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the Alleghany rendered us very sensible of the truth of an observation I had frequently heard here, that the land on the eastern side of the range is lower than that on the western. In the course of the day, we several times crossed the winding Roanoke, which we viewed with a sort of affection, as a distant link connecting us in some degree with our native home, it being the first river discharging its waters into the Atlantic which we had seen since we left the Oakmulgee on our Alabama route in March. In the evening we passed through Salem to the house of a well-meaning awkward German, (the German houses are always recognised by their flower-gardens,) intending to sleep there; but my intentions were frustrated by little assailants, who had no mercy on a tired traveller, but drove me at midnight into the porch, where I dozed a little before daybreak. I was glad to feel myself on horseback again before sun-rise (14th,) though more tired than on my arrival the preceding night. At Lock's, where we staid and breakfasted, ten miles distant, I went to bed for an hour, as the country was far too beautiful to be wasted on a sleepy traveller. We were now fairly in the valley between the North mountain and the Blue ridge; the whole of which is often indiscriminately called the Valley of the Shenandoah, although the inhabitants confine the name to that part of it which is watered by the river, and which commences a little above Staunton. With the richness of this luxuriant valley I know you are already acquainted; and of the sublimity of its
mountain scenery, it would be in vain to attempt a description. Our host and his habitation were truly English; and it required no great stretch of imagination to fancy myself near Windermere. We left Fincastle a little to our right, and proceeded to Judge 's, to whom I had a letter of introduction from the Governor of the State of Mississippi. I found him without his coat in the middle of his corn-fields, gladdening his heart and relaxing his brows by contemplating the beneficence of nature, whose favours, or rather those of her Almighty Creator, appeared to be liberally scattered over his farm. As soon as I delivered my letter, he led me up to a large substantial brick-house, where he insisted on ordering dinner; for the family had dined. I found him a well-read reflecting old gentleman. He was engaged in studying the history of England at the period of the Revolution, and seemed to think we were now approaching an era at least as eventful. Thus you see the operations of our Radicals have penetrated even the tranquil valley of the Shenandoah, and awakened its more intelligent inhabitants to philosophical reflection on the destinies of our native land. The Judge was a little displeased that I would not stay all night; which I wished much to do, but found, on looking forward, that, in connexion with calling at Mr. Jefferson's at a proper hour, it would cost me an entire day.
I left his house about five o'clock, and rode for some distance, surrounded by the most magnificent scenery I had seen in America; the Blue
ridge with the peaks of Otter being very near. Towards night I crossed James's river, and soon after reached Captain — 's, an innkeeper still
of the English school. He has 1500 acres of land in this rich valley, (300 of which are this year under wheat, rye, and Indian corn,) with 200 sheep and 50 head of cattle. Yet he took off our saddlebags, his Black servant standing by, and carried them up stairs, and shewed all the civility you would wish to receive from a common landlord of an inn. We set off early in the morning (15th) to see the celebrated natural bridge, which was only two miles out of our way, and which Mr. Jefferson considers the greatest natural curiosity in America. It is certainly a wonderful scene, and one which it is impossible fully to embrace without seeing it several times. Having surveyed it in its different aspects, I left it with reluctance; and we proceeded sixteen miles to breakfast, having previously fortified ourselves with a single cup of coffee, which we begged from a Negro at a little cottage where his party were breakfasting near the bridge. In this part of the country the houses are generally of brick, substantial and convenient; but not in good taste, or in harmony with the rural beauty of the surrounding scenery. Occasionally we heard a clock, which at first startled me, as I had not seen one since we left Georgia, and scarcely one since we set out from Washington; every thing being regulated by the sun. If you ask what time it is, it either wants so many hours of noon, or it is so much before, or so much after sun-down. Meals are regulated by the sun even in families
where there is a watch, or a time-piece as it is called; and I have very often heard evening service announced at church to begin at early candle light. This want of precision would run away with all the spare hours in our country. Another thing which struck me in the valley was the large proportion of cleared land, and the absence of the stumps of trees, which are every where conspicuous amidst the crops in the countries settled within the last twenty years. On reaching East Tennessee, the sight of two fields in depth appeared so strange as to remind me strongly of England; cultivation seldom extending in a great part even of the cleared country above one field deep into the woods. A pair of stocks, which I saw on a village green in the valley, at last furnished a decisive proof that we were again within the pale of civilization.
I was most interested, however, in observing a great alteration in the relative numbers of the White and Black population, and a corresponding increase of free labour engaged in agriculture. This is probably owing to the poverty of the early settlers, which has secured to their posterity a greater blessing than the richest inheritance of blood and muscles. Not that these lovely scenes are unpolluted by slavery; there is scarcely a family without slaves, and almost every tavern is branded with the most disgusting advertisements for runaways; but the heart is less frequently sickened at the sight of large gangs (excuse this hideous but technical term,) broiling under a vertical sun, and goaded to preternatural labour by the
brutal lash. Here their masters, or other White labourers, occasionally work among them; and the several productions of this part of the country are less powerful stimulants to the avarice of their owners, than the sugar, rice, or cotton of more southern states.
I shall be truly glad when I can pass a day without seeing one fellow-creature in bondage. At present I do not recollect four places of all those at which I have stopped either to eat or sleep, since I left Washington in January, where there were no domestic slaves; and in two of these instances abject poverty was pleaded as an apology! At most even of the better houses of entertainment where you stay, you see black slovenly looking hovels round the yard, where the domestic Negroes live, and the young Black fry are crawling about the door, and, if the family are indulgent, about the house. The Black children are frequently quite naked, as sleek and glossy as may be; and I have often thought how you would laugh at their little rotund alderman-like figures. When very young, they seem to mix almost indiscriminately with the White children, who however occasionally demonstrate their assumed superiority, though less frequently and less peevishly than I should have expected, at least as far as fell under my observation. The very youngest of them appear to me to view a White gentleman with some distrust, and to be daunted with any thing like attention. With the aid of my watch, however, I have generally succeeded in setting them a little at ease, and have often found them very arch little