CHAP. XXIV.

 

A short geographical description of the province and additional view of its

present state.

 

To be very particular on this head, comes not within our design; nor will

it perhaps be a matter of much expectation, as the present state of trade

carried on chiefly through the provinces New-York and Pennsylvania, seems

but little calculated to draw attention from abroad; but the situation of

the province, as lying directly in the concourse between the places

aforesaid, renders it almost as well known to strangers resorting there.

 

New-Jersey lying about 75 degrees west longitude from London, is bounded

on the west and south-west by Delaware river and bay, on the south-east

and east by the Atlantick ocean; the sound, which separates Staten Island

1 from the continent, and Hudson's river on the north, by a line as yet

unsettled, to be run from the river last mentioned, in the latitude of 40

degrees to the northerly branch of Delaware, in latitude of 41 degrees 40

minutes, which line is to be the boundary with New York on that side. The

greatest length of New-Jersey from north to south, that is from Cape-May,

in the latitude of 39 degrees to the north Station Point, in the latitude

41 degrees 40 minutes at 69 miles to a degree, is 184 miles. Its greatest

breadth is about 60 miles; but supposing it on an average 150 in length

and 50 broad, the whole province must then contain 4,800,000 acres; of

which at least one-fourth, (probably more) is poor barren land, in respect

to tillage; but in part abounding with pines 2 and cedars, and some few

tracts of swamp, that will make meadow. It is supposed, that West-Jersey

contains the greatest quantity of acres, and in return took the most

barren land. East-Jersey, now 1765, is supposed to have located nearly 468,

000 acres good land, and 96,000 acres of pine land.3 The proprietors of

West-Jersey, soon after their arrival, divided among them, 500,000 acres,

which they call the first dividend; since which, at different times, they

have issued directions for each proprietor's taking his part of four other

dividends of the like quantity, amounting in the whole, with allowance of

five per cent. for roads, to 2,625,000 acres, conjectured by many to be

full as much land as the division contains; of this the far greater part

is already surveyed; what yet remains are chiefly the rights of minors and

people abroad.

 

Delaware river, from the head of Cushietunk, tho' not obstructed with

falls, has not been improved to any inland navigation, by reason of the

thinness of the settlements that way: From Cushietunk to Trenton falls,

are fourteen considerable rifts, yet all passable in the long flat boats 4

used in the navigation of these parts, some carrying 500 or 600 bushels of

wheat. The greatest number of the rifts are from Easton downward; and

those fourteen miles above Easton, another just below Wells's ferry, and

that at Trenton, are the worst. The boats seldom come down but with

freshes, especially from the Minisinks: The freight thence to

Philadelphia, is eight pence a bushel for wheat, and three shillings a

barrel for flour: From the forks, and other places below, twenty shillings

a tun for pig iron, seven pence a bushel for wheat, two shillings and six

pence a barrel for flour. This river above Trenton, has no branches worth

mentioning, for conveniency of navigation.5

 

Though the province boundary on the ocean, is extensive, the harbours for

large shipping are but few, and, except Sandy-Hook, mostly inconvenient,

occasioned by a great extent of salt meadows, swamps and marshes, and being

exposed to the N.E. winds; this disadvantage is however amply supplied by

the Delaware and Hudson's river.

 

Almost the whole extent of the province adjoining on the Atlantick, is

barrens, or nearly approaching it; yet there are scattering settlements

all along the coast, the people subsisting in great part by raising cattle

in the bog, undrained meadows and marshes, and selling them to graziers,

and cutting down the cedars; these were originally plenty of both the

white and red sorts: The towring retreat of the former have afforded many

an asylum for David's men of necessity:6 They are now much work'd out:

Another means of subsistence along the coast, is the plenty of fish and

oysters, these are carried to New-York and Philadelphia markets. It is

thought, no inconsiderable whale-fishery might be form'd there; on the

banks the New-England men frequently fish with success. The barrens or

poor land, generally continues from the sea up into the province, thirty

miles or more, and this nearly the whole extent from east to west; so that

there are many thousand acres, that will never serve much of the purposes

of agriculture; consequently when the pines and cedars are generally gone

(they are so already in many places) this will not be of much value. This

excepted, and what of the same sort may be here and there intermixed in

other parts of the province, the lands in general (perhaps something

better than two thirds of the whole) are good, and bear wheat, barley, or

any thing else suitable to the climate, to perfection. As the province has

very little foreign trade on bottoms of its own, the produce of all kinds

for sale, go chiefly to New-York and Philadelphia; much of it is there

purchased for markets abroad; but some consumed among themselves. The

inhabitants as to dress and manners, form themselves much after the

neighbouring provinces; the western, about as far as the tide flows up

Delaware, those of Pennsylvania; the remainder, those of New-York. The

political state of the province may be described in a few words; harmony

reigns in a considerable degree, in all branches of the legislature; the

publick business is consequently dispatched with ease, and at a small

expence. Thus much in the general: Next for the counties; of these there

are thirteen: Their respective wealth on a comparison with each other, may

be collected from the proportions fixed by act of Assembly, on a .25,000

tax, 1764.

 

MIDDLESEX, .2,265: 17: 09 3/4

MONMOUTH, 3,285: 16: 10 1/2

ESSEX, 1,946: 8: 04

SOMERSET, 2,791: 7: 01

BERGEN, 1,647: 9: 08 1/4

BURLINGTON, 3,125: 9: 05 3/4

GLOUCESTER, 1,954: 10: 02 1/2

SALEM, 1,746: 7: 03 1/2

CAPE-MAY, 417: 14: 08 1/2

HUNTERDON, 3,544: 7: 11

MORRIS AND SUSSEX,* 1,389: 1: 08 1/4

CUMBERLAND, 885: 9: 03 1/4

 

*Sussex being the frontier county, and but lately settled, pays but a small

proportion.

 

The number of inhabitants in 1738, were said to be: 47,369. In 1745: 61,403

 

The increase in seven years: 14,034

 

Supposing the increase to be nearly the same since, the number now, 1765,

must be about 100,000.

 

The increase of some of the counties in West-Jersey, between 1699 and 1745,

was found to be more than six for one; the proportion of strangers

arriving since, is not the same; but the natural increase must be far

greater.

 

The counties are several of them mark'd by productions, differing in some

respects from each othe; and when distinguished, may perhaps bear the

following general description.

 

Eastern Division.

 

MIDDLESEX

 

First ascertain'd a county by act of general assembly, in the proprietor's

time 1682, had its boundaries particularly fixd by subsequent acts, in

1709 and 1713. See laws of the province, vol. 1., p. 13, 40, 41.

 

In this county lies the city of Perth-Amboy, on a point of land, which

divides the river Rariton, and Arthur Kull sound. It takes its name Perth

from James Drummond, one of the proprietors, and earl of Perth, and Amboy

from Ambo, in Indian a point. The situation for a sea trade, as lying open

to Sandy-Hook,7 whence vessels may arrive almost any weather in one tide

from the sea, and find a safe commodious harbour, capacious enough to

contain many large ships, is allow'd to be as good a port as most on the

continent; yet by a fatality attending almost every attempt for trade in

the province, the endeavours at this have been hitherto with no great

success; tho' they have a sea trade, and export to foreign markets, yet

not as might be expected from the advantages of situation: The land lies

high and dry, in a good air: The Scots proprietors were indefatigable to

improve it; but found up-hill work; yet effected a considerable

settlement: The best part of the country 'round has water carriage to New-

York. The legislature, by early stipulation of the proprietors and

inhabitants, meet here and at Burlington, alternately, to accommodate each

division, particularly those in each towards the extremities of this long-

extended province: In the same manner the supreme courts of judicature for

the province were fixed: Here the courts for the county of Middlesex are

held; here also the general proprietors for East-Jersey always meet, and

have lately erected a large and elegant house. [See Chap. IX, above] In

this county also up the Rariton, lies the city of New-Brunswick,8 well

built, but the situation low, tho' high ground adjoining; the county

besides contains several villages, as Woodbridge, including Raway,

Piscataway, Cranbury and Princeton; in the last is situate the New-Jersey

college, a handsome capacious building:9 The college was first founded by

charter from president Hamilton, and enlarged by governor Belcher, in

1747; at his death he left it a considerable donation of books. The land

in this county is in part very rich, and affords beef, sheep, some pork,

most sorts of grain, and smaller articles; besides staves, firewood, and

other lumber, for exportation and New-York market. A general idea may be

form'd of the religion of the inhabitants, by the houses for worship; of

these, the episcopalians in this county have five, presbyterians seven,

quakers four, baptists two, seventh-day baptists one, low Dutch calvinists

one.

 

MONMOUTH

 

Boundaries by act of assembly, passed in 1709, begins at the mouth of a

creek that parted lands originally belonging to Andrew Bowne and George

Willocks; thence following Middlesex, to the line dividing the eastern and

western division of the province; thence southerly along this line to the

sea; thence along the sea to the point of Sandy-Hook, and thence up the

bay to the creek aforesaid: It contains the villages of Shrewsbury,

Middletown, Freehold, and Allen-Town: The courts for the county business,

are held at Freehold. The lands in Shrewsbury, Middletown, and part of

Freehold, are mostly remarkably good; they raise grain, beef, sheep,

butter, cheese, and other produce for New-York market. At the high lands

of Navesink, the New-York merchants have lately erected a commodious light

house, for the security of navigation. The houses for worship in this

county, are, presbyterians six, episcopalians four, quakers three,

baptists four.

 

ESSEX

 

Had its boundaries fixed by act of assembly, in 1709, but altered in 1741.

Laws of the province, vol. 1., p. 12, 274. It contains the well-settled

towns of Elizabeth and Newark;10 in the latter the courts for the county

are held; in the former those for the ancient borough: This being an old

settled county, and good land, is consequently full of inhabitants: their

plantatious are too high in value, to be generally large; their

improvements greater than in many other parts; they raise wheat, beef,

sheep, and generally what is common from good land; part is carried

to New-York market, and part exported in bottoms of their own: Of places

for worship, the presbyterians have seven, episcopalians three, baptists

one, Dutch calvinists two.

 

SOMERSET

 

Was divided from Middlesex by a proprietary law, in 1688, and then named;

its boundaries were again limited in the act of 1709, but altered by other

acts in 1713 and 1741. Vol. 1 of laws p. 12, 40, 274. It adjoins to

Middlesex on the north, the rest on Essex, Morris and Hunterdon: In it is

the village of Bound-Brook: The land is rich, and being early settled by

the industrious low Dutch, and a few others, much improved. Wheat is the

staple of the county, of which they raise large quantities; they send

their flour down Rariton river, to New-York; and near Brunswick, running

under the river Rariton, is a copper mine, but not yet very profitable. In

this county lies the Rocky-Hill mines: Here also at Baskin-ridge, is the

seat of William Alexander, earl of Stirling; his improvements for taste

and expence, promise more than any thing of the kind hitherto effected in

the province. Of houses for worship, the English presbyterians have three,

low Dutch reformed ditto, five, Dutch lutheran one, baptists one.

