Page images
PDF
EPUB

which is much frequented in the summer season, by persons labouring under cutaneous disorders, for which it is supposed to be a sovereign remedy. In Suffield county there are four springs, strongly impregnated with sulphur, which “ operate on some as emetic, on others as cathartic, and on all as diuretic.” Dr Morse further states, “ that they have either wholly cured, or greatly relieved the gravel, the salt rheum, the hooping cough, and the headach.”

Vegetable Kingdom.—The principal forest trees are : Oak-white, red, and black; mountain chestnut, butter-nut ; white, bitter, and shagbark walnut ; common and slippery elm ; ash-white and swamped ; maple-white, red, and sugar; pine-white, pitch, and yellow; button-wood, or plane tree ; spruce-double and single ; cedar-swamp and red ; juniper, hemlock, fir; willow-white, red, and yellow; poplar—white, black, and aspen ; dogwood-white berried, red willow, and common; hornbeam, beech ; plum—moun. tain and black; sassafras, alder, tulip tree, or whitewood; basswood, erab-apple, crab-pear, black mulberry, locust-thorn ; birch-white and black; pepperidge. Near the Connecticut river elm, ash, soft maple, and poplar abound; and towards the mountains butter-nut, hickery, oak, chestnut, beech, cherry, and pine.

At Hartford, forty miles from the sea coast, a house built of American oak, in the year 1046, was perfectly. sound in 1781. This dwelling was also remarkable as the birth-place of Jonathan Belcher, formerly governor of this and New Jersey province. An elm near this place was long held sacred, in which, during a moment

[ocr errors]

of imminent danger, the charter of the province was concealed and preserved. *

The grasses are : White clover, white top and red top, (varieties of the herd grass,) Agrostis stricta, black grass, (Juncus bulbosus,) fowl meadow grass. The meadow lands of the Connecticut valley yield two crops annually. The first is cut in the beginning of July; the last in September. The first yields about two tons per acre; the second about half this quantity. t.

Quadrupeds. The animals yet common are red foxes, squirrels of different kinds, (black, grey, red, flying, and striped,) the pole cat, weasel, musk-rat, racoon, and woodchuck.

The moose and deer, wolf and bear, wild cat, mink, black and grey fox, otter and beaver, have all nearly disappeared. The pigeons were formerlv so numerous, that the noise of their flight, in spring of 1751, was compared to distant thunder. They were then sold at fourpence a dozen. I

Fishes.—Those which annually ascend the rivers, in great quantity, are sturgeon, salmon, and shad. Pike, carp, and perch, sucker, herring, roach, eel, catfish, are also numerous in the rivers and ponds. Herring arrive about the middle of May.

In the harbours are sea-bass, blackfish, cod, sheepshead, flounder, plaise, whitefish, sunfish, skullfish,

* Anburey's Travels, Vol. II. p. 460.
+ From Mr Martin Stanley.
# Douglas, article Connecticut,

turtle, lobster, escallop, oyster, long clam, round clam, crab and mussel.

Concerning the frogs of this country, Anburey, in his Travels, has related the following extraordinary cir. cumstance, which is said to be currently believed by the natives. During the great heat of the month of July 1758, a pond, containing an area of nearly three miles square, lost all its waters, and the frogs which inhabited it, many thousands in number, by some wonderful instinct, set out for the river Winnomantic, a distance of nearly five miles ; and passing, in the night, through the town of Windham, the inhabitants imagined that their noise was that of an enemy's detachment of French and Indians, with whom not being able to cope, they fled, almost naked, to the neighbouring woods, where hearing a sound dree tété, which was supposed to mean treaty, three persons were sent for the purpose of negociation, who soon discovered that it was an army of thirsty frogs, led on by their king, who refused all treaty out of his natural element,

Population.—The population, at different epochs, was as follows: In 1670, about 15,000, *

1679, 12,535, including Blacks.
1756, 131,805, 3587
1774, 197,856, 6464
1782,

208,870, 6273
1790,

237,946, 2764 Slaves, 2808 Free Blacks. 1800, 251,002, 951, 5330 1810, 261,942, 310, 6453

General History of Connecticut, published in London 1781.

The last enumeration gives sixty inhabitants to the square mile. The population is chiefly in towns and villages, situate at small distances from each other.

According to this last census, there were,

Males. Under sixteen years of age, .. 53,310 Between sixteen and forty-five, - 47,579 Above forty-five,

20,484

Females. 54,844 51,266 22,696

126,373 128,806 The annual emigration to the other states is estimated at from 12,000 to 15,000.

Diseases. The state is very healthy. The yellow fever prevailed at New London in 1798, and was attributed to local causes, for it was confined to a part of the city only, and the distemper was not communicated by persons dying in places where the air was pure.

Character and Manners.- A great majority of the inhabitants (almost entirely of English descent) are farmers, who lead a very industrious and temperate life. Dr Morse observes, “ that they are fond of having the most trifling disputes settled according to law; and that this litigious spirit affords employment and support for a numerous body of lawyers : the clergy preserve a kind of aristocratical balance in the very democratical government of the state; and the base business of electioneering is but little known. They are extremely attentive to the ceren onies of the church, from which no person absents himself except from some extraordinary motive.” The amusements consist of dancing, riding, visiting, and reading.

Horse-racing and cock-fighting are prohibited. The sound of the parish bell, at nine in the evening, summons every person to his home. Duelling is considered as highly immoral, and no inhabitant of this state has ever been known to have received a challenge. Capital punishment is so rare, that it does not take place oftener than once in eight or ten years. By a law of 1667, three years voluntary separation constitutes a divorce; which has been encouraged by this very law intended for its suppression. Divorces are now common, and often take place by mutual consent. The English language is spoken with a particular tone. Many words, losing their original meaning, have acquired a much more extensive signification. For example, guess, in constant use, is employed to denote certainty as well as conjecture. The term notions is employed to denote small articles of commerce. Contemplate, or contemplation, denotes intention, or rea solution.

The name of Yankee, applied to the inhabitants of this and the other state of New England, by the southern people, is derived from the Cherokee word Cankke, which signifies coward or slave; and had allusion to their refusal of aiding in the war against those Indians. In retaliation, they called the Virgi.. nians Buckskins, on account of their trade in the skins of the deer. *

History.--At the time of the first white settlements, this territory was occupied by several tribes of

ve

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »