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THE CAPE-FEAR COUNTRY. We continue our journey in a south-westerly direction. Swamps are not so numerous, the forests of pine become denser, the long moss more luxuriant. If you have never before been in the east, you will be continually surprised at the productiveness of all this favoured region.
Here, for instance, in Onslow county, we find New River, of which many
of you have never heard : it is but a few miles long, and as broad as the Mississippi near its mouth. We find also that one can get rich even by the cultivation of ground-peas, or pea-nuts; and that if the inhabitants had no other reliance, this one article would support a dense population. It is said that the salt atmosphere gives them a peculiar flavour; and, at the regular price of a dollar per bushel, one hand can raise a crop worth from six hundred to eight hundred dollars.
But this is but a small item; and the fish and oysters, though very abundant, form also a comparatively small amount of the resources of the country. The rank corn still waves like a black cloud over the extensive fields; and on the sands and barrens are dense and invaluable groves of the wealth-yielding pine.
We come at last to the broad waters of the Cape Fear, and we observe a different people from any we have yet seen.
We are now at the mouth of the Cape Fear River; and we learn that settlements were early formed in this section of the country.
The Albemarle, Pamlico, and Cape-Fear regions were the first chat were peopled in North Carolina ; and each was colonized by a peculiar people. English planters from the Barbadoes, one of the West India Islands, came in considerable numbers to the CapeFear; and the country was early the resort of wealth, education, and refinement.
Great rivers tempt the dwellers near them to great enterprises ; and the Cape Fear country, has, therefore, been remarkable for the spirit and energy of its citizens.
WHAT CONSTITUTES A STATE.
By Sir WILLIAM Jones, in imitation of Alcæus, a Greek Poet.
WHAT constitutes a state ?
Thick wall, or moated gate ;
Not bays and broad-armed ports,
Not starr'd and spangled courts,
Nomen, high-minded men,
In forest, brake, or den,
Men, who their duties know,
Prevent the long-aimed blow,
These constitute a state ;
O’er thrones and globes elate
Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill. The author of this poem was an English gentleman, statesman, lawyer, and scholar; and his many learned accomplishments, and the pleasure which he derived from them, show what can be done by perseverance, and how delightful a task the studies of science and literature will become to those w prosecute them with diligence.
The author alluded to was a profound lawyer, an eminent essayist, and a very elegant scholar, skilled especially in the literature and languages of the oriental nations; and his voluminous works are recommended to the student as full of instruction and entertainment.
He flourished during the last century, and his poem, above quoted, is so just in sentiment and so applicable to the subject of which we had been treating, that it is introduced as an agreeable interlude to the thread of our discourse. Sir William Jones must have been describing North-Carolina. With how many famous names is the history of North-Carolina associated!
LESSON X. SMITHVILLE.—This place is in Brunswick county, at the mouth of the Cape-Fear River.
It is a small place; but it is, on many accounts, extremely interesting. Just opposite to it, on Smith's Island, in the mouth of the Cape-Fear, is Fort Caswell : it is one of the oldest fortifications in the United States, and has several times changed its
In it Governor Martin, the last English governor of North Carolina, took refuge at the beginning of the Revolution; and from it to a sloop of war he was driven by the gallant whigs of the surrounding country.
From this island we have a grand prospect of the ocean : its waves break softly at our feet, and the quiet waters are dotted over with sporting porpoises.
Here the healthful luxury of sea-bathing can be enjoyed to great advantage; and in the summer, the little town of Smithville is all alive with beauty and fashion.
We take a boat and advance up the Cape-Fear; and on our left, in the county of Brunswick, interesting ruins are pointed out. These are the ruins of the old town of Brunswick; à town that was abandoned for the more commodious site where Wilmington now stands.
Rice is grown along the Cape Fear; and we are now in the vicinity of the finest forests of turpentine-trees to be found in the world.
The rice plantations are very handsome; and one not accustomed to this business would be hardly able to estimate their worth.
Patches of live-oak and other lighter evergreens enliven the sombre forests of pine; the magnolia-tree scents the air with its magnificent blossoms; and oranges, lemons, and grapes help to fill up the inviting scene.
