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occasionally, when he was unable to produce sufficient for himself.
Chapter XII. treats of the internal improvement of our country, its canals and rail-roads. On this subject we have no time now to enter, for it is a mighty theme, full of interest in its present extent. and teeming with golden visions for the future; it demands therefore more ample room and a less tired pen than ours. We commend the subject in all its bearings to one whom, before closing, we would name as the fittest man in the United States to carry out the scheme which we have already hinted at, of a great national work on the statistics of our country. To the clear head and comprehensive mind of Mr. Gallatin we are already deeply indebted, in almost every question connected with the commerce, currency, and financial resources of the country; and few if any can be named in it who unite to enlarged views such an accurate knowledge of detail, combining practice with science, and a wide experience with an intimate knowledge of principles; and when we add to all this, that he has been our negotiator in almost every controverted question with foreign nations, touching either boundaries or trade-we venture thus publicly to ask, whether his peculiar fitness for the task does not give us a right to call upon him to undertake it. We trust that he will so regard it-at any rate, that it may be received as our apology for the suggestion.
A History of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. By Mann Bur
LER, A. M. Louisville, Kentucky: 1834.
The promise to subscribers was, that the work should be embraced in one
* Documents not found in the Appendix, are promised on pages 178, 179, 195,
which is not however pure Attic. “The path of sub-independence," mentioned on page 180, as having been first travelled by the statesmen of Kentucky, must have been doubly difficult, from being, as we are told it was, a wilderness !—a sentence both sub-obscure and sub-absurd. It may be a matter of doubt how many of the plain citizens, for whose benefit this history was indicted, will know what is meant by calling the first and long-repealed constitution one of “their political muni. ments.”
“A golden commentary on a diamond text” is much too oriental for the west. Overpowering indignation should have flashed Sebastian's own abandonment of his duty home to his conscience," p. 249, is amazingly splendid. Our author's favourite hero is General George R. Clarke, in a portrait of whom the title-page rejoices. No terms are sufficiently magnificent to express Mr. Butler's admiration of this warrior. On page 80 it is said—“With the promptitude inspired by his eminent genius for war, our daring commander determined, like his most appropriate original, the great Hannibal,” to march against St. Vincents--which had eighty men in garrison and some swivels mounted! Throughout the book, are numerous passages, that would receive the unmingled plaudits of a patriotic audience on the Fouth of July, but are somewhat incongruous in their present situation. The greatest fault, however, with which the book is to be charged, is the obscurity of many parts. Who can understand the involutions of the paragraph on page 264, beginning “The expediency, "&c.? Such is the manner in which too large a portion of the book is written, unfitting it especially for the class of readers whom it is most likely to attract. Fortunately, however, the narrative portions are the most free from this defect.
After so much fault-finding it is pleasant to commend, and we can do so most emphatically with respect to Mr. Butler's remarks on many points, regarding which error is too prevalent and very mischievous. In a work intended for popular use, and likely to be read by those who do not read much, it is gratifying to find a stand made against popular prejudices. The spirit of the following remarks is worthy of all praise.
“ It has been remarked, that about this time the changes in the wealth and property of society in Kentucky began to be more strikingly obvious. The distance between the extremes of property became more marked. Such are the inevitable operations of unequal exertions, talents, and opportunities in any community where industry and enterprise are, as they ought to be, free to exert themselves, and where they are secured in their acquisitions, when they have made them. Nor can there be a doctrine more fatal to the prosperity of a well ordered society than any outcry of aristocracy, which, under a false and pretended denunciation of wealth, whether directly or indirectly the reward of merit, undermines the security and the reputableness of property, which are the very roots of the greatest social blessings.” “The huc and cry of aristocracy against the rewards of industrious enterprise or its descendants, ought to be suspected and frowned upon by an orderly and intelligent people, who wish to preserve the foundations of the social fabric uninjured; and to maintain that decent and temperate love of property, without which liberty would have little to struggle for and less to enjoy. Yet the badge of aristocrat, which so easily fastens to a prosperous man, not too courteous in his manners or remarkable for his conciliatory demeanour, soon consigns him to perpetual obscurity; it is the ostracism of Kentucky, perhaps of the United States, without any removal from the soil.” P. 294.
It is a remarkable fact, that as far back as the earliest records go, which we have of Kentucky, it has not been in the possession of any tribe of Indians.
só Within the personal knowledge of our countrymen, since the war of 1755 Ken. tucky has not been in the occupancy of any tribe. There are indeed through it, as all over the western country, indications of a race of people having existed, much
more advanced in the arts than the tribes known to us, but whose history is but a tissue of faint and disjointed conjectures, like that of innumerable tribes all over the globe, who have been destitute of letters and the use of the metals. The villages of Indians known to have been nearest to Kentucky, were on the Scioto and the Miamis of the Ohio in the north, and on the waters of the Tennessee river in the south. From these points the various war and hunting parties issued, to engage in the one or the other pursuits, as the passions or the opportunities of their expeditions might lead. Here the Chickasaws and Cherokees of the south used to engage with various tribes of the Miami confederacy-here they indulged their passions for hunting, in the profusion of game afforded by Kentucky. So much was this ground exempted from settlement, that on neither the Ohio nor the lower Tennessee are any Indian towns known to have been settled. Yet no situations have generally delighted savage tribes so much as the margins of water courses; the opportunities of navigation and of fishing unite to attract them to such spots. Accordingly, the banks of most of our western rivers, excepting those of Kentucky, (although they abounded in game and in salt licks,) were found occupied by the native tribes of the forests." P. 9.
