תמונות בעמוד

the navigation good for boats. Thence the width is about two hundred yards to the western fork, fifty miles higher, and the navigation frequently interrupted by rapids ; which however with a swell of two or three feet, become very passable for boats. It then admits light boats, except in dry seasons, fixty-five miles further to the head of Tygarts valley, presenting only fome small rapids and falls of one or two fect perpendicular, and lefsening in its width to twenty yards. The Western fork is navigable in the winter ten or fifteen miles towards the northern of the Little Kanhaway, and will admit a good waggon road to it. The Yohogany is the principal branch of this river. It pafses through the Laurel mountain, about thirty miles from its mouth; is so far from three hundred to one hundred and fifty yards wide, and the navigation much obftructed in dry weather by rapids and shoals. In its pallage through the mountain it makes very great falls, admitting no navigation for ten miles to the Turkey foot. Thence to the great crossing, about twenty miles, it is again navigable, except in dry seasons, and at this place is two hun. dred yards wide. The sources of this river are divided from those of the Patomak by the Allegany mountains. From the falls, where it interfects the Laurel mountain, to Fort Cumberland, the head of the navigation on the Patomak, is forty miles of very mountainous road. Wills's creek, at the mouth of which was Fort Cumberland, is thirty or forty yards wide, but affords no navigation as yet. Cheat river, another confiderable branch of the Monongahela, is two hundred yards wide at its mouth, and one hundred yards at the Dunkard's settlement, fifty miles higher. It is navigable for boats, except in dry seasons. The boundary between Virginia and Pennsylvania crosses it about three or four miles above its mouth.

The Allegany river, with a slight swell, affords navigation for light batteaux co Venango, at the mouth of French creek, where it is two hundred yards wide; and it is practised even to Le Boeuf, from whence there is a portage of fifteen miles to Presque Ile on Lake Erie.

The country watered by the Miffislippi and its eastern branches, conftitutes five-eighths of the United States; two of which fiveeighths are occupied by the Ohio and its waters: the residuary ítreams which run into the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, and the St. Lawrence water, the remaining three-eighths.. · Before we quit the subject of the western waters, we will take a view of their principal connections with the Atlantic. These are three; the Hudson's river, the Patowmak, and the Misliffippi itself. Down the last will pass all the heavy commodities. But the navigation through the Gulf of Mexico is so dangerous, and that up the Missillippi so difficult and tedious, that it is thought probable that European merchandize will not return through that channel. It is most likely that flour, timber, and other heavy articles will be floated on rafts, which will themselves be an article for sale as well as their loading, the navigators returning by land or in light batteaux. There will therefore be a competition between the Hudson and the Patomak rivers for the residue of the commerce of all the country westward of Lake Erie, on the waters of the lakes, of the (). hio, and upper parts of Mississippi. To go to New York, that part of the trade which comes from the lakes or their waters must first be brouglit into Lake Erie. Between Lake Superior and its waters and Huron are the rapids of St. Mary, which will pertit boats to pass, but not larger vef. fels. Lakes Huron and Michigan afford communication with Lake Eric by vefsels of eight feet draught. That part of the trade which comes from the waters of the Miffiflippi muft pafs from them through some porta age into the waters of the lakes. The portage from the Ilinois river into à water of Michigan is of one mile only. From the Wabash, Miami, Mufkingum, or Allegany, are portages into the waters of Lake Erie, of from one to hfteen miles. When the commodities are brought into; and have passed through Lake Erie, there is between that and Ontario an interruption by the falls of Niagara, where the portage is of eight miles; and be. tween Ontario and the Hudfon's river are portages of the falls of Onondago, a little above Oswego, of a quarter of a mile; from Wood creek to the Mohawks river two miles; at the little falls of the Mohawks river half a mile, and from Schenectady to Albany fixteen miles. Besides the increase of expence occasioned by frequent change of carriage, there is an increased risk of pillage produced by committing merchandize to a greater number of hands successively. The Patomak offers itself under the following circumstances. For the trade of the lakes and their waters westward of Lake Erie, when it shall have entered that lake, it must coaft along its fouthern shore, on account of the number and excellence of its harbours, the northern, though shortest, having few harbour's, and thefe unsafe. Having reached Cayahoga, to proceed on to New York it will have eight hundred and twenty-five miles, and five portages : whereas it is but four hundred and twenty-five miles to Alexandria, its emporium on the Patomak, if it turns into the Cayahoga, and passes through that, Bigbeaver, Ohio, Yohoganey, (or Monongalia and Cheat) and Patomak, and there are but two portages; the first of which between Cayahoga and Beaver may be removed by uniting the fources of these waters, which are lakes in the neighbourhood of each other, and in a champaign country : the other from the waters of Ohio to Patomak will be from fifteen to forty miles, according to the trouble which shall be taken to approach the two navigations. For the trade of the Ohio, or that which shall come into it from its own waters or the Misfissippi, it is nearer through the Patomak to Alexandria than to New York by five hundred and eighty miles, and it is interrupted by one portage only. There is another circum. Aance of difference too. The lakes themselves never freeze, but the communications between them freeze, and the Hudson's river is itself fhut up by the ice three months in the year: whereas the channel to the Chesapeck leads directly into a warmer climate. The southern parts of it very rarely freeze at all, and whenever the northern do, it is so near the fources of the rivers, that the frequent floods to which they are there liable break up the ice immediately, so that vessels may pass through the whole winter, subject only to accidental and short delays. Add to all this, that in case of a war with our neighbours the Anglo-Americans or the Indians, the route to New-York becomes a frontier through almost its whole length, and all commeroe through it ceases from that moment. But the channel to NewYork is already known to practice; whereas the upper waters of the Ohio and the Patomak, and the great falls of the latter, are yet to be cleared of their fixed obstructions.

