Page images
PDF
EPUB

LETTER EIGHTE.

THE SPRINO SEASON: GOLD AND IRON MINTA: THE STONE MOUNTAIN: TALLULAT AND TOOOOA

PALLS: LOOK-OUT MOUNTAIN, AN ANCIENT BACHELOR.

Benton County, (Ala.,) April 12, 1847. The spring is the delightful season of the south. In winter, the traveller who expects to find an Italian sky and climate will be grievously disappointed; but let him tarry till the genial month of April, and his best anticipations will be realized. The forests are covered with blossoms, the wheat-fields wave to the western breeze, and the gardens and way-sides are fragrant with the rose, the hyacinth and the jasmine. The upper part of Georgia and Alabama was the home of the Cherokees. It is a rough region, abounding in caverns and water-falls, and is rich in mineral resources. Gold mines are dispersed all through this section, and some of them are profitable. Those of Georgia yield four hundred and fifty thousand dollars annually. They are of two kinds, the ‘vein' and 'deposite.' In the vein-mines the gold is found in a yellow quartz rock, and is obtained by blasting, pulverizing and washing. In the deposite it is found in small grains, in a strata of earth, sometimes near and sometimes considerably below the surface. The earth above is first removed, and the gravel in which the gold is found is washed. The process of obtaining it is tedious.

At one period there was a great speculation in gold lots, and much time and money were wasted in unskilful attempts to procure the precious metal. Where one became rich, several were made bankrupt. Now the profits are more uniform, and there are fewer adventurers engaged in the business. The income derived from mining, however, is always variable. We have known hands labor for months without half earning their board, and at another time collect five or six dollars' worth daily. Once in a while, too, a single lump will be found, worth fifty or a hundred dollars. The most successful miners are Germans and Englishmen, because they have more perseverance, and a better knowledge of the process of discovering and refining the metal. The laborers in the mines are here, as in other mining countries, for the most part degraded and vicious. The most inebriated crowd I ever saw was at an upcountry village, appropriately called · Auraria' by Mr. Calhoun, but from the pugnacious deportment of its citizens, now generally known by the name of Knucklesville. The men had just returned from their day's work in the mines, and in a crowd of two hundred I saw but four sober men. They were mostly foreigners ; shipwrecked characters from every nation of Europe, with a large sprinkling of renegade Yankees and dissipated Virginians.

The iron mines are not less valuable than those of gold. They are inexhaustible, and yield a per cent. equal to those of Pennsylvania. There is a great supply of fine marble in the Cherokee country, and its worth, like that of iron, will be vastly enhanced by increased facilities for transportation.

Among the prominent geological curiosities of this highland VOL. XXIX.

57

scenery, is the Stone Mountain, of De Kalb county, Georgia. It is a single isolated rock, one thousand feet in height; of an oval form, and accessible only from the western side. Across this accessible point is an old wall, the rude fortification of the Indian. A friend of mine has computed the weight of the rock to be seven hundred millions of tons. The first time I visited this mountain there was upon it a wooden tower, one hundred and sixty feet in height. The building of so tall a structure in so exposed a position was a chimerical project, and a few months after it was dashed in pieces during a thunder-storm. The rock is composed of soft granite, having an unusual proportion of mica. Its surface is smooth and free from fragments, except a few large boulders on the north side. In a depression of the surface on the eastern side there has been a gradual accumulation of soil, from leaves and other sources, sufficiently deep to support a small grove of laurel and cedar.

There is not a single lake or pond in this entire region; a wise provision, doubtless, in view of the health of the inhabitants. This deficiency in scenery is compensated by numerous water-falls. The noblest of these is the Tallulah of Habersham county, Georgia, and the most beautiful, the Toccoa, with its snow-white sheet suspended from a perpendicular wall of one hundred and eighty-two feet. Visiting the latter on a warm summer day of 1845, in company with a party of ladies and gentlemen, one of our number stuck . a thorn in his foot, and thinking that he was snake-bitten, drank a large dose of hartshorn and brandy before he discovered the mistake; and several of us, to avoid a furious crowd of ! yellow.jackets' in close pursuit, jumped into the middle of the creek; a feat so sublime, as the ladies afterward informed us, that it approached that other quality, which is but a step removed from it.

