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To see the short space of time in which a Backwoodsman can cut down the largest tree, and the power he has of making it fall in whatever direction he pleases, astonishes a foreigner, who must labour for years in order to attain the same skill.
Now as the roads in a great part of the United States run through forests, a small party of Backwoodsmen, by felling trees on each side of the road, and causing them to fall in a slanting direction, with their tops towards the advancing foe, is enabled in a short time to form an almost impenetrable barrier. A whole host of pioneers could scarely clear away this, even if they had plenty of time, and were not liable to be harassed by such accomplished "Bush-fighters." *
A custom much to be blamed among the better class in the Western States, is that of wearing concealed weapons. So common is it to carry a dirk hid in the breast, that a Student of the Transylvanian College, Lexington, informed me that it was the practice of many of his fellow collegians. Fatal accidents are thus often occasioned; as a man when angry, is enabled, by means of the weapon he carries, to commit an act of which he may repent all the rest of his life. All the country is however advancing in improvement and civilization, with such rapid steps* that this custom Will* no douht, very shortly disappear.
* This is a term made use of by the Americans, when in their battles with the Indians they are obliged to run from tree to tree, taking care as they advance, to cover themselves from the deadly aim of their enemies.
It now only remains for me to say, upon the subject of the Western States, what is the best manner in which any one of my countrymen can travel here. I must of course premise, that I do not address myself to a person unprepared to submit to a little hardship and a few privationsj If you are not prepared for this you should always keep on the Eastern side of the Alleghanies, and not attempt to travel further than Washington. If however you can make up your mind to a little fatigue, you will be amply repaid for your trouble, by visiting a curious and very interesting country.
Before leaving Washington* or upon arriving at the Ohio, you should provide yourself With a good horse, willingly adding twenty Or thirty dollars to the ordinary price, in order to be well mounted. You should particularly recollect, to ascertain by actual experiment, whether the animal be a good swimmer, and will take the water readily. Besides a great coat, and a pair of saddle-bags to contain a few changes of linen, you should take with you two strong blankets of moderate size and sufficient thickness. One of these folded square can be put beneath the saddle, as a saddle-cloth; and the other being placed above the saddle, and fastened with a surcingle, will not be unpleasant to ride upon. You will often prefer sleeping upon the floor* wrapped up in these blankets, to getting into the dirty bed that will be offered you, or sharing a clean bed with some stranger; You will also find them very useful if you sleep out in the woods, which will frequently be the case, if you proceed beyond the Mississippi, or amuse yourself much with hunting. In fine weather it is not unpleasant to sleep out, and sometimes preferable to remaining for the night in the dirty cabins of the settlers.
Your money should consist entirely in United States Bank notes, of ten or five dollars each. These you can always change for silver, of which you should carry ten or fifteen dollars with you at a time, in small coin, such as quarter dollars, and ten cent, pieces. By following this plan you will avoid the necessity of taking local notes and other money, which, from its limited currency, is often left upon one's hands without the possibility of changing it. You can fasten the purse, containing the greater part of the United States Bank notes, round your body under your waistcoat, or in any other place where you cannot lose them, which would of course be a very inconvenient accident.
The best time for setting out on the journey is the spring. Even winter is preferable to autumn and to the latter end of summer, which are in general very unhealthy throughout all the Western Country, and which therefore you .would do well to spend in the Northern States, or in Canada, or in any part of America that is mountainous.
If you are fond of wild hunting, you will be very much amused by going out with the Backwoodsmen. The best part of the country for hunting expeditions is in the neighbourhood of the great Lakes, where game of all kinds is very plentiful, and where you would at the same time have an opportunity of seeing a great deal of the native Indians, and if a naturalist, of collecting specimens for the illustration of Zoology.
I conclude my advice to the traveller by bidding him keep in mind, what some persons are too proud to recollect, that good temper, and a willingness to conform to the customs of the country, are particularly necessary in America.
THE RETURN OF SPRING HORSE-RACE AT LONG ISLANDNEW YORK.
I Took a last farewell of the Ohio at Wheeling, and retraced my steps towards Washington, along the great national road. As I was now on horseback, I had a much better opportunity of seeing the beauties of the scenery, than when I before went the same road in the stage. The day I crossed the Laurel mountain was remarkably fine, and the view from the summit delightful. Indeed after journeying through interminable forests, I felt my mind as it were expanded, at seeing the blue expanse resting on the earth, instead of being shut in by a constant barrier of gigantic trees.
After crossing the Alleghanies and proceeding towards the East, one cannot but remark how the timber decreases in size. I well recollect indeed the disappointment I experienced, when at my first arrival in America, I found the trees so much smaller than I had expected; for till I went into the Western States, I saw none larger than those which are to be met with in the generality of the parks of English gentlemen.
On arriving at Washington I parted with my horse, and that with no small regret; for he had carried me 1500 miles without being either sick or