The fertility of the central portions of Kentucky is well known. At the first arrival of the whites, these regions were covered with the densest cane-brake, ten or sixteen feet high. Game was so abundant, as to excite the astonishment, almost the rapture of the pioneers, who, hunters as they were, thought a country that abounded in buffalos, the richest and happiest on which the sun shines. At present, however, not a buffalo remains in the state; and the cane-brake is extirpated, except in some obscure corner, to which there is access for neither plough nor cattle. In the leaves of the cane, the horses and live stock of the first settlers found an abundant supply of the richest food, that failed them neither winter nor summer.
The first log-cabin in Kentucky was built by James Harrod in 1774, on the present site of Harrodsburg. This, however, was not the beginning of a permanent residence, for both Harrod and the other early explorers of Kentucky, were compelled to withdraw from the state in consequence of the hostilities of the Indians.
the first fort was built in 1775, at Boonesborough, on the Kentucky river. Fortified settlements were called stations, and soon became numerous.
“A fort, in these rude military times, consisted of pieces of timber sharpened at the end and firmly lodged in the ground; rows of these pickets enclosed the desired space, which embraced the cabins of the inhabitants. A block-house or more, of superior care and strength, commanding the sides of the fort, with or without a ditch, completed the fortifications. Generally the sides of the interior cabins formed the sides of the forts." P. 28.
We have received from one of the first settlers an account of the hut inhabited by himself, and several others of his party, for the first year or two after his arrival. It was formed of long logs, which, instead of being piled on each other, were placed one end on the ground, and the other ends supporting each other; the hut was, consequently, of a conical form. Furniture they had none, except what they had themselves roughly formed of logs and skins. The cabin had no floor. They raised a crop of corn, a part working while the others were procuring food for the community by the chase.
Notwithstanding these difficulties, the population of the state continued to increase. A memorable event in its history, is the first visit of George Rogers Clarke of Vir. ginia. He was well adapted to take a leading part in the scenes of gallant adventure, in which the times abounded. Through his instrumentality, in defiance of a powerful resistance, the county of Kentucky was established by the legislature of Virginia, embracing the present limits of the state. To him the commonwealth owes its first political organization. In Indian warfare, Clarke's talents were promi
After the peace,
nent, and they were often honourably tried in expeditions undertaken by a handful of Kentuckians, against the Indians on the north side of the Ohio. These campaigns were highly brilliant, and in this volume the account of them is for the first time submitted to the public.
The years 1777–8, were an eventful period for Kentucky. Attacks were made with great vigour on almost all the important settlements, with various success.
Notwithstanding these various sieges, the fields adjacent to the forts were cleared of their timber, and cultivated in corn and vegetables-some keeping guard while others laboured, and each taking his turn as a hunter, at great hazard. Yet amidst these multiplied and hidden dangers, the intrepidity of our hunters found it a relief to take an equal chance with the enemy in the woods. They thought themselves the best marksmen, and as likely to see the Indian first as be seen by him; while the first sight was equivalent to the first fire, and the most expert shooter held the best security for his life.” P. 94.
Lexington was first settled in 1779. A memorable encounter took place about this time between a party of Indians and a couple of keel-boats ascending the Ohio with supplies from New Orleans. The place was just above the site of the present city of Cincinnati. The party was commanded by Col. David Rogers and Capt. R. Benham. Most of the whites were massacred. The following very remarkable and rather incredible incidents, are quoted by the author from M'Clung's Sketches of Western Adventure. In the encounter, Captain Benham had been dangerously wounded in the hips; he concealed himself in a large tree, which had fallen near.
“On the following day, the Indians returned to the battle ground in order to strip the dead, and take care of the boats. Benham, although in danger of famishing, permitted them to pass without making known his condition, very correctly supposing that his crippled legs would only induce them to tomahawk him on the spot, in order to avoid the trouble of carrying him to their town. He lay close, therefore, until the evening of the second day, when, perceiving a racoon descending a tree ncar him, he shot it, hoping to devise some means of reaching it, when he could kindle a fire and make a meal. Scarcely had his gun cracked, however, when he heard a human cry, apparently not more than fifty yards off. Supposing it to be an Indian, he hastily reloaded his gun, and remained silent, expecting the approach of an enemy. Presently the same voice was heard again, but much nearer. Still Benham made no reply, but cocked his gun and stood ready to fire as soon as an object appeared. A third halloo was quickly heard, followed by an exclamation of impatience and distress, which convinced Benham that the unknown must be a Kentuckian. As soon, therefore, as he heard the expression, whoever you are-for God's sake answer me,' he replied with readiness, and the parties were soon together. Benham, as we have already observed, was shot through both legs! The man who now appeared, had escaped from the same battle with both arms broken. Thus each was enabled to supply what the other wanted. Benham having the perfect use of his arms, could load his gun and kill game, while his friend, having the use of his legs, could kick the game to the spot where Benham sat, who was thus enabled to cook it. When no wood was near them, his companion would rake up brush with his feet, and gradually roll it within reach of Benham's hand, who constantly fed his companion and dressed his wounds as well as his own, tearing up both their shirts for that purpose. They found some difficulty in procuring water at first, but Benham at length took his own hat, and, placing the rim between the teeth of his companion, directed him to wade into the Licking up to his neck, and dip the hat into the water (by sinking his own head.) The man who could walk was thus enabled to bring water by means of his teeth, which Benham could afterwards dispose of as was necessary. In a few days they had killed all the squirrels and birds within ch, and the man with broken arms was sent out to drive game within gunshot of the spot where Benham was confined. Fortunately wild turkeys were abundant in those woods, and his companion would walk around and drive them towards Benham, who seldom failed to kill two or three of each flock. In this way they supported themselves for several weeks, until their wounds had healed, so as to enable them to travel.” P. 107,