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New Orleans a Hundred Years Ago

The Illustrated London News, vol.41, no.1162, p.255.

September 6, 1862

New Orleans A Hundred Years Ago.--The River Mississippi (says the Post Boy of June 4, 1761) is now near 1500 miles navigable, and has several rivers running into it both from the east and west, some of which are one, two, and some above three, hundred mi1es navigable. The land is so rich and the soil so deep, especially in the south parts of it, that in many places one may run a soldier's pike up to the head without meeting with a rock or stone. Its south parts are so warm, and the land so rich, that the French who live near the city of New Orleans, which is l50 miles up from the mouth of that river, have planted and made good sugar these five years last past. What an immense and extensive trade will that city have which is the seaport (as New Orleans now is) to all this extensive country, which is capable of producing everything--sugar, wine, &c.--if civilised, cultivated, and peopled, as it may probably be in a few centuries. The Crown of England has a right by discovery and taking possession of all this country; and King Charles II granted it to the ancestors of the late Dr. Cox, but they neglected to settle and people it; And Sir Francis Drake took possession on the west side of it, as far north as lat. 42, and a great way south of that, for Queen Elizabeth; but the English neglected to settle it. The French came and built the city of New Orleans fifty leagues up the river, and a fort or two about sixty miles below the city. The city and the forts might have been easily taken the last winter--the best time to take it in, it being so warm there. If we had sent 2000 or 3000 men down the River Ohio into the Mississippi, and thither, on large boats, as there is timber enough on its banks to build them with, the English might have been in possession of all North America (except Cape Florida and the north part of Mexico, which belong to Spain); and our King would then have been to possession of both the north and south passages to all that fine country and to Canada also, and no way left for the French to come at either of them. The French there now are, and ever will be, enemies to the English, and have lately stirred up the Cherokees and other Indian nations to fall upon the remote western parts of Virginia, Carolina, and Georgia, and commit so many barbarous murders on the English subjects as they have lately done there.

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