Page images

should be pleased to make some extracts from this beautiful volume, did the occasion aılmit; but can only send to the author, at his Holly Springs' home, our congratulations and thanks. We may refer to him again. The work can be had of J. B. Steel, New Orleans.


The importance of an AGENCY in New Orleans in connection with the Review, to aid the planters in the purchase and sale of estates, has frequently suggested itself. We have determined to start it. As the Review circulates largely in all the southern and western States, and is now getting a northern circulation, planters will have an opportunity of offering their estates to the best advantage. They will be charged for the advertisement of estates, according to the space occupied, and time advertised, on reasonable terms, in the pages of the Review, as will be agreed upon. When sales are effected through the AGENCY, the usual commission will be charged. Editorial notices will be called to the estates, Messrs. H. Weld & Co., publishers of the Review, able and energetic business men, will take exclusive charge of this department. In the present number we call attention to a large plantation in Attak apas, Louisiana, among our advertisements,

All letters relating to the business of the Review will be directed to Weld & Co., New Orleans; all relating to editorial, to J, D. B. De Bow, care of Weld & Co., publishers Com. niercial Review, New Orleans.

7. OUR BOUND VOLUMES COMPLETE. We have still a few sets remaining of the Old Series of the Commercial Review, in handsomely bound volumes, 1846-1849. We wish those of our subscribers who have not the work complete would order them, or have them taken by the public or private libraries in their vicinity. In a short time it will be impossible to obtain them on any terms, as the edition priuted was small. We are anxious to distribute the volumes, and will deliver them at any points.

8. OUR CONTRIBUTORS. We have several papers on hand for publication in our next. Our acknowledgements to friends for new subscribers and remittances will also be made. We have received an elaborate answer to Ellwood Fisher's Lecture, the substance of which will be given. We invite papers upon the Slave Laws of different southern States; also, contributions upon Cotton and Cotton Manufactu and upon the Wealth, Progress, etc., of each of the southern and western States. We are now preparing an elaborate one ourself, upon Kentucky, Several able articles upon Slavery at the South will soon appear.

[blocks in formation]



The fame of “Old Kentucky,” whose hardy hunters and warriors, of yore,

have been celebrated so much in national patriotic songs and legends, from the time when George Rogers Clark made his descent upon the savage tribes of the Wabash to that which saw, in all his “martial pomp,"

j" i John Bull” in the " low and murky places” of Louisiana, is not likely soon to be lost among the generations that are now passing upon the board. If the romance of hunter and border life has given way to civilization, scattered log huts and villages to mansions and crowded cities, dense forests to cultivated fields, Daniel Boone to Henry Clay—still is Kentucky famed for her hardy independence and fearless intrepidity, for her stalwart men and her handsome women, for her fruitful soil, her benign climate and the general and uninterrupted prosperity of her people.

“The country is in some parts nearly level ; in others not so much so; in others again, hilly, but moderately-and in such places there is most water. The levels are not like a carpet, but interspersed with small risings and declivities which form a beautiful prospect. The soil is of a loose, deep and black mold, without sand, in the first rate lands about two or three feet deep, and exceedingly luxuriant in all its productions. The country in general may be considered as well timbered, producing large trees of many kinds and to be exceeded by no country in variety. Those which are peculiar to Kentucky, are the sugar-tree, which grows in all parts, and furnishes every family with great plenty of excellent sugar. The honey-locust is curiously surrounded with large

* Being on a visit of some weeks to Kentucky, we seized the occasion to prepare from observation, and from whatever documents are at hand, the paper now presented to the reader. With more time at command, we could have been more elaborate. From Mr. Collins's “Sketches of Kentucky, 1847,” we have derived especial assistance, and make the acknowledgment once for all. In our next shall appear a paper on Florida, and then upon the other States. Will our friends favor us with articles upon their States. We have already, in our six volumes, published elaborate papers upon Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, etc. 14

Vol. 1.

[ocr errors]

thorny spikes, bearing long and broad pods in the form of peas, has a sweet taste and makes excellent beer. The coffee-tree greatly resembles the black-oak, grows large and also bears a pod in which is inclosed coffee. The pawpaw tree does not grow to a great size, is a soft wood, bears a fine fruit, much like a cucumber in shape and size, and tastes sweet. The fine cane, on which the cattle feed and grow fat, in general grows from three to twelve feet high, of a hard substance, with joints at eight or ten inches distance along the stalk, from which proceed leaves resembling the willow. There are many canebrakes so thick and tall that it is difficult to pass through them. Where no cane grows there is an abundance of wild rye, clover and buffalo-grass, covering vast tracts of country, and affording excellent pasture for cattle. The fields are covered with an abundance of wild herbage not common to other countries. Here are seen the finest crown imperial in the world, the cardinal flower, so much extolled for its scarlet color, and all the year, excepting the winter months, the plains and valleys are adorned with a variety of flowers of the most admirable beauty. Here is also found the tulip-bearing laurel tree, or magnolia, which is very fragrant and continues to blossom and seed for several months together. The reader, by casting his eye upon the map, and viewing round the heads of Licking from the Ohio, and round the heads of Kentucky, Dick's river, and down Green river to the Ohio, may view, in that great compass of above one hundred miles square, the most extraordinary country on which the sun has ever shone."*

In the geology of Kentucky the blue limestone occupies a conspicuous place. It forms the surface rock in a large part of the State, and is used for building purposes. Among the cliffs of the Kentucky river, is found an excellent marble, capable of fine polish. The cliff limestone is the base of the Ohio falls at Louisville. The slate, or shale, is very common, is bituminous, and supports combustion and contains iron pyrites and ores, giving rise to mineral springs. The sand, or freestone, extends from Danville :o Louisville, etc., is used for purposes of art and even the construction of grindstones. The cavernous limestone, as its name imports, gives rise to many caves, the most famous of which, the Mammoth, we shall hereafter describe. The conglomerate or pudding stone, consists of quartz pebbles, rounded, and united with fine sand by a kind of natural cement. It underlies the coal formation. The coal beds of Kentucky are known as those of the Ohio and of the Illinois. They cover ten or twelve thousand square miles. The coal is very accessible but very little is mined, not perhaps, annually, more than 4 or 5,000,000 bushels. Iron is equally abundant in the State, but mostly neglected. It is coinmanded by navigable streams and must produce future wealth. An estimate of the quantity embraced has been fixed at 38,000,000,000 tons, “a quantity sufficient to supply a ton of iron annually to every individual in the United States, estimating them at 15,000,000, for 2,560 years." Small quantities of lead are traced in Kentucky. Salt springs abound in the sandstone formation, and a million bushels of sale is annually worked. Saltpeter and plaster of Paris are found in the caves. The mineral springs are numerous, embracing sulphur, blue lick, epsom, chalybeale, etc. The most fruitful soil of the State is chat of the blue limestone formation—the country about Lexington and toward the Ohio is said to be the garden of the State.

It was not until the middle of the eighteenth century, that the Saxon foot-print was traced in Kentucky. The State was one great huntingground and battle-field for the savages of the North and the South. Among the earliest American explorers were Boone and Knox, and

Filson's Kentucky" in a supplement to “Imlays," 1784; see Collins.

[merged small][ocr errors]

these, after incredible perils, returned to Virginia and Carolina, spreading every where the fame of the back-woods. Then caine Thomas Bullitt, James Harrod and Richard Henderson. The foundation of Boonesboro was laid by Daniel himself, who had brought to the banks of the Kentucky River the first white women-his wife and daughters. Kenton, Calloway and Logan arrived. Kentucky was now made a County of Virginia, and, in 1777, the first court was held at Harrodsburg.

We pass over the bloody stiife with the Indian tribes, the invasion from Canada, of Du Quesne, the expedition of Clark against Vincennes, the perils and the heroism of the Kentuckians, during all of which adventurers were still crowding to their midst. 6. The rich lands of Kentucky." says a chronicle," were the prize of the first occupants, and they rushed to seize them with a rapacity stronger than the fear of death."

In the carly manners of the settlers of Kentucky, there is much that will interest our readers. We have, on another occasion, referred to the peculiarities of border life in the Great West, and shall only add now lo what we have already written-basing ourself upon the authority of “Doddridge's Notes."

The Kentuckian was altogether self-dependent, being excluded from intercourse with his Eastern neighbors. His table furniture was of wood, but never larder furnished better meats and butter, or stimulated keener appetite. With his guest he freely divided. He wore a hunting shirt—sometimes of skins--and a wallet for his provender and ammunition. The tomahawk and scalping-knife adorned his belt. A fur cap, leggins and deer-skin moccasins, completed his costume. His residence was a log cabin without floors, defended by walls, stockades and blockhouses, from the fierce savages. He married young and needed no fortune but his unerring rifle. His wedding was an epoch in the settlement. The ladies flaunted in their linsey petticoats

, brogans and buckskin gloves. The marriage procession was unique. The whisky bottle performed its important part

. The ceremony being performed, dinner followed, and then the dance, reels and jigs, until morning.

“ About nine or ten o'clock, a deputation of young ladies stole off the bride and put her to bed. This done, a deputation of young men, in like manner, stole off the groom and placed him snugly by the side of his bride. The dance still continued, and if seats happened to be scarce, every young man, when not engaged in the dance, was obliged to offer his lap as a seat for one of the girls, and the offer was sure to be accepted. In the midst of this hilarity, the bride and groom were not forgotten. Pretty late in the night some one would remind the company, that the new couple must stand in need of some refreshments ; " black betty,” which was the name of the bottle, was called for and sent up stairs, but often" black betty” did not go alone. Sometimes as much bread, beef, pork and cabbage, were sent along with her, as would afford a good meal for half a dozen hungry men. The young couple were compelled to eat and drink more or less of whatever was offered them.”

Soon the whole neighborhood unite in building for the happy pair the needful log cabin: and thus, as log cabin after log cabin appeared, began the peopling of Kentucky. A race of hunters and yeonnen and freemen sprung from that early stock, whosc epithalamium was sung by wild forests, and whose morning slumbers were cheered by the melody of nature's choristers.

*See Vol. IV, Com. Rev., Art. “GREAT WEST.'

A review of the political history of Kentucky presents but few prominent land-marks. The war of the Revolution closed, but left the Kentuckians in constant fear of an Indian invasion. The citizens assenabled · at Danville, which became afterward famous for Conventions west of the mountains, soon discovered they were without the means of defense, and that a government at Richmond was too far off to be relied upon. Two other Conventions at Danville recommended a peaceable and constitutional separation from Virginia. The third Convention sent a petition to Richmond, and, in 1786, an Act was passed complying with the wishes of Kentucky. This act made some unfortunate provisions which caused great delays, as well as danger to the country. The Kentuckians looked upon the old federal government with great distrusi, as being too weak to defend them from the Indians; and it was notorious, that the New England States, entirely at peace themselves, were desirous, for commercial considerations, to yield up the navigation of the Mississippi for twenty years, to Spain. Congress, from the fear of a standing army, would send no men to protect the frontier from savage warfare. Virginia could give no relief. Can it be wondered, then, that there was a deep feeling in Kentucky of self-defense, which sought a separation by any means, from such a federation, and entirc independence?

A fourth Convention at Danville was attended with no better result than the three others, and Virginia had prolonged the time two years when Kentucky might be independent. To add to the ill-feeling occasioned by this, it was announced that John Jay was actually ceding the navigation of the river. Then were formed committees of correspondence, and the name of Jay was every where odious in the West.

A fifth Convention met, and on petition, a delegate to Congress was allowed by Virginia ; but the Constitution of the United States having been adopted, Congress turned over to the new government all action upon the claims of Kentucky. The whole State was again in a ferment, and, at this early period, the refusal of Congress was attributed, by able minds, to the jealousy of New England of any increase of southern power. This jealousy was expected to continue under the new government.

Taking advantage of such a state of things in the West, Spain proposed clandestinely through her minister, peculiar commercial favors and facilities to Kentucky, if she would erect herself into an independent government. At the very moment of the proposal, Gen. Wilkinson returned from New Orleans, where he had been on a mercantile adventure, with intelligence that he had secured the right of landing, selling and depositing tobacco there. He proposed to purchase all the tobacco, and gave out that Kentucky might command the trade of the river and of the South West, if she would be true to herself and her position. Then were party politics at their height, and the risks to the Union iminent.

A sixth and seventh Convention met at Danville. A separation, by violent means, from Virginia, was proposed. Wilkinson read a manuscript essay upon the navigation of the Mississippi, for which the Con. vention tendered unanimous thanks. Constitutional measures prevailed, and an address by Wilkinson was voted to Congress. An eighth and a ninth Convention assembled, and on the 4th of February, 1791, Kentucky was admitted into the Union.

Indian wars continued frequent on the frontier, and complaints of the

« PreviousContinue »