תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

change would it make in the country below, should the mountains at Niagara, . by any accident, be cleft asunder, and a passage suddenly opened to drain off the waters of Erie and the Upper Lakes? While ru. minating on these subjects, I have often been hurried away by fancy, and led to imagine, that wh is now the bay of Mexico, was once a champaign country; and that from the point or cape of Florida, there was a continued range of mountains through Cuba, Hispaniola, Porto-Rico, Martinique, Gaudaloupe, Barbadoes, and Trinidad, till it reached the coast of America, and formed the mores which bounded the ocean, and guarded the country behind: that, by some convulsion or fhock of nature, the sea had broken through these mounds, and deluged that vaß plain, till it reached the foot of the Andes; that being there heaped up by the trade-winds, always blowing from one quarter, it had found its way back, as it continues to do, through the gulph between Florida and Caba, carrying with it the loom and fand it may have scooped from the country it had occupied, part of which it may have deposited on the thores of North America, and with part formed the banks of Newfoundland.But these are only the visions of fancy *.'

In addition to what we have already said respecting the face of the country in Pennsylvania, it may be observed, that, excepting the Allegany range of mountains, which crosses the state in an oblique direction, and is from twenty to fifty miles wide, the state is generally level, or agreeably diversified with gentle hills and vales,

The foil is of the various kinds; in some parts it is barren; a great proportion of the state is good land; and no inconsiderable part is very good. Perhaps the proportion of first rate land is not greater in any of the thirteen states. The richest part of the state that is settled is Lancaster county.

The richest that is unsettled, is between Allegany river and Lake Erie, in the north-west corner of the state. Of this fine tract, 100,000 acres, lying on and near French Creek, are for sale by the state. The convenient communications through this creek into the Allegany, and from the Allegany, through various creeks and rivers to the Susquehannah and Patomak, have already been mentioned.

The north side of Pennsylvania is the richest and the best fettled land throughout, owing entirely to the circumstance of the western road having been run by the armies, prior to 1762, through the towns of Lancalter, Carlisle and Bedford, and thence to Pittsburg. For the purpose of turning the tide of settlers from this old channel, into the unsetiled and more fertile parts of the state, the government and landed in1erest of Pennsylvania have been, and are still busy in cutting convenient roads. During the last summer (1788) they run a road north, from the former roads beyond Bethlehem, to the north portage between Delaware and Susquehannah; and thence north eighty degrees west to the mouth of the Tyoga; the first seventy miles, and the laft above fixty. It is now is contemplation to cut a road from Sunbury, at the forks of the east and west branches of Susquehannah, west, 150 miles, to the mouth of Toby's creck, which empties into the Allegany river, from the east. This road will be through a tract of rich land, now for sale by

Jefferson's Notes on Virginia, Appendix, No. II.

[ocr errors]

X 3

the

the state. A road is also cutting from the mouth of the Tyoga, southward, to the mouth of Loyal, a branch of the west branch of Sasquehannah. Another road is cutting from Huntingdon-town, on Frankstown branch of the Juniatta, westward thirty miles, to a navigable branch of the Allegany.

Thus the well judged policy of this state, is paving the way for the settlement of all their walte lands. And to evidence their benevolence, and their wishes to have the advantages of education increafed, and more extensively enjoyed, they have allotted 60,000 acres of these waste lands for the use of public schools ; and above 60,coo more have been granted for that purpole, and to the societies established for the promotion of knowledge, the arts, religion, &c.

In addition to the common observation, that the natural growth of this state is fimilar to that of New-Jersey and New-Yorti, which is indeed the case in most respects, it may be said, that there are in Pennsylvania great bodies of sugar-maple, particularly in the counties of Northampton, Luzerne, Northumberland and Wainington, which yield a welltasted and wholesome sugar, to profit.

Cumberland and Franklin valley is timbered principally with locuit, black walnut, hickory and white oak. The mountainous parts are covered with pines, chesnuts, &c.

The produce from culture, consists of wheat, which is the staple commodity of the fiate, some rye, Indian corn, buck-wheat, oats, speltz *, barley, which is now raised in greater quantities than formerly, occafioned by the vast consumption of it by the breweries in Philadelphia, herp, fax, and vegetables of all the various kinds common to the climate. Pennsylvania is a good grazing country, and great numbers of cattle are fed, and large dairics are kept, but their beef, pork and cheese, are not reckoned so good as those of Connecticut and the other parts of NewEngland; but their butter has been fupposed superior.

