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STATE OF DELAWARE.
SITUATION AND Extent. This state is situated between 38° 28' and 39° 43' north latitude ; extending ninety-six miles from north to south, along the Delaware river and bay to the Pennsylvania line on the north, and bounded on the south and west by Maryland. Its greatest breadth is thirty-six miles, and its least ten. Area 2200 square miles.
Aspect of the Country, and Nature of the Soil.The highest ridge of the Peninsula, formed by the Delaware and the Chesapeak bays, stretches along this state as far as the marshy grounds in the counties of Kent and Sussex. From this ridge, which, between Elk river and Christiana creek has seventy-four feet elevation, the waters descend in different directions east and west to the bays. The upper part of the state, comprising a surface of from sixty to eighty square miles, in which Wilmington is situated, resembles Pennsylvania. Along the river Delaware, and to the distance of eight or ten miles from its banks, the soil
* A name derived from Lord Delaware, so well known in the history of Virginia, who sailed for that country with 200 people, and died at sea in 1618. Prince's N. E. Chronology, p. 54.
is a rich clay ; but in the southern parts it is low and sandy. The lands in the vicinity of Wilmington are high and broken; other parts are level and marshy. Cypress Swamp, more than one-half of which lies in Delaware, is twelve miles in length from north to south, and six in breadth, containing nearly 50,000 acres. A great proportion of the surface is covered with stagnant water at particular seasons of the year ; but the more elevated parts, where the soil is a mixture of clay and loam, are well adapted to agricultural purposes, and now exhibit a high state of cultivation. The natural and artificial meadows are covered with a
Temperature. The heat of summer here is nearly the same as in the southern parts of Pennsylvania ; but the winters are more mild and temperate.
Bays.— Rehoboth Bay, to the south of Cape Henlopen, is separated from the ocean by a narrow bar. The whole of the eastern side of this state is washed by the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean, into which a number of small streams empty themselves after a short course. There are others on the southern and western side which run into the Chesapeak Bay, some of which are navigable for vessels of fifty or sixty tons, to the distance of twenty or thirty miles. The Christiana Creek, which rises on the borders of Maryland, twenty miles in length, is navigable to the bridge of the same name, thirteen miles, for vessels drawing six feet water. The tide runs up this river ten miles, above which, in the space of four miles and a half, there is a descent of 100 feet.
On these falis various
water-works are erected, and on branches of this river known by the name of White clay and Red clay streams. The Brandywine Creek, forty miles in length, is navigable for vessels which draw eight feet, to the mills and manufactories erected on it. The Nanticoke river runs through part of this state.
Minerals.- Iron ore is found in different parts, particularly among the branches of the Nanticoke river, in the county of Sussex, where the species known by the name of bog iron ore is in great quantity. Before , the revolution it was worked to a considerable extent. Clay of a kind used for glass-works is found in the river Delaware, near Newcastle, and is transported for this purpose to Pittsburgh, New Jersey, and various places in the eastern states. The beds of white and red clay creeks are formed of valuable clays, whence their names.
The Forest trees are the same as in the neighbouring states. The soil along the Delaware produces large timber ; and along a part of the highest ridge of the Peninsula in Sussex, Kent, and Newcastle coun. ties, there are swamps and morasses covered with shrubs and plants similar to those found on the highest American mountains. The Cyprus Swamp, part of which is situated on the first mentioned county, furnishes a great quantity of timber.
Animals.-All the wild animals common to Maryland and Pennsylvania are seen in the most unfrequented places of this state.
Civil or Administrative Division of the State of De
laware, with the Population of each County and
11,016 11,068 Above forty-five,
The Moral habits of the people of this state resem
mer, while those of Maryland and Virginia retain the colonial appellation of planter, a distinction of little importance.
The conduct of the citizens of Delaware during the revolution was very patriotic; and they were the first who ratified the federal constitution by an unanimous vote on the 3d of December 1787.
Diseases. The mild temperature of this country is very favourable to health in the northern parts; but the people who inhabit the borders of the Delaware Bay are annually visited with intermitting or bilious fever in August and September ; and, owing to this circumstance, the former is known among the vulgar by the name of long month. In a sketch of the diseases of this state in 1799 and 1202, Dr Vaughan observes, “ that, while we were labouring under remittent and intermittent fevers in the fenny tract of country known by the name of Welsh tract swamps, our neighbours on an adjacent ridge of hills, that runs east and south-west, and divides the Pennsylvania high lands from the fens of Delaware, were infected with the dysentery in a very mortal degree; yet the latter was confined within a parallel line of from six to ten miles, and was, no doubt, produced by the marsh miasma becoming concentrated or condensed in its passage through a colder stratum of air, and enabled
* A black boy being suspected of having stole a piece of leather, the master suspended him by the hands to a pole, fixed a fence rail to his feet, and then beat him so severely that he died. The master's son, smitten with remorse, confessed that it was himself who had stolen the leather.--Sutcliffe's Travels, p. 196.