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lage of Port Republic, the latter is situated in Shenandoah county, a short distance from Front Royall, on the right bank of the Shenandoah, about a quarter of a mile from the river, and is said to surpass Weyer's in the grandeur and beauty of its chambers. The description given by Goldsmith of the grotto of Antiparos seems almost literally to apply to these interesting works of nature; Weyer's cave penetrates to a distance of 2700 feet; and Allens 1200; presenting a series of lofty passages, and spacious apartments, encrusted with chrystals, and glittering with beautiful stalactites; exhibiting some of nature's wildest and most beautiful fantasies. We feel in traversing these magnificient apartments, as if we were visiting some of those enchanted palaces in which of old the Knights of chivalry were spellbound, or gazing on the bright visions, and revelling in the beautiful scenes conjured up by the magic of eastern fancy. A cave on Jackson's river, near Covington, is said to be much more extensive and intricate than those mentioned, but not so beautiful. In Montgomery county on the north bank of New river, 14 miles from Newbern, is situated what is called the Glass Windows; a great curiosity, which presents the spectator with a scene almost as magnificient as the natural bridge. The Falling Water, in Berkely county, and Falling Spring, in Bath, are two beautiful cataracts,—the first is situated on the bank of the Potomac, 6 miles north east from Martinsburg, and falls over a large alluvial rock, which rises 200 feet above the surface of the river;—the latter rises in the Warm Spring mountains, about 20 miles south west of the Warm springs, and about three quarters of a mile from its source, falls over a rock more than 200 feet above the valley below. The ebbing and flowing springs of Bath and Washington counties, may be mentioned as great natural curiosities,—the former situated in the valley of the Cow Pasture river, 16 miles north east of the Warm springs; it ebbs and flows to a remarkable extent-affording when the tide is full, sufficient water for a gristmill, -when at ebb, only supplying a tanyard and a distillery; the water is of the purest and best quality, and equal in the hottest seasons to the temperature of ice-water. The Ice-mountain and Ice-cave, in Hamsphire county are very remarkable. On the north west side of the mountain, the surface is covered with loose stones, which being removed to the depth of three feet, an abundance of ice may be found at all seasons of the year. The Ice Cave, is situated near the top of a hill, nearly 1000 feet high-affords an abundant supply of excellent ice throughout the year. The most remarkable cataract in the State, is the Falling Spring, in Alleghany county. The stream has sufficient power, a few yards from its source, to turn a mill wheel, and about a mile below, it has a perpendicular descent of 200 feet, over a precipice of calcareous rock; before it reaches the bottom, it is almost converted into vapour, and the temperature is considerably reduced; the stream unites with Jackson's river, about a mile below the cataract. The Salt Pond lake, in Giles' county, not having been described in any account of the state, deserves to be noticed. It presents the curious spectacle of a beautiful sheet of water, about three miles in circumference, and a 100 fathoms deep, on the summit of a lofty mountain. Some of the aged people in the neighborhood, remember when its bottom was a spot of marshy ground, covered with pine and oak timber, and much frequented by deer and elk in pursuit , as was supposed, of salt
. In process of time, a small pond was formed in the centre, -encreasing slowly at first, untill a stream which flowed out high on the mountain, suddenly ceased, and then rapidly rising above the tops of the trees, and finally to the top of the mountain,
which it overflows at an angle below the general level. The water is entirely fresh, and abounds with lizards, but has no fish, The idea which prevails of its alternate rise and fall is erroneous; it is 3700 feet above the Ocean.
Lake Drummond, in the Dismal Swamp, is about 7 miles in extent, and varies from 10 to 20 feet deep; it is about 24 feet above tide water; and in times of drought, the only feeder to the Dismal Smamp canal. Its waters are cool, and strongly impregnated with juniper; but pleasent to drink. Our limits will not permit us to notice the carved or calico rock of Kanawha, and various other curiosities of the state, which merit description: but some account of them will be found in the several counties in which they are lo cated.
