"It was only in the evening after sundown that we reached Pontiac. Twenty very neat and petty houses, forming so many well furnished shops, a transparent stream, a clearing a quarter of a league square, and the eternal forest about: there is the faithful tableau of Pontiac which, in twenty years perhaps, will be a city. The sight of this place recalled to me what Mr. Gallatin had said in New York a month before: 'There are no villages in America, at least in the sense you give this word.' Here the houses of the farmers are all scattered through their fields. One assembles in a place only to establish a market for the use of the surrounding population. You see in these so-called villages only men of law, printers, and merchants.
We had ourselves taken to the finest inn of Pontiac (for there are two), and we were introduced, as usual, into what is called the barroom; it's a room where you are given to drink and where the simplest as well as the richest traders of the place come to smoke, drink, and talk politics together, on the footing of the most perfect exterior equality. The master o the hop, or the landlord, was-I shall not call him a huge peasant, there are no peasants in America-but at least a very large man whose face wore that expression of candour and simplicity which distinguishes the Normandy horse traders. He was a man who, for fear of intimidating you, never looked you in the face while talking to you but waited, to consider you at his ease, until you were busy talking elsewhere; moreover, a deep politician and, according to American custom, a pitiless questioner. This estimable citizen, with the rest of the company, regarded us at first with astonishment. Our travelling clothes and our guns hardly proclaimed us business men, and to travel to sightsee was something absolutely unusual. In order to cut the explanations short, we declared at once that we came to buy land. No sooner had the word been pronounced than we perceived that in seeking to avoid one evil we had thrown ourselves into another much more redoubtable."
Tocqueville, journal (Pierson 246)