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Chapter 5 (continued)
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Chapter 5 (continued)
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fifteen dollars, half the sum we had borrowed. For the loan of the remainder my husband agreed to work for him five days in the year, till we could return it. The sugar this year did exceedingly well; for besides raising the above sum, we exchanged about forty pounds of it for a sow and a litter of pigs, which we kept near home till they knew the premises, and afterwards allowed them to run at large till autumn.
Thus, the reader will perceive our circumstances kept improving, as we had now two milch cows, two steers almost ready for the yoke, one young heifer, a calf, a fine young mare, and the family of pigs just named. In agricultural pursuits every season presents its peculiar task to the husbandman, and situated as we were that task was not a small one; the season for sowing Indian corn had again arrived, and again we were unprepared with a team. In the whole round of our agricultural labours nothing so much perplexed us as the sowing of our corn; we had only four acres this spring as we had sown eight with wheat, and all our other land was unbroken up; having no fixed plan in view and not knowing what means to adopt to get in the seed, we were agreeably surprised one morning to behold a person in the field busy ploughing; this was Mr. Burns,
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the person named on a previous occasion, with whom we had formed an intimacy, or rather a friendship, which up to the time I am writing has only increased in degree and in value; in any country such a person as he would be valuable as a friend, but in the thinly inhabited regions of the "far west," his worth cannot be fully set forth; his kindness towards us at this time is, however, a specimen; he and his wife had been at our house the previous week, and perceiving our coming difficulty, gave us the above seasonable boon; we thus saw the whole of the twelve acres systematically sown: the wheat was a fine thriving crop, we therefore began to feel ourselves more composed, and to use a good old English phrase "more at home."
Hitherto we had no garden, my husband therefore dug up about a rood of fine dry land, and fenced it round with brush-work after the Yorkshire style of dead fencing; the greater part of it we planted with potatoes, and the rest with other kinds of vegetables, obtaining the seeds and plants from older settlers; before our wheat crop was ripe we had finished the fence round the new field, and rooted up the greater part of the underwood growing thereon; most of the stronger timbers we allowed to stand, having previously
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cut the bark on the trunk to prevent their growing; the rest we decapitated, and kindled fires round their stems to burn them away; this employment and the attending to our cattle, employed the whole of our time till the wheat harvest, and I assure the reader we were not idle: at the usual time, about the end of June, we began to cut our wheat, retaining the old sickles which we had borrowed the year before.
Mr. B., who by this time had got married, intimated to my husband that he should require his help a few days, according to agreement for the loan of the money. As our corn1 was ripe and in that state requiring immediate attention, my husband tried to mow some of it down with an old scythe we had taken with us from England; this was tremendous heavy work, as the crop was abundant. Scarcely anything that occurred to us, taking into account the comparative insignificance of the article was more vexatious than the want of something with which to sharpen our tools; I have heard my husband say he would cheerfully work a fortnight for a good Yorkshire scythe-stone and a wrag-whetstone; the stone we used for that purpose was a very poor one, being a
1 The allusion is to the wheat crop, not the Indian corn.
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sort of flinty limestone which we found on the land; subsequently we met with another, much superior, apparently a piece of sandstone, but so fine as not to appear granular. Not knowing how soon Mr. B. might require assistance, my husband continued mowing, while I and our son used the sickles, thus cutting down in the whole about an acre per day, leaving from necessity the mown part abroad on the ground, to be taken up and bound into sheaves afterwards; we had finished within a day's work before Mr. B. required my husband's help; my son and I, therefore, were left to cut the remainder, which we did in two days; we then proceeded to take up the remainder and bind it into sheaves.
While thus employed a circumstance occurred, which at the time was quite alarming; the excessive heat of the sun, added to another cause which the reader will understand when he is told that the September following I was confined of twins, made me feel much fatigued, and caused me to rest on a sheaf several times during a day: one time while thus seated, a large full-grown rattlesnake crawled idly out of the sheaf on which I was sitting; horrified with the sight, and scarcely knowing what I did, I seized my rake and struck it on the head several times,
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whereby it soon died; this event, although not of two minutes continuance, proved a lasting warning to me to be cautious, and even to this moment I never call it to mind without feelings of peculiar uneasiness; the sudden start made me so feeble for a while that I could not proceed with my labour. I however took care not to rest on a sheaf: shortly after, as we expected, we saw another, apparently in search of its mate, which I destroyed in like manner; when they were dead, my children took them home as trophies of triumph, to shew to their father in the evening, who at the recital of my story, joined with me in thanks to Heaven for preservation in such imminent danger.