Climate, difeales, longevity', c.] Nothing ditierent from that of Conpećticut; except, that on the west side of the mountains, the weather is much more regular. The inhabitants never feel those quick transitions from cold to heat, by a change of the wind from north to fouth, as those so frequently experience, who live eastward of the mountains, and near the fea. The hot fouthwardly winds get chilled by pafling over the long chain of Allegany mountains.

It has been observed that Pennsylvania is now more unhealthy than formerly; that bilious and remitting lerers, which a few years ago appeared chiefly in the neighbourhood of rivers, creeks and mill-ponds, now appear in parts remotc from them all, and in the highest situations. This change has been traced to three causes: First, To the increase of mill-ponds. Till these were established, intermittents, in feveral counties in Pennsylvania, were unknown. Secondly, To the clearing of the country. It has been remarked, that intermittents on the shores of the Susquehannah, have kept an exact pace with the passages which have been opened for the propagation of niarth cfluvia, by cutting down the wood which formerly grew in its neighbourhood. A distinction,

* See this kind of grain drscribed, Page 53.

however,

however, is to be made between clearing and cultivating a country. While clearing a country makes it fickly in the manner that has been mentioned, cultivating a country, that is, draining swamps, destroying weeds, burning brush, and exhaling the unwholesome and superfluous moisture of the earıhı, by means of frequent crops of grain, gralles and, vegetables of all kinds, render it healthy. Several parts of the United States have presled through the several itages that have been described The first settlers received their country from the hand of nature, pure and healthy, Fevers foon followed their improvements, nor were they finally banished, until the higher degrees of cultivation took place. Nor even then, where the falutary effects of callivation were rendered abortive by. the neighbourhood of mill-ponds.

As a third cause of this increase of fevers, the unequal quantities of rain which have fallen of late years, has been assigned. While the creeks and rivers were confined within steady bounds, there was little or no exhalation of febrile miasmata from their shores. But the dry fummers of 1780, 1781, and 1782, by reducing the rivers and creeks far below their ancient marks; while the wet springs of 1784 and 1785, by swelling them beyond their natural heights, have, when they have fallen, as in the former case, left a large and extensive surface of moist ground exposed to the action of the sun, and of course to the generation and exhalation of febrile miasınata *. This state, having been settled but little more than a hundred years,

is not sufficiently old to determine from facts the itare of longevity. Among the people called Quakers, who are the oldeft settlers, there are instances of longevity, occasioned by their living in the old, cultivated counties, and the temperance imposed on them by their religion. There are fewer long-lived people among the Germans, than among other nations, occasioned by their excess of labour and low diet. They live chiefly opon vegetables and watery food, that affotds too little nourishment to repair the walte of their trength by hard labour.

Nearly one half of the children born in Philadelphia, die umier two years of age, and chiefly with a disease in the stomach and Lowels. Very few die at this age in the country.

Population, character, manneri, &c.] In the grand convention which was held in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, the inhabitants in Pennsylvania were reckoned at 360,000. It is probable they are now more numerous: perhaps 400,000. If we fix them at this, the population for every square mile will be only nine ; by which it appears that Pennsylvania is only one-fifth as populous as Connecticut.

But Connecticuć was settled nearly half a century before Pennsyle vania; fo that in order to do justice to Pennsylvania in the comparison, we must anticipate her probable population fifty years hence. At this period, if we admit that the number of inhabitants is doubled once in twenty-five years, by natural increase, without the aid of foreign emis grations, the population will be equal to thirty-fix for every fouare mile, Add to this, 400,000 for the increase by emigrants and their defcen.'

* Enquiry into the confes of the increase of fevers in Peuufylvania,

[blocks in formation]

dents, which is probably not too large a number, confidering the length
of time--the extensive tracts of rich and vacant lands--the spirit of emi-
gration in the eaftern states the probable influx of inhabitants, upon
the establishment and falutary operation of the new government and
the inducements which are held up to encourage settlers to fix in this
state. All these things taken into view, we may venture to predict, that
Pennsylvania, at the end of half a century from this time, will contain two
millions of fouls, which is about forty-five for every square mile, equal
to the present population of Connecticut.
Statement of the number of taxable inhabitants in Pennsylvania, in the years

