of this journey have been given to the public under the
title "Travels in the Central Portions of the Mississippi Valley" (1
vol. pp. 459, 8vo.: New York).

I still felt the effects of my illness on reaching Detroit, where I
remained a few days before setting out for New York. On reaching Oneida
County, where I stopped to recruit my strength, I learned that some
envious persons, who shielded themselves under the name of "Trio," had
attacked my _Narrative Journal_, in one of the papers during my absence.
The attack was not of a character to demand a very grave notice, and was
happily exposed by Mr. Carter, in some remarks in the columns of the
_Statesman_, which first called my attention to the subject.

"A trio of writers," he observes, in his paper of 17th August, "in the
_Daily Advertiser_ of Wednesday, have commenced an attack on the
_Narrative Journal_ of Mr. Schoolcraft, lately published in this city.
We should feel excessively mortified for the literary reputation of our
country, if it took any _three_ of our writers to produce such a
specimen of criticism as the article alluded to; and 'for charity's
sweet sake,' we will suppose that by a typographical error the signature
is printed _Trio_ instead of _Tyro_. At any rate, the essay,
notwithstanding all its _wes_ and _ours_, bears the marks of being the
effort of _one_ smatterer, rather than the joint production of _three_
critics, as the name imports."

The Trio (if we admit there are _tria juncta in uno_, in this knot of
savans) pretend to be governed by patriotic motives in attacking Mr.
Schoolcraft. 'In what we have said, our object has been to expose error,
and to shield _ourselves_ from the imputation which would justly be
thrown upon _ourselves_.' The construction of this sentence reminds us
of the exordium of Deacon Strong's speech at Stonington--'_the
generality of mankind in general_ endeavor to try to take the
disadvantage of _the generality of mankind in general_.' But not to
indulge in levities on so grave a subject, we are happy in the belief
that the reputation of our country does not demand the condemnation of
Schoolcraft's _Journal_, as a proof of our taste, nor need such a shield
as the trio have interposed, to protect it from the attacks of foreign

'Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis
Tempus eget.'

It affords us great pleasure to relieve the anxiety of the Trio on the
subject of shielding 'ourselves from the imputation which would be
justly thrown upon ourselves,' by stating that one of the most
scientific gentlemen in the United States wrote to the publishers of
Schoolcraft's _Journal_, not a week since, for a copy of the work to
send to Paris, adding to his request, _the work is so valuable that I
doubt not it would be honorably noticed_.

"We have not taken the trouble to examine the passages to which the Trio
have referred; for, admitting that a trifling error has been detected in
an arithmetical calculation--that a few plants (or _vegetables_, as this
botanist calls them) have been described as new, which were before
known--and that in the haste of composition some verbal errors may have
escaped the author, yet these slight defects do not detract essentially
from the merit of the work, or prove that it has improperly been
denominated a scientific, valuable, and interesting volume. Our sage
critics are not aware how many and whom they include in the denunciation
of 'a few men who _pretend_ to all the knowledge, all the wisdom of the
country;' if by a _few_ they mean all who have spoken in the most
favorable terms of Mr. Schoolcraft's book.

"One word in respect to the 'candor' of the Trio, and we have done. It
would seem to have been more candid, and the disavowal of 'an intention
to injure' would have been more plausible, if the attack had been
commenced when the author was present to defend himself, and not when he
is in the depth of a wilderness, remote from his assailants and ignorant
of their criticisms. But we trust he has left many friends behind who
will promptly and cheerfully defend his reputation till his return."

On reading the pieces, I found them to be based in a petty spirit of
fault-finding, uncandid, illiberal, and without wit, science, or
learning. It is said in a book, which my critics did not seem to have
caught the spirit of--"Should not the multitude of words be answered,
and should a man fall if talk be justified? Should thy lies make men
hold their peace, and when thou mockest shall no man make thee ashamed?"
(Job xi. 2, 3.) My blood boiled. I could have accepted and approved
candid and learned and scientific criticism. I replied in the papers,
pointing out the gross illiberality of the attack, and tried to provoke
a discovery of the authors. But they were still as death; the mask that
had been assumed to shield envy, hypercriticism, and falsehood, there
was neither elevation of moral purpose, courage, nor honor, to
lay aside.

In the mean time, all my correspondents and friends sustained me. Men of
the highest standing in science and letters wrote to me. A friend of
high standing, in a note from Washington (Oct. 24th) congratulating me
on my recovery from the fever at Chicago, makes the following allusion
to this concealed and spiteful effort: "When in Albany I procured from
Mr. Webster copies of them (the pieces), with a view to say something in
the papers, had it been necessary. But, from their character and effect,
this would have been wholly unnecessary. They have fallen still-born
from the press."

Mr. Carter (Oct. 28th) says: "G. C. was at my room, and spoke of the
numbers with the utmost contempt, and thought they were not worth
noticing. The same opinion is entertained by everyone whom I have heard
speak on the subject. Chancellor Kent told me that your book is the most
interesting he has ever read, and that the attack on it amounts to
nothing. Others have paid it the same compliment, and I think your fame
is in no danger of being injured by the Trio."

