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1686, when all the charters, except that of Connecticut, were in effect vacated, by a commiffion from James the IId.
I fhall clofe this general history of New-England with a few remarks refpecting the Indians.
We cannot even hazard a conjecture refpecting the Indian population of New-England, at the time of its fettlement by the English. Captain Smith, in a voyage to this coaft in 1614, fuppofed, that on the Maffachufetts Ifland, there were about 3000 Indians. All accounts agree, that the fea-coaft and neighbouring islands were thickly inhabited.
Three years before the arrival of the Plymouth colony, a very mortal fickness, fuppofed to have been the plague, raged with great violence. among the Indians in the eastern parts of New-England. Whole towns were depopulated. The living were not able to bury the dead; and their bones were found lying above ground, many years after. The Maffachusetts Indians are faid to have been reduced from 30,000 to 300 fighting men. In 1633, the small-pox fwept off great numbers of the Indians in Maffachusetts.
In 1763, on the Island of Nantucket, in the space of four months, the Indians were reduced, by a mortal ficknefs, from 320 to 85 fouls. The hand of Providence is noticeable in these furprifing inftances of mortality, among the Indians, to make room for the English. Comparatively few have perifhed by wars. They waste and moulder away—they, in a manner unaccountable, difappear.
The number of Indians in the ftate of Connecticut in 1774, was 1363. Their number was again taken in 1782, but was not kept feparate from that of the Negroes. Their number is doubtlefs much leffened. The principal part of their present population in this state is at Mohegan, in New-London county.
The number of Indians in Rhode-Ifland in 1783, was only 525. More than half of thefe live in Charleston, in the county of Washington. In 1774, the number of Indians in Rhode-Island was 1482; fo that in nine years the decreafe was 957. I have not been able to ascertain the exact state of the Indian population in Maffachusetts and New-Hampfhire. In 1784, there was a tribe of about forty Indians at Norridgewalk, in the Province of Main, with fome few other scattering remains of tribes in other parts; and a number of towns thinly inhabited round Cape Cod.
When the English first arrived in America, the Indians had no times nor places fet apart for religious worship. The first fettlers in NewEngland, were at great pains to introduce among them the habits of civilized life, and to inftruct them in the Chriftian religion. A few years intercourse with the Indians, induced them to establish feveral good and natural regulations. They ordained, that if a man be idle a week, or at most a fortnight, he fhall pay five fhillings. Every young man, not a fervant, fhall be obliged to fet up a wigwam, and plant for himself. If an unmarried man fhall lie with an unmarried woman, he fhall pay twenty hillings. If any woman shall not have her hair tied up the fhall pay five hillings, &c.
The Rev. Mr. Elliott, of Roxbury, near Bofton, who has been ftyled the great Indian Apoftle, with much labour, learned the Natic dialect of the Indian languages. He published an Indian grammar, and preached in Indian to feveral tribes, and in 1664, translated the Bible, and several religious books into the Indian language. He relates feveral pertinent queries of the Indians refpecting the Chriftian religion. Among others; whether JESUS CHRIST, the mediator or interpreter, could understand prayers in the Indian language? If the father be bad and the child good, why fhould God, in the fecond commandment, be offended with the child? How the Indians came to differ fo much from the English in the Knowledge of GOD and JESUS CHRIST, fince they all fprang from one father? Mr. Elliott was indefatigable in his labours, and travelled through all parts of Maffachusetts and Plymouth colonies, as far as Cape Cod. The colony had fuch a veneration for him, that in an act of the general affembly, relating to the Indians, they exprefs themfelves thus, By the advice. of faid magiftrates, and of Mr. Elliott.' Mr. Mayhew, who alfo learned the Indian language, was very active in propagating the knowledge of christianity among the Indians at Nantucket, Martha's-Vineyard, and Elizabeth-Ifland.
Mr. Brainard was a truly pious and fuccefsful miffionary among the Indians on the Sufquehannah and Delaware rivers. In 1744, he rode about 4000 miles among the Indians; fometimes five or fix weeks together without feeing a white perfon. The Rev. Mr. Kirtland, of Stockbridge, has been laborioufly engaged, and greatly ferviceable in civilizing and chriftianizing the Oneida and other Indians.
Concerning the religion of the untaught natives of America, Mr. Brainard, who was well acquainted with it, informs us, that after the coming of the white people, the Indians in New-Jerfey, who once held a plutality of Deities, fuppofed there were only three, because they faw people of three kinds of complexions, viz.-English, Negroes, and themfelves.
It is a notion pretty generally prevailing among them, that it was not the fame God made them who made us; but that they were created after the white people and it is probable they fuppofed their God gained fome fpecial fkill, by feeing the white people made, and fo made them better: for it is certain they look upon themfelves, and their methods of living, which they fay their God exprefly prefcribed for them, vaítly preferable to the white people, and their methods.
With regard to a future state of existence, many of them imagine that the chichung, i. e. the fhadow, or what furvives the body, will, at death, go fouthward, and in an unknown, but curious place--will enjoy fome kind of happinefs, fuch as hunting, feafting, dancing, and the like. And what they fuppofe will contribute much to their happinefs in the next ftate is, that they fhall never be weary of thofe entertainments.
Thofe who have any notion about rewards and punishments in a future ftate, feem to imagine that moft will be happy, and that thofe who are not fo, will be punished only with privation, being only excluded from the walls of the good world where happy fpirits refide.
Thefe rewards and punishments, they fuppofe to depend entirely upon their behaviour towards mankind; and have no reference to any thing which relates to the worship of the Supreme Being,
The natives of New-England, according to Mr. Neal, believed not only a plurality of gods, who made and governed the feveral nations of the world, but they made deities of every thing they imagined to be great, powerful, beneficial, or hurtful to mankind; yet, they conceived one Almighty Being, who dwells in the fouth-weft region of the heavens, to be fuperior to all the reft: this Almighty Being they call Kichtan, who at first, according to their tradition, made a man and woman out of a stone, but upon fome diflike deftroyed them again, and then made another couple out of a tree, from whom defcended all the nations of the earth; but how they came to be scattered and difperfed into countries fo remote from one another they cannot tell. They believed their Supreme God to be a good Being, and paid a fort of acknowledgment to him for plenty, victory, and other benefits.
But there is another power which they called Hobbamocko, in English the Devil, of whom they ftood in greater awe, and worshipped merely from a principle of fear.
The immortality of the foul was univerfally believed among them; when good men die, they faid, their fouls went to Kichtan, where they meet their friends, and enjoy all manner of pleasures; when wicked men die, they went to Kichtan alfo, but were commanded to walk away; and fo wander about in reftlefs difcontent and darkness for ever.
Boundaries.] BOUNDED northwardly by the British province of Que
bec; by Province of
eaft by the Atlantic ocean; fouth by the ftate of Mallachusetts; weft and north-weft by the weftern bank of Connecticut river, which forms the line of divifion between New-Hampshire and Vermont. The fhape of NewHampshire refembles an open fan, Connecticut river being the curve, the fouthern line the fhorteft, and the eastern line the longest fide.
Civil Divifions.] New-Hampshire is divided into counties* and townfhips; of the former are the five following, viz.
*The firft act for dividing New-Hampshire into counties was paffed as late as 176j.
Keen and Charleston,
In 1776, there were 165 fettled townships in this ftate. Since that time the number has been greatly increased; and as a confiderable part of the ftate is unlocated, the number will continue to increafe. Those townfhips which were laid out in the infancy of the ftate are large, and differ in their fize; but those of later date are uniformly fix miles fquare.
Chief Towns.] Portsmouth is much the largest town in this state. It ftands on the fouth-eaft fide of Pifcataqua river, about two miles from the sea, and contains about 600 houses, and 4400 inhabitants. The town is handfomely built, and pleafantly fituated. Its public buildings are a court-houfe, two churches for Congregationalifts, one for Epifcopalians, and one other houfe for public worship.
Its harbour is one of the fineft on the continent, having a fufficient depth of water for veffels of any burthen. It is defended against storms by the adjacent land in fuch a manner, as that fhips may fecurely ride there in any feafon of the year. Befides, the harbour is fo well fortified by nature, that very little art will be neceffary to render it impregnable. Its vicinity to the fea renders it very convenient for naval trade. A lighthoufe, with a fingle light, ftands at the entrance of the harbour.
