« הקודםהמשך »
into Lake Erie. Between Lake Superior and its waters and Huron are the " rapids of St. Mary, which will permit buats to pass, but not larger vef- ? sels. Lakes Haron and Michigan afford communication with Lake Erie " by vessels of eight feet draught. That part of the trade which from the waters of the Miffillippi mutt pass from them through some portage into the
he waters of the lakes. The portage from the Illinois river into » "a 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 fifteeni milcs.
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 between Ontario and the Hudson'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 Mohawk3 river half a mile, and from Schenectady to Albany fixteen miles. Besides the increase of expence occafioned 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 coast along its southern shore, on account of the number and excellence of its harbours, the northern, though shortest, having few harbours, and these unsafe. Having reached Cayahoga, to proceed 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 firft of which between Cayahoga and Beaver
may be removed by uniting the sources 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 Miffissippi, 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 circumstance of difference too. The lakes themselves never freeze, but the communications between them freeze, and the Hudson's river is itself shut up by the ice three months in the year': whereas the channel to the Chesapeek 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 sources of the rivers, that the frequent floods to which they are there liable break
the ice immediately, fo that vefsels may pass through the whole winter, subjėd 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 commerce through it ceases from that moment. But the channel to New York is already known to practise ; 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 obftru&tions.
Particular descriptions of the other rivers in the United States, are referved 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 entrances into almost all the rivers, inlets and bays, from New-Hampshire to Georgia, are from sourh-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-eafterly part of the continent, and proceeding south-wer 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 NovaScotia, distinguished by the loss of a French fleet in a former war between France and Great-Britain. The Bay of Fundy, between Nova-Scotia and New England, is remarkable for its tides, which rise to the height of fifty or fixty feet, and flow so rapidly as to overtake animals which feed upon the fhore. Penobscot, Broad and Casco Bays, lie along the coaft of the province of Main. Mafsachusett's-Bay spreads east ward of Bufton, 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. Paffing by Narraganset and other bays in the state of Rhode. Island, you enter Long-INand Sound, between Montauk-point and the Main. This Sound, as it is called, is a kind of inland fea, from three to twentyfive miles broad, and about one hundred and forty miles long, extending the whole length of the island, and dividing it from Connecticut. It communicates with the ocean at both ends of Long-Iland, and affords a very safe and convenient inland navigation.
The celebrated ftrait, called Hell-Gate, is near the west end of this sound, about eight miles eastward of New-York city, and is remarkable for its whirlpools, which make a tremendous roaring at certain times of tide. These whirlpools are occafioned by the narrowness and crookedness of the pass, and a bed of rocks which extend quite across it; and not by the meeting of the tides from eaft to west, as has been conjectured, because they meet at Frogs-point, several miles above. with safety condud a ship of any burden through this ftrait 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 fhip, in the middle of it, cannot be seen from the land. It opens into the Atlantic north-west 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 safe and easy navigation. It receives the waters of the Susquehannah, Patomak, Rappahannok, York and James rivers, which are all large and navigable.
A skilful pilot may
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 south-westward through Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and part of Georgia, dividing the waters which flow into the Atlantic, from those which fall into the Misliflippi. In the parts east of the Allegany mountains, in the southcrn ftates, the country for several hundred miles in length, and fixty or seventy, and sometimes more, in breadth, is level, and entirely free of stone. It has been a question agitated by the curious, whether the extensive tract of low, Aat country, which fronts the several states south of New-York, and extends back to the hills, has remained in its present form and fituation 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 substances; or by earth washed out of the bay of Mexico by the gulf fream, and lodged on the coast; or by the recess of the ocean, occasioned by a change in some other part of the earth. Several phænomena deserve confideration 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 peculiar 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 finking a well many miles from the sea, he found, at the depth of twenty feet, every appearance of a falt marsh, 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 saltish or brackish water that is scarcely drinkable, and the earth dug up, resembles, in -pearance and smell, that which is dug up on the edges of the falt marshes.
2. On and near the margin of the rivers are frequently found sand hills, 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 x below the surface of the earth, are washed out from the solid ground, logs, branches, and leaves of trees; and the whole bank, from bottom to top, ap- '; pears
streaked with layers of logs, leaves and fand. These appearances : are seen far up the rivers, from eighty to one hundred miles from the sea, where, when the rivers are low, the banks are from fifteen to twenty feet high. As you proceed down the rivers toward the fea, the banks decrease in height, but still are formed layers of fand, leaves and logs, some of which are entirely sound, and appear to have been suddenly covered to a confiderable depth.
3. It has been observed, that the rivers in the fouthern States frequently vary their channels ; that the swamps and low grounds are con- , Atantly filling up; and that the land in many places annually 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 crough to receive an
It is now
hundred fail of shipping at a time, in a good depth of water.
It is observable, likewise, that there is a gradual descent of about eight hundred feet, by measurement, from the foot of the mountains to the sea board. This defcent continues, as is demonstrated by foundings, far into the sea.
