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LETTER TO MORRIS BIRKBECK, ESQ.
OF
ENGLISH PRAIRIE, ILLINOIS TERRITORY.


North Hempstead, Long Island,
10 Dec. 1818.

MY DEAR SIR,

969. I HAVE read your two little books, namely, the "Notes on a Journey in America" and the "Letters from the Illinois." I opened the books, and I proceeded in the perusal, with fear and trembling; not because I supposed it possible for you to put forth an intended imposition on the world; but, because I had a sincere respect for the character and talents of the writer; and because I knew how enchanting and delusive are the prospects of enthusiastic minds, when bent on grand territorial acquisitions.

970. My apprehensions were, I am sorry to have it to say, but too well founded. Your books, written, I am sure, without any intention to deceive and decoy, and without any even the smallest tincture of base self-interest, are, in my opinion, calculated to produce great disappointment, not to say misery and ruin, amongst our own country people (for I will, in spite of your disavowal, still claim the honour of having you for a countryman), and great injury to America by sending back to Europe accounts of that disappointment, misery, and ruin.

971. It is very true, that you decline advising any one to go to the ILLINOIS, and it is also true, that your description of the hardships you encountered is very candid; but still, there runs throughout the whole of your Notes such an account as to the prospect, that is to say, the ultimate effect, that the book is, without your either wishing or perceiving it, calculated to deceive and decoy. You do indeed describe difficulties and hardships: but, then, you overcome them all with so much ease and gaiety, that you make them disregarded by your English readers, who, sitting by their fire-sides, and feeling nothing but the gripe of the Borough- mongers and the tax-gatherer, merely cast a glance at your hardships and fully participate in all your enthusiasm. You do indeed fairly describe the rugged roads, the dirty hovels, the fire in the woods to sleep by, the pathless ways through the wildernesses, the dangerous crossings of the rivers; but, there are the beautiful meadows and rich lands at last; there is the fine freehold domain at the end! There are the giants and the enchanters to encounter; the slashings and the rib-roastings to undergo; but then, there is, at last, the lovely languishing damsel to repay the adventurer.

972. The whole of your writings relative to your undertaking, address themselves directly to English Farmers, who have property to the amount of two or three thousand pounds, or upwards. Persons of this description are, not by your express words, but by the natural tendency of your writings, invited, nay, strongly invited, to emigrate with their property to the Illinois Territory. Many have already acted upon the invitation. Many others are about to follow them. I am convinced, that their doing this is unwise, and greatly injurious, not only to them, but to the character of America as a country to emigrate to, and, as I have, in the first Part of this work, promised to give, as far as I am able, a true account of America, it is my duty to state the reasons on which this conviction is founded; and, I address the statement to you, in order, that, if you find it erroneous, you may, in the like public manner, show wherein I have committed error.

973. We are speaking, my dear Sir, of English Farmers possessing each two or three thousand pounds sterling. And, before we proceed to inquire, whether such persons ought to emigrate to the West or to the East, it may not be amiss to inquire a little, whether they ought to emigrate at all! Do not start, now! For, while I am very certain that the emigration of such persons is not, in the end, calculated to produce benefit to America, as a nation, I greatly doubt of its being, generally speaking; of any benefit to the emigrants themselves, if we take into view the chances of their speedy relief at home.

974. Persons of advanced age, of settled habits, of deep rooted prejudices, of settled acquaintances, of contracted sphere of movement, do not, to use Mr. GEORGE FLOWER'S expression, "transplant well." Of all such persons; Farmers transplant worst; and, of all Farmers, English Farmers are the worst to transplant. Of some of the tears, shed in the ILLINOIS, an account reached me several months ago, through an eye-witness of perfect veracity, and a very sincere friend of freedom, and of you, and whose information was given me, unasked for, and in the presence of several Englishmen, every one of whom, as well as myself, most ardently wished you success.

975. It is nothing, my dear Sir, to say, as you do, in the Preface to the Letters from the Illinois, that, "as little would I encourage the emigration of the tribe of grumblers, people who are petulant and discontented under the every-day evils of life. Life has its petty miseries in all situations and climates, to be mitigated or cured by the continual efforts of an elastic spirit, or to be borne, if incurable, with cheerful patience. But the peevish emigrant is perpetually comparing the comforts he has quitted, but never could enjoy, with the privations of his new allotment. He overlooks the present good, and broods over the evil with habitual perverseness; whilst in the recollection of the past, he dwells on the good only. Such people are always bad associates, but they are an especial nuisance in an infant colony."

976. Give me leave to say, my dear Sir, that there is too much asperity in this language, considering who were the objects of the censure. Nor do you appear to me to afford, in this instance, a very happy illustration of the absence of that peevishness, which you perceive in others, and for the yielding to which you call them a nuisance; an appellation much too harsh for the object and for the occasion. If you, with all your elasticity of spirit, all your ardour of pursuit, all your compensations of fortune in prospect, and all your gratifications of fame in possession, cannot with patience hear the wailings of some of your neighbours, into what source are they to dip for the waters of content and good-humour?

