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opulence of which they seem not to have taken the benefit; and, in New France, a poverty disguised by an air of ease, which does not seem constrained. Commerce and the culture of plantations strengthen the former : the industry of the inhabitants supports the latter; and the taste of the nation diffuses an unbounded agreeableness. The English colonist gathers wealth, and never runs into any superfluous expense; the French enjoys what he has, and often makes a show of what he has not: one labors for his heirs; the other leaves them in the necessity in which he found himself, to shift as well as they can. The English are entirely averse to war, because they have much to lose; they do not regard the savages, because they think they have no occasion for them.” In these remarks we have a key, not only to the national characteristics of the two peoples, but one which explains the success of one and the failure of the other in permanent colonization. Our associations with the name of Chicago and of Illinois make it difficult to realize the casual mention of them by Charlevoix as the abode of Indians only: “Fifty years ago, " he writes, “the Miamis were settled at the south end of the lake Michigan, in a place called Chicago, which is also the name of a little river that runs into the lake : the Illinois, a savage nation, on the banks of the river Illinois ; they burn prisoners, and sing doleful songs." He observes that the “navigation of Lake Michigan requires much care, because the wind comes from the open lake, that is, the west; the waves are the whole length of the lake, and blend with the shock of currents and of rivers running in ;”—a primitive description, which comes home to all who have experienced a gale there.
Of the two great rivers of the West, he writes : “ The Missouri is far the most rapid, and enters the Misissippi like a conqueror; afterward it gives its color to that river, which it never loses again, but carries quite down to the
The natives are obliged to use pettiaugres instead of canoes of bark, on account of snags ; they are trees made hollow: the natives know the north by the tops of trees, as they lean a little that way; the Mississippi is little known above the Falls of St. Anthony."
Charlevoix was an eminent teacher, both of languages and philosophy, and, for more than twenty years after his return from America, “had a chief share in the Journal de Trévoux.” His character and learning gave authority to his “ Histoire Générale de la Nouvelle France.” As we read his accounts of personal observations and experience in Canada and on the Mississippi, of the beavers and cypress trees, the elks and eels, the lakes and falls, the maize and oysters, the snakes and turtles, Indians and missions, we can perceive a directness and honesty of purpose, which is internal evidence of the author's good faith. The simplicity and ingenuousness of his style have always been recognized, though its correctness is not admitted by verbal critics.
With the wild, luxuriant, lonely, remote picture of the Jesuit clear and full to the mind's eye, what a wonderful process of development, relation, and change, does the Ilinois region offer to one now familiar with its history and its aspect! The unpeopled desert of the isolated missionary is still in the far West, a vast prairie dotted with groves and intersected with belts of timber;" but, less remote, its climate is only modified ; and the herds of buffalo have disappeared, the wild deer drink no more at the streams; the same millions of fertile acres and a portion of the immense swamp diversify the face of the land; the same limestone bluffs frown imposingly upon the vast river; the same piercing blasts from the Rocky Mountains sweep snow-covered plains; and, away from the settlements, the same blue-bells, wild roses, thistles, sorrels, fragrant herbs, and lofty weeds and hairy-leaved plants, and grassy levels make the summer gorgeous and balmy; the scarlet trumpet blossoms and the golden dandelion, the low box trees, the purple wild grape, and the crimson sumach make brilliant and variegated the meadows; the same gray, mottled, and flying squirrels occasionally cross the wanderer's path; the owl may be heard at night, and the turkey buzzards hover over carrion; the crow, the falcon, the hawk, the vulture, the mock
ing bird, and the rattlesnake, here and there, attest that old hunters and early naturalists correctly noted the indigenous animal life of the region; but tall maize stalks, and woolly flocks, and fruitful orchards, and herds of cattle have superseded the wilderness where the elk browsed fearlessly and the hares burrowed unharmed. Since the flag of Spain was planted at the mouth of the Mississippi, in 1541—since, a century later, Father Marquette offered the calumet of peace and the Canada fur traders came thither, what vicissitudes and progress have signalized the scenes that Hennepin so long ago described ! Bestowed by Louis XIV., in 1712, upon Anthony Crozat, with the entire territory of Louisiana and Wisconsin, the Illinois country became the capital upon which a trading company, managed by John Law, produced financial convulsion which shook the Old World and bred political and social revolution-the only relic and memorial whereof are the poor fragments of Fort Chartres which he erected when at the pinnacle of his audacious success. Wolfe, in 1759, brought to an end the rule of France on this continent; yet many of her children lingered in the Illinois and preserved intact their characteristic modes of life, which have been more or less transmitted. In 1763 the vast domain passed to the British crown; in 1778 its posts there were captured by the Virginia rangers under Roger Clark; in 1809 the country became a separate Territory, in 1818 a State of our Union; and the name of one of her counties preserves the memory of the leader of those who successfully opposed any provision for slavery in her constitution. Her Indian wars, during this period and subsequently, form a remarkable historical episode, which includes the last stand taken by Pontiac, Tecumseh, and Black Hawk for their aboriginal dominion, and the scene of their final sacrifice. But, however romantic, these events are less interesting to the economist than the unprecedented physical development, the vast crops of grain, the coal region, and the lead and copper mines, which have made Illinois so productive. Parallel with these demonstrations of latent wealth and normal fertility, of Indian history and land speculation, social life there has yielded original traits, whereof authors and artists have not inadequately availed themselves. The adventures of missionary, trader, hunter, settler, and traveller have been genially recorded; the descendants of the original three thousand French colonists on the banks of the Mississippi, with their national proclivities, so diverse from the Anglo-Saxon, and manifested in their household economy and vivacious temperament—the primitive manners and costume of the farmers, who long conveyed the products of their farms in flatboats to New Orleans, clad in raccoon-skin caps, buckskin leggings, moccasins, and linsey hunting shirts, with the homewrought, brightly dyed frocks of the women, and the frank and brave manners and language of this free and thrifty population-have yet a traditional charm : here, too, the terrible justice of Lynch law had full scope—the Missouri ruffians, the debris of the Indian tribes, the Western politician, and the robust or ague-stricken emigrant, made up an unique and original population, full of salient points to the eye of a European or visitor from the communities of New England or old Southern States. Cooper, in a novel, and Bryant, in a poem, have graphically described the life and aspect of the Prairie State, which now boasts millions of inhabitants. Kohl, speaking of Illinois, compares it in shape to a grain sack, rent in the middle by its river, and bursting out with grain at both ends. Professor Voelcher, consulting chemist of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, analyzing four samples of prairie soil, said : “ The most noticeable feature in the analysis is their very large quantity of nitrogen-nearly twice as much as the most fertile soil of Great Britain ; in each case, taking the soil at an average depth of ten inches, an acre of their prairie soil contains upward of three tons of nitrogen, and as a heavy crop of wheat, with its straw, contains about fiftytwo pounds of nitrogen, there is thus a natural store of ammonia in this soil sufficient for more than a hundred wheat crops.”
But the most remarkable fact in the economical history of Illinois and its adjacent States, is the effect of locomotive facilities and the genius of communication, in developing the resources and bringing, as it were, to the Atlantic coast and the commercial East, the region Hennepin so laboriously and so long traversed a mighty wilderness to reach. The contrast fully realized of the approach then and now, is one of those modern miracles of practical life to the wonder of which only habit blinds us. Vessels go direct from Liverpool to Chicago, by crossing the Atlantic, entering the St. Lawrence, and surmounting the rapids by means of the Canadian locks and canals, entering Ontario, and, after sailing through that lake, and a descent of three hundred feet of the Niagara River, by the Welland Canal, reach Lake Erie, thence through the straits and lake of St. Clair to Lake Huron and Lake Michigan-in the heart of the American continent. Four thousand seven hundred and thirty-six miles of road terminate there, of which two thousand eight hundred miles are within the State limits. These great highways were built to carry off the surplus of the prairies.*
As an illustration of the cosmopolitan tendency of the population, it was but recently that in this distant inland city, where a blockhouse fort alone stood within the memory of " the oldest inhabitant," sons of the Bishop of London, of Admiral Collingwood, of the novelist Dickens, with German barons and Hungarian officers, were there cheerfully engaged in various vocations.
There is something exciting to the imagination as well as impressive to the mind in the fact that the oldest authentic written memorials 'of America, after the narratives of mari
* The following table compares the official returns of the population of Chicago: 70
138,835 Thus, in thirty-three years, a colony of seventy persons has grown into a city of nearly 140,000.