xt7dbr8md55q https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7dbr8md55q/data/mets.xml Triplett, Robert, D. 1853. 1849  books b92f459b6t82009 English E. Palmer and Son : London Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Bon Harbor (Owensboro, Ky.) --Description and travel. An account of Bon Harbor, in the state of Kentucky, on the Ohio River, one hundred and sixty miles below the falls; possessing extensive coal mines, great advantages for manufacturing, ship building, etc., and destined to become a place of great importance ... text An account of Bon Harbor, in the state of Kentucky, on the Ohio River, one hundred and sixty miles below the falls; possessing extensive coal mines, great advantages for manufacturing, ship building, etc., and destined to become a place of great importance ... 1849 2009 true xt7dbr8md55q section xt7dbr8md55q 






one hundred and sixty miles below the falls;




and destined to become


The following exposition is designed to attract the attention of Manufacturers and Capitalists.





The following exposition is made with a view to shew the eligibility of Bon Harbor as a site for a manufacturing town. Also its great commercial advantages, by which I think the following facts are clearly established.

1st. The most important point to be established, that the supply of coal may be considered inexhaustible, as it comprises every vein of coal within the coal field.

2nd. That it is the thickest vein of coal on the Ohio now being mined, which is found below the falls.

3rd. That the quality of the coal for generating steam is very superior.

4th. That the site for trade from convenience of harbor, depth of water, and goodness of landing, as well as from the extent of back country which it may be made to command, is one among the finest on the Ohio river.

5th. That manufacturing can be done here as cheaply as at Lowell, so soon as hands are trained, or trained hands can be obtained.

6th. That ultimately it will be done at a lower cost proportionate to the difference in the expense of living.

7th. That the advantages we have over Lowell are the whole cost of getting the raw material from New Orleans to Lowell, as we can get it from the cotton region to Bon Harbor 
   for the freight from said region to New Orleans   the cost of getting back the goods to the West. Of the difference in time from the purchase of the cotton to the sale of the goods, great additional capital consequently necessary as well as agencies, &c. making altogether a difference of fully 20 per cent, on the value of goods manufactured if of coarse cottons, at present prices.

8th. That a demonstration of said advantages from actual experiment must ultimately transfer capital from Europe, if not from the Eastern States, to the West.

9th. That the most commanding point with proper energy and enterprize can be made to attract capital in preference to all others, and that Bon Harbor needs only those requisites to make it a city even by the aid of its manufactures, but by the extent of its coal trade.

10th. An immense business can be done, and great employment can be given to labor in this line, almost to an unlimited extent, and shewing that from the value of the mines alone, almost any estimate of the property would fall below the mark.

11 th. That it is the finest point, in the West for ship building, because of the unlimited supply of fine white oak timber, which it commands, and because of the rigging and sails which may be manufactured on the spot, and also because of abundant freights always to be had for direct shipment to Europe or elsewhere.

12th. As a point of commerce. Because its geographical position will enable it to command the country for a great extent in the interior, and in all probability make it the terminus on the Ohio, of the Georgia and South Carolina railroad.

13th. That capital invested in the United States is more secure than in any country on the globe. That the best investment is in real estate well chosen, but more especially if that estate be of coal property on navigation, convenient to the cotton region, healthy and well adapted to manufacturing, and that just such a point is Bon Harbor, 
   Since the communication to the Editor of the Western Journal was made, the following letter has been received from Judge Calhoun, formerly a member of Congress from Kentucky, now Judge of a district comprising eight counties, embracing Bon Harbor. The elevation of his position, and his residence in the county where Bon Harbor lies, are some evidence of the weight to which his statement is entitled.

The report of Professor Lawrence not embraced in the said communication, is also herewith annexed, by which will be seen the geological formation of the Bon Harbor region, and that in all probability there is here a body of salt water, as its existence will only be in accordance with the general example of coal fields above the falls of the Ohio at Kenhawa, Pittsburgh, and Zanesville, where wells have been sources of great profit, making very large fortunes   But if that has been the result there, and supplies for the Bon Harbor country come from them, how much more valuable ought salt wells at Bon Harbor to be ?

By Professor Lawrence's report it will be also seen that we have an abundant supply of fire clay.

For iron manufacture, no point can be better, as the pig passes by Bon Harbor to Pittsburg and Wheeling eight hundred miles above, and returns manufactured.

That when the Chagres and Panama railroad is finished, or one from the Missisippi to California, which must soon be commenced, the opening for supplies of manufactures from this region will be immense.

Daviss County, Jan. 25th. 1849.

Dear Sir.   In answer to your inquiries, about Bon Harbor, I reply, that my visits there have arisen chiefly from the interest which I felt in the progress of such enterprises in our country, not having it in view to answer any questions, or give specific information in regard to them. I know that you have a large establishment for manufacturing cotton goods which appears to be doing good work. Your location I consider to be as good as could be desired, commanding, as it soon will, 

the Green River County in Kentucky, comprising nearly one third of the state. Convenient also to the whole Mississippi valley, nearer to the cotton, iron, and almost all the raw materials than the points at which they are now manufactured, with a supply of coal considered by common estimation inexhaustible, (of this, however, I am no judge, but seeing the coal hills for some two miles running parallel with the river, and indefinitely back, it would seem to me useless to calculate the time when they could be worked out.) The health of your place is reported to be good, and I have no doubt of the fact. You have a fine harbour, with deep water. I cannot myself conceive how your advantages can be improved. The qual-tity of the coal for grate use, seems to be as good as could be desired; such appears to be the opinion of the people of Owensboro' where it is generally used, and I learn that it is bought as fast as it can be delivered at the landing, which is strong evidence in its favour. Were I to name the estimation in which the property seems to be held by most of the intelligent persons in this section of country, 1 should, perhaps, meet your utmost wishes. I feel satisfied myself that there is no point in the West possessing equal advantages as a point for manufacturing.

With great respect,


To Robert Triplett, Esq. Owensboro\ Kentucky.

Havre (France) July 19, 1849.

Mr. W. J. Staples, American Consul

Dear Sir.   As a matter of interest to the American public of the Mississippi valley, I desire to be informed what knowledge you have of the building of ships on the Ohio, by seeing such here, and the report as to the inducements to build them there.

Very respectfully your obedient servant,



Dear Sir.   In reply to your note of this date, I have to state that one of the finest new American Ships that have entered this port during the year, and we have had many    was built in the Ohio River and near Cincinnati. The timber used in the construction of this ship was found in that neighbourhood, but the carpenters were brought from New York, and those by whose enterprise and whose capital this undertaking was accomplished were residents of New Orleans and Mobile.

It is probable, as the wish to prove the capabilities of the region in question for ship-building and not economy, was the object of these public spirited individuals, that the cost of this ship under the circumstances adduced would not compare favourably with the cost of similar undertakings at the present moment, on the Atlantic States.

Her measurement by Custom House register is 799 52-95ths tons, and she possessed apparently all the strength and solidity of a man of war. It was extremely gratifying to me as an American, to find such a striking and imposing evidence of the genius, the enterprise, and the energy of my countrymen    evidence to be carried and exhibited in all parts of the world. A ship of 800 tons, capable of carrying 2600 bales of cotton, built, sparred and rigged completely, of materials procured entirely in that region, 1800 miles from the sea coast   and then carried over rapids and shoals safely to her destined element, is a fact that speaks volumes for the people and the country.

I am Sir, very truly your obedient servant,


extract   from the geological report of professor lawrance.

The mineral resources at Bon Harbor seem to be much the most flattering. That tract not only has a soil of unsurpassed fertility, but the coal in those hills, must itself be a mine of wealth. The fire clay will doubtless be of some value, and it is quite likely that the bed of limestone above the coal, will 

prove to be hydraulic. I make out six beds of coal, the fourth and sixth have limestone above them, as you will see by the drawing. I feel confident that some of the sandstones below the coals would produce a plentiful supply of brine for the manufacture of salt, and probably no place on the river, affords greater facilities for that business than Bon Harbor.

extract from the western journal of agriculture, commerce, manufactures, &c.   printed at st. louis, united states.

Article IL   Bon Harbor: Its Advantages for Manufacturing.

