Excursion through the Slave States, from Washington on the Potomac to the Frontier of Mexico: With Sketches of Popular Manners and Geological Notices

Overview

The English geologist George William Featherstonhaugh (1780–1866) was commissioned to undertake a survey of the Arkansas territory in America, and spent 1834–5 travelling through the southern slave states to reach his destination. He was shocked by the slave system of the south, saying he 'had never seen so revolting a sight'. When he began to write about his experiences, Featherstonhaugh was urged not to publish his work in the US, as his opinions might 'irritate a powerful interest', and his manuscript remained...

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Overview

The English geologist George William Featherstonhaugh (1780–1866) was commissioned to undertake a survey of the Arkansas territory in America, and spent 1834–5 travelling through the southern slave states to reach his destination. He was shocked by the slave system of the south, saying he 'had never seen so revolting a sight'. When he began to write about his experiences, Featherstonhaugh was urged not to publish his work in the US, as his opinions might 'irritate a powerful interest', and his manuscript remained unpublished until 1844, after his return to England. His lively two-volume account of his adventures contains a fascinating mixture of scientific and sociological detail. It is a closely observed record of Southern society in the period before the Civil War that candidly documents the violence experienced by Black slaves, Native Americans and frontier settlers. Volume 2 describes the geography and inhabitants of Arksansas and New Orleans.

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Table of Contents

23. The 'Military Road'; 24. Description of White River; 25. Little Red River; 26. State of Society at Little Rock; 27. Apology for the manners of Arkansas; 28. A concert of wolves; 29. Arrive at Magnet Cove; 30. Curious and beautiful mineral structure of the adjacent country; 31. Leave the Hot Springs; 32. Bear-hunting; 33. Probable origin of prairies; 34. Mr. Williams; 35. Course and ancient channels of Red River; 36. Reach Little Rock again; 37. Approximative method suggested of calculating the age of fluviatile deposits; 38. The steamer boarded by swindlers; 39. The Δ of the Mississippi; 40. Quadroon young ladies, their hard fate; 41. Embark in a steamer, and ascend the Mobile and Alabama; 42. Description of the Muskogee or Creek people; 43. The ruins of a nation; 44. The gentlemen of America; 45. Inside and outside passengers in chain; Concluding chapter.

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