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The following_calculations were made from actual measurement of the beft maps, by THOMAS HUTCHINS, Esquire, geographer to the United States.
The territory of the United States contains by computation a million of fquare miles, in which are 640,000,000 of acres. 51,000,000
Deduct for water
Acres of land in the United States,
That part of the United States comprehended between the weft temporary line of Pennsylvania on the eaft, the boundary line between Britain and the United States, extending from the river St. Croix to the northweft extremity of the Lake of the Woods on the north, the river Miffiffippi, to the mouth of the Ohio on the weft, and the river Ohio on the fouth to the aforementioned bounds of Pennfylvania, contains by computation about four hundred and eleven thousand square miles, in which are 263,040,000 acres. 43,040,000
Deduct for water
To be difpofed of by order of Congrefs, 220,000,000 of acres.
The whole of this immenfe extent of unappropriated western territory, containing, as above ftated, 220,000,000 of acres, has been, by the ceffion of fome of the original thirteen ftates, and by the treaty of peace, transferred to the federal government, and is pledged as a fund for finking the continental debt. It is in contemplation to divide it into new ftates, with republican conftitutions fimilar to the old states near the Atlantic Ocean.
Eftimate of the number of acres of water, north and weftward of the river
In Lake Superior,
Lake Rain, &c.
Lake St. Clair,
Lake Erie, western part,
Acres. 21,952,780 1,133,800
551,000 10,368,000 1,216,000
Eftimate of the number of acres of water within the Thirteen United States.
In Lake Erie, weftward of the line extended from the north-weft corner of Pennsylvania, due north, to the boundary between the British territory and the United States,
Lakes and Rivers. It may in truth be faid, that no part of the world is fo well watered with fprings, rivulets, rivers, and lakes, as the territory of the United States. By means of these various ftreams and collections of water, the whole country is checkered into iflands and peninsulas. The United States, and indeed all parts of North America, feem to have been formed by nature for the most intimate union. The facilities of ǹavigation render the communication between the ports of Georgia and New-Hampshire, infinitely more expeditious and practicable, than between thofe of Provence and Picardy in France; Cornwall and Caithness, in Great-Britain; or Gallicia and Catalonia, in Spain. The canals propofed at South-Key, Sufquehannah, and Delaware, will open a communication from the Carolinas to the western counties of Pennfylvania and NewYork. The improvements of the Patomak, will give a paffage from the fouthern States, to the western parts of Virginia, Maryland, Pennfylvania, and even to the lakes. From Detroit, on Lake Erie, to Alexandria, on the Patomak, fix hundred and feven miles, are but two carrying places, which together do not exceed the diftance of forty miles. The canals of Delaware and Chefapeck. will open the communication from South-Carolina to New-Jerfey, Delaware, the moft populous parts of Pennsylvania, and the midland counties of New-York. These important works might be effected, an accurate and well informed computer fuppofes, for two hundred thousand guineas; and North-America would thereby be converted into a clufter of large and fertile islands, communicating with each other with eafe and little expence, and in many inftances without the uncertainty or danger of the fea.
There is nothing in other parts of the globe which resembles the prodigious chain of lakes in this part of the world. They may properly be termed inland feas of fresh water; and even thofe of the fecond or third clafs in magnitude, are of larger circuit than the greateft lake in the eastern continent. The beft account of thefe lakes that I have feen, is in Carver's Travels in North America. This book is my authority for the defcriptions which follow.
The Lake of the Woods is fo called from the large quantities of wood growing on its banks; fuch as oaks. pines, firs, fpruce, &c. This lake lies nearly caft of the fouth end of Lake Winnepeek, and is the fource or conductor of one branch of the river Bourbon. Its length from caft to weft
is about feventy miles, and in fome places it is forty miles wide. The Killiftinoe Indians encamp on its borders to fish and hunt. This lake is the communication between the Lakes Winnepeek and Bourbon, and Lake Superior.
Rainy or Long Lake lies eaft of the Lake of the Woods, and is nearly an hundred miles long, and in no part more than twenty miles wide.
