Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

post of the United States, and has considerable trade. The Tortugas are a cluster of Keys on the extreme west of this chain.

5. Harbors and Shores. The sea along both shores is for the most part shallow, but presents some good harbors and fine bays. On the Atlantic coast there are harbors at the mouths of St. Mary's and St. John's rivers, and at St. Augustine. On the western side are Charlotte, Tampa, Appalachicola, Appalachee, Choctawhatchee, St. Andrew's, and Pensacola Bays. Surveys have been made for the purpose of ascertaining the practicability of constructing a canal across the peninsula, which show the level of the waters of the gulf to be above that of the ocean.

6. Climate. There is little diversity of climate in Florida, although the northern belt, bordering on Alabama and Georgia, is less decidedly tropical in its character than the peninsular portion. Water never freezes, and even in the winter months, or rainy season, the heat of the sun is oppressive. Except in the vicinity of marshy tracts, the air is in general pure and healthy, though in some parts humid.

7. Soil. The soil may be described in general as poor, but there are many favorable exceptions. There is much swampy and marshy land, but the pine barrens constitute a great part of the country. The hummock land, so called because it rises in small mounds among the pines, has a good soil.

8. Vegetable Productions. The warmth and humidity of the climate compensate for the poverty of the soil, and give to Florida a vegetation of great variety and luxuriance; its forest trees rise to a great height, and its flowering shrubs are remarkable for their brilliancy. The northern and central parts are covered with a dense forest, in which pine prevails ; but the palms, cedar, chestnut, and live oak, attain an extraordinary size. The magnolia, so much admired for its beauty, the cypress, the pawpaw, with its green foliage and rich-looking fruit, the shady dogwood, the titi, with its beautiful blossoms, &c., are found here. The low savannas are covered with wild grass and flowers of prodigious growth, and the cane in the swamps is of great height and thickness.

9. Springs. These form a remarkable peculiarity in the natural phenomena of the country. They exist in great numbers all over the territory, and burst out from the earth in large columns of water, remarkably transparent; this bubbles up from so great a depth, as to lead to a general belief, that there is a prodigious cavern beneath the surface of the whole country, with openings in the rock above it, through which these fountains are discharged. The most remarkable of these springs is the Wakulla Fountain in West Florida, 12 miles from Tallahassee. It rushes up from its depths like a cauldron of boiling water, and forms a circular lake, the source of the Wakulla River. The water of this vast fountain has a bluish tinge, and is almost as transparent as air ; it has been sounded with a line of 250 fathoms before the bottom was found. It is of an icy coldness, even in the hottest of summer. A person floating in a skiff on the surface of this pellucid spring, which reflects the hues of the sky with indescribable softness, appears to himself suspended between two heavens. On Musquito River, is a warm mineral spring, which forms a large basin in which boats may float.

The water is slightly sulphureous, but clear, and abounding in fish.

10. Face of the Country. The country in general is flat, but in some districts is undulating and in some places hilly. The elevation of the ridges or table-land, between the rivers, does not exceed from 200 to 250 feet.

a

а

a

POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY

1. Divisions. By the Spaniards, Florida was divided into East and West Florida, separated by the river Appalachicola. These names are retained in common use, though the political division has ceased to exist. The territory is now divided into 21 counties,* with a population of 50,000.

* Escambia
Jackson
Walton
Washington
Franklin
Calhoun

Gadsden
Hamilton
Jefferson
Leon
Fayette

Columbia
Madison
Alachua
Duvall
Hillsboro'

Mosquito
Nassau
St. John's
Monroe
Dade

[ocr errors]

2. Towns. St. Augustine stands on the Atlantic coast; the town is regularly built, but the streets are very narrow. The houses are built of coquina, a soft stone, formed by a concretion of shells. They are generally two stories high, with thick plastered walls, and have balconies and piazzas. Connected with most of them are beautiful gardens. The town is surrounded by a ditch, and fortified by bastions, and the castle of St. Mark. The soil, in the

. neighborhood of St. Augustine, is sandy, yet the country is beautiful, producing orange, lemon, and date trees. The bar, at the entrance of the harbor, has but 9 feet of water at low tide, but the channel within has from 18 to 20 feet. Population, 2,000. St. Augustine was founded in 1564, and is therefore the oldest town in the United States.

Pensacola is the chief town in West Florida. It stands at the bottom of a large bay, and occupies a gentle acclivity. The soil here is sandy, but the situation is salubrious, and the place is rather thriving. The bay affords a very safe and capacious harbor, and the government of the United States have made it a naval station. Small vessels only can come up to the town. Population about 3,000.

Tallahassee is the seat of government, and has been incorporated as a city. The situation is salubrious, and the country around, fertile. The place, however, is yet in its infancy. Population, 1,500. St. Mark's, on the Gulf, with which it is connected by a railroad, is a small seaport in the neighborhood. The village of Quincy, in the same quarter, further inland, is a flourishing place. Appalachicola, at the mouth of the river of the same name, and St. Joseph, are favorably situated for trade. Key West, on an island of the same, also called Thompson's Island, derives its importance from its being the rendezvous of the Florida wreckers, and it is a a naval station of the United States. Population, 1,200.

3. Agriculture. The greater portion of the country is yet in a state of nature. The articles of culture are maize, sweet potatoes, rice, sugar-cane, tobacco, cotton, and indigo. The land in many parts is well fitted for the cultivation of the sugar-cane. The olive flourishes and bears well. Coffee has partially succeeded. Of fruits, the orange, fig, peach, pomegranate, and lemon flourish.

4. Indians. The Seminoles, and some other small tribes, are scattered about in the forests and savannas, to the number of about 2,000. They were formerly very numerous, but their numbers have lately been reduced by emigration. "They subsist by hunting, and the sale of skins, cattle, venison, beeswax, honey, &c.

5. Government. Florida is governed by a Legislative Council, chosen by the people, and a Governor appointed by the authority of the United States. The Council meets annually at Tallahassee. The Territory sends one delegate to Congress, who, as in the case of the delegates from all the other Territories, is allowed to sit and debate in the House of Representatives, but has not the privilege of voting.

6. History. Florida bas but recently come into the possession of the United States. It was visited and named by the Spaniards in 1513. In 1526 Pamphilo de Narvaez, with 400 men from Cuba, penetrated into the country, and were never heard of more.

The savages offered a bloody and obstinate resistance to the Spanish settlers, but were partially subdued by Ferdinand de Soto, in 1539. The French began settlements on the coast in 1564, but after severe wars with the Spaniards, they abandoned the country. In 1763, Florida was ceded by Spain to Great Britain, in exchange for Havana. Under the British, the colony began rapidly to flourish, but the Spaniards reconquered it in 1781, and it was confirmed to them at the peace of 1783. In 1921, it was ceded by Spain to the United States, as a compensation for the

a spoliations committed by that power upon our commerce.

Since this period, its prosperity has rapidly advanced. The most remarkable event in the recent history of this country is the Seminole war. The savages began to display hostilities to the American settlers shortly after the peace of 1815. In this they were encouraged by two English adventurers by the names of Arbuthnot and Ambrister. The war broke out in 1818, and many attacks were made upon the American towns and forts. A strong force was raised under General Jackson, who marched against the Seminoles, pursued them out of Alabama into Florida, where he took possession of the Spanish posts of St. Mark's and Pensacola. The Spanish Governor and garrison, who had aided the Indians in the war, fled to the fort of Barrancas, in the neighborhood, where they were besieged and forced to surrender. The Indians were everywhere put to flight, and the war was soon brought to an end. Arbuthnot and Ambrister were tried by a court-martial and executed. The Seminoles never recovered from the effects of this war.

[ocr errors]

More recently these people agreed to remove to the country west of the Mississippi, which has been set apart for the permanent residence of the aboriginal tribes; but when the period agreed upon for their departure arrived they refused to start, and took up arms. They were joined by some fugitive Cherokees, and a destructive and bloody war followed, which continued to rage during the years 1935, 1936, 1837, and 1838; was finally terminated in the spring of 1839, by the government permitting those that yet remained to occupy the southern part of the peninsula, a large number of the natives having been removed during the war. The Indians were often defeated, but they fled for refuge to their impenetrable swamps, while great numbers of the inbabitants of the Territory were murdered, and many of our troops fell victims to the climate or the sword. In this struggle, Osceola, of whom a cut is given opposite, distinguished himself by his courage and activity ; but having been made prisoner by the Americans he died at Charleston in 1838. The treaty of 1839 does not seem to have secured peace to this region, being little regarded by the Red men, who, trusting to their secret fastnesses, have lately committed new acts of violence

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Osccola.

CHAPTER XXIV. ALABAMA.

PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY.

1. Boundaries and Extent. This State is bounded on the north by Tennessee ; east by Georgia ; south by Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico ; and west by the State of Mississippi. It lies between 30° 12' and 35° north lat. ; and 850 and 89° 30' west long. It is 325 miles in length, and 160 in breadth, and contains about 52,000 square miles.

2. Mountains. The northern part of this State contains the western extremity of the Appalachian mountains. They are a little more than a range of broken, precipitous hills, which rise on the western limit of the State, and pursuing an easterly course, divide into branches, and pass into Tennessee and Georgia, in a northeasterly direction.

3. Rivers. The Gulf of Mexico is the basin into which all the waters of this State, except a small portion in the north, are drained. The principal river is the Mobile, whose branches converge from the northern, northeastern, and northwestern parts of the State. The Coosa and Talapoosa, coming from Georgia, unite and take the name of the Alabama, which receives the Cahawba from the northern bills. The united waters of the Tombeckbee and Tus

a

caloosa, or Black Warrior, from the northwest, then form a junction with the Alabama, and under the name of the Mobile, this combined mass of waters terminates its course in the bay the same name, through 2. principal mouths, the Tensaw and the Mobile. Sea vessels go up to St. Stephens, on the Tombeckbee, and to Claiborne, on the Alabama, and steamboats ascend to a considerable distance above. The Chattahoochee, on the eastern border, and the Tennessee, on the north, receive no considerable tributaries from Alabama. The Conecuh, or Escambia, in the south, runs through Florida, into Pensacola Bay.

4. Bay. This State has but about 60 miles of seacoast. This contains the spacious Bay of Mobile, which extends 30 miles inland. It has 2 principal entrances, one of which has 18 feet depth of water. To the west, it communicates by a shallow passage with the Bay of Pascagoula, which lies within a number of islands, on the coast of this State and Mississippi.

5. Climate. In the northern parts, the still waters are often frozen over in winter. In the south, snow or ice is seldom seen. The climate, on the whole, is more favorable to health than the neighboring regions under the same parallels. There is hardly such a season as winter ; and the summer heat is exceedingly oppressive. Cattle require no shelter during winter. Where the vegetation is most tardy, the trees are in full leaf by the 1st of April. Maize is planted early in March. By the 12th of April, peas are in pod, and the fig-trees are in leaf. Green peas are at table, May 2d. Mulberries, whortleberries, and others, as well as cucumbers, are ripe by the middle of May. Maize is ripe for roasting by the end of June. In the hot months, bilious diseases are common. At this season, none but the negroes, and those acclimated, can remain with safety upon the low banks of the rivers, or among the swampy lands. The inhabitants generally retire to the upper country, and among the pine forests, to pass the summer.

6. Soil. More than half the surface of the State is what is called a pine barren. These lands are very common in the Southern and Western States. They have a clayey soil, of a gray or reddish color, and produce a coarse grass, with trees of a moderate size thinly scattered over the surface. The quality of the land is never better than second or third rate, but is generally favorable to the growth of wheat. In the northern part, along the banks of the Tennes

. see, the soil is very good. The southern part has a thin soil, with much swampy land, covered with cypress

and gum trees. The central part is rather hilly and waving, and the uplands here are covered with the long-leaved pine. The borders of the Alabama and Tombeckbee, are formed of wide alluvial tracts, which are extremely fertile.

7. Vegetable Productions. These do not differ essentially from those of Florida. In the southern parts, are groves of orange trees, affirmed by some to be indigenous ; but these were, no doubt, planted by the early Spanish settlers.

8. Geology. Minerals. The southern portion of the State, south of a northwest line passing near Fort Mitchell, Wetumpka, Tuscaloosa, and Columbus in Mississippi, is a vast plain resembling that of the Atlantic States, of which it is a continuation. It is but little elevated above the level of the Gulf, and the inequalities of its surface are occasioned rather by depressions beneath the general level, than by any considerable rise above it. The rivers, and the action of some former floods, have furrowed the surface with deep ravines, in which the existing streams wind their devious courses. Geologically considered, this plain has features similar to the portions further north, consisting of beds of sand and clay, and calcareous strata referrible to the older tertiary and newer secondary or cretaceous periods, but chiefly to the latter. North of this great plain, the surface becomes hilly ; and still further north, on both sides of the Tennessee, mountainous, being here traversed by numerous ridges of the Cumberland Mountains, to which the Raccoon and Lookout Mountains appear to belong. The elevation of these mountain ranges is nowhere considerable, but we have no accurate information on this point. This region consists chiefly of sandstones and limestones of the carboniserous group; and the rocky ledge which here marks the division between it and the plain, is sandstone, and not gneiss, as in the more northern States. Coal, salt, and iron, abound in this section, but we have little knowledge as to the extent and distribution of the iron and coal beds. The latter occur in Madison, Jackson, St. Clair, Tuscaloosa, Bibb, and other counties. Gold is found in the northeastern counties, and as far south as Autauga ; probably nowhere, and certainly not in the latter locality, in veins, but in deposit mines or alluvial beds.

POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY.

[ocr errors]

(6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1. Divisions. This State is divided into 49 counties. *

Population at different Periods.
1820,
Total, 144,317 Slaves, 47,439

Whites,
1830,
309,527
117,549

190,406
1838,
508,044
223,807

282,338 2. Towns. The only town of consequence is Mobile. It stands on the west side of the bay of that name, in a somewhat elevated position, above the overflow of the river. It was founded by the Spaniards about the year 1700, yet it was an inconsiderable place when it came into the possession of the Americans, in 1813. Since the country has been in our possession, it has flourished, although the yellow fever was at first a powerful obstacle to its rapid growth; the health of the city has of late been much improved by drainage, and by paving the streets, which are spacious and often lined with the pride of China. Mobile is now the commercial depot of the whole State, and, next to New Orleans and Charleston, is the greatest market for cotton in the country, about 250,000 bales being annually shipped from its wharves. Many steamboats ply upon the bay and the river above, and there is an extensive foreign and coasting trade between Mobile, New Orleans, the North, and Europe. The Spanish part of the town consists

, mostly of ancient and decayed buildings; but the modern part is handsomely built of brick. The public buildings, however, are few. Population, 10,000. Blakely, on the opposite side of Mobile Bay, stands on the Tensas, a branch of Mobile River, and was intended as a rival of Mobile. Its situation is more salubrious than that town, being open and dry, with several streams of pure water, and the harbor is deeper and more easy of access; but the town is an inconsiderable village.

St. Stephens, on the Tombeckbee, stands at the head of schooner navigation, about 120 miles above Mobile. It is situated in a fertile region, but is now almost deserted. Cahawba, at the confluence of the Cahawba and Alabama rivers, near the centre of the State, was formerly the seat of government.

Tuscaloosa, a little northwest of the centre of the State, on the Black Warrior River, is the capital. It was founded but a few years since, and contains the capitol, and the university of

a the State. It stands in a rich district, in a commanding and agreeable situation, and is accessible to steamboats. Population, 2,000. Selma is a thriving village above Cahawba, which derives importance from the railroad hence to the Tennessee. Montgomery, near the head of the Alabama, is a thriving town with a good deal of trade, and 2,500 inhabitants. Wetumpka, on the Coosa, was cut out of the forest in 1832, and now contains 3,000 inhabitants. The principal towns of North Alabama, or the Tennessee Valley, are Florence, below Muscle Shoals, and at the head of steam navigation, with 2,000 inhabitants, and Huntsville, above the shoals, with 2,500, both flourishing and busy towns.

3. Railroads and Canals. The Tennessee or Muscle Shoals Canal, extends along the right bank of the Tennessee, above Florence; the least depth is 6 feet, and the least width at the surface, 60 feet; these dimensions being adapted to admit the passage of steamboats, which can then go up to the Suck, near Rossville ; another section of this work, between Florence and Waterloo surmounts the only shoals below the former. The Huntsville Canal is a short work, extending from Huntsville, down the Indian Creek, to Triana, 16 miles. The Tuscumbia and Decatur Railroad extends from Decatur, on the Tennessee, through Courtland and Tuscumbia, to a point on the river a few miles from the latter village ; length, 48 miles. The Montgomery and Chattahoochee Railroad extends from Montgomery, on the former, to West Point,

a

a

a

* Autauga
Baldwin
Barbour
Benton
Bibb
Blount
Butler
Chambers
Cherokee
Clarke
Conecuh
Coosa
Covington

Dale
Dallas
Dekalb
Fayette
Franklin
Greene
Henry
Jackson
Jefferson
Lauderdale
Lawrence
Limestone

Lowndes
Macon
Madison
Marengo
Marion
Marshall
Mobile
Montgomery
Monroe
Morgan
Perry
Pickens

Pike
Randolph
Russell
St. Clair
Shelby
Sumter
Talladega
Tallapoosa
Tuscaloosa
Walker
Washington
Wilcox

« AnteriorContinuar »