Abbildungen der Seite

crooked course, until it falls into Long-Island Cound, between Saybrook and Lyme.

The length of this river, in a Praight line, is nearly three hundred miles. Its general course is several degrees west of south. It is from eighty to one bundred rods wide, one hundred and thirty miles from its mouth.

Ac its mouch is a bar of sand which considerably obstructs the navigation. Ten feet water at full tide is found on this bar, and the same depth to Middleton. The distance of the bar from this place, as the river runs, is thirty-fix miles. Above Middleton are several shoals which itretch quite across the river. Only six feet water is found on the shoal at high tide, and here the tide ebbs and flows but about eight inches. About three miles below Middleton, the river is contracted to about forty rods iu breadth, by two high mountains. Almost every where else the banks are low, and spread into fine extensive meadows. In the spring floods, which generally happen in May, these meadows are covered with water. Ai Hartford the water soinctimes rises twenty feet above the common surface of the river, and having all to pass through the above-mentioned freight, it is sometimes iwo on three weeks before it returns to its usual bed. These floods add nothing to the depıb of water on the bar at the mouth of the river : ibis bar lying too far off in the sound to be affected by them.

On this beautiful river, whose banks are settled almost to its source, are many pleasant, neat, well-built towns. On its western bank, from its mouth norihward, are the towns of Saybrook, Haddam, Middleton, Weathersfield, Hartford, Windfor, and Suffield in Conne&ticut ; Weft Springfeld, Northampton, Hatfield, and Deerfeld, in Massachusetts ; Guildford, Brattleborough, in which is fort Dummer, Weftminster, Windsor, Hartford, Fairlee, Newbury, Brunswick, and many others in Vermont, Crolling the river into New Hampshire, and travelling on the eastern bank, you pass through Woodbury, nearly opposite to Brunswick, Northumberland, the Cohos country, Lyman, Oxford, Lyme, Hanover, in which is Dartmouth college, Lebanon, Cornish, Clermont, Charleston, or No. 4, Chesterfield, and many others in New-Hampshire ; Sunderland, Hadley, Springfield. Long-meadow, in Massachusetts ; and in Connecticut, Enfield, East Windsor, East Hartford, Glaftenbury, Eaft Haddam, and Lyme.

This river is navigable to Hartford, upwards of fifty miles from its mouth, and the produce of the country for two hundred miles above, is brought thither in boats. The boats which are used in this business are flat-bottomed, long and narrow, for the convenience of going up streams, and of so light a make as to be portable in carts. They are taken out of the river at three different carrying places, all of which make fifteen miles.

Sturgeon, Salmon, and shad are caught in plenty, in their season, from the mouth of the river upwards, excepting surgeon, which do not ascend the upper fails ; besides a variety of small fish, such as pike, carp, pearch, &c.

From this river are employed three brigs of one hundred and eighty tons each, in the European trade ; and about sixty fail, from fixty to one hundred and fifty ions, in the West-India trade; beldes a few fishermen, and forty or fifty coasting velsels,


fire, mainate: Intermaple, ah, and come land

HE foil, as may be collected from what has been said, must be very various. Each tract of different soil is destinguished by iis peculiar vegetation, and is pronounced good, middling or bad, from the species of trees which it produces ; and one species generally predominating in each foil, has originated the descriptive names of oak land--birch, beech, and ehesnut lands--pine barren-maple, alh, and cedar swamps, as each species happen to predominate. Intermingled with these predominating Species, are walnut, firs, elm, hemlock, magnolia, or moose wood, sassafras, &c. &c. The best lands produce walnut and chesnut ; the next beach and oak ; tbe lands of the third quality produce fir and pitch pine; the next, whortleberry and barberry bushes; and the poorest produces nothing but poor marlhy imperfect Ihrubs, which is the lowest kind (if you will allow me to use a hard word) of sufrutex vegetarion.

Among the flowering trees and shrubs in the forests, are the red flowering maple, the saflafias, the locult, the tulip tree, the cheinut, the wild cberry, prune, crab, floe, pear, honey-suckle, wild rose, dog-wood, elm leather iree, laurel, hawthorn, &c. which in the spring of the year gre the woods a most beautiful appearance, and fill them with a delicious fragrance.

Among the fruits which grow wild, are the several kinds of grapes, which are small, four and thick skinned. The vines on which they grow are very luxuriant, often overspreading the highest trees in the forests. These wild vines, without doubt, might ba greatly meliorated by proper cultivation, and a wine may be produced from the grapes, equal, if not superior to the celebrated wines of France. Besides these, are the wild cherries, white and red mulberries, craneberries, walnuts, hazlenuis, chesnuts, buller nuts, beech nuts, wild plumbs and pears, whortleberries, bilberries, goosberries, Arawberries, &c.


I HE foil in the interior country is calculated for the culture of Indian corn, rye, oats, barley, flax, and hemp, for which the soil and climate are peculiarly proper, buck-wheat, beans, peas, &c. In many of the inland parts wheat is raised in large quantities ; but on the sea coast it bas never been cultivated with success, being subject to blafls. Various seasons have been alligned for this. Some have supposed that the blasts were occafioned by the faline vapours of the sea ; others have attributed them to the vicinity of barberry bushes; but perhaps the faudiness and poverty of the soil may be as efficacious a caule as either of the others.

The fruits which the country yields from culture are, apples in the greatest plenty; of these cyder is made, which conítitutes the principal drink of the inhabitants ; also pears of various foris, quinces, peaches, from which is made peach brandy, plumbs, cherries, apricots, &c. The culinary plants are such as have already been enurnerated.

New-England is a fine grazing country; the vallies, between the hills are generally interfected with brooks of water, the banks of which are lined with a tract of rich meadow or interval land. The high and rocky ground is, in many parts, covered with honey-fuchle, and generally affords the finelt of pallure. It will not be a matter of wonder, iherefore

that New-England boast of raising some of the fineft catile in the world ; nor will she be euvied, when the labour of railing them is eaken into view.

Two months of the hottest season in the year, ihe farmers are employed in procuring food for their cattle : and the cold winter is spent in dealing it out to them. The pleasure and profit of doing this is, however, 'a satisfying compenfation to the honest and industrious farmer.

Population, Military Strength, Manners, Custorns, and Diversions.

ITVEW-ENGLAND is the molt populous part of the United States. It contains, at least, eight hundred and I weniy-three shousand souls. Onefifth of these are fencible men. New England, then, should any great and sudden emergency require it, could furnish an army of one hundred and sixty-four thousand lix hundred men. The great body of these are landholders and cultivators of the soil. The former attaches them to their counţry ; the Jatter, by making them strong and healihy. enables them to defend it. The boys are early taught the use of arms, and make the best of soldiers. Few countries on earth, of equal extent and population, can furnith a more formidable army than this part of the union.

New-England may, with propriery, be called a nursery of men, whence : are annually transplanted, into other parts of the United States, thousands of jis natives. The state of Vermont, which is but of yelterday, and contains about one hundred thousand fouls, has received more inhabitants from ConneEticut than froin any other state ; and yet beeween the years 1774 and 1782, notwithlanding her numerous emigrations 10 Vermont, Sufque. hannah, and other places, and the depopilation occasioned by a seven years bloody war, it is found from actual census of the inhahirants in the years before mentioned, that they have increased from one hundred and ninetyseven thousand eight hundred and fifty fix, their number in 1974, to two hundred and nine thousand one hundred and fifty, their number in 1782. Valt nu nbers of the New Englanders, since the war, have emigrated into the northern parts of New York, into Kentucky, and the Western Territory and into Georgia ; and some are scattered into every fate, and every town of note in the union.

The inhabitants of New England are almost universally of Englim descent; and it is owing to this circumstance, and to the great and general attention that has been paid to education, that the English language has been preserved among inem so free of corruption. It is inue, that from laziness, inartention, and want of acquaintance with marikind, many of the people in the country have accultoined themselves to use some peculiar phrases, and to pronounce certain words in a flat, drawling manner. Hence foreigners pretend they know a New-Englandman from his manner of speaking. But the same may be said with regard to a Pennsylvanian, a Virginiań, or a Carolinian ; for all have some phrases and modes of pro nunciation peculiar to themselves, which distinguish them from their neighbours. Men of eminence in the several learned professions, and colleges, ought to be considered as forming the fandard of pronunciation for their respective states; and not that class of people who have imbibed the habit of using a number of singular and ridiculous phrases, and who pronounce badly. :

The Noiv-Englanders are generally tall, flour, and well built. They flory, and perhaps with jyilice, in poftelling thar spirit of freedom,

which induced their ancestors to leave their native country, and to brave the dangers of the ocean, and the hardships of seuling a wilderness. Their education, laws, and fituation, serve to inspire them with high notions of liberty. Their jealousy is awakened at the first motion toward an invasion of their rights. They are indeed often jealous 10 excess; a circumftance which is a fruitful source of imaginary grievances, and of innumerable groundless suspicions, and unjust complaints againf government. But these ebullitions of jealousy, though censurable, and productive of some policical evils, shew that the essence of true liberty exiits in New England'; for jealousy is the guardian of liberty, and a characteristic of free iepubhcans. A law refpeéting the descent of eflares which are generally held in fee fimple, which for substance in the same in all the New-England llares, is ihe chief fourdation and protection of this liberty. By this law, the pulleilons of the father are to be equally divided among all the children, exieping the eldest son, who has a double portion. In this way is preferved that happy mediocrity among the people, which, by inducing economy and in. duftru, removes from them temptations to luxury, and forms them to habits of fobriety and temperance. At the same time, their industry and friigality exempt them from wart, and from the neceflity of subming to any encroachment on their liberties.

