A Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 208 pages of information about A Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America.
which was flung at him across the fence.  The evidence was clear against the murderer, and yet he was acquitted.  Whilst I was at Vandalia, I saw in a list of lands for sale, amongst other lots to be sold for taxes, one of Mr. Flowers’.  The fate of these gentlemen and their families should be a sufficient warning to persons of their class in England, not to attempt settling in the backwoods; or if they have that idea, to leave aside altogether refined notions, and never to bring with them either the feelings or the habits of a gentleman farmer.  The whole secret and cause of this guerre a mort, declared by the backwoodsmen against Messrs. Birkbeck and Flowers, was, that when they first settled upon the prairies, they attempted to act the patron and the benefactor, and considered themselves entitled to some respect.  Now a west-country American would rather die like a cock on a dunghill, than be patronized after the English fashion; he is not accustomed to receive benefactions, and cannot conceive that any man would voluntarily confer favours on him, without expecting something in return, either in the shape of labour, or goods;—­and as to respect, that has totally disappeared from his code since “the Declaration.”

Mr. Birkbeck was called “Emperor of the Prairies;” and notwithstanding the hostility of his neighbours, he seems to have been much respected in the other parts of Illinois, as he was chosen secretary of state; and in that character he died, in 1825.  He at last devoted himself entirely to gaining political influence, seeing that it was the duty of every man in a free country to be a politician, and that he who “takes no interest in political affairs,” must be a bad man, or must want capacity to act in the common occurrences of life.

From Albion we proceeded towards the Little Wabash; but had not got many miles from that town, when an accident occurred which delayed us some time.  We were driving along through a wood of scrub-oak, or barren, when our carriage, coming in contact with a stump that lay concealed beneath high grass, was pitched into a rut—­it was upset—­and before we could recover ourselves, away went the horse dashing through the wood, leaving the hind wheels and body of the vehicle behind.  He took the path we had passed over, and fortunately halted at the next corn-field.  We repaired the damage in a temporary manner, and again set forward.

After having crossed the Little Wabash, we had to pass through three miles of swamp frequently above our ancles in the mire, for the horse could scarcely drag the empty waggon.  We at length came out on “Hardgrove’s prairie.”  The prospect which here presented itself was extremely gratifying to our eyes.  Since I had left the little prairie in the Wyandot reserve, I had been buried in eternal forests; and, notwithstanding all the efforts one may make to rally one’s spirits, still the heart of a European sickens at the sameness of the

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A Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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