the making of modern michigan

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Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 44-45
Smith, Kay, 1925-

Bloomfield Township Public Library

Bloomfield Township (Mich.) -- History

Tocqueville, Alexis de, 1805-1859 -- Journeys -- North America.

Item Number

part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith

text, image


MAJESTY AND ORDER; CHAOS AND CONFUSION "Majesty and order are overhead--near the ground, all is chaos and confusion: aged trunks, incapable of supporting any longer their branches, are shattered in the middle, and present nothing but a sharp jagged point. Others,long loosened by the wind, have been thrown unbroken on the ground. Torn up from the earth, their roots form a natural barricade, behind which several men might easily find shelter. Huge trees, sustained by the surrounding branches, hang in mid-air, and fall into dust, without reaching the ground. "In the solitude of America all-powerful nature is the only instrument of ruin, as well as of reproduction. Here, as well as in the forests over which man rules, death strikes continually, but there is none to clear away the remains; they accumulate day by day. They fall, they are heaped upon one another. Time alone does not work fast enough to reduce them to dust, so as to make way for their successors. Side by side lay several generations of the dead. Some, in the last stages of dissolution, have left on the grass a long line of red dust as the only trace of their presence; others, already half consumed by time, still preserve their outward shape. Others again, fallen only yesterday, stretch their long branches over the traveler's path." Bloomfield, as it was in 1818. "ARCHES OF THE FOREST"-RELIGION WAS ALWAYS IMPORTANT IN BLOOMFIELD "We said to our host in the inn in Pontiac at which we spent the night after our trek through Bloomfield," wrote Tocqueville, "The soil of the forests left to themselves is generally marshy and unwholesome; has the settler who braves the misery of solitude no cause to fear for his life?" "Cultivation, at first, is always a dangerous undertaking," replied the American, "and there is scarcely an instance of a pioneer and his family escaping, during the first year, the forest fever; sometimes while traveling in the autumn you find all the occupants of a hut attacked by fever, from the emigrant himself down to his youngest child." "And what becomes of these poor creatures when thus struck by Providence?" "They resign themselves and hope for better times." "Do the ministrations of religion ever reach them?" "Very seldom. As yet we have not been able to set up public worship in our forest. Almost every summer, indeed, some Methodist ministers come to visit the new settle- ments. The news of their arrival spreads rapidly from dwelling to dwelling: it is the great event of the day. At the time fixed, the emigrant, with his wife and children, makes his way through the scarcely cleared paths in the forest toward the place of meeting. Settlers flock from fifty miles 'round. The congregation has no church to assemble in, they meet in the open air under the arches of the forest. A pulpit of rough logs, great trees cut down to serve as seats. such are the fittings of this rustic temple. The pioneers encamp with their families in the surrounding woods. Here for three days and nights, the people scarcely intermit their devotional exercises. You should see the fervent prayers and the deep attention of these men to the solemn words of the preacher. In the wilderness men are seized with a hunger for religion."

Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 44-45 part 1 Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 44-45 part 2

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