Diary in America: With Remarks on Its Institutions

By Frederick Marryat | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXIII
Envoi

There is one great inconvenience in American travelling, arising from the uncertainty of river navigation. Excepting the Lower Mississippi and the Hudson, and not always the latter, the communication by water is obstructed during a considerable portion of the year--by ice in the winter or a deficiency of water in the dry season. This has been a remarkable season for heat and drought; and thousands of people remain in the states of Ohio, Virginia, and Kentucky who are most anxious to return home. It must be understood that during the unhealthy season in the southern states on the Mississippi, the planters, cotton-growers, slave-holders, store-keepers, and indeed almost every class, excepting the slaves and overseers, migrate to the northward, to escape the yellow fever and spend a portion of their gains in amusement.

They go to Cincinnati and the towns of Ohio, to the Lakes occasionally, but principally to the cities and watering places of Virginia and Kentucky, more especially Louisville, where I now am; and Louisville, being also the sort of general rendezvous for departure south, is now crammed with southern people. The steamboats cannot run, for the river is almost dry; and I (as well as others) have been detained much longer on the banks of the Ohio than was my intention. There is land-carriage certainly, but the heat of

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