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stock and farming tools, ready to open new plantations in the West. The men and boys went chiefly on foot; the women and girls rode horseback, and at each camping-place cooked for the party and looked after the many small children, for the settlers of those days usually had large families. Now and then hostile savages attacked these travelers. Though the men well knew how to defend themselves with their long-barreled rifles and broad-bladed huntingknives, many fell victims and were buried by the wayside. (b) A rough route for wagons and horses was cut through

the forest and over the hills, all the long way from Philadelphia to Pittsburg. Should the traveler wish to go still farther into the West, he must descend the Ohio River from Pittsburg or Wheeling, on a raft or in a

boat;' but upon this journey he was liable to be shot at by fierce Indians hiding in the dense forests which lined the banks.

207. Postal service. The most constant traveler was the post-rider, who carried the mails. Often he was an eccentric character, who amused himself as he jogged patiently along on horseback by trying to read the letters carried in his saddle-bags, or possibly by knitting socks or whittling some article out of a stick.2



1 A variety of rude vessels were used on the Ohio. The most common were flatboats propelled and steered by great sweeps, or oars, and keel-boats, using sails. There were also many oddly shaped, roughly built craft, known as “arks" or "broad-horns."

2 The mails were carried between Boston and New York three times a week in summer, and twice a week in winter. In 1792 the postage rate was fixed at six cents for thirty miles or less; for over thirty miles the rate gradually increased, until it cost twenty-five cents to send a letter any distance beyond four hundred and fifty miles.

208. Education. The schoolhouses were crude and poorly furnished. There were few textbooks, and often these belonged to the teacher. Almost the only studies were spelling, reading, a little arithmetic or ciphering," writing with quill pens, and stories from the Bible. Nearly all the lessons must be learned “by heart"; the "dunce" could expect no mercy, and was made to stand on a stool for hours at a time, wearing a tall paper hat. The schoolmaster's birch rod was a highly respected instrument of torture, being used without stint on unruly pupils.

Young people were expected to read only “edifying books, and these were usually solemn and exceedingly dull. As each household owned but a few volumes, these, together with those that could be borrowed from the neighbors, must be read over and over again by the boy or girl fond of reading. There were, of course, more newspapers than in 1750, but these paid little attention to local news. As for public libraries none had as yet been thought of in America. Several colleges, however, had been established.

209. Slavery. At this time negro slavery existed in all of the thirteen original States, North as well as South,2 although for several practical reasons it flourished better in the latter region than in the former:

(a) It was then commonly believed that white peoplecould not work at hard labor in a warm climate, and keep their health, but that Africans were not harmed by it.

(6) The Africans were as yet but partly civilized, and 1 Between 1776 and 1794, fourteen colleges were founded. These were in addition to those earlier ones named in the note on page 114.

2 Several of the New England colonies had quite early in their history passed laws against slavery, but they were not enforced. The constitution of Massachusetts, adopted in 1780, had declared that no man might be a slave in that State. This example was soon followed elsewhere in New England.

In 1780 Pennsylvania passed a law providing for the gradual freeing of slaves within its borders. New York followed with a similar act in 1799, and New Jersey in 1804.

Three years previous to the Revolution the courts of Great Britain had decided that human bondage could not exist in the British Isles, but it was not abolished in her colonies until 1834. Slaves became free in Mexico in 1829; in the French colonies in 1848; in Russia in 1861; in Dutch colonies in 1863. Gradually, since our Civil War, all other civilized lands have abolished the system.

such men work best in gangs, under overseers. This system was well suited to the Southern plantations, with their great single crops of tobacco, rice, and cotton, that required only rude and simple hand labor. It did not seem a desirable system, however, for the busy little workshops of New England, or for the small Northern farms, where were raised a variety of crops that needed separate and intelligent treatment.

210. Invention of the cotton-gin. It is possible that the South might in time have decided to abandon slavery,

for many of her prominent citizens did not approve of it, and this opposition seemed to be growing. But in 1792 an event occurred which entirely changed the situation. This

was Eli Courtesy, Library of Congress Whitney'st inWHITNEY'S COTTON-GIN

vention of the cotton-gin, a machine that quickly and easily separates the cotton fiber from the many seeds it incloses. This had heretofore been a slow and costly process, for a negro "hand" could in the old days “clean up" only five or six pounds a day. But by means of Whitney's gin he might clean from

1. Eli Whitney was born in Massachusetts in 1765. After graduating from Yale he went to Georgia as a teacher, but spent most of his time in invention. The cotton-gin brought him little reward, partly because other men wrongly claimed to have invented one before him, partly because the patent laws at that time were not as favorable to inventors as they now are, and partly because of the destruction of his factory by fire. Later he made a fortune by manufacturing firearms at New Haven, Connecticut, where he died in 1825. Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat, declared that Arkwright, who invented the cotton-spinning frame, Watt, who constructed the first steam engine, and Whitney “were the three men that did most for mankind of any of their contemporaries."


three hundred to a thousand pounds, which put an entirely new face on the profits of cotton-growing. 1

The new machine at once gave a tremendous impetus to the industry among Southern planters. Negro “field hands were now in far greater demand than ever before, 2 and slavery seemed so necessary that it was thenceforth securely fastened upon the South. However, the North also profited much by this institution, for hundreds of mills were built in New England to manufacture cotton cloth; and many of the New England shipowners carried on the unlawful but very profitable business of importing slaves from the West Indies and Africa for the Southern cotton-fields. 3

211. Charities and reforms. When Washington began his administration, men in most of the States were still being imprisoned for debt; organized charities were unknown; and as yet there had been little attempt to reform criminals or to improve the condition of the unfortunate classes of the population.4 Insane and other defective people were kept either at home or in public jails; and as most prisons in that day were extremely unhealthful, the condition of those placed in them was often most lamentable. Not until long years after this did our people awake to the serious importance of these matters, and begin to insist that prison and social reforms should be carried out in the United States.

1 The first cotton to be raised in the United States was in Georgia, about 1786.

2 A negro man slave, eighteen years of age or over, was at this time worth on the average about $300 in tobacco-growing Virginia; but in the great cottongrowing States of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana such a man was worth, about the year 1820, from $800 to $2000.

3 In 1778 Virginia prohibited the importation of slaves, except those brought in by travelers or new settlers. By 1803 all of the States and Territories, except South Carolina, had passed similar laws;and in 1807 Congress did the same for the nation. Nevertheless, it has been estimated that 270,000 negro slaves were brought into our country by smugglers, from Africa and the West Indies, between the years 1808 and 1860.

* See Oglethorpe's attempt to improve the condition of poor debtors in Georgia, page 72.

QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS 1. What was the population of the United States in 1790? What is it at

the present time? How many immigrants came to our shores during the past year? Give an argument for and one against admitting so

many foreigners. 2. Point out on the map the five largest cities of the United States in

Washington's time; in our own time; give reasons for the change. 3. Name the various means of travel in 1790. How did the difficulty of

travel and communication influence the attitude of the States toward

each other? 4. Trace on a map of the United States the two principal routes of com

munication between the East and the West. 5. Compare the difficulties encountered by a settler west of the Alle

ghenies in 1790, with the difficulties encountered by the homesteaders

of to-day. 6. Choose any two of the older cities of the country and name some of

the objects of historical interest which may be seen there. Show

a picture or make a drawing or model of one of these. 7. Tell why slavery gradually ceased to exist in the northern part of the

country. 8. Make a list of important inventions, unknown in Washington's time,

that have helped to bring about a closer relation among men. 9. In what charitable and social reforms is our country much interested

at the present time? 10. Review the period of the Formation of the Union by selecting the

striking incidents that could be represented in a series of floats for a

Fourth of July parade.
II. Make an outline of the chapter.

COMPOSITION SUBJECTS 1. The America of to-day compared with the America of 1790. Tell

what you think we have gained and what we have lost. 2. Imagine that your father and mother, your sister, and yourself are

traveling from Virginia to your new home in Kentucky. Time, 1780.

Tell of an adventure on the way. 3. Describe and then dramatize “A Day in School in 1790." Introduce

the master, the dunce, a writing-lesson, and a spelling-lesson.

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