When an European arrives in this country he is surprised to see the extent and neatness of our towns, he views our various improvements and that multitude of settlements which adorn our extended shores with admiration, he hardly can persuade himself that he has crossed the Great Atlantic, that he is in a country scarcely 150 years old. He observes in many places the richesses of Europa, the taste and elegance of many of its capitals; these are the fruits of long and successful trade, of national industry and universal prosperity. He observes farms tilled with as much care and knowledge as those of his native lands; this first examination however gives him but a superficial idea of the state of our agriculture. Along the sea shore and in the neighbourhood of our cities the soil is enriched by the manures it affords, by the mud of rivers, with those salt grasses everywhere to be found; these produce a fertility which he did not expect. This is not however the natural state of our fields in the Northern provinces. The fecundity of the earth is greatly diminished; you may in those of Jersey, New York, Connecticut, etc. already perceive a great vegetative decay. The rich coat which was composed of old decayed leaves and other particles preserved for ages by the existence of timber and sheltered from the devouring impulse of the sun by the shades it produced, is long since exhausted and gone. This it was which enriched the first settlers and procured them such abundant crops. All the art of Man can never repair this....

In order to obtain more uniformly fertile soils, deeper loams, inexhaustible farms, which hitherto have wanted no manure, you must recede from the sea, you must ascend nearer the sources and springheads of those immense rivers everywhere traversing the great continent, you. must visit the shores of Kennebeck up to its falls, those of Connecticut everywhere abounding with the richest land of Nature, you must visit the Mohawk, the Susquehanna, as well as those innumerable streams on which Ceres and Pomona have fixed their pleasing abode.... Bountiful Nature seems purposely to have given this soil a degree of fertility proportioned to its distance from navigable rivers, in order, no doubt, that men tho' so far removed from markets might afford in their extreme plenty the means and expense of an unavoidable transportation. Whoever has penetrated in any of the interior parts of this boundless continent has been struck with this observation. The history of the New England settlements on the east branch of the river Susquehanna is a most convincing proof of what I have advanced as the following details will sufficiently demonstrate.

I acknowledge that the history of this new and singular settlement exhibits to our view nothing very remarkable. Yet, methinks an European must take a pleasure in seeing so great a tract of wilderness, imperceptibly smile in following a branch of humanity shooting up all round and replenishing in the course of a few years those beautiful shores hitherto savage and wild and entirely uncultivated save for some scattered spots, the ancient habitation of few extinguished tribes. . .

The long dispute between the provinces of Connecticut and Pennsylvania concerning the property of the lands lying on both branches of the river Susquehanna, a tempting soil, the petty wars they carried on in support of their mutual claims are objects too extensive, too antecedent, and perhaps to you would appear too uninteresting. The part which I want to select for your amusement is a geographical account of this country, a description of its soil, a general idea of this noble river which by its immense ramifications extends its course through so vast a region...

If on the map you follow the river Susquehanna, you will soon come to the great forks which divide it into two branches. In your passage to this remarkable spot you will not fail to observe many fair rivers which fall and mingle their waters with those of this parent stream. One of those branches issuing out of the lakes Caniadarage [Caniaderago] and Otsege, is commonly called the East one; the other formed by a thousand brooks descending from the Allegany (Chestnut, Nittany, Panther, Bald Eagle ridges) is known by that of the West. About 40 miles up the former, from Shamoctin [or Shamokin] (the name of the forks) begins the claim of the New England people which they carry upwards of 90 miles to the bounds of Wissack [Wysox] and Wiolucing [Wyalusing] in the 42 degree of latitude which is their boundary line at home with the Massachusetts. The right by which Connecticut claims a tract of land so uncontiguous and distant proceeds from the ambiguous words of their charter which grants them a continuation of territory even to the South Sea. Little did the grantors know of the geography of this country. Necessarily inclosed as Connecticut is by Rhodes island on the east, Massachusetts on the north and New York on the west, it cannot emerge from its present bounds but by conquest, Indian purchases or voluntary emigration without any claim of jurisdiction. About 20 years ago, some of their missionaries went to preach the Gospel among the tribes which inhabited those beautiful shores. Tis said that some even went so far as Tiogo [Tioga], Sisucing, Anaquaga [Ouaquaga] further up the river. As they had long complained of their confinement at home, and as their national characteristics lead them to aggrandisement and new schemes, some people in Connecticut by means of those missionaries set about negotiating a considerable purchase from the natives of more than 90 miles in length on the east branch, beginning somewhere at Wapwalippen [Wapwallopen] 40 miles above the forks, thence to the 42 degree of latitude, and in width extending within the before described limits as to include the west branch and up the Allegany ridge. The whole property of this immense tract was conveyed by a solemn bargain properly ratified. This important affair transacted by bold adventurers without even the countenance of their government greatly alarmed the proprietaries of Pennsylvania who by their last authentic purchase had set their line of frontiers at a great rock 4 miles above Shohactin [Shehocking] on the Delaware river, very near the same latitude..... This proceeding of the New England people was therefore look'd upon as a breach of that law by the people of Pennsylvania. A considerable paper [sic] was carried on by the two provinces, which convinced none of the parties concerned... .

Several families at last went to begin this famous settlement. They crossed the North River and by the way of the county of Orange crossed the Menisink [Minisink] mountains, passed over Delaware and entered the Pennsylvanian territories in a N.N.W. course. Others taking advantage of the high waters went up Delaware to Kechecton [Cochecton] and Shohactin which is the forks of Delaware, thence followed its west branch 12 miles up to the great landing place, thence proceeding by lands to the Indian town of Anaquaga on the river Susquehanna, thence down the river Wyomen [Wyoming], the center of their purchase. In the progress of this relation you will permit me to describe these two extraordinary routes more minutely in order to make you acquainted as much as I can with the locality of this country physically so different from Europe.

Most of these first adventurers sat themselves down on the first and most convenient spots they could find, fatigued by so long a journey; for the partition had been hitherto but simply ideal, a more accurate one was needless until the number of inhabitants should increase. Immense were the difficulties which these people had to encounter: roads to explore for the passage of their waggons, temporary bridges to erect, women and children to transport, provisions to carry, cattle, sheep, horses to lead through an immense tract of wilderness; when arrived, they had some sort of houses to erect, grain to plant and to sow, fodder for the insuing winter, provisions to secure by the chase or by fishing whilst their first crop was ripening. These and many more were the Herculean labors and difficulties they had to encounter with and to overcome, but the vivid hopes of greater prosperity, the near prospect of future ease and comfort, the advantages of so fine, so pleasant a situation, the very aspect of the new soil they were come to inhabit made them joyfully overlook those obstacles as well as the severe trial of want and penury to which they first exposed themselves....

In my first excursion thither, I followed exactly the path which these people had made, and which I mean to describe reserving the account of the other route by Shohactin when I return. Please to follow me on the map and to cast your eyes on the western frontiers of the province of New York; you will observe few spots of arable grounds interspersed on the shores of the river Delaware running in the middle of narrow valleys formed by the junction of the Kaatskill, Shawagunck [Shawangunk] and Menissink Mountains, for on this side everything is mountainous. These disunited chains meet afterwards and run through the provinces of Pennsylvania under various names. No contrast in this country can be greater and afford a more pleasing idea when on the summit of the Menisink heights, you contemplate below fruitful farms, smiling fields, noble orchards, spacious houses and barns, the substantial habitation of wealthy people settled these 120 years on those happy bottoms. Everything around is smooth, smiling and calculated for the use of Man, whilst the surrounding mountains which incompass them on every side, present nothing but huge masses of rocks and marbles, hideous ridges on which nothing hardly grows. Here and there some spots are covered with a thin stratum of exhausted soil. One would imagine that by some superior art, by some anterior miracle, the ancient vegetative mould has been washed away to form those romantic plats below. Near the spot where you first descend from the mountains the Mahacamack [Mahacomacker] empties itself into the Delaware, and the point of its confluence is the end of that line which beginning on the North divides the provinces of New York and New Jersey. On the shores of the former as well as on those of the latter are to be seen the most excellent farms, excellent houses; but these are soon terminated by the perpendicular foot of those mountains which entirely overspread this part of the province and forever prevent its aggrandisement on that side. In the midst of these desolate ridges runs the river Delaware. Indulged by Nature like the Susquehanna, the Hudson and many other rivers, it winds through all those obstacles which obsequiously open and leave a free passage to its stream,—a stream navigable for rafts and canoes both in the spring and fall when it is swelled by the melting of the snows or when the autumnal rains, which with us always precede the setting of winter, have raised it above the level of the rocks and shallows with which its bed abounds.

