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from Louisiana and the Floridas, * amounted to 1,576,933 pounds, t In 1809, the exports were, cotton, 3500 bales; sugar, 12,000 barrels; tobacco, 3000; flour, 250,000.
* When the Floridas belonged to Great Britain, the commodities transported to Pensacola, the capital of West Florida, amounted to L. 97,000; those exported from Pensacola to Great Britain to 63,000. See the American Traveller, London, 1769. f See Jefferson's Report on the Productions of this country.
Masts and spars.
The exports of this state, says the author of the Western Gazetteer, already exceed those of all the New England states, by more than 150,000 dollars a-year. Between 300 and 400 sea vessels arrive and depart annually; 9-37 vessels of all denominations departed during the year 1816, from the Bayou St John, a port of delivery in the district of Mississippi. The tonnage of these vessels is calculated at 16,000 tons; they are chiefly employed in carrying the produce of that part of the Floridas belonging to the United States, consisting of barks, coals, cotton, corn, furs, hides, pitch, planks, rosin, skins, tar, timber, turpentine, sand, shells, lime, &c. The produce received at this city from the upper country is immense, 594 flatbottomed boats, and 300 barges, have arrived within the last year from the western states and territories. The quantity of sugar made on the Mississippi alone, is estimated by a late writer at 10,000,000 of pounds; 20,000 bales of cotton were exported in 1812.
Canals.—The Carondelet canal, twenty feet in width, runs from a basin behind the charity hospital of New Orleans to St John's creek, a distance of two miles. This creek, which rises in a swamp, south'west of New Orleans, meanders six miles in a northern dU rection, to Lake Ponchartrain, to the north of New Orleans; it is from sixty to eighty feet wide, and is navigable to its mouth for sloops and schooners drawing six or eight feet water. The produce of the country beyond the Lake Ponchartrain is carried up this creek and through the canal to New Orleans, a shorter route, and much cheaper than by the waggon road. It would be of great importance to deepen this channel, and extend it to the city. Lafourche canal extends from the left bank of the river of the same name, sixteen miles from Donaldsonville, to a creek or bayou which communicates with LakeVerret. The level surface of the Delta of the Mississippi, and the abundant supply of water, present great facilities for inland navigation, which will undoubtedly be extended and improved as the population increases. The Mississippi and its various outlets afford navigation at present for vessels of considerable size. The common progress of a boat ascending this river is five leagues per day. The passage from the Balize, or mouth of the river, to the city, is from five to thirty days, depending on the direction of the wind. An instance is mentioned of a Hamburgh vessel, which, after a passage of sixty-five days from Europe, was seventy-six in ascending to New Orleans. The usual time for a voyage from Natchitoches to New Orleans, and back to the former place, is from thirty to forty days. The Mississippi is sixty feet deep as high as Natchez, but the greatest depth of water in the channel on the bar is seventeen feet. In spring, when the waters are high, the current runs at the rate of four miles an
hour; when low, it is about two miles according to. some accounts, but Mr Darby states, that it does not exceed one.
Harbours.—Below Madisonville, on the right bank of the Chefuncti river, two miles from its entrance into Lake Ponchartrain, there is a good harbour for building and repairing vessels. In 1812, a light frigate was built here for the defence of the lakes. It is twenty-six miles south-cast of New Orleans, and persons travelling thence to Natchez by the lake go ashore at this place. The Bayou St John is a port of delivery. Vessels may unload there, or at the basin of the canal Carondelet.
Roads.—Except along the levee, or bank of the Mississippi, no road has yet been opened; the communication is chiefly by water. There is a kind of road leading from Natchitoches by the Sabine river to Nagodoches and San Antonio. It is proposed to establish a line of mail stages from Lexington in Kentucky to New Orleans.
History.—The existence of the Mississippi was first made known to the French colonists in Canada, by the Indians, about 1660. In the year 1680, De la Salle, in hopes of finding an easy route to the Southern Ocean, by this great river, passed down the Illinois, and descended with some of his party to the Mexican Gulf; while Father Hennepin, a Franciscan friar, Ducan, and others, ascended 300 leagues to the falls of St.; Anthony, by the Ohio. The former took possession of the country in the name of his king; and returning to Montreal, he proceeded to France to solicit his permission to enter the Mississippi by sea. Encouraged in this enterprise, he sailed for the Gulf of Mexico, but, owing to the low situation of the coast and strength of the current, he was carried considerably to the west of this river, and disembarked at the mouth of the Guadaloupe, in the bay of St Bernard, in the year 1684. He planted the French standard on the river Colorado, or the Aux Cannes, and shortly after fell a victim to the perfidy of his men; * but some of his companions returned to Canada.
In the year 1696 the Spaniards, jealous of the discoveries of the French, established Pensacola, to the east of the river Perdido. The first who entered the Mississippi by sea was Le Moine d'Hibberville, a Canadian naval officer of great reputation, who, in 1699, laid the foundation of the first colony at Biloxi. In order to people the country there were sent from France a number of young women, and soldiers who had been labourers ; who received grants of land, and were provided with cattle, poultry, and grain. The colony was transferred in 1702 from Biloxi to the Isle of Dauphin, but did not prosper, t In 1708 new colonists were sent from France under the direction of the
* See Joutels's Narrative, and the Maps of Delisle and other geographers, on which his road is traced.
•J- Jefferys, in his history of the discovery and settlement of this country, states, that, in 1654, the river Mississippi was discovered by Colonel Wood, who spent ten years in ascertaining its course; also by Captain Bolt in 1670; and in 1698, by Dr Coxe of New Jersey, who ascended the stream 100 miles, and took possession of the country under the name of Carolana.
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