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[398] were requested not to harbor the fugitives. But the
Chap. XLVI.} 1771. June.
far wilderness offered shelter beyond the mountains, and the savages seemed comparatively mild protectors. Without concert, instinctively impelled by discontent and the wearisomeness of life exposed to bondage, men crossed the Alleghanies and descending into the basin of the Tennessee, made their homes in the valley of the Watauga. There no lawyer followed them; there no King's Governor came to be their Lord; there the flag of England never waved. They rapidly extended their settlements; by degrees they took possession of the more romantic banks of the broader Nollichucky, whose sparkling waters spring out of the tallest mountains in the range. The climate was invigorating; the health-giving westerly wind blew at all seasons; in spring the wild crab apple filled the air with the sweetest of perfumes, A fertile soil gave to industry good crops of maize; the clear streams flowed pleasantly without tearing floods; where the closest thickets of spruce and rhododendron flung the cooling shade furthest over the river, trout abounded. The elk and the red deer were not wanting in the natural parks of oak and hickory, of maple, elm, black ash, and buckeye. Of quails and turkeys and pigeons there was no end. The golden eagle built its nest on the topmost ledge of the mountain, and might be seen wheeling in wide circles high above the pines, or dropping like a meteor upon its prey. The black bear, whose flesh was held to be the most delicate of meats, grew so fat upon the abundant acorns and chestnuts, that he could be run down in a race of three hundred yards; and sometimes the hunters gave chase to the coward panther, strong enough to beat off twenty dogs, yet flying from

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