תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

latitude 36° 30' north; and on the south, by the line of latitude lastmentioned. By admeasurement through nearly the whole of this last line, and supplying the unmeasured parts from good data, the Altantic and Misfifippi are found in this latitude to be 758 miles distant, equal 10 13° 38' of longitude, reckoning 55 miles and 3144 feet to the degree. This being our comprehension of longitude, that of our latitude, taken between this and Mason and Dixon's line, is 3° 13' 42.4", equal to 223.3 miles, supposing a degree of a great circle to be 69 m. 864 f. as computed by Caffini. These boundaries include an area somewhat triangular, of 121,525 miles, whereof 79,650 lie westward of the Allegany mountains, and 57,034 westward of the meridian of the mouth of the Great Kanhaway. This state is therefore one-third larger than the islands of Great-Britain and Ireland, which are reckoned at 88,357 square miles.

These limits result from, 1. The ancient charters from the crown of England. 2. The grant of Maryland to the Lord Baltimore, and the fubsequent determinations of the British court as to the extent of that grant. ' 3. The grant of Pennsylvania to William Penn, and a compact between the general assemblies of the commonwealths of Virginia and Pennsylvania as to the extent of that grant. 4. The grant of Carolina, and actual location of its northern boundary, by consent of both parties. 5. The treaty of Paris, of 1763. 6. The confirmation of the charters of the neighbouring states by the convention of Virginia at the time of conftituting their commonwealth. 7. The cession made by Virginia to Congress of all the lands to which they had title on the north side of the Ohio.

Rivers.] · An inspection of a map of Virginia, will give a better idea of the geography of its rivers, than any description in writing. Their navigation may be imperfectly noted.

Roanoke, so far as it lies within this state, is no where navigable, but for. canoes, or light batteaux; and, even for these, in such detached parcels as to have prevented the inhabitants from availing themselves of it all. James River, and its waters, afford navigation as follows:

The whole of Elizabeth River, the lowelt of those which run into James River, is a harbour, and would contain upwards of 300 ihips. The channel is from 150 to 200 fathom wide, and at common flood tide, affords 18 feet water to Norfolk. The Strafford, a 60 gun fhip, went there, lightening herself to crofs the bar at Sowell's point. The Fier Rodrigue, pierced for 64 guns, and carrying 50, went there without lightening Craney island, at the mouth of this river, commands its channel tolerably well.

Nansemond River is navigable to Sleepy Hole, for vefsels of 250 tons; to Suffolk, for those of 100 tons; and to Milner's, for those of 25.

Pagan Creek affords 8 or 10 feet water to Smithfield, which admits. vessels of 20 tons. 1.6 Chickahominy has at its mouth a bar, on which is only 12 feet water at common flood tide. Vessels passing that, may go 8 miles up the river; those of ten feet draught may go four miles further, and those of fix tons burthen, 20 miles further.

Appamaitox

[ocr errors]

Appamattox may be navigated as far as Broadways, by any veffel which has crossed Harrison's bar in James River; it keeps 8 or 9 feet water a mile or two higher up to Fisher's bar, and 4 feet on that and upwards to Petersburg, where all navigation ceases.

James River itself affords harbour for vessels of any fize in Hampton Road, but not in safety through the whole winter; and there is navigable water for them as far as Mulberry island. A 40 gun fhip goes to James-town, and, lightening herself, may pass to Harrison's bar, on which there is only 15 feet water. Veffels of 250 tons may go to Warwick; those of 125 go to Rocket's, a mile below Richmond; from thence is about 7 feet water to Richmond, and about the center of the town, four feet and a half, where the navigation is interrupted by falls, which in a course of six miles descend about 80 feet perpendicular; above these it is resumed in canoes and batteaux, and is prosecuted safely and advantageously to within 10 miles of the Blue Ridge; and even through the Blue Ridge a ton weight has been brought ; and the expence would not be great, when compared with its object, to open a tolerable navigation up Jackson's river and Carpenter's creek, to within 25 miles of Howard's creek of Green Briar, both of which have then water enough to float veffels into the Great Kanhaway. In some future state of population, I think it possible, that its navigation may also be made to interlock with that of the Patomak, and through that to communicate by a Thort portage with the Ohio. It is to be noted, that this river is called in the maps James River, only to its confluence with the Rivanna ; thence to the Blue Ridge it is called the Fluvanna; and thence to its source, Jackson's river. But in common speech it is called James river to its source.

• The Rivanna, a branch of James river, is navigable for canoes and batteaux to its intersection with the south-west mountains, which is about 22 miles, and may eafily be opened to navigation through those mounzains to its fork about Charlottesville.