MOUNTAINS. Having taken a general survey of the whole of Virginia, we will now give a more particular description of her mountain ranges, and the courses of her streams. Our mountains are not scattered confusedly in groups, or in solitude over the surface of the country; but are disposed in massive rid. ges, commencing about 180 miles from the coast, and running parallel with it; in a S. W. direction. The first continuous chain derives its name from the deep blue colour by which it is distinguished. The North Mountains are from 20 to 30 miles farther west; and these are succeeded by the great Appalachian or Alleghany range, which divides the eastern and western waters. The Appalachian system presents its widest base in Virginia, and if we include its various lateral ridges, occupies a superficies of nearly one hundred miles in breadth, nearly all of which is covered with mountains and vallies. In the same direction generally are the veins of limestone, coal, and other minerals; and the falls of the rivers. James and Potomac rivers penetrate through all the ranges east of the Alleghany;--that is broken by no water course, and is in fact the spine of the country between the Atlantic on one side, and the Mississippi, and St. Lawrence on the other. The passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge has been said to be perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature. You stand on a very high point of land, -on your right comes the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountains for a 100 miles in search of a vent,on your left approaches the Potomac, also in quest of a passage;—at the moment of their junction they rush together through the mountain and pass to the sea. The first glance of the scene hurries us into the belief that the mountains were created before the rivers, that in this place the latter were dammed up by the former, and made a lake, which covered a considerable portion of the valley,—that continuing to rise, they at length burst through at the spot, and tore asunder the mountain from its summit to its base. The check to unnatural migrations to the extreme west-by bringing to light and usefulness innumerable valuable crude materials,—thereby not only enlarging the field of manufactures and the useful arts, but furnishing carrying for the canals and roads already constructed, and assisting in new internal improvements in locations of equal importance. That í may not appear to be too enthusiastic, pardon me for pointing out some of the most obvious features in the geology of Virginia. Whether we consider the comfort and convenience of our species, or the industry and prosperity of a state, there is no mineral production that can ourvie in importance with that of coal. In this country, where we have hitherto always had a superabundance of fuel, owing to the vast extent of our natural forests, the importance of a constant and abundant supply is not felt, and we are too apt to neglect properly to appreciate its value; but it is not so elsewhere--and a moment's reflection will shew that it ought not to be so here. Without fuel, of what use would be to us the metallic ores ? For instance iron, which is now moulted, drawn and worked into thousands and tens of thousands of useful instruments, from a knife, to the complicated machinery of a steam ingine, would forever remain an indissoluble and useless mass of matter without the aid of fuel. Even the steam engine itself, that colossus of modern machinery, without the assistance of fire would be inactive and impotent.
* Note.-The following interesting letter, on the mineral wealth of Virginia, was ad. dressed to the Hon. John Floyd, whilst Govenor of Virginia.
“I have recently returned from a geological excursion in Virginia. I entered the state near the head waters of the Potomac, passed thence to Winchester, followed the course of that fine Valley to the Natural Bridge; retracting my steps, I turned westwardly at Staunton, crossed the mountain at Jennings' Gap, and visited the justly celebrated medicinal springs in that region; returning, I went from Staunton through Charlottesville to Richmond, and down the James to its mouth. When this tour is taken in connection with a former visit to Wheeling, it will be conceded that I have seen enough of the state to enable me to form a rough estimate of its geological and mineralogical importance: and I do assure you sir, that although my anticipations were far from being meagre, I was astonished at the vastness and variety of interesting objects in that department of natural history, that were constantly developing themselves, inviting the mind of man to reflection, and his hand to industry, and displaying at every step the wisdom and benificence of the Great Creater.
