« PreviousContinue »
This wolf, at length, became fuch an intolerable nuifance, that Mr. Putnam entered into a combination with five of his neighbours to hunt alternately until they could deftroy her. Two, by rotation, were to be conftantly in purfuit. It was known, that, having loft the toes from one foot, by a fteel trap, fhe made one track fhorter than the other. By this veftige, the purfuers recognized, in a light fnow, the route of this pernicious animal. Having followed her to Connecticut river, and found the had turned back in a direct courfe towards Pomfret, they immediately returned, and by ten the next morning the blood-hounds had driven her into a den, about three miles diftant from the house of Mr. Putnam: the people foon collected with dogs, guns, ftraw, fire and fulphur, to attack the common enemy. With this apparatus feveral unfuccefsful efforts were made to force her from the den. The hounds came back badly wounded, and refufed to return. The fmoke of blazing ftraw had no effect. Nor did the fumes of burnt brimstone, with which the cavern was filled, compel her to quit the retirement. Wearied with fuch fruitless attempts (which had brought the time to ten o'clock at night) Mr. Putnam tried once more to make his dog enter, but in vain; he propofed to his negro man to go down into the cavern and fhoot the wolf: the negro declined the hazardous fervice. Then it was that their mafter, angry at the disappointment, and declaring that he was afhamed to have a coward in his family, refolved himself to destroy the ferocious beaft, left she fhould escape through fome unknown fiffure of the rock. His neighbours ftrongly remonftrated against the perilous enterprize: but he, knowing that wild animals were intimidated by fire, and having provided feveral ftrips of birch-bark, the only combuftible material which he could obtain, that would afford light in this deep and darkfome cave, prepared for his defcent. Having, accordingly, divested himself of his coat and waistcoat, and having a long rope fastened round his legs, by which he might be pulled back, at a concerted fignal, he entered head foremost, with the blazing torch in his hand.
The aperture of the den, on the eaft fide of a very high ledge of rocks, is about two feet fquare; from thence it defcends obliquely fifteen feet, then running horizontally about ten more, it afcends gradually fixteen feet towards its termination. The fides of this fubterraneous cavity are compofed of fmooth and folid rocks, which feem to have been divided from each other by fome former earthquake. The top and bottom are alfo of ftone, and the entrance, in winter, being covered with ice, is exceedingly flippery. It is in no place high enough for a man to raise himfelf upright: nor in any part more than three feet in width.
Having groped his paffage to the horizontal part of the den, the most terrifying darkness appeared in front of the dim circle of light afforded by his torch. It was filent as the house of death. None but monfters of the defert had ever before explored this folitary manfion of horror. He, cautiously proceeding onward, came to the afcent; which he flowly mounted on his hands and knees until he discovered the glaring eye-balls of the wolf, who was fitting at the extremity of the cavern. Startled at the fight of fire, the gnashed her teeth, and gave a fullen growl. As foon as he had made the neceffary difcovery, he kicked the rope as a fignal for pulling him out. The people, at the mouth of the den, who had
liftened with painful anxiety, hearing the growling of the wolf, and fup pofing their friend to be in the moft imminent danger, drew him forth with fuch celerity, that his fhirt was ftripped over his head, and his skin feverely lacerated. After he had adjusted his cloaths, and loaded his gun with nine buck-fhot, holding a torch in one hand, and the mufquet in the other, he defcended a second time. When he drew nearer than before, the wolf, affuming a ftill more fierce and terrible appearance, howling, rolling her eyes, fnapping her teeth, and dropping her head between her legs, was evidently in the attitude, and on the point of fpringing at him. At the critical inftant he levelled and fired at her head. Stunned with the fhock, and fuffocated with the fmoak, he immediately found himself drawn out of the cave. But having refreshed himself, and permitted the fmoke to diffipate, he went down the third time. Once more he came within fight of the wolf, who appearing very paffive, he applied the torch to her nofe; and perceiving her dead, he took hold of her ears, and then kicking the rope (ftill tied round his legs) the people above, with no fmall exultation, dragged them both out together.
Another bold and almoft prefumptuous deed, in this veteran hero, has rendered remarkable a precipice at Horfeneck, in this ftate. The ftory is this. About the middle of the winter 1778, general Putnam was on a vifit to his out-poft at Horfeneck, he found governor Tryon advancing upon that town with a corps of fifteen hundred men-to oppose these, general Putnam had only a picket of one hundred and fifty men, and two iron field-pieces, without horfe or drag-ropes. He, however, planted his cannon on the high ground by the meeting-houfe, and retarded their approach by firing feveral times, until, perceiving the horfe (fupported by the infantry) about to charge, he ordered the picket. to provide for their fafety by retiring to a fwamp inacceffible to horfe; and fecured his own by plunging down the fteep precipice at the church upon a full trot. This precipice is fo fteep, where he defcended, as to have artificial stairs compofed of nearly one hundred ftone fteps for the accommodation of foot paffengers. There the dragoons, who were but a fword's length from him, ftopped fhort. For the declivity was fo abrupt, that they ventured not to follow; and, before they could gain the valley by going round the brow of the hill in the ordinary road, he was far enough beyond their reach.'
Tetoket mountain in Branford, latitude 41° 20′, on the north-weft part of it, a few feet below the furface, has ice in large quantities in all feafons of the year.
Colleges, Academies, and Schools.] In no part of the world is the education of all ranks of people more attended to than in Connecticut. Almoft every town in the ftate is divided into districts, and each district has a public fchool kept in it a greater or lefs part of every year. Somewhat more than one third of the monies arifing from a tax on the polls and ratable eftate of the inhabitants, is appropriated to the fupport of fchools, in the feveral towns, for the education of children and youth. The law directs that a grammar-school shall be kept in every county town throughout the state.
There is a grammar-fchool at Hartford, and another at New-Haven, fupported by a donation of governor Hopkins. This venerable and be
nevolent gentleman, in his laft will, dated 1657, left, in the hands of Theophilus Eaton, Efq. and three others, a legacy of £.1324, as an encouragement, in thefe foreign plantations, of breeding up hopeful youths both at the grammar-school and college.' In 1664, this legacy was equally divided between New-Haven and Hartford; and grammar-schools were erected, which have been fupported ever fince.
At Greenfield there is a refpectable academy, under the care and inftruction of the Rev. Dr. Dwight. At Plainfield is another, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Benedict. This academy has flourished for several years, and furnished a number of ftudents for Yale and Dartmouth colleges. At Norwich and Windham, likewife, are academies furnished with able inftructors; each of these academies have fixty or feventy scholars.
YALE COLLEGE was founded in 1700, and remained at Killingworth until 1-07-then at Saybrook, until 1716, when it was removed and fix-ed at New-Haven. Among its principal benefactors was governor Yale, in honor of whom, in 1718, it was named YALE COLLEGE. Its first building was erected in 1717, being 170 feet in length, and 22 in breadth, built of wood. This was taken down in 1782. The prefent college edifice, which is of brick, was built in 1750, under the direction of the Rev. Prefident Clap, and is 100 feet long, and 40 feet wide, three ftories high, and contains thirty-two chambers, and fixty-four ftudies, convenient for the reception of a hundred ftudents. The college chapel, which is alfo of brick, was built in 1761, being fifty feet by forty, with a fteeple 125 feet high. In this building is the public library, confifting of about 2500 volumes; and the philofophical apparatus, which is at prefent incomplete. It contains, however, the principal machines neceffary for exhibiting moft of the experiments in the whole courfe of experimental philofophy and aftronomy. The fum of £.300, collected by fubfcriptions, is now in readinefs to be expended in the purchase of fuch other inftruments and machines, as will render the philofophical apparatus complete.
The college mufeum, to which additions are conftantly making, contains fome great natural curiofities.
This literary inftitution was incorporated by the general assembly of Connecticut. The first charter of incorporation was granted to eleven minifters, under the denomination of trustees, 1701. The powers of the truftees were enlarged by the additional charter, 1723. And by that of 1745, the trustees were incorporated by the name of The Prefident and Fellows of Yale college, New-Haven. The corporation are empowered to hold eftates, continue their fuccefiion, make academic laws, elect and conftitute all officers of inftruction and government, ufual in univerfities, and confer all learned degrees. The ordinary executive government is in the hands of the prefident and tutors. The prefent officers of the college are, a prefident, who is alfo profeffor of ecclefiaftical hiftory, a profeffor of divinity, and three tutors. The number of ftudents for feveral years paft has been from 150 to 250, divided into four claffes. The prefent number is about 140. It is worthy of remark, that as many as five-fixths of thofe who have received their educations at this univerfity, were natives of Connecticut.