LESSON XI. WILMINGTON.—This city is built upon the eastern bank of the Cape-Fear; and no town at the South has excelled it in the rapidity of its growth.
It is now a large commercial city, with a very considerable amount of shipping; and though much devoted to trade, and very enterprising, its citizens are a gay and generous people, fond of society and social entertainments.
The streets, though crowded, are as silent as a grave-yard ; for the town is built on a high, sandy waste. This adds to its healthfulness in summer; and in winter, there can be no more pleasant
From hence runs the Wilmington Railroad to Weldon, on the Roanoke River, near the Virginia line; and from thence to Petersburgh and to Norfolk in Virginia are railroad communications.
The communication farther south has been kept up by a line of steamboats running from Wilmington to Charleston ; but they are now building, and will soon have finished, a railroad from Wilmington to Manchester, in South Carolina.
THE CAPE-FEAR RIVER.—This stream flows through a wealthy and enterprising region; and a large amount of commerce is wafted on its waters.
Its shores have been signalized by many important events; and, could it speak, we might listen for days, with increasing interest, while it told of the men and incidents of the past.
Accounts of struggles for power, thrilling adventures, and mournful tragedies would be mingled with tales of love and pastoral pleasures; and we would also hear much of peculiar characters, and noted persons, of different nations, and singular habits.
The high bluffs and long, sandy wastes in its vicinity, and along its margin, could each relate a history; but they are silent, and now fill the imaginative beholder with fanciful conjectures.
The products of a very large and fertile agricultural region are floated down its current; and with them comes a vast quantity of lumber for the West Indies and the northern cities.
FAYETTEVILLE.—This thriving and busy city is located about one hundred miles above Wilmington, on the west side of the Cape-Fear; and being the head of steamboat navigation, it is the market-town of a large section of country. A great many wagons daily arrive at this place from the up-country, and it presents an aspect altogether different from that of any place we have yet visited. Its inhabitants are an industrious, adventurous, and spirited people; and they have enterprise enough among them to build
half-a-dozen of cities. The town was first called Cross Creek, from the fact that two creeks were supposed to cross each other at this place; and then it was named Cambleton, and afterwards Fayetteville.
It was laid out by emigrants from the Highlands of Scotland; and all this region of country was colonized by the same race of people.
From Fayetteville to Salem they are building a plank road; and this will be a great convenience to the multitude of wagoners that haul country produce to the former place, and from thence carry groceries and merchandise
the country: The Cape-Fear River is also to be made navigable to the place where it is formed by the junction of the Haw and Deep Rivers, in Chatham; and Deep River will also be made navigable for some distance up.
On the Deep River, in Chatham, coal of the best qualities has been discovered; and it is calculated that the supply will be inexhaustible.
They have already begun to dig this coal; and, in a short time, thousands of persons will be thus employed, and hundreds of vessels will be crowded on the Deep and Cape-Fear Rivers
We found the Lower Cape Fear people a chivalrous, refined, and wealthy community; and there we began to strike large tracts of sandy wastes.
As we advance upwards, these stretches of land become a peculiar and striking feature; and sometimes we almost think the carth is wrapped in a mantle of snow.
We come also upon a new class of people : we hear on every side the brogue of the Scotch Highlander, and we sometimes observe the original picturesque costume of that famous race.
We are among those whose deeds have been celebrated in songs and novels that have charmed us ever since we have been able to read; and we find them a cautious, thrifty, and intellectual community. They form the staple of the population of several counties south-west of the Cape-Fear; and a more moral, sedate, and social people it would be hard to find. They still retain many of their good old customs; and their language and manners make one feel like he was among the blue hills of ancient Scotland.
We have arrived now in the cotton region; and in the Scotch and southern border counties, we find this plant cultivated extepsively, and with success.
There is not such a rage for cotton-planting as there is in some of the more southern States; nor does the business, as there, monopolize attention to the detriment of every other industrial pursuit, and cause extravagant and ruinous speculations.
A large amount of cotton is made, and it brings a plentiful supply of money into circulation; and with it grains are cultivated, and the mechanic arts are in a thriving condition.
We have been recently travelling through a country where