[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

These were called "Indian Reservations," and this was one of them. It appears that the Oneida Indians had acquired some knowledge of practical agriculture; but their cultivation was so unskilful and so unprofitable compared with that of the whites by whom they were surrounded, and the feeling between the two races was so far from being friendly, that the government adopted, as a settled rule of policy, the determination to remove as many of the Indians as they could persuade to consent to that measure, to the territory west of the Mississippi or in Western Michigan. The Oneidas chose the latter, and have some time since emigrated to that quarter; and their lands in this reservation having been purchased of them by whites, are now in the same state of improved cultivation as the surrounding estates of their neighbours.

From hence we passed, at distances of from three to five miles apart, the small villages of Lenox, Quality Hill, and Chittenango, where we halted, and walked a short distance to see some remarkable petrifications of trees at the foot of a hill, from whence issue various springs of water, that leave incrustations in their track, and probably occasioned the petrifactions seen.

So many travellers have taken portions of this for their cabinets, that but little at present remains without farther excavations; we succeeded, however, in getting a fine specimen, with a part of the unchanged wood of the interior attached to the petrifaction of the bark.

Nothing of peculiar interest occurred between this and Syracuse, which we reached about four in the afternoon, having left at eight in the morning, and were thus eight hours performing fifty miles, or at the average rate of six and a quarter miles per hour.

We remained at Syracuse to sleep; but here also, having made arrangements for my remaining a week on my return journey, no examination was made of the town.

On the following morning, Thursday, August 9th, we left Syracuse in a coach that conveyed us to a railway, beginning at a distance of three or four miles from the town, to take us to Auburn; but great was our disappointment at finding that, instead of a locomotive engine, the cars were drawn by horses, of which there were only two to draw about twenty passengers, the horses being placed one before the other, as tandems are driven, and not abreast. The rails, too, were of wood instead of iron, and the rate of travelling was estimated to be about six miles an hour. We had to wait half an hour before starting, and our progress was then so tedious that we all thought of getting out to walk the distance, as the most expeditious mode of the two, when, to add to our mortification, we met a train of cars drawn by a single horse coming right against us, and, the rails being single and the places for turning off being wide apart, we had to shift our tandem pair from the front to the hind part of the train, and be drawn back about a mile and a half to get off the track, and let our advancing rival go past us.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]



After a very tedious ride of four hours in performing twenty-two miles, we reached Auburn, the entrance to which was by the great State-prison and the other public buildings, which gave it a very striking appearance. We halted here for refreshments, and then with another party took an extra coach to proceed onward by way of Cayuga and Geneva to Canandaigua, where we proposed to sleep, making arrangements before we left for our return to Auburn, and inspection of its great State-penitentiary on our return journey from Niagara.

On leaving Auburn we were struck with the high state of cultivation to which the lands on each side of the high road had been brought, and the pretty villas and neat farmhouses every now and then peering through the trees. The cattle, too, were in excellent condition, and everything bore the marks of fertility, industry, and prosperity.

After a ride of about six or seven miles through a beautiful farming country, we approached the village of Cayuga, seated upon the lake of that name, of which we had a cominanding view. This fine sheet of water is nearly forty miles long, and about two miles in average breadth. Its waters are remarkably clear, and are said to abound with fish. The lake is generally shallow, but a steamboat plies on it between Cayuga and Ithaca, a distance of thirty-six miles. It is crossed by a wooden bridge, which is upward of a mile in length; it resembles the long bridge across the Potomac, from the City of Washington to the Virginia side of the river; and the prospect of the waters and its surrounding shores, from the centre of this bridge, is worth a short halt to enjoy.

Beyond Cayuga, at a distance of four miles, is the River Seneca, which has a rapid descent, like the Little Falls of the Mohawk, the declivity here being forty-six feet. A village has accordingly been built at this spot, which is called “ The Village of Seneca Falls.” It is not more than seven years since it was begun, and it has already about 600 dwelling-houses, seven churches, and 5000 inhabitants. The establishments here are chiefly mills and manufactories, all requiring the aid of water-power, of which there seems such abundance throughout this fine state, that coal and steam are hardly required for this purpose at present.

The next village at which we halted to change horses was called Waterloo, but for what reason I could not learn, except that it was first founded in 1815, and was so called probably from the battle of Waterloo, which was fought in that year. It is seated on one of the outlets of the Seneca River, and has accordingly several mills turned by the stream. A courthouse and jail give it an air of some importance, but there are not more than 1000 inhabitants at present residing here, many, it is said, having gone to the more promising village of Seneca Falls.

It was about four o'clock when we approached Geneva, which VOL. II.--R

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

opened upon us in all its beauty, and appeared to be the most beautiful of all the inland towns or villages we had yet seen.

The lake, at the head of which it is seated, is thirty-five miles in length, and from three to four in breadth. It is called “ The Seneca Lake,” as the Indians of the Seneca tribe originally occupied the borders of both the lake and the river that still retain their name. Its surrounding shores are eminently beautiful, having all the variety of sloping lawns and woods in some parts, and high cliffs and projecting promontories in others. The town itself, which is seated at its northern extremity, or at the head of the lake, looks like a series of clustered villas, scattered in groups, and deeply imbosomed in the richest groves; while the glittering domes and slender spires of the public buildings and places of Worship, rising from among the dwellings, add a richness, if not a splendour, to the whole.

We halted at Geneva to dine, and passed an agreeable hour there in rambling through the town, and enjoying the many beautiful prospects of the lake, which are presented from various points of view. I was surprised not to see any yachts or sailing-boats on so beautiful a sheet of water as this, especially as it has three peculiarities which are so favourable to boating, namely, that it abounds with salmon, trout, and other fish; that there is almost always a breeze on the water; and that it is never closed with ice. But, notwithstanding the fine pieces of water, both salt and fresh, with which America abounds, the taste for aquatic excursions, ex-, cept in steam-vessels, does not exist; and I do not remember to kave either seen or heard of a yacht or pleasure-boat, sailing or rowing, kept by any person in the country.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


[merged small][ocr errors]

Beautiful Position and Appearance of Geneva.---Peculiarities of the Lake on which it

stands.--Pretended Female Saviour of the World.- Arrival at the Village of Canaridaigua. -Description of the Town and Lake of that Name.-Excellent Provision for promulgating the Laws.--History of the Tract of the Genesee Country.-Sale of six Millions of Acres of Land.-Purchase Money, eightpence Sterling per Acre. --Same Land now worth fifty Dollars per Acre.--Arrival at Rochester, on the Genesee River, -Embark on the Erie Canal for Buffalo -Statistics of the Erie Canal. - Names of Ancient and Modern Cities along its Banks. Description of the Boats on the Canal. -Locks of the Canal at Lockport.-- Arrival at Buffalo, on Lake Erie. ---Journey to the Cataract-house at Niagara.

[blocks in formation]

The village of Geneva contains at present about 650 buildings, with a population of 4000 persons, a public college and an academy, with eight churches; but the chaste style of architecture observed in the buildings, the many agreeable shrubberies and gardens, and the charm thrown over the whole by the beautiful lake, make it

[ocr errors]



one of the most inviting places of summer residence I have ever seen; and when America comes to possess a class of men of fortune retired from business, who will seek a beautiful country residence in which to spend the remnant of their days, Geneva cannot fail to be preferred for such purposes, and to be abundantly peopled with such a class of inhabitants.

The villages around and near the lake are many of them remarkable. One of these, on the eastern borders, is called Ovid; and nearly opposite to it, on the western shore, is another called Dresden. It was near to this that once resided one of the long line of religious pretenders, of which the world has been so prolific, and of which America has produced her full share. This personage was a woman named Jemima Wilkinson, and she pretended that she was the saviour of the world.

