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In 1635, Sir Ferdinando Gorges obtained a grant from the council of Plymouth, of the tract of country between the rivers Pifcataqua and Sagadahok, which is the mouth of Kennebek; and up Kennebek, fo far as to form a fquare of 120 miles. It is fuppofed that Sir Ferdinand first inftituted government in this province.

In 1639, Gorges obtained from the crown a charter of the foil and jurifdiction, containing as ample powers perhaps as the King of England ever granted to any subject.

In the fame year he appointed a governor and council, and they adminiftered juftice to the fettlers until about the year 1647, when, hearing of the death of Gorges, they fuppofed their authority ceafed, and the people on the fpot univerfally combined and agreed to be under civil government, and to elect their officers annually.

Government was adminiftered in this form until 1652, when the inhabitants fubmitted to the Maffachusetts, who, by a new conftruction of their charter, which was given to Roffwell and others, in 1628, claimed the foil and jurifdiction of the Province of Main, as far as the middle of CascoBay. Main then first took the name of Yorkshire; and county-courts were held in the manner they were in Massachusetts, and the towns had liberty to fend their deputies to the general-court at Bofton.

In 1664, Charles II. granted to his brother the Duke of York, all that part of New England which lies between St. Croix and Pemaquid rivers, on the fea-coaft; and up Pemaquid river, and from the head thereof toKennebek river, and thence the fhorteft courfe north to St. Lawrence river. This was called the Duke of York's property, and annexed to the government of New-York. The Duke of York, on the death of his brother Charles II. became James II. and upon James's abdication, thefe lands reverted to the crown.

At prefent, the territory of the Sagadahok is fuppofed to contain all lands lying between the river St. Croix east, and Kennebek west, and from the Atlantic to the highlands, in the northern boundary of the UnitedStates.

Upon the restoration of Charles II. the heirs of Gorges complained to the crown of the Maffachusetts ufurpation; and in 1665, the King's commiffioners, who visited New-England, came to the province of Main, and appointed magiftrates and other officers, independent of Maffachufetts-Bay. The magiftrates, thus appointed, adminiftered government according to fuch inftructions as the King's commiffioners had given them, until about the year 1668, when the Maffachusetts general court fent down commiffioners and interrupted fuch as acted by the authority derived from the King's commiffioners. At this time public affairs were in confufion; fome declaring for Gorges and the magiftrates appointed by the King's commiffioners, and others for Massachusetts. The latter, however, prevailed, and courts of pleas and criminal jurisdiction were held as in other parts of the Maffachufett's- Bay.

About the year 1674, the heirs of Gorges complained again to the King and counsel of the ufurpation of Maffachufetts-Bay, and they were called upon to answer for their conduct. The refult was, they ceafed for a time to exercife their jurifdiction, and Gorges, grandfon of Ferdinando, fent over inftructions. But in 1677, the Massachusetts, by their



agent, John Ufher, Efq; afterwards governor of New-Hampshire, purchafed the right and intereft of the patent for 1,200 l. fierling. The Maflachusetts now fuppofed they had both the jurifdiction and the foil, and accordingly governed in the manner the charter of Main had directed, until 1684, when the Maffachusetts charter was vacated.

In 1691, by charter from William and Mary, the Province of Main and the large territory eastward, extending to Nova-Scotia, was incorporated with the Maffachusetts-Bay; fince which it has been governed, and courts held as in other parts of the Massachusetts.

This country, from its first settlement, has been greatly haraffed by the Indians.

In 1675, all the fettlements were in a manner broken up and destroyed. From about 1692 until about 1702, was one continued scene of killing, burning, and deftroying. The inhabitants fuffered much for several years preceding and following the year 1724. And fo late as 1744 and 1748, perfons were killed and captivated by the Indians in many of the towns

next the fea.

Since this period, the inhabitants have lived in peace, and have increased to upwards of 50,000 fouls. This number is daily and rapidly increafing. To facilitate intercourfe between the inhabitants, the legislature have lately adopted meafures for opening roads in different parts of the country. Such is their growing importance, and their ardent defire for independence, that their political feparation from Maffachusetts may be fuppofed not far diftant.

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3 and 4° Eaft

Length 68) Between {41 and 42° North Latitude.
Breadth 40 }

Boundaries. BOUND

OUNDED north and east by the Commonwealth of Maffachusetts; fouth by the Atlantic; weft by Connecticut. These limits comprehend what has been called Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations.

Civil Divifions and Population.] This ftate is divided into five counties, which are fubdived into twenty-nine townships, as follows:








TOWNSHIPS. | N° of in


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five. Twenty-nine. | 51,896

when they amounted to 59,103. The di

made in 1774,

minution of inhabitants in this ftate, in nine years, 7623. In Newport, 3679, almost half the whole number. Some towns have gained 389.

A cenfus of the inhabitants was

The number of inhabitants in Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations was in the year 15,302 Whites.

Whites. 4,697 Blacks. 35,939


| 1783 {48,538 Whites. | 1748 24,373 Blacks. Į 54,435 Whites.






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The civil diffentions in which this state has for fome time paft been involved, have occationed many emigrations. Until thefe diffentions arc compofed, the number will no doubt continue to decrease.

The inhabitants are chiefly of English extraction. The original fettless migrated from Maffachusetts.


Bays, Harbours, and Islands.] Narragansett Bay makes up from fouth to north, between the main land on the east and weft. It embosoms many fertile iflands, the principal of which are Rhode-Island, Canonnicut, Prudence, Patience, Hope, Dyer's and Hog islands.

