The Summer's Journey of a Naturalist (Part III)
The final installment in a three-part series about a trip down America’s eastern seaboard
III. FROM THE POTOMAC TO THE JAMES
The Potomac is now chief among our American historical rivers. Though its waters were never reddened by any decisive battle, it is more closely connected with the great struggle, through all its many years, than any other landmark. Fortunately it is worthy of its place among great events. Few streams in our land compare with it in beauty. We came upon it on our journey from the northward with no study for effects, yet the views we got of it were very beautiful. Below Cumberland it has been reduced by many great branches. The Shenandoah is a considerable river, and the South Potomac is much larger than the stream which, following more nearly the line of the main river, has held its name. The valley in which it lies is by far the handsomest of the many which cut this mountain system. Away to the westward we could trace its course where the hills fell on its borders, and a few miles above us it opens out into a steeply walled plain through a grand gateway of cliffs. Our road led us through Cumberland, where a thriving and dirty city is swallowing up what seems to have been a pretty old town in those days when the National Road and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal gave it a sleepy prosperity: Hurrying through the town in a driving rain, we entered at once upon a dreary upland, where all the timber had been cut away to give sweep to the fire of the guns of the fortress which crowned a neighboring hill. We wandered on until the darkness made us glad to camp on a little by-way which ran under the canal and over a ford in the Potomac. All night we could hear the shouting of the boatmen and the thunder of the railway trains that ran by its side. The river here is only a summer stream, with quiet pools of water—so warm, even in the morning, that our swim was debilitating—strung together by a rivulet only partly filling its broad bed, covered elsewhere with a random growth of plants. The banks, as far as we could see in the blue fog of the early morning, were bordered with noble trees; great sycamores were poised in hardy attitudes on the bank, some with vast roots as flying buttresses, and ancient branches with a strange, stony surface which made them seem like fragments of arches in some old ruin. Here and there a grape-vine had weighed down some younger tree, with its mass of foliage making a tent-shaped dome of green. There was a luxuriance in these tangled woods surpassing anything we had seen before.
Our road led us down the valley for several miles to the mouth of a stream called Patterson’s Creek, where we crossed the Potomac. The scenery was lovely all the way, and at the ford became indeed enchanting. There was a beautiful gorge just below the crossing, where the river had cut through a high ridge, and the rock in its massive beds was seen forming the great arch of the mountain, with all the regularity of art. The river, widened by many little tributaries, lay before us in a wide, shallow pool, through which the ford ran. Over the river our short journey in Maryland was at an end, and we were on Virginia soil. The only thing noteworthy at first was the admirable road which led up the stream we were now to follow to its source. For a week we had been struggling with obstacles, so that the change was very welcome. Unlike the smaller valleys we had already traversed, this through which Patterson’s Creek ran was very wide and level, giving a place for the road and broad meadows below the mountains on either side. The creek is a pretty river about fifty feet wide, with water of marvellous clearness and very potable, though with a temperature of ninety degrees. The mountains have changed their form since we crossed the river: they are no longer all made on the same model as in Pennsylvania, but have a large share of individuality. The greater hills have often ragged crests, and are surrounded by clusters of foot-hills which give charming foregrounds. This is an unexplored land for the geologist, and amazingly rich in fossils. Near the ford the débris by the roadside abounded in crinoids; an hour’s search gave over twenty exquisite fossil heads of these lilies of the ancient seas. We camped at night beside the stream, beneath a noble sycamore. One branch of this tree was the finest thing in its way I ever saw. Leaving the trunk near its base, it rose in a stately sweep full fifty feet from the earth, and then bent back until its fan of foliage swept the ground.
Our sabbath here was quite undisturbed. Ever since we crossed the Maryland line, the people have respected the privacy of our camp as much as they would a more substantial home. Those who are brought by chance near us move on with at most a short greeting. With better manners comes less thrift. The land is good along the stream, but the farms are poorly kept and show aimless, shiftless lives. War has done something to ruin the country, but want of teaching and too much whiskey have been far more destructive to the race. The new conditions are also marked by a change of language. You was and we was gone done, done gone done, and gwine gone done, familiar music to our ears, are perplexing to the most of our party. To add to the peculiarities of speech, we have here one singular use of a word; reckon is usually in the South the equivalent of the Northern guess or calculate: but here it comes to be used as the expression du tell, as a pure exclamation. Surprise a native with any statement, he says, “I reckon,” and may repeat it several times, as an Englishman does his “Dear me.”
When we crossed the Potomac we left domestic thrift behind, and in its place we got the picturesque. The eye always gets a certain satisfaction from the log-cabin when it is well made, for it is a thoroughly “constructive” building. It is the only perfectly sound thing architecturally one is apt to see in this country. Many of these cabins are very well built, two separate “pens,” as they are called, being joined under one roof, so as to make a broad open gallery between, the roof being carried far forward, so as to make a, wide veranda. Life goes on with an openness quite Italian. These unwalled places are the living-rooms of the family. A swarm of children, the middle aged, and the old are generally clustered there, with yelping hounds, chickens, and other elements of rural life. We often see all the forms of household industry at once. On one broad veranda spinning-wheels, large and small, a loom, and a churn were all at work. Wagons are very rare. We travelled more than a day over the best road we have had in a thousand miles, without seeing one. The people are all on horseback. As we get farther up the valley, we begin to see more and more the effects of war. Often every other cabin will be empty, its tattered roof and open windows showing that it has long been a broken home. There is but one answer to the question we often asked as to the owner’s fate, — Killed in the war. Sometimes one comes across a little settlement with half a dozen houses quite abandoned, even the paths to the doors thick-grown with the rapid undergrowth of the country. All this is very saddening, for these people, though rude and illiterate, have intense home ties; each of these tenantless houses marks a bitter sorrow, some home made desolate by the death of its head, — some family scattered in the world.
Every mile of southing carries us twenty feet or more higher above the sea. The air grows lighter and more exhilarating. We are now some twelve hundred feet in the air, with much of the load of life off our shoulders. There is a pervading heat, but it is tempered by fresh breezes, and made delightful by a certain breathable quality. This is a region of great rainfall and evaporation, so the air has qualities not found farther to the northward. It is richer in color and perspective effects; the hills shade away in the distance, instead of having the hard, cold outline of the New Hampshire hills. The earth marks the increased rainfall more clearly than the air. There is a wealth of water only equalled in Switzerland. We are always in sight of it; sometimes the springs come out like great underground brooks, as they are; and they are always cold and pure, and full of trout to their sources. They have run for miles in the endless caverns which are hollowed beneath all these mountains.
The third day from the Potomac we descried the defile which divides the valley of Patterson’s Creek from the south branch of the river. The view was one of the finest, if not the very best, of our whole journey. Back on our road the mountains were shut out by the nearer hills, but to the south there was an extended prospect; the valley of the Potomac was wide and greatly varied. Some few miles away began again the mountain system, but higher and more closely knit than we had seen before; for ten miles, in an east and west direction, it seemed a great wall rising two thousand feet above the river, and cut by the gorges of several streams. Farther to the south, rounded mountains and sharper peaks were heaped above each other, until they faded in the illimitable distance. There was a strength about the outlines of these mountains which made them finer elements of the landscape than the White Mountains or any of our Northern hills. A noble solitude wrapped the scene. Man has done little to make or mar: it is really an untouched wilderness.
At dusk we passed the little town of Petersburg, near the bank of the river. It was, take it altogether, the meanest looking village of its size we had yet seen. There were no visible means of support for the thousand people it contained. They did not look well-fed, though well-built and stalwart. Everything had an ancient, out-of-the-world look which, in its way, was interesting. The houses were squalid cabins, but it was curious to see that almost all had an abundance of flowers planted in the small patches of land, or in tubs by the doors.
There are no bridges here, nor have ever been; so we struggled through the stream across a difficult ford. The river is about two hundred feet wide and three feet deep, — a swift stream of the purest water I have ever seen. The bottom is paved with great boulders, through which our unhappy teams had to wrestle as best they could. We camped. just below the ford in another of those beautiful green borders to the streams which have of late given us such famous camping-grounds. Twenty times a day we come across places which so invite us by their beauty and fitness for a camp that it seems hard to pass them by, — wood, water, clear sward, and sheltering trees, with young growths to furnish tent-poles, and to be found anywhere on a little search.
By an accident at the ford we lost the alcohol from my can of snakes, and were obliged to go back to town to replace it with the vile whiskey of a bar-room, which was sure to kill but was not remarkable for its preserving properties. It was curious to see the hungry-looking crowd of loafers eye the gallons of precious stuff vanishing among the snakes and fish. There were loud and deep protests against the profanation. The objections might have been more effective had the spectators not been somewhat dazed by the inconceivable character of the whole performance. “Three-dollar whiskey given to the varmints,” as one expressed it, “enough to give them all a good time for a week, was enough to rile any man.”
Our night’s camp was in cool air beneath a sky of marvellous brilliancy. It was one of those nights when the heavens deepen until one fancies one sees the stars in long perspective; and already some new stars began to show along the southern sky. The next day we climbed over the divide which separates the waters of the Potomac from the James. The head-waters cross each other like the interlaced branches of two forest trees, so that it was hard to be sure where one system began and the other ended; but the rambling rills soon gathered themselves into a beautiful river, which grew in a few miles to a scarcely fordable stream.
We camped for our Sunday rest in a grove beside the road, by the noblest spring we have yet drunk from; it came up out of a little green plat at the foot of the mountain in a great basin of mossgrown rocks, from which it poured a little river. There were three other great springs on the same farm of two hundred acres. The owner of the land offered to catch us some trout in the native fashion. After dark a party, which must have represented all the people within three miles, appeared, furnished with pipe torches and great hand-nets shaped like sugar-shovels. The men with these waded into the stream, and, working upward, drove the fish before them, while the people on the bank with their flaming torches helped to confuse the poor creatures. The motley crowd of men, women, and children, all aglow with the torchlight, the fishers wading and plunging in the stream, the stranded fish dancing on the grass made a wonderful piece of color in the thick night. The fish, though it seemed at first as if the stream should be swept of them, managed pretty generally to elude their pursuers. By the torchlight one could see them flashing, like shooting stars, through the water, hurrying up stream, or dashing with quick turns through their pursuers and into safety below. They seemed to understand that their safety lay down stream. The drove that went up the river moved hesitatingly, turning every now and then to reconnoitre the line of nets; if they found a break in the line, they charged it with wonderful quickness, and were out of sight in an instant. After a drive of an hour, during which half a mile of pool and rapid was searched, a hundred trout of good size were in the baskets; those under size were allowed to escape through the large meshes of the nets, or were turned into the water as soon as caught.
In the morning we explored a cave which opened near our camp, one of the thousand which undermine this region. The only noticeable thing was the contrast between the purity of the air within and without the cave. Coming out after dark, the air, so pure to our senses before, seemed a reek of odors; there was a rank, stifling smell of the vegetation, a sickening odor from the river, with a variety of unclassified sensations besides.
At the end of our day’s journey we left the valley, and, climbing a thousand feet, found ourselves on a table-land fenced round with mountains and yielding the waters of the Warm, the Hot, and the Healing Springs. The Warm Springs were prettily situated, with some good buildings, but looking a good deal neglected. Fashion has rather passed away from it, though there seemed to be a hundred people, with the devoted faith which valetudinarians learn to feel in springs, trying to wash away a variety of ills. We are in a region where this sort of hostelries abound. South of the Warm Springs, a few miles distant, lie the Hot and the Healing Springs, both more thronged than this. Just beyond, on our road to Milborough, we came upon the Bath Alum Springs, with waters of great name, which must be deserved if they could make men out of some of the wrecks we saw about the place. We feel so far removed from our kind that throngs of any description are repulsive, and the congregations of disordered bodies about these springs are the worst phases of the supercivilization we have been wandering away from. So we say our politest nay to the kindly invitations to tarry, and hurry on to our next camp. Near here we passed by the mouth of a singular cave. Our road lay along the base of a cliff by which ran a beautiful river, another tributary of the James. The cliff was richly sculptured in the rude reliefs of decay, and, well mantled with foliage at its base, were many small, cavern-like recesses, and one deeper opening which evidently led far into the mountain. As we approached this the air became rapidly cooler, and, when near its mouth, we were in a rush of air which poured from it, seemingly as cold as a winter wind. The blast was so strong that it would float away a handkerchief for some distance, the air having a movement of at least six miles an hour. No one could tell us anything about the cave, except that it blew all summer and drew in its breath in the wintertime. The temperature of the air was that of the mean annual heat of this region, about sixty degrees, the outside air being about thirty degrees higher.
From this point we made a journey by railroad over to the White Sulphur Springs, in order to get a glimpse at the mountain sections and of the greatest of the Virginia watering-places. We found a well-arranged and picturesque caravansary; a central hall used for dining, and other public rooms, and a large number of cottages scattered around the borders of a great ellipse. The place was crowded to suffocation. It was said that there were three thousand people gathered for the “fancy ball” which was to take place that night. The dust beaten up by the carriages, the din of servants, the smell of food, with the hateful odor of crowded mankind, to which our savage senses were very sensitive, drove us away. We thought to stay several days, but in two hours we were on the train for our camp with its sweet simplicity.
