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the navigation good for boats. Thence the width is about two hundred yards to the western fork, fifty miles higher, and the navigation frequently interrupted by rapids; which however with a fwell of two or three feet, become very paffable for boats. It then admits light boats, except in dry feafons, fixty-five miles further to the head of Tygarts valley, prefenting only fome fmall rapids and falls of one or two feet perpendicular, and leffening in its width to twenty yards. The Western fork is navigable in the winter ten or fifteen miles towards the northern of the Little Kanhaway, and will admit a good waggon road to it. The Yohogany is the principal branch of this river. It paffes through the Laurel mountain, about thirty miles from its mouth; is fo far from three hundred to one hundred and fifty yards wide, and the navigation much obftructed in dry weather by rapids and fhoals. In its paffage through the mountain it makes very great falls, admitting no navigation for ten miles to the Turkey foot. Thence to the great croffing, about twenty miles, it is again navigable, except in dry feafons, and at this place is two hundred yards wide. The fources of this river are divided from those of the Patomak by the Allegany mountains. From the falls, where it interfects the Laurel mountain, to Fort Cumberland, the head of the navigation on the Patomak, is forty miles of very mountainous road. Wills's creek, at the mouth of which was Fort Cumberland, is thirty or forty yards wide, but affords no navigation as yet. Cheat river, another confiderable branch of the Monongahela, is two hundred yards wide at its mouth, and one hundred yards at the Dunkard's fettlement, fifty miles higher. It is navigable for boats, except in dry feafons. The boundary between Virginia and Pennsylvania croffes it about three or four miles above its mouth.
The Allegany river, with a flight fwell, affords navigation for light batteaux to Venango, at the mouth of French creek, where it is two hundred yards wide; and it is practifed even to Le Boeuf, from whence there is a portage of fifteen miles to Prefque Ifle on Lake Erie.
The country watered by the Miffiffippi and its eastern branches, conftitutes five-eighths of the United States; two of which five-eighths are Occupied by the Ohio and its waters: the refiduary ftreams which run into the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, and the St. Lawrence water, the remaining three-eighths.
Before we quit the subject of the western waters, we will take a view of their principal connections with the Atlantic. These are three; the Hudfon's river, the Patowmak, and the Miffiffippi itself. Down the laft will pafs all the heavy commodities. But the navigation through the Gulf of Mexico is fo dangerous, and that up the Miffiflippi fo difficult and tedious, that it is thought probable that European merchandize will not return through that channel. It is moft likely that flour, timber, and other heavy articles will be floated on rafts, which will themselves be an article for fale as well as their loading, the navigators returning by land or in light batteaux. There will therefore be a competition between the Hudfon and the Patomak rivers for the refidue of the commerce of all the country weftward of Lake Erie, on the waters of the lakes, of the Ohio, and upper parts of Miffiffippi. To go to New-York, that part of the trade which comes from the lakes or their waters must first be brought
into Lake Erie. Between Lake Superior and its waters and Huron are the rapids of St. Mary, which will permit boats to pafs, but not larger veffels. Lakes Huron and Michigan afford communication with Lake Erie by veffels of eight feet draught. That part of the trade which comes from the waters of the Miffiffippi muft pafs from them through fome portage into the waters of the lakes. The portage from the Illinois river into à water of Michigan is of one mile only. From the Wabash, Miami, Mufkingum, or Allegany, are portages into the waters of Lake Erie, of from one to fifteen miles. When the commodities are brought into, and have paffed through Lake Erie, there is between that and Ontario an interrup tion by the falls of Niagara, where the portage is of eight miles; and be tween Ontario and the Hudfon's river are portages of the falls of Ononda go, a little above Ofwego, of a quarter of a mile; from Wood creek to the Mohawks river two miles; at the little falls of the Mohawks river half a mile, and from Schenectady to Albany fixteen miles. Befides the increase of expence occafioned by frequent change of carriage, there is ari increased risk of pillage produced by committing merchandize to a greater number of hands fucceffively. The Patomak offers itself under the following circumftances. For the trade of the lakes and their waters weftward of Lake Erie, when it fhall have entered that lake, it must coast along its fouthern fhore, on account of the number and excellence of its harbours, the northern, though shortest, having few harbours, and thefe unfafe. Having reached Cayahoga, to proceed on to New-York it will have eight hundred and twenty-five miles, and five portages: whereas it is but four hundred and twenty-five miles to Alexandria, its emporium on the Patomak, if it turns into the Cayahoga, and paffes through that, Bigbeaver, Ohio, Yohoganey, (or Monongalia and Cheat) and Patomak, and there are but two portages; the firft of which between Cayahoga and Beaver may be removed by uniting the fources of these waters, which are lakes in the neighbourhood of each other, and in a champaign country; the other from the waters of Ohio to Patomak will be from fifteen to forty miles, according to the trouble which fhall be taken to approach the two navigations. For the trade of the Ohio, or that which thall come into it from its own waters or the Miffiffippi, it is nearer through the Patomak to Alexandria than to New-York by five hundred and eighty miles, and it is interrupted by one portage only. There is another circum ftance of difference too. The lakes themselves never freeze, but the communications between them freeze, and the Hudson's river is itself shut up by the ice three months in the year: whereas the channel to the Chefapeek leads directly into a warmer climate. The fouthern parts of it very rarely freeze at all, and whenever the northern do, it is so near the fources of the rivers, that the frequent floods to which they are there liable break up the ice immediately, fo that veffels may pass through the whole winter, fubject only to accidental and short delays. Add to all this, that in cafe of a war with our neighbours the Anglo-Americans or the Indians, the route to New-York becomes a frontier through almost its whole length, and all commerce through it ceases from that moment.-But the channel to NewYork is already known to practice; whereas the upper waters of the Ohio and the Patomak, and the great falls of the latter, are yet to be cleared of their fixed obftructions.
Particular defcriptions of the other rivers in the United States, are re ferved to be given in the geographical account of the states, through which they refpectively flow. One general obfervation refpecting the rivers will, however, be naturally introduced here, and that is, that the entrances into almoft all the rivers, inlets and bays, from New-Hampshire to Georgia, are from fouth-eaft to north-west.
Bays.] The coaft of the United States is indented with numerous bays, fome of which are equal in fize to any in the known world. Beginning at the north-easterly part of the continent, and proceeding fouth-welterly, you firft find the bay or gulf of St. Lawrence, which receives the waters of the river of the fame name. Next is Chebukto Bay, in NovaScotia, diftinguifhed by the lofs of a French fleet in a former war between France and Great-Britain. The Bay of Fundy, between Nova-Scotia and New-England, is remarkable for its tides, which rife to the height of fifty or fixty feet, and flow fo rapidly as to overtake animals which feed upon the fhore. Penobscot, Broad and Cafco Bays, lie along the coaft of the Province of Main. Maffachufetts-Bay fpreads eastward of Bofton, and is comprehended between Cape Ann on the north, and Cape Cod on the fouth. The points of the harbour are Nahant and Alderton points. Paffing by Narraganfet and other bays in the ftate of RhodeIfland, you enter Long-Ifland Sound, between Montauk-point and the Main. This Sound, as it is called, is a kind of inland fea, from three to twentyfive miles broad, and about one hundred and forty miles long, extending the whole length of the island, and dividing it from Connecticut. It communicates with the ocean at both ends of Long-Ifland, and affords a very fafe and convenient inland navigation.
The celebrated ftrait, called Hell-Gate, is near the weft end of this found, about eight miles eastward of New-York city, and is remarkable for its whirlpools, which make a tremendous roaring at certain times of tide. Thefe whirlpools are occafioned by the narrowness and crookedness of the pafs, and a bed of rocks which extend quite across it; and not by the meeting of the tides from east to west, as has been conjectured, because they meet at Frogs-point, feveral miles above. A fkilful pilot may with fafety conduct a thip of any burden through this ftrait with the tide, or at fill water with a fair wind.
Delaware Bay is fixty miles long, from the Cape to the entrance of the river Delaware at Bombay-hook; and fo wide in fome parts, as that a ship, in the middle of it, cannot be feen from the land. It opens into the Atlantic north-west and fouth-eaft, between Cape Henlopen on the right, and Cape May on the left. Thefe Capes are eighteen miles
The Chefapeek is one of the largeft bays in the known world. Its entrance is between Cape Charles and Cape Henry in Virginia, twelve miles wide, and it extends two hundred and feventy miles to the northward, dividing Virginia and Maryland. It is from feven to eighteen miles broad, and generally as much as nine fathoms deep; affording many commodious harbours, and a fafe and eafy navigation. It receives the waters of the Sufquehannah, Patomak, Rappahannok, York and James rivers, which are all large and navigable.
Face of the Country.] The tract of country belonging to the United States, is happily variegated with plains and mountains, hills and vallies. Some parts are rocky, particularly New-England, the north parts of New-York, and New-Jerfey, and a broad fpace, including the feveral ridges of the long range of mountains which run fouth-weftward through Pennfylvania, Virginia, North-Carolina, and part of Georgia, dividing the waters which flow into the Atlantic, from thofe which fall into the Miffiffippi. In the parts caft of the Allegany mountains, in the fouthern ftates, the country for several hundred miles in length, and fixty or feventy, and fometimes more, in breadth, is level, and entirely free of ftone. It has been a question agitated by the curious, whether the extenfive tract of low, flat country, which fronts the feveral ftates fouth of New-York, and extends back to the hills, has remained in its prefent form and fituation ever fince the flood: or whether it has been made by the particles of earth which have been wafhed down from the adjacent mountains, and by the accumulation of foil from the decay of vegetable fubftances; or by earth washed out of the bay of Mexico by the gulf ftream, and lodged on the coaft; or by the recefs of the ocean, occafioned by a change in fome other part of the earth. Several phænomena deferve confideration in forming an opinion on this queflion.
1. It is a fact, well known to every perfon of obfervation who has lived in, or travelled through the fouthern ftates, that marine fhells and other fubftances which are peculiar to the fea-fhore, are almoft invariably found by digging eighteen or twenty feet below the furface of the earth. A gentleman of veracity told me, that in finking a well many miles from the fea, he found, at the depth of twenty feet, every appearance of a falt marsh, that is, marfh grafs, marfh mud, and brackish water. In all this flat country until you come to the hilly land, wherever you dig a well, you find the water, at a certain depth, fresh and tolerably good, but if you exceed that depth two or three feet, you come to a faĺtifh or brackish water that is fcarcely drinkable, and the earth dug up, refembles, in appearance and fmell, that which is dug up on the edges of the falt marshes.
2. On and near the margin of the rivers are frequently found fand hills, which appear to have been drifted into ridges by the force of water. At the bottom of fome of the banks in the rivers, fifteen or twenty feet below the furface of the earth, are wafhed out from the folid ground, logs, branches, and leaves of trees; and the whole bank, from bottom to top, appears freaked with layers of logs, leaves and fand. Thefe appearances are feen far up the rivers, from eighty to one hundred miles from the fea, where, when the rivers are low, the banks are from fifteen to twenty feet high. As you proceed down the rivers toward the fea, the banks decrease in height, but ftill are formed of layers of fand, leaves and logs, fome of which are intirely found, and appear to have been fuddenly covered to a confiderable depth.
3. It has been obferved, that the rivers in the fouthern States frequently vary their channels; that the fwamps and low grounds are conftantly filling up; and that the land in many places annually infringes upon the ocean. It is an authenticated fact, that no longer ago than 1771, at Cape Lookout on the coaft of North-Carolina, in about latitude 34° 50, there was an excellent harbour, capacious enough to receive an
hundred fail of fhipping at a time, in a good depth of water. It is now entirely filled up, and is folid ground. Inftances of this kind are frequent along the coaft.
It is obfervable, likewife, that there is a gradual defcent of about eight hundred feet, by measurement, from the foot of the mountains to the fea board. This defcent continues, as is demonftrated by foundings, far into the fea.
IV. It is worthy of obfervation, that the foil on the banks of the rivers is proportionably coarfe or fine according to its diftance from the mountains. When you firft leave the mountains, and for a confiderable diftance, it is obfervable that the foil is coarfe, with a large mixture of fand and shining heavy particles. As you proceed towards the fea, the foil is lefs coarse, and fo on in proportion as you advance the foil is finer and finer, until, finally, is depofited a foil fo fine, that it confolidates into perfect clay; but a clay of a particular quality, for a great part of it has intermixed with it reddish ftreaks and veins like a fpecies of ochre, brought probably from the red lands which lie up towards the mountains. This clay, when dug up and expofed to the weather, will diffolve into a fine mould without the leaft mixture of fand or any gritty fubitance whatever. Now we know that running waters, when turbid, will depofit, firft, the coarseft and heaviest particles, mediately, thofe of the feveral intermediate degrees of fineness, and ultimately, thofe which are the most light and subtle; and fuch in fact is the general quality of the foil on the banks of the fouthern rivers.
V. It is a well known fact, that on the banks of Savannah river, about ninety miles from the fea in a direct line, and one hundred and fifty or two hundred as the river runs, there is a very remarkable collection of oyfter fhells of an uncommon fize. They run in a north east and fouth-weft direction, nearly parallel with the fea coaft, in three diftinct ridges, which together occupy a fpace of feven miles in breadth. The ridges commence at Savannah river, and have been traced as far fouth as the northern branches of the Altamaha river. They are found in fuch quantities, as that the indigo planters carry them away in large boat loads, for the purpofe of making lime water, to be used in the manufacture of indigo. There are thousands and thousands of tons ftill remaining. The queftion is, how came they here? It cannot be fuppofed that they were carried by land. Neither is it probable that they were conveyed in canoes, or boats, to fuch a dittance from the place where oyfters are now found. The uncivilized natives, agreeably to their roving manner of living, would rather have removed to the fea fhore, than have been at fuch immenfe labor in procuring oyfters. Befides, the difficulties of conveying them would have been infurmountable. They would not only have had a ftrong current in the river against them, an obftacle which would not have been eafily overcome by the Indians, who have ever had a great averfion to labour, but could they have furmounted this difficulty, oyiters, conveyed fuch a diftance either by land or water in fo warm a climate, would have fpoiled on the paffage, and have become ufelefs. The circumftance of thefe thells being found in fuch quantities, at fo great a diftance from the fea, can be rationally accounted for in no other way, than by fuppofing that the fea fhore was formerly near this bed of shells, and