Particular Particular descriptions of the other rivers in the United States, are re ferved to be given in the geographical account of the states, through which they respectively flow. One general observation respecting the rivers will, however, be naturally introduced here, and that is, that the en trances into almost all the rivers, inlets and bays, from New-Hamphire to Georgia, are from south-east to north-west,

Bays.] The coast of the United States is indented with numerous bays, some of which are equal in size to any in the known world. Beginning at the north-easterly part of the continent, and proceeding fouth-wel terly, you first find the bay or gulf of St. Lawrence, which receives the waters of the river of the same name. Next is Chebukto Bay, in Nova. Scotia, diftinguished by the loss of a French ficet in a former war between France and Great-Britain. The Bay of Fundy, between Nova-Scoria and New-England, is remarkable for its tides, which rise to the height of fifty or fixty feet, and flow fo rapidly as to overtake animals which feed upon the shore. Penobscot, Broad and Casco Bays, lie along the coast of the Province of Main. Massachusetts-Bay spreads eastward of Boston, and is comprehended between Cape Ann on the north, and Cape Cod on the south. The points of the harbour are Nahant and Alderton points. Passing by Narraganset and other bays in the state of RhodeIsland, you enter Long-Inand Sound, between Montauk-point and the Main. This Sound, as it is called, is a kind of inland sea, from three to twenty. five miles broad, and about one hundred and forty miles long, extending the whole length of the island, and dividing it from Connecticut. le communicates with the ocean at both ends of Long-Illand, and affords å very safe and convenient inland navigation.

The celebrated strait, called Hell.Gate, is near the west end of this found, about eight miles eastward of New-York city, and is remarkable for its whirlpools, wbich make a tremendous soaring at certain times of tide. These whirlpools are occafioned by the narrowness and crook. edness of the pafs, and a bed of rocks which extend quite across it; and not by the meeting of the tides from east to weit, as has been conjectured, because they meet at Frogs-point, several miles above, A skilful pilot may with safety conduct a thip of any burden through this strait with the tide, or at still water with a fair wind.

Delaware Bay is fixty miles long, from the Cape to the entrance of the river Delaware at Bombay-hook; and so wide in some parts, as that a Thip, in the middle of it, cannot be seen from the land." It opens into the Atlantic north-weft and south-east, between Cape Henlopen on the right, and Cape May on the left. These Capes are eighteen miles apart.

The Chesapeek is one of the largest bays in the known world. Its entrance is between Cape Charles and Cape Henry in Virginia, twelve miles wide, and it extends two hundred and seventy miles to the northward, dividing Virginia and Maryland. It is from seven to eighteen miles broad, and generally as much as nine fathoms deep; affording many commodious harbours, and a fafe and easy navigation. It receives the waters of the Susquehannah, Patomak, Rappahannok, York and James rivers, which are all large and navigable.


Face of the Country.] The tract of country belonging to the United States, is happily variegated with plains and mountains, hills and vallies, Some parts are rocky, particularly New-England, the north parts of New-York, and New-Jersey, and a broad space, including the several ridges of the long range of mountains which run fouth-westward through Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and part of Georgia, dividing the waters which flow into the Atlantic, from those which fall into the Mississippi. In the parts east of the Allegany mountains, in the southern states, the country for several hundred miles in length, and fixty or seventy, and sometimes more, in breadth, is level, and entirely free of ftone. It has been a question agitated by the curious, whether the extensive tract of low, flat country, which fronts the several states fouth of New-York, and extends back to the hills, has remained in its present form and situation ever since the flood : or whether it has been made by the particles of earth which have been washed down from the adjacent mountains, and by the accumulation of soil from the decay of vegetable fubftances; or by earth washed out of the bay of Mexico by the gulf it ream, and lodged on the coast; or by the recess of the ocean, occasioned by a change in some other part of the earth. Several phænoinena deserve consideration in forming an opinion on this question.

1. It is a fact, well known to every person of observation who has lived in, or travelled through the southern states, that marine shells and other substances which are peciiliar to the sea-shore, are almost invariably found by digging eighteen or twenty feet below the surface of the earth. A gentleman of veracity told me, that in sinking a well many miles from the sea, he found, at the depth of twenty feet, every appearance of a salt marli, that is, marsh grass, marsh mud, and brackish water. In all this fiat country until you come to the hilly land, wherever you dig a well, you find the water, at a certain depth, fresh and tolerably good; but if you exceed that depth two or three feet, you come to a faltish or brackish water that is scarcely drinkable, and the earth dug up, resembles, in appearance and smell, that which is dug up on the edges of the salt marshes.

2. On and near the margin of the rivers are frequently found fand bills, which appear to have been drifted into ridges by the force of water. At the bottom of some of the banks in the rivers, fifteen or twenty feet below the surface of the earth, are washed out from the folid ground, logs, branches, and leaves of trees; and the whole bank, from bottoin to top, appears freaked with layers of logs, leaves and fand. These appearances are seen far up the rirers, from eighty to one hundred miles from the fea, where, when the rivers are low, the banks are from fifrecn to twenty feet high. As you proceed down the rivers toward the fea, the banks decrease in height, but still are formed of layers of find, leaves and logs, some of which are intirely found, and appear to have been suddenly covered to a considerable depth.

3. It has been observed, that the rivers in the southern States frequently vary their channels; that the swamps and low grounds are conftantly filling up; and that the land in many places annully infringes upon the ocean. It is an authenticated fact, that no longer ago than 1771, at Cape Lookout on the coast of North-Carolina, in about latitude 34° 50', there was an excellent harbour, capacious enough to receive an


[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »