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and now that the Indians have left these countries, we find the undergrowth occupying the ground again.

But the general and most popular opinion seems to be that the prairies are caused by the Indian custom of annually burning the leaves and grass in autumn, which prevents the growth of any young trees. Time, it is thought, will thus form prairies; for some of the old trees annually perishing, and there being no undergrowth to supply their places, they become thinner every year; and as they diminish, they shade the grass less, which therefore grows more luxuriantly, and when a strong wind carries a fire through the dry grass and leaves which cover the earth with combustible matter several feet deep, the volume of flame destroys all before it. After a beginning is made, the circle widens every year, until prairies open as boundless as the ocean. Young growth follows the civilized settlements, since the setter keeps off those annual burnings. The proof advanced for this theory is, that prairies are all upon rich, rolling, and comparatively dry soil, where much vegetable matter would accumulate to raise the flame, and but little moisture to counteract it. This opinion, which is the most generally received, is among the least well founded, being based altogether upon what have sometiines been called false facts. Thus there is no proof of fires in the woods having been so extensive or destructive as it supposes; the destruction of live timber being a very uncommon occurrence; and the fact is undeniable that where woodland and prairie are found adjacent, the fire ceases to display the same destructive energy in the former, that it exhibits in the latter. Again : the edges of the prairie do not exhibit appearances of encroachment by fire on the timber; but on the contrary, the woodland seems to be increasing; and it is much more common to see young thickets spreading out from the woods upon the plain, than to behold the stumps and trunks of trees, which had been killed by fire. The conclusive argument, however, in opposition to the opinion above, is, that the destruction of the forest by fire would have taken place on the hills, and on

broken grounds, as well as on the level, while the prairies only occupy the last.

Before proceeding to state what is conceived to be the true theory of the prairies, it may be well to convey an exact impression of their characteristic features. The following graphic description by Judge Hall, will doubtless answer the purpose.

“ By those who have never seen this region,” says the Judge, “a very tolerable idea may be formed of the manner in which the prairie and forest alternate, and the proportions of each, by drawing a colored line of irregular breadth, along the edges of all the water courses laid down in the map. The border thus shaded, which would represent the woodland would vary in width from one to five or six miles, and would sometimes extend to twelve. As the streams approached each other, these borders would approximate, or come into contact; and all the intermediate spaces not thus colored would be prairie. It is true, therefore, as a general rule, in relation to the states in which the prairies are situated, that whereever there is a considerable tract of surface, not intersected by water courses, it is lerel

, and destitute of timber; but in the vicinity of springs and streams, the country is clothed in forest."

Taking as an example the country lying between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, it will be seen that in the point formed by their junction, the forest covers the whole ground, and that as these rivers diverge, the prairies begin to intervene. At first there is only an occasional meadow, small, and not very distinctly defined. Proceeding northward the timber is found to decrease, and the prairies to expand; yet the plains are still comparatively small, wholly unconnected with each other, and their outlines distinctly marked by the woodlands which surround and separate them. They are insulated and distinct tracts of meadow land, embosomed in the forest. Advancing further to the north, the prairie surface begins to predominate; the prairies now become large, and communicate with each other like a chain of lakes, by means of numerous avenues or vistas ; sull however, the traveller is surrounded by timber; bis

eye never loses sight of the deep green outline, throwing out its capes and headlands; though he sees no more than dense forests and large trees, whose deep shade almost appalled him in the more southern district."

“ TravelLing onward in the same direction, the pr airies continue to expand, until we find ourselves surrounded by one vast plain. In the country over which we have passed, the forest is interspersed with these interesting plains; here the prairie is studded with groves and copses, and the streams fringed with strips of woodland. The eye sometimes roves over an immense expanse clothed with grass, discovering no other object on which to rest, and finding no limit to its vision but the distant horizon; while more frequently it wanders from grove to grove, and from one point of woodland to another, charmed and refreshed by an endless variety of scenic beauty."

