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venison excellently preserved, and some bears meat well dried, in lieu of a little tubacco I had given him,-an agreeable trait of Indian gratitude.
Massae fort--the commandant's successful
means of preventing disease-Entrance of the Mississippi-a view of that immense river-St. Charles, Bon-homme, and New Versailles villages--Osage, Kanous, and other Indian nations- Kaskaskia river and town-Kahokia village-Illinois rivera other rivers joining the Mississippi.
Mouth of the Ohio, Sept. 1806.
A FEW hours after I left the Shawanee village I arrived at Massae, a fort garrisoned by a company of regulars of the United States, and commanded by a captain, from whom I received much attention and intelligence. Massae stands on a high bank in the bend of the river, and commands a very extensive view of hill, dale and water. It is composed of about twenty houses, the offices, dwelling, and the soldiers barracks, which give it a novel appearance.
Some years ago Massae was as nnhealthy as the worst island in the West Indics, the garrison perished for several successive seasons, and the reputation of the place became so bad, that the soldiers deserted, and officers threw up their commissions when ordered on its service. Now out of one hundred men there are but seven on the doctor's list, and only twenty have died within three years. À circumstance so uncommon excited all my curiosity, and brought me to the knowledge of a fact, that the unwholesomeness of America is to be attribut
ed to local causes, and not to a deleterious climate.
When Captain R, a philosopher and man of science, came to Fort Massae about three years ago, he took a view of the vicinity of the town and sought the principles of that malignant disease which had been so destructive to all who had before garrisoned the fort. He soon discovered that the back of the town was subject to inundation, and that a chain of ponds received the waters of the flush, and retained them till exhausted by evaporation, a gradual process effected principally by the action of a burning sun, water stagnated, drawn into the atmosphere, in a state sufficient to impregnate it with foetid smells and fatal poison. Having satisfied himself of these causes of the prevailing disorders of the fort, Captain R. resolutely determined to remove them. With this intent he employed the whole
of his garrison in opening communications between one pond and another, and in making canals to the ponds both from the upper and lower part of the river. The first spring flush entered by the upper channel, passed like a mill-course through the ponds, and as the water subsided, carried all their foul and putrid contents through the lower channel into the river. The following season saw this labor crowned with the happiest success; the vernal fever was suppressed, the summer flux was gone, and the autumnal vomit and hæmorhage entirely disappeared. Nothing remained but the complaints common to all parts of the river; such intermittents, pleurasies, and a species of slow disease which consumes the body, extinguishes the natural heat of the blood, changes the complexion into a livid pale.
The particular regulations which Captain R. sees observed in the garrison contribute much to the preservation of its health. The consumption of whisky is limited; cleanliness is insisted on, and industry rewarded. The men being employed according to their original professions, and paid ten pence per day, over and above their pay as soldiers of the United States.
As the gentlemen are fond of sport, they find much amusement in the adjacent country, which abounds with game of every sort. The fishing is also good immediately under the battery. Nor is sporting a mere act of pastime but of necessity. The garrison, being furnished by government with nothing more than rations of bread and salt pork, is compelled to seek for fresh provisions in the woods, or to procure them from Indians in exchange for spirits, powder and toys. The Indians are a few Illinois settled in the rear of the fort.
There are about twenty American