Page images
PDF
EPUB

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,

58,310 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 cerenionies 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. Con. template, or contemplation, denotes intention, or resolution.

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

[ocr errors]

Indians, of whom the Pequods were the most formidable, amounting nearly to 700 warriors. Those of the Moheagans, who lived farther north, were estimated at more than 2000; and the whole number of Indians was supposed to amount to nearly 40,000. In 1687, the Pequods waged war, and, being forced to retire, their country was taken possession of by the colonists, who, in 1675, with 450 men, including 150 friendly Indians, marched against and subdued the tribe of Narragansets.

In 1634, a feet of twenty sail arrived in Massachusetts Bay, with emigrants from England, who established themselves along the Connecticut river, to the distance of fifty or sixty miles from its mouth, and laid the foundation of several towns, -Hartford, Weathersfield, Windsor, and Springfield. Authorized by a charter, emanating from the assembly of Massachusetts, they formed a constitution, and agreed mutually to obey the laws which should be passed by a plurality of votes in the state assembly. The colony, was soon increased by the religious dissensions of Eng land; and among these emigrants were rich merchants of London, who elected their own magistrates, established municipal laws, and purchased, from the In dians, the country extending along the sea coast, and in the interior, between the rivers Hudson and Connecticut. The tract situated between the latter river and Bay of Narraganset, which Charles 1. had granted to the Count of Warwick, in 1630, was, some years afterwards, purchased from him by Lord Say, Lord Brook, and other gentlemen; who sent, to this coun

[ocr errors]

sa

as

try, a person named Fenwick, to form an establishment. He built the town of Saybrook, which he named in honour of the two Lords by whom he was employed. These gentlemen, seeing the political storm increase, resolved to remain at home, in hopes of being able to serve their country; and Fenwick was authorized to treat, concerning these lands, with the colony of Connecticut. To prevent the departure of other distinguished non-conformists, among whom was the celebrated Cromwell, the English government issued a proclamation, enjoining all the port officers not to suffer one of this description to embark; but it had no other effect than to increase the tide of emigration, and in 1637, numbers established themselves near the mouth of the Connecticut river, and laid the foundation of the towns of Guilford, Milford, Stamford, Brainford, and Newhaven, the last of which gave its name to the colony. The lands occupied by this colony were claimed by none but the Indians, from whom the right of soil was purchased, and, having neither charter nor commission, they formed themselves into a political body, and engaged mutually to obey the laws which should be passed by their assembly.

In 1662 the colony was incorporated by Charles II. by the name of the Governor and Company of the English colony of Connecticut in New England in America, with a form of government similar to the constitutions of the two original colonies established at Hartford and Windsor in 1633, and at Newhaven in 1638. This charter, among other important privileges, gave the people power to elect their own ma

TOVE

gistrates ; and, content with this form of government, it has been preserved in all its force and vigour, except when in opposition to the principles of the constitution of the United States.

This state suffered much during the revolution. Governor Tryon landed at Newhaven and plundered the town, and, proceeding thence by water, destroyed Fairfield, Greensfarm, and Norwalk.

18 22

Civil or Administrative Division in 1810. Counties. Townships. Population. Chief Towns. Population. Fairfield, 17 40,950 Fairfield, Hartford,

44,733 Hartford, 3,995 Litchfield,

41,375

Litchfield, Middlesex,

20,723 Middletown, 2,014 Newhaven,

37,064 Newhaven, 5,772 New London,

34,737 New London, - 3,238 Totland,

13,749 Totland, 1,638 Windham, 15 28,611 Windham, 500

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Constitution. The sovereign power is lodged in two houses, one of which, called the Upper House, is composed of the governor, deputy-governor, and twelve assistants, or counsellors ; the other, called the Lower House of the Representatives of the people. These united form the general court, or assembly, and the concurrence of both is necessary for the passing of a law. There are two annual elections, in May and October. The chief officers are chosen annually, and the representatives half-yearly, (the number in each town not to exceed two,) by electors who have “ maturity in years, a quiet and peaceable behaviour, a civil con

« PreviousContinue »