“This description applies chiefly to Illinois, from a careful inspection of which state we have drawn the picture; but its general outlines are true of Indiana and Missouri, and are applicable, to some extent, to Ohio and Michigan. But if our path lie still farther to the west, and conduct us to the wide tracts that extend from the waters of the Arkansas to those of the Missouri and Mississippi, we arrive at a region of boundless plains-boundless to the eye of the traveller, which discovers nothing but the verdant carpet and the blue sky, without a grove, a tree, or a bush, to add variety to the landscape, and where the naked meadow often commences at the very margins of the streams.”

But there is another point of view from which we are bound to consider the prairies, before we adopt any opinion purely hypothetical in reference to the cause of their present condition ; and that is their geological structure. Now, if we examine them in this respect, either in the couliés or chasms, that frequently intersect them, or by attending to the materials, which it is necessary to penetrate through in sinking wells into them these materials being, where their rocky foundation does not come up to the surface or is immediately beneath

it, almost invariably a vegetable soil of more or less depth, and a thick deposite of plastic clay overlying a bed of sand or immediately superimposed upon the rockthere is no geologist who will not remain satisfied that they are the ancient floors of the ocean. If so, when the ocean waters first abandoned them they must have been without plants, and the naturalist who does not admit the doctrine of spontaneous growth, will conclude that when these did make their appearance, they germinated from seeds derived from plants, growing on lands left with a higher level than the sea that receded from the prairies. Their borders would be planted first, and by such plants as will grow upon the scantiest soil, and so on, until by natural and well understood causes the soil had acquired depth enough to support a hardier and more luxuriant vegetation.

Taking however a more comprehensive view, there is no reason why we should not suppose that the first covering of the earth was composed of those plants that arrive at maturity in the shortest time. And by whatever method it may be thought that plants begin first to germinate, it is evident that annual plants would ripen and scatter their seeds, many times, before trees and even shrubs could acquire the power of reproducing their own species. In the mean time the propagation of the latter would be retarded by a variety of causesthe frost would nip their tender stems in winter-fire would consume, or the blast would sbatter them-and the wild grazing animals would bite them off, or tread them under foot; while many of their seeds, particularly such as assume the form of nuts or fruit, would be devoured by animals. The grasses, that are propagated both by the root and by seed, are exempt from the operation of almost all these casualties. Providence has, with unerring wisdom, fitted every production of nature to sustain itself against the accidents to which it is most exposed, and has given to these plants which constitute the food of animals, a remarkable tenacity of life; so that although bitten off, and trodden down, and even scorched, they still retain the vilal

VOL. II.--No. 10.

79

causes.

merit of truth, will be read by many with early in life to Russia, married, and engaged in the military service of that country, which

was in fact his own. He made several

principle. That trees have likewise a prevented by the causes above enumerated ; power of self-protection, is evident from the principal of which has been probably their present existence in a state of nature. the annual fires, but a very efficient one It is only assumed, therefore, that in the also the devastation caused by the teeth earliest state of being, the grasses would and hoofs of the buffalo.* have the advantage, over plants of less

*“ This scarcity of wood in the western regions, hardy, and of slower growth; and that so much at variance with what is seen in other parts when both are struggling for the possession

of North America, proceeds from two principal

In the plains on this side of the Plaite river, of the soil, the former would at first gain from the custom which the Indians who live here the ascendancy; although the latter, in con

have adopted, to fire their prairies towards the end

of autumo, in order to have better pasture at the resequence of their superior size and strength, turn of spring; but in the far west, where the lowould finally, whenever they got possession

dians do not follow this practice (becanse they fear

to drive away the animals that are necessary for of any portion of the soil, entirely over their subsistence, or to expose themselves to be shadow and destroy their humble rivals.

discovered by the strolling parties of their enemies),

it proceeds from the nature of the soil, which, being We conclude then, that most of the a mixture of sand and light earth, is every where prairies have never, since the ocean left

so very barren, that with the exception of the ab.

synth that covers the plains, and the gloomy verthem, been covered by any vegetables of dure that shades the mountains, vegetation is congreater importance than herbs and grasses,

fined to the vicinity of rivers,–ă circumstance

which renders a journey through the far west ex and that the growth of the timber has been tremely long and tedious.”Indian Sketches.

