Page images

are generally from 10 to 60 tons burden. The amount of ship, ping in 1319 was 600 tons. The merchant" supply themselves with European goods mostly from the city of New-York. The goods are transported by land In Buffalo, and thence % water to Detroit; but the revenue is defrauded to a considerable amount by smuggling carried on from the neighboring proviuce of Upper Canada.

Islands.] There are numerous islands belonging to this territory, in lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior. Grand isle is near the southern coast of lake Superior, between 86° and 87° W. Ion. more than 10J miles from the eastern extremity of the lake. The island is celebrated for its fine harbor, which is said to be the most capacious, deep and completely land-locked of any in America. The St. Martin's islands lie about 10 miles northeast of Michilliniackinac, and are uoted chielly for gypsum of a fine quality, which has been recently discovered u[iWi them. The specimens, it is said, bear a greater resemblance to the Nova Scotia gypsum, than any of the numerous beds hitherto discovered in N»w-York, and other states of the Union. The quantity as far as can be judged from appearances, is inexhaustible.

Pictured Rocks.] The Pictured rocks are a series of lofty bluffs, which extend along the southern shore of lake Superior, immediately east of Grand isle. They consist of a surprising group of overhanging precipices, towering walls, caverns, water falls, and ruins, which are here mingled together, and burst upon the view in ever-varying succession. The rock of which this part of the shore is composed rises to the height of 300 feet in a perpendicular wall-from the water. It is made up of coarse grains ol sand, united by a calcareous cement, and occasionally imbedding pebbles of quart/. Externally, it presents a great variety of color, as black, red, yellow, brown, and white ; which is owing partly to mineral waters that have oozed out of the crevices of the rock, but mainly, to the washing down of colored clay from the superincumbent soil. This stupendous wall of rock, exposed to the fury of the waves, which are driven up by every north wind across the whole width of lake Superior, has hegn partially prostrated at several ponils, and worn out into numerous bays, caverns and irregular indentations, which, at a distance, present the appearance of dilapidated battlements and desolate towers.

Among many striking objects in this assemblage of grand and picturesque scenery, two arc worthy of particular admiration, the Cascade La Portaille, and the Doric Arch. The Cascade is a handsome stream, which is precipitated about 70 feet from the bluff into the lake, at one leap. Its form is that of a rainbow, rising from the lake to the top of the precipice ; and it strikes the water at such a distance from the shore that boats can easily pas» between. The Doric rock is an isolated mass of sandstone, consisting of four natural pillars, supporting an entablature of the same material, and presenting the appearance of a work of art. On the top of this entablature rests a stratum of alluvial soil, covered with a handsome growth of pine and spruce trees, some of which appear to be 50 or 60 feet in height. " To add to the artificial appearance of the scene, that part of the entablature included between the pillars is excavated in the form of a common arch, giving it very much the appearance of a vaulted passage into the court-yard of some massy pile of antiquated buildings.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Situation and Ertent.] This territory is bounded N. by the boundary line between the United States and the British possessions; E. by Michigan territory; S. by the state of Illinois, and W. by the Mississippi. It extends from 42° 30' to 49° N. lat. and contains about 140,000 square miles. The Northwest Territory has no existence in law, but is incorporated with the government of Michigan, and constitutes the county of Crawford, which has been already mentioned under the divisions of that territory. Lakes and Bays 1 Lake Superior, the largest lake in North America. and supposed to be the largest body of fresh water on the globe, lies on the boundary line between the United States and the British possessions. Its greatest length from east to west is 490 miles, and its circumference 1700. The country on the north and east of the lake is said to be mountainous and barren, and the coasts are an embankment of rock from 300 to 1,500 feet high. The southern coast is very elevated, in some places sandy, but generally rocky and sterile. The lake is dangerous of navigation, being subject to fogs, mists and storms, which often prove disastrous to canoes. The principal bays are Fond du Lac, at the western extremity of the lake; Chegoimegon bay, which is separated by a peninsula from the Fond du Lac, and affords a fine harbor; and Keweena bay, an extensive body of water, on the east side of a promontory, which extends 45 miles into the lake from the middle of the southern shore. Sandy lake is a small lake, about 12 miles in circumference, in the western part of the territory, near lat. 47° 10' N. and lon. 94° W. It communicates with the Mississippi through Sandy lake river, which is 2 miles long,30 yards wide at its mouth, and boatable. On the south shore of the lake, near its outlet, is a fort occupied by the American S. W. Fur company. Spirit lake, 12 miles long and 4 wide, lies two days journey south of Sandy lake. The Mississippi, near its source, passes through Cassina or Upper Red Cedar lake, lake Winnipec, and several smaller bodies of water, which may be regarded as mere expansions of the river. Rivers. The Mississippi forms the western boundary. Its principal tributaries from this territory are, 1. Sandy lake river, which forms the outlet of Sandy lake. 2. The Mississagaiegon, which forms the outlet of Spirit lake, and runs into the Mississippi, a short distance above the falls of St. Anthony- 3. Sv Croix river, which joins the Mississippi a little below the falls of St. Anthony, after a southerly course of several hundred miles.'