977. It is no "every-day evil" that they have to bear. For an English Farmer, and, more especially, an English Farmer's wife, after crossing the sea and travelling to the Illinois, with the consciousness of having expended a third of their substance, to purchase, as yet, nothing but sufferings; for such persons to boil their pot in the gipsy-fashion, to have a mere board to eat on, to drink whisky or pure water, to sit and sleep under a shed far inferior to their English cow-pens, to have a mill at twenty miles distance, an apothecary's shop at a hundred, and a doctor no where: these, my dear Sir, are not, to such people, "every-day evils of life." You, though in your little "cabin," have your books, you have your name circulating in the world, you have it to be given, by and bye, to a city or a county; and, if you fail of brilliant success, you have still a sufficiency of fortune to secure you a safe retreat. Almost the whole of your neighbours must be destitute of all these sources of comfort, hope, and consolation. As they now are, their change is, and must be, for the worse; and, as to the future, besides the uncertainty attendant, every where, on that which is to come, they ought to be excused, if they, at their age, despair of seeing days as happy as those that they have seen.

978. It were much better for such people not to emigrate at all; for while they are sure to come into a state of some degree of suffering, they leave behind them the chance of happy days; and, in my opinion, a certainty of such days. I think it next to impossible for any man of tolerable information to believe, that the pre sent tyranny of the seat-owners can last another two years. As to what change will take place, it would, perhaps, be hard to say: but, that some great change will come is certain; and, it is also certain, that the change must be for the better. Indeed, one of the motives for the emigration of many is said to be, that they think a convulsion inevitable. Why should such per sons as I am speaking of fear a convulsion? Why should they suppose, that they will suffer by a convulsion? What have they done to provoke the rage of the blanketteers? Do they think that their countrymen, all but themselves, will be transformed into prowling wolves? This is precisely what the Boroughmongers wish them to believe; and, believing it, they flee instead of remaining to assist to keep the people down, as the Boroughmongers wish them to do.

979. Being here, however, they, as you say, think only of the good they have left behind them, and of the bad they find here. This is no fault of theirs: it is the natural course of the human mind; and this you ought to have known. You yourself acknowledge, that England "was never so dear to you as it is now in recollection: being no longer under its base oligarchy, I can think of my native country and her noble institutions, apart from her politics." I may ask you, by the way, what noble institutions she has, which are not of a political nature? Say the oppressions of her tyrants, say that you can think of her and love her renown and her famous political institutions, apart from those oppressions, and then I go with you with all my heart; but, so thinking, and so feeling, I cannot say with you, in your NOTES, that England is to me "matter of history," nor with you, in your LETTERS FROM THE ILLINOIS, that "where liberty is, there is my country."

980. But, leaving this matter, for the present, if English Farmers must emigrate, why should they encounter unnecessary difficulties? Coming from a country like a garden, why should they not stop in another somewhat resembling that which they have lived in before? Why should they, at an expence amounting to a large part of what they possess, prowl two thousand miles at the hazard of their limbs and lives, take wo men and children through scenes of hardship and distress not easily described, and that too, to live like gipsies at the end of their journey, for, at least, a year or two, and, as I think I shall show, without the smallest chance of their finally doing so well as they may do in these Atlantic States? Why should an English Farmer and his family, who have always been jogging about a snug home-stead, eating regular meals, and sleeping in warm rooms, push back to the Illinois, and encounter those hardships, which require all the habitual disregard of comfort of an American back-woods-man to overcome? Why should they do this? The undertaking is hardly reconcilable to reason in an Atlantic American Farmer who has half a dozen sons, all brought up to use the axe, the saw, the chisel and the hammer from their infancy, and every one of whom is ploughman, carpenter, wheelwright and butcher, and can work from sun-rise to sun-set, and sleep, if need be, upon the bare boards. What, then, must it be in an English Farmer and his family of helpless, mortals? Helpless, I mean, in this scene of such novelty and such difficulty? And what is his wife to do; she who has been torn from all her relations and neighbours, and from every thing that she liked in the world, and who, perhaps, has never, in all her life before, been ten miles from the cradle in which she was nursed? An American farmer mends his plough, his waggon, his tackle of all sorts, his household goods, his shoes; and, if need be, he makes them all. Can our people do all this, or any part of it? Can they live without bread for months? Can they live without beer? Can they be otherwise than miserable, cut off, as they must be, from all intercourse with, and hope of hearing of, their relations and friends? The truth is, that this is not transplanting, it is tearing up and flinging away.

981. Society! What society can these people have? Tis true they have nobody to envy, for nobody can have any thing to enjoy. But there may be, and there must be, mutual complainings and upbraidings; and every unhappiness will be traced directly to him who has been, however unintentionally, the cause of the unhappy person's removal. The very foundation of your plan necessarily contained the seeds of discontent and ill-will. A colony all from the same country was the very worst project that could have been fallen upon. You took upon your self the charge of MOSES without being invested with any part of his authority; and absolute as this was, he found the charge so heavy, that he called upon the Lord to share it with him, or to relieve him from it altogether. Soon after you went out, an Unitarian Priest, upon my asking what you were going to do in that wild country, said, you were going to form a community, who would be "content to worship one God." "I hope not," said I, "for he will have plagues enough without adding a priest to the number." But, perhaps, I was wrong: for AARON was of great assistance to the leader of the Israelites.