The following day my husband being with us, we expected to get through this part of our business in the harvest field; having nearly finished before dinner he took one of the children with him, during the noontide recess, to look at the fires kindled around the trees as before explained; trivial as this circumstance appears, its consequences were dreadful; by some means the little child set fire to her dress, which frightened her so much that she immediately ran among the sheaves which were lying on the ground just at hand; my husband, all intent to the situation of the girl, did not perceive that the
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sheaves were on a blaze till he had put out the fire on the child's clothes; he immediately gave an alarm, I ran to the door, but who can depict my feelings when I beheld our fine crop of wheat, the greatest treasure we possessed, and that on which our hopes principally rested for the speedy supplying of our various pressing necessities, blazing and cracking with prodigious vehemence. I need scarcely say every nerve was strained to its utmost to extinguish it; a small stream or branch ran at a short distance; guided by the first impulse of reason, we hastened thither immediately with the first vessels we could lay hold of, but although we ran both ways to the utmost of our strength, the flames spread further and further, we soon perceived this method would be unavailing. Here was a trial for all our powers, mental and bodily. To extinguish the flames was impossible, the straw was so dry, and the heat became intolerable. There is generally a time for consideration, and a time for active labour. It was not so here, while we were considering our property was burning, and that with a speed indescribable. Directed, I cannot but think by Providence, we hit upon a plan which promised success. This was to make a separation between the side that was on fire and the other. It was no
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sooner conceived than we began to effect it. We removed the sheaves with all the expedition in our power to cut off all communication with the bulk of the crop. As much as we were able, we removed to the further side: but to save the side in question, we were obliged, from want of strength, to throw some to the devouring element. A division was at last happily completed, and the vacant space was too wide for the flames to cross, although in some instances they appeared to bound from one sheaf to another. Want of additional fuel alone extinguished the flames. Not a particle of combustible matter was left unconsumed where the fire had raged; it was one entire plain of smouldering black ashes, we thus lost about an acre and had it not been for one apparently insignificant circumstance, the whole would have been inevitably lost: the fire prevailed only where the wheat had been mown, had it once obtained possession of the long shorn stubble, all our attempts would have ended in woeful disappointment, as it was, in our situation the loss was no trifle, yet the uppermost emotions in our minds were rather those of pleasure than of pain, and with sufficient reason; we had seven acres remaining, whereas, half-an-hour before we Had feared it was all lost.
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After we were fully assured the fire was out we sat down and wept; but our tears were, if I may use the expression, tears of thanksgiving. We called to mind the various difficulties through which we had successfully struggled, and we looked upon this as another pledge of ultimate success. We may indeed date the commencement of a moderately comfortable existence from this occurrence. The wheat was very fine indeed, but, as before, mixed with cheat; we had about two hundred and twenty bushels, forty of which were unsaleable on account of this troublesome weed. It is unnecessary to trouble the reader with all the particulars of our future proceedings, as it would be a repetition of customs and exercises I have already described.
Having been tolerably minute in detailing our various transactions and difficulties for nearly two years, till, as the reader has seen, our narrative begins to wear a brighter aspect, it will now be sufficient for the purpose here contemplated to give a sketch of the most prominent features of our future proceedings: we purchased several articles of wearing apparel with our wheat, paid off a small account for salt, and obtained gearing for a yoke of oxen, purposing to plough our land this fall with young oxen bought of
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Vanderoozen, besides supplying our immediate wants in clothing, which we did only sparingly, we were enabled to leave in the hands of Mr. Varley, forty dollars, for which he agreed to pay us interest if we allowed it to remain in his hands six months. We should have paid Mr. B., but as my husband had worked for him five days we considered it as our own to the end of the year. There was one trivial advantage in our wheat taking fire; we intended to sow an acre of turnips, and this part having no stubble on, it was the part we selected as being the most ready for the plough. We engaged Mr. Knowles to plough the land, giving him three dollars for his labour. We made a further arrangement with this gentleman to plough our late enclosed field with his prairie plough at the fall of the leaf, and in the meantime we endeavoured to cleanse of roots the part unfinished; it is exceedingly heavy work to break up the land with this plough, requiring four yoke of oxen to draw it; we paid him four dollars per acre for doing it. According to our intentions we yoked our two young steers to plough the land for wheat, our kind friend Mr. Burns, voluntarily spending the first day with us to give my husband a little instruction relative to driving and gearing them. They served our purpose very
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well, which gave us unspeakable pleasure and satisfaction; nor did we value this advantage unduly, considering the anxieties we had felt on former occasions for want of it.
