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above Miller's Bend, on the latter river, a distance of 85 miles. The Florida and Montgomery Railroad, from Pensacola up the valley of the Conecuh to Montgomery, is in progress ; length, 170 miles. The Selma and Tennessee Railroad, designed to connect the Alabama at Selma with the Tennessee near Gunter's Landing, a distance of 170 miles, is considerably advanced. The Wetumpka and Coosa Railroad, another projected connexion of those two great rivers, is not yet commenced.
4. Agriculture. Commerce. Agriculture is almost the sole occupation of the inhabitants, and cotton absorbs nearly all their attention; the cotton crop of 1837, was about 330,000 bales, cr 130,000,000 pounds, of the value of nearly 15,000,000 dollars. Some sugar, principally for domestic consumption, is made in the southern part, and some tobacco is raised in the north
Indigo was formerly produced, but the cultivation has been abandoned. Indian corn is the principal grain crop, but corn, beef, and pork are imported from the Western States. There are several cotton-mills, iron-works, and tanneries in Northern Alabama, and some ironworks in Bibb and Shelby. These, with a few saw and grist mills, some salt works, distilleries, potteries, and marble quarries, constitute the only attempts at mechanical operations. The commercial transactions are chiefly managed by northern merchants and foreigners.
5. Government. The legislature is called the General Assembly, and consists of a Senate and House of Representatives. The senators are chosen for 3 years, and one third are renewed each year. The representatives are chosen annually ; their number cannot exceed 100, nor that of the senators one third of the representatives. The governor is chosen for 2 years, and is eligible 4 years out of 6. The right of suffrage is given after one year's residence. The State sends 5 representatives to Congress.
6. Religion. The Baptists and Methodists are the prevailing sects; the Presbyterians, the Catholics, and the Episcopalians are also numerous.
7. Education. The University of Alabama, at Tuscaloosa, was founded in 1820. It has 6 instructers, and 100 students. La Grange College, in the county of Franklin, incorporated in 1830, and Spring Hill College, near Mobile, are useful institutions. There are 24 incorporated academies in the State.
3. History. The southern portion was originally a part of Florida, and the northern was included in Georgia ; the latter was ceded by that State to the United States government, and formed a part of the Mississippi Territory. It was made a territorial government, in 1917, and in 1819 it was admitted into the Union as an independent State. Its increase of population since that period has been very rapid.
CHAPTER XXV. MISSISSIPPI.
1. Boundaries and Extent. Mississippi is bounded north by Tennessee; east by Alabama ; south by the waters of the Mexican Gulf and by Louisiana, and west by Pearl river, separating it from Louisiana, and by the Mississippi, which divides it from Arkansas and Louisiana. It lies between 30? g’ and 35? north latitude and extends from 89° 12' to 91° 40' west longitude. It is about 335 miles in length from north to south, by 150 in breadth, with an area of 49,000 square miles.
2. Face of the Country. The surface in general slopes to the southwest, and to the south, as appears by the course of the rivers. There are no mountains within the limits of the State, but numerous ranges of hills of moderate elevation give to a great part of the surface an undulating and diversified character. Some of the eminences rise abruptly from the bank of a river, or from a level plain, and bear the name of blusss. The western border on the Mississippi is an extensive region of swamps, inundated by the river ; and between the Mississippi and the Yazoo, there is a tract of 170 miles in lengih, by 50 in breadth, with an area of nearly 7,000 square miles, annually overflowed by the former. The southeastern counties are low, but waving, and on the shore of this State, the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, which further west is marshy, first begins to appear solid, dry, and covered with pines.
3. Rivers. The Mississippi washes the western border of the State, and receives the Yazoo, the Big Black River, and the Homochitto from Mississippi. The Yazoo rises in the northern part of the State, and has a course of about 250 miles. The Tombeckbee flows from the
northeastern corner of the State into Alabama. The Pascagoula, which rises in the eastern part, and runs into the bay of the same name, after a course of 260 miles, is navigable for small vessels. The Pearl has its source in the centre of the State, and, taking a southerly course, empties itself into the Rigolets, between Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne. Its navigation is impeded by rafts, shallows, and sandbars.
4. Bays and Islands. Pascagoula Bay, or rather Sound, is 55 miles in length, by S in width, with from 10 to 18 feet of water. It communicates with Mobile Bay by Heron Pass, with Lake Borgne by Christian Pass, and is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by a chain of low, narrow, sandy islands. Biloxi and St. Louis Bays are shallow basins. The Passes or straits admit the passage of vessels drawing 6 feet of water. Lake Borgne lies principally in Louisiana. Ship Island, Cat Island, and Horn Island are sterile banks of sand. 5. Climate.
The winters are several degrees colder than in the Atlantic States of the same latitude, and rarely pass without snow. The summers are long and hot, and long droughts often succeed excessive and protracted rains. Along the rivers, and stagnant waters, it is unhealthy, but the settled districts are in general healthy, though, even in these, bilious complaints prevail in autumn. 6. Soil. The greater proportion of the soil is highly fertile ; the southwestern counties
: contain large tracts of excellent land, and the rivers throughout the State are skirted by belts of a productive soil. The bluff lands are the richest, and the river alluvions are next in point of fertility. Pine barrens constitute a considerable part of the country.
7. Vegetable Productions. The native trees most commonly occurring are the pine, various species of oak and bickory, black walnut, beech, persimon, and locust. Buckeye, which in the valley of the Ohio is a forest tree, is here a dwarf ; dogwood and papaw are also common, but the cane, which formerly abounded, has in a great measure disappeared.
1. Divisions. Mississippi is divided into 56 counties. *
Population at different Periods. 1810 Whites,
309,344 2. Towns. Natchez is the only large town in the State. It stands principally on a bluf',
" or high bank upon the Mississippi, 320 miles above New Orleans, and 300 feet above the common level of the stream. The streets are broad, and some of the public buildings are handsome. The business is chiefly confined to the lower town, and this is the chief place in the State for the shipment of cotton. Great numbers of steamboats and river craft are continually arriving and departing. In the rear of the town, the country is variegated and delightful, and the bills are clothed with woods and vineyards. The opposite bank of the river in Louisiana, is a vast cypress swamp. Natchez is incorporated as a city ; the insalubrity of the climate has somewhat checked its growth. Population, 8,000.
Jackson, on Pearl River, is the seat of government. The situation is central, healthy, and agreeable, and it contains the capitol and penitentiary. Population, 1,200. Monticello, on Pearl River, Woodville, on the Bayou Sara, Port Gibson, on the Bayou Pierre, and Grand
Gulf and Warrenton, on the Mississippi, in the southern part, Columbus on the Tombigbee, and Grenada on the Yalabusha, further north, are considerable places, with from 1,000 to 1,500 inhabitants. Vicksburg, at the Walnut Hills, on the Mississippi, has grown up suddenly within 6 or 8 years, and exports much cotton to New Orleans. Steamboats regularly ply between the two places. It has a remarkably picturesque situation, being seated on the shelving side of several high hills, with the houses scattered about in groups upon the terraces. Population, 4,000.
3. Agriculture. Cotton is the staple of this State, and is raised in every part. Hardly anything else is thought worthy of attention. Sugar-cane has been introduced only in the southern part. Both the climate and soil are adapted to the cultivation of tobacco, maize, sweet potatoes, rice, and indigo. The palma christi, or castor-oil bean is sometimes raised. No planters in the United States derive greater incomes in proportion to their capital than those of Mississippi. The number of laborers on a plantation varies from 20 to 200. The cotton crop exceeds 350,000 bales.
4. Railroads. Several works of public benefit have been undertaken. The Mississippi Railroad, which will extend from Natchez, through Jackson, to Canton in Madison county, a distance of 150 miles, is in progress. The Grand Gulf and Port Gibson Railroad, 8 miles in length, connects the latter with the Mississippi at the former point. The Jackson and Brandon Railroad, 8 miles, unites those towns. The Vicksburg Railroad extends from Vicksburg to Clinton, 35 miles. The Feliciana Railroad extends from Woodville to the Mississippi, at St. Francisville, 30 miles. The Lake Washington and Deer Creek Railroad extends from Princeton on the Mississippi, to the Deer Creek, 20 miles, and its continuation to the Yazoo, 50 miles, is in contemplation. The great projected railroad from New Orleans to Nashville, will traverse the whole length of this State from north to south, through its central portion.
5. Government. The legislature is called the General Assembly, and consists of a Senate and House of Representatives. The senators are chosen for 4 years, one third being renewed every year. The representatives are chosen biennially. The right of suffrage requires one year's residence. Clergymen are excluded from civil offices. Mississippi sends two representatives to Congress.
6. Religion. The Methodists are the most numerous sect, and the Baptists the next so; there are also Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and some Catholics.
7. Education. Jefferson College, at Washington, near Natchez, was established in 1802. It has 6 instructers, and 60 students. Oakland College, at Oakland, founded in 1831, has 100 students, and Mississippi College, at Clinton, about 60. The State has a literary fund, and there are high schools at Natchez, Woodville, and Monticello.
8. History. The French formed a settlement in this State at Natchez, in 1716 ; but the right of the territory was long disputed between the French and the Spanish, and more recently between the French and English. Hardly anything further was done toward the settlement of the country for many years. In 1763, it was ceded to the English, with all the French possessions east of the Mississippi. In 1798, it was erected by the United States into a territorial government, Alabama being included within its limits ; but this latter State was set off from Mississippi in 1817, and Mississippi was, the same year, received into the Union as a State. The constitution was formed in 1817, and revised and amended in 1832.
CHAPTER XXVI. LOUISIANA.
1. Boundaries and Extent. This State is bounded north by Arkansas and Mississippi ; east by Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico ; south by the Gulf, and west by Texas. It lies between 29° and 33° north latitude, and 89° and 94° west longitude. It is 240 miles in length from north to south, and 210 in width, and contains 48,500 square miles.
2. Rivers. The Mississippi flows through this State into the Gulf of Mexico. A full description of this river will be found in the general view of the United States. In this place it may be remarked, that it affords a navigation for ships of any size through the State, and passes to the sea by several outlets. Red River is one of the western tributaries of the Mis
It rises near Santa Fe, in New Mexico, and runs southeasterly in a very meandering course, through immense prairies, and further down through a fertile alluvial tract. It joins the Mississippi 240 miles above New Orleans, after a course of about 1,800 miles. It is a narrow stream, considering its length, but its mass of water is very great. In some places it is divided into 2 or 3 parallel channels, and passes through a series of bayous * and lakes. About 100 miles above Natchitoches, there is a swampy tract upon its banks, 20 or 30 miles in width. In this spot, the river formerly spread into a vast number of channels, and great masses of timber and fallen trees, brought down by the stream, that had been collecting for ages, formed an immense floor or raft upon the surface of the water, 160 miles in extent. In some places, the river could be crossed on horseback, and boats passed down the stream by the bayous and lakes along its border. Willow trees and shrubbery had overgrown the raft, and flourished over the water. Above this rast, the river is broad, deep, and navigable for steamboats, except in the driest seasons, for 700 miles. Below the raft, the river passes through a vast number of channels, bayous, and lakes. The raft was a great impediment to
a navigation, and has been removed at great expense and by persevering efforts for several years, at the charge of the general government, so that large steamboats now eas this place into and beyond Arkansas.
The Washita rises in the Masserne mountains in Arkansas, and, flowing southerly, joins the Red River near its mouth. The Bayou Lafourche is one of the outlets of the Mississippi, forking off from the southwestern side of the river. The Atchafalaya is another on the same side, and leaves the main stream at a higher point, just below the entrance of Red River. This river receives large quantities of the drift wood brought down by the Mississippi, and its surface is covered with a rast, 8 or 10 miles in extent, which is estimated to contain more than 2,000,000 cords of timber. This rises and falls with the stream, and is overgrown with shrubs and flowering plants. A person might cross this raft, without knowing that a river was rolling under his feet. The Sabine rises in Texas, and, flowing south into the Gulf of Mexico, forms the greater part of the western limit of this State.
3. Lakes. In the eastern part are lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, which are united by a narrow strait, called Pass Manchac, and discharge their waters by the Rigolets and Chef Menteur pass into Lake Borgne, a wide bay opening into the Gulf of Mexico. The largest of these lakes is about 40 miles in length, and 30 in width. They are shallow, and in spots where no land is in sight, the bottom may be sounded with an angling rod. There is a deeper channel passing through their centre, which admits of a navigation for schooners. In high winds, these lakes are subject to a very dangerous ground-swell. To the west of the Mississippi, are a great number of small lakes. Some of them are many miles in extent, and others are mere ponds. Most of them communicate with the Mississippi, and receive the overflowings of the stream, which they send off to the sea in a multitude of channels. Many contain groves of cypress trees, growing in the water, among which boats pass, and fish may be taken in the driest seasons. The borders of these lakes are commonly fertile, and the trees are covered with a drapery of long moss. The Chitimachas or Grand Lake, Washita, Mermentau, Colcasiu, and Sabine, in the south, and Catah Hoola, Bistineau, and Caddo in the north, are the principal.