982. As if the inevitable effects of disappoint ment and hardship were not sufficient, you had, too, a sort of partnership in the leaders. This is sure to produce feuds and bitterness in the long run. Partnership-sovereignties have furnished the world with numerous instances of poisonings and banishments and rottings in prison. It is as much as merchants, who post their books every Sunday, can do to get along without quarrelling. Of man and wife, though they are flesh of flesh and bone of bone, the harmony is not always quite perfect, except in France, where the husband is the servant, and in Germany and Prussia, where the wife is the slave. But, as for a partnership sovereignty, without disagreement, there is but one single in stance upon record; that, I mean, was of the two kings of Brentford, whose cordiality was, you know, so perfect, that they both smelt to the same nosegay. This is, my dear Sir, no bantering. I am quite serious. It is impossible that separations should not take place, and equally impossible that the neighbourhood should not be miserable. This is not the way to settle in America. The way is, to go and sit yourself down amongst the natives. They are already settled. They can lend you what you want to borrow, and happy they are al ways to do it. And, which is the great thing of all great things, you have their women for your women to commune with!

983. RAPP, indeed, has done great things; but RAPP has the authority of Moses and that of Aaron united in his own person. Besides, Rapp's community observe in reality that celibacy, which Monks and Nuns pretend to, though I am not going to take my oath, mind, that none of the tricks of the Convent are ever played in the tabernacles of Harmony. At any rate, Rapp secures the effects of celibacy; first, an absence of the expence attending the breeding and rearing of children, and, second, unremitted labour of woman as well as man. But, where, in all the world is the match of this to be: found? Where else shall we look for a Society composed of persons willing and able to forego the gratification of the most powerful propensity of nature, for the sake of getting money together? Where else shall we look for a band of men and; women who love money better than their own bodies? Better than their souls we find people enough to love money, but; who ever before heard of a set that preferred the love of money to that of their bodies? Who, before, ever conceived the idea of putting a stop to the procreation of children; for the sake of saving the expence of bearing and breeding them? This Society, which is a perfect prodigy and monster, ought to have the image of MAMMON in their place of worship; for that is the object of their devotion; and not the God of nature. Yet the persons belonging to this unnatural association are your nearest neighbours. The masculine things here; called women; who have imposed barrenness on themselves, out of a pure love of gain; are the nearest neighbours of the affectionate, tender-hearted wives and mothers and daughters, who are to inhabit your colony, and Who are, let us thank God, the very reverse of the petticoated Germans of Harmony.

984. In such a situation, With so many circumstances to annoy, what happiness can an English family enjoy in that country, so far distant from all that resembles what they have left behind them? The fair Enchantress; "Liberty," of whom you speak with not too much rapture; they, would have found in any of these States, and, in a garb, too, by which they would hate, have recognised her. Where they now are, they are free indeed ; but their freedom is that of the wild animals in your woods. It is not freedom, it is no government. The GIPSIES, in England, are free; and any one who has a mind to live in a cave, or cabin; in some hidden recess of our Hampshire forests, may be free too. The English farmer, in the Illinois, is, indeed, beyond the reach of the Boroughmongers; and so is the man that is in the grave. When it was first proposed, in the English Ministry, to drop quietly the title of King of France in the enumeration of our king's titles, and, when it was stated to be an expedient likely to tend to a peace, Mr. WINDHAM, who was then a member of the Cabinet, said: "As this is a measure of safety, and as, doubtless, we shall hear of others of the same cast, what think you of going under ground at once?" It was a remark enough to cut the liver out of the hearers ; but Pitt and his associates had no livers. I do not believe that any twelve Journeymen, or Labourers, in England Would have voted for the adoption of this mean and despicable measure.

985: If indeed, the Illinois were the only place: out of the reach of the Borough-grasp; men are resolved to get out of that reach; then, I should say, Go to the Illinois, by all means. But, as there is a country, a settled country, a free country, full of kind neighbours, full of all that is good, and when this country is to be traversed in order to get at the acknowledged hardships of the Illinois, how can a sane mind lead an English Farmer into the expedition?

