Imagens das páginas

length, though the average breadth is not above six miles; the whole county is almost an island. The principal bays on the coast of Massachusetts are Boston, Ipswich, Plymouth, Barnstable, and Buzzard's bays. There are several islands dependent on this state, the principal of which are Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and Chabaquaddick. Nantucket lies south of Cape Cod, and is fifteen miles in length and eleven in breadth, with a population of nearly 7,000. The inhabitants are a robust and enterprising race, chiefly seaumen and mechanics; and those employed in the whale fishery are said to be superior to all others; the island being sandy and barren, is calculated only for such people as are willing to depend almost entirely on the ocean for subsistence. The people are mostly of the society of Friends, and are warmly attached to their island; few wishing to remove to a more desirable situation. This island forms a county of itself, by the same name, and is represented in the state legislature. Martha's Vineyard, Chabaguaddick, and five other small islands adjoining, were discovered in 1602, by Bartholomew Gosnold; to the latter group he gave the name of Elizabeth isles, in honour of queen Elizabeth. The whole now form Duke's county, which is twenty miles in length and four in breadth, and contains 3,290 inhabitants. Edgårton is the chief town, between which and Falmouth on the main land a good ferry is established, the distance being nine miles. The county is full of people, who like their neighbours in Nantucket, subsist principally by fishing ; they also send representatives to the general assembly of the state. The other islands of consideration lie in Massachusetts-bay, which is agreeably diversified by about forty of various sizes; several of which are within the jurisdiction of the lown of Boston, and taxed along with it.

Morintains, minerals, and curiosities—The western part of this state swells out into mountains, some of which are of very considerable height. Wachuset mountain, in Worcester county, is at its top 2,989 feet above the level of the sea, and may be seen in a clear day at the distance of seventy miles. That range of hills which is terminated in New Hampshire by a very high peak called Monadnock, runs through Massachusetts, where it takes the name of Chicabee mountain. Another ridge rises near Hopkinton, in Middlesex county, and passing north by Watertown and Concord, crosses Merrimack river, and in New Hampshire swells into several high summits, of which the White mountains are the principal.

Several kinds of minerals have been discovered in this state, particularly iron ore, which is found in vast quantities in various places, but more especially at Plymouth, fortytwo miles distant from Boston. Copper ore has been dug at Leverett, in the county of Hampshire, and at Attleborough, in Bristol county; and mines of black lead are worked at Brimfield, in Hampshire, and the neighbouring places. Alum slate, or stone, has been found in some parts; also ruddle, or red earth, which serves to mark sheep, &c. and is used as a ground colour for priming, instead of Spanish brown. There are marble quarries at Byfield, in the county of Essex, and other places in the state; and that wonderful production the asbestos, or incombustible cotton, has likewise been discovered. There are mineral springs in Essex and Norfolk counties, and at Cambridge; but none of them are much frequented by valetudinarians.

In Adams township, Berkshire, is a great natural curiosity. A pretty mill stream, called Hudson's-brook, which rises in Vermont, and falls into Hoosuck river, has, for about eighty yards, formed a channel sixty feet deep, through a quarry of white marble. Over this channel some of the rocks remain, forming a natural bridge, from the top of which to the water is sixty-two feet; its length is about fourteen, and its breadth ten feet. Partly under this bridge, and about ten feet below it, is another, which is wider, but not so long ; for at the east end they form one body of rock, about twelve feet thick, and under this the water flows. It is evident, from the appearance of the rocks, that the water has formerly flowed forty feet at least above its present bed. A little above the bridge is a cave, which has a convenient entrance at the north, and a passage out at the east; from the west side of this cave a chasm extends into the hill, but it soon becomes too narrow to pass.

Aspect of the country, climate, soil, and produce— Massachusetts, like the other New England states, is high and hilly, and the face of the country strikingly diversified. The coast on the east side is indented with bays and inlets, and studded with numerous islands, which afford ample harbours for shipping, and support a hardy race of sailors and fishermen. Towards the middle of the state the surface is agreeably uneven, and the whole is well watered with many rivers and springs; many of the former are of the utmost importance to the inhabitants, by the ready and easy carriage they afford for their different articles of produce. The climate of Massachusetts is salubrious and healthy; though the winters are often long and severe, commencing in November, and ending in March or April ; but of late years, since the country has become more cultivated, a considerable improvement in the seasons has taken place; winter beginning later, and spring earlier than formerly. Towards the west, the winters are colder than on the coast; but the weather is more steady, and the whole conducive to health: throughout the state, the spring season is short, the summer and autumn delightful. The soil of this state is extremely various, and may be found from the very worst to the very best. Near the seacoast it is sandy and barren; but in the interior it improves, and in the western parts, where the country is hilly, it is best adapted for grazing. Wheat crops in general are not abundant; but it produces vast quantities of Indian corn, rye, barley, and oats. The average produce of the good lands, well cultivated, may be taken at forty bushels of Indian corn on an acre, thirty of barley, twenty of wheat, thirty of rye, 100 of potatoes. Vegetables and fruit come to great perfection, and are of much value to the inhabitants. Apples, pears, peaches, plums, and cherries grow in profusion; but it has been observed that the effects of the east wind extend farther inland than formerly, and injure the tender fruits, particularly the peach, and even the more hardy apple. Flax and hemp are cultivated, and hops grow luxuriantly. The counties of Barnstable, Duke's, Nantucket, Bristol, and Plymouth, are, in point of soil, the poorest parts of the state, being generally sandy and light, interspersed, however, with many tracts of excellent land. The northern, middle and western districts are certainly much superior; having, generally speaking, a strong good soil, very similar to that of New Hampshire and Vermont on one side, and to the soil of Rhode Island and Connecticut on the other. The staple commodities of this state are provisions, timber, ashes, flax-seed, iron, spirits, &c.

Ciril divisions, towns, population, religion, character, *o-Massachusetts is divided into fourteen counties, and

290 townships, containing, by the last census, 412,040 inhabitants, being about fifty-six to the square mile,

Counties. Tairnships. Population. Chief Tourns. Population, Barnstable...... 14......22,211...... Barnstable...... 3,646 Berkshire.......82......35,907......Lenox..........., 1,310 Bristol........... 16......87,168......Taunton........ 3,907 Duke's........... 3...... 3,290...... Edgarton,....... 1,365 - Salem............ 12,613 Essex.............23......71,888... {{...; ...... 3,560 - ewbury-port. 4,63

* Franklin Greenfield..... 1,16 * Hampden Springfield...... 2,767 Hampshire...... 64......76,275.....Northampton... 2,631

- - - - - Charlestown.... 4,95 Middlesex.......44...... 52,789. } Concord......... !. Nantucket ....... 1...... 6,807..... Nantucket Norfolk...........??......31,245.....Dedham.......... 2,173 Plymouth...... .18......35,169.....Plymouth........ 4,228 Suffolk........... 2......34,381.....Boston............ 33,250 Worcester......,.51......64,910.....Worcester....... 2,577

290 472,040

Boston, the principal town in this state, is built at the head of Massachusetts-bay, in N. lat. 42 23. It stands upon a peninsula of an irregular form, and is joined to the main land by an isthmus on the south end of the town lead. ing to Roxbury. It is at one place two miles long, but the broadest part is not quite half a mile. A great part of the town lies low along the bay, but the ground rises considerably in the middle, where the state house is built, which gives it a fine appearance at a distance; and wheti you approach it from the sea, the view is truly beautiful. The town lies in a circular and pleasingly irregular form round the harbour, embellished with spires, above which the monument on Beacon-hill rises, overtopped by the state-house, situated on an eminence in the Mall. The prospect from the top of this building cannot be surpassed—the bay, with forty islands, the shipping, the town, and the hill and dale scenery for a distance of thirty miles, present an assemblage of objects really charming. The bridges of Boston merit particular attention, being works of great extent and utility, and constructed at a vast expence; a proof of the sagacity, public spirit, and persevering industry of the people. Charles river bridge

* Laid out since last census.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »