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8 > Page 8 of Address in commemoration of the first settlement of Kentucky : delivered at Boonesborough the 25th May, 1840 / by James T. Morehead.

8 and wily enemies, whose stealthy incursions no vigilance could elude; whose implacable resentment, no other sa- crifice than that of blood could appease. The dextrous use of the rifle, therefore, became an acquisition of in- dispensible importance. The instinct of self-preserva- tion pointed it out as a weapon necessary at once for an- noyance and defence; and in a country abounding with every species of game, the frequent visitations of scar- city and want, taught them to rely on that trusty imple- ment as a most valuable auxiliary in furnishing subsis- tence to their families and themselves. In the progress of little more than a century and a half from the colonization of Virginia to the breaking out of hostilities with the parent country in 1775, the pop- ulation of the colonies had swelled to three millions. A nation had sprung up, claiming attention for its thrifti- ness and enterprise, its increasing commercial and agri- cultural resources, its intelligence and devotion to civil liberty. All the circumstances of its early career were favorable to the formation of those traits of character, that fitted it for the conflict which the rashness and vio- lence of the maternal councils threatened and precipita- ted-favorable also to the enlargement of the colonial possessions, by the conquest of distant and unexplored regions, the occupancy of which was still in bold and warlike Indian tribes. The existing generation was ad- mirably qualified for the distinguished part it was to per- form on a new theatre of human affairs. Born in the wilderness, it might almost be said to have been nurtur- ed in hardship-to have been disciplined in the hunter's camp,-to have been educated in the school of exposure and of peril. Wave after wave of civilization, as the colonial settlements expanded, wafted the aboriginal tribes still farther westward, and their places were sup-