Page images
PDF

Religion.] The Congregationalists are much more numerous ihan any other denomination of Christians. In 1817 they had 366 congregations; the Baptists, 91 ; Friends, 32; Episcopalians, 14; Universalists, It; Presbyterians, 8. There are also • few Methodists and Roman Catholics.

Government.] The Legislative power is vested in a General coort, consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives, both chosen annually by the people. The Senate consists of 40 member*, chosen by districts. The Representatives are chosen by towns; each town having 150 rateable polls sends one Representative, and another for every additional 225 polls. The executive power is vested in a Governor, Lieut. Governor and a Council of 9 members. The two first are chosen by the people annually. The Council is chosen by the Legislature out of the 40 returned as Senators; and if they decline, irom the mass of the people. The judicial power is vested in a Supreme court and set ernl inferior courts, and the judges hold their offices during good behavior.

Road*.] The state is intersected in almost every direction by excellent turnpikes which centre in the capital. The turnpike from Boston to Newburyport, 33 miles, cost $400,000; anil that from Boston to Salem, 13 miles, more than §200,000. The road from Boston to Providence, 40 miles, and from Boston to Worcester. 37 miles, are of the same expensive construction.

Manufactures.] Massachusetts is the third Mate in the Union in amount of manufactures. The value in 1810 was estimated at £21,895,528. The principal articles are cotton goods, boots and shoes, ardent spirits, leather, cordage, wrought and cast iron, nails, straw bonnets, window glass and other glass ware.

Fitheries.] Massachusetts is more extensively engaged in the fisheries than any other state in the Union. In many populous towns on the sea-coast, a large proportion of the inhabitants derive their subsistence entirely from this employment. The cod fishery i» prosecuted to a great extent from Marblehead, and the whale fishery from Nantucket and New-Bedford.

Commerce.] The principal exports are fish, beef, lumber, pork, ardent spirits, whale oil and various manufactures. The principal market for the western part of the state is New-York; for the country near Connecticut river, Hartford; for the towns near Rhode-Island, Providence; for the rest of the state, Boston, Salem and Newburyport. Boston is also the market for large sections of Vermont and New-Hampshire. In amount of shipping Massachusetts is the first state in the Union. In 1815, before Maine was separated, the number of tons was 452,273, which was about one third of the whole shipping of the United States.

Islands.] Phim island, which extends along the coast from Newburyport in a southerly direction, to Ipswich, is nine miles; long and one broad, and is separated from the main land by a narrow sound, over which a bridge has been built. The island consists principally of sand blown into heaps, and crowned with bushes bearing the beach plum. Id summer, when plums are ripe, it is a favorite resort for parties of pleasure. On the north end of the islam! are two light-houses, and several houses hare been erected by the Humane society, and furnished with conveniences for the relief of distressed mariners.

Nantucket island lie* south of the peninsula of cape Cod, near 41° 20' N. lat. and 709 W. Ion. It is 15 miles long and contains about 50 square miles. The climate is mild compared with that of the adjncpnt continent. The soil is light and sandy, bnt in some parts is rich and productive, particularly in hay. It was formerly well wooded; but there is not now a single tree of native growth. The land is chiefly held in common by (he inhabitant*. All the cow?, amounting to.about 5'JO feed together in one herd , all the sheep, 14,000, in one pasture. The inhabitants are principally robust, enterprising seamen, extensively engaged in the whale fishery, and they have the reputation of being the most skilful and adventurous seamen in the. world. They suffered severely both in the revolutionary and Ute war, a large portion of their shipping having been captured by the British. Since the peace, however, the whale fishery has revived, and there are now about 100 ships employed in this business. There are 30 spermaceti works on the island, employing a capital of $600,000. .\'ant*cia, the only town, is on the north side of (he island. Its harbor is completely safe from all winds, being almost land-locked, the points at its entrance approaching within a mile of each other, k contains 2 banks; 2 insurance companies; and 5 houses of public worship, 2 for Friends, 2 for Congregalionalisls, and one for Methodists. Population, in 1820, 7,206.