 

The Dutch of the calvinistical plan of Holland, in the eastern parts of

this province, were very insignificant, and only supplied by their

ministers from New York and Long-Island, twice or thrice a year, (except

Hackinsack, who had one Burtolf settled among them) until about the year

1719, when those of Somerset, Middlesex, and part of Hunterdon, jointly

applied to Holland for a minister, from whence came Theodorus Jacobus

Freelinghausen, who officiated among them, and was the chief means of

establishing several congregations in those parts: Since which the number

of their ministers is increased to fourteen or fifteen in the eastern

division; and each of them do for the most part supply two or three

different congregations.

 

BERGEN.

 

By the act of 1709, is bounded from Constable-Hook, along the bay and

Hudson's river, to the partition point between New-Jersey and New-York;

thence along the partition line between the said provinces, and the

division line of East and West-Jersey, to Pequaneck river; thence down

that and Passaick river to the sound; and thence to the place first named:

Its situation on Hudson's river, opposite and adjacent to New-York, opens

an advantageous intercourse with that market; their lands are generally

good for grass, wheat, or any other grain. The Schuylers have here two

large parks for deer. The inhabitants of the county, being the descendants

of the low Dutch or Hollanders, that originally settled there 11 under the

Dutch title, preserve the religion of their ancestors, and worship after

the manner of the reformed churches in the united provinces; in principle

presbyterians, yet in subordination to the classis of Amsterdam: Their

language in general, bears the Dutch accent; nor have they forgot the

customs of Holland: They have of houses for worship, Dutch calvinists

seven, Dutch lutherans two. In this county are the Schuylers mines.

Sixteen miles above Newark in Essex, on the opposite side of Second-River,

in Bergen, is the remarkable Passaick falls, the precipice from the

highest part of the rock, is supposed to be about seventy feet

perpendicular. In this county was born the late famous Col. Peter

Schuyler, who died in 1762, aged about fifty-two years: He was a younger

son of Aarent Schuyler, the discoverer and first owner of the mines above-

mentioned. He had the command of the province troops, against the French

of Canada, in divers campaigns, in the two last wars; and by the best

judges of military merit, was allowed to rank high in that character: He

had qualities besides, that greatly recommended him to his acquaintance,

being of a frank, open behaviour, of an extensive generosity and humanity,

and unwearied in his endeavours to accomplish whatever appeared of service

to his country: He was taken at Oswego, when that post was given up to the

French, and long detained a prisoner in Canada; where having letters of

credit, he kept open house for the relief of his fellow sufferers, and

advanced large sums to the Indians, in the French interest, for the

redemption of captives; many of whom he afterwards, at his own expence,

maintained whilst there, and provided for their return; trusting to their

abilities and honour for repayment, and lost considerable that way; but

seemed to think it money well bestowed: As to person he was of a tall

hardy make, rather rough at a first view, yet a little acquaintance

discovered a bottom of sincerity, and that he was ready to every kind

office in his power: In conversation he was above artifice or the common

traffick of forms, yet seemed to enjoy friendship with its true relish;

and in all relations what he seemed to be, he was. Matth. vii. 20.

 

Western Division

 

BURLINGTON

 

For the first boundaries and settlement of this county, see Chap. VI.,

above. It was limited by the act of 1709, and afterwards curtailed by

another act, Vol. I of Laws, p. 41.

 

The city of Burlington 12 was laid out in 1677 and early incorporated; but

the charter now in being; was granted by governor Cosby: The Delaware

before it about a mile broad, forms a convenient bason for shipping; its

situation for trade is good; but eclipsed by the growing advantages of its

opulent neighbour, the city Philadelphia.13 The land and air is good:

Where the houses chiefly stand, is an island, with two entrances on

causeways, and a quantity of drain'd meadows adjoining; but long

experience has proved them not unhealthy: The courts for the county are

held here; the legislature of the province meet alternately at Amboy

and here; the supreme courts are held in the same manner: The council

chosen by the general proprietors of West-Jersey to transact their

business, always meet here. [See Chap. XI., above] In this place is also a

promising library, the contributors are incorporated by charter: Besides

the town aforesaid, there are two others; ten mile further up Delaware, is

Borden Town, founded by Joseph Borden; on a branch of Northampton or

Rankokas river, is Bridge Town, or Mount Holly:14 In this county also are

the villages of Kingsbury, Crosswicks, New-Hanover and Chester, or Moores-

Town: The arable land is generally but indifferent; yet interspersed with

quantities of good meadow, renders them profitable: Pork is the staple; of

which a large quantity is raised for the West-India market, and has

deservedly gained reputation through all the islands: Beef, mutton,

cheese, butter, &c. are carried to Philadelphia markets: Very little hemp

or flax is raised in this county, or indeed through the province, the

inhabitants contented with a little (very little in some places) for their

own use, have generally reserved their gains on other productions, for

purchasing their chief supply of these and woollen articles of European

manufacture; labour is thought too high to increase it much, and the

climate not so favourable as in some other places. In this county are the

Indian settlements of Brotherton and Weekpink: [See Chap. XXIII., above.]

Of places for worship, the people called quakers have fifteen,

episcopalians two, baptists one, presbyterians one.

 

GLOUCESTER

 

First laid out in 1677, had its boundaries ascertained by the act of 1709,

beginning at the mouth of Pensawkin creek; thence up the same to the fork

thereof; thence along the line of Burlington county to the sea; thence

along the sea-coast to great Egg-Harbour river; thence up that river to

the fork; thence up the southermost and greatest branch of the same to its

head; thence upon a direct line to the head of Oldman's creek; thence down

the same to Delaware river; thence up that river to the place of

beginning. Its situation opposite and contiguous to Philadelphia, gives

great opportunities to make the most of the productions of the county at

that market; tho' their uplands as to the general are poor, the meadows

are good and improve fast: they raise beef, pork, mutton, butter, cheese,

&c. They have three villages, Gloucester, Haddonfield 15 and Woodbury; at

the first the courts for the county are held. Of houses for worship, the

people called quakers have seven, the presbyterians five, episcopalians

one, Sweeds lutheran one, baptists one, moravians one.

 

SALEM

 

Named by John Fenwick, and distinguished by his tenth, in 1675: The name

and jurisdiction settled by a proprietary law, 1694: The boundaries were

fixed in 1709, but altered by act of assembly, in 1747. Vol. I of laws, p.

14, 361. Their lands and meadows are rich, and productions of any kind,

natural to the climate, plenty: The chief they raise are beef, sheep,

pork, butter, cheese, and grain, for exportation. It being an old

settlement, the improvements are considerable as to plantations: The

county business is transacted at the town of Salem, which formerly sent

two members to the general assembly; but in 1727, these were given to

Hunterdon, and their right of choice suspended 'till two additional

members were added to the eastern division. Places for worship are, quakers

four, episcopalians two, Dutch lutheran one, presbyterians three, baptists

two.

 

CUMBERLAND

 

So named by governor Belcher, in respect to the duke of Cumberland; it was

divided from Salem by act of assembly in 1747, and the boundaries fixed,

(see Vol. I., of laws, p. 361.) the land is mostly poor; but they have

good meadows and marshes; being a new settled county, these are not yet

greatly improved; they raise cattle and sheep for graziers; the courts are

held at Cohansick creek 16 or Hopewell. In this county besides is the

village of Greenwich: They join with Salem in the choice of two

representatives: Places for worship are, episcopalians one, presbyterians

four, baptists two, seventh day baptists one, quakers one.

 

CAPE-MAY

 

Was first made a county by a proprietary law im 1692; by another in 1694,

had its boundaries better ascertained; and by the act of 1709, they were

fixed to remain, beginning at the mouth of a small creek, on the west side

of Stipson's island, called Jecah's creek, up the said creek as high as

the tide floweth; thence along the bounds of Salem, now Cumberland county,

to the southernmost main branch, of great Egg-Harbour river; thence down

the said river to the sea; thence along the sea-coast to Delaware bay;

thence up the bay to the place of beginning; the land is generally poor,

but the adjoining salt marshes serve to breed cattle and horses; these

with the red cedar beaches, and fish and oysters, with which the coast

abounds, afford the inhabitants an easy maintenance; the county is divided

into three precincts; the presbyterians have a place for worship in the

first; the baptists in the second; the quakers in the third, being that

next to the sea.

 

HUNTERDON

 

Was divided from Burlington by act of assembly, in 1713, and named by

governor Hunter; the boundaries were then fixed, but altered in 1738. (See

Vol. I., of laws, p. 41, 250.) It is situate along the Delaware, above the

tide, and tho' one of the later settlements, is the most populous and

opulent county in the province. The land is generally good for tillage;

wheat, the staple; their flour is carried to New-York and Philadelphia

markets: The courts are held at Trenton, a place of concourse and lively

trade: It stands at the head of the tide, and in a high pleasant

situation; the inhabitants have a public library. In this county resides

John Reading, Esq; late president of the council, and twice commander in

chief on the deaths of the governors Morris and Belcher: The counties of

Morris and Sussex join Hunterdon in the choice of two representatives. Of

places for worship, the presbyterians have nine, the low Dutch ditto one,

German ditto one, episcopalians three, quakers two, baptists two.

 

MORRIS

 

Was made a county in 1738; and the boundaries then established by law; but

altered by the separation of Sussex, in 1753. (Laws, Vol. I., p. 253.;

Vol. II., p. 20.) It was named by governor Morris, after his family: This,

for a late settled county, is populous: The courts are held at Morris-

Town: They raise grain and cattle chiefly for New-York market, and cut

large quantities of timber of various sorts for exportation: In this

county resides Peter Kemble, Esq; president of the council. The places for

worship in this county, are, presbyterians nine, lutherans one,

anabaptists one, quakers one, separatists one, rogereens one.

 

SUSSEX

 

Was named by governor Belcher, after the duke of New-Castle's seat in

Sussex: It was divided from Morris by act of assembly, in 1753, and

bounded by the mouth of Muskonetkong, where it empties itself into the

Delaware, and running up that river to the head of the great pond; thence

north-east, to the line that divides New-York and New-Jersey; thence along

the said line to Delaware; thence down the same to the place of beginning.

It being the newest county, and a frontier,17 it is not much improved, and

has but few inhabitants: It lies towards the head of Delaware; about

fifteen miles was exposed to the Indians in the late wars, and fortified

by a frontier guard, and several block-houses, at provincial expence. The

courts for the county are held at Hairlocker's plantation, where a new

court-house is lately built: Near the river lies the noted Paoqualin hill,

being part of the continental chain or ridge, called the blue mountains,

supposed to contain valuable ore: Between that and the river, is low

intervale excellent land, containing a few plantations. This county raises

some wheat, pork and cattle, for New-York and Philadelphia markets, and

cuts lumber: It contains of low Dutch presbyterian meeting houses five,

baptists two, German lutherans one, quakers one.

 

Of COURTS.

