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the fact, that nothing is revealed of the author but that his name is Thomas Ashe, and his rank that of Esquire, which rests on the authority of the title-page—that he undertook "an exploratory voyage” of many hundred miles, apparently for the love of science and the human race, without any mercantile or official object, and that she has now returned to America, which rests on the authority of a clumsy anonymous preface; --and though he neither dedicates nor writes to any respon. sible friend, though he dates from no place of residence, and no where distinctly avows what country has the honour of his citizenship, let us intreat them to be satisfied with the reflection, how improbable it is that such large demands would be made on their confidence by an author who had no title to it, and how impossible that Sir Richard Phillips should condescend to lend his name to a literary fraud. As for ourselves, who lean officially, and perhaps rather too emphatically, to the side of candour, we must own that we have been haunted with surmises that it would be possible, by the help of Jefferson, Michaux, Chateaubriand, Parkinson, Janson, &c. and a copy of the “ Pilot for the Rivers," for an author of dexterity and invention to form a very amusing book, extremely like Mr. Ashe's, on a very narrow basis of original information, supplied perhaps by a trader's journal. And after our utmost exercise of charity, we have been reduced to the dilemma of either imputing folly to the professed author of these volumes, or knavery to the publisher: of condemning the one, for sending truth into the world, unprovided with credentials, and tricked out with much of the tinsel of fiction ; or the other, for sending fiction into the world in the character and semblance of truth.

Leaving it to the discretion of our readers to determine for themselves the question of reading and crediting this publication, we shall briefly describe its contents. The first four and the seventh letters are dated from Pittsburg, at the confluence of the Alleghany and Monongahela, which, when united, receive the name of the Ohio. Mr. A. cursorily describes these rivers, their navigation, and the adjacent towns, previously to embarking on the Ohio. The first six letters are dated, without mentioning the days, in the months of October, November, and December, 1806; and the seventh and following ones, after his voyage commences, are dated from different towns on the Ohio and Mississippi, in January, April, May, &c. 1806!!-a strong symptom, we must confess, of all the letters having been written in their present state, at the specified times and places. Indeed this early part of the work combines nearly all the suspicious and dishonourable indications, that we have already enumerated as abounding throughout its extent; exploits, philosophising speculations the most absard and unscientific, topographical details, scandal, discoveries, abuse of the Americans, and anecdotes enforcing the author's warnings against emigrating to the anterior settlements, are all crowded together, as if with a solicitude to exhibit specimens of every kind of bait which the work affords, in the hope that some particular one, or the variety, might allure the attention of those who should casually inspect its pages. It was perhaps with the design of gratifying the most liberal and intelligent of them, that the following criticisms were inserted, on the senatorial and pulpit eloquence of the United States.

• I had the misfortune to attend the Congress at another time, when the scene was more noisy and turbulent than at any of your

electioneering hustings.-A Mr. Lyon, of Vermont, now of Kentuckey, not being able to disprove the arguments of an opponent, spit directly in his face : this the other resented by running to the fire and catching up a hot poker, and in a short time nearly killed his' opponent, and cleared the house. I suppose this is sufficient on this head ; from it you can readily learn that the Congress is a violent vulgar assembly, which hired persons attend, to debate on state affairs, and that the public newspapers are conducted by foreign editors, who amplify such debates, and give them something of a polished and interesting character.

Nor has the church any brighter ornaments than the state. The members of it have no conception of eloquence. Mr. Smith, of Prince Tower College, has the highest reputation as a divine and orator.

I went to hear him preach, and had the mortification to find a transposed sermon of Blair, delivered in a strain of dull monotony.'

It never happened, we suppose, to our worthy Smelfungus, while in America, to hear of such obscure names as those of Mr. Randolph or Dr. Mason. How much credit should be given to him as a critic, would be soon settled by producing a few of the numerous passages that have amazed us in the course of reading the book. There is one, however, which will display his style both of composition and of philosophy, as adequately as a thousand ; the whole range of modern literature scarcely affords so rich a compound of nonsense and affectation.

be seen the laborious and unremitted industry of the fossil kingdom : the manner in which water deposits clay ;. how it is crystallized into sand near the shore; how it wears down shells and other substances into chalk, dead plants into vegetable nould, and metals into ochre ; from all which matter, according to certain laws of nature, stones are formed. Thus from sand originates whetstone ; from mould, slate ; from chalk, flint ; from shells and earth, marble; and from clay, talc!!!!-In the cavities of these are formed concrete pellucid crystals ; which, consisting of various sides opposed to each other, compose a number of regular figures, zad emit brilliant and prisniatic colours. Here also may be seen, in formation,

. There may

ponderous and shining metals : iron in abundance ; some lead ; silver ; and even the ductile gold, which eludes the violence of fire, and can be extended in length and breadth to a most astonishing degree !! It is said that the magnet too has been found here : the magnet, respecting which no mortal has hitherto been able to learn the secret law of its mutual attraction with iron, or of its constant inclination to the poles ! !”

The author of such sentences may well have a humble opinion of binnself, and express it thus : Perhaps my few remarks may suggest to you

and others ideas of a happier and more material nature. If they cause a brighter caruscation of genius to break from minds of stronger cast than mine, or if they produce arguments and philosophy of a more judicious and less feeble character than themselves, formed as they were at the moment from the impulse of feelings and the tyranny of circumstance, I shall be content, and in the place of imposing instruction, I shall be found solicitous to receive information.'

Mr. Ashe embarks at Pittsburg in April, 1806; he proceeds down the Ohio, and then down the Mississippi, till

he reaches the ocean, and dates his last letters from New Orleans, in November. Here was time, no doubt, to go on shore and sojourn at all the principal towns, to make excursions into the country, to cudgel spakes, to take cold collations with Indian chiefs and their daughters, and to discover subterranean tombs and tesselated pavements. We shall not embarrass the reader with an abstract of information, copious and various as it is, for the truth of which we are so little able to vouch. The sum of what would interest persons disposed to emigrate is this : there are many scites on the Western Rivers, well adapted for commerce, where the climate is agreeable, and the land fertile : but these spots are almost invariably unhealthy; and the immense distance from the markets, and the scarcity of labour, so powerfully counteract the bounty of nature, as to disappoint all hopes of a lucrative and happy life. The climate, says Mr. A., and say his predecessors, is naturally excellent; but the atmosphere is periodically infected with pestilential vapours, occasioning the most fatal fevers, and arising from numerous swamps and stagnant waters, which abound on the banks and in their vicinity, and are chiefly produced by inundations. The most favourable situations for agriculture and commerce, are the low grounds and river banks; but these are the most unwholesome. The navigation down the rivers to New Orleans, whence there is a very extensive exportation to Philadelphia, Charlestown, and all parts of the world, is commodious and cheap; but there is no conveyance by water for imports, as the boats can hardly make head against the current; and land carriage from Philadelphia even to the head of the navigation at Pittsburg, a distance of three or


four hundred miles, is necessarily very expensive. The populous towns are much less healthy than the separate settlements; but the inconveniences arising from the paucity and · dispersion of the inhabitants in less frequented regions, may be easily conceived. A considerable portion of the work is employed in describing the navigation, which can serve no purpose but that of amusing the reader, as it is very far from being sufficiently particular to assist the traveller, even if its form were adapted to that use. Mr. Ashe's anecdotes about his different young ladies, about Eleanor, who acquired his copy of Thumson; about Maria, who lost her lover and her wits; about Clara, who lost her sight and hearing, and was then “ a medician Venus, dumb, deaf, and inimitably beautiful * about the young lady of sixteen, who had lost her mama; about his two servants, Cuff and Mindeth; and about his own

ootings, and steerings, and cookings, are of similar value; and we see no reason to believe that his discoveries of Indian wonders are worthy of a higher praise. His account of the Americans, should the work even prove to be genuine, could only be esteemed as an amusing but unfair representation, by. a prejudiced bigot. His philosophical and antiquarian deductions are also very amusing, unless the reader be more disposed to snarl at folly than to laugh at it; nothing in the book, except the chemical extract cited above, has entertained us so much as the author's acquaintance with the antediluvian world, and with men, who, if they were proportionable, must have been, he says, “ on a moderate calculation, four times the size of” himself

