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Chiefly if they be unstaid and young,
But a most desperate mischief here is grown,
Thiey have, and skill how to use them have got ; • And mend and new stock their pieces they can,
As well in most things as an Englishman,
But now they know their advantage so well,
And let their lives be precious in thy sight;
When I think on what I have often read, How, when the elders and Joshua were dead ; Who had seen those great works, and them could tell, What God had done and wrought for Israel ; Yet they did soon forget and turn aside, And in his truth and ways did not abide ; But in the next age did degenerate ; I wish this may not be New England's fate.
To you therefore that are for to succeed,
O my dear friends, and children whom I love,
Melius es peccatum cavere quam emendare.
A TOPOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTY OF PRINCE
GEORGE, IN VIRGINIA, 1793. BY THE Rev. JOHN JONES SPOONER, A. M. A. A. S. RECTOR OF MARTIN'S BRANDON, IN SAID County.
HIS county is bounded on the north, by James river, which
washes it about thirty-five miles : on the east, partly by upper Chippoah creek, and partly by the Surry line ; on the south, by Surry, Sussex, and Dinwiddie counties ; and on the west, by Appomattox river.
It is in length about thirty miles ; its breadth is various ; the medi. um is sixteen miles. It originally formed part of Charles city county, which is now confined to the northern side of James river.
The river is here about one mile wide at the points ; but in the bays, from two to three miles ; at the confluence of the Appomattox is Citypoint, which with Bermuda-Hundred, on the opposite side of the Appomattox, forms the port of this district. Vessels of five hundred tons may bere load and unload. At Hoods, about eighteen miles below, a a British ship of forty-four guns bas lain.
Appomattox is navigable for square rigged vessels seven miles ; from this to Petersburg, it is only navigable for vessels of less than sixty tons.
The James is one of the most noble rivers in the United States. From its mouth to City-point, it varies in breadth from one to six miles, except at Hoods, where it is only four hundred yards in width. (Here is a very eligible situation to erect a fort for the defence of the upper part of the river, in a case of necessity.) It is navigable for vessels of one hundred' and forty tons burthen to Richmond, which is one hundred and sixty miles from Cape Henry, the entrance to the bay of Chesapeak from the Atlantick ocean. In its progress it receives a great number of smaller streams, which are for the most part navigable for several miles. From Prince George it receives, besides the Appomattox and Chippoah, Bailey's, Powell's, and Ward's creeks, with some others of less note. The southern part of this county is watered by Black Water, and the streams which fall into it. This is an extensive swamp rising in the south-west part of Prince George, and running a very lengthy course, it empties into Albemarle sound, in North Carolina. In summer it is, however, confined to a narrow breadth, and is navigable only for canoes.
These rivers and creeks abound with fish of various kinds. In James river are found the sturgeon, shad, bass, carp, sheep's-bead, drum, herrings, perch, and cats, &c. It has also a great abundance of oysters and crabs; of the former, there are none so high up as this, and but few of:he latter. In the spring there are immense numbers of shads and herrings taken in seines ; upwards of five thousand of the former have been taken at a single haul; the same number of the latter is not un- a common.
It is not digressing far, to mention here the improvements now making in the navigation of this river.
The falls coinmence at Richmond, and extend seven miles above. The bed of the river is filled with innumerable rocks ; over and between which the waters rush with great rapidity. Canals have been dug round these falls, and partly excavated from a solid rock, and locks have been constructed. The various impediments higher up the river have been reinoved, all with infinite labour and great expense ; so that it is rendered navigable for large flat boats, carrying twenly hogsheads of tobacco, from Lynchburg, more than a hundred and forty miles above Richmond.
It is intended to connect this canal with the tide waters which flow to the lower edge of the falls ; this will be completed in the course of the summer The head branches of the river have been explored, and a report made, that the navigation may be carried through the ridges, to the foot of the Alleghany mountains, which will be attempted, when the canal is finished. Not unconnected with this is the attempt now making to unite the waters of James river with those of Albemarle sound, in North Carolina, by the way of Elizabeth river, and a canal through the Dismal swamp, to the head of Pasquotank. This is in considerable forwardness.
In the winter season, there is a great number of wild fowl on this river and its waters, viz. swans, geese, shelldrakes, a variety of ducks and teal. The woods afford wild turkies, partridges in abundance, a few pheasanis, pigeons, some deer, and other game common to the rest of America. Here is also that singularanimal, the opossum. The reptiles are nearly the same as in the more northern parts of America, with some not known there. The scorpion, which is very venomous, is frequently seen here. Lizards of various colours are common, but are quite harmless. The snakes are much the same. Rattle snakes are not often seen, but in lieu of them, the mocasson is frequently found on the water courses : these are venomous and bold. The jointed and spur snakes are sometimes met with. Of the two latter I have not seen any ; but am well informed the former is composed of joints about an inch in length, which are scaly and brittle : It is said, on being struck, it immediately breaks off at every joint.
The latter takes its name from a spur or dart at the end of its tail, with which it inflicts a dangerous wound, and is the same which Carver cails the thorn tail snake.
The face of the country is neither level nor hilly, but in some degree broken and rising into gentle swellings. Upon the water courses, are commonly rich low grounds, admirably adapted for grass, hemp, or flax, and when drained, produce abundant crops of corn and wheat. The high lands are generally of a light loam, interspersed with tracts of sandy or clayey soils. The whole, totally free from rocks, and almost so from loose stones, Many of the points, making into the riyer, are formed of a rich, deep, black loam, capable, without manure,