 

These are: First, chancery; Second, the governor and council; Third, the

prerogative court, relating to the probate of wills, and granting letters

of administration on intestates effects; Fourth, courts of vice admiralty;

Fifth, supream courts held four times a year, alternately at Burlington

and Amboy, and circularly through the counties generally once a year, or

oftener if occasion; Sixth, the sessions, and court of common pleas, for

business in the respective counties; Seventh, the justices court, for

trial of causes of six pounds and under, in a summary way, these causes

are not allowed to be legally decided by a single justice at a tavern, the

act expressly barring against it; for debts above forty shillings, a jury

of six is allowed, if desired. The governor is chancellor. The present

justices of the supream court are: Frederick Smyth, Esq; chief justice,

salary one hundred and fifty pounds per annum; Charles Read, Esq; second

justice, salary fifty pounds per annum; John Berrien, Esq, third justice,

salary fifty pounds per annum. Ten pounds is allowed for each of the

circuit courts, to the judge holding the same. All the courts are

established in virtue of the royal commission; none (except the six pound

court) by act of assembly: The common law is in use as in England: The

customs and rules of legislation, and practices of the courts, are as near

as may be, in the English model; the latter is thought to be as much so,

by good judges, as that of any other colony: Appeals for sums above two

hundred pounds sterling, lie home, after having gone through the courts

here. Vid. 86th instruction, above.

 

Method of appealing from the plantations, to the king in council, by Sir

Dudley Ryder, attorney general, afterwards L. C. J. of England:

 

"You are to bring your cause to trial, in the chief court or jurisdiction

for trial thereof; and if judgment shall be there given against you, then

by your attorney, you are to appeal in open court, within fourteen days,

to his majesty in council from the said judgment; and you are to obtain an

entry thereof in the register of the court, at the same time offering

security to prosecute such your appeal before his majesty in council,

within twelve months, and to abide by his majesty's determination in

council therein: You are also to obtain authentick copies, under the

publick seal of the province, of all papers and evidences produc'd in your

trial, and of all entries, records thereupon; which being done, you are

within twelve months, to have the same transmitted here, and to petition

his majesty in council, setting forth the whole matter, and pray to be

heard thereupon: But in case you shall be refused in the province to be

admitted to appeal; you are then likewise to petition his majesty in

council, setting forth the whole matter, and to pray, that your appeal may

be admitted there; where, upon his majesty's admitting your appeal, you

are to give security as before, and order will be then given for admitting

the said appeal, and for the transmitting hither authentick copies of the

papers and records, under the publick seal of the province, in order to

the hearing all parties thereupon."

 

Of BEASTS.

 

The wild beasts, birds and fish, are those common to the rest of the

continent; some of the colonies have much greater variety: Of the first,

the panther, deer, bear, woolf, wild-cat, fox red and grey, raccoon, otter

and a few beaver, are the chief: Old settled places have but few of those

most voracious; the small tribe of squirrels, rabbits, minks, ground-hogs,

&c. are numerous: The deer in every county are plentier than one would

expect; they breed but once a year, with two at a time; great numbers are

destroyed by traps 18 and hunting, and by panthers, wild-cats, and

sometimes wolves; the way the two first take to effect it, may be known by

an instance near Crosswicks, 1748: An Indian hunting, discovered a large

buck feeding, creeping to shoot, he heard something among the bushes,

presently saw a panther with his eyes so intent on the buck, that he did

not perceive him: the Indian watching his motions, observed, that while

the buck had his head down to feed, the panther crept, but when he held it

up, lay snug; he at last got unperceiv'd, within about twenty feet, and

then making a desperate leap, fixed his talons in the buck's neck; after

he had nearly kill'd him, he would cease for a minute, give a watchful

look 'round, and then fall to shaking again; having done his work, and

about to draw the carcass to a heap of leaves for future service, the

Indian shot, and got both: They sometimes take their prey by suddenly

jumping out of trees; so the wild-cats also commonly effect it; these fix

on young cattle so eagerly, as to be sometimes brought home on their backs:

Some instances of the wolves killing deer, have been known; tho' but

seldom, and chiefly by accident: The bucks also kill one another in

fighting, by entangling in the horns, and so die and rot; they have been

taken alive so fasten'd, and the horns of others found: The deer are

sometimes white, and sometimes spotted nearly like the common colour of

fauns; but these are rare; brown is the usual colour. The rattle-snake, as

the country settles thick, are but little known; many old inhabitants have

never seen them alive: The mischief they have yet done, is inconsiderable,

their power and opportunities considered: This is remarkable; they have an

astonishing charm,19 in their eyes; the venom of their bite is perhaps

without comparison; yet their power is happily circumscribed in a way the

most effectual, that is, by not having a will to mischief equal to the

means, otherwise there would, in some places, scarcely have been any

living among them; at least before antidotes were discovered by the

Indians: Formerly they were thick and plenty in particular places; and yet

in the new settled parts, are common, especially in the spring, when from

their winter's retreat, they prepare for a summer's separation: A

surveyor, with his eye on a distant object unawares among a parcel of

these, one would think in a poor situation; yet an instance of this but

lately happened: He had taken a long view in the spring on the south of a

hill, and keeping his eye to the object, without attending so much to his

feet, was first alarmd with a smell rank and disagreeable, and then an

unusual noise, on which, looking about, he saw the leaves in motion, and

woods alive with rattle-snakesl;20 he got off by care in his steps,

without harm. They choose for winter, the sunny side of hills, among

rocks, where these can be had, or holes under trees, and in springy warm

places: There have been dug up in their torpid state, different sort of

snakes interwoven among one another, in great regularity, with their heads

uniformly sticking out at the top: They obtain much of their food by

striking a terror with their rattle at first, and then catching the eye of

the frighted object. "It is commonly said, that this (the rattle) is a

kind contrivance of divine providence, to give warning to passengers, by

the noise which this part makes, when the creature moves, to keep out of

the way of its mischief; now this is a mistake. It is beyond all dispute,

that wisdom and goodness shine forth in all the works of the creation; but

the contrivance here is of another kind than is imagined.

 

"All the parts of animals are made either for the preservation of the

individual, or for the propagation of its species; this before us is for

the service of the individual: This snake lives chiefly upon squirrels 21

and birds, which a reptile can never catch without the advantage of some

management to bring them within its reach; the way is this; the snake

creeps to the foot of a tree, and by shaking his rattle, awakens the little

creatures which are lodged in it; they are so frightened at the sight of

their enemy, who fixes his lively piercing eyes upon one or other of

them, that they have no power to get away, but leap about from bough to

bough, 'till they are quite tired, and at last falling to the ground, they

are snapped into his mouth. This is by the people of the country called

charming the squirrels and birds. It must likewise be observed, that this

snake does not make any noise with its rattle, in the common motions of

its body.

 

"There is something like this in the lion's hunting for his food; the

hungry tyrant, by his terrible roaring in the woods, rouses the lesser

beasts out of their holes; they running about in fright and surprise, are

easily seized, and become a prey to his devouring jaws.

 

"And I have myself seen, upon a hawks settling upon a tree in a garden,

the little birds all about it, so struck with fear, that though they

could fly backwards and forwards, for some little distance, yet they have

not been able to get away from the ravenous destroyer."21

 

Though the use of the rattle seems principally designed for procuring

food, it has certainly been the means of preservation in respect to

mankind; as that alarm is frequently known to warn the unsuspecting

traveller of imminent danger; that the fascinations of their eye is

necessary to their existence, seems beyond a doubt; inactive and sluggish

by nature, they have but little other probable means, and have been seen

and kill'd in the act even with foxes detained in this manner.23 No

instance occurs of their hunting men, unless first disturbed; then indeed

they seldom fail. Very lately near Burlington, a mower without stockings,

drawing a foot, so as to touch one, as he lay coiled; among the grass, he

bit him behind the ancle; the first notice the man had, was feeling

something prick in that spot; on which turning his head, he saw the snake;

another in company immediately killed him, and fetching salt, that

applied, prevented the venom spreading much higher than the knee; he

afterwards used sweet oil, and the Seneca rattle-snake root; the last he

thought the most effectual: He got well in a few days; a small scar

remained.

 

Thomas Budd, a proprietor and settler in West-Jersey, in a pamphlet,

published about 1686, says, "The rattle snakes are easily discovered; they

commonly lie in the paths, for benefit of the sun; if any person draws

nigh them, they shake their tail, on which the rattles grow; this makes a

noise like a child's rattle: I never heard of but one person bitten in

Pennsylvania or New-Jersey; he was helped by live chickens slit asunder

and applied to the place, which drew out the poison: As to other snakes,

the most plentiful are the black snake; its bite 'tis said, does no more

harm than the prick of a pin.

 

The wampum snake is very large, of a black and white colour; but harmless.

The horn or horned snake is scarce, and but few have seen them, whence

many, especially abroad, have doubted there being any such: A person of

credit in Gloucester county, being in the woods not long since, and

approaching a place where his dog was uncommonly barking, discovered a

very large snake, and trying to kill it, an intollerable stench prevented

his getting near enough; at length he threw a club at a venture, and going

next day to see the effect, found the snake killed: It was uncommonly long

and thick, and had a horn at the end of his tail, resembling a cock's

spur. It is said they strike this horn even into trees, and kill them. A

person of credit now living in Burlington county, also relates, that he

has seen four, kill'd three of these snakes,24 one of them were six or

seven feet long: As to colour, they are chequered with a yellowish brown

and white, and when disturbed, hiss like a goose. These particular

instances were here preferred to a more general account, as more likely to

contribute towards putting their existence out of dispute. The viper and

many other snakes abound also; but none remarkable enough to require a

particular description here.

 

Of FISH.

 

These in great variety, are plenty along the coast, in the Delaware and the

north river; the most noted are, sturgeon, rock, cod, sheeps-head, horse-

mackrel, black-fish, sea-bass, flounders, shad, herrings, munches, trout,

pike, perch, red perch, sun-fish, many inferior sorts; besides, oysters,

clams, and other shell fish: Most of these supply in great part the New-

York and Philadelphia markets: The sturgeon are plenty up the rivers, and

when more generally manufactured will probably answer well in remittances.

It is said they will grow fat in ponds, and live through the winter.

 

BIRDS

 

Of these there are great plenty as the wild turkey, wild geese, wild ducks

of many kinds, wild pigeons, brant, pheasants, heath-hen, partridges,

larks, wood-cocks, plovers, snipes, kildees, and great variety of other

small birds, a few storkes and cranes, many herons, hawks, turkey-

buzzards, crows, and all other birds of prey common to the continent: The

wild geese, in autumn, flock to the marshes on the sea shore, and are

often kill'd by gunners; in the spring they return to breed at the

northern lakes. The wild pigeons, at three or four seasons in the year,

commonly pay a visit (except in seed time) generally acceptable: They have

not been observed of late years so plenty as formerly; they then,

sometimes, to avoid the north-east storms, flew night and day, and thick

enough to darken the air, and break trees where they settled, and were

more tame and more wanted; all which made them an article of consequence

to the early inhabitants: The Indians, before the European settlements,

used every year regularly to burn the woods, the better to kill deer; the

manner was to surround a swamp or cripple with fire, then drive the deer

out, who not daring over the bounds, were easily kill'd with bows and

arrows; this practice kept the woods clean, so that the pigeons readily got

acorns, which then not being devour'd by hogs, were plenty almost every

where, and induced a return more frequently than now: They breed chiefly

to the northward.

 

1 Or if we include that island still on the Atlantick; but New-York hath

it in possession, tho' from situation it seems apparently intended a part

of New-Jersey.

 

2 Chiefly the pitch pine.

 

3 Good rights in East-Jersey, now 1765, sell at 20s. proc. per acre, Pine

ditto, 10s. proc. per acre; Rights in West-Jersey, at the same time, sell

from 10l. to 12l. per hundred acres.

 

4 These boats are made like troughs, square above the heads and sterns,

sloping a little fore and aft, generally 40 or 50 feet long, 6 or 7 feet

wide, and 2 feet 9 inches, or 3 feet deep, and draw 20 or 22 inches of

water when laden.

 

5 Analysis of the map of the middle colonies, by L. Evans.

 

6 I Samuel xxii, 2.

 

7 This took its name from its shape; not far from the land at Middletown,

it winds like a hook, the shore and bottom sandy.

 

8 Here is a publick library.

 

9 For a view, see New American Mag., 1759, p. 104.

 

10 At each of those towns is a publick library.

 

11 See above.

 

12 Four miles from hence, a recluse person who came a stranger has existed

alone, near twelve years, in a thick wood; through all the extremities of

the seasons, under cover of a few leaves, supported by the side of an old

log, and put together in the form of a small oven, not high or long enough

to stand upright or lie extended; he talks Dutch, but unintelligibly,

either through design, or from defect in his intellects, 'tis hard to tell

which; whence he came or what he is, no body about him can find out; he has

no contrivance to keep fire, nor uses any; in very cold weather he lies

naked, stops the hole he creeps in and out at with leaves; he mostly keeps

in his hut, but sometimes walks before it, lies on the ground, and cannot

he persuaded to work much, nor obliged without violence to forsake this

habit, which he appears to delight in, and to enjoy full health; when the

woods and orchards afford him no nuts, apples, or other relief as to food,

he applies now and then for bread to the neighbourhood, and with that is

quite satisfied; he refuses money, but has been frequently cloathed by

charity; he seems to be upwards of forty years of age; as to person rather

under the middle size; calls himself Francis.

 

13 Seventeen miles distant by land, twenty by water.

 

14 Here is a publick library.

 

15 Here is a publick library.

 

16 This creek was called by John Fenwick, Caesarea river, part of the

province name, as being the most considerable creek that puts out of

Delaware into West-Jersey.

 

17 Pennsylvania and New-York, meet against it; but have few settlements.

 

18 The enormous iron traps used for deer, with their wide jaws of

destruction, are abhorrent to the common principles of humanity: There is

no safety for man or beast where they are; laws to appearance well

calculated, seem hitherto ineffectual in restraining them, tho' so

extreamly and commonly dangerous; 'till active men in neighbourhoods, will

unite to exert themselves, and make it a common concern to discourage

them, 'tis feared the danger will remain: Still worse is the practice of

setting sharp stakes and loaded guns; these are scarcer, but ought to be

justly detected, as below the rights of humanity, even with respect to

brutes, and as common nusances to mankind, where ever they are.

 

19 A person having one taken alive, and brought in a small basket cover'd,

the man that brought it, sat with the basket between his knees; he

wantonly took off the cover; the snake caught his attention; he was

immediately surprisingly affected, and express'd afterwards every thing

attractive, as to the penetrating force of the snake's eye, the snake all

the while kept rattling with fury; the man's own action was lost in

amazement and terror; and had not another present, put the cover on the

basket, he had probably been bit.

 

20 Half a dozen or less, with their tails in motion, might answer this

purpose; but he was too much frighted to count; there might however be

many more, as there frequently are numbers together, when they first leave

their holes in the spring. One Robins, in Amwell, Hunterdon county, at a

spot on his own plantation, had upwards of 90 kill'd in each of three

springs successively: The parties performing it, bark'd young chestnut

trees of the size of their own legs, and tied them on; thus accoutred, they

effected their business without much danger; but the snakes frequently bit

the bark. Instances need not be multiplied in a case well known; or others

where the snakes were much more numerous, might be given. At one of the

quarries, where stone was got for Prince Town college, the work-men came

to an aperture in the rock, about eighteen inches wide, ten feet long, and

six deep, in which they found near twenty bushels of snakes bones; they

were supposed to have got in through winding crevices of the rock in the

fall, and in their weak state in the spring, not able to get out again.

 

21 It is reported, with circumstances of great credibility, that the

Indians here had a method of taking these animals, by the meer charm of

fixing their eyes, whence they have by degrees leaped down into possession.

 

22 Dr. Mead, vid. his medical works, quarto, edit. 1762, p. 59, 60. Here

may be seen an accurate description of the head and teeth. For an exact

view and description of the snake, see Catesby's Nat. Hist. and supplement

to the Gent. Mag. for 1753.

 