We are out of the central region of the mountains when we descend into Rockbridge County. There are many isolated masses, some of majestic proportions, through which our road winds its way, but they are disconnected ruins of the long ridges of the main system, points which have long since been won by the forces contending against the mountains. Our road falls upon a little river, the valley of which we follow nearly all the way to Lexington, — one of a hundred brooks we have followed from their source to their full-grown proportions, but one of the prettiest. For a fortnight we had not seen anything worthy to be called a farm; here decent culture begins to appear again. Negroes are still rare; so far they have been rarer in Virginia than in any other part of our journey. It is evident that slaves were few; and the signs of thrift lend a color to the statement that most of the people are descendants of Scotch emigrants of the last century. We camped just outside of Lexington, and in the morning visited the town, which has some attractions derived from its being the seat of two considerable schools, — the Washington College, now rejoicing in the more ambitious title of Washington and Lee University; and the less pretentious but more effective Virginia Military Institute. I have never seen in America a more charming prospect than was given us from the long hill which led in a beautiful slope into the vast, plane-like valley where, on a graceful elevation, the little city sat. The ridge we were on was the last of the outliers of the Alleghany chain. Before us, to the east, stretched the great trough twenty miles wide which divides the mountains of that chain from the parallel Blue Ridge. The surface of this region was well cultivated, and dotted over with little hamlets or. large farm-houses. Far in the distance these gave way to thick forests, while along the horizon rose the majestic Blue Ridge broken into deep, gorge-like valleys and strong-lined peaks. There was a lovely haze over everything, — a dim color which did not shorten the range of eye, but only showed clearly the gradations of distance, without the sharp silhouette character of our more Northern landscapes. The air is far more humid here than in most parts of the country, and the moisture gives us those rich air effects which are wanting without it. The village of Lexington was interesting, though rather squalid, from the throngs of negroes who have gathered about it. At times there were glimpses of the American lazzaroni life which the negroes afford. No one who has seen the negro in Northern conditions has an idea of the luxuriance of his tropical characters; it takes several months of hot weather every year to bring him to full bloom. It is a pity that the stern realities of life are to drive away this happy, careless people before they have had their pictures taken for coming time. Black persons will survive for centuries, but the “nigger” will be dead in ten years, slain by the schoolmaster.
The two schools are pleasantly disposed on the top of a ridge, with most enchanting views. Washington and Lee University was an unshapely, dingy old building. The students were away, but the place offended the sight by its dirty, unkept look. There was a little chapel in the grounds new enough to make the old building look the more forlorn. A boundary fence separated the grounds from those of the Military Institute, where the order of a well-kept garrison prevailed. There were half a dozen buildings in the grounds, well built, though with an aspiration after the castellate which was a little excessive; all the walls were marked by fire, — marked in a way to make one blush for the barbarism which characterized some of our acts in the last war. When this place was taken, without defence, by General Hunter, he ordered the buildings to be burned, with their library, laboratories, etc. Even the gas machinery was, by order, cut to pieces with axes, to make the destruction more complete.
It is not too much to say that this school is about the most satisfactory thing in the South, in the way of an educational institution. A good corps of teachers gives tuition to about two hundred students. The appliances for teaching are good. The chemical laboratory would compare favorably with that of some of our best Northern schools. The library to replace that lost by fire is already reasonably good. There is the beginning of a museum of applied mechanics, with especial reference to mining industry. The machinery of the school seemed effective. However much one might doubt the propriety of keeping the mediæval machinery of a military school working at this time, one could not fail to feel a pleasure at the sight of the trim, clean, handsome boys who kept guard. The effect in fostering those traits which are most apt to be wanting in the Southern character—order, system, and mental alacrity—is undoubtedly good. The students are fed in a mess-hall, with kitchens worked on a military system, with all the best modern appliances for cooking by steam, bake-ovens, etc. The dinner we saw in preparation was excellent in quality, better in material than that of the average boarding-house at Cambridge, and much better cooked. The physical result of the salubrious conditions is marked in all the young men; a more manly set of boys I never saw. Among the teachers are Matthew F. Maury, author of the Physical Geography of the Sea, and Brooke, the inventor of the deep-sea sounding apparatus, which more than anything else has helped to make soundings at great depths possible.
Our road carried us by the Natural Bridge, once among the celebrated “wonders,” of America, and now undeservedly forgotten. It remains the noblest arch in the world. Although only the fragment of the roof of a cavern which once existed here, it is a singularly regular object, and might well be the monument of a Titanic race.
