Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century (1853)

92

CHAPTER II.
WATAUGA—ITS SETTLEMENT AND GOVERNMENT.

In the meantime, the treaty of Fort Stanwix had given a pretext for a general disregard of the king’s proclamation, prohibiting settlements of his subjects west of the mountains, and had excited afresh the spirit of emigration and exploration westward. Land-mongers penetrated fearlessly into the wilderness, while masses of emigrants had accumulated along the boundary, and concentrating themselves at the leading avenues from the Atlantic to the western waters, stood for a moment impatient of longer restraint, and casting a wishful look upon the inviting country before them. Tennessee was yet without a single civilized inhabitant. We have traced the approaches of the Anglo-American population to her eastern boundary. The genius of civilization, in her progress from the east, had passed the base of the great Apalachian range. She stood upon its summit, proud of past success—and, ambitious of further and greater achievement, surveyed from that height the wide field before and around her. On her right, are the rich vallies and luxuriant plains of Kentucky and Ohio, as yet imperfectly known from the obscure report of the returning explorer or the Shawnee prisoner. On the left, her senses are regaled by the luxuriant groves, the delightful savannas, and the enchanting beauties of the sunny south. Far in the distance and immediately before her, she contemplates the Great West. Its vastness at first overwhelms and astounds her, but at the extreme limit of her vision, American adventure and western enterprise are seen beckoning her to move forward and to occupy the goodly land. She descends to the plains below, and on the prolific soil of the quiet Watauga, in the lonely seclusion of one of its ancient forests, is deposited the germ of the future State of Tennessee. In that germ were contained all the elements of prospective greatness


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