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yourself an immense morass, more than forty miles in length and twenty in breadth, its soil a black, deep mire, covered with a stupendous forest of juniper and cypress trees, whose luxuriant branches, interwoven throughout, intercept the beams of the sun and teach day to counterfeit the night. This forest, which until that time, perhaps, the human foot had never violated, had become the secure retreat of ten thousand beasts of prey. The adventurers, therefore, beside the almost endless labour of felling trees in a proper direction to form a footway throughout, moved amid perpetual terrours, and each night had to sleep en militaire, upon their arms, surrounded with the deafening, soul chilling yell of those hunger-smitten lords of the desert. It was, one night, as they lay in the midst of scenes like these, that Hope, that never-failing friend of man, paid them a con
soling visit and sketched in brilliant prospect, the plans of Richmond and Petersburg.*
Richmond occupies a very picturesque and most beautiful situation. I have never met with such an assemblage of striking and interesting objects. The town, dispersed over hills of various shapes; the river descending from west to east and obstructed by a multitude of small islands, clumps of trees, and myriads of rocks; among which it tumbles, foams and roars; constituting what are called the falls ; the same river, at the lower end of the town, bending at right angles to the south and winding reluctantly off for many miles in that direction! its polished surface caught here and there by the eye, hut more generally covered from the view by trees;
* So at least, speaks the manuscript account which Col. Byrd has left of this expedition, and which is now in the hands of some of his descendants; perhaps of the family at Westover.
among which the white sails of approaching and departing vessels exhibit a curious and interesting appearance: then again, on the opposite side, the little town of Manchester, built on a hill, which, sloping gently to the river, opens the whole town to the view, interspersed, as it is, with vigorous and flourishing poplars, and surrounded to a great distance by green plains and stately woodsall these objects, falling at once under the eye, constitute, by far, the most finely varied and most animated landscape that I have ever
A mountain, like the Blue Ridge, in the western horizon, and the rich tint with which the hand of a Pennsylvanian farmer would paint the adjacent fields, would make this a more enchanting spot than even Damascus is described to be. I will endeavour to procure
you a per: spective view of Richmond, with the embellishinents of fancy which I have just mention
ed; and you will do me the honour to give it a place in your pavilion.
Adieu for the present, my dear S....... May the perpetual smiles of heaven be yours.
Richmond, Sefitember 7.
Almost every day, my dear S.......,
some new evidence presents itself in support of the Abbe Raynal's opinion, that this continent was once covered by the ocean, from which it has gradually emerged. But that this emersion is, even comparatively speaking, of recent date, cannot be admitted ; unless the comparison be made with the creation of the earth; and even then, in order to justify the remark, the era of the creation must, I fear, be fixed much farther back than the period which has been inferred from the Mosaic account.*
* Some errour has certainly happened in computing the era of the earth's creation from the five books of Moses.