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THE NEW YORK
ASTOR, LENOX AND
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1837,
BY GEORGE ROGERS, Io the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Ohio.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
NOTE TO THE READER.
More than a year elapsed from the time this work was commenced until it was completed; during which the author performed some seven or eight thousand iniles of travel, by steamboat, and stages, and on horseback, besides delivering some two or three hundred discourses. It was amidst these employments—in addition to those arising from the charge of a family--that these pages were composed, and that the reader is assured) without the slightest aid from any kindred pul ation. With the candid, these facts will form a reasonable apology for some of its defects, of style, or argument, or consistency, from which it will by no means be pretended that it is free.
In saying that he derived no aid from kindred publications, the author would not be understood as setting up a claim to entire originality for his production ; on the contrary, he is full well aware, that on so beaten a theme it is impossible to write so lengthily, without occasionally repeating what others have previously advanced. His purpose, however, was to avoid this as far as practicable, and to add something to the common stock of Universalist literature; something, too, which hy its mildness and candor should be adapted to commend our doctrines to the popular notice and approval. How far he has succeeded in this, is left to the reader's decision.
Cincinnati, Nov. 8th, 1838.
THE PENNSYLVANIA VALLEY:
Showing the influence of certain religicus doctrines on individual and social life.
CHAPTER 1. Conceive, reader, if you please, a deep and quiet valley, of abount five miles in length from the points whence it takes its particular designation, and a mile and a half in medial breadth ; the hills, by which on both sides it is hemmed in, may be some two or three hundred feet in altitude, and are very precipitous, varying indeed but a little from perpendicularity; from their bases to their summits they are covered with a thick natural growth of hemlock-fir-trees, intermingled with stunted hazels and sumachs, save that here and there may be seen a soft spot which has been cleared by the axe of the settler: and how picturesque is the effect of those spots ! they occur mostly in the occasional curvatures and indentations by which Nature, with her usual taste, has varied the monotony of these mountainous ridges; or in the defiles which the rivulets from the interior have scooped out in their journeyings towards the ocean.
I will suppose you standing on one of these acclivities, especially the one on the eastern side, for there the advantage of survey is greatest, and the eye from thence can take in an extent of prospect only bounded by its reach of vision. What a scene of loveliness you now have before you! it is but little rivalled, if at all, by the far-famed and classic Wyoming. A wide reach of fertile bottom land under excellent cultivation stretches for more than a mile in your front, and for miles on either hand; it varies in its shades of green according to the diversified products with which it is teeming; the rich and extensive pasture grounds are mottled with cattle, and sheep, and lambs, which are feeding very contentedly, apparently conscious that their “ lines are fallen to them in pleasant places.” The trees which have been spared by the inhabitants for
purposes of shade and ornament, throw out their branches with a luxuriancy which betokens a generous soil, and certainly contribute their full quota toward the aggregate beauty of the picture.
A road, you perceive, runs lengthwise through the vale, along which many neat habitations are sprinkled ; and about midway there arises the steeple of a modest and tasteful house of worship; on its vane at this moment the sun's setting beams are reposing: a more fitting emblem of the mild and cheering character of the doctrines dispensed within that temple, could not well be imagined-doctrines adapted to shed on the spirit's parting hour the light of an immoveable trust in heaven.
But the brightest feature in this lovely landscape is yet unmarked: cast your eye, reader, toward the foot of yonder western barrier; there rolls a river, so exquisitely pure and placid, that it resembles a burnished mirror; it is, however, partially hidden from our view by the elms and sycamores which fringe its margin, and immediately opposite to us its channel is divided by an island. How soft and verdant! The muses, and the graces, yea, and goddesses too, might be well content with grotloes on that green and quiet spot. I fancy that, of a calm evening, we might hear at this distance-perhaps we might—the murmuring of the stream where it is broken by the upper point of the island; and then, in addition to this exhibition of Nature's taste in penciling, we should have a pretty specimen of her skill in music.
That river, reader, is the Susquehannah, and I doubt me much if in all this wide world the lord of day looks down upon a stream which reflects back his glory more clearly than does this beautiful daughter of the Otsego lake. I have threaded its shores in all their windings, from where it issues from the aforesaid lake among the hills, to where it blends its translucent waters with the briny billows of the Chesapeake bay; and nowhere, methinks, within equal limits, has beauty, in its softer forms, consecrated to itself a greater number of dwelling places: its bordering hills present every conceivable variety of aspect; now they incline in grassy or arable slopes; anon they tower in perpendicular or beetling ledges ; here they sweep away in graceful curves a mile or more from its verge, leaving space for broad tracts of level and rich alluvion; and there they run for miles along the river's brink, and mirror their huge forms upon its waters, as though Nature were as proud