[map of eastward travel]

On the

3d October, I parted with my brother Hugh, with feelings of deep regret, founded in strong affection, which had been chiefly formed during my present tour; and left Louisville on my way homeward, reaching my friend Colonel McGaughy, at Shelbyville, on the same evening. On the next day he, his lady, his son and daughter, accompanied me on a visit to his brother Arthur, one of the judges of the circuit court of that county, and formerly sheriff of Bedford county, in Pennsylvania. I recognized his person and features instantly, although I had not seen him for eleven years. He returned with us to Shelby, passing by Boone's station (celebrated for its defense against the Indians during the Indian war), now the seat of Major Lynch, and one of the most elegant farms in the United States.

Passing through Frankfort, Lexington and Winchester, I again arrived at Mr. Simpson's, in Mount Sterling, on the

9th October, in good health; but, on the next day, I was attacked most violently with a species of intermitting fever, which detained me there until the

14th October, when I felt myself able to set off on my journey homeward (having again recovered my horse), passing the same day by the Upper Blue Lick salt works, on the banks of the Licking river. These works are fed by three pumps, set in a spring, from which flows as much water as would meet the demand of one thousand kettles. The water is of a blue, sulphurous color, with which it is considerably impregnated. On the

15th October, I arrived at Washington, a thriving town, situated in a very fertile country, in a high state of cultivation. The town lies four miles west of Limestone, and contains about one hundred and fifty dwelling houses, about ten or twelve of which are brick or stone. Here I remained during a remarkably wet day, being fearful of exposing myself in my weak state of health. On the

16th October, I again entered Ohio at Maysville (usually called Limestone), a little town situated on the Kentucky shore, the greatest landing place on the river. All the merchandise for Lexington and the neighboring towns leave the river at this place. The town itself contains only about fifty dwelling houses, and it does not appear to be rapidly growing. On the next day I arrived at Chillicothe, the present seat of government of the state of Ohio. In passing from Limestone to that place, I took what is called the new state road, which passes through a poor, hilly country, almost uninhabited. This circumstance (heightened, no doubt, by my indisposition) led me to think very unfavorably of the soil of Ohio, compared with Kentucky, which I had left with the most favorable impressions.

Chillicothe is situated on the west bank of the Scioto river, about seventy miles from its mouth, and about sixty miles from Limestone. It lies on a pretty high gravel bank, on a flat of great extent, giving room for an immense population. Although it heretofore has been considered sickly, it has risen in wealth and population more rapidly than any town in the western country. It is only about eight years old, and it already contains nearly two hundred dwelling houses.

The country on the Scioto is considered in fertility equal to any in the world, and is settling and improving rapidly. It is, however, too low and flat, in consequence of which it is subject to intermitting fevers. These, however, are becoming less prevalent every year, and in Chillicothe for the last two years have totally disappeared; at this moment the town is perfectly healthy.

Nearly in he centre of Chillicothe is a large Indian mound, precisely of the description of the one described at Mount Sterling. On examining it, however, I was struck with the great want of taste displayed in laying out the town, for about one-third of the mound is thrown into one of the main streets, leaving the remainder within a common building lot, in consequence of which it will finally be cut up and destroyed, whereas it might have been (without any injury to the general plan) thrown into the centre of a lot or public square, thereby ensuring its preservation, and adding much elegance to the place. In other respects, the place is neatly and liberally laid out, on a situation for beauty and convenience equal to any I have seen in the state.

Being still unwell, I remained in Chillicothe four days, and on the 5th concluding that I had quite recovered my health, I determined to start on my way eastward, but before I had got ready to mount my horse I was again attacked with the same deadly complaint, and in the midst of a violent chill, on the

22nd October, set out for the Pickaway plains, accompanied by my kind friends and relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey Fullerton. We reached their beautiful borders on the same evening, where we remained together during the night. On the next morning, feeling myself somewhat better, I proceeded on my journey, passing through the north end of these delightful plains for about three miles. This part of them is now in a high state of cultivation, producing the first wheat in the world. The extent of these plains in length is computed at about nine miles, and are from two to three miles broad, affording in their natural state no kind of vegetation, except a species of grass about twelve inches high, and here and there, near the borders, small clumps of trees, adding great beauty to the sublimity of the scene. The soil is the dryest in the neighborhood, it lying rather higher than the forests adjoining, a stream of water passing along or near each side of the plains. On that evening, being the