From the summit of Look-out Mountain, near the Tennessee line, is a magnificent view of the surrounding region, surpassing any thing I have seen in the extent of the prospect, except Mount Washington, in New-Hampshire. Just below is the wide and beautiful valley of the Tennessee river, and the yision is only bounded by the far-distant peaks of the Cumberland and Blue Ridge. I ascended the mountain in company with one of my southern friends, a bachelor of fifty. He was a gentleman of extensive information and much experience, and was a descendant of one of the chivalrous old-stock families of the Palmetto State.

After we had taken our station on the rock which forms the summit of the mountain, my companion became unusually sad. The scene before us,' said he, 'brings back recollections which, though not unwelcome, are yet yery melancholy. A quarter of a century ago I stood on this rock, when the valley below was an unbroken forest. Now that valley, as you see, is full of farms and enterprising husbandmen, and on the spot then occupied by a young man, full of life and hope, stands an ancient bachelor, as sober in appear. ance as the solitary pines below us; having but little to fear and less to hope. It is strange that I should indulge in such melancholy

reflections, when all around is sunshine and happiness; but I cannot retrace in mind the past without inwardly exclaiming with Scotland's bard,

"O! for one-and-twenty, Tam!'

But as soon would Owen Glendower's spirits from the vasty deep answer to his call as “one-and-twenty' to mine; and I am forced to think of those beautiful and last lines of Byron :

• 'T is time this heart should be unmoved,
Since others it has ceased to move.'

From the point where we stand the eye roams over several millions of acres of land, embracing some of the most fertile valleys of Tennessee and Georgia ; and at this moment, were the whole mine, I would give it to feel and look as I did when I first stood on this lofty promontory! I was then on my way from Nashville, below which place I had just purchased a large claim against the federal government, from which I expected soon to realize a fortune, which I intended offering to one who, in my estimation, had no equal. Had she been the prize for which the Greeks and Trojans fought, Hector, Homer's only true hero, had not fallen in an unworthy cause. Before the year rolled around, that fair being was consigned to an early grave, and my prospective fortune dissolved in air; leaving me with little consolation save the consciousness of having deserved a better fate. With feelings but little changed by time and the world's jostlings, I have outlived all my early hopes and nearly all my early friends. A strange fatality seems to have attended most of my youthful associates, few of them having attained to thirty years of age. Peace to their ashes, and sacred be their memory!'

MONADNOCK.

TIE COQ U ÉTTE OF THE CÀ L ENDA R.

DY MONSIBOR ANOX.

VexinG dallier of the year,
Changeful APRIL, thou art here;
Now thou sendest showers of blossing,
Fields and forest-buds caressing;
Now, in icy fetters hoary,
Scornfully thou bindest FLORA;
Fond and kind, and mad, complaining,
Darting sunbeams, snowing, raining,
Thus thou playest with earth and sky
Prudish tricks of coquetry!
Maid and matron, coy or free,
Lessons high may learn of thee;
Lessons high of brainless dreaming ;
Art of arts -- the art of sooming !

THE FUTURE L I F E.