In 1732, the Rev. George Berkley, D. D. then dean of Derry, and afterwards bishop of Cloyne, in Ireland, made a generous donation of 880
volumes of books, and an estate in Rhode-Ifland, that rents yearly for 100 ounces of filver-which is divided into three parts, and annually appropriated to the three best scholars in the Latin and Greek clallics. This has proved a great incentive among the ftudents to excel in claffical learning. The first donation to the college in land, consisting of about 600 acres, was made by major James Fitch, in 1701. The general affembly, in 1732, gave 1500 acres within the ftate. Dr. Daniel Lathrop, of Norwich, added a donation of £.500 to the college funds in 1781. The courfe of education, in this univerfity, comprehends the whole circle of literature. The three learned languages are taught, together with fo much of the fciences as can be communicated in four years. Great attention is paid to oratory and the belles lettres.
In May and September, annually, the feveral claffes are critically examined in all their claffical ftudies. As incentives to improvement in compofition and oratory, quarterly exercises are appointed by the prefident and tutors, to be exhibited by the refpective claffes in rotation. A public commencement is held annually, on the fecond Wednesday in September, which calls together a more numerous and brilliant affembly, than are convened by any other anniversary in the state.
Two thousand and eighty have received the honours of this univerfity; of whom 633 have been ordained to the work of the gospel ministry.
Mines, minerals, and foffils.] On the bank of Connecticut river, two miles from Middleton, is a lead mine, which was wrought during the war, at the expence of the state, and was productive. It is too expenfive to work in time of peace. Copper mines have been difcovered and opened in feveral parts of the ftate, but have proved unprofitable, and are much. neglected. Iron mines are numerous and productive. Steel ore has been found in the mountains between Woodbury and New Milford. Talks of various kinds, white, brown and chocolate-coloured crystals, zink or fpelter, a femi-metal, and feveral other foffils and metals have been found in Connecticut.
Mode of levying taxes.] All free-holders in the ftate are required by law, to give in lifts of their polls and rateable eftate*, to perfons appointed in the respective towns to receive them, on or before the 10th of Sept. annually. These are valued according to law, arranged in proper order, and fent to the general affembly annually in May.
* In Connecticut, borfes, borned cattle, improved and unimproved land, boufes, shipping, all forts of riding carriages, clocks and watches, filver plate and money at intereft, are rateable eftate. All males between fixteen and Jeventy years of age, unless exempted by law, are fubjects of taxation.
The fum total of the list of the polls and rateable eftate of the inhabi tants of Connecticut, as brought into the general affembly in May, 1787, was as follows:
Sum total of the single lift,
One quarter of the fourfolds,
47,790 2:9 1,176: 9:4
On this fum taxes are levied, fo much on the pound, according to the fum propofed to be raised. A tax of two-pence on the pound, would raife .12,782 4 s.
The ordinary annual expences of government before the war, amounted to near 4000 fterling, exclufive of that which was appropriated to the fupport of fchools. The expences have fince increased.
Mineral Springs. At Stafford is a medicinal fpring, which is faid to be a fovereign remedy for fcorbutic, cutaneous and other diforders. At Guilford is a fpring, whofe water, it is faid, when feparated from the fountain, will evaporate even when put into a bottle, and tightly corked.
Conftitution and Courts of Justice.] It is difficult to fay what is the conftitution of this ftate. Contented with the form of government which originated from the charter of Charles II. granted in 1662, the people have not been difpofed to run the hazard of framing a new conftitution fince the declaration of independence. They have tacitly adopted their old charter as the ground of civil government, fo far as it is applicable to an independent people.
Agreeably to this charter, the fupreme legislative authority of the ftate is vested in a governor, deputy governor, twelve affiftants or counfellors, and the reprefentatives of the people, ftyled the General Affembly. The governor, deputy governor and affiftants, are annually chofen by the freemen in the month of May. The reprefentatives (their number not to exceed two from each town) are chofen by the freemen twice a year, to attend the two annual feffions, on the fecond Thursdays of May and October. This affembly has power to erect judicatories, for the trial of caufes civil and criminal, and to ordain and establish laws for fettling the forms and ceremonies of government. By thefe laws the general affembly is divided into two branches, called the upper and lower houses. The upper houfe is compofed of the governor, deputy governor and affiflants. The lower houfe, of the reprefentatives of the people. No law can pafs without the concurrence of both houfes. The judges of the fuperior court hold their offices during the pleasure of the general affembly. The judges of the county courts, and juftices, are annually appointed. Sheriffs are appointed by the governor and council, without limitation of time. The governor is captain-general of the militia, the deputy-governor, lieutenant-general. All other military officers are appointed by the affembly, and commiffioned by the governor.
The mode of electing the governor, deputy-governor, affiftants, treafurer and fecretary, is as follows: The freemen in the feveral towns meet on the Monday next after the firft Tuefday in April, annually, and