Page images

covered with magnificent forest trees; but the inhabitants, guiltless of any taste for the picturesque, were rapidly extirpating them. An American has no idea that any one can admire trees or wooded ground. To him a country well cleared, that is where every stick is cut down, seems the only one that is beautiful or worthy of admiration.

All the land in the immediate neighbourhood of Cincinnati is without a tree upon it. This is the case with all American towns; which consequently have an appearance of nakedness and coldness that forcibly strikes an Englishman, particularly as before arriving at them, he must have passed through immense forests. When the Americans improve in taste, this indiscriminate destruction of the fine trees will be regretted, for it will take centuries to replace them. .. ..

On a hill to the left of the town, and fronting the river, two or three of the old gigantic planes, stretching their long white arms towards the clouds, were still left untouched. I measured one of them at five feet from the ground, and found it upwards of nineteen feet in circumference. Their great height is not less remarkable than their girth, particularly as they grow up like immense columns, not separating into limbs till at a great distance from the ground. I know not what the opinion of the reader may be, but for my part I always look with a sort of veneration at such vast productions of nature; and, I think, that where they can be ornamental, it is little less than sacrilege to destroy them. Nevertheless, as I was informed by a friend of mine who went round with me, these giants of the forest will in a short time be cut down, for fire-wood.

The Museum at Cincinnati, though small, is very interesting to a lover of natural history. All the specimens are very neatly arranged. I remarked, among a great many remains of the mammoth, one most superb tusk eight feet and a half long, of astonishing thickness, and in an admirable state of preservation. Among a great variety of fossils, of which there is a fine collection, was a large and most beautiful specimen of the precious opal, formed in a piece of petrified wood.'

Mr. D'Orfeuil, one of the proprietors of the Mu seum, has been engaged in some researches on Parasitical insects. He possesses a most powerful microscope, and has made a vast number of most beautiful coloured drawings; I never indeed have seen insects so well painted. The work would be too expensive to publish in America, even if artists could be found capable of engraving the drawings; but it is a great pity that so curious a work should not be made public. Mr. D'Orfeuil has found parasitical insects on every caterpillar, butterfly, beetle, &c. &c., which he has examined; and the reader will perhaps find some consolation, in being informed, that every flea that bites him, is, in all probability, suffering himself from some little tonnenter.

The college is tolerably built, but is not likely to be well attended until better regulations are established. I was present at a lecture, and was much shocked at the want of decorum exhibited by the students, who sat down in their plaids and cloaks, and were constantly spitting tobacco-juice about the room.

While I was at Cincinnati, a public ball wa9 given at the principal hotel. It was managed by a certain number of patrons, chosen for that purpose, and no person was admitted unless he had received an invitation from one of them. As I was anxious to see how such affairs were conducted in the Western States, I felt much obliged to the politeness of a young lawyer who procured me an invitation. I must confess I was much surprised to find every thing so well arranged. The ball-room was very spacious, and the music tolerably good. Nearly 100 persons were present; and the beauty of some of the ladies could hardly have been excelled in Europe.

The dances were entirely cotillons: indeed Scarcely any thing else is danced throughout the United States. A very handsome supper, which was well served up, terminated the entertainment.



I Quitted Cincinnati with regret, as I had been introduced to some very pleasant young men, from whom I received a great deal of kindness and attention.

Having left my own horse at Louisville, I hired another, and crossing the river into the State of Kentucky, took the road to Big Bone Lick. This celebrated spot is situated on a small stream that runs into the Ohio, and is fifty miles distant by water, and twenty-one by land, from Cincinnati. The road to it is through a wild and wooded country; though, indeed, I ought rather to call it pathway than road, for it is very narrow, and in many places somewhat difficult to find, as it is crossed by several others. The lick, or spring, is situated at the bottom of a natural basin, through which runs the little stream, called Big Bone Creek. The hills forming this basin are high, and covered with forest. The disagreeable smell emitted by the water is very sensibly perceived at a great distance. The following is from an account of it published by Dr. Drake of Cincinnati.

"The waters of Big Bone hold in solution, besides common salt, the muriate of lime, sulphate of soda, and a few other salts of less activity, but no iron. They afford a great quantity of sulphurated hydrogen gas, which is constantly escaping in bubbles. From their effects on sulphates of copper, they appear obviously to contain a certain portion of gallic acid, which is no doubt furnished by the vegetable matter, through which the waters rise. The springs are situated near the termination of the back-water of the Ohio, and consequently at a point, where great quantities of twigs and leaves, (most of which, from the nature of the surrounding forests, are of oak,) are brought down by the current and deposited. The temperature of the water is 57°; the taste and smell sulphureous, and very offensive.":

The bottom, whence the spring rises, is covered with a thin coat of marie, beneath which is a bed of very stiff adhesive blue clay. In this blue clay are found the bones of the mammoth, mixed with an innumerable quantity of the bones and teeth of deer, of elk, and of a very large species of ox. The skull of this last animal differs somewhat from that of the bison, or, as it is erroneously called, the buffalo, an animal which, in fact, does not exist anywhere in the whole continent of America. Herds of these bisons, as also of elk,* could be seen not forty years ago in Kentucky; and prodigious numbers of them still range in the prairies of the Mis

* Some of these animals, which are very common, I have seen exhibited in London, under the ridiculous name of the Wapeti.


« PreviousContinue »