There is a life beyond this life of ours, Where griefs must cease and anguish lose its power; For high, for low, for rich - for all unblest, That life is open, and there all may rest. As on we go, still toiling day by day, Darkness above, and horror round our way, False friends without, and falser ones within, Curs'd with Sin's evils, and yet loving sin ; Dead to the beauty that would come abroad From all the grandeur of the works of God; And dumb, so oft, to voices from on high, Offering to cheer us 'mid life's agony; 0, yes! there yet is, far beyond this shore, A land of rest, where anguish stings no more ! 0, art thou one who enter'd first on life With a heart eager for its dusty strife; Dreaming of nothing save a path all flowers, Or soft winds whispering through Eden bowers; Thinking mankind were ever what they seem, Truth on their lips, which truth they will redeom; And deeming too sweet Health should ever fire Each bounding limb, and every pulse inspire; Yet dragging now along life's sorrowing path, Frown'd on by men, and frighten'd by God's wrath ; And seeing nothing from the future given To lend one lingering smile that leads toward Heaven? 0, doem thou not life curs’d thus over here; There is another and eternal year! And ah! the loss while here, for want of eye To pierce the dim veil of futurity; And oh! the gain of him who walks abroad, And sees earth wear the garments of a God! Then the broad heaven puts on ethereal glow, And the green world seems deck'd for Eden show ; Breathe the soft winds, and gush the streams with voice To bid the spirit of the world rejoice; Twitter the birds, and rustle the green trees, With a soft music freighting the pure breeze; E'en the hoarse forest and the echoing shore Say to the heart, ‘Be still, and weep no more ! Thus all around us may some goodness give, When the poor heart is fitted to receive; Seasons that change, cold winter and mild spring, Summer to charm, and autumn fruits to bring ; Each varying object, as we onward go, Saying, "Be still, nor faint beneath the blow !! 0, thou then fainting on the dusty road, That leads, though hidden, to the mount of God, Ask for the truth; look in, and look around; Seek the high record where all truth is found : And see there set before thee the low way Thy feet must take would'st thou behold the day; The far-off brightness streaming from the throne, To cheer thee on, and teach that land thine own! .

A QUESTION IN SINGLE RULE OF THREE.

BY A MODERN PHILOSOPI&R.

Tuis is an age of science. The universe is scrutinized with telescope and microscope, and the pleasing illusions of fancy are dispelled. It is proved that things are not what they appear to bo; That first impressions are not to be trusted. It is no longer safe to admire. There was a time when man was allowed to look upon the world with delight; when he could receive pleasure from the objects above, beneath and around him. Then he saw a bright and glorious earth, of which God was the maker and himself the appointed sovereign. With the happy ignorance of childhood, he was delighted at the fair show. He had not yet been taught to pull it in pieces, to ascertain its component parts; he had not gone behind the curtain to examine the scenery, and to determine, by close inspection, how much was real and how much mere painted canvass. Imagination supplied the place of knowledge, and clothed with ideal beauty and interest the visible creation. Then the earth was firm beneath him, and was a boundless habitation; the sun and moon were his servants, and danced attendance to supply his wants, and the stars were the shining host of the ETERNAL, the sleepless eyes of guardian angels and departed spirits.

Now, alas ! all this dream has passed away. Science has enlightened him. The earth is no longer solid, firm and vast, and the centre of the universe. It is a mere apple of a world, and the rind we tread on scarcely covers a rotten heart, a fiery, liquid pulp. It is a small affair. Man sails around it without deeming it necessary to make his will before he starts, and taking with him only a change or two of linen. It turns and turns, and finds no rest. The gyrations of a danseuse are nothing to its whirlings. There is now no satisfaction in stamping the foot on the ground, for the consciousness once enjoyed of power, of security, of a sure foundation, is gone. Science shows us that every thing is in motion. The whole universe is engaged in one ceaseless, dizzy dance. The moons dance around the planets, and the planets dance around the sun, and the sun promenades through the milky-way. The fixed-stars are fixed no longer. Some of them are waltzing, two by two, and others are going through a variety of intricate maneuvres too numerous to mention. The comets are no longer mere tale-bearers, squandering their time and disturbing the peace of the heavens by their strolling and disorderly habits, but they run from station to station regularly, and without accident, and arrive and depart at the hours duly announced in the public journals.

Man finds that he has been mistaken about almost every thing. The sun does not rise and set; the moon is not made of green

« PreviousContinue »