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Promenade on the Banks of James River. April in Virginia.
SKETCHES OF TRAVEL.
Martha's VINEYARD, 18—-, To the Editor of the Christian Register:~.
Having recently passed some little time on the Vineyard, perhaps a general description of the island — of the state of society and religion in its principal town, its metropolis as it were, inay not be unacceptable to your readers. I hope not to trespass upon more interesting and useful matter that should find place in your paper.
The Island of Martha's Vineyard was discovered as early as 1602, by Gosnold. Thomas Mayhew of Watertown obtained a grant of it in 1642. Soon after he removed to the island he was appointed its Governor. Previous, however, to his arrival several English families resided here, for a church was gathered as early as 1641, of which his son was ' pastor. The original name of the Island is supposed by Dr. Belknap to be Martin's Vineyard, from Martin Pring, who visited it about a year after it was discovered, and spent some weeks gathering
THE PLAIN. sassafras. A fanciful and amusing origin of the names of the various islands in this region is handed down from father to son, viz: — that three sisters who came over from England — Eizabeth, Martha, and Ann had the choice of them, and Elizabeth preferred that cluster which is known by her name - Martha, the Vineyard — and Ann took it, (Nantucket) the only one left.
The Vineyard is nineteen miles long and upon an average five miles broad. It is generally level, though in the northern and western parts the land rises into hills of two hundred and fifty feet above the adjacent country. This range of hills is denominated the back-bone of the island. There is a plain in the southern part, upon which Edgartown is situated, eight miles in length and five or six in breadth. Various roads intersect it, running in all directions ; but the beauty of the plain consists in this, that on horseback, or with any vehicle, you may strike from the beaten track and make a course for yourself wherever you please upon a firm foundation of smooth, closely-matted grass-ground. On this plain it is a delightful ride of three miles from Edgartown to the South Shore where the full swell of the sea comes in with its mountain-waves. Indeed, when the wind has subsided after a storm, and the sun pours his glory upon the outspread ocean and peaceful land, if there is sublimity anywhere, it is here, where the white-crested billows, curling in tripple lines on either side of you as far as the eye can SOUTH SHORE. reach, and bounding on with inexpressible majesty and loveliness fling themselves with furious energy and deafening roar at your feet, and chase you from your thoughtless and irreverent intrusion upon their sacred domain. Often have I visited it on foot and horse, (here the high-mettled speechless animal, the better for being such, is the best company, seems to comprehend and participate your emotions, and relieves that feeling of extreme solitariness which comes over the soul) sometimes with friends — generally alone — and never without an awful sense or the grandeur of God's works, felt nowhere else. The soul cannot but inwardly breathe that highly expressive and noble passage of Scripture, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty. There is that in the spectacle which oppresses one with a sense of utter powerlessness and insignificance. When witnessed for the first time by a person of sensibility, to speak or move is out of the question. It was told to me at Nantucket some two or three years since, where the sea breaks in a similar manner, that the Falls of Niagara generally disappoint those who have seen the surf under the most favorable circumstances. For myself, expecting much in the former case and little in the latter I must consess that sublimer emotions were awakened in my bosom upon the desolate, storm-beaten shores ou Nantucket and the Vineyard, than upon the Terrapin or Table-rocks. The falls, however, notwithstanding the disappointment to which we are liable