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Hunting in the Dismal Swamp. A Scene in the Early History of the Country.

the Lyons, Panthers, and Alligators, they were like to encounter in that dreadful Place.

In short, we saw plainly there was no Intelligence of this Terra Incognita to be got, but from our own Experience. For that Reason it was resolv'd to make the requisite Disposition to enter it next Morning. We alloted every one of the Surveyors for this painful Enterprise, with 12 Men to attend them.

Besides this Luggage at their Backs, they were oblig'd to measure the distance, mark the Trees, and clear the way

for the Surveyors every step they went. It was really a Pleas. ure to see with how much Cheerfulness they undertook, and with how much Spirit they went thro' all this Drudgery


grace, the

Altho' there was no need of Example to inflame Persons already so cheerful, yet to enter the People with the better

Author and two more of the Commissioners accompanied them half a Mile into the Dismal. The Skirts of it were thinly Planted with Dwarf Reeds and GallBushes, but when we got into the Dismal itself, we found the Reeds grew there much taller and closer, and, to mend the matter, was so interlac'd with bamboe-briars, that there was no scuffling thro' them without the help of Pioneers. At the same time, we found the Ground moist and trembling under our feet like a Quagmire, insomuch that it was an easy Matter to run a Ten-Foot-Pole up to the Head in it, without exerting any uncommon Strength to do it.

Two of the Men, whose Burthens were the least cumbersome, had orders to march before, with their Tomahawks, and clear the way, in order to make an Opening for the Surveyors. By their Assistance we made a Shift to push the Line half a Mile in 3 Hours, and then reacht a small piece of firm Land, about 100 Yards wide, Standing up above the rest like an Island. Here the people were glad to lay down their Loads and take a little refreshment, while the happy man, whose lot it was to carry the Jugg of Rum, began already, like Æsop's Bread-Carriers, to find it grow a good deal lighter.

Since the Surveyors had enter'd the Dismal, they had laid Eyes on no living Creature : neither Bird nor Beast, Insect nor Reptile came in View. Doubtless, the Eternal Shade that broods over this mighty Bog, and hinders the sun-beams from blessing the Ground, makes it an uncomfortable Habitation for any thing that has life. Not so much as a Zealand Frog cou'd endure so Aguish a Situation.

It had one Beauty, however, that delighted the Eye, tho' at the Expense of all the other Senses; the Moisture of the Soil preserves

es a continual Verdure, and makes every Plant an Evergreen, but at the same time the foul Damps ascend without ceasing, corrupt the Air, and render it unfit for Respiration. Not even a Turkey-Buzzard will venture to fly over it, no more than the Italian Vultures will over the filthy Lake Avernus, or the Birds in the Holy Land over the Salt Sea, where Sodom and Gomorrah formerly stood.

How they Slept in the Dismal Swamp.—They first cover'd the Ground with Square Pieces of Cypress bark, which now, in the Spring, they cou'd casily Slip off the Tree for that purpose. On this they Spread their Bedding; but unhappily the Weight and Warmth oř their Bodies made the Water rise up betwixt the Joints of the Bark, to their great Inconvenience. Thus they lay not only moist, but also exceedingly cold, because their Fires were continually going out.

We could get no Tidings yet of our Brave Adventurers, notwithstanding we despacht men to the likeliest Stations to enquire after them. They were still Scuffleing in the Mire, and could not Possibly forward the Line this whole day more than one Mile and 64 Chains. Every Step of this Day's Work was thro' a cedar Bog, where the Trees were somewhat Smaller and grew more into a Thicket. It was now a great Misfortune to the Men to find their Provisions grow less as their Labour grew greater.

Tho' this was very severe upon English Stomachs, yet the People were so far from being discomfited at it, that they still kept up their good Humour, and merrily told a young Fellow in the Company, who lookt very Plump and Wholesome, that he must expect to go first to Pot, if matters shou'd come to Extremity.

This was only said by way of Jest, yet it made Him thoughtful in earnest. However, for the present he return'd them a very civil answer, letting them know that, dead or alive, he shou'd be glad to be useful to such worthy good friends. But, after all, this Humourous Saying had one very good effect; for that younker, who before was a little enclin’d by his Constitution to be lazy, grew on a Sudden Extreamly Industrious, that so there might be less Occasion to carbonade him for the good of his Fellow-Travellers.


(From History of the Dividing Line.) 1729, November.-By the Strength of our Beef, we made a shift to walk about 12 Miles, crossing Blewing and Tewaw-homini Creeks. And because this last Stream receiv'd

Appellation from the Disaster of a Tuscarora Indian, it will not be Straggling much out of the way to say something of that Particular Nation. These Indians were heretofore

very numerous and

powerful, making, within time of Memory, at least a Thousand Fighting Men. Their Habitation, before the War with Carolina, was on the North Branch of Neuse River, commonly call’d Connecta Creek, in a pleasant and fruitful Country. But now the few that are left of that Nation live on the North Side of MORATUCK, which is all that Part of Roanok below the great Falls, towards ALBEMARLE Sound.

Formerly there were Seven Towns of these Savages, lying not far from each other, but now their Number is greatly reduc'd.

These Indians have a very odd Tradition amongst them, that many years ago, their Nation was grown so dishonest, that no man cou'd keep any Goods, or so much as his loving Wife to himself. That, however, their God, being unwilling to root them out for their crimes, did them the honour to send a Messenger from Heaven to instruct them, and set Them a perfect Example of Integrity and kind Behaviour towards one another.

But this holy Person, with all his Eloquence and Sanctity of Life, was able to make

little Reformation amongst them. Some few Old men did listen a little to his Wholesome Advice, but all the Young fellows were quite incorrigible. They not only Neglected his Precepts, but derided and Evil Entreated his Person. At last, taking upon Him to reprove some Young Rakes of the Conechta Clan very sharply for their impiety, they were so provok'd at the Freedom of his Rebukes, that they tied him to a Tree, and shot him with Arrows through the Heart. But their God took instant Vengeance on all who had a hand in that Monstrous Act, by Lightning from Heaven, & has ever since visited their Nation with a continued Train of Calamities, nor will he ever leave off punishing, and wasting their People, till he shall have blotted every living Soul of them out of the World,


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