[S.T. Hobson, brother in law of Roget of Thesaurus fame; Harmony, Indiana; English Prairie Settlement; American mid-west] MS Journal of his travels in the USA in 1818

[Samuel Taylor Hobson, brother in law of Peter Mark Roget (Thesaurus); USA in 1818]
Publication details: 
[28 May - 2 July 1818]
SKU: 23769

[86]pp., 12mo, mbld wraps, good condition. Numerous elisions. The journey starts from Philadelphia: major towns (cities?) Elizabethtown, Lancaster, Pittsburgh (lengthy description - see quotes below), [the Alleghanies; coal), Steubenville (Ohio), Wheeling (W. Virginia), Marietta (Ohio), Belpre by night (New Englanders), Augusta (Kentucky), Cincinnati, Vevay, Madisonville, Louisville (Kentucky), New Albany, Evansville (Pigeon Creek), Princeton, Interested in agricultural development, the state of the roads, transport, price of breakfast, quality of food, industrial development, coal-mining, importance of rivers (eg the Ohio for travellers and for the transport of goods), prices of provisions, wages, a rope ferry at Marietta, danger of flooding, salt springs (portsmouth, Virginia), meeting with poet who called himself Back.Woodsman (see Note D); Expenses listed totalling $101.42, Notes: A. [Pittsburgh] The rapid increase of this place is perhaps without a parralell [sic]. 60 years ago it was little more than a British fort, surrounded by settlements of Indians. It now contains [gap left for a quantity] thousand inhabitants & is a place of much business, & is celebrated for the extent & variety of its manufactures [...] The principal manufactures [...] are those of Iron & Glass [...] B. Samuel Taylor Hobson (and Mary, his sister) were the children of an eminent merchant in Liverpool hence his interests; C. Steubenville, Ohio extensive manufacture of woollen clothes; D. The poet, Back Woodsman, discussed (one page). It is presumably William Ormskirk Bowler. He recited his poems to our Diarist and party; E. Children at Cincinnati prove 'smart'; F. Discussion of the quick development of the town/city, it being 20 years since the population was 2400, afraid to venture outside the town for fear of Indians; they meet a distinguished inhabitant, Dr Drake (Daniel Drake (1785 – 852) was a pioneering American physician and prolific writer, subject of a book), free with useful information; then meet Mr Bosson, presumably the merchant, William Bosson (spent the evening in a manner which convinced us that this place affords very intelligent social, literary, & even accomplished society; G. Louisville farmer gives figures of field yield, cost of clearing, prices, etc; H. Settlers in Kentucky mainly from Virginia and the Carolinas; I. Discussion of the vineyards of Vevay, Indiana, and the grapes/wine with statistics; J. He passes on information about the fast growth of the town of Madisonville; K. The hospitality of a Mr Berthould [later Berthoud] in New Albany which he discusses (including the steamboats from New Orleans and the many that are being built); discussion of 'keel boats' (New Orleans to Pittsburgh in six months!); Shown round a Mill; New Albany promising future as shipping port for Indian; cost of passage from Cincinnati $475 including provisions; L. Price of lots at Evansville; M. References to Illinois Territory - statehood in December of 1818, so only months away; N. Mr Birkbeck's Settlement near Princeton [Morris Birkbeck (1764 – 1825) was an English agricultural innovator, Quaker, author/publicist, anti-slavery campaigner and early 19th-century pioneer in southern Illinois (Wikipedia)]; [June 26] set off for the Prairie [English Prairie Settlement]; Idlers at Princeton and distinguishes between people who contribute nothing to the common weal and those who do; gang of thieves; Purchase of horses for $125 and $135; other prices; O. [28 June] We mounted our new nags & sallied forth to visit Mr Birkbeck's settlement on the other side the Wabash in Illinois Territory; Fordham difficulties of riding, mud and mosquitoes, flies, building of cabins, the prairies (defined); welcomed by Birkbeck himself; food and sleep; names of parties; ride with Fordham to the Village Prairie where they meet other English settlers who had joined Birkbeck; their community described, and access to water; long description of the cabins they erected; Mr Birkbeck & his friend Mr Flower have entered together about 20000 acres of land consisting of Prairie & woodland at the government price of $2 p.acre - further detail, including the attempt to avoid speculators buying in; the Bon Pas and Birkbeck's land discussed in detail, inc. access to water; the need for labourers; Birkbeck's plan for hay; cabins nearly finished; Hitherto he has been supplied from Harmony; no coal found yet; building a road; P. 1 July set off for Harmony; Six pages devoted to the journey and time in Harmony; discusses the Settlement (Harmony society, 800 Germans, governed by minister; Here the Americans are shown a pattern of what industry can accomplish; details of the community, housing, cultivation, vineyards, manufactures of most of what they need, a mill; men and women work separately (and are separate in church); neat and luxuriant gardens; I could not ascertain the rules of the society; he discusses Rapp, the leader, and his authority; property became common stock on joining and priviliges; the Church; P. 2 July Leaving Harmony with regret; arrangements for luggage; List of Charges copied from a paper fixed to the door of the tavern at Harmony [...] [standard] (horse, lodging, cognac, beer, each meal, etc., etc); List of Articles [clothing mainly] belonging to Hobson; Journal concludes with Waybill from Princeton Ind[ian]a to Louisville K[entuck]y, total 123 miles.