xt78kp7tn151 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt78kp7tn151/data/mets.xml Davidson, Robert, 1808-1876. 1840  books b92-75-29578996 English A.T. Skillman, : Lexington, Ky. : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Mammoth Cave (Ky.) Kentucky History. Excursion to the Mammoth Cave, and the barrens of Kentucky  : with some notices of the early settlement of the state / by the Rev. R. Davidson. text Excursion to the Mammoth Cave, and the barrens of Kentucky  : with some notices of the early settlement of the state / by the Rev. R. Davidson. 1840 2002 true xt78kp7tn151 section xt78kp7tn151 










           BY THE





ENTERED, according to the Act of Congress, in the year
1840, by A. T. SKILLMAN  SON, in the Clerk's Office of
the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

                 C. Sherman  Co. Printers,
                        19) St. James Street, Philadelphia.

                 TO THE







                BY HIS FORMER PUPIL,

                            THE AUrHOR.
 This page in the original text is blank.


  IT has long been the fashion to apologize
for authorship; a practice at once super-
fluous, and open to the charge of mock-
modesty. It is superfluous; because the
public will examine and judge for them-
selves, and their opinion wvill neither be
forestalled nor propitiated by prefatory
confessions. It is, in addition, open to the
charge of mock-modesty; because no man
should ask the community to read what he
acknowledges is not worth reading; while,
on the other hand, the fact of his publish-
ing is a proof that his real and ostensible
opinion differ.
  These gentlemen would be very indig-
nant, were the public to take them at their
word; as Swift once treated a lady who

was profuse in apologies for her dinner.
This was over-done, and that was under-
done, and she lamented there was nothing
fit to eat. " If that be the case," cried the
testy Dean, "I'll e'en go home, and dine
on a herring." Doubtless our apologizing
authors would resent acquiescence, and
appeal in a towering passion, with Field-
ing, to Prince Posterity.
  The trick savours somewhat of coquet-
ry, like the stratagem of Galatea, who hit
her swain with an apple, and then hid
behind the willows, but not till she had
first allowed him to get a glimpse of her
in her flight;
   "d Et fugit ad sauces, et se cupit ante videri."

Such literary coquetry never deceives; nor
can he who employs it succeed in his
object, of beguiling the public into a high
opinion, not only of his merit, but of his
modesty also.
  The second of the two essays in this
little volume, is a compilation of glean-
ings; some of them never before published,


 and others newly arranged from various
 scattered sources, which, it is hoped may
 prove interesting to others, as well as to
 the writer.
   As for the first, it is readily acknow-
ledged to be not unlike the famous treatise
written by somebody, " de omnibus rebus,
et quibusdam aliis;" about every thing in
the world, and a little besides. It was
originally designed to furnish an hour's
rational entertainment to an intelligent
auditory, and if the public can derive any
amusement from it, in its present form,
they are heartily welcome.
  Should the more critical feel disposed to
censure, I must only take refuge with the
ingenious Montaigne, and borrow his vin-
dication of the "leaps and skips," with
which his amusing volumes abound. With
him, I must justify my rambles by the ex-
ample of Plato, one of whose dialogues
began with love and ended with rhetoric,
and that of Plutarch,-high authorities,
surely!-whose argument is stuffed with
foreign matter, and is found only by acci-

dent. "How beautiful," says he, "are his
variations and frolicksome sallies, and then,
most of all, when they seem to be for-
tuitous and introduced for want of heed.
'Tis the inattentive reader that loses my
subject and not I; there will always be
found some phrase or other in a corner
that is to the purpose, though it lie very
  The following Essays were originally
read before two literary associations con-
nected with the University of Transylva-
nia, and were prepared in the intervals of
professional duty.  This statement will
account for certain obvious peculiarities in
the general structure, and occasionally in
the language of both. Their publication
having been requested, the writer has cho-
sen the present as the most suitable form
in which they shall appear. If the judg-
ment of the public approve the step, he
will not regret his determination; should
it be otherwise, he has only to hope that

 Montaigne's Essays, vol. iii. p. 279.


at some future time, not far remote, he
may succeed better in meriting attention,
by a work -Of a graver and more solid
nature, which he is now preparing for the
press, and which, he trusts, Wvill not be
wanting in interest to the ecclesiastical
 This page in the original text is blank.










       JANUARY 16, 1840.
 This page in the original text is blank.


           EXCURSION, ETC.

Green River-Henderson-Tobacco trade-Colonel Hen-
derson-Legend of Harpe's Head-Hopkinsville-Elk-
ton-Education-Cumberland College-Russellville
Distinguished Citizens-Shakertown-Bowling-Green-
Internal Improvement-The Barrens-Flora-Mineral
resources-Coal Basins-Cavernous limestone-Simi-
larity to the geology of Palestine-Sinks-River Cliffs-
Illustration from Rokeby-Action of water-Examples
-The Mammoth Cave-Name-Temperature-Salt-
petre-Anecdote-Freaks of Nature-The Haunted
Chamber-Indian Mummies-Bat Room-Cascade-
Grotto-The River-White Fish-The Dome-The Bot-
tomless Pit-The Zodiac-Star-Chamber-The Temple
-Project of a hotel and omnibus discussed-Enthusiastic
Visiter-Exit-Exhilaration-Dreams-The group of
travellers-The White Cave-Gothic screenwork-
The Organ-Laon's Fount-Stalactites-Concluding re-
marks-Love of nature cultivated by Europeans-Its
pleasures-The sentiments awakened-The sentiment
of infinity-St. Pierre-Stanzas from Burns.

HAVING occasion last fall to visit the Green
River country, the writer of this article


gleaned various items of information during
the excursion, which seemed. to him of suf-
ficient interest to be recorded. The nar-
rative has indeed swelled to a formidable
size, but it is hoped its length will not be
found wearisome.   One thing must be
premised, that as no notes were taken at
the time, but all was committed to paper
from subsequent recollection, there will
probably be a few inaccuracies; none,
however, it is believed, of importance.
  It was in the early part of October,
1836, that we first set foot in this interest-
ing region. We landed a few miles below
the mouth of Green River-so called in
honour of the Hero of Eutaw.    If this
philological account be correct, as we were
informed it was, and as is corroborated by
the fact that the original settlers of this
section were chiefly from North Carolina,
then our modern usage of omitting the
final c; e" in the name, frustrates this well-
meant intention of commemorating a dis-
tinguished patriot.  The present ortho-
graphy creates the impression that the


river owes its name to the greenish tints
of its singularly beautiful and pellucid
watersrather than to the admiration of a
  The town of Henderson, at which we
landed, is one hundred miles below Louis-
ville, in a direct line, but owing to the
windings of the Ohio, just double that dis-
tance by water. At this place we spent a
day very agreeably, and from the ac-
quaintances we made, we judged the peo-
ple to be intelligent, frank and hospitable.
  Henderson is a place of some age, but
of a very unprepossessing appearance.
This, we were informed, was owing to
the circumstance that the land was held
up by half a dozen wealthy individuals,
who being urged by no necessity of for-
tune, refused either to sell or to improve.
The consequence was, that while a few
merchants could realize a handsome in-
come, enterprise and population were
checked. The great staple of the interior
is tobacco, and Henderson is the principal
point from which it is annually shipped for


Liverpool and other ports. At from sixty
to one hundred and twenty dollars per
hogshead, this branch of commerce must
yield a profitable return.
   Henderson is the county seat of Hen-
derson County, and is so named in honour
of Colonel Henderson, a man of uncom-
mon sagacity, talents, and ambition, who
about 1773 projected a proprietary govern-
ment, in the southern half of Kentucky,
with himself for its head, and actually
convened a provincial assembly in that
capacity. The State of Virginia, alarmed
at his strides, stripped him of his authority,
but indemnified him for his services as a
pioneer, by a grant of two hundred thou-
sand acres, or twelve miles square, in the
locality of which we have been speaking.
  As there was no mail-coach running on
our route, we hired a barouche, at a very
reasonable rate, and started in a due south
  About twenty miles from Henderson we