Three miles below, where the Mahakamack empties itself into Delaware, I crossed that river which is about 1 mile wide, and in the space of two miles inhabited principally by people who keep saw mills. I entered the great wilderness. It is an immense piny forest consisting of hemlock, some spruce growing on an even soil composed of short ridges and valleys. The soil was a compound of red sand and a species of red loam greatly resembling clay; with good husbandry it bears excellent wheat as I observed in the first two miles I traversed after I had crossed the river. Every here and there, another sort of soil seem'd intermixed, presenting itself in separate and distinct hillocks seemingly higher than any other. The soil of these was blacker and it was covered with scrubby mountain oak, witch hazel, and dog wood. Most part of the underwood was wild laurels, which by their low size and the extreme ramifications of their crooked limbs are the greatest and the most unsurmountable impediment a traveller can meet with. I have often gone a mile or two out of the path either to pursue a partridge or a wild turkey, and I declare that I was most part of the time obliged to creep on the ground or to open to myself a passage with the utmost difficulty; when the first snows are fell, and by their weight depress their limbs still nearer the ground, you may then safely pronounce such tracts absolutely impassable.

After having travelled about 27 miles, I met with pleasure and surprise a little settlement of 3 houses on Shoholy [Shohola] creek, on the west side of a considerable ridge. There a few acres of low and fertile lands spread on its shores had invited 3 families to settle themselves; nor was there room for any greater number, the shores of this creek as well as the neighbouring territory offering no soil on which man can live and flourish. This creek is formed by several springs issuing from the great swamp about 25 miles off, and running N.E. into Delaware. At its confluence I am informed that there are two excellent saw mills, for even here in this secluded melancholy part of the country every advantage which Nature presents is immediately improved. You'd think by the ingenuity displayed on the saw mills erected on these. rough shores that the country had been settled these 1000 years.

'Tis a feast for an unexperienced traveller to see the sun shine on some open'd grounds, to view clear'd fields. You seem to be relieved from that secret uneasiness and involuntary apprehension which is always felt in the woods by persons that are not used to them. 'Tis as it were a new element more pregnant with danger than the cleared fields and visible atmosphere to which we are accustom'd. In the latter the sight alone is sufficient to guard us from any unforeseen danger, in the former hearing has the preeminency, 'tis through that channel we receive every necessary idea, and I must confess ingeniously that at first I was alarmed at every distant sound and could not find myself at ease until I was either informed or I had guessed what it would be. The drumming of partridges, for instance, heard at a distance greatly resembles the discharge of cannon; the roaring of distant falls produces likewise a singular effect strangely modified either by the wind or the situation in which you stand. I with pleasure, rested all night under the hospitable roof of these people. They had a considerable orchard, some few pitch trees at their door, their cattle seem'd small but fat and hearty, feeding at large through these forests and returning regularly every night to their pens. They abounded likewise in hogs which equally free and uncontrolled in their range as the other, by their instinctive ingenuity know where to find a variety of ground nuts and roots on which they live. Far happier in these respects those people were than farmers who live in a thick settled country. These must provide artificial pastures for their cattle and necessary grains and milk for their hogs. Here on the contrary Nature provided them, without any trouble to the master, with their daily food. This however appeared to me an awful situation for so few people surrounded on each side with the most gloomy forests. They seem'd pleased with it and spoke of it with great predilection. They were all hunters and very skillful ones as I saw by the great plenty of deer's meat that hung in their house. The few acres of land they cultivated were extremely fertile and produced them with little labour 32 bushels of wheat, 55 bushels of corn pr. acre; they also abounded in flax. When sick they had learnt of the Indians how to find in their woods the remedies they wanted. One of the neighbours' wives was a weaver, and you must know that it is a trade which few women are strangers to. Necessity had taught my landlord's wife to cut and make clothes. With their leather they made their shoes after the Indian or rather the Canadian fashion; they seem'd to want for nothing and to be happy.

Next day I proceeded on my journey through much the same ground extremely well watered as I saw by the many springs I found as I went along. Upon a due examination of this tract of land, so far as r have traversed it, it appears all susceptible of being one day cultivated, and I make no doubt that, was this part of the continent in China, not a inch of it would be wasted; rye, buck wheat and Indian corn would thrive, I believe, admirably well. My landlord at Shoholy shew'd me a piece of ground on which he had corn the preceding year which was before covered with nothing but wild laurel, and which he cleared with the utmost difficulty. In about 10 or 12 miles I came to another little settlement, more awful still than that which I had left, for it was composed of one single family, it was called Blooming Grove, tho' I must confess that I saw nothing here very tempting or blooming. It was situated on a creek which runs into the Wallenpaupack river at a considerable distance, but this creek appears to be nothing more than the huge bed of a torrent which when the snows melt in the spring serves to convey into the Delaware an amazing body of waters from the little lakes and spring heads descending from the mountains to the Northward. Everywhere along its shore I saw almost with a fright immense trees lodged sometimes across its stream, at other times deep ponds it had dug by carrying away all the earth, at other places single rocks left naked bare, as having resisted the fury of the waters, at other places immense heaps of gravel and sand, over which you might pass dry footed in the summer.

By a fortunate bend in this river and by means of few button wood trees which Nature had planted on these banks, the low lands inclosed within it have escaped being tore away by the impetuosity of this torrent, and on this isolated spot which did not contain above of 22 acres, dwelt the family above mentioned, seemingly happy and unconcerned at their hermit situation; situation much inferior to that of the inhabitants of Shoholy, in case of fire, sickness or enemy. The husband and his wife, 6 children, the oldest of which were grown up and help'd their father, composed this little community which answers to them every social purpose. That round of labour and perpetual industry which fills the measure of their time supplies the place of every deficiency. They seem'd to have no wants, their victuals were as good and wholesome as those I had seen in more opulent neighbourhoods. The father read every night prayers to his little flock, and on Sundays, which they attentively marked down, he expounded to them some text of the Scripture, and this was all the religious duty they had performed in many years. Pray, what would your opulent civilized neighbours think of this regimen, thus to live and toil alone in the woods without the assistance of one mechanic, without the comfort of a clergyman and the assistance of a physician? I conversed with this people until 12 o'clock at night, and was greatly pleased with the account they gave me of their resources, that is, the means they possess of supplying all their wants, which you may be sure were but simple. This man was like all inhabitants of forests a very expert hunter, I saw him with a Lancaster rifle kill a bird at 300 yards distance which I measured myself. He had brought in, the day before I arrived there, a bear which he overtook by chase; had not I heard of such a feat before, I could hardly have believed him.

Next day I left Blooming Grove, and pursuing the path of the New England settlers, I crossed at about 12 miles distance the Wallenpaupack a considerable river raising, as I am told, out of a considerable lake of the same name and running into the Delaware. The way was far from pleasant, I discovered some few swamps on each side of the road but extremely cold and of a shallow soil. These produced nothing but alder, water birch, otherwise candle wood, few pines the limbs of which were hung with very long moss, a most dreary appearance evidently shewing the sterility of the soil on which they grew. The rest of the woods seems to be but a continuation of the same piny tract accompanied with wild laurel. Near the river I saw some small tracts of maple and ash which grew on a rich soil and joined its shores. The water being shallow, I forded it and entered with pleasure on a leveller ground. The pines were more straight and lofty, some of whom which were oversat [i.e., overturned] measured 51 feet without limbs; could there be found any navigable rivers here, what beautiful masts and spars could be conveyed to Philadelphia.

From thence ascending a considerable ridge extremely well timbered with a mixture of pitch pine, oak of various kinds and some chestnuts, I descended into a valley or low grounds extremely wet and disagreeable, and in 16 miles reached the great swamp of which I had so often heard. Tho' it was late, yet I was obliged to proceed on in order to enjoy the benefits of lodging in a log house built midway by the New England people for the accommodation of benighted or weary travellers. The great quantity of roots and of trees oversat across our path were very troublesome and obliged us to go round them in quest of passage, an operation which was often attended on horseback with many difficulties. I arrived at last at this solitary house, which bad as it was, yet afforded us sufficient shelter to call forth some emotion of gratitude towards those who had erected it. There seem'd to be about I/2 acre of land cleared around it, probably from the materials with which it had been built as well as from the fuel that had been cut by successive travellers: it was a Karavansera, an Estalagen if you please, and tho' we found no polite landlord to hand us in and cook our victuals, yet it had many advantages of which I stood in need. A good appetite made me eat cheerfully the smoked venison and the piece of bear I had procured at Blooming Grove. Grass grew all round for my horse, some pieces of wood ready cut presented themselves to kindle the fire, and the fatigues of the day purchased a most excellent night's rest, tho' a little disturbed towards break of day by a company of wolfs that saluted us as they passed by to go a hunting. This swamp is one of the largest of the kind in the Northern Provinces, it lies as you may see; between the great ridges near Delaware and those more westerly ones which seem to inclose and regularly to follow the Susquehanna stream in all its windings. It is precisely 12 miles across in this place, it takes its raise a vast way to the N., towards the endless mountains near the heads of Massape creek, and in various breadths reaches down into Pennsylvania or rather into the cultivated parts of it, where the Tobyhannah and many other creeks issue out of it to form the stream which falls into the Delaware at East Town [Easton]. It is said to contain about 6000 acres of lands; few small ridges cross it, it is not subject to any great inundations having but the lake of Wapenpanpack [Wallenpaupack?] in it and giving raise to many streams by which it is disencumbered of its waters.

When the age, the wealth, the population of this country will be arrived to such a pitch as to be able to clear this immense tract; what a sumptuous, what a magnificent sight will it afford! The soil appears to be as good as that of our Northern meadows, for it bears the same sort of trees, such as swamp or pin oak, maple, white and black ash, willow, alder, etc. . Here imagination may easily foresee the immense agricole richesses which this great country and this spot in particular contain. I never travell anywhere without feeding in this manner on those contemplative images.

Next day I set out early and observed the same trees throughout until I entirely quitted it. Here the waters take another course and instead of that eastern declivity of the earth which leads the waters into Delaware, they all run west in quest of the river Susquehanna. The first of these which I perceived was the Lackawack, and seven miles from the edge of the great swamp I fell in with the embryo of a settlement composed of 7 families happily settled on the bank of that creek. They had been induced to pitch their tents here, allured like all other first founders of districts by the singular fertility of its shores commonly called with us low lands, that is lands which seem to have been form'd by the water as you may see by the perfectly levell'd stratums of which they are composed, and by the recess of those waters into their present bed. Anxious to finish my journey, I staid here but a little while and proceeded through a fine country, if I may judge by the timber, to the banks of the Susquehanna at a place known by the name of Wiomen—32 miles.

I am arrived at last on the shores of this .fair river issuing from the two lakes I have mentioned before, bending itself in an amazing number of curvatures to gather in its course a greater number of creeks and rivulets and to impart mankind a greater degree of benefits. Few rivers in this part of the world exhibit so great a display of the richest and fertilest land the most sanguine wish of man can possibly covet and desire. . . . The eye stops with pleasure from considering attentively the level plains which it can easily pervade, to view the next rocky points covered with the finest pines, affording springs of the most excellent waters, producing brooks where mills are erected to turn grain into meal and the neighbouring logs into boards. The plains contained between those cliffs are of different dimensions, some 1000, some 250 acres, they are formed of sand and loam in pretty equal quantities, they are perfectly levell'd, not but that the different rivulets from the high grounds have declivity enough without spreading over the land. In their furrows I have carefully follow'd some of these stratums; they appear of an equal thickness and reach, of the same depth and colour to where the upland begins to rise. Here the soil changes all at once from a sandy loam into a more strong and compact sort of ground, these beautiful plats or plains produce in the greatest abundance all sorts of grains fit for the use of Man. The first settlers found them covered with a sort of wild grass peculiar to these low lands, commonly called Blue Bent, so extremely high that its tops reach'd a man's shoulders on horseback. When this grass is cut early it makes an excellent fodder, but maturity gives it too great a degree of coarseness. There are to be seen few trees on these plains, and those are the Wild Cherry of an immense size as to their bulk and ramifications, the Sweet Butter Nut equally bulky but more extended in their limbs, and the Button Wood surpassing them all in height and the dimensions of its trunk. I saw at Shamoctin now Northumberland a canoe excavated out of one of those, which carried seven tons. Judge of the depth and fertility of a soil which produces such exuberant instances of vegetation. They abound besides with the White Snake Root, the Senecca Root, the Nindzin, vulgarly called by the Chinese name of Ginseng, a most valuable plant too much neglected because too common; the Penny Royal, Liverwort, Water Cresses abound in their brooks.

Nearer the river another tier of low lands present themselves to your view, less elevated than the first and covered every spring with the annual flood which raises the river sometimes 10 feet. Nothing can be conceived more fruitful and more pleasant than these inferior grounds. They contain the strongest vegetative powers which Nature can give, they are separated from the upper ones by natural ditches, by winding canals of about 40 feet wide, which often render them perfect islands; over these the inhabitants had already thrown little bridges. These are the fields where they sow and cultivate their spring grains: Corn, Oats, Hemp, Flax, Pease, Barley, etc. These are yearly enriched by the strong healthy slime deposited by the floods, which come down and pass away so gently as to do very little damage. These contain no timber, but they are covered with a quantity of weeds which grow to an enormous size. I have seen whole acres of nettles from which I hardly could defend my face, the Hog Weed, the bitter weed, the Red Root, the Anekin greatly resembling the angelica, the Calamus and lastly the wild angelica upwards of 12 feet (it is as strong and as odoriferous as those cultivated in our gardens), the Brook Lime, the Winter Savoury, etc. One of the most common and the most remarkable plants that grow in those luxuriant soils is the Wild Cucumber; 'tis the bane of the farmer, no precaution whatever can possibly extirpate them, for an immense quantity of seed is annually left on those inferior shores by the swelling of the river.... I have often observed them crowning with peculiar verdure the summit of Cherry trees upwards of 80 high, yet its seeds are exceedingly small. The same exuberancy is remarkable in the plants and grains which the farmer sows on them; they are obliged to tame the ground, as they call it, by previously sowing 31/2 bushels of hemp seed on an acre, in order that this rank weed may exhaust some of the too great fertility of this soil and prevent by its compact shade the growth of any other, yet I have seen it shoot to the height of seven feet; nothing will grow to any degree of maturity without this operation. I have seen 78 bushels of sound corn gathered out of an acre, 97 bushels of oats from 1 1/2 bushel sowing, that is from 3/4 acre, 1370 pounds of clean hemp out of 1 1/2 acre. The only labour they are obliged to perform is to find proper means to keep the weeds down and to watch their growth.

This fine river contains likewise a great number of islands which seem to be a soil more recently made. Nothing can exceed their fertility and the richness of their soil. Most of them are higher than the grounds last described, tho' they are subject also to annual Spring inundations. They are covered with maple and ash; and those which are already cleared yield the best timothy and other grasses.