PRASCOVIA, OR FILIAL PIETY.

A TRUE STORY.

When they thrust me from my native land,
Didst thou stand forth, my firm and faithful guide.
And now,

beloved danghter, to thy sire
What errand dost thou bear? What weighty cause
Moved thee to quit thy home?

Toil is light,
When we bui labor in a parent's cause.

Edipus at Colonos.
THE pious fortitude and courage of a { The simple and unadorned narrative of

her toils, is perhaps not fitted to produce reign of the Emperor Paul, wandered from the breathless interest which we sometimes Siberia to St. Petersburg, to obtain the lib feel for imaginary vicissitudes, and for erty of her exiled parents, attracted sussi beings of unreal existence; but we believe cient public attention to induce a celebrated that her story, though possessing only the authoress to transform her into the heroine of a novel. But those who knew her per some pleasure. sonally are apt to regret that adventures Her name was Prascovia Lopouloff

. Her and ideas of a romantic nature had been father belonged to a noble family of Ukraascribed to a generous but sober-minded

nia, was born in Hungria, whither accigirl, who never felt any other passion than dents conducted his parents

, and served for the most exalted fondness for her parents,

some time in the Black-Hussars ; but went and who derived from that exclusive feeling the first impulse for attempting a most adventurous undertaking, and the strength to carry it into execution.

campaigns against the Turks, and was at

FROM THE FRENCH OF COUNT XAVIER DE MAISTRE.

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the storming of Ismail and Otchakoff. His officer, however, having passed with desgallant conduct won him the esteem of his patches, through Ischim, and having proregiment. The cause of his exile to Sibe mised him, not only to deliver to the govria is not known, his trial, and the re-ex ernor his letters, but to second his requests, amination of it in latter times, having re the unfortunate exile entertained for a while

mained a secret. Some persons pretended some hopes of liberty or relief. But the to know that he had been accused of in few travellers and messengers that arrived subordination by his comm

manding officer, from Tobolsk, added only disappointments who was unfriendly to him. Whatever to actual and increased sufferings. may have been the cause of it, he had been It was in one of these distressing moin Siberia fourteen years when his daughter ments that Prascovia, on her return from undertook her journey to St. Petersburg. her labors in the fields, found her mother The place of his banishment was Ischim, { bathed in tears, and was alarmed by the a village on the frontiers of the government mortal paleness and the bewildered looks of of Tobolsk: he lived there with his wife and her father. “ There you see," exclaimed daughter, upon the small allowance of ten he, when she entered this abode of sorrow, kopecks a day, which is paid to the pri “ the object of my greatest grief ; this is the soners who are not condemned to hard child whom Providence has given me in labor.

its wrath, to increase my sufferings by hers, Young Prascovia contributed by her in to make me witness of her gradual decay, dustry to the subsistence of her parents. when wasted by incessant toil, so that the She lent her services to the laundresses of name of father, which is a blessing to all the village, or made herself useful at har others, is to me the strongest proof of heavest time in the fields, and worked as hard ven's malediction.” Poor Prascovia, frightas her strength permitted. Rye, eggs, and ened to death, clung to his knees, and with the vegetables, were the reward of her exer assistance of her mother and by their united tions. She was a child when she arrived entreaties, Lopouloff recovered graduasy in Siberia; and having never known a more his self-possession : but this scene had made comfortable life, she gave herself up most a strong impression upon her mind. Her cheerfully to continual labor, though it often parents had, for the first time, openly spoexceeded her physical strength. Her deli ken in her presence of their hopeless situacate hands seemed destined for different oc tion, and for the first time she had been cupations. Her mother, whose whole time permitted to sympathise in their sorrows. was occupied in the management of her poor She was then only fifteen years of age, and household, seemed to bear patiently her de at that time, the idea of endeavoring to obplorable situation; but her father, who had tain her father's pardon entered her mind; been from his youth accustomed to the ac or, according to her own account, one day tive life of a soldier, had never learned to when she had been praying, “it crossed resign himself to bis fate, and often yielded her like lightning, and caused in her an un10 a despondency and despair which no speakable emotion.” She was persuaded misfortune, however great, can excuse. that it was an inspiration of Providence, and Although he endeavored to conceal from this belief supported her under the most Prascovia the grief that preyed upon his trying circumstances. mind, she had been too often, either by ac The hope of pardon and of liberty had cident or through her attention to all that never before cheered her heart. It filled her concerned him, a secret witness of his de now with delight. She threw herself anew jection, not to reflect on the cruel situation on her knees and prayed with fervor; but her of her parents, long before they imagined imagination was so disquieted that she that she was aware of their sufferings. knew not exactly what she should implore

