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arrival she caught one, it not only defended itself stoutly, but by its screams brought several others to its assistance who attacked the cat and whipped her." *
I spent a great part of the night in wishing that I had such a redoubtable cat as Whittington's; for these troublesome rats, by scampering about the cabin and jumping upon my bed, kept me awake several hours. The next morning I proceeded to Madisonville, a small village, where there is a tolerable tavern; and from thence to Greenville, a still smaller village, where the tavern was most execrable.
Most of these villages, throughout the greater part of the division of Kentucky, called the Greenriver Country, are very much upon the decline, and will no doubt shortly cease to exist. They were founded during the late war with Great Britain, and owed their existence, not to any want of villages in these places, but to the unnatural state of things caused by a great war expenditure, by an immense issue of paper money, and by the efforts of speculators to enhance the value of their lands in the neighbourhood. As soon as the war ceased, the great expenditure ceased also, as well as the demand for produce, &c. &c. The currency was also changed from paper to specie, and hence those who had easily borrowed money found it impossible to repay it. This occasioned the ruin of numbers of industrious people, and produced a degree of distress unparalleled in any country, with the exception perhaps of England.
* "To whip," all through the Western States answers to our verb " to beat," and is by the lower class always made use of in that signification; as "The Americans whipped the English at New Orleans;" "1 can whip any man in the country at running;" "A panther will whip half a dozen dogs."
If any one wished to be convinced of the folly, not to say the tyranny, of any government's making great issues of paper money, and then suddenly contracting the currency, he could not fix upon a stronger instance than the State of Kentucky.
In a Republic, where the whole power is in the hands of the people, such mismanagement could never have happened, hail the subject been understood; but unhappily it was not. Hence the State of Kentucky was plunged into such distress, that it was obliged in some degree to violate the constitution of the United States, and to make a currency of i& own. This, though it at first alleviated the distress, which was prodigious, has ultimately proved a bad expedient. When I was in Kentucky, paper was only half the value of specie, and at one time it was only two-fifths of the value. No such a thing as a silver coin of any kind was to be seen in circulation, and notes of 4, 65-, and 12^ cents, formed a substitute for copper.
Any one was at liberty to issue these and numerous other promissory notes below the value of a dollar; and though no one was obliged to take them, yet from the total want of small change they were seldom refused. Hence notes were issued by some individuals who were absolutely worth nothing; a fraud soon discovered, and inca* pable of being carried to any great extent, but which nevertheless from the frequency of its occurrence was very injurious to the public.
I myself, in common with other travellers, suffered so much by these notes, that, in order to avoid taking them, I was obliged to cut a silver dollar, into quarters, and even into eighths; a practice so common in the Western States, that the cut-money, as it was called, was the only change that could be had in Missouri. Here again a dexterous person easily committed a fraud, as it was by no means uncommon to cut a dollar into five quarters, or nine-eighths, if I may be allowed such expressions. Of course, the difference between an eighth and a ninth could not be perceived without a good deal of examination.
The road from the Diamond Island to Greenville, a distance of about sixty-five miles, passes through a tract of apparently fertile country; but which is thinly settled, and, like many portions of Kentucky, does not appear to be much improving; partly because slavery is permitted, and partly because there is great difficulty in obtaining satisfactory titles to lands.
Leaving Greenville, I took the road to Morgantown, but had not proceeded more than fourteen miles before my horse cut his foot, and as I was afraid he would be lamed if I continued my journey, I stopped at a large farm-house belonging to a Mr. Rhoades. My host had a fine family of children, several of them grown up. Mrs. Rhoades was a perfect model of a farmer's wife. Indeed American women, throughout all the backwoods, are the most industrious females I have ever seen in any country. I had often remarked this; but never till I came to Mr. Rhoades's had I so good an opportunity of learning the minutiae of their employments.
Besides the labour of cooking, cleaning the house, &c. the American farmer's wife makes every article of clothing for her whole family. The men wear a sort of coarse cloth made of cotton and wool. The cotton is grown upon the farm, is picked, spun, weaved, dyed with the indigo that also grows on the farm, cut up, and made into clothes by the female part of the family. The wool of their own sheep furnishes materials for the mixed cloth, stockings, &c. All the linen for shirts, sheets, and towels, is also made at home from their own flax.
I was quite surprised to see the activity and industry of my hostess. Directly after breakfast, which was on the table every morning at sunrise, she and her two daughters commenced their daily occupations of spinning, &c. One of the girls was engaged in making an entirely new suit of clothes for her father and eldest brother, from some of the cloth that had been just finished. The other, with her mother, was busily employed in spinning, as a black servant girl was in weaving. At the close of the day, after supper, the whole party sat round the fire employed in picking the seeds from the raw cotton.
The old woman was very talkative and goodhumoured, and related to me some very curious anecdotes of their first settling in Kentucky, which happened soon after it was discovered, and at the time when the Indians used to be troublesome. Old Mr. Rhoades, who, in early life, had been a great and skilful hunter, had also numerous interesting stories of the savage foe, and of the dangers incurred when following the buffalo and elk. These anecdotes were every now and then broken in upon, by a good-natured laugh, at my awkwardness in picking cotton; for although I took some pains to learn the art, I made but a bad hand at it, picking but a small quantity, and that at the expense of making my fingers very sore. The chief produce of this farm was Indian corn and oats. Wheat, throughout the whole of this part of the country, does not grow well, and after it is got in, is nearly always destroyed by the weevil. Mr. Rhoades, the year before, had had a pretty good crop, but it was very much injured by this destructive insect.
I remained nearly a week at this comfortable