IV. It is worthy of observation, that the soil on the banks of the rivers is proportionably coarse or fine according to its distance from the mountains. When
first leave the mountains, and for a considerable distance, it is observable that the soil is coarse, with a large mixture of sand and Shining heavy particles, As you proceed towards the fea, the soil is less coarse, and so on in proportion as you advance the soil is finer and finer, until, finally, is deposited a foil fo fine, that it consolidates into perfect clay ; but a clay of a particular quality, for a great part of it has intermixed with it reddish streaks and veins like a species of ochre, brought probably from the red lands which lie up towards the mountains. This clay, when dug up and exposed to the weather, will dissolve into a fine mould without the last mixture of sand or any gritty substance whatever. Now we know that running waters, when turbid, will depofit, first, the coarseft and heaviest particles, mediately, those of the feveral intermediate degrees of fineness, and ultimately, those which are the most light and subtle ; and such in fact is the general quality of the soil on the banks of the southern rivers.
V. It is a well known fact, that on the banks of Savannah river, about ninety miles from the sea in a direct line, and one hundred and fifty or two hundred as the river runs, there is a very remarkable collection of oyster shells of an uncommon size. They run in a north-east and southwelt direction, nearly parallel with the sea-coast, in three diftinét ridges, which together occupy a space of seven miles in breadth. The ridges commence at Savannah river, and have been traced as far as fouth as the northern branches of the Altamaha river. They are found in such quantities, as that the indigo planters carry them away in large boat lads, for the purpose of making lime water, to be used in the inanufacture of indigo." There are thousands and thousands of tons still remaining. The quettion is, how came they here? It cannot be supposed that they were carried by land. Neither is it probable that they were conveyed in canoes, or boats, to such a distance from the place where oysters are now found. The uncivilized natives, agreeably to their roving manner of living, would rather have removed to the sea shore, than have been at such immense labour in procuring oysters. Besides, the dificulties of conveying them would have been insurmountable. They would not only have had a strong current in the river overcome by the Indians, who have ever had a great a version to labour, but could they have surmounted this difficulty, oysters
, conveyed such a distance either by land or water in so warm a climate, would have fpoiled on the passage, and have become useless. The circumstance of these shells being found in such quantities, at so great a dif
can be rationally accounted for in no other way, than by supposing that the sea fhore was formerly near this bed' of fhells, and E
tańce from the sea,
that the ocean has fince, by the operation of certain causes not yet fully investigated, receded. These phenomena, it is presumed, will authorize this conclusion, That a great part of the flat country which spreac's eafterly of the Allegany mountains, had, in some past period, a superincumbent fea; or rather that the constant accretion of soil from the various causes before hinted at, has forced it to retire.
Mountains.] The tract of country east of Hudson's river, comprehend. ing part of the State of New-York, the four New-England States, and Vermont, is rough, hilly, and in some parts mountainous; but the mountains are comparatively small
, in few initances more than five or fix hundred yards in height, and generally less. These mountains will be more particularly described under New-England. In all parts of the world, and particularly on this western continent, it is observable, that as you depart from the ocean, or from a river, the land gradually rises; and the height of land, in common, is about equally distant from the water on either fide. The Andes in South-America form the height of land between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
That range of mountains, of which the Shining mountains are a part, begins at Mexico, and continuing north ward on the cast of California, separates the waters of those numerous rivers that fall into the Gulf of Mexico or the Gulf of California. Thence continuing their course still northward, between the sources of the Missisippi and the rivers that run into the South-Sea, they appear to end in about 47 or 48 degrees of north latitude ; where a number of rivers rise, and empty themselves either into the South Sea, into Hudson's Bay, or into the waters that communicate between these two seas.
The Highlands between the Province of Main and the Province of Quebec, divide the rivers which fall into the St. Lawrence north, and into the Atlantic south. The Green Mountains, in Vermont, divide the waters which flow easterly into Connecticut river, from those which fall westerly into Lake Champlain and Hudson's River.
Between the Atlantic, the Miffissippi, and the Lakes, runs a long range of mountains, made up of a great number of ridges. These mountains extend north-easterly and south-westerly, nearly parallel with the sea coast, about nine hundred miles in length, and from sixty to one hundred and fifty, and two hundred miles in breadth. Mr. Evans observes, with re
of these mountains which he travelled over, viz. in the back parts of Pennsylvania, that scarcely one acre in ten is capable of culture. This, however, is not the case in all parts of this range. Numerous tracts of fine arable and grazing land intervene between the ridges. The different ridges which compose this immense range of mountains, have different names in different States.
As you advance from the Atlantic, the first ridge in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North-Carolina, is the Blue Ridge or South Mountain; which is from one hundred and thirty, to two hundred miles from the sea. This is about four thousand feet high, measuring from its base. Between this and the North Mountain, spreads a large fertile vale ; next lies the Allegany ridge; next beyond this is the Long Ride, called the Laurel Mountains, in a spur of which, about latitude 36°, is a spring of water, fifty feet deep, very cold, and as blue as indigo. From these several ridges proceed
fpect to that