Page 2

OverviewTranscribeVersionsHelp

Facsimile

Transcription

Status: Needs Review

late. Besides hemp, the state produces for ex-
port, tobacco, Indian corn, wheat, rye, oats,
barley, flour, hourses, cattle, sheep, hogs, mules,
&c. &.c.

There are three papers published in Lexing-
ton, two political and one religious. In the state
there are from 20 to 25.

Kentucky has suffered greatly by the fluctua-
tions of her paper currency, by the bankruptcy
of her banks and by her relief laws, &c &c. She
is not recovering from her difficulties, and has
one specie paying bank, with a number of bran-
ches, of which the paper is in a perfectly sound
state. Her broken banks are winding up their
concerns. The bank of the United States has
two branches in the state, one at Lexington and
the other at Louisville.

Louisville is a very thriving town, and is sup-
posed to have about 6000 inhabitants. The
important canal at the falls with probably be
completed next year. Opinions are much divi-
ded as to its effects upon the prosperity of the
town--some believing it will prove highly ben-
eficial, and others directly the reverse. The
former opinion appears the more natural. It
will be very injurious to Shippingport, a town
about two miles from Lousiville, containing above
2000 inhabitants, the prosperity of which de-
pends in a great measure, upon being the depot
for merchandize, which, except when the river
is high, cannot be conveyed round the falls, by
water.

In Lexington and Louisville, a custom pre-
vails, which adds greatly to the comfort of soci-
ety, and which is not usual in our great cities--
In nine cases out of ten, where intimacies exist
between married men, they extend to the fe-
males of the respective families. Whereas it is
well known that in Philadelphia and New York,
intimacies frequently exist for years between
married men, whose wives are unknown to each
other.

It now remains to take a rapid sketch of the
character of the citizens of Kentucky. That
character is on the whole estimable. Its distin-
guishing features are, a high degree of shrewd-
ness and intelligence--natural politeness un-
trammelled by the formality, the etiquette, and
the distincition of casts, that generally prevail
in older stages of society--and genuine hospita-
lity towards strangers. In these three very im-
portant items, Kentucky will advantageously
compare with any state int he Union. This cha-
racter is derived from an impartial examination
of its citizens, in steam boats, in taverns, in sta-
ges, at ordinaries, in private circles, and in large
parties. I am well aware that it by no means
corresponds with the prejudices of the general-
ity of the citizens of the other states, and shall
endeavour to shew whereon those prejudices
rest, and the reason why they are so erroneous.
Such prejudices are highly pernicious when they
prevail among members of the same family of
nations, exciting alienation and hostility--and I
therefore hope that the attempt to obliterate
them will not be regarded with indifference by
those whose good opinion is worth cultivating.

There are few sources of error more prolific,
than the habit to which mankind are prone, of
generalizing without adequate data--and from
individual cases inferring the character & quali-
ties of communities and nations. We have heard
of travellers, who pronounced dogmatically on
the character of a nation from an intercourse
with a few persons in a town or city--and one is
particularly renowned, who having seen, on the
day of his arrival, a number of old and homely
women, and none either young or beautiful, is
reported to have very judiciously entered among
his memorabilia, "N. B. All the women in this
place "old and ugly."

It is not very honourable to human nature
that this tendency to generalization is more pre-
valent as regards deformity of character than
the contrary. Fifty upright or virtuous indivi-
duals, of any particular profession, community,
or nation, will not be so likely to induce us to
pourtray the whole mass couleur de rose, as ten or
a dozen fradulent or worthless persons to lead
us to assume a general wirthlessness.

When once a national character is blemished,
whether right or wrong, every incident that oc-
curs, tending to afford any sort of support to
the blemish, is caught at with avidity, and re-
garded as "confirmation strong as proofs from
holy writ." Whereas ten cases equally strong,
occurring in nations not lying under such blem-
ish, attach no national disgrace.

It is within the recollection of most of us, that a
strong prejudice prevailed against the people
of New England, at no very distant day; & eve-
ry petty trick perpetrated by a New England
man was triumphantly adduced in full proof of
the correctness of the prejudice. Thus the
whole district of country, containing above a
million and a half of souls, was made responsible
for the misconduct of every individual in it.--
The injustice of this procedure is now well known
and acknowledged by men of liberal minds--
although it still lingers among a few of the low
& the vulgar.

To apply this reasoning to Kentucky, among
the early settlers in that state were many low,
disorderly, and profligate characters, by whom
it was regarded as a place of refuge, an asylum
for the abandoned and worthless. Though
those characters bore but a small proportion to
the mass of the populations, they served to affix
a stigma on the whole. Such a stigma is not
easily removed--and it is to be regretted that
little or no pains have been taken to remove it,
although a total change has taken place--and
although the people of the state may fairly vie
with their fellow citizens of other states.

One circumstance which tends to perpetuate
the prejudice is the conduct of the Kentucky
boatmen on the Ohio and Mississippi, some of
whom appear to pride themselves on the rough-
ness and rudeness of their manners--"half horse,
half alligator," &c. But it would be quite as
just to characterise the inhabitants of New York
from the conduct of the boatmen who ply at the
ferries on the Hudson or the East River, as the
people of Kentucky from the boatmen of the O-
hio and Mississippi.

Many people believe that human life is most
wantonly sported with in Kentucky--and that
there is danger of murder in passing through
the state. This is a miserable error. That ho-
micide has increased within a few years in the
United States, is a lamentable truth--and that
Kentucky has partaken of the crime is beyond
doubt. But it is equally true that it is full as
prevalent in some, and more prevalent in other
states to which no particular censure attaches
on this ground.

The writer of this has travelled a consider-
able distance through the state--sojourned some
time in Lexington and Louisville,--and had very
extensive intercourse with citizens of various
descriptions, and different parties: and during
the whole time never met with or saw a single
instance of the slightest departure from the
strictest rules of propriety and decorum, even
in classes among whom such a departure is else-
where not unfrequent. So far as Lexington is
concerned, he believes that in every thing that
renders society respectable, it is not inferior to
any city or town in the Union. HAMILTON.
Philadelphia, Aug. 23, 1828.

Notes and Questions

Nobody has written a note for this page yet

Please sign in to write a note for this page