The high grounds, from whence their brooks and rivulets descend, yield them the best of stone and timber, all kinds of oaks, tulip trees, chestnut, hickory, Keske Toma. In those woods I have seen plenty of wild grapes of various sorts, strawberries, wild rasberries, small filberts, hurtle berries, slaws of white thorn as big as our cherries, the spignet, the golden rod, the unicorn, solomon's seal, the white snake root, etc. These ridges of timbered lands have been much injured by repeated fires kindled by the Indians in order to frighten and to inclose their game. These fires have greatly exhausted the surface of these grounds and prevented the growth of the young shoots and small timber. This devastating calamity to which hunters are insensible, tho' the utmost affliction to farmers, is now pretty much kept out, and it is inconceivable in how few years the soil will recover its pristine strength and fertility. At present they cultivate no parts of these ridges, tho' their soil is good; this will not be the case until the great numbers of people settled on the river and the subdivisions of their farms of low lands oblige future generations to move back. 'Tis very natural for the first settlers to choose the best lands and the easiest to till, the boldness of their undertakings, and their great fatigues well deserve the most ample rewards. The labour and difficulty however of breaking up the low lands at first is very considerable; it is an operation which must be performed with 3 and sometimes with 4 yokes of oxen, but when once this is effectually done, 2 horses will plough 1 1/2 acres a day very easily.

This fine river is at a medium between 70 and 80 rods wide, interspersed at every little distance with pleasing islands, points of low lands, some of which seem to be detached from the main. That pleasing variegated mixture of high, low, and still lower grounds, that alternate vicissitude of extensive plains and high promontories view'd at every angle as you either ascend the river, the prodigious number of houses rearing up, fields cultivating, that great extent of industry open'd to a bold indefatigable enterprising people afforded me a spectacle which I cannot well describe...

Spring and Fall that river is navigable for boats of 12 tons, managed with 7 hands, 6 with poles and 1 at the helm. Their general market at present is at Middle Town in Pennsylvania where they begin to carry abundance of white pine boards, logs of white cherry, walnut etc., wheat and hemp. In the month of May they catch plenty of shads, an extraordinary sort of fish which penetrates yearly up to the spring heads of all the great rivers of the middle continent; their instinct leads them at such a distance from the sea in order to deposit their spawn out of the reach of their enemy. I have seen trouts as large as bass, 17 inches long, a little below the falls of Wiomen, where numbers are daily catched. The waters of this river are about 10 feet deep along the low lands and have a mighty gentle current, but where the heads of mountains put up towards the river it is always shallow and in the summer sometimes dry.

It was not until the fourth year that I visited them, and I was highly entertained at every thing I saw. Their modes of living and behaving towards one another when they had no government greatly surprised me, but I cannot possibly describe to you that variety of means, that medley of chances and accidents by which every one tried to lay the foundation of his future fortune. The sum of exertion exhibited on these shores astonished me much; not a single person idle, those who were fatigued with labour recreated themselves by fishing. Most of these were poor people who had very little more property left than the bare means of transporting themselves there with their stock; and who that could live with tolerable ease and middling plenty would run so great a risk and expose themselves to so many inconveniencies and difficulties? They had already erected a good number of saw mills with which the settlement was supplied with all the boards and scantling they wanted, nay, they. had already begun to float them down the river in rafts very ingeniously fasten'd together, on the top of which they always placed a great many black walnut logs commonly 14 feet long, and 18 inch. wide; these were delivered to the upper Pennsylvania settlements for a dollar a piece. Even sea coal is found here, for strange to tell, bountiful Nature has placed an amazing bed of this precious mineral under almost all their high low lands which are not above 12 feet from the surface of the water. The coals appear all along those banks within 4 feet of the surface. Their method of getting it is to haul their boat alongside and tumble the coals into it; it is said to be of an excellent quality and is daily used by their blacksmiths. Here are reunited all the advantages which can render men happy and rich. Most of their mills are built at a small distance from the mouths of the creeks on which they stand and navigable for boats to their very gates. No situation in every respect can be conceived more advantageous for the emolument of human nature; here they enjoy a climate peculiarly healthy, excellent spring water, the most fertile lands in the world, on their high ground every species of timber, wild turkeys in great flocks, partridges, leers, bears, mouse deer, etc., fish in their river all the year round, every convenience for mills on the river at proper distances, the best of white pine, sea coals, spring and fall, a debouche by water to exchange their exuberancy for what they want. What a pity that this and other branches and ramifications of this immense river, all possessing on their shores low lands proportioned to the size of their streams cannot be permanently settled and be made to unite the advantage of peace, political tranquillity with every other which nature offers them with the most liberal hand. Here a man, to live well is not obliged to work I of his time, the rest he can dedicate to some trade or to fishing and fowling. It is here that human nature undebased by servile tenures, horrid dependence, a multiplicity of unrelieved wants as it is in Europa reacquires its former and ancient dignity,—now lost all over the world except with us. May future revolutions never destroy so noble, so useful a prerogative. The equal partition of the lands, the ignorance in which we happily are of that accursed feudal system which ruins everything in Europa promises us a new set of prejudices and manners which I hope will establish here a degree of happiness to the human race far superior to what is enjoyed by any civilised nation on the globe. The first spot the New England people settled on was by the Indians called Wiomen, an extensive plain surrounded like all the rest with gentle ridges.

The warm patriots of N. E. gave it the name of Wilkesbury [Wilkes-Barre] in honor of the then potent, popular Lord Mayor of London. Strange it may appear to you that the great stream of applause he enjoy'd with you should have caused his name to be given to a little town founded on the shores of Susquehanna 400 miles from the sea; but such is the spirit of the inhabitants of this country, such is the circulation and the effect produced by our newspapers, that their contents are read, studied even under the new built log house and often serve to alleviate the labour of the fields where they are perused whilst the people rest.

Lest you might think me unfaithful and careless and omitting to give you every information which this country affords, and also to satisfy my own curiosity, I cheerfully embraced the opportunity of 2 Indians and a white man going to Warrior's Run on the west branch [of the Susquehanna], a stream of which I had long heard wonders, for as it is much larger than the east, so are the plats of low lands it contains. These people were going to Bald Eagle's Nest, [a] hundred miles higher up. I was confident that once at Warrior's Run I should find some boats going to Shamoctin from whence at any time I might get opportunities to reascend the river to Wilkesbury. We sat out at 12 o'clock from Lackawane or Kingtown [Kingston], a village just settled almost opposite to the former on the west shore. We soon entered the woods, proposing to reach that night a hunting cabin which the Indians knew of. About midway we met with many ridges but of an easy ascent, full of excellent timber, each of them divided by large valleys of excellent lands, but fitter for pasture and the scythe than the plough. The ridges appeared to be of a stony soil such as I had seen in New England and the New Hampshire grants, the bottoms were not properly swamps, yet they were somewhat wet; each had a little brook winding through the middle. A northern farmer could not, in the most romantic effort of his imagination, conceive or wish to possess any land better adapted to grazing and every where contiguous to the uplands on each side where their habitations might be erected. But here hunger began to teach us the folly of not bringing provisions with us and depending too much on what we might kill, for we saw nothing and the sun was not above an hour high. The 2 Indians desired us to follow a particular course which would shortly lead us to the hut, while they would make an excursion and try to procure some game. My guide and I, we cheerfully proceeded on until the sun disappeared, and yet saw nothing of our expected habitation. On the contrary we were all at once suddenly stopt by a huge pine swamp which had been partly consumed by some accidental fire; immense trees burnt at the roots were oversat, one over the other in an infinite variety of directions, some hung half way down, supported by the limbs of those which still stood erect. Others had fallen flat to the ground and had raised an immense circumference of earth which adhered to their roots. In short, there was no penetrating through such a black scene of confusion; it was a perfect chaos. Besides, as the Indians had not mentioned this swamp, we concluded that we had missed our way and that we were lost for that night; a very disagreeable conclusion. Amidst the different feelings which this situation awakened in me, hunger was the superior one and silenced all the rest. To accomplish our misfortune it began to rain, we could not kindle a fire, everything was so wet, finally we were obliged to stand against one of the largest trees we could find in order to save us from the greatest violence of the shower. It had the desired effect, but as soon as the wind abated, the drops falling from the top of this lofty tree upwards of 70 feet high greatly annoyed us, their weight was astonishing. In that posture we slept or rather dozed on with our guns along side of us, we learnedly recapitulated the error which we supposed we had committed and sincerely promised that whenever day light should appear, we would cautiously go back and turn more to the west at a certain little brook we knew of. Towards 3 o'clock we were roused out of our sleep or rather slumbers by the yell of about 20 wolfs which I thought but at a little distance. My blood ran cold, my companion cheer'd my spirits in telling me that there was no danger, that on the contrary the smell of man always kept them off; this yell was intended to alarm the rest and put them on their guard. "Give me your moccasins," said he, "which with mine will effectually guard us." He accordingly hung them on bushes at about 2 rods from us. "This," he said, "being strongly impregnated with our smell is a sufficient rampart against the violence of these animals; this is the only charm the Indians make use of to repell their attacks." Thus protected they lie down and sleep unconcerned as we do in our houses. It was done, they still repeated their howlings but after some time they went away. Light returned at last. We went back, exactly follow'd our preceding resolutions, amended our course when we came to the brook, and soon ascended to the top of a fine chestnut ridge which the Indians had described. I fired a gun, conscious that we could not be far from the hut: to our great joy it was answer'd and accompanied with a war whoop or yell which alarmed the dull silent echoes of these woods. Soon after we saw M---n himself coming towards us, he laugh'd heartily at our adventure and soon conducted us to the little transitory habitation we had missed the evening before. I heartily ate of several partridges that were ready cooked for us, drank of the water of the brook and proceeded on. We were then about 25 miles from Lackawane or Kingtown. During the remainder of our journey to Warrior's Run, being 18 miles, I saw nothing but an immense champaign tract full of the largest white oak and hickory. We were then, as the Indians told me, near the heads of Chikisquaque [Chillisquaque] creek. Here we might have travelled with chars or coaches for there was no kind of underwood, neither did I see either stones or roots.

Warrior's Run is a beautiful little river emptying itself into the west branch. It had been in some measure entirely settled by the Pennsylvanians some years before. I never saw a greater display of plenty in my life than these people possessed ;, they had every kind of grain that they chose to sow, excellent cattle, great number of swine in the woods, venison and fish for catching. They were mostly Germans, their houses were neat and at a good distance from the river. I saw no negroes and I believe there was not one in the whole settlement. Every door led to the Temple of Hospitality in the true sense of that word. I saw at last the great river [Susquehanna], as they call it; it is twice as large and as deep as the other, and prodigious are the tracts of low lands it exhibits on its shores. I heard the people here talk of still higher branches of the same river, more distant sources equally rich, and equally navigable either for bateaux or canoes. They told me of a young settlement just begun at Bald Eagle's Nest, upwards of 100 miles higher up. They told me twenty other wonders of the famed shores of this river up to its spring head, between the great Buffalo swamp and the Allegany ridge.

'Tis very surprising to observe the boldness, the undiffidence with which these new settlers scatter themselves here. and there in the bosom of such an extensive country without even a previous path to direct their steps and without being in any number sufficient either to protect or assist one another. I have often met with these isolated families in my travels, and 'tis inconceivable how—soon they will lose their European prejudices and embibe those of the natives. Their children born and educated at such a distance from schools and opportunities of improvement become a new breed of people neither Europeans nor vet Natives. These are not in general the best people of this country. Here I spent seven days and at last embark'd in a canoe for Shamoctin and in the way stopt awhile to view another Pennsylvanian settlement, on the west shores of this river, called Buffalo Valley. It lies about 12 miles from the forks, the land appeared equally fertile and advantageous to the settlers, but as I did not go up their river [Buffalo Creek], I shall say nothing more, being unwilling to repeat hearsays. Soon after, we past by the mouth of Chikisquaque creek which is very considerable and on which I saw the appearance of settlements. In short, I hardly saw any creek and low lands where there were not families, some just arrived, others settled at different periods.

Shamoctin, now Northumberland, is a Pennsylvania settlement intended to be the county town. It consisted of 40 houses inclosed with palisades from river to river. Here the soil is extremely poor and sandy, nothing but pines grew where the town now stands, and all the adjacent country consists of nothing but pine; but yet it bids fair to become one of the most considerable inland towns in this country. . . . I staid here 3 days, happy in the acquaintance and friendship of Mr. Plunket, surveyor of this county. I returned to Wilksbury or Wiomen in a New England boat which was returning from Middle Town in Pennsylvania, nor am I sorry that I undertook this small journey...

Every spring the roads were full of families travelling [from "the Northern Provinces"] towards this new land of Canaan; this formed a strange heterogeneous reunion of people unsupported by their metropolis, therefore considered as intruders on the Pennsylvanian territories, tilling, fishing, hunting, trafficking with one another without law or government, without any kind of social bond to unite them all. This assemblage was composed of a strange variety of sects and nations, all equally filled with that pride which sudden ease and consequences necessarily inspires....

At last some demagogues appeared, for hitherto they had been all equal. A few men arrived from Connecticut of more property and knowledge, some of the original patentees who came to enjoy and realize the benefits of so much art and so much intrigue. Their claims gave them an immediate consequence, but this new era did not abate their land contentions. Families daily arrived that either could not find the lots they had bought, or else found them occupied by others; happily the country was boundless. Thus they went on for a while, they tilled their fertile lands, they easily supported themselves, they even began to enjoy some little exuberancy with which they supplied the wants of the newcomers, they even began to trade with the Pennsylvanians, their rivals and enemies;—but trade knows no enemy,—the very Indians from the upper towns resorted here and began to exchange their venison and skins for flour and other articles. They brought with them and reared a multitude of children, the blessing of a healthy climate, the consequence of an easy subsistence. But as they grew more populous they felt that they grew likewise more potent, at last they had the baldness to think of dispossessing by arms the Pennsylvanians who were settled on the west branch. This singular step awaked the attention of that mild province. These were immediately supported and protected, they saw with indignation these aspiring people now become their neighbours traversing the whole breadth of the province of New York to come and occupy their lands believing with the ancient credulity of New England men that the charter words of Charles the 2d could possibly give them an indefeasible right to this great dominion. After having in vain remonstrated this matter to the assembly of Connecticut, they at last opposed them and even attacked them in their new settlements. Some blood was shed on these occasions; for where are the societies of men that are not tinged with this precious liquid? Several families were ruined on both sides, some men were carried prisoners to Philadelphia, nothing material was done.

At this period the province of Pennsylvania ordered it to be laid out into a new county by the name of Northumberland. Soon after the New England people made an incursion to Warrior's Run, but they did not succeed. Open war was declared on both sides, on both sides shocking retaliations took place. The year after, 1773, the government of Connecticut publicly espoused their cause and ordered it to be laid out into a new county by the name of Westmoreland, in allusion to their great western claim.

About this time this grand quarrel was referred to the King and his council, which like all other great tribunals are so incumbered with the load of business that they must necessarily act slow; this grand process required years ere all the pleadings, documents and papers could be examined, and final judgment given....

The opinions of the people grew more and more divided about the issue of this grand dispute.... The names of Yankees and Pennamites were invented and became two words of reproach not only among the two rival provinces but even among themselves....

During this interval the grand landed contest remained undecided. They flattered themselves with the happy consequences which so strong a possession seem'd to give them. They began to count upwards of 1250 families scattered in the embryo of 16 townships, and all this was the work of 8 years. . . . But mankind carries in their bosoms the rudiments of their own misfortunes and unhappiness, place them where you will....

After having returned through the same path I followed, I thought proper to revisit them 2 years after,* and to satisfy my curiosity went by the way of Delaware and Anaquaga. Please to follow me attentively that you may acquire a sufficient knowledge of the western frontiers of New York as well as some idea of the eastern dominions of that part of Pennsylvania.

A little above the place where I crossed the Delaware, I embarked in a canoe in which with great labour I ascended to a place called Kechiecton [Cochecton?] where the mountains do not approach quite so near to the shores of the river. There lived about 60 families scattered within the distance of about 20 miles. This spot is computed to be 62 [miles] from the Mahakamack. They live by the cultivation of a few acres of grounds which is very fertile but sometimes subject to great inundations, by floating masts, logs to Philadelphia, by sawing boards at the many saw mills which they have erected on every convenient brook; (these shores abound with excellent pines) this is a laborious way of earning subsistence which requires a peculiar degree of judgment, skill and precaution. I have often been amazed to see the boldness and dexterity with which they guide those huge drafts through all the rapids of this river.

The shores on both sides all the way from Mahakamack are exceedingly asperous and rocky. The mountains which entirely overspread this part of the country both on the Pennsylvania and New York sides do not gradually descend towards the river, but seem purposely excavated for the intended channel. Bold rough projecting points in various forms and shapes present to the eyes nothing but a series of promontories frightful to behold. Yet as this river is navigable spring and fall it is become settled at every little distance, and without that easy communication no human foot could ever have trod or cultivated these lands,—an astonishing contrast when compared with the smiling ones of the Susquehanna. No traces of habitation can possibly be expected where everything seems so barren, yet there are a good number scattered at a great distance one from another, placed in some little bays formed by the winding of the river. A few acres of arable land have been discovered, 'tis seized with avidity without the trouble of surveys and deeds, for it seems to belong to the great common of Nature, a log house is reared and a family established. At other places where convenient brooks are, they have erected saw mills with immense labour, and with singular ingenuity convert the neighbouring pines into the finest boards; I have seen many upwards of 3 feet wide and 18 feet long.

At this recital, you'd imagine that this country is extremely limited and as fully settled as it is in China; yet it is far from being the case. The facility of navigation, the ease with which few acres are cultivated, the great field opened for hunting habituates this people to a desultory life, and in a few years they seem to be neither Europeans as we observe them in our flourishing settlements nor yet natives. This mode of life which sometimes implies a great share of laziness produces a sort of indolence, indifference, which is the consequence of limited industry. The great range which their cattle and hogs enjoy in those woods affords them milk and meat on the most easy terms. Few bushels of grain easily raised from the little fertile spot they inhabit, dried venison and fish maintain them sufficiently. Clothing is sometimes deficient, tho' many of them have sheep, however by barter they find means to supply themselves with the most necessary articles. In short, they appear to me to live comfortably and happy tho' situated in the midst of this piny forest and on the verge of a rough stream navigable only twice a year. I have purposely stopped to converse with some of them. I found that they originally had been very poor and had been drove from their ancient abodes by the necessary severity of the laws and that they thought themselves very happy in their asylum where they had found safety, tranquillity and independence.

Such is in general the state of this river until you come to Shohactin the forks of Delaware. There the river spreads itself into two arms, one called the Pawpacton [Pepacton] or East branch, the other the West or Fish Kill. As you ascend up the East part, the shores gradually grow less asperous, the mountains recede from the river and recrossing it at unequal distances leave as on the Susquehanna small but beautiful spots for cultivation and improvement. It is but lately that this part of the province of New York has been inhabited and in some measure tilled. I am informed that no roads have as yet been found out; none therefore can remove here but. the most indigent sort of people who can transport what little they have on the back of horses...

At Shohactin there lived 5 families enjoying about 25 acres of land each, which is all this point affords, the rest is all pine and unfit for the plough. They were likewise hunters, a resource to which the back inhabitants are obliged to have recourse and which becomes a peculiar talent to which their children are always brought up, for the Americans know how to wield the gun and the ax better than any other people on earth. From Shohactin I proceeded 12 miles up the west branch abounding with excellent pines. 4 miles up I observed a large rock on which the characters 42 had been ingraved; I was informed that this was the latitude at which the last purchase of Pennsylvania from the Indians had been fixed. 8 miles higher up we came to the general landing of a carrying place which in 16 miles leads to the Susquehanna at the town of Anaquaga. The lands between those 2 rivers were not so bad as I expected, there was a mixture of pine tracts and good arable grounds without any considerable hills.

Anaquaga is a considerable Indian town inhabited by the Seneccas. It consists of 50 odd houses, some built after the ancient Indian manner, and the rest of good hew'd logs properly dove-tailed at each end; they afford neat and warm habitations. The low lands on which it is built, like all the others, are excellent, and I saw with pleasure great deal of industry in the cultivation of their little fields. Corn, beans, potatoes, pumpkins, squashes appeared extremely flourishing. Many Indians had cows and horses tho' they seldom plough'd with them; they were greatly civilized and received me with their usual hospitality. My old friend M---n who had gone with me to the west branch was there and expressed great pleasure at seeing me. I brought him [a] few presents for which he was very thankful. Next day I became acquainted with the minister of the town who was of the sect of the Moravians, and I enjoyed great satisfaction in his conversation; he had resided there several years, and tho' he had never been able to make of them entire converts, yet he had in a great measure abated their ancient ferocity to their prisoners, and in general soften'd their manners. Their wandering life is not fit to receive the benefits of our religion which requires a more sedentary life; they forget in the woods the precepts they have learnt, and often return as ignorant as ever. Their women who are most constantly at home appeared on the contrary tractable, docile; they attended prayers in their chapel with great modesty and attention. I was greatly surprised when I was at Anaquaga to see several white people from different parts of Pennsylvania who had purposely come there to put themselves in the hands and under the care of some Indians who were famous for the medical knowledge. Several were cured while I was there; a woman in particular who had a running ulcer in her breast for 5 years before appeared perfectly well cured and the ancient wound entirely healed. You'd be astonished to see with what care and caution they hide from the Europeans their method. I procured the receipt by which the white woman was cured by making one of their principal squaws drunk; the good I have done with it will, I hope, compensate the method I made use of to procure it. The smallpox,—the plague of these people,—had done great ravages in some of the upper towns. With the greatest joy, I persuaded my old friend M---n and his family to submit to be inoculated; it consisted of 11... .

Here I spent a week conversing with the oldest and wisest people of the village, lodging sometimes with one and sometimes with the other. I was greatly edified at the knowledge and sagacity they displayed in the answers they made to my many questions. I should grow too diffuse was I to enter into further details, I must therefore quit this subject and go down to Wiomen again to contemplate the increase of this famous settlement. I embarked with 3 Indians who were going to exchange some furs for flour, and in 2 days safely landed on the spot where I had arrived 2 years before.

I observed with pleasure that a better conducted plan of industry prevailed throughout, that many of the pristine temporary huts and humble log houses were converted into neater and more substantial habitations. I saw everywhere the strong marks of growing wealth and population; it was really extremely pleasing to navigate up and down this river and to contemplate the numerous settlements and buildings erected at different distances from these shores. Some had pitched their dwellings close by the high timbered ground in order to see at one cast of their eyes the most valuable part of their possessions in an uninterrupted level to the very water edge, others on account of some brooks, winding canals, had built in contrary direction almost close to the highest low land shores and view'd their settlements in a different disposition. Nothing could be more pleasing than to see the embryo of future hospitality, politeness, and wealth disseminated in a prodigious manner of shapes and situations all along these banks. As I went to Wiolucing I observed several parts of this river which were mountainous for many miles, but these spots all were replenished with excellent pine timber. This little town is the last the Indians gave up, and by a singular chain of circumstances, which never happens among these people, the whole property of this tract, being upwards of 500 acres, devolved on one cunning old fellow, Job Jelaware by name, who had learnt of the Europeans the use of money, and craftily purchased the shares of all the rest. He sold the whole property, while I was there, to a stout Pennsylvania farmer for £2500 of that currency; and a better bargain I never saw. Here the soil has a greater mixture of clay than any other spot, therefore richer pastures; I have seen nowhere larger cows and oxen. There are still standing many good Indian houses. Was I a farmer here, with pleasure I would pitch my tent, for Nature in her most indulgent hours could not form a richer assemblage of all that man wants; here have I seen her dissolving into the kindest volupty. I observed likewise several apple trees bearing a peculiar sort of apples which make a very durable cider and is known in Pennsylvania by the name of Indian apple; it is thought that these are native of this country. Some part of these grounds are covered with the small dutch white clover and it is very remarkable that if you clear any spot of ground ever so far from the sea or any European settlement, this grass will start up of itself; whence can its seed proceed from?

