1831 Vigne

Godfrey Vigne (1801-1863) came from England to see whatever he could of America in six months. He says, "I will inform a once, that after having seen the greater part of Europe, I went on board the packet, George Channing, on the 24th of March, 1831, and sailed from Liverpool for New York, with my note-book, sketch-book, gun, and fishing rod....with the determination of being, as far as an Englishman can be, unprejudiced; and of seeing all I could of the United States in the space of about six months."

(Six Months. Vol. 1, p.6)

In the morning we found ourselves at Detroit: this place was a considerable French settlement so long ago as the year 1759, when it fell with the Canadas into the possession of the British, and is now increasing with a rapidity to which it is fairly entitled by its situation, on the outlet of the great lakes. The French unquestionably displayed their usual tact and foresight in their choice of the different points of communication in the extensive chain of forts which was originally continued from the Canadas to the Mississippi - the proof is, that all of them are of great importance at the present time. A similar but more enlarged instance of this, the highest grade of military strategy, is to be found in the vigorous and persevering policy of Great Britain, which has secured to her a chain of fortresses by which, as a gallant American General-officer expressed himself to me, "She has check-mated the world." The master mind of General Bernard, the eleve and aid-de-camp of Napoleon, and perhaps the first engineer now living, whom I had the honour of meeting at Washington, has displayed itself in the very extensive and accurate military surveys, which he has taken in almost every part of the United States. The fortifications which he has constructed, have rendered the estuaries of the United States altogether inaccessible to an invading fleet. General Bernard, as is well known, has lately quitted the service of the United States, and returned to France.

The wharfs and buildings at Detroit extend along the river side for about a mile, and exhibit much of the bustle of a commercial town. The streets are spacious and regular, - the largest is more than half a mile in length, and contains some excellent shops and a capital hotel. That part of the bank upon which the city is built, is slightly elevated above the rest of the country, and commands a view which, although generally flat, is far from being uninteresting. The farms are laid out in narrow slips of land, which run parallel to each other, and at right angles to the river, reaching to the edge of the forest, distant about two miles from the city. By this means the first settlers were enabled to build their habitations within a short distance of each other; they had a smaller space of road to keep in repair, and afforded each other a mutual support against the sudden attacks of the Indians. At Detroit, the American General Hull surrendered to General Brock during the last war, but the city was subsequently retaken, previously to the battle of the Thames.

From: SIX MONTHS IN AMERICA by Godfrey T. Vigne, Esq. Of Lincoln's Inn. London: Whittaker, Treacher,& Co., 1832. 2 volumes. 2: 90 -93.