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that very calamity which made him leave the herd' like 'a stricken deer,' it was owing that the genius which has consecrated his name, which has made him the most popular poet of his age, and secures that popularity from fading away, was developed in retirement; it would have been blighted had he continued in the course for which he was trained up. He would not have found the way to fame, unless he had missed the way to fortune. He might have been happier in his generation ; but he could never have been so useful; with that generation his memory would have passed away, and he would have slept with his fathers, instead of living with those who are the glory of their country and the benefactors of their kind.”— Vol. 11. p. 313.
Art. IV. – 1. Historical and Scientific Sketches of Michi
gan, comprising a Series of Discourses delivered before the Historical Society of Michigan, and other interesting Papers relative to the Territory. Detroit. 1834. 12mo..
2. Constitution of the State of Michigan, as adopted in
Convention begun and held at the Capitol in the City of
The late rapid growth of Michigan in population and importance ; the extent of recent speculations in land within its limits; the collisions in which it has been engaged with the great bordering State of Ohio ; and its peculiar actual position in relation to the Federal Union, are circumstances naturally creating a strong interest in its statistics and history.
Michigan is a peninsula of triangular shape, occupying what may be denominated the maritime frontier of the old Northwestern territory. Its southeastern point is about 300 miles from the city of Buffalo, in the State of New York, which stands at the eastern extremity of Lake Erie. It is bounded on the north by the connected waters of Lakes Huron and Michigan, on the west by Lake Michigan, and on the south by the States of Indiana and Ohio. Lake Erie, Detroit river, Lake St. Clair, and the river of the same name, constitute its
eastern boundary, for the space of about 140 miles; after which this boundary is continued northward by Lake Huron. The area of the State comprises about 40,000 square miles, and its population at the present time is estimated at 125,000.
The general surface of the territory is comparatively level, having no mountains of any considerable elevation. In many points, however, the soil is gently undulating, particularly as you advance from the shores of the surrounding Lakes. Precipitous bluff's may be found along the border of Lake Huron ; and numerous sand bills, which have been doubtless blown up by the winds of that Lake, may be discovered upon the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Much of the land along the shore of Lakes Erie, Huron, and St. Clair, is low, level, and heavily timbered. The interior is more hilly, and consists of extensive tracts of good timber, alternated by plains, prairies, and oak openings. These plains are timbered soil, destitute of undergrowth; and the oak openings are constituted of large timber scattered over the surface in groves, but in sufficient quantities, ordinarily, for farming purposes. The soil of this species of land, although easily cleared by a team of four or five oxen, and favorable to the production of wheat, is not deemed so fertile and durable, as those sections which are more heavily timbered. The prairies are vast plains, destitute of forest, and covered with a long and coarse grass, which is occasionally cleared off by the autumnal burnings. They are either wet or dry. The dry prairies produce most of the crops which are common to 42 degrees of north latitude, and they are especially productive on the borders of the St. Joseph River. The wet prairies afford good pasturage, and coarse hay for winter stock; and by draining, may be reclaimed into valuable meadow land.
Michigan abounds also in rivers and small streams, which rise in the interior and flow into the neighbouring Lakes. The northern tributaries of the Maumee river, a stream of much importance as the outlet of a wide and rich back country, spring from this State, and joining the main stream, which rises in Ohio, discharge their waters into Lake Erie, at the point of junction between the States of Michigan and Ohio. The river Rouge enters Detroit river just below Detroit. Grand River is the largest stream in Michigan. It is 270 miles in length, has 8 feet of water on its bar, and at its mouth is between 50 and 60 rods broad. The soil which borders it
is extremely fertile. A project has been started to connect it with the Huron, and, by this agency, to open a direct line of communication between Lake Erie and Lake Michigan. The St. Joseph river, with its tributary streams, waters a fertile tract of territory, and is deemed to afford eligible points for settlement along its banks. Besides the larger rivers, which we have mentioned, there are numerous smaller streams not navigable, which afford advantageous sites for manufactories; and lakes abounding with fish are scattered through the forest, some marshy and unhealthy, others clear as crystal, watering shores of pebble and sand.
A number of projects for internal improvement are now under consideration, upon a scale of great magnitude. A survey has been made for a railroad across the peninsula, from Detroit, through the several counties of Wayne, Washtenaw, Jackson, Calboun, Kalamazoo, Van Buren, and Berrian, to the mouth of St. Joseph river; and also for a railroad from the mouth of the Maumee river, through the southern counties of Michigan and the northern part of Indiana, terminating at Michigan City, which stands upon the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan. A canal has also been projected, from the mouth of the Maumee Bay, to the shore of Lake Michigan. There is little doubt but that some, if not all, of these schemes will be carried into effect, as capital flows into the country, and as its resources are gradually developed. The configuration of the land is eminently adapted to the construction of canals and railroads, as it is generally level, and easy of excavation, from the loamy nature of the soil and the absence of rocks.
The soil of Michigan is highly fertile, although of diversified character. The different varieties of gravel, black sand, loam, and clay, may be found in the different sections of the State, but the greater part is productive. It is in fact found to be much more valuable, than was formerly imagined, from its light and sandy appearance in many parts of the State. By actual experiment it is ascertained, that the greater portion improves by cultivation, and, in point of fertility, is equal to that of any of the northwestern States, affording products common to 42 degrees of north latitude. The bottoms and thickly-timbered parts of the country are covered usually with a black mould, which has doubtless been formed by the accumulation of vegetable matter, the deposit of forests, which VOL. XLIV. - NO. 94.
have been successively decaying and fertilizing the soil for ages. Valuable lead mines have been discovered within the boundaries of Michigan, at its junction with the State of Illinois. In some parts of the State, iron and salt have also been discovered, but their value has not been accurately determined. It is believed, however, that the country abounds less in mineral than in agricultural wealth.
The public lands of Michigan were first surveyed in 1816 or 1817; and in the succeeding year they were offered in the market for sale, under the authority of the national government. From that period the rapid advance of the territory may be dated, on account of the emigration which the sale of these lands encouraged. The public domain of the territory is surveyed into townships of six miles square ; these are subdivided into sections, each one mile square ; and the number of the sections is always blazed upon the trees by the survey. or, at the corner of the sections respectively, in numerical order, commencing at the northeast corner of each township. Blazing is performed by shaving off a certain space upon the bark of the tree, and by cutting the number of the township, range, and section, upon the smooth surface. Each section contains 640 acres, and the smallest lot which can be purchased must comprise 40 acres. Section number 16 of each township, is reserved for the support of common schools; and liberal grants have been made for the erection of a University. The minimum price affixed by the government for the public lands, is a dollar and a quarter for the acre.
In the different land offices which are established at Monroe, Bronson, and Detroit, there are annual sales of public lands by auction; and whatever remains unsold, is left to be purchased at these offices by private sale, on the payment of the government price.
The scenery of Michigan is in many parts beautiful. It has been our lot to wander along the borders of its largest rivers, and to traverse its deepest wilderness, at a season of the year when nature was adorned with its most magnificent dress. Immense forests of walnut, hickory, maple, beech, ash, poplar, and oaks, of different species and of enormous size, stretch out before the eye their gloomy solitudes to a vast extent, occasionally broken by a sheet of clear water, or a waving prairie. The streams which intersect the more undulating parts of the country are transparent and rapid.
Broad lakes spread out their crystal mirrors to the heavens, within sandy banks encumbered by verdant and massive vegetation, and enamelled with gaudy and brilliant forest flowers. In the more dense parts of the wilderness, you may occasionally cross the track of a wolf or a bear, and, as you emerge into the oak openings, you will come suddenly upon a fine deer, bounding across the plains which seem like an immense park, or feeding by the banks of the lakes ;
" hos tota armenta sequuntur A tergo, et longum per valles pascitur agmen." But the beauties of nature must atone for many desagrémens, and the absence of all beauties of art. Musquitoes and bad roads put the traveller's patience to the test; and while, occasionally, he finds little clusters of log huts, and even prosperous villages, springing up in the wilderness, these, in proportion to the extent of country, are, of course, few and far between. His eyes are more frequently greeted with the sight of the Indian wigwam, with its painted inmates lounging about the environs in savage disorder, or the solitary log cabin of the hardy emigrant, containing a household too often prostrated by sickness, and surrounded by half-burned and smouldering logs, of which he has just disburdened the soil with his axe. We suppose that the
average temperature is not lower than that of New England; and the climate is healthful, with the exception of those bilious disorders which are incidental to all new countries, particularly the fever and ague. This disease seems to be contracted from the month of June to September, and almost everybody who remains in the country through those months, is obliged to undergo a seasoning. It doubtless proceeds from the miasmata thrown off from decayed vegetable matter; for it is found that in proportion as the surrounding country is cleared up, the disease disappears.
The ante-revolutionary history of Michigan is in a great measure traditional, and is handed down to us mainly in scattered and mutilated fragments. A savage race of Indians, inhabiting an equally savage wilderness, remote from civilization, is the last source to which we should refer for wellauthenticated historical documents ; and the monuments which
; are daily ploughed up by the emigrant throughout the whole breadth of the Mississippi valley, rather present new problems, than elucidate the old. With the exception of what