23rd October, I arrived at Mr. Pitcher's, in New Lancaster, where I found it necessary to apply to a physician for medicine to root out the fever and the ague, which I had found had taken too deep a hold on my system to be cured by bark alone, the only medicine I had yet taken. I, therefore, took a strong emetic, and then a carthartic [sic], and finally a sweat, which, together with a plentiful use of the bark afterward and the blessing of God, so far recruited my health as to permit me in safety to proceed on my journey on the 27th October following.

My impressions of the nature of the country between Chillicothe and New Lancaster, I find very indistinct, the fever and ague during that ride had almost destroyed my curiosity for observation, and greatly obscured my memory for the time; but I think that the tract of country between those two towns, the land on the Hockhocking and the country from thence to Muskingum, may be considered the most valuable in the state, and perhaps will, when equally improved, be equal to any in the United States. It is not regularly so good as the immense tract of fine country around Lexington, in Kentucky, but it contains a much greater variety of soil than any tract of equal fertility in that state, which has heretofore, and with much propriety, been considered the standard of good land.

The soil around New Lancaster particularly is exceedingly rich and productive, and that neighborhood is filling and improving more rapidly at present than any in the state; the emigrants are chiefly married Germans from Lancaster and other eastern counties of Pennsylvania.

New Lancaster, although sickly, is consequently growing very rapidly, and property now sells there for more than its real value. This arises chiefly from the number of emigrants being greater than can be accommodated with buildings to reside in. It already contains about ninety dwelling-houses, some of them very commodious. Another cause of the high prices of property here, and of its rapid growth, is the expectation of its becoming the future seat of government of the state, which is not yet permanently established, New Lancaster being considered more centrical [sic] than Chillicothe. The centre of the state, however, lies some ten or twelve miles north of this place. On the

28th October, I arrived at Zanesville, a new town, situated on the east bank of the  beautiful river Muskingum, opposite the falls and the mouth of river Licking.

This place is not only handsomely situated, but possesses many and peculiar advantages, which promise to make it a flourishing town. The falls afford seats for all kinds of valuable water works, and two or three excellent mills are already erected. The navigation of the river all the way to its mouth is nearly equal to the Ohio, and the country above is said to be fertile and healthy. Zanesville also is a candidate for the seat of government.

A broken, hilly country now commences, which continues all the way to Wheeling. Almost every spot of it, however, can and will be cultivated, and much of it is very fertile, not unlike the soil on the banks of the Monongahela.

After leaving the fertile and level plains of the Scioto and Hockhocking, I passed through this hilly and, in a great measure, uncultivated country with tedious pain and anxiety, and arrived at Wheeling with great delight, on the

30th October, 1805, after an absence of three months and a half. Here I made the following

 

OBSERVATIONS AND REFLECTIONS

 

The emigration to the state of Ohio at this time is truly astonishing. From my own personal observation, compared with the opinion of some gentlemen I have consulted, I have good reason to conclude that during the present year from twenty thousand to thirty thousand souls have entered that state for the purpose of making it their future residence.

These are chiefly from Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Kentucky and Tennessee; but on inquiry you will find some from every state in the Union, including many foreigners.

The emigrants from Kentucky, Tennessee and the Southern states are chiefly composed of those who are either opposed to slavery, or are unable to purchase slaves. Consequently, this class of people are daily increasing in Ohio. The expectations of the few who wish the introduction of slavery there can never be realized.

The Indiana territory was settled first under the same charter as the state of Ohio, prohibiting the admission of slaves, but the genius of a majority of the people ordering otherwise (the southern climate, no doubt, having its influence), the legislature of that territory, during the last summer, passed a law permitting a partial introduction of slavery, much to the dissatisfaction of the minority. [i] This circumstance will check the emigration of farmers who do their own labor, while the slave owners of the Southern states and Kentucky will be encouraged to remove thither; consequently the state of society there will be altogether different from that of Ohio. Its manners and laws will assimilate more and more to those of Virginia and Kentucky, while Ohio will, in these respects, more closely imitate Pennsylvania and the middle states.

