« AnteriorContinuar »
which, from a sense of God's merciful goodness to him, he named Providence.
The whole colony of Massachusetts, at this time, was in a violent ferment from religious disputes. Accordingly, a synod was called, in August, 1636, which condemned eighty erroneous opinions; and a court holden two months afterwards at the same place, banished some of the leading persons who were accused of these supposed errors, and censured several others ; principally, it appears, for seditious conduct. Those who were banished by the court, joined by a number of their friends, went in quest of a new settlement, and came to Providence, where they were kindly entertained by Mr. Williams, who, by the assistance of sir Henry Vane, jun. procured for them, from the Indians, Aquidniek, pow Rhode Island. Here, in 1638, the people, only eighteen in number, formed themselves into a body politic, and chose Mr. Coddington, their leader, to be their judge or chief magistrate; the other parts of the state were purchased of the natives at several successive periods.
In the year 1643, the people being destitute of a patent, or any legal authority, Mr. Williams went to England as agent, and obtained a free and absolute charter of civil incorporation, by the name of the “ Incorporation of Providence plantations in Narraganset-bay." This lasted until the charter was granted by Charles II., by which the incorporation was styled “ The English colony of Rhode Island and Providence plantations in New England." This charter, without any essential alteration, has remained the foundation of their government ever since. Mr. Williams is said to have become a baptist in a few years after his settling at Providence, and to have formed a church of that persuasion; which, in 1653, disagreed about the right of laying on hands; some maintaining that it was pecessary to church communion, and others holding it indifferent; upon which the church was divided into two parts. At Newport Mr.J. Clarke and some others formed a church in 1664, on the principles of the baptists; which church was afterwards divided like that of Providence.
In 1720, there was a congregational church gathered at Newport; and out of this church another was formed in 1728. The worship of God, according to the rites of the church of England, was instituted here in 1706, by the society for propagatiog the gospel in foreign parts; and in 1738, there were seven worshipping assemblies in this town, and a large society of quakers at Portsmouth, at the other end of the island.
· In 1730, the colony was filled with inhabitants, chiefly by the natural increase of the first settlers; the number of souls in the state at this time was 17,935; of which no more than 985 were Indians, and 1,648 negroes: eight years afterwards, there were above 100 sail of vessels belonging to the town of Newport. · Rhode Island, from its local situation, has ever been less exposed to the incursions of the Indians, and to the French, when masters of Canada, than either Massachusetts or Connecticut. Many of the colonists have, from its first establishment, professed the principles of the quakers, which forbade them to fight; for these reasons. the colony was very little concerned in the old wars with the French and Indians. In the expedition against Port Royal, in 1710, and in the unsuccessful attempt against Carada the year following, they had some forces. Towards the intended expedition against Canada, in 1746, they raised 300 men, and equipped a sloop of war with 100 seamen ; but in their voyage to Nova Scotia, they met with misfortunes and returned : soon after, the design was entirely dropped.
From this period nothing occurred in the affairs of · Rhode Island deserving particular notice, until the memorable epoch when the American colonies determined to oppose the authority of the mother country; from which time the history of that state becomes in a great measure identified with that of the other sections of the Union.
STATE OF CONNECTICUT.
Situation, Boundaries, and Extent. CONNECTICUT is situated between 41° and 42° N. lat. and 3° 20' and 5° E. long. It is bounded on the north by Massachusetts; south, by the Sound, which separates it from Long Island ; east, by Rhode Island; and west, by the state of New York. Its length, from north to south, is fifty miles ; and its breadth from east to west, eighty miles; forming an area of 4,000 square miles, or 2,560,000 acres.
Rivers and harbours. The principal rivers in this state are, Connecticut, described under Massachusetts ; it falls into Long Island sound between the towns of Saybrook and Lyme. An elegant bridge bas been lately erected over this fine river, connecting the towns of Hadley and Northampton, in the state of Massachusetts. It is 1,060 feet in length, and thirty in width, and supported by pine piers; elevation thirty feet above high water mark.* Housatonick river rises in Berkshire county, Massachusetts, and after running a south-east course the whole breadth of the state of Connecticut, and passing through several pleasant and thriving towns, empties into the Sound between Stratford and Milford. It is navigable twelve miles to Derby, and above that town is very important for mills and machinery ; but a bar of shells at its mouth, obstruots the navigation of large vessels. Just above the bridge which connects the towns of Canaan and Salisbury, the whole water of the river, 225 feet wide, falls about sixty feet perpendicular, in a perfect white sheet, and, when the river is full, presents a scene truly grand and beautiful. Naugatuk is a small river which flows into the Housatonick, at Derby; a great number of mills and iron works are upon this stream and its branches. Farmington river rises in Massachusetts, and runs south-easterly through Hartland, Barkhampstead, and New Hartford, all in Connecticut, to the town of Farmington, where, meeting with mountains, it turns northerly in search of a passage, and after rupning fifteen miles it meets with Salmon river, when the confluent stream rushes through the mountain, and down a cataract of 150 feet, after which it is called Windsor river, and continuing a south-east course, falls into Connecticut river four miles above Hartford. Thames river is formed by the junction of Shetucket and Norwich rivers, at the city of Norwich, to which place it is navigable for three-mast vessels, and thus far the tide flows. From thence it takes a southerly course fourteen miles, passing by New London, and flows into Long Island sound, forming the fine harbour of New London. About a mile from the mouth of Norwich river there is a very romantic and remarkable, cataract; and at the entrance of Shetucket river is a bridge of timber 124 feet in length. Paukatük is a small river which empties into Stonington hạrbour, and forms a part of the division line between Connecticut' and 'Rhode Island. East, or North-haven river, rises about twenty miles south-west of Hartford, and passing through Wallingford and North-haven, falls into Newhaven harbour. Byram river is a small stream, no otherwise remarkable than as forming part of the western boundary of Connecticut.
The whole of the sea-coast is indented with harbours, · many of which are safe and commodious; but those of New London and Newhaven are the most important. The former opens to the south, and is large, convenient, and dangerless; it has from five to six fathoms water, with a clear bottom, and for a mile above the town is entirely secure for large ships : from the light-house which stands at the mouth of the harbour, up to the town, is about three miles. Newhaven harbour, though inferior to New London, has good anchorage with twenty-two feet water at common tides, and fifteen feet at low water; it is a bay which runs in northerly from the Sound about four miles, with an entrance half a mile wide.
Face of the country, climate, soil, and produce.--In Connecticut the face of the country is pleasingly uneven; towards the north-west it swells into high, broken, hilly lands; but there are no mountains, and this hilly country is extremely romantic and pleasant. The state is remarkably well watered, abounding in small streams; and every county is chequered with inpumerable highways, crossing each other in all directions. As the people of Connecticut first set the example of making turnpike roads in New England, these and other good roads are so abundant, that travelling is greatly facilitated; which is rendered still more agreeable by a number of fine bridges, some of them constructed at a vast expence, which are of great utility. A traveller in any of these roads, will seldom pass. more than half a mile or a mile without finding a house, and a farm under sucb improvements, as to afford every thing needful for the support of a family. The whole state resembles a well-cultivated garden, which, with that degree of industry essential to happiness, produces the necessaries and conveniences of life in great abundance. The land is laid out in small farms, from fifty to 300 acres each, which are held by the farmers in perpetuity, and are generally cultivated as well as the nature of the soil will admit.
The climate is subject to many and sudden changes, passing to the extremes of heat and cold ; but it is nevertheless very healthy. Some years. since, not less than one in forty-six of all the inhabitants then living, were upwards of seventy years of age ; and it has been fully ascertained, that about one in eight attain the age of seventy years and upwards; one in thirteen to the age of eighty years; and
s of Whappiness hich, with hole
one in about thirty to the age of pinety. The shortest day is eight hours and fifty-eight minutes, and the longest fifteen hours.
The soil is various; some parts being poor and sandy, and others very fertile; generally speaking, there is a large proportion of good land, and the state is remarkably well calculated for pasture and mowing, wbich enables the farmers to feed large numbers of neut cattle and horses. It has been proved by actual calculation, that any giren quan. tity of the best mowing land in this state produces about twice as much clear profit, as the same quantity of the best wheat land in the state of New York. The agriculture of this state is in a condition which speaks volumes in praise of equal laws. There is no feudal system, no law of primogeniture; hence there are no overgrown estates on the one hand, and very few of those employed in husbandry are oppressed by indigence on the other; the circumstances of the people in Connecticut is an absence of the extreme either of wealth or poverty. The ground is cultivated by a hardy industrious race, whose labours are rewarded by the blessings of Heaven in "peace, health, and sweet content.”
The produce of the state is wheat, rye, Indian corn, oats, barley, buck wheat, flax in large quantity, potatoes of several kinds, some hemp, with a great variety of vegetables, and fruits of all kinds which are common to the climate. The beef, pork, butter, and cheese of Connecticut are equal to any in the world. Of the mineral productions, iron is found in the greatest abundance; lead, copper, and zinc have also been discovered; but not in sufficient quantity to induce the inhabitants to dig for it. The marble raised in this state is of a species so exquisitely beautiful, as to have become an article of exportation to France and other countries. There are a number of mineral springs; the most important is in Litchfield county, which is very useful in curing various diseases, particularly rheumatism, and those of the cuta. neous kind.
Civil divisions, towns, population, religion, character, &c.-Connecticut is divided into eight counties, and these are subdivided into 119 townships, containing 261,942 inhabitants, being about sixty-five to the square mile; a denser population than is to be found in any of the other United States.