Eaftward of this lake, lie feveral small ones, which extend in a string to the great carrying place, and thence into Lake Superior. Between thefe little lakes are feveral carrying places, which render the trade to the northweft difficult, and exceedingly tedious, as it takes two years to make one voyage from Michillimackinac to these parts.
Lake Superior, formerly termed the Upper Lake, from its northern fituation, is fo called from its magnitude, it being the largeft on the continent. It may juftly be termed the Cafpian of America, and is fuppofed to be the largest body of fresh water on the globe. According to the French charts it is fifteen hundred miles in circumference; Carver fuppofes that if the utmost extent of every bay was taken, it would exceed fixteen hundred. A great part of the coaft is bounded by rocks and uneven ground. The water is pure and tranfparent, and appears generally, throughout the lake, to lie upon a bed of huge rocks. It is worthy of remark, in regard to the waters of this lake, that although their furface, during the heat of fummer, is impregnated with no small degree of warmth, yet on letting down a cup to the depth of about a fathom, the water drawn from thence is fo exceffively cold, that, when taken into the mouth, it has the fame effect as ice.
The fituation of this lake, from the most accurate obfervations which have yet been made, lies between forty-fix and fifty degrees of north latitude, and between nine and eighteen degrees of weft longitude from the meridian of Philadelphia.
There are many islands in this lake, two of them have each land enough, if proper for cultivation, to form a confiderable province; especially Ifle Royal, which is not lefs than an hundred miles long, and in many places forty broad. The natives fuppofe these islands are the refidence of the Great Spirit.
Two very large rivers empty themselves into this lake, on the north and north-eaft fide; one is called the Nipegon, which leads to a tribe of the Chipeways, who inhabit a lake of the fame name, and the other is the Michipicooton river, the fource of which is towards James's Bay, from whence there is but a short portage to another river, which empties itself into that bay.
Not far from the Nipegon is a small river, that, juft before it enters the lake, has a perpendicular fall from the top of a mountain, of more than fix hundred feet. It is very narrow, and appears at a distance like a white garter fufpended in the air. There are upwards of thirty other rivers, which empty into this lake, fome of which are of a confiderable fize. On the fouth fide of it is a remarkable point or cape of about fixty miles in length, called Point Chegomegan. About an hundred miles weft of this cape, a confiderable river falls into the lake, the head of which is compofed of a great affemblage of small ftreams. This river is remarkable for the abundance of virgin copper that is found on and near its banks.
Many fmall islands, particularly on the eaftern fhores, abound with copper ore lying in beds, with the appearance of copperas. This metal might be easily made a very advantageous article of commerce, as it costs nothing on the fpot, and requires but little expence to get it on board boats or ca noes, in which it might be conveyed through the falls of St. Marie to the Ifle of St. Jofeph, which lies at the bottom of the traits near the entrance into Lake Huron, thence into Lake Ontario, from which it may be conveyed by water into the Mohawks river, except two portages, one of twenty yards, and the other of about a mile; down Mohawks river in the Hudfon, except the portage at the Cohoes; thence to New-York. The cheapnefs and cafe with which any quantity of the ore may be procured, will make up for the distance and expence of tranfportation. This lake abounds with fifh, particularly trout and fturgeon; the former weigh from twelve to fifty pounds, and are caught almoft any feafon of the year in great plenty. Storms affect this lake as much as they do the Atlantic Ocean; the waves run as high, and the navigation is equally dangerous. It difcharges its waters from the fouth-eaft corner through the Straits of St. Marie, which are about forty miles long. Near the upper end of these ftraits is a rapid, which, though it is impoffible for canoes to afcend, yet, when conducted by careful pilots, may be defcended without danger.
Though Lake Superior is fupplied by near forty rivers, many of which are large, yet it does not appear that one tenth part of the waters which are conveyed into it by thefe rivers, is difcharged by the abovementioned ftrait. How fuch a fuperabundance of water can be difpofed of, remains a fecret. They doubtlefs have a paffage through fome fubterraneous cavities, deep, unfathomable, and never to be explored. The entrance into this lake from the ftraits of St. Marie, affords one of the most pleafing profpects in the world. On the left may be feen many beautiful little iflands, that extend a confiderable way before you; and on the right, an agreeable fucceffion of fmall points of land, that project a little way into the water, and contribute, with the islands, to render this delightful bafon calm, and fecure from those tempestuous winds, by which the adjoining lake is frequently troubled.
Lake Huron, into which you enter through the ftraits of St. Marie, is next in magnitude to Lake Superior. It lies between forty-two and fortyfix degrees of north latitude, and between four and ten degrees weft longitude. Its fhape is nearly triangular, and its circumference about one thousand miles. On the north fide of this lake is an island one hundred miles in length, and no more than eight miles broad. It is called Manataulin, fignifying a place of fpirits, and is confidered as facred by the Indians. About the middle of the fouth-weft fide of this lake is Saganaum Bay, about eighty miles in length, and about eighteen or twenty miles broad. Thunder Bay, fo called from the continual thunder that is heard there, lies about half way between Saganaum Bay and the north-weft corner of the lake. It is about nine miles acrofs either way. The fish are the fame as in Lake Superior. The promontory that feparates this lake from Lake Michigan, is a vaft plain, more than one hundred miles long, and varying from ten to fifteen miles in breadth. This plain is about equally divided between the Ottowaw and Chipeway Indians. At the north-eaft corner, this lake communicates with Lake Michigan, by the Straits of Michillimackinac. It is remarkable, that al
though there is no diurnal flood or ebb to be perceived in the waters of thefe ftraits, yet from an exact attention to their ftate, a periodical alteration in them has been difcovered. It has been obferved that they rise by gradual, but almost imperceptible degrees, till in feven years and an half they had reached the height of about three feet; and in the fame fpace of time, they gradually fell to their former ftate, fo that in fifteen years they had completed this inexplicable revolution.
The Chipeway Indians live fcattered around this lake; particularly near Saganaum Bay. On its banks are found amazing quantities of fand cherries.
Lake St. Claire lies about half way between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, and is about ninety miles in circumference. It receives the waters of the three great lakes, Superior, Michigan and Huron, and difcharges them throngh the river or ftrait, called Detroit, (which is in French the Strait) into Lake Erie. This lake is of a circular form, and navigable for large veffels, except a bar of fand towards the middle, which prevents loaded veffels from paffing. The cargoes of fuch as are freighted muft be taken out, and carried acrofs the bar in boats, and re-fhipped. The town of Detroit is fituated on the western bank of the river of the fame name, about nine miles below Lake St. Claire.
Lake Erie is fituated between forty-one and forty-three degrees of north latitude, and between three and eight degrees weft longitude. It is nearly three hundred miles long, from caft to weft, and about forty in its broadeft part. A point of land projects from the north fide into this lake, feveral miles, towards the fouth-eaft. The islands and banks towards the weft end of the lake are fo infefted with rattle-fnakes, as to render it dangerous to land on them. The lake is covered near the banks of the islands with the large pond lily; the leaves of which lie on the furface of the water fo thick, as to cover it entirely for many acres together; on these, in the fummer feafon, lie myriads of water-fnakes baking in the fun. Of the venomous ferpents which infeft this lake, the hiffing fnake is the most remarkable. It is about eighteen inches long, fmall and fpeckled. When you approach it, it flattens itself in a moment, and its spots, which are of various colours, become vifibly brighter through rage; at the fame time it blows from its mouth, with great force, a fubtil wind, faid to be of a naufeous fmell; and if drawn in with the breath of the unwary traveller, will infallibly bring on a decline, that in a few months mult prove mortal. No remedy has yet been found to counteract its baneful influence. This lake is of a more dangerous navigation than any of the others, on account of the craggy rocks which project into the water, in a perpendicular direction, many miles together, affording no fhelter from ftorms. This lake at its north-eaft end communicates with Lake Ontario, by the river Niagara, which runs from fouth to north about thirty miles. At the entrance of this river, on its eaftern fhore, is Fort Niagara, which is at prefent, contrary to the treaty of 1783, in poffeffion of the British government, as are most of our north-western pofts. About eighteen miles north of this fort, are those remarkable falls which are reckoned one of the greateft natural curiofities in the world. The waters which fupply the river Niagara rife near two thousand miles to the north-west, and paffing through the lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie, receivD 4