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TO THE PUBLIC.
THE author of these "Sketches," begs leave to apologize for the unavoidable delay of its appearance, owing to the lamented death of Mr. Wiley, of NewYork: also, that the matter of the book does not exactly come up to the prospectus, as regards the western states, for this reason,-when the proposals for this, as well as two other works, were published, the author was unapprised of the extensive matter embraced in the work, and found it impossible to comprise any thing like a satisfactory description of the atlantic and western country, in a book of this size, and that one part of the design must be given up to make room for the other. The author therefore thought it best to exchange that part least interesting, which is the western country, excepting a few remarks only in the first of the book, which it is hoped will be found interesting, particularly the history and geography of places, which have never been noticed by any other writer. The author further begs leave to state, that the whole of the work has undergone an abridgement, to bring it within the proposal. In addition to the foregoing reason for expunging the western instead of the atlantic country, from the present work, the author is influenced by the prospect of remunerating the public by two other works, which will shortly appear, relating wholly almost to the western states.
The work herewith presented to the public, contains a description of the public institutions, manners and appearance of the inhabitants, and the history of the principal places visited by the author, with sketches of the principal characters, physical remarks on the country, &c.
JOURNEY FROM HUNTSVILLE TO VIRGINIA.
AVING been advised to try the mineral waters in Virginia for my health, I set out on horseback from St. Stephens, in Alabama, July the 1st, 1823, intending to take the stage at Huntsville. With a view to divert my mind from melancholy reflections, to which it was disposed from ill health, I resolved to note every thing during my journey, worthy of remark, and commit it to writing, and to draw amusement and instruction from every source. In doing this, I shall not imitate most journalists, in such remarks as "cloudy, or fair morning," and where we stop, dates, &c. This is all the preface I deem neces
Upon my arrival at Huntsville, I was told that the stage left there at day-light next morning. Huntsville is well known to be one of the largest towns in the state it is on the north side of Tennessee river, about ten miles distant. It is handsomely situated on an eminence, has a commodious square in the centre, as have all the towns in the state. On this square is an elegant brick court-house, a market-house, and two fire engine-houses. The town is principally built of brick. Around the square, several wealthy merchants have drawn themselves, and do much business. There are four churches, one for Presbyterians, one for Methodists, and two for blacks, two female academies, and one for young men. The land in the neigh
bourhood of Huntsville, yields considerably in fertility, to the land on the south side of Tennessee river, though it maintains the same beautiful, undulative surface, with large fields of cotton.
After resting a few hours, I sallied out to refresh myself with a walk, and meeting with Col. Pope, accepted an invitation to spend the night with him. Col. Pope is amongst the wealthiest men in the state of Alabama, and lives in princely style. If any man is to be envied on account of wealth, it is he. His house is separated from Huntsville, by a deep ravine, and from an eminence overlooks the town from the west; on the east lies his beautiful plantation, on a level with the house. Although the ascent to it is considerable, yet when you are there, it is a perfect plane. He has, however, injured the beauty of his situation, by surrounding it with the lombardy poplar. If I admir ed the exterior, I was amazed at the taste and elegance displayed in every part of the interior; massy plate, cut glass, china ware, vases, sofas, and mahogany furniture of the newest fashion, decorated the inside.
To those unacquainted with the wealth of this new country, the superb style of the inhabitants, generally, will appear incredible. Mrs. Pope is one of your plain, undisguised, house-keeping looking females; no ways elated by their vast possessions, which, I am told, are the joint acquisition of her and her husband's industry. Report says, she is benevolent and charitable, and her looks confirm it. Next morning found me in one of my splenetic fits: I resolved to shake it off in the stage, and set off in it, accordingly, for the sweet springs.
Three passengers besides myself. This consoled me a little, as it afforded an opportunity of indulging observations, on the variety of character, which now presented itself, in the persons of the strangers. One was a young gentleman from Abington, Virginia, Another was from East Tennessee, and the third was of Huntsville, and an Irishman. Travellers in stages
are (at least in this part of the country,) not long in making up their acquaintance. The young man of Abington, whose name is B was one of your noble, fine looking men, and though stout, possessed of much personal beauty, and grace of manner. He was good natured, moderately improved, yet still enough so for his age, being very young: he was shortly after this, married to the young and beautiful Mrs. Trigg, of Wythe. Our Irishman was a comical, gay, lively man, of about thirty, a little crazed when sober, a good deal so when tipsy. The Tennesseean was a middle aged man, of the inferior order, he was ugly, ignorant, and in short, he was a complete boor, if it be good English. Clown, as he is too surely, he must have the back seat, the only one with a back belonging to the stage, which was nothing but an old rattletrap. However, this made no difference: I was prejudiced against him at first sight. Meantime I was relieved by the driver, who informed me, we would soon meet the Nashville line, which was more comfortable.
For the distance of a mile, after leaving Huntsville, the road is cause wayed with huge logs, and so soon as the stage was on it, we were sadly jolted. Our Irishmau acted the merry Andrew to perfection, uttering as many "Oh laws" as Sancho, after his discomfiture by the mule-drivers. "Oh Lord, sir! do speak to your horses, and tell them to go more softly; Oh law, O! they are the most uncivil horses ever I saw." The horses were actually the best of their kind, and seemed to understand every word of their master perfectly. After we were clear of the causeway, the road, though level, was narrow and crooked, often interrupted with stumps of trees: going at the rate we went, it required the utmost skill to avoid them. When the driver would see danger before him, he would address his horses with " look sharp," or "take care," that moment the animals would be seen looking up the road, and would avoid the danger, with all the caution of reasonable beings.
The first day brought us to Winchester, in Tennes