We seem to have found a way into an impasse, for all the country agrees that there is no road out to the eastward towards Lynchburg, where our plans lead us. The old road has been abandoned since the canal was built, and the canal was swept away by a great inundation the year before. Our only chance seemed to be to take to the tow-path of the canal, which was reported passable for a few miles, though hardly wide enough for our wheels. At times we feared we should not be able to work along the narrow crest and over the frail bridges, which were not made for wagons; but the beauty of the scene richly repaid the difficulties of the journey. The James comes from the Alleghanies, already a beautiful and majestic river. There is no water clearer. Where we came upon it, it is just beginning its assault upon the outworks of the Blue Ridge, the last obstacle between it and the sea. Finally, we emerged into a rich country, where a costly and well-built road led us by a climb of many hundred feet above the river, over the main line of the Blue Ridge, and into the lower country beyond. After a dreary camp in a barren, flood-swept river terrace, we marched towards the “No Business Mountains,” as an outlier of the Blue Ridge is called. They were even lovelier than the main mountains, though they seem drawn like a wall across the valley. No wonder the natives think that they have no business here.
Once up the difficult slopes, the vast plain of Virginia and the array of mountains behind were in the range of eye. The eastern view had all the expansiveness of the sea, with the more charming variety which is given by tenanted earth. We lingered long upon these lovely mountains, and at length with yearning looked our last upon the blue, billowy hills behind us that had been for two months our home, and went down the hill towards Lynchburg. This was the last day of our wild journey, for there we sent our wagons and horses home through Norfolk by rail and sea, and came back to the ways of the world. One and all, we were grieved to end our vagabond life. Those things which were at first chafing had become the most familiar and unnoticed accidents. We had learned the simple joys of a careless, savage life. It needs no more than a year’s training to bring your Brummel down to the uses of the bone cave people. Our two months had served to take us as far on the road as the Arab. There is a fascination in the freedom of the life we had been leading. We had wandered as we listed. Each morning brought anew the sense of perfect freedom. During the day we hurried or loitered as it might profit, and at night some silent and shadowy wood stretched its arms towards us, tendering blessed rest.
Lynchburg was, in slaveholding times, the centre of the tobacco trade of the South; although the land about it was not the richest, there was a rich population all around composed of large slave and land holders. For nearly two centuries the planters had lived their simple life under their peculiar conditions; and here, better than anywhere else, the student who would inform himself concerning that singular condition of society should come. It is the boast of some of Mr. Darwin’s followers, that man is exempt from the operations of selection; but we have here two conspicuous cases of that sort of action. The increase of population, both white and black, in Virginia, during its two centuries of history, has been exceedingly rapid. The descendants of the early settlers, slave and free, now living, probably amount to at least seven millions, while not more than one eighth of that number now live within the limits of Eastern Virginia. But the migration of the two races has been so carried on as to produce a sharp contrast in effect. The white families have very generally lost their younger and more energetic children, who have gone to found the vigorous communities of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, as well as to share the pioneers work in nearly every other Western and Southern State. This drain of the best part of its white youth from the State has undoubtedly lowered the mental and physical tone of the people below the point it would have attained if no such drain had existed. With the negroes, however, the selection operated in a different way: as they increased far more rapidly than the industry of the country could make use of their labor, they were constantly sent away to communities where the demand was great; and it was this rapid increase which led to the miserable traffic in men between Virginia and the South. In the exportation the planter naturally exercised a great deal of selection. The intelligent, handsome negro was valued about the house, and had endeared himself to the master; he would be kept, while the loutish, vicious fellow would be sold to the trader, who knew that his coarse grain would wear better in the cotton-fields of Mississippi than the finer, house-servant type. Emigration in this case was an elevating and purifying influence. In connection with each old family of whites, one or more families of negroes were almost always associated; of these, few were sold South, unless they fell into irreclaimably bad ways. Two centuries of education with the whites has developed this constantly selected stock into a race which, in physical condition and mental capacity, more nearly approaches the whites than so different a race has ever done before. The negroes about Lynchburg are the handsomest in the South. The admixture of white blood is not large, but it is enough to give an intelligent look to the stalwart men and women one sees on every side. Some of the women, with seven-eighths black blood, are quite fine looking. The intelligence of the people is surprising. Whenever I could do so, it was my custom to talk with the most intelligent negroes. On every plantation there is apt to be some one of the race remarkable for wit or sagacity. A friend, one of the best educated and most intelligent gentlemen in the State, took pride in showing me a negro woman whose family had been slaves with his ancestors for generations. When summoned and told that a stranger wished to talk with her about her people, she came with an easy simplicity of manner which showed the effect of long contact with the higher race. I have never got as well-directed answers from any uneducated person. Our talk lasted about an hour, and ranged over the whole question of the condition and prospects of her race. The schools were not so well maintained as at first, the blacks having been disappointed in the immediate results of education. She thought that there was more money earned and more saved than in the first years of freedom. The great desire now was to get land and make farms. She had herself earned enough to make the first payment on a small farm, where she hoped to live and die, in sight of the “old house.” Her people had just begun to learn to distrust the peripatetic swindlers who, with the close of the war, had flocked among them with infinitely varied schemes for getting their votes and their money. She saw no reason why the whites and blacks could not go along quietly together, each living as they pleased. In all my catechizing, she never wandered from the subject, never brought in her own personal affairs, except to give some natural illustration, and always knew when she had said enough. Any one who has tried to learn by questioning the illiterate knows how rare all this is.