During the summer, our cattle throve very well; the cow we purchased of Vanderoozen had calved again, and our other cow and the heifer were both near calving. Cattle begin to breed much sooner in Illinois than in England; this may partly be attributed to the climate, which causes them to grow to maturity sooner in that country than in this; another reason is, being allowed to range at large during summer, where cattle of both sexes abound, the farmer has no means of preventing this circumstance. We have before noticed that it is customary for the farmers to kill as many of their hogs and horned cattle at the fall of the leaf, as they do not intend to keep over winter. They are often in excellent condition when they come up, not exactly what an English butcher would call prime beef. Hogs are scarcely fat enough to be killed, they are usually served with a little corn a few weeks after they have ceased to range, and thereby become very good bacon. Fat cattle is a source of income to the farmer, from which we had hitherto derived no benefit, nor at present had we aught but our pigs which we purposed to
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kill, and of these we had not sufficient to offer any for sale, as we wished to keep some over winter to breed the ensuing season.
The interval between this and the following autumn contained nothing deserving particular note. We sowed the new field with Indian corn. It was readily ploughed, having been broken up as before stated the previous fall, and exposed to the frosts during winter. The weather was too hot during the sugar season, which prevented our realizing as much from that article as we had done the foregoing year. It however enabled us to pay Mr. B. the money we owed him without entirely exhausting our little fund of reserve. After reaping our wheat this season, our neighbour, Mr. Paddock, expressed a wish to sell us the pre-emption right to his land. Like many persons in Illinois, this individual wanted industry, as he rarely worked more than half of his time. He had been more than three years on it, and would consequently lose all right to it in a short time, unless he paid the government demands—one hundred dollars, before the period expired. Notwithstanding his love of ease, he was not without the means to pay for it; but preferred, as he said, a change, and intended to migrate to another unimproved situation, and there spend four years, or
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perhaps longer, if no one thwarted his interests. As his land was contiguous to ours on one point, we thought it would be a good speculation to purchase it, especially as the price he set upon the improvement was very moderate. He had fourteen or fifteen acres broken up, besides the house, which was a tolerably good one of the kind. He valued his labour at fifty dollars, and offered to receive payment in either cattle or wheat at a fair price. We hesitated a long time before we decided, foreseeing that unless we paid for it at the land office the succeeding spring, we should be liable to lose it. We however finally determined to have it, and as our cat-tle had again done well, we gave him a good cow, a heifer, and seventy bushels of wheat, which he disposed of at his pleasure. Mr. Paddock, after this, speedily vacated the house, wishing to erect another before the frosts should set in. The only instrument we received as a proof of the bargain, was the pre-emption certificate, which Mr. Paddock had obtained from the recording office, endorsed with his name, ratifying the agreement. This was, however, sufficient testi-mony. One day shortly after, a Mr. Carr, hearing that Paddock had removed, came to his late possessions and found my husband repairing a fence. He seemed to interest
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himself very much in the situation, and asked several questions respecting the pre-emption right, &c. His questions were evaded as well as civility would allow. They, however, served to premonish us that Mr. Carr had some sinister plans affecting that property, and we knew that if he took possession of the house it would be a very troublesome affair. Though these considerations were based only on conjecture, the disreputable character of Mr. Carr, added to his suspicious manner, gave them much of the force of reality. Perplexed with these ideas, we scarcely knew what course to adopt. At one time we thought it advisable to set fire to the house and burn it down; then again we wished it not to be known that we feared for its safety; besides it would be very useful to keep farming implements in, or it would serve as a piggery or sheep cot if we wanted. We would have gone immediately to the land office and paid for it, if we had possessed sufficient money; we expected, however, our sugar-orchard would make up the deficit the following spring. To quiet our apprehensions in the present instance, our only feasible method appeared to be, that we should take possession of the house ourselves. But here was another obstacle: it was impossible that we could leave our present establishment, on
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account of our cattle and dairy being kept there. We found we should be obliged to divide our family, and have one part at Mr. Paddock's late residence and the other at our own. My husband would have cheerfully gone to the newly purchased situation, had not his presence and services at home among the cattle been indispensable. It evidently therefore became my duty to undertake the unpleasant task of leaving home, to occupy a house which we feared an unprincipled intruder wished to inhabit. I had however grown accustomed to hardships even more severe than this. I took with me our two youngest children, something with which to warm our food, and a bed. As the house was only half a mile from our own, I frequently saw the other parts of the family during the day; but the nights seemed dreary and long. For a few days nobody came near us, and I would have gladly hoped our fears were groundless. They eventually proved but too true, as the following account sufficiently manifests. One afternoon, after I had been living in this manner about a week, a person drove a clumsy waggon to the door, containing a little furniture, a woman, and two children. I shut the door, and endeavoured to fasten the latch, there being no lock. But the man, who I afterwards learnt was Mr. Carr,
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quickly forced it open, and bidding his wife walk in, said to her,—well, my dear, this is our house: how do you like it? without seeming to notice me in the least. He then carried in their furniture, and then, for the first time, found leisure to speak to me. He told me they could do without my company pretty well, and wished me to be a good neighbour and go home. There were two rooms; I took my bed and other articles into the other which was unoccupied, and felt very anxious to see my husband. He came in the evening, and saw what had occurred. Mr. Carr held up a paper as a defiance, and told him that it was the certificate obtained at the land office, Quincy, as a title to the estate. We were assured he could not have purchased it legally; and we even doubted that he had paid for it at all. When my husband attempted to enter the house, Mr. Carr shut the door, and resisted with all his force; but being inferior in strength, admittance was obtained. On perceiving us engaged in a whispered conversation, he intimated that if we intended to spend the night in his house, he would go and make use of ours, to which we made no reply.
The result of our deliberation was, that my husband should ride over to Quincy, a distance of fifty miles, take the pre-emption
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certificate with him, and ascertain whether through perjury he had purchased the land. Shortly after, my husband went home, and on his arrival found Mr. Carr, whom, as I afterwards learnt, he quickly made scamper. Next morning he called with a quantity of provisions, and took leave of me for his journey, which would take him three days; no one but myself knowing the purport of his leaving home. It was most uncomfortable for me to be thus left with only two little children under the same roof with a family whose sentiments towards me were the most unfriendly imaginable, and whose character stood assuredly not very high for probity. In the fullest and worst sense of the word, I was a prisoner, not daring to leave the room, and exposed to the jeers and taunts of a malicious man who left no means untried, short of personal violence, to expel me from the house; telling me my husband had sent me there to get rid of me, with a thousand other fabricated and tantalizing remarks.
The third day, which was the Sabbath, having sent for my Bible, I endeavoured to solace myself by perusing its sacred pages. This made him more furious than ever; uttering the most blasphemous imprecations, he vowed ' he would be both rid of me, and my cursed religion before long.' About ten
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in the forenoon, two or three of his friends came to see him, who, finding or knowing how matters stood, assisted him in his attempts to deride me. I really thought I now must surrender, and had it not been for the man's wife, who checked their scorn, I am apt to think I should have been obliged to withdraw. After dinner my situation took a favourable turn. By some means or other many of our neighbours having learnt where I was and on what account, came to the house to see me. For a while my keeper refused admittance to all, till by and by there was quite a crowd at the door. I conversed with some females whom I knew through an aperture in the wall, which served for a window; and as many of them wished to enter, a number of men favourable to our interests told my disappointed persecutor if he did not allow the females to visit me, they would convince him he was no master. Awed by this declaration, he opened the door and the house was immediately filled, Mr. Carr and his party appearing completely nonplused. And, so strangely had matters changed, that religious worship was held in the place that evening, suggested by a few pious friends, who seeing my Bible, had thought it their duty to propose it.
This was too much for Mr. Carr; he entirely left the premises during service. Towards
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nightfall l the arrival of my husband was announced, who was much surprised to find me so well attended. He told Mr. Carr, in the presence of the persons congregated, where he had been, and how his perjury was detected. He likewise gave him to understand that he would probably find he had acted imprudently as well as wickedly. But the most agreeable part of the intelligence to me was, that there was no necessity for me to remain any longer in the house. I therefore very willingly left it and accompanied my husband to our own habitation, having first thanked my friends for their kind interference and regard. The sum of the particulars is, that Mr. Carr had paid for the land, having previously sworn there was no improvement on it; although a pre-emption certificate had been obtained at the record-jng office, Pittsfield. Of course the purchase was illegal, and Carr liable to a heavy penalty. The following morning, we learnt our firmness had acted powerfully on the mind of our opponent, as his wife called upon us to say that her husband was willing to make a compromise, and would either pay us for our claims on the estate or sell his certificate. This proposal required some consideration; we therefore gave her no definite answer, but told her if her husband wished to have an
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interview with us, notwithstanding his base conduct, we would treat him with civility. In the meantime, we considered it best to sell our pre-emption right, if he would produce the money, as we knew we could not buy his certificate at that time. In a day or two our opponent waited upon us wishing to have us pacified, as he knew he had acted criminally. We told him we would allow him peaceable possession on the payment of eighty dollars for the improvement, which he agreed to pay, and shortly afterwards the affair was settled, eventually to our advantage, though it cost us some anguish of mind. The peculiarity of the American law respecting the purchase of land, although framed originally with the view of assisting new settlers, is not infrequently a source of strife; at the present time there are many persons who have cultivated land for numbers of years, without paying anything for it; and there is no means of knowing, except by applying at the land office. Should, however, this counsel escape them, some one would be sure to go and purchase it, or even reap some of the corn when ripe, the original cultivator having no legal power to prevent them.