4. The Chippcwny, which enters it in 43° 45'N. lat. 5. The Ouisconsin is a large river which rises near (he centre of the territory, and running at first in a southerly and afterwards in a westerly direction, joins the Mississippi at Prarie du Chien, near the S.W extremity of the territory. It is a rapid river, but is navigable for boals 150 miles.

Fox river is a large stream, which falls into the S. W. end of Green bay, after running in a westerly direction for several hundred miles. In one part of its course it approaches within two miles of Onisconsin river, and the portage between them is over a level prairie. Both streams are navigable to the portage for boats. The Menomonee rons into Green bay, 60 miles north of the mouth of Fox river.

The principal rivers which run into lake Superior from this territory, are, 1. St. Louis river, which discharges itself into Fond du Lac bay at the extreme western point »of the lake. 2. The Bois Brule, which rises aear the sources of the St. Croix, and running in a northerly direction falls into Fond du Lac bay. It is navigable 80 miles. 3. Mauvait river, which discharges itself a few miles east of Chegoimegon bay. It is navigable for canoes 100 miles. 4. Montreal river, which enters the lake 12 miles east of the Mauvais, interlocks with the Chippewaj and Ouisconsin, but the connection is interrupted by long portages.

5. The Ontonagon, which discharges itself near Ion. 89° W. after a northerly course of 120 miles. It is navigable only 36 miles onaccount of the rapids.

Inland Communication.] One of the best and most frequented routes of communication between the great lakes and the Mississippi, is through the Fox and Ouisconsin rivers. The Ouisconsin is ascended in canoes 90 miles above the portage, and is also connected by short portages with the Ontonagon and Montreal river* of lake Superior. A communication is also maintained between lake Snperior and the Mississippi by means of St. Louis river, which at one place approaches very near Savannah river, a small stream that discharges itself into Sandy lake.

Face of the Country, Soil and Productions] This territory ha* been very imperfectly explored; but the alluvial bottoms on it* rivers, wherever they have been examined, are said to be as rich as those of Ohio and Michigan. The lands on Fox river particularly, •re spoken of as remarkably good. The most remarkable vegetable production is the wild rice, a productive and highly valuable aquatic plant, with which the lakes, rivers and bays generally abound. It grows in water of from 4 to 7 feet deep. When it is ripe the Indians pass through it in their canoes, lined with blankets, and bending the stalk» over the sides, beat nflTthe grain with sticks; and such is the abundance of the harvest, that an expert* *da n will soon fill a canoe.

Settlements.] Prairie du Chien is a settlement on the Mississippi, 3 miles above the mouth of the Ouisconsin. It was originally formed by the French, who intermarried with the Indians, and the present inhabitants, amounting to between 300 and 400, are almost entirely of mixed blood. Above the settlement stands fort Crawford, which is strong and well garrisoned. The American S. W. Fur company have an establishment on the south shore of Sandy lake; another on St. Croix river, 100 leagues from its mouth : and another on St. Louis river, 21 miles from its entrance into lake Superior.

