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three miles a day, frequently in danger of being frozen or killed by the falling of horses on the icy and almost impassable trace, and subsisting on stinted allowances of stale bread and meat; but now lastly look at them at the destined fort, perhaps on the eve of merry Christmas, when met by the hearty welcome of friends who had come before, and cheered by fresh buffalo meat and parched corn, they rejoice at their deliverance, and resolve to be contented with their lot."
But two more things remain to be said regarding the first extensive travels undertaken by the English speaking population in America. The journey of seventy thousand people through the wilderness to Kentucky, important as it was, can not fairly be called a general movement. It did not originate in an impulse that had swept over and affected the people of all the colonies. In its early and decisive stages the exodus was a local one, affecting only a comparatively small section of the country. For a number of years the Kentucky settlements and the white men's trail that led to them could be likened to a long, narrow peninsula of Caucasian civilization that jutted out for four hundred miles into unknown regions, and was surrounded by them on all sides save that from which the travelled road connected it with the East. Not until the Congress of the confederated colonies, in 1787, passed the Ordinance for the government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the River Ohio' was there manifested such a general public interest in the western country as produced a migration to it from all parts of the new nation. With that governmental action, and the popular response which followed it, the sectional causes which had led to the first invasion of Kentucky were swallowed up in a general and national advance.
The remaining feature of the cabin dwellers' life which must enlist attention in these pages concerns the fundamental character of their social structure-the basis on which was built the deeds they performed. Let us take our last view of them through the words of an early commentator.' He says:
1 The ordinance was applied to the territory south of the Ohio in 1790.
"Could there be happiness or comfort in such dwellings
44.—A view showing the type of early houses in the towns, and the usual condition of their streets. The scene is in Philadelphia,
opposite Independence Hall.
and such a state of society? To those who are accustomed to modern refinements," the truth appears like fable. The early occupants of log-cabins were among the most happy of mankind. Exercise and excitement gave them health; they were practically equal; common danger made them
1 The extract is one quoted by Ramsay in his "Annals of Tennessee." Ramsay does not give the author. The "refinements" of the early 19th century are meant.
mutually dependent; brilliant hopes of future wealth and distinction led them on; and as there was ample room for all, and as each newcomer increased individual and general security, there was little room for that envy, jealousy, and hatred which constitute a large portion of human misery in older societies. Never were the story, the joke, the song, and the laugh better enjoyed than upon the hewed blocks, or puncheon stools, around the roaring log fire of the early western settler. The lyre of Apollo was not hailed with more delight in primitive Greece than the advent of the first fiddler among the dwellers of the wilderness; and the polished daughters of the East never enjoyed themselves half so well, moving to the music of a full band, upon the elastic floor of their ornamental ballroom, as did the daughters of the emigrants, keeping time to a self-taught fiddler, on the bare earth or puncheon floor of the primitive log-cabin.
There we behold woman in her true glory; not a doll to carry silks and jewels; not a puppet to be dawdled by fops, an idol of profane adoration reverenced to-day, discarded to-morrow; admired but not respected. We see her as a wife, partaking of the cares, and guiding the labors of her husband, and by her domestic diligence spreading cheerfulness all round; : . placing all her joy, all her happiness, in the merited approbation of the man she loves. As a mother, we find her the affectionate, the ardent instructress of the children she has reared from infancy, and trained up to thought and virtue, to meditation and benevolence; addressing them as rational beings, and preparing them to become men and women in their turn."
“ Droop not, brother, as we go
Over the mountains, westward ho,
Cheer up, brothers, as we go
1 A chant for overland westward movers.
UNIVERSAL TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES, RATHER THAN
POLITICS OR WARS, THE COMPELLING FORCE OF A REAL
HILE the activities just traced were prevailing in
the South an altogether different state of affairs existed in the northern colonies. Three-quarters of a century had been required to produce the movement toward the interior from North Carolina and Virginia, and that phenomenon was destined to be the chief contribution of the South toward the development of a future national transportation system. All her energy and restlessness were gathered into one tremendous effort along a path of progress that the North could not tread. The surge of the southern white people across the mountains was a logical and perhaps inevitable outgrowth of the social and natural conditions that existed in the region whence it started. Those conditions, as has been noted, were in no way similar to the ones which had pre