23 A person of undoubted credit relates of his own knowledge, two

instances of this attended with such circumstances, as leaves very little

room for doubt. "In the end of May, 1715, stopping at an orchard by the

road side to get some cherries, being three of us in company, we were

entertained with the whole process of a charm between a rattle-snake and a

hare, the hare being better than half grown. It happened thus; one of the

company in his search for the best cherries espied the hare sitting, and

although he went close by her she did not move, 'till he (not suspecting

the occasion of her gentleness) gave her a lash with his whip; this made

her run about ten foot, and there sit down again. The gentleman not

finding the cherries ripe, immediately returned the same way, and near the

place where he struck the hare, he spied a rattle-snake; still not

suspecting the charm, he goes back about twenty yards to a hedge to get a

stick to kill the snake, and at his return found the snake removed, and

coiled in the same place from whence he had moved the hare. This put him

into immediate thoughts of looking for the hare again, and he soon spied

her about ten foot off the snake, in the same place to which she had

started when he whipt her. She was now lying down, but would sometimes

raise herself on her fore-feet struggling as it were for life or to get

away, but could never raise her hinder parts from the ground, and then

would fall flat on her side again, panting vehemently. In this condition

the hare and snake were when he called me, and though we all three came up

within fifteen foot of the snake to have a full view of the whole, he took

no notice at all of us, nor so much as gave a glance towards us. There we

stood at least half an hour, the snake not altering a jot, but the hare

often struggling and falling on its side again, 'till at last the hare lay

still as dead for some time. Then the snake moved out of his coil, and

slid gently and smoothly on towards the hare, his colours at that instant

being ten times more glorious and shining than at other times. As the

snake mov'd along, the hare happened to fetch another struggle, upon which

the snake made a stop lying at his length, 'till the hare had lain quiet

again for a short space; and then he advanced again 'till he came up to

the hinder parts of the hare, which in all this operation had been towards

the snake; there he made a survey all over the hare, raising part of his

body above it, then turnd off and went to the head and nose of the hare,

after that to the ears, took the ears in his mouth one after the other,

working each apart in his mouth as a man does a wafer to moisten it, then

returned to the nose again, and took the face into his mouth, straining

and gathering his lips sometimes by one side of his mouth, sometimes by

the other; at the shoulders he was a long time puzzled, often haling and

stretching the hare out at length, and straining forward first one side of

his mouth then the other, 'till got at last he the whole body into his

throat. Then we went to him, and taking the twist band off from my hat, I

made a noose and put it about his neck: This made him at length very

furious, but we having secured him, put him into one end of a wallet, and

carried him on horseback five miles to Mr. J. B.'s house where we lodged

that night, with a design to have sent him to Dr. C. at Williamsburg; but

Mr. B. was so careful of his slaves, that he would not let him be put into

his boat for fear he should get loose and mischief them; therefore the

next morning we killed him, and took the hare out of his belly, the head

of the hare began to be digested, and the hair falling off; having lain

about eighteen hours in the snake's belly.

 

"In my youth I was a bear-hunting in the woods above the inhabitants, and

having straggled from my companions, I was entertamed at my return, with

the relation of a pleasant rencounter, between a dog and a rattle-snake,

about a squirrel. The snake had got the head and shoulders of the squirrel

into his mouth, which being something too large for his throat, it took

him up sometime to moisten the fur of the squirrel with his spawn, to make

it slip down. The dog took this advantage, seiz'd the hinder parts of the

squirrel, and tug'd with all his might. The snake on the other side would

not let go his hold for a long time, 'till at last, fearing he might be

bruised by the dog's running away with him, he gave up his prey to the

dog, the dog eat the squirrel, and felt no harm.

 

"Another curiosity concerning this viper, which I never met with in print,

I will also relate from my own observation.

 

"Some time after my observation of the charm, my waiting boy being sent

abroad on an errand, also took upon himself to bring home a rattle snake

in a noose. I cut off the head of this snake, leaving about an inch of the

neck with it; this I laid upon the head of a tobacco hogshead, one S. L. a

carpenter, now alive, being with me. Now you must note, that these snakes

have but two teeth, by which they convey their poison, and they are

placedd in the upper jaw, pretty forward in the mouth, one on each side;

these teeth are hollow and crooked like a cock's spur; they are also loose

or springing in the mouth, and not fastened in the jaw-bone as all the

other teeth are; the hollow has a vent also through by a small hole a

little below the point of the tooth; these two teeth are kept lying down

along the jaw, or shut like a spring-knife, and don't shrink up as the

talons of a cat or panther; that have also over them a loose thin film or

skin of a flesh colour, which rises over them when they are raised, which

I take to be only at the will of the snake to do injury; this skin does

not break by the rising of the tooth only, but keeps whole 'till the bite

is given, and then is pierced by the tooth, by which the poison is let

out. The head being laid upon the hogshead, I took two little twigs or

splinters of sticks, and having turn'd the head upon its crown, opened the

mouth, and lifted up the fang or springing tooth on one side several

times, in doing of which I at last broke the skin; the head gave a sudden

champ with its mouth, breaking from my sticks, in which I observed that

the poison ran down in a lump like oyl, round the root of the tooth. Then

I turn'd the other side of the head, and resolved to be more careful to

keep the mouth open on the like occasion, and observe more narrowly the

consequence; for it is observed, that though the heads of snakes,

terrapins and such like vermin, be cut off; yet the body will not die in a

long time after; the general saying is 'till the sun sets. After opening

the mouth on the other side, and lifting up that fang also several times,

he endeavoured to give another bite or champ; but I kept his mouth open,

and the tooth pierced the film and emitted a stream like one full of blood

in blood-letting, and cast some drops upon the sleeve of the carpenter's

shirt, who had no waistcoat on. I advised him to pull off his shirt, but

he would not, and received no harm; and tho' nothing could then be seen of

it upon the shirt, yet in washing there appeared five green specks, which

every washing appeared plainer and plainer, and lasted so long as the

shirt did, which the carpenter told me was about three years after. The

head we threw afterwards down upon the ground, and a sow came and eat it

before our faces; and received no harm. Now I believe, had this poison

lighted upon any place of the carpenter's skin, that was scratched or

hurt, it might have poisoned him. I take the poison to rest in a small bag

or receptacle in the hollow at the root of these teeth; but I never had

the opportunity afterwards to make a farther discovery of that. Beverly's

Hist. of Virg., p. 262 to 266.

 

24 His son kill'd one this present summer 1765.