There is another peculiar clause in these laws respecting original rights; I refer to the erection of mills. I have before stated that
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water mills are the most common; the reason of this is obvious. When, therefore, a person purchases a section of land, it is his interest to examine whether there is a mill-seat on any stream that may run through it; if there is, he must apply to the recording office to have it "condemned." This prevents any other person from erecting a mill within a certain distance; I believe two miles. If, however, after two years the site is not built upon, the owner loses his prerogative. This law caused a piece of knavery to be practised upon us; the branch running through our farm had a very good site on it for a mill; some of our friends advised us to get it condemned; we did so, rather with a view of selling the site than of erecting a mill ourselves. About a year and a half afterwards, a person called upon us named Phillips, the identical person at whose house we had spent the first night in Illinois, with a view of buying it; after a little deliberation we sold it to him for one hundred and fifty dollars; not having cash by him, as he said, he would call again in a short time and pay for it; my husband desired to have the agreement drawn up in a proper form, but as Mr. Phillips averred his word was his surest bond it was omitted. He, however, proved a villain and the tool of another; for, by continuing to
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evade payment by specious promises, he contrived to keep us in suspense till the two years had expired, when another person, his employer, immediately began to erect a mill very near our farm; thus were we defrauded of our right to be millers.
Perhaps the foregoing incidents may place the inhabitants of the western world in an unfavourable light; as a few remarks appear, therefore, to be called for, not indeed to unsay what has been said, "facts are stubborn things;" but to serve as an explanation of the occurrences above narrated. It must be borne in mind that ignorance is a predominant feature in their character, indeed it can hardly be otherwise; not that they are less gifted than the Europeans from whom they have originated, but because their opportunities for cultivating their minds are so limited; besides, their pursuits and manner of living do not require much intellectual training; a really learned man would be in solitude amongst them, and his talents, like the vaticinating genius of an ill-fated Cassandra, unappreciated or unperceived. The Ameri-can government has, indeed, very humanely appropriated a certain portion of land for the maintenance of schools through the length and breadth of the country; this endowment naturally varies with the value of the land.
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In the States where the land has become more valuable by an increased population, it is pretty good, and consequently commands men of talent; but in the remoter regions there are numberless school allotments for which no candidate could be found. In Illinois the teachers of these endowed schools, and there are few of any other class, except in large towns, do not assuredly make great pretensions to literary distinction. Happening to be one of a party at the examination of a candidate for the school-land near our house, I was surprised to see how easily the bonus was obtained; the reader will perhaps smile when he is told that the spelling book was the only standard by which his qualifications were tested; what may be expected from the pupils of such masters is left for the arithmetical capabilities of the reader to de-termine. I may, however, remark, that were it not for the influx of European emigrants and settlers from the more eastern states, all traces of a scientific nature would very soon disappear.
I have introduced this trait of character with a view to qualify the opinions which some of the foregoing facts might give rise to. In human nature, all the world over, there are certain bold mental and moral features, which, under similar training, seldom fail to
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shew themselves. I would by no means be understood to imply that ignorance and dishonesty are synonymous terms, or that an acquaintance with the arts and sciences prevents a person from being a knave. All that is here meant is included in the well-known statistical fact, that crime is the most prevalent where the attainments of society are of the lowest order. This is a truth which modern investigation has fully established, although the ancients were not ignorant concerning it.
"Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes Emollet mores, nee sinit esseferos."
The influence of Christianity on the morals of mankind is considered sufficient without the aid of education to restrain vicious propensities. True Christianity practically enjoyed, must, I am persuaded, make its possessor a good man and a good citizen. But I am equally certain that the blessings that accrue to society thence arising, bear a direct proportion to the state, as to intelligence, in which that society is found. For proofs of this assertion, I refer not to the experience of times gone by, when
"A second deluge learning over-ran,
And the monks finished what the Goths began."
