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Plattsburg, and Whitehall. On the 11th of September, 1814, a naval battle was fought upon its waters between the American fleet, under Commodore McDonough, and the British fleet under Commodore Downie, in which the Americans obtained a complete victory. The lake is navigated by about 400 vessels of all kinds, including several steamboats. Immense timber rafts, containing houses for lodging the crews, are often seen floating down the lake toward the canal, on their way to Albany and the towns on the Hudson.
Lake Memphremagog lies partly in
Canada, and partly in the north of this Timber Raft on Lake Champlain.
State ; it is 35 miles long and 3 broad; its outlet is the river St. Francis, which flows into the St. Lawrence. The land around this lake is level and fertile.
A remarkable eruption of one of the small lakes of this State took place in 1810. Long Lake, a beautiful sheet of water, a mile and a half in length, and three fourths of a mile in width, was situated in the town of Glover in the north part of the State, and communicated by a small stream with lake Champlain. About 200 rods from Long Lake, was a smaller lake on a much lower level, the outlet of which was Barton River, flowing in an opposite direction into Lake Memphremagog. The land separating these lakes was a steep declivity. The water being low at the mills on Barton River, during the summer of 1810, it was thought advisable to obtain a new supply by letting out a portion of the water of Long Lake into the lake beneath, by means of a trench down the intervening declivity. Accordingly, on the 6th of June, the people of the neighborhood assembled with their tools, and began the work of cutting the trench, when on a sudden the lake burst its borders, and poured with its whole mass down the descent, rushing with inconceivable velocity in an immense column, three quarters of a mile wide, and 80 feet in depth, across the country 15 miles into Lake Memphremagog. This furious torrent tore up in its course, rocks, hills, and forests, sweeping away houses, mills, cattle, &c. roaring like thunder, and shaking the earth like a mighty earthquake. The inhabitants of Barton hearing the roar, looked up towards the lake, and beheld the torrent coming down upon them, bearing a whole forest upon its top. The cattle for many miles round, ran bellowing to their homes, and all the neighborhood were thrown into the greatest terror. No lives were lost, but a vast amount of damage was occasioned by the inundation.
5. Islands. There are three considerable islands in Lake Champlain, called North and South Hero and La Motte. North Hero contains 6,200 acres, and has a good soil. South Hero has above 9,000 acres of good land. The basis of these islands is limestone, abounding in some parts with shells.
6. Climate. The climate of Vermont is cold and changeable, but the air is pure and healthy, except on the shores of the lake, where fevers sometimes prevail. The extremes of temperature are about 100 degrees above, and 27 below the zero of Fahrenheit. Winter be gins about the first of December, although frosts appear as early as the first of September. From the first setting in, to the breaking up of the winter, there is scarcely any thaw. The winter continues till April. Snow-storms are frequent, yet little snow falls at a time ; they come from all points of the compass except the East, and are generally over in a few hours. The cold is here more steady and uniform than in the other New England States. On the mountains, the snow falls commonly 3 or 4 feet deep, and lies till the end of April. On the low grounds, it is from 1 to 2) feet in depth, and continues till about the 20th of March. severest cold never kills the young trees, and the chilling easterly winds of spring seldom reach so far inland as to be felt here ; west of the Green Mountains they are totally unknown.
Wheat, barley, pease, and flax, are sown about the 20th of April, and frosts disappear by the middle of MayApple-trees put forth leaves about the 5th of May, and blossom by the 15th. Maize is planted between the 10th and 20th of May. Hay is cut by the 10th of July; barley and rye are reaped the last of July ; fax in the early part of August; wheat in the middle of August. Apples are ripe by the Sth of August. Oats are reaped by the 20th of August, and maize is ripe on the first of October. Droughts are uncommon; the crops more frequently suffer from too much moisture. During April and May, the weather is mild with frequent showers. Through the summer it is fair and serene. The wind at this season is mostly from the southwest, being regulated by the direction of the mountains, and the shores of lake Champlain. The heat of the day is excessive, but the nights are ever cool and agreeable. Thunder-showers usually come from the west, and southwest, and are common in May, June, July, and August, but not at other times. In spring and autumn, the atmosphere is often smoky and obscure. Throughout September, and the most of October, the finest weather prevails, with gentle winds, and a clear sky. Frosts appear, as before stated, in September ; November is cold and rainy, with some snow, and high winds.
7. Soil. The soil is generally rich and loamy. On the borders of the rivers are fine tracts of interval land, which consist of a deep, black, alluvial deposit ; these are sometimes a mile in width, and are very productive in maize, grain, grass, and garden vegetables. The uplands are in many places scarcely inferior to the intervals, and are in general sufficiently free from stones to admit of easy cultivation. The hills and mountains, which are not arable on account of their steepness or the rocks, afford the best of pasturage for sheep and cattle. There is hardly any part of the country better adapted to the rearing of horses, horned cattle, and sheep, than the mountainous parts of this State. Wheat is raised more abundantly on the western side of the mountains, than on the eastern. The soil and climate of all parts are very favorable to the growth of the apple and other fruits. The greater part of the State is better fitted for grazing, than tillage.
8. Geology. The rocks E. of lake Champlain belong to the transition order, for the distance of 10 or 15 miles from the shore ; along the rivers are many alluvial deposits, but the general character of the State is decidedly primary. The ranges of rocks, like the ranges of mountains. extend through the State from North io South. The ranges on the West side of the mountains are much more regular, and better known, than those on the eastern. Beginning at the lake, and proceeding easterly, they are nearly as follows : 1. Old red sandstone in an
: interrupted range. 2. Graywacke. 3. "Transition or metalliserous limestone, alternating with transition argillite. 4. Transition or calciferous sandstone. 5. Transition argillite. 6. Primitive argillite. 7. Sparry limestone. 8. Granular limestone. 9. Granular quartz, containing hæmatitic iron ore and manganese, and lying at the foot of the Green Mountains on the W. side. 10. Hornblende rock. 11. Gneiss, with alternating layers of granite. 12. Mica slate, con
, stituting the middle ridge of the Green Mountain range, and extending in many places a considerable distance down the eastern side. These
of rocks reach from Canada to New Jersey. They are frequently interrupted, and the primary rocks are often in alternating layers. Mica slate and gneiss are the most common rocks, for a considerable distance down the eastern side of the mountains. Primitive limestone is found in Londonderry, Weston, and other places, and also in Caledonia county. An extensive range of serpentine occurs in the southern, and another in the northern part of the State ; in connexion with the serpentine are beds of steatite, talc, and chlorite. Further east are found hornblende rock, gneiss, granite, and argillaceous slate, in uninterrupted ranges. A bed of granite extends through Windham county, passing the Connecticut at Bellows Falls into New Hampshire. Ascutney mountain is formed of this stone. Along the Connecticut is an uninterrupted range of argillaceous slate. 9. Minerals, Quarries, &c. Iron is abundant in this State, and lead, zinc, copper, and
, . manganese are found in many places. Sulphate of iron, or copperas ore is very plentiful. The manufacture of this last, deserves particular notice, and an account of it will be found under the head of manufactures. The sulphuret of iron is found in the towns of Strafford, and Shrewsbury, in the eastern and central parts of the State. At the former place, the bed of the mineral lies on a hill, and is half a mile in length, and two or three rods in width ; the depth is unknown.
The ore is covered with a stratum of earth about three feet deep ; below this is a stratum of ferruginous petrifactions, two or three feet in depth, exhibiting forms of buds, leaves, limbs, &c. Below this lies the sulphuret of iron. It is very compact; its colors are brilliant, varying from that of steel to a bright yellow, and it is occasionally diversified by small quantities of green copper ore. It is traversed in many parts by small veins of quartz. The best iron is found at Peru, in the southern part of the State, and has the highest reputation for its ductility and toughness. It is worked into chains, bolts, &c. but the bed of ore
having been much reduced of late, and the manufacture of iron increased, an inferior sort is now mixed with the Peru iron, by which its quality has much deteriorated. It is still, however, of high excellence.
A quarry of fine marble exists in Middlebury. It rests upon a bed of argillite, and rises in many places above the surface of the ground. The marble is of various colors, and has been wrought ever since 1806. It is now in the possession of an incorporated company, and the machinery for sawing it is driven by water. At Swanton, on Lake Champlain, in the north, is an inexhaustible quarry, which covers an area of more than 300 acres. The marble is of a beautiful black, and sometimes of a bright blue-clouded color ; 100 saws are occupied at the mills in this town, in working it into various forms. On a small island in Lake Memphremagog, is a quarry of novaculite, known by the name of Magog oil-stone ; it is several hundred feet in length, and interspersed with quartz. A manufactory of this stone has been established in the town of Burke. The oil-stones when manufactured, sell for 50 cts. per pound. Quarries of slate are wrought near Brattleboro'.
11. Face of the Country. Our descriptions have already shown, that the surface of the State is highly diversified. From the mountainous ridge which occupies the centre of the State, the land slopes, toward the Connecticut and Lake Champlain. Adjoining the rivers are extensive plains, but the elevated country forms the greater proportion of the surface. In the northern parts, the population is thin, and the country still unsubdued by the plough. Innumerable stumps, the remains of the pristine forests, deform the fields. Pines and other trees, girdled, dry, and blasted by summer's heat and winter's cold, scorched and blackened by fire, or piled in confusion on fields cleared half by the axe and half by burning, — these, with the rude log huts of the inhabitants indicate a country imperfectly subdued by man. But if we confine ourselves to merely physical observations, and consider the natural formation of hill, mountain, valley, lake, and stream, we shall find this State to be among the most picturesque portions of North America.
POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY. 1. Divisions. Vermont is divided into 14 counties, which, with their chief towns, are as follows: Counties. County Towns. Counties.
County Touns. Addison, Middlebury. Lamoile,
Woodstock. Grand Isle,
North Hero. 2. Towns. Montpelier, the capital, is situated on Onion River, within 10 miles of the centre of the State ; it is a flourishing village, and contains the State-house, a court-house, jail, academy, several manufactories, and printing offices, and 4 weekly newspapers ; it is in a low situation, surrounded by hills; a great many of the roads of the State meet at this point. The new State-house, or capitol, is a handsome structure of granite, with a front of 150 feet, in the centre of which is a neat Doric portico, surmounted by a dome; height to top of dome, 100 feet. Population, 2,000.
Windsor, on the Connecticut, 60 miles southeast of Montpelier, is a handsome town, and has considerable business. It contains a court-house, a State prison, bank, several handsome churches, and printing offices issuing weekly newspapers. Mount Ascutney, a lofty, isolated peak, is partly in this town, and partly in Weathersfield. A magnificent prospect is afforded from its summit. Population, 3,500.
Burlington, on Lake Champlain, is a fourishing and commercial town. It contains a courthouse, jail, a college, an academy, several churches, and printing offices issuing weekly newspapers. Within the township is another village, at the falls of Onion River, containing several manufactories. Burlington has more commerce than any other town in Vermont, and is a port of entry for foreign shipping. A great deal of the trade of Lake Champlain centres at this place. Here are two bridges over the Onion River. This is the largest town on the lake.
and occupies a commanding and beautiful situation. The lake suddenly expands as the voyager approaches the town from the south, and a fine semicircular bay opens on the view, skirted by a crescent of high ground, under the shelter of which the town stands. The view from the summit of the hills is delightful, embracing in the foreground the elegant gardens of the town, with the streets below, the curving form of the bay, the whole breadth of the lake, here ten miles across, and a chain of lofty blue mountains on the opposite shore. Population, 4,000.
Brattleboro', on the Connecticut, 50 miles below Windsor, has several manufactories of cloth, paper, lead, &c., and considerable trade; printing to considerable extent is carried on. Here is the Vermont Insane Asylum. The scenery in the neighborhood of this town is highly picturesque. Population, 2,500.
. Middlebury, on Otter Creek, contains a college and two academies, several churches, a bank, and some manufactories. A quarry of fine marble was discovered here in 1804, and is now wrought for various purposes. Population, 3,600. Bennington, near the southwest corner of the State, has several manufactories and a marble quarry ; a weekly newspaper is published here. This is one of the oldest towns of the State, and is celebrated in the history of the Revolution for the victory of General Stark over the British, in 1777. Population, 4,200.
Vergennes, on Otter Creek, at the head of navigation, 6 miles from the lake, has many factories and mills ; this place was incorporated as a city some years ago, and is the only one in the State. Population, 1,200. Rutland, on Otter Creek, 55 miles from its mouth, is a flourishing and pleasant town, and has some manufactories. Population, about three thousand. Norwich, on the Connecticut, and St. Albans, on Lake Champlain, are also considerable towns.
3. Agriculture. What we have said upon this head in the State of New Hampshire, will apply with little exception to Vermont. Wheat is only cultivated west of the mountains. Maize thrives best on the intervals, but is also raised abundantly on the uplands. Farmers who are industrious, seldom fail of having their barns filled with hay and Max; their granaries with maize, wheat, rye, oats, barley, pease, and beans, and their cellars with the best of cider, potatoes, and other esculent roots. The raising of sheep has lately much increased, and wool has become the staple of Vermont. The number of sheep is above 1,000,000 ; annual clip of wool, 3,000,000 lbs.
4. Commerce. Lake Champlain affords facilities for a considerable commerce between this State and Canada. The trade in this quarter is chiefly with Montreal ; the exports are pot and pearl ashes, beef, pork, butter and cheese, flax, live cattle, &c. The domestic trade is mostly with Boston, New York, and Hartford.
5. Manufactures. Except the domestic fabrics of linen and woolen which occupy almost every family, the manufactures of this State are not considerable. There are, however, above 100 woolen and cotton manufactories, paper mills and oil mills, and also 100 tanneries. Maple sugar is made in nearly every town and family in the State ; the average quantity made by each farming family is estimated at 150 pounds, amounting to 6,000,000 pounds a year. Pot and pearl ashes, and iron are also manufactured in various parts. There are manufactories of copperas from native sulphuret of iron, at Strafford and Shrewsbury. The ore is detached from the bed by blasting; it is then beaten to pieces with hammers, and thrown into large heaps, where it lies exposed to the air and moisture until a spontaneous combustion takes place, and the whole heap is converted from the sulphuret to the sulphate of iron ; this usually takes several weeks. After this, it is removed to the leaches, and water passed through it, which dissolves the copperas and leaves the earthy matter behind. The water is then conveyed into leaden boilers, and boiled to a certain degree. After this, it is transferred to other vessels,
. where it cools, and the copperas crystalizes. These manufactures are sufficiently productive to supply the whole United States. They are owned principally in Boston. In Peru and Bennington are many iron founderies.
6. Population. The population of the State of Vermont was, in
1840, 7. Government. The legislature of Vermont is composed of a Senate and a House of Representatives, called the General Assembly, and chosen annually ; each town has one representative. The executive officers are a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and a council of 12, choser annually, by general ballot ; all residents in the State of one year's standing are voters. There is also a council of censors chosen every 7 years ; they are 13 in number, and hold their
office for a year ; their duty is to inquire whether the constitution has been preserved inviolate during the period preceding their appointment, and whether the legislative and executive branches have done their duty, and to suggest alterations in the constitution. The legislature meet at Montpelier, in October. Vermont sends 5 representatives to Congress. The revenue of the State is derived chiefly from direct taxation. The expenditures amount to about 60,000 dollars.
8. Religion. The Congregationalists have 203 churches and 110 ministers ; the Baptists, 105 churches and 56 ministers ; the Methodists have 44 ministers; the Episcopalians have 11 churches. There are two Unitarian churches, one at Burlington and one at Brattleboro'.
9. Education. Vermont has two colleges. Burlington College, which bears the title of the University of Vermont, was incorporated in 1791. This institution is finely situated on the east side of the village of Burlington, one mile from Lake Champlain, 245 feet above the surface of the water. The buildings are spacious brick edifices, containing a chapel, lecture rooms for public uses and for students, &c. The officers are a president and 6 professors. Middlebury College was incorporated in 1800. The buildings are two; one of wood, containing a chapel and 20 rooms for students; the other is a spacious and elegant stone edifice, 180 feet by 40, four stories high, having 48 rooms for students. The officers are a president, five professors, and two tutors. At Norwich, on the Connecticut, is an institution called the Norwich University. Academies and schools are numerous in this State, as in other parts of New England. Each town is obliged by law to support public schools; the number of schooldistricts is 3,800, with 5,100 teachers. 10. History: Vermont was first explored by the French settlers of Canada, but the earliest
. settlement within the territory was made by the English of Massachusetts, who, in 1724, more than 100 years after the discoveries in the northern parts by Champlain, established themselves at Fort Dummer, on the Connecticut. Six years after this, the French advanced from Canada, Lake Champlain, and settled at Crown Point, and on the eastern shore of the lake. The claim to the country was afterwards disputed by New Hampshire and New York ; and the country was known as the New Hampshire Grants.' The British Parliament decided in favor of the latter State, but much confusion and altercation were caused by the conflicting grants of land made by the New Hampshire and New York governments. The disputes thus occasioned, remained unsettled during the revolutionary war ; after which, New York compounded for her claim, and Vermont became an independent State. She was received into the Union in March, 1791.