The state of society in Kentucky I did not admire. The great body of the well-informed and wealthy were immersed in infidelity and dissipation, while the more illiterate were downright fanatics and zealots in religion. However, they are generally an hospitable people, fond of society and polite to strangers. With a few exceptions, they are more sprightly and fonder of conversation than the Pennsylvanians, and have a remarkable attachment to all public meetings and amusements, particularly to horseracing, where they assemble in vast crowds.

In their persons they are generally taller than the inhabitants of the middle states, but less inclined to corpulency; bespeaking, in their countenances and gestures, a restless and enterprising spirit.

The inhabitants of the state of Ohio, being so lately collected from all the states, have, as yet, obtained no national character.

The state of society, however, for some years to come, can not be very pleasant—the great body of the people being not only poor, but rather illiterate.

Their necessities will, however, give them habits of industry and labor, which will have a tendency to increase the morals of the rising generation. This, with that respect for the Christian religion, which generally prevails among that class of people now emigrating to the state, will lay the best foundation for their future national character. It is to be regretted, however, that at present few of them have a rational and expanded view of the beauty, excellency and order of that Christian system, the essence of which is Divine Wisdom. The great body of the people will, therefore, it is to be feared, be a party for some years to priestcraft, fanaticism and religious enthusiasm.

In traveling through this immense and beautiful country, one idea, mingled with melancholy emotions, almost continually presented itself to my mind, which was this:—that before many years the people of that great tract of country would separate themselves from the Atlantic states and establish an independent empire. The peculiar situation of the country and the nature of men will gradually lead to this crisis; but what will be the proximate cause producing this great effect is yet in the womb of time. Perhaps some of us may live to see it.

When the inhabitants of that immense territory will themselves independent, force from the Atlantic states to restrain them would be madness and folly. It can not be prevented. On the

1st November, I left wheeling for Bedford, passing through Washington, Somerset and Berlin, and arriving at home in good health on the evening of the

8th November, after an absence of four months and seven days.

I had two objects in making this extensive tour, one was to view the country and to look out for some place in it as my future residence, the other to visit my respected mother, brothers and sisters, from whom I had been long separated.

Partly from an attachment to my native state, partly from the secret influence of a fixed and tender attachment not yet avowed, and partly from a prejudice received in consequence of my indisposition that the climate would not suit my constitution, I declined for the present of fixing on any place in that country to remove to.

With respect to the other object of my journey, it was in every respect realized, producing a heartfelt gratification greatly beyond what was anticipated.

Independent of the pleasure I received in performing a duty to my aged parent, on the verge of the spiritual world, the tender and affectionate feelings that were reciprocally created and revived by the journey are beyond description, and will always be recollected and felt "with exceeding great joy." Besides, in another point of view, a most pleasing reflection will always remain with me. In the course of Divine Providence, it became my duty, after a long a sober investigation, to adopt the doctrines of the New Jerusalem Church, as promulgated in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, and to discard some of the doctrines of the church to which my parents were attached. This circumstance coming to the knowledge of my western relations through false and perverted mediums necessarily gave them much pain. I was, therefore, especially gratified in the opportunity this journey gave me of dispelling in a great measure the mists of prejudice which false and perverted views of the doctrines of the new church had produced around them, and of developing to their minds the beauty and excellence of the doctrines I had received, and of their strict harmony with the Word of God—the fountain of all truth.

The prejudices I thus removed, the pleasure I thereby gave my friends, particularly my dear and respected mother in so doing, and the hope that I have perhaps laid a foundation in some of their minds for the further reception of the truth at some future period as Divine Providence may further open the way, give me much real satisfaction, and will be a constant source of future gratification.

Under these feelings, and with sincere prayers to the Divine Author of all Truth that His Word may become more and more the only standard of faith, I close these memorandums.

 

JOSIAH ESPY

Bedford, 9th November, 1805.

 

 

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[i] The "Act concerning the introduction of negroes and mulattoes into this territory," was repealed Dec. 14, 1810. For an account of slavery in Indiana, see Dillon's History of Indiana, pp. 410-414, and for the legislation on the subject, Ib. 617-623.