Mr. Baldwin, a legal gentleman of high worth and standing, made the
following observations in one of the city papers, under the signature of

"True criticism is a liberal and humane art, and teaches no less to
point out and admire what is deserving of applause, than to detect and
expose blemishes and defects. If this be a correct definition of
criticism, and 'Trio' were capable of filling the office he has assumed,
I am of opinion that a different judgment would have been pronounced
upon Mr. Schoolcraft's book of travels; and that they would have been
justly eulogized, and held up for the perusal of every person at all
anxious about acquiring an intimate knowledge of the interesting
country through which he traveled, and which he so ably and beautifully
described. It is certainly true, that we abound in snarling critics,
whose chief delight is in finding fault with works of native production;
and though it is not my business to tread upon their corns, I could wish
they might ever receive that castigation and contempt which they merit
from a liberal and enlightened public. In the first article which
appeared in your useful paper, over the signature of 'Trio,' I thought I
discovered only the effervescence of a pedantic and caviling
disposition; but, when I find that writer making false and erroneous
statements, and drawing deductions therefrom unfavorable to Mr.
Schoolcraft, I deprecate the evil, and invite the public to a free and
candid investigation of the truth. Not satisfied with detracting from
the merits of Mr. Schoolcraft's work, 'Trio' indulges in some bitter and
illiberal remarks upon those gentlemen who composed the Yellow Stone
River expedition; and to show how little qualified he is for the
subject, I will venture to declare him ignorant of the very first
principles upon which that expedition was organized."

So much for the "Trio." No actual discovery of the authors was made; but
from information subsequently obtained, it is believed that their names
are denoted under the anagram LENICTRA.

Other criticisms of a different stamp were, however, received from high
sources, speaking well of the work, which may here be mentioned.
Professor Silliman writes from New Haven, November 22d: "I perused your
travels with great satisfaction; they have imparted to me a great deal
of information and pleasure. Could any scientific friend of yours
(Captain Douglass, for instance) prepare a notice, or a review, I would
cheerfully insert it.

"In reading your travels, I marked with a pencil the scientific notices,
and especially those on mineralogy and geology, thinking that I might at
a future period embody them into an article for the journal. Would it
not be consistent with your time and occupations to do this, and forward
me the article? I would be greatly pleased also to receive from you a
notice of the fluor spar from Illinois; of the fossil tree; and, in
short, any of your scientific or miscellaneous observations, which you
may see fit to intrust to the pages of the journal, I shall be happy to
receive, and trust they would not have a disadvantageous introduction to
the world."

How different is this in its spirit and temper from the flimsy thoughts
of the Trio!

_Literary Honors_.--Dr. Alfred S. Monson, of New Haven, informs me
(November 23d) of my election as a member of the American Geological
Society. Mr. Austin Abbott communicates notice of my election as a
member of the Hudson Lyceum of Natural History.

_Appointment under Government_.--A friend in high confidence at
Washington writes (November 4th): "The proposition to remove from
Sackett's Harbor to the Sault of St. Mary a battalion of the army, and
to establish a military post at the latter place, has been submitted by
Mr. Calhoun to the President. The pressure of other subjects has
required an investigation and decision since his return; so that he has
not yet been able to examine this matter. Mr. Calhoun is himself
decidedly in favor of the measure, and I have no doubt but that such
will be the result of the Presidential deliberation. The question is too
plain, and the considerations connected with it too obvious and
important, to allow any prominent difficulties to intrude themselves
between the conception and the execution of the measure. If a post be
established, it is almost certain that an Indian agency will be located
there, and, in the event, it is quite certain that you will be appointed
the agent."

_Loss of the "Walk-in-the-water."_--This fine steamer was wrecked near
the foot of Lake Erie, in November. A friend in Detroit writes (November
17th): "This accident maybe considered as one of the greatest
misfortunes which have ever befallen Michigan, for in addition to its
having deprived us of all certain and speedy communication with the
civilized world, I am fearful it will greatly check the progress of
emigration and improvement. They speak of _three_ new boats on Lake Erie
next season; I hope they may be erected, but such reports are always

_Geology of Detroit_.--"No accurate measurement that I can find has ever
been made of the height of the bank of the river at this place. As near
as I can ascertain, however, from those who have endeavored to obtain
correct information respecting it, and from my own judgment, I should
suppose the base of the pillars at the upper end of the market-house,
which stand three hundred feet from the water's edge, to be thirty-three
feet above the surface of the river. The bank is of a gentle descent
towards the water, and gradually recedes from the river for one mile
above the lower line of the city.

"In digging a well in the north-east part of the city, in the street near
the Council House, the loam appeared to be about a foot and a half deep.
The workmen then passed through a stratum of blue clay of eight or ten
feet, when they struck a vein of coarse sand, eight inches in thickness,
through which the water entered so fast, as to almost prevent them from
going deeper. They, however, proceeded through another bed of blue clay,
twenty or twenty-two feet, and came to a fine yellow sand, resembling
quicksand, into which they dug three feet and stopped, having found
sufficient water. The whole depth of the well was thirty-three feet.

"The water is clear, and has no bad taste. No vegetable or other remains
were found, and only a few small stones and pebbles, such as are on the
shores of the river. A little coarse dark sand and gravel were found
below the last bed of clay, on the top of the yellow sand."

The boring for water in 1830 was extended, on the Fort Shelby plateau,
260 feet. After passing ten feet of alluvion, the auger passed through
115 feet of blue clay, with quicksand, then two of beach sand and
pebbles, when the limestone rock was struck. It was geodiferous for
sixty feet, then lies sixty-five, then a carbonate of lime eight feet,
at which depth the effort was relinquished unsuccessfully.--_Historical
and Scientific Sketches of Michigan_.

"_Bed of the Detroit River_.--I am induced to believe the bed of the
River Detroit is clay, from the fact that it affords good anchorage for
vessels. Neither limestone nor any other rock has ever been
discovered in it."

_Murder of Dr. Madison._--A gentleman at the West writes to me (Nov.
17): "As to the murder of Dr. Madison, the facts were, that he started
from Green Bay, with three soldiers, to go to Chicago, and from thence
to his wife in Kentucky, who, during his absence, had added 'one' to the
family. The Indian Ke-taw-kah had left the bay the day previous, had
passed the Indian village on the Manatoowack River, on his way to


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