1760, 1770, 1779, and 1786
1760 1770

1779 Philadelphia city

S 3,681 and county, 8,321 10,455

7,066 Bucks county,

3,177

4,237 Chester, 4,761 5,483

6,378

6,268 Lancaster,

6,608

8,433 5,839 York,

6,281 6,254 Cumberland, 1,501 3,521

5,092 3,939 Berks,

3,302

4,662

4,732 Northampton,

1,987
2,793

3,600

3,967 Bedford,

1,201 Northumberland,

2,111

2,166 Westmoreland,

2,111 2,653 Washington,

3,908 Fayette,

2,041 Franklin,

2,237 Montgomery,

3,725 Dauphin,

2,881 Luzerne,

+

+786 4,876 4,516

3,148

4,067

5,631 3,302

4,426

3,016

2,631

Total,
31,667 39,765

54,683

66,925 The number of militia in Pennsylvania, are reckoned at 85,000, between eighteen and fifty-three years of age.

The inhabitants of Pennsylvania conlist of emigrants from England, Ireland, Germany and Scotland. The Friends and Episcopalians are chiefly of English extraction, and compose about one-third of the ine habitants. They live principally in the city of Philadelphia, and in the

* So often have the counties of this fate been divided and subdivided and she boundaries altered, that a comparison in this fiatement can hardly be made, except between the several totals: as, for instance, it would appear from the above table that Philadelphia county had decreased in population between the years 1779 and 1786whereas the contrary is the case--for Montgomery county was Aruck of from it. The same is obfervable of all the counties wherein a decrease appears. # No return.

counties

Counties of Chester, Philadelphia, Backs and Montgomery. The Irish are mostly Presbyterians. Their ancestors came from the north of Ireland, which was originally settled from Scotland; hence they have sometimes been called Scotch-Irish, to denote their double descent. But they are commonly and more properly called Irish, or the descendents of people from the north of Ireland. They inhabit the western and froncier counties, and are numerous.

The Germans compose one quarter at least, if not a third of the inhabitants of Pennsylvania. They inhabit the north parts of the city of Philadelphia, and the counties of Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Dauphin, Lancaster, York and Northampton; mostly in the four last. They consist of Lutherans, (who are the most numerous sect) Calvinists, Moravians, Mennonists, Tunkers (corruptly called Dunkers) and Swingfelters, who are a species of Quakers. These are all distinguished for their temperance,

industry and Oeconomy. The Germans have usually fifteen of fixty-nine members in the assembly; and some of them have arisen to the first honours in the state, and now fill a number of the higher offices. Yet the lower class are very ignorant and superstitious. li is not uncommon to see them going to market with a little bag of salt tied to their horses manes, for the purpose, shey say, of keeping off the witches.

· The Baptists except the Mennonift and Tunker Baptists, who are Germans) are chiefly the descendants of emigrants from Wales, and are not numerous. A proportionate assemblage of the national prejudices, the manners, customs, religions, and political sentiments of all these, wil form the Pennsylvanian character. As the leading traits in this character, thus constituted, we may venture to mention industry, fragaliry, bordering in some instances on parfimony, enterprize, a taste and ability for improvements in mechanics, in manufactures, in agriculture, in conmerce, and in the liberal sciences; temperance, plainness and fimplicity in dress and manners; pride and humility in their extremes; inoffensiveness and intrigue; in regard to religion, variety and harmony; liberality and its opposites, fuperftition and bigotry; and in politics an unhappy jargon. Such appear to be the diftinguishing traits in the collective Pennsylvanian character,

In this connection, and in a work of this kind, the remarks of a citizen of Philadelphia, on the progress of population, agriculture, manners and government in Pennsylvania, in a letter to his friend in England,' are too valuable to be omitted.

• The first settler in the woods is generally a man who has out-lived his credit or fortune in the cultivated parts of the state. His time for migrating is in the month of April. His first object is to build a finall cabin of rough logs for himself and family. The fioor of this cabbin is of earth, the roof is of split logs—the light is received through the door, and, in some instances, through a small window. made of greased paper. A coarfer building adjoining this cabbin affords a shelter to a cow, and a pair of poor horses. The labour of erecting these buildings is succeeded by killing the trees on a few acres of ground near his cabbin ; this is done by cutting a circle round the trees, two or three feet from the ground. The ground around these trees is then ploughed, and

« הקודםהמשך »