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of arpents, and in a square form, lays chiefly within it; and from the best information, three fourths of this claim must be bottom, with but little which is overflowed.
The general impression among you eastern people, is, that the entire region west of the Mississippi, from New-Madrid to the Gulf, is inundated for 40 or 50 miles back, and is but little better than a continued swamp: the fact is otherwise. Besides several exceptions in favour of high bottoms, there is a remarkably fine tract of upland, between the St. Francis and White river, which, at one point, approaches within 400 yards of the Mississippi; (I should never have supposed it, from the indications on the maps :) this place must become of considerable importance. The only great road which can be made from the eastward into the Arkansaw country, must pass through it; and the country back of it, for 40 or 50 miles, is said to be excellent upland. This fact spoils my hypothesis relative to the mode of peopling the country by emigrations from the Missouri and Red river. But as yet, the greater portion of the settlers had actually come by these two routes.These are the principal tracts of good land in the Arkansaw territory. There are also said to be some fine lands where it corners on the Red river and Kiamichi. They lay too far apart, however; and for the generality of the intermediate country, I cannot say much what I saw of it was very poor. I travelled 80 miles, through a continued prairie, which I do not believe would at this time repay the expense of cultivating it.
I visited the town of America,* on my way from St. Louis hither; its site is fine, and I think the position an important one. It is about 4 miles above the mouth of Cash river; but unfortunately, not below all the obstructions of the Ohio. I was informed when there, that a steam boat was then lying about 3 or 4 miles below, and could get no higher, on account of a sand bar: but the river was hardly ever known to be so low. The great and real causes which will require and must create a large town at that place, appear to me to be more remote than are generally supposed. They must grow out of such an increase of population and wealth, and consequently of trade in the countries watered by the Ohio, as shall render advantageous a radical change in the present mode of conducting its commerce with New-Orleans. When that period arrives, no doubt the town of America will become the place of deposit, or point where the great steam-boat transportation will terminate; and the transportation in smaller craft, capable of running at all seasons, commence, As it is, the town will very soon rise into all the importance it can derive, from being the seat of
* On the north bank of the Ohio, a few miles above its junction with the Mississippi.
justice for the county, and from supplying the steam boats. In the course of a very few years, I have no doubt it will also have the advantage of a road through it to this place, communicating with the upper Mississippi country. But there is no large extent of fertile or populous country in its neighbourhood; which always constitutes the surest guarantee of the growth and permanence of an inland town. To give you an idea of its immediate vicinity;-the high lands opposite Kaskaskia, extend along the Mississippi, (sometimes touching it,) to within a few miles of its junction with the Ohio. Near Kaskaskia, these uplands may be esteemed secondrate-diminishing in quality as you recede from the river: I infer this to be their general character. The bottoms are of course excellent where not overflowed; but they are rather too much cut up with ponds, &c. Now, from a point on the Mississippi, 6 miles below Cape Girardeau, a strait line drawn to the Ohio, 3 or 4 miles above the mouth of Cash river, will indicate, very nearly, my route across the peninsula to the town of America. Near to the Mississippi, for 4 miles, the country is broken-otherwise pretty good thence to Cash, it is undulating, but so very gently, as to pass for level, and approaches to second-rate, with an uncommon growth of large timber; (oak, hickory, poplar, &c. :) from Cash, or within a mile of it, to the town, (8 or 10 miles,) the land is high, beautifully rolling, and, although not deemed' first-rate, yet of an excellent quality, and very heavily timbered. This is also the case (I am told) with the adjoining lands to the north, but it diminishes in quality on leaving the town, in the direction of fort Massac, and terminates in thin third-rate. The nominal price of land adjoining the town, is high; I believe from 10 to 20 dolls. an acre: within 5 miles, from 4 to 10 dolls. I heard of no real sales. You may well suppose it high time for me to be satisfied with looking at good and bad lands: but, without wishing to appear particular in my appeal, let any lady who may be present, declare, whether curiosity is ever extinguished by the partial gratification of it?
[From the Monthly Review.-London, Dec. 1819.]
ART. 1. A Critical Examination of the First Principles of Geology; in a Series of Essays. By G. B. GREENOUGH, President of the Geological Society, F.R.S. F.L.S. 8vo. pp. 336. London, 1819.
GEOLOGY may date its commencement as a science, from the middle of the last century. Previously to that period, the speculations of philosophers on the formation of the earth, had little connexion with, or reference to existing phenomena, and were, in every respect, as useless and fanciful, as the cosmogonies of the Persians or the Hindoos. Lehman, the German, appears to have been the first to remark, that the different rocks which compose the crust of the globe, admit of a division into two classes; of which the first, or lowermost, are destitute of any imbedded remains of organic life; and the second, which are incumbent on the former, frequently contain the relics of animals or vegetables. To the first he gave the name of primary, on the supposition that they were created previously to the existence of animal or vegetable life on our planet: while to the latter he assigned the name of secondary, supposing that they were for the most part formed from the debris or ruins of the others. This division, which, with certain limitations may still be admitted as correct, may be said to constitute the basis of geology as a science.