Having seen but a very imperfect account of the extensive manufacturing establishments that have for some time been in progress of erection at Bon Harbor, on the Ohio river, and desiring to collect information respecting the improvements that are being made in every part of the country, we addressed a letter to Messrs Triplett and Barrett, requesting them, if consistent with their views of propriety, to furnish us with an account of their establishment, including the nature and extent of their operations at that place. We also desired information respecting the natural resources and trade of the region in which Bon Harbor is located; and the advantages of manufacturing at that point.

The following communication from Mr. Triplett, is in answer to our inquiries, and fully sustains an opinion we have long entertained that, for the manufacture of cotton, iron, &c, Bon Harbor and its neighbourhood possess greater advantages than any other point in the United States. And it seems to us that nothing but the timidity of capitalists and a prejudice in favour of locations long established, has prevented these advantages from being improved long before the present time.

The improvement of these advantages was reserved for the sagacity and enterprise of Messrs. Triplett and Barrett, who are entitled to the profound gratitude of the inhabitants of the west, for devoting their talents and energies to the developement of its resources. 

Bon Harbor, December 22, 1848.

Gentlemen.   In the absence of Mr. Barrett, who is in Europe, I venture to answer, individually, the note which you addressed to us jointly.

Presuming your object in asking an account of Bon Harbor, is, to carry out, so far, your plan for developing the resources of the west, I venture to take a more general view, at first, than you invite   because much of this view I would have to take, even in giving the answer required   and, as what is applicable to Bon Harbor, is, to a great extent, also applicable to the other coal mines on the lower Ohio and upper Mississippi, I prefer to treat, generally, of what relates to the coal region, and also to the general interests of the west.

The present condition of Europe, causes capitalists to feel very uneasy in regard to their investments there. They are looking with anxiety to our country, with a view to a transfer; but few of them understand the genius of our government, and its practical operations, well enough to be satisfied that it has yet been sufficiently tested to determine that it will stand. As this is a primary consideration with thern^ it is all important they should be satisfied on that head.

I venture, therefore, in advance of my answer to your letter, to offer an essay on the stability of our government, showing that its construction, and genius, tend to its strengthening with age, and that no where do such strong inducements exist for the investment of capital, as in the Mississippi valley, and more especially at the coal mines on the lower Ohio, and upper Mississippi, which must, inevitably, become the great manufacturing region of America, because of the greater cheapness of living   cheapness of fuel   proximity to raw material   and being in the midst of the best home market.

Finally, I venture to show that a great western Lowell must spring up on the banks of the lower Ohio, and present the claims of Bon Harbor to be considered that point, or one of them, for there will probably be many.

Being much pressed by other calls, I may probably have been too much hurried to do this subject justice.

Very respectfully,

   to foreign capitalists.

While Europe seems to be in a troubled condition, and capital there, consequently very unsafe, it may be worth inquiry, whether greater safety may not be found in the United States, as well as more profitable investments.

The strength and stability of the United States government, we consider as having been effectually tested. An examination into its construction and operation, must satisfy the political philosopher, that it is becoming daily stronger. Every motive which could operate upon the interest or the ambition of man to destroy it, has already existed. Every element of self-destruction which might be supposed to prevail from an unsound original organization, from the natural corruption of human nature, or from almost any other cause, has had full time to exert its influence; and all such elements, which can have an existence in the nature of our government, have exerted their utmost power, but to no effect. A part of the citizens of Pennsylvania revolted under the whisky tax. But the national arm, and moral power of society, quieted every thing without bloodshed. Ohio resisted the location of a branch of the United States Bank within her borders, and laid a heavy tax to drive it out, collecting this tax by force. But the national arm soon forced her to restore it. South Carolina made the most fearful opposition to the Federal laws   but she, too, was quieted   other disturbances have existed, but all ended without difficulty; and by whomsoever those difficulties are originated, there is a moral obloquy afterwards resting upon them in the estimation of the other States, and people of the Union, which for ever debars them from political elevation, and is a warning to all future aspirants, who would disturb the general peace, to advance their own selfish purposes.

