MICHIGAN

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MICHIGAN; a territory of the U. States. This territory may be viewed in two aspectsone, as presented by its political limits, established by the acts of congress of January, 1805, and April, 1818; the other as exhibited by the natural boundaries by which it will probably be denned when it enters the confederacy; and known by the appropriate and more usual designation of Michigan Proper, The whole extent of country called Michigan, lies between 41° 38' 58" and 48° 37' N. lat., and 82° 15', and nearly 95° W. Ion. from Greenwich. That portion lying W. of 87° 10' Ion., comprises the extensive district attached to Michigan, and contemplated to be set off and organized as a new territory. This latter region, bordering east on lake Michigan, north on lake Superior (nearly half of wrhich itembraces), and the chain of small lakes connecting that Mediterranean with the heads of the Mississippi, and west and northwest on the Upper Mississippi, has been little explored. Judging from known portions of it, however, it must gradually assume, as its resources are developed by the progress of improvement, great interest and importance. The country included between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, and the western shore of lake Michigan, bears a highly inviting character. The soil is a rich, black alluvial, irrigated by innumerable veins of water. The face of the country is unbroken by hills of any magnitude. From its northern extremity south to the Milwalky and the heads of Rock river, it is covered with a dense forest, opening, as traced farther down to the southern bend of lake Michigaiijinto fertile and extensive prairies. It is not marked by that sterility which usually distinguishes mineral regions. Explorers have noticed, as a feature of geological interest, the entire absence of pebbles upon the surface of these prairies, and to a depth of two or three feet. The succeeding stratum is of clay. More than 36,000,000 pounds of lead were yielded, by the mining district, from the autumn of '24 to that of '29. The southern shore of lake Superior affords strong indication of copper. By the treaty of Prairie du Chien, 1829, the IT. States purchased of the Winnebagoes, Chippewas, Ottawas and Potawatamies, a tract of about 6,000,000 acres of land, of which 2,300,000 are supposed to be within the limits of the contemplated territory. About 132,000 in the vicinity of Green bay have also been ceded. The former cession comprehends nearly all the mining district of the Upper Mississippi. It is occupied principally by the Winnebago, Chippewa and Sioux tribes of Indians. The white population, confined chiefly to Green bay and the mining district, is estimated at 6000. Military posts are established at Green bay, Prairie du Chien, fort Snelling, on the St. Peters, and fort Winnebago, at the portage of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. Settlements are formed, more or less extensive, at Green bay; Pembina, on Red river of lake Winnepeg; Prairie du Chien, on the Mississippi, and the lead mine, bounding on the Mississippi and Wisconsin.Michigan Proper lies between 41° 38' 58" and 46° 50/ N. lat., and 82° 13 and 87° 10' W. Ion., and is bounded N. by lake Superior, E. by St. Mary's river, lake Huron, St. Clair river, lake St. Clair, Detroit river, and lake Erie; S. by Ohio and Indiana; and W. by a line dividing lake Michigan N. and S. to Big Beaver island ; and thence running due N. to the national boundary in lake Superior. These limits comprehend about 60,500 square miles, of which a third, perhaps, is covered with water. They comprise two peninsulas :the larger, being the peninsula of Michigan, bounded E. by lakes Erie, St. Clair and Huron, and W. by lake Michigan, containing about 36,000 square miles ; the smaller, bounded S. by the straits of Mackinac, E. by the river St. Mary, N. by lake Superior; containing about 2000 square miles. The former is about 280 miles long, N. and S., and from 180 to 200 broad, E. and W. From the base of the peninsula, as far N. as Grand and Saginaw rivers, the country has been ceded by the Indians. The jurisdiction of Michigan extends over all the territory of the U. States E. of the Mississippi and N. of Illinois. As generally indicating its geological and mineralogical character, we may remark, that the rock is covered with a bed of alluvial earth, from 30 to 150 feet deep. The rocks belong to the secondary class. The strata, in the southern part of the territory, are supposed to dip S. E at an angle of about J° with the horizon. Ferriferous sand rock, saliferous rock, and millstone grit, are found alternating on the surface, at various points in the middle and western parts of the peninsu ore, lead ore, gypsum and bituminous coal are found, though in inconsiderable quantities. Peat is abundant in many parts of the territory. The face of the country is generally level or gently undulating. A strip of table land, stretching N. and S., and assuming, as it is traced N., the character of a ridge, divides the waters emptying eastward into lakes Erie, St. Clair and Huron, from those passing westward into lake Michigan. Its elevation is estimated to be 300 feet above the level of the lakes. South of a line drawn due W. from the southern extremity of lake Huron, the country consists of open land, known by the name of Oakplains, The soil is a loam, with varying proportions of clay. It becomes fertile by cultivation, and is good %'m land. In the country bordering on ti^ Kalemagoo and St. Joseph rivers, prairie* of a black, rich, alluvial soil and unusual productiveness, frequently occur. The northern part of the peninsula is in the occupation of Indians, and has been little explored, except along* the borders. The land is in many places more elevated than that farther south, and is covered with the trees usually found in those latitudes. The Indians raise corn in abundance. The peninsula between the straits of Mackinac and lake Superior, as far as is known, The Detroit river is about 25 m. long; average br. 1T^ m.; average depth, 6 fathoms; current, 2 m. per hour." St. Clair, 40 m. long; shipchannel, 35 m.; average br. J m.; aver age dep h, 8 fathoms; current, 3 m. per hour." St. Mary's, 50 m. long; ship channel, 35 m.; average br. | m.; cur rent, exclusive of rapids, lj£ m. Lake St. Clair, 24 m. long; br. 30 m.; circum. 90 m.; depth, 20 feet." Huron, 280 m. long; coasted, S. shore, 360 m. long; br., exclusiveof the vast bay, on the N. E. coast, 90 m.; medium depth, 900 feet." Michigan, 300 m. long; br. 60 m.; medium depth, 900 feet." Superior, 420 m. long; coasted, S. shore, 530; br. 170; med. depth, 900 feet. Comparative Estimated Elevation of the Lakes above the Atlantic, at High Tide, Superior. Mean fall of St. Mary's from point Iroquois, 60 m. (excl. of rap.), 12 ft. 16 in, Sault (fall) St. Mary's, as ascertained by gen. Gratiot, Eng. dep., 1m. 22 10 Sugar island rapids, 4 ft.; Nibish, 5,.........9 Huron. St. Clair rapids, <| m., 1 ft., 6 in.; !£ m., 1 ft., 6 in., as ascertainedby Mr. Lyon,................3St. Clair river, 30 m., 4 in. per m.,..........10St. Clair. Detroit river, 25 m., 3 in. per m.,...........6 3 Erie. Above Atlantic at high tide, as ascertained by N. Y. canal com., 560 Elevation of lake Superior, ? . . ..........623 ft. 7 in. Thesela of Michigan. In the southern part of the territory, the climate is temperate ; in the northern, cold. Snow falls at Detroit from 6 to 18 inches deep, and remains two or three weeks. The transition from the cold of spring to the heat of summer is rapid; from summer to winter, gradual and prolonged. As general characteristics, the spring is wet and backward; summer, dry; autumn, mild ; winter, cold and dry. The average temperature is, in the spring, 50° of Fahrenheit; summer, 80°; winter, 20° ; autumn, 60° to 65°. The rivers, with the exception of St. Mary's, St. Clair, and Detroit, which form connecting links in the great chain of lakes, are small. They rise near the dividing ridge, and run, with a rapid current, E. or W. Their numerous branches furnish abundance of millseats in all parts of the country. From the greater proximity of the ridge to the eastern border of the peninsula, the streams running E. are of course snorter than those which take a contrary direction, They are also, in general, smaller, and navigable to less extent. Thunder bay river, emptying into Thunder bay, and Cheboiyan river, into the straits of Mackinac, are the only considerable streams N. of Saginaw bay. estimates, except where exact has been obtained, can be oregarded as approximations only. A rise knowledge and fall of water occurs daily, though irregularly, at Green bay. It has also been observed at the southern point of lakeer it can be regarded as a tide. The animal and vegetable productions are such as are usually found in the same latitudes. Game, fish, and aquatic birds, are ill great abundance and variety. The civil divisions of the territory are those of counties and townships. The legislative power is vested in a governor and council; the latter elected biennally, and restricted to annual sessions of 60 days each ; the executive, in a governor appointed for terms of three years ; the judicial, in a supreme courc, consisting of three judges, whose terms of