Soon after my return from this last excursion began the great contest between the 'Mother Country and this [the Revolution]. It spread among the lower class like an epidemy of the mind which reach'd far and near, as you well know. It soon swallow'd up every inferior contest, silenced every other dispute, and presented the people of Susquehanna with the pleasing hopes of their own never being decided by Great Britain. These solitary farmers, like all the rest of the inhabitants of this country, rapidly launch'd forth into all the intricate mazes of this grand quarrel, as their inclinations, prepossessions, and prejudices led them. A fatal era which has since disseminated among them the most horrid poison, which has torn them with intestine divisions, and has brought on that languor, that internal weakness, that suspension of industry, and the total destruction of their noble beginning.

Many, however, there were who still wished for peace; who still respected the name of Englishman; and cherished the idea of ancient connection. These were principally settled in the upper towns; the inhabitants of the lower ones were strongly prepossessed with the modern opinions. These latter ill-brooked that anyone who had come to settle under their patronage should prove their antagonists and, knowing themselves to be the strongest party, were guilty of many persecutions—a horrid policy. Every order was destroyed; the new harmony and good understanding which began to prevail among them were destroyed. Some of the inhabitants of the upper towns fell victims to this new zeal; gaols were erected on these peaceful shores where many sticklers for the old government were confined. But I am not going to lead you through the disgusting details of these scenes with which your papers have been filled, for it would be but a repetition of what has been done from one end of the continent to the other. This new ebullition of the mind was everywhere like one and the same cause, and therefore everywhere produced the same effects.

Many of those who found themselves stripped of their property took refuge among the Indians. Where else could they go? Many others, tired of that perpetual tumult in which the whole settlement was involved, voluntarily took the same course; and I am told that great numbers from the extended frontiers of the middle provinces have taken the same steps—some reduced to despair, some fearing the incursions with which they were threatened. What a strange idea this joining with the savages seems to convey to the imagination, this uniting with a people which Nature had distinguished by so many national marks! Yet this is what the Europeans have often done through choice and inclination, whereas we never hear of any Indians becoming civilized Europeans. This uncommon emigration, however, has thrown among them a greater number of whites than ever has been known before. This will ere long give rise to a new set of people, but will not produce a new species, so strong is the power of Indian education. Thus war, tyranny, religion, mix nations with nations; dispeople one part of the earth to cause a new one to be inhabited.

It will be worthy of observation to see whether those who are now with the Indians will ever return and submit themselves to the yoke of European society; or whether they will carefully cherish their knowledge and industry and gather themselves on some fertile spot in the interior parts of the continent; or whether that easy, desultory life so peculiar to the Indians will attract their attention and destroy their ancient inclinations. I rather think that the latter will preponderate, for you cannot possibly conceive the singular charm, the indescribable propensity which Europeans are apt to conceive and imbibe in a very short time for this vagrant life, a life which we civilized people are apt to represent to ourselves as the most ignoble, the most irksome of any. Upon a nearer inspection, 'tis far from being so disgusting. Innumerable instances might be produced of the effect which it has had, not only on poor illiterate people, but on soldiers and other persons bred to the luxuries and ease of a European life. Remember the strong instance of the people taken at Oswego during the last war, who, though permitted to return home, chose to remain and become Indians. The daughters of these frontier people will necessarily marry with the young men of the nation in which they have taken refuge, they have now no other choice. At a certain age, Nature points out the necessity of union; she cares very little about the colour. By the same reason and in consequence of the same cause, the young Europeans will unite themselves to the squaws. 'Tis very probable, therefore, that fishing, hunting, and a little planting will become their principal occupations. The children that will spring from these new alliances will thoroughly imbibe the manners of the village and perhaps speak no other language. You know what the power of education is: the Janizaries, though born of Frank parents, were by its impulse rendered the most enthusiastic enemies of the Christian name.

Some time after the departure of these people a few Indians came down under the sanction of a flag to demand much weaker in numbers, as they thought, than had been reported. This encouraged them; they boldly advanced, and the Indians as sagaciously retreated. Thus they were led on to the fatal spot where all at once they found themselves surrounded. Here some of the New England leaders abandoned them to their evil destiny. Surprised as they were at this bad omen, they still kept their ground and vigorously defended themselves until the Indians, sure of their prey, worked up by the appearance of success to that degree of frenzy which they call courage, dropped their guns and rushed on them with the tomahawk and the spear. The cruel treatment they expected to receive from the wrathful Indians and offended countrymen animated them for a while. They received this first onset with the most undaunted courage; but, the enemy falling upon them with a redoubled fury and on all sides, they broke and immediately looked for safety in flight.

Part of them plunged themselves into the river with the hopes of reaching across, and on this element a new scene was exhibited not less terrible than that which had preceded it. The enemy, flushed with the intoxication of success and victory, pursued them with the most astonishing celerity, and, being naked, had very great advantage over a people encumbered with clothes. This, united with their superiority in the art of swimming, enabled them to overtake most of these unfortunate fugitives, who perished in the river pierced with the lances of the Indians. Thirty-three were so happy as to reach the opposite shores, and for a long time afterwards the carcasses of their companions, become offensive, floated and infested the banks of the Susquehanna as low as Shamokin. The other party, who had taken their flight towards their forts, were all either taken or killed. It is said that those who were then made prisoners were tied to small trees and burnt the evening of the same day.

The body of the aged people, the women and children who were enclosed in the stockade, distinctly could hear and see this dreadful onset, the last scene of which had been transacted close to the very gates. What a situation these unfortunate people were in! Each wife, each father, each mother could easily distinguish each husband and son as they fell. But in so great, so universal a calamity, when each expected to meet the same fate, perhaps they did not feel so keenly for the deplorable end of their friends and relations. Of what powerful materials must the human heart be composed, which could hold together at so awful a crisis! This bloody scene was no sooner over than a new one arose of a very similar nature. They had scarcely finished scalping the numerous victims which lay on the ground when these fierce conquerors demanded the immediate entrance to the fort. It was submissively granted. Above a hundred of them, decorated with all the dreadful ornaments of plumes and colour of war, with fierce and animated eyes, presented themselves and rushed with impetuosity into the middle of the area, armed with tomahawks made of brass with an edge of steel. Tears relieved some; involuntary cries disburdened the oppression of others; a general shriek among the women was immediately heard all around.

What a spectacle this would have exhibited to the eyes of humanity: hundreds of women and children, now widows and orphans, in the most humble attitude, with pale, dejected countenances, sitting on the few bundles they had brought with them, keeping their little unconscious children as close to them as possible, hiding by a mechanical instinct the babies of their breasts; numbers of aged fathers oppressed with the unutterable sorrow; all pale, all trembling, and sinking under the deepest consternation were looking towards the door—that door through which so many of their friends had just passed, alas, never more to return! Every one at this awful moment measured his future punishment by the degree of revenge which he supposed to animate the breast of his enemy. The self-accusing consciences of some painted to them each approaching minute as replete with the most terrible fate. Many there were who, recollecting how in the hour of oppression they had insulted their countrymen and the natives, bitterly wept with remorse; others were animated with the fiercest rage. What a scene an eminent painter might have copied from that striking exhibition if it had been a place where a painter could have calmly sat with the palette in his hands! How easily he might have gathered the strongest expressions of sorrow, consternation, despondency, and despair by taking from each countenance some strong feature of affright, of terror, and dismay as it appeared delineated on each face. In how many different modes these passions must have painted themselves according as each individual's temper, ardent or phlegmatic habit, hurried or retarded the circulation of the blood, lengthened or contracted the muscles of his physiognomy.

But now a scene of unexpected humanity ensues, which I hasten to describe, because it must be pleasing to peruse and must greatly astonish you, acquainted as you are with the motives of revenge which filled the breasts of these people, as well as with their modes of carrying on war. The preceding part of this narration seems necessarily leading to the horrors of the utmost retaliation. Happily these fierce people, satisfied with the death of those who had opposed them in arms, treated the defenceless ones, the women and children, with a degree of humanity almost hitherto unparalleled.

In the meanwhile the loud and repeated war-shouts began to be re-echoed from all parts; the flames of conflagrated houses and barns soon announced to the other little towns the certainty of their country's defeat; these were the first marks of the enemies' triumph. A general devastation ensued, but not such as we read of in the Old Testament, where we find men, women, children, and cattle equally devoted to the same blind rage. All the stock, horses, sheep, etc., that could be gathered in the space of a week were driven to the Indian towns by a party which was detached on purpose. The other little stockades, hearing of the surrender of their capital, opened their gates and submitted to the conquerors They were all immediately ordered to paint their faces with red, this being the symbol established then, which was to preserve peace and tranquillity while the two parties were mingled together.

Thus perished in one fatal day most of the buildings, improvements, mills, bridges, etc., which had been erected there with so much cost and industry. Thus were dissolved the foundations of a settlement begun at such a distance from the metropolis, disputed by a potent province, the beginning of which had been stained with blood shed in their primitive altercations. Thus the ill-judged policy of these ignorant people and the general calamities of the times overtook them and extirpated them even out of that wilderness which they had come twelve years before to possess and embellish. Thus the grand contest entered into by these colonies with the mother country has spread everywhere, even from the sea-shores to the last cottages of the frontiers. This most diffusive calamity, on this fatal spot in particular, has despoiled of their goods, chattels, and lands, upwards of forty-five hundred souls, among whom not a third part was ever guilty of any national crime. Yet they suffered every extent of punishment as if they had participated in the political iniquity which was attributed to the leaders of this unfortunate settlement. This is always the greatest misfortune attending war. What had poor industrious women done? What crime had their numerous and innocent children committed?

Where are heaven's holiness and mercy fled? Laughs heaven at once at virtue and at Man? If not, why that discouraged, this destroyed?

Many accused the king with having offered a reward for the scalps of poor inoffensive farmers. Many were seized with violent fevers, attended with the most frantic rage, and died like maniacs; others sat in gloomy silence and ended their unhappy days seemingly in a state of insensibility; various were the ultimate ends of some of these people.

Towards the evening of the second day, a few Indians found some spirituous liquor in the fort. The inhabitants, dreading the consequence of inebriation, repaired to Brant, who removed every appearance of danger. After this, every one was permitted to go and look for the mangled carcass of his relation and to cover it with earth. I can easily imagine or conceive the feelings of a soldier burying the bodies of his companions, but neither my imagination nor my heart permits me to think of the peculiar anguish and keen feelings which must have seized that of a father, that of a mother avidly seeking among the crowd of slain for the disfigured corpse of a beloved son, the throbbing anguish of a wife—I cannot proceed.

Yet was it not astonishing to see these fierce conquerors, besmeared with the blood of these farmers, loaded with their scalps hardly cold, still swelled with the indignation, pride, and cruelty with which victory always inspires them, abstain from the least insult and permit some rays of humanity to enlighten so dreadful, so dreary a day?

The complete destruction of these extended settlements was now the next achievement which remained to be done in order to finish their rude triumph, but it could not be the work of a few days. Houses, barns, mills, grain, everything combustible to conflagrate; cattle, horses, and stock of every kind to gather; this work demanded a considerable time. The collective industry of twelve years could not well be supposed, in so great an extent, to require in its destruction less than twelve days. During that interval, both parties were mixed together, and neither blows nor insults tarnished the duration of this period; a perfect suspension of animosities took place. The scattered inhabitants, who came to take the benefit of the Painter Proclamation, all equally shared in the protection it imparted. Some of the Indians looked for those families which were known to have abhorred the preceding tyranny. They found the fathers and mothers, but the young men were killed; they bestowed on them many favours. The horrors of war were suspended to give these unhappy people full leisure to retire.

Some embarked in boats and, leaving all they had behind them, went down the river towards Northumberland, Paxtung, Sunbury, etc., to seek shelter among the inhabitants of Pennsylvania; others, and by far the greatest number, were obliged to venture once more on foot through the great wilderness which separated them from the inhabited part of the province of New York. They received the most positive assurances that they would meet with no further injuries, provided they kept themselves painted in this long traject. This was the very forest they had traversed with so much difficulty a few years before, but how different their circumstances! 'Tis true they were then poor, but they were rich in hopes; they were elated with the near approach of prosperity and ease. Now that all-cheering, that animating sentiment was gone. They 'had nothing to carry with them but the dreadful recollection of having lost their all, their friends, and their helpmates. These protecting hands were cold, were motionless, which had so long toiled to earn them bread and procure them comfort. No more will they either hold the plough or handle the axe for their wives and children, who, destitute and forlorn, must fly, they hardly know where, to live on the charity of friends. Thus on every side could you see aged parents, wives, and a multitude of unhappy victims of the times preparing themselves as well as they could to begin this long journey, almost unprovided with any kind of provisions.

While the faithful hand is retracing these mournful events in all the various shades of their progressive increase, the humane heart cannot help shedding tears of the most philanthropic compassion over the burning ruins, the scattered parts of a society once so flourishing, now half-extinct, now scattered, now afflicted by the most pungent sorrow with which the hand of heaven could chastise them.

For a considerable time the roads through the settled country were full of these unhappy fugitives, each company slowly returning towards those counties from which they had formerly emigrated. Some others, still more unfortunate than others, were wholly left alone with their children, obliged to carry through that long and fatiguing march the infants of their breasts, now no longer replenished as before with an exuberant milk. Some of them were reduced to the cruel necessity of loading the ablest of them with the little food they were permitted to carry. Many of these young victims were seen bareheaded, barefooted, shedding tears at every step, oppressed with fatigues too great for their tender age to bear; afflicted with every species of misery, with hunger, with bleeding feet, every now and then surrounding their mother, as exhausted as themselves. "Mammy, where are we going? Where is Father? Why don't we go home?" "Poor innocents, don't you know that the king's Indians have killed him and have burnt our house and all we had? Your uncle Simon will perhaps give us some bread."

Hundreds were seen in this deplorable 'condition, yet thinking themselves happy that they had safely passed through the great wilderness, the dangers of which had so much increased the misfortunes of their situation. Here you might see a poor starved horse, as weak and emaciated as themselves, given them perhaps by the enemy as a last boon. The poor beast was loaded with a scanty feather-bed serving as a saddle which was fastened on him with withes and bark. On it sat a wretched mother with a child at her breast, another on her lap, and two more placed behind her, all broiling in the sun, accompanied in this pilgrimage of tribulation by the rest of the family creeping slowly along, leading at a great distance behind a heifer once wild and frolicsome but now tamed by want and hunger; a cow, perhaps, with hollow flanks and projecting ribs closed the train; these were the scanty remains of greater opulence. Such was the mournful procession, which for a number of weeks announced to the country through which they passed the sad disaster which had befallen them. The generous farmers sent their waggons to collect as many as they could find and convey them to the neighbouring county, where the same kindness was repeated. Such was their situation, while the carcasses of their friends were left behind to feed the wolves of that wilderness on which they had so long toiled, and which they had come to improve.

*According to Crevecoeur his second journey, the account of which begins here, w made just before the Revolution, probably in 1776.

< Back   Next >