In the Lynchburg country one begins to find the fine old homes and great plantations of Virginia. The stranger travelling by rail sees only by chance in his journey through the State one or two of these homes. The places are generally large; the old plantations had often many thousand acres within their boundaries. Even in the richest country it is generally a few miles from one old place to another. They are generally so bedded in foliage that one may pass quite near without seeing them. One of the handsomest country places I ever saw was miles from any road which could be traversed by ordinary vehicles. We went to it in a heavy wagon over by-ways that are impassable during the rainy season. It was a mile from the gateway to the house, through wide cornfields and forest, yet in this secluded place was a home as elegant as most of the villas about New York or Boston, beautifully furnished, and with a fine library. The floors were of polished and waxed woods, the rooms spacious and high, and the furniture of the older English models before the invasion of French taste. Nor are these houses wanting in the choicer luxuries of life. The handsomest old silver in the country, the English models of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, is to be found in them. At one place we found one of the finest graperies I have ever seen.
Even stronger than the love of domestic comfort, with a share of state, is the love of land. In this the Virginian has never lost the fancies of the mother-country. No country gentleman is satisfied with less than a thousand acres. It is likely that he has two or three thousand about him, and many thousand more on the mountains, from which he gets little profit, unless he can count the satisfaction of mere ownership as profitable. I fancy that, apart from slavery, we are nearer the tone of country life in England in the eighteenth century in Virginia than we can get now in the mother-country. The isolation of estates, which was destroyed in England by the quick communication, and the overwhelming influence of the capital, remains here with all its peculiar consequences on the people. Fox-hunting—not the degraded form of the sport which is found in Pennsylvania and to the northward, where the fox is shot on sight, but the riding to hounds—still has a firm hold in Virginia. It is an interesting question why all these English ways have lived here while they have died farther to the north. The love of land among the Massachusetts people has died out almost as completely as among the Jews all the ways of life have turned into new channels; but here, notwithstanding slavery, the old England has remained almost unchanged. It is likely that slavery, seemingly so different from anything in England, really supplied a tenant class, towards whom the landlord feeling could be exercised; and through the continuance of this conservative feature in society all the rest has been kept alive. Far too much has been made of the assumed difference between the Puritan origin of the Massachusetts clergy and the Cavalier descent of their brethren farther south. Something of difference certainly exists, but less than is commonly supposed. More is to be attributed to the rigidity given to society by the institution of slavery.
Our last day in Virginia was spent at the University of Charlottesville. This pet child of Jefferson is one of the most interesting schools in this country. There is no school in America built on so grand a plan as this, at least so far as its masonry is concerned. A huge building of classic architecture, with a pediment supported by Corinthian columns, with noble marble capitals and incongruous shafts of brick and stone, gives the offices of the school, its library, lecture-rooms, and principal hall. In the latter are some respectable bits of art, among others a fair copy of the School of Athens. The front of this building forms one end of a great quadrangle, the sides being bordered by long lines of brick buildings, part one story, giving dormitories for students, part two stories, for the dwellings of the teachers; the farther end of the quadrangle is open, looking over a beautiful lawn with a lovely vista of rolling country and distant blue mountains. The system of the school is good. It keeps a high standard for its degrees, and deserves in every way the warmest support of those who look to the education of the Southern people for the rehabilitation of that lovely but unhappy part of our country. It was pleasant to bid good by to Virginia sights in our last look at the stately buildings of this monument to her intelligence.