Indians.] The principal tribes of Indians in this territory are the Chippeways, the Winnebagoes, and the Menomonees. The Chippeways are not confined to this territory, but consist of numerous petty bands, scattered over the immense region from Detroit to the sources of the Mississippi. Their whole number is esti- . mated at more than 11,000, about one half of whom are in this territory. They are almost constantly at war with the Sioux, who live west of the Mississippi. The Winnebagoes live in the southern part of the territory, on Fox river and the Ouisconsin. Their number is nearly 6,000. The Menononees are nearly 4,000 in number, and live principally on the west side of Green bay, along Menomonee river, and on Fox river in the lower part of its course. The whole number of Indians in the N. W. territory is estimated at 18,000.

Copper Mines.) The southern coast of lake Superior yields iron, lead and various other metals, but particularly copper. On the banks of the river Ontonagon large masses of this metal are found in a pure state, and from the appearances of the surrounding country there is little doubt that extensive copper mines exist in the vicinity. The largest mass examined by Mr. Schoolcraft weighed, according to his estimate, 2,200 lbs. and is said to be the largest piece of pure native copper in the world.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Situation and Extent.] Missouri territory is bounded N. by the British dominions; E. by the N. W. territory and the states of Illinois and Missouri; S. by Arkansas territory ; S. W. by the Spanish dominions; and W. by the Rocky mountains. The area is estimated at 800,000 square miles.

Rivers.) The Mississippi forms the eastern boundary. Its principal tributaries from this territory, are St. Peter's river and the river Des Moines.—The Missouri pursues a circuitous course through the heart of the territory. Its principal tributaries are, the Yellowstone, the Platte and the Kansas. All these rivers have been described. See pages 70, 71 and 72.


Face of the Country and Soil.] Taking (he whole country/ together, it may be pronounced an extensive region of open plain* and meadows, interspersed with barren hills. It is almost destitute of woods, except in the neighborhood of streams, and inmost parts can scarcely be said to admit of settlement. The tracts lying immediately on the great rivers constitute the most valuable parts. The banks of the Mississippi afford suitable situations for settlements as high up as the falls of St. Anthony, and the country watered by the Yellowstone and its branches is said to be at fertile and extensive as the valley of the Ohio, and capable of supporting as numerous a population.

Animals.] Buffaloes and other wild animals wander in immense herds over almost every part of the territory; but particularly on the banks of the Arkansas and Missouri, which are regarded a* the paradise of hunters.

Indians.] This territory is inhabited, except at a few military posts, exclusively by Indians. The tribes best known to n* are the Sioux, Osages and Fox Indians. The Sioux are the most powerful tribe in North America. They inhabit, with trifling exceptions, all the country between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, south of the parallel of 46° N. lat Their coontry als ' includes large tracts south of the Missouri and east of the Mississippi. They are brave, spirited and generous, with proud notions of their origin, and of their superiority as hunters and warriors. Their number has been estimated at 22,000. They are almost constantly at war with the Chippeways. The Otagu live principally in this tenitory, but partly in Arkansas. Those in t hi- territory are called Osages of the Missouri, and are divided into Great and Little Osages. Tbey live in two separate villages, which are 6 miles apart, on Osage river, about 360 miles above its junction with the Missouri, in lat- 37° N. and Ion. 96° •10' W Their whole number is estimated at G.OOO, of whnrn about 4,000 are Great Osages, and 2,000 Little Osages. The distinction between them is merely nominal, as they form parts of one nation. The F'tx Indians are a small but warlike tribe, on both sides of the Mississippi, betweeq the Ouisconsin and Kock rivers. Within their territory ar* Dubuque's lead mines which are considered as the richest yet found in the United States. They are oti th« west side of the river, 75 miles below Prairie du Chien, and are at present wrougbi exclusively by the Indians,

Military pojti] In 1805 the government of the United State* purchased of the Indians a tract of land around the falls of St. Anthonv, 9 miles square j and in 1813, 300 soldiers were sent to occupy it as a military position. A fort has been erected on a high bluff within this tract at the junction of the river St. Petert with th- Mississippi, a spot which commands the navigation of both rivers, and appears capable of being rendered impregnable with little expense. As a military position it is of great importance, being <u the neighborhood of many powerful Indian tribes, who bave heretofore been under the exclusive influence of the British companies. The garrison will have a ready access into the

« PreviousContinue »