986. It is the enchanting damsel that makes the knight encounter the hair-breadth scapes, the sleeping on the ground, the cooking with cross-sticks to hang the pot on. It is the Prairie, that pretty French word, which means green grass bespangled with daisies and cow slips! Oh, God! What delusion! And that a man of sense; a man of superior understanding and talent; a man of honesty, honour, humanity, and lofty sentiment, should be the cause of this delusion; I, my dear Sir, have seen Prairies many years ago, in America, as fine as yours, as fertile as yours, though not so extensive. I saw those Prairies settled on by American Loyalists, who were carried, with all their goods and tools to the spot, and who were furnished with four years' provisions, all at the expence of England; who had the lands given them; tools given them; and who were thus seated down on the borders of creeks, which gave them easy communication with the inhabited plains near the sea. The settlers that I particularly knew were Connecticut men. Men with families of sons. Men able to, do as much in a day at the works necessary in their situation as so many Englishmen would be able to do in a week. They began with a shed; then rose to a log-house; and next to a frame-house; all of their own building. I have seen them manure their land with Salmon caught in their creeks, and with pigeons caught on the land itself. It will be a long while before you will see such beautiful Corn-fields as I saw there. Yet nothing but the danger and disgrace which attended their return to Connecticut prevented their returning, though there they must have begun the world anew. I saw them in their log-huts, and saw them in their frame-houses. They had overcome all their difficulties as settlers; they were under a government which required neither tax nor service from them; they were as happy as people could be as to ease and plenty; but, still, they sighed for Connecticut; and especially the women, young as well as old, though we, gay fellows with worsted or silver lace upon our bright red coats, did our best to make them happy by telling them entertaining stories about Old England, while we drank their coffee and grog by gallons, and eat their fowls, pigs and sausages and sweet-meats, by wheel-barrow loads; for, though we were by no means shy, their hospitality far exceeded our appetites. I am an old hand at the work of settling in wilds. I have, more than once or twice, had to begin my nest and go in, like a bird, making it habitable by degrees; and, if I, or, if such people as my old friends above-mentioned, with every thing found for them and brought to the spot, had difficulties to undergo, and sighed for home even after all the difficulties were over, what must be the lot of an English Farmer's family in the Illinois?

987, All this I told you, my dear sir, in London just before your departure. I begged of you and Mr. Richard Flower both, not to think of the Wildernesses. I begged of you to go to within a day's ride of some of these great cities, where your ample capital and your great skill could not fail to place you upon a footing, at least, with the richest amongst the most happy and enlightened Yeomanry in the world; where you would find every one to praise the improvements you would introduce, and no body to envy you any thing that you might acquire. Where you would find society as food, in all respects, as that which you had left behind you. Where you would find neighbours ready prepared for you for more generous and hospitable than those in England can be loaded and pressed down as they are by the inexorable hand of the Borough-villains. I offered you a letter (which, I believe, I sent you), to my friends the PAULS. "But," said I, "you want no letter. Go into Philadelphia, or Bucks, or Chester, or Montgomery County; tell any of the Quakers, or any body else, that you are an English Farmer, come to settle amongst them; and, I'll engage that you will instantly have friends and neighbours as good and as cordial as those that you leave in England."

988. At this very moment, if this plan had been pursued, you would have had a beautiful farm of two or three hundred acres. Fine stock upon it feeding on Swedish Turnips, A house overflowing with abundance; comfort, ease, and, if you chose, elegance, would hare been your inmates; libraries, public and private within your reach; and a communication with England much more quick and regular than that which you now have even with Pittsburgh.

989. You say, that "Philadelphians know nothing of the Western Countries." Suffer me, then, to say, that you know nothing of the Atlantic States, which, indeed, is the only apology for your saying, that the Americans have no mutton fit to eat, and regard it only as a thing fit for dogs. In this island every farmer has sheep. I kill fatter lamb than I ever saw in England, and the fattest mutton I ever saw, was in company with Mr. Harline, in Philadelphia market last winter. At BRIGHTON, near Boston, they produced, at a cattle shew this fall, an ox of two-thousand seven-hundred pounds weight, and sheep much finer, than you and I saw at the Smithfield Show in 1814. Mr. Judge Lawrence of this county, has kept, for seven years, an average of five hundred Merinos on his farm of one hundred and fifty acres, besides raising twenty acres of Corn and his usual pretty large proportion of grain! Can your Western Farmers beat that? Yes, in extent, as the surface of five dollars beats that of a guinea.

990. I suppose that Mr. Judge Lawrence's farm, close by the side of a bay that gives him two hours of water carriage to New-York; a farm with twenty acres of meadow, real prairie; a gentleman's house and garden; barns, sheds, cider-house, stables, coach-house, corn-cribs, and orchards that may produce from four to eight thousand bushels of apples and pears: I suppose, that this farm is worth three hundred dollars an acre: that is, forty-five thousand dollars; or about, twelve or thirteen thousand pounds.

991. Now, then, let us take a look at your estimate of the expences of sitting down in the prairies.


Copy from my Memorandum Book.

992. Estimate of money required for the comfortable establishment of my family on Bolting House, now English, prairie; on which the first instalment is paid. About 720 acres of wood land, and 720 prairie the latter to be chiefly grass:

Second instalment, August, 1819,      720
Third         ditto         August, 1820,      720
Fourth       ditto         August, 1821,      720
Dollars.