No sudden uprising against the laws of our country, can ever take place   no rebellion against the government   because it is an intangible thing. With an army of a million of men, all willing to do the bidding of an ambitious leader, our government could not be shaken, because it could not be taken hold of   there is nothing to touch   nothing which can be controlled without the public will. It is not as in Europe, where a possession of the capital   of the public offices   the records    and the throne, or seat from which power radiates, give pos- 

session of the government and country, where all public officers are held bound to obey mandates coming from the powers that be for the moment, and will be punished as rebels if they do not. No! in America, its citizens are its public officers-   its magistrates, without salaries   -judges, independent of all con-troul   and executive officers, subject to the direction of the judges.

The judges are of the people   mix and associate with them daily. The sheriffs are, likewise, and so execute the laws with a regard to humanity, as well as to justice, that while a dereliction of duty would soon cause the loss of their offices, it is so much to their interests to be courteous and mild, that a few years action in the office most commonly sends them to represent the people in the legislature   neither judges, magistrates, nor sheriffs, would dare to lend their aid to carry into effect the mandates of any usurper. His authority would be nothing beyond the confines of the boundary occupied by his troops. And, as every man in America is a soldier, unless more than half were enlisted to overset the government, it could in no case be done   and, if more than half could be enlisted, force would be needless, as the desired result could be obtained, through the medium of the ballot-box. For this reason there can be no secret conspiracy   there is no need for a public police, nor for a standing army, except to keep fortifications in order, and check the Indians. Because, for every necessary purpose, a posse of the people can at any time be raised to execute the laws. Resistance to our laws is never heard of, because every man in the community is a conservator of the peace, and bound to lend his aid when required. Our laws are as invisible as the atmosphere, and as prevalent.

Neither do we want standing armies for war. Our late contest with Mexico is evidence of this.

It might be argued that, where a majority govern, there would be danger of agrarianism. Not so where three-fourths of the population, as with us, are land-holders. Their interest is in favour of the rights of property, and the proportion of land-holders will be continually increasing, as there is among us no rule of primogeniture. Every man's property is divided among his children, and almost always equally. So cheap too, is land, that three months labour will buy forty acres in the new States, so that the proportion of land-holders, compared 

with the balance of the community) is, from various causes, continually increasing: and, in proportion to that increase is the interest of the people in favour of a government of just laws, where the interests of all are protected, and the rights of property inviolably secured.

But, in addition to the causes before enumerated, why our government will stand, and become more stable annually, is the Federal system upon which it is based.

Our government is made up of thirty separate parts, each being a State, independent of the rest in every thing, except national matters. There are no national officers of the law among us, except about one judge to each State, and a marshal to execute process in suits between citizens of different States brought in the federal court, and in cases where States themselves are parties, so that there would be no machinery of government by which any power in possession of the federal government could control the people of the States. The State officers are not under the control of the general government, and would not obey it. Even the gaols and court houses belong to the States, and are used by the federal authority, on sufferance from the States. Of course, as every State manages its own internal policy unconnected with, and independent oi\ the general government, the possession of the general government by any usurping authority, even if its officers would obey that authority, would amount to nothing. It would have no governmental machinery to operate with. To control the States then, it would be necessary to get possession of thirty different governments, and certain we are, that one hundred thousand men in each could not hold them.

Upon the score, then, of military force, there never can be danger. Upon that of internal commotions, as one thirtieth of the country could only be affected at any one time, by any one commotion, no permanent injury can be apprehended from that cause   and the only possible cause of fear is the combination of one portion of the States against the rest. Of this however there is nothing to apprehend.

If our population possessed no more intelligence than the average of the world, it would be almost impossible, under our constitution, for it to fall: because the general government guarantees to each State a republican form,   Should a reyolu- 

lion occur in any one State, by force of arms or otherwise, to change the character of the government, it never can be done; and of this I conceive there is not a remote possibility. The more enlightened we become, of course, the less danger there is of any such effort. The freedom of discussion, the habitual inflammatory character of our newspaper essays on political subjects   the number of those newspapers   the various questions always dividing the public mind, and the high strung continual struggle to engage and inflame the public mind from every quarter, neutralizes the various effects of each, like a thousand storms blowing from every point of the compass, destroying the effects of each other, they produce a general equilibrium. All inflammatory matter having selfish ends in view, result finally in nothing; and that sound reasoning which reaches the understanding alone, has any effect. The American people are, perhaps, the most reading community, and are better informed on their own governmental concerns, than any other on earth. Every man has a direct and deep interest in them, and this intelligence is annually increasing, newspapers multiplied, and cheapened in price. At this time there are monthly papers of the very largest class printed for twenty-five cents per annum. Many at shorter periods, for one dollar, and some of the finest weeklies on the continent for two dollars. The postage is merely nominal, amounting to almost nothing. Nothing is more uncommon, than to find a family without a newspaper. The effect, then, must be a continually growing intelligence, and consequently an increasing strength in our government, now incomparably the most fixed and permanent one on earth,

Thus the security of investments in real estate, never can be assailed, while the general interest is in land, as it always must be. The stocks of our general government never can be in danger, because any administration which runs the government unreasonably into debt, is immediately overthrown, and no public cry is so potent as to clear the nation of debt. Any administration wishing to be popular must proceed to do that. Small and young individual States, yet in their infancy, have repudiated. But the scorn of other States, and the power of public opinion, always bring them right again. No citizen of such a State can travel abroad without being pointed at. Such a State is under the ban   and the moral sense of her people becomes sore and sick under the odium, and they finally reinstate themselves. 

The United States Bank of Pennsylvania was a State institution. No. one ever lost a cent by the Bank of the United States. But when that institution went out of existence, a State institution was incorporated in Pennsylvania, which assumed the name above   thereby, as. we conceive, practising a fraud on the public. But that was a private incorporation, and liable as all banks, and individuals are, to the casualties of trade, for which neither the National nor State governments are blameable.

Our object is to establish the position, that funds invested upon the faith of the stability of the American government, could not be more safely invested, and of all the investments, none could be safer than in real estate well chosen   for in case of revolutions, real estate is always respected.

Viewing our whole political fabric comparatively, with the balance of the world, there is nothing, and never has been any thing like it. Every State moves within its orbit   enjoying the benefit of its own laws, and its own wisdom   untrammelled by the acts of any other State. Each can develop its own energies, and give life to the enterprise of its citizens, in the way it deems best. Ours is a great national co-partnership, the only credentials to an entrance into which, is a republican form of government. From thirteen States it has increased to thirty. The usual objection to such an extent of territory being under one government   that the same laws cannot suit every climate, and do equal justice over so wide a surface    does not hold here, because every climate, and every region, has its own laws, and however they may differ, it in no way interferes with the harmony of the whole system. T.

growth of the valley of the mississippi.

The following is the progression of population decennially:

In 1790 - 200,000 souls

1800 - 560,000

1810 - 1,370,000

1820 - 2,580,000

1830 - 4,190,000

1840 - 6,370,000

1850 - 12,000,000

Carrying on the said progression, it would be about    

In 1860 -        23,000,000. souls #

1870 - 40,000,000

1880 - 70,000,000

1890 - 120,000,000

. 1900 - 190,000,000

The progression of exports could not be in the same proportion, because, for many years after each settler fixed himself upon the ground, he has not cleared land enough to furnish more than the wants of his own family; and the in-coming emigration afterwards, for a long time, gives a market at his door for what he has to sell. It is the surplus only which will remain for export. While the country is comparatively in an unsettled state, the shipping surplus will be very small. But, to give some idea of the rapid growth of the export trade of the west to New Orleans, as the production at home begins to exceed the home demand, the growth of the steam-boat trade will show. This was very slow at first, for the reasons above named: say in 1820, it was only 10,000 tons; in 1830, 30,000; and in 1840, 50,000   estimating in round numbers. By the compound operation, of emigrants to a continually increasing extent, becoming producers instead of consumers, the following has been the increase of steam-boat tonnage, as exhibited by the treasury department: in 1842, the amount was 126,278 tons; in 1843,^ 134,600 tons ; in 1844, 144,150 tons, and 686 steam-boats; in 1845, 159,713 tons, and 789 steamboats; in 1846, 249,054 tons, and 1,190 steam-boats. In 1847 the tonnage fell back, because the enormous increase in 1846 overwent the demand. But, doubtless, in 1848, the usual rate of progression will continue. (The experience of the writer satisfies him, that the present tonnage does not equal the demand.)

