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Thousands of families were ruined by this shocking fraud. B and H-, of Botetourt county, are said to have been the principal actors of this cruel transaction, and Heaven (so the story goes) has taken vengeance on the former, by a signal chastisement, in the total degeneracy of his children, who have turned out the veriest vagabonds in the country.

Those parts of the country that are not mountainous, are nevertheless very uneven, and yet the inhabitants cultivate the land with tolerable ease. You often see them ploughing on steep hills and sides of mountains, where any other but those accustomed to it, would be scarcely able to keep on his feet, and you momently expect to see both man and horse come tumbling to the bottom. The whole country has a romantic appearance. Sometimes you see flocks of sheep hanging upon a precipice; sometimes you behold a drove of cattle, far beneath your feet, grazing in a deep vale; anon you see a herd of deer retreating before you in graceful bounds. Again, from a deep recess, you behold with affright, a traveller, picking his way with unconcern, on a precipice over your head; and now, from a rock on high, you see the silver streams, and all the vast expanse of mountains, farms and meadows, to an immense distance.Thus the scenery is perpetually changing. The following catalogue comprises the principal growth of the forest, viz.-White oak, black oak, swamp oak, red oak, chestnut, spruce, white pine, pitch pine, dog-wood, hickory, sassafras, gum-ash, linn, walnut, cherry, sugar-maple, poplar, birch, locust, cedar, mulberry, sycamore, wild cucumber-tree, pawpaw, laurel, crab-apple, alder, hemlock, yellow willow, and persimon. Shrubs of various kinds abound, both in the vallies and mountains, and in no country upon the' globe are to be found a greater variety of medicinal plants; a description of them alone would fill a volume. The mountains are covered with whortleberries and ivy, and the vallies with hazel, wild gooseberry, and red wood. A shrub called pipe-stem, grows on the savannahs. It must be observed that those savannahs are level; these, and a narrow strip of land found at intervals on the margin of

the streams, is all the flat land in this country. This pipe-stem is a curiosity; it grows to the height of from three to five feet, straight as an arrow, of equal size from top to bottom, and perfectly free from branch or protuberance. It is without leaves, excepting small tufts, resembling grass, at the extremity of innumerable slender branches, which terminate the top. This pipe-stem is hollow, like a reed, and about the same size. Doct. Raglin, of the Sweet Springs, informed me, that in cutting one of these for a riding switch, he observed a small worm inclosed in the cavity of the stem, and upon examining a number of those shrubs, he found that the pith was eaten out by these worms: some had just commenced, some had eaten half way, and some were completely eaten through: those that were without worms were without pith. The worm was very small and active, of a whitish hue. As you go from the sweet springs to the salt sulphur, at Uniontown, you have this pipestem for miles to your left: the inhabitants use them for pipe-stems, for which they answer equal to the reed, and from whence it took its name: it grows in the coldest soil, as these savannahs are mostly upon the tops of mountains. But little white pine is found west of Greenbriar river, or the Alleghany mountain. Peach-trees and pear-trees do not flourish, but apples, plums and cherries abound.

Animals.-The tame animals have already been mentioned. The wild animals are bears, wolves, deer, panthers, wild cats, racoons, foxes, ground hogs, and oppossums, (these last are rare,) rabbits, squirrels, white and striped ground squirrels, and the skunk: all of which are numerous in the mountains, and will forever continue the proprietors of those immense wilds. The bears, wolves, panthers, and wild cats, often come down amongst the farmers, and commit great depredations, chiefly in the night, and return to their hiding places before day. Wolves have been known to attack and kill grown cattle, and even horses. There is a species of the squirrel kind in Greenbriar county which the people call the "Ferrydidle;" it is in size between the ground

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squirrel and gray squirrel, and nearly the color of a fox squirrel; it is very tame and active; it frequents the barns and farm-yards of the inhabitants; upon the approach of the farmer it disappears with the rapidity of lightning: it will bound from the top of the barn to the ground! Capt. Williams' lady caught one of the white ground squirrels in the winter and kept it as a pet; it was white as snow when she caught it, and its eyes were red, but in summer it turned of a brownish color with bright golden stripes, its eyes changed also from red to brown. They are frequently seen by hunters both in summer and winter, but are very shy; they nev er come near the farms. Pied and white deer are common, west of the Alleghanies.

