Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

In 1655, the Dutch arrived in the river Delaware from New Amsterdam (now New York) in seven vessels, with 700 men. They dispossessed the Swedes of their forts on the river, and carried the officers and principal inhabitants prisoners to New Amsterdam, and from thence to Holland. The common people submitted to the conquerors, and remained in the country. In 1664, sir Robert Carr obtained the submission of the Swedes on Delaware river; and four years after, colonel Nicolls, governor of New York, by the advice of his council, appointed a scout, and five other persons, to assist captain Carr in the government of the country.

In 1672, the town of Newcastle was incorporated by the government of New York, to be governed by a bailiff and six assistants; after the first year, the four oldest were to leave their office, and four others to be chosen. The bailiff was president, with a double vote; the constable was chosen by the bench: they had power to try causes not exceeding ten pounds, without appeal. The office of scout was converted into that of sheriff, who had jurisdiction in the corporation and along the river, and was annually chosen. They were to have a free trade, without being obliged to make entry at New York, as had formerly been the practice.

In 1674, Charles II., by a second patent, dated June 29th, granted to his brother, the duke of York, all that country called by the Dutch New Netherlands, of which the three counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex, were a part. In 1683, the duke of York sold to William Penn the town of Newcastle, with the district twelve miles round the same; and at the same time granted to him the remainder of the territory, which, till the revolution, was called the three loucer counties, and has since been called the state of Delaware. Till 1776, these three counties were considered as a part of Pennsylvania. . In matters of government, the same governor presided over both ; but the assembly and courts of judicature were composed of different members, though their forms were nearly the same.

STATE OF MARYLAND.

Situation, Boundaries, and Eartent.

THIS state is situated between 38° and 39° 43' N. lat. and 2 E. and 2° 30' W. long. It is bounded on the north by Pennsylvania; south and west it has Virginia and the Atlantic ocean, and east by the state of Delaware and the same ocean. Its length from east to west is 198 miles, and its breadth from north to south ninety miles; containing 10,800 square miles, or, 6,912,000 acres, of which about one-sixth part is water.

Bays, rivers, and face of the country.—Chesapeak bay has already been noticed, page 32; but it merits a more particular description, from its vast importance to this state, and indeed to the United States generally. This bay is formed by the outlet of the Susquehannah river, where it receives French creek, and a number of smaller streams. It is there about seven miles broad, and so continues to near the branch that leads up to Baltimore; from thence it assumes various breadths, from ten to fifteen miles, during a course downwards of about seventy miles, to near the Potomac river. It then stretches out to twenty-five or thirty miles, during a passage of ninety miles more, and finally passes into the Atlantic ocean by an outlet of twelve miles broad. The whole extent of this grand bay from north to south, is upwards of 270 miles, and it receives in its course the entire waters of this state, nearly all those of the eastern part of Virginia, a principal part of the Pennsylvania rivers, and some from the state of Delaware; exhibiting a greater confluence of waters than is to be seen in any quarter of the United States, or almost in the world. The Chesapeak divides this state into eastern and western divisions. From the eastern shore in Maryland, among other smaller ones, it receives Pokomoke, Nanticoke, Choptank, Chester, Elke, Wye, Sassafras, and Bohemia rivers. From the north, the rapid Susquehannah; and from the west Patapsco, Severn, Patuxent, Potomac, (half of which is in Maryland and half in Virginia,) Gunpowder, and Wicomico; except the Susquehannah and Potomac, these are small rivers. +

Patapsco river rises in York county, Pennsylvania, and pursues a south-east course till it reaches Elkridge, about eight miles south-west of Baltimore; it there turns eastwardly over falls, and widens into a broad bay-like stream to its mouth. It is about forty yards wide just before it communicates with the bason on which stands the large commercial town of Baltimore; which it leaves on the north, and passes into the Chesapeak. It is navigable for vessels drawing eighteen feet water to Fell's Point at Baltimore; but the falls above Elkridge prevent the navi"

gation farther. The entrance into the harbour, about a mile below Fell's Point, is hardly pistol shot across, and of course may be easily defended against naval force.

Patuxent is a larger river than the Patapsco, rises near the same source, and empties into Chesapeak bay about twenty miles north of the mouth of Potomac. It admits vessels of 250 tons to Nottingham, forty-six miles from its mouth, and boats twelve miles higher. Patuxent is as remarkable a river as any in the bay, having very high land on its north side, with red banks or cliffs.

The face of the country is remarkably variegated. Its south-west boundary line is formed by the river Potomac ; and the fine bay of Chesapeak, with its numerous waters, passes through the middle of it. On the east side, it presents a coast of about thirty-five miles to the Atlantic ocean, low, level, and in general sandy; but in many places covered with stagnant water, except when it is intersected by numerous creeks. The land continues to rise by a gentle ascent, but is generally level to Baltimore, 160 miles from the sea; it then swells out into a hilly country, till it reaches the Blue ridge of mountains, which stretches across the western part of this state, and passes through Pennsylvania and Virginia. East of these mountains, the land, like that in all the southern states, is generally level and free from stones; and appears to have been made much in the same way: of course the soil must be similar, and the natural growth not materially different. The northern parts of the state are varied with hills and valleys.

