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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.
HERE is one part of the calculation on lives, made by N. Webster, Esq. and published in the Collections of the Historical Society, 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 calculation, 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
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 234001300x18 (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 1025000, 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. But it appears 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 seventy 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,
Barnstable, Sept. 23, 1793.
REV. JEREMY BELKNAP, D. D.
JOHN MELLEN, jun.
MR. WEBSTER'S REPLY TO MR. MELLEN'S REMARKS.
OUR favour of the 5th inst. covering some remarks on my communication to the Historical Society, published in Vol. III. 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 writer, 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 census, 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.
Rev. DR. BELKNAP.
I am, Sir, with great respect,
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 1764, caused a survey of the bay of Passamaquoddy to be made, 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.
The next year, Mr. Wilmot, the Governour of Nova Scotia, sent the chief land surveyor to make a survey of that bay, when, upon full inquiry, it was found there were three rivers called St. Croix, emptying into that bay; that the river, called by the savages Copscook, was anciently called by the French St. Croix; and on examining into the original grants of Nova Scotia, it appeared that the grants made by King Charles the second, to his brother the Duke of York, in 1663 (called the Duke of York's Territory) was bounded by the river St. Croix to the eastward, and by the river Kennebeck to the westward; and on the 12th of August the same year, Sir William Alexander obtained a grant of Nova Scotia, bounded westerly as far as "the river St. Croix, and to the farthest source or spring which first comes from the west to mingle its waters with those of the river St. Croix, and from thence running towards the north," &c. All the islands in Passamaquoddy bay are included in this grant, and have ever since been deemed to belong to Nova Scotia. By the definitive treaty of peace, signed at Paris, 3d September, 1783, the eastern limits or boundaries of the United States are thus described: "East by a line to be drawn along the middle of the river St. Croix, from its mouth in the bay of Fundy, to its source, and from its source, north to the high lands, comprehending all islands within twenty leagues of any part of the shores of the United States, and lying between lines to be drawn due east from the points where the aforesaid boundaries, between Nova Scotia on the one part, and East Florida on the other part, shall respectively touch the bay of Fundy and the Atlantick ocean, excepting such islands as now are, or heretofore have been deemed within the limits of Nova Scotia." This makes it clearly evident, that Grand Manan Island, Passamaquoddy Great Island, now called Campo Bello, Deer Island, Moose Island, and all the islands lying in that bay, whether on the southern or northerd side this line drawn due east from St. Croix, should as formerly belong to Nova Scotia. Whether Scoodick or Copscook is the river the treaty fixes upon, remains with those who framed it to determine; but from the manner in which those boundaries are expressed, I should imagine that river to be the river St. Croix intended, whose source should be found farthest into the country westward and northward towards the high lands, mentioned in the treaty, being conformable to the old grants; and if my conjecture is well founded, the St. Croix mentioned in the treaty cannot be properly ascertained, until accurate surveys are made, and proper commissioners appointed to determine thereupon.
The Province of Nova Scotia, by the Governour's commission, has been (till the late division of the government took place) described as follows: "On the west, by a line drawn from Cape Sabies, across the entrance of the bay of Fundy, to the mouth of the river St. Croix; by the said river to its source; and by a line drawn from thence to the southern boundary of our colony of Quebec : To the northward, by the said boundary as far as the western extremity of the bay Des Chaleurs :
To the eastward, by the said bay, and the gulf of St. Laurence, to the cape or promontory called Cape Breton, in the island of that name, including that island, the island St. John's, and all other islands within six leagues of the shores."
In the year 1784, Nova Scotia was divided into four separate governments, to wit, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, St. John's, and Sydney. The division line between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is as follows Bounded by the several windings of the Misquash river, from its confluence with Beau Basin (at the head of Chignecto channel) to its rise or main source; and from thence by a due east line to the bay of Vert, in the straits of Northumberland. Nova Scotia includes all islands within its limits that lie within six leagues of its coasts, except the island of Cape Breton.
Halifax, the capital of this province, was settled by British subjects in 1749. It is situated in latitude 44° 40', on a spacious and commodious harbour, of bold and easy entrance, where a thousand of the larg est ships might ride with great convenience and safety. The town is built on the west side of the harbour, on the declivity of a commanding hill, whose summit is two hundred and fifty-six feet perpendicular from the level of the sea. The town is laid out into oblong squares, the streets parallel, and at right angles. The town and suburbs are about two miles in length; and the general width, one quarter of a mile. contains four thousand inhabitants, and seven hundred houses. At the northern extremity of the town, is the King's naval yard, completely built and supplied with stores of every kind for the royal navy. The harbour of Halifax is justly esteemed (by many) as the most eligible situation in British America for the seat of government, being open and accessible at all seasons of the year, when almost all the other harbours are locked up with ice; and also from its central situation, proximity to the bay of Fundy, and principal interiour settlements of the province. The other towns are Shelburne and Digby, settled in 1783, Lunenburg, Annapolis, New Dublin, Liverpool, Manchester, Windsor, Cornwallis, Horton, Yarmouth, Barrington, and Argyle.
The lands in general on the sea coast of Nova Scotia (except the county of Lunenburg) and a few hills of good land, are rocky and interspersed with swamps and barrens. The growth is general, an intermixture of spruce, hemlock, pine, fir, beech, and birch, and some rock-maple : But its shores are accommodated with harbours, rivers, coves, and bays, conveniently adapted for the fisheries; and the above timber affords an inexhaustible supply of materials for buildings, flakes, and stages, vessels, &c. The most remarkable land on the south shore of Nova Scotia is the high land of Aspotagoen, which lies on the promontory that separates Mahone from Margaret's bay. This land may be seen at a great distance from the offing, and is the land generally made by ships bound from Europe and the West Indies to Halifax. The summit of this land is about five hundred feet perpendicular from the level of the