The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Buffalo Whig & Journal (Buffalo, NY), 11 June 1835, page 2

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The Great West.--We are almost tired of talking about the throng and the bustle, the life and the buoyancy, the stamina and enterprise, which continues to crowd the streets of our city; and although every steamboat which passes from our harbour, to the number of three or four every day, is literally clustered over with passengers, still the continuous arrival of stages, and passage-boats on the canal, emptying their bustling cargoes on our wharves, daily replenish and keep in constant activity this moving mass of humanity. When and where this ever-flooding and apparently boundless emigration will end, we dare not even conjecture; and from the numerous arrivals of capitalists of large wealth from our eastern cities, and towns, to survey this and the fertile regions to the west of us, the present season, we opine that a large share of their wealth is destined soon to spend its energetick influences upon our business and prosperity.

For the last two months, it has been well known to the publick, that near a million of acres of fertile public lands were to be sold at auction in Chicago, during the present month; and these lands lie on the route of the great canal from Chicago to the Illinois river, and are supposed to possess uncommon advantages for investments. Accordingly, for weeks we have had numerous daily arrivals from all quarters of the Union, and all driving to the great point of attraction, "the land sale at Chicago!" Our Hotels have been crowded out of all manner of convenience; our streets have been a continual fair; our bookstores have been ransacked till not a map of Chicago, or a sketch of the great west could be found. Finding their numbers so rapidly increasing, and fearing to be behind in the great speculating match so soon to take place, numbers hied on in advance of the great mass, who waited for the Thomas Jefferson, that floating palace which has for six weeks been "up for Chicago," in all the distance papers of the country, intending with timely caution, also, to lay in at Chicago for a good supply of those personal comforts so necessary to preserve both body and mind withal, in healthful action for close contested bargains. These had passed away, and in sufficient numbers too to put in requisition all the stages, waggons, and cattle of the Michigan prairies to transport them over land to the St. Josephs, where the daily little steamboats from Chicago would waft them across the head of Lake Michigan to the starting point of the "great west." Those who remained busily prepared themselves for their seafaring journey over the great lakes, in the Jefferson.

At length the time arrived when the huge steamer entered our port, and on Friday afternoon of last week, she moored at her accustomed station to receive on board the crowds that were so soon to throng and enliven her decks for her far voyage over the waters. Reader! did you ever take a trip during the month of June to Detroit, Mackinac, the Sault St. Marys, Green Bay, and Chicago? If you have, we need not describe to you the headlands and richly cultivated shores of Lake Erie, studded with villages, indented with its well protected harbours, and sprinkled with its thousand sails; nor Detroit river with its fertile islands, charming city, and cottaged banks; nor the broad and deep Huron, with its huge Thunder Bay and Manitou islands; nor the beautiful green shores of Mackinac with its whitewashed fort and village, its missionary station, high and delightfully picturesque hills, and its broad crystal bay where anchor the vessels as they lay before the town, and in the clear calm sunshine of its waters look like things suspended in air: nor need we tell you of the green and pure, cold and rapid current of the great St. Marys, debouching from Lake Superiour, whose everlasting winds and storms lash her copper bound shores. Away beyond, up the waters of the Michigan, is the broad estuary of Green Bay, stretching hundreds of miles into the country of the Sacs and the Foxes, and leading far into the great Wisconsin country; while still further up you have seen its wild woody shores, and the distant cabins of occasional squatters on its borders. These it is needless to describe, for description is tame compared with the thrilling interest of the voyager in those vast watery solitudes. Yet we have seen and admired them in all their beauty, their grandeur, their lonelines [sic] and their glory. No wonder, then, that thousands of eager eyes should gaze with surpassing interest on the departure of this proud steamer, as early on Saturday she began to receive her destined cargo, of hundreds of voyagers in pursuit of wealth, speculation and pleasure, which crowded her splendid decks.

Her cabins and state rooms were superbly fitted up for the voyage. Ottomans and sofas, pier tables and mirrors stood around in luxuriant negligence. Extra bedding, stores and wines had been bountifully laid in by her prudent commander, her ponderous engine was slowly respiring, like a lion in his wrath, and all things betokened preparation for a far distant voyage. At length the burst of musick from her band on the quarter deck announced that her departure was nigh.--The passengers were aboard. Thousands of dollars, millions of bills of credit, drafts, and checks on distant banks were in possession of the speculators, who with eager steps, anxious looks and buoyant spirits were looking after their luggage, greeting new acquaintances, or parting with old friends. Every state in the union had contributed sundry of her citizens to compose the motley cargo, all destined for Chicago; some for pleasure, and all for speculation. At last, the word 'all ashore,' was heard from Capt. Wilkins; the last "good bye," and "farewell," echoed and murmured from a thousand lips, and this huge leviathan of the lakes proudly moved out of our harbour with the best wishes of our citizens for a successful voyage, and the kind feelings of our goodly "Buffaloes" toward the clustering hundreds that hung upon her splendid decks.

At Detroit we learn she was to take on board several hundred more, who had gone up in previous boats to wait her arrival. So much for a trip to Chicago.

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Column 2
Date of Original:
11 June 1835
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Buffalo Whig & Journal (Buffalo, NY), 11 June 1835, page 2