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mining. Had an absolute monarch called for this vast amount of labour from his people to build some monument, he would have been declared the greatest tyrant. Indeed, I know of no instance in America, of the misapplication of so great an amount of free labour—labour cheerfully bestowed, and thrown away without a regret. For the losers in mining, like the adventurers in a lottery, have no one to blame but themselves.
It appeared to me that a statement of the actual condition of the mines, would be received with attention at Washington, and that a system for the better management of them could not but be approved, were it properly brought forward. I determined to make the attempt. It did not, however, appear to me, that nature had limited the deposits of ore to one species, or to so limited an area, and I sought means to extend my personal examinations farther west and south. To bring this about, and to collect the necessary information to base statements on, in a manner correspondent to my wishes, required time, and a systematic mode of recording facts.
To this object, in connexion with the natural history of the country, I devoted the remainder of the year, and a part of the following year. I soon found, after reaching the mines, that I had many coadjutors in the business of collecting specimens, in the common miners, some of whom were in the habit of laying aside for me, any thing they found, in their pits and leads, which assumed a new or curious character. Inquiries and applications relative to the mineralogy and structure of the country were made, verbally and by letter, from many quarters. I established my residence at Potosi, but made excursions, from time to time, in various directions. Some of these excursions were fruitful of incidents, which would be worth recording, did the cursory character of these reminiscences permit it. On one occasion, I killed a horse by swimming him across the Joachim river, at its mouth, whilst he was warm and foaming from a hard day's ride. He was put in the stable and attended, but died the next day, as was supposed, from this sudden transition. There was scarcely a mine or digging in the country, for forty miles around, which I did not personally examine; and few persons, who had given attention to the subject, from whom I did not derive some species of information.
The general hospitality and frankness of the inhabitants of the mine country could not but make a favourable impression on a stranger. The custom of riding on. horseback, in a region which affords great facilities for it, makes every one a horseman and a woodsman, and has generated •omething of the cavalier air and manners. But nothing impressed me more, in this connexion, than the gallant manner, which I observed here, of putting a lady on horseback. She stands facing you, with the bridle in her right hand, and gives you her left. She then places one of her feet in your left hand, which you stoop to receive, when, by a simultaneous exertion and spring, she is vaulted backwards into the saddle. Whetherformed of Mr. Perry's recent marriage, and should judge, moreover, that he had exercised both taste and judgment in his selection of a partner. The affair of the Chiraviri is said to have been got up by some spiteful persons
Towards the middle of the month (12th,) I set out, accompanied by Mr. James B. Austin, on horseback, for Herculaneum, by the way of Hazel Run, a route displaying a more southerly section of the mine country than I had before seen. A ride on horseback over the mine hills, offers one of the most delightful prospects of picturesque sylvan beauty that can be well conceived of. The hills are, with a few exceptions, not precipitous enough to make the ride irksome. They rise in long and gentle swells, resembling those of the sea, in which the vessel is, by an easy motion, alternately at the top of liquid hills, or in the bottom of liquid vales. From these hills the prospect extends over a surface of heath-grass and prairie flowers, with an open growth of oaks, giving the whole country rather the aspect of a park than a wilderness. Occasionally a ridge of pine intervenes, and wherever there is a brook, the waters present the transparency of rock crystal. Sometimes a range of red clay hillocks, putting up rank shrubs and vines of species which were unknown before, indicates an abandoned digging or mine. Farms and farm houses were then few; and every traveller we met on horseback, had more or less the bearing of a country cavalier, with a fine horse, good equipments, perhaps holsters and pistols, sometimes a rifle, and always something of a military air, betokening manliness and independence. Wherever we stopped, and whoever we met on the way, there was evinced a courteous and hospitable disposition.
We did not leave Potosi till afternoon. It was a hot August day, and it was dusk before we entered the deep shady valley of Big River. Some delay arose in waiting for the ferryman to put us across the river, and it was nine o'clock in the evening when we reached Mr. Bryant's, at Hazel Run, where we were cordially received. Our host would not let us leave his house, next morning, till after breakfast. We rode to McCormick's, on the Platten, to dinner, and reached Herculaneum before sunset. The distance by this route from Potosi is forty-five miles, and the road, with the exception of a couple of miles, presented a wholly new section of the country.
The Mississippi was now low, displaying large portions of its margin, and exhibiting heavy deposits of mud and slime, which broke into cakes, as they dried in the sun. I know not whether these exhalations affected me, but I experienced a temporary illness for a few days during this visit. I recollect that we had, during this time, some severe and drenching rain storms, with vivid and copious lightning, and heavy pealing thunder. These drenching and rapid showers convert the brooks and rills of the mine country to perfect torrents, and this explains one cause of the washmg away and gullying of roads and streets, so remarkable on the west bank of the Mississippi. My illness induced me to give up returning on horseback ; and I sA out, on the 18th of the month, in a dearborn, accompanied by Mrs. Austin. On descending the long hill, near Donnell's, beyond the Joachim, the evening was so dark that I became sensible I must have got out of the road. I drove with the more care a few moments, and stopped. Requesting Mrs. Austin to hold the reins, I jumped out and explored the ground. I found myself in an abandoned, badly gullied track, which would have soon capsized the wagon; but leading the horse by the bridle, I slowly regained my position in the direct road and got down the hill, and reached the house without further accident. Next day we drove into Potosi by four o'clock in the afternoon. This was my second visit, and I now accepted a room and quarters for my collection, at their old homestead called Durham Hall.
From this period till the middle of September, I pursued with unremitting assiduity, the enquiry in hand, and by that time had made a cabinet collection, illustrating fully the mineralogy, and, to some extent, the geological structure of the country. I erected a small chemical furnace for assays. Some of the clays of the country were found to stand a high heat, and by tempering them with pulverized granite, consisting largely of feldspar, I oDiained crucibles that answered every purpose. Some of trie specimens of lead treated in the dry way. yielded from 75 to 82 per cat
.loeHifiot »nre>v "d, „.y way, on the 25th of August, a fact which led to ine discovery of a primitive tract, on the southern borders of the mine country, the true geological relation of which to the surrounding secondary formations, formed at the outset rather a puzzle. I rode out on horseback on that day, with Mr. Stephen F. Austin, to Miller's, on the Mineral Fork, to observe a locality of manganese, and saw lying, near his mills, some large masses of red syenitic granite, which appeared to have been freshly blasted. He remarked that they were obtained on the St. Francis, and were found to be the best material at hand for millstones. On examination, the rock consisted almost exclusively of red feldspar and quartz. A little hornblende was present, but scarcely a trace of mica. This species of syenitic granite, large portions of which, viewed in the field, are complete syenite, and all of which is very barren of crystals, I have since found on the upper Mississippi, and throughout the northwestern regions above the secondary latitudes. The hint, however, was not lost. I took the first opportunity to visit the sources of the St. Francis: having obtained letters to a gentleman in that vicinity, I set out on horseback for that region, taking a stout pair of saddle-bags, to hold my collections. I passed through Murphy's and Cook's settlements, which are, at the present time, the central parts of St. Francis county. Mine a la Motte afforded some new facts in its mineralogical features. I first saw this red syenite, in place, on Blackford's Fork. The westernmost limits of this ancient mine extends to within a mile or two of this primitive formation. The red clay formation extends to the granitic elevations, and conceals their junction with the newer rock. The nearest of the carboniferous series, in place, is on the banks of Rock Creek, at some miles' distance. It is there the crystalline sandstone. How far this primitive district of the St. Francis extends, has not been determined. The St. Francis and Grand rivers, both have their sources in it. ^ is probable the Ozaw Fork of the Merrimack comes from its western borders. Not less than twenty or thirty miles can be assigned for its north and south limits. The Iron mountain of Bellvieu is within it. The vicinity of the pass called the Narrows, appears to have been the locality of former volcanic action. A scene of ruder disruption, marked by the vast accumulation of broken rock, it would be difficult to find. Indeed the whole tract is one of high geological, as well as scenic interest. Had the observer of this scene been suddenly dropped down into one of the wildest, broken, primitive tracts of New England, or the north east angle of New York, he could not have found a field of higher physical attractions. Trap and greenstone constitute prominent tracts, and exist in the condition of dykes in the syenite, or feldspathique granite. I sought in vain for mica in the form of distinct plates. Some of the greenstone is handsomely porphorytic, and embraces green crystals of feldspar. Portions of this rock art sprinkled with masses of bright sulphuret of iron. Indeed iron in several of its forms abounds. By far the largest portion of it is in the shape of the micaceous oxyde. I searched, without success, for the irridescen specular variety, or Elba ore. In returning from this trip, I found Wolf river greatly swollen by rains, and had to swim it at much hazard, with my saddle-bags heavily laden with the results of my examination. It was dark when I reached the opposite bank: wet and tired I pushed for the only house in sight. As I came to it the doors stood open, the fences were down, a perfect air of desolation reigned around. There was no living being found; and the masses of yawning darkness exhibited by the untenanted rooms, seemed a fit residence for the genius of romance. Neither my horse nor myself were, however, in a temper or plight for an adventure of this kind, and the poor beast seemed as well pleased as I was, to push forward from so cheerless a spot. Four miles' riding through an untenanted forest, and a dark and blind road, brought us to a Mr. Murphy s, the sponsor of Murphy's settlement.