« PreviousContinue »
dian tribes hold them in abhorrence as a barbarous and uncivilized race i and 'the different nations who hunt in their neighbourhood, have their concerting plans for their destruction. On the morning of the 11th the party pass. ed the petit ecor a Fabri. The osier, which grows on the beaches above, is not seen below upon this river ; and here they began to meet with the small tree called 'chanier' which grows only on the water side, and is met with all the way down the Washita. The latitude of 33° 40' seems the northern boundary of the one, and the southern boundary of the other of those vegetables. Having noticed the limit set to the long moss, (Telandsia) on the ascent of the river, in latitude 330, Mr. Dunbar made inquiry of Mr. Le Fever, as to its existence on the Arcansa settlement, which is known to lie in about the same parallel ; he said, that its growth is limited about ten miles south of the settlement, and that as remarkably, as if a line had been drawn east and west for the purpose ; as it ceases all at once, and not by degrees. Hence it appears, that nature has marked with a distinguishing feature, the line established by congress, between the Orleans and Louisiana territories. The cypress is not found on the Washita higher than thirty-four degrees of north latitude.
In ascending the river, they found their rate of going to exceed that of the current about six miles and a half in twenty-four hours; and that on the 12th, they had passed the apex of the tide or wave, occasioned by the fresh, and were descending along an inclined plane ; as they encamped at night, they found themselves in deeper water the next morning, and on a more ele. vated part of the inclined plane than they had been in the preceding even. ing, from the progress of the apex of the tide during their repose.
At noon, on the 16, they reached the post of the Washita.
Mr. Dunbar being anxious to reach the Natchez as early as possible, and being unable to procure horses at the post, took a cance with one soldier and his own domestick, to push down to the Catahoola, from whence to Concord there is a road of 30 miles across the low grounds. He set off early on the morning of the 20th, and at night reached the settlement of an old hunter, with whom he had conversed on his way up the river. This man informed him, that at the place called the mine, on the Little Missouri, there is a smoke which ascends perpetually from a particular place, and that the vapour is sometimes insupportable. The river, or a branch of it, passes over a bed of mineral, which, from the description given, is, no doubt, mar. tial pyrites. In a creek, or branch of the Fourche a' Luke, there is found on the beaches and in the cliffs, a great number of globular bodies, some as large, or larger, than a man's head, which, when broken, exhibit the appearance of gold, silver, and precious stones ; most probably pyrites and crystalized spar. And at the Fourche des Glaises a' Paul, (higher up the river than Fourche a' Luke) near the river there is a cliff full of hexagonal prisms, terminated by pyramids, which appear to grow out of the rock ; they are from six to eight inches in length, and some of them are an inch in diameter. There are beds of pyrites found in several small creeks com. municating with the Washita, but it appears that the mineral indications are greatest on the Little Missouri, because, as before noted, some of the hun. ters actually worked on them, and sent a parcel of the ore to New Orleans. It is the belief here, that the mineral contains precious metal, but that the Spanish government did not choose a mine should be opened so near to the
British settlements. An express prohibition was issued against working these mines. · At this place, Mr. Dunbar obtained one or two slips of the “bois d'arc," (bow wood) or yellow wood, froin the Missouri. The fruit which hrad fallen before inaturity, lay upon the ground. Some were of the size of a small orange, with a rind full of tubercles ; the colour, though it appeared faded, still retained a resemblance to pale gold.
The tree in its native soil, when laden with its golden fruit, (nearly as large as the egg of an ostrich), presents the most splendid appearance ; its foliage is of a deep green, resembling the varnislied leaf of the orange tree, and, upon the whole, no forest tree can compare with it in ornamental grandeur. The bark of the youmg trees resembles, in texture, the dog wood bark; the appearance of the wood recommends it for trial as an article which may yield a yellow dye. It is deciduous ; the branches are numero ous, and full of short thorns or prickles, which seem to point it out as proper for hedges or live fences. This tree is known to exist near the Natitosh (perhaps in latitude 32°), and upon the river Arcansa, high up (perhaps int lat. 36'); it is therefore probable that it may thrive from latitude 38° to 4,0 and will be a great acquisition to the United States if it possess no other merit than that of being ornamental.
In descending the river, both Mr. Dunbar and Dr. Hunter searched for the place said to yield gypsum, or plaister of Paris, but failed. The former gentleman states, that he has no doubt of its existence, having noted two places where it has been found ; one of which is the first hill or highland which touches the river on the west, above the bayau Calumet, and the other is the second high land on the same side: As these are tw, puints of the same continued ricige, it is probable that an immense body of syysum will be found in the bowels of the hills where they meet, and perhaps estending far beyond them.
On the evening of the 22d, Mr. Dunbar arrived at the Cataboola, where : Frenchman of the name of Hebrard, who keeps the ferry across Black river, is settled. Here the road frora the Washrita forks, one branch of it leading to the settlement on Red river, anul the other up to the post on the Washita. The proprietor of this place has been a hunter and a great traveller up the Washita and into the western country : he confums generally the sccounts received from others. It appears from what they say that in the neiglivourhood of the hot springs, but higher up, among the mountains, and upon the Little Missouri, during the summer season, explosions are very frequently heard, proceeding from under the ground : and not rarely a curious phe. momenon is seen, which is termed the blowing of the mountains ; it is confined elastic gas forcing a passage through the side or top of a hill, driving before it a great quantity of earth and mmeral matter. During the winter season the explosions and blowing of the mountains cutirely cerse, from wherre we may conclude, that the cause is comparatively superficial, being brought into action by the increased heat of the more direct rays of the summer sun.
The cmluence of the Washita, Catahoola and Tenza, is an interesting place. The last of these communicates with the Mississippi kow lands, by the intervention of other creeks and lakes, and by one in particular, called “ Bayau d'Argent,” which empties into the Mississippi, about fourteen miles above Narche... During high water there is a navigation for batteaux of any burthen along the bayatl. A large like, called St. John's lake, occupies a considerable part of the passage between the Mississippi and the Tenza ; it is in a horse sline form, and hus, at some former period, been the bed of the Mississippi : the nearest part of it is aboui one mile remared
from the river at the present time. This lake, possessing elevated banks, similar to those of the river, has been lately occupied and improved. The Caiahoola bayau is the third navigabie stream: during the time of the inundation there is an excellent communication by the lake of that name, and from tience, by large crecks, to the Red river. The country around the point of union of these three rivers is altogether alluvial, but the place of Mr. Hebrard's residence is no longer subject to inundation. There is no doubt, that as the country augments in population and riches, this place will become the site of a commercial inland town, which will keep pace with the progress and prosperity of the country. One of the Indian mounts here is of a considerable elevation, with a species of rampas't surrounding a large space, which wós, no doubt, the position of a fortified town.
While here, Mr. Dunbar met with an American, who pretended to have been up the Arkansa river three Inındred leagues. The navigation of this river, he says, is good to that distance, for boats drawing three or four feet water. Implicit faith, perhaps, ought not to be given to his relation, respecting the quantity of silver he pretends to have collected there. He says he has found silver on the Washita, tiirty leagues above the hot springs, so rich, that three pounds of it yielded one pound of silver, and that this was found in a cave.
He asserts, also, that the ore of the mine upon the little Missouri was carried to Kentucky, by a person of the name of Boon, where it was found to yield largely in silver. This man says he has been up the Red river likewise, and that there is a great rapid just below the raft
, or natural bridge, and several others above it ; that the Caddo nation is about fifty leagues above the raft, and near to their village commences the country of the great prairies, which extend four or five hundred miles to the west of the sand mountains, as they are termed. These great plains reach for beyond the Red river to the south, and north ward over the Arkansa river, and among the numerous branches of the Missouri. He confirms the ac.count of the beauty and fertility of the western country.
On the morning of the 25th Mr. Dunbar set out, on horseback, from the Cataloola to Natcliez. The rain which had fallen on the preceding days jendered the roads wet and muddy, and it was two in the afternoon before he reached the Bayau Crocodile, which is considered Half way between the Black river and the Mississippi. It is one of the mumerous creeks in the low grounds which assist in venting the waters of the inundation. On the margins of the water courses the lands are highest, and produce canes ; they fall off, in the rear, into cypress swarnps and lakes. The waters of the Mississippi were rising, an<l it wils with some difficulty that they reached a house near Concord that evening. This settlement was begun since the cession of Louisiana to the United States, by citizens of the Mississippi tersitory, who have established their resizlence altogether ipon newly acquired lands, takes up under the authority of the Spanish cofomandant, and have goue to the expense of improvement, either in the names of themselves or others, before the 20th of December, 1803, hoping thereby to hold their new possessions under the sanction of the law.
Exclusive of the few actual residents on the banks of the Mississippi, there are two very bandsome lakes in the interiour, on the banks of whici similar settlements have been made. He crossed at the ferry, and at midday of the 26th reached his own house.
Dr. Hunter, and the reinainder of the party, followed Mr. Dunbar clown the Washita with the boat in which they had ascended the river, and, ascending the Mississippi, reached St. Catharine’s landing on the morning of the 312: Janust, 1895.
Common names of some of the trees, shrubs, and plants growing in
the vicinity of the Washita. Three kinds of white oak, four kinds of red oak, black oak, three kinda of hickory, one of which has an oblong nut, white and good, chinkapin, three kinds of ash, one of which is the prickly, three kinds of elm,two kinds of maple, two kinds of pine,red cedar, sweet guim, black gum, linden, two kinds of iron wood, growing on high and low lands, sycamore, box elder, holly, sweet bay, laurel, magnolia acuainata, black walnut, filbert, buckeye, dogwood, three kinds of locust, the three-thorned and honey locust, hazle, beech wild plumb, the fruit red but not good; bois d'arc (bow wood) called also bois jaune (yellow wood) a famous yellow dye ; three kinds of hawthorn, with berries, red, scarlet, and black; lote tree, for Indian arrows; bois de carbane, a small growth, and proper for hoops ; two kinds of osier, myrtle, tooth-ache tree, and magnolia.
A vine, bearing large good black grapes in bunches, black grape, hill grape, yellow grape, muscadine, or fox grape, and a variety of other vines. The saw briar, single rose briar, and china root briar, wild goose berry, with a dark red fruit, three kinds of whortle berry, wild pomegranate, passion flower, two sorts of sumach, winter's berry, winter's green, a small red farinaceous berry like a haw, on a plant one inch high, which grows under the snow, and is eaten by the Indians; the silk plant, wild endive, wild olive, pink root, snake root, wild mint of three kinds, coloquintida (bitter apple) growing along the river side, clover, sheep's clover, life everlasting, wild liquorice, marygold, missletoe, thistle, wild hemp, bull rush, dittany, white and red poppy, yellow jessamnine, poke, fern, capillaire, honeysuckle, mosses, petu to make ropes with, worm wood, hops, ipecacuanha, persicaria, India turnip, wild carrot, wild onion, ginger, wild cabbage, and bastard indigo.
COMMUNICATION TO BOTH ROUSES OF CONGRESS, AT TILE COMMENCE.
MENT OF TIIE SECOND SESSION OF THE NINTH CONGRESS, DECEX-
of the United States, in Congress assembled. It would have given me, Fellow Citizens, great satisfaction to announce, in the moment of your meeting, that the difficulties in our foreign relations, existing at the time of your separation, had been amicably and justly terminated. I lost no time in taking those measures which were most likely to bring them to such a termination, by special missions, charged with such powers and instructions as, in the event of failure, could leave no imputation on either our moderation or forbearance. The delays, which have since taken place in our negociations with the British Government, appear to have proceeded from causes which do not forbid the expectation that, during the course of the session, I may be enabled to lay before you their final issue. What will be that of the negociations for settling our differences with Spain, nothing which has taken place, at the date of the last dispatches, enables us to pronounce. On the western side of the Mississippi she advanced in considerable force, and took post at the settlement of Bayau Pierre, on the Red river. This village was originally settled by France, was held by her as long as she held Louisiana, and was delivered to Spain only as a part of Louisiana. Being small, insulated, and distant, it was not observed at the moment of re-delivery to France and the United States, Ural
the continued a guard of half a dozen men, which had been stationed there. A proposition, however, having been lately made by our commander in chief, to assume the Sabine river as a temporary line of separation between the troops of the two nations, until the issue of our negociations shall be known this has been referred by the Spanish commandant to his superiour, and in the mean time he has withdrawn his force to the western side of the Sabine river. The correspondence on this subject, now communicated, will exhibit more particularly the present state of things in that quarter.
The nature of that country requires indispensably that an unusual propor. tion of the force employed there should be cavalry or mounted infantry. In order therefore that the commanding officer might be enabled to act with effect, I had authorized him to call on the governours of Orleans and Mississippi for a corps of five hundred volunteer cavalry. The temporary arrangement he has proposed may perhaps render this unnecessary. But I inform you, with great pleasure, of the promptitude with which the inhabitants of those territories have tendered their services in defence of their country. It has done honour to themselves, entitled them to the confidence of their fellow citizens in every part of the Union, and must strengthen the general determination to protect them efficaciously under all circumstances which may occur.
Having received information that in another part of the United States a great number of private individuals were combining together, arming and organizing themselves, contrary to law, to carry on a military expedition against the territories of Spain, I thought it necessary, by proclamation, as well as by special orders, to take measures for preventing and suppressing this enterprize, for seizing the vessels, arms, and other means provided for it, and for arresting and bringing to justice its authors and abettors. It vas due to that good faith which ought ever to be the rule of action in publick as well as in private transactions ; it was due to good order, and re. gular government, that, while the publick force was acting strictly on the defensive, and merely to protect our citizens from aggression, the criminal attempts of private individuals to decide, for their country, the question of peace or war, by commencing active and unauthorized hostilities, should be promptly and efficaciously suppressed.
Whether it will be necessary to enlarge our regular force, will depend on the result of our negociations with Spain. But as it is uncertain when that result will be known, the provisional measures requisite for that, and to meet any pressure intervening in that quarter, will be a subject for your carly consideration.
The possession of both buaks of the Mississippi reducing to a single point the defence of that river, its water, and the country adjacent, it becomes highly necessary to provide for that point a more adequate security. Some position above its mouth, commanding the passage of the river, should be rendered sufficiently strong to cover the armed vessels, which may be stationed there for defence ; and, in conjunction with them to present an insu. perable obstacle to any force, attempting to pass. The approaches to the city of New Orleans, from the eastern quarter also will require to be ex. amined, and more effectually guarded. For the internal support of the country, the encouragement of a strong settlement on the western side of the Mississippi, within the reach of New-Orleans, will be worthy the consi. deration of the legislature.
The gun-boats authorized by an act of the last session, are so advanced, that they will be ready for service in the ensuing spring. Circumstances permitted us to allow the time necessary for their more solid construction. As a much larger number will still be wanting to place our sea-port towns und waters in that state of defence to which we are competent, and they cus