Exeter is a pretty town, fifteen miles fouth-wefterly from Portsmouth, on the fouth fide of Exeter river. It has a harbour of eight and an half feet water, and was formerly famous for fhip-building.
Dover Neck, which makes a part of the town of Dover, is fituated between two branches of Pifcataqua river, and is a fine, dry and healthy fituation; fo high as to command the neighbouring fhores, and afford a very extenfive and delightful profpect.
There are many confiderable and flourishing towns on Connecticut river, in the western parts of this state.
Rivers, bays, and lakes.] The Pifcataqua river has four branches, Ber wick, Cochechy, Exeter, and Durham, which are all navigable for fmall veffels and boats, fome fifteen, others twenty miles from the fea. Thefe rivers unite about eight miles from the mouth of the harbour, and form one broad, deep, rapid ftream, navigable for fhips of the largeft burthen.
This river forms the only port of New-Hamphire. Its principal branch, called Nywichwannok, fprings from the fouthernmoft of Lovel's ponds, and tumbling over feveral falls, in its foutherly course, meets the other ftreams, which uniting form Pifcataqua river. A line drawn from the northern head of this river, until it meets the boundary of the province of Quebec, divides New-Hampshire from the province of Main.
The Merrimak bears that name from its mouth to the confluence of Pemigewaffet and Winipifiokee rivers, the latter has its fource in the lake of the fame name; one branch of the former rifes in Squam Pond, latitude 43° 50'. Their junction is in about latitude 43° 30'.
In its course, it receives numberlefs fmall ftreams, iffuing from ponds and swamps in the vallies. It tumbles over two confiderable falls, Amafkäeg, twenty-fix feet perpendicular, and Pantucket great falls, which has two pitches, and the ftream fhoots with an inconceivable rapidity between the upper and lower pitches. The upper fall is ten feet perpendicular; the rapid, between the two falls, defcends ten feet in the course of its fhot; the latter falls twenty-four feet in fixty-five rods. In the whole the water falls forty feet. From Haverhill the river runs winding along, through a pleasant rich vale of meadow-and paffing between Newbury-Port and Salisbury, empties into the ocean.
Great-Bay, fpreading out from Pifcataqua river, between Portsmouth and Exeter, is the only one that deferves mentioning.
There are feveral remarkable ponds or lakes in this ftate. Umbagg is a large lake, quite in the north-eaft corner of the state. Winnifipiokee lake, is nearly in the centre of the ftate, and is about twenty miles long, and from three to eight broad.
Face of the Country.] The land next to the fea, is generally low, but as you advance into the country, the land rifes into hills. Some parts of the ftate are mountainous.
Mountains.] The White mountains are the highest part of a ridge, which extends north-eaft and fouth-weft, to a length not yet afcertained. The whole circuit of them is not lefs than fifty miles. The height of thefe mountains, above an adjacent meadow, is reckoned, from obfervations made by the Rev. Mr. Cutler, of Ipfwich, in 1784, to be about 5500 feet, and the meadow is 3500 feet above the level of the fea. The fnow and ice cover them nine or ten months in the year, during which time, they exhibit that bright appearance from which they are denominated the White mountains. From this fummit, in clear weather, is exhibited a noble view, extending fixty or feventy miles in every direction. Although they are more than feventy miles within land, they are feen many leagues off at fea, and appear like an exceeding bright cloud in the horizon. Thefe immenfe heights, being copioufly replenished with water, afford a variety of beautiful cafcades. Three of the largest rivers in NewEngland, receive a great part of their waters from these mountains. Amanoofuck and Ifrael Rivers, two principal branches of Connecticut, fall from their western fides. Peabody river, a branch of the Amarifcogen, falls from the north-eaft fide, and almoft the whole of the Saco, defcends from the fouthern fide. The highest fummit of these mountains, is in about latitude 44°.
The Monadnik is a very high mountain, in Chefhire county, in the fouth-western parts of the state.
Climate.] The air in New-Hampshire is ferene and healthful. The weather is not fo fubject to change as in more fouthern climates. This ftate, embofoming a number of very high mountains, and lying in the neighbourhood of others, whofe towering fummits are covered with fnow and ice three quarters of the year, is intenfely cold in the winter feafon. The heat of fummer is great, but of fhort duration. The cold braces the conftitution, and renders the labouring people healthful and robuft.