« AnteriorContinuar »
367. General Description.-Newfoundland is a large island, forming the eastern side of the Gulph of St. Lawrence. It has numerous commodious harbours, lakes, and rivers. The climate is severe,
and the coasts are subject to dense fogs; yet the island is generally healthy. Its staple produce is cod-fish. The genuine Newfoundland dog now exists only on the coast of Labrador. St. John's is the capital of Newfoundland.
368. Situation and Boundaries.-The United States lie between 25° and 49° N. lat., and between 67° and 124° W. long. They are bounded on the north by British America; west, by the Pacific Ocean and Mexico; south, by the Gulph of Mexico; and east, by the Atlantic Ocean. The whole of this about 2,300,000
vast region contains an area of square miles: its greatest length, from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, is about 2500 miles; its greatest breadth, from north to south, nearly 1400. But the actually organized states occupy an area of about 1,300,000 square miles only: the remainder is occupied by native Indian tribes.
369. General Description.-The Alleghany or Appalachian and the Rocky Mountains divide the country into three great portions; the eastern, mid
dle, and southern. The Alleghanies are less a chain of mountains than a long plateau, running nearly parallel to the Atlantic, whose mean elevation is not more than 2000 or 3000 feet; and whose highest range is in New Hampshire. The Rocky Mountains, which form the western boundary of the Missisippi valley, are a prolongation of the cordilleras of Mexico: their base is about 3000 feet above the level of the Midway between these are the Ozark Moun
sea. tains. But the mountains of the United States are not their most striking physical feature. Vast rivers, numerous swamps and marshes, forests and prairies of immense extent, are far more characteristic. The Missisippi, with its tributaries, the chief of which are the Missouri, the Ohio, and the Arkansas,—drains an area of more than one million square miles, and falls into the Gulph of Mexico. The other chief rivers are the Connecticut, flowing through Massachusetts and Connecticut into Long Island Sound; the Hudson, into the Atlantic, at New York; the Delaware, into Delaware Bay; the Susquehanna and Potomac, into Chesapeak Bay; the Savannah, into the Atlantic; and the Columbia, through the western territory, into the Pacific. The chief lakes are Lake Michigan, in the north-west; and Lake Champlain, between Vermont and New York. The principal bays are Massachusetts' Bay, in the east of Massachusetts; Delaware Bay, between New Jersey and Delaware; and Chesapeak Bay, between Maryland and Virginia. Among the capes are Cape Anne and Cape Cod, in Massachusetts; Cape May, in the south-east of New Jersey; Cape Charles and Capé Henry, at the entrance of Chesapeak Bay; Cape
Hatteras, Cape Look-out, and Cape Fear, in North Carolina; and Cape Tancha or Sable Point, in the south of Florida. Long Island and Staten Island belong to New York; Nantucket belongs to Massachusetts.
370. Climate, Soil, and Natural Productions.-The climate of the United States embraces every variety of temperature, from the cold sea air of Passamaquoddy, to the dry, elastic, and severe temperature of the White and the Green Mountains; rising through all the degrees of the thermometer to the climate congenial to the olive, the sugar-cane, and the orange. Though beautiful to the eye, the atmosphere and climate of the United States are very changeable and exciting; and therefore exhausting and injurious both to body and mind. The soil is generally capable of cultivation. The swamps and praries are covered with luxuriant vegetation; forests of vast extent ascend the mountain sides; and the cultivated plains yield all the vegetable productions of European countries. Agricultural products are the principal articles of export; especially wheat, maize, cotton, rice, and tobacco. United States are richly supplied with valuable minerals.
371. Manufactures and Commerce.-The principal occupation of the people is agriculture; but manufactures are making rapid progress. The chief are those of cotton, woollens, leather, linens, glass, and paper. The fisheries are valuable. The commerce of the United States is very flourishing, espe cially that with Great Britain. New Orleans is the great centre of the inland trade. The four maritime States of New England are those most devoted to navigation and trade: and next to the New Englanders, the people of New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland are the most commercial.
372. Government and Institutions.-The government, as established in 1787, is a federal representative democracy or republic. The executive power is vested in the President, who is elected every four years. The legislative power is vested in a Congress, consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives; the former consisting of 48, the latter of 240 members. Every member is paid 8 dollars* a day for his
* A dollar is about 4s. 3d. English.
attendance during the session; together with his travelling expenses to and from Washington. The federal judiciary establishment consists of a Supreme Court, nine circuit courts, and thirty district courts. The Supreme Court sits at Washington, and is a powerful means of preserving the integrity of the Union. Such is the general government of the United States; and that of each of the separate states is formed very nearly on the same model. The colleges and schools are numerous. The great mass of the citizens are the descendants of emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland. The black population amounts to about one-sixth of the whole. Slavery exists in the States of Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, Arkansas, and all those south of the Potomac and the Ohio.
373. Political Divisions.-The Union consists of 26 states, 3 territories, and the small federal district of Columbia. These, with their chief towns or seats of government, are as follows:
*These are together called New England: and their inhabitants are distinguished from other Americans by the name of Yankees; an Indian corruption of English.
374. Cities and Towns.-In MAINE:-Portland and Bangor are the largest and most important. In NEW HAMPSHIRE:Portsmouth contains one of the navy yards of the United States. Dover is the next largest town. In VERMONT:Burlington and Middleburg. In MASSACHUSETTS:-As a commercial town, Boston, the capital, is second only to New York. Lowell is one of the principal manufacturing towns of the United States,-its "Manchester." Salem and Springfield are also thriving towns. In NEW YORK:-The city of New York is the largest, most wealthy, and most flourishing in the United States; being the great mart of foreign commerce and inland trade. Brooklyn and Albany are considerable towns. In PENNSYLVANIA:-Philadelphia, formerly the capital of the United States, is distinguished as a manufacturing town, and is inferior only to New York and Boston in the extent of its commerce. Pittsburg, admirably situated, is a large manufacturing town; the "Birmingham" of the United States. In NEW JERSEY:-Newark and Patterson. In DELAWARE:-Wilmington. In MARYLAND:-Baltimore, a large and flourishing commercial city, with a capacious harbour. In VIRGINIA:-Wheeling, on the Ohio. In SOUTH CAROLINA:-Charleston and Hamburgh. In ALABAMA:-Mobile. In MICHIGAN:-Munroe. In OHIO:-Cincinnati, Toledo, and Springfield are improving manufacturing towns. In ILLINOIS: Chicago. In KENTUCKY:-Lexington, once the capital. In MISSISIPPI:-Natchez. In FLORIDA:-St. Augustine, now decayed, the oldest town in the United States.