THE WILDERNESS in F. L. Olmsted.
A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States
Frederick L. Olmsted



        I have described, perhaps with tedious prolixity, what adventures befell me, and what scenes I passed through in my first day's random riding, for the purpose of giving an idea of the uncultivated and unimproved--rather, sadly worn and misused--condition of some parts, and I judge, of a very large part, of all Eastern Virginia, and of the moneytreeisolated, lonely, and dissociable aspect of the dwelling places of a large part of the people.

   Much the same general characteristics pervade the Slave States, everywhere, except in certain rich regions, or on the banks of some rivers, or in the vicinity of some great routes of travel and transportation, which have occasioned closer settlement or stimulated public spirit. For hours and hours one has to ride through the unlimited, continual, all-shadowing, all-embracing forest, following roads, in the making of which no more labor has been given than was necessary to remove the timber which would obstruct the passage of wagons; and even for days and days he may sometimes travel, and see never two dwellings of mankind within sight of each other; only, at long distances, often several miles asunder, these isolated plantation patriarchates. If a traveler leaves the main road to go any distance, it is not to be imagined how difficult it is for him to find his way from one house to any other in particular; his only safety is in the fact that, unless there are mountains or swamps in the way, he is not likely to go many miles upon any wagon or horse track without coming to some white man's habitation.

Page 87

Guano, is bird dung imported form Peru & Chile for fertilizer.

"I look upon the introduction of guano, and the success attending its application to our barren lands, in the light of a special interposition of Divine Providence, to save the northern neck of Virginia from reverting entirely into its former state of wilderness and utter desolation. Until the discovery of guano--more valuable to us than the mines of California.

--Page 105

THE WILDERNESS in F. L. Olmsted, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States, p. 87, 105. http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/olmsted/olmsted.html


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