2,160
Dwelling-house and appurtenances 

Other buildings 


4680 rods of fencing, viz. 3400 on the
prairie, and 1280 round the woodland


Sundry wells, 200 dollars; gates, 100 dollars; cabins, 200 dollars 

100 head of cattle, 900 dollars; 20 sows,
&c. 100 dollars; sheep, 1000 dollars

Ploughs, waggons, &c. and sundry tools
and implements
 

Housekeeping until the land supplies us 

Shepherd one year's wages, herdsmen one year, and sundry other labourers 

One cabinet-maker, one wheel-wright, one year,
making furniture and implements, 300 dollars each

Sundry articles of furniture, ironmongery, pottery, glass, &c

Sundries, fruit trees, &c 

First instalment already paid 

Five horses on hand, worth 

Expence of freight and carriage of linen,
bedding, books, clothing, &c 
 
Value of articles brought from England

Voyage and journey

 



Allow about 600 dollars more for seed and corn
 4,500

 1,500



 1,170


 

 500



 2,000


270
 

 1,000


 1,000


600

400

100

720

300


 1,000
 

4,500

 2,000

Doll. 23,820
23,820 dollars = 5,359 sterling.

 141

5,500

993. So, here is more than one third of the amount of Mr. Judge Lawrence's farm. To be sure, there are only about 18,000 dollars expended on land, buildings, and getting at them; but, what a life is that which you are to lead for a thousand dollars a year, when two good domestic servants will cost four hundred of the money? Will you live like one of the Yeomen of your rank here? Then, I assure you, that your domestics and groceries (the latter three times as dear as they are here) and crockery-ware (equally dear) will more than swallow up that pitiful sum. You allow six thousand dollars for buildings. Twice the sum would not put you, in this respect, upon a footing with Mr. Lawrence. His land is all completely fenced and his grain in the ground. His apple trees have six thousand bushels of apples in their buds, ready to come out in the spring; and, a large part of these to be sold at a high price to go on ship-board. But, what is to give you his market? What is to make your pork, as soon as killed, sell for 9 or 10 dollars a hundred, and your cows at 45 or 50 dollars each, and your beef at 7 or 8 dollars a hundred, and your corn at a dollar, and wheat at two dollars a bushel?

994. However, happiness is in the mind; and, if it be necessary to the gratification of your mind to inhabit a wilderness and be the owner of a large tract of land, you are right to seek and enjoy this gratification. But, for the plain, plodding English Farmer, who simply seeks safety for his little property, with some addition to it for his children; for such a person to cross the Atlantic states in search of safety, tranquillity and gain in the Illinois, is, to my mind, little short of madness. Yet, to this mad enterprize is he allured by your captivating statements, and which statements be come decisive in their effects upon his mind, when they are reduced to figures. This, my dear Sir, is the part of your writings, which has given me most pain. You have not meant to deceive; but you have first practised a deceit upon yourself, and then upon others. All the disadvantages you state; but, then, you accompany the statement by telling us how quickly and how easily they will be overcome. Salt, Mr. HULME finds, even at ZANESVILLE, at two dollars and a half a bushel; but, you tell us, that it soon will be at three quarters of a dollar. And thus it goes all through.

995. I am happy, however, that you have given us figures in your account of what an English farmer may do with two thousand pounds. It is alluring, it is fallacious, it tends to disappointment, misery, ruin and broken hearts; but it is open and honest in intention, and it affords us the means of detecting and exposing the fallacy. Many and many a family have returned to New England after having emigrated to the West in search of fine estates. They, able workmen, exemplary livers, have re turned to labour in their native States amongst their relations and old neighbours; but, what are our poor ruined countrymen to do, when they become pennyless? If I could root my country from my heart, common humanity would urge me to make an humble attempt to dissipate the charming delusions, which have, with out your perceiving it, gone forth from your sprightly and able pen, and which delusions are the more dangerous on account of your justly high and well-known character for understanding and integrity.

996. The statement, to which I allude, stands as follows, in your tenth Letter from the Illinois.

997. A capital of 2000l. sterling, (8,889 dollars,) may be invested on a section of such land, in the following manner, viz.


Purchase of the land, 640 acres, at
2 dollars per acre

House and buildings, exceedingly
convenient and comfortable, may be built for

A rail fence round the woods, 1000 rods,
at 25 cents per rod

About 1800 rods of ditch and bank, to
divide the arable land into 10 fields 


Planting 1800 rods of live fence 


Fruit trees for orchard, &c. 


Horses and other live stock 


Implements and furniture 


Provision for one year, and sundry incidental charges 

Sundry articles of linen, books, apparel, implements,  &c. brought from England

Carriage of ditto, suppose 2000 Ibs. at 10
dollars per cwt.

Voyage and travelling expences of one person, suppose


 

Note. The first instalment on the land is 320 dollars, therefore 960 dollars of the purchase money remain in hand to be applied to the expences of cultivation, in addition to the sums above stated.

Expenditure of first Year.
Breaking up 100 acres, 2 dollars per acre 

Indian corn for seed, 5 barrels, (a barrel is five bushels) 


Planting ditto 


Horse-hoeing ditto, one dollar per acre 


Harvesting ditto, 1 1/2 dollar per acre 


Ploughing the same land for wheat, 1

dollar per acre 

Seed wheat, sowing and harrowing 175

Incidental expences


Produce of first Year

100 acres of Indian corn, 50 bushels

(or 10 barrels) per acre, at 2 dollars per barrel 
Net produce 

Expenditure of second Year.
Breaking up 100 acres for Indian corn,
with expences on that crop

Harvesting and threshing wheat, 100 acres

Ploughing 100 acres for wheat, seed, &c.

Incidents

Produce of second Year

100 acres Indian corn, 10 barrels per acre,

2 dollars per barrel

100 acres wheat, 20 bushels per acre,
75 dollars per barrel

Net produce 

Expenditure of third Year.
Breaking up 100 acres as before, with
expences on crop of Indian corn

Ploughing 100 acres of wheat stubble
for Indian corn

Horse hoeing, harvesting, &c. ditto

Harvesting and threshing 100 acres wheat

Dung-carting 100 acres for wheat, after
second crop of Indian corn

Ploughing 200 acres wheat, seed,

Incidents 


Produce of third Year.
200 acres of Indian corn,
10 barrel per acre, 2 dollars per barrel

100 acres wheat, 20 bushels per
acre, 75 dollars per barrel 
Net produce 

Expenditure of fourth Year.
As the third 
Harvesting and threshing 100 acres more wheat 
Additional incidents 


Produce of fourth Year.
200 acres Indian corn, as above 
200 acres wheat 
Net produce

Summary.
EXPENCES.                              PRODUCE. 
                                         Dollars.                                     Dollars.
First year                          1000                                         2000
Second                             1400                                         3500
Third                                  2300                                         5500
Fourth                                2700                                         7000
                                                                                           18000


House-keeping and

other expences for
four years                         4000                                       11,400
Net proceeds per annum                                                   1650
Increasing value of land by cultivation
and settlements, half a dollar per ann.
on 640 acres.                                                                        320
Annual clear profit                                                              1970
Dollars.

1280


1500


250


600

150


100


1500


1000




1000



1000


200


  
309
8889


 



 200

   10

25


100


150



100


175

240


1000



 2000
 1000



485


 350

 275

 290

1400


 2000


 1500 3500

 2100

Dollars.

 485
 


100
 

 285

350


 200
 

 550

 330
2300



4000              
 


1500 5500
3200


 2300
 350
 50
2700

Dollars.

 4000               
3000 7000
 4300

 

998. "Twenty more: kill 'em! Twenty more: kill them too!" No: I will not compare you to BOBADIL: for he was an intentional deceiver; and you are unintentionally deceiving others and yourself too. But, really, there is in this statement something so extravagant; so perfectly wild; so ridiculously and staringly untrue, that it is not without a great deal of difficulty that all my respect for you personally can subdue in me the temptation to treat it with the contempt due to its intrinsic demerits.

999. I shall notice only a few of the items. A house, you say, "exceedingly convenient and comfortable, together with farm-buildings, may be built for 1500 dollars." Your own intended house you estimate at 4500, and your out-buildings at 1500. So that, if this house of the farmer (an English farmer, mind) and his buildings, are to be "exceedingly convenient and comfortable," for 1500 dollars, your house and buildings must be on a scale, which, if not perfectly princely, must savour a good deal of aristocratical distinction. But, this if relieves us; for even your house, built of pine timber and boards, and covered with cedar shingles, and finished only as a good plain farm-house ought to be, will, if it be thirty-six feet front, thirty-four feet deep, two rooms in front, kitchen, and wash-house behind, four rooms above, and a cellar beneath; yes, this house alone, the bare empty house, with doors and windows suitable, will cost you more than six thousand dollars. I state this upon good authority. I have taken the estimate of a building carpenter. "What Carpenter?" you will say. Why, a Long Island carpenter, and the house to be built within a mile of Brooklyn, or two miles of New York. And this is giving you all the advantage, for here the pine is cheaper than with you; the shingles cheaper; the lime and stone and brick as cheap or cheaper; the glass, iron, lead, brass and tin, all at half or a quarter of the Prairie price: and, as to labour, if it be not cheaper here than with you, men would do well not to go so far in search of high wages!

1000. Let no simple Englishman imagine, that here, at and near New York, in this dear place, we have to pay for the boards and timber brought from a distance; and that you, the happy people of the land of daisies and cow slips, can cut down your own good and noble oak trees upon the spot, on your own estates, and turn them into houses without any carting. Let no simple Englishman believe such idle stories as this. To dissipate all such notions, I have only to tell him, that the American farmers on this island, when they have buildings to make or repair, go and purchase the pine timber and boards, at the very same time that they cut down their own oak trees and cleave up and burn them as fire-wood! This is the universal practice in all the parts of America that I have ever seen. What is the cause? Pine wood is cheaper, though bought, than the oak is without buying. This fact, which nobody can deny, is a complete proof that you gain no advantage from being in woods, as far as building is concerned. And the truth is, that the boards and plank, which have been used in the Prairie, have actually been brought from the Wabash, charged with ten miles rough land carriage: how far they may . have come down the Wabash I cannot tell.

1001. Thus, then, the question is settled that building must be cheaper here than in the Illinois. If, therefore, a house, 36 by 34 feet, cost here 6000 dollars, what can a man get there for 1500 dollars? A miserable hole, and no more. But, here are to be farm-buildings and all, in the 1500 dollars' worth! A barn, 40 feet by 30, with floor, and with stables in the sides, cannot be built for 1500 dollars, leaving out waggon-house, corn-crib, cattle-hovels, yard fences, pig sties, smoke house, and a great deal more! And yet, you say, that all these, and a farm-house into the bargain, all "exceedingly comfortable and convenient" may be had for 1500 dollars!

1002. Now, you know, my dear Sir, that this is said in the face of all America. Farmers are my readers. They all understand these matters. They are not only good, but impartial judges; and I call upon you to contradict, or even question, my statements, if you can.

1003. Do my eyes deceive me? Or do I really see one hundred and fifty dollars put down as the expence of "planting one thousand eight hundred rod of live fence"? That is to say, nine cents, or four pence half-penny sterling, a rod! What plants? Whence to come? Drawn out of the woods, or first sown in a nursery? Is it seed to be sown? Where are the seeds to come from? No levelling of the top of the bank; no drill; no sowing; no keeping clean for a year or two: or, all these for nine cents a rod, when the same works cost half a dollar a rod in England!

1004. Manure too! And do you really want manure then? And, where, I pray you, are you to get manure for 100 acres? But, supposing you to have it, do you seriously mean to tell us that you will carry it on for two dollars an acre? The carrying on, indeed, might perhaps be done for that, but, who pays for the filling and for the spreading? Ah! my dear Sir, I can well imagine your feelings at putting down the item of dung-carting, trifling as you make it appear upon paper. You now recollect my words when I last had the pleasure of seeing you, in Catherine Street, a few days before the departure of us both. I then dreaded the dung- cart, and recommended the Tullian System to you, by which you would have the same crops every year, without manure; but, unfortunately for my advice, you sincerely believed your land would be already too rich, and that your main difficulty would be, not to cart on manure, but to cart off the produce!

1005. After this, it appears unnecessary for me to notice any other part of this Transalleganian romance, which I might leave to the admiration of the Edinburgh Reviewers, whose know ledge of these matters is quite equal to what they have discovered as to the Funding System and Paper Money. But when I think of the flocks of poor English Farmers, who are tramping away towards an imaginary, across a real land of milk and honey, I cannot lay down the pen, till I have noticed an item or two of the produce.

1006. The farmer is to have 100 acres of Indian corn, the first year. The minds of you gentlemen who cross the Allegany seem to expand, as it were, to correspond with the extent of the horizon that opens to your view; but, I can assure you, that if you were to talk to a farmer on this side of the mountains of a field of Corn of a hundred acres during the first year of a settlement, with grassy land and hands scarce, you would frighten him into a third-day ague. In goes your Corn, however! "Twenty more: kill 'em!" Nothing but ploughing: no harrowing; no marking; and only a horse-hoeing, during the summer, at a dollar an acre.

The planting is to cost only a quarter of a dollar an acre. The planting will cost a dollar an acre. The horse-hoeing in your grassy land, two dollars. The hand-hoeing, which must be well done, or you will have no corn, two dollars; for, in spite of your teeth, your rampant natural grass will be up before your corn, and a man must go to a thousand hills to do half an acre a day. It will cost two dollars to harvest a hundred bushels of corn ears. So that here are about 400 dollars of expences on the Corn alone, to be added. A trifle, to be sure, when we are looking through the Transalleganian glass, which diminishes out-goings and magnifies in comings. However, here are four hundred dollars.

1007. In goes the plough for wheat? "In him again! Twenty more!" But, this is in October, mind. Is the Corn off? It maybe; but, where are the four hundred waggon loads of corn stalks? A prodigiously fine thing is this forest of fodder, as high and as thick as an English coppice. But, though it be of no use to you, who have the meadows without bounds, this coppice must be removed, if you please, before you plough for wheat!

1008. Let us pause here, then; let us look at the battalion, who are at work; for, there must be little short of a Hessian Battalion. Twenty men and twenty horses may husk the Corn, cut and cart the stalks, plough and sow and harrow for the wheat; twenty two-legged and twenty four-legged animals may do the work in the pro per time; but, if they do it, they must work well. Here is a goodly group to look at, for an English Farmer, without a penny in his pocket; for all his money is gone long ago, even according to your own estimate; and, here, besides the expence of cattle and tackle, are 600 dollars, in bare wages, to be paid in a month! You and I both have forgotten the shelling of the Corn, which, and putting it up, will come to 50 dollars more at the least, leaving the price of the barrel to be paid for by the purchaser of the Corn.

1009. But, what did I say? Shell the Corn? It must go into the Cribs first. It cannot be shelled immediately. And it must not be thrown into heaps. It must be put into Cribs. I have had made out an estimate of the expence of the Cribs for ten thousand bushels of Corn Ears: that is the crop; and the Cribs will cost 570 dollars! Though, mind, the farmer's house, barns, stables, waggon-house, and all, are to cost but 1500 dollars! But, the third year, our poor simpleton is to have 200 acres of corn! "Twenty more: kill 'em!" Another 570 dollars for Cribs!

