Sidor som bilder
[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

LESSON XXX. The route which we have selected leads us to Ashville, the county-seat of the great county.of Buncombe. This country, including Henderson county and Yancy county, lies in the valley of the French Broad river; and it is proper to tell you that this river is one of the chief tributaries of the Tennessee, and its waters therefore mingle with those of the Mississippi. Some of you will be surprised to find Ashville a place of much intelligence and refinement; and, indeed, the inhabitants of the whole mountain region are different from what you had supposed. Hardy and active they all are; but there is no gross ignorance, no outlandishness nor clownishness among them. They are a hale, hearty, vigorous race; the average intelligence can be favourably compared with that of other sections, while we are met, in all directions, with the evidences of cultivated taste and elegant accomplishments.

A striking feature of mountaineer character is its patriotism, or love of country; nor do we wonder at this, considering what a beautiful country they have to love.

Seated among the mountains, these latter become familiar friends; their elevated summits, radiant with sunshine, wreathed in white caps of mist, and frowning with black storm-clouds, are fixed in the mind and associated with all its ideas and recollections. Hence, one accustomed to such scenes feels a lonesomeness creep upon him as he enters the plains; he seems lost and solitary, and pines for the society of those Titanic hills which have supplied his mind with majestic and pleasing images, and filled his ear with the music of rushing waters and foaming cascades.

The Blue Ridge, which we have just crossed, is a branch of the great Alleghany range; and it and the Iron or Smoky Mountains run in parallel lines along the western and south-western part of the State. Across from one to the other run intersecting chains; and east and west of them, spurs or small branches traverse portions of the adjacent country.

The Blue Ridge is the dividing line between the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico; and, generally, every stream and spring that rises between the Blue Ridge and the Smoky Mountains finds its way to the Mississippi river.

The counties of Surry, Wilkes, Caldwell, Burke, McDowell, Cleaveland, and Rutherford may be said to be mountain counties, though east of the Blue Ridge; they have the fine scenery, the healthful climate, the water power, mineral wealth, and grazing resources, some in greater, some in less degree.

They are, however, all tillable, and much of the soil is extremely fertile. Beyond and between the two ranges, the scenery becomes more grand and varied; and here we find ourselves in one of the finest grazing countries in the world.

Much of the land, especially along the French Broad, can be cultivated; and in some sections they can make corn in the greatest quantities. As much as sixty bushels have been gathered from a single acre; and through the whole region from Ashe to Cherokee, enough of this grain can be raised to feed as many horses, mules, beeves, and hogs, as can be crowded into the country.

They can make wheat enough to bread a dense population, and the yield of buckwheat, of the best quality, is truly astonishing:

The finest Irish potatoes are raised here; and were I to tell

[ocr errors]


you in what abundance they grow, you would hardly believe me. They need not to be cultivated; you may plant them in the woods, and they will grow in incredible quantities.

Ginseng, the root of a wild plant used for medicinal purposes, is gathered here, and a vast amount of it finds its way from this country to China.

The soil, even on the tops of the mountains, is of a black, rich mould, and nutritious weeds, grass, and wild pea-vines clothe the whole earth. Hence, it is a great country for stock of every kind; and, every thing considered, it is perhaps the very best country in the world for raising sheep.

The water-power cannot be estimated, and timber and iron, everywhere abounding, are not counted in the resources of the country. And would


believe it? this desirable region is not yet peopled. Would you believe that there are here long districts without a settler ?

In Yancey, and Haywood, and Macon, and Cherokee, and Henderson, lands of excellent quality can be bought for fifty cents an acre; lands of a vigorous soil, and with wild growth enough to feed countless herds of cattle.

Yes, the poor man can here live as independent as a prince; and if he be industrious and intelligent, he will not long be poor. With a few hundred dollars he can buy a large plantation, and on a few acres of this land he can raise provisions enough to support a large family, and buckwheat, and grass, and corn enough to feed; during the short winters, a score of horses or mules, hundreds of cattle, and thousands of sheep.

In the summer, these animals will support themselves; and, in fact, they will require to be fed but a few weeks during the year. Thus the money crop can go, on foot, to market, and those who attend these herds can live abundantly with little labour.

A liberal spirit in regard to internal improvements universally prevails; and the whole community are always ready to join in and to sustain any practicable work calculated to developè the resources of the country, or add to the public comfort and convenience. Turnpike roads are becoming common; and in a few years the traveller will find, along all the valleys and through the mountain gorges, the best highways in the State. Tennessee, South-Carolina, and Georgia are running their, railroads within reach of this beautiful country; and to these and to the NorthCarolina Central road will spread out a web of turnpike, plank, and McAdamized roads. In addition to this, a liberal sum has been appropriated to survey a railroad route from the Central road through the mountains to the Tennessee line; and we may look for the day when the vast productions of our mountains will be rusbed by steam to the cities of Beaufort, and New-Berne, and Wilmington.

[graphic][ocr errors]

Such is the mountain region of North-Carolina. How well it compares and contrasts with the Egypt of the East !



I STAND upon my native hills again,

Broad, round, and green, that in the summer sky,
With garniture of waving grass and grain,

Orchards and beechen forests, basking lie,
While deep the sunless glens are scoop'd between,
Where brawl, o'er shallow beds, the streams unseen.
Here, I have 'scaped the city's stifling heat,

Its horrid sounds, and its polluted air;
And where the season's milder fervours beat,

And gales, that sweep the forest borders, bear
The song of bird and sound of running stream,
Am come a while to wander and to dream.
Ay, flame thy fiercest, sun! thou canst not wake,

In this pure air, the plague that walks unseen;
The maize leaf and the maple bough but take,

From thy strong heats, a deeper, glossier green;
The mountain wind, that faints not in thy ray,
Sweeps the blue streams of pestilence away.
The mountain wind ! most spiritual thing of all

The wide earth knows-when, in the sultry time,


He stoops him from his vast cerulean hall,

He seems the breath of a celestial clime;
As if from heaven's wide-open gates did flow
Health and refreshment on the world below.

WM. CULLEN BRYANT: American poet.

[merged small][graphic][merged small]


It is pleasant to think that, living under the same laws with ourselves, called by the same name, and loving the same State, are a great variety of people, of all classes and professions, of all trades, and of almost every kind of genius.

There are many States where some one particular calling gives the law to all the others; and it should not be concealed that to such places our citizens are often driven by delusive hopes.

There are places where large slave-owners can make heavy profits by the cultivation of cotton, sugar, or rice; and there are places where a moneyed capitalist could rapidly increase his capital by speculations in bonds, and property of doubtful title, or sold at execution sales. There are places where gold may be obtained out of the bowels of the earth-places where miasmatic and pestilential climates produce rich harvests for the doctors, and places where vice and thriftless speculation ensure good wages to the lawyer.

There are, too, manufacturing States, where a particular kind of mechanical skill is in much demand; and commercial states where intelligent clerks and traders might hope to rise to fortune.

But can that be a happy country where only one kind of art or profession can hope to thrive?

Human inclinations and human talents are extremely diver

« FöregåendeFortsätt »