I intend rather to make good my position by a short account of the religious peculiarities
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of the people whose character I am attempting to pourtray.
Prior to leaving England, I had been for nearly twenty years a member of the Wes-leyan Methodist Society, and consequently felt wishful, as soon as our circumstances would allow, to join the religious body called the Methodists in that country. I attended a class meeting held in a house about two miles from our residence; but the manner in which it was conducted was by no means congenial to my views and sentiments. The company being assembled and seated, the one acting as leader, rose from his seat, which was a signal for the others to do the same. A sort of circle or ring was then immediately formed, by the whole assembly taking hold of hands, and capering about the house surprisingly. Their gesture could not be called dancing, and yet no term that I can employ describes it better. This done, worship commenced with extempore prayer, not indeed in language or style the best selected, but with this I have nothing to do. I have no right to question the sincerity of the individual, and if his taste differed from mine, it is no proof that his was wrong. The following part of the service was exceedingly exceptionable. All the persons present being again seated, an individual started from his
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seat, exclaiming in a loud and frantic shriek, "I feel it," meaning what is commonly termed among them the power of God. His motions, which appeared half convulsive, were observed with animated joy by the rest, till he fell apparently stiff upon the floor, where he lay unmolested a short time, and then resumed his seat. Others were affected in a similar manner, only in some instances the power of speech was not suspended, as in this, by the vehemence of enthusiasm, for I cannot give it a more moderate name.
Finding in this mode of worship little that I could really respect, I resolved not long afterwards to absent myself from them altogether. I found moreover that some of the most rapturous members were far from being exemplary in their conduct, practically considered. As to their other forms of religious worship I have few remarks to offer. The Americans are fond of the word liberty; it is indeed the burden of their song, their glory, and their pride. In some respects this is praiseworthy—an essential ingredient in national honour and national greatness; but in my opinion it is carried too far when it enters the sanctuary. It may be pleasant to hear of religious bodies worshipping under their own vine and fig tree, in the manner best adapted to their views and feelings.
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Views and feelings, it is well known, are dependent on educational precepts and original impressions. These therefore must vary, and experience shews they do vary proportionally to the endowments or discipline of the individual. And yet religion is only one, the gospel is only one; and consequently no two conflicting creeds can be both right. How far a person's private judgment ought to be at liberty to originate, select, or improve modes of faith and worship, I pretend not to determine. If it be a privilege which all classes of the community may claim with propriety, no consequences can be more natural than those which have hitherto thence arisen, viz: the continual appearance of new sects or denominations. Either from constitutional peculiarity or educational bias, the minds of mankind possess faculties for thinking and feeling too widely different for them ever to be consentaneous, especially in matters where much is left imperfectly defined, probably as a test of obedience and faith.
I have been led into this digression, because, on hearing some of the preachers in Illinois, I have often thought them out of their place when they have been attempting to substantiate whimsies of their own, rather than truths fairly deduced from the Word of God. The fact is, too little regard is paid
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either to the fitness of the preacher or the sanctity of the office. If an individual's inclinations prompt him to become a preacher, little or no further explanation is demanded. This, of course, can only be understood to refer to the thinly inhabited districts, where, I assure the reader, it is not necessary to be very fastidious, in order to find ample reason for doubting whether, under the name of religious worship, there is not a mixture of superstition and unhallowed excitement. Besides the usual Sabbath observances, camp meetings are frequently held in the open air. These are commonly termed two-day meetings, though they are frequently kept up the greater part of the week. They are attended by persons of different denominations, and conducted in a very irregular manner; one part of the assembly being on their knees, while another is listening to an exhortation from one of the preachers.
