A Loyalist Describes North Carolina

“On the south you can see the Dan, the Catawba, the Yadkin, and the Haw, breaking through the mighty mountains that appear in confused heaps, and piled on each other in almost every direction.

“Throughout the whole of this amazing and most extensive perspective, there is not the least feature or trace of art or improvement to be discovered.

“All are genuine effects of nature alone, and laid down on her most extended and grandest scale.

“Contemplating thereon fills the eye, engrosses the mind, and enlarges the soul.

“It totally absorbs the senses, overwhelms all the faculties, expands even the grandest ideas beyond all conception, and occasions you almost to forget that you are a human creature.”

–Author, Loyalist, and British soldier John Ferdinand Dalziel Smyth describing the view after he and others climbed Wart Mountain in the Allegheny Mountains. This description is found in Smyth’s A Tour in the United States of America… (1784), an excerpt of which appears in Reading the Roots: American Nature Writing before Walden, edited by Michael P. Branch.

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