Like other religious impostors, from Mohammed to Joanna Southcott, she found it easy to obtain believers; for mankind seem in every country to present a large number of persons ready to entertain any absurd belief that is offered to their acceptance. The trial which this pretended saviour of the world made of the faith of her followers is sufficiently ingenious to be recorded. She caused it to be announced to them that, on a certain day and hour, she would start from a given point of the lake, and exhibit her Divine power by walking across its surface to the opposite shore. Crowds were of course attracted to the spot by mere curiosity, and many also came believing. These strewed her pathway with white handkerchiefs for her to walk on, from the carriage in which she came to the edge of the water, in imitation, probably, of the multitude spreading palms in the way when Jesus entered into Jerusalem.

Surrounded by these faithful followers, she advanced as far as the water's edge, and ventured about ankle-deep into the liquid element. Seeing, however, that this yielded to the pressure of her foot, as it would do to that of any ordinary mortal, and that it would be dangerous to go farther, she adroitly turned round to her adherents, and asked them, with a loud voice, whether they really had faith in her power to walk on the lake; for, if they had not, it would be impossible for her to do so. They exclaimed, with one voice, that their faith was complete, and without a shadow of a doubt. Upon which she cunningly replied, that if they really believed in her power, it was for that very reason fully unnecessary to exhibit it; and, returning to the carriage in which she came, she left the deluded multitude to reflect on their own folly. The wonder is, that in this country of Lynch law, where tarring and feathering for mere difference of opinion is so often practised,* the said

* In a late American newspaper, which I regret to have mislaid, an extract is given from one of the journals of the Crusaders in the Holy Land, showing that the practice of pouring boiling pitch on the shaven head of an offender, and afterward covering him with feathers, was used by order of Richard Cæur de Lion, the king of England, during his wars in Palestine, as a punishment for convicted thieves.

Jemima was not ducked, which in her case might have been beneficial, as putting her floating powers to the test, and helping to cool her fervour.

We left Geneva after dinner, admiring the prospect of the town and lake from the height above, as we quitted it, quite as much as when we entered ; and, proceeding on our way to Canandaigua, a distance of about fifteen miles, we arrived after a drive of three hours, so that it was dark when we alighted at the hotel.

In the morning we had a fine prospect of the town and lake, which was almost as beautiful as that of Geneva. Immediately in front of our hotel was an open square, in which the public buildings were placed, including a courthouse, prison, and office of the county-clerk and town-clerk. It deserves mention that, in the smallest township of America, the town-clerk is an officer who is sure to be found at his office, where are always deposited a complete set of the laws of the state, to which the humblest citizen may at all times, within reasonable hours, have access; in every county town, also, the county-clerk has at his office a complete set of the laws of the United States, so that all the acts, whether of the local legislatures or the general government of Congress

, which have become law, may be inspected at all times, without fee or reward, by every citizen bound to obey them; besides which, they are uniformly published, at the time of their promulgation, at full length, and for several times in succession, in the General Government newspaper at Washington if acts of Congress, or in the State newspaper if the acts of any separate state only.

This is certainly a much more sensible practice than that which prevails in England, where no pains are taken by any government officer or parliamentary agent to promulgate the laws in detail as they pass, or to multiply depositaries in which they may be found by any one desirous of consulting them without fee or reward, so that we are guilty of the injustice as well as absurdity of making laws for the regulation of men's conduct, taking no pains to ensure their knowledge of these laws, and yet shutting out, in every case, the plea which so many thousands of British subjects might truly urge, namely, their entire ignorance of the very laws, for the unintentional infraction of which they are liable to punishment.

The square of Canandaigua forms the centre of the town, and from it branches off, in opposite directions, the principal street, which is laid out and lined with trees for a length of two miles, and is of ample and uniform breadth in every part, being eight rods, or 132 feet, wide. It is lined on each side with separate villas, surrounded by gardens, rather than by continuous buildings; and in this respect it resembles some of the fine avenues at Chowringee, in Calcutta, where the English principally reside; the houses being almost uniformly white, with frequent porticoes, green Venetian blinds, and balustrades or verandas in front and by the

« ForrigeFortsett »