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Michigan In 1837

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[The following extract from the works on the celebrated English autboresSj Harriet Martineau, gives an accouDt of her travels tlirough this State in the year 1837. It ia both curious and interesting. - Detroit Commercial Advrtiser. "We lnuded at Detroit, froni Lake Ërlet at geven o'cloek in the morniug of tho Í3th of Juue, 1837. We rtacbed the American just in time for breakf'ast At that long table, I had the pleasure of seeing the healthiest set of faces tbat I had beheld since I left England. The breakfast was excellent, ard we were served with much consideraron ; but the place was so full, and the accommo dations of Detroit are so insufficient for the influx of people who are betaking themselves thither, that strangers must patiently put up with much delay and inconveuience till ncw houaea of entertainment are opened. We had to wait till near on6 o'cloek before any of us could have a room in which to dress ; but I had many letters to write, and could wait; fand before I had done, Cliarley carue with his shiniog iace and clean collar, to show me that accummodation had beer. provided. In the afternoon, we saw what we could of the pitee, and walked by the side of the full and tranquil river St. Clair [Detroit]. The street of the town are wide and aiiy ; but the houses, churches, and stores, are poor, for the capital city of a Territory or State. This is a defect which is presently eured in the stirriug northern regious of the United States. Wooden planks, laid on the grass, form the pave ment, in fill the outskirts of the pliice The deticiency is of stone, not uf labor. Thousands of gettlers are pouring in every yenr ; and of these, maoy are Irish, GerinanH, or Dutcb, working their wüy iulo the back couutry ; aud glad to be entployed a while at Detroit, to earn mouey to carry them further Pavingstones will be imponed here, I suppose, as I saw them in New Orleans, to the gri-at improveiuent of the heahh and comfort of the place. The blouk-wood paveinent, of wljich a trial has been made n Broadway, New York, is thought to anewer better at Detroit than any other kind, and íb going to betried. The countiy round Detroit is as flut as can ba imagined ; aud, indeed, it is eaid that the liighest mountain in the State, boasts ouly sixty ftet of elevation A lady ot Detroit oiice declared, that it she was to build a house in Michigan, she woula build a hill tirst. The Canada side of the river luoks dull enough from the city ; but I cannot speak from a near view of it, having been disappoluted in my attempts to get over it. On oue occasion we were too late for the ferry boat ; and we never had time again for the excusion. A cool wind fiom the northern lakes blows over the whole face of the country, in the luidst of the hottest days of summer ; and in the depth of winter the snow uever lies deep uor long. These eucumstaiices may partly account for the healthiness of the row of faces at the table of the American. The society of Detroit is very choice ; and, as it has continuad so since the old colonial days, through the territorial days, tliere ie every reason to think that it wtll become, under iti new dignitaries, a more and more desirable place of resi decee. Some of its inferior society is still very youthful ; a gentleman, for instance, saying in the reading-room, in the hearing of oue of our party, that, though it did not sound well at a diatance, Lynching was the only way to treat Abohliouigts ; but the most enlighteced society is, I believe, equal to any which is to be found in the United States Here we begau to cee some of the half brceda, of whom we afterwards met so many at the north. They are the childrcti of white men who have married squaws ; and may be known at a glance, uot only by ihe dark complexión, but by the high cheek-bones, straight black hair, and an indescribable mischievous expression about the eyes. I never saw such imps and Ftibbergibbets as the half-breed boys that we used to see rowing or diving in the waters, or playing pranks on the shores of Michigan. We had two great pleasures this day : a drive along the quiet Lake St. Clair, and a charming evenkig party at Gen. Masou's. After a pilgrimage '. hrough the State of New York, a few exciting days at Niágara, and a voyage along Lake Erie, we were prepared to enjoy to the utmost the novelty of a good evening party ; and we were as merry as children at a ball. It was wholly unexpected to find ourselves in accompiished society on the fair dide of Lake Erie ; and there was something stimulating in the contrast between the high civilization of the eveuing, and the primilive scènes that we wero to plunge into the Ijcxt day. Though we had to pack up and wiitu, and be off very early in the inoruing, we were unable to persuade ourselves to go home till hito; aud then we talked over Detroit as if we were wholly at leisure. The scène of Lake St Clair was new to rne. 1 had seen nothing ia the United States like its levcl green banks, with trees slanting over the water, fotoonod with the wild vine; the groups of cattle beueath them ; the distant steamboat, pcarcely seeming to disturb the Jgrey surface of' the still waters. This wu9 ïrst of many scones in Michigan whicli made me think ot' Holland ; though tho day of cauals has nut yet arrived. l5th. An otltgiiig girl at the American provided us with coffee and biscuits at hult past five, by which time our "exclusive extra" was at the door. (Jn;irley ïad lost his cap. It, was itnpossible that ie shoukl go bare headed l hrough tho State; and it was lucky lor un that a store was already opon, where he was furnished in a trice with a wiilow hat. The brimming river tvas bright in the morning sun ; and our road was, for a milo or two, thronged with Iodians. íáome of tlie inbabitants of Detroit, who knew the most about their dark neighbors, told rae that tbey found it impossible to be romantic about these poor croatures. We, however, could not help feel ing the excitetnent of the spectaele, wlien we saw them standing in their sin gularly majestic attiludes by the roadside, or on a rising ground;; one, with a buneh of feathers tied at the back of his head ; anolher, with bis arms folded in his blanket; and a tbird, with her infant lashed to a board, and thus carried on her shouidors. Their appearance was dreadfully squalid. We dined well, nine miles before reaching Ypsilanti. Tbe log houses - always comfortable when well made, beiug easily kept cool in euinmer, and warm in winter - have hert; an air of beauty about them. The hue always harmonizes well vvth the soil and vegetation. Those in Michigan have the back left on, and the corners sawn off close ; and are thus both picturesque and neat. At Ypsilanti, I picked up an Ann Arbor uewspaper. It was badly printed ; but its contenls were pretty good ; and it could happen nowhereout of America, that so raw a scttlement as that of Ann Arbor, where thcre is difficu'ty in procuring decent aecommodations, sbould have a newspaper. It was past Beven belore we left the inn at Ypsilanti, to go thirteen miles further. We departed on foot. There was a bridge building at Ypsilanti ; but, till it was ready, all vebicles had to go a mile down the waterside to ïhe ferry, while the passengers gerierally preft-rrod crossing the footbridge, and walkiug on through the wood. We tound in our paths, lupins, wild geraniums, blue-eye grass, blue iris, wild sunHower, and macy others The mild summer night was delicious, after the fatigues of the day. I saw the youngest of golden moons, and two bright stars set, before we reached Wallace's Tavern, where we were to sleep. Of course, we were told that there wrts no room for us ; but, by a little coaxing and management, and oue of tbe party consenting to sleep on the parlor-floor, everything was made easy. 16th. We were off by half-past six ; and, not having rested quite enougb, and baring the prospect of tourteen miles before breaktast, we, with oue accord, finished our sleep in the stage. We reached Tecumseh by half-past niue, and per k'ived that its charaoteristic was chairmaking Every otber house seemed to be a chair luauufaetoiy. Ooe bore tbe üscription, "Cousin George's Store," tbe meauing of which I do not pretend to furnisb. Perbaps the idea is, thal purchusers may feel free and easy, as if dealing with cousiu George. Everybody bas a cousin George. Elaewhere we saw a lit'le hotel inscnbed, "Our House," a prettier sigu thau "Traveler's Rest," or any other sucb tempting invitation that 1 am acquainted wilh. At Tecumseh, I saw tbe tirst strawberrie of the season. All tbat I tasted in Michigan, of prairie grcwth, were superior to those of the weet, grown in gardens. Ai Jonesville, the ladies and Charlcy wére tavored with a large and comfortable chamber. The gentlemen had . o sleep with the multitude below, ranged like walkiog-sticks or umbrellaj, on a shop counter. 17th. At one part of our journey today, wbere the road was absolutely impaasable, we went about a mile tbrough the wood, where there was no track, but whero the trees are blazed, to serve as guide posts, summer and winter. It was very wild. Our carriage twisted and wound about to avoid blows against the noble beeoh sterns. The waters of the swamp plashed under our wheela, nd the boughs cruucbed overhead. An overturn would have been a disaster in sueh a plaoe. We traveled only fortytwo miles this long day; but the weariness of the way was much beguiled by singing, by a mock oration, story-telling, and other euch amusements. The wit and humor of Americans, abundant under ordinary circumtanees, are never, I believe, known to fail in emergencies, serious or trifliug. Their humor helps themselves and their visitors through auy Sloughs of Despond, as chantably as their infinite abundauce of logs througb thu swamps of tbe bad roads. We did not reach Sturgis Prairie till night. We had heard so poor an account of the stage-house, that we procceded to another, 'whose owner has the reputation of treating h;s guests magnifi.', or not at all. He treated us on juste milieu principies. He did what he could for us ; and that could not be called miiguificeut. Tbc house was crowded with emigrants. When, after three bouis waiting, we btfd tiupper, two full-growu persous were askep on some blaiikets in the corner of the room, and as many as tifteeu childreu on uhaiis and on the fioor. The w.iidow would not keep open without benig propped by the tin water jug'; and ihuugti this was doue, I could not sleep for the heat. This remiuds me of tbe considérate kindness of au hotel-keeper in an eailier stage of our journey, Wlen be found that I wisbed to have my wíikIow open, there being no l'asteuing, he told me he would bring his own tooth-brush for a prop - which beacpoi'diugly did. 18th. Our drive of twelvo miles to breiikfast was very refreshing. Tbe roads were the best we had traveled since wo left New York State. Wa pnssed through t wilderness of flowera ; (railing roses, ei.onuom white convolvulus, scarlet lilies, and ground ivv, with in:iny others, beiug adaed to those we bad before seon. Milton must have traveled in M chigan bof.ire ha writo the garden parts of 'Paradise Lost," Sturgie and White Pigecn prairies are higiily cultivated, and look just like any other noh and perfectl levcl land We br;akfasted at White Pigeon Prairie, and SMW the rising ground where tbe Indian chief lies buried, whose name. has beeu given to the pluce. The charms of thu settlement, to us, were a kind landlady, an admirable breakfast, at wtnch egga abounded, and a blooming garden. Tbirty-sevcn miles further brought us to Ñiles, whero we arrived by five in the anemoon. The roads were so much iniproved that we had not to walk at all, which was well, as there was much peltrain during the day. Niles is a thriving town on the river St. Joseph, on the borders of the Potowatomie territory. Three years ago, it consisted of three "houses We cnüld not learn the present number of inhabitants, probubly because the number is never the same two days together. A Pntowatomie village stands witbin a mile ; and we saw two Indians on horseback, fording the rapid river very majestically, and ascending tbe wooded hills on the other side. Many Indian wonien were about the streets, one with a nose-ring, some with plates of silver on the bosom, aud other barbarie ornaments. Such a treirendous storm of thunder and lightning carne on, with a deluge of rain, that We were prevented seeiug anything of tbe place, except from om windows. I had sent my boots to a cobbler, over the way. He had to put on India rubbers, which reaehed ubove the knee, to bring bis work home, the street was so flooded. 19th. No plan could be more clevorly and confidently laid than ours was f(ir the day's journey. We were to travel through the lands of the Potowatomies, and reaeh the shores of the glorioils Lake Michigan, at Michigan City, in' time for an early supper. We were to proceed on the uiorrow round the süuthern extremity of the lake, so as, if possi ble, to reach Chicago in one day. It was wisely and prettily planned ; and the plan was so far followcd, as that we actually did leave Niles some time before six in the moruing, and continued, with but few and short intervals all day. We crossed the St. Joseph by a rope ferry, the ingenious management of which, when stage-coaches had to be car ried over, was a perpetual study to me. The effect of crossing a rapid river by a rope ferry, by torch-light in a dark night, is very striking ; aud not the less so for one's becoming familiarized with it, as tbe traveler does in the United States. As we drove up the steep bank, we found ourselves iu the ludian territory. All was very wild ; and the more so for the rain. There were raany lodges in tue glades, with the red light of tires hanging around them. The few log huts looked drenched ; the tree-stems black in the wet ; and the very wild fiowers wore drippiog. The soil was sandy ; so that the ugliest features of a rainy day, the mud and puddle, were obviated The pand sucked up the rain, so tliat we jumped out of the carriage as often as a wild flower of peculiar beauty tempti;d us. The bride iike, white convolvulus nearly as large as mjr hand, grew in trails all over the ground. The poor, helpless, squalid Potowatomies are sadly tronbled by squatters. It seems harJ enough that they should l6 restrained within a narrow turritory, so surrounded by wHtes that the game is sure soon to disappear, and loave them stripped of their ortly resource. It is too hard that they should also be encroached upon by men who sit down, without leave or lithe, upon lands which are not intended for sale. I enjoyed hearing of an oecasional alarm among the squatters, caused by some threateuing demonstrations by the Indiuns. I should like to see every squatter frightened Sfpay from Indian lauda, however advantageous their squatting may be up pon lands which are unclaimed, or whose owners can defend their own property. I was alad to hear to day that a deputation of Potowatomies had been seut to visit a warlik#tribe, in consequenoo of the importunities of squatters who wanted to buy the land they had been living upon. The deputalion returned, painted, and under other hostile signáis, and declared that the Potowatomies did not intend to part with their lands. We stoppei for some niilk this moruing, at the "location" of a squatter, whose wife was milking as we passed. The gigantie personage, her husband, told us how anxioua hè was to pay for the land whicb repaid his tillage so well ; but that his ludian neighbors would not sell I hope ttat by this tune, he has had to remove, aud leave them the beuefit of his house and fences. Such an establishment in the wild woods is the destruction of tha game - aud those who live upou it. At breakfast, we saw a fino specimen of a eettler"s family. We had observed thu prosperity and checrfulness of the settlers, all along the road ; but this family exceeded the best' I never saw such an atfectionate set of people. They, liko many others, were from one of the Southeru Staten ; and I was not fur prised to find all emigrants from North and South üarolimt well satisfied with the change they had made. The old lady seemed to enjoy her pipe, and there was much inirih going on between the boauliful dughter aud ail the other men and uüiidens. They gave us an excellent breakfast in oue of the two lovver rooms, the table being placod -across the toot til the two heds. No pains were sparnd by them to save us from iho wet in the stage; but tbe rain was too pelting aud peuetrating for any defenoo to avail long. It streamed in at all corners, i and we gave the matter up for the day. We were now entering Indiana; aud oue of our iiitentions had beeu tp xee the eelebrated Djor Prairie, so called from exqus tj views trom it beiug opent) through intervals in the growth of wood : with wbiob it is belted. I did oblaiu eomething like au idea of il throngli tbe reeking rain, and thought that it was the first prairie tbat I had seeo ttiat answered to my idea of one. But I dare say we formed uo conception of whut it raust be in sutishioe, aod with cloud shadows, wliieh adorn a prairie as they do still water. Wo reuobed Laporte, ou the edge of the Door Prairie, at three o'clock. '


Old News
Michigan Argus