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apples are inferiour in taste and spirit. The almond and fig will grow here in the open ground, if attended to.
Horticulture is not generally in vogue, though there are some gardens that do not yield to the best in the United States. In connexion with this may be mentioned the pleasure grounds of David Meade, Esq. of Maycox in this county. These grounds contain about twelve acres, laid out on the bank of James river, in a most beautiful and enchanting
Forest and fruit trees are here arranged, as if nature and art had conspired together to strike the eye most agreeably. Beautiful vistas, which open as many pleasing views of the river; the land thrown into many artificial hollows or gentle swellings, with the pleasing verdure of the turf; and the complete order in which the whole is preserved ; altogether tend to form it one of the most delightful rural seats that is to be met with in the United States, and do honour to the taste and skill of the proprietor, who was also the architect.
The principal food of the inhabitants is bacon, of which immense quantities are annually made ; every planter keeping a large drove of hogs, which gain most of their subsistence in the woods; they are confined however, when fattening, which is done with Indian corn.
This does not, however, exclude beef and smaller meats from the table ; most of the planters raising a sufficiency for their own consumption. The former is small, but generally fat and juicy. The muttons are also rather smaller than in some of the eastern states ; but no country can produce better veal ; indeed the best that I myself have even seen, has been at the tables of some gentlemen in this neighourhood. Poultry of every kind is in perfection and abundance. No judgment can be formed of the meats of this country from the publick markets ; for the best are commonly consumed at home by the planters. The climate is here variable ; and depends entirely upon the winds
; which happen to blow. The summers are long, and sometimes intensely hot. The winters are short and generally pleasant ; but little snow falls,and that lies on the ground only a few days. It is but seldom the navigation of James river is obstructed by ice ; and still seldomer, that it is frozen over, so as to bear any weight. Both in winter and summer the weather is very changeable, and the changes sudden. The greatest height of Fahrenheit's thermometer, the last summer, when suspended in the shade, was The lowest at which it was the winter preceding (1791 and 1792) and which was uncommonly severe, was From the middle of October, through the winter and spring, to the middle of June, it is perhaps one of the most desirable climates that is known. In August and September, bijious complaints are very common. And it is observable, that the lower class of whites are more subject to intermittents than others, probably owing to their diet and drink.
It cannot, however, upon the whole, be considered as unhealthy. This county in particular has had, since my acquaintance with it, more people far advanced in life in proportion to the whole number, than other places could produce, which are esteemed healthy. Though
intermittents are frequent in the fall, they very seldom prove mortal.
The population of this country, by the last census, amounts to three thousand six hundred and fifty-four whites, and four thousand five hundred and nineteen blacks. Of this number about one thousand and two hundred are residents in Blandford. This is a small town upon the eastern bank of the Appomattox, and now forms part of the corporation of Petersburg, from which it is separated by a small marsh and a rivulet running through it. They are in separate counties ; but the internal police is governed by the same magistrates : a mayor and six aldermen, annually elected by the citizens. Blandford contains two hundred houses, pleasantly situated on a small plain. The hills which arise from the back of the village, in the nature of terraces, form many picturesque and agreeable situations for houses, some of which are improved as such.
A considerable trade is carried on in this little village. There are many large stores, and three tobacco warehouses, which annually receive about six to seven thousand hogsheads. An air of business is visible. The streets are frequently crowded; and upon the whole, it is a thriving place. This and Petersburg have been considered as very unhealthy, and with some reason. The neighbourhood of several undrained marshes might naturally occasion it ; but as these are drained, the air is improved, till probably in a few years, it will be greatly meliorated.
The south-western part of this county, with part of Dinwiddie adjoining, including Petersburg, forms one parish of the Episcopal church; the remaining part of this county forms another. There is a glebe belonging to each parish, both in Prince George. There are five churches in the county, of this persuasion ; one mecting house for the Friends; one building appropriated for the Methodists; they have meetings also in other places. The Baptists have occasional meetings in some parts of the county : to this sect the blacks seem particularly attached. All the clergy are supported by voluntary contributions.
The militia of this county forms one regiment of about six hundred men, in which is included a troop of horse, and a company of light infantry.
This county sends two members to the assembly ; and with the three adjoining counties of Sussex, Surry, and Southampton, elect a representative to congress. The present member is Carter Basset Harrison, Esq. of Surry.
There is a county court consisting of an indefinite number of magistrates, commonly twelve, who fill all vacancies in their own body, by nomination to the governour and council. All other officers, civil and military, are nominated by them. They have unlimited jurisdiction both in common law and chancery business ; but an appeal lies, if the cause be of more than ten pounds in value, or concern the title or bounds of land, to the district courts, or high court of chancery. This is also a court for the probate of wills.
I need scarcely add that negro slavery is tolerated here ; but it is of the most lenient kind. An act was passed in the first session of the assembly, in the revolution, to prevent the importation of slaves; since which none have been brought into the state ; but great numbers have been carried out to Kentucky and the southern states. Their situation is comfortable ; their labour not severe ; their clothing, diet, and lodging, superiour to many whites, even in some parts of the United States.
In justice to the people, generally, it ought to be mentioned, that they wish for an emancipation; and that but few here, upon a liberal system, would oppose the generous plan. Desirable indeed to be effected, is the object of rescuing from an ignominious bondage, a part of the human race, however degraded in our estimation, by a difference of colour, or want of intellect.
Some plan for the gradual accomplishment of it (without materially injuring the proprietors of them, it is hoped, will ere long, be adopted. But whenever this takes place, my observations have led me to fix it as a decided principle, that they ought to be sent to colonize some new country; for there will be no happiness here, while they remain mixed with the whites.
REMARKS ON MR. WEBSTER'S CALCULATIONS.
ciety, Vol. III. p. 5, which is either very inaccurately expressed, or if I do not greatly mistake, is very erroneous. He says, that a calculation founded on the number of souls in the third parish in Hartford, and the number which have died there in eighteen years, above seventy years of age, gives one to three hundred and twelve that die at seventy years of age and upwards. But in Salem, according to the bills for 1782 and 1783, only one in eight hundred and fifty-seven arrives to seventy years of age.”. The most obvious meaning is, that according to the bills referred to in the third parish in Hartford and the town of Salem, of all those that are born, or that live in the former, only one in three hundred and twelve, and in the latter place, only one in eight hundred and fifty-seven reaches the age of seventy years. If the writer meant only that one in three hundred and twelve, of the inhabitants of the third parish in Hartford, died yearly at the age of seventy years or upwards, this is true, and a just conclusion from the mode of calcu. lation, which he appears to have adopted. But if this was his meaning, the expression is inaccurate, and evidently tends to mislead the reader. If the more obvious meaning was what the writer intended to convey, the conclusion appears to be erroneous ; and indeed the mode of com.
But it appears
putation, made use of to determine the proportion that live to seventy years and upwards, very far from just : For the number three hundred and twelve (or three hundred and twenty-nine, as I suppose it should have been) is found by dividing 23400= 1300 X 18 (that is the product of the number of inhabitants, and the number of years for which the bills were kept) by seventy-one, the number of persons who in that time died seventy years old and upwards. Can this be a just method of determining how many live to seventy years ? Has the number of inhabitants in a place any thing to do in this question ? At least, should not the comparison be made between the number, which in a certain time die seventy years old and upwards, and the whole number of persons that die in the same time?
Let us see how Mr. Webster's mode of computation will apply to some other age.
We would, for instance, find what proportion of the persons born (no account is here made of immigrations or emigrations) in the first and second parishes in Hartford live to nineteen years and upwards, according to the bills which he has exhibited. The number of inhabitants 2500 X 10^- 25000, is to be divided by 209, the number which died at the age 'of nineteen years and upwards; which 'quotes 119 and a fraction. The conclusion then is that but one in 119 of the inhabitants live to nineteen years. by the bill that one half of those that died in ten years lived to the age of nineteen years. But it need only to be asked, why does not the proportion which those who die above seventy, in any given place and time, bear to the whole number who die in the same time and place, determine the probable proportion of those who live to the age of seve enty years and upwards in that place. It is true, as Mr. Webster observes, that “ two years are not sufficient to determine the longevity of the inhabitants in any town or country.". But supposing the average proportion for seventy or an hundred years were taken, must it not be determined with sufficient accuracy? And is it not therefore just to conclude from the bills exhibited, that in the first and second parishes in Hartford, one in nine or ten lives to the age of seventy years ?
Much less than has been suggested above would, I trust, be sufficient to convince Mr. W. that he was guilty of some inadvertency ; and induce him to correct it. That he should make the correction himself would, I suppose, be more eligible than to have it made by any other hand.
I am, Sir, with much respect,
JOHN MELLEN, jun. Barnstable, Sept. 23, 1793.
Rev. JEREMY BELKNAP, D. D.
MR. WEBSTER'S REPLY TO MR. MELLEN'S REMARKS.
New-York, January 22, 1794. Reverend Sir, OUR favour of 5th . on my com
Y munication to the Historical Society, published in Vol. II. p. 5;
has been received, and has my particular acknowledgements.
In reply to the remarks, I can only say, that it is always a subject of regret, that an inaccurate or ambiguous expression should escape a wri. ter, and lead his readers into a misapprehension of his true meaning. The sentence, which is liable to exception in this respect, should run Thus, “a calculation gives one to three hundred and twenty-nine* of all the persons living in the given space of time, who die at seventy years old and upwards.” When thus expressed, my real and only meaning would be obvious, and as the gentleman, in his strictures, remarks, the “ conclusion drawn from the mode of calculation would have been just.”
I had no materials for calculating the proportion of deaths at a given age to the number of souls born in any given period. I attempted no such calculation. Besides I adopted the same principles of calculation with respect to Salem and the third parish in Hartford ; so that as far as it extends, the comparison is just, provided the premises are true. But it appears by the late ceisus, that Dr. Holyoke's estimate of the number of souls in Salem was much too high-instead of nine thousand, the supposed number, the true number falls short of eight thousand. This will render the calculation more favourable to Salem.
If the remarks should be published, the committee will suffer this short reply to follow them ; I am too much occupied to be more particular.
Be pleased, Sir, to assure the Historical Society of the high opinion I entertain of the importance of their undertaking, and that I anxiously wait for the period, when other occupations will permit me to indulge my inclination in seconding their views,
I am, Sir, with great respect,
NOAH WEBSTER, jun. Rev. Dr. BELKNAP.
MISCELLANEOUS REMARKS AND OBSERVATIONS ON Nova Scotia,
New BRUNSWICK, AND CAPE BRETON. SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY THE SURVEYOR GENERAL OF NOVA SCOTIA.
R. Bernard, the Governour of Massachusetts bay, in the year
and proposed making grants of land, as being within his government.
* The number as published is three hundred and twelve ; whether a mistake of the printer, or an error in the copy, I do not know.