 See more on this subject, page 96.


passed a lonely spot called Harpe's Head,
and so laid down on the maps. The legend
from which this spot has received its ap-
pellation is a truly bloody border tale,
and has furnished a fine field of romance
to that popular and sprightly writer, Judge
Hall. Never having read his work, I shall
narrate the legend as I received it from
gentlemen who had seen the heroes of the
  It was about the beginning of the present
century, or something less than forty years
ago, that a couple of desperadoes of the
name of Harpe, from North Carolina,
broke from the jail at Danville, where
they had been imprisoned for homicide.
Accompanied each by a woman who
passed for his wife, they fled into the
southwestern section of the state. One,
from his superior size, was called Big
Harpe, while his brother was known as
the Little Harpe. They seemed inspired
with the deadliest hatred against the whole
human race, in revenge, as was supposed,
for their imprisonment. Such was their


implacable misanthropy, that they were
known to kill where there was no temp-
tation to rob. One of their victims was a
little girl, found by herself at some distance
from home, whose tender age and help-
lessness would have been her protection
with any but incarnate fiends.  Their
steps were marked in rapine and blood
as they passed through the country. The
last dreadful act of barbarity they com-
mitted was this.
  Assuming the guise of Methodist preach-
ers, they obtained lodgings one night at a
house on the road. Stagall, the master of
the house, was absent, but they found his
wife and children, and a stranger who, like
themselves, had stopped for the night.
Here they conversed, and made inquiries,
incognito, about the two noted Harpes,
who were represented as prowling about
the country. When they retired to rest,
they contrived to secure an axe, which
they carried with them into their chamber.
In the dead of night, they crept softly
down stairs, and assassinated the whole


family, together with the stranger, in their
sleep, whose only fault was having pro-
bably expressed their opinions freely about
their characters; and then, setting fire to
the house, escaped.
  As soon as the horrid affair was known,
a party of armed men, with Stagall at
their head, started in hot pursuit, and at
length overtook them. The women they
found attending to their little camp by the
roadside; the Harpes having gone aside
into the woods to shoot an unfortunate tra-
veller, of the name of Smith, that had fallen
into their hands, as the women, less cruel
than they, had begged that they would not
despatch him before their eyes. It was
this halt that enabled the pursuers to over-
take them. The women immediately gave
the alarm, and the miscreants fled in sepa-
rate directions. The little Harpe, being
the lightest, succeeded in effecting his es-
cape, and never appeared in the neigh-
bourhood again, although he was after-
wards reported to be lurking further south.
Big Harpe, refusing to stop when hailed,

Leiper, the foremost of the pursuers, raised
his rifle, and shot him down. He dropped
from his horse wounded, and when sur-
rounded by the men, protested against vio-
lence, and demanded to be taken before a
legal tribunal, that he might have justice.
"Justice, villain!" shouted the enraged
Stagall, his eyes flashing vengeance, " you
shall have such justice as you showed my
wife and children !" then, drawing out his
hunting knife, he buried it in his heart, and
not content with that, cut off his head.
The head was then set upon a stake, which
was planted where three roads met-the
roads from Henderson, Morganfield, and
Hopkinsville; so that the traveller from
any point, as he emerged from the ob-
scurity of the grove, was met by the ap-
palling spectacle of a human head, festering
in corruption, and dripping in its gore.
  From  this circumstance the spot has
ever since gone by the name of Harpe's
  The women were apprehended and ex-
amined, but nothing appeared in evidence


positively against them, and they were
dismissed. As it was believed that their
influence, so far from encouraging, had
been exerted to restrain the cruelty of the
Harpes, popular prejudice soon turned in
their favour; and as they were not desti-
tute of personal attractions, they were
afterwards married, together with a sister,
who accompanied them, and their poste-
rity are probably now living in the neigh-
bourhood of Russellville.
  As for Stagall, he had never borne a
good character, and his excessive zeal
and forwardness created new suspicions
against him as an accomplice of Harpe;
whom he might wish effectually to pre-
vent from betraying him, by a precipitate
death under colour of vengeance. From
this time his brow grew darker, and his
habits more reckless, and he was at last
shot over his cups by some one who had a
grudge against him.
  From this place to Hopkinsville, the
country was very broken and stony, the
land seemed inferior, and the corn dwin-


died under excessive drought. Such was
the scarcity of water, that it was with
the utmost difficulty we could procure a
scanty supply for our horses. The drought
was protracted and severe in all parts of
the state during the last summer, but es-
pecially in this section.
  After two days of very unpleasant tra-
velling, during which we passed over only
about seventy miles, we reached Hopkins-
ville. Here we spent a week very agreea-
bly, enjoying the warm hospitalities of a
society uncommonly friendly, unsophisti-
cated, and sincere.
  Indeed, during our whole excursion, we
were treated with a uniform and hearty
kindness, that prevented us from feeling
the embarrassment natural to strangers,
and which we should be most ungrateful
not to acknowledge with delight, and
cherish in vivid remembrance.  Those
friends in particular, who received us with
open arms at Hopkinsville, and whose
company we shared in circumstances of
unusual interest, unnecessary to be men-


tioned here, we shall ever " wear in our
heart's core," and fondly indulge the hope
of a reunion in some propitious hour.
  Hopkinsville is a very beautiful country-
seat of about twelve hundred inhabitants;
and contains a handsome new court-
house, the architecture of which is in
very good taste; and several small but
neat churches, two of which are furnished
with organs, a degree of refinement very
rare as well as very unpopular in Ken-
tucky. Hopkinsville reminded me of an-
cient Babylon, the circuit of which was
said to be about sixty miles; for which
geographers have accounted by suppos-
ing that much of the space was taken up
with gardens. So in this place some of
the best houses are scattered at iptervals
round the edge of the town, and these
suburban villas being often quite orna-
mental in their style of building, and
surrounded with trees and gardens, the
appearance is very agreeable. Yet, even
here, candour obliges us to add, a jealous
agrarian might scent the incipient germs


of aristocracy, and shudder to find an
anti-republican s" West End," known by
the suspicious title of Quality Hill.
  The trade of Christian County, of which
this is the chief town, is considerable,
consisting of exports of tobacco, hogs,
c., amounting to several hundred thou-
sand dollars annually.
  Leaving Hopkinsville with regret, we
passed through the pretty little village of
  Elkton contains a flourishing female
academy. This leads me to remark, that
the indications of an anxiety to secure the
benefits of a competent education in this
section of the State, are very obvious and
gratifying, and speak well for the tone of
public feeling.  Cumberland College at
Princeton, was represented to be under
the care of able men, and to be attended
by a respectable number of students. In
addition to this, it may be stated, that
according to the Report of the Superin-
tendent of Public Instruction, just pub-
lished, it appears that one-fourth of the


counties that are districted, or nearly so,
lie in the Green River country.
  At Russellville, where we stopped for
the night, we were agreeably surprised
by a fresh instance of Green River hos-
pitality, anticipating our arrival; and in
the enjoyment of conversation, highly pi-
quant and interesting, the hours wore
pleasantly away. Russellville, though now
eclipsed by Bowling-Green, was once the
Lexington of Green River. Although, like
Bethlehem, " little among the thousands of
Judah, yet out of it have come Governors
to rule the people." The number of dis-
tinguished citizens who have begun but
not ernded their political career in Russell-
ville is remarkable.
  The kindness of my esteemed friend, the
postmaster of this city, has enabled me
to furnish the following list, comprising
six governors, two attorney generals, a
chief justice, c.
Ninian Edwards; governor of Illinois;
Robert Crittendeni, (acting) governor of


J. Breathitt, governor of Kentucky.
Jas. T. Morehead,    do.
A. M'Lean, governor of Illinois.
Richard Call, governor of Florida.
John J. Crittenden, United States Senator.
George M. Bibb, Chief Justice.
Col. Anthony Butler, Charge to Mexico.
Solomon P. Sharp, Attorney-General.
Charles Morehead,     do.
Frank Johnson, member of Congress.
Judge Ewing, Supreme Court, Kentucky.
Joseph E. Davis,    do.     Miss.
James Boyle, major-general, U. S. Army.
D. M'Reynolds, surgeon-general,  do.
  To these distinguished citizens of Rus-
sellville, I will take the liberty of adding,
(though at the risk of offending his mo-
desty, and of being called to an account
for violating his express entreaties to the
contrary,) the name of our worthy fellow-
townsman, Joseph Ficklin, Esq., formerly
Consul at St. Bart, S. A. and now the
oldest, and probably most influential post-
master in the West.
  The next day we passed through Sha-


Aertown, just midway on the road between
Russellville and Bowling-Green. Like all
their establishments, it was neat, orderly,
and quiet; but much inferior in extent and
beauty to the Shaker village on the Ken-
tucky river, which can boast some very
imposing edifices. Although the Shaker
community keeps up its numbers by rein-
forcements of adults disgusted with the
world, or driven by poverty to seek a
friendly asylum; and by poor children
and orphans, whom they get into their
hands in various ways, it is more than
suspected by those who have the opportu-
nity of knowing, that the old fanatical
delusion exercises but a small influence
upon their minds. Few of them are now
believers in Ann Lee, and they have un-
happily, though naturally enough, become
a set of infidels. Whether their having
given up of late years, their evening
dances, is to be considered as indicating
a decay of zeal, we shall not undertake
to decide. The Shaker community have
lost several of their proselytes within a


few years; some have been expelled for
practices little becoming the vow of celi-
bacy. One of their head men left them
to mingle with "the world's people;"-
while another crafty fox went off to try
a new experiment, of "living for ever."
What success he has met with, or whether,
as in the case of his partner, it has already
terminated through want of ",Fqith," I am
unable to state; but if it has not proved
more successful than his attempt to wheedle
Congress out of a grant of land, in fee
simple for ever, it is to be feared he is be-
yond the reach either of our indignation
or contempt.
  Bowcling-Green is a thriving and hand-
some town, which has very flattering pros-
pects opening before it.  A broad and
elegant turnpike is in progress, connecting
it with Louisville, and another connecting
it with Lexington and Nashville; and in
addition to this, preparations for slack-
water navigation are going on to comple-
tion, connecting the waters of Big Barren,
which skirts the town, with those of Green


River. Through these new channels, pro-
duce of various kinds can easily find a
market, while merchandise will be more
cheaply imported from distant quarters.
  Being now in the heart of the Barrens,
and in the vicinity of the celebrated Mam-
moth Cave, an extended description of
this curious region, both geological and
topographical, may be considered neither
inappropriate nor devoid of interest.
  The Mammoth Cave, is situated in the
southeastern corner of Edmondson Coun-
ty, twenty-four miles from Bowling-Green,
and about half a mile from the southern
shore of Green River. This locality forms
part of that extensive region called the
Barrens of Kentucky, reaching from the
Tennessee line to the Rolling Fork of Salt
River, and embracing a large portion of
the Green River country. This tract, ex-
tending over several counties, was origi-
nally styled the Barrens, not from any
sterility of soil, for although the soil is not
of the first quality, it is generally good;
but because it was a kind of rolling prairie,

destitute of timber.    While the central
parts of the State were covered with fo-
rests of heavy timber, or overspread with
tall canebrakes, the Barrens, with the
exception of a few scattered groves along
the water-courses, were clothed with a
thick growth of prairie grass. The face
of the country, however, presented great
attractions to the botanist.    W ith what
enthusiasm have I heard the late Professor
of Botany, in Transylvania,t descant on
the topic.
  "1 In many a long and solitary ride
through the Barrens of Kentucky," said
he, has my labour been lightened and my
spirits cheered, by the floral varieties of
that interesting region. Here in one spot
the ground was carpeted with the flame-
coloured flowers of the Euchroma, and

   Sir Walter Scott, with his usual felicitous descrip.
tion, has hit it off in a single line of Marmion,
      " Kentucky's wood-encumbered brake."
  t Charles W. Short, M. D. now of Louisville; a gen-
tleman who is as estimable in private life, as he is emi-
nent in his favourite walk of science.


there enamelled with the party-coloured
blossoms of violets and trilliums. In this
spot, from amidst a tuft of humbler beau-
ties, the majestic Frazera shot up its pyra-
midal head, crowned with wreaths of its
peculiar beauties, and on that, various
sumachs overhung the path, emitting from
their clumps of fruit, a shower of acid on
the traveller. Here at one point, would
burst upon the view a sheet of water
skirted with the numerous bright blue pe-
tals of the pondeteria and decodon, and
covered over with the purple flowers of
the cyanus; and then, at another was
stretched before the eye a waving sea of
gigantic grasses. In such a scene as this,"
continued the enthusiastic naturalist, "none
but a recreant to nature, and undeserving
its pleasures, could remain indifferent to
the charms spread in such lavish profusion
  The destitution of timber in the Barrens
was owing to the frequent burning of the
prairie by hunters to drive out the game,
by which means the young and tender


shoots were scorched and destroyed. The
effect is still witnessed in the great prairies
of the West, which are annually swept by
prairie fires, and in which no trees are to
be found, except in such wet grounds as
could defy the progress of the flames.
With the advancing settlement of the
country, the prairie fires were gradually
extinguished, and the young timber had
liberty to grow. The consequence is, that
tracts which were destitute of shade ten
or twenty years since, are now covered
with extensive forests of Black Jack, or
scrub oak, an inferior wood indeed, yet
capable of being converted to various
uses, and which will no doubt be suc-
ceeded in time by some more valuable
  To the traveller in the fall of the year,
the unvaried and monotonous drab of the
foliage presents an extremely dull and
dreary aspect, and an agreeable sensation
of relief is experienced when he makes a
transition to the brighter hues of green
edged with yellow, of the beech woods.


   The first settlers preferred the hilly or
knobby region, although inferior land, on
account of the advantages of wood and
water; but. after the grant of the Legisla-
ture in 1800, of four hundred acres of
land to every actual settler, many were
allured to occupy the open country. Since
that period, owing to the healthiness of
the climate, the fine range for cattle, the
facilities for raising swine, the culture of
tobacco, and the growth and preservation
of timber, the reason of the appellation
" Barrens" is to be learned from the an-
tiquarian alone. MacAdam roads and
slackwater navigation, are giving a new
impulse to the trade and prosperity of this
section of Kentucky; and the valley of
Green River, with its handsome and thriv-
ing towns, is rising every year in political
importance, while it attracts the admira-
tion of the traveller. To say nothing of
the lucrative tobacco trade, nor of the
trade to the South in live-stock, the mi-
neral treasures of this region when fully
developed, will constitute an inexhaustible


source of wealth. There are two great
coal basins in the valley of the Ohio, one
connected with the Upper Ohio, covering
part of Ohio, the western part of Pennsyl-
vania, Maryland and Virginia, and seven
thousand square miles of the eastern sec-
tion of Kentucky, according to Mr. Ma-
ther's Reports, to which I acknowledge
myself largely indebted. The coal for-
mation of the lower Ohio embraces the
valley of the Wabash in Indiana, and
is continued into Kentucky; extending
through a dozen counties up the valley of
Green River, from Henderson to the vici-
nity of the Mammoth Cave. A brief ac-
count of the geological structure of this
section, will at once present a clear view
of these extensive mineral resources, and
throw light upon the origin and formation
of the great caves which abound there.
  It is familiar to all that the soil of Ken-
tucky rests on a basis of limestone, but it
may not be so well known, that the cha-
racter of this limestone basis varies in the
central and southern portions of the state.


In the central portion, the rocky strata lie
in a solid and more slaty mass, and abound
in fossils, marine shells, organic remains,
bones of the mastodon, c. This kind of
rock is denominated great limestone, from
its being found under a great area of the
western country. The soil lies upon it to
the depth of a dozen feet, and a portion of
the lime and slate being dissolved with the
soil, imparts that warm and forcing quality
to which the vegetation owes its vigour
and luxuriance, and the delightful region
itself the title by which it is known over
the world, as " the Garden of Kentucky."
  The rocky strata, on the other hand,
which lie beneath the Barrens of Ken-
tucky, and whose general limits are nearly
coincident with the limits of the Barrens,
occupy altogether an area of from five thou-
sand to eight thousand square miles, are less
slaty as a mass, less fossiliferous, and of the
kind called cavernous limestone. Like the

   A striking geological resemblance between Ken-
tucky and Palestine, the Valley of Virginia, and the
Cuinberland Valley in Pennsylvania, has been noticed


substratum of Florida, it contains many
subterranean hollows, into which the
streams often sink, and after flowing some

by that accurate and observant traveller, Mr. Paxton,
whose work displays throughout the happy application
of his favourite science. There is an additional feature
of resenmblance whith may be very properly mentioned
in connection with our subject, viz. the frequcnt occur-
rence of the cavernous limestone. It occurs no where
but in this transition or flo-tz formation. The Valley
of Virginia is famous for its caves, Weyer's in parti-
cular. In the vicinity of Carlisle in the Cumberland
Valley, the writer has Visited a cave whose windings
are of considerable and unknown extent; while in
another direction is found a depression of the earth's
surface, called "the Devil's Punchbowl," of the same
nature as the sinkholes of Kentucky. As for Palestine,
much of it is mountainouts and abounds in eaves, some
of them  very capacious. That of En.gedi, or the
Fountain of the Goats, was sufficiently ample to con-
ceal David and his six hundred men in its inner
recesses, while Saul laid down to rest within the cave's
mouth, utterly unconscious of his danger.
  Mt. Paxton's remarks are as folloWs. "s In passing
over it, (Palestine, I am almost perpetually reminded
of Kentucky, and some parts of Virginia and Pennsyl-
vania, especially thc limestone district in the Valley.
All who have travelled in Virginia know, that the
Valley of Virginia is; in many respedts, the most


distance under ground, emerge at another
point. The sinkholes, as they are called, are
not the least remarkable curiosities of this

valuable part of that State; that in many places there
is much rock on the surface, and that on some farms
whole acres are rendered ncearly useless by the washing
away of the earth which covered the face of the rock.
If it is thus in one hundred years, what will it be in
four thousand  But it more especially reminds me of
Kentucky. Both countries are based upon a limestone
rock, which is horizontal, and crops out perpetually at
the sides of the hills. In Kentucky we already see
many places where the soil is all gone. Not long
before leaving America, I visited one of the first set-
tlers in that state, who resides near Danville, (Col.
Joseph M'DowelI.) I noticed large masses of rock
near his house several feet above the ground, and
asked him if those rocks were thus naked when lhe
settled there. ' No, no,' said he, ' not one of them. was
to be seen for long afterwards.' It would now take
two, possibly three feet of earth to cover those rocks,
as they were when he first settled there. I have put a
similar question to other persons, and found that in
many parts of the State, two or three feet of earth have
somehow disappeared from the surface. If the samne
process goes on for five hundred years, Kentucky will,
in many places, show as much naked rock as is now
seen in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem or Jerusalem;
and what would it be in four thousand years  But


region. They are of a circular shape, and
a number of yards in diameter, shelving
down to the centre with a gentle declivity,
and supposed to owe their origin to the
undermining action of subjacent water.
One of these sinks is within a short dis-
tance of Bowling-G-reen; from one side of
which bursts a stream, which after tra-
versing the bottom is engulfed in the
opposite side. The current is of sufficient
force to turn an undershot wheel, to which
utilitarian purpose it has been applied; and
the sight of