In New-England learning is more generally diffused among all ranks of people than in any other part of the globe; arising from the excellent establishment of schools in every townsh p.

Another very valuable source of information to the people is the newfpapers, of which not less than thirty Thousand are printed every weck in New-England, and circulated in almost every town and village in the the country.

A person of mature age, who cannot buih read and write, is rarely to be found. By means of this establishment of schools. the extensive circulation of newspapers, and the consequent spread of learning, every townthip throughout the country is furnished with men capable of conducting the affairs of their town with judginent and discretion. These men are the sbannels of political information to the lower class of people : if such a class may be said to exist in New-England, where every man thinks himself at least as good as his neighbour, and believes that all mankind are, or ought to be equal. The people from their childhood form habits of canvafling public affairs, and commence politicians. This naturally leads them to be very inquifitive. Te is with knowledge as with riches, the more a man ba, the more he wishes to obtain ; his defire has no bound. This desire afier knowledge, in a greater or less degree, prevails th'oughout all classes of people in New England ; and from their various modes of exprefsing it, some of which are blunt and familiar, bordering on inpertinence, ftrangers have been induced to mention impertinent inquisitiveness as a difling withing characteriflic of New England people. But this is rue only with regard to that class of people who have confined themselves to domestic life, and have not had opporiuni'y of mingling with the world ; and such people are not peculiar to New England-hey compose a great part of the citizens of every flare. This class, it is true, is large in New. Enpland, wbere agriculture is the principal employment. But will not a candid and ingenious mind ascribe this inquisitiveness in these honest and well-meaning people to a laudable rather than a censurable difpolicion ?

A very confiderable part of the people have either too little or too much learning to make peaceable subjects. They know enough, however, to think they know a great deal, when in fa&t they know but little. " A little learning is a dangerous thing." Each man has his independent system of politics ; and each assumes a dictatorial office. Hence originates that restless, litigious, complaining spirit, which forms a dark shade in the character of NewEnglandmen.

This litigious temper is the genuine fruit of republicanism ; but it denotes a corruption of virtue, which is one of its essential principles. . Where a people have a great share of freedom, an equal share of virtue is necesary to the peaceable enjoyment of it. Freedom, without virtue or honour, is lic cenciousness.

Before the late war, which introduced into New-England a flood of corruptions, with many improvements, the fabbath was observed with great ftriétness; no unnecessary travelling, no secular business, no visiting, no diversions were permitted on that sacred day. They considered it as consecrated to divine worship, and were generally punctual and serious in their ac. tendance upon it. Their laws were strict in guarding the fabbath against every innovation. The supposed severily with which these laws were composed and executed, together with some other traits in their religious charaç. ter, have acquired, for the New-Englanders, the name of a superstitious, bio goted people. But superllition and bigotry are so indefinite in their fignifi. cations, and so variously applied by persons of different principles and cducations, that it is not easy to determine whether they ever deserved that character. Leaving every person to enjoy his own opinion in regard to this matter, we will only observe, that, since the war, a catholic, tolerant spirit, occasioned by a more enlarged intercourse with mankind, has greatly increased, and is becoming universal ; and if they do not break the proper bound, and liberalize away all true religion, of which there is much danger, they will counteract that strong propenfily in human nature which leads men to vibrare from one extreme to its opposite.

There is one distinguishing characteristic in che religious character of this people, which we must not omit to mention ; and that is, the custom of anBually celebrating falts and thanksgivings. In the spring, the several goverpors issue their proclamations, appointing a day to be religiously observed in falling, humiliation, and prayer, throughout their respective states, in which che predominating vices, that particularly call forhumiliation, are enumerated, In autumn, after harveft, that glad some era in the husbandman's life, the governors again issue their proclamarions, appointing a day of public thanksgiving, enumerating the public ble Logs received in the course of the foregoing year.

Tbis pious custom originated with their venerable ancestors, the first set. tlers in New-England ; and has been handed down as sacred, through the succeslive generations of their posterity. A custom so racional, and so happily calculated to cherilh in the minds of the people a senle of their depenpence on the Great Benefactor of the world for all their blellings, it is hoped will ever be fácredly prelerved.

There is a class of people in New-England of the baser sort, who, averse to honeft industry, have recourse to knavery for fubbstence. Skilled in all the arts of dishonesty, with the assumed face and frankness of integrity, they go about, like wolves in sheeps clothing, with a delign to defraud. There people, enterprizing from necellity, have not confined their knavilh tricks to

« ZurückWeiter »