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VIRGINIA AND PENNSYLVANIA.
Potomac-Jesuits in Georgetown-Mount Vernon-Baltimore-Negro Church-Fences and
OHIO, KENTUCKY, ILLINOIS.
THE GREAT LAKES AND NEW YORK.
New Haven-Hartford --Princes and Princesses, Journey to Boston-Slander of Jefferson-Bos-
ton Athenæum- Custom House and Market Hall-Democracy in New England--Trade in Ice
MANNERS AND MORALS OF AMERICA.
Manners and Customs-American Society-On American Vanity and Presumption-Servants and
Domestics—Prosperity, Love of Gain-Temperance Societies-Eating, Drinking, and Cooking
APPENDIX I.-Synopsis of the Constitutions of the Several States
APPENDIX II.--Statistics of Manufactures in Lowell
APPENDIX III.-Synopsis of Recitations and Lectures in the University of Vermont
APPENDIX IV.-Plan of Recitations in Harvard University
Age of the American Continent-Its Extent-Seas and Lakes—Mountains-Rivers
--Climate-Mineral and Vegetable Kingdoms-Prairies Agriculture.
The history of civilized nations as known to us embraces a period of from three to four thousand years; and yet, until three hundred and fifty years ago, one half of our globe remained undiscovered. So slowly were the difficulties of long sea-voyages overcome, so slowly increased the interest in geographical discoveries, so recently did men arrive at an intelligent consciousness of the necessarily spherical conformation of the earth. Even the important discoveries of the Northmen in the tenth century, excited so little curiosity, desire of information, or thirst of gain, that they sank into total oblivion.* Hence, Columbus remains the theoretical and practical discoverer of America: an effort of intellect, courage, and perseverance, such as the world never witnessed before, and which never can be repeated in a like manner.
Some philosophers have maintained that America is of later origin than the old continent of the earth. It is not clear to the unlearned (nor is it, as I understand, to those really versed in such inquiries), what is meant by this. The formation of the spherical figure of the earth (if any other figure ever existed) must have been begun and continued uniformly through its whole extent; the hand of God and his handmaid Nature did not first finish Europe, and then pass over the Atlantic ocean, in order to bring to light and embellish America also. Why should the Alps be older than the Cordilleras, and the valley of the Missis. sippi younger than Holland and the lowlands at the mouth of * Rafn, Mémoire sur la découverte de l'Amérique, 1843.
the Rhine? If the waters of the earth maintain a general equilibrium, they could not rise essentially higher on one hemisphere of the earth than on the other. This inferior antiquity, or later appearance, of the land of America can therefore be explained and proved, not from the gradual diminution of the waters, but only by the doctrine of the upheaval of the mountains.
The Americans deny that such proof can be adduced; and it is not my province to decide the controversy. An unqualified superiority in the natural advantages of whole quarters of the globe can by no means be proved from their greater youthfulness or greater age. In North America, it is human history alone that, as far as our knowledge extends, is brief and void, when we compare it with that of the old continent; and although we know not the age of many monuments erected in it by the hand of man, still they do not suggest the idea of such ancient and high civilisation as do, for instance, those of India and Egypt. At least those which have been found in North America are only mounds of earth, without stones, bricks, or walls. Let us then, in conformity with our purpose, leave those primitive ages undisturbed, to investigate the present and still existing.
America extends from the 54th degree of south to the 71st degree of north latitude, and has therefore, from south to north, an extent of 7500 geographic miles. he extreme dth of the southern half, from east to west, is estimated at 2800, and that of the northern half at 3000 miles. The entire territory of the United States of North America has, from the southern extremity of Florida to the northern extremity of Maine, an extent of 24 degrees of latitude, or 1440 miles, which is about the distance from Naples to Drontheim in Norway, or from Bern to Thebes in Upper Egypt. The greatest extent from east to west is from the eastern boundary of the state of Maine in 45° N. lat. to the north of the Columbia river, on the Pacific ocean, making over 50 degrees of longitude. The most westerly states of North America, Missouri and Arkansas, reach to scarcely half way between the Atlantic and the Pacific. The greatest extent from east to west is about equal to that from the eastern boundary of Russia in Europe to the western coast of Ireland. The superficial area of the United States has from natural causes been estimated very differently; according to a moderate computation, it must amount to about 1,792,000 geographic square miles, or from ten to eleven times as much as the superficial extent of France. But that of this immense region only a very small part is under tillage, while another portion is incapable of cultivation, will be shown in the sequel.
* Bancroft's History, iii. 309. Doubtful in South America.
Darby, in his View of the United States, p. 57, reckons the surface at 2,257,000 English square miles, or about one-twentieth of the superficies of the earth; Tucker reckons it at 2,369,000 miles. Which estimate is correct?-So long as the boundaries of the Oregon territory remain unsettled, exactness and agreement are impossible.
If we consider the sea-coasts of the United States, the western has as yet no importance; although the Oregon region will doubtless one day obtain it, and will probably be the last land on the earth capable of being settled. But of so much the more consequence are the coasts of the Atlantic. They form gulfs of different sizes deeply indenting the main land. The first extends from the Sabine river (the boundary on the side of Texas), to the southernmost point of Florida; the second, from here to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina; the third to Cape Cod in Massachusetts; and the fourth to Passamaquoddy bay, which forms the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick. The northern bays afford more numerous and better harbors than the southern; and this has had an important influence on the progress of the states. New Orleans, however, near the mouth of the Mississippi, is of the greatest importance; and Mobile, at the mouth of Alabama river, is also of some consequence. St. Augustine in Florida, Savannah in Georgia, and Charleston in South Carolina, are worthy of notice; but they are far behind Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. Boston is now the principal seaport in the northernmost gulf.
The sea-coast from Florida to New Jersey is low alluvial or diluvial soil, a great part of which is swampy or sandy; yet with proper care and industry it could be fitted for cultivation. The tide rises on the southern coasts only from 4 to 6 feet, but on the coast of New Brunswick from 40 to 50 feet;* perhaps an effect of the Gulf stream, or of still more general laws of nature. West of these lands, sinking towards the sea, arise the long chain of Appalachian or Alleghany mountains, which in several ridges, interrupted by streams and without peaked summits, separate the eastern slope from the immense valley of the Mississippi. Far beyond this stream arise the loftier and more sharply defined Rocky mountains; from which there stretches to the upper Missouri a great desert in many places impregnated with salt, which recalls to mind that of Africa. The greatest elevations reached by the Appalachian chain are found in New Hampshire, and are estimated at from 3,000 to 7,000 feet; but the highest mountains in all North America are probably at the sources of Columbia river. According to the measurement of Mr. Thompson, the Brown mountain rises to the height of 16,000 feet; and he conjectures that other peaks are 10,000 feet higher still.
* Darby's View, pp. 62, 66.
+ Greenhow's Memoir' on the Northwest Coast, p. 11. There are no ignivo. mous mountains in the United States, and it is only among the Rocky mountains that proofs of volcanic action are found.