Page images

to act more immediately on the stomach and intestines. And in Wilmington, the exhalations from an extensive marsh, which lies on the south-west side of the town, ascend over the level of the town, without much mischief, and alight on the summit of the hill, producing agues and intermitting fevers, while persons living within a few rods, and on a level with the marsh, are unaffected. In winter, the cynanche trachealis is common among infant children. * Some idea of the climate, as it respects the health of man, may be formed from the following facts, the result of twenty years' observation. In 1794, the burgh of Wilmington contained a population of 3000 persons ; of whom 152 had reached the age of 60 and upwards; 63 of 70; 21 of 80; 12 of 85; 4 of 90; 1 of 95; 1 of 99; 1 of 101.

Of fifteen who had removed to distant parts of the country, there were,--5 in the 61st year ; 1 in the 64th ; 1 in the 65th ; 1 in the 66th ; 1 in the 67th; 1 in the 68th; 3 in the 70th ; 1 in the 87th; 1 in the 91st.

And of twenty-five persons still living, there were,5 in the 81st year; 2 in the 82d ; 4 in the 83d ; 5 in the 84th ; 2 in the 85th ; 2 in the 86th ; 3 in the 88th; 1 in the 91st. +

History. The first colony consisted of Swedes and Finns, who landing in 1656, at Cape Henlopen, which they named Paradise Point, purchased from the Indians the lands on both sides of the Delaware, (then, known by the name of New Swedeland Stream,) as high as the Falls. In the year 1631 they built Christian Fort, near Wilmington, where they founded a settlement; and they afterwards erected another fort, sixteen miles above that town, on an island. In 1655 the country was taken possession of by the Dutch commander at New Amsterdam, (New York,) and it afterwards passed into the hands of the English. In 1672 the town of Newcastle was erected into a corporation, by the government of New York, under the direction of a bailiff and six assistants. In 1683 the country was ceded to William Penn, by whom it was transferred in 1701 to some of his countrymen, though it remained subject to the jurisdiction of the governor of Pennsylvania. In 1755 the territory was consti, tuted an independent state, under the name of the Three Lower Counties of Delaware, with an elective assembly of its own. On this footing it continued till the revolution, when a new constitution was agreed to by the representatives in full convention, on the 20th of September 1776.

* Medica! Repository, Vol. III. No. 3. p. 223. † Niles' Register.

Constitution. The present constitution was revised and finally established in 1792. The common law of England, the acts of assembly, and such parts of the then statute law of England as were not repugnant to the spirit of the constitution, were to remain in force, till altered by the legislature. The legislative power is vested in a senate and house of representatives, forming together the general assembly. The voters consist of every white male of twenty-one years, who

has resided in the state two years previous to the election, and paid taxes, with the sons of such persons, of mature age, though not paying taxes. There are seven representatives in each county, who are elected annually by counties, without regard to population. The candidate must be twenty-four years of age, a freeholder in the county in which he is chosen, and a citizen and inhabitant of the state, during the three preceding years, unless he has been absent on public business. The senators are elected for three years, must be twenty-seven years of age, freeholders in the county in which they are chosen, to the value of 200 acres of land, or possess an estate, in real and personal property, to the amount of 1000 pounds. In each county there are three senators, but their number, as well as that of the representatives, may be augmented by the assembly. They are divided into three classes, one of which is renewed every year. The assembly meets in January

The executive power is vested in a governor, chosen for three years, who cannot be re-elected for the three next succeeding years. He must be thirty years of age, must have been an inhabitant of the United States twelve years, and an inhabitant of Delaware the last six before his election. He is commander-in-chief of the army and navy, when not in active service, has power

to remit fines and forfeitures, and to grant reprieves and pardons, except in cases of impeachment. When a vacancy occurs by death or resignation, the speaker of the senate fills his place; and, in case of the death or resignation of this last officer, he is suc



ceeded by the speaker of the house of representatives, ad interim, until a new nomination be made.

Judiciary. The judges are appointed by the governor during good behaviour, and are liable to impeachment by the house of representatives, and to removal, in case of misconduct. The courts are si. milar to those in the state of Pennsylvania. The high court of errors and appeals consists of the chancellor, and of the judges of the supreme court and court of common pleas; any four of whom may proceed in business. By an amendment of the 15th section of the 6th artiele of the constitution in 1802, the chancellor composes the orphans' court of each county, and exercises the equity jurisdiction, formerly exercised by the orphans' court, except as to the adjusting and settling executors’, administrators', and guardians' accounts, in which cases he has an appel. lant jurisdiction from the sentence and decree of the register. The members of the senate and house of representatives, the chancellor, judges of the supreme court, court of common pleas, and attorney-general, by virtue of their offices, are conservators of the peace hroughout the state; as are also the treasurer, secretary, clerks, prothonotaries, registers, recorders, sheriffs, and coroners, in their respective counties. The state treasurer is appointed annually by the house of representatives, with the concurrence of the senate. For the place of sheriff and of coroner two persons are chosen, in the different counties, one of whom is appointed by the governor, for the term of three years. The persons, houses, papers, and possessions of every

inhabitant are free from unreasonable searches and seizures; and all searches and seizures are accounted unreasonable, which do not proceed upon accurate description, or where the information is not supported by oath. The civil officers are liable to impeachment for treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanours. Treason against the state consists in levying war against it, or giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the government.

The judiciary officers of the United States for this district are :

1. A judge, with a salary of 1200 wollars. 2. An attorney, 200 dollars. 3. A marshal, with fees. 4. A clerk, with fees.

Finances. In the year 1794 this state owed to the United States the sum of 612,428 dollars, which was more than twice the debt of any other state at that period.

The official account of taxes, for the year 1811, was as follows:

State tax,
County tax,
Poor tax,
Road tax,

14,543 dollars.

72,163 dollars, which is nearly a dollar for each individual in the state, the population being 72,674.

* Mean price of articles necessary to life, in May 1815:

D. C.
The bushel of Indian corn,

0 72
of potatoes,

0 62 The cwto of four, superfine,


« PreviousContinue »