Since the time of Lehman, the surface of the globe has been examined with more or less accuracy, in various countries; and an approximation to a certain order of succession has been traced in the rocks which cover the primary, though this order is subject to various irregularities and anomalies, the causes of which remain to be satisfactorily explained. Among the most interesting facts which these investigations have brought to view, may be stated the numerous genera and species of unknown animals which have been buried for countless ages, in the different strata, and which bear a more or less remote resemblance to the present tenants of our planet, but still are distinct from any existing genera or species. The remains of different species of these unknown marine animals, in the various beds that form some of the most elevated parts of the globe, prove, beyond doubt, that our present continents were buried for ages, under the waters of a primæval ocean, and serve to indicate the great changes which the surface of our planet has undergone since the period at which those mountains were
originally formed. In referring to the discoveries of more immediate practical importance, we may remark that coal and various useful minerals are associated with certain rocks, above or below which they never occur in any considerable quantity; and that various metallic minerals have also their peculiar repositories, out of which any search for them would be useless.
We cannot be surprised, that numerous discoveries, so new and interesting, should have given rise to much premature generalization of facts, and to various theories of the earth. Among these, the geology, or, as it was called by its followers, the geognosie, of Werner, was pre-eminently distinguished by the loftiness of its pretensions. It was declared to be a true system of the earth that unfolded the secret causes by which its surface had been successively formed; and, in speaking of Werner, we were told that "this great geognost, after many years of the most laborious investigations, conducted with an accuracy and an acuteness of which we have few examples, discovered the manner in which the crust of the earth is constructed. Having made this great discovery, he, after deep reflection, and in conformity with the strictest rules of deduction, drew most interesting conclusions as to the manner in which the solid mass of the earth may have been formed. It is a splendid specimen of investigation, the most perfect in its kind, ever presented to the world." (Jameson's Mineralogy, vol. i.) Since the period at which this eulogy was written, it has been ascertained, that the system of Werner is nothing more than an attempt to represent the surface of the globe as in perfect accordance with the arrangement and succession of rocks which occur in the vicinity of Saxony, where Werner resided; and it has also been discovered, that he was but an inaccurate observer of the actual arrangement and succession of the rocks around him : or that, misled by an attachment to known theory, he could not, or would not, notice those appearances which were in opposition to his system. With all its errors, the system of Werner had its merit as an approximation to truth, and it was farther useful, as it gave a stimulus to inquiry: numerous observations being made in different countries, by its advocates or its opponents, in order to ascertain its accordance with present appearances, by which our knowledge of the geology of the several districts has been greatly extended.
The remark which we have here made on the utility of Werner's system, may be extended to those of Hutton, De Luc, Whitehurst, and others. It is now, however, generally felt and acknowledged, that facts are the desiderata yet required in the science of geology, and, that the principles at present fully established, are but few in number, though highly interesting and important. By such principles, we mean, the inductions from facts which are ad
mitted by all geologists. Among these inductions may be enume rated, 1st, that all the present continents have at successive epochs been covered by water; 2dly, that the strata which contain the remains of animals or vegetables, were deposited in succession over each other; 3dly, that every stratum containing organic remains, was once the uppermost solid covering of the globe; 4thly, that many of the different species of animals, buried in separate strata, lived and died in the situations in which their remains are now found; 5thly, that the surface of our present continents has undergone successive revolutions, by which the bed of the ocean has been changed; 6thly, at the period of these revolutions, the world was inhabited by genera and species of animals that no longer exist on our planet. These, we believe, may be considered as legitimate deductions from acknowledged facts, received by all geologists; and we are now accustomed to regard them as wellknown truths, which cease to excite surprise, though they would have been viewed with the utmost astonishment, by philosophers, at the beginning of the last century.
As the present volume professes to contain a Critical Examination of the first Principles of Geology, we think that the author ought, at the commencement, to have concisely enumerated what he regarded as first principles; and he might have classed them under four divisions, as certain, probable, dubious, or false. Instead of doing this, Mr. Greenough has presented us with eight essays, in which he has brought forward the conflicting opinion of different geologists, and enumerated facts that are at variance with each of these opinions; which having done, he frequently leaves the reader without any decision on the question at issue. We apprehend, therefore, that those persons who may take up the volume with a view to learn the first principles of geology, will feel more disposed to relinquish than to pursue a science, in which all appears involved in doubt and uncertainty. The design of the work, however, is not so much to teach the first principles of geology, as to show the necessity of a more attentive examination of nature, and to place the evidence of facts above the authority of names, however distinguished. In pursuing this laudable object, Mr. Greenough adduces numerous interesting geological facts, for the knowledge of many of which, we are indebted to his own researches in Great Britain and on the Continent; and these we consider as constituting the principal value of the publication. * *
'Stratum (Mr. G. observes) is a word so familiar to our ears, 'that it requires some degree of manliness to acknowledge our'selves ignorant of its meaning: the sense in which it is used is 'however very far from being precise. Easy as it may seem to de'termine whether a given mass be or be not stratified, there is per'haps in the whole range of geological investigation no subject