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1. Boundaries of Virginia,
March 4, 1801,
An exact description of the limits and boundaries of the State of Virginia ?
Virginia is bounded on the East by the Atlantic: on the North by a line of latitude, crossing the Eastern Shore throngh Watki:1's Point, being about 37°. 57'. North latitude; from thence by a straight line to Cinquac, near the mouth of Patowmac; thence by the Parowmac, which is common to Virginia and Maryland, to the first fountain of its vorthern branch; thence by a meridian line, passing through that fountain till it intersects a line running East and West, in latitude 39o. 43. 42.4". which divides Maryland frorn Pevnsylvania, and which was marked by Messrs. Mason and Dixon; thence by that line, and a continuation of it westwardly to the completion of five degrees of longitude from the eastern boundary of Pennsylvania, in the same latitude, and thence by a meridian line to the Ohio : on the West by the Ohio and Mississippi, to the latitude 36° 30'. North : and on the South by the line of latitude last inentioned. By adıneasurements through nearly the whole of this last line, and supplying the unmeasured parts from good data, the Atlantic and Mississippi are found in this latitude to be 758 miles distant, equal to 30°. 38. of longitude, reckoning 55 miles and 3144 feet to the degree. This being our comprehension of longitude, that of our latitude, taken between this and Mason and Dixon's line, is 3o. 13'. 42. 4". equal to 223.3 miles, supposing a degree of a great circle to be 69 n. 864 feet as computed by Cassini. These boundaries include an area somewhat triangular, of 121,525 square miles, whereof 79,650 lie westward of the Alleghaney mountains, and 57,034 westward of the meridian of the mouth of the Great Kanhaway. This state is therefore one third larger than the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, which are reckoned at 88,357
These limits result from, 1. The ancient charters from the crown of England. 2. The grant of Maryland to the Lord Baltimore, and the subsequent determinations of the British court as to the extent of that grant. 3. The grant of Pennsylvania to Williarn Penn, and a compact between the general assemblies of the commonwealths of Virginia and Pennsylvania as to the extent of that grant. 4. The grant of Carolina, and actual location of its northern boundary, by consent of both parties. 5. The treaty of Paris of 1763. 6. The confirmation of the charters of the neighbouring states by the convention of Virginia at the time of constituting their commonwealth. 7. The cession made by Virginia to Congress of all the lands to which they had title on the North side of the Ohio.
QUERY II. A NOTICE of its rivers, rivulets, and how far they are navigable ?
An inspection of a map of Virginia, will give a better idea of the geography of its rivers, than any description in writing. Their navigation may be imperfectly noted.
Roanoke, so far as it lies within this state, is no where navigable, but for canoes or light batteaux; and, even for these, in such detached parcels as to have prevented the inhabitants from availing theinselves of it at all.
James River, and its waters, afford navigation as follows.
The whole of Elizabeth River, the lowest of those which run into James River, is a harbour, and would contain upwards of 300 ships. The channel is from 150 to 200 fathom wide, and at common flood tide, affords 18 feet water to Norfolk. The Stafford, a 60 gun ship, went there, lightening herself to cross the bar at Sowel's Point. The Fier Rodrigue, pierced for 64 guns, and carrying 50, went there without lightening. Craney island, at the mouth of this river, commands its channel tolerably well.
Nansemond River, is navigable to Sleepy Hole, for vessels of 250 tons; to Suffolk, for those of 100 tons; and to Milner's, for those of 25.
Pagan Creek affords 8 or 10 feet water to Smithfield, which admits vessels of 20 tons.
Chickahominy has at its mouth a bar, on which is only 12 feet water at common flood tide. Vessels passing that, may go 8 miles up the river; those of 10 feet draught may go four miles further, and those of six tons burthen, 20 miles further.
Appamattor may be navigated as far as Broadways, by any vessel which has crossed Harrison's Bar in James River; it keeps 8 or 10 feet water a mile or two higher up to Fisher's bar, and 4 feet on that and upwards to Petersburg, where all navigation ceases.
James River itself affords harbour for vessels of any size in Hampton Road, but not in safety through the whole winter; and there is navigable water for them as far as Mulberry Island. A 40 gun ship goes to James town, and lightening herself, may pass to Harrison's bar; on which there is only 15 feet water. Vessels of 250 tons may go to Warwick; those of 125 go to Rocket's, a mile below Richmond ; from thence is about 7 feet water to Richmond; and about the centre of the town, four feet and a half, where the navigation is interrupted by falls, which in a course of six miles, descend about 80 feet perpendicular; above these it is resumed in canoes, and batteaux, and is prosecuted safely and advantageously to within 10 miles of the Blue Ridge; and even through the Blue Ridge a ton weight has been brought; and the expense would not be great, when compared with its objeci, to open a tolerable navi. gation up Jackson's River and Carpenter's creek, to within 25 miles of Howari's creek of Green Briar, both of which have then water enough to float vessels into the Great Kaphaway,
In some future state of population, I think it possible, that its navigation may also be made to interlock with that of the Patowmac, and through that to communicate by a short portage with the Ohio. It is to be noted, that this river is called in the maps James River, only to its confluence with the Rivanna : thence to the Blue Ridge it is called the Fluvanna: and thence to its source, Jackson's river. But in common speech, it is called James river to its source.
The Rivanna a Branch of James River, is navigable for canoes and batteaux to its intersection with the South West mountains, which is about 22 miles; and may easily be opened to navigation through these mountains to its fork above Charlottesville.
York River, at York town, affords the best harbour in the state for vessels of the largest size. The river there narrows to the width of a mile, and is contained within very high banks, close under which the vessels may ride. It holds 4 fathom water at high tide for 25 miles above York to the mouth of Poropotank, where the river is a mile and a half wide, and the channel only 75 fathom, and passing under a high bank. At the confluence of Pamunkey and Mattapony, it is reduced to 3 fathom depth, which continues up Pamunkey to Cumberland, where the width is 100 yards, and up Mattapony to within two miles of Frazer's ferry, where it becomes 2 1-2 fathom deep, and holds that about 5 miles. Pamunkey is then capable of navigation for loaded flats to Brockman's bridge, fisty miles above Hanover town, and Mattapony to Downer's bridge, 70 miles above its mouth.
Piankatank, the little rivers making out of Mobjack Bay and those of the Eastern Shore, receive only very small vessels, and these can but enter them.
Rappahannock affords 4 fathom water to Hobb's hole, and 2 fathom thence to Fredericksburg.
Patowmac is 7 1-2 miles wide at the mouth ; 4 1-2 at