Climate, soil, and productions.—The climate is various in different districts, but for the most part mild and agreeable, well suited to agricultural productions, and particularly fruit trees. The eastern parts are similar to Delaware, having large tracts of marsh, which during the day load the atmosphere with vapour, that falls in dew in the close of the summer and autumn, which are unhealthy, and indicated by a sickly colour in the inhabitants, who are subject to intermittent fevers. In the interior hilly country the climate improves very much, and among the mountains it is delightful and healthy; the summers being cooled by fine breezes, while the winters are tempered by a southern latitude, which renders them much milder than to the northward. The soil is as various as the climate; and a great portion of it is rather poor. The swamps on the eastern shore are nearly useless; but in the interior there are a considerable number of fertile tracts; though the greater part of the land is inferior until you pass the first ridge of mountains, when there is a fruitful valley of twelve or fourteen miles broad. From thence the soil approaches nearly to the mountainous district of Pennsylvania. The good land in this state is of such a nature and quality as to produce from fourteen to eighteen bushels of wheat, or about thirty bushels of Indian corn an acre. The average crops throughout the state may be twelve bushels of wheat and twenty of corn. Wheat and tobacco are the staple commodities of Maryland ; but in the interior country, on the uplands, considerable quantities of hemp and flax are raised. Tobacco is generally cultivated by negroes, in sets or companies, in the following manner: the seed is sown in beds of fine mould, and transplanted the beginning of May. The plants are set at the distance of three or four feet from each other, and are hilled and kept continually free from weeds. When as many leaves have shot out as the soil will nourish to advantage, the top of the plant is broken off, which prevents it from growing higher. It is carefully kept clear of worms, and the suckers, which put out between the leaves, are taken off at proper times, till the plant arrives at perfection, which is in August. When the leaves turn of a brownish colour, and begin to be spotted, the plant is cut down and hung up to dry, after having sweated in heaps one night. When it can be liandled without crumbling, which is always in moist weather, the leaves are stripped from the stalk, tied in bundles, and packed for exportation in hogsheads containing eight or 9001b. No suckers nor ground leaves are allowed to be merchantable. An industrious person may manage 6,000 plants of tobacco (which yield 1,000lb.) and four acres of lndian corn. The farms and plantations consist, in general, of from 100 to 1,000 acres. In the upper parts of the state, towards the mountains, the land is divided into small portions; grain is principally cultivated, and there are few slaves. In the lower parts, the plantations are extensive ; large quantities of tobacco are raised, and the labour is performed almost entirely by negroes. The persons residing upon these large plantations have their stewards and overseers, and give themselves but little trouble about the management of their lands. The clothing for the slaves, and most of the implements of husbandry, are: imanufactured on each estate; and the quarters of the negroes are situated in the neighbourhood of the principal dwelling-house, which gives the residence of every planter the appearance of a little village. The houses are for the most part built of wood, and painted with Spanish brown; and in front there is generally a long porch painted white. Log-houses are very common in many parts of this state; and as they are cheaper than any others, in a country abounding with wood, and generally the first that are erected on a new settlement in America, a description of them in this place may not be uninteresting. The sides consist of trees just squared, and placed horizontally one upon the other; the ends of the logs of one side resting alternately on the ends of those of the adjoining sides, in notches; the spaces between the logs are fitted with clay, and the roof is covered with boards or with shingles, which are small pieces of wood in the shape of slates or tiles, and which are commonly used for that purpose. These habitations are not very sightly ; but when well built they are warm and comfortable, and last for a long time.

Besides the articles of produce already mentioned, cotton is raised in some places; but it is of rather an inferior quality. The gardens produce excellent roots and vegetables, and the fruit of the orchards is equal to any in the other states; apples, pears, peaches, plums, and cherries are plenty and cheap: from the apples and peaches much brandy is manufactured. The natural productions of the forests are oak, walnut, hickory, ash, chesnut, sassafras, magnolia, and several kinds of pine. The woods abound with nuts of various kinds, which are collectively called mast; on this mast vast numbers of swine are fed, which run wild among the trees. These swine, when fatted, are caught, killed, barrelled, and exported in great quantities. The chief mineral productions are iron and copper. No works of any consequence have as yet been established for the manufacture of the latter; but there are many extensive iron works. Coal has also been discovered ; but not in sufficient quantity to make it an object of importance.

Civil divisions, towns, population, religion, and cha

*acter.—Maryland is divided into nineteen counties, but

not subdivided into townships or hundreds, as the states

already described. Ten of these counties are on the

western, and nine on the eastern shores of Chesapeak

bay. The number of inhabitants, by the last general

« AnteriorContinuar »