4. Islands. The Chandeleur Islands lie on the eastern coast. They are little more than heaps of sand covered with pine forests, yet some of them are cultivated. West of the Mississippi are many others scattered along the coast. Here is the Island of Barataria, formerly noted as a nest of pirates : it lies in a bay which receives the waters of a lake of the same name. The soil of these islands is generally rich. They are covered with thick groves of the live oak and other trees, and harbor multitudes of deer, turkeys, and other wild game. Most of them are low and level, but others rise from the flat surface around them, in abrupt eminences of 100 feet in height. There are some very fertile islands in the Mississippi.
5. Shores, Inlets, fc. The shores of the Gulf of Mexico are generally low, and bordered by wide marshes. The whole coast is intersected by a chain of bays and inlets, connected with each other by a thousand tortuous channels, generally shallow, and of difficult navigation.
The word bayou seems to be peculiar to this State and nels or natural canals which connect the rivers and lakes, the immediate neighborhood. It is probably a corruption or pass off from the main stream of a river to the sea. of the French boyau, and is generally applied to the chan. More rarely, a small stream or creek is called by this name.
Barataria, Vermilion, Cote Blanche, and Atchafalaya Bays, are the largest, but are of little service for shipping.
6. Climate. What we have said of Florida, and the southern parts of Mississippi and Alabama, will apply in substance to this State. In the level and swampy districts, the summers are unhealthy. The yellow fever is a frequent visiter of these parts, particularly in the neighborhood of New Orleans.
7. Soil. A great part of the surface of this State is periodically overflowed by the waters of the Mississippi. From a survey, made by order of the government of the United States, in 1825, it was found that the river inundated an extent of above 5,000,000 acres, a great proportion of which is rendered unfit for cultivation in its present state. This immense alluvial tract embraces soil of various descriptions, which may be arranged into four classes. The first, which is thought to be equal to two thirds of the whole, is covered with heavy timber, and an almost impenetrable undergrowth of cane and other shrubbery. This portion is quickly drained, as the river retires into its natural channels, and has a soil of the greatest fertility. The second class consists of cypress swamps. These are basins, or depressions of the surface, from which there is no natural outlet, and being filled with water by the floods, remain covered with it until the water is evaporated or absorbed by the earth. These, by draining, might become excellent rice fields. The third class embraces the sea marsh, a belt of land partially covered by common tides, but subject to inundation from the high waters of the gulf during the equinoxial gales ; it is generally without timber. The soil in some parts is clayey, and in
. others, as black as ink, and cracks by the heat of the sun into fissures wide enough to admit a man's arm. The fourth class consists of small bodies of prairie lands, dispersed in different parts of the alluvial territory. These spots are elevated, and without timber, but of great fertility.
The pine woods have generally a poor soil. The interval lands upon the rivers or bottoms, as they are universally termed in the Western States, are almost always rich. On the Red River, the soil contains a portion of salt, and is of a dark-red color, from the oxide of iron. A great proportion of the prairies are second-rate land, and some of them are sterile. The richest tract in the State, is a narrow belt called the coast, lying along the Mississippi on both sides, and extending from 150 miles above New Orleans, to 40 miles below. It is from 1 to 2 miles wide, and lies below the level of the river in ordinary inundations. It is defended from the river by a dike or levee, 6 or 8 feet in height, and sufficiently wide for a highway. The whole of this tract is under cultivation, and produces the richest crops of sugar.
8. Face of the Country. Three fourths of the State are an unvaried level. In the western part, are some ranges of low hills. The pine forests occupy an undulating surface, sometimes with table eminences and valleys, 30 or 40 feet deep. Swamps abound towards the sea. On the whole, Louisiana presents the appearance of an immense plain, divided into pine forests, prairies, alluvions, swamps, and hickory and oak lands. The prairies are the most remarkable feature of the country, and occupy a great portion of its surface. The prairie of the Attakapas, in the southern part, west of the Mississippi, contains 4,000 or 5,000 square miles. It is an immense plain of grass, pasturing cattle and horses, and supporting a large population. This plain is open to the gulf, and fanned by the refreshing breezes of the sea.
Further west, is the Opelousas prairie, containing about 8,000 square miles. It is divided by bayous, wooded spots, and other natural boundaries, with a pine forest on the north, and the gulf on the south. It contains cotton and indigo plantations, vast flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle. Sull further west, are the Sabine and Calcasiu prairies ; but these are only different names given to the long extent of prairie which reaches to the Mexican frontier. They are generally, to appearance, a fruitful level, yet have slight undulations, and an imperceptible slope towards the gulf. On the shore they terminate in marshes, covered with tall cane-grass. In many parts of them, are oases of timbered land, which exhibit clumps and towers of verdure, rising from the midst of an ocean of grass. Wherever a stream crosses the prairie, it is marked with a fringe of trees along its whole course.