Natural Curiosities.-In Greenbriar county, there is a natural bridge over a creek sixty feet wide; it is said to be from 180 to 200 feet perpendicular, which nearly equals the height of the natural bridge in Rockbridge County: this bridge is about twenty miles north-east of Lewisburg. This information I received from Capt. John Williams. These counties abound with caves; the most remarkable of which, is the Singing cave, in Monroe. This cave is three miles in length; it runs under a mountain, and from it great quantities of salt-petre have been inade. It is of unequal breadth. In the same county is what is called the Hanging-rock, about six miles south-west of the road that leads from Fincastle to the sweet springs, and about ten miles from the latter place. It is on the highest part of what is called Price's, or the middle mountain, and is considerable higher than it. From the top of the sweet spring mountain, from which it is nine miles distant, it looks like a huge house hanging from a precipice. I have been on this rock: it is amazingly large. It can easily be ascended by fetching a circuit as you approach it, up the mountain, which is three miles in height from the valley below, over which it projects. The main body of the rock reclines in the bosom of the mountain, while it presents a perpendicular front, which projects to a wonderful extent clear of the mountain on the north side.

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When you are on the top of this rock, you have one of the grandest views in the United States, you can see to the distance of an hundred miles, in every direction: you can see the peak of Oater east, North Carolina south, with the naked eye. You see eight counties at one view, to say nothing of the endless mass of mountains of which the globe seems made. Over this vast expanse, farms are here and there distinguished, which appear in small spots no larger than a lettuce bed; these, and the streams that run near the ridges of the mountains, render the whole superlatively grand.* The rock itself combines enough of the awful and sublime to gratify the most enthusiastic admirer of the works of nature. ticularly that part of it which projects over the mountain. This is partly convex and partly smooth; it may be about an hundred and fifty feet from the top to the bottom, though it is hard to ascertain, from the nature of its figure and situation. It commands, however, a view of the valley beneath it. But no one has the courage to approach the edge of this precipice. The Saltpond, on this same mountain, is not only a great natural curiosity, but amongst the greatest phenomena of nature. The mountain just mentioned keeps a south-west course from the Hanging rock, and enlarges as it proceeds until it gains Montgomery county, Va. (adjoining Giles,) in which is the Salt-pond. This pond is on the top of the highest part of the mountain, from which, it takes the name of the "Salt-pond mountain." But what is singular, no bottom has, as yet, been discovered. It has been rising for several years: the last time I heard from it, it was from three quarters to a mile in diameter: myriads of trout and other fish live in it, and the margin used to be covered with cranberries, but lately they are overflowed by the rising of the water. Some think it will form a mighty river some day, when it can be no longer confined within its present limits. Though no visible stream issues from this pond, yet, a

* Under that part of the rock that projects, a vast cavern is found, where a number of bears spend the winter if they are not interrupted by the hunters, who assemble there when the snow is on the ground, and with dogs and guns have great sport in taking the bears.

very bold stream rushes out of the mountain about three miles distant from it, which might lead one to believe that it had some communication with this lake. It strikes me that the water has a brackish taste, from which it probably took its name. Not far from the Hanging rock, near a creek, called Potts's creek, there is a place called the Paint banks; I have seen these banks, they are a great curiosity. The banks rise up directly from a bold stream, called the Paint-bank run; and form a perpendicular of considerable height, and the whole of it is a reddish colored earth, as red as deep burnt bricks; from these banks, it is said, the Indians procured their paint. On the opposite side of the same mountain, there is a creek, called Sinking creek; it is large enough to turn a mill, and runs very bold for several miles, when it suddenly sinks, and no more is seen of it until within a few miles of New river, the main branch of Kenhawa., In Monroe county, near to the former residence of Maj. William Royall, the mountain, known by the name of Sweet-spring mountain, presents another phenomenon. Part of it, with the trees still standing, has moved for the distance of several yards. These mountains abound in iron ore, and the most delicious honey, and game of every sort; while the vallies below afford the richest milk; wild turkies, and pheasants, (a most exquisite delicacy,) are numerous; and in the streams are caught multitudes of trout. No lime stone is found in these mountains; they are covered with a hard blackish colored stone, impregnated with iron.* Fine springs abound throughout the whole country-very little lime stone is seen west of the Alleghany mountain-very good mill-stones are found in Greenbriar county-salt is made in small quantities on Greenbriar river.

I had the unspeakable pleasure this morning of seeing for the first time a South American. He has just left us, on his way to the sulphur springs for his health; from thence he is to go on to the eastern states, and finally to Havana, where it appears he is a temporary resi

* Alum is found in the mountains in its pure state.

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