Martha11 Vineyard lies west of Nantucket. It i« 20 miles long, and from 2 to 10 broad. Edgarfown, the chief town, contains 1,374 inhabitants. There is a spacious harbor on the north side of the island, called Holmes7 hole, to which vessels bound to the eastward frequently resort, and wait for a wind to enable them ti> duuhle cape Cod. The Elizabeth islands are small islands, extending in a row, about 13 miles in length, along the south side of Buzzard's bay.

RHODE-ISLAND.

Situation and Extent.] Rhode-Island is hounded N. and E. by Massachusetts; S. by the Atlantic; and W. hv Connecticut. It extends from 41° 17' to 4:J° N. lal. and from 71° 6' to 71a&* W. Ion. It is 49 miles long from north to south, and on its northern boundary 29 broad. The area is estimated at 1.6B0 square miles.

Division!.] The state is divided into five counties and 31 towns.

Counties Towns. Pop, in 1810. Pop, in 1820. Chief towns. * Providence, 10 30,769 35,736 Providence. Kent, 4 9,834 10,228 Warwick. Washington, 7 14,962 15,687 South Kingston. Newport, 7 16,294 15,771 Newport. Bristol, 3 5,072 5,637 Bristol. Total, 31 76,931 83,059 A

Bays.] Warraganset bay runs from north to south, dividing the state into two parts, and communicates with the ocean between point Judith on the west and point Seaconet on the east. It is about 30 miles long and 15 broad, and embraces several considerable islands. The northeast arm of Narraganset bay is called Mount Hope bay; the northwest arm, Greenwich bay; and the nerthern arm, Providence bay. The principal rivers which fall into it are Providence river from the north, and Taunton river from the northeast. The commissioners who were appointed to examine the coast of the United States, in 1817, were of opinion that this bay presented the best site for a naval depot in the Union north of Chesapeak bay. It is accessible from the sea at all seasons of the year; it affords capacious harbors, and can be entered from the ocean in a few hours' sail; it is not susceptible of a continued blockade ; nor is it obstructed by ice. Islands.] Rhode-Island, from which the state takes its name, is in Narraganset bay. It is 15 miles long and on an average 34 broad, containing about 50 square miles. Its climate is delightful; the summers are remarkably pleasant, and the winters milder than on the continent. Travellers have called it the Eden of America. Canonicut is a beautiful island, 7 miles long and 1 broad, lying northwest of Rhode Island. Prudence island lies N. E. of Canonicut. Block-island, 10 miles S.W. of point Judith, is 7 miles long and 4 broad, and contains about 700 inhabitants. Face of the Country, &c.] The northern part of the state is hilly, and has a thin and barren soil ; the rest is chiefly level. The islands and the country bordering on Narragan-et bay are very fertile, and celebrated for their fine cattle, their numerous flocks of sheep, and the abundance and excellence of their butter and cheese. The southwestern part of til, state is an excellent grozing country. Rivers.] The following are the principal rivers. 1. Pawtucket river rises in Massachusetts, in Worcester county, and running in a southeasterly direction falls into Providence river one mile below she town of Providence. There are falls of about 50 feet descent, 4 miles from its mouth. Below the falls the river is called the Seckhonk. 2. Providence river is formed by two small rivers which unite just above Providence. It is navigable to Providence for ships of 900 tons. 3. Pawtuxet river falls into Providence river 5 miles below the town of Providence. It abounds with falls, which furnish fine situations for mill-seats and manufacturing establishments. There are about 40 cotton sactories on this river and its branches. 4. Pawtatuek river waters the S. W. part of the state, and runs into Stonington barhor. la the latter part of its course it is the boundary between this state and Connecticut.

Chief Towns.] Providence, the largest town in the state, and the third in New-England in respect to population, stands oa Providence river, just above the mouth of the Seekhonk, 35 miles from the ocean, and 10 S. S. W. of Boston. The town m built on both sides of the river, and the two parts are connected by an elegant bridge. Merchaut ships of the largest class ascend to this place. Many of the private houses are handsome l>uildings, and (be appearance of the town has been recently much improved by the construction of side walks along the principal ■treets paved with flag stones. Among the public builoings are the colleges; 7 banks; and 13 houses of public worship, 4 far Baptists, 3 for Congregationalists, 2 for Methodists, 1 for Episcopalians, I for Friends, 1 for L'niversalists and one for Africans. Several of the churches are elegant edifices.

Providence is one of the wealthiest and most flourishing "owns of its size in the United States. The principal source of its pros. perity is tbe cotton manufacture, which was introduced abont la years ago, and has increased with astonishing rapidity. There are now more than 100 cotton factories in Rhode-Island and the adjacent parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut, the business of which is transacted principally in Providence. Among the manufacturing establishments within the town are 5 cotton factohe*, 2 woollen factories, 5distilleries, 3 rope-walks, and 10 jeweller's shops, where jewelry is manufactured principally for exportation. The commerce of the (own has increased with its manufactures. The amount of shipping in 1019 was 19,000 tons, of which about 5,000 were employed in tbe East-India trade, and 5,000 or G,000 in the coasting trade with the southern states,connected principally with the cotton business. Ten or twelve Teasels are constantly employed in the exportation of cotton good* In September, IC16, the town suffered severely from a tremendous gale, which forced tbe water in the river many feet aho*e the highest tides, and deluged (he town, destroying hoosea and shipping to an amount estimated ut $1,600,000. Population, is 1820, 11,767.

Weatport stands on the S. W. side of Khode-Island, 5 mile* from the sea and 30 S. by E- of Providence. The harbor spreads westward before the town, and is one of the finest in the world. It is of a semicircular form, of safe and easy access, sufficiently capacious to contain a large fleet, and deep enough for vessels of the largest burden. The town is built on a beautiful declivity, rising gradually from the harbor, and presents a fine view as yon approach it from the water. The beauty of its situation and tbe salubrity of its climate have made it a place of fashionable resort from the Southern and Middle states during the summer months Newport was formerly the first town in the state, but it has now fallen behind Proridence in commerce and population. The mini'mt of inhabitant* in 1820 was 7,319.

Bristol it on the east tide of Nairaifanset bay. 15 miles S. S. E. of Providence. It has a sale and commodious harbor, and ii a place of considerable trade. The amount of shipping owned here in 1815 wa* 6,944 tons. Population, in 1820, 3,197. Warren is a pleasant town adjoining Bristol mi the north. Warwick, en Greenwich bay, 10 miles S. S. VV. of Providence, is extensively engaged in the manufacture of cotton good*. It has no lew than 16 cotton factories, and in 1820 contained 3,643 inhabitant*. Pnvtudut village, situated at the falls of I'aw tucket river, 4 miles N.E. of Providence, is one of the most dourishing manufacturing villages in the United State*.

Education.) Brown university in Providence i* one of the most dout ishing ami respectable liiemry institution* in the United State*. It, was originally established at Warren, in 1764, and was removed to Providence in 1770. It has a president, 8 professors, 2 tutors and 160 students. The college library contains about 6.000 volumes, and the society libraries of the students 2,00u or 3,000 more. The philosophical apparatus is extensive and complete. There are two college edifices of brick, containing rooms for 200 students. They are pleasantly situated on an eminence, and command an extensive and vanegnted pro«pect. It is required that the president and a majority of the trustees of this university should be of the Baptist denomination.

Common schools are not supported hy law in Rhode-Island as in the other New-England states. Academies, however, ar- established in all the principal towns, and private schools are maintained during the winter months in almost every part of the state.

Population.] The population in 1790 was 63,826; in 1800, 69,128 ; in 1810, 70,931 ; in 1820, 83,059, or A3 for each *quare mile. In Charlestown, on the southern shore of the state, are the remains of the once famous Narraganset tribe of Indians. They are now reduced to about 100 souls, and are a miserable, degraded race of beings.

Religion.] The Baptists are the most numerous denomination of Christians. They have 57 congregations; the Friends, IB; Congregationalisls, 11 ; Episcopalians, 6; Moravians, 1; Jews, I.

Government] The constitution of the state is the charter granted to the colony by Charles II. in 1663- The legislative power i« vested in a General Assembly consisting of two branches, the Senate and Home of Representatives. The Senate consists often members, and the House of Representative* of two deputies t'runi each town, with the exception of Providence, Portsmouth, Warwick and Newport; the three first of which are entitled Itfour each, and the lust to six. The Representatives are chosen, semi-annually. The esecutivcygyeer it vested in a Governor, or, m cose of bis death, in a Lieut. Governor, both of whom have

« PreviousContinue »