The harbours are Newport, Providence, Wickford, Patuxet, Warren,

and Bristol.

Khode-Ifland is thirteen miles long from north to fouth, and four miles wide, and is divided into three townships, Newport, Portsmouth, and Middleton. It is a noted refort for invalids from fouthern climates.

The island is exceedingly pleafant and healthful; and is celebrated for its fine women. Travellers, with propriety, call it the Eden of America.

It fuffered much by the late war. Some of its most ornamental country feats were deftroyed, and their fine groves, orchards, and fruit trees, wantonly cut down. The foil is of a fuperior quality. Before the war 30,000 sheep commonly fed upon this ifland; and one year there were 37,000. Two years ago there were not 3000 fheep upon the island. They have probably increafed fince.

Canonnicut lies weft of Rhode-Ifland, and is fix miles in length, and about one mile in breadth. It was purchased of the Indians in 1657, and incorporated by act of affembly by the name of Jamefton, in 1678.

Black-Ifland, called by the Indians Manifies, is about forty-three miles fouth-west from Newport, and is the fouthernmoft land belonging to the ftate. It was erected into a township, by the name of New-Shoreham, in 1672.

Prudence-Inland is nearly or quite as large as Canonnicut, and lies north of it.

Rivers.] Providence and Taunton rivers both fall into Narragansett Bay, the former on the weft, the latter on the eaft fide of Rhode-Island. Providence river rifes in Maffachusetts, and is navigable as far as Providence, thirty miles from the fea. One branch of Taunton river proceeds from Winifimoket ponds; the other rifes within about a mile of Charles river. In its courfe, foutherly, it paffes by the town of Taunton, from which it takes its name. It is navigable for fmall veffels to Taunton. Common tides rife about four feet.

Climate.] Rhode Island is as healthful a country as any part of North America. The winters, in the maritime parts of the ftate, are milder than in the inland country; the air being foftened by a fea vapour, which alfo enriches the foil. The fummers are delightful, especially on RhodeIfland, where the extreme heats, which prevail in other parts of America, are allayed by cool and refreshing breezes from the fea.

The diforders moft prevalent, are confumptions and the dyfentery. Thefe are not fo much owing to the climate, as to intemperance and imprudence.

Soil and Productions.] This ftate, generally fpeaking, is a country for pasture and not for grain. It however produces corn, rye, barley, oats, and flax, and culinary plants and roots in great variety and abundance. Its natural growth is the fame as in the other New England states. The weftern and north-western parts of the state are but thinly inhabited, and are barren and rocky. In the Narraganfett country the land is fine for grazing.


The people are generally farmers, and raise great numbers of the finest and largest neat cattle in America; fome of them weighing from 16 to 1800 weight. They keep large dairies, and make butter and cheese of the best quality, and in large quantities, for exportation. Narraganfett is famed for an excellent breed of pacing horfes. They are ftrong, and remarkable for their speed, and for their excellency in enduring the fatigues of a long journey.

Trade.] Before the war, the merchants in Rhode-Ifland imported from Great Britain, dry goods-from Holland, money-from Africa, flaves— from the Weft-Indies, fugars, coffee, and molaffes-and from the neighbouring colonies, lumber and provifions. With the money which they obtained in Holland, they paid their merchants in England; their fugars they carried to Holland; the flaves from Africa, they carried to the West-Indies, together with the lumber and provifions procured from their neighbours; the rum diftilled from molaffes, was carried to Africa, to purchase negroes; with their dry goods from England, they trafficked with the neighbouring colonies. By this kind of circuitous commerce, they fubfifted and grew rich. But the war, and fome other events, have had a great, and in most refpects, an injurious effect upon the trade of this ftate. The flave trade, which was a fource of wealth to many of the people in Newport, and in other parts of the ftate, has happily been abolished. The legislature have paffed a law prohibiting fhips from going to Africa for flaves, and felling them in the Weft-India islands; and the oath of one feaman, belonging to the fhip, is fufficient evidence of the fact. This law is more favourable to the caufe of humanity, than to the temporal interefts of the merchants who had been engaged in this inhuman trade. The prohibition of the flave trade, and the iniquitous and deftructive influence of paper money, combined with the devaftations of a cruel war, have occafioned a ftagnation of trade in Newport, which is truly melancholy and diftreffing. The falutary influence of a wife and efficient government, it is hoped, will revive the 'defponding hopes of the people in this beautiful city, and place them in their former affluent and refpectable fituation.

The prefent exports from the ftate are flax-feed, lumber, horfes, cattle, fish, poultry, onions, cheese, and barley. The imports, confifting of European and Weft-India goods, and logwood from the Bay of Honduras, exceed the exports. About 600 veffels enter and clear annually at the different ports in this state.

Light-Houfe.] For the fafety and convenience of failing into the harbour of Newport, a light houfe was erected in 1749, in Beavertail, at the fouth end of Canonnicut ifland.

. Dr. Douglafs, in his SUMMARY, &c. published in 1753, has given a particular defcription of it. As I know not that any material alteration has taken place refpecting it, fince that time, I fhall infert it from him.

The diameter at the bafe is 24 feet, and at the top 13 feet. The height from the ground to the top of the cornice is 58 feet, round which is a gallery, and within that ftands the lanthorn, which is about 11 feet high, and 8 feet diameter.

The ground the light-house stands on is about 12 feet above the furface of the fea at high water.


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