office are four years; circuit courts, held by two of the superior judges; and subordinate jurisdictions, as county courts, magistrates, &c. Detroit is the seat of government. It is situated on the right bank of the river, 18 miles from lake Erie, and 7 from lake St. Clair. Its site is an elevation of about 30 feet above the level of the river. It contains about 400 houses, and 3000 inhabitants. The plan of the town, upon the river, and for 1200 feet back, is rectangular; in the rear of this, triangular. The streets are from 50 to 200 feet wide. Three roads, constructing by the general government, terminate in the centre of the town;the Chicago, leading to Illinois; the Saginaw, to the head of Saginaw bay ; the fort Gratiot, to the foot of lake Huron. A United States' road, leading from Detroit to Ohio, has been completed. Ninety vessels, of which 40 belong to Detroit, trade to that port. Their tonnage is about 6000. Those belonging to the port discharge there regularly, and have their outward cargoes supplied by the country. Steamboats go regularly to Buffalo, arriving and departing daily. There are nine ; aggregate tonnage, 2000. With every natural facility for becoming a place of importance, the condition of Detroit has hitherto depended on the precarious support afforded by the fur trade, the disbursement of public moneys, while a military post, and the liberal appropriations by government for public objects. The impulse and effect produced by the settlement and cultivation of the surrounding country, was wanting. This, though recent in Michigan, has commenced, and is rapidly increasing. A strong and increasing tide of immigration has set in. The causes of prosperity once in action, their results will probably be shown there, as they have usually been manifested elsewhere. The population of Michigan Proper exceeds 40 000. Regular settlements were 39* dominion ot the French, was arbitrary, uniting the civil and military authority in the power of a " commandant." Lands were held of the king, and undergrants, temporary or permanent, were made by his governorgeneral, to which feodal rent was usually incident. The rules regulating the rights of property, particularly in regard to the marriage relation, succession and devises, were those of the French customary law, called continue de Paris, as far as applicable to the circumstances of the country. These were abrogated, as to further recognition in the territory, in 1810. In 1763, the French possessions in Canada were ceded to England. By the treaty of Paris, 1783, this country was transferred to the U. States. From this period, the English government ceased to exercise a criminal jurisdiction over it. In 1796, under Jay's treaty of '94, possession of these upper posts was delivered to the American government. The Northwestern territory was ceded by Virginia, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut to the U. States, and, in 1787, congress passed an ordinance for its government; amended in 1789, to adapt it to the new government of the U. States, which had taken effect in the interim. The expenses of the territorial government, consisting of the salaries of the governor, secretary, council, superior judges, district attorney and marshal, all appointed by the general government, are defrayed by the U. States; those of the county and township governments by direct tax. A delegate to congress is elected biennially, who may debate, but not vote. The qualifications necessary to suffrage areto be a free white male of age; citizenship; a year's residence in the territory; payment of a county or territorial tax. By the articles of compact, slavery is prohibited. The number of Indians within the peninsula, is estimated at 9000; within the territory of Michigan, at 40,000. Those in the peninsula are Chippewas, Potawatamies and Ottawas, and are kindred tribes. The Potawatamies live on reservations of land in the St. Joseph country. The Ottawas and Chippewas of Thunder bay, Saginaw, and river au Sable, own all the peninsula north and west of a line drawn from the forks of Grand to the source of Thunder bay river. They are hunters and trappers. The Ottawas are the most agricultural in their habits, and a band of this tribe have a flourishing settlement ** L'Arbre Croche, oh the western coast of lake Huron. The borders of St. Clair river and lake, rivers Detroit, Raisin, Clinton, and Plaisance bay, at the month of the Raisin, are settled by French inhabitants. They occupy a belt of land on the borders of these streams, three miles broad. They are civil, honest, unobtrusive and industrious, with little education, and essentially deficient in enterprise.