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LESSON IV. The region south of Albemarle is a good deal like that on the north; it is a region of lakes and wide rivers, of deep creeks and impenetrable swamps. The resources and productions are also similar; and the manners of the people are alike. If the traveller through this region be from the up-country, he will, at every step, see something to surprise, interest, and amuse him. He will find the people remarkably hospitable and easy in their dispositions; and he will be equally struck with the appearance of general contentment and comfort.
He will dash along over roads as level as a floor; and he will pass through long bogs, where the waters are dyed jet black by the roots of trees and shrubs.
These sombre forests are relieved by bright sheets of water, broad and smooth as a mirror, and recurring at short intervals; and while wild geese, wild ducks, and swans are skimming round their margins, ships and sail-boats are floating lazily in the distance.
An air of quiet and repose seems to pervade every thing; and the soft, luxurious climate, and the hazy skies and tranquil lakes seem to inspire a dreamy indolence of disposition. There is no fear of want. There are fish, and oysters, and delicious wild-fowl, in such abundance that they cannot be destroyed : a single hand can support a large family at the shingle business, and then the soil is truly as fertile as that of Egypt. It will last for a hundred years and not show signs of exhaustion; indeed, as it has been forming by the burning and decaying of vegetable matter in the swamps since the creation, it is inexhaustible.
The whole population of the State could be easily supported in the Albemarle region; and nowhere in the world can a man sooner or more easily make a fortune by tilling the soil or labouring with his own hands : nowhere in the world are the people more contented, gentle and bland in manners, and kind in disposition.
At the head of Albemarle Sound, on the northern side, is Edenton, named after Eden, one of the early governors of North-Carolina.
The town has a quaint and venerable appearance; and many years ago was a very conspicuous place in North-Carolina.
The view from here of Albemarle Sound is very charming; and as one, not accustomed to it, enjoys it, he can hardly realize that it is other than a fairy scene.
In the town and vicinity there is a great deal of wealth; and the amenities of refined society are nowhere more enjoyed.
The other principal town in the Albemarle country is Elizabeth City, situated on Pasquotank River. It is on the line of trade to Norfolk, and is in the midst of a country unsurpassed in fertility of soil and farming enterprise; and, with its lively air and increasing commerce, maintains the appearance of a city.
Such is the Albemarle country: a country abounding in resources, and possessing peculiar charms.
It is an easy, luxurious country, and the inhabitants are not so much distinguished for restlessness as they are in other sections of America. They enjoy what they have, and share their plenty with their friends; and, unless the manners of the people and the character of the country greatly change, it will be one of the last places invaded by want or beggary.
It is literally a land of corn and wine : it is the native country of the Scoupernong grape, named after Scoupernong Creek, or river, in Tyrrell county.
This delicious grape flourishes here in great luxuriance; and it is, perhaps, not unworthy of remark, that the celebrated timothy grass was first found in Currituck county.
The Albemarle Sound, near Edenton, receives the Chowan and Roanoke rivers; the former a wide, but short stream, and the latter watering one of the finest countries in the world.
THE CORN SONG.
HEAP high the farmer's wintry hoard !
Heap high the golden corn!
From out her lavish horn!
The apple from the pine,
The cluster from the vine.
Our rugged vales bestow
Our harvest-fields with snow.
Our ploughs their furrows made,
Of changeful April played.
We dropp'd the seed o'er hill and plain,
Beneath the sun of May, And frighten'd from our sprouting grain
The robber crows away. All through the long, bright days of June,
Its leaves grew green and fair, And waved,
in hot midsummer's noon, Its soft and yellow hair. And now,
with Autumn's moonlit eves, Its harvest-time has come, We pluck away the frosted leaves
And bear the treasure home.
There, richer than the fabled gift
Apollo shower'd of old,
And knead its meals of gold.
Around their costly board;
By homespun beauty pour'd !
Where'er the wide old kitchen-hearth
Sends its smoky curls,
And bless our farmer girls !
Whose folly laughs to scorn
Our wealth of golden corn!
Let mildew blight the rye,
The wheat-field to the fly:
The hills our fathers trod;
Send up our thanks to God !
WHITTIER: American Poet.
THE FISHERIES.--Eastern North-Carolina abounds in fish, oysters, turtles, and a savoury kind of terrapin ; and the manner of catching these, and the scenes presented at the fisheries, must be very interesting to our up-country travellers. The fishing season may be said to last from the first of February till the middle of May; but the fisheries are not all in operation during the whole of this time.
In the upper waters of the Albemarle, and in Roanoke River, shad and herring are the principal fish caught; but rock-fish, sturgeon, and other varieties are obtained in considerable quantities.
The largest seines are from eighteen hundred to twenty-five hundred yards in length, and they are dragged with windlasses drawn by horses and mules.
Five thousand shad have been caught at one baul, and as many as two hundred thousand herrings.
Twenty thousand rock-fish, of the largest size, have been caught with one haul, and some of these weighed as much as sixty pounds.
The fishing-places, or fisheries, abound in the waters of the Albemarle and its tributaries, the Roanoke, Chowan, Cashie, Perquimmons, and Pasquotank rivers. There is in Tyrrell county a sort of peninsula projecting into Albemarle Sound, and called Croatan; and it is about ten miles from Roanoke Island, and in sight of it and of Nag's Head.
Here are four fisheries, each of which has a seine twenty-five hundred yards in length, and employs some fifty or sixty hands to manage it; and each seine averages in a season about one. million of herring-of shad, about forty thousand.
There are some twenty-five other fisheries of this kind on the Albemarle and its tributarics; and in addition to these there are a great number of what are called gill-nets—these are used exclusively for catching shad.
It is supposed there are enough of these in the Albemarle waters to make fifty miles of nets, and they average about twenty shad for every thirty yards.
In Pamlico Sound, between Roanoke Island and Beaufort, there are as many nets, attended with like success; and in the Pamlico waters is caught the terrapin alluded to, and wbich meets a ready sale, and is highly prized by those skilled in the proper mode of cooking it. In the tributaries of the Pamlico are also fisheries; and indeed the whole east is a land of fish and oysters. The fish are sold in considerable quantities where they are caught, and vast numbers are salted and sent to Norfolk, Richmond, Baltimore, and the North. In the spring season, the Albemarle and Pamlico waters swarm with vessels come for fish, and these bring ice and other Northern commodities.
The offal, and the various kinds of fish that are caught, but are not in demand as an article of food, cover the coast with vast heaps of animal matter; and this, called by the general name of offal fish, is scattered over the fields, making, for corn and wheat, one of the most fertilizing manures that is known in the world.
THE PAMLICO COUNTRY.
South of the Albemarle is the great Pamlico Sound, and into it empties the Tar and Neuse rivers. These streams are very broad and beautiful as they approach the sound, and on them also are extensive fisheries. Their names, like those of the Chowan, or Chowanoke, and Roanoke, are of Indian origin; and the Tar, originally called Tau, is said to mean the river of health.
Emigration advanced hither from the Albemarle country; and there came also, to the banks of the Neuse, a colony of Huguenots and Palatins, directly from Europe. They were an excellent people, and, in the plentiful country where they were settled, soon began to thrive.
Bath Town, on Old Town Creek, on the north side of Pamlico