It is now requisite that I should once more resume my narrative. The reader is aware I do not pretend to preserve it unbroken to the present time. The greatest difficulties incident to emigrants, commonly occur at the commencement of their enterprising career; what our beginning was, has been explained in detail; it remains, therefore, only to describe our present condition. Before I can
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properly effect this purpose, it will be necessary to state the particulars of that event which induced me, once more, to visit the shores of Old England; "my own sweet native earth." Mr. B., the reader has been informed, got married about four years after our arrival; being an industrious and frugal man, his affairs kept continually improving; he put out, as loans, several hundred dollars, for which he received good interest: his cattle, also, was numerous, from which he obtained a good livelihood, by keeping under the plough as much land as grew them provender for winter. He lived, however, only a few years; I shall never forget, poor man, the last time he was at our house. I was rather unwell; after seeing me he went round our farm with my husband, and then called in again to bid me good evening, saying, he hoped I should be better when he came again; but "how frail at best is dying man;" that very night he began in the typhus fever, which terminated his earthly existence in a few days; he died childless and without will. Being in regular correspondence with my children in England, although I have till now felt it my duty to be silent on that subject, lest the reader should be entirely bewildered with the recital of anxieties arising from so many sources, I sent them an account of his
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death, and wished them to name it to his brother; this being done, the latter, who has a large family in England, and is consequently anxious to better his condition, took it into his head to visit the deceased's widow in America, hoping to become entitled to some of his property; accordingly he left his family to take care of his home, and in company with another person wishful to emigrate, sailed for New Orleans early in the present year. Neither we, nor Mr. B.'s widow, were aware of his coming; we were all taken by surprise; well do I remember the first appearance of these two Yorkshiremen, who had agreed to introduce themselves as strangers. Little did we think when we saw them rambling in our farm like two incurious travellers, that they were objects of such interest to us as they proved to be; self and husband were in the fields when they found us. I fancied I perceived a likeness of the Mr. B., in one of them, and challenged him as his brother; I was right: silence confirmed the conjecture, and we immediately invited them into the house, and treated them with good Old English hospitality, eagerly devouring all the tidings we could elicit from them. I dare say we were thought tediously inquisitive, as we kept our guests in talk till after midnight, before we allowed them to retire.
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The following day was spent in looking over our farm, and as the reader has been made acquainted with our difficulties, it is but just that he should know how we were situated on this occasion. In the first instance I may state that the house we at present occupy has been recently erected, and though in externals there is nothing to boast of, it is much superior to the one we occupied during former years. The situation itself is more airy and open. Our furniture is also more in accordance with modern times than that we occupied at the commencement of our career. The three-footed stools which then served as our ordinary seats, have long since been banished the house, and designated with the humble title of milking stools; and in short our house has been entirely refurnished, and useful articles of various kinds have been procured. It is however not so much either in the house or its furniture that our success manifests itself: were these to be made the principal objects by which possessions are estimated, there are after all few cottagers in England that would not be on an equality with us, with this exception, theirs are generally rented, while ours is our own freehold. I may further observe, with refer-ence to the furniture of our house, that we have for many years had abundance, and I
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might say a superabundance of those essentials of housekeeping, which, if not the most ornamental in a sitting room, are not the least valuable in a family; that is to say, we have known no lack of good food, such as beef, pork, butter, fowls, eggs, milk, flour, and fruits, all of which we have, as Yorkshire farmers say, within ourselves; but as I intimated before, our out-door possessions were the objects that chiefly engaged the attention of our guests. At this time we had at least twenty head of horned cattle, of which we kill or sell off some at every autumn; we have seven horses, including one or two foals; besides pigs, sheep, and poultry, the number of which I am not able to state as they keep continually breeding, and are never to be seen altogether. Our land, which is of excellent quality and very productive, pleased our visitants very much, who went round the greater part of it, although it extends to a great distance from our house, as we have by purchases made at sundry times three hundred and sixty acres, more than half of which is cultivated. Not wishing to manage the whole ourselves, we have two small farms let off, for which we receive as rent a dollar an acre. It is not difficult to let land broken up at the above rate. Many who do not possess the means for purchasing
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land, are glad to rent a few acres on which to grow provender for their cattle during winter, and food for themselves.
I wish to make no boast of our possessions; but having told the difficulties we experienced at our commencement, I ought in fairness to state what our success has been; I do this and no more; the lapse of a dozen years has wonderfully changed the appearance of things. We have seen a neighbourhood rise around us; and in some situations, where at our first coming, everything appeared in its native wildness, small villages have now begun to rise. Means of comfort are now within our reach. We remember the time when we knew not where to apply for an article if at all out of daily use; but by the increase of population, we can now easily obtain anything we require, either as food, physic, or clothing, and were we disposed to give up labour, we could live very comfortably on the fruits of our former toil. One thing I would notice as a cause of our ultimate prosperity, is, that having a family, we have been greatly assisted in the culture of our land, without having so much to hire as we should otherwise have been obliged. Were I asked what is my opinion respecting emigration, I would refer the enquirer to the foregoing narrative; here are facts, let him consider
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and judge for himself. If our success has been ultimately greater than at one time we anticipated, or even than that of many of our neighbours, as indeed it has, it must be borne in mind that our industry and perseverance have been unremitting. If our cattle and lands have kept increasing, that increase is but the reward for the numberless anxieties we have experienced, and the privations we have undergone. Few would undertake the latter to secure the former.