. As a specimen of the entertainment which this work may be expected to afford, we shall quote two of the most dashing descriptions. The place to which the first refers is “the Cave of the Rock, Ohio Bank,” which Mr. A: could plainly discern that “ the Indians,at a very remote period, made use of as a house of deliberation and council ;" we have not room to repeat all he says about it, but shall insert quite enough to satisfy the reader, who is not infatuated with a passion for the marvellous. This Indian council hall,we are told, is 200 feet long, and 40 wide; in the centre of the roof, there is a sort of chimney, through which, says Mr. Ashe, “I strained with great difficulty,” " and to my great astonishment arrived in an apartment of greater magoitude than that from which I had immediately ascended, and of infinitely more splendour, magnificence and variety.” “As I advanced, by the assistance of the lights, I began to discover the outlines of a large vault of great height and proportionate extent. The roof, which was

* “ The town,” says Mr. A. “ considered their Clasa as its pride and boast.”


ärched, the sides and natural pillars that supported it, seemed at first sight to be cut out and wrought into innumerable figures and ornaments not unlike those of a gothic cathedral.” Vol. IIL pp. 21, 22.

• I found it extremely difficult to find the aperture which I entered. Perhaps half an hour was occupied in the painful search. I fired a pistol off, which I knew would bring my faithful Mandanean to our relief, but I did not know that its effect would be terrific and its report tremendous. The operation was too rapid to submit to description, and the facts too glaring to invite belief. No thunder could exceed the explosion, no echo return so strong a voice. My man fell as insensible at my feet and I staggered several paces before I could recover my equilibrium. The light extinguished; the echo of the shot again rebounded through the long sounding aisle and fretted vault,” and all the dæmons of the place awoke at once to appal and confound me. Owls screamed in their retreats, bats fluttered through the air, and a direful contention of sounds and cries vied with each other to scare the heart and fill the soul with horror and dismay. Before the tumult ceased, I discovered beams of light issuing from the lower cave, and in a moment after appeared my trusty Indian rising through the orifice with a torch in one hand and a sabre in the other, and exclaiming okima, okima sanguitehé; “my chief, my chief, have a strong heart.” The fears which had been fastening upon me instantly fell off, and I had composure to, contemplate a subject for a sombre picture, too grand and various to be expressed by human

The gloom visibly receded from the rising light: the columns displayed their ponderous magnitude: the roof exhibited its ample dome, and the whole glittered with distillations, like the firmament when studded with stars, and embellished with falling meteors. We found here to my astonishment abundance of shells principally of the muscle kind. They were all open and lay scattered on the floor and shelving sides of the cave, in a manner that fully convinced me they were there originally concreted and inhabited by fish, at a period when the place in which I found them was a sub-marine vault.' Vol. III. pp. 24,—26.

• I entered an apartment of an indefinite space of gloom. No pillars supported the dome ; no chrystal stars illumined the dismal firmament, It was a black domain, a dead-like asylum. I might have contemplated the forbidden scene sometime longer had I not been warned to collect my thoughts and employ them quickly against an approaching danger. My torch grew dim, a smell of sulphur affected my senses, the air of the place became inflammable, the expanse instantaneously lighted up, and hell and all its fire and furies, satellites and inhabitants suddenly burst on and around me. I made but one spring to the passage through which I entered, and escaped through it mangled and bruised. Notwithstanding the impression of danger which remained on my mind I could not resist looking back on the orifice from which I emerged ; the lightning broke through it with such inconceivable rapidity and éclat, that, expecting to hear the crack and rattle of thunder every instant, I ordered my people to follow me, and descended to the lower cave with the precipitation of a coward. Vol. III. pp. 28, 29.

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