I considered, as a great public acquisition, the commencement of a settlement
on that point of the western coast of America, and looked forward with gratification to the time when its descendants should have spread themselves through the whole length of that coast, covering it with free and independent Americans, unconnected with us but by the ties of blood and interest, and enjoying like us the rights of self-government.
From the first discovery of the Western Hemisphere by Columbus until the settlement of Virginia which immediately preceded that of Plymouth, the various adventurers from the ancient world had exhibited upon innumerable occasions that ardor of enterprise and that stubbornness of pursuit which set all danger at defiance, and chained the violence of nature at their feet.
Invited and urged by the open-hearted and truly benevolent people who had given them an asylum from the persecution of their own kindred to form their settlement within the territories then under their jurisdiction, the love of their country predominated over every influence save that of conscience alone, and they preferred the precarious chance of relaxation from the bigoted rigor of the English Government to the certain liberality and alluring offers of the Hollanders.
Such was the issue of this experiment among our forefathers, and the same event demonstrated the error of the system in the elder settlement of Virginia.
As I drove away to the station I felt as if I could cheerfully do anything to promote the interests of Sir Percival Glyde--anything in the world, except drawing the marriage settlement
of his wife.
I remained with my family on Clench until the sixth of June,1774, when I and one Michael Stoner were solicited by Governor Dunmore, of Virginia, to go to the Falls of the Ohio, to conduct into the settlement a number of surveyors that had been sent thither by him some months before; this country having about this time drawn the attention of many adventurers.
This I accepted, and at the request of the same gentlemen, undertook to mark out a road in the best passage from the settlement through the wilderness to Kentucke, with such assistance as I thought necessary to employ for such an important undertaking.
It only contained these words: "Give yourself no trouble about settlements.
You doubtless understand me as now referring to the subject of settlements.
If the latter by chance comes among them on his way to and from the settlements
, he is like a game-cock among the common roosters of the poultry-yard.
Abner, set the Captain at liberty; and now, if you will tarry until I am ready to draw nigher to the settlements, you shall both have the benefit of carriage; if not, never say that you did not get a friendly offer.
Friend, you are at liberty to go into the settlements, and there I would advise you to tarry, as men like me who make but few contracts, do not relish the custom of breaking them so easily.