1010. However, crops now come tumbling on him so fast, that he must struggle hard not to be stifled with his own superabundance. He has now got 200 acres of corn and 100 acres of wheat, which latter he has, indeed, had one year before! Oh, madness! But, to proceed. To get in these crops and to sow the wheat, first taking away 200 acres of English coppice in stalks, will, with the dunging for the wheat, require, at least, fifty good men, and forty good horses or oxen, for thirty days. Faith! when farmer Simpleton sees all this (in his dreams I mean), he will think himself a farmer of the rank of JOB, before Satan beset that ex ample of patience, so worthy of imitation, and so seldom imitated.

1011. Well, but Simpleton must bustle to get in his wheat. In, indeed! What can cover it, but the canopy of heaven? A barn! It will, at two English waggon loads of sheaves to an acre, require a barn a hundred feet long, fifty feet wide, and twenty-three feet high up to the eaves; and this barn, with two proper floors, will cost more than seven thousand dollars. He will put it in stacks; let him add six men to his battalion then. He will thrash it in the field; let him add ten more men! Let him, at once, send and press the Harmonites into his service, and make RAPP march at their head, for, never will he by any other means get in the crop; and, even then, if he pay fair wages, he will lose by it.

1012. After the crop is in and the seed sown, in the fall, what is to become of Simpleton's men till Com ploughing and planting time in the spring? And, then, when the planting is done, what is to become of them till harvest time? Is he, like BAYES, in the Rehearsal, to lay them down when he pleases, and when he pleases make them rise up again? To hear you talk about these crops, and, at other times to hear you advising others to bring labourers from England, one would think you, for your own part, able, like CADMUS, to make men start up out of the earth. How would one ever have thought it possible for infatuation like this to seize hold of a mind like yours?

1013. When I read in your Illinois Letters, that you had prepared horses, ploughs, and other things, for putting in a hundred acres of Corn in the Spring, how I pitied you! I saw all your plagues, if you could not see them. I saw the grass choking your plants; the grubs eating them; and you fretting and turning from the sight with all the pangs of sanguine baffled hope. I expected you to have ten bushels, in stead of fifty, upon an acre. I saw your confusion, and participated in your mortification.

From these feelings I was happily relieved by the Journal of our friend HULME, who informs the world, and our countrymen in particular, that you had not, in July last, any Corn at all growing!

1014. Thus it is to reckon one's chickens be fore they are hatched: and thus the Transalleganian dream vanishes. You have been deceived. A warm heart, a lively imagination, and I know not what caprice about republicanism, have led you into sanguine expectations and wrong conclusions. Come, now! Confess it like yourself; that is, like a man of sense and spirit: like an honest and fair-dealing John Bull. To err belongs to all men, great as well as little; but, to be ashamed to confess error, belongs only to the latter.

1015. Great as is my confidence in your candour, I can, however, hardly hope wholly to escape your anger for having so decidedly condemned your publications; but, I do hope, that you will not be so unjust as to impute my con duct to any base self-interested motive. I have no private interest, I can have no such interest in endeavouring to check the mad torrent to wards the West. I own nothing in these States, and never shall; and whether English Farmers push on into misery and ruin, or stop herein happiness and prosperity, to me, as far as private interest goes, it must be the same. As to the difference in our feelings and notions about country, about allegiance, and about forms of government, this may exist without any, even the smallest degree of personal dislike. I was no hypocrite in England; I had no views farther than those which I professed. I wanted nothing for myself but the fruit of my own industry and talent, and I wished nothing for my country but its liberties and laws, which say, that the people shall be fairly represented. England has been very happy and free; her greatness and renown have been surpassed by those of no nation in the world; her wise, just, and merciful laws form the basis of that freedom which we here enjoy, she has been fertile beyond all rivalship in men of learning and men devoted to the cause of freedom and humanity; her people, though proud and domineering, yield to no people in the world in frankness, good faith, sincerity, and benevolence: and I cannot but know, that this state of things has existed, and that this people has been formed, under a government of king, lords, and commons. Having this powerful argument of experience before me, and seeing no reason why the thing should be otherwise, I have never wished for republican government in England; though, rather than that the present tyrannical oligarchy should continue to trample on king and people, I would gladly see the whole fabric torn to atoms, and trust to chance for something bet ter, being sure that nothing could be worse. But, if I am not a republican; if I think my duty towards England indefeasible; if I think that it becomes me to abstain from any act which shall seem to say I abandon her, and especially in this her hour of distress and oppression; and, if, in all these points, I differ from you, I trust that to this difference no part of the above strictures will be imputed, but that the motive will be fairly inferred from the act, and not the act imputed unfairly to any motive. I am, my dear Sir, with great respect for your talents as well as character,

Your most obedient

And most humble servant,

WM. COBBETT.


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