Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter VIII >> Page 125

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Page 125

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription JAMESTOWN. 125
been farming upon his waste domains. Their policy differs from
his in one essential particular. They concentrate the energies
which he diffuses. They require but small territory, and they
make the most of it. Lands which, in the hands of the Virgin-
ian, were no longer profitable for tobacco, the New-Yorkers have
limed for wheat ; and what he sold at a dollar per acre, in many
instances will now command seventy-five dollars. The character
of the Soutliron is bold and adventurous. This leads him to
prefer the wandering to the stationary life. He needs excite-
ment, and prefers the varieties and the vicissitudes of the forest,
to the tame drudgery of the farmstead. His mission is that of
a pioneer. The same farmer who now makes his old fields flour-
ish in grain, thirty bushels to the acre, would never have set foot
in the country, until the brave Virginian had cleared it of its
savage inhabitants, the wild beast, and the red man."" James river conducts you to Jamestown. Jamestown and
St. Augustine are among the oldest landmarks of civilization in
Anglo-Norman America. You approach both, if properly minded,
with becoming veneration. The site of Jamestown is an island,
connected by a bridge with the main. The spot is rather a pleas-
ing than an imposing one. It was chosen evidently with regard
to two objects, security from invasion by the sea, and yet an
easy communication with it when desirable. Here, squat and
hidden like a sea-fowl about to lay her eggs, the colony escaped
the vigilant eyes and ferocious pursuit of the hungry Spaniard."
What a commentary upon the instability of national power
is the fact, that, at this day, this power has no longer the capa-
city to harm. In the time of Elizabeth, the Spaniard was the
world's great Tiger Shark. Now, he is little better than a skip-
jack in the maw of that Behemoth of the nations, whose sea-
growth he certainly did something to retard. In the time of
Roundhead authority, the Dutch were a sort of corpulent sword-
fish of the sea ; now you may better liken them to the great
lazy turtle, fat and feeble, whom more adroit adventurers turn
upon their backs to be gathered up at leisure. Both of these
nations may find their revenges, and recover position in other
days, when the powers by which they were overcome shall fall
into their errors, and contrive, through sheer blindness, their own
emasculation."