Taking, then, the amount of 1846, as sufficing for 1847, we have an increase, in seven years, from 50,000 to 249,000 tons. Nearly five times, in 1847, the tonnage of 1840, or over 71 per cent, per annum of increase, with a gaining ratio every year. The first year's increase after 1842 being, in round numbers, 8,000 tons; 2nd, 10,000; 3rd, 16,000; 4th, dividing the increase between 1846 and 1847, 30,000, and 1847, 60,000 tons. Carry on this increase in the same ratio, and what would it be by 1865? Certainly not under an average of 100,000 tons per annum. In 1865, estimating the tonnage of steam-boats at 210 tons average, as above, and the total 

number of boats required would be over 7,000. Incredible as the amount may appear, it is not as much so as at first it would seem; because the actual population will not be far from trebling itself by that time, which would give about half said estimate   say about 3,500 boats, if the tonnage increased only in proportion to the increase of population. But, by the compounding process aforesaid, that increase will double the ratio of the increase of population, and bring it to the foregoing figures: provided there be an outward vent for the products of the country. But, as this cannot be hoped for, in proportion to the want of such vent, said amount of tonnage must be diminished, except so far as the same is engaged in the interior trade of the country. This is estimated to be fully one half, which would give 3,500 boats; and, if we deduct one half for diminution in outward demand, in proportion to the ratio of increase, we have 1,750 for that branch, or a total of 5,250 boats in 1865. But, as the regular progression of increase is to be diminished by the want of a market for the products of the country, what is to be the effect of a continued over production? Certainly to reduce agricultural labour to the very lowest mark at which man will be willing to render his services ; which will reduce the value of agricultural products to less than half the value in the west, of what they are in the eastern States   a condition of things almost existing now. The whole expenses of the west will be scaled down to half of what they are in the eastern States. Labour will be at half price, because it will seek employment at what it can get; and half eastern prices will be a fair remuneration, since those prices will purchase as much in the west, as full prices in the east. This state of things will necessarily transfer the business of manufacturing from the east to the west, for the double reason that labour will ultimately be had cheaper in the west; and because the raw material is produced there, where three fourths of the demand for manufactures exist, or will exist by the year 1865. Western merchants now estimate ten per cent, on cost, as the expense of getting cotton goods from the east to the west.

Add five per cent, for the cost of getting the raw material from the west to the east, and you have a difference of fifteen per cent, on the value of goods, in favor of manufacturing in the west, even if labour be at the same price. At present, labour may be considered higher in the west than in the east. But that state of things must necessarily end very soon, when the west will have it one-third less than it is on the other side of the mountains.   Destiny points to all those results as certain 

and inevitable. The man of prudence and forethought will look to them as such, and lay his plans for the future with an eye to that event. The opponents of manufacturing in the west, tell us that land is too cheap yet. That where homes can be had on such easy terms, labour will not go into the factories.

This is all a mistake, as demonstrated by experiment. But reason is against such an hypothesis. Labour will seek the most profitable employment, wherever to be found. Let us, then, take the usual employment of agricultural labour in the west   say half a crop of corn and half a crop of tobacco    and compare it with manufacturing labour.

comparative   value  of agricultural and manufacturing labour, to the operative, in the west.

15 acres of land, in corn   40 bushels per acre   

600, at 20c.......$120

2 acres tobacco   800 lbs. per acre   1,600, at 3c. . 48

Charges, $168

Board of labourer, $50   washing, $5, * $55

Keeping horse, .      .      .      . .25

Wear and tear of horse and gear,      . .10

Use of implements,   .      .      .      . .     5    95

Clear profit of labour of one hand, per annum,

Bah! will say nine men out of ten at this calculation. But where is it wrong? It is wrong by about fifty per cent, too much of the nett savings of an agriculturalist. But, to strengthen my argument, I yield all I can in his favor   $25, in lieu of $73, would be about right. Now, to test it, take any ten families in any neighbourhood of a newly settled country, and see if, for five years, they average more. They raise vegetable