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JUL 25 1918
Minst of and
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1833, in the Clerk's Office of the Western District of Virginia.
TO GENERAL JOHN SMITH.
LIKE Nestor of old, you have lived to see "two generations pass away, and now remain the example of the third." You saw Dunmore's war with the Indians in 1774; you witnessed the war of the Revolution and the war of 1812, with the haughty Briton. In all these great struggles of our country, you have given the most conclusive evidence of unbending virtue and uncompromising patriotism. The author has had the gratification of knowing you for a full half century.When a small boy he frequently saw you, though he was then too young to attract your notice, and it was not until he entered upon the active duties of life that he had the high satisfaction of a personal acquaintance.
The author disclaims every thing like insincere flattery, and feels assured that your candor will readily pardon him for the freedom he uses in his dedication of his History of the Valley to you. To you, sir, is he indebted for much of the valuable information detailed in the following pages.In you, sir, he has witnessed the calm, dignified statesman and philosopher, the uniform and consistent republican, the active and zealous officer, whether in the field or councils of the country. He has witnessed more: he has seen you in high pecuniary prosperty; he has seen you in later years struggling with adverse fortune; and in all, has discovered the calm, dignified resignation to misfortune, which always characterises the great and the good man. Yes, sir, you have spent at least fifty years of your valuable life in the service of your country; and when you go hence, that you may enter into the joy of your Lord, is the fervent prayer of THE AUTHOR.
ORIGIN OF THE INDIANS IN AMERICA.
FROM what particular part of the old world the aboriginals found their way to this continent, is a question which has given rise to much philosophical and learned disquisition among historians. It however appears now to be the settled opinion that America first received its inhabitants from Asia. Mr. Snowden, in his History of America, advances many able and ingenious arguments in support of this opinion. After citing many great revolutions which have from time to time taken place in various parts of our globe, Mr. Snowden states:
"In the strait which separates America from Asia, many islands are found, which are supposed to be the mountainous parts of land, formerly swallowed up by earthquakes; which appears the more probable, by the multitude of volcanoes, now known in the peninsula of Kamtschatka.It is imagined, however, that the sinking of that land and the separation. of the new continents, has been occasioned by those great earthquakes, mentioned in the history of the Americans; which formed an era almost as memorable as that of the deluge. We can form no conjecture of the time mentioned in the histories of the Taltecas, or of the year 1, (Tecpatl,) when that great calamity happened.
"If a great earthquake should overwhelm the isthmus of Suez, and there should be at the same time as great a scarcity of historians as there was in the first age of the deluge, it would be doubted in three or four hundred years after, whether Asia had ever been united by that part of Africa; and many would finally deny it.
"Whether that great event, the separation of the continents, took place before or after the population of America, it is impossible to determine; but we are indebted to the above-mentioned navigators, [Cook and others,] for settling the long dispute about the point from which it was effected. Their observations prove, that in one place the distance between continent and continent is only thirty-nine miles; and in the middle of this narrow strait, there are two islands, which would greatly facilitate the passage of the Asiatics into the new world, supposing it took place in canoes, after the convulsion which rent the two continents asunder.
"It may also be added, that these straits are, even in the summer, often filled with ice; in winter frozen over, so as to admit a passage for mankind, and by which quadrupeds might easily cross, and stock the continent. But where, from the vast expanse of the north-eastern world, to fix on the first tribes who contributed to people the new continent, now inhabited from end to end, is a matter that has baffled human reason. The learneed may make bold and ingenious conjectures, but plain good sense cannot always accede to them.