I determined upon respectfully suggesting to your excellency, the expediency of a topographical, geological, mineralogical, and orgetological survey of Virginia. Should the enlightened representatives of the freemen of your state concur in this opinion, it will redound to the honor of all concerned, by the encouragement it will give to the study of the natural sciences by the enhancement in the value of land in the interior, thereby enriching the state and its citizens, and giving a very proper
Where is the state in this Union ? I might perhaps safely ask, where is the country in the world, that can surpass Virginia in the variety of position and abundance of supply of this valuable combustible ? She possesses, not only in common with her sister states, a liberal quantity of bituminous coal in her western and carbonaceous regions--where, according to geological calculations, bituminous coal might be reasonably expected to be found; but in the eastern division of the state, within a few miles of the tidewater of a majestic stream which empties its ample waters into the Atlantic Ocean-in a geological position where bituminous coal never would have been sought after, because bituminous coal could not there have ever been expected to have been found, bituminous coal of a good quality, and apparently in great abundance has been found;-nature seeming, as it were, in this instance, to enable her to favor an otherwise highly favored land—to have defined all her own rules, and baffled the skill of the gravest geologist, by depositing bituminous coal upon the naked and barren bosom of the uncarbonaceous granite! I have often wondered why this anomaly did not strike the capacious and highly gifted mind of Jefferson ; and why he, or some other of the many reflecting men of Virginia, was not led by it to inquire, what else there might be in store for the good people of that state ? By neglecting to seek for them, we ungratfully reject the proffered kindness of our Creater; the laws of inanimate matter are, in this respect, in unision with those that govern animated nature: we are furnished with the material and means, but in order to stimulate us to useful and healthful industry, we must labor in their appropriation. God gives us the earth and the seed, but we must plough and sow, or we can never reap; so he has bountifully placed within our reach innumerable valuable rocks, minerals and combustibles; but to enjoy them, we must delve into the bowels of the earth—and having found them, we must by various laborious processes render them fit for our use. To those who are accustomed to regard these things, it is dificult to determine which causes the most painful sensations, to observe how few coal mines, in comparison to what might be, are opened in the neighborhood of Richmond; or the want of skill exhibited in the selection and working of those recently opened. Nor is the deposite of the bituminous coal upon the granite, the only geological anomaly of this quarter. Proceeding from Charlottesville towards Richmond, almost immediately after you leave the talcose formation of the Blue Ridge, you are astonished at the fertility of the soil. You can scarcely persuade yourself that you are travelling over a country of primitive rocks. Soon however you discover that the fertility is not universal, bit confined to patches of a brick-red covering, that overlay the disintegrated materials of the primorda il formations; and upon seeking further into this curious matter,
piles of rock on each side, but especially on that of the Shenandoah, bear evident marks of rupture and avulsion from their beds, by some powerful force. The distant finishing which nature has given to the picture is of a very different character; and a perfect contrast to the fore-ground. The former is as placid and delightful as the latter is wild and tremendous. You see through the rough and horrid cleft, a clear and beautiful view of level and fertile country, bounded only by the limits of human vision.
The height of our mountains has not yet been estimated with any degree of exactness. There is no doubt but the Alleghany, as it is the dividing ridge for the waters, is more elevated above the ocean than the rest; but its relative height, estimated from the base on which it stands, will not comyour surprise is not a little increased upon discovering that this brick-red covering owes its existence to the disintegration of a rock which, in most other places, is exceedingly slow to decompose—and which, when decomposed, forms a cold and inhospitable soil. It is the hornblende sienite. Here it is surcharged with iron, which oxidating by, exposure to the atmosphere and moisture, the rock freely disintegrates, and the oxide of iron being set at liberty, imparts its coloring to the ground, and fertilizes the soil in an extraordinary degree.
Next in geological and statistical importance, I would place the mineral springs of Virginia; and those would form a legitimate subject of investigation to those who should be appointed to conduct a geological survey.
I am not aware of any portion of country of tắe same extent, possessing an equal number and variety of mineral springs as the counties of Bath, Greenbrier and Monroe. This is a subject upon which one might easily compose a book; but I must confine myself to a few lines. The waters are thermal and cold; the former of various degrees of intensity. They hold in solution a variety of metals, earths, acids, and alkalies, combined in various proportions, and suited to relieve the sufferings of in. valids from a number of diseases. Mineral springs of less interest than these have excited the attention of the learned in almost every age and country; and Virginia, owes it to her high mental standing, independently of every other consideration, to assist the cause of science by investigating the causes of the high temperature, and making accurate analysis of these valuable waters. It is the duty of states, as it is of individuals, to furnish their quota to the general stock of information; and this is pe culiarly the duty of a republican state, whose happiness, nay, whose very political ex: istence depends upon an improved state of the minds of its citizens. Mr. John Ma son Good, in his "Book of Nature," after describing the barren state of society in the middle ages, says: “We have thus rapidly travelled over a wide and dreary deserti, that like the sandy wastes of Africa, has seldom been found refreshed by spots of verdure; and what is the moral? That ignorance is ever associated with wretcheclness and vice, and knowledge with happiness and virtue. Their connections are indissoluble; they are woven in the very texture of things, and constitute the only substantial difference between man and man,” and I would add between state and statie.
