Chapter 3

The settlement in which they now were, was called the back settlement; not because it was farthest back; but because it had been once the frontier. The name back, still continued to be tacked to it; now when it had become the midland country.

The inhabitants of this country had become wits, and improved in manners, from society and intercourse -The females dressed better because they could afford it, than they had done years before. Their buildings were of stone, or brick, or of sawed timber, framed, instead of round, or squared logs, laid upon each other, as was the mode at an early period. Nevertheless there was still a defect of judgment in the construction of their houses, for the summer, as well as the winter seasons. They were placed, in most cases, as they ought to be, fronting the south; but without perforations, or a passage for the air, by means of windows from the west to the east. On the contrary, many of them had what they called wings; and these placed at the east and west end. The entries were small, and the kitchen placed in a wing, or at the east or west end of the house. Yet, a little thinking on original principle, would say, that it ought to be at the north east of the building, to oppose the storm which comes from that quarter, in the winter; and because in the summer, it obstructs no breeze in that direction. But it is not lawyers or judges only that are enslaved by precedent.

They take care also, to build in a valley, because it is near a spring head. But in the winter the court yard is muddy; and in the summer they want air.

As they proceeded, the Quo’-he settlement lay upon the left. This settlement takes its name from the Quo’-hees, a nation of Indians that inhabited the country at the first discovery of this part of America. The Munsees, and Shawnees, have a like termination in the sound of their names, and these are now the remains of nations that inhabit the countries on Lake Erie, and the Ohio river.

Some fanciful writers, nevertheless, attempt to give a derivation from another source; and think, that as this settlement is peopled, chiefly with what is called the Scotch-Irish, so the name is derived from a phrase amongst them very common in their familiar discourse; quo’he, quo’she, and quo’they, &c. Quo’, they suppose to be an abbreviation of quoth; that is, said he, said she, &c.

Butler, in his Hudibras, uses the word quoth, in this sense.

Quoth he, there is on Sydrophel,
Whom I have cudgell’d--

Of this they boast as a classical authority in their favour. --And doubtless this etymology is strengthened by the names of the rivers in this country, such as the Susquehannah, which is a compound of sauce quo’Hannah; the name of a girl calling out for sauce to her meat; and also from the Skuylkill, from skull and kill. For what kills a man sooner than knocking him on the head? But there is great uncertainty in etymology, in deducing the origin of nations. Abarbanel in his Jewish antiquities, fully evinces this. Also Spinazoli, in his Asiatic researches, and others. But this is just as plausible, and nothing more, with the hypothesis of some who conjecture that the Allegheny mountains took their name from an English woman, of the name of Alley; as we say Alley Croker in the ballad. --That the Chesapeake was so called from a Welchman, who made use of cheese instead of an anchor; so that instead of saying the anchor is a peake, said the cheese is a peake; and so fixed a nick name on the bay. There are some local names of subordinate rivers and smaller streams in this particular part of the country that strengthens these conjectures. Aughwic, is allied to Aughrim, which is a place in Ireland. We have heard of the break of Aughrim, a place where the Protestants were defeated. Macintanga; Macanoy, is evidently Scotch, from the initial Mac, which signifies son, in the Erse. Juniata is a compound of English and Irish. Johnny is English; but ata or atoy is Hybernian. I knew one Dennis A’Toy, that used to mow for my father when I was a lad.

Nevertheless, I incline to their reasonings, who think that quo’-he is an Indian word, and of aboriginal derivation.

On the right hand route of the Caravan, moving back, lay the Fooley settlement. Etymologists and antiquarians are here at war also.

African travellers tell us of the Foola country in the neighbourhood of the Mitomba, or Sierra Leone river. Winterbottom and Walls, late travellers, give a particular description of it. The natives distinguish the year by moons. There is the sweep-brush moon; from the wind that blows; shun-path moon, from the heat; the shakoo, or harvest moon. The time of day is distinguished by the “sun going down into the water,” that is evening; “the sun in the bush,” that is night; &c. Their epochs are a town burnt, or settlement destroyed.

The Burree, or palaver house, is the seat of justice, where all causes, civil or criminal, are decided. The test of innocence is the drinking red water without occasioning a qualm to the stomach. A hot iron applied to the posteriors is also a test. If the culprit does not grunt he is safe.

The Mandingo country lies north of this, and signifies book-man, because here they read the Alcoran, and have schools. In the Foola country, they have no schools, and cannot read.

Now there are authors, who derive Fooley from Foola; and think that this settlement must have been peopled by a colony of Africans, and hence derive the name. It is true they have seats of justice, and palaver houses, where the lawyers plead. Jury trials are in use; and in this mode of administering justice it is not the accused that is tortured, but the judges; that is the jury. This is not by drinking red water, which is a composition of the bark of trees of an emetic quality; but by drinking nothing at all, or eating either, until twelve of them are all of one opinion; which, to render more difficult, the palaverers, the lawyers, are allowed to address them a whole day, or longer, previously on different sides of the question or fact, so as to “perplex and dash their councils.” --There are what are called judges also, who preside, and these are allowed also to give different opinions on the case. The jurors being puzzled are ordered off under the care of a constable, with a staff like a weaver’s beam, and he is to keep them together without meat or drink, unless with leave of the court, and without speaking to any one until they are agreed.

Notwithstanding this consimilarity in the manners, and the resemblance in the sound, or speaking of the word Fooley, with that of Foola, I cannot immediately accede to the idea that the inhabitants came from Africa. Because there is no tincture of the African complexion. There are negroes and mulattoes amongst them it is true; but the bulk of the inhabitants are of a clear red and white. I take it that the word Fooley, is derived from the word fool, which signifies devoid of sense, and was applyed to them, being originally a weak people; and still continuing to exhibit marks of simplicity bordering upon folly. Their credulity is amazing, and they are the constant bubble of candidates for office. They do not sell themselves as the Foolas; but they sell their votes; or rather give them away at elections, for whiskey, or deceiving speeches, replete with the words liberty and the rights of man.

In the course of this day’s journey, at the crossing of the roads, the caravan fell in with a company of electioneerers, who were coming from the Fooley settlement, and had a number along, taking them to the election ground, not far distant. They were slapping them upon the shoulder; clapping them upon the back; and saying come along my brave fellow; give us your vote. How are the old people at home? How came you to get that handsome girl for a wife? Is your crop good this year? Come take a dram of this whiskey. How is it that you do not set up for an office, and not be lying at home in the ashes, supping cyder, while we are obliged to go to the legislature, and to fill offices, and keep you at your ease doing nothing. You must take your turn next year. This will never do. Fair play is bonny play. It is too much to be always on duty. But somebody must stand forward, or the people will be run down by the lawyers, and the courts of justice. Come give us your vote.

The Fooleys were all smiling and in good humour. --Not so in the Foola country on the Sierra Leone river, where the inhabitants are sold or bought. It is with great reluctance that they go into service; and some tender scenes take place at the parting of parents and children. It is there called slavery. Here it is called supporting liberty, though it is sometimes sapping it, by putting folly into public trust.

The Foolas on the Sierra Leone, are spoken of by some travellers, as cannibals; but I do not find an agreement upon this head; and the supposition arises, I would presume, from the purra, or state inquisition which is amongst them, when the bandoo woman denounces a culprit. The purra then, who are state officers, take off the culprit, and he must drink red water, or be subject to hot irons. If he shrinks in the experiment, he is carried away, and never more heard of. But this affords no conclusive evidence that they eat him; any more than amongst the Foolas in this settlement, who have been represented by some as cannibals, and devouring one another, because in their kuriouks, or churches, they are frequently denounce by their priests as back biters. --This means slanderers, and not that they feed upon the haunches of men like venison. Such are the mistakes of superficial observers, and credulous travellers; whose accounts writers copy, and publish as facts, frequently without due examination.