Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

the entry of Piscataqua harbour. The land on the seacoast, particularly about Casco-bay, is level and sandy, and the soil thin and poor ; but there are many tracts of good land in the interior which produce grain and fruits, and the country is remarkably well suited for grazing. Throughout this district there is a greater proportion of dead swamps, than in any other part of the eastern states. The tract lying between Passmaquoddy and Penobscot rivers is white pine land, of a strong moist soil, with some mixture of oaks, white ash, birch, and other trees; and the interior parts are interspersed with beech ridges. The whole of Maine may naturally be considered in three divisions, containing nearly 12,500,000 acres of arable and pasture land. The first, comprehending the tract lying east of Penobscot river, of about 4,500,000 acres; the second, and best tract, of about 4,000,000 acres, lying between Penobscot and Kennebeck rivers; the third, which was first settled and is the most populous at present, west of Kennebeck river, comprising also about 4,000,000 acres.

The soil of this country, in general, where it is properly fitted to receive the seed, appears to be friendly to the growth of Indian corn, rye, barley, oats, peas, hemp, and flax, as well as to the production of almost all kinds of culinary roots and plants, provided the seed be procured from a more northern climate; wheat is also grown, but not in large quantities. Hops grow spontaneously; but it is not yet certain whether fruit trees will prosper in the porthern and eastern portions of the district: in the counties of Cumberland and York, apples, pears, plums, peaches, and cherries are plentiful, and much cider and perry is made in the southern and western parts. The inhabitants. raise excellent potatoes in profusion, which are often used as a substitute for bread. The lands, for the most part, are easily cleared, having very little underwood. The natural productions consist of white pine and spruce trees in large quantities, suitable for masts, boards, and shingles. Maple, beech, white and grey oak, and yellow birch, are the growth of this country; the birch. is a large tree, used for cabinet work, and takes a polish little inferior to mahogany. The clay lands produce fir, but the timber of this tree is of little use, not even for fuel; it however yields a balsam that is highly esteemed. Iron, copperas, sulphur, and ochres have been found in several parts of this district, and iron works have been long established.

Civil divisions, torons, population, religion, and character.-The district of Maine is divided into eight* coupties, and 288 townships, containing 228,705 inhabitants ; being about seven individuals to each square mile. In the following table will be found the names of the counties, with their chief towns and population :

Counties. Townships. Population. Chief Towns & Population, Cumberland...... 24.........42,831......... Portland, 7,169 Hancock .........76.........30,031.. ......Castine, 1,036 Kennebeck .......33.........32,564........ Augusta, 1,805 Lincoln........... 36........ .42,992... ..... Wiscasset, 2,083 Oxford ...........

.17,630......... Paris, 1,320 - Somerset ..........37...... ..12,910.........Norridgwock, 880 Washington ..... .24......... 7,870......... Machias, 1,570 York ... .21..........41,877......... York, 3,046

.37......

Eight. 288 228,705

Portland, the shire town of Cumberland county, is the capital of the district of Maine ; it is situated on a promoatory in Casco-bay, 580 miles from Washington, and 115 from Boston, and was formerly a part of Falmouth, from which it was separated in 1786. It has an excel. lent, safe, and capacious harbour, and the inhabitants carry on a considerable foreign trade, build ships, and are largely concerned in the fishery. It is one of the most thriving commercial towns in the commonwealth of Mas. sachusetts; and although three-fourths of it was laid in ashes by the British fleet in 1775, it has since been rebuilt, and is now a place of wealth and importance. Among its public buildings are three churches, two for congregationalits, and one for episeopalians, and a handsome court-house.

York, the chief town of York county, stands upon a river of the same name, and is situated 535 miles from Washington, and seventy-five from Boston. The river is navigable for vessels of 250 tons; but little shipping business is done at present, except that a small fishery is supported. A great variety of fish frequent the rivers and shores near this place, and on a summer evening one may stand upon the rocks of the shore, and catch them in the sea with an angling rod and a yard or two of line. About a mile from the mouth of York river, a wooden bridge has been erected, 272 feet long, exclusive of the

• Since the above division was made, Penobscot county, taken chiefly from the county of Hancock, has been added to the number : Bangor is at present the seat of justice.

.wharfs at each end, and twenty-five feet wide: the model of Charles river bridge, at Boston, was taken from this.

Augusta, the chief town of Kennebeck county, has a congregational meeting-house, court-house, and jail, and is pleasantly situated on each side the river Kennebeck, at the head of navigation ; a noble bridge connects the two parts of the town.

Wiscasset, formerly Pownalborough, the principal town of Lincoln county, is a port of entry on the west side of Sheepscut river, and is distant from Boston 160 miles. It contains one congregational church and only about 160 houses; but has a greater navigation, in proportion to its size and number of inhabitants, than any port belonging to Massachusetts. A gazette is published here, and the county courts are held in tbe town, a bank was. established in 1802.

Machias, the seat of justice in Washingtop county, is a port of entry, situated on a bay of its own name, twenty miles south-west of Passmaquoddy, the most easterly town of the United States, and is distant 812 miles from Washington, and 350 from Boston. It is a thriving place, and carries on a considerable trade to the West Indies and to Boston, in fish, lumber, &c.; a regular post between this town and Halifax, in Nova Scotia, has been established. The town is divided into four districts for the support of schools, and into two for the convenience of public worship. In 1792, Washington academy was established here, and is. supported by a township of land, granted by the legislature for that purpose.

Bangor, the chief town of the new county of Penobscot, is situated on the western side of Penobscot riyer, thirtyseven miles from its mouth, and is distant from Portland, 118 miles, and from Boston 240. This town contains a number of handsome houses, with about 900 inhabitants, and promises to be a place of consequence; it stands at the head of navigation, and vessels of 200 tons burden may come up to it with safety.

Častine, Norridgwock, Paris, Belfast, Berwick, Bidde. ford, Scarborough, Wells, and Brunswick, are all considerable and thriving towns. The latter contains a col. lege, which is in a flourishing state, under a president and a professor of languages. In support of this seminary, the legislature has given six townships, and the Hon. J. Bowdoin lands and money to the amount of 10,000 dollars : it is called after him Bowdoin College. Brunswick is distant, from Washington 608, and from Boston 146 miles.

The religion of the people in the district of Maine iş

moderate Calvinism, that is, congregationalists and baptists; although episcopacy was established by their first charter: they are candid, tolerant, and catholic towards those of other persuasions. In their general character there is no difference from that of their neighbours in the adjoining states; unless they be still more robust and hardy. Placed in the same circumstances, they are like them, a brave, enterprising, industrious, and hospitable people; and, in general, benevolent and humane. The males are early taught the use of the firelock; and from the frequent practice of fowling, become excellent marksmen. A great majority of the inhabitants living in a state of comfortable independence, the traveller is sure to find a home in every dwelling; for their kindness tu strangers is proverbial. And as their manners are plain, simple, and unpolished, casrial visitors are received and entertained among them with much artless sincerity, and in the true spirit of hospitality.

Trade and manufactures.--The principal exports of this country are various kinds of lumber, such as pine boards, ship timber, and every species of split lumber made from pine and oak, dried fish, and a few other articles; these are exported from the different ports, in immense quantities. From the first settlement of Maine, about the year 1625, until 1774, the inhabitants followed the lumber trade, which afforded an immediate profit; but by this means they neglected agriculture, and were under the necessity of importing large quantities of Indian corn and other grain, without which it was then supposed the inabitants could not have subsisted. But the revolutionary war, by rendering these resources uncertain, taught the people their true interest, to wit, the cultivation of their lands, which, at a little distance from the sea, are well adapted for raising grain, enough of which is now produced for home consumption. Their wool and flax are very good, and almost every family makes linen and woollen cloth, and farming utensils of all kinds for their own use. The batter made in this district is preferred to that made in any of the New England states, owing to the goodness of the grass, which is here very sweet and juicy.

Constitution.-At the time of the United States becoming independent, this district was in some measure incorporated with Massachusetts, by virtue of a charter from

king William and queen Mary, dated in 1692. It has as yet continued in the same connection, and therefore its constitution is the same with that state; but the separation of Maine from Massachusetts, and its erection into an independent government, have been subjects often publicly discussed by the inhabitants in town meetings, by appointment of the legislature. In February, 1816, in consequence of numerous memorials from individuals and townships in the district of Maine, the legislature of Massachusetts directed that the citizens of Maine should assemble in town and district meetings, on the 20th of · May, 1816, and give their opinions, by written yeas and · nays, on this question, “Shall the legislature be re

quested to give its consent to the separation of the district of Maine from Massachusetts proper, and to the erection of said district into a separate state ?”

Aleetings were accordingly held, and the votes were, for separation, 10,581; against it, 6,491 : total, 17,075. At the same time, the number of legal voters in the district was 37,938. In consequence of this vote, the legislature, by an act of June 20, of the same year, gave its consent to a separation, on certain conditions ; one of which was, that of the votes to be again given as before on the ques.. tion of separation, on the Ist Monday of September, “a majority of five to four at least,” should be in favour of separation. The same act provided for the choice, on the same day of September, of delegates to a convention to. be held on the last Monday of said month, who were directed to sort and count the votes; and if the requisite majority should be found, were empowered to form a state constitution. · The convention assembled accordingly; and found the whole number of the votes, excepting some which were irregularly returned, was 22,316; of which 11,969 were for separation, and 10,347 against it. Finding this result, the convention addressed a memorial to the legislature, praying its consent to a separation; and then adjourned to the 17th of December.

This memorial, with numerous remonstrances, was presented to the legislature at its November session, and committed to a committee, whose report concluded with the following resolutions : “ That the contingency upon which the consent of Massachusetts was to be given, for the separation of the district of Maine, has not happened : and that the powers of the convention to take any measures tending to that event have ceased. And that it is not expedient for the present general court to adopt any

« AnteriorContinuar »