Page images

The following are the bearings (by the compafs) of several remarkable places from the light-house, viz.

[blocks in formation]

There is a small funken rock lies off due S. and at the diftance of about 200 yards from the light-houfe."

Mountains.] In the town of Bristol is Mount Hope, or as fome, Mont Haup, which is remarkable only on account of its having been the feat of king Philip, and the place where he was killed. It is now the feat of governor Bradford.

Indians.] There are about 500 Indians in this ftate. The greater part of them refide at Charleston. They are peaceable and well-difpofed towards government, and fpeak the English language.

Chief Towns,] Newport and Providence are the two principal towns in the ftate. Newport lies in lat. 41° 35'. This town was firft fettled by Mr. William Coddington, afterwards governor, and the father of Rhode-Ifland, with feventeen others, in 1639. Its harbour, which is one of the finest in the world, spreads weftward before the town. The entrance is eafy and safe, and a large fleet may anchor in it and ride in perfect fecurity. The town lies north and fouth upon a gradual afcent as you proceed eastward from the water, and exhibits a beautiful view from the harbour, and from the neighbouring hills which lie weftward upon the Main. Weft of the town is Goat-Ifland, on which is a fort. Between this ifland and the town is the harbour. Front or Water-ftreet is a mile in length, and level.

Newport contains about 1000 houfes, built chiefly of wood, and 5530 inhabitants. It has nine houfes for public worship; three for the baptifts, two for congregationalifts, one for epifcopalians, one for Quakers, one for Moravians, and a fynagogue for the Jews. The other public buildings are a ftate-house, and an edifice for the public library. The fituation, form, and architecture of the state-houfe, give it the preference to most public buildings in America. It stands fufficiently elevated, and a long wharf and paved parade lead up to it from the harbour.

The building for the library confifts of one large room, thirty-fix feet long, twenty-fix feet broad, and nineteen feet high, where the books are kept, with two finail offices adjoining. The principal or wet front is at


pediment and portico of four columns, of the Dorick order; the whole entablature of which, runs quite round the building, The two offices are placed as wings, one on each fide the portico, and connected with the body of the building fo as to form two half-pediments proceeding from the lower part of the entablature. The caft-front confifts of a plain Dorick pediment, fupported by a ruftic arcade of three arches, in the receffes of which, are placed three Venetian windows, after the Dorick order. The outside of the whole building is ruftick work, and ftands on a base five feet from the ground, and the entrance is by a flight of steps the whole width of the portico.

In the year 1747, Abraham Redwood, Efq; gave 1294 volumes, valued at .500 fterling, as the foundation of a library in Newport. Several other valuable donations were afterwards given. Thefe books were depofited in the above-defcribed edifice, which was erected for the purpose of receiving them. A number of gentlemen were incorporated into a body politic by the name of the Company of the Redwood Library,' with power to choose annually eight directors, a treasurer, fecretary and librarian. This elegant building is now much out of repair, and one-third of the books in the library were either carried off, or deftroyed by the British during the war.


Providence is fituated on Providence river, about thirty miles north-weft of Newport, in latitude 41° 51′ north. It is at prefent by far the most flourishing town in the State. It contains 7co houses, and upwards of 4300 inhabitants. Its public buildings are a college, an elegant church for Baptifts, two for Congregationalifts, befides others for other denominations. This town carries on a large foreign trade, and an extenfive and gainful traffic with the furrounding country. The town is fituated on both fides of the river, and is connected by a commodious bridge.

The inhabitants of Providence, the laft year, manufactured 100,000 yards of cloth more than in any year fince the peace. This cloth, at a moderate valuation, will amount to 20,000 dollars.

This town, and Newport, and a few others, have, from the firft, firmly oppofed the late iniquitous meafures of their infatuated legiflature.

Briftol is a pleafant little town, about fixteen miles north of Newport, on the Main. It has an excellent foil, and is almost as remarkable for the production of onions, as Wethersfield in Connecticut.

Fishes.] In the rivers and bays are plenty of fheeps-head, black-fifh, herring, fhad, lobsters, oyiters and clams; and around the fhores of RhodeIfland, befides thofe already mentioned, are cod, halibut, mackerel, hafs, haddock, &c. &c. to the amount of more than feventy different kinds, fo that in the feasons of fish, the markets are alive with them. Travellers are agreed that Newport furnishes the best fish market in the world.

Religion.] The conftitution of the state admits of no religious establishments, any further than depends upon the voluntary choice of individuals. All men profeffing one Supreme Being, are equally protected by the laws, and no particular fect can claim pre-eminence. This unlimited liberty in religion is one principal caufe why there is fuch a variety of religious fects in Rhode-Ifland. The baptifts are the most numerous of any denomination in the state. In 1784 they had thirty congregations. Thefe,

as well as the other baptifts in New-England, are chiefly upon the Calviniftic plan as to doctrines, and independents in regard to church government. There are, however, fome who profefs the Arminian tenets, and are called Arminian baptifts. Others obferve the Jewish or Saturday Sabbath, from a perfuafion that it was one of the ten commandments, which they plead are all in their nature moral, and were never abrogated in the New Teftament, and must at least be deemed of equal validity for public worship as any day particularly fet apart by Jefus Chrift and his apoftles. These are called fabbatarian, or feventh-day baptifts. There are others who are called feparate baptifts. The baptifts in general refufe to communicate with other denominations; for they hold that immerfion is neceffary to baptifm, and that baptifm is neceffary to communion. Therefore they fuppofe it inconfiftent for them to admit unbaptifed perfons (as others are in their view) to join with them in this ordinance. The baptifts are increafing in New-England; but their increase is much more rapid in Kentucky and the fouthern states. The number of their congregations in New-England in 1784, was 155. Of these feventy-one were in Maffachusetts; twenty-five in New-Hampshire; thirty in Rhode Island, and twenty-nine in Connecticut *.

The other religious denominations in Rhode-Inland are congregationalifts, friends or quakers, epifcopalians, moravians and jews. There is alfo a fmall number of the univerfal friends, the difciples of Jemima Wilkinson. Besides these there is a confiderable number of the people who can be reduced to no particular denomination, and are, as to religion, frictly Nothingarians.

In fome parts of this ftate, public worship is attended with punctuality and propriety, in others they make the fabbath a day of vifiting and feftivity; and in others they efteem every day alike, having no place of meeting for the purpofe of religious worship. They pay no taxes for the fupport of ecclefiaftics of any denomination; and a peculiarity which diftinguishes this ftate from every other proteftant country in the known world is, that no contract formed by the minifter with his people, for his falary, is valid in law: So that minifters are dependent wholly on the integrity of the people for their fupport, fince their falaries are not recoverable by law. It ought in juftice, however, to be observed, that the clergy in general are liberally maintained, and none who merit it have reafon to complain for want of fupport.

Literature. The literature of this ftate is confined principally to the towns of Newport and Providence. There are men of learning and abilities fcattered through other towns, but they are rare. The bulk of the inhabitants in other parts of the ftate, are involved in greater ignorance perhaps than in any other part of New-England. An impartial history of their tranfactions fince the peace, would evince the truth of the above obfervations.

At Providence, is Rhode-Ifland college. The charter for founding this Seminary of Learning was granted by the general affembly of the ftate, An. 1764, in confequence of the petition of a large number of the

* See Backus's Church Hift. of New-England.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

moft refpectable characters in the ftate. By the charter, the corporation of the college confifts of two separate branches, by the name of the Truftees and Fellows of Rhode-Ifland college*, with diftinct, feparate and respective powers. The number of trustees is thirty-fix, of whom twenty-two are of the denomination called baptifts, five of the denomination of friends, five epifcopalians, and four congregationalifts. The fame proportion of the different denominations to continue in perpetuum. The number of the fellows (inclufive of the prefident, who is a fellow ex officio) is twelve, of whom eight are baptifts, the others chofen indifcriminately from any denomination of proteftants. The concurrence of both branches, by a majority of each, is neceffary for the validity of any act, except adjudging and conferring degrees, which exclufively belongs to the fellowship as a learned faculty. The prefident must be a baptift, profeffors and other officers of inftruction are not limited to any particular denomination. There is annually a general meeting of the corporation, on the firft Wednesday in September, at which time the public commencement is held.

This inftitution was founded at Warren, in the county of Bristol, and the first commencement held there in 1769, at which time seven perfons, alumni of the college, received the degrees of Bachelor of Arts.

In the year 1770, the college was removed to Providence, where a large, elegant building was erected for its accommodation, by the generous donations of individuals, mostly from the town of Providence. It is fituated on a hill to the eaft of the town; and while its elevated fituation renders it delightful, by commanding an extenfive, variegated profpect, it furnishes it with a pure falubrious air. The edifice is of brick, foumtories high, 150 feet long, and 46 wide, with a projection of ten feet each fide. It has an entry lengthways, with rooms on each fide. There are forty-eight rooms fer the accommodation of students, and eight larger ones for public ufes. The roof is covered with flate.

From December 1776, to June 1782, the college edifice was used by the French and American troops for an hofpital and barracks, fo that the course of education was interrupted during that period. No degrees were conferred from 1776 to 1786. From 1786 the college again became regular, and is now very flourishing, containing upwards of fixty ftudents.

This inftitution is under the inftruction of a prefident, a profeffor of natural and experimental philofophy, a profeffor of mathematics and aftronomy, a profeffor of natural history, and three tutors. The several claffes are inftructed in the learned languages, and the various arts and fciences. The ftudies of the frethman year, are the Latin and Greek languages, English grammar and rhetoric. Of the foplimore, Guthrie's geography, Ward's arithmetic, Hammond's algebra, Sheridan's rhetorical grammar, and lectures on elocution, Watts's logick, and Cicero de Oratore. Of the junior, Horace, Kaim's elements of criticifm, Euclid's elements, Atkinfon's epitome, Love's furveying, Martin's grammar, Philofophia Britannica, and Ferguson's aftronomy. Of the fenior, Lu

*This name to be altered when any generous Benefactor arifes, who by his liberal donation fhall entitle himself to the honour of giving the college a name.

cian's dialogues, Locke's effay on the human understanding, Hutchinfon's moral philofophy, Bolingbroke on hiftory, and a review of all the ftudies of the feveral years. Every year are frequent exercifes in fpeaking, and the various kinds of compofition. There are two examinations, feveral public exhibitions for fpeaking, and three vacations annually. The inftitution has a library of between two and three thousand volumes, containing a valuable collection of ancient and modern authors. Alfo a fmall, but very valuable philofophical apparatus. Nearly all the funds of the college are at intereft in the treafury of the state, and amount to almost two thousand pounds.

At Newport there is a flourishing academy, under the direction of a rector and tutors, which teach the learned languages, English grammar, geography, &c.

Societies. A marine fociety was established at Newport in 1752, for the purpofe of relieving diftrefled widows and orphans of maritime brethren, and of fuch of their fociety as may need affiftance.

Curiofities.] About four miles north-eaft of Providence lies a fmall village, called Pawtucket, a place of fome trade, and famous for lamprey eels. Through this village runs Pawtucket river, which empties into Providence river, two miles east of the town. In this river is a beautiful fall of water, directly over which a bridge has been built, which divides the Commonwealth of Maffachusetts from the state of Rhode-Ifland. The fall, in its whole length, is upwards of fifty feet. The water paffes through feveral chafms in a rock which runs diametrically acrofs the bed of the ftream, and ferves as a dam to the water. Several mills have been ereed upon these falls; and the spouts and channels which have been contructed to conduct the streams to their refpective wheels, and the bridge, have taken very much from the beauty and grandeur of the fcene; which would otherwife have been indefcribably charming and romantic.

Conftitution.] The conftitution of this ftate is founded on the charter granted by Charles II. in the fourteenth year of his reign; and the frame of government was not effentially altered by the revolution. The legiflature of the flate confifts of two branches-a fenate or upper houfe, compofed of ten members, called in the charter affifiants--and a house of reprefentatives, compofed of deputies from the feveral towns. The memhers of the legiflature are chofen twice a year; and there are two feffions of this body annually, viz. on the firit Wednesday in May, and the last Wednesday in October.

The fupreme executive power is vefted in a governor, or in his abfence, in the deputy governor, who are chofen annually in May by the fuffrages of the people. The governor prefides in the upper houfe, but has only a fingle voice in enacting laws.

There is one fupreme judicial court, compofed of five judges, whofe jurifdiction extends over the whole state, and who hold two courts annually in each county.

In each county, there is an inferior court of common pleas and general feffions of the peace, held twice a year for the trial of caufes not capital, arifing within the county, from which an appeal lies to the fupreme



« PreviousContinue »