York River, at York-town, affords the best harbour in the state for veffels of the largeit size. The river there narrows to the width of a mile, and is contained within very high banks, close under which the vessels may ride. It holds 4 fathom water at high tide for 25 miles above York, to the mouth of Poropotank, where the river is a mile and a half wide, and the channel 75 fathom, and passing under a high bank. At the confluence of Pamunkey and Mattapony, it is reduced to 3 fathom depth, which continues up Pamunkey to Cumberland, where the width is 100 yards, and up Mattapony to within two miles of Frazer's ferry, where it becomes 2 fathom deep, and holds that about five miles. Pamunkey is then capable of navigation for loaded flats to Brockman's bride, 50 miles above Hanover town, and Mattaponey to Downer's bridge, 70 miles above its mouth.

Piankatank, the little rivers making out of Mobjack bay, and those of the eastern svore, receive only very small vessels, and these can but enter them. Rappahonnok affords

4

fathom water to Hobb's Hole's and two fathom from thence to Frederickiburg,

« Patomak

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Patomak is 73 miles wide at the mouth; 41 at Nomony Bay; 3 at Aquia; i at Hallooing Point; 45 at Alexandria. Its foundings are, 7 fathom at the mouth; 5 at St. George's island; 4i at Lower Matchodic; 3 at Swan's Point, and thence up to Alexandria ; thence 10 feet water to the falls, which are 13 miles above Alexandria.'

The distance from the Capes of Virginia to the termination of the tidewater in this river is above 300 miles; and navigable for ships of the greatest burthen nearly to that place. From thence this river, obstructed by four considerable falls, extends through a vast tract of inhabited country towards its source. These falls are, ist, The Little Falls, three miles above tide water, in which distance there is a fall of 36 feet: 2d, The Great Falls, fix miles higher, where is a fall of 76 feet in one mile and a quarter : 3d, The Seneca Falls, fix miles above the former, which form mort, irregular rapids, with a fall of about 10 feet; and 4th, the Shenandoah Falls, 60 miles from the Seneca, where is a fall of about 30 feet in three miles; from which last, Fort Cumberland is about 120 miles dirtant. The obstructions, which are opposed to the navigation above and between these falls, are of little consequence.

Early in the year 1785, the Legislatures of Virginia and Maryland pafsed acts to encourage opening the navigation of this river, it was estimated that the expence of the works would amount to £150,000 sterļing, and ten years were allowed for their completion. At present the president and directors of the incorporated company suppose that 6-45,000 will be adequate to the operation, and that it will be accomplished in a fhorter period than was stipulated. Their calulations are founded on the progress already made, and the fummary mode lately established for enforcing the collection of the dividends, as the money may become neceffary. On each share of 6.100, the payment of only £:40 has yet been demanded.

According to the opinion of the president and directors, locks will be necessary at no more than two places--the Great and the Little Falls: fix at the former, and three at the latter. At the latter nothing has yet been attempted. At the Great Falls, where the difficulties were judged by many to be insurmountable, the work is nearly completed, except finking the lock-seats, and inserting the frames. At the Seneca Falls the laborious part of the business is entirely accomplished, by removing the obstacles and graduating the descent; so that nothing remains but to finish the channel for this gentle current in a workmanlike manner. At the Shenandoah, where the river breaks through the Blue Ridge, though a prodigious quantity of labour has been bestowed, yet much is still to be done before the passage will be perfected. Such proficiency has been made, however, that it was expected, if the summer had not proved uncommonly rainy, and the river uncommonly high, an avenue for a partial navigation would have been opened by the first of January, 1789, from Fort Cumberland to the Great Falls, which are within nine miles of a shipping port. As it has happened, it may require a considerable part of this year for its accomplishment.

As soon as the proprietors fhall begin to receive toll, they will doubtless find an ample compensation for their pecuniary advances, By an estimate made many years ago, it was calculated that the amount, in the com

mencement

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

num.

swaters.

mencement, would be at the rate of £.11,875, Virginia currency, per an

The toll muft every year become more productive, as the quantity of articles for exportation will be augmented in a rapid ratio, with the increase of population and the extention of settlements. In the mean time the effect will be immediately seen in the agriculture of the interior country: for the multitude of horses now employed in carrying produce to market, will then be used altogether for the purpose of tillage. But, in order to form just conceptions of the utility of this inland navigation, it would be requisite to notice the long rivers which empty into the Patomak, and even to take a survey of the geographical position of the western

The Shenandoah, which disembogues just above the Blue Mountains, may, according to report, be made navigable, at a trifling expence, more than 1 150

miles from its confluence with the Patomak; and will receive and bear the produce of the richest part of the state. The South Branch, still higher, is navigable in its actual condition nearly or quite 100 miles, through exceedingly fertile lands. Between these, on the Virginia fide, are several smaller rivers, that may, with facility, be improved, so as to afford a passage for boats. On the Maryland side are the Monocafy, Antietam, and Conegocheague, some of which pass through the ftate of Maryland, and have their sources in Pennsylvania.

From Fort Cumberland (or Wills' Creek) one or two good waggon roads

may be had (where the distance is said by some to be 35, and by others 40 miles) to the Yohogany, a large and navigable branch of the Monongahela; which last forms a junction with the Allegany at Fort Pitt: from whence the river takes the name of the Ohio, until it loses its current and name in the MISSISSIPI.

But, by pafling farther up the Patomak than Fort Cumberland, which may very easily be done, a portage by a good waggon road to the Cheat River, another large branch of the Monongahela, can be obtained through a space which some say is 20, others 22, others 25, and none more than

When we have arrived at either of these western waters, the navigation through that immense region is opened in a thousand directions, and to the lakes in several places by portages of less than to miles; and by one portage, it is asserted, of not more than a single mile.

Notwithstanding it was sneeringly faid by some foreigners, at the beginning of this undertaking, that the Americans were fond of engaging in fplendid projects which they could never accomplish; yet it is hoped the succefs of this first essay towards improving their inland navigation, will, in foine degree, rescue them from the reproach intended to have been fixed upon their national character, by the unmerited imputation.

· The Great Kanhaway is a river of considerable note for the fertility of its lands, and still more, as leading towards the head waters of James river. Neverthelefs, it is doubtful whether its great and numerous rapids will admit a navigation, but at an expence to which it will require ages to render its inhabitants equal. The great obstacles begin at what are called the Great Falls, go miles above the mouth, below which are only five or fix rapids, and these palfable, with some difficulty, even at low water.

From

30 miles.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

From the falls to the mouth of Green Briar is 100 miles, and thence to the lead mines 120. It is 280 yards wide at its mouth.

« The Little Kanhaway is 150 yards wide at the mouth. It yields a navigation of 10 miles only. Perhaps its northern branch, called Junius' Creek, which interlocks with the western waters of Monongahela, may one day admit a shorter passage from the latter into the Ohio.?

Mountains.] : For the particular geography of our mountains, I must refer to Fry and Jefferson's map of Virginia ; and to Evans's analysis of his

map of America for a more philosophical view of them than is to be found in any other work. It is worthy notice, that our mountairis are not folitary, and scattered confusedly over the face of the country; but that they commence at about 150 miles from the sea coast, are disposed in ridges one behind another, running nearly parallel with the sea coast, though rather approaching it as they advance north-eastwardly. To the south-west, as the tract of country between the sea coast and the Missisippi becomes narrower, the mountains converge into a single ridge, which, as it approaches the Gulph of Mexico, subfides into plain country, and gives rise to some of the waters of that Gulph, and particularly to a river called the Apalachicola, probably from the Apalachies, an India nation formerly residing on it. Hence the mountains giving rise to that river, and seen from its various parts, were called the Apalachian Mountains, being in fact the end or termination only of the great ridges palling through the continent. European geographers however extended the name northwardly as far as the mountains extended; some giving it, after their separation into different ridges, to the Blue Ridge, others to the North Mountains, others to the Allegany, others to the Laurel Ridge, as may be seen in their different maps. But the fact I believe is, that none of these ridges were ever known by that name to the inhabitants, either native or emigrant, but as they saw them so called in European maps. In the same direction generally are the veins of lime-stone, coal and other minerals hitherto discovered; and fo range the falls of our great rivers. But the courses of the great rivers are at right angles with these. James and Patomak penetrate through all the ridges of mountains eastward of the Allegany, that is broken by no water course. It is in fact the spine of the country between the Atlantic on one side, and the Millisippi and St. Lawrence on the other. The passage of the Patomak through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature. You stand on a very high point of land. On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged alone the foot of the mountain an hundred miles to seek a vent. On your left approaches the Patomak, in quest of a patiage also. In the moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder, and pass off to the sea. The first glance of this scene hurries our senses into the opinion, that this earth has been created in time, that the mountains were formed first, that the rivers began to flow afterwards, that in this place particularly they have been dammed up by the Blue Ridge of mountains, and have formed an ocean which filled the whole yalley; that continuing to rise they have at length broken over at this spot, and have torn the mountain down from its fummit to its base. The piles of rock on each hand, but particularly on the Shenandoah, the evident marks of their disruption and avulsion from their beds by the most

powerful

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »