Imagens das páginas

marshes, and empty into the river and bay of Delaware, The principal of these is Brandywine creek, which falls into the Delaware at Wilmington, and on which there are numerous mills and manufactories. The climate is much influenced by the face of the country; for the land being low and flat, occasions the waters to stagnate, and the consequence is, that the inhabitants are subject to intermittent fevers and agues. The southern parts of the state in particular, having a very moist atmosphere, is often foggy and unwholesome; but is mild and temperate in winter. The northern parts, on the contrary, are much more agreeable and healthy. The soil in many places is well adapted to the different purposes of agriculture ; and notwithstanding the stagnant waters already mentioned (which are only prevalent at certain seasons of the year) Delaware is chiefly an agricultural state, and, upon the whole, contains a very fertile tract of country. In Newcastle county, along the river Delaware, and from eight to ten miles into the interior, the soil is generally a rich clay, in which a great variety of the most useful productions ean be conveniently and plentifully reared ; from thence to the swamps before noticed, the soil is light, sandy, and of an inferior quality. In the county of Kent, there is a considerable mixture of sand; and in Sussex, the quantity of sand altogether predominates. The greater part of the inhabitants of this state are devoted to husbandry; and in every place where the land is capable of cultivation, they have rendered it very productive. Wheat is the staple article of produce, and grows here in such perfection, as not only to be particularly sought by the manufacturers of flour throughout the United States, but also to be distinguished and preferred for its superior qualities, in foreign markets. This wheat possesses an uncommon softness and whiteness, and makes the best superfine flour, and in other respects far exceeds the hard and flinty grains raised in general on the higher lands. Next to wheat, the principal productions are rye, Indian corn, barley, oats, flax, and potatoes. Grasses are abundant, and thrive very luxuriantly, furnishing food for many fine cattle; and every sort of vegetable common to the states already described, arrive to great perfection here; particularly the various kinds of fruits. The coun. ty of Sussex, besides producing considerable quantities of grain, possesses large tracts of fine grazing land; and this county also exports lumber to a great amount, obtained chiefly from an extensive swamp called the Indian

river, or Cypress swamp, lying partly within this state, and partly in Maryland. This morass is twelve miles in length and six in breadth, including an area of nearly 50,000 acres of land; the whole of which is a high and level bason, very wet, though undoubtedly the highest land between the sea and the bay, whence the Pocomoke descends on one side, and Indian river on the other. The swamp contains a great variety of trees, plants, wild beasts, birds and reptiles. There are no mineral productions in this state except iron ; large quantities of bog iron ore, very fit for castings, are found among the branches of Nanticoke river. Before the revolution this ore was worked to a great amount; but this business, though still carried on, is rather on the decline.

Civil divisions, towns, population, religion, character, &c.—The state of Delaware is divided into three counties, which are subdivided into twenty-five hundreds, containing, by the last general census, 72,674 inhabitants, of whom, 4,177 were slaves; being about forty-three individuals to the square mile : but by a state enumeration in 1817, the population is said to amount to 108,334.

Counties. Hundreds. Population. Chief Towns and Population.

Kent........... 5........20,495......... Dover, 800 Newcastle... 9......... 24,429......... Wilmington, 4,406 Sussex........ 11......... 27,750...... .. Georgetown, 400

Dover, the seat of government for this state, is situated on Jones's creek, about four miles from its mouth in the Delaware; and is distant forty-seven miles from Wilmington, seventy-four from Philadelphia, and eighty-eight from the city of Washington. It is a small place, containing about 150 houses, built mostly of brick. There are four streets, which intersect each other at right angles in the centre of the town ; and the area included within these intersections extends into a handsome parade, on the east side of which is an elegant state-house. The town has a lively appearance, and supports a considerable trade with Philadelphia, chiefly in flour.

Wilmington is a thriving town, consisting of about 700 houses, mostly built of brick; it is situated a mile and a half west of the Delaware, on Christiana creek, 27 miles southward from Philadelphia, and is built on the plan of that fine city. It carries on a very considerable trade, principally in flour, manufactured at the celebrated mills on Brandywine creek, half a mile from the town. There

NO. XIX. 3 K

are here six places for public worship, viz. two for presbyterians, one for quakers, one for baptists, one methodist, and one Swedish. The other public buildings are a market house, a court-house, a prison, and a flourishing academy. This is much the largest and pleasantest town in the state; and being built upon the gentle ascent of an eminence, it appears to great advantage as you sail up the Delaware.

Newcastle is thirty-two miles below Philadelphia, on the west bank of the Delaware river, and contains about 200 houses, some of them handsome; but the whole place has rather the appearance of decay. It was first settled by the Swedes in the year 1627, and called Stockholm; but was afterwards taken by the Dutch, who gave it the name of New Amsterdam: when it fell into the hands of the English they named it Newcastle. The river is here two miles wide, from thence it spreads out into Delaware bay; the banks are level and covered with wood, and the lands rise to a considerable height at a distance, affording in some places very fine prospects. The only rivers of note that join the Delaware between Newcastle and Phila. delphia, are the Schuylkill, and Brandywine creek.

Besides the towns already described, which are the most considerable in the state, there are some others of less importance, such as Georgetown, Lewistown, and Milford; none of them containing above 600 inhabitants: there are also many villages of inferior note, all in a state of progressive improvement.

In this state there is a variety of religious denominations; but the principal sect is that of the presbyterians. Episcopalians are next in number, then baptists; the methodists are also numerous, especially in the counties of Kent and Sussex: besides these, there is a Swedish episcopal church at Wilmington, which is one of the oldest congregations in the United States. All these de; nominations have free toleration by the constitution, and live together in peace and harmony. In character and manners the inhabitants are nowise dissimilar from the people of Pennsylvania. Any shade of difference that may exist, arises from the small number of towns in this state, and most of the citizens being engaged in rural employments.

Trade, manufactures, &c.—Almost the whole of exports of the Delaware are from Wilmington; an the trade from this state to Philadelphia is very great, it”

the principal source whence that city draws its staple commodity. Indeed flour is the chief article of export, and the manufacture of it is carried to a higher degree of perfection here than in any other state of the Union. Besides the well-constructed mills on Red Clay and White Clay creeks, and other streams in different parts of the state, the famous collection of mills at Brandywine, already noticed, merit a particular description. They are called the Brandywine mills, from the stream on which they are erected. This stream rises in Chester county, Pennsylvania, and after a winding course of thirty miles through falls, which furnish numerous mill-seats (above 150 of which are already occupied) flows into Christiana creek, near Wilmington. These mills are in great perfection, and give employment to upwards of 600 persons, who manufacture not less than 500,000 bushels of wheat annually. The navigation quite up to the mills is such, that a vessel carrying 1,000 bushels of wheat may be laid along side any of them ; while there are some of them that will admit of vessels loaded with double the above quantity. The cargoes are discharged with astonishing expedition: there have been instances of 1,000 bushels of wheat being carried to the height of four stories in four hours. It is frequently the case that shallops carrying the same quantity, come up with flood tide, unload and go away the succeeding ebb with 300 barrels of flour on board. By means of machinery, the wheat is received on the shallop's deck, thence carried to the upper loft of the mill, and a considerable portion of the same returned in flour on the lower floor, ready for packing, without the assistance of manual labour, but in a very small degree, in proportion to the business done. The transportation of flour from the mills to the port of Wilmington, does not require half an hour; and it often happens that a cargo is taken from the mills, and delivered at Philadelphia the same day, Among other branches of industry exercised in and near Wilmington, are cotton manufactories and one for boltingcloths; and throughout the county of Newcastle are a number of fulling-mills, several paper-mills, snuff-mills, two slitting-mills, and upwards of seventy mills for grinding grain, besides others for sawing timber and stone, all of which are turned by water. Besides the wheat and flour trade, this state carries on a considerable commerce in various other articles; among which are iron, salted provisions, flaxseed, lumber, paper, &c. The foreign exports in 1817 amounted to 44,854 dollars, of which 38,771

was domestic produce. The principal trade with Britain is through the medium of Philadelphia.

Constitution.—At the revolution, the three lower counties on Delaware river became independent, by the name of the Delaware state. Under their present constitution, which was established in September, 1776, the legislature is divided into two distinct branches, which, together, are styled “The General Assembly of Delaware.” One branch, called the “House of Assembly,” consists of seven representatives from each of the three counties, chosen annually by the freeholders. The other branch, called the “Council,” consists of nine members, three for a county, who must be more than twenty-five years of age, chosen likewise by the freeholders. A rotation of members is established by displacing one member for a county at the end of every year. A president or chief magistrate is chosen by the joint ballot of both houses, and continues in office three years; at the expiration of which period, he is ineligible for the three succeeding years. Every white freeman of the age of twenty-one, who has resided in the state two years next before the election, shall enjoy the right of an elector. The sons of persons so qualified shall, between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-two, be entitled to vote, though they have paid no taxes,

History.—The Dutch, under the pretended purchase made of Henry Hudson, already noticed, took possession of the lands on both sides the river Delaware, and, as early as the year 1623, built a fort at the place which has since been called Gloucester, four miles below Phila: delphia. Four years afterwards, a colony of Swedes and Finns came over, furnished with every necessary to begin a new settlement, and landed on Cape Henlopen, at the entrance of Delaware bay; at which time the Dutch had wholly quitted the country.

In 1630, the Dutch returned, and built a fort at Lewis’ town, a short distance from Cape Henlopen. The year following the Swedes built a fort near Wilmington, which they called Christiana, in honour of their queen: here also they laid out a small town which was afterwards demolished by the Dutch. The same year they erected? fort higher up the river, upon Teneeum island, which they called New Gottenburgh; they also at the same tim" built forts at Chester, Elsinburgh, and other places.

« AnteriorContinuar »