Has the heat of these waters any connexion with volcanic phenomena ? or is the temperature entirely chemical, originating in the decomposition of sulphuret of iron, as 1 suggested some years ago, in a paper published upon the subject? At the Hot Springs, the hot sulphur water and the cold pure water issue out of the calcareous rock at the base of the Warm Spring mountain, within a few feet of each other. One of these Virginia springs makes a copious deposite of calcareous tufa; and at another, you perceive newly formed chrystals of sulphate of iron. The White Sulphur Spring takes its name from a rich white deposite, and the Red Sulphur frc.m one of that color. If this is not an uncommon and a highly interesting section of country, calling aloud for investigation, and meriting legislative inteference, th en have I taken an entirely erroneous view of the subject.
The Warm Spring mountain is white sandstone. The rocks of the Valley of 1 he Hot Springs are calcareous, argillaceous and siliceous. They are all nearly vertical. At first the two former, and afterwards the two latter alternate. They have all been deposited in a horizontal position, and between their narrow strata are thin layers; of clay, covering organic remains.
The mountain ranges of Virginia are more numerous, and the Valleys consequently narrower than they are in Pennsylvania; but some of them are very interesting. The great Valley, as it is sometimes called, 'or par excellence, the Valley, situat: bc
pare with that of some of its kindred ranges;—the country rising a considerable step behind each range. It has been before stated that the Peaks of Otter, in the Blue Ridge, were supposed until lately to be the highest points measured from their base, in North America; but it has since been ascer. tained that the White Top Peaks of the Iron mountains are still more elevated. The highest peak of the latter is only about 4,260 feet above the Atlantic ocean,—which is not one fifth part of the height of the mountains of South America, or one third of the height which would be necessary in our latitude, to preserve ice unmelted in the open air throughout the year. The range of mountains next beyond the Blue Ridge, which we call the North Mountain, received the name of Endless mountain from the Indians, on account of its great extent.
ALLEGHANY mountain of the Appalachian system. It is an unanswerable objection to giving the name of Alleghany to the whole system, that it has been appropriated to a particular chain in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. From the basin of the Kanawha, to that of the western branch of the Susquehannah, through 4° of latitude, the Alleghany is a dividing ridge between the waters flowing into the Atlantic, from those of the Ohio, giving source, eastward to the branches of James river and the Potomac and on the other side, or weastward to those of the Kanawha, Monongahela, Youghioghany and Kiskiminitas. The ridges which form the particular chain of the Alleghany, are not very distinctly defined, though the entire chain constitutes so remarkable a feature in the geography of the United States. The length of the Alleghany is, from Monroe county, in Virginia, in the valley of the Kanawha, to Centre county, in Pennsylvania, in the valley of Susquehannah, 300 miles. The height varies, but may be stated at sween the Blue Ridge and the North and Alleghany mountain, is by far the most exensive. The rocks often obtrude, rendering the soil rather scanty—but nevertheless this is a fine district of country.
I could find no fossils in this rock. In regard to the metallic ores I would observe, that I discovered sufficient indications of their existing in Virginia in quantity sufficient to justily a more accurate examination. Iron abounds in almost every part of the western section of the state ; traces of copper, lead, manganese and chrome, have also been discovered near the Blue Rridge; and the gold of Orange county is equal. to any found in the Carolinas or Georgia.
I have never seen any thing that exceeds the richness and variety of coloring of the serpentine of the Blue Ridge. This mineral is easily cut, and the fineness and closeness of the grain render it susceptible of a bigh polish: at Zoblitz, in Saxony, several hundred persons are employed in its manufacture. Besides the minerals belonging to the talcose formation, and generally accompanying serpentine, are many of them valuable in the arts; for instance, steatite (soap stone,) talc, chromate of iron, clorite of slate, and native magnesia. A geological survey would most probably lead to the discovery of most of these minerals.
I could make large additions to this communication, but for the fear of traspassing upon your patience. I will therefore close my observations with noticing two instances of a want of confidence in the mineral productions of your own state, which I am persuaded that a geological survey would tend to correct. I met many wagons loaded with sulphate of lime (gypsum) from Nova Scotia, being taken to the interior to be used as a manure; but I did not see one wagon employed to bring carbonate of lime (common lime stone) from the inexhaustible quarries of the great Valley to any other district to be used for the same purpose. In the beautiful and flourishing city of Richmond, I observed the fronts of iwo stores fitting up in the new and fashionable style with granite (so called) (sienite) from Massachusetts, while there exists in the James river and on its banks, in the immediate vicinity of the town, rocks of a superior quality, in quantities amply sufficient to build a dozen cities. I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servent,
PETER A. BROWNE.