Before concluding my narrative, I beg to state that I do not sympathize with those who assert that to leave one's country and become an emigrant, implies a want of patriotism. There are a few facts bearing on this question which I may be allowed to mention. Is not, I would ask, the population of the United Kingdom as great at the present time as its means can comfortably support and employ, and if so, how would the mother country be able to maintain the millions now in America, that have sprung from her?
The soil and mineral productions of America are of the most valuable character:—rich in all that is calculated to make a community great, independent, and happy. The same all-bountiful parent that has given to Great Britain her vast resources, whereby
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her densely peopled towns, and villages scattered over a thousand hills derive subsistence, has been at work in America. Looking at the question in its more enlarged and true character, assuming that the entire earth is under the dominion of man, how can we suppose that some parts of England, whose natural character is sterility, should be brought under a barely remunerating culture, while there are millions of acres elsewhere, as productive as any soil on which the common orb of day has shone, still a wild uninhabited wilderness. These are questions to which time is giving and must give a proper answer, and in so doing the mother country itself will be no loser.
The greatness of England, it has been long understood, is dependent upon its manufactures and commerce, and if so, I would further ask what country has contributed so much to foster those manufactures and support that commerce as the United States of America? Thinking and feeling like one that is proud of her relation to England and that loves her own country, I consider it no disgrace to the British nation that I have travelled thousands of miles in America, from New Orleans to Illinois, and then thence on the Ohio by Cincinnati and Philadelphia to New York on my way home, that I have
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visited cities, some of which already number hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, and never found a place where using my own English tongue, I had any difficulty in making myself understood or of comprehending all I heard spoken.
But to complete my narrative. The object of one of our guests, as already explained, was to settle in the country. Not having sufficient money to establish himself as an occupier of land, he became a day-labourer with immediate employment. Being entirely unacquainted with the method of farming as practised in Illinois, his first wages were only fourteen dollars per month and his board. With this he appeared satisfied, and said he found things better than he anticipated. As to Mr. B.'s brother, his purpose was to obtain something from the widow of the deceased, to which he certainly had a legal claim. Finding that his share would be all in land (160 acres) he soon manifested signs of impatience to be going back to England for his wife and family in order to occupy it. The idea of a person leaving us to go direct to the country, on which a large share of my affections will ever be placed, increased the desire, which I had never ceased to indulge, of visiting once more the shores of Old England. The purpose thus suggested was
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weighed over with feelings such as the sensitive reader will not require me to explain. No feeble motives could have prompted me to take the step I am here describing; connected with the thought of coming to England, dear as it was, I saw I should have to cross the Atlantic twice during the remainder of the summer, besides much tedious inland travelling. It required me to resist the entreaties of my children, who, with tears in their eyes, daily urged me not to leave them. But I will not go through these sad details. I will not repeat the arguments my neighbours employed to induce me to stay: how they reminded me that old age was beginning to number me among its victims; that it was in vain for me to think I could do as I had done. My decisive reply to these and many other obstacles which comfort, prudence, maternal and conjugal love suggested, was, "it must be now or never."
Decided, therefore, to carry out the resolve to which I had come, I prepared to accompany our guest, and finally left Illinois for England on the 2oth of April, where we arrived after a prosperous voyage on the igth of June; and thus am I again, for a few short summer weeks, in my own country. I will not trouble the reader further with my story. If the account I have given of our
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proceedings, adverse and successful, does not allure his fancy with ideas of visionary prosperity as the invariable result of crossing the seas, it may perchance tend to make him a little better satisfied with his present condition, though it should only be a snug little cottage in the land where his childhood was reared. If it does this, it will be something— my purpose will be served—and thus, reader, I wish thee farewell.
NOTE.—The writer1 feels it due to state that the subject of this narrative, as implied above, returned, after a stay in England of about three months, taking with her the daughter,2 mentioned at the first outset as being left, the husband of the same, and their two children, besides a family or two of connections. Since their departure three or four other families from their own immediate neighbourhood have followed.
1 Edward Burlend whose r61e in writing the narrative is recited in our Historical Introduction.
2Mary Burlend, the daughter alluded to on page 9 as remaining behind in England when the family migrated to America in 1831. On Feb. 10, 1840, she married, in her native Yorkshire, Luke Yelliott. In 1846 the Yelliotts followed the Burlends to Pike County, Illinois, where they established their permanent home, in which John and Rebecca Burlend were sheltered during their declining years. See History of Pike County, Illinois (Chicago, 1880), 444.

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Submitted: 02/03/08 (Edited 02/03/08)

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