The governor of Siberia had never re from the divine mercy, all the ordinary train plied to the supplications which Lopouloff of her ideas being lost in the nameless joy had addressed to him from time to time; an she experienced. Soon, however, the re

solution of going to St. Petersburg, with the purpose of throwing herself at the emperor's feet, to obtain her father's liberty, grew more and more distinct in her mind, and became the prevailing subject of her thoughts.

She had long since resorted to a favorite place on the skirts of a neighboring wood, where she loved to pray ; but now she visited it oftener than ever. Occupied exclusively with her great project, she implored heaven with all the ardor of her soul, to favor, to protect it, and to give her sufficient fortitude and means to accomplish it. She was, therefore, often somewhat negligent in her usual occupations, and was upbraided by her parents. For a long time she did not dare to disclose to them the enterprise she meditated. Her courage failed her, whenever she attempted an explanation, in which she could discern little probability of success. But when she became convinced that she had sufficiently matured her design, she fixed a day when she should disclose it to her parents, firmly resolved to overcome on that occasion her natural timidity.

On that day, Prascovia went, early in the morning, to the forest, to implore from heaven that courage and eloquence which she deemed necessary to convince her parents. She returned home afterwards, with no other uncertainty, but to which of her parents she was about to reveal her project. The first she should meet was to be her confidant: she rather hoped to meet her mother, on whose indulgence she trusted the most. But when she approached the house, she saw her father, seated on a bench before the door, smoking his pipe. She addressed him with great courage, explained, in part, her views, and solicited, with all the eloquence which she could command, permission to depart for the metropolis. When she had concluded, her father, who had not interrupted her speech, took her hand with great gravity, and entering with her into the room, where his wife was preparing dinner, he exclaimed : “My wife, good news! we have a powerful protector! Prascovia is on her way to St. Petersburg, and is good enough to promise to intercede in our be

half with the emperor!” Lopouloff repeated, in a tope of irony, his whole conversation with his daughter. “She would do better," said her mother, “to mind her business, instead of dreaming of such follies.” The poor girl had mustered courage against the anger of her parents, but she was unprepared to see her hopes brought to the test of ridicule and irony. She wept bitterly. The gay humor which her father had indulged for a moment, gave way to his usual austerity ; but while he reproved her for weeping, her mother caught her to her bosom, smiled, and reaching a towel, said to her, in a coaxing tone: “Come, come, child, clean the table for dinner, and thou canst afterwards think more at leisure of thy journey to St. Petersburg."

Such treatment was more apt to dissuade Prascuvia from her projects, than the se verest upbraiding, and the worst usage. The humiliation of seeing herself treated like a child, did not, however, long oppress her,or prevail for a moment over her natural consistency. The difficulty of the first step was surmounted: she touched, afterwards, repeatedly, on the subject, and her entreaties were so frequent and urgent, that her father became angry, reproved her most seriously, and commanded her never more to speak of her plans of deliverance. Her mother proceeded with somewhat more gentleness to convince her that she was yet 100 young to meddle with such serious business.

This result of her first endeavors prevented Prascovia for three years from renewing her entreaties with her parents. In that interval of time she was obliged to attend her mother in an obstinate illness, which alone would have obliged her to postpone her journey, but never did she permit a day to pass, without including in her ordinary prayers a fervent petition that she might obtain from her father the desired permission; and the more she prayed, the more she became persuaded that God would grant her request.

Such a religious disposition and confidence in a girl of her age, is so much the more surprising, as they were not the fruit of her education. Though her father was

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