Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter VIII >> Page 124

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Page 124

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription CHAPTER VIII.
Nest egg of the Old Dominion.
WITH joined hands, Smith and Pocahontas conduct you natu-
rally to Jamestown, that abandoned nest of the Sire of Eagles.
James river is one of the classic regions of the county. We
should all of us, once in a life, at least, make it the object of a
pilgrimage ! It is full of associations, to say nothing of it as a
fine spacious stream, which, when a better spirit and knowledge
of farming shall prevail and a denser population shall inhabit its
borders, will become a channel of great wealth, and present a
throng of quiet beauties to the eye wherever its currents wander.
"But the imputation of a sickly climate rests upon James
river."
This is due wholly to the sparseness of the settlements, the
lack of drainage, the want of proper openings in the woods for
the progress of the winds, and to the presence of a cumbrous and
always rotting undergrowth. Population will cure all this. It
is doing it already. The farming settlements are improving, and
the health of the river is said to be improving along with them.
You will have pointed out to you, along the route, a number of
well-cultivated plantations, some containing four or five thousand
acres, which are represented as being among the best man-
aged and most profitable in the state. With the substitution of
farming for staple culture, this progress would be rapid."
But the genius of the Southron, particularly the Virginian,
has always inclined more to extensive than to careful cultivation.
His aims were always magnificent. He must have large estates.
IIe can not bear to be crowded. Like his cattle, he must get all
the range he can ; and, in the extent of his territory, be neg-
lects its improvement. Indeed, his force�that is, his labor
was never equal to his estates. The New York farmers have