« PreviousContinue »
in falls across the fouth-weft end of Brooklyn hills, and paffing near Framingham pond, runs north-east to Cambridge; hence winding round in a finuous courfe falls into Boston harbour. Taunton river rifes in the Blue Mountains, which lie back of Milton and Braintree, and forms the principal drain of the country lying eaft of thefe mountains-the river runs nearly a ftraight courfe fouth-welt, under the foot of the mountains, to Tiverton on Narragansett Bay. Concord river is formed by three branches, one iffuing from Framingham pond, and the other two from the mountains about Marlborough. Thefe ftreams united run north, and fall into the Merrimack river a little below Pantucket falls.
Mystic and Medford rivers run from north to fouth into Bofton harbour. Ipfwich river, rifing in Wilmington in Middlefex county, runs eaft and then north-eaft into the Atlantic, at Ipfwich. Weftfield river, from the north-weft, empties into Connecticut river at Springfield. A little above, the Chicabee from the north-eaft empties into the fame river. Deerfield river rifes in Vermont, and running fouthwardly through Wilmington, Charlemont, and between Shelburne and Conway, enters and paffes through a large tract of the fineft meadow in the world. In thefe meadows it receives Green river, from the mountains, which is about four rods wide; hence they pafs on together, in a broad smooth stream, about three miles into Connecticut river.
Capes.] The only Capes of note on the coaft of Maffachusetts, are Cape Ann on the north fide of Bolton Bay, and Cape Cod on the fouth. The latter is the terminating hook of a promontory, which extends far into the fea, and is remarkable for having been the firft land which was made by the first fettlers of Plymouth on the American coaft in 1620. In the barb of the hook, which is made by the Cape, is Cape Cod harbour. This promontory circumfcribes Barnflable Bay, and forms Barnstable county. This county is almoft an ifland. The ifthmus which connects it to the continent, is between Sandwich Bay on the north, and Buzzards Bay on the fouth. The distance between them is but fix or feven miles. Herring brook almoft croffes this neck or ifthmus, fo that a canal of about one mile only would infulate the county, and fave several hundred miles dangerous navigation in paffing from Newport to Bofton, and be otherwise of immenfe advantage to trade. Such a canal has been talked of for more than an hundred years paft. The eaftern coaft of this promontory is fubject to continual changes. Large tracts of fand bank, in the course of forty or fifty years, by the conftant accumulation of fand and mud, occafioned by the coil and recoil of the tides, have been transformed into folid marth land. The fand banks extend two hundred miles into the fea, forming dangerous fhoals.
Ilands.] Among other islands which border upon this coaft, are Kappawak, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Kappawak, now Dukes county, and the neighbouring ifles, were difcovered as early as 1602, by Bartholomew Gofnold. In honour of Queen Elizabeth, he called a clufter of fmall islands near the cape, Elizabeth ifles. To another neighbouring ifland he gave the name of Martha's Vineyard. Dukes county is twenty miles in length, and about four in breadth. It contains feven
parishes. Edgarton, which includes the island Chabaquidick, is the fhire town. This little island is about half a mile from the harbour, and renders it very fecure. This county is full of inhabitants, who, like their neighbours at Nantucket, fubfift principally by fishing. They fend three reprefentatives to the general aflembly, and one fenator.
Nantucket lies fouth of Cape Cod, and is confiderably lefs than Dukes county. It contains, according to Douglafs, 23,000 acres, including the beach. No mention is made of the difcovery and fettlement of this ifland, under its prefent name, by any of our hiftorians. It is more than probable that this is the inland which is ufually called Nautican by ancient Voyagers. It formerly had the moft confiderable whale fishery on the coaft; but the war almoft ruined them. They are now beginning to revive their former business. Most of the inhabitants are whalers and fishermen. As the land is low, fandy and barren, it is calculated only for thofe people who are willing to depend almoft entirely on the watery element for fubfiftence. The ifland of itself conftitutes one county, by the name of Nantucket. It has but one town, called Sherburne, and fends one reprefentative to the general aflembly.
Light-Honfes.] Within the State of Maffachusetts are the following Light-Houfes on Plumb ifland, near Newbury, are two, which muft be brought to bear in a line with each other, in order to pafs the bar in fafety. On Thatchers ifland, off Cape Ann, two lights of equal height. Another ftands on a rock on the north fide of the entrance of Boiton harbour, with one fingle light. On the north point of Plymouth harbour are two lights, one over the other. On a point at the entrance of the harbour on the island of Nantucket, is one with a fingle light. This light may be feen as far as Nantucket fhoals extend. The island being low, the light appears over it.
Religion. The religion of this commonwealth is established, by their excellent conftitution, on a moft liberal and tolerant plan. All perfons, of whatever religious profeffion or fentiments, may worship God agreeably to the dictates of their own confciences, unmolefted, provided they do not disturb the public peace. The legislature are empowered to require of the feveral towns, parishes, &c. to provide, at their own expence, for the public worship of God, and to require the attendance of the subje& on the fame. The people have liberty to choose their own teachers, and to contract with them for their fupport.
The body of the churches in this ftate are established upon the congregational plan. Their rules of church difcipline and government are, in general, founded upon the Cambridge platform, as drawn up by the synod of 1648. The churches claim no jurifdiction over each other, and the power of ecclefiaftical councils is only advisory.
The following statement, fhews what are the feveral religious denominations in this itate, and their proportional numbers.
In this ftatement it is fuppofed that all the inhabitants in the ftate confider themselves as belonging to one or the other of the religious denominations mentioned; and that each religious fociety, of every denomination, is compofed of an equal number of fouls; that is, each is fuppofed to contain 694, which, if we reckon the number of inhabitants in the ftate at 357,511, will be the proportion for each congregation. Although this may not be an exact apportionment of the different fects, yet it is perhaps as accurate as the nature of the fubject will allow, and fufficient to give a general idea of the proportion which the feveral denominations bear to each other.
Suppofed number of each denomination.
The number of congregational churches in 1749 was 250.
In 1760, the number of inhabitants in this ftate, was about 268,850. The proportion of the fects then was nearly as follows, viz.
Suppofed number of fouls of each fect.
The congregational minifters in this ftate, have an annual meeting at Bofton, the Thurfday following the last Wednesday in May, on which occafion a fermon is preached, and a collection made for the relief and fupport of fuch of their fociety as are in needy circumftances. This collection is chiefly applied to the fupport of the widows of deceafed minif
Civil Divifions.] The commonwealth of Maffachusetts is divided into fourteen counties, and fub-divided into 355 townships. The following table exhibits a comparative view of the population-agricultural improvements-military ftrength, &c. of the feveral counties, together with their fea-ports and principal trading towns,
Effex, 48,723 171,893 47,801 4195
T A BL E.
36,783 105,6351 77,556 729 19,271 7356
Middlefex, 34,823 163,8341 199,548 52171
Nantucket, (an ifland)
25,640 97,360 York, 20,509 66,142 264,931 2101 18,719 4102 Worcester, 47,614 207,430 510,236 8321
Cumberland, 14,714 53,865
234,497 6762 Total 357.5111,087,373 3,185,857 49,417 286,990 70,648
* This valuation was taken in 1784, and supposed to be less than the reality. + This estimate is very imperfe&-No account having been taken for near twelve years.
Sea-ports and principal trading towns.
Towns where the courts are held.
Population, Character, &c.] The above table exhibits an accurate account of the population of this ftate. The most populous parts of the ftate are included between the fea-coaft, and a line drawn parallel to it at the distance of ten or twelve miles; and between two lines drawn paralle】 to Connecticut river on each fide, at the distance of five or fix miles.
Character, &c. fee New-England.